January 11, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Pentagon Pushes Forward on Syria Pullout - Nancy A. Youssef and Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
    The U.S. military is moving ahead with plans to withdraw all troops from Syria, in keeping with a White House directive in December.
    Scores of ground troops are headed toward Syria to help move troops out, and a group of naval vessels headed by the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge is headed to the region to back up troops as they are leaving the country, defense officials said.

Saudi Security Forces Kill Shia Militants near Major Oil Facilities - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    Six Shia militants were killed and another captured, along with five security personnel injured, in a Jan. 7 clash in the Qatif area of Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.
    The area is home to the kingdom's main oil fields and oil export infrastructure.
    Iran was almost certainly the ultimate source of the weapons and ammunition seized after the incident.
    The writer is director of the Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute.

Muslim Brotherhood in Germany: Greater Danger than ISIS, al-Qaeda - Raghida Bahnam (Asharq al-Awsat-UK)
    Observers have expressed concern over the Muslim Brotherhood's growing influence in Germany.
    The city of Cologne has for years acted as the group's headquarters, and the Brotherhood has been expanding to other cities in recent years, pushing the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or internal intelligence, to warn that the extremist group was now a greater danger to Germany than ISIS and al-Qaeda.
    Moreover, the Brotherhood's mosques and organizations have grown in popularity.
    Burkhard Freier, head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in North Rhine-Westphalia, said the Cologne-based Islamic Community of Germany, and organizations that are working with it, are ultimately seeking to establish a state based on Sharia law in Germany.
    See also The Muslim Brotherhood Debate and Mubarak's 2018 Court Testimony in Egypt - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

PLO Calls for UN to Restore "Zionism Is Racism" Resolution - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    The UN must restore the defunct resolution declaring that "Zionism is racism," PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said on Thursday.
    He spoke after Israel opened the first section of a new road east of Jerusalem that will allow for easy Palestinian travel between the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah.
    It will also facilitate traffic between Jewish communities in the Binyamin region and Jerusalem.
    But a security barrier separating the two traffic routes has caused opponents to dub it an "apartheid road." 

Sky News Arabia Refers to Palestinian Terrorist as a "Political Prisoner"  (UK Media Watch-CAMERA)
    A video piece at Sky News Arabia presented Nael Barghouthi as the "longest serving political prisoner in the world" (in prison for 39 years).
    The piece left the impression that Barghouthi was imprisoned for expressing his "political" beliefs.
    In fact, Barghouthi was convicted of murder in the killing of Israeli bus driver Mordechai Yekuel in 1978.

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The First Palestinian Member of Congress - Lenny Ben-David (Twitter)
    John H. Krebs was first Palestinian Member of Congress.
    Krebs, who was Jewish, was born in Berlin and moved to Palestine in 1933. He went to school there and joined the Haganah militia.
    He moved to the U.S. in 1946 on his Palestine passport which listed him as a "Palestinian citizen."
    He served in the U.S. Army and two terms in Congress in 1975-79.

What Real Border Security Looks Like - Bret Stephens (New York Times)
    On Wednesday while traveling along the Israel-Lebanon border, I saw a fence studded with sensors.
    Earlier that day, at an Israeli military base on the Golan Heights, I visited a bunker-like structure where 20 women soldiers, some of them still teenagers, sat at screens patiently watching every inch of Israel's border with Syria, noticing patterns, prioritizing potential threats, and relaying information to operators in the field.
    Why an all-female unit? Because the Israeli military has determined that women have longer attention spans than men.
    Last August, the unit spotted seven Islamic State fighters, wearing suicide belts and carrying grenades, as they were infiltrating a no-man's land on their way to Israel.
    An airstrike was called in. The men never reached the border.

Swords to Plowshares: Israel Makes a Farm Out of a Minefield - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    Israeli farmers from communities bordering Gaza will have 16,000 dunams of agricultural land allocated to them once the IDF clears landmines and unexploded bombs from the area.
    The Hevel Shalom area, which borders Egypt and Gaza, has remained deserted for years, but a new amendment to the Minefield Clearance Act, which went into effect this week, requires clearing all explosive devices from the area.

