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Compromise on Circumcision Procedure
Israel Faxx News Report

New York state health officials and Orthodox rabbis reached an agreement on a controversial circumcision procedure. According to the compromise, mohels who perform the procedure known as metzitzah b'peh must sanitize their hands like a surgeon, the Albany Times-Union reported. They also must clean their mouths with a sterile alcohol wipe and rinse with a mouthwash that contains at least 25 percent alcohol. A controversy erupted after a mohel's use of metzitzah b'peh, in which blood is sucked from the wound, allegedly led to the death of a baby who contracted herpes.


Olmert: 1949 Armistice Lines Are History

By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the British parliament that Israel never will surrender all of the land beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines, which did not include the Jewish Quarter in the Old City and excludes all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "We'll never agree to pull out of all of the territories, because the borders of 1967 are indefensible," he said.

Earlier, the Hamas movement, which last year suggested a 10-year truce with Israel in return for a return to the 1949 Armistice Line borders, has upped the ante to 50-60 years. However, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, said in a newspaper interview that the matter of peace must be settled by future generations.

"If we reach a long-term hudna [cease-fire] agreement, the future will show whether Israel wants to live in peace with the Palestinians. We do not plan to recognize Israel, since in any case it does not recognize the agreements it has signed," he told Ha'aretz.

Olmert also told the British members of parliament that he approved a transfer of arms and ammunition to Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard in order to strengthen Abbas vis-à-vis Hamas.


Palestinian Factions Continue to Battle in Gaza

By VOA News

Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip said a Hamas gunman has died in a clash between members of the terrorist group and Palestinian Authority security forces. Shooting broke out Wednesday in the town of Khan Younis after Hamas members Amushed Rifat Kulab, the local security chief, who was severely wounded.

In the West Bank, scores of Palestinian government workers stormed the parliament building in Ramallah Wednesday, demanding long-overdue wages. They hurled water bottles and paper at the lawmakers.

In Gaza City Wednesday, President Mahmoud Abbas of the once dominant Fatah party, met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of rival Hamas. The two agreed that a Hamas militia would be integrated into the Palestinian police force.

In other news, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, who has been raising money for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, crossed into the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Wednesday carrying a suitcase with $20 million in cash.

Palestinian civil servants have received no salary payments since February. Many international donors have suspended financial aid to the Palestinian Authority because Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

The meeting between Haniyeh and Abbas comes at the beginning of a week-long dialogue aimed at stemming violence between rival Palestinian factions. Faction leaders will also seek agreement on a plan for a two-state solution with Israel that implicitly recognizes the Jewish state. Abbas has endorsed the plan, while Hamas opposes it.


Muslim Al Aqsa Official: Jewish Temples Existed

By Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily.com

Contradicting most of his colleagues, a former senior leader of the Waqf, the Islamic custodians of the Temple Mount, told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview he has come to believe the first and second Jewish Temples existed and stood at the current location of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The leader, who was dismissed from his Waqf position after he quietly made his beliefs known, said Al Aqsa custodians passed down stories for centuries from generation to generation indicating the mosque was built at the site of the former Jewish Temples.

He said the Muslim world's widespread denial of the existence of the Jewish temples is political in nature and is not rooted in facts.

"Prophet Solomon built his famous. Temple at the same place that later the Al Aqsa Mosque was built. It cannot be a coincidence that these different holy sites were built at the same place. The Jewish Temple Mount existed," said the former senior Waqf leader, speaking to WorldNetDaily from an apartment in an obscure alley in Jerusalem's Old City.

The former leader, who is well known to Al Aqsa scholars and Waqf officials, spoke on condition his name be withheld, claiming an on-the-record interview would endanger his life.

While the Islamic leader's statements may seem elementary to many in the West, especially in light of overwhelming archaeological evidence documenting the history of the Jewish temples and description of services there in the Torah, his words break with mainstream thinking in much of the Muslim world, which believes the Jewish temples never existed.

"I am mentioning historical facts," said the former leader. "I know that the traditional denial about the Temple existing at the same place as Al Aqsa is more a political denial. Unfortunately our religious and political leaders chose the option of denial to fight the Jewish position and demands regarding Al Aqsa and taking back the Temple Mount compound. In my opinion we should admit the truth and abandon our traditional position."

The leader said his conclusion that the Jewish Temples existed does not forfeit what he calls "Islamic rights" to the Temple Mount and Al Aqsa Mosque.

The DNA Detectives

By The Herald (Australia)

The powerful forensic techniques developed to identify victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the tsunami are about to be used for another worthwhile purpose: reuniting Jewish families separated by the Holocaust.

