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Double Shooting in Jerusalem


A 48-year-old man who claimed he was "scared for his life" shot and killed an Arab man, and then shot and wounded a Jewish man in the heart of Jerusalem on Tuesday morning. The Jewish victim is in critical condition.

Investigation of the incident indicated that, shortly after midnight, the shooter murdered an Arab man in Tzahal Square, near Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate. The victim, according to the suspected gunman, interrupted the attacker's meditation exercise and frightened him into thinking his life was in danger.

Nation Practices Bomb Shelter Drill


Israelis across the country, from the oldest to the youngest, re-enacted a scene already far too familiar for residents of the Gaza Belt: at precisely 11 a.m. Tuesday, air raid sirens activated in every community across the nation, sending citizens into bomb shelters.

The drill was part of a five-day military exercise dubbed "Turning Point 3," which is designed to tune up the country's readiness for war.

When the siren sounded, teachers led school children into bomb shelters, shoppers in malls were directed by sales staff to shelters and safe spaces, and office workers made their way to designated shelters and safe rooms in their buildings. Citizens at home were asked to enter their designated safe rooms or shelters in their apartment buildings, without delay, and wait there for 10 minutes.

Essential industry services, including hospitals, continued to operate as usual during the drill. Drivers were also told to continue driving when the air raid siren sounds. The public was asked to listen for the siren, and those who did not clearly hear it activate were asked to inform the Home Front Command.

"Every citizen in the State of Israel must know that anywhere in the country, at any time, an emergency scenario can materialize, and one must know how to act," explained Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai Monday night. "We expect the general public to take an active part in the drill. We have learned from the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead that those who prepare themselves and practice know how to act during a real situation."

The first two days of the exercise, which began Sunday, simulated a barrage of missile and terrorist attacks, as well as chemical warfare, aimed at various locations around Israel. The final day of the drill is set for Thursday.

Barack Meets Barak: Handshake or Arm Twist?


President Barack Obama made an unscheduled appearance Tuesday at a meeting between visiting Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the President's national security advisor, General Jim Jones. The White House did not announce why the President entered.

The brief handshake between the two men may be a gesture in an effort to soothe concerns by the Netanyahu government that the United States is taking too tough a stand with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The leader of the Likud party explicitly has rejected the American demand for a halt to all construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

The Obama government, even if it wants to soften its stand, is not likely to do so now because the President faces a major test on his visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and to Egypt the following day.

His gestures towards the Arab world have raised expectations among Muslims while worrying even relatively dovish Israeli politicians. Defense Minister Barak's visit is aimed at explaining the government's position on Jerusalem as well as discussing military defense programs.

As Barak was talking with Jones, who was unpopular among IDF officials during his tenure as military coordinator with the Palestinian Authority, the Interior Ministry announced plans for a new 200-room hotel in eastern Jerusalem.

American officials did not specifically criticize the project but expressed concern over the plan, which is aimed at attracting Jewish tourists in the part of the city that the PA has demanded be the seat of its proposed PA state.

The Defense Minister is trying to convince Obama aides that curbing all construction in Judea and Samaria contradicts previous commitments by former President George W. Bush, who accepted the principle of additional building for natural population growth.

Will Be'er Sheva Allow Muslims to Use City's Only Mosque?

By Ha'aretz

Israel's Supreme Court will discuss on Wednesday a petition to reopen Be'er Sheva's only mosque for prayer. The city government has opposed the plan to reopen the mosque, which was the central house of worship for the city's Muslims until the War of Independence in 1948.

The petition was presented in 2002 by the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association to Aid and Protect the Rights of Bedouins in Israel. The two organizations demanded that the mosque be opened for Muslims because it was the only public building in the city that had previously been used for a Muslim house of worship.

The mosque in Be'er Sheva became state property after the Palestinian residents of the city left during the War of Independence, as did many other mosques throughout Israel after the war.

The Be'er Sheva government said this week that the mosque was used until 1953 as the city's courthouse. From that year until the start of the 1990s when it was closed for renovations, the building housed an archeological museum. The city now intends to use the building as the archeological branch of the Negev Museum, as part of the 13 dunams of city property designated for museum space.

Lawyer Adal Badir, representing Adalah, argued this week to the Supreme Court that if the building is not allowed to be used as a mosque it would harm the rights of Muslims and all Arab citizens of Israel.

Israel's Bar Refaeli Poses Naked for Esquire Cover

By Ha'aretz

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli continues to grace the covers of some of the world's leading publications, and this time she's naked.

Having been featured in Maxim and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, among others, Refaeli has now appeared nude on the cover of the popular men's magazine Esquire.

Maxim ranked Refaeli as number three in its list of the world's 'hottest' 100 women. Alongside a picture of the 23-year-old, Maxim noted: "If there's any evidence that the Middle East is a land of beauty and wonder - not just unending turbulence - Bar is it."

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