Monday, April 28, 2008

Conference of Presidents of major Jewish Organizations

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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
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April 28, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Ten North Koreans May Have Died in Israel Raid in Syria - Yoko Kubota (Reuters/Washington Post)
Ten North Koreans helping to build a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria may have died in an Israeli air raid last September, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Monday, citing South Korean intelligence officials.
The dead included officials of the North Korean Communist party unit that exports weapons and military technology and members of the North Korean military unit which made nuclear facilities in the country.
Two or three North Koreans survived the air strike.


Israel: UNIFIL Is Hiding Information about Hizbullah from Security Council - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
UNIFIL is intentionally concealing information about Hizbullah activities south of the Litani River in Lebanon to avoid conflict with the group, senior sources in Jerusalem have said.
In the last six months there have been at least four cases in which UNIFIL soldiers identified armed Hizbullah operatives, but did nothing and did not submit full reports on the incidents to the UN Security Council.
A new report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with regard to Security Council Resolution 1559 briefly mentioned an incident at the beginning of March in which UNIFIL soldiers encountered unidentified armed men, and included no additional details.
The incident described in the report had actually been a clash between UNIFIL and armed Hizbullah activists, driving a truck full of explosives, who threatened the Italian UNIFIL battalion with weapons.
Instead of using force as required by their mandate, the UN soldiers abandoned the site.
A diplomatic source at the UN said senior officials in UNIFIL and in the UN Secretariat brought heavy pressure to bear to have the incident erased from the report or at least to blur it.


Amos 3 Satellite Launched into Space - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
Israel's Amos 3 communications satellite was launched into space successfully on Monday from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
The satellite, designed and built by Israel Aerospace Industries, is expected to function for 18 years and will replace its predecessor, Amos 1.


Egypt Holds Four in Suspected Hamas Plot (Reuters)
Egyptian security forces detained four people and have accused them of plotting to buy fuel for a pilotless aircraft for the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, security sources said on Saturday.
Two of those detained were members of Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood.
Sources said the aircraft was meant to be loaded with explosives for an attack.

