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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
August 17, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Struck Enemy Arms Convoys Nearly 100 Times in Past Five Years - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the outgoing commander of the Israel Air Force, told Ha'aretz the number of Israeli attacks on convoys bringing arms to Hizbullah and other groups since 2012 is approaching triple digits.

Israel Was First to Provide Aid to Sierra Leone - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel was the first country to provide food aid to disaster-stricken Sierra Leone on Wednesday, said Paul Hirschson, Israel's envoy to Sierra Leone, following devastating floods and mudslides earlier this week that claimed at least 300 lives.
    Within 24 hours of hearing that the country needed food for survivors, Israel had trucks with 20,000 portions of staples in the capital of Freetown to distribute to those left homeless.
    Israel will also provide antibiotics to deal with concerns of an outbreak of cholera.

Tiny Israel Has Made Tremendous Progress - Jonathan Adelman (Huffington Post)
    In May 1948, Israel was a tiny state of 800,000 Jews and Arabs that suffered 6,400 deaths fighting five Arab states with almost 50 million people. Israel's population today is 8.6 million.
    Some 3.6 million Jews have moved to Israel since 1948, and immigration continues at over 25,000 a year, mainly from Russia, Ukraine, France and the U.S.
    Nearly 60% of Israel is the Negev desert, leaving the 92% of Israelis who don't live there only 3,400 square miles, less than one thousandth the area of the U.S.
    Israel, recognized by over 160 countries, is developing new relationships with key future powers. Israel has nearly $10 billion in trade with China and $4 billion with India.
    The writer is a professor at the School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Video: I Am a Zionist (Israel Institute of New Zealand)
    The Jewish people are the indigenous people of Israel. Archeology, history and genetics all prove this incontrovertibly.
    In 1947, the UN offered a two-state solution and the Arabs turned it down.
    Israel, as a nation-state, has more legitimacy than almost every other country in the world.

