Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


December 24, 2007

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Army Prepares Public for Missile Attack - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    While the IDF does not foresee a war in the immediate future, the Home Front Command launched an unprecedented media campaign on Sunday. Brochures are being mailed to homes across the country explaining to civilians how to prepare for missile onslaughts against Israel.
    The campaign also includes a number of radio and television commercials - including one intended for children. The campaign's slogan is "Being ready means being protected."
    "The campaign is one of the main lessons we learned from the Second Lebanon War," a senior officer said Sunday. "This is our way of helping the public get ready for the possibility that war will break out in the future."
    "The best way to protect oneself during a missile attack is to stay indoors in a bomb shelter or an inside room that does not have windows to the outside," a top officer said. "During the Second Lebanon War, 90% of the civilians who were hurt from Hizbullah rockets were outside."
    See also Preparing for a State of Emergency (IDF Home Front Command)
    See also Israeli Missile Defense - Calev Ben-David (Jerusalem Post)

Hamas Says It Fired Anti-Aircraft Guns at Israeli Helicopters - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    The Izz al-Din el-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, claimed that for the first time its members fired anti-aircraft guns at Israel Air Force helicopters flying over central Gaza, the London-based Asharq Alawsat reported Friday.

Fatah Map Shows All of Israel as Palestine - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Fatah is planning to mark its 43rd anniversary with a new poster that presents all of Israel as Palestine.
    The poster, posted on a number of Fatah-affiliated Web sites, features a map of Israel that is entirely draped with a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf.
    It also carries a drawing of a rifle as a symbol of the "armed struggle" against Israel.
    The underlying message is that Fatah, like Hamas, does not recognize Israel's existence.

