Friday, December 30, 2005

A7news: Armed Arabs Storm Rafiah Border, EU Observers Flee in Panic

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Armed Arabs Storm Rafiah Border, EU Observers Flee in Panic
Anarchy in the Palestinian Authority (PA) spread to the Rafiah border crossing, which was closed Friday morning after European Union (EU) observers fled 100 armed PA policemen who formed a blockade.
Full Story Below

 1. Armed Arabs Storm Rafiah Border, EU Observers Flee in Panic
 2. IDF Operating on Many Fronts Against Terror and Rocket Attacks
 3. Photo Essay: US Jews Celebrate Chanukah By Moving to Israel
 4. Religious Zionists Share Hanukkah Light with Secular Israelis
 5. Likud Gains in Polls, Nears No. 2 Spot After Kadima
 6. Knesset Members Rally Arabs for Syria; US, Israel are ´Spiders'
 7. Jewish Elders Decry ´New Year´, Urge Jews to Escort the Sabbath
 8. Arab World: Trade Barghouti for Pollard
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Editors: Alex Traiman & Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Friday, December 30, 2005
29 Kislev 5766


1. Armed Arabs Storm Rafiah Border, EU Observers Flee in Panic
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Anarchy in the Palestinian Authority (PA) spread to the Rafiah border crossing, which was closed Friday morning after European Union (EU) observers fled 100 armed PA policemen who formed a blockade.

The gunmen who stormed the compound belong to the unstable ruling Fatah party of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. One of their members was killed in a clash Thursday between terrorists.

After the compound was stormed, the EU's observers stationed at the crossing quickly fled the scene in panic while the gunmen prevented vehicles from reaching the crossing. The observers are responsible for monitoring the crossing and enforcing the agreement between Israel and the PA on live camera transmissions of border activity.

The armed men refused to heed demands by PA officials to leave the compound, and the EU workers left out of fear for their lives. "Our monitors are now in the Kerem Shalom military base [in Israel]. When the situation is clear, and these people leave, we will go back to our work," said EU spokesman Julio De La Guardia. He said the PA police advised the observers to leave the crossing.

As part of the deal brokered recently by American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israel is barred from stationing live observers at the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Israel has accused the PA of often trying to exploit its control of the border to allow known terrorists to enter into Gaza and smuggle weapons.

During the funeral for the slain policeman, relatives fired at a police station close to the house of Abbas, where the PA chairman's guards returned fire. Abbas was not in the house, but eyewitnesses said some people panicked during the shooting and tried to scale a wall.

The incident was one of several on Thursday which pointed to widespread anarchy.

PA police still are looking for a British human rights activist and her parents who were kidnapped by terrorists in Gaza. Kate Burton, 25, was showing per parents around Rafiah when they were taken hostage by a gang armed with automatic rifles. She has been working as a volunteer for the past year, according to relatives.

Arab human rights groups demanded that the PA stop the kidnappings, which have become rampant. Two teachers were abducted last week by the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine but were released several hours later.

"The lack of action by the Authority against those who stood behind previous kidnappings encouraged others to carry out crimes of that kind," the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights stated.

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2. IDF Operating on Many Fronts Against Terror and Rocket Attacks
By Alex Traiman

The IDF responded to rocket fire from Lebanon and Gaza and is conducting anti-terror operations in Tulkarm following Thursday's powerful suicide blast that claimed the life of an Israeli soldier.

Arabs are threatening that attacks will continue.

The terror attack, which killed 21-year-old Lt. Uri Binamo and three Arabs, and wounded nine others, was intended for a target inside Israel's main population centers. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives when stopped at a surprise checkpoint outside of Tulkarm. The blast was the second murderous bombing attack in less than a month.

In response, the IDF placed a closure on the Arab-controlled city of Tulkarm, restricted Arab traffic in northern Samaria and arrested 10 terrorists with links to Islamic Jihad. Defense officials have reported that Islamic Jihad cells in the area were responsible for the attack, despite recent operations that wiped out many of the suicide gangs.

