Newsletter : 4fax1228.txt
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Women In Green: Put Sharon on Trial
Nadia Matar, just months after the stormy response she received for accusing the
government of acting like the "Judenrat," has called for putting Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon on trial for "cooperating with the enemy." Matar, leader of the Women in Green
organization, said she and other activists would file a police complaint against Sharon
Sunday. She compared Disengagement Authority head Yonaton Bassi, an orthodox Kibbutznik,
to the Judenrat, Jewish councils during the Holocaust acted as intermediaries with the
Nazis, carrying out the their increasingly oppressive dictates, such as helping transfer
their fellow Jews into ghettos, and eventually even delivering Jews directly to the trains
bound for the death camps.
Israel Releases 159 Palestinian Prisoners as Part of Deal with Egypt
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com
Israel released 159 Palestinian prisoners Monday as a goodwill gesture to the new
Palestinian leadership and to Egypt, which earlier this month released Azzam Azzam, an
Israeli man who had served eight years in an Egyptian prison on spy charges. In exchange,
Israel released six Egyptian students who had crossed the border illegally and were
accused of planning to carry out attacks against Israel. Also as part of the deal, Israeli
authorities agreed to release some Palestinian prisoners.
Israel holds an estimated 7,000 Palestinian prisoners and Monday's release is also
intended as a goodwill gesture to the new interim Palestinian leadership, headed by former
Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.
One of those released at the Beitunia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah,
gave his name only as Abdullah. He said he hoped more prisoners would be released in the
future. He said the Palestinian leadership must keep up the pressure on the government of
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to release more Palestinian prisoners. Another prisoner,
Hussein, said many more Palestinians are suffering in Israeli jails. He said they too
should be released.
There is definitely pressure on Abbas to make the release of prisoners a central issue
with the Israelis. Abbas is favored to win in the January 9 elections to succeed Yasir
Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority. He kicked off his campaign, calling on
Israel to release all Palestinian prisoners, including prominent terrorist leader Marwan
Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences on charges of terrorism.
Among the prisoners are around 50 illegal residents and the rest are inmates whose
prison terms were almost up and who do not have "blood on their hands," meaning they were
not involved in attacks against Israelis. Included was a senior Fatah party leader in
Hebron. Fatah is the PLO's terrorist organization founded by Arafat.
President Moshe Katzav, who agreed to pardon the prisoners, refused to grant release to
only four members of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Tanzim terrorist organizations.
Spokesman for the Terror Victims Association, Uriah Bachrach, denounced the release of
the terrorists. He said, "Contrary to all media reports, this release has nothing to do
with Azzam Azzam. It is a 'gesture' that, based on past experience, will cost Israel
Jewish blood. In every other release of terrorists who attempted, but were not successful,
in murdering Jews, many of the convicts went right back to try again. In essence, the
State of Israel is simply granting a second chance to terrorists who missed their target."
As Toll Mounts, Fears Grow for Israelis Missing in SE Asia
As the death toll in the Southeast Asian earthquake and tsunami catastrophe passed the
24,000 mark, fears grew Monday for the fate of some 100 Israelis still missing and
The Foreign Ministry said Monday night that 29 Israelis had been injured in South Asia,
four of them seriously. The four were in Thailand: two on Phi Phi Island and two on
Phuket. Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman, David Saranga, told Israel Radio that the four
will be flown to Bangkok on Tuesday for further treatment and it will then be decided
whether they were well enough to fly home to Israel.
Channel 2 news reported Monday evening that the Foreign Ministry was checking reports
that six Israeli had been swept out to sea by the tsunamis. Ministry figures updated
Monday showed that around 100 Israelis traveling in Southeast Asia have not been located
since the devastating earthquake and tsunamis struck. More than 500 Israelis have,
however, been found. Foreign Ministry representatives on Monday began contacting the
families of Israelis who have been safely located in the region.
Between seven and 14 Israelis were injured in Thailand's Phuket Island by the
earthquake and subsequent massive tidal waves, the Foreign Ministry said. According to
local reports, all 107 Israelis that were in the Andaman Islands at the time of the
disaster have been located and are unharmed. Israeli medical teams were dispatched to Sri
Lanka and Thailand on Monday. A Health Ministry contingent left for Thailand to aid in the
rescue efforts there after around 1,000 people, including tourists, were killed on the
once-idyllic islands of Phuket and Phi Phi. The contingent includes doctors, nurses and
four members of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Radio reported.
Another team landed in Sri Lanka on Monday night. Four doctors - all from Hadassah
University Hospital, Ein Karem in Jerusalem - head the Israeli mission. The team is
carrying medicine and baby food. The doctors, who specialize in rescue operations, trauma
and pediatrics, will also be checking the viability of establishing a field hospital in
the area. That decision will come at a later time from the Ministry of Defense.
"It is possible... we will advise Israel and the Foreign Ministry... to send something
more massive," said Dr. Avi Rivkind, director of Hadassah's trauma unit. "We will try to
use our... broad experience in dealing with terror attacks and rescuing masses to help in
this disaster as well."
Another contingent, this one made up of IDF members, will leave for Sri Lanka on
Tuesday morning, Israel Radio reported. Sri Lanka was one of the hardest hit countries,
with over 10,000 people killed, including 200 foreign tourists. Israel has also offered
its assistance to India -- a search and rescue team from the Home Front Command, as well
as consignments of food and medicines.
In a parallel move, the Latet (Hebrew for "to give") organization will send a plane
with aid to Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The aid, comprising tens of thousands of blankets
donated by the IDF, as well as tents, nylon sheets, and water tanks, was sent request of
the authority in the stricken areas.
Holocaust Survivor Sisters Moving to Israel
A unique pair of sisters is among over 200 immigrants arriving in Israel Wednesday from
North America. The flight carrying the new immigrants is the fourth such El Al flight
from North America chartered by Nefesh B'Nefesh organization and the Jewish Agency for
Israel this year. Over 3,000 Jews emigrated from North America through that program thus
While Nefesh B'Nefesh immigrants are generally young families and professionals, this
week's flight includes two special seniors: Irma Haas, 97, and sister Hilde Meyer, 94, who
both survived the Holocaust. Born in Germany, they fled to Holland during World War II,
but were ultimately deported to the death camp at Bergen-Belsen. Miraculously, both
sisters survived, although their husbands perished. Following the war, the two relocated
to America, living the past 50 years in Manhattan and Englewood, NJ. This Wednesday, they
are delighted to realize their lifelong dream of living in Jerusalem.
The 2004 olim (newcomers) come from 33 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. Of the
1,600 immigrants on Nefesh B'Nefesh's premiere flights in 2002-03, 99% remain in Israel.
93% of the families have one or both spouses employed, 95 children were born to the new
olim and 18 weddings were celebrated.
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