A7News: Annapolis Statement Leaves Out J’lem; Shas Remaining in Gov’t

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Annapolis Statement Leaves Out J’lem; Shas Remaining in Gov’t

Olmert: Israel is “ready for a painful, danger-fraught compromise.” ‘Jewish state’ and ‘Jerusalem’ left out of statement. Photo essay of protests.

  1. Annapolis Statement Leaves Out J’lem; Shas Remaining in Gov’t
  2. Can Right-Wing Knesset Lobby Stop Olmert?
  3. Dichter: Great Expectations in Annapolis, but Unrealistic
  4. Syrian Speech at Annapolis: Golan Never Belonged to Israel
  5. Labor Court to Rule on Fate of Teachers’ Strike
  6. Israel to Hold Population Census in Dec. 2008
  7. OU Teen Youth Group a Feather in Olim’s Nest
  8. Lawsuit Filed Against Vanity Fair for Neo-Nazi Interview

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1. Annapolis Statement Leaves Out J’lem; Shas Remaining in Gov’t

by Gil Ronen

At the ceremonial opening of the international summit at Annapolis, U. S. President George W. Bush read aloud a joint statement agreed upon by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The statement included a commitment by both sides in the conflict over the Land of Israel to “make every effort” to strike a deal by late 2008.

Arutz Sheva’s IsraelNationalTV presents a special half-hour English newscast on the Annapolis summit, the protests against territorial concessions, and the New Zionist Congress meeting held in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Click below to view the exclusive reports.

[video:122980]

Click here if you cannot see the video screen above.

Channel 1 reporter Ayala Hason reported that the PA side insisted the statement not include the phrase “a Jewish state,” and it was dropped. On the other hand, the word “Jerusalem” was also not mentioned.

Yishai: Nothing Practical
Interviewed on IDF Radio after the opening statements, Shas Party chairman Eli Yishai said Shas would not be leaving the government as long as nothing “practical” is agreed upon.

Demonstrator, Annapolis.
Ezra HaLevi
Pro-Israel woman holds sign of victims of Palestinian Authority terrorism
Ezra HaLevi
Pro-Israel protestors recite prayers to defend Jerusalem from Israeli government
Ezra HaLevi

In his speech at Annapolis, which was delivered in Hebrew, Ehud Olmert said: “Negotiations will address all the issues which thus far have been evaded. We will not avoid any subject.” The reference was specifically to Jerusalem and the Arab refugees.

“While this will be an extremely difficult process for many of us,” Olmert added, “it is nevertheless inevitable. I know it. Many of my people know it. We are ready for it. I believe that the post-1967 reality will be changed in a very significant manner.” [emphasis added]

Demonstrators at Annapolis.
Ezra HaLevi
Americans For a Safe Israel chapters from around the US came to Annapolis to show support for Israel’s territorial integrity
Ezra HaLevi
At the Annapolis rally, in support of One Undivided Jewish Homeland
Ezra HaLevi
Pro-Israel rally to defend Jerusalem from Israeli government concessions
Ezra HaLevi

The joint statement read out by President Bush said: “We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.”

We’re Prepared for Painful, Danger-Fraught Compromise
It went on to say: “We agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements. We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.”

Olmert mentioned “the terrible terror by Palestinian terrorists [which has] hurt thousands of Israeli citizens, caused the destruction of families and the efforts to disrupt the lives of Israeli citizens.” Despite these things, Olmert said, “We want peace. We demand a cessation of terror, incitement and hatred. We are prepared for a painful, danger-fraught compromise to achieve these aspirations.”

Protestor calls for Israel to stand strong against US pressure
Ezra HaLevi
Buses brought thousands of pro-Israel supporters to call for no territorial concessions to Arabs
Ezra HaLevi
Religious Jews participated in demonstration calling to maintain Jewish sovereignty over all of Israel
Ezra HaLevi
The elderly joined in the pro-Israel protests
Ezra HaLevi
With Israeli high schools on strike for 7 weeks, Israelis call on Olmert to come home to solve education crisis first. “Sorry for the chutzpah,” one sign reads, “but what have you done today for education, Mr. Olmert?”
Ezra HaLevi
Young protestor wears shirt with slogan “We will not forget; we will not forgive” in reference to Israel gov’t’s expulsion of Gaza Jews in 2005
Ezra HaLevi

Israel National News correspondent Ezra HaLevi reported that several hundred pro-Israel demonstrators held signs outside the venue of the summit, protesting the intentions to hand over parts of Jerusalem to the enemy. Most of the demonstrators were young people, some of whom played Zionist and Jewish songs on their guitars.

Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta Jews were on the scene as well, as were demonstrators from One Voice and two or three “Jews for Jesus.”

Arabs hold anti-Israel signs
Ezra HaLevi
Extremist Jewish sect Neturei Karta support dismantling of Jewish State
Anti-Israel rally-goer calls for division of Jewish homeland
Ezra HaLevi

Click here if you cannot see photos.

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2. Can Right-Wing Knesset Lobby Stop Olmert?

by Hillel Fendel

Gush Etzion Council head Sha’ul Goldstein says an alliance of right-wing opposition and coalition MKs can stop Prime Minister Olmert’s plans, as outlined at Annapolis. MK Tzvi Hendel, on the other hand, says it won’t work.

Goldstein explained to Arutz-7’s Hebrew newsmagazine why he called at the recent Yesha Council rally for unity among the Knesset’s right-wing members.

“There are many right-wing MKs,” Goldstein told Arutz-7, “but they are dispersed amidst various parties, and their power is therefore weakened. It would be best if they could all form one party, but that won’t happen – so the next best thing is to have a political lobby as a basis for unity.”

“During the days of the Disengagement,” Goldstein continued, “we saw that we can have influence only before a government decision is made. Once the Cabinet decides, however, the chances of changing it are slim. We must therefore form a Knesset lobby on behalf of the Land of Israel in which MKs from both the opposition and the coalition will take part.”

Hendel Skeptical
MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union) says, “It’s a cute idea, but in light of past experience, it won’t work.”

“I wish Goldstein luck in accomplishing it, but the truth is that we have bigger problems,” Hendel said. “I had to spit blood just to unite the factions that now make up the National Union – but to create a political framework that will also include the MKs of Shas, United Torah Judaism, and others, is impossible.”

This past Monday, a Shas party leader aroused some indignation at the anti-Annapolis protest rally by addressing the audience. Many in the right-wing are furious at Shas for remaining in the government coalition, thereby apparently enabling it to proceed with its plans to give up parts of Jerusalem and almost all of Judea and Samaria.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), for instance, refused to take part in the rally because of the Shas participation. Hendel, on the other hand, said that he felt it was “very important to bring coalition members to the rally.” Gush Etzion’s Goldstein also objected to MK Eldad’s decision to boycott the rally because of the participation of Shas.

Ideological Hair-Splitting
MK Hendel explained the difficulties he sees in forming a united front: “The more ideological a party is, the more there are various nuances. It is very hard for an ideological party to have a supermarket of ideas, like there is in the Likud or Labor.”

Goldstein, on the other hand, says that “if a charter of principles in favor of the Land of Israel and against a Palestinian state is drawn up and presented by a group of both coalition and opposition MKs, including from Kadima, it will have force, and Olmert won’t be able to pass his decisions in the Knesset.”

Eldad and MK Effie Eitam, both of the National Union party, have been waging a strong campaign against the membership of Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu in the government.

PM Irked
MK Hendel said that the Prime Minister’s Bureau was “very irked by our protest demonstration on Monday, and did everything it could to make sure Channel Two and other press outlets would give it barely any coverage. It bothers the Olmert people very much that after they knocked us down to the earth so brutally [during the Disengagement and Amona], tens of thousands of people still come together and sing, ‘The Eternal Nation is not deterred by a long trek.’ This bothers them a lot.”

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3. Dichter: Great Expectations in Annapolis, but Unrealistic

by Hana Levi Julian

An agreement to reach a final status agreement by the end of 2008 is a laudable goal, says Public Security Minister Avi Dichter of Kadima, but essentially unrealistic.

Speaking to new Border Guard Police officers at the IDF Reception and Sorting Base, Dichter said he believes both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas are sincere in their intentions.

The two leaders issued a joint statement in Annapolis in which they allow the U.S. to serve as final arbiter and commit to carry out the negotiations and compromises set forth in the U.S. Road Map plan as a blueprint for the final agreement, as follows:

“The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based Road Map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued by the Quartet on 30 April, 2003” [the Road Map -ed.] and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism led by the United States to follow up on the implementation of the Road Map.

