May 3, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

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Israel's Population Reaches 9 Million - Zeev Klein (Israel Hayom)
    The Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday reported that the number of residents in Israel stood at 9,009,000 in March. The number of Jews is 6,738,500, or 74.8%.

Why Shia Clerics Are Turning on Iran's Theocracy (Economist-UK)
    Social media reflect growing anger at Iran's ruling clerics, who preside over a shrinking economy.
    Inflation is near 40%, wages are falling, and basics such as chicken and clothes are becoming luxuries.
    Even clerics in the Shia holy city of Qom are increasingly questioning the system of clerical rule.
    A growing number look to Iraq's holy city of Najaf for a different model of mosque-state relations.
    Since the return of relative calm to Iraq, Najaf's prestige among Shias has soared. Its shrine of Imam Ali, founder of the Shia sect, attracts millions of pilgrims a year.
    It is the seat of the most popular Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, 88, who champions the separation of mosque and state. Clerics should advise, he says, not rule.

Iran Must Demonize Its Enemies to Justify Itself - Dr. Doron Itzchakov (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
    The Islamic Republic of Iran's intense preoccupation with constructing a negative image of its adversaries has become one of its foremost defining features.
    The survival of a revolutionary regime depends on its ability to maintain its chosen image of the enemy.
    In accordance with this thinking, senior members of the Islamist regime have consistently stressed the existence of an external enemy that threatens the foundations of Iran's government.
    The writer is a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center and at the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Mideast Insurgents Enter the Age of Drone Warfare - Dion Nissenbaum and Warren P. Strobel (Wall Street Journal)
    Yemen's Houthi rebels have launched armed drone attacks with far more precision and reach than the U.S. and its Gulf allies have publicly acknowledged, creating new dangers for America and its allies in the Middle East.
    A Houthi drone hit a Saudi Aramco oil refinery outside the capital Riyadh in July, while another evaded Emirati air defenses and exploded at Abu Dhabi's international airport.
    In a strike in January, Houthi fighters used a drone to attack a Yemeni government military parade, killing six people.
    The Houthis have launched what Saudi officials estimate to be more than 140 attempted drone flights that they have shot down. In recent weeks, Saudi air defenses have shot down at least 17 Houthi drones in Yemen or Saudi Arabia.
    Their technology has quickly evolved to a plane-shaped model, dubbed UAV-X by UN investigators, that can travel more than 900 miles at a speed of 150 miles-per-hour.

Williams College Student Councils Denies Recognition to Pro-Israel Group - William Newton (Williams College Record)
    On April 23, the Williams College Council voted 13-8 against recognizing Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) as an official student organization.
    Molly Berenbaum, a leader of WIFI, said that the group fills a void in campus discourse. "I've noticed over my last two years here that while there is relatively a lot of campus discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and related issues, it's almost entirely from a certain perspective."
    "Some of being a student is encountering intellectual ideas that make one very uncomfortable. And I think that the answer to encountering those ideas is to engage with them and to respond with your own perspective rather than try to shut down and silence that information."
    See also Standing Against the Silencing of WIFI - Gavin Small, Molly Berenbaum and Maxwell Plonsker (Williams College Record)

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PA Broadcasts Photos of Holocaust Victims as Arabs Killed by Jews - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    On April 9, 2019, official PA TV broadcast pictures of bodies of Holocaust victims in a Nazi concentration camp, presenting them as Arabs killed by Jews in 1948.

Palestinian Students Raise Funds to Rebuild Terrorist's Home (MEMRI-JNS)
    On March 17, Omar Abu Laila fatally stabbed Sgt. Gal Keidan at the Ariel Junction and then shot Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, who died the next day.
    Fatah's Shabiba student movement at the Hebron branch of the Palestine Technical University-Kadoorie announced on Sunday that it had raised 1,000 Jordanian dinars ($1,400) for rebuilding the home of Omar Abu Laila. The home was demolished by Israel on April 24.
    Shabiba declared that its aim was to set an example for all Palestinian young people and encourage them to support the families of "martyrs."

