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French Jewish Defense League Patrols Streets


French Jews have formed their own Jewish Defense League, without any connection to the U.S. group, to patrol the streets and protect Jews from anti-Semitism. The group was formed in 2000 and has become a silent police, with members who practice hand-to-hand combat and wear scarves or masks but not uniforms. Jean Yves Camus of the European Center of Research and Action on Racism and Anti-Semitism told the Associated Press, "JDL is the symbol of a generation that says, 'We won't bow our heads.' League leaders feel that the police are powerless when it comes to stopping anti-Semitism so they have taken security into their own hands."

Hamas Proposes New Cease-fire

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Islamic murderous group Hamas suggests it might be ready to resume an unofficial cease-fire with Israel. Hamas also said it might ask other Palestinian terrorist groups to suspend rocket attacks against targets in southern Israel.

After a week of almost non-stop rocket attacks by these terrorists against targets in southern Israel, and retaliatory air and artillery strikes by Israel, tensions eased a bit after Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamed said Hamas wants a resumption of a cease-fire with Israel.

Hamed's call came shortly after Islamic Jihad launched at least five rockets into Israel, wounding three Israelis and damaging a factory building in the town of Sderot. Speaking in Hebrew on Israeli radio, Hamed said the cease-fire proposal comes from the highest levels in Hamas.

The Hamas spokesman said Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh supports a cease-fire and that Hamas is willing to talk with other Palestinian factions about suspending the rocket attacks. But Hamed said before any cease-fire can be resumed, Israel must stop military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli officials have not responded to the Hamas suggestion.

The Hamas proposal came as a senior Israeli defense official, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, told Israeli Radio that senior Hamas officials could be targeted for assassination if the rocket attacks did not stop. The Israeli general said its message to the Hamas leadership was effective, because there has been a reduction in rocket fire against Israeli targets.

Hamas called off its 16-month cease-fire last week after a Palestinian family was killed in an explosion on a Gaza Beach. An Israeli investigation into the blast said it was probably caused by a Palestinian-planted mine designed to deter Israeli commandos.

An independent investigation into the incident conducted by the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch concluded the Palestinians were probably killed by Israeli artillery fire.

Armed Arabs Try to Kidnap Jewish Girls


Palestinian terrorists struggled with and tried to force two Jewish girls at gunpoint into a car - but an army vehicle happened along, and the would-be kidnappers were caught near Shilo.

The incident began shortly before 3 p.m. Two 9th grade girls were standing at the Rechelim junction on Highway 60, waiting for a ride from Jewish passersby towards Jerusalem. A car passed slowly by, and suddenly two armed Arabs got out and tried to force the two girls into their car. One of the girls was able to escape, watching helplessly as the Arabs tried to force her friend into their car.

At that moment, a car carrying an IDF officer happened along - and the kidnappers left the girl and tried to escape. The officer radioed the local forces to erect checkpoints along the road. Shortly afterwards, a white Chevrolet with the three Arabs was stopped near Shilo, and they were arrested without further incident.

One of the girls was evacuated by ambulance to a Jerusalem hospital, with back and face injuries.

One of the two said, "I was sure I was going to die any moment." She said the prayer "Shema Yisrael," which Jews says as an expression of faith in the Almighty when they are near death. "We sat at the hitchhiking station and saw a car approach but realized it was an Arab car. An Arab with a gun got out of the vehicle and aimed it at us. We tried to run away. One of them began to beat me when I was on the ground until an IDF jeep arrived," she said.

Avigdor Shatz, chief security officer for the Binyamin Regional Council, told Arutz-7 that though it has been the norm to hitch-hike along Yesha roads, "our long-standing instructions have been not to do so. We will make it even more clear now, and we expect parents and schools to show responsibility."

Voice of Israel government radio told one of the girls that it "hopes she learned her lesson" not to hitchhike. The interviewer asked the girl, who by her own admission was very confused by the trauma, why she hitchhiked in Samaria, where there are many warnings of intended attacks. She replied that virtually everyone hitches and that there has not been an incident in recent memory. Bus service in Samaria generally is very sparse.

Although the terrorists stopped their car to kidnap the two girls, the broadcaster implied it was the girls' fault for trying to catch a ride with a car without Israeli license plates.

The girl, identified as Hadas, contradicted an earlier IDF report that the second girl was not kidnapped. Hadas said she jumped into the bushes after one of the three terrorists aimed a pistol at them and that the second girl was forced into their car, as first reported. Hadas alerted the driver of a passing car, soldiers were informed and they quickly found the girl in the terrorists' vehicle.

Reports: Israel Allows Transfer of Weapons for Abbas

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli newspapers reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had approved arms shipments to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is locked in a bitter power struggle with the Islamic terror group, Hamas. The government is neither confirming nor denying the report.

One of Israel's largest mass circulation dailies, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported that, in recent days, Israeli army troops have escorted trucks from the Jordan border to the West Bank and Gaza Strip that were carrying 950 M-16 assault rifles.

The paper said the rifles were turned over to the Palestinian presidential guard of Abbas. The paper said the decision to allow the transfer of the weapons was taken by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who expressed fears that Abbas would be attacked by Palestinian murderers.

