Friday, May 30, 2008

update on israel May 30

Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Gaza

Al-Durra Case Revisited - Editorial (Wall Street Journal Europe)
It's hard to exaggerate the significance of Mohammed al-Durra, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli bullets, whose iconic image crouching behind his father helped sway world opinion against Israel and fueled the last intifada. It's equally hard, then, to exaggerate the significance of last week's French court ruling that called the story into doubt. The whole incident may have been staged for propaganda purposes. If so, it would be one of the most harmful put-up jobs in media history. The judge's verdict said that media watchdog Philippe Karsenty was within his rights to call the France 2 report a "hoax."

The Missing Palestinian Moderates - Clifford D. May (Washington Times)
The need for balance between Israel and the Palestinians has become conventional wisdom. The problem with it: If my goal is to kill your two children and your goal is to keep them alive, a balanced position - one midway between the two - would endorse the murder of one of your kids. Such balance is relentlessly on view in the mainstream media. To commemorate Israel's 60th year of independence, the Washington Post ran a Page One feature on two men, one Israeli, one Palestinian, both born 60 years ago "into a land at war." The story neglects to mention how that war began: The UN passed a resolution that established Israel and called for an Arab state as well. Jewish leaders agreed. Had Arab leaders done likewise, Palestinians also would be celebrating 60 years of statehood - and there would have been no war and no refugees. The writer is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

See Also: Hamas Leader: We Will Never Recognize Israel (Tehran Times-Iran)

Palestinian Governments in Gaza, West Bank Faulted for Rights Violations - Mohammed Daraghmeh (AP)
The rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza are increasingly violating human rights in their territories in a quest for control. The Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights said Tuesday it received more than 2,000 complaints in 2007, double the number from the previous year. The head of the group, Mamdouh al-Aker, said both Palestinian governments are increasingly arresting people on political grounds, raiding homes without warrants, mistreating detainees and restricting freedom of expression.

How the Arabs Failed in Bethlehem - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
At a conference in Bethlehem last week, the Palestinian Authority failed to attract the interest of Arab governments and major economic establishments to help it develop its economy. Most of those who came and most of the projects offered came from the Westerners whom we accuse of favoring Israel. The Arab side packaged the aid promised in the past and called them real estate projects. But what is the value of housing the Palestinians without an active economy?

Hamas Has Rockets that Can Strike Ashdod and Kiryat Gat - Barak Ravid, Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay (Ha'aretz)
Hamas has rockets capable of striking Ashdod and Kiryat Gat, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin told the cabinet Sunday. "It is only a matter of time" before these long-range rockets are used.

IDF Considering Buffer Zone for Gaza - Yaakov Katz and Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
The IDF is planning to move the Gaza crossings several kilometers deeper into Israel and away from the border, defense officials said Monday. There are currently four crossings into Gaza - Karni, Erez, Kerem Shalom, and Sufa. "We want to create a sterile area between the crossings that would reduce the risk of car bombs and other attacks against the crossings," said a defense official working on the project.


Iran Must Not Get the Bomb - Editorial (Christian Science Monitor)
A new UN report cites "serious" concerns about "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear programs. The IAEA found "substantial parts of the centrifuge components were manufactured in the workshops of the Defense Industries Organization." It also describes evidence of detonators, testing systems, and missile configuration that can only go with a nuclear weapon. So much for last year's estimate by U.S. spy agencies that Iran suspended its weapons program in 2003. In 2006, the West offered Iran a generous and face-saving way to obtain nuclear energy if it ended its weaponization drive. Iran's rejection of that offer has only helped forge world opinion against it, bringing on tougher sanctions and widening splits between its hard-line and moderate conservatives. The U.S. presidential candidates should be demanding that the UN tighten the sanctions now. That might save the next president from taking tougher action later.

See Also: IAEA "Alarmed" by Iran's Nuclear Weapons Work (AFP)

See Also: Nuclear Agency Accuses Iran of Willful Lack of Cooperation - Elaine Sciolino (New York Times)

See Also: Iran Stonewalling UN Nuclear Inspectors - Editorial (Washington Post)

See Also: Egypt Eyes Iran's Overtures with Suspicion - Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times)

Ahmadinejad Rival Elected Iranian Parliament Speaker - Nazila Fathi and Graham Bowley (New York Times)
Ali Larijani, who resigned as Iran's nuclear negotiator in October over differences with President Ahmadinejad, was elected by a vote of 232 to 31 as speaker of the Iranian Parliament on Wednesday. His lopsided victory appeared to be a rebuke of Ahmadinejad, who has faced growing dissatisfaction over grinding inflation and fresh memories of rolling blackouts last winter that left people without electricity and heat for hours at a time - even as the nation's oil revenues were soaring.

The Source of Instability

Iran in Secret Talks with Al-Qaeda, U.S. Officials Say - Jonathan Karl (ABC News)
Senior U.S. officials say that in recent months there have been secret contacts between the Iranian government and the leadership of al-Qaeda. The contacts are on the status of high-level al-Qaeda operatives who have been under house arrest in Iran since 2003. Intelligence analysts say the group in Iran includes al-Qaeda's management council, or "shura," and numbers about two dozen militants, including Egyptian Saif al-Adel, al-Qaeda spokesman Suliman abu Ghaith and some of bin Laden's relatives, including two of his sons, Saad and Hamza. Adel is on the FBI list of Most Wanted Terrorists and is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The State Department has put a $5 million bounty on his head.

Iran "Paid Iraq Insurgents to Kill UK Soldiers" - Sean Rayment (Telegraph-UK)
Iran has secretly paid Iraqi insurgents hundreds of thousands of American dollars to kill British soldiers, according to a leaked government document. Jaish al-Mahdi (JAM) - also known as the Mahdi Army - one of the most violent insurgent groups operating in Basra, used money from Iran to recruit and pay young unemployed men up to $300 a month to carry out attacks against the British.

Diplomatic Moves Proceed

The World Must Ratchet Up Its Efforts to Stop Iran from Enriching Uranium (Economist-UK)
If there was an easier way to end Iran's nuclear defiance, Britain, France, Germany, America, Russia and China would have hit on it by now. Diplomacy through the UN is jammed; force is both unpalatable and unlikely to finish the job. The last UN sanctions resolution, just after the NIE was published, pulled all its punches. The next one needs to be tough enough to make Iran sit up and blink.

Germany: Need to Pressure Iran on Nuclear Issue - Kerstin Gehmlich (Reuters)
The UN nuclear watchdog's report on Iran this week showed the international community must push for a faster response from Tehran over its nuclear program, Germany said on Tuesday. "Open questions remain, where we have to push for an answer with more time pressure," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told members of NATO's parliamentary assembly meeting in Berlin.

Lebanon and Hizbullah

Lebanon President Praises Hizbullah's Fight Against Israel (Telegraph-UK)
Gen. Michel Suleiman, 59, speaking after being elected president of Lebanon Sunday, praised Hizbullah's fight against Israel. He also said he would seek friendly relations with Syria, Lebanon's former powerbroker which backs the opposition.

Hizbullah Employs Shock and Awe in Beirut - Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times)
Whenever I've asked Hizbullah officials whether they are armed or trained by Iran, they say they actually think the Iranians are not that good at war. They boast that they train the Iranians.

See Also: Israel: UNIFIL Ignoring Hizbullah Violations in South Lebanon - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)

Hizbullah Image in Arab World Less Shiny - Raed Rafei (Los Angeles Times)
Hizbullah's offensive against mostly Sunni Muslim political rivals in Lebanon has sullied its image in the Arab world as an armed force engaged in a righteous struggle against Israel. But interviews with analysts and Arab news media accounts suggest that the Shiite Muslim group still came out ahead. It won major concessions from the Lebanese government after its assault and largely retained its popularity despite turning its weapons against fellow Muslims.

Homeland Security Chief: Hizbullah Makes Al-Qaeda Look "Minor League" (FOX News)
Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, speaking at a terrorism forum in Jerusalem, said Thursday: "Someone described Hizbullah like the 'A-team' of terrorists in terms of capabilities, in terms of range of weapons they have, in terms of internal discipline....To be honest, they make al-Qaeda look like a minor league team."

See Also: Hizbullah in West Africa - W. Thomas Smith Jr. (World Defense Review)

Business News

Shekel Goes International - Tal Levy (Ha'aretz)
The Bank of Israel announced Sunday that the shekel has joined the international clearing system and can be converted to any of 16 major currencies.

Israel Economy Grows by 5.4% in Q1 (Reuters)
Israel's economy is showing little sign of slowing despite a global downturn, growing at an annualized rate of 5.4% in the first quarter, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday.
The economy grew at a 5.8% rate in the fourth quarter and 5.3% for all of 2007.

Unemployment Hits 13-Year Low - Moti Bassok (Ha'aretz)
Israel's unemployment rate hit a 13-year low in the first quarter of 2008, and now stands at 6.3%.

Israel - A Light Unto the Nations

Israel Sends Second Batch of Quake Relief Materials to China (Xinhua-China)
An Israeli cargo plane carrying relief materials left the country on Sunday, heading for the quake-hit Sichuan Province in southwest China.
The second batch of Israel-donated aid, worth $1.5 million, includes tents, blankets, water-purification devices and other materials. It follows the first batch delivered last week.

Third Israeli Relief Team to Leave for Myanmar (IMRA/Israel Foreign Ministry)
A third Israeli relief team departed on Wednesday for Myanmar, including medical personnel, training specialists, and logisticians who will continue IsraAID's relief efforts in the field.

See Also: Video: Israeli Rescue Teams in Myanmar [Burma] (YouTube)

Iraqi Mothers Laud Israeli Heart Operations for Their Sick Children, Fear Reaction at Home - Ali Rifat and Uzi Mahnaimi (Times-UK)
Aria, an 18-month-old baby from Kirkuk in northern Iraq, underwent a successful operation at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where 11 Iraqi children are being treated. The surgery is sponsored by Save a Child's Heart (SACH), a humanitarian organization founded in Israel in 1996. Aria's mother, Paiman, paid tribute to the clinic and the surgeon, Dr. Lior Sasson, saying: "He saved little Aria's life." The mother of Mustafa, 4, from Kirkuk, who has undergone two heart operations in six months, said: "My only fear, which spoils my joy at my son's escape from death, is the revenge my family can expect when we go back to Iraq."

Chertoff Keen on Israeli Airport Security Technology - Avida Landau (Reuters)
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Thursday he will seek to adopt novel Israeli methods, like behavior-detection technologies, to better secure America's airports. "That's a scenario where Israel has a lot of experience," he said.


Israeli Film Wins First Prize in Cannes' Short Film Category - Merav Yudilovitch (Ynet News)
The Israeli film "Himnon" ("Anthem") won the first prize in the Cinéfondation-Short Film category at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in France on Friday. It was directed by Elad Keidan of The Sam Spiegel Film and Television School. This is the first time an Israeli film wins in this category since it was created 11 years ago.

* Food

Kebabs (Small Hamburgers)

A classic Middle Eastern dish. There is hardly a restaurant in Israel which does not feature kebob at the head of its menu.

2 lbs. ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 tsp. ground cumin
chopped parsley
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1 large onion

Mix meat with cumin, salt, pepper, and water. Knead well for 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and chopped parsley. Form a big ball and keep in refrigerator for 12 hours.

Before cooking, wet your fingers and form 3 in. x 1 in. stick-like hamburgers. Grill for 5-8 minutes. Turn from side to side until brown. Serve with fresh vegetable salad.

Want more recipes from Israel? Then click here!


This fun song was chosen to mark Israel's 60th anniversary:

"Bat 60 - The Official Song for Israel@60,"
performed by Subliminal and Gevatron Choir

Israeli Blog

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Forward this to a friend May 29, 2008

Chicago, Midwest, and US news

Asia disaster relief still urgent, as Jewish Federation continues collecting funds
US congressmen demand UNRWA reform
Relationship to Hezbollah makes former local professor persona non grata in Israel

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Hamas fumes at Egypt as cease-fire talks collapse
Shin Bet chief: Hamas rocket threat from Gaza is mounting
Abbas meets with Hamas reps in surprise move
Environmental peace treaty between Israel and Palestinians unveiled at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Poll: Vast majority of southern Israeli residents intend to stay

Israel and World News

Israeli Defense Chief asks Olmert to quit
Syria's Assad dismisses Israeli demand on Iran
US urges search for Syrian nuclear sites
Microsoft CEO, in Herzliya: Our company almost as Israeli as American
U.S. and UK say Hezbollah weaker after Beirut fighting
Lebanese parliament elects army chief as president
Israel, US Energy Department join forces
Israel sends humanitarian aid to Chinese earthquake victims
Al Gore: Israel can lead the way in renewable energy
Israel: Carter offers details on nuclear arsenal
Shekel goes international
Israel tourism up 43 percent in January through April of 2008

Iran Watch

Tehran University hosts international conference on "Israel's End"
Iran, Hamas bond over Syria talks
Israeli accused of relaying information to Iran
Iran defies demands on nuclear drive: IAEA report
Rival to Iran's president is elected speaker

Editorial, Opinion & Analysis

From the world press

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aipac update May 27, 2008
IAEA: Iran Owes "Substantial Explanations" on Nuclear Work

Suicide Bomber Blows Up Truck at Gaza Aid Crossing

Pro-Israel Activists Prepare for Largest-Ever AIPAC Policy Conference

IDF: Syria Giving Hizballah New Weapons

Microsoft Opens New R&D Center in Israel

U.S. and Israel Strengthen Alternative Energy Research Cooperation

Save the date
AIPAC Policy
Conference 2008
June 2-4, 2008
Washington, DC
For more information:
(202) 639-5363
Take action
To take action on pending legislation and to receive more information and analysis, visit our Web site at

IAEA: Iran Owes "Substantial Explanations" on Nuclear Work
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday accused Iran of a willful lack of cooperation in answering questions about military activities related to its illicit nuclear program, The New York Times reported. In a nine-page report, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog expressed "serious concern" over indications that the Iranian military has played a key role in the country's nuclear program and that research had ventured into explosives, uranium processing and a missile warhead design—activities associated with nuclear weapons. The IAEA also noted recent instances where Iran prohibited its inspectors from entering key nuclear sites, and acknowledged that Iran has rebuffed multiple binding U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding it suspend its atomic work. Click here to learn about efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Suicide Bomber Blows Up Truck at Gaza Aid Crossing
A Palestinian suicide bomber on Thursday blew up an explosives-laden truck at a border crossing used to transfer medical patients and supplies to and from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported. "The attempted attack this morning at Erez Crossing Point should demonstrate to the international community that, while it demands that Israel take care of the situation in Gaza and open the crossing points, Hamas, which controls Gaza, is not interested in improving the lives of the population and doesn't take even minimal responsibility for Gazan residents," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said. The attack, which an IDF official said was "the biggest since Israel pulled its settlers and troops out of Gaza nearly three years ago," was accompanied by mortar and gunfire, and allegedly part of a broader attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Pro-Israel Activists Prepare for Largest-Ever AIPAC Policy Conference
More than 7,000 activists, students and scholars from all 50 states will head to the nation's capital on June 2-4 for the pro-Israel community's premier annual event: the AIPAC Policy Conference. Headlining this year's conference—the largest ever—will be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), along with the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate. All three presidential candidates—Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)—will address conference attendees, as will Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Click here to learn more about PC 2008 and to see a program.

IDF: Syria Giving Hizballah New Weapons
The head of Israel's Military Intelligence research division, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, on Monday said that Syria was continuing to transfer significant amounts of weapons to the Lebanon-based terrorist army Hizballah, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported. "The weapons are arriving in Lebanon, and then they make their way to the south of the country [to Hizballah]," Baidatz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert listening. Baidatz said that in his view, Syria was not really considering changing its attitude toward Iran, despite diplomatic contacts with Israel. The State Department lists Syria—a prime sponsor of Hizballah and Hamas—as one of the world's leading state sponsors of international terrorism.

