Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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November 9, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Yitzhak Navon, Fifth President of Israel, Dies at 94 - Ofer Aderet and Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    Yitzhak Navon, who served as Israel's fifth president from 1978 to 1983, died on Saturday at age 94.
    Navon was born in 1921 to a distinguished Jerusalemite Sephardi family that has lived in the city for over 300 years. He served in the Haganah's Arab intelligence unit during Israel's War of Independence.
    Later he served as Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's political secretary and bureau chief.
    In 1980, President Navon visited Egypt as President Anwar Sadat's official guest after the Israel-Egypt peace treaty was signed. Navon received a warm welcome after speaking Arabic during his visit.
    See also Remembering Yitzhak Navon - Greer Fay Cashman (Jerusalem Post)

UK Academics Participate in Haifa U. Conference, Rejecting Calls for Academic Boycott of Israel - Lidar Grave-Lazi (Jerusalem Post)
    Haifa University hosted 13 academics from several leading universities in the UK over the weekend at a conference on quantitative studies of conflict in international relations.
    The conference, initiated in coordination with Prof. Kristian Gleditsch from Essex University, was held against the backdrop of increasing calls for the academic boycott of Israel among UK academics.
    Prof. Gleditsch emphasized that despite the calls to boycott Israel, no institution has yet to announce a boycott.
    "I have not met anyone who is for the boycott. I think that the majority of people feel that you can disagree with a country's governmental policies, but that a boycott of academic institutions is pointless and will have a counter effect."

Video: Undercover IDF Troops Arrest Palestinian Rioters - Elior Levy (Ynet News)

NY Councilmen Call to Ground Kuwait Airways for Israel Bias - Stewart Ain (New York Jewish Week)
    Calling Kuwait Airways' refusal to sell tickets to Israeli citizens "intolerable" and "blatant discrimination," 10 members of the New York City Council are asking the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to either enforce anti-discrimination laws or stop the airline from operating at Kennedy Airport.
    An Israeli, Eldad Gatt, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation after Kuwait Airways in 2013 refused to sell him a ticket from New York to London. On Oct. 22 the department directed the airline to "cease and desist" from refusing to sell tickets to Israeli citizens.
    The Lawfare Project, a group that was created with the help of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, brought the matter to the attention of the City Council.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Obama and Netanyahu Seek to Move Beyond Iran Deal - Steven Mufson
    President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will seek to move beyond their public clash over the Iran nuclear deal when they meet in Washington on Monday. The leaders plan to discuss how to counter Iranian aid to Hizbullah and Hamas, and the Russian and Iranian efforts to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
        Obama no longer harbors hope for a peace agreement or even renewed talks during the last year of his presidency. Instead, he is searching for ways to keep alive the idea of a two-state solution. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said, "There are practical things that can be done on the ground to build back some degree of trust and cooperation between the two sides. Clearly, part of that also involves rejecting violence and rejecting incitement. And we've called upon the Palestinian leadership to do so."  (Washington Post)
  • Report: U.S., Britain Using Israeli Intelligence to Determine Cause of Egyptian Crash - Barbara Starr
    The U.S. appears to be increasingly confident that a terrorist bomb brought down the Russian passenger jet that broke apart over Egypt. At least some of the intelligence intercepts being used to assess what happened to the jetliner came from Israeli intelligence, according to a U.S. official. The communications focused on Sinai and Israeli intelligence passed them along to the U.S. and Britain.
        British and American intelligence agencies also monitored ISIS messages. Several officials said it's the specificity of the chatter that has directly contributed to the U.S. and British view that a bomb was most likely used. (CNN)
  • Iran: U.S. Must Pay Reparations to the Islamic Republic - Adam Kredo
    Mohammad Reza Naqdi, a brigadier general in Iran's volunteer Basij Force, said on Thursday, "In the days when the Islamic Revolution was underway and after that and during the holy defense (the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1988), over 250,000 Iranians were massacred directly by the U.S. or by its proxies at Washington's order, and these U.S. crimes can be proved based on undeniable and irrefutable proofs and documents," Iran's Fars News Agency reported. Because of this, Iran "should receive compensation money from the U.S. for the death of their children and beloved ones at the hands of the merciless Washington."  (Washington Free Beacon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Sunday: Five Israelis Wounded in West Bank Car Attack, One Wounded in Knife Attack - Yoav Zitun and Elisha Ben Kimon
    A Palestinian terrorist, Sulemain Shaheen, 22, of Ramallah, drove into a group of Israelis standing at a hitchhiking station at Tapuah junction in the West Bank on Sunday, wounding five people before being killed by Border Police officers at the scene.
        Also Sunday, a Palestinian woman stabbed a security guard at the entrance to Beitar Illit. The attacker was shot and wounded, and the attack was captured on video. (Ynet News)
        See also Video: Palestinian Drives into Israeli Pedestrians at Hitch-Hiking Post - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
  • Friday: Two Israelis Shot Near Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron - Yaakov Lappin
    Two Israeli civilians were wounded in a Palestinian shooting attack near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Friday evening. A 16-year-old was wounded in his upper body and an 18-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to his limbs. The shooting occurred during celebrations commemorating the Torah portion read during the weekend about the Jewish matriarch Sarah, who is buried in the Cave. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Friday: Palestinian Shoots Soldier near Hebron - Yoav Zitun
    An Israeli soldier was seriously wounded after being shot in the head in Beit Anun near Hebron by a Palestinian resident of Bani Naim in the West Bank. The attacker was later arrested by the Israel Security Agency. (Ynet News)
        See also Friday: Palestinian Woman Tries to Ram Soldiers with Car in Hebron - Elior Levy
    A video shows a Palestinian woman attempting to ram a group of soldiers on Friday with her car near Hebron. The woman was killed during the attack. (Ynet News)
        See also Friday: Palestinian Stabs Israeli Near Supermarket in West Bank - Yoav Zitun and Elisha Ben Kimon
    On Friday, Baraa Issa, a Palestinian from the Ramallah area, stabbed an Israeli in the chest and back in the parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha'ar Binyamin industrial park, severely wounding him. On Saturday Issa turned himself in to Palestinian security forces to avoid arrest by Israel. (Ynet News-Jerusalem Post)
  • Border Policeman Wounded in Terror Attack Last Wednesday Dies
    Border Policeman Staff Sgt. Benjamin Yaakovovich, 19, who was critically wounded in a vehicular attack north of Hebron, succumbed to his wounds on Sunday. His parents decided to donate his organs to save the lives of others. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Defense Relationship with Israel Makes America Safer - Matt Spence
    The U.S. and Israel are far closer than many realize on our core issues. As President Obama's deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy from 2012 to 2015, I traveled to Israel over two dozen times to discuss the deepest threats to our nations and how to preserve Israel's "qualitative military edge." Last week, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter reinforced his priority that America's military must develop an insurance policy should Iran back away from the nuclear agreement.
        The defense relationship with Israel makes America safer. Israel has the military and intelligence capabilities of no other nation in the Middle East. It provides the U.S. critical intelligence, joint military exercises, and technology. Defensive technological cooperation can find better ways to shoot down enemies' missiles, defend against cyber attacks, and detect weapons smuggled through tunnels on Israel's border.
        The battle scars over the Iran nuclear agreement are not as deep as the shared interest in holding Iran accountable to the deal, and deterring and responding to Iran's destabilizing threats. A joint monitoring group for the Iran nuclear deal should be created. Its purpose should include discussing Iran's destabilizing activities in the region that go beyond the nuclear issue - Iran's significant conventional forces in the region, its terrorist attacks, and cyber capabilities. The writer is a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for International Affairs. (Defense One)
  • With Netanyahu's Visit, Reasons to Expect Smoother U.S.-Israeli Relations - Aaron David Miller
    The mistrust that has marked their relationship for seven years will not dissipate when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama meet on Monday. But for a few reasons, it's likely that a smoother, steadier stretch in relations is coming. Mr. Obama got what he wanted - and Mr. Netanyahu didn't - from the deal on Iran's nuclear program. The fight about what is or is not in the agreement is essentially over, though the Israelis will follow implementation closely.
        On the peace process Mr. Obama doesn't have many levers to pull, given the latest wave of Palestinian violence, Mahmoud Abbas' campaign to gain international recognition by isolating Israel, and the long odds against agreement on the big issues such as Jerusalem and borders. Seeking a UN Security Council resolution that would lay out the basis of a deal would alienate Israel and Congress - and produce nothing on the ground. (Wall Street Journal)

