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October 27, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Iron Dome Moves North (Strategy Page)
    In response to the likely threat from Iranian forces in Lebanon and Syria, Israel announced it was stationing a battalion of its Iron Dome anti-rocket systems in northern Israel.
    There is also a battalion assigned to southern Israel to defend against the rockets Hamas had amassed in Gaza.
    After Iran-backed Hizbullah launched a major rocket attack in 2006 and convinced Israel that Iron Dome was worth developing and deploying, the system was seen as an emergency weapon, to be kept in storage and mobilized for use in wartime.
    It has not worked out that way.

India Arrests Two ISIS-Inspired Men for Planning Attack on Synagogue (Indian Express)
    The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad on Wednesday arrested Ubed Ahmed Mirza, 29, a criminal lawyer, and Kasim Stimberwala, 31, an echo-cardiogram technician, for planning an ISIS-style terror attack on the synagogue in Khamasa, Ahmedabad.
    The two were guided by Abdullah el-Faisal, a radical preacher currently in Jamaica who has been involved in propagating the ideology of al-Qaeda and then ISIS.
    Electronic evidence proves they were in constant touch with Faisal, convicted for inciting the killing of Jews, Hindus and Americans.

Women Running Banks Is the Norm in Israel - Rakefet Russak-Aminoach (American Banker)
    Three of Israel's leading banks are currently led by women, myself included.
    At Bank Leumi - which I have had the privilege to lead for the past five years - more than 40% of the top management are women.
    This is in addition to the governor of the Bank of Israel, the supervisor of banks, and the director of the capital markets, insurance and savings authority - all of whom are women.
    We, as a country, have been fortunate to bear witness to a string of powerful women who influenced this nascent society in its early days.
    Women were encouraged to become political leaders, farmers, founders of kibbutzim and rural and urban communities, cultural and literary luminaries, and managers within the budding national economy.
    Israeli culture encourages women to shake off old notions of passivity and obedience and to engage as equals with men academically, professionally, and in the military.

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BDS Is a Dismal Failure - Michael Mostyn (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    The anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has entered a critical downward spiral in Canada.
    During the past two years, BDS has been forcefully rejected by students at the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia.
    Far from being anti-racist, BDS is the definition of racism. To boycott an entire nationality of people - including athletes, artists and professors - because of political disagreements with their government is clearly bigoted and counter-productive.
    The hard reality is that the BDS movement is not motivated by a sincere desire to make things better for Palestinians, but rather a perverse drive to make things worse for Israelis and Jews.
    The writer is the chief executive officer of B'nai Brith Canada.

Death Threats for Refusing to Hate Israel - Sue-Ann Levy (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    Yahya Mohamid, 20, from Umm el-Fahm in Israel, calls himself a Muslim Zionist.
    He says the Islamic movement has controlled his hometown for 30 years. On TV, in the streets and at school, he was fed a steady diet of anti-Israeli rhetoric.
    "Demonization (of Israel) is a big thing....We get little to no lessons about the Jewish connection to the land or what the Nazis did," he recalls.
    His whole world "flipped upside down" when he got a job at age 17 as a busboy in a hotel in Tel Aviv, a one-hour drive from his town.
    When he started interacting with Jewish people at the hotel, "I realized there were two sides to this....It's not black and white. It was an eye-opener."
    In June 2014, when three Israeli teens were abducted in the West Bank, Mohamid joined the campaign to bring them back, posing with an Israeli flag on Facebook.
    He says, "all hell broke loose" in his town and he was subjected to numerous death threats.
    He insisted on staying in town and that "another voice was needed." But six months ago someone planted bombs close to his vehicle and the police told him it was time to leave.

