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Dome of the Rock Mosque Damaged in Quake


According to an Arabic news report, the roof of the Dome of the Rock Mosque on the Temple Mount was cracked in the recent earthquake that hit Israel. According to an Israel Radio report, renovations will be funded by the United Arab Emirates. In another Temple Mount matter, Jerusalem officials are asking Israel Police for a permit to visit the Mount in order to obtain a first-hand look at damage from the recent snowstorm.

Israel's Sharon Denounces World Court Proceedings

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says his country will not give in to what he calls the hypocrisy being perpetrated against Israel at the World Court in The Hague. The prime minister lashed out at the proceedings currently underway at the court over the legality of the barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank.

Sharon said the proceedings before the International Court of Justice seek to deny Israel the fundamental right to defend itself. He vowed Israel would not surrender and would continue to build the security barrier in and around the West Bank. In an interview published Tuesday in Yediot Achronot, the prime minister remained defiant.

On Monday, the Palestinian representative made an impassioned plea against Israel's barrier, saying it violates international law, is meant to perpetuate Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and makes a future Palestinian state impossible. Israel says the barrier is needed for security to keep out suicide bombers and stop terror attacks.

Just a day before the court proceedings began, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded bus in Jerusalem, killing eight people and injuring dozens more. Israeli officials said the attack demonstrated the need to complete the barrier. Palestinians argue the barrier will only breed more hatred and will not stop militant attacks against Israel.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia did condemn the attack, especially the timing of it. That apparently outraged Sharon, who accused the Palestinians of being concerned only about their case at The Hague. In the Yediot Achronot interview he called Qureia's government one of lies and murder. Sharon said Israel would never be able to reach an agreement with such a government.

Senior aides to Sharon and Qureia were scheduled to meet to try to arrange a long overdue summit between the two prime ministers. But, Israel called off the preparatory meeting in protest over Sunday's bomb attack.

NYPD Detective Assigned to Israel Promoted for his War on Terrorism


One of New York's Finest, New York Police Department Detective Mordechai Dzikansky, who is assigned as the department's liaison in Israel, has been called back home to permit Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to honor him.

Dzikansky, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD, has been living with his family in Israel, working side-by-side with Israel Police on combating terrorism as well as cases involving Israel and the NYPD. An observant Jew, Dzikansky was a homicide detective during his last years in NYC prior to being reassigned, as well as voluntarily heading and running the Torah Task Force, a unit dedicated to tracking down stolen Torah scrolls and religious articles.

Upon his return to New York City, Dzikansky was promoted to detective first grade for his role in helping NYPD combat terrorism. The New York Post quoted Kelly as stating, "Often at great personal risk, Detective Dzikansky has responded to incidents worldwide to improve the NYPD's understanding of - and capacity to prevent - suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks."

Poll: 25% of Americans Believe Jews Killed Jesus

By Ha'aretz

One in four Americans believes the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, a new survey shows. The survey, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, was conducted in December, before the release of Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ." The film premieres Wednesday in 2,800 theaters throughout the United States, and most showings are reportedly sold out.

ADL Director Abraham Foxman says he finds it worrisome that so many Americans already believe the Jews are to blame for the death of Jesus. He says the film, which blames the Jews specifically for the crucifixion of Jesus, may strengthen this perception.

The ADL poll found the belief in the culpability of the Jews was stronger among older Americans, those with less formal education, and among African- and Hispanic Americans. Another poll, conducted by ABC News, found that 10 percent of Americans blame Jews living today for the death of Jesus.

Gibson said the film, which describes the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, is faithful to the New Testament description of events and is not at all anti-Semitic. He called anti-Semitism "a sin."

It has been claimed that "The Passion of the Christ" is problematic because it exaggerates the role of the Jewish crowd and the high priest in demanding the crucifixion of Jesus, while minimizing the role of the Romans. It has also been noted that the film ignores historical context - the fact that the Romans crucified Jesus as they did thousands of others whom they viewed as fomenters of dissent, threatening the stability of their rule.

Background: Jesus of Palestine & the 'Passion' of Israel

By Ha'aretz

Left for dead in the post-Vatican II era of secularism and political correctness, the deicide debate has roared back to life with the scheduled release Wednesday of Mel Gibson's new feature film "The Passion of the Christ."

Twenty centuries in the making, it boils down to a single charge: it was the Jews who had Christ killed. As an issue that cannot be resolved, it is doomed to be resurrected, century after century, exhumed, reimagined, transubstantiated into new forms: inquisition, wholesale expulsion, and burnings at the stake, mass murder. Or movies.

Jewish sensitivity over the film in the United States has been cast in bold relief, both by Christian raves for the emotional force and the bone crushing physicality of its portrayal of the Passion, and by the vocal fears of Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman that the film, while not anti-Semitic in itself, could exacerbate what is already the most dramatic rise in Jew-hatred worldwide since the close of the Nazi Holocaust.

American media buzz over the "Passion" has reached oversaturation levels, with close attention paid to such sidebars as Gibson's octogenarian father's view of the Holocaust. "It's all - maybe not all fiction - but most of it is," Hutton Gibson, 85, told New York talk show host Steve Feuerstein last week. In a New York Times Magazine article last year, Gibson was quoted as saying that the Holocaust was manufactured as part of an arrangement between Hitler and "financiers" to move Jews out of Germany and into Palestine.

Hitler "had this deal where he was supposed to make it rough on them so they would all get out and migrate to Israel because they needed people there to fight the Arabs," Hutton Gibson told the Times.

In recent years it has become axiomatic, if in many cases less than accurate, that Israel's policies have inflamed anti-Semitism in Europe, the United States and throughout the Muslim world.

But when Gibson's Jesus of Palestine finally makes his way home, could the world's oldest form of anti-Semitism, the charge of Christ-killing, take the opposite route, helping to fan the flames of Palestinian anger against Israelis?

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