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Chag Sameach - Happy Holiday

The holiday of Simchat Torah & Shmini Atzeret, which began at sundown on Oct. 6, comes on the last day of the weeklong Sukkot festivities. The staff of Israel Faxx wishes its readers a happy Simchat Torah & Shmini Atzeret holiday. On this holiday, the last portion of the Torah (Five books of Moses) is read, and synagogues immediately begin the reading from the very beginning again to show that the Torah is beloved to us and never ending. In synagogues around the world, all the Torah scrolls are taken from the Ark and carried in a parade around the synagogue seven times. The Jewish people rejoice, sing and dance with the Torahs, for the reestablishment of the covenant with the Torah as a groom rejoices with his bride.

Israel Admits 'Rocket' Loaded in UN Ambulance May Have Been a Stretcher

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel said that Palestinian terrorists are exploiting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, even as it admitted that military experts might have mistaken a stretcher for a rocket in a video showing an object being loaded into a U.N. vehicle.

The latest allegations came following the news that the Israeli army has arrested 13 United Nations employees on suspicion of terrorist activities. Army officials said charges will be brought against the 13, but would not provide specifics. The men were arrested after Israel said it had evidence that a U.N. ambulance was being used to transport a rocket to be used on attacks against Israel.

The army said there is a difference of opinion among analysts as to whether it was a rocket or a stretcher, as the U.N. officials here have maintained. Tuesday night, foreign ministry official Gideon Meir repeated Israel's charge that terrorists are using U.N. facilities. He said Israel has concrete evidence terrorists are using U.N. ambulances and, in some cases, shooting out of hospitals.

He said the evidence would be presented to a U.N. team due to arrive in the region for an already scheduled trip. The team has been tasked with investigating Israeli claims. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched an investigation into those accusations, late Monday. The United Nations insisted it did not hire terrorists and did not tolerate any terrorist activity of any kind by its staff.

Meanwhile, Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip entered a seventh day, Wednesday. Palestinian witnesses said three Palestinians were killed and 10 children were injured when an Israeli tank fired several times in the northern Gaza town, Beit Lahiya. A 15-year-old boy was reported to have been killed in one house and two men in another. The shelling took place just before dawn. Hospital officials said 10 children were injured, several of them seriously, when a tank fired on the house where they were sleeping.

Two Israelis Win Nobel Prize In Chemistry


Avraham Hershko, 67, and Aharon Tchachnover (Ciechanover), 57, - two Israeli professors from the Technion University in Haifa - and an American, Irwin Rose of the University of California, 78, are the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2004.

Their research, carried out in the 1980s, found an important way in which unwanted proteins are destroyed in the human body. The process, called a chemical "kiss of death," can sometimes lead to unwanted consequences, and the research can help find new therapies.

The three winners will share in the $1.3 million prize. This is the first time that an Israeli has won a Nobel science prize; Israelis have won Nobels in the areas of peace (Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres), literature (Shmuel Yosef Agnon) and economics (Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli citizen and Princeton University professor).

Report: Assad Seeks to Renew Unconditional Talks with Israel

By & Israel Faxx News Sources

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad wishes to renew peace talks with Israel, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported. According to the paper, Assad made the statement while talking to a U.S. delegation that included Congressman Darryl Eisa (of Lebanese background), and former ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyck and former ambassador to Morocco, Edward Gabriel. Furthermore, Assad said, "I am ready to renew peace talks if Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is ready for this."

According to Al Hayat, the Syrian leader told the Americans, "We are ready to resume peace talks with Israel over the Golan if Sharon is ready and if there are clear U.S. guarantees regarding the seriousness of the negotiations and their practical outcome."

"Something is going on in Syria and it is time for us to pay attention," said Indyk, assistant secretary of state for the Near East and U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration. In a three-hour September meeting with Assad in Damascus, Indyk said he detected a "clear change" in Assad's views on a number of fronts.

On peacemaking, Assad offered to hold talks with Israel without preconditions, Indyk said, and had made several overtures to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Sharon rebuffed.

US Vetoes UN Gaza Resolution

By Peter Heinlein (VOA-United Nations)

The United States has vetoed an Arab-drafted Security Council resolution that would have demanded an immediate end to Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The measure received 11 'yes' votes, with three other countries - Britain, Germany and Romania - abstaining. The draft sponsored by Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia called for a halt to the Israeli offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 65 people.

But before it was put to a vote, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth took the floor to serve clear notice that Washington considered it lopsided and unbalanced. He charged that the measure would only encourage terrorists by condemning Israel while omitting the other side of the story.

"It does not mention even one of the 450 Kassam rocket attacks launched against Israel over the past two years," he said. "It does not mention 200 rockets launched this year alone. It does not mention the two Israeli children who were outside playing last week when a rocket suddenly crashed into their young bodies."

Danforth charged that a vote in favor of the proposed resolution would have encouraged terrorists and done nothing to prevent what he called "the predictable Israeli response. When the rest of the world gangs up on Israel with insidious silence about terrorism, it does not advance the cause of peace; it encourages both sides to dig in. It makes Israel feel isolated and backed into a corner and it discourages dialogue."

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