October 29, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Psychotrauma Team en Route to Pittsburgh to Aid Terror Victims (Jerusalem Post)
    A team of volunteers from the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit of United Hatzalah of Israel arrived in Pittsburgh on Sunday to provide aid to the community and the victims.
    The team is working in cooperation with the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh to provide psychological and emotional stabilization and treatment to the families of those who were killed and injured as well as anybody in the community who is in need.
    "We will be utilizing techniques and tools that we have developed here in Israel and have proven to be highly successful in assisting those who have suffered from similar incidents," said Miriam Ballin, director of the unit.

Bomb Suspect Wanted to "Go Back to the Hitler Days," "Eradicate the Jews" - Sebastian Murdock (Huffington Post)
    Cesar Sayoc, 56, accused of mailing bombs to former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, other Democratic leaders, and to CNN's New York City office, wanted to "go back to the Hitler days" and become a leader in the white supremacist movement, his former boss at New River Pizza, Debra Gureghian, said.
    She recalled a conversation with Sayoc in which he said he would "eradicate the Jews" if he had the power to.

Video: Israel's "Hatikva" Anthem Plays in Abu Dhabi as Israeli Wins Gold in Judo (Times of Israel)
    Israel's national anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the first time, after Sagi Muki won gold in his weight class.
    Following the medal distribution, the tournament presenter announced, in English, "Ladies and gentleman, please rise for the national anthem of Israel," after which the "Hatikva" melody began playing.
    See also Under National Flag, Israeli Judo Team Wins Three Bronze Medals at UAE Tournament (i24News)
    Israel's judo team, competing under its national flag for the first time ever in a Gulf State, won three bronze medals in the Abu Dhabi international Grand Slam tournament on Saturday.
    Gili Cohen, Baruch Shmailov and Timna Nelson Levy all finished third place in their weight classes.
    Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev accompanied the team to Abu Dhabi, making her the first Israeli minister to visit the state as an official representative.
    At the competition last year in Abu Dhabi, organizers banned the display of the Israeli flag or any identifying symbols and refused to play the national anthem for Israelis who received medals.

Israeli Minister Visits Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (Times of Israel)
    Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev visited Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on Monday, the Muslim world's third largest house of worship.
    "This mosque has a message of brotherhood and peace," Regev wrote in the visitor's book, in Hebrew.
    In a Hebrew-language video posted to social media, Regev extolled the "wonderful opportunity" she had to visit the religious site.

