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Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 46 min 31 sec ago

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Stop Longtime Ann Arbor Synagogue Protesters

Wed, 05/25/2022 - 17:00
(JTA) Andrew Lapin - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a suit against protesters who have gathered weekly outside an Ann Arbor synagogue for nearly two decades holding anti-Israel and anti-Semitic signs. The court denied petitions by congregants who had argued that the protests targeted Jews at their place of worship, violating their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion. Attorney Nathan Lewin told JTA: "I am shocked and dismayed that the Supreme Court and the court of appeals view anti-Semitic picketing timed and designed to harass and intimidate Jews only when they come to pray - clearly protected by the First Amendment's Religion Clause - as free speech that may not be curtailed."

Upsurge in Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes in New York City

Wed, 05/25/2022 - 17:00
(New York Post) Douglas Schoen and Andrew Stein - Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City were up by nearly 100% in March compared with March 2021, per NYPD data. That followed a 400% hike in February and a 300% hike in January. The Anti-Defamation League's annual report released in April found anti-Jewish violence at an all-time high, with New York state leading the nation in such incidents. Anti-Semitic incidents in the state last year included 51 assaults - the most physical attacks ADL has recorded since it began collecting data 40 years ago. Attacks on Jewish institutions like synagogues and schools were up 41%.

My Synagogue's Anti-Semitism Tax

Wed, 05/25/2022 - 17:00
(Wall Street Journal) Howard Husock - Serving on my synagogue's board of trustees, I found that more than 5% of our budget is now devoted to security to protect the congregation. I call it the anti-Semitism tax. When I reviewed the budgets of mainline Protestant churches in my own community, I found no security line items remotely on par with those in my synagogue. There have been numerous shootings at religious sites in recent years, but the Jewish community has been the greatest target of religious-based hate crimes in the U.S. since official reporting started. I'm chary about the message sent by the synagogue as fortress. We risk giving prospective new members the impression that attending shul is dangerous. The writer is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Belarussian Couple Posthumously Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations

Wed, 05/25/2022 - 17:00
(Yad Vashem) Kondratiy and Anna Lakotko of Belarus risked their lives to save six Jews during WWII and were recognized by Yad Vashem on Wednesday as Righteous Among the Nations on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Their youngest son, Panteley Lakotko, accepted the medal and certificate on behalf of his late parents. In July 1942, two young Jewish men, cousins Kalman and Shimon Kotzer, had been hiding in forests and fields after escaping from the ghetto in Miory on the eve of its liquidation. The Lakotkos were among the few who agreed to share their supplies with the forest-dwelling refugees. At the same time, the Lakotkos also hid four Jews in their stables: Icchak Aron and his sister Gitl, and their cousins Shmuel and Reizl Engel. As winter forced Kalman and Shimon out of the forest, they were hidden in the Lakotko's cellar. In 1943, all of the Jews joined the partisans and fought the Germans until the area was liberated by the Soviet army in the summer of 1944.

Israel Confronts Iranian Aggression and Renewed Palestinian Terror

Wed, 05/25/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser - The most important and most dangerous challenge for Israel is the progress in the Iranian nuclear military program. There has been a sharp increase in the pace in which the Iranians are developing their program and the pace in which they are enriching uranium. The Iranians are moving very fast towards having the capability to have enough fissile material for several bombs within a very short period of time. This means Iran is deep into the area where it can be called a threshold nuclear country. There is a big debate among the experts about how much time it is going to take before the Iranians have the weapon itself. Some think it's going to take two years. I'm much more pessimistic because I think that the Iranians don't work in a linear way to first produce the enriched uranium and then start worrying about how to turn it into a bomb. While Israel doesn't see eye-to-eye with the Americans on returning to the Iran nuclear deal, it does cooperate with the Americans on trying to convince the Iranians that moving forward is going to be dangerous. We are in the midst of a big military exercise in which Israel cooperates with the Americans in the modeling of an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities. Israel has been facing an increase in the number of Palestinian terror attacks in the last couple of months, which have gone beyond the usual level of terrorism. This has forced Israel to launch Operation "Break the Wave" and act in ways beyond what it was doing before, mainly in the Jenin area and the northern part of Judea and Samaria. Perhaps the most disturbing issue that's happening in Israel is the rise of Palestinian nationalistic feelings and religious Islamic feelings among Israeli Arabs. The Arabs living in Israel don't go into the streets because they have some economic difficulties. This is a very minor element in the equation. The writer, Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

Iran Revolutionary Guard Colonel Killed in Tehran

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(AP) Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari, a senior member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, was killed outside his home in Tehran on Sunday by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike, state TV reported.

