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Hamas Cancels Anniversary Rally

By VOA News

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has canceled plans for its anniversary rally over fears of an Israeli attack. Thousands of Hamas supporters had been expected to join the rally Friday to mark the 17th anniversary of the founding of the movement. A Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said the rally at a Gaza City sports stadium has been canceled because of renewed concern about the safety of Hamas leaders - particularly after Sunday's attack on an Israeli military post in Gaza that killed five soldiers. Israel has assassinated Hamas founder and his successor in separate air strikes earlier this year. Israel also killed more than a dozen Hamas fighters when it bombed a soccer field where the militants were training.

Four IDF soldiers, One Civilian Wounded in Gaza Strip Shooting

By Ha'aretz

Five Israelis, among them four Israel Defense Forces soldiers and one civilian were injured in a shooting attack on two vehicles in the Kissufim crossing in the Central Gaza Strip on Wednesday night. An IDF officer and the civilian were in moderate condition while the civilians sustained light wounds. According to initial reports, an armed Palestinian opened fire on the vehicles west of the Mor Bridge, at the Gush Katif junction. Islamic Jihad and Fatah claimed joint responsibility for the attack.

The shooting occurred after the IDF reopened the Kissufim crossing to traffic, which had been closed for several hour due to an earlier shooting in the area, in which IDF troops killed an armed Palestinian and wounded another, who managed to flee the area. According to Palestinian witnesses and medics, the 33-year-old man was killed after trying to cross a road closed off by the IDF near the isolated Netzarim settlement. The sister of Mustafa al-Sawarka said he was killed by IDF tank fire on the taxi in which he was traveling, Israel Radio reported.

An IDF source said soldiers had fired warning shots towards Palestinian cars that sped into a closed military zone along the road but that none was targeted directly.

In the West Bank, gunmen of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on Wednesday shot dead 20-year-old Ibrahim Zeita, who they said had acted as an informant for Israel. His body was then dumped in a Ramallah square. Also Wednesday, IDF troops destroyed the house of a Hamas terrorist in the West Bank city of Hebron, the military said. The house belonged to Iyad Abu Shakhidas, a militant the army said supplied the explosives to suicide bombers who carried out a double bombing in the city of Be'er Sheva in August, in which 16 people were killed.

Warning Issued Against Arab Scam


Border Police Commander Yisrael Yitzchak warned Israelis of the dangers of doing business with PA Arabs. Yitzchak, who oversees the Judea and Samaria region, warned Israelis not to enter areas A (under full PA control) or B (under partial PA control) not only because of security concerns, but also to avoid recurring scam operations that have relieved several Israeli vendors of their wares.

The warning was issued after several Israeli merchants fell victim to a ring of PA Arab crooks from the Shechem region. The crooks phoned merchants advertising in Israeli newspapers, placing orders worth tens of thousands of shekels. They posed as large wholesalers from Shechem or exporters to Jordan. The Israeli merchants agreed to fill the orders, showing up with the merchandise at PA villages in Area B or checkpoints leading into Area A. The Arab thieves would then load the merchandise into their vehicles and escape to nearby PA-controlled villages without paying - knowing that the Israelis could not follow them.

Aside from the danger of losing their merchandise, several Israelis have been murdered after entering Arab villages in Area A, and even some in Area B. Although under the Oslo Accords Area B is officially under IDF security control and PA administrative control, it has proved equally hazardous for Jews as locations under full Arab control. The blame was sometimes places on the victims.

"How many Israelis have to be murdered until they realize the dangers of entering villages in Area B?" asked IDF district commander Col. Ilan Paz, at the scene of the August 2001 murder of 60-year-old Amos Tajuri of Modi'in, who was shot in the head at point-blank range by a masked terrorist while visiting an Arab friend in a nearby Arab village.

New TV Channel Will Teach Hebrew


Learning Hebrew is one of the most important steps in the absorption process. A new TV station dedicated to helping new immigrants learn the Holy Tongue is about to make it a whole lot easier.

Israel's Absorption ministry is in the process of launching a television station dedicated solely to teaching Hebrew to new immigrants - a move unprecedented in any other country. Director-General of the Absorption Ministry Mirla Gal spoke with IsraelNationalRadio's Yishai Fleisher and Eli Stutz on Wednesday about the new station and several other new Absorption Ministry initiatives.

"When Tzipi Livni took office as Minister of Immigrant Absorption, one of the first issues she dealt with was increasing the knowledge of Hebrew," said Gal. "One of the first issues she dealt with was the fact that many new immigrants lack the time and resources to take full advantage of the Ulpan [intensive Hebrew courses] offered by the Ministry - or do not attend long enough to improve their Hebrew substantially."

According to Gal, the new TV station would aim to make Hebrew study more accessible, convenient and sustainable. "People watch television, it's always in the background and is available 24 hours a day," she said. "Even when it's raining you don't have to go anywhere -people can just flip a button and learn Hebrew through the dynamic, modern program we will offer."

The programming will include lessons on Jewish and Israeli culture and news broadcasts using simple Hebrew will be broadcast periodically. Interactive features such as crossword puzzles and logic games that can be filled out using special remote controls are also going to be included. Most of the actual programming will be in simplified Hebrew, with some language-specific shows offered. Critical technical instructions and scheduling announcements will be offered in Amharic (Ethiopian), English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Gal said that the concept of using the TV to teach Hebrew is not a new one; it is just being expanded upon due to its success. On government sponsored educational television there is already a program called Chataf Patach [a reference to an obscure Hebrew vowel] - aired every Sunday at 2:50 p.m. The show, also a project of the Absorption Ministry, is geared toward new immigrant children age six to nine.

"The Absorption Ministry has shifted priorities," Gal said, "and is taking several steps to use new technology to teach Hebrew in a way that fits the pace and schedule of the new immigrant. In the very near future we will have computer centers where Hebrew will be taught using computers, and we are currently developing Hebrew-learning programs which will be made available online through Absorption Ministry's web site."

Negotiations are still underway with cable and satellite television companies, though the proposed Hebrew-learning channel does not yet have a name. Gal said that the Ministry welcomes submissions by new immigrants suggesting names for the new channel. IsraelNationalRadio's Yishai Fleisher suggested "Hebrew-Vision," or "Ivritavizia" - in Hebrew. (The Hebrew word for the Hebrew language is Ivrit and for television, is televizia.)

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