Israelis were told to keep their gas masks with them at all times as they braced for an Iraqi missile assault Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insists has "only a 1 percent" chance of happening.
What has many Israelis worried even more is the possibility of a major terrorist attack in Israel as the American-led military coalition advances toward Baghdad.
Despite vows of revenge by Hamas terrorists for the capture Monday of one of its founders, Israeli analysts insist that Wednesday's suicide bombing aboard a bus in Haifa that killed 15 and injured more than 40 had no bearing on the arrest.
"It's part of the ongoing, never-ending campaign by radical elements of the Palestinian community to continue using suicide bombings" against Israeli civilians, said Hirsh Goodman, deputy director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Much to the chagrin of the Israel's Foreign Ministry, an Israeli group is planning to display at a Jewish expo here in December the skeletal remains of Egged bus No. 32, blown apart by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem a year ago killing 19 and wounding more than 70.
A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Jonathan Peled, said Zaka, the Orthodox organization of volunteers who retrieve body parts after terrorist attacks, "approached us and asked us our opinion" about such a display at the biannual Jewish Expo Dec. 20-22 at the Javits Center.
A survey of two Jewish high schools in New York has found that 13 percent of the students suffer some degree of post-traumatic syndrome or depression stemming from the World Trade Center attack or the continuing terrorism in Israel. Now teachers will be trained in how to identify and best respond to at-risk students, and plans are under way to expand the survey to Jewish elementary school students.
Tel Aviv: Ronen Nimni had hoped to cash in on the hudna. The owner of the Tel Aviv coffeehouse chain Cafe Cafe decided to double the number of branches this summer with the expectation that Israelis would return to restaurants because of the road map peace initiative and a Palestinian cease-fire, known in Arabic as the hudna.
The massive suicide bomb that tore through a Jerusalem bus Tuesday killing at least 20 people (including seven children) returning from the Western Wall is being seen as a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While the government of Israel weighed its response and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas promised to bring those responsible to justice, there were calls for immediate action to forever end the terror attacks.
The intifada took Irena Stanislavsky's only son. Now Israel, mired in a deep recession, is taking back its pledge to help her financially.
Stanislavsky, a Russian immigrant, is one of the forgotten victims of the grinding intifada, now approaching its third anniversary. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis like her, ones whose scars are emotional, not physical, and will not disappear even if the peace process takes root.
Israeli analysts were divided this week on Israelís military response to Sunday's Hamas attacks that killed five Israeli soldiers, with some arguing that the reprisal assaults set back the peace process while others insisting it will help in the long run.
"Israel tried to weaken Hamas and to help Abu Mazen," said Ephraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
The powerful car bomb that exploded next to a crowded rush-hour bus in northern Israel Wednesday killing at least 16 underscored for many Israelis the need for a security fence and for the removal of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat before there can be an end to 20 months of violence.
Amid growing calls for a renewed major military offensive to complete the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure in the territories, Israelis braced for more attacks from Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen who have killed at least 31 Israelis since Operation Defensive Shield ended in early May.
Israeli officials insist their six-week assault in the West Bank that began March 29 was having success before it was aborted under pressure from the United States. But there appeared no consensus on whether to resume the assault.
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