December 28, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Two Synagogues Vandalized in Iran - Ben Sales (JTA)
    Two synagogues in the Iranian city of Shiraz were attacked by vandals who damaged Torah scrolls, prayer books and ritual objects.
    The Kashi Synagogue was attacked Sunday night, while the Hadash synagogue was attacked Monday.
    The vandals ripped Torah scrolls and stole silver ornaments that adorned them.
    The Jewish community of Shiraz today numbers about 2,000.

Jewish Britain Film Collection Now Online - Jenni Frazer (Times of Israel)
    The British Film Institute has made available feature films, home movies, newsreels, and more, all documenting life for British Jews in the 20th century.
    See also View: Jewish Britain on Film (British Film Institute)

Israel Helps Colombia Upgrade Its Air Force - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Israel has completed upgrading 22 Kfir fighter planes belonging to the Colombian Air Force that were manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries in the 1970s.
    According to IAI's Benny Cohen, the improvement transforms the planes, from an avionics point of view, into advanced planes that will be able to compete in air battles against F-15s and F-16s.
    As a result, the Colombian Air Force will be able to participate in the international Red Flag exercise next year in the U.S.

Israel Finds that Immediate Intervention Can Reduce PTSD - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
    Avi Steinherz, clinical director of United Hatzalah's Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, said Tuesday:
    "Statistics-wise, what we have found from 15 to 20 years of experience...is that the majority of the general population has a resilience to traumatic events, and most people exposed to them do get better on their own."
    "However, there is 20% of the population that enters into what is called 'acute stress reaction (ASR)' in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, and...almost 80% will develop PTSD, which is a condition which they...can suffer from for the rest of their lives."
    "But the amazing thing we found...is that if the 20% of the population who enters ASR receives immediate stabilization, 75% of those people will not develop PTSD. So, time is of the essence."
    Today, over 600 specialists, ranging from psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and EMTs, volunteer in the unit throughout the country as psychological first-responders.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Applauds Egyptian Writer's Remarks on Jerusalem
    The Israeli embassy in Cairo has expressed gratitude for an interview broadcast on Sunday, in which Youssef Ziedan, an Egyptian novelist and scholar, said that the al-Aqsa Mosque is not located in Jerusalem's al-Haram al-Sharif compound and that Jerusalem is not a holy city. Citing scholars, Ziedan said that the structures of al-Haram Mosque and al-Aqsa Mosque were "on the road from Mecca to Ta'if" in Saudi Arabia and that "neither we [Muslims] nor the [Jews] have anything to do with it."
        The embassy said on Tuesday: "We are pleased to hear the words of writer and historian Youssef Ziedan and his description of the deep-rooted relationship between Jews and Muslims that existed even before Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him. And at how he pointed out that the origins of the ongoing conflict between the two sides stem from extremists."
        "There is no doubt that Ziedan's interpretation entails the need to abandon the culture of hate between the two sides, and this in our view is an important message. Cooperation between Jews and Muslims would benefit Egyptians and Israelis and would be beneficial to the two sides' rising generations."  (Al Jazeera)
  • Palestinian Found Guilty of Murdering Three Israelis in Their Home
    Omar al-Abed, a Palestinian man, was found guilty on Wednesday of stabbing to death Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36, in an attack in the family's home in July in Halamish in the West Bank. Tovah Salomon, 68, Yosef's wife, was stabbed and seriously injured. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Attack Israeli Public Security Minister near Jerusalem
    Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan's armored vehicle was attacked by Palestinians with stones and firebombs as he toured the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis with police on Monday, Channel 10 reported. His office said, "The stone throwing from the Islamic University of Abu Dis simply further demonstrates the need to strengthen security in the area and increase aggressive activity against the terrorists."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Police Prevent Palestinian Terror Attack in Jerusalem - Hagay Hacohen
    Israeli police arrested an 18-year-old Palestinian girl who repeatedly attempted to cross into Israel on Wednesday, at one point using the documents of her 7-year-old sister. After attempting to resist the police officers, she revealed that she intended to carry out a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Attack Jewish Worshipers in West Bank - Jacob Magid
