Monday, January 23, 2006

Jewish-Palestinian students vote together in Israel

Jewish and Palestinian Students in Israel Vote Together
For Immediate Release: January 23, 2006
Contact: Deanna Armbruster (856-235-6200),

Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, Israel - With national elections upcoming in both the West Bank/Gaza at the end of January and in Israel in March, Jewish and Arab students at Israel's first bilingual, binational Primary School/Junior High School in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam ("Oasis of Peace" in both Hebrew and Arabic) have been focused on the democratic process, and on every person's right to express their opinion, as long as it does not disparage, insult or trample on the rights of others to live with dignity and in peace.

Elections, held at the beginning of the school year, for class committees and student council representatives were an opportunity for the students to experience democracy first-hand. "The candidates were each given the stage to present their own political platform," said teacher Ety Edlund. "The children prepared slogans and posters and visited all the other classes for their election campaign."

Founded more than 20 years ago, the Primary School/Junior High School at the "Oasis of Peace" was the first, and remains one of only a handful of schools in the region, where Jewish and Arab children learn together in the same classes with equal respect for Arabic and Hebrew.

"Such activities bring the entire student body population together, regardless of grade, religion, or national identity. Certainly, this unique school faces many challenges with the ongoing tension and violence facing Israelis andPalestinians," said Edlund.

"Yet, as the students learn together and vote together the walls of culture, religion, language, and ethnicity that divide them, start tumbling down."

The elected student leaders have taken their responsibilities to heart. One of the challenges facing the school is improving the quality of Arabic language education for all students in a society where Hebrew is the dominate language.

Students have taken on the challenge themselves by arranging an Arabic-only school break with special activities where all students (Jewish and Arab) must speak only Arabic. Activities have included remembering the 10th anniversary of the assassination of PM Yitzhak Rabin, and other programs arranged by each class level where all students participate.


American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam
4201 Church Road, Suite 13, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
Tel. 856-235-6200, Fax 856-235-4674

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Lebanese American Monthly Magazine launched

Lebanese Monthly Magazine Officially Debuts with a Celebrity Launch Party TONIGHT!

Lebanese Monthly Magazine Official Celebrity Launch Party

Thursday, January 19, 2006
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM in the evening

Erhard Land Rover of Farmington Hills
Dealership Atrium Showroom
38200 Grand River Avenue
Farmington Hills, Michigan USA


John G. Akouri, Editor-in-Chief
CONTACT: 248.320.7300

Sponsored In Part By The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Free Muslims Demand release of Journalist

Free Muslims Demand Release of American Journalist from Iraq

Washington, DC Jan. 17--- The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism (FMC), an AmericanMuslim organization, demands the release of Jill Carroll, an American journalist who waskidnapped in Iraq.

Jill Carroll appeared in a video that was shown on the al-Jazeera television network. This was the first time Carrol was shown since she was kidnapped on January 7, 2006after meeting with Adnan Dulaimi who is an Iraq politician.

News reports indicate that she was kidnapped by a little known group by the name of"Vengeance Brigade." While it is not clear why Carrol was kidnapped, shortly after herkidnapping, protesters in Baghdad demanded the release of Iraqi women from U.S. detention.

Regardless of why Carol was abducted, her kidnapping is immoral and counter productiveto the interest of those who want the U.S. to leave Iraq. While kidnapping anyone iswrong, the abduction of journalists and women is particularly repulsive. In everyinstance where the Koran mentions war and peace, there is an injunction againsttargeting women. Moreover, "journalists are in the business of publishing the truth and there isabsolutely no benefit or justification for targeting journalists. It must stop." Said Kamal Nawash, the President of FMC.

"The Free Muslims call on American Muslim organizations and Muslim leaders in the Arab world to condemn the kidnapping of Carroland any other innocent person. This is necessary because many terrorists around theMuslim world believe that they have grass root support. They will only refrain fromkidnappings and other vile acts if Muslims make it clear that they are repulsed by suchbarbaric tactics" said Nawash.

