Shorts: Mideast

Most Israelis want Arabs relocated

Three in four Israeli Jews favor the idea of transferring their Arab compatriots to the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state, a poll found.

According to a survey commissioned this week by the Knesset Channel, 76 percent of Jews in Israel believe all or selected Israeli Arab communities should be included within the borders of Palestine when it arises. Some of those favoring the idea proposed that Arab citizens deemed loyal to Israel be given the option of staying.

The poll had 668 respondents and a 3.7 percent margin of error. — jta

Hamas chief: Holocaust ‘exaggerated’

Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, said in a Sky TV interview March 31 that the numbers of the Holocaust were embellished to justify the existence and actions of Israel.

“We don’t deny the Holocaust, but we believe the Holocaust was exaggerated by the Zionist movement to use as a whip,” the Palestinian faction’s leader said.

Though Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, Meshaal likened the group’s terrorist and guerrilla attacks to French resistance against the Nazis and the American Revolution.

He said Hamas has offered Israel a deal in which each side would attack only military targets. Hamas, like many Palestinians, considers Israelis living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be military targets. — jta

Abuse arrest exposes ‘Taliban’ Jewish sect

A child-abuse scandal has brought an extremist ultra-Orthodox women’s sect to light in Israel.

Police announced this week the arrest of a woman in her 50s from Beit Shemesh on charges of assaulting and neglecting her 12 children, some of whom are believed to have committed incest.

It soon emerged that the suspect is a leader of a religious community that believes Jewish women should be entirely covered from view and refrain from speaking to men.

Some established Orthodox communities have dubbed the sect the Taliban. They believe its members were secular women who in embracing religion took it to an unusual extreme. — jta

New MDA station opened in Sderot

A new Magen David Adom emergency medical station opened in Sderot on March 31.

The facility was dedicated just days after a Kassam rocket hit a Sderot kindergarten only seconds after the children were evacuated.

The station, built by American Friends of Magen David Adom, replaces a makeshift building more than 30 years old that recently was condemned for structural problems.

Much of the new building is protected against rocket attacks. — jta