April 11, 2002
More Hezbollah Attacks
The United States promised Israel it would warn Syria against an escalation along Israel's northern border. Hezbollah continued to fire mortars and anti-tank rockets into Israel from Lebanon on Monday, lightly wounding a shepherd in one attack. Israel's Security Cabinet decided to continue maintaining a restrained response to the cross-border attacks, in order to give diplomatic efforts a chance.
Netanyahu to Speak for Israel
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to serve as a spokesman for the Israeli government.
Netanyahu will "help clarify and present Israel's positions," an Israeli official said. Netanyahu's assistance was sought by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the wake of negative coverage of Israel by the American media, despite the fact that Netanyahu will likely challenge Sharon eventually for the Likud Party leadership.
Meanwhile, Sharon announced Monday that he will add three new Cabinet ministers to the government: National Religious Party (NRP) incoming leader, Effi Eitam, a former brigadier general and political hawk; NRP's outgoing leader, Yitzhak Levy; and Gesher Party leader David Levy. The Labor Party has warned that it may leave the government if Sharon broadens the governing coalition without Labor's approval. Additionally, former Israeli ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Binyamin Elon are negotiating to return to the government.
Poll: Bush Backed on Middle East
Most Americans support President Bush's handling of the Middle East crisis, according to a new poll. Sixty-seven percent say they approve of the president's actions, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that was conducted April 5-7, but respondents were split over whether Bush has a clear and well thought-out Middle East policy.
Sympathy for Israel has gone up since early March, but most Americans said the United States should not take sides in the conflict. More than half of Americans view the Israeli military incursions into Palestinian areas as "legitimate acts of war" while 70 percent see recent violence committed by the Palestinians against Israelis as "acts of terrorism."
Arrests Made in France Hate Crimes
More than 35 people were arrested in France for recent attacks against Jews. Nine of those were arrested in connection with the recent firebombing of three synagogues; the others for verbal or physical abuse. Fifteen of those arrested are under 18 years old. Most were people who had been in trouble with the police before, according to a police spokesman, who added that their actions were not organized. The recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks is believed to have been carried out by French Arabs motivated by the ongoing violence in the Middle East.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency