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Netanyahu Family Donates to Assist Terror Victims Instead of Bar Mitzvah Celebration

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Yair Netanyahu, a son of Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, decided to cancel a planned bar mitzvah celebration Monday, opting to donate the cost to organizations assisting terror victims. The event was planned for Jerusalem, the second for the bar mitzvah boy. During the first bar mitzvah party held recently in Tiberias, a small number of city workers protested outside, carrying signs they are not being paid their wages while the minister and his family enjoyed a lavish bar mitzvah celebration.


Kuwaiti Daily: Iran Delivered Missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria

By The Middle East Media Research Institute

The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa recently reported that Iran has delivered missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria, and that Iran and Syria are cooperating closely in missile development and deployment.

Al-Siyassa also reported that "several Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers had arrived from their headquarters at a Hizbullah military camp near the town of Qasrbana in al-Buqa' in order to unload a significant number of surface-to-surface missiles."

According to information received from the Syrian opposition in London, the missiles "are of the most recent and improved Iranian model, with a 150- to 210-mile range, with which it is possible to hit any target in Israel." The sources also reported to Al-Siyassa that the two deliveries comprised 220 missiles "that Iran had not so far supplied to any foreign entity."

The Syrian opposition said that according to information they claim to have received from a senior source in the Syrian military in Damascus, "the alert level of the Syrian missile corps, deployed mostly in the North and East of the country [i.e., Syria], has been raised to high after commanders in military intelligence and in the Ba'th party in Damascus received information about the possibility that the Israeli Air Force would attack the nuclear reactors in Iran via Jordanian, Iraqi, and Turkish skies."

It was also stated that in the event of such an Israeli attack, "Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon overseeing the deployment and maintenance of thousands of missiles of various ranges would fire these missiles at cities in the Hebrew state, which could expand the aerial attacks on the nuclear, chemical, and biological installations and uranium-enrichment plants in Iran, such that the attack would also include Syria and Lebanon."


Sharon: Prepare for Evacuation Under Fire

By DEBKAfile

The simmering argument between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel's military chiefs over the feasibility of his evacuation plan came to a head at Sunday's cabinet meeting.

Sharon, who failed to offer the traditional New Years' greetings to the nation this year, finally admitted that which the military, security and police chiefs have been saying for months: the unilateral evacuation of some 9,000 Israelis living in the Gaza Strip cannot be accomplished, if at all, without a substantial cost in military and civilian lives. Conditions on the ground, say these authorities, make disengagement unfeasible.

But the conclusion they eliciting from the prime minister was unexpected: I am sticking to my disengagement guns and not budging one whit from my timetable, he told the ministers and army chiefs: it is up to the military to make it possible; they had better start preparing for evacuation under enemy fire.

As reported previously by DEBKAfile, the Palestinians are in the midst of massive preparations, including training special operations units and procurement of fresh supplies of upgraded weapons, for hammering the evacuating forces and Gush Katif evacuees and making the operation a bloodbath. Egypt has virtually retired from its post-disengagement security role in the Gaza Strip and is only half-heartedly blocking Palestinian arms supplies through Sinai.

Until now, Sharon and defense minister Shaul Mofaz said that if the evacuation cannot be accomplished without an unacceptable level of bloodshed, then it would not be implemented at all. But now, Sharon appears determined to go forward regardless.


PA TV Teaches Mothers to Encourage Kids to Become 'Martyrs'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Some of the most prominent violence and martyrdom promotion clips have returned to Palestinian Authority TV. Last week Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported the return of the infamous "Farewell Letter" clip, encouraging children to aspire to Shahada (Martyrdom for Allah). That clip attempts to make "martyrdom" appear desirable to children. Now PA TV has started to air an old clip glorifying violence, killing, and Shahada - this time from a mother's perspective.

The video clip ( http://www.pmw.org.il/images/031002.jpg ) features five civilian (non-uniformed) gunmen, armed with automatic rifles, who set out to murder Israelis. One of the gunmen is seen running towards Israeli fire until he attacks the Israelis with a hand grenade, after which, in slow motion, he is shot and falls dead to the ground.

When his body is brought to his mother, she kisses him and raises her hand above her mouth and calls out the traditional Arab call of joy. Afterwards, she stoically hands the rifle to the next in line, presumably also her next son, to continue fighting and dying.

This clip is now airing almost daily, together with the "Farewell Letter" clip, which is complementary, in that it delivers the same message, but from the child's perspective. This clip shows a child expressing his desire to die in which he explicitly tells his mother in his letter to be joyous: "Mother don't cry over me, be joyous over my blood." Incidentally, the clip showing the mother's perspective depicts her expressing joy over her child's Shahada death.


Why I'm Moving to Israel: Finding My Home on Sacred Soil.

By Erica Chernofsky

When I tell people I spent the last year of my life studying abroad in Israel, they usually look at me funny and respond politely. When I tell them I'm planning to move there permanently, the flabbergasted look on their face demands an explanation.

I'm a 21-year-old student at NYU majoring in journalism. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I come from the average American family, and look like the average American girl. So why am I leaving the land of opportunity to live, permanently, in a land ravaged by war?

A rabbi once told me that when God took Abraham to Canaan and showed him the land, promising it to Abraham's future generations, He also showed him every Jew that was ever to be born. The rabbi went on to explain that, according to the legend, when a Jew stands in the exact spot where thousands of years ago Abraham first beheld him, he becomes intimately and eternally bound to the land.

Like many Jews, I had been to this land, now called Israel, numerous times, to see the holy sights and visit the home of my forefathers. And while I felt a connection, and perhaps had the feeling of "coming home" that many Jews boast of, I never viewed the country as anything more than a place of religious and historical significance to visit every once in a while.

