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Non-Orthodox Signing Up for Year in Israel


The Reform and Conservative movements are beginning to follow the Orthodox community's lead in sending students to Israel to learn for one year after high school, according to spokesmen for the movements. The non-affiliated Young Judea organization reports that 40 per cent more students will study in Israel the coming year. Orthodox students continue to study in Israel in large numbers. More than 80 pent of Yeshiva University's freshman class studies in Israel for one year after high school. Praising the orthodox movement's success in the program, a Young Judea rabbi said others "are starting to catch up."

Two Weeks Until Closeout of Shomron Communities


While all attention is turned to Gush Katif, plans are proceeding to expel the Jewish residents of northern Shomron, demolish the buildings, and station soldiers there to make sure no one returns. O.C. Central Command Maj. Gen. Ya'ir Naveh met with the residents of the four towns slated for oblivion, and calmly told them what the army is planning for them. In two weeks, he said, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will declare the area a "closed military zone," such that relatives, friends, and service-providers will not be able to arrive.

In addition, Naveh said, the houses and all the buildings in the communities will be destroyed - at least according to his recommendation - so that "Hamas will not be able to wave their flags in victory from the rooftops." He said that the army would build outposts in each of the former communities, which they will man at least until the end of the year.

A Yediot Achronot reporter was present at the meeting, and reported that Naveh said, "You will have a difficult period until the actual disengagement. We will try to make your lives tolerable, but I advise you to leave before that." A young resident of Kadim responded, "Over my dead body."

The northern Shomron area, if Israel in fact withdraws its forces and residents, is liable to become a "second Gaza," security sources warn. Jenin and Shechem will become cities of refuge for terrorists, and Kassam rockets could be fired at Israeli towns and cities bordering the area. Hizbullah has built a foundation of terrorism in this area over the past few months, mainly with the Islamic Jihad, but has not scored much "success" due to the IDF activities in the area. With the departure of the IDF - whenever it occurs - Hizbullah and the Islamic Jihad are expected to increase their terror activities.

The withdrawal is also expected to endanger Israel's water supply from the area. PA elements currently dig illegally, and are expected to intensify this activity once Israel leaves - depleting and salinating the water supply used for agriculture in the Gilboa region and possibly wiping out regional farming.

Palestinian Prime Minister Asks US to Help Block Israeli Settlement Expansion

By VOA News

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has asked the United States for help in stopping Israel from expanding its largest West Bank settlement. In Ramallah Thursday, Qureia asked visiting envoys Elliott Abrams and David Welch for a "clear and firm" U.S. position on Israeli plans to build 3,500 new homes in the Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem.

The Israeli plan appears to clash with the U.S.-backed "road map" peace blueprint, which calls for a halt to settlement expansion on all Palestinian land captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Analysts say the latest expansion is aimed at linking Maale Adumim to greater Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its eternal capital. Palestinians want Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

PA Demands Apology from Gadhafi for 'Idiot' Comments

By Reuters and Ha'aretz

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday demanded an apology from Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi for saying Palestinians were "idiots" in seeking their own state alongside Israel. Gadhafi made the remarks during a fiery speech at an Arab summit on Wednesday that ended by relaunching an offer to Israel of normal relations if it withdrew from all occupied Arab land and permitted a Palestinian state.

"I cannot recognize either the Palestinian state or the Israeli state. Don't be angry, Abu Mazen, but the Palestinians are idiots and the Israelis are idiots," Gadhafi said, addressing Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. "The solution I think is to have a single state. We cannot have two states."

Gadhafi also asked why Palestinians hadn't established a state between 1948 and 1967, when the West Bank was under Jordanian sovereignty and Gaza under Egyptian control. Gadhafi shocked the Arab leaders by saying, "Terror is identified with Islam." He dismissed the argument that poverty is at the root of violence by Islamists, and put the blame on "oppression, injustice, arrogance, insults, contempt and the humiliation of this [Arab] nation."

A Palestinian official called on Gadhafi to keep his theories to himself. "[We] have asked President Gadhafi to apologize to the Palestinian people for words ... that offended the feelings of all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims," Tayeb Abdel Rahim, secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee, said in a statement. "These remarks should not have been made by an Arab president at a summit conference and also contradicted the summit's resolutions," he said.

"We will not respond in the same way because we respect the brotherly Libyan people and we appreciate their traditional supportive position for the Palestinian people." Abdel Rahim called on Gadhafi to stop "exporting his theories to us. The Palestinian people have enough headaches and do not have enough aspirin." Abbas did not seem too fussed by Gadhafi's speech, chuckling at parts of it.

Gadhafi also said Israelis were idiots because they declared a state but never showed any real interest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Asked about the "idiot" reference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: "It takes one to know one."

Uprooting for Israel


Supporters of the disengagement are being provided a chance to show their solidarity with Israel in accordance with a new DJNF campaign, it was announced this week. "For decades," states the promotional literature, "planting trees in Israel was the way you showed your support. Now, for the nominal fee of only $18 (plus $4.95 postage and handling), our dedicated staff of volunteers will personally uproot a growing tree in either Gaza or the West Bank."

Supporters are thus offered a chance to take an active part in the Sharon government's plan to rip out a flourishing, growing part of the Jewish homeland. "What better way to show the Palestinians that their years of terror were not in vain?" asks the DJNF.

The DJNF offers supporters a chance to "commemorate that special event in your life or in the life of a loved one! After the tree has been pulled out by the roots, an appropriate plaque will be placed next to the gapping hole. Here is a real chance to show your support by having your name, or the name of a loved one, placed near a tree you helped destroy. You will also receive a certificate suitable for framing to prove to the world just how much you care about the land of Israel. (For a nominal additional fee of $10, we will even uproot a tree that was planted in the year of your bar/bat mitzvah.)"

The DJNF offer also includes a warning: "Don't be fooled by imitators! There are some organizations that will put your plaque on one of the thousands of holes made by Palestinian-fired Kassam missiles! Only a certificate bearing the DJNF logo will guarantee that a live tree has been ripped from the ground. So send in your donation now before the all the good trees are gone." All proceeds go towards the Keep the Sharon Family Out of Jail Legal Defense Fund.

In addition, it must be noted that the above is a Purim story, submitted by A.H., who says he prefers to remain anonymous "until all my daughters are married off." Israel News Faxx wishes all of our readers a Happy Purim.

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