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Hamas Chief Sees Truce as a "Tactic"
Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said Saturday that his group would accept an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, but that "It is a tactic in conducting the struggle." He called it "normal for any resistance" to sometimes escalate, sometimes retreat from fighting. "In 2003, there was a cease-fire and then the operations were resumed." On Friday, an Israeli government spokesman dismissed the proposal, saying Hamas was just "biding time in order to rearm and regroup." (AP/New York Times)
U.S. Navy Fires at Iranian Boats as Tension Rises in the Gulf - Damien McElroy
The U.S. navy fired warning shots at two Iranian boats in the Arabian Gulf Friday. A U.S. forces security team on a chartered transport ship used loudhailers, radios and flares to warn off two small Iranian boats acting in an "unclear" manner. But the boats ignored the warning and the Americans opened fire, unleashing several bursts of live ammunition. The incident took place in the early morning near the international boundary. (Telegraph-UK)
See also U.S. Weighing Readiness for Military Action Against Iran - Ann Scott Tyson
The top U.S. military officer said Friday that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" as one of several options against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who was nominated this week to head all U.S. forces in the Middle East, is preparing a briefing soon on increased Iranian involvement in Iraq, Mullen said. The briefing will detail, for example, the discovery in Iraq of weapons that were very recently manufactured in Iran, he said. "The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago. It's plainly obvious they have not," Mullen said. He said unrest in the Iraqi city of Basra had highlighted a "level of involvement" by Iran that had not been clear previously. (Washington Post)
Ahmadinejad's Foes Make Gains in Iranian Parliamentary Vote - Nazila Fathi
Although conservatives won the majority of the seats in Parliament in Friday's runoff elections, critics of President Ahmadinejad made a strong showing, according to results released Saturday. Conservatives won nearly 70% of the seats, but that group includes many people who oppose Ahmadinejad's economic policies. 198 of the 290 seats went to the conservatives and 47 to reformist candidates (up from 40 seats in the current parliament). (New York Times)
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Hamas Disrupts Fuel Supplies to Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas militiamen in Gaza on Sunday attacked fuel trucks headed toward the Nahal Oz border crossing to pick up fuel for UNRWA - to enable food distribution - and for hospitals, forcing them to turn back, sources in the Palestinian Petroleum Authority said. "Dozens of Hamas militiamen hurled stones and opened fire at the trucks," the sources added. "The trucks were on their way to receive fuel supplied by Israel. The drivers were forced to turn back. Some of them had their windshields smashed."
Eyewitnesses in Gaza City said that at least on four occasions over the past few weeks, Hamas militiamen confiscated trucks loaded with fuel on their way from Nahal Oz to the city. The fuel was taken to Hamas-controlled security installations. (Jerusalem Post)
See also EU Faults Hamas for Gaza Fuel Crisis - Herb Keinon
A statement issued by the EU on the fuel shortage in Gaza placed blame on Hamas. "Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have their share in aggravating the humanitarian situation, including through carrying out the attacks on the Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom crossings," the statement read. "The [EU] president condemns such actions, which only lead to further suffering of the population." Senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials said this was one of the few times that an EU statement had actually condemned Hamas by name. (Jerusalem Post)
See also PA: Hamas Blocked Fuel for Gaza Hospitals
The Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank on Sunday accused the Islamist Hamas movement of preventing the delivery of fuel oil to hospitals in Gaza. "Members of Hamas in Gaza opened fire on Sunday on fuel trucks that were full of fuel destined for hospitals in the territory," the ministry said. Israel says it cannot deliver any more fuel as the tanks on the Palestinian side of the fuel terminal are full because Hamas will not allow the distribution of the one million liters of petrol and diesel stored there. (AFP)
U.S. Presses Israel on Gaza Cease-Fire - Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon
Pressure is picking up on Israel to reach a cease-fire deal with Hamas in Gaza ahead of U.S. President George W. Bush's planned visit to Jerusalem in two weeks, Israeli defense officials said Sunday. Head of the IDF Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant recently expressed fierce opposition to a cease-fire with Hamas, warning it would be used by the terrorist organization to rebuild its damaged infrastructure and to increase its arms smuggling under the Philadelphi Corridor from Sinai. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Israel: Gaza Truce Depends on Hamas Control over Islamic Jihad, Other Groups - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
Israeli security officials have said that if Hamas cannot restrain the smaller militant Palestinian groups, first and foremost Islamic Jihad, there will not be much point to any cease-fire agreement. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinian Rockets Hit Sderot, Kibbutz
Palestinians in Gaza fired Kassam rockets at Israel on Sunday. One rocket exploded in the yard of a home in Sderot, causing damage. Another exploded in Kibbutz Zikim, south of Ashkelon. (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinians Fire Katyusha Rocket at Ashkelon
Palestinian terrorists fired a Grad-type Katyusha rocket at Ashkelon on Sunday, causing serious damage to a garage in the city's industrial zone. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians Shoot at Israeli Bus near Ramallah
Palestinians open fire at an Israeli bus passing the village of Silwad in the Ramallah area on Sunday. No one was wounded, but the bus was damaged. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Syria's Secret Nuclear Reactor - Editorial
The Bush administration's decision to go public with the considerable evidence it had about a secret Syrian nuclear reactor built with the help of North Korea that was bombed by Israel last September has placed that extraordinary event in a new political context. Syria's failure to report the reactor's existence to the International Atomic Energy Agency, as required by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and its quick demolition and burial of the reactor's remains after the attack, require explanation - and in its absence, sanction. Will IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei hold Damascus accountable for its blatant violation of international law? (Washington Post)
Hamas: Incompetent or Cruel - Editorial
The continuing tragedy of Gaza is that it was supposed to offer Palestinians an opportunity to show they were ready for self-government after Israel withdrew in August 2005. Unfortunately, the Strip has descended into poverty and chaos, a launching pad for thousands of rockets targeted at Israel's civilian population. The Israeli government claims Hamas has created a dishonest fuel crisis in an attempt to court international leverage and insists that enough fuel is stored in Gaza to cover essential humanitarian needs. As the government, it is the responsibility of Hamas to get the fuel moving.
If, however, it is political pointscoring motivating Hamas' failure to get the fuel and food moving, it is further proof, if any was needed, of its true nature. Hamas is showing the world that anybody who believes that Israel is the worst enemy of the Palestinian people needs to think again. The impasse does not advance hopes of a workable, two-state solution. (The Australian)

Why Israel Kept Quiet Over Nuclear Syria - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)

Even after CIA director Michael Hayden's briefing of Congress about the Israeli air strike on a top-secret military site in Syria, when he confirmed that the North Koreans had indeed been helping the Syrians to build a nuclear reactor, the Israelis are still refusing to discuss the matter.
The reasons are twofold. When the Israelis first became concerned about the North Koreans' activities in Syria last summer, the Americans were negotiating a delicate deal to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program in return for a relaxation of the trade sanctions that have crippled the North Korean economy. Had the Israelis gone public with the intelligence, it might seriously have undermined Washington's diplomatic efforts.
The Israelis are also keen not to reveal too much about the technical aspects of the air strike, which is regarded as the most sophisticated operation by the Israeli air force since the 1981 mission against Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility, which thwarted Saddam Hussein's ambition to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal. To carry out the attack undetected, the fighter-bombers had to be fitted with equipment that extended their bombing range, while penetrating Syria's state-of-the-art, Russian-built air defense systems.
Syria's experimentation with nuclear proliferation has more to do with its strategic alliance with Tehran than any pretensions the Assad regime might entertain about becoming a nuclear superpower. Now, it appears that the Syrians are quietly helping the Iranians with their nuclear weapons program.


Sunday, April 27, 2008


Dear Rabbi Ginsburg,

Following your last mail, I have collected a few things I was
thinking about, when doing the reading/watching the videos.
One of the things that is fascinating, but at the same time also
'dangerous' is ritual or at least excessive ritual. I remember
talking to a French Orthodox Jew last summer in Israel (he was part
of my Ulpan) and he said that he did not believe in God, but that he
believed in ritual. I found that quite disturbing to be very honest:
I love ritual, but when ritual replaces religion as such or at least
its spiritual part, isn't there a danger of losing your connection to
God (when in fact you hope to get closer to God). Reciting prayers
for him was so automatic and he did not think at all about their

There are 2 aspects of prayer the keva-the words and kavanah the spiritual intentionality.

