Newsletter : 8fax0207.txt
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'Israel's Walter Cronkite' Retires
Veteran Israeli newscaster Haim Yavin has retired. Yavin, who became known as "Israel's
Walter Cronkite" over his four decades of anchoring the Channel 1 television news,
delivered his final broadcast Tuesday before a studio converted to accommodate scores of
friends and relatives.
Yavin, 74, said he would continue working on independent TV projects, such as a recent
documentary about settlers that roiled many right-wingers in Israel. Channel 1 began
airing news in 1968 and was long Israel's premier media outlet, but its status has dropped
in recent years because of budget cuts and competition from private stations.
Israeli Leaders Approve Reinforcing Barrier on Israel-Egypt Border
By VOA News
An Israeli spokesman said on Wednesday that the country's top leaders have approved
construction of a reinforced barrier on the border with Egypt, to prevent infiltration by
Officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign and defense ministers agreed
on the barrier plan during a meeting Wednesday. Israel's full Cabinet will have to
authorize the project before construction of the partial 142-mile-long Israel-Egypt border
fence can begin.
Israeli authorities fear that Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists who entered Egypt
during a recent border breach would try to enter Israel through its relatively open
boundary with Egypt.
In violence Wednesday, a Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza struck a home in southern
Israel, wounding two young children. An Israeli air strike in Gaza wounded at least three
Palestinians. The Israeli military also said it carried out air raids against what it
described as an arms depot and a weapons manufacturing facility in Gaza.
Palestinians blew open the Gaza-Egypt border on January 23, allowing hundreds of
thousands of people to cross before Egypt sealed the boundary last Sunday.
Israeli leaders originally proposed reinforcing Israel's barrier with Egypt several
years ago, but the plan was dropped because of the high cost, estimated then at more than
Hamas: More Suicide Attacks on Israel to Come
Hamas' representative in Iran, Dr. Abu Osama Abd al-Moti, said on Wednesday that the
group's armed wing has renewed its suicide bombings inside Israel, and that Israel should
expect additional bombings.
Hamas claimed responsibility for its first suicide attack since 2004 on Monday, after a
bombing in the southern town of Dimona on Monday, which killed one woman.
"For more than a year, we stopped [attacks] but the Zionist enemy continued in its
aggression and degraded the ceasefire on the part of the resistance. The message of the
operation in Dimona is that Izz al-Din al-Qassam [Hamas' military wing] declared the
renewal of suicide operations, and the enemy should expect additional operations."
Earlier on Wednesday, a Kassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck Kibbutz Be'eri
in the western Negev, lightly wounding two young girls. Hamas claimed responsibility for
The girls aged two and 12, were wounded by shrapnel from the rocket, which struck a
playground. The "Red Color" rocket alert system did not go off before the strike. They
were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.
An 83-year-old woman was asleep in her home next to the site of the strike. The impact
of the rocket shattered her window, with the shards falling on her body. She was not
Later Wednesday evening, an Israel Air Force strike wounded three Palestinian
terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip as they tried to launch Kassams into Israel, Hamas
and medical officials said. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman confirmed the strike on
Palestinian gunmen near the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
Earlier, four civilians were wounded by two air strikes on an unoccupied metal workshop
and a caravan located outside a Hamas security position, the officials said. The spokesman
said the army carried out two attacks on a weapons depot and a weapons manufacturing
facility in the central Gaza Strip.
Soon after, another rocket directly struck a house in the western Negev town of Sderot,
sending several people into shock. That rocket was the eighth to be fired by Palestinians
from Gaza on Wednesday. Earlier, Hamas said it had fired a total of 31 rockets into Israel
since Tuesday, when the Israel Defense Forces killed nine Hamas terrorists in two separate
In response, government spokesman Mark Regev said, "These rockets are being fired
indiscriminately into civilian population centers. We are obliged as a government to take
the necessary steps to protect our people and we will continue to do so. Those extremists
shooting rockets are a legitimate target and we will act surgically to strike against
hardcore terrorist cells."
Lawmakers in Gaza canceled a session of the Hamas-dominated legislature on Wednesday,
fearing an Israeli attack. A day earlier, a senior member of Olmert's Kadima party urged
Israel to assassinate Hamas' political leaders.
Gaza militants said the Israel Air Force responded to the rocket salvos with several
missile strikes on Gaza overnight, but the military confirmed striking only once at
militants who had just launched rockets. Hamas said four of its men were moderately
Israel indicated that it would not let up in its attacks. "We need to understand there
is a war in the south," Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Israel Radio. "The war against Hamas
has to be fought on all fronts. Israel will continue to use the economic weapon against
the Gaza Strip."
Israel cut off virtually all shipments into Gaza three weeks ago, following a surge in
Kassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against southern Israel.
On Wednesday, Abbas condemned the militants' rocket fire, but urged Israel to let
supplies into Gaza. "These rockets that are being fired at Israel must stop. It's
pointless," he said at a news conference with Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.
"At the same time, Israel should not use these rockets as a pretext for collective
punishment on Palestinians in Gaza. Israel must always allow humanitarian supplies and
other needs to be provided to Gaza."
