Mideast Report

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — One of the prized pieces in the Israel Museum's art collection could be a fake, a French newspaper reported.

An editorial in Le Monde this week, written by an expert on French painting, suggested that Vincent Van Gogh's "The Harvesters" was the work of a friend of Van Gogh's.

The head of public information at the Israel Museum countered that the work has a carefully documented history.

El Al head complains about Shabbat ban

JERUSALEM (JPS) — El Al must be freed from its Shabbat flying ban to cope with increased competition resulting from the present world recession, chairman Yosef Ciechanover hinted in a veiled warning Sunday.

"El Al is prepared for the year 2000 and is creating marketing plans, but it must be freed of the limitations of a government company and undergo privatization," Ciechanover said.

Although Ciechanover did not mention Shabbat flights, his listeners understood that this was the issue to which he was referring.

Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Yahalom, who agreed to the sale of only 49 percent of the El Al shares, stated specifically that he would never agree to the privatization of the company so he can keep it from flying on Shabbat.

Jordan's king, queen threatened by phone

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli was arrested on suspicion of telephoning the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv and making threats against King Hussein and his wife, Queen Noor.

Israel Radio reported this week that embassy officials filed a complaint, saying the caller would phone several times a day and also send faxes. Israeli police found the suspect by putting a trace on the calls.

Three Israeli soldiers wounded in Lebanon

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Three Israeli soldiers were wounded Monday in heavy fighting in south Lebanon.

One of the wounded soldiers was reported in critical condition after both his legs were blown off from the blast of either a mortar round or an anti-tank missile.

Israeli warplanes twice struck at Hezbollah targets north of the security zone. Helicopter gunships were also in action during the fighting — the heaviest in the region in several months.

On Sunday, Israeli soldiers killed at least one Lebanese gunman in a face-to-face gunfight during heavy fighting in south Lebanon.

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