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Signs of the Times

Poverty Report: 36% of Israeli Needy Live in Hunger

{image_1} One in four Israelis fears falling into poverty. More than 1.5 million Israelis (25% of the population) live in poverty and 36% of them (540,000) live in hunger. One in five has contemplated suicide, and 10% of the needy know someone who died due to inability to fund medical care. These statistics were all revealed in the 2008 Alternative Poverty Report published by the LATET aid organization.

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Jewish Philanthropic World Devastated

The loss of US $50 billion in a financial scandal late last year, involving Jewish Wall Street wizard Bernard Madoff, has devastated Jewish charities. The loss is estimated at between US $600 million to US $1 billion.

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North Korea Providing WMD

{image_1} An Israeli delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assembly in October accused North Korea of providing weapons of mass destruction [WMD] to at least six Middle East countries. The Israeli delegate said that six countries in the Middle East had obtained the means to produce nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles covertly from North Korea, thereby ignoring commitments they are bound by as members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that fully accepts the IAEA’s right to conduct inspections.

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Jewish Population Growing

{image_1} A Jewish Agency report noted that Rosh Hashana 2008 sees 13.3 million Jews living around the world, as opposed to 13.2 million on the eve 2007’s Jewish New Year. The report’s count included all those listed or declaring themselves to be of the Jewish faith and holding no other religious denomination. According to data, 2008 saw a rise in the number of Jews living in Israel, as 70,000 new Israelis were inducted in the state. The situation in the Diaspora indicated the opposite trend, as the number of Diaspora Jews decreased from 7.8 million to 7.75 million.

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Israel’s Economy Under Caution

{image_1} Israel responded to the international economic crisis by cutting interest rates 50 basis points. Bank of Israel Governor Professor Stanley Fischer initiated the move. “The chances of a slowdown in Israel’s rate of economic growth in the near future have risen,” the bank warned.

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US Radar Deployed in Israel

{image_1} A new American-developed and -staffed radar installation has been deployed in the Negev desert in southern Israel, marking the first permanent deployment of US military personnel in Israel, the Defense News Web site reported.

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Muslim Officials: Capitalism Has Collapsed

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has announced the collapse of capitalism and called for its replacement with an Islamic financial system. Speaking in Doha, Qatar, at the sixth Annual Conference on Jerusalem, he said, “The Western system has collapsed, and we have a complete economic philosophy, as well as spiritual strength.”

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Israel Warns Russia!

{image_1} It is rare to read a headline that says, “Israel warns Russia!” Recent reports suggesting that Russia is on the verge of selling the advanced electronic warfare S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran caused Israel to threaten to neutralize the S-300 and its salability.

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“Skunk” on Riot Patrol

{image_1} Out with rubber bullets, tear gas, shock grenades; in with new, stinky means to scatter violent rioters. The Israeli Border Guard has begun using a new means of contending with riots, coined “Skunk.” The police developed this new method for scattering violent demonstrations and tested its effectiveness in August.

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Nasrallah Calls for United Lebanese Front

{image_1} Two years after the Second Lebanon War and the day Israel buried the two Israel Defense Forces reservists Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser taken captive by Hizbullah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah [secretary-general of Hizbullah] rejoiced, declared victory, and called for a united Lebanese front. It is no secret that since the war, Hizbullah has succeeded in replenishing its arsenal three-fold. Israel has estimated that the terrorist organization has in its possession over 40,000 long- and short- range rockets. Hizbullah continues to enjoy heavy Syrian and Iranian support.

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