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Olmert: Israel Can't Meet All Palestinian Demands for Shalit's Release

By VOA News

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel is not prepared to meet every demand of Palestinian terrorists to secure the release of a captured Israeli soldier. He told Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday the list of Palestinian prisoners the militants want freed creates expectations Israel cannot meet. The list, which has not been made public, is said to include up to 1,400 names. The terrorists are demanding the prisoners be freed in return for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was captured in June of last year. Israel currently holds more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, including many political leaders, mostly for security offenses.

Syria Threatens War, Olmert Dismissive

By Israel Faxx News Services

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that Syria is ready for a war with Israel, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel has no intention of starting that war.

"Syria grows stronger every day," Assad told the Arabic Dar Al-Hayat daily, adding that Israel is a "bitter enemy." He also said that contacts between Syria and Israel take place about once a month, with no results, due to Israel's refusal to unilaterally withdraw from the Golan Heights. "We do not know whether war will take place, but we should not disregard this possibility," Assad concluded.

Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said Sunday that, "If Israel rejects the Arab League peace proposal, resistance will be the only way to liberate the Golan Heights."

Israel has annexed the Golan Heights, the high ground overlooking northern Israel, after liberating it from Syria in 1967 during the Six Day War. More than 40,000 Israeli Jews now live in the Golan.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded to the threats Wednesday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He said Israel has no intention of attacking Syria and opined that Syria will not attack Israel either, but is talking about defending itself if attacked.

The Christian Broadcasting Network has gone into further detail about Syria's preparations for war. Missile expert Uzi Rubin described what he termed "Syria's Cape Canaveral," referring to the headquarters of the American space launch facility in Florida.

One installation features Syrian missile launchers housed in more than 30 huge concrete bunkers surrounding an operations command center. "They learned the trick that even shorter-range missiles that are fired in salvos from multiple rocket launchers are very effective against Israel's civilian population," Rubin said.

Another military site includes a drive-through building were chemical warheads are stored. "The Scud D can hit any point in Israel from the furthermost point in Syria near the Iraqi border," Rubin says. "It was done specifically in order to have this range to hit every single point in Israel."

Amit: West Should Assassinate Ahmadinejad


Former Mossad head Meir Amit said in an interview with Kfar Habad newspaper on Wednesday that Western nations should unite and assassinate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Amit explained that while he normally opposes the assassination of political leaders, he believes that this case is different, because Ahmadinejad is "almost the only focus" of the nuclear crisis.

Amit said that Iran could pose an existential threat to Israel with nuclear weapons, but believes that Iran would not attack Israel under current conditions due to fear of a harsh counterattack. The full interview with Amit will be published in Kfar Habad on Thursday.

Reform Jews Accuse Rabbi of Libel for Holocaust Statement

By Ha'aretz and

Members of the Reform movement on Wednesday accused the former Sephardic chief rabbi of slander for allegedly stating that the Holocaust happened because of the activity of Reform Jews in Germany.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu is said to have made the statement on Friday in an interview with a pirate radio station, Kol HaEmet (The Voice of the Truth),and six Reform movement members have filed a slander complaint to the police.

"Rabbi Eliyahu's statements are no less serious than Holocaust denial, and the Israeli public must respond accordingly ... The public in Israel has had enough of rabbis cursing and wants a spiritual leadership whose 'ways are ways of pleasantness,'" they said.

Most of the complainants are survivors or descendants of survivors. The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism said there were numerous requests for immediate public and legal action after the broadcast.

Eliyahu, who is considered the spiritual leader of the National Religious Party, was asked by the radio interviewer, "What was the sin of the six million?" In response, he quoted from Exodus 22:5: "If fire gets out of control and spreads through weeds, and [then] consumes bound or standing grain or a field, the one who started the fire must make restitution."

He then said, "Those people [Jews in general] are not to blame, but Reform started in Germany, those who changed the religion began in Germany. And because it is written that God was angered, even He did not differentiate among the righteous, it was done." The chief rabbi of Safed, Eliyahu's son Shmuel Eliyahu, said his father's words do not justify the Nazi crimes but "are based on historic facts," and that anti-Semitism rose where there was assimilation. He called the complaint against his father "a joke."

Since Rabbi Eliyahu's statements were made against an entire public, and not one individual, the law stipulates that a civil lawsuit cannot be filed against the rabbi. The only option is to file a complaint with the police and demand that a criminal investigation be launched. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz will eventually have to rule whether the case warrants an indictment.

