November 9, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Hizbullah Has More Firepower than 95 Percent of World's Armies - Sean Savage (JNS)
    According to a new report from the Jewish Institute for National Security of America's (JINSA) Hybrid Warfare Task force, "Hizbullah possesses more firepower than 95% of the world's conventional militaries, and more rockets and missiles than all European NATO members combined."
    Estimates put Hizbullah's overall rocket and missile stockpiles at 120,000 to 140,000 - up from 10,000 in the last conflict in 2006.
    Hizbullah also has several thousand medium-range rockets and several hundred precision long-range missiles capable of striking targets throughout all of Israel.
    "Israel is truly challenged with a situation that does not exist anywhere else in the world," said U.S. Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael S. Tucker.

PA: No Change in Abbas' Stance toward Gaza Truce - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Despite a report in Al-Hayat that Egyptian President Sisi persuaded PA President Abbas to accept a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, on Thursday a senior PA official in Ramallah said he was unaware of any change in Abbas' position.
    "President Abbas agreed with the Egyptian president that there was a need to alleviate the suffering of our people in Gaza," the official said.
    "But President Abbas also emphasized that Hamas was not authorized to reach any agreement with any party on behalf of the Palestinians."
    Abbas has voiced strong opposition to a truce between Hamas and Israel.  

In Jerusalem, New Envoys from Egypt and Jordan Recommit to Peace with Israel - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
    Ambassadors Ghassan Majali of Jordan and Khaled Azmi of Egypt presented their credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at his Jerusalem residence on Thursday, officially taking up their positions.
    Both envoys lauded the peace agreements with Israel. "Our peace treaty stands as a pillar of stability in the Middle East," Azmi said.
    Rivlin told him, "We have to find a way to let the Egyptian people understand us and know us, and for the Israeli people to understand you and know you."
    Referring to Jordan, Rivlin said, "I hope that we can find a way to let the whole Jordanian people understand that we are neighbors and we would like to live together. Because as all of us know - we are not doomed to live together. It's our destiny to live together." 
    See also Egypt's Ambassador to Israel: Egypt Committed to Achieving Peace, Stability in Middle East (Egypt Independent)

Anti-Israel Cleric Elected to Head Group of Muslim Scholars - John Rossomando (Algemeiner)
    Moroccan cleric Ahmed al-Raissouni, who says that Israel's destruction is a duty for "the entire Muslim Ummah," was elected on Wednesday to head the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a group which has a long history of supporting terrorism and is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
    He succeeds IUMS founder Yusuf Qaradawi, 93, the Muslim Brotherhood's most influential religious scholar, who stepped down last weekend.
    Qaradawi is best known for his endorsement of Palestinian suicide bombings and for encouraging Muslims to move to Europe and America to Islamize them.
    Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain classify the IUMS as a terrorist organization for its role in trying to destabilize those countries.
    The IUMS counts Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as a member.

Poll: U.S. Jews Feel More Positively toward Israel - Jeremy Sharon (Jerusalem Post)
    American Jews' feelings toward Israel have grown more positive in recent years, according to a new poll of 903 Jewish voters conducted by GBA Strategies for J-Street on Tuesday.
    65% felt either very or somewhat emotionally attached to Israel.
    Asked if they felt more positive or negative toward Israel compared to 5-10 years ago, 55% said they felt the same, 26% said more positive and 19% felt more negative.

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Israeli Researchers Develop Technology for 3D Printing of Drugs - Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post)
    Researchers from Jerusalem's Hebrew University unveiled their novel technology for three-dimensional printing of drug capsules on Wednesday, enabling the customization and personalization of medications unavailable with conventional manufacturing techniques.
    The new technology enables the printing of hydrogel objects which can expand, change shape and activate on a delayed schedule.
    Doctors will be able to accurately tailor the exposure and dosage levels for individual patients.
    "We can now think about combining drugs together into one drug instead of ten, to adjust the kinetics of drugs and improve patient compliance in drug administration," said Dr. Ofra Benny, a researcher at the university's Institute for Drug Research.

Israel's RT LTA Systems Offers New Mobile Surveillance Balloon - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Israel's RT LTA Systems Ltd. said Wednesday it has developed a new, more flexible version of its surveillance and communications balloon systems - the SkyStar 120 - that is mounted on an all-terrain vehicle for forces operating in rough terrain.
    The helium-filled balloons - aerostats - are used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications, and can be loaded with cameras or communication systems. Like a drone, the balloon is controlled from the ground by operators.
    RT balloons have served armies and civilian purposes in Israel, Afghanistan, Mexico, Thailand, Africa and Russia.
    RT was set up in 1996 by Rami Shmueli, a former military intelligence officer who served as head of the aerostats department in the IDF. Its American subsidiary is located in Texas.

