Newsletter : 11fx0928.txt
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'Arab Spring' May Win Nobel Peace Prize
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize may recognize activists who helped unleash the revolutionary
wave that swept through North Africa and the Middle East during the Arab Spring.
Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian Internet activist and Google executive, Egypt's April 6 Youth
Movement, one of its founders Israa Abdel Fattah, and Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni
could therefore be among those in line for the award when it is announced on October
Israel Plans 1,000+ New Homes in East Jerusalem
By VOA News
An Israeli district committee approved the plan for settlement construction in Gilo on
Tuesday. The measure must now pass a 60-day public comment period, during which objections
can be raised. Palestinians oppose Israeli building on land they want as part of a future
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down last year after an Israeli
freeze on West Bank settlement construction expired. The impasse in talks prompted
Palestinians to seek United Nations statehood recognition last week. The U.N. Security
Council is set to formally consider the Palestinians' request for statehood and full U.N.
membership on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has described Israel's decision to move forward with settlement
building as "counter-productive." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the
move would not help efforts to restart direct negotiations.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton criticized Israel's latest housing expansion,
saying the settlement plan "threatens the viability" of a two-state solution between
Israel and the Palestinians.
The EU is part of the group known as the Middle East Quartet. The group, which also
includes the U.S., U.N. and Russia, has proposed resumption of talks between the two
On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said his country would not renew a
construction freeze in order to get Palestinians to agree to the Quartet's plan for new
talks. He told the Jerusalem Post that Palestinian insistence on the settlement issue
shows a lack of interest in negotiations.
On Sunday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told supporters in Ramallah that he would
resume peace talks only if Israel stopped building settlements in occupied territory.
The Quartet's plan calls for a preliminary meeting between Israel and the Palestinians
within a month. The meeting would be followed by a return to regular talks and progress
on security and borders within 90 days. It envisions the completion of a peace deal no
later than the end of 2012.
Turkey Helps Israel Keep Illegal Aliens Out
While Israel's relationship with Turkey has certainly seen better days, the two
countries continue to cooperate in a number of important areas. On Monday, for example, it
was reported that trade between the two countries was up was up 26% during the first 10
months of 2011 compared to the previous year. And on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry
reported that, thanks to cooperation with Turkey, the entry into Israel of 97 illegal
immigrants was prevented.
The Ministry said that the group of illegals were bound to Israel from the Ivory Coast
via Turkey, which they had traveled to in an unusual entry point for illegal
aliens. The group presented itself as a Christian pilgrim group, but the Ministry said
that it had specific information that they were planning to enter Israel on tourist visas
and get "lost" in the communities of African workers that have sprung up here in recent
The Ministry asked Turkish officials for assistance, and the latter prevented members
of the group from getting on the plane in Ankara. "An unpleasant situation was avoided
thanks to intelligence that we gathered and cooperation with Turkey," a Ministry official
said Tuesday, citing also the assistance of travel agents as well. The group will be
repatriated to their home country, the official said.
While most illegal Africans in Israel come from northern Africa, including countries
like Sudan and Eritrea, the past year has seen a sharp increase in attempts by residents
of the Ivory Coast to enter Israel, as well as to reach Europe, because of a bitter civil
war that is being fought in the country. So far, some 1,500 people have been killed as two
competing presidents and their backers fight for leadership of the
Iran Says Navy Can Be Deployed Near US East Coast
Iran on Tuesday raised the prospect of sending military ships close to the United
States' Atlantic coast, in what would be a major escalation of tensions between the
long-standing adversaries. "Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine
borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to American marine borders," Navy
Chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to the official IRNA news
Speaking at a ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of the start of Iran's 1980-1988
war with Iraq, Sayyari gave no details of when such a deployment could happen or the
number or type of vessels to be used.
The declaration comes just weeks after Turkey said it would host a NATO early warning
radar system which will help spot missile threats from outside Europe, including
potentially from Iran. The decision has angered Tehran which had enjoyed close relations
And it comes a few months after Iran sent warships through the Suez Canal, after the
fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the first time the Islamic Republic had
deployed navy vessels in the Mediterranean.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if
diplomacy fails to stop it getting nuclear weapons. Tehran denies it is developing nuclear
arms, saying its atomic program is for purely peaceful purposes.
Rabbi: This Year, We Need Special Prayers
This year, it is particularly important to appeal for divine mercy as the High Holy
Days approach, Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron said in an interview with Arutz Sheva. "This
year we must ask for more and more mercy, that God hear(s) our voice
To our sorrow,
there are those who plan to do evil to the people of Israel, to cause us suffering and
"But `in this I trust' in the kindnesses of God, blessed is He, we are certain
that `Hashem will not abandon his people,'" he declared. God is particularly receptive to
prayers in the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, he added.
The rabbi took the opportunity to extend his blessings. "I bless the entire people of
Israel with a good year, redemption, salvation, and a good financial year," he said. "With
God's help, we will merit, `Bless us, our Father, all of us as one' that we will
remember the light of God's countenance and that we will be inscribed for a good life and
Rabbi Bakshi-Doron formerly served as the Chief Rabbi of Bat Yam, the Chief Rabbi of
Haifa, and the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel as well as Chief Rabbinic Court Justice. He
has written several sets of books on halakha (Jewish law).
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