Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 18, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran Smuggling Arms into Gaza by Sea - Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Iran has stepped up its efforts to smuggle weapons into Gaza by using floatable devices that it drops near the waters off the Gaza coast to be picked up by Palestinian fisherman, senior Israeli defense officials say.
    Iran is now sending rockets and other advanced weaponry to Hamas and Islamic Jihad by sea as well as via tunnels dug under the border to Egyptian Sinai.
    "They throw the weapons overboard in waterproof, sealed tubes which then float into the Gaza waters and are picked up by fishermen," one official said. "Sometimes Navy boats intercept them and sometimes they get through."
    In recent months, the IDF has noticed an increase in Iranian-made weaponry in Gaza, including rockets and mortars. Defense officials say that in recent weeks thousands of mortars have been smuggled into Gaza.

Who's Handling the Saudi Account in Washington? (O'Dwyer's PR News)
    Hogan & Hartson will receive a monthly retainer of $33,333 under a revised a one-year contract with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for legislative, regulatory and public policy work, down from $50,000 a month.
    The D.C. firm stands ready to take on "specific advocacy assignments" for the Saudis aimed at U.S. government officials or members of the media.

Bad News on the Doorstep - Delivering Bereavement - Batsheva Sobelman (Los Angeles Times)
    Usually, the tone of the reporters' voice is enough. Radio phrases such as "fierce combat," "heavy exchange of fire" or "grave incident" are harbingers of trouble.
    Long-trained in reading between the lines of journalistic nuances, Israeli ears quickly note the omission of the "no casualties among our forces" and know this can only mean one thing: A soldier has died.
    Israel's front lines are on its doorstep and Israel remains a small country with small-town-like family and social ties. Most get their daytime news from one of two radio stations, and bad news travels fast in a country where nearly everyone knows someone in the army.
    Military fatalities are not formally announced until the immediate family has been informed. Information is withheld temporarily to spare families from learning this from the media.

Moody's Israel Bond Ratings Raised to "A1" from "A2" (Thomson Financial/Forbes)
    Moody's Investors Service upgraded Israel's key ratings, saying the country has proved resilient in the face of repeated economic and political shocks.
    It also cited the country's "firmly established fiscal discipline and its ongoing financial and political support from the United States and the Jewish diaspora."
    The government foreign and local currency bond ratings, as well as the foreign currency ceiling for bank deposits, have been upgraded to "A1" from "A2."

Historic Sites and Museums in Israel - Lydia Aisenberg (Jerusalem Post)
    For a small country, Israel has an amazing number of historic sites and museums. There hardly seems to be a place where there isn't a sign at the roadside pointing to some historical site.
    Great effort has been invested over the last couple of decades by the Council for Restoration and Preservation of Historic Sites in Israel to erect heritage signs pointing out places of interest, and there are no fewer than 250 sites on the council's restoration wish list.
    Israel also contains hundreds of museums. For a list of over 200 museums and exhibitions with linked descriptions, visit

You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love Israeli Wine - Eric Asimov (New York Times)
    Just as Israel was reborn centuries after it disappeared, so too has the Israeli wine industry flourished after hundreds of years in abeyance.
    The Israeli wine industry has come of age in the last 25 years or so, driven by advances in technology, improvements in viticulture and the global exchange of knowledge that has brought together winemakers from six continents.

Blood Drive in Israel During Passover (Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel)
    The National Council of Young Israel and Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel, in conjunction with American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), will be co-sponsoring a series of blood drives in Israel during Chol Hamoed of Passover. For locations, click on the title.

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We wish our readers a Happy Passover holiday!

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush, British PM to Push for New Iran Sanctions - Scott Stearns
    U.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meeting in Washington on Thursday, said they are working to extend sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. President Bush said Iran's leaders "have proven themselves to be untrustworthy. To say that it's OK to let them learn to enrich and assume that that program, that knowledge, couldn't be transferred to a military program is in my judgment naive."
        Prime Minister Brown said, "We will extend sanctions where possible on Iran. Iran is in breach of the nonproliferation treaty. Iran has not told the truth to the international community." (VOA)
  • Rice: "Syria Is Most Certainly an Issue in Nuclear Proliferation" - Elise Labott
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday in discussing North Korean activities in nuclear proliferation that "Syria is most certainly an issue in proliferation." (CNN)
  • Moroccan Court Bans Pro-Israel Berber Party
    A Moroccan court Thursday banned the Democratic Amazigh Moroccan Party (PDAM), which had been established in July, on the grounds that the law did not allow parties based on religion, language or ethnicity. The party had championed full normalization of Morocco's relations with Israel and its founder, Ahmed Dgharni, sparked a scandal in December by visiting Tel Aviv for a political conference.
        PDAM sought to represent Morocco's Imazighen (plural of Amazigh), also known as Berbers, regarded as the original inhabitants of North Africa before the arrival of Arabs and Islam. Many estimates put the number of Imazighen at about 35% of Morocco's population of more than 30 million, but most Moroccans have at least some Amazigh blood. (DPA/Earth Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Kills Terrorist Leader in Nablus - Yaakov Katz
    Hani al-Kabi, the leader of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Balata in Nablus, was killed early Friday after gunmen opened fire toward troops who came to arrest them. The army said Kabi was supposed to deliver poison to two illegal Palestinian workers, arrested on March 19, who planned to poison the food they served at a restaurant in Ramat Gan. The IDF added that Kabi received instructions from Hizbullah. He was also involved in a series of shooting attacks in the West Bank between August and October 2007. Sources in the IDF Central Command said the operation had prevented the perpetration of terror attacks during the Passover holiday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fire at Trucks Transporting Fuel to Gaza - Hanan Greenberg
    After complaining of fuel shortages, on Thursday Palestinians opened fire at trucks transporting fuel to Gaza at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Foils Hamas Infiltration from Gaza - Hanan Greenberg
    An IDF force identified three Hamas gunmen seeking to infiltrate Israel near the Kerem Shalom border crossing in southern Gaza Thursday and opened fire at them after they approached the border fence. One was killed, a second was injured, while the third managed to escape. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinians Fire Ten Rockets at Israel Thursday - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired ten rockets at southern Israel on Thursday. In Ashkelon, city residents woke to the sound of the Color Red alert near 3:30 a.m.: "I woke up to the sound of two distant blasts. It's quite unpleasant waking up hearing the alarm," said local resident Haim Geva. Another rocket landed in the city's industrial zone on Thursday afternoon. A rocket also landed south of the town of Netivot. (Ynet News)
  • U.S.-Backed PA West Bank Security Plan Far from Success - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The attempt last weekend by Fatah militiamen to assassinate the local governor of Nablus, Jamal Muheissen, in Balata is seen as a severe blow to the PA's U.S.-backed efforts to impose law and order in the West Bank. Just a few weeks ago, the PA was boasting that its security plan, which saw the deployment of hundreds of policemen in Nablus, was a "huge success." That plan is being challenged by disgruntled Fatah gunmen from the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, some of whom have long been accused of terrorizing the local population. The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has claimed responsibility for the attack on the governor.
        Another dissident Fatah group continuing to openly challenge the PA is the Horsemen of the Night (Fursan al-Lail), based in the old city of Nablus. "What is happening in Nablus and other parts of the West Bank shows that the PA is far from achieving its goal of asserting its full authority there," said a senior PA official in Ramallah. "Many of the militiamen have agreed to lay down their arms, but there is still a large group that is refusing to comply." He said the PA was facing similar challenges in Jenin and Tulkarem, where scores of Fatah gunmen were trying to "blackmail" the PA leadership to gain money and jobs, and that they were being incited by top political figures in Fatah. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Back to the Jordanian Option: Why a Final-Status Agreement with Palestinians Is Unfeasible - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland
    The most an Israeli government can offer to the Palestinians and still survive politically is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian government can accept and survive politically. The gap between the sides is large and is growing with the passage of time, rather than the other way around. The absence of Palestinian desire (to get a small and split state and view it as the end of the conflict) is the bothersome aspect. There is no chance that the small, split, and resource-poor Palestinian state will constitute the homeland of satisfied people.
        So what should we do? We should reshuffle the cards and try to think about other solutions as well. One of them is a return to the Jordanian option. The Jordanians won't admit this publicly, yet a Palestinian state in the West Bank is the worst solution for them. They too know that within a short period of time such a state would be ruled by Hamas. The moment Jordan - which features a Palestinian majority as well as powerful Muslim Brotherhood opposition - will share a border with a Hamas state, the Hashemite regime will face immediate danger. The writer is former head of Israel's National Security Council, and has served as Head of the IDF's Operations Directorate and its Planning and Policy Directorate. (Ynet News)
  • Jimmy Carter and Hamas - Editorial
    Jimmy Carter's decision to meet with the terrorist organization Hamas is turning the former president into something of a political pariah. During a visit to the West Bank town of Ramallah Tuesday, Carter hugged and kissed a leading Hamas official at a reception. He is scheduled to meet later this week with Hamas' Damascus-based leader, Khaled Meshaal. After Iranian President Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a "myth" and said Israel should be "wiped off the map," Meshaal congratulated Iranian leaders. Hamas has been behind scores of suicide attacks against Israel, and following that nation's August 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas has stepped up its firing of rockets and missiles at Israel. (Washington Times)
  • Carter's Confusion - Clifford D. May
    When Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in Munich, he no doubt believed he could reason with him because he also no doubt believed that the Fuhrer was a reasonable man like himself. Offer Hitler a good deal - land, power, prestige - and surely he'd take it rather than plunge his nation into a terrible war. What this leaves out is ideology. Hitler's ideas inspired millions to fight and die for the glory of the Third Reich. And Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist ideology inspired millions to fight and die for the illusion of a Communist utopia.
        Hamas proudly proclaims that "the Koran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is our highest aspiration." Hamas leaders promise their followers not just rewards here on Earth but in the next world as well - a selling point neither Nazism nor Communism could offer. As a matter of religious conviction, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal cannot accept Israel's existence. Hamas believes every inch of Israel and, indeed, of any land ever ruled by Muslims is "an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day." A Muslim can fight to reclaim this endowment or he can fail to fulfill the obligations his faith imposes. To Hamas, there is no third way. (National Review)
  • What Is a Sufficient Victory? - Caroline Glick
    In a paper on counterinsurgency warfare authored by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror released last week by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, he discusses "sufficient victory," involving defeating an irreconcilable foe and then preventing him from rebuilding his capacity to wage war. Sufficient victory doesn't entail any political transformation of enemy society, and indeed it takes for granted that such a transformation is impossible to enact. But the effect of a sufficient victory can be longstanding if the victorious side is willing and able to consistently prevent enemy forces from reconstituting themselves.
        Thus, there is a military option for victory in counterinsurgency wars devoid of political transformation. Indeed, Israel's options for transforming Palestinian society from a terror-supporting society to a terror-combating society are limited. Influenced by domestic, pan-Arab and pan-Islamic jihadist indoctrination; supported militarily, financially and politically by Arab states, Iran, terror groups and the West, the Palestinians have little reason to transform. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Winning Counterinsurgency War: The Israeli Experience - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (ICA/JCPA)

