Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 5 min 38 sec ago
(New York Sun) Heather Nauert -
When in 2018 the Israel Defense Forces discovered a network of underground tunnels along its northern border with Lebanon, I served as the State Department spokeswoman and made it a priority to publicly highlight this worrisome find. But it wasn't until September 2022 that I saw it firsthand. Lt.-Col. Sarit Zehavi, who studies northern border security for the Alma Research Center in Israel, estimates that the tunnels from Lebanon are nearly a hundred miles long and contain underground command and control rooms, weapons, supply depots, field clinics, and shafts used to fire missiles.
Along with a bipartisan group of former American officials, I stepped into a dark, damp tunnel that descended underground, ultimately reaching a depth of 260 feet. Strung along the tunnel walls are thick cables powering lights. The tunnel was wide enough to fit fighters carrying weapons and equipment. At the halfway point, nearly under the Lebanese border, Israel had filled the rest of the tunnel with cement. The IDF discovered six tunnels intended for a possible ground war against Israel. For ten years, Hizbullah used heavy equipment to drill through the hard rock.
(JTA) Cnaan Liphshiz -
As Russia's war effort in Ukraine founders, openly anti-Jewish rhetoric is entering its mainstream media. In July, Vladimir Solovyov, a popular talk show host, listed on air the names of Jews whom he faulted for lacking patriotism. On Sep. 18, senior writer Dmitry Popov published a list of well-known Jews whom he called "foreign agents" in the Russian daily Moskovskij Komsomolets.
Roman Bronfman, a former Israeli lawmaker, said, "The antisemitic rhetoric we're seeing now, the loosening of the taboo around it, are probably not directed directly by Putin's government....These are matters of a general atmosphere. Officials and the general population are reading between the lines on how they should treat the Jews. And the message is changing."
(Boston Herald) Jeff Robbins -
A University of Vermont teaching assistant wasn't content to merely bully Jewish students who identified with Israel. She boasted about it publicly, chortling on social media about her threats to reduce the grades of Jewish kids for whom Israel has personal meaning.
When an Israeli flag was stolen from an off-campus student house, the TA heartily praised the vandalism. "Who stole the Israeli flag," she tweeted, "I just wanna talk and tell you how cool and special and loved you are."
Last year, UVM students organized a group to support victims of sexual harassment. When Hillel, the Jewish student organization, posted a statement of solidarity, the anti-sexual harassment group rejected it, claiming to "follow the same policy with Zionists that we follow with those who troll or harass others: blocked."
After a group of students spent 40 minutes throwing rocks at the windows of the Hillel Jewish students' campus center, the university insisted that there was nothing anti-Jewish about the attack.
In response to a quite detailed complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the U.S. Department of Education has opened a formal investigation into whether UVM has fostered or permitted a hostile environment for Jewish students, in violation of the federal civil rights laws.
The writer is a former U.S. delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission.
(Times of Israel)
David Horovitz -
PA President Mahmoud Abbas asked the UN General Assembly on Friday why the Palestinians do not yet have a state. I found the answers to Abbas' questions were in his speech as well.
He claimed to genuinely want peace with Israel, but made clear that he rejects Israel's very legitimacy. He described Israel as a colonizing power for 75 years - that is, since its historic rebirth in 1948. He airbrushed Judaism out of his "eternal" Jerusalem, in which there are only Muslim and Christian holy sites.
There was no mention that Israel dismantled its settlements and withdrew all its soldiers from Gaza in 2005. No hint that Hamas took over, and has provoked conflict with Israel ever since with indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, teaching Israel that relinquishing adjacent territory merely empowers the forces that seek our destruction.
Abbas devoted some of his speech to Nasser Abu Hamid, whom he described as a heroic martyr who was now dying in jail of cancer, failing to note that Abu Hamid is serving multiple life terms for the murders of seven Israelis and the attempted murders of 12 more. Abbas championed the killers of Israelis - to whom his Palestinian Authority insists on paying salaries, thus nurturing the next generations of murderers.
Abbas ignored the "one condition" Prime Minister Yair Lapid set on Thursday for the implementation of a two-state solution: "That a future Palestinian state will be a peaceful one. That it will not become another terror base from which to threaten the well-being and the very existence of Israel."
Lapid offered Abbas a one-sentence formula for Palestinian independence: "Put down your weapons, and there will be peace."
(Ha'aretz) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Israel's Channel 11 on Saturday: "With regard to the Palestinians, we believe we should reach an accord, but one has to confront reality with clear eyes, and to my understanding there is no way of reaching an agreement in the foreseeable future." He clarified that "We are for two separate entities, but not in a way that endangers Israel."
(CNN) Jessie Yeung -
Outrage over the death of a woman in morality police custody in Iran, where women are required to wear hijabs (or headscarves) in public, has fueled protests across the country. Human rights groups have reported that at least seven people have been killed.
The protests are striking for their scale, ferocity and rare feminist nature; the last demonstrations of this size were three years ago, after the government hiked gas prices in 2019. Thousands took to the streets Tuesday night, with videos of protests emerging from dozens of towns and cities.
(Bloomberg) Hussein Ibish -
In recent weeks, Iranian media have been reviving long-dormant claims that Bahrain, a key U.S. ally, is the "14th province" of Iran. Bahrain is vital to American interests: It hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces coalition, which pursues missions in antipiracy, maritime security and counterterrorism.
