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Patriot Missile Batteries Arrive from USA


Two Patriot missile batteries arrived in Israel Wednesday from the United States. American military personnel accompanying the shipment plan to deploy them in the coming days and they will be part of a major joint Israel-U.S. military exercise in the coming weeks that will test missile defense and other weapons systems. The Patriots will remain in Israel to bolster defenses in the event of an attack by Iraq. The missiles will help defend against potential Scud missile attacks, as well as attempts by Iraqi aircraft to enter Israeli airspace and drop biological or chemical weapons on Israeli populations centers.

Eli Fimshtein Admits Killing His 22-Month-Old Daughter

By Jonathan Lis and Arnon Regular (Courtesy of Ha'aretz)

Eli Fimshtein confessed Wednesday to police that he murdered his 22-month-old daughter Hodayah on Saturday, by drowning her in the bath, and reconstructed the crime for police investigators.

He told police that he then buried her in a hole he had dug a month earlier, in a forest near the Jerusalem-area moshavim of Ora and Aminadav. Last Wednesday, Fimshtein told his interrogators, he went back to the area where he had dug the hole to deepen it.

Police, who released details of the case for publication Wednesday, revealed that the turning point in the case came Tuesday morning when they received a call from someone who saw Fimshtein deepening the hole he had dug. This tip-off led the police to the body and resulted in Fimshtein's arrest.

Fimshtein's remand was extended Wednesday afternoon by 12 days and he was sent for a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial. Hodayah's funeral was held Wednesday at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem.

Soon after finding the body, police broke the news to Hodayah's mother, Roni Kedem. Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy then called a press conference to announce the discovery. He told reporters that police still did not know exactly when the toddler was killed, but she was definitely alive Saturday morning, as she left a message on her mother's answering machine.

Slain Rabbi Meir Kahane Runs From the Grave

By Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz Correspondent

Controversial Rabbi Meir Kahane has been dead for more than 12 years, but as the deadline nears for submitting candidates to the Knesset, the heirs to his radical ideology are fighting for the right to pick up his torch, and carry it into the Knesset.

Careful to skirt overt comparisons to the militant rabbi - elected to Knesset in 1984 but later outlawed from public office for the racist nature of his avowedly anti-Arab views - the far-right Herut party this week came closer than ever to endorsing Kahane as the inspiration of its campaign for the January 28 elections.

Kahane supporters, many based in Jerusalem and radical West Bank settlements, have coalesced around maverick rightist Michael Kleiner, a former Likud Knesset member who broke away to found the far-right National Union bloc, later parting company with the Union to establish the one-man Herut faction, adopting the name of the Likud's right-wing Revisionist progenitor.

Mounting the Kleiner bandwagon, pro-Kahane activists, who have spray-painted hundreds of highway signs with slogans such as "Expel the Arab enemy" and "No Arabs, No Terrorism," have lately plastered the walls of the holy city with signs reading "Kleiner, the people are behind you."

The wall posters, at all times a sensitive barometer of pro-Kahane ideology, were accompanied by other broadsides, written in what appeared to be dripping blood, reading "Sharon's handing terror a state."

Kleiner returned the political favor on Wednesday, submitting the name of radical rightist Baruch Marzel of Hebron, a former Kahane deputy and disciple, as the number two candidate on the Herut list for Knesset.

As the Thursday night deadline for finalizing Knesset lists neared this week, legal efforts were undertaken to disqualify Marzel, often arrested for militant protests in the past, but Kleiner dismissed them on Wednesday as baseless. "There's a law against incitement in this country. Incitement is a criminal offense. Not only has Baruch Marzel never been convicted of incitement, he's never even been brought to trial for incitement.

"It's true that Baruch Marzel is a Jew who cares. He takes part in demonstrations," Kleiner continued." All of the offenses for which Baruch Marzel was charged or convicted are in the realm of demonstrations - he was shoved around by police, and he shoved them back."

