Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A7news: Yom Kippur Services for All

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Yom Kippur Services for All
More than 250 special Yom Kippur services, in which religious and secular worshipers will pray together, will be held throughout the country.

 1. Yom Kippur Services for All
 2. Mofaz Asks to Appear Before High Court
 3. Federman Awarded 100,000 NIS in Damages for False Arrest
 4. Pollard-in-Kefiyah Posters Adorn Jerusalem
 5. Netzarim Update
 6. Yom Kippur Prayer and Announcement
 7. Other Headlines

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
9 Tishrei 5766


1. Yom Kippur Services for All
By Hillel Fendel

More than 250 special Yom Kippur services, in which religious and secular worshipers will pray together, will be held throughout the country.

Sponsoring the services is the Tzohar ("Window") rabbis' organization, which is dedicated to reaching out to the secular public and helping to fashion the country's Jewish identity via dialogue and "the search for common elements of identity." The guiding principle is that many Israelis who are not familiar with Judaism and who generally do not take part in High Holiday services will feel more comfortable participating in "prayer and study gatherings" of this nature.

Yom Kippur, literally the Day of Atonement, is a day of fasting, prayer and introspection. The country is essentially closed down; there is no public transportation or public electronic broadcasts, and stores and services are brought to a near-total standstill. Though bicycling has become a popular pastime on the holy day, to the dismay of many rabbis, even more prevalent on this day are prayer services - yet many non-religious Jews still refrain from attending, for various reasons.

The special prayer gatherings are designed to fill the void. They will be held in local community centers and schools in cities and towns of all sizes throughout the country. A full list (in Hebrew) can be found at this website. It includes twelve gatherings in Jerusalem, nine in Tel Aviv, two in Mevaseret Zion, and others in Eilat, Mitzpeh Ramon, northern Israel, Judea/Samaria, and just about everywhere else.

The custom began in 2002, with a well-attended special service in the secular Kibbutz Mitzpeh Shalem on the Dead Sea shore. That same year, then-Deputy Foreign Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior also organized over 100 similar "secular minyanim" [prayer quorums], featuring a chazan [prayer leader], an instructor, and a director, as well as some observant Jews to give "life" to the service.

Tzohar's other activities in seeking to present Orthodox Judaism in a tolerant and welcoming fashion include conducting weddings for secular couples, pre-wedding counseling for brides and grooms, educational activities, counseling for community rabbis with the goal of elevating their status and involving them in all areas of public life, and more.

The organization hopes that the 250 services it is organizing this year will provide an opportunity for the religious and non-religious sectors to experience the Yom Kippur atmosphere together, and to "pray in a traditional style in an open and friendly manner, while dealing with matters touching on Jewish and Israeli culture."

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2. Mofaz Asks to Appear Before High Court
By Hillel Fendel

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to outlaw use of the "Neighbor Procedure." The Court is likely to agree.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the procedure, designed to facilitate the peaceful and safe arrest of wanted Arab terrorists in Judea and Samaria, is illegal. The tactic involves asking a neighbor of the sought terrorist(s) to knock on their door and inform the occupants that the army seeks their arrest and demands their surrender. The operative assumption is that Arabs would not open fire or otherwise harm their own compatriots - whereas soldiers approaching the home are clearly at grave risk.

However, the most senior forum of the Court, including Chief Justice Aharon Barak and Deputy Chief Justice Mishael Heshin, ruled that even if the neighbor agrees to take part, the procedure is likely to endanger him without sufficient justification. "In balancing the military and humanitarian considerations," Barak wrote, "the considerations that forbid the army to use local residents have the upper hand."

The army immediately announced that it was suspending use of the procedure. However, Mofaz will now attempt to convince the Court to overturn the decision. He has asked to show the Court evidence showing that 1,200 terrorists have been arrested as a result of the procedure in question, while the cases in which the neighbors have been harmed are very rare. No one has been hurt at all in recent years, due to the IDF's accumulated experience using the procedure.

It is assumed that the Court will accept the unusual request, and will reconsider the issue in an expanded panel of five or seven justices.

Col. (res.) Rabbi Moshe Hager, head of the pre-military yeshiva academy in Yatir and a Deputy Division Commander during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, told Arutz-7 on Tuesday, "I recall only one incident in which the neighbor was hurt. This one case does not justify outlawing the procedure altogether, thus endangering our soldiers. The use of this tactic has saved our soldiers from harm many times."

