Shorts: Mideast

Women in Green head investigated

jerusalem (jps) | Israeli police launched a criminal investigation into remarks made recently by Nadia Matar, head of the right-wing movement Women in Green, on the suspicion that she insulted a public official.

Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Natzan said that authorities have noticed a sharp increase in extremist remarks that incite to violence and as a result decided to take action when “red lines are crossed.”

Last week Matar branded Disengagement Administration director Yonatan Bassi “a far more terrible version” of the Nazi-allied Judenrat. In a letter faxed to Bassi, Matar noted “the chilling similarity” between his role and that of the Berlin Jewish community’s Judenrat in transferring its Jews to concentration camps.

Confessions in Jerusalem vandalism

jerusalem (jta) | Two Israeli Jews were arrested in Jerusalem for scrawling anti-government graffiti during Yom Kippur.

The men confessed to the crime, an Israeli police spokesman said Tuesday, Sept. 28. The men are believed to be leftist extremists, and reportedly said they carried out the crime, and others, for ideological reasons.

Refusenik nominated for Nobel Prize

jerusalem (jps) | Israeli reservist David Sonnschein, the head of the “refusenik” movement, has been nominated as a candidate for the 2004 Nobel Peace prize. Sonnschein, 28, is a software engineer. His nomination was proposed by two previous recipients of the prize.

The two nominators are Carlos Felipe Zimenes Belo, a bishop from East Timor who received the prize in 1996 for leading his countrymen in a conflict with Indonesia and Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, who won the prize in 1992 for her work in pressing for rights for Indians and local farmers.

The “refusenik” movement was established in January 2002 when a group of more than 70 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and officers published a letter declaring their willingness to continue serving in the army inside Israel’s borders, but they refused to continue serving in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Currently, there are over 650 members in the movement, both officers and soldiers, some of who have served jail sentences for refusing to serve in the Palestinian territories.

Settlers suspected of assault

jerusalem (jta) | West Bank settlers are suspected of assaulting two American peace activists.

A middle-aged couple from the Christian Peace Maker group were set upon by five masked men while escorting Palestinian children to school near Hebron on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

One victim suffered a broken arm, the other a punctured lung. They said their attackers came from the Maon settlement and spoke Hebrew and English.

The police said “all angles” in the case were being investigated.

JNF volunteers find archaeological site

jerusalem (jta) | Youth volunteering in the Jewish National Fund’s Clean Up the World Campaign in Israel uncovered three ancient settling pools excavated out of rock that served as natural water sources thousands of years ago in the northern Negev.

JNF’s Clean Up the World campaign is part of a 120-nation effort of the United Nations to protect the environment. This year, the JNF spearheaded cleaning up more than 60 communities in Israel.

“Over 40,000 people participated in the campaign this year, including members of Bedouin tribes from the north and the south, people with special needs, the Druze sector, and many educational institutions,” said Zeev Kedem of JNF’s northern region.