The Strange Normalcy of Israel's Ubiquitous Bomb Shelters - Allison Meier (Hyperallergic)
    For Architecture of an Existential Threat, Adam Reynolds spent three years photographing some of Israel's 1 million bomb shelters.
    Since its formation in 1948, Israel has been in an ongoing conflict. "Israelis are required to have access to a bomb shelter and rooms that can be sealed off in the event of a chemical weapons attack," says Reynolds.
    As a large number of the bunkers are safe rooms attached to homes, they are often transformed into domestic space.
    "In Israel, threat and exceptional situations are a part of everyday life," writes Austrian journalist Danielle Spera in the book.
    "This is why attempts are being made to give these shelters the appearance of normality."
    The photos include shelters converted into gyms, classrooms, community centers, mosques, conference rooms, and synagogues.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • House Votes to Sanction Iran for Ballistic Missiles - Richard Lardner
    The U.S. House of Representatives voted 423-2 to approve bipartisan legislation Thursday that would slap new sanctions on Iran for its pursuit of long-range ballistic missiles without derailing the 2015 international nuclear accord. The bill requires the Trump administration to identify for sanctions the companies and individuals inside and outside of Iran that are the main suppliers of Tehran's ballistic missile programs.
        The vote came a day after the House passed bipartisan bills to block the flow of illicit money to Iran-backed Hizbullah and to sanction the group for using civilians as human shields. (AP-Washington Post)
  • UN Finds Syria Regime Responsible for Gas Attack on Rebel-Held Town
    Bashar al-Assad's forces are responsible for a deadly sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province that killed 87 people on April 4, 2017, UN investigators have said. The attack provoked a U.S. cruise missile strike on a regime airbase. The UN panel confirmed Western intelligence reports that blamed the regime. (AFP-Guardian-UK)
  • Top Israeli Minister Says Settlement Boycott Equals Israel Boycott
    Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the minister responsible for combatting boycott efforts against Israel, says he sees no difference between the targeting of Jewish West Bank settlements and the country as a whole. He told the Associated Press Thursday that all boycotts are illegitimate against a democracy where citizens can choose their own fate.
        Erdan says most of the boycott activists aim to delegitimize and destroy Israel, cloaking their campaign under a false premise of peace and human rights advocacy. He says he is leading an effort to "expose the true face" of the activists. (AP-New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Arrives in Israel as Part of Middle East Anti-Terror Tour - Amir Tibon
    U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who is Jewish, arrived in Israel on Thursday for an official visit as part of a Middle East tour focused on the battle against terror funding. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has no better friend than the U.S., and thanked the Trump administration for its support and cooperation.
        On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will visit Israel in December as part of the Trump administration's peace efforts. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israelis Win Gold, Bronze at UAE Judo Tourney, which Refuses to Play Anthem
    Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won a gold medal on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament, but celebrated his victory under the International Judo Federation's flag due to a ban by the emirate on the display of Israeli symbols. Tournament organizers also did not play Israel's national anthem as he stood on the podium to receive his medal in the men's under-66 kg. (145 pounds) category.
        Gili Cohen won bronze in the women's under-52 kg. (114 pounds) class and received similar treatment. The Israeli contestants were also barred from wearing Israeli symbols on their uniforms at the tournament and were listed as representing the International Judo Federation. (Times of Israel)
        See also When It Comes to Israel, the Arab World Isn't a Good Sport - Raphael Ahren
    The UAE's refusal to play the anthem for an Israeli judoku who won gold is the latest case of Sunni states bending over backward to pretend to boycott a country everyone knows they cooperate with. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Judo Champ Sang Israeli National Anthem
    Tal Flicker, who won a gold medal on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament, said he sang "Hatikva" himself at the victory ceremony. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The U.S. Is on a Collision Course with Iran in the Middle East - Liz Sly
