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Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 47 min 28 sec ago

New Dialogue and Collaboration between EU and Israel

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Yossi Shain - European Parliament President Roberta Metsola is visiting Israel and will address the Knesset on Monday, symbolizing an encouraging and dramatic change in Europe's tone and approach in its relations with the Jewish state. Europeans have become much more suspicious of Iran. The danger of Iran's nuclear and hegemonic ambitions was amplified after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Russia's nuclear threats, which shook the Europeans at their core. Statements criticizing anti-Zionism as a disguise for anti-Semitism are also becoming more prevalent among Europe's most influential voices. The EU has withheld funds from UNRWA due to the incitement against Jews and Israelis in Palestinian textbooks. Moreover, a number of European nations have experienced acts of radical, Islamic terror and are wary of shifting demographics within their own societies that could be susceptible to further Islamic radicalization. At the same time, Israel's economic success and its pioneering prowess in the high-tech sector have increased its stature in Europe. The writer, a Yisrael Beytenu MK, is chair of the Knesset Delegation for Relations with the European Parliament.

AIPAC's Changing Strategy

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(JINSA) Amb. Ron Dermer and Dr. Michael Makovsky - A podcast discussion of how AIPAC has created what are essentially two PACs, and now gives money directly to candidates.

Shock in Fatah over Birzeit University Student Election Loss

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia) Mohammed Najib - The Fatah-backed bloc in the Birzeit University student council elections, aligned with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, suffered a crushing defeat last week. It received the lowest number of votes and seats since the start of university elections in 1996, prompting the head of the Fatah movement in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Muwafaq Suhwail, to resign. The Fatah loss will discourage the PA from organizing any legislative or presidential elections from now on. The last legislative elections were held in 2005. Ahmed Ghuneim, a prominent Fatah leader in eastern Jerusalem, said: "Fatah cannot continue in this way. It is time for a decisive and courageous decision to be taken to stop this collapse....The Palestinian Authority...leadership knows and realizes that it is a problem, but they insist that they remain in power and lead us from defeat to defeat." Nasser Al-Kidwa, the former Palestinian foreign minister dismissed from Fatah by Abbas after criticizing the PA leader's policies, said from his home in France: "Fatah... deserves punishment because it has committed enough mistakes to turn Palestinian public opinion against it."

IDF Military Intelligence Views Iran, the Palestinians, and Egypt

Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:00
(Israel Hayom) Yoav Limor - IDF Brig.-Gen. Amir Sa'ar, head of the Military Intelligence Research Division, says, "Iran is weeks away from accumulating a sufficient quantity of uranium for a nuclear bomb....It's the most advanced position they've reached in terms of accumulating materials....They've achieved complete control of advanced centrifugal technology." However, Sa'ar says, the Iranians need another two years before they will be able to produce a bomb, since they still haven't mastered metallurgy or the production of the explosive device. "Three things have always worked with the Iranians: military pressure, internal distress and political pressure. When these were used, they prompted the Iranians to make their biggest decisions. Iran can be deterred, and we have to have the capability to operate against them." "I doubt [the recent spate of Palestinian terror attacks] can be defined as a 'wave,' like in the past....The Palestinian public weren't part of this for a moment. There is weariness among them, as well as a lack of understanding of what, exactly, the issue is. The cry 'Al-Aqsa is in danger' doesn't resonate with the [Palestinian] population in Judea and Samaria. It's an eastern Jerusalem event, a bit Arab Israeli, but has nothing to do with Judea and Samaria." Israel, he says, has an interest in day-to-day life in Judea and Samaria going on as usual, with people working and making a living. "The more you can separate the innocent population, who really want to work and to live, from terrorism, and to make sure there's a cost for it [the terror], the better." Egypt has recently brought its relations with Israel more into the open. "The Egyptians saw the Gulf states sailing comfortably into the world openly with us, and not paying a price. They didn't want to be bypassed, and they understand the benefits of these relations. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi...understands he won't benefit if he keeps relations with us on the level of security, and concealed....Egypt today sees Israel as a positive element in the region. I don't think the current Egyptian leadership sees Israel as an enemy."

