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


January 29, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Cabinet Approves Appointment of First Muslim Minister - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    The Israeli cabinet Sunday approved the appointment of MK Raleb Majadele (Labor) as the first Muslim minister in Israel's history.

Egyptian Police Nab Suicide Bomber En Route to Gaza to Attack Israel (Ha'aretz)
    Egyptian security forces on Saturday arrested a would-be suicide bomber in Sinai en route to the Gaza Strip to carry out a suicide bombing against an Israeli target, Israel Radio reported.

Israel Campus Beat
- January 28, 2007

Point Counter-Point:
    The Resignation of the Chief of Staff

Marked Rise in Attacks on Jews in Europe in 2006 - Amiram Barkat (Ha'aretz)
    2006 saw a substantial rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries, according to the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
    There were 360 anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2006, compared to 300 in 2005. Russia recorded 300 incidents in 2006 compared to 250 the preceding year, and Austria saw a jump from 50 incidents to 83 last year.
    The Scandinavian countries saw 53 incidents in 2006, compared with the previous year's 35. The report cited a 60% rise in incidents in the Berlin area.

Balloons Released in Israeli Promotion Sow Panic in South Lebanon - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
    An Israeli promotional campaign for a newspaper in northern Israel involving balloons caused panic among Lebanese civilians Saturday when the wind carried them over the border into southern Lebanon.
    Lebanon's official news agency claimed that they were "poisoned balloons" dispersed by IDF aircraft.
    In Nabatiyeh, five people suffering from nausea and dizziness were brought into hospital after they touched the "suspicious green balloons."  (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

Jerusalem Mayor Saves Mukhtar's Wife's Life - Efrat Zamar (Maariv-Hebrew, 26Jan07)
    On Wednesday during a formal ceremony at Jerusalem City Hall for 500 diplomats and local officials, the wife of an Arab village leader (mukhtar) suddenly collapsed, apparently from an epileptic attack.
    The first person to come to her aid was Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who served as a medic in the IDF.

