February 25, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Dies at 91 (Egypt Today)
    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak died on Tuesday at the age of 91.
    Mubarak ruled Egypt for 30 years before he was forced to step down on Feb. 11, 2011.
    Before becoming president, Mubarak served as commander of the Egyptian Air Force during the October War in 1973.
    He assumed the presidency following the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat, whom he served as vice-president.
    Due to his stance against Islamists and his close ties with the U.S., Mubarak was subject to several assassination attempts.

50 U.S. Jewish Community Centers Receive Bomb Threats - Marcy Oster (JTA)
    More than 50 Jewish community centers in 23 states have received emailed bomb threats since Saturday. None of the threats have been found to be credible.

U.S. Criticizes French Failure to Try Jewish Woman's Killer - Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)
    U.S. special envoy on anti-Semitism Elan Carr on Monday criticized the decision by a French judge in December not to try Kobili Traore for the killing of Sarah Halimi in 2017 while shouting about Allah.
    The judge cited psychiatric evaluations saying Traore's consumption of marijuana made him not legally responsible for his actions.
    Carr, a former prosecutor in Los Angeles, said, "You don't dismiss hate crime charges for issues like the consumption of marijuana."
    Last month, President Emmanuel Macron said that "there is a need for a trial" for Traore.

Foreign Policy Invents Claims Against U.S. Peace Plan - Sean Durns (CAMERA)
    On Feb. 4, 2020, Foreign Policy magazine's Keith Johnson claimed that the Palestinians rejected the U.S. peace plan because "it does nothing to address their claims for water rights."
    But there's a problem. CAMERA was unable to find any statements by leading Fatah, PA or PLO leaders that cited water as a reason for their rejection of the plan.
    In fact, the PA launched a campaign to oppose the plan nearly two years ago - long before its details were even formulated.

Lost 1,000-Year-Old Hebrew Bible Found in Cairo Synagogue - Amanda Borschel-Dan (Times of Israel)
    In 2017, Israeli historian Yoram Meital stumbled upon a handwritten 1028 CE biblical codex in the Karaite Moussa Der'i Synagogue in Cairo.
    At 616 pages, the Zechariah Ben 'Anan Manuscript is one of the most complete examples of the "Writings," the concluding section of the Hebrew Bible. It had been lost to scholars for almost 40 years.
    See also A Thousand-Year-Old Biblical Manuscript Rediscovered in Cairo - Yoram Meital (Jewish Quarterly Review)

