Monday, April 23, 2007
ISRAEL CELEBRATES 1948 MIRACLE NATION
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
14 And the Word (JESUS) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
AS WE SEE GOD THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT WERE ALL AT CREATION. THE ONE GOD OF ISRAEL WITH 3 DIFFERENT OFFICES.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.(GOD THE FATHER WAS AT CREATION, JESUS WAS AT THE CREATION OF THE EARTH)
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.(THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS AT CREATION)
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.(NOTICE ITS EVENING AND MORNING, THE JEWISH CALENDER NOT NIGHT AND DAY LIKE OUR CALENDER. THIS IS ANOTHER REASON WE SHOULD BE STARTING A DAY AT 6PM INSTEAD OF MIDNIGHT.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
FOR ALL THE DISBELIVERS OF THE BIBLE IS THERE NOT AN EARTH, ANIMALS, TREES, DAY, NIGHT, SEASONS. THIS IS PROOF ENOUGH WHAT GOD SAYS WILL COME TO PASS, CAME TO PASS "SKEPTICS JUST LOOK AROUND AND READ GENESIS CHAPTER 1 TO SEE IF WHAT GOD CREATED IS IN THE EARTH."
1-WORLD QUAKES LAST 2 DAYS.2-3 dead, 7 missing after Chile earthquake. 3-Saskatoon area braces for floods. 4-The Nation's Weather. 5-ISRAEL CELEBRATES 1948 MIRACLE NATION. 6-Independence Day at Homesh. 7-Today is Memorial Day, 5767 (2007). 8-Beilin Proposes Law to Remove Jews from Hebron. 9-Former Russian President Yeltsin dies. 10-Smoke from Waycross Fires. 11-It's Royal vs. Sarkozy in French runoff. 12-Israel Prepared For Compromises, Concessions For Peace.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:(ETHNIC GROUP AGAINST ETHNIC GROUP) and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
WORLD QUAKES LAST 2 DAYS (USGS)
Update time = Mon Apr 23 10:00 AM EDT
MAP 5.1 VANUATU
MAP 2.9 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
MAP 4.8 TONGA
MAP 5.0 BANDA SEA
MAP 3.1 SANTA BARBARA CHANNEL, CALIFORNIA
MAP 5.2 KURIL ISLANDS
MAP 3.1 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
MAP 4.9 ALASKA PENINSULA
MAP 4.7 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 4.5 REYKJANES RIDGE
MAP 4.9 OFF THE COAST OF NORTHERN PERU
MAP 5.0 SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN
MAP 5.3 VALPARAISO, CHILE
MAP 4.4 POTOSI, BOLIVIA
MAP 2.6 SOUTHERN ALASKA
MAP 2.6 ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS., ALASKA
MAP 2.6 ALASKA PENINSULA
MAP 2.9 ALASKA PENINSULA
MAP 3.3 CENTRAL ALASKA
MAP 4.9 OFFSHORE COQUIMBO, CHILE
MAP 3.7 UNIMAK ISLAND REGION, ALASKA
MAP 3.4 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA
MAP 2.7 GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIFORNIA
3 dead, 7 missing after Chile earthquake By EDUARDO GALLARDO, Associated Press writer Sun Apr 22, 8:54 PM ET
SANTIAGO, Chile - An earthquake in remote southern Chile shook free a landslide of rocks, sending them smashing into a narrow fjord and causing massive 25-foot waves that swept away 10 beachgoers. Three bodies were recovered Sunday. Rescuers were searching the cold Pacific waters for the other missing people from the beach after the 6.2 magnitude quake the day before, authorities said.Oscar Catalan, the mayor of the nearby town of Puerto Aysen, saw six people at the shore pulled away by the current, according to the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.A correspondent for television network Chilevision, Orlando Adriazola, also reported seeing a man and his young daughter dragged into the water by a large wave.
He said he was at the beach to install an antenna for his station.The government's Emergency Bureau said three bodies were found washed up on beaches in the fjord on Sunday. The victims were identified as Ernesto Contreras, 65; his wife, ElsaPoblete, 54, and their 2-year-old grandson Genaro Linay, the agency said.
The bureau said there was no tsunami after the earthquake. The waves were apparently created when several landslides from neighboring hills crashed into the sea at the bottom of the narrow fjord, causing the water level to rise steeply, said Juan Cayupi, a volcanologist investigating the incident for the government.The inlet is surrounded by high hills, parts of which are covered with a dense forest.
At some points, the land drops off into rocky cliffs that fall vertically into the water.There were some boats in the area and waves destroyed them, said Cayupi, who was also at the beach at the time of the quake and spoke to The Associated Press by telephone. The boat we arrived in was thrown on top of a tree, partly destroyed. Television footage showed roaring, white-capped waves in the ocean following the quake. Large trees on the coast were uprooted and dragged into the water.The Emergency Bureau said rescue patrols including military and police personnel started searching for the missing people early Sunday. Helicopters scanned the surf from the air. Police Maj. Claudio Escobar said the search would continue until everybody has been found.
Meanwhile, President Michele Bachelet arrived Sunday and was met by protests from angry residents who say the government has been slow to offer assistance following several months of seismic activity in the region.After touring the area, Bachelet said the government would reinforce the region's health services with more doctors and ambulances, as well as a helicopter and a power generator in case of a new emergency.The quake hit early Saturday afternoon, sending many people into the streets in panic in Puerto Aysen and nearby Puerto Chacabuco, which have a combined population of 35,000. The quake was centered about 35 miles northwest of the city of Coihaique, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.There was no major damage to buildings, but scores of panicked people sought treatment at hospitals for nervous conditions, regional Gov. Viviana Betancourt said.