Rev. Robert Drinan, Priest Who Served in Congress, Dies at 86 (AP/ABC News)
    The Rev. Robert Drinan, a Roman Catholic priest who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives for ten years during the 1970s, died Sunday.
    Editors' note: Drinan was a leading advocate for Soviet Jewry and was the author of Honor the Promise: America's Commitment to Israel.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Suicide Bomber Kills Three Israelis in Eilat - Revital Levy-Stein
    A suicide bomber attacked a bakery in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat on Monday, killing three other people in the first suicide attack in Israel in nine months, police said. (AP/Guardian-UK)
        The blast tore through the Lechamim bakery in a residential neighborhood, far from the beach-front hotels. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas Defends Suicide Bombing
    Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum defended Monday's Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel as legitimate "resistance." He also said attacks on Israel were preferable to the recent bout of Palestinian infighting in Gaza. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Iranian Reveals Plan to Expand Role in Iraq - James Glanz
    Iran's ambassador to Baghdad outlined an ambitious plan on Sunday to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq just as the Bush administration has been warning the Iranians to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs. Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi said Iran was prepared to offer Iraq government forces training, equipment and advisers for what he called "the security fight." In the economic area, Qumi said, Iran was ready to assume major responsibility for Iraq reconstruction. (New York Times)
  • Egyptian Paper Accuses Iranians of Complicity in Envoy's Death - Mona El-Naggar
    A front-page article in Egypt's semiofficial state newspaper Al Ahram on Sunday accused Iranian intelligence of involvement in the 2005 killing of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq. The report comes at a time of heightened concern in Egypt and other Arab states about Iran's growing influence in the region. The article stated that Iran's goal was to "cut off the legs" of Egypt from Iraq. (New York Times)
  • UN Votes Against Holocaust Denial - Alexandra Olson
    The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution Friday, introduced by the U.S. and approved by consensus, condemning "without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust." Only Iran rejected it. "While the nations of the world gather here to affirm the historicity of the Holocaust with the intent of never again allowing genocide, a member of this assembly is acquiring the capabilities of carrying out its own," said Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman. "The president of Iran is in fact saying, 'There really was no Holocaust, but just in case, we shall finish the job.'" (AP/Houston Chronicle)
        See also below Observations: What Jewish Organizations Must Do about Iran - Shlomo Avineri (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel May Have Violated Cluster Bomb Agreement, U.S. Officials Say - David S. Cloud and Greg Myre
    Israel may have violated agreements with the U.S. when it fired American-supplied cluster munitions in southern Lebanon where Hizbullah had placed its rocket launchers last summer, administration officials say. Israel gave the State Department a report explaining that before firing at rocket sites in towns and villages, the Israeli military dropped leaflets warning civilians of the attacks. The report also noted that many of the villages were deserted because civilians had fled the fighting, the officials said. John Hillen, who was assistant secretary of state, said in December that Israel had provided "great cooperation" in the investigation. "From their perspective, use of the munitions was clearly done within the agreements," he said. (New York Times)
        See also Frontline IDF Soldier: "The Villages Were Empty Except for Hizbullah" - Michael J. Totten
    An Israeli soldier in a long-range patrol unit said: "These whole villages, they were empty, just filled with Hizbullah terrorists....Israel left them standing. Many of our soldiers were killed because of that, so Israel wouldn't be blamed after the war for war crimes and destroying civilian houses." "No civilians were walking around South Lebanon. I know. I was in their villages. In their houses. Anyone who was there was definitely working for Hizbullah or working as a Hizbullah fighter....I never saw one woman or any children in Lebanon. I was going in and out for the whole time since the day when the soldiers were kidnapped." (Middle East Journal)
        See also Israel: "Cluster Bombs Used in Self-Defense" - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Aid U.S. Effort to Boycott Iranian Banking - Aluf Benn and Shmuel Rosner
    Prime Minister Olmert will appoint a special coordinator responsible for monitoring the flow of funds from Iran to elements hostile to Israel. The coordinator will assist the U.S. in its efforts to boycott Iranian banking operations. Israel will monitor the transfer of funds to Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups, both in Israel and the territories.
        The American government has asked for help from Israeli sources to comprehend internal developments in Iran. The U.S. intelligence community has hired Farsi speakers and experts on Iran, but U.S. officials believe that Israeli intelligence has more experience with the subject and has great advantages in this field. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Fatah Victory - Avi Issacharoff
    For the first time Fatah can mark a victory. In all the previous gun battles, the number of Fatah casualties was always higher than those of Hamas. During the weekend, Hamas lost more of its people. On Friday night, Hamas' Executive Force surrounded the home of senior Fatah official Mansur al-Shlayel in Jabalya, setting up roadblocks to prevent Fatah reinforcements from arriving.
        Muhammad Dahlan, who is in charge of the security forces controlled by Abbas - a role he denies - called up all Fatah commanders and warned them that if anything happened to al-Shlayel, "I will fire the lot of you." In less than an hour, a force of 70 armed men, equipped with armored personnel carriers, broke through the Hamas roadblocks and surrounded the Hamas force besieging al-Shlayel's home. During the incident, seven Hamas men were killed and dozens were injured. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire at Israel Continues - Ali Waked
    Palestinians in Gaza launched two Kassam rockets Sunday evening toward Israel. One rocket was fired at Sderot, and the other at Ashkelon. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran: Israel's Worst Nightmare - Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren
    The first reports from Israeli military intelligence about an Iranian nuclear program reached Yitzhak Rabin shortly after he became prime minister in May 1992. Only a nuclear Iran, Rabin told aides, could pose an existential threat to which Israel would have no credible response. But the CIA's assessment - which wouldn't change until 1998 - was that Iran's nuclear program was civilian, not military. According to Israeli intelligence, Iran will be able to produce a nuclear bomb as soon as 2009. "No one knows if Iran would use the bomb or not," says Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh. "But I can't take the chance." With regime change, the threat posed by an Iranian bomb would ease: After all, the problem isn't the nuclearization of Iran but the nuclearization of this Iran.
        "Whoever spends several billion dollars just for anti-aircraft systems around nuclear sites is saying that those sites are vulnerable. There would be no need to invest those sums if their bunkers were deep enough," noted Yuval Steinitz, former chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. (New Republic)
  • My Problem with Jimmy Carter's Book - Kenneth W. Stein
    Carter allows ideology or opinion to get in the way of facts. The narrative aims its attack toward Israel and Israel's supporters. It contains errors of both commission and omission. He manipulates information, redefines facts, and exaggerates conclusions. Falsehoods, when repeated and backed by the prestige of Carter's credentials, can comprise an erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and policymaking. Rather than bring peace, they can further fuel hostilities, encourage retrenchment, and hamper peacemaking.
        Carter had invited me to serve as the Carter Center's first permanent executive director, a position I held between 1983 and 1986, and as the center's Middle East fellow, an association I continued until December 2006 when I resigned that post over both the inaccuracies in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and its message, which contradicts the Carter Center's founding purposes. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • Observations:

    What Jewish Organizations Must Do about Iran - Shlomo Avineri (Jerusalem Post)

    • In the 1970s and 1980s, world Jewry became a pivotal player in the campaign for Soviet Jewry: For years, demonstrations, protests, sit-ins and other peaceful means kept the issue at the top of the international political agenda.
    • This is what every Jewish organization in every country should do now. Ahmadinejad's repeated statements about Holocaust denial are a moral, not a political issue, and many non-Jewish individuals and organizations would join such a campaign.
      • In every capital, constant vigils and periodic demonstrations in front of Iranian embassies would draw attention to the unacceptability of Holocaust denial.
      • At every appearance of an Iranian official or diplomat, regardless of topic, there should be demonstrations condemning President Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial, and questioners should be prepared to raise the issue in any Q&A session that follows.
      • All Iranian cultural functions should be picketed.
      • Jewish organizations should lobby their respective governments to include the issue of Holocaust denial in any contact they may be having with Iranian authorities.
      • Universities should be approached to initiate symposia on Iran's Holocaust denial.
    • If, day after day, TV stations show Iranian embassies picketed, the voices within Iran which have already begun to question Ahmadinejad's policies will be encouraged because they too will realize that the gutter language of their president is hurting their country, its international standing and reputation.
    • Pious talk about "Never Again" and "the Lessons of the Holocaust" sounds hollow if unaccompanied by a series of steps that make it clear there can be "no business as usual" after such abominations as Ahmadinejad's statements.

      The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University, is a former director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Subscribe to the Daily Alert

    Unsubscribe from the Daily Alert