Nation & World Briefs

Suicide Bomber Kills 3, Injures 24 at Netanya Mall

At least three people were killed and 24 wounded in a suicide bombing in the Israeli city of Netanya on Tuesday. Islamic Jihad released a statement claiming responsibility for the blast at a shopping mall.

The 18-year-old bomber’s dismembered head and shoulders lay in the street, as shoppers rushed out of the mall, and security forces searched for other terrorists.

With competition at the 17th Maccabiah Games taking place at the Wingate Institute just north of the city, frantic Foreign Ministry officials scoured the crowd for any sign that Jewish athletes from abroad had been hurt.

An hour earlier, another terrorist tried to detonate a car bomb in the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, but the explosives misfired and only the driver was hurt.

There was no sign that Tuesday’s attacks had thrown the Gaza Strip pullout off track, and the 17th Maccabiah Games went ahead as scheduled.

“We will carry out the disengagement,” Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. “Its schedule will not be changed one iota.”

However, Olmert hinted that Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas’ actions would determine whether Israeli-Palestinian contacts, which were revived after the death of Abbas’ predecessor, Yasser Arafat, could lead to a permanent peace accord.

“If the Palestinian Authority does not fight terror, we will fight terror,” Olmert said. “It will be a shame if we find we have no real peace partner” for the long term.

G-8 Pledges $3 billion in Assistance for Palestinians

Industrialized nations pledged $3 billion in assistance to the Palestinians to spur peace. The Group of Eight leading industrialized nations concluded a three-day summit in Scotland last week with announcements of aid packages to developing nations.

Palestinian Authority officials say they need a quick influx of cash to ensure a smooth transition after Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip this summer.

Lethal Force Will Be Allowed in Gaza Strip Withdrawal

Israeli forces taking part in the upcoming Gaza Strip withdrawal will be allowed to fire at settlers if they present a deadly threat.

Under a code of conduct drawn up this week by Israeli security strategists, soldiers and police taking part in next month’s pullout from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank will be under orders to try all nonlethal means to quell settler resistance, but reserve the right to open fire if they feel their own lives are at risk.

Settler leaders have vowed to mount nonviolent resistance only, but authorities fear some activists could fire at security forces to forestall evacuation.

Record Aliyah to Take Off

Two El Al flights were scheduled to take off Tuesday, carrying the largest-ever single-day aliyah of North American Jews to Israel. The flights, sponsored by Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel, will leave from New York and Toronto with approximately 500 new olim (those making aliyah).

The planes will be the first of six dedicated El Al flights this year carrying 3,200 North American immigrants to Israel through the two organizations. This will be the first year since 1983 that more than 3,000 North American Jews will be making aliyah, and the first time a planeload of olim leaves from Canada.

The immigrants were expected to be met at the airport in Israel by Prime Minster Ariel Sharon, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zeev Bielski, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

O.U. Assails Ruling Denying U.S. Scout Jamboree Aid

The Orthodox Union (OU) criticized a U.S. federal court ruling barring Defense Department assistance to a Boy Scout gathering. The court ruled June 22 that government support of the annual Scout Jamboree was in violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, because Boy Scouts are required to make a nonsectarian oath of “duty to God.”

“The Boy Scouts is clearly a nonsectarian organization, which welcomes participants of diverse faiths and backgrounds,” Nathan Diament, OU’s director of public policy, said in a statement Monday.

By providing the jamboree with temporary housing and other logistical support, Diament said, the Defense Department gains the benefit of training personnel to perform these tasks in other instances and supporting the work of the Boy Scouts.

30,000 Mark Anniversary of Rabbi Schneerson’s Death

More than 30,000 people streamed by the gravesite of the Lubavitcher rebbe to mark the 11th anniversary of his death. Many of the visitors reflected and prayed Saturday night and Sunday at Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s burial place in the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, N.Y., said Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, a spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch.

Among those visiting the gravesite were Lubavitchers, other Chasidim, some nonreligious people and visitors from Europe.

Jewish Film Receives Six German Oscars

A comedy about German Jewish life was the big winner at the German film awards. Dani Levy’s “Go for Zucker” won six Lolas over the weekend, including best film, best actor and best director.

The movie depicts a secular, near-bankrupt German Jew trying to cope with the death of his mother.

Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency