Newsletter : 6fax0420.txt
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Post-Passover Mimouna Celebrations Underway
U.S Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) was the guest of honor Wednesday night at a large,
public Mimouna festival celebration in Jerusalem. Lieberman, an observant Jew, has been
visiting Israel for Passover. Mimouna is a Jewish post-Passover celebratory tradition
brought to Israel by immigrants from North Africa. It begins with a festive meal, with
families gathering together to enjoy singing, traditional foods and spiritual nourishment
for the coming months. The Mimouna marks the hope and belief that just as the Jewish
People were redeemed on Passover, so too they would merit the Final Redemption "speedily
in our days."
28 Remain Hospitalized After Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing
Twenty-eight people who were injured in Monday's suicide bombing are still hospitalized
in the Dan region, two of them severely injured and still fighting for their lives. Three
of the patients are badly injured, eight are moderately injured and the rest are lightly
In Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital, 17 people are hospitalized, including the two who are
very severely injured, one with head and limb injuries. The other is a 16-year-old tourist
from the United States. Three others are in serious condition and eight in moderate
Nine patients are in Holon's Wolfson Hospital, three of them in serious condition and
six in moderate condition. Five patients who were brought to Petah Tikva's Beilinson
Hospital were lightly injured and have been released.
The IDF rounded up 41 Palestinians in the West Bank over the Pesach holiday.
The custody of three Palestinians was remanded Tuesday. They were arrested at the Harel
intersection on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road a few hours after the bombing, on suspicion of
helping the terrorist reach his destination.
Among those arrested are 13 Hebron residents, who are identified with Hamas. Two
Hamas-affiliated units have been found in Hebron recently. A man suspected of belonging to
Fatah and planning a suicide bombing and two youngsters suspected of agreeing to carry out
a suicide bombing have also been arrested.
The IDF is involved in two large operations in the Jenin and Nablus area and now plans
on expanding them following the suicide bombing.
On Tuesday soldiers clashed with youths who threw stones and fire bombs at them in
Nablus. In one of the clashes Palestinians fired at the soldiers. Palestinian sources
reported seven men wounded--some from gunfire and others from rubber bullets.
Three Kassam rockets were fired in the last few days from the northern Gaza Strip. Two
rockets landed in open fields in the Negev. The third landed in Palestinian Authority
territory. Nobody was hurt.
Hamas Denies Jordan Claim of Weapons Smuggling
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
Hamas officials are denying allegations that their militants have smuggled weapons into
Jordan. The surprise charges have prompted Jordan to cancel a visit by the Palestinian
Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said his group has no intention of interfering in other
countries, insisting that its only battle is against Israeli occupation.
Jordanian officials said they seized a cache of missiles, explosives and automatic
weapons smuggled into their country by Hamas terrorists. Jordan subsequently canceled a
visit to the country by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar.
Hamas officials have denounced that decision and the Director-General of the Hamas-led
Palestinian government, Mohammed Awad said it came as a total surprise. Speaking on
Palestinian radio, Awad said the government is shocked by the Jordanian allegations and
decision to cancel the visit. He said the government wants good relations with all Arab
countries, especially neighboring Jordan and Egypt. He called for backing away from heated
rhetoric and for calming down.
Jordan is one of two Arab nations to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. The
kingdom keeps a wary eye on its own Islamic groups as well as on any potential influence
from Islamists outside.
The Jordanian allegations and Amman's decision to cancel the Zahar visit comes as yet
another blow to an increasingly isolated Hamas-led government that is facing financial
collapse and growing internal unrest, as well as external pressure.
Israel, the United States and the European Union have labeled Hamas a terrorist
organization and have cut off direct aid until it renounces violence and recognizes
Israel. Israel has halted the transfer of tax and customs duties it collects on behalf of
Hamas has refused to meet those demands and, although some Hamas officials continue to
hint at a readiness for compromise, the organization's defense of Monday's suicide bomb
attack in Tel Aviv has brought it only more harsh criticism.
Rabbi Ariel: Paschal Sacrifice is Still Obligatory
"It's not a question of 'maybe' or 'if,' said Ramat Gan's Chief Rabbi Yaakov
Ariel."Bringing the Paschal sacrifice is a Torah obligation incumbent upon the People of
Israel these very days."
Speaking with the weekly B'Sheva newspaper, Ariel said that though there are some grave
Halakhic [Jewish legal] problems associated with bringing the Paschal sacrifice, "we have
found the solutions, and the obligation is as strong as ever. This is [one of the only two
positive biblical commandments] that those who forsake it are liable to receive the
ultimate karet [cutting off] punishment. From the moment that a Jew stands on the Temple
Mount and the site of the Holy Temple is under our control, the Jewish People are
immediately obligated to bring this sacrifice."
Sixteen of the 613 Biblical commandments relate to the Paschal sacrifice, which must be
brought on the 14th day of the month of Nissan - Passover eve - and eaten on the night of
the 15th. In 2006, this sacrifice is remembered only in the form of the Afikoman, the
piece of matzah snatched and hidden by children during the Pesach Seder meal, by the small
roasted shank-bone on the Seder plate, and by prayers and study.
Rabbi Ariel said, "After the destruction of the First Temple, when the Jews began
returning from Babylonia to the Holy Land, they brought the Paschal sacrifice during the
course of 22 years even though there was no Holy Temple. They also were considered
ritually impure - because there was no Red Heifer by which to become pure - yet they still
brought it... There is currently no genuine impediment to bringing the Paschal
There have been other attempts to renew this sacrifice over the years, or at least to
solve the Halakhic problems involved. Speaking about the rabbis who came to the Holy Land
700 years ago and sought to pave the way to offer the Pesach lamb, the rabbi said, "It is
simply disgraceful when we compare our actions with theirs. They were here after the
Crusaders, when there were perhaps 1,000 Jews in the whole land, which was totally
desolate, and tried to renew this commandment. And yet we have 5-6 million Jews, and we
have an army with tanks and planes, and what are we doing? ...
