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Rocket Warnings May Come Via Cell Phones

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Electronics experts are working on a system that may enable Gaza Belt residents to receive text message warnings of an imminent rocket attack. Western Negev residents currently rely on sirens from the Color Red warning system.

The warning gives residents 20 seconds to run for cover from a Kassam rocket attack. Arab terrorists attacked Israel with more than 30 rockets on Wednesday following the IDF counterterrorist operation that led to the destruction of a tunnel that was prepared for kidnapping soldiers.


IDF Concludes Large Drill Simulating Double-Front War in North

By Ha'aretz

The Israel Defense Forces Northern Command concluded a large-scale exercise Thursday which simulated a double-front conflagration with Syria and Lebanon.

The drill, codenamed "Shiluv Zro'ot III" (Crossing Arms III), was the second largest of its kind since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Among this week's exercises was a strategic-level simulation involving all IDF commands.

The exercise drilled the Israel Air Force and the Home Front Command in dealing with protocol and problem-solving missions under the simulated firing of thousands of rockets and missiles into the heart of Israel's population centers.

In addition to the Northern Command, the air force and the home front command, Crossing Arms involved the IDF Military Intelligence directorate and the general staff. Unlike headquarter-level exercises from the past, Crossing Arms entailed the deployment of troops on the ground, comprising mainly reservists. In addition, helicopter gunships and airplanes were sent on mock raids and evacuation missions. The aircraft did not fire live ammunition, according to army sources.

During the drill, the striking aircraft were under orders to focus on imaginary long and medium-range missile launchers. The responsibility for knocking out shorter range rockets lay on ground troops that were ordered to carry out an on-paper invasion into Syrian and Lebanese territory.

Speaking before subordinate officers, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said that the importance attached to Crossing Arms III stemmed from the fact that it involved all IDF operational arms, and from the fact that it was put together in a way which internalized the lessons of the Second Lebanon War.

During the exercise, Ashkenazi flew aboard a Boeing Integrated Defense Systems AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. He also went aboard an Israeli submarine. Other visitors included President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.


Israel Warns Obama About Iran Talks

By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel's foreign minister said Thursday that any U.S. talks with Iran may be seen as a sign of weakness. Speaking on Israeli radio, Tzipi Livni offered her government's first official note of caution over Barack Obama's election as U.S. president. Obama said during the campaign he would be willing to hold talks with Iranian leaders. Livni argued that dialogue at a time when, she said, Iran thinks the world has given up on sanctions, could be "problematic."

The outgoing U.S. administration of President George Bush has sought further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, but has been blocked by Russia, among others.

Iran is under three sets of international sanctions. It has been accused by several Western countries of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran said its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Israel, while never acknowledging a nuclear arsenal, is widely believed to hold the only such weapons in the Middle East. The government fears it could be the target of an attack by strongly anti-Israeli Iran.

"We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue – in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue – is liable to be interpreted as weakness," she explained.

Livni maintained a cordial tone regarding the new administration and noted that "Obama's bottom line on the Iranian issue is very clear. America won't accept a nuclear Iran." However, she also made it clear that Israel's bottom line would not change. When the interviewer asked her if she supported any American dialogue with the Islamic Republic, Livni replied flatly, "The answer is no."

The Foreign Minister said she did not expect any "dramatic" difference between the outgoing Bush administration and that of Obama, noting that "The outgoing administration also had people who supported dialogue."

She noted that the difference between the two had to do with style: "There is a slightly different attitude between the president-elect and the outgoing president, with regard to how the world relates to extremism in the area. There are those who think that [America] has to be aggressive, and there are those who think that there has to be dialogue. Obama falls into the second group."

She added that "Israel is working for sanctions against Iran, and not transmitting a message of weakness."

Israel is convinced that the Islamic Republic is working to complete an atomic weapon of mass destruction. Iran has defied all attempts by the international community to halt its uranium enrichment program, despite several rounds of increasingly severe sanctions imposed on the country.


Ahmadinejad Congratulates Obama

By WorldNetDaily.com

Enthusiastic about Barack Obama's election, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated the president-elect Thursday. Tehran "welcomes basic and fair changes in U.S. policies and conducts," said Ahmadinejad, who encouraged Obama to pursue a policy of "non-interference" toward Iran, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

"I congratulate you on being able to attract the majority of votes of the participants of the election," he wrote. "As you know, the opportunities provided by the Almighty God, which can be used for elevation of nations, or God forbid, for their collapse, are transient."

