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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 Tulkarem.

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

By IsraelNationalNews.com

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

By IsraelNationalNews.com

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

By Reuters

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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