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Israel Unfurls Its Flags


David Shragai, director of Degalim U'Semalim, an Israeli flag company, said that the demand for Israeli flags this year is very much greater than in recent years. "It's clearly a result of the security situation in Israel today. In situations like this, everyone's eyes are turned to the... Israeli flag." He said that sales are up 100% over last year, "and if I had another 100,000 flags in stock, I would also be able to sell them... In Bnei Brak and in hareidi neighborhoods of Jerusalem, too, demand for Israeli flags is up."

Red Heifer is Born in Israel


In these days of difficulty for the Land of Israel, there is encouraging news as well.It can now be revealed that less than one month ago, a red heifer was born in Israel. After the heifer's owner contacted the Temple Institute, on Friday, April 5, Rabbis Menachem Makover and Chaim Richman traveled to the farm where the heifer is located, to inspect and validate her status.

The rabbis found her to be kosher and were satisfied that this heifer could indeed be a candidate to be used in the process of purification described in the book of Numbers, chapter 19. This is a prerequisite for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.

Tradition records that a red heifer in our generation is a herald of the Messianic era. It is certainly an important development towards the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Our sages taught that Israel's redemption can be compared to the dawn. "In the beginning, it progresses very slowly...but as it continues, it grows brighter and brighter."

Sharon Says Offensive Will Continue; 13 Soldiers Killed

By VOA News

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel's West Bank offensive will continue until, what he calls, the infrastructure of Palestinian terror groups is destroyed. Sharon spoke Tuesday after 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Jenin refugee camp, where Israeli forces have met stiff resistance from Palestinian gunmen. The army says booby-traps blew up a building which crushed some soldiers. Others were killed by gunfire from surrounding rooftops.

The Israeli military said the soldiers died in an ambush, when a booby-trapped bomb factory blew up. The army said the soldiers were on the first floor of the building, when explosives were detonated and the structure collapsed on them. The military said that after the explosions, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the troops from the rooftops of surrounding buildings. It was the single deadliest incident involving Israeli forces in more than 18 months of fighting with the Palestinians.

Israeli troops have been going house-to-house in Palestinian towns and refugee camps searching for weapons and wanted militants. Palestinian officials estimate more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the Jenin camp over the last week, and there have been heavy casualties elsewhere.

Elsewhere, witnesses say Israeli tanks and bulldozers have moved into a Palestinian-controlled area of the Gaza Strip, reportedly demolishing a Palestinian security post. Until now, the Israeli offensive had left Gaza untouched.

In Nablus, F-16 fighter jets bombed the city's Al-Yasmina district. Israel had claimed to take over the city but witnesses report renewed fighting there between Israeli troops and pockets of Palestinian gunmen. Witnesses also reported that Israeli forces have blown up a factory in Nablus. Reuters news agency quoted an Israeli spokesman as saying Israeli troops had found numerous bombs inside the facility.

Early Tuesday, Israel pulled troops out of two West Bank Palestinian towns, Tulkarem and Qalqilya, but invaded another, Dura. Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in Dura and arrested dozens of people. Israeli forces continue to enforce a blockade on Tulkarem and Qalqilya. Israel says its operation to wipe out militant networks there was a complete success.

In Bethlehem, a standoff continued where Palestinian militants are hiding out in the Church of the Nativity. The Israeli military is surrounding the church, but said it would not attack the holy site, where tradition says Jesus was born. Palestinian gunmen inside the Christian shrine are refusing calls to surrender.

The United States has been putting heavy pressure on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory. The White House said President Bush is still looking for results from his demand for Israel to end the offensive now. The European Union called the pull-out from the two towns positive but not enough, and demanded an immediate ceasefire.

Powell Says He Intends to Meet Arafat

By VOA News

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is expected in Israel late Thursday, said he intends to meet with besieged Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, as part of his peace mission to the Middle East. Speaking in Cairo Tuesday after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Powell said he comes to the region committed to doing everything possible to end the raging violence in the West Bank.

He is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Friday. No timetable has been announced for the Arafat meeting. The secretary praised the beginning of an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities, and said he will ask all Arab leaders to call a halt to suicide bombings that triggered the Israeli offensive.

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