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May 17, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran Revolutionary Guard Commander to Lead Fight Against Israel from Syria - Nimdor Sabal (Ynet News)
    Officials in Baghdad said that Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has given Maj.-Gen. Qasem Suleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, the responsibility of managing the struggle against Israel via Syrian territory, the Lebanese newspaper Almustaqbal reported.
    Khamenei also ordered Suleimani to monitor Hizbullah and Palestinian organizations loyal to President Bashar Assad and Iran operating in Syria.
    See also Iran's Plans to Take Over Syria - Shimon Shapira (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Gen. Suleimani has prepared an operational plan for the establishment of a 150,000-man force for Syria, the majority of whom will come from Iran, Iraq, and a smaller number from Hizbullah and the Gulf states.

Palestinian Smuggling Ring in U.S. May Have Supported Hamas and Hizbullah (Long Island Exchange)
    16 Palestinians living in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland - members of a criminal ring that flooded New York with more than a million cartons of untaxed cigarettes - were named Thursday in a 244-count indictment, unsealed in Brooklyn Supreme Court. The investigation has so far uncovered $55 million in illegal cigarette sales.
    Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, "The association of some of the suspects in this case to the Ari Halbestram's killer, the Blind Sheik and a top Hamas official concerns us....We're concerned because similar schemes have been used in the past to help fund terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah."
    Investigators seized three handguns from ringleader Basel Ramadan and grabbed $1.4 million stashed throughout his Ocean City, Maryland, residence.
    The untaxed cigarettes were sold to a myriad of Arab markets and grocery stores in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Saudi Princes Lose Battle to Keep Court Documents Secret - Owen Bowcott and Ian Black (Guardian-UK)
    Two prominent Saudi princes are involved in a London-registered company that supposedly facilitated "money laundering" for Hizbullah in Lebanon and helped smuggle precious stones out of Congo, according to contested allegations in court documents obtained by the Guardian.
    The claims emerge from court papers that lawyers for the Saudis have spent a year trying to suppress, including resorting to threats that relations with Britain would be damaged if they were revealed.
    The two Saudis are Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former defense minister, brother of King Abdullah, and his son Prince Abdulaziz bin Mishal bin Al Saud.
    In the context of Middle East politics, the suggestion that two prominent Sunni Muslims from the Saudi royal family have been surreptitiously dealing for profit with Hizbullah, a Shia force supported by Iran, is extremely damaging.

Egyptian Policemen Close Crossing with Gaza (Reuters)
    Egyptian policemen blocked the crossing into Gaza on Friday to protest against the kidnapping of seven Egyptian security forces in Sinai on Thursday, leaving hundreds of Palestinians stranded on both sides of the border.

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Sponge-Tipped Bullets Replace Rubber Bullets for IDF Riot Dispersal - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF Central Command has announced the introduction of non-lethal sponge-tipped bullets as a riot dispersal tool that should replace rubber bullets by the end of the year.
    Maj. Yuval Yaron, head of the Central Command's arms and technology branch, said, "The advantage is that it's safe even from a close range."
    Central Command is also set to introduce a protective suit that will protect soldiers against blows and rocks. Special gloves to protect palms against knife slashes will also be introduced.

Israel Building Up Rocket Response, Early Warning - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    In just six months as commander of Israel's Air Defense Forces, Brig.-Gen. Shahar Shochat presided over the largest joint drill with the U.S., led Iron Dome anti-missile defenders through eight days of high-intensity rocket attacks from Gaza, and is poised on high alert to defend against possible retaliation from early May airstrikes against Syrian-based missiles destined for Hizbullah.
    At the same time, Shochat is managing an unprecedented buildup of the fastest growing arm of the Israeli military. Within a year, he expects to deploy additional Iron Dome batteries and debut the David's Sling anti-missile system.

Christians Uneasy in Morsi's Egypt - Stephen Glain (New York Times)
    Since Mubarak's ouster in February 2011, a growing number of Copts, including some of the most successful businessmen, have left Egypt or are preparing to do so, fearing persecution by an Islamist-controlled government as much as the stagnant economy that is smothering their industries.
    Coptic Christians account for 15% of Egypt's 85 million people.

