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Sharon Call for Aliyah Sparks French Protests

By VOA News

A call by Israel's prime minister for French Jews to immigrate immediately to the Jewish state has sparked protests from France's Jewish community, as well as from the French government. Several French government and Jewish officials have wasted no time in reacting to Sunday's remarks by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who urged Jews to emigrate from France to the Jewish state, citing what he described as a rising tide of anti-Semitism. Sharon's appeal was made at a particularly sensitive time for France, where anti-Semitic attacks have been on the increase in recent years.


U.S. Faults Arafat in Palestinian Political Crisis

By David Gullust (VOA-Washington)

The United States Monday accused Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat of hampering the consolidation of security services and other steps needed to bring order to the increasingly chaotic situation in the Gaza and the West Bank. Officials in Washington say the intra-Palestinian clashes in Gaza since Sunday only underline the need for reforms, including creation of a single security service, and they are blaming Arafat for impeding a process that could restore order and lead to creation of a Palestinian state.

At a news briefing, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said U.S. diplomats are monitoring the political turmoil in the Gaza and the West Bank with deep concern. While taking no position on Saturday's resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, which was refused by Arafat, Boucher made clear the United States is sympathetic to Qureia's frustration over the lack of security and a centralized authority.

"We think that the security services need to be consolidated, that the governmental authority, the prime minister in the government, need to have authority over the security services as well as the other institutions of government. That's a process that Chairman Arafat has hampered, and appears to be continuing to hamper to this day," he said.

Boucher noted that both Qureia and his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas, were thwarted in efforts to consolidate governmental power. He said the Palestinians should establish the institutions needed to run a state, and curb violence in Gaza as Israel prepares to end its presence there under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan.

The United States has supported the Sharon plan, which also calls for dismantling some Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as a way to restoring momentum toward peace under the international "road map" to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Arafat Fires Relative as Head of Palestinian Police

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, bowed to pressure on Monday and fired his cousin, Musa Arafat, as head of security in the Gaza Strip. His appointment Saturday sparked two days of violent protests. The dismissal came as the Palestinian cabinet held an emergency meeting to discuss the political unrest.

Palestinian officials said Arafat has dismissed Musa only two days after appointing him the new chief of security in Gaza. The embattled Palestinian leader phoned Brig. Gen. Abdel Razek Majaide and asked him to return the post he left last week at Arafat's request.

Arafat's appointment of his cousin and longtime loyalist Musa set off demonstrations by Palestinians who saw the decision as another example of rampant corruption and political cronyism within the Palestinian Authority. In recent days, Arafat has also been coming under increasing challenge from Fatah, his own political faction.

At least 12 Palestinians were reported wounded in fighting late Sunday between militants in Fatah and the Palestinian Authority's security forces. The clashes occurred during violent protests against changes to the security forces announced by Mr. Arafat - in particular the appointment of Musa Arafat.

Palestinian hospital staff in Rafah in southern Gaza reported at least 12 people had been wounded when hundreds of Fatah members, backed by an angry mob, attacked the headquarters of the Palestinian military intelligence with gunfire, gasoline bombs and stones. The siege lasted two hours before a cease-fire was reached with the help of local mediators.


Changing Fortunes Lead Soviet Jews from Israel to Russia

By CBC News

Thousands of the Soviet Jews who fled to Israel when the Soviet Union collapsed are beginning to return to Russia. Slowly but surely, the synagogues of Moscow are filling up again. In the late 1980s and early 1990s close to one million Soviet Jews immigrated to Israel. The Soviet Union was collapsing, Russia was in economic and social chaos and anti-Semitism was rampant.

"When they left they were cursing this country saying, 'My feet will never set foot on this soil again,' such hatred and unhappiness. But we must admit things have changed," said Berl Lazar, Russia's chief rabbi. The Russian economy that was on the verge of collapse is now booming, while the Israeli economy is sinking under the weight of the intifada.

Dr. Igor Dvrdon is one of the Russian Jews who returned. He's been back in Moscow for two years. Because doctors in Russia earn just $300 per month Dvrdon is working at his second profession, journalism, writing for a Jewish Internet news service.

