Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 16, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Ehud Barak Calls for Backing El-Sissi and Interim Egyptian Government - Fareed Zakaria (CNN)
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in a recent interview:
    "I think that the whole world should support Sissi. I think you have to support him. If we [Israel] support him it will probably embarrass him, it probably won't help him. But Sissi and the liberals, Baradei and others, they deserve the support of the Free World. To whom else can they turn?"
    "Morsi was elected relatively fairly, but he immediately turned to use the very tools of being quite democratically elected, turning it into a totally totalitarian Sharia-like extreme Islamist system - and his own people rejected it."

    See also With Sissi at the Helm, the Egyptian Army Regained Its Footing - Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)
    Egyptian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is a vital and feisty officer, full of energy and ambition.
    With Sissi at the helm, the Egyptian army regained its footing and it has risen against the Muslim Brotherhood, which had gone too far by trying to install - under the guise of a democratic process - an Islamic republic that would ensure their rule forever.
    Prof. Eyal Zisser is the head of the Department of Middle Eastern and African History and a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center, both at Tel Aviv University.

Car Bomb Kills 21 in Hizbullah Stronghold in Beirut - Thomas El-Basha and Meris Lutz (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    A car bomb killed at least 21 people and wounded 250 on Thursday in the Ruwaiss neighborhood of southern Beirut, a Hizbullah stronghold.
    This is the second car bombing attack to target a neighborhood seen as a Hizbullah stronghold in the Lebanese capital in less than two months.

    See also Nasrallah Not Looking Quite So Smart Now - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    Anyone in the Shi'ite community in Lebanon knows who was responsible for Thursday's attack in Hizbullah's stronghold of Beirut.
    Extremist Sunni groups operating as part of the Syrian opposition made good on their promise to strike at Hizbullah and its supporters on their home turf.
    Yet despite this, a whole host of Lebanese politicians rushed to charge that Israel was involved, including President Michel Suleiman, who claimed that the blast bore the fingerprints of the Israelis.
    Suleiman is worried that an attack like this will prompt a particularly violent Hizbullah retaliation. In pointing the finger at Israel, he is trying to manufacture a common enemy for all Lebanese.
    Suleiman, who only days ago demanded the disarming of Hizbullah, understands that the response to an attack like this could eventually lead to a complete takeover by Hizbullah in Lebanon.
    Thursday's car bombing was only the beginning for those terror groups associated with al-Qaeda who see the Shi'ites - no less than the Jews and Christians - as their enemy.
    Nasrallah may be starting to realize that he is now at odds with the only people in the Middle East whose mindset may be even more pernicious than his own.

Arabs in Iran Blow Up Gas Pipeline - Isabel Coles (Reuters)
    Arab insurgents blew up a gas pipeline in Iran last week and dedicated the attack to their brothers-in-arms in Syria.
    The blast hit a pipeline feeding a petrochemical plant in Mahshahr in Iran's southwest, home to most of its oil reserves and to 1.6 million ethnic Arabs, known as Ahwazis.
    "This heroic operation is a message to the Persian enemy that the national Ahwazi resistance has the ability and initiative to deliver painful blows to all the installations of the Persian enemy, inside Ahwaz and out," the Mohiuddin Al Nasser Martyrs Brigade said in a statement.
    Arabistan was a semi-autonomous sheikhdom until 1925, when it was brought under central Iranian government control, marking the start of what some Ahwazis describe as a systematic campaign to Persianize if not obliterate them.

Turkish Troops Block Hundreds of Syrians from Crossing Border - Jonathon Burch (Reuters-Chicago Tribune)
    The Turkish military said it spotted 750-1,000 people on foot, a separate group of 150 people on horseback, and some 40 vehicles near the Turkish village of Kusakli in Hatay province's Reyhanli district. The troops deployed armored vehicles and a tank along the frontier to block the group from crossing the border.
    Last week, the Turkish military said up to 3,000 had tried to cross the frontier. Both groups were referred to as consisting of "smugglers."
    With its hilly terrain and thick vegetation, Hatay, a province that juts down into Syria, makes a relatively easy crossing point for smugglers, as well as Syrian rebel fighters and refugees fleeing the fighting.

