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Iranian Jews Want Chabad in Tehran


A group of Iranian Jews has asked Chabad in Azerbaijan to set up a Chabad house in Tehran. Army Radio reported Monday morning that the Chabad organization had not yet made a decision in the matter.

There are over 4,000 Chabad emissaries spread throughout the world. The organization reported that it has standing requests for emissaries to be stationed in Bosnia, Iceland, a city in El Salvador and Nigeria.

Large Segments of Arabs in Mideast Support Obama

By Edward Yeranian (VOA-Cairo)

A large segment of popular opinion, across the Middle East, appears to be supporting Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barak Obama in Tuesday's contest against Republican John McCain. But portions of the political elite in the Gulf, as well as many Christians in Lebanon and Egypt appear to favor the latter.

Elections in the United States are a major topic of interest for Arab audiences. Popular satellite TV networks Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are devoting large portions of their coverage to the subject. Political commentators on both networks say that Arab public opinion, across much of the Middle East, is widely in favor of Obama.

The Arab daily Asharqalawsat is running a caricature, in Monday's edition, of Obama and McCain wielding clubs and preparing to beat up an Arab man, who is supposed to represent the Middle East, in a subtle indication that the paper thinks neither candidate will be good for Arabs.

The Syrian government, which has made no secret it would prefer to see Obama as the next American president, continues to blast McCain in the official government media. The Syrian daily Techrine went to so far as to accuse the Bush Administration of mounting an alleged raid against the Syrian border town of Sukkariya to "help get McCain elected."

Meanwhile, a number of Gulf leaders are reported to prefer Republican McCain, because they think he will better for their business interests, in addition to continuing the Bush Administration's policy of isolating Iran, which is perceived as a threat by various Gulf States.

Prof. Paul Salem, who heads Carnegie Center for Middle East Peace in Beirut, said that Obama is the favorite of popular opinion, but not of all Arab leaders: "I would say public opinion is very much with Obama and some of the elite opinion might be with McCain."

In Lebanon, many Christians say that they favor McCain over Obama, because McCain will better represent their interests. Dany Beyrouthi, who supports the Christian Lebanese Forces Party, says that McCain represents the part of America that he admires most:

"John McCain, I think, is a good president because he is Christian and I am Christian, too. I like about McCain his fight in Vietnam and I fight here in Lebanon with the Lebanese Forces. I think that any man who fights for freedom in his country, I think he knows very well what he wants," he said.

Dr. Hassan Nafae, who is professor of political science at Cairo University and heads the Amman-based Arab Thought Forum, says that Obama is the clear favorite of the Arab public, and that he, too, hopes Obama will win.

"I think there is no question at all that most Arab people in all the region support Barak Obama, but they do not think he will be able to change radically the American foreign policy, but at least he will not commit again the same mistakes that have been done by Bush. America now needs the world much more than ever," said Nafae.

Nafae argues that many Islamic extremists in the Middle are rooting for America's demise and that they think that McCain will take America to its final downfall.

Muslim Claim: Israel Plans to Build Temple Over al-Aksa Mosque


An Arab researcher said he has long range plans from the Israeli Antiquities Authority that outline strategies for the construction of a Jewish Temple on the site where the al-Aksa Mosque now stands, according to a report on Monday by the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency.

Doctor Ibrahim al Fanni showed the newspaper sketches outlining the demolition of al-Aksa Mosque and the Marwan mosque (Solomon's stables) beneath al-Aksa, as well as a plan involving the opening up the Fatima Halls, which are also located under al-Aksa.

Al Fanni claims the halls would be turned into a Jewish Temple, and construction would gradually move to the upper part of the compound, taking over space in Al-Aksa. "Plan B" would see the demolition of the Al-Aksa Mosque and the construction of a Jewish "Royal Palace" on the same site, which Muslims believe was the spot from which the Prophet Muhammad started his journey into the heavens.

Breast Cancer Research Pinpoints Ashkenazi Jewish Women for Risk


Two genes that are five times more likely to be defective in Ashkenazi Jewish women of European descent than in the general population are the focus of researchers who are looking to prevent cancers which are caused by the defective genes.

BRCA1 and BRCA2, dubbed the "Jewish breast cancer genes," were discovered in the 1990s, and are now among the most heavily researched genetic mutations in the world of cancer research. The pair of genes is responsible for creating proteins to fix broken DNA strands. But when the genes are mutated, the cells produce proteins which are unable to repair broken DNA, leading to the creation of cancer instead.

A new research project out of New York University - the Jewish Women's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Genetics Study - was launched in late September. Researchers will travel across the United States, collecting DNA samples of thousands of older Jewish women who do not have cancer in order to determine why they were spared, with a focus on how the cancer process might be prevented.

A recent trend among women with the genetic defect is to preemptively remove both breasts in order to all but eliminate the risk of breast cancer. Some women have also opted to have their ovaries removed, to prevent ovarian cancer and reduce the risk of breast cancer.

A concurrent study is being done on a drug which was created to act specifically on defective cells caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2. The new drug would eliminate the need for chemotherapy or other procedures which also eradicate healthy cells, only killing cells with mutated BRCA genes.

The drug could also be developed as a prophylactic treatment in women who are predisposed to cancer caused by BRCA mutation, but who have not yet developed the illness.

Other research is being conducted into women who have mutated BRCA but who do not develop cancer. A consortium of investigators from the University of Cambridge is looking into genes which interact with BRCA genes, leading to a higher chance of cancer.

A recent report from Israel's Ministry of Health shows that cancer in women in the Jewish State declined by 13 percent between 2000 and 2006, with breast cancer dropping drastically.

Israeli Fashion Designer Sews Abbas' Suits


In spite of the rift between Palestinians and Israelis, it seems someone is still interested in sewing peace. Tel Aviv-based fashion company Barbaros has recently supplied Ramallah and Gaza clothing stores with hundreds of business suits valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the owner of Sudani Center, a Ramallah clothing store, the suits, carrying the label "Made in Israel" were purchased in advance by the Palestinian Authority. One hundred suits were ordered for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office, and more were ordered for four other PA ministers. "I have been working with the Palestinians for 30 years now," said Yossi Jenudi, owner of Barbaros.

"They love my suits and my taste and prefer brown, olive green and beige suits. My friends mock me, 'You really found the best people to sell to,' but I say to them, 'Maybe these suits will bring us peace.'"

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