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Holocaust Film from Austria Wins Oscar

By Israel Faxx News Services

A Holocaust-era drama from Austria won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. "The Counterfeiters" beat out the Israeli war film "Beaufort" to take the Oscar at Sunday night's ceremony in Los Angeles.

The winning film explores the moral dilemmas faced by Jewish counterfeiters forced into helping the Nazis try to undermine Allied economies during World War II. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky said making "The Counterfeiters" helped him grapple with Austria's role in the Holocaust and the fact that his grandparents had been Nazi sympathizers.

Two IDF Officers Injured While Testing Captured Hizbullah Weapons

By Ha'aretz

Two Israel Defense Forces officers were injured Monday in an explosion at the Palmachim base in central Israel. The accident occurred during the course of a test of weapons seized from the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

One officer suffered serious wounds in the blast and lost his arm. A non-commissioned officer was moderately hurt. The explosion was apparently caused by a Hizbullah rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), which accidentally went off in the vicinity of the victims.

Rescue services arrived at the base, which is located south of Rishon LeZion, and administered first aid treatment to the injured soldiers, who suffered shrapnel wounds. The wounded were then evacuated by helicopter to hospitals for further treatment.

The IDF has notified the families of the injured officers and launched an investigation into the incident

Obama: Don't Equate 'Pro-Israel' and 'Pro-Likud'

By Israel Faxx News Services

Barack Obama faulted elements in the pro-Israel community that he said equated being pro-Israel with being pro-Likud.

"I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel," the Illinois senator and contender for the Democratic presidential nominee told a group of Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Sunday. "If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we're not going to make progress."

The Likud Party, in the Israeli opposition, advocates minimal territorial concessions to the Palestinians and promotes settlement in the West Bank.

Obama was addressing a series of attacks, most from Republicans, that suggest that he has surrounded himself with anti-Israel advisers. He noted that he did not take the advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration national security adviser named in some of the attack e-mails.

Obama explained that he accepted Brzezinski's endorsement, based on shared views on ending the Iraq war, but did not share Brzezinski's critical views of Israel. Nonetheless, he cautioned against marginalizing those with different views.

"Frankly some of the commentary that I've seen which suggests guilt by association or the notion that unless we are never ever going to ask any difficult questions about how we move peace forward or secure Israel that is non military or non belligerent or doesn't talk about just crushing the opposition that that somehow is being soft or anti-Israel, I think we're going to have problems moving forward," he said.

Obama also said he encountered more nuanced views among Israelis than Americans.

"There was a very honest, thoughtful debate taking place inside Israel," he said. "All of you, I'm sure, have experienced this when you travel there. Understandably, because of the pressure that Israel is under, I think the U.S. pro-Israel community is sometimes a little more protective or concerned about opening up that conversation. But all I'm saying though is that actually ultimately should be our goal, to have that same clear eyed view about how we approach these issues."

The meeting, taking place as the campaigns of Obama and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) blitz the state ahead of a March 4 primary, was off the record, but a rough transcript was later made available.

`Observer' Prints Pictures of Anne Frank Love Interest


The British Observer printed a photograph on Sunday that is assumed to be that of Peter Schiff, a boy who played a central role in the diary of Anne Frank. Frank met Schiff in 1940 at the age of 11, and her love for him was a frequent theme of her writings in the years that followed.

The picture was provided by Ernst Michaelis, who attended school with Schiff until 1939. Michaelis said he suspected that Schiff was the boy referred to in Frank's diary in the 1950s, but was not certain until he recently received an old class photo and conducted some research into Schiff's past. Schiff is believed to have died in Auschwitz.

To the Editor:

One of your stories ( perpetuates an error in science. Regarding the Great Rift Valley, the article states, "... The fault line was caused by the separation of African and Eurasian tectonic plates 35 million years ago, a split that weakened the Earth's crust."

The African and Eurasian plates did not split 35 million years ago. In fact, they have been coming together over the last 100 million years or so, according to the theory of plate tectonics. One reference (Wikipedia) mentioned that the Arabian plate split off from the African about 35 million years ago, but this detail has since been removed from Wikipedia.

