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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Their own worst enemies: Hamas-ruled Gaza suffers while West Bank thrives

One year ago Sunday, Israel finally responded to a multiyear barrage of rocket attacks on schools, homes and synagogues, peaking with more than 3,200 in 2008, with a targeted military campaign in Gaza.

In the anti-Israel "world community," that restrained act of self-defense has been repaid with howls that a sovereign nation protecting itself from terrorists committed war crimes. That much, though sickening, was perfectly predictable.

The picture of what's happened to the Palestinian people on the ground - in Gaza on the one hand and in the West Bank on the other - is far more surprising, and powerfully educational.

The kibbutz that is saving American soldiers' lives

Twenty years ago, Kibbutz Sasa was eking out a living with plastics-maker Plasan. Today, the firm is a world leader in armor for vehicles, helped no small amount by America's involvement in Iraq. Has being in the war business made the community any less peaceful?

Monday, December 21, 2009

My abortion anguish - Why should women who need them have to leave the state and pay thousands of dollars?

This past July, I was happily pregnant and eagerly expecting the arrival of our second child. For nearly eight months, I had been loving my baby in utero and explaining to our 2 1/2 -year old son that he was going to become a big brother. Never in my worst nightmare did I imagine I would need to have an abortion - and certainly not late term.

At my 28-week sonogram, the ventricles in our baby's brain measured a little elevated, and I was sent for further testing. Two weeks later, I had an MRI, and my worst nightmare was realized - we learned the baby was missing a main piece of its brain. The part that connects the right and left hemispheres literally wasn't there. Additionally, the surface of the brain was malformed and severely underdeveloped. Despite all my prenatal care and testing, this was not detected until I was 7 1/2 months along. And no amount of surgery or physical therapy could change this horrific diagnosis.

Friday, December 18, 2009

'A second Hanukkah miracle' for Israel

Sixty years ago this month, a converted World War II Victory ship carrying 888 pregnant Holsteins steamed across the Atlantic Ocean. It would be seen as confirming the Lord's promise in Joshua 5:6 to make Israel a "land of milk and honey."

That 200 cows gave birth at sea and only six died was "a second Hanukkah miracle," said Morris Levy, the only veterinarian aboard.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Military Abortion Ban: Female Soldiers Not Protected by Constitution They Defend

Unable to get an abortion during a tour of duty in Iraq, a soldier is left with no option but to do it herself—a humiliating but not uncommon dilemma. Women in the military are forced to obtain a leave to get the care they need; but if they’re honest about why, they put their military career in jeopardy. If they’re not, they put their military career in jeopardy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Livni arrest warrant 'UK's biggest mistake' says Peres

Issuing a warrant for the arrest of an Israeli politician is one of the "biggest political mistakes the UK has ever made", Israel's president says.

President Shimon Peres said it was "high time" the British government changed a law allowing courts to grant such warrants.
The arrest warrant for Israeli former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has caused huge embarrassment in London.
British ministers have said they will look "urgently" at reforming the law.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Crisis Spurs Migration to Israel

Immigration into Israel and the Palestinian West Bank is surging after the financial crisis and economic downturn evaporated jobs elsewhere.

After years of a brain drain from the region, and despite the lack of a peace settlement, by the end of this month about 4,000 North American Jews will have immigrated to Israel this year, an increase of 33% over 2008 and the most in one year since 1973, according to Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that oversees and assists with immigration to Israel from North America.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

UN Ambassador calls Palestinian Solidarity Day 'one-sided narrative'

Israel's top official at the United Nations charged the General Assembly on Tuesday with undermining efforts toward a two-state solution by embracing a one-sided condemnation of Israel during the UN's "Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."
In response to bruising speeches against Israel at the United Nations during the two-day event on Monday and Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev recalled the 1947 vote that paved the way for the creation of two states.
"Thirty-three for. Thirteen against. Ten abstentions. The resolution was approved," she said.
While the Jewish population in the region accepted the resolution, the Arab side rejected UN Resolution 181, launching a war against Israel and setting the stage for the current conflict.

From bombing center to strawberry capital of W. Bank

There was a time when Kalkilya was the focus of bomb making and terrorism but a new program is aiming to turn this Palestinian city into the strawberry capital of the West Bank

The first crop of the ruby red fruit in this pilot program is halfway to harvest. The Palestinians hope to be able to cash in on the lucrative Christmas markets in Europe and possibly sell strawberries to a major international ice cream producer.

"I grow strawberries here, and this is where it starts," said Ahmed Zed, 31, a Palestinian carrot farmer who decided to take up the risky endeavor and grow strawberries.

...For the past few months, Israeli agriculture advisers have been training Palestinian farmers in growing these delicious, but highly sensitive fruit. Sponsored by the Flemish Foreign Ministry and facilitated by the Peres Center for Peace, Israeli experts have been supplying Palestinian farmers with irrigation equipment, nylon, pesticides and training that will help them raise the high-quality strawberries required for export.

The Abortion Distortion - Just how pro-choice is America, really?

Most New Yorkers hadn’t heard of Bart Stupak before he attached his devastating anti-abortion amendment to the House’s health-care-reform bill three weeks ago. We know a lot more about him now, of course: that he lives in a Christian rooming house on C Street; that he’s a former state trooper. He has become a symbol of legislative zealotry, living proof that the fight over the right to choose will always attract a more impassioned opposition than defense. (As Harrison Hickman, a former pollster for NARAL, put it to me: “If you believe that choosing the wrong side of the issue means spending eternal life in Hades, of course you’re going to be more focused on it.”) Just a week after the vote, when I reached the Michigan Democrat as he was driving across his district, he seemed dumbfounded that anyone found his brinkmanship surprising. “I said to anyone who’d listen: ‘Do you want health care, or do you want to fight out abortion?’ ” says Stupak. He points out that he’d nearly managed to bring down a rule about abortion funding earlier in the summer, this time in a bill about spending in the District of Columbia. “I said, ‘Look, that was a shot across your bow,’ ” he recalls. “ ‘I was being polite to you. That was a warning.’ And the leadership just blew us off.”

Groups fighting abortion restriction in health reform bill

JAC members and leadership will be in Washington, DC this week to participate in the National Day of Action and Rally, as well as lobby Senators about the dangers of eliminating abortion coverage and restricting women's rights.

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Several Jewish groups are fighting a controversial measure in health reform legislation that would have the effect of eliminating insurance coverage for abortion for millions of women.

At issue is the Stupak Amendment, a measure included at the last minute in the health care bill passed Nov. 7 by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Several organizations -- including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the National Council of Jewish Women, the American Jewish Congress and the Chicago-based Joint Action Committee -- have spoken out or are lobbying to make sure the amendment does not end up either in the Senate version of health care legislation or the final bill that emerges from a conference committee.