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Stars to Celebrate Israel's 60th Birthday

By Israel Faxx News Services

Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg are among Jewish celebrities expected to attend Israel's 60th Independence Day events. The famed musical diva and Hollywood director are among those invited to a May 13 conference in Jerusalem being organized by Israeli President Shimon Peres in honor of the Jewish state's 60th birthday, Ma'ariv reported.

Streisand will entertain by singing "Avinu Malkeinu," a Peres favorite. Among foreign statesmen expected to attend the events are President Bush and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Bolton: Israel May Have to Strike Iran Soon


Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton hinted broadly Tuesday that Israel will have to strike Iran's nuclear program on its own, and soon.

Speaking at the Eighth Herzliya Conference, Bolton said an Israeli strike could be the last resort against Iran. Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who also spoke at the conference, hinted that the military option is growing more likely with time.

Bolton devoted the first part of his speech to an attempt to push the Israeli press into revealing details of the strike against the suspected Syrian nuclear facility four months ago. "There is a lot that we don't know about the facility because of the veil of secrecy that the Israel government and the American government have tried to throw over it," he said.

"We don't know for example exactly what the facility was – whether it was a clone of the Yongbyon reactor; whether it was a uranium enrichment facility; whether it was a storage location for North Korean plutonium or plutonium based weapons," he added Bolton explained that he could speak freely at the conference because the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment applied to him even when he was abroad (this elicited laughter from the audience).

Bolton went on to list his conjectures: "We don't know if it was North Korea in effect renting space in Syria to recreate the North Korean program. We don't know if it was a sale of technology or equipment from North Korea directly to Syria and we don't know whether it was a joint venture perhaps between Syria and North Korea working together," he said. "Our governments, however, do know the answers to some of these questions."

He continued with a jab at Israel's media: "What I don't understand really is the timid nature of the Israeli press which I know knows a lot more about this strike than it's been willing to talk about. I am sure somewhere in the Israeli press there is a John Peter Zenger who is willing to risk something in order to give the public more information about this."

[Zenger was an 18th century publisher who was arrested for libelous sedition after printing criticism of the governor of New York and then acquitted, in what is considered a landmark trial in the development of the freedom of the press in the U.S. – ed.].

Bolton explained that in his opinion, "this information is being withheld for fear that if it came out that North Korea once again, following its game plan, was engaged in nuclear proliferation contrary to its obligations."

Regarding the IAF Syria raid, Bolton said: "The daring and successful Israeli military strike… has obvious significance for the potential of a military strike against Iran's nuclear program. I think, given the debacle caused by our National Intelligence Estimate that it's close to zero likelihood that President Bush will authorize use of military force against Iran's program before he leaves office, absent some dramatic new development."

He concluded: "Certainly in Teheran you can bet that they took careful notice of what the Israeli Defense Force did. Penetrating Russian supplied radars very similar to the air defenses that Teheran has; using techniques that could be very useful for a long range strike against Iran; this is the kind of operation that the Iranians need to continue to worry about. Because I think with the collapse of American policy, the Israeli strike against the Syrian/North Korea facility is the harbinger of what may be – absent regime change in Teheran – the last resort…

"Unless you are prepared to see Iran proceed unmolested toward a nuclear weapons capability, which this NIE has given them free rein to do in my judgment, you are coming very close to a decision point in this country of whether you will use military force to stop Iran."

Minister Shaul Mofaz hinted that Israel may indeed attack in Iran in order to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. He noted that the warming of relations between Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia with Iran is "moving fast very quickly, while the world not only is not moving ahead – it is moving backwards.

"This reality," Mofaz said, "is a clear deterioration in the effort to halt Iran by diplomatic means and therefore the likelihood of the other options rises." He did cite a window of opportunity for diplomacy, however: "We have to find other ways to renew the momentum which has weakened… The diplomatic timetable is getting shorter, the next two years are critical to halt Iran using diplomatic methods," he estimated.

Mofaz added: "Reality is complex but the picture is very clear: Iran may be leading in points but the final whistle is still far ahead… It is clear that the current trend must be reversed; and all the means are justified. This is a historical time… This time, no leader will be able to say 'We didn't know. We didn't understand the importance of this time.' The world must do everything that is necessary in order to assure a future of peace and prosperity for the next generations as well."

Israel Unveils Plans for Missile to Counter Hizbullah Missiles

By Ha'aretz

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel's arms development firm, unveiled plans for a new missile system Tuesday designed to intercept mid to long-range rockets and missiles of the kind used by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War. The firm introduced the "Stunner" missile during a visit from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister's Office said.

Jointly developed by Rafael and the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon as a counter to medium-range missiles and rockets, Stunner is likely to become operational in four years. It will be incorporated into the new Magic Wand anti-missile system.

Because of the advanced technologies involved, the estimated cost of each individual missile is the relatively high sum of several hundred thousand dollars.

A defense source said Tuesday that the missile is meant to serve as the interceptor element of a defensive system called Magic Wand. The system is meant to provide a defense against missiles and rockets whose range is between 40 and 250 kilometers, like Hizbullah's Zilzal and Fajr missiles.

The first layer of this defensive structure will include Iron Dome, which Rafael is developing against Kassam and Katyusha rockets. That system's intercepting missile is dubbed Tamir. Magic Wand and Iron Dome will complement the Arrow missile defense system, which intercepts long-range missiles and is already operational.

During Tuesday's visit to the Rafael headquarters, Olmert reviewed the development of various systems. Last year, the government approved plans to push forward with upgrading Israel's anti-missile capabilities.

Should Israel Kill Her Killers?

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

Israel, under her current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert fears the opinion and condemnation of the world if he sends to the troops to stop daily bombardments of Israeli civilians by Hamas.

