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October 16, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Russia and Israel Establish "Hotline" on Syria - Nathan Hodge (Wall Street Journal)
    The Russian military has set up a "hotline" with the Israeli military "to avoid dangerous incidents in the sky above the Syrian Arab Republic," Russia's Ministry of Defense said Thursday.

Israelis Use Unconventional Weapons to Fight Attackers - Allison Kaplan Sommer (Ha'aretz)
    When confronted with attacks, bystanders are responsible for subduing a terrorist using whatever objects are handy until police can reach the scene.
    In Ra'anana, real estate agent Michael Rehavi grabbed an umbrella after hearing the screams of the victim of the knife attack on the street steps away. Using it as a baton, he said, he hit the terrorist repeatedly and "neutralized" him.
    In Jerusalem, a bystander told a television reporter that he ran outside to take on a terrorist with a selfie stick.
    On Monday, Yair Ben-Shabat told reporters that he hit the attacker with the nunchaku sticks he carried for self-defense, a Japanese martial arts weapon.

    See also Israelis Get Creative for Protection - Simona Weinglass (Times of Israel)
    As Israelis seek ways to defend themselves from terrorists, one Jerusalem woman was photographed carrying a spray bottle containing oven cleaner. Another rode the bus with a rolling pin, while a man was seen with a frying pan tucked into his belt.
    According to Eyal Daniel, co-owner of Haboleshet Spy Shop in Tel Aviv, there is a nationwide shortage of pepper spray. "We sell out of it as soon as we get it. We try to bring more, but now every grocery store is ordering it as well."

    See also Free Self-Defense Classes Offered Across Israel - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Self-defense instructors from the Israeli Krav Magen Association are offering training classes free of charge for those concerned about their safety.

Jewish Agency Distributing Emergency Aid to Terror Victims (IMRA)
    The Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for Victims of Terror on Wednesday began granting immediate financial aid of NIS 4,000 to Israelis affected by terror attacks, with grants made possible by the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA, and other donors.
    In addition, the fund will present each family recognized as victims of terror by Israel's National Insurance Institute with supplemental aid of up to NIS 25,000.
    Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive Natan Sharansky said: "It is important that we help the families as swiftly as possible, even before the government steps in. It is important that we embrace the victims with the solidarity of world Jewry and that we extend immediate, practical aid."
    Since the Fund was established in 2002, it has assisted more than 6,000 Israeli families to help them through the immediate aftermath of an attack.

State Dept. Deletes Tweet Calling Israel Attacks "Tragic, Outrageous" - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    The State Department on Thursday deleted a tweet that had referred to the recent spate of terror attacks against Israel as "tragic" and "outrageous," replacing it with a more subdued statement referring to the attacks on Jewish people as "recent."

CNN Refuses to Identify Culprits in Israel Attacks - Tamar Sternthal (CAMERA)
    "When, and how, will the violence stop?" begins a lengthy CNN article on Oct. 13 which fails to identify the Palestinian perpetrators of said violence.
    Who is carrying out the stabbings, shooting and ramming attacks? Who has been targeted, wounded and killed in the spate of attacks? CNN doesn't say that Palestinians have been attempting to murder Israelis.

VOA Reports Palestinian Car Bomber as Blameless Victim (CAMERA)
    A Voice of America article Sunday casts the Palestinian woman who blew up a gas canister in her car that day, injuring a police officer, as a blameless victim instead of as the perpetrator responsible for the explosion.

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Excessive Force? - Eli E. Hertz (Myths and Facts)
    Rather than condemn Palestinian Arab terrorist tactics, the U.S. State Department condemned Israel's "excessive use of force" when it retaliates against the terror attacks.
    How did the British deal with Palestinian Arab violence under the British Mandate during the Arab Revolt of 1936 to 1939?
    According to Oxford historian Glen Rangwala, the British killed 5,032 Palestinians, wounded 14,760, detained 50,000, hanged 146, sentenced 2,000 to life prison terms, and demolished 5,000 houses in reprisals.

Facebook to Launch Israeli Satellite to Bring Africa Online - Viva Sarah Press (Israel21c)
    Facebook, in collaboration with France's Eutelsat Communications, will launch the Israeli-made AMOS-6 satellite in 2016 to deliver internet from space, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced.
    Facebook and Eutelsat will lease the AMOS-6 satellite from Israeli global satellite services provider Spacecom, the operator of the AMOS satellite fleet.
    The satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries, will be used to increase the number of African citizens online.
    While Facebook plans to beam the internet down from space, Eutelsat will use it to expand its paid broadband connections.

Increase in Arab Students Attending University in Israel - Yarden Skop (Ha'aretz)
    In the 2015/2016 academic year, 14.4% of bachelor's degree students in Israel will be Arabs, compared with 9.8% in 1999/2000.
    In the same period, Arab master's degree candidates rose from 3.6% to 10.5%, while Arab Ph.D. candidates doubled from 2.8% to 5.9%.

What to Do in a Time of Palestinian Violence - Liat Collins (Jerusalem Post)
    Emily Amrousi, writing in Israel Hayom, noted that her neighbors had reverted to their operating procedure of the second intifada.
    This includes never leaving the house in the morning after having an argument with your spouse (in case something happens and you don't get a chance to make up) and never letting the dishes mount up in the sink (in case those who come to inform the family of a terror attack find your home is a mess).

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Kerry Warns Abbas Against Inciting Violence - Steve Inskeep
    Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview on Friday: "No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand, and President Abbas has been committed to nonviolence. He needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly. And he needs to not engage in some of the incitement that his voice has sometimes been heard to encourage. So that has to stop."  (NPR News)
  • Netanyahu Warns Allies Against "False Symmetry" on Israel Unrest
    In the wake of the recent violence in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Thursday: "We expect all our friends, and anyone concerned with the facts and the truth, to look at these facts to see the truth and not to draw false symmetry between Israeli citizens and those who'd stab them and knife them to death."  (Fox News)
        See also below Observations - Netanyahu: Nothing Justifies Terrorism (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Two More Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commanders Killed In Syria
    Col. Farshad Hasounizadeh and Brigadier Hamid Mokhtarband, both commanders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), were killed in southern Syria, Iran's Fars news agency reported on Oct. 13. Iran has sent hundreds of troops into Syria in recent days to help with a ground offensive by Syrian government troops against rebels in Aleppo. (Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Set Fire to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus - Jack Khoury
    Hundreds of Palestinians threw firebombs at the Joseph's Tomb compound in Nablus in the West Bank on Friday morning. After some broke in and threw flammables inside the compound, Palestinian security forces took control of the situation. In recent years, Jewish worshippers have visited the site monthly to pray. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Soldier Stabbed by Palestinian Disguised as Press Photographer - Nir Hasson
    An Israeli soldier was stabbed and wounded on Friday at Zayit Junction in the Kiryat Arba area in the southern West Bank. The attacker was dressed as a photographer with a press camera and was wearing a clearly marked yellow "Press" vest. The terrorist was shot and killed at the scene by other IDF soldiers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Terrorist Teen Said "Executed by Israel" Confesses to Attacking Jews - Raoul Wootliff
    Ahmed Manasra, a 13-year-old Palestinian who took part in a stabbing spree and who PA President Mahmoud Abbas claimed was killed in cold blood by Israeli police, told investigators on Thursday at Hadassah Hospital, where doctors have been treating him, that he went to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev "to stab Jews." Manasra is accused of seriously injuring a 13-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man. "I came with my cousin Hassan," he said. "He brought the knives and I agreed to join him."
        "My son cannot stab, he doesn't know how to hold a knife," Ahmed Manasra's father said on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, police released footage showing the two brandishing knives and chasing a man down the street. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Girl Arrested for Plotting Stabbing Attack - Ben Hartman
    The parents of a 15-year-old Palestinian girl reported that she had gone missing, after she had sent them a text message saying they "would soon hear about her on the news." Police found the girl at the North Beersheba train station on Wednesday. Under questioning, the girl confessed that she was on her way to Jerusalem, where she "said she planned on stabbing Jews, soldiers, and the police," a police spokesman said Thursday.
        No terrorist attacks were reported in Jerusalem on Thursday "due to the strong police presence," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Police Dog Foils Jerusalem Bombing -
    An attack on Israeli Border Police troops was foiled on Friday when a police canine sniffed out a pipe bomb during a search near a checkpoint at east Jerusalem's Issawiya neighborhood. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • The Knives of Jerusalem - Editorial
    In the past two weeks Palestinian assailants have attacked more than 50 Jews, killing eight. Among the wounded: a 2-year-old toddler, a 13-year-old boy riding his bike, a 70-year-old woman boarding a bus. This is terrorism in its most exact and repulsive form. The taste for violence emerges from a deep-seated culture of hate, nurtured by Palestinian leaders over many years in mosques, schools, newspapers, TV channels and social media.
        There isn't an endless supply of Palestinians willing to meet a quick death in order to stab Israelis, and most Arab residents or citizens of Israel would rather live in a 21st-century startup nation run by Israelis than a 12th-century theocracy run by Hamas. The sooner Israelis impress on Palestinians that they will never bow to knives or bend to terror, the sooner the stabbings will end. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Child Sacrifice Brings No Honor to the Palestinian Cause - Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
    The Palestinian national movement is one of the most stupid, murderous and bloodthirsty in all of human history. I said this in June 2001 when I expressed my profound regret that Palestinian voices of reason and moderation had not appeared in response to the peacemaking efforts of Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000 and 2001. Those words came back to me this week as I watched videos of Palestinians racing through the streets of Jerusalem, looking for Jews to kill. Once again, the leaders of Palestinian nationalism have led their people down the long, cruel path of violence, suffering and death.
        Palestinian diplomats and politicians have proclaimed that Israeli security forces are to blame when they shoot at Palestinian killers and would-be assassins. The events of recent weeks cannot be justified or explained away. To excuse Palestinians from normal standards of moral judgment is to patronize them. Palestinians marauding through the streets of Jerusalem with knife and gun in hand is not acceptable, now or ever.
        I know that more force will probably be necessary to bring quiet. That is unfortunate, but there is no alternative. Israelis will not tolerate such a situation: the whole point of the Jewish state was to create a place on this earth where Jews do not have to fear attacks from hoodlums and killers when they walk down the street. The terror must end, and Israel must do what is necessary to end it. The writer is a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arab-Israeli Journalist Blasts Palestinian Leadership for Incitement - Mazal Mualem
    Arab-Israeli journalist Lucy Aharish spoke from the heart on Israel's Channel 2 TV on Oct. 14: "I don't see the Arab leadership trying to restore quiet....They are inciting the public even more."
        "What kind of God would allow children to kill innocent victims? What kind of woman with a hijab, who prays to God, would pull a knife out of her bag and try to stab people? You're encouraging thousands of young people to take to the streets. With your own hands, you're ruining their future. These children are paying with their lives, with their blood, because of your incitement."  (Al-Monitor)
        See also View Video of Lucy Aharish
    "Even if the status quo has been broken - which in reality is false - even if the status quo on the Temple Mount has been broken, does that allow someone to go and murder someone else because of a sacred place? Or because a Jew went to pray in the house of God? What God are they speaking of, that allows children to go out and murder innocent people?"  (Ha'aretz)
  • Understanding the Language of Murder - Alex Ryvchin
    Palestinian cleric Muhammad Salah stands at the pulpit of his mosque in Gaza clutching a large kitchen knife. His hand repeatedly comes down in a violent stabbing motion as he delivers a very specific command: "Form stabbing squads. We don't want just a single stabber. Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while the others attack him with axes and butcher knives. Cut them into body parts." He lists Israeli cities where they are to strike: Afula, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
        In Jerusalem, two Palestinians board a bus, one opens fire, the other begins hacking at passengers. We have seen images of an Israeli man with a knife lodged in the base of his skull. A clearer connection between incitement and the act could hardly be conceived.
        Israelis are coping, as they always have. Meanwhile, a sick and corroded Palestinian society, reared on the sermons of maniacal preachers and increasingly detached from reality, descends into an orgy of criminal violence which is destined to turn in on itself. The writer is public affairs director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. (Daily Telegraph-Australia)

