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Netanyahu: Labor and Kadima Will Retreat to '67 Lines 20:30 Jan 18, '06 / 18 Tevet 5766


(IsraelNN.com) The chairman of the Likud party, former Prime Minister and former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reacted to the results of the primaries in the Labor party by praising the individuals elected, but criticizing their positions on the issue of security.

Netanyahu said that the Labor electorate chose worthy Knesset candidates, but the Labor party's direction is what is most important. "And what the Labor and Kadima parties are proposing," Netanyahu said, "is a dangerous return to the '67 lines. That is not our path."

In recent weeks, Netanyahu has said that he rejects unilateral moves that encourage terrorism, and that he will act to preserve blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Jordan Valley.





Bush and Sharon Agreed to Let Hamas Win. Read the exclusive DEBKAfile Report Below







Bush and Sharon Agreed to Let Hamas Win


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report


The interim Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert's decision to bar Hamas from campaigning and running for election on Jan 25 in the first Palestinian parliamentary poll in a decade pits Israel on the Palestinian street against the Islamist terror group. Israel like the US is banking on the Islamic terror group being disarmed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas after the election or, alternatively, being tamed by a stake in government.

Neither calculation is realistic. Abu Mazen has confessed he has neither the will nor the strength to disarm Hamas. Furthermore, there is an innate contradiction between Hamas running for election in the Palestinian legislative council everywhere but Jerusalem, and Israeli permission for Palestinians to cast their ballots in Jerusalem - excluding Hamas. The spectacle of Hamas candidates and activists in Jerusalem being bundled into Israel police cars Sunday, Jan. 15, after the Olmert cabinet's first substantial decision, will only enhance the Islamist terrorists' already rosy prospects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

DEBKAfile's political sources reveal that Olmert in fact picked up and ran with the last significant policy line Ariel Sharon laid down before he was struck by a massive stroke on Jan. 4. It evolved through secret diplomacy in full accord with the Bush administration. Washington and Jerusalem could have scuppered Hamas' prospects of winning the Palestinian election by bowing to Abu Mazen's fervent wish to postpone the ballot as demanded by his own Fatah.

Because they decided against this, the Palestinian Authority stands to become the first national entity in the Middle East to be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is the Palestinian branch.

Its dominance will extend beyond civilian government and the legislature. Desertions from the Palestinian security forces at Abu Mazen's disposal to Hamas are now estimated at 65%. Hamas already controls the only coherent Palestinian military force organized in military units with command structures. It is made up of an amalgam of terrorist groups: Hamas's own combat arm Ezz-a-Din al Qassam Brigades, sections of the Popular Resistance Committees and defectors from the Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades.

So when Hamas comes to power in less than two weeks, the Israeli armed forces will have to contend with the largest combat-terrorist structure in the Middle East operating under a Palestinian "party" that was democratically elected with the unacknowledged endorsement of Washington and Jerusalem.

This powerful Palestinian fighting machine takes its place between the al Qaeda and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's networks planted in the Gaza Strip on Israel's southwestern border and in Lebanon to the north.

So as not to interfere with the Hamas victory, Sharon held the IDF back from striking out against the Qassam missile launchers in the Gaza Strip when they fired at Israeli civilian locations in the western Negev and Ashkelon, site of Israel's main power station, big oil reserves and oil port.

Sharon had his reason for this inexplicable restraint: his determination to build a continuum running straight from the Aug-Sept. 2005 Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to the next unilateral pull-backs from the West Bank. They was planned to begin after he was returned to a third term in office at the head of his Kadima party in the March 28 election. His victory was universally judged a piece of cake.

Sharon needed a Hamas victory, which would be translated as the absence of a Palestinian negotiating partner, to justify his unilateralism.

This strategy dovetailed with the Bush administration's policy at two points - one at least based on the misreading of Palestinian dynamics:

1. That democracy would transform Hamas from a terror group into a political party, a concept which misfired badly in Lebanon, where Hizballah is still a staunch and fully armed terrorist group after joining the Beirut government.

2. That Hamas in government owned an interest in retaining Abu Mazen in power as their internationally-accepted front man for diplomacy on the Palestinians' behalf with Washington and Jerusalem.

Hamas tacticians understood the American-Israeli strategy and responded in two ways.

