Monday, December 26, 2005

A7news: Aliyah Flying High: 3,000 North Americans in 2005

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Aliyah Flying High: 3,000 North Americans in 2005
An end-of-the-year Nefesh B'Nefesh-sponsored flight of new immigrants from North America will round out a year of increased aliyah. Almost all recent immigrants are satisfied with their move.
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 1. Aliyah Flying High: 3,000 North Americans in 2005
 2. Terrorists Vow More Attacks as IDF Mulls Response to Rockets
 3. Sharon to Undergo Procedure in 2-3 Weeks
 4. Kadima Does Not Rule Out Unilateral Expulsions
 5. U.S. Pressures Israel to Allow PA Voting in Jerusalem
 6. News Analysis: Menorah of Mortars Marks First Night of Hanukkah
 7. "The Doctor's Perspective" on pregnancy in Israel
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Editors: Alex Traiman & Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Monday, December 26, 2005
25 Kislev 5766


1. Aliyah Flying High: 3,000 North Americans in 2005
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

An end-of-the-year Nefesh B'Nefesh-sponsored flight of new immigrants from North America will round out a year of increased aliyah. Almost all recent immigrants are satisfied with their move.

The flight is expected to leave New York on Tuesday and arrive at the new Ben Gurion Terminal 3 the following day with more than 200 new olim from the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 3,000 North American Jews, the highest number since 1984, will have "come home" by the end of the year.

The increase in aliyah (literally "moving up" to Israel) also is more successful in terms of satisfaction with the big move. An overwhelming majority of 93 percent of recent olim are satisfied with their new surroundings, a marked changed from the past.

Sociologist Prof. Haim Waxman has written in his studies more than a decade ago that more than one-third of American olim in Israel return to the U.S., a figure confirmed by Jewish Agency sources.

The results of the recent survey, carried out professional pollster Mina Tzemach, indicate a huge success by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization, which in coordination with the Jewish Agency has encouraged and assisted new immigrants who have boarded six previous flights of olim this year.

The trend of more olim from North America has continued for three consecutive years, according to Michael Landsberg, who heads the Jewish Agency's North American bureau in New York.

Significant characteristics in the makeup of the new olim are their age and education, with a majority of those coming this week having earned at least one university degree. Most of the olim who have come via Nefesh B'Nefesh are married and between the ages of 35 and 54.

One of the major reasons for the higher success in aliyah from North America has been the olim's ability to find work, according to the survey. At least half of recent olim are currently working within their field of study and are satisfied with their employment.

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2. Terrorists Vow More Attacks as IDF Mulls Response to Rockets
By Alex Traiman

While the IDF is considering methods for reducing the number of Kassam rockets penetrating into Israel, Arab terror groups are threatening an increase in rocket attacks.

Terrorists claim to have detailed maps of IDF bases surrounding Gaza.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon instructed Israeli Defense brass Sunday to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent Kassam rockets from being launched into Israel. Steps may include monitoring Gaza from the air and sea, as well as establishing a 1.5 mile restricted security zone along the northern and eastern Gaza borders.

In response, the Islamic Jihad terror group has threatened to increase the firing of homemade Kassams, should the IDF implement the security procedures. Islamic Jihad spokesperson Khaled Al Batsh said that an imposed security zone gives their group a “closer target to strike,” according to the Arab International Middle East Media Center.

The Palestinian Resistance Committee's (PRC) Salah Ed Deen Brigades claims to own detailed maps of IDF military bases in the region. PRC spokesperson Mohammad Abdul-Al, also known as Abu Abir stated that the Salah Ed Deen gang owns "Nasser shells" which can now “hit targets fifteen kilometers away.”

If Israel enforces a security strip, Abu Abir says that terror organizations will continue shelling military bases, utilizing techniques employed by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

National Religious Party leader MK Zevulum Orlev visited the IDF's Zikim base near Ashkelon on Sunday. The base was recently the target of a Kassam rocket attack, injuring five soldiers and inflicting panic amongst new recruits housed at the base. Orlev stated during his visit that there is no alternative to a ground offensive into Gaza, and that the IDF must do whatever is necessary to halt rocket attacks into Israel.

Abu Abir claims that if the Israeli army orders an offensive into Gaza, the brigades will retaliate “hard and fast.”

Al Batsh added, “They [IDF and Israeli government] have to understand that their army bases and the sensitive infrastructure in Ashkelon are hinged on the safety of Palestinian residents.”

