Newsletter : 5fax0309.txt
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Hugh Swastika Greets Air Passengers in Germany
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Reuters
A five by eight meter swastika was carved into the ice on a lake near Berlin such that
passengers from airplanes could see it as they approached Berlin's Tergel airport. The
Nazi symbol, outlawed in Germany, remained carved under the flight path until a pilot
reported it to authorities. Police destroyed the ice sculpture after they made sure the
thickness of the ice would support them. The Nazi symbol was visible from planes arriving
from all over Europe for most of Monday morning. The suspected neo-Nazi stunt recalls an
affair five years ago when a 60-by-60 meter swastika, visible only from the air, was
discovered in a forest 100 km north of Berlin. A devoted Hitler follower had planted
russet-colored larch trees in 1938, which formed a swastika for a few weeks each autumn
and spring as the leaves changed color.
Abbas: Delays By Israel Undermining Peace Process
By VOA News
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that delays by Israel in carrying out
promises made in a recent ceasefire deal were undermining the peace process.
In comments to the Palestinian parliament, Abbas said Israel has been slow to act on
the release of prisoners and its promise to withdraw from parts of the West Bank. He made
his remarks ahead of a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. They were
expected to discuss the handover to the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank town of
Their talks will be the highest-level discussions between the two sides since last
month's historic summit in Egypt, where Israel and the Palestinians signed a truce aimed
at renewing the peace process.
U.S. Jewry's Attachment to Israel on a Decline
A comparison of three surveys in the past two years shows that the attachment of some -
but not all - American Jews to Israel has decreased significantly. The most recent
edition of National Survey of American Jews, sponsored by the Jewish Agency's Education
Department, was completed in January of this year, and shows that 26% of the respondents
said they were very emotionally attached to Israel, compared with only 31% who said the
same in a similar poll in 2002.
In other areas, as well, Israel declined as an important factor in the lives of
American Jews. 65% said they closely follow Israel news - down from 74% two years ago. 31%
said they talk about Israel frequently with friends (39% with Jewish friends), down from
43% (53%) in 2002.
Questioned on their religious denomination, 9% identified themselves as Orthodox, 36%
as Conservative and 40% as Reform.
A third survey, however - less scientific, and of a different cross-section - shows
different results. An Arutz-7 Readership Survey taken last month shows that 74% of those
who responded "care deeply about the Land and State." About 2/3 of the readers live in the
U.S. Approximately 60% of the Arutz-7 respondents (72% of the Jews) identified themselves
as Orthodox or Torah Jews. (16% are Bnei Noach or Christian).
Among American Jewry as a whole, there was no significant decline in religious
observance and communal affiliation - but these were not too high to begin with. Seventy
percent held or attended a Seder last year [down from 73% in the previous poll], 59%
fasted at least part of the day on Yom Kippur [no change], 57% generally attend High
Holiday services, only just above a quarter attend Sabbath services at least once a month,
24% live in a household that usually lights Sabbath candles [down from 23%], and only 20%
have separate dishes for meat and dairy [up from 14%].
The nationwide Jewish Agency poll asked about Jews' political attitude towards Israel.
Some 37% said they were "often disturbed by Israel's policies and actions," while another
30% were not sure. It was not clear, however, what exactly about Israel's policies
disturbed them, and whether the policies in question leaned too far to the right - or
possibly too far to the left.
Respondents were asked whether they agreed that Israeli soldiers are often
unnecessarily brutal towards Palestinian civilians (only 20% agreed), and that Israel
persecutes a minority population (11%). Furthermore, only 13% agreed that Israel occupies
lands that belong to another people.
The respondents did not have a chance, however, to say whether they agreed that "Israel is
giving away too much too quickly," or whether "Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement plan
is a reward for terrorism."
Yet another study, the National Jewish Population Survey of 2000-01, found that the
greater one's Jewish education, the less likely one is to intermarry. 43% of those who
lacked any Jewish education intermarried, 29% among those who had one day per week of
Jewish education intermarried, 23% of those who had part-time Jewish education
intermarried, and only 7% of those who attended Jewish day school or yeshiva intermarried.
Head of Islamic Jihad Taught Middle East Studies at Florida University
The terrorist behind the Stage Club in Tel Aviv over a week ago taught Middle East
Studies at a University in the U.S. before he moved to Syria.
47-year-old Ramadan Shallah is the head of Islamic Jihad who was caught on tape
ordering the attack by telephone from Damascus. A transcript of the call was given to
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Shallah was a Ph.D student at Durham University, in
England from 1985-1990, where he wrote his thesis on the merits of Islamic Banking.
Shallah then moved from Durham to the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he
taught Middle Eastern studies and headed the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, a think
tank affiliated with the university. In 1995 he became the head of Islamic Jihad and is
now wanted for murder by Israel.
Israeli Psychic Offers to Save 'Cursed' British Town
Spoon-bending Israeli psychic Uri Geller has offered to single-handedly save a northern
English city that many residents believe has been cursed.
The people of the city of Carlisle on the Scottish border say the recent inscription on
a large lump of polished granite of an ancient curse has brought down on their heads
floods, pestilence and sporting humiliation.
"I have offered to take the stone off their hands, put it in my garden and exorcise
it," Geller told Reuters on Tuesday. "The Domesday Book records an ancient healing center
in my village and all the ley lines converge on my garden."
Carlisle councilor Jim Tootle insists that the "Cursing Stone" -- inscribed with a 16th
century curse against robbers, blackmailers and highwaymen -- be destroyed or removed.
Since its installation in 2001 in one of the city's museums, misfortune has plagued the
city. Livestock herds were wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease, there has been a
devastating flood, factories have closed, a boy was murdered in a local bakery and
Carlisle United soccer team dropped a league.
Geller was sanguine over how the residents of his small village of Sonning-on-Thames
about an hour west of London would take the arrival of the curse if Carlisle council takes
him up on his offer. "I believe the curse can be exorcised. I will use my pendulum and
cleanse the stone of any evil forces. After that I would like to keep it in my garden. It
is a work of art," he said.
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