• Is This Israel? Staff writer Ilene Prusher went to Haifa with another reporter to hear a campaign speech by Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home) party. Israel's parliamentary elections are Tuesday.
In most parts of Israel, speaking Hebrew is sufficient. But not on this reporting trip.
"We knew he was speaking to Russian immigrants, but Lieberman's organizers neglected to tell us that this speech would be in Russian," says Ilene. "We were surprised by how many of the people there were unwilling or unable to have a conversation in Hebrew. We wished that we had brought a Russian interpreter with us."
Lieberman says that his party is an Israeli nationalist - not a Russian immigrant - party. But his campaign website, notes Ilene, suggests he leans heavily on the Russian vote. In its main ad, there are photos of other Israeli candidates. It pictures Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with a "Nyet" ("No") in Russian underneath. Kadima Party leader Ehud Olmert, gets another "Nyet."
Under Lieberman's face? "Da!"
• Venezuela Land Deal: A British company reached a settlement last week with the Venezuelan government over a land dispute.
As reported on June 2, 2005, "Property tug of war hits Venezuela," five ranches - including one of Venezuela's top beef-producing ranches, owned by Vestey Group, a British food company - were taken over by the government to redistribute to landless peasants. Vestey will hand over two cattle ranches of about 55,000 hectares to the authorities in return for some $4 million. A Vestey subsidiary will keep its 10 remaining ranches.
David Clark Scott