Saturday's quake was the strongest of hundreds of quakes that have been felt in the area since Jan. 22. Authorities believe the seismic activity is related to the formation of a new undersea volcano.On Sunday, a moderate earthquake shook Santiago in central Chile, with no immediate reports of damages or injuries. The 5.2-magnitude quake was centered about 80 miles northwest of Santiago, USGS said.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Sun, April 22, 2007 Saskatoon area braces for floods
UPDATED: 2007-04-22 02:29:59 MST
Communities declare state of emergency By CP
SASKATOON -- With floodwaters rising in lakes and rivers in many areas east and north of Saskatoon, four more communities and rural areas have declared states of emergency, provincial government officials said yesterday. Fifteen communities around the province are in emergency situations, which give them more powers to restrict access to roads and to take action to preserve roads and bridges, said Colin King, a spokesman for the provincial government's Public Safety Department. It also sends a message that this is a very serious situation, he said.
The community of Watson, the Rural Municipality of Lakeside, and the Rural Municipality of Porcupine east of Saskatoon are among the latest communities to declare states of emergency. The Rural Municipality of Torch River northeast of Saskatoon has also joined the list. Eight other communities who haven't declared states of emergency, but who have had some localized flooding, are also being watched closely, King said. More than 600 people evacuated Friday from the Red Earth First Nation about 270 km northeast of Saskatoon huddled in hotels in Saskatoon and Prince Albert and in a community centre in Saskatoon, where they bedded down on cots and were served food and hot coffee. Cabin owners in east-central and northwestern areas of Saskatchewan have also been told to get their valuables out as lake levels in those areas rise. Forty-eight cabins on Waldsea Lake have had some water damage.
The Nation's Weather By WEATHER UNDERGROUND, For The Associated Press
Mon Apr 23, 5:41 AM ET
A storm sliding into the Plains will bring thunderstorms, large hail and gusty winds to parts of Texas and Oklahoma Monday. In the East, unsettled weather was expected to push through the Great Lakes and Appalachians. Clouds are expected to spread across much of the East, with afternoon rain moving into New York and Pennsylvania. Warmer temperatures were anticipated for the West after a recent stretch of cool weather.Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Sunday ranged from a low of 15 degrees at Berthoud Pass, Colo to a high of 87 degrees at Wink, Texas.
Today In Jewish History 5 Iyar APR 23,2007
In 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence, in a ceremony led by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv. The first act of the new government was to remove British restrictions on Jewish immigration. The Declaration of Independence granted full civil rights to Arab citizens of Israel, and called for peace and cooperation with neighboring Arab countries. The following day, the armies of five Arab nations attacked Israel. Despite decades of hardship, terror and wars, Israel has become a world leader in research and agriculture and most of all, the center of spiritual inspiration for the Jewish world.
ISRAEL WILL BECOME A NATION. LITERALLY IN THE SPRING.
1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram,(CHANGED TO ABRAHAM LATER) Get thee out of thy
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:(PALESTINE,ISRAEL)
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds,(ALL THE WORLD) O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.(COME TO LIFE)
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.(ISRAEL WILL HAVE A POWERFUL ARMY)
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.(BURNED BY HITLER)
12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.(THE DRY BONES COME TO LIFE IN ISRAEL)
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:(ISRAEL WAS LITERALLY REBORN JUST BEFORE SUMMER,MAY 14,1948).
28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
ISRAEL WILL BE IN CONTROL OF JERUSALEM, THE SIGN OF THE START OF THE LAST GENERATION.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
ISRAEL CELEBRATES 1948 MIRACLE NATION
By Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Rabbinic Cabinet APR 23,07
Tonight sirens will sound across Israel calling the nation to a moment of collective reflection and sorrow for Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, When the country was established, Israel’s leaders were determined to link Yom HaZikaron to Yom HaAtzmaut, as the sun sets on Yom HaZikaron, Yom HaAtzmaut begins, and slowly, Israelis begin their Independence Day celebrations.
I love counting the Omer. This simple ritual that helps us count from Pesach to Shavuot– from freedom to responsibility – grounds me in those intervening weeks, reminding me that while Pesach and Shavuot are peak moments in our calendar, each and every day, each and every effort, counts. I am struck that the Omer count is the umbrella under which so much else takes place: ordinary days a-plenty, but also most of Pesach, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut.
Throughout these days in which we celebrate freedom, mourn our people’s greatest tragedy, remember fallen soldiers and celebrate the independence of the State of Israel, we are also counting, night after night, day after day. As we count, we can imagine the Shoah’s victims counting the days to deportation or barely imaginable freedom; the families of fallen Israeli soldiers counting the minutes after hearing the news of their loved one’s death; the Israelis of 1948 counting the seconds until they heard the good news of independence.
As we move toward Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut this year, we have so much sorrow to count: The numbers injured and killed in last year’s war with Lebanon; the young women harmed in what became the Israeli presidential sex scandal; victims of official corruption; victims of rockets and bombs. And as we count, we can’t ignore the mounting suffering of Palestinians having their homes demolished, watching their olive groves – and livelihoods – uprooted by the route of the security barrier, experiencing lengthy checkpoint waits, struggling with growing poverty, and more. How will we find hope or joy as we count to this year’s Yom HaAtzmaut? Significantly, at Yom HaAtzmaut, many greet friends and family with the words moadim l’simkhah (happy season), the greeting traditionally giving during the intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot. Expressed at YomHaAtzmaut, it seems to imply that this day – despite much joy – is no full festival, whose appropriate greeting would be hag sameach (happy holiday). Further, the traditional response to this Yom HaAtzmaut greeting is l’geulah shleimah (to a complete redemption) – surely the joy of Yom HaAtzmaut cannot be complete until the hoped-for geulah shleimah has arrived.