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Injured Romanian Jew Airlifted to Israel - Yori Yalon (Israel Hayom)
    A special rescue operation by the Jewish Agency brought a young Romanian Jewish activist to Israel on Wednesday for urgent medical treatment.
    David Finti, 19, was severely electrocuted, suffers from burns all over his body, and was unconscious.
    He arrived in Israel by air-ambulance accompanied by his parents and was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem.

In Arabic, Jerusalem is Jewish - Simcha Jacobovici (Times of Israel)
    An al-Qaeda affiliate in Sinai calling itself "Ansar Beit al-Maqdes" took "credit" for preparing a rocket attack on Israel.
    "Ansar Beit al-Maqdes" literally means the "Army of the Holy Temple." Media outlets mistranslate the name as "Army for Jerusalem," but in Arabic, Jerusalem is called "al-Quds," "the Holy."
    Jerusalem is only holy to Christianity and Islam because it is holy to Judaism. Muslims believe that Muhammad flew to heaven from this spot because it was the site of the Temple of the God of Israel.
    Jerusalem is arguably the world's oldest capital, and yet its link to the Jewish people is still being disputed.
    Jerusalem was the capital of a Jewish state 2,500 years before Europeans discovered America. And yet, the American embassy is in Tel Aviv.

IBM Buys Israeli Startup Specializing in Cybersecurity (Israel Hayom)
    Technology giant IBM announced on Thursday that it plans to acquire Israeli security software vendor Trusteer for between $800 million and $1 billion.
    IBM said it will set up a cybersecurity software lab in Israel where more than 200 Trusteer and IBM researchers and developers will focus on mobile and application security, advanced threats, malware, counter-fraud, and financial crimes.

Israeli Drones Over Brazil's Stadiums - Calev Ben-David (Bloomberg)
    Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd. drones already provide crowd surveillance above Brazil's soccer stadiums.
    "The intelligence-gathering electronic and optics technologies of Elbit and our Brazilian partners are perfectly suited for the homeland security challenges at these events," CEO Bezhalel Machlis said in an interview.
    Increasing demand from Latin America, South Korea and Australia is spurring earnings at Elbit.

Moody's Affirms Israel's A1 Credit Rating - Avital Lahav (Ynet News)
    The international credit rating company Moody's affirmed Israel's government debt rating, leaving it at its current A1 level with a stable outlook.

Video: Tea Time with Hizbullah (Israel Defense Forces)
    Hizbullah tells the world that it is a resistance organization. But what exactly is it resisting?

