Newsletter : 9fax0302.txt
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Israeli Immigration Authorities Raid Dead Sea Hotels
Immigration police rounded up dozens of illegal Sudanese workers in a massive raid
along the hotel strip at the southern tip of the Dead Sea at daybreak Sunday.
Hundreds of refugees from the Sudan who infiltrated into the country from Egypt in the
past year had been hired "off the books" by the hotels at the Dead Sea, said a source.
"They do hard work for less money and they are very strong," she explained.
Iran Has Enough Uranium to Build Bomb
By FoxNews.com & VOA News
The top U.S. military official said Sunday he believes Iran has enough fissile material
to build a nuclear weapon, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Islamic Republic is
a long way from having a bomb.
Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency revised its assessment of Iran's
nuclear capabilities, saying it was wrong in earlier reports about Iran's ability to
enrich enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "We think they do,
quite frankly," when asked Sunday about Iran's capacity. "Iran having a nuclear weapon
I've believed for a long time is a very, very bad outcome for the region and for the
world." He told Fox News Sunday that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a "very bad outcome"
for the world.
But Gates said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Iranians are "not close to a
stockpile, they're not close to a weapon at this point and so there is some time," when
asked if Tehran could be deterred from pursuing its weapons effort.
Mullen said that the U.S. is also watching North Korea closely, but no decisions have
been made on whether to respond to their preparations for a test missile launch. "The
president's made no decision. Secretary Gates and I have made no recommendations. But it's
-- it's an area that we watch with great concern. And I would hope that North Korea would
not be provocative," he said.
Iran said its nuclear work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity. An Iranian
foreign ministry official, Hossein Sheikh al Islam, said Sunday that Iran's first nuclear
power plant at Bushehr will be fully operation in September. Iranian and Russian experts
began testing the plant last Wednesday after years of delays.
The Obama administration has said it will seek to end Iran's nuclear ambitions,
preferably through diplomacy.
US to Pledge $900 Million to Palestinians
By VOA News
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will pledge a total of $900 million in U.S. support
for Palestinians at a donors' conference Monday, with $300 million of that amount
earmarked for aid in the Gaza Strip.
Clinton is among representatives of 70 countries meeting in the Egyptian resort city of
Sharm el-Sheikh for an international conference to raise money to rebuild Gaza after
Israel's military offensive earlier this year. The Palestinian Authority says it needs to
raise $2.8 billion to reconstruct Gaza.
A spokesman for Clinton said Sunday $600 million would go to the Palestinian Authority
to cover budget shortfalls, institutional reforms and economic development. Clinton has
said none of the U.S. money would be transferred to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip
and was not invited to the donors' conference.
After the gathering, Clinton intends to head to Jerusalem and the West Bank for
separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
On Sunday, Israel again threatened to retaliate for ongoing rocket attacks by Gaza
terrorists. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet that Israel would not
tolerate the rocket fire. Israel's military said 110 rockets and mortars have hit the
country since January 18, when it ended a three-week assault on Hamas murderers that
control Gaza. Hamas also declared a cease-fire in January.
Olmert warned that if the rocket fire continues, there would be "a painful, harsh, and
strong response" against Hamas.
In another development, Gaza medics say five Palestinians were killed Sunday when a
smuggling tunnel collapsed under Gaza's border with Egypt. Smugglers have been using a
network of cross-border tunnels to bring goods and weapons into Gaza.
Israeli analyst Yoni Ben Menachem said Israel failed to defeat Hamas so another round
of conflict is inevitable. "The Hamas infrastructure is still there, the rockets are still
arriving from the other side (of the border), the (weapons) smuggling continues. And I
think definitely we are going to another round. This is obvious," he said.
20 Percent of Sderot's Population Under Psychiatric Care
Hamas terrorists attacked Sderot again Sunday night with a Kassam rocket that hit the
porch and back yard of a home. Media reported "there were no injuries" to people inside
the house, but eight years of attacks have placed 20 percent of the town's population
under mental care.
Five other rockets also exploded in the city and in Sdot Negev and Eshkol regions. No
damage was reported.
"Four thousand people in Sderot are under psychiatric care in some form," according to
David Bedein, an investigative journalist who also has a masters degree in social work and
works in the field.
More than 70 rockets and mortars have hit Sderot and the adjacent Sha'ar HaNegev area
since the end of Operation Cast Lead, which the Olmert administration declared returned
peace and quiet to southern Israel. More than 30 others have exploded in other areas,
"People are suffering from anxiety" from the attacks, Bedein said. Noting that the
media have downplayed rocket attacks that "cause no injuries or damage," Bedein explained,
"It is difficult to report miracles."
He noted that when covering the Gulf War in 1991 for CNN radio, his superiors turned
down a headline story on a Scud rocket that destroyed a street and leveled homes. "CNN
asked how many people were killed, and they were not interested when I said there were no
fatalities," Bedein told Israel National News.
Students in Ashkelon regarded the Sabbath morning attack on their school as a miracle
and recited Psalms Sunday morning. "I don't want to think what would have happened if the
rocket hit in the middle of the week when pupils were in school," said Amit school
principal Yitzchak Abrijel. "It was a miracle that it happened on the Sabbath when the
school is closed."
