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June 14, 2013

In-Depth Issue:

Two More Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel - Lazar Berman (Times of Israel)
  Two more Syrians wounded in their country's ongoing conflict were brought into Israel for treatment on Thursday. The IDF transported them to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, where they remain in emergency care. Israel has so far treated more than 20 Syrians who have been injured as a result of the civil war, and the IDF has set up a field hospital along the Israeli-Syrian border to help care for the injured.

Northrop Grumman's F-35 Supplier in Israel Delivers First Advanced Composite Component for F-35 Fighter (PR News Wire)
  Northrop Grumman Corporation's supplier in Israel - Elbit Systems-Cyclone - delivered its first advanced composite component for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter center fuselage produced by Northrop Grumman. This delivery is a significant milestone for the F-35 program, as it is the first composite part manufactured by a country committed to purchasing future F-35s under the U.S. foreign military sales agreement.

Azerbaijan to Demonstrate Drones Purchased from Israel in Parade for the First Time (APA - Azerbaijan)
  Modern drones added in recent years to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces will be on display in the military parade held in Baku later this month. Along with Aerostar tactical and Orbiter-2m mini drones produced at local facilities, Heron and Hermes UAVs purchased from Israel will also be demonstrated.

Jewish Social Entrepreneurs Connect in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)
  More than 100 young Jews from Israel and 36 countries gathered in Jerusalem this week for the annual "Return On Investment Summit," an initiative of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
  The Summit is aimed at "empowering its members to take an active role in shaping the Jewish future" and through collaboration, achieving "the support and space they need to help turn their ideas into dynamic new avenues for engagement in Jewish life."
  Their new initiatives, Lynn Schusterman added, affirm her "huge belief in the next generation and the Jewish future. I believe in giving them an opportunity to grow and build on their strengths. It's important to have the courage to think outside the box."

Egyptian Artists Rally against 'Islamization' of Culture - Abdeljali Chernoubi (France24)
  For days, dozens of Egyptian artists and intellectuals have been occupying the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in Cairo to demand the resignation of the new culture minister, whom the protesters accuse of "Islamizing" the sector.
  The new minister of culture recently fired the director of the Cairo Opera, as well as both the Director of Fine Arts and the Director of Literature. These actions have infuriated many intellectuals, who in early June began a sit-in in front of and in the Ministry of Culture in Cairo to call for the minister's resignation.
  Tensions rose when dozens of supporters of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood organized a counter-protest, which turned into a clash with the artists.

Google Detects High Volume of Iran Phishing Activity (MiddleEast Online)
  Google on Wednesday said that it has been battling what appeared to be politically targeted efforts to steal the passwords of tens of thousands of account holders in Iran.
  "The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday," Google vice president of security engineering Eric Grosse said in a blog post.

BBC Apologizes for Describing Tel Aviv as Israel's Capital (Jewish News, U.K.)
  The BBC this week insisted that "no offense was intended" after Tel Aviv was described as Israel's capital during a commentary on the UEFA European Under-21 Soccer Championship.
  The error came during Radio 5 Live's coverage of England's defeat to Norway last Saturday night. A spokesperson for the corporation said: "This was a live broadcast and sometimes errors are unfortunately made. We understand this is a sensitive issue and no offense was intended."

Indonesian Lawmaker under Fire for "Secret" Israel Visit - Markus Junianto Sihaloho (Jakarta Globe)
  An Indonesian lawmaker's "secret” trip to witness peace talks between Palestine and Israel - a country with no diplomatic ties to Indonesia - has inspired anger in the House of Representatives. Tantowi Yahya visited Israel earlier this month with a group of journalists on an invitation from an Australia-based pro-Israel organization. During his visit, Tantowi met with members of Israel's parliament, as well as academics and government officials.
  Lawmaker Muhammad Najib attacked Tantowi's visit, saying it did not represent the interests of the House Commission I, which oversees defense and international relations. "There have never been any discussions in Commission I to send a member to Israel,” Najib said. "Indonesia does not admit Israel's existence diplomatically.”
  The two nations set up a chamber of commerce to facilitate trade in 2009, settling on the unassuming name the "Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce.” Indonesia booked $750 million in trade in 2008, and $450 million in 2009, despite failing to officially recognize the country.

