Passover Bomb claims further victim, and other updates

July 03, 2003


1. Passover Bomb claims further victim; she is second survivor of Auschwitz to die as a result of the attack
2. Pakistan set to recognize Israel's right to exist
3. Netanyahu writes letter to Washington Post, "clarifying how I stand on Palestinian sovereignty"
4. Tom Gross interview on today
5. "Israel should prepare for the third Intifada"
6, Romanian ambassador meets chairman of Yad Vashem (June 29, 2003)
7. "Oxford investigates scientist who denied Israeli application" (New York Times, July 2, 2003)
8. "Erlich and Ram advance to historic semifinal appearance (Ha'aretz, July 2, 2003)

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach various updates, mainly relating to previous dispatches I have sent out. In most cases there is a brief summary first.


1. "Netanya Passover Bomb claims further victim." [Tom Gross writes:] On June 25, 2003, Clara Rosenberger, 77, of Jerusalem, became the 30th victim of the suicide bombing in the Park Hotel, Netanya, detonated in the midst of the Passover holiday seder on March 27, 2002. Rosenberger succumbed to a combination of injuries and a deep depression sustained as a result of the attack, according to doctors.

Rosenberger, who had been in excellent health and an independent and active woman prior to the attack, remained completely paralyzed following the blast. She was born in Czechoslovakia, and as a teenager was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, with her parents. Her father was murdered there. She and her mother survived and subsequently immigrated to Israel. She was buried in Jerusalem last week, and is survived by a son, a daughter, and seven grandchildren.

The bomber was identified as a member of Hamas from the West Bank city of Tulkarm, which is just six miles east of Netanya. He was on the list of wanted terrorists that Israel had repeatedly requested Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat to arrest during the months before the blast.

2. From among the headlines of the Israeli press, June 24, 2003:

Hatzofeh: "Film on Israeli 'war criminals' will represent Israel at Montreal film festival."

Ma'ariv: "220 Iranian Jews immigrated to Israel in last year and a half."

Yediot Ahronot: "Clinton to Yediot Ahronot: 'I miss Israel so much... how much more blood will be spilled before the Israelis and Palestinians sign an agreement, whose contents are already known to everyone?'"

3. Ambassador to Chairman of Yad Vashem in a meeting today: "PM of Romania has promised to investigate who is guilty in releasing false information relating to the Holocaust in Romania". The Chairman of Yad Vashem called for the Romanian government to join the 15-member International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. (This is an update to my dispatch of June 18, 2003 titled An Englishman in Auschwitz and other Holocaust articles.)


4. The Guardian (London), choice as "International letter of the week," (July 2, 2003), from the Pakistani newspaper, "Dawn":

"The time has finally come to decide about a crucial factor in our foreign policy regarding the recognition of Israel ... Pakistan always has the potential to lead the Muslim world in formulating a strategic limited policy on various issues confronting the Muslims in different regions ... If we accept India, then why not Israel? Let us recognise Israel with all good hope, at least thereafter, one could talk to Israel regarding its wrongdoings against the stone-throwing Palestinians whom it is killing with helicopters and tanks supplied by the US.

Major Fateh Alam Sheikh
Dawn, Pakistan, June 29"

5. Letter to editor
By Benjamin Netanyahu
The Washington Post
June 24, 2003

Clarifying how I stand on Palestinian sovereignty

The choice of headline for my June 20 op-ed article, "A Limited Palestinian State," did not accurately reflect my position.

As stated in the article, I believe that in a final peace agreement the Palestinians should be given all the powers that are necessary to govern themselves but none of the powers that could threaten Israel.

There is, to my knowledge, no accepted term in international law for this type of nonbelligerent sovereignty. Until there is an accepted term, I prefer not to use the word "state," because of the unlimited sovereignty it implies.

Benjamin Netanyahu

6. "Oxford investigates scientist who denied Israeli application" (New York Times, July 2, 2003). The New York Times finally writes on the scandal at Oxford, some days after this email list had already run two dispatches on the subject.

