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Palestinian Taxi Rushes Ben-Gurion Airport Checkpoint

By Ha'aretz &

Four Palestinians illegally in Israel sped through the checkpoint at the entrance to Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday afternoon and fled, sparking an armed chase down an access road leading to the airport's departures terminal.

The Palestinians, all from the West Bank city of Ramallah, drove through the gate at the airport's entrance at around 3:30 p.m., ignoring instructions from guards to slow their vehicle.

Airports Authority security managed during an armed chase to block the Palestinians' way on the access road, and ordered them to exit their vehicle. Officers did not find weapons on the Palestinians or in their car, and transferred the intruders to police for further investigation.

Airports Authority said the intrusion was not a result of security failure, adding that "security forces responded quickly and stopped the motor vehicle well before it managed to reach the terminal."

The cab was stopped just 100 meters (about 330 feet) short of the entrance to the newly constructed terminal 3, just moments before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was scheduled to leave for Europe. Guards aimed their weapons at the passengers as the taxi approached, ordered them to step out of the vehicle, handcuffed them on the ground and took the suspects in for interrogation by airport police.

Eyewitness Moshe Malachi told Ynet, "It was very scary; security guards suddenly lunged at them with their guns drawn. The four people in the taxi appeared to be Arabs. It all took place near the entrance to the terminal, so people coming into the airport did not witness the incident."

Truce Collapses, Israeli Air Strike Kills Two Palestinians

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Hamas terrorists in Gaza fired rockets at the Israeli border town of Sderot, the second such barrage in two days. The Hamas military wing ended a 16-month-old truce on Friday, after eight Palestinian civilians were killed on a Gaza beach, apparently by a stray Israeli artillery shell. Hamas said it would continue rocket attacks until Sderot is, in its words, a "ghost town."

The strategy may be working. Sderot residents like Batya Katari accused the government of failing to protect them, and are threatening to move out. "The government of Israel has neglected Sderot and sold us out," Katari told Israel Radio. "We do not want to live here."

Israel responded to the attacks with an air strike, and Palestinians said a group of Hamas militants preparing to fire rockets was hit. Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat of the Fatah party said it is all too familiar. "Violence will breed violence, killings will just breed more of it and bullets will generate the same. And, we have been there before." Israel´s Rush to Apologize: A Major Media Mistake

Israel´s Rush to Apologize: A Major Media Mistake


Israel's hasty apology for seven killings in Gaza enabled civil rights organizations, left-wing Knesset members and foreign countries to condemn Israel. It now appears that Israel had nothing to do with it.

Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi and extreme left-wing MK Zahava Gal'on (Meretz) said that Defense Minister Amir Peretz was responsible for the shelling killings of the seven Arab members of one family on a beach on Friday. Arab MK Muhammed Barakeh said that Peretz could wear the medallion of "war criminal." Meretz leader Yossi Beilin said that Peretz should resign if the only way he knows how to deal with Kassams involves killing innocent people.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quick to express regret for the incident. He repeated this at Sunday's Cabinet meeting, though he indicated that the investigation had not yet been completed. Defense Minister Amir Peretz, very shortly after the incident, expressed "deep sorrow" over the deaths. Foreign countries, such as England, France, Egypt and others, condemned Israel for the attack.

Several dozen left-wing protestors - including Olmert's daughter Dana - stood outside the home of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz Saturday night and called for him and others to be tried for "war crimes." They also held signs calling Halutz and Peretz "murderers." Veteran right-wing protestor Itamar Ben-Gvir demanded that Dana Olmert be tried for calling Peretz a "murderer."

More than 24 hours after the deaths, the winds started to change. Peretz himself said Saturday night that indications are that the fatal shells were fired by Arabs of the PA. Brig. Gen. Aviv Kokhavi, commander of the Gaza Formation, said that the Palestinians were not cooperating in the investigation of the incident and that the data gathered at that point showed that it could well be that the seven were killed by Arab-fired mortar shells.

Some of the evidence shows that the incident on the beach occurred 15 minutes after Israel stopped firing shells. In addition, none of the shells fired at the northern Gaza Strip were directed at the area in which the people were killed.

Under investigation is the possibility that a misfired Kassam rocket was responsible. A significant proportion of Kassams fired by the Palestinian terrorists land in Gaza or otherwise miss their mark, and in fact one landed in a Gaza refugee camp Saturday afternoon, wounding several Arabs.

Government press spokesman Raanan Gissin had strong criticism of the government figures' reactions: "Unfortunately, we are repeating the same mistakes we made in the past, in the way in which we deal with incidents like this, such as that of Muhammed Al-Dura."

That incident involved a 12-year-old boy who was killed near Netzarim at the beginning of the Oslo War in late 2000; Israel quickly apologized, and when it later became clear that he was probably killed by Arab fire, the public relations damage to Israel had already been done.

Gissin continued, "Brig. Gen. Kokhavi said this is a battle scene, but I don't think so. This is a crime scene, in which the Palestinians rule, and from which they removed all the evidence - while on our side, no one even raised the slightest doubt that perhaps it wasn't us who had done it.

Palestinian Authority, Iraq-Style: U.S. Student Kidnapped, Freed


Benjamin Bright-Fishbein, a Brown University student studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was freed by his Palestinian terrorist kidnappers just hours after he was abducted in Shechem.

The drama began around midnight Saturday night when word was received that a foreign citizen had been kidnapped by armed Arabs in the PA-controlled Samaria city of Shechem (Nablus). Israeli sources, while saying that the information had not yet been verified, made it clear that they were taking it very seriously. "If we discover that this is a classic kidnapping," said one Israeli security official, "we will not be able to pass over it."

