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Israeli Envoy to be Next VP of UN General Assembly

By, Ha'aretz

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman was Monday unanimously elected as the new vice president of the UN General Assembly. This is the second time that an Israeli envoy has been elected to a position of this rank. Legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eban assumed the role in the early 1950s. Gillerman was the candidate of the Western nations, a bloc containing some 30 states, including members of the European Union, Canada, Australia and the United States."This is an important and historical moment for the State of Israel, both in essence and in timing," said Gillerman of his election Monday. The vice president is responsible for running General Assembly discussions in the absence of the president, and is a member of the committee which decides on the daily agenda for the assembly.

Palestinian Factions Considering Ending Truce with Israel

By Xinhuanet

Palestinian factions are weighing to end a de facto truce with Israel following last week's renewed violence, reports said Monday. The latest move was made at a meeting of 13 Palestinian factions at the headquarters of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City on Sunday evening, which reevaluated the fragile truce shaken by the latest exchange of violence in the territories, said the report.

"Israel has completely blown up the status of calmness through its ongoing operations and aggression on the Palestinian people, therefore there is nothing called unilateral calmness," Mohamed al-Hindi, a Jihad leader who attended the meeting was quoted as saying. "We would never accept to be an audience watching our people slaughtered everyday. There is a Palestinian consensus on the dangerous impact of the Israeli attacks on calmness and we must have a stance," vowed al-Hindi. He indicated that the decision to end the truce would come in a few days.

The meeting was called by Islamic Jihad a few days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met the militants in Gaza and persuaded them to respect the current truce. Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the two main militant factions bent on Israel's destruction, agreed to observe the ceasefire at a meeting with Abbas in mid-March, after it was reached with Israel at the Feb. 8 Sharm el-Sheikh summit.

Disengagement, the Video Game

By Ynetnews

The organizers of the "Day against Occupation and for Democracy," which will occur on June 17, have found a creative new way to get across their political message – by way of a free, Flash game on the internet that allows users to play IDF soldiers removing settlers from the territories ( "This is your opportunity to remove the settlements and get Israel out of the territories," the game's home page says.

To remove a caravan, the player need only click on it once, but when the caravan turns into a house, two clicks are necessary to remove it. The game gets trickier when it comes to removing a settlement guarded by soldiers. "To get rid of a settlement, you have to drag back the poor soldiers who have to guard it back across the Green Line – to Israel," the game explains.

The game's left-wing developers do have their limits, though: Those who toss Israeli soldiers into the sea do not get any points.Once the soldiers are removed, the settlement can be taken down, but it is an almost Sysiphean task as the settlers keep on coming back to rebuild. If the player loses the game, the screen displays a particularly bitter message: "One more settlement and the country is lost."

It should be noted that, until now, the left-wing presence on the Net is negligible as compared to the right-wing, which runs many forums and sites. In 2003, left-wing activists published the addresses of residents of the Gaza settlement of Netzarim in order that people can try to persuade them to leave the area of their own free will.

Brochure Lays Out Threat Scenarios

By Ha'aretz

A brochure for teachers prepared by the Home Front Command and Education Ministry ahead of the disengagement lays out threat scenarios encompassing dozens of communities surrounding Gaza. The brochure, approved by the army's Southern Command, says 45 communities in the sector surrounding the Gaza Strip - in the regional councils of Hof Ashkelon, Sha'ar Hanegev and Sdot Hanegev, as well as the city of Sderot - will likely be exposed to direct fire by light weapons, mortar shells and Qassam rockets, as well as terrorist infiltrations, after the disengagement is implemented.

The brochure is being distributed to teachers in the relevant communities, with the idea of inculcating students with a proper sense of the dangers involved, and preparing accordingly. Teachers at schools in these areas are already participating in workshops sponsored by the Home Front Command, and are supposed to transmit the material to the students in homeroom classes.

The communities in question are being asked to employ a series of security precautions, some of which are already in place but need to be upgraded. The guidelines refer to an electronic fence; a perimeter road combined with security lighting; patrol vehicles; electric gates; public address systems in homes and schools; observation equipment; secure rooms; early warning systems; precision weapons, such as the M-16 rifle; bulletproof classrooms; and protective walls designed to safeguard communities against direct hits. These walls are slated to be erected in places where communities are devoid of natural barriers like sand dunes.

One section in the brochure covers the preparations that families should take for a time of emergency in their community. Another section considers a terrorist infiltration into a school, and describes how pupils should behave in such an event. Other scenarios look at the possibility of cars being attacked by light weapons fire or Molotov cocktails. The brochure details a series of psychological aspects pertaining to young children and ways of dealing with these.

Man Found Wandering Naked in Jerusalem After Castrating Himself

By Ha'aretz &

A 23-year-old Jerusalem resident who castrated himself was found wandering naked and bleeding profusely through the streets of Jerusalem on Monday.Passersby on Stern Street immediately called the Magen David Adom ambulance service, who took him to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. At the same time, additional units went to the scene to search for the missing organ.

It remains unclear whether the man cut off his own penis or whether another party inflicted the injury."He was completely indifferent (to his situation), fully consciousness and in stable condition," Magen David Adom paramedic Matan Morad told Ynet. "He climbed into the ambulance of his own free will," Morad said. "It was clear that he had lost blood, but not in large quantities. We have never encountered anything like this before."The man was rushed to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.

Police and Magen David Adom teams scoured the area for the severed penis but failed to locate it. Should the penis be found eventually, doctors would consider reattaching it, hospital sources said.

A team of urologists at the hospital performed an emergency operation on the man, during which they tried to reconstruct the severed blood vessels.Hospital sources said the organ has still not been located, but the doctors have succeed in repairing the blood vessels.

Israel's Maccabiah Games Set for July


Set to run from July 10 to 21, the 17th Maccabiah Games promises to be the biggest sports event ever held in Israel. The opening ceremonies are shaping up to be an extravaganza of Olympian proportions involving a torch relay from the tombs of the ancient Maccabean leaders. Some 7,000 male and female athletes, along with 4,000 dancers, singers, artists and players are slated to participate in the opening march into the Ramat Gan International stadium in B'nei Brak near Tel Aviv.

Thousands of participants are expected from at least 55 countries, including sizeable delegations from Canada and the United States. Competitions in swimming, chess, golf, tennis, cricket, softball, rugby and other sports are scheduled in a range of facilities in Caesaria, Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashdod, Petah Tikvah, Herzliyah and other sites. After the last race has been run, the Games will close with a big-screen stage extravaganza in which celebrity performers and a large troupe of dancers will kick up a fond farewell against the floodlit backdrop of Jerusalem's Old City walls.

Often described as the "Jewish Olympics," the Maccabiah Games are held in Israel every four years. The idea originated with Yosef Yekutieli, a Swedish teenager who was so excited by the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm that he conceived the notion of a worldwide Olympics for Jewish sports people in the land of Israel. The first Maccabiah-hosted event was a motorbike trek around the Mediterranean basin in 1931. Planned for display during the current games, a set of memorabilia exhibits will recall the first and second Maccabiahs of 1932 and 1935.

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