Can it arrive when so much is so wrong in the state we love so well? How many changes would have to take place to bring about that time of true redemption, a time when the dual observances of Yom HaAtzmaut and al Nakba (the Palestinian Catastrophe are blended into a harmonious end, a joint tale of two independent and secure states? How many days and nights would we have to count to move from this isolated happy, not-quite-a-festival season, to that longed-for complete redemption? I suggest we let the Omer counting serve as a reminder and a model: Even in our most desperate moments, we must not forget that there is still hope, that there are many who continue to make the enormous effort that peace requires. Perhaps we should begin on Yom HaAtzmaut this year, the 5th of Iyar, counting not measures of grain as with the Omer, but efforts toward redemptive peace. We can begin by counting from the first day of Iyar, Rosh Hodesh and count – along with our Omer — to the 5th day, Yom HaAtzmaut:
Count one for the first round of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with a second round already planned during the second half of May with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
Count two for H Res. 143 introduced by Congressional Rep. Susan Davis (D- CA), calling on President Bush to appoint a special envoy for Middle East peace in order to return Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table.Count three for the the Arab League’s unanimous endorsement of the Saudi Arabian peace initiative at their March meeting, which proposes a general Arab peace agreement with Israel in exchange for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just this week, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert said: I'm ready to accept the Saudi initiative as a basis for discussions with the Palestinians, together with theSaudis.
Count four for Syrian peace overtures, diplomatic indication that the Syrians themselves are willing to take the first step toward peace with Israel.
And finally, count five for Brit Tzedek, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. Five years of hard work and dedicated hearts have made an enormous impact on the Jewish American scene. In 2002, those of us who would seek peace with the Palestinians felt isolated and silenced, but in no small part due to the efforts of Brit Tzedek, we now know that we are part of a growing group of Jewish Americans who have understood that to be pro-peace is to truly be pro-Israel. Congratulations to Brit Tzedek, and to all of us who are involved. Yeshar koah!
Surely we can all think of more signs of hope, and keep this count going.
How should we count?
Begin by reading or singing Psalm 122:6-7 in English or Hebrew:
Pray for the well-being of Jerusalem;
May those who love you be at peace.
May there be peace within your walls,
Equanimity within your enclosures.
Add this prayer, adapted from The Book of Blessings, by Marcia Falk:
Nish’al mei-ain ha-shalom
Let us request of the source of peace?
For nothing is whole that is not first rent and out of the torn we make whole again.
May we live with promise in creation’s lap, redemption budding in our hands.
Then say, This is the first (second, third...) night of the count toward geulah shleimah, complete redemption in Israel. May redemption bud in my (our) hands. To make that last phrase real, make a donation to and/or volunteer your time for an organization working for peace.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
Salaam, aleinu v’al kol ha-olam
Peace will yet come to us
Peace: on us and on the entire world
Suggestions for Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut:
Light a yarhtzeit candle (long-burning candle in a glass used for mourning) and hold a minute of silence in honor of Yom HaZikaron at gatherings of friends, family or Brit Tzedek members. End with something celebratory, perhaps sharing memories of positive attachments to Israel.Make a call to the Parents' Circle - Families Forum Peace Hotline and/or share the hotline information with friends and family. Given that this group is made up of individuals who have lost loved ones in the conflict and have chosen to channel their grief into the pursuit of reconciliation and tolerance, rather than to look for a path of revenge and further bloodshed, it is an appropriate way to mark Yom HaZikaron. The hotline offers Americans the chance to call individual Israelis and/or Palestinians. For more information go to: www.hellopeace.net/callusa.htm
Hold a ceremony between Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut. You might choose to excerpt one or two poems or readings or use the entire ceremony written by Brit Tzedek Rabbinic Cabinet member Rabbi Rebecca Lillian. Be sure to edit the materials to reflect that this year is the 59th anniversary of Israel's independence.Participate in community celebrations of Yom HaAtzmaut, including your local Walk for Israel, wearing Brit Tzedek buttons and t-shirts. Show your community that you stand with them in support of Israel, even though you may have an alternative vision of what it means to be pro-Israel. For more information about acquiring Brit Tzedek paraphernalia, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gather together with a hevruta (study partner) or better yet, a group of people, to discuss Israel's Declaration of Independence. Use this time as an opportunity to connect with the ideals of the founders of Israel, to share what those ideals mean to you, and to recommit to fulfilling the dream by supporting efforts in Israel that move it toward justice and peace.
Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel has created Masechet Haatzma'ut, a Talmudic style commentary on the Declaration of Independence, which can be used to guide such discussions. RHR's discussion questions include: How has this vision of the founders of Israel inspired me? In what ways does it reflect my vision of Israel and in what way is it different from my own? How did the authors of the Declaration envision creating a state that is at one and the same time a Jewish state yet also a state that affords equality to all its citizens? How can we build a state that is both Jewish and democratic? What am I prepared to do over the coming year to help fulfill the vision of a state that is based on freedom, justice and peace, as envisaged by the prophets of Israel? Please send any additional suggestions you have about commemorating Yom HaZikaron or celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut to Rabbi John Friedman, chair of Brit Tzedek's Rabbinic Cabinet at email@example.com.
Independence Day at Homesh
by Baruch Gordon and Hana Levi Julian (INN) APR 23,07
Thousands of Israelis are planning to return to the site of the former northern Samaria community of Homesh on Tuesday to celebrate Israel Independence Day. They plan to climb to the hilltop in the early afternoon, hold a holiday picnic lunch, and then attend a ceremony before leaving the site.
Homesh, established in 1978, grew to be a small-sized village numbering dozens of Jewish families until the Sharon government destroyed it in the Disengagement Plan in 2005. The site of the community remains under Israeli military control, however, and the former residents have vowed to return. Under the banner Homesh First, they hope to make Homesh the first of the destroyed communities to be rebuilt. Permission to celebrate the holiday on the ruins of the destroyed community has not been granted by Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Peretz's orders, however, did not stop Homesh organizers from plastering every bus stop and bulletin board in the region with posters calling for the masses to join the Independence Day march. The Defense Minister has ordered police and soldiers to block the thousands of people who plan to attend.
