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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 Israel stands down in wake of Syria threat JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- raeFs military sent home many of the reservists called up to deal with the threat from Syria. The decision on Sunday to release the reservists, who remain on alert status, came a day after President Obama said he would seek approval from the U.S. Congress to launch a limited military strike on Syria. Congress re- convenes nextweek following its summer recess. Citing unnamed Israeli officials, the Israeli dai- ly Haaretz reported that Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several hours before his Rose Garden announcement on Saturday to tell the Israeli leader him that the strike, meant to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against its citizens, would be delayed pending congressional ap- proval. Netanyahu has instructed his government ministers to refrain from publicly criticiz- ing or praising Obama for his decisions regarding Syria. Meanwhile, Syria's ambas- sador to the United Nations in a letter to Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon called on the international body to prevent military action to "push forward in reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria," Reuters reported, "citing the Syrian state news agency SANA. The report from Monday also said the U.N. should "prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of in- ternational legitimacy." Investigations have found mounting evidence that Syria used chemical weapons against its citizens; the Syr- ian government denies the charge. At the dedication Monday of a new highway inter- change, Netanyahu said Israelis should "go out and enjoy the holiday, and if someone thinks of harming the tranquility of the holiday, he knows what awaits him." Netanyahuwas referring to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins on Wednesday. Indyk joined one Israeli- Palestinian negotiating session, State Dept. says JERUSALEM (JTA)--Mar- tin Indyk, the U,S. envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has attended a negoti- ating session, the U.S. State Department said. The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams reportedly will meet on Tuesday; they met Saturday in Jerusalem. The Palestinians had said last week that Indyk had not attended any of the sessions. "Israeli and Palestinian delegations have been meet- ing continuously since final status negotiations resumed on July 29," State Depart- ment spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Sunday in a statement, according to Israeli media reports. "The negotiations have been serious, and U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk and his team have been fully briefed on the bilateral talks and also participated in a bilat- eral negotiating session," the statement said. "As we have said in the past, we are not planning to read out the details of these meetings." The peace talks have been under a nearly total media blackout, reportedly at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, since their resumption. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas on Monday told his Fatah party officials that the Palestinians are negotiat- ing with Israel for a state on the pre-1967 lines with east- ern Jerusalem as its capital, which he called a "red line," Israel Radio reported. Abbas also said the Pales- tinian Authority agreed not to seek statehood from and membership in international organizations in exchange for the release of 104 prisoners held in Israeli jails. He said negotiators will ask for the release of about 250 other prisoners as well. Fatah official Nabil Shaath told the Palestinian Maan news agency on Monday that the peace talks have not made any progress, and that the Israeli side has not pre- sented any new suggestions or proposals. He said the P.A. could turn to international organizations if negotiations do not bear fruit. One session of the talks reportedly was postponed last week following the deaths of three Palestinians during clashes with Israeli troops in the Qalandiya refugee camp. The State Department denied there had been any change in the negotiation schedule because of the incident. Lebanon indicts three in rocket attack on Israel (JTA)--Lebanon indicted two of its citizens and,a Palestinian for firing rockets into northern Israel. The two Lebanese men were charged by prosecu- tors on Monday in the Aug. 22 attack, the French news agency AFP reported, citing an unnamed judicial source in Lebanon. The Palestinian, who remains at large, also was charged with involvement in the attack, which caused damage to homes and cars. At least one of the four rockets fired was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. The Lebanese suspects, who were arrested Saturday by the Lebanese army, admit- ted to supplying the rockets and transporting them from the Gaza Strip to southern Lebanon, according to the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon. Israel retaliated the follow- ing day by targeting a base belonging to the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Com- mand. The al-Qaida-linkedAbdul- lah Azzam Brigades later claimed responsibility for the attack. Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in the hospital again JERUSALEM (JTA)--Rab- bi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, has been hospitalized for the third time in a week and is on a respirator. Yosef, 92, was taken to Ha- dassah Hospital-Ein Kerem on Sunday night, hours after visiting the hospital for tests. The rabbi, who had back surgery in July after faint- ing and hurting himself, was hospitalized for five days last ister Benjamin Netanyahu weekforarecurrenceofback said Sunday in making pain, according to reports, the announcement at the He had a stroke in January. start of the weekly Cabinet Yosefis conscious and re-. meeting. mains able to communicate, Last year, Israeli erected a Haaretz reported, citing fam. fence andadded sophisticated ily members, surveillance to keep out the His son Yitzchak is the.infiltrators. Hundreds of chief Sephardic rabbi of Is. African migrants formerly rael, a post Yosef once held. entered Israel each month. Bomb explodes near Israeli Also during August, some patrol on Gaza border 168 African migrants left the JERUSALEM (JTA)--A country voluntarily, accord- bomb detonated near an ing to reports. Israeli military patrol near Thereareabout55,000ille- the border fence with Gaza. galAfrican migrants in Israel, The powerful bomb was mostfromEritreaandSudan. exposed Monday morning Most are economic migrants by a military bulldozer do-- seekingaplacetomakeabet- ing work near the fence. NO ter life for themselves. soldiers were injured in thte Last week, Israeli media explosion, reported that Uganda had It was the second time irl agreed to take in African fourdaysthatabombplanted migrants willing to leave near the border fence has Israel and either absorb them detonated near soldiers or1 or serve as a transfer point patrol, to their countries of origin. The bulldozer and troops Ugandan officials have returned to the area to search denied the reports, though for more buried bombs. Israeli officials reportedly Israel's population grows said the deal was verbal. slightly to 8.081 million Hamas terrorists charged JERUSALEM (JTA)---The in planned attack on Jeru- population in Israel rose salem's MamillaMall to 8.081 million--148,000 JERUSALEM (JTA)--Five morethanontheeveofRosh Hamas terrorists were in- Hashanah a year ago. dicted in connection with According to data released a planned attack on the Monday by Israel's Central upscale Mamilla Mall in Bureau of Statistics, the pop- Jerusalem. ulation grew by 1.8 percent, The cell members, from with 75.1 percent of Israel's eastern Jerusalem, were population, or 6.066 million charged Sunday in Jerusa- people, listedasJewish.Arabs lem for allegedly planning made up 20.7 percent of the to carry out the attack on population. There were no the popular open-air shop- significant changes in either ping mall on the cusp of the group. Old City. Those listed as others made Two of the men, Arab- up4.2percentofthepopula- Israelis in their 20s who tion, including Christians work as cleaners at the and people without religious mall, confessed to planning affiliations, to plant a bomb wrapped Last year, 163,000 babies as a gift in a trash can or were born and 40,000 people restaurant over the High died. Holidays season. In addition, there wereMamilla is crowded with 16,968 new immigrants to tourists and shoppers dur- Israel in the Jewishyear 5773, ing holiday. The strip leads as well as more than 6,000 directly to the Old City's Israelis who returned to the Jaffa Gate. country after living abroad. The terror cell also was The most popular names planning other attacks, ac- for boys were Itai, Daniel, cording to the indictment, Ori, Yosefand Noam; for girls including planting a bomb in theywere Noa, Shira, Tamar, Ramallah in the West Bank TaliaandYael. intended to injure Israeli Yarden Gerbi takes goldsoldiers and firing homemade at Worlds, first for Israeli rockets at Israeli settlements judoka near Ramallah. JERUSALEM (JTA)--Yard- Fifth Israeli communica- en Gerbi became the first Is- tions satellite is launched raeli towin a gold medal at the JERUSALEM (JTA)--A Judo World Championships. fifth Israeli commercial com- Gerbi, 24, of Netany~, munications satellite was defeated France's Clarisse launched. Agbegnenou, the European The Amos 4 satellite sepa- champion, to take the un- rated from the final part der-63 kilo category in Rio de of its launcher on Sunday" Janeiro, Brazil, lastweek.A~- morning and its systems begnenou finished the bout are operational, according with a dislocated shoulder, to reports. The satellite will Gerbi scored five knock- take two weeks to reach its outs in the tournament,final orbit. It was launched Israeli Alice Schlesinger the previous evening from won a bronze medal at the Kazakhstan. World Championships in Thesatellite,whichisoper- 2009. ated by the Israeli company Netanyahu credits fenceSpacecom Satellite Corn- for stemming tide of illegal munications Ltd., will serve African migration as a remote transmission and JERUSALEM (JTA)--No broadcast hub. migrants from Africancoun- Built by Israel Aerospace tries such as Sudan and Er- Industries for $365 million, itrea entered Israel inAugust, the satellitewill provide corn- Some 193 illegal African munications services over a migrants entered Israel from wide area that includes Rus- its border with Egypt during sia, India, SoutheastAsiaand August 2012. the Middle East. "The fence has complete- "There are very few coun- ly blocked illegal migra- tries in the world that can tion--also an extraordinary congratulate themselves on achievement," Prime Mirl- such an achievement," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday of the launch. A