April 27, 2023
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
Dan Diker, President - Yechiel Leiter, Director General

In-Depth Issues:

Israel's Population Reaches 9.7 Million on Independence Day - Ofer Aderet (Ha'aretz)
    Israel's population numbers 9.727 million people, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said Monday.
    6.814 million Jews constitute 73.5% of the population. Arabs number 2 million, or 21%. 535,000 people are registered as "other" - non-Arab Christians, followers of other faiths, and those with no religious affiliation.

Iran Supplying Russia with Artillery Shells - Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
    Over the past six months, cargo ships have carried more than 300,000 artillery shells and a million rounds of ammunition from Iran to Russia across the Caspian Sea.

UK Media Regulator Fines Muslim TV Network for Antisemitic Hate Speech (Ofcom-UK)
    UK media regulator Ofcom has fined Manchester Shia Muslim Ahlebait TV Networks $12,500 for airing antisemitic hate speech and derogatory and abusive treatment of Jewish people.

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The Price Israel Pays for Its Existence - Melanie Phillips (Substack)
    Israel's Remembrance Day is when the nation commemorates all those who have fallen in battle defending it and all those Israeli civilians who have been murdered by Arab terrorism.
    Since Israel was established in 1948, 24,213 men and women have been killed in military service and 4,255 men, women, and children have been murdered in terror attacks.
    The following day is Israel Independence Day. For Israelis, rejoicing over that astonishing achievement is necessarily anchored in the awareness that is never far from the surface - that the price they have paid to be citizens of their own country has been agonizingly steep.
    That price is still being paid, as Israelis continue to be regularly attacked and murdered and their young conscript soldiers continue to be sent to defend their country against enemies bent upon its extermination.
    Far too many in the West swallow wholesale the Palestinian Arabs' propaganda.
    They fail to acknowledge the Palestinian Arabs' medieval and Nazi-style Jew-hatred and their true agenda of exterminating Israel.
    The West supports and funds them while demonizing and delegitimizing Israel, whose unique claim to the land is based firmly on historical fact and international law.

Reformed Egyptian Elementary School Curriculum Promotes Coexistence (Jerusalem Post)
    Egyptian elementary school textbooks have been changed to promote tolerance and coexistence between Islam, Judaism and Christianity, according to a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), published on Sunday.
    In 2018, the Egyptian education system began a year-by-year reform of its curriculum, starting with the first grade and proceeding a grade each year.
    As of 2023, the reform reached the fifth grade. Textbooks for 6th grade and above still contain antisemitic tropes about Jews.
    The textbooks laud the benefits of the 1979 peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, but also represent Israel as an illegitimate "Zionist entity" aimed at expanding at the expense of the Palestinians. Maps in textbooks avoid listing Israel by name.
    New textbooks for Christian schools in Egypt acknowledge the Jewish religious connection to the Land of Israel and refer to King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, but also state that the Jews crucified Jesus.
    IMPACT-SE CEO Marcus Sheff stated that "the Egyptian government under President al-Sisi has fulfilled its promise to reform its school curriculum."
    "This process of removing antisemitism and other hatred from school textbooks is a significant contribution to the emergence of a tolerant Egyptian society and region."

Innovations of Israeli Technology - Laurence Wolff (Moment)
    Since 1966, 13 Israelis have been awarded Nobel prizes. In 2022, Israeli tech attracted $17 billion in startup investments.
    Israel has the third highest listing of companies on the Nasdaq, after the U.S. and China, and 300 multinational corporations have opened offices in Israel to benefit from its R&D capabilities.
    Innovations that help tell the story of Israel's tech success include the Iron Dome missile defense system, Waze real-time traffic reports, Mobileye safe-driving technology, drip irrigation, the Pillcam to view the digestive system, ICQ instant messaging, the USB flash dive, the Sniffphone breathalyzer to detect gastric and lung cancer, Rewalk bionic walking assisance, and the 3-D printed heart.

