Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
October 13, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

German Bomb Plot Suspect Kills Self in Prison (AP-Fox News)
    Jaber Albakr, 22, a Syrian arrested in Germany for an Islamic extremist bomb plot, killed himself Wednesday in his prison cell in Leipzig.
    Last month authorities found explosives and a home-made bomb vest in his apartment.
    Albakr, who had been granted asylum after coming to Germany last year, was arrested Monday after three fellow Syrians tied him up and alerted police.

Egypt, Russia to Hold Joint Military Exercise (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
    Egyptian and Russian paratroopers will hold a joint military exercise on the Mediterranean coast on October 15-26.
    Russia and Egypt held a joint naval exercise in 2015. In September, Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi flew to Russia to boost military cooperation.

Three Iranians Caught in Italy with Fake Israeli Passports (Times of Israel)
    Three Iranian nationals were caught in Italy with forged Israeli passports, Israel's Channel 2 reported Wednesday.
    Italy deported the three to Turkey.

Gaza Businessman Calls to Restore Economic Cooperation with Israel - Amiram Barkat (Globes)
    Gaza businessman Nabil Bouab said in an interview, "I was the first person to open a factory in the Karni industrial zone and in less than a year 50 factories were opened there that employed tens of thousands of workers. I want there to be peace because my interests depend on peace and quiet."
    Bouab recounts that before Hamas came to power in Gaza he owned four textile factories in Karni, which provided 2,000 jobs. The factories were closed down in October 2007.
    "Gaza's people have learned the hard way that nobody is going to help them and so I think looking to their Israeli neighbor is the right direction."
    "Let's re-operate the Karni industrial zone where I had four Israeli partners whom I worked with from 1999 to 2007."

The IDF's Bedouin Battalion - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF Desert Reconnaissance Battalion is made up mostly of Bedouin officers and men.
    For much of its 30 years of existence it has been based along the border with Gaza, playing a key role in preventing terrorists from infiltrating Israel.
    Maj. Nader Eyada, from the Bedouin town of Beit Zarzir near the Jezreel Valley, is a 10-year veteran of the unit. He has a B.A. from the University of Haifa.
    Muhammad Shibli, the main medic in the unit, has been in the IDF for seven years.
    "I was born in Shibli [a Bedouin village in the Galilee]. I wanted to protect Israel from terrorism and threats, wherever they come from. We live with Jews, there is no such thing as difference, we are one nation living together and we want to live in peace."
    He notes that rockets fired from Lebanon, Syria or Gaza don't distinguish among people and communities.
    Since 1948, more than 110 Bedouin have died defending Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Launches Strikes in Yemen after Missiles Fired at American Ships - Courtney Kube and Phil Helsel
    The U.S. military launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against radar sites in Yemen Thursday following two incidents Sunday and Wednesday in which missiles were fired at the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mason in international waters near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait from rebel Houthi-controlled territory. Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said, "These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation."  (NBC News)
  • New Threat from ISIS: Exploding Drones - Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt
    Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in northern Iraq last week shot down a small drone the size of a model airplane. As they were taking it apart, it blew up, killing two Kurdish fighters. In the last month, Islamic State has tried to use small drones to launch attacks at least two other times, prompting American commanders in Iraq to warn their forces to treat any type of small flying aircraft as a potential explosive device. American advisers say drones could be deployed against coalition forces in the battle in Mosul. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Arabs Riot in East Jerusalem on Yom Kippur - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    Rioting broke out in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem in Isawiya, Jebl Mukaber and Silwan less than an hour after Judaism's holiest day - Yom Kippur - began on Tuesday evening. "Arabs living in these neighborhoods threw petrol bombs and rocks at officers who responded to a dangerous and life-threatening situation," said Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld on Wednesday night. "One resident in Silwan, who threw a petrol bomb at officers at close range, was injured critically and died." Despite the violence in east Jerusalem, Rosenfeld said thousands of Jews prayed at the Western Wall in the Old City without incident. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran Called the Greatest Threat to Israel - Shlomo Cesana
    Israeli Construction Minister Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yoav Gallant sees Iran as the biggest threat facing Israel today. "Iran is working against us in five areas: in Gaza, by supporting Hamas and [other] terrorist organizations, mainly the Islamic Jihad; through Hizbullah and building Hizbullah up; in Judea and Samaria, by attempts to operate terrorist cells; through ongoing attempts to enlist Israeli Arabs who will take action against the nation; and through terrorist attacks abroad, which are carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hizbullah against Israeli and Jewish targets."
        "Their desire for [nuclear weapons] remains, even if there are ups and downs and breaks on their way to their goal. They have already made declarations about how they intend to use [nukes]."
        "The Iranian-Shiite majority is slowing taking control of Iraq. Now there's a battle raging over Syria, where there are attempts to reach Iranian-Shiite hegemony under Hizbullah, and that's a process that should worry us. We will not allow a reality in which Iran operates against us on expanded borders, through other players....Most of the Muslim world, 90% of it, is Sunni. Of those, 90% are moderate. Their enemies are our enemies: the extremist Shiites, led by Iran, or the Sunni Salafists and jihadis - al-Qaeda, Islamic State and the like."
        "Anyone who thinks we'll withdraw to the 1967 borders is deluded. There's no chance of that happening. In my opinion, the Palestinians understand that already, and we [in Israel] certainly do."  (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Tehran's Houthi Allies Fire at U.S. Ships - Editorial
    On Sunday off the coast of Yemen, the USS Mason, a guided-missile destroyer, and the USS Ponce, an amphibious ship, were attacked by two Chinese-built C-802 cruise missiles fired from territory controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia. Iran is a major operator of the C-802; its proxy Hizbullah used it in 2006 to punch a hole in an Israeli corvette off the coast of Lebanon. Last week, the Houthis scored a direct hit on the HSV Swift, an unarmed transport used by the United Arab Emirates.
        The attack on the Navy ships - with hundreds of American sailors aboard - is another reminder that the nuclear deal has done more to embolden than moderate Tehran's ambitions, despite a cascade of U.S. concessions. The Administration grants the mullahs unprecedented concessions not called for by the nuclear deal, and they respond by attacking the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Saudi Lobbyist Calls for "Collaborative Alliance" with Israel - Salman Al-Ansari
    While having a common enemy in Iran will help accelerate any rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a more solid foundation for establishing ties could manifest in a mutually beneficial economic partnership. History tells us that Arabs and Jews were some of the strongest partners in trade, culture and mutual security, living in relatively peaceful coexistence for centuries.
        Over the past 70 years, Saudi Arabia and Israel have never sought any provocative or hostile actions against each other. Moreover, there are hundreds of Jews hailing from many corners of the world who are currently working in Saudi Arabia, contributing to its financial, infrastructure, and energy projects.
        Saudi Arabia is going through its biggest economic transition in its history. Its National Transformation Plan represents a golden opportunity for Israel to participate in and help bolster the Saudi economy. Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without any source of flowing water, while Israel is a world leader in water engineering. The writer is the founder and president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC). (The Hill)
        See also Saudi Arabia Stops Blocking Israeli Papers Online - Elliott Abrams (Newsweek)
  • The Disease of Narrative Thinking - Ben-Dror Yemini
    Instead of serious research aimed at finding the truth, the world now sees reality through different stories, with each community, group, people, and country having its own narrative. When Israel was born in 1948, the Arab leadership of that period made it unequivocally clear: Not only are we not interested in compromise and in a division of lands, we plan on conducting a massacre. There was no guarantee that the Jews would win. Initially, the Arab invasion was successful. The threat was very real. There were quite a few failures. The Old City of Jerusalem remained in Arab control.
        Secretary-General of the Arab League Abdul Rahman Azzam said at the time, "This will be a war of destruction and a great massacre." Prime Minister of Iraq Nuri al-Said claimed, "We will crush the state with our guns and destroy any place in which the Jews seek shelter." The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna stated, "If the Jewish state becomes a fact, the Arab peoples will throw the Jews living amongst them into the sea." The Holocaust was just three years prior. The Jews were a refugee people, not colonialists. (Ynet News)