Israel's Army Welcomes International Training Opportunities - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The IDF now takes part in an array of training programs and exercises with foreign armies.
    The participation of soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces Paratroops reconnaissance battalion in maneuvers held in Germany last month was exceptional in scope. It lasted three weeks and hundreds of Israeli paratroopers took part.
    It was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Army, the German Army and other European armies affiliated with NATO.
    Germany's terrain enables Israeli officers to train in a wooded and mountainous area with weather that's colder than in Israel.
    Such experience is good preparation for combat in locales in which the IDF might find itself someday, such as Lebanon.
    Israel is perceived as a country that can rapidly come up with effective military solutions for dealing with terror and guerrilla challenges.
    Many of the methods it devised during the Second Intifada were later "imported" by Americans operating in the Middle East and Central Asia.

IDF Military Police: Israel's First Line of Defense in the West Bank - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    When a Palestinian vehicle pulled up at the Azaim Crossing between Jerusalem and the West Bank on April 9, Israel's election day, Military Police officers Sgt. Michael Sivan and Sgt. Roman Ambar had a feeling something was wrong.
    The male driver was behaving in a suspicious manner. When they opened the trunk, they discovered 3 assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
    "When these incidents occur and you understand what you did, the motivation [to serve in this role] only grows," Ambar said.
    Maj. Tal Charash, 23, who commands a company in the Military Police in the West Bank, said, "Training teaches us to identify all sorts of suspicious activity - an ability that makes our work easier. Yet with time, we start developing a gut feeling, and we pay attention to details, to things that look a little suspicious."
    "We don't want to take any chances, especially when our mission is to defend the State of Israel and its residents."
    "On the one hand, the forces are taught ethics and the need to be respectful to all. But we are also obligated to conduct our checks and prevent the wrong things from making it past the crossing. We respect everyone, but we also have to suspect some, while clearing others."

Israel's Daring Capture of Nazi Mass Murderer Adolf Eichmann - Erin Blakemore (History.com)
    Lothar Herrmann, a blind Jewish refugee who had fled to Argentina after being imprisoned in Dachau, learned that Adolf Eichmann was in Argentina through his daughter Sylvia, who dated one of Eichmann's sons.

