Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert Mobile
January 2, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Security Center Publishes Names of 50 Killed Terrorists "Concealed by Hamas" - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center on Thursday released the names of 50 Gazan terrorists killed in combat with Israel this summer, whose identities were kept by Hamas from Palestinian casualty lists.
    All of the combatant casualties were members of Hamas' Izzadin Kassam Brigades.
    According to the study, 52% of Palestinian casualties from the conflict were terrorists and 48% civilians.
    "We believe that the 50 names identified by us represent a partial list and that there were many other terrorists whose names are not included in the various casualty lists," the center said.
    Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of the center, urged international bodies that cite Palestinian casualty lists to be wary, calling such lists "not serious."

Report: Egypt Demands Extradition from Gaza of 13 Hamas Terrorists - Adnan Abu Amer (Al-Monitor)
    Egyptian media outlets reported that Cairo threatened to cut ties with Hamas on Dec. 26 unless 13 accused members of the movement were extradited to Egypt.
    The 13 were accused of involvement in armed operations in Egypt, and allegedly, Egyptian authorities have insisted that extradition proceedings must conclude before they consider improving relations with Hamas.

76,000 People Died in Syria's Civil War in 2014 - Rick Gladstone and Mohammad Ghannam (New York Times)
    More than 76,000 people died in Syria's civil war in 2014, including 17,790 civilians, among them 3,501 children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday - making it the deadliest year since the conflict began in March 2011.

Christians in Gaza Fear Future - Kim Sengupta (Independent-UK)
    There are just over 2,200 Christians left in Gaza. Some have become more guarded about speaking about their religion so as not to "provoke" Muslim hardliners: Christmas celebrations this year have been markedly more muted.
    Daoud, a businessman, said: "We hear Daesh [ISIS] are in Gaza. There are warnings, we avoid some places....When times are bad, people want scapegoats."
    Jessica Mattas, 17, is one of five students out of 1,200 at high school who do not wear a hijab. "There is a group of Muslim girls who daily ask me to convert and say I should cover my head," she said.
    "I would love to live in a country where everyone just accepted each other's religion. That would be wonderful."

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Publisher HarperCollins Omits Israel from School Atlas "to Meet Local Preferences"  (Telegraph-UK)
    HarperCollins, one of the world's largest publishing houses, sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit Israel.
    "The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel's belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world," said Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs.
    However, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, said that including Israel would have been "unacceptable" to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated "local preferences."
    See also Publisher Apologizes for Omitting Israel from Atlas (HarperCollins-Facebook)
    HarperCollins issued the following statement Wednesday:
    HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped.
    HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offense caused.

Albert Einstein's Papers Online - Allan Levine (National Post-Canada)
    This month, a joint project between Hebrew University, Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology has published thousands of Albert Einstein's letters and papers online, with many translated into English.
    The documents provide a fascinating insight into the awakening of his Jewish identity and his support for Zionism.
    See also The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein (Princeton University)

38 Female Israel Air Force Pilots - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
    Over the past 20 years, 38 women have received pilots' wings, the IDF weekly Bamahane reported.
    There are 16 combat navigators, 3 combat pilots, 7 helicopter pilots, and 12 cargo pilots and navigators, including a deputy squadron commander.

Israeli High-Tech Sector Booming - Tzahi Hoffman (Globes)
    2014 was a peak year for Israeli high-tech in almost every parameter: financing, stock exchange offerings, exits, and demand for programmers.
    High-tech accounted for a third of Israel's economic growth.
    A comparison of high-tech salaries in Israel with overseas salaries shows that the average salary difference for most jobs was insignificant.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East
    Explore all back issues of Daily Alert - since May 2002.

