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To Our Readers:
Tuesday is Israel's 56th Independence Day, a religious and national holiday. Wishing our readers a holiday of joy, peace, and national renewal. Because of a staff illness, we are presenting two commentaries. Please send your replies (pro or con) to

Jordan Airs Chemical Attack 'Confession'

By BBC News

Jordanian state TV has shown what it says is a confession by a detained militant linked to al-Qaeda who was planning deadly chemical attacks there. One man is shown saying he worked for Abu Musa al-Zarqawi, whom the U.S. says is a senior al-Qaeda operative in Iraq.

Jordan said earlier this month it had foiled a chemical attack on its spy HQ that could have killed 20,000 people. Reports quoting security officials on Monday said the planned attacks could have left up to 80,000 people dead.

The broadcast showed a man who was identified as Azmi al-Jayusi. He was described as the leader of an al-Qaeda cell operating in Jordan under orders to attack the intelligence agency headquarters. The broadcast said the Jordanian authorities had uncovered the plot and raided the house on April 20 from which the alleged al-Qaeda cell was operating. They killed four people and arrested six others, including Jayusi.

The news report said the authorities found chemicals there, which were to be used in the attack, though the type was not identified. Another operation planned by the network was to use deadly gas against the U.S. embassy and the prime minister's office in Amman, Jordanian officials have said.

Earlier this month, in a letter thanking his intelligence chief for uncovering the plot, King Abdullah said Jordan had "lived through an extremely delicate situation in recent days." "But divine protection has thwarted the plans of these criminals and saved the lives of thousands of civilians in what would have been a crime never before seen in the kingdom," he argued.

The intelligence chief General Saad Khair said the group used religion as a pretext for its actions, but their plans were anything but religious. He thought that they wanted to attack Jordan's position on upholding Arab causes, especially Palestinian rights.

Israel's Independence Day


According to a Central Bureau of Statistics report released for Independence Day, there are 6,780,000 people living in Israel. Over 5,180,000 of them are Jews, about 81 percent of the country's population.

Jerusalem remains Israel's largest city, with 692,000 people. Tel Aviv-Jaffa is second with 364,000, followed by Haifa with 270,500, Rishon LeZion with 214,900, and Ashdod with 192,000. Rounding out the top 10 are Beer Sheva with 183,200; Petach Tikva, 174,300; Holon, 165,800; Netanya 164,800; and Bnei Brak with 139,700. Between 1948 and today, the city with the most growth is Bat Yam, which has grown from 2300 to 133,900, a growth of 5821%.

Over 144,000 babies were born in Israel since last Independence Day. About 21,000 people immigrated to Israel over the past year, 11,000 from the former USSR, and 2,600 from Ethiopia, 1,800 from France, 1,600 from the US and 1,200 from Argentina.

Speaking with Ha'aretz, a spokesman for the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Abed Anbatawi, said, "Israel's Independence Day is our Nakba Day... It's our Holocaust Day." "Nakba" is Arabic for "catastrophe" and is the term most Arabs use to refer to the establishment of the State of Israel. The Arabs of Israel mark May 15, the civil calendar date of Israel's establishment, with solemn memorial ceremonies mourning the Jewish State's successful survival in the 1948 war with surrounding Arab militaries and irregulars.

Independence Day

By Naomi Ragen (Commentary)

All day long Monday, Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers and (for the first time) victims of terror, I tried to think how I could explain to someone outside the country what we here go through.

How can I make someone who doesn't live here understand what it means to sit by your television set hour after hour watching family after family break down in tears as they describe the pain of losing a beloved son or daughter? And the pictures of the fallen, how they flash by, the handsome young men, the winning grin, the dark blue eyes, the strong young bodies, the beautiful young women --and all so young, so young, so very young.

There was one show that filmed mothers and fathers describing the last conversation they had with their child, and then how they learned the terrible news. Some feared it all along; others never suspected. Some were furious at the soldiers who came to tell them; others didn't want to open the door at all; and still others didn't believe a word, trying again and again to call the cell phone number...

On the radio, I heard a bereaved mother talking about the importance of Memorial Day. "For one day the whole country feels like I feel every day." It was important for people to call, to enquire, to comfort. To make those suffering from loss feel surrounded by a cocoon of warmth and love and solidarity, she said. That is so hard, I thought. Because the last thing in the world you want to do is intrude on someone's private grief. But Memorial Day makes that grief public, giving all of us a chance to say: We live because your son, your daughter, your father, your brother, your sister gave their lives to guard and protect us....

When Memorial Day is over, we will dry our tears. We will go out into the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, our hearts still heavy with cumulative grief, and watch the fireworks. And little by little, we will start to smile again, to celebrate that our little country--our little miracle-- is 56 years old. And that, despite everything, we love her and wish her well and would give anything --anything--to protect and nurture her and her people, the bravest and most compassionate people in the world.

Happy Birthday Israel. God Bless the Jewish people, the People of Israel. May He heal our wounds, and dry the tears from all faces. (Please visit my Web page at: and subscribe to my mailing list by sending an empty email to:

Rebuilding the Third Temple

By Lamarr Jones (Commentary)

My beliefs are that a temple should be built in the Jerusalem area as soon as possible. This idea has returned to my mind many times and I would just excuse it as foolishness. The more I research the subject the more the idea would get a stronger foothold.

Anyone who claims to be a child God or of Israel or a descendant of Abraham (which covers everyone) has the command of God to build temples for him to dwell in. This fact can't be argued. I believe that if a temple will be built, and offerings made in righteous, that God will come to His Temple and do may things that are needed to bring peace to this area and the world.

I also believe that anyone who doesn't want peace in the world right now will get the opposite of it until it is done. Choices have built in consequences. My choice, is to do everything in my power to see that this temple is started now, as soon as possible. We need to start looking for ways to do this instead of ways to postpone it. Have all of the people of earth assist in its construction and God will weed out the unrighteous. Start something and involve everyone in such a Glorious Quest.

But, still there are many lives lost everyday to the claim that one side or the other are God's chosen people. I'm sure that God as a Father looks on the actions of His children in this area of the world, as something that must stop now. The little children that are on the news that have been killed because of religious vigor will not be excused. I have seen the testing of the new weapons of war, and only God will be able to stay the power of these evil things.

Get to work now, build the temple now, and God will show you that His promises to His People are real. He has done it in the past, and He can and will do it again. Many may say that I am just one grain of sand on the beach of life, but this Grain of and will do it's best to get other grains of sand to follow in God's commands and do as we are told, and that is to build Him a Temple NOW. (Editor's Note :Your comments are invited)

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