IDF officials have acknowledged, however, that it will be difficult to completely stop the march since the area around the site is wide open and cannot be isolated. But the IDF is planning to make it hard for Homesh supporters to reach the site. Roadblocks will be placed along the approach routes at Kedummim and Einav, many miles away from Homesh.
The Homesh organizers, led by the former residents, said in response that they are continuing with the event as planned and are prepared to circumvent the roadblocks by foot and traverse great distances to reach their homes. The event organizers further said that gatherings will be held at the two roadblocks in the event that masses of supporters are unable to get through them. OC Central Command Major-General Yair Naveh initially allowed the march last Thursday. He also said the army would provide security for the marchers if they agreed to cooperate with security personnel and leave at the end of the day. Permission was revoked without explanation the next day in a meeting between Defense Minister Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, however. Boaz Haetzni, one of the organizers of the Independence Day march to Homesh reiterated the activists determination to reach the destroyed community. We never asked for permission to go to Homesh, just as one does not ask for permission to go to Ashdod. he said.
Haetzni pointed out that thousands of people also managed to reach Homesh during the last two marches despite efforts by Defense Minister Peretz to stop them. We did not ask for permission [in previous events at Homesh] on Chanukah or Pesach, and it is a matter of principle with us that we ask no one for permission to go to Homesh.In the march just before Pesach, the IDF and police removed hundreds of protesters after they spent several days at the site, but the activists showed only passive resistance, and there was no violence. More than 10,000 people who support restoring a Jewish presence in northern Samaria are expected to flood the road to Homesh on Independence Day.
The Religious Holiday of Independence Day: Where to From Here?
by Hillel Fendel (INN) APR 23,07
OK, we have a State, thank G-d. Now what? Three religious-Zionist rabbis answer.
Independence Day is commemorated in various ways in Israel. The secular public relates to it as a secular nationalist holiday, much as the Fourth of July in the United States, while the hareidi-religious sector largely ignores it - given the overly non-religious nature of the way it was founded and operates. The national-religious camp, however, relates to Independence Day as a religious holiday, one on which thanks must be given to G-d for extricating the Jewish People from many of the curses of Exile and fulfilling His oft-repeated promise to return them to the Promised Land. In accordance with this position, Israel's Chief Rabbinate ruled that special prayers, especially the Hallel prayer of praise and thanksgiving, must be recited on this day.
Many also celebrate by eating a festive meal, singing and dancing, wearing special Sabbath clothes, and discussing the various aspects of the Divine Providence evident in the creation of the State of Israel. Often the question is asked, however, in various ways and forms, how the current overtly-secular State of Israel jibes with the Biblical prophecies of a return to the land together with a revival of Torah and spirituality. For many, the questions have taken on particular acuteness in light of the destruction of 25 flourishing Jewish communities in Gush Katif and northern Shomron by Israel's own government. The Independence Day evening prayer service concludes with these words: May it be Thy will that just as we have merited the beginning of the Redemption, we shall also merit to hear the Shofar of our righteous Messiah...These words place the unyielding question in bold relief: Can we ever get this wagon out of the mud? How do we continue to the final destination? In response, Rabbi Uri Cohen, head of the Merkaz Tzvatim (Meretz) Beit Medrash and Teachers Seminar in Mevaseret Zion, says that the current State must not be under-estimated nor over-estimated:We must not make light of the country that we have; it has value even as it is. In other countries, the nation is a collection of individuals banded together for common interests; the state is a tool by which to attain them. But for the People of Israel, the situation is totally different.
As Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy writes in The Kuzari, the People of Israel are one soul in separate bodies - only when we are a community are we in our true and original composition. Accordingly, our State is not merely a tool, but rather the foundation of G-d's throne in the world (Rav A. I. Kook), a sanctification of G-d's Name the likes of which has not been since the day we were exiled from our Land (see Ezekiel 36,22). Maimonides ruled that one of the reasons for the Chanukah holiday is that rule over the Land returned to Jewish hands for some 200 years. Just like individuals, however, the State can sin and not fulfill its functions, such as settling the Land or building the Temple. But just as with individuals, this does not detract at all from the very value of the State or of the Commandments. Let us not ask: Is this really the State for which we suffered so greatly throughout the Exile? For the Redemption comes in stages, and not all at once. Just as in Egypt - first came the end of the bondage, then came the Exodus, and only much later did the Kingdom of David arise and the construction of the Holy Temple. This took more than 400 years!
In our Amidah prayer, too, first we ask for our freedom, then for the Ingathering of the Exiles, and only at the end do we mention the Holy Temple and the return of the Divine Presence. We must therefore be excited anew all the time at the great kindness G-d has wrought for us by enabling the establishment of this State - and at one and the same time, continue to anticipate with our thoughts, beliefs and actions for the completion of this process... Rabbi Daniel Shilo, the rabbi of Kedumim, says it is imperative for us to understand our objectives: Many people think that the justification for the existence of the State is only to serve as a safe haven and refuge for the Jews, following centuries of persecution. According to this, the State of Israel is nothing more than the largest and most efficient refugee camp in the world. If this is its only goal, even that won't be attained...
We know that G-d said, through His prophets, that He will bring them to My Holy Mountain - and not just to an earthly place of refuge. It is incumbent upon us, as Maimonides teaches in his Laws of Repentance, to repent not only from our evil acts, but also from our mistakenly small-minded conceptions of exalted concepts.
Rather, we must understand that the State is the way in which we fulfill the commandment of Settling the Land of Israel - that which is considered equal to all the other commandments put together... In the end, as our Sages have taught, G-d will bring about [a situation in which] Israel will repent and be returned to the right path - namely, to the right conception of our place in this Land. As the Prophet Ezekiel said, The destroyed cities will be full of flocks of people and they will know that I am G-d' - first they will be full of people, and only afterwards will they know G-d. The words of the Prophets are not just the heralding of good news, but also a demand upon us to work to have them fulfilled. Fortunate is one who works with G-d to do this.
Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, the rabbi of Mitzpeh Yericho, says we have forgotten some of the basics, and reminds us to keep our eyes on the ball, no matter how far off it is:The birth of the Nation of Israel was accompanied by the obligatory triple bonds of Nation-Torah-Land...
As our Sages (Sifrei Ekev 42) taught, The entire fulfillment of the Torah is only in the Land of Israel; we fulfill it outside the Land only so that it not be forgotten while we are in Exile.The secular Zionist movement strengthened the link between the Nation and its Land, but harmed the bond between these two and the Torah. Over the years of the State's existence, we, the religious public, have downplayed our demand to link the State and Jewish Law, and 'this is why this trouble has come upon us. The time has therefore come to demand and act to establish a Jewish Torah state in the Land of Israel. It must be based on these principles:
The boundaries must be those promised to Abraham at the Covenant of the Pieces... Non-Jews living here will be given two choices - to either leave, with the help of a special emigration office that will be established, or to accept upon themselves the Seven Noahide Laws before a Jewish Legal Court, thus acquiring for themselves rights of residency and work, but not political rights. A King will head the State, and the Sanhedrin will head the legal framework. The State's laws will be those of the Torah, and the police will be enjoined to enforce them. The State must build the Holy Temple, thus reviving full Divine service and restoring Israel to its proper place as a light unto the nations (see Isaiah 2,3).
The Redemption will not fall from the sky [Rabbi Kroizer concludes], and it is dependent upon us. We must believe that it is within our power to bring about and implement the revolutionary change. We must remember that the path is likely to be long and difficult; it is not incumbent upon us to complete it, but neither may we neglect it for a moment. Even if some aspects are not possible to carry out at present, it is important that the goals be clear. May G-d grant blessing to our actions and enable us to see quickly the complete Redemption of Israel.
Today is Memorial Day, 5767 (2007)
by Hillel Fendel (INN) APR 22,07
Commemoration of Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers and terrorism victims, began at 8:00 Sunday evening with a country-wide siren and minute of silence. The opening ceremony took place at the Western Wall, with the participation of Chief Rabbis Amar and Metzger.
A second siren will be sounded Monday morning, at 11 AM, once again bringing all activity to a standstill and marking the beginning of memorial ceremonies at the 43 military cemeteries around the country. A Knesset Member or government official will speak at each ceremony. A special ceremony will also be held in memory of Jews murdered by terrorists and anti-Semites around the world. Some 200 such Jews will be remembered at Monday's ceremony at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. The event is being organized by the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund, and the UJC of North America. A monument with the names of the victims will be unveiled.
The names of all Israel's fallen soldiers and terrorist victims will be broadcast on Israel's public television channel Sunday evening and Monday, one after the other, for 4-5 seconds each. The somber day comes to an end Monday with the onset of Israel's 59th Independence Day. Both Memorial Day and Independence Day are commemorated one day later than usual this year, by order of the Chief Rabbinate, in order to prevent the Sabbath desecration that would have resulted from having Memorial Day begin on Saturday night.The number of soldiers and security personnel who have fallen since November 29, 1947, when the United Nations accepted the partition thus mandating the creation of a Jewish State, is 20,526. The struggle to re-create a Jewish homeland, beginning in the year 1860, when Jews began to move outside Jerusalem's Old City walls, claimed an additional close to 1,500 victims. The 1948 War of Independence was Israel's costliest war, with more than 6,000 dead, one percent of the Jewish population at the time, and 15,000 wounded. The war consisted of 39 separate operations, fought from the borders of Lebanon to the Sinai Peninsula and Eilat, and was fought for about a year, until 1949.
Then followed seven years of relative quiet - during which there were 1,339 cases of armed clashes with Egyptian armed forces, 435 cases of incursion from Egyptian-controlled territory, and 172 cases of sabotage perpetrated by Egyptian military units and fedayeen [terrorists] in Israel, in which 101 Israelis were killed, as Israeli Ambassador to the UN Abba Eban explained to the Security Council on October 30, 1956. Eban gave these statistics the day after Israel began the Sinai Campaign - its military response to Egypt's violation of international agreements by sealing off the Israeli port of Eilat, effectively stopping Israel's sea trade with much of Africa and the Far East. A total of 231 Israeli soldiers died in the fighting. In March 1957, after receiving international guarantees that Israel's vitalwaterways would remain open, Israel withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza yet the Egyptians still
refused to open the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping.
The Six-Day War broke out on June 5, 1967. Along with the stunning victories, over 770 Israelis were killed. Then began the period of the War of Attrition, which claimed 424 soldiers and more than 100 civilians. A ceasefire was declared on August 8, 1970. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, 1973. The IDF ultimately emerged victorious, but a total of 2,688 soldiers were killed. In June 1982, in response to continued terrorist attacks and Katyusha shellings from across the Lebanese border, as well as an assassination attempt upon Israel's late Ambassador to Great Britain Shlomo Argov, Israel attacked the terrorists in Lebanon in what was known as Operation Peace for Galilee.
Close to 460 soldiers were killed between June and December 1982, and another 760 in daily ambushes against Israeli forces over the next two and a half years. Between December 1987, when the first Arab intifada broke out, and the signing of the Oslo Accords in late 1993, 90 Israelis were murdered.Between the Oslo signing and the beginning of what became known as the Oslo War in September, 2000, 251 Israelis were murdered by terrorists. Another 1,287 have been felled by Palestinian Authority terrorists and gunmen since September 2000.