Survey: Most Indonesians Open-Minded about Israeli Soccer Team's Arrival - Agnes Valentina Christa (Jakarta Globe-Indonesia)
    A survey conducted after Indonesia lost the right to host the U-20 FIFA World Cup due to opposition to Israel's participation found that 63% had no problem with the Israeli team playing on Indonesian soil, while 36% opposed Israeli participation, the Indonesia Political Indicator said.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • House Passes Pro-Israel, Abraham Accords Resolution in 400-19 Vote - Marc Rod
    The U.S. House of Representatives voted 400-19 on Tuesday in favor of a resolution expressing support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and the Abraham Accords in honor of the 75th anniversary of Israel's founding. The resolution represents a strong bipartisan show of support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and highlights the robust support that Israel continues to enjoy in Congress.
        Eighteen Democrats and one Republican voted against the resolution: Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Summer Lee (D-PA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Andre Carson (D-IN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Delia Ramirez (D-IL). (Jewish Insider)
  • Senior Iranian Cleric Assassinated - Benoit Faucon
    Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, a member of the Assembly of Experts, which appoints the supreme leader of Iran, was assassinated Wednesday by a security guard at a bank in Babolsar. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. CENTCOM Commander Arrives in Israel
    U.S. CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael E. Kurilla arrived in Israel on Wednesday for meetings with senior defense officials. Kurilla has visited Israel at least six times since he assumed his post last April. (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Eight Israelis Hurt in Palestinian Car-Ramming Attack in Jerusalem - Liran Tamari
    On Monday, Hatem Najma, 39, a Palestinian man from Jerusalem, drove his car into a pedestrian who was crossing the road and then veered into another group of people outside the Mahane Yehuda outdoor market, injuring a total of eight, before an armed bystander opened fire and killed the driver. A man in his 80s is in serious condition. (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Runner Shot by Palestinian from Passing Car - Tzvi Joffre
    An Israeli man in his 20s was moderately injured in a shooting attack in Wadi al-Haramiya, between Shilo and Ofra, on Tuesday, as Israel marked Remembrance Day. He was part of a group running in memory of fallen soldiers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's UN Envoy Walks Out of Security Council to Protest Memorial Day Session - Luke Tress
    Israel's envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, walked out of the Security Council on Tuesday and read the names of Israelis killed in the past year to protest the body holding a session critical of Israel on Israel's Memorial Day. "Today is one of the most sacred days of the year for the State of Israel," Erdan said. "We made numerous requests to reschedule today's debate, describing the deep importance of the day, yet tragically, this council refused to budge."
        Addressing Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was chairing the session, Erdan asked, "What would you do if this council was convening to single out and condemn the Russian Federation and your soldiers on the 9th of May, on Victory Day over the Nazis?" He added, "I refuse to spend this sacred day listening to lies and condemnation. This debate disgraces the fallen and Israel will not take part in it."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Israeli Democracy

  • What Makes Israeli Protests Different from Other Protests? - Alan Dershowitz
    Israel is embroiled in the largest and most contentious protests in its history. Yet there has been little or no call for unlawful violence, there have been no deaths or serious injuries, there have been few arrests, and there have been no efforts by the government to stop the anti-government protests. These protests demonstrate democracy at work. They also demonstrate that democracy will never be in danger of turning to autocracy in a nation like Israel, that encourages dissent and disagreement.
        Most Israelis agree with President Isaac Herzog that extremists on both sides are exaggerating the stakes and that compromises are possible and would be beneficial. I am in that camp. But I also believe that even if all the government proposals were to be adopted, democracy and liberty would continue to thrive among the opinionated and contentious citizens of Israel. The impact of these reforms are considerably exaggerated by many of their opponents. They would make Israel more like Great Britain, Canada and even the U.S., and not at all like Hungary, Poland and Turkey.
        The writer is emeritus professor of law at Harvard Law School.  (Newsweek)

  • Iran

  • Has a Middle East Nuclear Arms Race Begun? - Jonathan Schachter
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Congress in 2015 that the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) "won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control." Saudi Arabia's recent demands for assistance with uranium enrichment and other elements of the nuclear fuel cycle is the latest evidence that the Middle East nuclear arms race has begun.
        In August 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that, with the help of China, the Saudis have built a facility to process uranium ore. In December 2021, the Journal revealed that the kingdom, again with Chinese assistance, is producing its own ballistic missiles.
        The way to halt and even reverse the Middle East nuclear arms race requires U.S. leadership. First, it is well past time to end Iran's nuclear weapons program. The U.S. should work with its European allies to activate the JCPOA's snap-back mechanism, which would reimpose the UN arms embargo on Iran and a complete ban on Iranian uranium enrichment. It also would block the lifting of the UN missile embargo scheduled for October.
        The U.S. should lead the imposition of economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Iran until it complies with its international nuclear obligations. The U.S. should make it clear that it is unequivocally committed to using force to end Iran's nuclear weapons program if Tehran refuses to do so. Without a credible American military threat, a genuine diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem never will be possible.
        Second, the U.S. should provide its allies and partners in the Middle East with the diplomatic and military support necessary both to deter Iran and to instill in them sufficient confidence to obviate their own pursuit of nuclear weapons.
        The writer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as foreign policy adviser to the prime minister of Israel from 2015 to 2018 and worked on exposing the Iranian nuclear archive. (The Hill)

