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Two Monks Arrested in Armenian-Greek Orthodox Brawl


Israeli police detained one monk from each side for questioning Sunday, after fighting flared between members of the Armenian and Greek Orthodox sects at the Church of Holy Sepulcher Police in Jerusalem's Old City.

The brawl broke out over preparations for the annual ceremony held by the Armenians to commemorate the 4th century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus. Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church and police are occasionally forced to intervene in the fights that regularly occur over turf and influence.

Israel Marks 70th Anniversary of 'Kristallnacht'

By Robert Berger VOA-Jerusalem &

It is a black anniversary in Israel, as the nation takes a painful look back at the Holocaust. Tragic anniversary was also marked in Germany and Austria, which Nazis had occupied months earlier.

Israel marked the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-inspired riots in which hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses were ransacked in Germany and Austria. "They robbed everything out of the store and the synagogue was burning", said Gerhard Mashkovski.

Some 30,000 Jewish men and boys were arrested in the two-day pogrom and sent to concentration camps.

Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and the German and Austrian ambassadors to Israel attended a solemn ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem Sunday.

Kristallnacht, which means "Night of the Broken Glass," is seen as the beginning of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II. On Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel "will never forgive or forget" the atrocities of Adolph Hitler's Germany.

Israeli officials are encouraging synagogues and midrashot (centers for Jewish learning) across the world to remain illuminated overnight, on the night between November 9 and November 10, in memory of the fallen.

"The Nazis' objective was to darken Israel's eyes and turn off 'the light of the world', the light of the Torah and prayer that shone out of synagogues and midrashot," read a joint message published by Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog and chief rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar.

"As such we call on all of the people of Israel, in the State of Israel and in the Diaspora, to light candles and leave lights on in synagogues and midrashot on the 12th night of (the Jewish month of) Marheshvan, in order to remember and to remind future generations never to forget the cruelty and evil actions that befell us," the statement continued.

German Newspaper: Auschwitz Gas Chamber Building Plans Published


The original drawings by an architect for expanding the Auschwitz death camp, including a gas chamber and a "corpse cellar," were published in the German newspaper Bild Saturday. Government officials have not commented on the report, but the newspaper published building sketches. It did not reveal how and where they were found.

Blueprint pictures clearly describe a room for a 1,200 square-foot "gas chamber" as part of a "delousing facility" to be added to the death camp in 1941. The reported documents sketches were among 28 blueprints that were obtained.

Government archives officials told another German newspaper that the blueprints represent "authentic evidence of the systematically planned genocide of European Jews." Bild stated, "The documents refute once and for all claims by those who deny the Holocaust even took place."

Six million Jews died during the Holocaust following a 1942 decision by the Nazi regime to carry out the "final solution."

Rabbis Call on Obama to 'Implement Will of God'


A group of hundreds of prominent Israeli rabbis urged President-elect Barack Obama to "implement the will of God" during his upcoming presidency by ensuring the entire state of Israel remains under Jewish sovereignty.

"According to media publication of the prayer you recently placed in the Western Wall, you asked God: 'make me an instrument of your will.' Consistent with your focus on the will of God we trust that you are aware of the will of God when it comes to Jewish sovereignty in the entire Land of Israel," wrote the Rabbinical Congress for Peace in a letter delivered to Obama.

The Congress is a coalition of more than 350 Israeli rabbinic leaders and over 850 rabbis from abroad, including in the U.S.

"The ruling of Jewish law forbids the surrender of any part of our Holy Land to Israel's neighbors based on the obligation to safeguard lives that are in jeopardy. This ruling was issued by the majority of the most prominent rabbis in Israel and abroad, among them former justices of Israel's Supreme Rabbinical Court," wrote the rabbis.

"This ruling is anchored in God's eternal Torah, whose ethical standards underlie Western civilization. We are therefore confident that you, Mr. President-elect, who prayed to be an instrument of God and God accepted your prayer, will now do everything in your power to implement the will of God that the Promised Land that He expressly allocated to the Jewish People will remain under Jewish sovereignty," the rabbis wrote.

"The last 15 years have proven without a shadow of a doubt that the 'land for peace' formula … is a dangerous policy that only leads to bloodshed and instability in the region," added the rabbis.

Is Obama's Chief of Staff a Closet Hawk?


While President-elect Barack Obama and his pick for chief of staff see eye-to-eye on domestic policy, they may find themselves arguing over foreign policy, especially when it comes to Israel, Iraq and Iran.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., who served as a captain in the Israeli army, is surprisingly hawkish when it comes to fighting the war on Islamic terror. And unlike his new boss, he supported the war in Iraq, although he criticized President Bush for missteps.

In his 2006 book, "The Plan," Emanuel devotes a whole chapter to "the War on Terror," in which he asserts that Democrats should not be afraid to "take the fight to the enemy. We need to use all the roots of American power to make our country safe."

