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Shammu
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2007, 04:40:49 PM »

The Building of the Third Temple

The Temple Institute is dedicated to elevating public awareness in preparation for the building of the Third Temple. Hundreds of thousands from all over the world identify with the cause, and send hefty donations to assist the institute in implimenting its dream. Infolive.tv spoke with Rabbi Chaim Richman about the work being done at the institute, why so many identify with the cause, and whether the rebuilding of the Temple will bring peace to the world.

There is a video on this, follow the link.

The Building of the Third Temple
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2007, 04:47:49 PM »

High Priest's Crown is Ready!
22 Kislev 5768, December 2, '07
 
by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announces the completion of the Tzitz, the High Priest's headplate - now ready for use in the Holy Temple.

The tzitz is made of pure gold, was fashioned over the course of a more than a year by the craftsmen of the Temple Institute, and is ready to be worn by the High Priest in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The words "Holy for G-d" are engraved on the headplate, in accordance with Exodus 28:36.  A short video clip presenting the tzitz can be viewed here.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, explained to Arutz-7 that until it can actually be used, the tzitz will be on view in the Institute's permanent exhibition display, together with other vessels and priestly garments fashioned for use in the Holy Temple by the Institute. 

Legal Aspects: Impurity and Hekdesh
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Director of the Institute, explained to Arutz-7 some of the Halakhic [Jewish legal] aspects of the fashioning of the vessels for the Temple. "For one thing," he said, "they are made in impurity - for now we are impure, and will remain impure until we are able to have a Red Heifer whose ashes can be used in the Torah-prescribed purification ceremony.  If no Red Heifer is available, then the High Priest must even serve in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur in a state of impurity."

Asked whether the fact that the vessels are dedicated for the Temple does not render them hekdesh (consecrated) and therefore forbidden for any other use, Rabbi Ariel explained, "There are two stages. First of all, we make it very clear to the donors and to the craftsmen that the ultimate purpose of these vessels is not to be used for exhibitions or the like, but rather for the fulfillment of Torah commandments in the Holy Temple.  They must know this in advance.  However, to gain the actual status of hekdesh, we similarly make it clear that this does not happen until the vessel is actually brought in to the Temple Mount for use in the Temple.  This means that someone can try on and measure the headplate, for example, without worrying that he is benefiting in any way from something that has been consecrated to the Temple."

Menorah Moves Closer to Temple Mount
Rabbi Richman noted that in less than two weeks from now, on Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the famous Menorah (candelabrum) - suitable for use in the Holy Temple, familiar to visitors to the Cardo section of the Old City of Jerusalem - will be relocated to the landing of the wide staircase that leads down from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall.  It will be protected inside the same type of glass structure that now houses it.

The new tzitz is an improvement on one made several years ago, in that it has a backpiece, in accordance with some commentators and the account of Josephus.  In addition, it has a locking mechansim so that it will not slip off the Priest's head, and can be adjusted to fit heads of different sizes.  The old one will be preserved, of course as a "spare," in keeping with the Mishnaic account that several models of various vessels were kept in the Temple, in case the need arose to replace one.

Asked what project they're working on at present, Rabbi Richman said, "We have begun work on 120 sets of garments for 'regular' priests, not the High Priest.  This involves special thread from India, etc.  In addition, we have begun work on architectural blueprints for the Third Temple, including cost projection, modern supplies, electricity, plumbing, computers, etc."

Bringing G-d Into Our World
"At present," Rabbi Richman explained, "people are in despair, and wonder if we're not dreaming futilely while around us our leaders are planning to give the country away.  We say to them: It appears that those who went to Annapolis are the dreamers, thinking that their efforts to make peace will succeed, or that the public is with them in their efforts to give away our Jerusalem, our Temple Mount, and other national historic assets."

"We are now approaching the holiday of Chanukah," Rabbi Richman continued, "which is the holiday that commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. We're not just building beautiful vessels; we're interested in granting G-d the dwelling place that He wants in this world; the Temple is not merely a building, but a way of bringing G-d into our lives in a very real way. And that is what we aim to do.  This tzitz is G-d's Chanukah present to us, and our Chanukah gift to the Jewish People."

High Priest's Crown is Ready!
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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2007, 09:36:43 PM »

Picking flag and anthem for settler state

Right wing activists respond to Annapolis and Barak's 'evacuation compensation' offer with two new initiatives

Efrat Weiss
Published: 12.06.07, 12:59
Israel News

SOS Israel is planning a campaign to choose a flag and anthem for the new Jewish state it plans to erect in the West Bank in the event of an Israeli withdrawal from the territories.

