Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 15, 2006

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Stand with Israel National Solidarity Rally (Conference of Presidents)
Sep. 20, 12 Noon,

Hammarskjold Plaza, 2nd Ave. at 47 St., NYC.

In-Depth Issues:

Kidnapped Israeli Soldier Becoming Burden for Palestinians - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
    A senior officer in the IDF General Staff said Thursday that Cpl. Gilad Shalit is alive and is being held by Hamas gunmen at a secret location in Gaza.
    As time goes by, Shalit is becoming a burden on the Palestinians and their leadership, he added.
    The officer also noted that one to two tons of explosives are smuggled into Gaza from Egypt every month as Palestinian terror groups seek to smuggle in sophisticated arms after the war in Lebanon.
    He refuted as "misleading" Palestinian claims of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
    See also Palestinians Receiving Terror Training in Iran - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    A high-ranking IDF officer revealed Thursday that Palestinian terrorists have traveled to Iran for terror training and then returned to Gaza.

Israel HighWay
- September 14, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Good News During the War

Terrorists Planning to Kidnap Israeli Soldiers, Civilians - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
    Israel's defense establishment on Thursday declared a high state of alert following 16 concrete warnings of plans to carry out terror attacks. Security forces will boost their activities ahead of the holiday of Rosh Hashana.
    In the past few days, the Shin Bet has received many warnings of planned kidnappings of Israeli citizens and soldiers.
    In July, the IDF and the Shin Bet thwarted three kidnapping attacks.
    See also Sinai Alert Level Raised after Explosives Stolen (Jerusalem Post)
    Egyptian security forces raised the alert level in Sinai on Thursday to its highest level after explosives were stolen from a northern Sinai warehouse.
    Security officials were concerned that the explosives would be used to attack Israeli tourists.

U.S. Embassy Escapes, But Militancy on Rise in Syria - Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters)
    The militants who attacked the U.S. embassy in Syria this week botched the job, but more potent and experienced groups are at large in the country, officials and diplomats said in Damascus on Thursday.

Israel Provides Radios to German Air Force (Reuters)
    Israel's Elbit Systems said Sunday that Tadiran Spectralink won a contract to supply personal survival radios (PSRs) to the German Air Force.
    The order, worth $8 million, is expected to result in follow-on orders for additional PSRs, intended for other branches of the German military.

Saudi Arabia Bans Pet Cats and Dogs (AP/Fox News)
    Saudi Arabia's religious police have issued a decree banning the sale of the pets, seen as a sign of Western influence.
    The decree did not say whether the religious police would try to stop people from appearing in public with their dog or cat - or whether owners would be allowed to sell puppies or kittens born to their pets.

