Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 22, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Palestinians Support Renewed Armed Intifada (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
    57% of Palestinians support a return to an armed intifada, up from 49% three months ago, according to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and Gaza on Sept. 17-19, 2015.
    65% want President Abbas to resign.
    52% of Gazans say they seek immigration to other countries, as do 24% in the West Bank.
    In Gaza, only 42% say Hamas came out a winner in the 2014 war; a year ago, 69% in Gaza said Hamas had won.
    60% of Palestinians reject and 37% accept a French proposal that would request the UN Security Council to affirm the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
    Only 40% support mutual recognition of national identity - of Israel as the state for the Jewish people and Palestine as the state for the Palestinian people - while 58% oppose it.
    50% believe that Israel intends to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and replace them with a Jewish temple.
    80% say the Arab world is too preoccupied with its own conflicts, and that Palestine is no longer the Arabs' principal cause.
    58% believe that there is an Arab Sunni alliance with Israel against Iran.
    83% support and 13% oppose the war waged by Arab and Western countries against ISIS.

Doubts about Bunker-Busters for Israel - Julian Pecquet (Al-Monitor)
    Talk is heating up in Congress and the Pentagon about whether to share America's massive new bunker-busting bomb as a warning to Iran, but Israel remains cool to the idea.
    "This idea is irrelevant for Israel," a senior Israeli officer told Al-Monitor. "It is way beyond our means [and] not worth the means, money and effort. We are not capable of maintaining and sustaining it."
    Israel does not possess the heavy bombers - B-2s or B-52s - required to deliver the 15-ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator, and only one air base has runways that could conceivably be upgraded to handle such flights.

Israeli Start-Up Snags U.S. Air Force Robot Contract - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    After competing with America's leading robot providers, Tel Aviv-based Roboteam's U.S. subsidiary has snagged a $25 million U.S. Air Force contract to provide up to 250 anti-IED Micro Tactical Ground Robots (MTGR) through 2022, the Pentagon announced last week.
    The man-portable, stair-climbing, battle-tested system will be used in support of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) missions.
    Two years ago, Roboteam's MTGR was tapped for fast-tracked fielding to U.S. special operations forces and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
    Billed by the company as the world's lightest EOD platform, the single-soldier-carried MTGR travels at 2 mph, climbs 8-inch stairs and has a line of sight operating range of more than 1,600 feet.
    Its five onboard cameras, internal microphone and infrared laser pointers generate intelligence and targeting data a full 360-degrees around the vehicle while an encrypted radio streams secure voice and video back to tactical operators and higher command staff.

