Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 1, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

110 Terrorists Killed in Gaza Since Disengagement (Jerusalem Post)
   110 terrorists have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel's disengagement.
    Ten Kassam rocket crews have been eliminated, and security officials estimate that ten remain, Israel Radio reported.

Israel HighWay
- May 31, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Travel to Israel

Bloggers Held Under Egypt's Emergency Laws - Daniel Williams (Washington Post)
    At least six bloggers are among about 300 protesters jailed during the past month's suppression of demonstrations in Egypt.
    The bloggers, supporters say, were singled out by police, who pointed them out before agents rushed in to hustle them away.
    In the view of some human rights observers, the Egyptian government has begun to note political activity online and is taking steps to rein it in.
    Under Egypt's emergency laws, the bloggers can be jailed indefinitely.

Hamas, Fatah Gunmen Clash in Gaza (Reuters)
    A gunbattle between militants from the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah erupted in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, lightly wounding three Fatah members.

Palestinian Gunmen Kill Couple Accused of Aiding Israel - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    Two Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel were killed in a gangland-style execution in Nablus on Tuesday by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, witnesses said.

Gaza Businessmen Look to Egypt as Embargo Bites - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
    Businessmen in Gaza are trying to move their operations across the border into Egypt.
    Mohammad al-Susi, owner of one of the largest furniture factories in Gaza, has already rented a site in Egypt and is in the process of moving operations across the border.
    Abu al-Abed, head of production at a Gaza sewing factory, has already moved part of its operation to Egypt.

Israel to Join Summer NATO Naval Exercise - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel announced Monday that its missile boats would participate, for the first time, in a NATO summer military exercise in the Black Sea.
    On Monday eight NATO warships docked at Haifa port for a week-long stay.

Iran's Bahai Religious Minority Says It Faces Raids and Arrests - Laurie Goodstein (New York Times)
    Members of the Bahai religious minority in Iran said this week that the government had recently intensified a campaign of arrests, raids, and propaganda that was aimed at eradicating their religion in Iran, the country of its birth.

Israeli Scientists Discover Eight New Species in Prehistoric Cave - Tamara Traubman (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli scientists said on Wednesday they had discovered a prehistoric ecosystem dating back millions of years containing eight previously unknown species of crustaceans and invertebrates similar to scorpions, in a cave extending to a depth of 100 meters beneath the surface of a quarry in the vicinity of Ramle.
    Dr. Hanan Dimantman, a biologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the cave's ecosystem dates back five million years to when the Mediterranean Sea covered parts of Israel.

Singapore's SciGen to Set Up $30 Million Facility in Israel - Hadas Manor (Globes)
    Singapore generic drug giant SciGen Ltd. will set up an R&D and manufacturing facility in Rehovot at an investment of $30 million over three years.

State Bank of India Set to Open Israel Branch - Jeanette Goldman (
    State Bank of India (SBI) will soon open its first branch in Israel at the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan.

Israel No. 20 in World Competitiveness Rankings - Hadas Manor (Globes)
    Israel is ranked 20th among 61 countries in the 2006 world competitiveness rankings, produced by the World Competitiveness Center at Swiss business school IMD, up from 42nd place in 2005.
    Israel ranked first in R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP, and in public spending on education as a percentage of GDP.