The initiative will be published in this week's "Our Land of Israel," a pamphlet distributed in synagogues on Shabbat. A prize of several thousand shekels will be awarded to the participant whose design is adopted.

In an article entitled "The Coming Earthquake," Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe writes: "In the wake of the Annapolis Conference at which the Israeli government agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and the defense minister's (Ehud Barak) proposed 'evacuation compensation' law, many are asking themselves 'what can I do now?'."

"Are we just going to stand aside like lambs to the slaughter while the malicious government destroys the lives of tens of thousands of Israeli families, as we did to our brothers in Gush Katif? Are we going to surrender to the 'axis of evil' in Jerusalem and help it turn 120 thousand Jews into refugees in their own land, hundreds of thriving communities into mere rubble? Is it possible to lend a hand to something which threatens the very physical existence of millions of Jews?"

Before hordes of anxious talkbackers hit reply, the rabbi has his own answer to these questions: "The answer is simple," he writes. "First of all we must understand that 'it will come to pass,' in other words- to internalize the lessons of the cruel expulsion from Gush Katif and to cease living in illusions. It is upon us to choose if we want to be brought to the slaughter, God forbid, or to stand up for our lives against the government's intentions.

"There is no doubt then that the only solution is to immediately declare the establishment of an autonomous Jewish state in Judea and Samaria. The time has come to seriously consider erecting a legal body that will unite the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria as a state-to-be," Rabbi Wolpe wrote.

Thou shalt not evacuate

As Rabbi Wolpe propagates his plan for the new West Bank state, another idea has taken hold among the right-wing grassroots. Groups of rabbis, including Yesha Rabbis Council Chairman Rabbi Dov Lior, are encouraging youth to sign a personal commitment and hand it over at army induction centers. The commitment states that these youth will refuse any order to evacuate settlements or outposts.

Initiative organizers state that they thus aim to prevent draft-dodging as well, given the fears of many young people unwilling to be drafted that they will participate in evacuations. They can thus "feel more comfortable" by signing the personal commitment.

The form the inductees will sign includes the soldier's name, his personal number and the following statement: "I commit to guard and defend state security as is required of me and to carry out all missions thrust upon me according to IDF values. On the other hand, I refuse to execute any illegal order to evacuate settlements or outposts, or expel Jews from wherever they may be."

Accordingly, soldiers will ask that the form be placed in their personal file.

Picking flag and anthem for settler state
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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2007, 09:10:56 AM »

The biblical quest for Israel's elusive black gold

John Brown is waiting for a miracle. Expecting one, in fact. Brown, a born-again Christian, has spent the better part of the past 25 years pursuing his belief that the Bible points to vast petroleum deposits in the Holy Land, and that God has sent him to find them. The purpose of Brown's company, Zion Oil and Gas, is to find the oil so that Israel can benefit economically, strategically - and prophetically. "Zion's purpose is not just to discover oil and help Israel with its energy needs, but to contribute, if possible, to the Jews' return to Israel. Anything we can do is, to me, God's plan," Brown says. "It's a mitzva - and not because I'm trying to make Christians out of them or anything like that, but because it's all part of God's plan." What God has planned for Zion Oil and Gas is, at this stage, unclear. The company launched a successful initial public offering on the American Stock Exchange in New York this spring. But shortly thereafter Brown had to deliver the news to his shareholders at their first meeting in Dallas that Zion's Ma'anit No. 1 well east of Caesarea had failed to produce the copious amounts of oil he had assured them it would. That hasn't shaken the faith of the tall, broad-shouldered 67-year-old former manufacturing executive - or of his staff, who are eagerly awaiting the expansion of the Ma'anit well for what they believe will be a stunning discovery. Stephen Pierce, Zion's chief geologist, wrote in a 2004 article in the Oil & Gas Journal that "Zion has a strong probability of making a significant discovery of some 484 million barrels of oil." To put that in perspective: total oil production in Israel since 1955 hasn't quite reached 18 million barrels. In 1981, John Brown found God. It was the same year that Jim Spillman, an evangelical preacher, found oil in four prophetic passages in the Bible. Specifically: In Deuteronomy 32:13, Moses says, somewhat cryptically: "[God] would suckle him with honey from a stone, and oil from a flinty rock." Although most commentators and Bible scholars assume this is a poetic reference to wild bees' nests in rock crevices and date palms sprouting from scraggly ground, Spillman claims it is instead meant to reflect an oil rig pumping black gold from a well. But where is this treasure? One clue, according to Spillman, lies in Jacob's blessing to Joseph in Genesis 49:25, when he says that God "will bless you with blessings of heaven from above, blessings of the deep crouching below." Similarly, in Deuteronomy 33:13, Moses blesses Joseph, saying, "His land is a blessing of God, with the sweetness of the heavens' dew and of the deep crouching below." Scholars understand the blessing invoked here to be water, citing a parallel structure between dew from the skies and flowing wells. Spillman, however, sees the "blessings of the deep crouching below," again, as oil. The other clue follows in Deuteronomy 33:24: "And to Asher he said, Blessed among the sons is Asher. He shall be accepted by his brothers, and dip his foot in oil." Rather than assume the oil in question is olive oil, which was commonly used for anointing and would be used for dipping in a lavish display of wealth, Spillman insists that here, too, the Bible is speaking of petroleum. And that where the southernmost tip of the territory apportioned to Asher - which is shaped like a foot - borders the territory of Joseph's firstborn son Menashe, there must be oil. Zion does not rely merely on Scripture, however. The company also relies on science. Says geologist Pierce, "John points his finger to the spot on the map where his faith tells him to look. I put my finger on the same spot on the map because of where my science tells me to look."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1196847269308&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2007, 09:18:56 AM »