The rocket that hit the school on the Sabbath was more powerful than previous models
and blasted through heavy fortification designed to protect from students and teachers
Polish Rabbis: Aviner's Words Could Trigger Anti-Semitism
Statements made by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner in a recent interview to Ynet, in which he urged
schools not to take their students to the Nazi death camps in Poland, continue to trigger
heated controversy in Israel and abroad.
Rabbis in Poland are now concerned that Aviner's words could stir anti-Israeli and
anti-Semitic responses in the country that would be directed against local Jews. They
approached Aviner on the matter, and he agreed to publish a statement stressing that not
all Poles should be accused of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.
However, Aviner refused to recant on his stance that there is a halachic, moral and
educational ban against visiting Auschwitz.
Aviner's words made it to the Polish press, and prompted officials in Warsaw to protest
the comments to Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich. Schudrich asked Krakow's Israeli
rabbi, Boaz Pash, to sort the matter vis-à-vis Aviner.
"With his remarks Rabbi Aviner essentially strengthens the same anti-Semitic trends
that still exist in Poland and that we're fighting against," Pash told Ynet. "His words
obviously aren't helping the Jewish communities here. They contained sweeping
generalizations that are taken lightly in Israel, but that are met with high sensitivity
in Poland; he's put us in a very difficult spot."
According to Pash, this was not the first time that Aviner has made such comments.
"These are inaccurate statements that could backfire and hurt the Jewish communities.
Rabbi Schudrich has already received very agitated appeals on the matter, and I know he's
very hurt by this."
Pash said that the relations between the Poles and the Jewish people are complex, and
that not all Poles collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust. "Most of the
Righteous among the Nations were from Poland," he stated.
"Let's not forget that they suffered a lot as well. It was the Nazis who murdered the
Jews. The Poles perhaps didn't want the Jews, but the same can be said about the
Ukrainians, the Latvians, the French, the Dutch, and all the other nice ones from
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yossi Levy told Ynet in response to the affair: "The Foreign
Ministry wholeheartedly rejects any sweeping remark claiming that the Polish people were
allegedly party to the horrible crimes committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish people
"The historical and moral responsibility for the Holocaust does not lie with the Polish
people, and this should be stated clearly. Israel values and cherishes the open and brave
dialogue it has with her friends in Poland, including on painful issues of the past."
Story of King David Sets Base for New NBC Series
By Christian Post
A modern-day retelling of the biblical story of King David will be premiering on NBC
March 15th as a network television series.
"Kings" centers on the drama surrounding David Shepherd, a young soldier in the
war-torn country of Gilboa, who will rise to fame after inspiring the nation through his
fearless rescue of the king's son.
Amid Shepherd's thrust toward destiny and peace for the kingdom, however, the country's
power players will go to great lengths to see him fall, blurring the line between his
allies and enemies.
It's "the new coming from the old," said creator Michael Green last year at the
Comic-Con in San Diego, where the series was unveiled for the first time. "Taking an old
story and retelling it in a way that's both familiar and very different," he told
The series is expected to draw the religious and the non-religious the latter
because of epic style and dramatic feel, and the former because it is expected to stick
closely to the Old Testament, which Green says provides enough material to shape at least
The story of King David itself, as Green points out, is one that has transcended
religion and has become a part of several different cultures. "There's something really
compelling about it that's attracted people secular and non-secular," said Green.
"It's much more operatic than it is necessarily religious, even though the source material
Still, the show is expected to strike a chord among the nation's religious TV audience
and with those familiar with the story of David, which has been of immense importance to
Jewish and Christian culture.
The biblical King David, the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel, was an
acclaimed warrior, musician and poet who is traditionally credited with the authorship of
many of the psalms included in the Book of Psalms.
Among Jews, David's three-decade reign represents the formation of a coherent Jewish
kingdom centered in Jerusalem. To Muslims, David is a prophet of Islam to whom the Zabur,
or Psalms, were revealed by Allah. And for Christians, the life of the Old Testament king
was a prelude to that of Jesus, whose earthly father, Joseph, was a direct descendent of
"[F]or the people who are very in tune with the Bible ... we have a lot of `Easter
eggs' or elements that they would sort of recognize and think `Oh my goodness,
they're actually telling a story that's a really familiar event,'" Green told MovieWeb.
"You don't have to know the story to like it, but it could make the story a little richer
to get all the references."
The show will not likely be anything like NBC's earlier attempt at a religiously-rooted
series the short-lived "Book of Daniel," a show that featured a troubled Episcopal
priest, his 23-year-old gay Republican son, his womanizing adopted Chinese son, and a
rather unconventional Jesus, among other colorful characters.
Nor will it censor the Bible, according to Green. "Strangely enough, they've not yet
asked us to censor the Bible," he said, referring to NBC, during a Q&A panel. "They
tried, but then I've showed them what chapter it was from and they were like, `Oh, well I
guess that's OK.'"
It will, though, star Susanna Thompson, who played the priest's wife in "The Book of
Daniel," as Queen Rose Benjamin. But that's about the only tie to past NBC shortcomings
revealed so far.
The premier episode "Kings" will air on Sunday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET as a special
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