Newsletter : 11fx0901.txt
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Invented: Anti-Cancer Virus
Researchers developed a genetically engineered virus that can detect cancerous cells in
the body when injected into the blood stream. The virus attacks only cancerous cells in
the body and leaves the healthy cells unharmed.
Scientists project that this discovery will lead to major developments in the fight
against cancer. Although using viruses to combat cancer is not a new concept, they
typically must be injected into tumors. However, the new engineered virus is injected into
the blood and only attacks tumors.
High Alert for Terror Continues in Southern Israel
Israel's military establishment is continuing to maintain a high alert along the
Egyptian border amid fears of an impending terrorist attack. OC Southern Command Maj.Gen.
Tal Russo toured the area Wednesday, meeting with soldiers stationed at strategic
checkpoints along the border.
The IDF is hoping to prevent a repeat of the Aug. 18 multi-pronged terrorist attack
that left eight Israelis dead, 40 wounded and its diplomatic relations with Egypt tense
Five Egyptian soldiers were also killed in the melee as Israeli security personnel
fought a bloody battle with more than a dozen gunmen from the Gaza-based Popular
Resistance Committees terrorist organization.
Parallel investigations by the IDF and Egyptian security later revealed that at least
three of the 20-plus operatives involved in the attack were Egyptian nationals. Meanwhile,
authorities have revealed the identity of the perpetrator of a separate terrorist attack
executed earlier this week in Tel Aviv.
Muhammad Sa'afan, a 20-year-old resident of the northern city of Shechem, was caught on
site after having stabbed eight people at a club in south Tel Aviv. One of the victims was
critically wounded in the attack. Sa'afan was remanded for an additional 10 days by the
Tekoa Rabbi Supports PA's Statehood Bid
One of the leading rabbis in Judea and Samaria on Wednesday expressed his support of
the Palestinian Authority's unilateral bid for statehood in the United Nations on
According to a report in the PA-based WAFA news agency, Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa
supported and expressed his and other Israeli rabbis' wishes for success to the PA bid to
gain full United Nations membership of a Palestinian state. The report said Froman made
the comments during a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Froman said that establishing a Palestinian state benefits the peace process and Israel
and also works to achieve comprehensive, just peace and stability for the region and the
For his part, Abbas reiterated his commitment to the peace process with Israel and
claimed that the PA's statehood bid is a result of Israel's refusal to abide by
international law and agreements.
WAFA said Froman congratulated Abbas on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic
holiday which marks the end of Ramadan. Froman also reportedly offered to establish a
committee made up of both Arab and Israeli religious figures to stop mutual
"Establishing a Palestinian state in cooperation with the State of Israel is good for
peace and for Israel and it will inspire the building of a just and lasting peace and
stability in the region and the world," Rabbi Froman was quoted as saying.
He warned, however, that "resistance by Israel on the one hand and the establishment of
the Palestinian state contrary to Israel's position on the other hand, will harm Israel,
the Palestinians and the establishment of peace in the region and such a state would very
quickly become an Iranian state."
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said the
PA statehood bid would likely jeopardize all existing agreements between the PA and
Israel. In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Oren said the move would render
invalid economic treaties, including export, import and water sharing, as well as security
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday the statehood bid at the United Nations
is a greater threat to Israel than terrorism. "This Palestinian initiative represents a
more serious threat than that posed by Hamas," Steinitz told Voice of Israel radio.
Iron Dome Hits 85% of its Targets
By Washington Times
Israel's cutting-edge missile defense called Iron Dome scored an 85% success rate in
knocking out rockets launched against Israel's southern cities in recent clashes with
Gaza. "Iron Dome in April became the first anti-ballistic missile system to be used in
combat," said Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States.
Israeli officials said the country's two batteries of Iron Dome missile interceptors
shot down Russian-made Grad and Qassam rockets fired from Gaza positions by smaller
terrorist groups such as the Popular Resistance Committees and Palestinian Islamic
The battlefield success of Iron Dome could change the political calculus in Israel by
providing protection against attacks that prevented Israel from withdrawing after it
dismantled settlements in Gaza in 2005.
Oren said 1,000 Qassam rockets were fired into southern Israel from August 2005 to May
2006. At the time, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formed a political party, Kadima, to
complete what he called disengagement or the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the
dismantlement of settlements in Palestinian areas of the West Bank that the Jewish state
did not intend to keep within its final borders. The continuous barrage of rockets from
Gaza is widely seen as stopping disengagement in its tracks.
"This restores Israel's deterrence against a weapons system that Israel's enemies
believed Israel was incapable of defending against," said Patrick Clawson, the director of
research for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "Second, by doing that, it
makes it politically possible to talk about trading territory for peace, even if you are
not confident that the new authorities can stop missile attacks by terrorists from that
The Obama administration has supported Iron Dome. In the current defense budget, the
Pentagon provides $205 million for Iron Dome deployments, in addition to the nearly $3
billion Israel received in U.S. military financing for 2011.
Rep. Steven R. Rothman, a New Jersey Democrat who is the lead lawmaker on the House
Appropriations Committee that secured the additional money for Iron Dome, said the missile
defense system "serves as an essential part of Israel's multilayered umbrella of
anti-rocket and anti-missile defenses, and over the past week this system has shown just
how capable it is."