Not much more to say about Olmert except that he was always a cowardly, scurrilous scum who will sell out to anyone to keep his seat of (temporal) power.

But, let us take a brief look at the nations. What would they do in similar circumstances? Would Russia accept daily bombardment from the Chechnyans and not strike back?

If the Mexican government or the drug smugglers started shelling Texas, New Mexico and/or California would President George W. Bush fire back? (Maybe that's a bad question, given that Bush has failed at the American borders and back away from Iran.) I guess Bush isn't a very good example!

If Germany were shelled by any surrounding nation, would they crawl and beg not to be shelled because other nations might disapprove. How about the French? Of course, they always fold - not because they feared the opinion of other nations, they are ready to warn Israel not to defend herself.

Egypt is a good example: Imagine if Libya tried to bomb Cairo or interfere with shipping into Alexandria. The Egyptians, without mercy, would bomb men, women and children into fragments with no apologies to the U.S., the U.N., or the E.U.

I wonder how many of the world's nations would accept daily bombardment as Israel has like that cowardly Prime Minister who dives under the table at the first sound of battle. Olmert will surely talk us all to death rather than defend his nation.

Does it really matter if the hostile U.N. or the infamous Jew-killing nations of Europe would disapprove of Israel killing her killers? They are already funneling billions of their own tax-payers' dollars to Hamas and so, one cannot expect them to approve of any action Israel might take to survive.

Clearly, it is in Israel's interest at the next bombardment for Olmert to be loaded into cannon and shot over to Hamas as a trade.

Why GOP Candidate Mike Huckabee Worries Jewish Voters

By Ha'aretz

Southern-bred Evangelist Mike Huckabee has a long record of expressing a desire for a more Christian America. Huckabee isn't said to have a particularly good chance at snagging the Republican nomination. Irrespective of his achievements so far, the experts simply find it hard to believe he can take the big, important states with most of the delegates.

After his win in Iowa, 32 percent of Republicans surveyed in the National Journal's Political Insiders Poll said he was the candidate most likely to capture the nomination. Nevertheless, in this week's issue, a majority (56 percent) said that evangelical Christian voters would still be more important for clinching the nomination than "independent" voters, who are the main support base for candidates like John McCain.

If he fails to win the presidential nomination, Huckabee is considered the leading candidate for the position of vice president. He's from the South (Arkansas), he is an evangelical Christian and he could balance a ticket headed by Mitt Romney, a Mormon, or by McCain or Rudy Giuliani, neither of whom are popular with the Christian right because of their positions on issues such as abortion and immigration.

In Jewish circles, this prospect has been met with dismay. Huckabee has a long record of expressing a longing for a more Christian America. Late last week, the American Jewish Committee criticized him for views it characterized as "a prescription for theocracy."

This is what Huckabee said: "What we need to do is amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other."

A rather opaque statement, but one message is clear: Huckabee wants to change the U.S. Constitution to reflect what he sees as divine law. It's not exactly what the Jewish voter wants.

It's not the first time Huckabee has butted heads with the principle of the separation of church and state that is so dear, for obvious reasons, to America's Jewish minority. On the eve of the Iowa caucus, an ad went on the air in which he declared himself a "Christian leader."

The following day, he received a letter from Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League: "We presume you seek the presidency in order to be the leader of all Americans, regardless of the faith they hold." The ad, Foxman said, causes us to be "concerned." The relationship between the Jews and the Christian evangelical community is delicate; containing both satisfactions for the latter's support for Israel as well as fears about its domestic positions.

One month ago, Richard Cohen of The Washington Post wrote one of the most critical columns against Huckabee in this context, comparing him with the president. "He infused government with religion," Cohen wrote about George Bush." Even the war in Iraq had and undeniably religious cast to it." About Huckabee, Cohen wrote he "shows a similar religious inclination." There is already an argument over the extent of Huckabee's support for Israel, and his reasoning.

"As president," Huckabee promises in a position paper, "I will always ensure that Israel has access to the state-of-the-art weapons and technology she needs to defend herself from those who seek her annihilation." He often mentions that he has visited Israel nine times. "I've literally traveled from Dan to Be'er Sheva," he said in a candidates' debate a few days ago.

He didn't mention that most of the visits were religious in character, not political. He led believers to churches and archaeological sites. A few Jewish community leaders question whether his support for Israel stems from his sense that "we've got one true ally in the Middle East, and that's Israel," or whether it's linked to his desire to hasten the End of Days, Armageddon.

Even the members of the Israel Factor panel, who have been following the U.S. election campaign for Ha'aretz, have no clear answer to this question. They look at Huckabee and see, first of all, a governor with no international experience and no clear record. For that reason, Huckabee is still near the bottom of their candidates' list.

A contributory factor is Huckabee's frequent confusion: On one hand, he declares that a nuclear Iran can be "contained," and is thus less dangerous than Jerusalem holds it to be. On the other hand, he offers relatively radical statements, such as the one cited on the Yeshiva World News Web site after he attended a campaign event in the home of Jason Bedrick - the first Orthodox Jew elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and one of Huckabee's few Jewish supporters.

Huckabee reportedly said he supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, as long as it was formed outside of Israel. He meant outside of biblical Israel and suggested Egypt or Saudi Arabia as possible locations. Recently, Rabbi Moshe Bleich of the Wellesley-Weston (Massachusetts) Chabad Center, who asked the question about a Palestinian state, confirmed Huckabee's response to Ha'aretz.

Bleich likes Huckabee, but as a resident of Massachusetts he also has an obligation to Romney, a former governor of the Commonwealth, and as a former New Yorker he has a duty to Giuliani. Bleich mentions that Huckabee has promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but he has no illusions: Everyone promises to do so.

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