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November 15, 2013
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IDF in Philippines: "We're Here to Help" - Dan Lavie and Nitzi Yakov (Israel Hayom)
    The Israel Defense Forces' 148-member disaster relief team arrived in northern Cebu province in the Philippines on Wednesday and immediately began attending to the local population's medical needs.
    The IDF said the field hospital "will [comprise] a children's department, a women's department, an ambulatory care department, and a general admission department, operated by IDF doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, mental health professionals, x-ray technician, and lab workers."
    See also Photos: IDF Team in the Philippines - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    See also Baby Born in IDF's Philippines Field Hospital to Be Called Israel (Ynet News)

Hizbullah Chief Warns of "War" If No Iran Deal (AFP)
    Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned in a rare public appearance Wednesday that failure to strike a deal with ally Iran over its nuclear program would spell "war in the region."
    Nasrallah spoke in Hizbullah's southern Beirut stronghold to mark the Shiite Muslim Ashura holiday.

Western-Raised Jihadists Pouring into Syria Could Threaten U.S. in Future - Catherine Herridge (Fox News)
    Most of the more than 1,000 jihadists who have poured into Syria to fight alongside al-Qaeda carry passports from North America and Europe, raising the possibility that they could easily bring terror back to the West, according to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

Emboldened by Victory over Jihadis, Syrian Kurds Push toward Autonomy - Alexander Christie-Miller (Christian Science Monitor)
    Emboldened by a string of victories over powerful al-Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria, Kurds there have taken a major step toward autonomy.
    On Tuesday, Kurdish groups announced the formation of an interim autonomous government in Syria's Kurdish region, with elections to follow.
    The dominant Kurdish organization is the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Commanders in the PYD's armed wing are drawn heavily from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - a separatist group listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. and EU that has waged a three-decade insurgency against Turkey.
    Most of the PYD's victories have been in Kurdish-majority areas, or places where it has otherwise secured the allegiance of local populations.

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Negotiating with Revolutionary Iran - Elliott Abrams (Weekly Standard)
    Bruce Laingen, the American Charge d'Affaires in Tehran in 1979, was involved in difficult negotiations with the then-new revolutionary government of Iran and wrote a cable about negotiating with Iran's new leaders.
    He wrote, "one should insist on performance as the sine qua non at each stage of negotiations. Statements of intent count for almost nothing." Yet our negotiators seem dazzled by Rouhani's soft words.
    Laingen wrote, "cultivation of good will for good will's sake is a waste of effort." Yet our negotiators appear to think good will is a key goal. We like good meetings, earnest exchanges, and expressions of positive intentions.
    Laingen sent his message to the State Department on August 13, 1979. Less than three months later, on November 4, he was one of those seized as a hostage in the U.S. Embassy.
    The writer, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as Deputy National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush.

Hizbullah's Global Footprint - Samuel Rubenfeld (Wall Street Journal)
    According to Matthew Levitt, director of the Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hizbullah's global footprint spans not only the Middle East but Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and even North America.
    Hizbullah's history of targeting Western interests, including American interests, goes back 30 years. Hizbullah is more engaged in international terror today than at any time since the late 1980s.
    Hizbullah receives as much as $200 million a year from Iran, and takes money from some deep-pocketed major donors, but more than anything else, Hizbullah has been more involved in criminal activity than any other terror organization out there.

So Exactly How Did Yasser Arafat Get So Rich? - Frederick Forsyth (Express-UK)
    I have seen acres of breast-beating journalism about Palestinian misery but never an examination into where all the donated money has gone over the years. For this is certain: Arab donors and a generous non-Arab world have donated many billions to the Palestinian cause.
    For example, since the founding of Israel in 1948 literally billions of pounds have been donated to help Gaza's people have a decent life.
    If it had been invested shrewdly and well, Gaza today could be a mini-Monaco. It could have a deepwater freight port, a flourishing fishing port and a leisure harbor crammed with the yachts of wealthy visitors. It could have resort hotels on the sea and farms, ranches and orchards in the hinterland.
    It has nothing of these. It is a failed state of poverty, misery and violence. So what happened to all that money?
    A lot went on guns, explosives for bombs and material to build rockets to launch at Israel. But the bulk has certainly suffered the fate of most wealth in that neck of the woods.
    It has simply been embezzled, not by Israelis but by Palestinians and above all by their leadership cadres.
    The donations continue to flow in... and disappear.