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Joining International Criminal Court Wouldn't Guarantee Palestinians a War Crimes Case - Jodi Rudoren
    Legal scholars said the UN estimate that about 1,500 civilians were killed in Gaza [Israeli experts say the figure is much lower] might not meet the International Criminal Court's threshold for "unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity."
        Michael P. Scharf, dean of Case Western Reserve University law school, said that past cases "involved hundreds of thousands or at least tens of thousands of deaths," and that the court "requires that they be committed as part of a policy or plan, and not simply incidental to attacks on enemy targets." Scharf said any action in The Hague was "likely to unfold over a period of several years," if at all. Gaza "is not a case the ICC prosecutor is eager to take on, given its immense geopolitical implications."
        Israel, like the U.S., is not a member of the International Criminal Court, but Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told Israel Radio Thursday, "the arena is not just The Hague. If they want to open up the legal arena, Israel has many tools." Citing cases in which victims' families have sued Iran in American courts for sponsoring terrorism, he added, "if there is property belonging to the Palestinian Authority in the United States and the Palestinian Authority is involved in terror attacks against Israeli citizens, we can help them with claims all over the world."  (New York Times)
  • Israel Faces New Diplomatic Battle over Palestinian ICC Move - Nasser Abu Bakr
    After the Palestinians took steps to join the International Criminal Court, unnamed Israeli government officials quoted in Yediot Ahronot said the Palestinians had "declared diplomatic war" on the Jewish state.
        "The Palestinian intention to turn to the International Criminal Court is an act of belligerence," said Daniel Reisner, former Head of the IDF International Law Branch. "This opens up a new theater of war between Israel and the Palestinians," he said, with fellow commentator Amos Yadlin, director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, agreeing. (AFP)
  • Nigeria Abstained on Palestinian UN Vote - Romoke W. Ahmad
    A last-minute decision by Nigeria to abstain from voting at the UN Security Council Tuesday helped defeat a resolution calling for a Palestinian state. A source at the Nigeria permanent office in New York said Nigeria, which has recognized the state of Palestine since 1984, still maintains the same foreign policy on the issue. "Nigeria has been calling for balance of opinion and policy between Palestine and Israel so that it will not be seen as being one sided on the issue, because Israel has been supporting Nigeria in the fight against terrorism and so Nigeria has to be careful on the side it takes," he said. (Daily Trust-Nigeria)
        See also Australia Votes Against Palestinian UN Resolution on Israel - Daniel Flitton
    Australia joined the U.S. as the only two countries to vote against the Palestinian UN resolution in New York on Tuesday. Australia's representative Gary Quinlan said the proposed text "lacks balance and seeks to impose a solution put forward by one party alone." Quinlan said Australia remained committed to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Australia completed its two-year term on the Security Council in December. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Palestinian Authority Is an Entity Allied with a Terror Group, Not a State - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority's appeal to the International Criminal Court should be rejected out of hand, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. "We expect the International Criminal Court to completely reject the hypocritical act by the Palestinian Authority, because the Palestinian Authority is not a state. It is an entity in an alliance with a terrorist organization, Hamas, that commits war crimes."
        "The State of Israel is a nation of laws with a moral army that upholds international law. We will defend the soldiers of the IDF just as they defend us."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Who Stabbed Two Israeli Policemen in Jerusalem Arrested in Ramallah
    Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man in Ramallah in the West Bank on Friday, suspected of last week's stabbing incident in Jerusalem's Old City which injured two Border Police officers. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians Firebomb Jewish Homes in Jerusalem - Lazar Berman
    Palestinians threw three firebombs at buildings in the Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Ma'ale Hazeitim on the Mount of Olives Thursday night. Light damage was caused, but no one was injured in the attack, Israel Radio reported. On Saturday evening, an apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv was firebombed. (Times of Israel)
  • Tension between Hamas Military and Political Wings - Yoni Ben Menachem
    On Dec. 14, 2014, al-Arabi al-Jadeed reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu contacted Egyptian President al-Sissi with a request to open contacts with Hamas for the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers Capt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who died in the summer Gaza war. On Dec. 23, 2014, Mahmoud Nazal, a member of the Hamas political bureau, claimed that the movement is holding live Israeli prisoners.
        These statements angered prominent military leaders of Hamas' Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who said that any discussion about Israeli prisoners would be up to the movement's military leadership. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas Government Employees Strike over Expected Job Losses
    Employees of the former Hamas-run government in Gaza went on strike Wednesday in protest of a recent announcement that the Palestinian Authority did not guarantee their positions under the new unity government. On Tuesday, the unity government pledged to rehire tens of thousands of PA workers laid off seven years ago, potentially threatening the livelihood of the 50,000 people Hamas hired to replace them. The Hamas employees have not been paid in seven months, while the PA workers laid off in 2007 have remained on the PA payroll. (Ma'an News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    International Criminal Court