The New York-born Kahane, who came to prominence after founding the violence-prone Jewish Defense League in 1968, moved to Israel three years later. In short order he established a political party called Kach, after a militant Revisionist slogan. After unsuccessful Knesset tries in 1976 and 1980, he was put under administrative detention, a draconian British mandatory measure usually reserved for Arabs suspected of - but not brought to trial for - hostile acts.

In 1988, with Kahane's Kach party forecast to win eight to 12 seats in upcoming elections - potentially making it a pivotal political force - lawmakers, led by a Likud worried about erosion of its right-wing support, voted to ban Kahane's party. Two years later, exhorting a crowd of New Yorkers to immigrate to Israel, Kahane was assassinated.

Careful neither to offend Kahane backers nor risk running afoul of anti-Kahanist laws, Kleiner has hammered away at Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as the "Theodore Herzl of the Palestinian State," evoking the 19th century prophet of the movement to found an independent Jewish nation in Palestine.

He has also slung barbed arrows at Avigdor Lieberman, strongman of the National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu bloc, a lieutenant of then-prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu during agreements to cede land to Palestinians, including Arab areas of the divided flashpoint city of Hebron.

Lieberman, Kleiner has noted, has distanced himself from the ideology of the late National Union leader Rehavam Ze'evi, who was the first to champion what he called the "transfer" of Arabs from the borders of the Land of Israel. Ze'evi, pressed to distinguish his philosophy from the forced expulsion advocated by Kahane, maintained that the transfer he sought was to be "voluntary." Arabs, for their part, responded that they would rather literally be put to death rather than exiled.

Kahane's memory has also frequently been invoked in connection with violent crimes against Arabs, notably in the case of Brooklyn-born Kahane follower Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Palestinians kneeling at prayer in a Hebron shrine before survivors of the 1994 assault shooting attack beat him to death.

All in all, Kahane's ideology has never disappeared from the Israeli political scene, noted Ha'aretz commentator Akiva Eldar. "You see it in slogans in the street, you also hear it in the words of Benny Elon when he speaks of transfer."

Elon succeeded Ze'evi as leader of the National Union when a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine assassin gunned down then-cabinet minister Ze'evi in a Jerusalem hotel late last year.

A clear distinction exists between Kahane and many of those who appear to echo his views on the ouster of Arabs, Eldar observes. "Kahane symbolized something of a more violent nature, 'non-voluntary' transfer, and something that was racist to the nth degree."

Moreover, he continues, Kahane's brand of rabid anti-Arabism does not resonate with the present-day Israeli public as a whole, despite the severity of Israeli-Palestinian strife. "It exists, perhaps, in the form of a vague dream that the Arabs will somehow disappear, but people understand that this will not work, that this will not happen."

Pro-Kahane sentiment remains very much a fringe phenomenon in the wider society, Eldar concludes. "The problem is that everyone is scared of these people. They are there causing all sorts of trouble in Hebron, very much a powder keg. In fact, I prefer to see them in the Knesset rather than in Hebron, because I don't want to see them underground.

"It's preferable to let these people into the establishment. Then they tend to become somewhat more moderate, their views change, rather than staying underground. It is important, also, that this allows their true face to be made known to the public."

Recent polls show that Kleiner and Marzel's moment in the sun may die with the election campaign, as Herut is given little chance of winning the two Knesset seats needed as a minimum for membership in the house.

But the transfer concept is likely to have as many Knesset advocates as ever. A poll released Wednesday showed that the avowedly pro-transfer party could win as many as 12 seats in the 120-seat house, a gain of fully 50 percent from its current parliamentary strength.

Even if Marzel and Herut disappear from the political radar screen, Kahane supporters are unlikely to refrain from pressing their case, either through the ballot box or through other, less peaceful, means. Democracy comes in many forms, Kahane once said, adding that "Judaism is not Thomas Jefferson and the Middle East is not the Midwest."

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