Memorial Day Messages
In the year 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote to the bereaved families,
We visit today the rows of graves that extend to infinity... we still refuse to believe and we refuse to be consoled. Because there is no consolation. Heavy, maybe too heavy, is the price we bear for our independence and building the 52 years of the State of Israel.The late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the first Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces and the man who was responsible for setting the date of Memorial Day, explained the day's significance differently: We view the warriors who fall in battle as those who sprout forth life. The life of a nation grew out of this blood... This day must be more than mourning: We must remember, we must grieve, but it must be a day of mourning, majesty, and vision.
Interestingly, Barak himself took a similar tone when he spoke at the Mt. Herzl ceremony in 2000, saying,...their deaths are the precious price of freedom and our re-establishment. It is my hope that a strong and secure State of Israel will be, with the help of G-d, the consolation of the bereaved families.Rabbi Goren explained in a 1974 speech, how he came to set Memorial Day just before Independence Day:
The merit of doing this fell in my lot.. We first thought of setting Memorial Day on Lag BaOmer, the day that historically symbolizes the Bar Kokhba war, and that which is still celebrated by Jewish children as the day of Jewish strength. In this way, we thought that we could combine the heroism of our early ancestors with that of our own children in this generation. But doubts crept in. Would we not cause harm to the general significance, shrouded in mystery as it is, of that historic day? One of the Fast Days, or during the Three Weeks in which we remember the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temples, was then proposed. But we could not accept the fact that the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers would be solely a day of mourning. It was felt that this day must be more than that.
We must remember, we must grieve, but not only that - it must [also] be a day of... majesty and vision. We realized, therefore, that we could not assign this day to any existing holiday. But the first Independence Day was rapidly approaching, and so we did what we did - without announcing it formally and without setting any specific format for the day. I went to Voice of Israel studios on the day before Independence Day and read aloud the Chief of Staffs Daily Military Order [including an announcement of remembering the fallen soldiers], which he wrote according to my request. And so I became the narrator and the one who set Memorial Day on what became its date.
Beilin Proposes Law to Remove Jews from Hebron
3 Iyar 5767, April 21, '07
(IsraelNN.com) MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) has proposed legislation to forcibly evict Jews living in Hebron from their homes. The purpose of the legislation, Beilin said, was to improve the security, political, and economic situation for Israel in its relationship with the occupied territories.The danger to the settlers in Hebron, as well as to the Palestinian population, have made securing the area an impossible challenge for the state, Beilin claimed. In order to protect the settlers, they must be removed, he said.
ITS NO ACCIDENT THAT A RUSSIAN LEADER WOULD DIE ON THE VERY DAY ISRAEL IS CELEBRATING THE MIRACLE REBIRTH OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL. I THINK GOD IS GIVING THE WORLD A WARNING THAT THIS WILL BE THE FUTURE DATE THAT THE RUSSIA MUSLIM HORDES WILL BE DEFEATED AND MIRACULASLY GOD WILL SAVE THE ISRAELIS FROM CERTAIN DESTRUCTION. LIKE GOD SAID ISRAEL WILL NEVER DISAPPEAR IT WILL FOREVER BE A NATION, BUT IN EZEKIEL 38-39 WE SEE GOG THE RUSSIAN LEADER AND MUSLIM HORDE WILL BE PUT TO DEATH.
Former Russian President Yeltsin dies By JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Writer APR 23,07
MOSCOW - Former President Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, has died, a Kremlin official said Monday. He was 76.
Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov confirmed Yeltsin's death, but gave no cause or further information. The Interfax news agency cited an unidentified medical source as saying he had died of heart failure.Although Yeltsin pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, many of its citizens will remember him mostly for presiding over the country's steep decline.He was a contradictory figure, rocketing to popularity in the Communist era on pledges to fight corruption — but proving unable, or unwilling, to prevent the looting of state industry as it moved into private hands during his nine years as Russia's first freely elected president.He steadfastly defended freedom of the press, but was a master at manipulating the media.
He amassed as much power as possible in his office — then gave it all up in a dramatic New Year's address at the end of 1999.Yeltsin's greatest moments came in bursts. He stood atop a tank to resist an attempted coup in August 1991, and spearheaded the peaceful end of the Soviet state on Dec. 25 of that year. Ill with heart problems, and facing possible defeat by a Communist challenger in his 1996
re-election bid, he marshaled his energy and sprinted through the final weeks of the campaign. The challenge transformed the shaky convalescent into the spry, dancing candidate.But Yeltsin was an inconsistent reformer who never took much interest in the mundane tasks of day-to-day government and nearly always blamed Russia's myriad problems on subordinates.Yeltsin damaged his democratic credentials by using force to solve political disputes, though he claimed his actions were necessary to keep the country together.He sent tanks and troops in October 1993 to flush armed, hard-line supporters out of a hostile Russian parliament after they had sparked violence in the streets of Moscow. And in December 1994, Yeltsin launched a war against separatists in the southern republic of Chechnya.
Tens of thousands of people were killed in the Chechnya conflict, and a defeated and humiliated Russian army withdrew at the end of 1996. The war solved nothing — and Russian troops resumed fighting in the breakaway region in fall 1999.In the final years of his leadership, Yeltsin was dogged by health problems and often seemed out of touch. He retreated regularly to his country residence outside Moscow and stayed away from the Kremlin for days, even weeks at a time. As the country lurched from crisis to crisis, its leader appeared increasingly absent.Yet Yeltsin had made a stunning debut as Russian president. He introduced many basics of democracy, guaranteeing the rights to free speech, private property and multiparty elections, and opening the borders to trade and travel.