539 Multinationals Operate in Israel - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    There are 539 multinational corporations (MNC) from 35 countries operating in Israel's tech ecosystem, according to a report by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) and PwC Israel.
    55% of these MNCs are headquartered in the U.S., 27% in Europe, and 15% in the Asia-Pacific, including China.
    There are more than 6,600 startups in Israel, 14 times the concentration of startups per capita in Europe.
    While Israel has just 1% of the world's population, it attracts 19% of global investment in cybersecurity, ranks number one in R&D expenditures per GDP, and attracts the highest rate of venture capital funding per capita in the world.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • After Oil, Washington Weighs Sanctions on Iran's Other Sources of U.S. Dollars - Benoit Faucon and Ian Talley
    The Trump administration is considering a more aggressive enforcement of its economic sanctions on Iran - targeting more companies and financial institutions that do business with the Islamic Republic in an attempt to cut off lucrative sources of U.S. dollars, U.S. officials said. The new sanctions on banks and businesses would be aimed at choking off trade including Iran's petrochemical and consumer-goods sales.
        U.S. officials said they are considering more aggressive sanctions against Iran's trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of U.S. dollars and its car industry. They are also looking at shell companies and foreign-currency transactions operating in Turkey, the UAE and Iraq as critical financial hubs for Tehran. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Secret Venezuela Files Link Maduro Confidant with Hizbullah - Nicholas Casey
    Tareck El Aissami, one of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's closest confidants, has been the target of wide-ranging investigations by his own country's intelligence agency. According to a secret dossier provided to the New York Times by a former top Venezuelan intelligence official, El Aissami and his father, Carlos Zaidan El Aissami, a Syrian immigrant who had worked with Hizbullah, pushed to bring Hizbullah into Venezuela.
        Carlos was involved in a plan to train Hizbullah members in Venezuela, "with the aim of expanding intelligence networks throughout Latin America and at the same time working in drug trafficking," the documents say. Tareck helped by using his authority over residency permits to issue official documents to Hizbullah militants, enabling them to stay in the country. (New York Times)
  • More than 100 Million People View Teenage Holocaust Victim's Diary on Instagram - Ruth Eglash
    Israeli Mati Kochavi and his daughter, Maya, created "Eva Stories" on Instagram to raise awareness of the Holocaust in an era of short attention spans and for a generation that is addicted to new media formats. More than 100 million people have already viewed Eva's story, told via short video clips complete with emoji, captions and spoken commentaries. It is based on the diary of Eva Heyman, a Jewish girl from Hungary who dreamed of being a reporter and began writing on her 13th birthday, Feb. 13, 1944. She was killed in Auschwitz on Oct. 17, 1944. (Washington Post)
        See also A Holocaust Story for the Social Media Generation - Isabel Kershner
    In 70 short episodes, a British actress playing Eva Heyman takes followers along on her Holocaust journey: a happy bourgeois prewar existence interrupted by the Nazi invasion of her hometown in Hungary; her family's forced move into the cramped chaos of the ghetto; and the packed train that ultimately transports her to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp from which she never returns.
        "The memory of the Holocaust outside of Israel is disappearing," said co-creator Mati Kochavi. "So we brought a smartphone to 1944." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed the project. Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial center, said, "Yad Vashem believes that the use of social media platforms in order to commemorate the Holocaust is both legitimate and effective."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Abbas Asks Russia's Help over Terror Payments Crisis - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority has demanded that Russia resolve the terror-payment crisis as it rejected an EU compromise solution. To protest Israel's withholding of taxes equal to the sum of money that the PA uses to pay terrorists and their families, the PA has refused to accept any of its tax revenues, a move which many believe could lead to its financial collapse. According to the UN, tax revenues make up 65% of the PA budget.
        The PA rejected an EU proposal that would place the prisoners on the social welfare roll, where money would be provided on a needs-based system. The PA insisted that the prisoners be paid on the basis of "merit" [according to the severity of the terror act]. Although the EU often sees eye-to-eye with the Palestinians, it took a strong stand against the terror payments. EU Commissioner for the European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: "We do not support the system of Palestinian payments to prisoners and martyrs."
        On Thursday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with the head of the Russian Representative Office in Ramallah, Aganin Rashidovich, and demanded that Russia intervene with Israel to halt the deductions. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Swarm of Locusts Darkens Skies in Saudi Arabia
    A swarm of locusts darkened the skies of Saudi Arabia over the last few days, as they descended upon the city of Najran in the southwest near the border with Yemen. The infestation started on Sunday, when masses of the insect came from Sudan and Eritrea following unusually heavy rainfall in the region.
        The insect poses a major concern for farmers, given that an adult locust can consume its own weight in fresh food per day. "A 1 km2-size swarm contains about 40 million locusts, which eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people, 20 camels or 6 elephants," the UN's Locust Watch reported. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Locusts Bring Foes Together - Diane Cole
    In February, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that locust-friendly weather conditions had led to the formation and spread of crop-eating mobile swarms of the desert locust along both sides of the Red Sea. Area nations take such alerts seriously.
        Keith Cressman, FAO's senior locust forecasting officer, says, "Independent of language or culture or politics, Israel and Egypt work together; Israel is in contact with Jordan on a regular basis about this." Prevention of the destruction a plague of locusts can bring through cooperation transcends political animosities. (New York Jewish Week)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Israel Will Not Be Forced to Pay for the Murder of Its Own Citizens - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
