Israel: P.A. Didn't Help Rescue
The Palestinian Authority had no part in the rescue of a kidnapped Israeli taxi driver, Israeli officials said. P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas personally pledged cooperation in the efforts to locate and release Eliyahu Gurel, but a senior Israeli army officer said Wednesday that the rescue operation was conducted solely by Israeli forces. Israeli officials differ over whether the motive for the kidnapping was criminal or terrorist. Gurel, who unbeknownst to his captors understands Arabic, said they talked of using him as a bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority's failure to prevent the kidnapping could have damaged peace efforts.
"We hope that next time they will do everything to prevent such kidnapping of Israelis," Shalom said.
Israel Deports Irish Journalist
Israel deported an Irish journalist who was mistaken for an IRA bomb expert allegedly helping Palestinian terrorists. The French news agency quoted an Israeli official as saying John Morgan had cooperated fully with the investigation. The official was quoted as saying that Morgan, a pro-Palestinian activist, had been conducting political activities after entering Israel on a tourist visa, Israel Radio reported.
N.J. Supporting Terror?
The state of New Jersey is allowing taxpayer dollars to fund Palestinian terrorism, a Jewish group says. Amcha-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns planned a rally at the New Jersey state house in Trenton, on Thursday, June 17, to demand that Gov. James McGreevey stop Rutgers University, which is state-funded, from hosting an Oct. 10 summit of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement. In a recent e-mail, an organizer of the conference said that she supports Palestinian violence against Israel.
"Would the governor allow the KKK the use of publicly funded institutions?" asked Joshua Chadajo, Amcha's executive director. Rutgers officials told The Associated Press they have received 230 letters from Jewish activists nationwide and from the regional Anti-Defamation League protesting the conference, but the event will be held in the name of free speech.
Califorina Hate Crimes Down
The number of hate crimes reported in California last year declined. But hate crimes against Jews in 2002 remained constant -- there were 175 in 2002, as compared with 176 in 2001.
"We are heartened that hate crimes across the state of California are down," said a regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Bernstein. "However, we are deeply troubled that hate crimes against Jewish people have not declined substantially."
Israeli, Egyptian Security Chiefs Meet
The head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency met with his Egyptian counterpart. The talks between Meir Dagan and Omar Suleiman followed the Egyptian official's discussions Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.
Group: French Far-Right, Jews Linked
There are links between the French far-right and Jewish extremists, a leading French anti-racism organization says. The Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People published a 170-page report Wednesday that details widespread Internet links between "the classic extreme-right and extremists who claim to be Jewish." The report says that more than 450,000 messages were exchanged via the sites over a two-year period, including "racial insults, death threats and calls to attack Muslim places of worship."
'Sex and the City' Star Israel-Bound
'Sex and the City' star Sarah Jessica Parker may visit Israel this fall to promote a local edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. A representative from the company that will publish the Israeli version of the magazine said Parker's September visit is nearly certain, the daily Yediot Achronot reported.
Several years ago, Parker, whose mother is Jewish, hosted an episode of "Sesame Street"-like program, "Shalom Sesame."
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency