Friday, January 06, 2006

A7news: Sharon Rushed, Again, to Operating Room

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Sharon is Rushed to Operating Room
Following a CAT scan performed on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, doctors rushed him to the operating room, shortly before noon on Friday.
Full Story Below

 1. Sharon is Rushed to Operating Room
 2. Doubts Raised About Kadima´s Strong Poll Showing
 3. Mofaz: If Hamas Changes, We Can Talk With Them
 4. Kfar Darom Expellees Move into Temporary Home
 5. On A7radio: Unchanuka Thoughts and Calendric Proximity

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Editor: Hillel Fendel
Friday, January 06, 2006
6 Tevet 5766
Beit Orot


1. Sharon is Rushed to Operating Room
By Hillel Fendel

Following a CAT scan performed on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, doctors rushed him to the operating room, shortly before noon on Friday.

Earlier this morning, doctors in Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem said Sharon's condition of Prime Minister Sharon continued to be "serious but stable." They had planned to ease him out of his induced coma on Sunday morning.

Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Director of Hadassah Hospital, told reporters this morning that the Prime Minister's condition had not changed significantly over the night. "The parameters that we measure are stable, and this is a good sign," he said.

In accordance with a decision by the hospital's top medical staff, another CAT scan was performed on Sharon this morning. Reporters were to be briefed after the results are analyzed, but in the event, there was no time to do this before he was rushed to the operating room.

This is his third operation since Wednesday night. The first one took seven hours, and the second one, shortly afterwards, lasted two hours.

Reports from the hospital this morning indicated that Sharon's brain stem was not affected, but that the left side of his body, as well as his ability to speak, may well have been.

Rabbi Avraham Elimelech Firer, known as one of the top medical advisors in the country, visited Sharon's room Thursday afternoon. Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman of Migdal HaEmek - like Rabbi Firer, a winner of the Israel Prize - visited the Prime Minister earlier yesterday.

No politicians have been permitted to visit Sharon, but Shimon Peres was to have been the first one, had Sharon not been taken to the operating room.

Speaking on his Christian Broadcasting Network's ''700 Club," U.S. broadcaster Pat Robertson said that Sharon's sudden illness was Divine punishment for having withdrawn Israeli forces and residents from Gaza and northern Samaria this past summer. ''Sharon was personally a very likable person," Robertson told his audience, "and I am sad to see him in this condition, but I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide My land.'"

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement urging Christian leaders to distance themselves from the remarks. Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said Robertson's comments violated ''simple human decency" and were ''profoundly offensive."

But many others agreed with Robertson. The site headlined its report on Robertson's remarks as follows: "A Christian preacher says what many Israelis are thinking." One resident still seeking a permanent place to live after being thrown out of his home in Gaza said on Israeli television, "I'm not happy about Sharon's condition, but we see Divine justice here: any leader who dares to touch the Land of Israel is stricken down."

In the Palestinian Authority, reaction to Sharon's illness was mixed. "I am ready with my candies and my rockets and praying to Allah that Sharon dies," said Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees. So reported WorldNetDaily. Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar similarly said, "We have prepared a celebratory barrage of rockets ready to fire into Israel on the occasion of the death of our enemy."

On the other hand, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) phoned Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and expressed his concern over Sharon's health. "We all hope that Sharon will recover quickly," Abbas said.

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2. Doubts Raised About Kadima´s Strong Poll Showing
By Hillel Fendel

Polls show that the Kadima Party is maintaining its support, despite Ariel Sharon's departure from the political scene. The results are not generally seen as conclusive, however.

A poll conducted for Haaretz and Channel Ten shows Kadima led by Ehud Olmert receiving 40 Knesset seats in the March 28th election. Another poll carried out by Mina Tzemach's Dachaf Institute for Yediot Acharonot shows that Kadima would receive 39 seats. The latter survey indicates that if Kadima is led by Shimon Peres, the party would receive 42 Knesset mandates, and 36 if led by Justice Minister Tzippy Livny.

