Newsletter : 8fax0221.txt
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Home Front Command Has Its Own TV Studio
The IDF's Home Front Command officially dedicated its new TV broadcast studio
Wednesday. The studio will only be used in times of war and national emergency, in order
to instruct and direct the population.
It is located in the Home Front Command headquarters in Ramleh. It will broadcast
through Israel Broadcast Authority's Channel 33, and will be able to break into other
channels with updates as well.
UN Chief: Ahmadinejad's Verbal Attacks on Israel Intolerable
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon promised Wednesday to respond "firmly" to Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's verbal attacks on Israel, which he called
Ban made the promise in a meeting with Israel's Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, who
requested the meeting with the UN chief following the Iranian president's Wednesday attack
calling Israel a "filthy germ."
Ahmadinejad's remarks were broadcast on Iranian television on Wednesday, in which he
called Israel a "filthy germ" and "savage beast" established by Western states in their
bid to dominate Middle East nations.
The comments came just days after a top commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard called
Israel a "cancerous germ" which would be wiped out by Hizbullah, Army Radio reported.
Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted by the Fars News Agency on
Monday as saying: "In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous
germ of Israel by the powerful and competent hands of the Hizbullah combatants."
Jafari made the comment in a letter to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, offering
condolences after the killing of terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah, which Iran has
blamed on Israel.
The Foreign Ministry sent a letter of protest to the United Nations over Jafari's
remarks, Army Radio reported earlier this week.
Also this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that even after 60
years, Israel still has neither legitimacy nor any role in the Middle East, the ISNA news
agency reported. "The West has tried to impose a fabricated regime on the Middle East but
even after 60 years, the Zionist regime [Israel] has neither gained any legitimacy nor
played any role in this region," Mottaki was quoted as saying.
Calling United States policies in the Middle East a failure, Mottaki predicted the
collapse of Israel. "The era of imposing policies on other states by military threats is
over. The nations in the region will no longer surrender to any threats," he said.
Iran meanwhile urged the UN Security Council on Wednesday to condemn Israel and demand
that it immediately stop threatening to use military force against the country's nuclear
program. In a letter to the council, Iran's UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazee referred to
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's warning on Jan. 14 that all options are on the table when it
comes to keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Khazee insisted in the letter that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and called
Israel's threats unacceptable and unjustifiable. He said the threats are also a flagrant
violation of international law and the UN Charter, which calls on countries to refrain
from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any state
"Undoubtedly, the inaction of the Security Council in dealing with the criminal
policies and practices of the Israeli regime, and the impunity with which this regime has
been allowed to carry out its crimes thus far, have emboldened it in its irresponsible
behavior," Khazee said.
"The Security Council should react to these threats by unambiguously condemning them
and calling on the said regime to cease and desist immediately from the threat of using
force against members of the United Nations," he said.
Gillerman called the letter, which was also sent to Ban, "disgusting and dangerous. For
a country whose leader describes a member state of the United Nations as a dirty microbe
and a savage animal, to complain about others' statements is the height of hypocrisy," he
said. "And coming from a country which is the world's major sponsor and exporter of
terror, it is a letter which the recipients, be it the Security Council or the
secretary-general, should not even honor by acknowledging."
Abbas Nixes Independent PA Declaration of Independence
The Palestinian Authority is not going to issue a unilateral declaration of
independence, despite the recommendation of a senior PA negotiator. PA Chairman and Fatah
leader Mahmoud Abbas ruled out the idea, suggested Wednesday morning by Yasser Abed Rabbo,
a co-founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Rabbo, who was expressing his frustration that "negotiations with Israel are not going
anywhere," said the PA would consider declaring independence if Israel does not take steps
to move the negotiations along faster. "Kosovo is not better than us," Rabbo told Reuters,
referring to the former Serbian province that declared its independence earlier this
Fellow PA negotiator Saeb Erekat disagreed with his colleague, saying the PA needs
"real independence" and not just a declaration. "We are not Kosovo," he said. "We are
under Israeli occupation and for independence we need to acquire independence."
Abbas also stood firm on the issue of continuing negotiations with Israel regardless of
how slow the progress might seem to others. "We will pursue negotiations in order to reach
a peace agreement during 2008 that includes the settlement of all final status issues,
If the talks reach a deadlock, he added, "We will go back to our Arab nation [sic] to
take the necessary decision at the highest level." Abbas did not indicate what possible
alternatives might be.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, hinted that Arab
countries might take back their peace offers to Israel if the Jewish State does not
respond to them. Al-Faisal was quoted as saying: "We hope that Israel responds positively
to the strenuous efforts we are making, so that we do not despair and think about taking
back our offer."
Netanyahu: Olmert Government Taking Measures to Cede Jerusalem
Likud leader and chairman of the opposition, Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the
Olmert government is taking measures to divide Jerusalem, and urged the key Shas party to
bolt the coalition and topple the government in order "to save Jerusalem."
