Israel to have its own baseball league (& Iran bars women from soccer matches)

May 19, 2006

* This is the third of three lighter, less political, dispatches this week. This one concerns sport. The other two deal with business and society; and media, music and entertainment.

 

CONTENTS

1. Plans afoot to create Israeli baseball league
2. American bus will be flag-free
3. World Cup 1, Politics 0
4. “Israel dreams big, as in big league” (New York Times, May 13, 2006)
5. “Israel tennis star Shahar Peer now ranked 32 in world” (Ha’aretz, May 15, 2006)
6. “Iranian women barred from matches” (AP, May 9, 2006)
7. “WC: United States team bus to show no flag” (AP, May 5, 2006)
8. “How our fans will see games on Nazi jail TV” (Sunday Mirror, May 14, 2006)
9. “Football-mad President may fall foul of Holocaust law” (Times, UK, May 4, 2006)
10. “In Mexico, World Cup overwhelms politics” (AP, May 7, 2006)
11. “Brazil wants Israelis to secure Pan American Games” (Yediot Ahronot, May 15, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

PLANS AFOOT TO CREATE ISRAELI BASEBALL LEAGUE

Larry Baras, the founder and operator of a specialty baking company in Boston, has an ambitious plan: to create an Israeli baseball league. Since Israel already has an amateur baseball league and three softball leagues, as well as youth leagues, there is speculation that Israel could well end up participating in the next World Baseball Classic in 2009. In the New York Times article (attached below) Baras explains his motivation for wanting to set up the league.

In another sign of progress for Israeli sport, Shahar Peer won her second WTA Tour title at the Prague (tennis) Open last weekend. As a result, Peer is now ranked 32 in the world and will be hoping to make an impact at one of the big Grand Slam tennis tournaments this year.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reversed a decision by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow Iranian women to attend soccer matches. Iran’s Islamic law imposes stringent restrictions on women and Ahmadinejad’s decision, a month ago, to allow women into stadiums had provoked outrage among hard-line Shiite Muslim clerics who supported his election last year.

AMERICAN BUS WILL BE FLAG-FREE

With the 2006 soccer World Cup only three weeks away (kick off June 9, in Germany, after a four year wait), many in the world’s media are focusing on each and every detail of preparation for the eagerly-awaited tournament. I attach several articles on this.

The official bus for the U.S. soccer team will be the only team-bus not to bear a flag due to security concerns.

In a highly insensitive move, ticketless English soccer fans have been invited to watch the World Cup on giant TVs inside a former Nazi jail. Live games will be beamed to 1,500 fans in the 19th Century Tauberbischofsheim jail used by the Nazis to imprison rounded-up Jews before they were sent to Dachau concentration camp where they were murdered.

If Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends the World Cup, as he has said he might, perhaps he could join the English fans in the former Nazi jail to dispel his own doubts about the Holocaust.

Dr. Jurgen Ruttgers, the minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia, has stressed that Ahmadinejad won’t be a welcome guest: “We don’t want anybody to create trouble. We want to have a nice and pleasant World Cup.” The official motto of the 2006 World Cup is “A Time To Make Friends.”

For more on FIFA, soccer’s governing body, please see Football killing fields: International soccer singles out Israel (April 11, 2006).

Fresh from leading Barcelona to victory over London club Arsenal in Wednesday’s European soccer championship final in Paris, international star Samuel Eto’o is to arrive in Israel next week on a goodwill mission that will include an exhibition match with Jewish and Arab players. Eto’o will be the guest of the (Shimon) Peres Center for Peace. It will be his first visit to Israel. During the three-day visit, Eto’o also plans to tour Jerusalem holy sites.

WORLD CUP 1, POLITICS 0

As a further illustration of the world-wide appeal of the World Cup, I also attach an article on Mexico whose presidential election, to be held on July 2, will be completely overshadowed by Mexico’s participation in the month-long soccer extravaganza, according to political analysts. Mexico’s first game, June 11, is against Iran.

