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Netanyahu: Invest in Israel Now

By Ha'aretz

"I promise you that if you don't invest in Israel, you'll be losing a lot of money," Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told foreign investors at a Go 4 Europe conference at Tel Aviv's Hilton Hotel on Sunday. "Israel is an amazing investment. Anyone who failed to listen to me half a year ago has already lost out on a 50 percent gain on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and will continue to lose out if they do not invest now," Netanyahu stated.

Lebanese Terrorist Dirani: I Never Tortured Ron Arad

By Ha'aretz

In an affidavit submitted in Tel Aviv District Court on Monday, Lebanese terrorist Mustafa Dirani said that he never tortured captured Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad. Dirani said that he provided Arad with humane, medical care. Dirani filed the affidavit in response to a suit filed against him by the Arad family.

Israel captured Dirani in 1994 to be used as a bargaining chip in efforts to secure the release of Arad. Dirani is expected to be released in the imminent prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizbullah. Dirani also said that he did not sell Arad to Iran and said that blame for failures to secure the return of the captured airman rests fully upon Israel.

The Tel Aviv court on Tuesday will hear preliminary arguments made by Dirani's lawyer, Zvi Reish, that the Arad family's suit has a number of faults. Eliad Shraga, the lawyer for both the Arad family and the family of Mustafa Salah Abbas (a former South Lebanese Army soldier now living in Israel), requested on Sunday that Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein open a criminal investigation against Dirani. Shraga's request was also presented to police Investigations Divisions chief Moshe Mizrahi.

The request notes that Dirani helped torture both Arad and Abbas during interrogations of the two men. In his letter to Rubinstein, Shraga claimed that the methods of torture used on Arad and Abbas were indicative of Dirani.

"Similar to the severe torture of Arad by Dirani," Shraga wrote, "Abbas was also transferred from one hidden location to another in the trunk of Dirani's car - handcuffed like an animal - and was interrogated by Dirani and assistants. Abbas was then sent ... to a Syrian prison, where he sat 10 years without trial ... The severe torture Abbas endured caused him serious physical and emotional damage."

Nazi Gas Maker IG Farben Declares Bankruptcy

By Deutsche Welle

The infamous Nazi poison-gas manufacturer IG Farben is insolvent, possibly leaving thousands of former forced laborers trying to claim compensation out in the cold.

The timing was ironic. On Sunday, Germany mourned the 65th anniversary of the Kristallnacht Nazi pogroms. On Monday, I.G. Farben, which manufactured the gas that killed Nazi concentration camp prisoners, was declared insolvent, more than 50 years after the liquidators started to dissolve the firm.

"There's no serious basis for continuing the liquidation," chief liquidators Otto Bernhardt and Volker Pollehn said on Monday, after saying that they would register IG Farben's insolvency the same day. IG Farben's assets currently make up from €5-€10 million. The company liquidators said a 500,000 Deutschmark foundation for former Nazi slave laborers had been established.

Angry protesters accompanied the news conference in Frankfurt. Demonstrators criticized the fact that former slave laborers would have no more recourse to compensation. Forced laborers from western countries received compensation for their trials at IG Farben plants in the 1950s, but many of those from Eastern Europe are still waiting. IG Farben was not involved in the fund established by Germany in 2001 to compensate forced laborers.

The Association of Critical Shareholders (ACS) in Germany has speculated that the lively trading in IG Farben shares -- just hours before the company announced possibly declaring insolvency -- suggested insider trading. "We believe the creditor banks should waive their claim to the money," Henry Mathews, head of the ACS, told Deutsche Welle. "It is blood money that belongs to the former forced laborers not financial speculators. The moral claims are undeniable."

IG Farben was founded in 1925. Even before the rise of the Nazis in 1933, the firm, then the world's largest chemical manufacturer, was closely affiliated with the National Socialists. It produced Zyklon B, the gas that was used to kill prisoners in concentration camps, and exploited more than 80,000 forced laborers in labor and concentration camps.

After World War II, the Allies stripped the firm of most of its assets, which were transferred to the three chemical firms Bayer, Hoechst (now Aventis) and BASF. Since then IG Farben's legal successor has been in the process of being liquidated, while its stocks continue to be traded.

Holocaust Heroine Gets Poland's Highest Honor

By Reuters

Irena Sendler, who saved Jewish children from death in the Nazi gas chambers in World War Two, received Poland's highest distinction, the Order of the White Eagle, from President Aleksander Kwasniewski on Monday.

Sendler, who smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941-43, was the head of the children's affairs division of Zegota, a Polish underground group that helped Jews survive the Holocaust.

Now a frail 93-year-old, Sendler received the award from Kwasniewski at a ceremony in the Warsaw old people's home where she now lives. Posing as a nurse treating Jews for typhoid, she sneaked into the Warsaw Ghetto to smuggle children out and place them with Polish families, orphanages and convents.

To honor Sendler's heroism, the American Center of Polish Culture gave her the annual Jan Karski Award for Valor and Compassion earlier this year, and Polish Holocaust survivors have said they plan to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Warsaw Ghetto was emptied and destroyed in 1943 after an unsuccessful uprising against the Germans. Most of the 450,000 people crammed into the Ghetto were deported to death camps and killed.

(Irena Sendler as a young woman (Photo courtesy of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous)

(91 year-old Irena Sendler in her Warsaw apartment. Photo by Karen Conard)

Demographic Scare Called a Scare


Hatikvah Educational Foundation, in a full-page newspaper ad in Ma'ariv, notes that Israel's founders were cautioned several times in the 20th century against building a Jewish presence in Israel, because of the Arab growth rate.

In 1900, the leading Jewish historian and demographer, Dubnov, cautioned Herzl against the establishment of a Jewish State: "By the year 2000 there will be only 500,000 Jews in the land of Israel." In 2000 there were 5 million Jews in Israel.

In 1948, Israel's Chief Statistician, Professor Bakki, lobbied Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to postpone the establishment of the Jewish State: "By 1968 there will be an Arab majority in Israel (Green Line)." In 1968 there was a 17 percent Arab minority. In 1967, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was pressured to give away Gaza, Judea and Samaria: "By 1987 there will be an Arab majority west of the Jordan River." In 1987 there was a 37 percent Arab minority west of the Jordan River.

Hatikvah said that similar "demographic scare tactics" are being used today to convince the public of the necessity of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The numbers ignore important factors, the ad stated, which would paint a more encouraging picture - such as the artificial inflation of Arab population statistics and the deflation of the Jewish birth rate. The ad also noted that in 1967, the Arab birth rate was three times that of the Jewish birth rate, while it currently is twice the Jewish birth rate.

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