Britain’s Chelsea soccer team has chosen an Israeli coach.
In what sports pundits hailed as a new high for Israel’s achievements in international soccer, Chelsea announced Thursday that it would be jointly coached by Avram Grant and Steve Clarke, a Briton. They replace the outgoing coach of the English Premier League club, Jose Mourinho.
Grant, 52, has coached Israel’s top soccer clubs and its national team. His friendship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich helped him secure a foothold in the club earlier this year when he was made one of its directors. Chelsea did not say how long a tenure Grant and Clarke would have as coaches.
The Bush administration will work for the creation of a peaceful Palestinian state, Condoleezza Rice said.
Addressing reporters toward the end of a 24-hour visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah, the U.S. secretary of state on Thursday rebuffed Arab speculation that an upcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Washington would not produce concrete results.
“The president and I are absolutely devoted to working as hard as we can for the advancement of the Palestinian state,” she said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has voiced misgivings about attending the conference unless Israel makes major diplomatic concessions. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, mindful of Abbas’s limited power following the Hamas takeover in Gaza, prefers to reach a joint declaration of intent.
But Rice said she was confident that Olmert and Abbas, who have teams hammering out an agenda ahead of the conference, are sincere about finding a way forward.
“These parties are talking about critical core issues for the first time in six years, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that,” she said.
“The issue here is to move the process forward through a document that we hope will lay a foundation so that there can be serious negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.