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Arab Author: Arab Culture Has Deteriorated to Zero


Memri TV released this Al-Jazeera interview with Arab Author Anwar Malek, who charges that Arab culture has deteriorated to utter insignificance. "In all honesty, the Arabs are backward, and are not fit for civilization at all.

"I am not referring to history. I am talking about the Arabs of today. I'm not talking about the Arabs of the past, in the days of the Islamic conquests. I am talking about the Arabs of today. They have lost their Arab identity, and have begun to export shawrma, falafel, and lupin beans to Europe.

Ahmadinejad: Zionist Regime will be Uprooted


Israel must "stop its crimes" against the Palestinians or "the strong hand of nations will root them out," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday in a speech in the Iranian city of Karaj.

The website of the Iranian IRIB news agency quoted him as saying that, "The era of aggression of the Zionist regime and its supporters has come to an end" and emphasizing that "just as (Israel) was created, it can be dismantled."

He denied Israel's legitimacy, saying that "for 60 years, they have told lies and tried to defraud nations in order to create the germ called the Zionist regime" and added that "Zionism contributes nothing other than aggression, mass murder, terror and threats."

In reference to the political situation in the region, Ahmadinejad asserted that "recently, the Zionist entity gave the Palestinian people an ultimatum to leave their homes in order to destroy them and place a pack of professional thieves, who come from other places in the world, in their place."

Slamming the international community, he asked "where is the United Nations Secretary-General to transfer the cry of the Palestinian people to the ears of the world? Where are the supporters of human rights and democracy?"

The Iranian president called for a referendum in 'Palestine' and said that if Israel "doesn't accept this humane solution, the might of nations will bury them underground and bring about justice." He also affirmed his intent to continue the nuclear program, saying that "Iran will stay unified until it achieves all the rights it deserves."

Oren: 'Israel Won't Allow Iran to Obtain Nuclear Weapons'

By Ha'aretz &

Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons; Israeli media on Sunday quoted Michael Oren, who is slated to be Israel's next ambassador to the U.S., as telling pro-Israel lobbyists.

Oren, a noted historian, was quoted as saying that Israel would not remain passive while a regime that has sworn to wipe it off the map acquired the means to do this, referring to comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He reportedly made the comments at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington.

Former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, meanwhile, warned the lobbyists of the dire consequences that Iran's attainment of nuclear weapons would have on Israel and the entire Middle East.

"The terrorists across the region will raise their heads because they will have nuclear backing... it will spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East," Sneh told the AIPAC summit. "Immigration to Israel will stop; parents will encourage their children to leave the country; investment in Israel will drop significantly; moderates in the Middle East will become more extreme."

Sneh also touched on the much-touted possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. "From what we know about the progress of Iran's nuclear program, this is the deadline for a decision," he said. "This is an undiplomatic answer, but you need to assume that we have a [military] operational solution, and this is based on what we can do on our own, without permission and without support."

The former lawmaker's comments came after the French magazine L'Express reported on Saturday that the Israel Air Force recently staged military exercises between Israel and the British colony of Gibraltar near southern Spain.

The fact that the drills were held 3,800 kilometers away from Israel "confirms that the Israel Defense Forces is making concrete preparations" to attack Iran over its refusal to cooperate with the international community over its contentious nuclear program, according to L'Express.

IAF planes conducted exercises between Israel and Gibraltar, including midair refueling, according L'Express. The writer speculated that the distance of the exercises that were carried out, 2,361 miles (3,800 km) from Israel, appeared to confirm that the IDF is preparing to attack Iran if Teheran continues its refusal to end its nuclear program.

Two weeks ago, the London-based Sunday Times reported that Israel plans to attack Iran's nuclear reactor using three AWAC planes. A senior military official was quoted as saying, "Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words."

However, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman downplayed the chances of Israel carrying out a military attack on Iran to halt or destroy its nuclear program. In a report published in last week's Kleine Zeitung, Lieberman was quoted as saying, "The most effective way is to impose very harsh sanctions. We are not talking about a military strike. Israel cannot solve a global problem militarily."

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates strongly warned Israel in mid- April not to attack Iran and said that the only way to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon is if "Iranians themselves decide it's too costly." He told Marine Corps students in an address that a military strike would do nothing more than delay Iran's nuclear programs while it would unify Iranians in an "undying hatred of whoever hits them."

Police: No Intel on Plans to Attack Pope During Israel Visit

By Ha'aretz

The security establishment and the police had received no specific information of intent to attack Pope Benedict XVI during his scheduled May 14 visit to Nazareth, the chief of the police's northern district said Sunday.

In a security briefing ahead of the Pope's visit, Commander Shimon Koren said that the police, which will be securing the event together with the Shin Bet, will be deploying thousands of police officers around the planned location for the Pope's mass, on Mount Precipice and the Church of Annunciation, and will be prepared to deal with any possible scenario.

Koren also said that a petition to hold a rally protesting the Pope's visit had not as of yet been submitted. Koren added that if such a request should be put forward the police will examine and approve it in such a way as to not to interfere with the Pope's planned schedule.

It was announced at the debriefing, participated by the commanders of all of the units expected to secure the events that as of May 13 the police will commence blocking access routes to the sites the Pope is expected to visit. However, the district commander insisted that the police will allow as much movement for the scores of tourists and pilgrims that are expected to come to Nazareth.

