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Rabbi Eliyahu Calls on Public to Say Psalms


Former Chief Rabbi and Rishon Lezion Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu called upon the public to recite chapters from the book of Tehillim (Psalms) in a spiritual effort to fight the government's plans to uproot the Jews of Gush Katif and northern Samaria. The rabbi recommended Thursday night that each person recite 10 psalms. Jews traditionally read the biblical book of Psalms, said to be mostly composed by King David, in times of trouble, aside from regular readings from the book at other times. Eliyahu is considered today to be one of the leading authorities in Jewish law, as well as in Kabbalah mysticism. He has been at the forefront of the religious struggle against the Disengagement Plan, as well as in support of imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Israeli Army and Police Storm a Jewish Outpost in Gaza

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem) &

About 1,000 Israeli policemen, backed up by soldiers stormed a beachfront hotel in Gaza to dislodge Jewish extremists. The raid followed a military order to temporarily close Gaza settlements to stop extremists from entering the area. Hundreds of soldiers and paramilitary police moved in on the derelict Palm Beach Hotel in a move to dislodge Jewish protesters holed up inside.

Israel radio reported the soldiers went room to room in the hotel in their search, dragging out the squatters - some of them kicking and screaming. The protesters were then loaded onto buses. Hundreds of Jewish religious and nationalist extremists, mostly from West Bank enclaves converged on Gaza in recent weeks. They took over the dilapidated beachfront hotel as a headquarters for their protest against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to dismantle Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank in August. Police said about 30 of the residents left on their own will and that 42 were arrested on charges of resisting police orders.

Nadia Matar of the right-wing group Women in Green was one of the militants inside the hotel. Earlier, she defended their action on Israel radio. "We are going to do the same thing as you would do, if forces would come to your house, take you out of your house and give it over to the Hamas," she said.

Just a few hours before the raid, the army declared Gaza settlements to be "closed military zones," allowing only residents into the area and severely restricting their movement. The army hopes to stop right-wing extremists from entering the area to carry out their anti-disengagement protests. On Wednesday, the army's attempt to dislodge some of the extremists led to violence as protesters clashed with soldiers and Palestinian residents.

In one instance settlers were shown kicking, beating and stoning a young Palestinian from a nearby home, leaving him seriously injured. The image outraged Ariel Sharon who called the attack an "act of savagery, vulgarity and irresponsibility." He ordered a crackdown to stop his opponents. The head of the prime minister's Office of Strategic Coordination, Brig. Gen. Eival Giladi, told journalists that opponents of the disengagement plan have a right to protest, but have gone too far. "I think there is a very clear red line - where you cross the legal threshold when you fight your own institutions. This is something totally unaccepted and we will not let it go," he said.

In an interview with Ha'aretz, Sharon said the violence is not about opposition to his plan to get out of Gaza, but rather about the image and future of Israel. He added that the government must take "every measure necessary" to end the violence and stop the opponents to his disengagement plan.

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) issued an ultimatum to the IDF Thursday night that it rescind the order declaring Gush Katif a closed military zone or face tens of thousands of protestors. Yesha Council spokesmen said that residents of Gush Katif are entitled to live daily lives like every other citizen. The council declared that it is preparing to call on supporters to leave their jobs and homes and flood the area if the army does not respond positively to its demand by the beginning of the Sabbath on Friday night. The council met in an emergency session with the Gaza Coast Regional Council in the town of Ne've Dekalim.

The IDF closed off Gush Katif to outsiders around noon Thursday because of "repeated violations of the law and order" and reports that more people were on the way "to further escalate the situation."

Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, head of the Southern Command, said earlier in the day that the army would re-open the area if and when the IDF concludes that there is no threat of civil disturbances from violent anti-evacuation activists. "If there is a quiet atmosphere in Gush Katif, if the extremist protestors leave and if there are intentions to obey the law, we probably will discuss opening up the road [to Gush Katif] and removing the order," a senior military officer said.

Quoted in Ma'ariv, he added that Gush Katif leaders told the army they were taking steps against violent protestors who are not permanent Gush Katif residents and recently moved into the beachfront hotel. Trouble started two weeks ago when several of the residents and local Muwasi Arabs threw stones and foreign objects at each other on the beach. One of the residents shot an Arab in the leg and said he acted out of self-defense.

Gay Pride Parade Halted After 3 Participants Stabbed by Orthodox Jew

By Ha'aretz

Jerusalem's fourth annual gay pride parade was temporarily halted Thursday evening after a religious Jewish man stabbed three participants. The assailant ran into the crowd, stabbed one man, moved on to a young woman stabbing her hand, and then lightly wounded a third man. Police arrested the assailant as well as 13 other religious protesters who were detained for disturbances of the peace. Some 200 religious protesters faced off against 2,000 participants, according to police estimates.

The parade set off from the downtown headquarters of Open House, Jerusalem's gay and lesbian community center, which organized the event. On Sunday, the courts ordered Jerusalem municipality to drop its ban on the parade, after following an appeal from Open House. Jerusalem District Court Judge Moussia Arad, who is vice president of the court for administrative affairs, also ordered the municipality and Mayor Uri Lupolianski to each pay court costs of NIS 30,000. Arad ruled that City Hall couldn't discriminate against a particular sector of society because some people objected to its opinions or sexual orientation.

Book: Rabin Backed Transfer of Arabs in '56

By Ha'aretz

Assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin proposed transferring the Palestinians from the West Bank while serving as a major general in the Israel Defense Forces in 1956, according to a book published by the State Archive last week.

The transfer suggestion was raised at an IDF staff meeting attended by then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Rabin proposed initiating a war against Jordan and using it to deport Palestinians from the West Bank. "Most of them can be driven out," said Rabin, then-head of the IDF's Training Division and a week before being appointed GOC Northern Command. "If the numbers were smaller it would be easier, but the problem can be solved in principle. It would not be a humane move, but war in general is not a humane matter," he said, according to the book.

The book - "Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel" - was edited by Yemima Rosenthal. The first of two volumes documents Rabin's first 45 years until the end of his term as chief of staff. At that time, before leaving for Israel's embassy in Washington, Rabin recommended to former prime minister Levi Eshkol in December 1967 to adopt "the idea... of establishing a Palestinian state. It has an additional advantage. It is the only maneuvering space we have." He proposed threatening Jordan's King Hussein with "establishing a Palestinian state that would be affiliated with Israel."

Survey: 500,000 North American Jews Could Immigrate

By Ha'aretz

Some 500,000 Jews could potentially immigrate to Israel from North America over the next 15 years, according to a market survey conducted on behalf of the Jewish Agency. The survey, conducted by a U.S. market research company, Harris, is believed to be the most comprehensive study carried out till now on the subject of the immigration intentions of North American Jews.

The poll was carried out among a representative sample from the some 6.3 million Jews living in the United States and Canada. Around 1.5 percent of the respondents (representing some 100,000 individuals) said there was a high chance of their moving to Israel, permanently or temporarily, within the next five years. Approximately 6 percent of the respondents (representing some 400,000 individuals) expressed a willingness in principle to make a permanent or temporary move to Israel. Ten percent of the respondents (representing some 700,000 people) expressed interest in a move to Israel.

An analysis of those interested in moving to Israel indicates that contrary to the belief of many, only one-third of these individuals are part of the Orthodox stream among U.S. Jewry. One-third define themselves as Conservative Jews, while the remainder classify themselves as Reform Jews or otherwise.

The survey was conducted among a representative sample numbering 1,690 adult Jews living in Canada and the United States.

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