That fellow is missing half of it

I was just wondering what your personal opinion on that
topic is. For instance, do you think Tefillin to be of fundamental

yes its a mitzvah-actually 2

I mean, after all, it is mainly interpretation, since the
Torah never actually says Tefillin should be worn (even though it
speaks of components, such as the prayer scrolls that are included in

it says you should wear them as a sign on your arm and frontlets between your eyes.

How spread is the use of Tefillin in American Conservative

very little

Which leads me to the next question: do you feel that US
Conservative Judaism is similar to UK Conservative Judaism? People
here usually say that Reform here is like Conservative in the US,
while Reform in the US is more like Liberal Judaism here.

I think that is pretty true

I also have
a question on the different movements: is Reconstructionism in
between Conservative and Reform Judaism or is it just something

different. watch my video series on the movements ad mordechai kaplan

I just felt that their approach was, let's say, more
liberal in certain ways, and thus possibly more Reform. Also, is
there really that big a difference between believing in God or in
divinity? I haven't read any book on Reconstructionism specifically,
but what I've read about it in the books you sent me and others,
sounded more like a debate on vocabulary rather than on contents.

I don't think so-Kaplan did not believe in God in any traditional sense

thing that I'm also thinking a lot about is the whole emigration to
Israel policies. I love Israel and I enjoy spending time there with
friends and relatives, but aren't diasporas important as well? I mean
Judaism wouldn't be what it is today, hadn't we spent time outside
Israel. I personally feel perfectly European and it sort of makes me
sad when synagogues have to close down because people have all gone.
There are countries in Europe where especially Orthodox and
Conservative communities are disappearing while the Reform and
Liberal ones are growing, because they keep the more 'European' Jews.
Does the choseness principle imply that only a good Jew is a Jew who
lives in Israel, because we were told to go there?

No=more than half of world Jewry does not live in Israel and has n o plans to. I feel as you do. We afre going in 3 weeks with 30 people and I am looking forward to it.

Also, since I'm
going back to Israel this summer for my Ulpan, is there any synagogue
or school/programme you could recommend (in Jerusalem)?

I'm doing an
academic programme but I was thinking of maybe adding something more
religious, especially to learn Biblical Hebrew.

try the Conservative yeshiva
Rabbi James Lebeau
Director, United Synagogue Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center
POB 7456
Jerusalem 94265 ISRAEL
Tel: 972-2-625-6386 Ext. 1
Fax: 972-2-623-4127
mail to:

Finally I have a
question on Kosher food. I've not been eating pork, seafood etc. for
years, but I am still mixing dairy and non-dairy food. I'm not even
really mixing it, but I'm not waiting for an hour or so to have
cheese after dinner. How central is that aspect of Judaism?

watch my video on meat and milk. try and wait at least an hour between.

Thank you very much for your patience & help! I hope you had a good
Best wishes,
great questions!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Items from Richard Baehr

5. Joel Sprayregen and Congressman Eric Cantor on Jimmy Carter's disgrace. What role will Carter play this year at the Democratic convention?

6. Anne Bayefsky on the pre planning for Durban II. Looks like they are off to a fast start in going after Israel. I am sure Barack Obama's Muslim summit will be different, though.

7. Did George Bush make a deal with Ariel Sharon on settlement expansion in the West Bank before the Gaza disengagement?

8. Reports I am receiving suggest that many Israelis are nervous about the 23 year old spy case revealed this week. I think the timing of this story is related to the upcoming trail of the two former AIAPC employees. The government's case seems very weak from all appearances. Might the Justice Department be trying to inflame potential jurors by suggesting a pattern of bad behavior by Israelis or pro-Israel Americans?,7340,L-3534851,00.html

9. Ilan Pappe, the most mendacious of Israel's new historians, has written a new book. It is very bad. Isi Leibler on how Israel's image got trashed. Pappe and his ilk are part of it.

10. Mike Wallace interviews Abba Eban,from 1958:

13. The making of Euro-Islam,1518,548970,00.html

Europe facing radicalization over the Web

Europe facing radicalization over the Web

A few months ago Bernard Squarcini the head of the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire), the French equivalent of the FBI, told the French daily Libération regarding Islamic radicalization: "An ideological transformation can be done in three months on the Web. An individual can at night auto-radicalize himself via the Web and get in touch with leaders of terrorist organizations." This assessment shows how dire the situation is in Europe when it comes to al-Qaida's use of the Web.

Al-Qaida uses the web for four different tasks: propaganda; communication, mostly to instruct those in the field; training future combatants, a kind of online university of terrorism; and to send messages to the enemy, mostly to the West.

