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Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 8 min 10 sec ago

A Nuclear Iran Could Create a Middle East Nightmare

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(The Hill) Frank Sobchak - Most scholars agree that allowing an aggressive, expansionist regime that has described Israel as a "one-bomb country" to acquire nuclear weapons would be reckless and suicidal. One rarely explored repercussion if Iran crosses the nuclear threshold is that Saudi Arabia will do everything possible not to be left behind. Saudi Arabia's nuclear program has both capability and intent. Saudi Arabia began building a 30-kilowatt research reactor in 2018, although they have an abundance of fossil fuels. Moreover, the Saudis have not agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Saudi Arabia has 90,000 tons of unmined uranium, likely enough fuel for that reactor as well as a weapons program. There is credible evidence that the Saudis have an agreement with Pakistan to provide nuclear weapons in the event of a crisis such as Iran becoming a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia is long believed to have financed Pakistan's weapons program, which is assessed to have 160 warheads. Several U.S. and NATO officials indicated that a small subset of those weapons is earmarked for such a crisis. Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, observed that if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon, "The Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb; they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring." Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bluntly noted in 2018, "Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible." There are indications that Turkey and the UAE are considering developing similar programs with the hope of establishing a deterrence. So Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be just the beginning of proliferation in an unstable region. We must consider such future nightmares while we debate what must be done now with Iran. The writer, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a publishing contributor at the MirYam Institute in Israel.

A Chance for the U.S. to Rebuild an Alliance Crucial to Its Security

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Wall Street Journal) Walter Russell Mead - The war in Ukraine hurts Russia in the Middle East and helps the U.S. because Putin's failure to crush Ukraine makes him look like a loser, and weakness is the one unforgivable sin in Middle East politics. Every day that Russia fails to make significant progress, and every day that the Western response to Russian aggression grows more robust, Putin looks weaker and America looks stronger. The U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the most intimate and effective partnerships in the world. The integration of Israeli and American defense and tech industries contributes substantially to the security and the prosperity of both countries, and widespread public support for Israel among American voters helps inoculate American foreign policy against isolationism. The Biden administration's reluctance, so far, to accept maximalist Iranian demands as the price for reinstituting the nuclear deal leaves many Israelis hoping for a more robust American policy in the region. The example of Ukraine's Jewish president electrifies many Israelis. And as Putin seeks to rally Russian nationalism behind him in his struggle with the West, his henchmen are revisiting anti-Semitic tropes that resonate in Russian nationalist circles but remind Jews about the deep roots of anti-Semitism in Russian history and culture. The creation of a Middle East alliance network including both Arabs and Israelis that preserved vital American interests at limited cost was one of the great American achievements of the Cold War. The question is whether the administration can construct a realistic framework for renewed American primacy in the Middle East. The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College.

Ra'am and the Israeli Islamic Movement's Interaction with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi - Statements over the years shed light on the links between the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and the United Arab List (Ra'am) party, and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Party leader Mansour Abbas has denied any link between them, telling the Saudi newspaper Elaph on May 5: "We have no link to anyone outside the 1948 land [Israel]...and conduct our association with the State of Israel on the basis of citizenship." Nevertheless, a direct dialogue has been held in the past between Abbas and the Hamas leadership. Moreover, Abdulmalik Dehamshe, former chairman of Ra'am and one of the people who inspired the worldview of Mansour Abbas, portrayed the link between the Islamic Movement and the Islamic movements outside of Israel as between the branch and the tree, while asserting that the source of authority remains local. The writer is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center.