How Israel Makes the Desert Bloom (Economist-UK)
    The Israeli firm Taranis uses high-resolution imagery from drones, planes and satellites to diagnose problems in fields of crops - among them infestations, diseases, dryness and nutrient deficiencies.
    Faced with unfriendly neighbors and an arid climate, Israel has had to innovate to survive. Taranis is the poster child of its stunning rise in agritech.
    Over 500 companies operate in the field, nearly twice as many as in the better-known cyber-security sector. A third of them did not exist five years ago.
    Other countries have bet big on agritech, but Israel is ahead of all but America, say investors.
    When Wang Qishan, China's vice-president, visited Israel in October, he toured agritech exhibits.
    "Agricultural parks" using Israeli technology have mushroomed across China. Indian and African officials have also made recent trips to Israel seeking inspiration.
    54% of Israel's agritech ventures are managed by someone who grew up in a kibbutz. Conditions forced them to be creative. The southern part of the country often receives less rainfall in a year than England gets in a day.
    Netafim, the world's leading maker of drip-irrigation systems, is worth nearly $1.9 billion.
    Israel's overall civilian R&D spending, measured as a share of GDP, is more than that of any European country.
    The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology earns over half as much licensing patents as MIT in America, despite spending much less on research.

Amazon to Buy Israeli Cloud Computing Company CloudEndure for $250 Million - Omri Zerachovitz (Globes)
    U.S. tech giant Amazon is acquiring Israeli cloud computing company CloudEndure for an estimated $250 million.
    CloudEndure develops business continuity software solutions for disaster recovery, continuous backup, and live migration.

