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Jewish Statistics

By IsraelNationalNews.com

As of the beginning of the new year of 5765, the number of Jews in the world stands at almost 13 million people. Of these, almost 40% - 5,094,000 - are in Israel, while almost 44% are in North America. Some 413,000 still remain in the former Soviet Union, and there are 1,161,000 in Europe, 401,000 in South America, 19,000 in Asia, 84,000 in Africa, and 107,000 in Oceania. The Jewish People Policy Institute recent report on Jewish demographics states that the Jewish people are approaching zero growth. It noted that over the past 24 years, "the world's total population grew by nearly 2.5 billion, an increase of over 70 percent. In contrast, the total Jewish population increased by only 250,000, or 2 percent."


Robertson: If Bush 'Touches' Jerusalem, We'll Form 3rd Party

By Ha'aretz

Influential American evangelist Pat Robertson said Monday that Evangelical Christians feel so deeply about Jerusalem, that if President George W. Bush were to "touch" Jerusalem, Evangelicals would abandon their traditional Republican leanings and form a third party.

Evangelical Christians - estimated at tens of millions of Americans - overwhelmingly support Bush for his pro-Israel policies, Robertson told a Jerusalem news conference Monday. But if Bush shifted his position toward support for Jerusalem as a capital for both Israel and a Palestinian state, his Evangelical backing would disappear, Robertson indicated. "The President has backed away from [the road map], but if he were to touch Jerusalem, he'd lose all Evangelical support. Evangelicals would form a third party because, though people don't know about Gaza, Jerusalem is an entirely different matter.

Robertson, an outspoken supporter of Israel who is in the country to celebrate Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles, also added that visitors to Israel should not be overly critical of the government's political decisions. He has refrained from overtly criticizing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan and says only that he hopes the "Israeli people will make the right decision" in matters of territorial concessions. "It is unwise for a visitor from America to get involved in Israeli politics," he stated at a press conference in the capital's International Convention Center.

Together with an estimated 5,000 Christians from around the world, Robertson has been touring the Holy Land this week, in effort to support and pray for the people of Israel. He led a prayer service on Sunday outside the Knesset, where he blasted Hizbullah, Hamas and the idea of jihad. "Arab nations want a conflict and want to keep the suffering of people in Gaza," he said. "They don't want peace; they want the destruction of Israel...

"I see the rise of Islam to destroy Israel and take the land from the Jews and give East Jerusalem to [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Yasir Arafat. I see that as Satan's plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ the Lord," said Robertson, a Christian broadcaster. In two Jerusalem appearances, Robertson Sunday praised Israel as part of God's plan and criticized Arab countries and some Muslims, saying their hopes to include Israeli-controlled land in a Palestinian state are part of "Satan's plan."

Robertson, who has made critical statements of Islam in the past, called Israel's Arab neighbors "a sea of dictatorial regimes." He said he "sends notice" to Osama bin Laden, Arafat and Palestinian militant groups that "you will not frustrate God's plan" to have Jews rule the Holy Land until the Second Coming of Jesus.

"Only God should decide if Israel should relinquish control of the lands it captured in the 1967 war, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem," Robertson said, in a reference to Sharon's plan to pull out of Gaza next year. "God says, 'I'm going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip,'" Robertson said. "'It's my land and keep your hands off it.'"


Days of Penitence Striking Hard at Terrorists

By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that during the six days of Operation Days of Penitence, 10 terror cells involved in firing Kassam rockets have been hit, along with many terrorists, however, Israel Radio reported that 11 Palestinians were killed and two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded Monday as an IDF raid in the northern Gaza Strip, aimed at halting Kassam strikes on Israeli targets, entered its sixth day.

The 11 Palestinians killed Monday. Included a 4-year-old boy, 13-year-old girl, and at least seven terrorists, bringing the death toll since the start of the raid to 73. PA sources reported 77 dead and many more injured, An IDF source denied any shooting by the army in the area where the boy was killed.

The boy was hit in the head when soldiers guarding IDF bulldozers clearing farmland near the Palestinian town of Khan Yunis fired warning shots apparently aimed at keeping residents away from the area, witnesses said. The army had no immediate comment on the incident.

Two IDF soldiers were hurt when an anti-tank missile struck their armored bulldozer in the teeming Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The soldiers were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for treatment. This is the second time since the start of Operation "Days of Penitence," that IDF soldiers operating this type of bulldozer have been wounded by anti-tank missile fire.

Mofaz stated that a "hard hand" is required in the unyielding war against terrorism. Regarding the PA death toll figure, IDF officials stated the overwhelming number of dead were terrorists, with many belonging to Hamas.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia on Monday condemned what he called international indifference to Palestinian suffering in the face of Israel's offensive into the Gaza Strip. Qureia, speaking before a meeting of the Palestinian Cabinet in the West Bank town of Ramallah, criticized the "massive destruction" and called for heavy international pressure on Israel. "This ugly Israeli crime is taking place in full view of the world, and so far, we have not heard a strong word from the world community that can bring an end to this aggression," he said.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat vowed Monday that Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip would never surrender in their battle against IDF troops, but hinted that the "militants" should end the rocket fire, although he did not mention it directly.

"Our people have never raised the white flag, we will never raise it ... in front of the extremist Zionist aggression," Arafat said. "Our people in northern Gaza are defending strongly and victory is coming, victory is coming, whatever we suffer."

And in a possibly related item, an IDF directive has banned soldiers taking part in Operation Days of Penitence from using personal cellular telephones in the area. Soldiers entering the area around Beit Hanun and Jabalya refugee camp have been ordered to leave their cell phones at their unit's rearguard bases. The directive aims to preserve field security and make it more difficult for Palestinians to gather intelligence on plans and activities. A similar directive was issued a few months ago after an IDF operation in Gaza's Zeitun neighborhood.

A Channel 2 news crew documented how soldiers were exchanging messages with their families after reports that two Givati fighters had been killed in an attack on an armored personnel carrier. It appears the directive is not being strictly enforced and some soldiers have been taking their phones into the operational area.




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