Newsletter : 7fax1218.txt
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No Papal Visit to Israel in '08
By Israel Faxx News Services
The Vatican played down expectations that Pope Benedict would visit Israel soon.
Israeli officials have courted Benedict with invitations to repeat the 2000 Holy Land
tour of his predecessor, John Paul II, but the Vatican said Monday there would be no such
visit in 2008.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi in a briefing to reporters cited the
"general situation of pacification" as the reason for the delay, as well as unresolved
bilateral issues with Israel. Lombardi appeared to be referring to the ongoing
Israeli-Palestinian fighting, as well as the Vatican's request for more lenient Israeli
entry regulations for Catholic clergy from Arab countries.
Senior Islamic Jihad Terrorist Eliminated in Airstrike
An IDF airstrike in Gaza City took out four Palestinian Authority terrorists Monday
night, including a senior Islamic Jihad leader.
Majed Al-Harazin, among the terrorists killed in the Israel Air Force attack, was the
commander of Islamic Jihad terrorist units throughout Gaza. Wanted by Israeli security,
Harazin's group took responsibility for a rocket attack on Kibbutz Zikkim Sunday night
that wounded an Israeli toddler and sent his mother into psychological shock.
PA residents said that weapons dealer Khalil Masarai and a fourth terrorist were also
killed in the IDF strike. The four were reportedly hit by an Israeli missile as they drove
through the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City in a car full of explosives. Seven PA
residents who were in proximity to the targeted vehicle were injured; three of them
After the airstrike, Hamas officials warned civilians to stay away from the car in case
of further explosions, but a large group ignored the warning and gathered around the
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed Sunday night to escalate military operations against
PA terrorist targets in Gaza in response to the ongoing Kassam rocket and mortar attacks
on the western Negev. The decision followed Sunday's injurious rocket attack on Kibbutz
Zikkim, according to security establishment sources.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak paid a visit to rocket-battered Sderot earlier in the day
on Monday, where he faced harsh criticism over the current situation in the Negev city.
Barak told residents that he would continue efforts to provide protective shielding for
Sderot's residential buildings, as well as simultaneously ordering counter-terrorism
operations in PA-controlled Gaza.
Former IDF Northern Commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Yossi Peled, a prominent member of the
Likud party, told Arutz-7 Radio Monday that he believes the IDF should carry out massive
retaliatory shelling of any point from which PA terrorists launch rockets at Jewish
Borrowing a phrase from Jewish tradition regarding charity, "the poor of your city take
precedence," Peled said: "Any place that endangers residents of Israel, even if it is a
schoolyard - and they do fire from schools, as well - should be given 24 hours for
residents to evacuate, after which everything should be turned to rubble for a full square
Peled added that delaying operations such as he suggests, as well as ground operations
in Gaza, would only increase the threat to the Israeli home front. Restraint, he
explained, would lead to the shelling further north into Israel of Kiryat Gat and its
Even as IDF forces carried out counter-terrorism operations Monday night, enemy
attackers in Gaza launched a mortar shell at IDF soldiers near the Kissufim Crossing. PA
gunmen opened fire on an IDF patrol in the area, as well. No soldiers were wounded in the
PA terrorists often attack the civilian crossings between Gaza and the Negev region,
leading the IDF to keep many of them closed when possible.
Dershowitz Blasts U.S. Intelligence Report on Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program
By Israel Faxx News Services
In an exclusive interview on Shalom TV, Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz criticized
the recent US intelligence assessment that Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons program
since 2003, calling the report both "dangerous" and "false."
"This is a dumb report that would get a C-minus from anybody teaching any intelligence
course anywhere in the country," said Dershowitz. "[Iran is] clearly intending to develop
a nuclear bomb, and anyone who doubts that should not be in a position of responsibility
in the United States, in Israel, or in any Western country."
Speaking from his Boston office, Dershowitz asserted that it takes "an absolute moron
not to understand what Iran is doing. For purposes of getting the sanctions removed from
Russia and from China and from others, they're overtly eliminating the military
superstructure, but they are developing their capacity so that they can transfer it to a
military use almost instantaneously.
"All the intelligence assessment is saying, basically, is that the Iranian government
has pulled a bait and switch."
When asked by Shalom TV's Rabbi Mark S. Golub about any agenda behind the report,
Dershowitz theorized that people within the CIA and other US intelligence agencies are
trying to put the brakes on what they perceive as Vice President Dick Cheney's rush to get
into a war with Iran. However, he cautions that the report may have the opposite
"The impact of the report is going to be to diminish the case for sanctions and to
increase the need for military preparedness--unfortunately," noted Dershowitz. "If the
United States and Israel are true to their statements that they will not allow Iran to
develop nuclear capacity and that they will use military force as a last resort if that
happens, then this report is making military force more likely rather than less likely.
"I'm one who would much have preferred to see sanctions work against Iran because a
military attack could be very counterproductive. But this report will essentially have
blood on its hands if it actually increases the need for military force."
Israel Approves 'No Land for Jews' Patriarch
After two years of debate, the Israeli government officially confirmed the man
enthroned in Jerusalem as Greek Orthodox patriarch, amid accusations the religious figure
would cancel the sale to Jewish groups of land comprising much of a key entrance to
Jerusalem's Old City.
Theofilos III was elected patriarch in 2005 amid charges of church irregularities. He
has been quoted by church officials as opposing the sale of Jerusalem property to
Church officials said once approved by the Israeli government, Theofilos would work to
cancel the sale Jerusalem property to Jews. "The deal must be canceled and Theofilos knows
this. We as a church will fight any smuggling of real estate to Jewish organizations,"
Atallah Hanna, the church's archbishop of Sebastia, told WND.
