Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.

DAILY ALERT

September 24, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Jerusalem Suicide Bomber was Hostess of Children's TV Show - David Frankfurter (Israelinsider.com)
    Palestinian suicide bomber Zainab Ali Issa Abu Salem, who killed two Israeli border policemen Wednesday at a Jerusalem bus stop, was from a wealthy family who own a local Palestinian television station.
    Yediot Ahronot reported that she had spent the last three months as a presenter on a children's show broadcast by her parents' TV station.


Arafat Losing Popularity (Maariv International)
    According to a Palestinian public opinion poll by the Development Studies Program at Birzeit University, if presidential elections were held tomorrow Arafat would get only 46% of the vote.
    This shows a major drop in his popularity, since until now all polls have given him comfortable two-thirds majorities.
    Former Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, currently a prisoner in Israel, registered 11%.
    Fatah remains the most popular party with 34%, followed by Hamas with 32% of the vote.


EU, U.S. Target Charities that Fund Terror (AP/Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. and the EU sought Thursday to coordinate action against a growing problem of terrorist sympathizers using charities and cash couriers as covers to fund violence.
    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State E. Anthony Wayne, meeting in Brussels with EU officials on the fight against terrorist funding, said the international clampdown on funding through conventional banking has seen the freezing of $142 million in assets from suspected al-Qaeda-linked organizations and individuals.


Egyptians Wonder If Dynasty Is Near - Daniel Williams (Washington Post)
    Is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in power for 23 years, going to stay on? And was he setting up his son, Gamal, to succeed him?
    The Bush administration regards Egypt as ripe for change.
    See also In Egypt, Reforms Are All Talk and Little Substance - Megan K. Stack (Los Angeles Times)
    See also Mubarak's Half-Welsh Son in Line to Succeed - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
    Gamal Mubarak's Welsh blood is from his mother, Suzanne.


Iran Moves to Roll Back Rights Won by Women - Nazila Fathi (New York Times)
    Since hard-liners won Iran's parliamentary elections last February, the new parliament has called for placing more restrictions on women's attire and on their social freedoms.
    In recent months, newspapers have reported that scores of women have been arrested in Tehran and around the country because they were wearing what the authorities considered to be un-Islamic dress.


Israel's Norway Envoy Urges Removal of "Anti-Semitic" Artwork (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    Israel's ambassador to Norway, Liora Herzl, urged Oslo on Thursday to remove a metal sculpture from a central square, branding it anti-Semitic.
    The three-meter high work called "The Wall: Fragments of History" has the date of a 1947 resolution that established Israel beside the word "Holocaust."
    One Star of David on the work is partly covered by red paint, apparently meant to look like blood, and one side includes a row of words: "Ariel Sharon," "destruction," "rape, killings."


"If Saving Lives Means I'm a Traitor, So Be It" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Yunis Owaidah, 63, is probably the only Palestinian who's not afraid to admit that he is a "collaborator" with Israel.
    Thousands of Palestinians who have made similar confessions over the past three decades have been either killed or ostracized by their families and communities.
    In the early 1970s Owaidah helped thwart rocket attacks on the King David Hotel and the Western Wall.
    "The Palestinians were then planning to fire rockets at the King David to kill Kissinger, who was staying there," he said.
    "The other rockets were supposed to hit the Western Wall. The rockets could have easily landed on the Aksa Mosque, killing many Arabs."
    "When the Jews came to Jerusalem [in 1967], I saw how they were treating the people in a humane way," he said. "By comparison, we had been oppressed by the Jordanians when they were here."
    "Look how the Jews have built a modern and democratic state, and look where the Arabs still are."


