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Police Release PA Prime Minister's Daughter


Israeli police have released the daughter of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who was arrested Monday for trying to enter a Be'er Sheva jail with a fake identity card. The girl, Hawalah, as trying to visit her jailed fiancé, who she said is her cousin. She was returned to the PA, but police plan to file charges against her.

Jerusalem Suicide Bombing Averted


Two weeks ago, the Shin Bet security service received information about a planned suicide attack in Jerusalem. On Monday, the intelligence paid off.

Two Palestinian Authority Arabs were caught Sunday night on their way to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, announced Haruv Brigades Commander Lt. Col. Arik Hen.

Their presence was discovered during a night patrol near the village of Burin, south of Shechem (Nablus). IDF soldiers have been covering a wide area around the Arab city after the Shin Bet (General Security Service) received an intelligence alert of the impending attack. Increased checkpoints on the roads, overnight patrols and other military measures were put into place to prevent the feared tragedy from taking place in the capital.

IDF soldiers ordered the two PA Arabs to stop. They fled instead on an off-road path, flinging away a bag containing an explosive belt as they ran. The belt carried a 7-kg. (15.5 lbs.) bomb packed with explosives, as well as nails and bolts added to maximize damage to victims. It was detonated safely by sappers.

The two would-be bombers were arrested and taken for interrogation. An IDF official said the plot was a joint Islamic Jihad/Fatah/Popular Front scheme.

The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror organization hurried to claim credit for the attempted attack. However, a senior official from the group was careful to add that the two operatives involved also worked in coordination with Islamic Jihad. The statements indicated the group was walking a political tightrope between the desire to claim responsibility for terrorist activity and the need to maintain a relatively low profile.

In other terrorist news, the IDF killed a terrorist Monday when he approached the electronic security fence on the Gaza border near Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Two other members of the terror team who were with him escaped. A ladder and a Kalashnikov rifle were found nearby.

UN Arranged Truce Holds in South Lebanon

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

A U.N. mediated truce is holding in southern Lebanon, following clashes Sunday that left at least two Hizbullah terrorists dead and two Israeli soldiers wounded.

Calm prevails along the Israel-Lebanon border, after heavy rocket and artillery exchanges on Sunday. The clashes were the heaviest to occur along the border since Israeli forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.

The clashes began after the terrorists reportedly fired Katyusha rockets from Lebanese positions at an Israeli air force base and border outposts.

Israeli forces responded with heavy artillery fire, destroying a number of Hizbullah military positions in the area. After intensive discussions with U.N. diplomats, the clashes subsided. U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon senior advisor Milos Strugar said the area remains tense. "So, the situation is still fragile and tense, but we are hopeful the cease-fire is taking firmer ground," said Strugar.

Tensions in the area rose dramatically last week, after a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist was killed by a car bomb in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. Palestinian terrorists immediately blamed Israel for the incident, but Israeli officials said they were not involved.

With a large force of U.N. peacekeepers stationed along the Israel-Lebanon border, southern Lebanon has been relatively trouble-free recently, despite the presence of large numbers of Hizbullah, Palestinians and Israeli troops in the area.

Milos Strugar of the U.N. said he believes there is a commitment among most parties in the area to reduce tensions. "I think that, in general, there is a political will to keep it quiet. I think all the parties have a commitment to maintaining a ceasefire and quiet along the blue line [Israel-Lebanon border]. I do not see anyone who has an interest in having a major military escalation at this stage."

U.N. and U.S. officials have called for Lebanon to implement a Security Council resolution that would disarm all groups in the area, but Lebanon has refused, calling Hizbullah a legitimate resistance movement fighting Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that Iran has given Hizbullah rockets with a range of 120 miles, capable of striking all major Israeli cities. Israeli defense officials would not comment publicly on the specific nature of the report, but said Hizbullah's access to Iranian weapons is a growing threat to peace and security in the region.

Sexuality Center Specializes in Hareidi-Religious Population


One of the holiest commandments in the Torah is sometimes also one of the most difficult. A Tel Aviv-based sex clinic has found a way to help.

The Torah commandment for a man and wife to take joy in each other's company, physically as well as emotionally, is not always the easiest directive to fulfill.

In the secular population, many people with sexual dysfunction find their way to the specialized sex therapists and clinics that are available to treat this problem. In the hareidi-religious world, however, dealing with sexuality is not a simple matter, especially when it means having to turn to a "professional" for help.

The Sexuality Center, based in Tel Aviv, offers a free telephone hotline to help hareidi-religious couples with problems relating to intimacy and sexuality. Best of all, it's anonymous.

The Center is a sex therapy clinic that addresses sexual problems in both the hareidi-religious and secular populations, with branches in Haifa and Jerusalem as well. In all three clinics there are sex therapists trained to deal with the specific and unique issues facing the hareidi-religious community.

The helpline, though available to everyone, is geared to meet the needs of the hareidi-religious community, according to Center director Dr. Ilan Biran, who said it has been in existence for 10 years. He was interviewed, along with Jerusalem-based psychologist Dr. Baruch Shulem, by The Jerusalem Post.

