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Sun. March 1, 2015 EDITOR'S PICKS :  
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Issue: Israel's Jewish Identity. What Does it Mean?
MidEast Week
PA: Made "Generous" Offer; Israel: "Bring it to the Table"
More Arabs Join Israel's National Service
Jews Killed in Paris Attack Buried in Israel
Islamic State Continues to Gain Ground in Syria
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Netanyahu's Planned Speech to Congress Sparks Controversy
Egypt Intensifies Crackdown on Islamists
More Shekels for Your Dollar
Hizbullah Threatens Revenge After Israeli Attack
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Desert Siege in Algeria Ends – At Least 23 Hostages Dead

Algerian troops stormed the gas plant in the Sahara desert where Islamist gunmen had taken dozens of hostages last Wednesday, killing all of the remaining hostage-takers. Believed to be among the dead was the leader, Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri, a Nigerian who is close to Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who is linked to Al-Qa’ida and believed to behind the raid. It was still not clear how many foreigners were among the dead, although many of the foreign workers at the gas field are still unaccounted for. Japan says the fate of 17 of its citizens is still unknown. Algerias Interior Minister said that 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerian hostages had survived. One American and one British citizen have been confirmed dead. The gas plant was jointly run by Britain’s BP, Norway’s Statoil and Algeria’s state oil company. Norwegians, Britons, Americans and Japanese were among the hostages believed killed.

Voting in Israel Begins

Israeli soldiers began voting in elections today, ahead of Tuesday’s election. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is running in a joint slate with hardline Yisrael Beytenu, is expected to win the largest number of seats and be asked to form the next coalition. Netanyahu has served two terms in office for a total of seven years. He told Israel’s Channel Ten news that he intends to run for a fourth term. "I intend to be here for many more years,” the 63-year-old Prime Minister said.

Syria Says Assad Will Stay

Syria’s foreign minister said any discussion of the future of President Bashar Al-Assad is “unacceptable,” after an international envoy said Al-Assad should not be part of a transitional government. There are no signs that the 22-month old civil war, which has killed at least 60,000 people may be ending. Rebel groups and troops loyal to Al-Assad wage daily battles and neither side is able to defeat the other. Al-Assad has called for a national dialogue, the creation of a new constitution and a new parliament. The opposition has rejected these proposed reforms as superficial.

Calls to Disqualify US-born candidate from Israeli Election

Remarks by Jeremy Gimpel, number 14 on the Bayit Yehudi list headed by Naftali Bennet are sparking controversy. Speaking to a group of Christian Zionists in Florida in November 2011, Gimpel said, “Imagine today if the golden dome (the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem), I’m being recorded so I can’t say blown up, but let’s say it was blown up, right, and we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you imagine what would be? None of you would be here. You would be going to Israel. It would be incredible.” Parliament members from the Tzippi Livni party say they intend to ask the Central Elections Committee to disqualify Gimpel from running in Tuesday’s election, saying he had voiced incitement to racism. Gimpel says the clip was taken out of context.

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