Only Men Allowed to Run in Iran Presidential Vote - (Independent-Ireland)
    Iranian women seeking to run in the presidential election next month have been told they are not allowed to take part.
    The remark by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a member of Iran's constitutional watchdog group, effectively kills the largely symbolic bids by about 30 women seeking to run in the June 14 election.

Turkey Hosts New Species from Israel (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    45 animals of 7 different species have been brought from Israel to the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Natural Life Park within the scope of an exchange program among European zoos.
    The new guests include 3 zebras, 3 meerkats, 6 nyalas, 3 marmosets, 6 fruit bats and 4 koatis, which came from Israel's Safari Zoological Center in Ramat Gan, and 20 sacred ibis, which came from Jerusalem's Tisch Family Zoological Garden.

Israel to Open "Cyber Gym" for Training Against Hackers - Gwen Ackerman (Bloomberg)
    Israel Electric gets a daily workout by fending off as many as 20,000 cyber infiltration attacks.
    Now the state-run utility wants to make money off of the expertise it's gained from dealing with the online assaults by opening a "cyber gym," a virtual training arena where corporate security trainees can spar with simulated attackers.
    Once the arena is up and running, security staff at companies from around the world will be able to participate in exercises to defend against denial-of-service attacks and other threats.

Born Under Fire: The Dawn of Israel, 1948 (LIFE Magazine)
    Sixty-five years ago on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was born. This series of pictures by Frank Scherschel of LIFE Magazine looks at the immediate aftermath of Israel's independence.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia Sent Advanced Anti-ship Cruise Missiles to Syria - Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
    Russia has sent advanced anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria, American officials said Thursday. The Yakhont missiles delivered recently are outfitted with an advanced radar that makes them more effective.
        The Yakhont anti-ship missile system "enables the regime to deter foreign forces looking to supply the opposition from the sea, or from undertaking a more active role if a no-fly zone or shipping embargo were to be declared," said Nick Brown, editor of IHS Jane's International Defense Review. "It's a real ship killer." Syria ordered the coastal defense version of the Yakhont system from Russia in 2007 and received the first batteries in early 2011, according to Jane's. The missiles have a range of 180 miles. (New York Times)
        See also Russia to Go Ahead with S-300 Sale to Syria - Michael Wilner
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV Thursday that Moscow planned to go ahead with its shipment of S-300 missiles to Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting on Tuesday not to sell the state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Russia Upgrades Position on Syria - Zvi Magen
    Russia's intention apparently is to use the missile issue as leverage to prevent foreign military intervention in Syria, and also to obtain additional concessions in negotiations with the West on formulating a settlement on Syria in the framework of an international conference.
        During Netanyahu's visit, Russia apparently took a sympathetic approach and appeared willing to make various concessions. However, it is clear that concessions are not made without receiving something in return. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Russia. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
        See also CIA Chief Makes Unannounced Israel Visit Amid Growing Concerns over Syrian Weapons (AP-Washington Post)
  • Russia Raises Stakes in Syria, Sends 12 Warships - Adam Entous, Julian E. Barnes and Gregory L. White
    Russia has sent a dozen or more warships to patrol waters near its naval base at Tartus in Syria, a buildup that U.S. and European officials see as a newly aggressive stance meant partly to warn the West not to intervene in Syria's civil war. Russia's expanded presence in the eastern Mediterranean represents one of its largest sustained naval deployments since the Cold War. "It is a show of force. It's muscle flexing," a senior U.S. defense official said. "It is about demonstrating their commitment to their interests."
        In the last three months, 10 to 15 Russian ships have been near Tartus at any one time, U.S. and European officials say. Russia currently has 11 ships in the eastern Mediterranean, including destroyers, frigates, support vessels and intelligence-collecting ships. The U.S. Navy has two destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean. U.S. officials believe that by assuring Russia that the base will remain under Moscow's control in a post-Assad Syria, the U.S. has a better chance of convincing Putin to break with Assad.
        In addition, U.S. officials believe that Russia is moving more quickly to deliver S-300 surface-to-air defense systems to Syria. U.S. officials say the S-300 system, which could make it more risky for any warplanes to enter Syrian airspace, could leave Russia for Tartus by the end of May. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Detainees Linked to Al-Qaeda Targeted U.S., French Embassies in Egypt - Paul Cruickshank, Reza Sayah, and Greg Botelho
    The Egyptian prosecutor's office says three terrorists arrested over the weekend planned to detonate car bombs at the U.S. and French embassies in Cairo, as well as at an Egyptian army facility in Sinai, the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported Wednesday. They were getting ready to attack when Egyptian police arrested them. (CNN)
  • Congressmen Call on Abbas to Fire Official Who Glorified Terrorist
    A bipartisan group of congressmen sent a letter to PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday strongly condemning Fatah official Sultan Abu Al-Einein following his "open support for the murderer of Eviatar Borovsky," and called for him to be removed from office. Borovsky, 31, an Israeli father of five, was killed April 29 as he waited for a bus in the West Bank. Al-Einein called the terrorist a "heroic fighter."
        Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) told Abbas that "allowing this type of incitement and hatemongering to take place within your ranks is intolerable if you are truly dedicated to non-violence. We ask that you publicly and officially denounce and condemn Mr. Al-Einein's remarks at once and remove him from his position in your government."  (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Files Complaint Against UNRWA Lebanon Director - Aaron Kalman
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor filed a complaint Tuesday with UN Sec.-Gen. Ban Ki-Moon against Ann Dismorr, the director of the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon. At the launch of German-funded projects in Lebanon earlier this month, the director posed with a map in which Israel did not exist and the entire area from Jordan to the sea was titled "Arab Palestine."
        "You don't need to have a PhD in geography to understand that a map of the Middle East that omits any mention of the State of Israel is a scandal," Prosor wrote. "It cannot be that an international organization like UNRWA, which is supposed to remain neutral, is party to a provocation that tries to erase Israel from the map." This is "further proof that certain UN representatives take an active side in the conflict and encourage provocations that deepen ignorance and hate."  (Times of Israel)
  • Egypt's Parliament Follows Jordan's in Call to Expel Israeli Envoy - Elhanan Miller
    Less than a week after the Jordanian parliament voted in favor of expelling the Israeli ambassador from Amman, Egypt's upper house followed suit, demanding the ambassador's "immediate banishment" from Cairo. In both cases, the parliaments' calls had no operative consequences, but they underlined mounting hostility to Israel from MPs in both countries. Issam Al-Aryan, head of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in parliament, said Egypt should pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court.
        In September 2011 crowds stormed and ransacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo. The embassy has never reopened. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • A Global Summit on Syria? - Zvi Bar'el
    The superpowers are searching for an easy solution to the Syrian crisis. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov envision an international summit, like the one in June 2012, which fell apart shortly after it convened. Preliminary problems, starting with the guest list, could signal the fate of the entire undertaking. Russia is demanding that Iran take part.
        Iran has defined Assad's survival as an Iranian national interest. Turkey demands Assad's removal from power. The U.S. insists that Assad has no role in any transitional government that may be established. Russia supports Assad's position. With such a mosaic of disagreements and conflicting interests, it's hard to find even the tiniest common denominator that could bode well for the summit. (Ha'aretz)
  • Pressure of War Is Causing Syria to Break Apart - Ben Hubbard
    Experts and Syrians themselves say the American focus on change at the top ignores the deep fractures the war has caused in Syrian society. Increasingly, it appears Syria is so badly shattered that no single authority is likely to be able to pull it back together any time soon. Instead, three Syrias are emerging: one loyal to the government, to Iran and to Hizbullah; one dominated by Kurds with links to Kurdish separatists in Turkey and Iraq; and one with a Sunni majority that is heavily influenced by Islamists and jihadis.
        "It is not that Syria is melting down - it has melted down," said Andrew J. Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "So much has changed between the different parties that I can't imagine it all going back into one piece." The growing brutality of fighters on all sides and the increasingly sectarian nature of the violence make it less likely that the myriad ethnic and religious groups that have long called Syria home will go back to living side by side. (New York Times)
  • Why the Syrian War Could Last Ten Years - Michael J. Totten
    If you superimpose a map of sectarian demographics in Syria on a map showing areas of Assad control and rebel-held regions, you'll see that the two maps are almost identical. And the front lines haven't changed much since the Sunnis grabbed control of their neighborhoods two years ago. People are "thinking local," which means they're very good when they fight to hold their neighborhoods, but useless in big offensives. (World Affairs)
  • The Imminent Hizbullah-Nusra War - Hanin Ghaddar
    The Syrian Salafist group Jabhat Al-Nusra declared in Jordan that it has taken a decision to fight Hizbullah militants, who have become "our Jihadists' main target" across Syria. This came after Hizbullah's secretary general Hassan Nasrallah declared that Hizbullah will stand by Syria. For the Syrian rebels, al-Nusra and others, this is a declaration of war against them. If the Syrian rebels want to prevail, they need to target Hizbullah.
        The Shiite community in Lebanon is not one single bloc that supports Hizbullah. The diversity among the Shiites is wider than it is among other sectarian communities. On the political level, this community has never been as divided over Hizbullah as it is today. The feeling that Hizbullah is dragging them to hell is translating into serious discussion and refutation inside the community. (Now-Lebanon)
  • Plight of Palestinians, Christians Ignored in Syria's Civil War - David M. Weinberg
    Some 235,000 Palestinians have been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the civil war. Two weeks ago, 6,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in Ein al-Tal near Aleppo. In addition, more than 55,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee Syria to Lebanon and Jordan. But since their suffering can't be blamed on the Jews, nobody cares.
        At the same time, there was an international uproar about 10 squatting Palestinian families that were forced to move 2 km. out of an Israel Defense Forces firing zone in the southern Hebron hills. (Israel Hayom)