The Conflict Can Be Managed - Ophir Falk (Ynet News)
    The current Palestinian president will not retract his demand for the return of refugees and isn't willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian one.
    Even if the Palestinian leader was willing to compromise, he lacks the legitimacy to do so.
    He is persona non grata in Hamas-held Gaza and almost a decade has passed since he was elected in Ramallah. That weakness binds him to a no-budge position on all the core issues.
    Many international disagreements and border disputes are being managed peacefully, and have been for decades.
    Israel and its Palestinian neighbors can also manage their conflict by agreeing on agreeable issues and agreeing to disagree on issues that are currently unsolvable.
    The earth will not quake if the status quo continues in Jerusalem and if Jews and Palestinians are permitted to continue living where they live.

Israel Beats Guinness Record for Donating Hair to Cancer Patients - Meital Yasur Beit-Or (Israel Hayom)
    Israel has broken the Guinness world record for donating the most hair to cancer victims in a single drive, producing 53.1 kg. (117 pounds) on Monday. The previous Guinness record was 48.7 kg. (107 pounds).
    About 250 women, several of them cancer survivors, arrived at Jerusalem's Malha Mall on Monday to donate their hair.
    The Zichron Menachem Association for the Support of Children with Cancer and their Families organized the drive.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IAEA: No Big Change in Iran Nuclear Work under Rouhani - Fredrik Dahl
    The head of the UN nuclear agency said on Wednesday he saw "no radical change" in Iran's nuclear program in the past three months, roughly since President Hassan Rouhani replaced his combative predecessor. "I can say that enrichment activities are radical change is reported to me," said Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna. Asked whether Iran was continuing the higher-grade enrichment work, Amano said: "That's right."
        The IAEA still wants access to the Parchin military base southeast of Tehran, where it believes nuclear-related explosives tests may have taken place a decade ago, as part of future steps under Monday's agreement to allow access to two other nuclear-related facilities. "We would like to visit Parchin as soon as possible," Amano said. (Reuters)
        See also The IAEA-Iran Agreement: A Placebo? - Ephraim Asculai (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • UN Nuclear Agency Reports Slight Increase in Iran's Uranium Enrichment Program - George Jahn
    After years of rapid progress, Iran's uranium enrichment program expanded at only a slight pace, as did construction on a reactor that will produce substantial amounts of plutonium once completed, the UN atomic agency said Thursday in a report. It said Iran's stockpile of uranium enriched to 20% grew by about 10 kg. since the August report to total a little less than 200 kg., about 50 kg. less than the amount needed for a nuclear bomb. Iran installed only 4 additional centrifuges at its main enrichment facility since August, compared to 1,800 between May and August. (AP)
        See also Text: IAEA Report on Iran, November 14, 2013
    "The rate of production of UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 remains similar to that indicated in the previous report; the amount of nuclear material that remains in the form of UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 is 7154.3 kg. The rates of production of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 remain similar to those indicated in the previous report; the further processing of such material has continued; the amount of material that remains in the form of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 is approximately 196 kg."  (IAEA-ISIS)
        See also Netanyahu "Not Impressed" by UN Report on Iranian Nuclear Slowdown
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday: "I'm not impressed with the reports that we hear that Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities. And the reason for that is they don't need to. They've got enough facilities, enough centrifuges, to develop and to complete the fissile material which is at the core of an atomic bomb. They have that, and the test today is not whether they add to the capacity they already have. The question is will the international community roll back what they have. 'Roll back' means that they dismantle centrifuges and that's not included in the proposed deal in Geneva."
        "People say: 'If we don't strike this bad deal with Iran, Iran will walk away from the deal.' Well, I have news for you. They're not going to walk away from this deal. It's a dream deal for them. In fact what has to be done is to get a good deal for us, not for Iran. A good deal for security; a good deal for peace. And you're not going to achieve that with smiles; you're going to achieve that with pressure - sustained pressure of sanctions. That's what's required....But I guarantee you one thing. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Kerry: Nuclear Deal with Iran Will Be "Failsafe," Iran Will Have No Nuclear Weapons Capability