While making a show of announcing their purported truce would expire on Jan 1, Hamas more or less held its fire. DEBKAfile's military sources point out that had the Qassam missile campaign been run by Hamas, 40-50 missiles a day would have flown across the Gazan border into Israel - five or six times the current number.

The second Hamas move was to assure Abbas that its winning candidates would not aspire to displace him and his party as the ruling force in the Palestinian Authority. They would extend him their support, but maintain their power bases in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

On this understanding, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 236 revealed on Jan. 6, Hamas and the Palestinian leader held quiet talks for some weeks along two channels. In Gaza, the facilitator was the deputy commander of the Palestinian security service Hussein Mashrawi; In Qatar, Abu Mazen conducted a quiet dialogue with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, brokered by the Emir of Qatar Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. These exchanges were coordinated with Washington and Jerusalem. They progressed smoothly until Wednesday Jan.4, 21:25 local time, when a massive brain hemorrhage felled Ariel Sharon.

The ailing prime minister was a lone decision-maker, preferring his own counsels to kitchen cabinets or consensus. His decisions usually surfaced in the guidelines he handed down his chain of command. But this time the process was cut short abruptly. He left two main players in the field, the Americans and Hamas.

He also bequeathed Olmert a half-digested strategy governing a key element of Israel-Palestinian relations, forcing his interim successor to scramble hard in order to grasp and assert some sort of control over a tricky situation.




Politics & Government

Acting PM Olmert: War Against Unauthorized Jewish Communities

19:13 Jan 18, '06 / 18 Tevet 5766

By Ezra HaLevi



Israel's acting prime minister, MK Ehud Olmert, has declared war, not against Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, but against unauthorized Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.



Olmert, at a meeting Wednesday afternoon with security officials, ordered the IDF to draw up clear plans to prevent the creation of new outposts and to destroy existing ones.

Nearly every community in Judea and Samaria started as or engaged in building projects that were unauthorized at some stage. Israel's ambiguous policies with regard to the future of Judea and Samaria have been blamed for this trend, as various government coalition members and heads of government ministries worked for and against Jewish resettlement of Judea, Samaria and Gaza following the Six Day War.

Olmert told the officials that until now the government has not acted with the necessary strength against the phenomenon "of illegal Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria." Olmert said that the time has come to use overwhelming strength against the communities and instructed the Defense Minister to compile plans for uprooting outposts and declared that the significantly developed town of Amona near Ofra, would be destroyed in the coming days.

Olmert angrily called for the immediate expulsion of Jews from the Shalhevet marketplace area in Hevron.

He also called for the punishment of various government agencies, local municipality members and civil servants involved in the founding of the outposts. Olmert termed the government's crackdown against the outposts "a struggle for the law in Israel."

Olmert said that "undermining the law" has become "a way of life" in Judea and Samaria. Olmert himself was investigated by police for his role in the Sharon government's Greek Island Corruption scandal, and a dozen of Olmert's party members are being probed for various corruption and fraud charges as well.

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz also spoke at the meeting, saying that Israel's "forgiving attitude" toward the residents of Judea and Samaria in the past is what has inflamed the current situation.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that she sees the onslaught against the outposts as "a conflict between settlers and the government in a struggle for supremacy."

The Yesha Council (of Judea, Samaria and Gaza communities) dismissed the statement, saying they are of the type in Israeli politics that are spoken for the sole purpose of creating strife within the nation. They also said they would "not enable Olmert to carry out his plans easily."

Land of Israel activists say they won't allow Olmert to carry out his plans to destroy Jewish communities at all. "The days of the Yesha Council making deals on our behalf and enlisting the public for symbolic struggles are over," a leading activist told Arutz-7. "Despite the enlistment of 99 percent of the media in trying to portray us as Arab rioters in recent days, we will not back down. They call us youth, but we are students, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers who do not intend to go into exile from any part of the Land of Israel."

MK Aryeh Eldad, head of the National Union's current-events team, in reaction to Olmert's statements said: "Olmert is inciting towards a civil-war as part of his election campaign. The issue [in Hevron] could be resolved through a legal compromise, but Olmert prefers to ignore this option in order to become the leader of the Left in the next elections."


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US Ambassador Threatens to Cut UN Funds Due to ´Palestine´ Map

By Ezra HaLevi

Following an Arutz-7 report, US Ambassador John Bolton filed a complaint with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan about the organization's use of a map that replaces all of Israel with 'Palestine.'


