Friday, October 14, 2005

A7news: Another Quiet Battle Between Army and Religious-Zionist Public

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Another Quiet Battle Between Army and Religious-Zionist Public
The Chief of Staff says the Nahal Hareidi army battalion is under reconsideration, because too many non-Hareidim - i.e., religious-Zionists - are enlisting in it.

 1. Another Quiet Battle Between Army and Religious-Zionist Public
 2. Airlift Campaign for Clothes, Goods for Expulsion Victims
 3. Kfar Darom's Plans Abruptly Changed
 4. Sukkot in Jerusalem, Holy Temple Style
 5. Terrorists to Boy: Commit Suicide Attack, or We'll Kill You
 6. Church Divestment Campaign Loses Steam
 7. On A7 Radio: Last Yom Kippur Before Moshiach?

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Friday, October 14, 2005
11 Tishrei 5766


1. Another Quiet Battle Between Army and Religious-Zionist Public
By Hillel Fendel

The Chief of Staff says the Nahal Hareidi army battalion is under reconsideration, because too many non-Hareidim - i.e., religious-Zionists - are enlisting in it.

Speaking this week with the hareidi-religious weekly magazine Mishpaha ("Family"), IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said, "The Nahal Hareidi, known as the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, was established for a particular purpose, and we are working to make sure it continues to serve that purpose. From an operational standpoint, they are doing excellent work, just like all the other IDF units. It's true that of late, because of a sharp drop in those enlisting from among the target public, soldiers were enlisted who originally were not designated for it. We are currently looking into the matter, and then we will decide how to proceed."

The Nahal Hareidi was established in 1999 as a solution for hareidi-religious youth who, for various reasons, were no longer studying in yeshivot - yet did not want to enlist in regular army units for religious reasons. The venture was widely termed a success, from both the hareidi public's standpoint and militarily. Stationed in the Jordan Valley, the unit has captured and killed terrorists on several occasions.

Over the past 2-3 years, with the increasing presence of female soldiers in combat units, the Nahal Hareidi became attractive to the religious-Zionist public and the Hilltop Youth, popularly known as the Givonim. An increasing number of students, particularly in certain yeshivot, who might otherwise have served in the hesder arrangement [combining five years of Torah study and regular army service], began turning to the Nahal Hareidi as their preferred solution.

Gen. Halutz did not explain why this was unacceptable to the army, but said that the situation will have to be "reviewed."

He also continued the army's recent threatening tone against the hesder arrangement for yeshiva students: "My personal opinion is that yeshiva study is of paramount importance... But at the same time I feel that there is room for a review of whether everyone who is currently in this framework should really be there." Halutz, who assumed his position less than five months ago, revealed that 10% of all those who enlist are hesder students.

Halutz confirmed that the entire issue of homogeneous hesder units is also under consideration - together with that of other homogeneous groups in the army. Earlier this year, IDF Personnel Corp Commander Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern, a yeshiva high school graduate, caused a storm when he announced his intention to dismantle the hesder units and spread their soldiers out in larger battalions.

During the weeks preceding the disengagement/expulsion, Halutz threatened to close the hesder yeshivot on the backdrop of refusals to carry out disengagement-related orders. "We will not tolerate refusers," Halutz said three months ago. "I am targeting my statement mainly at the leaders of the hesder yeshivas and pre-army colleges. You cannot have a dual system and call on people to refuse orders and at the same time enjoy the conditions the IDF offers the hesder yeshivas. This will not go on if this phenomenon becomes common."

In his latest interview, however, Halutz backtracked, but just a smidgeon. "Let's recall that, to the great joy of the Nation of Israel, disengagement refusal was not great. It's true that at first, this subject was of great concern to me. I was sadly surprised by the calls of various people for refusal. However, the young soldiers and officers dealt with the issue in the proper manner. At the same time, though, the yeshiva hesder deans who openly encouraged refusal are being dealt with at present. This is a complex process, and I won't elaborate."