    The Palestinian Authority is again crying wolf over the financial crisis it is currently facing. Let there be no mistake: this is a fake, self-created crisis that is a direct result of the PA's "pay for slay" policy. Since its creation, the PA has paid monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists and allowances to the families of dead terrorists. These are not dependent on social need but are simply financial rewards for terrorism. Moreover, if a terrorist spends five years in an Israeli prison, he is entitled to a guaranteed "pension" for life.
        In 2018, Israel passed legislation according to which any sum expended by the PA on "pay for slay" during a given year would be deducted from the tax revenues Israel transferred to it the following year. Accordingly, in February 2019, the Israeli cabinet decided to deduct $11.7 million a month from tax transfers to the PA - the sum the PA had publicly admitted to paying to terrorist prisoners.
        While this monthly deduction was no more than 6.2% of the total amount to be transferred, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas decided to plunge the PA economy into the abyss by refusing to accept any tax revenues. True to form, instead of castigating the PA for squandering billions on incentivizing and rewarding terrorists, French President Macron, the EU and the UN are pressuring Israel to capitulate to Abbas' blackmail and find a way to give the PA all the funds.
        The writer is head of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. (JNS)
  • Abbas Is Trying to Scare Israel and the World - Efraim Inbar
    The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept any funds transferred from Israel because Israel has begun deducting the value of stipends the PA pays to terrorists and their families. As a result, the PA is now telling the world it faces economic collapse. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to scare Israel and the world community into believing the result will be chaos and terror. The PA leadership is emulating Hamas' behavior by threatening that a humanitarian disaster will ensue unless more financial aid is rendered.
        One way to reject the forthcoming American peace proposal and yet not be blamed is to engineer an economic crisis that diverts attention from continuous Palestinian intransigence regarding any and every attempt at peacemaking.
        Israel is doing more than its share to bolster the Palestinian economy - providing jobs to Palestinians in the Israeli labor market; supplying water, electricity and health services to Palestinians; and keeping Hamas from overthrowing Abbas' PA.
        While it is best for all concerned to ensure a decent standard of living for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, it is highly unlikely that the PA will collapse since it is a source of significant income for Abbas and his coterie. The writer is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The "Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children" Act
    On May 1, 2019, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the "Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living under Israeli Military Occupation Act" (HR 2407), a version of a similar bill she proposed in 2017. The bill is based largely on the lobbying efforts and accusations of Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P).
        DCI-P is closely tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. Citibank, Arab Bank and Global Giving have closed DCI-P accounts due to these PFLP connections. Many of the citations in the bill simply copy lines from DCI-P publications.
        NGO Monitor has identified at least 11 current and former DCI-P board members, officials, and employees linked to the PFLP - some of whom have been convicted of terror offences targeting Israeli civilians. The bill demands a U.S. taxpayer allocation of $19 million for DCI-P and its NGO allies. (NGO Monitor)
  • U.S. Peace Plan: The Palestinian Leadership Has Very Little Leverage - Zev Chafets
    The U.S. peace plan is not just another diplomatic effort at "peace processing." It is a recognition that the Hundred Years War between the Jews and Arabs is over. The Palestinian leadership has very little leverage. A refusal to engage will be an invitation to the U.S. and Israel to unilaterally establish a new order in the West Bank. Some Palestinian leaders hope to do nothing and outwait Trump. But this administration has at least two years, and perhaps six, to establish irreversible facts.
        Another option is appealing to the UN, the International Criminal Court or the EU. These appeals will be met with sympathy, resolutions, declarations and diplomatic posturing, but not more. Once, Palestinians could count on Israeli supporters of the Oslo Accords. But the Second Intifada, the Arab Spring, and the example of the quasi-state of Gaza have discredited Oslo's solutions.
        Nor can the Palestinians expect help from their fellow Arabs. The two most important Arab countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, will certainly proclaim their opposition to the Trump Plan. They will even more certainly do nothing to weaken their ties to the U.S.
        The Palestinians do have another choice. They can accept reality, sit down at the table and bargain for the best possible terms. Like it or not, the Trump Deal is coming. And neither time nor the balance of power is on the Palestinian side. The writer served for five years as director of the Israel Government Press Office. (Bloomberg)
  • The Reality of the "Two-State Solution" - Shoshana Bryen
    The "two-state solution" was a phrase intended to create the aura of equality between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. But acceptance of two ostensibly equal parties had Washington walking a fine line between a democratic friend and a sometimes-semi-reformed terror organization. That was a mistake. Israel is a free, democratic and open society with a free press and respect for the civil liberties of all its citizens. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is not.
        In 2002, President Bush called his vision "two states, living side by side in peace and security," but the Palestinians had obligations. Elect new leaders not compromised by terror. Build a "practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty." "Reform must be more than cosmetic change....True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions, based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts."
        But after 23 years and billions of dollars in international aid, the 2017 Paris Peace Conference acknowledged that the Palestinians still lacked "infrastructure for a viable economy," cannot manage "service delivery," and have no "civil society" in PA areas able to express dissent. Gaza under Hamas is worse. The U.S. has recognized that the Palestinians are farther than ever from meeting obligations to their own people and to Israel. The writer is senior director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. (Washington Times)

