When Ida Nudel, one of the Soviet Union's most celebrated refuseniks, arrives in Israel Thursday on industrialist Armand Hammer's plane, among those greeting her in her new homeland will be peripatetic activist Jane Fonda and her husband Tom Hayden. Nudel, 56, who had been struggling for 16 years to emigrate to Israel, will live there with her her only living relative, her sister Elana Friedman.

Fonda and Hayden were actively involved in attempting to persuade Soviet authorities to permit Nudel to emigrate. Three years ago they traveled to Moscow and met with Nudel and then argued her cause in a meeting with Rudolph Kuznetsov, head of the Soviet emigration agency. Nudel learned just this month, on Yom Kippur, that she could join her sister in Israel. Fonda is expected to speak at a greeting ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv that is to include top Israeli officials. And Secretary of State George Shultz was probably surprised when he received a letter from Fonda that thanked him for making the Nudel case an issue in his discussions with the Soviets. Out and About Fortune magazine has again listed the 400 wealthiest Americans, and Sam Moore Walton, founder of the Wal-Mart chain, is still the richest person in the land. He is worth a comfortable $8.5 billion -- with a "b" -- and has nearly twice as much money as he had a year ago because Wal-Mart stock is doing okay. Next on the list is John Kluge of Charlottesville, Va., founder of the Metromedia network, with $3.1 billion, and Texas electronics industry giant H. Ross Perot with $2.5 billion. It took a minimum of $225 million to qualify for the list, and among those who didn't make it this year are Occidental Petroleum chief Armand Hammer, Apple Computers founder Steven Jobs, television producer Norman Lear and Motown founder Berry Gordy ...

Sen. Howard Metzenbaum was rushed to a hospital in Toledo yesterday when he became ill during breakfast. Doctors said he was suffering from indigestion and the Ohio Democrat returned to Washington in the afternoon, canceling the Senate Labor subcommittee hearings he was going to conduct at the University of Toledo on health care costs ...

Hizzoner Marion Barry isn't going to be too pleased with the recent New Republic magazine cover caricature titled "The Imperial Mayor." Barry is portrayed as a Caesar, wearing a laurel wreath and holding a rolled-up $100 bill in his hand while an overripe, underdressed maiden pops a grape into his mouth ...

Clint Eastwood doesn't look like much of a conversationalist, nor does he give the appearance of a man who would be a lot of fun at a party. But when the Hickory Farms cheese and sausage company conducted a survey offering six choices for favorite party host, "Hang 'Em High" Mayor Eastwood of Carmel, Calif., was voted the host with the most. And to the 700 from across the country who participated in the survey, the least attractive choice was "Material Girl" Madonna. Maybe they thought she would bring her petulant husband Sean Penn along. The other selections, in order, were Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Murphy and Cybill Shepherd. Now who would pick Eastwood over Cybill Shepherd? The survey must have had too few men voting ...