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Israeli Emigres Urged to Return
Israel Faxx News Services

Israel's Immigration Ministry is trying to persuade citizens who moved abroad to return. Immigration Minister Ze'ev Boim begins a tour of North America this week on which he'll meet with some of the estimated 420,000 former Israelis living there, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday. He will head a delegation charged with convincing the émigrés, most of whom cited economic reasons for their move that professional opportunities are increasing in Israel. According to the report, returnees could be granted special tax breaks and customs benefits.

Five Palestinians Killed by IDF Troops in West Bank, Gaza

By Ha'aretz

Israel Defense Forces troops shot and killed five Palestinians in four separate incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

A Hamas gunman was killed and another wounded in clashes with IDF troops in northern Gaza late Tuesday night, Reuters reported. IDF troops backed by tanks entered the northern Gaza Strip late Tuesday evening and battled Palestinian gunmen, Palestinian witnesses said.

The witnesses said a number of IDF tanks entered northern Gaza, east of the Jabalya refugee camp. The forces clashed with Hamas militants in the area, who fired anti-tank rockets. Hamas said one of its gunmen killed and another wounded in the fighting. The IDF said it was checking the report.

Two Palestinians were killed Tuesday afternoon by IDF soldiers operating in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp near Nablus, including a wanted Fatah terrorist. Undercover IDF troops attempted to arrest 24-year-old A'adel Abu Rish, wanted for his activities in the Fatah military wing and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He was also suspected of involvement in shooting and bombing attacks. Abu Rish was traveling in a vehicle driven by his cousin, 22-year-old Firas Abu Rish, and was armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Soldiers opened fire on the vehicle when the two tried to flee, killing both men.

An Islamic Jihad gunman was killed early Tuesday in an exchange of fire with Israel Defense Forces troops in the Qabatiyeh village near the West Bank city of Jenin, Palestinian witnesses and the IDF said. Islamic Jihad identified the dead as Mohammed Zakarneh, 18.

The IDF said one of its patrols was on a routine arrest raid in Qabatiyeh when it was fired upon by two terrorists. Troops returned fire and identified hitting one of the men, the IDF said.

Later Tuesday, Border Policemen fired at Palestinian stone throwers in Qabatiya, killing one and moderately injuring another, according to the IDF. Palestinian officials confirmed the two were throwing stones at military jeeps and identified the dead as 20-year-old Hani Khalil Kmeil. According to the officials, 16-year-old Mohammed Kmeil, 16, was moderately wounded in the incident.

IDF troops entered 1.5 kilometers into Gaza on Tuesday morning, on the border between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, south of Rafah. During searches, the troops uncovered two tunnels under the border.

In the past months, 15 different tunnels have been uncovered. Some were used for smuggling weapons between Egypt and Gaza; others were dug towards Israel in order to infiltrate army bases and into the Green Line.

Australian Jew Suffers Vicious Beating from Australian Football Team


An Australian Jew was viciously beaten in front of his young children this week by a group of drunken Australian football players, according to a report by Australian news agencies.

The attackers grabbed 33 year old Menachem Vorchheimer's yarmulka and hat when he approached their minibus to find out the name of the team after the men hurled anti-Semitic remarks at him and his children.

Vorchheimer said the group of 20 men yelled epithets and "Go to the Nazis" before motioning as if they were shooting a machine gun at him and his terrified, crying 3- and 6-year-old children before punching him in the face. Witnesses surrounded the bus and prevented it from making a getaway until the police arrived and apprehended the attackers.

Although Ocean Grove Football Club president Michael Vines apologized to the victim, the team's coach, Matthew Sproule called the incident an "accident". Vorchheimer was treated at Cabrini Hospital. Executive Council of Australian Jewry President Grahame Leonard said the incident was the fifth unprovoked anti-Semitic attack in Victoria this year.

Neo-Nazism on the Rise in Germany


Neo-Nazism is again on the rise in Germany, according to Interior Ministry statistics reported by the DPA news service.

Violent neo-Nazi attacks in Germany from January to August this year reached a total of 452, wounding 325 people as compared to 363 such attacks in which 302 people were injured in the same period in 2005. There was a corresponding rise in the number of attacks by far-right militants, with almost 8,000 crimes reported in the first eight months of 2006, compared to 6,605 crimes reported for the same period in 2005.

