Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 8, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

PBS Looks Inside Hamas: Search for Martyrdom, Hatred of Israel - Dave Shiflett (Bloomberg)
    Anyone hoping that Hamas' parliamentary triumph will convert that martyr-making machine into a vehicle of peaceful democracy may be seriously dismayed by a new PBS special.
    "Inside Hamas,'' which airs Tuesday, May 9 at 9 p.m. New York time, strongly suggests the buzzard, not the dove, will continue to rule the roost in the Holy Land.
    Kate Seelye reports from Gaza that the streets are teeming with angry young warriors bearing automatic weapons and deep grudges, all strutting their stuff beneath posters of martyrs.
    When Seelye asks Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas foreign minister, if the group will change its charter and recognize Israel, he responds, "Why? To satisfy you?''
    Hamas' victory in January has brought a flowering of Islamic fundamentalism, including a total ban on alcohol and a return to the veil for increasing numbers of women.

Israel Campus Beat
- May 7, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Is Birthright a Success?

Canada Court: Jerusalem Not Israel's Capital - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    A Canadian court rejected an appeal by an Israeli-born Toronto Jew who asked that his passport identify his place of birth as "Jerusalem, Israel," claiming that the capital's status was disputed.

NYC Borrows from Israelis to Protect Airports (WorldNetDaily)
    Five years after the 9-11 attacks, New York City-area authorities are turning to terrorist-tested Israeli technology to protect the region's four major airports.
    The new Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) employs a sophisticated "brain" that fuses data from cameras, sensors, and radars into one display, enabling security personnel to make quick decisions.
    The American company providing major elements of the system, 4D Security Solutions, is headed by Mati Kochavi, an Israeli citizen.
    About 90% of the technology for the system is from Israel, said Kochavi.
    It is "field-proven technology," he said. "You can find it working in Israel at borders, airports, and military installations."

Israeli Woman Attacked in Berlin - Eldad Beck (Ynet News)
    An Israeli medical student was attacked and beaten last week in Berlin by a group of young women, apparently Muslim, after they heard her talking in Hebrew on her mobile phone.

