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March 4, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Issues New Terror Warning to Americans in Europe (U.S. State Department)
    The State Department issued a new Worldwide Caution on Thursday on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.
    "ISIL [ISIS], al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions."
    "Credible information indicates terrorist groups such as ISIL and al-Qaeda and its affiliates continue to plot near-term attacks in Europe. All European countries remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations."

Hamas Operatives Fear Entering Tunnels, Believe Israel Behind Collapses - Noam Rotenberg (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas operatives are afraid to enter underground tunnels in Gaza, fearing that they will collapse, the Jerusalem Post has learned from Palestinian sources.
    In addition, some of the operatives digging the tunnels believe that Israel was involved in at least some of the recent tunnel collapses that claimed the lives of several Hamas men.
    The most recent collapse occurred on Thursday in Khan Yunis, killing one - the sixth such tunnel collapse in recent months.

Hamas Preparing Iranian-Style Swarm Boat Attacks - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas in Gaza has received Iranian operational instruction on preparing swarm-like boat attacks for clashes with Israel, according to a senior Israel Navy source.
    "Hamas is building up its ability to cause much damage from sea-based attacks," he said.
    "It is improving its diving commando units, and creating sea forces that are much more capable than they were before....They will try to attack our vessels with swarms."
    The navy has responded by planting more sonar sensors underwater, and practicing a set of fast responses for when suspicious activity has been detected.
    Hamas is also expected to resume attempts to smuggle rocket-building materials from Sinai to Gaza via boat. "As Egypt continues demolishing tunnels between Sinai and Gaza, we expect an increase in sea smuggling attempts," the source said.
    The Israel Navy's Squadron 916 uses a Protector unmanned sea vehicle to help enforce the 6-nautical-mile fishing zone off the Gazan coast. "The future is here. The Protector can fire, it can monitor," the source said.

Report: Russia's Military Intelligence Chief Killed in Lebanon - Maayan Groisman (Jerusalem Post)
    The head of Russia's military intelligence service, Col.-Gen. Igor Sergun, was killed in January during a secret mission in Beirut, the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported Thursday.
    The Kremlin announced the death of Sergun on Jan. 4, saying he died in Moscow after a heart attack.

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Gallup Votes for Bibi - Elliott Abrams (Weekly Standard)
    On March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the U.S. Congress to blast the nuclear deal with Iran.
    Netanyahu's critics claimed that his speech was a huge mistake that reduced support for Israel.
    The recent Gallup poll shows an increase in support for Israel from 49 to 53% in the last year - the year in which Netanyahu's supposedly damaging speech was made.
    The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a U.S. deputy national security advisor.

Video: Intifada = Violence (Aryeh: Columbia Students Association for Israel)
    Columbia University Apartheid Divest claims terrorist acts were actually "civil disobedience."
    Who could possibly characterize suicide bombings, shootings, and stabbings as "civil disobedience?"

Meet the IDF's New Female Combat Officers - Amir Alon (Ynet News)
    Six women completed the latest IDF combat officer's training course and Ynet met with three of them.
    2nd Lt. Ophir Eyal is the first female officer in the first all-female drone unit in the Artillery Corps. Her unit will operate drones on the front lines in order to give real-time targeting information to artillery troops.
    2nd Lt. Noy Magnezi was a combat soldier in the mixed gender Caracal Battalion, and will be a commander in the new Bardlas mixed gender combat battalion.
    2nd Lt. May Cohen will be an officer in the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps.

Anti-Semitism in Europe: The Devil that Never Dies - Lauren Markoe (Religion News Service-Washington Post)
    At a conference sponsored by Georgetown University's new Center for Jewish Civilization, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, a former Harvard University professor, called anti-Semitism "the devil that never dies" - it morphs over the millennia, taking different forms in different cultures.
    One of anti-Semitism's consistent traits, he said, is the idea that Jews - 0.2% of the world's population - represent an evil threat.
    Speakers from France, the Netherlands and Sweden spoke of increasing threats to Jews on the continent where one-third of the world's Jewish population was murdered during the Holocaust.
    In France in 2015, 49% of violent racist crimes targeted Jews, who represent 1% of the population. This violence has pushed many French Jews, whose roots in the nation go back more than 1,500 years, to move to Israel.