    Secretary of State John Kerry told MSNBC on Thursday that the Obama administration wants time to negotiate a deal with Iran that would protect Israel, U.S. interests and the region and "guarantee, failsafe, that Iran will not be able to have a nuclear weapon." Kerry said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assure him that the U.S. understands Israel's deep concerns about Iran's nuclear program. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Text: Secretary of State Kerry on MSNBC (State Department)
  • Israel: Sanctions Relief Worth Up to $40 Billion to Iran - Maayan Lubell
    A sanctions relief package offered to Iran as part of nuclear negotiations could be worth up to $40 billion to Tehran, or 40% of the impact of the sanctions, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday. Steinitz said Israel believed the sanctions put in place by the U.S. and EU last year cost Iran's economy around $100 billion per year, or nearly a quarter of its output.
        "The sanctions relief directly will reduce between $15 to 20 billion out of this amount," Steinitz told the Jerusalem Press Club on Wednesday. He said that the proposed changes would also make it more difficult to enforce other sanctions, providing a total benefit to Tehran of up to $40 billion. "It's not the core sanctions about oil exports and the banking system, but it's very significant relief for the Iranians."  (Reuters)
        See also U.S. Offering $10 Billion in Sanctions Relief - Eli Lake and Josh Rogin
    The U.S. is prepared to allow Iran to recoup up to $10 billion in revenues lost to sanctions, according to a U.S. government estimate of sanctions relief proposed at Geneva. (Daily Beast)
  • Egypt Hosts Top Russian Officials, a Sign It Is Turning Further Away from Alliance with U.S. - Erin Cunningham
    Egypt edged further away from its traditional place within the U.S. sphere of influence Thursday, hosting Russia's foreign and defense ministers in the highest-level talks between the two countries in years. The visit, which included discussions on strengthening military ties and diplomatic efforts on Syria, challenged the U.S. position as Egypt's primary benefactor and was seen as a diplomatic swipe at Cairo's increasingly estranged Western ally. (Washington Post)
        See also Egypt Not Replacing U.S. with Russia as Top Ally - Maggie Michael
    Egypt's foreign minister sought to downplay speculation of a major foreign policy shift, saying during a rare top-level Russian visit on Thursday that Cairo wants to boost ties with Moscow and not replace the U.S. as its key ally. The remarks by Nabil Fahmy came after talks with his visiting counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Russia's defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, whose presence has set off rumors of an arms deal in the making. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Poll: Israeli Public Backs Netanyahu in Dispute with U.S. over Iran - Herb Keinon
    According to an Israel Radio poll reported on Thursday, 40% of the Israeli public believes Prime Minister Netanyahu's criticism of U.S. policy on Iran was both justified and in the right measure. Another 22% feel the criticism was legitimate but exaggerated, while only 9% said the criticism was not justified.
        55% said Israel could not count on the U.S. to worry about its security concerns in the negotiations with the Iranians, while 31% said Israel could rely on the U.S. (Jerusalem Post)
  • In Response to Palestinian Mortar Fire, IDF Destroys Two Rocket Launchers in Gaza - Adiv Sterman and Stuart Winer
    The Israeli Air Force destroyed two hidden rocket launchers in northern Gaza Thursday in response to mortar fire aimed at IDF soldiers earlier in the day. The IDF said that Hamas would be held accountable for any future attacks on Israel. (Times of Israel)
        See also A Year after the Gaza Operation - Josef Federman
    A year after a bruising Israeli offensive in Gaza, southern Israel has sprung back to life, and the frequent rocket fire that once plagued the region has nearly stopped after Hamas agreed to stop rocket fire against Israel. "We are still living on a hostile border," said Chaim Yelin, head of the Eshkol regional council, which straddles the border with Gaza. Just a few kilometers away, thousands of Hamas security men staged a massive military parade in Gaza in a powerful show of strength.
        Israel launched its offensive on Nov. 14, 2012, responding to an upsurge in rocket fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The operation began with an airstrike that killed Hamas' military leader, Ahmad Jabari. Eight days of intense fighting ensued in which Israel carried out some 1,500 airstrikes and Hamas and other armed groups fired a similar number of rockets into Israel. Some 161 Palestinians and 5 Israelis were killed before an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire took hold.
