December 23, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Fighter Aircraft Could Give Iran a Nuclear Delivery Option - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    It is frequently argued that even if the Iranian regime achieves the ability to carry out a nuclear test, designing a deliverable missile warhead would still require two years of additional work.
    Yet this argument does not consider the possibility that Iran could use an aircraft as the delivery system instead of a missile. After all, this was the method used for the first atomic bombs dropped on Japan.
    Even a fighter jet can carry a comparatively small but powerful tactical nuclear weapon. In 1985, the Financial Times quoted intelligence officials stating that "Pakistan is working on the manufacture of an atomic bomb suitable for carrying by an F-16."
    Pakistani Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg notes in a new book that Dr. A.Q. Khan, director of Islamabad's nuclear program, "successfully developed the delivery system...through which atomic weapons could be carried and delivered to the desired targets by F-16 aircraft." Beg claimed that "the experiment of delivery system succeeded in August 1987."
    The writer directs the program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute.

U.S. Navy Seizes Iranian Weapons in Arabian Sea (U.S. Navy)
    U.S. Navy patrol coastal ships seized 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a fishing vessel in the North Arabian Sea on Dec. 20.
    The vessel was assessed to have originated in Iran and transited international waters along a route historically used to traffic weapons unlawfully to the Houthis in Yemen in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and U.S. sanctions.
    After removing the crew and illicit cargo, U.S. naval forces determined the vessel was a hazard to navigation for commercial shipping and sank it.

Report: Russia and China Toughening Stance toward Iran - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    Officials involved in the nuclear negotiations in Vienna over the past few weeks told Ha'aretz that Russia and China, which showed a more moderate approach toward Iran the entire time, have now toughened their stances behind the scenes given Iran's new demands.
    "Iran, in the positions it presented, has pushed Russia and China into the same square where the United States and European countries are," said one of the officials.

Israel Sends Aid to Typhoon Victims in Philippines (ABS-CBN-Philippines)
    The Embassy of Israel this week sent food packs, sacks of rice, hygiene kits, solar energy systems, and water purifiers to the victims of Typhoon Odette in Bohol and Cebu.

Illinois Votes to Divest Pension Fund from Unilever due to Ben and Jerry's Boycott (JNS)
    The Illinois Investment Policy Board voted on Wednesday to divest the state's pension funds from Unilever because its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry's, plans to boycott parts of Israel.
    Illinois law prohibits the state from investing in companies that boycott Israel.

Palestinian Land Grab in Area C of West Bank - Michael Freund (Jerusalem Post)
    At a Knesset hearing last week, the Regavim movement reported that from 2019 to 2021, Palestinians built 5,907 illegal structures in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under full Israeli military and civilian control.
    The overall tally of unlawful Palestinian buildings erected in Area C has reached 72,274. In addition, Palestinian agricultural and infrastructure projects have been built on 23,000 acres of Israeli state-owned land.
    Regavim noted that "By planting hundreds of thousands of trees in the undeveloped open spaces of Area C, creating agricultural roads spanning dozens of kilometers each year, digging wells, cisterns and water delivery and irrigation systems," the Palestinians are "wresting land rights from the State of Israel and establishing de facto Palestinian control," aided by funding from the European Union.
    Much of the Palestinian construction is strategically aimed at choking off and encircling Jewish communities.

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New Oil and Gas Discoveries in Abu Dhabi - Aarti Nagraj (Gulf Business-UAE)
    Abu Dhabi's state-owned oil producer ADNOC announced on Dec. 14 that it has found "significant" conventional oil, condensate and gas discoveries of up to 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) from an onshore exploration operated by Inpex - part of the Japan Oil Development Company.
    The discovery represents the first find from this concession area as well as from a new geological formation.

Israel Confirms Role in Soleimani Assassination - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel played a role in the assassination of Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, in January 2020, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Tamir Hayman, former head of IDF Military Intelligence, confirmed in an interview with Malam magazine, published by the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center.

Gaza Has Received Billions in Foreign Aid (AP)
    The international community has sent billions of dollars in aid to Gaza in recent years for Palestinians living in the Hamas-ruled territory.
    In 2014-2020, UN agencies spent $4.5 billion in Gaza, including $600 million in 2020 alone. Qatar has provided $1.3 billion to Gaza since 2012.
    The Palestinian Authority says it will spend $1.7 billion on Gaza this year, mainly on salaries for tens of thousands of civil servants who stopped working when Hamas took over in 2007.

4,000 U.S. Immigrants Moved to Israel in 2021, Highest Figure since 1973 (Times of Israel)
    4,000 immigrants from the U.S. arrived in Israel in 2021, the highest figure since 1973. Another 400 arrived from Canada.
    7,500 arrived from Russia, 3,500 from France, 3,000 from Ukraine, 1,636 from Ethiopia, 900 from Argentina, 630 from the UK, 550 from South Africa, 550 from Brazil and 280 from Mexico. The total for the year was 27,050.

Israel's UVision to Produce Loitering Munitions in U.S. - Joe Saballa (Defense Post)
    Israeli defense technology firm UVision is expanding its operations in the U.S. by manufacturing more of its HERO series of loitering munitions at a new production facility in Virginia to fulfill future military contracts with the U.S. government and international customers.
    HERO loitering munitions have an innovative electro-optical guided system capable of locating, tracking, and striking static and moving targets.
    They have proven effective against many targets due to their large, multi-purpose warhead, precision strike capabilities, and extended endurance.
    The systems are designed to carry out strikes in urban areas or remote locations with minimal collateral damage.

Southeast Asia Is Being Fed by Israeli Agritech - Jamilah Lim (Tech Wire Asia-Malaysia)
    Sagi Karni, Israeli Ambassador to Singapore, described how Israeli companies are helping feed Southeast Asia.
    Israel is supplying technology for agricultural activities involving grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as providing training to implement the new technology.
    Israel also sends students and industry personnel directly to Israel for training. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs runs three training centers, with students from Vietnam, Indonesia, and Timor, among others.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Preparing New Options on Iran in Case Negotiations on Nuclear Deal Fail
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday: "Because of the way that the Iranians approached and participated in the last round of talks, the President asked the national security team to be prepared in the event that diplomacy fails and to take a look at other options. And that has been work that has been ongoing, including in consultation with a range of partners around the world."  (White House)
  • U.S., Israel Hold Strategic Meeting in Jerusalem to Confront Iranian Threats
    U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Israeli National Security Advisor Dr. Eyal Hulata led a Dec. 22 meeting in Jerusalem of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group. The delegations discussed the need to confront all aspects of the threat posed by Iran, including its nuclear program, destabilizing activities in the region, and support for terrorist proxy groups.
        They agreed that Iran's rapidly advancing nuclear program poses a grave threat to the region and to international peace and security. The officials affirmed that the U.S. and Israel are aligned in their determination to ensure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon. (White House)
        See also Israeli Prime Minister, U.S. National Security Advisor Meet to Develop Common Strategy on Iran - Lahav Harkov
    Israel and the U.S. are working on a common strategy in light of the nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Sullivan said that at a "critical juncture for both of our countries on a major set of security issues, it's important that we sit together and develop a common strategy, a common outlook, and find a way forward that fundamentally secures your country's interests and mine."  (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Foreign Ministry Rejects Claims that Christian Community in Jerusalem Is Under Threat
    In response to published accusations by church leaders that there was a "systemic attempt to drive the Christian community out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land," Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Haiat tweeted: "The accusations that appear in the statement by Church leaders are baseless, and distort the reality of the Christian community in Israel."
        "The Christian population in Israel - including in Jerusalem - enjoys full freedom of religion and of worship, is constantly growing, and is part of the unique fabric of Israeli society. Since the day it was established, the State of Israel has been committed to freedom of religion and worship for all religions, as well to ensuring the freedom of access to holy sites. The statement by Church leaders in Jerusalem is particularly infuriating given their silence on the plight of many Christian communities in the Middle East suffering from discrimination and persecution."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Israel's Christian Community Is Growing, 84 Percent Satisfied with Life
    Israel's Christian community grew by 1.4% in 2020 and numbers 182,000 people, with 84% saying they were satisfied with life in the country, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. (Times of Israel)
        See also below Commentary: Where Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East? - Jake Wallis Simons (Spectator-UK)
  • Israeli Air Force Commander: We Can Strike Iran's Nuclear Program Tomorrow If Needed
    Israel could successfully strike Iran's nuclear program tomorrow if necessary, incoming commander of the Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar told Yediot Aharonot in an interview to be published on Friday. Asked if he thinks Israel can successfully destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, Bar stressed that "there is no way that we will operate there, 1,000 km. from here, and I will return home without being able to say 'I completed the mission.'...We equipped ourselves with F-35s."
        Concerning the reported U.S. refusal to advance the delivery of two KC-46 tanker refueling aircraft to Israel, Bar said, "I have not yet exhausted the possibility of getting at least two refuelers in advance."
        Bar said he believes the next war with Hizbullah will break out as soon as Israel strikes Iran. He said the next war with Lebanon will definitely involve a ground operation. "We want a clear victory this time, in a shorter time and with fewer losses."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Uncovers Hamas Terror Cell in West Bank
    Israeli troops operating in the Hebron region of the West Bank have in recent days arrested more than 100 Hamas members who were planning to carry out terror attacks, Channel 13 reported on Monday. The raids were sparked by a recent botched terror attack by a 16-year-old Hamas member, armed with an M-16 rifle, who tried to carry out a shooting at the entrance to Efrat, south of Jerusalem, but fled when his gun jammed. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Forces Thwart Car-Ramming Attack in West Bank - Yoav Zitun
    Israeli forces on Tuesday shot and killed a Palestinian man as he attempted to drive his car into a military checkpoint near Einav in the West Bank. The attacker crashed into a parked army jeep, setting his car and the jeep on fire. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire at IDF Troops in Ramallah - Aaron Boxerman
    A Palestinian gunman, Mohammad Issa Abbas, 26, opened fire at Israeli troops Wednesday night from a passing car as they entered the outskirts of Ramallah in the West Bank. The soldiers returned fire, killing the assailant. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iranian General: Annihilation of Israel "Is the Greatest Ideal"
    Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Gen. Abollfazl Shekarchi told the ISNA news agency on Nov. 28, 2021: "The annihilation of the regime occupying Jerusalem is the greatest ideal that we see before our eyes, and the greatest goal whose trail we are following....Anyone who aids this false regime - even if they have an Islamic name like Saudi Arabia, the regime in Bahrain, the UAE, or any regime - is as far as we are concerned part of that regime."  (MEMRI)
  • Hizbullah Has 2,000 Drones - Part of Iran's UAV Army - Tal Beeri
    Iran's UAV Army includes direct use by the Iranians as well as use by Iran's proxies in Lebanon (Hizbullah and Hamas), Syria (Hizbullah and Shiite militias), Iraq (Shiite militias), Yemen (Houthis), and Gaza (Hamas and Islamic Jihad). Iranian UAVs also operate on the African continent and in Venezuela, where the Iranian Mohajer 6 has a range (2,000 km.) that can reach Florida and Puerto Rico.
        Iran has many thousands of UAVs that can be used for intelligence gathering and attacking purposes, as well as to transport explosives to terrorist elements. Hizbullah has received advanced UAVs from Iran and has succeeded in developing independent manufacturing capabilities. According to professional assessments, Hizbullah today possesses 2,000 UAVs. Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza also have independent UAV manufacturing capabilities.
        Iran's UAV Army has been activated against airports and oil fields in Saudi Arabia (by Houthis in Yemen and by the Iranians), against American forces in Iraq and Syria (by Shiite militias), against Israeli-owned merchant ships in the Persian Gulf (by the Iranians), and against Israeli targets in Israeli territory (by the Iranians from Syria or Iraq, by Hizbullah from Lebanon and by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza). (Alma Research & Education Center)

