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Nefesh B'Nefesh to Welcome 15,000th New Immigrant

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Nefesh B'Nefesh will welcome its first summer aliyah flight at Ben-Gurion International Airport this Thursday. The flight will bring 220 new immigrants from North America to Israel.

The immigrants range in age from 87 years old to 2 months. The flight also carries Tracy Levy (formerly of Houston, Texas) who is NBN's 15,000th immigrant to Israel).This will be the first of 13 flights expected to bring more than 2,000 new immigrants over the course of the summer.


Iran: 'We'll Burn Down Tel Aviv'

By WorldNetDaily.com & VOA News

If the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran, Tehran will retaliate by "burning down" Tel Aviv and U.S. Naval forces in the Persian Gulf, an official from the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards warned Tuesday.

The report quotes guard official Ali Shirazi – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative to the Revolutionary Guards – warning that Tel Aviv and American warships in the Gulf would be among the first targets if Iran comes under attack.

"The first bullet fired by America at Iran will be followed by Iran burning down its vital interests around the globe," Ali Shirazi was quoted as saying in a speech to Revolutionary Guards. The Zionist regime is pressuring White House officials to attack Iran. If they commit such a stupidity, Tel Aviv and U.S. shipping in the Persian Gulf will be Iran's first targets, and they will be burned," Shirazo said.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, declined to comment on the threat to hit Tel Aviv, telling reporters only: "Shirazi's words speak for themselves."

The Iranian threats come amid media speculation regarding an Israeli attack against Iran. It also comes one month after it was reported the Jewish state held a major military exercise over the Mediterranean Sea involving more than 100 aircraft. The drill was widely seen as Israeli preparations for a possible bombing of Iran's nuclear installations.

According to some reports last week, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, who visited Israel last month, told the Jewish state it does not have a "green light" from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

Last week, WND conducted an exclusive interview with Meir Amit, a former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, who said Israel should use force to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

The comments from Amit, one of the most esteemed figures in the Israeli intelligence establishment, are significant, since he previously had refused to support an attack against Iran. "I am in favor of using the power of force against Iran, because if we let things go as they are we will find ourselves in a very dangerous situation. We have good intelligence, and we shall decide what is the right timing for any attack."

However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that he does not see a possibility of war between Iran and the United States or Israel. Ahmadinejad made the comment while in Malaysia for a summit of developing Muslim nations.

President George Bush has said repeatedly that he wants to use diplomacy to resolve the dispute, but added that all options remained on the table.


Paralyzed Palestinian Girl Fights to Stay in Israel

By Reuters

Paralyzed from the neck down in an Israeli strike on the Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, an attack that also killed her mother, brother and grandmother, six-year-old Maria Amin is now fighting against a Defense Ministry order to move her from a Jerusalem rehabilitation facility to one in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Maria was seriously wounded and has been hospitalized in Israel, paralyzed from the neck down. Her father can't bear to tell her that her condition will never change. The Sunday Times (UK) said it has collected 10,000 pounds for Maria.

Maria can move around in a wheelchair controlled by a joystick she guides with her chin, but her Israeli doctors say her life would be in danger if Israel's Defense Ministry sends her to the West Bank city of Ramallah. Two years ago, Maria was paralyzed from the neck down when the car she was traveling in was caught in a missile attack.

The Defense Ministry, which has covered Maria's medical expenses and sponsored her father and younger brother to live with her at a Jerusalem hospital, has been seeking since last year to send her to Ramallah's Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre.

Maria's father, Hamdi, appealed against the decision, but on Tuesday Israel's Supreme Court put off for a third time a hearing on the case until December, when an injunction blocking her transfer to the Ramallah facility expires.

Adi Lustigman, Maria's lawyer, told the court that the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre lacks adequate equipment to attend to her special needs. "She needs to live near the hospital, she must be near the emergency room - things she cannot have in the West Bank," Lustigman told reporters outside the courtroom.

"Maria cannot have her mother, brother or grandmother back, she cannot have her body, but there are things we can do to make things better and this is to take care of her for all of her life because she cannot survive outside Israel," Lustigman said.

Upset at what he described as foot dragging, Maria's father said he believed the court did not want to set a precedent that would encourage other Palestinians hurt in Israeli attacks to seek long-term medical treatment in Israel.

The Defense Ministry maintains that Israeli law does not require the army to compensate Palestinians injured in fighting against terrorists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It said sponsoring Maria was a humanitarian gesture.


Israeli Expertise in Adult Male Circumcisions Helps Africa Combat AIDS

By Chicago Tribune

Inon Schenker, an AIDS prevention specialist, pulled out a medical logbook from a shelf and opened it to a page filled with handwritten entries. The notations, from 1993, recorded ritual circumcisions performed on Jewish men from the former Soviet Union at the height of the wave of immigration to Israel from Russia and neighboring republics.

The entries showed 32 circumcisions by a single doctor during one day--an assembly-line rate that Schenker believes shows the potential in Israel for helping combat AIDS in Africa, where recent studies have shown male circumcision to be a significant protective measure against the disease.

In the heyday of Russian immigration to Israel in the 1990s, about 1,000 adult male circumcisions a month were performed on newcomers in hospitals and clinics, in accordance with Jewish law. "Israel is the only country with such experience in mass adult-male circumcision, and it can respond to a very important humanitarian challenge," said Schenker, director of Operation Abraham, a project launched last year that dispatched Israeli surgeons to teach circumcision in Africa.

Because it is obligatory under Jewish law, male circumcision is nearly universal in Israel and was stepped up as immigrants from the former Soviet republics sought the procedure to affirm their Judaism and ease their integration in the Jewish state. The ancient practice is mentioned in the Bible in a passage that describes how the patriarch Abraham circumcised his son at God's command.

