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Jerusalem Day


Jews in Jerusalem and all over the world are celebrating the miraculous Six Day War reunification of their Eternal City and Capital Wednesday, the 28th of the month of Iyar. It is the 37th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. Many events are being and will be held in the capital to commemorate the event.

Bush Says Level of Violence in Gaza is Troubling

By VOA News & Ha'aretz

President Bush said Tuesday that the current level of violence in the Gaza Strip is troubling, but Bush also said that he still believes peace is possible between Israelis and Palestinians. The president said Israel has every right to defend itself from terrorism, but he made clear the current situation in Gaza is worrisome. "The unfolding violence in the Gaza Strip is troubling and underscores the need for all parties to seize every opportunity for peace."

The comments came in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; a private group that advocates strong U.S. ties with Israel. Bush said everyone in the region must fight terror, saying security is the foundation for peace. "Our vision is a Middle East where young Israelis and Palestinians can play and learn and grow without living in the shadow of death." The president said that peace is possible if all sides have the faith, the courage and the resolve to achieve it.

At least 20 Palestinians were killed Tuesday, witnesses said, as the Israel Defense Forces launched a major operation in Rafah, on the Gaza-Egypt border, aimed at halting weapons smuggling, and arresting or killing militants. At least 14 of the Palestinian casualties were armed gunmen, according to a senior IDF officer. Three children, including a 13-year-old boy and his 16-year-old sister, were reportedly also among the dead.

Some 40 additional Palestinians were reported wounded, 10 of them in moderate to serious condition, in fighting in the northwest Rafah neighborhood of Tel Sultan. According to Palestinian sources, most of the casualties fell victim to IDF snipers or helicopter strikes.

IDF tanks and bulldozers, backed by helicopter gunships, moved into the neighborhood in the pre-dawn hours, one day after soldiers isolated the Rafah and its adjacent refugee camp from the rest of the Strip and massive troop numbers were deployed to the outskirts of the camp.

Two air strikes by Israel Air Force helicopters marked the start of the assault. The military said that both missile strikes were aimed at groups of armed militants. A senior IDF officer told Israel Radio troops had taken control of Tel Sultan by Tuesday evening. There were no IDF casualties in the takeover of the neighborhood. The officer also said soldiers operating in Tel Sultan captured Palestinian possessing important information on weapons-smuggling tunnels in the area.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz vowed Tuesday that the operation, tentatively named Operation Rainbow, would continue for as long as necessary. At a media briefing at the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon Ya'alon said Tuesday the IDF has been forced to enter Rafah, as it has become a gateway for terrorism.

The IDF chief said that Israel does not plan to destroy masses of homes and that Israel does not have a policy of systematically destroying homes. Buildings are only destroyed when the operation necessitates it, he said. Ya'alon said that the IDF destroyed three houses overnight in order to destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels that they concealed.

"If they [the Palestinians] want to prevent house demolitions, they must stop the arms smuggling," he said. He said that even before the army launched its operation, the IDF had made sure that residents had everything they needed, including food and water. He said the tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border were used to smuggle in weapons that the Palestinians were not supposed to have, such as RPGs, and that there was a very real danger that Katyusha rockets would be brought in the future.

Ya'alon also said that there were many more weapons waiting on the Egyptian side of the border to be brought in. He alleged that these arms had been sent by Iran, through Hezbollah to militants in the Palestinian territories. "In order to prevent such weapons being brought in, Israel has been forced to take action," he said.

He also pointed out that the Philadelphi route is under Israel sovereignty as set out under all international agreements. Ya'alon added that tunnels had been dug under the route over the last three-and-a-half years and Israel has tried repeatedly to convince the Palestinians to stop them. "Over the last year, we have been forced to prevent this ourselves," he said. "The Palestinians prefer to smuggle in weapons rather than protect the lives of residents in the area," he added.

The Arab League said it would begin legal proceedings to bring Israelis to trial for what it says are Gaza war crimes. Meanwhile, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition by 46 Palestinian families in Rafah seeking a hearing on Israeli plans to demolish their homes. The petitioners said their homes had never been used as bases for attacks on Israeli patrols. Israeli prosecutors argued that Palestinians do not have a right to a pre-demolition court hearing when Israeli soldiers are in mortal danger, or when military operations would be jeopardized by waiting for a hearing to take place.

