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April 4, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic State Increasing Presence Near Israel's Borders - Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)
    While the Islamic State is moving from offense to defense across Syria and Iraq, this has not prevented ISIS from stepping up its activities in Sinai and the Syrian Golan Heights.
    Despite the relentless war Egypt has been waging against the jihadi group, Islamic State's hold on Sinai remains firm as it launches devastating terrorist attacks against Egyptian security forces.
    Islamic State is gaining ground in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights as well.
    Its proxies, such as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, has been tightening its grip on the area at the expense of more moderate rebel groups.
    Attempted Islamic State terrorist attacks in Israel are only a matter of time.
    The writer, Vice Rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

Iraqi Forces Free 1,500 Prisoners from Underground IS Jail (AFP)
    Iraqi forces freed 1,500 prisoners from an underground Islamic State jail in Heet in Anbar province, Iraqi officials said on Saturday.

Report: German Intelligence Spied on Israeli Prime Minister's Office - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been spying on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office for several years, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

Charity Backing Anti-Israel Rallies Loses UK Government Funding - Andrew Gilligan (Telegraph-UK)
    The UK's Department for International Development (Dfid) said Friday that it no longer supported War on Want, a British charity which helped pay for "Israeli Apartheid Week."
    War on Want has received £260,000 in funding from Dfid over the last two years.
    Many Israeli Apartheid Week speakers seek to destroy Israel, not just remove it from the territories.
    See also UK NGO Denies London Pulled Funding over Anti-Israel Deeds (JTA-Times of Israel)