The final article below reports that Brazil is seeking the aid of Israeli companies in providing security for the Pan-American Games, to be held in July 2007 in Rio de Janeiro. A previous dispatch titled EU body shelves report on anti-Semitism (Nov. 24, 2003), noted how Israel helped Greece to handle terror threats during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

There are summaries first for those who don’t have time to read the articles in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

DREAMING OF A BIG LEAGUE

“Israel dreams big, as in big league” (By Murray Chass, New York Times, May 13, 2006)

People go to Israel for different reasons. Some go to see historic sites, some go for religious reasons, some go to visit their children and grandchildren. Larry Baras goes to Israel to build a professional baseball league…

The man has an ambitious plan, considering that baseball and Israel usually are not mentioned in the same sentence. But interest in the sport has been growing, and the country has an amateur baseball league and three softball leagues as well as youth leagues….

Given that Israel has no baseball stadiums, Baras’s project, especially its estimated time of arrival, may be unrealistic, but a former major league general manager likes the idea so much that he has joined as director of player development….

“We would recruit some Jewish-American major leaguers and minor leaguers,” Baras said. He noted that Mike Piazza played for Italy in this year’s inaugural classic and said, “They did it with a bit of a stretch. We don’t have that stretch. We have the law of return.”

Under that concept, any Jew is eligible to become a citizen of Israel. That means an Israeli team could include Kevin Youkilis, Gabe Kapler and Adam Stern of Boston, David Newhan of Baltimore, Shawn Green of Arizona, Brad Ausmus of Houston, Mike Lieberthal of Philadelphia, Jason Marquis of St. Louis, Scott Schoeneweis of Toronto, John Grabow of Pittsburgh and Scott Feldman of Texas…

[Among those he hopes will help are] Daniel Kurtzer, former United States ambassador to Israel, who is set to be the league’s commissioner, Andrew Zimbalist, the Smith College economist, and Marvin Goldklang, a limited partner in the Yankees and owner of five minor league teams…

 

ISRAEL TENNIS STAR SHAHAR PEER WINS PRAGUE OPEN

“Israel tennis star Shahar Peer ranked 32 in world after Prague win” (Ha’aretz, May 15, 2006)

Shahar Peer won her second WTA Tour title Sunday, rallying past Samantha Stosur of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to claim the Prague Open… The win earned Peer just under $23,000, along with 95 points, which will catapult her to No. 32 in the world…

 

IRANIAN WOMEN BARRED FROM ATTENDING SOCCER MATCHES

“Iranian women barred from matches” (The Associated Press, May 9, 2006)

Iran’s women will be barred from attending soccer games, a reversal by the president that comes a month before the national team plays in the World Cup.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ruled in April that he would allow women to go to soccer games and sit in a separate section of the stands, saying he wanted to “improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere.”

But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who under the Islamic Republic’s constitution has the final say – opposed the move…

 

U.S. TEAM BUS AT WORLD CUP WILL NOT SHOW STARS AND STRIPES

“WC: United States team bus to show no flag” (The Associated Press, May 5, 2006)

The official team bus to be used by the United States during the World Cup will not bear a flag for security reasons. The 32 official buses were presented Thursday in Frankfurt and the other 31 buses have large national flags of the their teams painted on rear sides…

National teams use their buses to go from their hotels to practices, games and airports. They will have police escorts, and the Americans’ exhibition game at Dortmund on March 22 was used as a test of security plans… Officers of the U.S. State Department routinely travel with the U.S. team when it plays outside the United States.

 

U.K. SOCCER FANS TO WATCH CUP – FROM INSIDE A FORMER NAZI JAIL

“How our fans will see games on Nazi jail TV” (By Justin Penrose And John Bynorth, The Sunday Mirror, London, May 14, 2006)

English soccer fans are being invited to watch the World Cup... from inside a former Nazi jail. Live games will be beamed to 1,500 fans in the prison courtyard surrounded by barbed wire and searchlights. It will be the venue for hundreds of England fans who missed out on match tickets to watch games on giant screens.

The 19th Century Tauberbischofsheim jail was used by the Nazis to imprison rounded-up Jews before they were sent to Dachau concentration camp and killed…

The Tauberbischofsheim Town Council, thought up the fan camp idea after 5,000 people turned up to an all-day party in the prison to celebrate the town’s 1,250th anniversary last year…

Tauberbischofsheim used to have a 106-strong Jewish community. Of those, 49 survived by fleeing to the US before World War Two. Only six of the rest survived the Holocaust.

 

FOOTBALL-MAD PRESIDENT MAY FALL FOUL OF HOLOCAUST LAW

“Football-mad President may fall foul of Holocaust law” (By Roger Boyes, The Times of London, May 4, 2006)

Forget football hooligans. The thorniest dilemma facing Germany as it prepares to host the World Cup is what to do about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hardline President, if he insists on coming to watch his team play next month.

