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Israel Olympic Team to Receive Additional Security


The Israeli Olympic team will receive additional security in Athens, Olympic authorities report. Security around the Israeli lodging area will be enhanced with a fence and other unspecified measures will be taken to better protect the Israeli athletes. The United States also requested increased security for its team, but later retracted the request.

Israeli Troops Kill 3 Palestinians in Gaza Strip

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli troops have shot and killed three Palestinians attempting to attack a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. The incident on Monday came as Israeli forces also moved against a refugee camp in the territory in a bid to halt Palestinian mortar fire.

Israeli forces opened fire, killing three Palestinians approaching the Jewish settlement of Alei Sinai early Monday in the northern Gaza Strip. According to media reports, the Palestinians apparently planned to carry out an attack using bombs and automatic weapons. Kalashnikov assault rifles were found on two of the men and the third man was reportedly killed when the explosives he was carrying detonated.

A joint announcement from the groups Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for an attempted attack on the settlement. The groups, both listed by the State Department as terrorist organizations, said the three Palestinians had been killed in what they described as a heroic operation.

The incident occurred as Israeli forces operating in southern Gaza entered the Khan Younis refugee camp. The Israeli army said the raid was aimed at destroying buildings used by Palestinians to fire mortars and rifles at a nearby Jewish settlement. Residents said during the incursion a woman was killed after being hit by a bullet that came through the window of her home.

Israel Approves 600 New Homes in Jewish Settlement

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has given the go-ahead for an expansion of a major Jewish settlement, despite calls from the U.S. administration for a freeze on settlement activity. The defense ministry confirmed Monday that permission had been granted to build 600 new dwellings in the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank. A spokesman for the ministry said that approval for the expansion of the settlement had been given by both the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.

The settlement, known as Maale Adumim, is located close to Jerusalem and is home to 28,000 residents. The extra housing units are expected to accommodate some 2,000 more Israelis, representing a 7 percent increase in the size of the population.

Palestinians are opposed to any expansion of Jewish settlements, saying they are taking away land on which they hope to found a future independent Palestinian state. Settlement activity is also to be frozen under the terms of the international road map for peace plan, which proposed the founding of a Palestinian state by the end of next year. The plan is backed by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

200 Singles Among 1,500 North Americans Moving Now to Israel


At least 200 young American singles will sink new roots in Israel in coming weeks, part of a drive that will bring about 1,500 North American Jews to live in the Holy Land through the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization acting in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel.

A year of coast-to-coast activities will culminate as hundreds board chartered El Al jets, August 4 and August 11, to make their momentous journey, turning life-long dreams into reality. The singles come from over 20 states and three Canadian provinces. A small majority (55%) are women, and most of the individuals have one or more university degrees. "Single people face special challenges in a move of this kind," said Rabbi Joshua Fass, founder of Nefesh B'Nefesh, "And we have developed uniquely successful support services that help assure successful single homecoming to Israel."

Another Miracle in Sderot


In yet another Kassam rocket attack on Sderot Monday, an apartment suffered a direct hit - but the family had spent the night in Be'er Sheva, for fear of Kassam rockets.

Sderot, only three kilometers from northern Gaza, has been rocketed by Arab-fired Kassams very intensively over the past few weeks - and the IDF admits that its presence in northern Gaza has not helped. The army took over the area five weeks ago after a Kassam attack killed a 3-year-old boy on his way to nursery, and another man standing nearby.

Six people standing outside the apartment were hurt in Monday morning's attack, and were evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon and treated for shock. The police called the owner of the stricken apartment to inform him of what had happened. When he arrived and saw the damage, he was unable to speak - either from the magnitude of the damage, the miracle that had befallen him, or both. His daughter in Be'er Sheva said, "I still cannot believe that just yesterday they came to me because they were afraid of rockets."

Another near miss occurred this past Friday when Itzik Ohayon, whose little son Afik was the child killed last month, visited his son's gravesite. "I live in Be'er Sheva," he told Ynet, "but I come here every Friday to the grave. About 50 meters away, suddenly a Kassam rocket landed, like a grim reminder of that terrible Monday." Afik's mother lost her leg in the attack and is still hospitalized.

Orthodox Leader: U.S. Jews Have No Right to Criticize Israel

By Ha'aretz

A prominent member of America's Orthodox community, who was also a Senate staff member for three decades, spoke out on Sunday night against American Jews who publicly criticize Israeli policies. "An American who wants to take sides should make aliyah [immigrate to Israel]," said Rabbi Dr. David Luchins, a national associate vice president of the Orthodox Union (OU) and a national officer for the Jewish Council of Public Affairs. "Their kids should serve in the army. It's better for American Jews to stay out of Israeli politics."

Luchins carefully emphasized "every Jew has the right to pray and pay for their side, whether it's Americans for Peace Now or Americans for Likud," and said he was not speaking on behalf of the organizations he serves. However, the former senior aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan added that it's "devastating" for American Jews to criticize Israeli policies in front of U.S. politicians or in ads in The New York Times.

Taking a public stance against Israel is a "serious mistake," Luchins said in his speech at Jerusalem's OU Israel Center, because when American Jews write critical letters to their congressmen or protest Israeli policies, the average American does not perceive their underlying love for Israel. "When the rallies happen in New York against the pull-out from Gush Katif," he predicted, "the headlines will say, `American Jews protest against Israeli policy,' and the average American will read: `American Jews protest Israel.'"

He also said that often, U.S. and Israeli politicians make subtle, internal agreements between themselves, which they do not present to the public. A politician's publicly stated opinion about a peace proposal, for example, is sometimes a carefully planned diplomatic "charade," he explained. By writing critical letters or holding rallies, American Jews "sometimes mess up those charades - very badly."

Luchins also criticized American organizations that attempt to exert financial pressure on Israeli politicians. "An Israeli Arab or a non-Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union has more of a say than the most ardent American Zionist who comes here 35 times a year," he asserted. Comparing Israeli politics to a baseball game and Israeli citizens to the teams, he told the audience that, "American Jewish Zionists have box seats, and we have the right and obligation to support our team. But we are not playing. Only the members of the team, even those who are benched, have the right to take part in team meetings. We fans talk strategy, but the only ones with the right to decide matters are the team members."

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