The Jewish Historical Connection to Jerusalem (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

UNESCO is expected to vote Thursday to approve a resolution that disregards Judaisms historic connection to the Temple Mount and casts doubt on the link between Judaism and the Western Wall.

  • For more than 3,000 years, Jerusalem has played a central and sustaining role in the history of the Jewish people - politically, spiritually and culturally. Recent UNESCO resolutions ignore the historical connection between the Jewish people and their ancient capital.
  • A few examples of archeological findings that illustrate this link are:
    • An inscription from the 9th century BCE referring to the House of David
    • A royal seal bearing the inscription of King Hezekiah (8th century BCE)
    • Clay seal impressions of officials of King Zedekiah (6th century BCE)
    • The Arch of Titus in Rome (built 82 CE), depicting vessels from the Second Temple being carried into Rome
  • These archeological findings (documented in this report) discredit those who deny the ancient Jewish presence in Jerusalem. They present irrefutable evidence of historical truth.
  • Today, with historical heritage sites in this region being systematically destroyed by jihadist forces, it is Israel that defends religious freedom for the three monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - against the tide of intolerance sweeping the Middle East.

        See also UNESCO on the Temple Mount - Editorial
    The underlying assumption behind Palestinian activism in UNESCO seems to be that if Jews' ties to Jerusalem and to the Temple can be denied or questioned, it serves the cause of Muslims. Conversely, admitting the simple historical truth that there was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount calls into question Palestinian claims that they are the indigenous population and the Jews are trespassers.
        No one with intellectual honesty seriously doubts that the Jewish people has religious, cultural and historical ties to the Land of Israel. Any attempt to deny these ties is a perversion of science. That UNESCO is lending its hand to such perversion is a tragic testimony to the sorrowful state of UN institutions. (Jerusalem Post)

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