Germany is obliged to admit the head of state of a participating nation, and the tournament’s official motto is “A Time To Make Friends”. But Mr Ahmadinejad has demanded Israel’s destruction and has repeatedly denied the Holocaust – a crime in Germany.

Iran’s first match is in Nuremberg, used by Hitler for his mass rallies, and German neo-Nazis are planning a march in support of Mr Ahmadinejad. Israel, Iranian exiles and German politicians are demanding he be kept away. “The question is whether Germany as host can prevent the visit of a head of state who has shown himself to be a repulsive and embarrassing anti-Semite,” Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said…

 

IN MEXICO, WORLD CUP OVERWHELMS POLITICS

“In Mexico, World Cup overwhelms politics” (By Will Weissert, The Associated Press, May 7, 2006)

(Summary only)

World Cup 1, Politics 0. The world’s top soccer tournament begins June 9 in Germany, and that means Mexico’s presidential race – just like almost everything else in the country – will grind to a virtual halt for as long as the national team keeps winning.

“Soccer is first. The craziness surrounding soccer is second. Then there is the rest of the world,” said writer and social critic Carlos Monsevias.

Ranked sixth internationally, Mexico opens play June 11 against Iran. Pollsters say all three major presidential candidates already have trouble getting Mexicans to care about them – and that sharing the national stage with soccer will only make things tougher in the final weeks before the July 2 vote…

Surveys show a tightening race between Calderon, Madrazo and former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who prefers baseball to soccer.

And while Calderon and Lopez Obrador wouldn’t describe their plans in detail, the start of the tournament means the candidates most likely will run wall-to-wall TV and radio campaign ads, especially when Mexico is playing and voters by the millions tune in. “It’s the most important product placement there is” …

And unlike in the United States, few Mexican sports stars later run for office, something fans say the parties might want to reconsider. “You put the national team up there. I mean any player, and you would get more votes than the candidates,” said Luis Sanchez, a 22-year-old mechanic. “For us, they are heroes.” …

 

BRAZIL WANTS ISRAELIS TO SECURE 2007 PAN AMERICAN GAMES

“Brazil wants Israelis to secure Pan American Games” (By Arieh Egozy, Yediot Ahronot, May 15, 2006)

Brazil is seeking the aid of Israeli companies in providing security services for the Pan-American Games, to be held in July 2007 in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s National Secretary of Public Safety Luis Fernando Correa arrived in Israel on Sunday, and is set to meet with the representatives of 25 local companies engaged in homeland security in the coming days…

The Pan American Games, Latin America’s version of the Olympic Games, will take place in Rio between July 13-29. Some 5,500 athletes from 42 countries are set to participate in the competitions…



FULL ARTICLES

PLANS TO BUILD A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUE IN ISRAEL

Israel dreams big, as in big league
By Murray Chass
The New York Times
May 13, 2006

www.nytimes.com/2006/05/13/sports/baseball/13chass.html?_r=1&ei=5087%0A&en=df00781945d12445&ex=1147665600&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

People go to Israel for different reasons. Some go to see historic sites, some go for religious reasons, some go to visit their children and grandchildren. Larry Baras goes to Israel to build a professional baseball league.

Baras, founder and operator of a specialty baking company in Boston, is going to Israel next Thursday for the next step in getting his league ready for what he plans to be its debut next year.

“Hopefully I’m going to select some of the venues,” he said in a telephone interview. “As soon as I get some of the venues in place, we’ll go after sponsorships and start selling tickets.”

The man has an ambitious plan, considering that baseball and Israel usually are not mentioned in the same sentence. But interest in the sport has been growing, and the country has an amateur baseball league and three softball leagues as well as youth leagues.

Given that Israel has no baseball stadiums, Baras’s project, especially its estimated time of arrival, may be unrealistic, but a former major league general manager likes the idea so much that he has joined as director of player development.

“I met with Larry and was really impressed with his enthusiasm,” Dan Duquette, former general manager of the Boston Red Sox, said yesterday. “The program and the objectives of the league really excited me.”

Commissioner Bud Selig is also enthusiastic about the idea. “I am 100 percent not only supportive,” he said, “but I have been trying to figure out ways to make it happen. It’s a subject very near and dear to my heart.”

