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Solar Energy in Israel

By Israel Faxx News Services

Solar Energy in Israel, free, on-line resource discussing solar energy developments in Israel, can be found at

It includes FAQ sections with answers to the questions about solar energy systems in Israel and abroad. The site also contains a weekly blog; videos; an index of solar energy companies in Israel; a glossary of relevant words and terms; an English - Hebrew dictionary of Hebrew solar energy words and terms with English translations and transliterations; and links to solar energy resources in Israel and around the world.

Barak: Israel Will Do All It Can To Bring Shalit Home

By Ha'aretz

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday evening that Israel would do everything in its power to see the safe return of captured Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. "We have a sense of moral and commanding obligation to do everything possible and appropriate to bring Gilad home whole," Barak said during an event honoring Israel's 1948 generation in Tel Aviv.

At the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem earlier Sunday, Barak proposed imposing a full military censure on the Shalit talks, saying that less transparency will increase the chances that negotiations will succeed.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet he believes Shalit will return to Israel alive and well. "I have called the Shalit family and promised them in all our names that we would do everything possible to bring Gilad Shalit home alive, healthy and whole as soon as possible," he said.

Olmert and Barak's comments come one day after Hamas confirmed that negotiations over Shalit's release were officially on hold. A senior Hamas figure said Saturday that once the group understood that Israel was not fulfilling its end of the cease-fire agreement, it had decided that continuing the Shalit talks would be futile at this time.

Meanwhile, former Shin Bet chief and Labor Party Minister Ami Ayalon on Sunday urged Israel to release Palestinian prisoners as soon as possible in exchange for Shalit. He told Army Radio that Israel already knows that terror groups' demands do not decrease over time. "The Ron Arad case taught us that we have to pay the price, with all of the pain and significance bound up in that."

A national security forum gathered at the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday to discuss the ongoing negotiations over the release of Shalit, who was abducted in a cross border raid in June 2006 and has been held in Gaza since.

Betancourt Calls for Shalit's Release

By Reuters & AFP

Thousands gathered near the Eiffel Tower to hear Ingrid Betancourt, a Franco-Colombian politician rescued from captivity this month after spending more than six years as a hostage of Colombian rebel forces.

Betancourt held a large sign with kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit's photo. The sign read, "Gilad Shalit, kidnapped since June 2006." She said "We want freedom for everyone." Betancourt's speech, delivered in Spanish, was shown on television in Colombia, which is also preparing to hold a mass anti-kidnapping rally on its national day.

Betancourt and 14 other hostages were freed after Colombian military agents tricked FARC fighters into handing the group over to them. The agents pretended to be non-governmental workers acting as go-betweens for the FARC leadership.

The Israeli Mossad secret service was involved in the operation to free Betancourt from Colombian rebels, a Spanish newspaper said Sunday, adding US and French secret services were also involved.

"Mossad and the US and French intelligence services worked for more than a year with the Colombian authorities to develop the plan," Vanguardia said, citing an Israeli secret service source.

According to Vanguardia, Israel, France and the US had different reasons for participating in the operation: France because of Betancourt's half-French nationality, the US because of the three Americans in the group and Israel in order to maintain good bilateral relations with Colombia and the US.

Vanguardia's correspondent in Tel Aviv said the Mossad operation consisted of two agents unknown to each other separately infiltrating FARC. The pair managed to penetrate the Marxist guerrilla group so effectively that they ultimately controlled what FARC did or didn't know, the Catalan newspaper said.

The Israeli and US secret services used unmanned spy drones to locate the camp where the hostages were held, Vanguardia said.

Ahmadinejad's Deputy: Iran is a Friend of Israel


The deputy to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Iran was a friend of Israel, Iranian news agencies reported.

"Iran wants no war with any country, and today Iran is friend of the United States and even Israel.... Our achievements belong to the whole world and should be used for expanding love and peace," said Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, who is also head of the Cultural Heritage Organization.

The Cultural Heritage Organization news agency quoted him as saying that even during the eight-year war against Iraq; Iran just defended itself against the military invasion by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The remarks by the vice president followed last week's warnings by some Iranian officials that Tehran's long-range missiles could target the Jewish state if the U.S. and Israel realized their threats to attack Iran's nuclear sites.

Ahmadinejad himself caused international uproar with his anti-Israel tirades, voicing hope for the eradication of Israel from the Middle East, demanding its relocation to Europe or Alaska and doubting the historic dimension of the Holocaust during World War II.

