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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

By Ha'

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 conference.

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

By Ha'aretz

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 complained.

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 damaged main.

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