Tensions have been rising between Abbas' Fatah party (formerly led by terrorist Yasir Arafat) and Hamas, which won January elections and took over the Palestinian Authority in March.

Saeb Erekat, a close Abbas aide said he is not sure if, in fact, Palestinian security forces have received the weapons. But, speaking with the Arabic-language Radio Sawa, he said that, if they have, it would not be out of the ordinary.

Erekat said, under existing agreements with Israel, Palestinian security forces are authorized to receive light weapons and ammunition from Jordan and Egypt. Erekat said the issue is being publicized now to embarrass Abbas. Several Hamas lawmakers on Thursday denounced the alleged arms transfers saying they were designed to sow divisions among Palestinians.

Joshua Teitelbaum, a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center said it appears that Israel's government is growing increasingly concerned about Abbas' security, but the alleged arms transfers could alienate both Palestinians and Israelis.

"First of all, vis-à-vis with Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian constituents, it does not look great that he is getting help from Israel," Teitelbaum said. "From Israel's perspective, there have already been appeals to Israel's high court of justice against the supplying of weapons to the Palestinians, because these weapons have, in the past, been turned on Israelis. This is not a clean move, but apparently the government feels that it is worthwhile."

Hamas officials are embroiled in a controversy of their own involving the transfer of large amounts of cash into the Gaza Strip to pay back wages to government employees. On Wednesday, Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar managed to circumvent international prohibitions on money transfers to the Palestinian territories, by crossing the Egypt-Gaza border with $20 million in cash stuffed into about a dozen suitcases.

On Thursday, the Hamas information minister passed through the crossing point with $2 million in cash. Hamas officials say the money was turned over to the Palestinian Finance Ministry to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants. European Union monitors at the border crossing say the Palestinian officials were allowed to proceed because of their VIP status as senior members of the Palestinian government.

Hamas has been unable to pay about 165,000 government employees because money transfers and international donor aid has been suspended to the Palestinian Authority, because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Troubled Teenagers: Hitler King of Israel


The repeated cases of swastikas spray-painted in synagogues and in public places, which naturally caused a storm all around Israel, do not surprise education experts who work with new immigrant high-risk teens.

Nazi symbols and anti-Semite slurs have become the main and most effective means of protest against the injustice they feel they are subject to and against the trials related to their assimilation in Israeli society.

Lately educators witnessed another example of using Nazi symbols as means of protest. A few days ago, at a final meeting of a seminar for treating new immigrant high-risk teens, counselors asked the teens, age 12-18, to sketch together a drawing on the subject "My Israel." They were flabbergasted by the results.

At the center of the drawing the teens drew a huge swastika with a Star of David next to it and wrote: "I have no other country," and "Hitler king of Israel." The drawing also depicted an ultra-Orthodox man hanging upside-down, a big wound in his stomach, uttering the words "Hail Hitler!" Another drawing showed an ultra-Orthodox man saying in English "I am a pig" and "Death to the Jews" in Russian.

One of the senior counselors said that most of the teens come from broken or dysfunctional families, some have experienced abuse, and some even have police records for drug use and drug trafficking.

It is not the first time that he saw drawings with swastikas: "It's quite provocative, but it also contains deep, genuine anger. Israeli society must get over the shock and disdain and treat the teens," he said.

"These are kids who immigrated to Israel when they were between the ages of three and 10; they speak Hebrew but are still categorized as Russians by other students. Their parents work very hard and they have no time to spend with them, so the kids feel that no one in the education system really cares whether they study or what will become of them," said the counselor.

Counselors are convinced the defiance stems from alienation. The teens explained the reasons for continuing to draw swastikas despite the fact that some of them had relatives who perished in the Holocaust, and some teens even studied in Jewish schools before immigrating to Israel.

"I drew a swastika because for me the State of Israel is a Nazi State," explained one teen. "This is the Jewish State, and semi-Jews or foreign kids have no place here. Our parents work hard and we live difficult lives, while ultra-Orthodox don't work and live well, and the natives live even better," he said.

"Some think it is funny," explained one counselor. "It's important to keep it in proportion, but still, it's very disturbing. These kids feel that no one needs them here. Some don't even remember Russia but keep saying 'We are Russians.' The solution is being attentive. Even professionals are stunned by these kinds of displays. Several months ago when we received similar drawings; we presented them to educators and psychologists who, simply put, became paralyzed."

Red Cross-Magen David Adom Deal in Jeopardy


The agreement signed last November which would allow the Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom to enjoy Red Cross membership is in jeopardy, according to Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey. She explained that there is a problem between how both the Israeli and the Palestinian Authority rescue units are executing the accord.

Two of the problems concern PA ambulances at Israeli checkpoints and the registration of their ambulances. Arab terrorists have used ambulances numerous times to smuggle terrorists and weapons into Israel, in violation of international law. Arabs have complained that Israel is not honoring the new agreement.

Membership in the Red Cross would allow Magen David to receive benefits and funding from the international organization. According to the agreement signed last November, Israel would be able to place its Star of David insignia into a new diamond-shaped symbol.

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