Slain Iranian Officer Planned Attacks Against Israelis, Jews Worldwide

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Times of Israel) Iranian Revolutionary Guards Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari had planned kidnappings and other attempts to attack Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide, according to Hebrew media. Channel 13 reported that one of the operatives under Khodayari's direction was Mansour Rasouli, who admitted to Mossad agents in April that he was sent to target an Israeli diplomat in Turkey, an American general stationed in Germany, and a journalist in France. Channel 12 reported that Khodayari was also behind an attempt to lure Israeli academics, businesspeople, and former defense officials abroad and possibly kidnap them. It also said he was behind a plot to kill five Israelis in Cyprus. An Iranian security source was quoted as saying Khodayari also played an "important" role in Iran's military industry, "especially when it came to drones."

Assassination of IRGC Officer Reveals Iran's Hollow System

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Seth J. Frantzman - Iran continues to try to strike at Israel, but Iran cannot even defend key members of the IRGC in its own capital. All Iran can do is posture, while it appears to be more vulnerable than in the past. While the regime's proxies have grown in power in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, the regime itself appears hollow.

Video: Annual "Celebrate Israel Parade" Returns to Manhattan

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(NY1.com) Rebecca Greenberg - Over 40,000 people marched in Manhattan in Sunday's "Celebrate Israel Parade" after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York said. Live music, large floats and thousands of marchers filled Fifth Avenue for the 58th annual parade.

For the First Time in Half-a-Century, Chad Welcomes Israeli Envoy

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Al Arabiya) Jennifer Bell - Israeli diplomat Ben Bourgel presented his credentials to Chad President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on Tuesday for the first time in half-a-century after the two countries reestablished relations in 2019.

Iran Plotted to Target Former Israeli Defense Minister

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Israel Hayom) Lilach Shoval - The Israel Security Agency has uncovered an Iranian intelligence plot to lure former Israeli security officials and academics abroad, according to an announcement on Thursday. Iranians used fictitious email accounts to contact Israeli officials while impersonating real-life academics, journalists, businessmen, and philanthropists. The Iranians would then invite them to conferences abroad, possibly to abduct or hurt them. "It is a well-known method of operation of the Iranian intelligence and security bodies, headed by the Intelligence Organization of the Revolutionary Guards, Quds Force, and the Ministry of Intelligence," the ISA said. One of the Israeli officials targeted was former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who immediately understood that he was being scammed and alerted the ISA.

Iran's IRGC Has Covert Presence in Red Sea

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(JNS) Yaakov Lappin - Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) Navy maintains a covert presence in the Red Sea through an array of ships, including some that gather intelligence and act as forward bases, Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS. After an alleged Israeli attack on the Saviz - described by international media as an IRGC ship acting as a forward and expeditionary base - the Iranians replaced it with the Shahid Roudaki, which is operated by the IRGC off the Eritrean coast. "They are building sea-based abilities to launch UAVs, and this is something that can reach our area, too," cautioned Segall. The use of small submarines for laying mines is another Iranian aspect of this doctrine.

Gaza Terror Groups Prepare for Next War with Israel

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Ynet News) Elior Levy - One year after the May 2021 war in Gaza, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are hard at work preparing for the next conflict with Israel. They are developing and perfecting new attack methods, including digging more tunnels, utilizing drone technology, and expanding their naval capabilities. Newly dug tunnels recently uncovered by the IDF reach the Israeli border but don't cross Israel's new subterranean barrier. Adjusting its tactics, Hamas hopes to emerge out of the tunnels on the Gaza side and then break through the partition fence. Hamas has also added 1,000 rockets to its arsenal since last year and is focusing on their quality, improving their range and accuracy.

Israeli Court Rules that Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount Is Not a Disturbance of the Peace at a Criminal Level

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Tovah Lazaroff - A Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Sunday rejected a criminal case against three Jewish minors arrested for praying on the Temple Mount. The court has in the past recognized the rights of Jews to quietly pray on the Temple Mount. Judge Zion Sahrai was careful to clarify that he was speaking only with respect to the facts of this case, which involved minors who had bowed on the ground and recited the "Shema Yisrael" Jewish prayer while visiting the site. Sahrai wrote that he did not believe their utterance of "Shema Yisrael" constituted a disturbance of the peace at a criminal level. The Israeli Government responded, "There is no change, nor is any change planned, on the status quo of the Temple Mount. The Magistrate Court's decision is focused exclusively on the matter of conduct of the minors brought before it, and does not include a broader determination regarding the freedom of worship on the Temple Mount."

