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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
April 7, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Hizbullah Building Major Military Base in Syria (Stratfor)
    Satellite imagery shows that Hizbullah has built up a significant base near the Syrian town of Qusair and has dug tunnels from the base back to Lebanon.
    According to one source close to Hizbullah, the group intends to stockpile Katyusha rockets, mortars and howitzers at the base and plans to move some of its 60 T-72 main battle tanks there.
    Additionally, there are four separate munitions factories at the base.
    At the same time, according to an Iranian diplomatic source, ranking officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) treat the base as an Iranian asset.
    Sources have also said there are long-range missiles at Qusair, referring specifically to Iranian missiles including the Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Fateh-110, any of which could be used to strike Israel.

Israeli Doctors, Security Services Rally to Save Syrian Girl (Times of Israel)
    A five-year-old Syrian girl arrived at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa in recent weeks with serious wounds from the fighting in Syria, Israel's Channel 10 reported Wednesday.
    After her wounds had nearly healed, Rambam doctors discovered the young girl had cancer.
    When a search for a bone marrow donor led to a relative living in an enemy state, Israel's security services mounted a secret operation that helped smuggle the relative out of that country and into Israel.

Video: Angels of Death - IDF Casualty Notification Officers (RT-Russia)
    In Israel, where serving in the army is compulsory, there is a special military unit whose sole task is to inform relatives when a soldier is killed in action. RT meets some of the officers who knock on doors. (26 min.)

2,200-Year-Old Bronze Artifacts Found at Biblical Site - Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
    An ornate Second Temple era bronze incense shovel and bronze jug were recently unearthed at the biblical site of Magdala, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.
    The town is known traditionally by Christians as the birthplace of Mary Magdalene.
    The IAA began extensive excavations at Magdala after construction of a new hotel brought to light ancient remains in 2009.
    Digs have uncovered the remains of a synagogue, ritual baths, streets, factories and a marketplace from the Second Temple-era town.
    See also Video: Archaeological Excavations at Magdala (IMRA-YouTube)