“The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the Road Map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the Road Map.

“Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the Road Map, as judged by the United States.”

The statement was forced through at the final hour by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who pulled Abbas out of the talks and insisted that he sign it.

Dichter still questions the ability of the PA government to enforce even the first stage in the Road Map plan, which calls for the PA to bring about the total cessation of terrorist attacks on Israel from PA-controlled territory. This stage also obligates the PA to completely dismantle terrorist infrastructure. Abbas will have to accomplish both goals – at least to U.S. satisfaction – before further steps toward final status moves can be made. Dichter did say that he believes the veracity of the statements made by Abbas in the document.

“The Road Map stipulates a two-year timetable, and the Palestinians have not met it,” Dichter pointed out. “The timetable was unrealistic to begin with and it is still unrealistic… I believe that by the end of 2008 we will have a better idea regarding [their] performance. This could lead to a very positive, significant process,” he added with guarded optimism.

The question still remains, however, as to whether Abbas has what it takes to control the many terrorist groups in the PA’s midst, especially considering that his Fatah forces were driven out of Gaza by the Hamas terrorist organization last June.

“Their performance amounts to zero,” Dichter observed.

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4. Syrian Speech at Annapolis: Golan Never Belonged to Israel

by Hana Levi Julian

The Syrian and Lebanese delegates to the Annapolis conference Tuesday were provided a forum in which to express their countries’ views, but were not accorded the privilege of delivering a speech to the conference plenum.

Speaking at a workshop entitled “Towards a Comprehensive Middle East Peace,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Faisal al-Mekdad insisted that Israel must hand over the Golan Heights and totally withdraw from the “1967 Arab land.” Only then, he declared, would Damascus consider “normalizing” ties with the Jewish State. He then said Syria “is sincere in seeking a comprehensive and just peace and possesses the political will to achieve it.”

Israeli officials said the Syrian delegate also demanded that Israel withdraw from the Har Dov (Sheba’a Farms) area as well.

Seven years ago, the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president, refused an Israeli offer to hand over most of the Golan. Under the proposal, Israel would retain sovereignty over the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee).

Now the Syrian government has decided to begin a new strategy it hopes will raise the issue to the level of international concern.

Syrian government engineer Hilal al-Ghaeb was quoted by Reuters on Tuesday as saying Damascus now intends to populate its side of the Golan border with a housing project that would contain more than 1,000 apartments.

Construction of the complex to house thousands of Arabs is designed to create “facts on the ground” and is reportedly already underway, with bulldozers clearing ground under the nose of Israeli tanks on the border.

“These projects are a message to Israel,” said al-Ghaeb. “The refugees will no longer be scattered in slums and camps all around Syria. Soon they will live here and stare right at their Israeli occupiers.” The reference is to the Arabs who fled the Golan village of Adnanieh in 1967 at the behest of the attacking Syrians and other Arab leaders, who promised they would quickly win the war and destroy the Jewish State. They have not returned since the 1967 Six Day War.

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5. Labor Court to Rule on Fate of Teachers’ Strike

by Hana Levi Julian

Finance Ministry officials and representatives of the Secondary School Teachers’ Association (Irgun HaMorim) will return Wednesday to the National Labor Court. The government has asked the court to issue the striking teachers back-to-work orders in a bit to end the seven-week-old strike.

The Finance Ministry, which warned more than a month ago it would petition the court to order the teachers to return to the classrooms, filed the motion with the Labor Court Tuesday.

Representatives of the Finance and Education Ministries told the court that the possibility of a negotiated settlement is not within reach at this point.

The union argued before the judge that the court has no authority to force the teachers back to work, and teachers on the picket line reiterated their threat to quit altogether if the court orders them to return to the classrooms without a settlement.

At least 100 teachers signed letters of resignation weeks ago, saying they would not return to work under the current conditions and wages.

The latest offer from the Education Ministry includes an addition of 100 million more classroom hours in 2008 and development of a long-term plan to include additional teaching hours and smaller classes.

Negotiators for the Finance Ministry also agreed to a proposal by Histadrut National Labor Union head Ofer Eini to raise salaries by 8.5% over the course of 1.5 years, linked to a partial reform of the education system as a whole.