Among those who filed the complaint Wednesday was Michael Sheizaf, 68, a member of the Darchei Noam community in Ramat Hasharon. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Michael was six-years-old when World War II ended. "I'm angry that the Reform movement, and Jews in general, are being blamed for what happened. If you claim that everything happened because God decided to punish the Jews, then what do we want from the Germans?" he asked.

Israel's Supreme Court: Women Now Allowed to Eulogize


The plaintiffs, Liat and Rivkah Luvitch, claimed that Petah Tikva Chief Rabbi Shimon Solomon banned women from actively participating in funerals held at the city's Segula cemetery.

According to Solomon's ruling women were forbidden from accompanying the deceased to his final resting place and forbidden from delivering a eulogy for them. A strict separation was to be maintained between the sexes throughout the course of the funeral procession.

The Supreme Court ruled that the rabbi's order violated the basic rights of women and discriminated between the residents of Petah Tikva and other towns.

Rivkah Luvitch filed the appeal following the death of her father, Israel Prize Laureate Charles Liebman, a renowned sociologist. Luvitch sought to deliver her father's eulogy but when she started to approach the microphone in the funeral home a representative from the burial society blocked her path and told her that "In Petah Tikva, women do not eulogize." The guidelines were referred to as "the Jerusalem practice."

"This was an unspeakably cruel act," said Luvitch of the incident. Luvitch discovered that the order was issued by the city's chief rabbi and her lawyers took the matter to Israel's rabbinical court, where Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger ruled that women are allowed to eulogize and participate in funerals, further saying that this is the practice in many cities. However, Metzger refrained from intervening as every local rabbi is allowed to apply his own rules to the area under his jurisdiction.

Luvitch refused to give up however and appealed to the Supreme Court under the claim that the practice violated human liberty, freedom of speech and religious freedom. Luvitch said that this was an attempt to impose strict religious practices on a public that does not observe them.

The plaintiff further noted that the Segula cemetery and those running it have a monopoly on burial in the city and anyone seeking burial elsewhere is forced to pay thousands of dollars in expenses.

In addition to the appeal, Luvitch attached the affidavits from dozens of women who testified that they had delivered eulogies for their loved ones in Jerusalem itself, from where Solomon allegedly copied the practice.

The burial society responded to the appeal and confirmed to the court in writing that they ask women not to eulogize and generally expect the public to maintain a separation between the sexes as is done in conservative synagogues. They asserted, however, that the vast majority of women's requests to speak at funerals are approved, despite the fact that the local rabbi views such an action as disrespectful to the deceased.

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and demanded that the burial society implement their ruling immediately.

Free Software for WiFi Connections Without Routers

By Newswise

You are visiting your friends and would like to transfer photos of a shared trip from your laptop to theirs. Wouldn't it be great if you could share your files with them directly from one computer to the other?

You are sitting in a boring lecture. You and your friends all have laptops, but your university has not installed an access point in the lecture room. Wouldn't it be great if you could play a game of Chess or Reversi against them, or even gossip with them about yesterday's football match?

You are stuck in an airplane for a long flight and you are looking for something to do. If you could only play a game of Chinese checkers with other passengers.

You have a home network, or even a small office network, and you'd like to share files among your computers without having to set up a dedicated server. There has to be a simple way of doing this.

Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa have developed software that makes possible direct wireless (WiFi) communication between computers without intermediary devices (such as Internet routers). The software is available as a free download at

The user-friendly software enables simple communication between computers in close proximity – up to 300 feet inside buildings to more than 900 feet in the open. The scientists say that direct communication between computers was not widely explored previously because of the long, complicated configuration process involved.

The WiPeer software makes possible the transfer of dozens of pictures from one computer to another in less than a minute, and a 700 MB file can be transferred in 15 minutes or less, depending on variables such as the age of the computer and the speed of its wireless network card. It is also possible to carry conduct private online chats or to play collaborative games such as chess.

"We want to bring this to as many people as possible," says Prof. Roy Friedman of the Technion Faculty of Computer Science. "When there are two computers in the same room, it doesn't make sense that they must go out to the Internet to communicate. WiPeer's main added value is the ability to keep things local."

Friedman said the next stage is to develop WiPeer for the cellular phone. This would allow users to bypass the cellular operator, and to make free calls to anyone within close proximity (for example, in a shopping mall, school or stadium).

WiPeer was developed as part of the doctoral dissertation of students Vadim Drabkin, Gabi Kliot and Alon Kama under the direction of Prof. Friedman.

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