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Border Police Refuse Orders, Israeli died in London Bombings


Two Border Policemen are the first in the unit to have refused orders to participate in the planned expulsion of Jews from their homes. One of the policemen was sentenced to seven days in jail and the other was handed a 35-day conditional sentence. And in London, authorities have identified the body of missing Israeli Anat Rosenberg, 39, as one of the 53 victims in last week's terrorist attacks in London. She will be buried in Israel. The woman left Israel 18 years ago and feared returning to Israel because of terrorist attacks. She was speaking with a friend on the telephone when one of the bombs exploded on the bus she was riding.

IDF Bombs Hamas in Gaza

By, Ha'aretz &

IDF planes staged helicopter missile attacks on a Hamas terrorist weapons storehouse and a Hamas office around 12:30 a.m. Friday (5:30 p.m. Thursday EDT). The army also divided Gaza into three areas. The missile strikes were in Khan Yunis, adjacent to Gush Katif, and in Jibalya in central Gaza, where Hamas maintains an office.

The third missile strike apparently was abortive and a fourth one struck terrorist targets in the central Gaza neighborhood of Deir el-Balah. The first strike destroyed a pro-Hamas Islamic charity in Gaza City and a minute later, the helicopters fired at a cemetery in Khan Younis militants used as a launching pad to fire mortars at an adjacent Jewish settlement, witnesses said.

Crowds gathered at the site of the Gaza City blast and shouted as some sifted through the debris and ambulances raced to the scène. Witnesses said one man was struck by flying debris in Gaza City blast but hospitals said they had no casualties yet. The army acknowledged one of the raids, saying it had struck an ammunition depot in Khan Yunis used by militants of Hamas, a group sworn to Israel's destruction.

The IDF retaliated after the latest rocket and mortar shell attack that killed a 22-year-old woman Thursday evening. A little after 6 p.m. (Israel time), a volley of four rockets was launched in the direction of Netiv Ha'asara, in the Negev. Dana Glakowitz, 22, who was sitting on the porch of her home, was critically hurt in the blast and pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Another two Israelis were lightly hurt. All in all, some 20 Qassam rockets and mortars were fired Thursday at Gaza Strip settlements, Israeli communities close to the Strip and Israel Defense Forces outposts.

Gush Katif has been closed off from the rest of Gaza in order to prevent terrorists from moving arms from one area to another. This was the first time the IDF has mounted a major operation in Gaza since the Sharm el-Sheikh accords in February.

Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorists claimed they were behind Thursday's escalation in attacks against Israel that coincided with a visit to Gaza by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He called on PA security forces to stop the attacks, and a battle ensued between them and Hamas terrorists, injuring at least two PA policemen. The PA put its forces on high alert.

Israeli military sources said that although Hamas usually sticks to the Cairo understandings with the PA, the Islamic organization periodically chooses to stage attacks against Israeli targets, usually in parallel with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' visits to the Strip, as a mean of pressure. Abbas arrived in Gaza on Thursday afternoon in a bid to reinforce the fragile lull and prevent the continuing escalation. Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Fatah, have claimed that the IDF operation in Nablus, where a senior Islamic Jihad militant was killed, was the reason for the latest upsurge in violence.

David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, told Ha'aretz "the Palestinian Authority is responsible for this fatal attack because it continues to refuse to take the necessary steps to fight terror." "Israel has lost six people this past week to terror," Baker said. "If the PA does not take the necessary steps to end terror, Israel will."

Sharon Slams Radical Rabbis


Radical anti-pullout activists, led by extremist rabbis, pose a danger to Israel's democratic and Jewish character, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned in a meeting with police commanders Thursday. "Acts by radical circles could undermine Israel's character as a Jewish and democratic nation, and to my regret, they are led by radical groups of rabbis," he said.

"We are talking about a small minority even within the national-religious public, which is a wonderful community," Sharon said, and proceeded to slam anti-disengagement insubordination. "In my view, calls for disobedience are the most severe thing." Sharon also called on rabbis to speak out against such anti-pullout sentiments. "You must distinguish yourself from that bad group," he said in reference to the rabbis.

