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Airplane Strays from Saudi Arabia into Israel


A Russian passenger plane from Saudi Arabia infiltrated Israeli air space Wednesday, apparently by accident. Israel Air Force combat planes were alerted to the scene, and escorted the plane outside Israel. A month ago, Israeli intelligence received warning of an Al-Qaeda scheme to hijack a plane from a Saudi Arabian airfield - only 150 miles from Israel - and crash it into an Israeli building.

Sharon Confirms Hizbullah Prisoner Talks

By VOA News

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has confirmed publicly for the first time that his government is negotiating through German mediators for a possible exchange of prisoners with Hizbullah. Sharon said Wednesday that a prisoner swap is "closer than before," but he said it would have to be approved by the entire Israeli cabinet. He also dismissed reports that Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouti would be among the prisoners freed by Israel.

Israel is seeking the release of an Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tannenbaum, who is also a reserve commander in the army and the bodies of three soldiers captured by the Lebanon-based Hizbullah, as well as information on missing airman Ron Arad. In return, it is expected Israel would release several hundred Arab prisoners.

In a possible snag to a prisoner swap, the Arad family has filed a legal challenge to prevent the release of a Lebanese prisoner, Mustafa Dirani. He was one of the airman's former captors, and Arad's family says he must be kept as a possible "bargaining chip" for the release of their son.

In a separate development, Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin has ruled out a new truce with Israel. The sheikh, who spoke publicly for the first time since surviving an Israeli assassination attempt last month, also said Hamas would not participate in a new government under Palestinian prime minister-designate Ahmed Korei.

Meanwhile, violence has claimed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy. He was killed and 11 other Palestinians wounded during a clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday.

Peace Now Survey Manipulates Findings


An article this week in Newsday was headlined, "Some Settlers Willing To Move: 83 percent of Israelis say they would relocate if compensated." In the seventh paragraph, correspondent Andrew Metz quoted a "recent poll" backing up the headline's bombastic claims. The survey's findings do not support these numbers, however.

Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson found that the poll was released by the extreme left-wing Israeli Peace Now organization over two months ago. "In other words," Peace Now sums up, "83% of settlers would agree to leave the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for compensation." This conclusion is dubious, in that it is based on those who expressed their preference in case of dismantlement - and were not asked about their first choice!

When asked their preferences "in case of dismantlement" - i.e., once it becomes clear that the die has been cast and they have been cast from their homes - 74% said that in that situation, the State should "give evacuees compensation and allow them to choose which solution they prefer for themselves." Another 9% said that in that situation, Israel should resettle "the evacuees" inside the State of Israel.

Peace Now - and Newsday - added these two numbers together and "concluded" that 83% would "agree to leave in exchange for compensation," instead of more accurately explaining that 83% "agree to be compensated if forced to relocate."

Moreover, the next line in the Peace Now poll was totally ignored in the Newsday article. Showing clearly that the vast majority of those who live in Yesha are happy, the poll states, "71% of the settlers would prefer to stay where they live." Instead of coming to terms with the fact that this finding belies the previous "conclusion," Newsday simply ignored it.

Asked if in fact 83% of Yesha-ites want to leave in exchange for compensation, Yesha Council official Pinchas Wallerstein told Zalmanson Wednesday, "I don't know where those figures are from. Every indication is that the truth is totally different. The rate of growth in Yesha is higher than in the rest of the country, and people continue to move here all the time." Wallerstein also serves as the Chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council, located just north of Jerusalem.

"Totally groundless," said Yesha Council spokesman Yehoshua Mor-Yosef about the said survey. "Despite all the terrorism, we keep growing - so do you think people would leave for money?"

'I Care, And I'm Going'


A new visit-Israel campaign has kicked off under the theme, "I Care. And I'm Going." Israel's Minister of Tourism Benny Elon called a press event sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as well as leaders of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Jewry.

During the upcoming holiday season, beginning with Rosh HaShanah and ending with Simchat Torah, as many as one million Tourism Pledge Cards will be distributed at synagogues across America. Participants are asked to sign the card, pledging to visit Israel some time in the coming year.

Tourism has jumped during 2003, and by the end of the year, 1.2 million tourists will have visited Israel - 50% more than in 2002.

A Look at Honey Consumption Before Rosh Hashanah


Honey producers explain there are a considerable number of frauds on the supermarket shelves. Consumer advocates concur, explaining some unscrupulous businesses use sugar, molasses, or other means to substitute for the real thing, placing the ingredients in jars bearing "100% natural honey" labels.

Beekeepers explain the biggest problem they face is not the fraudulent honey, but the increasing numbers of hive thefts, usually by residents of PA autonomous areas. One prominent beekeeper that has been working in the honey industry for decades explains that in one year, he lost 45% of his business, with hundreds of hives stolen. Law enforcement agencies acknowledge the problem, pointing out the difficulties involved in tracking down the hives now found in PA areas.

Sixteen hundred tons of honey will be sold in Israel ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, representing approximately 50% of annual honey sales.

Israel Ranks Second in Global Chicken Consumption


Israel ranks second in the global community regarding chicken consumption, behind the United States. The Of Tov factory in Beit Shean reported it would supply the marketplace with over 500,000 birds this week, in time for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

The annual poultry market in Israel is holding at NIS 2 billion, an impressive figure by any account. Some believe the nation's favorite food may be moving from falafel to chicken.

Continental Moving to Accommodate Orthodox Passengers

By IsraelNationalNews

In a move to accommodate Sabbath observant travelers, Continental Airlines has announced that beginning in October, coinciding with the changeover to standard time, flights from NYC to Tel Aviv will leave two hours earlier on Thursday.

The flights leaving on Thursday will leave earlier to enable passengers to arrive in Ben-Gurion International Airport ahead of the early winter Sabbath. (Editor's Note: On a recent Continental flight, this reporter was told that effective Sept. 4th, "specialty" (including kosher) meals would no longer be served on Continental flights.)

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