This goes with the previous article that I just posted.
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« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2007, 10:34:33 AM »

I'm not so sure that I agree with their interpretation of those verses. It does make sense though that if that much oil were found there that it would give Israel a greater position in the world and a greater reason for others that already oppose them to want to destroy them, to take hold of the land they already falsely claim is theirs. After all it would take power away from the already existing oil nations.

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« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2007, 11:48:57 AM »

Dropping a bomb on Israel
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST    Dec. 6, 2007

In 2004, a Knesset committee established to investigate intelligence assessments in the run up to the Iraq War found that Military Intelligence and the Mossad had failed to assess the true dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

The probe, headed by Likud MK Yuval Steinitz, then head of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, ruled that there had been a "serious intelligence failure" regarding the assessments of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities, and that there was a need for a reorganization within the intelligence agencies.

A severe lack of hard intelligence from Iraq, the probe revealed, led them to base their assessments on "estimations" and "predictions" and not on concrete evidence.

Almost four years have passed since the damning probe, and intelligence estimates are still stringent, although this time in relation to Iran and its continued race towards nuclear power.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post this week, Steinitz, a member of the committee and head of its subcommittee on intelligence, said that intelligence on Iran is far better today than it was on Iraq four years ago.

"A1 intelligence gathering is difficult," Steinitz said. "Today we have solid, concrete and good intelligence."

His defense of intelligence capabilities came just a few days after the US National Intelligence Council released its National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) - a consensus view of all 16 American intelligence agencies - which claimed that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003 and has yet to restart it.

The findings are a dramatic change from those of two years ago, when the intelligence agencies concluded that Iran was determined to develop a nuclear weapons capability and constituted a particular diversion from remarks made recently by President George W. Bush that World War III would break out if the ayatollahs got their hands on a bomb.

WHAT THE report makes even clearer are the major differences between the various intelligence agencies in Israel and the US. The Mossad claims that the Iranians will be able to develop a nuclear bomb by the end of 2009; Military Intelligence warns that Teheran will cross the technological threshold within six months; and now the Americans are putting the time line toward the middle of the next decade, or - at the earliest - in 2013.

The report, released on Monday, came as a blow to the Israeli defense establishment, and according to some officials was even a surprise to the Bush administration.

Three weeks ago, Steinitz led a delegation of Knesset members to
Washington and met with Vice President Richard Cheney, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and senators, congressmen and administration officials. "No one mentioned a word about the new assessment," Steinitz said Thursday morning. "If you ask me, it came as a complete surprise to them."

The report was first made known to Israel several months ago during one of the regular meetings of the Israeli-US Strategic Dialogue led by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. During one of the sessions, an Israeli official recalled, Burns spoke about the "traditional" and known assessments regarding Iran's nuclear program, and told Mofaz that they might be changing soon with the publication of the NIE report.

Last week, on the sidelines of the Annapolis peace summit, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shared the findings with his counterpart, Ehud Barak. Bush did the same with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Since the report came out, both Olmert and Barak have been weighing their public remarks very carefully so as not to create a public disagreement with the US administration. Despite this effort, the sentiment in the defense establishment was one of disappointment over Israel's clear failure to prove its case to the US.

In addition to the Strategic Dialogue, Israel maintains a number of parallel lines of communication with the White House, Pentagon and the CIA which are used for sharing intelligence information on issues of mutual interest.

Head of the Research Department in Military Intelligence, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, as well as other senior intelligence and IDF officers, including Mossad chief Meir Dagan, have been in Washington over the past year to present Israel's assessments on Iran, including the possibility that it will have an operational nuclear device by the end of 2009.

