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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

The United States has quietly approved a plan to relocate its consulate from the eastern section of Jerusalem to a western Jerusalem neighborhood, with construction of the new facility already beginning and some in Israel are worried the move may be related to the Jewish state withdrawing from eastern Jerusalem and giving the area to the Palestinians.

The U.S. is maintaining that the approved consular move is related to rising concerns over security threats in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood. But some in Israel worry the change may be politically motivated. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is forging ahead with his plan to remove Jewish settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank this summer, and there has been talk, mostly by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, of future withdrawals from other areas, including eastern Jerusalem.

Knesset Member Uzi Landau, one of the leading anti-disengagement forces within Sharon’s Likud party, said, “It is quite clear the disengagement policy will lead to the division of Jerusalem. This will be done under the auspices of Sharon.”

But Mitchell Barak, a former aide to Sharon, said he believes the U.S. explanation.

“The current offices in the Arab neighborhood are too small to accommodate demand,” said Barak. “People have to wait in line outside. It’s just not safe.”

***

The father of an American-born Israeli soldier who disappeared in Lebanon 23 years ago recently obtained evidence he says indicates his son is being held in a Syrian prison. Yona Baumel is applying this week for a visa to visit Syrian president Bashar Assad and demand the missing soldier’s release.

“I have been waiting all these years, but now I have concrete evidence my son is alive and the timing is ripe for Syria to return him,” said Baumel, whose son Zachary was captured by Syrian forces in Lebanon in 1982.

“I am going to ask Syria for a visa and will take my case straight to Assad.”

Baumel says sources he has cultivated in Syria told him they have visited his son in the past two months at a Syrian military installation just north of the border with Iraq. And Baumel was recently given a book from a confidante of a family in Syria that has coded messages he says could have only been written by his son.

“It’s been a long and painful 23 years. I am going to Syria, and I am bringing back my son,” said Baumel.

***

Syria has published an updated version of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” adding to it Islamic extremist ideology, including claims Israelis use hot pokers to gouge out Arab eyes, and dedicating the work to Palestinian suicide bombers.

The work contains several sections that claim Jews control the world, the Holocaust was a Zionist creation, and Israelis seek to kill Arab children. Chapters include “Judaism is a Closed Religion,” “The Jews are Treacherous,” and “The Laws of Humanity and Humanistic Behavior Among Jews are only Valid for Themselves.”

The book opens with a “history” of the Jewish people that claims Jews invented the idea of their nation being “chosen” and later created a false connection to the land of Israel. The first section also tells readers Jews “from time immortal” have dominated the fields of prostitution and drug dealing. The new Syrian edition was dedicated to “the shaheeds of the blessed Al Aqsa [Mosque] and all those who died the deaths of martyrs for the sake of Allah in Palestine. May Allah grant me the privilege of dying the death of a martyr for the sake of Allah in Palestine.”

***
World Pride 2005, an international homosexual event planned for Jerusalem this summer, is morally outrageous and highly offensive to religious sensibilities, said a Christian group that is seeking 1 million signatures on a petition to stop the event.

The mass gathering is scheduled to take place in August in Jerusalem with the theme “Love without borders.” A brochure says the event’s goal is to bring a “new focus to an ancient city through a massive demonstration of LGBT dignity, pride and boundary-crossing celebration.”

The global gathering was last held in 2000 in Rome, where it attracted about a quarter of a million participants. Images of the Rome festivities show throngs of shirtless men in shorts and bikini briefs congregating in the streets, some of them holding hands.

But the Jerusalem Prayer Team, a national group that asks members to pray for and encourage the people of Israel, has called World Pride an abomination, with its followers asking the Jerusalem mayor and the city’s municipality to cancel the event.

“Jerusalem is where heaven and earth met and will meet again,” Prayer Team founder Mike Evans told WorldNetDaily. “This event will bring to the streets homosexuals in immodest dress, in G-strings, with all kinds of pornographic images. They plan to fill the hotels and restaurants and party like Sodomites, while the world press takes pictures. It is a disgrace to the eternal holiness of Jerusalem and to its people.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He can also be heard regularly on ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show.

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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