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Museum of Polish Jews Launches Online Shtetl


Poland's rich, pre-Holocaust Jewish history is now online with Virtual Shtetl, a project of the almost complete Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The museum's creators launched the site last week as part of an effort to build the museum's collection even before its doors open in 2011. Three million of the six million European Jews exterminated by the Nazis came from Poland.

Israel Develops Freeze-Dried Blood Powder


The Israeli army is working with a local company to turn soldiers' blood into a freeze dried powder. Blood samples are taken from new recruits and processed. In the battlefield, the powder can be mixed with water to treat wounded soldiers, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The development was announced at a first-ever press conference for health reporters, conducted by the head of the Israeli army's Medical Corps. Brig. Gen. Dr. Nachman Ash head of the medical corps told reporters if the idea proves itself it could also be adapted to civilian life.

He said the company leading the research is Core Dynamics, a biotechnological company active in research and development of thawing and freeze-drying technologies in blood transfusions.

Ash revealed a few other lifesaving devices currently being developed for the army, including a portable device with ceramic pipes that can produce oxygen in the field for wounded soldiers and a battery-operated device that could be used to ventilate wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Ash told reporters the army plans to convert the working models into commercial devices.

Netanyahu: Iranian Authorities `Unmasked'

By Michael Bowman (VOA-Washington)

Israel's prime minister sais repressive actions taken by Iranian authorities against demonstrators protesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election victory have revealed the true nature of the government, and underscore the need to prevent Iran from developing offensive nuclear capability.

Appearing on U.S. television, Binyamin Netanyahu said events in Iran over the last week have shown the true face of the government in Tehran. "Obviously, you see a regime that represses its own people and spreads terror far and wide. It is a regime whose real nature has been unmasked."

Netanyahu was speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. The prime minister said the repression the world has witnessed should strengthen the international community's resolve to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. "The problem that now faces the entire world is to ask a simple question: can we allow this brutal regime that sees no inhibitions in how it treats its own citizens and its purported enemies abroad -- can we allow such a regime to acquire nuclear weapons? And the answer we hear from far and wide is 'no'."

Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program's sole aim is to generate energy to meet the needs of a growing population, and that it is entirely within its rights to develop such a capability. The United States and many other nations are highly skeptical of Tehran's claim of peaceful nuclear intentions.

Netanyahu was asked if Israel has plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, as it has done against suspected nuclear sites of other Middle Eastern nations in the past. The prime minister responded "We [Israelis] are threatened as no other people are threatened. We have suffered exiles, massacres and the greatest massacre of them all, the holocaust. So, obviously Israel always reserves the right to defend itself."

In recent days, President Barack Obama has repeatedly spoken out against repression and bloodshed in Iran, while insisting that the country's future is a matter for the Iranian people to decide. The White House says it hopes to engage Tehran on its nuclear program.

Asked whether he thinks the Obama administration is doing enough to stand up for liberty and democracy in Iran, Netanyahu said he was not "going to second-guess the president of the United States."

Aliyah Brings 16 Yemenite Immigrants to Israel


A group of 16 Yemenite Jews landed in Israel Sunday, having emigrated from their home country with the help of the Jewish Agency. "I hope all of Yemen's Jews make aliyah to Israel as soon as possible and won't immigrate to other destinations worldwide," said Eli Cohen, director of the Jewish Agency's Aliya and Absorption Division.

There are currently around 260 Jews still residing in Yemen, most of them in the city of Rada. The community lived in harmony alongside its Muslim neighbors until recently, when members of the community began to report threats. They said the growing hostility against them was being largely ignored by the Yemenite authorities.

Meanwhile, a Yemenite court sentenced a former pilot to death for the murder of a Jewish man. Abdul-Aziz al-Abdi confessed to shooting Moshe al-Nahari, brother of the Jewish community's chief rabbi. Eyewitnesses said they had heard al-Abdi call out to al-Nahari: "Jew, accept the message of Islam" at a local market in Rada. He then opened fire, killing him.

IDF to Emboss Ten Commandments Emblem on Military Korans


The IDF Rabbinate intends to emboss its emblem on military-issued Korans, according to IDF journal BaMachaneh. This may be the first time in history that an overtly Jewish symbol – the emblem of the Israel Defense Force Rabbinate – will be embossed on Muslim holy books. \
The Rabbinate's emblem depicts the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, as well as the sword and olive branches that appear in numerous IDF logos.

The IDF provides Korans for its Muslim soldiers. These include Bedouins, as well as non-Bedouin Muslim Arabs, who have served in the IDF as trackers and in other combat roles since its earliest days.

The idea for embossing the emblem on IDF Korans was brought up by the Chief Jewish Chaplain for the French Army, Maj. Gen. Rabbi Haim Corsia, who visited the IDF last week. Corsia noticed that the IDF Rabbinate emblem is embossed upon the prayer books that the army hands out to religious Jewish soldiers, but does not appear on military Korans.