Air France Stewardesses Refuse to Don Headscarf on Iran Flights - Kim Willsher (Guardian-UK)
    Air France is facing a backlash after instructing female crew to wear trousers during flights to Iran and to don a "loose-fitting jacket and headscarf" before leaving the plane in Tehran.
    Staff representatives accused the airline of forcing female staff to wear clothes that are an "ostentatious religious sign" that goes against French law.
    "Many female members of flight crews have told us that it's out of the question they be obliged to wear headscarves. It's not professional and they see it as an insult to their dignity," said union leader Francoise Redolfi.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Says Mideast Arms Proliferation Imperils Its Military Edge - Dan Williams
    Israel's neighbors are buying arms on a scale that threatens its regional military superiority, deputy Israeli air force chief Brig.-Gen. Tal Kelman said Sunday. In order to perpetuate Israel's qualitative military edge - a guarantee that it gets more advanced U.S. weapons than Arab states get - Israel says it needs to bulk up its armed forces, not just upgrade their technologies, to keep ahead of potential foes.
        "There are countries here which have plans that are being actualized for arms deals in the hundreds of billions of dollars, for the most advanced Western weaponry and the most advanced Eastern weaponry," Kelman said. "There is a very great danger here, because today's enemy can be tomorrow's friend, and today's friend could be tomorrow's enemy."  (Reuters)
  • At Least 22 Members of Terror Network Behind Brussels, Paris Attacks Still at Large - Matthew Dalton
    At least 22 radical Islamists from Europe linked to the terror network behind the Brussels and Paris attacks are suspected to be still at large. Many have been involved in previous Islamic State plots, officials say, and almost all have spent months or years fighting in Syria.
        "We see many plots and several cells that we now know are part of the same network," said Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism in Paris. "They're already here."  (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • UN Censors Israeli Exhibition Featuring Zionism and Jerusalem - Danielle Ziri
    The UN disqualified 3 out of 13 displays at an exhibition initiated by Israel's Permanent Mission to the UN that opened at UN headquarters on Monday, including one about Jerusalem, another about Israeli Arabs and a third about Zionism. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon demanded on Sunday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reverse the decision.
        "The UN must reverse this outrageous decision and apologize to the Jewish people," Danon said. "Zionism and Jerusalem are the foundation stones and the moral basis upon which the State of Israel was founded. We will not allow the UN to censor the fact that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Photos from Israel's UN Exhibit - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
  • Woman Stabbed by Israeli Arab in Central Israel - Rotem Elizera
    An Israeli Arab woman stabbed an Israeli woman at the Rosh HaAyin industrial area on Sunday before being subdued by a security guard. In a later incident Sunday, a Palestinian who pulled a knife on Israeli border policemen stationed at Tapuach junction in the West Bank was arrested without injuries. (Ynet News)
  • Drop in Palestinian Terrorism Recorded in March - Yaakov Lappin
    March saw 6 shootings, stabbings, and vehicle rammings, compared to 56 in February, 45 in January, and 40 in December, according to IDF data. At the same time, the number of firebombing and rock throwing incidents remained largely constant. There were 220 cases of rock throwing in March and 23 firebomb attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Six-Month Intifada: Israel's Casualties
    Since October 1, 2015, 34 people - Israeli soldiers and civilians, as well as foreign nationals and Palestinians - have been killed in stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks. Here are their faces. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Returns Full Electric Power to Jericho Despite Debt
    The Israel Electric Corporation has restored full power supply to the Palestinian city of Jericho in the West Bank after reducing the supply over an outstanding debt of $450 million owed by the Palestinian Jerusalem District Electricity Company and the Palestinian Authority, officials said Sunday. (AFP-Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • One Year After the Iran Nuclear Deal - Yousef Al Otaiba
    Saturday marked one year since the framework for the nuclear deal with Iran was announced. Sadly, behind all the talk of change, the Iran we have long known - hostile, expansionist, violent - is alive and well, and as dangerous as ever.
        Iran remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism - a persistent threat not only to the region but to the U.S. as well. "Death to America" has always been more than an ugly catchphrase; it has been Iranian policy. During the Afghanistan war, Iran paid Taliban fighters $1,000 for each American they killed.
        One year after the framework for the deal was agreed upon, Iran sees it as an opportunity to increase hostilities in the region. The international community must intensify its actions to check Iran's strategic ambitions. If the carrots of engagement aren't working, we must not be afraid to bring back the sticks. The writer is the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Iran Nuclear Deal Keeps Changing - Eli Lake
    Like most of Washington, I was under the impression that the nuclear negotiations with Iran ended in July. That turns out to have been wrong. While it's true that the Iranians have disposed of nuclear material, modified sites and allowed more monitoring, they also keep haggling over the terms.
        Now the U.S. is considering a rule change to allow some Iranian businesses to use offshore financial institutions to access U.S. dollars in currency trades. When the White House sold the deal to Congress, senior Treasury officials promised the nuclear agreement would not allow such dollar transactions, since it only lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but kept in place other sanctions to punish the country's support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic missile program.
        Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Thursday: "The Administration had indicated that there would be no further concessions beyond those specifically negotiated and briefed to Congress. I do not support granting Iran any new relief without a corresponding concession."   (Bloomberg)
  • Syrian Rebel Gains Show Regime's Reliance on Foreign Forces - Hassan Hassan
    40 days after Syrian rebels agreed to a cessation of hostilities deal with the regime, battles erupted in at least five different regions throughout the country. In southern Aleppo, Jabhat Al Nusra took Al Eis village along with a strategic hilltop that overlooks the Aleppo-Damascus highway. Anti-government forces fought for more than seven hours, and Russian jets were not deployed to repel them.
        Moreover, most of the forces guarding the village and hilltop were foreign militias. Hizbullah reportedly announced the deaths of seven fighters. The Syrian regime continues to rely on those militias to conduct its war outside its heartlands. Iranian-backed militias also spearheaded the capture of Palmyra. The writer is a resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. (National-Abu Dhabi)
        See also Iran-Backed Lebanese Sunni Group Aids Hizbullah in Syria - Maayan Groisman
    Mohammad al-Kabash, a member of the Lebanese Resistance Brigades, died Saturday in Syria at the side of Hizbullah. Established by Hizbullah in 1997, the brigades were aimed at recruiting Sunni and Christian youth. The group directs most of its efforts toward providing Hizbullah with fighters. (Jerusalem Post)

Anti-Zionism Is the New Anti-Semitism - Jonathan Sacks (Newsweek)

  • On March 27, speaking to the Sunday Times, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his concern at rising levels of anti-Semitism on British university campuses. There are, he said, "worrying echoes" of Germany in the 1930s. Two days later, in The Times, Chris Bryant, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and a senior member of the British Labour party, warned that the political left was increasingly questioning the right of the State of Israel to exist, a view he called a "not too subtle form of anti-Semitism."
  • A survey in 2013 by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe's Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism, with numbers as high as 46% in France and 48% in Hungary.
  • In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.
  • Israel - the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East with a free press and independent judiciary - is regularly accused of five crimes against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide. This is the blood libel of our time.
  • When bad things happen to a group, its members can ask two different questions: If it asks, "What did we do wrong?" it has begun the self-criticism essential to a free society. If it asks, "Who did this to us?" it has defined itself as a victim. It will then seek a scapegoat to blame for all its problems. Classically this has been the Jews.
  • The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. People of all faiths and none must stand together, not just to defeat anti-Semitism but to ensure the rights of religious minorities are defended everywhere.

    The writer served as Britain's chief rabbi from 1991 to 2013.

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