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Google Opens Branch in Israel


Google Inc. has announced that it is setting up a branch in Israel as part of the expansion of its international activities. The company, which has been active in Israel since 2002, said the opening of the office would enable the company to expand its services, providing Israeli internet surfers, advertisers and partners with a search tool and advertising services via its search engine. According to Globes, Meir Brand has been hired as Google's Israel country manager, and the company's first employee in Israel. The company plans to build a content-rich portal at similar to local sites in other countries. The company plans on initially hiring employees with advertising connections to Israeli companies and will continue to hire and expand from there.

Palestinian Police Seal off Gaza-Egypt Border

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian police have restored order along the Gaza Strip's chaotic border with Egypt, but not before large quantities of weapons were smuggled in to Palestinian terrorists, officials said.

Palestinian security forces sealed off the Gaza border, halting a chaotic flow of thousands of people into and out of Egypt. Palestinians tore down the border fence after Israel pulled out of Gaza a week ago. Five major breaches in the fence were closed, and 2,000 police have been deployed to keep order. "The number of people crossing the border has been reduced to almost zero," Palestinian official Soufian Abu Zaideh told Israel Radio. "The chaotic situation is over."

Israel welcomed the sealing of the border, but said the damage has already been done. According to both Israeli and Palestinian officials, hundreds of assault rifles and thousands of bullets have been smuggled from Egypt to Palestinians in Gaza. Israel believes the weapons may include shoulder-fired missiles that could threaten military and civilian aircraft.

With so many weapons in the hands of Islamic terrorists who have vowed to continue the jihad, or holy war, against Israel, Israeli officials are wondering whether the Palestinian Authority can establish a peaceful regime. "We have to see in Gaza rule of law," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. "We have to see in Gaza the dismantling of the different terrorist organizations. We have to see the Palestinians step up to the plate, and show that they can create the foundations of what will be, in the long-term, a democratic Palestinian state."

With the first signs of stability, Israel and the Palestinian Authority hope to build on the momentum of the Gaza pullout. There is talk of a summit between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in two weeks, to discuss advancing the internationally backed "Roadmap" peace plan.

Leading Kabbalistic Sage: 'Diaspora Jews - Come to Israel Now'


Israel's leading known Kabbalistic Elder Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri called upon worldwide Jewry to return to Israel to be spared from natural disasters that threaten to strike the world. Kaduri issued the following call: "This declaration I find fitting to issue for all of the Jews of the world to hear. It is incumbent upon them to return to the Land of Israel due to terrible natural disasters which threaten the world. In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will bring about great disasters in the countries of the world to sweeten the judgments of the Land of Israel.

"I am ordering the publication of this declaration as a warning, so that Jews in the countries of the world will be aware of the impending danger and will come to the Land of Israel for the building of the Temple and revelation of our righteous Mashiach (Messiah)."

Kaduri also stated that the upcoming year would be a year of "secret and revelation" in the world. The Jewish year 5766 begins next month with the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The Rabbi explained that the numerical Hebrew abbreviation for 5766, tav, shin, samech, vav gives insight into the nature of the upcoming year. "This will be a year of secret (or sod, from the letter samech) and revelation (or v'giliu from the letter vav.

Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio show host Yehoshua Meiri first publicized the declaration on his Hebrew radio show. Meiri typed out the words of Kaduri's declaration and presented the document to the Kabbalistic elder who signed it. During a visit with Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (the late Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory) in 1990, Kaduri was told by the Rebbe that he would live to see the coming of the Mashiach.

Outpouring of Help from Israel and Jews to New Orleans


Israel and various Jewish communities have responded in multiple ways to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, including sending divers, money, advisors, and more.

Chief IDF Medical Officer Brig.-Gen. Yechezkel Levy heads an IDF delegation coordinating the transport of humanitarian aid from Israel to the disaster area in New Orleans. The delegation recommended the coordination of a humanitarian aid delegation to the disaster area. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon informed President Bush that Israel was dispatching medical and search-and-rescue teams, trauma experts, field hospitals, medical kits and temporary housing equipment.

