Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Larger Print/Mobile
Search Back Issues
September 11, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Rushes Aid Teams to Florida - Nicky Blackburn (Israel21c)
    Israeli humanitarian-aid groups are on their way to Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
    Three teams of volunteers from IsraAID, ZAKA Search and Rescue, and the Israel Rescue Coalition, all of whom rushed to help in the aftermath of last week's Hurricane Harvey in Texas, are now on their way to Florida to help.
    Other Israeli aid teams are heading to Mexico, which was hit by a deadly earthquake on Thursday, and are offering aid to communities in Haiti and the Caribbean also devastated by Irma.

U.S. Army to Test Israel's Iron Dome for Use in Europe - Jen Judson and Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    Israel is readying its Iron Dome air defense system for its first intercept test in the U.S. as the U.S. Army seeks a solution for medium- and short-range missile threats against U.S. bases in Europe.
    The system has scored more than 1,500 intercepts against Gaza-launched threats since 2011.

Saudi Prince Paid Secret Visit to Israel (Anadolu-Turkey)
    "A prince of the Saudi Royal Court paid a secret visit to the country [Israel] in recent days to discuss ideas for advancing regional peace with senior Israeli officials," Israel Radio reported Thursday.

In Policy Change, Hamas Buys Fuel for Gaza Power Plant - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    Hamas recently spent $25 million to buy diesel fuel from Egypt after months of refusing to pay for fuel to generate electricity for Gaza residents, insisting that the PA was responsible for the funding.
    Earlier this year, the PA reduced the amount of electricity in Gaza that it was willing to pay for.

PA Arrests Palestinian for Hosting Israeli MK during Holiday (Ma'an News-PA)
    Palestinian intelligence forces arrested Muhammad Sabir Jabir from Hebron on Sunday after he hosted an Israeli parliament member in his home during the recent Eid al-Adha holiday.
    It remained unclear what Jabir was being charged with.

