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Poll: Jewish candidate preferred


More U.S. voters would vote for a Jewish presidential candidate than a Muslim, Mormon or evangelical Christian one, according to a new poll. Fifteen percent of those questioned in the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll said they would not vote for a Jewish candidate, as opposed to 54 percent who said they would not vote for a Muslim candidate, 37 percent who would not vote for a Mormon and 21 percent who would not pull the lever for an evangelical Christian. The poll of 1,321 adults, conducted in late June, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Hamas Rocket Hits Israeli Coastal City of Ashkelon

By VOA News, Ha'aretz and

A Palestinian rocket has landed in the center of Israel's southern coastal city of Ashkelon for the first time, hitting a school but causing no casualties.

The armed wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack Tuesday. Rockets previously fired at Ashkelon have landed on the southern edge of the city. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the rocket attack a major escalation in Palestinian terror against the Jewish state. He said there would be major consequences and warned Hamas would be the first to feel them.

In response to the attack, Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered Israeli forces to increase the pace of their operation in the Gaza Strip aimed at freeing an Israeli soldier.

Earlier, Olmert threatened to use force against all those who strike his country. He spoke as a terrorist-imposed deadline passed for Israel to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier.

Israeli officials have said Syria and Hamas leaders in Damascus are responsible for the capture of the soldier. They have suggested they may retaliate against Syria. Terrorists from the armed wing of Hamas and two other groups kidnapped the soldier June 25.

Likud Party Chairman, Binyamin Netanyahu, said that the unprecedented Kassam rocket attack on the heart of Ashkelon did not surprise him. "We are always going up a level," he said. Netanyahu suggested seizing part of Gaza and implementing a "determined and forceful" operation against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu also said that now is the time to support the government. "At this time it's important to support the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister," said Netanyahu.

The rocket hit the empty parking lot of the ORT Ronson High School building, causing light damage but no injuries. In response to the strike, Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Tuesday ordered the Israel Defense Forces to step up the pace and force of its operation in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas said the rocket was an upgraded version of the original Kassam, reaching a range of 9 miles. But the Israel Defense Forces later disputed the claim, saying the rocket possessed a range of 7.5 miles.

The army said the rocket was launched from the northern-most point of the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun. The dual-engine rocket traversed the longest distance of a projectile ever launched from the Gaza Strip.

Islamic Jihad is known to possess Katyusha rockets of "Grad" type, which have a greater range. Palestinians in Gaza have launched the rocket three times, but it has only succeeded in reaching targets a few kilometers away, far short of its intended range.

Ultimatum from Palestinians Holding Israeli Soldier Expires

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) &

An ultimatum from Palestinians holding an Israeli soldier has expired. The fate of the soldier, who was abducted from an army base near the Gaza Strip nine days ago, is shrouded in secrecy.

The deadline expired with Israel refusing to meet the demand of Palestinian murderers to release more than a 1,000 prisoners in exchange for the kidnapped soldier. Three Palestinian groups, including the military wing of the ruling Hamas party, said they would release no more information about the 19-year-old corporal, Gilad Shalit. However, they said they would not kill him because Islam requires that captives be treated well.

Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad said Israel made a grave mistake by rejecting the prisoner exchange. "You will not get the goal; you will not get the soldier alive by this way. You will increase complication in this situation," Hamad says.

Israeli aircraft and artillery continued to pound terrorist targets in Gaza including the Islamic university, a Hamas stronghold. Israeli spokesman Ra'anan Gissin said the aim is to pressure Hamas to release the soldier.

"It's based on graduated measures in what can be termed, I would say, full court press. Like in basketball, you know you put pressure on the full court and you apply the right pressure at the right time and you wait for a response," Gissin said.