        Alon Davidi, the mayor of Sderot, a battle-scarred border town that has absorbed thousands of rockets over the years, said, "On one side, thank God, we feel that things are quieter, and that we can trust the Israeli government and the army to do what it takes to protect us. On the other hand, we feel that at any time everything could blow up and can turn us back into a conflict zone." Brig. Gen. Mickey Edelstein, the Israeli military's Gaza division commander, said the period of quiet is the result of Israeli deterrence, not a change in Hamas' attitudes. (AP)
        See also Protecting Israel: One Year Since Operation Pillar of Defense (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A New Wave of Palestinian Violence - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The murder of IDF soldier Eden Atias in Afula on Wednesday is part of a wave of Palestinian violence that has been increasing since the summer. This is not mass violence but rather a new phenomenon whose characteristics and motives must be understood in order to form a response. The most common and widespread part of this phenomenon is what the Palestinians refer to as "popular resistance" - especially hurling rocks and firebombs, mainly at Israeli residents of the West Bank. The second part of this phenomenon - the one which saw the murder of Eden Atias - involves acts of murder carried out by individuals driven by nationalistic and emotional motives.
        These murderers draw legitimacy from the Palestinian environment they live in. Statements made by senior Palestinian officials as well as by officials in the international arena against Israel create an atmosphere encouraging the "popular resistance." We must demand that Abbas order his people to condemn these acts much more actively. Moreover, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry must think twice before he warns the Israeli government and citizens in public against a third intifada if the negotiations with the Palestinians fail. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Iran's Record of Deception - Robert Menendez
    We all aspire for a diplomatic resolution resulting in a peaceful and verifiable termination of Iran's nuclear weapons program. But we cannot substitute wild-eyed hope for clear-eyed pragmatism given Iran's record of deception. A so-called Iranian charm offensive is simultaneously matched by an actual offensive to cross the nuclear weapons threshold.
        Tougher sanctions will serve as an incentive for Iran to verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program. When Iran complies, sanctions can be unwound and economic relief will follow. It's a necessary insurance policy, too. Should Iran fail to negotiate in good faith or abide by any agreement, the penalties will be severe.
        Congress is appropriately pursuing sanctions that the P5+1 powers have long supported, letting the Iranians know what awaits if it continues its to-date unabated pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (USA Today)
  • Will Geneva Accord Facilitate Iranian Regional Hegemony? - Patrick Clawson and Mehdi Khalaji
    Israel has good reason to worry that the economic sanctions will be eased, reducing the pressure on Iran such that whatever the West presents as the first temporary step is never followed by another step, meaning that Tehran never accepts more limits on its nuclear program. Saudi Arabia has equally solid grounds to worry that, in return for a nuclear deal, Iran would get a free hand to pursue its hegemonic agenda in the region and consolidate its influence in Syria and Iraq. And Iranian democrats are right to fear that any accord with the West would herald renewed vigor for the Islamic Republic. Patrick Clawson is director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow. (Washington Post)
  • For France, Arak Is a Deal Killer - Meir Javedanfar
    As important as trying to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran is, it is as important if not more important that such a deal creates confidence on both sides. Building the Arak heavy-water reactor, which could produce plutonium to make a bomb, while the talks continue, fails to create confidence; it does the opposite. It creates the impression that Iran is interested in maintaining the option of making a bomb. The Iranian regime has not allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the site since 2011.
        The demand for a halt of construction of Arak is fair and logical. Iran believes that imposing new sanctions during talks undermines them and hurts confidence. So does building of a reactor that could produce bomb-making plutonium. The writer, an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst, teaches contemporary Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. (Al-Monitor)
  • Armed and Dangerous: Why a Rational, Nuclear Iran Is an Unacceptable Risk to Israel - Steven R. David
