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Arab Emirates Trying To Stop Arsenal-Israel Deal


The United Arab Emirates, which said it has exclusive rights to fly members of the English soccer team Arsenal, is trying to convince the club not to renew a deal to promote Israeli tourism. The agreement would promote Israel on 450 billboards at a new soccer stadium in London which is owned by the Emirates, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Top Islamic Jihad Commander Killed in Gaza

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

A senior Islamic terrorist has been killed in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, a Jewish settler was killed by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.

The top military commander of the Islamic Jihad group, Khaled Dahdouh, was killed when an explosion ripped through his car in Gaza City. The circumstances of the blast are unclear. Witnesses said the car blew up as Dahdouh opened one of its doors, and that an Israeli military aircraft was flying overhead at the time. The Islamic Jihad said he was the victim of an Israeli missile strike. Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the hospital where Dahdouh was taken and called for revenge.

Israel has vowed to track down the leaders of Islamic Jihad, in response to six suicide bombings carried out by the group during the past year. But the Israeli military said it was not involved in the explosion.

Violence also spilled into the West Bank, where Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a 48-year-old Jewish settler in a roadside ambush. The Al Aksa Martrys' Brigades, a militant group linked to the Fatah Party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, claimed responsibility for the attack. Just a few kilometers away, a second Israeli was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting.

West Bank ambushes have been rare since the Israel-Palestinian cease-fire was declared a year ago. But the prospects for peace have dimmed since the Islamic terrorist group Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in January.

Israeli parliamentarian Tommy Lapid said "The Palestinian people chose a war path, which will be very difficult to extricate ourselves from."

Hamas has not participated in attacks since the election. But the group, which seeks Israel's destruction, said such attacks are legitimate resistance and it would do nothing to stop them.

Rabbi: Non-Jewish Kabbalah Study Is Good, If Done Correctly


Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of the city that what was once the Kabbalah center of the world, Tzfat, said that Kabbalah studies for Gentiles is "positive," if done in the proper manner.

Speaking with Arutz-7, Rabbi Eliyahu said, "I believe that the study of the Zohar by Gentiles, as in the common phenomenon we see today with Gentile musicians and entertainers studying Kabbalah, is a positive phenomenon - as long as it is done in the right way." He explained that it should not just be a matter of curiosity, but of a genuine search for the "Torah of life."

Rabbi Eliyahu addressed the matter in light of the jump in sales of books of Kabbalah. The Manufacturers Association informed Arutz-7 that in light of the world-wide awakening to Kabbalah around the world, exports of such books have tripled of late. Thirty-five million dollars worth of Kabbalah texts were exported around the world from Israel in 2005, and professional printers are in short supply relative to the continuing demand for holy books from Israel.

"This is exactly what Elijah the Prophet told [1st-century C.E. Zohar author] Rabbe Shimon bar Yochai and his group when they began writing the Zohar," Rabbi Eliyahu said, "that in the course of time, people will begin making a living from this work. Of course, Elijah was referring to the fact that it would have a spiritual effect on those who study it, but it can be understood this way as well.

"It is told about King David," the rabbi said, "that when he wanted to bring people closer to an authentic Torah life, he would teach them the 'secrets of Torah.' In general, to see people searching for spirituality is a positive and important development."

Israeli Surgeons Save Infant's Life in Rare Heart Operation


Israeli doctors have successfully carried out an extremely difficult open-heart operation on a premature baby weighing just two pounds.

The surgery took place at Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petach Tikvah and succeeded in saving the baby's life, reported ISRAEL21c. The infant, one of a set of twins born a month ago in the 30th week of pregnancy, suffered from a congenital heart defect.

The major arteries of the child's heart were in the wrong place, with the right pulmonary artery rising from the aorta instead of from the major pulmonary artery.

"This condition caused a tremendous overload of blood in both lungs," said Dr. Einat Birk, director of the Cardiology Institute at Schneider and Dr. Michael Berant, director of the Institute's Echocardiography Unit. "The lungs slowly deteriorated, resulting in severe heart failure with the infant's life at stake."

The Israeli specialists carried out the operation following consultation with specialists abroad. The operation was the first time that open heart surgery utilizing a heart-lung machine was conducted on such a small infant in Israel. Worldwide, there have only been a handful of such cases. The infant is now recovering in the Neonatal Department of Schneider Hospital.

Arab Party Seeks To Eliminate Israel's Jewish Identity


The platform of the Arab Balad party calls for transforming the Jewish State into a Jewish-Arab state, with no distinct Jewish character.