Iran's Nuclear Program Reaches Critical Juncture

By IEEE Spectrum (Commentary)

What is it like to live in a world in which the materials and technology for making nuclear weapons are freely, if covertly, traded? We are in the midst of finding out.

Why would Iran, a country that has some of the world's largest reserves of fossil fuels, need an extensive, multibillion-dollar program of nuclear development? Since the pre-revolutionary years of the Shah, the determination of this country to build nuclear power plants has aroused wide suspicion. Indeed, the Iranians have been assembling the nuclear wherewithal with a speed and determination not seen since the heyday of Iraq's infamous nuclear weapons program of the 1980s.

With the revelation early this year that Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan sold the technologies he used to build Pakistan's nuclear bomb to supposedly nonnuclear states around the world, including Iran and Libya, it became apparent that the threat of the "casual" use of nuclear weapons and of nuclear terrorism had moved from the theoretical and abstract to the bleakly concrete.

As reported in the June issue of IEEE Spectrum, it's apparent from the lies Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog group, that its theocratic leadership is determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Ironically, it will be good news if the IAEA concludes in its next report on Iran's nuclear fuel development program--due out in June--that the highly enriched uranium particles collected by international inspectors in Iran last year originated in such black market deals between that country and Pakistan.

The bad news will be if the IAEA concludes that Iran enriched the uranium itself, a finding that would require the agency to call for sanctions from the United Nations Security Council. Then, there will be little to keep Iran's leaders from withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and taking their weapons-oriented enrichment program with them.

Worse yet, with the bazaar for nuclear technology open and flourishing, what's to keep the silent partners in nuclear commerce from trading weapons and not just the materials for them? Those who would prefer to dismiss such scenarios as paranoid are not much helped by some chilling oratory that has come out of Tehran.

Buy an Israeli Product

By Naomi Ragen (Commentary)

This week, I paid a shiva call to Sara and Michael Newman's house, the parents who lost their wonderful son Eitan when his tank went over a bomb in the Gaza Strip last week. They buried him last Thursday, after his comrades, under constant fire from terrorists, combed the dangerous streets to bring his holy remains and those of his comrades home.

As I neared the Newman home, I saw army men standing in small circles, talking quietly. Some wore beards and knitted skullcaps. Friends, religious and non-religious, came and went in and out of the Newman home, fulfilling one of Judaism's most honored rituals of comforting mourners for seven days after the funeral.

Sara and her husband sat on low chairs, as is the custom, surrounded by friends. I introduced myself. "I want to talk to you..." Sara said softly. I pulled up a chair. "I understand that you write to many people around the world. And this is what I would like you to please tell them for me. Many people have

asked what they can do, how can they help.  Please tell them to go out and buy something that was made in Israel.  That's all.  Just help us, we are going through such hard times.  Everybody can do that."

I felt quick tears come to my eyes, wondering at this woman who sat clear-eyed and full of courage and faith, her mind focused on what else she could do to help the country she loved, a woman who had just given her country and her people her handsome, bright, intelligent, wonderful young son.

I nodded, wordlessly. I told her about a conversation I had just had with my own son, who is being drafted in November. "Maybe you could go into anti-aircraft," I urged him. "Your brother did that, and your father." There was a slight pause at the other end of the line. "Look Mom," he said patiently, "I might as well tell you the truth. I'm not going into the army to strike a pose. I'm going because I want to do something, protect people from getting killed by terrorists. And the only way to do that, is to be a foot soldier." He wanted to go into Givati, he said. The same unit as Eitan Newman.

"This is how we brought them up," I told Sara Newman. "I'm very proud of him. And I'm terrified."

She put her hand over mine. "When my son died, he was surrounded by people he loved and respected and trusted. He was on his way back from a mission he'd successfully completed. He died instantly, with no pain. I would rather he went that way then stabbed in the back by some skinhead far away from home."

Would I please, she urged me, send out her message? When I left the Newman home, I walked up the winding stone staircase that one finds in Jerusalem's hilly neighborhoods. A cool wind was blowing, and the sky seemed strangely cloudy for spring. As I reached the top I saw a friend coming down the road. She too was on her way to the Newman. I hugged her, and both of us wept.