The DNA Shoah project, announced last week in Nature magazine, will be one of the most ambitious. pieces of DNA detective work ever. It will attempt to build a database of the DNA of the 300,000 known Holocaust survivors, scattered across the world. DNA "fingerprinting" has often been used to trace the history of peoples, but never on such a scale.

The founder of the DNA Shoah Project is Syd Mandelbaum, a historian and forensic scientist whose parents survived the Holocaust, or Shoah, as it is known in Hebrew.

It was Mandelbaum who, in 1994, headed the American team which used DNA sequencing to disprove the relationship of Anna Anderson Manahan to the Czar and Czarina Romanov, in her claim to be Anastasia. This landmark case became the first to use DNA to solve historical mysteries.

Alongside him will be another pioneering DNA historian, Michael Hammer, a geneticist from the University of Arizona. It was Hammer who co-authored the paper which used Y-chromosome analysis to show that present-day Cohanim - Jewish high priests - are descended from a single male ancestor.

The duo, aided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, aim to start collecting cheek swabs from survivors. As the database grows, they will begin to look for matches with DNA samples taken from the remains of unidentified Holocaust victims that have recently started to surface in Poland, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The DNA Shoah Project will also use the data to reunite some of the roughly 10,000 Holocaust orphans who were sent abroad after the war to countries including Britain, the United States and Israel.

Mandelbaum explains: "The project will unite loved ones and further establish closure for families who have missing relatives. Most of the six million Jews who were murdered were not cremated but buried after their death in unmarked mass graves. Remains of Holocaust victims continue to surface throughout Europe because of continual land development, but, until this project, there was no way positively to identify the victims."

Identifications will be far from easy. Having been buried for more than 60 years, the DNA of victims will be severely degraded. And, even where a fingerprint can be yielded, there may be very few relatives alive for comparison - in many cases, the Nazis murdered entire families.

To overcome these difficulties, the pair will employ powerful forensic techniques that arose from the ashes of the September 11 terrorist attacks. At the World Trade Center, where some 2,700 died, fire degraded the DNA so badly that standard "fingerprinting" could not yield a match.

To overcome this, the investigators turned instead to mitochondrial DNA - which is more abundant and hardier than the nuclear DNA commonly used in fingerprinting. In addition, they analyzed another type of genetic marker - SNP - which relies only on short sequences. But neither of these techniques alone was sufficient to identify most remains.

In search of a solution, the U.S. government approached Howard Cash, president of bioinformatics firm Gene Codes, based in Michigan. The challenge it set was to create software that could integrate both types of DNA fingerprinting techniques, with other more traditional forensic information.

The result was a system known as M-FISys. On the first day it was used - December 13, 2001 - it made 80 matches, which helped identify 55 victims of the terrorist attacks. In total, 1,598 of the victims have now been identified. M-FISys was later used to identify victims of the tsunami, a disaster that presented further challenges. Entire families were lost, leaving no frame of reference, and their personal belongings, which could have provided comparative DNA samples, were simply washed away with their homes.

As a result, software which can match the DNA of dead people with each other is now under development by experts at the University of Queensland. The M-FISys software will now be employed to handle the Shoah data. The race is on to sample the 300,000 survivors - who have an average age of 81 - before it is too late.

Mandelbaum is appealing for people to come forward - pre-war immigrants, survivors, second and third generations of survivors' families. There is a nominal cost related to the testing, but that is unlikely to deter the tens of thousands of survivors who have lived their lives in isolation from their families, their history and their identity.


Wisconsin Man's Hitler Memorial: Sickening Work of a Holocaust Denier

By ADL (Commentary)

The memorial to Adolf Hitler constructed by a Wisconsin farmer who claims he served in the German SS during World War II is "the sickening work of an unrepentant anti-Semite and Holocaust denier" that could become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

"We are outraged by this so-called memorial, which is an affront to Holocaust survivors, American veterans of World War II and decent people everywhere," said Lonnie Nasatir, director of ADL's Upper Midwest Region.

ADL, which monitors and exposes extremism, is concerned that the shrine could become a place of pilgrimage for hate groups. "We have already picked up chatter from white supremacists and neo-Nazis on racist Internet sites indicating their desire to visit the Hitler memorial," said Nasatir.

Ted Junker, 87, said he built the memorial on his property in Walworth County, Wisconsin, as a tribute to Adolf Hitler. Junker, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1955 and who claims he joined the German SS in 1940, denies the Nazis gassed anyone and praises the actions of the German dictator. The SS was directly involved in perpetrating the Holocaust and committed some of the worst crimes against humanity ever recorded.

ADL has been in contact with local government and law enforcement officials in Wisconsin about the issue. "They share our concerns entirely, and we have expressed our full support as they work to address this situation," said Nasatir.


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