New American Jewish Studies Program at Haifa University - Jeffrey F. Barken and Jacob Kamaras (
    The new Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa is designed to improve Israeli understanding of the American Jewish community.
    "Israeli universities have all sorts of programs studying Asia, Africa and the Arab world, but no one is studying the American Jewish community, which is probably the most important community affecting the future of Israel," says Jay Ruderman.
    "The idea is that over the course of time you have a cadre of Israelis who've gotten a master's in the American Jewish community, and that they will help Israel shape this relationship."
    A highlight of the curriculum will be a 10-day trip to the U.S., "the equivalent of Birthright for Israelis," says Prof. Gur Alroey, director of the new program.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Obama Condemns Egypt's Government and Security Forces for Violence Against Civilians
    President Barack Obama said Thursday: "The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces. We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest."
        "Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets....As a result, this morning we notified the Egyptian government that we are canceling our biannual joint military exercise which was scheduled for next month."  (White House)
        See also Egypt: U.S. Position "Strengthens Armed Groups" - Ricky Ben-David
    The Egyptian Presidency's office issued a statement Thursday in response to U.S. President Barack Obama's earlier remarks on the crisis, saying that the country was fighting "terrorist acts" and that such statements could be seen as "strengthening the armed violent groups and encouraging them in their path." Egypt was facing "terrorist acts targeting government buildings and vital facilities...[that] have included tens of churches, courthouses, and police stations, as well as many public facilities and private properties."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Churches Torched across Egypt in Anti-Coptic Violence by Morsi Loyalists - Ayat Al-Tawy
    Churches across Egypt came under frenzied attack Thursday as Morsi loyalists orchestrated nationwide assaults on Christian targets throughout the country. The Coptic rights group Maspero Youth Union (MYU) estimated that as many as 36 churches were "completely" devastated by fire across nine Egyptian governorates, including Minya, Sohag and Assiut - home to large Coptic communities. Many other churches were looted or stormed. Egypt's army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi pledged the military would cover the costs of restoration for all damaged churches.
        Morsi's Islamist backers also set dozens of police stations ablaze across Egypt and attempted to storm provincial governor offices following Wednesday's bloody crackdown. A group of Morsi supporters also set fire to the finance ministry building in Cairo's Nasr City district. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • Islamists Kill Seven Egyptian Soldiers in Sinai
    Militants in Sinai on Thursday killed seven Egyptian soldiers in an attack on a checkpoint, security officials said. Gunmen in two cars attacked them in their tents near a police station in El-Arish. (AFP-Fox News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to U.S.: We Must Prevent "Axis of Evil" from Winning Regional Conflict - Lilach Shoval
    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told visiting U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey on Wednesday: "Instability in the Middle East is a result of, among other things, the Iranian regime, which is involved in every ongoing conflict in the region. We must also be prepared for a long conflict and instability in Syria. We cannot let the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut axis of evil win this fight."  (Israel Hayom)
  • 20,000 Palestinians Work in Israeli Settlements - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The number of Palestinian workers employed in Israeli settlements increased from 16,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to 20,000 in the second quarter, according to a survey published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. Palestinians working in Israel and the settlements are paid more than twice the salary they would receive from Palestinian employers. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • El-Sissi Will Not Be Deterred - Avi Issacharoff
    The Egyptian military claims that armed Muslim Brotherhood supporters opened fire on its soldiers, killing close to 50 and injuring dozens more. The Muslim Brotherhood was backed by Qatar's Al-Jazeera, which broadcast pictures of corpses and injured protesters in an endless loop, while Al-Arabiya, which is funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that support the Egyptian military, screened a video of supposed Muslim Brotherhood activists wearing masks and firing at unseen targets.
        The war for Egypt's future has returned to international headlines and the Muslim Brotherhood is now demanding that Defense Minister Gen. el-Sissi be removed from power in order to restore peace. It is highly unlikely, though, that this will happen anytime soon. There also is little chance of the Muslim Brotherhood ending their protests anytime soon. But as further confrontation looms, the Muslim Brotherhood is at a disadvantage. It has the support of less than half of the Egyptian population. The Brotherhood will be able to continue to disrupt, but there is currently no third revolution or coup on the horizon.
        It would be best for Israel if el-Sissi's army was able to maintain order in Egypt without more violent clashes that may undermine its authority. Jerusalem sees el-Sissi as an ally, which is why it is so difficult for Israel to swallow the Americans' onslaught against the Egyptian army, their decision to cancel joint military maneuvers, and their threats to halt foreign aid to Egypt. (Times of Israel)
  • Israelis, Egyptians Cooperate on Terror in Sinai - Adam Entous and Charles Levinson
    Israel and Egypt are quietly cooperating to quell Islamist militants along their border, Western officials say. Cooperation has increased since last month's ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Four Islamists from Ansar Jerusalem who were preparing to fire rockets into Israel were killed in an airstrike Friday that was conducted by Israel, according to Western officials.
        The understanding between senior Israeli security officials and their Egyptian counterparts, Western officials say, is that Israel will take direct action only as a last resort if the Egyptians aren't in a position to stop an imminent threat from Sinai. Such an Israeli intervention would be "very rare" because of Egyptian sensitivities. The arrangement shows the extent to which the Israeli and Egyptian militaries have closed ranks against militants massing in Sinai.
        Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in a statement issued Saturday: "The State of Israel is aware of and appreciates increased activity by the Egyptian military recently against terrorism across the Sinai Peninsula." Egypt's new national security adviser, Raafat Shehata, has deep ties to Israeli intelligence, as does Gen. Nader al-Aasar, the new head of Egyptian intelligence's international relations branch. These ties helped facilitate the agreement to allow Egypt to send a surge of military forces into Sinai to combat the growing militant threat there. Israeli officials say they have detected in recent months a dramatic increase in the number of militant groups operating in Sinai, as well as upticks in weapons smuggling and an upgrading of weapons capabilities. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Keeping the Peace in Sinai - Zvika Fogel
    Ever since the 2008-2009 Gaza war and especially since the security fence along the Sinai border has been completed, the Israel Defense Forces and the Egyptian army, with the encouragement of their respective governments, have set up a coordination mechanism to jointly combat the terror in Sinai that threatens both countries.
        The day-to-day work required to preserve the tactical peace continues to be carried out by intelligence officers on both sides of the fence, and that is a big thing. Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel is a former chief of staff of the IDF Southern Command. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egyptians Blame America for Their Problems - Hussein Ibish
    Virtually the only thing Egyptians now agree upon is that whatever it is they don't like, it must be the fault of the U.S. The pervasive anti-Americanism we see has been fueled by centuries of rivalry between Muslims and the Christian West. Decades of nationalistic, religious, xenophobic and chauvinistic propaganda have entrenched anti-American narratives.
        Yet while Arabs rail against the U.S., they indisputably love its culture and products. They fight for visas, and to send their children to its universities. Even Islamists like Morsi studied and taught in California. The writer is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington. (National-UAE)

