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Was Kahane Right?


A Channel 2 TV survey reveals that 58% of adults aged 18-22 supports "transfer," the expulsion of Arabs from Israel. 26.4% believe slain Kach party founder Rabbi Meir Kahane was correct in his call to expel the Arabs, while one-third believe Kach should be declared a legal organization once again. According to a Ma'ariv report, a survey conducted during recent days, questioning 500 Israelis representing a cross-section of society, revealed 13.1% favor a national leader along the lines of the image of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Iran Test Fires Upgraded Missile Capable of Reaching Israel

By Ha'aretz & Reuters

Iran said Wednesday it test fired an upgraded and more accurate version of its Shihab-3 medium-range missile, believed to be capable of hitting Israel and United States bases in the Persian Gulf. "Iran test fired a more accurate version of the Shihab-3 in the presence of observers," Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. Iran emphasized its missile program is purely deterrent and denies American and Israeli allegations it wants to develop nuclear warheads which the Shihab-3 could deliver.

Earlier this month the official IRNA news agency quoted influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as saying Iran was able to launch a missile with a range of 1,250 miles. The missile could reach Israel and parts of southeastern Europe. "Experts know that a country that possesses this can obtain all subsequent stages" in missile production, Rafsanjani told staff at the Aerospace Research Institute in Tehran. His statement came days after Iran said it had added a "strategic missile" to its arsenal after a successful test.

The old version of Iran's Shihab-3 missile was known to have a range of 810 miles - making it capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the Middle East. Israel has expressed increasingly vocal concern over Iran's nuclear program, which, Jerusalem says, is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying it is intended for generating electricity, and has warned Israel against any efforts to destroy its atomic facilities.

Israel and the U.S. have developed the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, one of the few systems capable of intercepting and destroying missiles at high altitudes. Its development followed the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles that struck Israel. Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing Co. developed the Arrow at a cost of more than $1 billion.

The Shihab is Iran's longest-range ballistic missile. The country launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Shihab is the Persian word for meteor. Based on the North Korean Nodong-1 and modified with Russian technology, the Shihab-3 was first deployed to Iran's Revolutionary Guard in July 2003.

Supreme Court: State Must Help Return Kidnapped Boy


It's been two months now since the Muslim father of a Jewish Israeli boy kidnapped him to Russia and has been raising him as a Muslim - and this week, the Supreme Court ruled that the Justice and Foreign Ministries must take action. Justice Miriam Naor accepted the request of the mother, whose name has not been publicized, to obligate the government to take an active role in returning the boy.

As first reported by Ynet last week, the 10-year-old boy immigrated to Israel at the age of 4. This was the last time he saw his father, a Muslim with Syrian citizenship - until two months ago. In August, the boy and his grandmother visited Moldova, from where his father abducted him and now refuses to return him to his mother. The man forces his son to behave like a Muslim, and has threatened to take him to Syria if his mother takes any action on her son's behalf.

With great effort, the mother was able to track down the whereabouts of her missing son to a town in southern Russia, and was even able to speak with him for a few moments. The boy cried and asked her to take him home. When the father saw the two speaking in Hebrew, he separated them and warned that if they ever again speak Hebrew to each other, they would never see each other again. "He told me that they changed his name to an Arabic one and force him to pray five times a day," the mother told Ynet. "This is a Jewish boy, and they're forcing him to act like a Muslim."

She finally filed suit in a Russian court, but she has no legal counsel. "The Israeli government has not helped me, and now all I'm asking is to send me a lawyer," she said. "I can't do it any more by myself." The Muslim father, for his part, is a wealthy man, his former wife said; "who owns four large stores and has several lawyers. I just hope that he won't bribe the judge. He has five other children from his first wife and his present wife, and he told me, 'I have six children, and they will all live with me.'"

Before the ruling, the mother's Israeli lawyer lamented, "This is a straight-out kidnapping case. A Jewish 10-year-old boy, an Israeli, who spent almost his whole life in Israel and doesn't even know his father, whom he last saw at the age of 4, is suddenly kidnapped, forced to live like a Muslim, detached from his family, country, friends and his whole life - and all the State of Israel can do for him is to collect forms and send them to Russia."

The high court's ruling gives some room for optimism. "The most important thing," the lawyer said, "is to show the Russian court that Israel is actively involved, has opened a legal file, and that this is a diplomatic issue in every sense - and not just a personal matter. With this ruling, it will be harder for the Russian court to ignore our request." Foreign Minister Shalom and Justice Minister Lapid are expected, in accordance with the ruling, to issue statements and responses, and "these could change the picture," the lawyer said.

Gaza Girl Death Officer Cleared

By BBC News

The Israeli army has cleared an officer accused of repeatedly firing into the lifeless body of a young Palestinian girl of "unethical" behavior. But the officer remains suspended for poor relations with subordinates. An inquiry began after soldiers told the story of 13-year-old Iman al-Hams's death to the media, provoking an outcry among many Israelis.

