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Ex-Jerusalem Mayor Kollek Laid to Rest

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during Thursday's funeral for Teddy Kollek that the former mayor said he had transformed Jerusalem into a true capital of the Jewish state.

"David Ben Gurion declared Jerusalem Israel's capital in 1949. Teddy Kollek made it so,"" said Olmert. Kollek led the holiest city of earth from 1965 to 1993, presiding over the reunification of Jerusalem from 1967, successfully reaching out to most of the capital's various minorities. Kollek was laid to rest Thursday morning in the Greats of the Nation area of the Mt. Herzl Cemetery.


Six Killed in Gaza Infighting

By YnetNews.com

Tensions continue to run high between Fatah and Hamas: A senior Palestinian Preventive Security Service officer, Mohammed Ghayeb, was killed Thursday evening along after Hamas gunmen fired an RPG at his house in northern Gaza.

Two of Ghayeb's subordinates were also killed in the attack, as well as a bystander. The officer's wife was critically injured, and several other people were wounded as well.

Ghayeb was on the phone to Palestine TV just moments before his death and appealed for help as his house came under attack. "They are killers," he said of the Hamas gunmen. "They are targeting the house, children are dying. They are bleeding. For God's sake, send an ambulance, we want an ambulance, somebody move."

Amongst Fatah ranks there is much outrage over the siege which has had a devastating affect, especially due to the fact that Hamas groups prevented anyone who wasn't loyal to the organization to approach the area.

Hamas said however that they were forced to raid Ghayeb's house after he and the other gunmen on the premises refused to surrender several gunmen who had taken refuge in the house and opened fire at Hamas security forces earlier in the day, killing one.

Hamas denied the firing of shells towards the house, saying however that they were forced to raid the house and use force as those fortified inside were endangering their men and refused to turn themselves in.

Earlier Palestinian sources reported that Ayman al-Subuh, 26, a member of Hamas' special security apparatus, was killed in a fire exchange between Hamas and Fatah in Jabalya. Three other Hamas members were injured, one of them seriously.


Palestinian Violence Kills Four in Gaza, Fighting Spreads to West Bank

By VOA News

Several clashes among Palestinian rival Hamas and Fatah fighters have killed four people and wounded at least 25 others in Gaza. The dead include three fighters allied with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and one member of the ruling Hamas movement.

A senior Fatah colonel, Mohammed Ghareeb was among those killed when Hamas fighters bombarded his home with gunfire and rockets.

Fighting Thursday also spread to the northern West Bank, where witnesses say unidentified militants attacked at least two senior Hamas officials. Palestinian Health Ministry Deputy Director Bashar Karmi from the ruling Hamas group was also abducted during the night and released at dawn. In Jenin, further north, assailants torched the car of another Hamas official. Following reports of violence, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Thursday called for calm.

Meanwhile, Palestinian journalists have held protests against Monday's abduction of a news photographer in Gaza City. There has been no word from photographer Jaime Razuri or his kidnappers. Razuri works for Agence France Presse.

Kidnappings are frequent in the Gaza Strip, but hostages are usually released within hours. The French news agency's regional director says he has no information about Razuri's whereabouts or his health.


Israel Stages Raid in West Bank

By VOA News

Israel has staged a military raid into the West Bank town of Ramallah, sparking gun battles with Palestinian terrorists there.

Witnesses said at least four Palestinians were killed and at least 20 injured. Arabic television showed live pictures of the gun battles and of wounded being carried away from Ramallah's central square.

Israeli troops moved into Ramallah Thursday afternoon with armored carriers and bulldozers. Palestinian officials said the Israelis wanted to arrest a terrorist from the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, an armed group linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Mubarak, Olmert Meet in Sinai; Egypt Condemns Israeli Raid

By VOA News

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Thursday in a bid to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Speaking to reporters in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Mubarak criticized an Israeli raid earlier Thursday in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. He called for an end to violence that he said hinders the peace process. Four Palestinians were killed during the raid.

Responding, Olmert apologized for Palestinian casualties caused by the raid. He said the incursion was aimed at protecting Israelis from terrorists. Israeli newspapers said the terrorist Israel was seeking escaped.

Mubarak said his talks with Olmert focused on attempts to revive the peace process. The leaders also discussed efforts to free an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, kidnapped in June by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

There was no announcement Thursday of a prisoner swap. Israel is reported to be ready to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the soldier. It is not clear how Thursday's raid in Ramallah will affect a prisoner swap.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the raid. In a statement, he said it proves that Israeli calls for peace are fake.


Pontiff-to-be John XXIII Helped Rescue Thousands of Hungary's Jews

By Jay Bushinsky (Washington Times)

Newly discovered records document the role of Monsignor Angelo Roncalli, a Vatican diplomat in Istanbul during World War II who later became Pope John XXIII, in helping rescue thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

They also lend weight to arguments that Pope Pius XII, who was pontiff during the war, failed to do all he could to prevent the systematic massacre of millions of Jews.

The memoirs, documents and letters stashed away in the private collection of a Jewish associate of Monsignor Roncalli describe frequent late-night meetings in the Vatican compound in the heart of Istanbul. There, the two men composed urgent messages to the Holy See and obtained false papers to enable Jews to escape the reach of the Nazis and their allies.