Microsoft Opens New R&D Center in Israel
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer flew to Israel last week to open the software giant's new research and development center in Herzliya, the technology Web site The Inquirer reported. Microsoft currently employs 600 technology specialists in Israel, and the company has announced that it will be hiring a further 150 over the course of the next year. "If you do the math, Microsoft is almost as much an Israeli company as it is an American company," Ballmer said. "Israel is an excellent example of the outstanding innovation Microsoft is developing globally. I predict that Israel's importance to Microsoft as a center of innovation will grow significantly in the coming years." Israel has long been a pioneer in high-tech industries.

U.S. and Israel Strengthen Alternative Energy Research Cooperation
The United States and Israel last week signed an agreement to further cooperation between the two allies on advanced renewable energy and efficiency technologies, according to a Department of Energy press release. Activities under the agreement could include collaborative research and development of new and improved sources of high-temperature thermal energy storage, electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery technologies, biofuel production and use, and advanced technologies for efficient water desalinization techniques, such as photovoltaic-powered reverse osmosis. The agreement opens the door for information exchanges, seminars, programs for research visits, exchange of personnel between research establishments, joint research and development projects, and collaboration between leading research and development centers in the United States and Israel.

Richard Baehr on Israel

2. Shelson Adelson, the owner of the Venetian Hotel and the Palazzo
in Las Vegas, and a few hotels in Macau, chose to support the troops
in his own way this weekend. Barack Obama has multi-billionaire
George Soros in his corner. John McCain has multi-billionaire
Adelson in his. Adelson singlehandedly doubled the size of the
Birthright Israel program with his gifts in the last few years. There
is a similarity between McCain and Adelson, and also between Obama
and Soros. On one side, there is character in spades. On the other,
merely enormous ambition, and greed. You know where to stay when
you go to Las Vegas.

6. Barry Rubin says the Israeli Syrian talks are not serious. Israel
can give away the Golan, but Syria wants other things that Israel can
not provide. Syria has sent its envoy to Teheran to make sure the
Mullahs are not concerned by Assad's talking with the Israelis

7. Barry Rubin (again) on the fall of Lebanon. When it comes to the
Middle East, no one writes as frequently and as well as Rubin.
Lebanon has a new President, and it looks like Syria and Hezbollah
have him thinking their way.

8. More on the French Court decision in the Charles Enderlin case and
the faked shooting of a child in Gaza

11. John Bolton says when it comes to foreign policy, Obama is
breathtakingly naive. Arkansas Professor Bradley Gitz agrees (in the
flyover zone there are people a bit more grounded than most of the
Obama supporters chanting for change and hope).

12. An Iranian human rights activist thinks Obama has it all wrong on

Friday, May 16, 2008

video sermon for the Israel trip

No one loves life more than Israel

Why Israelis Love Life

by Hillel Fendel

An Asia Times article, explaining why Israel is the "world's happiest
country," cites statistics showing that Israel leads the world in the
national gap between fertility and suicide rates.

The author, identified only as Spengler, compiled and compared the
fertility rates and suicide rates of 35 industrial countries, and found
that Israelis "appear to love life and hate death more than any other

Spengler explained that he compared "the proportion of people who
choose to create new life, against the proportion who choose to destroy
their own. Israel stands alone, positioned in the upper-left-hand-quadrant,
or life-loving, portion of the chart."

Israel's fertility rate (births per woman) is 2.77, according to
Spengler, while its suicide rate is 6.2 per 100,000 people.??In the U.S.,
however, the numbers are only 2.1 and 11, respectively, and in France they
are 1.98 and 18.? The gaps in the numbers of many of the other
countries are on the chart are even wider.

"It's easy for the Jews to talk about delighting in life," Spengler
wrote in another Asia Times article, because "they are quite sure that
they are eternal, while other peoples tremble at the prospect impending
extinction. It is not their individual lives that the Jews find so
pleasant, but rather the notion of a covenantal life that proceeds
uninterrupted through the generations."

"Israel is surrounded by neighbors willing to kill themselves in order
to destroy it,"? Spengler writes. He notes that Muslims teach, "As much
as you love life, we love death" - a formula found in a Palestinian
Authority textbook for second graders as well.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life
index, Spengler writes, while "Israel is tied with Singapore on this
index, although it should be observed that Israel ranks a runaway first on
my life-preference index, whereas Singapore comes in dead last."

Spengler suggests traditional Jewish faith in G-d as the reason for
Jewish joy.? Muslim faith, however, is?of the type that encourages a form
of fatalism, he feels: "Arabs did not invent suicide attacks, but they
have produced a population pool willing to die in order to inflict
damage greater than any in history. One cannot help but conclude that
Muslim clerics do not exaggerate when they express contempt for life."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Israel lauds visiting Bush as key friend;

ay 15, 2008 Thursday
Chicago Final Edition
NEWS ; ZONE C; Pg. 10
1044 words
Israel lauds visiting Bush as key friend;
President to make late bid for peace
By Mark Silva and Joel Greenberg, TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENTS

As part of a late-term press for an elusive peace, President George W. Bush returned to the Mideast on Wednesday but was greeted by a Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli shopping center and a warning by Israeli leaders that they may deploy "the military power that Israel has in its pocket to use in a serious manner."

Welcomed as "an unusual friend of the people of Israel," Bush arrived in Jerusalem to help the country celebrate its 60th anniversary and praised the Jewish nation as "a prosperous, hopeful land" that had accomplished much while "surrounded by hostile forces."

But he began only his second visit to Israel in nearly eight years as president -- and perhaps his last before he steps down in January -- against a backdrop of sober questions about his legacy as an agent of peacemaking and about the potential for the Israeli-Palestinian accord he seeks by the end of the year.

Starting with Bush's declaration of the need for an independent Palestinian state in 2002 -- the first such statement by an American president -- the White House maintains that he methodically pursued policies that have led to the negotiations now under way toward the contours of a Palestinian state.

Yet questions about the administration's focus, the slow pace of the talks, the unrelenting violence surrounding them and the inability of weakened leaders to deliver meaningful concessions have cast serious doubt on whether anything can be resolved here before Bush leaves office.

"I would say, in this period of time, the president was working in a concrete way to put into place the building blocks for the establishment of a Palestinian state, a two-state solution and a broader peace," Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, told reporters en route to Israel aboard Air Force One. "Were there setbacks in this period? Absolutely, you bet."

Even as Bush and Israeli leaders met Wednesday in Jerusalem, a rocket struck a shopping mall in Ashkelon, about 6 miles north of the Gaza Strip, wounding at least 14 people. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened an anniversary-related evening gala with an announcement of the day's attack by Palestinian militants in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

\ 'This will stop'

"What happened today is entirely intolerable and unacceptable," Olmert said at the gala, with Bush in attendance. "The government of Israel is committed to stopping it, and we will take the necessary steps so that this will stop."

Even before the attack, Olmert had delivered a stern warning to the militants: "We hope that we will not have to act against Hamas with the military power that Israel has in its pocket to use in a serious manner in order to stop it."

Bush made no direct reference to the attack at the anniversary celebration, but said: "As we stand in peace, we must understand the realities of the world in which we live. ... We must be steadfast and we must be strong in the face of those who murder ... to achieve their objectives."

Olmert, under the shadow of a new scandal in which he has denied allegations of bribery, embraced Bush at the event, telling him: "You are an unusual person. You are an unusual leader. And you are an unusual friend of the people of Israel." The president, clearly emotional, received an ovation from the crowd.

But many Israeli and Palestinian commentators are calling the Bush visit more symbolic than substantive, a reflection of what many in the region view as his administration's limited engagement over the years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bush so far has left "a very mixed legacy" in the Middle East, according to Itamar Rabinovich, an expert on the region at Tel Aviv University and a former Israeli ambassador to Washington. Bush correctly identified the Iranian threat, tried to promote democracy, backed a moderate government in Lebanon and toppled a tyrant in Iraq, Rabinovich said, but "there was no follow-through."

