Shorts: Mideast

Gap stores to open in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv

Gap is coming to Israel. The San Francisco-based retail clothing chain has plans to open its first two stores in Israel in major malls in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the Israeli news service Ynet reported.

Gap also is scheduled to open stores in Jordan and Egypt this year. The company, according to its Web site, operates more than 3,100 stores worldwide and brought in revenue of $15.8 billion in 2007. — jta

Israeli post-trauma experts to Mumbai

A team of Israeli post-trauma experts has traveled to Mumbai to train local counselors on how to support victims of the recent attack in India’s financial capital.

The team, which left Israel on Dec. 7, will partner with the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre’s Trauma Counseling Unit in Mumbai, which will use Israeli expertise on how to provide post-trauma treatment to families and victims of terror.

At local schools in Mumbai they will train teachers on how to impart resiliency to their students and how to provide direct support to help the families and victims. In addition, the team will offer its assistance to foreigners and Jewish and Israeli personnel who were on the ground during the attack, which killed 172 people, including six Jews at the local Chabad house.

This program is a partnership of IsraAID, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto. — jta

World Health study: Israeli kids irritable

A recent study by the World Health Organization showed that Israeli children are more irritable and experience more anger than other children around the world.

The study also indicated that a higher percentage of Israeli schoolchildren suffer from headaches, stomach aches and back pain, as well as from an array of stress symptoms such as irritability and feelings of helplessness.

The WHO study was conducted among 207,703 students worldwide, and included 6,613 sixth, eighth and 10th graders in Israel.

Israel ranked No. 1 out of 41 in the list of countries whose 10th graders exhibit physical stress symptoms, with 36 percent of the boys and 53 percent of the girls reporting such symptoms. Malta came in second, with the United States in third.

Dr. Yossi Harel of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Bar-Ilan University, who serves as the WHO’s chief researcher in Israel, said the report’s concerning results stem from the fact that many children have trouble finding the emotional support they need form the authority figures in their lives, such as parents, teachers and counselors. —

Palestinian prisoner release postponed

A planned Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners has been postponed.

The release, which had been scheduled for Dec. 9, has been postponed to Monday, Dec. 15 at the request of the Palestinian Authority, according to reports. The release was likely delayed so that P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, currently on the Hajj pilgrimage, can greet the returnees personally, Israeli officials are speculating.

The 230 Palestinian prisoners are being released as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority in honor of a Muslim holiday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

In addition to the prison releases, other goodwill gestures will be made in honor of the Eid-al-Adha holiday. — jta