Jordan Plans to Build 5th Minaret on Temple Mount - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    Jordanian Wakf officials are planning on building a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, and Israel has not objected to the proposal, Dr. Raief Najim, the vice president of the Jordanian Construction Committee, said Tuesday.
    Najim, who is overseeing the renovation of the southern and eastern Temple Mount walls, said the planned minaret was the brainchild of Jordanian King Abdullah II and would be constructed near the eastern wall of the Temple Mount next year.
    A spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Raanan Gissin, said the building of the minaret is "within Jordan's religious autonomy" as the traditional overseer of maintenance at the site.
    "Before any change is made at the ancient Temple Mount it is essential that archeological supervision resume immediately at the site," said Dr. Eilat Mazar, a member of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount.
    "In the past, Wakf requests for small structural changes on the Temple Mount were actually an excuse for large-scale Islamization of the site, which caused massive antiquities damage," she added.


For Hussein, a Spartan Life at His Former Palace - John F. Burns (New York Times)
    Saddam Hussein is living in an air-conditioned 10-by-13 foot cell on the grounds of one of his former palaces outside Baghdad, tending plants, proclaiming himself Iraq's lawful ruler, and reading the Koran and books about past Arab glory.


Trade with Arab States Up 47% in January-August - Zeev Klein (Globes)
    Israel's trade with Arab states rose 47% in January-August 2004 to $169.7 million, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports.
    Israeli exports to Jordan rose 66% to $90.4 million, while imports rose 29% to $35 million.
    Israeli exports to Egypt rose 31% to $18.7 million, while imports rose 31% to $19.7 million.


Charleston Law Enforcement Gets Security Training in Israel - Christin Wilson (ABC News)
    The effort to keep Americans safe from terrorism recently took Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon to Israel along with 40 other people from the law enforcement community, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.
    The group of Americans learned about security and terrorism prevention from the Israelis, who have decades of experience fighting terrorism.
    See also Austin EMS Crews, Doctors Return from Israel (KVUE News Austin)
    Returning from a field trip to Israel, representatives of Austin emergency crews are ready to share new response methods to terrorism.
    Some members of Austin's public safety and physician community spent ten days in Israel sharing information with Israeli response teams.


Useful Reference:

CNN's "Impact of Terror," on the victims of the Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem, was broadcast on September 19.
    The show will be rebroadcast on Saturday, September 25 at 6 am, 8 pm, and 11 pm Eastern Time.
    See screening times for Europe, Israel, Asia, Australia, and South America on October 9.


Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click "Forward" in your email program and enter their address.