Duquette, who has created a youth sports academy in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, recalled that when he worked for the Montreal Expos, the owner, Charles Bronfman, talked about “bringing baseball to Israel.”

By establishing the league, Baras has another goal: getting Israel into the next World Baseball Classic in 2009.

“We would recruit some Jewish-American major leaguers and minor leaguers,” Baras said. He noted that Mike Piazza played for Italy in this year’s inaugural classic and said, “They did it with a bit of a stretch. We don’t have that stretch. We have the law of return.”

Under that concept, any Jew is eligible to become a citizen of Israel. That means an Israeli team could include Kevin Youkilis, Gabe Kapler and Adam Stern of Boston, David Newhan of Baltimore, Shawn Green of Arizona, Brad Ausmus of Houston, Mike Lieberthal of Philadelphia, Jason Marquis of St. Louis, Scott Schoeneweis of Toronto, John Grabow of Pittsburgh and Scott Feldman of Texas.

But first the Israel Baseball League has to come into existence. To achieve that goal, Baras has recruited some impressive non-playing talent.

Besides Duquette, he has Daniel Kurtzer, former United States ambassador to Israel, who is set to be the league’s commissioner. As advisers, he has Andrew Zimbalist, the Smith College economist, and Marvin Goldklang, a limited partner in the Yankees and owner of five minor league teams.

“It’s a project that is so intriguing to me I have to be involved,” Goldklang said. “Whether we can make it happen for 2007 remains to be seen.”

In his visit next week, Baras will study soccer stadiums in Israel with the thought of converting them for baseball use for what he expects to be a season of about 48 games with six teams, 20 players to a team.

“From what I have been told,” Baras said, “there are some soccer stadiums that seat between 3,000 and 5,000, which is what we’re looking for. We’re not going to start with Jerusalem and Tel Aviv because they don’t have the facilities we’re looking for.”

Rather, he said, he will look at towns like Bet Shemesh, which is between those two major cities.

“A lot of Americans live there,” Baras said. “They have 200-plus kids playing baseball there, and they have a soccer stadium. It’s near the main highway, and the train from Jerusalem stops near the stadium, I am told.”

Israel may be the land of milk and honey, but it’s not a land of baseball players. Where will Baras find them? He plans to model the league on the Italian league, where, he said, 60 percent of the players are from the United States.

Baras, 54, said he would advertise for players in baseball publications and seek minor league players, former players and undrafted college players. Israel has a thriving basketball league populated by many foreign players.

The long-range plan, though, is to grow their own players. Duquette’s goal, Baras said, “is to develop players so that by the start of Year 6 at least a quarter of the players will be native Israelis.”

Duquette said they will develop players at an academy they will build in Israel. Their timing is good. Israel has just established a sports ministry, and its head has said there will be a new emphasis on sports in the country, especially on sports other than soccer and basketball.

In trying to attract an audience, the Israeli league will also follow the model of the Italian league. There, Baras said, “a lot of the entertainment value transcends the game itself” with pre- and post-game and between-innings entertainment.

“It will be a family-oriented fun venue,” he said. “Israeli spectator sports have a male-dominated audience. You seldom see women and children.”

Baras, an orthodox Jew, said he came up with the idea for the league last summer.

“My first thought was what can I do to help Israel,” he related. “I had reached the stage of my life where I wanted to do something. Being passionate about both Israel and baseball and having familiarity with minor league baseball, specifically unaffiliated baseball, I said, ‘Why can’t we do that over there?’

“Not only was I met with some skepticism, but I was skeptical,” he added. “But as time went on, I realized it could be done.”

Now he just has to do it.

 

ISRAEL TENNIS STAR SHAHAR PEER GOES TO 32 IN WORLD

Israel tennis star Shahar Peer ranked 32 in world after Prague win
Ha’aretz
May 15, 2006

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/716092.html

Shahar Peer won her second WTA Tour title Sunday, rallying past Samantha Stosur of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to claim the Prague Open.

Fifth-seed Stosur, the world’s top-ranked doubles player who was making her first appearance in a WTA final, led 3-0 in the first set. Peer managed to pull back to 5-4 before the Australian closed it out.

Peer, seeded third, then broke Stosur twice in each of the second and third sets to claim victory. Peer beat Stosur in Amelia Island, Fla., last year in their only other meeting.

The win earned Peer just under $23,000, along with 95 points, which will catapult her to No. 32 in the world.