Ownership of the land in question two hotels that comprise a large section of
the Jaffa Gate, the principal entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem could be
crucial in the future status of Jerusalem during upcoming Israeli-Palestinian
Following last month's U.S.-backed Annapolis summit, Israel is widely expected to
evacuate eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods for the creation of an eventual Palestinian
state. Previous U.S.-backed proposals have allotted Jewish-owned sections of Jerusalem to
Israel and Arab-occupied real estate to the Palestinians.
Theofilos was elected patriarch after church officials ousted the previous patriarch,
Irenios, in May 2005 by holding new elections after it was exposed Irenios allegedly
leased for 99 years the church's Jaffa Gate real estate to Jewish groups.
Regional bylaws require Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox patriarch the religious
leader of 100,000 Christians in the Holy Land to be recognized by Israel, Jordan
and the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan and the PA approved of Theofilos, but Israel had withheld its support amid
reports, first exposed by WND, that prior to the patriarchal elections Theofilos, along
with other candidates for patriarch, signed a secret church document stating if he were
elected leader he would nullify all transactions made by Irenios, the previous patriarch,
including the Jaffa Gate sale.
But on Sunday, after two years of deliberations, the Israeli government approved
Theofilos by a vote of 10 to 3.
Theofilos has claimed he is still obtaining all the information on the real estate
deals conducted under Irenios, and that he hasn't made any decisions yet regarding the
Jaffa's Gate sale. But some Israeli officials chalk up Theofilos' reluctance to
immediately cancel the deal to the fact that the Jewish state until Sunday was
deliberating whether or not to recognize his leadership.
But WND revealed Theofilos already signed a document stating he would nullify the Jaffa
land deal. The document, addressed to the Palestinian Authority and obtained by WND,
stated, "We, the candidates of the Greek Orthodox Church, hereby agree that we are obliged
to abide by the law of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate. ... In the event that we are
elected, we shall act for the cancellation of all transactions made during the period of
Irenios I, and shall keep the Orthodox religious trust."
High-placed sources close to the church said the document was drafted by a PA
government minister with the specific goal of canceling Irenios' lease of the Jaffa Gate
hotels to the Jewish groups.
"The candidates were essentially blackmailed by the Palestinians that if they didn't
sign the document and cancel the lease, they would not get approval of the PA as
candidates and could not run in elections," a church source told WND. "This is an outright
racist policy against the Jews."
A senior church leader close to Irineos told WND: "Theofilos has made statements about
not providing Jerusalem land to Jews. He agrees with the Palestinians that they have the
rights to eastern Jerusalem."
In May, Jordan temporarily suspended Theofilos for three months, reportedly asking him
to immediately cancel the Jaffa's Gate deal. According to informed sources, Theofilis was
reinstated in August after assuring Jordan he would ultimately nullify the land sale.
Speaking to WND, Irineos said he could not comment on the secret document regarding
nullification of the Jaffa Gate sale, but said, "There is a lot at play here in the
election of Theofilos and attempts at deposing [me]."
"The electorate was blackmailed into supporting Theofilos," Irenios said. "They were
told by fathers and brotherhood members and others that if they didn't vote for Theofilos,
they would be kicked out of the church. Documents were made to be signed, including a
letter that said 'I will not stand with Irenios.'"
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Get a Dispensation for Limited Internet Use
A rabbinical committee on communications published an announcement in two
ultra-Orthodox newspapers, giving dispensation to "those who need the Internet to earn
their livelihood" to use it under supervision.
According to the ordinance, a small number of specially censored sites will be
permitted for use by the business sector only. The current ordinance applies to a pilot
service provided by Bezeq International, but additional censored Internet site suppliers
are likely to develop in the future.
The dispensation is for a list of 'normal' sites that have undergone an adaptation
especially for the sector, which includes removal of all pictures, or filtering of certain
This is the first time that the rabbinical committee, which was established last year
to deal with third-generation cellular technology, has publicly addressed the issue of the
Internet. Monday's notice reads: "Because the transition to the use of computer
communications in the world of business, institutions and others for various purposes and
transmission of information is increasing, we have received more requests from those who
need it, to use these systems for their livelihood.
"We have been asked by our teachers and leaders, may they enjoy a long life, to find a
solution that will enable the use of this medium without exposure to the terrible
stumbling blocks that exist in the media
And now, after a great deal of work and
consideration, we have succeeded, in consultation with experts, in arriving at a technical
blocking solution that will allow access to just email, or to certain sites necessary for
a person's livelihood."
The announcement also declares that the committee has approached communications
companies that supply such infrastructure and services, and requested that they provide
the observant "a special plan that will be subject to our supervision. A number of
companies have responded to our request, and those who wish can be connected to the
In the past, the rabbinical committee for communications issues which includes
representatives of all streams of the ultra-Orthodox sector has approved the use of the
'kosher' telephones for speaking only, with no content or text messaging. The second issue
that the committee has been asked to discuss is the Internet issue, for which no solution
had been found to date.
A senior source in the ultra-Orthodox sector said that official data indicates that
about 60 percent of the ultra-Orthodox sector has computers at home, and about 35 percent
of these admit that they have access to Internet service. But true numbers are believed
much higher, the source said, with about 40 percent of the ultra-Orthodox sector connected
to the Internet at home.
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