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Despite Strike Doctors Rush to Hospitals


Doctors have rushed to hospitals in Israel's south following terrorist attacks near Eilat, the Israel Medical Association reported Thursday. The doctors are performing their duties as regular despite a scheduled IMA strike.

Eilat's Yoseftal hospital and Soroka hospital in Be'er Sheva are operating in mass-casualty mode. Residents of Be'er Sheva reported hearing gunfire and a possible explosion in the city on Thursday afternoon, which does not appear to be connected to terrorist attacks near Eilat.

Israel Retaliates in Gaza After Gunmen Attack Near Eilat

By Scott Bobb (VOA-Jerusalem) &

Israeli aircraft hit Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip late Thursday, reportedly killing 20, including leaders of the Popular Resistance Committee, which the Israeli government accuses of being behind attacks in southern Israel that killed seven Israelis and wounded 33 earlier in the day.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on national television, calling the attacks in southern Israel an increase in the terror front. Netanyahu's short statement at 8:30 p.m. followed the lethal three-stage terror attack that claimed seven Israeli lives and saw 33 wounded. "We all witnessed an attempt to ratchet up the level of terror emanating from Sinai," he said. "If someone thinks that Israel will put up with this, he is wrong.

"I have established a principle: when Israeli citizens are hurt, we hit back immediately, and with force. This principle was implemented today. The people who gave the order to murder our civilians, who were hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu's reference was apparently to the death of Abu Awad Kamel a-Neirab, commander of the Salah a-Din Brigades, the "military" wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, who was killed in the IAF airstrike around 5 p.m.

Netanyahu praised the Shin Bet, Yamam special forces and IDF for their courage, which prevented a greater tragedy. He said if there is someone who thinks Israel will accept this, they are wrong. When they harm the citizens of Israel, we react immediately and with force. He said those who gave the order to murder our citizens, and who hide in Gaza are dead.

Hamas - the terror organization that rules Gaza - evacuated its security headquarters after Thursday attacks in fear of a muscular Israeli response. The United Nations also evacuated its foreign personnel from Gaza following the attacks.

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat took full advantage of the lethal terror attacks not to extend his condolences, but to issue a warning. "Israel stands warned of any possible aggressive action or collective punishment measures against the Palestinian population in Gaza," Erekat said.

Erekat made the requisite statement that the Palestinian Authority is "against violence in all its forms," before outlining the PA's fear Israel would use the attacks as a "pretext for aggression." The PA official called on the international community to ensure calm in the region.

Earlier on Thursday, Hamas warned Israel not to attack Gaza, following a statement by Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the IDF would strike back at the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza in response to the deadly attacks. As a precaution, Hamas sent its senior commanders into hiding and evacuated command centers, in anticipation of IDF strikes in response to the terror attack that IDF sources speculated originated in the Gaza.

The IDF has asked the public to avoid the Eilat area for the time being and to allow security and rescue personnel to conduct operations.

The entrances to the city of Eilat have been sealed off and security forces have thrown a dragnet around the area as they search for terrorists involved in the multi-site attack.

In addition, checkpoints have been set up outside the entrances to the city of Be'er Sheva, home to Soroka Medical Center, a Level One trauma center where seven of the most grievously wounded victims were flown by Yasour helicopters for advanced treatment Thursday afternoon after being initially stabilized at Eilat's smaller Yoseftal Medical Center. Be'er Sheva is considered by many to be the "capital" of Israel's vast southern region, comprising almost 60 percent of the country's geography.

Woman Divorces Brain-Damaged Husband


For the first time in Israel, a woman will be allowed to divorce her dysfunctional husband thanks to a legal precedent. An alternative rabbinical court granted the secular women the longed-for divorce, which she had not been entitled to by law. The precedent was achieved thanks to a new alternative halachic book of law presenting solutions for a variety of halachic conflicts.

The affair began in the late 1990s. A. and D., a young non-religious Jewish couple, got married in Europe, had four children and immigrated to Israel. Seven years ago, the husband had a serious heart attack and suffered irreversible brain damage.

Due to his condition, he was defined by a court as a "ward", and his wife was appointed as his legal guardian. She took care of him for two years and then decided she wanted to remarry and build a new life.

When she turned to a lawyer and asked to file for divorce, she encountered a complex legal problem: The divorce requires the agreement of both sides, and her husband is not legally competent to make decision. Although she is his guardian, she cannot sign on his behalf on an agreement she is a party to.

Her lawyer, Attorney Shalom Atli, turned to several famous rabbis, established an "alternative court" and asked them to look into the medical issue. Using halachic tools, the rabbis ruled that the husband was "alternately a ward", meaning that in some situations his level of sanity is sufficient.

Atli took this opinion to the Supreme Rabbinical Court, and managed to convince the judges to rely on their colleagues' ruling and approve the divorce. A. was recently officially divorced. "I feel like I have come out of jail," she told her friends.

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