Tourism to Israel Jumps 30% in January-April 2006 (Ministry of Tourism/IMRA)
    695,000 tourists entered Israel in January-April 2006, a 30% rise over the same period last year.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Ready to Meet Iranians on Nuclear Plan - Steven R. Weisman
    Secretary of State Rice said Wednesday that the U.S. would join Europeans in talks with Iran over its nuclear program, but only if Tehran first suspended its uranium activities, which are thought to be a cover for developing nuclear arms. But Iran has long said it would not agree to preconditions, and the administration's offer appeared to be aimed as much at placating American allies as at wooing Iran. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Ending Years of Gaza Civic Work - Ilene R. Prusher
    Following the January electoral victory of Hamas, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, American officials in the region have been in the midst of a comprehensive reduction of all contacts with the PA. Relations with every Palestinian government ministry are now forbidden. Only offices under the helm of Mr. Abbas, the leading Fatah official, are open to U.S. officials for dialogue. Since 1993, the U.S. has given $1.7 billion in assistance to the Palestinians. Every aid project to the Palestinians is under review, to examine, grant by grant, where the money is going and whether it might end up with Hamas. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Lebanon Seeks Way to Disarm Palestinian Militia Groups - Hassan M. Fattah
    Lebanese politicians have vowed to disarm the Palestinian militias in that country, mostly rogue groups like Fatah Intifada and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, both based in Syria. They are estimated to have fewer than 500 men between them, but Lebanese officials note that in recent confrontations with the Lebanese Army their ranks have swelled. Officials accuse Syria of resupplying them with weaponry. "These are Syrian groups, not Palestinian groups," said Druse leader Walid Jumblatt, a main leader of the anti-Syrian majority in Parliament. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • EU Disagrees Over How to Fund PA - Herb Keinon
    Differences of opinion have emerged in Europe over the parameters of the "funding mechanism" the European Commission has been asked to develop to transfer funds to the PA, European officials said Wednesday. Disagreements revolve around whether the funds should be limited to emergency uses, or whether they should be channeled to support PA health and educational systems. Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Scott Carpenter said neither Washington nor the EU were interested in paying salaries of tens of thousands of Palestinian government workers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Won't Keep Egypt, Jordan from Arming PA - Herb Keinon
    Israel doesn't intend to keep Egypt and Jordan from transferring weapons to Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard because he appointed leading fugitive Mahmoud Damra to head it, a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday. The official said, however, that Israel would not hesitate to arrest Damra if he tried to enter Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two IDF Soldiers Wounded in Jenin - Efrat Weiss
    Two IDF soldiers were wounded Wednesday night after an explosive device was hurled at the jeep in which they were riding in the West Bank town of Jenin. Three wanted Islamic Jihad terrorists were arrested during the operation. (Ynet News)
  • Syria a Major Source of Anti-Semitic Incitement
    Bashar Assad's regime, like that of his father's, is riddled with anti-Semitism. This is reflected in public statements, anti-Semitic articles frequently published in the Syrian media, anti-Semitic television movies such as "The Diaspora" and "The Garden of Death," and the publication of extensive anti-Semitic literature including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In Syria, the media, literature, and arts are closely monitored by the Syrian regime, and the anti-Semitic materials are published with the regime's approval and encouragement. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ahmadinejad Gets the Direct Talks He Wanted - Editorial
    When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly released a long, insulting letter seeking direct talks with the U.S. last month, President Bush dismissed it as unworthy of reply. But Wednesday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered the real U.S. answer: Yes. In a surprising policy reversal, Rice offered to negotiate directly with Iran's mullahs if they first suspend all uranium enrichment and cooperate with UN arms inspectors. The Secretary of State seems to have convinced Bush - over the doubts of Vice President Cheney and others - that this was the only way to prevent the U.S. from being isolated as our European allies ran for cover and Russia resisted any UN sanctions.
        Iran was already pocketing the direct talks and demanding that any negotiation be "without pre-conditions." This was entirely predictable, and you can bet this new Iranian demand will soon be echoed in Paris, Moscow, and all too many precincts in Washington. Iran's relentless drive for a nuclear weapon is a difficult problem, and perhaps Rice is right that direct diplomacy is essential to expose Iran's real purposes. But given Iran's track record, we'd say the Secretary has walked her President out on a limb where the pressure will soon build on him to make even more concessions. If this gambit fails, she'll have succeeded mainly in giving the mullahs more time to become a terrorist nuclear power. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Nuclear Weapons Buy Leverage - Glenn Kessler
    The Bush administration's decision to consider sitting down with the Iranian government underscores a central truth of diplomacy today: Nuclear weapons buy leverage. (Washington Post)
  • A Teacher's Union's Misquided Academic Boycott of Israel - Martin Peretz
    So a boycott of Israeli universities has been proclaimed in Great Britain. Will Israeli academic institutions and academics suffer much? The comparison is actually pathetic from the Brit perspective, the intellectual life of Israel being so much more vibrant. So let the members of the teachers' union decline to send their papers to academic journals published in Israel. No one will notice. All of this actually smacks of a grotesque inquisition. (New Republic)
        See also NATFHE's Hate-Filled Boycott - Michael Harris
    To single out Israel for condemnation, as Natfhe has done, bears no other plausible explanation than anti-Semitism. Let us hear a clear explanation from the supporters of the boycott, the self-appointed moral policemen of the academic world, as to why disgraceful human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and elsewhere are ignored while Israel alone is censured for shortcomings resulting from an existential threat. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Academic Anti-Semitism in Britain - Phyllis Chesler (National Review)
  • Boycotts and Bias - Editorial
    We've given up trying to analyze what would lead otherwise intelligent-seeming people to spurn the one free democracy in the Middle East while insisting on subsidizing the chaotic quasi-entity next door that, of late, is governed by a terrorist faction. As Israel's economy and culture flourishes and innovates while Europe, Canada, and Saudi Arabia slump into stagnation, sooner or later the boycotters may come to realize it is their loss. (New York Sun)
  • Why Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism - Dennis Prager
    Imagine someone saying that he seeks the destruction of Italy because he regards Italian national identity as racist. Further, imagine that this person constantly denies being anti-Italian, because he does not hate all Italians, only Italy and all those who believe Italy should exist. Now substitute "Jewish" for "Italian" and "Israel" for "Italy" and you understand the absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist but not anti-Jewish.
        The belief that Jews belong in Zion (the biblical term for Jerusalem) is as old as the Jewish people. Starting in 586 BCE, with the destruction of the first Jewish state, Jews were already Zionists in that they fervently prayed to return to Zion. While the movement known by the specific name "Zionism" is modern, the movement of Jews returning to Zion is more than 2,500 years old. (
  • The U.S. Should Move Its Embassy to Jerusalem...Now - Daniel Freedman
    The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act made it "the official policy of the United States" that Jerusalem be recognized as Israel's capital and accordingly America's embassy be moved there. But the act also gave the president a six-month waiver if he deemed it necessary for national security. President Clinton repeatedly used the six-month waiver, as has President Bush.
        The excuses given for the use of the waiver are that moving the embassy will destabilize peace negotiations and anger the Arab states. What's the worst that could happen if the embassy is moved? Hamas will reiterate for the hundred and first time that they want to wipe out the Jewish state? Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Syria will still refuse to recognize Israel? More importantly, why should other states, and undemocratic states at that, determine where America places its embassy in one of its closest allies?
        Not moving the embassy is actually a barrier to peace, leaving the Palestinians Arabs with the hope that one day, as Hamas promises, Jerusalem will be theirs. (National Review)

