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April 24, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Abbas vs. Barghouti - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)
    Sources in the PA claim that in closed forums, Mahmoud Abbas has expressed concern that Marwan Barghouti - leader of the week-old hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners - coordinated the timing of the strike with his good friend and Abbas rival Mohammad Dahlan in order to embarrass Abbas before his meeting with President Trump at the White House on May 3.
    The sources claim that the PA leadership is currently facing Arab and international pressure and that this is not the time to generate a conflict with Israel and the U.S.
    Israel's political leadership sees Barghouti as a symbol of the terror of the Second Intifada, convicted in a civil court of five murders of Israeli citizens.
    Abbas does not want to appear in Washington as someone who supports a terrorist with "blood on his hands."

Hizbullah Battlefield Deaths Defending Assad Mount Up - Ali Alfoneh (Newsweek)
    Lebanese Hizbullah has sustained considerable losses in Syria on Iran's behalf to secure the survival of Bashar al-Assad's regime.
    According to a survey of Arabic language public coverage of funeral services held in Lebanon, 1,048 Hizbullah fighters were killed in combat in Syria from Sept. 30, 2012 to April 10, 2017, including 60 identified as commanders.
    This number must be treated as a minimum, since the Hizbullah leadership has every reason to downplay losses.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Qatar's Support for Terror - Jonathan Schanzer (New York Post)
    Since August 2014, U.S.-backed coalition aircraft have flown tens of thousands of sorties to bomb ISIS. Almost all of them are commanded out of the high-tech al-Udeid air base in Qatar - a facility crucial to our war efforts.
    But Qatar harbors the bad guys, too. The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas enjoys safe haven in Qatar.
    Outgoing leader Khaled Meshal has long operated out of Doha. Hamas military official Saleh Arouri - suspected of masterminding the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, sparking the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel - is now reportedly in Qatar after being booted from Turkey.
    The writer, a former Treasury Department terrorism-finance analyst, is senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The Best Ambassadors of Israel You'll Ever Find - Anat Levy (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Arava International Center for Agriculture Training (AICAT), established in 1994, hosts 1,200 students each year and has produced more than 16,000 alumni who are determined to adapt the skills they have learned in their communities back home in Africa and Asia.
    Not only do they study new cultivation techniques and agricultural technologies, but they also learn a wealth of management, marketing and business skills. The students are paired to work and live with individual Israeli farmers.
    Hanni Arnon, the executive director and founder of AICAT, said, "They learn here in the Arava that...with faith, a pioneering spirit and ingenuity, you can make the desert bloom."

