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Israel Remembers September 11

To the American People: 
Israel deeply mourns the more than 3,000 victims of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The people of Israel express their most heartfelt sympathy for the American people.
We share in your grief, and will keep the victims and their families in our heart and prayers forever.
We salute you, a people who refused to succumb to hatred or to fear, but instead stood united in compassion, tolerance and generosity of spirit to survive your darkest hour.
We stand with you, a people who chose to mourn the innocent victims of September 11th with dignity and to honor their memory by bringing those responsible to justice.
We support you not only in the fight against terrorism, but also in the battle for freedom and security, democracy and peace.
The ties of shared values and genuine friendship between our two peoples are stronger than ever.
America, Israel is with you.

The five Israeli victims of September 11, 2001:
• Alona Avraham
• Leon Lebor
• Shay Levinhar
• Daniel Lewin
• Haggai Sheffi

At an official ceremony in solidarity with the American people and the families of the victims held in the Prime Minister's office on the first anniversary of the attacks - on Sept 11, 2002 at 15:46 PM (8:46 AM in New York) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer spoke, and Ashkenzi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau recited psalms. Flags were lowered to half-mast.

At the Israeli Cabinet meeting on September 10 devoted to the attacks, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said:
"Tomorrow, we will mark one year since the 9.11.2001 terror attack on the US. Thousands of civilians from many countries lost their lives in the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. They were perpetrated by terrorists who had lived in the US and who used the freedoms that this great democracy affords its citizens - in order to attack it. It was an historic warning light to democracies, which are being called on to defend themselves against those who would assail them. Our hearts are with the innocent victims' families and with the American people. I hold US President George Bush in the highest esteem for the true leadership that he showed in understanding the great historic challenge facing him.
Israel, which has been engaged in a war against murderous terror since its independence to this very day, knows that there is no compromise in the war against terror. Any display of weakness in the battle against terror is destined to claim a heavy price.
Tomorrow, we will hold a solidarity assembly to mark the anniversary. We will remember 9.11.2001 as a day on which the dark and dangerous forces threw down a challenge to the leadership of the free world and the values of liberty and democracy. The counter-assault of the free world, led by the US, began that very day.
We believe that this campaign will end in the complete victory of light over darkness."

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres wrote to US Secretary of State Colin Powell:
"As the United States remembers the terrible events of September 11, one year after the murderous hand of terrorism caused the loss of so many innocent lives in the destruction of the World Trade Center, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crashing of United Flight 93, Israel remembers together with you. As you honor the memory of the victims, we, too, pay tribute to the victims and the heroes of that terrible day...

As America pays homage to the victims of September 11 and the families commemorate their loved ones, we stand as one with you and convey our heartfelt sympathy and condolences."


PM Netanyahu: "The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.

Israel Headlines - PM Netanyahu: "The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.

There is no reason to change daily routines. The IDF is ready to defend against any threat and to respond strongly against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens".

Israel Cabinet Approved: a thousand reserve soldiers will be recruited to the Air Force and the Home Front Command.
As part of the Cabinet decision thousands of soldiers will be recruited and Iron Dome batteries will be deployed in the north.

Preparations for a possible attacks on Israrl from Syria, Senior military official said that the Cabinet has approved the to recruit thousands of reservists for the Home Front Command, Air Force, intelligence and headquarters. The source added that if the United States attacks Syria, Israel may change the level of preparedness in the army and accordingly will be recruited more reservists. Currently, no change in the alert level, but Northern Command units and units in charge of protecting Israeli home front will remain on alert. The Senior official stressed that the likelihood that the Syrian army would launch missiles at Israel "is not high, even low." However, he added that during the meeting, also attended by Chief of Staff - Gen. Benny Gantz and senior defense, it was also decided to reinforce the Iron Dome batteries in the northern arena. Now, according to the senior official, there are no plans to open extra distribution points for Chemical Protection Kits.

Meanwhile, United States formed a coalition attack against Syria including some Arab countries. Estimated that Americans apparently waiting for the UN inspectors in Syria. However, it is important to remember that the United States is limited to the opening date of the operation due to the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Russia next week. Senior official admitted that Israel has not yet received a formal assurance from the United States for the a period of time which Israel will receive a warning before the beginning of the operation, Israel may receive warnings just few hours before the attack.

At the end of the Cabinet meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The IDF prepared to defend against any threat, and prepared to respond with force to any attempt to harm Israeli citizens." The Cabinet Meeting, held in the Kirya in Tel Aviv, the ministers presented scenarios that Syrian President will take if attacked, when some of the scenarios were also the possibility that the Syrian president chooses to attack Israel.

"Further security evaluations took place today, there is no reason to change the routine of life. Meanwhile, we are preparing for any scenario," added the Prime Minister.

