Written by Lekarev Report
1 Elul 5768
September 1, 2008
Dutch Paper: Attack on Iran Soon
Holland's military intelligence service (AIVD) recently suspended an intelligence operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging the Iranian weapon manufacturing industry following estimates that the United States plans to attack the Islamic republic in the coming weeks, according to a report by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, quoted by media worldwide Monday.
According to the report, the operation, deemed successful, was recently halted due to preparations for an American airstrike in Iran. The Dutch believe that the bombed targets will include the locations of their espionage operation.
According to the Dutch newspaper, a senior agent was recently removed from the country "due to the belief that the US is about to make a decision within weeks on a strike in Iran using unmanned aircraft."
According to the report, the information obtained by Holland due to its operation in Iran was shared with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Back to School for Israeli Children
The upcoming school year will be a "special year", featuring meaningful reform and the investment of great resources, Education Minister Yuli Tamir said as nearly 1.5 million students prepared to go back to school today at more than 4,000 educational institutions nationwide.
"There is a sense of real change in the air," Tamir said ahead of the opening of the school year, as 129,520 teachers also prepare to return to the classroom.
Naftaili Sheetrit, the 14-year-old boy pictured here who was seriously wounded in the terror attack at Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav yeshiva, will return to the yeshiva this week after a long absence. The next few months will mark yet another struggle for Naftali as he attempts to return to his normal life.
"I have a lot of schoolwork to make-up," he said. "I hope that I will succeed in my tests and I am waiting to go back to my routine already."
The yeshiva attack took place five months ago when an armed terrorist entered entered Mercaz Harav and began firing at students in the library there. Eight students were killed and 10 others, including Naftali, were injured.
As parents take their children to school this morning, most whisper a prayer that this school year will be peaceful, as well as a productive year educationally for their sons and daughters.
Official: Nefesh B'Nefesh Takes Over American Aliya
The Jewish Agency has concluded an agreement with the highly successful Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) organization to allow it to manage the North American aliyah program. The Jewish Agency officially retains responsibility for moving new immigrants to Israel and will pay for a one-way air ticket to Israel, but in practice NBN will manage the actual aliyah files. Competition between the two groups had grown unfriendly following NBN's ability in the past years to turn around the downward trend in aliyah from North America and bring thousands of Jews to Israel on several flights every year.
Applications for aliyah now will be made exclusively through NBN in the new "one-stop" program that prevents duplication paperwork and instead streamlines the bureaucracy.
"The Jewish Agency is confident that as a result of this cooperation with Nefesh B'Nefesh, aliyah from North America will grow," said Zev Bielski, chairman of the Jewish Agency. "The Jewish Agency will continue to pursue its mission to facilitate immigration to Israel from all over the world."
The Jewish Agency has shrunk its "sheliach" department that deploys agents in major world cities to promote aliyah. They now work according to NBN's methods, which have produced results far better than those of the Jewish Agency. NBN's strategy has been to work closely with potential immigrants to Israel, helping them find employment and often offering financial grants.
NOTE: The Lekarev subscriber family from Arkansas who made Aliya last month are doing very well! I heard from them a couple of days ago and they are getting settled and report that their seven children are loving being in Israel.
All (Israeli) Eyes on Gustav
On Sunday afternoon, Rabbi Vic Hoffman of Jerusalem was trying to contact friends in New Orleans to check on their safety, as Hurricane Gustav approached the Gulf Coast and residents of the city braced for a repeat of 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
The 2005 storm had crushed the levees protecting New Orleans and submerged some 80 percent of the city. Along the US Gulf Coast, 1,500 people lost their lives, and the expense of repairing the damage was estimated at $80 billion. This time, residents are being required by law to evacuate the city, unlike in Hurricane Katrina, when they were only advised to do so.
With Rosh Hashana approaching, Hoffman, who made Aliya from New Orleans 27 years ago and is the former rabbi of New Orleans congregation Shir Hadash, firmly declares that "no way will there not be High Holy Days services in New Orleans. Last time, the day before Yom Kippur, the National Guard came into one of the synagogues and cleaned out the synagogue to make it ready for the services. They ripped out all the rotting pews and carpeting, put in folding chairs, cleaned the walls. We also have a month to get back into shape."
