Shorts: Mideast

Hillary Clinton visits Jerusalem sites

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall Monday, Nov. 14 before heading to a memorial service for assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Children threw candy at Clinton as she posed with women celebrating their sons’ bar mitzvahs at the Western wall. Wearing a blue shawl draped around her shoulders, the New York Democrat spent a few solitary moments before the massive structure, but did not reveal the contents of her note.

Clinton, who came to Israel with her husband, ex-President Bill Clinton, also met the parents of a rescue-service volunteer killed three years ago while doing reserve duty in the Israeli army. The parents of the volunteer, Yochai Porat, presented Clinton with a framed picture of the former first lady and their son, whom she had met just two weeks before he was killed in a terrorist attack.

Israel remembers Rabin assassination

jerusalem (jta) | Israel marked the 10th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination this week. Dignitaries from 26 foreign countries and notables from across Israel’s political spectrum held memorial events Monday, Nov. 14 exactly 10 years, according to the Jewish calendar, since the Israeli prime minister was shot by an ultranationalist opposed to his peace talks with the Palestinians.

UNESCO marks anniversary

jerusalem (jta) | UNESCO marked the 10th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death. The U.N. organization commemorated the late Israeli prime minister in Paris as representatives of Arab nations looked on, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“The words Yitzhak Rabin said here at UNESCO are still in our memories,” said the group’s director general, Kohichiro Matsuura. ” ‘Peace will settle in slowly, in everyday life, in small gestures, in trivial details. It will be built step by step through the actions of men and women.’ In my name and in the name of the organization, I solemnly pledge to turn this promise into reality.”

Omri Sharon pleads guilty to fraud

jerusalem (jta) | Ariel Sharon’s son pleaded guilty in a Likud Party funding scandal.

Omri Sharon could face imprisonment as part of the plea bargain in Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, accepting reduced felony charges of perjury and fraud in connection with allegedly illicit foreign financing for his father’s 1999 run for the Likud leadership.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decided against also indicting the prime minister in the case, citing lack of evidence. According to Israeli media reports, Mazuz is expected to seek several months’ jail time for Omri Sharon and to demand that he retire from politics.

Jordan terrorists: Israel is next

jerusalem (jta) | A statement claiming responsibility for last week’s bombings in Amman, Jordan, said Israel would be targeted next.

Three simultaneous bomb attacks on U.S.-owned hotels in the Jordanian capital killed at least 60 people. “al Qaida in Iraq” claimed responsibility in a statement on a Web site. The group said the attack proved that Israel “was within range” and that “it would not be long” before Israel was targeted.

Meanwhile, some in Jordan are blaming last week’s terrorist attacks on Israel. “People don’t blame Israel out of a vacuum,” Rami Khoury, a Jordanian political commentator based in Lebanon, told The New York Times, explaining that “Israel has caused a lot of grief for Arab people one way or the other.”

Saudi sentenced for praising Jews

jerusalem (jta) | A Saudi court sentenced a teacher to 40 months in jail and 750 lashes for praising Jews, a Saudi newspaper reported.

Al Madina newspaper reported that Mohammad al Harbi will receive the punishment for “dubious ideology, mocking religion, saying the Jews were right, discussing the Gospel and preventing students from leaving class to wash for prayer.” Al-Harbi is expected to appeal.

Disneys to invest in Israeli businesses

jerusalem (jta) | The investment arm of the Roy Disney family is launching a $125 million fund to invest in Israel. Shamrock Capital Advisors announced the four-year initiative last week, Ha’aretz reported.

“My family has a history of investing in Israel,” said Abigail Disney, Shamrock’s vice chairman, noting the group’s “strong, deep commitment to Israel.” The fund will make investments of $5 million to $20 million in export-oriented, middle-market businesses.

Stanley Gold, Shamrock’s president, said the company is particularly interested in Israel’s defense industry.