An 'Extinct' Frog Makes a Comeback in Israel (Terra Daily)
  The first amphibian to have been officially declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been rediscovered in the north of Israel after some 60 years and turns out to be a unique "living fossil," without close relatives among other living frogs. The Hula painted frog was first discovered in the Hula Valley of Israel in the early 1940s. Plans to reflood parts of the Hula Valley and restore the original swamp habitat are in place, which may allow expansion in population size and a secure future for the Hula painted frog.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S., Citing Use of Chemical Weapons by Syria, to Provide Direct Military Support to Rebels - Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan
    The United States has concluded with "high certainty" that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in its fight against opposition forces, and President Obama has authorized direct U.S. military support to the rebels, the White House said Thursday. The expanded military support is expected initially to consist of light arms and ammunition.
      The chemical weapons assessment closes an awkward chapter for the Obama administration, in which it lagged behind two key European allies in reaching the same conclusion. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. to Arm Syrian Rebels - Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes
    The classified order directing the Central Intelligence Agency to coordinate arming the rebels in concert with its allies reverses a long-standing policy that limited the U.S. to providing nonlethal support. U.S. officials also said on Thursday that the U.S. military proposal for arming the rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by U.S. and allied planes on Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there. Such a move, if the White House goes ahead, would represent a significantly bigger U.S. engagement in Syria's civil war. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel To Seek U.S.-Backed Loan for Mega Arms Deal. Are Strings Attached? - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Israel's Defense Ministry (MoD) is asking the U.S. government to guarantee billions of dollars in low-interest bridge loans for a Pentagon-proposed package of V-22 Ospreys, F-15 radars and precision-strike weaponry that it ultimately intends to fund with future military aid from the U.S.
      Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon aimed to advance the issue in meetings with lawmakers and Jewish leaders on Capitol Hill on Thursday. On Friday, Ya'alon is scheduled to fly to the Pentagon aboard an Osprey.
      U.S. officials were loath to link the pending response to Israel's irregular financing request to Jerusalem's readiness to resume long-stalled Palestinian peace talks. All underscored Washington's unconditional commitment to Israel's security.
      Nevertheless, a senior U.S. source noted that the unprecedented uptick in security support from the Obama White House was part of larger confidence-building efforts aimed at "encouraging the Israeli government to take those risky, yet necessary steps toward peace."
      When asked if U.S. strings would be attached to the multibillion-dollar funding package under review, the source replied: "It's not a matter of quid pro quo. There won't be strings, but there are expectations." (Defense News)
  • U.S. House Committee Triples Missile Funding to Israel
    The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Service Committee tripled President Barack Obama's request for missile defense collaboration with Israel and sought to include the United States in Iron Dome development. The increase in the National Defense Authorization Act from $96 million to $284 million referred from the committee in a 59-2 vote June 6 to the full House includes an additional $15 million in funding for Iron Dome, the short range anti-missile program.
      The stipulation in that increase, in an amendment proposed by Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), is that it "may be obligated or expended for enhancing the capability for producing the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense program in the United States." (JTA/Jerusalem Post)
  • Poland, Czech Republic Balk on Blacklisting Hizbullah
    Poland and the Czech Republic expressed "reservations" about blacklisting Hezbollah at a discussion in Brussels earlier this month. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are considered more supportive of Israel than Western European nations that supported blacklisting Hizbullah, the source said. Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France support blacklisting Hizbullah, the source said. The positions were expressed at a June 4 meeting to discuss Europe's response to claims that Hezbollah was behind a July bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria.
