Newsletter : 6fax0524.txt
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British Vote for Israeli Hummus
The British Independent newspaper chose the Tsabar (Sabra) hummus brand as the best in
a taste test conducted by the newspaper's weekend magazine. Six hummus manufacturers
participated in the taste test. The Tsabar (Sabra) hummus, marketed under the brand name
"Jordan Sabra" received the highest score: 4.5 stars. The test conductors found the Tsabar
hummus to have a smooth texture with an authentic Middle-Eastern taste. The price of a 500
gram package of humus in Britain is about $5.60 compared to about $3.20 in Israel. Tsabar
is owned by the Israeli food giant Osem.
Iran Test Launches Shihab-3
By Reuters, YnetNews.com & IsraelNationalNews.com
Several hours before the meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President
George W. Bush at the White House, in which they were expected to discuss the Iranian
threat, Iran test fired the Shihab-3 missile.
Iran conducted the test launch Tuesday evening of the intermediate-range ballistic
missile, with a range capable of striking Israel, all US forces in the region and Iran's
The Shihab-3 is estimated to have a 1,300-1,500 kilometer operational range, with a
respective 1,000-750 kilogram warhead. As a first generation nuclear warhead has typically
a weight of about 1,000 kilograms, the Shihab-3 could theoretically be used to deliver an
Israeli officials estimate that Iran has dozens of the Shihab-3 missiles. Additionally,
Iran has longer-range Shihab-4 missiles and has recently acquired superior North Korean
modified BM-25 missiles, as well.
According to reports, the test was seen as a partial success; it is unknown what
problems took places during the test of the missile
The range of the missile of this model reaches 1,300 kilometers (806 miles), but
according to reports that have come out of Iran in recent months, improvements on the
missile have been carried out with the aim that it reaches 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles).
It is fair to assume that the timing of the new test firing was preplanned for the
Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi Farkash, the former IDF intelligence chief, warned last week
that the Iranians will possess long-range missiles of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), "and
all of Europe will be covered" as a result.
Meanwhile, Israel has speeded up efforts to develop long-range cruise missiles of a
type that could be used should the Jewish state try to strike at Iran's nuclear
facilities, security sources said on Tuesday.
Israel sent warplanes to destroy Iraq's main atomic reactor at Osiraq in 1981 and has
not ruled out similar action to prevent its arch-foe from getting the bomb should US-led
diplomatic pressure on Tehran fail. The greater ranges to Iran's nuclear facilities might
make cruise missiles more practical than planes, but the United States has rebuffed past
Israeli requests to buy them.
Cruise missiles are programmed to seek out and hit distant targets, flying low to avoid
radar. But only the United States and Russia are known to have mastered all aspects of
"A top priority has been put on developing this technology, in light of the Iran
situation, as well as improving the Arrow," an Israeli security source said, referring to
the anti-missile defense system designed by state-run Israel Aircraft Industries.
Jane's Defense Weekly said in 2004 that Israel Military Industries had fielded the
country's first cruise missile, but its range was only around 300 km (190 miles). There
have also been media reports that government arms manufacturer Rafael created at least a
prototype cruise missile by attaching a jet booster to its medium-range Popeye
Israel asked Washington to sell it Tomahawk cruise missiles in 2000, during peace talks
with Syria. Israel argued that it would need Tomahawks to make up for the loss of
"strategic depth" were it to return the occupied Golan Heights to Syria.
The request went unmet. Defense experts saw US reluctance to stir up jitters among
Israel's rivals in the Middle East. "The United States would not want to export such a
capable weapon at such sensitive times," said Jane's analyst Robert Hewson, noting that
Tomahawks can carry nuclear warheads. Israel is believed to have the region's only atomic
Iran is high on the agenda for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on his current first
visit to Washington. An Olmert confidant predicted that after a White House summit on
Tuesday, Israel would renew its request for Tomahawks.
Israel might also argue that Olmert's plan to give up parts of the occupied West Bank,
with or without a peace deal with the Palestinians, would cost Israel strategic depth that
would need to be balanced with better weapons "It (Tomahawk) was requested in the past. I
believe it will be requested again, especially in light of the kind of threats Israel is
facing in the future," the Olmert confidant said.
Some Israeli missile specialists, however, voiced skepticism about the usefulness of
Tomahawks against Iranian nuclear facilities that are much better fortified than Osiraq
Israeli defense analyst Alon Ben-David suggested the United States might end up
supplying the Tomahawks in order to scotch Israel's rival cruise missile program. "If the
Americans discover that Israel is close to a credible cruise-missile capability, I expect
they will be quick to curb it by finally coming up with the Tomahawks," he said.
Tomahawks are guided by a coded global positioning system network controlled by the
Pentagon, meaning any Israeli launch would have to be approved by Washington.
