Newsletter : 6fax0510.txt
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Poll: Israeli Jews want Arabs out
Almost two in three Israeli Jews want their Arab compatriots to leave the country, a
poll found. According to the Israel Democracy Institute survey released Tuesday, 62
percent of Israeli Jews answered yes when asked if they would support the government
encouraging Israeli Arabs to emigrate. Arabs make up 20 percent of the Israeli population
and many are thought to be generally sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Only 14 percent
of respondents said they believe Jewish-Arab relations in the country are good.
Warning: Imminent Kidnapping Threat for Israelis in Sinai
The National Security Council has warned of concrete intelligence information of the
planned kidnapping of Israelis vacationing in Sinai in the near future. About 400 Israelis
are still in Sinai.
A succinct warning issued by the council's Counter-Terrorism Division reads, "A
concrete threat has developed in recent days regarding the abduction of Israeli citizens
from the Sinai beaches; therefore, the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism
Division recommends that all Israelis in Sinai leave immediately."
Israelis continue to flock to Sinai, which was controlled by Israel from 1967 until
1982, despite several attacks and repeated advisories from government agencies advising
against it. Though the last two Sinai attacks targeted tourists in Dahab (not necessarily
Israelis) and members of the Multinational Force station in Sinai, the council emphasizes
that the current threat is aimed specifically at Israeli Jews.
IDF intelligence believes that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have been operating
freely in the Sinai, with the Egyptian government hesitant to combat them head-on due to
fear of attacks on Egypt's cities.
Three major bomb attacks on tourist sites have taken place there in the past two years,
killing more than 100 people. Prior to the attack in Dahab two weeks ago, Sharm e-Sheikh
was bombed in July and Taba was bombed in 2004.
The National Security Council was established in 1999, following Government Resolution
4889, "to serve as a centralized body for, and providing information to, the Prime
Minister and the Government regarding issues of national security." The council operates
in accordance with directives issued by the Prime Minister and chairman answers directly
to him as well.
US Sending Emergency Medical Aid to Palestinians
By David Gollust (VOA-State Department)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is sending $10 million in
emergency medical aid to the Palestinians, but is maintaining its hard line against direct
aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Rice held talks at the United Nations in New
York Tuesday with other members of the international Middle East Quartet and Arab foreign
The new U.S. commitment of emergency medical aid came amid reports of worsening
humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian areas, and pressure from other Quartet members
for action to ease the Palestinian Authority's financial crisis.
But in a talk with reporters in between morning and afternoon Quartet meetings, Rice
insisted again that the economic dilemma is of the Hamas-led Palestinian government's own
making, because it has spurned calls from the Quartet and others to accept international
terms for Middle East peacemaking.
"No one wants to have to deal with a Palestinian government that, when there is a
suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, finds that reason to celebrate," said Rice. "That simply is
not the appropriate course. And so we will talk about how to make clear that the
responsibility for the situation in the Palestinian territories is indeed the
responsibility of the Palestinian government, but what we can do also to alleviate the
circumstances in which the Palestinian people find themselves."
Shortly after the Hamas election victory in January, the Quartet - the United States,
Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - said donors should not assist the
Hamas-led government unless it accepted Israel's right to exist, renounced violence and
embraced previous Palestinian commitments including the Quartet's 2003 peace road map.
Hamas, responsible for scores of anti-Israeli suicide bombings and other acts of
terrorism in past years, has maintained a cease-fire with Israel but has spurned the terms
set by the Quartet.
Missionaries Active Under Cover of Boombamela Festival
The annual Boombamela festival held this year on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea,
near Ashkelon and Ashdod, served as convenient cover for missionary activity targeting
Jewish youth in attendance. A large tent was set up to attract potential converts away
from Judaism, raising questions of illegal missionizing.
One man, a father of a 14-year-old boy who attended the three-day New Age festival,
wrote a worried letter to Israel's Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, in which he described the
missionary activity and material his son brought home. Rabbi Amar sent the letter on to
Yad L'Achim, an organization dedicated to preventing Jews from falling under missionary
Yad L'Achim told Arutz Sheva that the very presence of a large tent dedicated to
missionary activity among teenagers at the festival is a gross violation of a commitment
by festival organizers. The Boombamela organizers had made it clear that no missionary
activities among minors would be allowed on the festival grounds.
Israel´s Water Buffalo Deemed Kosher
At the behest of two Bar Ilan University researchers, Israel's Chief Rabbi has declared
the water buffalo a kosher animal. A different animal, the American bison, has long been
The two researchers - Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, a Bar Ilan University neuroscience
researcher, and Dr. Zohar Amar, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies
and Archaeology - with the help of Dr. Ari Greenspan, a Jerusalem dentist, have been
studying the topic of obscure animals and their kashrut status for years. Their research
has produced much evidence that may lead to the granting of kosher status to pheasant,
guinea fowl, partridge, and others - and now, the water buffalo is kosher due to their
Presented with a host of evidence indicating its kashrut, the Rishon LeTzion, Israel's
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, has now agreed to issue kosher certification for the
water buffalo. This will enable water buffalo breeders to market the animal's kosher meat
and kosher milk under the official authorization of the Chief Rabbinate.
Speaking with Arutz-7, Zivotofsky was first asked to explain the significance of Rabbi
Amar's ruling, in light of the fact that buffalo meat in the United States has long been
considered kosher. "It's two different animals," he said. "The animal in the States is
what we call bison, while the one here is water buffalo, known in modern Hebrew by its
Arabic name, jamoose. Some call it by its Hebrew biblical name te'o, but the truth we
can't be sure that it's the same thing."
