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Porush Calls on Olympic Athletes to Honor the Sabbath


Knesset member (United Torah Judaism) Rabbi Meir Porush called on Minister of Education & Sport (Likud) Limor Livnat to instruct Israel's Olympic athletes to refrain from taking part in events that involve the desecration of the Sabbath. Porush said "The actions of Israel's athletes on the Sabbath resulted in an embarrassment to the Jewish state," adding we may request that event organizers modify schedules to avoid Sabbath desecration

Palestinians Jailed in Israel Begin Hunger Strike

By VOA News &

About 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. But an Israeli cabinet minister said Israel would not make concessions, and said he doesn't care if the inmates starve to death.

An Israeli prison spokesman said nearly half of the estimated 4,000 inmates began their strike Sunday morning, saying they would live on fluids until their demands are met.

Israeli Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said the prisoners can strike until death, but warned they would not gain concessions. Authorities said doctors would monitor the strike and would force-feed prisoners, if necessary.

The terrorists demand better humanitarian conditions, though no fewer than 70% of them are estimated to have Jewish blood on their hands in one way or another. The strike is expected to spread from the 3-4 prisons in which it began to many others across the country.

"For inhumane people to demand humanitarian improvements is an absurdity bordering on contempt," said Yehudit Dasberg. Dasberg, who has been in the forefront in the struggle against releasing terrorists from prison, adopted her two young grandchildren after their parents - Yaron and Effie Ungar - were murdered in a Hamas terror attack in June 1996.

The imprisoned terrorists demand the removal of the glass walls separating them from their visitors, as well as other improvements in their visiting arrangements. They also want telephones in their cells or wings, as well as the right to have cell phones, a computer in each cell, no Value Added Tax on their canteen purchases, air conditioners in their cells, no more body checks, and more.

The Prison Service responded to their refusal to take meals by taking away the televisions from their cells, canceling all visitations and sports activities, etc.

PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei took advantage of the situation to demand the release of all 8,000 PA prisoners being held in Israeli jails. "The release of all the prisoners is an essential condition for any solution or progress in the peace process," he said Sunday. "The government regards the prisoners issue as being at the top of its list of priorities."

Israeli General: 'Israel Could Afford to Return Golan to Syria'

By VOA News &

Israel's army chief said that his country could give up the territory it holds in the Golan Heights in order to reach a peace agreement with Syria, without serious consequences for the Jewish state's ability to defend itself. In an interview with Yediot Achronot, Gen. Moshe Yaalon said the army was capable of defending all of Israel's borders if the nations political leaders decide to withdraw from the Golan, which was captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, but the international community generally considers the strategic plateau to be Israeli-occupied Syrian territory. Israel has long argued that giving up the Golan would leave northern Israel vulnerable to attack.

Peace talks between Israel and Syria four years ago collapsed when Syria insisted that Israel pull back to the pre-war frontier. Israel insists that Damascus must first end its support for Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon and radical Palestinians based in Syria.

Syrian officials responding to Ya'alon's remarks stated they are accustomed to efforts by Israel to "fool global public opinion", the AFP news agency reported.

EU Accepts Tenders to build a Security Wall of its Own

By Globes

After European representatives launched a campaign against Israel's separation fence, and voted against Israel at the UN General Assembly, the EU is planning a separation fence of its own. It plans to build a fence to separate its new members - Poland and Hungary - from its new neighbors -Russia, Belarus and Ukraine - to prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter the EU.

Israeli companies that specialize in the construction of warning fences and security systems will participate in tenders to build hundreds of kilometers of fences along the EU's new eastern border.

Sources inform "Globes" that Magal Security Systems is expected to sign a cooperation agreement with a major Western company for building fence and command and control systems in Eastern Europe. Other Israeli companies are also interested in the pending EU project. El-Far Electronics also plans to participate in the tender through a large international partner.

Defense industry sources estimate the potential business at several hundred million dollars. Based on the experience of building Israel's separation fence, each kilometer of fence costs $1 million to build. Bases, sophisticated transit points, and observation and command and control systems cost $2 million per kilometer.