Israeli Precision Farming Company Taranis Raises $20 Million - Tal Shahaf (Globes)
    Israeli precision agriculture intelligence platform developer Taranis announced Tuesday the closing of a $20 million financing round.
    Taranis uses deep-learning technology to analyze data from its patented aerial imagery technology to enable farmers to monitor crops for potential hazards.
    The technology can identify crop stresses such as weeds, insects, and diseases to help farmers monitor their acreage effectively, improving crop yields and cutting costs.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Minister Calls for Cooperation with Gulf States - Alexander Cornwell
    Israel and Gulf Arab states should cooperate on aviation security and other civilian areas such as transportation, commercial aviation and tourism, Israel's Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Reuters on Thursday after a visit to Oman. "In my view cooperation between Israel and the Gulf states can and should be expanded....Israel also has a lot to offer when it comes to water desalination and irrigation, agriculture and medicine."
        Katz said recent public visits by Israeli ministers to the Gulf "are part of a wider trend of strengthening ties between Israel and the Gulf countries based on common interests and a mutual recognition of the potential benefits for both sides, both in terms of contending with common challenges and threats as well as opportunities."  (Reuters)
        See also Israeli Economic Minister Invited to Bahrain
    Israeli Economic Minister Eli Cohen was invited by Bahrain to participate in its "Startup Nations Ministerial Conference," Israel's Yediot Ahronot reported Friday. (Al Manar TV-Lebanon)
  • Trudeau Warns Against Modern Anti-Semitism in Apology for Turning Away Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazis - Steven Chase
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized Wednesday for Canada's 1939 refusal to grant asylum to more than 900 German Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi terror on the MS St. Louis. "[Hitler] watched...as we refused their visas, ignored their letters and denied them entry," the Prime Minister told the House of Commons. "There is little doubt that our silence permitted the Nazis to come up with their own final solution." The U.S. State Department made its own apology in 2012.
        Trudeau warned of an "alarming rate" of discrimination and violence against Jewish people today. The Prime Minister also raised intimidation of Jewish students on some Canadian college and university campuses by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] campaign against Israel.
        Nimrod Barkan, Israel's Ambassador to Canada, said, "We are all encouraged not only by the apology but more so by the comments about the need to fight anti-Semitism today, to fight BDS and to make sure there is no hate for Jews allowed anywhere around the world, and certainly not in Canada."  (Globe and Mail-Canada)
        See also Text: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons on Nov. 7, 2018 (Canadian Jewish News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Is Holding Gaza Hostage - Anna Ahronheim
    Israel's Housing Minister and member of the Security Cabinet Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant told the Jerusalem Post: "We, on one hand, need to make sure that Hamas doesn't get stronger and, on the other hand, we must make sure the people of Gaza get proper humanitarian aid." He noted that "the border protests led to only Palestinians deaths."
        Gallant stressed that Israel is not responsible for the situation in Gaza. "We didn't choose Hamas. The people of Gaza chose Hamas and it is Hamas holding them hostage, not us. We left Gaza 13 years ago. Have they built one school? No. They built tunnels and rockets and continued increasing their terror activities. Gaza is being held hostage by a terror group. There's no freedom. There's nothing different than North Korea. It's the same thing."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Supreme Court: PA Must Pay $3.8 Million for False Imprisonment of 51 Palestinians - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Israel's Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed two judgments by lower courts totaling $3.8 million against the Palestinian Authority for falsely jailing 51 Palestinians. The case involved Palestinian citizens coming before Israeli courts to get justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement.
        In the July 2017 decision that was upheld, the Jerusalem District Court found that PA authorities tortured various plaintiffs by "beating them on all parts of the body, hitting them with lead pipes, extinguishing cigarettes on their bodies, hanging them in torture positions for hours and starving them." Some of the plaintiffs "were also exposed to extreme heat and cold, or extremely hot or cold water was dumped on them," and authorities ordered doctors to pull out healthy teeth. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Palestinians Are Not Progressives, Israelis Are - Danny Ayalon
    The progressive movement in the U.S. has been hijacked by the Palestinians and their collaborators, with the false narrative that the Palestinian cause is a progressive one. In reality, the Palestinians are not progressives, whereas Israelis are.
        Real progressives support women's rights. The Palestinian Authority denies women's rights. Women do not hold any senior positions in the government of the PA or in Gaza. Israel has several female cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, female chief justices of the Supreme Court, and a parliament where one-third of its members are women.