Hizbullah and Allies Lose Majority in Lebanon's Parliamentary Elections

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Washington Post) Sarah Dadouch - Hizbullah and its allies have lost their majority in Lebanon's parliament, according to election results released Tuesday. The Hizbullah-led alliance still retained the larger share of seats with 61, down from 70 after the last elections in 2018. Hizbullah could regain the majority if it persuaded some independent candidates to join its bloc.

A West Bank Hot Spot Reemerges

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Wall Street Journal) Stephen Kalin - Jenin in the West Bank is re-emerging as a stronghold of Palestinian militancy. Four of the assailants who killed 19 Israelis in terrorist attacks since March were from the Jenin region. The Israeli military has responded with raids to arrest people they say helped carry out those attacks. The raids are regularly met with gunfire. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have developed extensive networks of support in the region. A senior Israeli military official said the army needs to conduct raids into Jenin to stop terrorism in Israel. "We don't have the ability to wait for the next attack from Jenin, we cannot sit and wait for our civilians to be killed. In general, and more specifically in recent weeks, we're acting to stop those who want to kill Israelis now, right now, so that they're stopped before they carry out their murderous intent."

Israel Ramping Up Gas Output, Looks to Help Supply Europe

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Reuters) Ari Rabinovitch - Israel is boosting offshore natural gas output from 20 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year to 40 bcm in the next few years as it expands current projects and brings new fields online, industry officials say. Israel aims to reach a supply agreement with Europe in the coming months as the continent looks to replace Russian supply. Realistically, this would help Europe no sooner than 2024, said Lior Schillat, director general of Israel's Energy Ministry.

U.S. Denies Involvement in Israeli Exercise Targeting Iran

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(War Zone) Howard Altman - A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Army Col. Joe Buccino, said there was no connection between a U.S. Air Force refueling training flight off the coast of Israel Thursday and a major Israeli training exercise simulating an attack on Iran. "The tanker refuel was not tied to" the Israeli exercise. There is no direct U.S. military involvement in that exercise, Buccino said. The timing of the refueling exercise was coincidental.

Hamas Appeals to Russia for Support in Confrontation with Israel

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Al-Monitor) Rasha Abou Jalal - A Hamas delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzouk visited Moscow on May 4, where it held talks with Russian officials. Walid al-Mudallal, a professor of political science at the Islamic University of Gaza, told Al-Monitor, "Hamas needs to strengthen relations and develop cooperation with Moscow as a superpower in the world. It finds the Russian-Ukrainian crisis an ideal opportunity to do so. Friendly relations between Moscow and Hamas will benefit both parties." "Such support can be done in indirect ways, through Iran and Hizbullah, which have forged an alliance with Moscow in the face of the United States on many international issues, most notably the Syrian issue."

House Votes to Condemn Rising Anti-Semitism

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(The Hill) Mychael Schnell - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday condemning the rise of anti-Semitism in a 420-1 vote. The measure calls on elected officials and civil society leaders "to condemn and combat any and all manifestations of anti-Semitism" and to denounce denials or distortions of the Holocaust.

British Home Secretary: "BDS Movement Is Racist"

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jewish Chronicle-UK) Ben Bloch - British Home Secretary Priti Patel told a Conservative Friends of Israel reception on Monday that "everything we have seen around the BDS movement is racist." She also said that she is "quite unapologetic" about the proscription of the Hamas terror group last year, saying that it was "not just the right thing to do, [it was] a moral imperative."

Iran Weeks Away from Having Enough Material for a Nuclear Bomb

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim - Iran is currently trying to complete the production and installation of 1,000 advanced IR6 centrifuges, including at a new underground facility being built near Natanz, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced Tuesday. He added that Tehran has 60 kg. of 60%-enriched uranium and is a few weeks away from having enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb. He also confirmed that the IRGC launched two Shahed-136 drones from Iran toward Israel on Feb. 14. They were shot down by American fighter jets close to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Russian S-300 Battery Fires at Israeli Jets over Syria

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Israel Hayom) Lilach Shoval - A Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile battery fired at Israeli Air Force jets striking in Syria for the first time on May 13, according to foreign reports. Israel's Channel 13 reported on Monday that the missiles fired at the Israeli aircraft did not pose a threat and there was no radar lock on the planes.