  • Palestinians

  • Political Realities Frame Israeli-Palestinian Talks - Kenneth Stein
    For four decades, more than two dozen U.S. mediators, including presidents and secretaries of state, have dedicated immense amounts of time to Arab-Israeli negotiations. Over the past several years, virtually all final-status issues have been discussed in enormous detail during various secret Israeli-Palestinian meetings.
        For the conflict to truly be over, public attitudes and behavior must be transformed as well. Accordingly, expectations regarding the two-state framework's potential impact on the conflict should be lowered, at least for a generation. The writer teaches Middle Eastern history and politics at Emory University. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        See also The History of the Two-State Concept - Kenneth Stein (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Three Palestinian Identities Seen on Social Networks - Udi Dekel and Orit Perlov
    An estimated one-third of Palestinian society today are active users of social networks on the Internet. Although there is a common Palestinian identity, the geographic separation between Gaza, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem is echoed by differences in lifestyle, outlook, and ideology. Gaza is oriented toward Egypt and influenced by events there. The Arab residents of east Jerusalem conduct themselves in an Israeli context and are influenced by the discourse among Israeli Arabs, taking little interest in the discourse in the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank, the Arabs are influenced by what is happening in Jordan.
        The three entities are united by their rejection of the existing leadership, concern about rising prices, and an unwillingness to compromise on the "right of return." The main discussion on Palestinian social networking sites is not focused on the resumption of the peace process, rather on the daily fundamental problems of the population. There is almost no discussion on the social media about violent resistance or calls for terrorist activity against Israel. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • The Obstacle of Land Swaps - Zalman Shoval
    As negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli representatives began this week, the idea of "land swaps" is sometimes seen as a key to resolving the problem of borders. However, it's doubtful whether the proposal can be justified either morally or in principle. It would mark the first time in history that the aggressor would be compensated for a loss of territory by receiving land from the victim of its aggression. People have forgotten how the war in 1967 transpired, who attacked whom, and why Israel, in a defensive war, captured territories from its aggressors. Those who worded UN Resolution 242 were well aware of the facts, which is why they opposed an Israeli retreat to the '67 lines.
        Even from a practical standpoint, it seems as if "land swaps" are an impossible solution. Little Israel does not have the practical means to donate land to the Palestinians without damaging the fabric of life for more than 20 communities within its borders. (Israel Hayom)