Samsung Looking to Buy Israel's Corephotonics for $150 Million - Omri Zerachovitz (Globes)
    Korean tech-giant Samsung is in advanced negotiations to acquire Israeli company Corephotonics for $150-160 million.
    Corephotonics has developed a camera with dual lense technology designed to improve the quality of smartphone images.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Pompeo in Cairo: America Is a Force for Good in the Middle East
    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, speaking at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday, said: "America is a force for good in the Middle East....When America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance....America has confronted the ugly reality of radical Islamism....President Sisi joined us...in denouncing the twisted ideology which has brought death and suffering on so many."
        "Importantly, we fostered a common understanding with our allies of the need to counteract the Iran regime's revolutionary agenda. Countries increasingly understand that we must confront the ayatollahs, not coddle them....For our part, airstrikes in the region will continue as targets arise....We strongly support Egypt's efforts to destroy ISIS in the Sinai. We strongly support Israel's efforts to stop Tehran from turning Syria into the next Lebanon."
        "We will not ease our campaign to stop Iran's malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world....In Syria, the United States will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot....There will be no U.S. reconstruction assistance for areas of Syria held by Assad until Iran and its proxy forces withdraw."
        "The United States fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against the Iranian regime's aggressive adventurism. We will continue to ensure that Israel has the military capacity to do so decisively."  (U.S. State Department)
  • As Iraq's Shiite Militias Expand Their Reach, Concerns about an ISIS Revival Grow - Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim
    Iraq's large and well-armed Shiite militias are now running many of the Sunni areas they helped liberate from the Islamic State, fostering local resentments that could fuel a resurgence of support for the extremist group.
        Shiite militias numbering 150,000 fighters have fanned out across Iraq's Sunni heartland, including the provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin and Nineveh, where they operate checkpoints along major roads, levying taxes on truckers moving oil, household goods and food. Some militiamen are demanding protection money from businesses, while shaking down motorists at checkpoints to permit them to pass.
        The militias are also deciding which Sunni families are allowed to return to their homes. In several towns, militia leaders have compelled local councils to invalidate the property rights of Sunnis who supported the Islamic State. The practice has led to major demographic changes in traditionally mixed Sunni-Shiite areas. (Washington Post)
  • Switzerland to Examine Reports that Palestinian Textbooks Promote Violence, Racism - Shiri Moshe
    The Swiss government will review reports that the Palestinian curriculum promotes violence, anti-Semitism, and other themes that undermine a solution to the conflict with Israel, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported on Saturday. Research published last year by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that lessons encourage children to view the entirety of Israel as Arab territory and refer to Israelis and Jews interchangeably and with hostility.
        "School materials that run contrary to the spirit of a two-state solution, which glorify violence, which fuel racism and anti-Semitism or trivialize violations of international law and human rights, are not in compliance with the Swiss position on the Middle East," a spokeswoman for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) said. "Switzerland will examine reports such as those by IMPACT-se and discuss them with other donor nations."
        The EU, UK and Finland are each currently conducting investigations into Palestinian teaching materials, according to IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. (Algemeiner)
        See also Bill in British Parliament Targets Aid to Palestinians over Incitement in Textbooks - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Arab Jailed for 11 Years for Plot to Assassinate Prime Minister, Jerusalem Mayor - Michael Bachner
    Muhammad Jamal Rashdeh, 31, of eastern Jerusalem was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison for planning to assassinate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat last year on orders from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a Syria-based terrorist group that fights alongside Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. (Times of Israel)
        See also Canadians Targeted in Thwarted 2018 Terror Plot in Israel - Michelle Zilio
    A Canadian delegation was among a group of high-profile targets that Muhammad Jamal Rashdeh, a man now convicted of terrorism, planned to attack in Jerusalem last year, according to the Israel Security Agency. The ISA said Rashdeh was planning to target senior Canadian officials who were in Jerusalem training Palestinian Authority forces in the West Bank. Three RCMP officers and 24 troops are currently deployed to help train PA forces. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Israel Needs to Review China Deals - Jacob Nagel
    Last year Israel's leadership began to reassess foreign strategic investment in the state, including Chinese plans for the reconstruction and operation of the state's largest seaport in Haifa. There is now a healthy debate in Israel about the tensions between enhancing the economy and the possible deleterious impact of allowing China or other international actors to have a hand in the country's strategic infrastructure.
        Until recently, investment in major civilian infrastructure was not viewed as a national security concern or even a diplomatic issue. The Ministry of Transportation made the decision in the Haifa port case from its very narrow point of view. Yet this is an issue that cannot be decided upon by those responsible only for infrastructure development. This is a failing in the Israeli bureaucracy system and a challenge that Israeli leadership will hopefully address. The writer is former Israeli acting National Security Advisor. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel's Former Ambassador to China, Matan Vilnai, Says Haifa Port Deal Must Be Reversed - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Security Agency Head Warns on Chinese Investment in Haifa Port (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel-China Experts Downplay Impact of Haifa Port Decision - Eytan Halon
