Newsletter : 7fax1204.txt
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IDF Seeks Stand-Up Comedians
The IDF has decided to create a position for stand-up comedians in the Education Corp.
The army has already enlisted young men and women as band members, actors, and magicians
to provide entertainment for troops.
Only two soldiers will be accepted as comedians in the initial stage of the program.
The two will need to have experience and to pass an audition. The first IDF stand-up show
is reportedly scheduled for next summer.
Report: Israel's Syrian Bombing Hit Nuclear Bombs
By The Sunday Times
Israel's top-secret air raid on Syria in September destroyed a bomb factory assembling
warheads fuelled by North Korean plutonium, a leading Israeli nuclear expert has told The
Prof. Uzi Even of Tel Aviv University was one of the founders of the Israeli nuclear
reactor at Dimona, the source of the Jewish state's undeclared nuclear arsenal.
"I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely, a factory for
assembling the bomb," he said. "I think the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]
transferred to Syria weapons-grade plutonium in raw form; nuggets of easily transported
metal in protective cans. I think the shaping and casting of the plutonium was supposed to
be in Syria."
All governments concerned - even the regime in Damascus - have tried to maintain
complete secrecy about the raid. They apparently fear that forcing a confrontation on the
issue could spark a war between Israel and Syria, end the Middle East peace talks and
wreck America's extremely complex negotiations to disarm North Korea of its nuclear
The political stakes could hardly be higher. Plutonium is the element that fuelled the
American atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Critics in the United States said proof that North Korea supplied such nuclear weapons
material to Syria, a state technically at war with Israel, would shatter congressional
confidence in the Bush administration's diplomatic policy.
From beneath the veil of military censorship, western commentators have formed a
consensus that the target was a nuclear reactor under construction.
Even said that purely from scientific observation, he had reached a different
conclusion - that it was a nuclear bomb factory, posing a more immediate danger to Israel.
He said that satellite photos of the site, taken before the Israeli strike on September 6,
showed no sign of the cooling towers and chimneys characteristic of nuclear reactors.
Syria's haste after the attack to bury the site under tons of soil suggested that
hundreds of square yards were contaminated and there were fears of radiation, the
professor added. Since then the Syrians have sealed up the location, leveled the site and
diverted curious journalists to a place that had not been attacked by Israel.
The professor's theory fits with authoritative technical evidence about North Korea's
nuclear weapons program. The North Koreans are able to produce weapons-grade plutonium,
which is electro-refined, alloyed and cast into shapes ready to be machined to fit into a
warhead, according to a team of distinguished American nuclear weapons scientists who
visited the country's laboratories.
One of those scientists, Siegfried Hecker, was allowed to hold a sample and was told
that it was "good bomb grade plutonium", because it had a very low content of plutonium
240, the isotope which reduces the overall quality of the material.
Assembly of a Nagasaki-type bomb involves mating a plutonium core with a uranium wrap
and inserting a small quantity of polonium and beryllium to initiate the chain
"Plutonium is highly dangerous material," explained the Israeli professor. "It is
easily oxidized in air unless protective measures are taken. The oxide is easily dispersed
as dust in air when machining plutonium to create the `pit' [a hollow sphere in many
nuclear weapons] and thus can be inhaled, causing a fatality in minute quantities.
"Plutonium pellets are handled and machined exclusively in a large array of `glove
boxes', to protect the technicians and their environment. That is why you need a
relatively large containment building and cannot assemble a nuclear weapon in your garage
- unless you are suicidal of course."
The debris from a destructive raid on a weapons-building facility could therefore
contain toxic radioactive waste. But the main danger for Syria would be the telltale
exposure of the elements to surveillance and detection by America. This would explain the
cover-up at the site. North Korea, for its part, has more than enough plutonium to sell
some of its stock to Syria.
The same team of visiting US scientists estimated that by late 2006 the nation had made
40-50 kg (88-100lb) of the material. Between six and eight kilograms are needed for a
For the US and its allies the Syrian connection raises the deeply worrying possibility
that North Korea has succeeded in building what the US scientists called "a sophisticated
design with smaller dimensions and mass so as to fit onto a . . . medium-range
That puzzle was complicated when North Korea announced that it had tested its first
nuclear bomb on October 9 last year. The yield of the blast was small - less than a 20th
of the Nagasaki bomb - suggesting to some scientists that the device was sophisticated and
small while others believed the North Koreans had simply not made a very good bomb.
Even believes the North Koreans have not yet perfected small warheads. "The mechanical
dimensioning at this stage is extremely demanding (less than 0.01mm). So is the casting of
the explosives around the plutonium core and the initiation of the implosion," he
The question is under urgent study by nations who might one day be targets of a North
Korean device sold to Syria or Iran. Iran is known to have financed missile and weapons
deals between North Korea and Syria, causing concern to Israel and the US. One day after
the Israeli attack, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, sent his nephew with a
personal letter to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader.
The professor's theory of a clear and present danger that Damascus would get the bomb
may be the only credible explanation why Israel carried out a military strike against
Syria and risked an all-out conflict.
Indeed on September 6 Israel was ready for war with Syria. Israeli sources said its
military chiefs assumed Syria would launch a retaliatory attack, but no reprisal came.
