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Clinton, Israeli Leaders Discuss Iran, Syria, Egypt, Palestinians

By VOA News,, Ha'aretz

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is having talks with Israeli leaders on the conflict in Syria, the political transition in Egypt, and the perceived threat from Iran's nuclear program. Clinton said she came to Israel "at a moment of great change and transformation in the region.

"It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity," she said. "It is a chance to advance our shared goals of security, stability, peace, and democracy along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future."

Clinton said that the United States and Israel are now on the same page regarding Iran. "It's absolutely fair to say that we are on the same page at this moment trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact on affecting the decisions that Iran makes.

Senior State Department officials say Clinton wants to hear from Israelis about the impact of this past year's uprisings across North Africa and how the two countries can continue to work together on Middle East peace, Syria, and Iran. "It is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together. We are called to be smart, creative, and courageous," she said.

President Shimon Peres praised Clinton for helping to organize international efforts toward a political transition in Syria to end what he calls President Bashar al-Assad's attacks against his own people. "It is beyond acceptable norms by humanity no matter if you are Christians, or Jews, or even Arabs," he said. "I appreciate the fact that the Arab League stood up against it clearly and loudly. It is unprecedented."

Earlier Monday, Clinton hinted after her meeting with Peres that there are differences of opinion between the U.S. and Israel over how to deal with Iran. Talking to the press, Clinton said, "It is a time of uncertainty but also of a big opportunity in the region. At times like these friends like us need to work together in a smart, creative and courageous way."

During her second press conference on Monday, Clinton also commented on the issue of the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is jailed in the United States. Despite great efforts by Israeli leaders to secure his freedom, Clinton said Monday that she does not have "any expectation that Pollard will be released."

State Department officials said international efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons are at an "important moment," so Clinton wanted to consult with Israeli leaders about the threat. Israel has not ruled out a military strike to prevent Tehran from making atomic weapons.

Peres said it is the "most dangerous issue of our time. There is a total understanding that we have to do whatever we can to prevent Iran from endangering the freedom and independence of other people or to endangering the life of other people." Peres thanked the Obama administration for continuing to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. "We should not give up hope," he said. "We shouldn't stop. We should be consistent. We should be determined. The Palestinians don't have a better alternative. We don't have a better alternative."

As Clinton met Monday evening with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, residents of southern Israel were forced to grab their children, snatching them as they slept in order to race for safe rooms and bomb shelters. The first scream of the Color Red incoming rocket alert came at about 9:30 p.m., long after little ones had been put to bed, but early enough that older children were still awake to hear the siren.

Fifteen seconds later, a short-range Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Hamas-ruled Gaza exploded somewhere in the western Negev. It took some time for security personnel to locate the site where the rocket exploded.

Israelis already know they must stay put in the shelters for at least 10 minutes after impact, to make sure the first rocket is not immediately being followed by more.

As IDF soldiers searched for the rocket's landing site, parents strove to calm their children and each other, working to minimize trauma symptoms triggered by the attack. Authorities said there were no reports of physical injuries or property damage.

One hour later, a second attack was launched, this one against the city of Sderot. The rocket exploded in a field near the outskirts of the city. No physical injuries were reported, and no property was damaged.

Constant Security Checks Dropped at Jerusalem Bus Station


Although it has been a given for years, this week Jerusalem eliminated the long lines caused by individual security checks at the central bus station. Metal detectors are still set up, but the majority of travelers don't need to use them. The massive numbers of people passing through the doors of the capital's central bus station has forced security personnel to consider more streamlined methods of spotting risks, officials said.

"WooHoo! J'lem Bus Station stops security checks at entrance," enthused the Janglo English speakers' email group in a Facebook posting on Sunday.

Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said security personnel will work to prevent danger to passengers by focusing their efforts on profiling travelers instead. The situation has changed," Ben-Ruby said, "and so the kind of guarding we do has changed as well. "We can be more selective now."

Not everyone is happy with the change, however. Numerous travelers who were asked while passing through the terminal on Sunday how they felt about the easier way into the building said they preferred a "more secure" entrance, albeit an inconvenient one.

Christians Flood Knesset with `New Judaism'


Knesset Members are furious after finding in their mail boxes what many called missionary propaganda promoting the New Testament. Members from all parties in the Knesset were shocked to see a Christian book that tries to link the Christina New Testament with the Jewish Bible.

The "Bible Society in Israel," based in Tel Aviv with a branch in Jerusalem, included a letter to MKs stating, "We are happy to grant you his book of the testaments that casts light on holy writing and helps you understand…to see the ink between Biblical writings and the New Testament. In your important positions of serving the people, we hope and pray this book can help you."

Bible Society director Victor Kalisher claimed to Arutz Sheva that the material is not missionary, although the Bible Society's website has a special tab on "Messianic Judaism."

His claim that the material to the Knesset Members was not missionary but could be interpreted by some as exactly the opposite. "Every enlightened person, and I also hope MKs, will give this book to non-orthodox people…. The objective of our organization is to investigate and spread the scriptures and offer ways for the advancement of holy writings….There is no intention to hurt the feelings of Jews, and this is a Jewish book written by Jews and for Jews to learn a better Judaism, which is learned through the New Testament.

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