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Tens of Children Arrested in Kissufim because of Lack of ID Cards


The spokesman of Gush Katif, Eran Shternberg, reports that the police arrested children and youth in the Kissufim Checkpoint because they didn't have ID cards. The children were sent to the prison in Be'er Sheva. Shternberg reported that the children gave their numbers, but that didn't help. The law requires all citizens over the age of 16 to carry an ID card. Under that age, children are listed on their parents' cards only.

Israel Deploys Reinforcements to Block Protesters from Entering Gaza

By VOA News &

More than 45,000 determined protesters are remaining at the Peduyim Junction on the outskirts of Ofakim, where their march toward Gush Katif was blocked by tens of thousands of soldiers and police. "We will not move from here, we will stay here at the Ranan Junction until we are allowed to continue toward Gush Katif," Pinchas Wallerstein told protesters. "The only direction we will move is westward toward our brothers in Gush Katif."

Israel had dispatched troops to southern Israel to reinforce 15,000 police trying to prevent opponents of its Gaza Strip withdrawal from entering the Palestinian territory. . Israel closed the Gaza Strip to all Israelis but settler residents last month, as it sought to minimize right-wing resistance to its mid-August withdrawal.

"The Prime Minister has deployed 15,000 police and soldiers to block our way," Yesha Council chairman Bentzy Lieberman told Israel Radio. "Time after time, the understandings we have reached with the police are simply violated due to the whims of the Sharon family. We refuse to clash with security forces, but there are increasingly violent provocations on the part of the police against this very large, responsible public. We will march until we are stopped, and we will not move until the way is cleared."

The violence referred to by Lieberman was the result of a group of Yassam Brigade (specially trained riot police) officers who, when the marching masses reached the police checkpoint at the outskirts of Ofakim, entered the crowd and began pushing and shoving demonstrators.

Arutz-7's Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reported that tens of thousands of protesters stopped along the main road leading out of Ofakim after the march's leadership reached the police lines. "Police have locked arms and are lining the entire western side of the road," Ben Gedalyahu said. "There are also numerous elderly people, in their 60s and 70s, as well as hundreds of hareidi-religious marchers - more than I have seen at any previous event like this."

Go to mms:// to view footage from the rally.

The atmosphere of the march until the police moved in had been quite festive, with one foreign member of the press saying that with all the singing and dancing, it seems like "GushStock." When the marchers reached the myriads of police and soldiers, Yesha Council leaders and MKs asked the soldiers to allow them to continue toward Gush Katif. A recording of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon advising soldiers to inform their commanders of their inability to evacuate Jews from part of the Land of Israel was played repeatedly.

Protesters, young and old, lined up opposite the security forces and began speaking with them from their hearts about the need to refuse to take part in what they said was an illegal series of orders culminating in the expulsion of a civilian population from their homes. Witnesses said the scene was a large-scale version of what has become a nightly ritual at the Kissufim Crossing - where local youngsters speak with soldiers until the wee hours of the morning, urging them to refuse orders to expel them from their homes.

Helicopters buzzed overhead as bright spotlights were shown along the road's shoulders - a move aimed at preventing activists from sneaking away toward Gush Katif. Hundreds of marchers were reported to have successfully entered Gush Katif Tuesday night and the IDF is under pressure to prevent further entry. Thousands of people were reported to be stranded on their way to Ofakim due to police roadblocks set up around the city.

The Yesha Council condemned the move and a "moment of silence to mourn Israeli democracy" was observed during the main rally at the behest of a senior Likud activist. Earlier Wednesday evening, several major thoroughfares, including the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, were blocked for long periods of time by protesters taking advantage of the fact that police have been largely redeployed to stand between Jewish Gaza and its supporters.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel: Create a Jewish State in Gaza


Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, a leading figure in the religious Zionist community, has suggested that Israel turn over weapons and tanks to the residents of Gush Katif and allow them to create a second Jewish state there.

"Just as there are small states like Luxembourg, we will establish a Jewish state in Gaza," Ariel told Arutz-7 Radio. "If the state is not willing to protect us, then it shouldn't evacuate us. It should leave us the tanks, which were purchased with our tax money, and we will defend ourselves." He added that the residents of Gush Katif have sufficient military experience to defend themselves, and they can tell the local IDF commanders to "take your soldiers and leave.."

Hospital Readies for Disengagement


Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva has started preparing on Wednesday for possible casualties that would occur during Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this month.

Israel is concerned forces and settlers may come under attack by Palestinian terrorists during its evacuation of all 21 settlements in the territory. Gaza gunmen have bombarded Jewish settlements and Israeli towns in recent months with rockets and mortar bombs. Security officials are also concerned that violent clashes may ensue between evacuating forces and right-wingers who try to resist the pullout, in wake of recent confrontations that occurred between police and ultranationalists during anti-pullout demonstrations.

Be'er Sheva's Soroka hospital is also preparing for scenarios where settlers would need to be treated for shock or road accident injuries. Hospital officials predict the Negev's only hospital will also be the only one to treat the wounded during pullout, in addition to the daily goings-on at the hospital. "Most evacuees will leave Gaza via the Kissufim Road, and we will be the closest hospital," Soroka Director General Dr. Eytan Hyam told Ynet. "We are worried there will be massive traffic jams on roads towards the Tel Aviv area, and the army and police will evacuate the wounded here."