      The meeting was intended to initiate a European Union effort to blacklist Hizbullah's military wing. Though Hizbullah is classified as a terrorist entity in Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in Europe only the Netherlands deems it so. Britain considers only the group's military wing to be terrorist. Counter-terrorism experts say the European position has enabled Hizbullah to use the continent to launder moneys and raise funds. (JTA)
  • Syrian Death Toll Approaches 93,000, U.N. Says - David Jolly
    Civilians are bearing the brunt of the fighting in Syria, Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said Thursday, with 92,901 killings documented there through the end of April, a number that may understate the magnitude of the violence that has devastated cities and villages across the country for 25 months. Ms. Pillay cautioned that the estimate was conservative, and that "the true number of those killed is potentially much higher."
      The UN was unable to state definitively what proportion of those killed had been combatants. Ms. Pillay said the killings of "at least 6,561 minors, including at least 1,729 children under 10 years old" were documented,and that there were "well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred - which is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become." (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • At Auschwitz, Netanyahu Vows Israel Will Do Everything to Prevent Another Holocaust - Barak Ravid
    Speaking at the place symbolizing the suffering of Jews during World War II, Israel's prime minister warned on Thursday that Israel will do everything to prevent another Holocaust and to defend itself against any threat.
      Benjamin Netanyahu spoke during the inauguration of a new pavilion at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. "From here, the place that attests to the desire to destroy us, I, the prime minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, say to all the nations of the world: The state of Israel will do whatever is necessary to prevent another Holocaust. We must not be complacent in the face of threats of annihilation. We must not bury our heads in the sand or allow others to do the work for us," Netanyahu said, not naming the threat but apparently meaning Iran and its nuclear program.
      Speaking alongside Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday, Netanyahu accused Iran of planning another Holocaust: "This is a regime that is building nuclear weapons with the expressed purpose to annihilate Israel's 6 million Jews. We will not allow this to happen. We will never allow another Holocaust." (Ha'aretz)
  • Hariri: Hizbullah Dragging Lebanon into the Abyss
    Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri launched a scathing attack on Hizbullah leader Hasan Nasrallah Thursday, accusing him of endangering Lebanon. "What Lebanon is facing at present approaches the brink of existential danger and threatens Lebanon's message and the values of cultural and religious diversity. This has made me sound the alarm," Hariri said in a written address to the Lebanese people.
      "Hizbullah has unilaterally decided to breach every tradition, law and rule that govern national life among the Lebanese; it has arrogated to itself, as a party and an armed sectarian group, the rights of states in taking fundamental decisions without any consideration for the sensitivities of the groups it lives amongst." Hariri said Hizbullah had over two decades polarized the Shiite sect, "drowning it in the delusion of power over others in order for it to serve as an armed auxiliary for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard" and spearheaded an Iranian-led policy aimed at a number of countries in the Levant.
      “To accept Hizbullah's project simply means that there will never be a Lebanese state. And that this state will remain hostage to the party and above it, to the Islamic Republic of Iran, forever and ever,” Hariri said. (Daily Star, Lebanon)
  • Report: Israel Finds Tunnels under West Bank Wall
    Israel's army has uncovered two tunnels under the separation wall, used by Palestinians to enter Israel from the West Bank, Israeli media reported Friday. The tunnels were found under the wall near al-Tayba village in the northern West Bank. Soldiers found two Palestinians trying to enter Israel through the tunnels. (Ma'an News Agency)
  • Formula One Race Cars Hit Jerusalem
    High performance sports cars roared through central Jerusalem Thursday afternoon in the city's first ever Formula 1 exhibition. Tens of thousands - from both eastern and western neighborhoods of the capital - lined the streets of Jerusalem's scenic core to see and hear the roar of the engines.
      Spectators to the Formula 1 Jerusalem Peace Road Show watched Ferrari, Audi and Lotus race cars burn octane and rubber past the King David Hotel, Jerusalem's Mamilla neighborhood, the newly renovated train station, and the Ottoman-era Old City walls. (Times of Israel)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran Nuke Policy 'Unchangeable' No Matter Who Wins - Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy
    In Iran, the overall decisions are firmly in the hands of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the hugely powerful Revolutionary Guard. That message was reinforced after the final presidential debate last week when Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi thanked the candidates for their “perspectives” but noted they “will not impact Iran's foreign policy after the election.” What Iran's next president can potentially influence, however, is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP/Time)
  • Saving Nadrah - Lazar Berman
    The Times of Israel accompanied the first Syrian heart patient in Israel - a four-year-old girl whose family put her life in the hands of the enemy - on the final stage of an unprecedented journey.
      The little girl, Nadrah, suffered from a congenital heart disease, single ventricle physiology. The malformation did not allow her blood to be properly oxygenated by her lungs, giving Nadrah a bluish complexion. Untreated, she wouldn't see her 18th birthday. She was accompanied by her mother -- in the final weeks of her pregnancy.
      They had been brought to Israel by Shevet Achim, an Israel-based Christian organization that has been arranging for Palestinian, Jordanian, Kurdish and now Syrian children to come to Israel for almost two decades to undergo life-saving heart surgery. "The Israeli government is clear that in life-or-death cases, it will do whatever is needed to get the patient treatment," noted a senior member of the Shevet Achim community. "I haven't seen them deviate from that policy in 18 years." (Times of Israel)
  • How Anti-Israel Zealotry Threatens Europe - Evelyn Gordon
    Two recent developments show the extent to which the mainstreaming of rabid anti-Israel sentiment in Europe is harming Europe itself. One, an exhibit at the Jeu de Paume Museum, funded by the French government and glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers, undermines France's security. The other, a British union's decision to effectively bar members from contact with another British workers' group because the latter opposes boycotting Israel, undermines Britons' civil liberties.
      The danger here is that fame and glory are powerful motivators for terrorists. But the Jeu de Paume is far more important to Frenchmen than to Palestinians. Thus being lionized by one of France's most famous cultural institutions is primarily an inducement to its own citizens.
      But the decision by GMB, one of Britain's largest unions, may be even more chilling: Last week, it voted to bar its chapters from visiting Israel on any trip organized by Trade Union Friends of Israel, a British group that supports cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian workers, or addressing any TUFI event.
      One has to wonder when Europeans will finally realize that their anti-Israel zealotry is exacting too high a price at home. (Commentary)
  • The Palestinian Authority's Reign of Terror - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Until recently, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank used to arrest Palestinians who criticized its leaders, especially Mahmoud Abbas. But now the Palestinian Authority has resumed using thugs to break the bones of its critics. The thugs are often members of Abbas's ruling Fatah faction. However,they do not belong to Palestinian Authority security forces or any government-related agency in the West Bank.
      This allows the Palestinian Authority to distance itself from the thugs each time they perpetrate a crime. But the thugs, who are referred to by Palestinians as "Shabbiha," are known to act on instructions from top Palestinian Authority leaders. The last time the Palestinian Authority used its thugs was after a conference last weekend at Bethlehem University. A 34-year-old activist, Nizar Banat, who had asked a provocative question of PA Minister of Economy, Jawad Naji, was intercepted by seven thugs, who dragged him out of his car and beat him severely.
      By resorting to this policy of terror and intimidation against its critics and political opponents, the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank is once again showing that it is not much different from other Arab dictatorships. It is these measures that have driven many Palestinians away from the Palestinian Authority and straight into the open arms of Hamas and other extremist groups. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Sounding the Alarm on Iran's Human Rights Violations - Irwin Cotler and Mark Kirk
    Canadian MP Irwin Cotler is co-chairman with Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran, and of the Iranian Political Prisoners Global Advocacy Project.
      Canadian parliamentarians and their American counterparts have been sounding the alarm on domestic repression and the Iranian nuclear and terrorist threat to international peace and security.