Among other things, he proposes creating a new domestic counter-terrorism force like Britain's MI5 to protect the homeland.

Emanuel also staunchly believes in Israel's right to exist and is not as conciliatory as Obama on the issue of Palestinian rights. Both Emanuel's parents are citizens of Israel. His Jerusalem-born father, Benjamin Emanuel, fought for Israel's independence, even helping smuggle guns to the Israeli underground. He later served as a medic in the 1948 Israeli battle for independence.

Records show that a charity Rahm Emanuel and his wife set up in Chicago gave nearly $25,000 to the Anshe Emet synagogue and school attended by his children.

But not everyone believes Emanuel is as hawkish as he appears. As a then-Clinton aide, "Emanuel is the one who forced Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin to shake terrorist Yasir Arafat's hand at the White House, a most disgusting moment," opined columnist Debbie Schlussel on her blog.

Hamas: No Room to Implement Long-Term Truce with Israel


Hamas will not implement a long-term truce with Israel for the time being, a senior official of the Islamist organization said Sunday.

The offer "was not canceled," Mahmoud al-Zahar said, but added that there was "no room to implement it for the time being" since "there is no one to talk about this proposal with on the other [Israeli] side."

He said a long-term truce was "a project that can be developed when there are intentions."

The Hamas long-term truce offer was first made by the organization's late spiritual advisor, Ahmed Yassin, who suggested a 20-year-long ceasefire, without recognizing Israel's right to exist, in return for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day war.

Zahar's remarks were made a day after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said his government could accept a Palestinian state only in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Haniyeh said on Saturday his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. The Hamas leader spoke at a meeting with 11 European parliamentarians who sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to protest Israel's naval blockade of the territory. Haniyeh told his guests Israel rejected his initiative.

Clare Short, who served in the cabinet of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, asked Haniyeh to repeat his offer.

He said the Hamas government had agreed to accept a Palestinian state that followed the 1967 borders and to offer Israel a long-term hudna, or truce, if Israel recognized the Palestinians' national rights.

In response to a question about the international community's impression that there are two Palestinian states, Haniyeh said: "We don't have a state, neither in Gaza nor in the West Bank. Gaza is under siege and the West Bank is occupied. What we have in the Gaza Strip is not a state, but rather a regime of an elected government. A Palestinian state will not be created at this time except in the territories of 1967."

The parliamentary delegation was led by Baron Nazir Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan and is a member of the British House of Lords. Ahmed asked Haniyeh about Hamas' relations with Iran and requested his response to the claims of "our Zionist friends" that Hamas, like Iran, seeks to destroy the State of Israel and throw the Jews into the sea.

"Our ties with Iran are like those with other Muslim states. Does a besieged people that are waiting breathlessly for a ship to come from the sea want to throw the Jews into the ocean? Our conflict is not with the Jews, our problem is with the occupation," Haniyeh said.

Arab Bloggers' Comments on Obama

By Israel Faxx News Services

(Tamem, Egypt, "The victory of Barack Hussein Obama that we, along with the rest of the world, are witnessing today is another historic moment, not just for America but for the whole world by virtue of America's huge influence, whether we like it or not.

Personally I, like others, doubted Americans' ability to overcome racism, but in electing "Abu Hussein," they created a historic moment by accepting the first black president to govern not just America but the white West as a whole. With this, they removed all such doubts and the impossible dream of Martin Luther King became possible." (Translated from the Arabic)

(Ali, Jordan, "This is what America is all about. The land of the free, dreams and opportunities. Despite all the catastrophic mistakes that America committed the past years, the American Constitution and system prevailed. The people of America have chosen for change, they voted for Barack Obama. They have learned from their past mistakes with the Republicans. They chose Barack Obama not because of his skin color, but for what he stands for, because they believe he will change America...

"Barack Obama is not a wizard either, he won't be in the office until Jan. 20, and by then he must choose his cabinet wisely. It will take many months until the economy improves, which was the main concern for Americans in this election. Unlike the elections in 2004, terrorism (the Bush game) was the least concern. It will require a lot of time and sacrifices to get out of Iraq, though I doubt that American lobbyists are ready to give up the oil in Iraq and the Gulf region.

"As for the Middle East peace process, I will not only hope that Obama doesn't side with the Israelis only and the Israeli lobby in America, but to put real effort on achieving a fair and just peace for the Palestinians and the Israelis. And hoping is not enough, as Arab leaders and organizations should move quickly towards building an alliance with Obama."

(Syrian Dream, Syria, world arose today to welcome Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States, and Africa danced with joy. The whole world is optimistic about what he offers but doubts remain about him, a great question mark. What will Syria's fate be under him? Will he give the green light to bombing us?" (Translated from the Arabic)

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