  • Iran

  • Israeli Arms Control Expert: Iranian Long-Range Missile Test a Challenge to U.S. - Yaakov Lappin
    The recent announcement of the successful test-firing of a new long-range Iranian missile represents a challenge to the U.S., which is willing to "bend over backward" to justify Tehran's loose interpretation of restrictions on its nuclear program, said Dr. Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. On Sunday Iran announced the successful test of its Imad surface-to-surface missile, which has a reported range of 1,700 km., a warhead weighing 750 kg., and an accuracy range of 500 meters.
        Landau said the Imad "is a leap in terms of its precision, and it is capable of carrying a nuclear payload. Iran is testing the waters in order to establish and ensure rules of the game for its future activities - like inspections at its military facilities, and its presence in Syria." It has found a compliant U.S., willing to accept its interpretations, she argued. "The Imad missile test has immediate and very significant implications, as a test case for implementation of the recently concluded Iran nuclear deal. It goes directly to the problematic ambiguity and confusion that has been built into the nuclear deal."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iranian Underground Missile Bases Enable Surprise Launches - Yaakov Lappin
    An underground Iranian missile launch base unveiled in recent days enables the Islamic Republic to store and covertly fire surface-to-surface missiles from underground through surface vents, Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, said Wednesday. "The cave system enables the Iranians to prepare their missiles for firing secretly, and to carry out a surprise missile barrage attack," he warned. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Distancing from Israel Won't Help U.S. Relationship with Arab States - Dennis Ross
    Every president since Reagan has developed the architecture of U.S. security cooperation Israel, reflecting the understanding that Israel's military assets enhanced our own in the region.
        Neither the Bush 41 and Obama administrations had a problem distancing from Israel and having public spats with it. Bill Clinton and Bush 43 adopted a different approach. They instinctively felt it was a mistake to create a gap with Israel. Even when there were disagreements, they sought to keep them private and manage them. They each felt that the U.S. should not give succor to Israel's enemies. To do so might erode Israel's deterrent. Moreover, neither thought that distancing from Israel would help the U.S. with the Arabs. They understood, correctly, that our key Arab friends focus first on their own survival.
        This pattern is likely to repeat itself: after every president who distanced us from Israel, his successor has moved to remove the appearance of tension. Thus, whether that successor is a Democrat or Republican, we will likely see him or her strike a different public posture toward Israel. Amb. Dennis Ross is a Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (TIME)
  • Book Review: Dennis Ross on the U.S.-Israel Relationship - Elliott Abrams
    In Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama, Dennis Ross reinforces the recent account by Israel's former ambassador, Michael Oren, in his book Ally, writing that President Obama's "distancing from Israel was deliberate." Though he credits Obama with deep sympathy for the Jewish state, the incidents he recounts contradict him. Obama kept calling on Israel to take risks for peace. "But he said nothing about what Abu Mazen [Abbas] had to do; the responsibility for acting was exclusively Netanyahu's."
        In Ross' view, Obama fell for the oldest preconceptions about the Middle East: "the need to distance from Israel to gain Arab responsiveness, concern about the high costs of cooperating with the Israelis, and the belief that resolving the Palestinian problem is the key to improving the U.S. position in the region." "The hard truth is that [the Palestinians] are not a priority for Arab leaders....The priorities of Arab leaders revolve around survival and security" - not Israeli-Palestinian relations or U.S. policy toward Israel.
        Ross draws a harsh portrait of Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who opposes Israel at every turn and refuses to engage in serious conversations with Israeli officials that would improve relations. The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009. (Wall Street Journal)
  • America's Fading Footprint in the Middle East - Yaroslav Trofimov
    The U.S. has been the Middle East's principal power for decades. Now, however, with Russia and Iran thrusting themselves boldly into the region's affairs, that special role seems to be melting away. The void created by U.S. withdrawal is being filled by the very powers that American policy has long sought to contain. "If you look at the heart of the Middle East, where the U.S. once was, we are now gone - and in our place, we have Iran, Iran's Shiite proxies, Islamic State and the Russians," said former ambassador Ryan Crocker, now dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
        Constraints on the U.S. bombing campaign against Islamic State in Iraq have made the U.S. military, in effect, a junior partner of Iran, providing air cover to Iranian-guided Shiite militias that go into battle with portraits of the Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei plastered on their tanks. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Stop Playing Iran and Russia's Game in Syria - Dennis Ross
    Neither the Russians nor the Iranians think they are losing in the region, and neither do the Israelis, Egyptians, Saudis, Turks, Qataris or Emiratis. The writer was a special assistant to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. (Washington Post)
  • Russia vs. Sunni Islam - Ariel Ben Solomon
    The Russians believe they are in an existential battle with Sunni Islam, Harold Rhode, a former adviser at the Pentagon, told the Jerusalem Post. "One third of Moscow is Muslim," said Rhode, some of them illegal residents. Russians have a lower birthrate than the country's Muslim birthrate - which is also declining. One of the ways the Russian government is dealing with this is by promoting conversion of its Muslims to Shi'ism. Within this context, explains Rhode, we can understand Russia's cooperation with the Shi'ite alliance led by Iran. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Weekend Features