But two summers ago, when I visited Israel with my family, something was different. I suddenly felt a visceral need to identify with the people and the culture, and so I decided to spend a year abroad studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The only explanation, albeit fantastical, that I can offer is that perhaps that summer I stood in the very place where Abraham first regarded me, so many years ago, and my soul anchored itself in the sacred soil.

I was overcome with the realization that there was a country whose land had been promised to me, where millions of my people lived, yet their lives were so different from mine. I wanted to see that land and that life, learn about it, be part of it.

I quickly became part of life in Israel. I got used to having my bag checked every time I went into a store or restaurant, I got used to seeing my Israeli soldier friends walking around with huge M-16s on their shoulders. I mastered haggling with the taxi drivers. Taxis, not buses -- that was the rule my parents, and many of my friends' parents, issued before we left. With all the suicide bombings on buses, it just isn't worth the risk. And though I don't travel on buses, I'll admit I still feel frightened walking by a bus, or sitting at a red light in a taxi with a bus in the next lane. It's just too hard to get the television images of blown-up buses out of my head.

Two weeks after I arrived, I was lucky enough to land an internship at The Jerusalem Post, which was an invaluable opportunity for me as a young journalist. There, I was thrown right into the thick of things, with no choice but to learn quickly. On my very first day, I wrote an article that appeared in the newspaper, and while it wasn't front-page news, it was my debut into the world of journalism.

The internship was my first step into the "real world." The Post staff treated me like a full-fledged reporter, giving me assignments and deadlines and sending me around the country to gather information. It was great training, and it was often fun. But, living in Jerusalem was also often very stressful.

I remember one night that was particularly nerve-racking. It was a Saturday night. My parents' plane had just taken off after a brief visit, and all my friends were on a weekend get-away hiking in the Golan. I was in my dorm at Hebrew University when I got a phone call from a friend in the Israeli army. He said he couldn't talk, but he wanted to warn me not to leave my dorm that night.

"Why?" I asked. "Because we're on our way to Jerusalem right now to look for a terrorist who's on the loose, who according to intelligence is planning on blowing himself up in Jerusalem tonight." I was terrified. I was all alone. I couldn't call my parents, and I was scared to leave my dorm. I had never before experienced such real fear and danger.

But in Israel, that sense of fear and danger is the norm. In Alaska, it's normal to wear snow boots all year round. In New York, that would be absurd. In Israel, the snow boots are simply bulletproof vests. Life is about adjusting, and I'm still struggling with the adjustment.

When I told my best friend that I was going to Israel for a year, she couldn't believe it. She couldn't understand why I was going to spend a year of my life in a country filled with angry extremists who would jump at the chance to kill me. She was correct in that what we see on TV is scary -- images of the burned frames of blown-up buses or cafes, the Israeli military in the slums of the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.

But the majority of the cafes in Israel are modern, popular places where Israelis spend their evenings or lunch breaks, and many Palestinians are not the suffering, impoverished people we see on TV. Many live in mansions in developed Arab villages.

I explained all of this to my friend as best I could, but I didn't say what I was really thinking: Honestly, how safe is it to live anywhere these days? Today, terrorism is a global threat. How many New Yorkers were scared to go to work at the World Trade Center on that Tuesday morning in September 2001? But today, everybody is wary, everywhere in the world. The point is that we still go on living. Not just existing, but actually living. We can't live life scared to go around every corner, or none of us would ever leave the house.

It's no different in Israel. Living means putting the fear behind you. Of course, managing the fear is a personal battle. On the one hand, no one wants to forget the 3-year-old child killed by a Palestinian rocket while he was walking to nursery school with his mother. On the other hand, we do want to forget. We want to move on and not dwell on all the sorrow and tragedy.

Yet while their survival requires Israelis to harden their hearts to the pain, to take a deep breath and push the grief out of their minds, doing so is slowly turning Israel into a very hardened country. I fear once I live there, I might harden with it; so while some may worry that I will lose my life, I worry more about losing my heart.

It is Israel's mostly futile effort to block out the pain of all the death that is causing them to lose the media war. The Palestinians bring the journalists and cameras into their homes, showcasing their anguish for the world.

Everyone can remember the last time they saw an Israeli bulldozer destroying a house, or an Israeli tank plowing through a Palestinian village. But rarely do we see the footage of the Israeli mothers, wives and children crying for lost relatives. We hear the names of the dead, but rarely do we see the victims who remain maimed and crippled. They do exist, but Israel avoids revealing its vulnerable side. So instead, Israelis appear tough and military.

Oddly, once I arrived in Israel, I felt further from the war-torn country I was familiar with than when I was at home, watching suicide bombings and shootings on the news every day. There I was, living in what is technically considered East Jerusalem, and I was oblivious to the danger around me. Despite the terror, bombings and deaths, there is a living side to the country, and that's the Israel I became a part of.

And that's my answer to those who can't understand my decision to live in Israel, exactly what Israelis want the world to remember: People are actually living life there. It's not a third-world regime. It's not Afghanistan or Iraq. It's a modern democracy, just like the United States, trying to exterminate terrorism. The roads are paved, there are prestigious hospitals and universities and they even have The GAP and IKEA.

But none of that makes news, so we don't see it -- hence the flabbergasted looks when I say that after spending a year in Israel, I'm moving there permanently this summer. So while perhaps it was my religious beliefs that led me to explore the country in the first place, it was the country itself, the people, the culture and the life, that kept me there.

(This article originally appeared on Foxnews.com. Erica Chernofsky will graduate from NYU with a degree in journalism in January 2005, completing her last semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was an intern with Foxnews.com this summer, and moved to Israel earlier this month.)


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