Newsletter : 10fx1021.txt
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Israeli Comedy Troupe `Ha Ha Fuch; Jokes About Aliyah
A new comedy troupe made up of American immigrants is holding an improv comedy session.
Called "Ha Ha Fuch" the group jokes about making aliyah and other humorous incidents many
new immigrants encounter in Israel.
The groups' members say that the Middle East is ripe for humor and that comedy can be a
good source of hasbara (pro-Israel advocacy). The Ha Ha Fuch Israeli Comedy Show will take
place Thursday October 21st at 8p.m. at the Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah's Center stage
Theater in Jerusalem.
U.S. Announces $60b Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia
The United States plans to sell up to $60 billion worth of military aircraft to Saudi
Arabia, the U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday in a move designed to shore up a
region overshadowed by Iran.
Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told a
news conference the U.S. administration did not anticipate any objections to the sale from
Israel, traditionally wary of arms sales to nearby Arab countries. "We think it will
enhance regional security and stability rather than diminish it," he told a news
The sale, which had been expected, includes 84 new Boeing F-15 aircraft and 70 upgrades
of existing Saudi F-15s. It also includes 70 of Boeing's Apache attack helicopters and 36
of its AH-6M Little Birds. In addition, the deal will include 72 Black Hawk helicopters
built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
Shapiro said the total value of the package would not exceed $60 billion, although he
emphasized that Saudi Arabia may choose not to exercise all of its purchase options during
the program, which will last from 15 to 20 years.
Alexander Vershbow, the assistant secretary of defense for international security
affairs, said the United States had discussed the matter with Israel, and concluded that
it would not undercut Israel's qualitative military edge in the region. "We have consulted
with Israel as this sale has taken shape ... based on what we've heard at high levels,
Israel does not object to this sale," he said.
Vershbow and Shapiro both stressed that bolstering Saudi Arabia's own defense
capabilities would improve U.S. security in a vital part of the world where fears are
growing over Iran's nuclear program. "This is not solely about Iran," Shapiro said. "It's
about helping the Saudis with their legitimate security needs ... they live in a dangerous
neighborhood and we are helping them preserve and protect their security."
Vershbow said the sale would improve Saudi Arabia's ability to coordinate with the
United States on shared security challenges "so it means we may have to station fewer
forces on a continuing basis in the region."
U.S. and international concern about Iran's growing military capability includes
advances in a nuclear program the West believes is aimed at developing atomic weapons --
accusations Tehran denies.
The United States has also flagged concern about Iran's growing missile capabilities
and has been quietly helping Arab states boost their missile defenses. That includes the
expected sale of the THAAD missile defense system manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp to
the United Arab Emirates. Similar talks are underway with Saudi Arabia.
U.S. officials are also discussing a possible deal to upgrade Saudi Arabia's navy,
which one official estimated could be worth an additional $30 billion.
Former Arab Terrorist Poses as Tour Guide in Jerusalem's Old City
A freed Arab terrorist poses as a tour guide and tells tourists that Old City Jews
stole Arab homes, Jerusalem resident Aryeh King revealed to Israel National News.
King, a former kibbutz member who lives in eastern Jerusalem, praised a new proposal
that would bar non-Israelis from leading large tour groups. Israeli citizenship has been
rejected by approximately 90% of the Arabs living in areas in Jerusalem restored to Israel
in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Kadima Knesset Member Gideon Ezra began to table a new bill that would implement the
requirement for Israeli citizenship for Jerusalem tour guides, but he then said he was
postponing the move in order not to interfere with the prospect for a resumption of direct
talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The bill, co-sponsored by several National Union, Kadima and Likud MKs, would ban
non-Israelis from leading groups of more than 11 tourists and also would apply when
smaller groups travel in more than one vehicle.
King revealed that innocent tourists walking through the Jaffa Gate, a main entrance to
the Old City, often are met by a dark-skinned man with a short beard who poses as a tour
guide, complete with an official Tourism Ministry badge. The man actually is a former Arab
terrorist, King said, adding that many tourists, especially those from Russia and Asia,
often cannot distinguish between an Arab and a Jew.
"I personally have joined his tours," King said. "He takes tourists to the Jewish
Quarter and explains to them that Arabs used to live there until Jews stole their homes
and land. I did not let him get away with it, and when I made members of the group realize
he was a terrorist, many of them left. We tried to take action against him through the
Tourism Ministry, but he continues to corner tourists."
He said Arab tour guides who are not Israelis cause irreparable damage. "Imagine a
guide takes tourists to the Temple Mount and does not tell them that the Jewish Temple
once existed there," King added.
He cited one instance at the Mount of Olives view point, named after murdered Tourism
Minister Rechevam Ze'evi. "It is terrible when tourists ask a tour guide who Ze'evi was,
and he answers that he was a man responsible for murder of Arabs and that despite his
crimes, Israel honored him."
Tens of Thousands in Be'er Sheva Go Without Running Water for Hours
Tens of thousands of families in Be'er Sheva were left without running water Tuesday
for hours, as shortages continued following the rupture of a water main earlier this week.
The water main had been damaged during railroad work.
The municipality distributed water cisterns to residents, while the city's Soroka
Medical Center had to tap into its emergency reservoirs and Ben-Gurion University students
were forced to shower in the campus gym.
"My children didn't shower yesterday, so came here [to one of the cisterns distributed
by the city] to wash their faces a little and let them drink some water," said one
resident, Sara. "We have absolutely no water in the apartment, either to drink or to
bathe. It's an intolerable situation and I hope they resolve it quickly so we don't have
to come up here to drink tomorrow as well. It's just shameful that in 2010, students have
to shower on campus rather than at home," one Ben-Gurion University student
The water main rupture also led to electricity blackouts in Be'er Sheva's Aleph, Bet,
Gimel and Dalet neighborhoods, along Hebron Road, and in the city center. The municipal
water company, Mei Sheva, was working alongside the Israel Electric Corporation to fix the
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