Newsletter : 4fax1207.txt
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A Look at Chanukah Tradition
Officials in the Israel Manufacturer's Association report that in addition to
remembering the miracles associated with the Chanukah holiday, there is the tradition, the
"sufganiot" jelly doughnuts and the chanukiah (menorah). Association officials predict
that during this weeklong Festival of Lights, beginning Tuesday night, 20 million jelly
doughnuts will be consumed nationwide. 10,000 sterling silver menorahs will be purchased
and 35 million Chanukah candles will be lit. The cost of a plain box of candles ranges
from NIS 3-5 while the better grade averages NIS 18 a box.
Sharon Optimistic About Peace Prospects in Post-Arafat Era
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sounded a note of optimism about the prospects for Middle
East peace, crediting the new leadership of the Palestinian Authority for the brightened
outlook. Addressing members of his Likud Party in the Knesset, Sharon said the recent
actions by the new Palestinian leadership had given him reason for optimism for peace
prospects, and made him more determined than ever to go through with his planned
withdrawal from all the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.
He said the Palestinian leadership would find a willing partner, if it continues its
fight against terrorism. Sharon also warned rebels in his Likud Party that he would not
hesitate to call early elections, if they prevent him from bringing the moderate Labor
Party into the government to bolster his minority position.
Sharon said a broad and stable government is essential to prevent early elections. He
said those who want elections think they will bring him down, but he said he is confident
that, should early elections be necessary, he will win. Elections are not scheduled until
November 2006. The political upheaval that resulted from his disengagement plan has left
Sharon with no coalition partners and an urgent need for political support. Likud's
Central Committee is to vote on whether to accept Labor in the coalition later this
Meanwhile, two opinion polls on the Palestinian presidential race show leader Mahmoud
Abbas scoring 40 percent support among voters, but in one poll the jailed leader of the
Palestinian uprising, Marwan Barghouti, is shown with a popularity rating of 38 percent.
The second poll showed him with a much lower 21.9 percent. The 45-year-old Barghouti is
currently serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for planning suicide attacks.
Despite Barghouti's entrance into the contest, both surveys showed a major increase in
the popularity of Abbas who is the candidate of Fatah, the largest and most influential
group within the PLO. Barghouti is a Fatah member, but is running as an independent
candidate. He had originally said he would not contest the election, but changed his mind
and filed his candidacy just hours before the deadline expired. Altogether there are 10
candidates vying for the presidency. The election is scheduled for January 9.
The new head of the Palestinian Fatah movement has threatened to expel Barghouti unless
he withdraws from the presidential race. Barghouti is seen as the only serious challenger
to the official Fatah candidate, former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah chief Faruq
Qaddumi said any member who goes against the group's decisions should resign and have his
Shinui's Parting Anti-Religious Shot
Former Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, before leaving office last week, ordered that
daylight saving time ("summer time") in Israel begin without regard for Jewish
Poraz was one of five Shinui ministers whom Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fired last week
for voting against the first reading of the proposed 2005 budget. Poraz used his
ministerial power to unilaterally decide when DST begins for a three-year period.
According to his directive, Israelis will change the clocks as in Europe, moving it up on
the last Friday of March and turning it back the last Friday of October.
Previously, the clock changes usually took into account Passover, which would start
after 8 p.m. during daylight saving time, and Yom Kippur, when fasting would continue
until after 7 p.m. during daylight saving time.
The traditional "seder" on Passover eve starts following evening prayers after sundown
and often lasts several hours. It is considered an important educational event for little
children, and the late hour often makes it difficult for them to stay awake or pay
attention. The Yom Kippur fast always is the same number of hours, from shortly before
sundown until after nightfall the next day, but many religious leaders have pointed out
that the psychological effect of a "late-running" fast might lead people to be more lax
with starting the post-fast meal. Poraz also took what he apparently considered to be a
parting shot at the Likud, calling it "tied to religion and tradition."
Israeli MK to Head Delegation of Jews to Libya
Knesset member Moshe Kahlon (Likud) may become the first official Israeli
representative to meet Libyan leader Moammar Kaddafi if he agrees to head a delegation of
ex-Libyan Jews to the North African state.
The delegation to Libya is scheduled for two weeks from now, following an international
conference in Rome of Jews of Libyan background. Deputy Knesset Speaker Kahlon, of Libyan
background himself, will be representing Israel at the conference.
A central topic of the conference is compensation sought by those Jews who were
expelled from Libya in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, leaving behind a wealth of property that
was confiscated by the state or stolen by neighbors. In light of recent statements by
Kaddafi and his son Sayyif Al-Islam in favor of compensatory payments to Jews who lost
homes or property, representatives of the Libyan state have also been invited to attend
Presumably, the Libyan officials will be asked to present plans for paying out the
compensation. Earlier this year, Kaddafi stated that Jews would have an option to receive
compensation or another home, but not those who "seized Palestinian lands." He explained
that one must differentiate between "Jews and Zionists."
Immediately after the conference, the delegates are to travel to Libya for touring and
meetings with senior officials. As noted, Kaddafi himself is likely to meet with the
expatriate group, as well, regardless of the presence of an Israeli parliamentarian among
Teen Indicted For Not Trying to Prevent Girlfriend's Suicide
A 17-year-old youth from central Israel was charged Monday with failing to try to stop
his 14-year-old girlfriend from committing suicide almost two weeks ago. The girl killed
herself by jumping from the 20th floor of a building in the center of the country. She had
apparently planned the suicide together with her boyfriend, who was present at the scene
when she jumped to her death.
The charge sheet stated that the two met in April, and were a couple for about a month
and half, and renewed their relationship three months ago. On a number of occasions the
girl told her boyfriend that she wanted to kill herself, to which he replied that if she
committed suicide, he would do the same. According to the indictment, the girl told the
defendant that she had tried to kill herself in the past, both by taking an overdose and
by jumping from a great height.
During one conversation between the two, the charge sheet claimed, the youth told his
girlfriend that he could obtain a car capable of reaching a speed of 125 mph, which he
intended to drive into a truck while both of them were in the vehicle. The boyfriend told
police that the two had planned to commit suicide together and climbed up to the 20th
floor of a building. After they got drunk, the girl sat on a windowsill and asked him to
push her out the window.
After he refused to push her, the girl jumped off the window, the boy said. The boy
then returned to his house. Police reached him only after the girl's parents complained
the she was missing. At first the boy refused to cooperate with the police but then
agreed to talk.
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