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Wedding Gown Now Adorns Rachel's Tomb


On Sept. 9, 2003, a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up in the Hillel Cafe in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood. Seven persons were murdered in the attack that left over 55 injured, including Nava Applebaum, 20. She was inside the cafe with her father Rabbi Dr. David Applebaum, who was also killed. The two were enjoying a cup of coffee on the night before Nava's wedding. The wedding gown, which was never privileged to escort Nava on her wedding night, has since been converted to a parochet ritual ornamental curtain, which has now been dedicated to adorn Rachel's Tomb.

Israeli Missile Attack in Gaza Kills 3 Hamas Militants

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli helicopters have fired missiles at a car in the Gaza Strip, killing at least three people. Palestinian sources say two of the dead were members of the Hamas militant group. The car was traveling near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the central Gaza Strip when it was hit.

Witnesses said the car was completely destroyed by the missile attack, with smoke billowing from the wreckage. Crowds of people gathered around the car, and many tried to put out the flames.

Israel has routinely used helicopter gunships in strikes aimed at killing Palestinian militants. Last Saturday, a similar air strike killed three members of the Islamic Jihad group. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are on the State Department list of terror organizations, have been behind many of the attacks against Israelis in the past several years.

Sharon Denies Wrongdoing in Prisoner Swap

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem) & Ha'aretz

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denies he did anything wrong in arranging a prisoner swap with Lebanese terrorists that included the release of a controversial Israeli businessman. The denial follows reports in an Israeli newspaper about Sharon's ties to the family of the released businessman.

Businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum has been in the news since his release from captivity in Lebanon in late January, with reports emerging that men who wanted him to participate in a drug deal lured him to Lebanon. But now, Israeli media are focusing on a potential link from Tannenbaum to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The charge in Ma'ariv is that Sharon worked out the controversial prisoner exchange deal, which freed Tannenbaum, because of his ties to Tannenbaum's former father-in-law, Shimon Cohen, who helped manage Sharon's farm in the 1970s.

In the exchange, Israel received the bodies of three Israeli soldiers killed in a clash with Hizbullah, and it released more than 400 Arab prisoners along with the bodies of more than 50 Arab fighters, who had died in clashes with Israel. Many Israelis opposed the deal, saying it boosted the standing of Hizbullah.

Speaking to journalists in Jerusalem, the Israeli leader denied any wrongdoing. Sharon said he had not seen or spoken to Shimon Cohen for decades, and did not know anything about his family or family ties. Sharon called the allegations in Ma'ariv a wild attack against him.

According to Ma'ariv, the relationship did open the prime minister's doors to relatives of Tannenbaum when they were lobbying the government to do more to secure his release. Ma'ariv commentators called for Sharon to resign, and some left-wing opposition politicians have called for an inquiry.

The prime minister is already under investigation in two corruption scandals, involving allegations of bribery and an illegal campaign loan. Sharon has denied that he did anything wrong in either case.

Since his release, Tannenbaum has been questioned by security officers about possible illegal business dealings and what he may have told his Hizbullah captors about the Israeli military. Tannenbaum was a colonel in the army reserves.

A polygraph test of Tennenbaum conducted by Shin Bet internal security service agents and Israel Defense Force officers determined late on Wednesday that he most likely did not serve as a Hizbullah agent. He also probably did not pass sensitive military information over to the organization during his three years of imprisonment in Lebanon.

The test was part of efforts to determine whether Tennenbaum had other motives behind his travel to Dubai in the Persian Gulf and Beirut aside from the drug deal in which he was most likely involved and whether he had gathered intelligence information on the IDF for Hizbullah.

According to sources close to the investigation, the polygraph results seem to have confirmed Tennenbaum's account of events. According to this account, he was not a Hizbullah agent and did not plan to hand Israeli military information over to the militant group. Tennenbaum apparently departed for Dubai to take part in a drug deal that would have helped him cover personal debts.

Figures involved in the interrogation of Tennenbaum told Ha'aretz earlier Wednesday evening that polygraph tests did not yet indicate there was any reason to call off the plea bargain deal signed by Tennenbaum's lawyers and the state prosecutor. According to the sources, a significant number of Tennenbaum's questions during the polygraph test were found to be truthful, particular those answering questions regarding his involvement in drug dealings in which he was most certainly involved.

Some of Tennenbaum's answers were considered lies by examiners. Nevertheless, sources involved in the investigation said these answers are not enough to prompt a cancellation of the deal. Nor do these answers indicate Tennenbaum traveled to the Persian Gulf and then to Beirut in an effort to harm state security in exchange for monetary payment.

Sources close to the investigation say that additional efforts will be taken in the coming days, including confronting Tennenbaum with other individuals involved in the affair. Only once this happens will the investigative bodies present their position regarding the plea bargain deal made between the state prosecutor and Tennenbaum.

Scientists Defeat Flesh-Eating Creatures!


No, the headline of this article is not in reference to a new horror movie. Rather, as reported by the Israel21c website, it is a reference to groundbreaking research by scientists at Jerusalem's Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center.

A bacterium, called Group A Streptococcus (GAS), responsible for such illnesses as "strep throat" or impetigo, can also cause a quick death when it reaches the bloodstream, muscles or lungs. In the case of the fatal infection called necrotizing fasciitis, the bacteria destroys skin, fat and muscle tissue, leading to death in many, if not most, cases.

Now, however, after five years of research, investigators from the department of clinical microbiology at Hebrew University, along with researchers from the Hadassah Medical Center, have stopped the spread of GAS in mice, preventing their deaths due to the infection. The method pioneered by the scientists allows bacteria-fighting white blood cells to be created and make it to the place of the infection, thus giving them a chance to fight off the bacteria.

"We had to ask ourselves why the white blood cells weren't being recruited in certain cases. We discovered that a certain protein had been digesting the peptide responsible for recruiting the white blood cells," Hanski explained to Israel21c. So the researchers had to artificially recreate the peptide that was being naturally eliminated. Israel 21c noted that the Israeli researchers' work would appear in an upcoming issue of the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.

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