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Help Grow the Shoah Victims' Names Database Israel Faxx News Services

Yad Vashem wants volunteers who are willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony.

With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews who they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies.

To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il with the subject heading "Names Volunteer"


Hamas' Mashaal Defends Firing Rockets into Israel

By VOA News

The exiled political leader of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas has defended the firing of Palestinian rockets into Israel. In Cairo Saturday, Khaled Mashaal said Palestinians have the right to defend themselves. His comments come amid a shaky five-month-old ceasefire with Israel.

In Cairo Friday, Mashaal held rare talks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas of the Fatah movement. It was their first meeting since their rival parties formed a coalition government in March.

Fatah has called for the ceasefire with Israel to be maintained. Abbas expressed optimism Saturday that Europe could possibly lift its embargo against the Palestinian government. He made the comment after meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Western aid was cut to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas came to power in 2006. The United States classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization. In forming the unity government earlier this year, Fatah and Hamas hoped to end the embargo and halt months of Palestinian factional fighting that killed more than 130 people.


Al Qaeda Urges Bombing and Firing on Israel

By Reuters

An al Qaeda leader called on the Islamist Hamas group to fight Israel with "bombs and fire" in an Internet video posted on Sunday, days after terrorists launched rockets into southern Israel breaking a ceasefire.

"Where is revenge, where are the bombs, where is the fire?" Abu Yahya al-Libi asked members of the military wing of Hamas in a video posted on a Web site used by Islamist militant groups. "Your loyalty to the blood of your predecessors, those loyal men, can only be through strict commitment to path of jihad...and rejecting any other way," he said in the undated video.

Al Qaeda, which spearheads a militant campaign against the United States and its allies, views the Sunni Muslim Hamas as a moderate group that has compromised the rights of Palestinians for political gains.

In March, al Qaeda's No 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, accused Hamas of serving US interests through a power-sharing agreement with the secular Fatah group. Libi, who is believed to have escaped from an American jail in Afghanistan in 2005, said it was the duty of al Qaeda to give advice to Hamas.

Hamas killed nearly 300 Israelis in 58 suicide bombings after a Palestinian uprising began in 2000. It last carried out a suicide bombing in 2004, but the group's Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades fired rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday in retaliation for recent killings of Palestinians by Israel.

Libi scolded Hamas leaders for embracing democracy and establishing ties with "infidel" Russia and Shi'ite Iran. Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in Jan. 2006. "Nationalism and Palestinian unity became the ground of your relations . . . tarnishing your group," he said. "Those listening to your statements can no longer differentiate between you and secular groups."

Libi also criticized Hamas leaders for what he described as a policy of "begging" and for visiting Russia and Iran to seek support in the face of a Western blockade against the Hamas-led Palestinian government for refusing to recognize Israel.


Anti-Israel Ads in Washington DC Subways

By Israel Insider

The Washington-area subway system will soon be flooded with brashly biased anti-Israel advertisements, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

According to the report, the 46-by-60-inch poster ads show an Israeli tank pointing its gun at a child carrying a backpack on a dirt road, reading "Imagine if this were your child's path to school. Palestinians don't have to imagine." The ad then calls for the U.S. to stop aiding "Israel's brutal military occupation... paid for by U.S. taxpayers like you."

The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is the organization responsible for the campaign, which is scheduled to run in 20 subway stations across the capital for a month starting May 13. The campaign will advertise a June 10 rally to end "Israel's illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem."

Washington Jewish Week online reported ADL spokesman Oren Segal as saying, "If past events by this organization are any indication, it will make no attempt to present a balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this ad is a pure reflection of that."

An icon on the organization's website reads "Apartheid: Wrong for South Africans. Wrong for Palestinians." CBS Outdoor, the New York-based company responsible for Washington's in-station advertising, originally refused to run the campaign, but later consented, citing the rights of free speech.

CBS Outdoor's executive vice-president in charge of marketing, Jodi Senese, who is Jewish, explained the firm's decision. "I'm very proud [of being a Jew]," Senese said. "I thought the image was inflammatory, but I also believe in our First Amendment rights. As Jews [in America], we thrive on that right as well."

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of Washington-based pro-Israel think-tank, the Israel Project, said her organization's stance was that the campaign would have "minimum impact." The group was originally worried about the campaign, but after performing several focus groups concluded that it wasn't worth countering.

According to the Canadian Jewish News, Laszlo Mizrahi said that among the focus groups, "upon first glance most thought the tank was an American one surrounded by Iraqi children. And even when they read the poster's words, participants had little sympathy for the cause, she said."

