Mideast Report

HAIFA (JPS) — Police investigating the past week's fires that destroyed nearly 1,500 acres of pine forest and natural woodland on Mount Carmel said they have no concrete evidence of arson.

However, senior Jewish National Fund officials and Moshe Vardi, the chief of the National Fire and Rescue Service, said they believed that the fires had been started deliberately.

Vardi said on Monday night that he had seen arsonists at work during the huge blaze. He maintained that he had seen several fires break out in the area simultaneously and even seen people with torches in the same areas at the time.

Yad Vashem opens school on Holocaust

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem has inaugurated a school devoted exclusively to Holocaust studies.

The International School for Holocaust Studies, which is already in use, employs 100 full-time educators and staff, has 17 classrooms, a multimedia center, and resource and teaching centers.

"The school, first of all, is aimed to train the teachers," Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said before Tuesday's inaugural ceremony. He added that about 1,000 teachers, primarily from Israel, Europe and North America, already have taken seminars at the school.

Is Nazi war criminal buried in Damascus?

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The body of a key Nazi war criminal is buried in a Muslim cemetery in Damascus, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Post cited as its source a European radio correspondent who spoke with Syrian officials. Nazi-hunters claimed for years that Alois Brunner was hiding in Syria, though Syria denied sheltering him. Brunner was the private secretary of Adolf Eichmann, chief engineer of the Holocaust, who was tried and executed in Israel in 1961.

Israeli police uncover Iran-Contra paper

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli police uncovered this week a classified document linked to the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s in the office of a private detective allegedly linked to a murder conspiracy.

Investigators refused to divulge the contents of the document, but they questioned how it came to be in the possession of the detective, Oded Ben-Dov, whom police are probing as part of their investigation of former Ma'ariv publisher Ofer Nimrodi.