    If Israel chooses to reverse its decision to permit a Chinese company to manage Haifa Port from 2021, the decision will not lead to an enduring crisis between the two governments, experts on China-Israel relations said. The Chinese management of the port was one of the issues that U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton discussed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit here this week. The port is a frequent dock for the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Israel signed an agreement in 2015 with the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) to upgrade and manage the port.
        Sam Chester, vice president at Indigo Global, an investment advisory firm, with 15 years of experience in Israel-China affairs, said stripping SIPG of the deal would be frustrating for Beijing but not a deal-breaker for future trade. Chester said reversing the decision in light of American pressure would not result in the damage caused to Israel-China relations in 2000 after Israel scrapped a deal to supply China with the Phalcon radar system. "There, the Chinese president had put his own credibility on the line. Did the Chinese president put his own credibility on the line in the Haifa deal? No. Was the October visit of Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan to Israel focused on the Haifa deal? No."
        Carice Witte, executive director of Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership (SIGNAL), said, "China...sees immense value in Israel's innovation ecosystem....The fact that amidst a trade war with the U.S., China sent the second most powerful person in the country, President Xi's right-hand man, to Israel sends a powerful message that Israel is important to China. I think the relationship is strong enough to withstand the breakdown of any individual deal."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Boycott Ban Is Not about Free Speech - Zach Schapira
    Can U.S. state governments withhold public contracts or financial investments from companies that boycott Israel? 26 states have laws and regulations to this effect (legislation is pending in 13 more). The American Civil Liberties Union claims this infringes on freedom of speech.
        The issue has sparked controversy in the Senate as lawmakers vote on a clause affirming states' rights to direct their contracts and assets in this way. The measure is aimed primarily at the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
        Activists have maligned anti-boycott laws as requiring a "loyalty oath to Israel." When so framed, these laws appear to be intolerable censorship. The First Amendment enables anyone to freely express their views without fear of government retribution - even if those views are racist or anti-Semitic. But acting on such views is in many cases illegal, particularly when the effect is discriminatory.
        These state laws do not impact anyone's ability to hold, express or advocate any viewpoint. Instead, they only require businesses seeking government contracts (or investments) to certify they are not engaged in discriminatory boycotts. The writer is executive director of the J'accuse Coalition for Justice, dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. (Reuters)
        See also Reuters Misrepresents Congress' Anti-BDS Bill - Tamar Sternthal (CAMERA)
  • Iranians Demand a Normal State - Amir Taheri
    As the leadership in Tehran prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of the Khomeinist revolution, a growing number of Iranians are wondering whether the time has come for their country to close that chapter. The Khomeinist revolution in Iran has failed to "export" its model to a single country, while making Iran poorer and more vulnerable than it had been under the Shah.
        The Khomeinist rulers tried to create parallel organs for exercising state power, which meant that those who have power have no responsibility while those who are held responsible have no power.
        Over the past two years, Iran has witnessed more than 100 strikes by people from virtually all walks of life. It has also been shaken by two nationwide uprisings mobilizing millions of protesters. The important point here is that those strikes and uprisings were prompted by demands that only a normal nation-state and not a revolutionary outfit can understand and satisfy.
        Therefore, at least implicitly, what millions of Iranians demand is a restoration of the authority of their state, which requires the closure of the revolutionary chapter. The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the Iran daily Kayhan from 1972 to 1979. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The PLO's Justification of Payments to Terrorists - Sander Gerber and Yossi Kuperwasser
    Characterizing payments for terror as social welfare is a deception. The Palestinian system governing payments to terrorists is far superior to the regular needs-based welfare system. In the Palestinian Authority's 2018 budget, more than $330 million goes to 10,500 imprisoned and released prisoners and 37,500 families of martyrs and injured. In contrast, the PA's social welfare budget is $214 million and supports 118,000 households.
        Prisoners receive 1,400-12,000 shekels, paid monthly. Families of those killed perpetrating terror attacks receive 6,000 shekels immediately, then a minimum of 1,400 shekels monthly for life. Social welfare recipients are only eligible based on need, and they receive only 250-600 shekels per month, paid quarterly. The maximum welfare payment is 57% less than the minimum pay-for-slay salary. Remember this when a Palestinian official conflates payment for terrorism with social welfare.
        Sander Gerber and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser are fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Washington Examiner)
  • Israelis Have Stopped Believing Peace Is Possible Anytime Soon - Evelyn Gordon
    Not so long ago, the peace process was Israel's top voting issue. But in a poll published last month, self-identified centrists and rightists both ranked the peace process dead last among six suggested issues of concern. Even self-identified leftists ranked it only third.
