Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


May 14, 2008

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Israel to Transfer Security in Northern West Bank to Palestinians - Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
    Israel and the Palestinians have been discussing an almost complete transfer of security responsibility to PA security forces for an area north and east of Tulkarm, including Jenin, in the northern West Bank, an area equal in size to the Gaza Strip.
    The plan calls for full Palestinian control from 6 a.m. to midnight and joint control with Israel during the night.
    In talks with the Palestinians, Quartet representative Tony Blair and the American generals made clear that the PA would have to operate not only against Hamas, but against all terrorists, including the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Fatah.

"Dead Gaza Cancer Patient" Alive and Kicking - Meital Yasur-Beit Or (Ynet News)
    Muhammad al-Harrani, a Gaza cancer patient who reportedly died while waiting for a permit to enter Israel, miraculously came back to life.
    "The sick man could not withstand the wait for the permit," claimed Ran Yaron of Physicians for Human Rights. However, the next day, the organization discovered that al-Harrani was still alive.
    "A family member knowingly provided false information to the organization," the group said.

Three Rochester Yemenis Tried to Send Money to Hizbullah - Michael Zeigler (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
    A federal grand jury has indicted three Yemenis from Rochester, NY, on charges of money-laundering, alleging that they transferred more than $100,000 to overseas accounts they thought were controlled by the Islamic terrorist organization Hizbullah.
    Banking records showed that a social security number assigned to Saleh Mohamed Taher Saeed, 28, was associated with 324 overseas currency transactions totaling $12.3 million from October 2002 through November 2004.
    An undercover officer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arranged with the three to send $107,430 to overseas accounts that the officer maintained were controlled by Hizbullah, the prosecution said.

Sierra Leone-Israel Friendship - Abdul Karim (Concord Times-Sierra Leone)
    Sirajin Rollings-Kamara, national coordinator of the Sierra Leone-Israel Friendship Society, has reaffirmed Israel's commitment to boost the country's agriculture, technical/vocational education, infrastructure, tourism and mining.
    He told Vice President Sam Sumana on Friday, "We will not forget the contribution Israel made in this country, among others the construction of the Parliament Building, the Post Office and Bank of Sierra Leone."

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush Opens Mideast Trip to Mark Israel's Anniversary - Jennifer Loven
    President Bush on Wednesday opened a celebratory visit to Israel. "We consider the Holy Land a very special place, and we consider the Israeli people our close friends," Bush said. "Our two nations both faced great challenges when they were founded," he said. "And our two nations have both relied on the same principles to help us succeed. We built strong democracies to protect the freedoms given to us by an almighty God...and we built an enduring alliance to confront terrorists and tyrants." "Good to be back," Bush told a member of the welcoming delegation, referring to his visit to Israel in January. (AP/WTOP)
  • Blair Unveils Deal to Boost Palestinians - David Byers
    Tony Blair Tuesday unveiled an economic deal between Israel and the Palestinians which he claimed would boost the West Bank. He said Israel had agreed to remove trade and travel barriers for Palestinians in order to allow the territory to grow economically ahead of a final peace deal. Blair said Israel would take away four of its military checkpoints and cede increased security authority in and around the town of Jenin to make way for a business park. The Israeli army had been reluctant to dismantle the checkpoints for fear of suicide bombers being able to infiltrate into Israel and commit attacks. (Times-UK)
  • Australian Prime Minister Mulls Court Action Against Ahmadinejad
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says his government is taking legal advice on whether it will take Iran's president to the International Court of Justice for inciting violence against Israel. "We will take legal advice, which the attorney-general is currently doing, on whether there is a profitable way forward here through the appropriate international legal mechanisms and we'll study that advice carefully," he told Sky News. (AFP)
        See also Referral of Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the Charge of Incitement to Commit Genocide (ICA/Jerusalem Center)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Egypt to Reopen Gaza Border Crossing - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    Although Egypt denies it, evidence is mounting that Cairo and Hamas recently reached an understanding to open the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt regardless of the outcome of cease-fire negotiations. Israeli officials on Monday told Egypt's head of intelligence, General Omar Suleiman, during his visit to Israel that Jerusalem would not agree to a cease-fire unless substantial progress is made in negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier abducted by Hamas in June 2006. If Egypt reopens the crossing without Israel's consent, it would be violating an agreement it signed in November 2005. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Attack: "Instead of a Party, We Have a Funeral" - Tovah Lazaroff
    Yariv Katz knew his mother Shuli was dead when he saw blood spilling from her crumpled body after Monday's Palestinian rocket attack in Moshav Yesha on the Gaza border. The two had gone to Moshav Yesha to visit his aunt who was staying on the moshav with friends. Yariv had not understood that he was entering an area where Palestinian rockets regularly fell, since the rockets have not fallen on Kibbutz Gvar'am near Ashkelon, where both he and his mother lived, even though it is within rocket range. "If I had known that there would be Kassams I would not have gone there," he said.
        Shuli and her husband Rafi were childhood sweethearts who were born in Israel, grew up on the kibbutz and married at age 20. Shuli worked for 35 years as a nurse, and they had four children and five grandchildren. The family had begun to organize a large party to celebrate her 70th birthday next month, Yariv said. "Instead of a party, we have a funeral." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians Aim Rockets at Ashkelon
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets on Tuesday evening that landed in the Ashkelon Beach region. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The New Cold War with Iran - Thomas L. Friedman
    The next president is going to be a cold-war president - but this cold war is with Iran. That is the real umbrella story in the Middle East today - the struggle for influence across the region, with America and its Sunni Arab allies (and Israel) versus Iran, Syria and their non-state allies, Hamas and Hizbullah. For now, Team America is losing on just about every front. How come? The short answer is that Iran is smart and ruthless, America is dumb and weak, and the Sunni Arab world is feckless and divided.
        The outrage of the week is the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah attempt to take over Lebanon. The Shiite militia Hizbullah emerged supposedly to protect Lebanon from Israel. Having done that, it has now turned around and sold Lebanon to Syria and Iran. All of this is part of what Ehud Yaari, one of Israel's best Middle East watchers, calls "Pax Iranica."
        In the Jerusalem Report, Yaari pointed out the web of influence that Iran has built around the Middle East - including building up Hizbullah into a force - with 40,000 rockets - that can control Lebanon and threaten Israel should it think of striking Tehran, and its ability to strengthen Hamas in Gaza and block any U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace. "Tehran has created a situation in which anyone who wants to attack its atomic facilities will have to take into account that this will lead to bitter fighting" on the Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi and Persian Gulf fronts, Yaari noted. That is a sophisticated strategy of deterrence. (New York Times)
  • Hizbullah's Victory in Lebanon and its Regional Implications - Y. Carmon and B. Chernitsky
    The Hizbullah and Amal victory, which Iran is presenting as its own victory over the U.S. in the region, will step up pressure for regime change in Lebanon. Such a change, when it comes, will have a critical impact on the security of the Arab regimes allied with the U.S. and on the security of Israel, which will then face Iranian forces on its northern border as well as the possibility of a unified front stretching from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, all the way to the Mediterranean. At the same time, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have continued their media attacks on Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran. (MEMRI)

