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Hamas Continues to Fire at Israeli Civilians as Israel Transfers More Aid

Message Israel Project


Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi: 202-857-6644 (office),
Jennifer Packer: 202-857-6657 (office),

Hamas Continues to Fire at Israeli Civilians as Israel Transfers More Aid

RSVP for Jan. 5 TIP Conference Call with Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman

Residents of Cities Hit by Rockets Available for Comment
Israeli Humanitarian Aid and Assistance to Gaza
Hamas Terrorist Activity
Israeli Military Operations


Amb Sallai Meridor
Click here for transcript, audio, video

Israeli Govt. Spokesman Mark Regev transcript and MP3 recording (Dec. 29 conference call)
Israeli Officials and Experts Available for Comment
Video: Palestinian girl says Hamas responsible for war
Videos from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
IDF YouTube Channel
Photos: Israel Under Fire
Humanitarian Aid into Gaza
List of Sderot and Area Contacts Available for Comment
Graph: Rockets and Mortars Fired From Gaza June – December 2008
Iran Press Kit



Hamas continued to bombard Israeli civilians today, (Jan. 1, 2009), firing more than 40 rockets at Israel’s southern towns and cities.[1] One Katyusha rocket plowed into an eight-story apartment building in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, almost 25 miles (40km) from the Gaza Strip. The rocket caused a fire to break out in the building and all residents were evacuated. A number of people were treated for shock.[2]

Despite these attacks, Israel has continued to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Since the beginning of Israel’s military operation, 275 trucks have passed from Israel into the territory delivering nearly 6,500 tons of food, medical supplies and other essential humanitarian goods. On Wednesday (Dec. 31), the World Food Program stated that their warehouses in Gaza were at full capacity and food supplies would last for approximately two weeks.[3]

Israel’s operation against Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza strip continued today, with the Israeli airforce striking rocket warehouses belonging to Hamas and the movement’s administrative centers. [4] In addition, Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas leader, was killed by an Israeli airstrike Thursday afternoon (Jan. 1, 2009). Rayyan had been a strong advocate for renewing suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.[5]

Israeli Humanitarian Aid and Assistance to Gaza

* Since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, 275 trucks carrying nearly 6,500 tons of humanitarian aid have been transferred by Israel into Gaza at the request of international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. [6]

* On Wednesday (Dec. 31), 93 trucks with approximately 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication were conveyed through the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal.[7]

* A Palestinian boy injured in Gaza during the current violence was transferred to Schneider Medical Center in the Israeli city of Petach Tikvah for treatment on Wednesday.[8]

* In addition, 12 Palestinians entered Israel on Wednesday for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Two of those evacuated were children injured by a Kassam rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists which fell near their home. The remaining patients were chronically sick people and their escorts who entered Israel for treatment that is not available in the Gaza Strip.   

Hamas Terrorist Activities

* Since December 27, Hamas has fired more than 325 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians, including 51 Katyusha rockets.[9]

* On Wednesday (Dec.  31), Hamas fired approximately 70 rockets from Gaza into Israel, including 10 Katyushas, which landed in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be'er Sheva, Sderot and other towns in southern Israel. [10]

* Due to the Katyusha rockets smuggled into Gaza by Hamas during the six month ceasefire (an explicit breach of that agreement) 900,000 Israeli residents are now under missile fire due to the 25 mile (40km) range of these more advanced rockets. Major cities which were outside the range of Hamas’ rockets before the ceasefire of June 19 such as Ashdod and Beersheva are now being hit daily by Hamas’ Katyushas. [11]

* According to Israeli military officials, terrorists in Gaza have as many as 2,000 rockets in their arsenal, down from the 3,000 they possessed before the Israeli air strikes. Of those rockets, it is believed that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have a few dozen Katyushas with a range of 25 miles (40km) and few hundred rockets with a range of 12 miles (20km). [12]

* The IDF believes that about two thirds of Hamas’ underground rocket launching sites in the northern Gaza Strip were destroyed in the first round of Air Force sorties on Saturday, Dec. 27. [13]

IDF Operations

* In a briefing to the Israeli cabinet on Wednesday (Dec. 31), Yuval Diskin, head of the General Security Services (Israel’s internal security intelligence agency), said “Hamas has been attacked like never before. It has suffered significant damages and its rule over Gaza has been compromised.”[14]

