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Will Kahane has put a video he made several years ago about a group of American Jews who visit the Auschwitz death camps on Google Video, a free video service: is entitled "Auschwitz Memories," and is 25 minutes long. If you have never visited this death camp, or heard a survivor's memories and recollections about it in person, on the site where events occurred, you will appreciate this poignant documentary.

Hamas Calls for New Attacks After IDF Kills Nine in 24 Hours

By Ha'aretz & VOA News

The Islamic terrorist group Hamas called Sunday for new attacks on Israel after nine Palestinians were killed by Israel Defense Forces troops in a surge of fighting over the weekend.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Sunday in a statement that Palestinians must brace for a new round of confrontation. "The blood of our people is not cheap. Therefore we are calling on ... (Hamas' armed wing) and the Palestinian resistance groups to be united in the trench of resistance and to use all possible means of resistance and to respond to the massacres."

On Sunday, IDF troops shot dead a Palestinian teen who had hurled a firebomb at a military vehicle northwest of Ramallah in the West Bank, the army said. Palestinian sources, however, said the 17-year-old had been throwing rocks, not firebombs.

Earlier Sunday, IDF troops killed two Palestinian terrorists, including a top bomb maker, during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian officials said. The officials said the two were members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a violent offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.

Eight Palestinians were killed during a 24-hour surge in violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including two terrorists killed early Sunday during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The fighting also included a Palestinian rocket attack on the Negev town of Sderot that damaged one home and caused two injuries. One of the rockets hit a house. An ambulance service said two Israelis were slightly hurt.

The violence has threatened a ceasefire declared last November between Israel and terrorists in Gaza. Palestinian officials have also said it jeopardized their efforts to expand the truce to the West Bank. The Palestinian unity government, which includes Hamas, has called for an expanded truce.

Hamas officials in the government have tried to separate themselves from pronouncements by the group's military wing. Israel considers Hamas in all its forms to be a terrorist group.

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, declined to comment on the Hamas statement issued Sunday, saying he had not yet read it. But he said the government "condemns the ugly massacres and crimes that reflect Israel's policy of military aggression."

He said the fighting proved that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is misleading the public when he talks about his willingness to have a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.

Olmert: Iran's Nuclear Program Can Be Stopped Peacefully

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes there's still time for a peaceful resolution of the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. He also defended last year's war in Lebanon and rejected resuming peace talks with Syria.

Olmert said without taking military action international sanctions could stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In a wide-ranging interview on Israel Radio, he said Iran is far from crossing the nuclear threshold.

Israel has grown increasingly alarmed about Iran's nuclear program since late 2005, when the Iranian president said the Jewish state should be "wiped off the map." Israel has not ruled out a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but Olmert said he wants to give diplomacy a chance.

Turning to the northern front, the Prime Minister defended last year's war in Lebanon, which is widely seen as a failure. Despite a 34-day air and ground assault, the well-equipped Israeli army failed to deal a knockout blow to Hizbullah terrorists, who fired more than 4,000 rockets across the border.

But Olmert said there were achievements. He said the situation on the northern border is better that it has been in years and the area "is totally quiet." He added that Israel changed "the rules of the game" in the region though it paid a very heavy price.

Since the war, Syrian President Bashar Assad has expressed interest in renewing peace talks with Israel. "We want peace with every Arab state, including Syria," Olmert said. But that will not be possible, he said, until Syria stops supporting Hizbullah and Palestinian terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israel Remembers its Fallen

By &

The State of Israel will unite in the memory of its 22,305 fallen soldiers and victims of terror on Monday. At 11 a.m., a two-minute long siren will sound throughout the country and memorial ceremonies will take place in 43 military cemeteries.

The central ceremony will take place on Mt. Herzl, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz present. At 1 p.m., the central ceremony for victims of terror, also attended by the prime minister, will take place on Mt. Herzl.

On Monday evening, events marking Israel's 59th Independence Day, and 40 years for Jerusalem's unification will begin. The IDF will continue to maintain a complete closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which will remain in effect until the end of Independence Day. Police activity will focus on military cemeteries and their surroundings.

Israelis across the country stood for a minute of silence at 8 p.m. Sunday, when the siren marking the opening of Memorial Day was sounded. Immediately following the siren, the state ceremony commemorating the fallen soldiers and victims of terror commenced at the Western wall plaza, and flags throughout Israel were lowered to half-mast.

Shortly afterwards, Northern residents complained about hearing the distinct sound of fireworks coming from nearby Arab neighborhoods.

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who spoke at the Western Wall ceremony, referred to the heavy toll claimed by the Second Lebanon War. "The last year has been hard on the State and the IDF. Names had been added to the memorial plaques – 233 more bereaved families have joined the great family of bereavement. The price is too heavy to bear.

"As someone who stood too many times on the threshold of families whose world collapsed in an instant, as a commander and a combatant, I wish to tell you: There is nothing more accursed, more difficult and more painful than war," he stated.

"We are not an army that seeks war, but a defensive army. But if a war is forced on us, we shall not back down. We will do whatever it takes so that the people of Israel can sit peacefully in their homes," Ashkenazi concluded.

Soldiers and security personnel numbering 18,784 have fallen since the U.N. decision to establish a Jewish State on Nov. 29, 1947. In recent years, Yom HaZikaron has been expanded to include civilians killed by terror attacks as well.

