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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
May 5, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

IDF Uncovers Second Hamas Attack Tunnel - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF uncovered another cross-border Hamas attack tunnel stretching from Gaza into Israel on Thursday, located 30 meters underground, following the discovery of a deep Hamas attack tunnel in April.
    A senior security source said Hamas understood that the IDF had begun approaching its tunnel and tried to stop Israel through mortar fire.
    The IDF said, "This tunnel was dug by the Hamas terror organization to carry out attacks in Israeli territory against Israeli civilians and security forces."
    See also Israel Returns Fire after Hamas Shelling of IDF Units Detecting Tunnels - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas launched a series of cross-border mortar attacks targeting IDF units on the border with Gaza on Wednesday, prompting the IDF to return fire with tanks and air strikes on Hamas targets.
    The escalation was the most significant since the end of the summer 2014 Gaza war.

NATO Approved Israel Office after Turkey Lifted Veto - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed on Wednesday that NATO's decision to allow Israel to open offices at its Brussels headquarters, announced Tuesday, was enabled after Turkey rescinded the veto it had imposed in recent years on any Israeli activity with NATO.

Poll: 2/3 of Gaza Palestinians Do Not Trust Hamas (Arab World for Research & Development)
    77% of Gazans believe matters in the Palestinian territory are moving in the wrong direction and 67% say they do not trust Hamas, according to a poll conducted on April 18-21.
    At the same time, 71% of Gazans believe armed attacks against Israel are "important" and an additional 15% say they are "somewhat important."

British Policy, Jews and Israel - Adam Shay and Judy Lash Balint (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Recent comments by members of the British Labour party have prompted a much needed and overdue public debate regarding anti-Semitism among British politicians.
    The British government has been pro-Arab since the early days of the British Empire. Britain is responsible for crowning and educating many members of the Middle East's royal families and founding many of the region's post-colonial monarchies.
    The majority of Gulf and Arab royalty and military elite have been educated in Oxbridge and Sandhurst.
    British technicians, managers and investors may be found in every oil-producing country in the region from Iraq to Oman.
    In terms of domestic politics, Islam is the second largest religion in the UK, practiced by over three million people, while the Jewish population is less than 300,000.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Kerry: We Must Stand Against Resurgent Anti-Semitism
    Secretary of State John Kerry issued this statement Thursday: "I join all Americans in observing Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, we pause to reflect on the irredeemable loss of six million Jews and countless Poles, Roma, LGBT people, Jehovah's Witnesses, and persons with disabilities brutally murdered by the Nazis because of who they were or what religion they practiced."
        "Many in our country lost loved ones in the Holocaust. As I have learned in the past decade, some of my own relatives were among those who perished in Auschwitz, Terezin, Sobibor, and Dachau....All of us should remember that many Jews fleeing violence and extremism were denied entry to our ports. All of us must stand firmly and resolutely against resurgent anti-Semitism, sectarian hatred, and bigotry in our time."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also President Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day (White House)
        See also Netanyahu Lambastes Modern Anti-Semitism on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Times of Israel)
  • Iran Threatens to Block Vital Oil Shipping Route - Rick Gladstone
    Tensions between Iran and the U.S. are showing signs of worsening, with Lt. Cmdr. Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf oil shipping route, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei questioning the longstanding deployment of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in the region.
        The Iranians are also seething over an April 20 Supreme Court ruling that permitted the use of nearly $2 billion in seized Iranian assets to compensate American victims of overseas attacks that U.S. officials have attributed to Iran. Last week, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the ruling a crime and an example of American arrogance. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day - Amir Alon and Omri Efraim
    Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday with ceremonies and events across the country honoring the memory of six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. The day's events began at 10 a.m. with two minutes of silence in memory of the six million, marked by a siren that was heard throughout the country and brought Israel to a standstill as drivers got out of their cars, soldiers climbed on top of their tanks, and pedestrians stopped in their tracks. (Ynet News)
  • Israel: Palestinians Refuse Direct Negotiations - Dana Somberg
    On May 30, dozens of foreign ministers will gather in Paris for a preliminary event leading up to an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit to take place in the summer. According to Danny Danon, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, "The Palestinians are doing everything in their power to prevent direct negotiations from taking place and instead are supporting initiatives that just push negotiations further out of reach. The Palestinians believe they will receive a better deal if Israel is not involved, if outsiders dictate to Israel what the outcome will be - and this is a mistake. They don't understand that we are right here and that at some point they will need to sit down together with us in the same room."
        "The Palestinians say that they have no interest in sitting down with the Israelis, and so we have not been able to discuss any matters with them....The Palestinians want to know in advance...what the outcome of the game will be."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Civic Activist Gunned Down for Cooperating with Israel - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    Baha Nabata, 31, a well-regarded Palestinian civic leader from Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem, was shot dead on Monday for working with Israeli officials to improve living conditions in his community, former Meretz councilman Dr. Meir Margalit, who had worked closely with Nabata, said Wednesday. During their last conversation several weeks ago, Nabata said he feared for his life. "More than once he told me that people in the refugee camp accused him of being a collaborator with Israel," said Margalit. "That was because in order to solve the problems in the camp, he had to be in contact with the Jerusalem Municipality."
        Nabata worked to pave the community's roads, set up emergency medical services, and train firefighters with help from the Jerusalem Fire Department. Margalit said his murder sends a clear warning to all Palestinians working with Israelis to "stop doing it, or you will end up like Nabata."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Spreading the Insidious Virus of Anti-Semitism - Ephraim Mirvis
    It is astonishing to see British political figures claim that Zionism is separate from Judaism as a faith; that it is purely political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist. Their claims are a willful distortion of a noble and integral part of Judaism. Zionism is a belief in the right to Jewish self-determination in a land that has been at the center of the Jewish world for more than 3,000 years. One can no more separate it from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.
        Open a Jewish daily prayer book used in any part of the world and Zionism will leap out at you. The innumerable references to the Land of Israel are inescapable. Throughout our collective history we have yearned for a chance to determine our own future, to revive an ancient language and return to rejoice in our love for this tiny sliver of land. The writer is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Why We Are Optimistic about Zionism - Col. Richard Kemp, Yossi Raskas and Dr. Harold Rhode
    Zionism, the movement inspired by belief that the Jewish people should return to the Land of Israel to rebuild their own sovereign state, has succeeded in one of the most inhospitable regions on Earth. And it continues to lead the way as a beacon of moral clarity and success for the West.
        Since its inception, the Jewish state has endured several major wars, waves of suicide attacks, and other traumatic events. Still, Israel's birth rate is steadily climbing, its economy is punching far above its weight, and its diplomatic ties with Sunni Arab states are growing stronger.
        Zionists were not paralyzed by the extraordinary persecution of the Jewish people that marked the twentieth century. Instead, they courageously enlisted in the fight of a lifetime exactly when the challenges seemed insurmountable, and then proceeded to build a flourishing, democratic state. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
  • Arab Failures, Kurdish Achievements Might Fix History's Injustices - Shlomo Avineri
    Because of the weakness of the Baghdad government and the careful policies of the Kurdish leadership, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is now for all practical purposes a de-facto state. A regional parliament has been elected in which more than 10 parties are represented. Turkomen, Assyrian and Armenian minorities have seats reserved for them and take part in the governing coalition.
        With Syria's disintegration, a similar development has emerged in the three Kurdish districts in the north of the country, called Rojava. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)

Holocaust Remembrance Day at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp - Dore Gold (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold spoke at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on May 4 in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

  • Seventy years ago, Bergen-Belsen emerged as one of the key concentration camps established by the Nazi regime for the purpose of exterminating the Jews of Europe. Thousands died in Bergen-Belsen from disease, starvation, exposure, and sheer exhaustion, especially after the death marches in the winter of 1944-45 from the evacuated camps in the East as the Germans transferred their surviving Jewish prisoners to camps within the borders of the German state.
  • Jews from all over the Nazi Empire were forced into Bergen-Belsen - from Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, France, as well as North African states, like Libya and Tunisia. The commandant of Bergen-Belsen at the end of 1944, Josef Kramer, previously had been in charge of the main killing center at Auschwitz.
  • My own mother-in-law, Dina Sherman, was also relocated from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen along with her sister, Esther, who died in her arms in this place.
  • Five days after the British army liberated Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945, a BBC reporter, Richard Dimbleby, entered the camp and made a tape recording of the former Jewish prisoners rising up with their frail bodies, and breaking into a Hebrew song, "Hatikvah," which means "the Hope." It was to become Israel's national anthem.
  • The Jews at Bergen-Belsen were reminding the world of the 2,000-year-old hope that dated back to when the Jews lived as a free people in their own land. They were also saying that it was time to go back home.
  • Chaim Herzog, who became Israel's sixth president, served as an officer in the British forces that entered Bergen-Belsen in 1945. In 1987 he came back and declared that the Jewish people would never again be helpless. We will never allow anyone to do this to us again.

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