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Register Your Opposition to Divestment at Christian Science Monitor Israel Faxx News Service

The Christian Science Monitor, a national newspaper, has an online survey that asks readers the basic question of whether or not to support divestment from companies doing business in Israel. The poll is linked to a news story quoting David Elcott, AJC's U.S. director of interreligious affairs, who has strongly opposed divestment in meetings with the Presbyterian Church. Please vote today at Currently, more than two-thirds of the respondents support divestment. .

Likud Supports Resolution on Coalition Talks with Labor

By Ha'aretz

A resolution backed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on whether to hold talks with the Labor Party on joining a unity government won a Likud internal vote Thursday night. More than 62 percent of Likud Central Committee delegates who voted - 1,410 people - were in favor of the negotiations, according to "almost official" figures announced by Likud bigwig Yisrael Katz.

A relatively low turnout had initially caused concern for the Sharon camp throughout the evening, but the polls finally closed at 10 p.m. with a turnout of more than 70 percent.

The party's ruling body began voting Thursday morning on a resolution approving the talks, a measure which may prove crucial to the success of the disengagement plan and to the survival of the Sharon government. Earlier Thursday, a Tel Aviv court rejected an appeal that could have thrown a wrench into Sharon's hopes to present a new government to the Knesset within 10 days of the evening meeting of the Likud ruling body.

Voting began at 10 A.M. to approve new talks toward a coalition "comprised of Likud, Labor and religious factions," in the words of the resolution drafted by Sharon. The "religious factions" refers to United Torah Judaism and Shas. A high turnout had been expected to work in Sharon's favor, and boost the chances of the resolution passing.

Arriving at the ballot at the Exhibition Grounds in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon, Sharon called on the 3,000 central committee delegates to take part in the vote. "Either Israel progresses or goes to [general] elections. It is important that everyone turns up here today, votes and contributes to Israel's progress, in every sense. It's simple: Those who don't vote sink the boat. What is important is to come here and cast a ballot."

In light of the Likud vote, negotiations with Labor, UTJ and Shas are expected to begin Sunday, after Labor Chairman Shimon Peres convenes his party bureau Saturday night to obtain its formal consent to the talks.

An Israel Radio poll released Thursday showed that more than 70 percent of Israeli voters are in favor of a Likud-Labor unity government. But among the members of the Likud Central Committee, the survey showed 48 percent in favor, and 41 percent opposed.

Sharon's coalition plans will face their next test Sunday, when the Labor Central Committee meets to determine a date for that party's leadership primary. Peres has proposed that the decision be deferred until the outcome of the coalition negotiations with Likud is known. On Thursday morning, Sharon told Army Radio that he would not present any coalition agreement with Labor for approval by the Likud Central Committee. "At this stage, there is no need from a legal standpoint. There is nothing more to explain and nothing more to approve. The government of Israel approved the disengagement plan, and the time has come to draw a line under this subject."

In August, the Likud Central Committee refused to permit Sharon to form a government with Labor, but this time Sharon has backing from several key ministers who opposed him last time. Moreover, the central committee knew that the only alternative to Labor is new elections, which would probably cost the Likud a significant number of its current Knesset seats. Three months ago, it still appeared possible for the government to survive without Labor.

Israel Urges International Effort on Iran

By Ha'aretz

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, says it is time for the international community, particularly Russia and the United Nations, to make a more coordinated effort to curb Iran's suspected support of terrorism and development of weapons of mass destruction. Ayalon said Iran remains one of the strongest threats to peace in the Middle East. And he said that Russia, which is helping Iran build nuclear reactors, could play a positive role in curtailing the threat.

Iran and Russia say the nuclear cooperation program is for peaceful purposes. But the United States says the nuclear program could help Iran develop weapons of mass destruction. Ayalon says so far Iran has faced few serious consequences from the international community for what he calls its nuclear and terrorist activities.

Ayalon refused to comment on Palestinian elections, scheduled for January 9th, other than to say Palestinian voters would decide whether they want to pursue peace and stability or continue terrorism. He made his comments at a discussion sponsored by the Israeli Project, a private organization to promote U.S.-Israeli relations.

Rabbis: Plant Meets Kosher Standards

By the Des Moines Register &

A coalition of rabbis and kosher-certifying agencies said that cattle slaughtering practices used at a northeast Iowa meatpacking plant are humane and meet standards for kosher meat production. The group made its claim a week after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posted videotape on the Internet that showed cattle stumbling about after undergoing shechita, or kosher slaughter, at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville.

Shechita involves slicing a cow's trachea and esophagus. A second cut to assist bleeding and speed the animal's unconsciousness does not violate shechita or affect "the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat," the kosher group said.

The coalition expressed concern that PETA's videotape "may lead to misconceptions about the practices . . . and, more generally, about the shechita process itself." The coalition's statement said, "Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost instantaneously." Even then, an animal "may still display certain reflexive actions, including those shown in images portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should not be mistaken for signs of consciousness or pain."

PETA asked government regulators to investigate the practices at the Agriprocessors plant. Federal investigators were sent last week to Postville, and that investigation is continuing, said Steven Cohen, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Kashrut authorities and two Orthodox rabbis in Cleveland have disputed claims by PETA the practices at the Iowa plant are inhumane and violate Jewish and federal law. Over a seven-week period from late July to early September, PETA secretly taped kosher slaughtering at Agriprocessors, the largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse in the world and the only U.S. plant certified to export products to Israel processes meat under the Rubashkin and Aaron's Best labels.