  • Other Issues

  • Why Is Jordan Knowingly Promoting a False Anti-Israel Narrative? - Alan Baker and Lenny Ben David
    There can be no excuse for Jordan's irresponsible official statements, which falsely accused Israel of "violating the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque" during Ramadan, despite the fact that it was groups of Palestinian Arab fanatics armed with clubs, fireworks, and rocks that initiated violence within the holy mosque. In similarly false allegations, Jordanian officials have accused Israel of preventing Christian access to holy sites in Jerusalem.
        The Jordanian leadership allowed itself to join the fanatical Islamic bandwagon and be drawn into echoing the false propaganda and hostility towards Israel, in clear violation of its peace treaty obligations with Israel. Jordan is too important a country and King Abdullah II too respected a leader to be party to harmful rhetoric. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Why Did Saudi Arabia Change Its Orientation to Iran and the West? - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Sunni world, has signed an agreement to renew diplomatic relations with Iran, the leader of the Shiite world, through the mediation of China. The political echelon in Israel assesses that Saudi Arabia took this step to bring a quick end to the war in Yemen that has been going on since 2015, and because Saudi Arabia fears a significant reduction in American involvement in the Middle East. The Saudi crown prince concluded that the Biden administration would not protect him from Iranian attacks, nor would it prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons in the future.
        Israeli intelligence estimates that the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran will not last long, since it is impossible to bridge their religious and ideological differences. In addition, there is no indication that Iran intends to stop its policy of spreading the ideological doctrines of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and Iran's expansion in the Middle East through establishing Iranian cadres in Arab countries. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Right to Self-Determination Has Fallen Out of Favor - Daniel Ben-Ami
    From Israel's foundation in 1948 through the 1960s, the left generally celebrated Israel as an expression of Jews' right to national self-determination. By the 1990s, however, Western elites started to reject the idea of national self-determination. Yet the denigration of the right to national self-determination undermines the Palestinian cause, too.
        Indeed, many of today's anti-Israel activists aren't really interested in Palestinian self-determination. They are mainly concerned with attacking Israel as a symbol of everything they dislike. This leads them to uncritically endorse Hamas, the leading Islamist representative of the Palestinians, and often Islamism more broadly.
        Islamism's goal is not national self-determination, for the Palestinians or anyone else. Rather, it wants to create an international Islamic order. The destruction of Israel - and not the creation of a Palestinian state - is seen as central to achieving that objective. Islamists regard Jews as an expression of "cosmic Satanic evil," who should be physically exterminated if Islam is to flourish.
        The Palestinian slogan, "from the river to the sea" (meaning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean), is popular among both Islamists and Western leftists. Islamists often state openly that they want to murder most if not all of the Jews living there. So when they chant "Palestine should be free," they typically mean free of Jews. (Spiked-UK)
  • How Foreign Aid to Israel Benefits the U.S. - Yoram Ettinger
    The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Israel - the U.S. makes an annual investment in Israel, giving U.S. taxpayers a return of several hundred percent. Israel serves as a battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory for the U.S. defense and aerospace industries. The Israeli Air Force flies Lockheed-Martin's F-16 and F-35 combat aircraft, providing Lockheed-Martin and the U.S. Air Force with invaluable information on operations, maintenance, and repairs, which is then used to manufacture a multitude of upgrades. The F-16 has been improved by several hundred Israeli-driven upgrades, sparing Lockheed-Martin years of research and development amounting to billions of dollars.
        Israeli experts have also trained U.S. personnel in neutralizing car bombs, suicide bombers, and IEDs. According to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, the scope of Israeli intelligence shared with the U.S. exceeded that provided by all NATO countries combined. Israeli intelligence helped foil sinister plots against U.S. airliners and airports, and provided vital data on advanced Soviet/Russian military systems. (Algemeiner)
  • How Some Americans Support Terrorism Against Israel - Bassam Tawil
    Fourteen members of the U.S. Congress have joined the Jihad (holy war) against Israel by urging the Biden administration to reconsider U.S. military aid to Israel. Their letter ignores that Israel's counterterrorism measures are a legitimate act of self-defense. Israeli measures, including raids on the homes of terrorists and confiscation of weapons, are the direct result of a 300% increase in terror attacks over the past year.
        When there is no terrorism, there is no need for Israel to launch counterterrorism operations. When Israel uses weapons, it is with the purpose of combating terrorism and protecting the lives of its people. When Palestinians use weapons, it is always with the aim of murdering Jews.
        As far as the Palestinians are concerned, all Israeli Jews are "settlers" living in one big illegitimate settlement, Israel, which needs to be replaced by a 57th Muslim state. The mullahs in Tehran - and their proxies in Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah - believe that the country of Israel has no right to exist and that Israel should be eradicated, primarily through Jihad.
        If the members of Congress want to find out about human rights violations, they are invited to look at the repressive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza against their own people. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Weekend Features