    Weekend Features

  • Jordan's Queen Won't Be Wearing a Burqa - Margarette Driscoll
    If the veiled woman has become the symbol of the culture clash between East and West, Queen Rania is her nemesis. Jordan's young queen is on a charm offensive to present a new kind of Arab woman to the world. Rania, 35, born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, the privileged daughter of a pediatrician and educated in international schools, has never worn the veil, nor will she. "In Jordan we believe there should be no coercion under Islam," she says. Before her marriage to the Sandhurst-educated Prince Abdullah, Rania was an investment banker with the American Citibank and in marketing for Apple. She did not expect to become queen - King Hussein changed the succession from his brother to his son on his deathbed. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • Computerized Legs Help IDF Amputees Walk with Confidence - Ruth Sinai
    Dr. Ido Katz is one of 25 IDF veteran amputees whose mechanical, prosthetic legs were replaced with computerized models. "It is simply a world apart," says Katz, the deputy director of Assaf Harofeh Hospital. The computerized knee allows users to descend stairs and hills smoothly. The microprocessor tailors the device to the unique walking style of its user. (Ha'aretz)
  • Tel Aviv U to Fold Jaffee Center into New Think Tank - Herb Keinon
    Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, one of Israel's best-known academic policy centers, will be folded into the new Institute for National Strategy and Policy established by Australian billionaire Frank Lowy, TAU President Itamar Rabinovich announced on Monday. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Frank Lowy: From Hagana to $3.8 Billion Magnate - Herb Keinon
    Frank Lowy, the Australian shopping mall magnate, is behind the establishment of the new Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Strategy and Policy. The Czech-born Lowy left France for Mandatory Palestine in 1946 on board the illegal immigrant ship Yagur, which was caught en route by the British and its 750 passengers sent to Cyprus. In 1952 Lowy left Israel and joined his family, who had left Europe for Australia. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    IDF Chief of Staff: Islamists Are Rising - David Horovitz and Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)

