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Presbyterian Leaders Meet Hizbullah Terror Chief


Presbyterian Christians from Chicago met recently with Hizbullah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon. The meeting took place during a trip co-sponsored by the Chicago Presbytery's Middle East Task Force, in which Rev. Bob Reynolds of the Presbytery's executive board took part.

The trip's leader, Dr. Robert Worley, praised Hizbullah and expressed understanding for the terror group's activities against the Jewish state, saying that Presbyterians "have suffered much pressure on the part of Jewish organizations." Worley also told Nasrallah that Jewish influence in America leads to the perception that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization.

Hizbullah terrorists have killed scores of Israelis and kidnapped Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Various Jewish Federation and Anti-Defamation League officials contacted the Chicago Presbytery leadership, which refused to condemn the statements or meeting, saying instead that the trip was unofficial and not the responsibility of the group. "The goal of my trip was educational," Reynolds told the Associated Press. "I think one way people can learn from one another is to learn the way people talk about themselves and describe their own reality."

The Presbyterian Church (USA) embarked on a campaign of divesting from Israeli companies last year, a move condemned widely, including by other Christian groups.

Israel Promises Painful Retaliation for Suicide Bombing

By VOA News &

Israel is promising painful retaliation for Monday's suicide bombing in the coastal city of Netanya that left five Israelis dead. The Palestinian Authority is taking its own action.

At an emergency meeting, Israel's security Cabinet decided on a series of measures to punish the Islamic Jihad group, which claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. The army will resume assassinations of Islamic Jihad leaders and step up arrest raids in the West Bank.

"We will have to increase our efforts and intensify our sustained operations against the terrorists," said Israeli spokesman Ra'anan Gissin. "We will have to pay house calls to those Palestinians who instigate and perpetrate acts of terror and bring them to justice or bring justice to them."

Israel has sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, barring Palestinians from entering the country. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz is also seeking approval to resume the controversial policy of demolishing the family homes of suicide bombers.

The demolitions, which Israel sees as a deterrent, were suspended after an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire was declared in February. In the latest raids, the bomber's father and three brothers were arrested at a village in the northern West Bank.

Israel says it would fight terrorism on its own, until the Palestinian Authority dismantles terrorist groups as demanded by the internationally-backed "Roadmap" peace plan.

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat told VOA that his side would comply. "We have a commitment, a gradual commitment, to maintain the one gun and the one authority and the rule of law, and this commitment we will honor."

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been reluctant to confront heavily armed militant groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, fearing civil war. But he vowed to punish the perpetrators of the bombing. In a rare move, Palestinian police said they arrested three Islamic Jihad terrorists from the area where the bomber lived in the West Bank.

The Russian newspaper Pravda has predicted that terrorists would probably rule the Palestinian Authority (PA) after the planned legislative elections January 26. "A young and succeeding bureaucrat in a Hamas-controlled city hall cannot understand why he has to fight because he is already in power," the newspaper wrote.

It added that that a young generation is gaining power in the ruling Fatah party and favors bringing more terrorists into the police forces. Recent primaries in the PA "not only strengthened the positions of young activists of a new wave [but also] brought out good results to more radical field commanders of the movement's paramilitary units," according to Pravda.

New Law: Foods Must be Marked Milk, Meat or Pareve


As of Wednesday, food may not be sold in Israel without being marked as either meat, dairy or pareve (neither milk nor meat).

A new law to this effect passed its third and final reading in the Knesset Wednesday. It was originally proposed by MK Uri Ariel (National Union) as an amendment to the Kashrut law. The original law provided only that a food billed as Kosher carry the name of the authorizing rabbi, rabbinate or Kashrut agency.

"The Ministry of Trade could have merely issued a directive requiring the new markings," Ariel said, "but it did not do so. The Merchants Union complains that many Kashrut-conscious consumers refrain from buying certain foods because they are not marked as dairy or pareve. The new law will help consumers avoid the problem of whether to buy a food because of the fear that it may contain milk or meat ingredients."

Jewish law forbids the eating of milk products and meat products together, as well as the consumption of milk products within six hours (or three, according to some customs) of eating meat.

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