Do the Palestinians Want Two States? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Ha'aretz-Hebrew)

  • The former head of Palestinian General Intelligence, Tawfik Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, told an interviewer on the PA's official TV channel that the Palestinians have waged an ongoing struggle to liberate their land ever since the Balfour Declaration, 98 years ago. This is the context in which to regard the current wave of terror attacks. As Tirawi explains, there is no single act that will achieve the long-awaited objective, just a "cumulative struggle."
  • The Palestinian leadership, driven by an outlook that denies the existence of the Jewish people and its right to a democratic nation-state in its homeland, sustains its support for indiscriminate murder because it fears that the Palestinian issue will be pushed to the margins. On the other hand, there appears to be growing awareness that there is no solution in the foreseeable future and, thus, no reason that the international community should invest resources in the issue.
  • Israel, along with its efforts to bring an end to the wave of terror, has been busy with questions such as: will the war last forever? Apparently for as long as the Palestinians cling to their far-reaching demands and to their strategy of "struggle."
  • Mahmoud Abbas has again declared that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He says such recognition would nullify the "right of return," make it harder for Israeli Arabs to promote Palestinian interests within the Israeli political scene, and would require a change in the Palestinian narrative. Those are exactly the reasons why Israel insists that only such recognition can guarantee real peace.
  • Just as many Zionists now recognize the Palestinian people's right to a nation-state in its land in the framework of the permanent settlement, so long as it does not constitute a threat to Israel's security, so must the Palestinians be required to recognize the Jewish people's right to a (democratic) nation-state in the land of its forefathers.
  • The only possible solution is that of two states for two peoples with mutual recognition. The idea has not died; it simply has not yet been born because the Palestinians, and the Europeans who support them, refuse to allow its birth.

    The writer was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research and Analysis and Production Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

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