  • My Gun and I - Donniel Hartman
    My gun is my barometer. Every few years I feel the need to carry it on me (for which I have a permit). Every few years my sense of safety and that of my family and my fellow citizens is undermined, as the streets on which we walk and live become the frontlines. I feel that I have an inalienable right to live and to do what is necessary to defend myself, my family, and those around me from those who desire to murder us.
        I don't want to live in a world in which everyday citizens need to be responsible for their own safety. My life's work as a teacher and rabbi is geared to fostering kindness, decency, mutual respect, and hope. There is no part in my soul which wants to harm another human being or see another as an enemy. I am an unrepentant optimist who believes in the inherent decency of humankind and in the possibility of peace and rapprochement between Israel and our Palestinian neighbors.
        I hate that I need my gun, but I am grateful for the fact that when I do, I have the ability to carry it and that neither I nor my people are helpless victims anymore. I know that my gun alone will not give me the safety and security for which I yearn. However, the responsibility for terrorism lies within the terrorist and the society which glorifies it. As long as they do, I need my gun. Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman is President of Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)
  • Message from Jerusalem: We Will Not Succumb - Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
    Inflammatory incitement and lies from mosques, Palestinian leaders and the Islamic Movement are resulting in the murder of innocent civilians. To our shock and horror, there is no limit to the cruelty of murderers who use meat cleavers and kitchen knives to attack innocent young children on bikes on their way home from school.
        We Jerusalemites are strong, united and determined. We have survived harder times and overcome them. Our security forces and police are combating terrorists in the field and saving lives on a daily basis. People who take responsibility and act quickly and decisively are protecting the innocent. (Times of Israel)
  • Made-in-Israel Devices for Disaster Relief - Abigail Klein Leichman
    When disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Israelis are always among the first on the scene to offer search-and-rescue, first aid and secondary medical care. Emergency responders in many countries keep Israeli innovations at the ready in case of disasters.
        The portable Water-Gen generates drinking water from the air and purifies existing water sources. The Pocket BVM (bag valve mask) is a uniquely collapsible version of an essential resuscitation device. The SkySaver personal rescue device, worn like a backpack, can evacuate a person weighing up to 300 pounds from a building up to 120 stories tall.
        The Emergency Bandage, used in more than 50 countries to stanch bleeding, features a patented pressure applicator. It was used in 2011 to save the life of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot.
        Agilite makes lightweight rescue harnesses, which were used to save the lives of South African miners trapped underground in 2013. The company also makes the Injured Personnel Carrier, a hands-free folding device that allows one rescuer to carry another person like a "human backpack."
        The Bone Injection Gun enables paramedics to inject medications directly into the bone marrow, which is just as effective as an IV. In many cases, opening a vein line is difficult or impossible, such as in the dark or when a patient is trapped under rubble. (Israel21c)

Netanyahu: Nothing Justifies Terrorism (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Netanyahu told a press conference for the international media on Thursday:

  • Q (BBC): If you don't believe negotiations are the way forward, what is the way out?
    Netanyahu: Are we living on the same planet? I've been calling for resuming negotiations day in, day out, in every forum. I've called on President Abbas to resume unconditional negotiations immediately. We can meet right now. I'm willing to meet him, he's not willing to meet me.
        And you ask me about the resumption of negotiations? Come on. These people don't want negotiations, and they're inciting violence. Direct your questions to them.
  • President Abbas has to stop this incitement. You just saw examples of him lying: "An innocent child executed by Israelis." No. He's not innocent and he wasn't executed. He tried to murder innocent people, almost succeeded. You can't give Abbas a pass. When you give somebody a pass when they're inciting violence, they continue to incite violence.
  • This wave of attacks is not the result of a lack of a political horizon. We've been suffering terror attacks for the last 95 years. They're attacking us because they don't want us here. If they're frustrated, I assure you that frustration will continue because we're going to continue to be here.
  • The killers themselves explain why they're doing what they're doing. They leave behind Facebook pages in which they cite and repeat Palestinian incitement about the al-Aqsa Mosque. All the lies that are said about us trying to bring down the mosque or change the status quo, they cite that as the reason for their activity. This is what is driving this current wave. There's a Palestinian attempt to inflame violence based on the false allegations that we are changing the Temple Mount.
        I expect our friends around the world to look at these facts, recognize them for what they are and condemn these Palestinian attacks and to demand from Abbas to stop the incitement and to restore calm.
  • Q: The U.S. State Department has been somewhat concerned about excessive use of force used by some Israeli security forces.
    Netanyahu: What do you think would happen in New York if you saw people rushing into crowds trying to murder people? Do you think they would do anything different from what we're doing? They might, actually, but certainly not less.
        People are making a moral symmetry, at best, between the attacker and his victim, and much worse, they're accusing Israel of being the guilty party in this case. And that just will not fly. The first order of the day in fighting terrorism is moral clarity. Nothing justifies terrorism. Nothing exonerates it. Stop trying to explain it away. Abbas is inciting murder. Make him accountable and stop trying to justify it in any way - not with settlements, not with the peace process, not with anything.
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