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Palestinians Prepare New, High-Explosive Warheads for Kassam Missiles

By DEBKAfile

The Palestinians have smuggled in from Sinai to the Gaza Strip what military sources have told DEBKAfile' is "a monstrous amount" of high explosives, to improve the precision and effectiveness of the Kassam missiles fired across the border against Israeli towns and villages. Our sources reveal the new, lethal explosives come from military production factories in Slovakia and Serbia.

Egyptian special border forces supposed to police the Philadelphi route border have permitted the illicit supplies to roll past them in the last few days without lifting a finger. Once inside the Gaza Strip, the explosives are going straight into Palestinian workshops working around the clock to fit the military-grade TNT and Semtex on their Kassam missiles in place of the homemade, hit-or-miss warheads. These workshops have not been bombed by the Israeli air force for some weeks. The powerfully upgraded Kassam missiles with boosted destructive capabilities are therefore expected to start flying shortly.

In the last three months, some 300 Kassam missiles have been fired from Gaza against Israeli civilian locations, an average of three per day. While disrupting lives and keeping their victims on edge, most have flown wide of the mark, causing no casualties and little damage. Many fall short on the Palestinian side of the Gazan border. In the last two weeks, Palestinian missile crews have become more ambitious and aimed at strategic targets in the Ashkelon area and a big military base south of the city. Four Israeli soldiers were slightly injured last week.

But once the homemade primitive warheads are replaced with military-grade explosives, the Palestinian terrorists can hope to inflict death and destruction on an entirely different scale. Israeli officers in the southern command have warned the Sharon government that the new explosives not only place the big power station and oil port installations of Ashkelon in great peril, but arm Palestinian suicide bombers with more powerful bomb vests and can be used in car bombs for assaults on a level previously unknown in the Palestinian war against Israel.

DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources add that the smuggling of wholesale quantities of war materiel to Gaza was a high-cost operation. Agents purchased the merchandise in Slovakia and the Balkans, underground networks freighted it across the Mediterranean to Sinai and there, more accomplices transported the explosives up to the Gazan border.

Unlike the Karin-A shipment arms cargo seized by Israeli commandos exactly four years ago, no Israeli hand stepped in to snap the chain bringing new tools of war into terrorist hands in the Gaza Strip.


Israel's Sharon Returns to Work After Stroke

By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has returned to work, a week after suffering a mild stroke. Sharon held his weekly meeting with his Cabinet Sunday. The severely overweight and self-admitted food lover joked with Cabinet members about his health scare, warning them about the dangers of eating fried sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) during the Jewish Chanukah holiday, which began Sunday evening.

Sharon's doctors, one of them a personal friend, will hold a press conference Monday to disclose his condition. He has told his personal physician to disclose his medical condition as opposition political parties have demanded. He had vowed to publish medical records during the last election campaign but never did so.

Among his physicians is a personal friend, Dr. Boleslav (Bolek) Goldman, who was on the medical team that treated the Prime Minister last week after he suffered a mild stroke. "We will present all the information that needs to be presented," said Dr. Shlomo Segev of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

However, doctors told Ma'ariv last week that the public was in fact misled on Sharon's condition. Neurologist Prof. Tamir Ben Hur originally told reporters that the Prime Minster's only problem was "a light difficulty in speaking." Later, the newspaper quoted doctors as stating, "What was said at the press conference [last week], to make an understatement, is not exact.

"The Prime Minister did not know what day it was and could not count or perform basic functions for 45 minutes. There is no obligation to reveal everything, but to release incorrect information means taking a position, and this is very problematic," the physicians asserted. The Ma'ariv report claimed the prime minister was sedated during a medical procedure following the stroke, during which time he was completely unaware of his surroundings.

Doctors have since reported that Prime Minister Sharon, who weighs nearly 300 pounds, has normal cholesterol and blood pressure. He is to turn 78 in February. Tests performed by Hadassah Hospital following the stroke revealed Sharon carries a congenital heart defect, which may soon require catheterization or surgery. Before the 2001 elections, he was healthy but had gout, a buildup of uric acid in the joints, according to medical reports obtained and published by Yedioth Ahronoth.