  • Other Issues

  • The "Peaceful" Movement to Destroy Israel - Brig-Gen. (res.) Yosef Kuperwasser
    Paradoxically, while formal relations between the governments of Israel and the U.S. appear to be at a high, anti-Israel political movements have also been getting stronger as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has inched closer to normalization in American politics. It is imperative, therefore, to confront the false premises on which the BDS case has been constructed and expose the great distance between the polite myths repeated by BDS supporters and the violent realities inherent in a political cause that holds as its ultimate goal the destruction of Israel.
        The Palestinian leadership is ready to have a "two-state solution" as long as it is not a "two-states for two-peoples, with a mutual recognition of their national identity" solution. The Palestinian narrative negates the existence of a Jewish people and therefore rejects the idea of a state for the Jewish people on any grain of soil in Palestine. This is the core of the conflict.
        Regarding the libel of apartheid, the facts speak for themselves. The semi-sovereign Palestinian Authority that controls the lives of the Palestinians in Areas A and B in the West Bank is the chosen representative of their national will and has its own large security force. All the Palestinians in the territories, including residents of Jerusalem and Area C, vote in the PA elections. The fact that elections for the Palestinian parliament have not been held since 2006 is very unfortunate for the Palestinians, but it has nothing to do with Israel.
        The writer led the Research and Assessment Division of Israeli Military Intelligence. He is currently a Senior Project Director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Tablet)
  • The European Union: Nurturing Instability and Terrorism in the Middle East - Naomi Linder Kahn
    Under the guise of "agricultural assistance," the Palestinian Authority is taking over Area C (the area placed under full Israeli jurisdiction in the Oslo Accords), with the help of massive European financial support - in violation of the law, and of international agreements signed by the EU. Since 2013 there has been a marked acceleration of this activity, enabling the PA to take control of vast tracts of land relatively quickly.
        These activities are concentrated in areas of strategic importance, particularly areas adjacent to Jewish communities and the security barrier. All of this activity is carried out unilaterally, without coordination with Israel - in violation of the Oslo Accords and international law.
        The EU must cease its unbridled intervention in the internal affairs of a democratic state (Israel) and its wholesale violations of international law. The writer is Director of the International Division of Regavim, an NGO dedicated to preserving Israel's land resources. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Israel and the Gulf States: On the Way to Open Normalization - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Despite resolutions of the Arab Summit and the Arab League that ban open normalization with Israel, as well as Palestinian opposition, the United Arab Emirates has agreed to host Israel at the Expo 2020 exhibition in October. At the exhibition, Israel will present its achievements in the fields of water, medicine, technology, and information, highlighting the spirit of Israeli innovation.
        Over the past two months, the covert normalization process between Israel and the Gulf states has begun to emerge in tandem with the process of crafting President Trump's "Deal of the Century." Open normalization is supposed to be an integral part of that deal.
        Arab rulers respect power. They see how Israel has been attacking the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria with full U.S. backing and even a certain coordination with Russia. They also see Mahmoud Abbas' rejectionist policy toward any compromise with Israel, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been turning Gaza into an Iranian stronghold.
        Open normalization with Israel is an important process that can help the Palestinians understand that Israel is a fact of life and that even the Arab states have come to terms with Israel's presence in the Middle East. The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • A Need to Review Israel's Image in the Muslim World - Mohamad Tawhidi
    I am finding it difficult dealing with the current very negative narrative in the Muslim world surrounding Israel and the Jewish people. Israel should be treated as a Jewish state and a nation that deserves to live, and should be afforded equal rights as every other nation, without having to worry about attacks or an active agenda to annihilate it.
        As a Muslim, I believe that all Jewish prophets were sent from God. Judaism owns the foundations of the Abrahamic doctrine, and denying that would lead to the collapse of my own theology. The conflict in the Middle East is not between Muslims and Jews, it is between Israel and the Arab establishment known as Palestine.
        I am a Shi'ite. We have no attachment to the mosques in Jerusalem, as they were built by the caliphs and the umayyads who are cursed in Shi'ite doctrine. Before the Iranian revolution of 1979, Shi'ites lived in peace with the Jewish community. It was Imam Khomeini's fabricated system of government that allowed him to rule like a caliph and wage war against the Jewish people. Before Khomeini, Twelver-Shi'ites never had an Islamic government, nor did we have a problem with the Jewish people.
        I invite my co-religionists to recognize and acknowledge the fact that God has a special covenant with the Jewish people, one that no force can break. The writer, an Iranian-born Australian Shi'ite, is the former imam of the Islamic Association of South Australia. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Want to Fight Anti-Semitism? Then Defend Israel - Aaron Kliegman
    Jews seem to be under siege in every direction, with steep increases in anti-Semitic incidents across the Western world causing grave concern in Jewish communities. This Jew-hatred has far-left, far-right, and Islamist strands. No strand is worse than another, and trying to argue for political gain that one is worse only contributes to the discord that fosters such bigotry.
        Efforts to undermine, demonize, and delegitimize Israel in order to destroy it as the Jewish state threaten not only millions of Israelis, but also Jews around the world. Israel's basic purpose is to protect the Jewish people, both by serving as a place of refuge and by defending the nation. No Israel in the 1930s and 1940s meant millions of Jews were trapped in Europe.
        Former national director of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman said in 2015: "Israel has become 'the Jew among the nations.'...What everybody else can do, Israel can't do. Tell me a country in the world that can't decide its capital, has to defend its right to defend itself, has to deal with double and triple standards in terms of being told what it should do, how it should do it, who it can do business with, who it should play soccer with, what person can come and sing."
        The wellbeing of the Jewish people is tied to the wellbeing of Israel. Those serious about fighting anti-Semitism should be serious about defending Israel. Anyone else is either a bystander or part of the problem, isolating Israel as the Jew among nations. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • No Wonder Anti-Semites Hate Us - Ruthie Blum
    The establishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel was a blessing and a necessity. Being surrounded by external enemies who tried to wipe us out from the outset, and have been trying to do so ever since, did put a damper on the dream of a safe haven. But at least we created an army for the purpose of confronting those enemies.
        On Israel's 71st birthday next week there is much for us Israelis to be happy about, in spite of our ongoing low-grade conflict with Fatah, Hamas and Hizbullah terrorists, and the looming threat of war with a nuclearizing Iran. Israelis will celebrate with great fanfare, and with good reason.
        Israel, with the highest fertility rate in the Western world, is packed with paradoxes. It is simultaneously Middle Eastern yet Western; cosmopolitan yet provincial; frenetic yet relaxed; religious yet secular; conservative yet prone to liberal fads; a bureaucratic nightmare yet heaven for entrepreneurship; ill-mannered yet empathic; marriage-oriented yet a singles' paradise; exorbitantly expensive yet a tourist's dream; somber yet sexy.
        The Jewish state, in a nutshell, is enviable, and envy breeds hate. No wonder anti-Semitism is busting out all over. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Weekend Features