Canadian Jewry Today - Ira Robinson (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Canadian Jewish community is one of the more significant contemporary diaspora Jewish communities, numbering approximately 364,000, and is one of the few communities that are growing demographically.
    Toronto now contains nearly half of all Canadian Jews and Montreal nearly a quarter.
    35% of Jewish school-age children in Montreal attend day schools and 25% in Toronto - the highest averages in North America.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Egyptian Democracy Activists Demand End to Peace Treaty with Israel - Hamza Hendawi
    Egypt's best-known democracy movement has switched causes and is now focused on demanding an end to the country's peace treaty with Israel. The Kifaya movement has launched a campaign to collect one million signatures on a petition calling for the annulment of Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel. 100,000 signatures have been collected so far, said Kifaya spokesman George Ishaq.
        "One of the costs of pressing for democracy in the Middle East is the fact that most democratically based Arab parties...will be hostile to Israel," said Edward S. Walker, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel and now with the Middle East Institute, a Washington-based think tank. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Report: Iran Using Laser Enrichment - Edith M. Lederer
    Iran has secretly revived the program to enrich uranium using laser technology at Lashkar Ab'ad northwest of Tehran, reportedly with favorable results, Iranian opposition figure Alireza Jafarzadeh said Thursday, citing information from members of the resistance inside the country. Jafarzadeh, who heads a Washington-based think tank and is credited with having aired Iranian military secrets in the past, said Iran's decision to revive its laser enrichment program shows it wants "to use every possibility that is available to them to rush to the bomb."  (AP/Washington Post)
  • Lebanon PM Warns Army Will Seize Hizballah Weapons Shown Publicly - Henry Meyer
    Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora warned Thursday that his army will seize all weapons shown publicly in southern Lebanon, offering a sharp retort to a boast from Hizballah's leader that his fighters are on the border with Israel and won't leave. Saniora made clear his troops will not actively hunt for hidden Hizballah arsenals, but insisted his government will no longer allow the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hizballah to dominate the south. (AP/ABC News)
  • Al-Qaeda Tape Makes France a Target
    Deputy al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has urged the militant Algerian Islamist GSPC to punish "Crusader nation" France, even though it vehemently opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Le Figaro said on Thursday. In a tape released Monday, Zawahri also urged the group to sow fear "in the hearts of the traitors and the apostate sons of France." On Monday, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, head of the DST domestic security service, said: "For our Islamist adversaries, our country is frankly in the Western camp, the 'Crusaders' in their words, and we will be spared nothing." (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • German Neo-Nazis Join Quiet March to Poll Victory - Roger Boyes
    The far right is on the march in eastern Germany as the neo-Nazis of the NPD, the National Party of Germany, look set to win a big chunk of seats in regional elections on Sunday. In Anklam, one young man guarding an NPD leader wore a T-shirt that read: "Granddad was right." Posters that deck out every street corner say things like "Tourists welcome - asylum seekers out," or depict a fist under the slogan "Enough!" (Times-UK)
  • Muslims Condemn Pope's Remarks on Islam - Ian Fisher
    Muslim leaders on Thursday strongly criticized a speech by Pope Benedict XVI that used unflattering language about Islam. On Tuesday, Benedict quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor as saying, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." The pope also used the word jihad, or holy war, saying violence was contrary to God's nature and to reason. The Vatican later issued a statement saying the Roman Catholic Church sought to "cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward other religions and cultures, and obviously also toward Islam." (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Plot to Blow Up Israel-Gaza Crossing Foiled
    Majad Kambaz, 29, of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, who was arrested on Aug. 4, revealed precise information about a tunnel being dug for a deadly terror attack at the Karni crossing. The plan was to place powerful explosives inside the tunnel under the IDF facility at the crossing. On Aug. 27, an IDF operation located a 13-meter shaft and a 150-meter tunnel close to the Karni crossing. Kambaz further revealed that he was involved in a terror attack at Karni crossing on June 13, 2005, in which six Israelis were murdered. The execution of the attack was directed from the roof of Kambaz's house.
        While crossings in the Gaza Strip are vital to the Palestinians, since they allow the passage of workers and goods, the Karni crossing remains a major target for Palestinian terror organizations. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik Haddad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Israel on Friday morning. Two rockets landed in hothouses in Kibbutz Netiv Ha'asarah in the western Negev, while the third exploded near Shaar Hanegev. On average, ten rockets a week have been fired from Gaza at Israel over the last five months.
        The IDF conducted an air strike on a house in Rafah Friday morning after warning residents to leave before the attack. The building contained the entrance to a tunnel that was being used for arms smuggling. "A series of explosions after the attack showed that there was weaponry inside," an Israeli army spokesman said. (Ynet News)
  • UN Deaths Caused by Error - Yoav Stern
    Incorrectly marked IDF maps may have caused the deaths of four UN troops in an IAF air strike on July 26 in Lebanon, an Israeli government report to the UN revealed on Thursday. Prime Minister Olmert had expressed his condolences to UN Secretary-General Annan and had promised to investigate the event. The air strike was meant to hit a Hizballah stronghold 180 meters from the UN outpost at Al-Hayam. (Ha'aretz)
  • Panel to Start Probe of Lebanon War - Aluf Benn
    The Israeli cabinet on Sunday is expected to approve the establishment of a governmental committee of inquiry into the Lebanon war. The committee, headed by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, will examine how the government and defense establishment dealt with the Hizballah threat in the years preceding the war, as well as how they conducted the war. The committee will be asked to make recommendations to improve future decision-making processes. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Former Chief of Staff Ya'alon: The IDF Plan for the Lebanon War - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel Ponders Iran Options - Joshua Brilliant
    At the yearly conference organized by the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism in Herzliya, experts noted Iran was developing missiles that could reach Western Europe. Retired military intelligence Col. Shlomo Mofaz warned that Iran has sleeper cells in Europe that it could activate within a very short time. The head of Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, retired intelligence Col. Ephraim Kam, doubted Iran would attack Israel. Iran believes Israel has a nuclear capability and is "very much aware of the special relationship between the United States and Israel." Will that change once Iran has a nuclear bomb? "Not very likely," Kam said. "I strongly believe the Iranian radical regime will not be able to contain the popular demand, that comes from bottom to top, to change the nature of the regime."
        Kam was in a minority. For most Israelis, Iran's nuclear program threatens their very existence. "As crazy at it sounds, the current regime, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular, believes that the destruction of Israel is an attainable goal. The ayatollahs have said they are ready to pay a very heavy price in order to destroy Israel. In their thinking, the Christian West will be ready to tolerate the obliteration of the Jewish state in exchange for a long truce with the Islamic world," wrote Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. (UPI)
        See also Short Wave's Long Arm - Ruthie Blum
    Voice of Israel Farsi broadcaster Menashe Amir has spent the better part of a century becoming a renowned radio personality in Iran, his native land, in daily contact with Iranians who phone in comments to his programs. In his assessment, the people of Iran are desperate to be rescued from the repression of their current regime. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Tehran Calculus - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)
  • Green Berets Enlist Influential Sunni Tribe to Police Insurgent Stronghold in Iraq - Ann Scott Tyson
    U.S. Special Forces skilled in working closely with indigenous forces have enlisted one of the largest and most influential tribes in Iraq - the 300,000-member Albu Nimr tribe - to launch a regional police force in Iraq's volatile Anbar province. "These insurgencies are defeated by personal relationships," said a Special Forces 44-year-old sergeant. The real battles are unfolding "in a sheik's house, squatting in the desert eating with my right hand and smoking Turkish cigarettes and trying to influence tribes to rise up against an insurgency."  (Washington Post)
  • Historian: U.S. May Lose War on Terror - Daniel Freedman
    The victor of the war on terror is far from clear, Princeton historian Bernard Lewis told a Hudson Institute conference. Lewis said he agrees with Natan Sharansky that the only real solution to defeating radical Islam is to bring freedom to the Middle East. Either "we free them or they destroy us," Lewis said. The contention that Arabs aren't suited to democracy and that the West's best hope lies with friendly tyrants shows an ignorance of the Arabs' past and contempt for their present and future. Lewis said he places no hope in the UN being part of the solution. (New York Sun)
  • Capitalism Defeated Bin Laden - Sever Plocker
    On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda sought to undermine the basis of the American capitalist order and lead hundreds of millions of Muslims to abandon Western modernism and reconnect with zealotry. Five years later, the Western world's economy is moving full steam ahead into a fifth year of growth and prosperity. Not even a dent has been left since the September 11 assault. (Ynet News)

