Newsletter : 5fax0930.txt
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Voting Ends in West Bank Municipal Elections
By VOA News
Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank voted Thursday in the final phase of
municipal elections. Initial estimates showed turnout was high in the first election since
Israel's withdrawal from parts of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip. The ruling
Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is facing stiff opposition from
candidates of the militant group Hamas. Hamas has tried to portray Israel's withdrawal as
a militant victory. The vote could set the tone for Palestinian parliamentary elections in
January. Israel has said it will not help facilitate those elections if Hamas participates
without first disarming. In a separate development, Abbas condemned the killing of three
terrorists during an Israeli military raid Thursday in the West Bank. He called it an
escalation that jeopardizes the peace process.
Three Palestinian Terrorists Killed in West Bank Clash with Israeli Troops
By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com
Palestinian security officials said a clash between Israeli troops and Palestinian
"militants" near the West Bank town of Jenin has left three militants dead. The officials
identified the victims as a local leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and two members
of Islamic Jihad. They said the fighting erupted when Israeli troops raided Jenin early
Wednesday, Israel's military warned it may bombard the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun,
if necessary, to stop Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. The terrorists have been firing
rockets from the area, despite earlier pledges to stop such attacks. President Bush is to
meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House next month for talks on
The armed Arabs opened fire at Israeli soldiers, who in turn shot and killed them.
Terrorists also opened fire at Israelis near Shechem and on the way to the community of
Har Brachah Wednesday night; no one was hurt. Israeli forces arrested seven wanted
terrorists in Shechem, Ramallah and Bethlehem, all members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Hundreds of other Arabs have been arrested or taken in for questioning over the past few
days regarding their involvement in terror activities.
In Gaza, violence continues to be the order of the day. The current round began with a
powerful blast during a Hamas victory parade last Friday that killed some 20 celebrants.
Hamas blamed it on Israel and then proceeded to let loose a barrage of 40 Kassam rockets
at Sderot and environs, wounding six people. The Israel Air Force responded with a series
of bombing raids on various buildings and open areas in Gaza, causing no casualties. Hamas
announced that it would stop the rocket attacks, but in fact merely toned them down.
Several Kassams were fired this week, and Israel continued to respond with scattered
bombing raids, including Wednesday night, and even artillery.
A Palestinian Authority report found that the celebration-explosion that started off
the above events was caused by a Hamas rocket, and not Israel. The shrapnel found in the
bodies of the dead was found to resemble that of Kassam rockets, which were apparently
carried and displayed in a truck on which masked terrorists were showing off their wares.
The PA has said it will now forbid weaponry from being displayed or carried during
demonstrations, except for that carried by PA security forces.
IDF Chief Operations Officer Gen. Yisrael Ziv said that if the rocket attacks from Beit
Hanoun in Gaza do not cease, "We will demilitarize the entire area. We won't allow any
movement, and we will clean out all the rocket launchers."
Hamas terrorist forces, some of them in uniform, control several towns in the Gaza
region, according to the Middle East Newsline. It quoted a Palestinian Authority official
as saying, "Hamas is in control and all we can do is look on." Sources said Hamas forces
control virtually all of the United Nations camps and that masked Hamas members also have
taken over the border city of Rafiah. The reports contradict statements by the PA that its
police forces are tightening control in Gaza and prohibiting people from carrying
And a recent Harris poll reveals that a plurality of Americans opposes destroying
Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Results of the survey show that 36 percent oppose
further withdrawals, 24 percent are in favor and 35 percent are uncertain. In response to
the question if the expulsion of Jewish residents from Gaza and northern Samaria was the
"right thing to do," 41 percent agreed, 24 percent disagreed and 36 percent were not sure.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's senior strategic advisor, Eyal Arad, announced this week
that the stalled diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority might
demand additional unilateral steps on Israel's part. Arad explained that this might result
in turning the unilateral disengagement into a new government policy, compelling Jerusalem
to determine new borders, which may entail annexing Judea and Samaria as integral portions
Jewish Agency to Recruit Soldiers as Emissaries Abroad
The Jewish Agency and the Defense Ministry plan to offer soldiers an alternative to the
self-financed, self-directed journeys of self-discovery that often follow the completion
of their army service: a chance to serve as emissaries to Jewish communities in the
Diaspora. The agency said that it hopes to recruit hundreds of soldiers, who after their
army discharge will work to persuade Jewish youth abroad to come to Israel for a semester
or a year of academic studies in the "Masa" program.
Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski said that he hopes the discharged soldiers - who
often travel after being released from the army - will choose to be sent abroad as
emissaries through the Jewish Agency rather than venture off "into the unknown.. Rather
than suffer a year in India or working alone in New York, they can receive a traveling
program from us which is structured and organized," Bielski said, adding that the number
of immigrants arriving in Israel this year is expected to climb to 27,000, up from 22,000
in 2004. This would be the first time since 1999 that number of new arrivals will be
higher than the preceding 12-month period.
The Jewish Agency, which already sends emissaries to large Jewish communities in North
America and elsewhere, hopes that this new program will help recruit more young Israeli
emissaries to travel for a few months abroad to convince young Jewish students in the
Diaspora to come to Israel to study for their "year abroad." The agency will finance the
emissaries' stay abroad and provide them with pocket money.
Under the Masa program, the agency plans to bring up to 20,000 young Jews from abroad
to Israel to study for a semester or a year. The cost of the program is estimated to reach
$200 million a year, with $50 million coming from the agency and an additional $50 million
from the government.
Israel Museum Displays Rare Vatican Manuscripts
The Vatican library has loaned the Israel Museum four illuminated Jewish manuscripts
from the 13th and 15th centuries, which will be on exhibit to the public for the next four
months. The manuscripts include a 15th-century manuscript of Maimonides' Mishne Torah, a
15th-century manuscript of Rabbi Jacob ben Asher's Arba'ah Turim, a 13th-century
manuscript of the Bible, and a 13th-century book of Psalms.
The most famous of the manuscripts on loan is the copy of Maimonides' famous legal
composition, the Mishne Torah. The manuscript is not complete and contains only the
prolegomenon and the first five books of the 14-part composition, also known as Ha-Yad
Ha-Hazaka (the Strong Hand). Each of the books has an illuminated frontispiece with
illustration referring to the name of the section or its contents. The variations in style
reveal the hand of more than one illuminator, and the museum curators say that it was
probably produced in the studio of one of the leading Christian miniaturists in Italy of
The second manuscript, of the Arba'ah Turim (Four Rows), is a well-known codex of
Jewish Law composed by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher, which is divided into four parts, each
dealing with a different aspect of the daily life of a devout Jew. Orah Hayim is concerned
with prayer, the Sabbath and Holidays, Yoreh De'ah deals with dietary laws and laws of
slaughtering, Even Ha-Ezer covers laws of marriage and divorce, and Hoshen Mishpat
addresses the laws of finance and damages. Each section ("tur") opens with a magnificent
The 13th-century biblical manuscript is among the earliest to be found in Italy, and it
survived almost in its entirety. The titles and final verses of each book are colorfully
ornamented with floral and other motifs. The scribe and the vocalizer (nakdan) of the
manuscript were members of the famous Anav family of Rome's ancient Jewish community,
which produced a line of authors, poets and rabbis. The final item in the exhibit is a
Psalter from the 13th century. The book has two other parts to it, which are in the
Vatican's collection in Rome.
You Say Sunday, I Say Saturday
Play ball! So long as it's not Sunday morning.
Alderman Darrel Leftwich wants the city (White House, TN) to set new hours for White
House parks so sporting events could only be held in the afternoon. Leftwich said he drove
by the park one Sunday on his way to church and saw a soccer tournament.
"God, our Father intended the seventh day to be one of rest and worship," Leftwich said
at a meeting. He asked the city manager to draft an ordinance that would restrict Sunday
hours at town parks.
Alderman Farris Bibb Jr. disagreed: "With all due respect to Alderman Leftwich. the
seventh day of the week is Saturday."
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