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Jewish Comedian Easily Beats Obama as 'Most Influential'


Jewish-American comedian Jon Stewart is the most influential man of 2010, far ahead of President Barack Obama, according to a survey conducted by the AskMen online magazine, which attracted roughly 500,000 people to vote in the poll.

Second and third place were held by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, respectively. President Barack Obama had fallen in the poll, going from the top five in 2009 to 21st place this year.

Netanyahu Praises Israeli Troops That Raided Gaza-Bound Flotilla

By VOA News

Israel's prime minister has praised the naval commandos who participated in the deadly May raid on a Gaza-bound ship, saying they acted "heroically," "ethically" and "with restraint."

Benjamin Netanyahu told the men during a visit to their base in northern Israel on Tuesday that they had acted in an attempt to stop people "who sought to kill" them. He said the raid was "necessary" and "legal," adding that he believed Gaza had become a "terror base" of Israel's archrival, Iran.

Eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American were killed when the Mavi Marmara tried to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. Israel said its forces acted in self-defense, but the action drew wide condemnation. Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize for the incident.

Netanyahu's visit to the base came a day after Israel's opposition leader said Turkey exploited the "provocation" that led Israeli commandos to raid a Turkish ship attempting to break a sea blockade of Gaza.

Tzipi Livni said before an Israeli committee investigating the deadly May raid that Turkey used the lack of a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians to heighten anti-Israeli sentiments. She said Turkey's support of the flotilla aimed to stir sympathetic backing for the militant group Hamas that rules Gaza.

ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease) Drug Trial to Begin in Israel

By Ha'

Israel's BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics will begin clinical trials of its stem cell treatment for the neurological disease ALS after receiving clearance from Israel's Ministry of Health.

The company said last week its treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, uses stem cells taken from the bone marrow of adults, rather than more controversial embryonic stem cells. The use of embryonic stem cells has raised a storm of controversy due to religious, ethical and political issues involved in harvesting cells from embryos.

"We believe that our specific differentiated stem cells derived from a patient's own bone marrow could represent a new treatment paradigm for patients with ALS and other neurological disorders," said BrainStorm President Chaim Lebovits.

The trials, to be conducted at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, will begin after the validation of sterility tests and the screening of patients, the company said.

BrainStorm has said it is focusing its research on Parkinson's Disease, which affects 4 million people in the West, but that it can move faster with ALS, which afflicts an average of two out of 100,000 people a year, because it is terminal and considered an "orphan" or rare disease.

ZOA Condemns Oscar to Anti-Semite Who Called Israel 'Cancer'


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned a decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to award an honorary Oscar to French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who will be receiving an award for his lifetime contribution during the second annual Governors Awards.

In a statement released by ZOA, it described Godard, 79, as "a virulent anti-Semite of long-standing." ZOA brought several examples of what it called Godard's "unremitting obsession with Jews".

In 1968, said ZOA, Godard called Jewish producer Pierre Braunberger "sale juif" ("filthy Jew"); in a 1976 documentary he contrasted the lives of a French and Arab family and featured flickering images of Golda Meir and Adolf Hitler, proposing them as comparable tyrants.

According to the statement, Godard has also defended the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, described the State of Israel as "a cancer on the map of the Middle East," and has justified acts of Arab terrorism by saying that "Israel is a paradoxical form of Nazism's historical resurgence."

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said "The Academy's decision to bestow an honorary Oscar on Godard should be rescinded immediately and we call upon all American Jewish organizations and all people of goodwill to demand likewise."

Shin Bet Supports Revoking Citizenship of Israelis Convicted of Terror

By Ha'

The Shin Bet security service supports revoking the citizenship of anyone convicted of terror crimes, it emerged Tuesday during a Knesset debate on a proposal seen as targeting Israeli Arabs.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai's proposal suggests giving the court or administrative authorities the right to revoke Israeli citizenship from dual citizens convicted of loyalty-related offenses. For people who have no other citizenship, the law would grant status equivalent to what Israel grants foreign workers.

The Shin Bet's legal adviser said during deliberations on Tuesday that indeed "such authority must be put in the hands of the court, in one way or another."

Yishai's bill has been presented as a method of deterring potential criminals from embarking on terrorist activities. He submitted the proposal on October 11, a day after the cabinet approved a controversial amendment to the citizenship law, which would require non-Jews seeking citizenship to declare loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state."

"Declarations and oaths are not sufficient when dealing with cases such as Azmi Bishara and Hanin Zoabi," Yishai said following the cabinet approval, referring to two Arab Knesset members.

Bishara was accused of treason and fled abroad; Zoabi, a current Knesset member, participated in the Turkish flotilla to break the Gaza blockade in May. "Anyone who betrays the state will lose his citizenship," said Yishai. A similar law, sponsored by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), was introduced in the Knesset a few months ago.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said it had anticipated Yishai's proposal. "The revocation of citizenship on grounds of disloyalty is characteristic of shady, totalitarian regimes; in fact, it was commonly used by the Soviet regime," said Dan Yakir, the association's legal council. "The accepted view in democratic countries nowadays is that 'disloyalty' cannot serve as a pretext for annulling citizenship."

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