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Iranian Students: Khamenei's Family Has Fled to Russia


Iranian pro-democracy activists say that family members of Ayatollah Khamenei have been secretly flown to Russia. The Iranian Students Solidarity organization claims that contacts within the regime leaked the information to them.

The move was allegedly prompted by concerns over continuing anti-regime protests and resistance. According to these sources, Khamenei's family, including his son, daughter-in-law and grandson, were evacuated to Russia in a private plane.

Israel Strikes Gaza in Response to Rocket Attack

By Ha'aretz &

The Israel Defense Forces launched air strikes early Friday against targets in the Gaza Strip, hours after a Qassam rocket fired from the Strip hit south of Ashkelon. Three targets in Gaza City were destroyed in the bombings, witnesses and Hamas sources reported.

The Qassam exploded just south of Ashkelon on Thursday, causing no casualties or damage. The rocket fire came at the heels of a barrage of mortar shells earlier in the day, with Gaza terrorists firing at least 10 shells into Israel, and an anti-tank missile being fired at Israel Defense Forces troops patrolling the border with Gaza.

According to reports, the IAF struck targets in Gaza City and echoes of the explosions were heard throughout central Gaza. Hamas and Palestinian radio stations said the explosions heard were the result of an Israeli air strike, adding that flames and smoke were spotted in the strike zones. Israeli media reports said Israel had targeted a weapons factory in Gaza City.

Hamas said an Israeli warplane bombed a building in Gaza City that witnesses said appeared to belong to the Islamic Jihad militant group. Militants barred reporters from reaching the area.

Earlier Thursday, the Israel Air Force dropped thousands of warning leaflets over Gaza, warning Gaza residents to stay away from the border with Israel and to avoid involvement in smuggling, Ma'an news agency reported. One of the leaflets featured a map, and warns Gazans that anyone within 300 meters of the security fence is endangering himself.

Syrian Druze Doctor Buried in Native Golan Heights village


In a joint effort of Israeli and Syrian authorities, a Druze doctor on Thursday was brought to burial in Israel after living in Syria for the past 30 years. The doctor, Afif Jamal al A'aur, was born in the Golan Heights village of Bukata and passed away last Monday. He was in his 50s. The deceased was transferred to Israel via the Red Cross and was laid to rest in his native village.

In 1977, al A'aur left his village and moved to Syria in order to attend medical school. His parents and brothers stayed behind. After completing his studies, al A'aur married in Syria and had two children. After 1982, he was forbidden to return to Israel and began working as a doctor in the Druze village of Suwayda, near Damascus.

Once receiving word of al A'aur's death, his family members turned to Israeli authorities and requested that they allow their loved one to be buried in Israel. The family members turned to Deputy Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee Ayoob Kara, who initiated talks with representatives of the Red Cross as well as the ministries of interior, defense and health.

"As part of efforts to boost relations and open the Quneitra Crossing for humanitarian and economic purposes, as well as for the passage of religious figures, students and apples from the northern Golan Heights to Syria, there was a true willingness to allow a deceased person's body to be returned for burial in his native village," said Kara.

"For us it is joy mixed with sadness," said al A'aur's family member. "We haven't seen him in 30 years, since he left to study medicine. We are at least consoled by the fact that he will be buried in his birthplace, where he spent the beginning of his life."

Yemen's Jews Fear for Their Lives, Yet Refuse to Make Aliyah


Remaining members of Yemenite Jewish community say they have paid heavy price for radicalization of country, but won't leave for fear they will lose property, and will not be able to return

The small Jewish community, centered in the capital of Sanaa, has been dealing with harsh circumstances due to fundamental Islamic factions taking control of the country. Many of its members fear for their lives – but refuse to immigrate to Israel.

The community, which has only some 200 members, paid a heavy price following the radicalization of Yemen. Only a year ago, a former pilot with the Yemeni air force shot to death Moshe Yaish-Nahari, the brother of one of the community's chief rabbis, because he refused to convert to Islam.

Although the members of the community do not make a special effort to conceal their Jewish identity and long side-locks, they think twice before uttering a word in Hebrew.

Y., 44, who resides in the city of Dhamar and is a member of a prominent family in the Jewish community, refused to be identified in an interview with Ynet, because he said he feared for his life.

"Yemen is not the same country anymore," said Y., who insisted on conducting the interview in Hebrew, after making sure he was not being listened to. "The Taliban took control over the whole northern region; it is not easy being a Jew or a Christian here. We do not hide, but we still prefer to travel in large groups so that we do not attract the attention of the Muslims," he said.

According to Y., the tense reality caused several members to convert to Islam. "We are among the few that are still Jewish. We have a community life, but there are no more operational synagogues, and so we pray in our houses. Radical Islam has taken control of everything. If they were to find out I am speaking in Hebrew they would have me murdered," he said.

Y.'s comments did not surprise the President of the Israeli Federation of Yemenite Jews Dr. Moshe Nachum. "I have been trying to convince them to immigrate to Israel for the past 33 years. There is nothing we haven't done." According to Nachum, one of the main factors deterring Yemenite Jews from making aliyah is the financial aid provided by members of the Jewish Satmar community in the United State, which is known for its radical stance against Zionism and the State of Israel.

The situation in Yemen is like a time bomb, Nachum added, calling on the remaining Jews to leave as soon as possible. "Yemen is not itself; the Taliban has taken over it. At this rate it will become a radical and racist country just like Iran. If the US is worried about the situation of the Yemenite Jews and wants to take them out of there – that means the community is in very bad shape," he said.

Nachum warned that members of the community are being watched by Taliban and al-Qaeda members and estimated that the only way to pull them out was by "using a special unit of CIA, FBI and church factions."`

Scarves for Soldiers Campaign Announced


Standing Together ( `has launched a new project encouraging people all over the world to knit scarves to send to Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Those wishing to participate should send an email to

The program is being chaired by two volunteer immigrants from the United States and Canada, dedicated to doing their part for Israel's soldiers. Barbara Steinberg and Linda Kaufman are looking forward to receiving the emails and hoping to get hundreds of scarves to distribute to the soldiers this winter.

Knitters all over the world can add their personal support for Israel's troops by knitting black, navy or dark khaki scarves for the young men and women protecting the Jewish state this winter.

If you are not a knitter you can still help. Standing Together is also looking for volunteers to bring the scarves to Israel. If you are planning to travel to Israel this winter and can bring some of these hand-knitted scarves, please send an email with your travel dates and address so the organization can make arrangements to get the scarves.

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