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Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 6 min 28 sec ago

Hamas Plotting to Take Over in West Bank

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(JNS) Yaakov Lappin - According to Col. (res.) Grisha Yakubovich, an expert on Israeli-Palestinian relations and a senior fellow at the MirYam Institute, the mounting Palestinian terrorist attacks are part of a larger trend of the growing dominance of Hamas rhetoric in Judea and Samaria and an ongoing battle for Palestinian hearts and minds based on the message that violence achieves results and that negotiations and diplomacy do not. "Hamas has been silent recently; we are not hearing them. On the Palestinian street, this silence is being interpreted as preparations by Hamas to attempt a repeat of their 2007 takeover of Gaza - this time in Judea and Samaria," Yakubovich cautioned.

Israel Justified in Closing Palestinian NGOs

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(B'nai Brith Canada) David Matas - The Government of Israel designated in October 2021 as terrorist organizations and closed in August 2022 six NGOs due to their ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated by Israel, Canada and many other countries as a terrorist organization. It is common for terrorist organizations to work through associated entities in order to escape the rigors of the terrorist designation. Under the Canadian Regulations Implementing the UN Resolutions on the Suppression of Terrorism, any entity listed as terrorist can ask the Government to be delisted. Israel has similar legal provisions to allow for the challenge of listing. None of the six designated entities has invoked this delisting procedure. The failure of the six designated organizations to invoke legal remedies open to them raises a different question - whether Canada and other countries should also be listing these organizations as terrorist entities. The writer is senior counsel to B'nai Brith Canada.

Hizbullah Is Now on Israel's Border

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(Tablet) Lt.-Col. (res.) Sarit Zehavi - Friction between IDF soldiers and Hizbullah operatives, considered unusual a few years ago, now happens daily. I see Hizbullah's men every day as I tour the border, though they don't usually wear uniforms. Sometimes I see them patrolling in a long column along the fence. Sometimes they pop up from observation posts with binoculars and cameras. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Lebanon war in 2006, called for "the establishment between the Blue Line [border] and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL [the UN Interim Force in Lebanon]." Alarmingly, in recent months, Hizbullah appears to have moved UNIFIL away from the border and positioned itself directly facing Israel, building some 20 positions along the border. Armed military operatives belonging to Hizbullah's military units man these positions around the clock. Some belong to Hizbullah's commando units, the Radwan Brigades. On social networks, Hizbullah is waging a campaign to "rally the troops," preparing them for war with clear threats against Israel. The writer is president and founder of the Alma Research and Education Center.

Christian Zionists Dispute Jordanian King Abdullah's Claim that Christianity in Jerusalem Is "Under Fire"

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(JNS) Kassy Dillon - During his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Jordan's King Abdullah II claimed that Christianity in Jerusalem is "under fire." A spokesperson for Christians United for Israel (CUFI) disputed Abdullah's remarks, saying that "Jerusalem never knew true peace or prosperity until its liberation by Israel....It is because of Israel's respect for liberty that Jews, Christians, Muslims and all others enjoy true religious freedom in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land." Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, "Under Israeli rule since 1967, there has been a clear effort to ensure religious freedom for all three monotheistic faiths. I don't think anyone could argue that Christian holy sites are imperiled in any way." Schanzer pointed out that Israel provides Jordan with crucial assistance in the areas of water, gas, intelligence and security. "Israel guarantees Jordan's stability," he said. Schanzer said that "Jordan has dropped from the warmest peace with Israel some five years ago to the coldest."

New Study: College Newspapers Single Out Israel for Harsh Criticism

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(Algemeiner) Dion J. Pierre - A new report released on Monday by Alums for Campus Fairness, a U.S. watchdog monitoring antisemitism in higher education, documents bias against Israel in campus newspapers. In a survey of newspapers at 75 U.S. colleges, only 17% of 1,450 articles published about Israel since 2017 were positive. Moreover, 307 out of 585 editorials portrayed Israel negatively. "These same newspapers are notably silent on antisemitism and discrimination against Jews on their own campuses," ACF said Monday. "Campus media is extremely biased against Israel." Of the campus newspapers surveyed, the most negative stories about Israel were published by New York University, Harvard, Stanford, and University of California-Berkeley.

Israel Is Showing the World How to Save Water

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(CNN) Seth M. Siegel - With drought becoming the new normal, policymakers would be wise to take a look at what Israel has done, and begin the process of creating their own water-resilient societies. Israel gets nearly all of its tap water from desalination plants along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and a large part of its water for agriculture by purifying and re-using the nation's sewage. Israel charges the real price for water (though the cost is subsidized for those receiving social welfare). This means consumers, farmers and industry are always looking for ways to conserve water, or to use technology for the most efficient use possible. In most of the world, water is deeply subsidized, which leads to enormous wasting of water due to overuse. For Israel, it is cheaper to fix leaky pipes than to waste water, so Israel has an uncommonly low leak factor of 7-8%. The administration of the country's water is in the hands of apolitical technocrats.