A December 9th Arutz-7 article exposed an official ceremony held at the United Nations during which dignitaries and UN officials spoke before a huge map that replaced the entire Jewish State with 'Palestine.' The article featured photos and video footage of the ceremony, provided by EyeOnTheUN.org and was picked up by Fox News, who used the story in several news segments.

Soon after, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton filed a sharply worded complaint to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, threatening that the U.S., which funds the body's advertising, would be cut.

Bolton's letter of complaint was recently published by the New York Sun. "It was entirely inappropriate for this map to be used," Bolton wrote. "It can be misconstrued to suggest that the United Nations tacitly supports the abolition of the state of Israel."

Bolton also referred to the severity of such a map being displayed by a world body just days after the leader of Iran called for the elimination of the Jewish State. "Given that we now have a world leader pursuing nuclear weapons who is calling for the state of Israel to be 'wiped off the map,' the issue has even greater salience," Bolton wrote.

Bolton's letter also questioned whether the UN was permitted to use the body's advertising budget, which is paid for by US taxpayers, to promote the 'Solidarity With Palestine' event where the map was displayed, when US law prohibits the funding of such events. The United States funds about a quarter of the UN's budget, including several UN budget allocations such as advertising. According to the Sun, Bolton threatened to cut off US funding of the UN if the body continued to fund and host anti-Israel events.

UN Chief Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the secretary-general was "grateful" that Bolton and others had brought the matter to his attention and had raised the matter of the map.

Though the response implied that Annan did not see the map, he is seen standing before it in pictures published on the EyeOnTheUN.org web site.

Annan's spokesman also said that it was the General Assembly's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People which decided to display the map, and not the Secretary-General. "This gives a very unfortunate impression that the United Nations favors replacing Israel by a single Palestinian state, which is not the case."

Dujarric stopped short of committing that Annan would not attend future events that displayed such a map, however. Neither has an answer yet been given to Ambassador Bolton's demand to know "Who is the high-level official within the secretariat who approved use of the map for the event?"

The PA representative at the UN told The Sun that the map was accurate up until the year 1948, which was clearly written on the map in Arabic. He also argued that US Ambassador John Danforth took part in a ceremony before the same map in 2004 and nobody complained about it then.

The Zionist Organization of America praised Ambassador Bolton's letter. Speaking at ZOA's national Dinner last month, Bolton criticized other UN bodies, such as the UN Development Program (UNDP), for such actions as producing mugs and T-shirts with the statement, 'Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem.'

"The ZOA commends Ambassador Bolton for his forthright stand on justice for Israel within the UN," said ZOA President Morton A. Klein. "For too long, the democratic world has tolerated the vicious institutional enmity against Israel in the world body."

Klein added sharp criticism of the UN spokesman's response to the letter. "We are also shocked at the response on the map incident from the UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric," he said. "What would Kofi Annan's spokesman say if an Israeli diplomat invited the Secretary-General to a function in a hall displaying a map of the Middle East on which Jordan did not appear, but with Israel appearing within today's parameters but also in place of Jordan? Would Kofi Annan have accepted that or would he have walked out?

"Would he have permitted his spokesman to say later that he was asking the Israelis merely to 'consider' removing the map in the future? He should have been able to say that the Secretary-General opposes its use and will not attend events at which it is displayed, but failed to do so." Comment on this story








Reform mohel Dr. Lillian Schapiro performs the brit milah of Brody Weiss in Atlanta in 2004 as parents Mike Weiss and Heather Kotler look on.


FOCUS ON ISSUES
Female mohels add warmth —

and controversy — to old tradition

By Sue Fishkoff
January 17, 2006




WALNUT CREEK, Calif., Jan. 17 (JTA) — When Dr. Debra Weiss-Ishai watched her son's brit milah two years ago, she thought to herself, I could do this better. Not just technically, although as a pediatrician she had done numerous medical circumcisions. She felt she could bring a warmth and spiritual beauty to the ritual in ways her old-school mohel, who she says "rushed through" the ceremony, did not.

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Last April Weiss-Ishai completed the Reform movement's Berit Mila Program, an intensive 35-hour certification course for physicians and nurse-midwives at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. She now has performed seven or eight Jewish ritual circumcisions in the San Francisco Bay area.