"Over 2,000 years ago, the Jews were afraid to live in Jerusalem, yet they made it
obligatory for one out of every 10 men to work towards building the Holy Temple, and they
started the sacrifice services amidst the ruins of the First Temple. And where are we?
Should we not be ashamed?"
Among the problems that Rabbi Ariel said have been solved by the Temple Institute he
heads in Jerusalem are the following: Ritual impurity (which applies only to individuals,
not to the entire nation), the precise location of the altar, and the sacred priestly
garments, which the Institute has recently completed fashioning according to biblical
He emphasizes, of course, that the exact details of these and other issues are complex
and must be reviewed with rabbinical experts. "I don't say that there aren't problems, but
as the Maharatz Chayut has written, there is no Halakhic problem in the Temple that cannot
"Why then do you not go and sacrifice the Pesach sacrifice yourself?" Rabbi Ariel was
asked. "Have you just now returned from the moon?" he answered with pain. "The government
has established a special police unit just for the Temple Mount. A Jew is forbidden even
to move his lips there - and you want me to go there with my sheep and building tools to
build an altar?
"The problem, which has received the silent backing of the rabbinical world, is that we
have allowed the Arabs to be in charge of the Mount, and so they play soccer there. That's
what happened when Moshe Dayan gave the Temple Mount keys to the Arabs [after the Six Day
War]. First they give them the keys, then they say, 'It's impossible [to regain control],'
and then they say, 'We don't know [all the details of the Temple Mount and the altar,
etc.].' The 200 commandments that are connected with the Temple cry out every day, 'Jews,
where are you?!'"
Germany Agrees to Open Vast Holocaust Archive
By Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Under US pressure, Germany agreed Tuesday to give Holocaust historians access to
closely-guarded files with personal data on more than 17 million victims of the Nazis.
Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries broke years of deadlock by announcing that Germany
would support opening up the International Tracing Service when governments overseeing the
archive meet next month in Rome. "Getting Germany behind this is quite a significant step
forward," Zypries told a news conference at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in
Critics have singled out Germany for refusing to lift restrictions on the files. Some
say the practices at the agency, based in the western
The US government, Jewish groups and researchers at former Nazi concentration camp
sites have pressed for access to victims' personal data contained in some 30 million
documents, saying they would provide fresh insight into the Nazi regime and its victims.
"This is the most comprehensive archival collection relating to the fate of people who
were targeted and victimized," said Paul Shapiro, the Holocaust Museum's chief
For instance, the data could deepen understanding of Nazi prisoner transports and the
slave labor system, he said. "We are talking about a significant addition of
Historians have had access since 1996 to the archive's data on conditions in the
concentration camps, forced labor and other Nazi programs such as "Lebensborn," Adolf
Hitler's organized effort to have Germans bear children to raise a presumed master
But the files on individual detainees have been off-limits. They list chilling details
such as the date and place of detention and official cause of death, but also whether
inmates were homosexual, criminals or sick - all reasons for the Nazis to send them to the
camps, where millions died.
Zypries said Germany was not the only country that has balked at the opening. Italy,
for example, still has to be persuaded, she said.
German officials have feared that releasing the names of victims would lead to a new
raft of lawsuits seeking compensation from Germany, similar to the pressure that led the
government and German companies to compensate Nazi-era slave laborers in recent years.
Germany and the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which
manages the Bad Arolsen archive, have also cited concern for the privacy of Nazi
Shapiro said the fear of fresh lawsuits was overblown, in part because deadlines in
most US class-action settlements of Nazi-era compensation claims had passed. "I have not
heard anyone calling for this material to be opened for that purpose," he told Deutsche
Germany sits on an 11-nation supervisory body that must approve any opening of the
archive, set up in 1955 as a repository of Nazi records seized by the victorious World War
The archive's name comes from its original humanitarian function immediately after
World War II, when the tracing service sought to track down non-Germans missing in war and
to reunite surviving family members.
The agency later shifted its focus to archiving the fates of concentration-camp and
death-camp inmates, slave and forced laborers and children. Critics have long accused the
ICRC of excessive secrecy for its role in the archive.
Sharks Visit Haifa
A school of about 15 sharks was spotted Wednesday afternoon off the southern shores of
Haifa. The Israeli Marine Mammal and Assistance Center (IMMRAC) at Michmoret reported that
the sharks pose no danger to humans, as long as people refrain from approaching them or
trying to hurt them.
The sharks were first sighted at about 3 p.m., when they were at a distance of some
1,500 feet from the shore, and researchers were immediately called to the site. According
to eyewitnesses who saw the sharks, "their fins were sticking out of the water just like
in the movies."
Oz Goffman, IMMRAC director-general, told Ynet he estimates that the group is of
fox-type sharks, named so due to the elongated shape of their heads. He noted that the
sharks appeared to be minding their own business and posed no threat to the bathers at
sea. He stressed, however, that it was not advisable to come near the sharks, try to hunt
them, or pet them.
IMMRAC experts also stated that shark schools were not an uncommon sight in the
Mediterranean Sea, unlike dolphins that rarely visit the Sea's eastern basin.
Since the beginning of spring, several groups of rare marine mammals have been sighted
along Israel's coasts. IMMRAC officials have on several occasions been summoned to assist
whales and sharks across the country's shores. In some cases, sharks were found dead,
while in others they were rescued alive from fishing nets.
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