Jerusalem Judge: Decision Does Not "Determine Anything Regarding Freedom of Worship at the Temple Mount"

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Times of Israel) Tobias Siegal - In the case involving Jewish minors arrested for praying on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Zion Sahrai emphasized: "This [decision] does not intervene with the police's job in enforcing public order at the Temple Mount, nor does it determine anything regarding freedom of worship at the Temple Mount. These matters are not discussed in the decision at all."

Israel Negotiating Gas Exports to Europe

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Lahav Harkov - Israel and the EU have been in negotiations for the past month to export gas to Europe via Egypt, Energy Ministry Director-General Lior Schillat said on Sunday. The European Commission "officially asked for Israel's help to get through the energy crisis," Schillat said. Energy Minister Karin Elharrar said last month that Israel "will take full advantage" of the opportunity in the energy market resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Israel has been preparing to double its export capacity in the coming years. Gas exploration and production company Energean has said it will bring the Karish natural gas field online as early as July.

Israel Has Share of Booming Global Arms Industry

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Ha'aretz) Avi Bar-Eli - Israel Aerospace Industries is continuing to enjoy the current boom in the global arms industry following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is seeking to increase its presence in the countries neighboring Russia, said Amir Peretz, the chairman of IAI and former defense minister. IAI amassed $14 billion worth of orders yet to be fulfilled in the last quarter - the equivalent to three years of business.

el: Calls for U.S. Investigation into Reporter's Death Ignore the PA's Refusal to Cooperate

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Algemeiner) Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog on Friday criticized a demand by 57 House Democrats for a U.S. investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was fatally shot while reporting on a gunfight between IDF troops and Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank city of Jenin earlier this month. Herzog said the Congressional letter "does not offer a fair representation of the case, ignores important context of the events leading to Ms. Abu Akleh's tragic death and reaches the wrong conclusion." "On May 11, 2022, Israeli security forces operated in Jenin to thwart yet another impending terror attack and were confronted by heavily armed Palestinian militants, most of them affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad - a U.S.-designated terror organization," he said. "Shireen Abu Akleh died in the exchange of fire in this charged environment." "The letter ignores the fact that Israel has, from the outset, called for an impartial joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation with the U.S. in an observer role. Our call was flatly rejected by the PA, which is cynically using Ms. Abu Akleh's death to instigate an anti-Israel propaganda campaign." Herzog noted the PA's refusal to give Israel access to the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, making impossible an Israeli ballistic assessment that could determine if it was fired by an IDF weapon. He also said that those claiming that there were no clashes or shooting in the area of the incident were ignoring evidence, including statements from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and video footage.

Demonstrations Erupt across Iran amid a Sharp Rise in Food Prices

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Iran Desk - On May 3, 2022, the Iranian government began implementing a new policy to overcome the economic crisis by abolishing government subsidies on essential items such as bread, medicines, and many other products. Within a few days, prices rose ten-fold. The rise in prices sparked panic buying and bread products became scarce, leading to intensified protests and clashes with security forces in several Iranian provinces. Iran will need to import at least 20 million tons of grain this year. The canceling of subsidies could make bread unattainable for millions of Afghan refugees now living in Iran; the new policy stipulates that bread is only to be sold to citizens with an Iranian identity card. For now, it appears that the regime is managing to contain the protests and avoid many casualties. But the primary factors behind them will continue to exist and constitute an ongoing challenge for the Islamic regime.

Is Russia's Withdrawal from Syria an Opportunity for Israel?

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Newsweek) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer - A recent IDF drill includes simulated airstrikes on Iran and a simulated multi-front war against Iran-backed proxies in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. The message was unmistakable: The Israeli government is weighing its military options. The war in Ukraine has prompted Russia to redeploy some forces and hardware out of Syria, and the Iranians want to fill the void. Iran appears determined to establish offensive capabilities on Israel's doorstep and the Israelis are determined not to let that happen. The number of Israeli operations in Syria has reportedly increased and will likely only intensify. Jacob Nagel, a former Israeli national security adviser, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a visiting professor at the Technion Aerospace Faculty. Jonathan Schanzer is senior vice president for research at FDD and a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department.

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