Newsletter : 9fax0609.txt
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Poll: Ahmadinejad Leads in Iran's Presidential Election
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Washington)
A new poll of Iranians shows that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the leading
candidate in presidential elections scheduled for Friday. The telephone survey of about
1,000 Iranians by Terror Free Tomorrow and the New America Foundation found that 34
percent of those surveyed plan to vote for Ahmadinejad.
His main rival, reformist former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, was favored by 14
percent of the respondents. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said they are
undecided. If none of Iran's presidential candidates receives 50 percent of the vote, the
two candidates with the most votes will compete in a run-off election.
Netanyahu Updates Obama on Policy Speech
By Ha'aretz, Reuters & YnetNews.com
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone on Monday with President Barack
Obama, updating him on his intention to deliver a key policy address next week.
Officials in Netanyahu's bureau said the conversation was a positive one. "In the
speech I will lay out my policy for achieving peace and security," Netanyahu told
Meanwhile, Obama's envoy to the region, George Mitchell, arrived in Israel on Monday
night for talks on halting settlement construction. Mitchell, who will meet with
Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman on Tuesday, is also expected to call on Israel to ease
restrictions at the Gaza border crossings.
Mitchell said Obama wants "immediate" talks between the Palestinians and Israel to
forge a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement. "The President has told me to exert all
efforts to create the circumstance when the parties can begin immediate discussions,"
Mitchell told reporters on Monday at the start of a Palestinian donors' conference in the
Mitchell said the aim of such talks was "a comprehensive peace and normalization of
relations" between Israel and its neighbors, which would also serve "the security
interests of the United States."
Netanyahu will discuss the future of settlement construction and the establishment of a
Palestinian state during a major policy address at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday. In the
speech, Netanyahu will lay out his plans for Israel's relations with the Palestinian
Authority and Arab countries, a source close to the premier said on Sunday.
It remains unclear whether Netanyahu will recognize the principle of two states for two
peoples in the speech, which is meant as a response to Obama's address in Cairo last week.
Obama stressed the two-state solution, saying it is good for both Israel and the
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is pushing Netanyahu to take a conciliatory stance on the
two-state solution and to announce that he is committed to the principles of the road map.
Barak has told Netanyahu that his meetings with U.S. officials in Washington last week
gave him the impression that taking such positions would make it easier for Israel to
reach an agreement with the United States about settlement expansion for the purposes of
natural growth. "I am optimistic that Netanyahu will accept these positions," Barak said.
Obama's Cairo Speech Quoted Jihad Verse from Quran
In his major address to the Muslim world last week, President Barack Obama quoted a
verse from the Quran that is interpreted as urging Muslims to follow Muhammad in waging
jihad against nonbelievers. The context of the verse first noticed by Robert
Spencer of the Jihad Watch website was confirmed by Quranic experts contacted by
"I have pointed to this section of the Quran as showing the importance of jihad and to
follow the prophet (Muhammad) in jihad even though a war may be difficult," Abu Abaida
Al-Ahmed, the imam of a central mosque in Gaza City, told WND.
Obama quoted the verse in question during a section of his speech where he was
stressing a "new beginning" between the U.S. and the Muslim world, and the need for a
"sustained effort to listen to each other."
Obama continued: "As the Holy Quran tells us, 'Be conscious of God and speak always the
truth.' That is what I will try to do to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by
the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are
far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart."
Obama was reading from chapter 9 verse 119 of the Quran, which deals with the theme of
not abandoning Muhammad.
The next Quranic passage continues: "Neither the dwellers of the city, nor the Arabs
around them, shall seek to stay behind the messenger of Allah (when he mobilizes for war).
Nor shall they give priority to their own affairs over supporting him. This is because
they do not suffer any thirst, or any effort, or hunger in the cause of Allah, or take a
single step that enrages the disbelievers, or inflict any hardship upon the enemy, without
having it written down for them as a credit. Allah never fails to recompense those who
The two passages are part of a Quranic section scolding local Muslims in Medina for
refusing to accompany Muhammad on a war expedition to Tabouk in northern Arabia, where he
was seeking to fight a Byzantine garrison.
Abu Saqer, the head of Jahidiya Salifiyah, an Islamic outreach movement in Gaza,
explained there are two main interpretations of the verse cited by Obama: "First that you
should follow the truth of Allah, but in specific to follow those who are in jihad with
the prophet in spite of the great heat of going to war," he said.
During his speech in Cairo last week, Obama referred to the Quran as "holy" four times
and quoted several verses from the Islamic text. He also used Muslim terminology, such as
the Quranic obligation of "zakat" or charity.
The speech, in which Obama referenced his Islamic experiences as a child in Indonesia
and the Muslim faith of his paternal family, was a major departure from the tone of his
campaign last year, when Obama and his team emphasized the then-candidate's stated
Jew Stopped for a Handful of Temple Mount Earth
Israeli police stopped a Jew from taking a handful of Temple Mount earth for his
friend's wedding though they allowed the Waqf to dump the equivalent of
The Jew in question is a student at the Elon Moreh hesder yeshiva in the Shomron. He
had been asked by his Rosh Yeshiva (dean) to bring back a handful of earth for an upcoming
wedding of another student, so that the rabbi could fulfill the usual custom of
remembering Jerusalem during the wedding.
The friend, David B., visited the Temple Mount after taking the normal Halakhic [Jewish
legal] precautions of immersing in a ritual bath and more. At one point, he bent down to
pick up some dirt and within seconds, a Waqf official was at his side, demanding
that he unhand the earth immediately.
David refused. An Israeli policeman then arrived on the scene and said that he must
adhere to the Waqf official's orders.
"I refused again," David recounted later. "I told them that I know of no law that
prevents me from taking dirt from the site. I know that I am not allowed to pray here or
to bow down, but I never heard that I can't take dirt. The policeman told me, `The law
here is the Waqf. Do what they tell you and don't cause provocations.'"
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