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James Bond Actor to Portray Jewish Partisan Hero


The Jewish resistance fighter Tuvia Bielski, who helped save more than 1,230 Jews during the Holocaust, is to be played by James Bond actor Daniel Craig in a new film.

Defiance, directed by Edward Zwick, is the big-screen adaptation of Nechama Tec's book, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans. It tells the story of the Bielski brothers in Nazi-occupied Poland, who escaped into the Belarussian forest and built a secret village there.

Hamas Threatens to Use 'More Dangerous Weapons'


Hamas has threatened Israel with far more dangerous weapons than the Kassam rocket. IDF sources confirmed that Palestinian Authority terrorists have longer-range rockets than those used previously.

Following a counter-terrorism operation in central Gaza on Monday, in which six enemy gunmen were killed by IDF ground troops, Hamas threatened that it may soon use weapons far more dangerous and lethal than the Kassam rocket.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeidah said, "If the Zionists are afraid of the possibility of the firing of rockets, they should know we possess far more dangerous weapons."

The Hamas threat was similar to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's boast last week that the Lebanese terror group has "surprises" in store for Israel. In his statement, Abu Obeidah also denied that the six terrorists targeted by the IDF Monday had fired a Kassam rocket on the western Negev.

IDF sources have stated that Hamas did not make an empty boast regarding its having far more dangerous weapons than the unguided Kassam rocket. Gaza-based terrorists have developed or smuggled to their operatives rockets with a longer range than those currently in use, according to IDF intelligence officials.

Among the more powerful rockets in Gaza are Katyushas such as those deployed by the Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. The Soviet-made Grad-class rocket has a range of approximately 14 miles, within easy reach of Ashkelon, sources said. It also can carry about 13 pounds of explosives. At least three Katyushas were fired from Gaza by PA terrorists in 2006.

Intelligence officials have warned the government ever since the expulsion of Jewish residents from the Gush Katif area and the withdrawal of the IDF two years ago that Hamas has smuggled from Egypt a large arsenal of weapons.

In September 2005, Egyptian border patrol forces took control of the Egypt-Israel border in Gaza, known as the Philadelphi Route. Prior to the withdrawal of IDF forces from the border area, a fierce debate took place regarding Israel's dependence on Egyptian security for preventing terrorist smuggling.

Politicians leading the charge against abandoning the border were Binyamin Netanyahu and Yuval Shteinitz (Likud), while the plan was promoted strongly by former Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Kadima). During a Knesset debate on the issue in late August 2005, Mofaz declared that the deployment of Egyptian troops in Gaza "is not a military threat to Israel."

Hamas has dug dozens of tunnels in the direction of Israel. Although ignored by the cabinet, Sharon's National Security Advisor Giora Eiland and IDF Gaza District Coordinating Office head Colonel Yoav Mordechai warned against abandoning the Philadelphi Route to Egyptian and PA forces. Mordechai said at the time, "In theory, Bin-Laden could enter Gaza via the Philadelphi Road if we do not maintain control."

In addition to the tunnels into Gaza, Hamas has dug dozens of tunnels in the direction of Israel, which enable terrorists to stage terrorist raids on IDF positions and communities near Gaza.

ADL Reverses Itself on Armenian Genocide

By Israel Faxx News Services

In a dramatic reversal, the Anti-Defamation League's national director issued a statement Tuesday using the term "genocide" to describe the massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians.

The ADL and its national director, Abraham Foxman, have faced mounting criticism in recent weeks for refusing to use the genocide label and essentially opposing a proposed congressional resolution that would do so. The controversy heated up last week when Foxman fired the director of the ADL's New England region for denouncing the organization's position in an interview with the Boston Globe.

"In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-Armenian issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians," Foxman said in his statement.

"We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities," Foxman said. "On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide."

Foxman said that he had consulted with "friend and mentor Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other respected historians who acknowledge this consensus."

The ADL leader said the organization still believes "that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States."

Celebrities' IDF Commando Unit


After the special service program for exceptional athletes and gifted musicians, the IDF has begun working on a similar program for exceptional celebrities.

Athletes and musicians recognized by the army as highly talented are given the possibility of enlisting to an "easy" military service, which enables them to continue training and practicing while serving in the IDF. This week, the IDF Personnel Directorate decided to launch a similar program for artists in the field of "light entertainment."