        There are many well-known reasons why Israelis have stopped believing peace is possible anytime soon. They range from the failure of every previous round of negotiations, to Palestinians' refusal to negotiate at all for most of the last decade, to the fact that every bit of land Israel has so far turned over to the Palestinians - both in Gaza and the West Bank - has become a hotbed of anti-Israel terror. Israel's ostensible peace partner, the Palestinian Authority, educates its people to an almost pathological hatred of Israel.
        Peace can be made with people who want peace. But it can't be made with people who think that working with Jews to improve the Palestinian economy is a "betrayal of the homeland." As long as this is true, prospects for peace will remain nonexistent. (Commentary)
  • Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi Changes the Israeli-Arab Political Landscape - Shlomi Eldar
    Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi has broken away from the Joint List, an alliance of four Israeli Arab political parties that had united on the eve of the 2015 elections: Hadash, Ra'am, Balad and Ta'al. Tibi's decision followed failed attempts to obtain "fitting representation" for his Ta'al party within the Joint List.
        In 2015, the head of the largest of the four parties - Hadash, formerly Communists - was designated to lead the Joint List and promised five slots on the Knesset candidates list. Second place and three slots went to the representative of the Islamic movement Ra'am. Balad received three slots, while Tibi's party received two.
        Asad Ghanem, a senior political science lecturer at Haifa University, believes Tibi stands a good chance of winning enough votes to cross the electoral threshold and strip away at least half of the Joint List's current 13 seats. Tibi has the backing of many local Arab council heads and mayors. He has toured Arab communities throughout Israel and mobilized support among young people on issues of paramount importance to them.
        Tibi, who was for years perceived as being exclusively focused on issues pertaining to the Palestinian Authority, has worked diligently to change this image. He may have realized that the people want him to represent them and resolve their problems more than to represent the Palestinians living in the West Bank. From a platform focused on the establishment of a Palestinian state, Ta'al is turning into a social-democratic movement focused on socio-economic matters that dominate the Israeli-Arab priority list. (Al-Monitor)
  • Saudi Journalist: Time to Relinquish the Belligerent Discourse Against Israel
    On Nov. 2, 2018, in the Saudi government daily 'Okaz, journalist and legal expert Osama Yamani wrote: "A friend said to me: 'Why don't the Arabs [adopt] a new way of thinking instead of the one they constantly repeat in such a loathsome and impractical manner?....We fight Israel and try to eliminate it, when it is an existing fact, a tangible entity with international relations and friendly ties with most of the world's countries. We strive to eliminate a country that has power and the ability to defeat anyone who attacks it or threatens its existence.'"
        "'In the Gaza Strip Hamas grants no human rights, and in the West Bank there is no progress and conditions are constantly deteriorating. All this is in the name of steadfastness and confronting [Israel], which have yielded only disappointment and division....The late [Egyptian President] Sadat rejected the baseless slogans and restored Sinai to his country through negotiations, instead of with slogans, bluster, heroics and songs of glory.'"
        "At this point...I asked my friend: 'How do you think the [Palestinian] issue can be solved?' He smiled and said: 'You still think there is an issue? The issue vanished with the emergence of two states [in the West Bank and Gaza] and a diaspora that mostly does not wish to return.'"  (MEMRI)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Twitter Hashtag #Firstantisemiticexperience Reveals Harrowing Stories - Amy Spiro
    Using the hashtag #firstantisemiticexperience, people have been sharing stories of their first exposure to anti-Semitic taunting and abuse. The hashtag appears to have been started by Rabbi Zvi Solomons, the spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of the Berkshire synagogue in Reading, England. According to the tracking service TweetBinder.com, more than 1,700 people have tweeted using the hashtag in recent days. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Scottish Labour MP Accused British Jewish Journalists of Working for Israel's Mossad - Gareth McPherson
    Scottish Labour MP Mary Lockhart has returned to the party fold after she was suspended by leader Richard Leonard in July for a widely-condemned social media post. At the height of the anti-Semitism row in Labour last summer, three Jewish newspapers in the UK published a joint front page warning that a Corbyn-led government would pose an "existential threat to Jewish life in this country."
        Lockhart suggested the editorials were part of "a Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour government pledged to recognize Palestine as a state." Thomas Docherty, the former Labour MP in Fife who made the official complaint, said, "She accused, without any evidence whatsoever, Jewish journalists of acting on behalf of a foreign government. It's a classic anti-Semitic trope."  (The Courier-Scotland)
  • Scotland's Jews Are Entitled to Feel Safe and Valued - Jackson Carlaw
    The Jewish community in Scotland, numbering 50,000 after World War II, is now barely a fifth of that and half of the community live in my Eastwood constituency. Since the Jews arrived in numbers at the turn of the 19th century, they have been a huge presence in Scotland in all walks of life, including community leaders. However, the community is in decline and increasingly feels isolated and undervalued.
        Incredibly to me, anti-Semitism has found a voice again across Europe and here in Scotland and the UK. It has to be tackled and defeated. Scotland's Jews are entitled to feel safe, to feel valued, and to look forward with the same optimism as any of us to life ahead in the communities in which they have lived and which they have helped shape. The writer is Interim Leader of the Scottish Conservatives. (The Herald-Scotland)

