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New Film Calls on World Jewry to "Free Your Mind," Come Home to Israel

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Kumah, a grassroots movement seeking to fan the flames of mass aliyah (immigration to Israel) and neo-Zionism, has produced a provocative short film that has been released on the Internet. The film calls upon Jews living outside Israel to reach a heightened awareness of Judaism and awaken to their role in actualizing the destiny of the Jewish people. The video clip can be viewed at www.AliyahRevolution.com


Al-Aqsa Claims to Have Longer-Range Missiles

By IsraelNationalNews.com & YnetNews.com

Senior al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades official Abu Fadi said Monday that the group possesses longer-range missiles that could hit southern Israel communities previously immune to rocket threat. The terror group claims to have Grad missiles.

Al-Aqsa warned that if the IDF attempts to establish a buffer zone in northern Gaza, it will not sit idly by but will opt to launch the missiles against Israeli targets so the "occupation government is the big loser."

"Members of the rocket unit are capable of hitting targets deep in the Zionist entity. We want to warn the barbaric (Defense Minister Shaul) Mofaz that our men can hit targets in Ashkelon, yet we are not planning on using them at the moment unless Israel attacks the Gaza Strip or assassinates senior Palestinian commanders," Abu Fadi said.

Islamic Jihad also threatened to increase Kassam rocket fire should Israel carry out its plan to establish the security strip. 'For every attack on Palestinians in Gaza, Israel will get more rocket and missile fire directed at their strategic posts,' a spokesman for the organization's military wing said.

Israel wants to send a message that Kassam attacks come at a price. The IDF recommended a "dose of aerial fire", which Sharon approved upon his discharge from the hospital.

The Soviet Red Army first used the 122 mm caliber Grad missile, officially known as BM-21, in 1963. The first missiles were fired from trucks fitted with launchers capable of firing 40 rockets within six seconds. The Soviets later developed Grad versions suitable for aerial and surface fire.

The Grad-P surface-to-surface missiles are used in 50 countries. Over the last decade countries like China, Egypt, North Korea and the Czech Republic have produced Grad missiles.


Sharon to Undergo Minor Heart Procedure

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will undergo a minor heart procedure next month. He will undergo a procedure called catheterization in the next two to three weeks to repair a small hole in his heart. Doctors said it is routine and not life threatening.

Dr. Natan Borenstein said the procedure would not slow the prime minister down. "I think that Mr. Sharon can go back to work, and I don't think it should change his lifestyle," he said.

The non-surgical, half-hour procedure requires inserting a tiny tube to close the hole, a minor and common birth defect, according to Dr. Haim Lotem. The Prime Minister's personal physician and friend, Dr. Boleslav (Bolek) Goldman, said that Sharon is in the same physical shape as he was before suffering a mild stroke last week.

Sharon is 77 years old and officially weighs 260 pounds. There has been growing concern about his health since he had a mild stroke last week. Doctors said he suffered no lasting damage, but they have urged him to go on a diet. Sharon's adviser, Ra'anan Gissin, said that is easier said than done. "Maybe, you know, to use his sense of humor, his overweight makes it much difficult to move him around, you know."

But the prime minister's health is no laughing matter, especially since he faces a grueling campaign ahead of national elections in March. Israeli analyst Amotz Asa-El said. Sharon does not have a successor.

"Ariel Sharon has come to embody a broader transformation in Israeli society - he has restored a consensus," he said. "It is a consensus between military resolve and diplomatic flexibility, and that kind of balance has not only been his creation, but also been identified largely with his individual."


Israel Announces Plans to Build New Homes in West Bank Settlements

By VOA News

The Israeli Housing Ministry is seeking bids to build an additional 228 housing units in West Bank settlements, despite a requirement for a freeze in settlement activity under the international "road map" peace plan.

According to a published tender, the construction plan is to build 150 units in the ultra-orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit and another 78 units in Efrat. Both settlements are within a few kilometers of East Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to establish the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The "road map" peace process calls on Israel to halt all settlement activity in occupied territories. It also calls on the Palestinian Authority to crack down on militants attacking Israelis


Papal Official Wants to Divide Jerusalem

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Arab League and a Vatican official separately, but simultaneously, are campaigning for Israel to divide Jerusalem. The PA recently asked the pope to help make the capital part of a new state.

The Arab League also joined Palestinian Authority officials in exploiting Israel's policy of not allowing Arabs in Jerusalem, who are Israeli citizens, to vote in the PA legislative elections scheduled for January 25.

It told the French news agency AFP that the ban would solidify Israel's claim that the entire capital is part of the country. AFP termed the predominantly Arab neighborhoods of the city "occupied east Jerusalem."