"Just as they withdrew from their bases in Gaza, they will retreat from the bases on the northern border,” Al Batsh continued.

In a statement released by Islamic Jihad Sunday night, the terror organization asserts that Israel is being pushed into “withdrawal after withdrawal.”

The Israeli government unilaterally withdrew all IDF forces from the Gaza strip in August, and forcibly expelled close to 10,000 Jewish residents in the region, destroying twenty-one thriving communities.

“Under a barrage of rockets, the explosions and fire of the Mujahideen, they [the Zionists] are now announcing that they are withdrawing from an army base, south of the city of Ashkelon, on lands conquered in ’48,” said the terror group. Islamic Jihad views the issue of defending the IDF base against Kassam rockets as tantamount to another Israeli withdrawal from territory.

In addition, PRC head, Gamal Abu-Samhadna, has threatened to open up his own border crossing between the Gaza district and Egypt. His threats come as Israel and Europe oppose allowing Abu-Samhadna to visit Mecca during an upcoming Moslem holiday.

Abu-Samahada said his crossing would permit wanted terrorists to enter and exit the Gaza district unhindered by what he defined as “the occupation.”

Under an agreement brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Rafiah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is currently subject to European and Israeli oversight.

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3. Sharon to Undergo Procedure in 2-3 Weeks
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's doctors announced Monday that he will undergo a cardio catherization in the next two or three weeks to solve a blood clot problem caused by a tiny hole in his heart.

The non-surgical, half-hour procedure requires inserting a tiny tube to close the hole, a minor and common birth defect, according to Dr. Haim Lotem. The Prime Minister's personal physician and friend, Dr. Boleslav (Bolek) Goldman, said that Sharon is in the same physical shape as he was before suffering a mild stroke last week.

Doctors added that the Prime Minister weighs 260 pounds (118 kilograms) and has lost about five pounds since the stroke, which was caused when the blood clot in the hole in his heart restricted the flow of blood to his brain.

The doctors spoke at a press conference but did not allow any electronic recording of their statements. Until the procedure, the Prime Minister will take Clexin, a blood-thinning medication, twice a day to keep the problem under control, Dr. Lotem added.

The physicians said there was no clot in the brain and there were no negative effects from the stroke. They did not relate to the chances that Prime Minister Sharon may suffer another stroke, but Dr. Tamir Ben-Hur of the Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem said that the catherization "will be done to prevent future blood clots."

Dr. Marc K. Siegel wrote in the New York Post earlier this week that the word stroke is "ominous" because it the world's largest cause of disability and the third largest cause of death.

Likud Knesset Member MK Michael Eitan charged that the medical reports were a "manipulation" because further details of his condition and background were not released.

"The public must be sure that important decisions are being made by the prime minister and not by [his son] Omri Sharon and Dov Weisglass, a close aide to the prime minister," he said.

Before the 2001 elections, The Prime Minister was healthy but had gout, a buildup of uric acid in the joints, according to medical reports obtained and published by the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot.

4. Kadima Does Not Rule Out Unilateral Expulsions
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Kadima party's platform proposes a new Arab state in Israel, does not include any statement against further unilateral expulsions and leaves open to question Israel's future boundaries.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon previously vowed that there will no further unilateral withdrawals similar to that of Jewish residents from northern Samaria and the Gaza region last summer, which was done without any concessions by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The platform of the new party recently formed by the Prime Minister favors a new Arab state in order "to end the struggle with two countries of people on the basis of demographic realities." Portions of the platform were obtained by the Hebrew daily Ma'ariv.

"It is not accidental that [the platform] does not specifically oppose unilateral moves," according to Kadima sources quoted by Ma'ariv. "The platform is relevant also if Sharon decides to follow up with unilateral moves after the elections."

It calls for retaining all of Jerusalem and "places which have a national and historical importance [as well as the] large population centers" of Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and parts of Gush Etzion.

The clause leaves most of the entire country a question mark. Excluding the Haifa metropolitan area, a large majority of the Galilee is made up of Arabs. Similarly, most of the Negev outside of Be'er Sheva is populated by Bedouin tribes.

In the center of the country, the "triangle" area between Netanya and Kfar Saba is virtually totally Arab as is the Jordan Valley.

The platform assumes that dividing up Israel will bring peace to Israel although it does not state what guarantees for peace it will seek from Arab factions. It does not relate to incitement or PA declarations to Arabs that all of Israel is "Palestine," nor does it relate to PA rejections of any new Arab state that does not include Jerusalem.

