Web sites Saddam-O-Meter tracks Israelis moods

NEW YORK — An Israeli Web site has created a wry, up-to-the-minute way to capture the Israeli mood over the current crisis with Iraq: the Saddam-O-Meter.

The meter, which is part of the Virtual Jerusalem site, asks Israeli users to evaluate their mood regarding the crisis as calm, concerned, nervous or panic.

An arrow indicates how the votes have come in.

Quotations from world leaders or newspapers are also ranked — a quote on Monday from the Russian ambassador to Syria that "I believe there is Iraqi flexibility" was rated as somewhere between calm and concerned; a comment by the U.S. secretary of defense, William Cohen, that Iraq "has enough chemical and biological warfare to do considerable damage in the area" tipped the all-out panic line.

"Every official statement and news report elicits a response in the hair-trigger environment of the Middle East," said the president of Virtual Jerusalem, Avi Moskowitz.

"Now our Internet users around the world can instantly track public response in Israel to the latest political babble," he said.

The Saddam-O-Meter URL is http://www.virtual.co.il/city_services/news/specialreports/saddam/index.htm