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Correction: Report on Chasidic Cop Untrue Israel News Faxx Services

A report that the New York Police Department had admitted a fervently Orthodox man to its academy is untrue. Brooklyn native Joel Witriol applied to the academy, which began its latest training Monday, but was not accepted, as the New York Post erroneously reported. Witriol did not have enough college credits to be accepted into the program. He may reapply at a later date.

Israel: PA Claims of Hunger are a Lie


Contrary to Palestinian Authority claims, the IDF is allowing food and medicines into Gaza, food supplies are ample, and some crossings are open. An IDF source told Arutz-7 that "PA terrorism is the source of the problem."

The IDF opened the Erez Crossing into Gaza, despite difficulties imposed by the Palestinian Authority itself. In addition, despite warnings of terrorist plans to commit an attack, the Karni Crossing has been opened for days at a time and huge amounts of food supplies and medicines are being transported into Gaza.

The goods that passed through the crossing since Monday included basic foodstuffs, thousands of liters of gasoline, 75 tons of cooking gas and medical equipment. IDF forces continue to search for terrorist tunnels in the Karni area.

Col. Nir Fares, head of the IDF liaison office in Gaza, told Arutz-7 that though the situation "is not easy," it is "far from a humanitarian crisis or hunger. However, the reason for this has nothing to do with Israel - but rather with the ongoing terrorism against Israel and the Hamas government that supports it."

Fares explained that the Karni Crossing, the main through point through which most of the goods enter Gaza, is and has been the site of terrorist activity. "Our interest is not to harm the civilian population that does not promote terrorism," Fares said.

"We do not use our power to pressure the population to pressure its government. I don't think that would be right. But if the people in Gaza wake up and realize that it is their own terrorism that is causing them to suffer, then perhaps the situation will improve."

Fares said that officials in the Palestinian Authority themselves have refused to allow goods into Gaza. "They are trying to create a crisis or make it look like a crisis," Fares told AP.

Fares mentioned five truckloads of dairy products headed for the Gaza coastal area that were blocked by PA officials on Tuesday, until he personally intervened. "We also proposed an alternative crossing for goods at Kerem Shalom, but the PA didn't cooperate."

Arab sources in Gaza said that because of Israel's strike of the main electricity plant, water is being supplied on a partial basis. Fares told Arutz-7, "We continue to supply them with water on a regular basis."

The PA also claims that flour and fuel are running out; Israel says this is a lie. The security establishment, which monitors the crossings, has precise data regarding supplies in Gaza. Israel reports with certainty that the amount of flour is sufficient to last for more than a month, and that supplies of gasoline total more than one million liters.

"There is no shortage," Fares is quoted as saying on an IDF report, "and certainly not supplies of just a few days. The supplies are decreasing - sometimes there is only 2-3-4 weeks' worth of wheat or rice or whatever, so we make sure that those supplies are brought in. The current supplies, together with the supplemental deliveries, will ensure that there will be no shortages in the coming weeks, even if the IDF continues with Operation Summer Rains."

After Hesitation, Germany Agrees to Arms Sale to Israel


The government of Germany has approved the sale to Israel of German-designed Dingo II APVs and two Dolphin-class submarines.

Die Welt newspaper reported this month that the German government initially hesitated in providing the All-Protected Vehicles (APVs), concerned that they were to be used in confrontation with the Palestinian Authority. At the time, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder argued that the vehicles could be used in territories "occupied by Israel."

However, Die Welt's sources in the German security council said that Berlin no longer objects to the sale "for test purposes." Israel is expected to purchase over 100 Dingo II APVs for approximately $100 million.

The multi-purpose Dingo II is an air-transportable, armored, mine-proof troop transport vehicle, designed for high mobility in any type of terrain. It is manufactured by an American firm under license from the German Krauss Maffei Wegmann Company. Sales such as that recently approved to Israel require German federal government approval.

A second, more substantial, deal between Germany and Israel for the sale of two Dolphin-class submarines, produced by German firm Thyssen-HDW, is under review, with a decision expected in coming days.

Late last year, two German weeklies, Der Spiegel and Focus, reported that Israel would be purchasing the two Dolphin class submarines for a total of $1.17 billion, with one-third of the cost to be covered by the German government.

Germany provided Israel with three Dolphin class submarines after the first Gulf War. Two of the subs were supplied free of charge after it was revealed that German companies helped Saddam Hussein develop his weapons program. The third submarine was purchased at a cost of $350 million.

According to defense analysts, the new submarines will provide Israel with second-strike capability, in the event that Iran, or any other state, attacks Israel with nuclear weapons. Some reports suggest that the torpedo hatches on the Dolphin submarines acquired by Israel have been widened to accommodate nuclear missiles.

Kidnapped Soldier's Father: Olmert's Words Don't Count Just Deeds

Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, Tuesday told an Israel Television Two reporter that he must believe that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is doing everything he can to bring Gilad "back to us." Olmert has repeatedly stated that Israel would not negotiate with Hamas for the return of Gilad.

The interviewer asked the father about Olmert's words. Noam spoke in Hebrew, and said that he does not care what statements or declarations Olmert makes, that what matters is what Olmert does.

Missionaries Slated to Purchase Lands for Resort


A massive plan by Christian missionary organizations to purchase private lands in the small village of Migdal, just north of Tiberias on the Kinneret sea was uncovered by the Yad L'achim organization.