    An interview with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz:

    • Q: What was the motivation behind Hizballah's Katyusha attacks in the north on Sunday?
      Halutz: Hizballah wants to preserve its identity as an Islamic and jihad-driven group that sees its job as guardian of Lebanon. One of the motivations of Hizballah is to maintain a "hot" border as part of an attempt to explain why it would not be right for it to disarm, since it needs to protect Lebanon from Israel. This, of course, is false. We have nothing against Lebanon, and no interest in attacking the country. There is no doubt that in the last incident, Hizballah made a mistake. It opened fire, found us ready, and paid a heavy price.
    • Q: What do you see as a solution on the Gaza front with regard to the Kassam rocket threat?
      Halutz: We are working on a technological concept that will provide some sort of solution, and we are also launching military operations. It is not safe to be a terrorist in the Gaza Strip. They know that we are always after them, and that though we may not always succeed, we will not stop. We will continue to hunt down those who manufacture [rockets], shoot, and are involved in launching attacks against Israel.
    • Q: Assess Israel's overall geostrategic situation.
      Halutz: Islamic fundamentalism is getting stronger, and democratization in certain Muslim countries is not necessarily bringing moderate elements to power. In some cases, it has had the opposite effect - bringing to power extreme elements instead.
          Global jihad does not feel threatened enough by the entire international community. So far, the one country leading the war against global jihad is the United States, and they should be commended for conducting their wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.
          The Iranians are determined to obtain nuclear weapons. We don't know yet whether the world will succeed in convincing them to give up their idea of nuclear weapons.
    • Q: Does Israel have the ability to strike Iran?
      Halutz: Alongside the diplomatic efforts there is also at the end of the day a military option. Not one that will be launched by us, however, since this is a worldwide issue. The State of Israel is not the address to solve all of the world's problems. This is a global problem and not just an Israeli problem.
    • Q: What is Iran's involvement on the Hizballah front?
      Halutz: The Iranians are pulling the strings when it comes to Hizballah and Islamic Jihad in the territories and also assisting Hamas. They are deep in terror up to their ears and they have a record of involvement in terror. The terrorism needs to concern us more than anything, not the nuclear [issue], where there is time. They have hosted Hamas leaders. They train some of the Palestinian terror groups as well as fund, host, and arm Hizballah. This Iran-Syria-Lebanon axis is a fundamentalist line of extreme and radical Islam.
    • Q: How has Hamas' election victory changed the IDF's war on terror?
      Halutz: Hamas is continuing to build its terror organization. It is working to develop new capabilities, rockets, to smuggle in weapons and ammunition. I don't think the military threat has increased, but there is no doubt that if Hamas returns to terror activity, that will increase the volume of what we have to deal with.
    • Q: Did our withdrawal from Gaza strengthen Hamas?
      Halutz: Hamas would have won even if we had not left Gaza. The main parameter is that there have not been any Israelis killed there since we left Gaza. Before we left Gaza there were some 30 civilians and soldiers killed a year. Now there are more Kassams fired than when we were in Gaza. We do not have responsibility over Gaza and our freedom of operation there has increased. We also have wider international tolerance.

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