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Claims It Has Sustained Military Spending in Face of U.S. Sanctions - Andrew England
    Iran has not "made any cuts to the budgets of our military organizations" in the face of U.S. sanctions, Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehghan, a military adviser to the supreme leader, told the Financial Times. "Militarily, today we are definitely in a better situation than three years ago when Mr. Trump came to power, in all aspects - from staff, organization to equipment."
        The full extent of Iran's defense spending is opaque and support for regional proxies is not made public. U.S. officials, citing Iran's budget, have said they have forced Tehran to reduce its military spending by almost 30%.
        Dehghan said, "Who is the winner now? Today, we believe our influence in the region has increased despite all this pressure. We will never abandon our regional allies....We are not players, we are revolutionaries."  (Financial Times-UK)
  • Jihadi Textbooks in Palestinian Schools Are Funded with 100 Million British Pounds - Tom Kelly
    The Daily Mail has discovered that tens of millions of pounds of UK foreign aid is helping fund Palestinian schools in Gaza and the West Bank that use textbooks on martyrdom and radical Islamism. The textbooks include a reading exercise for six-year-olds with the words "martyr" and "attack," plus poems for eight-year-olds which include phrases such as "sacrifice my blood" to "eliminate the usurper from my country" and "annihilate the remnants of the foreigners." Ten-year-olds learn the most important thing is giving their life for "sacrifice, fight, jihad, and struggle."
        The British aid money goes via UNRWA. During the past five years, the UK has given 330 million pounds and pledged another 65 million pounds for this year. A spokesperson for Britain's Department for International Development, which hands out foreign aid, said: "The UK Government has a zero tolerance approach towards incitement to violence. The UK lobbied for a thorough independent review of textbooks...which is now underway."  (Daily Mail-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Fire 90 Rockets at Israel in Two Days - Judah Ari Gross
    On Sunday and Monday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired 90 rockets at Israel from Gaza. 90% of those heading toward populated areas were intercepted by the IDF's Iron Dome system. In response, Israel launched multiple retaliatory air raids against Islamic Jihad bases in Gaza, as well as an airstrike on a squad as it was preparing to launch rockets. There was some damage to homes and infrastructure in Israel, and a few Israelis sustained minor injuries while running to bomb shelters. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: Gaza Rocket Strikes Israeli Playground (i24 News)
        See also Video: Israeli Civilians under Palestinian Rocket Attack (StandWithUs)
  • Iran Orders Islamic Jihad to Block Any Long-Term Calm for Gaza - Ron Ben Yishai
    With the latest round of rocket fire, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is seeking to prevent any long-term agreement between Hamas and Israel. In addition to seeking to conduct a holy war to destroy Israel, PIJ is also motivated by its need for financial assistance from its Iranian sponsors.
        Tehran has instructed the PIJ and other Iranian proxies to increase their terror activity in the wake of the killing of Revolutionary Guards Gen. Qasem Soleimani by the U.S. in January. Hamas understands that Islamic Jihad is intent on disrupting any agreement that will lead to calm but is unable to stop it. (Ynet News)
  • EU, Germany Condemn Islamic Jihad for Rocket Fire on Israel
    The EU and Germany on Monday condemned Palestinian Islamic Jihad for firing rockets at Israel. "Indiscriminate firing of rockets on civilian population is totally unacceptable and must stop," said Emanuele Giaufret, the EU's ambassador to Israel. German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainerd said, "We condemn the rocket attacks by PIJ in the strongest possible terms."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran's Leadership Rigs an Election - and Still Loses - Christian Oliver
    Iran's parliamentary election on Friday - in which only conservative candidates were allowed to run - now looks like a flop in terms of bolstering the regime's legitimacy, thanks to the lowest turnout in its history. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli on Sunday said the turnout was just under 43%, way beneath 62% in 2016 and 69% in 2000. He said the turnout in Tehran was only 25.4%. The Guardian Council, which vets who can stand for election, disqualified 7,000 out of 14,000 candidates. (Politico-EU)
  • Arab-American Researchers: Arabs Don't Want Peace with Israel - They Want Respite in Order to Regain Power and Wage War Again
    Speaking on Al-Hurra TV on Feb. 6, 2020, Egyptian-American researcher Samuel Tadros said: "What will we gain if we add to the 21 Arab states a 22nd state with the same corruption, oppression, and so on? If the people really demand a free Palestine, it means that it should be...free from corruption, oppression, dictatorship, and all those things that exist in our countries."
        Syrian-American human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid said: "It was the Arab countries that turned against the international legitimacy in 1948. The Arab-Israeli conflict was started by the Arab countries when they rejected the UN Partition Plan and declared war against Israel....Until now, the existence of Israel and its right to exist is still not recognized [by the Arabs]. We are mentally and culturally disposed to this refusal."
        Tadros added: "The hands of the Palestinian leadership are tied. They know that any Palestinian leader who agrees to sign a final peace accord with Israel will be assassinated. They have Sadat as an example."  (MEMRI-TV)
  • Palestinians Condemn U.S. for Offering to Help - Khaled Abu Toameh
    While Palestinian leaders are entitled to oppose the U.S. peace plan, it is not clear why they are also rejecting U.S. financial aid. The U.S. Embassy in Israel has a Palestinian Affairs Unit that regularly offers Palestinians grants and funding opportunities that include, for students, U.S. higher education and scholarships. However, Palestinian officials have warned their people not to deal with the U.S. Embassy. Senior Fatah official Ra'fat Elayan warned Palestinians not to accept any funding from the U.S.
        Palestinians, in short, are saying that they refuse to accept funding by any party that does not accept their conditions and demands. Usually, those who offer the money have the right to set the conditions. For the Palestinians, the opposite is true. They seem to believe that they are the ones entitled to set conditions to those who are offering to improve their living standards and help them march towards prosperity and a better future for their children. (Gatestone Institute)

How Israel Saved American Lives in Vietnam - Spyridon Mitsotakis (Washington Examiner)
  • During the 1967 Six-Day War, the Syrian army in the Golan Heights abandoned its posts and left Soviet-supplied equipment behind. Consequently, the Israelis captured state-of-the-art Soviet military technology intact - the very same equipment that American soldiers were facing in Vietnam.
  • Israel captured nine Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missiles, along with their blueprints and operating instructions. Israel was more than happy to share what they had with the U.S.
  • In 1969, an Israeli commando team crossed the Suez Canal and captured an intact P-12 radar system used in conjunction with the SA-2s. These systems had wreaked havoc on American air operations for years.
  • In 1965, North Vietnam's SA-2 hit-per-launch ratio was 1 to 15. In 1972, the hit-per-launch ratio was 1 to 50. The ability to jam North Vietnamese SAM radars had to have come from somewhere.
  • In 1978, former U.S. Air Force intelligence chief Gen. George Keegan spoke about the intelligence the U.S. gains from Israel: "I could not have procured the intelligence on the Soviet air forces, their combat capabilities, their new weapons, their jamming and their electronics and their SAMs, with five CIAs."

A Jerusalem Center Live Streaming Event:

Israelophobia and the West:
The Hijacking of Civil Discourse on Israel
and How to Rescue It

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
7:00 p.m. (Israel time), 12:00 noon (EST)

with Prof. Alan Dershowitz, Ben-Dror Yemini,
and Dan Diker