Yad L'achim, which promotes Jewish identity, says that the missionaries are offering prices high above market value to secure the lands for a resort which will host vacationers at attractive prices and promote Christianity to the Jewish guests.

Yad L'achim Chairman Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz called for a fund to be established to rescue the lands slated to be sold to the missionary organizations.

Police Probe Origin of Flyer Offering NIS 20,000 for Murder of Gays

By Ha'aretz

Jerusalem police on Tuesday opened an investigation into the offer of a NIS 20,000 reward for killing gays, one month before an international gay pride parade was set to take place in the capital.

Unsigned flyers in the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim blared out "Death to the Sodomites," and offered the reward for "whoever causes the death of one of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah." The flyers also included instructions on how to make firebombs.

"This flyer is part of an incitement and de-legitimization campaign on the part of Mayor [Uri] Lupolianski and the ultra-Orthodox public against the gay and lesbian population in Jerusalem," said Sa'ar Netanel (Meretz), a member of the Jerusalem city council and a leader of the gay community in Jerusalem. "The flyers just prove how important the parade is to the city."

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the flyers on Tuesday. "The Anti-Defamation League is appalled by, and totally rejects as unacceptable, this incitement to violence of one group toward another," it said in a statement. "ADL commends those who have spoken out against this bigoted rhetoric and provocation. We have confidence that the law enforcement agencies will track down those behind this instigation and will see to their prosecution to the full extent of the law."

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for offering the reward. The wording and appearance of the flyer bore no hallmarks of ultra-Orthodox groups, and appeared to have been printed on a home printer. Jerusalem printers whose clients include extremist ultra-Orthodox sects said they had no connection to the flyer, and that they would not have agreed to print it.

A source in the Edah Haredit, which includes several ultra Orthodox sects, blamed far-right elements in the West Bank. Police are looking into that possibility.

Representatives of the gay community in Jerusalem said they were not ruling out the possibility that the reward offer was actually a prank that had nothing to do with the ultra-Orthodox.

While most of the mainstream ultra-Orthodox press is ignoring the parade, the extremist sects are discussing it overtly. Posters in Mea Shearim advertised a call by Edah Haredit leaders to participate in a "major protest" against the parade. They were apparently referring to efforts, in which ultra-Orthodox MKs are also involved, to get the parade moved to Tel Aviv.

Israeli Research Paves the Way to Grow Crops in Saline Land


Israeli researchers from Haifa University's Institute of Evolution have isolated a gene that withstands salinity - meaning a great increase in the amount of worldwide land available for agriculture.

Prof. Evyatar Nevo, director of the Institute, told David Brinn of Israel that the new research "will contribute to a significant increase in the amount of arable land available for agriculture."

Of the earth's 57 million square miles of land, only about 12 million (21%) can be used for growing crops - and that amount is diminishing by 1% every three years. The new research will make it possible to grow plants and crops in saline earth - land that has been affected by too much salt in soil or in irrigation water. Brinn reports that modern methods of irrigation and fertilization of crops have caused much of the arable lands around the world to become saline.

Nevo's team studied fungi in the Dead Sea, which is 10 times more salty than the oceans. "We became interested in the fungi's genetic resources," Nevo said, "[asking] what made them thrive in the salty Dead Sea."

A common fungal species known as Eurotium herbariorum was isolated from the lake. One of Nevo's doctoral students, Yan Jin, from China, then isolated and sequenced the HOG gene that is responsible, in concert with other genes, for the fungus' ability to defend itself from the salinity of the Dead Sea.

The gene was introduced into 'saccharomyces cerevisiae' - better known as baker's yeast - and the team observed that the resultant transgenic yeast was able to tolerate more salt than normal. The new yeast was also able to better withstand extreme heat and cold.

The results of the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS] of the United States. The next step was to transfer the gene into the model plants Arabi-dopsis - successfully making it salt-resistant.

"The genetic salt resistant resources of the Dead Sea could be very important for revolutionizing saline agriculture around the world," Nevo concluded. "If we can transform this gene and other genes we've cloned, we'll be able to improve crop production by making them salt tolerant and enable the growth of crops like wheat in a tepid desert area. Our goal is to develop a battery of salt resistant genes to be used for crop improvement."

Israel to Begin Building Solar Power Facility in Negev


Israel is about to begin construction on the country's first solar-power facility.

The station will be built on a 2,250 acre area in the Negev desert. The preparation for the station is expected to take a year and the actual construction another two years, at which point it will become operational.

The power station will be constructed by Solel Solar System Ltd., an alternative energy firm that built and maintains the world's largest solar power facility in California's Mojave Desert.

The facility relies on hundreds of thousands of curved mirrors – each with a diameter of almost 20 feet and with a four inch diameter specially-insulated oil-filled tube. Each mirror heats the oil to nearly 750 degrees, which turns water into steam. The steam drives a turbine, which produces electricity. Since the last stages of the process are similar to those in conventional power plants, the facility can also be operated on gas when sunlight is unavailable, such as during the night or when the panels are undergoing maintenance.

"Israel is prominent on the world stage for developing solar technology, but until now, we haven't really harnessed that knowledge for our own needs," said Prof. David Faiman, director of the Solar Energy Center when the project was announced several years ago.

The Negev station will initially supply 100 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply power for 200,000 people - and will eventually have an annual output of 500 megawatts – enough to meet the needs of 1,000,000 Israelis.

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