Weiss-Ishai spends hours preparing for each brit milah, working with the family to make sure the ceremony fits their needs, determining the level of Hebrew they want, incorporating friends and relatives and personalizing it with readings and poetry. Doing this work is her way of helping to ensure Jewish continuity, she says.

"There are so many unaffiliated Jews in the Bay Area, and I may be the first Jewish professional they meet," she says. "Their experience can make them want to participate more in the Jewish community, or it can really turn them off. If you're not sensitive to that, you can turn someone away from raising their kids Jewish."

Weiss-Ishai is one of just a few female mohels in the United States. There are about 35 Reform female mohels, and just four trained by the U.S. Conservative movement, as well as a handful who learned outside the United States.

It's not surprising that throughout Jewish history, mohels have been men. Circumcision is, after all, a guy thing. Beyond the obvious anatomical requirements, it's something the Torah commands a father, not a mother, to do for his son on the eighth day of life.

What is surprising, however, is that while half of all new non-Orthodox rabbis and cantors in this country are women, few women are choosing to become mohels.

Yet unlike rabbis and cantors, there is no halachic prohibition against female mohels. Every Orthodox authority consulted for this story agreed on that point, though most asked not to be quoted. Jewish law states only that if a Jewish male is present, it's preferable that he do the brit milah.

"It's a custom, a strong custom, but there's no law except that the mohel be Jewish," says Rabbi Donni Aaron, director of the Reform Berit Mila Program. "People assume it's not according to halachah, but they just haven't encountered it. Some people think it's a man's job, that it just feels weird" for a woman to do a brit milah.

Unlike physicians, mohels in this country are not regulated, and technically, anyone can act as mohel if the parents trust him or her to perform the operation on their infant son. Traditionally it's been a profession passed on from father to son; even today, Orthodox and many Conservative mohels learn by apprenticing with a senior mohel, usually in Israel.

The Reform and Conservative movements set up their training programs because there were so few traditionally trained mohels available to serve the non-Orthodox community. The non-Orthodox movements, especially the Reform, needed their own mohels since Orthodox mohels generally are reluctant to circumcise the son of a non-Jewish mother.

The Reform program, which has trained about 300 mohels since it began in 1984, and the Conservative Brit Kodesh program, which has trained about 75, both accept only physicians or nurse-midwives who already are experts in medical circumcision. The programs teach them the relevant halachah, rituals, and textual background to perform a Jewish brit milah.

The training is similar, though Conservative mohels generally won't circumcise the son of a non-Jewish mother unless the parents intend to convert the child.

Rabbi Joel Roth, a professor of Talmud and Jewish law at the Jewish Theological Seminary, says there was no problem admitting women to the Conservative program, which is run jointly by JTS and the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly.

"We considered it, we deliberated it and then we said, frankly it's easier to train women for this role than to count them in the minyan," Roth recalls. "We know it hasn't been done historically, but there's no earthly reason why we shouldn't."

Dr. Lillian Schapiro, an OB-GYN in Atlanta, decided to become a mohel nine years ago at the suggestion of one of her patients, a female rabbi. There were no Reform mohels in the Atlanta area, Schapiro says, and many Reform couples were having their sons circumcised in the hospital, with just a naming ceremony the following week.

"It wasn't kosher," she states.

Female mohels say that as physicians, they feel comfortable doing circumcisions, and want to bring a Jewish aspect to what they already are doing.

Dr. April Rubin, an OB-GYN in Washington, had been doing circumcisions for more than 20 years when she became more observant. Two years ago she completed the Conservative Brit Kodesh program, and has since done about 70 britei milah.

Some traditionally trained mohels look askance at these physician-mohels.

"They really don't have a very solid background in the halachah; they're physicians who want a sideline in brit milah, and I feel that's unfortunate," says Rabbi Paul Silton, a Conservative rabbi in Albany, N.Y., who apprenticed with an Orthodox mohel in Jerusalem.

The Conservative program requires applicants to be practicing members of Conservative congregations, and ritually observant. The Reform program requires applicants to belong to any congregation, Reform or not, but makes no stipulations about ritual observance.

Some people choose a female mohel because of her gender, like Bay Area resident Nicole Sorger, who asked Weiss-Ishai to circumcise her son last November.