Search

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Powell: World Getting Tired of Waiting for Arafat to Cede Power
    Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday the international community is growing weary of waiting for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to hand over control of security forces to an empowered prime minister. He suggested this could mean reduced outside aid for the Palestinians. "There is a weariness in the international community to continue providing the kind of assistance the Palestinian people so desperately need unless we see some sort of political reform and determination on the part of the Palestinian Authority to improve itself," he said.
        The U.S. has been the largest single aid provider to the Palestinians through UNRWA, despite its ceasing political contact with Arafat in 2002 because of his failure to curb terrorism. President Bush told the UN General Assembly Tuesday that world leaders should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian leader who fails his people and betrays their cause. (VOA News)
  • French FM Says Arafat Cannot be Left Out of Peace Talks
    French foreign minister Michel Barnier said on Thursday that no progress could be made in the Middle East peace process by marginalizing or not negotiating with Arafat. "I believe that nothing can be done without Arafat," Barnier said. (AP/Khaleej Times-Dubai)
        See also Understanding Arafat Before His Attempted Rehabilitation - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi (ICA/JCPA)
  • UN Should "End Its Obsession" with Israel
    Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom challenged the UN General Assembly Thursday to "end its obsession" with the Jewish state and focus instead on "the active involvement of Iran and Syria in terrorism." "Iran has replaced Saddam Hussein as the world's number one exporter of terror, hate, and instability," Shalom asserted. (Reuters)
        See also Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's Address to the UN General Assembly (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Muslim Outrage Over Killings Found Lacking
    The beheadings of two Americans in Iraq this week have been treated as unwelcome developments in the Arab press, but the concern has been more for the image of Muslims than for the victims. Most organizations continued to cast the outrage as a small part of a wider conflict in which the U.S. is seen as the prime culprit. (Washington Times)
  • Planners of Palestinian Meeting at Duke Won't Condemn Terrorism
    The planners of a pro-Palestinian student conference at Duke University will not sign a statement condemning terrorism as Jewish groups on campus have requested, a spokesman said. Condemning Palestinian organizations' methods would violate the guidelines of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, said Rann Bar-On, a member of the affiliated Duke group Hiwar. "We don't see it as very useful for us as a solidarity movement to condemn violence," he said. "That will not achieve any particular goal." (AP/Winston-Salem Journal)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Woman Killed in Mortar Attack on Neve Dekalim - Margot Dudkevitch
    An Israeli woman, Tiferet Tratner, 24, was killed when a mortar scored a direct hit on a house in Neve Dekalim in central Gaza Friday, landing in the living room. Another woman was lightly wounded in the Palestinian terror attack. Tratner, originally from Jerusalem, decided to stay in Neve Dekalim and make her home there after completing her national service in Gush Katif and Netzarim. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Photos from the Attack (Katif.net)
  • Afula Terrorist Attack Foiled - Amos Harel
    Security forces Thursday revealed details of a foiled suicide bombing that was to have taken place in Afula on Tuesday, planned jointly by a Fatah and Islamic Jihad cell from Yamun, near Jenin. The intended bomber was a 15-year-old boy from the West Bank. Shin Bet and police discovered more than seven kilograms of explosives hidden near the western Galilee village of Dir Hana, which were to be used in the attack. The explosives had been smuggled into Israel in a car belonging to a resident of the territories who lived inside the "green line" thanks to a family reunification permit. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Won't Stop Bombings - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, who has been in hiding in Gaza since the killing of his predecessors, has said his movement will not halt suicide attacks against Israel, and denied reports that Hamas was willing to join the PA. In an interview with the Saudi website Al-Arabiya, he said those who are opposed to suicide bombings should ask themselves why Israel finally decided to quit the Gaza Strip.
        Zahar described the disengagement plan as a victory for the Palestinian camp that contends that the armed struggle is the only method to liberate the land. "The fact is that Palestine, all of Palestine, belongs to the Muslims. Any temporary plan that refers only to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem does not negate our absolute right to all of Palestine," Zahar said. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also PA, Hamas Tensions Mounting - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Uncovers Arms Cache in West Bank Cave - Amos Harel
    The IDF discovered a large arms cache in an underground cave near the Palestinian village of Makhmas southeast of Ramallah Thursday, after a loud explosion. The cache was estimated to have contained more than 300 kilos of explosives. Also found were RPG missiles and launchers, and more than 40 Kalashnikov rifles. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Burial in Neve Dekalim - Nir Hasson
    Staff Sergeant Israel Lutati, 20, of Neve Dekalim in Gaza was one of three IDF soldiers killed Thursday when armed Palestinians penetrated an army outpost in southern Gaza. Many residents wondered if he would be buried in the small Gush Katif cemetery, which may have to be moved together with the settlements. "He lived here, he fought here, he will be buried here," Lutati's father, Eli, told friends. Israel Lutati came with his family to live in Neve Dekalim in 1989. As part of his volunteer work with Magen David Adom, which he began at age 15, he cared for many people wounded in security-related incidents in Gush Katif. On Wednesday night, a few hours before the attack in which he was killed, Lutati called all his close friends to ask forgiveness before Yom Kippur. (Ha'aretz)
