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Neo-Nazis protest March of the Living
Israel Faxx News Services

Neo-Nazi demonstrators protested the March of the Living in Krakow, according to a Jewish organization. During the March of the Living, 200 people participated in an April 14 march staged by the far-right National Radical Camp, a tiny extremist group. The participants held "Heil Hitler" signs and shouted "This is Poland, not Israel," "Poland is a saintly thing" and "Jews out of Poland," according to the Warsaw-based Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland. The demonstration in Krakow Market Square took place amid foreign tourists, including Israelis who were in Poland for the March of the Living, the foundation reported.


Israel-Arab Lawmaker Resigns

By VOA News

Israel-Arab lawmaker Azmi Bishara has announced his resignation from the Knesset after leaving the country amid a police investigation. He said he tendered has resignation Sunday at the Israel Embassy in Egypt.

An embassy spokesman confirmed the move, saying Bishara had handed his resignation to Ambassador Shalom Cohen at a meeting Sunday morning.

Police announced last week that Bishara is being investigated, but have refused to give details. Bishara has been an outspoken critic of the state of Israel and its Palestinian policies. He has said he will stay abroad for a time


Israel's Acting President to Palestinians: Swap Kassams for Computers

By Ha'aretz

Knesset Speaker and Acting President Dalia Itzik has called on Israel's enemies to abandon the path of violence and seek the well being of their own societies.

"Our advice to you is replace your Katyushas and Kassams with computers and loving education, the smile of a boy that has a future, and neighborliness," Itzik said during her speech at the annual torch-lighting ceremony that kicked off Israel's 59th Independence Day celebrations at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Itzik delivered the opening speech and lit the central torch. Israel's fifth president, Yitzhak Navon, also lit one of the 12 torches. "We hear the sharpening of swords and voices of war from near and afar. In distant Iran, in nearby Syria, in the Palestinian Authority at out doorstep, there still reside fiery zealots of hate-ridden leaders that believe in their ability to harm the state of Israel," Itzik said in her speech.

She added that "the citizens of Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority should think twice about why they are so thirsty for battles and blood. Isn't the blood that you have already spilled enough?" she asked.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel is prepared to make "far-reaching compromises" and "very painful concessions" to achieve peace with its neighbors.

Speaking at a ceremony marking Israel's Memorial Day, Olmert said the country owed its fallen soldiers to continue "the vital effort to achieve the peace we long for" and to "seriously consider every diplomatic initiative".

The 22-country Arab League recently renewed a five-year-old Saudi initiative offering Israel peace with the Arab world in return for giving up all of the territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The plan also calls for a solution for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.

Israel objects to a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and has ruled out any return of refugees to former homes inside Israel. Nonetheless, Olmert has welcomed the Saudi plan as a basis for negotiations. "We will respect those of our neighbors who desire peace with us," said Olmert at a second ceremony on Monday for Israeli civilians killed in Arab attacks.

Israel would "discuss diplomatic agreements and the future of the ties between us with goodwill and readiness to make painful concessions," he said. But referring to terrorists targeting Israelis, Olmert vowed Israel "will never cease to pursue them and strike at them until they are destroyed".

Israel marks its 59th year of Independence Day with a population of 7,150,000. When the state was founded in 1948, there were 806,000 residents. One third of those people still reside in the country.

Figures published Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that 5,725,000 residents of Israel - 80 percent - are Jewish. Most of the remainder are Arab. The population has increased 121,000 in the past year. Most of that increase - 89 percent - reflects natural growth.

Since last Independence Day, 148,000 babies were born here. About 44 percent of the population resides in cities of 100,000 inhabitants or more. In 1948, Tel Aviv was the only city with more than 100,000 residents; it had 248,500 inhabitants.

Today, Israel has five cities above 200,000 inhabitants: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon LeZion and Ashdod. These five cities account for 1,810,300 residents, or about a quarter of the population.

Rural localities house 8 percent of the population. The rural population includes 119,700 kibbutz members, less than 2 percent of the overall population. At the founding of the state, kibbutzim housed 6 percent of the population.


Is the Clock Ticking for Israel?

By Israel News Faxx Services

Israelis are split on whether their country will last a century. According to a Yedioth Ahronoth poll published Monday, 47 percent of Israelis say they are concerned that in 2048 -- the centenary of Israel's founding -- there will be no Israel. The rest, 53 percent, said they had no such fear.

Asked what most threatened the Jewish state's existence, 32 percent of respondents said natural disaster, 26 percent cited the Iranian nuclear program; 20 percent said a potential civil war; and 17 percent said the prospect of being defeated by the Arabs militarily. The poll, which was conducted ahead of Independence Day, had 500 respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.





Israel at 59: The Continuous Struggle to Independence

By Eli E. Hertz (Commentary)

About six months before the War of Independence in 1948, Palestinian Arabs launched a series of riots, pillaging, and bloodletting. Then came the invasion of seven Arab armies from neighboring states attempting to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in accordance with the UN's 1947 recommendation to Partition Palestine, a plan the Arabs rejected.

The Jewish state not only survived: It came into possession of territories - land from which its adversaries launched their first attempt to destroy the newly-created State of Israel.

In the first critical weeks after the British left the region and Israel declared its independence, the combined Arab armies of: Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, and contingents from Saudi Arabia and Yemen aimed at a small Jewish militia with three tanks and five artillery pieces. Israel had no air force, and until arms were rushed in from abroad and a regular army could be organized, it relied on the only strength it had: 70 years worth of social solidarity inspired by the Zionist endeavor.

Israel's citizens understood that defeat meant the end of their Jewish state before it could even get off the ground. In the first critical weeks of battle, and against all odds, Israel prevailed on several fronts.

The metaphor of Israel having her back to the sea reflected the image crafted by Arab political and religious leaders' rhetoric and incitement. Already in 1948 several car bombs had killed Jews and massacres of Jewish civilians underscored Arab determination to wipe out the Jews and their state.

There were 6,000 Israeli dead as a result of that war, in a population of 600,000. One percent of the Jewish population was gone. In American terms, the equivalent is 3 million American civilians and soldiers killed over an 18-month period.

The Israel War of Independence in 1948 was lawful and in self-defense as may be reflected in UN resolutions naming Israel a "peace loving State" when it applied for membership at the United Nations. Both, the Security Council (March 4, 1949) and the UN General Assembly (May 11, 1949) declared: "Decides in its judgment that Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter ..."

Happy birthday peace-loving Israel


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