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March 21, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Some of the Last Jews of Yemen Brought to Israel in Secret Mission (Jerusalem Post)
    17 Jews living in Yemen, some of the last Jews in that country, were brought to Israel in a secret mission Sunday night, Israel Channel 2 reported.
    The U.S. State Department helped coordinate the mission.
    Rabbi Saliman Dahari, who arrived with his parents and his wife (his children are already in Israel), brought with him an 800-year-old Torah scroll.
    See also 17 Yemenite Jews Secretly Airlifted to Israel - Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
    Some 200 Yemenite Jews have been brought to Israel in recent years; 50 Jews remain in Yemen, with 40 living in Sanaa in a compound adjacent to the American Embassy.
    Some 49,000 Yemeni Jews were brought to Israel in 1949-50.

Report: U.S. Congress Blocks $159 Million in Aid to PA (Ma'an News-PA)
    Congress is delaying a payment of $159 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to pressure the PA to relaunch negotiations with Israel, PLO ambassador to Washington Maen Erekat said Saturday.
    Erekat confirmed that Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, was blocking the payment due to PA support for "terrorism."
    Erekat added that some "pro-Israel" congress members are continuing to pressure the PA to relaunch diplomatic negotiations with Israel, and prevent Palestinians from joining international organizations and conventions.

Hundreds of Anti-Israel Protesters Rally Outside AIPAC Convention on Sunday - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil (Times of Israel)
    Hundreds of protesters converged in the street opposite where the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual Policy Conference was taking place on Sunday afternoon, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans and protesting both the conference and Washington's support for Israel.
    The protesters included those claiming affiliation with the hacker group Anonymous, the Black Panthers, the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta, and a number of pro-Palestinian organizations.
    Although this year's protests seem larger than in previous years, anti-Israel protests are a longstanding feature of AIPAC's annual gathering.

Israel's History in Photographs - Lenny Ben-David (AIPAC)
    Discover for yourself the rich photographic history of the Land of Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Paris Attack Mastermind Captured, Was Planning Further Attacks from Brussels - James Rothwell and David Chazan
    Salah Abdeslam, who was said to be the logistics chief for the Nov. 13 Paris attacks which killed 130 people, was arrested by Belgian authorities on Saturday, who said he had been planning more attacks from Brussels. Belgium's foreign minister Didier Reynders said Sunday that Abdeslam claimed "he was ready to restart something from Brussels....We found a lot of weapons, heavy weapons in the first investigations, and we have seen a new network of people around him in Brussels."
        According to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, Abdeslam was supposed to detonate a suicide bomb at the Stade de France in Paris in November but "backed out" at the last minute. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also ISIS's Evolution Seen in Report on Paris Attacks - Rukmini Callimachi
    The arrest in Belgium of Salah Abdeslam offers a crucial opportunity to address the many unanswered questions surrounding how the Paris attacks were planned. A report compiled after the attacks by the French antiterrorism police, recently obtained by the New York Times, offered new perspectives about the plot.
        The attackers, sent by the Islamic State's external operations wing, were well versed in making suicide vests and staging coordinated bombings, while others led shooting sprees to hamper the police response. They exploited weaknesses in Europe's border controls to slip in and out undetected, and worked with a high-quality forger in Belgium to acquire false documents.
        French officials have repeatedly warned that more strikes are possible, and Western intelligence officials say their working assumption is that additional Islamic State terrorism networks are already in Europe. (New York Times)
  • Biden Blames Both Israel and the Palestinians at AIPAC - Sarah Wheaton
    Speaking Sunday in Washington at a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), U.S. Vice President Joe Biden blamed both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for lacking the political will to find peace, even as he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to its alliance with Israel and expressed new hopes for Israeli cooperation with its other Arab neighbors.
        After a recent trip to the region, Biden said, "The current prospects for peace are not heartening....There is no political will among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward at this moment with serious negotiations, and that's incredibly disappointing."  (Politico)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast: Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Istanbul Attack and Turkey-Israel Relations - Raphael Ahren
    Will Saturday's terror attack in Istanbul lead to an improvement in ties between Turkey and Israel? The coordination between Israeli and Turkish officials dealing with the immediate aftermath of the attack was excellent. "The Health Ministry, Prime Minister's Office, the hospitals - even the funeral homes were amazing," said Israeli diplomat Shira Ben Tzion who was in charge of Israel's Istanbul consulate. "We are used to hostility on the streets," she told Yediot Ahronot, "but in this case, from the moment we said we're from the Israeli Consulate, they embraced us straight away and treated us nicely."
        On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a letter of condolence from his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. A week earlier, Netanyahu had condemned a large-scale terror attack in Ankara. On Saturday night, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold aborted a trip to Washington and instead made his way to Istanbul. His arrival on Sunday marked the highest-level visit to Turkey from an Israeli official since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. (Times of Israel)
  • Islamic Education in U.S. Hostile to Israel - Danielle Ziri
    Islamic education curricula in the U.S. project hostility toward Israel and distort the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a study by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE). "When discussed at all, Israel is presented by the curricula as a usurper and referred to on occasion as Palestine. There is no discussion of peaceful solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the report states.
        In one curriculum, published in Saudi Arabia for use in the U.S., "the West is associated with a variety of social ills and immorality. Islam and Muslims are portrayed as being under constant threat and thus forced to fight, through jihad."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Read the Report - Between Sharia and Democracy: Islamic Education in North America (IMPACT-SE)

Palestinian Society Supports Terror - Ronni Shaked (Ynet News)

  • Terror cannot exist in the long term without support from the society from which it emerges and in whose name it operates. Palestinian society, on all levels, is giving the current wave of terrorism a warm embrace, and maintaining its momentum.
  • President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership justify terror attacks as "popular resistance" in statements of support of the supposed "martyrs," who are looked up to as heroes and whose families receive financial benefits.
  • Full color posters with their pictures are distributed in cities and villages.
  • The funerals of these "martyrs" include escorts fit for a king - accompanied by an armed and uniformed honor guard and surrounded by thousands of supporters chanting slogans supporting the "struggle."
  • There are rallies about once a week on university campuses in support of the "heroes."
  • In this atmosphere, there is no chance that Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian leader will condemn terror, let alone call for an end to violence.

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