The 40-minute PETA videotape, which the Cleveland Jewish News has viewed, shows workers poking each cow with an electrified prod and positioning the animal into a rotating drum. The cow is turned upside down, exposing its throat to the shochet. The yellow-suited shochet quickly slices the cow's neck, causing large amounts of blood to gush.

While it is hard to see exactly what happens next, another worker appears to pull out the trachea and esophagus. The rotating drum is turned, spilling the cow onto the concrete floor. After the animal quiets, a worker attaches a hook and chain to its hind foot and hoists the cow up. Each cow is then moved via a conveyor belt to another area, PETA says, to be decapitated.

The apparent excision or cutting away of the trachea and esophagus is the practice that has troubled kashrut authorities. No one but the shochet is allowed to touch and remove the windpipe, rabbis say. Furthermore, pulling out the trachea is not a prescribed kosher practice. The Orthodox Union "was very concerned" that the video appears to show a worker pulling out the trachea and has asked Agriprocessors to guarantee that no one is doing that, says Mike Thomas, spokesman for Agriprocessors. However, he said, "We don't do that now. What you see on the video is misconstrued."

The problem is that the knife used by the shochet is so sharp; the narrow cut into the carotid artery can close up again, preventing the rapid and profuse bleeding required by kosher and federal law. What the videotape shows is a worker cutting the artery next to the trachea and some stringy and elastic material in order to facilitate rapid bleeding, Thomas said.

While JTA reported that the OU has promised to institute changes at Agriprocessors, leaving the trachea in place and instead making a secondary cut to sever the arterial blood supply to the brain, Thomas said the plant has already been doing this for several years. It's an adaptation developed by Rabbi Chaim Kohn, rabbinic administrator of Khal Adas Jeshurun, a kosher certifying agency, in conjunction with the USDA.

In 2002, PETA outraged Jewish groups when it began using Holocaust imagery to protest the meat processing industry. Its "Holocaust on Your Plate" project was displayed at Cleveland's Public Square in July 2003, comparing the slaughter of animals to the Nazis' extermination of Jews and others.

Kosher slaughtering has been proven over centuries and in scientific studies to be a humane process, said Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, in an interview broadcast online. "PETA wants everyone to be vegetarians," he said. "They are not just against shechita. They are also against using animals as pets or as seeing-eye dogs. They have this notion that animals and human have equal status."

Kill, Kill, Kill

By: Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

The title KILL KILL KILL may sound like a Mel Brooks comic movie, however this article is definitely far from funny. I intend to show a picture of a people who are devoid of human decency and compassion.

There are Islamic terrorist groups throughout the world, yes also here in America, who resort to every possible method of terror. Sometimes they say that they only want the United States out of Iraq and Afghanistan. They always want the elimination of Israel and death to the Jews. From their actions it seems that what they really want is to convert the entire world to Islam and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal.

The Islamic terrorists call it a jihad (a Holy War) making anything and everything permissible. What they do most is kill or threaten to kill, usually, without rhyme or reason. They even threaten and murder other Muslims as readily as they do the infidels (all non-Muslims).

On Aug. 28, 2004 CNN reported on the two Russian commercial planes that went down within minutes of each other that week. Traces of explosives were found in the wreckage. The Federal Security Service believes terrorism is to blame for the two crashes killing 154 and 46 people, respectively. How sane can these people be if they are willing to kill a planeload of strangers some of whom might even be their comrades or family members.

According to the killing of women by Islamic groups in Iraq continues unabated since the start of the war and the occupation of Iraq by the United States. Two important elements of a woman's independence are being targeted. To prevent women from obtaining an education and to prevent them from working. Imagine being killed for wanting an education, or better yet, trying to earn money to feed yourself and your children.

This year, in Iraq alone, more than 170 foreigners have been kidnapped. At least 34 are known to have been killed. The Washington Times reported that one of those kidnapped and eventually murdered by her captors was a Mrs. Tahsin Hassan. Why kill an individual like Tahsin Hassan, a person who has spent more than 30 years in Iraq dedicating her life to serving the Iraqi people? If it is for their religion then there must be something wrong with that religion

As reported by On November 20, 2000 an Israeli school bus was blown up outside of Kfar Darom by the Palestinian Preventive Security forces. The wonton attack killed two teachers, and seriously wounded many of the school children. Three young children Orit, Yisrael and Tehilla, sustained the most serious of these injuries. Orit, 12, had part of her leg amputated, Yisrael, 7, had his entire leg removed, and Tehilla, 9, had to have both her legs removed in life-saving surgery.

Attacking a busload of unarmed children is clearly the act of people devoid of decency. I cannot understand how any decent person can justify blowing up a busload of seven and nine-year-old children as part of a jihad. Never the less it appears there are numerous people who approve or condone such actions. These bombings as well as others such as in Bali, Indonesia and France are but a few of the many acts that display zero compassion.

If these examples are not enough of a concern then the April 24, 2004 report by Patrick E. Tryle and Don von Natta Jr. of Luton, England should be, Counter terrorism officials say "The call to jihad is rising in the streets of Europe, and is being answered." Never Again

(Ziegler is a board member of the New Jewish Congregation in The Villages, Florida, as well as president of the NJC Brotherhood. He can be reached at

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