  • Arab World

  • The Sunni Divide - Harold Rhode
    Arabic-speaking Sunnis may loathe Syria's Assad, but they also hate each other. There are many divisions among the Sunni Islamists and they are spending a lot of effort, not only killing the regime's forces, but also killing fellow Sunnis. Qatar and Saudi Arabia passionately hate each other and support different groups within the Islamic opposition groups in Syria. The Qataris, along with the now only nominally secular Turkish Republic, support the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis support Salafi fundamentalists.
        While they disagree on the nature of the future Muslim Caliphate that they believe will rule the entire world, all of these Sunni groups are passionately and aggressively anti-Western, anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, and anti-Israel.
        Not every Arabic-speaking Sunni is an Islamic fundamentalist. Many, especially a significant portion of Syria's business elite and the tribal sheikhs, have as much to fear from the Sunni fundamentalists as do the non-Sunni groups. Nevertheless, it appears that the vast majority of non-fundamentalists still believe that Sunni Islam must rule and others must know their place, which is politically and socially inferior to the Sunnis. The writer served from 1982-2010 as an Advisor on Islamic Affairs in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. (inFocus-Jewish Policy Center)
  • The Kurdish Awakening in Syria: Could It Lead to Regional War? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
    Political groups from Syria's Kurdish minority have moved decisively to claim control of Kurdish-populated areas. Yet the Kurds have faced resistance from the jihadist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In response, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, threatened to intervene on behalf of Syrian Kurds. Iranian Kurds also announced that they were ready for battle.
        A "Greater Kurdistan" is no longer a remote possibility. This reality poses challenges for all of the states with large Kurdish populations: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The writer was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Will Syria and Iraq Break Apart? - Michael Young
    Since independence, Arab states have been dysfunctional, authoritarian, over-militarized and economically underdeveloped. Unity has been imposed from above, usually brutally, with no tolerance for dissent, whether political or cultural.
        At the heart of the Syrian and Iraqi situations, and perhaps slightly differently the Lebanese situation, is the problem of minorities. Since Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed in 2003 and in Syria the Assads' hegemony broke down in 2011, in neither Syria nor Iraq has a new social contract been found to accommodate minorities.
        Breaking up a state remains a path many hesitate to take. In Arab nationalist ideology, the political destiny of the Arabs is to join together in larger political entities, until a single Arab state is formed. Arab nationalism is a dream of unification, not fragmentation, and it retains an intellectual hold on societies that do not wish to define themselves primarily through a sectarian prism. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • A Christian Exodus - Michael J. Totten
    Christians are streaming out of Lebanon. A slight majority a couple of decades ago, today they're down to barely a third of the population. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled sectarian fighting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. But the most dramatic Christian exodus is out of Egypt. Since the 2011 uprising, the rise of Islamists and mob attacks have driven more than 100,000 Christian Copts out of the country.
        Samuel Tadros' book, Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity, describes how the Copts are indigenous inhabitants of the Nile delta, children of its ancient Pharaonic civilization. Tadros is an Egyptian Copt who immigrated to the U.S. in 2009. Most worrisome is the dramatic upswing in anti-Christian violence by average Muslims who have often known their victims as neighbors their entire lives. Churches have been burned; Christians have been expelled from villages; and Copts have been imprisoned on charges of blaspheming Islam. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Christians in Israel - Yuval Brandstetter
    Father Gabriel Naddaf is an Eastern Orthodox priest at the forefront of a movement promoting the enlistment of military-age Christian men and women into the Israel Defense Forces and National Service. Most of the Christians in Israel are not Arabs, nor were they ever. They are former Greeks, or former Romans, or former Assyrians or even former Jews. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan Switched Sides - Clifford D. May
    At Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009, 13 American military men and women were killed and more than 30 wounded by a man who proudly regarded himself as a "Soldier of Allah," and shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he pulled the trigger over and over.
        Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the 42-year-old American-born son of Palestinian immigrants, was educated as a psychiatrist (at the expense of U.S. taxpayers) and rose steadily through Army ranks (he continues to draw a salary to this day). Early and ample evidence that he was embracing radical religious doctrines was ignored by his superior officers, evidently because they feared being accused of Islamophobia.
