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Israeli Rabbi Composes Anti-Porn Internet Prayer Israel Faxx News Services

Safed's chief rabbi, Shlomo Eliyahu, has composed a special prayer for those who have accidentally entered a pornographic web site. Yediot Achronot reported that he composed a special prayer for protection from entering pornographic sites by accident: "Please, God, help me to cleanse my computer of all sorts of viruses and evil images that spoil and interfere with my lawful work, and allow me to cleanse myself so that I may be pure of mind and may pray with a perfect heart, and that I may raise a family in true, stable love." Eliyahu said that the prayer should be said every time one goes onto the Internet.

Sharon Could Face Bribery Charges in Land Deal

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Officials in Israel's Justice Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, are considering whether to bring charges against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, his son Gilad and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for receiving bribes from a property developer.

The officials said the process could take months, and in the meantime, Sharon's associates said he would not step down. They spoke after an indictment was issued against Israeli real estate developer David Appel in the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. He is alleged to have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to all three figures in what has been dubbed "The Greek Island Affair."

The indictment alleges that Appel sought Sharon's influence to purchase a Greek Island resort at the end of the 1990s. At that time, Sharon was foreign minister and Appel was helping him in his bid to become leader of the Likud Party. The indictment also alleges Appel later sought help to re-zone urban land near Tel Aviv, after Sharon became prime minister in 2001. Sharon was allegedly asked to use his influence, although neither the project in Greece nor the land deal near Tel Aviv went ahead.

In addition, the indictment charges Appel with bribing Olmert to promote the Greek project when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem in the late 1990s. Appel is also alleged to have hired the prime minister's son, Gilad Sharon, to be the marketing adviser on the Greek Island project and continued to pay him even when it became clear the deal would not succeed.

Members of the Israeli opposition have called for Sharon to step down as prime minister, until his name has been cleared. But officials close to Sharon told Israel Army Radio that the prime minister had no intention of resigning, and insisted that there was no case against him.

Newspapers Fined for Violating Censor's Restrictions


The Joint Censor Committee, comprising representatives of the press and the army, has determined that Israel's leading newspapers Yediot Achronot and Maariv violated the censor's regulations. The committee cited the two for their articles of last month on Israel's plans to kill Saddam Hussein.

The two papers reported that the famous Tze'elim Bet incident of 1992, in which five soldiers were accidentally killed, was actually a dry run of an IDF plan to fly snipers to Iraq and kill the Iraqi dictator. Maariv was fined 20,000 shekels and must donate another 40,000 shekels to welfare organizations, while Yediot must donate an unspecified sum to charity. Maariv editor Amnon Dankner said that the censor had thus reverted to the standards of 15 years ago.

Police Probe Death of Two-Year-Old Following Tonsil Operation

By Ha'aretz

Police launched an investigation into the death of a two-year-old boy on Wednesday morning, less than two days after he underwent a straightforward operation to remove his tonsils.

The boy, Tim Fabricant, underwent the operation on Monday at a Maccabi Health Maintenance Organization clinic in Haifa. He was sent home Tuesday. His mother Tali told Ha'aretz on Wednesday that the family had no contact with the operating doctor from the moment the procedure ended.

She said that the doctors did not offer the family any information on how to treat Tim once he was released. She said her son awoke a number of times Tuesday night and complained that he felt unwell. Around 5 a.m., she said, he woke up and asked for a drink. She gave him to drink and he started vomiting blood. He died shortly afterward in his mother's arms.

"Later, the operating doctor suddenly called me and asked how Tim was," she said Wednesday. "I told him he was dead. He said 'impossible.'" The family also claims that it took 45 minutes for a Magen David Adom ambulance to arrive at the family home.

Mathematicians Dissect a Miracle

By Galina Stolyarova (The Moscow Times)

It took a stormy night and a strategically placed reef to pull off the biblical miracle of the parting of the waters of the Red Sea when the Jews fled slavery in Egypt, according to a new study by two Russian mathematicians.

A number of researchers around the world have tried to determine the probability of such an event taking place and to calculate the odds, but Naum Volzinger, a senior researcher at St. Petersburg's Institute of Oceanology, and a colleague based in Hamburg, Alexei Androsov, decided instead to study the conditions needed for the miracle to happen.

"I am convinced that God rules the Earth through the laws of physics," Volzinger said in a telephone interview. "In purely professional terms, I can say that it [the study] was done through a system of differential equations."

The six-month study, published in the Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, focuses on a reef that runs from the well-documented starting point of the Jews' escape to the north side of the sea. In biblical times, the reef was much closer to the surface, Volzinger said.

The questions the researchers were interested in answering included what wind speed was needed to leave the reef high and dry at low tide, how long the reef could stay dry, and how quickly the waters would return. "If the wind blew all night at a speed of 30 meters per second, then the reef would be dry," said Volzinger, who specializes in various ocean phenomena, including flooding and tidal waves. "It would take the Jews -- there were 600,000 of them -- four hours to cross the seven-kilometer reef that runs from one coast to another. Then, in half an hour, the waters would come back," he said.

To Jews and Christians alike, the parting of the Red Sea was nothing short of a miracle. "And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided," reads the biblical book of Exodus. "And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground: The waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." The pursuing Egyptian army tried to follow but drowned in the sea.

Mark Grubarg, the head of the Jewish community in St. Petersburg, said the spiritual value of this miracle is immense for Jews. It is mentioned in the Shema, a prayer said by religious Jews three times a day. "Jews were the first nation in history to accept monotheism, but they could hardly assert it while in slavery in Egypt. God told them to return to the Promised Land, and this is why it was so important. When the Jews reached the sea, they needed a miracle to complete their journey, and they were granted that miracle as a reward for their strong faith. The idea of monotheism is reflected in the Shema prayer."

Volzinger said he and Androsov studied the issue "strictly from Isaac Newton's point of view." Yet he acknowledged the religious importance of the miracle. "To fulfill their historical mission, the Jews needed to return to a free land," he said, adding that he and Androsov have not informed any religious organizations about their findings and have not received any reaction yet.

But the parting of the Red Sea, he said, is not likely to happen again -- the reef has been severed to create a passage for ships and the water is now much deeper. Unless, that is, another miracle occurs.

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