Lebanon's May 15 Legislative Elections

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah - 1,046 candidates will compete for the 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament on May 15. The elections will help determine Lebanon's identity in the coming years. The struggle is between two main ideological blocs: one aimed at transforming Lebanon into another province of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the other fighting for Lebanon's Arab identity and independence. The electoral campaign has witnessed much violence, with thugs sent mainly by Hizbullah and Amal who have physically attacked potential candidates who threatened their hegemony in south Lebanon and the Bekaa valley. Candidates on rival lists in the Bekaa decided to withdraw their candidacy, fearing for their lives. Former Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri has withdrawn his list from participating in the elections, putting into question the nature of the Sunni representation that will emerge. Another question is whether the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), headed by Lebanese President Michel Aoun's son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, will lose its majority of the Christian vote because of a chain of scandals and corruption cases. As matters now stand, the elections may lead to almost complete paralysis of the Lebanese body politic, adding to the national chaos. The writer, a Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center, was former Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

Why Israel Is Planning a National Guard

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at Sunday's cabinet meeting about setting up a National Guard to deal with rioting Arabs and road closures during times of war and smaller military campaigns. In recent years, the public has come to realize that there are vast tracts in the country - from kibbutz fields in the Arava, to Bedouin areas in the Negev, to agricultural communities in the Galilee and Golan, to Arab cities in the Triangle - where Israeli sovereignty is simply not applied, and where semi-autonomous areas have emerged where the central government has little sway. One of the main lessons from the May 2021 mini-war with Gaza was that a radicalized segment of the Israeli Arab population will likely become involved in any future confrontation.

Why Is the BBC Using Partisan and Inflammatory Palestinian Language?

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Jewish Chronicle-UK) Hadar Sela - The rallying cry of "al-Aqsa is in danger" produced an 11-day war in May 2021 that was accompanied by violent rioting in some Israeli cities. Just last month it curated violence in Jerusalem which was the topic of international media coverage. A significant aspect of Palestinian efforts involves terminology. All Jews visiting the Temple Mount are "settlers" who are "storming" the site, and the Jewish temples never existed there. Until 2014, the BBC followed its own style guide: the site should be called Temple Mount, with audiences also being informed that it is known to Muslims as "Haram al-Sharif." Then the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) published a "media advisory" informing foreign journalists of its "concern over the use of the inaccurate term 'Temple Mount' to refer to the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem." Following the PLO document, CAMERA UK began documenting changes in the wording used by the BBC. The term "al-Aqsa Mosque compound" was employed with increasing frequency to describe the whole site. The use of that terminology resulted in BBC audiences being told that al-Aqsa Mosque was "sacred to Jews." BBC Arabic, in its reporting on rioting on the Temple Mount, claimed that "settlers" are allowed by the Israeli police "to get inside al-Aqsa Mosque" and portrayed Jews visiting their holiest site as "storming" it. The writer is co-editor of CAMERA UK.

Time for Tough Measures Against Anti-Semitism

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Fox News) Amb. David Friedman - Incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. have risen to record highs. America is a great nation because of the Judeo-Christian values upon which it was founded. An American nation that is inhospitable to Jews is no longer a great nation. Anti-Semitism thus poses an existential risk to our country. We must step up our efforts to confront and defeat anti-Semites rather than trying to win their "hearts and minds." Anti-Semites don't have "hearts and minds" and certainly not both. Virtually every American university is hostile to Israel and no pro-Israel professor has a chance for tenure. At the highest levels of American education, our "best and brightest" are taught to hate Israel. Those combatting anti-Semitism are mostly engaged in defensive tactics that betray fear and insecurity. But we will not defeat anti-Semitism by only playing defense. It's time to go on offense. 1) Demand that anti-Semites be held accountable. Step up law enforcement. Insist on a robust, well-publicized presence of undercover officers to patrol the streets dressed in traditional Jewish garb. Let every violent thug wonder when he attacks a Jew whether he might be attacking a cop. 2) Demand equal rights for Jews. Jews remain a minority, subject to oppression and discrimination, and unchecked anti-Semitism ultimately affects everyone. 3) Stand with Israel. Zionism is an integral component of the Jewish faith. All three major streams of Judaism - Orthodox, Conservative and Reform - contain prayers for God to restore the Jewish people to Zion (a synonym for Jerusalem) and the Land of Israel. While 42% of the nations of the world have an official or preferred religion, only Israel - the one Jewish state - is singled out for attack, even though it meticulously strives to ensure access of all faiths to their holy sites. The writer served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(New Yorker) ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt interviewed by Isaac Chotiner - Zionism is the right of Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. This right of self-determination, that many in the anti-Zionist camp want for Palestinians or would want for other peoples, they would deny to Jewish people. Unless you support denying the legitimacy of any national project from France to Ukraine, if you hold the idea that Zionism is the only form of nationalism that's wrong, that's discriminating against Jewish people. That's anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism is a new hue of a very old color. Jews have been delegitimized for centuries. For thousands of years, we have heard that Judaism isn't a real religion. The Jews aren't a real people. The Jews don't really deserve rights. Today, the subject of derision is the Jewish state, not the Jewish people. But it is an old practice. There's nothing wrong with having a passion for your homeland. Italian Americans have that, Irish Americans have that, Chinese American people have that. Zionism isn't something that David Ben-Gurion or Theodor Herzl came up with. It has been embedded in the faith and the traditions of Judaism for thousands of years. If you peel back the layers in anti-Zionism, it is a historic form of delegitimization targeting Jews. It's the same architecture of intolerance that's been there for centuries.