    Some 1,000 Jewish worshipers holding prayers outside the tomb of Yehoshua bin Nun in the northern West Bank early Thursday, at a site secured by the army, were attacked by Palestinians hurling stones and firebombs. There were no reports of injuries. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Should Crack Down on UNRWA, End Fiction of Palestinian "Refugees" - Richard Goldberg
    Nearly every refugee in the world is cared for by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose goal is repatriation, resettlement and integration. The exception? Palestinian refugees, cared for by UNRWA. Today, millions of people are referred to as "Palestinian refugees," even though the only home they, and in many cases even their parents and grandparents, have ever known is either a refugee camp or an Arab host nation like Jordan.
        In truth, UNRWA is not a refugee agency but a welfare agency, which keeps millions of people in a permanent state of dependency and poverty - all while feeding Palestinians an empty promise that one day they'll settle in Israel. Yet the U.S. remains the agency's largest donor.
        In 2012, Congress asked: How many of the Palestinians currently served by UNRWA were personally displaced by the 1948 war? The answer remains classified. The administration can take a giant step toward Middle East peace by declassifying that report and formally adopting a definition for Palestinian refugees that makes a clear distinction between refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants.
        America should change the way it funds UNRWA, making clear how much money goes to refugee assistance and how much subsidizes a culture of welfare and terrorism. Future funding should be tied to a clear mission of resettlement, integration and economic self-sufficiency. The writer is a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (New York Post)
  • The Arab and European Vote on the UN's Jerusalem Resolution - Israel Kasnett
    Dr. Yoel Guzansky, a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, said the Saudis "have other priorities and while the Palestinians are not of major interest, they do pay lip service to the Palestinian cause and the Jerusalem issue." Even though the Saudis backed the UN resolution, they didn't make a lot of noise over it. The same behavior was true for the rest of the member nations of the Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. This could indicate Saudi Crown Prince Salman's "desire to get closer to U.S. President Donald Trump."
        For Ron Prosor, Israel's former ambassador to the UN, Arab support for the Jerusalem resolution is less concerning than the hypocrisy of European countries that supported the measure. "They say they are really worried over the announcement on Jerusalem since it will create instability. This is a decision by the U.S. and the Europeans decide to go to the GA (General Assembly). When the Russians vetoed everything regarding Syria, did the French or the British go to the GA? The answer is absolutely not! And until 1967, anyone could visit eastern Jerusalem, except for Jews. The Europeans supported that wholeheartedly."
        CNN's Jake Tapper quoted a statistic from UN Watch that between 2012 and 2015, the UN adopted 97 resolutions specifically criticizing an individual country, and Israel was the target of 83 of them. "Is Israel truly deserving of 86% of the world's condemnation, or possibly is something else afoot at the United Nations?" he asked. (JNS.org)
  • Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem: The View from Beijing - Roie Yellinek
    The Chinese, who usually support the Palestinians in their dispute with Israel, continued to do so in response to Trump's Jerusalem declaration. This is largely a practical matter: the Palestinians are backed by Arab states that are large exporters of oil and gas, and China needs those resources.
        While Israel and China have developed a close relationship over the past two-and-a-half decades, this has come at no cost to Beijing's relations with the Arab world. The Chinese approach to foreign policy is to do business with anyone who is willing to engage with them. The writer is a doctoral student in the department of Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was the right thing to do on several fronts. To begin with, the simple act of aligning campaign rhetoric and government policy is something we need more of - not less.
  • That Trump's decision to stand with Israel has been greeted with protests around the world and a high-profile vote of disapproval at the UN was certainly a teachable moment. Anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise, and the fashionable boycott of Israel continues to be exploited by the ignorant.
  • If PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants to end discussions with the U.S. over this, so be it. If something positive were going to happen under his leadership, we would know it by now. He has stayed in office long after his expiration date.
  • Trump may be criticized, but he is putting American foreign policy in an honest place. Future presidents may thank him for calling out the timid, the pretenders, and the malicious to stand up and be counted.
  • Remember, U.S. support for Israel generally has remained overwhelmingly bipartisan. Congress has - on several occasions - voted in support of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.