World Briefs

Sharon Satire to Remain on the Air

Abu Dhabi TV said a satire depicting a bloodthirsty Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would continue to air. Officials with the satellite television station said Tuesday they had no intention of bowing to international criticism of the show, in which Sharon is depicted as a terrorist who drinks Arab blood. The series was launched last Friday at the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has called the show “repulsive” and said he plans to file a complaint with the United Nations. E.U. officials also denounced the segment as scandalous, and several Western companies pulled advertisements.

German Anti-Semitism on Rise

Anti-Semitic attacks are becoming “virulent” again in Germany. “Right-wing extremism now seems to have taken on a new quality. Things that used to happen only in secret are now happening in open daylight. Publicly, shamelessly, provocatively,” said Paul Spiegel, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Spiegel made the remarks Tuesday during an address to the annual conference of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party. “Memorials and Jewish cemeteries are being defaced, incendiary devices hurled at synagogues and foreigners’ homes, and foreigners are being hunted. These are, sadly, not isolated cases anymore.”

Barak Testifies on Israeli Arab

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak testified about last year’s Israeli Arab riots. Testifying on Tuesday before the Or Commission, which is looking into last October’s riots, Barak said the government had received no warnings from intelligence officials of possible violence among Israeli Arabs in tandem with the Palestinian intifada. He also said the rioters were determined to strike at symbols of Israeli sovereignty, including police.

Permanent Housing Planned in Hebron

Israel plans to replace mobile homes for settlers living in Hebron with permanent concrete housing. A spokesman for Defense Minister Benjamin Ben- Eliezer said Tuesday the mobile homes are being replaced because they have become unsafe since the start of the Palestinian intifada last year. An aide to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat condemned the decision as “irresponsible.”

Israel’s Tourist Numbers Plunge

Tourist arrivals in Israel fell in October to their lowest monthly level since August 1991. According to figures released Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 69,800 visitors came to Israel in October, compared to 151,300 a year earlier, just after the start of the Palestinian uprising. The average monthly number of tourists during the first 10 months of this year was 94,000, nearly half the monthly average of 186,000 arrivals during the first nine months of 2000, before Palestinian violence began, the statistics bureau said.

All briefs by Jewish Telegraphic Agency.