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Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 10, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Photos: Thousands Visit Israeli President Rivlin's Sukka - Moran Azulay (Ynet News)
    6,000 Israelis visited President Reuven Rivlin's open sukka on Monday in Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of Sukkot.
    See also Photos: The Sukkot Holiday in Israel - Yehoshua Halevi (Israel21c)
    Throughout the holiday week that began on Oct. 4, Israelis enjoy festive meals with friends and relatives in temporary outdoor huts called sukkot.

ISIS Supporter Jailed for Planning to Bomb Train Line in Britain - Josh Halliday (Guardian-UK)
    Zahid Hussain, 29, an Islamic State supporter who planned to blow up the Birmingham-to-London railway line and was caught on CCTV climbing into a storm drain under the tracks, has been jailed for at least 15 years.
    Jurors at Birmingham crown court heard that Hussain became radicalized while viewing hundreds of ISIS images and videos of the war in Syria.
    When police searched his parents' house, they found books on guerrilla warfare, including one that talked of mounting attacks on railways, in which a page on how to derail a train had been marked.
    Officers also found handwritten recipes for explosives.

Egypt to Extend Security Buffer Zone with Gaza (Al-Masry Al-Youm-Egypt)
    North Sinai governor Maj.-Gen. Abdel Fattah Harhour said Friday that work is underway to extend the Egyptian side of the Gaza buffer zone to 1,500 meters in width, instead of 1,000 meters.
    All buildings within the new extension, estimated at 1,220, will be demolished, with compensation for residents.
    Egypt has been working since October 2014 to establish a buffer zone along the Gaza border to prevent smuggling and the passage of militants.

Israeli Company CorNeat Vision Unveils Artificial Cornea (Globes)
    Israel's CorNeat Vision has completed the design and development stage of its artificial cornea implant.
    Following successful trials in rabbits, the company is initiating formal biocompatibility and safety tests toward first implantation in humans by mid-2018.
    The implant is a synthetic cornea that utilizes advanced cell technology to integrate artificial optics within resident ocular tissue.
    The cornea is produced using nanoscale chemical engineering that stimulates cellular growth.
    It leverages a virtual space under the conjunctiva that is rich with fibroblast cells that heal quickly and provide robust long-term integration.