Though full of bluster, he revealed more of his personal life and private doubts than any previous Russian leader had.The debilitating bouts of depression, the grave second thoughts, the insomnia and headaches in the middle of the night, the tears and despair ... the hurt from people close to me who did not support me at the last minute, who didn't hold up, who deceived me — I have had to bear all of this, he wrote in his 1994 memoir, The Struggle for Russia.Yeltsin pushed through free-market reforms, creating a private sector and allowing foreign investment. In foreign policy, he assured independence for Russia's Soviet-era satellites, oversaw troop and arms reductions, and developed warm relations with Western leaders.That was the democratic Yeltsin, who in August 1991 rallied tens of thousands of Russians to face down a hard-line Soviet coup attempt. Throughout his nearly decade-long leadership, he remained Russia's strongest bulwark against Communism.
But there was another Yeltsin.
He was hesitant to act against crime and corruption — beginning in his own administration — while they sapped public faith and stunted democracy. His government's wrenching economic reforms impoverished millions of Russians poor people whose wages and pensions Yeltsin's government often went months without paying. In the course of the Yeltsin era, per capita income fell about 75 percent, and the nation's population fell by more than 2 million, due largely to the steep decline in public health. Yeltsin was a master of Kremlin intrigues, and preferred the chess game of politics to the detail work of solving economic and social problems. He played top advisers off against each other, and never let any of them accumulate much power, lest they challenge him. He fired the entire government four times in 1998 and 1999. The economy sank into a deep recession in summer 1998, but Yeltsin rarely commented on the troubles and never offered a plan to combat them. He was quick to act if anyone threatened his hold on power, standing fast even when his traditional allies called on him to step down. He easily faced down an impeachment attempt by the Communist-dominated lower chamber of parliament in May 1999.
In foreign affairs, he struggled to preserve a role for his former superpower. He called for a multipolar world as a way to counterbalance what Russia perceived as excessive U.S. global clout, and in spring 1999 he sent Russian troops rushing to Kosovo ahead of NATO peacekeepers to underline that Moscow would not be elbowed out of European affairs. He wrangled with the West in disputes over NATO expansion and Russia's relatively warm relations with Iran and Iraq. But as Russia's political and economic might withered, Yeltsin had little to offer other nations.
EARTH DESTROYED WITH THE EARTH
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Smoke from Waycross Fires 4/23/2007 9:14:48 AM
Web Editor: Lindsay Crump - By: Sheeka Strickland
As firefighters from across Georgia try to contain the wildfire people living around the state can see smoke coming from Waycross. 911 dispatchers in Macon have gotten calls from as far away as North Georgia from people wondering why the sky is hazy.Neal Edmondson with the Georgia Forestry Commission says the smoke is visible from as far away as Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Edmondson expects us to have smoky skies for about two more days.He doesn't want anyone to get alarmed if they see hazy smoke in their area because it's probably not a neighborhood fire, but fires from hundreds of miles away.Southeast Georgia wildfires have been burning thousands of acres since Monday. Winds from this fire are carrying smoke as far south as Daytona, Florida. Now northerly winds are shooting smoke through all of Georgia.
J.L. PINKNEY, DISTRICT 21 FIRE CHIEF:
As you can see, it looks real hazy all over Macon.District 21 Fire Chief J.L. Pinkney says the smoky atmosphere won't cause any safety problems in Central Georgia, but those with health problems might want to be careful.
J.L. PINKNEY, DISTRICT 21 FIRE CHIEF:
Any type of health problems such as asthma and things of this nature, I would advise them to stay inside because it could affect them and cause an asthma attack. Any type of breathing problems, I wouldn't venture outside, if I did I wouldn't be out too long.What's happening is there's a high pressure system sitting in east Georgia. Winds are moving in a clockwise motion around the high pressure, and that's how smoke from South Georgia is ending up in Central Georgia skies, all the way to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
NEAL EDMONDSON, GA FIRE PROGRAM MANAGER
Smoke on an incident, on a fire, its hot of course, and the hot rises up in the atmosphere and as it travels along through the atmosphere it begins to cool down and when it cools it drops back down, so that's why we're seeing smoke this far up.Georgia Forestry Commission dispatchers continue to answer calls and let people know the smoke isn't a fire here, but winds carrying smoke from a much larger fire.
NEAL EDMONDSON, GA FIRE PROGRAM MANAGER
Actually for this we need more wind so it would disperse the smoke, but we don't need more wind on the fire.Neal Edmondson with the Georgia Forestry Commission says the smoke is more visible in the morning, evening, and through the night as the weather cools. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean you won't smell it though.
J.L. PINKNEY, DISTRICT 21 FIRE CHIEF:
It smells like a woods fire. Not being facetious, but it really does, that's what it smells like.The Georgia Forestry Commission is not issuing burn permits right now.That's because they've sent so many resources and firefighters to South Georgia, if another fire broke out here, they may not have the resources they need to put it out.Right now firefighters have the wildfires about 30% contained, but they hope to have the fire fully contained by April 27th.
SINCE THE EU HAS TO BE A DICTATORSHIP AND WOMEN SEEM TO BE LEADING COUNTRIES ALOT NOW I PREDICT SEGOLENE ROYAL WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF FRANCE. THIS ELECTION WILL BE IMPORTANT TO PAVE THE WAY FOR THE EU CONSTITUTION WHICH THE NAME WILL BE CHANGED, BUT IT WILL BE THE SAME TEXT. AND ONLY THE GOVERNMENTS WILL REJECT OR AGREE THE TEXT, THE PEOPLE WILL NOT BE INVOLVED IN THE VOTE SO I PREDICT THE CONSTITUTION WILL COME INTO FORCE BY 2009.
It's Royal vs. Sarkozy in French runoff By ANGELA CHARLTON, AP/APR23,07
PARIS - Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy holds an advantage over his Socialist rival Segolene Royal after the two advanced to the second round of France's presidential election, narrowing the vote to a choice between the tough-talking former interior minister or the first woman with a chance of becoming the country's leader. Royal and Sarkozy planned rallies Monday night with an eye on voters who deserted the left and right in favor of farmer's son and lawmaker Francois Bayrou, who placed third on Sunday in one of the big surprises of the campaign.The winner's task will be tough: France is a troubled nation, still haunted by the riots by young blacks and Arabs in poor neighborhoods in 2005.Decades of high unemployment, increasing competition from economies like China's, and a sense that France is losing influence in the world made the campaign a passionate one.Sarkozy would relax labor laws and cut taxes to invigorate the sluggish economy, while Royal would increase government spending and preserve the country's generous worker protections.Royal, too, champions change but says it must not be brutal.
