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First U.S. Female Rabbi Retiring

By Israel Faxx News Service

The first American woman ordained as a rabbi, Sally Priesand, is retiring. She plans to give up her post next month at Monmouth Reform Temple in New Jersey and become rabbi emerita. Priesand was ordained by the Reform movement's seminary, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in 1972. "I didn't follow this course to become a pioneer or to champion women's rights," she recently told the New Jersey Jewish News. "I simply wanted to be a teacher of Judaism. That was my motivation." Priesand has survived three bouts of cancer.


Olmert in Washington for Talks with Bush

By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in the United States for his first meeting with President Bush since taking office earlier this month.

Olmert is expected to use his talks on Tuesday at the White House to outline his plan to redraw Israel's borders, with or without agreement from the Palestinians. The plan includes removing some Israeli settlements in the West, Bank and strengthening others. He is also expected to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions, which Israel views as a threat.

Israel refuses to hold talks with the current Palestinian government, led by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. But after his return from Washington, Olmert is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A television advertising campaign in the United States is reminding viewers of the costs of returning territory to the Palestinian Authority.

The Center for Security Policy is sponsoring the campaign, which Olmert's unilateral withdrawal plan. The ad, which is being broadcast on national television in the U.S., was timed to coincide with Olmert's visit to Washington.

To view the ad, go to http://erdb1.eresources.com/cspvideo/Insanity_30TV_2.mov. QuickTime, which can be downloaded without charge from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/win.html. ids need to view the commercial.


Gun Battle Pits Hamas Terrorists Against Palestinian Police Killed Jordanian Ambassador's Assistant

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The administrative assistant to the Jordanian Ambassador in Gaza was killed on Monday and 11 others wounded in some of the heaviest fighting between Fatah and Hamas factions in the past two months.

The shootout at the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza left Khaled Radaida dead in the violent battle between the two groups. Radaida died after three bullets hit the windshield of his car, which was marked with Jordanian diplomatic license plates.

Jordanian Ambassador Yehiya Qarallah was not in the car at the time. A police escort subsequently brought Qarallah to the morgue at Shifa Hospital, where he identified his assistant. He reportedly left the building in tears. Although Radaida held a Jordanian diplomatic passport, he did not have full diplomatic status. Radaida was a resident of Gaza and was hired there.

Jordan threatened to recall its ambassador and close its embassy in Gaza City over the affair. Senior government officials in Jordan cited growing concerns about the escalating clashes between Fatah and Hamas and called upon both factions to put an end to the daily battles.

A government statement by Jordan immediately demanded that "the Palestinian Authority launch an immediate inquiry into the incident and to provide details as soon as possible," according to the official Petra news agency. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar both called Qarallah to offer their condolences and promises to investigate. PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas officials called as well.

A Jordanian official said it was not clear whether the killing was intentional or Radaida was caught in the crossfire between Fatah and Hamas. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the investigation into the incident. Viewers, however, said Palestine TV showed the shooting at the Jordanian diplomat's car.

Defense Minister (Labor) Amir Peretz instructed the IDF's coordinator of activities in the PA-controlled territories to assist the PA in transferring the body to Jordan. Peretz ordered the Allenby Crossing to Jordan to remain open later to accommodate the Jordanian request that the body be expeditiously transferred to Amman.

The two factions gave conflicting reports about what sparked Monday's battles and each blamed the other for the shooting. A second attempted assassination within two days by Hamas against a Fatah-affiliated Gaza security chief has ratcheted up the pressure still more.

Eight people have been killed in the internal fighting in the streets of Gaza so far this month, including a gunman shot to death overnight on Sunday, with dozens more injured.

Tensions between Jordan and Hamas have been high since Hamas was reprimanded by Jordan after several of its operatives were charged with smuggling arms into Jordan. Two of the defendants appeared recently on Jordan TV to say they had been recruited for the operation by Hamas leaders from Damascus.


Israelis Sue Iranian President On Intent to Commit Genocide

By YnetNews.com

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be the target of a lawsuit by former Israeli diplomats and legislators who accuse him of intent to commit genocide.

The group announced on Sunday that it will soon file a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, according to the Ynet news service, accusing Ahmadinejad of conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity.

