Newsletter : 3fax1212.txt
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Six Palestinians Killed in Gaza Clash
By VOA News
Medics in the Gaza Strip said six Palestinians have been killed and 17 wounded in a
clash between militants and Israeli troops in a Gaza refugee camp. Witnesses said Israeli
troops entered the Rafah refugee camp early Thursday and encircled two houses. Palestinian
militants threw grenades and opened fire on the Israeli troops. Israeli military officials
said the troops arrested a wanted Palestinian militant from the Islamic Jihad group.
Three Killed in Attempt on Life of Underworld Kingpin
Three people were killed Thursday afternoon and at least 30 were injured in an explosion
on Yehuda Halevy Street in Tel Aviv in an apparent attempt on the life of underworld
kingpin Ze'ev Rosenstein. The explosion took place inside a foreign currency exchange
booth, close to a busy intersection.
Killed in the blast were Moshe Mizrahi, 28, from Eilat, who was passing by at the time;
Tel Aviv resident Rehamim Suriya, 43, and 19-year-old Naftali Meged, son of the owner of
the foreign currency exchange. Police believe that the blast was criminally motivated due
to the fact that underworld figure Rosenstein was lightly hurt in the explosion, as was
one of his bodyguards.
Rosenstein is allied with the Netanya-based Abutbul family, whose patriarch Felix was
murdered last summer outside one of his casinos in Prague. Opposing them are the Alperon
and Abergil families. The current round of fighting goes back to an attempted murder of
Nissim Alperon, who survived the attempt and came to believe Rosenstein was behind it.
Yarkon region police commander Ezra Aharon said that police forces, assisted by a
helicopter, were searching for Rosenstein, who apparently left the area shortly after the
blast, and later arrived at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. After being treated at the
hospital, Rosenstein was transferred to the police for questioning.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced Thursday that the cabinet would convene for a
special meeting Sunday to discuss organized crime. Police commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki
convened senior police officers Thursday evening for talks on the implications of the Tel
Aviv explosion, as well as to discuss the fight against organized crime.
According to the initial investigation into Thursday's incident, a powerful explosive
device was placed on the change booth's awning. A witness told Ha'aretz that he saw
Rosenstein and his security guards running out of the store with blood on their clothes,
and that they drove off in a Mercedes. Rosenstein was apparently sitting at a restaurant
adjacent to the foreign exchange booth. Several cars on the street were damaged as a
result of the explosion, and a porch on a nearby building collapsed.
There were several previous attempts to assassinate Rosenstein, a foremost police
intelligence target who is believed to be the most powerful figure in the Israeli
underworld. Rosenstein, the owner of casinos here and abroad, has survived at least four
attempted hits since 1996. In July 2003 Rosenstein was lightly hurt in a blast in Tel
Aviv's port, along with five bystanders.
French Report Backs Ban on Veils, Kippot and Crosses
France should ban Muslim veils, Jewish kippot and large Christian crosses from its
public schools, while creating new holidays to respect holy days of minority religions, an
official report said on Thursday. The long-awaited report on church-state relations, the
center-piece of a national debate over integrating Muslims into French society, advised
Paris to stand firm against militant Islamists trying to undermine official
President Jacques Chirac said he would announce next Wednesday whether he would seek a
law banning the veil, now a major issue in France amid concern of failed Muslim
integration and growing Islamist influence. He has hinted he backs a ban.
France, once so Catholic it was called "the eldest daughter of the Church", is now 8
percent Muslim and Islam is its second-largest religion. But eight of its 13 national
holidays are based on Christian feasts such as Christmas and Easter.
Its five-million-strong Muslim community and its 600,000 Jews are both the largest
minorities of their kind in Europe. Christian, Muslim and some Jewish religious leaders
have in recent days urged Chirac not to seek an outright ban.
The commission proposed barring "conspicuous signs of political or religious
affiliation" but said discreet medals - such as a small cross or Star of David - were
acceptable. It also suggested adding Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, and the Eid
al-Fitr festival at the end of Islam's Ramadan fasting month to a list of official school
Apart from the veil, the commission also investigated issues such as Muslim women
refusing treatment by male doctors, pupils challenging teachers about the Holocaust and a
"new anti-Semitism" among disaffected Muslim youths.
"This anti-Semitism is real in our country," commission secretary Remy Schwartz said.
"We found children have to leave public schools in some areas because they are not
physically secure... This has profoundly shocked the commission."
Survey: Germans Annoyed About Holocaust Guilt
Almost 70 percent of Germans said they were annoyed at being held responsible for the
Holocaust and many believe Jews use Germany's Nazi past to their advantage, a major German
university survey showed on Thursday.
The survey by Bielefeld University showed 69.9 percent were irritated at still being
held responsible today for crimes against Jews. A quarter of 3,000 people surveyed also
agreed with the statement: "Many Jews try to use Germany's Third Reich past to their
advantage and want to make Germans pay for it". A further 30 percent said there was "some
truth" to the statement.
Some 60 years after the end of World War Two, Germany is still haunted by guilt and it
has spent decades debating how to atone for the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.
Endorsing the survey, German parliamentary president Wolfgang Thierse said he understood
why so many wanted to shed the guilt for what happened before they were born. He said the
survey did not prove there is widespread anti-Jewish sentiment.
"It's a surprising figure at first. But when you think about the thought process behind
it, it is understandable," he said. "The people alive now are not the perpetrators." There
was a new distinction between guilt and a responsibility to stop history repeating itself,
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