Newsletter : 10fx1005.txt
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Berlusconi Hit for Holocaust Humor
The Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano criticized Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi Sunday for telling an anti-Semitic joke at his 74th birthday party last
week. The poor taste joke was recorded on video and posted on the website of Italian
newspaper La Repubblica on Saturday.
Berlusconi told supporters: "A Jew hides a fellow Jew in his basement at the time of
the concentration camps and charges him 3,000 euro a day". "The Jew paid up because he had
the money, but do you think he should tell him that Hitler has died and the war is over?"
The prime minister was unrepentant and said the joke was "just a laugh" "made in private,
not offensive and not a sin."
Experts: Israel's Cyber-Defense Can Stop Stuxnet Worm
There are tens of thousands of attempted virus attacks on Israeli systems each week
but Israel is "well-equipped" to fend off an onslaught of computer viruses, such as
the one that has plagued Iran in recent months, experts say.
Iran has been struggling to control a virulently destructive, surprisingly agile
computer virus known as Stuxnet, which has invaded and hijacked - over 30,000
computers in Iran. Unlike standard viruses, Stuxnet is especially destructive, as it
attempts to take control of a computer's programmable logic controller (PLC), which runs
supervisory control and data acquisition software (SCADA) of machinery and industrial
systems, like the ones that control manufacturing, energy production, and other critical
The country has poured much money and effort into avoiding these kinds of attacks, and
Israel's cyber-defenses are among the best in the world. We've become very good at
cyber-defense and offense.
Stuxnet is seen as especially sophisticated, as well, because the PLCs it attacks
it seems to favor systems made by Germany's Siemens, which, by coincidence, are
heavily used in Iran are based on obtuse programming language, not on Windows or
Linux, like most viruses. And, according to security experts, Stuxnet has the ability to
hide its tracks erasing traces of its activity recorded in computer logging systems
making detection all the more difficult.
With Iran seemingly the main target of the attack, and with experts like those from
European security firm Kapersky claiming that, because of its severity and precision, "the
attack could only have been the work of a group with nation-state support," the world's
eyes have turned to Israel, which certainly has a motive to attack Iranian information
systems especially the ones that control Iran's nuclear program.
Indeed, some reports claim that the virus has significantly impacted on work at the
Natanz and Bushehr nuclear sites. The report that one of the files found in the virus was
named "Myrtus" - possibly referring to Queen Esther, who led the Jewish revenge on Persia
in the Purim story seemed to be enough proof to pin the Stuxnet attack on
Israel National News spoke with several Israeli security experts, and each refused to
comment on the record or off on whether or not Israel was involved in the
attack. However, several said that it was unlikely that Israel would face a similar
situation. "Security here is on a very high level," Tal Hanan, CEO of Israeli security
firm Demoman said. "The country has poured much money and effort into avoiding these kinds
of attacks, and Israel's cyber-defenses are among the best in the world. We've become very
good at cyber-defense and offense," Hanan said.
Many of Israel's cyber-defense capabilities were developed by the IDF, of course
but Israel's hi-tech industry has contributed as well. In a recent interview, Michal
Blumenstyk, head of the Israel office of worldwide security giant RSA, said that not only
governments, but also private individuals were under constant attack by hackers. The local
office, formerly an independent company called Cyota that was bought out by RSA,
specialized in cyber-security for banks and online financial institutions
developing rock-solid security that hackers find it almost impossible to break.
Those same tactics are being used by hackers to invade computer systems run by
governments and armies and Israel, of course, is a prime target. "We have no
choice," said Blumenstyk. "We have to be the best at this."
Palestinians Accuse Jewish Settlers of Torching West Bank Mosque
By VOA News
Palestinians in a West Bank village have accused hard-line Jewish settlers of torching
a mosque and spray painting it with insults in Hebrew. The incident took place early
Monday in the village of Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem.
A local leader said the fire burned several Qurans and the mosque's carpet. Israeli
police say they are investigating the case, but declined to say who they suspect may be
The attack comes at a time when the Middle East peace process is at risk over the
question of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leaders said
direct talks mediated by the United States cannot resume until Israel stops building
settlements. A 10-month Israeli freeze on settlement construction expired last week.
Israeli media reported Monday that Israeli lawmakers are pressuring Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu to reject a U.S. compromise that would extend the building moratorium
for 60 days.
U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has been meeting with both sides in the
region in a bid to salvage the peace negotiations. Mitchell says both the Israelis and
Palestinians have asked to continue indirect peace talks, so they can set up acceptable
conditions for direct talks to resume.
Israel Orders Pro-Palestinian Nobel Laureate Deported
By VOA News
Israel's Supreme Court has upheld a deportation order against a Nobel Peace Prize
laureate who was banned from Israel for 10 years after taking part in an aid flotilla that
tried to breach the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in June. A lower
court issued a deportation order for Mairead Corrigan Maguire after she landed at the Tel
Aviv airport last Tuesday to meet with peace activists.
The pro-Palestinian Northern Irish activist appealed the order to the Supreme Court,
claiming she did not know about the entry ban when she arrived in Israel last week.