    In truth, the Iranian leadership is rational but under some conditions is likely to be willing to use nuclear weapons. History is full of examples of rational leaders who, when faced with the end of their regimes, did not hesitate to seek the mass destruction of all perceived enemies.
        Israel cannot rely on deterrence and needs to emphasize policies that assume that Iran will not be deterred. Israel must be prepared to launch a military strike to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. If that approach is rejected, Israel must focus on ballistic missile defense, give serious thought to disarming a nascent Iranian nuclear capability, and be ready to preempt an Iranian attack.
        Unless and until Iran matches Rouhani's rhetoric with actions that deprive Iran of the capability of producing nuclear weapons, the threat of a nuclear armed Iran behaving recklessly remains. The writer is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • No Natural Right to Enrich Uranium - Editorial
    Mohammed Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, rejected the proposed agreement in Geneva because it did not grant to Iran a "right" to enrich uranium. There can be no inherent or natural right to enrich uranium. Iran is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is in violation of it. Although the treaty does say that the parties have an inalienable right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, that passage is unmistakably set inside the framework of the treaty as a whole. And that treaty is about restricting the spread of nuclear weapons.
        The NPT requires the parties to enter into agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish safeguards and provide verification that they are in compliance. Iran's unwillingness to provide anything approaching adequate verification makes it eminently suspect. Consequently, the country is not allowed to keep enriching uranium or plutonium. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Why Iran's Military Won't Spoil Detente with the U.S. - Akbar Ganji
    It is fair to assume that any deal between Iran and the U.S. to freeze Iran's nuclear program will be greeted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with cries of "Death to America!" At the same time, any hope that the Revolutionary Guards have of playing the spoiler in a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement will be undermined by the fact that the force is implacably divided against itself, between those who are dead set against closer relations with the U.S. and those who are likely to support a deal.
        Although the Guards were founded as an ideological organization, they have become vastly more pragmatic as they've acquired more power. The Guards are among the country's most important economic actors and many Guardsmen are aware that they stand to gain much more if Iran strengthens its ties to the rest of the world. Companies controlled by the Guards would likely win a lion's share of new foreign investment. But that would require reaching some sort of accommodation with the U.S. on the nuclear program. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Iran: Deal in the Making, or Persian Carpet Ride? - Chuck Freilich
    The best estimates today put Iran as little as two months from having enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb, but it is clear to all that Iran is almost there and disagreement is about months, not years. A diplomatic deal is clearly preferable for all sides, none more than Israel, which will be left with only two options should the negotiations fail: living with a nuclear Iran through a policy of deterrence, or a military strike, neither of which is a particularly attractive alternative.
        It is far from clear that Israel would be willing to accept the first option, even as part of a broader American strategy of deterrence and containment, and a military strike will likely achieve no more than a two to three year postponement of the Iranian program; Iran already has the technology and the various installations could be rebuilt within this period of time.
        Most analysts appear to believe today that a complete dismantlement of the Iranian nuclear program is not achievable, and that if we are to reach any agreement that caps and rolls it back, but does not completely eliminate it, Iran will have to be allowed to retain an enrichment capability at the civil level. For Israel the stakes are existential, but a perfect agreement may be the enemy of a problematic but acceptable one.
        A favorable final agreement that not only the P5+1 but Israel and the Sunni Arab states could live with would have to ensure that Iran remains at least two to three years from a breakout capability, hopefully a sufficient amount of time for the international community to respond to a renewed Iranian nuclear program. The writer, a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, was a deputy national-security adviser in Israel. (National Interest)