Dvrdon fled Russia in 1989 right after graduating from medical school. He was full of hope at the time. For years he dreamed of moving to Israel and living in a democracy, free of the humiliating anti-Semitism that was so much a part of Russia. As a committed Jew, he wanted to help secure the Jewish homeland. But Dvrdon says soon after arriving in Israel, he woke up. "For a new immigrant it is especially hard to advance in this system (Israel), this system is built on connections."

Dvrdon says he quickly discovered that Israeli-born Jews had all the good jobs and all that all the promotions went other Israeli Jews and their relatives. He says Israeli-born doctors at his hospital used their connections to evade compulsory military service. He on the other hand ended up serving four-month stints on the army front lines every year. "I was in Lebanon, I was two times in the occupied territory in Hebron, Bethlehem, and I said 'Enough!'" No matter how hard he tried to learn Hebrew and fit in Dvrdon says Israeli Jews always considered him a Russian rather than a Jew. And he says, he missed Russia terribly.

Rabbi Lazar estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 of the one million that left have returned in the past three years, creating what he calls, a renaissance in the Russian Jewish community. They are coming back with a lot of knowledge of what a Jewish community should be like, so where they go they do help the locals learn more about their Jewishness." But Lazar said many of the returnees are also conflicted; torn between going home to Russia and feeling guilty for abandoning Israel.

Israel still encourages Russian Jews to emigrate. The Jewish state needs immigration. The birthrate amongst Arabs living in Israel is much higher than the Jewish birthrate. Without immigration Arabs could outnumber Jews in Israel in a few decades. But given Russia's new stability and prosperity Russian Jews are now staying home and increasingly, a growing number of those who left, are returning.


Israel's Herbal Sheagree Provides Satisfaction with a Sigh

By Israel21c.org

"I'll have what she's having" is a classic line in the most famous scene of the film When Harry Met Sally. It takes place when Meg Ryan (Sally) is demonstrating to Billy Crystal (Harry) in a diner how a woman fakes an orgasm. An opened-mouth female diner watches Sally's verbal and physical gyrations with envy, and recites her line when the waitress arrives to take her order.

Funny as it was, now it may be possible for women to order ecstasy on demand thanks to an Israeli discovery called Sheagree. The team behind the natural herbal sexual stimulant claims that it's the female equivalent of the globally successful male stimulant, Viagra. And Israeli consumers evidently think so too, as the Sheagree website and toll-free number have been inundated with queries ever since the introduction of the product last month.

Ronny Hahn, the head of New Concept, the company which is manufacturing Sheagree, is a bundle of energy spending all his waking hours touting the product, lecturing to health organization, meeting with researchers and acting as Sheagree's main cheerleader.

"Numerous independent and objective studies found that large proportions of women face lack of satisfaction in this very critical intimate aspect of their lives," Hahn told ISRAEL21c. "Judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Sheagree, both during extensive clinical trials and since the product came onto the market just 6 weeks ago, Sheagree seems like the product women have been waiting for."

Sheagree was developed after 10 years of research by a team headed by Dr. Avner Shemer, senior dermatologist at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. Shemer is a member of American Academy of Dermatology and a member of the European Academy of Dermatology. "The product is fully certified by Israel's Ministry of Health, and is a natural-based food supplement which can be sold over the counter. Sheagree is not a drug and therefore needs no doctor's prescription," explained Hahn.

Sheagree "elevates natural sexual desire, and that's why it works differently for each woman," said Shemer. "There are some women who have never before reached an orgasm, and who will now succeed with the help of this capsule. Some will experience strong and extended sexual ecstasy, and on others there will be no effect at all," he said.

The list of ingredients in Sheagree includes magnolia flowers, nut seeds, persimmon, lychee, oregano, turmeric, saffron and fenugreek - a favorite among the Yemenite community in Israel to which they attribute virility powers. "Beyond that I prefer to be discrete, and certainly not to give the amounts," Shemer said.

Making sure that observant Jews can also take advantage of the pill, Hahn proudly announced that he had obtained a kosher certification for Sheagree, which is produced in Netanya at the Solgar plant. "The capsule originally contained starch, which raised complications for its kosher status. So we threw them out and ordered all new capsules which are 100% kosher," he said.

