Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The privatization of Israel's national airline could lead to El Al flying on the Sabbath.

El Al's stock will be sold on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by the end of the month, according to a decision made Tuesday by the Knesset Finance Committee.

El Al's new management would decide whether the airline would fly on Shabbat.

Terror video game targets Israeli troops

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hezbollah is selling a video game that pits guerrillas in the Shiite terrorist group against Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah's game, called Special Force, uses video and special effects to simulate Hezbollah strikes against the Israeli army during its 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reports.

The game shows a Hezbollah fighter armed with a knife, handgun, hand grenades and Kalashnikov assault rifle fighting Israelis in fortified positions protected by land mines, a Merkava tank and an Apache helicopter.

Israel cracks down on U.S. Muslims

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has deported at least two American Muslims who were staying in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The deportations were part of measures adopted after an April 30 suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv bar carried out by terrorists with British passports.

Deportation orders were also issued against foreign activists who were arrested in the West Bank last Friday on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity.

In addition, the head of the Israeli army's southern command issued an order requiring all foreigners entering the Gaza Strip to sign a waiver exempting Israel from responsibility should they be killed or injured, the daily Ha'aretz reported.

Secret documents disappear in Iraq

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Iraqi intelligence material on potential terrorist targets in Israel, discovered by U.S. forces this week, has disappeared.

Troops from the Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, or MET Alpha, who unearthed the documents Tuesday at Iraq's former secret police headquarters in Baghdad returned Thursday to find the papers gone, The New York Times reported.

The data on Israel, unearthed in a flooded basement, included detailed mock-ups of the Knesset, hotels in downtown Jerusalem and Israeli government buildings, a mannequin of a female Israeli soldier and lists of Israeli army ranks and insignia, and satellite photos of Israel's nuclear facility in Dimona.

It also included information on terrorist attacks in Israel. U.S. troops made the find in a futile search for a seventh-century Talmud. However, when they returned to the building two days later to remove the material, it had disappeared.

Move to boot out new chief rabbi

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's attorney general reportedly will ask the country's newly appointed Ashkenazi chief rabbi not to serve as head of the supreme rabbinical court. Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger is not qualified to serve as a rabbinical judge because he did not complete his rabbinic judicial studies, Israel Radio reported.

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein has suggested that Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar head the rabbinical courts for the first five years of his tenure.