Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at www.dailyalert.org|
October 30, 2009
Two Men Shot at North Hollywood Synagogue - Duke Helfand, Andrew Blankstein and Robert Faturechi (Los Angeles Times)
FBI Nabs 1 of 3 Fugitives in Probe of Islamic Radical Group - Ben Schmitt, Robin Erb and Tammy Stables Battaglia (Detroit Free Press)
Al-Qaeda Agent Sentenced to 8 Years in U.S. - Cam Simpson (Wall Street Journal)
Book Review - Lost in the Sacred: Why the Muslim World Stood Still - Deirdre Sinnott (Foreword Magazine)
Joint Israel-UK Projects Receive Research Grants - Jamie Romm (Jerusalem Post)
Benedict XVI, the Lefebvrians, the Jews, and the State of Israel - Sergio I. Minerbi (Jewish Political Studies Review)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran on Thursday appeared to reject a key element of a UN-backed proposal aimed at quickly reducing its stockpile of enriched uranium, offering an informal oral counteroffer that diplomats said fell far short of a tentative deal reached earlier this month. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the Iranian ambassador to the UN agency that the counteroffer would not be acceptable. A central element of the plan conceived by the Obama administration is that Iran must ship the enriched uranium out of the country in one batch by the end of the year.
The long-awaited Iranian answer appeared to dash hopes that Tehran would be willing to quickly embrace engagement with the West on its nuclear program. Obama administration officials will now need to assess whether engagement has run its course - and whether to shift toward tougher sanctions. (Washington Post)
See also Iran Rejects Deal to Ship Out Uranium - David E. Sanger, Steven Erlanger and Robert F. Worth (New York Times)
Britain and other EU nations were preparing to reject Iran's counterproposal on sending its uranium abroad for enrichment, raising the threat of a protracted confrontation and new sanctions. Britain, France and Germany believe Iran is trying to use the deal merely as a starting point for another protracted round of talks. During that time they think the Iranians could continue to enrich uranium and conduct more research on the scientific know-how necessary to turn it into a nuclear weapon. "It's like playing chess with a monkey," said one diplomat close to the talks. "You get them to checkmate, and then they swallow the king." (Telegraph-UK)
A nationwide survey of the American people released Thursday by ADL found that 12% of Americans hold anti-Semitic views, a decline from 15% in 2007 and matching the lowest figure ever recorded by ADL, in 1998. ADL national director Abraham Foxman said, "We can't dismiss that 12% of the American people means that there are still over 30 million Americans that hold anti-Semitic views." "The significant diminution of widespread prejudice against Jews is tempered by the manifestation of violence, conspiracy theories and insensitivities toward them."
"Some bad news remains a constant, such as 30% believing that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America, and 29% believing that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ. Equally of concern is that more than a quarter of African-Americans - 28% - hold anti-Semitic beliefs and more than a third of foreign-born Hispanics - 35% - have such attitudes." (Reuters)
See also 2009 Survey of American Attitudes toward Jews in America (Anti-Defamation League)
A Lebanon-based al-Qaeda-linked group calling itself the Battalions of Ziad Jarrah claimed responsibility Thursday for a rocket attack against Israel this week. The group is named after a Lebanese who was among the 19 suicide attackers that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. (AP/Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The biennial Juniper Cobra exercise this week, aimed at improving coordination between American and Israeli missile defense systems, was the largest joint Israeli-American military exercise in history. "This is the first time we've deployed all these systems, the THAAD missile, the Aegis system and the X-band radar all together against threat scenarios," U.S. Col. Tony English said this week. The U.S. X-band radar system - the first and only permanent deployment of U.S. troops in Israel - has tripled Israel's ability to detect missiles fired from Iran. Relations between the countries' armed forces have never been closer. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi says he speaks with the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, at least once a week.
Officially, Israel has no involvement in the fighting in Afghanistan. But the newly purchased Israel Aerospace Industries Heron unmanned aerial vehicles by the German Luftwaffe will join similar Israeli-designed drones used there by Canada, Spain and the U.S., while on the ground will be combat vehicles covered in armor plating designed at Kibbutz Sasa. In addition, many of the forces facing threats from suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) operate according to doctrines adapted from those developed by the IDF when facing Hizbullah and armed Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)
The pattern repeats itself: Muslim clerics, Palestinian politicians and members of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel urge Muslims to flock to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to defend it from Jewish "takeover attempts," even though nothing has changed on the ground at the Temple Mount. The man who holds the Jerusalem portfolio for Fatah, Hatem Abdel Qader, was arrested there this week on suspicion of incitement. On Sunday, the bureau of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas released an extraordinarily scathing statement condemning Israel for "extremist activities at Al-Aqsa," using such terms as "resistance" and "battle."
