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Egypt's Mufti, Gov't Paper Promote Blood Libel


Calling Israel "the Hebrew entity," the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. 'Ali Goma'a, promoted an ancient blood libel against the Jews - whom he calls "blood suckers" - on the pages of the leading government-controlled daily in Egypt, Al-Ahram.

In an August 7 article, translated by the MEMRI media review organization, Goma'a wrote of "the true and hideous face of the blood-suckers who were described by Filmange in his book The Treasure Hidden in the Talmudic Laws [sic], which tells how [the Jews] planned [to prepare] a matzah [unleavened Passover bread] using human blood."

Israel Buys Nuclear-Capable Subs

By Reuters

Israel has bought two German-built Dolphin-class submarines, said to have nuclear capability, with Germany covering a third of the $1.27 billion price tag.

A German defense ministry spokesman confirmed a report in the Jerusalem Post that Israel had signed a contract with the submarines' manufacturers, Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) and the German government on July 6.

Germany has agreed to take on costs of up to one-third of the value of the deal, reported to be worth $1.27 billion. The Israeli defense ministry declined to comment.

The newspaper said the deal, initiated under the government of Gerhard Schroeder, the former Chancellor, which lost power in elections last year, came after a long dispute over pricing. It was unclear when the submarines would be delivered.

Israeli security sources have said the new submarines were needed to counter long-range threats such as Iran. According to the Jerusalem Post, the submarines "have a maximum speed of 20 knots, a range of 4,500 kilometers and, according to Jane's Defense Weekly, the capability to launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads."

Israel is assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear power, but refuses to openly declare its status.

The vessels are powered by hydrogen fuel cells, allowing them to remain under water for significantly longer than the three diesel-powered Dolphins currently in Israel's fleet.

Apart from the propulsion system, the submarines are identical to the three craft Germany delivered to Israel between 1999 and 2000, the defense ministry spokesman said.

At that time, Germany covered the costs of two vessels while the third was paid for by Germany and Israel together as part of a deal to reinforce Israel in the wake of the 1991 Gulf war when Israel was bombarded by Iraqi Scud missiles.

HDW, a unit of ThyssenKrupp, makes non-nuclear submarines for the German navy, NATO members and NATO allies.

Israel's military, the most powerful in the Middle East, has faced growing criticism at home for failing to crush Hizbullah fighters in the recent war in Lebanon. Since World War II, Germany has been a strong supporter of Israel and feels a special obligation to help secure its existence.

Violence Disrupts Lebanon Ceasefire

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem) & Barbara Schoetzau (VOA-New York)

One Israeli soldier was killed and three others wounded Wednesday, when their tank drove over a land mine in southern Lebanon. In an incident yet to be confirmed by Israeli military authorities, another Israeli soldier was reportedly shot in the head in a military operation just inside Lebanon. Violence also flared elsewhere in the region testing the U.N. - mediated ceasefire.

The Israeli casualties took place about five kilometers inside Lebanon, when a tank patrol hit a land mine near the village of Blida. Some reports say the mine may have been planted by the Israeli army to prevent Hizbullah fighters from approaching the border.

In what is being seen as a more serious incident, there was a heavy exchange of fire lasting about three hours in the Shebaa Farms area. Shebaa Farms is a disputed enclave claimed by Lebanon, but occupied by Israel. The Israeli government insists the area actually belongs to Syria. Israel seized the territory during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and ever since it has been a flashpoint for confrontation in the region.

Lebanese troops occupied the village of Shebaa last week as part of their deployment in the area. However, Israel still has hundreds of soldiers in southern Lebanon, and said they would remain there until there are enough U.N. peacekeepers in the region to help the Lebanese army meet the obligations of the U.N. mediated ceasefire, which calls for the demilitarization of southern Lebanon, and the curtailment of weapons shipments to Hizbullah.

U.N. Envoy Terje Roed Larson, who has been shuttling between Beirut and Jerusalem in an effort to keep the cease fire from collapsing, said the truce is taking hold but dangers remain. "Unfortunately the more the success of the deployment and the establishment of this authority, the higher the chances are that some actors might be interested in derailing this process," he said. "This is why we have to be realistic here. There are reasons for optimism, but there are also reasons for pessimism."

The U.N. rules of engagement under consideration for the peacekeepers are reported to allow them to open fire in self-defense, protect civilians and provide support to the Lebanese army to stop foreign forces from crossing the Lebanese border. However U.N. diplomats have been unable to get Israel to lift its air and sea embargo of Lebanon, which Israeli officials say will not be eased, until international forces deploy at border crossing points and airports to prevent weapons from being diverted to Hizbullah.

The United Nations said Secretary-General Kofi Annan would visit the Middle East soon to strengthen support for the truce between Israel and Hizbullah forces in southern Lebanon. The top U.N. diplomat also hopes to travel to Syria and Iran.

Annan will meet with senior Israeli and Lebanese officials to encourage both nations to fully implement resolution 1701, the August 11 Security Council resolution that led to the current truce between Israel and Hizbullah.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Annan would also meet officials from the Palestinian Authority and travel to Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. She added that the secretary-general would most likely go to Iran and Syria as well.

"The visits to Iran and the other places is to make sure that all of those who have an influence in the implementation of 1701 use that influence positively," she said. "The Iranians need to be part of that dialogue and that is in the spirit the secretary-general is going into."

Another Israeli-Arab Caught Spying For Hizbullah


Another Israeli Arab was arrested for spying on Israel for Hizbullah, passing the group information just before the war broke out.