Just a few years ago, New Orleans was home to a thriving, close-knit community of about 11,000 Jews. Three hundred families belonged to Hoffman's Shir Hadash congregation, which managed to salvage its Torah scrolls when the city was flooded. Other synagogues were not as fortunate; one lost almost its entire collection.
Approximately 65% of the original Jewish population returned to New Orleans after Katrina. Many residents found that the hurricane had also wiped out all ways of making a living there. Once flourishing businesses were ruined by the storm, and a large number of refugees dispersed to reestablish their lives in other cities where family members had settled. More than half of the community sought shelter in Houston. Hoffman expresses the optimism with which the Jews who did remain gradually rebuilt their New Orleans structure.
Israelis watch the coverage of Hurricane Gustav with fascination and a healthy measure of awe, as hurricanes are unknown in this part of the world.
One Israeli commented yesterday, "And they say Israel is dangerous? Oy VaVoy! I wouldn't want to be anywhere near a storm like this."
Biden Makes Disturbing Remark; Israelis Love Palin
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden was quoted Monday as telling senior Israeli officials behind closed doors that the Jewish state will have to reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran. Army Radio also quoted Biden as saying that he opposed "opening a additional military and diplomatic front."
Biden, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long been considered strongly pro-Israel. His nomination as Barack Obama's running mate had been expected to shore up the Democrats' strength with U.S. Jewish voters.
However, Senator John McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate has won him very strong points in Israel among both Jews and Evangelical Christians living here. The Jerusalem Post published an article this morning quoting several Christian leaders who have lived in Israel for a long time expressing very strong support for the McCain-Palin team.
A significant majority of Israeli Jews also support McCain because of his strong stand against terrorism and his long standing support of Israel. In the words of one of my neighbors, they find Obama "a scary mystery".
The Israeli opinion of Obama is further solidified by reports of very large donations being sent to his campaign by Hamas members in Gaza and today's report that for the past seven months, a group of 24 students and young professionals have gathered in the Gaza Strip nightly to phone random telephone numbers in the United States, urging the voices at the other end to "vote for Barack Obama."
Although only American citizens can actually cast a ballot in the election, this Gaza-based effort is a forceful demonstration of how Internet technology opens the door for anyone, anywhere to take an active role in U.S. politics. Even if they have never even been to the U.S.A.
Why hasn't the Obama campaign spoken out AGAINST this????
I urge you to read the full article on this campaign from Gaza trying to influence American voters:
Gaza Phone Squad Campaign
Concern Over Galilee Arabs
Will the Arabs of the Galilee declare independence one day like Kosovo, Abkhazia or South Ossetia? According to Danny Ayalon, Israel's former ambassador to the United States, the answer is definitely yes.
In Ayalon's first public appearance since he joined the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party on Saturday, he warned on Sunday: "If the government of Israel does not act to have a Jewish majority in the North, then the Arab majority in the Galilee will declare independence and [demand] international recognition on the basis of the precedents of Kosovo, Abkhazia and [South Ossetia].
"The formal demand will be the last piece in the puzzle, which will lead to the dismantling of the State of Israel in practice," explained the former envoy, speaking at a press conference in Carmiel.
Hot Air Balloon to Fly Length of Israel
Intrepid travelers have become used to traversing the Israel Trail by foot, but five people and a dog will now be able to experience it from above - in a hot air balloon.
The Civil Aviation Authority has recently granted permission to the company Hot Air Balloons Over Israel to fly the entire length of the country along the trail, in a series of flights that will take place over two weeks, Haaretz has learned. The one-time event is slated to begin September 10, ahead of a hot air balloon festival in Timna Valley Park, north of Eilat.
This will be the first time a balloon will travel above the entire length of the Israel Trail. If the event is a success, it may be possible to offer the trip as a tourist attraction, said company founder Moran Itzckovich, who will be flying in the hot air balloon along with his dog, a professional photographer and three experts in various fields.
Maybe you'd like to add this to your next trip to Israel!
Shalom and blessings,
If My people, upon whom My name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. II Chron. 7:14