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Posted: 5/6/2003 11:00:23 PM EDT
They may be a important allie for us during the occupation, even though they are small in number.

"Who's related to the Israelis in the Middle East more than us?" Atto said. "We have a prayer in church, "Allah barech la bnei yisrael" — "God bless the people of Israel." When asked about the policies of Prime Minister Sharon, George Khoshaba, a factory worker, said: "I support him 100%. He is doing the right thing. To protect his own people, his country."

Such views are common in the Assyrian community, said Peter Dagher, a former White House aide and Assyrian activist. "Many Assyrians are not pro-Arab," he said. "Their views and those of Arabs are not the same. In that part of the world they look at Israel as an example of what to do, rather than what not to do."

. . . Assyrians this week celebrated their New Year, Kha B'Nissan, the first day of the month of Nissan, a date described in the Mishna as one of four New Years of Judaism. And while neo-Aramaic is much changed from its ancient counterpart, many words remain the same.

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