Peer also swept the doubles in Prague, combining with France’s Marion Bartoli to beat U.S. duo Ashley Harkleroad and Bathanie Mattek 6-4, 6-4. Peer’s other WTA title was at Pattaya City, Thailand, in February.

Elsewhere, the Israeli men’s doubles team of Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich was set to face Armor Noles and Daniel Nestor in the finals of the Rome Masters late Sunday night.

 

IRANIAN WOMEN BARRED FROM WATCHING SOCCER

Iranian women barred from matches
The Associated Press
May 9, 2006

Iran’s women will be barred from attending soccer games, a reversal by the president that comes a month before the national team plays in the World Cup.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ruled in April that he would allow women to go to soccer games and sit in a separate section of the stands, saying he wanted to “improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere.”

But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who under the Islamic Republic’s constitution has the final say – opposed the move.

“The president has decided to revise his decision based on the supreme leader’s opinion,” Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said yesterday.

Ahmadinejad’s decision to allow women into stadiums had provoked outrage among hardline Shiite Muslim clerics, who supported his election last year.

Iran’s Islamic law imposes stringent restrictions on women. They need a male guardian’s permission to work or travel, and have rarely been allowed to attend public sports events.

The month-long World Cup begins June 9 in Germany. Iran is grouped with Mexico, Angola and Portugal in the 32-team tournament.

 

U.S. TEAM BUS AT SOCCER WORLD CUP WILL NOT SHOW FLAG

WC: United States team bus to show no flag
The Associated Press
May 5, 2006

The official team bus to be used by the United States during the World Cup will not bear a flag for security reasons.

The 32 official buses were presented Thursday in Frankfurt and the other 31 buses have large national flags of the their teams painted on rear sides.

German and U.S. security officials came to the conclusion to leave the flag off the U.S. team bus, an official of the German organizing committee said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the topic.

The bus is predominantly blue in color.

National teams use their buses to go from their hotels to practices, games and airports. They will have police escorts, and the Americans’ exhibition game at Dortmund on March 22 was used as a test of security plans.

At the 2002 World Cup, the United States was among the most heavily guarded teams. When the Americans arrived at Incheon International Airport, about 500 police formed a corridor the players walked through as they came out of customs, with SWAT team commandos mixed in.

When the team’s charter flight landed at Daegu Airport before a game against South Korea, two tanks were on the runway. Metal detectors were placed at the entrance of the team hotel throughout the team’s stay.

Officers of the U.S. State Department routinely travel with the U.S. team when it plays outside the United States.

 

ENGLISH SOCCER FANS WILL SEE GAMES ON NAZI JAIL TV

How our fans will see games on Nazi jail TV
By Justin Penrose And John Bynorth
The Sunday Mirror (U.K.)
May 14, 2006

www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=17075103&method=full&siteid=62484&headline=hi-di-heil--name_page.html

English soccer fans are being invited to watch the World Cup... from inside a former Nazi jail.

Live games will be beamed to 1,500 fans in the prison courtyard surrounded by barbed wire and searchlights.

The 19th Century Tauberbischofsheim jail was used by the Nazis to imprison rounded-up Jews before they were sent to Dachau concentration camp and killed.

But that doesn’t deter organiser Michael Hofman, who says proudly: “Holding a fan camp in a prison is a unique idea which won’t be repeated anywhere else in Germany.”

The jail, which was built in 1850 and has just 22 cells, was in use as an ordinary prison until 2004 but was then abandoned because prisoners kept escaping.

Now it will be the venue for hundreds of England fans who missed out on match tickets to watch games on giant screens.

Beer from a local brewery and pizza, schnitzel and bratwurst will be on sale at the free viewing. Pop concerts are also being laid on at the ex-jail throughout the Cup.

Mr Hofman, from Tauberbischofsheim Town Council, thought up the fan camp idea after 5,000 people turned up to an all-day party in the prison to celebrate the town’s 1,250th anniversary last year.

He said: “It was such a big success we wanted to repeat it during the World Cup.” The prison is virtually unchanged with intimidating corridors, spartan cells with iron bars across the tiny windows and just a wash basin and toilet.

The small town is 90 minutes from the venues of England’s opening Group B matches against Paraguay in Frankfurt and Trinidad & Tobago in Nuremberg.

