Israel in the News Mar/Apr 2005

Palestinians Get More Weapons
Israeli security figures show that Palestinians nearly doubled the number of Kassam rockets they fired from Gaza after the Israeli cabinet approved the disengagement plan. And their smuggling operations have netted them a Strella missile and other advanced weaponry they can use against Israel.

From July through December 2004, Palestinians fired 199 Kassams, with 92 hitting the Jewish community of Sderot on the Gaza border, The Jerusalem Post reported. In the first six months of 2004, 110 Kassams were fired, 31 of them landing in the Sderot area. In 2004, 44 of the 117 fatalities were in Gaza-initiated attacks.

Avi Dichter, director of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service), said the weaponry smuggled in 2004 includes 9,000 automatic guns and 1,000 anti-tank rocket launchers. Dichter also said a Strella missile has made its way to the Strip, along with five shoulder-held ground-to-air launchers.

Abu Mazen Plans Nothing
Although Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Abu Mazen said he plans to “halt terrorism,” he said he does not plan to do so by force.

Although a Gaza-based wave of terrorism claimed the lives of some 10 Israelis in less than three weeks, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has made it clear that his recent, well-publicized “order” to do “whatever necessary to stop Palestinian terror in Gaza” does not mean the use of actual force against terrorists, Arutz-7 reported.

In an article for Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA), Alan Lerner wrote, “Israel Television Channel Two Arab Affairs Cor -respondent Ehud Yaari reported on the evening news that Abu Mazen has reached an agreement with his Fatah militias that they stop trying to kill Israelis within the Green Line in the area near the Gaza Strip.

“They may continue trying to murder Israelis inside the Gaza Strip. Channel Two reports that Hamas has so far rejected the deal and says they will continue to try and also kill Israelis within the Green Line.”

Good News in Medicine
Two doctoral students who started a medical diagnostics company in a garage in Israel seven years ago may have discovered the perfect blood tests for several diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and other irritable bowel diseases (IBDs).

And a new device developed in Israel can now detect heart disease through a simple fingertip test.

Glycominds is planning to launch its diagnostic test for IBDs in Europe soon, The Jerusalem Post reported. Eventually, the tests can also be used for pancreatic diabetes, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The company’s main product is gMS, its MS test, which would greatly simplify diagnosing MS, the Post reported.

And the Endo-PAT 2000, developed by Itamar Medical in Caesarea, with an office in Boston, assesses vascular endothelial dysfunction, an early indicator of atherosclerosis. Arutz-7 reported that the Endo-PAT 2000 System is easy to use, noninvasive, and uses two disposable finger probes and a laptop computer. Endothelial dysfunction assessments can be completed in a 20-minute office visit.

Distributed in the United States by the Cholestech Corporation, the device has received clearance from the Food & Drug Administration.

Israel on Hold
Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau has told The Jerusalem Post that he has resigned himself to the possibility that realizing the biblical Greater Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael Hashleima) may not be attainable in this generation.

“It is unreasonable to expect too much of one generation,” he said. “The curses mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy came true during the Holocaust. That same generation experienced the ingathering of the exiles, fought seven wars and built the Jewish state. Perhaps Eretz Yisrael Hashleima will have to wait.”

Arabs Broaden Target Range
ARUTZ-7—The implementation of the Gaza disengagement/transfer plan will place 46 western Negev communities within range of Kassam rockets fired from northern Gaza.

Other major Israeli population centers, including Afula, Hadera, and Ashkelon—the latter two of which host major Israel Electric Company power stations—will also come with-in range of Palestinian terrorists, if the pullout from Gush Katif and northern Shomron is carried out, Knesset members were told.

The fear that Ashkelon will come within range of Arab-fired rockets from Gaza is now outshadowed by the fear that locations even farther from Ashkelon will be targeted. A “defense industries” expert quoted in the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot said Arabs in Gaza have been able to smuggle in 20-kilometer-range Egyptian rockets, or parts thereof.

These would put Ashkelon’s power plant, Prime Minister Sharon’s Shikmim Farm, Netivot, and possibly even Kiryat Gat within range. The rocket in question is 122mm (4.8 inches) in diameter, with a warhead weighing up to 23 kg (50 lbs.). The most powerful Kassams now in use have a range of 8–10 kilometers (5–6 miles), putting the Shikmim Farm, to the east of Sderot, just out of range.

The terrorists continually improve the rockets’ performance, however, and can send the rockets to within 400 meters of a target 8 kilometers away.

Yad Vashem Puts Names Online
Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, has now put the names of nearly 3 million Holocaust victims online.

Yad Vashem uploaded a central database of victims’ names, giving Internet users access to them, along with stories about the people and their families.

“As the generation of Holocaust survivors and witnesses is drawing to an end, this is the last chance to collect names of Holocaust victims,” the site says. To access the database, log on to www.yadvashem.org.

Illegal Burials
JERUSALEM POST INTERNET EDITION—The Arab chairman of a committee that serves as a go-between between Jerusalem police and Arab residents of east Jerusalem is selling burial plots to Muslims just outside the Temple Mount in contravention of the law that classifies the area as state archaeological grounds.

The area in question lies adjacent to the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount, where Jordanian engineers are carrying out repair work on the 2,000-year-old wall, in the direction of the walled-up Golden Gate, where Jewish tradition holds the Messiah will enter.

Arieh King, an activist with the ultra-nationalist Elad organization, has asked Israel’s Highest Court to issue an immediate interim injunction barring further burials at the site.

The Price of Hatred
Seventeen-year-old Ella (Ayala) Abukasis was laid to rest in Israel January 21 after sacrificing her life to protect her brother from a Palestinian Kassam rocket that exploded as she and her siblings were returning from a youth group meeting in Sderot.

Her brother, Tamir, 11, was also wounded in the attack, as shrapnel lodged in his head. The Jerusalem Post reported that Ella “dove to protect him after hearing the warning siren.” “She protected him with her body, and now her blood stains are on his pillowcase. It was a miracle that he survived,” Ella’s father, Yonatan, told Israel Radio.

The attack six days earlier had left Ella completely brain dead. “There was nothing that could be done,” Yonatan said. “And even though she was gone,…it just looked like she was sleeping. But she wasn’t.”

Ella’s sister Karen is having great trouble dealing with her sister’s death. The Post said Karen feels as though “everything was gone.” Karen said her sister was everything to her. “She liked to help and to do anything anyone asked of her.”

Speaking from the hotel in Beersheba where she and her brother were staying, Karen expressed fear about returning to her home in Sderot. Living under a constant barrage of Kassams “is very scary” she said.

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