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One Year Later: "Sharon is Crazy" - Legitimate Protest


The Jerusalem District Court Wednesday ordered the police to return a protest sign confiscated one year ago to its owner, right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir. The sign, which has a picture of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with the word "Crazy" under it, was determined by police at the time to violate the law against "insulting a public servant." According to the court's ruling, the sign constitutes legitimate protest protected under the laws of freedom of speech.

Suspected Suicide Bombers Kill 57 in Jordan

By VOA News & Ha'aretz

Suspected suicide bombers have blown themselves up at three hotels in Jordan's capital, Amman, killing at least 57 people and injuring 300 others.

Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher told CNN television that most of the casualties were caused when a bomber detonated himself at a wedding party at the Radisson hotel. Officials said the other attacks took place at the Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels.

Western visitors frequent all three hotels. Shortly after the attacks, police and emergency personnel flooded the areas around the hotels and set up roadblocks. One of the hotels is known to be popular with Israeli tourists.

In a statement, Jordan's King Abdullah condemned the attacks, saying they were carried out by what he called a "misled and misleading group," but he did not name any suspects. The king cut short his official visit to Kazakhstan and was returning home Wednesday night.

"The hand of justice will get to the criminals who targeted innocent secure civilians with their cowardly acts," he said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency. Officials also declared all government offices and public institutions would be closed Thursday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. Jordan's King cut short his official visit to Kazakhstan and was returning home Wednesday night.

Israeli Embassy spokesman Ya'akov Raber said there were no immediate reports of Israeli casualties. The Allenby border crossing between Israel and Jordan was opened to allow Israelis to leave the Hashemite Kingdom immediately.

Israel's counter-terror headquarters on Wednesday recommended Israeli citizens not travel in Jordan. Travel warnings regarding Jordan were tightened a few months ago, but many Israelis still visit the country. Many also visit other regions such as the Jordanian Arava and the ancient city of Petra.

The first bomber, at 8:50 local time, struck the Grand Hyatt, completely shattering the stone entrance. An eyewitness told CNN that the Jordanian prime minister's car was at the Grand Hyatt at the time of the blast.

Police said a second explosion hit the nearby Radisson SAS hotel where about 250 people were attending a wedding reception. The Radisson, in particular, is popular with Israeli tourists and was a target of several foiled Al-Qaeda plots in the past.

Police also reported a third explosion at the Days Inn Hotel in Amman. There are also casualties at that hotel. "The attacks carry the hallmark of Al-Qaeda," one police official said on condition of anonymity in line with police regulations. "However it is not certain. We are investigating."

Ayman al-Safadi, editor of Jordan's Al-Ghad newspaper, told Al-Arabiya satellite network that it was a "terrorist operation."

Jordan, a key ally of both the United States and Israel, had largely escaped the terror attacks that have hit other parts of the Middle East, and its sleepy capital, Amman, is viewed as a haven of stability in the region.

But Jordan has not been entirely immune: On August 19, militants fired three Katyusha rockets at a Navy ship docked at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, narrowly missing it and killing a Jordanian soldier.

Jordanian officials blamed that attack on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and there have been growing worries that the violence in Iraq could spill over into Jordan, where many Iraqi exiles have taken refuge from the violence.

Jordan has arrested scores of Islamic militants for plotting to carry out attacks in the moderate Arab kingdom. It has also sentenced numerous militants to death in absentia, including the Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Israel's counter-terror headquarters on Wednesday recommended Israeli citizens not travel in Jordan. Travel warnings regarding Jordan were tightened a few months ago, but many Israelis still visit the country. Many also visit other regions such as the Jordanian Arava and the ancient city of Petra.

Israelis Developing Alternatives to Arab Oil


An Israeli inventor and company are trying to use garbage and leftover olive pulp from olive-oil factories, respectively, to replace oil in providing fuel and electricity to the Jewish State.

From one ton of garbage, half a ton of oil, 300 kg of gas or 150 kg of green coal, from which electricity is produced, can be extracted, according to inventor Dr. Sergei Rosenberg.

Rosenberg spoke with Arutz-7 about the development of his invention that turns garbage into oil. "I turned to the Ministry of Infrastructure with my invention and they told me to build such a machine outside Israel and they would consider bringing it here," Rosenberg described. "I built the machine in Moldova and demonstrated there that it works - with the oil undergoing tests demonstrating that the process is not toxic."