        Real progressives support LGBTQ rights. The PA denies rights to members of the LGBTQ community. Israel holds Gay Pride parades in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem each year. Additionally, Israel grants asylum to LGBTQ Arab Muslims.
        Real progressives support religious diversity. The PA forbids religious diversity. Israel has citizens from multiple faiths, who all live freely and practice their religion openly in Israel, where the Christian and Arab Muslim communities are growing and thriving.
        Therefore, anyone who identifies as a progressive should by definition be supportive of the liberal democratic State of Israel and opposed to the racist theocracy of the Palestinian Authority. The writer is a former deputy foreign minister and was Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Moving the Australian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem Will Advance the Peace Process
    IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser was interviewed by Australia's ABC News on October 31, 2018:
        Q: What difference would it make if Australia moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
        Kuperwasser: This is going to tell the Palestinians that they have to realize that the world is moving forward and they have to adjust their position. The U.S has moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Brazil is now planning to move its embassy to Jerusalem, and Russia has admitted that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Pragmatic elements inside the Arab world are telling the Palestinians, "Listen, stop putting obstacles in the way toward cooperation with Israel."
        Australia, as a very important member of the liberal democracies, would be telling the Palestinians, "Listen, we are going to base our policy on the real situation, which is that Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for ages and has been the capital of Israel for the last 70 years. And let's move forward toward peace."
        Q: There were a lot of protests when Donald Trump said he was going to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
        Kuperwasser: Maybe in some Western capitals there were some protests. But in the Middle East there were no protests, with the exception of Gaza where they were already protesting so they added this as an excuse for their protest. But in my mind, most of the Arabs are ready to accept it. They know that Jerusalem is our capital. It is not something that is an obstacle on the way to peace.
        On the contrary. Once people send this message to the Palestinians, that they have to accept it, this is going to remove this impediment on the way to peace. Even though the Arabs may publicly criticize it, they know that this is necessary in order to enable movement forward on the peace process.
        Brig.-Gen. Kuperwasser, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division, is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council)
  • The PA Moves to Take over Area C with European Financial Support - Naomi Linder Kahn
    The 1993 Oslo Accords gave Israel full jurisdiction over Area C of the West Bank. In 2009, former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad publicized his program for the unilateral de facto annexation of Area C. It includes the creation of facts on the ground, through extensive illegal construction and development, without coordination with Israel.
        Although it was a partner to the Oslo Accords, in recent years the EU has actively funded many of the PA's illegal activities in Area C, contributing to projects that undermine the accords. The EU has built more than 2,000 structures in Area C for the Palestinian population, creating or supporting dozens of illegal settlement clusters, without coordinating these projects with the relevant Israeli authorities. The flagship outpost of these projects is Khan al Ahmar.
        PA/EU efforts to seize control of Area C include creating 247 new agricultural sites and 181 new roads. The writer is director of the International Division of Regavim, an NGO dedicated to the preservation of Israel's land resources. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why Can't Pakistan Come to Terms with the Existence of Israel? - Irfan Husain
    It is a fact that many Arab states have either recognized Israel and have embassies in Tel Aviv, or deal with it fairly openly without formal ties. As it is, younger Arabs have little time or sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
        Recognition is not accorded as a reward for good behavior, but as acknowledgment that a state fulfills the norms of statehood as defined by the UN. In order to engage Israel over its policies, we first have to have a diplomatic presence there. If neighboring Arab states have come to terms with the existence of Israel, why can't we? We have no territorial disputes with it.
        I have little doubt that any Pakistani government that recognizes Israel would face violent demonstrations by religious parties. It is certainly true that most Pakistanis are anti-Semitic, even though few have actually met a Jew.
        But policy should not be subject to blackmail, especially when national interests are involved. Currently, Israel manufactures some of the most advanced weapons systems in the world, with India as one of its biggest customers. And it is a world leader in the optimal use of water. So clearly, we have much to learn from a state we consider our foe. (Dawn-Pakistan)