The Israeli citizen, Mahmoud Shaaban Mahmad Hattib, is a resident of the village of Rajar, on the Israel-Lebanon border. He was arrested on July 31st in a joint police and Shabak (General Security Service) operation. The media blackout on the arrest was lifted Wednesday.

Hattib admitted that for two months leading up to the war, he had been passing information regarding IDF deployment and operations in the region to his Hizbullah handler, Abu Mahmad, and to a journalist for Hizbullah's Al-Manar satellite station, Ali Shaayib.

Prior to the indictment issued Wednesday at the Nazareth Court, Hattib admitted to having had extensive telephone contact with Shaayib and was supposed to hand over a map, presumably with notations marking IDF positions, to Abu Mahmad.

According to the Shabak, contact with Al-Manar journalists is a common way by which Hizbullah handlers are put in touch with Israeli Arabs sympathetic to their cause.

Earlier this month, an Israeli Bedouin Arab, 30-year-old Riad Mazariv from Beti Zarzir, was also indicted for spying on behalf of Hizbullah. Mazariv had asked a Bedouin tracker serving in the IDF to help him smuggle drugs. When the tracker contacted the Lebanese dealer, he was told that Hizbullah would only supply the drugs in return for intelligence information.

Mazariv agreed and proceeded to report the locations of Katyusha missile impacts. He described in detail IDF troop movements to Hizbullah and passed on intelligence information from Bedouin friends serving in the IDF as well.

Mazariv was charged with contact and attempt to aid the enemy during war, contact with a foreign agent, passing information to the enemy and making contacts to import and supply dangerous drugs.

Israeli Researchers ID Gene That Affects Sex Drive

By (© 2001-2004)

Many have wondered why some people have such a high sex drive and others do not. Until now, most scientists believed that sexual desire was mainly a question of hormones and psychology. But a new study by Israeli researchers has revealed that the answer could be in our genes.

The study is the first to provide data to show that common variations in the sequence of DNA impact on sexual desire, arousal and function, the researchers said.

The results suggest that low sexual desire might be a normal biological condition rather than a psychological problem. Further, it might be possible to develop drugs to alter sexual desire based on the new findings.

The research - led by Prof. Richard Ebstein, of Herzog Hospital and the head of the Scheinfeld Center for Human Genetics in the Social Sciences of the Psychology Department at the Hebrew University, and a research group headed by Prof. Robert H. Belmaker of the Psychiatry Division of Ben Gurion University of the Negev - was published in the online version of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

'Approximately how often do you get sexually aroused?' and 'How satisfied are you with your sex life in general?' were just two of the questions 150 students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem faced when they signed up to take part in the researchers' human behavior study. The questionnaire focuses on three areas, desire, arousal and function.

The scientists examined the DNA of 148 healthy male and female university students and compared the results with questionnaires asking for the students' self-descriptions of their sexual desire, arousal and sexual function. They found a correlation between variants in a gene called the D4 receptor and the students' self-reports on sexuality.

"Comparing the results with the DNA samples that the students had been asked to give it was clear that about two thirds of people have a gene variant that leads to a relatively subdued sex drive while approximately one third has a variant that encourages much more activity," Ebstein told ISRAEL21c.

Although Ebstein has had an interest in human behavior since the 1970s, scientists have been able to explore the field using genetics only in the last 15 years, he explained in his office at Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem. A former Brooklyn, New Yorker who immigrated to Israel in 1968, the veteran scientist still sports a Yankees baseball cap on his head.

Discovery of the 'sex gene,' as it has come to be known, is not Ebstein's first breakthrough. "It all started with the novelty seeking gene back in 1996," he recounted. "The fundamental change we made was while everyone else was busy studying behavioral disorders we looked at the link between genetics and behavior."

As a result Ebstein has detected numerous genes that influence behavior, including genes that made people more likely to take risks, to be altruistic and giving, and to become a dancer. "We actually discovered a 'dancing gene'," he said.

When asked about the implications of the sex gene discovery, Ebstein said, "Firstly the study makes it clear that there are no societal norms. Many people, previously considered sexually dysfunctional, can now be considered to be at one end of a normal distribution curve. In essence society no longer needs to see these individuals as having a problem that needs to be cured. Hopefully people can come to accept their sexual behavior as simply part of who they are, just like being either tall or short."

Ebstein identified the second implication as "encouraging a new approach to therapy." He added that "drug companies should develop new drugs in line with the findings that do not seek to treat people as if they have a physical problem."

He said that he believed his work - along with Belmaker's - constitutes a revolution that had not yet been fully absorbed. He believed their work could have far reaching impact on psychology and group behavior. "People just aren't as pliable as we used to think they were," he stated. "We are not born a blank slate; we are hard wired."

Ebstein identified that one of the key principles of the American psyche ran counter to his findings. "The idea that if you try hard and work hard you will succeed may not be completely the case. Not everyone can be a great rock star; genes set the limits of what we are able to do in our life."

He even clarified his argument by revealing that he "could never be a great mathematician. The same applies to nearly everything we do including sports."

Ebstein said that we should focus on what we are good at in life and not "waste our time" on things are genes do not allow us to excel in. "Everyone is good at something," he noted.

However he was quick to point out that while genes have a vital role in establishing who we are, the way we are nurtured also plays an important part. "Both are 50 percent and they are very important," he stated.

Regarding future research, Ebstein chuckled and said, "That all depends on the grants. Brain imaging is the future. Using a functional MRI we would hope to see which bit of the brain is activated by different sexual stimuli. We can then see how different stimuli affect different parts of the brain and eventually even make predictions. Its called imaging geonomics and the potential is incredible."

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