        Israel Lutati lived and breathed Gush Katif. After serving at his post in Morag or elsewhere, he would drive a few kilometers home on leave and spend hours at the settlement command center, and even relieved guards at their posts when needed, said his cousin Or Lutati. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Impact of the War in Iraq on Islamist Groups and the Culture of Global Jihad - Reuven Paz
    Post-Saddam Iraq presented to predominantly Sunni Arab Jihadist groups a golden opportunity to reinforce their struggle by viewing the struggle in Iraq as a return to the heart of the Arab world after years of struggle in "exile," including in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Central Asia. They have seized the opportunity to recruit a growing number of Islamic youth to support their political aspirations and Islamist interpretations. Islamist groups supplied new interpretations of Jihad that altered previous "red lines," including non-discriminatory killings of both "infidel" foreigners and Muslims. The war has also broadened opportunities for recruitment among Muslim communities in the West. The entire process of radicalization that followed the war in Iraq is accompanied by a massive indoctrination by Islamist scholars, clerics, and intellectuals, who promote the building of a new system based on Jihad.
        The Palestinians have remained entirely unaffected by the war in Iraq. There is a constant decrease in Saudi support for Hamas, especially in the financial realm, as a result of American pressure. The killing of Hamas leaders Yasin and Rantisi in Gaza decreased the solidarity of Hamas with the global Muslim Brotherhood and shifted the leadership outside of Palestine, to people such as Khaled Mish'al and Mousa Abu Marzouq. The anarchy in the PA enables Hizballah and its Iranian backer to become influential in the territories. Neither of these Shi'ite elements are part of the radical Sunni global Jihad, and have a different agenda. The writer is director of the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements - PRISM, part of the GLORIA Center in the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. (IMRA/International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism)
  • A Visit to Nablus - Graham Usher
    On Sept. 13, 100 or so Aksa Martyrs Brigades militiamen torched the home of Hamad Hajat, a PA police officer in Nablus. It was revenge for Hajat's slaying of one their men, they said. Hajat is in hiding, his family has fled to Jordan. At the time of the attack, a hundred of Nablus's 4,000 policemen stood on the road opposite the house. As soon as the first explosive charge was lit, "they melted away", says Aboud Ateer, a witness.
        "The PA only exists nominally in Nablus," says former Nablus mayor Ghassan Shakaa, whose brother was killed in a drive-by shooting last November. The killer is known and belongs to one of the Fatah militias in the city. "It's like what happened to Nabil Amr (a PA lawmaker shot in Ramallah in July). Nobody in the PA wants to know who shot him. Instead we blame the Israelis," he said. Shakaa says that with the collapse of the PA the militias are becoming younger, bolder, more popular, and more dangerous. Some are nationalist, but most are young guns hired by this or that PA chieftain or "outside powers like Syria, Iran, and Hizballah," he says. "Syria has another agenda. It wants Palestine to be like Lebanon - in its pocket."
        Since the PA's Central Election Commission (CEC) began voter registration for PA municipal elections on September 4, only 7% have registered in Nablus: in certain neighborhoods the rate is 3%. The apathy is "a kind of protest against the PA," says Shakaa. The one exception to this torpor is Hamas and a handful of Palestinian political parties or civic associations. Imams at Hamas-allied mosques are urging their congregations to get out and vote. Polls show Hamas running neck and neck with Fatah throughout the territories. In Gaza, it is the most popular faction. In Nablus, Islamist blocs control Al-Najah University and several professional associations. How would Hamas do in Nablus? "It would win - no question," says Shakaa. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • Gaza Turmoil Renews Demands for Palestinian Reform - Khalil Shikaki
    Only national elections that allow the public to remove the old guard will empower reformers to bring about the necessary changes. For this reason, Arafat will continue to oppose such elections. In this, he has unlikely allies: the U.S. and Israel - afraid that Arafat will be reelected. (Arab Reform Bulletin-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
  • Tender Terrorists? - Ellen Goodman
    The Russian government has revealed that the two female suicide bombers who blew up planes last month were detained and quickly released before they bribed their way onto the planes. Did the security forces dismiss the danger because of the dress? Did the corrupt officials assuage their conscience by discounting any risk from the "gentler sex"? How long will it take us to get over the stereotypes of women as exclusively peaceful, nurturing, empathetic? Only when the stereotype becomes dangerous to society?
        In the months after 9/11, as I unlaced my shoes again and again at the airport gate, I privately wondered why they were profiling middle-aged women. Yet the stereotypes that I too carry are useful to terrorists. The leaders count on them when choosing women for their "feminine" ability to get closer to the targets. And they count on them for giving their cause a moral advantage. When the terrorist is a woman, people talk about "why" she did it, not "what" she did. (Boston Globe)
  • No to Another Terror State - Joseph Farah