Bush: Olmert's Unilateral Withdrawal Plan is Important Step to Peace
In a joint news conference with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President George W. Bush on
Tuesday conveyed the message that the convergence plan can only be implemented through
Bush praised Olmert's convergence plan for a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank,
saying it could be "an important step toward the peace we both support." But Bush, in the
first White House meeting with the new Israeli leader, stopped short of a full
endorsement, saying a negotiated agreement "best serves Israelis and Palestinians and the
cause of peace."
Bush also urged Israel to reach out to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as
an alternative to dealing with the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Authority. "Hamas must
recognize Israel's right to exist, must abandon terror, must accept all previous
agreements," Bush added. "No country can be expected to make peace with those who deny its
right to exist, and who use terror to attack its population."
Olmert said he extended his hand to Abbas, and hopes "he will take the necessary steps
which he committed to in order to move forward." But he said the rise of Hamas, which
refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and regards terrorism as a legitimate tool,
"severely undermines the possibility of promoting a genuine peace process."
Olmert said that if Hamas abandons its refusal to recognize Israel and its embrace of
violence, "they will find us a willing partner in peace." But he said Israel would not
enter an agreement with any party that refuses to recognize its right to exist. "We cannot
wait indefinitely for the Palestinians to change," he said.
Bush called Olmert's ideas "bold," saying that while any final peace agreement must be
the product of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, "the prime minister's
ideas could be an important step toward the peace we both support. I am encouraged by his
constructive efforts to find ways to move the peace process forward," he said.
The two officials also extensively discussed the Iranian issue, and at the end of the
meeting Bush made it clear that he prefers a diplomatic solution for the problem. "We
determined that the Iranian regime must not obtain nuclear weapons," he said. Olmert
warned: "This is a moment of truth. It is still not too late to prevent this from
House Approves Palestinian Sanctions Bill Opposed by Bush
By Dan Robinson (VOA-Capitol Hill)
By a 361 to 37 majority, the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday approved legislation
calling for sanctions against the Palestinian Authority following the Hamas election
victory earlier this year. The White House remains opposed to the legislation.
The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act had the support of a vast majority of the 435-member
The legislation would cut off all assistance to the terrorist Hamas-led Palestinian
Authority, and place conditions on humanitarian assistance flowing through non-government
The House bill and similar Senate legislation both contain provisions designed to send
a strong message to Hamas that it must formally renounce terrorism, recognize Israel,
disarm militant groups, stop anti-Israeli incitement and reform its financial
The legislation would also declare the Palestinian Authority a terrorist sanctuary,
deny visas for Palestinian officials, restrict travel by Palestinian Authority officials
based at the United Nations, and cut off funds for diplomatic contacts between U.S. and
Debate reflected strong opinions over how Congress and the United States should
continue to help the Palestinian people while expressing disapproval of Hamas
"Today, we must send a message to Hamas, and President Abbas, that the free nations of
the world reject their desire to be recognized as legitimate leaders of their people,"
said Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican. "Both Hamas and Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade
have a record of terror and their leaders have a demonstrated lack of humanity by allowing
these murderous activities."
Opponents argued that the legislation's provisions would reduce U.S. flexibility to
guide Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts by limiting the president's decision-making
Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, argues the measure will also strengthen the hand
of Palestinian extremists. "It does little to prioritize on the basis of our strategic
interests, and provides no prospect for Palestinian reform coming through the process of
negotiations," he noted. "In so doing, it weakens the hands of those who advocate for
peace negotiations, and supports those extremists who believe in violence."
However, a Democrat and co-sponsor of the measure, Tom Lantos, said Congress must send
an unambiguous message to Hamas. "It is, therefore, incumbent upon us, as the ally and
longtime supporter of the Democratic state of Israel, to do everything we can to
demonstrate the bankruptcy of Hamas' vision and to ensure that Hamas receives no help from
the United States in implementing its evil plans."
In contrast to the House version, the Senate bill gives the president authority to
disregard the law in the interests of U.S. National Security. The House measure would
allow U.S. aid to the West Bank or Gaza for humanitarian needs, including water, food,
medicine and sanitation, and if it is shown to promote national security interests of the
Presidential spokesman Tony Snow reiterated White House opposition to the legislation.
"We did not support that measure precisely because it does tie the president's hand in
some of the activities that I was just talking about just now which is providing
humanitarian aid. We think it unnecessarily constrains."
Missionaries Target Hassidic Households in New York
A Yiddish-language DVD, produced by Jews for Jesus and called "Days of Moshiach," was
sent this month to 80,000 homes in the primarily Hassidic and Hareidi neighborhoods of New
York and New Jersey. Purporting to present a Jewish narrative, starting with biblical
figures such as Adam, Abraham and Jacob, the video promotes belief in Jesus and in the
DVDs were sent to homes in Kiryas Joel; the Monsey area of Rockland County; the Borough
Park and Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn; and Lakewood, N.J. Local Jewish newspapers
published fierce warnings to Jewish families regarding the Christian missionary nature of
The Israel-based Yad L'Achim warns that the direct mail campaign is to precede a series
of home visits by the missionaries, who are expected to be dressed in Hareidi or Hassidic
clothes in order to gain their targets' confidence.
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