"He began his term by distancing himself from high-level involvement in the peace process, dealing with Iraq and Iran, on the assumption that once you do that, matters in the Arab-Israeli arena will fall into place," Rabinovich said. "He belatedly began dealing with the Palestinian issue, but it was more administering first aid rather than anything serious."

The current visit comes "too late," he said. "People don't do business with outgoing presidents."

\ Unrealistic goals?

Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and a foreign policy adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the opposition Likud party, said Bush set unrealistic goals at a peace conference last November in Annapolis, Md., where Israeli and Palestinian leaders pledged to work for a peace treaty by the end of this year.

"It became clear very early on that there won't be a final agreement," Shoval said. "It means all sorts of expectations will be raised and it could lead to greater frustration and violence than before."

On the Palestinian side, where Israel's birthday is marked as the naqba, or disaster, analysts criticize what they view as the Bush administration's pronounced bias in favor of the Israelis, which they say has prevented Washington from applying the pressures necessary to move peace talks forward.

Bush "may have been willing to help reach a settlement, but he did not use his capabilities to force such a settlement," said Ali Jarbawi, a professor of political science at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.

Hadley contended that the Bush administration was dealt a tough hand after the breakdown of peace talks at the end of the administration of Bill Clinton and the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada in 2000.

He said the president initially staked out his support for Israel's right to defend itself. Bush then articulated his vision for a "two-state solution" in 2002, and the next year he outlined a so-called "road map for peace," requiring concessions from both sides.

By 2004, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to withdraw Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip. But then, in January 2006, Hamas prevailed in Palestinian parliamentary elections and later seized control of Gaza.

"That's where we are now," Hadley said. "There are ups and downs. ... We continue to be hopeful."

Google founder visits

t update - 15:54 15/05/2008
Google co-founder lauds Israeli innovation in tech, environment
By Lior Kodner, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
Tags: Israel, Google, Sergey Brin

Google co-founder Sergey Brin on Thursday lauded Israeli innovations in technology and environmental efforts, saying Israel "takes our climate challenges very seriously."

Brin, visiting as a delegate to President Shimon Peres' Presidential Conference, told Haaretz that these challenges have "great geopolitcal ramifications on this country, in addition to environmental ones."

Details of the Presidential Conference available on
He noted that Israel's leading efforts in the field of sustainable energy, saying: "Obviously in Israel they need to innovate with water and things like that. I was really intrigued to see drip irrigation. I just realized that came out of Israel."

Brin gave particular attention to Israel's work in environmentally friendly transportation.

A prototype of the world's first fully electric car was demonstrated for the first time on Sunday in Tel Aviv, by Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi.

Developers hope the car will revolutionize transportation in the country and serve as a pilot for the rest of the world. If all goes as planned, Israel will be the first country to have electric cars on its highways in large numbers in the next few years.

Brin also spoke about new projects ongoing at Google, including the "huge range of efforts" being made on mobile technology and the patience needed in the field.

"I think it takes a while to devlop the technology, to devlop,
to educate advertisers about it," he said. "We have to bootstrap everything. our search based targeted ads took a number of yearsand people are expecting overnight that you work a miracle. It is a combination of technology, advertising networks, abd user expectations. All those things have to come together and that takes time," he said.

During his visit, Brin toured Jewish sites, including the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.



(And in the same period of time, what has the Muslim world accomplished?)

1. Scientists in Israel , found that the brackish water, drilled
from underground desert aquifers, hundreds of feet deep, could be used to
raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline
as sea water, free of pollutants, and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proves
an ideal environment.

2. Israeli-developed designer-eyeglasses, promise mobile phone
and iPod users, a personalized, high-tech video display. Available to US
consumers next year, Lumus-Optical's lightweight and fashionable video
eyeglasses, feature a large transparent screen, floating in front of the
viewer's face that projects their choice of movie, TV show, or video Game.
&nb! sp;
3. When Stephen Hawkins visited Israel recently, he shared his
wisdom with scientists, students, and even the Prime Minister. But the
world's most renown victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou
Gehrig's disease, also learned something, due to the Israeli Association for
ALS' advanced work in both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well
as its proven track record with neurodegenerative diseases. The Israeli
research community is well on its way, to finding a treatment for this fatal
disease, which affects 30,000 Americans.

4. Israeli start-up, Veterix, has developed an innovative new
electronic capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow, sheep, or goat,
sending out real-time information on the health of the herd, to the farmer
via Email or cell phone. The ! e-capsule, which also sends out alerts if
animals are distressed, i njured, or lost, is now being tested on a herd of
cows, in the hopes that the device will lead to tastier and healthier meat
and milk supplies.

5. The millions of Skype users worldwide will soon have access to
the newly developed KishKish lie-detector. This free internet service, based
on voice stress analysis (a technique, commonly used in criminal
investigations), will be able to measure just how truthful that person on
the other end of the line, really is.

6. Beating cardiac tissue has been created in a lab from human
embryonic stem cells by researchers at the Rappaport Medical Faculty and the
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's biomedical Engineering faculty.
The work of Dr. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Lior Gepstein, has also led to
the creation of tiny blood ! vessels within the tissue, making possible its
implantation in a human heart.

7. Israel 's Magal Security Systems, is a worldwide leader in
computerized security systems, with products used in more than 70 countries
around the world, protecting anything from national borders, to nuclear
facilities, refineries, and airports. The company's latest Product,
DreamBox, a state-of-the-art security system that includes Intelligent
video, audio and sensor management, is now being used by a major water
authority on the US east coast to safeguard the utility's sites.

8. It is common knowledge that dogs have better night vision than
humans and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing. Israel 's
Bio-Sense Technologies, recently delved further, and electronically analyzed
350 diffe! rent barks. Finding that dogs of all breeds and sizes, bark the
sam e alarm when they sense a threat, the firm has designed the dog
bark-reader, a sensor that can pick up a dog's alarm bark, and alert the
human operators. This is just one of a batch of innovative security systems
to emerge from Israel , which Forbes calls 'the go-to country for
anti-terrorism technologies.'

9. Israeli company, BioControl Medical, sold its first electrical
stimulator to treat urinary incontinence to a US company for $50 Million.
Now, it is working on CardioFit, which uses electrical nerve stimulation to
treat congestive heart failure. With nearly five million Americans presently
affected by heart failure, and more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed yearly,
the CardioFit is already generating a great deal of excitement as the first
device with the potential to halt this deadly disease.

10. One year ! after Norway 's Socialist Left Party launched its
boycott Israel campaign, the importing of Israeli goods has increased by
15%, the strongest increase in many years, Statistics Norway reports. In
contrast to the efforts of tiny Israel to make contributions to the world so
as to better mankind, one has to ask what have those who have strived to
eliminate Israel from the face of the earth done other than to create hate
and bloodshed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008




Living most of my life in the United States , I knew that Israel ’s independence was not something to take for granted, and indeed to be celebrated at every opportunity. Nevertheless, with the pace of life not focused on Israeli holidays, the ability to celebrate and commemorate Israel ’s independence sometimes conflicted with business meetings, kids’ activities and other day to day challenges. I remember the rabbi imploring us to attend annual community-wide Yom Haatzmaut celebrations, but also remember that the attendance at these events struck me as being far too low for a community of its size and commitment.

Since making aliyah, I have seen something new. Even amid the differences within Israeli society, the fear that we are in a post-Zionist era and overall challenges of life in Israel, celebrating Israel’s independence is done with a sense of pride, joy and such a level of spirit that is simply inspiring.

Beginning at Pesach , Israel starts to get decked out in blue and white leading up to Yom Haatzmaut to become something awesome. Highways are lined with flags. Kites fly bearing the blue and white. Small flags fit with a plastic clip are sold by kids at major intersections for your car. Newspaper ads become patriotic and use the blue and white regularly, and the weekend papers have free inserts of Israeli flags to use at home.