Israel Records Stable Growth, Lowest Jobless Rate in Decades (AFP-Times of Israel)
    In 2015, Israel recorded economic growth of 2.5% and its lowest unemployment rate - 5.3% - since the mid-1980s, the Bank of Israel announced Sunday.
    It projects 2.8% economic growth for 2016.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russian Official: No Ban on Export of Sukhoi-30 Fighter Jets, T-90 Tanks to Iran
    The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Administration for Security and Disarmament, Mikhail Oliyanov, said, "We are of the opinion that the possible sale of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets and T-90 tanks of Russia to Iran have not been prohibited in [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231 and this resolution has permitted Iran to purchase such military hardware," the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.
        On Tuesday, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said Washington would use its veto power in the Security Council to block the possible sale of Russian fighter jets to Iran. (Fars-Iran)
  • Bosnia: A New Sanctuary for Islamic State in the Middle of Europe - Walter Mayr
    A new sanctuary for Islamic State fighters, planners and recruiters has been established in the middle of Europe. In some remote Bosnian villages, the black flag of IS is flown and, as a share of the population, more fighters from Bosnia-Herzegovina have joined IS than from any other country in Europe, except for Belgium.
        Some 200-300 Islamist radicals have left Bosnia-Herzegovina to join IS or al-Qaeda in Syria or Iraq. Two of the most wanted terrorists in the world are among them: Bajro Ikanovic, for many years the commander of the largest IS training camp in northern Syria; and Nusret Imamovic, a leading member of the Nusra Front in Syria, a group tied to al-Qaeda. Bosnia, says the American Balkan expert and former NSA employee John Schindler, "is considered something of a 'safehouse' for radicals," and now harbors a stable terrorist infrastructure. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
  • Israel Defense Minister: F-35 Will Preserve Qualitative Edge - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told visiting Lockheed Martin executives and test pilots Tuesday that Israel's planned F-35I force would allow it to preserve the nation's qualitative military edge against regional adversaries. "We obviously will add our own capabilities, our knowledge and our experience to each plane," he added. On Sunday, Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman, the Israel Air Force chief of staff, said he expects Israel to have operational capability with the aircraft by the end of 2017. (Defense News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Warns Europe: Hundreds of Jihadists Are Planning to Strike - Yaakov Lappin
    There are "hundreds of jihadists planning to strike Western targets on European soil" already present on the continent, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told his Polish counterpart, Antoni Macierewicz, in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. "We are concerned that what we saw in Paris and Brussels is just the start, and that attempts to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe will continue," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Christians Bitter over Destruction of Church Ruins in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Construction workers in Gaza City found the remains of the 1,500-year-old church where a shopping mall is being built. Bulldozers removed the antiquities and continued their work without supervision. Palestinian Christians on Wednesday expressed anger over the way Hamas has handled the ancient ruins of the Byzantine church. Suleiman Fayoumi, a Christian from Nablus, commented on social media: "How are the Wakf officials in Gaza different from ISIS when they bulldoze antiquities and a religious and cultural treasure?"  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Anti-Israel Protesters Crash Jerusalem Mayor Barkat's Talk in San Francisco
    Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters on Wednesday barged into a public lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at San Francisco State University, shouting slogans and attempting to prevent him from speaking. "Anyone who thinks that calls for violence and incitement will be able to silence us or divert us from our position is mistaken," Barkat said. "We will continue to build, develop and strengthen the State of Israel and within it a united Jerusalem, and we will continue to voice our opinions and our legitimacy when we are invited to do so, even in places where they try to stop us."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran Should Pay a Price for Its Ballistic Missile Tests - Editorial
    Iran has repeatedly tested ballistic missiles that could be used for carrying nuclear warheads, even though a UN Security Council resolution approved in tandem with the nuclear accord explicitly called on Iran not to engage in such activity. Tehran's behavior comes as no surprise to the many observers who predicted the deal would not alter its hostility to the West or its defiance of international norms.
        Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (Md.) are discussing a response that would mandate sanctions against all Iranian entities, including financial institutions, connected to the missile program and renew the broader Iran Sanctions Act. That would allow the nuclear accord to go forward, while sending Iran the message that its infractions will be costly. (Washington Post)
  • Israel's Christian Minority - Shadi Khalloul
    Israel is the only island of safety that allows Christians, Druse, Muslims, Baha'i and other minorities freedom and democratic rights in this region. Christians and other minorities in Israel prosper and grow, while in other countries in the Middle East, as well as in the Palestinian Authority, they suffer heavily from the Islamic movement and persecution - until forced to disappear. Contrary to propaganda, there is no "apartheid" of any kind in Israel. Christian and Muslim minorities fill all types of high positions. There is a Maronite Christian Supreme Court judge, Salim Joubran.
        Israel's minorities are very aware of the tragic destiny of their brothers in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other Arab countries. Fear that this devastation will spread is one of the reasons there have been increasing numbers of Christians applying to serve in the IDF, with 30% recruitment on a voluntary basis. Moreover, there are more than 1,000 Muslim Arabs serving in the IDF. The author, founder of the Israeli Aramaic Movement, served as a lieutenant in the IDF paratrooper division. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Making Friends Worldwide - the Technion Way - Boaz Golany
    Scientific research nowadays is based on international collaboration and no university, no matter how strong it is, can continue to push the frontiers of science on its own without a worldwide network of collaborations with other leading academic institutions.
        Rather than confront the BDSers in platforms of their choice and play the game according to rules they are trying to dictate, we have developed a proactive globalization policy that seeks to build bridges of goodwill and mutual benefit that serve as solid proof of the fallacy and distortion in the BDS arguments. In less than a decade, we have signed more than 200 agreements with leading academic and research institutions as well as research divisions in large multinational corporations worldwide.
        Recently a business delegation led by the French Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs minister, Emmanuel Macron, visited us in Haifa for the signing of an agreement between Ecole Polytechnique and the Technion to further promote the cooperation between the startup accelerators of both institutions. They and many others come here because they see the added value that serves their own objectives. It isn't Zionism or a sudden attraction to the Holy Land. It's just good business. The writer is vice president for external relations of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. (Jerusalem Post)

Teaching Palestinians to Hate - Ariel Bolstein (Israel Hayom)

  • The world is quick to blame Israel for all the problems in the region, whereas the Palestinians are commonly met with forgiveness and understanding. It is therefore encouraging to learn that the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, a German think tank, is focusing a spotlight on the Palestinian Authority educational system. Recently published research that deals with PA textbooks reveals messages of burning hatred, with condescending and degrading language about Jews.
  • No place where Jews live is described as a city, village or community. These places are only depicted as Arab villages and towns. Both Tel Aviv and kibbutzim are universally referred to as "settlements." The word "Israel" is replaced with terms like "the occupation regime," or "the Zionist terrorist organization." Israel simply does not appear on maps in the PA's geography textbooks.
  • In no Palestinian textbook will one find any call for peace, tolerance or mutual understanding, while calls to fight and carry out violent attacks against Israelis appear frequently. Those who perpetrate such attacks are glorified and praised profusely.
  • These textbooks promote and entrench hatred against Jews and Israelis, and contribute to legitimizing violence as a means to resolving the diplomatic conflict. Anyone who dreams of peace in the Middle East must first root out this incitement from the education system.
  • Since PA schools are largely funded by European donations, responsibility for teaching this hate and its consequences falls on European leaders.

        Read the Report - Educating the Next Generation: Changing Palestinian Textbooks as a Precondition for Mutual Understanding - David Labude (Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin)

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