The English Jew Saving Syria's Christians - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)
Christianity, whose presence in the Middle East predates Islam's by 600 years, is about to be cleansed from the Middle East.
Most endangered are the Christians of Syria. Four years ago they numbered about 1.1 million. By now 700,000 have fled, as the larger Christian world looks on passively.
Three weeks ago, 150 Syrian Christians were airlifted to refuge and safety in Poland by the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund. The objective is to rescue 2,000 families.
The person behind all this is Lord George Weidenfeld, 95. In 1938, still a teenager, he was brought from Vienna to London where the Plymouth Brethren took him in and provided for him.
He is trying to return the kindness, he explains, to repay the good that Christians did for him 77 years ago.
Report: Hamas Focusing on Terror Attacks from West Bank after High Casualties in Gaza War (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas will not return to open war with Israel until it obtains anti-aircraft missiles to prevent Israel air force attacks on its positions, Al Hayat quoted sources in Gaza as saying on Tuesday.
The sources said Hamas learned during last summer's war that the cost of engaging in direct confrontation with the IDF was not worth it, and that it will instead focus on carrying out terror attacks originating in the West Bank.
UAE Ground Troops Join Yemen Fight - Saeed al-Batati and Kareem Fahim (New York Times)
The United Arab Emirates has sent a military brigade that landed in the port city of Aden to aid fighters battling Houthi rebels in Yemen, senior U.S. military officials said Monday.
Israel Air Force Completes Helicopter Training Exercise in Greece - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Dozens of Israel Air force helicopter crews gained valuable flight experience in mountainous terrain during an 11-day exercise in Greece in July.
Scenarios included rescuing downed pilots and airlifting ground units.
Israeli Vets Save Samuni the Lion - Viva Sarah Press (Israel21c)
Samuni, an eight-year-old lion living at the Zoological Center of Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan (Safari), had a large growth on his stomach which veterinarians removed on July 29.
"Every lion is extremely important for us here at the Safari and we will do everything we can to care for them and give them a quality life," said Safari spokesperson Sagit Horowitz, "even though it is extremely difficult to anesthetize a lion."
Israel's Nice Systems Sells Video Surveillance Unit for $100 Million - Steven Scheer (Reuters)
Israeli software provider Nice Systems is selling its video surveillance technologies unit to private equity firm Battery Ventures for up to $100 million.
Nice seeks to focus more on its analytical software that enables companies to spot fraud and fend off security threats. The firm is betting on its abilities to mine through big data to drive growth.
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- Obama Tries to Reassure American Jewish Leaders on Iran - Kevin Liptak, Deirdre Walsh and Jim Acosta
President Barack Obama tried to persuade a group of 22 American Jewish leaders to back his recent nuclear deal with Iran at a Tuesday White House meeting that was at times contentious, according to participants. Several Jewish leaders confronted Obama on his recent comments that opposing the Iran deal is tantamount to supporting war with Iran - and made a direct appeal that the debate over the Iran nuclear accord not be framed that way.
Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) officially endorsed the agreement, while Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Nita Lowey (D-NY), ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee, all said they would not support the deal.
See also below Observations - Netanyahu: I Oppose Iran Deal Because I Want to Prevent War, and This Deal Will Bring War (Prime Minister's Office)
- U.S. Likely to Intervene in Palestinian Terror Case - Eric Tucker
The U.S. government is moving closer to intervening in a civil case over deadly Palestinian terror attacks as Justice and State Department officials met Tuesday with victims' families. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Kent Yalowitz, said the U.S. was "considering putting a thumb on the scale" because the Palestinian government opposes the jury verdict.
At issue is $218.5 million in damages awarded by a New York jury in February for attacks that killed 33 people and wounded hundreds more - a penalty that lawyers say would be automatically tripled under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, but that the State Department fears could weaken the stability of the Palestinian government. "The Palestinians got a fair trial. The judgment was foreseeable, and they can afford to pay it over time," Yalowitz said.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israeli Minister Responds to U.S. Energy Secretary: If I Were American, I Would Oppose the Iran Deal - Herb Keinon
After U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told a delegation of Israeli reporters that if he were Israeli, he would support the nuclear deal with Iran, Israel's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday that "if I were American, I would oppose the agreement." "I would oppose the agreement because it ensures from the start that 10 years from now, Iran will become a nuclear power capable of producing dozens of atomic bombs per month....I would oppose the agreement because, even in the short term, inspections are not immediate, or invasive enough, as was promised from the start....I would oppose the agreement because it hurts the national security of the U.S., of Israel and of all the Western nations." (Jerusalem Post)
- U.S. Can't Defend Israel Against a Nuclear Attack - Ron Ben-Yishai
If Iran decides to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon - or even not with a nuclear weapon - it is completely reasonable to assume that it will be a surprise attack. There is no chance that the U.S. will be able to defend us against such an attack, especially a nuclear attack, unless the Americans deploy tens of thousands of soldiers with missile batteries and radars on Israeli territory, who will be on constant alert.
However, such a deployment will violate the principle reiterated by all Israeli prime ministers and defense ministers, starting from David Ben-Gurion in the 1960s, who said that "Israel will defend itself on its own, and I don't want even one American soldier to shed blood for our sake." (Ynet News)
- Assessing the Iran Nuclear Agreement - Joint Statement by Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, James Jeffrey, Patrick Clawson, David Makovsky, Michael Eisenstadt, and Simon Henderson
The Iran nuclear agreement has several major achievements, especially the long-term restrictions on key aspects of Iran's declared nuclear program that - if fully implemented, monitored and verified - are likely to prevent Iranian nuclear breakout for up to 15 years. At the same time, we assess that critical aspects of the JCPOA may fall short of the standards outlined in the Washington Institute's Iran Study Group's June 24 policy statement. We recommend the following clarifications and additional measures, many of which should appropriately be addressed before Congress votes on the JCPOA.