  • Dutch Businessman Saved Hundreds of Jewish Lives during the Holocaust - Judy Maltz
    In the new documentary "Forgotten Soldier," British-Jewish philanthropist Lady Irene Hatter recounts the story of her late father, Dutch businessman Salomon ("Sally") Noach, who helped hundreds of Jewish refugees escape the Nazis in southern France. Noach was living in Brussels when the Germans invaded Belgium in 1940 and fled to the south of France, where he served as a translator for the Dutch consul in Lyon.
        Noach would often embark on freedom missions - entering prisons and holding centers where Jewish refugees were detained before deportation to the death camps, and releasing them using forged papers supplied by the Resistance which proved they were not Jewish. Often, bribes and gifts to guards and police officers were necessary. With these fake documents, the refugees were able to board ships bound for Spain and Portugal, and from there to the Caribbean and South America.
        In August 1942, Noach walked into the local Lyon courthouse and pulled out 118 prisoners. The next day, he presented false documents he had personally drafted to prove that 432 mostly Polish Jews held in a stadium were Dutch, and won their release. He fled soon after, making his way to England. (Ha'aretz)
  • "Iranian Schindler" Saved Countless Paris Jews in WWII - Rich Tenorio
    Abdol Hossein Sardari, a non-Jewish Iranian consul in Paris, is estimated to have saved thousands of Jews from Hitler by issuing Iranian passports claiming that the bearer was not Jewish but "Djougouten," an Iranian minority that was ethnically Aryan. This act of heroism is the subject of a new documentary, "Sardari's Enigma," produced and directed by Iranian filmmaker Mahdieh Zare Zardiny.
        According to Fariborz Mokhtari, author of In the Lion's Shadow: The Iranian Schindler and His Homeland in the Second World War, Sardari gave out 500-1,000 Iranian passports and saved 2,000-3,000 Jewish lives, as passports were issued for entire families. (Times of Israel)
  • The Polish Woman Who Hid 16 Jews in Her House - Judy Maltz
    "No. 4 Street of Our Family" is a documentary about Franciszka Halamajowa, a Polish Catholic woman who, with the help of her daughter Helena and her son Wilusz, saved 16 Jews during the Holocaust, including eight members of my family, in Sokal in Eastern Galicia. For close to two years, Franciszka and her daughter hid their Jewish neighbors in their tiny home and cooked and cared for them, right under the noses of German troops camped on her property and of hostile neighbors. Two families were hidden in the hayloft of her pigsty, and one family in a hole dug under her kitchen floor.
        Both Franciszka and Helena were recognized in 1984 as Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli Holocaust memorial institution, Yad Vashem. (Ha'aretz)
        See also View the Video: No. 4 Street of Our Lady (Vimeo)
  • Belgian-Jewish Underground Group Rescued 3,000-4,000 Children - Renee Ghert-Zand
    Members of the Jewish Defense Committee (CDJ), a clandestine Belgian-Jewish rescue organization with 300 Jewish and non-Jewish activists, risked their own lives to save between 3,000 and 4,000 Jewish children and aid more than 10,000 Jewish adults. On Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) conferred the "Jewish Rescuers Citation" on 11 leading members of the CDJ.
        Prof. Shaul Harel, 81, an emeritus professor of pediatric neurology at Tel Aviv University and one of the children who were rescued, wrote a book about what happened to him during the war, titled, A Boy without a Shadow. (Times of Israel)