IDF Innovation Branch Tasked with Meeting Enemy Threats

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(Algemeiner) Sharon Wrobel - Lt.-Col. Michal Frenkel, 34, said in an interview, "We need to shape the future of defense today and to innovate to be one step ahead of our enemies. I get up in the morning as the head of the innovation branch to make sure that the armed forces have all they need technologically to meet security threats and that soldiers with innovative ideas have the right mechanisms within the IDF to fulfill their dreams to solve operational challenges." The branch, established in 2020, brings innovation of future technologies across all of the IDF's divisions under one roof. Frenkel's background is in anthropology, organizational sociology and behavioral sciences. Before rejoining the IDF after her mandatory service, she worked at tech giant Intel Corp. "I came back because there is no soul in the high-tech industry....I wanted to get up in the morning and feel that what I do has meaning."

Moroccan Muslims Reviving Jewish Heritage in Former Jewish Neighborhoods

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(Media Line-Ynet News) Adi Koplewitz - "Rebuilding Our Homes" is a multi-year USAID-supported initiative of the American Sephardi Federation and Mimouna Association that aims to teach the residents of urban neighborhoods in Moroccan cities that were once thriving Jewish quarters about local history and the rich heritage of the areas. Today, many of the residents of these neighborhoods make a living from creating Jewish artifacts and selling them to tourists. Mezuzas, Shabbat candlesticks and other traditional pieces of Judaica made by Muslims are filling the shops in the narrow alleys. Some 200,000 Israeli tourists are expected to visit Morocco next year. El Mehdi Boudra, president of the Morocco-based Mimouna Association, said, "I'm a proud Muslim....Culturally I'm Moroccan, which means Jewish as well. Morocco was home to the biggest Jewish community in the Muslim world for centuries. Judaism is an integral part of our culture as Moroccans, and we should take pride in that....We surveyed what people here thought about Jews before we started the project, and discovered 85% of the population has a positive opinion about them."

Jewish Partisans Recount Struggle Against Nazis in New Documentary - "Four Winters"

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(JTA) Andrew Lapin - The new documentary "Four Winters" recounts the story of eight former Jewish partisans: women and men from the ghettos who escaped Nazi roundups to the concentration camps, fled to the woods of Eastern Europe and carried out guerilla attacks on Nazis and their collaborators for the remainder of the war. It includes some remarkable archival images of the partisans in action, showing men and women armed with repatriated Nazi weapons. They say they don't like to think of themselves as brave - more that, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, they had bravery thrust upon them, because they couldn't allow themselves to be carted away to die without a fight. Holocaust stories routinely portray Jews as defenseless victims - not as gutsy combatants capable of stabbing Nazis to death with makeshift knives so as not to waste precious bullets.

The Race between Palestinian Rocket Capabilities and Israel's Defensive Capabilities

Wed, 09/21/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security) Dr. Uzi Rubin - During the fighting on August 5-7, 2022, between Israel and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, most of the rockets fired at Israel that were headed towards Israeli population centers were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel suffered no fatalities and only 3 lightly wounded persons (two IDF troops hit by a mortar bomb and a Palestinian worker in an industrial plant hit by a rocket). 28 other Israelis were hurt while rushing to take shelter. Only four houses were directly hit by rockets (with no casualties among their residents). Nevertheless, in a short time, Islamic Jihad managed to launch 1,175 rockets and mortar bombs against Israeli targets. During a two-day round of fighting in 2019 between Israel and Islamic Jihad, IJ managed to fire only 450 rockets and mortar bombs, which illustrates a major enhancement in its capabilities. In addition, IJ concentrated its fire by launching massive salvoes in brief time periods. This proficiency was seen on the second day of the fighting in 2022, when IJ launched at least five large salvoes against Ashkelon within two and a half hours. It appears evident that IJ's rocket manufacturing and launching facilities have not been seriously damaged by previous Israeli offensives against them. It also appears that there is no lack of raw materials and components for expanded rocket and rocket launcher production lines. Arguably, what is true for IJ is also true for Hamas. It can therefore be expected that in future escalation rounds in Gaza, the combined rate of rocket fire by the Palestinian armed militias will reach or even exceed 1,000 rockets per day. At the same time, there has been a degradation in the reliability of the Gaza-produced rockets. While the rate of failed launches during the 2014 operation stood at 7%, the failure rate grew to 23% during the fighting in 2021. The writer was founding director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, which managed the Arrow program.

Woman Dies after Arrest by Iran's Morality Police

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(New York Times) Farnaz Fassihi - Mahsa Amini, 22, was detained in Tehran on Tuesday for violating the hijab law, which mandates covered hair and loose-fitting robes for women. Iran's security forces claimed Amini had suddenly collapsed from a heart attack at the detention center, while receiving educational training on hijab rules. A photo and video of Amini circulating on social media on Thursday showed her lying unconscious with blood oozing from her ear and bruises around her eyes. Amini's death has sparked widespread outrage among many ordinary Iranians, as well as some officials, senior clerics, celebrities and athletes. Many have called for an end to the practice of harassing and detaining women for not observing the hijab rules.

