Newsletter : 4fax0210.txt
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Nationwide Open-Ended Strike Begins Tuesday Morning
The Histadrut national labor union has stepped in, ordering all union affiliated clerks
and local government employees to walk off the job beginning Tuesday morning. This
includes the nation's large cities, which have refrained from joining the local government
strike to date. The open-ended strike will impact garbage collection, clerical services,
kindergarten assistants, school security and maintenance personnel, school security guards
and more. The impact will be felt in all cities and municipalities. While schools are not
striking, many schools will be compelled to close if alternative security and sanitation
arrangements are not made.
Al-Hayat: Al-Qaeda Has Tactical Nuke
By Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
Al-Qaida has possessed tactical nuclear weapons for about six years; the London-based
Al-Hayat newspaper reported Sunday.
The Arabic daily reported that sources close to Al-Qaida said Osama bin Laden's group
bought the nuclear weapons from Ukrainian scientists who were visiting Kandahar,
Afghanistan, in 1998. The report has not been confirmed.
However, the sources said Al-Qaida doesn't intend to use the weapons against American
forces in Muslim countries, "due to the serious damage" it could cause. But that decision
is subject to change, the sources said, if Al-Qaida "is dealt a serious blow that won't
leave it any room to maneuver."
The possibility of detonating the nuclear devices on American soil was also raised in
the report, although no details were given. The sources were quoted as saying that
Al-Qaida activists have hidden the weapons - each of which is about the size of a suitcase
- in "a safe place."
Several reports of the nuclear arsenal in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s
indicated that a few dozen nuclear explosive devices had disappeared. One of the theories
was that the devices disappeared in Ukraine, which claims that it handed over all its
nuclear weapons to Russia.
Sharon Undergoes Medical Procedure, May Delay U.S. Trip
By Mazal Mualem (Ha'aretz)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent treatment to remove stones in his urinary tract
on Monday evening. The procedure, carried out at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer,
was a success, Army Radio reported. Sharon will spend Tuesday recuperating. He will return
to the hospital later in the week for a check up and will then return to a full schedule.
The office said doctors used ultrasonic waves to break up the stones.
Sharon's planned visit to the United States in March may be postponed due to the prime
minister's health, Israel Radio reported Monday. White House NSC emissaries Steve Hadley
and Elliot Abrams have postponed their visit to prepare for Sharon's Washington visit, the
Sharansky: Israel is in This Together With Pollard
Minister Natan Sharansky, who sat in Soviet prison for his Zionist activities for close
to a decade, discussed his recent visit with Jonathan Pollard on Arutz-7.
"My wife and I visited [last week] with Jonathan and his wife - who now lives not far
from the prison - for about two hours," Sharansky said. "For someone who has been in
prison for over 18 years, he maintains his intellectual level quite well, but at the same
time, every month and every day becomes harder and harder for him to be there. He is
waiting for a miracle, just waiting to get out. His neighbors are all criminal convicts,
and there is an atmosphere of violence; he has to protect his cell all the time. There is
much noise, and if he wants to read - when he is not doing his job of washing windows - he
has to put on earmuffs...
"What he needs," Sharansky said, "is to know that Israel is doing whatever it can for
him. Jonathan emphasized that he feels that he is a minority within a minority within a
minority - a Jew, an Israeli, and a spy. When he sees that he is forgotten, it hurts him.
For instance, in the recent hostage exchange ceremony, they read off the names of the
other Israeli prisoners, and didn't even mention him - and this hurt him very much."
Arutz-7's Emanuel Shilo asked, "Why do you think they didn't read his name - so as not
to embarrass the Americans?"
Sharansky responded, "Sometimes we think that we can help him better if we don't anger
the Americans, but there is no doubt that this is a mistake. But something even more
blatant is that there are no regular visits from our consul or ambassador; I spoke with
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and I hope that now this will be taken care of. It's
obvious that if they know that we're following the situation, they will treat him
Sharansky then discussed what can be done to further the cause of Pollard's release:
"In this case, as opposed to with Soviet refuseniks, it is fairly hard to enlist public
opinion, as many people there feel that he committed very terrible crimes against the
United States... On the other hand, however, the State of Israel is in on this together
with Pollard, and sent him to carry out this mission. Whatever was done - whether it was a
crime or a great achievement - Pollard and Israel did it together, and we therefore have
to take a much more active role... We must also enlist public opinion in Israel on behalf
Passion Play Expert Talks About Controversy Surrounding Movie
Israel Faxx News Service
Whether it's a Mel Gibson production or a local church group producing a Passion play,
a Purdue University expert who studies anti-Semitic messages says it's important to be
thoughtful about the message on screen or stage.
"Over the centuries there have been many stage productions of Jesus' Passion, his
suffering, during his last week on earth," says Gordon R. Mork, professor of history and
Jewish studies who has studied German history and Passion plays. "In the 20th century the
Passion play moved from stage to screen, but none have generated such controversy and
speculation as Gibson's production."
"The Passion of Christ," which opens Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, has generated controversy
due to what some critics and Jews have feared is anti-Semitic messages. Mork can talk
about what four things viewers should watch for, especially if a particular drama is
accused of anti-Semitic bias.
"Are there claims that the Passion play or film is exactly what's in the Bible?" Mork
says. "The Bible is not a film script. Inevitability any production is a creative
interpretation, so there should be cause for concern if anyone markets their production as
anything other than an interpretation.
"Does the presenter show the Jews as collectively guilty for Jesus' suffering and
death?" he said. "Historically, it was the oppressive and militaristic power of Rome,
represented by Pontius Pilate, who tortured and crucified Jesus. Overall, it's important
to ask how does a production explain the events that led to Jesus' death," Mork says.
"Does it put the blame on a particular group or try to define who are the good and bad
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