A-7: "Is that lack of certainty not a problem?" AZ: "No. The Torah mentions two signs
of a kosher animal: It must chew its cud, and must have split hooves. In addition, as
Rabbi Amar insisted on, another sign mentioned in the Talmud is that it must have no upper
front teeth. We therefore found a skull for Rabbi Amar to examine, and he found that there
were no front teeth. Another condition, required by the Chazon Ish, is that there be a
tradition about its kashrut status. So after a lot of work and running around, we also
found several shochtim [ritual slaughterers] and m'nakrim [those who remove forbidden
veins and fats] who remember dealing with this animal. We showed them pictures of the
buffalo, and they remembered it; the buffalo used to roam widely here in Israel in the
Huleh Valley and elsewhere. Based on this evidence, Rabbi Amar ruled it kosher."
Buffalo are currently raised in Moshav Bitzaron, just east of Ashdod, having been
brought over from Italy. Zivotofsky says that these buffalo are the same as those that
used to live here in Israel. "The Italian Jewish community still uses these animals today
for their milk and meat," he said.
"Another sign," Zivotofsky said, "though not a conclusive one, is that the word
'buffalo' appears in the Shulchan Arukh [the seminal Jewish law code] as a kosher animal.
Where did author Rabbi Yosef Karo know this word from? The answer is that he was quoting
Rabbi Isaiah of Terrani, Italy, and so it is likely that he is talking about the very same
animal that came from Italy and that is now being raised in Bitzaron."
Water buffalo meat has market potential within Israel and abroad. Authentic mozzarella
cheese is produced from water buffalo milk, which is also noted for its medicinal
Zivotofsky said that his next project is to try to ascertain the kashrut of yak: "This
will be much harder, for there is no tradition regarding it, but it appears to fulfill all
the basic requirements of a kosher animal. If anyone can get us a yak skull, it would help
Iran's Jews Face Growing Climate of Fear
By The Scotsman.com
For the dwindling Jewish community in Iran, a sacred ritual is observed at 6:30 every
evening as shortwave radios are switched on to listen to the daily Farsi broadcast from
Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power last June, life for Iran's 25,000 Jews has
become even more precarious as the president defiantly pursues a nuclear policy while
declaring Israel should be "wiped off the world map."
Israel has long identified Iran as its biggest threat, and these concerns have grown
amid repeated calls by its hard-line president for Israel's destruction.
Last Thursday, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert issued a strongly worded warning that
the Jewish state took seriously Iranian threats to wipe out Israel and would defend itself
against a country the West suspects of seeking nuclear weapons.
His remarks also came as Western powers sought action by the United Nations to curb
Iranian uranium enrichment and other key nuclear processes. "It is becoming a serious
matter of concern for Iranian Jews should there be any military action between Iran and
Israel," said Israeli broadcaster Menashe Amir.
"The Iranian regime says it does distinguish between Judaism and Zionism, but the local
Jewish community knows that is a lie since it has been frequently written by extremists in
religious circles that 'every Jew is a Zionist'."
While it is still the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel, a
vast number of the population have fled Iran.
The first major movement came in 1948 when the state of Israel was established and the
number of Jews in Iran stood at about 150,000. The Islamic revolution in 1979 prompted
"Every Iranian Jew who had the financial possibility or courage has already left, but
there's still a small but flourishing community," said Amir, who moved to Israel from Iran
at the age of 20 in 1959. He has been broadcasting for 46 years in Farsi for Israeli state
He is all too familiar with the precarious position of Iranian Jews who are called on
by the government to declare their public support for the country's nuclear policy. "Not
to mention, every time Iran publicly condemns Israeli actions in the Palestinian
territories, the Jewish community is expected to issue a statement of support," he
Even though the regime officially recognizes Judaism as an official religious minority
and the Jewish community is even allocated a seat in the Iranian parliament, the reality
on the ground is different.
Jewish leaders are reluctant to draw attention to incidences of mistreatment of their
community, due to fear of government reprisal, along with fear of being arrested or
accused of being spies. In 1999, 13 Jews were arrested in the city of Shiraz and charged
with spying for Israel. While eventually all were pardoned, it exposed the fragile
position of the country's Jewish community.
"While there are Jewish schools, the principals and most of the teachers are Muslim,
the Bible is taught in Farsi, not in Hebrew, and the schools are forced to open on
Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath," Amir said, as he played Hebrew music for his listeners. "So
while the regime declares that there is freedom of religion, it is all just for the sake
While it is impossible to gauge the program's popularity, whenever listeners are asked
to call in from Iran - courtesy of a toll-free number in Europe patched through to the
Jerusalem studio - the lines are jammed. Amir said many of those calling were clearly not
Jews but Muslim Iranians, disgruntled with the regime and curious to know more about the
While the program broadcasts items about Israel and the Jewish world, its news reports
on events in Iran itself capture the listeners' interest. Amir was quick to point out that
the connection between the two countries extends back some 2,700 years when Jews were
exiled to Persian territories.
But in 537 BC, after the overthrow of Babylonia, the Persian king, Cyrus the Great,
freed the Jewish slaves and gave them permission to return to their native land. "We are
very aware of this, that without Cyrus the Great, Judaism today would either not exist or
would be of an entirely different character, so the Jewish people owe a moral debt to Iran
in memory of Cyrus's actions," he said.
But with Iran seen to be funding Palestinian terrorist groups including Hizbullah and
Hamas, while developing its latest Shihab missile technology with the aim of reaching
cities in Europe, Amir highlighted how much had changed since the revolution. "Before
1979, ties between the Iran and Israel were so close that both worked together in
developing missile technology," he said.
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