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
  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
April 20, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Fireman's Helmet-Cam Shows First Moments after Bus Blast - Raoul Wootliff (Times of Israel)
    New footage was released Tuesday showing the view of a firefighter who arrived shortly after a bomb blew up on a Jerusalem bus, setting it and other vehicles ablaze and injuring 21.
    The images were recorded on a GoPro camera on the helmet of Arik Abuloff, a fireman from the Israel Fire and Rescue Service.
    The images show Abuloff running toward two buses engulfed in flames and firefighters attempting to battle the inferno. Later he enters the burnt-out buses in a search for victims and clues.

All Palestinian Factions Justify Jerusalem Bus Bombing (MEMRI)
    On April 18, 2016, a bomb went off on a bus in Jerusalem.
    Thus far, Palestinian Authority officials have issued no condemnation of the attack. All Palestinian factions have justified the attack.
    Fatah claimed it was a natural response to Israel's actions, and Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and other factions welcomed the attack and expressed enthusiastic support for it.
    Additionally, many gloating posters and cartoons were posted on social media.
    A cartoon by Gaza cartoonist Omayya Joha shows a Palestinian woman distributing sweets following the attack, saying: "Blessed be the hands of the one who blew up the bus this afternoon...and what you have seen is only a drop in the ocean."

Hamas to Execute 5 Palestinians for "Collaborating" with Israel - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    A Hamas military court in Gaza sentenced five Palestinian men to death on Monday on charges of collaborating with Israel. Four are set to be hanged, and the other executed by firing squad.

Photos: 12-Year-Old Israeli Girl Discovers Ancient Egyptian Amulet (AP-Ha'aretz)
    A 12-year-old Israeli girl has discovered an ancient Egyptian amulet dating back more than 3,200 years to the days of the Pharaohs.
    Neshama Spielman and her family took part in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, an initiative to sort through earth discarded from the area of the biblical temples in Jerusalem.
    There she found a pendant-shaped amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler Thutmose III.

Jews Who Refused to Leave Yemen Having Second Thoughts (Media Line-Ynet News)
    The 67 Yemeni Jews who refused to join the recent secret airlift to Israel are now having second thoughts.
    Sources in Yemen report that the group, comprised mostly of children and the elderly, has been subject to constant harassment by Muslims.
    See also Yemen Rebels Arrest Rabbi Accused of Smuggling Ancient Torah Scroll to Israel - Maayan Groisman (Jerusalem Post)
    Houthi militias reigning in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, have recently arrested Rabbi Yahia Youssef Yaish, who was accused of aiding in "smuggling an ancient Torah scroll to Israel," Yemenite media reported Monday.