  • ICC Route Is Strewn with Complex Legal Obstacles - Raphael Ahren
    Those who are familiar with the workings of The Hague-based International Criminal Court know that the route to convicting Israelis for war crimes is long and complicated. According to some experts, it is unlikely that the ICC would even launch criminal proceedings against prominent Israelis. Even if it did, and eventually issued indictments, it would take many years before any convictions were handed down.
        Contrary to what some headlines have suggested, Abbas will not be able to sue Israel at the ICC. Only the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, can decide who gets indicted. She is by no means obligated to do that, and might decide not to touch the issue at all.
        "I assume that they will start a preliminary examination," said Robbie Sabel, a professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "But the prosecution will soon find that it's an entirely political issue, and...the prosecutor will be reluctant to proceed with an actual criminal investigation."
        Having to deal with complaints at the ICC is an unwanted headache, but one Israel might find itself able to live with. (Times of Israel)
        See also The International Criminal Court: What You Need to Know - Shreeya Sinha
    American diplomats have repeatedly warned the Palestinians that joining the International Criminal Court would lead to sanctions. The U.S. and Israel argue that such unilateral actions before a negotiated solution that would establish a permanent Palestinian state are a violation of the Oslo Accords. (New York Times)

  • Iran

  • Iran's Strategic Priorities Remain Intact - Majid Rafizadeh
    Economic duress is not likely to fundamentally shift Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions, as well as alter the stance of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the senior cadre of Iran's Revolutionary Guards towards their top regional strategic priorities.
        History has shown that even when Iran's economy became chaotic a few years ago, Tehran's stance towards supporting Assad, boosting Hizbullah, influencing the ruling Iraqi Shiite coalition, and continuing its nuclear program did not alter. Even with the economic challenges, Iran is planning to increase its defense spending and IRGC budget by 50%.
        The gap between the Islamic Republic's demands on its nuclear program and those of the West's (primarily the U.S.) is too deep to bridge. A final nuclear deal in July 2015 is unlikely. The writer is an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar at Harvard University. (Al Arabiya)
  • Iran Should Confront Its Own Racism - Michael Rubin
    In recent days, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has taken to his Twitter feed to condemn American racism. The Islamic Republic of Iran is today among the world's most racist and religiously intolerant countries. Culturally, many Iranians look down upon all the other peoples surrounding them.
        Whereas Iran once counted Baha'is among its cultural and economic elite, Revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini and Khamenei, his successor, have ushered in an era of state-sanctioned religious discrimination. And let us not forget all of the Christian pastors whom the Khamenei regime has murdered. Of course, Jews also suffer at the hands of Khamenei's regime. The Jewish community is just 20% of what it was before Khomeini seized power.
        Nor has Khamenei showed particular enlightenment toward blacks, either in his own country or abroad. When President Obama won election in November 2008, the Iranian press dismissed him as a "house slave." Jomhuri-ye Eslami dismissed Obama as merely "a black immigrant."
        In Iran, speaking openly about anti-Semitism, discrimination against Christians and Baha'is, seeking justice for Afghans, or preventing discrimination against minorities like the Baluch or Kurds will lead to lengthy jail terms. It's time to call Khamenei out on his racism and bias. He is an embarrassment to what Iran could and should be. The writer, a former Pentagon official, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Commentary)
  • Ayatollah Khomeini and the Jews - Roya Hakakian
    In the early days of Iran's 1979 revolution, after the murder of leading Jewish industrialist Habib Elghanian, the Jewish community's leaders visited Ayatollah Khomeini on May 10 in the hopes of receiving his personal guarantee about their safety. Two rabbis and four young intellectuals sympathetic to the revolutionary cause were selected for the task.
        The ayatollah said: "In the holy Quran, Moses...has been mentioned more than any other prophet....Moses would have nothing to do with these pharaoh-like Zionists who run Israel. And our Jews, the descendants of Moses, have nothing to do with them either. We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless, bloodsucking Zionists." By nightfall, the words: "We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless Zionists! - Imam Khomeini" was painted on the walls of every synagogue, Hebrew school, and kosher butcher.
        Yet the sea change of laws that swept through the country since 1979 has made it impossible for Jews, or any non-Shiite people, to thrive. There were more than 100,000 Jews living in Iran in the 1970s. Today, no more than 10,000 continue to live there. The writer is a scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. (Tablet)