The IDF has established additional checkpoints throughout the country, like the one set up yesterday, in response to numerous terror warnings. At least 10 specific warnings and more than four dozen general terror warnings are still in effect.

Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim, commented on the non-stop nature of Arab terrorist activity. "They are trying all the time to carry out operations,” Boim stated. Referring to Thursday's murderous suicide blast, he continued, “A massive disaster was prevented."

Head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Yuval Diskin added that the actions of the IDF soldiers at the checkpoint saved the lives of many Israelis and called the slain officer a hero. “If First Lieutenant Binamo and his friends had not blocked the suicide bomber with their bodies, this day would have ended much worse.”

In Judea, IDF troops involved in counter-terrorism operations during the night discovered an explosive device in Dura, southwest of Hevron. The device was neutralized by military bomb demolition technicians without injuries.

Along the northern Gaza border, the IDF is enforcing a restricted “security zone” in an attempt to halt rocket attacks into Israel. The zone roughly incorporates the areas inhabited by Jewish residents in northern Gaza before they forced to evacuate their homes in August.

The Israeli Air Force dropped leaflets written in Arabic throughout Gaza, warning Palestinians to keep out of the restricted zone to avoid endangering their lives. The IDF also has been flying over Gaza population centers and breaking the sound barrier to cause massive sonic booms as a warning against future terror attacks.

An IDF spokesperson stated Friday, "Our aircraft attacked six roads in the north of the Gaza Strip leading to sites from where it is possible to launch Kassam rockets against Israel, and our artillery batteries fired about 30 shells at the sector."

Israel also retaliated for multiple Katyusha rocket attacks from Lebanon on the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona on Wednesday. The air force fired on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group's training camp near the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Little damage and no injuries were reported.

Retired IDF Northern District commander and former Mossad Intelligence Agency senior official Amiram Levine told Israel's Army Radio on Friday morning that Israel must increase its response to rocket attacks from southern Lebanon.

Levine stated attacks across the internationally recognized border cannot be tolerated and Hezbollah and other terrorists must be made painfully aware that such attacks will carry a heavy price.

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3. Photo Essay: US Jews Celebrate Chanukah By Moving to Israel
By Ezra HaLevi

A plane filled with North American Jews landed in Israel on Wednesday, the third day of Chanukah, topping off a year or record Aliyah-by-choice to Israel from the United States and Canada.

Email subscribers, click here to view the photo essay

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4. Religious Zionists Share Hanukkah Light with Secular Israelis
By Debbie Berman and Baruch Gordon

In the wake of the Disengagement, the religious Zionist population is taking a more active role in outreach activities directed at engaging the secular Israeli public in an open religious dialogue.

During the holiday of Hanukkah, hundreds of religious volunteers were welcomed into Israeli homes to light candles together and enhance the celebration of the festival of lights.

Under the auspices of the OU Israel Center, Israel Outreach Project Manager Meir Schwartz says the religious Zionist world began developing outreach programs four years ago. "But," says Schwartz, "the destruction of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria this past summer served as a wake up call for many in the religious Zionist public. People realized after the Disengagement that if we want to connect to the Israeli public, we need to do more than face the challenge of settling the Land. We need to reach their hearts through increasing our outreach efforts.”

Schwartz runs training programs to prepare religious Israeli students and adults to engage in dialogue with secular Israelis. “We are in the middle of our fourth 10-week course right now with close to 100 attendees. Participants always arrive thinking that only when they master the entire Torah can they do outreach work. They think that to engage in outreach, they must be able to answer any and every question about Judaism on the fly. What they see is that there is much room for work on all levels and that they can and must be an integral part of it. They simply get ignited. It's a new kind of activism,” Schwartz said.

“We have special programs for all the holidays. During Hanukkah we sent hundreds of people out to knock on doors, armed with menorahs and candles. Many people were happy to open their homes and let our volunteers in. What was surprising to us was that we really did not need to send the menorahs because people already had their own,” Schwartz said.