  • Iran

  • Iran's Car Industry - A Big Sanctions Buster - Mark Dubowitz and Emanuele Ottolenghi
    Iran is exploiting industrial sectors that are still free of sanctions to procure sensitive technology needed to complete its dash to a nuclear bomb. One such sector is Iran's automotive industry, which accounts for 10% of Iranian GDP.
        Both technology and raw materials for car production can be dual-use. Increasingly, it appears that Iranian carmakers' vast overseas procurement network is being used to supply the nuclear and missile programs. The car industry is an avenue for profit to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, religious foundations, and political elite, who remain the car industry's main shareholders, and who channel the revenues to finance the regime's proliferation activities.
        A recent Washington Post investigation of MCS International showed how from 2003 to 2011, this Iranian-owned factory in Germany produced gas cylinders for hybrid cars. But the factory also offered access to dual-use technology for Iran's nuclear designs, including carbon fiber and hardened steel - key components of Iran's second-generation nuclear enrichment centrifuges. It also had sophisticated machinery in its inventory which can be used to manufacture centrifuges. Emanuele Ottolenghi is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mark Dubowitz is the executive director. (Forbes)
  • What Could Finally Topple Iran's Regime? Earthquakes - Daniel Nisman
    In September 1978 in Iran, when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake killed more than 26,000 near the eastern city of Tabas, the dismal response of the government pushed Iran's already bubbling popular uprising to a boiling point, one month after the CIA assessed that the country was "not in a revolutionary or even pre-revolutionary situation." Since the ayatollahs took power in 1979, more than 78,000 Iranians have died in hundreds of powerful earthquakes, crushed by their own poorly constructed homes. Earthquakes flattened entire villages in Iran's neglected and impoverished rural areas.
        Several recent earthquakes have further shaken public confidence in the government. In August 2012, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Iran's rural northeastern provinces near the city of Tabriz, killing more than 350 and leaving 16,000 homeless. On April 10, 2013, a 6.3 earthquake struck about 100 miles south of the Bushehr nuclear reactor. Six days later, an even more powerful 7.8 earthquake struck near the Iran-Pakistan border. (Christian Science Monitor)