Israel Just Bombed a Chemical Weapons Factory that Syria Shouldn't Have Had - Alex Ward (VOX)
    Israel bombed a suspected Syrian chemical weapons factory last week, just one day after the UN blamed Syrian forces for a chemical weapons attack in April.
    It's a very big deal that Syria still had a chemical weapons facility, given that it had earlier promised to give up all of those weapons.
    In 2013, Syria promised to give up its chemical weapons as part of a diplomatic deal with Russia and the U.S. to avert a planned American strike in response to Assad gassing almost 1,000 of his own citizens to death near Damascus.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Archives Portal 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. to Return Jewish Artifacts to Iraq, Despite Protests - Josefin Dolsten
    The U.S. will return to Iraq next year a trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in this country, State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said. A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. is set to expire in September 2018 and it will then be sent back to Iraq. The archive was brought to America in 2003 after being salvaged by U.S. troops.
        Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to renegotiate the deal, arguing that the documents should be kept in the U.S. or elsewhere where they are accessible to Iraqi Jews and their descendants. "There is no justification in sending the Jewish archives back to Iraq, a country that has virtually no Jews and no accessibility to Jewish scholars or the descendants of Iraqi Jews," Gina Waldman, founder and president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, said Friday. (JTA)
  • Norway Gets Refund after Funding Center Named after Palestinian Terrorist - Rafael Medoff
    Norway has secured the return of funds it gave to a Palestinian women's center that was named in honor of a terrorist. Earlier this year, Palestinian Media Watch and NGO Monitor revealed that the Norwegian government helped finance a Palestinian Authority-affiliated women's center in the West Bank town of Burqa, which had been named after Dalal Mughrabi, the leader of the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in Israel that resulted in the death of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.
        In response, Norwegian officials said they would demand the return of the funds and the removal of the Norwegian flag from in front of the center. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry this week confirmed it has received the $10,000 refund. (
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Setting Up in Lebanon with Iran's Support - Judah Ari Gross
    Israel Security Agency head Nadav Argaman told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday that Hamas is setting up a base in Lebanon with Iranian support. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Security Agency Prevented 70 Terror Attacks in July and August - Judah Ari Gross
    Nadav Argaman, who heads the Israel Security Agency, told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday that in July and August the agency had prevented 70 terror attacks, and that since the beginning of the year it had thwarted 200 terror attacks including suicide bombings, shootings and kidnappings. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Security Agency Head Notes "Deceptive Calm" in Gaza - Barak Ravid
    Israel Security Agency head Nadav Argaman told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday of a "deceptive calm" in Gaza, but noted that the years since the 2014 war with Hamas have been the quietest in 30 years. "The economic-civilian difficulties in the Strip are getting worse," Argaman said. "Rehabilitation of the Strip is faltering. There is a serious crisis when it comes to infrastructure. Unemployment is increasing. There is a crisis over [the payment of] salaries and a drop in the gross [domestic] product."
        Argaman stressed that Hamas is continuing to invest major resources in preparing for the next military confrontation with Israel, even at the expense of the well-being of the population. He also noted that Hamas was deepening its strategic ties with Shi'ite players, led by Iran. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Seeks to Prevent Psychological Victory for Hizbullah - Yoav Zitun
    In the next war with Hizbullah, they may try to infiltrate into Israeli territory across the Israel-Lebanon border to capture hostages and fly their flag for a "victory shot." Lt. Col. Tomer Meltzman, who commands the combat intelligence collection battalion of the Western Division on the Lebanon border, said, "We can create sufficient warning by combining our covert and overt forces in battling a Hizbullah infiltration, and we have new capabilities, which recently became operational, that give us intelligence of higher quality, including by using above-ground sensors to overcome the topographical limitations. Hizbullah is always trying to teach us a lesson, but we're trying to be one step ahead, and we are indeed one step ahead."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Sending a Signal to Syria - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror
    The Israeli air attack on the Syrian weapons research and production plant in Hama province on Thursday marks a certain shift in Israel's policy. If Israel had previously focused on halting Iranian and Syrian weapons shipments to Hizbullah, now Syrian weapon production sites may be targeted.
        According to foreign sources, decision-makers apparently understood that if Israel does not act now, Hizbullah and other terrorist groups may get their hands on advanced weapons systems that would drastically improve their capabilities and threaten Israel.
        There is no doubt that this sole bombing will not halt Iran's efforts to tighten its grip on Syria, but it makes it clear that Israel enjoys freedom of action in striking Syrian targets. The writer is former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel and former Head of Israel's National Security Council. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Israel's Strike on Syrian Special Weapons Facility - J.E. Dyer
    Israel sees the introduction of advanced weapons in Syria as a threat to its existence, and will not be deterred or limited by the military arrangements of others. Specifically, Russia's effective control of Syrian airspace will not hold a veto over Israel's strategic latitude. Lebanese and Syrian sources indicated that the Sept. 7 airstrike was made by Israeli jets firing from Lebanese airspace. The writer is a retired U.S. Naval Intelligence officer. (Liberty Unyielding)
        See also Satellite Images Show Destruction at Syrian Missile Factory
    Satellite images show at least five major buildings were damaged in the Israeli airstrike at Masyaf in Syria on Thursday. (Ha'aretz)
  • What Comes after Israel's Bombing of Weapons Factory in Syria? - Elliott Abrams
    Last week Israel bombed a site in Syria where chemical weapons and precision bombs are said to be produced. Israel had made clear in a series of statements in the last six months that such a facility would not be tolerated. Israel has given fair warning that there are limits to what it will tolerate in Iranian conduct and the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel also acted in part because the U.S. does not seem willing to restrain Iran in any serious way in Syria.
        The Israelis are not going to go into Syria and try to drive Iran, the Shia militias, and Hizbullah out, but they are trying to establish some limits to acceptable Iranian behavior. What would be useful at this point is a statement by the U.S. that we approve of the action Israel took, and that in the event of a conflict Israel would have our support in defending itself. Such a statement might help persuade Iran and Syria to observe the limits Israel is imposing, and might help avoid a wider conflict. The writer, a senior fellow at the CFR, handled Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council from 2001 to 2009. (Council on Foreign Relations)

How to Understand Israel's Strike on Syria - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin (New York Times)

  • The Israeli attack on a military site in Syria that produces advanced missiles represents a major step in the right direction for Israel's policy toward Syria. While Israel has previously targeted weapons shipments en route to Hizbullah, now Israel is broadening the scope of its action to prevent its key adversaries from producing or acquiring advanced weaponry in the first place.
  • This is essentially an extension of the doctrine pioneered by Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1981, which insisted that Israel carry out preemptive strikes to stop its enemies from constructing nuclear-enrichment plants as well as production facilities for advanced conventional weapons.
  • Israel's message to Washington and Moscow is that if the great powers fail to take its critical interests into account in Syria, Israel will act independently to protect itself.
  • Another message has to do with credibility. In a world where threats are cheap and plentiful, it is much more meaningful when a nation delivers on tough rhetoric. In this specific case, the complex that was attacked was funded mostly by Iran, utilizes Iranian technology, and produces advanced long-range missiles and chemical weapons. The strike shows that Israel is willing to take decisive action to prevent the development of long-term strategic threats.
  • The airstrike rebuts claims that the Israeli Air Force was negatively affected by the deployment of powerful Russian air defenses in Syria.
  • The facility that was hit produces chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and a variety of other weapons that the Assad regime has used to massacre innocents. Destroying it could save countless lives.

    The writer, director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, was the chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006 to 2010 and participated in the successful raid to destroy Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.