The Yom Haatzmaut celebration in my new community is so moving as to be emotional. The past 3 years we have left with a lump in our throat from the feeling of pride and awe at being able to live in Israel , to raise our children here, and to build for the future. Fireworks are seen throughout the country. The pace of life here revolves entirely around the spring holidays with Yom Haatzmaut among the most joyous. Other than religious holidays when work is prohibited, Yom Haatzmaut may be the only day that no newspapers are printed.

Family customs here are varied, but many involve finding a patch of grass somewhere and setting up a portable bar-b-que to picnic into the night. We add Hallel to our prayers offering God special thanks for this milestone.

But based on living most of my life in the Diaspora where it was often a challenge to carve out time to acknowledge much less celebrate the holiday, it strikes me that there are no formal rituals associated with celebrating Israel ’s independence.

What could be done as Israel marks 60 years of independence in a way that is perhaps more universal, and even to facilitate a five minute pause in the life of someone overseas who wants to celebrate Israel’s independence, but for whom the pace of life is more about the daily grind rather than the festive nature in Israel.

Thinking about the meaning of what we are celebrating, I realized that though the words of Hallel are meaningful, perhaps we needed something more contemporary. Building on an element of the Seder, I came up with Yom Haatzmaut. Dayenu.

IF God had only given us Herzl’s will to dream, and not given us the Zionist Congresses, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only given us the Zionist Congresses and not given us the 1917 Balfour Declaration affirming the reestablishment of a Jewish home in the Land of Israel , it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only given us the Balfour Declaration and not created the spark for early waves of aliyah to dry the swamps, irrigate the Land and build our country, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only given us the spark to ignite waves of early aliyah to build our country and not taken us out of the ashes of the Holocaust, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only taken us out of the ashes of the Holocaust and not continued the ingathering of the exiles from the four corners of the earth, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only continued the ingathering of the exiles and not given us the 1947 UN Partition Vote to create the State of Israel, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only given us the 1947 UN Partition Vote and not enabled our victory in the War of Independence and our Declaration of Independence, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only enabled our victory to establish and declare independence, and not restored Jewish sovereignty to the Land for the first time in 2000 years, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only restored Jewish sovereignty to the Land and not built us a thriving democracy, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only built our democracy and not helped us overcome attempts to destroy us in 1956, 1967, 1970, 1973 and 1982, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only helped us overcome attempts to destroy us and not returned the Jews of Ethiopia to their homeland, rescuing black Africans from slavery in Africa to freedom, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only returned the Jews of Ethiopia to their homeland and not enabled the aliyah of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union , it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only enabled the aliyah of Soviet Jews and not made Israel a world leader in medical, biotech and high tech fields -- a modern light unto the nations -- it would have been enough. Dayenu.

IF God had only made Israel a world leader in technology, and not continued to bless Israel with His promise to build Jewish life for eternity, it would have been enough. Dayenu.

So let us pause on this special day to remember these and many other miracles that God has done for Israel , and that we magnify every day just by living as Jews in our homeland. Dayenu.

Chag Sameach Israel . 3000 years of Jewish presence and hope and 60 years of independence.

Jonathan Feldstein, a new Israeli



(The following text is abridged from a pamphlet first published on December 28,1906, and reprinted in Schechter’s Seminary Addresses, New York, 1959).

To me personally, after long hesitation and careful watching, Zionism recommended itself as the great bulwark against assimilation. Zionism declares boldly to the world that Judaism means to preserve its life. It shall be a true and healthy life, with a policy of its own, a religion wholly its own, invigorated by sacred memories and sacred environments, and proving a tower of strength and of unity not only for the remnant gathered within the borders of the Holy Land, but also for those who shall, by choice or necessity, prefer what now constitutes the Galut.

The term Galut is here loosely used expressing, as I have often heard it, the despair and helplessness felt in the presence of a great tragedy. And the tragedy is not imaginary. It is real, and it exists everywhere. It is a tragedy to see a great ancient people, distinguished for its loyalty to its religion, and its devotion to its sacred law, losing thousands every day by the mere process of attrition. It is a tragedy to see sacred institutions, as ancient as the mountains and which Israel for thousands of years shrank from no sacrifice to maintain, destroyed before our very eyes and exchanged for corresponding institutions borrowed from hostile religions. It is a tragedy to see a language held sacred by all the world, in which Holy Writ was composed, and which served as the depository of Israel ’s greatest and best thought, doomed to oblivion and forced out gradually from the synagogue. It is a tragedy to see the descendants of those who revealed revelation to the world and who developed the greatest religious literature in existence, so little familiar with really Jewish thought, and so utterly wanting in all sympathy with it, that they have no other interpretation to offer of Israel’s scriptures, Israel’s religion, and Israel’s ideals and aspirations and hopes, than those suggested by their natural opponents. We are helpless spectators in the face of these great tragedies; in other words, we are in Galut. This may not be the Galut of the Jews, but it is the Galut of Judaism, or, as certain mystics expressed it, the Galut of Hanefesh, the Galut of the Jewish soul wasting away before our very eyes.

I belong to that class of Zionists that lay more stress on the religious-national aspects of Zionism than on any other feature peculiar to it. The rebirth of Israel ’s national consciousness, and the revival of Israel ’s religion, or, to use a shorter term, the revival of Judaism, are inseparable. When Israel found itself, it found its God. When Israel lost itself, or began to work at its self-effacement, it was sure to deny its God. The selection of Israel, the indestructibility of God’s covenant with Israel, the immortality of Israel as a nation, and the final restoration of Israel to Palestine, where the nation will live a holy life on holy ground, with all the wide-reaching consequences of the conversion of humanity and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth --- all these are the common ideals and the common ideas that permeate the whole of Jewish literature extending over nearly four thousand years.

“Only when Judaism has found itself, when the Jewish soul has been redeemed from the Galut, can Judaism hope to resume its mission to the world.”

The reproach that Zionism is unspiritual is meaningless.. However, the imputation is as old as the days when the name Pharisee became a reproach, and it is not to be expected that the Zionists would be spared. The Zionists are no saints, but few movements are more free from the considerations of convenience and comfort, and less tainted with worldliness and other worldliness than the one which they serve.

The work in which Zionism had to engage first, and in which it will have to continue for many years to come, was the work of regeneration. It had to re-create the Jewish consciousness before creating the Jewish state. In this respect, Zionism has already achieved great things. Foremost of all, Zionism has succeeded in bringing back into the fold many men and women, both here and in Europe , who otherwise would have been lost to Judaism. It has given them a new interest in the synagogue and everything Jewish, and put before them an ideal worthy of their love and their sacrifice.

But, while Zionism is constantly winning souls for the present, it is at the same time preparing for us the future, which will be a Jewish future. Only then, when Judaism has found itself, when the Jewish soul has been redeemed from the Galut, can Judaism hope to resume its mission to the world. History may, and to my belief, will repeat itself, and Israel will be the chosen instrument of God for the new and final mission; but then Israel must first effect its own redemption and live again its own life, and be Israel again, to accomplish its universal mission. The passages in the Bible most distinguished for their universalistic tendency and grandeur are the verses in Isaiah and Micah, and there it is solemnly proclaimed: “Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem .”

Our sages have themselves given expression to this correspondence between the universalistic and the nationalistic elements in Judaism. A solemn declaration, thus they declare, has the Holy One, blessed be He, registered: “I will not enter the heavenly Jerusalem , until Israel shall come to the earthly Jerusalem .” Not in conflict but in consonance with Israel ’s establishment of the divine institutions in their full integrity in God’s own land, will be the triumph in all its glory of the Kingdom of Heaven .




By Gene Currivan, Special to The New York Times

Tel Aviv, Palestine , Saturday, May 15 -- The Jewish state, the world’s newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel, came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination of the British mandate.

Recognition of the state by the United States , which had opposed its establishment at this time, came as a complete surprise to the people, who were tense and ready for the threatened invasion by Arab forces and appealed for help by the United Nations.

In one of the most hopeful periods of their troubled history, the Jewish people here gave a sigh of relief and took a new hold on life when they learned that the greatest national power had accepted them into the international fraternity.