Meanwhile, President Bush has authorized his chief negotiator, Christopher Hill, to go
on talking to North Korea in the search for a peaceful solution. Hill will visit Pyongyang
this week to pursue negotiations after international technicians got to work on disabling
the reactor at Yongbyon, the source of North Korea's plutonium.
The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is supposed to make a full declaration of his
nuclear program by December 31. The US says that must include information on his weapons
deals with Syria and Iran.
Israel has not commented on the reported aerial attack. Reports of North Korean
assistance to Syria conflict with the Bush administration's diplomatic policies to appease
Israel Releases 429 Palestinian Prisoners
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has released 429 Palestinian prisoners, in a bid to boost support for
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, following the Annapolis Mideast peace conference last
week. Palestinian officials said they would have liked to have seen more prisoners
Israeli prison officials said they sent 408 prisoners to the West Bank and 21 to Gaza,
saying they have released 770 Palestinians from jails, since July.
Palestinian officials had requested that 2,000 prisoners be released. Ashraf Ajrami,
the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs told the Voice of Palestine Radio that
Israel could have done more. He called the Israeli move a unilateral action that does not
meet the needs of the Palestinians. He said more prisoners who have served long sentences
should also have been released.
Israel holds about 10,000 Palestinians in its jails. Mark Regev a spokesman for Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel wants to help Abbas, but many Palestinians in Israeli
jails have been convicted of serious crimes.
"You know everyone who is sitting in an Israeli jail is there for a reason. And, we
have a situation where too many people have been arrested and convicted for crimes against
humanity, trying to kill innocent people and all sorts of heinous, terrorist acts," he
said. The prisoner release is the first so-called confidence-building measure taken by
Israel since last week's Annapolis Mideast peace conference.
Increased Cancer Awareness among Holocaust Survivors Recommended
The death rate from cancer among Holocaust survivors who live in Israel is higher than
among their contemporaries who made aliyah before WWII. So asserts a new University of
Haifa study, the first of its kind, which examined the incidence of cancer among Holocaust
survivors in Israel.
The study was conducted by the University's School of Public Health. Survivors who were
in their childhood during the Holocaust were found to be at a higher risk for cancer than
those who were at an older age during the war. Additionally survival from cancer among
Holocaust survivors was slightly lower than among cancer patients who did not go through
The study, the most comprehensive of its kind that has been carried out in Israel, was
conducted by Nani Vine Raviv under the guidance of Dr. Micah Brachne and Prof. Shai Linn
from the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa and Irena Lifschitz of the
Health Ministry's National Cancer Registry. Funded by the Israel Cancer Society, it was
based on data on about two million Israelis of European origin.
The researchers compared the incidence of cancer among those born between 1920 and 1945
and who came to Israel after WWII (year of aliyah limited to before 1989) with those born
between 1920 and 1939 and who came to Israel before the war (up to 1939). Data on cancer
deaths came from the National Cancer Registry in the Department of Health.
The researchers found that the incidence of all cancers among male Holocaust survivors
was 14 percent higher and 2.4 times more likely than among men who had immigrated to
Israel before the war. Among women, in comparison, cancer was around 21percent more
prevalent and 2.3 times more likely among Holocaust survivors.
Similar findings were found with respect to specific cancers. Cancer of the large
intestine was 9 times more likely among men and 2.25 times more likely among women who
remained in Europe during the war, compared to those who immigrated to Israel before WWII.
Female Holocaust survivors were 1.5 more likely to have breast cancer than were women who
came to Israel before WWII. The risk for women who were children during the war was twice
as high compared to women who were adults during the war.
Dr. Micah Bracha, director of the National Cancer Registry in the Health Ministry and a
senior lecturer at the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa: "As we know,
life in the ghettos and the concentration camps in Europe during the time of the Holocaust
was characterized mainly by serious crowding, general poverty, difficult surrounding
environment, ongoing hunger, general malnutrition, a lack of different kinds of food,
cold, fatigue and mental stress. The difficult conditions, and mostly the caloric
limitations and lack of nutritional components, which the Holocaust survivors suffered
from during the war years, are likely to be among the main causes of the findings."
The researchers also found that the percentage of survival from cancer among Holocaust
survivors was lower (by 5 percent to 13 percent) in comparison to the survival rate among
those of European origin who immigrated before the war.
New Tourist Bus Line Launched in Tel Aviv
The Dan bus company and the Tel Aviv Municipality have launched an introductory
campaign for their new City Tour line a bus line for tourists that recently began
operating in the city.
As part of this campaign, the fare for a daily City Tour bus ticket will be reduced
from NIS 45 to NIS 10 for the next three months (December 1 February 29). A student
or senior citizen ticket will cost only NIS 8.
The GPS-guided, open-top bus travels around the city, stops at various sites of
interest and offers passengers recorded audio tour guides in eight different languages.
The first bus leaves at 9 am, and then once an hour from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The tour
begins and ends at Reading Terminal in northern Tel Aviv.
The tour lasts for about two and-a-half hours, during which the bus stops at 30
stations, including Tel Aviv Port, Herbert Samuel promenade, Old Jaffa, Neve Tzedek,
Nahalat Binyamin, Rothschild Boulevards, Dizengof Street, the Rabin memorial, Tel Aviv
Museum, Azrieli Mall, Ramat Aviv and Tel Aviv University.
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