And now I am home at my computer, doing what Sara Newman asked me to do. I'm asking you to please go out a buy something from Israel. If you can't find it in your stores, you can find it on-line I'm sure. And if you'd like to send Sara and Michael some words of comfort, please send it to

Israeli Study: Tuna fishing Still Killing Dolphins

By ISRAEL21c staff

Dolphin-friendly tuna fishing could still be killing thousands of the marine mammals each year by separating baby dolphins from their mothers, an Israeli scientist has reported. This could help explain why despite efforts by the tuna fishing industry over the past 20 years to protect dolphins, their numbers have failed to recover, according to the study on the swimming behavior of dolphins by Hydrodynamics expert Daniel Weihs at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

The research on dolphin swimming conducted by Weihs also helps to explain why bike and car racers travel in packs, why baby birds swim behind their mother, and why many birds fly in a v-shaped formation.

Weihs of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering conducted his research at the invitation of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Exploration of the subject first began in the 1970s when it became apparent that tuna fishermen were catching dolphins in their nets. The dolphins would die when they became trapped in the nets. In light of this, the U.S. government passed a law forbidding the sale of tuna if it was found that during its fishing dolphins also died.

At that time, Weihs was also asked to express his opinion about the problem. He researched it and found that above a certain speed, dolphins jump higher. Therefore, special boats were brought in order to frighten the dolphins and since then, they jump over the nets and their lives are saved. The service then asked him to investigate a phenomenon known as drafting, where dolphin calves position themselves close to their mother's side in an apparent attempt to reduce the effort needed to swim.

In his study, which was published in the Journal of Biology, Weihs modeled the complex hydrodynamic interactions between two dolphin-shaped objects traveling through water. He found two forces at play, both of which help younger animals stay with their mothers.

The first is very similar to the slipstream effect seen with racing cyclists: water behind the mother rushes forward to fill the hole left as she moves, effectively giving the calf a free ride. The second force - called the Bernoulli effect - tends to pull the calf sideways towards the mother's flank, where the slipstream is strongest.

"Hold a piece of paper, blow over it and you'll see it lift up. That's the Bernoulli effect," Weihs said. It works because air or liquid moving across a surface generates drag, reducing the pressure and producing suction - or in the case of an aircraft wing, lift.

Weihs's dolphin model predicts the maximum thrust when the calf is about two-thirds of the way down the mother's length; aerial photographs of swimming Eastern Spinner dolphins confirm they tend to adopt this position. The study also shows the attraction can survive dolphins' leaps from the water, as long as both animals leave and enter at an angle of about 45 degrees

Young dolphins keep up with their mothers by adopting a position to get a "free ride" in the mother's slipstream. Sudden fleeing from fishing boats is likely to disrupt the positioning of mother-calf dolphin pairs, causing the younger dolphins to get permanently separated from their mothers.

"As the mother (dolphin) moves through the water, she pushes the water in front of her forwards and to the sides, to make space for her body," Weihs told Discovery News. "As she moves, the space behind her is filled with water moving forward and inward. If the baby is (positioned to the right) obliquely behind, it gets dragged along by the forward-moving water."

The fast-moving water also reduces nearby pressure, which helps to pull the calf inward and close to mom.

Weihs uses other examples to explain the phenomena. "In bicycle and car racing, the lead cyclist produces a flow field similar to the dolphin mum, except there is no tail flapping, so the second cyclist (or car) riding directly behind the first, is 'sucked' forwards and uses less energy to move at the same speed," he explained.

In the ideal position, the mother can provide close to 90 percent of the thrust needed for the young cetacean to move at around 5 mph. "But if the mother really gets scared and starts moving really fast the calf just can't keep up," said Weihs.

Without human or predator intrusion, the energy-saving technique helps baby dolphins to keep up with their mothers. Tuna fishing boats, however, chase dolphins at speeds above which the drafting, or water riding, works, according to Weihs. Fishermen follow dolphins because tuna tend to gather beneath schools of dolphins. Purse-seine fisheries, for example, use a helicopter and a fast, main boat to track dolphins. Once dolphins are spotted, speedboats are launched to herd dolphins away, while the main boat drops a mile-long curtain of net.

Weihs said that after fisherman leave a site, lactating mother dolphins often are found without calves, and calves are found without mothers. "The really young ones die of simple lack of nourishment, while for older calves, some may survive," he said.

Stranded dolphin calves almost always die because they rely on their mothers for milk until they are about 18 months old. "Chases by fishing vessels can easily cause the loss of the mother-calf connection," Weihs said.

Elizabeth Edwards, a marine biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service in San Diego told Discovery News that she hopes future research on the limits of drafting will help to determine if the separation of mothers and babies is to blame for dolphin deaths observed in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, where tuna fishing takes place.

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