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October 28, 2011

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PAGE 10A Report: Ariel Sharon is responsive JERUSALEM 0TA)--For- mer Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is responsive and has gained weight, his son told The New York Times. Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke nearly six years ago, moves his fingers when requested and looks at people when he is awake, Gilad Sharon told the newspaper on Oct. 20, in advance of the release of his biography of his father, "Sha- ron: The Life of a Leader," set to be released in Hebrew and English on Oct. 26. Ariel Sharon, 83, remains in a hospital near Tel Aviv fol- lowing a brief stay at his ranch in southern Israel. Gilad Sharon wrote in his book that he gave his father the idea of unilaterally with- drawing from Gaza, according to the Times. His accounts of his father's dealings with cur- rent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are unflattering to Netanyahu. Gilad Sharon, a member of his father's Kadima Party, is said to be interested in enter- ing politics. Egypt agrees to release Ilan Grapel in prisoner swap JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Egypt has agreed to release dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptians being held in Israeli prisons. The Egyptians, including three minors, are not security prisoners, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on the deal released Monday evening. They are being held on charges such as crossing the border illegally, drug trafficking and holding unlicensed weapons, accord- ing to reports. Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espio- nage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the at- tempted arson of the country's Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January's riots in the capital. The agreement is subject to the approval of Israel's Security Cabinet, which was to meet to discuss the swap Tuesday, according to the Prime Minister's Office. Livni slams Shalit prisoner exchange JERUSALEM (JTA)--Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni criticized the prisoner swap that freed Gilad Shalit, say- ing it weakened Israel and strengthened Hamas. In an interview Sunday on Israel Radio, Livni asserted that the next phase of the deal, in which 550 Palestinian HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 28, 2011 Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA prisoners are to be released, should be coordinated with Palestinian Authority Presi- dent Mahrnoud Abbas, whose authority extends over the West Bank. Livni, who heads the Kad- ima Party, also called for the peace process to be restarted, saying the prisoner swap cre- ates a unique opportunity to launch new talks. Some 477 Palestinian pris- oners from Gaza and the West Bank were released last week in exchange for Shalit in a deal reached between Israel and the terrorist organiza- tion Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and held the Israeli soldier there for more than five years. Livni was Israel's foreign affairs minister when Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid in June 2006. A Kadima- led government reportedly negotiated a similar deal that did not come to fruition. Over the weekend, Shalit visited the beach with his father. Polish Auschwitz inmate who saved Jewish girlfriend dies NEW YORK OTA)--A Pol- ish inmate of Auschwitz who helped his Jewish girlfriend to escape the death camp has died. Jerzy Bielecki, who was named a Righteous Among the Nations for saving Cyla Cybulska, died on Oct. 20 at his home in southern Poland at the age of 90, according to reports. Bielecki, who met Cybulska in Auschwitz, spirited her out of the death camp by acquiring an SS uniform and pretending to take her from the camp to be interrogated. The couple hid for a week, traveling on foot at night until they reached an uncle of Bielecki. He returned to Krakow and worked for the Polish Underground, and she hid on a Polish farm. After the war each one thought the other had died. They were reunited in 1983 after Cybulska's Polish cleaning woman heard her employer's story and recalled hearing the same story in a television interview in Poland. Both had married and had children. Cybulska died in 2005. She and Bielecki saw each other about 15 times before she died. Freed Palestinian to schoolkids: Follow my path to martyrdom NEWYORK (JTA)---A failed Palestinian suicide bomber freed in the swap for Gilad Shalit told Gaza schoolchil- dren that she hoped they would follow in her footsteps. "I hope you will walk the same path we took and, God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs," Wafa al-Biss told children who had gathered at her home Oct. 20, a day after she was released along with 477 Palestinian prisoners in the first part of a deal to secure the release of the captured Is- raeli soldier, Reuters reported. Biss was serving a 12-year term for planning to blow herself up. She was arrested in 2005 when Israeli sol- diers noticed she was walk- ing strangely and found 22 pounds of explosives sewn into her underwear. A member of the al-Awsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of the Fatah Party, Biss was traveling to a Beer- sheba hospital at the time for medical treatments. Biss told Reuters that she had planned to blow herself up at the checkpoint but her detonator had malfunctioned. The children reportedly chanted in response, "We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine." Biss also dismissed Israel's warnings against freed pris- oners who return to combat. "We will pursue our strug- gle and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu] knows that," she said. "Arrests will not deter us from our strong battles and confrontation in the face of Zionist arrogance in the land of Palestine." Israel prepares earthquake aid for Turkey JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- rael has offered to send aid to Turkey following a strong earthquake that has collapsed buildings and reportedly left hundreds dead. The scope of the aid in re- sponse to the earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey early Sunday will depend on Tur- key's willingness to accept it, according to Israel's Foreign Ministry. Diplomatic relations between the two countries are now nearly nonexistent. The temblor, which mea- sured 7.3, was felt in central Tel Aviv, Haaretz reported. Israel's Defense Ministry also has been in contact with Turkish officials. An Israel Defense Forces delegation is preparing to leave