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh is one of the two yeshiva heads in question. Asked if he's being "taken care of," he told Arutz-7, "I can tell you that, with G-d's help, everything will be fine. We are always being taken care of, and we are also taking care of things ourselves, and we hope the army will see the results within a couple of years." Asked to elaborate, Rabbi Levanon said, "We have begun an initiative involving turning to religious sectors and coordinating their enlistment in the army not as a single bloc, but as a unified group, with similar goals and thinking. The army will not notice this development until it begins bringing forth fruit."

Asked about Halutz's intention to reconsider the Nahal Hareidi framework, Rabbi Levanon said that his yeshiva only has a few students who choose that option, but "in any event, it sounds foolish to review the Nahal Hareidi merely because fewer hareidim are serving. It was designed to provide a solution, so what difference does it make whether it's hareidim or other religious people who avail themselves of the solution?"

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2. Airlift Campaign for Clothes, Goods for Expulsion Victims
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

A local Los Angeles campaign to airlift clothes and needed items for expulsion victims has taken off into a world-wide relief effort stretching from Canada to Australia.

Dr. Daryl Temkin, a 52-year-old psychologist and Jewish leader involved with teaching people about Israel, said he learned a few hours after the Rosh Hashanah holiday that the airlift was feasible. The Israel Homeless Association told him that it could get a charity rate from El Al and British Airways for clothes, toys, computers, school supplies and other items.

"The excitement over this has been mainly because this is a unique opportunity for Jews to be helpful for their fellow Israeli Jews," said Dr. Temkin. "I received 400 e-mails within in a few days. One man called and said he has multiple truckloads of aid for Katrina victims which were unable to be accepted.

"One manufacturer is donating 200 pairs of jeans and others contributed supplies of children's clothing and hundreds of shoes," he added. Another manufacturer is sending an "extraordinary number" of winter coats.

Many of the expulsion victims lived in Gush Katif for up to 30 years and are not equipped for cold and wet weather. They have tried to stay in the southern area, but the government has forced many of them into temporary hotels and make-shift guest houses in Jerusalem and in the north, where heavy rains and occasional snow fall as early as November.

Compounding the former residents' dilemma is the location and condition of thousands of containers the government provided to store their personal property. They later discovered that they have to pay for the containers, which often are almost impossible to find because hundreds of them all alike and cover a huge and open storage lot. Temperatures inside the containers have reached 190 degrees, and many possessions have been stolen or ruined.

Hundreds of families have been living for weeks in cramped hotel rooms without normal family recreational and cultural facilities.

Dr. Temkin said he hoped the Los Angeles airlift will be in on its way to Israel by the end of this month. He is helping others to organize airlifts in other cities and is looking for people to help store donations in cities that are served by El Al and British Airways.

"I began receiving responses from Miami, Toronto, Montreal, and Denver and other cities. London also is working on this, and there is talk about it in South Africa and Australia. Rabbi Pesach Lerner is organizing the effort in New York," Dr. Temkin related.

He emphasized that clothes must be in excellent condition and that electrical appliances must be equipped to operate on 220 volts.

"The airlift will be met when it lands in Tel Aviv and the cargo will be
organized and distributed to the proper people within hours," he said. "These solutions were made possible thanks to the Israel Homeless Association which will be handling this airlift. It is now up to us to make [it] an historic success.

"The need list includes, shoes, socks, underwear, T-shirts, diapers, baby supplies, pants, dresses, shirts, slacks, hats, raincoats, umbrellas, sweaters, winter coats and basically everything that you can think of.

"Shabbos and holiday clothing is also appreciated. Women's clothing is highly requested, and I expect that applies to the juvenile age bracket as well. Cold weather shoes are really needed since most of these people only own open toe sandals.

"We need to collect toys, games, school supplies, pencils, pens, paper, coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals, infant toys and equipment, strollers, high chairs, cribs and all other infant needs, sports gear, balls, bicycles, tricycles, air pumps."