Netanyahu was reacting to ongoing wrangling between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over Olmert's assertion that the sides had agreed to
defer discussions over the status of Jerusalem to a future final phase of negotiations.
"This weak government is prepared to give away Jerusalem, and is acting in order to give
it away," Netanyahu said. "All its denials and attempts at whitewashing will do no
Officials of the ultra-Orthodox Shas have warned Olmert that they view negotiations
over a future division of the city as a red line that would spur them to part ways with
the ruling coalition.
Netanyahu said he believed Shas leaders' statements that they want to safeguard a
Jerusalem united under Israeli rule. But he added, "Why are you still in the government?
Why are you granting Olmert a carpet so that he can cede Jerusalem?"
Shas leaders "say they are waiting for a signed document. But in the current situation,
we will not be able to recant. I repeat: Shas, what are you doing there? Get out of the
government and save Jerusalem."
A senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said after Olmert-Abbas talks Tuesday
that "The issue of Jerusalem did not come up in the discussion. I'm not aware of changes
in the Israeli position."
But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat disputed the claim, saying the leaders had
discussed "all the core issues" and that Abbas and Olmert did in fact discuss the
contentious topic of Jerusalem during their meeting earlier that evening.
Meanwhile, Abbas and Olmert agreed on Wednesday to expand their negotiations to topics
beyond the "core issues" of borders, Jerusalem and the refugees: Within two weeks, teams
will be set up to discuss at least seven other issues.
Poll: 75% of Young Israeli Arabs Support Voluntary National Service
Seventy-five percent of Israeli Arabs between the ages of 16 and 22 support voluntary
national service, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The poll, conducted by the dean of Haifa University's social sciences department,
Professor Sammy Smooha, was carried out among 910 participants. The study also polled 78
public figures from the Israeli Arab community, dividing them into two groups--those who
are identified with the Jewish establishment, and those who do not.
Smooha said the study shows that the government must launch a campaign challenging
those Israeli Arab leaders who oppose the national service.
According to the poll, the vast majority of the Arab public is unaware of the national
service, with 77.4 percent overall and 79.6 percent of youth saying they know little or
nothing about the program. The lack of public awareness comes despite a vigorous campaign
by Arab leaders against joining the national service as well as the service's recruitment
The poll found that, once given basic information about conditions in the national
service and its goals, not only Israeli Arab youth were supportive of the idea, but so
were 71.9 percent of all Arab men and 83.8 percent of all Arab women.
Support for the national service was also found to be high among supporters of Hadash
(69.2 percent), Balad (77.6 percent), and other Arab political movements opposed to the
Twenty seven percent of Arab youth said they would volunteer even in the face of family
members' opposition, while 35 percent said they would volunteer despite the opposition of
town leaders. Forty two percent said they would volunteer even if the majority of Israeli
Arab leaders express their opposition.
Sixty eight percent of those who support the national service said they are in favor
because it contributes to the country and Israeli society, while 89.7 percent said they
support the project because it would lead to greater equality between Arabs and Jews.
And 74.5 percent said they are concerned that the national service will with time turn
into compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces
Shas Knesset Member: Homosexuality Causes Earthquakes
By IsraelNationalNews.com & YnetNews.com
Knesset member Shlomo Benizri (Shas) caused a tremor Wednesday when he linked
homosexuality and earthquakes. Benizri addressed the subject in the course of a debate in
the Knesset plenum on earthquake readiness. "I suggest that the Knesset inquire into how
it can prevent sodomy and thus save us a lot of earthquakes."
He later explained to a reporter that the Gemara calls earthquakes "zevaot" and teaches
that they are caused by a number of things, including male homosexuality. "I therefore
suggested that in order to limit the damage from earthquakes, it would be better to make
fewer laws that encourage sodomy and other perversions, like adoption of children by
lesbians," he said.
The recent earthquake that was felt across Israel was the result of the "homosexual
activity practiced in the country," Benizri said during a special Knesset session on
Israel's preparedness for the possibility of another earthquake hitting the region.
An earthquake registering 5.3 on the Richter Scale was felt by residents across Israel
at 12:36 p.m. Friday. The trembling lasted for 19 seconds and shook structures in many
major towns and cities.
Reports of shaking were received from Nahariya in the north down to Be'er Sheva. Magen
David Adom emergency services said there were no reports of injuries, but several people
suffered from shock.
Last month fellow Shas member Nissim Ze'ev stirred controversy when he referred to the
local gay movement as a "plague that could destroy Jewish Israel," adding that it should
be treated "just as the Health Ministry dealt with the bird flu epidemic." (Editor's note:
Many of the birds were killed.)
Mike Hammel, chairman of the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association
commented on Benizri's remarks saying "it is sad that a religious MK in Israel doesn't
think earthquakes are God-made. On the other hand, I suppose we should be flattered he
attributes us with such magical powers. One must wonder why Shas MKs are so obsessed with
the gay community
we can all recall the case of the American senator who fiercely
spoke out against gays until it was found he himself was gay."
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