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have mounted since the Islamic republic refused to halt uranium enrichment, claiming its nuclear program is a peaceful endeavor. But Ahmadinejad told Obama he has high hopes for the Democrat's presidency.

"I hope you will prefer real public interests and justice to the never-ending demands of a selfish minority and seize the opportunity to serve people so that you will be remembered with high esteem," he wrote. "The Americans who have spiritual tendencies expect the government to spend all its power in line with serving the people, rectify the critical situation facing the U.S., restore lost reputation as well as their hope and spirit, fully respect human rights and strengthen family foundations.

"The nations of the world also expect war-oriented policies, occupation, bullying, contempt of nations and imposing discriminatory policies on them to be replaced by the ones advocating justice, respect for human rights, friendship and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs," Ahmadinejad said.

"They also want U.S. intervention to be limited to its borders, especially in the Middle East. It is highly expected to reverse the unfair attitude toward restoring the rights of the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans."

Ahmadinejad said U.S. policy has been "based on warmongering, occupation, bullying, deception and humiliation, as well as discrimination and unfair relations," leading to "hatred of all nations and majority of governments toward the U.S. leaders."

He encouraged Obama, "If you take steps on the divine path and follow the teachings of divine prophets, God, the Almighty, will help you to make up in part for the heavy damage inflicted [by the U.S.] in the past."


Obama's Jewish Chief of Staff Directed Rabin-Arafat Handshake

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's new Jewish Chief of Staff, was active in the Oslo negotiations and choreographed the Rabin-Arafat handshake at the White House.

"It was an emotional moment for him," according to public relations consultant Richard Mintz, who worked with Emanuel. "He would like nothing more than to participate in another peace agreement signing."

Israeli media Thursday celebrated the appointment of Emanuel, a Chicago, Illinois Jewish congressman who was born to former Israelis. His father was a member of the Jewish resistance Irgun movement during the British mandate and the Emanuels named him after an Irgun member who died in action. The parents met in Chicago after the older Emanuel moved there from Israel.


Outrage Over Suicide Bombing Computer Game

By London Daily Mail

A computer game in which players assume the role of a suicide bomber and try to kill as many men, women and children as possible has provoked outrage in Great Britain.

A senior Labor member of parliament said Kaboom: The Suicide Bombing Game, which is freely available to all age groups on the internet, `devalues human life' and should be banned. Players move a terrorist of Arab appearance along a busy street to get as close as possible to the most civilians.

Players of Kaboom adopt the role of a suicide bomber who must try to kill as many civilians as possible. They then click their mouse and the bomber opens his coat to reveal grenades strapped to his body before exploding in a shower of bloody limbs. The more men, women and children are injured, the more points the player receives.

The Israeli Embassy in London is understood to have complained. Scores of Israeli citizens have been killed by suicide bombers in recent years. But the creator of the game, an anonymous man from Houston, Texas, dismissed the criticisms.

On the website where the game originates, he has written his intention is to satirize suicide bombers, not to glorify them. "I'm not Jewish, I'm not an Arab and I'm not a terrorist. I just think people who blow themselves up are stupid. That's all this game is."


British Musical Memorializes Warsaw Ghetto

By YnetNews.com

London's West End is preparing to host a musical that introduces a twist in the genre's typical happy-go-lucky mood. "Imagine This," set in the narrow alleys of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, is scheduled to premiere in two weeks at the New London Theater.

The musical performance tells the story of a theater company working in the ghetto, through the eyes of a 10-year old boy who lives there. The company attempts to put on a play that will enliven hope in the hearts of the ghetto's residents, while around them World War II rages and rumors of the "final solution" penetrate the atmosphere.

Under these tragic circumstances, a love story flourishes, lending the performance a bittersweet tone. An Israeli ambience is embedded within the play's Jewish viewpoint with the participation of Shuki Levy, a composer who began his career in the '70s on the stage of Hair.

Director Tim Sheader said he hoped theater-goers would find a ray of hope in his production. "It's about humanity – human beings on a precipice facing impossible decisions," Sheader told the Daily Telegraph. "Hopefully people will cry at the end of it – people should be inspired by it. If people have gone to see 'Les Miserable', they should go and see this."
































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