Jerusalem (JTA): Palestinian security forces are taking steps to prevent rocket attacks into Israel, according to Israeli intelligence sources. Palestinian security forces arrested members of a cell in the Gaza Strip that was firing rockets at Israeli targets, and have disrupted the activities of other cells, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. According to the paper, the moves stem from concern that Israeli retaliatory raids would destroy what remains of the Palestinian Authority's security apparatus in Gaza.
In yet another attempt to privatize Israel's national airline, the government announced plans this week to sell a 49 percent share of El Al Airlines on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in May. The rest of the airline would be sold later.
Los Angeles (JTA): The last five Jews held in an Iranian prison on charges of spying for Israel have been released on "vacation," although it remains uncertain whether they will be permanently freed.
The five were among 13 Jews arrested on spy charges in early 1999.
In a case that drew worldwide attention, they were tried in the southern city of Shiraz, and 10 received prison sentences. Five already have been released after serving some of their time. Israel denies the men were its spies.
Thanks to Rena Cohen, some third-grade students in Beit Shemesh are reading "The Cat in the Hat."
Beit Shemesh is an Israeli city whose public schools, like those throughout the country, were informed recently that the government, because of security expenses, had no budget for English-language books.
Cohen is a biotechnology administrator and Jewish activist who lives in the Washington suburbs, and was upset that Israeli children wouldn't learn English.
Israelis may have developed a reputation for their machismo, their brawn, but Frank Luger wants it known they have plenty of brainpower, too.
The semi-retired physician from Budapest by way of Montreal, who made aliyah six months ago, is trying to establish an Israeli chapter of Mensa, the international high IQ society. After arriving in Israel, Luger was baffled to find Mensa missing there.
The New Jersey state Senate last week took a step toward ousting embattled state poet laureate Amiri Baraka when it voted to eliminate the post. The vote was 21-0, with 19 abstentions. The measure now goes to the state Assembly, but it is not clear when or if that body will take action.
As a backup plan, senators are considering a resolution to censure Baraka, who caused an uproar last year when he read his 9-11 themed poem "Somebody Blew Up America" at a poetry festival.