“You see, secular Israelis are already celebrating Hanukkah without us. What we added was a religious perspective to a seemingly secularized holiday. We found that people in the State of Israel are happy to keep commandments that are not forced upon them. Hanukkah is a holiday of light, transcending the rational, and appealing to the spiritual. With the increased popularity of the Kabbalah trend, there is a greater familiarity with the concepts of external vs. internal light or black vs. white light,” explained Schwartz.

Meir related a fresh story: "One of our people who went house to house on Wednesday engaged a grandfather with his two grandchildren. The man said that they were at a public Hanukkah candle lighting that night and didn't need to do it again. Our activist, Baruch, explained that in addition to the public lighting, each person must light the menorah in his home or where he is staying. The grandfather hesitated, so Baruch kneeled down and asked the kids if they want to light their very own menorah. Their eyes lit up and a few minutes later, the menorahs were lit as well, including one for the grandfather. Baruch chanted the blessings with them, word by word. Then, he danced around the menorahs singing with his three new friends and spun around the room with the kids like a dreidel."

Schwartz says that his organization has recently launched several programs including face to face meetings and the creation of open Jewish homes throughout the country. He invites people who want to work and help to contact him [050-794-8613,]. The programs are coordinated with the support and guidance of rabbinic leaders like Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and Rabbi Uri Sharki.

Schwartz explained, “A ‘Beyit Yehudi’ [Jewish Home] is a vibrant spiritual center where we offer people to come and encounter Judaism in ways they never have before. There are lectures, musical events, evenings of singing, one-on-one study, festive meals, and much more. It's a chance to experience firsthand a taste of Judaism without having to walk into a synagogue. The ‘Beyit Yehudi’ is an open house that invites people.” There are currently Beyit Yehudi homes operating in Ramat Hasharon near Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Ariel, Moshav Lachish and Kibbutz Naan.

Talking about the hareidi-religious outreach organizations, Schwartz said that they have many successful programs. "They were the first to deal with outreach work in Israel. Every hareidi-religious group has their outreach branches, including Belz, Chabad, Breslov, Arachim etc. I speak with their directors and learn from their experience,” explained Schwartz.

“Two problems that the hareidi-religious organizations must deal with is that the black hat and clothes traditionally worn by them are often perceived as threatening to the secular Israeli. Also, the hareidi-religious communities tend to associate only amongst themselves. This creates a situation in which it is more difficult to connect," Schwartz noted.

“We found that on a practical level a person wearing a knitted kipah has a greater chance of being received by the secular population for two reasons: we serve together with them in the army, and we are involved with them on a day to day level,” Schwartz stated.

Schwartz concluded, “The story of Hanukkah is really about a cultural war against Greek assimilation. Although secular Israelis associate themselves primarily with secular culture, most of them are lighting the Hanukkah menorah and reciting the traditional blessings. There seems to be some kind of contradiction. The truth is that deep inside of the secular Israeli is a Jewish soul guiding him to continue lighting Hanukkah candles.”

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5. Likud Gains in Polls, Nears No. 2 Spot After Kadima
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

New polls reveal that the Likud is gaining strength and is closing in on Labor as the number two party behind Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new Kadima party, which holds a large lead.

Likud would win 17-18 Knesset seats and Labor only 17 seats if elections were held today, according to a Globes-Smith survey released on Friday. A Yediot Aharonot poll also published on Friday gives the Likud only 14 mandates, a small increase over last week, with Labor dropping to 21 MKs.

Both polls gave the Kadima party approximately 40 seats. The Labor party has suffered a setback during a period in which terrorists attacks have taken over the headlines. Security is considered the weak point of the party's new leader Amir Peretz.

The Likud has gained since the election of Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu as chairman two weeks ago.

The party is caught in a dispute over a proposal to oust Jewish Leadership faction leader Moshe Feiglin, who claimed Friday morning that Netanyahu has backed off from moves to pass a party law barring candidates who have served in jail for criminal offenses. Feiglin served time in prison in the 1990s for organizing massive road blockings during the anti-Oslo Accord protests. The party chairman's office did not comment on Feiglin's claim.

