Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has asked the United States to speed up an anti-missile project between the two countries that is aimed at intercepting short-range rockets.

David Ivry, director general of Israel's Defense Ministry, raised the subject during a visit to the U.S. State Department and Pentagon.

Israel offered to invest about $20 million for the rapid development of the Nautilus project, which is in an early stage of development and has had financial difficulties, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported Sunday.

The project targets such rockets as the Katyusha, which the Islamic fundamentalist group Hezbollah fires routinely on northern Israel.

Recent Katyusha barrages provoked the latest Israeli offensive on Hezbollah bases in Lebanon.

Ivry's recent trip precedes Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres' visit at the end of the month.

Wife of Goldstein seeks compensation

JERUSALEM (ITIM) — The wife of Baruch Goldstein, the man who massacred 29 Arabs in Hebron in 1994, has appealed the Defense Ministry's refusal to recognize her as the survivor of a terror victim.

Miriam Goldstein, of Kiryat Arba, argued in her appeal to the Tel Aviv District Court that her husband had been murdered by Arab worshippers who lynched him after taking away his weapon, rather than allowing him to be tried by the law.

As a result, said the mother of four, she should be recognized as deserving compensation.

In February 1994, Baruch Goldstein shot dead 29 Arabs who were praying in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron before being overcome and beaten to death.

The Defense Ministry rejected Miriam Goldstein's request for the assistance given to relatives of terror victims.

Soviet spy denied early jail release

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The High Court of Justice this week refused to release convicted spy Marcus Klingberg, saying that the ailing Israeli could still endanger national security.

The Polish-born Klingberg, 77, has served 12 years of an 18-year sentence for spying for the former Soviet Union.

Klingberg, who has had several strokes recently, had appealed to the court for an early release on account of his poor health.

But the court said Sunday that Klingberg might still remember information that could bring harm to the Jewish state.

Klingberg was arrested and secretly sentenced in 1983. His case first surfaced in the British media in 1987, and later in German reports.

An Israeli news blackout was lifted in 1993, though details about the case and his capture remain unclear.

Israeli jets to train in Turkish air space

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli jets have arrived in Turkey to begin training flights there under the terms of a military exchange accord signed in February by the two countries.

Israeli pilots had already begun training flights in Turkish air space, diplomatic sources said.

The sources said eight Israeli F-16 training jets and their crews arrived this week in Turkey, adding that the planes were unarmed and lacked any surveillance equipment.

Israel wanted its pilots to be able to train in Turkey, whose air space is less limited than the Jewish state's, according to the sources.

In return, Israel said it would upgrade some 50 Turkish F-4 bombers under the terms of the pact.

Israel, Palestinians set to resume talks

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat are expected to announce shortly that talks on the final status of the West Bank and Gaza will begin as scheduled May 4.

A senior Israeli official and PA planning minister Nabil Sha'ath said Tuesday that final-status talks would begin on time, marking the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks halted after the wave of suicide bus bombings in February and March.

According to the Oslo peace accords, final-status talks are to conclude in May, 1999. In advance of Israel's May elections, Peres sought to deflect anxieties about the final-status deal by saying earlier this month that any proposal for a Palestinian entity would be brought to a national referendum.