    What's wrong with the idea of creating a Palestinian Arab state? The PA's official policy is to demand all Jews get out of the country they are attempting to create. There is no room for any Jews in the country the children of Yasser Arafat want to start. In any other part of the world, this kind of racist, anti-Semitic effort at ethnically cleansing a region would be roundly condemned by all civilized people. Why are the rules different in the Middle East? Why are the rules different for Arabs? Why are the rules different for Muslims? While the Arabs do not believe Jews have the right to live in the Palestinian state, the Israelis, on the other hand, offer full citizenship rights to Arabs in the Jewish state. Nowhere in the Middle East do Arabs experience more freedom than in Israel. (WorldNetDaily)
  • Is Saudi Arabia Holy Soil? - Stephen Schwartz
    The Saudi lobby in Washington has had the capital so thoroughly wired that it made the Israel lobby look like amateurs. After all, the Israelis actually had to engage in lobbying; the Saudis just sat back and enjoyed the love they believed was their due. It was in this manner that the kingdom avoided carrying out a serious inquiry into the involvement of 15 Saudi subjects out of the 19 suicide terrorists on September 11. Saleh al-Fawzan, a senior member of the Wahhabi religious bureaucracy, defended the present ban against religious rights for non-Muslims in the kingdom by quoting the Prophet Muhammad: "The prophet said there should not be two religions in the Arabian Peninsula."
        "Saudi Arabia" was not the birthplace of Islam, having come into existence in 1932. Mecca and Medina are located on the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula in a region known as Hejaz, conquered by the House of Saud that originated in the area called Nejd. Mecca and Medina are sacred. The rest of Saudi Arabia is not considered holy by the majority of Muslims, but only by Wahhabis. American troops have never set foot in Mecca and Medina. (Tech Central Station)
  • Saudi Arabia's Religious Hatred - Jeff Jacoby
    The State Department's addition last week of Saudi Arabia to its list of the world's most religiously intolerant nations was a step long overdue. For years, the Saudi regime was exempt from harsh criticism in official U.S. circles - an immunity bought with the hundreds of millions of dollars Riyadh lavished on U.S. policymakers, ambassadors, and lobbyists. But that changed after 9/11, when a group of mostly Saudi terrorists sent thousands of innocent victims to their deaths. Countless Americans realized for the first time that Saudi Arabia, with its Wahhabi strain of Islam - a radical, aggressive, and poisonously intolerant creed - was the incubator of the world's most virulent anti-American savagery.
        Saudi oil fuels the world, but the enemy we are fighting is fueled by the feverish religious bigotry that is Saudi Arabia's other leading export. Unless we squarely face that bigotry, and cast a cold eye on the regime that sustains it, the war on terror is one we will not win. (Boston Globe)
  • Presbyterian Preachiness - Eugene Kontorovich
    Recently, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to divest from American companies that do business with Israel. The Presbyterians have not divested their funds from any of the cruel regimes of the world: not from China for its ethnic cleansing of Tibetans; and not even from Sudan, currently engaged in the extermination of Africans in Darfur.
        Since the creation of Israel, Christians have been able to worship there unmolested and unafraid because Israel shares the American values of religious freedom and pluralism. The Presbyterians have set themselves against the best and only friend and protector of Christianity in the Middle East. They have done so to support a movement that has slaughtered Christians and defiled their holy places. Yasser Arafat, to whose aid the Presbyterians now come, massacred Christian civilians in Lebanon when his Fatah organization was based there. (National Review)
        See also Episcopalian Church Leaders Recommend Israel Divestment - Laurie Copans
    World Episcopalian leaders are recommending that the church withdraw investments from Israel. Their recommendations will be made to a meeting next year in Wales of the Anglican Consultative Council, the church's ruling body. Twenty-nine representatives of the church met with Arafat this week. (AP)
  • Gaza Pullout Most "Gut-Wrenching" Move in Israel's History - David Makovsky
    Sharon has come around to the view that Arafat does not want a Palestinian state, that this is only something that he'll say he favors in an interview with CNN, and what he really wants is to play for time. He feels it's better to take pre-emptive action and set back the demographic clock. Taking down settlements will be perhaps the most gut-wrenching internal process that Israel has gone through since its formation. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Chinese Muslims Forge Isolated Path" - Louisa Lim
    Ningxia province is the heartland of Islam in China - and the base of Hong Yang, a Muslim leader who commands a million Chinese followers. There are 20 million Muslims in China, and Hong Yang is a government advisor. These days an Islamic resurgence is taking place, but China's leaders fear the fervor of faith. In the past, rebellions brewed in Ningxia province.
        Jin Meihua, 40, is one of a handful of Chinese female imams and runs a mosque exclusively for women, something unknown anywhere else in Muslim countries, says Maria Jaschok from Oxford University. According to Dr. Khaled Abou el Fadl from the University of California in Los Angeles, ancient traditions like female jurists - which have been stamped out elsewhere - have been able to continue in China. "The Wahhabi and Salafis have not been able to penetrate areas like China and establish their puritanical creed there," he said. (BBC News)
  • "Something is Rotten in the State of Europe": Anti-Semitism as a Civilizational Pathology - Interview with Robert Wistrich by Manfred Gerstenfeld
    Anti-Semitism is a primary symptom of Europe's pathology and a wakeup call about its social, cultural, and political health. Often the same Europeans who oppose the more obvious, uncontroversial manifestations of anti-Semitism encourage it wittingly or unwittingly through their overall posture on Israel. Part of European identity is being created through opposition to the United States, accompanied by hostility toward Israel. This negatively defined European identity is dangerous for the Jewish people. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Weekend Features:

  • Rabbi Scours World for Torahs Buried, Hidden During Holocaust - Katherine Shaver
    Menachem Youlus, a Wheaton, Maryland, rabbi, and two other men had been digging for about two hours on a farm in Ukraine when, five feet into the earth, they found the sea of bones. The remains of 263 men, women, and children were still shrouded in clothing that bore the Star of David, which Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. Youlus also discovered what looked to be German army body bags, and in them two cherished items, badly deteriorated but Holocaust survivors just the same: They were Torahs. Youlus has spent the last 19 years scouring Eastern Europe for them, then working with fellow scribes to restore the scrolls and find them new homes. (Washington Post)
  • Tel Aviv - The White City - Daniel Schwammenthal
    Irmel Kamp-Bandau first walked the streets of Tel Aviv - the "White City" - in 1987 and she still remembers how dumbfounded she was. "I couldn't believe my eyes, all these treasures - and here of all places." What left Kamp-Bandau so perplexed was the world's largest collection of modern movement buildings, altogether some 4,000. Also called the international style, it emerged in Europe in the 1920s, with the German Bauhaus school probably being its most famous representative. But in Weimar, Paris, Brussels, and Europe's other modern movement centers there are only relatively few examples of this architecture left. Kamp-Bandau documented the buildings, producing in 1994 a catalogue of black and white pictures of 83 buildings. Her work played an important role in helping the city receive UNESCO's World Heritage Award in June, only the second modern city after Brasilia to win this award. The modern movement reached the Eastern Mediterranean shores with the arrival of Jewish architects in the 1930s, many of them graduates of Europe's top avant-garde architecture schools. (Wall Street Journal Europe, 22 Sep 04)
  • At Israel Excavation, Scientists Help Archaeologists Dust Off History's Questions - Diana Heil
    When archaeologists unearthed floors at Tel Dor in Israel this summer, they thought they were looking at plaster. But scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science found the floors covered with phytolites, the tiny hairs on grass and leaves that survive after a plant dies. The Weizmann Institute was brought into the dig to take its own samples and see if its instruments could endure the dust at the site. Next season, physicists, biologists, and materials analysts will work in a systematic way with archaeologists for the first time at a dig in Israel. The Weizmann Institute's Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, directed by biologist Steve Weiner, is one of the few graduate research centers devoted to scientific archaeology. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
  • Madonna and the Kabbalah Cult - Yossi Klein Halevi
    Madonna's visit to Israel last week, as part of a High Holidays pilgrimage organized by the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre, was greeted here with an enthusiasm deeper than mere excitement at the presence of a pop superstar. Israelis were understandably grateful to her for showing solidarity with their besieged country and for defying the fear of terrorism that has kept so many tourists away. Her very presence reminded Israelis that they still had friends around the world. However reassuring, Madonna's embrace should be treated by Jews warily. No less disturbing for religious Jews is the Centre's doctrinal distortion of cabala, the ancient mystical tradition revered as the inner sanctum of Judaic devotion and thought. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Last Word - Bret Stephens
    This will be my last column for the Jerusalem Post, as I will shortly be leaving Israel to return to the Wall Street Journal in New York. What a wonderful and remarkable people you are, you Israelis: frank and courageous and funny and sexy and immensely decent. I take no pride in not having become one of you, as I might have. But I admire and love you all the same, and I'm grateful for every minute I spent here. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    A Conversation on Middle East Peacemaking - Madeleine Albright and Dennis Ross (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Madeleine Albright:

    • Before peace can be initiated, Israel, the Arab world, and the Palestinians must undergo a change in behavior and, in the case of the latter, find new, legitimate leadership. During the Camp David talks, even the Palestinian negotiators grew weary of Arafat.
    • Arafat was not capable of making decisions about the holy places, in part because he did not have sole responsibility for those sites. The U.S. should have understood the need to involve Saudi Arabia earlier on in this decision-making process.
    • In any case, there will never be peace with Arafat because he depends on his "super victim" status.
    • The parties must initiate peace negotiations themselves, and Middle Eastern leaders must condition their societies for peace. Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu did in fact condition their people for peace, but Arafat never did so.
    Dennis Ross:
    • Arab leaders must publicly accept the moral legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. If they do not, they will be unable to justify making the compromises with Israel that are essential for peace. If Arab governments offer only de facto acceptance of Israel's existence, then the Arab world will continue to regard the state as a transient entity and deem violence against it as legitimate.
    • Arab leaders must also discredit terrorism as a negotiating tactic. It is important to avoid the mistakes of the past, when the U.S. gave Arab leaders too much leeway on this issue. Today, that which is said in private about accepting Israel's existence must be said publicly as well.
    • The Palestinians must renounce the use of terrorism as a political tool. If terrorism did not occur, there would be a Palestinian state today.
    • Palestinians must also abandon the legacy of victimhood. Victimhood creates a sense of entitlement, with no accountability. Every defeat is a victory for Arafat.
    • Arafat has lied about what concessions he was offered during the Camp David talks of 2000. I wrote The Missing Peace in part to debunk the mythologies that he has propagated.


    Free Online Coupon Book
    for Travel to Israel

    The strongest way to show your solidarity with Israel is to visit in person. Download free coupons for significant offers, discounts and bargains on hotels, tours, shopping, meals, and more. Created by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Israel Ministry of Tourism, coupons are valid for travel through 2004. To download, click here: www.goisrael.com/couponbook or call 1-888-77-ISRAEL.

    Please share this information with family, friends, and colleagues. We encourage group leaders to download as many as needed for all Israel trip participants. For additional information contact:

    tourism@conferenceofpresidents.org.


    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
        daily-subscribe@dailyalert.org
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
        daily-unsubscribe@dailyalert.org