      We are witness to state-sanctioned assaults that are tantamount to crimes against humanity. The regime has only been ramping up its crackdown on dissent in advance of the presidential election. The government of Iran sponsors terrorism, seeks nuclear weapons, spews hateful rhetoric, and tramples the human rights of its own people.
      Accordingly, we have launched the Iranian Political Prisoners Global Advocacy Project, where parliamentarians "adopt" Iranian political prisoners and advocate on their behalf. We are determined to make their voices heard. To secure the release of these human rights heroes, Iranian political prisoners must become household names, and their cause must become our cause. For the remarkable and courageous individuals who dare to challenge the regime, telling their stories is the very least we can do. (Jerusalem Post)
  • How To Understand Islamism: Read What Its Leaders Actually Say - Barry Rubin
    To read Yusuf al-Qaradawi's 1984 book Islamic Education and Hasan al-Bana is to get an Islamic education. Nobody should be allowed to talk about Islam or political Islamism without having read this or similar texts. Just as Marx claimed in the Communist Manifesto of his movement, the Islamists, too, disdain to conceal their aims. It's easy to see why al-Qaradawi is the leading Sunni Islamist thinker in the world today. He knows how to express his ideas clearly and persuasively.
      Al-Qaradawi does not put the emphasis on Western strength or even on injustice, but on Muslim weakness. He does not flinch from facing the humiliations of the situation. He promises - as the Arab nationalists did 60 years ago - that his doctrine will bring rapid development and tremendous power. Like Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev once did, al-Qaradawi pledges to the West: "We will bury you."
      Islamism is a formula to turn inferiority into superiority, to make the Muslim world number one. It uses religion and is formed by key themes in Islam, but ultimately it has nothing to do with religion as such. This is a political movement. Al-Qaradawi is far more sophisticated than a demagogic firebrand.
      Western observers often take for granted or discount the seriousness of a movement claiming that it is a direct instrument of God's will. They are used to subverting far weaker contemporary Western religious impulses, or look at those from the past that crumbled in a test of wills with rationalism, modernism, material interests, and personal hypocrisy.
      The key challenge is not to cite passages from original Muslim theology to “prove” that Islam is always unchanging and inflexible or to ignore Islam as a factor completely, but to look at the movement's modern strategy and tactics. Almost 30 years after al-Qaradawi clearly explained the movement's ideas, the opponents of Islamism have barely begun their attempt to understand and to educate others on this ideology. (PajamasMedia)
  • Summer Plans - Jennifer Rubin
    While you are probably nailing down summer camps or family trips, there is another view of how kids should spend their time. The Jewish News Service reports: “The Palestinian terrorist organization Islamic Jihad held a summer camp in order to groom what a spokesman called a ‘strong resisting generation' of Palestinians to fight Israel.”
      On the day that those jihadi camps are shut down, the incitement stops and the missiles from Gaza stop, there will be peace. Not before. (The photos of children being groomed into terrorists can be found here. ) (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Iran's Deep-Rooted Terror Networks Pose 'Real Risk' - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)

  • There are "clear signs” that terrorist networks first established by Iran in several South American countries in the 1980s and 1990s are still in place, and there are indications that Iran has similar networks in Europe, according to the Argentinean prosecutor who investigated the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA).
  • Alberto Nisman said that Tehran had established its terror networks for the strategic long term, ready to be used "whenever it needs them,” including in Europe and South America.
  • He said he had sent the information he collected in the course of investigating the AMIA blast to the judicial authorities in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname, where there remained "a real risk.”
  • Nisman said he saw indications that Iran had established similar networks in Europe, referring to cases in Germany and France.
  • "Iran uses the networks whenever it needs them,” he said. "It could be today. It could be a long time from now.”
  • Two candidates in Iran's election this week "were directly involved in the decision to attack the Jewish community in Argentina,” Nisman said.
  • According to Nisman Iran's employs a "dual use of diplomatic offices, cultural or charity associations and even mosques, as cover” for terrorist activities.

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