Jerusalem – Terrorists in Gaza continue to aim their weapons at senior Israeli figures. Two weeks ago, they opened fire at the entourage of Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, wounding his aide. And on Sunday, OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant was met with a salvo of mortar shells during a visit to Kibbutz Nir-Am in the western Negev. Nobody was hurt.

In addition to the mortars, small-arms fire was heard in the area, and this could have been the Hamas snipers who fire at farmers in the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. Those present took cover behind hollowed-out concrete blocks that were put there after a volunteer from South America was murdered.

“The aim was to examine ways to stop the shooting at farmers and tighten cooperation between military and regional officials,” said Eshkol Regional Council chairman Haim Yellin. “In the middle of our explanation the mortar bombs fell on us.” Ami Uliel, southern district director of the Jewish National Fund, said the mortars fell 50 meters from the group.

Gaza: Seven Injured In IDF Strike

On Sunday, the Israel Air Force attacked a house in Gaza City and injured at least one person. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced that the air force had attacked terrorists in the Gaza Strip, but no armed men had been seen to be hit. According to the Palestinians, IDF missiles hit the home of Mohammed Hijazi, a commander in Fatah’s military wing, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. They said that Mr. Hijazi escaped the attack and that seven others were injured.

The IDF aircraft fired a missile at the third floor of a building in the Sheikh Redwan neighborhood north of Gaza City, where the senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades operative lives.

The strike took place shortly after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert concluded a meeting in Jerusalem with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah and is directly responsible for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

In another Gaza development, three Arab terrorists were killed and seven were injured in an explosion that took place in a house in the United Nations Palestinian Arab refugee camp in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office stated that there was no known IDF activity in the area and that this may have been a “work accident.” Neighbors said that the explosion took place in a house where a Hamas terrorist lives. They said that the explosion was caused by the accidental detonation of explosives.

Carter In Israel: Olmert Boycotts, Israeli POW Parents Embrace Him

Despite the harsh criticism by the political leadership in Israel against former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, the parents of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit actually believe in his ability to achieve progress toward the release of their son from his captors in Gaza.

Mr. Carter is scheduled to meet in Damascus with Hamas Political Bureau director Khaled Mashal, and on Sunday, he was asked by Noam and Aviva Shalit to raise the issue of Gilad’s release in the conversation. Noam Shalit said on Sunday that the meeting was initiated by Mr. Carter’s aides.

“I hope that his meeting with Khaled Mashal will take place. We have asked him to see how the prisoner exchange deal for Gilad’s release can be advanced. He showed great interest in our family and asked about what we were going through and how we were coping with the situation,” he said.

President Jimmy Carter, under whose auspices the Camp David accords with Egypt were signed in 1979, was not welcome this time in Jerusalem.

The prime minister, the defense minister and the foreign minister “did not find time” to meet him. In his latest book, Mr. Carter compares Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The only senior official who met with Mr. Carter was President Shimon Peres, who took advantage of the meeting to voice sharp criticism of the former president. Mr. Peres said to Mr. Carter that he had greatly contributed to Israel in the peace with Egypt, “but you caused grave damage in the statements and meetings you have held in recent years.”

In response to the decision of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to boycott him, Mr. Carter said to his entourage, “in a democratic country like Israel, there is no need to talk with the top of the pyramid to know what the people think.”

Western Wall Stones In Danger of Crumbling

Last week, in a routine check of the stones in the Western Wall, the last remaining wall of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, it was found that the stones in the wall are beginning to crumble.

The exposed stones are above the Western Wall plaza, right above the heads of the worshippers who pray at the wall every day. The stones were added in the 19th century to the top of the wall (by Sir Moses Montefiore). By comparison the stones that have been in the wall since the Second Temple Period have suffered only minor damage. A short period of treatment to strengthen the stones will remove the danger of disintegration.

Since according to Jewish law it is forbidden “to shatter the stones of the Western Wall” and replace them, scaffolding will soon be erected in the Western Wall plaza to ensure the safety of the worshipers. At the same time, the damaged stones will be undergo repairs, including an injection of water to strengthen them. Some of the stones reach a length of 10 feet and a height of 10 feet.

“At this stage, there is no immediate danger that the Western Wall stones will crumble, but undoubtedly the problem has to be dealt with,” said the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

“The restoration work will be conducted in cooperation with the Antiquities Authority and in accordance with halacha, after Passover.”

Elephant Yossi To Get Rid Of Leavened Goods for Matzah

The caretakers of the animals in Israel’s Ramat Gan safari zoo started yesterday to gradually replace the animals’ feed with a kosher mixture for Passover.

Passover commences this coming weekend in the Jewish world, when it is mandated by biblical law for the Jewish people – and their animals – to not partake of any leavened substance.

Israel’s safari zoo is careful not to give the animals leaven-based feed on Passover, and the wheat and grain mixtures are replaced with mixtures based on corn and legumes.

In order to give the animals an opportunity to get used to the different feed on the holiday, the feed is replaced gradually before the holiday.

This year, the safari zoo decided on a special campaign for getting rid of leavened goods and is inviting all visitors who wish to get rid of bread in their possession to bring it to the elephant enclosure in the safari. A collection point for bread will be opened near the elephant enclosure, and the bread will be served to an elephant named Yossi only until Passover.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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