Late last month the Shin Bet voiced its opposition to the Pope's use of the so-called Popemobile during his Nazareth visit.

The Holy See told the Israeli government that the Pope wants to get as close as possible to his followers, so the Vatican hopes the Pope will use the vehicle. But the Shin Bet opposed this, citing pamphlets in Arab towns in the north calling for demonstrations during the visit. Other pamphlets by radical Islamists allegedly call for physical attacks on the Pope.

Obama's Grandmother to Perform Muslim Hajj


President Barack Obama's paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, will reportedly perform the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage this year along with her son Syeed Obama. A private Kenyan television channel, quoted extensively by the Kenyan and Pakistani media, reported Sarah Obama and her son will also visit Dubai before going to Saudi Arabia for performing Hajj. The pair lives in Kenya.

The News, a newspaper in Dubai, confirmed the report. It quoted United Arab Emirates' property tycoon Sulaiman Al Fahim as stating he will personally sponsor Sarah Obama's trip after meeting the elderly Obama in Kenya last week and learning she had always wanted to perform the Hajj.

"I found out that she had not been to the Hajj and that she very much wants to go. As my own mother is no longer with us, our family has a spare place. So I invited her and she has accepted," The News quoted Fahim as saying.

The Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. The fifth pillar of Islam requires every able-bodied Muslim to travel to Mecca at least once in their life in a demonstration of solidarity with fellow Muslims and in an act of individual submission to Allah.

Obama's grandmother, a Muslim known locally as "Mama Sarah," lives in Kogelo, a tiny village near the Ugandan border. She was in Washington, D.C., in January for Obama's swearing-in ceremony.

WND's Jerome Corsi reports in the April issue of Whistleblower that Sarah Obama is also the woman who affirmed her elected grandson was born in Kenya, prompting doubts that Barack Obama is eligible to serve as president of the United States. And though Obama supporters say Sarah Obama's words were mistranslated, Corsi's Whistleblower investigation revealed eyewitnesses and affidavits from a translator verifying Sarah Obama testified to being present at Barack Obama's birth in Mombasa, Kenya.

Rabbi: Older Bachelors Must Leave Jerusalem


Ultra-orthodox bachelors over the age of 20 must move out of Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, head of the Hazon Yaakov yeshiva and son of Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has ruled. According to the rabbi, in the past it was customary to banish "older" single men from the capital as punishment for their refusal to marry and provide for a family.

In recent generations, Sephardic rabbis decided to annul this regulation, but according to Rabbi Yosef it should be reinstated. "Only a yeshiva student who studies Torah has an exceptional permission to postpone marriage, if he fears that marriage might distract him from his studies."But normally one must not delay marriage till after 20, and those who do had better leave Jerusalem and go study somewhere else," he wrote.

Last week the rabbi discussed in his column the question of what was the right age for marriage, and concluded that men must wed no later than age 19. `"Any man who reaches the age of 20 must hurry without tarrying, or he might find himself looking for many more years," he stated.

Magen David: From Mystical Talisman to Zionist Symbol


In a book by Prof. Gershom Scholem, "Magen David – History of a Symbol," published 27 years after the Jewish scholar's death, Scholem maintains that the Star of David was not an ancient Jewish symbol but rather a magical emblem that was only adopted by Jews in the 19th century.

Scholem, one of the greatest Jewish scholars of our time, a researcher of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism and one of the founders of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, conducted a 50-year study of the history of the Star of David. He published a short summary of the study in 1949, shortly after the symbol was chosen to appear on the new state's national flag.

According to Scholem, the hexagram symbol was once known as Solomon's Seal and was used both as a decorative pattern and a symbol to which magical powers were attributed. It was first documented on the seal of Yehosua Ben Assiyahu during the period of the late kingdom, 2,700 years ago.

It appeared once again as a relief at a synagogue in Capernaum built during the third century CE, alongside another symbol, a swastika. No one asserts that these two graphic symbols have been more than mere decorations.

During the Second Temple period, the seven-arm menorah, rather than the Star of David, was considered a Jewish symbol. According to Scholem, the Seal of Solomon first appeared in Jewish mysticism during the sixth century CE on a talisman containing two lions and a Star of David in the middle.

Over the generations, the Solomon Seal appeared in two versions: A pentagon (five-sided polygon) and a hexagon (six-sided polygon).

Until the beginning of the 19th century the symbol was used as a magical means against danger, and appeared mainly on and inside mezuzot. The first book that referred to the symbol as "Magen David" was written by Maimonides' grandson, Rabbi David Ben Yehuda HaHasid, in the 14th century.

The official usage of the Star of David as a Jewish symbol began in Prague. Scholem writes that it was either chosen by the local Jewish community or by the Christian rule as a means of branding the Jews, who later adopted and embraced it. In 1354 Emperor Charles IV granted the Jews the privilege of raising a flag of their own, and this flag contained the Magen David. One of these flags can still be found in Prague's Old-New Synagogue.

From Prague, where the Magen David was printed on book covers and engraved on cemetery headstones, the symbol spread to the rest of Europe and gradually became known as the symbol of Judaism. During the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 the Zionist flag, which bears a blue Star of David, was chosen.

But Scholem claims that the symbol only became truly meaningful during the Holocaust, after the Nazis used it to mark the Jews, and thus sanctified it. According to Scholem, this gave the graphic symbol a spiritual sense of sacredness it never had before.

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