News in Brief

Israel will continue its indirect talks with Syria if Tzipi Livni becomes prime minister, a Turkish diplomat involved in the talks said yesterday after Livni won the ruling Kadima Party's leadership primary. "Both Israel and Syria benefit from the talks," the diplomat explained. "For the first time, we are seeing a deep commitment from Syria, and we need to exploit it." He added that other Turkish intermediaries believe as he does. The Turkish Daily News web site reported yesterday that although the fifth round of talks has been postponed, Turkish mediators believe it will take place in the near future. (Yoav Stern)

The fact that Tzipi Livni is a woman will probably prompt her to take a more hawkish stance than a man would as head of the Kadima Party and the Israeli government, a Hamas official said yesterday. But Ayman Taha, a spokesman for the organization, added that generally speaking, Hamas does not see any differences among Israeli decision-makers. An advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, in contrast, told Israel Radio that the Palestinian Authority views Livni as a partner for peace talks. Jamal Zakut, a spokesman for PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, told Army Radio that Livni must decide to put an end to the settlement project. (Avi Issacharoff)

A senior member of the left-wing Meretz party's Jerusalem branch said yesterday that he preferred the moderate ultra-Orthodox incumbent, Uri Lupolianski, as the city's mayor to a "secular extremist." Dr. Meir Margalit, the party's number-two man in the capital, was referring to candidate Nir Barkat, who is favored by many secular residents. Meretz activists are disappointed with Barkat over his refusal to support the division of Jerusalem. (Haaretz Staff)

Allowing right-wing activists Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel to march through Umm al-Fahm or outside it would disturb the peace and endanger human life, the state told the High Court of Justice yesterday. It was responding to a petition by the activists, in which they asked the court to allow them to parade through the Arab city. Ben Gvir argued that if homosexuals are allowed to march through downtown Jerusalem, then right-wing activists should be permitted to walk through Umm al-Fahm. (Tomer Zarchin)

The mother and grandfather of 4-year-old Rose Pizem, whose body was recovered last week from the bottom of the Yarkon River, will almost certainly be indicted, police sources told Haaretz yesterday. They said the grandfather, Ronny Ron, will be charged with murder, but the State Prosecutor's Office is still undecided about the counts on which they intend to charge the mother, Marie-Charlotte Renault. The prosecution will have to either indict the two on Monday or ask the court to extend their remands again. (Roni Singer-Heruti)

At his pre-sentence hearing yesterday in Tel Aviv District Court actor Hanan Goldblatt pleaded for mercy. Goldblatt was convicted in July of rape and other types of sexual assault against several of his acting students. Some of them were minors at the time. "In retrospect I understand I was irresponsible in my behavior with some women," Goldblatt told the panel of judges. "I realize some were hurt by my behavior. Since I cannot turn back the clock I can only express my sincere regret. If my apology is not enough, let them see what's become of me. I'm 67 everything I've built for myself in this life is ruined." Character witnesses for Goldblatt including actresses Hani Nahmias and Naomi Polani, who said he did not belong in jail. Sentencing is scheduled for November. (Ofra Edelman)

Jerusalem will not receive a new local radio station anytime soon, as a court injunction postponed the tender for the station's operation yesterday. The injunction was issued at the request of Radio Yerushalayim, which lost the tender. The losing firm maintained that the winner, Radio Habira, should be disqualified because it is partially owned by the Aroma cafe chain, which distributes and produces music albums. (Gili Issikovitz)

Argentine Jews are feeling an anti-Semitic resurgence that is connected to indifference by local authorities, according to the president of the country's umbrella group for Jewish organizations. In an interview which Argentina's Jewish News Agency published yesterday, the President of the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations, Aldo Donzis, warned againt a "movement throughout Latin America by Hezbollah-affiliated figures who have permission to travel" across the continent. In a reference to the 1994 attack on a Buenos Aires Jewish community center, Donzis said that in Argentina "international terrorism has turned into violent anti-Semitism". He added he had warned government officials about the danger, but his warnings had little effect. (Cnaan Liphshiz)