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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, who has been repeatedly warning that “dangerous Jewish extremists” are planning to blow up the Temple Mount and assassinate Ariel Sharon to disrupt his Gaza pullout plan, had a leisurely talk last week outside his home, with no protection, with some of the leaders he has claimed are “fomenting violence.”

“It would be like the director of the FBI accusing a group of trying to blow up the White House and then just strolling out of his house to chat with them,” said a Kahane Chai leader, who provided WorldNetDaily with a photo of Hanegbi sitting next to right-wing leaders Baruch Ben-Yosef and Itamar Ben Gvir, both of whom Hanegbi has been reportedly investigating for “possibly plotting attacks.”

Mike Guzofsky, director of the Jewish Legion in the Kfar Tapuach settlement, said Hanegbi “came out to greet the so-called extremists, who were holding a protest outside of his house last week. From our picture, one can learn just how scared Hanegbi is of these extremists he warns about constantly in the media. He is shown without bodyguards, sitting right next to them, yawning and looking rather comfy.”

Some settler leaders have accused Hanegbi and Sharon of contriving reports of settler violence and extremism to discredit the settlement movement and foment domestic and international opposition to the settlers ahead of Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan in 2005.

“We have said continually that any protests we are planning will be entirely peaceful,” said Guzofsky.

* * * *

Sharon’s unilateral evacuation from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank is “just the beginning” of Israel’s ultimate withdrawal from other territories, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week.

“The four settlements the government intends to evacuate in northern Samaria within the framework of the disengagement plan will not be the only ones,” Olmert reportedly said.

“If we find ourselves in a long-standing process, we will evacuate many settlements, not necessarily out of desire but out of rising necessity to minimize our friction with the world [over the Palestinian issue].”

Olmert said Israel has “not revealed the cards it has for Judea and Samaria. We are maintaining a policy of ambiguity,” leaving the world in expectation.

Sharon claimed he was shocked by Olmert’s comments, which he maintains are at odds with his government’s policy.

Olmert’s statements are often coordinated with Sharon to “test the waters” of potential future Israeli government initiatives. Olmert was the first to go public with Sharon’s plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.

Some Israeli politicians and American Jewish leaders are worried Sharon plans to later evacuate other settlements, and possibly parts of Jerusalem, and that he is using Olmert’s statements to gauge the domestic and international response to such possibilities.

* * * *

IDF leaders want to employ police instead of soldiers to remove Jewish settlers from their West Bank homes when Sharon’s disengagement plan is implemented in 2005, an Israel military source told WorldNetDaily.

“Police are more properly trained in the confrontation of civilian dissenters, like in the breakup of protests,” said the source, “and the police have more legal authority and maneuvering room than the IDF when it comes to domestic issues.”

He said the Israeli army may be used to supervise the evacuation to make sure Palestinians don’t interfere in the withdrawal process, but use of the military, which is generally regarded as a political tool, could heighten an already tense situation.

But some settler leaders have been charging that Sharon, expecting violent confrontations with settlers, is secretly assembling a combat unit to carry out the withdrawal.

Several sources within the settler establishment have claimed Sharon is quietly putting together a special unit of soldiers composed of Arabs and Israeli leftists who are more distanced from the settlement movement and less likely to refrain from using force to remove Jewish residents from Gaza.

* * * *

Meanwhile, pop singer Madonna, aka Esther, said she intends to embark on a “spiritual journey” to Israel to rejuvenate her spirits and absorb “positive Kabbalah energy” from the “upper world.”

After her re-invention tour ends in Europe this month, the singer will accompany her husband, two children and other members of the Kabbalah Centre on an “energy tour,” which starts in September.

Madonna also recently announced she’s funding a $22 million Kabbalist grammar school for children, which is due to open in New York City at the end of the year.

“The school has been a dream of Esther’s for some time,” a source said. “Education means a lot to her, and she was keen to make the most of her money.”

Aaron Klein is chief of WorldNetDaily.com’s upcoming Jerusalem bureau.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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