* Diskin also informed the cabinet that large numbers of Hamas operatives are hiding in hospitals and that some are posing as medical staff. In addition, he said that some Hamas members are also hiding in mosques and some of those have been turned into operational headquarters.[15]

* In numerous cases prior to an Israeli airstrike, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has notified civilians in the area of the impending attack, despite this hampering military operations. In the past few days the IAF has dropped 80,000 leaflets in Gaza, warning civilians in Arabic to leave the area before the airstrike.[16]

* Hamas has taken advantage of the IAF’s warnings and placed civilians on the roofs of the targeted buildings in order to prevent the air strikes.[17]

* Israeli air and naval forces attacked some 20 Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night (Dec. 31), including five smuggling tunnels along the ‘Philadelphi Route’ used by Hamas to smuggle arms and terrorists in and out of Gaza, a weapons manufacturing and storage facility in central Gaza, a command center of Hamas’ police force in Rafah, and a Hamas coastal base on the shore adjacent to Gaza City.[18]

* IAF aircraft also targeted a mosque in the Tel El Hawwa neighborhood in Gaza City on Wednesday afternoon that was used by Hamas as a storage site for Katyushas and Kassam rockets, as well as a staging ground for rocket and missile launches. The strike set off numerous secondary explosions, caused by the munitions stockpiled in the mosque.[19]


[1] Israel’s Channel 10 TV News, Jan. 1, 2009

[2] “Gaza rocket barrage hits Negev; direct strike on 8-floor Ashdod residence,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009,

[3] “Israeli humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1, 2009

[4] “IAF strike in Gaza kills top Hamas political-military link,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009,

[5] “IAF strike in Gaza kills senior Hamas political-military liaison,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009,

[6]“Humanitarian aid to Gaza following the 6-month calm,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 31, 2008,; “Israeli humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1, 2009   

[7] Ravid, Barak, Harel, Amos, “IDF recommends major, but brief Gaza ground offensive,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009,

[8] “Seriously injured Gazan boy transferred to Israeli hospital,” YnetNews, Dec. 31, 2008,,7340,L-3648072,00.html

[9] Israel’s Channel 10 TV News, Jan. 1, 2009; “Israel strikes back against Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1, 2009,

[10] Ravid, Barak, Harel, Amos, “IDF recommends major, but brief Gaza ground offensive,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009,

[11] “Israel strikes back against Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1, 2009,

[12] Harel, Amos, Issacharoff, Avi “IAF bombs 3 Gaza government buildings; officials: 25 wounded,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009 

[13] Harel, Amos, Issacharoff, Avi “IAF bombs 3 Gaza government buildings; officials: 25 wounded,” Haaretz, Jan. 1, 2009 

[14] Sofer, Roni, “Gaza: Hamas gunmen hide in hospitals,” YnetNews, Dec. 31, 2008,,7340,L-3648020,00.html

[15] Sofer, Roni, “Gaza: Hamas gunmen hide in hospitals,” YnetNews, Dec. 31, 2008,,7340,L-3648020,00.html

[16] “Israel strikes back against Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1, 2009,

[17] Sofer, Roni, “Gaza: Hamas gunmen hide in hospitals,” YnetNews, Dec. 31, 2008,,7340,L-3648020,00.html

[18] IDF Spokesperson’s Unit Communiqué, Jan. 1, 2009

[19] “Operation Cast Lead continues: IAF and Naval Forces strike Hamas,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1, 2009,


Graph: Rockets and Mortars Fired From Gaza June – December 2008

Contact info
Israeli officials and experts in the U.S.

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor
Contact him through Chief of Staff Lior Weintraub at cell: (202) 679-1248 or e-mail:  

Israeli Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff:
office: (202) 364-5578 or cell: (202) 276-3300 or e-mail:

Israeli Embassy Spokesman Jonathan Peled
cell: (202) 276-2800 or e-mail:

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev
Contact her through spokeswoman Mirit Cohen at cell: (347) 539-1896 or

The Israel Project Founder and President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
cell: 202-365-0787 or

The Israel Project – Israel Office Executive Director Marcus Sheff (in Israel)
cell: 011-972-54-807-9177 or

Israeli officials and experts in Israel
(Please note: to phone from U.S., add 011-972 to beginning of number and remove the “0” at the beginning of the number; outside the U.S., add your country code and then "972"; also remove the "0" from the beginning of the number) 

Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee (English & Arabic): 050-628-6646

Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Media and Public Affairs Aviv Shir-On (English & German): 050-620-3623

Prime Minister's International Media Adviser (English) Mark Regev: 050-620-3264

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor (English, Spanish & French): 050-620-3277

Israeli Ambassador to France Danny Shek (French & English): 050-620-3682

Government Press Office Director Daniel Seaman (English): 050-620-5432

Government Press Office Arabic Dept. Director Dr. Fawaz Kamal (Arabic): 050-620-5427

Foreign Ministry Arabic Dept. Acting Dir. Ophir Gandelman (English & Arabic): 050-620-3548

Former Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzvi Hefetz: (English & Russian): 054-469-6969

Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman (English): 050-688-8777

Col. (res.) Miri Eisin (English): 050-552-0646

Residents of Cities Hit by Rockets Available for Comment


Naor Galili, Ashdod Municipal Employee (speaks English)
972-54-4262667, code 2323

Daniel Ben Abu (speaks English, French)

Alon and Orit ben Zaken (speaks English)

Tali Sharvit (speaks English)

Roxana Oserov (speaks Russian)


Miryam Alon (speaks French and Polish)
Cell: 972-54-555-1451

Beverly Jamil (speaks English)
Cell: 972-52-541-0878

Pnina Nedivi (speaks Romanian)
Cell: 972-57-766-4464

Dorit Shalom (speaks English)
Cell: 972-54-990-8217


Yochai Biton (speaks French, English)
Aged 31
Cell: 972-50-252-2012

Tal Karmi (speaks English)
Student at Ben Gurion University
Cell: 972-54-598-7434

Rinat Moreli (speaks French)
Aged 26, engineer
Cell: 972-52-550-3796

Amit Reingold,
Head of Beersheva Emergency Situation Room

Rozette Shitrit (speaks French)
Aged 51, mother of 3 adult children
Cell: 972-50-777-6855

Assaf Vais (speaks English)
Cell: 972-52-600-3932
Aged 29, engineer

Sderot residents

Naama Hassiboss
Cell: 972-50-288-9983

Jenny Ion (speaks English)
Cell: 972-52-396-2512

Atara Oberbuch
Mother of 6 children
Tel.: 972-8-661-2869
Cell: 972-52-311-5496

Mari Ochana (speaks French, English)
Mother of girl injured by Qassam.
Tel.: 972-8-689-9034

Dahari Ofra (speaks English, Arabic)
Cell: 972-54-8135082

Reshef Peretz (speaks English)
Aged 27, student living with parents in Sderot
Cell: 972-50-5965625

Kalimi Sarai (native English speaker)
Tel.: 972-8-661-2821

Yael Shushan (speaks English)
Cell: 972-50-396-7380

David Spengelt (native English speaker)
Cell: 972-54-2051984
Dalit Arnold (speaks English, German)
Cell: 972-54-2293227 

BIOS for select Washington- and New York-based officials and experts:

H.E. Sallai Meridor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States

Before becoming Israel’s ambassador to the United States in late 2006, Ambassador Sallai Meridor served as Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization (WZO) from 1999-2005. Prior to this, Mr. Meridor served as treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the WZO and as head of the Settlement Division of the WZO.

Prior to his work with the Jewish Agency, Mr. Meridor served as an advisor to the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel. In his governmental service, he was involved in the designing of Israel's foreign and defense policies, played a role in the peace process leading to the Madrid Peace Conference, participated in the negotiations that followed as the representative of the Ministry of Defense, and led Israel's Inter-Agency Steering Committee on Arms Control.

Born and educated in Jerusalem Mr. Meridor earned a B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He served as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces. He is married and has three daughters.


H.E. Jeremy Issacharoff - Deputy Chief of Mission

2005: Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission to Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C.

2003: Asked by United Nation's Secretary-General to serve on his Advisory Board for Disarmament Affairs, consisting of experts in the realm of arms control and disarmament from approximately twenty countries.

2001: Deputy Director-General For Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Overall responsibility for arms control, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, export controls and regional security.

1999-2001: Head of Regional Security and Arms Control, MFA.

1998-1999: Member of the Strategic Policy Planning Group and the Joint Strategic Planning Committee, both designed to be senior consultative working groups with the United States on strategic and military affairs. In addition, appointed Representative of the Foreign Minister to the Inter-Ministerial Committee, to establish the National Security Council in Israel.

