Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
April 12, 2019
Sudan Military Coup Topples Ruler after Protests (BBC News)
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has been ousted and arrested by the military after nearly 30 years in power, Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf announced on state TV.
Iran-Backed Militias Keeping Christians from Returning Home - Carl Anderson (Wall Street Journal)
Christian towns in Iraq increasingly look neither Christian nor Iraqi - but Iranian.
The religious minorities persecuted under the ISIS caliphate remain in peril, thanks to the Iraqi government's tolerance of Iranian influence.
With their towns liberated, displaced Christians hoped to return, rebuild and work for a better future.
But as ISIS fell, Iranian-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces quickly took root in the devastated, previously Christian towns and have made life nearly unbearable for Christians attempting to return.
Iranian proxies now are conducting a program of colonization in the Iraqi sector - building homes and centers for Iraq's Shiite majority in historically Christian towns.
The writer is CEO of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization helping Christians in Iraq.
Decades after the Jews Went into Exile, Some Arabs Want Them Back (Economist-UK)
From Iraq to Libya, a swathe of politicians, film-makers and academics have been re-examining the past, including the post-1948 eviction of Jews from Arab countries.
Last year a popular Arabic Facebook site ran a poll on whether to restore Iraqi citizenship and the right of return to Jews exiled 70 years ago. Over 3/4 of the 62,000 participants voted yes.
Today 13 Egyptian universities teach Hebrew and 3,000 Egyptian students will finish their Hebrew studies this year, double the number five years ago.
U. of California, Santa Barbara Student Government Rejects Anti-Israel BDS Resolution (JNS)
After more than nine hours of debate, the student government at the University of California, Santa Barbara, voted 14 to 10 early Thursday to reject a resolution calling on the UC system to divest from companies doing business in Israel.
Druze Officer Appointed Military Secretary to President Rivlin - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
Col. Ala Abu Rukon, 47, who is currently serving as the IDF military attache to China, has been appointed military secretary to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the IDF announced Thursday.
A Druze resident of Usfiya, Abu Rukon holds a PhD in Middle East Studies from Bar-Ilan University and has served in the IDF for the past 25 years in the paratroopers brigade and the intelligence branch.
Spanish Judge Rules City's Cancellation of Israeli Festival Is Unconstitutional (JNS)
A Spanish judge has ruled that the city council of Cadiz's cancellation of an Israeli film festival due to its support of the BDS movement violates the country's constitution.
Judge Carmen Beardo of the No. 1 Administrative-Contentious Court of Cadiz ruled that the council violated "the free development of freedom of expression and teaching," in addition to "the right not to be discriminated against for their opinion," El Mundo reported.
Record Tourism in Israel Continues in Q1 2019 - Simon Griver (Globes)
A record 1.14 million overseas visitors came to Israel in the first quarter of 2019, up 14% from the corresponding period in 2018, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports.
See also Israel's Tourism Triumph - Edwin Black (Jerusalem Post)
Tourism to Israel has dramatically changed. Traditional Jewish-American travelers now compete with Silicon Valley techies, Chinese students, Indian tourists, East European Christian pilgrims and businessmen from across the planet.
In 2009, only 20,000 Indians visited Israel; this year, Israel expects more than 80,000.
In 2015, only 30,000 tourists visited Israel from China. After direct flights from numerous Chinese cities were added, the number reached 100,000-plus.
Passenger Traffic between China, Israel Jumps 30 Percent in Q1 (Xinhua-China)
The number of passengers passing through Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport on flights to and from China rose in the first quarter of 2019 by 30.3% compared to the first quarter of 2018, the Israel Airports Authority reported on Monday.
Israeli Firm to Upgrade Caribbean Maritime Coastal Surveillance Systems - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has been contracted by the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to provide a full system upgrade to its national Coastal Surveillance System. The system also covers the islands of St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Grenada.
ELTA was awarded a separate contract to upgrade a similar system in Barbados.
ELTA will also supply surveillance radar to protect Mexican off-shore energy platforms.
Sri Lanka Uses Israeli Technology to Locate Smuggled Narcotics (Asian Tribune-Sweden)
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has sought help from Israeli technology to locate narcotics and other illegal substances that include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine, official sources said.
U.S. Firm Buys Israeli Startup Samanage for $350 Million - Yasmin Yablonko (Globes)
U.S. software company SolarWinds announced Thursday that it was acquiring Israel company Samanage for $350 million.
Samanage provides a platform for managing information systems on the cloud.
Foreign Investment in Israel Up 30 Percent in Two Years (Jerusalem Post)
Foreign investment in Israel was up by 30% between 2015 and 2017, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported.
Total foreign investment for 2017 hit $129.1 billion.
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