Magal, the main contractor for most of the 140-km separation fence around Samaria, also provides the IDF with war rooms, command and control systems for the buffer area, and the Fortis integrated command and control systems for settlements and secure facilities. Magal declined to comment on the report.

Iran Warns its Missiles Can Hit Anywhere in Israel

By Reuters

A senior Iranian military commander said on Sunday Israel and the United States would not dare attack Iran since it could strike back anywhere in Israel with its latest missiles, news agencies reported.

Iranian officials have made a point of highlighting the Islamic state's military capabilities in recent weeks in response to some media reports that Israeli or U.S. warplanes could try to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities in air strikes.

Iran last week said it carried out a successful test firing of an upgraded version of its Shihab-3 medium-range ballistic missile. Military experts said the unmodified Shihab-3 was already capable of striking Israel or U.S. bases in the Gulf.

"The entire Zionist territory, including its nuclear facilities and atomic arsenal, are currently within range of Iran's advanced missiles," the ISNA students news agency quoted Yadollah Javani, head of the Revolutionary Guards political bureau, as saying. "Therefore, neither the Zionist regime nor America will carry out its threats" against Iran, he said.

An attack on Iran "could only be carried out by angry or stupid people. For that reason, officials of the Islamic Republic must always be prepared to counter possible military threats," Javani said in a statement, ISNA reported.

U.S. and Israeli officials accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies. Israel's Arrow missile defense system, designed to counter threats such as the Shihab-3, passed its first live test in July by downing a Scud missile off the coast of California.

Israeli officials said they are planning further tests in the near future against threats, which more closely resemble the Shihab-3. "Such statements by Iran only serve to demonstrate the need for Israel to maintain and further develop defensive systems such as the Arrow II," a senior Israeli defense source told Reuters on Sunday. "It appears that Iran is rattling its saber for fear of a pre-emptive strike by Israel or the United States -- however grounded in fact such fears are or are not," the source said.

Israeli warplanes successfully destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981. But many diplomats and defense experts say air strikes against Iran's nuclear plants are unlikely to disable Tehran's nuclear capability, much of which has been built underground, and could prompt a swift military reaction from Iran. Since its 1979 Islamic revolution Iran has refused to recognize Israel's right to exist and allied itself to the Palestinian cause.

Israeli Ex-Aide to NJ Governor Denies They Had an Affair

By Ha'aretz

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey and his former top aide, Israeli Golan Cipel, were never lovers and never engaged in sexual relations, Cipel's lawyers said Saturday in an exclusive interview with Ha'aretz.

Last Thursday the 47-year old governor announced his resignation from office, after declaring he was gay and had engaged in an extramarital affair with another man. McGreevey is married and has two daughters.

Meanwhile, the FBI reportedly intends to open an investigation into the political case, on suspicion that Cipel, 35, tried to blackmail the governor, demanding $5 million for not revealing their relationship.

McGreevey said at an afternoon news conference that he had been involved in an extramarital affair with another man. "I am a gay American. I realize the fact of this affair and my own sexuality, if kept secret, leaves me and most importantly, the governor's office, vulnerable to rumors, false allegations and threats of disclosure."

Cipel's lawyers Alan Lowy and Rachel Yosevitz denied that Cipel, a former top aide, is homosexual, stressing that he is heterosexual and always was. Cipel reportedly said the disgraced governor made repeated sexual advances toward him. He said he only wanted justice and got it when the governor announced his resignation.

The impression given by the news reports in New York is that McGreevey and Cipel allegedly began an affair at their first meeting in Rishon L'Tzion. Cipel was then municipal spokesman and the gubernatorial candidate came on a visit, offering Cipel a job in his campaign. Cipel accepted the job and also worked in a private firm in public relations. When McGreevey was elected governor, he appointed Cipel as his aide.