According to Laszlo Mizrahi, most of the focus group participants mistook the tank as American and the child as Iraqi, and felt minimal support for the cause even after reading the ad's text. "It's a poorly run... poorly executed campaign and the American people are onto [the U.S. Campaign's] game. There are real, legitimate threats to the U.S.-Israel relationship -- this is just not one of them, stated Laszlo Mizrahi. "If these guys want to build support for their cause, they need to have something to sell that doesn't encourage children to blow themselves up."


Sandy Koufax Drafted to Israel Baseball League

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax has been chosen as the final player to complete the new six-team Israel Baseball League, slated to include 120 players from nine countries, including12 Israeli citizens.

The 71-year-old left-hander, who retired from the game 41 years ago, was drafted by former major league general manager Dan Duquette, head of baseball operations for the Israel league, to join the Modi'in Miracle team for the inaugural season which begins June 24th.

Koufax, a baseball idol to generations of American baseball fans, refused to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series in order not to desecrate Yom Kippur, the Jewish Holy Day of Atonement. The left-handed star pitched four no-hitters, including one perfect game, in his career with the Dodgers.

"It's been 41 years between starts for him," Miracle manager and former major league player Art Shamsky told reporters. "If he's rested and ready to take the mound again, we want him on our team."

The six teams that will be playing in the league are the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox, the Modi'in Miracle, the Netanya Tigers, the Petach Tikva Pioneers, the Raanana Express and the Tel Aviv Lightning.

Players hail from nine different countries, with about a dozen native Israelis and a majority of Jews. It is assumed that players will relocate to Israel, at least for the season, though it is uncertain whether Sandy Koufax and others will be officially making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel). The league hopes to be made up of at least 25 percent Israelis by its fifth year.


Iran: Israel Can Never be a Threat to Iran

By ISNA (Iranian news Agency)

Iran's defense ministry's cultural and information deputy stated that Israel could never be considered as a threat to Iran. "The Israeli military force which was shattered by a few thousand Hizbullah militants in a 200 kilometer area could never be considered a threat for the vast and mighty Islamic Republic of Iran," said Brig. Gen. Alireza Afshar in answer to the recently made comments by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

"Olmert knows better that the answer to his 1000 missiles will be thousands of missiles. This is while Israel is more penetrable that Iran," he emphasized. "We consider these statements as a mere effort for creating propagandas and enforcing the U.S.'s physiological wars in the region."

Germany's Focus magazine earlier quoted Olmert as saying that nobody was ruling out the possibility of a military action against Iran if it continues its nuclear program. "It is impossible perhaps to destroy the entire nuclear program but it would be possible to damage it in such a way that it would be set back years."

"It would take 10 days and would involve the firing of 1,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles," Focus quoted Olmert as saying. However, these statements were denied by Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin. She said the prime minister had spoken to the author of the Focus article, but did not make the comments that were attributed to him.


Cabinet Approves Purchase of Natural Gas from Gaza

By YnetNews.com

Israel's Cabinet on Sunday approved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal to buy natural gas from the Palestinian Authority, part of a move to increase cooperation with foreign countries that pump natural gas from along Gaza's sea line. The deal would provide tens of millions of dollars in revenue to the Palestinian Authority.

The approval validates recent negotiations of the Israeli government with British Gas and its partner company CCC, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian and Lebanese businessmen.

In 2003, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancelled similar negotiations out of fear that natural gas revenues would end up in the hands of terrorists. Towards the end of his tenure, he appeared to change his stance and began discreet negotiations.

Six months ago, the government published a memo calling on private Israeli entrepreneurs to renew negotiations with British Gas. Nonetheless, sources in the energy sector said "the government remembered British Gas too late, after using ridiculous excuses to avoid it for years. The British are merely speaking with the Israeli government out of politeness."

British Gas responded that they were pleased with the developments and expected to build contacts with the Israeli government.

Businessman Yossi Meiman, whose energy company – Merhav – provides Israel with natural resources from Egypt via the joint EMG company, was angered by the government's decision. "I am in favor of competition among suppliers of natural gas, but I don't understand the preference for British Gas over other suppliers," he told Ynet. "I offered to supply natural gas at a much cheaper price than British Gas, but was ignored.

"In the past, we negotiated on collaboration with British Gas but decided against it, after it turned out that they had secret partners, including Muhammad Rashid (Yasir Arafat's accountant) and Martin Schlaf. This is why we decided not to go through with the deal," Meiman explained. "It was clear even then that a significant percentage of funds would go to the secret partners.

"Even if the Israeli government succeeds in overcoming Hamas' resistance to supervision of their use of direct natural gas revenues, who will supervise the funds that get to Hamas indirectly, via the secret partners?" Meiman asked.

British Gas denied Meiman's claims regarding the secret partners, saying that Rashid was never a direct or indirect business partner in the company.


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