7. "Erlich and Ram advance to historic semifinal appearance" (July 2, 2003, Ha'aretz). The semifinals appearance is the best ever achievement by Israeli tennis players at Wimbledon.


For those of you who have missed my previous appearances and are interested in listening, there is a brief interview with me about the Palestinian ceasefire and the prospects for peace, running today on the main homepage of

Go to the website, scroll down to CNNRadio and click on "listen to the latest updates." The interview is repeated every so often, today July 3, 2003.


Among further Palestinian violations of the ceasefire in the last 24 hours:

Four Israelis were wounded last night, when three anti-tank rockets landed in the central Gaza Strip settlement of Kfar Darom. The rockets were fired from the nearby Palestinian town of Dir al-Balah. The wounded are being treated at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. The Israeli government called the attack a gross violation of the ceasefire.

Palestinians opened fire on workers building the separation fence near Tulkarm on the West Bank. One worker sustained bullet wounds.

On Wednesday morning, a bomb was detonated near a separation fence worksite on the outskirts of Qalqilya. There were no injuries.

Palestinians opened fire on an IDF position near the Gush Katif Jewish community of Neve Dekalim. No injuries were reported.

Separately, two mortar shells were fired at the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported in the incident.


Headline of comment piece in today's Jordan Times: "Preparing for the third Intifada" By Hasan Abu Nimah. "Israel should prepare for the third Intifada," writes Abu Nimah, the former ambassador of Jordan to the UN.

-- Tom Gross



Romanian ambassador meets chairman of Yad Vashem
June 29, 2003

Romanian Ambassador to Chairman of Yad Vashem in a meeting today:

"PM of Romania has promised to investigate who is guilty in releasing false information relating to the Holocaust in Romania; the new Romanian Minister of Education will visit Yad Vashem"

The Chairman of Yad Vashem calls for the Romanian government to join the 15-member International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research

(June 29, 2003, Jerusalem) The Romanian Ambassador to Israel, HE Dr. Valeria Mariana Stoica and Deputy Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, Ion Antonescu met today with Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev.

During the meeting, the ambassador reported that she spoke with the Romanian Prime Minister 3 days ago following his personal declaration of the historical facts relating to the murder of Romanian Jews during the Shoah. He emphasized that he would investigate to discover the source of the false information that was released two weeks ago, that claimed that the Holocaust did not occur within the borders of Romania, the release of which according to the ambassador was human error.

Shalev asked the ambassador and the deputy secretary to increase Romania's cooperation in research, studies and education of the Holocaust in Romania, for example to take part in seminars for Holocaust education for educators from around the world held at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies. The ambassador told Shalev that a new Minister of Education has been appointed in the framework of Romania's preparations for acceptance to the European Union. The ambassador promised that the new Minster would visit Yad Vashem and would discuss cooperation for Holocaust education for Romanian educators, students and adults.

In addition, Shalev called for Romania to join the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, currently comprised of 15 members including Poland, Hungary and Austria.

The ambassador presented Shalev with a replica specially created for Yad Vashem of a bronze statue in Romania that memorializes victims of the Shoah. Also during their visit, the ambassador and deputy secretary conducted a wreath-laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance with the participation of a delegation from Romania.



Oxford investigates scientist who denied Israeli application
By Diana Jean Schemo
The New York Times
July 2, 2003

A geneticist at Oxford University, Andrew Wilkie, is under investigation for possible violations of the university's antidiscrimination rules after he rejected an Israeli student's application to work in his laboratory, citing disagreement with Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

In a brief message rejecting the application from Amit Duvshani, Dr. Wilkie wrote last week, "I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they (the Palestinians) wish to live in their own country. I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli Army. As you may be aware, I am not the only U.K. scientist with these views, but I'm sure you will find another suitable lab if you look around."

Mr. Duvshani, who is completing his master's degree in molecular biology at the University of Tel Aviv, said he was shocked by the reply of the British geneticist, who holds an endowed chair at Oxford. The e-mail from Dr. Wilkie, which made its way to scientists around the world toward the end of last week, brought a deluge of letters to both Dr. Wilkie and his university, prompting an apology from Dr. Wilkie.