  • Palestinians

  • Hamas' Growing Armed Presence in Lebanon - Yaakov Lappin
    Hamas has a growing armed presence on Lebanese territory. Two months before the Dec. 10 blast at a Hamas arms depot in a mosque in Burj al-Shemali near Tyre, the mosque was flagged as a central weapons manufacturing workshop in a report by Israel's Alma Center. Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, director of research at the Alma Center, who served for 20 years in IDF Military Intelligence, told JNS, "Hamas aspires to create precise rockets, guided by GPS, with a range of 20 km. at the first stage. This is a secret project."
        "Their goal is to be able to fire 200 rockets at Israel from Lebanon in two rounds of fighting, or 100 rockets per round. Until now, only Hizbullah had such capabilities. It is unheard of for another organization in Lebanon to deploy such firepower." Other plans include setting up 122 mm. mortar shells that are launched automatically by a timer. Fatah, the dominant movement at Burj al-Shemali, is certainly unhappy to see Hamas building weapons "under its nose."
        Hamas' force build-up is occurring with the active support of the Iranian Quds Force. Beeri said Hamas' deputy political bureau chief Saleh Al-Arouri, who is responsible for building West Bank terror cells, has moved from Turkey to Lebanon. "There are hundreds of Palestinian Hamas operatives in Lebanon active in multiple refugee camps." Alma's October report lists 10 more sites across Lebanon used by Hamas to build weapons and train operatives, including in southern and northern Lebanon, and in the eastern Beka'a Valley. (JNS)
  • Rift Reported within the Hamas Leadership - Anshel Pfeffer
    Few in Lebanon had any doubt that the Dec. 10 explosion at the Burj al-Shemali Palestinian refugee camp was an Israeli sabotage operation targeting Hamas rockets, which are manufactured locally with Iranian guidance.
        The explosion and its aftermath shed light on a secret rift within the Hamas leadership. On one side are the radicals, convinced that their future is as a military proxy of the Shia regime in Iran. On the other are those who reject that vision and are striving to win back the patronage of more moderate Sunni Arab powers such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt.
        Hamas had earned a brief period of popularity among Palestinians in May by firing thousands of rockets into Israel, but is now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy after being rejected by most of its former patrons in the Arab world. Its fundraising operations among Muslim communities across the world have been squeezed owing to clandestine operations by Western intelligence agencies and pressure put on banks to deny facilities to any organization seen as a front to the militants.
        Khaled Mashal, who heads Hamas operations outside the Palestinian territories, has been trying to rebuild relations with the Sunni-Arab regimes. However, his rival, Ismail Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas' political bureau, has pursued a policy of rapprochement with the Iranians. (The Times-UK)
  • New Report: EU Failing to Push PA on Terror Stipends, Incitement
    The European Union has not done enough to ensure that its funding to the Palestinian Authority does not support incitement to violence and human rights violations, argued a B'nai B'rith International study published on Tuesday. "Despite existing anti-terrorism regulations, the EU has not addressed funding by the Palestinian Authority to families of convicted terrorists as well as the persistent issue of incitement to hatred and widespread anti-Semitism in Palestinian textbooks," wrote researchers.
        The researchers argued that Brussels should impose conditions on its aid to the PA and consider adopting legislation that bans aid as long as Ramallah continues paying out stipends to Palestinian security prisoners and their families. (Times of Israel)
        See also EU Assistance to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian NGOs, Rethinking the Approach - Tommaso Virgili and Paul Stott (B'nai B'rith International)