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Wednesday, September 23,
the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Russia Expands Fleet in Syria with Jets that Can Attack Targets on Ground - Eric Schmitt and Neil MacFarquhar
    Over the weekend, Russia deployed a dozen Su-24 Fencer and a dozen Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes, bringing to 28 the number of warplanes at an air base near Latakia, Syria, giving its forces a new ability to strike targets on the ground. The planes are protected by at least two SA-22 surface-to-air, antiaircraft systems, and unarmed surveillance drones are flying reconnaissance missions.
        "With competent pilots and with an effective command and control process, the addition of these aircraft could prove very effective depending on the desired objectives for their use," said U.S. Air Force Gen. (ret.) David A. Deptula, who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
        In addition, 15 Russian Hip transport and Hind attack helicopters are also now stationed at the base. The Russians also have nine T-90 tanks and more than 500 marines at the base. (New York Times)
        See also Mortar Shells Hit Russian Embassy Compound in Syria - Richard Sisk
    Two mortar shells landed on the grounds of the Russian embassy in Damascus on Tuesday. "One of them fell near the main entrance, the other hit an administrative building," Asiya Turuchiyeva, the embassy's spokeswoman, told Russia's RIA Novosti. (
  • France Opens Trade Office in Iran - Thomas Erdbrink
    France opened a trade office in Tehran on Monday at the end of a visit that brought 130 representatives of French companies to Iran. France is leading the charge of European countries angling for a share of the Iranian market after the July nuclear agreement. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu Discusses Threats to Israel with Russian President Putin
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu said: "I am here because of the security situation which is becoming ever more complex on our northern border. As you know, in recent years, and particularly in recent months, Iran and Syria have been arming the extremist Islamic terrorist organization Hizbullah with advanced weapons, aimed at us, and over the years thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired against our cities. At the same time, Iran, under the auspices of the Syrian army, is attempting to build a second terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights. Our policy is to prevent these weapons transfers, and to prevent the creation of a terrorist front and attacks on us from the Golan Heights."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Russia to Allow Israeli Strikes on Syrian Arms Transfers - Raphael Ahren
    During their meeting in Moscow on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told President Putin in "no uncertain terms" that Israel will not tolerate Tehran's efforts to arm Israel's enemies in the region, and that Israel will continue to take action against any such attempts. "This is our right and also our duty. There were no objections to our rights and to what I said. On the contrary: there was readiness to make sure that whatever Russia's intentions for Syria, Russia will not be a partner in extreme actions by Iran against us," Netanyahu said. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel: Jordan Shares Responsibility for Temple Mount Clashes
    Israel accused Jordan's King Abdullah of sharing "responsibility" for the continuing clashes on the Temple Mount Monday. "Don't run away from your responsibility," an Israeli message to the Jordanian leader read, according to Channel 2 TV. "The Waqf [Islamic trust that oversees the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount] broke the status quo by letting rioters armed with stones sleep in the Al-Aqsa Mosque," Israel charged. The Waqf operates under the auspices of the Jordanian monarchy. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Dies Attempting to Throw Bomb at Israeli Soldiers
    A Palestinian man was killed Monday while trying to attack Israeli forces with an improvised explosive device that exploded prematurely in the village of Khursa near Hebron in the West Bank, an Israeli army spokesperson said. "Initial inquiries suggest the suspect attempted to hurl an IED at an army vehicle when it detonated," the spokesperson said. (Ma'an News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Rise of "Little Syria" under a Russian Umbrella - Eyal Zisser
    Israel's concern over Islamic State's rise to prominence has taken a back seat to its concern over the establishment of "Little Syria," which would supposedly be controlled by Assad but in actuality be under the thumb of Iran and Hizbullah. Everyone in this Little Syria will enjoy the safety of the Russian umbrella. The Americans could help this materialize because they are liable to sacrifice certain principles for the sake of fighting Islamic State, and even come to terms with Iranian and Hizbullah forces battling IS on Syrian soil. Prof. Eyal Zisser is former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Israel Weighs Impact of Russian Intervention in Syria - Yaakov Lappin
    Throughout September, Russian military forces have been entering Syria to set up air strike capabilities aimed at protecting the Assad regime. "I can't see the Russian presence as changing the balance of power. It will apparently prolong the fighting. ISIS will never negotiate," a senior Israeli defense source said. "The Russian interest is to save the regime, and its goal is to take part in combat against ISIS."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Netanyahu Goes to Moscow - David Makovsky (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Muslim Schism over Jerusalem - Pinhas Inbari
    Amid the systematic destruction of mosques and holy places in the Arab world, it is precisely Israel's responsibility for security at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount that protects it from a similar fate.
        Islam is divided into the Shia and the Sunna, but the Sunna is also divided into two main groups: the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood. The controversy between the Salafis - from whom al-Qaeda emerged and who are also known as Wahabis - and the Muslim Brotherhood is about, among other things, what constitutes the center of Islam.
        Whereas the Salafis view the Arabian sites of Hijaz and Mecca as the center of the faith, the Muslim Brotherhood locates it at the Cairo Al-Azhar University, founded in the year 970 as a center for Islamic studies from which rulings and edicts on Islam and Islamic culture emerge. But because Cairo has no special religious holiness, the Brotherhood regards Jerusalem as their religious center. From the Salafis' standpoint, the Muslim Brotherhood's enhancement of the special status of Jerusalem poses a danger to the status of Mecca.
        In Syria, for example, the Salafi Islamic State is engaged in an outright war with the Nusra Front of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Salafis frown upon the cult of holy places other than Mecca and Medina and destroy such sites systematically.
        "Liberating Al-Aqsa" or "Al-Aqsa is in danger" are main motifs of the Muslim Brotherhood's preaching, while Salafis downplay Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. Whereas the Muslim Brotherhood focuses on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, the Salafis focus on a more immediate goal: "conquering Rome" - that is, the Christian world. The writer, an analyst for the Jerusalem Center, is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

The Hypocrisy of the Boycott - Yair Lapid (Facebook)

  • The Reykjavik City Council in Iceland decided last week to boycott all products from Israel.
  • I have a few questions:
    • Does the boycott include products made by Israel's Arab minority which is 20% of the population?
    • Does the boycott include the 14 Arab Israeli parliamentarians who sit beside me in Israel's parliament?
    • Does the boycott include Israeli factories which employ tens of thousands of Palestinians for whom this is the only opportunity to provide for their children?
    • Does the boycott include Israeli hospitals at which tens of thousands of Palestinians are treated every year?
    • Does the boycott include Microsoft Office, cellphone cameras, Google - all of which contain elements invented or produced in Israel?
  • One of the best kept secrets about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that it is one of the smallest conflicts in the Middle East. In the past 67 years, fewer innocent Palestinians were killed than in one week in Syria. In fact, in that same period around 12 million people were killed in the Arab world.
  • The boycott industry is a vast industry of media and public relations organized by Islamist groups funded by Qatar and Iran. Their purpose is not the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel but a Palestinian state on the ashes of Israel.
  • Hamas has no intention of creating a Palestinian democracy but a dark theocracy in which homosexuals are hanged from telephone poles, women aren't allowed to leave their homes and Christians and Jews are murdered for being Christians and Jews. Are those values acceptable to the Reykjavik City Council? They voted in favor of them.

    Knesset Member Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, is a former Israeli finance minister.

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