The high court Monday rejected Maguire's argument, noting that she had signed the entry
ban herself. The ruling, which also accused her of spreading "propaganda," clears the way
for her deportation. Maguire had described Israel as an apartheid state engaged in ethnic
The 66-year-old won the Nobel peace prize in 1976 for organizing a peace movement in
Northern Ireland to end sectarian violence and promote reconciliation. Maguire said peace
would come to Israel only when it "ends apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of the
Palestinian people." She also called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Schwarzenegger Vetoes `Holocaust' Bill
Last Thursday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have
required companies seeking high-speed rail contracts with the state to disclose any role
they played during the Holocaust, the European Jewish Press reported.
The bill, which was authored by Democratic California Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield,
required companies vying for a piece of California's $45 billion high-speed rail project
to reveal any involvement in transporting people to concentration, prisoner-of-war, labor
or extermination camps during World War II, and also to report whether they took any steps
to remediate their actions or to pay restitution to victims.
Among the international railroad companies who expressed their interest in the
California project is the French national railway company (SNCF) which transported Jews to
Nazi concentration camps.
SNCF claims that its operations were taken over by the Nazis during the German
occupation and that its trains were forcibly requisitioned to transport people to the
concentration camps. The company said the Nazis threatened to execute French railway
workers and their families if they resisted orders.
France was under German occupation from May 1940 until December 1944. While the German
army had originally occupied a designated zone in the northern and western parts of the
country, the rest of the country was occupied in November 1942 after the Allies invaded
Unoccupied parts of France were governed by the dictatorial Vichy regime, located in
Vichy as Paris was under German rule, headed by Marshal Pétain, who collaborated
willingly with the German occupation. The French police and the state militia organized
raids to capture Jews in both the northern and southern zones until France was liberated
from German occupation between June and December of 1944.
In February 2009, France's top judicial body recognized the French government's
responsibility for the deportation of Jews during World War II.
In his explanation of his veto of the law, Schwarzenegger said that while he
sympathized with the victims of the Holocaust and those who were transported to camps
during the war, "this bill needlessly places the state in a position of acknowledging the
activities of companies during that time."
However, SNCF said that it will fully comply with the measure's intent, despite the
veto by Schwarzenegger. In a statement released on Thursday, the company said: "The
atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during WWII were so horrific that we can never
forget, nor should we. The people of France and SNCF are determined to remember and honor
victims of the Holocaust so that the horrors of Nazi Germany and WWII are never repeated.
This commitment is ingrained in our company's culture as well as the hearts of the French
people, and is confirmed by our actions."
The statement added that "SNCF will continue its commitment to complete transparency of
its WWII history, and will voluntarily comply, and even exceed, the requirements the bill
would have mandated."
Also last week, Democratic Florida Representative Ron Klein, announced a plan to
introduce legislation that would bar SNCF from lucrative US high-speed rail contracts, due
to its involvement in the deportation of Jews in World War II.
"I am a strong supporter of high-speed rail for the economic benefits it will bring to
Florida, but moving ahead with SNCF's bid doesn't represent progress, it represents a
major step backward and a direct insult to Holocaust survivors and their families," Klein
said, describing the reasoning for the legislation.
Is it Kosher to Have Sex with Israel's Enemies?
A new halachic study ruled that seducing an enemy agent for the sake of national
security is an important mitzvah, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
The ruling, made by Rabbi Ari Shvat, was included in the latest issue of "Tehumin," an
annual collection of articles about Jewish law and modernity, which is published by the
Zomet Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to seamlessly merging Halachic
Judaism with modern Israeli life.
Rabbi Shvat explored the issue of women used to seduce enemy agents in order to cajole
information out of them or see them captured. The use of "Valentine operatives" or "honey
traps", as they are called in intelligence circles, was applied in the case of atom spy
Mordechai Vanunu, and according to foreign media reports, in the recent assassination of
senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, last January.
Shvat cited in his study the biblical cases of Queen Esther, who slept with Persian
King Ahasuerus to save her community, and Yael wife of Heber the Kenite, who seduced and
killed the Canaanite general Sisera. He notes that the subject of "sleeping with the
enemy" evokes heated arguments in the Talmud, as well.
The latter, Shvat argued, ruled that sexual intercourse with a gentile for the sake of
a national cause is not only sanctioned, but is a highly important mitzvah. "Naturally, an
unmarried operative should be preferred in 'honey trap' cases, but if there is no other
choice but to use a married women
her husband should divorce her and marry her again
after the fact," the rabbi wrote.
Unfortunately, Shvat also ruled that if a husband was unable to divorce his wife prior
to her mission, he would have to do it afterwards, since according to the Halacha she
would have committed adultery even if it was for the sake of a national cause.
Women interested in becoming "Valentine operatives," must realize they will not be able
to marry a Cohen Jewish priest), the rabbi noted, adding that the matter would probably
not deter such women, since "these missions may naturally be tasked to women who are
Rabbi Shvat concluded his article by saying that not only should such actions be
sanctioned, "Our Sages of Blessed Memory elevate such acts of dedication to the top of the
Halacha's mitzvahs pyramid."
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