1993- 1998: Minister-Counselor For Political Affairs in Embassy in Washington DC. Responsible for liaison with the State Department and the National Security Council on bilateral policy issues including the peace process, multilateral talks, strategic and military cooperation, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation with particular emphasis on Iran's efforts in WMD and missile areas. Member of Israeli delegation to the Multilateral Working Group on Arms Control and Regional Security.

1993 - 1993: Policy Counselor in the Foreign Minister's Bureau, Jerusalem.

1989-1993: Personal Adviser to the Director General of the Foreign Ministry. Member of Israeli Delegation to peace talks with Lebanon held in Washington pursuant to Madrid peace conference.

1986-1989: Policy Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations in New York. Responsible for range of policy matters including peace process, disarmament and legal affairs.

1985: Israel's Representative to the First Committee on Disarmament Affairs of the UN General Assembly.

1984: Acting Director of the Disarmament Division in Foreign Ministry and Inter Ministerial Coordinator of the project to establish a Voice of America relay station in Israel.

Full bio:

Jonathan Peled, Israeli Embassy Spokesman

Jonathan Peled joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992 and is currently Minister-counselor and spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Before assuming this position he was the Foreign Policy (Diplomatic) Advisor to the Speaker of the Knesset.

Between 2004 and 2006 he served as Israeli Ambassador to El Salvador and Belize. Prior to that he was Foreign Ministry Spokesperson in Jerusalem. Jonathan has held diplomatic postings in Turkey and in Argentina, where he dealt with political affairs, press and information. Before his first posting in Istanbul, he served as Assistant Policy Advisor to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, participating in the peace negotiations following the Oslo Peace Accords.

Jonathan is a graduate of Tel-Aviv University in Political Science and Economics. He holds the rank of Major (res.) in the Israeli Air Force, where he served for 7 years as an Aircrew officer.

Before joining the Foreign Service, and while studying, he worked for EL- AL Israel Airlines.

In addition to Hebrew and English, Jonathan is fluent in Spanish and has a command of German.

Full bio:

H.E. Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Ambassador Gabriela Shalev is Israel’s 14th Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She began her tenure on Sept. 3, 2008, marking the first time a woman was appointed to this post.

Amb. Shalev is a leading expert in Israel in the fields of contract law and procurement contracts. Until her early retirement in 2002, she was a full professor of contract law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and wrote nine books and more than 100 articles about contract law. She was formerly the President of the Academic Council and Rector of Ono Academic College in Israel. Amb. Shalev was also a visiting law professor at universities in the U.S., Europe and Canada, including Harvard Law School, Temple University and Boston College. She has received numerous awards and has served on several prestigious boards.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder and President, The Israel Project

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the founder and president of The Israel Project (TIP), an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. TIP has offices in Washington and Jerusalem.

Mizrahi meets regularly with top Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Ambassador Sallai Meridor, author Natan Sharansky and many others. She also works frequently with pro-Israel organizations including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jewish federations, Jewish community relations councils and Hillel organizations.

Mizrahi previously served as a foreign affairs legislative assistant to the U.S. Congress. She studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has degrees in International Relations and Judaic Studies from Emory University. Her work earned her recognition as a "Point of Light" by President H. W. Bush. Mizrahi also has been honored with the Louis D. Brandeis Award by the Baltimore Zionist District. The Forward newspaper has twice listed Mizrahi in its "Forward 50" most influential Jews in America. Mizrahi was recently named to the March of the Living’s newly established advisory board.

Full Bio: [html] [pdf]

Marcus Sheff, Executive Director, TIP Israel Operation

As Executive Director of The Israel Project’s Israel Office, Sheff leads The Israel Project’s team in Israel. In this capacity, he manages the delivery of information from Jerusalem to over 56,000 journalists around the world, as well as day-to-day direct outreach to the 450 members of the foreign press based in Israel. The Jerusalem-based operation drives TIP’s unique programs in Israel, which include regular press conferences and press events, the ‘Intellicopter’ (helicopter) and specially crafted ground tours for the media, as well as TIP’s Media Center in Sderot. TIP’s Israel Office also conducts media training of pro-Israel advocates and outreach to the Arab-language press in Israel and around the world.

