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Latma to Produce Pilot Program for Channel One


The Latma political satire website, founded by Caroline Glick, has been asked by Israel's Channel One to produce a pilot program for a television series.

Latma became famous with its "We Con the World" music video satirizing the pro-Gaza flotilla. The video got over 3 million hits on the YouTube website, making it one of Israel's most successful videos ever. Those videos can be seen at

Palestinians Reject Israel's Offer on Settlement Freeze

By Luis Ramirez (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered to extend a building freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank if the Palestinians agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Israeli leader's offer Monday came as talks remained stalled between Israel and the Palestinians on the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The Palestinians last week said they would not return to negotiations after Israel refused to extend a partial freeze on construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank that expired September 26.

Speaking to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, Netanyahu said that if the Palestinian leadership says unequivocally that it recognizes Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, he will ask his government to extend the building freeze.

He said he expects the Palestinians to take trust-building steps and convince the majority of Israelis who he said have, in the past 10 years, lost trust in the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians immediately dismissed Netanyahu's offer. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told VOA that Netanyahu's demands are unacceptable.

"I don't see the relevance between his need to stop settlement activities in compliance with international law as an occupying power and his demand for us to recognize his country and its religious character," Erekat said. "We have recognized the State of Israel as it exists and we cannot go further than that. But the fact that he needs to have a settlement freeze in order to resume the negotiations is an obligation for him."

In the past, the Palestinians have refused to formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state out of concern that would bring discrimination against Arabs who live inside Israel and give up the rights of Palestinian refugees who were displaced upon the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The aim of the talks - for the Palestinians - is to establish a Palestinian state. The Palestinians say the Israeli settlements encroach on land that would be part of that future state.

Many Israelis express concerns that a new Palestinian state could be a threat to Israel. They point to what happened in the Gaza Strip after Israel's 2005 pullout, when the militant Islamist group Hamas - whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state - seized power.

PA Arabs, Jews Join Forces; Call to Obama to 'Leave Us in Peace'


Palestinian Authority Arabs and Jews in Samaria worked together Monday to fight a fire that threatened to wreak irreparable damage at the site of the biblical era temple at Shiloh.

The fire was sparked by a failure in electrical cables that were in use for maintenance work on Highway 60, the major north-south highway in Judea and Samaria. The Arabs, who were working on building projects at the adjacent town of Shiloh, joined the Jewish firefighters and battled thick smoke for two hours until they were able to overcome the fire.

It reached the site of the ancient and temporary temple, which stood for 369 years. The Jewish People eventually built the first permanent Holy Temple in Jerusalem and began rebuilding it 70 years after its destruction by Roman enemies.

The presence of Arabs, who risk their lives by even working for Jewish employers despite new Palestinian Authority legislation outlawing the practice, demonstrated the ability of both Jews and Arab to join forces, Shiloh residents said. Among similar joint efforts in the past year, Arabs helped save Jews in eastern Gush Etzion after their vehicle caught on fire.

"Today's joint firefighting effort is proof that U.S. President Barack Obama should leave us alone and let us live our lives in peace," one firefighter told Israel National News.

The fire burned bushes and shrubbery, but the firefighters, aided by a single fire truck, were able to save most of the trees in the area. The blaze spread quickly because the trees were still dry from the long and hot summer.

The volunteers used rubber brooms as the flames licked their feet and blistered their hands. One Jewish firefighter said, "This amazing experience serves as a reminder that given the chance, local inhabitants can overcome major obstacles working together, and that the real flames of war are spread through malicious interfering outsiders."

Terrorist attacks, including rock-throwing and firebomb attacks, have overshadowed joint Arab-Jewish efforts, but both Jews and Arabs recall the pre-Intifada period when the Arab economy flourished and Jews often shopped in Arab villages and cities, where they now are usually prohibited.

Official: Arab Christians Face Political Islam Threat

By Reuters

The rise of political Islam in the Middle East poses a threat to Christians in the Arab world and must be faced down together, a senior Roman Catholic official told a synod of Catholic bishops on Monday.

At the two week meeting to debate how to protect minority communities in the region and encourage harmony with Muslims, the Catholic Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, Antonios Naguib, also said that attacks against Christians were on the rise due to growing fundamentalism in the region.

"Since 1970, we have witnessed the rise of political Islam in the region, consisting of many different religious currents, which has affected Christians, especially in the Arab world," said Naguib. "This phenomenon seeks to impose the Islamic way of life on all citizens, at times using violent methods, thus becoming a threat which we must face together."

Though freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution in most Middle Eastern countries, certain laws and practices limited its application in some countries, he said. Noting that Christians usually felt the negative aspects of the social and political situations in the Middle East, he called for them to be treated in a just and equal manner rather than being "merely tolerated."

