South Africa Charges Two over Plot to Attack U.S. Embassy and Jewish Institutions (AFP-Telegraph-UK)
South Africans Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, who were linked to Islamic State, were arrested over the weekend, accused of plotting to blow up the U.S. embassy in Pretoria and Jewish institutions.
Iran Is Violating the Nuclear Deal - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
According to a German intelligence report from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Iran's nuclear procurement efforts have increased dramatically in recent years, from 48 known attempts in 2010 to 141 in 2015. Seven other German states have reported similar Iranian procurement efforts.
This violates Iran's explicit commitment to go through an official "procurement channel" to purchase nuclear- and missile-related materials.
Report: Israel Launched Numerous Drone Strikes in Sinai - David Wainer (Bloomberg)
A former senior Israeli official said his country has conducted numerous drone attacks on militants in Sinai in recent years with Egypt's blessing.
Europeans Fear Wave of Refugees Will Mean More Terrorism - Richard Wike, Bruce Stokes and Katie Simmons (Pew Research Center)
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, in 8 of the 10 European nations surveyed, half or more believe incoming refugees increase the likelihood of terrorism in their country.
In Hungary, Italy, Poland and Greece, more than six-in-ten say they have an unfavorable opinion of the Muslims in their country. In Italy and Sweden,
nearly half say refugees are more to blame for crime than other groups.
In every country polled, the dominant view is that Muslims want to be distinct from the rest of society rather than adopt the nation's customs and way of life. Six-in-ten or more hold this view in Greece, Hungary, Spain, Italy and Germany.
See also Anti-Muslim Views Rise across Europe - Adam Taylor (Washington Post)
French Jews Organize for Self-Defense - Leonard Cole (Times of Israel)
The Jewish Community Security Service of France (SPCJ) has about 2,000 volunteers.
Founded in 1980 after the bombing of the rue Copernic synagogue, its role has grown in response to the rise of anti-Semitism and terrorism.
Working in cooperation with government authorities, the SPCJ identified more than 800 acts of anti-Semitism throughout France in 2015.
Although comprising less than 1% of the population, Jews were the target of 40% of racist crimes and 49% of racist acts of violence, perpetrated mostly by Muslim extremists.
Trained SPCJ volunteers offer protection at synagogues, community centers, organizations, and other Jewish gatherings.
The writer is an adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University and of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, where he is director of the program on terror medicine and security.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- American Jews Appear on Islamic State "Kill List"
In the wake of the July 3 release of an Islamic State "kill list" that included members of synagogues and churches among 1,700 individuals, some 200 Jewish leaders joined a U.S. Department of Homeland Security conference call briefing on Friday organized by the Secure Community Network (SCN), the security arm of the national Jewish community. "The lists appear to be directed toward 'lone wolf' ISIL supporters who may be inspired to carry out attacks," SCN said. SCN is affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (JTA)
- Egypt, Israel Seek to Cooperate on Israeli-Palestinian Confidence-Building - William Booth and Ruth Eglash
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi sent his foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, to Jerusalem on Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to explore ways to break the stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who has essentially given up trying to broker a deal in the remaining months of the Obama presidency, has encouraged Sissi's outreach. "After the United States, Egypt is the more plausible player to take on the role of shuttle diplomacy between the Israelis and Palestinians," said Itzhak Levanon, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt.
"The Egyptians see we have a Middle East that is falling apart, in bloodshed and crisis, with no solution on the horizon, not for Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq. They have to deal with terrorists internally, too, and suddenly they see something that was not there a few years ago - the small country of Israel has been building excellent relations with Russia, it has open channels with the Saudis and reconciled with Turkey, and last week met with the heads of seven African states," Levanon said. "We are in a situation now where it is better for Egypt to be on Israel's side than not." (Washington Post)
- Israel Puts Palestinians on Defensive over "Martyrs' Fund" - Mohammed Daraghmeh and Josef Federman
The family of Muhammad Tarayrah, the Palestinian who murdered 13-year-old Hallel Ariel in her sleep on June 30, is now eligible for $350 a month from a Palestinian fund for "martyrs." Israel argues that such stipends for families of Palestinians killed or wounded in the conflict promote violence by rewarding attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu called the payments "an incentive for murder."
The fund makes monthly payments to 35,000 Palestinian families including those of suicide bombers.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel: UNESCO Stance on Jerusalem Is "Disconnected from Reality"
UNESCO called on Israel to halt all its archeological and restoration work in and around the Old City, as it submits its latest draft resolution on Jerusalem that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. In response, Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold on Monday wrote to UNESCO, accusing it of being totally "disconnected from reality." "As the historical heritage sites of this area are being systematically destroyed by jihadist forces, such as the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq, UNESCO's adoption of utterly false allegations about Israeli archeological practices is misplaced and hypocritical, at best."
Gold noted that the resolution now before the World Heritage Committee "also fails to acknowledge Christianity's ties to Jerusalem....We urge you to oppose this effort to distort history, which will offend the members of the Jewish and Christian faiths, and undermine the credibility of UNESCO in the future."
See also UNESCO to Vote on Jewish Connection with the Temple Mount - Itamar Eichner
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee is due to vote in the next week on a draft decision taken in April to repudiate Jewish affinity with any part of the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.