SO WHAT were the US intelligence agencies thinking when composing the new NIE report? Were they not concerned that such a report might embolden Iran and its radical leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and serve as an obstacle on the way to imposing a new round of sanctions by the United Nations Security Council?

Israeli officials who read the report said they were taken aback by its careful and almost self-contradictory wording. MK Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy defense minister, claimed to have found numerous contradictions in the report.

"In one place the report says that Iran froze its weapons program," Sneh told the Post from Washington where he spoke at the Israeli Policy Forum. "And in another place, the report says that the Iranians are continuing to enrich uranium - something they admit to - and could have a bomb between 2010 and 2015."

While the fundamental disagreement between Israel and the US is over the question of whether Iran suspended its military program, both countries agree in their assessments that its civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing and could one day, fairly quickly, turn into a military program easily capable of producing a bomb.

Steinitz says that in many cases intelligence agencies suffer from what he calls the "pendulum syndrome."

The US, Steinitz says, is influenced by a political agenda and is still traumatized by the blatant intelligence failure vis--vis Iraq's alleged WMD, and therefore does not want to be caught crying wolf again. Israel, on the other hand, is traumatized by its failure to learn of Libya's nuclear program before it was abandoned in a deal Col. Muammar Gaddafi struck with the US and the UK.

As a result of these traumas, each country interprets the situation a little differently. Israel takes the more stringent track, since it is better to be safe than sorry. America takes the more lax approach, so as not to find itself in the midst of an unjustifiable war.

"In Iraq they made a mistake by overestimating," Steinitz said. "Now they are making a mistake by underestimating with Iran."

THE CLEAR consequence of the report is that Bush's hands will be tied when it comes to the possibility of using military force to stop Iran. Some officials in Tel Aviv raised the possibility that after deterring the US from military action, the report might indirectly do the same for Israel, which would need American approval, and possibly even assistance, if it decided to go after Iran on its own.

One official raised the possibility that the release of the report on Monday was actually timed with America's announcement on Sunday that it had succeeded in getting the Chinese to agree to a new round of sanctions. By taking the military option off the table, the official suggested, the US might succeed in getting China and Russia on board for sanctions.

Whatever the case, the report is, as Sneh said, proof that "at the end of the day, we can only count on ourselves."

Dropping a bomb on Israel
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2007, 12:28:26 PM »

I'm not so sure that I agree with their interpretation of those verses. It does make sense though that if that much oil were found there that it would give Israel a greater position in the world and a greater reason for others that already oppose them to want to destroy them, to take hold of the land they already falsely claim is theirs. After all it would take power away from the already existing oil nations.



Yeah, I'm not sure either.  But if they do have oil, I agree with you in that it would give the countries against Israel and jealous of Israel all the more reason to want to invade.
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2007, 10:04:36 PM »

Only 1 suicide bombing hit Israel so far this year
Dion Nissenbaum and Cliff Churgin

last updated: December 07, 2007 06:03:24 PM

JERUSALEM It's the kind of milestone many Israelis, for fear of jinxing it, are reluctant to acknowledge: 2007 is on track to become the safest year in Israel since before the second Palestinian uprising more than seven years ago.

There's been only one suicide bombing in Israel this year, a bumbled attack in January that killed three people at a bakery in the Red Sea resort of Eilat.

A Palestinian shift to rocket and mortar attacks as their main weapons against Israel has proved largely ineffective: Only two Israelis have died this year from more than 2,000 Qassam rockets and mortars fired into Israel.

Since rockets fired from the Gaza Strip can't hit Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, the political impact of the near-daily strikes has been muted.

"The suicide attacks were more frightening because they affected everyone in Israel everywhere," said Ely Karmon, a senior scholar at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel. "Everyone felt threatened: It was in public places, in restaurants, in malls. It was in all the buses and trains. It was clearly a more important strategic weapon."

The virtual halt to successful suicide bombings in Israel can be chalked up to a tapestry of factors:

    * Israel has developed a successful intelligence network that relies on information from Palestinian insiders and electronic surveillance to keep tabs on militants trying to sneak into Israel to carry out attacks.

    * Israel's ever-expanding network of modern checkpoints, concrete walls and electronic fencing that runs through the West Bank has made it more difficult for potential suicide bombers.

    * Hamas, the main Palestinian group behind the suicide bombing campaign, has largely held to its vow to maintain a temporary truce as it has tried to exert its influence through the democratic political process.


"Part of the appeal of suicide bombings was that they were successful," said Yoram Schweitzer, a research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies who's done extensive research on Palestinian suicide bombings. "Now ... every time they've tried, they suffered backlash," and the fact that the attacks "didn't work" also "played a role in people's motivation to do it."

Schweitzer characterized the Gaza rockets as something akin to a nuisance compared with a suicide bombing campaign that might kill 10 or 15 people in a day or a week.

