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Muslim Hero Saves Jews in Subway Attack

By Israel Faxx News Services

Hassan Askari, 20. a student at Berkeley College in Manhattan came to the aid of Walter Adler last Friday when he and three friends were attacked on a subway between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Ten men and women, aged 19 and 20, verbally and physically assaulted Adler and his friends after they wished the assailants "Happy Chanukah" in response to their "Merry Christmas" wish.

Askari tried to fight off the attackers, which gave Adler time to pull an emergency brake on the train. The assailants were arrested at the next stop. "That a random Muslim kid helped some Jewish kids, that's what's positive about New York," Adler, 23, who suffered a broken nose, told AP.

Sarkozy: Israel Could Attack Iran

By Israel Faxx News Services &

Israel is more likely to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities than the United States, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

The president, who has been among the most outspoken world leaders on the need to curb Iranian nuclear technologies with bomb-making potential, said in an interview published Wednesday that he would be willing to help Tehran establish a purely peaceful atomic energy program.

"The danger of a war exists," he said. "The problem for us is not so much the risk that the Americans launch a military intervention but that the Israelis consider that their security is truly threatened."

Sarkozy recently hosted both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu in Paris for talks on Iran and other Middle East issues.

He said in a magazine interview published Wednesday that France was more worried about tensions between Iran and Israel than between Iran and the United States. There is a danger of war erupting over Iran's nuclear program if "the Israelis believe their security is truly threatened," Sarkozy said in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur.

"I have never been for war," he added. "The problem for us is not so much the risk that the Americans could launch a military intervention, but that the Israelis consider their security is truly threatened

Israeli-Palestinian Meeting Ends in Acrimony

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)
12 December 2007

The first formal meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators since last month's Annapolis, Md. peace conference, ended in acrimony Wednesday with both sides accusing each other of acting in bad faith on a host of issues.

The 90-minute meeting was supposed to open with a ceremony celebrating the beginning of formal peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. But the talks had to be rescheduled and moved to a secret location after it became apparent that the two sides had little to discuss.

Aryeh Mekel, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said both sides had grievances to air. "The Palestinians chose to use this occasion to raise grievances. Basically our delegation led by Foreign Minister Livni expressed the need for Palestinians to take urgent action vis-à-vis the security situation and she mentioned the attacks from Gaza," said Mekel. "As you know today there were more than 20 Kassam rockets fired at Sderot and its vicinity. Also she mentioned the lack of security in the West Bank where only two weeks ago, two Palestinian policemen shot and killed an Israeli resident."

Just two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to re-start peace talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement by the end of next year. But since then continued Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza, and Israel's decision to build 300 homes in an Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood known as Har Homa, have soured the atmosphere.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel has to choose between settlements and peace with the Palestinians. He added that the Palestinians main point of discussion in their talks with Israel was the planned construction of 300 homes in the Har Homa, East Jerusalem neighborhood. He also said they raised the issue of Israeli military activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Tuesday, Israeli troops launched a ground incursion into Gaza - the largest such operation since June, when Hamas terrorists seized control of the territory from Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The issue of Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel is raising concerns of a wider Israeli military offensive in Gaza. But Israel's army chief said his forces would focus on carrying out limited operations in the territory and avoid a broader invasion.

Meanwhile, the mayor of the Israeli town of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of the rocket fire, resigned saying he could not carry out his duties as long as the attacks continued.

IDF Rabbi Opposes Women in Combat Units

By by Gil Ronen

Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, the IDF's Chief Rabbi, said Wednesday that women serving in the IDF should not be put in combat roles. "The idea of girls going into tanks or into paratrooper battalions is an impracticable one in my opinion and could hurt the combat array," he told Voice of Israel government radio.

Rontzki said the subject of women's service in combat was currently under debate and that the Military Rabbinate's position on the subject was certainly negative. He added that practically speaking, "there will be very few girls who want to serve three years as fighters in the paratroops or tanks, it seems a little imaginary to me."

He also revealed that for the first time ever, a female Religion Officer would join the ranks of the Military Rabbinate, and would deal with religious questions, problems and needs faced by female soldiers. One out of three girls from the religious Zionist stream joins the army, he said: "This is quite a lot [of women] and we have never dealt with this matter in the Rabbinate."