The text repeatedly refers to the entire compound as an exclusively holy Muslim site. (Ynet News)
See also Israel's Foreign Ministry Targets Upcoming UNESCO Vote on Jerusalem - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel Bans Group Set Up by Hizbullah and Iran to Attack Israelis - Yaakov Lappin
At the advice of the Israel Security Agency, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday outlawed
an organization that acts under Hizbullah and Iranian instruction to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis and topple the Palestinian Authority. The ISA noted that in the past two years, two opponents of the PA, Shafik Asli in Lebanon and Halmi Balbisi in Jordan, transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels to promote the organization and fund terrorist activities.
Over the past year, the ISA said, the group's members hurled firebombs and explosives at Israelis along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway (Route 443), in Hebron and in Jerusalem. They also attempted to harm electrical infrastructure and the light railway system in Jerusalem, and instigated violent disturbances on the Temple Mount.
- Iran's Support for Terrorism under the Iran Deal - Matthew Levitt
When the Iran deal (JCPOA) was implemented in January, terrorism-related sanctions remained in place against Iran, and U.S. officials promised they would hold Tehran accountable for any such activity despite the lifting of nuclear sanctions. As Secretary of State John Kerry noted on Jan. 21, "If we catch them funding terrorism, they're going to have a problem with the United States Congress and with other people, obviously." Yet it is clear that Iran's support for terrorism has only increased since the deal was reached a year ago. In March, CENTCOM chief Gen. Joseph Votel testified that Iran had become "more aggressive in the days since the agreement."
According to a November report issued by the Congressional Research Service, "Iran has apparently sought to rebuild the relationship with Hamas by providing missile technology that Hamas used to construct its own rockets, and by helping it rebuild tunnels destroyed in the  conflict with Israel."
Despite this rapprochement with Hamas, Iran continued its sponsorship of al-Sabirin, a new proxy militant group in Gaza. Al-Sabirin reportedly receives $10 million a year from Tehran. Members have also apparently converted to Shia Islam, despite operating in Sunni-majority Gaza. In December, al-Sabirin claimed responsibility for an explosion that targeted Israeli forces on the border with Gaza. The writer is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- ISIS Comes to Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
There are growing signs that Hamas in Gaza is continuing to cooperate with other jihadi terror groups affiliated with Islamic State, especially those operating in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. This cooperation, according to Palestinian Authority security sources, is the main reason behind the ongoing tension between Egypt and Hamas. Egyptian security officials are convinced that Hamas is not serious about preventing jihadi terrorists from crossing the border in either direction. Moreover, the Egyptians suspect that Hamas maintains close relations with some ISIS-affiliated groups in Sinai, and is providing them with weapons and medical treatment.
Egyptian President al-Sissi's regime views Gaza as a major base for various jihadi terror groups that pose a real threat to Egypt's national security. Indeed, an increasing number of members of Hamas' armed wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam, have in recent years fled Gaza to join ISIS in Sinai, Syria and Iraq.
Those who have not been able to flee are joining jihadi groups operating inside Gaza. At least seven Hamas-affiliated Palestinians have been killed while fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq and Syria in recent months, according to sources in Gaza. (Gatestone Institute)
Israel-U.S. Ties Are Going to Get Stronger - Ron Dermer (Times of Israel)
- Today, Israel has relations with over 160 countries. Despite the effort by some to paint Israel as facing unprecedented international isolation, it is more accurate to say that Israel is less isolated today than at any time in its history.
The Prime Minister has led a broad effort over the past seven years to expand Israel's relations with countries across the world. That effort has resulted in significant improvements in ties with powerful countries like China, India, Japan and Russia, as well as dozens of smaller countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe who see Israel as a great partner for developing their own countries.
- Yet there is still only one indispensable relationship for Israel - our alliance with the U.S. For decades, the U.S. has helped Israel shoulder our enormous defense burden with generous military assistance. America has also enabled Israel to fund and develop one of the world's finest missile defense systems. And crucially, as a matter of both law and policy, the U.S. is committed to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge so that Israel can defend itself by itself against any threat.
- The U.S.-Israel alliance is not a one-way street. I could talk about the Israeli technology and know-how that improves American lives, the Israeli science and medicine that prolongs American lives, or the Israeli intelligence and security cooperation that saves American lives. But a better way to appreciate what Israel means to America is to simply imagine a Middle East without Israel.
Imagine if the U.S. did not have in this region an island of unabashed pro-American sentiment, an ally with soldiers willing and capable of defending the interests and values that both countries share.
- Former American Secretary of State Alexander Haig said that "Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier and is located in a critical region for American national security."
- Both America and Israel are not merely countries. They are also causes. America has long been a beacon of opportunity for people across the world, carrying the torch of freedom for all humanity.
Israel is the hope of the Jewish people, offering opportunity for all its citizens - Jewish and non-Jewish alike - safeguarding freedom in the darkest region on earth and entrusted by history with securing the Jewish future.
- These causes imbue each country with a deep sense of purpose and also with a deep sense of solidarity. That is why I believe tens of millions of Americans support Israel in a way they support no other country in the world and why Israelis mourn America's tragedies and rejoice in America's triumphs as perhaps no other country in the world does. Those who don't share this sense of purpose or who are too cynical to even believe in a sense of purpose will never truly appreciate the power of the friendship between America and Israel.
The writer, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., spoke on July 7, 2016, at the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem.
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