Please note: the Great Rift Valley runs, North to South, between the Arabian and African plates (not Eurasian and African), and between the bulk of Africa and the formative, yet incomplete, Somalian sub-plate.

Carl Martin
Cebu City, Philippines

Securing Jerusalem's Place on the Monopoly Board

By Israel Faxx News Services

Jerusalem has always enjoyed the monopoly over the top spiritual spot in the world – but now voters have a chance this month to reinforce that reality in an online contest by Hasbro, the company that created the Monopoly game.

Jewish communities all over the world are racing the internet highway in their drive to put Jerusalem in first place on the board when Hasbro releases its new global edition of Monopoly.

The company's 75-year-old game of commerce and real estate will feature 20 world cities in its new edition, which was opened to international competition last week. The classic board features famous places in the United States, including a number of streets in New York City as well as national railroads and other properties.

The contest will continue through February 28 to allow voters to cast their ballots for the top 10 cities from a pre-selected list that includes Jerusalem, Israel.

At the end of the month, the 20 cities with the highest number of ballots will take their place in history on the new global Monopoly board.

Those promoting the idea of having Jerusalem on the board claim it will help educate Jewish children and remind them of the existence of the holy city that is the capital of Israel.

But not all agree. Opponents argue that Jerusalem should not be considered as a property than can be bought and sold. Some of those who want to make sure that "Jerusalem is not for sale" even on a game board are voting in the other direction.

Directions on how to vote are being sent in email chain letters and

  1. Go online to and click on the box marked "Monopoly, vote here."

  2. In the right-pane, click `Sort By: Cities'

  3. Scroll down to `Jerusalem, Israel' and click it.

  4. A pop-up appears: click `Add to My Cities'

  5. A small picture of Jerusalem should appear in lower section of the screen. (Please do not select any other cities. This would reduce Jerusalem's scoring.)

  6. Click "Vote."

  7. Click "Create your login now."

  8. Enter a desired username and password. Click "Save."

  9. You will receive a confirmation email at the entered address.

  10. Click the link in the email.

  11. Put Jerusalem where it belongs – in the top spot!

(Psssst! Voters are allowed to cast their ballots every day.)

Sinatra Reportedly Helped Run Guns to Israel

By Israel Faxx News Services

Frank Sinatra reportedly played a role in smuggling guns to Israel in 1948.

Brian Greenspun, a son of Hank Greenspun, the Las Vegas media and real estate magnate who helped lead the gun smuggling effort, recently related the account to a Washington fund-raising dinner for Israel's Rabin Center.

Greenspun, who said he heard the story from his father, later confirmed it with Teddy Kollek, the late Jerusalem mayor. According to the account, which Greenspun said he was making public for the first time, Kollek – who was in 1948 Israel's point man heading the arms smuggling effort in New York – got to know the singer while staying in Hotel 14, atop the old Copacabana nightclub where Sinatra headlined.

Kollek needed to pay the captain of a ship a cash bribe to smuggle the weapons out of New York harbor, but knew he was being watched by the FBI because the United States was party to an arms embargo of all parties to the conflict.

Kollek left the hotel on the appointed day carrying a satchel, and was followed by the agents; Sinatra left through another entrance with a paper bag containing the money and paid the captain.

Sinatra and Kollek remained friends and the singer contributed to a number of Jerusalem building projects at the mayor's behest.

Clinton: Israel's Birth Proved OK to Ignore Laws

By Israel Faxx News Services

Former President Bill Clinton said U.S. citizens who broke the law smuggling guns to the nascent Jewish state proved there are times when it's acceptable to break the law.

"Once in a while it's worth risking your neck to make sure nobody sinks just because the rules are rigged against them," he said recently to raucous applause at a Washington dinner honoring Jimmy Hoffa, the legendary Teamsters leader who facilitated such smuggling.

U.S. authorities at the time banned the sales of guns to any parties to the conflict, placing the struggling Jewish state at a disadvantage over enemies that had standing armies.

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