"The rockets are much less effective in terms of fatalities, and this is very crucial," Schweitzer said. "This is a weapon of harassment, rather than a weapon of killing. It's good for harassment, but at the end of the day, the number of casualties has the largest psychological effect."

The shift from suicide bombings to rocket attacks has quietly transformed life in Israel's major cities, where social life went underground during the Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

At the height of the attacks in 2002, there was an average of one suicide bombing a week. In March of that year alone, eight suicide bombers killed 80 people. That year, 173 people were killed in suicide bombings at Israeli cafes, clubs, hotels, bus stops and shopping malls. Israelis lived in fear of getting on buses or stopping at local fast-food joints.

Israel's military responded to the attacks with major operations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel's government began building its controversial separation barrier an expanding chain of concrete walls and electronic fencing that cuts through the West Bank and eliminates easy access to Israel for most Palestinians. Israel also assassinated top Hamas leaders.

It wasn't until 2005 that a sense of normalcy began to take hold. That January, Palestinians elected pro-Western pragmatist Mahmoud Abbas as their president to succeed Yasser Arafat. A month later, Abbas and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared a cease-fire, which brought the Palestinian uprising to an official end.

Palestinian suicide bombers have killed more than 460 Israelis in more than four years of fighting. At least 3,200 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military.

Since then, there've been only seven suicide bombings, including the attack in Eilat on Jan. 29. Instead, Palestinian militants have shifted to rocket attacks as their main weapon against Israel.

Qassam rockets became a preferred weapon for Palestinian militants last year in the months after Israel pulled all its settlers and soldiers out of the Gaza Strip. That move denied militants the easy targets they once had in the Israeli settlements and soldiers sent there to protect them.

With the Israeli military still occupying the West Bank, Palestinian militants there haven't been able to develop a similar network of rocket factories, and fatal attacks on West Bank settlers have also hit a historic low: Two Israelis were killed in the West Bank this year, down from a high of 85 in 2002.

So far, militant groups in Gaza have had little success in creating large numbers of deadlier, advanced rockets that could change the political dynamic. Most of the Qassams, which have no guidance system, can fly about six miles and contain about 10 pounds of explosives.

Israel is developing a defense system, dubbed Iron Dome, that military leaders hope will knock down most of the rockets and missiles fired at their nation. But the system remains largely untested and won't be ready for several years.

Israel's bigger concern lies to the north, where Hezbollah forces in Lebanon are believed to hold a significant stockpile of Katyusha rockets and even longer-range weapons capable of hitting Haifa, if not Tel Aviv.

During its 34-day war with Israel last year, Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, killing more than 50 people, injuring hundreds and turning northern Israeli cities into temporary ghost towns.

The Hezbollah strikes became a model for Palestinian militants, who'd like to import or develop the same weapons. In October, militants in Gaza fired a variation of the Katyusha, known as a Grad, but it landed harmlessly about seven miles inside Israel, and there are few indications that Palestinian militants have succeeded in smuggling in large numbers of the advanced rockets.

Only 1 suicide bombing hit Israel so far this year
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2007, 10:10:46 PM »

Quote
The virtual halt to successful suicide bombings in Israel can be chalked up to a tapestry of factors:

    * Israel has developed a successful intelligence network that relies on information from Palestinian insiders and electronic surveillance to keep tabs on militants trying to sneak into Israel to carry out attacks.

    * Israel's ever-expanding network of modern checkpoints, concrete walls and electronic fencing that runs through the West Bank has made it more difficult for potential suicide bombers.

    * Hamas, the main Palestinian group behind the suicide bombing campaign, has largely held to its vow to maintain a temporary truce as it has tried to exert its influence through the democratic political process.

Ezekiel 38 10-12 Thus says the Lord God: At the same time thoughts shall come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan.  11 And you will say, I will go up against an open country [the land of unwalled villages]; I will fall upon those who are at rest, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take spoil and prey, to turn your hand upon the desolate places now inhabited and assail the people gathered out of the nations, who have obtained livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth [Palestine].

Course y'all know whats comes next................. Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2007, 08:57:04 PM »

Israel will expose Iranian nuclear weapons program
Herb Keinon , THE JERUSALEM POST    Dec. 9, 2007

Israel does not accept the bottom line of the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and will continue its efforts to halt the Iranian nuclear program, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made clear in a special session of the security cabinet convened on Sunday.

Government officials quoted Olmert as saying that Iran was continuing its activities to acquire two necessary ingredients for nuclear weapons: working on its missile capabilities and working on enriching uranium.