Israeli Interior Minister Roni Bar-On warned the Hamas-led Palestinian government that the "sky would fall on them" if they harmed Shalit. "Hamas well understands ... that the sky will fall on them if they harm Gilad Shalit," Bar-On said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas on Tuesday afternoon called on Shalit's captors to protect him, and expressed hope for a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

Earlier on Tuesday Palestinian terrorist factions behind Shalit's kidnap pulled out of negotiations for his release after Israel rejected their 6 a.m. ultimatum, a Hamas leader in Gaza said Tuesday. "The militant groups withdrew their representative from the talks with the Egyptian mediators," Hamas' Osama al-Muzaini said.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert again ruled out negotiations with Shalit's kidnappers, warning that the IDF would target all militants involved in his abduction. "We will strike all terror elements and all those who strike the State of Israel will not be immune," Olmert told a business conference in the Negev. "We will operate with all our might, but we won't give in to blackmail," Olmert said. "We won't negotiate with terror elements and we won't let anyone believe that kidnapping is a tool to bring Israel to its knees."

An American's Viewpoint

By Emily Garrett (Commentary)

When I was a little girl I used to imagine a chasm opening up in the ground and me falling into it. I imagined that I would find an alternate world. Sometimes it would be a world full of dinosaurs, at other times and in another period of history, just a fantasy world where I could do whatever I wanted.

I've been thinking a lot of my childhood fantasies lately because sometimes I think that perhaps that chasm actually did open up and that I did fall into it in my sleep because the world makes very little sense to me any more. Right and wrong; evil and goodness seems to have no bearing in the world any more. The world I thought I was growing up in, no longer appears to be the world in which I'm living.

The good were awarded and the bad punished and it was easy to tell which was which. Now people can't tell.

There are many things going on today that have me enraged. The New York Times and other newspapers believing that they are justified in publishing highly-classified American strategies that are crucial in our war against terrorism, the Supreme Court ruling against tribunals, but most of all the nerve of the world telling Israel to show restraint against the terrorists that want nothing but to see Israel and the Jews plowed into the Red Sea.

I am enraged beyond words. All the news seems to focus on are the poor little Palestinians and how they are being mistreated by Israeli forces. I read a CNN article about how Israeli strikes killed seven Palestinians on a beach leaving a screaming child orphaned on the beach. Yet the funny thing is that I didn't read any retractions by them when it became evident that the family was not killed by Israel, but rather by mines planted by the Palestinians themselves.

What about the news blaming Israel for an attack on a car, when later we found out that the car blew up because the terrorist was transporting explosives to prepare for yet another attack on Israeli civilians?

And now... the world is crying out for Israel to show restraint! Show restraint against these evil terrorists that want nothing but to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth!

The time for diplomacy is long past. The only defense that Israel should take is an aggressively physical one. No more talk, no more trying to convince the world that you are on the right because the world has taken leave of its senses.

Israel, your only chance of survival is to state your position and follow through. Do not worry about what the rest of the world thinks because they are fickle and if you wait for them to back you, the dream of a Jewish state will be overcome by the mindless void of the rest of the Middle East.

Do what you need to do Israel, and don't hold back. There's no place for both Israel and Palestine. The Palestinians, even the civilians, made it clear where they stood when they elected Hamas into power. Take no pity on them. Your pity will be your demise.

Egyptian TV Promotes Child "Martyrdom"


As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak portrays himself as an honest broker in the Middle East, recent Egyptian TV programs inculcate Arab children with Jew-hatred and the desire for Jihad death.

On June 15, a TV program for children promoted death in the course of Jihad against "infidels." The host of the program, Sheikh Muhammad Nassar of the Egyptian ministry of religious endowment invited the children to "listen to a very beautiful story to learn about the courage of a child, and how, when a child is brought up in a good home, and receives proper education in faith, he loves martyrdom, which becomes like an instinct for him. He can never give it up."

Nassar went on to describe and praise the insistence of a 15-year-old boy to join the Islamic war against the Byzantine Empire, how that boy was killed in battle, and what miraculous events surrounded his burial. He also explained the holiness of the Jihad warrior killed by enemies of Islam and praised the boy in the story because he sought his death in Jihad.

"He died happy," the sheikh told a studio audience of children and the child viewers at home. To see that program with English subtitles, go to

Iran: Israel Exploiting World Cup


A spokesperson for the association of Iranian student unions said on Tuesday that Israel is exploiting the World Cup soccer games in Germany to continue its aggression against the Palestinians.

"It is forbidden to allow Israel to continue its attacks in the occupied territory while exploiting for evil the World Cup games," said Mohsen Maksoudi.

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