Newsletter : 11fx1124.txt
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Israel Prepares for Biological Terrorist Attack
Israel's defense and health ministries will stage a two-day exercise dubbed `Orange
Flame 6" in the north next Wednesday and simulate an "unconventional terrorist" attack.
The drill will simulate a biological outbreak of a contagious disease, attacking and
infecting the cities of the north, primarily Afula, Tiberias and the Nazareth area in the
The Defense Ministry intends to hold additional drills in the field of unconventional
terrorism in the coming year. The exercise will test and drill operations of the Defense,
Foreign, Environment and Health ministries and the Home Front Command, local governments,
police and rescue services, hospitals and the Water Authority.
Local authorities will set up Mass-Prophylaxis Treatment Centers, which will simulate
the provision of preventive treatment to citizens who are suspected of exposure to the
outbreak. Each center will be drilled on their capacity to treat approximately 5,000
patients per day.
"It is important that that the citizens of Israel know that there are people in the
Defense Establishment, as well as the other relevant authorities, whose permanent job is
to prepare the State of Israel to handle these types of threats," said Brig. Gen. (res.),
Ze'ev Snir, who is Assistant Minister of Defense for Chemical, Biological, Radiological
and Nuclear Defense.
Hizbullah: We Have 'Vanquished' CIA, Mossad
Syrian and Iranian-backed Hizbullah boasted Wednesday it had vanquished the CIA and
Mossad. "Our security... has exposed several American and Israeli plots on Lebanon,"
Hizbullah' Hassan Fadlallah told reporters. "We call on the Lebanese government to take
immediate action... and raise the issue with the United Nations and embassies, so that the
whole world is aware of what the US embassy in Lebanon is doing."
Fadlallah claimed Hizbullah had succeeded in uncovering Central Intelligence Agency
operatives that had infiltrated Hizbullah. "Lebanese intelligence vanquished US and
Israeli intelligence in what is now known as the intelligence war," Fadlallah said.
His comments came days after reports emerged that Hizbullah had uncovered several
operatives within the movement working for the CIA. In the first acknowledgement of
infiltration since the Shiite group's founding in the 1980s, Hizbullah chief Hassan
Nasrallah in June said members of his group had confessed to being CIA agents.
Nasrallah accused his arch foe Israel of turning to the US spy agency after failing to
infiltrate his party slamming the American embassy in Beirut as a "den of spies."
The US embassy in Beirut dismissed the accusations as "empty".
Ironically, Fadlallah's claims came the morning after a Hizbullah munitions warehouse
said to be housing a downed IDF drone was destroyed by a large explosion in what the
terror group has called an act of sabotage.
Reports in the media following the explosion have speculated the warehouse
located near the port city of Tyre was destroyed by the CIA, Mossad or both.
Details, however, remain unclear as Hizbullah will not let UNIFIL or Lebanese security
officials near the site.
Lebanon and Israel technically remain in a state of war and convicted spies face life
imprisonment or the death sentence if found guilty of contributing to Lebanese loss of
life. Lebanon has protested to the United Nations over the alleged spy networks.
IDF to 'Kidnap' Soldiers Once a Month
One month after abducted soldier Gilad Shalit was released and amid fears that
terrorists are planning further kidnappings, the IDF is planning to increase the frequency
of its exercises and stage the kidnapping of a soldier once a month.
According to a report on the IDF website, the monthly "kidnapping exercises" will begin
next month, and the military is also considering distributing tear gas to male soldiers so
they can resist a kidnapping attempt. Presently, only female soldiers are given tear
The decision was made in a recent special session chaired by the Deputy Chief of Staff.
It was made in light of increased warnings about terrorists' intentions to kidnap soldiers
and due to explicit threats to that effect by terrorist organizations. "There are quite a
few warnings about it, and after the release of Gilad Shalit, the various terrorist
organizations announced that they will increase their attempts to kidnap a soldier," Brig.
Gen. Meir Ohana, Commander of the Military Police Corps, told the IDF website.
In addition, the report said, the IDF is also planning to increase the punishment for
soldiers caught hitchhiking, which is prohibited.
Last week, the Israeli army held a wide-scale exercise which included a mock report of
kidnapping at an army checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. The "victim" was kidnapped and
taken to Shechem, in northern Samaria.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas joined Hamas last month in stating that
kidnapping and holding Shalit as hostage for more than five years was "successful" because
it brought about the release of the first batch of 1,027 terrorists to be freed by Israel.
Nearly 500 were released in the first stage of the agreement, and the others are to be set
freed next month.
Jews Survived Thanks to Circumcision
The history of the world is filled with empires that controlled the world, but the
Jewish people were never one of those. Jews have always been a minority, and for long
periods of time a persecuted minority. Seemingly, in light of the wars, exiles and
destruction, the Jewish people should have disappeared by now but they haven't. How
did Jews survive?
Anthropologist Melvin Konner of Emory University, Atlanta, attributes the Jewish
people's survival to their devotion to some of the mitzvot of the Torah, which he says
were specifically suited to guarantee the continued existence of the children of
According to Konner, circumcision and practicing family purity (Niddah) are mitzvot
which allowed and encouraged the birth of a greater number of offspring, contributing to
the people's continued existence, adding that the model of prolific mothers matches
Darwin's Natural Selection theory, according to which many offspring improve the chances
of survival. In other words, "be fruitful and multiply" is a winning formula.
Konner presented his theory last week at the conference on "Judaism in Evolutionary
Perspective" at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. "The existence of
the Jewish people throughout history, in light of the exiles and persecution, is a real
challenge," said Konner. "Religious people see this as divine intervention.
"There is no doubt that their commitment to religious texts helped, but if we look at
certain Jewish traditions, we can definitely examine their influence on the reproductive
When he addresses the circumcision mitzvah, Konner doesn't conceal the negative aspect.