Within three hours, however, the story was over, and the student was released - first to Arab officials in the PA, then to IDF officials at the Hawara checkpoint south of Shechem. He was questioned there, and then freed to Jerusalem.

The kidnappers first released a video of Fishbein, wearing a knit yarmulke - generally identified with the religious-Zionist public - saying, in Arabic, that if Israel does not release Arab prisoners, he would be killed.

After he was freed, around 3 a.m., another video was taken, this time of him answering questions as to what had happened. He is seen telling an Arab reporter how he was sitting in a coffee house in Shechem with some Arabic-speaking friends, and that an Arab man, "with a pistol, a grenade, and a machine gun," then arrived and soon proceeded to "dismiss" the friends.

Asked if he was kidnapped, Fishbein said, "Oh yes, I was definitely kidnapped." After offering to skip over some details of the "long story," he was asked how he was released. Fishbein responded that the kidnappers realized that they were "in over their heads," had "no idea what they were doing and were going crazy talking on the phone," and had not planned the action well in advance.

It was reported earlier Sunday that the yarmulke on his head in the original video was placed there by the terrorists.

The kidnapping is the latest indication that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority appears to be on its way towards following the lead of other extremist, anti-Western Islamic states such as Afghanistan, as well as the Iraq that rebel groups want to form. Just last week, an American air strike killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi Al-Qaeda terrorist leader who was responsible for many abductions of Western citizens in Iraq, as well as the beheading of some of them.

Critics of President Bush's two-state solution, which the current and previous Israeli governments have also adopted, have long warned that it would lead to an Iran-backed Hamas terrorist state threatening Israel, Jordan and the stability of the entire Middle East.

Chief Rabbi: Married Woman Can be Surrogate


Israel's Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar allowed a poor woman that went through five abortions to use a married surrogate to carry her child. The current Jewish and Israeli laws do not permit married women to serve as surrogates, and officials in Amar's office said that his decision represents a huge breakthrough.

The formal Surrogates Law, which was passed in 1996, rules that only unmarried women can serve as surrogates in Israel. Since the law was first legislated, the surrogacy committee at the Health Ministry approved 250 cases.

According to Jewish law, the problem of surrogacy is even bigger, as the newborn child of a surrogate mother is considered a bastard.

However, a few months ago Rabbi Amar was faced with a complicated case: He was presented with a request from a woman who told him that she had undergone five abortions during 13 years of marriage. The woman claimed that she does not have the NIS 50,000 ($12,000) required for a surrogacy. She also claimed that she met a married woman who is willing to carry her child for her free of charge.

After contemplating the case at length, Amar sent a latter to the committee permitting the surrogacy. The Halakhic justification was that it is the fetus that is being inserted into the surrogate's body, not the sperm.

Amar's ruling stirred a row in the rabbinical world. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed said in response that "this baby will live his life with a tag: 'Non-bastard according to Rabbi Amar'."

Arab Women Are Freer Today to Choose Their Spouse

By Newswise

Arranged marriages among Arab women are on the decline. Young Arab women are freer today than in the past to choose their spouse. A new study conducted at the University of Haifa found significant differences between the young Arab family in contemporary Israel and the conservative Arab family of pre-state Israel.

"Almost 86% of women in the first generation had been parents who had been involved to a large extent in choosing a spouse, in comparison to 52% of the second generation and about 13% of the third generation," noted Dr. Nasreen Haj Yahia Abu Ahmad from the School of Social Work, who carried out the study under the guidance of Prof. Yoav Lavee.

The study findings showed that changes have occurred in various areas, from the method of engagement, parental involvement in the choosing of the spouse, and the character of the meetings with the spouse in the process of engagement. The study included 537 Arab women, half of them Muslim and half of them Christian, from 179 different families and from three generations.

Among many explanations, the researcher suggested one reason the young generation has seen changes. "The more a woman finds herself intensely exposed to the Jewish population, the more her views and behavior will be less traditional."

"Young women in Arab society are more educated than their mothers and their grandmothers and are employed more outside the house," explained Dr. Haj Yahia Abu Ahmad, about the trend in changes and differences among the generations.

The traditional arranged Arab marriage was common among the first generation (39%), but has become very rare among the second generation (10%) and among the 3rd generation it has almost completely disappeared.

Arab women now meet their grooms before engagement more than before. The researcher noted there is also a significant decrease in match-making (shidduch) and getting to know the spouse only after engagement. In the first generation, match-making occurred about 51% of the time, while it occurs approximately 18% of the time in the third generation.

According to Haj Yahia Abu Ahmad, the data show a significant increase in acquaintance before engagement. "This acquaintance was very rare in the first generation (less than 1%) and has completely turned around to be more common among the generation of grand-daughters (61%)" she noted.

The University of Haifa study also indicates a significant decrease in the selection of a partner from the same family. "73% from the 3rd generation married a partner not from the same family compared to 56% of their mothers and 45% from their grandmothers," said the researcher. This change is reflected in a decrease in marriage among the same clan, among family relatives and among cousins.

It was also found among the youngest generation that the younger the woman, the higher the age of marriage. Women from the first generation married on average at age 16, women from the second generation at age 19, and women from the current generation married at age 21 on average.

Also, young women reported that the division of labor with their partner was more shared than the division of labor had been with their parents. Husbands took on some of the tasks associated with running the house and taking care of the children. The study also found that the process of decision-making for more traditional couples was less in their hands, and more with their parents.

The researcher believes that the study findings illustrate an incorrect picture of the Arab woman as weak, inferior, dependent, and confined within traditional patterns that are resistant to change. This description doesn't reflect the reality of Arab women's lives in Israel. "The gloomy picture of the pseudo-depressing situation of the Arab woman and description of her as submissive and dependent to the male and subordinate to him is not correct," she concluded.

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