Many analysts and observers do not accept these results as conclusive, however. Nearly half the readers' comments on the Ynet report either express disbelief in the findings, or say the poll was conducted too early. Many called the report an outright lie, while others echoed one who said, "The public has not yet absorbed the news [of Sharon's illness]."

Maariv's political commentator and Kol Chai Radio show host Menachem Rahat told Arutz-7 today, "I don't believe in political polls in general, because they are accurate only for that minute; things change very quickly, as we saw this week... But even if I did believe in polls, the ones publicized today are particularly not trustworthy, because the public is still in shock. As long as Sharon is still in the public consciousness, support for his party is still high. But I believe that Kadima will soon begin losing support each week, and if it receives 20 seats on Election Day, that will be a lot."

In light of the apparent disappearance of their leader from the political scene, Kadima MKs are attempting to maintain unity in the ranks. Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, who called yesterday morning for the party to convene within two days and choose a leader, retracted his remarks shortly afterwards. He said today, "We must all agree to place Ehud Olmert at the head of the party. I believe he can lead us to victory in the elections."

Even MK Chaim Ramon, who arrived in Kadima from the Labor Party, said today that Olmert was his choice for party leader. "I believe that Olmert can lead Kadima to the highest amount of Knesset mandates," Ramon said. He had originally said that Peres should be Israel's Acting Premier in place of Sharon.

In an attempt to shore up the party ranks, Olmert scheduled a meeting with Peres today - which was abruptly canceled when Sharon was taken to the operating room shortly before noon. Labor leaders, for their part, are trying to entice Peres, their former leader, to return to Labor.

Olmert talked with National Religious Party leader Zevulun Orlev last night. Orlev promised that his party would act as a "responsible opposition" and would not attack the government in the coming days. National Union party leaders have also taken this approach - although they are planning a strong public struggle against the government's plans to evacuate Jews from the Mitzpeh Shalhevet neighborhood in Hevron.

In the Likud, Binyamin Netanyahu has set the tone of "now is not the time to deal in politics." He even asked all the party's Knesset candidates to call off the political events they had scheduled for the next few days. The Likud ministers had been set to resign from the government this coming Sunday, but postponed implementing this decision when Sharon underwent his emergency operation.

Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) agreed that political activity should be "suspended for a day or two, until the situation clears up." He predicted that some Kadima members would seek to return to the Likud: "It can't be ignored that Kadima is a one-man party, and it's clear that in light of Sharon's situation, if he is unable to return, some of the people who arrived in Kadima from various places will want to return from whence they came."

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3. Mofaz: If Hamas Changes, We Can Talk With Them
By Hillel Fendel

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz (Kadima) said that Israel would be prepared to conduct talks with Hamas - if the terrorist organization does well in the coming PA election and lays down its arms.

Mofaz also said that Hamas must erase from its charter the call to destroy Israel.

The Likud issued a statement in response, saying, "It would be better if the Defense Minister would concentrate on his job of preventing Kassam rockets against the residents of Sderot and the western Negev, instead of looking for conditions and ways to certify murderous terrorist organizations."

Mofaz recently ran for head of the Likud Party, but abruptly left the party in mid-campaign to join Kadima. He had said just two days before that he would not leave the Likud and that it was his home.

Middle East expert Dr. David Bukai of Haifa University dismissed Mofaz's statements about Hamas out of hand. Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, Dr. Bukai said, "One of the jokes that we hear on the media is that there won't be any alternative other than speaking with Hamas. But the question is, What will we talk about? Hamas wants what Arafat wanted, and that is the liquidation of Israel. The difference between them is only the methodology... Hamas has an ideological religious conception regarding the implementation of Islamic values, and is not interested or able to change."

Hamas recently revealed its election slogan: "We're Continuing the Fight."