The killing of Palestinian civilians does not always make much news in Israel. And it is unusual for the army to launch an investigation into the circumstances of such incidents, says the BBC's James Reynolds in Jerusalem. Without revealing their identities, soldiers from the Givati brigade platoon told Israeli television how their officer sprayed Iman al-Hams with automatic gunfire on October 5 in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah - a restricted area near Gaza's border with Egypt.

The investigation did not find that the company or the company commander had acted unethically. "We saw her from a distance of 70m. She was fired at ... from the outpost. She fled and was wounded," a soldier said. While Iman was lying, wounded or dead, about 225 feet from the Israeli guard post, the platoon commander approached her and fired two bullets from close range at her head, the soldiers said. He then went back a second time, put his weapon on the automatic setting and - ignoring their objections on the walkie-talkie - emptied his entire magazine into her body.

But the army said it accepts the commander's claim that he fired into the ground near the girl after coming under fire in a dangerous area. It has not explained why the officer shot into the ground rather than at the source of the fire. "The investigation did not find that the company or the company commander had acted unethically," an army statement said. "The investigation concluded that the behavior of the company commander from an ethical point of view does not warrant his removal from his position."

But the investigation criticized the officer's leadership abilities. "Due to these failures the company commander was suspended from his position, and his future career [in the army] will be decided upon in the course of the next week," the statement said. A separate military police investigation into the incident is continuing.

British Muslim Charged with Inciting to Kill Jews


A Muslim leader in the United Kingdom, Abu Hamza Al-Masri, was charged in a British court this week with a variety of crimes, including 10 counts of soliciting murder, specifically, of Jews and other non-Muslims, as well as racist incitement and terrorism-related offenses.

The high profile, self-styled sheikh was the imam at the London-area Finsbury Park mosque. The mosque was attended by Zaccarias Moussawi, the infamous "20th hijacker" of 9/11, and by the failed "shoe bomber," Muslim convert Richard Reid, as well as by three terrorists involved in the Beslan school massacre. In addition to the charges he faces in the UK, Abu Hamza Al-Masri is also wanted in the United States and Yemen. In Yemen, he has been convicted in absentia for involvement in several bombings that killed three people and a kidnapping that left four hostages dead.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, the 47-year-old Abu Hamza Al-Masri has also been involved in Islamic terrorism and jihad in Bosnia and Afghanistan. In Bosnia, he commanded a unit of foreign fighters who came to fight jihad against the Christian Serbs. In Afghanistan, he lost his hands in a mine explosion while combating the Soviet incursion there.

Holland: Diary of Holocaust Victim Made Public


The previously unknown diary of 18-year-old Helga Deen - who was murdered along with her family by the Nazis at the Sobibor death camp in 1943 - has been loaned to the Tilburg Regional Archive in the Netherlands.

In her diary, Deen describes her experiences, feelings and surroundings at the Dutch Vught concentration camp in the month before she and her family were transported to Sobibor. 15,000 Jews were held in the Vught concentration camp between January 1943 and September 1944. Over 1,000 Jewish children imprisoned at Vught were killed at Sobibor, Poland.

The son of Kees van den Berg, who had a relationship with the young Jewish woman during World War II, held Deen's diary, along with other personal possessions. The Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), the Tilburg archivist, as well as other Dutch researchers have called the diary "remarkable" and "exceptional."

In her last letter in the collection loaned to the Tilburg archives, Helga Deen wrote, "What we have experienced these months is indescribable and for someone who has not experienced it, unimaginable."

Top-Ranked in Chess, Be'er Sheva to Teach Game to Tots

By Ha'aretz

Children at 20 Be'er Sheva kindergartens will soon be able to enroll in chess classes in the framework of a unique program aimed at strengthening the southern city's status as the chess capital of Israel.

Toward the end of Israel's championship league chess match in 2000, the Rishon Letzion chess club used donations to buy several top players, including world champion Gary Kasparov. That dream team was playing Israel's highest-ranking team: Be'er Sheva A. After a long battle, the Rishon Letzion group won by one point, but the meager victory wasn't enough to give it the championship and Be'er Sheva remained at the top of the charts.

Be'er Sheva A has recently become, for the 15th time in its history, the Israeli championship team. But it is only one of 36 groups in the city's flourishing chess club, all of which play in various leagues throughout the country. The club has 300 members, about half of them children. The oldest Be'er Sheva player is 85, and the youngest is only 4 years old.

The Negev city boasts world renown; with 85 club members ranked as chess grandmasters, Be'er Sheva has the highest number of grandmasters in proportion to population size in the entire world. Club members have achieved first place in the world championship for pensioners and third place for a group competition in the European championships, in addition to winning 15 Israeli championships. Four club members have been chess champions of Israel. Club member and grandmaster Alexander Huzman has even beaten Kasparov. "Every year I need to order a new trophy case," said club director Eliahu Levant, who founded the club a year after emigrating from St. Petersburg in 1972.

The achievements are even more impressive given that, unlike other clubs in Israel and around the world, the Be'er Sheva club does not buy players. All the players have played in the local chess club or are immigrants who moved to Be'er Sheva and joined the club.

What is it about Be'er Sheva that has made it the capital of Israeli chess? The answer lies in the large Russian community, the municipal investment in the club, tradition and, of course, luck.

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