    Weekend Features

  • Remember Israel's Missing Soldiers on Passover - June Walker and Malcolm Hoenlein
    This week, while Jews around the world sit down at the Seder table with family and friends to celebrate Passover - the festival of our freedom - eight Israeli soldiers remain missing or in captivity, some for more than twenty-five years. As we remember the exodus of our ancestors from the bondage of ancient Egypt, let us also remember those who fought for the freedom and independence of modern Israel. Leave an empty seat at your Seder; remember Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, Zecharia Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Ron Arad, and Guy Hever. June Walker is Chairperson and Malcolm Hoenlein is Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents. (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)
        See also A Passover Prayer for Israel's Missing Soldiers (
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guard Begins a New Kind of War - David Ignatius
    It is April 18, 1983, and I am visiting the American Embassy in Beirut as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. The city has been pounded by eight years of civil war, but now the U.S. has arrived as Lebanon's protector; U.S. Marines are at the airport in what the embassy calls a "presence mission." My appointment at the embassy ends around 12:30 p.m. and I go back to my hotel.
        At 1:03, I hear an enormous blast. The percussive force shakes my windows, nearly a mile away. I have a momentary feeling of vertigo, like fear but worse. I run back toward the embassy. When I reach the building, Marines are trying to form a perimeter. The center facade has collapsed; rooms have been sheared in half. Sixty-three people are dead, including 17 Americans. It takes many years to confirm that it was an Iranian operation, organized by operatives from the Revolutionary Guard. A new kind of war has begun. (Washington Post)
  • Ex-Leader Recalls Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Monika Scislowska
    Marek Edelman, 89, a commander of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazi army, will lay a wreath in honor of the Jewish fighters on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the uprising. On April 19, 1943, German troops started to liquidate the 400,000 Jews in the ghetto by sending tens of thousands to death camps. Several hundred young Jews took up arms - the first act of large-scale armed civilian resistance against the Germans in occupied Poland during World War II. Edelman said, "we fought to protect the people in the ghetto, to extend their life by a day or two or five."
        "There weren't enough guns, ammunition. There was not enough food, but we were not starving. You can live for three weeks just on water and sugar," which they found in the homes of those deported to death camps, he said. "It lasted for three weeks, so this great German army could not cope so easily with those 220 boys and girls," he said with a grain of pride. "No one believed he would be saved," Edelman said. "We knew that the struggle was doomed, but it showed the world that there is resistance against the Nazis, that you can fight the Nazis." (AP/Washington Post)
  • "Faces of Israel" Campaign to Highlight Nation's Different Colors - Herb Keinon
    Pictures of 83 white, black and yellow Israelis will blow in the Manhattan wind in May, trying to knock the army helmet off an often one-dimensional perception of the Israeli, and instead present the country's people as a Benetton-style rainbow. David Saranga, the consul for media and public affairs at the consulate in New York, said the campaign of huge banners featuring Israeli faces fluttering from light posts on Fifth Avenue was aimed at showing Americans that Israelis were just like them - a variegated, multi-ethnic, immigrant society. The campaign is part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations in the city. "The idea," Saranga said, "is to show the fusion of Israeli society, that it is a multi-cultural society that has different faces, and that what unites us is that we are all Israelis. We want the local population to look at those pictures and say, 'They look like my neighbors.'" (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Deterring the Undeterrable - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)

    • The era of nonproliferation is over. During the first half-century of the nuclear age, safety lay in restricting the weaponry to major powers and keeping it out of the hands of rogue states. This strategy was inevitably going to break down. The inevitable has arrived. Everyone says Iran must be prevented from going nuclear, but the "international community" is prepared to do nothing of consequence to halt nuclear proliferation.
    • The day is quickly coming when nuclear weapons will be in the hands of one, two, many rogue states. There are four ways to deal with rogue states going nuclear: preemption, deterrence, missile defense and regime change. Total safety comes only from regime change. During the Cold War, we worried about Soviet nukes, but never French or British nukes. Weapons don't kill people; people kill people. Regime change will surely come to Iran. That is the ultimate salvation.
    • But between now and then, how to safely navigate the interval? Deterrence plus missile defense renders a first strike so unlikely to succeed and yet so certain to bring on self-destruction that it might - just might - get us through from the day the rogues go nuclear to the day they are deposed. We have entered the post-nonproliferation age. It's time to take our heads out of the sand and deal with it.

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