Jewish circumcision ordinarily is performed on newborns, but many of the immigrants hadn't been circumcised in their countries of origin for various reasons, such as estrangement from Judaism, restrictions on religious rites in the Soviet era and pressure to assimilate in gentile society.

As the Russian immigrants flooded into Israel—about 1 million since 1989—the demand for adult circumcisions surged, and the country became a world leader in the field, with more than 80,000 procedures performed, according to various estimates.

Schenker, who is with the Jerusalem AIDS Project, a non-governmental group that promotes HIV prevention, is working to marry the experience accumulated in Israel with the urgent need in Africa for effective programs to fight the AIDS epidemic.

A link between circumcision and AIDS prevention was shown in three studies conducted between 2004 and 2006 in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya, which found that the risk of contracting AIDS in heterosexual sex is 50 percent to 60 percent less among men who are circumcised.

The findings led the World Health Organization last year to recommend circumcision as an additional method for prevention of AIDS. WHO's recommendations were endorsed at a gathering of African health ministers.

With the support of the Hadassah Medical Organization, which runs Israel's main university hospital in Jerusalem and has provided most of the budget and equipment, the Jerusalem AIDS Project sent three delegations of surgeons to teach adult circumcision in Swaziland.

The southern African nation has the highest prevalence of AIDS in the world — 26 percent in a population of about 1 million. "This is part of Hadassah's mission: outreach to other places," said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of the organization.

The Israeli surgeons visited Swaziland twice last year and again in February, training 10 local doctors in adult male circumcision and two others in the procedure on newborns. The Israeli teams included an Israeli Arab doctor with experience in Muslim ritual circumcision.

Prudence Mkhatshwa, chief nurse in male circumcision at the Family Life Association of Swaziland, a non-governmental group that partnered with the Israelis, said the training had helped to significantly raise the weekly rate of adult circumcisions and that the public response is growing. The procedure, conducted under local anesthesia, was first offered in Swaziland in 2006.

"Before, people were scared, but now they see the benefits and they are more willing to do it," Mkhatshwa said from Mbabane, the Swazi capital. She said street billboards are promoting circumcision, in addition to condom use and abstention from casual sex, as methods of preventing AIDS.

Dr. Eitan Gross, a pediatric surgeon from Hadassah who served as the project's medical director, said that working with the Swazi doctors and nurses was a "moving experience. You had a sense that you were doing something groundbreaking, and they were very grateful."


Dachau Seeks Israeli `Twin'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Bavarian town of Dachau, notorious as the site of the first Nazi concentration camp in 1933, is seeking to twin itself with an Israeli community.

The Dachau camp served as the prototype for the subsequent network of work and extermination camps in which the Nazi regime murdered more than six million Jews. About one-fifth of the 200,000 people sent to Dachau were murdered in its gates.

Dachau Mayor Peter Burgel has already begun networking with Israeli officials and even visited Israel last week in his search for a partner community. Following the visit, Burgel told Germany's Welt am Sontag: "It will surely be of Dachau's interest to find a twin town in Israel, but one must prepare such ground with utmost sensitivity."

A previous proposal to change the town's name was rejected as an attempt to "erase history" by a far-right town council member. Thus far, one of the only cities to twin with Dachau as well has been Klagenfurt, capital of the right-wing state of Carinthia in Austria, whose elected representative is far-right politician Joerg Haider.


Meteor Sighting Sparks UFO Panic in Israel

By Ha'aretz & YnetNews.com

An unexpected meteor cut through Israel's skyline from east to west Tuesday evening and disappeared shortly after, causing panic throughout central Israel and bafflement among astronomers who failed to predict it.

The meteor was seen by residents in the Tel Aviv area at around 8 p.m., leading to alarmed phone calls to the police. "Several calls were registered in which callers described having seen a shiny trail in the Sharon district," an Israel Police spokesman said. "We crosschecked with the Israel Defense Forces and its ground units, and came up with no explanation," he added.

Ram Rafaeli, A resident from Kfar Yedidya described is meteor sighting to Ha'aretz. "I went on the roof of the house with my sons and we began painting it. My eldest son turned my attention to a bright object that left a long trail, crossing the sky from east to west. It was white and radiant, and it shed a bright, strong and shiny light," he said.

Rafaeli explained that at one point he could no longer see the light that divided the skies. "As I am a man of exact sciences in my professional life, I don't believe in aliens. It is possible that it was a case of a meteor that entered the atmosphere, but it does not appear that way. In any case, it was a beautiful site."

Some witnesses said they heard a shrieking sound. Eyewitness Ranik Kortzman said, "I was in my balcony when I suddenly saw an object with two trails passing over Kfar Saba from east to west. It was travelling at great velocity and made a shrieking sound – like a missile."

Yigal Pat-El, chairman of the Israeli Astronomical Association and the director of the observatory in Giv'atayim told Ynet that "meteors enter the earth's atmosphere all the time. This is not a rare occurrence. The reason we were able to observe this meteor is because it was relatively large. Most meteors don't weigh more than 1/1000 gram, and this one apparently weighed a few grams," he said.


Rabbi: Smoking is Halachically Forbidden

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Bnei Barak rabbi Moshe Shaul Klein said over the weekend that Jewish law forbids smoking under any circumstances. The rabbi, a spokesman for the Bnei Barak halachic council added that Torah law commands Jews to lead a healthy lifestyle.

"Let's take the example of tobacco smoking. Anyone who is intelligent and offered a certain drink that just one out of 10 doctors says is poisonous would not drink it," said Klein, suggesting that smoking, having been proven to be deadly, is halachically forbidden.


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