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The World's Largest Cheese Cake


The proud creators of the large cheesecake on display in a Haifa shopping center believe it may be the largest in the world, measuring 118 inches in length and 39 inches high. The cake was baked to coincide with the Shavuot holiday that began Tuesday night. It is customary to eat dairy foods prepared for the holiday, including cheesecakes, which are synonymous with the holiday that commemorates the Jewish People receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

40,000 Israelis and Palestinians Craft Peace Plan

By Leah Krakinowski (VOA-New York)

A group of Israelis and Palestinians, numbering 40,000, have joined a grass-roots initiative to resolve the long-standing conflict in the Middle East. Initial findings of a survey have been released in New York.

Ordinary Israelis and Palestinians crafted a peace plan through the One Voice Campaign, in which they voted on terms of a future agreement. Daniel Lubetzky, a Jewish-American businessman, and Mohammed Darawshe, an Israeli Arab peace activist, founded the campaign.

Palestinians and Israelis cast ballots on ten specific proposals, including contentious questions dealing with the status of Jerusalem, Israeli-Palestinian borders, Israeli settlements, terrorism, security, and refugees. Lubetzky said early results of the yearlong voting effort prove there is a silent majority on both sides who want to end the fighting, and favor Israel and Palestine having states of their own.

"You are having citizens truly, deeply engaged in thinking through the issues of how to resolve the conflict and you really are building a mandate that for the first time in history Palestinians and Israelis are helping to forge by the tens of thousands," he said.

Darwashe, an Arab who is a former member of the Israeli parliament and co-founder of the One Voice Campaign, said that three out of four Palestinian and Israeli participants agreed on a two-state solution. "The ultimate majority of Palestinians and Israelis want peace and know what the price of peace is," he added. "We want to demonstrate that and we want to empower that silent majority to become an active majority and not just keep taking the back seat, allowing extreme radicals to continue running the agenda in the Middle East."

Secretary of State Colin Powell formally backed the One Voice initiative, along with several Palestinian and Israeli dignitaries. The organization hopes to involve 250,000 people in the voting effort by the end of 2004 and then present the results to Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

UN Agency: Israel Destroyed 45 Buildings, Displaced 600 Palestinians in Rafah

By VOA News

A United Nations relief agency said Israeli forces destroyed 45 buildings and left nearly 600 Palestinians homeless during a six-day incursion the southern Gaza Strip. More than 40 Palestinians were killed in the operation, which Israel said ended Monday. Palestinians and other observers said the Israeli raid left parts of the Gaza camp looking as if an earthquake had hit it.

Israel said the operation, which drew international criticism, was aimed at hunting militants and destroying tunnels used by Palestinians to smuggle weapons from nearby Egypt. The Israeli military said the raid also focused on destroying warehouses and homes used by gunmen to attack Israelis.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency said 360 Rafah families have had their homes demolished by Israeli forces since May 1. The agency called the period one of the most destructive in Rafah since the start of the Palestinian uprising in 2000. Monday, Rafah residents gathered near the rubble and were reported begging for food, water and other supplies.

Israeli, Turkish Companies to Develop Natural Gas Power Stations in Israel

By VOA News

A Turkish and an Israeli corporation have signed an agreement worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the construction of natural gas fueled power stations in Israel. Turkey's Zorlu Holding and Israel's Dorad Energies signed the deal Tuesday in Ankara.

Turkey's energy minister, Hilmi Guler, and Israel's infrastructure minister, Joseph Paritzki, attended the signing. Zorlu is one of Turkey's leading business conglomerates, with interests in construction, textiles and banking.

Under the deal, Zorlu would build three power plants for Dorad. One of the stations, with a capacity of nearly 800 megawatts, is to be built in Ashkelon in southern Israel. That plant is expected to be completed by 2007. The other two facilities, which are smaller, are expected to be finished sooner.

Turkey, a mainly Muslim but strictly secular country, is Israel's main regional partner. In March, the two countries signed an agreement for Turkey to sell Israel 50 million cubic meters of water annually for 20 years.

Woman Carrying Knife Passes Through Israeli Airport Security

By Ha'aretz

An unsuspecting Israeli woman was detained in Athens airport Tuesday morning after she got off a flight from Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport carrying a knife in her bags that went undetected by Israeli security officers.

The woman was traveling on an Athens-bound Olympic Airlines flight that departed Israel on Tuesday morning. She intended to connect in Athens with a domestic flight to Thessaloniki. A tumult erupted when Greek security officers discovered the knife once the woman got off her plane in Athens. The woman expressed amazement at her arrest and said she passed without incident through security checks at Ben-Gurion Airport. A brief check revealed the woman was an innocent civilian who bore no malicious intentions.

Greek security forces, on high alert due to the upcoming Olympic Games, will appeal to Israel in an effort to determine how a woman carrying a knife was able to board a flight in Tel Aviv.

Israel Faxx: 10 Years Ago

Cockroach Slain; Husband Badly Hurt

By Israel Faxx News Services

An Israeli housewife's fight with a stubborn cockroach put her husband in the hospital with burns, a broken pelvis and broken ribs, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The wife, frightened by the insect when she found it in their living room, stepped on it, threw it in a toilet and sprayed a full can of insecticide on it when it refused to die. Her husband came home from work, went to the toilet and lit a cigarette. When he threw the cigarette butt into the bowl, the insecticide fumes ignited, "seriously burning his sensitive parts," the Post wrote.

When paramedics were called to the home in Tel Aviv, they laughed so hard when they learned what had happened that they dropped the stretcher down the stairs, breaking the unidentified man's pelvis and ribs.

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