According to the Verfassungsschutz, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, more than 10,000 Germans are considered violent skinheads and some 40,000 people are members of far-right organizations. The total population of Germany is 82 million.

A statement by the German Interior Ministry acknowledged the statistics, saying the data were preliminary, but also "the fact that the number of violent attacks has risen by a not inconsiderable number is causing concern." Also noted in the statement was "the necessity of intensified measures being carried out by the ministry," to fight the disturbing trend.

Ahmadinejad: 'Satan Inspires Bush'


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes Iran will be victorious in its nuclear row with the West because he is "in relation with God," while President Bush is inspired by Satan.

Ahmadinejad was speaking to a group of supporters at a mosque in the Iranian capital, Tehran, according to media reports. "We say that we will be victorious," he said. "One day somebody asked me whether I was in relation with somebody when I say that we will be victorious. I answered: 'Yes, I am in relation with God.'"

His comments come as Tehran faces the prospect of United Nations sanctions over its failure to halt uranium enrichment. The United States maintains Iran's nuclear program could be diverted to making nuclear bombs. "In foreign politics, one should not be frightened or fear these people," Ahmadinejad said of Western leaders. "Satan inspires Mr. Bush," he repeated several times in his remarks.

Ahmadinejad also reiterated that Iran would not suspend its nuclear program, "even for one hour," and said there would be no retreat, "even one millimeter back." He dismissed talk about possible war breaking out over the nuclear issue as nonsense, saying some people were making an unnecessary fuss about U.S. Naval ships reportedly sailing towards the region.

Since becoming president of Iran, Ahmadinejad has been known for his caustic remarks that have included calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, denying the Holocaust and for suggesting Israel be moved to Europe. Less well-known are his equally harsh statements calling for the eradication of the U.S.

Ahmadinejad's speech in Tehran last fall, in which he called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, got a healthy amount of coverage by the international media. Yet, despite the number of stories published and broadcast, a key element of that address to "The World Without Zionism" conference was overlooked.

It wasn't just a world without Zionism and Israel that Ahmadinejad and his friends in Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups were envisioning. It was a world without the United States of America.

Ahmadinejad said Iran has developed a strategic "war preparation plan" for what it calls the "destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization."

New Film Tells Story of Biblical Heroine Esther

By VOA News

The film One Night with the King is an epic of adventure and intrigue set in ancient Persia. The movie is based on the biblical story of Esther and is part of a growing genre of films with religious themes.

The story from the Book of Esther in the Bible was set in ancient Persia, modern-day Iran, but the tale is universal, says producer Matthew Crouch. It is the story of Jewish girl named Hadassah who marries the King of Persia, becoming known as Queen Esther. She bravely thwarts a plot to kill the Jewish people.

Among the film's stars are Omar Sharif, Luke Goss as young king Xerxes, Tiffany Dupont as Esther, Peter O'Toole as the prophet Samuel, and John Rhys-Davies as Esther's uncle, Mordecai.

Producer Matthew Crouch is the son of religious broadcaster Paul Crouch. He got funding from private investors and from sale of television rights for the film to his father's Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The film's budget of $20 million was small for a story of such epic proportions. But he filmed it in Jodhpur, India, and says the money went a long way there. "India is an amazing place to make a movie," says Crouch. "It has extraordinary challenge, but it has extraordinary reward at the same time, so the visual images of what we got, I think, couldn't be found anywhere else."

Producer Matthew Crouch was the man behind the 1999 Christian themed film The Omega Code. Its success revealed an evangelical Christian audience hungry for movies with a message. Mel Gibson's hugely successful 2004 film The Passion of the Christ underlined that point for others in Hollywood. Crouch says One Night with the King will reach out to religious viewers, and possibly others.

"Our prayer is that people go to the theater, see this movie and enjoy themselves, but ultimately feel that if it happened for that little girl 2500 years ago, it can happen for me," he says. "My life can make a difference too."

Actor John Noble says this film is not just for the faith-based audience. He says it is a classic tale told on a grand scale, like one of his previous movies, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. There, he played the character Denethor.

"This is a story that is very similar. And this young woman [who plays Esther] - Tiffany Dupont is fantastic in it," he says. "She plays this fresh-faced fun-loving girl who is confronted with a huge decision. And she has to put her life at risk to do it. She makes the decision and stops genocide. That's what communicates. That's what resonates with all of us."

Noble says heroes become heroic by making the right decision under difficult circumstances. He says that is what Esther did to save her people.

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