    In the past three years, Iran has dispatched tens of thousands of allied militia fighters to Syria and Iraq, asserting its presence in vast swaths of territory not previously regarded as within Iran's traditional orbit of influence. Iranian-backed Shiite militias have fanned out into the Sunni and Christian areas of northern and western Iraq that were freed from Islamic State control - often with the help of U.S. airstrikes. Now these forces are aiding efforts by the Iraqi government to reclaim territory that has been controlled by U.S.-allied Kurds since as long ago as 1991.
        In all of their maneuvers, the militias are operating with the blessing of the sovereign governments. "The Iranians...wanted to export their revolution. But they found that they don't need to overthrow the governments in the region," said Mohammed Obeid, a Beirut-based political analyst who is close to Hizbullah. "They can create political and military groups alongside these governments, and Hizbullah is the prime example."
        Any attempt to challenge Iran in Iraq and Syria "will have a very negative effect on the existence of American forces in the region," said Obeid. "They are surrounded by Iranians."  (Washington Post)
  • The Iran-Hamas Plan to Destroy Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A high-level Hamas delegation headed by Saleh Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas' "political bureau," traveled to Tehran last week to brief Iranian leaders on the "reconciliation" deal with Fatah. Arouri rushed to Tehran to seek the support of the Iranian regime in the wake of demands by Abbas that Hamas allow the Palestinian Authority to assume security control over Gaza.
        Iran wants Hamas to retain its security control over Gaza so that the Iranians can hold onto another power base in the Middle East. Iran wants Hamas to continue playing the role of a proxy, precisely as Hizbullah functions in Lebanon. The last thing Iran wants is for the Palestinian Authority security forces to return to Gaza: that would spoil Tehran's plans to advance its goal of destroying Israel.
        Iran's continued support for Hamas stems not out of love for either Hamas or the Palestinians, but from its own interest in consolidating its presence in the Middle East. The Egyptians are now wary of the sudden rapprochement between Iran and Hamas and are beginning to ask themselves whether they have been duped by Hamas. The lesson to be drawn from the renewal of ties between Hamas and Iran is that Hamas is not headed toward moderation and pragmatism. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The British Left's Pro-Zionist Origins - Jake Wallis Simons
    In the beginning, the Guardian was a friend of the Jews. Or rather, those Jews who believed that after millennia of persecution in exile, they deserved the right to live freely in their ancestral homeland. The overwhelming majority, in other words. The Zionists.
        The Labour party liked them, too. Three months before the Balfour Declaration in 1917 - Britain's key declaration of support for Jewish national aspirations - Labour compiled a memorandum of policy priorities. "Palestine should be set free from the harsh and repressive government of the Turk," it said, "in order that the country may form a Free State, under international guarantee, to which such of the Jewish People as desired to do so may return, and may work out their salvation, free from interference by those of alien race or religion."
        In the years leading up to the Balfour Declaration, C.P. Scott, legendary editor of the Guardian (then the Manchester Guardian), formed a close friendship with Chaim Weizmann, the leader of the Zionist Organization, and lobbied on behalf of the Jewish cause. Scott wrote: "From the first day that I discussed the Zionist project with my old friend Dr. Weizmann, I was convinced of its value, not only for the Jewish people but for other nations."  (Spectator-UK)
  • Why Do Countries that Benefit from U.S. Tourism and Aid Continue to Vote Against Israel at the UN? - Eric Rozenman
    According to the American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI), in 2016, half a dozen countries that are major beneficiaries of U.S. tourism and assistance, and that lack any policy pretext to do so, nevertheless voted overwhelmingly in opposition to the U.S. on 67 roll call resolutions in the UN General Assembly. They were the Caribbean states of St. Lucia, Belize, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Jamaica, and Barbados. On 18 anti-Israel UN resolutions opposed by the U.S., all these tourist destinations voted unanimously in favor except Jamaica, which backed 17 of the anti-Israel measures, abstaining on one.
        Five African countries that receive major U.S. foreign assistance compiled a similar record, including Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. On the 18 anti-Israel resolutions, all but Ethiopia were unanimously in favor. Ethiopia voted yes 16 times but abstained twice. Countries that enjoy profitable relationships with the U.S. and with Israel, benefiting from bilateral economic, technological, military and cultural ties, should align their UN voting patterns accordingly. The writer is communications consultant at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. (