Ceremony Simple and Solemn

The declaration of the new state by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the National Council and the first Premier of reborn Israel, was delivered during a simple and solemn ceremony at 4 P.M., and new life was instilled into his people, but from without there was the rumbling of guns, a flashback to other declarations of independence that had not been easily achieved.

The first action of the new government was to revoke the Palestine White Paper of 1939, which restricted Jewish immigration and land purchase.

In the proclamation of the new state, the government appealed to the United Nations “to assist the Jewish people in the building of its state and to admit Israel into the family of nations.”

The proclamation added:

“We offer peace and amity to all neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to “the peaceful progress and reconstruction of the Middle East .”

World Jews Asked to Aid

The statement appealed to Jews throughout the world to assist in the task of immigration and development and in the “struggle for the fulfillment of the dream of generations – the redemption of Israel .”

Plans for the ceremony had been laid with great secrecy. None but the hundred or more invited guests and journalists was aware of the meeting until it started, and even the guests learned of the site only ten minutes before. It was held in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art -- a white, modem-design two-story building. Above it flew the Star of David, which is the state’s flag; and below, on the sidewalk, was a guard of honor of the Haganah, the army of the Jewish Agency for Palestine .

Great crowds gathered and cheered the ministers and other members of the government as they entered the building.

The setting for the reading of the proclamation was a dropped gallery whose hall held paintings by prominent Jewish artists. Many of them depicted the sufferings and joys of the people of the Diaspora, the dispersal of the Jews.

The thirteen ministers of the Government Council sat at a long dais beneath the photograph of Theodor Herzl, who in 1897 envisaged a Jewish state. Vertical pale blue and white flags of the state hung on both sides.

At 4 P.M. sharp, the assemblage rose and sang the Hatikvah, the national anthem. The participants seemed to sing with unusual gusto and inspiration. The voices had hardly subsided when the squat, white-haired chairman, Mr. Ben-Gurion, started to read the proclamation, which in a few hours was to transform most of those present from persons without a country to proud nationals. Then he pronounced the words “We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine , to be called Israel ,” there was thunderous applause and not a few damp eyes.

After the proclamation had been read, Mr. Ben-Gurion signed the document and was followed by all the other members of the administration, some by proxy. The last to sign was Moshe Shertok, the new Foreign Minister. He was roundly applauded.

The ceremony ended with everyone standing silently while the orchestral strains of the Hatikvah filled the room.

As the Sabbath had started, there was not the degree of public rejoicing that there would have been any other day. The proclamation was to have been read at 11 P.M., but was advanced to 4 because of the Sabbath.

In the preamble to the declaration of independence, the history of the Jewish people was traced briefly from its birth in the land of Israel to this day. The preamble touched on the more modern highlights, including Herzl’s vision of a state, acknowledgment of the Jewish national homeland by the Balfour Declaration in 1917, its reaffirmation by the League of Nations mandate and by the United Nations General Assembly resolution of Nov. 29, 1947.

Israel , the proclamation went on, will be open to immigration by Jews from all countries “of their dispersion.” She will develop the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants, and will be based on precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets.

The new state, will uphold the “social and political equality of all its citizens without distinction of race, creed, or sex” and “will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education, and culture.”

The statement pledged safe-guarding of the sanctity and inviolability of shrines and holy places of all religions. It also contained a promise to uphold the principles of the United Nations.

There was great cheering and drinking of toasts in this blacked-out city when word was received that the United States had recognized the provincial government. The effect on the people, especially those drinking late in Tel Aviv’s coffee houses, was electric.

May 14 1948 Declaration of Independence

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Declaration of Israel's Independence 1948

Issued at Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5th of Iyar, 5708)
ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) - The Land of Israel] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim [(Hebrew) - immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.

This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people - the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe - was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations.

Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.

In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.


WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel".

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.

WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel.


David Ben-Gurion
Daniel Auster
Mordekhai Bentov
Yitzchak Ben Zvi
Eliyahu Berligne
Fritz Bernstein
Rabbi Wolf Gold
Meir Grabovsky
Yitzchak Gruenbaum
Dr. Abraham Granovsky
Eliyahu Dobkin
Meir Wilner-Kovner
Zerach Wahrhaftig
Herzl Vardi Rachel Cohen
Rabbi Kalman Kahana
Saadia Kobashi
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin
Meir David Loewenstein
Zvi Luria
Golda Myerson
Nachum Nir
Zvi Segal
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman
David Zvi Pinkas
Aharon Zisling
Moshe Kolodny
Eliezer Kaplan
Abraham Katznelson
Felix Rosenblueth
David Remez
Berl Repetur
Mordekhai Shattner
Ben Zion Sternberg
Bekhor Shitreet
Moshe Shapira
Moshe Shertok

daily missils

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Published: May 15, 2008
ASHKELON, Israel — A rocket launched from Gaza struck a commercial center in southern Israel on Wednesday, hours before President Bush, on a visit to Israel to mark the 60th anniversary of its founding, was to address a major peace conference here called “Facing Tomorrow.”

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President Bush at the airport in Tel Aviv on Wednesday with Laura Bush, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his wife, Aliza.
The rocket, which the police said was Iranian-made, crashed through the roof of a health clinic in Ashkelon, about 10 miles north of the Gaza Strip. It badly injured a woman and her 2-year-old daughter, both in the head, as well as their doctor at the clinic. A fourth person was also injured.

Maj. General Uriel Bar-Lev, police commander of Israel’s southern district, said bomb experts determined the rocket’s Iranian origin.

“It has Iranian fingerprints on it,” he said in an interview outside the mall, crushed glass underfoot, after visiting the third-floor clinic that took the hit.

In the past week, two rockets have killed Israelis, a man working in his kibbutz garden and a 69-year-old woman visiting her sister-in-law. Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people, was struck by at least 20 foreign-made, Katyusha-type rockets in late February and early March, and Israel responded with an air and ground campaign left more than 120 Palestinians, including many civilians, and 2 Israeli soldiers dead in Gaza.

In Gaza, several groups claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s terrorist attack and Hamas, which controls the area praised the shooting, was quoted by Reuters as saying it “proved that Israel’s defense doctrine had failed.” Israeli leaders said it seemed a matter of time before a military operation was undertaken.

“We knew how to stop suicide bombs and we will figure out how to stop these rockets,” said Avi Dichter, the internal security minister, a native and resident of Ashkelon, who rushed down to the southern city from the reception for President Bush. Standing outside the damaged center, he said he was born a couple hundred yards away.

The cafeteria of Barzilay Hospital in central Ashkelon was turned into a makeshift clinic for the 60 or so lightly injured people from the attack.

“I was with my daughter in the waiting room of the clinic when a huge explosion hit and there was dust and debris everywhere,” said Clara Harari, 58, as she sat in a wheelchair waiting to be seen.

Political sentiment turned raw and ugly as a crowd gathered outside the damaged commercial center while police moved the injured.

“Olmert Resign!” they shouted, “We don’t want you anymore!”

Yitzhak Cohen, religious affairs minister from the Shas party, said as he entered the center to inspect the damage, “We should have cut off electricity, water and gas a long time ago and told them if they want it, they have to start acting like human beings, not animals.”

It was a sharp contrast to the day’s start, as Mr. Bush landed at Tel Aviv to a greeting by a 50-person military orchestra and a large entourage of Israeli dignitaries, including Mr. Peres and the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Israel is Mr. Bush’s first stop on a five-day, three country Middle East tour.

Like Mr. Bush, Mr. Olmert spoke of the longstanding ties between Israel and the United States.

But the Israeli leader, who is the subject of a corruption investigation that could cost him his job, was also caught on microphone giving apparent reassurance about his future to Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley.

“Holding on, holding on. Don’t worry,” Mr. Olmert was overheard telling Mr. Hadley.

After the arrival ceremony, Mr. Bush headed to Jerusalem for back-to-back meetings with Mr. Peres and Mr. Olmert. But he will not see the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, until later in the week, at an economic forum in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The trip is Mr. Bush’s second to the region in five months, and his second to Israel as president. On Thursday he will deliver a speech to the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.

