Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
March 8, 2019
Egypt Seeks to Consolidate Truce in Gaza - Kifah Ziboun (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
Well-informed Palestinian sources said Egypt was holding intensive talks with Israel and Hamas in order to consolidate the ceasefire agreement in Gaza and move to the next phase.
"Egypt wants a comprehensive cessation of all forms of escalation, so as to ensure the start of the implementation of the second phase of the previous cease-fire," the sources said.
An Egyptian security delegation arrived in Gaza on Tuesday, headed by Maj.-Gen. Ahmed Abdel-Khaliq, head of the Palestinian desk in the Egyptian intelligence service.
According to the sources, "Israel requires Hamas to stop all forms of violence, including incendiary balloons and multiple demonstrations, while Hamas requires the resumption of transfer of funds after it was halted because of differences over the mechanism of transfer."
French Jihadist Who Fought for Islamic State in Syria Jailed for Brussels Jewish Museum Murders (BBC News)
Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, a French-born jihadist who spent a year fighting in Syria for the Islamic State, has been found guilty of the murder of two Israeli tourists, a volunteer worker and a receptionist at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014.
Nacer Bendrer, who helped plan the attack and provided the weapons, was also found guilty of murder.
Arab Foreign Ministers Discuss Preempting Israeli Political Expansion in Africa - Hussein al-Kabani (Anadolu-Turkey)
The Arab Foreign Ministers Council met in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss a "plan of action" to preempt efforts by Israel to normalize relations with African states.
U.S. Sanctions Are Hurting Hizbullah - Hanin Ghaddar (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Evidence suggests that Hizbullah is facing a serious financial crisis. Its leaders have already implemented harsh new austerity measures, and sources close to the group believe these efforts will become more severe over time.
Most of the austerity measures have been enacted in the past few months, with Hizbullah attributing them to U.S. sanctions on Iran, the group's principal patron.
As the fighting subsided in much of Syria over the past three months, Hizbullah has brought many of its personnel home, apart from combat troops and logistics forces stationed in the Damascus area, Deir al-Zour, and south Syria.
Meanwhile, employees of Hizbullah's media, education, medical, and military systems have complained of deep pay cuts. Fighters and their families are beginning to complain about lost wages as well.
Employees in its religious institutions have not been paid in three months. The group has also closed around a thousand offices and apartments throughout Lebanon, merged many of its institutions, and frozen all hiring. Its social services budget has decreased as well.
If a new war breaks out with Israel, Tehran might not be able to send trucks full of cash to Lebanon as it did around the time of the 2006 conflict.
Tehran is engaged in several expensive endeavors beyond Lebanon, many of which involve Hizbullah personnel. In Syria, their activities are entering a new phase - purchasing large amounts of land, recruiting Sunni men in the south and Deir al-Zour, and establishing social and cultural services to indoctrinate Syrian youths.
All of these initiatives require budgetary shifts, and Hizbullah leaders seem intent on making cuts in Lebanon (where they believe the Shia community can afford such sacrifices) in order to build roots in Syria.
Cornell University President Shares "Strong Opposition to BDS" - Shiri Moshe (Algemeiner)
Cornell University President Martha Pollack responded to a letter by Students for Justice in Palestine which urged the university to divest from companies involved with Israel.
Pollack expressed her "strong opposition to BDS" which "unfairly singles out one country in the world for sanction when there are many countries around the world whose governments' policies may be viewed as controversial."
"Moreover, it places all of the responsibility for an extraordinarily complex geopolitical situation on just one country and frequently conflates the policies of the Israeli government with the very right of Israel to exist as a nation, which I find particularly troublesome."
U.S. Army Orders Israeli Helmets for Helicopter Pilots (AIN)
The U.S. Army awarded Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel's Elbit, a five-year contract for its wide field-of-view Common Helmet Mounted Display (CHMD) system.
The full-color CHMD systems will give Army helicopter pilots enhanced situational awareness in day and night conditions, as well as improving survivability.
It will be fully integrated into the Elbit Systems Helmet Display and Tracker System used on the U.S. Army's Boeing Chinook and Sikorsky Black Hawk.
"Our solution supports pilots experiencing crisp, clear, and accurate symbology, which provides critical information during flight and a decisive edge in mission effectiveness," said Raanan Horowitz, president and CEO of Elbit Systems of America.
Increase in Tourism to Israel Reflects Tourists' Sense of Security - Shmuel Even and Sason Hadad (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
While global tourism between 2007 and 2018 increased 60%, tourism in Israel in the same period rose 100% - to 4.1 million tourists annually.
The scale of tourism is a gauge of Israel's attractiveness and the normalization of Israel's relations with various countries.
The dramatic increase in tourism, despite the security situation and the BDS phenomenon, may attest both to tourists' sense of security in Israel and to the failure of BDS.
Israel's Roboteam to Supply Robots to Italian Military Police - Meir Orbach (CTech-Calcalist)
Israeli defense robotics company Roboteam announced Wednesday it will supply 40 tactical robotic systems to the Arma dei Carabinieri, Italy's military police force, for $10 million.
Roboteam's ground robotic systems for law enforcement and military are used to handle suspicious objects and dangerous materials and intelligence collection.
The company lists the U.S., Israel, the UK, Canada, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland among its clients.
Israeli Startups Raised $550 Million in February (Globes)
Israeli startups raised nearly $550 million during February, after raising $450 million in January.
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