One of the most drastic changes on the political map, according to the polls, is the possible extinction of the adamantly secular Shinui party. According to a survey conducted by Israel's Army Radio, the party may not have enough support to pass the minimum threshold of votes required for Knesset representation.

"All of our voters defected to Kadima," Shinui MK Avraham Poraz said.

Another significant result in the polls is the relatively high figure of 22 percent who remain undecided. National elections will take place March 28.

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6. Knesset Members Rally Arabs for Syria; US, Israel are ´Spiders'
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Arab MKs continued to arouse anti-Israeli support in Nazareth. Legislator Barakeh said a strong Syria will help divide Jerusalem. The crowd sang the Syrian national anthem.

Israeli Knesset Members Mohammed Barakeh and Azmi Bishara, along with Moslem clerics, denounced the United States and Israel at a pro-Syrian rally in the Galilee city on Thursday.

Barakeh told the crowd of 500 Arabs and Druze, "A strong and resistant Syria will bring closer the day in which Jerusalem will become Palestine's capital."

The rally was the second time in two weeks that Arab MKs gathered in Nazareth. Bishara rallied crowds against Israel and called for a return to the 1947 Armistice Lines.

"I will never recognize Zionism even if all Arabs do," Bishara declared. He had spoken the day after returning from an illegal visit to Lebanon, where visitors without Interior Ministry permits are considered as having entered an enemy country... We are the original residents of Palestine, not those who came from Poland and Russia."

Barakeh addressed the Arab and Druze crowd, comparing the United States and Israel to a large and small spider, and accused the two nations of trying to create a crisis between Syria and Lebanon. "We can clearly see the cobwebs" of the spiders, he told the audience as it cheered and waved Palestinian Authority (PA) flags and pictures of Syrian president Hafez Assad.

Moslem cleric Sheikh Ra'ad Salah stated, "We are facing an American-British-Israeli monster that threatens to swallow us all."

As they spoke at the pro-Assad rally, Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria-backed Lebanon claimed they were responsible for this week's Natasha rocket shelling of Kiryat Shmona and nearby areas south of the Lebanese-Israeli border.

A terrorist gang linked with Al Qaeda and led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has established cells in Syria which has ties in Lebanon.

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7. Jewish Elders Decry ´New Year´, Urge Jews to Escort the Sabbath
Elders of the Galilee city of Safed cited the anti-Semitic meanings behind celebrations the evening of January 1 and urged people to express joy by escorting out the Sabbath.
The leaders of Safed called on Jews to capitalize on the timing of the holiday on Saturday night and celebrate the traditional Melaveh Malkeh, escorting Sabbath, known as the queen, after its end at sundown. They posted announcements throughout the city warning the public not to participate in celebrations the eve of January 1.

The day of the secular new year is known in Hebrew as Sylvester Day, named after the Roman Pope who convinced the emperor Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem and who arranged for the passage of anti-Semitic laws more than 2,300 years ago.

The elders suggested that Jews create festivals with great cultural and historical Jewish significance. Rather than celebrate Sylvester, Jews should honor the memory of King David, who died on a Saturday night coinciding with the Shavuot (Pentecost) holiday, and join for a festive meal and traditional dancing in one of the city's synagogues, they wrote.

"Sylvester is like Hitler," the elders declared on the posters in Safed, one of Israel's four holy cities in addition to Jerusalem, Hevron and Tiberias. Sylvester was responsible "for the murder of millions of Jews," they added.

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8. Arab World: Trade Barghouti for Pollard
A7 Radio's "The Tovia Singer Show"
Aaron Klein, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for, reveals that Arab leaders are lobbying for a deal in which a convicted terrorist running in upcoming Palestinian elections would be freed from Israeli prison in exchange for the U.S. release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Also, Klein explains why Sharon's doctors are contradicting themselves.

Listen Now -or- Download*

Also on Tovia Singer:

The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism
Author Chuck Morse reveals that modern Islamic terrorism is historically rooted in the Third Reich, and Hitler's leading advocate in the Middle East was none other than Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

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