        On the first day of the trial, he told jurors that he was indeed responsible for the slaughter - "The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter" - and that the semiautomatic displayed by prosecutors was his. He explained that during the years he spent as an American soldier, he was "on the wrong side," so he had "switched sides" and became a "mujahedeen" fighting America. Witnesses testified that he had targeted men and women in uniform, and that he did not hesitate to shoot the wounded as they lay bleeding on the floor. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Deploys Drones and Steel Fences Against Threats from Syria - Yochi Dreazen
    A new barrier, already 60 km. long, snakes along Israel's northern border. It is made of thick steel pillars and coils of razor-sharp barbed wire, bolstered by some of the most sophisticated cameras, motion detectors, and infrared surveillance equipment in the Israeli arsenal. The skies over the fence are patrolled by Israeli-built Sky Rider drones that beam real-time video imagery down to troops on the ground. Every day, the Israeli side is patrolled by hundreds of active-duty troops who have rushed north in recent months to replace the reservists who have long been assigned the task.
        Israeli concerns center on the jihadist Al-Nusra Front, whose leaders openly refer to Israel as an enemy of Islam. An Israeli military official said, "Syria is becoming a hub for global terror groups. At the end of the day we know they'll eventually try to come into Israel and hit us."
        Meanwhile, at a swath of the Lebanese border not yet secured by the new fence, IDF Lt. Col. Yogev Bar Sheshet explained that unarmed Hizbullah operatives in civilian clothing are constantly monitoring his base from the other side. "We were always seeing shepherds, but then we noticed that there were three shepherds for every sheep, and they all seemed to be carrying cameras."  (Tablet)
  • Only New Sanctions Can Move Iran Back from the Nuclear Brink - Yossi Melman
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, over four years, emphasized that he is willing to unleash the Israeli Air Force to slow Iran's nuclear drive. According to most indications and experts, 2014 or early 2015 is the time frame in which Iran can achieve its ambition. According to senior Israeli officials, the only way to deter Iran is to keep up economic and political pressure. The Obama administration, in order to avoid Israeli action against Iran, should be seeking to ratchet up sanctions on Tehran, including by implementing Congressional resolutions aimed at stopping Iranian oil exports. (The Tower)
  • For Israel, Size Does Matter - Moshe Arens
    Some say that territory is unimportant in the age of missiles. Just the opposite is true. Territory is more important than before. For the small short-range missiles, which are hard to detect and destroy, bringing them closer to our population centers spells disaster. And for the large long-range missiles with large warheads, reducing the size of the target area is a mistake.
        Small is precarious. Small is dangerous. Small creates the impression of weakness. Small can be bombed, invaded, and destroyed. Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. secretary of defense once said: "If we know anything, it is that weakness is a provocation." A small, truncated Israel will project weakness and provoke aggression - by terrorists, by armed forces, and by those in possession of nuclear weapons. No security arrangements or demilitarization are going to be of any use in the long run. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mass Evacuation of Settlements Is a Fantasy - Ari Shavit
    Zvi Hauser, whose four-year stint as Israel's cabinet secretary ended in May, said in an interview that forcing 150,000 settlers to leave their homes in the West Bank is "a fantasy." The Jewish people's "connection to Judea and Samaria does not resemble the French ties to Algeria or the British ties to the Falkland Islands. We are talking about the formative territory of the Jewish people and of Jewish civilization, from which the State of Israel arose....The time has come to understand that there will not be mass evacuation of settlers here, nor need there be."
        On Iran, Hauser noted that a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic would "put an end to any prospect of peace in the Middle East. With the revolving nuclear sword of Iran hovering above, no moderate Arab who is considering a compromise with us will go ahead."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Is a Major Oil Price Decline Coming? - Paul Stevens
    Crude oil prices have risen inexorably, from $25/B in 2002 to $112/B in 2012. High oil prices are producing market responses. Relatively high-cost shale technology has led to a dramatic increase in oil production in the U.S. In the last nine months, Saudi Arabia has quietly played a swing role by changing production levels to keep the price of OPEC's crude around $100/B.
        On July 3, 2008, crude reached a peak of $147/B: eight months later in February 2009 the price averaged $39/B. The key now, as it was then, will be how long Saudi Arabia continues to absorb lower production before the pain becomes too great. This is at a time when many OPEC countries are announcing grand plans to expand their crude producing capacity to obtain more revenue to assuage potential popular unrest. When Saudi Arabia is no longer willing or able to protect prices, then prices must fall. Prof. Paul Stevens is a Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House. (Chatham House-UK)

