Newsletter : 6fax0123.txt
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New Online Resource at Yad Vashem
Israel's Holocaust memorial launched a new online resource center to coincide with the United Nations' first Holocaust Remembrance Day, taking place this week. Information at the Yad Vashem site includes survivor testimonies on video, a database of Holocaust victims' names, suggested educational activities and online exhibitions. The URL is www.yadvashem.org.
Israel Hints at Military Action Against Iran
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem). Ha'aretz & IsraelNationalNews.com
Israel is threatening to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has hinted that Israel is preparing for military action
against Iran's nuclear facilities. "Israel cannot accept an Iranian nuclear capability and
it must defend itself, with all that that implies," Mofaz said. "We are preparing," he
But Mofaz said international diplomacy must be the first course of action. He welcomed
the U.S.-led effort to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council, saying sanctions and
international oversight of Iran's nuclear program are the "correct policy at this
Israel has expressed growing alarm about Iran's nuclear program since late October,
when the Iranian president called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map." Israeli
spokesman Mark Regev said the U.S. and Europe must move more quickly to prevent Iran from
acquiring the atom bomb. "The combination of a regime with a very radical agenda, put
together with nuclear weapons, I think that is a combination, a dangerous combination that
no one in the international community can accept," said Regev.
The Israeli air force destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. And Israeli
officials have warned repeatedly that if diplomacy fails, there is a military option.
Iran has released a warning to Israel that it would be a "fatal error" to take any
offensive military action against its ongoing nuclear program, adding Israeli threats are
"child's play." Iran's Foreign Minister released the statement in response to Defense
Minister Mofaz's statements that Israel would not permit Iran to achieve nuclear
"We are dealing with psychological warfare," stated the senior Iranian official,
adding, "Israel knows what a fatal error a military strike would be."
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Israel was only trying to add
to Western pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear program. "We consider Mofaz's comments
a from of psychological warfare. Israel knows just how much of a fatal mistake it would be
[to attack Iran]. This is just a childish game by Israel."
Israel, which views Iran as a major threat, has joined Washington in charging that
Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for
Mofaz said that Iran poses a threat not only to Israel, but also to the entire world.
He regarded Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "an oppressor" and Syrian President
Bashar Assad as "an optometrist with no vision."
The defense minister reiterated his accusations that Iran funds terror against Israel,
a claim he made Thursday after Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide bombing in southern Tel
According to Mofaz, Iran last year transferred $100 million to Hizbullah to fund terror
activities, some of which was transferred to Palestinian organizations. Islamic Jihad, he
said, received more than $10 million from Iran and Hizbullah last year.
The speech addressed the Iranian people directly, with Mofaz saying, "Ahmedinejad, his
hallucinatory statements, his criminal actions and his extreme views will bring disaster
upon you. Do what you understand needs to be done in order to prevent this."
Mofaz also said Ahmedinejad should look at historical examples of others who tried to
destroy the Jewish people. "You, who are leading your country in an ideology of hatred,
terror and anti-Semitism. You had better take a glance at history and see what became of
tyrants like you who tried to annihilate the Jewish people. They only brought destruction
upon their own people," he said.
Ahmedinejad has said that Israel should be "wiped off the map" and has questioned
whether the Holocaust took place.
Brother of Rabin Assassin Convicted of Threatening Sharon
By VOA News
The brother of the man who assassinated Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin has been found
guilty of threatening to kill Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Hagai Amir was convicted Sunday
by an Israeli court of making the threat in October of 2004, long before Sharon suffered a
stroke which has left him in a coma.
Hagai Amir is the brother of Yigal Amir, an Israeli ultra nationalist who killed Rabin
at a peace rally in 1995. Hagai Amir is serving an 18-year prison sentence for his part
in that assassination.
He has now also been found guilty of threatening Sharon's life in a conversation with
prison guards, who say Hagai Amir told them he could destroy the Israeli leader by simply
making a phone call. The court rejected Amir's argument that the comment was meant to be
Illegal Procedure Blocking Converts' Immigration Still on Books
Orit Payares converted to Judaism four months ago in Miami. She would like to come to
live in Israel, but she has been informed by the Jewish Agency emissary in Miami that she
would receive a visa only after she proved she had been a member of a local congregation
for a year.
In doing so, the Jewish Agency invoked an Interior Ministry procedure struck down by
the High Court of Justice in March 2005 - but still on the books - Ha'aretz has
In May 2005, then-interior minister Ophir Pines-Paz told the Knesset that the procedure
had been canceled. However, the Jewish Agency confirmed this week that its emissaries
continue to follow it.
The Jewish Agency said the Interior Ministry never informed it of a new procedure. The
Interior Ministry said the procedure had in fact not been canceled, but contended that its
clerks had been instructed to ignore it.
Payares, 26, a Colombian citizen, came to the U.S. in 2003 to visit a family member.
During her visit, she met Eitan Gilboa, a 34-year-old Israeli, who worked with the family
member in a clothing store. Two years later, Gilboa and Payares decided to marry and move
to Israel. "It was clear to both of us that Orit would convert when we made things
official," Gilboa said.
Last August, Payares converted in the Miami rabbinic court. Gilboa returned to Israel
to look for work and housing, but Payares was told she could not receive a visa without an
affidavit from a local congregation stating she had been a member for at least a year
following her conversion.
Gilboa, who has not seen Payares for almost six months, said the couple would have no
choice but for Orit to come to Israel as a tourist and begin her conversion procedure
Itim, the Jewish Life Information Center, which assists prospective converts through
the process, said it has dealt with more than 10 cases like Payares' over the past year.
"The Interior Ministry has a policy of slamming the door in the faces of converts," Itim
Director Shaul Farber said. "Beyond the illegality of it, this is immoral behavior against
Jewish law and tradition."
The state told the High Court that the Interior Ministry had instituted the demand that
converts be members of congregations abroad for a year before coming to live in Israel to
prevent people from converting abroad to obtain citizenship or a work permit. However in
March 2005, an expanded panel of 11 justices ruled that the state may not limit the right
of Jews to immigrate to Israel.
In spite of the abrogation of the rule, Jewish Agency spokesman Semyon Dovzhik said its
emissaries continued to demand that potential immigrants produce proof of yearlong
membership in local congregations.
Population Administration spokeswoman Sabine Hadad said the procedure was still on the
books only because a new procedure had not been determined, and that work on a new
procedure was ongoing.
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