The Orthodox Union established a fund to aid victims. Together with the Rabbinical Council of America and Yeshiva University, the OU is serving as a conduit for funds designated for communities and families affected by the hurricane. All money collected will be dispersed directly to those in need and no overhead costs will be taken. Agudath Israel of America has similarly launched an emergency relief campaign to provide assistance to those whose lives have been uprooted by the Katrina tragedy.

Magen David Adom also announced the formation of a special fund for the same purpose. A group of ZAKA volunteers in the United States is in New Orleans in order to aid in the removal of bodies strewn in the city streets. Members of ZAKA are in aiding in the recovery and identification of flood victims, as well as rescuing waterlogged Torah scrolls.

In a unique operation, ZAKA and Louisiana National Guard volunteers, alongside a team assigned by FEMA, waded through waist-deep toxic floodwaters to retrieve six Torah scrolls from Congregation Beth Israel, an Orthodox synagogue in New Orleans. A few of the Torah scrolls are believed to be more than 250 years old, but only two are salvageable, according to ZAKA. Another task that ZAKA undertook in the past weeks is ensuring that the bodies of Jews killed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are treated in accordance with Jewish religious law.

Israeli volunteer divers are in New Orleans looking for bodies in flooded homes. Coordinated by IsraAID (the Israel Forum for International Aid), the Israeli delegation has extensive experience in maritime rescues around the world. The 20-strong delegation includes four doctors. The divers are sifting through the murky and poisoned waters with powerful flashlights, expecting to find many of the hundreds or even thousands of dead bodies still trapped in houses or elsewhere.

Israel's five universities - Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Bar Ilan University and Ben Gurion University - have opened their doors, at the request of the Jewish Agency, to students from New Orleans wishing to study in Israel. The initiative was taken in cooperation with the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and the United Jewish Communities (UJC).

Tel Aviv University has opened up its medical school to give "academic sanctuary" to students from Katrina-ravaged Tulane University in New Orleans. Hebrew University will accept New Orleans students at its Rothberg International School for a semester or year's studies, and will be housed in the university's Mt. Scopus dormitories. The provost of the Rothberg International School, Prof. Jaime Kapitulnik, left Thursday for the U.S. in order to further arrangements for accepting the students. "In order to ease the way for the students, we will shorten the acceptance process," said Kapitulnik. "We will also adjust our studies in accordance with their needs and will provide scholarships."

Daniel P. Aldrich, a professor of Political Science at Tulane University in New Orleans and a graduate of Darche Noam Yeshiva in Israel, was one of those who were forced to evacuate from New Orleans. In an article published by, he wrote as follows:

"Even though we are homeless and possession-less, we are quite lucky: we are alive and healthy... When we arrived in Houston and found a local kosher restaurant where we could break out of our refugee diet of crackers and peanut butter, someone nearby overheard my family talking about our "adventure" (as we described it to our children). After finishing our meal, we went to the front counter of the restaurant to pay. The Indian manager gestured at an empty table and told us, smiling, "That family paid for you." "What family?" we asked. "That Orthodox family sitting in the corner," he said, who had picked up on our plight; what a kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of God's name."

Israeli Gov't Strives to Develop AIDS Vaccine

By Gamla News Service

The Israeli government is embarking on an effort to develop an AIDS vaccine using patented biological material in the state's possession.

According to a report in Red Herring, Israel's Finance Ministry has set up a tender committee to select a scientific institution to charge with the task of developing an AIDS vaccine based on an active pharmaceutical ingredient discovered in Israel several years ago by a team in the Agriculture Ministry's Veterinary Institute.

At the time, researchers working on another project found that the ingredient showed promising results in repairing the immunological system and helping in the fight against AIDS. After animal tests, the researchers claimed the agent-protected cells against penetration by the HIV virus, while blocking its propagation.

The Finance Ministry, operating under a new strategy aiming to utilize intellectual property rights held by the Israeli government, wants to promote research on the ingredient to develop an effective drug. The ingredient is registered as property of the Israeli government in both Israel and the United States.

"There is tremendous significance to regulating intellectual property rights in the government sector in order to better utilize the unique patents and assets," Finance Ministry Accountant General Yaron Zalika told Red Herring, adding that the initiative will hopefully lead to greater foreign investment in Israeli research and development.

Institutions both in Israel and abroad wishing to perform the research and development mission are supposed to apply with the Finance Ministry's tender committee by Oct. 6.

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