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North America's' First Kosher Subway


The Subway fast food chain has opened up its first kosher North American outlet in the Cleveland Jewish Community Center. Instead of ham, customers can buy kosher smoked turkey as well as "shwarma" and corned beef. The store's principal owner is Ghazi Faddoul, a Lebanese Christian. A Cleveland JCC member suggested to Faddoul that he open up the kosher store. "I believe in the rules. I'm very glad that [Cleveland Kosher, a supervisory authority, was] able to lead us and help us and direct us to the right things," he told the Jewish Forward.

Olmert Meets Abdullah, West Bank Pullout Not Addressed

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held talks Thursday with King Abdullah of Jordan in the Jordanian capital, Amman. It was Olmert's second visit to an Arab nation in the past week.

Olmert and King Abdullah met for an hour in a low-key meeting largely overshadowed by the news that Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed in neighboring Iraq. The two men did not comment on the al-Zarqawi death although they did reportedly discuss the killing in their meeting.

Both leaders read brief statements following their discussions but did not take questions from reporters. Olmert did not address his plan to withdraw from most of the West Bank, while keeping several large settlement blocs there and draw Israel's border with the Palestinians along the lines of the controversial separation barrier. Instead, he said he would seek a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, and would meet soon with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Mark Regev a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry said Israel would engage with Jordan on any plans for the West Bank.

"We want to hear their security concerns," he said. "We have a good security relationship with Jordan. There is a common strategic understanding that what is good for Jordan is good for Israel. Jordan is a crucial element in our national security. A strong vibrant Jordan is a plus for Israel."

In an interview with an Israeli newspaper earlier this week King Abdullah criticized Olmert's plans for the West Bank saying Israel's relations with Jordan would be hurt if Olmert pursues unilateral actions in the area. In his statement on Thursday, the Jordanian monarch said a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the international "road map peace plan" is the only solution that should be sought.

Similar comments were made by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak earlier this week following a meeting he held with Olmert in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh.

Hamas Government Official Killed in IAF Strike


The Israel Air Force struck a Gaza terrorist base late Thursday night, killing Jamal Abu Samhadana, a wanted terrorist newly appointed to head a new Hamas militia comprised of various terrorists. The IAF craft attacked a training camp of the Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, in the southern Gaza town of Rafiah, firing four missiles in the strike.

Abu Samhadana, founder and leader of the Fatah splinter group, the PRC, was the director-general of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority Interior Ministry. He was appointed to the post a short time after his release from an Israeli prison.

Abu Samhadana had survived at least four previous assassination attempts. He has been on Israel's most wanted terrorist list from the time of the first intifada and was suspected of having a key role in the bloody 2003 bombing of a U.S. convoy in Gaza.

The camp was located on the ruins of the former Jewish settlement Slav in the southern part of Gush Katif, which the government demolished last summer during the expulsion program. Terrorists were being trained there to launch a large scale attack on Israel, according to an IDF spokeswoman. At least three other terrorists were killed and 10 wounded in the missile strike, she said.

Peretz ordered defense personnel on Thursday to ratchet up the pressure on the Kassam cells and to target "anyone" behind the attacks - including Hamas officials. "No terrorist from any of the organizations will be immune if they engage in anti-Israel terror activity," Peretz told officials at the meeting.

Response from the Hamas-led government was quick and sharp. "Israel knows that Abu Samhadana works in the government and by killing him they are sending a message that all its members, from the prime minister to junior employees are targets for death," said PA cabinet secretary Ghazi Hamad.

Meanwhile, the PRC vowed there would be reprisals for the Israeli action. "The Zionist entity and Zionist settlements near Gaza will not feel security and safety anymore," a PRC spokesman threatened. "Our rockets will rain into the Zionist entity and our heroes will blow themselves up among their dirty bodies," he warned.

Poll: Public Not Pleased with Olmert as Prime Minister

By Ha'aretz

A month has elapsed since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to office and a poll released Thursday shows the public is not pleased with his performance.

A Ha'aretz-Dialog poll supervised by Prof. Camille Fuchs of Tel Aviv University shows that only 35 percent of the public is pleased with Olmert's performance as prime minister, while an equal portion is not. Prime ministers usually enjoy wide public support in the early stages of their term, but Olmert has sufficient time to improve his public image.

As expected, Olmert is perceived as more successful on the diplomatic front following his triumphant visits to the U.S. and Egypt, but this success comes at the expense of what the public considers weak performance in the fields of security and economics.

The poll also ratifies the commonly held opinion that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is one of Israel's most popular politicians of all times. Fifty-three percent (almost 20 percent more than Olmert) is satisfied with her performance, according to the poll. The poll was held on Wednesday evening among 515 participants reflecting the all sectors of the Israeli public (maximum deviation 4.4 percent for each participant).

Hamas Mourns Death of Al Zarqawi in 'Savage Crusade Campaign'

By Reuters &

The ruling Palestinian faction Hamas on Thursday deplored the killing by U.S. warplanes of the al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, describing him as a casualty of a crusade against Arabs and Muslims.

Hamas had distanced itself in the past from violence abroad blamed on al Qaeda, but in a statement faxed to Reuters after Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike north of Baghdad on Wednesday, it said it mourned the Jordanian-born insurgent as a "martyr of the (Muslim Arab) nation".

"With hearts full of faith, Hamas commends brother-fighter Abu Musab ... who was martyred at the hands of the savage crusade campaign which targets the Arab homeland, starting in Iraq," the statement said.