  • Other Issues

  • Where Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East? - Jake Wallis Simons
    On Dec. 19, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Hosam Naoum, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, penned an article in the Sunday Times entitled: "Let us pray for the Christians being driven from the Holy Land." About half way down, the clergymen did briefly say that "in Israel, the overall number of Christians has risen" and acknowledged that "Christians in Israel enjoy democratic and religious freedoms that are a beacon in the region."
        Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, responded: "If the overall Palestinian population has greatly increased, but the Palestinian Christian population has significantly declined, then clearly there are more complex reasons than those raised in the article."
        Overall, Christians in Israel are flourishing. In Israel, Christian schools operate freely and with the full support of the state. More Christian Arabs leave school with grades that will get them into university than any other group in the country (71.2%). More Christian women attend higher education than from any other background, excelling particularly in medicine, engineering, architecture and law.
        Compare this to the routine anti-Christian carnage across the region, which the Foreign Office has described as "coming close to genocide." In Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt, anti-Christian oppression is carried out by Islamist terrorists; in Iran, Algeria and Qatar, it is the state that carries out systematic persecution. Surely such persecution deserves at least a mention by the Archbishops. Yet this Christmas, the Archbishop of Canterbury is ignoring all this to draw our attention to the Jewish state alone.
        The writer is editor of the Jewish Chronicle (UK). (Spectator-UK)
  • The Newest Anti-Israel UN Action Must Be Challenged - Now - Anne Bayefsky
    The UN Human Rights Council has launched the most hostile anti-Israel "inquiry" in UN history, headed by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. In May 2021 the HRC created an "ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry" with a sweeping mandate to investigate "all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and...human rights law leading up to and since April 13, 2021, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem."
        The HRC resolution failed to refer to Hamas at all, let alone condemn the launch of thousands of rockets by Hamas into Israel. Indeed, the Israeli civilian population was omitted, mentioning only the "Palestinian civilian population."
        The "inquiry" will have the mandate to ferret out "discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity" and to find discrimination and repression at the hands of Jews. This is full-frontal antisemitism, an inversion of the truth, such that the Jewish victims of racism and religious hatred become its perpetrators.
        The verdict of this kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion. Efforts must be made to encourage governments to condemn the HRC "inquiry" and underscore that it undermines the promotion of international human rights. Answering the "Call for Submissions" - and ensuring that alternative voices reach the court of public opinion - provides an opportunity for all those committed to combating modern antisemitism and defending the human rights of Israelis.
        The writer is Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and President of Human Rights Voices. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • A Possible Return to UNESCO - a Very Bad Idea - Amb. Alan Baker with Wade Gittleson and Lea Bilke
    Recent media reports indicate that the U.S. is considering re-engaging with UNESCO and is encouraging Israel to do so as well. Both the U.S. and Israel withdrew from the organization in 2018 after it granted full member-state status to the Palestinians. Congressional legislation prohibits the U.S. from contributing to UN organizations that grant full, state membership to any group that does not have internationally recognized attributes of statehood. This legislation, therefore, bans U.S. contributions to UNESCO.
        Rejoining UNESCO would imply recognition of a Palestinian state despite the fact that no such state exists. It would further contravene the premise of the Oslo Accords that the permanent status of the territories must be resolved by direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians and not through unilateral measures intended to bypass such negotiations.
        Alan Baker, former legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. Wade Ze'ev Gittleson is a student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Lea Bilke is a law student at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Abraham Accords - Who's Next? - Dr. Norman Bailey
    So far, four Arab countries have signed agreements with Israel in the past year, collectively named the Abraham Accords. What is the likelihood that the accords will be expanded to include other Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa?
        Arab states that will under no circumstances enter into an accord with Israel include Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, all of which are satellites of or under the overriding influence of Iran. Unlikely countries include Kuwait, Qatar and Algeria.
        Possible countries include Libya and Saudi Arabia. The crown prince, who is dedicated to turning Saudi Arabia into a world-class hi-tech center, didn't establish his new tech city in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia, a stone's throw from Israel, for nothing. Finally, those almost certain to join include Oman and Tunisia. Oman was on the verge of acceding to the accords when the sultan passed away.