The papal representative in Israel, Nazareth native Michael Sabbah, told reporters, "This [partition] wall must not exist. One day it will not exist. The Palestinian people should regain their liberty and land with a state and a capital and the Israeli people should have security." His statements are in opposition to previous Vatican statements, which have suggested that Jerusalem be established as an international city.

During a recent visit to the Vatican by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Benedict accepted a document granting him unlimited access to Bethlehem, as well as a passport to the city making him "the first citizen of Bethlehem," according to the PA radio network.

Abbas told the pope, "If we can't hold democratic elections in Jerusalem it will be difficult to do it in the other zones." The Arab League and the PA have seized the issue to put the blame on Israel if the elections are canceled. If Israel backs down and allows Arab Israelis to vote, it would help support the PA demand that the city become the capital of a new Arab state.


Kadima Does Not Rule Out Unilateral Expulsions

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Kadima party's platform proposes a new Arab state in Israel, does not include any statement against further unilateral expulsions and leaves open to question Israel's future boundaries.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon previously vowed that there would not be any further unilateral withdrawals similar to that of Jewish residents from northern Samaria and the Gaza region last summer, which was done without any concessions by the Palestinian Authority.

The platform of the new party recently formed by the Prime Minister favors a new Arab state in order "to end the struggle with two countries of people on the basis of demographic realities." The Hebrew daily Ma'ariv obtained portions of the platform.

"It is not accidental that [the platform] does not specifically oppose unilateral moves," according to Kadima sources quoted by Ma'ariv. "The platform is relevant also if Sharon decides to follow up with unilateral moves after the elections."

It calls for retaining all of Jerusalem and "places which have a national and historical importance [as well as the] large population centers" of Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and parts of Gush Etzion.

The clause leaves most of the entire country a question mark. Excluding the Haifa metropolitan area, a large majority of the Galilee is made up of Arabs. Similarly, Bedouin tribes populate most of the Negev outside of Be'er Sheva. In the center of the country, the "triangle" area between Netanya and Kfar Saba is virtually totally Arab as is the Jordan Valley.

The platform assumes that dividing up Israel will bring peace to Israel although it does not state what guarantees for peace it would seek from Arab factions. It does not relate to incitement or PA declarations to Arabs that all of Israel is "Palestine," nor does it relate to PA rejections of any new Arab state that does not include Jerusalem.


Aliyah Flying High: 3,000 North Americans in 2005

By IsraelNationalNews,com

An end-of-the-year Nefesh B'Nefesh-sponsored flight of new immigrants from North America will round out a year of increased aliyah. (Editor's Note: Golan Canaan, the son of Israel News Faxx editor Don Canaan, will make aliyah with the Tuesday group.)

The flight is expected to leave New York on Tuesday and arrive at the new Ben Gurion Terminal 3 the following day with more than 200 new olim from the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 3,000 North American Jews, the highest number since 1984, will have "come home" by the end of the year.

The increase in aliyah (literally "moving up" to Israel) also is more successful in terms of satisfaction with the big move. An overwhelming majority of 93 percent of recent olim reportedly is satisfied with their new surroundings, a marked changed from the past.

Sociologist Prof. Haim Waxman wrote in his studies more than a decade ago that more than one-third of American olim in Israel return to the U.S., a figure confirmed by Jewish Agency sources.

The results of a recent survey, carried out by professional pollster Mina Tzemach, indicate a huge success by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization, which in coordination with the Jewish Agency has encouraged and assisted new immigrants who have boarded six previous flights of olim this year.

The trend of more olim from North America has continued for three consecutive years, according to Michael Landsberg, who heads the Jewish Agency's North American bureau in New York.

Significant characteristics in the makeup of the new olim are their age and education, with a majority of those coming this week having earned at least one university degree. Most of the olim who have come via Nefesh B'Nefesh are married and between the ages of 35 and 54.

One of the major reasons for the higher success in aliyah from North America has been the olim's ability to find work, according to the survey. At least half of recent olim are currently working within their fields of study, and a similar number are satisfied with their employment, including those who are working outside of their professions.


Spielberg Expected in Israel

By Israel News Faxx Services

Ma'ariv reported Monday that director Steven Spielberg will attend the Israeli première of his controversial film "Munich."

Ma'ariv said Spielberg would come to Israel for the premiere in mid-January. The director has been caught up in a storm of controversy over his sources for the film inspired by Israel's hunt for Palestinian terrorists who killed 11 members of its wrestling team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Spielberg's office did not immediately comment on the report.


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