People who can donate trucks for collective contributions and can provide storage space can contact Dr. Temkin at

He also is looking for financial donations to cover supplies and insurance. Checks may be payable to "CJJA" or Congregation Joseph Jacob Abraham and should be earmarked "Israel Clothing Drive." All contributions are tax deductible.

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3. Kfar Darom's Plans Abruptly Changed
By Hillel Fendel

Thought for the last month to be all but completed, negotiations between the gov't and a contactor have broken down, and expelled Kfar Darom residents won't be moving to the location they planned.

The 58 families of Kfar Darom - nearly all of the original population - have been living in the Paradise Hotel in Be'er Sheva since they were thrown out of their homes in Gush Katiaf. Despite what they underwent, they agreed to abandon their lifestyle of open areas and private homes, and move to temporary quarters in a high-rise building in Ashkelon. In this way, they felt, they could take an active role in the country. "Our goal is to be with the people, to remain in the center, to be able to have an influence," one resident said just ten days after the expulsion.

But their idealism, it appears, must withstand yet further tests. They were informed on Yom Kippur Eve that the demands made by the contractor were as high as his 19-story building, and that the government could not meet them.

The homeless families, who have been on forced vacation in the hotel for two months, are not totally without a solution, however. Negotiations are already underway for another building in Ashkelon, which was originally designated for the expelled residents of Netzarim. Netzarim, though, has chosen a different option: forming a new community in the Halutza Sands, south of Gaza, with some families remaining in Ariel, in the Shomron, and building a new neighborhood there.

The new building has smaller apartments than the original one, but the contractor is willing to come towards the large families of Kfar Darom, and will combine 3- and 4-room apartments into 7-room units.

The building will also house nurseries for the children, a "clubhouse," and even a synagogue.

[pictured: Kfar Darom's synagogue]

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reports that a solution has apparently been found for the expelled residents of Moshav Katif. They have been living in the Kfar Pines Girls' High School dormitories, with no communal solution in sight. It now appears that they will move, shortly after the Sukkot holiday, to temporary quarters in Moshav Nehushah in the Kiryat Gat-Lachish area.

Some 60 families from the former N'vei Dekalim are scheduled to join them in the temporary caravilla site, not far from where many of the Gush Katif families hope to build a permanent bloc of communities. Families from Atzmona currently living in the "Faith City" encampment near Netivot may also join the Nehushah group.

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4. Sukkot in Jerusalem, Holy Temple Style
By Hillel Fendel

The Sukkot holiday used to mean not only moving into temporary quarters, but housing those quarters themselves in temporary quarters - Jerusalem. Some families aim to renew that custom this year.

Five families have already signed up to join the initiative, and plan to build their sukkot - holiday huts - on a hillside overlooking the Temple Mount. Jerusalem archaeologist Tzachi Zweig says that this is how it used to be done:

"We know that there is a Biblical commandment to visit Jerusalem on the three Festivals, but on the Sukkot holiday, it is more than just a visit. Shavuot (Pentecost) is only one day, and the commandment on Passover is also only for one day - but the commandment on Sukkot is to 'rejoice before G-d for seven days'. We are commanded on Sukkot to live in temporary huts, or booths, and it's clear that with the masses of people who came, not all of their hundreds of thousands of booths could fit inside the city. Many huts were built outside the city, overlooking the Holy Temple, and there are many sources indicating this... It's logical that Mt. Scopus and the Mt. of Olives would be chosen for this purpose."

The site chosen for the renewal of this practice is the Emek Tzurim National Park, on the slopes of Mt. Scopus, beneath Yeshivat Beit Orot and Hebrew University. "This is the location where we have been running an ongoing archaeological analysis of dirt and rubble from the Temple Mount," Zweig said. Volunteers have been sifting through truckloads of dirt carted away from the Mount after the Islamic Waqf perpetrated an illegal construction project there.

"We already have running water and security there," Zweig said, "and even electricity if necessary, so it will be relatively easy to build even several dozen sukkot there. Some people said that it's too hard for them to come, or the wife is pregnant, or whatever - but I reminded them that in the times of the Temple, there were no such excuses; everyone came. We want to accustom people to the traditional - and future - way of keeping the holiday."