For more information, visit our website at

For Immediate Release Contact: Kamal Nawash
January 18, 2006
Phone: 202-776-7190

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Andy Martin to make primary referendum on Iraq

GOP Candidate Martin to Make Illinois Primary a Referendum on Iraq

Martin Urges Bush to “BRING HOME OUR HEROES.”

January 12, 2006


(CHICAGO)(January 12, 2006) Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy Martin will tell the Cook County Republican Convention Friday, January 13th in Rosemont (Chicago) Illinois that he will make the gubernatorial primary a referendum on Iraq. Martin promises that if he is nominated he will ask to meet with President Bush to tell him “The Illinois economy is hurting. Mr. President…Bring home our heroes. Put Illinois first.”

Martin will hold a news conference after his speech to the Republican convention.

“Tuesday the president invited ‘honest critics’ to comment on to our Iraq policy. It is entirely appropriate that Republicans lead that effort,” Martin will state.

“Governors do not have a role in foreign policy, so I will not address the current conduct of the war. My prior reporting from Baghdad in 2003 exposed Paul Bremer’s incompetence and maladministration.

“Governors do have a critical role in domestic economic policy. I believe the protracted conflict in Iraq is devastating the Illinois economy. Three years ago people bought SUV’s and drove them with oil at $20 a barrel. Today oil at is $70 a barrel. People buy Japanese cars.

“Ironically, our allies profit from American efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East. United Auto Workers lose their jobs to foreign auto makers. Families fear for their futures. Pensions are disappearing. This cannot continue.

“Arab nations have not come to our aid, three years later. Saudis profit by selling us oil at inflated prices to defend them. The American public will not tolerate this incongruity indefinitely. It is time to Put America First.

“It is time to invest in Illinois, not Iraq. The heartland is hurting; voters want budgetary priorities to reflect economic reality. American taxpayers cannot afford to spend $1 billion a day forever just so the Middle East will someday become ‘democratic.’

“I follow in the great tradition of Illinois’ own U. S. Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, who said ‘When I feel the heat, I see the light.’ It is time for Illinois voters to send a little ‘heat’ to Washington, to send a clear message, so policymakers see the ‘light’: ‘Mr. President… bring home our heroes.’

“It will not benefit Americans if we go bankrupt fighting for Arab democracy. Bringing democracy to the Middle East is a job best left to Arabs, not Americans.

“I have a consistent record of supporting President Bush’s goals while offering ‘honest criticism’ of his methods. As a result of our differences over Mr. Bremer, the president should respect my insight and analysis. I think a Republican whom the president respects is the best person to open the president’s eyes to the devastating impact of prolonged conflict on the Illinois economy.

“In the March 21st primary, a vote for me is a vote to send President Bush the message, ‘Mr. President… Bring home our heroes. It is time to put Illinois and America first.’

“Every Illinoisan now has the opportunity to cast a primary vote for ‘heat’ and ‘light’ in the tradition of Senator Dirksen. They can support me to express their view of the war’s impact on our state.

“Finally, my fear is that if we do not recalibrate our economic priorities to Put Illinois First, the public will eventually lose faith in the war against terror; that is a conflict where there can be no retreat and no defeat.”

Media contact: Andy Martin (312) 440-4124; Website:; Contributions:



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Palestine's Orthodox Priest Attalla Hanna ordained as Sabastia Archbishop Theodosios

A Rare Day for Orthodoxy in the Holy Land
By Maria C. Khoury

Orthodoxy is not based on ethnicity but in Jerusalem with the dominant Greek leadership in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate there were cheers, clapping, whistling and extreme joy expressed at the ordination of the Palestinian Archimandrite Attalla Hanna ordained Theodosios Archbishop of Sabastia on December 24, 2005. To be lighting candles at Christ’s Holy Tomb on the Eve of the Nativity of the Lord is not the place to be when everyone else is heading to Bethlehem to receive the “New Born King.” However, this was not an ordinary day in the Holy Land.