Israel Sends 2,000 Helmets, 500 Protective Vests to Ukraine Rescue Organizations

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Ha'aretz) Jonathan Lis - Israel delivered 2,000 helmets and 500 protective vests for emergency and civilian organizations in Ukraine on Wednesday.

IDF Prepares for Increased Violence in Israeli-Arab Cities during Future War

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim - The IDF is preparing for twice the amount of violence within Israeli-Arab cities in the event of a new conflict, as compared to what occurred during last year's anti-Hamas operation in Gaza, which saw heavy rioting in mixed Israeli-Arab cities such as Lod and Jaffa. The IDF wants to be able to send troops before violence breaks out, and not in response to the violence, and will work to keep roads open.

Thousands of Israelis Join Civilian Home Guard amid Terror Wave

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Ynet News) Meir Turgeman - Amid an ongoing terror wave, 4,000 Israelis have thus far stepped forward to volunteer in the new civilian Home Guard established by the Israel Police. Yael Lahav, 44, one of the 4,000 volunteers, is a mother of three from Kiryat Motzkin who enrolled in the campaign because "I was worried for the children." Adam Hakim, 33, from Tel Aviv, said the training "course gave me basic tools that would allow me to respond in the case of a terror attack. I'm protecting my family, friends, and surroundings. It is the most basic and necessary thing to do as an Israeli civilian." 12% of the volunteers are Muslims who are mostly concerned for their safety in the face of increasing violence in Arab communities.

Video: Palestinian Tries to Stab Soldier in West Bank

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Times of Israel) A Palestinian tried to stab an Israeli soldier near the headquarters of the Samaria Regional Brigade in the West Bank on Tuesday before being shot by troops on the scene.

Hamas Wins Birzeit University Student Election

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post-Times of Israel) Khaled Abu Toameh - Hamas scored a landslide victory in the student council election at Birzeit University in the West Bank on Wednesday, winning 28 of the 51 seats. The ruling Fatah faction got only 18 seats, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won 5. In the previous election in 2019, both Hamas and Fatah garnered 23 seats.

Window of Opportunity for Stopping Iran Nukes Is Narrowing

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Israel Hayom) Tamir Morag - Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Iran was just weeks away from obtaining enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb. According to Eli Bar-On, an expert on missiles and advanced weapons systems, "There is a difference between the amount of fissile material required for manufacturing a bomb and operational nuclear capability, and the gap between the two creates a window that could give Israel one last chance to stop the Iranians." "Gantz revealed that the same famous window of opportunity, which the West has been relying on and is narrow to begin with, has gotten even smaller. This was the last call to the world to stop burying its head in the sand and to stop Iran before it's no longer possible." While Israeli defense officials say Iran may take a year or two to learn to attach a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile, a former senior official at the Negev Nuclear Research Center said it's possible to achieve nuclear capability even without using missiles. "When the Americans dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they didn't use missiles, rather just loaded the bombs on planes and released them from the air."

Iran Jailed Me for My Last Op-Ed

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 17:00
(Wall Street Journal) Hossein Ronaghi - On Feb. 23, plainclothes agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps imprisoned me for more than a week. This is the group that many in the U.S. argue should be removed from the American terrorist sanctions list. They claim that sanctions on the IRGC are merely symbolic and do little to hold it accountable. As someone who was recently in its prisons, I can assure you that the designation of these criminals as terrorists not only limits their access to resources but sends a message that the world is watching, raising the stakes of the regime's crimes. As the American president considers removing my captors and the murderers of peaceful protesters from the U.S. sanctions list, let me say clearly: This is not what Iranians want. Sending our dictator and his regime billions of dollars is not in our best interest. We are willing to live under the economic pressure of sanctions if it weakens the regime holding us hostage and cuts off some of the resources used to jail us, torture us and shoot us in the streets.

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