Israeli Scientists Inscribe Tiny Bible - Ian Deitch (AP/Washington Post)
    Israeli nanotechnology experts at the Technion have inscribed the entire Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible onto a space less than half the size of a grain of sugar.
    Ohad Zohar, the university's scientific adviser for educational programs, said the technology will in the future be used as a way to store vast amounts of data.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
G-Alert (Hebrew)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Plans Assessment of Mideast Peace Moves - Adam Entous
    The U.S. will conduct confidential assessments of whether Israel and the Palestinians are meeting their peacemaking commitments and share the results privately with the parties, U.S. and Western officials said. Though the Bush administration has decided to keep the assessment process confidential, it reserves the right to go public with its views if necessary, the officials said. Israel has said it will not implement any peace deal until the Palestinians meet their commitments to combat militants in both the West Bank and Gaza, where militants continue to fire cross-border rockets.
        Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas agreed at Annapolis last month that Washington - rather than the broader Quartet of Middle East mediators - would "monitor and judge" Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the 2003 Roadmap. A senior U.S. official said of the judging program, "our purpose will be to encourage progress, not to chastise" the parties. Officials said the newly appointed U.S. envoy for Middle East security, James Jones, will not serve as the direct "judge" of whether the parties are complying with their commitments. (Reuters/Yahoo)
  • U.S. Votes Against UN Budget to Oppose Anti-Israel Conference - Edith M. Lederer
    The UN General Assembly approved a two-year budget on Saturday, with the U.S. casting the only "no" vote because it objected to funding a follow-up to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, a conference it considered anti-Israel. The U.S. and Israel walked out of the September 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, because of attacks on the Jewish state. The U.S. provides 22% of the UN's regular budget. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Iran Cited in Iraq's Decline in Violence - Karen DeYoung
    The Iranian government has decided "at the most senior levels" to rein in the violent Shiite militias it supports in Iraq, a move reflected in a sharp decrease in sophisticated roadside bomb attacks over the past several months, according to David M. Satterfield, the State Department's top official on Iraq. Tehran's decision does not necessarily mean the flow of those weapons from Iran has stopped, but the decline in their use and in overall attacks "has to be attributed to an Iranian policy decision," he said.
        The Pentagon has been more cautious in describing Iran's role in changes on the ground in Iraq. A Defense Department report released Wednesday emphasized that support for militia groups by Tehran's Shiite government remains "a significant impediment to progress." Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Friday that "the jury is out" on whether Iran is playing a less-destructive role. (Washington Post)
  • Gaza's Christians Keep Low Profile During Christmas
    Gaza's tiny Christian community is keeping a low profile during Christmas this year, traumatized by the killing of Rami Ayyad, 32, a prominent Christian activist, after the Hamas takeover. At the Baptist Church on Sunday, just 10 people attended the regular weekly prayer service, down from an average of 70. There was no Christmas tree in sight. The church's full-time pastor, along with his family, have relocated to the West Bank. "Whole families are leaving, selling their cars, homes and all their properties," said Rev. Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza's Roman Catholic church. Israeli security officials said they were permitting 400 Gaza Christians to travel through Israel to Bethlehem for Christmas. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Olmert: No Talks with Hamas Until It Recognizes Israel - Barak Ravid, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    Prime Minister Olmert told the cabinet Sunday that the government would not hold talks with Hamas until it recognizes Israel. "The State of Israel has no interest in negotiating with entities that do not recognize the Quartet demands," he said. The Quartet of Middle East negotiators has demanded that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept previously signed agreements between Israel and the PA. "Whoever accepts the Quartet principles will, in principle, be a partner for negotiations....Whoever isn't willing to do so, to our regret, cannot be a partner for dialogue with us. This policy will not change." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israeli and Palestinian Negotiating Teams to Meet Monday in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Hits Beer Factory in Ashkelon - Barak Ravid
    Palestinians in Gaza fired five Kassam rockets at Israel on Sunday. One rocket hit a Carlsberg factory in the southern Ashkelon industrial zone. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Did the NIE Report Go Too Far in Absolving Iran? - Michael Hirsh
    Many Israeli experts are appalled by the tone of the NIE report, which concludes with "high confidence" that Iran halted its "nuclear weapons program," despite Tehran's brazen pursuit of uranium enrichment. Uzi Arad, a former Mossad official, said that on a recent trip he made to Moscow, a Russian general poked fun at the naivete of the NIE, commenting that if the Iranians had halted weapons development in 2003 it was partly because they were satisfied with progress there and wanted to devote investment to harder parts of the nuclear equation, like enrichment. "The irony is that the effect of this report may be self-negating - by itself it will accelerate Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons," Arad said. (Newsweek)
  • Placing Blame for Palestinian Hardship - Andre Oboler
    A Times story on Dec. 17 referred to reports from Oxfam and the World Bank to support the claim that Israeli restrictions on Gaza are the primary impediment to improving conditions. Yet the difference between the Oxfam press release and the details of the World Bank report are startling. The World Bank stated that "any effort at economic recovery and development must address the impacts of the current closure regime and the aftermath of the illegal takeover of Gaza" by Hamas; and that Israel, the PA and donors are working to "shield the Strip's 1.4 million people from the impacts of the current political stalemate." In contrast, Oxfam ignores the role of Hamas.
        Oxfam also claims that work on the Beit Lahia sewage lake has "stalled...putting thousands of Palestinians at risk," but the World Bank reported just three days later that "as a result of coordination with Israel...the work is expected to be completed by March." For NGOs to play a full part in the debate, they must do their research and properly consider the context. The writer is a Legacy Heritage Fellow at NGO Monitor in Jerusalem. (Times-UK)
  • The War on Muslim Women - Jeff Jacoby
    More than 25 "honor killings" have been confirmed in Britain's Muslim community in recent years. Many more are suspected. In Basra, Iraq, more than 40 women who wear Western-style clothing have been killed so far this year by Islamists, Iraqi police say. In San Francisco, a young Muslim woman was shot dead after she uncovered her hair and put on makeup in order to be a maid of honor at a friend's wedding. These are only examples - the tip of a dreadful iceberg that will never be demolished until Muslims by the millions rise up against it. (Boston Globe)
        See also The Double Life of Aqsa Parvez - Katie Rook and Amy Smithers
    Aqsa Parvez, 16, was a well-liked Muslim girl in Mississauga, near Toronto, who, classmates say, decided to go without the Islamic head scarf in September, a change which some members of her family had difficulty accepting. Following Aqsa's death on Dec. 10, her father, Muhammad Parvez, was charged with murder. Dressing in one manner at home and another at school is one way young Muslim girls in Canada are negotiating competing cultural demands, says Jasmin Zine, a sociology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. (National Post-Canada)
  • Observations:

    Victory at the UN - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)

    • Moral victories at the UN are few and far between, but the U.S. won a small one over the weekend when it stood alone in refusing to approve the global organization's budget.
    • The U.S. objection centered on the inclusion of financing for a reprise of the World Conference Against Racism. Remember that UN classic, held in Durban, South Africa? In one of his finer moments, Secretary of State Colin Powell pulled the U.S. delegation out of the confab after it degenerated into an anti-Semitic hate fest.
    • That was early September 2001. Post 9/11, the last thing the world needs is a Durban do-over.
        See also Destination: Durban II - Claudia Rosett (National Review)
    • At the UN, 'tis the season to bankroll hatred of Israel and America. Americans, as top contributors to the UN budget, can look forward not only to being vilified at Durban II along with our democratic ally, Israel, but also to picking up the biggest share of the tab for this next UN exercise in bigotry.
    • The UN preparatory committee is chaired by Libya, and the outfit officially entrusted with a "central role" in bringing this conference to fruition is the UN Human Rights Council, which has made Israel the sole permanent item on its agenda.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert