Newsletter : 8fax0122.txt
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German Jews Warned Of Imminent Terror Attacks
German security personnel are warning the German Jewish community of an increased
threat of attacks from Lebanon.
According to the Central Council of German Jews, German security officials warned that
the danger applies to synagogues and Jewish schools across the country, not just in the
capital city of Berlin. German police will increase their presence at Jewish institutions
in response to the threat.
Approximately 200,000 Jews reside in Germany, half of whom are affiliated with a Jewish
community center or synagogue.
Israel to Allow Limited Food, Fuel into Gaza
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has eased its blockade of the Gaza Strip, allowing the resumption of limited
supplies of food and fuel to cross through its checkpoints into Gaza.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he would allow a limited resumption of food and fuel
supplies to Gaza, but warned that Israel would not ease its pressure on the Gaza Strip to
halt Palestinian terrorists from firing rockets at southern Israel.
Gaza City has been without power after the city's main power plant shut down when it
ran out of fuel late Sunday. Last week Israel sealed its borders with Gaza cutting all
supplies to Gaza as retaliation for continuing rocket fire against the southern Israeli
town of Sderot.
U.N. officials warned that international food aid to hundreds of thousands of Gaza
residents could be suspended by Thursday, because U.N. trucks would also run out of fuel.
John Ging who heads U.N. operations in Gaza said the fuel cutoff is making life
intolerable for Gaza's residents.
"Six hundred thousand people in Gaza City are without electricity and will be until the
power plant can resume its operation. It just adds more to the misery," he said.
Israeli officials strongly defended the cutoff, saying rocket attacks against Israel
dropped dramatically after the fuel cutoff resulted in the shutdown of the power plant.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ariyeh Mekel said Hamas terrorists who control Gaza can stop
the attacks if they want to, adding that Hamas was responsible for the crisis.
"What we see in Gaza is a fabrication by Hamas. The fact is that 70 percent of the
electricity in Gaza is provided by Israel, through electricity cables and this is not
dependent at all on the supply of fuel," he said.
A Hamas spokesman dismissed the Israeli action to ease the blockade saying Palestinians
would continue to attack Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who heads the rival Fatah organization also
criticized the blockade, but he proposed to take over Gaza's crossing points with Israel
as a way of easing the crisis. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and Israel will have
nothing to do with Hamas, but Israel does deal with Fatah security forces under Abbas'
Fatah forces were kicked out of Gaza by Hamas last June after a violent series of
clashes. Since then Gaza's 1.5 million residents have lived under an ever-tightening
Israeli Jews: No Voice for Diaspora Jews on Status of Jerusalem
The vast majority of Jewish Israelis believe that Diaspora Jews have no right to make
decisions about Jerusalem, according to a new poll commissioned by the Shalem Center's
Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies.
The issue is one that hit a raw nerve among American Jews during the Middle East talks
held at Annapolis in November, where discussions focused on getting final status talks
underway for Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority. The status of Jerusalem is
a central issue in the negotiations.
According to the poll, an overwhelming number of Israelis oppose the idea of ceding
parts of the capital to the Palestinian Authority. Only 5 percent of respondents said
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has the right to divide Jerusalem between Israel and the
Only 16 percent of the 500 respondents said Jews who reside outside Israel should have
input into decisions regarding the future of the Holy City. Twice that number agreed that
all Israeli Jews have the right to contribute their views to such a decision. Even more,
34 percent believe that all Israeli citizens, Jewish and gentile, have the right to decide
The findings were released Sunday at the Herzliya Conference held at the Knesset.
President Shimon Peres also addressed the issue in his speech to the conference Sunday
night, saying any decision on concessions to the PA must be approved by the grassroots
In a speech that appeared to call for a referendum on the negotiations, Peres said any
decision by the government should be brought to the people. "This will allow the people to
truly choose," he said. "And this is the same for the opposition. It is not enough to
criticize the conducting of negotiations; one must also present an alternative.
New Israeli Satellite 'Sees' Through Clouds
The new satellite developed in Israel and launched Monday morning in cooperation with
India includes a payload with the capability to see through clouds and provide images day
and night, its developers said. Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) launched the satellite in
cooperation with the Antrix Corporation.
The satellite is now orbiting Earth and the first images are expected in two weeks. It
is the first satellite of its kind developed in Israel, and ranks among the world's most
advanced space systems, IAI stated.
The satellite, known as Tescar, was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at
Sriharikota in south-eastern India on the back of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV),
considered India's "workhorse" rocket. It weighs approximately 300 kilograms and is
equipped with advanced synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology, giving it the ability to
capture clear images of earth even in inclement weather or in the dark.
Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, celebrated the launch
saying the event is yet further proof of Israel's technological prowess. "(We are) very
proud of this achievement, which serves as additional proof of IAI's great technological
capabilities, and of IAI's leadership in the Israeli space industry," he said.