Palestinian Militant Dies in "Work Accident" in Gaza (IMEMC-PA)
    Jabr Ibrahim Abu Hmeisa, 27, a member of the Mujahidin Brigades, was killed and another Palestinian was injured in an explosion in al-Boreij in Gaza, Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson for the Health Ministry in Gaza, reported Friday.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Deadliest Attack on Jewish Community in U.S. History: 11 Shot Dead at Pittsburgh Synagogue - Kellie B. Gormly
    Robert D. Bowers, 46, armed with an assault rifle, stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday and shot worshipers during Shabbat services, killing 11 and wounding six, including four police officers, while shouting "All Jews must die," in the deadliest attack on Jews in the history of the United States.
        President Trump said, "This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It's an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world." He ordered flags flown at half-staff at public grounds until sunset Wednesday in "solemn respect" for the victims. The Anti-Defamation League said anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57% in 2017, with 1,986 documented events. (Washington Post)
        See also The Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Victims - Avi Selk
    Among the three men and eight women killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh were Rose Mallinger, 97; Cecil and David Rosenthal, two brothers in their 50s; Bernice Simon and her husband, Sylvan, both in their 80s; Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69. (Washington Post)
        See also Pittsburgh Synagogue Victims Remembered - Simon Romero (New York Times)
        See also The Entire People of Israel Grieve with the Jewish Community of Pittsburgh
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening: "I was heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue today. The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead. We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality. And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Israeli Ministers Start Cabinet Meeting with Minute of Silence in Memory of Those Murdered in Pittsburgh Because They Were Jews (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Pittsburgh Synagogue Attack Shows We Must Act to Prevent Future Atrocities - Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon (Fox News)
  • Oman Says Time to Accept Israel in Region after Hosting Israel's Prime Minister - Katie Paul
    Oman described Israel as an accepted Middle East state on Saturday, a day after hosting a surprise visit by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate's minister for foreign affairs, told a security summit in Bahrain. "Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this," bin Alawi said. "The world is also aware of this fact. Maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as others states]."  (Reuters)
        See also Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets Oman's Ruler, Sultan Qaboos, in Official Diplomatic Visit
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, during an official diplomatic visit to Oman on Friday after lengthy contacts between the two countries. The visit was the first official meeting at this level in Oman since 1996. The prime minister's visit is a significant step in implementing Israel's policy of deepening relations with the states of the region. (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Video: Oman's Sultan Qaboos Welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Royal Palace (NBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire 39 Rockets at Israel under Orders from Iran - Amos Harel and Yaniv Kubovich
    Islamic Jihad fired 39 rockets at Israel on Friday and Saturday. The attack was "led by the Islamic Jihad with clear guidance from Iran and the Revolutionary Guards' Quds force in Syria," the IDF spokesman said Saturday.
        In response, the IDF struck 87 Hamas targets Friday and an additional eight Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza on Saturday, after which Islamic Jihad announced it had reached a cease-fire with Israel, brokered by Egypt. Israel holds Hamas, which rules Gaza, responsible for the rocket barrage.
        Earlier Friday, Hamas brought 16,000 people to participate in riots along the Gaza border, where they threw firebombs and grenades at Israeli troops. Five Palestinians were reported killed. IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said that when Hamas brings so many people to the fence, "Hamas' ability to prevent the throwing of explosives...is almost nonexistent."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel's Missile Defense System Downs 17 Rockets from Gaza
    Out of 39 rockets launched into Israel by Palestinians on Friday and Saturday, Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 17. Two rockets landed inside Gaza and the rest landed in open areas in Israel. (Ynet News)
  • Iran Pushes for Escalation in Gaza - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Islamic Jihad's new leader, Ziad Nahlah, is quick on the trigger. Nahlah is bound by money and extreme ideology to Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian al-Quds brigade of the Revolutionary Guards.
        According to sources in Gaza, Ziad Nahlah received instructions from Iran to sabotage the understandings with Egypt that were to lead to a temporary calm between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Iran intends to drag Israel into an extensive military conflict in Gaza through provocations from Islamic Jihad, thus keeping the IDF and Israeli air force occupied on the southern front instead of in the north, where Iran is building its military presence in Syria.
        The rivalry between Hamas and Islamic Jihad for the honor and support of the Gazan population is of no interest to Israel. For Israel, there is only one address for what goes on in Gaza and that is Hamas. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Conference of Presidents: "There Must Be Zero Tolerance for Intolerance"
    "We are deeply saddened as we are outraged at the murderous attack at Congregation Etz Chayim, Tree of Life, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This hate-driven, murderous assault on innocent people attending a religious service must be condemned by all people who care about our society and country," Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said Sunday.
        "There must be concrete action at every level to address the promoters of hate and the sources of incitement to violence if we are to root out racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism, which has increased significantly in recent years. There must be zero tolerance for intolerance. No excuses no exceptions....It is noteworthy that this vile act takes place when the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht is being commemorated."
        "We salute the first responders and all the law enforcement officers who confronted the killer at great personal risk. We pray for a speedy recovery of the police and worshipers who were wounded and mourn with the families of the victims."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Heart Goes Out to Squirrel Hill - Dani Dayan
    Anti-Semitism is Western civilization's oldest story, and the latest chapter was written in a peaceful Pittsburgh neighborhood as innocent souls were gunned down in prayer. I traveled to the Tree of Life Synagogue to light a candle and release my tears. Israelis follow the news of their diaspora brothers and sisters because it hurts them at the most fundamental level. Jewish love transcends hemispheres and time zones, as does the pain, and the dread we feel when the world becomes a little darker.
        Robert Bowers might have acted out in hatred of Jewish values and derangement against Jewish conspiracies, but his evil must not be explained away. The only chance we have to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred is when we all take a strong stance against it in every corner. The writer is Israel's consul general in New York. (Wall Street Journal)

After Netanyahu's Visit to Oman - Abdulrahman al-Rashed (Al Arabiya)
  • The nonchalant reactions of the Arab public and media over the Omani announcement that they received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Muscat, Oman's port capital, illustrates how much the region has changed from the past.
  • The non-pragmatic way of dealing with the conflict has harmed the Palestinians and hasn't deterred the Israelis. The Arab culture of rejecting relations and normalization with Israel is deeply rooted and still alive, but what's new is that it is no longer the engine moving the policies of Arab governments.
  • Israel has played an important role in hitting Iran's growing influence in Syria. It took up roles that Arab countries couldn't achieve. With this, a military balance in the region was achieved, and Israel became integral to regional security after it was once considered a poisonous apple that everyone avoided dealing with.
  • Iran's strong involvement in the Syrian war is what prompted Israel to enter and become a major player, especially when both America and Turkey failed in the face of the Iranian regime's expansion and hegemony in Syria, after it was clear that it is building an empire with chaotic militias.
  • Even those who reject Israel in the context of the Palestinian cause found themselves compelled to welcome the intervention of Israeli air forces which dramatically changed the situation in Syria and curbed Iranian threats in the region.
  • Without Israel's intervention, stopping the Revolutionary Guards' expansion - that succeeded on the back of the Russian military and political presence - would not have been possible.

    The writer is former general manager of the Al Arabiya news channel and a former editor-in-chief of Asharq al-Awsat.