The problem is that members of Fatah's military wing - who dropped out of the armed struggle against Israel after Hamas' violent coup in Gaza in June 2007 - could take the talk about resistance literally, and go back to initiating attacks. By the same token, Fatah's attempts to help organize the riots on the Temple Mount are liable to exact a high price in violence. The PA, whose leaders urged Israel to take stronger action against Hamas in Gaza last January, played a key role in the anti-Israel campaign launched over the Gaza operation and the ensuing affair of the Goldstone report about the war. (Ha'aretz)
See also Muslim Officials Quietly Pleased with Israeli Action Against Temple Mount Riot Inciters - Khaled Abu Toameh
Heads of the Waqf Department in Jerusalem have quietly expressed their satisfaction with the Israeli authorities' recent measures against Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and top Fatah operative Hatem Abdel Qader, a senior official with the Israel Ministry for Internal Security said on Thursday. The two have been banned from entering the Old City of Jerusalem. The official said the Waqf Department, which reports to the Jordanian government, had refrained from joining the "wild campaign of incitement" against Israel in recent weeks. "We have a common interest with the Waqf Department," the official said. "Both of us are aware of the dangers coming from Fatah and the Islamic Movement." (Jerusalem Post)
Close to 150,000 people arrived from all over the country to mark the anniversary of the biblical matriarch's death by praying for her help at Rachel's Tomb between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Wednesday night and Thursday. The mass commemoration of the matriarch's death has grown rapidly in the last few years. Twenty years ago, fewer than a thousand people would come to mark the anniversary, while last year close to 80,000 people came. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Tehran regime is now desperately trying to buy time so it can regain full control of the country in the face of widespread anger after the fraudulent presidential elections in June and a still-vibrant Iranian opposition. For the clerics, an endless negotiating process is not merely a means of putting off any real concessions on its nuclear program. It is also, and more important, a way of putting off any Western sanctions that could produce new and potentially explosive unrest in their already unstable country. That is the best card in Obama's hand right now. It's time for him to play it. The writer is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Washington Post)
Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorists, supplies Hamas and Hizbullah with rockets and conventional weapons, and gives materiel, training and intelligence support to extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of more American military personnel than any other country since the Vietnam War. Tehran does not lack the will to stand up to the U.S. even without nuclear weapons. It's chilling to consider how much more bold Iran will be with an atomic arsenal. A war is brewing, and the U.S. should get serious about which side it wants to be on. (Washington Times)
The postcard from the IDF Home Front Command that recently arrived in my mailbox had a map of Israel divided by color into six regions. In each region, residents have a different amount of time to seek shelter from an impending missile attack. If you live along the Gaza border, you have 15 seconds after the siren sounds. Jerusalemites get a full three minutes. But as the regions move farther north, the time drops again, until finally, along the Lebanese and Syrian borders, the color red designates "immediate entry into a shelter." In other words, if you're not already inside a shelter don't bother looking for one.
American attempts to reassure the Israeli public of its commitment to Israel's security in the face of a possible Iranian nuclear attack on Tel Aviv have largely backfired. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent threat to "obliterate" Iran if it launched a nuclear attack against Israel only reinforced Israeli fears that the U.S. would prefer to contain a nuclear Iran rather than pre-empt it militarily. The writer is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)
Today, Iran's nuclear program is the number one preoccupation of those charged with protecting our safety, outranking Afghanistan, Pakistan and the general field of counter-terrorism. America, Britain and France have all pledged to review their entire approach towards Iran by the end of this year. Assuming that Tehran does not suddenly obey five separate UN resolutions and stop enriching uranium, this reassessment will be far from routine. Officials familiar with the issue say that everything will be on the table. Pressing the Security Council to impose more economic sanctions will be the most obvious next step, but the whole idea of negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue using the present framework will also be up for grabs. (Telegraph-UK)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was among the first to offer Ahmadinejad a congratulatory call after June's fraudulent elections and has called Iran's nuclear program "peaceful and humanitarian." Turkish relations with Syria have never been warmer: The two countries are even planning joint military exercises. What has happened to Turkey's foreign policy since Erdogan and his Islamist AKP party came to power in 2003 looks like a fundamental shift in Turkey's strategic priorities. As a secular Muslim state, Turkey has been a pillar of NATO and a bulwark against the political radicalism of its various neighbors. Now Erdogan may be gambling that Turkey's future lies at the head of the Muslim world, rather than at the tail of its Western counterpart. (Wall Street Journal)
Dr. Karl Skorecki works on the cutting edge of molecular science, revolutionizing medicine through genetics and the use of stem cells to test anti-cancer therapies. As a sideline, he has become world famous for applying genetics to genealogy and transforming history. He has found evidence to support traditional claims that modern-day Jewish priests, Cohanim, are descended from a single common male ancestor - biblically said to be Aaron, the older brother of Moses. He has also found that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews can trace their descent to four "founding mothers" who lived in Europe 1,000 years ago, and evidence that all Jewish communities share a common paternal origin in the Near East.
The Y chromosome consists almost entirely of non-coding DNA, which is passed from father to son without recombination. Therefore the genetic information on a Y chromosome of a man living today is basically the same as that of his ancient male ancestors, with rare mutations that occur along hereditary lines. By tracking those neutral mutations or genetic markers, scientists can come up with the genetic signature of a man's male ancestry. Skorecki's test found an array of six common chromosomal markers in 97 of the 106 Cohens he tested. Calculations based on variations of the mutations rooted the men's shared ancestry 3,300 years ago, or the approximate time of Exodus. He also discovered the common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi (European) and Sephardic (North African) Cohens, indicating they shared the same ancestry before their communities were separated more than 1,000 years ago.
"It's like an archeological finding. But instead of digging up in the sand, we dig in contemporary DNA," Skorecki says. Skorecki moved from Toronto to Israel in 1995, where he is now director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences and a researcher at the Rambam-Technion University Medical Center in Haifa. (National Post-Canada)
The World Bank estimates that 88 billion liters of treated water is lost from leaking urban pipelines every day from what is called "background leakage" - small cracks that drip water continuously. Indeed, background leakage is so pervasive that water suppliers accept 3,500 liters of water per km. of pipe per day as the minimum achievable loss. Now an Israeli company called Curapipe has developed a system that aims to seal leaks cheaply with only a small disruption to the water supply. Curapipe's system works together with the system commonly used to clean urban water mains, sealing cracks. The system may also be suitable for sealing leaks in oil and gas pipelines. (Economist-UK)
The Myth that Fuels the Mideast Conflict - Bob Feferman (RealClearWorld)
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