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Over 80 Attack Warnings Ahead of Memorial/Independence Days


Authorities reported on Monday that there are over 85 warnings of planned terror attacks ahead of Tuesday and Wednesday's Memorial and Independence Day holidays. Israel Police on Monday moved to increased alert status ahead of the start of Memorial Day, which started with an official state ceremony on Monday night. A special border police force operating in Palestinian Authority controlled Jericho on Monday arrested five suspects. Two of the PA residents in custody were planning an Independence Day terror attack. Authorities added that they were in possession of a bomb.

Siren and Ceremonies as Israel Honors its Fallen Troops

By Ha'aretz &

Events to mark Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers began at 8 p.m. Monday with a one-minute heard across the country. In Jerusalem, the siren marked the start of a memorial service at the Western Wall, attended by President Moshe Katsav and bereaved families. The siren will sound again, for two minutes, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, marking the beginning of memorial services at each of Israel's 43 military cemeteries.

Katzav opened the Western Wall ceremony with an address to bereaved parents. "The images of our fallen pass over our faces today, their eyes speak, their experiences, their smiles, and their sad glances," he said.

Speaking directly to the mothers of the fallen, Katsav continued, "Tonight will certainly be another sleepless night for you, another night of pain and suffering. We bow our heads to the families of Israel Defense Forces' martyrs, martyrs of the Jewish security forces, Druze, Bedouin, Muslim and Christian, who gave their souls and their lives for our independence."

Thousands also gathered in Rabin Square in the center of Tel Aviv for an annual evening of music and speeches in memory of the fallen. The state remembrance service for Memorial Day will take place at the military cemetery at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

In the past year, 138 members of the security forces have been killed in the line of duty, bringing the total of men and women killed defending the state since 1860 to 22,123.

Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the opening Memorial Day ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. "There is no other day on the calendar on which everybody's hearts beat at once like today. There is no unity of truth that can compare to the feeling of strength expressed on Memorial Day, an intensity that wraps the soul of Israel. It is a unity which is molded by fate and by a feeling of identification and recognition in the honor of those who we have lost."

As on all holidays and special occasions over the past few years, when Israel marks Memorial Day and Independence Day this year, police will be on highest alert across the country and will deploy in increased numbers throughout cities, along the boundary line and around Jerusalem. The alert will last until Thursday evening.

Search for Holocaust Victims' Names Continues


In a race against time, Yad Vashem is seeking the names of close to 3 million Holocaust victims from the former Soviet Union. The hope is that the new Russian interface on its central database will help.

The Russian interface of Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah [Holocaust] Victims' Names was uploaded to the internet this week, on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.

"Yad Vashem regards the completion of the Names Database as vitally important," said Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, "and the estimation is that many of the nearly 3 million missing names belong to Jews from the territories of the Former Soviet Union. To raise awareness of its commemorative enterprise, and to encourage names collection from the Russian-speaking community, Yad Vashem experts have spent the past year translating the Names Database into Russian."

Over 8 million visitors from 215 countries have visited the Names Database since its uploading in Hebrew and English to the Yad Vashem website in November 2004. Only a small percentage of these visitors came from former Soviet Union countries, despite the fact that these areas contain a high proportion of Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

Online Jewish Film Archive Offers Glimpse into the Past


An online archive of Jewish films offers a glimpse of the ingathering of the exiles, a Kurdish Jewish wedding and pre-war Shtetl life – all free and open to the public at all hours of the day.

The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive has 300 movies about Israel, Zionism, the Holocaust and Jewish life in the Diaspora available free of charge on its web site, and aims to add 100 more every year.

The archive seeks to "record life as we know it for our children and their children after them so they will know who they are and where we all came from," its short promotional film, which contains glimpses many of the most fascinating clips, explains.

Debbie Steinmetz, director of the archive at the Hebrew University told Israel National Radio, "The Spielberg archive collects movies made since 1911 that deal with Israel and Jewish communities around the world. We started the project three years ago, aiming to put 100 movies each year onto the Internet - so anyone, anywhere in the world can view them."

One film, from 1945, is called Land of Promise. Though its claim to fame is that it is the first piece of Zionist propaganda, Steinmetz explained, it shows rare footage of pioneers building kibbutzim and images of the city of Tel Aviv in 1945.

Another film, in Hebrew, shows dramatic images of the Red Sea port city of Eilat being built. "One night," Steinmetz recalled, "the movie about Eilat got 1,000 hits and we looked into it and found that there was a chat room for people who had grown up in Eilat – and they had all decided to watch it together."

The reason so many of the films are in English, Steinmetz explained, is because "most of the movies were made by professional film makers for the Jewish Agency for the purposes of fundraising and spreading awareness about what was going on in the Jewish State in the 50s" with the aim of increasing Aliyah (immigration to Israel).

Five short films show footage from five Polish cities in August 1939 – just one month before the start of World War Two. The cities are Cracow, Warsaw, Bialystok, Lvov and Vilna. They were filmed by an American filmmaker for immigrants who used to live in the cities. It sat in unclaimed mail in New York for years before they were claimed.

The Road to Liberty was made about the Jewish Brigade –following its members through Italy. A follow-up was made years later, allowing the members of the brigade to view the footage and reflect on where they now were. Another such film is called Children of the Exodus, and is about the children that came on the famed Exodus boat in 1947. It takes place in 1967 – and consists of the individual stories of the individuals who came on the boat.

One movie, about Moroccan immigration in 1961, is called Edge of the West. "The Jewish Agency sent a film crew to Morocco and you actually see the immigrants getting ready before they came to Israel," Steinmetz said. Another film about Moroccan Aliyah, The Lachish Story, is about Moroccan families who came on Aliyah from France. The film follows them from beginning to end until they reach the Lachish region, where they settle on an agricultural moshav.

"We have a movie called The First Film of Palestine," Steinmetz says, "made in 1911 by a friend of Herzl who decided that film was the way to go – that this was how he was going to tell people what was going on in Israel. He filmed a scene at the Kotel (Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and you see little girl who keeps looking at the camera – because at the time he had this huge box and a curtain over him so no sun would get in and most had not seen a film camera. We often wonder who this little girl is."

Though the archive staff has still not found out the identity of the young girl, many visitors to the archive have found relatives, friends, and even themselves in the footage. "Many people who made Aliyah in the 50s have no home videos," Steinmetz explains, "so they come to us now and often find themselves in the films we have in the archives."

The selection is vast, including early images of Jerusalem, footage of the War of Independence and of Jews repelling Arab attacks prior to the 1967 Six Day War and the capture of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The archive aims to store 500 films in the coming years, harnessing the Internet to give children a glimpse of the world of their grandparents and great-grandparents and preserving footage for generations to come.

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