History shows Iran's demand is baseless. In 1957, under the shah, Iran formally laid claim to the island, a British protectorate since 1861. However, after heavy British and U.S. pressure and a UN survey showing overwhelming public support in Bahrain for independence, in 1971 Iran recognized the nation as a sovereign state.
It's no coincidence Iran is just now ramping up these specious claims, formally resolved half a century ago. Teheran's belligerence raises the stakes surrounding the nuclear talks by threatening greater regional instability. Iran's renewed claims on Bahrain will only reinforce the view in Manama that normalizing relations with Israel was a good idea.
The writer is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
(Telegraph-UK) British Prime Minister Liz Truss told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid that she is reviewing moving the British embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They discussed the possible move during a meeting at the UN in New York on Wednesday.
(Iran International-UK) Israel carried out airstrikes on Syria's Damascus International airport and other positions south of the capital on Sep. 16 and 17, targeting "Unit 2250" - a special Iranian logistics institution run by Tehran's Revolutionary Guards. The unit is in charge of receiving incoming equipment, weapons and personnel from Iran as well as supporting the Iran-backed Lebanese forces in the country. In the recent attack, the warehouses and the main office were targeted by Israeli strikes.
(AP-Washington Post) Judge Steven L. Tiscione of federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday ordered the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah to pay damages of $111 million to a group of Americans who sued saying they were wounded by the group's rockets during a war with Israel in 2006. The case was brought under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.
(AP-Washington Post) Munir Ahmed -
A delegation of Pakistanis, including a former government minister, met Israeli Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Pakistan has no diplomatic relations with Israel. "Yes, I am in Jerusalem with a delegation to promote interfaith harmony," Pakistan's former development minister Nasim Ashraf, the head of the delegation, told AP.
(Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday for the first face-to-face talks between leaders of the two nations since 2008, Lapid's office said.
(Ha'aretz) Anna Ahronheim -
"In the past year, the IDF thwarted dozens of attempts by Iran to carry out cyberattacks," a senior Cyber Defense Directorate official said Wednesday. "The IDF and the defense community have developed groundbreaking capabilities to defend against our enemies." In recent years the IDF has identified an increase of 70% in hostile activity.
Tehran invests enormous resources in developing offensive cyber power and has 10 cyber units that specifically operate against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
A senior Israeli officer added, "Cyber has become a new dimension of combat over the past decade, and this thing is accelerating like crazy the world over. There is a kind of cyber arms race going on here, in which we have to preempt the enemy. We must win the battle for cyber and spectrum superiority, in both defense and offense. We'll have to put our foot on the gas, because our enemies are also engaged in this."
(Israel Hayom) Yoav Limor -
Israel launched an operation Sunday to confiscate funds transferred by the Palestinian Authority to the private accounts of security prisoners who had perpetrated or were involved in deadly terror attacks. Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued seizure orders for $3 million of terror-linked funds as part of Israel's ongoing efforts to fight the PA's pay-to-slay policy.
(Ynet News) Yoav Zitun -
The Israel Security Agency said Monday it has apprehended seven Palestinians belonging to a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank who were planning bombing attacks against Israeli citizens and security forces. Weapons and materials to assemble explosives were found. The operatives were recruited via social networks by Yahya Amer Muhammad Abu S'eifan - a Hamas member in Gaza - and received funds to purchase materials and weapons.
(Ynet News) Yaron Druckman -
Israel's population has reached 9,593,000, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. 7,069,000 residents are Jews (74%) and 2,026,000 are Arabs (21%). 91.5% of Jewish Israelis reported being satisfied with their lives, as did 70.7% of Israeli Arabs.
(Jerusalem Post) Zvika Klein -
Israel expects to see a total of 65,000 new immigrants during the current Jewish year, compared to 28,500 in 2021. 47% came from Russia, 25% from Ukraine, 6% from the U.S., 4% from France, and 2% from Ethiopia.
(Media Line) Mohammad Al-Kassim -
Violent clashes broke out on Monday between Palestinian Authority security forces and Palestinian residents of Nablus in the northern West Bank, after the arrest of two men, one of them a Hamas operative wanted by Israel. Angry young Palestinians hurled stones at PA security's armored vehicles, a scene usually reserved for clashes with the Israeli army. The municipality suspended work at its offices due to shots fired at its building.
Palestinian factions in the city called for a general strike and demanded the release of both men, threatening that they will not let security forces enter the city until the men are freed. "I think we are living in a preparatory phase for an uprising against the PA. Unfortunately, some ill-considered measures are hastening this," a Fatah member from Nablus told Media Line.
(Ynet News) Einav Halabi -
Palestinian Authority forces including snipers were positioned in West Bank cities on Tuesday, hours after the arrest of Musab Shtayyeh, a senior Hamas operative, by PA security. Militants smashed several security cameras belonging to the PA in Nablus, burned tires and fired at local media stations.
(Ha'aretz) Jack Khoury -
On Wednesday, representatives of armed Palestinian groups in Nablus and the Palestinian security services reached agreements to end the recent clashes. But the city's residents are now left with a sobering taste of what could happen if the Palestinian Authority loses its control over the West Bank. Palestinians don't want a vacuum of governance; they want a functioning PA that will protect them.