Corsia pointed out the matter to the IDF's Chief Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Avichai Ronsky, who promised to fix the situation, the military magazine reported. "Not having the Military Rabbinate's emblem on the Koran is a mistake," Corsia said. "If the IDF issues Korans to Muslim soldiers, that means the Koran is part of the army. I look at the Book of Tehillim (Psalms) and it has the stamp, but the Koran does not. In the French army this would not happen. This is an area in which we can help the IDF."

Israel Honors German Soldier from `The Pianist'

By Reuters

A German army officer who helped Jews during World War Two and was featured in the Oscar-winning film "The Pianist" was posthumously honored by Israel at a ceremony in Berlin on Friday.

The story of how Captain Wilhelm Hosenfeld saved the life of Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman received worldwide attention through Roman Polanski's 2002 film, which won three Academy Awards and many other prizes worldwide.

Hosenfeld is one of the few German World War Two soldiers to receive the title "Righteous among the Nations," an honor given by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial to people who helped Jews avoid death in the Nazi genocide that killed 6 million.

Yad Vashem announced in February that Hosenfeld would receive the honor, which has been given to over 22,000 people. The sons of both Hosenfeld and Szpilman attended the ceremony in Berlin.

Hosenfeld, one of 460 Germans honored by Yad Vashem, was in the Nazi-occupied Polish capital from 1940 to 1944. He served as a sports and culture officer in Warsaw but was also involved in some interrogations.

"The rescuer of Jewish life who we honor today through his courageous act showed that there were people in uniform, even under a dictatorship and under terror, who stood up for humanity and compassion," said Ilan Mor, Israel's deputy ambassador.

Born in 1895 and raised in a pious Catholic family, Hosenfeld joined the Nazi party in 1935 and was drafted into the armed forces shortly before Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

In Warsaw he recorded the brutality of the German occupiers against the Polish and Jewish local population in his diaries and letters. They showed he had expressed his "horror at the extermination of the Jewish people" by the country that he served, Yad Vashem said.

"We have brought an eternal curse on ourselves and will be forever covered with shame," he wrote. He also risked his life to save Szpilman and another Jew, Leon Warm, by providing false documents, shelter and assistance until the end of the war.

Hosenfeld was captured by the Red Army near the end of the war and perished in a Soviet prison in 1952. A certificate and medal were presented to Hosenfeld's son. "We're aware of the fact that this is the highest honor the state of Israel awards to non-Jews," Detlev Hosenfeld said.

Andrzej Szpilman, whose father Wladyslaw died in 2000, said of Hosenfeld: "He was a person who helped very many different people from the beginning of the war, regardless of their origin, their religion or race."

Pepsi is `Zionist Plot'


Extremist Muslims have not dropped their allegations that Pepsi Cola is essentially the code name for a Zionist plot.

MEMRI has released an English transcript of an address given by a Muslim religious leader in Egypt this past February, in which he explains that PEPSI is actually an acronym for "Pay Every Penny to Save Israel."

In addition, a member of the Hamas terrorist organization's parliament in Gaza made similar accusations against Pepsi last year. Speaking with official Hamas TV station Al-Aqsa TV on April 23, 2008, Hamas MP Salem Salamah said, "There are companies established by the colonialists and occupiers - large companies with branches all over the world, like Pepsi, Pepsi Cola. This is a well-known company. Pepsi is an acronym. P-E-P-S-I - Pay Every Pence to Save Israel. Pay every pence - pence is one-hundredth of a dollar – to save Israel. Pay every pence to save Israel…"

Al-Aqsa TV promotes terrorist activity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

More recently, this past February, Egyptian cleric Hazem Abu Ismail made a similar accusation. Speaking on Al Nas TV – a Muslim religious channel in Egypt that provides Islamic programming for Muslim Muftis – Abu Ismail all but called for a Muslim boycott of Pepsi because it stands for `Pay Every Penny Saving Israel.' Abu Ismail said a penny is "one-thousandth of a dollar."

Specifically, Hazem Abu Ismail said: Do you know what the word "Pepsi" means? Pepsi as in P-E-P-S-I. The first P stands for "Pay." E stands for "Every." The third letter stands for "Penny." A penny means any small coin you receive and don't know what to do with. Pay it to "Saving" I - "Israel." In other words, pay every small coin you receive in order to save Israel. They don't want money from you - they want your small change, your pennies. If I'm not mistaken, in American economics, a penny is one-thousandth of the dollar. It's not even worth a piaster. It's only a millime. At least I think it's worth a millime, not even a piaster.

They say: "Donate the small change you don't need, but give it to the right cause. If you collect small change, you can buy this drink." They took the first letter of each word - "Pay Every Penny Saving Israel" - and they formed the word "Pepsi." When you pay [to buy Pepsi], you are saving Israel. I am not talking about Pepsi, but about Coca Cola and all of them. I don't want to specify the products. See for yourselves. You are Muslims. You can tell me. I don't know. My little son knows more about the boycott than me. When we go shopping, he says to me: "Buy this, don't buy that." He knows them by heart. He has become an expert in this.

Abu Ismail is also famous for telling his adherents, "During Islam's first century, there were only four cases of theft – because thieves' hands were chopped off."

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