Olmert said Iran was continuing its efforts to develop ballistic missiles and its research and development activities to support nuclear weapons. "No one disputes these facts," he said, "and therefore there is no logical reason to change the assessment that we have had until now."

Olmert said that even the NIE had said that Iran had a nuclear weapons program up until the end of 2003, and that there "was no positive information explaining what happened to that program."

Olmert, who was briefed on the contents of the NIE report when he met US President George W. Bush last month in Washington the day after the Annapolis meeting, said that Iran was aggressively trying to enrich uranium, and according to the NIE would have enough enriched uranium to make a weapon by 2010.

Israel, Olmert said, would continue to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency to expose the Iranian plan to develop nuclear weapons, despite the limitations on the IAEA activities.

Olmert said that even the NIE admitted that the international pressure on Iran was effective and that, for this reason, Israel was calling for the upgrading of the international pressures on Iran, and for its increased international isolation until it fully implemented its obligation under the UN Security Council and totally froze all of its uranium enrichment activities.

Olmert said the ultimate responsibility to prevent nuclear proliferation in Iran rested on the shoulders of the international community, and first and foremost on the US.

But, he said, Israel, which is the subject of continuous calls for annihilation from Teheran, "cannot rest and must continue to work for greater international action on the Iranian question."

To this end, it is widely expected that Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will do their utmost, relying on the most up-to-date Israeli intelligence information, to convince Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen that Iran has not abandoned its nuclear weapons program, when they meet with him Monday. Mullen, who arrived Sunday for a 24-hour visit, is the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Israel in a decade.

Israeli sources said that from Jerusalem's point of view, whether or not Iran halted a weapons program four years ago was not the point. For Israel, the critical point of no return is when the Iranians have independently mastered the nuclear technology, even if they have not yet taken the political decision to put together a bomb.

For the US, the point of no return is when the Iranians make that political decision to assemble a weapon, when they renew their "nuclear weapons program." And therein lays the key difference in positions.

This difference, the sources said, stemmed from the US and Israel's different realities. The US is not convinced that Iran, as a "nuclear threshold state," is a threat to global security. Even as a nuclear threshold state, Iran could reach a modus vivendi with the rest of the world on issues of key importance: keeping the Straits of Hormuz open, keeping the price of oil down and ensuring stability with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israel's position, on the other hand, is that Iran as a "nuclear threshold state," is already a threat to its security and regional stability, even before it makes a decision to assemble a bomb.

Israel's position was that the ability of Iran to projects its power in the region before it had mastered the nuclear cycle was quite different from the ability of Iran to project its power after it had independently mastered the nuclear cycle. Its ability to intimidate its neighbors and other players in the region would increase greatly once it had nuclear capabilities, even if it had not made the decision to build a bomb.

If the Annapolis process is built on the assumption that the "moderate" states in the region will give legitimacy to a Palestinian leader who wants to compromise with Israel and accept a two-state solution, the position in Jerusalem is that those states will be in less of a position to do so with a "nuclear threshold" Iran breathing down their necks.

If, as the Americans repeatedly say, the current battle in the Middle East is between the moderates and the extremists, the extremists - in Israel's view - will receive a huge boost if Iran masters the nuclear technology.

Sources familiar with the issue in Jerusalem said that one of the most surprising things about the NIE report was that so many people were surprised by it, and that it should have been evident for months that the US and Israel had divergent views about Iran.

The first indication came in the spring of 2006 when US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley publicly backed a compromise solution proffered by the Russians, which Israel rejected, whereby Russia would enrich uranium for Teheran on Russian soil.

Another sign of divergence was Israel's belief that any engagement with the Iranians would be tantamount to giving them a "certificate of legitimacy." That was not the American position.

Also in recent months, there has been a difference of opinion about whether Iran needed only to suspend its uranium enrichment before negotiations could begin, or whether it had to completely halt and dismantle its enrichment capabilities.

During the days when former UN ambassador John Bolton was involved in the issue, the terminology used was "suspension, cessation and dismantlement." US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, however, watered down the terminology, and all that was discussed in recent months was an Iranian uranium enrichment suspension, with even the words "a long-term suspension" omitted.

Israel will expose Iranian nuclear weapons program
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« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2007, 03:30:18 PM »

PM pledges to 'forge path' to peace deal
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Dec. 10, 2007

On the eve of the first peace talks in nearly seven years, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday promised to "forge a historic path" toward a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet Wednesday to kick off talks aimed at reaching a peace agreement by the end of 2008.

Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set the target at last month's Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

Speaking at a business conference in Tel Aviv, Olmert acknowledged that the new dialogue is full of risks. He said Abbas's government is weak, and that Palestinian security forces are not yet capable of ensuring law and order in the West Bank.