for Turkey as soon as it receives clear- ance, according to reports. Diplomatic relations be- tween Israel and Turkey have deteriorated since nine Turkish nationals, including a Turkish-American dual citizen, were killed in May 2010 during an Israeli raid on a Turkish-flagged aid flotilla attempting to break Israel's naval blockade on the Hamas-controiled Gaza Strip. Turkey has demanded an Israeli apology for the deaths and compensation to the victims' families. Israel has offered its "re- gret" for the deaths, and has said that its naval commandos fired in serf-defense. Relations had been going downhill since the 2008-09 Gaza war. Turkey sent several fire- fighting airplanes to Israel last December to help battle the massive Carmel Forest fire. Chinese billionaire invests $30 million in Israeli startup NEW YORK (JTA)--An Israeli startup company has received a $30 million invest- ment from China's richestman. Billionaire Li Ka Shing has invested in the naviga- tion technology firm Waze, which will put the money into supporting its application's more than 7 million drivers and launch a traffic-reporting platform in China, the Is- raeli business daily Globes reported. The Waze free mobile ap- plication helps drivers find the shortest route to their destination and provides data on traffic conditions provided by users. The company also has a social network allowing drivers to report directly to each other on road conditions. Its users live in 45 countries. Other shareholders include Microsoft and Qualcomm. Dozens of fires break out in northern Israel JERUSALEM (JTA)--More than 40 fires broke out across northern Israel last weekend, many of which are suspected arson attacks. While some of the forest fires are being considered the result of negligence, many are being investigated as arson attacks due to their multiple sources of ignition, according to Haaretz. Dozens of people in the western Galilee were evacu- ated from their homes and hundreds of acres of forests were destroyed, according to reports. Hot dry winds and warm temperatures caused the fires to spread quickly. Fire trucks and firefighter aircrafts were called in to control the blazes. An out-of-control fire in the Carmel Forest last December led to 44 deaths. In addition, 250 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, 17,000 people were forced to evacu- ate, more than 12,000 acres were burned and an estimated 5 million trees were lost. Norman Corwin in 1973. Bus line chise in jeop- ardy over gender segrega- tion NEW YORK (JTA)--New York City's Department of Transportation has threat- ened to revoke its contract with a bus company that makes women sit in the back. The department sent a let- terto the Private Transporta- tion Corp., which operates the public Bl10 bus route under a nearly 40-year-old franchise arrangement with the city, reminding the company that requiring women to ride in the back of the bus "would constitute a direct violation of your franchise agreement and may lead to termination of that agreement." The letter said the company could not get an exemption based on religious grounds. The letter was sent after the bus line's segregation gained notoriety in recent days fol- lowing an article in The New York World, a Columbia Jour- nalism School publication. The New York Times, New York Post and a host of other news outlets, as well as blog- gets, also publicized the story. Signs posted inside the Bl10 bus ask female riders to pay the driver in the front and then board from the back door when the bus is crowded, according to The New York Times. The bus route runs between the heavily Orthodox Jewish-populated Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williams- burg and Borough Park. The bus does not run on the Jewish Sabbath. At a news conference last week, New York Mayor Mi- chael Bloomberg said that segregating men and women on public buses was "obviously not permitted." "Private people, you can have a private bus," the mayor said. "Go rent a bus and do what you want on it." Norman Corwin, 'radio's poet laureate,' dies at 101 LOS ANGELES (JTA)-- Norman Corwin, whose soar- ing plays gave luster to the golden age of radio in the 1930s and 1940s, has died at 101. Corwin, who was acclaimed as the "bard of broadcasting" and "radio's poet laureate," died Oct. 18 at his home in Los Angeles. Starting as a cub newspaper reporter at 17, without a high school degree, in 1938 Corwin started his decades-long as- sociation with the CBS Radio Network at a time when radio was the primary medium of news and entertainment for most Americans. TwO of the most admired works of the multifaceted writer, director and producer, still cited as classics of the genre, were the 1941 "We Hold These Truths," marking the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, and the 1945 "On a Note of Triumph," celebrating the Allied World War I I victory in Europe. Though Corwin was not observant--the Boston native was raised in a traditional Jewish home, but dropped out of Hebrew school before his bar mitzvah--many of his works were infused by the concepts and personalities of the Hebrew prophets. He also wrote about Israel with fervor and admiration. Corwin expressed his Jew- ish sensibilities in a prayer concluding "On a Note of Triumph," which was later incorporated into the Reform prayer book. Hollywood's brightest stars vied to be in his productions. "There is not an actor who will not drop what he is do- ing to be in one of Norman Corwin's radio stories," the late actor Charles Laughton said. "We all look up to him as a writer of the greatest importance." During the early 1940s, CBS presented "26 by Cor- win," which required him to write, cast, direct and produce a new play every seven days for 26 weeks. As part of the "Columbia Presents Corwin" series in 1944, Corwin penned an ar- dently Zionist tribute to Tel Aviv, and in 1960 he wrote the screenplay for "The Story of Ruth," based on the biblical heroine. In another presenta- tion he explored the meaning of prayer in"The Secretariat." In 1947, Corwin organized resistance to the congressional witch hunts with a program "Hollywood Fights Back." Corwin received numer- ous honors, including the One World Award, Peabody Medal, the Emmy Award and Golden Globe. He received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay for "Lust for Life," with Kirk Douglas portraying painter Vincent Van Gogh. Corwin moved permanent- ly to Los Angeles in 1948, and until his 100th year taught classes at the University of Southern California. He was married to Broadway actress Katherine Locke, who died in 1995.