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>JN July 22, 2003, Vol. 11, No. 123

Israelis May Deal With Iraq

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Monday that Israelis may have business dealings with Iraq.

This includes importing and exporting. The decision comes following an expressed interest by Israeli businesspeople to open dealings with Iraq.


Mofaz: Arrow System Can Counter Iranian Missile Threat

By Sharon Sadeh (Ha'aretz) and Reuters

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz reassured Knesset members Monday that Israel's Arrow missile defense system was adequate to counter any threat by Iranian missiles, and promised that missile defense would not be affected by budget cuts, Army Radio reported.

Iran equipped its elite revolutionary guards Sunday with a locally made ballistic missile, the Shihab-3. The missile, with its range of about 803 miles, is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Since the 1991 Gulf War, Israel - with U.S. financial backing - has developed the Arrow anti-missile missile, the only operational missile killer system in the world. The Arrow-2 interceptor, which works in conjunction with Green Pine all-weather radar targeting system, was successfully tested in August 2001, when it shot down a live missile dropped from an IAF F-15 fighter jet at high altitude on the flight path of an incoming Scud missile.

The deployment of the Shihab-3 missile came as Iran faces mounting scrutiny about a nuclear energy program Washington says may be a front for a covert bid to make atomic arms. The missile was officially inaugurated during a military parade before Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is in charge of the country's armed forces, state-run Tehran television reported.

The missile's official deployment comes after its final testing several weeks ago, Iranian officials said. Earlier this month, Ha'aretz reported that the missile's recent testing was its most successful of seven or eight launches during the past five years.

Also Monday, Shalom accused Tehran of "trying to do everything" to build a nuclear weapon, and warned that Iran would pose a threat to the whole world unless it was stopped. Speaking to reporters following a meeting in Brussels with his European Union counterparts, Shalom said that Tehran was enriching uranium and refusing to accept tougher inspections of its nuclear program.

"Iran now is trying to do everything to have a nuclear weapon and that is threatening not only the Middle East, it is threatening Europe, the southern part of Russia," he said. "And I think the EU should take a key role in the last efforts to prevent them from having this ability."

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi later Monday denied that Tehran was seeking to build a nuclear weapon, saying Israel represented a nuclear threat to the region. "It is clear for us that we do not have any program for nuclear weapons production," Kharrazi told a news conference in South Africa, where he is holding diplomatic meetings.

"Israel wants to justify its nuclear arsenal. They want to justify that they are under threat when the source of the threat is Israeli capabilities. We don't find the development of nuclear weapons increases security. Contrary to that, we find it to be a threat to national security," Kharrazi said.

He said Tehran had embarked on a nuclear program as it was currently exporting most of its 3.8 million barrel-per-day oil output and realized the need to develop alternative sources of energy in the face of declining oil reserves and a rapidly growing population.

Iranian officials have said reports that enriched uranium was found samples taken by UN inspectors in Iran were questionable. Iran insists its nuclear facilities are geared to producing electricity, and diplomats say the presence of enriched uranium in the samples may in fact be the result of contamination.


Muslim Men Marrying Jewish Women

Israel Faxx News Services

Early morning. Nassar kisses his wife Marina goodbye. She also says goodbye to her parents, Luda and Misha, and heads off to work. This is not a scene from a movie, the theater or a passage from a book. This is Israeli reality happening in the city of Tira, next to Kfar Saba. According to regional mayors there are hundreds of Jewish- Arab couples that live in just this way, in happiness and tranquility.

The love story of Marina and Nassar is one example of a growing phenomenon- Jewish women who marry young Arab men and go to live with them. Marina's unemployed parents also moved to in to Nassar's apartment and they are full of praise for their new son-in-law.

Marina, 22 years old, immigrated to Israel seven years ago and lived in Hertzliya. A smile appears on her face when she describes her meeting Nassar. "I was working for Pelephone. One day he came in to have his cell-phone repaired and after briefly meeting him I fell in love. He asked me to marry him and to move to Tira. I didn't even know where this was. My parents were scared to come with us, but now that we've married they see that it's not so terrible. There is a type of quiet here. Nassar takes care of us. They treat us with respect here and give us a lot of help."

"You don't see something like this every day," says the Mayor of Tira, Halil Kassam, with pride. "This is true co-existence. Brotherhood and peace between Jews and Arabs. Here there is no intifada and no hatred. We accept the Jews without limitation, ad whoever wants to visit is received with blessing." In the course of a tour of Tira Kassam mentions that in his city alone there are between 90 and 100 Jewish women. There are those who have been here a while and those who have arrived recently. Some are Israelis and some are immigrants from the former Soviet Union."

According to the statistics provided by the leaders of cities in the Sharon at least 190 Jewish women have married Arabs while dozens of others live with them without having gotten married. They come to Tira, to Taiba, and to Jaljuliya, almost always after a romance. For instance Ora Abdul, who has lived in Tira for many years already. "I came here because of love," Ora explains, "I have six children, 17 grandchildren and many Jewish friends who live here." The strongest expression of the change Ora has gone through is her decision to convert. "My friends and I have converted to Islam. It was difficult at first, but in the course of years you have to adopt the customs of your husband," she explains.

Riki also, a resident of the Sharon, who finished her army service 4 months ago is involved in a romantic relationship with an Arab youth. "I have had a boyfriend from Kfar Kassam for four years now," she says, "He is wonderful and we are considering marriage." According to Riki many of her friends from the army also have romantic relationships with Arabs.

Stella, who is married to a resident in the area, sums up the message that all of these women are trying to get across, the ones who have been there awhile and the newer arrivals as well. "We respect the Islamic religion, and they respect the Jewish religion. There is no compulsion or pressure here, only love and patience. The leaders should come to Tira to see how people live," she says with emotion.

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