"This is an opportunity that entails many uncertainties, many risks, many dangers," Olmert said. "We cannot ignore them. But we absolutely must not allow uncertainty and risks to prevail because an opportunity also exists."

"I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to wage serious, ongoing and uninterrupted negotiations in order to forge a historic path toward a new diplomatic reality," he added. The last round of peace talks broke down in violence in early 2001, shortly after the eruption of the second intifada.

Israeli and Palestinian officials have that Wednesday's meeting is likely to focus on technical issues, with the real work to begin after an expected visit by Bush early next month.

However, the talks have run into trouble following Israel's announcement last week that it plans to build 307 new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.

"This issue needs to be worked out before we start negotiations," Abbas confidant Yasser Abed Rabbo said. But he did not say construction must be halted as a condition for the talks to begin. Top Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were meeting on Monday to discuss the Har Homa issue.

PM pledges to 'forge path' to peace deal
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2007, 03:34:20 PM »

Israel wants citizens abroad back home (This is an event to keep our eyes on.  DW)

IAN DEITCH, Associated Press Writer Sun Dec 9, 11:11 PM ET

JERUSALEM - Israel is trying to persuade hundreds of thousands of its citizens living overseas to return home in a project to coincide with the state's 60th anniversary next year, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry said Sunday.
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The project, dubbed "Coming Home," will try to lure Israelis living abroad to come back with tax breaks, employment and small business loans.

About 650,000 Israelis live abroad, 450,000 of them in North America, the ministry said. The ministry began contacting them last month with direct phone calls, an Internet site and a "hot line" phone connection.

"What surprised us most is the amount of positive feedback we received from countries where the standard of living is very high," said Erez Halfon, director of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry. "We received 285 calls from Israelis living in Switzerland, and of them, 15 families have committed to coming home."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed support for the project at a Cabinet meeting Sunday.

"Every Israeli, even if they live abroad, is Israeli at heart and knows that their home is here. I call on all Israelis to return home," Olmert said.

The project aims to bring 10,000 expatriates back to Israel in the first year and double that number over the next few years. Between 18,000 and 21,000 Israelis emigrate each year, Halfon told reporters.

The estimated cost of the campaign is $36 million a year, an amount the ministry believes will be paid back by the returning Israelis themselves.

"Within half a year of their being reintroduced into society as consumers, the government will get all their money back," Halfon said.

Halfon said the project aims to remove the social stigma faced by those who leave Israel, so they will have a softer landing upon their return.

Traditionally, Israelis who left the Jewish state were widely looked down on by Israeli society and viewed as letting the country down or selling out. Linguistically, immigration to Israel is called "aliya," the Hebrew word for ascent, while emigrating is dubbed "yerida," or descent.

Israel wants citizens abroad back home
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« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2007, 09:57:53 PM »

Jewish grinch robs town's Hanukkah
Secular leader smashes menorah, blasts 'infiltration' of observant Jews

The residents of one secular Israeli town here were shocked today to discover a menorah lit last night by a rabbi in a public ceremony was smashed to pieces by the community's Jewish leader in protest of observant Judaism.

"He who disrupted the joy of the children and caused anguish to many of the residents here when he destroyed our menorah reminded us of the dark period of the Gestapo who found a Hanukkah Menorah hidden away in the Warsaw Ghetto and cracked the skull of a Jew with it," said Etai Rappaport, a resident of Afek, a northern Israeli communal town or kibbutz.

Rappaport yesterday invited Moshe Shmuel Oirechman, a rabbi and emissary for the Chabad Lubavitch worldwide Jewish outreach movement, to light the menorah in his town of Afek for several religious Jewish families.

Afek is a kibbutz, an Israeli collective community funded by secular Jews prior to and in the years following the establishment of Israel in 1948. Kibbutz communities were set up to adhere to social libertarian principals of communal living and farming, but currently many here are privatized and resemble regular communities. Some kibbutz towns have significant religious communities.

This morning, Rappaport and other locals found their public menorah shattered to pieces. Tvzi Assaf, head of the kibbutz, took credit for the attack on Hanukkah, telling residents he was protesting any public display of religious Judaism in the mostly secular Israeli community.

Assaf was quoting telling town residents he was afraid of an "infiltration" of religious Jews into his community or that local secular Jews would become more observant.

Rappaport said he was stunned:

"I am ashamed that there are such people living in the same Kibbutz as my family. I also don't know what to tell my young son when he will ask me 'where is the menorah?' Rappaport told Shturem.net, a Chabad news site that first reported on the incident.

Rappaport said he found it "astounding" Assaf would consider the lighting of the menorah an act of religious Judaism.