Cipel's attorneys said the sexual gestures and harassment occurred after Cipel was appointed an aide, and that Cipel rejected them, first gently and then more firmly. The governor's response was to fire Cipel in 2002. They denied that Cipel tried to blackmail the governor for $5 million.

The attorneys said that Cipel was not McGreevey's security advisor and never made any security statement. "We advised him of our intent to sue him for sexual harassment. They asked for a meeting. I didn't ask for any money; I explained there were grave allegations and that we intended to act legally," Lowy said.

The lawyers said Cipel is under a lot of pressure. But since McGreevey's resignation he feels relief, since he sees this act as a confession that McGreevey did something wrong.

The attorneys say the governor said he had an affair with Cipel, even though he didn't, because there is no room for a sexual harassment suit if the sex was consensual. If this was the case, the governor would have no reason to resign over an extramarital affair, even a same-sex one.

Meanwhile, Cipel has disappeared and according to unconfirmed reports, he is in Israel. His parents, who live in Rishon L'Tzion, wanted him to return to the country. Cipel's relatives are not answering the flood of telephone calls from journalists in Israel and the United States.

Although McGreevey did not name the "other man," it was clear to whom he was referring; the special relationship between the governor and Cipel was an open secret in the Garden State.

President Bush Woos the Jewish Vote

By Ha'aretz

President George W. Bush appealed directly to the American Jewish community last week, in a glossy booklet sent to American Jewish organizational leaders that highlight his good relations with the community, its leadership, and with Israel. The appeal is considered another step in Republican efforts to win over Jewish votes from the Democratic party.

The 26-page booklet, entitled "President George W. Bush - A Friend of the American Jewish Community," outlines the history of Bush's relationship with the American Jewish community, the struggle against anti-Semitism, the war against terror, and assistance to Israel. "Today, Jews in America know they have a steadfast friend and defender in the Oval Office," the booklet states in its introduction. Only 19 percent of American Jews voted for Bush in the 2000 election, and since then Republicans have been making a significant effort to woo the Jewish vote on November 2.

The booklet is studded with full-page pictures of Bush at various Jewish events, and notes Bush's statements against anti-Semitism and against the statements of Mahatir Mohammed, former prime minister of Malaysia. It also highlights administration action against terror, including Bush's declaration that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a terror organization, and the arrest of Hamas fund-raisers in the U.S. Bush also presents disengagement as a central achievement in his support for Israel.

"For Yasir Arafat, the message has been clear," the booklet states. "While he was a frequent White House guest during the last administration, he has never been granted a meeting with President Bush." At the end of the booklet the White House presents a series of quotes from prominent Jewish leaders supporting Bush. A number of those quoted said they had not given permission for their statements to be used, and had not intended them to express political support for Bush.

The National Jewish Democratic Coalition (NJDC) criticized the White House for publishing the booklet. "This is completely inappropriate," said David Harris, NJDC deputy executive director. "It is something a campaign should be putting out, not the White House. It is overtly political."

Iranian Refuses to Meet Israeli Olympic Rival


Israel's Judo champ Ehud (Udi) Vaks won an Olympic round Sunday when his first-round opponent, an Iranian Muslim world Judo champion, disqualified himself by weighing in above the limit for the weight class.

The Iranian, Arash Mir-Esmaili, told Iran's news agency that he declined to face an Israeli opponent: "Although I have trained for months and now enjoy an in-form build, I refused to face my Israeli rival in sympathy with the oppressed Palestinian people. I am not upset for the decision I have made." Vaks was credited with a technical victory, and will now go on to compete against an opponent from either Egypt or Algeria.

Iran has traditionally instructed its athletes to refuse to compete against Israelis as part of its blanket ban on contacts with citizens of "the Zionist entity." Iranian President Mohammad Khatami praised Miraesmaeili, saying his refusal to compete would go down in Iranian history.

Yemeni and Saudi athletes have also refused in the past to compete against Israelis. Iranian sports officials said that Mir-Esmaili should still receive the one billion rial ($115,000) prize that he "most likely" would have won. Iran's Olympic Committee had promised the prize to Iranian Olympic medal winners.

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