The prime minister also dismissed critics who have slammed him over his attitude towards the Palestinians. "They tell me that I didn't strike a deal with the Arabs, but rather, with the Americans," he said. "Still, I have more trust in an agreement with the Americans than with an agreement with the Arabs."

Documenting Madness in Stalin's Soviet Union


In January 1948, the body of an unidentified man was discovered on a side road in Minsk. Seemingly, this was just another hit and run case; but it was soon revealed the dead man was Moscow Jewish National Theatre director Solomon Mikhoels, the most famous Jew in the Soviet Union.

Two days prior to his death, Mikhoels was kidnapped by agents of the Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD - the Soviet secret police), who later executed him and disguised the act as an accident. See clip from 'Stalin's Last Purge'

The murder was carried out under the direct order of Soviet leader Joseph (Shining Sun) Stalin; it marked the beginning of a paranoid and anti-Semitic assault on the part of Stalin, who viewed the post-World War Russian Jews as potential traitors and agents of global imperialism.

"Stalin's Last Purge" depicts the story of the annihilation of the Jewish cultural elite in the Soviet Union from a standpoint that is both personal (including testimonies of the victims' sons and daughters) and historic. This is a small, clever film produced with great skill.

Alan Rosenthal creates a rhythmic and fascinating blend of rare archive footage that was only discovered during the past decade, first-hand accounts and focused analysis by Stalin-period experts. The interweaving of the visual with the testimonies makes for a fascinating story of the madness of the tyrants' regime and the arbitrariness of the dictatorship.

Today we know Stalin was the greatest mass murderer in history; he murdered most of his rivals, in addition to imaginary "traitors" and innocent civilians - some were murdered in a mysterious fashion, others were falsely accused and executed following a public trial. During all of these "purges" Stalin utilized the loyal secret police, which cast a continuous reign of terror.

Russian historian and playwright Edward Radzinski, in a biography he wrote about Stalin, calls the quest to wipe out the Jewish leadership in Russia "The new pogrom." This pogrom occurred in the wake of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West, and was fueled by Stalin's sick paranoia that showed his blatant anti-Semitism and his unrestrained murderous personality through every move.

Stalin saw Russian Judaism as a potential for one big treason. He saw the Jews as "Cosmopolitans without a homeland" and as those with the "tendency for strange things." He saw the enthusiastic welcome the thousands of Moscow Jews gave Golda Meir, the young Israel's first ambassador, as proof that "thousands of Jews are spies for a hostile nation."

Stalin decided to halt and eliminate all this. He used his favorite tactic: Murder and terror. The first of his victims was also the most senior - Solomon Mikhoels, who was among the great Jewish artists in Russia in the second half of the 20th century. After him, 15 of the great Jewish intellectual writers in Russia were arrested, among them Benjamin Zuzkin, poet Peretz Markish, writer Heidi David Hoffstein and others. All were Soviet patriots and loyal Communists. That didn't help them - on the contrary: It increased the suspicion against them. For years they were tortured and put in prison, until they were put on trial, accused of espionage and treason. In August 1952, they were executed.

Their families, wives, children and grandchildren were put in work camps in Kazakhstan for 10 years - as "suitable" for families of "traitors." A short while afterwards, groups of Jewish doctors were arrested, with the excuse that they had allegedly plotted to poison senior Soviet leaders, including Stalin himself. Luckily, their detainment was short-lived, as Stalin died in 1953.

This isn't the first time Alan Rosenthal is bringing a Jewish documentary to the festival. Two years ago, he presented, along with Nisim Mosak, "The Secret Memories of Eichmann." Rosenthal's area of expertise, as a professor of communications at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is in writing scripts for documentaries and docudramas. His academic area of expertise also comes across in this film. The script for "Stalin's Last Purge" is effective in its directness and simplicity, is streaming and presents a complex story with clear essence.

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