Newsletter : 9fax0326.txt
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Confirmed: Soldiers Tested for Anthrax
The IDF has cleared for publication the information that Israel used soldiers as
"guinea pigs" to develop an inoculation against anthrax. The government justified its use
out of national concern that an enemy country would use the virus as a form of chemical
weapon against Israeli citizens.
The research was done on 4,029 IDF soldiers, half of whom were draftees. Only 716
soldiers voluntarily agreed to take part in the research and 11 soldiers requested medical
assistance following medical complications that allegedly occurred as a result of the
Netanyahu Says His Government Wants Partnership with Palestinians
By Luis Ramirez (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said his new government will be a partner for
peace with the Palestinians. The statement appears to mark a departure for Netanyahu,
whose campaign promises called for Israel to make few concessions in the peace
Netanyahu spoke a day after he succeeded in winning the participation of the
left-of-center Labor party in his new coalition government. His remarks, made at an
economic forum in Jerusalem, marked a change of tone for a man who campaigned as one who
would give few concessions to the Palestinians and whose first priority would not be
"The Palestinians should understand that they have in our government a partner for
peace, for security, and for rapid economic development of the Palestinian economy," he
Netanyahu has worked to temper his image as he struggles to build a coalition that
would cater to the wants of an electorate that called for a tough stance on the
Palestinians, and at the same time maintain Israel's good relations with Washington and
others in the international community.
The US has urged Israel to work toward a two-state solution, and wants it to stop
expanding Jewish settlements in the territories it occupies. Netanyahu has not declared
his support for a two-state solution and has said he supports allowing Jewish settlements
Yisrael Beiteinu, one of the parties that earlier joined his coalition, calls for the
exclusion of Arabs from Israel, while the other, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, rejects
any negotiation on the status of Jerusalem. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians claim
the city as their capital. These issues could potentially derail any new attempts to put
the peace process back on track.
Palestinian officials cautiously welcomed Netanyahu's remarks on Wednesday. A spokesman
for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel's new government must be committed to
a two-state solution. The support of the Labor party gives Netanyahu the parliamentary
majority he needs to form a government before an April 3 deadline.
Sidestepping Abbas' demand that he accept the goal of establishing a new PA country
within Israel's current borders, the Likud party chairman told the Society of Trust and
Estate Practitioners, ""I will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority for peace." He
said that his economic plan is not a substitute for a political plan but insisted that
economic growth in the PA will help the Arab security forces "progress from policing to
terror fighting." He encouraged business owners "to invest in the Palestinian economy, and
in the Palestinian-Israeli economic relationship."
Israel Marks 30 Years of Peace with Egypt
By VOA News
Israel marked the 30th anniversary of its historic peace treaty with Egypt on
Wednesday, with both sides acknowledging that its goals have yet to be fulfilled.
At a conference in Jerusalem, Egyptian ambassador Yasser Reda indicated the agreement
has not been able to bring about comprehensive peace in the region. He said the
Palestinian issue is still at the center of the conflict between Israel and its Arab
Also commenting on the anniversary, the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen,
lamented that peace at the official level has not filtered down to the Egyptian people.
The relationship has come to be known in Israel as "a cold peace."
Egypt is not even holding any events for the anniversary, while the Israeli foreign
ministry is scheduled to host a reception Wednesday night with the Egyptian ambassador
among the invited guests.
The Israel-Egypt peace treaty was signed in Washington on March 26, 1979. The image of
Israel's then-prime minister, Menachem Begin, shaking hands on the White House lawn with
Anwar Sadat, Egypt's president at the time, raised hopes for the treaty's success.
But relations have cooled substantially between the two neighbors. Israel's government
warns tourists not to visit Egypt because of threats by Islamic militants. Business and
cultural ties are also minimal.
The Cairo government does, however, serve as an important mediator between Israel and
its Arab neighbors. Egypt helped mediate a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian
terrorist group Hamas earlier this year after Israel's deadly offensive in Gaza. But the
operation triggered renewed hostility among ordinary Egyptians.
Rabbi Arrested in NY for Blessing Over Sun - in 1897
The Blessing on the Sun, Birkat HaChama, is recited according to Rabbinic Law every 28
years, at the very time at which the sun will be in the same place, and at the same time
of day on the same day of the week, as when it was first "hung" by the Creator. This solar
cycle has been observed in Jewish tradition for thousands of years.
Many Jewish congregations will gather in public places throughout the world early
Wednesday morning, April 8, 2009 to recite the blessing together for the 206th time since
the sun's creation. But 112 years ago, a similar gathering in New York City was slightly
marred by the lack of prior preparation on the part of the New York Police Department: one
non-English speaking rabbi was arrested, while another one simply picked up and ran.
The New York Times reported: "Orthodox Hebrews in every part of the world celebrated
yesterday what is familiarly known among them as 'the new sun.' ... The celebration in New
York was spoiled for some hundreds of people by the interference of two park policemen
with a gathering in Tompkins Square, the arrest there of Rabbi Wechsler, and the flight of
Tourism Ministry Offers Online Virtual Israel Tours
Visitors to the website of Israel's Tourism Ministry can now virtually tour the country
via 100 videos, 130 panoramic views and tens of photos collected from visitors from all
over the world.
Sites that can be "visited" include: Caesarea, the Western Wall, the Old City of Jerusalem, Mitzpe Ramon, Gamla, Ben Gurion's hut, Hayarkon Park, Katzrin, Mount Bental and Mount Hermon. Tours can be accessed directly at www.goisrael.com/vt.
Available in 11 languages, the Tourism Ministry's website was visited by 3.5 million
visitors in 2008--18 percent Israeli.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)