Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

[email protected]
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, click here for the web version.
May 13, 2002

Daily Alert is sponsored by the Fairness Project

In-Depth Issue:

Crisis at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
  The crisis began when Tanzim terrorists broke into one of the holiest churches in the Christian faith and held the priests inside hostage.
  The IDF sought to prevent any harm to the church, out of its policy of respect for all holy places. Israeli forces could have forcibly entered the church, but decided to negotiate instead. In 1979, Saudi forces stormed the Grand Mosque in Mecca when militants occupied the holiest site in Islam. Israel chose a different approach.
  The IDF maintained continuous contact with the priests and secretly supplied them with food and medicine.
  The focus of the fighting in Bethlehem was not at the church, and involved the capture of wanted terrorists, illegal weapons, and bomb laboratories elsewhere in the city. One bomb factory exploded near the church.
  Due to international sensitivities, the State of Israel made a special effort to resolve the crisis peacefully. The agreement also removed the wanted terrorists from the Bethlehem area and restored control of the church to the priests.
  Adapted from Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing paper (in Hebrew)

Useful Reference:

An Impossible Occupation - Scott Anderson
    With an IDF paratroop reconnaissance unit during Operation Defensive Shield (New York Times Magazine)

Key Links: Israel

Key Links: USA

Key Links: Media Lists

Action Recommendations

Daily Alert Back Issues

The Washington Rally for Israel
  • Speeches
  • Photos
  • News Resources - USA and Europe:
  • Experts Fear Mideast-Style Belt-Bombers in U.S.
    Terrorism experts increasingly fear that the tactic of suicide belt-bombers will be exported to the United States. Stopping human bombs is "an incredibly difficult business," said one analyst. "It's cheap. It has the most accurate guidance system available to mankind. It is easily concealed." "The practitioners of suicide bombing realize they are onto something," said another. "Why should we think we would be immune?" (Washington Post)
  • Polls Show American Sympathy for Israel Rising
    The impact of Palestinian terrorism on American public opinion seems to have overwhelmed a public-opinion effort by Arab-Americans and Arab governments like Saudi Arabia. A CBS News poll and Gallup polls in April showed sympathy for Israel at around 50 percent, about 10 points higher than in previous surveys over the past five years. At the same time, sympathy for Palestinians dropped to 11 percent, from 15 percent. A CBS News poll in mid-April showed 59 percent of Americans agreed that Israel's military actions in the West Bank were "no different from the U.S. taking military action against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda." (New York Times)
  • Diplomats Say EU Knew Palestinians Misappropriated Cash to Finance Terrorism
    "Everybody has known for quite some time now that money ended up in the wrong hands. Officially, however, they feigned ignorance so as not to jeopardize attempts to revive the peace process," said an EU diplomat. More than one half of all the EU's international aid goes to the Palestinian Authority. Between 1994 and 2001, the EU gave 1.446 billion euros in aid to the Palestinians, and EU member states supported the Palestinian Authority with an additional 1 billion euros. (IMRA/Rotterdam NRC Handelsblad)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • IDF Calls Off Gaza Operation
    The IDF canceled a planned assault on the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Defense sources said the operation was called off because too many details had been leaked and the terrorist leaders had gone underground. (Jerusalem Post)
  • 40 Hidden Explosive Charges Found in Church of the Nativity
    IDF neutralizes explosives, preventing risk to the lives of the priests. (IDF)
  • Arafat Angered by Saudi Funding of Hamas
    The IDF's Saudi file shows how Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat was livid over the fact that Saudi aid was being paid directly to Hamas, rather than the PA and Fatah. On a document that includes a collection of media articles reporting that $33 million was transferred to the families of Palestinian victims, at the foot of the page, in handwriting that Israeli intelligence officers identified as Arafat's, the chairman asks Saudi representative Mustafa Div "to tell me where this money went and who received it, since the families of the martyrs and the injured did not see a single penny." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Sow Confusion and Doubt on Bombing
    Palestinian security chiefs Amin al-Hendi and Muhammad Dahlan contradict one another on their campaign against terrorism. Al-Hendi makes baseless charges about Rishon Lezion bombing, tying the attack to Israeli criminals. Israel flatly denies the Palestinian assertion, stating that the attacker was a member of Hamas, born in the Gaza Strip. (New York Times)
  • Arab Attacks Continue
    On Monday morning, a Palestinian gunman opened fire and wounded a Border Policeman at a roadblock north of Bethlehem. On Sunday, Nissan Dollinger, a 43-year-old resident of Pa'at-Sadeh in Gush Katif, was shot to death by a Palestinian he employed. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Calling Arabs' Bluff - William Safire
    Only if Arafat is pressured by the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Arab countries, will he agree to a program diminishing his hold on power. Sharon says he is "in contact with Jordanians and Egyptians in concept not in details." Not the Saudis? "The problem with the Saudis is that they come with a vision of peace between the Arab world and Israel, but documents we have captured show how their interior minister is supporting Hamas terror even after Sept. 11. They must stop it." (New York Times)
  • A Tragic Miscalculation - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    At the U.N., Israel is treated as the Jew among nations, subjected to the kind of hatred and vilification the world's tiny population of Jews once received from so much of the rest of the world. The Security Council has devoted fully a third of its energy to criticizing Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has devoted a quarter of its official actions to the same cause. (U.S. News)
  • Bethlehem Abused
    The siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ends with the Palestinian national movement as the clear victor. The 13 gunmen got away unpunished. The Israelis' failure is all the more startling since one of the salient features of the current intifada has been its Islamization, resulting in the exodus of thousands of Palestinian Christians, especially from Bethlehem. Indeed, the seizure of the Church of the Nativity is part of a broader pattern of asserting a pre-eminent, if not exclusive, Islamic claim to the Holy Land - illustrated by the ransacking of such Jewish shrines as Joseph's Tomb and clashes with Christians over holy sites at Nazareth. (Daily Telegraph)
  • Talking Points: The Rishon Lezion Bombing - The Face of Tragedy
  • Anat Trempatush, 36, of Ashdod, was murdered in the Rishon Lezion terror bombing. Her three young boys, 5, 7, and 10, keep asking where there mother is.
  • Nir and Narkis Loftun waited years to have children after their marriage. With twins due in 4 months, Nir, who was killed in the attack, will never see his children.
  • Yitzhak and Etti Bablar were childhood sweethearts. They met in their teens and dated for two years until Etti moved with her parents to the U.S. Many years later, after both had divorced, Etti came to Israel, the couple fell back in love, and they were married. On Tuesday they had gone out to dinner and then to the casino. Yitzhak was killed instantly in the blast. Etti died the next morning.
  • Edna Cohen, 61, and her husband Avraham, 63, were celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary. Edna was standing very close to the terrorist and was killed instantly. Avraham was severely wounded.
  • 15 innocent people were killed in the attack and more than 50 wounded, many seriously.
        From Jerusalem Post

  • To subscribe to the Daily Alert, please send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]
    To unsubscribe to the Daily Alert, please send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]