The background of Sheagree's development is a common one for many scientific discoveries - it was the result of something else. In the course of his research, Shemer discovered the secret ingredient that arouses women. "In the beginning, the team noticed that man and woman who used a certain food supplement have reported on a light increase in their sexual desire," said Hahn.

"This food supplement was tested in comparison to a placebo to validate its affect. In order to find a formula with a stronger affect on the sexual desire, the dominant ingredients were examined. These ingredients were taken from different plants that were used by traditional medicine to 'strength the body'. The target was to find the right ratio between the ingredients and by adding other plants and roots to achieve the best result."

After years of experimentation, the team found a formula, which causes sexual desire but has minimal or no side affects, said Hahn, and Sheagree was born. The pill works on the physical blood circulation to the woman clitoris, and efficacy studies performed by Shemer and his team have shown that women have reported an increase in their sexual sensations within an hour from taking the pill. The only side effects for the Sheagree pill, according to the company are little blushing at the cheeks.

The Sheagree website recommends that women swallow the capsule with a little bit of red wine on an empty stomach. About half an hour later, it is advisable to proceed to the bedroom. Since the 1998 launch of Viagra as a treatment for male sexual dysfunction, at least 10 pharmaceutical companies have undertaken development of a similar drug for women, according to market research firm Decision Resources. But Sheagree is the first to appear on the market.

Israeli media reported that Wal-Mart had placed a trial order for 50,000 units of Sheagree. Hahn told ISRAEL21c that the order has been held up due to legal issues with Pfizer - the makers of Viagra - over the name Sheagree. But he was optimistic that the issue will be resolved, and that American women would soon be walking around with the same smile on their faces that are showing up on Israeli women with increased frequency.


Israel Creates a Super Tomato

By IsraelNationalNews.com

An Israeli company has genetically created a super-tomato, one that can withstand a virus that devastates tomato crops every year the world over. Hazera Genetics, an Israeli seed breeder, launched the world's first tomato strain that is immune to the 'Yellow Lead Curl Tomato Virus,' according to a report in The Marker.

The resistant tomato, called 'Tracie' by its researchers, is a breakthrough for tomato farmers, especially those cultivating the long-lived species that thrive over long periods rather than specific seasons. The resistant breed can be grown in open, ventilated hothouses throughout the summer, which reduces costs and improves both the quality of the fruit and the crop size.

Dr. Alon Haverfeld, who manages Hazera's tomato seeds division, predicts that profits will be high. He said that price per kilogram of seed would range from $20,000 to $30,000, with the company aiming to reach sales of $1 million next year, and $5-7 million within three to four years.


Israeli Technology Offers Precise Translation For Your Desktop

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Bible recounts the story of a generation who tried to build a gigantic tower to "reach and usurp God's throne." The plot was foiled when the Creator made each man speak a different language than his fellow. Now, modern Israeli technology seeks to bridge the linguistic gaps that remain.

An Israeli language-translation software company called 'Babylon' is now offering the most accurate computer translation software on the market, according to a report in Israel21c.org. Babylon is a desktop translation tool offering users access to 25 professional dictionaries in 14 languages, each containing more than three million words and phrases.

The available languages include Hebrew, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, traditional and modern Chinese, Korean and Swedish. Most services offering translations of text until now provide only the general idea of a given sentence or document. Without an exact translation, critical errors can occur, sometimes changing the entire meaning of a sentence or paragraph.

Babylon offers a host of information from some 2,000 glossaries that users can obtain with just a click of their mouse. These glossaries offer professional information ranging from computing and law to chemistry and music. When a user runs into a word he does not understand he can click on it and receive an instant explanation.

Consumers pay $29 for a year's online subscription or $49.50 for perpetual use. Once the software is loaded, users can click on any text in any desktop application and a small pop-up window appears with the relevant translation of a particular word or of an expression such as 'wild goose chase.' Babylon also tries to help people correctly pronounce foreign words. Clicking an icon called Say-It produces an audio recording of the word.

For every English term one needs translated, Babylon's software also displays a complete list of conjugations in possible tenses and forms, together with their description in the user's native language. The user can then directly paste the appropriate conjugation into the edited document.

The company currently has about 24 million users worldwide. Many signed up when Babylon gave away the software for free starting in 1997. In 2001, the company switched to a pay-per-use model and has since sold hundreds of thousands of licenses.

























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