Video: The "Inspired by Israel" Video Contest Winner - Jessica Steinberg (Times of Israel)
    A video by sisters Sivan Felder and Batsheva Shachnovitz won the $8,000 first prize in an "Inspired by Israel" contest hosted by the Israel Video Network.
    The videos in the contest are love letters to Israel.
    See also "Inspired by Israel" Contest Videos (Israel Video Network)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN Secretary-General: Denial of Israel's Right to Exist Is "Modern Form of Anti-Semitism"
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the World Jewish Congress on Sunday, "A modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist. As secretary-general of the United Nations I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules." He said he supports "the absolutely undeniable right of Israel to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors."
        "You can be absolutely sure, as secretary-general of the United Nations, I will be in the front line of the struggle against anti-Semitism, and to make sure the United Nations is able to take all possible actions for anti-Semitism to be condemned and, if possible, eradicated from the face of the earth."  (JTA)
  • Terrorist Accused of Killing a British Student Will Be Paid £800 a Month by the Palestinian Government - Nick Craven
    Palestinian terrorist Jamil Tamimi, who killed British theology student Hannah Bladon, 21, in a frenzied knife attack on Good Friday in Jerusalem, will be paid a salary of more than £800 a month by the Palestinian government - which receives more than £25 million a year from the UK in foreign aid. Terrorists are paid a monthly amount by the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on a sliding scale related to the severity of their sentence. (Mail on Sunday-UK)
  • The Resurgent Threat of Al-Qaeda - Ali Soufan
    Al-Qaeda has been eclipsed by the Islamic State - a group that began as al-Qaeda's Iraqi franchise but broke away in 2014. In the nearly six years since its founder, Osama bin Laden, was killed in Pakistan, al-Qaeda has transformed itself into a vast network of insurgent groups spread from southeast Asia to northwest Africa. Together, this network now commands an army of tens of thousands of Islamist militants, united in their commitment to bin Laden's ideology.
        In Syria, more than 20,000 militants follow the banner of the Liberation of the Levant Organization (formerly known as the Nusra Front). In Yemen, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula numbers at least 4,000 fighters and holds major sections of coastline and highways. In Somalia, al-Shabaab has at least 7,000 members and continues to attract recruits, including from Somali communities in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Video: Israel Comes to a Halt as Sirens Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day - Herb Keinon
    Israel commemorated the six million Jews who were murdered by Nazis in the Holocaust on Monday with a two-minute siren that brought the country to a halt at 10 a.m.
        Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking at Yad Vashem on Sunday evening, said: "The simple truth is that in our world...the strong survive, the weak are erased....The lesson is that we must be able to defend ourselves, by ourselves, against all threats and all enemies." Some 189,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Video: Israel Marks National Holocaust Remembrance Day - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Stabs Four on Tel Aviv Waterfront on Sunday - Yaniv Kubovich and Gili Cohen
    A Palestinian man, 18, from the West Bank wounded four people in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The assailant was apprehended. He had an entry permit issued at the request of Natural Peace Tours, a travel and tourism service for Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Stabs Israeli Soldier at West Bank Checkpoint Monday - Gili Cohen and Nir Hasson
    A female Israeli soldier was wounded on Monday when a Palestinian woman stabbed her at a West Bank checkpoint north of Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • End the U.S. Taxpayer Subsidy for Palestinian Terror - Editorial
    If you want to stop terrorists, you shouldn't be rewarding them or their families for their heinous acts. On Wednesday, Al-Quds reported that Team Trump will demand the Palestinian Authority end its practice of paying terrorists and their families and stop funding Hamas.
        Trump is right to demand an end to rewards for those who slaughter innocents. However fair Palestinians' political gripes might be, it doesn't justify terror. U.S. taxpayers don't want their cash rewarding terrorists. (New York Post)
  • Zionism Denial - Einat Wilf
    Israel exists not because of the Holocaust but because the Jews willed it into existence. The modern state of Israel exists because the Jews who created it believed themselves to be descendants of the Israelites and Judeans who were sovereign there in ancient times and paid a high price for preserving their separate existence as a people. Israel exists because for centuries and millennia Jews kept yearning for Israel. It exists thanks to visionary Jewish thinkers and leaders who realized that changing times created an opportunity to turn the messianic hope to return to Israel into a political program, and who were able to mobilize sympathy and support at critical junctures.
        Were it not for Arab resistance and Britain's betrayal and submission to Arab pressures, the Holocaust as such might not have taken place. Jews would have been able to escape Europe to their ancient homeland in what was already a widely supported embryonic state. They would have had a destination country at a time when Hitler was still willing to let the Jewish people go.
        Israel came into being after World War II not thanks to the Holocaust, but thanks to Britain's imperial dissolution. Just as India and Pakistan required no Holocaust to attain their independence and come into being, so too Israel. The Jewish people would have achieved their state sooner or later as part of the wave of liberation of peoples around the world. To portray Israel as the outcome of the Holocaust is to engage in Zionism Denial, robbing the Jews of their historical connection to the Land of Israel. It erases all that was achieved by the Zionists before World War II. The writer, a senior fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute, is a former Knesset member. (Daily Beast)

Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2017 (Yad Vashem-The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority)

Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, which began Sunday evening, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered. These are the torchlighters:

  • Elka Reines-Abramovitz was born in 1932 in Novoselitsa, northern Bessarabia, Romania (now Ukraine). On 7 July 1941 the Romanian Army entered Novoselitsa. "They shot people and burned houses," Elka recalled. "For the first time in my life I saw dead people, masses of bodies lying by the road. The images are seared into my mind." The town's Jewish inhabitants were deported to Transnistria. Within a year, only 70 out of 480 people remained alive.
  • Moshe Ha-Elion was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1925. After the start of the German occupation in April 1941, Moshe was deported to Auschwitz with his mother and his sister who were murdered there. He survived with the help of friends from Thessaloniki. He arrived in Israel in June 1946, was wounded during the War of Independence, and then served as a career soldier for 20 years.
  • Moshe Jakubowitz was born in Warsaw in 1929. In April 1943, on the eve of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, he hid with his family in a bunker for seven days "until the Germans started burning down the ghetto. We had no choice. We came out with our hands up." Moshe was sent to Majdanek where his mother and two brothers were murdered. He then worked in a series of labor camps and concentration camp factories. During a death march towards Dachau, Moshe slipped away and linked up with American forces. After detention in Cyprus by the British, Moshe finally reached Israel in April 1948 and fought during the War of Independence.
  • Moshe Porat was born in 1931 in Hungary. On 17 June 1944 the Jews of his town were deported in cattle cars to a brick factory in Debrecen, where he observed his bar mitzva. Days later, during another deportation, his train was bombed by the Allies and stopped on the tracks for many days. Many of the deportees died of suffocation, hunger and thirst. After surviving a labor camp and a death march to Mathausen, he was liberated by the U.S. Army on 5 May 1945.
  • Max Privler was born in 1931 in Mikulichin in Poland (now Ukraine). In March 1942, Gestapo men and Ukrainian police broke into their home and arrested Max and his father, David. The next day, Max and David were brought to the forest with a group of Jews. A second before they were shot, David pushed Max into the killing pit, and was shot on top of him. One bullet lodged in Max's shoulder and remained there for 25 years. Max managed to climb out of the pit at night and fled to the home of Ukrainian friends, who hid him.
        One day, Max snuck into the ghetto with some food for his family and saw his mother fighting a Gestapo man, who was pulling her baby from her arms. He witnessed his mother being hanged and his baby brother murdered by the Germans. He later joined a group of partisans and then enlisted in the Red Army. He immigrated to Israel in 1990.
  • Jeannine Sebbane-Bouhanna was born in 1929 in Nemours, Algeria. In 1938, the family immigrated to Paris. On 16 July 1942, the date of the roundup of the Jews of Paris, Jeannine and her family avoided arrest because they had French citizenship, but their close friends and neighbors were taken away. They hid Jews in their home and then helped smuggle them to the unoccupied zone in southern France. Jeannine and her three younger siblings were hidden by farmers in a village outside Paris, and in 1944 they fled to southern France, where they survived in a small village.

        See also Heinrich Himmler's Telegram of November 2, 1943, the Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, to Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem - Dr. Joel S. Fishman
    On March 29, 2017, the National Library of Israel announced the discovery of SS Commander Heinrich Himmler's telegram to Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. The telegram was sent on November 2, 1943, the 26th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The telegram confirms that there was a partnership between Nazi Germany, the Arabs of Palestine and the Arab world based on their mutual support for the destruction of world Jewry.
        Himmler's telegraph to al-Husseini, who was in Berlin, states: "From its beginning the National Socialist Movement of Greater Germany has inscribed the struggle against world Jewry on its banner. Therefore it has always followed with special sympathy the struggle of the freedom-loving Arabs, foremost in Palestine, against the Jewish intruders....On the anniversary of the wretched Balfour Declaration I send you in this spirit my heartfelt greetings and wishes for the successful pursuit of your struggle until its assured final victory." The writer is an historian and fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jewish Political Studies Review)

        See also Planning the Holocaust in the Middle East: Nazi Designs to Bomb Jewish Cities in Palestine - Samuel Miner (Jewish Political Studies Review);
        Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Nazis and the Holocaust: The Origins, Nature and Aftereffects of Collaboration - Prof. Jeffrey Herf (Jewish Political Studies Review);
        Collaboration with the Third Reich: The Wider Historical Debate and the Role of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem - Prof. Johannes Houwink ten Cate (Jewish Political Studies Review)
        See also The Only Survivor of Tycochin - Yaakov Sultan (Jerusalem Post)

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