Israel Leads World in Internet Use (Jerusalem Post)
    The comScore World Metrix indicated that Israelis spend on average 57.5 hours every month surfing the Internet, more than double the average of American online users.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Foils Hamas Plot to Kill Mahmoud Abbas - Uzi Mahnaimi
    A Hamas plot to assassinate PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been thwarted after he was tipped off by Israeli intelligence. Hamas' military wing, the Iz a-Din al-Qassem, had planned to kill Abbas at his office in Gaza, intelligence sources said. "So when we learned that Abbas' life was in danger, we made sure to inform him without delay," said an Israeli intelligence source. "Hamas considers Abbas to be a barrier to its complete control over Palestine and decided to kill him," said a Palestinian source who is a close acquaintance of Abbas. The attack would also have targeted Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas' strongman in Gaza. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • Bush: Iran President's Threats to Destroy Israel Must Be Taken Seriously - Noah Barkin
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats to destroy Israel should be taken seriously and suggest he could target other countries as well, President Bush told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag. "When he says that he wants to destroy Israel, the world needs to take it seriously," Bush said. "This is a serious threat, aimed at an ally of the United States and Germany. What Ahmadinejad also means is that if he is ready to destroy one country, then he would also be ready to destroy others. This is a threat that needs to be dealt with." (Reuters/Washington Post)
        See also Iran Threatens Pullout from Nuclear Treaty - Ali Akbar Dareini (AP/Washington Post)
  • American Investor Buys Israeli Firm for $4 Billion - Tracey Boles
    American investment guru Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway investment company has bought an 80% stake in Iscar, an Israeli firm specializing in metal cutting tools, for $4 billion. The Wertheimer family, which will retain ownership of the remaining 20%, founded the firm 50 years ago. (Sunday Times-UK)
        See also Behind the Iscar Purchase - Guy Rolnik (Ha'aretz)
        See also Iscar: One of Israel's Largest Businesses, and Wholly Private (Globes)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • New Defense Minister Peretz Reaches Out to PA - Hanan Greenberg
    Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday: "To our Palestinian neighbors we say: 'Not through the path of terror will you accomplish your goals. You must abandon the terrorism, combat incitement, and then you will again find the hand of the Israeli government extended towards you with a readiness to reach agreements, with the price of painful concessions'." Last Friday Peretz authorized an Air Force attack on a Popular Resistance Committees training facility in Gaza which killed five terrorists. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in northern Gaza fired eight Kassam rockets at Israel on Monday, Israel Radio reported. The rockets landed near the Israeli communities of Zikkim, Karmiya, and Yad Mordechai. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three Killed in Hamas-Fatah Clashes in Gaza
    At least three Palestinian gunmen, two from Fatah and one from Hamas, were killed Monday during a gun battle between the two groups near Khan Yunis in Gaza, medics said. Several others were wounded. The clash broke out after Hamas accused Fatah of having kidnapped three of its members, security officials said. (AP/Ynet News)
  • Hamas Armed Force Readies for Action - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas' new security force is expected to start operating in Gaza next week, sources in the PA Interior Ministry said on Saturday. The 3,000-strong force, which consists largely of Hamas militiamen, was established last month by Interior Minister Said Siam to help enforce law and order. The decision to establish the new force has enraged PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, Hamas leaders warned over the weekend of a new intifada and said they would "chop off" the head of anyone who works to bring down their cabinet. On Friday, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to protest against the international sanctions against the Hamas cabinet. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Fatal Attraction: The Hamas-Iran Alliance - Anna Mahjar-Barducci
    The Iranian regime and Hamas are currently upgrading their alliance, which is over a decade long, across the great Islamic divide, between a Sunni group and a Shiite regional power. After the 1979 revolution in Iran, the huge surge of pride in, and support for, the revolution in the Muslim world threatened Sunni religious hegemony. Two great victories restored Sunni predominance in the Islamic world: a 10-year effort, where Saudi Arabia used a great deal of its resources to support the jihad in Afghanistan, leading to the defeat of the Soviet empire; and an equally substantial effort by the kingdom to spread Sunni, albeit Wahhabi, Islam through its funding of Islamic centers and mosques worldwide. The election of Iranian President Ahmadinejad marked the start of a second Islamic Revolution, and with it a revival of radical aspirations dating back to the days of Ayatollah Khomeini.
        Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. During the second intifada it was assisted by the Iranian-supported Lebanese Shiite group Hizballah with significant military support and funding. The Hamas-Iran alliance is a fatal attraction. The Hamas leadership identifies more with Ahmadinejad, the popular leader who wears second-hand jackets like they do, than with the Muslim Brotherhood sheikhs who wear expensive robes and own shares in American chain-stores, like Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradhawi. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Sinai Bedouin and Islamic Extremism - Michael Slackman
    The Melahy Bedouin tribe of northern Sinai is the poorest in the region. Nasser Khamis al-Melahy held great promise for his family when he went to law school, but he never practiced law. Instead, he returned to El Arish and, the authorities say, helped set up an Islamist terrorist cell that has staged five suicide attacks in the Sinai, including the triple bombing in Dahab last month.
        The police say his terrorist cell, Tawhid and Jihad, was heavily influenced by bin Laden, Zarqawi, and Wahhabism, an austere sect of radical Islam whose roots lie in the Arabian Peninsula. The Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt had worked in Sinai, but it was the arrival of Wahhabism that began to change the local culture. Women have abandoned the traditional Bedouin dress for the far more concealing Islamic gown popular in the Persian Gulf. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    British Archives: Nazi SS Agents in Mandatory Palestine Worked Closely with Palestinian Arab Leaders - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)

    • Documents in Britain's National Archives show that Nazi Germany attempted to ship arms to Palestinian forces in the 1930s. A British Foreign Office report from 1939 reports "news of a consignment of arms from Germany, sent via Turkey and addressed to Ibn Saud (king of Saudi Arabia), but really intended for the Palestine insurgents." Britain's chief military officer in Mandatory Palestine also noted reports "regarding import of German arms at intervals for some years now."
    • British documents said a number of Nazi agents were sent to Mandatory Palestine in order to forge alliances with Palestinian leaders, and urge them to reject a partition of the land between the Jewish and Arab populations.
    • One Nazi agent, Adam Vollhardt, arrived in Palestine in July 1938 and held several meetings with leading Arab politicians, telling them "that the Palestine question would be settled to the satisfaction of the Arabs within a few weeks."
    • "Germany was interested in the settlement of the (Palestine) question on the basis of the Arabs obtaining their full demands," Vollhardt told Palestinian leaders, according to a report by the British War Office. Vollhardt also assured Arab leaders that "the Germans could continue to support the Palestinian Arab cause by means of propaganda."
    • German documents revealed that in 1937, German officials had calculated that "Palestine under Arab rule would...become one of the few countries where we could count on a strong sympathy for the new Germany." "The Palestinian Arabs show on all levels a great sympathy for the new Germany and its Fuhrer, a sympathy whose value is particularly high as it is based on a purely ideological foundation," a Nazi official in Palestine wrote in a letter to Berlin in 1937.
    • German records show that the Nazis viewed the establishment of a Jewish state with great concern. A 1937 report from the German General Consulate in Palestine said: "The formation of a Jewish not in Germany's interest because a (Jewish) Palestinian state would create additional national power bases for international Jewry such as, for example, the Vatican State for political Catholicism or Moscow for the Communists. Therefore, there is a German interest in strengthening the Arabs as a counterweight against such possible power growth of the Jews."

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