Exodus Ship Survivor Making Aliyah at Age 88


Exodus ship survivor Frances Goldberg, 88, of Pittsburgh, will be one of 210 new immigrants to arrive in Israel on Tuesday. The Nefesh B'Nefesh flight is scheduled to arrive at approximately 7 a.m.

Goldberg tried to come on aliyah in 1947 after having survived the Holocaust by fleeing from Poland to Siberia. She left a displaced persons camp in the middle of the night and boarded the Exodus for Israel. The British army torpedoed and tear-gassed the ship, killing several passengers. The others, including Greenberg, were forced to return to France and then to Germany rather than arrive in Israel and increase the Jewish presence in Palestine, which it occupied under a League of Nations mandate.

The Nazis had wiped out her family. After returning to Germany, she met and married her husband Isak. She survived a nearly fatal illness, and the couple moved to Pittsburgh, where her sister lived, in 1949.

They have two children, and her desire to move to Israel grew after her daughter married and moved to Israel 36 years ago. She was widowed a year ago and decided to make arrangements to be close to her daughter and grandchildren in the Jewish state.

Charley Levine, a spokesman for the Nefesh B'Nefesh group that helps Jews make aliyah, said that "once you hit 70-plus, it is extremely rare" for people to move to Israel. However, at least two women from Baltimore and London made aliyah at the age of 99 in the past two years, and the known record is held by a woman who moved from New York at the age of 102.

Goldberg will be living in a retirement community near her daughter's home in Raanana. "A lot of people say I am a gutsy old woman," she said. "But I really hope that I will make a new life there," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Kosher Food in Jeopardy at Beijing Olympic Games


The Chinese government is making it difficult to set up kosher food restaurants at next month's 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

According to British-born Rabbi Levi Brackman, who currently lives in the United States, the strict Chinese regulations on visas and on imports may prevent restaurateurs from making kosher food available at the Games.

Writing in his weekly syndicated column, Brackman quoted Rabbi David Moskowitz, head of Shatz Kosher Services, who is in charge of importing kosher food into China, as saying "there is a severe shortage of kosher food" due to new, tight restrictions that are expected to last until the end of the Games. "Without a special import permit and proper inspections it is impossible to bring liquid foods into China on food supply flights," he said as an example.

Trucks to bring in raw materials and special foods are in limited supply, and those that are available are strictly regulated to reduce air pollution prior to the Games.

Not only the Chinese government, but also the Olympic committee itself is causing problems, said Moskowitz. "Even rabbis who handle kosher supervision and can make [existing] foods currently sold in markets kosher cannot get a visa to China due to Olympics-related security reasons, which have made the criteria tougher," he said.

The severe kosher food shortage is not only causing potential problems for those who will be attending next month's games, he added – it's causing problems for those who live in China. Members of the Jewish community, based primarily in Shanghai and Beijing, have been forced to subsist on foods that were imported before the tighter regulations took effect.

At least one and possibly two kosher restaurants are in the process of being prepared for the world event.

Model Zionist: Bar Refaeli Poses for Jewish Swimsuit Issue

By Ha'aretz

The American Jewish magazine "Heeb" has published a special swimsuit issue that is sure to raise eyebrows in some circles.

The issue, titled "The girls of 5769," (for the year 5769 on the Hebrew calendar), seeks to highlight what the magazine calls the "most beautiful Jewish women in the world," and boasts spreads of some of Israel's hottest models, including Bar Refaeli, sprawled across the cover of the issue in a white bikini surrounded by decidedly non-kosher lobsters.

The swimsuit spread was the brainchild of Jewish director Brett Ratner, famous for films such as "X-Men" and "Rush Hour," and reportedly includes a tongue-in-cheek photo of model Donna Feldman on the beach reading the Philip Roth classic "Portnoy's Complaint," and another model holding a fishing pole with lox (smoked salmon) hanging off the hook.

Heeb was founded in 2001 by Jennifer Bleyer, then a graduate student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and backed financially by Jewish donors like Steven Spielberg and Charles Bronfman.

Known for a satiric and sardonic tone and a sometimes abrasive approach, Heeb calls itself "the bastard love child of Emma Goldman and Lenny Bruce" - a reference to the female anarchist and founder of Mother Earth magazine, and legendary comic Bruce, who inspired a generation of comedians and was convicted in 1964 for obscenity.

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