Following the brit, he says, babies may suffer from an infection or die as a result of
bleeding. Not to mention the fact that the Jews' enemies, including the Nazis, used
circumcision to identify the Jews.
Nonetheless, there is scientific evidence today that male circumcision can prevent
infections in the sexual organ and this was likely even more important in ancient
times when hygiene was poor. In the past, such infections could have led to infertility
problems among women and so it was important for a man not to infect his
Judaism has also given women a role in guaranteeing the nation's survival
through the Niddah mitzvah, which forbids sexual intercourse during menstruation. "Niddah
has a negative aspect too," Konner said. "Religious groups used Niddah to keep women away
from the public arena and restrict them in different ways."
But Konner mentions the good sides as well. This mitzvah, he says, has boosted natural
increase, which is the essence of evolution according to Darwin. Waiting seven days from
the last day of menstruation brings you two to four days before ovulation. As sperm can
survive in the uterus several days, the timing determined by Torah is the ideal time to
Moreover, he mentions the fact that this mitzvah has another dimension, with the
anticipation creating a sort of "monthly honeymoon" for many couples and increasing the
chance to conceive.
Although these are two ancient mitzvot, Konner still finds them relevant. "It has
recently been proved that circumcision can reduce the chance of contracting AIDS in east
Africa by 60%."Following these findings, the American Academy of Pediatrics was close to
making a decision recommending the circumcision of all males in the United States. It was
eventually decided that in the modern Western world the advantages are not big enough, and
the decision was left to the parents. "In any event, there is no medical argument on the
advantages of circumcision.
"As for Niddah, which is observed by many Orthodox and Conservative Jews as part of the
family purity, it can be seen as an event with many advantages, even romantic ones. This
reality places the man and woman as equal by experiencing the monthly period together, as
And yet, while Niddah and circumcision were "made kosher" in the modern era, another
cultural custom, which also helped to boost the nation, remained behind: polygamy.
"Judaism is not monogamous in nature," said Konner. "In the Bible era, from Abraham
onward, we see how men took full advantage of the authority to marry more than one woman.
Sometimes we see behavior matching Darwin's sexual selection concept.
"There are places where Jewish warriors are allowed and even encouraged to take women,
especially virgins, as loot. And of course we have the 1,000 women and mistresses of King
Solomon. It may seem an exaggerated number, but it wasn't an unusual phenomenon among
powerful rulers in Asia and Africa throughout most of history. In King's Solomon's case,
he wasn't criticized for the number of women, but for the fact that he pursued foreign
While Niddah and circumcision are perceived by Konner as still relevant, polygamy
isn't. "As the father of three girls, I'm glad this is behind us," he said. "We must not
forget the 999 men who didn't have any women because of Solomon's harem."
Konner was born into an Orthodox family, but according to Israeli terms he is a former
religious today. And yet, he view Torah and mitzvot as an essential asset for Jewish
"I don't think we would have survived as a people without the Torah," he says. "Even
though every generation has people like me, who draw away from observing the Torah's
mitzvot, it remains the core of the Jewish people. Like most Israelis, I don't approve of
religious extremism either and view it as a potential threat, but like Ben-Gurion realized
the Jewish people need religious people.
"In Israel today you can be completely secular without affecting your Jewish identity.
In the Diaspora there is no such thing. In recent generations, secular Judaism has been a
way out of Judaism. But three things have allowed the existence of the Jewish people in
the past, and in the future: The people, Torah and God."
Ethiopian Jews Settle Into Life in Israel
By Scott Bobb (VOA-Ashkelon)
Israel is marking the 20th anniversary of a massive airlift of Ethiopian Jews to
Israel. The arrival and integration of tens of thousands of Ethiopians into Israeli
society have presented major challenges and brought many lessons.
Early morning at the Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashkelon, one of 16 in the
country that are new arrivals' first home, recent immigrants are studying Hebrew. They are
called Falasha Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity but who have
chosen to return to Judaism. They have been granted the same right of return to Israel
that Jewish law gives all Jews.
More than 80,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel in the past three decades -
15,000 of them in a three-day airlift 20 years ago called Operation Solomon. They now
Gadi Yamharan was one of them. He currently works with the privately funded Jewish
Agency that manages the complicated process of immigration and integration. "I take them
to the Ministry of Interior, to the banks, to the Ministry of Absorption. I accompany them
through all the procedures," said Yamharan.
The young adults learn more quickly than their elders. "It was very hard [in Ethiopia],
but in Israel it's easy. I am happy here," said one young woman who immigrated. The
children go to public schools in Ashkelon during the day. Afterwards they come here for
activities, like skills development and sports.
The director of the program, Leah Golan, said the center aims to provide a comfort
zone. "It's really a holistic approach, very culturally sensitive, in order to make sure
that after two years in the absorption center, moving and becoming part of the Israeli
society will be as smooth as possible. And it's never smooth. It's always very, very
Yamharan said many immigrants are coming from rural areas in a developing country to
the urbanized life of a developed state. "When they come they find it difficult, whether
the language or the culture, even the weather, everything is hard for them," he
Although there are many success stories in the Ethiopian community, rates of
unemployment and poverty remain higher that in the general society. Golan, whose parents
emigrated from Romania, said there also is discrimination, though that is changing.
"Today I think there is a much more healthy attitude towards people coming from
different backgrounds, first of all respecting the differences, and then understanding
that each of the colors in the mosaic are entitled to get their own color, but at the same
[time] create one society," said Golan.
Israeli officials plan to wind down this program in a few years after the remaining
Ethiopian Jews have arrived. Although great efforts are being made to help them adjust,
for some immigrants it may take generations to really feel at home.
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