MDA Gets $25 Million for Rocket-Proof Blood Center (JTA)
    American Friends of Magen David Adom, the provider of emergency services in Israel, has received a donation of $25 million from the Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation for a new blood services center in Ramle in central Israel, replacing a facility that is vulnerable to rocket attacks.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel to Launch One of the Most Advanced Missile Defense Systems in the World, with U.S. Help - Ruth Eglash and William Booth
    When it is complete, Israel's multibillion-dollar missile defense system will rival, and in some ways surpass, in speed and targeting, air defenses deployed by Europe and the U.S. The U.S. has provided $3.3 billion over the past 10 years to support the defensive system, which will be able to knock down not only ballistic missiles but also orbiting satellites.
        The Israeli defense establishment and its American partners have designed a layered system that can respond to simultaneous attacks from multiple fronts - rockets lobbed by Hamas from Gaza, mid-range rockets fired by Hizbullah from Lebanon, and long-range ballistic missiles being developed by Iran. In addition, Israel's new X-Band radar will allow it to detect incoming missiles 500 or 600 miles out.
        "I define the system as pioneering," said Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel's missile defense program. "Even the United States doesn't have anything as complex, as sophisticated."  (Washington Post)
  • Iran: Hizbullah Is the Vanguard of Resistance Against the Zionist Regime
    "Lebanon's Hizbullah is the vanguard of resistance against the Zionist regime (Israel) and Iran is proud of the group, which is also the champion of the fight against terrorism in the Middle East," Iranian state TV on Thursday quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying. (Reuters)
  • In Islamic State Battle, Cairo Struggles to Rally Sinai Tribes - Ahmed Aboulenein
    An Egyptian military effort to recruit and arm tribal fighters to take on Islamic State militants in Sinai is failing, according to security sources and tribal figures. The scheme has been hampered by the military's reluctance to provide weapons to local fighters and by attacks by Islamic State, which are scaring off would-be tribal troops. In January, Islamic State wrote in its weekly magazine Naba' that the Sinai branch had killed 1,400 people in the previous 15 months. A Sinai Province video shows nine prisoners beheaded or shot by the group in January. The men all said they had fought alongside or provided intelligence to Egyptian security forces. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman in Israel for Talks - Judah Ari Gross
    The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, landed in Israel on Thursday for talks with senior Israeli officials. A new 10-year military aid package from Washington is under discussion. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Soldier Wounded in West Bank Car-Ramming Attack Friday - Gili Cohen
    An IDF soldier was wounded in a car-ramming attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank on Friday morning. The female Palestinian driver was shot and killed at the scene. A knife was found in the car. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Palestinian Indicted for Planning Attacks on Jews in Ukraine, Israel - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Sami Haviv, 30, a Gazan who spent years living in Ukraine, was indicted on Thursday for planning terror attacks against Jews in Ukraine and Israel. The terror plots included luring a high-ranking IDF general to Sinai to kidnap him and bring him to Hamas in Gaza, and attacking a bus of Israeli tourists in Ukraine with gunfire or a bomb. He was arrested while trying to get into Gaza through Israel from Jordan on Jan. 31. (Jerusalem Post)
  • West Bank Palestinian Convicted in 2012 Murder of Israeli Man - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The Lod District Court on Thursday convicted Amar Abu Dakah, a Palestinian from Tulkarem in the West Bank, in the 2012 murder of Yitzhak Elgabi in the Israeli town of Avihayil, near Netanya. Abu Dakah stabbed Elgabi in the chest with a screwdriver when Elgabi interrupted him and two others seeking to rob his house. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Israeli Arabs Charged with Plotting Terror Attacks Inspired by ISIS - Hassan Shaalan
    Bahaa al-Din Masarwa, 19, and Ahmad Ahmad, 21, two Israeli Arabs, were indicted on Thursday for supporting the Islamic State and planning terror attacks at the Gilboa checkpoint in Jenin, in Afula, and in Jerusalem. Masarwa was in contact with a foreign agent from ISIS. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran's Elections Won't Change the Need for a U.S. Counter to Its Aggressions - Editorial
    The voting in Iran showed, like most Iranian elections, that a large part of the public supports a liberalization of the regime. But as in the past, that popular sentiment is unlikely to bring about substantial change in the near future - in part because many of those elected are far less reform-minded than those who voted for them.
        Claims of a reformist triumph are overblown. Most of those in Rouhani's coalition are, like him, moderate conservatives, meaning they favor economic reforms and greater Western investment, but not liberalization of the political system or a moderation of Iran's aspiration to become the hegemon of the Middle East.
        Iran can be expected to continue the course it has been pursuing in the months since the nuclear deal was struck: waging proxy wars against the U.S. and its allies around the Middle East, using its unfrozen reserves to buy weapons, and defying non-nuclear limits - such as by testing long-range missiles. The elections won't make the regime more pliable, and they won't change the need for a U.S. counter to its aggressions. (Washington Post)
  • The Pseudo-Ceasefire in Syria - Guy Bechor
    "Today we did not get any reports of ceasefire violations" in Syria, the U.S. State Department spokesperson said Tuesday, while the Russians conceded that 18 "serious violations" were committed, and social media reported on dozens of battles with over 100 killed in Syria. The American policy in Syria has moved into the realm of imagination: if we just pretend, maybe there will be a ceasefire.
        Except, this isn't a ceasefire. Syria has once more returned to warfare on all fronts, with heavy Russian bombings and Assad's military or rebel forces alternately making advances. The writer heads the Middle East Division at the Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. (Ynet News)
  • A Nation of Heroes - Warren Goldstein
    Since September there have been 307 attacks or attempted attacks on Israelis, in which 33 people have been killed and 360 injured. There have been 192 stabbings, 76 shootings and 39 vehicular attacks. The onslaught of recent months is just the latest mutation of an ongoing war to destroy Israel, one which began at the birth of the Jewish state, and even before, and has taken the form of seven conventional wars and many waves of terrorism.
        For decades without respite, generations of Israelis have fought with remarkable heroism and bravery in the armed forces of their country, to defend their homes and cities from murderous attacks. All the while, they have created a flourishing society, which has absorbed millions of refugees, establishing a haven of freedom and prosperity in a region of hatred and oppression. And they have done so with positive energy and even optimism.
        All decent people in every civilized country should be grateful to the Israeli people for standing so resolutely on the front lines of the war against the forces of radical Islam. The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Palestinians