  • Weekend Features

  • London Mosque Cancels Muslim Holocaust Heroes Exhibit
    A planned exhibition at the Centre for Islamic Understanding, a Golders Green mosque, celebrating Muslim Albanians who helped, protected and rescued their Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust, has been scrapped after opponents of the exhibit, including Roshan Salih, editor of British Muslim news site 5 Pillars, urged a boycott.
        Rabbi Natan Levy, head of operations at Faith Forums for London and one of the organizers behind the event, called the exhibition "a powerful reminder that during the Jewish community's darkest hour, the Muslim community in Albania were one of the few who did not stand by when the Nazis attempted to eradicate Jewish neighbors. It's important to remember we have historically supported each other."  (Jewish News-UK)
        See also Those Who Boycott Mosque Holocaust Exhibit Do Not Speak for Muslims - Fiyaz Mughal
    The Centre for Islamic Enlightening, which is based in the Golders Green Hippodrome, met opposition in November 2017 from members of the Jewish community who objected to it being located within this historic site. Numerous faith leaders and the then-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, came to its defense. This led to strong ties between the Centre and local and national Jewish institutions.
        Fast forward to last week and attempts by the Barnet Multi-Faith Forum to get the Centre to host an exhibition by Yad Vashem around stories of Albanian Muslims who saved Jews in the Holocaust. It is true that Muslims were part of SS Gestapo units in Bosnia who were involved in rounding up and exterminating Jews. But the vast majority of Muslims fought against Hitler and the courageous stories of Muslims saving Jews are now a forgotten history. As a Muslim, a part of my heritage has disappeared, hyper-politicized into a silence that will stay for eternity.
        You would think that hosting an exhibition highlighting some of these stories would be a chance for Muslims to reclaim their history. The writer is the Founder and Director of Faith Matters, which works on integration, cohesion, hate crime and countering extremism. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • A Dutch "Safe House" for Jews during the Holocaust - Cnaan Liphshiz
    Van Iperen, a Dutch novelist, published a best-selling book last year about the nine-room country estate east of Amsterdam she bought in 2012 for her family. During renovations, she discovered double walls, secret doors and walled-off annexes that had been concealed so well that they were left undetected for decades. In one secret space, she even found wartime resistance newspapers. Her new home had been the center for one of Holland's most daring rescue operations conducted by Jews for Jews during the Holocaust.
        The High Nest recounts how sisters Janny and Lien Brilleslijper opened their safe house to dozens of Jews and others in need. The operation's secrecy kept it out of the history books. The sisters, intellectuals from a Liberal Jewish family, arrived at the estate near Naarden in 1943, amid deportations to death camps and growing awareness of the annihilation of Europe's Jews by Hitler. By that time the Nazis had killed 75% of the Netherlands' prewar Jewish population of about 140,000. "Everyone who could was in a panic to find a hiding place," van Iperen said.
        In June 1944, Eddy Musbergen, one of the hundreds of Dutch gentiles who betrayed or hunted Jews in hiding, reported his suspicions about the estate to the authorities. The sisters and their families were sent to the Westerbork concentration camp, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. At Bergen-Belsen, Janny met Anne Frank before she died, as she recalled in a 1988 documentary. Janny died in 2003. (JTA)

  • This month Science Advances published a study titled "Quantifying the Holocaust: Hyperintense Kill Rates During the Nazi Genocide," by mathematical biologist Lewi Stone.
  • Stone's analysis of deportation train records indicates about a quarter of Holocaust deaths was concentrated in a single period, from August through October 1942, at three camps in Poland. And the largest Holocaust murder campaign only abated because so few Jews were left in German-occupied Poland.
  • Stone said in an interview: "My work investigates a period in 1942, referred to as Operation Reinhard, when the Nazis efficiently shuttled about 1.7 million victims - often whole Jewish communities - across the European railway network in train carriages to Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. Almost all of those who arrived at these death camps were murdered, usually within hours in the gas chambers."
  • "My study...reveals a sudden massive slaughter after Hitler 'ordered all action speeded up,' as one SS officer put it, on July 23, 1942. Approximately 1.5 million Jews were murdered in only 100 days, including shootings outside the death camps. On average, 450,000 victims were killed each month during August, September and October of that year. That's approximately 15,000 murders every day."
  • "The minimal time in which the operation took place indicates the enormous coordination involved by a state machinery responsive to the Fuhrer's murderous will to eradicate a people. The train records show how zones were emptied of Jewish communities one by one in an organized manner, and how intense kill rates were achieved in targeted areas that only slowed as victims ran out."
  • "As Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, remarked, 'Never before in history had people been killed on an assembly-line basis.'"
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