The new plan was created in a bid to deal with the growing rate of draft dodging, which has recently reached 25 percent of all youth. One of the main problems identified by the officers was the shirking of military duty by the teenagers' role models, particularly young artists who have chosen not to serve in the army in order to pursue their career.

"We must make an effort to enlist the public opinion leaders," a senior officer said Monday. "We see 18-year-olds at the peak of their professional career. They can still contribute, and we have no intention of giving up on them," said another senior officer at the IDF's Personnel Directorate.

"Just like we have been letting exceptional athletes and gifted musicians serve under conditions suitable to the army, which do not harm their career, we should do the same with those young artists."

As part of the administrative work, formed by the IDF's head of manpower, Colonel Tziki Sela, a committee comprised by professionals from the relevant fields will examine each case individually.

Among the celebrities who will be able to apply for the special program are models, television presenters and soap opera actors. The IDF will set a limited quota for the number of celebrities entitled to serve as part of the special program, and those who will not be accepted will be sent to regular military service.

"We realize that not all soldiers can serve with the Golani Brigade, but there is no reason for those who can perform on stages not to do so in front of Golani troops on the Gaza border," said a senior officer at the IDF's Personnel Directorate.

According to the officer, the desired model is celebrities like Roni Duani, Agam Rodberg and Tom Avni, who served in the army, and this did not interfere with the development of their career.

According to the senior officer, the three artists received all the days of leave they needed in order to perform on television programs and entertainment stages. "The army does not ruin careers. This is a lame excuse used by people trying to dodge the draft," the officer said. "These artists are not exempted and we will find a unique service program for them. It is important for us to see them serve because of the influence they have on teenagers."

Russian Scientist Publishes History of Pogroms

By Israel Faxx News Services

A scientist from the Russian Academy of Sciences has completed a 1,000-page history of anti-Semitic violence.

"The Book of Pogroms" by Lidia Milyakova details the bloody massacres that were widespread in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus during the three-year Civil War that followed the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and continued during the early years of the new Soviet state.

Milyakova spent six years working on the book. The only funding she received was a $500 grant from a publishing house.

She pored through official and unofficial documents, including more than 360 reports made between 1918 to 1923 by the so-called "Central Committee for Assisting Victims of the Programs," which she located in the State Archive of the Russian Federation. The documents report that 200,000 Jews suffered during the Civil War and its aftermath.

The book proves that nearly all the forces fighting in Russia's Civil War held anti-Semitic attitudes, from the pro-Monarchy White Guards to the Bolsheviks, and a wide assortment of local paramilitary and separatist groups. "Common people in hard times often look unconsciously for a scapegoat," she said. "Jews are the perfect target because of their visible distinction and absolute vulnerability."

This week, Milyakova was thanked for her book by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. Five hundred copies were printed.

Report: Brody Eyeing Politics

By Israel Faxx News Services

Tal Brody, a U.S.-born immigrant to Israel who became one of the country's sporting legends, is reportedly considering a career in politics.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday that Brody, famed in Israel for his past basketball feats and unabashed American-accented Hebrew, was recently offered a senior post in the Likud Party by its chairman, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Brody confirmed meeting Netanyahu but told the newspaper he has yet to make a decision on whether to enter politics. Brody was a star player in the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team when it won an unprecedented European cup in 1977. Since retiring from the sport he has been active in the "Israeli Spirit" charity and in encouraging immigration.

Court Questions Israel's Upkeep of Mosques


Israel's High Court of Justice has asked the state to explain its failure to recognize and help upkeep Muslim sites of worship in the country.

"Why shouldn't the National Authority of Religious Services respect the relevant laws and introduce ordinances to ensure that all Muslim religious sites in Israel are preserved?" wrote Justice Edmond Levy in response to a petition by Arab advocacy center Adalah.

A hearing on the petition last month ended with the state saying it would set aside about $476,000 for the maintenance of mosques in Israel, but that there was no need for new ordinances.

The court later agreed that just setting the money aside does not guarantee a long-term commitment to the maintenance of mosques and demanded the state provide explanations for its decision

Adalah lawyer Hassan Jabrin told YnetNews the government's refusal to recognize mosques was part of an "unjust" policy that ignored "their religious and historical importance."

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