Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron and in ‘Aida r.c., al-‘Aza r.c., Tulkarm. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba surround, heckle, scuffle with a group of European diplomats, Israeli activists making a solidarity visit to Hebron. (YA 8/31; PCHR 9/8)

A day after formally announcing that he will challenge Sharon for Likud party leadership in advance of Israeli elections, which must be held by 11/06, fmr. PM Benjamin Netanyahu goes to Ma’ale Adumim, where he vows that as PM, he would press for a rapid increase in construction of West Bank settlements, particularly around Jerusalem, including building 5,000 units in Ma’ale Adumim immediately. (NYT, WP, WT 8/31; NYT, WT 9/1; NYT 9/3)

The Jewish Agency, Israeli DMin. unveil a program to recruit 100s of young IDF soldiers who have just completed their mandatory service to travel abroad as “emissaries to Jewish communities in the Diaspora” to persuade Jewish youth abroad to come to Israel for a semester or yr. of academic study. The newly discharged soldiers would receive travel expenses and a stipend to travel for 6–12 mos. The project is estimated to cost $200 m./yr., with $50 m. paid by the Jewish Agency, $50 m. by the government, and the rest by donations to the agency, most of which come from North American Jews, who donate around $150 m./yr. to the Jewish Agency. (HA 8/31)