Newsletter : 8fax0529.txt
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Blogger Threatens Knesset's Eldad: 'I Will Murder You'
Scoop blogger Rechavia Berman published a death threat against Knesset member Aryeh
Eldad following Eldad's statement Monday that relinquishing territory to Syria is a crime
which entails the death penalty.
Berman said Eldad was inciting to murder and wrote: "If a prime minister is murdered in
Israel during your lifetime, Dr. Aryeh Eldad, I, personally, will murder you. The only
question is whether I will go for poetic justice and drag you to the murder victim's grave
to stick a bullet in your head, or whether I will opt for the educational mode and put a
bullet in your brain in front of your children."
U.S.: Iran's Nuclear Program Could Produce Disaster
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Washington)
U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said the world cannot let down future
generations by allowing Iran to develop a nuclear bomb, adding that such a development
would be a disaster for the Middle East and the rest of the planet.
Marking the fifth anniversary of the Proliferation Security Initiative, Hadley told
representatives that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States shattered
the idea after the Cold War that global security faced no serious challenges.
The national security advisor singled out Iran, saying it must not be allowed to build
a nuclear bomb. "We will not betray future generations by allowing Iran to have a nuclear
weapon. Iran is a particular worry since it is both a potential proliferator and an active
state sponsor of terror and thus a potential route of weapons of mass destruction for
Hadley said the United States and its international partners would continue to pressure
Iran over its uranium-enrichment program with diplomatic isolation and U.N. sanctions,
adding the world cannot allow Iran to use negotiations to stall for time, hedge its bets
and keep open an indigenous route to a nuclear weapon.
"If there is one thing I hope we can all agree on, it is that a nuclear-armed Iran
would be disastrous for the peace of the Middle East and the world," said Hadley.
The United States and its European allies fear Iran wants to enrich uranium to build an
atomic weapon. Tehran insists its efforts are entirely peaceful and are producing fuel for
civilian nuclear reactors.
The United States and other major nations have offered incentives to Iran to scrap the
enrichment program and Hadley said diplomatic work would continue to find a peaceful
solution. "At the same time we will continue to hold open the door for a negotiated
solution that offers Iran economic, political and security benefits if it will only give
up its nuclear weapons ambitions."
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reported to be seeking a meeting with Pope
Benedict XVI when he visits Rome next week for a U.N. summit on global food shortages.
In a related story, the Italian daily Il Messaggero said Iran's President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad is seeking a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI when he visits Rome next week for
a U.N. summit on global food shortages.
Church officials have not yet confirmed the meeting. They have said it is not clear
whether Benedict will be able to meet separately with all heads of state attending the
U.N. meetings, but that there could be a collective or group audience for visiting
News reports about Ahmadinejad's plans quote a diplomatic source as saying that the
Iranian president wants to brief the pope about Iran's position on unspecified
international disputes - presumably including Iran's controversial nuclear program.
The pontiff has called for continued diplomacy to resolve the stand-off over Iran's
nuclear program. Tehran says its aims are peaceful, but the United States and other
Western powers are concerned that Iran's efforts might be intended to develop nuclear
Ahmadinejad and the pope have never met before, although the head of the Roman Catholic
Church has met previously with Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki. The Vatican
and Iran have maintained diplomatic ties for more than 50 years.
Israel's Defense Minister Calls on Olmert to Step Down
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)
A new turn in a bribery case is threatening to topple Israel's embattled prime
minister. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to
step down after incriminating testimony in a corruption scandal.
Barak said the Prime Minister could not function after an American Jewish businessman
said he gave Olmert envelopes stuffed with cash to support a lavish lifestyle.
Prosecutors suspect that the businessman, Morris Talanksy, gave Olmert up to $500,000 over
a 15-year period when he was a Cabinet minister and mayor of Jerusalem.
The Prime Minister said the money was for campaign contributions, but Talanksy
testified that some of it was for a lavish lifestyle, including expensive cigars and
hotels and flying first class.
Shocked by these allegations, Barak issued an ultimatum. He said if Olmert does not
step down, he would pull his Labor Party out of the coalition government and force early
elections. Olmert's aides said he is innocent until proven guilty, and therefore, he will
But even if he hangs on to power, many wonder how a weakened prime minister can conduct
fruitful peace talks. Israel recently resumed negotiations with Syria after an eight-year
break and Olmert is trying to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians by the end of
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank issued a statement saying that the political
crisis in Israel would have a "negative impact" on the peace process.
While visiting towns in southern Israel Wednesday evening, Olmert said, "I'll continue
to function as prime minister; there are those who believe that the launching of any
investigation demands a resignation, but I don't adhere to this notion and I will not step
down," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during a meeting with the heads of communities and
towns located near Gaza.
Orthodox Jews Burn Hundreds of New Testaments in Israel
The torching of about 200 New Testaments near Tel Aviv has shed more light on a
perceived persecution of Messianic Jews.
While reports differ slightly on whether or not Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon meant for the
religious text to be burned, what is clear is that he and a group of Jewish religious
students went around town collecting materials missionaries had earlier distributed to
many of the new Ethiopian immigrants who now live in Israel, because the Jerusalem Post
reported Aharon said the information prompted recipients to "go against Judaism."
The Associated Press reported that while it is frowned upon for Christian missionaries
to share their message with Jews, it is not illegal.
Reports of the harassment of Messianic Jews, or Jews for Jesus, of whom there are about
10,000 in Israel, have been more rampant as of late.