The number of soldiers and security personnel who have fallen since Nov. 29, 1947, when the UN accepted the partition, thus mandating the creation of a Jewish State, is 20,526. The struggle to re-create a Jewish homeland beginning in the year 1860, when Jews began to move outside Jerusalem's Old City walls, claimed an additional close to 1,500 victims.

The War of Independence was Israel's costliest war, with more than 6,000 dead and 15,000 wounded. The war consisted of 39 separate operations, fought from the borders of Lebanon to the Sinai Peninsula and Eilat, and was fought for about a year, until 1949.

Then followed seven years of relative quiet - during which there were "1,339 cases of armed clashes with Egyptian armed forces, 435 cases of incursion from Egyptian-controlled territory, and 172 cases of sabotage perpetrated by Egyptian military units and fedayeen in Israel," in which 101 Israelis were killed, as Israeli Ambassador to the UN Abba Eban explained to the Security Council on October 30, 1956.

Eban gave these statistics the day after Israel began the Sinai Campaign - its military response to Egypt's violation of international agreements by sealing off the Israeli port of Eilat, effectively stopping Israel's sea trade with much of Africa and the Far East. A total of 231 Israeli soldiers died in the fighting. In March 1957, after receiving international guarantees that Israel's vital waterways would remain open, Israel withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza - yet the Egyptians still refused to open the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping.

The Six-Day War broke out on June 5, 1967. Despite the stunning victories, over 770 Israelis were killed. Then began the period of the War of Attrition, which claimed 424 soldiers and more than 100 civilians. A ceasefire was declared on August 8, 1970.

Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, 1973. The IDF ultimately emerged victorious, but a total of 2,688 soldiers were killed.

In June 1982, in response to continued terrorist attacks from across the Lebanese border, as well as an assassination attempt upon Israel's Ambassador to Great Britain Shlomo Argov, Israel attacked the terrorists in Lebanon in what was known as Operation Peace for Galilee. Close to 460 soldiers were killed between June and December 1982, and another 760 in daily ambushes against Israeli forces over the next two and a half years.

Between December 1987, when the first Arab "intifada" broke out, and the signing of the Oslo Accords in late 1993, 90 Israelis were killed. Between the Oslo signing and the beginning of what became known as the Oslo War (seven years), 251 Israelis were killed. Another 1,287 have been felled by PA terrorists and gunmen since September 2000.

In the year 2000, then-Prime Minister Barak wrote to the bereaved families, "We visit today the rows of graves that extend to infinity... we still refuse to believe and we refuse to be consoled, because there is no consolation. Heavy, maybe too heavy, is the price we bear for our independence and building the 52 years of the State of Israel."

In contrast, the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the first Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces and the man who was responsible for setting the date of Remembrance Day, explained the day's significance differently: "We view the warriors who fall in battle as those who sprout forth life. The life of a nation grew out of this blood... This day must be more than mourning: We must remember, we must grieve, but it must be a day of mourning, majesty, and vision."

Interestingly, Barak himself took a similar tone when he spoke at the Mt. Herzl ceremony in 2000, saying, "...their deaths are the precious price of freedom and our re-establishment. It is my hope that a strong and secure State of Israel will be, with the help of God, the consolation of the bereaved families."

Rabbi Goren explained, in a 1974 speech, how he came to set Remembrance Day just before Independence Day: "The merit of doing this fell in my lot... We first thought of setting Remembrance Day on Lag BaOmer, the day that historically symbolizes the Bar Kokhba war and that which is still celebrated by Jewish children as the day of Jewish strength. In this way, we thought that we could combine the heroism of our early ancestors with that of our own children in this generation. But doubts crept in. Would we not cause harm to the general significance, shrouded in mystery as it is, of that historic day?

"One of the Fast Days, or during the Three Weeks in which we remember the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temples, was then proposed. But we could not accept the fact that the Day of Remembrance would be solely a day of mourning. It was felt that this day must be more than that. We must remember, we must grieve, but not only that - it must [also] be a day of... majesty and vision.

"We realized, therefore, that we could not assign this day to any existing holiday. But the first Independence Day was rapidly approaching, and so we did what we did - without announcing it formally and without setting any specific format for the day. I went to Voice of Israel studios on the day before Independence Day and read aloud the Chief of Staff's Daily Military Order, which he wrote according to my request. And so I became the narrator and the one who set Remembrance Day on what became its date."

Court: Woman Whose Life Partner Died Must be Recognized as Widow

By Ha'aretz

A woman whose female life partner died will be recognized as a widow and receive a 40 percent compensation stipend from 'Mivtachim' pension fund, following a ruling by the Haifa District Court last week.

The court rejected the pension fund's claim that the woman be recognized as a widower, a status that would entitle her to a 20 percent stipend.

The woman was the partner of Or Lefler, who came to the public's attention in 2004 when she sought to locate her biological mother in the hope of obtaining a bone marrow transplant from her. After Lefler died in November 2004, her life partner successfully sued 'Mivtachim,' demanding legal recognition as Or's common law wife, and that their daughter be recognized as an orphan.

The insurance company rejected the demand, claiming that according to their policy the woman is a widower because she was the partner of a woman. In the lawsuit, the woman's attorney cited a decision by Attorney General Mencahem Mazuz, according to which in such cases it is the gender of the surviving partner that determines his or her legal standing for insurance purposes.

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