Newsletter : 5fax0322.txt
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Israel Approves West Bank Settlement Expansion
By VOA News
Israel has approved plans to build 3,500 new homes in the occupied West Bank; in a move
Palestinians say sabotages efforts to rekindle the Mideast peace process. The Israeli
plan, approved by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, appears to clash with the U.S.-backed
"Roadmap" peace plan. That plan calls for a halt to settlement expansion on all
Palestinian land captured by Israel in the 1967 war. There has been no U.S. comment on the
move, which analysts say is aimed at linking the settlement of Maale Adumim to greater
Jerusalem. Israel claims Jerusalem as its eternal capital, while Palestinians want Arab
East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
Israelis and Palestinians Agree on Tulkarem Security Hand-Over
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel Radio said Israeli and Palestinian officials have reached a compromise that
would permit the hand-over of security control of Tulkarem and two nearby West Bank
villages to Palestinian control. The transfer is to be completed Tuesday. The transfer had
been held up when the two sides could not agree on the future of several villages north of
Tulkarem. The Palestinians wanted to assume control of those villages, but Israel rejected
the request, saying the return of Palestinian control to those areas should be more
A particular concern for the Israelis was that the villages are the bases for the
Islamic Jihad militants who carried out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed five
Israelis in late February. The agreement reached Monday calls for the two villages to
remain under Israeli control for the time being.
The Palestinians assumed security control of Jericho last week, after several days delay.
After Tulkarem is handed over, Qalqilyah is to be next. The transfer of security control
is one of the steps agreed upon at a summit in Egypt, last month. Another is the pledge to
release Palestinian prisoners. Five hundred have already been freed, but the Palestinians
want all 8,000 now in Israeli jails to be let go.
Is Gov't Preparing for Civil Strife in Exercise Tuesday?
In what might be categorized as preparation for severe civil strife just short of civil
war, the government will be conducting an exercise Tuesday at Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital
in preparation for executing the government's plan to expel 10,000 Jews from their homes
in Gaza and Northern Samaria. The broad based exercise will involve branches of the armed
services including army, air force, and the police, as well as civilian agencies, such as
the Health Ministry, Fire Department, and emergency first aid services (Magen David Adom).
The declared purpose of the exercise is to test the readiness of hospital and support
services in the event of large-scale civilian casualties arising out of the implementation
of the expulsion plan. The government will be limiting access to emergency medical
services at the Barzilai hospital Tuesday in order to carry out the exercise.
Mass Bar Mitzvah Held At Western Wall For Ethiopian Jews
A mass Bar Mitzvah ceremony was celebrated recently for 50 Ethiopian immigrants at the
Western Wall in Jerusalem. The 50 new immigrants, ages 20 to 30, had never celebrated
their Bar Mitzvahs - the ceremony marking a Jew's acceptance of responsibility for the
observance of religious laws at the age of 13 (12, for girls' Bat Mitzvot)). The
immigrants are registered in a Jewish Agency program called Kedma, which prepares new
immigrants for academic pursuits and to serve in the IDF.
During the nine-month program, which takes place at the Jewish Agency's absorption
center in Hadera, the students study Hebrew, English and mathematics, together with Jewish
studies and courses on Israeli culture and society. One of the key elements of the program
is the process of conversion. Although Ethiopian Falash Mura are brought to Israel due to
their Jewish roots, they must undergo a conversion process in order to rejoin the Jewish
people according to Jewish Law. With the assistance of a resident rabbi, the olim
[immigrants] study Judaism, and by the end of the Kedma program they are able to
The Bar Mitzvah service was arranged by the Jewish Agency's staff and the Rabbi of the
Kotel (Western Wall of the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem). The Jewish Federation of
Jacksonville, Fla. donated the 50 sets of tefillin for the service.
Israeli Discovery Chips Away at Gum Disease
By ISRAEL21c.org (Copyright 2005)
One of the most common medical conditions in the US is gum disease. According to the
American Dental Association, three out of four adult Americans have some form of gum
disease and about 25 million adults suffer from serious periodontal disease. But the fear
of long, painful hours in the dentist's chair - and the prospect of dental surgery - keeps
many people from getting it treated.
However, since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration five years ago, an
innovative Israeli product called the PerioChip is becoming increasingly common component
of dental care in the United States - and around the world - as a way to prevent
Gum disease - known as periodontitis is caused when inflammation or infection of the
gums is untreated or treatment is delayed. Infection and inflammation spreads from the
gums to the ligaments and bones that support the teeth causing pockets to form. Loss of
support causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out, and therefore gum
disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.
The PerioChip, the first biodegradable delivery system for reducing pocket depth in
adult periodontitis, is designed as an adjunctive therapy to the deep cleaning of the
teeth that is commonly used to fight periodontitis. The Periochip is perhaps one of the
most thoroughly Israeli items in the world, explained one of its inventors. "It is one of
the few products that was invented in Israel, underwent clinical trials in Israel, is
being manufactured and produced in Israel, and is sold and marketed worldwide by an
Israeli company," Dr. Doron Steinberg told ISRAEL21c.
The PerioChip - the size of a baby's fingernail - is inserted directly into infected
periodontal pockets in the gums that are 5 millimeters or greater in depth, following
scaling and root planing to remove plaque and calculus deposits. It takes less than one
minute to insert the PerioChip into the periodontal pocket, and it stays in place,
releasing chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial agent. "The other big advantage is that it
degrades by itself and you don't have to go back to the periodontist to remove it, which
saves time, money and bother," said Steinberg. The chip does not visibly stain teeth or
alter taste perception, and its insertion is painless and requires no anesthesia. It can
be used as often as every three months, he added.
Jerusalem Connected to National Railway
Starting in two weeks, Jerusalem will be connected to the national railway system
through Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv. The new Jerusalem train station will be located in the
Malha neighborhood in the capital's southern region, near Jerusalem's largest mall, the
Malha Technological Center and the Biblical Zoo. The train will share its Jerusalem
station with the Jerusalem's light rail, currently being constructed, which will
eventually transport travelers between the Malha station and all areas of the capital.
The railway line follows the route of the original Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line built by the
Ottoman administration in 1892. Though not the most direct route to Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh
is Jerusalem's closest link to the national rail system and much of the infrastructure for
laying the rails was already in place to begin with. 50,000 passengers a month are
expected to use the new rail line. The station will open to public on April 9 with 15
trains a day traveling to Tel Aviv via Beit Shemesh. The journey to Beit Shemesh will take
35 minutes and the total travel time from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv will be 70 minutes.
Israel Railways is also moving toward constructing a high-speed train from Jerusalem to
Tel Aviv via Modi'in that would take 28 minutes. That line is expected to be finished in
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