Israel insists on an end to violence before it implements any peace agreement, but
Abbas has had no control over Gaza since Hamas seized control there last June. Monday's
bombers came from the West Bank, not Gaza, giving greater weight to Israel's demand that
Abbas take stronger action against militants in the West Bank, too.
IDF Butts to the Rescue
By B. Michael (Commentary)
The army is in tumult. Some soldiers took off their pants and shook their rear ends in
the face of their occupied subjects. What a humiliation. What a shame. Who would have
thought that our children, our best sons, the cream of the crop, were capable of such
For many years we have not seen commanders so angry at their subordinates. The
investigation was completed with uncharacteristic speed, and the owners of the butts in
question were identified, tried, and sent to 21 days in military prison. In jail--in the
Several weeks ago, a police officer was convicted of gravely wounding a civilian. He
shot him. Just like that. Both the court and the Police Investigation Unit decisively
ruled that the police officer had no reason to shoot the civilian and cripple him for the
rest of his life. The court convicted the policeman and handed down a six-month suspended
sentence. From court, the police officer went straight home like a free bird. Not to
Had this policeman really been cruel to his victim and exposed his butt to him (instead
of just shooting him,) there is no doubt that he would be going straight to jail. For 21
days at least. Yet this merciful cop did not unleash his butt at the victim. He merely
shot him. Therefore, there was certainly room to go easy on him.
(The man shot by the policeman happened to be Arab, by the way, but I have no doubt in
my mind that this fact had no effect on the sentence.)
This will not be the first time I find myself at the margins of the camp, but for some
reason I am not fully shocked by the exposure of IDF buttocks. When examining the plethora
of IDF actions in the West Bank, it appears to me that this rectal gesture is among the
lesser incidents. I feel it is so minor that it would be a good idea to actually encourage
this lovely gesture and issue orders to that effect. I think it should become an official
and legal IDF substitute for a long and embarrassing list of other military deeds.
Butts instead of shots. Rear ends instead of blows. Rectums instead of a bat. Behinds
instead of a gunship, humiliation, and ruin. What's wrong with that?
In my pinkish dream, I am already listening to a morning news report informing us that an
elite unit raided the Kalandiya refugee camp late at night. The fighters reached the
center of the camp, took off their pants, and shook their butts in all directions. All our
troops returned to their bases fully dressed. What's wrong with that?
I was still dreaming when an excited military correspondent reported that a Palestinian
shepherd told him that a team of the elite "Rectum Reconnaissance Unit" did not fire at
him, even though he was holding a stick, but rather, launched a pale and shiny buttock in
his direction. What's wrong with that?
When I also saw in my dream cells belonging to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hizbullah
pulling open their jackets in public, and instead of explosive belts there was nothing
there aside from naked flesh I knew that I'm truly dreaming about the days of the
Yet now that the dream is over, we must say something serious too: If there is
something which I find outrageous about this entire buttocks story, it's not the act
itself, but rather, the commotion that followed it. I am not annoyed by the soldiers who
did the deed, but rather, by the grave faces of their commanders and the shocked facial
expressions of self-righteous critics.
Because the various types of occupation workers the army, Shin Bet, and police
engage in acts that are much more shameful, disgraceful, and painful on a daily
basis. Yet somehow the critics don't see all that. They know very well how to look the
other way. The only thing they see is an exposed butt. And that's bad, and shameful.
Broadcast Workers Raise Funds for Mezuzot
Workers for the Israel Broadcasting Authority have raised funds by themselves to affix
mezuzot in studios and workrooms after the IBA did not comply with requests by employees,
according to the Chabad website. The mezuzah is required by Jewish law and is found in
every government room and on almost every store and home in the country.
There was no explanation from the IBA why its rooms lacked the mezuzah. Channel One
television reporter Uri Revach, whose office is an informal synagogue, initiated the
fundraising to buy 40 mezuzot.
However, dozens of IBA studios and workroom lack a mezuzah. "A kosher mezuzah affects
the room to which it is affixed, and a kosher mezuzah at an office where it is decided
what is broadcast will only help to create a positive influence," he said. Revach added
that there still are IBA doorposts without mezuzot and that many of those which have been
affixed are not kosher.
Paris Spotlights Moroccan Judaism
By Israel Faxx News Services
The king of Morocco is sponsoring a series in Paris highlighting Moroccan Judaism past
"The Moroccan Jewish Journey," two weeks of conferences, films and concerts, was
organized by two French Jewish centers, the Community Center of Paris and the Rambam
Center. Other organizers include Fathallah Sijilmassi, the Moroccan ambassador in Paris,
and Andre Azoulay, a leading adviser to King Mohammed VI.
In Paris Sunday, the opening night of the series, Sijilmassi earned long applause when
he said, "Moroccan Judaism cannot be disassociated from overall Moroccan identity."
Israeli labor leader Amir Peretz, a native of the beleaguered city Sderot, offered,
"Today, Moroccan Jews can hold their heads high in Israel, which was not always the
In the 1940s, some 350,000 Jews lived in Morocco, the largest Jewish population in the
Arab world. Some 4,000 now live in the country, nearly all in Casablanca.
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