Before learning of Mofaz's request, Hager said that the Supreme Court decision is "detached from reality, as well as irresponsible." He said, however, that the army would seek and find other ways to safely carry out arrests of wanted terrorists.

Asked about the security situation in the Southern Hevron Hills region in southern Judea, Rabbi Col. Hager said, "During the Oslo War, up until Operation Defensive Shield, the situation was very bad, but afterwards it improved. In the past half-year, however, Molotov cocktails have started up again, as well as rock-throwings and attempted stabbings. If the IDF does not take action, the day will not be far off when the terrorist organizations will once again revert to using firearms."

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3. Federman Awarded 100,000 NIS in Damages for False Arrest
By Debbie Berman

The Jerusalem District Court ordered the government to award 100,000 NIS in damages to Noam Federman for falsely placing him under house arrest.

The court decision is being heralded as a huge victory for Israeli civil liberties, as it marks the first time damages were awarded on the grounds of false house arrest and administrative detention.

Federman claims that he has been a long-time target of the Jewish (national) section of the Shin Bet (Shabak / General Security Service).

"I'm glad the bubble of the anti-Jewish division in the Shin Bet and the state prosecutor finally burst in their faces. This gang engaged in a crusade against me, where any means were used to attempt to falsely jail me," Federman told Israel Radio today. "When it didn't work the regular way, they didn't hesitate to adopt administrative measures against me. This was the last nail in the coffin," he added.

The government alleged that Federman was involved in an attempted bombing of an Arab school in eastern Jerusalem. Although Federman continued to deny the charges against him, and asserted that he had nothing to do with the incident in question, he was placed under house arrest and then administrative detention for almost two years.

Federman's insistence on his innocence ultimately led to Judge Yaakov Tirkel's ruling that the government had no right to impose house arrest on Federman. In his ruling, Tirkel stated that a "man should be punished for his own crimes, not the crimes of others." In the wake of Tirkel's ruling, Federman decided to pursue a suit against the state to compensate him for his losses while he remained under house arrest and administrative detention.

Irving Gendelman, US Attorney and human rights advocate, saw the government's treatment of Federman as an extension of their pattern of limiting the freedom of expression of those opposed to current policy issues. "The government continues to attempt to implement its policy by limiting the freedom of expression, as a way of preventing people from displaying their opposition to those policies. The classical methods to achieve these goals have been administrative detention and house arrest, which limit a person's abilities to demonstrate or express himself freely," Gendelman told Israel National News today.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) spokesperson, Yoav Loeff, explained that ACRI has consistently been opposed to house arrests, saying, "The decision sets an important precedent that a person is entitled to compensation for false arrest, in particular, false house arrest."

Federman said that although he was satisfied with today's ruling, he plans to launch personal suits against the members of the Jewish section of the Shabak. Federman stated his determination to "continue to fight for the land of Israel, the people of Israel, and the Torah."

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4. Pollard-in-Kefiyah Posters Adorn Jerusalem
By Hillel Fendel

Activists who refuse to forget the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard posted thousands of controversial posters throughout Jerusalem this week, demanding that PM Sharon secure his release.

The posters take the bold step of portraying Pollard wearing an Arab kefiya, with a large headline stating: "If Pollard was a terrorist, Sharon would ensure his release."

The Committee for the Release of Jonathan Pollard notes that this is just the first of a series of protest gestures of this type. The protests are directed against the fact that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has agreed in the past to release Arab terrorists from Israeli prison, and has apparently agreed to release more in the future. It was reported today that the IDF also supports such releases, in order to strengthen Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

Throughout the years of Arab prisoner releases, Pollard, however, has not been freed. He is about to complete his 20th year in a U.S. federal prison for having shared classified information with Israel - particularly regarding the dangers it faced from Iraq. Pollard himself wrote several years ago, "Nowhere in my indictment... was I ever described as a 'traitor,' which is hardly a surprise given the fact that the operation with which I was associated actually served to strengthen America's long-term security interests in the Middle East."

Adi Ginzberg is a leader of the Israeli campaign to arouse public awareness of the importance of pressuring the government to demand Pollard's release. "It is inconceivable," he says, "that while Pollard sits for 20 years, the State of Israel acts in accordance with a U.S. request to release terrorists who have blood on their hands."