"The sexual problems that we see in the hareidi community are really no different from those among secular people," said Biran. He said, however, that people in the hareidi-religious community "lack basic information concerning sexual functioning and intimate relations."

One of the reasons it is so important to reach out to this population in particular, said Biran, is its relative isolation from other sources of information, which might include support programs and information searches on the internet. In addition, he said, "there is a stigma about asking for professional help and all those we treat are anxious about discretion."

Shulem, who is a hareidi-religious Jew as well as a sex therapist, said that the stigma is slowly changing. "I find that couples seeking therapy do not come to me quickly for help," he said, but added that when they do finally knock at the door, "they are very cooperative."

As with The Sexuality Center, Shulem's practice is not restricted to hareidi-religious couples. Both he and Biran said they have seen a gradual change in the issues presented by hareidi-religious couples who seek help. Until recently, men formed the bulk of those who called out for help. Today, said both doctors, women have begun to ask for assistance as well.

Biran has maintained close ties with rabbis and community leaders, who insist on the condition of anonymity. He said there is a growing awareness of magnitude of the problems and the need to deal with them appropriately.

"There are a few rabbis who are now offering sexual advice," he said, "and while they are not qualified therapists, I encourage this activity because it gives legitimacy to people to ask for help."

The two professionals part company over the issue of sexual abuse, with Biran insisting that the hareidi-religious community still refuses to confront the issue, and Shulem maintaining that the community simply attacks it differently.

Biran: "What I have noticed is that in this sector they hide their problems and do not complain when there is a sexual offense."

Shulem: "Things are being done about it – our way might not be acceptable to the secular world, but we believe it is the best way."

Court Rules in Favor of Gays, Against City


Once again, a court has ruled against the Jerusalem municipality and in favor of the capital's gay and lesbian community, providing impetus for this summer's scheduled international gay pride event there.

Jerusalem District Court Judge Yehudit Tzur ruled that the city had set discriminatory standards in its cultural funding practices, thus enabling itself to avoid giving money to the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance. Tzur ordered the municipality to pay 350,000 shekels (nearly $80,000) to cover its lack of payments for the years 2003-2005.

"Even if certain officials in the municipality have trouble accepting the homo-lesbian community," Tzur wrote, "and feel that it is an undesirable phenomenon, the city cannot stray the basic values of the legal system and ignore this community. It must treat this community in an egalitarian manner, out of recognition of the senior status of the value of equality, and with respect for the values of tolerance and pluralism."

Last year as well, the Jerusalem municipality lost a court case to the Open House, and was forced not only to approve a Gay Pride parade in its streets, but also to pay for it.

The Open House is organizing this summer's scheduled World Pride event in Jerusalem, in which thousands of people from around the world are expected to take part. The quadrennial week-long event, set for August 6-12, was to have been held in Jerusalem last summer, but was postponed because of Israel's retreat from Gaza.

Several hotels are providing a special World Pride hotel rate for the six-night stay. The Jerusalem hotels listed on the event's website are the Inbal, Sheraton Plaza, Prima Royale, Gloria, Jerusalem Inn, Jerusalem Tower, and Agron hostel.

Objections to the march have been sounded from various quarters, including the Chief Rabbis and women's groups. No concrete steps have yet been taken to stop it, however.

On the other hand, spokesmen for Israel's Conservative movement, Rabbis Ehud Bandel and Andrew Sachs, expressed support last year for the right to hold the Gay Pride event in Jerusalem, although they indicated that this did not indicate their movement's endorsement of the event itself.

Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Israel's former Chief Rabbi and a possible candidate for Israel's next President, said a few days ago that same-sex couples present not only "Halakhic [Jewish legal] problems," but also, "speaking from a national and human standpoint, it pains me to see that an abnormal way of life is replacing the family unit. I fear the rising violence, both among the general public and within the family unit."

Reuters Employee Issues 'Zionist Pig' Death Threat


A Reuters employee has been suspended after sending a death threat to an American blogger. The message, sent from a Reuters internet account, read: "I look forward to the day when you pigs get your throats cut."

It was sent to Charles Johnson, owner of the Little Green Footballs weblog, a popular site which often backs Israel and highlights jihadist terrorist activities. In the threat, the Reuters staff member, who has not been named, left his email address as "

Reporting the message to his readers, Johnson wrote on his website: "This particular death threat is a bit different from the run of the mill hate mail we get around here, because an IP lookup on the sender reveals that he/she/it was using an account at none other than Reuters News."

After bringing the threat to the attention of Reuters, Johnson was told by the news organization's Global Head of Communications, Ed Williams: "I can confirm that an employee has been suspended pending further investigation. The individual was not an employee of Reuters' news division."

In an additional twist, Johnson traced the movements of the sender of the threat, and found direct parallels between the internet locations of the sender and Inayat Bunglawala, Media Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Bunglawala, who contributed an editorial to the Guardian website, has attracted negative attention in the past after making anti-Semitic outbursts, and has declared that the British media was "Zionist-controlled."

In the comment section of the Guardian, underneath his own editorial, Bunglawala denied sending the threat, blaming "Zionists" instead. That was not me! Methinks some Zionists are up to mischief," he wrote.

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