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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
February 28, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Company Unveils Solution to Growing Drone Threat - Roi Reshef (Globes)
    Israel Military Industries Ltd. has held a demonstration of its Red Sky tactical air defense system, which has been adapted to counter the growing threat of drones.
    In the demonstration, the Red Sky system detected, identified, automatically tracked, and intercepted drones with great success.
    The system uses shoulder-launched missiles to intercept airborne targets automatically using autonomous scanning, tracking, and launching capabilities.
    The system can also disrupt communications between the drone and its operator.
    See also Video: Red Sky Drone Defender System (IMI Systems)

U.S. Drone Strike in Syria Kills Top Al-Qaeda Leader - Martin Chulov and Tom McCarthy (Guardian-UK)
    Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, 59, who has been part of al-Qaeda for three decades and was a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was killed on Sunday when a missile fired from a U.S. drone hit his car in northwest Syria, jihadi leaders have said.
    Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based writer on Islamic groups, said Masri "was the ideological leader of the group in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and the number two in the organization overall."
    Masri has been implicated in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in which more than 200 people died.

Egypt Deports Top Palestinian Official (Reuters)
    Jibril al-Rajoub, a confidant of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a high-ranking member of the Fatah central committee, was denied entry at Cairo airport on Monday and deported to Jordan on the orders of the Egyptian intelligence services.

89 Percent of Israelis Say They're Satisfied with Their Lives - Omri Efraim (Ynet News)
    89% of Israelis over the age of 20 say they are satisfied with their lives, according to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics published Monday.
    88% reported satisfaction from their jobs and 81% felt safe walking alone at night in their neighborhood.

Arab Israelis Are Joining the IDF in Growing Numbers - Paul Goldman (NBC News)
    Sgt. Yossef Saluta, 20, a Muslim Arab, is among dozens of Arab Israelis who serve in the Israeli military. "This is my country and it's my duty to protect its borders," he said.
    Most believe the army opens doors in Israel, according to Col. Wagdi Sarhan, head of the minorities unit in the Israel Defense Forces.
    "The army is a great platform to strengthen the bond between the Arab population and Israeli society," Sarhan added.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • More Bomb Threats at Jewish Schools and Community Centers - Barbara Demick
    Threatening calls are pouring in to switchboards of Jewish schools and community centers with alarming frequency. The fifth round of threats in the last two months hit 20 Jewish institutions on Monday. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that President Trump "continues to condemn these and any other forms of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms."  (Los Angeles Times)
  • ISIS Militants in Sinai Showing Their Strength - Ashraf Sweilam
    In the past few days, Islamic State militants in northern Sinai abducted four men accused of collaborating with the government. Two of the men have been found slain. Egyptian officials say one of the slain men had his eyes plucked out and was set on fire before being shot to death. Women are being threatened with punishment if they don't wear the niqab and farmers are being forced to pay financial tribute to ISIS. The militants have set up checkpoints on the roads around the city of Rafah, which borders Gaza.
        This recent show of strength by ISIS loyalists comes on the heels of a recent easing of Egypt's military campaign against them. "The numbers of militants is not that big....But the army campaign stopped and the militants returned," said a prominent tribal leader. (AP-ABC News)
  • After Loss of Satellite in SpaceX Blast, Israel Brings in Replacement - Caleb Henry
    Israeli satellite operator Spacecom has begun offering telecom services with a satellite from AsiaSat to fill the void left by the loss of Amos-6. The Amos-6 satellite built by Israel Aerospace Industries was destroyed in September when the SpaceX rocket poised to carry it exploded. In December, Spacecom contracted with Hong Kong-based AsiaSat to utilize AsiaSat-8 for at least four years, rebranding it Amos-7. (Space News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hoenlein: Pandemic of Anti-Semitism Is Forming - Raphael Ahren
    "I think we're seeing a pandemic in formation," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "We saw anti-Semitism in Britain, we saw it in France, and now we see it's spreading everywhere....Look at the numbers of incidents in Germany, Scandinavia and other parts of the world. And now we see in America swastikas being painted, other expressions, threats or aggression against kids on campuses."
        "I don't think now it's a direct threat to Jewish existence or Jewish survival. I do think that this cancer, left unchecked, spreads and becomes more and more of a threat....This is not our problem. It's society's problem. It's Christianity's problem. It's everybody's problem, when there's hatred against Jews. We're the victims; we're not the cause of it."  (Times of Israel)
  • Abbas Rejects U.S.-Israeli Proposal for Regional Approach to Peace Talks - Dov Lieber
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday rejected the idea of a regional framework for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which was endorsed recently by the leaders of both Israel and the U.S. Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Abbas said, "It is the question of Palestine within the framework of regional affairs as the current Israeli government has attempted to do."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Attacks Hamas Targets in Gaza in Response to Rocket Fire - Yoav Zitun
    Israel Air Force fighter jets attacked five Hamas terror targets in Gaza on Monday in response to rocket fire. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not tolerate a "drizzle" of rocket fire. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Problem of the Lebanese Army - Elliott Abrams
    According to the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon (speaking last summer), "In this year alone we provided over $221 million in equipment and training to the Lebanese security forces." But Lebanon is also the home of the terrorist group Hizbullah. Nothing happens in Lebanon without Hizbullah's approval, and collaboration between Hizbullah and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) may be growing. According to a recent report in the Times of Israel, Israeli "officials are following, almost in astonishment, the deepening cooperation between the Lebanese army and Hizbullah."
        In this context, should U.S. aid to the LAF continue? We should not end aid to the LAF, but should make it very clear that this aid is in danger. Lebanese officials must come to realize that the withholding of aid is the inevitable outcome unless they keep farther away from Hizbullah than current trends appear to suggest. The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Israel's Strategy in the Third Lebanon War - Giora Eiland
    We should pay attention to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who reiterated that Hizbullah was part of the power protecting Lebanon from Israel. This statement only strengthens what should have been clear for years - that Hizbullah and the government of Lebanon are one and the same.
        In the Second Lebanon War, Israel fought only against Hizbullah, without getting the Lebanese government, the Lebanese army and the country infrastructures involved in the battle. If we run the third Lebanon war the same way, the cost to the Israeli home front would be unbearable. The conclusion, therefore, should be clear. If fire is opened at Israel from Lebanese territory, Israel should declare war on the State of Lebanon.
        There is no one in the world who wants to see Lebanon destroyed. A war against Lebanon, which will inflict heavy damage on all of the country's infrastructures, will spark an international outcry for a ceasefire after three days, rather than after 33 days like in the Second Lebanon War. It is only from a really short war that Israel will be able to emerge victorious and without serious damage to its home front. Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland is a former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Ynet News)
  • Stop PA Pensions for Terrorists - Sander Gerber
    The family of Bashar Masalha - the Palestinian who murdered Taylor Force, 28, a West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, on March 8, 2016, in Jaffa - will receive a pension for life amounting to three times the average yearly salary in the West Bank. Under the PA's Palestinian Prisoners Law, payments are enhanced for a terrorist who commits a violent act and is jailed. The longer the sentence (the greater the violence), the higher the salary a terrorist receives.
        The PA allocates $315 million, nearly 8% of its budget, to pay terrorists in prison and the families of martyrs. Over 36,000 people receive monthly payments from the PA as rewards for attacking Israel. Peace will never be achieved if the Palestinian leadership continues to incentivize terrorism against Israel. The writer is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Vice Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. (Jerusalem Post)