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5. U.S. Pressures Israel to Allow PA Voting in Jerusalem
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Israel, under American pressure, is backing off from its refusal to allow Jerusalem Arabs, who are Israeli citizens, to vote in the Palestinian Authority (PA) legislative elections.

The Israeli government received telephone calls from United States government officials telling Israel to resolve the matter by taking a softer line, according to the Associated Press (AP). The PA has scheduled elections for January 25, although internal disputes may postpone the vote for the second time in six months.

The issue of Jerusalem Arabs voting in the elections has immense political repercussions because it could signal whether Israel has de facto sovereignty over the united city which legally has been a part of Israel since 1967.

Ra'anan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, announced last week that allowing Jerusalem Arabs to vote for Hamas candidates would be like "letting a Trojan horse into our city. There is no reason whatsoever we should assist a terrorist organization on the ballot to gain victory."

The PA responded by threatening to cancel elections, and the Arab League has lent its support by stating that the Israeli position is an attempt to solidify a claim that all of the capital belongs to Israel. The PA demands that Jerusalem become the capital of a new Arab state in Israel.

Following the calls from American government officials, an aide to Prime Minister Sharon said the government "will contemplate" allowing five polling stations to open, according to the French news agency AFP.

"Israel has no intention of giving [PA chairman] Mahmoud Abbas an excuse to cancel the election because he fears a victory for Hamas and allow him to accuse us before the international community of being responsible for his decision," the aide said.

He added that the government will delay a final decision until the PA "definitely confirms that elections will be held on the scheduled date."

However, the PA is likely to insist that elections will take place as scheduled only if Israel backs down, although there is no guarantee that they will not be postponed at the last minute.

Abbas fears that Hamas terrorists and rival Fatah party elements will leave him with a minority government. Abbas was elected chairman in elections last year after the death of Yasser Arafat.

Due to divisions within Abbas' Fatah, current PA prime minister Ahmed Qureia has announced he is quitting the race to form a new party named after former PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Qureia claims however, that he is leaving the race because of Israel's hard-line position against voting by Jerusalem Arabs.

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6. News Analysis: Menorah of Mortars Marks First Night of Hanukkah
By Scott Shiloh

Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, the festival of lights commemorating the liberation of the land of Israel from the yoke of Hellenistic domination.

Gush Katif refugees, many of whom are still dwelling in hotels awaiting permanent housing, lit a unique menorah tonight, one made of mortar shells fired by Arab terrorists into the heart of N’vei Dekalim, the largest community of Gush Katif.

That special menorah commemorates the miracle of Jewish survival throughout the ages, and reminds us of the symbolic role Gush Katif has played in the saga of Jewish history: a community standing victorious despite constant attempts by Arab terrorists to wipe it out.

5000 mortars rained down on Gush Katif, from the onset of the Oslo War in September 2000, to August 2005. Miraculously, they succeeded in causing only minor damage and minimal casualties. Not only did they fail to harm the community physically, they failed to impact the Jewish spirit burning in the hearts of its residents. They call the menorah of mortars the “al hanissim,” menorah of miracles.

While those communities have since been uprooted, not by Arab terrorists, but by the policies of the Israeli government, the menorah of mortars testifies to a spirit that eternally renews itself, and one that becomes stronger in the face adversity.

Last year at this time, Hanukkah menorahs were lit in the homes of Jews living in the towns of Dugit and Elei Sinai, located in the northern parts of the Gaza district.

Now Arab terrorists are firing Kassam rockets from those places onto Israeli cities, towns, and IDF bases from Ashkelon to Sderot.

The light and spirit of Gush Katif may look a bit dim from today’s vantage point. But if Jewish history is a guide, it is only a matter of time before all of Israel looks toward that light in much in the same way as Jews around the world tonight light the menorah and participate in the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks.

Both represent victories of spirit over those who wished to extinguish the light of Israel.

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7. "The Doctor's Perspective" on pregnancy in Israel
A7 Radio's "The Aliyah Revolution" with Go'el Jasper and Simcha Shapiro
Go'el and Simcha hear "The Doctor's Perspective" on pregnancy in Israel
They also profile Givat Ze'ev, a northern Jerusalem neighborhood that has a special quality to it. And, the Ima's perspective on that other non-Chanukah wintertime holiday! Yeah, you know, the one we used to be bombarded with in the Diaspora...

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