  • Palestinian Authority Funding to Terrorists and Their Families - Lenny Ben-David
    A Palestinian attacker can go out to commit murder assured that if he is arrested, he will receive a monthly salary; if he is killed, his family will receive a monthly pension; and if his family home is destroyed, the family will receive a very generous award to rebuild their home. The perpetrators are actually encouraged and incentivized by the Palestinian leadership. According to one study published by the Gatestone Institute, "Terrorists in prison receive higher average salary than PA civil servants and military personnel." The PA paid $75.5 million in stipends to convicted terrorists and their families in 2012. It also grants large bonuses to prisoners when they are released. The writer served as Israel's Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy in Washington and in senior posts in AIPAC for 25 years. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Will the PA Ever Be Economically Viable? - Neri Zilber
    Approximately 70% of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are under the age of 30. According to a 2010 UN report, the Palestinian territories have the second-youngest population in the entire Middle East. But in the West Bank last year, a total of 600 new jobs were created.
        The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority averaged nearly 9% economic growth annually between 2006 and 2011. Yet much of this was due to increased levels of donor aid and an expansion of the Palestinian public sector. Today, international aid has decreased by 40% since 2013, due both to "donor fatigue" and commitments for more troubled hotspots like Syria.
        Already, 120,000 Palestinians are dependent on work either in Israel or Israeli communities in the West Bank. The IDF is seeking to increase the legal quota by 30,000. In an ideal world, Palestinians would not be dependent on foreign aid or Israeli largess. The writer is an adjunct fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Times of Israel)
  • Why Are Palestinian Christians Fleeing Bethlehem? - Robert Nicholson
    In 1990, Christians made up a majority of Bethlehem's residents; today they make up only 15%. Some say Israel is the reason for the decline, but then why is the Muslim population of Bethlehem growing when both sectors face the same exact set of circumstances? Jewish sovereignty does not, ipso facto, lead to Christian emigration. Inside Israel, the Christian population has been growing steadily for decades. The decrease of Christians inside the Palestinian territories is due more to rising Islamism and bad governance by the Palestinian Authority.
        It is no coincidence that Bethlehem was mostly Christian until the 1990s. Until then, Bethlehem was ruled directly by Israel. Palestinian Christians (and Muslims) could travel freely inside Israel, visit the beach, and shop in Jewish neighborhoods. That all changed in the mid-1990s when Israel agreed to let the PLO rule parts of the West Bank and Gaza under the Oslo Accords.
        The Palestinian Authority is, by its own constitution, an Islamic state that embodies the principles of shari'a, and Christians are relegated to the status of second-class citizens. It is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity. Moreover, living as a Christian, one is constantly reminded that he or she is not a member of the majority culture. In public, Bethlehem Christians laud their happy coexistence with their Muslim neighbors. They don't have a choice. They are hostages inside their own city. (Providence)