  • Other Issues

  • Israelis Don't Scare Easily, Mr. Kerry - Moshe Arens
    Secretary of State John Kerry warned last week that unless Israel reaches an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, it will face renewed Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians - another intifada. Israel has been through two intifadas, and succeeded in putting them both down. It has shown that terror can be defeated. It is a lesson that has been absorbed by those Palestinians who engaged in and supported terror activities.
        To attempt to scare Israel into agreeing to Abbas' demands is certainly not conducive to the continuation of the talks. Most important of all, Israelis don't scare easily. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel vs. the Iran-Hizbullah Axis - Yaakov Lappin
    In southern Lebanon and the Beka'a Valley in eastern Lebanon, Hizbullah is pointing over 80,000 rockets and missiles at Israel, representing a new level of threat to the Israeli home front. The scale of Hizbullah's offensive arsenal has been made possible by Iranian funding, arms shipments, and use of Syria as a transit route.
        In Israel, a military response to this challenge is being prepared, designed to quickly deliver a devastating knock-out blow to Hizbullah. The IDF plans to implement a combination of unprecedented air power capabilities and a swift ground maneuver to eliminate Hizbullah as a fighting force for years to come. This approach is predicated on new intelligence resources, and an air force strike power - which has not yet been used to full capacity - that enables fighter jets to destroy hundreds of targets a day with precision-guided bombs.
        The ground forces have been preparing for a new conflict with Hizbullah by drilling a blitz invasion of southern Lebanon and the destruction of Hizbullah infrastructure using a massive combination of tanks, infantry, artillery, and the engineering corps. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Israel Increasingly Courting China as an Ally - Dan Levin
    As an Israeli diplomat, Dore Gold has sat down with Palestinian negotiators in search of that elusive solution to the Middle East conflict. But the shifting tides of geopolitical power brought Mr. Gold to China this month, where he found himself hosting a Sabbath dinner with guests not traditionally invited to this Jewish gathering: Chinese officials.
        That Mr. Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, was in Beijing explaining the Hebrew prayer for wine and the need for defensible borders to Chinese military brass reflects a growing desire by Jerusalem to bring a rising China over to Israel's side of the negotiating table on Iran and the Palestinians.
        He was joined in Beijing by retired Gen. Uzi Dayan, a former deputy chief of staff for the Israel Defense Forces and a former national security adviser. Together they spent several days meeting with Chinese military officers, becoming the first Israelis to speak at the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
        The Israelis came prepared with materials translated into Chinese, vital for an audience largely unfamiliar with the details of Israel's security requirements. That meant framing the situation in ways the Chinese could understand, like a map of 263-mile-long Israel juxtaposed on a map of China. At one meeting a Chinese official asked Gold: "Who is Israel with, the United States or us?" "I was very clear in my discussions with the Chinese that the United States and Israel are allies," Gold said. "But nothing in international affairs says you can only be friendly with one state."  (New York Times)

  • Weekend Feature

  • Canada's Greatest World War 2 Air Ace Also Hailed as Hero in Israel - Nelson Wyatt
    Flight Lt. George (Buzz) Beurling, Canada's deadliest air ace in the Second World War, earned the nickname "the Falcon of Malta" after his eagle eyes and quick trigger finger sent a record number of attacking German and Italian pilots spinning to the ground in flames. Hailed in Canada for racking up 31 aerial dogfight kills, he's also a hero in Israel after signing up to fight in that country's 1948 War of Independence.
        In 1948 he was sought out by the Arabs, who offered him large amounts of money to train their pilots, but he turned them down because his sympathies lay with Israel, though he was not Jewish. The Israelis were reluctant to take him on, however, because he had been approached by the Arabs.
        Former RCAF ace Sydney Shulemson, who was locating planes and recruiting pilots for the fledgling Israeli Air Force at the time, said that Beurling quoted Bible passages when he asked him why he wanted to fly for the emerging state. He replied he believed the Jewish people were supposed to go back to Israel. "He wanted to be part of it," Shulemson said.
        George Beurling was finally accepted and was to teach tactics to Israeli recruits. One of his first duties was to ferry a new aircraft to Israel from Italy. The plane burst into flames shortly after getting airborne on May 20, 1948. The Canadian government asked his family if they wanted to return him to Canada at their expense. They opted to go with a heartfelt offer from Israel saying it would be their honor to inter the pilot in their country because he was an "inspiration." He was laid to rest in Haifa and is still honored by the Israeli military decades after his death. (Canadian Press)

The U.S. Can Lead the Free World and Still Write Off the Middle East - Martin Kramer (Commentary)

  • We have become used to the notion that U.S. preeminence in the world and the Middle East is a constant. But it isn't so. The simple truth is that Israel cannot rely on the U.S. to do just the right thing at just the right time. That's at the heart of the crisis of confidence between the U.S. and Israel over Iran.
  • More than six years ago, before Obama even declared his candidacy, I told the Conference of Presidents that "America's era in the Middle East will end one day," and that "it is possible that in twenty years' time, America will be less interested and engaged in the Middle East. What is our Plan B then?"
  • Obama accelerated that timetable, but the long-term trend has been clear for years. The U.S. can lead the Free World and still write off the Middle East, which isn't part of it. That's precisely the mood in America today.
  • Israel and the U.S. have had an extraordinary run. But history stands still for no people. However enamored we are of the status quo, Israel needs a Plan B.
  • The State of Israel must be agile enough to survive a power outage of any ally. Israel's future depends upon its ability to read the changing map of the world, to register the ebb and flow of global power, and to adapt as necessary.
  • Let us pray for the perpetuation of America's power to do good in the world. Let us prepare for something less.

    The writer, President of Shalem College in Jerusalem, is former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.
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