I extend my hand to all those women and men who think, as I do, that it is not only possible but urgent to abandon a system that no longer works, she said.With 18.5 percent of the vote, Bayrou won the support of voters who could hold the key to victory for Sarkozy or Royal when the French elect a new president in two weeks. Bayrou's centrist Union for French Democracy has traditionally voted with the right in parliament and has often had ministers in conservative governments. But Bayrou the candidate drew leftists as well as conservatives to his camp, both Sarkozy and Royal need those votes back.The door is naturally open, Sarkozy's top lieutenant, Brice Hortefeux, said Monday on France-Inter radio, adding that he felt Sarkozy best embodies the values of the center. But he said that Sarkozy and his governing party, the Union for a Popular Movement, would appeal directly to voters, not to Bayrou's political apparatus.
With nearly all votes counted, Sarkozy had 31.1 percent, followed by Royal with 25.8 percent and Bayrou. Turnout was 84.6 percent — the highest in more than 40 years and just shy of the record set in 1965.Royal is the first woman to get this close to the helm of this major European economic, military and diplomatic power. Sarkozy would be likely to push his anxious nation toward painful change.Either way, France will get its first president with no memory of World War II to replace the 74-year-old Jacques Chirac, who is stepping down after 12 years.Sunday's first round of voting shut out 10 other hopefuls, from Trotskyists to far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. Le Pen had hoped to repeat his shockingly strong showing of 2002 but instead finished a weak fourth with 10.5 percent.
Both Sarkozy, a Hungarian immigrant's son, and Royal, a military officer's daughter who beat Socialist heavyweights to win her party's nomination, are in their 50s.The runoff offers a clear choice between two very different paths, Royal said.
Sarkozy told cheering supporters Sunday night that by choosing him and Royal, voters clearly marked their wish to go to the very end of the debate between two ideas of the nation, two programs for society, two value systems, two concepts of politics.Despite his lead, the former interior minister faces a powerful Anything But Sarkozy push by those who call him too arrogant and explosive to run a nuclear-armed nation. He once called young delinquents scum, a remark that outraged the residents of poor neighborhoods and has dogged him politically. Royal, a lawmaker and feminist who says she makes political decisions based on what she would do for her children, shot to popularity by promising to run France differently. But she has stumbled on foreign policy. In one gaffe, she praised the Chinese during a trip to Beijing for their swift justice system.
Many voters question whether she is presidential enough to run France. Sarkozy should be able to count on votes from the far right, whose champion Le Pen suffered his second-worst showing in five presidential elections. Royal's score was the highest for a Socialist since Mitterrand in 1988. But closing the gap with Sarkozy could be a struggle in round two. Candidates to her left together scored about 11 percent. They immediately swung behind her after their elimination, but their votes alone will not be enough to put Royal in power. Turnout was 83.77 percent — just shy of 1965's 84.8 percent first-round record, set in 1965. That year, modern France held its first direct presidential election, with World War II Gen. Charles de Gaulle and Socialist Francois Mitterrand reaching the runoff that de Gaulle went on to win. Associated Press writers John Leicester, Jamey Keaten and Angela Doland in
Paris contributed to this report.
Israel Prepared For Compromises, Concessions For Peace - PM APR 23,07
JERUSALEM (AP)--Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday Israel is prepared to make far-reaching compromises and very painful concessions to achieve peace with its neighbors.Speaking at a ceremony marking Israel's Memorial Day, Olmert said the country owed its fallen soldiers to continue the vital effort to achieve the peace we long for and to seriously consider every diplomatic initiative.The 22-country Arab League recently renewed a five-year-old Saudi initiative offering Israel peace with the Arab world in return for giving up all of the territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The plan also calls for a solution for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.Israel objects to a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and has ruled out any return of refugees to former homes inside Israel. Nonetheless, Olmert has welcomed the Saudi plan as a basis for negotiations.
We will respect those of our neighbors who desire peace with us, Olmert said at a second ceremony Monday for Israeli civilians killed in Arab attacks. Israel would discuss diplomatic agreements and the future of the ties between us with goodwill and readiness to make painful concessions, he said.But referring to militants targeting Israelis, Olmert vowed Israel will never cease to pursue them and strike at them until they are destroyed.Olmert recently started a dialogue with the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in hopes of jump-starting stalled peace efforts. At the same time, Israel has been pushing forward with its war against Palestinian militants.Nine Palestinians were killed in fighting with Israel over the weekend. Most of the dead were militants, but Palestinians said at least
two civilians, including a 17-year-old girl, were killed.The upswing in violence drew calls from Palestinian moderates for Abbas to cut off contacts with Olmert, while the Islamic militant group Hamas, which sits in a coalition government with Abbas' Fatah movement, called for renewed attacks against Israelis.
In continuing violence, Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel Monday. On Saturday, a homemade rocket hit a home in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. No one was injured in the attacks.
In his Memorial Day speeches, Olmert also mentioned possible prisoner swap deals for the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas-linked militants in Gaza and for two others held by Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.Olmert said his government wouldn't repeat mistakes made in the past by releasing prisoners who then carried out more attacks against Israelis.But Olmert said there would be no escape in the end from making a difficult decision on trading prisoners for the captured Israeli troops.In Lebanon, a top Hezbollah official Sunday said U.N.-mediated negotiations on a prisoner swap are going on in a serious manner, but so far there have been no results. (END) Dow Jones Newswires
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