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No Selective Conscientious Objections


The Supreme Court rejected Monday a lawsuit by eight "conscientious objectors" who refuse to serve in the army in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The eight, imprisoned because of their refusal to serve in Yesha, said that their conscience does not allow them to carry out the actions that soldiers in Yesha are required to perform.

The Court ruled that "selective conscientious objections" are not acceptable: "Yesterday it was southern Lebanon, today it's Yesha, and tomorrow it will be a refusal to uproot outposts. The 'people's army' will soon turn into an 'army of peoples' where every group determines where they can or cannot serve."

2 Killed in West Bank Clashes; Militants' Homes Demolished

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and have demolished the homes of two Palestinian militants. Meanwhile, an Israeli human rights organization is accusing the military of human-rights abuses.

One of the dead Palestinians was described as a heavily armed man who fired on Israeli troops after breaking through an electronic security fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel. Another Palestinian was reported killed in the West Bank city of Nablus during a clash between soldiers and a crowd of Palestinians throwing stones and gasoline bombs at the troops.

Three Arab terrorists from Gaza reached as far into the Negev as Kibbutz Be'eri Monday, three miles from the Gaza Strip. They fired at an IDF tank, which returned fire and killed one of them; the others escaped. This was the third such attempt in the area in the past week.

In the West Bank village of Doura, troops demolished the homes of two Islamic Jihad militants, who last Friday shot four Jewish seminary students in the settlement of Otniel, hear Hebron. The two militants were killed by Israeli troops shortly after the attack.

The Israeli military often destroys the family homes of suspected Palestinian militants and suicide bombers. Israel said the practice is necessary to deter further attacks. Palestinians and human rights groups condemn the measure as a form of collective punishment.

The Israeli human rights group B'tselem is accusing Israeli soldiers of human rights abuses during an operation in Hebron earlier this month. According to a B'tselem report, four soldiers entered a Palestinian barbershop; beat the owner and the customers, forcibly shaved the heads of two of the men, and used them as human shields when firing back at stone throwing youths outside the shop.

B'tselem said its report is based on detailed accounts provided by Palestinian witnesses. The group described this particular incident as only "the tip of the iceberg," and said that human rights violations are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said it was not aware of the Hebron incident, but invited Btselem to provide details so an investigation can be started.

Meanwhile, Israel's supreme court rejected an appeal by a group of military reservists who have refused to serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because. The reservists say Israel's occupation of those territories violates international law. The court did not address the issue of the occupation's legality, but simply said soldiers must serve wherever the army sends them.

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced an Israeli-Arab taxi driver to 15 years in prison for driving two suicide terrorists to their destination this past summer. The terrorists in fact killed five people in Tel Aviv on the night of the Tisha B'Av fast, including three foreign workers. The judge said that the driver, who pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to being an accomplice to murder, should have been aware of his passengers' suspicious behavior.

The 'Shani' Has Been Found, and It's Orange


A Bar-Ilan University researcher and lecturer says he has discovered the 'Tolaat HaShani' referred to in the Bible, and successfully extracted its dye. Dr. Zohar Amar, of the University's Martin Szusz Department of Land of Israel Studies, recently announced his findings at a Bar Ilan conference. He explained that Tolaat HaShani refers to the coccid (scale insect) used to produce the scarlet dye during the biblical and Second Temple periods, for both sacred and secular purposes.

"It is one of the most valued coloring materials of the ancient world," he explained, "often mentioned in the Bible together with the [more familiar] blue (tchelet) and purple (argaman). We never knew what it was. It was thought that it was some kind of coccid from outside the Land of Israel - but we have now shown that it is made from something commonly found in the Land of Israel, right under our noses. It is very exciting to bridge over 2,000 years of history..."

Amar is the first person to successfully extract color from the coccid, from specimens he discovered in N'vei Tzuf, in southwestern Shomron. "The production process was fairly simple," he said. "I learned from Arab manuscripts from the Middle Ages that they would harvest the coccids at the right time, dry them, boil them with certain materials, and in this way receive the orange color." Asked how he knows that he had found the correct color, Amar explained, "We checked many historical sources, the most important of which is Josephus, who was the last one to describe and document the existence of the 'shani' in the Temple. Josephus describes the color as symbolizing fire, which is orange - as opposed to the red that many think it is. Our production process also produced orange."

He said that 'shani' was used in the Temple for the curtain over the Ark, the High Priest's clothes, in preparing the ashes of the Red Cow, and in other forms. "After 2,000 years, we have succeeded in rediscovering the Tolaat HaShani native to Israel and the technique of producing [its color]," concluded Amar, who soon plans to publish the full findings of his research.

Western Wall Showing Buckling As Well


Engineers from Jordan have arrived in Israel to examine and repair the buckling detected in the southern supporting wall of the Temple Mount. A previous Jordanian delegation had determined that the southern wall was in danger of collapse if not replaced, but Muslim authorities responsible for the Mount refused to allow Israeli engineers to work on the site.

In the meantime, Israeli archaeologists have discovered buckling in the western supportive wall, as well. The western wall section, south of the plaza used for Jewish prayer, may have been weakened by water seepage from the unchecked and indiscriminate gardening carried out by the Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount.

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