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Phone Toll Free - Express Your View on Israel Radio

Now airing on Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio is the program "Mideast at the Crossroads" with political and financial analyst Daniel Ben Avraham. Call with questions or to express your opinion on any subject. The show is aired live Monday night, 8-11 PM EST. Hear the program on Israel National Radio's Live Broadcast. The toll-free telephone number in the United States is 1-888-229-7824; in Canada, 011-800-3-700-7000; UK, 00 800 3-700-7000; and South Africa, 09 800 3-700-7000. The show is archived for one week on Arutz Sheva's On Demand Audio page.

Israel Admits Continuing Contact with Palestinians

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his government is still in contact with moderate Palestinians after more than two years of conflict. The news that the Sharon government is continuing contacts came as a bit of a surprise since the prime minister had ruled out talks with Palestinians until attacks against Israelis end.

During an interview with Israeli television Tuesday night, Sharon did not name the Palestinians he is talking with. But he said the contacts would continue. He said the number of people who are prepared to talk peace is growing and that he is ready to talk to anyone of those people.

Sharon also said he is not prepared to talk about any so-called road maps to peace until after Israel's Jan. 28 election. The United States presented the outlines of such a proposal to the Israelis and Palestinians in August.

Sharon is running for re-election against Labor Party candidate Amram Mitzna, who has been promising an immediate Israeli troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and talks on a pullback from the West Bank. Mitzna spoke about that policy in a speech at an Israeli high school on Tuesday. In those remarks he struck what is being interpreted here as a tougher tone. He said he is proposing to "separate from the Palestinians." Then, in words directed at the Palestinians themselves, he said "if you want, we will do it with agreement. If you continue with terror, we will beat you to a pulp."

Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has given a warm welcome to British plans for a Middle East peace summit in London early next month. Prime Minster Tony Blair invited a senior Palestinian delegation to the talks, but it is unclear if Arafat would go. Blair also invited Egyptian, Saudi, and Jordanian officials and representatives of the so-called Mideast quartet.

Haifa Chemicals Fire Could Have Resulted in Disaster


Dr. Yehuda Alexander, of the Nes Tziona Biological Institute has warned that steps must be taken to better protect citizens against possible hazards involving chlorine and/or ammonia.

Speaking to a forum dealing with environmental terrorism, Alexander pointed out that in a case like Tuesday's Haifa Chemical Company fire, there must be a system in place to warn residents to close windows and take appropriate actions if necessary.

Experts pointed out that if one of the main ammonia tanks in the Haifa facility had ruptured as a result of Tuesday's fire, or if the above ground tanks were targeted in a missile attack, even a conservative look at the damage is catastrophic. It was explained that the effects would impact a 12 mile radius and a minimum of 100,000 persons would be killed or sustain serious injuries from inhaling the toxic fumes.

Dudu Topaz Bites Female Interviewee on Prime Time

By TheMarker

Superstar entertainer Dudu Topaz found himself and the company that broadcasts his show in hot water after he bit an interviewee on prime time TV. The Second Television and Broadcasting Authority has commenced proceedings against Keshet, one of three companies operating Channel 2 television.

The authority claimed that Keshet violated the terms of its franchise; in an interview with actress Natalia Oreiro broadcast Monday on the Dudu Topaz show "First in Entertainment." Topaz made comments of a sexual nature to Oreiro, caressed her and bit her shoulder, on air, the authority pointed out.

More than 40 complaints from the public arrived after the show, complaining about Topaz's behavior toward Oreiro. Viewers found his behavior humiliating toward Oreiro and bordering on sexual harassment.

Topaz himself commented to Yedioth Ahronoth that he talked with Oreiro in the wings, and that he saw nothing wrong with his actions. "When I love, I bite," Topaz said. When told that women's organizations had expressed disgust with his actions, he commented, "Maybe they want a nibble too?"

Oreiro commented that she had been warned in advance about Topaz and that the incident had not upset her. She said that behind the scenes, he had behaved like a gentleman.

It was not the first time Topaz has aroused ire. Last year, he harassed Cicciolina, the renowned porn queen and former Italian parliamentarian. The authority punished Keshet by withdrawing two minutes of prime-time ad time, worth tens of thousands of shekels. Keshet commented that "good taste" issues arise from time to time, and that it apologizes to anybody who felt that Topaz went outside the boundaries

Ed Koch's New Year's Commentary for Bloomberg Radio

By Israel Faxx News Services
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We are now going through the most virulent anti-Semitic period since Hitler and Stalin. Nearly 60 years after the end of World War II almost every country on the European continent, including England, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, has seen major outbreaks of physical violence against their Jewish citizens, and against Jewish institutions, including synagogues and cemeteries. At the same time, open hostility toward the State of Israel is at an all-time high. Only in the United States have we seen a full acceptance of Jews as citizens and the Jewish state treated as a friend and ally by an overwhelming number of fellow citizens. In the U.S., Jews have been permitted to rise and fall based on their individual talents, virtues and faults. In one elite bastion after another, Jews have been selected to head institutions heretofore seen as beyond their reach. Today the presidents of Harvard and Yale Universities are Jews, as are recent former presidents of Columbia and Princeton. Having been elected three times as mayor of the City of New York, I have been the beneficiary of this country's generosity and freedom from bigotry, and I will be eternally grateful. Americans traditionally make New Year's resolutions. Before I list my own resolutions, I want to thank President George W. Bush and his advisers, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for their support of the State of Israel. They could easily have jettisoned Israel as a liability in their efforts to forge an international coalition against worldwide terrorism. I will be forever grateful to them, and I hope that many other supporters of the State of Israel will recognize and appreciate what they have done. Fortunately for Jews and the State of Israel, American support of the Jewish nation has been bipartisan. Particularly helpful has been the Democratic leadership in both houses including Senator Tom Daschle, outgoing Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, as well as former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton. There are many others on both sides of the political aisle who deserve similar praise. In the religious sector, I am grateful to the Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, both of whom have stood up time and again in support and defense of the Jewish nation. Regrettably, there have been many clergy who have unfairly attacked Israel for attempting to defend itself against near-daily terrorist acts against its citizens. We were made privy to the true thoughts of Rev. Billy Graham caught on tape telling President Nixon his real feelings about Jews and Israel. He has since apologized, but what is an apology without contrition and efforts to right the wrong done? Worthless. (Ed Koch is a former Democratic mayor of New York and congressman from Manhattan.)
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