The IDF Counter-Terror School (Israel Defense Forces)
    The IDF's Lotar Counter-Terror School is responsible for training all IDF units in counter-terrorism.
    Specialized training includes courses for snipers; underground warfare; breaching doors; climbing, rappelling, and rescuing; and operating robots.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli President: U.S. Will Know How to Face Anti-Semitism
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to convey his "support and solidarity for the American Jewish community" after the unrest in Charlottesville. "The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag - perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism - paraded in the streets of the world's greatest democracy, and Israel's most cherished and greatest ally, is almost beyond belief," he said.
        "I know that the great nation of the United States of America and its leaders will know how to face this difficult challenge, and prove to the world the robustness and strength of democracy and freedom." Rivlin's remarks came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned "neo-Nazism and racism" in the Virginia college town. (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
  • Queens Museum Reinstates Israel Event after Backlash - Yoav Gonen
    The Queens Museum said Wednesday it will proceed with an event commemorating the 1947 UN vote establishing the State of Israel, after it had sought to cancel the event organized by Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon. On Monday, museum director Laura Raicovich notified the Israelis that she was yanking the deal after "Palestinian friends of the museum" expressed concern, because the museum board didn't want to host a "political event," Danon said. He noted that Raicovich is the co-editor of a book that includes essays supporting the boycott of Israel.
        "Celebrating the momentous decision of the UN recognizing the right to a Jewish state in our homeland is not a political event, but rather an expression of the historical and legal rights of our people," Danon said. After Danon and elected officials publicly criticized the museum, officials there reconsidered the decision, given that its building was the UN's headquarters when Israel was founded in 1947. (New York Post-Politico)
  • Israel Seeks UN's Respect in Campaign for Security Council Seat - Kambiz Foroohar
    Israel is campaigning to win a coveted spot on the UN Security Council next June in a three-way race with Germany and Belgium for two spots on the council. "They've done their campaign with a level of sophistication which is remarkable, doing it systemically, arranging fact-finding missions and bilateral agreements," said Syed Akbaruddin, India's ambassador to the UN. "They start with a disadvantage in that there are countries that are not disposed to vote for them, but they have cultivated certain countries to shore up constituencies."
        History suggests Israel faces an uphill struggle to secure at least 128 votes, or two-thirds of the 193 member states, in a secret ballot. Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, suggested one potential twist: With the balloting conducted in secret, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni neighbors might cast their ballots for Israel on the bet it would take a tough stand against their common archenemy Iran. (Bloomberg)
  • Prominent Opposition Leader in Iran Begins Hunger Strike - Thomas Erdbrink
    Prominent Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, 79, under house arrest since 2011, was hospitalized Thursday, a day after he began a hunger strike to demand a public trial. Karroubi, a cleric and former speaker of Iran's Parliament, ran for president in the disputed 2009 election. President Hassan Rouhani had vowed to release Karroubi and another former presidential candidate under house arrest, Mir Hossein Mousavi, though it is widely thought that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, opposes their release. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Suicide Bomber Kills Hamas Guard at Gaza-Egypt Border - Jack Khoury
    A Hamas border guard was killed Thursday at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt when two men approached the crossing and one blew himself up. Several other Hamas security forces were wounded. The two terrorists are members of the Salafist faction in Gaza, which is affiliated with ISIS. (Ynet News)
  • The Changing Face of the Israel Navy - Anna Ahronheim
    The expansion of Israel's Mediterranean exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from 40 miles to 150 miles four years ago "has changed the face of the navy," a senior Israeli naval officer said Tuesday. The navy is tasked with securing the natural gas drilling rigs that are in Israel's EEZ, and believes that Hizbullah in Lebanon has long-range missiles that can hit the rigs, which fuel much of the electricity used in Israel.
        Due to the threat posed by Hizbullah's arsenal, the Sa'ar-6 corvettes being manufactured for Israel in Germany have been redesigned to have two Iron Dome short-range defensive missile launchers instead of one.
        Moreover, in response to the threat of terrorist attacks from enemy naval commandos operating under the water, the navy has deployed dozens of sensors on the sea floor near Gaza and Lebanon to detect suspicious underwater movement. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Jordan's Refusal to Permit the Return of Israel's Ambassador Is Against International Law and the Peace Treaty - Amb. Alan Baker
    According to media reports, the Jordanian government is refusing to permit the return to Amman of Israel's resident ambassador following a shooting involving an Israeli security guard. As required by international law, the appropriate legal authorities in Israel have duly opened an investigation of the incident. Hence, barring Israel's ambassador would logically be out of any proportion to the nature of the diplomatic incident concerned.
        Furthermore, Jordan and Israel have committed themselves in article 5 of the 1994 Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace to maintain "resident ambassadors" in each other's capital. This commitment is absolute.
        It is in the vital interests of both countries that Israeli-Jordanian relations be put back on track. The key to protecting this relationship is to make sure that the peace treaty is strictly observed. The writer, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the peace treaty with Jordan. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran and Hamas are United in Their Desire to Wreak Havoc in the Region - Daniel L. Glaser interviewed by Joseph Braude
    Iran supports terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East and beyond. Iran has long had a foreign policy based on trying to destabilize governments and project power throughout the region. Support for terrorist organizations such as Hizbullah or Hamas gives Iran the opportunity to do just that.
        Hamas has traditionally been able to look to the Gulf for financial support. But in recent years, Saudi Arabia has taken a hard line against Hamas financing and has done that in cooperation with the U.S.  There are so many areas that Israel and the Gulf countries can and should be cooperating in, and in many ways they already are. Daniel L. Glaser served as U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary for Terrorist Financing from 2011 to 2017. (Huffington Post)

Is There a Basis for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal? - Joshua Levi (Australian Jewish News)

  • Australia's former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma told the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies on Tuesday that there may be no solution in the current climate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "There is a degree of stability in the status quo," said Sharma, who lived in Israel for four years.
  • "The relationship between the Israeli and the Palestinian people might be as good as it can be for now, until broad political change in the region takes place and the Arab world strengthens."
  • He said that he still supports a two-state solution but that may not be possible until a new generation of Palestinians come forward who are willing to accept Israel as a sovereign nation.
  • "I don't think there is an overlap these days between what the Palestinians see as a two-state solution and what the Israelis see as a two-state solution, and if there is no overlap, then there is no basis for a deal."
  • He said the Israeli-Arab conflict is not the defining fault line of the region. "The big story about what is happening in the Middle East right now is the crumbling of the creation of the nation-state system." People in the nation-states have been failed by their political leadership and Israel is not the principal cause or a relevant factor to those states' failures.
  • Sharma said he was struck by the amount of people who happily profess utter ignorance on a number of issues, but somehow feel empowered to possess an unimpeachable moral clarity on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. "I've always found that puzzling," he said.

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