Dr. Marc K. Siegel wrote in the New York Post that the reports of his stroke were confusing. "First, it was suggested that Sharon, the prime minister, had blacked out and sustained a stroke. Then came the story that by the time he reached the hospital he was awake--somewhat confused, yet conversant with family members. Finally, we heard that Sharon was lucid, joking, that he had experienced transient weakness and slurred speech but was now OK.

"Here in America, we didn't know what to think, especially when we heard that Sharon was back to meeting with military leaders in the hospital that very night. No matter what actually happened to Sharon on Sunday, lurking behind all reports was the ominous word 'stroke,' the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide, and No. 3 cause of death. We don't know exactly what happened to Sharon because we don't have his medical reports. But doctors shouldn't take these sides. Professionalism demands access to the patient and his records before rendering any opinion," according to Siegel.


Chanukah Menorah Lights Up Jerusalem

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The largest menorah in the world, whose wax is made from more than 5,000 candles, lit up Jerusalem Sunday night, the first evening of the eight-day Festival of Lights.

The menorah was lit at Pisgat Zee's, in the northern part of the capital, and is housed in an elevator, enabling it to be seen from miles around to fulfill the mitzvah of publicizing the miracle of Chanukah, which occurred 2,144 years ago. The holiday recalls both the miraculous victory of the minority of Jews over the ruling Greek-Syrians, and the miracle of the burning of holy olive oil for eight days.

After the military victory, the priests at that time searched the desecrated Temple and found one container of olive oil that was fit to light the Holy Menorah. The oil was enough for only 24 hours, but lasted eight days, during which time the priests were able to prepare new oil.

The menorah used today to commemorate the holiday has eight branches, one more than that which was used in the holy Temple, and which is forbidden to use until the completion of the Third Temple.


Goggle Agrees to Limit Resolution of Israel Satellite Photos

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Goggle, which offers satellite photos of locations across the globe, has agreed to limit the resolution of footage of sensitive military installations and vulnerable sites in Israel. Google currently offers satellite photos of eight locations in Israel: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Masada, the Dimona Nuclear Research Center (DNRC), Sdot Micha (listed as a nuclear weapons base), the Kinneret, and the Mizpe Ramon crater. Photos of Israel will only be available up to a two-meter resolution.

Vanunu Changes Name to Johnny Carson

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Israeli traitor Mordechai Vanunu, who was released from prison 20 months ago after serving 18 years for giving away Israel's nuclear secrets, has changed his name to John (Johnny) Carson. Vanunu converted to Christianity and has been embraced by left-wing Europeans as a leading critic of nearly all of the State of Israel's policies.


Chanukah: The Miracle of Lights

By Rabbi David Aaron (Commentary)

Imagine for a moment that you have walked into a magic store. And there, they are selling special flashlights equipped with magic lights of different kinds. For example, you can buy the light of science, and when you point that flashlight at your hand, you see not a hand, but cells and blood vessels and tendons and ligaments. Or you can buy the light of art, and you point that flashlight at your hand, you see your hand as if it were a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci -- you see form, color and texture.

You're having a lot of fun trying out the different flashlights, and then you see one labeled "the light of Chanukah." What will you see in that light?

It is interesting that according to Jewish law, when we light the Chanukah menorah we are prohibited from using its light -- from reading by it, or doing some other task by it. Instead, we are commanded to simply look at the light. All year long we are looking at what we see by using the light, but on Chanukah we are to focus on seeing the light itself. We are to fill our eyes with the light of Chanukah so that when Chanukah is over, we will continue to see our lives in this special light. What is special about the light of Chanukah?

When King Solomon wrote: "There is nothing new under the sun," that refers to the light of nature. Everything is new when seen in the light beyond the sun. The Zohar, however, teaches that everything is new when seen in the light beyond the sun.

The light of Chanukah is the light beyond the sun. It is the light beyond nature, the light of miracles. In the light of nature, to which Solomon referred, nothing is new. But in the light of miracles everything is new and novel.