One disengagement official predicted up to 200 casualties would be evacuated to the hospital. "Soroka proved it can handle large numbers of casualties following terrorist bombings on Be'er Sheva buses and the recent train crash at nearby Kibbutz Revadim," Hyam said. "But the challenge in front of us now is tougher. We are prepared to take in dozens of wounded around the clock for a couple of weeks, and also to serve the general community as well."

As most patients are expected to be treated for shock, Soroka has obtained assistance from the city's psychiatric hospital. Doctors from other hospitals have also volunteered to help. During the pullout, Soroka will house a "situation room" to be manned by police, army, Magen David Adom and Disengagement Authority officials. Earlier this week, staffers completed a briefing of all medical staff members, and prepared a "pocket guide" with basic instructions for each caregiver. The hospital will also run support groups for caregivers following each shift during pullout. Hospital spokesmen also believe thousands of foreign journalists unable to get into the Gaza Strip will come to Soroka to interview evacuees.

Purchasing a Car in Israel on an Immigrant's Budget

By Yael Ayalon ( (Commentary)

Buying a car in Israel must be the most interesting and exhausting experience I've had this far. I've left Tel Aviv and moved to the North, where everything seems so much farther away.

In Tel Aviv, everything is within walking distance. You can buy your groceries, get you nails done, go to the post office and get a 25 shekel ($4.50) cup of coffee all on the same block. Here in the north it's a little different. I need a car! I have no choice.

I am trying to convince my boyfriend that it's just too hard taking the bus or monit shirut (taxi service) everywhere. I complain that it's too hot or I have too many grocery bags. I try to blame it on other commuters, saying that they are rude or buses are too crowded.

In reality, I have to admit that I can't let go of my North American habits, and if I had a car there, I should have one here.

I have a certain car in mind and I want nothing less. I will not waver. No substitute will be accepted. And like the Israel summer heat slapping you in the face, so did reality.

This is not North America. I will not be able to buy a new car on my salary. Ouch. That hurts. But it's OK; I can be humble, modest, and realistic. I knew it would be tough at first and life is different here. So the search begins. I start looking in the newspaper for private car owners looking to sell; I go to used car lots and try not get angry as I see that grin creep on the salesman's face when he hears the words "olah chadasha (new immigrant)."

The next two weeks were the most unreal I've spent in this country. As everything else here, buying a car is total balagan (mixed-up confusion).

First you start calling people and asking for details on the car and every person you talk to tells you that the car is in excellent condition. So you go meet them, sometimes as far as Tel Aviv, and when you get there you find a car held together by Band-Aids and a prayer.

You're already there, you've gone this far, and you might as well look at the car. You open the door and the handle comes off in your hand. The seller is looking at you like, "What? That's nothing, here's another Band-Aid. I fix it. Tchick tchuck."

Then he looks at you with a straight face and actually says to you, totally serious: Test drive? It's nice, no? All you need to do is bring it in for a tipul gadol (major tune up). You want to take a test drive?"

OK, now it's time to go. Is this guy serious? Yes, my dear friends, he was dead serious. So this happened a couple of times until I realized that we live in the electronic age and, as Israel is somewhat of a leader in high-tech, now I ask for the seller to email me a picture of the car before I go anywhere.

Finally, after a month of searching I found the car I wanted. Now, just when you think that looking for the car was an experience all its own, you have no idea what waits for you when you need to actually buy the car.

I foolishly thought that I could take care of it all in one morning. Now coming from Canada, I like to be prepared in advance. So I had already gone to the bank and settled all the "technicalities" of actually buying the car. Or so I thought.

I get to the car dealership at 8 a.m. (I had already chosen the car the day before). I am now being seated and spoken to by three people at once, all in very fast Hebrew, and I hardly understand what is going on.

Then they take me to a garage to have the car checked, this they tell me will cost NIS 350 ($78), "a good investment" the salesman tells me. After the inspection, another guy comes in, gives me one look and starts to list, at full speed, what is wrong with the car.

When he is done, he tells me "good car, yes." I am confused: So what was he rambling on about for 15 minutes? OK, so after two hours of waiting and total confusion, the car passes inspection.

Now I have to run to the bank. No sweat I say to myself, this I've already taken care of. Ha! The bank manager informs me, with a great big smile that everything is just fine, only everything we had done the other day, we had to do again.

I am seated in a nice office where a not-so-charming woman comes in and makes me sign what seemed like 200 papers (I just hope I didn't agree to give up my first born). This all takes another two hours. My expectations of this taking only one morning have now vanished.

Next is off to the post office to put the car under my name. We've all been to the post office in this country: I don't think I have to write about how long that took.

Finally, the insurance company. We get to their offices, again with hope in my eyes that this will take but a few minutes. They inform me that I must get a letter from Canada saying that my driving record there was good or my insurance here would cost more than the car itself. Another two hours.

At the end of the day, as I drive home in my new car, I am exhausted. Then it hits me, of all the people I spoke to today, the salesman, the bank, the post office clerk who put the car in my name and the insurance salesman, no one even asked me if I have a driver's license.

(Yael Ayalon is an olah chadasha (new immigrant) from Canada. She lives in the north and works at a high-tech company.)

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