Besides serving in various combat support roles, such as Deputy Operations Officers, Intelligence Officers and signal operators, women now serve in combat roles in the IDF's Artillery Corps, and in a special mixed-sex infantry battalion called the Karakal, which is stationed along Israel's peaceful borders (Egypt and Jordan). Another mixed-sex unit is Sachlav, a part of the Military Police, which has been stationed in Judea and Samaria. Women also serve in combat roles in the Border Guards.

Proponents of women's integration see it as an expression of equal rights and equal opportunity, and claim that as long as combat service is an exclusive male privilege, power will continue to be concentrated in male hands and Israeli society will never offer women true equality.

Opponents of women's integration into combat units claim that it has been proven to cause physical harm to many of the women and that it reduces the fighting unit's effectiveness in true combat. They also claim that there has been some deceit in the way the public debate on the matter was managed.

According to military historian Prof. Martin Van Crevelt, despite all the hype around women's combat service, women are kept out of dangerous combat situations in the IDF. As proof of this, he cited the fact that out of 119 IDF soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War, only one (Warrant Officer Keren Tandler, who served as a flight mechanic aboard a Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter that was shot down), was a woman.

Unrepentant Nazi, 84, Calls Auschwitz a '10-Star Hotel'

By The Daily Mail

An unrepentant old Nazi officer who served in some of the worst concentration camps, Paul Maria Hafner, is the subject of a TV documentary called "Hafner's Paradise" which chronicles his life in exile – and how he manages to draw pensions from three countries.

Operation Last Chance, the campaign to round up the last Nazis in Europe organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, has him on its wanted list.

'Hitler was a great man': Hafner, now 84, said as he demonstrated the Nazi salute to the Fuhrer. Yet although Hafner continues to make outrageous statements that would put him behind bars in Germany or Austria, no government has sought to prosecute him.

He calls the death camp of Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews were murdered, "a 10-star hotel" where "Jews were sent for their own protection. All that stuff about murder is Allied propaganda crap."

Of Hitler he said: "I regard him as the greatest man who ever lived, the most important person in the history of the world." He said he gets out of bed every day to give the raised arm salute to his Fuehrer.

He agreed to a documentary being made on him "because I want to set the record straight about our ideals and our cause during the Third Reich." He admits he dreams of seeing a "Fourth Reich" in Germany adding: "I am only sorry I will not be around to see it."

After WWII, Hafner found asylum in Franco's Spain, protected from allegations of war crimes and surrounded by old comrades. This is why Spain is "paradise on earth" for him - a place that allows him to continue to nurture his fanaticism, and yet protects him from the scrutiny of international justice.

"No Jew was ever killed under Hitler for being a Jew," he said, refusing to elaborate on what he did when posted to the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Dachau in Germany.

Hafner is not being pursued actively by governments although Nazi war crime sleuths in Israel believe him guilty of atrocities in the two concentrations camps where he worked and on the Eastern Front where he served as a fighting SS man.

He draws three pensions because he qualifies for a war pension from Germany, an old age pension in Spain where he worked for many years as a pig farmer and one from Italy because it is the land of his birth. Being a former concentration camp guard is not a barrier to receiving a German pension.

In the documentary, Hafner is brought face-to-face with a survivor from Dachau. "You survived quite well," Hafner responded matter-of-factly after the Jewish victim recounted his painful memories.

According to Hafner there are hundreds like him in Spain. Gunter Schwaiger, who filmed Hafner's Paradise, said: "He is in close contact with people who are indeed wanted or have been convicted in other countries because of their anti-Semitic actions and declarations, or because they have denied the existence of the Holocaust.

"Paul María Hafner is neither a Martian nor a diabolical being, but an apparently respectable gentleman living in a smart Madrid neighborhood who might be taken for a congenial grandfather, filled with goodness and affection.

"The defeat of the Third Reich was an enormous trauma for Hafner, from which he has not yet recovered. His convictions have simply become firmer. He is not troubled by the accounts of the victims, or that National Socialism led the world to disaster. His fanaticism remains just as intact today as 60 years ago."

The film is due for release in the UK in the spring.

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