When I point the light of science at my hand I see cells and veins. When I point the light of art at my hand I see form, shape and color. But when I point the light of Chanukah, I see a miracle. We fill our eyes with the light of Chanukah for eight days, so that when the holiday is over, we see that everything -- even nature -- is actually a miracle. Albert Einstein once said: "There are two ways of looking at the world -- either you see nothing as a miracle or you see everything as a miracle."

The Jews see everything as a miracle. The Greeks saw nothing as a miracle. To the Greeks, a miracle was an absurdity. To them only what is reasonable, logical, and rational can be real. Miracles are illogical and therefore not possible. The Greeks could never access the light of Chanukah, the light of miracles, because they only believed in the light of reason. To them the world always existed; it never was created. History was an inevitable process -- the present linked to the past and the necessary outcome of the past. Nothing unusual can happen; history will march on, a consequence on top of the last consequence.

Similarly, their view of God, or rather of gods, was of super-beings detached from the world, contemplating themselves. Their Gods didn't care about man. For the Greeks, nothing is new under the sun -- what "was" always "will be." Thus miracles are impossible. The Greeks assumed that the world was perfect already.

This is why the Greeks were so irritated by Judaism that they decided to wipe it out. Judaism said God created the world, cares about man, and invites man to be His partner in making history and perfecting the world. The Greeks assumed that the world was perfect already. Everything was as it should be. The world was eternal, history was inevitable, and God was impersonal. No expectations of miracles, no hope. Life is a Greek tragedy.

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik explained that the difference between the Jewish perspective of history and the world's perspective of history is that the world generally sees history as unfolding out of the past, as if the past is pushing history forward. But Judaism believes that it's actually the future that is activating history -- pulling us toward the future.

If sometimes -- because man has free will as God's partner in making history -- history goes off the road, then God might interfere for the sake of the future with the natural transition from past into present. Then the present may not be determined by the past, but the present may be determined by the future. That's when miracles happen.

One example of this is the survival of the Jewish people, which historians have puzzled over for centuries. The Jews should not be here. We broke all the historical rules. No other nation has survived under such conditions. We are a people of miracles who believe in a God of miracles. And if God wills it, something radical and new can happen at any moment. We always have reason to be hopeful.

This is why we light candles on Chanukah, and bring that special light into our lives each year. In fact, it is only because the Maccabees had the light of miracles already in their souls that they attempted to accomplish something very unreasonable and very irrational. A small group of weaklings stood up against the warriors of Greece and won. But they knew it was possible because God created the world and is free to do as He pleases.

If they had to wait another eight days, would that have been so terrible? Their victory was a miracle in itself, so why top it off by keeping the menorah miraculously lit for eight days? It seems most unnecessary. Okay, the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem from the Greeks and when they went to light the Menorah there was only enough oil for one day. And yes, unbelievably that oil lasted for eight days until more oil could be pressed and brought in. But this doesn't seem like a very important miracle. If they hadn't been able to light that Menorah the world would not have fallen apart. They'd have to wait another eight days -- would that have been so terrible?

But that is the definition of miracle -- it is unnecessary. Natural phenomena are necessary. If I put a drop of ink into water, it necessarily will dissolve. That's nature. But a miracle is just the opposite. It doesn't have to be. Indeed, in the light of nature it shouldn't be. But it is because God wants it to be. God needs no reason to make a miracle. God wants to, and God does it. That's why Chanukah is such an incredible holiday of miracle, because it is the holiday that celebrates the essence of miracle, the essence of the unnecessary.

When you look at the world in the light of Chanukah, you realize that everything in the world is unnecessary; that even you are unnecessary. And yet the world is here and you are here. Celebrating the unnecessary is really the celebration of love. Because the ultimate expression of love and kindness is not in doing what I have to do, but in doing what I don't have to do. If I dent your car and then offer to pay for it, that is not an act of love. That is the law. But if one day I decide to wash your car, that is an act of love.

Judaism believes that we are here because God -- out of His infinite love -- created us. It is a miracle that we are here and at Chanukah, more than at any time of the year, we marvel in that. We see ourselves in the light of miracle, in the light of hope.

In the light of science and in the light of art we see aspects -- and only some aspects -- of what is there. But in the light of Chanukah -- in the light of miracles -- we see that anything is possible. We see the triumph of God's love.


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