    Weekend Features

  • Israel Tourism Ministry and Presidents' Conference Launch Joint Tourism Appeal Over High Holy Days
    "Israel: Taking you higher," is the theme of a tourism promotion campaign being launched in the U.S. over the High Holy Days by Israel's Ministry of Tourism and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "Israel had a difficult summer, one that was particularly hard on the tourism industry in the northern part of the country," explained Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-President of the Presidents' Conference, "so we are urging American Jews to make the commitment over Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to visit Israel very soon." (Travel Video News)
  • In War and Peace, They Keep Investing in Israel - Jessica Steinberg
    Even as missiles fell on northern Israel during the recent conflict with Hizballah, REIT Israel Group paid $20 million for an 11,000-sq.-m. shopping center at the entrance to Nahariya, a northern coastal city hit hard by Hizballah rocket attacks from nearby Lebanon. (International Herald Tribune)
  • The Israeli-Irish Troubles - Manfred Gerstenfeld
    "If one were to throw a sack of flour over the Irish parliament, it is unlikely that anybody pro-Israeli would get white," says Dr. Rory Miller, senior lecturer in Mediterranean Studies at King's College, London. "The Irish cannot shake off the belief that Israel is a colonial oppressor," says Miller, but "it is easy to show that they have much more in common with Israel than with the Palestinians."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Knesset: Israel Should Prepare for Rocket Threat - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)

    • A Knesset subcommittee reviewing home front preparedness during the war reported Tuesday: "What the home front experienced during the current war is the tip of the iceberg compared to what could happen here in future wars."
    • "We must assume that a renewed wave of Palestinian violence may in a few years include the threat of short-range rockets on city centers in the central part of the country."
    • Furthermore, "special attention needs to be given to the issue of protecting strategic infrastructure and hospitals throughout the country."
    • The committee said that in the next war, Syria and Iran may use land-to-land missiles carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives, as opposed to the missiles used by Hizballah which only carried several kilograms each.
    • Additionally, hostile countries possess hundreds of missiles with unconventional warheads, which could cause extensive damage to the home front.

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