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamophobia Trap - Jonathan S. Tobin (JNS-Israel Hayom)
  • President Trump's plans to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group has the foreign-policy establishment wringing their hands at what they consider a blunder that will undermine U.S. influence in the Middle East and throughout the Islamic world. But such a move is long overdue.
  • Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood is the granddaddy of all Islamist terror groups. At its core is an Islamist worldview that sees its purpose as an effort to reject liberal, democratic and more moderate strains of Islam, and to enforce a strict vision of the faith that is rooted in jihad and intolerance for modernity, seeking to impose Muslim religious law (Sharia) everywhere it can.
  • The Brotherhood's core beliefs have never been a secret. Its long-term goal is the overthrow of the West, as well as of Israel. It spawned groups like Hamas and influenced the creation of al-Qaeda. The Brotherhood is the glue that unites Sunni Muslim terror groups in terms of ideas and action.
  • The effort to maintain a distinction between the terrorists and the rest of the Brotherhood remains entirely artificial. The Brotherhood's social-action and political wings operate in such a manner as to support the same violent goals as the terrorists.
  • Claims that this move is an expression of Islamophobia are not merely wrong; they are also slander of law-abiding American Muslims. The notion that an effort to limit the ability of radicals to operate freely harms all Muslims is false.
  • Designation of the Brotherhood is common-sense security policy that aims at protecting all Americans, no matter their faith or background.
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