  • Other Issues

  • Saudi King in Hospital: Succession Crisis Looms - Simon Henderson
    The official announcement that King Abdullah, 91, had been taken to a Riyadh hospital suggests serious concern about the health of the monarch, who uses a walker. Theoretically, his successor would be his half brother Crown Prince Salman, who is 78. But Salman's brain is evidently ravaged by dementia. Visitors report that after a few minutes of conversation, he becomes incoherent. The fact that he appears in public at all is attributed to the ambition of his closest relatives that he should become king.
        A power vacuum in Riyadh following the death or extended hospitalization of the Saudi monarch will prompt concern in international capitals. The U.S. will need to emphasize the importance of competent leadership emerging quickly. The writer is director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • BDS Successes and Failures - Alexander H. Joffe
    The end of the fall academic semester saw continued BDS successes in academic organizations but failures in other areas. However, the larger BDS success is inculcating the idea among students that every choice of hummus or carbonated water is a supreme ethical decision that must be made against Israel in order to fit into university culture. (Scholars For Peace in the Middle East)

  • Weekend Features

  • Wounded U.S. Army Vet Volunteers to Help Israel - B. Christopher Agee
    Retired U.S. Army SSG Brian Mast served his nation for 12 years before losing both legs fighting in Afghanistan. He will be traveling to Israel on Jan. 10 to help the Israeli Defense Forces as a Sar-El volunteer. He said his motivation to go to Israel was triggered when he witnessed anti-Israel demonstrations on the campus of Harvard University, where he is a full-time student.
        "This past summer I was there studying," he said. "I saw the anti-Israeli protest in the face of the attempted indiscriminate bombardment of Israel. It was then that I decided I needed to find a way to go help however I can and however [Israel] would have me....The biggest threat against America, I believe, is also the biggest threat against Israel."  (Western Journalism)
  • Israeli Startup Turns Air into Water - Nadan Feldman
    Water-Gen has developed equipment that manufactures clean drinking water from the air and from polluted water quickly, efficiently and cheaply in almost any climate and with a minimal use of energy and electricity.
        Some 80% of the world's population lives in regions with inadequate supplies of water. Water pollution and the diseases it transmits are the single largest cause of death in the world.
        "We provide 10 times more water for the same kilowatt unit, and five times more than any similar device that ever existed," says founder Arye Kohavi. "When I was a company commander in a reconnaissance unit in the Israel Defense Forces, the issue of supplying water to front line forces interested me a lot. You're in Lebanon or Gaza and you have no water, so they have to supply you with it by convoys or by helicopter. The problem weighed on me for over 20 years until a solution started to take shape." "We sell our devices to seven armies, without a competitor in the world."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Nazi Diary Reveals Brutal Tactics Employed Against Lodz Jews - Kobi Nachshoni
    A Nazi diary containing meticulous documentation of day-to-day life in the Lodz ghetto during World War II was recently uncovered by the Shem Olam Institute for Education, Documentation and Research on Faith and the Holocaust, it was reported Thursday. (Ynet News)

The UN Vote on Palestine Was a Rehearsal - John Bolton (Wall Street Journal)

  • Long-standing Palestinian efforts to use the UN to achieve internationally recognized statehood status failed by one vote on Wednesday. Nonetheless, a pro-Palestinian majority may soon exist. The White House sent strong signals to the media and U.S. allies that Mr. Obama, wary of offending Arab countries, was reluctant to veto any resolution favoring a Palestinian state.
  • Even this administration asserts that a permanent resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict requires direct negotiations and agreements among the parties themselves. No draft resolution contrary to these precepts should be acceptable to the U.S., or worth wasting time on in the diplomatic pursuit of a more moderate version.
  • This American view, advocated for years and backed by resolute threats to veto anything that contradicted it, has previously dissuaded the Palestinians from blue-smoke-and-mirror projects in the Security Council.
  • It is precisely the administration's audible heart palpitations about negative Arab reactions to a possible U.S. veto that encouraged the Palestinian Authority and its supporters to plunge ahead.
  • The Obama administration can only prevent what it dreads by openly embracing a veto strategy, hoping thereby to dissuade pro-Palestinian states from directly confronting the U.S. And if that fails, the veto should be cast firmly and resolutely, as we normally advocate our principles, not apologetically.
  • As so often before on Middle Eastern issues, a veto would neither surprise nor offend most Arab governments. If the administration had courage enough to make clear that a veto was inevitable, it would minimize whatever collateral damage might ensue in Arab lands.

    The writer, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.