Fellow organiser Michael Karle said: “We would like England fans to come to our prison because the atmosphere will be like nowhere else. We won’t be serving the English fans porridge like in your TV show – there will be plenty for them to eat and drink.”

Tauberbischofsheim used to have a 106-strong Jewish community. Of those, 49 survived by fleeing to the US before World War Two. Only six of the rest survived the Holocaust.

 

“THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD CUP IS AN ABSOLUTE CONTRADICTION TO THE SPIRIT THAT HE REPRESENTS”

Football-mad President may fall foul of Holocaust law
By Roger Boyes
The Times (of London)
May 4, 2006

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-2163656,00.html

Forget football hooligans. The thorniest dilemma facing Germany as it prepares to host the World Cup is what to do about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hardline President, if he insists on coming to watch his team play next month.

Germany is obliged to admit the head of state of a participating nation, and the tournament’s official motto is “A Time To Make Friends”. But Mr Ahmadinejad has demanded Israel’s destruction and has repeatedly denied the Holocaust – a crime in Germany.

Iran’s first match is in Nuremberg, used by Hitler for his mass rallies, and German neo-Nazis are planning a march in support of Mr Ahmadinejad. Israel, Iranian exiles and German politicians are demanding he be kept away. “The question is whether Germany as host can prevent the visit of a head of state who has shown himself to be a repulsive and embarrassing anti-Semite,” Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said.

“The spirit of the World Cup is in absolute contradiction to the spirit that he represents.”

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post accused Germany of trading with Iran and appeasing its nuclear ambitions:

“Germany’s behaviour toward Iran is a clear sign that for all its Holocaust memorialising, for all its anti-Nazi legislation, and for all its protestations of friendship with Israel and the Jewish people, Germany has not learnt the lessons of the Holocaust.”

Edmund Stoiber, prime minister of Bavaria, said: “Such a man is not welcome.” But the German Government is pressing ahead. Wolfgang Schauble, the Interior Minister, says that the President “can naturally come to the matches”. Differences of opinion over the Holocaust, Israel and nuclear power could be aired during the visit.

Herr Schauble’s deputy, August Hanning, a former Security Service chief, has agreed with Tehran that there should be no political demonstrations in the stadiums. The two states will also exchange intelligence on possible threats.

For Iranian exiles, expected to attend the matches against Mexico, Angola and Portugal in large numbers, that smacks of appeasement. “Naturally we are worried that information from the Germans will be used against our families in Iran,” said Hassan Nayeb-Agha, who played as a midfielder for Iran in the 1978 World Cup.

“We must not let the Iranian regime misuse the World Cup in the same way that Hitler did with the 1936 Olympic Games.”

Iran is expected to decide if Mr Ahmadinejad should travel to Germany within the next few days, but there is little doubt that he wants to go. “Our President loves soccer,” said Muhammad Ali Dadkan, head of the Iranian Football Association, as he inspected the Nuremberg pitch last month.

One Israeli lawyer living in Germany has lodged an application with the federal prosecutor to serve an international arrest warrant on the President as soon as he gets off the plane.

Mr Ahmadinejad would, however, probably enjoy diplomatic immunity and some lawyers doubt that his denial of the Holocaust breaches German law as his comments were made abroad.

 

BRAZIL SEEKING ISRAELI SECURITY FOR 2007 PAN-AMERICAN GAMES

Brazil wants Israelis to secure Pan American Games
Brazil’s national secretary of public safety arrives in Israel to meet with 25 homeland security companies, in bid to seal deals on securing Pan American Games
By Arieh Egozy
Yediot Ahronot
May 15, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3250994,00.html

Brazil is seeking the aid of Israeli companies in providing security services for the Pan-American Games, to be held in July 2007 in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s National Secretary of Public Safety Luis Fernando Correa arrived in Israel on Sunday, and is set to meet with the representatives of 25 local companies engaged in homeland security in the coming days.

The meetings were set up by The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and the Defense Minister.

Export Institute officials assessed Sunday that Israel companies would be able to attain at least a third of the Olympic event’s security budget, which stands at USD 150 million.

The Pan American Games, Latin America’s version of the Olympic Games, will take place in Rio between July 13-29. Some 5,500 athletes from 42 countries are set to participate in the competitions.

The Export Institute reported that the safety and security field’s exports grew by 25 percent in 2005, and amounted to about USD 1 billion. The Institute estimates that exports will increase by another 15 percent in 2006 and reach USD 1.15 billion.


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