06.28.05 Update

6.28.2005

Ariel Sharon said U.S. Jewish immigration is vital for Israel's survival as a Jewish homeland. (JTA) "The first step to ensuring a Jewish majority is aliyah - widespread and broad aliyah from the entire Jewish Diaspora, and particularly from North America. Aliyah ensures not only the future of the State of Israel, but also the future of the Jewish people," the Israeli prime minister said in a speech to the Jewish Agency for Israel's assembly in Jerusalem on Tuesday. In the past, Sharon has called for 1 million Jews to move from the United States to Israel. But some experts do not share his optimism. "I don't see those numbers now, but I think we ought to take a positive approach and do what we can to help people come, not because they are running from something but they are running to something," Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told Israel's Army Radio.

IDF Cpl. Avi Bieber, originally from New Jersey, receives sentence of 56 days in jail for his refusal on orders to demolish vacant Gaza building. Story from the AP here.

A hospital in Israel has performed the first successful operation of ovarian tissue implant resulting in a birth for a patient who became infertile after chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Story from the AFP here.

The AP reports that Russia has dropped its inquiry into whether the Shulhan Arukh (Jewish Law Code) contains hateful content. The American Jewish Congress applauded the decision; their press release about the matter can be found here.

An Israeli parliamentary aide was rebuked for dying his hair orange, the rallying color of those opposed to the Gaza Strip withdrawal. (JTA) Davidi Hermlin, assistant to Likud lawmaker Naomi Blumenthal, was turned away from the Knesset plenum Monday after arriving with his hair dyed orange. "I was looking for an emphatic way of expressing my opposition to the disengagement," he told reporters, adding that he planned to fight the ban. Orange, which appears on the municipal logo of the main settlement bloc in Gaza, Gush Katif, has become the color of choice for right-wing protests on flags, ribbons and clothes. There was a cool addition to the campaign this week: orange icicles, handed out to motorists at main junctions. The wrapping reads, "Gush Katif and Samaria, See You Next Summer Too." Israel plans to leave Gaza and four settlements in the northern West Bank this August.

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