Bank of Israel Reports Rise in Quality of Life - Zeev Klein (Israel Hayom)
    The past three years have seen Israel's per capita GDP rise by a total of 4.4%, along with negative inflation of 0.8% - which together mean an increase in the quality of life in Israel, figures published by the Bank of Israel show.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • German Intelligence: Iran Attempted to Buy Nuclear Technology Illegally 32 Times - Benjamin Weinthal
    A new German intelligence report reveals that Iran made 32 procurement attempts in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2016 - after the Iran deal was implemented - "that definitely or with high likelihood were undertaken for the benefit of proliferation programs." Iran was accused of using front companies in the UAE, Turkey and China to circumvent international restrictions on its nuclear and missile programs. (Fox News)
  • Massive Drill Validates Israel's Cyber-Secure C4I Network - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Last month the IDF's Northern Command conducted the largest drill in 20 years - designed to simulate war scenarios against Iran-armed and -trained Hizbullah forces beyond its northern border. Brig.-Gen. Netanel Cohen, chief of the Cyber Defense Directorate, said the drill marked the first opportunity to test the IDF's multilayered, cloud-supported networks in such large numbers and across all combat and command echelons.
        "Bottom line: It worked....It was the first time we managed to connect a broad portion of our order of battle and all fighting echelons deployed in the field on the same secure net." Cohen said the IDF also deployed a "red team" of crack hackers whose mission was to penetrate the IDF's operational network. (C4ISRNET)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: People Who Murder Babies Don't Have Freedom on Their Mind
    In an interview aired Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked why he decided to return to Israel to serve in the military after living in the U.S. in his youth. Netanyahu explained: "I never thought of my life as separate from the life of my people. I think they're intertwined. I always thought that you have to have a balance between individual ambition and collective responsibility."
        He added that he brought American values with him to Israel. "Initiative, meritocracy, these are strong values. That the way you advance is through merit; that society should be open to all to compete; that if you invest effort and ingenuity you are likely to succeed. These are strong American values that resonate in Jewish values."
        He described the death of his older brother Yoni Netanyahu during the 1976 Entebbe hostage rescue operation as a turning point in his life. "I felt that I had to do something about this scourge of terrorism. The public battle against terrorism became a calling. People who deliberately murder babies or blow up buses, they don't have freedom on their minds. They'll trample their own people once they get into power."  (Israel Hayom)
        See also Video: Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu - Harvey Levin (Fox News-YouTube)
  • Teens Detained by Hamas in Gaza Face Torture
    Defense for Children International-Palestine has documented six cases since January where children in conflict with the law under the current Hamas-led government in Gaza were at severe risk of abuse during detention. Three children were tortured during police interrogations, and one was physically abused by police station guards and adult prisoners, prompting the boy's suicide. (IMEMC-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • How Palestine "Occupies" Itself - Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
    "Occupation" has become an all-purpose Palestinian tool. On the one hand, the Palestinians claim the Israeli "occupation" makes serious negotiations with Israel impossible. On the other, they claim that nothing can happen in Palestinian society or politics, such as the development of Palestinian state institutions or a culture of peaceful coexistence with Israel, because of the "occupation."
        Palestinian nationalism has never seen the conflict as one between two national groups with legitimate claims and aspirations. Israel's existence - indeed, Zionism itself, the very idea of Jewish nationalism - is regarded as wholly illegitimate.
        Palestinian acceptance of the two-state solution was a means of appeasing the West. But for Arafat and now for Abbas, the two-state solution was a mechanism with which to buy time until the Palestinians can finally overcome and defeat Israel. Palestine is indeed "occupied" by shadows of its own making. The writer is executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Setting the Record Straight: "The Siege" of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem - Yair Altman
    New York University's Skirball Center is hosting performances of the play "The Siege," which presents a revisionist, anti-Israel take on the capture of terrorists who barricaded themselves in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Avi Dichter, who headed the Israel Security Agency at the time, has written to university officials describing how the events actually unfolded, in contrast to what is presented in the play.
        "The play you are putting on seeks to rewrite history and instead of Palestinian terrorists who took the holy Church of the Nativity hostage, you are presenting [them] as innocent civilians who were hiding in the church....All those same hundreds of terrorists who until then had been shooting at windows in [the Jerusalem neighborhood of] Gilo, sending terrorists with explosive belts into Jerusalem, and shooting mortars at the capital of Israel, broke into the Church of the Nativity in the city [of Bethlehem] and barricaded themselves inside. They took dozens of...priests and monks hostage."
        "A hostile takeover of one of Christianity's holiest sites must not be turned into 'a struggle for survival and freedom,' as it is described in the program. New York University must not serve as fertile ground for this contemptible, anti-Semitic play that portrays terrorist attackers as freedom fighters."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Will the West Betray Its Kurdish Ally? - Bernard-Henri Levy
    The Iraqi Kurds held a dignified, orderly referendum Sept. 25 that conformed with all the rules of a democratic vote. Afterward, they refrained from declaring the independence that is their right and that a century of treaties promised them. Yet all the region's dictatorships immediately unleashed their ire on the Kurds, a small population whose only crime is to express the desire to be free, to flourish as an island of democracy and peace. Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria are threatening an air blockade, a land blockade, an oil embargo, and military intervention.
        Are we facing Munich-grade appeasement? Are we agreeing that might makes right? Will we give in to the world's consummate blackmailers? Is the West - and the U.S. in particular - making a colossal error of judgment in not grasping that there is something suicidal about abandoning a brave and loyal ally in favor of its adversaries? Or perhaps the Kurdish people - who are not Arabs, are secular, believe in pluralist democracy, practice equal rights for women, and have consistently protected, rescued and taken in minorities - are one more of the world's expendable peoples.
        There is something absurd about allowing authoritarian regimes to preach constitutional law to a people who only yesterday were under their boot. Iraqi authorities should respond, without delay or precondition, to the offer of dialogue the Kurds have extended to them. (Wall Street Journal)

Revisiting the Iran Deal - David Harris (Huffington Post)

  • After the announcement of the Iran deal (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015, AJC dedicated 23 days to reviewing it thoroughly, meeting privately with world leaders including Secretary of State John Kerry. In the end, we opposed the deal, believing it fell short on several key fronts, among them:
    • The shift in negotiating strategy from "dismantle (the nuclear program) for dismantle (the international sanctions)" to "delay (the nuclear program) for dismantle (the sanctions)."
    • The provision of a sunset clause, paving the way for Iran to become a nuclear-threshold nation down the road;
    • The failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program;
    • The omission of military sites from those facilities subject to inspection; and
    • The absence of any reference to Iran's support for terrorism and regional destabilization.
  • At the same time, we said that we would be happy to be proved wrong. If the JCPOA fulfilled all the claims made about it by its supporters - including, centrally, cutting off Iran's path to a nuclear weapon forever - then we would readily acknowledge our error in judgment.
  • But in the past two years, despite the belief that the accord would strengthen the "moderates in the regime," the inescapable reality is that the opposite has happened. Tehran has only become more emboldened and belligerent in the region, as well as more hostile towards the U.S. and Israel.
  • Iran has materially strengthened its hegemonic ambitions and created a new balance of power in the Middle East. It also continues to maintain ties with North Korea, and there is a widespread presumption that Iran and North Korea are actively cooperating in nuclear research and ICBM development. Clearly, something more must be done to address the Iranian issue.

    The writer is the CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

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