  • Anti-Semitism in America

  • Yes, Anti-Semitism Is a Problem Again. No, It Is Not 1939 - Andrew Silow-Carroll
    Prior to World War II, Jews in the U.S. were blocked from entire industries, and anti-Semitism "manifested itself at every level of society and across the country," the Princeton historian Julian Zelizer wrote last week. But it is important to note that the lived experience of American Jews is not one of fear and vulnerability, certainly when you compare it to 50 and 100 years ago. It is simply not the daily experience of American Jews to feel under physical threat. The writer is editor in chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. (JTA)
        See also Anti-Semitism in the U.S. Is Nothing New - Julian Zelizer
    in the 1930s and '40s, Jews confronted tight restrictions that kept them out of law firms, medical professions, universities and colleges, fraternities, hotels, country clubs, and more. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton imposed strict quotas on how many Jews they would admit. Jews were subject to restrictive real-estate covenants that prevented "Hebrews" from living in particular neighborhoods.
        Conditions improved after World War II. The horror of the Holocaust made overtly anti-Semitic ideas unacceptable in mainstream U.S. society. The number of Americans who heard "criticism or talk against Jews," according to historian Leonard Dinnerstein, declined from 64% in 1946 to 12% in 1959. (Atlantic)
  • America's Forgotten Pogroms - David Greenberg
    According to Stephen Norwood, an historian at the University of Oklahoma, anti-Semitism in the U.S. has been "much more deeply entrenched than most scholars acknowledged." In 1942-3, a right-wing Irish group called the Christian Front, inspired by the popular radio preacher Charles Coughlin, regularly menaced Jews - especially in Boston and New York.
        Marauding bands of Irish Catholic youths stalked and assaulted the Jews of urban communities like Dorchester and Mattapan in Boston and Washington Heights in New York, as police officers and elected officials looked the other way. In 1940, the FBI arrested 13 members of the Front for plotting to bomb the offices of the Forward Jewish newspaper, and to assassinate Jewish members of Congress.
        In the years before World War II, the Depression brought forth ugly resentments that took anti-Semitic form, including toward President Franklin Roosevelt, whom anti-Semites called "Rosenfeld" and whose policies they called the "Jew Deal."
        Carmaker Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent published conspiracy theories about international Jewry in the 1920s, and Charles Lindbergh in 1941 claimed American Jews, possessing outsized influence in Hollywood, the media, and the Roosevelt administration, were pushing the nation into war against its interests. In 1939, the German American Bund held a rally of 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden, which was decorated with swastikas. The writer is a professor of history, journalism, and media studies at Rutgers. (Politico)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Start-Up Creates Crisis Platform to Deal with Mass Shootings - Eytan Halon
    According to nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was the 294th mass shooting incident in 2018. Yoni Sherizen, CEO of Tel Aviv-based start-up Gabriel, has developed a technological platform to change the outcome of such events. "If you can help people instantly get to safety, alert them of the danger, alert authorities and provide emergency services with real-time information on how to deal with the crisis, you can dramatically change the way these things unfold," said Sherizen.
        The company's crisis platform includes a physical device placed on the wall which serves both as a panic button to alert first responders, police and building occupants, and also as a video and audio communication hub should all other communication services fail. Second, the Gabriel smartphone application enables users to declare an emergency, alert others and continue to share critical, real-time information from the scene.
        Finally, an intuitive command and control dashboard enables real-time crisis management, provides direct video and audio feeds and a dynamic site map. "This is a game-changer for the lock-down and active shooter drills that are now a standard part of any child's upbringing in the States," said Sherizen. The Detroit Jewish community has pre-ordered the system to be installed in 25 locations. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why Israelis Live Longer - Prof. Rafael A. Beyar
    Israel is among the top countries in longevity with an average lifespan of 82.5 years as of 2016. Other countries on the longevity list - Canada, Sweden, Italy, and Japan - are tranquil, wealthy and at peace. But for Israel, confronted over its 70-year history with war and perpetual conflict, and a seven-fold increase in its population including a large and diverse immigrant base, these findings may come as a surprise.
        One answer is a "Mediterranean diet" high in fruit, vegetables and fish. Another is low alcohol consumption. Another quite important reason is the close family structure in Israel. But probably the single most important factor is the Israeli health care system. All its citizens receive health care services regardless of income or pre-existing health conditions. Yet Israel spends just 7.4% percent of its GDP on healthcare, compared to the U.S., which spends about 18% of its GDP while still leaving out large numbers of people.
        All Israeli residents are covered by one of four major health funds. Excellent public hospital care is available equally to all sectors of society. Costs are kept down through a combination of government controls, purchasing power by the health funds, incentives and competition. Israelis, who are known to complain about much, usually are complimentary about their health care. And with many now living well into their 80s, they should be. The writer is Director General and CEO of the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. (Times of Israel)