Asked by Arutz-7's Yigal Schok why Israel is not pursuing the invention to wean the Jewish State off of Arab-controlled oil, Rosenberg said that the state was afraid of implementing the changeover due to concern of taking away the monopoly of the oil tycoons. "To my surprise much of the interest actually came from Arab parties because they have a lot of refuse they want to get rid of in an efficient manner," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg gained the experience necessary to come up with his invention from working in Russia before he immigrated to Israel. "In Russia I helped with the building of an artificial reservoir, a number of power stations and I designed the water system for the nuclear core in Chernobyl, but Israel did not hire me for similar work since I don't have any connections. I have other ideas, such as wind turbines that operate on air and exploiting the power of the ocean's waves to produce power."

Another company, Genova Ltd., is also working on alternatives to Arab oil. The company has signed an agreement, according to Globes, with an olive press in the village of Julis, in the Galilee to establish a small facility to produce electricity from the waste from olive pressing.

The facility is slated to produce an estimated 200 kilowatts of power, enough to provide 70 homes with power. It will also provide for the disposing of olive waste formed during oil production, which has until now posed an environmental hazard.

Genova's method heats the waste to temperatures above 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, transforming it into a flammable gas. Burning that gas is environmentally friendly, releases no greenhouse gases and causes no damage to the earth's ozone layer. The gas operates an electricity-generating turbine.

The company hopes to market the product, which will be small enough to fit on a countertop, to other olive-oil producing countries such as Spain and Italy.

Small Israeli City Becomes Chess Power

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Be'er Sheva)

In the rarefied world of international chess competition all eyes are on a small Israeli city in the middle of the Negev Desert this week, where players from eight national teams are competing in the World Team Chess Championships.

The atmosphere is hushed in the Be'er Sheva convention center where players from countries are varied as China, Cuba, Armenia, Israel, and United States are matching wits across chessboards in the World Team Championships.

Like just about everything else in Be'er Sheva, the hall of the convention center is dusty. The city sits in the middle of the Negev Desert, and despite extensive land reclamation efforts around the city, it is still very much a provincial desert town, described by one tourist guide as unattractive, with little to see or do, and unlikely to impress visitors.

But, Be'er Sheva, with a population of just fewer than 200,000 people, has a distinction that sets it apart from every other city. With eight chess grand masters calling Be'er Sheva home, the city has more international grand masters per capita than any other city in the world.

Be'er Sheva is a chess powerhouse because of the efforts of one man, Eliahu Levant, who immigrated to the desert city from the former Soviet Union in 1972. Levant, a chess enthusiast from his earliest days, was a coach at the famed Leningrad Spartak Chess Club.

He says he chose Be'er Sheva over other cities in Israel because he was inspired by the idea of moving to a frontier city where the possibilities of playing and teaching chess were limitless.

Levant said he knew there was not much chess being played in Be'er Sheva, so that when he got an invitation to come to the city he chose it because he wanted to come to a developing city where he could do as he pleased, mainly play and teach chess.

With thousands of emigrants from the Soviet Union, many with good chess skills, Levant went to work. In 1973, he established the Be'er Sheva Chess Club, which is now housed in the Eliahu Levant Chess Center next to the town's large public library. More than 30 years later, Be'er Sheva players regularly win at chess tournaments around the world.

Levant says he has to buy a new trophy cabinet every year for players who have prospered under his system of training. He said he first trained 100 players and then 1,000. He says there is a potential grand master in about every 1,000 players he and his many coaches train, but he says a grand master is made and not born. To become one, he says, requires not only extraordinary talent but extremely hard work.

Levant said his dream to create a chess utopia in the desert almost did not happen. He said that when he left the Soviet Union he brought 30 training chessboards to the airport with him, which Soviet officials said he could not take with him. But after a lengthy delay, a senior customs official intervened and allowed Levant and his family to leave with the boards. The official, it turned out, had been a former pupil of Levant.

'Kosher Names' Reports are Wrong


Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, says that the international news reports of "rabbinically forbidden names" are greatly in error.

Informed that the reports say that the name Ariel is forbidden, Eliyahu said, "Of course not! Ariel is totally permitted." As explained in the site quoted by the reports, the name Ariel refers to the Holy Temple and Jerusalem.

Ha'aretz reported, "A group of Israeli rabbis has put together a list of names they say should be off-limits to Jewish children - including Ariel and Omri, the given names of Israel's prime minister and his eldest son."

Eliyahu told Arutz-7 that unlike Ariel, the name Omri is in fact forbidden, as it is the name of an evil Israelite king.

The reports also said that the rabbis feel that naming children after dismantled Gaza settlements, such as Katif, is another bad idea "because of the controversy involved." Eliyahu said that this is nonsense: "Only the name Yamit [a city in Sinai destroyed in 1982 because of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty] should be avoided, because it contains the root of the word for death."

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