The teachers’ union has dropped its initial demands for an immediate salary hike several times, from 20 percent to 15 percent, then down to 13.5 percent. It is unclear whether union officials agreed to the government’s offer of a gradual 8.5 percent raise.

Eini joined the talks several weeks ago in an effort to mediate between the parties and end the dispute. He succeeded in bringing the positions of the two parties closer, but has failed to negotiate a final settlement.

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6. Israel to Hold Population Census in Dec. 2008

by Hillel Fendel

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has signed the orders to hold a population census a year from now. The last census was held in Israel in 1995, in the shadow of a nationalist camp boycott called by the Yesha Council. The Council called upon its supporters not to file their completed census forms until after the formation of a government that was not dependent upon pro-PLO MKs. The boycott was called off after Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated.

A census is supposed to be held once each decade – not necessarily every ten years. The upcoming census was scheduled for 2006, but because of budgetary problems “and other issues,” the Central Bureau of Statistics informed Arutz-7, it was delayed until next year.

The “Statistical Order” signed by Olmert states that the census will begin on Dec. 28, 2008, the day after the official determining date of the census, and will end somewhere in mid-2009. It will encompass all the residents of the State of Israel, specifying that this includes the Jews of Judea and Samaria. The results are expected to be ready in 2010.

The order signed by Olmert also includes the subjects to be asked on the basic questionnaires, almost all of which are the same as the previous census. Some changes have been made in the “personal property” section. While in both 1995 and 2008, citizens were or are to be asked if they own a phone, TV, video, dryer, microwave, dishwasher, personal computer, and air conditioner, the 2008 census form does not ask if they own a washing machine or solar water heater, but rather if they have internet, a DVD player, and how many cell phones. MP3 players currently do not appear on the questionnaire.

A new section has been added that asks about physical handicaps. The 2008 census will ask, for the first time, if we have difficulties in hearing, walking outside or up and down steps, remembering or concentrating, or getting dressed and washed.

A major difference in carrying out the census this time will be that only 20% of the homes will be visited, compared with 100% last time. This will decrease the need for pollsters, of whom only 2,500 will be hired, compared with 10,000 in 1995. The files of government offices – mainly the Population Registry – will be used to fill in necessary statistics.

The purpose of the census, as explained by the Central Bureau of Statistics, is to collect information in order to present a full and accurate portrayal of the population. The information that is received is used by decision makers on both the national and local planes to improve the residents’ quality of life both nationally and personally.

In 2995, Rabbis Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Shmuel Wazner permitted participation in the census, ruling that it does not violate the ban on counting Jews.

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7. OU Teen Youth Group a Feather in Olim’s Nest

by Talia Zarbiv

Every adult can easily recall the every-day anxiety, stresses and pressures of being a teenager that can surface without notice or legitimate explanation. But the teenagers of NESTO (Native English Speaking Teen Olim) have even bigger issues to deal with, as more and more families decide to make the big move to Israel. More teenagers find themselves uprooted from their former homes, schools, and friends, only to be faced with the necessity to acclimate to an unfamiliar country now known as home.

In 1993, a group of American Olim [new immigrants to Israel] found themselves in need of a support group to help them meet others similar to themselves. As their idea caught on, the Orthodox Union (OU) decided to take them under their wing, and NESTO was born. Today, NESTO is under the sponsorship of both the OU and the Jewish Agency, and boasts about 120 youths. The program includes meetings on a weekly basis, homework help, trips across the country, and frequent activities ranging from talent shows to trips to the local bowling alley.

“Our goal is to integrate the kids into Israeli society.” says NESTO director Chaim Pelzner. “The idea is that they should have everything they need here. We have computers, a stocked refrigerator, a social worker, and endless programming on a constant basis. Twenty-four hours a day, we are here”,

The organization prides itself on the philosophy of being surrounded by others who understand the daily struggles of the Olim. “When I made Aliyah in the sixth grade, it was very difficult,” says assistant director Jeremy Mansultan. “I was the only American in my school. One of the things that hurt me the most was that I had no idea that a place like NESTO even existed. When I finally did discover NESTO, I was in the 10th grade, and the counselors quickly became like big brothers to me.” After graduating from the program, Mansultan became a counselor and eventually the assistant director of the program. “NESTO gave me so much that I wanted to give something back,” he explains.