Daily update on Israeli security

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


April 24, 2008
To contact the Presidents Conference:
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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Fabricating Fuel Crisis in Gaza (M&C)
Israel Thursday accused Hamas of causing a "fabricated crisis" by refusing to distribute one million liters of fuel delivered to Gaza.
Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the million liters of fuel, which he said was enough for humanitarian needs, that Israel transferred three weeks ago, is still waiting to be collected on the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz fuel crossing terminal.
"Hamas can take the fuel but doesn't," he charged, accusing Hamas of deliberately wanting to claim there is a crisis.
Gaza residents said Hamas officials have taken fuel for their own purposes and given it to high-ranking officials, government employees and its own students, but has not distributed the remainder to the population at large.

France, U.S., UK Walk Out at UN After Libya's Comparison of Gaza to Nazi Death Camps (Los Angeles Times)
The U.S., France and Britain walked out of a Security Council debate on the Middle East on Wednesday after Libya compared the situation in Gaza to that of Nazi "concentration camps."
French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert plucked off his translation earpiece and walked out, followed by his two colleagues, after Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi made the statement.

Most-Wanted Saddam Hussein Aide Captured in Iraq (Telegraph-UK)
Iraqi security forces claim they have captured Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, the vice-chairman of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party.
Duri tops the Iraqi government's current list of most-wanted fugitives and is considered an operational leader with close ties to anti-U.S. insurgents.
In remarks to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat published on Wednesday, Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie said Duri was in Syria from where he led the insurgency in Iraq.

Israeli-Made Georgian Drone Shot Down Near Russia - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
An Israeli-made Georgian unmanned aircraft was shot down over the breakaway region of Abkhazia over the weekend.
Russia's Foreign Ministry denied Georgian accusations that a Russian fighter jet shot down the plane, saying it was shot down by Abkhazian air defenses.

British Police "Have Foiled 15 Terror Plots Since 7/7" - Richard Edwards (Telegraph-UK)
Fifteen terrorist plots have been foiled in the three years since the London bombings, Bob Quick, Scotland Yard's new head of anti-terrorism, disclosed.
Britain was said to be the primary target for Muslim extremists, ahead of America and other European countries.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AIPAC briefs April 23, 2008
Congress Reaffirms Strength of U.S.-Israel Alliance

Hamas Chief: We Will Not Recognize Israel

Hamas Suicide Bombers Attack Gaza Aid Crossing

Lawmakers Call for More Pressure on Iran

U.N. Security Council Calls for Disarming Hizballah

Israeli Company Tries to Ease Root Canal Misery

Save the date
AIPAC Policy
Conference 2008
June 2-4, 2008
Washington, DC
For more information:
(202) 639-5363
Take action
To take action on pending legislation and to receive more information and analysis, visit our Web site at

Congress Reaffirms Strength of U.S.-Israel Alliance
In a landmark display of U.S. friendship with Israel, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed resolutions recognizing the 60th anniversary of Israel's birth and reaffirming the close ties between the United States and Israel. In the Senate, the resolution (S. Res. 522) was cosponsored by the entire chamber and passed by unanimous consent. The House approved its version (H. Res. 322) by a resounding vote of 417-0. The Speaker of the House, who traditionally does not cosponsor legislation, joined Democratic and Republican House leaders as a lead sponsor of the bill. The resolutions were introduced in the House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), and in the Senate by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Click here to read the full text of the resolutions.

Hamas Chief: We Will Not Recognize Israel
Contradicting former President Jimmy Carter's claim that Hamas is prepared to accept Israel's right to "live as a neighbor next door in peace," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal stressed that his group would never recognize the Jewish state, The New York Times reported. "Hamas accepts the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and with full and real sovereignty and full application of the right of the Palestinians to return, but Hamas will not recognize the state of Israel," Mashaal said. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said it is clear that "there is certainly no change in Hamas' position." As a result, Hamas—whose charter says that Israel will exist "until Islam eliminates it"—faces international isolation until it recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

Hamas Suicide Bombers Attack Gaza Aid Crossing
In an effort to create a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, Hamas suicide bombers on Saturday drove three explosives-laden vehicles into the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which is used primarily to transfer aid to Palestinians, The New York Times reported. Three bombers were killed in the blasts and 13 Israeli soldiers were wounded. The attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing follows a string of recent attacks on other humanitarian corridors and energy supply lines serving Palestinian civilians. About 200 trucks of essential food and medical supplies currently pass through Kerem Shalom each week. On Friday, 48 trucks delivered goods, including wheelchairs, babies' bottles, meat and fish. Israel routinely looks for ways to facilitate humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.

Lawmakers Call for More Pressure on Iran
During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week, lawmakers called for more stringent sanctions against nuclear-minded Iran, saying that current efforts have been insufficient to persuade Tehran to halt its illicit atomic work. "We have failed to get the international community to embargo so much as a box of cereal," Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said. "The Bush administration has not only utterly failed to use U.S. sanction laws against foreign companies investing in Iran's oil sector, the administration has actively worked to prevent Congress from making those laws more stringent and more compulsory." Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA) added that the Treasury Department should add Bank Markazi, Iran's Central Bank, to its sanctions list, calling it the "central bank of terrorism." Click here to learn more about efforts to sanction Iran.