"Difficulties in the relations between Christians and Muslims generally arise when Muslims do not distinguish between religion and politics," Naguib said. "On this basis, Christians sense uneasiness at being considered non-citizens, despite the fact that they have called these countries 'home' long before Islam."

Over the course of the meeting, about 180 bishops, mainly from the Middle East, will discuss problems for the faithful ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and strife in Iraq to radical Islamism, economic crisis and the divisions among the region's many Christian churches.

Conditions for Christians vary from country to country in the Middle East, but the overall trend is one of an exodus from the region. Christians made up around 20% of the region's population a century ago, but now account for about 5% and falling.

Iran to `Prove' US Provides Israel with Nuclear Arms


Iran will soon release documents proving that the United States has supplied Israel with nuclear weapons, said Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili.

"Based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), proliferation of nuclear weapons should be prevented. There is a main question in the Muslim world about where the Zionist regime [of Israel] has obtained its nuclear weapons from," was quoted as saying Monday, according to the semi-official Iranian Press TV.

Using the usual adjective "Zionist" for Israel, a country that Hamas and Iran do not call by name, Jalili stated, "The Zionist regime and those who provided it with nuclear arms should answer this question."

He claimed that the United States has transferred nuclear material to Israel, which has declared "nuclear ambiguity," meaning it has not said one way or the other whether the country possesses nuclear weapons. Most analysts estimate that Israel has approximately 200 nuclear warheads.

Jalili accused the international community of harassing Iran over its nuclear defense program, including the issue of nuclear centrifuges, in order to overshadow other issues, such as Israel's nuclear capability.

PA TV: Prizes for Ignoring Israel


While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tries to convince Abbas to admit that Israel is a Jewish state, PA Television continues to educate the PA public towards the denial of Israel's existence altogether.

Palestinian Media Watch reports that a daily quiz program on PA TV during the month of Ramadan asked contestants to name "cities in Palestine" – and then awarded prizes to those who named cities in Israel.

The show host went even further, however, and told one woman player who did not know the "correct answers" on her own, "Say the names after me: Jerusalem, Gaza, Ramallah, Haifa, Jaffa, Bethlehem." PMW noted that though Jerusalem, Haifa, and Yafo (Jaffa) are cities in Israel, and not under PA control, the woman was handed $100 for repeating the "correct" answers.

Many other contestants similarly named the above cities as being in "Palestine" and earned the $100 reward. In addition, contestants were asked to name countries bordering "Palestine," and received prizes even though – or because – they ignored Israel.

14-Year-Old Sues to be Israel's Youngest Rabbi


Moshe Raziel Sharify, 14, filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court on Sunday asking that the Rabbinate be forced to grade an ordination exam he took. Sharify, a child prodigy with an impressive grasp of biblical and Talmudic studies would become Israel's youngest rabbi if he were to be ordained after passing the test.

The affair began when Sharify was allowed to take the ordination test despite his age, which was clearly printed on his application to sit for the exam. When he arrived to take the exam he faced opposition from Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

Rabbi Amar seemed to be unaware that his colleague, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, had given Sharify permission to be tested.

While Rabbi Amar eventually agreed to allow Sharify to be tested, the Rabbinate has refused to grade his test, stating that according to internal rules, the minimal age to become a rabbi is 22 and that he should not have been allowed to write the examination.

Prior to registering for the test Sharify had been tested on his knowledge of Jewish law by several renowned rabbis, including Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfat, Rabbi Chaim Bezek, a senior dayan (religious judge) in the courts of Tiveria and Tzfat, and Rabbi Gidon Ben-Moshe, the head of Jerusalem's religious court. He had been ordained to give Jewish legal rulings on matters pertaining to Sabbath observance.

Sharify believes that he passed the ordination exam. His suit - filed by his father's law office - mentions many famed rabbis of the past and present who were ordained at a young age, among them Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, and the Chofetz Chaim. In addition, Sharify notes that a 17-year-old young man was once allowed to take the ordination exam, and argues that if an exception was made for that man, one should be made for him as well.

Sharify's father, Dr. Nissan Sharify, said he is not pleased with the way the Rabbinate has handled the affair. He accused Rabbi Amar of failing to meet with the Sharify family to discuss the matter.

The suit alleges, "The defendants misled the plaintiff and treated him in a scornful, humiliating manner. In doing so, they ignored the fundamentals of Jewish tradition, and ignored the basic norms by which a normal society operates."

Said a prominent rabbi who asked to remain unidentified: "In Judaism, not all halakhic questions are black and white and can be answered using the logic and knowledge that are tested on written examinations. There are also those questions whose answers call for acquired wisdom, life experience and maturity within halakhic parameters. Young geniuses who have been ordained in the past were not expected to begin to serve the public in that capacity".

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