"The idea of having an old bearded man was disconcerting, not being very religious," Sorger admits. Having Weiss-Ishai do the ceremony "broke up the idea of it being a male event, a patriarchal celebration. It made the ceremony so much more accessible to me."

Dr. Laurie Radovsky, a Conservative mohel in St. Paul, Minn., circumcised her son 11 years ago in rural Wisconsin because no mohels lived nearby. Nine years later, she became a mohel herself.

Her male rabbi told her that women bring "a gentleness, a sensitivity" to the ceremony, but she says there are other advantages.

"First, I don't have a penis," she says. "With men, when you talk about circumcision, there's an instinctive protecting of the genitals. I'm a little more thick-skinned. And as a mother, I can empathize with that mother's feelings and tenderness toward that child. I can reassure her, perhaps more than a male mohel can."

At the end of every brit milah, "sometimes surreptitiously," Radovsky says, she kisses the baby's head to welcome him into the Jewish community.

"I really feel I can make a difference in the world," she says.





Jordan barring Orthodox Jewish Israelis from entering country

By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press

Jordan has prevented Orthodox Jewish Israelis from entering the country in recent weeks for fear they will be the targets of terrorist attacks, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Israeli and Jordanian authorities have been in contact over the Jordanian policy not to admit Israelis who wear the Orthodox Jewish garb of prayer fringes and skullcaps, ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

Jordan on Monday refused to allow a group of eight Israeli tourists from entering the country after an inspection at the border crossing revealed prayer shawls and phylacteries.




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One of the tourists, Yoram Cohen, told Army Radio that Jordanian border inspectors prevented their entry into the country from the moment it became clear the tour group was religious.

"During the border inspection, prayer shawls and phylacteries were found. When they asked us what they were, we said we were religious. They then told us, 'Okay, go on home.' On the Israeli side it became clear to us that [the Jordanians] are not letting religious tourists enter," Cohen said.

The head of the Foreign Ministry's Arab media division, Amira Oron, said "it is possible to understand the Jordanian fears but we nevertheless do not agree to such limitations and we are seeking, via diplomatic means, to alter the Jordanian decision."

Oron added that Jordan is very interested in supporting tourism from Israel.

National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev said Wednesday that the Jordanian policy was "reminiscent of the dark chapters of Jewish history."

Orlev called on Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to seek an end to the Jordanian policy and said she must not hesitate to "employ the diplomatic measures available to the State of Israel against the blatant discrimination aimed at religious Jews."

Israel in August warned Israelis not to travel to Jordan, based on intelligence that militant groups were planning attacks against Israelis in the country.

On November 9, 63 people were killed in triple suicide bombings in Amman hotels, one of them an Israeli Arab. Al-Qaida in Iraq took responsibility for the attack.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994.




Four million dollars
Top lawyer in Holocaust restitution cases gets flak over fee request.

Bowled over
Hany Abu-Assad still can't believe his film 'Paradise Now' won a Golden Globe prize.








Israeli Chutzpah, Combina, Optimism Help Make Jewish State Successful by Naama Shalev (Israeli Emissary to Akron, Ohio)

Not so long ago, "frayer" was the word most Israelis never wanted to be associated with. "Frayer" in Hebrew means sucker, a person who was fooled. I am not even sure which language this word immigrated from, but for many years Israelis located "frayerim," which is plural for "frayer," very low on the food chain.

In order to make sure never to become frayer, Israelis worked very hard at finding new ways to detour problems they encountered. This is how it worked: One feels he has been treated unfairly or did not get what he thought he should have gotten and experiences a chain of bad luck. What does one do? Fix it! He finds others ways to achieve what he thought he had missed.

This rather typical Israeli reaction is the father and mother of a newer phrase: "combina." Borrowed from the English word "combination," this Hebrew phrase means a solution that is unusual or a special treatment that is not given to others.

Many of the Israelis who became too conscious about the chance of being labeled as frayerim, started to develop combinot, which is plural for combina: creative ways to still get what they come for. Sometimes they hit their heads against the wall, but in most cases they use chutzpa and are almost always not satisfy with a "no" for an answer.

This mentality of chuzpa (confidence?) combinot (creative ideas?) and fighting for a "yes" (persistence?) made Israel the country with more startup companies -- about 3,000 -- than any country outside the U.S., and one with more than 100 companies traded on the US stock exchange.

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