    Israel at 60

  • 60 Years On, Israel Still Lives - Editorial
    The British Mandate in Palestine came to an end on May 14, 1948 - in Tel Aviv, Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel in the territory the United Nations designated as the Jewish homeland. After nearly two millennia, the Jewish people had come home. Arab armies attacked within hours, with one leader promising to "sweep the Jews into the sea." Against unbelievable odds, Israel prevailed. After winning two more wars of survival - in 1967 and 1973 - the Jewish state would build a durable, prosperous democracy.
        Israel is not just a fortress against anti-Jewish killers. It is a raft of modernity and material progress in a regional sea of intolerance and militaristic sectarianism. Israel, one of the United States' strongest allies, has no oil reserves, but it has turned itself into a model of diverse economic development unmatched by its neighbors. (Dallas Morning News)
  • Israel's Doom Would Be Bad News for the West - Mark Steyn
    On a tiny strip of land narrower at its narrowest point than many American townships, Israel has built a modern economy with a GDP per capita within striking distance of the European Union average. Israel also enjoys a birth rate twice that of the European average. The Jews lived in Europe for centuries, but without ever being accepted as "European": To enjoy their belated acceptance as Europeans, they had to move to the Middle East.
        Unlike much of the rest of the West, Israel has the advantage of living on the front line of the existential challenge. All the reasons for Israel's predicted doom apply to Europe with bells on. "I have a premonition that will not leave me," wrote Eric Hoffer, America's great longshoreman philosopher, after the '67 war. "As it goes with Israel, so will it go with all of us." (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Irena Sendler, Polish Woman Who Saved 2,500 Jewish Children in Warsaw, Dies at 98 (Telegraph-UK)

    • Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic social worker with links to Zegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, and in December 1942 Zegota put her in charge of its children's department. Wearing nurses' uniforms, she and Irena Schultz were sent into the Warsaw ghetto with food, clothes and medicine, including a vaccine against typhoid. It soon became clear that the ultimate destination of many Jews was to be the Treblinka death camp, and Zegota decided to try to save as many children as possible.
    • One baby was spirited away in a mechanic's toolbox. Some children were transported in coffins, suitcases and sacks; others escaped through the sewer system beneath the city. An ambulance driver smuggled infants beneath the stretchers in the back of his van The children who were taken by Irena Sendler were given new identities and placed with convents, sympathetic families, orphanages and hospitals.
    • In later life Irena Sendler recalled the heartbreak of Jewish mothers having to part from their children: "We witnessed terrible scenes. Father agreed, but mother didn't. We sometimes had to leave those unfortunate families without taking their children from them. I'd go back there the next day and often found that everyone had been taken to the Umschlagsplatz railway siding for transport to the death camps." Irena Sendler kept a list of the names of all the children she saved, in the hope that she could one day reunite them with their families.
    • On October 20, 1943, her house was raided by the Gestapo and the Nazis took Sendler to the Pawiak prison, where she was tortured; although her legs and feet were broken, and her body left permanently scarred, she refused to betray her network of helpers or the children whom she had saved. Sentenced to death, she escaped thanks to Zegota, who bribed a guard to set her free. She immediately returned to her work using a new identity.
    • In her later years Irena Sendler was cared for in a Warsaw nursing home by Elzbieta Ficowska, who - in July 1942, at six months old - had been smuggled out of the ghetto by Irena in a carpenter's workbox.
    • In 2005 Irena Sendler reflected: "We who were rescuing children are not some kind of heroes. That term irritates me greatly. The opposite is true - I continue to have qualms of conscience that I did so little. I could have done more. This regret will follow me to my death."

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert