Newsletter : 5fax0211.txt
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Abbas Fires 3 Top Palestinian Security Officials in Shakeup
By VOA News
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has fired three top security officials after
militants broke the cease-fire he reached with Israel and fired mortars at Jewish
settlements in the Gaza Strip. Abbas dismissed the men, including security chief Abdel
Razek Majaidie, hours after Hamas militants fired the mortars. No one was wounded in the
shelling, which Hamas said was a response to Israeli gunfire that killed a Palestinian man
Wednesday in Gaza. Despite the violence, Israeli and Palestinian officials met late
Thursday to discuss security issues.
Cease-fire Explodes with Dozens of Mortar Shells and Rockets
The cease-fire and "new hope for peace" declared at Sharm a-Sheikh on Tuesday exploded
Thursday amidst 36 Arab-fired mortar shells and Kassam rockets at Gush Katif towns. No
one was hurt in the attacks, though was one house in N'vei Dekalim suffered a direct hit,
and electricity was out in most of Gush Katif - the bloc of Jewish communities in southern
Gaza - for several hours. Israel submitted a formal complaint about the attacks to the
U.S. and to Egypt, which hosted the Sharm a-Sheikh summit.
The most recent shells landed in Netzarim, close to 11 a.m. and three more in Morag
around noon. Though Gush Katif has been pounded with well over 5,300 shells and rockets
during the past four years, residents said they could not remember such a large
bombardment as the one that began Thursday morning.
On the one hand, the organized bombardment appeared to be a direct result of the
concessions that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made to the Palestinian Authority in recent
days, and which continued even Thursday. Katif.net reported that the north-south route
that has long had an IDF checkpoint controlling its traffic is now open 24 hours a day to
local Arab traffic, with no Israeli supervision. "This enables the terrorists to rearm and
transport mortar shells from north to south with no disturbance," the site reported.
On the other hand, Kfar Darom spokesman Asher Mivtzari said the tremendous amount of
mortar shells showed that there is guidance from higher political echelons. "We see that
no shells have hit Sderot, while Gush Katif is pounded mercilessly. It is clear that Abu
Mazen is allowing this, while at the same time receiving a signal from Sharon that it's OK
to hit Gush Katif, as long as Sderot (Editor: Near Sharon's 'ranch') is left out of the
"We call upon the Prime Minister and Defense Minister," said Gush Katif spokesman Eran
Sternberg, "to open their eyes and see with whom we're making this imaginary peace, and to
whom they're making the gestures [of removing roadblocks, releasing prisoners, and the
Knesset member Uri Ariel (National Union) said very simply, "Sharon has abandoned Gush
Katif and its residents; the fact that there have been no wounded has nothing to do with
him... The soldiers can no longer merely open fire on suspected infiltrators; they have to
ask permission from their higher-ups, and it takes a while. All the Hamas leaders have now
come out of their holes, and are walking around free, preparing for the next round of
terror." MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) called upon the government to cease
all goodwill gestures to the PA following the bombardment.
Hamas took credit for the bombardment of Gush Katif, stating it was in retaliation for
Israel's shooting Wednesday night at a group of four Arabs. The four were attempting to
infiltrate the community of Atzmonah, having reached to within 120 feet of the fence, and
were shot while in an area well known as being banned to Arabs. Another terrorist was
killed nearby when the bomb he was trying to place blew up in his hands.
Soap Said to be Made from Jews in Holocaust Found in Israel
A box of soap which, according to the Romanian Jewish community, was made from the
bodies of Jews killed in the Holocaust was found Thursday in a funeral home in Magdiel in
central Israel, Army Radio reported. The box was buried under a tombstone that read "Soap
of Holy People."
Sources at Yad Vashem expressed disappointment at the radio report, calling the story a
"pure invention that was given a stage by the media." A Yad Vashem spokeswoman said there
is no proof the Nazis made soap from human bodies during the Holocaust. The sources said
similar claims have been made in the past regarding soap made from Jewish bodies,
including soap found last year in the Nahariya cemetery. In that case the soap was
determined not to have been made from human remains.
In 1990 samples from several soaps claimed to have been made from Jews were sent for
DNA testing at Tel Aviv University. Likewise, those tests determined the soaps did not
contain human fats.
The director of the Jewish burial society Hevra Kadisha, Moti Elbaum, informed Army
Radio of the discovery. "I was very surprised and terrified. I didn't know that in Israel
there is a grave for soap that was made from saints that were placed on the fire," said
Elbaum. "It is shocking and horrifying. Each time were are shocked more and more by the
things that were done to our nation."
The daughter and associates of the rabbi that performed the burial ceremony said he
asked to be buried in a grave next to the soap grave. His associates also expressed anger
at the reaction of Yad Vashem casting doubt on the authenticity of the soap. Holocaust
survivors claim that the soap was engraved with writing that said it was made from fat
from Jewish bodies.
Hitler's Nazi Retreat Becomes a Vacation Resort
Sixty years after the liberation of Aucshwitz, Berchtesgaden, Hitler's notorious
hideaway headquarters in the Bavarian Alps, is now being promoted as a "cozy" vacation
resort hotel and is scheduled to open next month. In a marketing blitz that could have
come straight out of the script of "The Producers," Mel Brooks' long running bitter,
Broadway satire on Hitler and the Nazis, the InterContinental Hotels' sales pitch for the
alpine site proclaims: "Berchtesgaden: It's not a peak, it's a treat."
In the winter 2005 edition of the hotel chain's magazine "Hightstyle," the place where
Hitler planned out and made many of the key decisions of World War II that resulted in the
deaths of 70 million people, including six million Jews, has been repackaged as an idyllic
get-away locale for "thigh slapping, local dancing" and "a particularly fine spot for
"Unfortunately, Berchtesgaden holds a more sinister significance," said Dr. Shimon
Samuels, director for international liaison for the Wiesenthal Center, the institute
dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. "It was the seat of evil, where Adolf
Hitler, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi leadership took most of the
decisions that cost the world 70 million lives."
Samuels expressed revulsion over the hotel magazine's suggestion for prospective
Berchtesgaden vacationers to 'descend into the bowels of the earth' in a tour of the
nearby Salzbergwerk salt mines, explaining that the Nazi death camps were "a place in
which millions, indeed, descended 'into the bowels of the earth' never to return." He
added, "This dishonors the memory of all the victims of Nazism, offends the survivors and
teaches tomorrow's murderers that scenic beauty can camouflage and efface their
Israeli Couple Reveals the Secrets of Love Chemistry
By ISRAEL21c.org (Copyright 2004)
The walls are covered with paintings, bookshelves line the room, and set gracefully in
a niche are two chairs and a small table adorned with a vase of flowers in the home of the
professors Sperling. The couch is wonderfully comfortable, and the tea impeccably served,
as these two scientists reveal the secrets of the chemistry of their marriage and of their
new insights into how the DNA code is transformed into instructions for the protein
construction through RNA "cutting and pasting" that is necessary for cells to survive.
Professor Ruth Sperling of the Genetics Department of the Hebrew University brings
plates of cookies, lemon cake and a selection of teas, while Professor Yossi Sperling of
the Organic Chemistry Department of the Weizmann Institute begins explaining the
background of their study. "We have solved the mystery of the structure of the machine
[or spliceosome] in the cell where cutting and pasting - splicing - of RNA that codes for
proteins takes place," he told ISRAEL21c. His wife added," Since many diseases, including
cancer, appear to be connected to mistakes that take place during the splicing process,
causing defects in the cells, understanding the workings of the machinery involved may
facilitate the correction or prevention of these diseases in the future."
After about 20 years of research that is by no means complete, the couple and their
dedicated and talented graduate students, Maia Azubel of the Hebrew University and Dr.
Sharon Wolf of the Chemical Research Support Department at the Weizmann Institute, have
created a 3-D image of the spliceosome 'machine' where RNA splicing takes place, which is
situated in the nucleus of a cell. "We chose the top down approach," said Yossi. "We went
to the cell and tried to take out the machine or assembly in its natural state." "We are
researching something that can only be seen with an electron microscope," added Ruth.
The scientists used images of split-second freezing of the spliceosome units at very
low temperatures. The composite 3-D picture was built from thousands of images, each
showing the sliceosome at a slightly different angle, so that now there is a "picture" of
the machines that function in the nucleus of a cell. "And the machine has the length of
50 nanometers," said Yossi, noting that there are one billion nanometers in one meter.
After 43 years of marriage, the two professors are still very respectful and
considerate of each other, each listening attentively when the other speaks, rounding out
a thought or explanation only if necessary. They said that it takes patience and
persistence and a never-ending curiosity to persevere in the scientific world, and laugh
that the same can be said of their marriage.
The Sperlings, who spend about two days a week working in the same place, share an
insatiable curiosity about how things work. They agreed that there is no competition
between them and that they have never argued about their research. "We both have
tremendous patience and staying power and, yes, we love each other," said Yossi. "It's
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