Innovative Neck Protector Saved Border Policeman's Life

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Israel Hayom) Itsik Saban - An innovative neck protector saved the life of Master. Sgt. M., a Border Police officer who was wounded on Sunday in a stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The new protective wear was developed after a Palestinian terrorist killed Border Policewoman Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka at Damascus Gate four years ago. A senior police official said, "On Sunday, the force of the stab was very strong and the knife was extremely sharp. Thanks to the Hadas neck protector, a far more serious injury was prevented."

Israel's First Muslim Supreme Court Justice Sworn In

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(i24News) Justice Khaled Kabub, 64, from Jaffa, on Monday became the first Muslim appointed to Israel's 15-member Supreme Court.

Israeli Drone-Maker to Supply Advanced Systems to U.S. Military

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Defense News) Seth J. Frantzman - Israeli firm Xtend will supply hundreds of new Wolverine Gen2 unmanned systems to the U.S. Defense Department, the company announced Tuesday. The small drone, which is made in the U.S., "enables operators - even those with no flight experience - to perform extremely precise remote tasks, maneuvers, and actions in complex environments (indoor or outdoor), with minimal training and maintenance." Xtend previously delivered several dozen Skylord counter-drone systems to the U.S.

U.S. Marines Adopt Israeli Combat-Tested Drone Warfare Tactics

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(War on the Rocks) Stephen W. LaRose - The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is employing combat-tested drone systems equipped with camera payloads and high explosives that are in use by special operations forces of allied nations such as Israel.

The Only Response to Anti-Zionism Is Zionism

Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:00
(Tablet) Dr. Einat Wilf - I now hear from parents in the American Jewish community of the ever-growing demands placed on young Jews to join the ranks of anti-Israel organizations. The demand on young Jews to be less visibly and confidently Jewish as the price of social acceptance and toleration is an ancient one. Today it includes demands to disavow support for Israel or declare support for Palestinian political movements. I confronted this demand myself 25 years ago, when I was a member of Israel's Labor Party and a proud member of the country's political left. I also remained a committed Zionist, a set of values and principles that in no way contradicted any of my other political beliefs. Yet several encounters with peers and colleagues abroad led to the eventual realization that the fact that I was an unapologetic Zionist banished me from the good graces of the global left. I never changed my opinion about Zionism. I simply gave up my status as a "good Jew" in the opinions of others. At present, a Jewish student who does not show herself to be an ally of Students for Justice in Palestine, or does not agree that "Zionism equals racism," or that Zionism is a form of apartheid and whatever other supreme evil will be identified next, cannot be considered a good Jew. Over the last several months, as a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, I taught a course called "Zionism and Anti-Zionism." In the many hours I spent discussing student life with students and faculty, it became apparent that the anti-Zionist activism on campus was not primarily a form of social protest or political expression, but a form of bullying. The only effective response to the bullies is to resist them with confidence. It's hard to bully a proud people; it's impossible to bully a people who know they have nothing to be ashamed of, and who don't need or seek anyone else's approval in the first place. The only response to anti-Zionism, in other words, is Zionism. The writer, a former IDF intelligence officer and Knesset member, is the co-author of The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace (2020).

