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
Search Back Issues
January 11, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic State Adherent Shoots Philadelphia Policeman (Reuters)
    Edward Archer, 30, who claims allegiance to Islamic State, was charged on Saturday with attempted murder in the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer in his squad car on Thursday.
    Images from surveillance video showed the gunman dressed in a long white robe walking toward the car and firing, eventually shooting at point-blank range through the window.
    Archer told authorities he ambushed the patrol car "in the name of Islam."

Iran Won't Surrender Militias that Conduct Assad's War - Hassan Hassan (The National-Abu Dhabi)
    The designation of terror groups in Syria that must be defeated as part of the UN-sponsored political process has been referred to a committee comprising several European and regional countries. There is a preliminary list of more than 160 Sunni and Shia organizations.
    Iran categorically rejects including any Shia groups in the list since the fate of the Assad regime which it supports is critically tied to the presence of those Shia militias.
    The Syrian regime controls about 30% of the country and over 50% of the population. According to the defense think tank IHS Jane's, the regime lost 16% of its territory over the past year.
    Phillip Smyth, from the University of Maryland, says that most of the regime's offensives over the past two years were led by foreign forces.
    "When we look at Aleppo, the entire offensive there was spearheaded and planned by the Iranians, it was their Shia militia proxy forces which showcased the entire campaign."
    These foreign forces operate in critical areas and the regime's army or paramilitary National Defense Forces do not appear to be prepared to take their place.
    The writer is associate fellow at Chatham House's Middle East program.

Jerusalem Animation Studio Serves Hollywood - Barry Davis (Jerusalem Post)
    At Snowball Studios in Jerusalem, some 30-40 animators create textures, colors and backdrops, and ensure the characters make all the right movements.
    Most are currently busy working on another episode of the Disney animated children's series "Star Darlings."

Israeli Startup's Suitcase Follows You Around (Times of Israel)
    At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, Israel's NUA Robotics unveiled a prototype for luggage that uses Bluetooth technology to sync with a smartphone app, locate its owner, and follow along.
    The case also features an anti-theft alarm and a USB port for charging other electronic devices.
    While the suitcase is still in its preliminary development phase, the company hopes to have the product available to customers within a year.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Archives Portal 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • American Historical Association Rejects Resolution Condemning Israel - Jennifer Schuessler
    The American Historical Association on Saturday rejected a resolution condemning Israel in a 111-51 vote after similar measures failed to gain support last year. In a statement on behalf of the Alliance for Academic Freedom, a group that submitted a formal objection to the resolution, Sharon Ann Musher, an associate professor at Stockton University in New Jersey, said that the resolution rested on "dubious claims" and that passage would tarnish the reputation of the association. She argued that "The AHA should not be turned into a vehicle for one group's Middle East agenda."  (New York Times)
  • Arab League Foreign Ministers Condemn Iranian "Meddling" in Arab Affairs - Nour Youssef
    Arab foreign ministers, with the exception of Lebanon, condemned Sunday what they called Iran's meddling in Arab affairs. Lebanon rejected the statement because it also condemned Hizbullah over its interference in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that tensions with Iran only began after the 1979 Islamic Revolution which brought to power a conservative Shiite Islamic regime. (AP-U.S. News)
  • Egypt's President Turns to Religion to Bolster His Authority - Declan Walsh
    Fears of Islamist rule helped propel Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, then a military general, to power in 2013 following giant protests that led to the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government. But as Sisi wrestles with militant attacks and a struggling economy, he has increasingly turned to religion to bolster his authority. His approach includes shutting unregistered mosques and banning unauthorized preachers while drawing the religious establishment into an uneasy embrace. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast: Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran's Other Scary Weapons Program - Editorial
    Iran is advancing the range and mobility of its ballistic missiles and vowing to accelerate production. Most worrisome is a collaboration with North Korea, which has nuclear weapons and provided Iran with many of its first missiles, and still supplies key components.
        The administration has been clear that after the Iran deal it would enforce those sanctions pertaining to Iran's missile, terrorism and human rights activities. The administration told Congress that missile-related sanctions were coming, then held back. New sanctions on Iran's ballistic missiles must still be pursued. It is an important and necessary way of keeping pressure on Iran to cease its unacceptable activities. (New York Times)
  • Israel Is Not Isolated, It Is Highly Sought After - Shlomo Cesana
    "Israel is not isolated," Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in an interview. "Quite the opposite, actually." Israel enjoys flourishing commerce and active diplomatic relations with 80% of the world's nations. "Today, Israel is holding the U.S.'s hand on one side - a very strong ally - and on the other side the hands of India, China and Japan," she says.
        "In the East, the discourse is about what Israel contributes to the world....There is a lot of warmth coming in Israel's direction from countries that, for years, were aligned with the Arab world. These countries have become fans of Israel....In the Far East Israel is seen as a superpower. A country unparalleled in its work ethic. They want to learn from Israel about entrepreneurship."
        "In Europe there has also been a shift. The French know that global terrorism tops their agenda right now....The main topic of conversation is how to fight terrorism and how to use Israel's cyber know-how to fight radical Islamism....We have now entered a new era in international discourse. It is all about global solutions in medicine, agriculture, cyber warfare and technological innovation."  (Israel Hayom)
  • The Palestinian Authority and Hamas Are Torturing Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The two Palestinian governments, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, are both major violators of human rights. The PA has used international funds to build prisons and detention centers in the West Bank where torture has become the norm. Hamas has transformed Gaza into a radical Islamist emirate with a startling disregard for human rights and public freedoms.
        The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) reports a dramatic rise over the past two years in the number of complaints about torture in Palestinian prisons run by Hamas and the PA. Dr. Ammar Dwaik, Director General of ICHR, revealed that his group received 782 complaints regarding torture - 614 in Gaza and 168 in the West Bank. These undemocratic and repressive regimes have proven themselves utterly incapable of mustering even a minimal degree of tolerance for dissent. (Gatestone Institute)

Domestic and Regional Implications of Escalated Saudi-Iran Conflict - Joshua Teitelbaum (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • By executing prominent Shiite leader Nimr al-Nimr, the Saudi King and his son the Deputy Crown Prince sent a strong signal to Iran, to the kingdom's beleaguered Shiite minority, and to the world.
  • Saudi Arabia is still at its core a Wahhabi state, and traditionally Wahhabism abhors Shi'ism as a perversion of the true Islamic creed. Nimr called openly for God to take the lives of the Saudi dynasty. For the Saudis he was a leader who had to be stopped.
  • To its Iranian Shiite rival, Sunni Riyadh was saying that it would absolutely not tolerate intervention in its internal affairs. It was telling its own Shiites that it would not allow "Arab Spring"-like dissent. And to the world, Salman and Muhammad were signaling that the Saudis were growing into their new role as a defender and leader of the Sunni Muslim countries.
  • In the background is the perception in the kingdom, not unfounded, that the Obama administration is abandoning its traditional allies. Washington's acquiescence to the Iran deal left Iran a nuclear threshold state, unfettered to continue its military ballistic missile program and advance a hostile regional agenda.
  • Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir is heading the Saudi diplomatic effort against Iran. Jubeir, Riyadh's former ambassador to Washington, remembers that in 2011 the Iranians tried to have him assassinated.

    The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.