"The Arab world does not have democracy," Dr. Bukai said, "and will not have. This is one of the great tragedies - that the U.S. is trying to implement democracy in Iraq. Even in the Palestinian Authority there is no democracy - just total anarchy. The stronger elements do what they want, and Abu Mazen has remained a clerk of Arafat; the U.S. is depending on him, but he doesn't want to do anything, nor can he."

"What angers me," Dr. Bukai added, "is that we are facing a terrible terrorist war against us, with suicide missions. I foresee a very difficult situation in February and March, and maybe even before that. But no one opens his mouth and says that this is because of the disengagement and the insane and criminal panicky retreat. It's clear that in the Middle East, when you run away, they run after you and hit you even harder."

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4. Kfar Darom Expellees Move into Temporary Home
By Hillel Fendel

Over the past two weeks, the 60 families of Kfar Darom ended their 4.5-month saga in a Be'er Sheva hotel, moving into the Eyal Towers apartment building in Ashkelon. And in other Gush Katif news,...

The Kfar Darom-ites, who have nothing but praise for their hosts in the Paradise Hotel, are scheduled to remain in Ashkelon only for two years or so. In the duration, they will be seeking solutions for the establishment of their permanent community.

Many of the new Ashkelon residents are still out of work and will join the city's unemployed rolls (see below, however).

The community's educational institutions - the school, yeshiva, Kollel, and the Torah and Land Institute - will continue to function in a building granted by the Ashkelon Municipality. The day care centers and the synagogue will function in the Eyal Towers building itself.

A strongly ideological and cohesive community in northern Gush Katif, Kfar Darom had set as its goal its perpetuation as a community even after the destruction and expulsion. Though they were accustomed to open areas and single-family dwellings, they agreed to move into an urban apartment building for idealistic reasons. "Our goal is to be with the people, to remain in the middle of the country, to be able to have an influence," one resident said just a few days after the expulsion.

"From our new location we can look towards the ocean and Gush Katif," said Rabbi Asher Mivtzari of Kfar Darom. "We hope that we will return there, with G-d's help... The Gush Katif public is strong and will overcome - but the feeling is that the country struck a great blow at the concept of mutual responsibility, of 'kol yisrael areivim.' We felt great solidarity with Jonathan Pollard, who helped the country but was betrayed by it. But thank G-d, we have moved into apartments. Our need now is to rectify the general ethical situation."

Other Gush Katif news:
* The evicted residents recently received a letter saying that their "follow-me" arrangement with the Postal Authority had come to an end, and that it would cost 56 shekels to renew it. The letter stated that the residents must update those who send them mail as to their new address "in order to save [you] from paying the service fee."

Moti Sender of the former Gush Katif community of Ganei Tal, who edits the website, wrote that the arrangement never worked well:
"Much mail never reached [us], and some of it arrived only months afterwards. It is chutzpah on the part of the Postal Authority to collect money for this service when until now it hasn't done its work properly, and we cannot update all those who write to us about our new addresses. Many government offices themselves still send us mail at our Gush Katif addresses, including the Interior Ministry."

* The community of Netzer Hazani, whose members currently live in the Golan, Ein Tzurim and elsewhere, has apparently decided to build its new community outside Yesodot. If the program goes through, this would create a bloc of Gush Katif communities: Ganei Tal in Chafetz Chaim, Netzer Hazani in Yesodot, and in between, a community of families from N'vei Dekalim and elsewhere will reside in Yad Binyamin. Families from Gadid, Atzmonah and Gan-Or are also part of the plans.

* Dozens of expelled residents who now live in the temporary pre-fab community of Nitzan, north of Ashkelon, as well as in other sites, convened this week in the Waldenberg Community Center in Ashkelon for the opening of a course in Project Management. The intensive course will take place four times a week for four months, and will grant the students professional tools for advancement in their work. It is being provided by the Ashkelon Employment Office especially for Gush Katif residents.

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