A former senior Israeli defense official with detailed knowledge of the Iron Dome
system said it is a crucial element of Israeli defenses. "But it is not a silver bullet
because there will always be 10 times more rockets than Iron Dome interceptors can stop,"
Despite the high success rate, one Grad rocket did get past the Iron Dome battery
protecting the Israeli city of Be'er Sheva, killing one and wounding eight, according to
Israeli news reports.
Oren said the Iron Dome system can distinguish between rockets and missiles that will
land in civilian areas and rockets that do not need to be intercepted because they will
impact in remote areas. One criticism of Iron Dome is that it costs about $100,000 to fire
an interceptor, compared with the cost of about $1,000 for Palestinians to fire a Qassam
Einat Wilf, a member of Israel's Knesset who serves on the foreign affairs and defense
committees, said "the cost is a major issue with Iron Dome." She added that the system
works well for populated areas and strategic targets. "We don't use it to stop everything.
This is one way to balance the equation financially," she said adding that Iron Dome
cannot defend areas close to rocket launch areas, such as the southern Israeli town of
Carl Shearer, an Israeli blogger who closely follows the development of Iron Dome, said
the system cannot operate at short distance. "They don't deploy at anything less than 7
kilometers from Gaza," he said. "This means that Israel's cities that are less than 7
kilometers from Gaza, like Sderot, can't be covered by Iron Dome because it takes too long
for the human being operating the system to fire on the rocket after it's launched from
Clawson said Iron Dome still could end up doing for missile attacks what Israel's
security barrier did to stop the threat of suicide bombers. "The concern was how do you
stop suicide bombers, and the answer was the security barrier," Mr. Clawson said. "Now the
problem has been missiles, short range missiles and rockets. Iron Dome is making a big
dent on this problem."
Female Soldiers: Religious Men Pushing Us Out
The gender controversies rage on in the IDF: a battery commander in the IDF Artillery
Corps' 55th Battalion has informed four female soldiers three of them commanders
that they will be removed from the battery because religious "Hesder" soldiers are
about to join the battalion. They were offered alternative positions, including command
posts in a Commanders' Course.
Religious soldiers, in combat units out of all proportion to their percentage of the
population, are averse to serving alongside women because of real concerns relating to
modesty a core principle in the Jewish religion, and impossible to preserve in
mixed combat units, when facilities are often out in the field.
The female soldiers sent a long letter of protest to their commander and leaked it to
Voice of Israel Radio's military affairs reporter, Carmela Menashe. Menashe, an avowed
fighter for women's empowerment within the IDF, read out the entire letter on the
"The feeling is a harsh one, of humiliation and pain," the soldiers wrote. "We are
commanders, combat soldiers; we carry out our work with all our soul and the greatest
motivation, and are proud to be part of the Artillery Corps. They are kicking us out, not
because we are not good enough, but because we are women. We have nothing against the
yeshiva boys and nothing against Halakhah [Jewish Law Ed.]. There are battalions in
the IDF that have no women in them, and these soldiers can be placed there."
The female soldiers noted that they volunteered for an additional year of service and
will therefore serve in the IDF for three years, as most men do. They completed the combat
training cycle and have been serving alongside about 80 men for two years.
The IDF said in response that a final decision regarding the removal of the women has
not been made and that in any case, their status as combat soldiers will not be
Female combat soldiers are the pride of the Israeli gender feminist movement. Israeli
culture places a premium on service in combat units and leaders of the gender feminist
movement believe that the presence of women in combat lends greater credence to women's
demands in other spheres.
Opponents of female service in combat units note that the number of women who volunteer
for such service is small, that the physical requirements for entering the units have to
be lowered in order to allow the women in, and that injuries such as stress fractures
render a large proportion of the women incapable of service within a relatively short time
and other injuries they sustain may harm them for life.
Once they are married, they may opt to leave the service, whereas men cannot. Some of
these claims are hotly disputed by proponents of women's participation in combat. In the
past, women were rejected from combat units so as to prevent their falling into the hands
of the enemy.
The turf war between religious soldiers and female combat soldiers has great political
and social significance because the two groups represent opposing religious and cultural
mindsets that are at loggerheads in Israeli society on this subject.
Miracle in Itamar: Ark Falls on Baby; Baby Survives
An incident which can be described as nothing short of a miracle occurred in the
Shomron community of Itamar on Tuesday. A synagogue ark containing heavy Torah scrolls
fell on a baby and the baby survived.
"Yesterday we celebrated a brit milah (ritual circumcision ed.) of a son of one
of the residents here," David Shneerson, whose son was the one on whom the ark fell, told
INN. "During the brit we had a farbrengen (a Hasidic tradition involving a night of Torah
learning and celebration ed.) and the Mashpia (lit. person of influence, the leader
of the study ed.) was talking about a lack of love within Israel, and as soon as he
said those words we heard a huge boom.
"We looked and saw that the entire ark with all the Torah scrolls fell on the floor,"
added Shneerson. "My two-year-old baby was under the ark, and we lifted the ark and saw
him screaming. We thought that the worst had happened, but it turned out that nothing
happened and he was just screaming because he was startled."
Shneerson recalled that earlier, the synagogue's gabbai (sexton) suggested placing a
partition in front of the ark. "The gabbai suggested placing the partition so that when it
comes time to eat, the congregants won't eat in front of the ark," he said. "I asked the
rabbi and he said that we should place the partition. My son was between the partition and
the ark and that's what saved him. The ark fell on the metal of the partition and the
metal pierced a hole through the ark. The ark weighs 150 to 200 kilograms. The metal saved
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