  • Why Anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Laws Are Moral and Constitutional - Paul Miller
    Currently, 22 states have passed legislation prohibiting them from doing business with, and/or investing in, companies that participate in the BDS campaign that singles out the Jewish state. Since 1977, U.S. law has permitted civil penalties against U.S. corporations that participate in boycott requests from foreign countries against U.S. allies, or that make such requests themselves. There is nothing in any of these laws that restricts free speech or penalizes individuals or organizations for boycotting or advocating against Israel.
        Northwestern University School of Law professor Eugene Kontorovich explains: "What these laws deal with is what states have deemed to be discriminatory business conduct and practices. When a company decides not to do business with someone because of its affiliation with Israel, it is engaged in a form of impermissible bigotry and discrimination. The states are can discriminate. But we don't have to subsidize your discrimination with taxpayer money."
        BDS is not about bettering the lives of Palestinians. Its only focus is to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state, which the movement's founders freely admit. For a government entity, tolerating BDS is no different than tolerating racism, sexism or homophobia. The writer is president and executive director of the Haym Salomon Center. (Washington Times)
  • The History of Iraqi Jews Is in Jeopardy - Joseph Samuels
    Iraqi Jewish artifacts discovered by the U.S. military in Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters during the Iraq War include 2,700 books, Torah scrolls and prayer books, and thousands of documents dating to the 1500s, representing the lost history of a once thriving, two-millennia-old Jewish community. Returning the trove to Iraq is tantamount to returning stolen treasure to a thief.
        I was born in 1930 in the Jewish quarter of the old city of Baghdad. Iraq was my country, but my sense of national identity was shattered when Muslim mobs looted and burned Jewish homes and businesses, murdering hundreds of Jewish men, women and children in the 1941 pogrom known as the Farhud. There was nowhere to run, and no country to take us in.
        After the failed Arab war against Israel in 1948, the Jews of Iraq and other Arab countries faced anti-Semitism and open hostility. We suffered arrest, torture, public execution, and confiscation of property. Later, the Baath Party, led by Saddam Hussein, looted the Iraqi Jewish artifacts.
        The hearts of the Iraqi Jewish community are filled with gratitude toward the heroic teams who rescued and restored this collection. Thanks to the United States, we have preserved these pieces of history for present and future generations. I implore the administration, on behalf of all Jews from Arab lands and our descendants, to keep our icons of history from being sent back to those who stole them from us. (Washington Post)
        See also Video: The Discovery and Rescue of Iraqi Jews' Patrimony in Baghdad. Will It Now Be Lost? - Interview with Dr. Harold Rhode (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Ambassador Dermer Optimistic about Israel's Future - Jon Marks
    Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, addressed the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) annual gala on Oct. 18: "There's so many reasons to be optimistic about Israel's future. So for those of you who worry - and that's our national sport - I hope you remember [that] your grandparents and their parents and their parents going back three generations would've given anything to trade their problems with us."
        "No one should doubt Israel will defend itself with its full force militarily and with the full power of its convictions. People have warned that an Iranian curtain is descending upon the Middle East, spreading death and destruction. Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it clear Israel will not allow that to happen."
        Dermer pointed out that Israel is now considered the eighth most powerful nation in the world, factoring in its military, economy and technology - and that even some of its usually hostile Arab neighbors may finally be beginning to see the light. "One of the biggest changes in the Arab world is the leading powers are starting to understand that we are not the enemy. We are a potential ally to help them in a very dangerous region."
        "Generations of Jews have dreamed of the privilege of living in a sovereign Jewish state. With that privilege comes a great responsibility to secure that dream for future generations."  (Philadelphia Jewish Exponent)