U.N. Security Council Calls for Disarming Hizballah
The U.N. Security Council last week called for the disarmament of the terrorist army Hizballah in Lebanon and reaffirmed the ban on arms transfers to Lebanon-based terrorist groups, the Associated Press reported. The Council also noted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's concerns over weapons smuggling and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah's "threats of open war against Israel." In recent weeks, Hizballah has mounted a massive recruitment and training drive and devised new battle plans to launch cross-border raids into Israel. With Iranian backing, the terrorist army has dramatically increased the size and range of its rocket arsenal and can now strike most of Israel with ease. Click here to learn about Hizballah's threats against Israel.

Israeli Company Tries to Ease Root Canal Misery
An Israeli company called Sialo Technology believes that it might be able to make root canal misery a thing of the past, the Web site Israel21c reported. "We make everything smaller," CEO Itzik Henig said. "We take the big drill and make it into micro drill. Minimal invasive surgery is our future, replacing old fashioned surgical procedures." The regular root canal procedure is very aggressive, Henig said, while Sialo's device is much less so because a newly designed endoscope gives the dentist a complete view of the tooth at all times. The same technology could be applied to other operations, including tooth implantations and periodontal treatment. "The sky is the limit," Henig concluded.

Erotic Love poetry in the bible sung on Pesah

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


April 23, 2008
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In-Depth Issues:

Indian Export Firm Caught Trying to Send Nuclear Material to Iran - Pranati Mehra (Daijiworld-India)
An alert customs officer in Mumbai became suspicious of an export consignment by Nickunj Eximp Enterprises of 1,150 kg. of graphite to Ward Commercial Company in Tehran.
Bhabha Atomic Research Center experts, who were asked to take samples, confirmed that it was nuclear-grade graphite.
One more consignment of graphite of Nickunj Eximp headed for Dubai was stopped.
The graphite was imported by local dealers at Rs 50 per kg. from China and was being exported to Iran at Rs 2,000 a kg.
See also Nuclear Iran - Editorial (Times of India)
The seizure of 1,150 kg. of nuclear-grade graphite in Mumbai on the eve of its export by air to Iran has demonstrated beyond all doubt where India stands in respect of Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapon capability.
Iran cannot sustain its uranium enrichment program without continuing support from European industry.
The most effective way of halting Iranian nuclear weapon proliferation is tightening up the controls over European nuclear industries, while enlisting the cooperation of Russia and China in this effort.

Azerbaijan Blocks Russian Shipment for Iranian Nuclear Plant - Aida Sultanova (AP)
Azerbaijan halted a Russian shipment of equipment intended for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, demanding more information for fear of violating UN sanctions, officials said Monday.
The Russian state-run company Atomstroiexport said trucks carrying the equipment were stopped two weeks ago in Astara, on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.

U.S. Official to Run Blair's Middle East Peace Office (AFP)
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Danin "will be head of mission" for the Jerusalem-based office of Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
Blair represents the Quartet of major players in the Middle East peace process, who will next meet on May 2 in London.

Hamas TV: Minister of Culture Presents Excerpts from Protocols of the Elders of Zion (MEMRI)
Hamas Culture Minister Atallah Abu al-Subh told Al-Aqsa TV on April 9: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the faith that every Jew harbors in his heart."
The Protocols is a fabricated book about an alleged Jewish plot to take over the world.

Hunger Pains for Mubarak - Jackson Diehl (Washington Post)
As prices for bread and rice soar in the latest swing in global commodities, dictators are tottering.
For more than half a century, Egypt has been run by a military-backed dictatorship that has supplied its millions of poor with subsidized bread.
Consequently, Egypt consumes more bread per capita than France.
As global prices have soared 48% in the past year, cheap bread has been disappearing from Egyptian shops.
The predictable result came on April 6. Angry crowds took to the streets for two days. Schools and shops were burned, a huge billboard of President Hosni Mubarak was torn down and at least two people were killed when police opened fire.