  • Ex-U.S. Envoy Jason Greenblatt Joins Israeli Think Tank as Diplomacy Chief
    Former U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt has joined the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank as its senior director for Arab-Israeli diplomacy. An accomplished diplomat with years of experience working in the Middle East, Greenblatt's crowning achievement was playing a key role in the Abraham Accords. "Jason brings with him a wealth of experience and close relations with Arab states across the region including some without normalization agreements with Israel," Jerusalem Center president Dan Diker said.
        Greenblatt's joining comes after the Jerusalem Center hosted the first Arab-Israel-Africa security conference, bringing five Arab policy centers and 25 African institutes to Jerusalem in March. "The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is not just a think tank, it's a 'do tank,'" Greenblatt said. "JCPA now serves as a convener and communications hub for policy, diplomacy and communications connecting the Arab world, Africa, Israel and the West."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Journey from an Undeveloped Economy to the Silicon Valley of the Middle East - Alex Brummer
    The Israel of 1948 was about Jaffa oranges, Dead Sea chemical plants and low value textiles. Today's Israel is a leader in advanced technology, cybersecurity, avionics, telecoms, life sciences and materials research. Prosperity is supported by self-sufficiency in natural gas in an age of fuel insecurity.
        Israel's high-tech industries contribute 15% to national output (GDP), providing 43% of the country's exports and 25% of the nation's tax income. Joining the Paris-based club of sophisticated economies known as the OECD in 2010, Israel's per capita income stood at U.S. $54,847 at the end of 2022, higher than in Britain, Spain and Portugal. (Jewish News-UK)

  • Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky's personal journey reflects that of the Jewish people, and the centrality of Israel in his life and Jewish identity mirrors the experiences of so many Jews around the world.
  • Sharansky: "The existence of Israel and, in a way, the existence of the Jewish people is the best demonstration of the importance of these two basic desires of people - to be free and to belong."
  • "For a thousand years, what were we fighting for? For our right to live freely in accordance with our identity. And then Israel was established. It could not be created as a non-Jewish state and it would never have succeeded in gathering all the Jews if not for its freedom."
  • "There is no other nation or any other state which embodies the strength of this connection. And if you look at history and compare us with Israel 50 years ago, we have much more freedom and much more identity. We have far more of a Jewish and democratic state, so that's the direction we're heading in....Our history and our triumphs are the best proof of how important it is for these two things to go together."
  • "I grew up [in the Soviet Union] having zero connection with anything Jewish except through antisemitism....It was Israel that came in a very powerful way to the center of our life, from the Six-Day War, and it allowed us to discover our identity, that we have a history, we are a people and we have a state. That gave us the strength to fight for our Jewish rights and for a better world."
  • "When people simply want tikkun olam [repairing the world] without any identity...your life is very shallow. Look at how all these Birthright kids - whose bar mitzvah was the last time they've had a connection to being Jewish - suddenly discover that it's cool and even interesting to live inside history....Suddenly, they have energy, meaning and understanding....In this age, there is no better way to quickly give Jews a brief injection of the importance and meaning of discovering their Jewish identity than coming to Israel."

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