Sheff and the Israel team created what has become a vital resource for the media based in Israel, where 70% of the news about the region is gathered. He meets regularly with Israeli leaders, spokespeople, diplomats and NGOs on strategic communications issues and appears regularly in the international media. Sheff has worked as a media and communications professional in Israel for 20 years, beginning as a political reporter for the The Nation and later becoming an editor at The Jerusalem Post. He then set up a strategic communications company whose clients included government ministries, many of Israel's top 20 companies and international publishers and advertising agencies. The company became the leader in its field. After selling the company, Sheff represented international publishers and media organizations in Israel and around the world.

As a reserve officer in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Sheff was a prominent spokesperson for the IDF during all recent crises and trained senior IDF officers in media skills. He has appeared on behalf of the IDF on the BBC, ITV and Sky News, as well as dozens of other US and European TV and radio outlets. He serves on the editorial board of “Engage,” an organization that challenges contemporary anti-Semitism. Sheff studied at the University of Leeds, where he was elected General Secretary of the Leeds University Union and was active in national student politics.

The Israel Project cordially invites you 
  to a Briefing on Current Israeli-Anti Terror Operations in Gaza with

Danny Gillerman
  Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Interim Public Diplomacy Director - Operation Cast Lead 
Monday, January 5, 2009 Los Angeles- 8 a.m.
Washington/ New York- 11 a.m.
London- 4 p.m.
Paris/Berlin- 5 p.m.
Jerusalem- 6 p.m.
Moscow/Doha- 7 p.m.
RSVP Required:*

To listen by phone, please RSVP online here  to receive call-in information

For more information, contact Shiri Shapira at or 972-054-8079042

About Danny Gillerman, Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Interim Public Diplomacy Director - Operation Cast Lead  

The Israeli Mission has, on Amb. Gillerman's watch, had very impressive achievements, culminating in November 2005 when Amb. Gillerman became the first Israeli representative to successfully introduce a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly. In a unanimous decision, the General Assembly designated January 27 as an annual international Holocaust Remembrance day.

In June 2005, Amb. Gillerman was elected to serve as the Vice-President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. He is the first Israeli representative to serve as Vice-President of the General Assembly in the past 53 years, since Abba Eban served in this position in 1952.

During his tenure, Amb. Gillerman has worked closely with members of the European Union and is in constant negotiation with the Secretary General and other delegations in order to help improve Israel's standing in the international community and acceptance as a full member of the United Nations.

Amb. Gillerman has brought the voice of Israel to many world stages, ranging from the Security Council and the General Assembly to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and major gatherings across the globe, from Berlin to South America and Washington D.C. to Cambridge, England.

Prior to his appointment, Amb. Gillerman was CEO of several Israeli companies in the chemical, food ingredient, agricultural, and technological sectors. From 1985, he served as Chairman of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. He also served as a member of the board of the First International Bank of Israel, a Director of Bank Leumi, and the Central Bank of Israel, as well as numerous other boards of private and public entities.

Amb. Gillerman has also served on the Prime Minister's National Economic and Social Council, the President's Committee of the Coordinating Council of Israel's Economic Organizations, and as Chairman of the Israel-British Business Council, as well as being a member of the executive board of the ICC (The International Chamber of Commerce - the World Business Organization).

Amb. Gillerman's appointment as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations on January 1, 2003 marked the first time that Israel had appointed someone from the private sector to this post.

Amb. Gillerman has played a prominent role in helping to steer Israel towards economic liberalization and a free market economy. He was also been deeply involved in the economic aspects of the peace process and has been intensively engaged in talks with Palestinian and Arab leaders trying to further economic cooperation within the region.

Ambassador Gillerman was born in Israel and educated at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He and his wife Janice have two children, Karen and David, and four grandchildren, Ron, Jonathan, Lia, and Gaia.


The Israel Project is an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. The Israel Project provides journalists, leaders and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel. The Israel Project is not related to any government or government agency.

 Board of Advisors: Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA), Sen. Tom Coburn (OK), Sen. Norm Coleman (MN), Sen. Susan Collins (ME), Sen. Judd Gregg (NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), Sen. Ben Nelson (NE), Sen. Gordon Smith (OR), Sen. Arlen Specter (PA), Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), Rep. Rob Andrews (NJ), Rep. Shelley Berkley (NV), Rep. Tom Davis (VA), Rep. Eliot Engel (NY), Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ), Rep. Jon Porter (NV), Rep. John Sarbanes (MD), Rep. Jim Saxton (NJ), Rep. Brad Sherman (CA), Rep. Joe Wilson (SC), Actor and Director Ron Silver

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