The group said it is planning to sue the Iranian president within the next several months for his calls to "wipe Israel off the map," which constitute intent to commit genocide, an international crime.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold said Ahmadinejad, who also dismissed the Holocaust as a "myth", violated the 1948 UN Genocide Convention with his remarks. Iran signed the document in the 1950s, as did Israel.

Gold's Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is helping the group prepare the lawsuit, which he said is almost ready for submission. "From our preliminary assessment, there is no question that Ahmadinejad violated the Genocide Convention, which specifically addresses the issue of incitement to genocide," he said.

"Ahmadinejad's remarks constitute without a doubt a `direct and public incitement' to commit genocide," reads the document in part. "The Iranian regime supports terror organizations, such as Islamic Jihad, which continuously carries out murderous terror attacks against innocent Israeli citizens. However, the gravity of Ahmadinejad's remarks is particularly outstanding in light of Iran's attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction," it says.


Hizbullah Says it Won't Rush to Iran's Defense if U.S. Attacks

By Reuters

The Lebanese-based Hizbullah organization, which is supported by Iran, will not rush to Tehran's defense if the U.S. launched a strike against its nuclear program, but would step in if the conflict spread to Lebanon, its deputy chief said Monday.

Sheikh Naim Kassem told Reuters that the group, which was established by Iran in the early 1980s but has since grown into a political party with 14 seats in the Lebanese parliament, had no plans to get involved in regional battles.

"Hizbullah is not a tool of Iran, it is a Lebanese project that implements the demands of Lebanese," Kassem said in an interview in the Hizbullah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut. "Iran is a big country with real capabilities and can defend itself if it is exposed to American danger."

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported Monday that the United States also fears Hizbullah has set up sleeper cells in New York and other major American cities.

According to the report, law enforcement and intelligence officials have said they have identified about a dozen Hizbullah militants operating in the New York area.

These activities were being closely monitored by FBI counterterrorism agents as part of a nationwide effort to prevent a possible terror attack if the Iranian nuclear row escalates, the Post said.

Kassem said it was hard to predict how any conflict would play out, and that decisions would be made according to the situation on the ground. He said, however, that in principle Hizbullah would only intervene to defend Lebanon, primarily from any attack by Israel.

"Hizbullah has no decision to enter any battle related to the region and has said repeatedly that its position is one of defense against aggression," he added.

"But we cannot say to Israel, which might attack Lebanon one of these days, that we are going to sit back and watch, even if Israel called this attack a protective measure for fear that Iran might benefit from the situation in Lebanon... Such pretexts are rejected."

Kassem defended Iran's right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. But while Hizbullah continues to receive strong financial, political and moral support from Iran it is not entirely dependent on that backing.


Pollard: It's a Miracle I am Alive

By YnetNews.com

American spy Jonathan Pollard on Monday sent a letter to Israeli supporters in which he urged the State of Israel to save his life, saying he is struggling in his prison cell where he is serving a life sentence for passing US military intelligence files to Israel.

"Over the last 21 years it has never been easy for me to get a message out from within the prison walls. Every such attempt diminishes the limited opportunity that I have for maintaining contact with the outside world...The fact I am still alive today is a complete miracle," Pollard wrote in the letter which will be read to supporters during a rally for his release at the Western Wall on Thursday.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after admitting to passing thousands of secretive military documents to Israeli agents. Pollard served as a civilian analyst with the US Navy.

"From the start of my incarceration – I have always deliberately avoided using the limited opportunities to communicate with the Israeli public to talk about my own private hell. I have always preferred to forego expressing my feelings of isolation, betrayal and abandonment; or speaking about my deteriorating health and the life –and-death nature of my daily existence," he wrote.

"Very few prisoners survive 21 years under the conditions in which I have been held and continue to be held. Those Israeli officials, who have for years claimed to be using 'quiet diplomacy' for my release, while waiting for time to take its own effect, never imagined that the 'Pollard problem' would still be around after all this time. They never dreamed that I would refuse to give up and just die," he said.

Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu is expected to ask Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky to award Pollard the city's honorary citizenship at Thursday's rally. "We are optimistic and believe that the Jerusalem mayor will answer the request," an aide to Eliyahu said. Past efforts by the rabbi to name a street in Jerusalem after Pollard and make him an honorary citizen failed.

On Sunday, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking he evoke the issue of Pollard's release with President George W. Bush during his visit to Washington. "According to testimonies I have heard lately, Pollard is feeling worse with every day that goes by," Yosef wrote.


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