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Holocaust Remembrance Day Begins


Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day) officially began Monday evening under the theme "Humanity in the Shadow of Death." Six torches, in memory of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis, were lit by Holocaust survivors who became active Zionists. And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Jews in Israel should return to the countries where they came from and leave the country for Arabs. He reiterated his claim that Israel must not be allowed to exist. He said that Muslims "respect Moses" but do not accept Arab suffering. He also stated that Germany 60 years after the Nazi era should not be blamed for Nazi crimes.

Triple Bombing Rocks Egyptian Sinai Resort Town

By Challiss McDonough (VOA-Cairo) &

Israeli rescue forces in the southern city of Eilat went on high alert and were prepared for an evacuation of wounded after three blasts rocked the Egyptian Sinai resort town of Dahab on Monday evening, killing at least 30 and wounding around 150.

Channel 10 TV reported three Israelis were wounded in the terror attack and were being evacuated to Israel. However, Israeli ambassador to Egypt Shalom Cohen later told Ha'aretz the three were not wounded in the attacks but had contacted the embassy.

Magen David Adom emergency medical services said it had about 20 ambulances standing by at the Taba border crossing between Israel and Egypt if needed. MDA offered rescue assistance to its Egyptian counterpart through the International Red Cross and the Egyptian Red Crescent but has not received a reply, the service said in a statement. Eilat's hospital was calling on people to donate blood.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered the Israel Defense Forces to offer rescue and medical assistance to Egypt. There was no immediate response to the offer. The IDF moved into a higher state of alert and rescue and medical units in the Homefront Command increased their level or readiness.

Channel 10 TV reported the IDF had closed the Taba crossing, preventing vehicles from entering Sinai. It said a stream of Israeli vehicles was leaving Egypt.

Eilat Mayor Yitzhak Halevy said the municipality opened its emergency operations center and the Club Hotel was prepared to receive Israelis returning from Sinai in the wake of the attacks. Dive and surf clubs in Eilat were also consulted in an effort to determine whether Israeli groups were in Dahab at the time of the blasts.

Israel's ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, told Channel 10 the best thing Israeli tourists in Sinai could do now would be to "go home."

Cohen said there have been repeated warnings from the Israeli government against visiting the Sinai Desert, where Israelis have been targeted in attacks in the past. "Unfortunately, the warnings came true," he said.

Cairo resident Farid Tadros was at a dive camp a few hundred meters from the blast sites. "I didn't feel them but they were definitely very, very loud," said Tadros. "They had the exact same sound to them, which was kind of concerning. Some people said they saw smoke. I didn't see any smoke from where I was. "He said the bombs went off in the heart of the tiny resort town, where most of the restaurants are.

The Interior Ministry said a restaurant, a cafe and a supermarket appeared to be the targets. In a statement carried on the state news agency, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called the attacks a "wicked terrorist act" and vowed to track down those responsible.

Egyptian vacationer Basma Adnan was staying in a nearby hotel and told Egyptian state television that she heard the blasts. "It was frightening," she said. "There are ambulances outside. They have closed the hotel on us. They are stopping anyone from going out or coming in, and everyone is being searched."

Police say they have sealed off the entire area on the eastern shore of the Sinai Peninsula.

The Dahab attacks came a day after the broadcast of a new audiotape by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who warned that he considers Western civilians to be legitimate targets, accusing them of complicity with their governments in what he called a "Crusader-Zionist war" against Islam.

The Sinai Peninsula has been hit by a series of deadly terrorist attacks over the last few years. Multiple bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh killed more than 70 people last July. In 2004, at least 34 died in bombings around Taba, on the Israeli border.

Dahab is a resort popular with foreign tourists and backpackers, who come for the spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling available nearby. But the attacks came in the middle of an Egyptian holiday, when Dahab hotels would also have been packed with Egyptians taking advantage of the long weekend.

Egyptian Coptic Christians marked the Easter holiday on Monday, and Tuesday is known as Sinai Liberation Day, marking the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian control after the 1973 war with Israel. The long weekend also marks the traditional beginning of spring in Egypt.

According to the manager of the Taba terminal crossing, Itzik Chai, at least 25,000 Israelis entered Egypt last week despite government advisories warning Israelis against going to Egypt due to specific terror alerts.

Senior Interior Ministry official Sasi Katzir told workers at the terminal to allow Israelis to cross back into Israel even without a passport. Police and Border Guard forces blocked entry into Egypt from the Israeli side, while their Egyptian counterparts sealed off the border from the other side in order to prevent the escape of the terrorists who carried out the attack.