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* The Feds Accuse an Octogenarian of Informing for Israel - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
In a bizarre postscript to a two-decade-old spy scandal, the FBI on Tuesday arrested an 84-year-old former U.S. Army civilian engineer and charged him with providing classified defense documents to Israel. The alleged crimes that led to the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish took place between 1979 and 1985, when Kadish, a U.S. citizen, worked at the Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. According to court documents unsealed Tuesday, Kadish's alleged handler turns out to be the same Israeli consular official in New York who allegedly served as a "control" agent for Jonathan Pollard, the former Navy intelligence analyst arrested in 1985 and convicted the next year whose case cast a cloud over U.S.-Israeli relations for years. Kadish told the FBI that he did not operate after 1985.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said Kadish's alleged activities were first discovered within the last few years, more than 20 years after they occurred, as a result of supersecret intelligence monitoring related to ongoing inquiries about the Pollard case. (Newsweek)
On March 20, 2008, Kadish and the Israeli "control" agent held a telephone conversation which was monitored and recorded. (U.S. Department of Justice)
See also "Kadish Affair" Unlikely to Harm U.S.-Israel Relationship - Ron Ben-Yishai
The new espionage affair, the "Kadish Affair," will apparently not cause grave damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship over time - not only because it took place and ended over a generation ago, but mostly because it is in fact an extension of the Pollard Affair, over which Israel had already apologized officially and openly, and which had been beaten to death by the U.S. media. In its wake, the Israeli government terminated the operations of its "Bureau of Scientific Relations" and dismantled the organization. More significantly, the government issued a sweeping and unequivocal order to all government ministries and intelligence bodies, banning any intelligence activity in the U.S. Even if Ben-Ami Kadish himself confesses to the charges, Israel would be able to argue that it already did everything in its power to fix what needed fixing in order to prevent similar cases in the future. (Ynet News)
* U.S. Administration Disavows Carter's Trip - Steven R. Weisman and Robert F. Worth
Secretary of State Rice said Tuesday that former President Carter's recent talks with the Palestinian group Hamas had not been helpful. "We counseled President Carter against going to the region and particularly against having contacts with Hamas," Rice said in Kuwait, adding that the administration had "wanted to make sure there would be no confusion and there would be no sense that Hamas was somehow a party to peace negotiations." (New York Times)
* Middle East Talks in Moscow Get Scant Support - Nicholas Kralev
A planned follow-up to November's Middle East peace conference in Annapolis will likely be postponed or even canceled because of Mahmoud Abbas' reluctance to take part, Western and Palestinian diplomats said Tuesday. Abbas, who meets with President Bush at the White House on Thursday, is doubtful that anything of value would be accomplished at the conference, set to take place in Moscow in June.
An Israeli official noted that his country always prefers to "sit down with the other party," rather than get distracted by more international events. Israel also is opposed to Russia's plan to put Israeli-Syrian issues, such as the Golan Heights, on the conference agenda. (Washington Times)
* Ahmadinejad in Rows with Leading Iranian Officials
Iranian President Ahmadinejad fired off a letter to parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel on Tuesday, furiously denouncing him for bypassing the presidency by giving the order to implement legislation. Meanwhile, the heads of two powerful judiciary bodies lambasted Ahmadinejad for accusing his opponents in a speech last week of forming an economic and political mafia. Ahmadinejad has also been under fire from leading clerics for his economic policies. The public arguments come ahead of the second round of parliamentary elections on Friday. (AFP/Nasdaq)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

* Palestinian Rocket Slams into Sderot Home - Avi Issacharoff, Yuval Azoulay and Mijal Grinberg
Palestinians in Gaza on Tuesday fired three rockets at Israel, one of which slammed directly into a home in Sderot, causing a number of residents to suffer shock. Another rocket struck an open area and caused a fire, according to Army Radio. A further rocket hit Ashkelon's industrial district. (Ha'aretz)
* Gaza Fuel Terminal Reopens - Hanan Greenberg
The Nahal Oz fuel terminal reopened Wednesday, two weeks after a Palestinian terror attack left two Israelis dead. For the time being, only diesel fuel for Gaza's power station will be transferred. The terminal was partially opened last week for the transfer of diesel and heating gas, but Palestinian gunmen fired at the tankers. (Ynet News)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

* The Spy from New Jersey - Editorial
Israel's friends in America have long counseled her to look for spies elsewhere than in the American Jewish community, which can be of most use to Israel if its loyalty is not put in doubt. But it is easy to understand the exigencies involved when the spying allegedly happened, in the early 1980s. Israel, as it does to this day, faced an existential security threat. Security cooperation between America and Israel was not as well developed as it is today, and there was even personal hostility to Israel among certain sectors of the Reagan administration, even if the administration overall was supportive. These are not excuses - there can be none for breaking America's espionage laws - just context. (New York Sun)
* Jimmy Carter Must Stop Meddling - Editorial
You have to marvel at the naivety of former American president Jimmy Carter - the man who gave us the Iranian revolution. It was his campaign for human rights in Iran under the Shah that ultimately resulted in the Islamic revolution that continues to haunt the West to this day. With a record like that, Mr. Carter would be better advised to reflect on the error of his ways than meddle in an issue where he no longer has the power or authority to influence the outcome. (Telegraph-UK)
See also Carter's Tragic Misjudgment - Eric Cantor
When Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal boasts of continuing the resistance until "every last inch of Palestinian territory" is liberated, as he is wont to do, he refers not merely to Gaza and the West Bank, but to the entirety of Israel. Hamas' absolute bottom line - indeed, its reason for being - is the elimination of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian entity. To satisfy this goal, Hamas has used radical Islam and a cradle-to-grave anti-Jewish indoctrination to create legions of terrorists eager to attack civilians and embrace death. The organization has killed hundreds of Israeli innocents, as well as 26 American citizens, in attacks over the last several years. Congressman Eric Cantor (Va.) is Republican chief deputy whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. (National Review)


Ex-Mossad Head Defends Meshaal Plot - Laila El-Haddad (Al Jazeera-Qatar)

