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Signs of the Times

Missiles: From Iran to Tel Aviv

{image_1}BEFORE THE DUST SETTLES from Israel's attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Islamic Republic will send its ballistic missiles into the very heart of Tel Aviv. This was spelled out by a deputy of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in the Revolutionary Guards, Mojtaba Zolnour.

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Israel Barred from Turkish Air Space

{image_1}TURKEY, which has recently made political maneuverings to mediate future peace talks between Israel and Syria, warned of dire consequences for Israel if it used Turkish air space against Iran. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would respond harshly if Israel were to infiltrate its air space in an attempt to spy on Iran..

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Israel Blasts UN Report

{image_1} ISRAEL BLASTED THE UNITED NATIONS fact-finding mission report, also known as the Goldstone Report—on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead campaign in the Gaza Strip—which declared Israel and Hamas both guilty of actions that amount to war crimes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site said that the report “effectively ignores Israel's right of self defense, makes unsubstantiated claims about its intent, and challenges Israel's democratic values and rule of law.”

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Iran’s Nuclear Program…Evolving

{image_1}THE EVER EVOLVING DEVELOPMENTS of Iran’s nuclear program—with weekly, if not daily, new reports—are keeping the world on its toes wondering what’s coming next. The Media Line reported that, on September 23, Iran’s nuclear head said that a “new generation” of centrifuges had been constructed, which were “stronger and faster” and were being tested.

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71 Senators Ask Obama to Pressure Arab States

{image_1}Seventy-one US Senators sent a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to encourage and pressure Arab states to consider “dramatic gestures” toward Israel in order to show their commitment to peace with the Jewish state. In their letter, the senators—Democrats and Republicans—detailed steps taken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to signal Israel’s commitment for peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world.

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HRW accuses Hamas of war crimes


US Watchdog Human Rights (HRW) accused Hamas of war crimes. Their 31-page report describes Hamas rocket attacks against Israel as war crimes, calling them “unlawful and unjustifiable.” The homemade Kassam and Soviet-designed Grad rockets that have been launched into Israel are considered by HRW to be inherently indiscriminate weapons unable to be aimed with any reliability. “Hamas forces violated the laws of war, both by firing rockets deliberately and indiscriminately at Israeli cities, and by launching them from populated areas and endangering Gazan civilians,” said HRW program director Lain Levine. While the group has also reported on what it considers war crimes by Israel during the 23-day Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the organization made it clear that “violations by one party to a conflict never justify violations by the other.”

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Job Vacancies Hit 12-year Low

{image_1}The Israeli job market’s slump has hit a new low, an Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry analysis revealed. The second quarter [Q2] of 2009 had the market offer just 15,600 positions to job seekers—a 25% drop compared to the previous quarter, and a 70% drop compared to Q2 of 2008. The number also represents a 12-year low in job vacancies.

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Poverty in Jerusalem

The sight of a man and his dog sleeping outside a fashion shop on Ben Yehuda Street is one more manifestation of the fact that in Jerusalem the economic situation is about twice as bad as in the rest of the country. The few coins by his right hand tell little about this man as an individual. Begging in Jerusalem has always been part of the city’s life, but it does not tell the entire story. There are fewer jobs in Jerusalem than in the rest of the country. Poverty in Israel’s largest city has increased very dramatically in the past eight years. Although there are many different criteria for measuring poverty, there has been about a 40% increase in the numbers of Jerusalemites who are regarded as being below the official poverty threshold. In 2006, the average monthly income for a worker in Jerusalem was half as much as a similar worker in Tel Aviv.

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64% Want Temple Rebuilt

{image_1}About two-thirds of the Israeli public want the Temple rebuilt, including about half of secular Israelis, a new survey conducted for Ynetnews and the Gesher organization revealed. Initially, the respondents were asked what happened on Tisha B’Av [Ninth of Av, day of mourning over the destruction of the Temples, this year on July 30], and showed impressive knowledge. Only 2% said they did not know.

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Israel’s Economy Sinking

{image_1}The Israeli economy is now officially in recession. The world economic crisis has caught up with Israel, and the next few months will tell whether [ Israel Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has the ability to deal with it. In May, the government approved an economic “package deal” hammered out in concert with the trade unions and employers’ representatives that commentators described as a 180-degree reversal of Netanyahu’s economic promises during the election.

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