'Fiddler' 9-11 Spoof Wins anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest

By WorldNetDaily

An Israeli cartoon competition to find the "best, sharpest, most offensive Jew-hating cartoons ever published," launched in response to an Iranian daily newspaper's international cartoon contest focusing on the Holocaust, has announced a winner – a "fiddler on the roof" takeoff on September 11.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, one of the nation's top five, conceived the Holocaust-themed contest as a response to the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten's solicitation of cartoons depicting Islam's prophet Muhammad, which evoked a violent reaction around the Muslim world.

In February, Farid Mortazavi, Hamshahri's graphics editor said the paper intended to turn the tables on the assertion offensive material can be published in the name of free speech.

"The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he said.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the record denying the Holocaust ever occurred and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map. His challenge to the Holocaust inspired Israelis Eyal Zusman, actor and playwright, and Amitai Sandy, graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing in Tel-Aviv, "to fight the fire with humor. We had to do something," Sandy told Spiegel, the German daily.

Rejecting their first option, jokes about mullahs, they fell back on the Jewish tradition of self-deprecation and created "the right response to a crazy campaign" – the "Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoons Contest."

"You should only poke fun at your own kind. We'll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!" Sandy promised when the contest went online. "No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!" And based on the entries from around the world, he might be right.

Top honors went to Aron Katz, 24, of Los Angeles, for "September 11," showing the silhouette of a Jewish fiddler atop the Brooklyn Bridge while smoke pours out of the World Trade Center's twin towers in the background. The piece spoofs the widely believed rumor in the Arab world that Israeli agents were responsible for the 9-11 attacks in the U.S. Katz donated a portion of his $600 in prize money to an Israeli charity that supports rights for Palestinians.

Second place "Studio 6," a spoof of the claim made by some Holocaust revisionists that the real purpose of Auschwitz was to serve as a backdrop for a film, was submitted by Ilan Touri, 32, from Sydney, Australia.

About a third of the 150 cartoons submitted were disqualified for "poor quality" or because they made fun of Jesus or Muhammad. Most cartoons tackled various anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as the charge Jews use the blood of Christian or Muslim children to make matzos for Passover, or that Jews control the media.

Reaction from around the world has been mixed. "We don't think this is the right way," said a spokesman for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The Simon Wiesenthal Center dismissed the contest as "gallows humor." Some Christian evangelicals who strongly support Israel asked, "How could Jews do something like this?"

One Iranian-American in Los Angeles wrote, "I've heard that the Jews want to take over the world. I hope it happens soon."

Sandy, who says he was "almost a little disappointed that nobody really got upset," given all the Jewish clichés spoofed by the cartoonists, defends the project as a "demonstration of strength and self confidence. Before the others point their finger at us, we'll do it ourselves and funnier," he said. "We're kosher anti-Semites."

Israel Technology Gives University Students a New Edge


A new Israeli technology is giving university students a special edge in note-taking and lecture review at home and on the Internet.

Tegrity Inc., an Israeli company based in Yehud, has come up with a system to record their notes onto the Internet while writing them in class. At the same time, the professor's lecture is recorded on video for review in the archives of the university's website.

Tegrity Campus uses a sensor-enhanced digital pen and special paper that links with the university's existing course management system, where lectures are recorded for uploading to the Internet.

"The Tegrity Notes system is where we address how the students access class recordings," says the company's President and CEO, Isaac Segal. Students take handwritten notes with the special pen and a regular paper notebook, and later plug the pen into a loading dock, which uploads the notes. The software then links them up with that day's class recording.

Universities can buy the software for an annual fee and then license the synchronization software, Tegrity Campus, which delivers the system to the students through the internet.

Tulane University, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech and other educational institutions are now using the system, which the company says is surprisingly simple.

The technology has the potential to seriously impact on the way students learn. It was created by a company that began as a tiny startup eleven years ago with a team of five engineers.

"We started as a small team, working with some fancy hardware equipment – all of which is completely irrelevant these days," says Segal. Creating the new technology took three years and 15 engineers, he says.

Fortunately, the company was well equipped for the job, with 20 employees in Israel and 25 more at the U.S. offices in Santa Clara, California. Duties are split up between the two locations: Israeli engineers do research and development, while the U.S. team focuses on marketing and product placement.

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