* Danny Yatom, today a Knesset member (Labor), was director of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, at the time of the botched assassination attempt on Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal. Yatom says the plot to kill Meshaal - by injecting poison into his ear - was "a failure" but not "a mistake." In an interview with Al Jazeera, Yatom staunchly defends the assassination of Palestinians deemed "terrorists" by Israel.
* Q: In retrospect, was the attempt to assassinate Meshaal a mistake?
Yatom: I don't think so because he was and still is the head of Hamas, and he was situated in Amman. Now he is situated in Damascus, but all the links between Gaza and the West Bank regarding Hamas and the terror attacks during those days...were to Khaled Meshaal.
* Yatom: The late Yitzhak Rabin [Israel's former prime minister] requested that King Hussein shut down Hamas headquarters in Amman. King Hussein refused. He said that his people can monitor Khaled Meshaal and his people better in Amman than if they were somewhere else. But the Mukhabarat [Jordan's security agency] did nothing. We had all the information. And Khaled Meshaal was the mastermind behind many attacks that claimed many lives.
* Yatom: After terror attacks in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister at the time, asked security chiefs to offer suggestions on how to fight Hamas - in addition to what Israel was then doing in the territories. Netanyahu asked me to go after one of the four heads of Hamas.
* Q: Would Israel assassinate Meshaal today?
Yatom: The Israeli policy is that as long as there is terror, the terrorist must understand that anyone who executes terror will not enjoy immunity.
Q: Without regard to international law?
Yatom: With regard to what [former president] Bill Clinton said: there should be zero tolerance for terror.
* Q: Why did Israel allow Hamas to participate in the elections?
Yatom: We were forced by the Americans to allow Hamas to participate in elections, and it was a dramatic mistake because it was against what was written in Oslo - that only parties, not organizations, that accept our right to exist will participate in elections. But it was under the pressure of President George Bush and Condoleezza Rice.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

anniversary of warsaw ghetto

Ex-leader recalls Warsaw Ghetto uprising By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writer
Tue Apr 15, 4:14 PM ET

LODZ, Poland - Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw ghetto by a handful of scrappy, poorly armed Jews against the Nazi army, becomes emotional when he speaks of the fighters he led.


"I remember them all — boys and girls — 220 altogether, not too many to remember their faces, their names," says the 89-year-old doctor, who still works in a Lodz hospital. Edelman will lay a wreath in their honor at the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the uprising.

The Nazis walled off the ghetto in November 1940, cramming 400,000 Jews from across Poland into a 760-acre section of the capital in inhuman conditions. On April 19, 1943, German troops started to liquidate the ghetto by sending tens of thousands of its residents to death camps.

Several hundred young Jews took up arms in defense of the civilians — the first act of large-scale armed civilian resistance against the Germans in occupied Poland during World War II.

"It was the first, most important and most spectacular" instance of Jewish armed resistance to the Nazi Holocaust, said Andrzej Zbikowski, head of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Edelman said the Nazis "wanted to destroy the people, and we fought to protect the people in the ghetto, to extend their life by a day or two or five."

Then 24 years old, Edelman took command of one of the revolt's three groups. His fighters, between the ages of 13 and 22, scraped together guns and ammunition that they and the Polish resistance managed to smuggle in from the outside.

His brigade included 50 fighters known as "brush men" because their base was a brush factory.

"There weren't enough guns, ammunition. There was not enough food, but we were not starving. You can live for three weeks just on water and sugar," which they found in the homes of those deported to death camps, he said.

They adopted hit-and-run tactics. With time, as supplies and forces began to run low, they resorted to attacks at night, for more safety.

"Every moment was difficult. It was two or three or 10 boys fighting with an army," Edelman said. "There were no easy moments."

But they were outnumbered and outgunned.

"It lasted for three weeks, so this great German army could not cope so easily with those 220 boys and girls," he said with a grain of pride.

The uprising ended when its main leaders — rounded up by the Nazis — committed suicide on May 8, 1943. The Nazis then burned down the ghetto, street by street.

About 40 fighters escaped through Warsaw's sewers and joined the Polish partisans.

"No one believed he would be saved," Edelman said. "We knew that the struggle was doomed, but it showed the world that there is resistance against the Nazis, that you can fight the Nazis."

Edelman and a few others stayed in Warsaw to help coordinate and supply the Jewish resistance groups. Some fighters still live in Israel and Canada. Edelman is the last one in Poland.

Despite the ghetto uprising's ultimate failure, "it was worth it," Edelman said. "Even at the price of the fighters' lives."

After the war, Edelman chose to remain in Poland, becoming a social and a democratic activist, and guardian of the ghetto fighters' memory.

"When you were responsible for the life of some 60,000 people, you don't leave and abandon the memory of them," he said.

A service was held in Warsaw on Tuesday — to avoid conflicting with the Jewish sabbath — and drew a crowd of 1,000, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, as well as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Israeli and Polish flags fluttered in the afternoon breeze as Poland's chief orthodox rabbi, Michael Schudrich, read out the Kaddish, or Jewish prayer for the dead.

Peres praised the young fighters, who he said displayed "a heroism that our children will proudly carry with them in their hearts."

Edelman views the annual observances as "part of educating people and fighting genocide."

He said people "have to be educated from childhood, from kindergarten, that there should be no hatred."

"They have to be shown that all people are the same, that skin color, race, religion don't matter," he said. "We have only one life and we must not murder each other. We see the sun only once."

Video 2 on kosher for passover

video on kosher for passover 1

Friday, April 11, 2008

Poison Israelis?