Palestinian Authority minister Sufian Abu Zaida said on Tuesday that Israel appeared willing to reconsider the status of some PA terrorists and thus lead to their early release.

Ginzberg also said that his group would place additional posters on the homes and offices of government ministers, "so that they will no longer be able to ignore this Israeli spy who is imprisoned in the United States."

The bottom of the poster states the following:
* On November 21, 2005, Israeli agent, Jonathan Pollard will enter his 21st year of a life sentence for his activities on behalf of the security of the State of Israel.
* Sharon has repeatedly responded positively to American requests to free murders and terrorists as a gesture to Abu Mazen.
* But Sharon has never demanded the release of Jonathan Pollard from the US as a gesture to Israel.

An emotional Selichot prayer rally was held on behalf of Jonathan Pollard at the Machpelah Cave in Hevron on Monday night. Among the standing-room only crowd were former Chief Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, and Hevron's Rabbi Hillel Horowitz.

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5. Netzarim Update
By Hillel Fendel

The population of the former Jewish Gaza town of Netzarim, torn between two exalted ideals, has chosen both. The people will separate physically, but will continue to work together.

The conditions in Netzarim [pictured above] were arguably the most difficult in all of Jewish Gaza, as the town was an isolated Jewish enclave, accessible only by armored convoy at scheduled hours. Netzarim was surrounded by a hostile Arab population that often attacked it via terrorist infiltrations, Kassam rockets and mortar shells.

Having been thrown out of their homes, together with the rest of Gush Katif and northern Shomron almost two months ago, the people of Netzarim continue not to seek the easy path.

Itzik Vazana, a community spokesman, explained the town's current situation to Arutz-7:
"We are now residing in the [Shomron] city of Ariel, at the College of Judea and Samaria. Our children are studying in our own school, and in nurseries throughout the city. We live in the college students' caravans, but after the Sukkot holiday, the students will be returning. At that point, some of us will be going down to the Negev, to Moshav Yevul, which will be a temporary settlement point for up to two years. But a group of about 20 families has decided to remain in Ariel."

Vazana explained that the residents had a difficult ideological decision:
"We had to choose between two ideals: that of settlement in the Negev and building up a relatively barren area, or of settling in Ariel, the heart of Shomron [Samaria], together with the great social challenge that can be described as 'a face towards the Tel Aviv-Gush Dan area.' The group that will remain in Ariel will build a new neighborhood, from which it will seek to have an impact on the neighboring areas."

The two groups will continue to work together, Vazana said:
"Our dealings with the government - and there are many - will be under one umbrella, for instance. We will also hold events together.... Despite the 200 kilometers that will separate between us, our hearts will be united."

"The government has given high priority to launching our site in the Negev," Vazana added, "but things still take a long time... In addition, we have individual property claims and the like, which will be taken care of by lawyers and by each family."

Another resident, Shlomit Ziv, filled in the picture:
"I am a teacher in our school, which we transplanted in toto from Netzarim to Ariel; my family and I will be going, with the school, to the Negev for its next relocation..."

As if summing up the lack of certainty facing so many former Gush Katif residents all around the country, Shlomit said, "Our new community of Yevul will be adjacent to the new community started by people of Atzmonah in Yated, and we hope that their children will come to our school as well. Currently they travel 40 minutes each way to the Atzmonah school in Ir HaEmunah [Faith City, the encampment set up by expelled Atzmonah residents outside Netivot]."

Shlomit said that the future of the Ariel contingent of Netzarim is also not certain: "The new neighborhood they wish to build here is not yet finalized. It could be that the city will only offer them apartments scattered around the city. We hope it will work out."

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6. Yom Kippur Prayer and Announcement

The staff of Arutz-7 Israel National News prays that this Yom Kippur truly be a "day of friendship and love," as we recite in the Yom Kippur prayers. May it herald the beginning of a year of fortitude against those who wish to harm us, as well as one of true peace and growth, personally and nationally.

May the Nation of Israel overcome all difficulties, retain in entirety its legacy of Torah, Land and Nation, and emerge all the stronger from the many challenges we face.

Our next email report will be sent Friday, Oct. 14.

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