The Jerusalem Post quoted a religious leader as saying there was a war against
Messianic Jews in Israel. Other reports mention the mailbox bomb sent to a Messianic
pastor's house, which his teen son intercepted, incurring serious damage. Last year a
church used by Messianic Jews was set ablaze. Authorities said they think Jewish
extremists were responsible.
Many Israelis are outraged by the book burning, saying it is both wrong and illegal, as
there are two laws against desecrating any religious relics or texts, as CNN reported "One
forbids the destruction or desecration of any religious icon or item that a group holds
sacred. Another bans people from speaking publicly in a way that offends or humiliates a
Others recall the burning of sacred Jewish texts by the Nazis and therefore deplore the
act of destroying any religious items.
Obama Explains Goof on Claim His Uncle Freed Auschwitz
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama incorrectly claimed Sunday that his
uncle was one of the U.S. soldiers who liberated the Auschwitz death camp at the end of
World War II.
"The story in our family was that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and
he didn't leave the house for six months," Obama said. Republican party officials quickly
pointed out that Soviet troops freed Auschwitz so "unless his uncle was serving in the Red
Army, there's no way Obama's statement yesterday can be true."
Obama explained that he simply misnamed the name of the death camp, His spokesman Bill
Burton stated, "Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in
telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically."
Updated Halakhic Pre-Nuptial Agreement Available
The Rabbinical Council of America, which is the largest Orthodox rabbinic group in the
world, and the Beth Din of America have announced the publication of an updated edition of
their widely used Halakhic Prenuptial Agreement.
The purpose of the agreement is to avoid, as much as possible, situations in which a
spouse withholds a get - a Jewish divorce - from his or her spouse. The original
agreement was issued more than a decade ago, and the RCA says it has been "responsible for
a dramatic drop in the incidence of so-called 'agunot,' or 'chained women' among those who
made sure to sign it prior to marriage." Some rabbis have stated that they would not
officiate at a marriage whose partners have not signed the agreement.
The updated version of the prenuptial agreement, which can be downloaded at www.rabbis.org, incorporates a number of procedural improvements and enhancements to the original document. It encourages consultation with legal counsel and comes with detailed implementation instructions to the bride and groom. It also allows for a number of choices by the couple, by mutual agreement.
There are also a number of available variations, including one designed specifically
for the community property marriage provisions of the State of California, as well as a
so-called "reciprocal version." Another available version can be inserted into general
prenuptial agreements. The agreement is valid under both United States law and Jewish
Rabbi Basil Herring, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America,
expressed his organization's gratification that "the prenuptial agreement has been so
effective in limiting the incidence of recalcitrance among couples whose marriages have
"We urge every couple about to be married, no matter their love and regard for each
other leading up to the wedding day, and irrespective of their background, to utilize this
very important and valuable tool, to benefit not only themselves, but the entire Jewish
community," Herring said.
Some rabbis oppose pre-nuptials on the grounds that they make divorce too easy, or
because the monetary fine that the recalcitrant party must pay monthly renders the divorce
"forced" and thus not valid.
West Side Story, Mea Shearim Style
The bride's parents objected, rabbis protested and the public took to the streets
but the young couple refused to give up. Against all odds and despite violent
demonstrations outside the wedding hall, a young ultra-Orthodox woman from overseas and
her Jerusalemite fiancé were recently married in the capital.
It all began when an international millionaire, a renowned haredi philanthropist, sent
his 19-year-old daughter to study in an ultra-Orthodox institution for girls in Jerusalem.
In Israel, the daughter got involved with a young haredi man, but according to sources
familiar with the affair, the woman's father objected to the relationship from the very
beginning, claiming that the young man was a "shababnik" (a yeshiva dropout).
From the moment the bride's family overseas learned of her desire to marry the young
man, her relatives began sending messengers and public activists to the Holy Land in a bid
to persuade her not to go ahead with her plans.
The family also appealed to the most prominent Orthodox rabbis, asking that they exert
efforts in a bid to cancel the planned wedding. The rabbis even issued a manifest against
the engagement, but to no avail.
According to the sources, messengers on behalf of the bride's family visited the
groom's father in a bid to convince him to call off the wedding. The father, the sources
said, promised he would work to cancel the engagement. Shortly afterward, however, an
engagement ceremony took place, at the father's presence.
At the beginning of the week, the family discovered that the wedding would take place
on a Tuesday evening. Claiming that the young man's family had exploited wealthy families
in the past, the woman's family managed to convince prominent rabbis to issue another
manifest against the wedding.
Leaflets slamming the marriage were hung in haredi neighborhoods, carrying the
signatures of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Rabbi Nissim Karelitz and Rabbi Michal Yehuda
Addressing the groom's father, the rabbis wrote, "After hearing from important scholars
that your son is about to marry a girl as opposed to the Torah's wishes, we demand that
you prevent this marriage which will not be held according to our dedicated Jewish
"Who can tolerate such a marriage with such great sorrow on the part of the daughter's
mother and father? It is a defamation of God to marry a person from the street considered
problematic like the groom."
The announcements called out, "An act of villainy being carried out in Israel,"
claiming that the groom's family did not listen to the rabbi's demands to call off the
wedding, and urging the haredi public to protest outside the groom's home and outside the
Jerusalem wedding hall during the ceremony.
At around 5 p.m. Tuesday, announcements were sounded across Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox
neighborhoods, calling on the public to go out and protest. The groom's family, upon
hearing the calls from its home, located in the heart of a haredi neighborhood, rushed to
leave the house before the demonstrators' arrival.
When the protestors realized that the family was not at home, they continued towards
the Beit Hakerem neighborhood, where the wedding ceremony was being held.
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