        The implications of the Abraham Accords for the region and the entire Muslim world are that it can be done, the sky didn't fall, and the members are reaping important benefits. Once the Saudis, the very center of the religion of Islam, sign on, this will have an enormous effect on the rest of the Muslim world.
        The writer, professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, was chief economist at the U.S. National Security Council and on the senior staff of the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. (Globes)
  • The U.S. Built a Hospital for Iraqi Children with Cancer. Corruption Ravaged It. - Louisa Loveluck
    In 2003, First Lady Laura Bush took a personal interest in the establishment of Basra's Children's Hospital as a world-class hospital for children with cancer, and the U.S. spent $103 million toward its completion. Today, the hospital is a casualty of an Iraqi health-care system so riddled with corruption that World Bank figures put it among the region's worst.
        According to Iraq's 2021 budget, $1.3 billion has been allocated in recent years for the building of hospitals alone, but the ministry serves as a cash cow for those who run it as money is skimmed off by officials and business executives. Contracts for the purchase of goods include vastly inflated sums.
        After a Turkish construction company was tapped in 2010 to build five medical facilities, the $750 million budget ran dry before two of them were completed. "Someone got paid such huge costs upfront, and the money disappeared," said a former government official. Kadhim al-Shimmari, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary committee that monitors corruption, said the construction money had been used for kickbacks to Health Ministry officials who awarded the contract, as well as for bribes to inspectors and local armed groups. (Washington Post)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • The Anti-Semitism of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staff at American Universities - Jay Greene and James Paul
    Universities ostensibly employ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff to create more tolerant and welcoming environments for students from all backgrounds. To measure anti-Semitism among university DEI staff, we searched the Twitter feeds of 741 DEI personnel at 65 universities to find their public communications regarding Israel and, for comparison purposes, China.
        Those DEI staff tweeted, retweeted, or liked almost three times as many tweets about Israel as tweets about China. Of the tweets about Israel, 96% were critical of the Jewish state, while 62% of the tweets about China were favorable. The overwhelming pattern is that DEI staff at universities pay a disproportionately high amount of attention to Israel and nearly always attack Israel.
        The inordinate amount of attention given to Israel and the excessive criticism directed at that one country is evidence of a double-standard with respect to the Jewish state, which is a central feature of a widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism. Frequently accusing Israel of engaging in genocide, apartheid, settler colonialism, and ethnic cleansing, while rarely leveling similar criticisms toward China, indicates an irrational hatred that is particularly directed toward Jews and not merely a concern for human rights. The evidence demonstrates that university DEI staff are better understood as political activists with an often radical political agenda rather than promoters of welcoming and inclusive environments.
        Jay P. Greene, PhD, is Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation. James D. Paul is Director of Research at the Educational Freedom Institute. (Heritage Foundation)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Arab Party Leader Mansour Abbas: Arabs Should Move Past Contesting Israel's Jewish Identity - Aaron Boxerman
    Mansour Abbas, head of the Islamic Ra'am party that is part of the Israeli government coalition, said Tuesday that Israel's status as a Jewish state could not be changed, advising the Arab community to follow his pragmatic approach rather than trying to challenge the country's identity. "Israel was born as a Jewish state. And that was the decision of the Jewish people, to establish a Jewish state. The question is not 'what is the identity of the state?' That's how the state was born, and so it will remain," he told a conference in Tel Aviv.
        We should not "give ourselves illusions. This is the reality. The question is not about the state's identity - but what the status of Arab citizens will be in it."  (Times of Israel)
        See also PLO Denounces Statements by Arab Member of Israeli Parliament
    The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Wednesday denounced a statement by Mansour Abbas, head of the United Arab List in the Knesset, that Israel was created as a Jewish state and that the Palestinians should accept it as such. (WAFA-PA)
        See also Palestinian Presidency Condemns Statements by Arab Lawmaker in Israel Regarding the Jewish State (WAFA-PA)
  • 20 Years before the Holocaust, Pogroms in Ukraine Killed 100,000 Jews - Rich Tenorio
    From 1918 to 1921, more than 1,100 pogroms killed over 100,000 Jews in the area of present-day Ukraine. The story is chronicled in a new book, In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust, by University of Michigan history and Judaic studies professor Jeffrey Veidlinger. In one incident, the pogrom of Proskuriv on February 14, 1919, listed 911 deaths, which Veidlinger estimates is 1/3 of the actual total.
        Members of the opposing Red and White sides in the Russian Civil War each participated in the violence, as did many Ukrainian and Polish soldiers and civilians, as well as local warlords. "They often knew each other, particularly [in] small towns, particularly the violence of the warlords in local villages....Local vendettas were a big part of the first pogroms," Veidlinger said. (Times of Israel)

