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Israel Finalizes List of 250 Palestinians Prisoners to Be Freed

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has put the final touches on plans for a release of Palestinian prisoners. But many Israelis and Palestinians doubt the plan will achieve its aim of boosting the peace process.

The Palestinian prisoners slated for release are from the Fatah faction of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He heads a moderate government in the West Bank after the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it is a goodwill gesture to Abbas, because he opposes violence and supports the peace process. "I promised the Palestinians that our government will consider the new Palestinian government, free of any Hamas people, as a genuine partner," he said.

But the prisoner release has been criticized by Israelis and Palestinians alike. Palestinians are disappointed because the list is made up of people who have nearly completed their terms. Palestinian spokesman Mustafa Barghouti said if Israel wants to strengthen Abbas, it is not enough. "They're restricting their support by declaring that they will release only 250 prisoners out of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and while they are arresting almost 200 every month," he said.

If it is not enough for Palestinians, it is too much for many Israelis. Rabbi Stuart Weiss, whose son was killed in a Palestinian attack, said releasing prisoners would bring more terror.

"To free individuals who are almost without question going to perpetrate many more murders, as has been the case, conclusively proven, in the past is certainly something that can only spell disaster for the nation at large," he said.

Reassuring the public, the Israeli government said the prisoners on the list do not have "Jewish blood on their hands," meaning they were not directly involved in attacks on Israelis.

Voice of Poland - in Hebrew


Polish Radio began, Monday evening, broadcasts of Hebrew-language programs on a daily basis, as part of a new initiative to better relations between Poland and Israel, the station's Hebrew radio head told YnetNews.

"The show will be available on 107.2FM to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the other coastal cities and 89.3 FM to the north of the country including Afula and Nazareth (from 21:30)," a press release said. "This daily broadcast in Hebrew is one of many steps towards reconciliation towards Israel and the Jewish people that have been initiated by Poland in recent times," the statement added.

Speaking to YnetNews from Warsaw, Michael Hermon, head of Polish Radio's Hebrew Section, said the initiative aims "to broadcast reliable information from people who live here - Israelis, Polish Jews, and Jews who come here from all over the world.

"Thousands of Jews, especially from Israel, arrive in Poland every year. There's no doubt that Poland would like to change its image in Israel. We would like to continue to remember what happened here to the Jewish people, and at the same time, to look forward to the future," Hermon added.

The program would present daily news developments in Poland, and look at politics, society, and music, as well as Polish-Israeli relations, Hermon said. A special focus would be given to Jews living in Poland, assimilation, and anti-Semitism, he added.

Grandchildren More Likely to Care for Caring Grandparents

By Newswire

Perhaps this headline isn't surprising, but now it has scientific backing: new research at the University of Haifa found that grandchildren who, during their childhood, were taken care of by their grandparents, expressed a greater desire to take care of their grandparents as they aged than did grandchildren who were not taken care of by their grandparents.

"Even little things, like occasional babysitting for a few hours were enough to make grandchildren want to return the favor to grandparents," said Dr. Ahuva Even-Zohar, from the School of Social Work at the University of Haifa who conducted the research.

The research, under the direction of Prof. Shlomo Sharlin, evaluated 216 pairs of grandchildren and their grandparents. According to the researcher, the study results revealed that not only did grandchildren who were taken care of by their grandparents express a desire to help, they were actually very involved in helping with day-to-day things like transportation, shopping, nursing care, emotional support and initiating visits.

The research also showed that gender affects the desire to help: granddaughters exhibited more desire to help their grandparents than did grandsons. However, in reality, no difference was noted in the actual assistance given to grandparents between granddaughters and grandsons.

"It is important to note that while the grandchildren felt an emotional connection to past experiences, grandparents need to feel that they are also helping their grandchildren in the present," remarked Dr. Even-Zohar.

"The practical meaning of the research is that grown grandchildren can, and need to be involved in the ongoing care of their grandparents and it is possible to build a program of care which includes the entire family, including grandchildren. The grandchildren's involvement in caring for their grandparents should be an important part of the family support," summarized the researcher.

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