Updates ▪ Fact File ▪ Special

Food Poisoning

Eihab Abu Rial Photo: Shin Bet

Anas Salum Photo: Shin Bet

President Indicted
Army Reshuffle
Jerusalem Pride
Lethal Shell
Israel at War
Two Front War
Gaza Kidnapping
Elections 2006

Shin Bet thwarts mass restaurant poisoning

Two Palestinian employees detained mere days before they planned to lace food at Ramat Gan grill bar with tasteless, odorless toxin

Efrat Weiss Published: 04.10.08, 16:38 / Israel News

The thwarting of an alarming terror plot was cleared for publication on Thursday, almost three weeks after a joint Shin Bet and police operation led to the arrest of two Palestinian employees of the 'Grill Express' restaurant in Ramat Gan.

Terror in the Sky

Shin Bet fears attack on Israeli plane / Alex Fishman

Number of security guards on flights boosted, helicopters escort takeoffs and arrivals in several airports worldwide for fear of missile launching. Defense source: Threat concrete and we are doing everything possible
Full Story

The men, Eihab Abu Rial and Anas Salum, both 21-year-old residents of the West Bank city of Nablus, had planned to lace dishes served at the establishment with a powerful toxin without odor or taste, in the hopes of killing as many patrons as possible.

Grill Express restaurant (Photo: Yaron Brenner)

The two did not have working permits and were residing in Israel illegally. While in Nablus, they had been recruited to the al-Aqsa Martyr's Bridges, the military wing of Fatah, under the guidance and funding of Hizbullah.

The men were arrested by police investigators following information obtained by the Shin Bet, several

short days before they planned to carry out the attack.

Toxin was to come from West Bank

In their questioning the men told interrogators they were to receive the poison from two operatives in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus – Husseini Salag and Hani Quabi – who are still wanted by security forces.

The white substance is virtually undetectable and affects its victims approximately four hours after being ingested.

Salag, they said, also sought to use them to bring a suicide bomber across the border.

Defense officials say they are concerned Quabi continues to seek the means to carry out an attack in Israel using illegal Palestinian residents.

A similar incident occurred five and a half years ago in Jerusalem. At the time, three Arab residents of east Jerusalem were arrested before their plan to poison Israeli patrons at the Rimon Café in central Jerusalem could be realized. The three had also planned to carry out a suicide bombing during a right-wing demonstration. The cell had been found to operating under Hamas.

Some four years ago a Fatah cell was arrested in Qalqiliya, the group had been planning to detonate an explosive device encased in HIV-infected blood in a crowded Tel Aviv area.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Gail's video on Kabbalah installment 7

Gail's video on Kabbalah installment 6

Jews and home runs

Maybe first time. Two Jews, Kapler and Braun, both hit home runs for
Milwaukee Brewers in the same inning. Not a bad day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Read this and weep

Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace Effort

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Published: April 1, 2008

GAZA — In the Katib Wilayat mosque one recent Friday, the imam was discussing the wiliness of the Jew.
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Johan Spanner for The New York Times

A Palestinian girl held a Koran and a fake rifle at a recent rally organized by Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas and Fatah Supporters Clash at Gaza University (April 1, 2008)
Times Topics: Gaza Strip
Enlarge This Image
Shawn Baldwin for The New York Times

Marwan M. Abu Ras, a Hamas legislator and a scholar, at a mosque in Gaza in January. He offers advice on a program broadcast on Hamas's television station.

“Jews are a people who cannot be trusted,” Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas told the faithful. “They have been traitors to all agreements — go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing. Look what they are doing to us.”

At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control.

Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children’s programs praise “martyrdom,” teach what it calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the state of Israel.

Such incitement against Israel and Jews was supposed to be banned under the 1993 Oslo accords and the 2003 “road map” peace plan. While the Palestinian Authority under Fatah has made significant, if imperfect efforts to end incitement, Hamas, no party to those agreements, feels no such restraint.

Since Hamas took over Gaza last June, routing Fatah, Hamas sermons and media reports preaching violence and hatred have become more pervasive, extreme and sophisticated, on the model of Hezbollah and its television station Al Manar, in Lebanon.

Intended to indoctrinate the young to its brand of radical Islam, which combines politics, social work and military resistance, including acts of terrorism, the programs of Al Aksa television and radio, including crucial Friday sermons, are an indication of how far from reconciliation Israelis and many Palestinians are.

Hamas’s grip on Gaza matters, but what may matter more in the long run is its control over propaganda and education there, breeding longer-term problems for Israel, and for peace. No matter what Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree upon, there is concern here that the attitudes being instilled will make a sustainable peace extremely difficult.

“If you take a sample on Friday, you’re bound to hear incitement against the Jews in the prayers and the imam’s sermon,” said Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University here. “He uses verses from the Koran to say how the Jews were the enemies of the prophet and didn’t keep their promises to the prophet 1,400 years ago.”

Mr. Abusada is a Muslim and political independent. “You have young people, and everyone has to listen to the imam whether you believe him or not,” he said. “By saying the same thing over and over, you find a lot of people believing it, especially when he cites the Koran or hadith,” the sayings of the prophet.