A political source in Jerusalem said that Israel believes Assad will not try to drag Israel into war. However, he added, "We are preparing for this possibility, although it is unlikely, We must be prepared for any scenario." He added that it is assumed that the West will not try to topple the Assad Regime, and that so far have not clarified the scope of the anticipated attack.

Earlier today the Israel Air Force increased the intelligence-gathering effort over Lebanon.


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US Extends Security Closure of Some Diplomatic Missions

VOA, The United States says most of its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa will remain closed all week. More than 20 embassies and consulates were closed Sunday due to security concerns.

The State Department said Sunday a small number of additional posts will be closed, while others will reopen Monday.

It said the extension was not related to new security threats, but that officials were simply exercising caution.

Sunday's move to close U.S. embassies and consulates came several days after American officials warned of a possible al-Qaida attack.

Most of the more than 20 diplomatic missions are in Muslim countries, where Sunday is a regular business day, and included embassies in Iraq, Libya and Yemen. The embassy in Baghdad will reopen on Monday.

The United States has issued a global travel alert to American citizens that said the potential for terrorist attacks is strong in the Middle East and North Africa.

The State Department says diplomatic posts in the following places will be closed all week: Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis.

The following embassies and consulates were closed Sunday, but will be allowed to reopen on Monday: Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah, and Irbil.

U.S. lawmakers and former high-ranking officials called the decision to close diplomatic missions and to issue the global travel alert an extraordinary move.

Other countries took similar actions, and the international police organization Interpol issued its own security alert.

The U.S. security moves come nearly a year after Islamic militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans including the U.S. ambassador.


US Economy Advances More Than Expected

VOA News

New reports show the U.S. economy is advancing at a faster pace than some analysts had predicted, but the country's central bank says it is not ready yet to trim its stimulus measures to boost growth.

The government Wednesday said the American economy grew by a 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-to-June period, compared to a newly calculated 1.1 percent pace over the first three months of the year.

The Federal Reserve described the country's expansion as modest. The second quarter growth was nearly twice what many economists had projected, with some saying it pointed to even more robust growth in the second half of the year.

After a two-day meeting in Washington, central bank policy makers said the Fed will continue its monthly $85 billion purchase of securities to pump more money into the economy, and keep its benchmark interest rate near zero.

Analyst Greg McBride of said there is no urgency for the Fed to scale back its asset purchases.

"We still have a slow-growth economy with high unemployment and low inflation. As a result, there's really nothing urgent that's going to prompt the Fed to scale back their stimulus anytime soon," he said. "What they've done instead is adopt kind of a wait-and-see attitude with more of the same in the meantime."

The Fed's asset purchases have been aimed at spurring the economy and boosting job growth, but the central bank said previously that as the economy improves, it is looking to curtail the program later this year and end it by mid-2014.

The government said the second quarter advance was fueled by more consumer spending, a growth in exports and expanding corporate investment. That offset reduced federal government spending after Washington failed to agree on a new budget plan and automatic cuts took effect in March.

In another report, the government revised last year's U.S. economic performance upward, saying the country's overall output moved ahead by 2.8 percent, up from the 2.2 percent figure it earlier posted.

US Housing Prices, And Confidence, Rise


Mil Arcega

New data shows the U.S. housing market strengthening. The S&P Case Schiller Home Price Index shows average home prices in 20 of the biggest US cities rose more than nine percent in the last 12 months. That's the biggest gain in nearly seven years. Analysts say it may be one of the reasons why U.S. consumer confidence is improving.

Five years after the collapse of the U.S. housing market, Americans seem ready to buy again. Pending home sales are up 7 percent over last year, foreclosures are at a seven-year low - and the number of homes for sale, continues to decline.

"Housing sales numbers are continuing to trend up. In fact, if anything, realtors are saying they are looking at shortages of inventories of homes for sale," said Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities.

The lower inventories are pushing home prices higher. And that's giving builders a much needed boost, says Ken Simonson at Associated General Contractors of America.

"When you look at the broader construction industry, there's quite a boom going on in apartment construction, more recently, in single family homes and some of the private non-residential categories," Simonoson said.

The renewed optimism and rising stock prices may be aiding in an otherwise slow U.S. recovery. It may also explain why consumer confidence improved sharply in April, says fund manager Brad Friedlander.

"Borrowers and personal consumer balance sheets are a lot better than they were a few years ago. So we are seeing, beginning to see a rebound," Friedlander said.

Despite a much improved housing picture, economists say for now, it's unlikely to have a measurable impact on U.S. unemployment. New jobs data to be released Friday is expected to show unemployment unchanged - at 7.6 percent.

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