  • Other Issues

  • No Solution in Boycotting Israel - George Kerevan
    Prof. Stephen Hawking's stand is dangerous because it violates the cardinal virtues of scientific discourse that emerged with the Enlightenment: that the rational pursuit of knowledge, unencumbered by political or religious prejudice, betters all mankind in the end. That the free pursuit of truth is more likely to undermine ignorance and oppression than strengthen it. And that ending national and religious enmities is better achieved by academics meeting and co-operating, than by keeping them apart.
        Israel was not founded by religious "colonizers" but by left-wing socialists. Certainly, many Jews came to Israel from abroad, fleeing the pogroms of Europe. But they also came fleeing pogroms in North Africa, Iraq and Iran. If anyone is naive in this debate, it is those who think the abolition of Israel will result in a secular, democratic Palestine with free universities teaching the theory of evolution to women students.
        The Church of Scotland has blundered into the Israel-Palestine issue with great big muddy boots. A report destined for this month's General Assembly says that the Bible does not promise the Jewish people a home in the Holy Land; that the Old Testament promise "I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession" was actually "metaphorical."  (Scotsman-UK)
        See also Stephen Hawking's Hypocrisy - Shlomo Avineri (Ha'aretz)
  • Successes and Failures of the BDS Campaign - Adam Shay
    In spite of its constant use of belligerent, violent, and deceitful tactics, the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" (BDS) movement has very little to show in the way of success.
        The cultural field has proven the most successful tier of the boycott movement, when international artists cancel performances in Israel. The reason is often the performers' wish to stop belligerent attacks from BDS operatives or to avoid negative press coverage. Arguing with BDS operatives online merely generates more exposure for their cause.
        Counter-BDS efforts need to focus on direct contact with the performers, their producers, agents, or anyone involved in the decision to play in a specific location. In addition, artists should be encouraged to come to Israel and state their opinions, as critical as they may be. The writer, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center, is regularly called upon by producers and concert promoters in Israel to help battle BDS activists. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israeli Envoy Describes UN Thaw - Robert Wiener
    Ron Prosor, Israel's permanent representative to the UN, said his country is beginning to gain acceptance at the world body. He described a recent Security Council session on women in government, where he invoked the names of Israeli politicians Golda Meir and Tzipi Livni, and asked his fellow delegates, "How many women leaders do you know of in the Arab world? Zero."
        Prosor said that in March he arranged for Iranian-born singer Rita to perform at the General Assembly. "The message was, 'We have nothing against the Iranian people. We have a lot against your leadership.'"
        Prosor said he succeeded in getting the General Assembly to pass an Israeli resolution hailing the country's entrepreneurship. "They told me, 'You'll be humiliated. It will never happen.'" But after what he labeled a "full-court press," 141 of the 193 member states approved the resolution. "Some do not have diplomatic ties with us, showing you there is huge respect for Israel under the radar screen."  (New Jersey Jewish News)
  • Australian Greens Slammed over "Gaza Ark" - Gareth Narunsky
    Communal leaders have slammed a New South Wales Greens-backed campaign to build a ship to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza as ignoring the reality of life under the brutality of the Hamas regime. NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said, "All people of goodwill support the citizens of Gaza in their aspirations for a better life. The problem is that they suffer under the brutal Hamas regime, which wages war on Israel, diverts much-needed resources to its terrorism campaign, and impedes economic growth."
        "As for the naval blockade of Gaza, a UN inquiry of international legal experts...concluded that Israel is fully within its rights to impose it in order to prevent the import of weapons which will be turned against it."  (Australian Jewish News)