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

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. and Iran Report Progress on Iran Sanctions Complaint - Edith M. Lederer
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reported progress after a meeting Tuesday on Iranian complaints that it's not getting the sanctions relief it deserves under last year's nuclear deal. Iran says it is locked out of the international financial system.
        The White House, Treasury and the State Department have all said the U.S. has done what is required, but U.S. officials say the Obama administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prevent U.S. dollars from being used in transactions that enable business with Iran. On Monday Kerry said Iran has so far received only $3 billion of $55 billion expected under the deal. (AP-ABC News)
        See also Obama Administration Urges States to Lift Iran Sanctions - Eli Lake
    On April 8, the State Department's lead coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation, Stephen Mull, sent letters to the governors of all 50 states asking them to reconsider any laws on the books that called for divesting state funds from businesses interacting with Iran's economy, or laws that would deny contracts to companies that do business with Iran. More than two dozen states have such laws.
        Defenders of the state-level sanctions say they shouldn't be lifted because many of them were imposed not only because of Iran's nuclear program, but also its human-rights record, development of ballistic missiles and support for terrorism. "These state laws are an essential part of the non-nuclear sanctions architecture," said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Bloomberg)
  • After Six Months of Violence, Palestinians Wonder: What Was Gained? - William Booth
    After six months of attacks by Palestinians against Israeli soldiers and civilians, what did the Palestinians gain? Funerals, many say. Over a three-month period, 11 Palestinian teens and young men from Sa'ir in the southern West Bank left home to try to attack Israelis. They were killed by security forces during the attempts. None of the attacks launched by the men in Sa'ir achieved the death of an Israeli soldier or Jewish civilian.
        More than 180 Palestinians have been killed in the past six months - 130 in attacks against Israelis and 50 during riots and clashes. During the same period, Palestinians killed 29 Israelis, along with four foreign nationals, including two visiting Americans.
        "The atmosphere has changed. The people are tired," said a senior Israeli commander in the West Bank. "Palestinians are understanding there is no efficiency in these terror attacks. Most of the attacks do not succeed, and most of the time the Palestinian is arrested, wounded or killed, and no Israeli is hurt."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Terror Cell in West Bank Plotted to Kidnap Israeli for Prisoner Swap
    Israeli security forces have uncovered a West Bank terror cell that plotted to kidnap a resident of Har Bracha to bargain for freeing Palestinian prisoners, the Israel Security Agency announced Tuesday. Sa'ad Husam Ahad Fakia, 30, and Malak Fatah Ismail Kadus, 25, from the village of Iraq Burin, near Nablus, were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas. The pair had prepared a place to hide the kidnap victim, as well as implements to restrain him. They also planned a stabbing attack and to steal an IDF soldier's weapon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Blows Up Hamas Attack Tunnel Dug into Israel - Noam Amir and Yaakov Lappin
    The IDF on Tuesday detonated the Hamas attack tunnel it uncovered 10 days ago leading from Gaza into Israeli territory after examining its route, depth and length. Israel believes Hamas is digging several additional attack tunnels toward the border with Israel, though with Israel's new detection capabilities, it remains unclear how worthwhile it is for Hamas to continue to invest millions in its tunnel networks. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Looking for More Tunnel Exits Inside Israel - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF will continue working to uncover all sections of the recently-discovered Hamas tunnel over the next few weeks to ensure that there are no other exit shafts inside Israel. Simultaneously, Israel is developing a technological system to detect and destroy the Gaza tunnels, to be completed within two years.
        The IDF is providing its infantry battalions with equipment specifically designed for tunnel combat. These include mini walkie talkies which can function underground, oxygen masks, night-vision equipment which can be used in complete darkness, handguns, and lighter body armor.
        Infantry soldiers will receive training in tunnel combat at special IDF training facilities. In the past, a combat unit that discovered a tunnel needed to call in Yahalom, a special unit of combat engineers, to deal with it. Now, any infantry battalion will be able to quickly and effectively neutralize the tunnel threat. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Biden's Assault on Israel - Elliott Abrams
    On the same day that a bomb injured 21 people in a bus in Jerusalem, Vice President Joe Biden addressed J Street with a rhetorical attack on the government of Israel. President Obama is about to join a GCC summit in Saudi Arabia. Does Biden really think the Arabs pay no attention to how we treat our closest friends and allies? Does he not know that they will read all of this and wonder when they will be getting the same treatment?
        Then there are the facts. How do you get to "systematic" expansion of settlements when Netanyahu has been constraining many aspects of settlement growth? And why is Biden not familiar with the history of his own administration's peace efforts? As Dennis Ross made clear in his most recent book, Doomed to Succeed, Netanyahu was in fact ready to take significant political risks to meet American requests - and Abbas was not. The writer, a senior fellow at CFR, was a U.S. deputy national security advisor. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • The U.S. and Saudi Arabia No Longer See Anything the Same Way - Ray Takeyh
    These days, when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia look at the region, they see two completely different landscapes. As President Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the latest developments in the Iran nuclear deal are not anything the Tehran-phobic Saudis want to talk about. Obama has expressed a vague desire that Iran and Saudi Arabia should "share the neighborhood" without saying how he hopes that will be accomplished.
        There has always been something incongruous about an alliance between a liberal democracy and a traditional monarchy relying on austere Islam and petrodollars to sustain itself. As the U.S. grows more energy independent and Saudi oil becomes less relevant, the lure of petroleum is increasingly not enough to sustain an alliance always built on a shaky foundation.
        Changing the occupant of the White House early next year will not substantially alter America's policies. Obama reflects a mood of disenchantment with the Middle East within the Democratic party, while Republican front-runners denounce expansive visions for transforming the political culture of the Middle East and implanting democratic regimes in the heart of the Arab world. U.S. politicians on both sides are tired of expending precious resources to stabilize a region coming undone. The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was senior advisor on Iran at the U.S. State Department. (Politico)

The Self-Destruction of UNESCO - Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)

  • On April 11, 2016, the Executive Board of UNESCO - an international body ostensibly dedicated to education, science and culture - adopted a decision, proposed by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman and Sudan, entitled "Occupied Palestine."
  • The decision condemns all Israeli presence and activities in Jerusalem, Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel. In so doing it pointedly and deliberately denies, ignores, and seeks to delete from history any historic, cultural and religious link between the Jewish People, the Jewish religion and Jerusalem, including specifically its holy religious site of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as well as with the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem.
  • The decision refers to these Jewish holy sites solely in a context of "safeguarding the cultural heritage of Palestine," to the complete exclusion of the cultural and historic heritage and rights of the Jewish People.
  • It ignores and denies the age-old indigenous Jewish historic linkage of the Temple Mount area to Judaism, Jewish history and religion, and ignores the fact that this was indeed the site of the Jewish Temples, and as such the cradle of all Jewish existence and history.
  • Out of the 58 states members of the UNESCO Executive Board, France, Spain, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia - all ostensibly "friends" of Israel - supported this obnoxious and shameful decision, while only six states voted against - Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the UK and the U.S.
  • The 1945 Constitution of UNESCO sought to establish a body to combat ignorance, prejudice, suspicion, inequality and mistrust between peoples, and to advance dignity, equality, mutual respect and the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.
  • This blatant abuse of a universal international body for the sole purpose of denying the very history, culture and integrity of the Jewish People and religion should be of the utmost concern to the international community as a whole, as well as to the states members of UNESCO that supported the resolution.

    The writer served as the legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry and Israel's ambassador to Canada. He was involved in all the peace process negotiations.

        See also Video: UNESCO's Resolution to Condemn Israel Conflicts with Its Mission - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.