April 30, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

In New Video, ISIS Leader Calls to Continue Terror Attacks - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    The Islamic State released a video on Monday by ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who calls for revenge following the fall of the last ISIS stronghold in Syria.
    Boaz Ganor, director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC Herzliya, said, "Al-Baghdadi is appearing now...to send a message to his supporters, especially in Africa and Asia...that he is still alive and they should continue with terror operations."

New York Times Drops Syndication Service that Supplied Anti-Semitic Cartoon - Lloyd Grove (Daily Beast)
    The New York Times decided on Monday to cease its relationship with the syndication service that supplied an anti-Semitic political cartoon that ran in last Thursday's international print edition.

IDF Unveils Electro-Optic Sight to Intercept Incendiary Balloons - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
    "We have attained the ability to intercept kites, and we also have very good capabilities for the threat of incendiary balloons," said Col. Nadav Livne, commander of the Israeli army's Matmon unit - dedicated to R&D for IDF ground forces.
    New capabilities include a smart rifle sight for assault rifles carried by soldiers that makes it possible to accurately strike targets moving at high speed.
    The Pegion sight is an electro-optic system that makes it possible to follow a moving target. It calculates when to shoot so that the first bullet strikes the target accurately.
    It will not allow the soldier to shoot if it does not identify that there will be an accurate hit.

Israel Reprimands France after Ambassador's Remarks - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel on Monday summoned France's ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal, to the Foreign Ministry to protest comments by outgoing French Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud, who called Israel an apartheid state.
    Israeli officials have been instructed not to meet Araud, who served in the past as France's ambassador to Israel.