He will also meet with Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, who now represents the so-called quartet of Middle East peace-makers: the United Nations, Russia, the European Union and the United States.

At a press conference here on Tuesday to unveil a package of economic and security measures for the West Bank, Mr. Blair said it would be a “mistake to think" that diplomatic progress can be achieved without improving conditions for ordinary Palestinians.

For the White House, the timing of the trip — long-planned to coincide with Israel’s 60th birthday — is difficult. Most analysts say the prospects for significant progress toward peace are slim, and that Mr. Bush, who has just eight months left in office, is unlikely to achieve a major breakthrough while he is here.

But in a series of interviews before leaving Washington, Mr. Bush said he remained confident that Mr. Abbas and Mr. Olmert, who committed themselves to peace talks at a White House sponsored-conference in Annapolis, Md., last November, would be able to come to terms on the broad contours of a Palestinian state.

"I think there’s a good chance," he told CBS Radio on Monday, adding, "I think we can get a state defined by the time I leave office."

In addition to his slew of meetings, Mr. Bush will sneak in some quick sightseeing here as well. He is scheduled to tour Masada, the ancient fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, and to visit the Bible Lands museum, established in 1992 by an antiquities dealer whose goal was to promote mutual understanding by displaying artifacts that reveal the common origins of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

After leaving Israel on Friday, Mr. Bush will visit Saudi Arabia, where the price of oil is expected to be a major topic of a planned luncheon with King Abdullah at the king’s ranch.

The trip will conclude at the economic forum in Egypt, where Mr. Bush will meet Mr. Abbas and other leaders in the region, including Iraqi officials and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bush used his interviews to criticize Hamas, the militant Palestinian faction that controls Gaza and opposes recognition of Israel.

"Their vision is to destroy Israel," Mr. Bush told Israeli television reporters in an interview at the White House on Tuesday. "How about a vision that says we want to coexist with Israel so we can raise our children in peace? Now, I’m sure, people say, Bush, oh man, he sounds hopelessly idealistic. But the truth of the matter is, in order for peace to be secure, it’s that kind of idealism that has got to prevail."

In an interview with CBS, he said: "What’s going to have to happen is that the Palestinians see a state that has got borders and doesn’t look like Swiss cheese, continuous territory that is — as well as, obviously going to have to see economic conditions start to improve and security conditions improve."

Independent analysts do not share the president’s idealism. Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told reporters last week he could hardly think of a "less auspicious" time to pursue the peace talks.

Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas, though committed to the talks, are both weakened leaders who may have a difficult time selling any deal to their people. Despite his support from Mr. Bush, Mr. Abbas is struggling to provide economic support and security to his constituents in the West Bank, even as he contends with competition from his Hamas rivals in Gaza.

Ami Ayalon, a member of the Israeli Parliament who has long advocated negotiating with the Palestinians, said Mr. Bush’s trip here is "the last chance to do something to aid the pragmatists" in the region who want peace.

"If the visit passes and the pragmatists in the region feel that nothing has changed," Mr. Ayalon said, "I believe we are headed toward more violence and more terror and more power for Hamas."

Ethan Bronner reported from Ashkelon, Israel, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Jerusalem.

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May 13, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

From Lebanon to Hizbullahstan - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
Christians have been fleeing Lebanon for decades. Though a census hasn't been taken in 75 years, Nizar Hamze of the American University of Beirut estimates that there are between eight and nine births per Shiite household, compared to five for Sunnis and two for Christians and Druze.
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But even if Lebanon cannot escape its Shiite destiny, it is not ordained that it must also become a Hizbullah state, taking its orders from Tehran.


Former Arab Warlord Ready for Coexistence with Israel - Martin Chulov (The Australian)
As a leading figure in Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, Mohammed Ghawanmeh, 52, of Jalazone spent most of his working life in and out of Israeli prisons.
"But since I was released from prison (in 2000), I have looked away from the past. There is no other option but to form peace with Israel and get on with building a state."
"We are not going back [to homes in Israel] and we know it," he says.
"If they offered anything like what Barak, Arafat and Clinton talked about in 2000, we should absolutely, positively take it, no questions asked," he says.


Why Israel Is the World's Happiest Country - Spengler (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
Envy surrounds no country on Earth like the State of Israel, and with good reason: by objective measures, Israel is the happiest nation on Earth.
It is one of the wealthiest, freest and best-educated; and it enjoys a higher life expectancy than Germany or the Netherlands.
But most remarkable is that Israelis appear to love life and hate death more than any other nation.
As a simple index of life-preference, I plotted the fertility rate versus the suicide rate of 35 industrial countries - that is, the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. Israel stands alone at the top.
"As much as you love life, we love death," Muslim clerics teach; the same formula is found in a Palestinian textbook for second graders.
Apart from the fact that the Arabs are among the least free, least educated, and (apart from the oil states) poorest peoples in the world, they also are the unhappiest, even in their wealthiest kingdoms. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life index, below Rwanda.
The contrast of Israeli happiness and Arab despondency is what makes peace an elusive goal in the region.

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Hizbullah Capture of Lebanese Mountain Village Seen as Threat to Israel - Hugh Macleod
Hizbullah Monday took control of the Druze village of Niha in the Chouf mountains, 25 miles southeast of Beirut, after fierce fighting. Analysts said the village provides Hizbullah with a crucial supply route between its stronghold in the eastern Bekaa Valley and the coastal highway that leads to Hizbullah's bases in Beirut's southern suburbs. "Hizbullah will very soon spread all over," said Ahmad Moussali, a professor at the American University of Beirut. (Guardian-UK)
Bush Calls Iran "Single Biggest Threat" to Mideast Peace
President Bush on Monday called Iran the "single biggest threat" to peace in the Middle East because of its nuclear program and its support of groups like the Lebanese Hizbullah militia. (AFP)
As Bush Term Wanes, Mideast Peace Appears as Elusive as Ever - Sheryl

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Palestinian refugees "return" wrong JewU 86
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Israel: the greatest country JewU 32
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Refuting Kristof's March 17 NYT piece on Israel JewU 25
Zionism-The Jewish people's right to Israel JewU 243
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AIPAC Crucial for America and the World JewU 81
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At 60, Israel Redefines Roles for Itself and for Jews Elsewhere

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At 60, Israel Redefines Roles for Itself and for Jews Elsewhere

Published: May 8, 2008
JERUSALEM — The Jewish people are marking the 60th anniversary of their national rebirth, the founding of Israel, on Thursday with the usual military flyovers, flag buntings and televised reminiscences of aging pioneers.

But there is another form of celebration planned, and its sponsors believe it says something about the national character: a three-day conference of some of the best minds from around the world on some of the biggest challenges facing humankind — and especially the Jews — in the coming decades.

“The brain enriches the pocket, not the other way around,” Shimon Peres, Israel’s president and the patron of the conference, said in an interview. “We are a small land and a small people, but we can become a daring world laboratory, and that is our desire and plan.”

Nearly 700 guests are expected to take part next week in 35 discussion groups. They include statesmen like Henry A. Kissinger, Vaclav Havel, Tony Blair and Joschka Fischer, but also Sergey Brin of Google, Terry Semel of Yahoo and Rupert Murdoch, along with seven Jewish Nobel laureates and President Bush.

Given the guest list, the topics are naturally big and ambitious, including the shift in global power from West to East (and south), nuclear proliferation and climate change. But much of the focus will also be on topics closer to home like Islamic extremism, the rise of Iran and sovereignty in Jerusalem.

In fact, what are billed as global challenges — terrorism, Iran — seem to be somehow especially Jewish and Israeli ones. The organizers say this is not coincidental or unusual and point as an example to Hitler, who posed an enormous threat to the world but focused particularly on the Jews.

“Cataclysms always seem to affect Jews first,” remarked Stuart E. Eizenstat, a senior official in the Clinton and Carter administrations, who wrote an essay that forms a basis for the conference. “Go back to the Black Plague. It was not a Jewish issue, but it had particular impact on Jews because they were blamed for it.”

There will be a number of senior officials from Central Europe and Africa, including the presidents of Georgia, Poland and Burkina Faso.