Fifteen-year-old Hadas Maccaba moved to Israel with her family at the age of 13 from London. She now considers NESTO her home away from home. “The schools here don’t help you enough with the adjustment,” she says. “Math is taught in Hebrew, yet I’m still expected to know exactly what is going on and to earn good grades. NESTO is a great place for Olim. I just wish I had come sooner after I moved. I have made strong friendships with many other kids from here. NESTO is a great place to just hang out, relax, and be myself.”

NESTO’s success is shown through the vast number of graduates who go on to become counselors. Mansultan confirms: “Making Aliyah can be difficult. What we want to do is help people. We play the role of big sibling, and sometimes even of parent. Our mission is to help our kids through understanding and relating.”

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8. Lawsuit Filed Against Vanity Fair for Neo-Nazi Interview

by Hana Levi Julian

Jewish historian Arno Lustiger has filed a lawsuit against Vanity Fair magazine for publishing an interview with one of the most rabid neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers of all time: Horst Mahler.

The monthly fashion magazine published the article on Mahler in the November edition of its German edition.

Lustiger, who is a survivor of the Nazi genocide, contended in the November 7 lawsuit that Mahler denied and minimized the Holocaust. Holocaust denial is against the law in Germany.

Lustiger is joined by the journalist who wrote the story for the magazine. Author Michael Friedman himself also filed charges against neo-Nazi Mahler after the interview for his “incendiary” remarks.

During the two-hour interview, Mahler praised Adolf Hitler as “the liberator of the German people,” adding, “He is demonized as the liberator of Satan.” Freshly released in August 2007 after having served a nine-month jail term for incitement to hate, Mahler greeted his interviewer by saying, “Heil Hitler.”

Friedman, an attorney and former leader in the German Jewish community, said he had intended to question the neo-Nazi about his past as a founding member of the extreme-left Red Army Faction (RAF) 30 years ago.

After the interview, which Friedman said was dominated by Mahler’s pro-Hitler ranting, the journalist commented that neo-Nazi terror is “not only a reality of the past but also of the present.”

Ulf Poschardt, editor-in-chief of the German edition of Vanity Fair, acknowledged in his magazine editorial that the neo-Nazi said things in the interview “that are banned in Germany.” He defended the magazine’s decision to publish the article, however, saying the author’s “courageous interview gives an important insight into the deep chasms that this society must confront.”

Poschardt added that he had wanted to confront German citizens with the reality found in recent polls that showed secret grassroots approval of neo-Nazi ideology.

There has been a firestorm in response to the article. The secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, told the Der Tagesspiegel newspaper that the interview was “unspeakable and completely without justification.”

Leading politicians across the spectrum, including the Social Democratic, Christian Democratic and Left parties, all slammed the magazine’s decision to publish the interview as well.

The 71-year-old Mahler is going back to jail for the sixth time after being sentenced this week to a six-month term for giving the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute and calling out ‘Heil Hitler’ as he was led to his prison cell a year ago.

Before joining the neo-Nazi movement, Mahler received training in guerrilla tactics from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization in Jordan. He fled there to escape trial for bank robberies he committed in Germany.

Mahler has also been jailed for praising the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States by the international Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, which felled the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center while also striking the Pentagon.

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Wednesday, Nov. 28 ’07
18 Kislev 5768

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Partly Cloudy.
Tomorrow: Partly Cloudy
Today Nov 29
T.A 23-13C 23-13C
Haifa 22-13C 23-13C
Jlm 17-11C 18-11C
HaGolan 17-11C 19-12C
B.Sheba 22-11C 23-12C
Hebron 16- 9C 18- 9C
Ariel 16-12C 17-13C
J.Valley 24-18C 25-18C
Galilee 17-10C 18-10C
Eilat 25-15C 26-15C
Weather Forecast

Halachic Times
Jlm. T.A.
A. shachar 05:03 05:06
Talit 05:30 05:33
Sunrise 06:15 06:18
Sof Shema 08:50 08:53
Sof Tfila 09:42 09:44
Chatzot 11:25 11:27
Mincha G. 11:55 11:57
Mincha K. 14:26 14:28
Sunset 16:40 16:36
Nightfall 16:53 16:54

Currencies
Update: 23/11/2007
US Dollar 3.862 Ú
GB Sterling 7.9604 Ú
Yen (100) 3.5616 Ú
Euro 5.7229 Ú
Can $ 3.9145 Ú
Swiss Franc 3.5036 Ú


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