We are concerned about whether it provides adequately "timely access" when it comes to undeclared sites. Because the agreement on access to the Parchin military site has yet to be made public, it is difficult to know whether it meets the terms specified in the study group statement: that IAEA inspectors have the ability "to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation."
U.S. officials have clarified for members of the study group that institutions and individuals on whom nuclear-related sanctions will be lifted can subsequently be sanctioned for terrorism or other reasons, should they merit such designations. Because the secondary nonnuclear sanctions remain in place, the U.S. will still not allow use of the U.S. dollar in trade with Iranian individuals and institutions in any way associated with Iran's support for terrorism, meaning that Iran cannot use dollars in its oil trade.
To strengthen deterrence of Iran, it is also important for Israel to have its own independent deterrent capacity. To that end, we urge the Obama administration to transfer to Israel the Massive Ordinance Penetrator and the requisite aircraft, which will ensure that Israel has the ability at a later date to deter Iran from reaching a nuclear weapon.
We believe the articulation and implementation of a "resolute regional strategy" to counter Iranian negative behavior throughout the Middle East - and to support allies and partners in the region - is both important and urgent, given the substantial financial benefits Iran will receive early in the implementation of this agreement and the likelihood that considerable sums will be directed toward Iran's destabilizing regional activities. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- How Congress Can Make a Bad Iran Deal Better - Danielle Pletka
Congress fought a bruising legislative battle in order to ensure its right to review the Iran deal. But what should it do now? The right course is to secure a bipartisan vote that rejects the deal in its current form, but doesn't stop there. Congress should outline a deal that the American people can accept; a deal that actually secures the positive outcomes the administration now claims.
Many, including at times the president himself, Secretary of State Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, have laid out the parameters of an agreement with Iran that, while not optimal, would at minimum be acceptable. These provisions include a phased agreement linked to performance, an end to research and development on advanced centrifuges, a sharper reduction in operating centrifuges, shuttering the underground facility at Fordow and the Arak heavy water reactor, shipping out Iran's enriched uranium stockpile, anywhere-anytime inspections, and no lapse of Iran's obligations after 10-15 years.
If Iran doesn't wish to sign on to a better deal, U.S. unilateral sanctions can still effectively limit even European cooperation with Iran. Bans on dollar transactions can constrain Iran's oil trade, and limit the $150 billion windfall now headed Tehran's way. And bans on weapons sales and ballistic missile work will certainly hinder Iran's conventional weapons efforts.
There is common ground on Capitol Hill on the question of Iran. Finding it is the right call.
The writer is vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
Netanyahu: I Oppose Iran Deal Because I Want to Prevent War, and This Deal Will Bring War (Prime Minister's Office)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in a webcast on Tuesday.
- The nuclear deal with Iran doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb.
It actually gives Iran two paths to the bomb. Iran can get to the bomb by keeping the deal or Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.
- Keeping the deal allows Iran to maintain and eventually expand a vast and increasingly sophisticated nuclear infrastructure.
This infrastructure is unnecessary for civilian nuclear energy, but it's entirely necessary for nuclear weapons.
Astonishingly, the deal gives Iran's illicit nuclear program full international legitimacy and makes it far easier for Iran to build dozens, even hundreds of nuclear weapons in a little over a decade.
- Iran has a second path to the bomb, one that would give it a nuclear weapon in far less time. Iran could violate the deal.
Now, people argue that Iran will be prevented from cheating because we'll have good intelligence and unprecedented inspections.
But honestly, for years none of us discovered the massive underground nuclear facilities Iran was building at Fordo and at Natanz, or that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor for plutonium production. So it's very precarious to bet the deal's success on intelligence.
Neither intelligence nor inspections prevented North Korea from building atomic bombs despite assurances that they wouldn't be able to do so.
- The deal also gives Iran a massive infusion of cash and Iran will use this cash to fund its aggression in the region and its terrorism around the world.
As a result of this deal, there'll be more terrorism.
There will be more attacks.
And more people will die.
- Here in Israel, Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Labor opposition, the man who ran against me in this year's election, has said that there is no daylight between us when it comes to the deal with Iran.
This is simply not a partisan issue in Israel.
A huge majority of Israelis oppose the deal.
- The deal's supporters claim that those who oppose this deal want war.
That's utterly false.
We in Israel don't want war because it's we who are on the front lines.
We face Iran's terror on three borders. We face tens of thousands of Iranian rockets aimed at all our cities. We face Iran, whose regime repeatedly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, whose terrorist proxies try to kill Jews every day, and who is also the leading state sponsor of anti-Semitism.
- Israelis are going to be the ones who pay the highest price if there's war and if Iran gets the bomb.
The claim that we oppose this deal because we want war is outrageous.
Israel wants to dismantle Iran's nuclear program and Israel wants peace. This deal will advance neither goal.
I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war, and this deal will bring war.
See also Netanyahu: Iran More Interested in Nuking U.S. than Israel - David K. Li
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a U.S. audience in a streamed address on Tuesday: "Iran is not building these ICBMs to hit Israel. They already have missiles that can hit Israel everywhere. They are building these ICBMs to hit you. To hit the United States. You're the great Satan, we're just the small Satan." (New York Post)
See also Video of Aug. 4 Webcast: Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Iran Nuclear Deal (Jewish Federations of North America)
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