Missing from the conference will be any serious Arab representation. Arab leaders and thinkers from Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian areas have been invited, but none have confirmed partly because simultaneously the Arab world will be marking Israel’s 60th anniversary as a catastrophe known as “Nakba Day,” which will involve its own conferences and demonstrations. The organizers in Jerusalem are still hoping a few Arab leaders will come.

Mr. Peres said that to him the idea was to bring thoughtful Jews and non-Jews together in the perhaps idle hope of “making the Jews more worldly and making the world more Jewish.”

He gave as examples Israel’s innovative approach to irrigation and its strong presence in medical equipment production worldwide.

“In China, they may not know who Moses was, but they do know about our drip irrigation systems,” he said.

Speaking of Israel and China in the same breath, which will occur many times at the conference, raises some complex questions and offers some staggering contrasts. According to Mr. Eizenstat’s paper, Israel has more engineers per capita than any country in the world — 135 per 100,000. (There are 85 per 100,000 in the United States.) But even so, the total number of Israeli engineers — nearly 100,000 — is tiny compared with the number China is producing every year, about 600,000.

The back work for the conference has been done by a relatively new institute known as The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, which was the brainchild of a former Israeli journalist named Avinoam Bar-Yosef and whose chairman is Dennis Ross, the former top Middle East peace negotiator for the United States. The institute seeks to incorporate strategic planning into Jewish life here and abroad and to make sure Israel and world Jewry understand their common interests.

One significant development of recent years that will be discussed here is the shift in the relationship between Israel and diaspora Jewry. For decades, Israel was the needy child depending on contributions and support from abroad as it struggled to survive.

Today Israel’s Jewish population of 5.5 million is the world’s largest, just ahead of that of the United States, which is slowly declining through low birth rate and intermarriage. Israel has in fact become the center of Jewish life and is increasingly being asked to act like the older brother to Jewish communities elsewhere.

“This imposes certain responsibilities on Israel as the center of Jewish culture, literature and religious thought,” Mr. Eizenstat said. “Because Israel has been so focused on its security, it has not reached out enough in the past to strengthen the diaspora. Such a move also ran counter to Zionism, which foresaw all Jews moving to Israel. But that is not going to happen, and Israel is starting to understand that a weak Jewish diaspora means a weak Israel.”

Mr. Bar-Yosef said for him the point of the gathering was to nurture the hope of change in Israel, “to have the willingness to repair what needs repairing and also to take a breath and acknowledge what has been accomplished in just 60 years.”

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Commander of the Exodus

Britain, which controlled Palestine under an international mandate, had in 1939 restricted the number of Jews it would allow to move there to 75,000 over five years, a tiny figure compared with the number who were desperate to go there. Partly because of pressure from Arab countries, Britain held fast to this pre-World War II limit, even as Holocaust survivors tried to go to a biblical homeland.

Led secret operations
Mr. Harel commanded the main clandestine operations bringing immigrants to Palestine and personally delivered 24,000 of them, a quarter of the total. He is particularly remembered for his command of four large ships. He named one Exodus to recall the Jews' escape from Egypt.

The Exodus never made it to the Palestinian shore. But it made a dazzling sight as it approached the port of Haifa. Loudspeakers blared "Hatikvah," which would become Israel's national anthem. What would be Israel's flag snapped in the wind.

It was there that British forces boarded the boat and engaged in a violent encounter with Holocaust survivors, leaving three Jews dead and hundreds injured. The unintended symbolism could not have been stronger: The British used tear gas and delivered the Jews to an old Nazi SS camp near Hamburg. The events caused outrage and prompted support for the Zionist dream.

This vivid tale quickly assumed the mythic power in the Israeli independence struggle that the Boston Tea Party had in America's. It was turned into "Exodus," a popular 1958 book by Leon Uris, which two years later became a film directed by Otto Preminger. Paul Newman portrayed Mr. Harel, who was called Ari Ben Canaan in the movie.

Yoram Kaniuk, an Israeli author, wrote in a biography of Mr. Harel that the state of Israel was established not in May 1948, when independence was declared and the British left, but on July 18, 1947, when the Exodus sailed toward certain confrontation in the port of Haifa.

"The state of Israel came into existence before it acquired a name, when its gates were locked to Jews, when the British fought against survivors of the Holocaust," Kaniuk wrote.

Yossi Harel was born Yossef Hamburger on Jan. 4, 1918, in Jerusalem; he and his twin brother represented the sixth generation of his family to be born there. The Guardian reported in its obituary that he had a troubled youth, and, after a series of labor jobs, he left his family at 14 to join the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization that later became the core of Israel's military. Kaniuk called him a "Zionist cowboy" in his book.

Mr. Harel joined the British army during World War II and was badly injured in fighting in Greece. He then worked to transport as many Jews to Palestine as possible, legally or illegally. The Daily Telegraph reported that in mid-1946 he was sent on a secret mission to provide gold to agents in Greece to use in bribing European governments to speed up the transit of Jews to Palestine.
Led shiploads of Jewish refugees
Commanded operation to bring thousands of immigrants to Palestine in 1940s
By Douglas Martin | New York Times News Service
May 2, 2008

Yossi Harel, who renamed the rickety ship he commanded Exodus 1947 and sailed it to legend as a symbol of the righteousness of the mission by Jews to settle Palestine in the face of British opposition, died Saturday at his home in Tel Aviv. He was 90.

His death of a heart attack and his burial were widely reported in the Israeli news media.

Fight with British
Exodus 1947 began as the merchant vessel President Warfield, which was being scrapped after service for both the British and Americans in World War II. It was secretly purchased by Haganah and left Baltimore on Feb. 25, 1947. Mr. Harel, whom Haganah had earlier ordered to study coastal navigation, took command at an Italian port. The refugees boarded at Sete, France, on July 12.

Six days later came the confrontation with the British. At first Mr. Harel encouraged resistance but then surrendered to prevent further casualties. The next day, members of a UN special committee overseeing developments in Palestine watched refugees being transferred to British ships for return to Europe. The committee recommended that the British mandate end and a Jewish state be established. The UN General Assembly authorized this on Nov. 29, 1947.

About Us

Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg B.A. in religion from the University of Chicago-valedictory orator. Masters and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary -Krasne Award for outstanding student. He was a National Merit scholar and the 1974 USA National High School Debate Champion. He has been adjunct faculty of St. Catherine College and Metropolitan University, teaching Bible and Judaism. He is currently Rabbi of the Ezra-Habonim, Niles Township Jewish Congregation of Skokie Illinois.
He was recently the featured rabbi on and online for his
fantastic contribution in Jewish education via his videos which have been viewed over 2,000,000 times. Past National Debate champion, National Merit Scholar, Valedictory Orator University of Chicago, awarded Krasne Prize for outstanding student at the Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical School
He has served as volunteer President of the Minnesota Rabbinic Association and Niles Township Clergy Assocation in Illinois, Excutive Committee of the State of Israel Bonds Rabbinic Cabinet
Rabbi Gail Ginsburg was nominated as teacher of the year as college teacher of religion and jewish texts, she has a unique place in American Jewry and conversion work as a former Lutheran pastor of a 4000 member Church prior to her conversion to Judaism. She holds a masters of Divinity degree and won awards in Hebrew Bible and Hebrew. She has a published article on the book of Ecclesiastes. She received Smicha Rabbinic Ordination from an Orthodox Rabbi in June 2008.
Rabbi Gail Nord Ginsburg is well-known throughout the Upper Midwest as a gifted and inspiring teacher, and as a spiritual counselor. Ginsburg teaches synagogue classes, seminars and college classes on Jewish spirituality, and is a published author. In addition to her work as a hospital chaplain, she and her husband, a Conservative Rabbi, direct the Jewish Institute for Religious Training, which offers a variety of online and onsite opportunities for spiritual growth.
Prior to converting to Judaism, she was an ordained Lutheran minister, having received the Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, where she was honored with the Olson Award for Homiletics and the Milton Award for Hebrew Bible Study. In June, 2008, she was attained smicha from an Orthodox rabbi.