The Menorah is kindled for each of the eight days of Hanukkah, a festival to commemorate the Jewish Maccobean victory over the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century B.C. and the rededication thereafter of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. While other Jewish holidays such as Yom Kippur or Sukkot are considered religious, Hanukkah is regarded more as a nationalist holiday celebrated by both secular and religious Jews. Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah.

"Since when does a Menorah make one religious?" asked Rappaport. "I wonder what Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, would have to say about that. He encouraged the educational system to celebrate Hanukkah saying it symbolizes the courage of the Maccabbeas. It's interesting to note that Ben-Gurion, who was known not to have a particular liking for religious Jews, declared that he considers Hanukkah as the most important holiday among the Jewish holidays."

Oirechman, who lit the menorah last night, said the destruction of the menorah highlighted the growing tensions between secular and religious kibbutz members.

According to Israeli media reports here, the past few years have witnessed a growing trend of religious observance among the children and grandchildren of secular kibbutz founders.

Oirechman said it was not his place to fuel tensions in Israel by protesting the menorah destruction.

"I was shocked and angry about the entire thing. But I think the best way to counter what happened is with love and by continuing to spread light by teaching goodness and Torah values. Eventually our light will dispel the darkness," he said.

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« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2007, 10:03:24 PM »

Shluchim join President Bush

Ten Lubavitcher shluchim joined President George Bush in the White House Chanukah Menorah lighting Monday night , they were: Rabbi Heshy Epstien of Columbia, S. Carolina, Rabbi Moshe Feller of Minnesota, Rabbi Avrohom Grossbaum of Indiana, Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan of maryland, Rabbi Sholom Ber Levitin of Seattle, Washington, Rabbi Avrohom Litvin, of Kentucky, Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov of Philadelphia, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Washington, D.C., Rabbi Yehudah Weg of Oklahoma and Rabbi Benny Tzippel of Utah.

President Bush recognized Hanukkah on Monday by remembering the kidnapping and murder in 2002 of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at the hands of Islamic terrorists in Pakistan and called up Daniel's parents, Judea and Ruth to light the Menorah.

The following is the full text of the President's address:

Thank you. Good evening. Laura and I welcome you to the White House. Mr. Attorney General, thank you for being here. Secretary Chertoff, and family. Hanukkah is a time of joy and festivity in the Jewish religion. We're honored to gather with members of the Jewish community to celebrate this holiday.

During Hanukkah, we remember an ancient struggle for freedom. More than two thousand years ago, a cruel tyrant ruled Judea -- and forbade the Israelites from practicing their religion. A band of brothers came together to fight this oppression. And against incredible odds, they liberated the capital city of Jerusalem. As they set about rededicating the holy temple, they witnessed a great miracle: That purified oil that was supposed to last for one day burned for eight.

Jewish families commemorate this miracle by lighting the menorah for the eight nights of Hanukkah. The Talmud instructs families to place the menorah in public view -- so the entire world can see its light. The flames remind us that light triumphs over darkness, faith conquers despair, and the desire for freedom burns inside every man, woman and child.

As we light the Hanukkah candles this year, we pray for those who still live under the shadow of tyranny. This afternoon, I met with a group of Jewish immigrants to mark International Human Rights Day. Many of these men and women fled from religious oppression in countries like Iran and Syria and the Soviet Union. They came to America because our nation is a beacon of freedom. And they see a day of hope on the horizon when people all across the world will worship in freedom. The forces of intolerance can suppress the menorah -- but they can never extinguish its light.

The menorah we light tonight has special meaning. It once belonged to Chayim Pearl -- who was the great-grandfather of Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl. While reporting in Pakistan in 2002, Daniel was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. His only crime was being a Jewish American -- something Daniel Pearl would never deny. In his final moments, Daniel told his captors about a street in Israel named for his great-grandfather. He looked into their camera and he said, "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, and I'm Jewish." These words have become a source of inspiration for Americans of all faiths. They show the courage of a man who refused to bow before terror -- and the strength of a spirit that could not be broken.

Daniel's memory remains close to our hearts. Those who knew him best remember a gifted writer who loved the violin, and made friends wherever he went. We're honored that Daniel's parents -- Ruth and Judea -- have joined us today. We thank them for their work on behalf of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. The foundation helps bring people from different cultures together through journalism and music. It's a fitting tribute to Daniel's lifelong pursuit of truth and tolerance. By honoring Daniel, we are given the opportunity to bring forth hope from the darkness of tragedy -- and that is a miracle worth celebrating during the Festival of Lights.


Laura and I wish people of Jewish faith around the world a happy Hanukkah. May God bless you all. Tonight, we will hear a wonderful performance by the Zamir Chorale. But first I ask Ruth and Judea to light the Pearl family menorah, and lead the blessings.
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