Number of Israeli Arab Engineering Students Doubles in Six Years - Shira Kadari-Ovadia (Ha'aretz)
    The number of Israeli Arab students studying for undergraduate degrees in engineering and computer science has doubled in six years, the Council for Higher Education reported on Monday.
    The number of Arab university students in general rose by 80% since 2011.
    "The impressive figures testify to the great success of the revolution in making higher education accessible in Arab society," said Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, chairwoman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the council.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • FBI Thwarts Terrorist Attack in Los Angeles Area - Reis Thebault
    Mark Steven Domingo, 26, a recent convert to Islam and an Army veteran, was arrested for plotting to bomb a Los Angeles-area white-supremacist rally in revenge for the March massacres at two New Zealand mosques that left 50 people dead. The FBI had been tracking him for weeks, and he had spoken to a confidential informant about possible attacks against Jews, police officers, churches and the Santa Monica Pier. He told the informant that he supported the Islamic State. (Washington Post)
  • Celebrities Denounce Proposed Boycott of Eurovision in Israel - Laura Snapes
    Public figures including Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Marina Abramovic and pop mogul Scooter Braun have signed a letter speaking out against a proposed boycott of this year's Eurovision song contest, to be held in Tel Aviv in May. Their letter states: "We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition. While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer."  (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to UN: Bible Is Jewish Deed to Land of Israel - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Security Council on Monday that Jewish rights to the Land of Israel depend on four pillars: the Bible, history, legality, and the pursuit of international peace and security. God gave the land to the people of Israel in Genesis, when he made a covenant with Abraham, said Danon. "This is our deed to our land." Danon added that "The Quran itself accepts the divine deed of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel."
        On the issue of security, he noted that the PLO was established in 1964, three years prior to the Six-Day War in 1967. "What did they need to liberate before 1967? And in 1964, not a single settlement existed in Judea and Samaria, and our right to exist was still rejected," he said.
        Danon listed the peace plans the Arabs had rejected in 1937, 1947, 1948, 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008. And the Palestinians have already rejected the anticipated U.S. peace plan. "There should be no reward for rejectionism," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Islamic Jihad Launches Rocket at Israel from Gaza - Yoav Zitun
    Islamic Jihad militants launched a rocket at Israel from Gaza on Monday evening that landed in the Mediterranean, the IDF said. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Wounded after Firing at Israeli Soldiers in West Bank - Yotam Berger
    A Palestinian assailant fired toward Israeli soldiers near the Palestinian town of Arraba in the northern West Bank on Monday, the IDF said. Soldiers returned fire and wounded the man. The soldiers were safeguarding a civilian bus that had travelled in the area. (Ha'aretz)
  • Australia Opens Trade and Defense Office in Jerusalem - Raphael Ahren
    Australia quietly opened a trade and defense office in Jerusalem in March. A spokesperson for the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv stressed that it "will not have diplomatic status and is not an extension of the Australian embassy."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Dore Gold: The Israeli Public Supports a Strong Position on National Security - David Brennan
    Just prior to his election victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to consider annexing Israeli communities in the West Bank. Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and now  president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told Newsweek: "Since Israel put up its first string of settlements in the Jordan Valley under the Labor government after the 1967 war, there has always been a view in Israel that the settlements have a link to Israel's future security. So if we ever get to a point where we are asked to lay out our vital interests in the West Bank, they will include settlements. They will include Israel retaining vital territories for its defense and because it has also historical right."
        "In a certain sense, the position the prime minister took is not terribly surprising if you understand Israel's history." The Israeli public "has moved in a direction where they are very sympathetic with a strong position on national security....I think that has to do with the fact that, first of all, the past negotiating efforts with the Palestinians led to nothing, led nowhere. And frankly the Middle East is moving in a dangerous direction with the rise of Iranian power across the Arab world. You put those two things together and you get a position that Israel has to be very careful about what its future borders will look like."  (Newsweek)
  • German Intelligence Agency Issues Report on Muslim Anti-Semitism - Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
    The German Agency for Domestic Security recently published a report entitled "Anti-Semitism in Islamism." It is the first official publication by a national body that exposes in detail the anti-Semitism originating in parts of the country's Muslim community. The report defines Islamism as a form of political extremism among Muslims that aims to eliminate democracy.
        The report states that a pattern of common, "daily" anti-Semitism is widespread in the social and political center of German society, and that anti-Semitic opinions in Islamism are even more far-reaching. It notes that the arrival of more than a million Muslims in Germany between 2014 and 2017 increased the influence of Islamist anti-Semitism inside the country. The writer is a former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Europe Is Burying Its Head in the Sand - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    Seventy years after the end of Jewish life in Iraq and Syria due to persecutions and expulsions, the continued existence of Christianity in those countries is threatened by radical Islamist groups. Islamic State engaged in the systematic destruction of churches in the territories it held, but churches are attacked and often burned in other Arab and Muslim countries. The extremists also don't spare mosques of Muslims that don't share their radical views and have targeted them in hundreds of attacks within the framework of their jihad.
        European governments have failed to stand in defense of Christian communities in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, to avoid being perceived as enemies of Islam. Jihad, however, made its way to European shores a while ago. In recent years, in France alone, hundreds of churches have been attacked by extremists, the majority of them Muslim.
        Europe still believes that burying its head in the sand is the best way to cope with the challenge posed by radical Islam, but denying the existence of a problem doesn't solve it. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)

A Terrorist Tried to Kill Me Because I Am a Jew - Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein (New York Times)
  • Today should have been my funeral. The terrorist was standing there with a big rifle in his hands. And he was now aiming it at me. For one reason: I am a Jew. He started shooting. My right index finger got blown off. Another bullet hit my left index finger.
  • After the massacre in Pittsburgh, we had a community training. Now that training kicked in. Somehow my brain directed my body to the synagogue ballroom, where the children, including two of my grandchildren, were playing. I ran toward them screaming "Get out! Get out!" I grabbed as many as I could with my bloody hands and pushed them out of the building.
  • I do not know why God spared my life. I do not know why I had to witness scenes of a pogrom in San Diego County like the ones my grandparents experienced in Poland. I don't know why I had to see my good friend, Lori Gilbert Kaye, hunted in her house of worship.
  • I pray that my missing finger serves as a constant reminder to me. A reminder that I am part of a people that has survived the worst destruction and will always endure.

    The writer is the rabbi of Chabad of Poway, Calif.