Egyptian cautions

against biblical suit

jerusalem (jta) | A prominent Egyptian intellectual is warning against suing Jews for gold the ancient Israelites took because it could bolster Zionism.

Abd al-Wahab al-Masiri, author of the encyclopedia “Jews, Judaism and Zionism,” said a planned lawsuit to recover damages for gold taken during the exodus could indirectly strengthen Zionist claims to the land of Israel because it treats the Bible as a historically accurate document.

Last month, the Middle East Media Research Institute translated a report that said a group of Egyptian jurists were preparing the lawsuit against the Jews.

Mideast peace may

bloom in Antarctica

jerusalem (jta) | A group of eight Israelis and Arabs are planning a joint expedition to Antarctica.

The group set sail from the Tel Aviv marina Saturday for a trial run.

Their trip, slated for January, will take them from Patagonia in southern Chile to Antarctica, where they plan to scale an as-yet-unnamed mountain, Britain’s Independent reported.

Among others, participants include a pair of Israeli veterans of the Israeli military’s Delta force, an Arab journalist from Jerusalem and an Arab veteran of Israeli prisons who was sent to jail for attacking Israeli soldiers with firebombs in the late 1980s.

Israeli pilots ‘down’

100 German planes

jerusalem (jta) | Israeli fighter pilots “downed” more than 100 German planes in joint exercises with German pilots.

The drills, which took place in Italy this month, showcased superior Israeli dogfighting skills, security sources said Monday, though the sources did not provide figures for any Israel Air Force planes lost.

In 2001, Israeli top guns bested U.S. counterparts in 220 out of 240 aerial training engagements, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Al-Qaida planned

attack on El Al jet

jerusalem (jta) | Thai police reportedly foiled an al-Qaida plot to down an El Al airplane and attack Israeli passengers at Bangkok International Airport.

A man arrested three months ago by police in Thailand was found to have detailed plans of a plot to attack passengers in the terminal and shoot down an El Al plan with a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

Peres says Arafat

deserved Nobel

tel aviv (jta) | Veteran Israeli peacemaker Shimon Peres said Monday that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, now shunned by Israel and the United States, deserved the Nobel Peace Prize they both won with Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.

“I want to be honest and I don’t care what they say,” Peres told an international peace symposium held as part of his 80th birthday celebrations. “I believe … it was right to give him the Nobel Prize.”

Arafat, he said, broke ground by publicly recognizing Israel, declaring he would “go out of terror to the domain of negotiations.”