  • Weekend Features

  • Polish Woman, 100, Who Saved Jewish Girl during Holocaust Named Righteous among the Nations - Ofer Aderet
    Aleksandra Cybulska, a 100-year-old Polish woman, and her late husband Kazimierz, were recognized as Righteous among the Nations by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial last week. The recognition was presented to Aleksandra by Israel's deputy ambassador to Poland, Ruth Cohen-Dar. The two protected a Jewish girl, Sonia Berkowicz, and had been friends of Sonia's parents. Sonia was given a false certificate declaring that she had been baptized a Christian, and in 1946 was handed over to a Jewish organization that rescued Jewish orphans after the war. (Ha'aretz)
  • Yad Vashem Identifies 200,000 Previously Unnamed Hungarian Jews Murdered in the Holocaust - Ofer Aderet
    The Names Recovery Project of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem has for the past decade focused on collecting the names of the murdered Hungarian Jews. Dr. Haim Gertner, director of Yad Vashem's archives division, noted that in 2007, Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names held the names of 260,000 (43%) of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews murdered by the Nazis. Some 225,000 additional names have now been identified (80% of the victims).
        "We had the schedules of the transports and we knew when every train left Hungary for Auschwitz, from exactly where and with how many people," said Dr. Alexander Avram, the director of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names. "But we did not know who were the people on the trains." Some 20 local researchers were recruited in Hungary, Romania and Serbia, parts of which belonged to Hungary during World War II. "They searched about 20 archives for a decade, and turned page after page looking for documents that detailed the fate of Hungary's Jews in the Holocaust." Yad Vashem's online database of Holocaust victims now contains 4.7 million names. (Ha'aretz)
  • French Underground Forger Saved Thousands of Jews in WWII - Anderson Cooper
    On Sunday, Oct. 29, "60 Minutes" will report on Adolfo Kaminsky, now 92, who skillfully created fake identity documents that helped thousands of Jews escape certain death during World War II. His family was rounded up and sent to Drancy, a concentration camp outside of Paris. There he witnessed thousands of Jews loaded onto trains and sent to Auschwitz.
        "Every week, I saw a thousand people be deported. It was horrible suffering...there was just a huge, unimaginable quantity of people murdered," says Kaminsky. Miraculously, his family was released after 3 months because, though Jewish, they were citizens of Argentina, which at the time was neutral in the war.
        Kaminsky and the resistance networks he worked with are responsible for creating fake documents that saved an estimated 14,000 Jewish men, women and children. (CBS News)
        See also "If I Sleep for an Hour, 30 People Will Die" - Pamela Druckerman (New York Times, 2016)

The Balfour Declaration Changed How the Jews Viewed Themselves - Caroline B. Glick (Jerusalem Post)

  • One hundred years ago, on November 2, 1917, Arthur Balfour, foreign secretary of Great Britain, issued the Balfour Declaration, announcing that the British Empire supported an end to the Jewish people's 1,800-year exile and its return as a free nation to its homeland - the Land of Israel. "His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object."
  • The Palestine Arab leadership at the time rejected his statement. Shortly thereafter, the Arabs initiated a terrorist onslaught against the Jewish community in the Land of Israel that has continued, more or less without interruption, ever since. Indeed, the Palestinians have not moved an inch in a hundred years. PLO chief and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas now demands that Britain officially renounce the Balfour Declaration and apologize for having issued it.
  • The Balfour Declaration did not change the way the world viewed the Jews, but it changed how the Jews viewed themselves. After 1,800 years of dispersion and hopelessness, here was the British Empire saying that the time had come for the Jews to reconstitute themselves as a free nation in their land.
  • Until Great Britain announced it supported Zionism, the vast majority of Jews thought the national liberation movement was doomed to fail just like all of its messianic predecessors. Now, under the League of Nations Mandate, Jews were given an international charter for the reconstitution of their national homeland.
  • Just as important, the Balfour Declaration ignited the imaginations and passions of Jews throughout the world. For the first time, Jews, dispersed throughout the nations, dared to believe that the reconstitution of Israel could happen in their lifetimes.
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