Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Poll Finds U.S. Support for Israel Soaring (JTA/Jerusalem Post) Ignoring the Gaza Chaos - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz) Shooting Near Gaza School Kills One - Ibrahim Barzak (AP) Thousands Of Supporters Of Israel March In Manhattan (CBS/AP)
Poll Finds U.S. Support for Israel Soaring (JTA/Jerusalem Post)
Ignoring the Gaza Chaos - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
Shooting Near Gaza School Kills One - Ibrahim Barzak (AP)
Thousands Of Supporters Of Israel March In Manhattan (CBS/AP)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Optimistic and celebratory, Jewish groups were quick to offer congratulations to Nicolas Sarkozy after his victory in French presidential elections. The former interior minister was seen by Jewish voters as a friend to Israel and an important figure in the fight against anti-Semitism. Soon after his opponent conceded, Jewish groups came out with their good wishes. (Australian Jewish News)
See also Nicholas Sarkozy, New President of France: Past and Future - Raanan Eliaz
Sarkozy�s mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece. In a 2004 interview, Sarkozy stated, "Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.� (European Jewish Press)
The Iraqi general in charge of guarding the border with Syria said his forces cannot completely prevent suicide bombers, who often carry fake passports and appear well trained and funded, from slipping into Iraq. "This borderline cannot be controlled 100 percent," said Maj. Gen. Hadi Taaha Hasoun al-Mamoori. "If there was a desire on the part of the Syrians to help us, it would have been possible to wipe out a large segment of the terrorists." While 15 to 20 suspected foreign fighters are captured along the border each month, from countries including Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, more are making their way in, he said. The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, told CNN recently that "several dozen foreign fighters a month" travel into Iraq through Syria. (Washington Post)
Two people were wounded, one moderately, by a Qassam rocket strike Sunday on a gas station near the western Negev town of Sderot. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. Later Sunday, two more Qassam rockets struck open areas in the western Negev, causing no damage or injuries. Earlier Sunday, an Israeli security guard for a fuel truck was seriously wounded in a shooting attack on a vehicle west of the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Ha'aretz)
See also Qassam Lands Near Sderot Kindergarten - Shmulik Hadad (Ynet News)
The University of Connecticut has notified the Dubai Education Council (DEC) that it has halted plans to establish a satellite campus in Dubai following pressure from pro-Israel politicians and interest groups in protest of the UAE's 'human rights record' and policy towards Israel. Connecticut legislator Andrew Fleischmann told Gulf News he and his colleagues in the General Assembly would not allow such a deal to go through until the UAE "changed the way it deals with Israel" and improves the situation of foreign workers. (Gulf News -- UAE)
Does Israel make itself more vulnerable by publicly airing the scathing results of its self-examination after last summer's war? Hardly. While Israelis painfully and openly struggle with how to address the problems identified by the Winograd Commission, the country's enemies -- beginning with Hizbullah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah -- take the opportunity to gloat. How they miss the point!
What they are watching with glee is not Israel's weakness. Instead, it is the country's greatest strength, and one from which just about every country -- from the Arab world to the United States -- could learn an important truth: Israel's most powerful weapon is its capacity for fearless self-examination.
Israelis are looking at other issues raised by the commission, including the influence and preparation of the military, the decision-making process and the level of experience of government leaders. The government is already at work looking for ways to correct the weaknesses identified by the Winograd Commission. (Miami Herald)
While Israeli society is busy as usual with internal battles, the imminent threats are clearly visible. Yet through astounding blindness they are not being discussed in the public discourse. Is the IDF currently prepared for the possibility of war on several fronts? Is the State of Israel prepared for the possibility that it would have to resort to the bomb shelters? Is the home front � which will turn into the front line - adequately protected? Does it have its own missile arsenal? Can it create adequate deterrence against Iran and other terror organizations? Is there and will there be coordination with the U.S. regarding various defense scenarios? (Ynet News)
Saudi Arabia, home of Islam�s holiest sites, flush with oil revenue, and increasingly the most influential player among Arab countries, has long resisted changing its ultratraditional ways. Now the intrusions of global economics and technology have begun to challenge some traditions in ways that the country�s idealists could not. And the strain that this is causing is showing in the form of surprisingly open debate about how much Saudis really want to modernize. (New York Times)
Of an estimated 20 million Saudis, about 15 percent are Shia. Most live in the oil-rich eastern province, others along the Saudi-Yemeni border or near the holy city of Mecca. Despite sitting on some of the world's richest oil deposits, the Shia say Sunnis discriminate against them. After decades of disenchantment, they are pressing for equality. Yet many worry that a regional Shia resurgence is provoking a backlash. Sunni alarm is growing.
In Hofuf, a desert oasis whose name means "whistling of the wind," the Shia tell of Sunnis dismissing them as foreigners, security threats, inferior Muslims, even infidels. Until recently, the government barred the Shia from building basements, which could be transformed into prayer halls called husseiniyas. They can import religious books, but cannot print their own; strict stipulations limit the building of Shia mosques. The Shia cannot hold high-level military, security or political posts. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
A visitor to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia encounters unmistakable evidence that extremist intruders are opening a Balkan front in the global jihad. The ominous presence of Wahhabi missionaries, financiers, terror recruiters, and other mischief-makers bespeaks a fresh offensive in that tormented land. From the new Wahhabi seminary in the lovely Bosnian city of Zenica, to the cobblestone streets of Sarajevo's old Ottoman center, to the Muslim-majority villages in southern Serbia, extremist Sunni men in their distinctive, untrimmed beards and short, Arab style breeches, accompanied by women in face veils and full body coverings, are again appearing, funded by reactionary Saudis and Pakistanis.
In neighboring Montenegro and districts of southern Serbia, the Wahhabi presence is open and even violent. Wahhabis have disrupted religious services, yelling abuse at imams for not following their practices, and have precipitated gunfire between ordinary people as well as fatal confrontations with local police. Most recently, on April 20, a Wahhabi was killed in a clash with police in the southern Serbian town of Novi Pazar. In Bosnia, on April 27, a cache of automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, bombs, ammunition, and related material was seized in the remote north western village of Upper Barska. (Weekly Standard)
Denial and Democracy in Egypt - Editorial (New York Times)
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