Israel Says Putin Apologizes for Lavrov's Remarks

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(RT-Russia) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an apology for Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statements suggesting that Adolf Hitler may have had Jewish ancestry and that some of the "most ardent" anti-Semites are Jews, during phone talks on Thursday. A readout of the talks released by the Kremlin press service did not mention the apology.

62 Senators, including 16 Democrats, Vote to Oppose Removal of IRGC from Terror List

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(Jewish Insider) Marc Rod - The U.S. Senate approved Wednesday by 62 to 33 a non-binding measure that opposes the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' terrorism designation. The legislation also includes language requiring any nuclear weapons agreement with Iran to include provisions "addressing the full range of Iran's destabilizing activities," including missiles, terrorism and sanctions evasion. 16 Democrats voted for the measure.

Jared Kushner's New Equity Fund to Invest Saudi Money in Israel

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(Wall Street Journal) Dion Nissenbaum - Former senior White House adviser Jared Kushner's new private-equity fund plans to invest millions of dollars of Saudi money in Israeli startups, in a sign of the kingdom's increasing willingness to do business with the country. Affinity Partners has raised more than $3 billion, including a $2 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign-wealth fund. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees the Saudi fund's strategic decisions, would have had to approve any decision to invest directly in Israel. Kushner said he viewed his investment plans as an extension of his work in the White House in advancing ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Church of England Apologizes for 800-Year-Old Anti-Semitic Laws

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(Observer-UK) Harriet Sherwood - The Church of England apologized on Sunday for its "shameful actions" in passing anti-Jewish laws 800 years ago that paved the way for the expulsion of Jews from England. A special service at Christ Church cathedral in Oxford, marking the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford, was attended by Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi, with representatives of the archbishop of Canterbury and a Roman Catholic bishop. The synod passed laws forbidding social interactions between Jews and Christians, forcing Jews to wear identifying badges, imposing church tithes on them, banning them from certain professions, and forbidding them from building new synagogues. Hundreds were arrested, hanged or imprisoned. Eventually, all the Jews in England were expelled in 1290 by King Edward I. They were not permitted to return for more than 360 years. The move follows a 2019 document produced by the Church of England which said Christian attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a "fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism." Anglicans and other Christians must actively challenge anti-Jewish attitudes and stereotypes, said the document.

Energean Makes Commercial Gas Discovery off the Coast of Israel

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(Sharecast-UK) Energean said on Monday that a discovery at its Athena exploration well off the coast of Israel pointed to recoverable volumes of 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Energean said Athena may be commercialized in the near term.

Three Israelis Murdered by Palestinians during Independence Day Celebrations

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Asaron Reich - Yonatan Habakkuk, Boaz Gol and Oren Ben Yiftah, three young fathers, were murdered by two axe and knife-wielding Palestinians who attacked passersby in the city of Elad on Israeli Independence Day on Thursday. Four others were injured. 16 children were left fatherless after the attack. Limor, the wife of victim Yonatan Habakkuk, wrote on Facebook that her husband "fought against the terrorists with great heroism for many minutes...saving many lives."

Israel Captures Palestinian Terrorists Who Murdered Three Israelis in Elad

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 17:00
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim - Israeli security forces caught the two terrorists who murdered three Israelis in Elad on Thursday. As'sad al-Rifai, 19, and Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, 20, from the Jenin area of the West Bank, were captured alive in a forested area close to Elad on Sunday morning.


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