On a visit to Pakistan, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas said Palestinians are "blessing every effort to eliminate the existence of occupation" in Iraq. "We are dead sure that assassination of any of the people who are resisting will not ... end the resistance," Zahar said at a press conference in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

As news of the death al-Zarqawi filtered through jihadist internet forums, many members of radical organizations expressed "joy" at what they described as Zarqawi's 'martyrdom' and imminent 'wedding' with virgins.

Sheikh Omar Bakri, a top pro al-Qaeda jihadist preacher who is based in Lebanon, and who has a number of disciples in Britain, was quoted by one of his followers on the UK-based Muntadaa internet forum as saying that al-Zarqawi is now being 'married' to virgins in heaven, the fate he said awaited 'martyrs' of Islam.

Swiss Hold 7 Suspected of Planning El Al Attack

By Reuters

Seven people of North African origin are being held on suspicion of plotting to attack an Israeli El Al airliner in Switzerland, the Swiss Attorney General's office said on Thursday.

The Attorney General's office gave no details as to what kind of attack was planned or where it was intended to take place. It also said no explosives had been found.

The group of suspects arrested in Switzerland had been in contact with other groups of suspects in France and Spain which have also been uncovered by the police, it added. "The inquiry has ... made it possible to show that this cell had very seriously envisaged committing an attack in our country on an airliner belonging to the El Al airline," said the statement.

El Al operates regular scheduled flights from Tel Aviv to Zurich and to Geneva. Yedioth Ahronoth reported last month that Swiss and French intelligence agents had foiled a plot to shoot down an El Al plane over Geneva in December using a rocket-propelled grenade.

A senior Israeli security official declined comment on the arrests in Switzerland but said: "Past experience and intelligence received from time to time underscore efforts by terror groups to attack Israeli targets abroad."

One of the Swiss suspects was in touch with an Algerian, known as Mohamed Achraf, who was extradited to Spain last year. The Swiss news Web site Swiss Info said Achraf was arrested in Switzerland and was the suspected mastermind of a plot to attack a court building in Madrid.

A first round of arrests was made near Zurich and Basel on May 12. These were followed by more arrests in other parts of Switzerland. The suspicions of the police were first aroused after a series of robberies was committed early last year by what the Attorney General's office described as a highly organized group of about a dozen people.

An investigation revealed that "a part of the stolen booty was transferred for the benefit of a terrorist organization," said the statement. French police confirmed that they had been involved in a joint anti-terrorist operation with Swiss and Spanish police. "An operation took place which led to arrests in several countries," a police spokeswoman said. "Individuals have been detained for questioning in France and operations are continuing," she said, giving no further details.

Muslims Upset by Jewish Land Purchases in Jerusalem


"We have to start a worldwide Islamic-Arab fund with the purpose of saving Jerusalem before it is lost to us." So said Sheikh Raad Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel and a Hamas supporter.

The sheikh, a long-time enemy of Israel, called upon Arabs this week to continue their efforts to conquer Jerusalem. "The battle for Jerusalem does not involve tanks or artillery," Salah said. "Instead, the various Zionist institutions have employed a low and detestable style, with the support of American forces and other Western forces. These institutions work to collect billions of dollars, trying to put their hands, like pirates, on every cubit of the exalted land of Jerusalem, and on every home and every store and every market and every neighborhood and every holy part. This is, most unfortunately, what is happening night and day."

Salah often incited openly in favor of the liquidation of the State of Israel, was long in close contact with the Hamas leadership, and played a leading role in the Israeli-Arab riots of October 2000. Those riots included major highway-blockings, bank and post office-burnings, and attempted murder of Jewish motorists. Among his crimes were membership in a terrorist organization and transmitting information to the enemy.

Almost nine years ago, Dr. Irving Moscowitz, one of the leaders in reclaiming Jerusalem for Jews, warned that the Arabs were already responding. He noted, for instance, that the King of Morocco was managing a huge Islamic fund directed at Jerusalem, that a $70 million Jerusalem estate pool had been accumulated by businessmen in the Palestinian "diaspora," that a $50 million Jordanian-Saudi investment company was spearheading construction of Arab housing in eastern Jerusalem, and more.

A small number of Jewish organizations, such as the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund, Ateret Cohanim, Beit Orot and Elad are dedicated to purchasing lands - usually Jewish-owned but, of late, Arab-occupied - from Arabs in Jerusalem.

Israel's Supreme Court Turns Pollard Down Again


The Supreme Court has rejected a suit by Jonathan Pollard asking that, because the Americans unfairly used evidence against him provided by Israel, the Israeli government request his release from prison.

Justice Ayala Procaccia explained that the matter is overwhelmingly "diplomatic" and less so one of civil rights, and therefore she sees no room for judicial intervention in the government's decisions.

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, representing Pollard in the case, explained to Arutz-7 what exactly she and her client were requesting: "Back in 1985, the Israeli government returned to the U.S. the papers that Pollard had provided Israel - but only on condition that they not be used against him in a future trial. This condition was made in a phone conversation between then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres and then-Secretary of State George Schultz.

"However, we know that these papers were, in fact, used against him in the trial - and he was sentenced to life imprisonment, even though he made a plea bargain agreement with the government. Based on this we asked that Israel confront the U.S. with the fact of its failure to meet its commitment and ask for his immediate release from prison."

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