sixth satellite is sched- uled for launching next year. Bennett urges patience on Western Wall plan (JTA)--Israel's minister of religious services, Naftali Bennett, acknowledged flaws in his plan for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. "I know that the temporary platform is not perfect," Ben- nett wrote in a letter reported Aug. 29 by Haaretz. "But, in the spirit of Rosh Hashana, I felt an obligation to provide an immediate solution so ev- ery Jew can pray at the Kotel." According to the plan an- nounced early last week, a 4,840-square-foot platform at Robinson's Arch that can accommodate 450 worship- ers at a time will be available 24 hours a day for egalitarian worship. The platform is located in an area near the Western Wall, but separate from the main prayer plaza. Bennett's plan is a tempo- rary answer until the imple- mentation of a long-term solution devised by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharnsky. The Sharansky plan is aimed at defusing longstanding tensions be- tween Orthodox leaders who want to maintain traditional prayer at the wall and women and egalitarian groups seek- ing equal access. The Sharansky Plan calls for the Robinson's Arch archaeological site at the southern part of the Western Wall to be used as a perma- nent space for egalitarian prayer. Under the proposal, the Western Wall plazawould be expanded to encompass the additional prayer space. The two sections of the plaza, separated by the Mu- grabi Bridge, would share a common entrance. "It is important to stress that the new platform is temporary," Bennettwrote."I remain committed to the gov- ernment's efforts to advance the 'Sharansky Plan' as well as to continuing a dialogue with representatives from all religious movements and all parts of the Jewish nation." Settlement construction has more than doubled in '13 (JTA)--The number of Is- raeli construction projects in the West Bank has increased by 141 percent in the first half of 2013. The work that began on 1,461 homes during the first six months of 2013 surpassed the 1,089 starts registered by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics for all of 2012, the Jerusalem Post reported on Aug. 29. Palestinians have argued that Israel's continued build- ing in the settlements jeopar- dizes the peace process. Israel has refused to freeze any kind of settlement activ- ity. In 75 percent of cases where ground has been bro- ken in the first half of 2013, the construction projects were in the five largest settle- ments--176 in Ariel, 272 in Beitar Iilit, 219 in Givat Ze'ev, 278 in Modiin Illit and 155 in Maaleh Adumim, according to the statistics bureau. Polish Jews take kosher slaughter ban to court (JTA)--The umbrella group representing Polish Jews petitioned Poland's con- stitutional court to reverse a ban on ritual slaughter methods. " In a statement released Friday, the Union of Jewish Religious Communities said the petition concerned "a collision of two laws," a refer- ence to measures enacted in 1997--one permitting and the other prohibiting ritual slaughter. The statement said that following the Polish parlia- ment's rejection in July of a draft amendment to the law on the protection of animals, "the legal situation of the Jewish community, whose duty is among others oversee- ing the supply of kosher food and ritual slaughter, became unclear." Polish lawmakers voted down a draft amendment to the law on animal protection that would have allowed for the slaughter of animals without prior stunning, as required by Jewish and Mus- lim law, if carried out so as to follow religious customs. Poland's Union of Muslims will be filing a separate appli- cation to the court, according to a report Friday by Polskie Radio. Some 80 Polish firms that mainly sell kosher and halal products abroad will take part in an independent lawsuit against the state seek- ing financial compensation for losses incurred during the ban, the radio station reported. Slaughter without prior stunning was made illegal in Poland as of January, follow- ing a ruling in November by the constitutional court on a petition by animal rights activists. The court said the government had no constitu- tional right to pass a regula- tion in 2004 that legalized ritual slaughter.- French interfaith imam assaulted, called 'Zionist' in Tunisia (JTA)---A French imam known for promoting Jewish- Muslim relations said he was physically assaulted in Tunisia by a man who called him a "Zionist." Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of Drancy near Paris, said he was punched in the chest and shoved to the ground on Sunday near the Hotel Gammarth near Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. "He insulted me, called me a 'Zionist and collaborator' and then he hit me," Chalg- houmi was quoted Monday as telling the Le Parisien daily. Chalghoumi was assaulted in front of his wife and chil- dren, who also were hit by the unnamed attacker, the report said. The imam was taken to the hospital, according to the French news agency AFP. Neither he nor his family members sustained serious injuries. According to the report, hotel staffers detained the man, who addressed Chalg- houmi in French, before he was arrested by police. Chalghoumi, who is well known in France for his involvement in interfaith forums and initiatives, has received many death threats in France for his friendly ties with CRIF, the umbrella group representing French Jewish communities, and for visiting Israel several times.