The National Parks Authority has given its OK, and the plans include a daily visit to the Temple Mount itself. But one problem has not yet been overcome: an abrupt nixing of the plan by Jerusalem police. But Zweig is not deterred: "If we have to, we'll go to the Supreme Court. If the National Parks Authority has agreed, and if we are fewer than 50 people - which, I fear, we could very well be - then what right do the police have to stop us? I've been here at night before... At worst, we won't sleep at the site, but no matter what, we'll be there for the holiday."

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5. Terrorists to Boy: Commit Suicide Attack, or We'll Kill You
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Israeli security personnel revealed that Arab terrorists, including a high ranking PA intelligence officer, threatened to kill a 14-year-old boy if he did not carry out a suicide bombing.

The IDF announced on Wednesday afternoon, before the Yom Kippur holiday began, that soldiers and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) questioned the boy on Monday after several Arab terrorists were arrested in the Shechem area.

Wanted Tanzim terrorist Rabi'ah Abu Alil originally tried to employ the boy as a suicide bomber after he and his father quarreled over money. The boy refused, and was taken to an apartment by Abu Alil and another wanted Arab terrorist, Jamal Tirawi. Tirawi is also a high ranking Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence officer, the IDF said.

"Despite the youth's pleas that he be released to his home and left alone, Tirawi and Abu Alil threatened him that if he did not cooperate, they would kill him and distribute a communique claiming he had been collaborating with the Israeli army," the IDF announcement stated. Terrorists photographed the boy wearing a vest and holding a rifle and a copy of the Koran.

The terrorists finally released the youth without harming him. The Associated Press reported that Tirawai responded to the charges by saying that "the Israelis are liars."

"This is not an isolated case," an IDF spokesman said. "Since the beginning of 2005, the number of minors who have been drafted by the different organizations to carry out terror attacks and attacks against Israeli military targets has risen dramatically."

The IDF also announced Wednesday afternoon that security forces arrested Hamas terrorist Ibarahim Ginat of Hevron on Monday, after an eight-year search. He is the last holdout of the "Tzurif" gang which killed three Israelis in an attack on the Apropos Cafe in Tel Aviv in 1997.

Ginat also is charged with other attacks, including the murder of soldier Sharon Edri the previous year, and four shooting attacks in 1995-1996 in the Gush Etzion area in which seven Israelis were murdered and others injured.

Also arrested was Haitham Battat, a Hamas terrorist suspected of involvement in a suicide bombing in Be'er Sheva in May. He surrendered after his mother urged him to give up following a gunfight. He is from the town of Dahariya, in the southern Hevron hills and on the main road to Be'er Sheva.

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6. Church Divestment Campaign Loses Steam
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The campaign to convince Protestant churches to divest from companies that make products Israel uses in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is slowing down, according to Reuters News Agency.

The anti-Israel divestment campaign threatens billions of dollars of investments in Israel by international companies. It gathered steam after the Presbyterian Church of the United States voted last year to begin slimming down its $8 billion portfolio in companies with investments in Israel.

One of the prime targets has been Caterpillar Inc., which sells heavy equipment to Israel’s defense establishment. Other targets are Citigroup, United Technologies, Motorola, and ITT Industries.

"No church in the United States except the Presbyterians has voted for divestment," Reuters quoted David Elcott, an officer for the American Jewish Committee. He said the campaign was moving forward in the media more than it is in reality.

Both the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the United Church of Christ have rejected the divestment proposal.

The Presbyterian Church has not yet carried out its decision to get rid of investments in targeted companies, and a church spokesman told Reuters that "we're not in a hurry." He explained that divestment only is a last resort, depending on whether Israel carries out further expulsions of Jewish residents from Judea and Samaria.

Rev. William Harter, one of the leaders against the divestment campaign, was quoted as saying that there is growing pressure to rescind last year's disinvestment vote.

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