Improving the Potential for a Diplomatic Resolution to the Iran Nuclear Challenge - Howard Berman, Michele Flournoy, Jane Harman, Leon Panetta, David Petraeus, Dennis Ross, and Robert Satloff (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Vienna negotiations are in danger of becoming a cover for Iran to move toward achieving a threshold nuclear weapons capability. Iran's behavior continues to indicate that it not only wants to preserve a nuclear weapons option but is actively moving toward developing that capability.
  • Without convincing Iran it will suffer severe consequences if it stays on its current path, there is little reason to hope for the success of diplomacy. And given the speed with which Iran is moving forward with its nuclear program, such consequences cannot be limited to political isolation, condemnatory resolutions in international fora and additional economic sanctions.
  • Therefore, for the sake of our diplomatic effort to resolve this crisis, we believe it is vital to restore Iran's fear that its current nuclear path will trigger the use of force against it by the U.S. We believe it is important for the Biden administration to take steps that lead Iran to believe that persisting in its current behavior and rejecting a reasonable diplomatic resolution will put to risk its entire nuclear infrastructure.
  • Such steps may include orchestrating high-profile military exercises by the U.S. Central Command, potentially in concert with allies and partners, that simulate air-to-ground attacks on hardened targets and the suppression of Iranian missile batteries.
  • Fulfilling past U.S. promises to act forcefully against other Iranian outrages, such as the drone attack by Iran-backed militias against the U.S. base at al-Tanf in Syria and Iran's illegal capture of merchant ships, might have the salutary impact of underscoring the seriousness of U.S. commitments to act on the nuclear issue.
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