  • BDS

  • No Excuse for Violent Disruption of Talks by Israeli Speakers at Universities - Edward Byrne
    Violent protests occurred during a talk given by Ami Ayalon on the campus of King's College London in January. I want to reaffirm here that King's is opposed to any form of disruptive action that might interfere with the university's core purpose to promote scholarship and learning. We are absolutely committed to peaceful and respectful dialogue where people have conflicting views.
        There was no excuse for the behavior of a vocal minority of protesters at the event in January. We are taking appropriate action in accordance with our misconduct regulations. Intimidating behavior is completely unacceptable and goes against everything that we stand for at King's. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest. We have a duty to uphold freedom of speech within the law and will fight against intolerance wherever it is found. The writer is president and principal of King's College London. (Ha'aretz)
  • How to Beat BDS at Its Own Game - Daniella Ashkenazy
    A shot of street theater would be far more effective in combating BDS than polite, rational argumentation, which fails to reach the uninformed and presents an easy target for BDSers to sabotage and silence with heckling and harassment.
        BDS cadres have set up an "Apartheid Wall" on the campus green? They're staging street drama with Israeli soldiers harassing Palestinians at mock checkpoints? Let Jewish students respond by sending in activists dressed as school kids with a pipe bomb or a butcher knife in their backpacks, as a pregnant woman laying on a suicide belt in a mock ambulance, as a teenager disguised as a hawker selling snacks to drivers off a tray, to get close enough to knife those manning the BDSers' mock checkpoints.
        Drive this message home in the finale - with the actors holding up placards with a relevant news clipping with the real cases reported in the press, declaring: "This Really Happens in Israel." Screen footage of the same terrorist attacks on a wall - loops of carnage - under the banner: "What Forced Israel to Build a Security Fence?"
        We need to adopt the tactics of Jewish students and Israelis in Amsterdam during the 2014 Gaza War, who staged a flash mob demonstration in Leidse Square: A siren sounded and dozens of people strolling across the square hit the pavement and huddled there for 15 seconds as the siren blared, while two activists unfurled a banner saying, "Imagine: In Israel you have 15 seconds to save your life."  (Times of Israel)

  • Weekend Features

  • What Israel Is Giving Me: The Voice of an Arab Doctor - Gheula Canarutto Nemni
    Faiza is the head of the intensive care unit at a major private hospital in Israel. She lives in Shuafat, an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem where there are frequent disturbances. She comes from a family of eleven, most of them graduates of Israeli universities. "I love my life. I love living in Israel. I thank Allah every day for having given me the opportunity to grow up here," she says. "I know that if it was not for this country, I would never be what I am."
        "Here you can choose," she says. She turns her head toward the Arab doctors and nurses. "Israel gives you the opportunity to express your human potential." In all Israeli universities there are guaranteed places for Arab-Israeli citizens. "Have you seen how Israeli soldiers are helping Syrians? Have you seen how they are putting their own lives in danger crossing the border in order to take the wounded Syrians to Israeli hospitals?"  (Times of Israel)
  • Kenya-Israel Partnership Will Make the Country Water Secure - Eugene Wamalwa
    Israel changed its water and food fortunes after realizing that rain-fed agriculture was not sustainable and turned to irrigated agriculture. Israel stopped waiting for rain and water from the Sea of Galilee and sent salt water from the Mediterranean Sea through desalination plants and practiced waste-water recycling to give its citizens millions of cubic meters of water in excess of their needs. Through irrigation, Israel has turned the desert green and produced enough food for its national consumption as well as export. Israel is a water and irrigation superpower and No. 1 in the world in waste-water recycling.
        Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to bring about a paradigm shift from rain-fed agriculture to irrigated agriculture that will remove Kenya from the yoke of food and water insecurity by rapidly increasing the acreage under irrigation to over a million acres, while building local capacity through technical training in collaboration with Israel.
        Israel has promised to double the number of Kenyans training in Israel and to establish the Irrigation and Water Engineering Institute in Kenya to give the country technical capability as it increases its acreage under irrigation. Other initiatives include partnering with Kenya in developing desalination along Kenya's 500 km. coast along the Indian Ocean, and supporting Kenya's new Water for Schools Program to connect all our public schools to water. (Standard Digital-Kenya)
  • Israeli System Revolutionizes Parking Garages - Abigail Klein Leichman
    Conventional parking garages take up lots of land and resources, not to mention the gasoline wasted as waiting cars troll for a vacant spot. Unitronics Group's automated parking solution lets you drive your car into a 20-by-20-foot entry bay, turn off the engine, lock up, take a ticket and go on your way. After you leave, a Unitronics robot lifts the vehicle, transports your car to a destination spot, and positions it perfectly with no chance of a fender scrape or space-hogging poor parking.
        Unitronics' U.S. subsidiary recently completed four new automated parking garages in the U.S. Its facilities use only one-third of the space of a conventional parking lot - storing three times more cars in the same space. "The car is turned off after the driver leaves it in the entry bay, so there is no waste of fuel and no emissions in the building," says Unitronics founder and CEO Haim Shani. "Since it's a robotic system, there is no need for lighting or ventilation inside the parking garage, which consume much more energy than does our robot." The facility also lessens the likelihood of injury to car owners and car theft, thus also reducing insurance costs. (Israel21c)

There's Only One Country in the Middle East that Could Produce a Soldier Like Me - Major Alaa Wahib (Jewish News-UK)

  • I am an Israeli, an Arab, and the highest ranked Muslim in the IDF. Is Israel inherently racist, an apartheid state? Well, do you think that such a country would tolerate a person like myself getting to the position I am today? Twenty percent of Israelis are non-Jewish, have full rights, and are represented throughout society.
  • I do not serve in the army to kill people - I serve in it to save people. When Hamas fires rockets, or Fatah encourages stabbings, we are here to protect the lives of all Israeli citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.
  • The town I grew up in did not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. I did not learn Hebrew until I was 17. I was raised to believe the worst things about Jews, and, had I not eventually met and worked alongside them, I might still believe those things today.
  • Peace - real peace - will only come when people talk to each other. The irony of Israeli Apartheid Week is that it wants individuals to focus on differences, not similarities. Instead of building bridges between communities, it wants to build walls.
  • During my time in the UK, I spoke alongside a fellow soldier, a medic who has treated both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists without distinction. We were the Muslim who protects Jewish lives, and the Jew who saves Muslim lives. There's only one country in the Middle East that could produce a couple like that - and it sure as hell isn't an apartheid state.

        See also Israel's Highest-Ranking Muslim Soldier - Josh Jackman
    On a speaking tour in Britain to combat Israeli Apartheid Week, Major Alaa Wahib, 36, who grew up in a village in the Galilee, said he never imagined he would be part of the Israel Defense Forces, let alone become its most-decorated Muslim soldier. His father had served in the Israel Police and told his son to join the army. "If someone is firing rockets from Gaza, they may be an Arab, but their rocket can hit my house as well," he says.
        "Slowly but surely I began to fall in love with the people in my unit. My life never felt like it was less important than their lives. We became brothers in arms. I am happy with that, because every moment of cooperation between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews reduces the risk of war, and makes the chances for peace higher."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
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