Tescar is Israel's 11th satellite, and the eighth currently in orbit. The first seven
are from the Ofek, Eros and Amos series. An additional Amos series satellite is expected
to be launched from the Indian site in the coming months.
West Bank Rabbi: Don't Sell Mezuzahs to Reform Jews
By Israel Faxx News Services
Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of the West Bank town Kiryat Arba, continues to take a hard
line against Reform Jews. In the past, the rabbi had issued a religious ruling stating
that one should not go into a Reform synagogue, nor attend any events sponsored or held by
the Reform Movement.
Following a question recently from a 12 year-old girl who was invited to a cousin's Bat
Mitzvah - Rabbi Lior ruled that Orthodox Jews forbidden from attending Reform events,
entering Reform synagogues deeming them worse than Muslims.
On Monday, however, the rabbi issued an even harsher edict, mandating that sofrei stam,
or Jewish scribes, should not sell Torah scrolls, tefillin or mezuzahs to Reform Jews.
Lior issued this edict on an internet forum belonging to the Beit El Yeshiva. A sofer
stam wrote the rabbi and told him that that he was asked to fix a Torah scroll for, and
sell mezuzahs and tefillin to, a Reform Jewish congregation.
The scribe asked the rabbi whether he could fix Torah scrolls for Reform Jews, and
whether these scrolls were even considered kosher. He also asked the rabbi whether he
could sell tefillin and mezuzahs to this congregation according to Jewish law.
The rabbi replied emphatically that the scribe should not get involved with the
congregation at all so as not to be "privy to a transgression or sin." In his reply he
takes a very harsh line against the Reform movement, which seeks to amend certain facets
of Judaism to bring them in line with modern realities.
"Granted if the tefillin are used by a Jew, then this is a great mitzvah indeed,"
stated the rabbi, "but there is a more public issue at hand, namely adorning the Reform
synagogue and giving legitimacy to this movement."
Lior thus strives not to grant any recognition to the Reform movement, even at the
expense of not performing a great Mitzvah, due to his outspoken and public opposition to
Saudi Arabia to Let Women Drive
Saudi officials quoted in various international papers said Monday that the country plans
to allow women to drive by the end of 2008. Women have been forbidden to drive or to hail
a taxi since the state was established in 1932.
The restrictions have made life difficult for many women, feminist activists say,
particularly as the divorce rate has increased to approximately 30 percent, leaving many
women without a male companion to take them out of the house.
Religious figures have opposed the move, saying it will lead to a gradual erosion of
modesty laws. Women will be required to expose part of their faces in order to see while
driving, they say, a violation of current laws requiring women to wear traditional robes
Dalia Rabin Backtracks in Row with Academic over Speech in Arabic
Dalia Rabin, the daughter of the former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, apologized on
Sunday for assailing an Israeli Arab college director last week, after he gave a speech in
Arabic at a ceremony sponsored by the Rabin Center.
Rabin, who does not speak Arabic, attacked Yusef Shaheen Haj Yihyeh, the director of
the Amal College of Science and Technology in the town of Taibeh, for refusing to address
his audience in Hebrew.
Haj Yihyeh spoke at the graduation ceremony of Rabin Center's "Invitation to
University" project, which aims to empower Arab and Jewish students and facilitate
multiculturalism and dialogue between them.
He told Ha'aretz that he spoke in Arabic because it is his native language, and that
Rabin consequently refused to shake his hand. "I'm an Arab who is proud of his language,"
he said. "I addressed 500 students, many of which were Arab teachers and school
headmasters. What reason was there for me to speak in Hebrew?"
Haj Yihyeh maintained that his greetings were also directed at the leaders of the
project, including Rabin Center officials. Before leaving the podium, he reiterated the
main points of his speech in Hebrew, while sarcastically calling on Hebrew speakers to
After the event Rabin asked Haj Yihyeh to apologize for speaking mostly in Arabic, and
he refused. They started exchanging accusations, in front of the audience which composed
mainly of the program's graduates. He told her that he wanted her to feel what Arabs often
feel in Israel, and that her racist remarks stand in contrast to her father's
"The project also includes Hebrew lessons to enable students to do well in their
studies, and Mr. Haj Yihyeh knows it very well. As a great believer in the project, I
cannot but regret this incident," Rabin said.
For several years, "Invitation to University", the brainchild of Rabin Center, has been
operating at Tel Aviv, Haifa and Bar Ilan universities. The 500 Jewish and Arab students
who take part in it take a tailor-made "Introduction to Israeli Law" course, and
participate in citizenship workshops, while acquiring academic skills and emphasizing
inter-cultural dialogue. So far, 92 percent of Arab high school graduates who participated
in the project were offered places in academic institutions.
Israel News Faxx Services
Guy Handelman, a film student in California, made a clever 3-minute animated short in
honor of Tu B'Shvat, which falls today. He connects the celebration of the holiday with
how we can recycle and save trees and such.
He has posted the cartoon on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O7Uog6BqDk. Guy's email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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