In a note posted on Oxford's Web site, Dr. Wilkie apologized for "the wholly inappropriate expression of my personal opinions." He said he accepted the university's rules against discrimination and, in a private note to Mr. Duvshani, offered to reconsider his application.

In a prepared statement, university officials wrote, "Freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of university life, but under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on grounds of ethnicity or nationality, whether directly or indirectly."

The incident illustrates the growing reach of a boycott of Israeli scholars and academics that began last year after a linguist at the University of Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology, Mona Baker, fired two Israeli linguists from an obscure translation journal. In that instance, an investigation concluded that Professor Baker had not broken any university rules, since she privately owned the journals.

Two months ago, Britain's Association of University Teachers debated a motion to cut "any academic links they may have with official Israeli institutions." The resolution was one of 59 selected and enraged Jewish groups and many academics, The Sunday Telegraph of London reported. The motion ultimately failed.

In a telephone interview from his home in Tel Aviv, Mr. Duvshani, 26, said he had sent applications to scientists in Germany, Sweden and Great Britain. Aside from Dr. Wilkie, one Swedish scientist expressed interest. The others did not respond.

Mr. Duvshani said in a telephone interview that he was surprised that Dr. Wilkie commented not on his qualifications but only on his military service, compulsory in Israel. In responding to Dr. Wilkie's offer to reconsider, Mr. Duvshani said he was no longer interested in working with him. "I really don't know if someone with such racist views can change, but I do hope you will reconsider and not judge all six million of us Israelis the same way," Mr. Duvshani wrote.

Andrew Marks, a professor at Columbia University who heads an organization opposing the boycott of Israeli academics, has volunteered to help Mr. Duvshani find an American laboratory to work with.



Erlich and Ram advance to historic semifinal appearance
July 2, 2003

Yoni Erlich and Andy Ram advanced to the semifinal of the men's doubles at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon yesterday beating the second-seeded pair Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Canadian Daniel Nestor in straight sets 7-6 7-6 7-6.

The semifinals appearance is the best ever achievement by Israeli tennis players at Wimbledon. Erlich and Ram are the first Israelis ever to reach this stage of the Wimbledon tournament.

The ebullient duo said they still could not believe their good fortune. "This really is a tremendous achievement," said Andy Ram. "It really hasn't sunk in yet," added Jonathan Erlich.

The duo only decided to team up at the last moment and played through the qualifying tournament, knocking out the sixth and the second seeds on the way to their historic semifinal achievements.

"We went onto the court knowing we had the ability to beat anybody and we proved it today. We have been playing at our best, we both have the right game for doubles," Ram said.

"We both have good serves and volleys and we kept it all together today, it simply didn't fall apart for us," Erlich added.

All the games in the match went to serve and all three sets in the two hour and 27 minute match were decided by tie breaks. The Israeli pair served 20 aces compared to seven served by their opponents.

Erlich and Ram have now assured themselves a total of $46,000 each in prize money.

The duo will now face one of the most formidable doubles pairs in the world Australian Tod Woodbridge, who is regarded as one of the best doubles players in the world, and Swede Jonas Bjorkman, ranked fourth in the tournament.

However despite the fearsome task awaiting them, Erlich and Ram say they are ready.

"We will go on court and, sure at the beginning, our legs will tremble a little, but this has been the case in all the matches, now we will go out there feeling we have a chance, we can beat anybody if we play as we we have been during this tournament," Ram said. "There is no reason why we should not win, but if it doesn't happen, we will go on and try again at another tournament," Erlich added.

The match on Court 13, well out of the way of the main show courts, saw only a small crowd in the roughly 3,000 seat arena. Only a handful of those were Israelis, but their cheers could be heard during the match and when they won, the group of supporters erupted in celebrations after having witnessed a rare major success in Israeli tennis in recent years.

Shahar Peer also had a successful day at Wimbledon yesterday advancing to the last 16 of the women's tournament with a 7-5 6-1 6-3 win over Vojislova Lukic of Yugoslavia. However, in the men's singles, third-seeded Israeli Dudi Sela was knocked out by German Mischa Zverev in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.