  • Weekend Features

  • Bedouin IDF Soldier: "I Am Proud to Serve My Country" - Gadi Golan
    Master Sgt. Marzuk Suaed, 37, a Bedouin father of three residing in northern Israel, sees his job as a recruiter of Bedouin, Arab, Christian and Muslim youths to the Israel Defense Forces as a personal mission. "I really am very proud in what I am doing," says Suaed, who hails from a large family in which everyone enlisted into the IDF, many of them serving in combat units.
        "I am a citizen of the state, it doesn't matter whether Bedouin or Jewish, and am proud to lend my country a hand. Yes, this is my country, and I want to serve it; and, on the way, mostly, I want the Bedouin/Arab sector to understand and internalize that service in the army will only do our society good. Social distancing and separation will lead us nowhere."  (Israel Hayom)
  • When Arabs Confiscated Jewish-Owned Land - Lyn Julius
    The EU assumes that the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are "Arab land." Yet it is little known that thousands of Arab squatters in "Arab east Jerusalem" live on land still owned by the Jewish National Fund. The Kalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem and the Deheishe refugee camp south of Bethlehem were built on JNF land.
        In the 1920s and 30s, Iraqi and Iranian Jews queued up to buy parcels of JNF land; after the 1948 war, 145,976 dunams of Jewish land came under Jordanian rule. In addition, the Jewish National Fund purchased 73,974 dunams in the Golan Heights beginning in the 1880s.
        Moreover, at least 13 villas and public buildings around Cairo's Tahrir Square (including the present Swiss, German, Canadian, Russian, U.S., Korean, Bahraini and Algerian embassies) were once the residences of wealthy Jews - until the properties were seized by the Egyptian state. The Jewish owners never received compensation and were summarily expelled in the 1950s.
        The issue of Jewish settlements has to be seen in the context of the mass exchange of land and population between Jews and Arabs across the entire region. According to economist Sidney Zabludoff, the Jewish refugees lost assets worth twice as much as those abandoned by Palestinian refugees. The writer is co-founder of Harif, an association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa in the UK. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jerusalem Season of Culture: A Cultural Melting Pot with No Dividing Walls - David Lister
    The Jerusalem Season of Culture in August is trying to bring Arab and Jew together, to bring the largely Palestinian population of east Jerusalem to the arts events taking place in the western part of the city, and for the two usually separate communities to come together over culture.
        One of the season's more unusual ventures is a food truck which stops at a different part of the city each night with a top chef aided by a celebrity making a dish to serve the crowds to the background of music. It brings together young people from the different communities, as do the bands that play throughout the season. The season's artistic director, Itay Mautner, says the food truck is important "because food is not elitist and it unites people - kosher and halal together."
        On the evening I attended a concert near Damascus Gate, there was evidence of young Jews and Palestinians sitting together listening to music and beginning to chat. There is a no-dancing rule, a rule instigated because last year the youths from both communities did dance, and this proved a bit much for parents in both communities. (Independent-UK)
  • Canadian Internment Camp for Jews in Second World War - Kevin Bissett
    Internment Camp B70, located in Ripples, New Brunswick, housed more than 700 Jews in the early months of the Second World War. In the months leading up to the war, some 10,000 Jewish children were taken to the United Kingdom as part of a relief effort known as the Kindertransport. But then-British prime minister Winston Churchill was worried there could be spies among the Jews, and he asked Canada and Australia to house some of them as internees. 711 men and boys arrived by train in Ripples on Aug. 12, 1940, and were led on foot to an internment camp, one of 26 in Canada.
        The internees were housed in army barracks and spent their days cutting the wood required to keep the heating stoves in the camp burning. They wore denim pants with a red stripe on the leg, and denim jackets with a large red circle on the back. There were six machine-gun towers positioned around the perimeter of the camp. After a year, Britain realized that many of the internees could contribute to the war effort and were given the choice to return to England and join the military or obtain a sponsor and stay in Canada. The camp was closed in 1941 and reopened to house prisoners of war. (Toronto Star-Canada)

Al-Qaeda: Vanquished or Strengthened? - Yoram Schweitzer and Aviad Mendelbaum (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • While over the last year senior figures in the U.S. administration embraced optimistic assessments that al-Qaeda is close to elimination, last week the pendulum swung the other way and pointed to a strengthened al-Qaeda, which in conjunction with its affiliates presents a multi-tentacle octopus-like creature capable of carrying out simultaneous, multi-victim terrorist attacks throughout the world.
  • In their quest for survival and even rejuvenation, the leaders of al-Qaeda and its affiliates chose to adopt the Arab Spring in order to turn it into an Islamic Spring. They exploited the growing instability to secure the release of their operatives from jail, amass arms, and deploy in regions with weak governments.
  • Thus al-Qaeda was prepared to assist Salafist and jihadist organizations in the Maghreb, Sahel, North and Central Africa, Sinai, and recently also in Syria. Thousands of new volunteers are streaming to these battlefields, accruing combat experience and becoming more fervent in their global jihad commitment. For al-Qaeda and affiliates, these are manpower reserves, ready to embark on a new wave of global terrorism.
  • For Israel, there is major significance to the success of stopping the attempts of al-Qaeda and affiliates from returning to large-scale terrorist activity. Abroad, Israeli and Jewish targets are particularly attractive to global jihadists. Near Israel's border with Syria, global jihadists are fighting the Assad regime, waiting for a lull and the opportunity to operate against Israel. Thus Israel is an important contributing partner to the campaign against global jihad.
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