  • 80 Years Since Kristallnacht

  • Memories of Kristallnacht - Walter Bingham
    During 1938, the Polish authorities became concerned that due to the increased persecution of Jews in Germany and Austria, some 60,000 to 100,000 Polish Jews in those countries would seek - or be forced - to return to Poland to escape Nazi persecution. So the Polish government legislated a citizenship law requiring Poles who had lived abroad for five years or more to obtain a stamp to revalidate their passport. But all Jews were refused this revalidation, leaving them stateless. When the Nazi regime learned of this, Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler ordered that all Polish Jews be immediately and forcefully repatriated to Poland.
        On Oct. 28, 20,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested, hurriedly packed just one suitcase, and were transported in sealed trains to the Polish border, my own father among them. When armed German guards with dogs drove them to the crossing, the Polish guards closed the border and received the order: No Jews. After 3 days the Poles were forced to accept them.
        On the night of Nov. 9, all synagogues in Germany, Austria and the by-now Nazi occupied Sudetenland in western Czechoslovakia were set alight, 7,500 Jewish shops and other property were destroyed and 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Suicide Notes Jews Left Their Loved Ones after Kristallnacht - Ofer Aderet
    Researchers estimate that hundreds of Jews took their lives due to the Kristallnacht pogrom which took place on Nov. 9-10, 1938. (Ha'aretz)
        See also These Jewish Children Were Eyewitnesses to Kristallnacht - Judy Maltz (Ha'aretz)
  • Anglo-German Jewish Businessman Wilfrid Israel Saved Thousands from Nazi Persecution - Roxzann Baker
    Wilfrid Israel was an Anglo-German Jewish businessman and philanthropist. Born in London, his father owned and directed the N. Israel department store in Berlin, where Wilfred became personnel manager of 2,000 staff.
        On 10 November 1938 - Kristallnacht, the store was ransacked. SS guards rounded up the Jewish employees as other Nazis shattered display cases, slashed paintings and threw typewriters out of the windows. Wilfred contacted the Nazi commander of Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Hermann Baranowski, and negotiate his employees' release in return for a promise of unlimited credit at the store.
        Wilfred then helped the store's remaining 200 Jewish employees to emigrate, giving them two years' salary in cash and securing many of them jobs abroad. This undoubtedly saved their lives. Before he left Berlin on 15 May 1939 for London, he played a central role in organizing the Kindertransport and other rescue schemes for those already in the camps.
        He died on 1 June 1943 when his flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe fighter while he was returning from Lisbon, where he had been on a mission for the Jewish Agency arranging entry certificates to Palestine for refugees. (Jewish News-UK)
  • Torah Scroll Hidden in Lodz Ghetto 80 Years Ago Found in Wall of Wooden Shack
    A 150-year-old Torah scroll was found inside the wall of a shack slated for demolition in the Polish city of Lodz on a street that was part of the Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust. The Torah scroll was hidden by Jews almost 80 years ago in the ghetto. The Lodz ghetto was established in April 1940 and became the second-largest ghetto created by the Nazis. About 164,000 Jews were held there before it was finally liquidated toward the end of 1944. (Jerusalem Post)

All People Want to Be Free and They Want to Belong - Natan Sharansky (Jerusalem Post)
  • Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident, refusenik, Israeli government minister and chairman of the Jewish Agency, spoke this week with the Jerusalem Post about national identity. Sharansky asserts that not all populist parties should automatically be rejected by Israel, and that there are objective tests by which such parties can be evaluated.
  • "Do they support Holocaust deniers? Do they support legislation against Jewish life, ritual slaughter and circumcision? Do they use anti-Semitic stereotypes?" He points to his three Ds definition of anti-Semitism - demonization, delegitimization and double standards toward either Jews as people or the State of Israel - as a good barometer.
  • "After the Second World War, there was a lot of anger against nationalism, and it turned into a philosophy that nationalism brings about fascism, and that we in Europe had a few hundred years of religious wars and then national wars, and that the time had come to be above religion and nationalism. The dream was a world where there was nothing to fight over and nothing to die for, but it meant that there was also nothing to live for."
  • "We must remember that all people have two basic feelings: they want to be free and want to belong, and we should not weaken their feeling of belonging. Patriotism, nationalism and religious belief can be very positive and a very necessary part of building our liberal world. When we take it away from our liberal world, then at some moment liberalism will become a hated word by everybody who is looking for their national identity."
  • "The reaction to the First World War and the Second World War was to erase all identities, and the result was a decadent society with almost no values. Now there is overreaction to reestablish identity, and you're afraid of every foreigner, and there is a danger there [as well]. The sooner we will bring these two extremes together and people will be able to enjoy a liberal-democratic, national world, the better."
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