Animosity Towards a Sovereign Jewish State Is the Root Cause of the Conflict - Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz (The Hill)

  • True peace requires addressing the deep sources of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Those lay with the Arab and Muslim reaction to the return of the Jewish people to powerful sovereignty in their ancient homeland. As far as Muslim theology and Arab practice were concerned, the Jews were non-believers, only to be tolerated, never as equals. They should have never been allowed to undermine Muslim rule over the lands which the Jews claimed as their homeland but the Arabs viewed as exclusively theirs since conquering them in the seventh century.
  • The return of the Jewish people to restored sovereignty in their ancient homeland required Arabs and Muslims to accept that a people, whom they have for centuries treated as inferiors, worthy of contempt, were now claiming equality and exercising power in their midst. This unnatural historical development, in Arab eyes, led Arab governments to take revenge and forcefully expel hundreds of thousands of Jews living in their midst, often in communities predating the birth of Islam, just after the establishment of the State of Israel.
  • It is also the reason why Arab states kept the Arabs who were displaced during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and their millions of descendants as perpetual "refugees" - to deprive the Jewish state of legitimacy and peace.
  • It is the reason that even after losing repeated military wars against the State of Israel, Arab countries have continued their diplomatic and economic war against it to this day.
  • This attitude towards the Jewish state is an Arab - and Muslim - issue, and not only a Palestinian one. The Palestinians are the thin end of the wedge by which the Arab and Muslim world wages its war against a sovereign Jewish people.
  • If the word "peace" is ever to truly describe the situation between Israel and its neighbors, it requires the Arab and Muslim world to accept the Jews as their equals and as an indigenous people who have come home.

    Einat Wilf is a former member of the Knesset. Adi Schwartz is a researcher and writer in Tel Aviv.

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