It was a special day that the Palestinian Orthodox Christian community has been waiting for over twenty-five years since the passing of the first Palestinian bishop from our village of Taybeh, Bishop Symon in the early 1980’s. This historical day in the Orthodox Christian community was blessed by the new patriarch His Beatitude Theophilos III officiated with representatives from Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Greece attending in witness of this extraordinary day for a Palestinian Orthodox bishop. I have such little faith thinking the recent patriarchate scandals would not allow this day to happen in my lifetime.

The Orthodox community in Palestine has been waiting anxiously to see a minimum of two local bishops of Arab ethnicity to join the Greek Orthodox leadership as stipulated by Church policy and this issue alone has created a huge gap among the Greeks of the Brotherhood and the local Arab faithful. As a scholar, His Beatitude Theophilos always speaks eloquently but the most important emphasis was that the Holy Synod finally fulfilled one of its obligations to the Orthodox community with the new ordination of the Palestinian bishop. Furthermore, all of us were thrilled that an Orthodox Christian woman, Ms. Hind Khoury, Ministry of State, Jerusalem Portfolio, was the official representative of the Palestinian Authority to this rare occasion. Also, giving a congratulatory speech on behalf of the Palestinian president was Mr. Rafeek Huseni at a reception in the Greek Patriarchate following the four hour well attended service. Mr. Margaritis, Deputy General Consul of Greece offered warm congratulations on behalf of the Greek government.

The representative from the Jordanian Parliament, a well known Orthodox layman, Dr. Odeh Qawas did not forget to thank the bishop’s mother for helping to raise him the Orthodox way and maintain the traditions and values of the One True Faith. Dr. John Tleel, the author of “I am Jerusalem,” a person I consider a treasure in the Old City, said that as Christians we are in the holy season of experiencing the Birth of the King of Glory, also we are experiencing the birth of a new Palestinian bishop and we should focus on our Orthodoxy not on our ethnicity but it’s obvious this new appointment brought joy to every Palestinian Orthodox soul in the world.

Born (l965) in Al-Rameh (near Haifa) to Arab Israeli Orthodox Christian parents, Yacoub and Alice, the new bishop has only one brother and one sister. He was ordained a priest (l991) at the Holy Sepulchre the same spot where this holy sacrament took place. He has represented the World Council of Churches at meetings on human rights during which the suffering of Palestinian people was discussed. For his devotion and dedication to the Holy Land ministry, Archbishop Theodosios has received an honorary doctor of theology degree from the Sophia Theological Institute of Bulgaria. He also studied theology for seven years in Greece. He is one of the few highly educated Palestinian clergymen that speak out for justice and peace for all people in the region. He has served as the official spokesperson for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate for many years appointed by the late Patriarch Diodoros.

Archbishop Theodosios, well respected by the Christian and Muslim people was called “bishop” even years before his official elevation and is against all forms of violence and supports non-violent solutions to the Israeli military occupation. The Israeli propaganda machine has tried to smear his reputation and marginalize him in the past especially since he is very competent to fill the gap between Christians and Muslims and has often participated in Christian-Muslim dialogue promoting better relations among the different faiths united by cultural, social and political aspirations.

The new bishop is a man of great faith that can lead us to better understanding and relations with others serving the Lord in a very troubled land. Many of his high school classmates came to the ordination as well as the Mayor of Al Rameh who were very proud to see one of their own sons join the ranks of the Greek Orthodox leadership in Jerusalem. “Axios” was shouted in many languages! Sadly since many Palestinian Orthodox Christians could not enter Jerusalem to witness this sacrament due to Israeli military policy requiring permits, various receptions were held in different locations to congratulate His Eminence the new Palestinian Archbishop of Sabastia Theodosios.