Examined recently by Tel Aviv University professor Dina Porat, an internationally-respected authority on the Holocaust, the documents attest to a unique relationship that had consequences of historic importance.

Monsignor Roncalli was serving as papal nuncio in Istanbul, essentially the Vatican's ambassador. He went on to become one of the most beloved popes and, by convening the Second Vatican Council in 1962, opened the Catholic Church to a wave of modernization that included a revised liturgy and major efforts to unite with other Christian denominations.

His ally in the effort was Chaim Barlas, who had been sent to Istanbul as an emissary of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee, established by the Jewish community in what was then Palestine to try to save European Jews from the Nazis.

"Roncalli allowed Barlas to meet him in the middle of the night to draft urgent letters to Pope Pius XII about the plight of Hungarian Jewry," Mrs. Porat said in an interview. "He told Barlas that he sent cables to [Pius], but did not receive replies. It seemed to him that his ecclesiastical superiors who could act did not, and he wondered why."

Mrs. Porat said she found several handwritten letters from Monsignor Roncalli to the pontiff, composed with the help of Mr. Barlas, which included criticism of the Vatican and others for failing to do enough to help the Jews. The men intensified their efforts after the receipt in June 1944 of a report by two Slovakian Jews who had escaped a month earlier from the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

That and a subsequent account describing the grisly massacre under way there came to be known as the Auschwitz Protocols. Mr. Barlas "translated it into German, drafted a precise summary dated June 23, 1944, and was granted an audience with Roncalli a day later," Mrs. Porat said. "Roncalli wept upon reading its contents and relayed it immediately to the Vatican."

Pius subsequently wrote a letter to Adm. Miklos Horthy, a Nazi ally serving as president of Hungary, urging him to halt the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Poland, which was being expedited by Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann. "By July 7, 1944, they were stopped," Mrs. Porat said.

Yitzhak Minerbi, one of Israel's leading specialists on the Vatican's conduct and policies during World War II, said Monsignor Roncalli's contribution goes far beyond alerting the Holy See to the genocide.

As confirmed by the Barlas papers, he also issued transit passes and approved false baptismal certificates that enabled 12,000 Jews to escape Hungary, Minerbi said.

Monsignor Roncalli's efforts also have been lauded by Baruch Tenenbaum, head of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, named after the Swedish diplomat who plucked outbound Jews from deportation trains and hid them in safe houses throughout the Hungarian capital.

Asked about Pope John XXIII, Tenenbaum said: "He should be cited by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, as the foremost name on its list of righteous gentiles." Those honored at the memorial are non-Jews who risked their lives to rescue Jews from the Nazis.


Students Hope to Collect 13 Million Pennies

By Akron Beacon Journal

Laura Hood knows that the children in her fifth-grade Hebrew class at Akron, Ohio's Temple Israel will be among the last people who are able to hold the hand of a Holocaust survivor. "The survivors that are here now were children who made it through. We have to make sure the children today know about the horrors of what happened to the 13 million people who died in Europe because they were considered not to be the perfect race,'' Hood said. "It is our hope that the children today will learn the lesson and promise the survivors and themselves that this will never happen again."

To help her 14 students and the community grasp what 13 million looks like, Hood and her class have launched a project called `"Pennies for People: Each Penny has a Face -- What `Cents' Does This Make?" The goal is to collect 13 million pennies to represent the 13 million lives lost in the Holocaust.

"I want anyone who donates to hold a handful of pennies and imagine that they are holding the terrified hands of the humans who were marched into the gas chambers,'' Hood said.

The penny collection was inspired by the Tennessee paper-clip project. That began in 1998 as a way to help the middle school students at Whitwell Middle School raise their awareness of diversity. The middle school is in Whitwell, Tenn., a rural community that is almost exclusively white and Christian.

The students decided to collect one paper clip for each person killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. By the end of the project, in 2001, they had collected 11 million paper clips, which are housed in a World War II rail car that serves as a permanent Holocaust memorial.

The rail car, built in 1917, was once part of the railway system used to transport Jews and other victims of the Holocaust to concentration camps. The Tennessee school still collects donations to maintain the memorial.

Temple Israel student Kyle Gersman, 11, said it is important for his generation to learn about the Holocaust. `"It was a bad time. A lot of people died for no reason," said Kyle, a student at Old Trail who is in Hood's Hebrew class. "We need to know about what happened so we can prevent something like that from happening again."

Kyle and many of his classmates at Temple Israel have received permission from their principals to collect pennies at their schools. Each of them has a plastic container to hold the pennies until they can turn them in at their Wednesday Hebrew classes.

The students have collected more than 65,000 pennies in three weeks. Their first goal is to collect 6 million to remember the 6 million Jews who were killed. The ultimate goal is to collect 13 million to represent all of the victims, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

"When I think about all of the people who lost their lives, it reminds me that I am very lucky to live in a free country,'' said Mallory Schweiger, a student at Bath Elementary School. ``We shouldn't throw memories of the Holocaust away."

The students have decided to donate the collected pennies to an education project to raise awareness of the Holocaust at Temple Israel, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Yad Vashem is the Jewish people's memorial to the 6 million Jews killed. It contains the world's largest collection of information on the Holocaust and is a leader in Shoah education, commemoration, research and documentation.

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