Arutz-7's Dalia HaLevy probed into the Arabic-language website of Knesset member Azmi Bishara's Balad party, also known as the National Democratic Assembly (NDA). NDA's platform negates the Declaration of The Establishment of The State of Israel, which defines "the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State."

Excerpts from the NDA website: "Balad works for the nullification of the Jewish-Zionist character of the State of Israel, which sees itself as a Jewish state and not an Arab-Jewish state.

"Balad... waves the banner of the right to turn Israel into a state of all its citizens, which objects to racism, and has total equality between Arabs and Jews. The door is open for activity for a comprehensive democratic humanitarian solution, i.e., a bi-national state in all of historic Palestine."

The party's English website states: "The government prioritizes the needs of the Jewish majority, since Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, not a state for all its citizens. The NDA believes that full citizenship and minority rights will only be realized in a democratic state for all its citizens.

"Party Aims And Objectives: ...To struggle to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity."

In a related development, the Central Elections Committee decided not to disqualify another Arab party, Raam-Taal, from running in the coming election. Several MKs and others had petitioned the committee to ban the party because party chairman Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour said that Israel should be replaced by an Islamic state.

Elections Committee Chairperson Justice Dorit Beinish ruled that such statements are "unpleasant to hear," but do not mandate the party's disqualification. "The right to be elected is the most fundamental right in a democratic regime," she said.

"A decision to ban a party must be based on factual material, and not just on media reports. Some of that which we have heard here is not pleasant for any of our ears, but the standard by which to disqualify a party must be very high."

Irving Back To His Old Way, Again Denies Hitler's Intent

By Ha'aretz

British historian David Irving, who began last week serving a three-year prison sentence in Austria for Holocaust denial, has repeated earlier claims that he does not believe Hitler systematically worked to annihilate European Jewry.

In an attempt to reduce his prison sentence, Irving claimed during his trial that he had changed his mind since comments he made in 1989 - for which he was convicted - and insisted he believes today that the Holocaust indeed took place and that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Speaking from his Austrian prison cell, Irving told the BBC that he now believes Jews were exterminated in gas chambers in some instances, including 1.4 million that were killed in Treblinka and Sobibor. However, he said he thinks the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz is smaller than commonly believed, and that there were only two "small" gas chambers at the camp.

Responding to a question about the whether he thinks there was a systematic plan by Hitler to exterminate all Jews, Irving told the BBC, "That is absolutely wrong and nobody can justify that... Adolf Hitler's own involvement in it has a big question mark behind it. Given the ruthless efficiency of the Germans, if there was an extermination program to kill all the Jews, how come so many survived?" he asked the BBC.

Israelis Ask Oscars To Drop Palestinian Suicide Bomb Film

By Reuters

A group of Israelis who lost children to Palestinian suicide bombings appealed on Wednesday to organizers of next week's Academy Awards to disqualify a film exploring the reasoning behind such attacks.

The bereaved parents said they had gathered more than 32,000 signatures on a petition against the nomination in the best foreign film category of "Paradise Now," a drama about two West Bank friends recruited to blow themselves up in Tel Aviv.

The controversial film was made by an Israeli Arab director and actors working with a Palestinian crew and locations. The producer was a Jewish Israeli and the funding was European.

Yossi Zur, whose teenage son Asaf was killed in a bus bombing, accused the film of sympathetically portraying a tactic hailed by many Palestinians waging a five-year-old uprising. "What they call 'Paradise Now' we call 'hell now', each and every day," Zur told reporters. "It is a mission of the free world not to give such movies a prize."

Film industry experts said it was unheard of for an Oscar nomination to be withdrawn. This year's ceremony is on March 5.

Major Israeli cinema chains have shunned "Paradise Now," with distribution experts citing concern that its portrayal of suicide bombers could spell a low box-office turnout and even boycotts.

The film shows Palestinians bemoaning the travails of life under Israeli occupation, yet its characters also debate whether this warrants resorting to violence.

One of the protagonists takes on his deadly mission to exonerate guilt over a relative who spied for Israel, a comment on the complex pressures within Palestinian society.

Palestinians seeking independence in the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel captured in a 1967 war, won limited self-rule under interim accords that formed the Palestinian Authority. Some Jews opposed ceding the land, seeing it as their biblical birthright.

Fighting that erupted in 2000 and last month's victory in Palestinian elections of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas have dimmed hopes for peaceful two-state co-existence.

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