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Jerusalem to Become World's First WiFi City


"Jerusalem rebuilt as a city that brings about connectivity" is a very rough translation of Psalm 122,3 - but it could be coming true, as modern-day city fathers prepare Jerusalem to become the first city in the world to enable full wireless connectivity to the Internet. The city, together with Intel and Compumat Computers, has embarked on a project to make Israel's capital the world's first wireless fidelity-enabled (WiFi) city, according to a Globes report. The organizers expect that within two years, users in most areas of the city will be able to surf the Internet wirelessly. The connection will be free of charge throughout at least the first year.

Israel Claims Hizbullah Has Rockets That Can Reach Tel Aviv

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's head of military intelligence has warned that the terrorist Islamic group Hizbullah in Lebanon has long-range rockets capable of striking Tel Aviv and other targets deep inside Israel. The warning follows renewed fighting along the border in recent weeks between Hizbullah and Israeli forces. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash estimates that the Hizbullah has several dozen rockets with a range of between 71 and 124 miles.

This would mean that, if fired from Hizbullah bases in southern Lebanon, the rockets could hit Tel Aviv and other populated areas in central Israel. The general also said Hizbullah possesses about 500 shorter-range Iranian and Syrian-made rockets capable of striking the northern Israeli port city of Haifa. He gave this assessment in a briefing to the Cabinet just days after fighting flared between Hizbullah and Israeli troops along the border with Lebanon.

A Hizbullah sniper killed two Israeli soldiers at a military outpost, and Israel retaliated by firing at suspected Hizbullah positions. The Israeli military commander for the northern region, Gen. Benny Ganz, warned that the conflict could widen unless Lebanon and Syria restrain the Hizbullah. "I do not believe that Hizbullah will be the only address at that time," he said. "I think there is a matter of statehood responsibility. And those two countries, who direct and finance and train the Hizbullah organization, will end up paying the price."

Meanwhile, Israeli officials said the military would conduct a crucial test this week with the United States of the jointly developed Arrow anti-ballistic missile system. The Israeli officials said the system would aim to shoot down a Scud missile launched from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. If successful, the officials said, the system could be used to neutralize rockets that might be launched by the Hizbullah against Israel.

Qureia Retracts Resignation, Ending Showdown With Arafat

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and his Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia stood outside Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. They kissed on the cheeks before raising their clasped hands in the air. Qureia said he withdrew the resignation he offered 10-days ago and promised steps toward reform and upholding the rule of law in the Palestinian areas.

For the past two weeks in the Gaza Strip, armed Palestinians have demanded changes in the command of the security forces and an end to corruption within Arafat's administration. Palestinian officials said Qureia has won a greater say in running the Palestinian Authority and that Arafat would soon announce details of the deal. Arafat has made similar pledges in the past, but then failed to carry them out. Qureia's predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas, resigned last year after losing a power struggle with Arafat to gain control of the security forces.

Arafat's dominance over the Palestinian Authority is regarded by Israel and the United States as a major obstacle to reviving peace talks. Israel and the United States have cut off direct contacts with Arafat and called for him to step aside and allow a new Palestinian leadership to take the reins of power. Arafat remains isolated in his Ramallah compound and refuses to leave the area for fear that Israel will never allow him to return to the West Bank.

Jews Barred From Temple Mount While Mourning Destruction Of Temples


The Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - was closed to Jews Tuesday in response to Muslim threats of violence if Jews were allowed to visit. Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franco, citing the threat of Arab violence toward Jews who would enter the holy site, made the decision.

The closure is particularly painful for many Jews, as Tuesday was the Fast of Tisha B'Av - the 9th of the Jewish month of Av - marking the destruction of both the first and second Temples. Several other Jewish tragedies also took place on this date in history. The decision to close the holy site to Jewish visitors came as a surprise to hundreds of people from across the country that had planned on ascending the Mount today.

The Supreme Court, hearing a petition by the Temple Mount Faithful Monday, heard testimony from Franco himself to the effect that there appeared to be no necessity to close the Mount "unless an unusual security event occurs."

Gershon Solomon, head of the Temple Mount Faithful organization, later summed up, "Based on this, the Court ruled that this would be the policy. Unfortunately, however, I have to say that Franco lied, in that he knew he was not planning to open the Mount; we see that there was no 'unusual security event,' and yet he still did not allow us to enter. This has been the policy ever since I remember on Tisha B'Av, and on many other holidays as well - not to allow the Temple Mount Faithful to enter the holy site, and consequently other Jews as well."

Solomon said that Franco's decision has "devastating political and security ramifications, including increased Islamic violence and destruction surrounding Temple Mount issues, as once again, threats of Islamic violence have achieved their desired result."

Members of the Temple Mount Faithful marched instead around the outside of the Temple Mount to signal their desire to ascend the Mount. The group had hoped for a change in police attitudes following Franco's assumption of the Commissionership, but the group said he seems to have adopted the approach of his predecessors in banning Jews from the Temple Mount whenever Muslims threaten violence against them.

Solomon said that the recent comments by Minister of Public Security Tzachi HaNegbi (Likud) did not seem to have an effect on the decision, "as this has been the policy all along. But there is no question that he caused damage to the People of Israel in giving ammunition to our enemies and in 'letting the blood' of Jews who ascent to the Mount."

HaNegbi said last week that he is certain that Jews were planning to carry out an attack on the Temple Mount. The Arab League and the Muslim Waqf, which turned to international bodies to "prevent Jewish extremists from endangering the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount", ignored his disclaimer that he has no concrete evidence to support his claim.

Health Minister Danny Naveh (Likud) said that decisions made under the threat of Arab violence are "intolerable." He expressed the desire that decisions regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount should be transferred from the authority of the police to a ministerial level.

"The Temple Mount is the only place in the world where Jews cannot pray," Naveh said, "even though it is the holiest site to Judaism. Although there are differences of opinion amongst today's rabbis whether Jews should ascend the Mount, there are those who wish to, and it is their right. We cannot live under the [Arab] threat that if we let Jews pray there, [violence] will occur. Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is a Jewish right that must be realized."

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