Arab Aid to UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Continues to Decline

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Xinhua-China) Annual Arab financial aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) declined to 3% of UNRWA's budget in 2022, Adnan Abu Hasna, the media advisor of UNRWA in Gaza, said Saturday. In 2018, Arab financial support to the agency reached $200 million, while in 2021 it declined to $20 million. Abu Hasna said that during all the previous Arab summits, the Arab League agreed that Arab support for the UN agency should not be less than 7.5%, "but today we have seen it decline to 3%...this is a big problem."

U.S. Approves Most Aid to Egypt despite Rights Concerns

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(AFP) The U.S. on Wednesday approved most military aid to Egypt for a second straight year despite concerns on human rights. $130 million in aid was withheld from the $1.17 billion package after Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined that Egypt did not meet rights standards. But he gave the green light to the rest, partially under an exemption to assist counter-terrorism efforts and also after certifying that Egypt "is making clear and consistent progress" on due process for prisoners.

Germany's Public Broadcaster Mandates that All Employees Support Israel's Right to Exist

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(JTA) Toby Axelrod - Germany's public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, revised its code of conduct on Sep. 1 to require support for Israel's right to exist, and employees who fail to do so may now be fired.

U.S. Delaying German Procurement of Israel's Arrow 3 Missile Defense System

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Israel Hayom) Ariel Kahana - Israel has worked for months to convince the U.S. to allow the sale of its Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany and other countries. The initial request by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was made half a year ago. U.S. approval of the deal is needed since 80% of the system's development costs came from U.S. In addition, Arrow 3 includes technological components developed in the U.S. Washington has so far neither confirmed nor vetoed the move.

Travel Warning: Israelis and Jews at Risk of Attack by Iran and ISIS Overseas

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) The Counter-Terror Division of the Israeli Prime Minister's Office issued a travel warning on Monday for the upcoming Jewish holidays for Israelis to be wary of potential terror attacks overseas by Iran or ISIS. The recent attempts by Iran to murder Israelis visiting Turkey were recalled, when the Mossad was said to have rescued some Israelis only minutes before they would have been shot dead by an Iranian terror cell.

Israeli Car Shot at in Northern West Bank

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) The IDF confirmed that a passing car fired at an Israeli car near Hawara in the West Bank on Monday morning. No casualties were reported, though the vehicle sustained a lot of damage.

IDF Shows Off Its Innovative Might at International Conference

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim - The IDF hosted an international innovation conference with chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Kurilla, and 200 participants from 25 countries including Finland, India, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Holland, Canada, Germany, the U.S., Greece, and Cyprus. The conference included professional workshops led by IDF commanders, as well as an operational simulation that demonstrated innovative techniques for the challenges of future urban battlefields. The delegations were also shown operational demonstrations using drones and electronic warfare.

PA Not Interested in Military Showdown with IDF

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Khaled Abu Toameh - Palestinian Authority security forces are not headed toward an armed confrontation with the IDF, despite the involvement of some PA officers in recent attacks in the West Bank, Fahmi Shabaneh, former PA General Intelligence Force commander of the Hebron area, said Sunday. "The Palestinian Authority and its security forces are not interested in a military showdown with Israel," Shabaneh said. "The Palestinian leadership considers the security coordination to be sacred. That's why they won't stop the security coordination with Israel." Shabaneh pointed out that most of PA President Abbas' senior aides support the continuation of security coordination. "The recent attacks were carried out by individuals who don't represent the policies of the Palestinian leadership and the security forces." Shabaneh added that the PA has already lost control of the situation in most parts of the West Bank. "The Palestinian Authority is strong only against an individual here and an individual there. But when it comes to the general situation, the Palestinian Authority has undoubtedly lost control." For example, "there are many areas in Hebron where the Palestinian security forces have no presence at all. The clans have more power than the Palestinian security forces." The battle to succeed PA President Mahmoud Abbas, 87, has resulted in the division of the West Bank into three regions that are controlled by competing parties. Shabaneh said he expected armed clashes to erupt between supporters of rival Fatah leaders the day after Abbas departs the scene. "Each one of the Fatah leaders has prepared his own armed men. They are ready for the fight. There won't be a civil war, but there will be armed clashes between groups belonging to [rival] Fatah leaders, each one of whom considers himself a natural successor to Abbas."

Is Israel Really a Safe Country?

Sun, 09/18/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Roman Meitav - In 2020, Israel had a crime rate of 30.4 per 1,000 citizens, including anything from petty theft to murder. How does that compare to other Western countries? In England, the crime rate in 2020 was 77.5 crimes per 1,000 citizens, and Germany had 63.8. In Israel, the murder rate in 2019 was 1.47 per 100,000 civilians. The U.S. had a rate of 5.07 - more than triple.

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