  • Weekend Features

  • The One-Armed Warrior: An Israeli Soldier's Tale of Struggle and Perseverance - Cristina Corbin
    New York-born Izzy Ezagui joined the IDF in February 2008. In 2009, during Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" in Gaza, a mortar shell landed nearby, tearing off most of his left arm. Others with him were also gravely wounded. "The mortars should have killed me and all my friends that were right there," he said. "Yet when I woke up after surgery, I had this intense desire to go back."
        His request was met with strong resistance from Israeli officials. "I thought, 'What's the most amazing thing I can do with my situation?' And I realized right away it was going back. And that was something that was just unheard of." Then Yoav Gallant, the general who headed the Southern Command, said, "Okay." Gallant arranged for Ezagui to retest to see if he were capable of fighting in combat. "I had to figure out everything from scratch - un-jamming an assault rifle, climbing rope, jumping over 7-foot walls."
        On the day of the test, Ezagui was tasked with charging up a hill covered with targets, forcing him to roll, dive and shoot his way to the top. He passed. Ezagui was sent out as an active-duty combat soldier and, five months later, passed a commander training test - the first soldier in Israel's army to ace the exam with such a disability. For more about Izzy Ezagui, visit (Fox News)
  • Women in Combat: Some Lessons from Israel's Military - Larry Abramson
    In Israel, most men and women perform compulsory military service, which serves as a rite of passage. That's what struck Leora Prince when the New Jersey native visited Israel after high school. She saw lots of young people joined in a common purpose. "They were completely, selflessly guarding over the country," Prince recalls. "And I wanted to be a part of that." That explains why this 21-year-old is now serving as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces.
        The Caracal Battalion, a coed combat battalion, was formed in 2004 to give women a chance to serve in a true combat role. The battalion is 60% female and patrols Israel's border with Egypt. (NPR)
  • Nazi Hunters Tirelessly Pursue 50 Auschwitz War Criminals - Ian Johnston and Andy Eckardt
    On Monday, German state police arrested Hans Lipschis, 93, accused of being a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp. He is the first suspect to be facing charges as part of a drive launched earlier this year to track down 50 suspected Auschwitz guards believed to be living in Germany. Germany's Central Investigation Center for Nazi Crimes employs 20 people, including seven focusing on the Auschwitz cases. Its director, Kurt Schrimm, said, "Someday there will be no more Nazi criminals to go after and then our organization will shut down. But until then, we will exhaust all investigation possibilities."
        A landmark German court ruling in the Demjanjuk case has made it simpler to prosecute cases by opening the door to charges of "accessory to murder." "Demjanjuk was convicted solely for his service as an armed SS guard at a death camp," said Efraim Zuroff, Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. "As a result, this opened up a whole new potential number of people to bring to justice." "Now in Germany, all of a sudden, all you do is find people, because you can prove service with documents."
        Schrimm added, "Today, any job in a concentration camp can be sufficient evidence towards a conviction as accessory to murder."  (NBC News)
  • Israel's Hemda Center for Science Education - Margaret Wente
    The Hemda Center for Science Education in Tel Aviv is one of the world's great schools for bright kids. It recruits fantastic teachers to give them advanced instruction in physics and chemistry. It is unabashedly merit-based.
        "We recruit for the ability to solve problems," said Tehilla Ben Gai, the school's director. "B and C students are sometimes smarter than A students....We're looking for students who are creative - and we teach them that science is fun."
        Every year, they are divided into teams and given a zany practical problem to solve. (One was: Devise a way to walk on water.) There's also a yearly safe-cracking competition, in which teams of students construct computer-protected boxes and other teams have to figure out how to break into them. (Globe and Mail-Canada)

Iran's Arms Supply to Hizbullah: International Dimensions - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Israel's policy of preventing the supply of advanced weapons to Hizbullah has been in place for some time, but in the past was primarily the responsibility of the Israeli Navy which intercepted Iranian weapons ships in the Mediterranean. According to U.S. sources, Israel has more recently concentrated this effort in Syrian territory.
  • Iran appears to have decided that it must prevent losing its grip on Syria. It has not only directly intervened by itself and deployed its own Revolutionary Guard forces on Syrian soil, but has also sought to build up an expeditionary army made up of Lebanese Hizbullah and other Shiite militias from Iraq as well. It is also providing Hizbullah with state-of-the-art weapons, partly as a reward for the services the organization is providing.
  • Israeli defense officials have said the supply of "game-changing weaponry" to Hizbullah will not be tolerated and have focused on several specific types of arms transfers:
    1. Iranian surface-to-surface missiles equipped with heavy warheads, like the Fateh 110, which has twenty times the destructive power of Hizbullah's Katyusha rockets that it launched against Israel in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
    2. Long-range anti-aircraft missiles, like the Russian-manufactured SA-17, which can limit the freedom of action of the Israeli Air Force if deployed by Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.
    3. Long-range anti-ship missiles, like the Russian supersonic Yakhont cruise missile, that can strike at Israeli offshore gas rigs in the Eastern Mediterranean and poses a threat to the U.S. Navy as well.
  • At the end of the Second Lebanon War, the U.S. and France drafted the text of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted unanimously on August 11, 2006, with Russian and Chinese support. Article 15 states that the resolution prohibits all UN member states from allowing their nationals to engage in "the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related material of all types." In short, Iranian weapons transfers to Hizbullah are a violation of a decision of the UN Security Council.
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1747, adopted on March 24, 2007, specifically stated in paragraph 5: "Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel." While Resolution 1747 was adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and hence is regarded as the most severe resolution in the UN's legal arsenal, Iran ignored it just like the resolutions that were adopted after the Second Lebanon War.

    The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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