September 14, 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:

Iran Is Building an Airport in Southern Lebanon for Attacks on Israel - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel-Israel Hayom)
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed Monday that Iran is establishing an airport near Jezzin in southern Lebanon, 20 km. (12 miles) from the Israeli border, which is being used "for terror purposes."
    Gallant displayed satellite photographs of the site, saying, "In the photos, you can see the Iranian flag flying over the runways, from which the ayatollah regime plans to operate against the citizens of Israel. In other words: The land is Lebanese, the control is Iranian, and the target is Israel."

Poll: Many Americans Oppose Defense Pact with Saudi Arabia (Harris Poll)
    55% of Americans would oppose an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that would establish diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel in exchange for the U.S. committing American soldiers to defend Saudi Arabia, according to a new poll from August 29-31 released Wednesday.
    When presented with the prospective details of the deal, 58% feel this is a bad deal for the U.S.

Israeli Population nearing 10 Million ahead of Jewish New Year (Jerusalem Post)
    About 9.8 million people were living in Israel ahead of Rosh Hashanah, with the country's population expected to reach 10 million by the end of next year, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.
    7.2 million (73%) are Jews, 2.1 million (21%) are Arabs, and another 549,000 were from other sectors.

Anti-Israel Incidents on U.S. Campuses almost Doubled in 2023 (Anti-Defamation League)
    ADL tallied 665 campus anti-Israel incidents during the 2022-2023 academic year, including 326 protests/actions, 303 events, 24 instances of harassment, and 9 instances of vandalism - compared to 359 incidents in the 2021-2022 school year.
    They reflect a growing prominence of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist activism on campuses.
    The ADL report provides a snapshot of a more radical activist movement that seeks to make opposition to Israel and Zionism a pillar of campus life and a precondition for full acceptance in the campus community, effectively causing the marginalization of Jewish students.

Missionaries in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem - David Collier (david-collier.com)
    A recent video on social media that received 9 million views appears to show - according to those who shared it - two Christian women being abused in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem by Orthodox Jews, mostly children.
    The intention of this video was to make people believe innocent Christian tourists are being abused in Israel.
    In fact, they were not tourists at all, but part of an extremist Christian mission to "spread the truth" to Jews and Muslims in Israel.
    Another video shows one of the women calling Mohammed a liar and telling Jews the Talmud was a "wicked book."
    Why wouldn't religious people get angry if someone comes to their doorstep to insult them?
    If this were taking place anywhere else, these people would immediately be called out for their insensitive provocations.

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IAI Offers Intelligence Analysis Suite to Predict Surprise Attacks - Jaroslaw Adamowski (Defense News)
    Russia's use of drones is boosting European interest in an intelligence analysis system made by Israel Aerospace Industries that could help predict such attacks.
    Gideon Fostick of IAI's Elta Systems said the Starlight cloud-based, multi-intelligence analysis system analyzes a broad set of data, ranging from enemy troop movements to social media posts, searching for anomalies in behavior to detect threats. The system's algorithms constantly improve themselves through machine learning.
    "Humans need minutes or hours to analyze data. Starlight needs seconds, and is capable of identifying land-based, airborne and naval targets, including large numbers of unmanned targets."
    "We have sold Starlight to two foreign customers, one Middle Eastern and one Asian country. It has been successfully used in combat operations."

New Israeli UAV Sparks a Revolution in Air-Ground Cooperation - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    The Israel Air Force's new Spark drone, announced on Monday, is specifically designed to enhance air-ground combat coordination.
    It aims to provide precise intelligence to air and ground units and enable targets to be quickly struck upon their detection.
    The Spark UAV, described as a fifth-generation of drone technology, is said by the IAF to be "worth 10 different UAVs in its intelligence capabilities."
    It seems like the Spark is designed to provide ground units with a new level of advanced UAV capabilities and access to the latest high-quality aerial intelligence in their sector, free of delays.

Israel Aerospace Industries Unveils New Anti-Tank Loitering Munition (Army Recognition)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has unveiled its Rotem Alpha antitank, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), tactical loitering munition at the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) trade show in London.
    The Rotem Alpha has the ability to operate for extended periods in both aerial and perched modes. The system can fly and hover at low altitudes to establish situational awareness and can execute attacks in various weather conditions.
    The sensor array can autonomously detect and locate sources of hostile fire, such as artillery and missile launchers, and engage them using its electro-optical sensor day and night.
    The Rotem Alpha can be carried in a backpack or deployed from a vehicle and is ready for takeoff in less than two minutes.
    Its VTOL capabilities allow it to be launched and landed from between trees and structures.

New Fireproof Uniform Saves Lives of IDF Troops - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF on Monday revealed new fireproof uniforms for its reconnaissance and special forces that have already saved lives.
    Soldiers suffered only mild injuries when an explosive device was detonated during a recent operation in Nablus and their uniforms were able to absorb the flames.
    The soldiers also wore protective goggles that kept shrapnel from their eyes.
    The uniforms contain special fibers and threads. "As soon as sparks or live fire come into contact with the fabric, the fire-retardant mechanism within the fabric absorbs and extinguishes the fire, creating small holes in the uniform in a way that prevents direct contact with the skin," said Marina Hitrik, an engineer from the technology division of the IDF who is the driving force behind the development of the uniforms.
    "I felt an immense sense of pride knowing I helped avert a disaster. For me, every soldier is like my own child."

Organs of IDF Officer Killed in Car Crash Save Three Lives including Arab Israeli - Ariela Ayalon (Ynet News)
    On Aug. 28, Maj. Efrat Zarihan, 34, head of the IDF Intelligence Corps' Computing and Information Systems' Cyber Division, was fatally hurt in a traffic accident.
    Her parents respected her wishes to donate her organs, which saved three different lives.
    Yousef Jabarah from Tayibe, who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and hospitalized with critical respiratory failure, received her lungs - which saved his life. "When they told me who the lung donor was, I was shocked," Jabarah said.
    "The donor was next to my bed [in the same room] for two days. Who would've thought I'd be able to breathe again because of the lungs she gave me," he said with tears in his eyes.
    Maj. Zarihan's kidney was implanted in a 71-year-old woman, and her heart saved the life of Irina Karchemsky, 51. "When I learned who I received the heart donation from, I felt pride and respect for Efrat, who had so much more to give to the world," Karchemsky said.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Clears Way to Release $6 Billion in Frozen Iranian Funds in Prisoner Swap Deal - John Hudson
    The Biden administration announced Monday it has issued a waiver for banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds from South Korea to Qatar without fear of U.S. sanction - a key step in securing the release of five American citizens detained in Iran. (Washington Post)
  • Iranian President: We Will Spend $6 Billion U.S. Prisoner Swap Funds on "Whatever the Iranian People Need"
    The U.S. has said the $6 billion Iran is to receive under a prisoner exchange deal is to be used for buying humanitarian goods. But Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told NBC News on Tuesday: "This money belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran and naturally we will decide, the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide to spend wherever we need it." Asked if the money will be used for more than humanitarian purposes, Raisi replied: "Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need...and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government."  (Sky News-UK)
        See also U.S. Pledges to Police Use of Iranian Funds Unfrozen in Prisoner Swap
    After Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said it is up to Iran to decide how it spends $6 billion in funds unfrozen as part of a prisoner swap deal, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Tuesday, "The criteria is that these funds, when they are deposited in these accounts, can only be spent for humanitarian purposes, so the purchase of food, the purchase of medicine, the purchase of other humanitarian products. The Treasury Department has strict oversight over the use of those funds. We have visibility into how they are used, and we have the ability to police their use."  (U.S. State Department)
  • Iran Identifies 5 Prisoners It Wants from U.S. in Swap for Iranian-Americans and $6 Billion - Jon Gambrell
    Iran on Tuesday identified the five prisoners it wants freed in the U.S. in exchange for five Iranian-Americans now held in Tehran and $6 billion in Iranian assets held by South Korea. The Iranians are: Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, charged in 2021 with failing to register as a foreign agent on Iran's behalf while lobbying U.S. officials on issues like nuclear policy. Mehrdad Ansari, sentenced to 63 months in prison in 2021 for obtaining equipment that could be used in missiles, electronic warfare, nuclear weapons and other military gear.
        Amin Hasanzadeh, whom prosecutors charged in 2019 with stealing engineering plans from his employer to send to Iran. Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani, charged in 2021 over unlawfully exporting laboratory equipment to Iran. Kambiz Attar Kashani, sentenced in February to 30 months in prison for purchasing "sophisticated, top-tier U.S. electronic equipment and software" through front companies in the UAE. (AP)
  • British Foreign Secretary Condemns Iranian Terror during Israel Visit - Tovah Lazaroff
    British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly condemned Iranian-backed terror against Israel during a visit to Israel on Monday. "The UK and Israel work closely together to keep our people safe. I'll be using my first visit...as foreign secretary to renew our close security partnership, in the face of unacceptable threats from the Iranian regime."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also UK Foreign Secretary Meets Israeli Foreign Minister (UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Holding Talks with Palestinians to Advance Saudi Normalization Deal - Noa Shpigel
    Israel is working to involve the Palestinian Authority in formulating an agreement with Saudi Arabia, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Monday. "We are very much in favor of having a significant Palestinian component (in the agreement)," Hanegbi said, adding that "we will not be able to make any move that harms Israel's security."
        He said Israel made it clear that if Palestinians "approach the International Court of Justice, the practical result will be the severance of security and political ties with the Palestinian Authority immediately, and if we do this, their fate will be the same as in Gaza after the disengagement." Hanegbi added that "We are still trying to reach agreements with them on security aspects and taking responsibility for matters concerning life in Area A."
        Hanegbi stated that during discussions with PA representatives in Israel, they asked "that this time they will not let the opportunity slip from their hands and will be partners in the dialogue, be interested in its success, contribute to its success, and also benefit from it."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Denies Approving Transfer of Weapons to Palestinian Authority - Jonathan Regev
    Israeli media reported on Wednesday the recent shipment of over 1,500 rifles and 8 armored vehicles from the U.S. to the Palestinian Authority security forces. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the report "fake news."
        "Since this government was established, it has not transferred any weapons, not even one, to the Palestinian Authority. What we did do was implement a decision made by Defense Minister Benny Gantz (in the previous government) in January 2022 to transfer a number of armored vehicles to replace other armored vehicles that had become obsolete."  (i24News)
  • Israel Confiscates 16 Tons of Explosive Materials en Route to Gaza
    Israeli customs agents in Ashdod uncovered 16 tons of explosive material destined for Gaza during an inspection in July, it was announced Thursday. The material was in two shipping containers weighing 54 tons, which were said to contain bags of plaster. Inspectors noticed that some of the material was not actually gypsum - the main constituent of plaster. Laboratory testing verified that the substance was ammonium chloride, used in the manufacturing of rockets that are launched at Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Six Palestinians Killed while Planting Bomb at Gaza Border - Emanuel Fabian
    At least six Palestinians were killed Wednesday after a bomb they attempted to detonate on the Israeli border during a riot blew up prematurely. During the riot, Palestinians hurled a number of explosives and grenades at the border barrier. (Times of Israel)
  • Two Israelis Injured in Palestinian Shooting Attack in Huwara - Emanuel Fabian
    Two Israeli men were wounded when their car came under fire while driving on Route 60 in the West Bank town of Huwara on Tuesday. The two suffered injuries from glass shards as a result of gunfire through the windshield but "miraculously were not directly hit by the gunfire," Magen David Adom ambulance service medic Ezra Pollack said. There have been several shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the town this year. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Neutralizing Iran Comes before Normalization with Saudi Arabia - Meir Ben Shabbat
    The U.S. under President Biden, which has sought to lower the profile of the Iranian problem and to remove the danger of a military confrontation with it as far as possible, is now seeing the tangible results of its policy: a growing sense of confidence in Iran, leading to defiant activity on its nuclear program, providing aid to Russia, and a significant increase in its efforts to promote acts of terrorism around the globe, owing to a feeling that it will not be required to pay any real price for all of this.
        Israel's current priority: neutralizing the existential threat posed by Iran, takes precedence even over normalization with Saudi Arabia.
        The writer, head of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy, served as Israel's national security advisor and head of the National Security Council after 30 years in the Israel Security Agency. (Israel Hayom)
  • Biden's $6 Billion Ransom to Iran - Editorial
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday informed Congress he had signed a waiver releasing $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil revenues as part of a deal to bring home five Americans imprisoned in Iran. What stands out in this deal is the $6 billion ransom. Though Mr. Blinken says it "will be available only for humanitarian trade" like food and medicine, the reality is that the waiver now frees up funds for Iran's nuclear program, terrorism and proxy wars.
        The worst result is that this ransom will encourage more hostage-taking. Iran has profited from grabbing these Americans. Until the U.S. demonstrates that snatching Americans will have significant costs, the world's rogues will keep taking them. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • Why Mahmoud Abbas Can't Make Peace with Israelis - Clifford D. May
    Addressing the Revolutionary Council of Fatah last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asserted: "They say that Hitler killed the Jews for being Jews, and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews. Not true." Rather, Europeans "fought against these people because of their role in society, which had to do with usury, money dealings, and so on."
        Abbas further claimed that David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, "forced" Jews to flee Arab countries where they had lived for centuries to Israel "by means of pressure, coercion, and murder." As for European Jews, they "are not Semites," he said, citing the discredited theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descended not from ancient Israelites but from Khazars, a medieval Turkic kingdom.
        In 1982, after a period of study in Moscow, Abbas was awarded a doctorate for a dissertation titled "The Relationship between Zionists and Nazis, 1933-1945." In it, he accused Zionists of aiding and abetting "the annihilation of the Jewish population in European countries occupied by Nazi Germany to implement the Zionist ideal of mass colonization of Palestine and create a Jewish state on its territory." He later published a paper casting doubt on whether gas chambers were used to exterminate Jews and claiming that the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust might be "even less than a million."
        If Abbas holds such views, no end to the conflict is possible so long as he is in office, no matter what concessions Israelis and others offer.
        The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)
  • Palestinian Activism Demands Checking Your Liberalism at the Door - Adam Levick
    Can you be truly committed to liberal values and be a full-throated supporter of the Palestinian cause? The recent racist vitriol by the "moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas needs to be seen in the broader context of the fact that Palestinians, based on polling, are the most antisemitic people on the globe, and that antisemitism - including the glorification of violence against Jews - is peddled continually by PA officials, the Palestinian media, popular Palestinian cultural figures, influential religious leaders, and in Palestinian textbooks.
        Being a putatively liberal Western pro-Palestinian activist (or journalist) demands that one ignore or even excuse the endemic anti-Jewish racism within Palestinian society and the role this irrational hatred plays in perpetuating the conflict and in perpetuating the Palestinians' own misery. Their racism is often framed as a legitimate grievance, rather than as the pathology it is.
        How can it be that though we live in a civilization where the most loathsome quality is racism, many Western progressives enthusiastically makes common cause with a uniquely antisemitic Palestinian society - without experiencing even a momentary bout of cognitive dissonance? Liberalism demands that you take Palestinians seriously as moral actors, as agents of their own fate, and that you judge their behavior as you'd judge anyone else's. (CAMERA-UK)
  • Palestinians on Social Media: The Time Has Come to Kill The Jews
    Amid a wave of terror attacks against Israelis, the Palestinian terror organizations have been waging an intensive incitement campaign on social media, praising the terrorists and calling for further attacks.
        A Sep. 4, 2023, message on the Telegram channel of the "Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades-Beit Ummar" stated: "O heroes of the [West] Bank, stab [them]. O heroes of Hebron, run [them] over. O heroes of Jenin, bomb [them]. O heroes of Jerusalem, the land is your land, what are you waiting for? The time has come to kill the Jews....Strike them in the depth [of their territory]. Beware of having mercy on any of them. Fight the enemies of Allah."
        On Sep. 6, the Telegram channel of Hamas' mouthpiece Al-Risalah posted a video featuring excerpts from a speech by Hamas official Yahya Al-Sinwar, who called on the Palestinians to attack Israelis by all possible means, saying that whoever doesn't have a gun can use a knife or meat cleaver instead. (MEMRI)

  • The Oslo Accords after 30 Years

  • Palestinian Authoritarianism Has Its Roots in the Oslo Accords - Yara Hawari
    What the Palestinians got out of the Oslo Accords was a rather pernicious form of Palestinian authoritarianism. One of the terms of the agreement was that the exiled leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would be allowed to return to the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian Authority, made up of members of Arafat's party, Fatah, assumed responsibility for the affairs of the Palestinian people. With the backing of the international community, Arafat pursued governance based on patronage and corruption that had little tolerance for internal dissent. Arafat's successor, President Mahmoud Abbas, continued down the same path.
        Abbas has also been working hard to erode any democratic spaces in the West Bank. He rules by decree. He has merged all three branches of government - the legislative, executive and judiciary - so that there are no checks on his power. Last year he dissolved the Doctors' Syndicate after medical personnel went on strike. He created the Supreme Council of Judicial Bodies and Authorities and appointed himself the head of it, thus consolidating his power over the courts and the Ministry of Justice.
        The internationally funded and trained PA security sector employs 50% percent of civil servants and takes 30% of the total PA budget - more than education, health and agriculture combined. It is responsible for a monumental amount of human rights abuses, including the arrest of activists, the harassment of journalists, and the torture of political detainees.
        The writer is a policy fellow of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. (Al Jazeera)
  • Despite Its Failure, the Oslo Process Contributed to Israel's National Security - Ori Wertman
    Three decades after the signing of the Oslo Accords, it can be stated that the Oslo process had its shortcomings, but also advantages that contributed to Israel's national security. First, the accords were an instrument for creating a political separation between Israel and the Palestinians, in which 95% of the Palestinian population is controlled mainly by the Palestinian Authority.
        Second, the Oslo process made it clear to the Jewish public in Israel that there is no chance of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinian national movement in the near future. This realization would not have been possible without the Oslo process, which was a learning experience for Jewish society in Israel, causing it to rid itself of the optimistic illusions that peace is at hand.
        Third, Israeli Jewish society learned again from the Oslo process that Israel cannot rely on others regarding its security. The Rabin government's expectation that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority would fight the Palestinian terrorist organizations and prevent terrorist attacks against Israel turned out to be disconnected from reality.
        The Oslo Accords equipped the PA with weapons in order to fight the Palestinian terrorist organizations. However, in the end, the weapons were turned against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens. The clear lesson is that Israel should stick to its security doctrine: to protect itself by itself, and not rely on others.
        The writer is a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Oslo Accords Were Always Doomed to Fail
    The Oslo Accords of 1993 were meant to fade away after five years. Their lasting achievements after 30 years have been to create a limited Palestinian government loathed by most Palestinians, and to bring about a measure of mutual recognition between the two sides, though the promise of peace is unfulfilled.
        The accords emerged from a series of meetings in the Norwegian capital where Yossi Beilin, Israel's deputy foreign minister, pursued secret meetings with Ahmed Qurei (Abu Alaa), who was close to Arafat. A new entity called the Palestinian Authority (PA) would assume limited control in the West Bank and Gaza. Talks about a final deal were to conclude by May 1999.
        After a half-century of conflict, the thinking went, Israelis and Palestinians first needed to build trust. Yet more Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians in the seven years after Oslo than the seven before it - and that was before the Second Intifada.
        Just 28% of Palestinians support the two-state solution today, down from 53% a decade ago. Only 1/3 of Israeli Jews favor the idea. Half of Palestinians want to dissolve the PA. (Economist-UK)

  • Other Issues

  • Fear of ICC Threat to IDF Soldiers after Judicial Reform is Baseless - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
    The fear of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague threatening IDF soldiers is a baseless marketing gimmick used by opponents of judicial reform. The principle of complementarity, enshrined in the Rome Statute which governs the activities of the ICC, establishes that national legal systems have primary jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute individuals suspected of committing war crimes. The ICC's authority only comes into play when national legal systems are unwilling or unable to enforce the law.
        The Rome Statute defines the crimes falling under the ICC's jurisdiction, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. These offenses do not pertain to isolated actions by individual soldiers but rather to systematic policies aimed at deliberately harming civilians. However, neither the State of Israel nor the IDF has a policy of committing genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.
        The writer, Director of the Palestinian Authority Accountability Initiative at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. (Ynet News)
        See also Would Judicial Reforms in Israel Open Up the Israeli Military to Charges of War Crimes? - Amb. Alan Baker and Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • MSNBC Invents Facts to Bash Israel - David Litman
    On Sep. 3, NBC News correspondent Ali Velshi wove a narrative of an evil Jewish state, threading together outright lies with material omissions to tell his tale of a brutal, undemocratic apartheid state, leaving the network's audience not just uninformed but disinformed. Velshi described the 2023 fatalities in Israel as such: "According to the UN, nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel and the West Bank since the start of this year. That is the highest number since 2005. Apparently, some 30 Israelis have also been killed in these clashes."
        In fact, almost none of the Israelis were killed in "clashes." Rather, almost all of them were civilians going about their business who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. For example, when Lucy Dee and her two daughters were gunned down on the road on a family trip to Tiberias, they were not engaged in "clashes." On the other hand, the vast majority of the Palestinians were killed either in clashes or while carrying out attacks.
        In another example of a disinterest in accuracy, Velshi claimed that Israel has approved construction of "thousands of new settlements." In fact, Israel approved the construction of new houses in already existing communities. (CAMERA)

  • Weekend Features

  • African-American Imams Visit Israel to Promote Faith-Based Peace - Nicole Zedek
    Nine African-American imams recently visited Israel for a week, sponsored by the NGO Sharaka ("partnership" in Arabic), founded in 2020 in the wake of the Abraham Accords. When the group arrived at the Western Wall in Jerusalem they took time to pray. Imams wearing kufis, with their hands turned skywards, prayed side-by-side with Jewish men in skullcaps. "Just to be able to touch it from 2,000 years ago, we can think back, and we have something that's from the past in our presence," said Imam Dr. Talib Shareef from the Nation's Mosque in Washington. (i24News)
        See also American Imams Visit Israel for Interfaith Dialogue - Steve Postal
    The nine U.S. imams visiting Israel emphasized tolerance and understanding as the common theme. Imam Benjamin Abdul-Haqq of Washington emphasized the need "to not prejudge anything about Israel, particularly from the media....Speaking as a Muslim but not for Muslims... we need to accept the reality that Israel is not going anywhere."
        Dan Feferman, executive director of Sharaka, said, "The imams that participated are already seeing interest from other imams in the U.S. in visiting Israel and learning more."  (American Spectator)
  • The Vatican Beatifies a Polish Family of 9 Killed by the Nazis for Sheltering Jews - Monika Scislowska
    The Vatican on Sunday beatified a Polish family of nine - a married couple and their small children - who were executed by the Nazis during World War II for sheltering Jews. During a ceremonious Mass in Markowa in southeastern Poland, papal envoy Cardinal Marcello Semeraro read out the Latin formula of the beatification of the Ulma family signed last month by Pope Francis. Last year, Francis pronounced the Ulma family as martyrs for the faith. Polish President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich attended the event in Markowa.
        The Ulmas were killed at home by German Nazi troops and by Nazi-controlled local police on March 24, 1944, together with the eight Jews they were hiding at their home, after they were apparently betrayed. The suspected betrayer was Wlodzimierz Les, a member of the local police. Poland's wartime resistance sentenced him to death and executed him in September 1944. (AP)
  • Catholic Convents Sheltered 3,000 Roman Jews during WWII - Nicole Winfield
    New documentation substantiates reports that Catholic convents and monasteries in Rome sheltered Jews during World War II, providing names and addresses of at least 3,200 Jews who were sheltered and whose identities have been corroborated by the city's Jewish community, officials said Thursday. (AP)
  • World War I in the Holy Land: Microbes and Bacteria Were the Deadliest Enemies - Lenny Ben-David
    The World War I campaign in the Middle East saw more soldiers die from epidemic diseases than from bullets, bombs, or artillery shells. Typhus, cholera, malaria, and the Spanish flu decimated soldiers and civilians across the region. One-third of Jerusalem's population died from the epidemics that struck before 1918. The total number of casualties in the Ottoman army was 771,844; 466,759 of whom died of illnesses.
        This article is from the author's forthcoming book Secrets of World War I in the Holy Land. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • An iconic photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and a grinning PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shaking hands on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 13, 1993. Arafat had good reason to grin. Oslo was his ticket out of exile and oblivion. Twelve years earlier he and the PLO, having been expelled from Lebanon, had decamped to Tunisia, which inhibited his ability to wreak havoc in Israel. But with the Oslo Accords, he was back in the spotlight. The agreement allowed him to pose on the international stage as a peacemaker despite his lifelong career as a terrorist; soon it would enrich him with land, money, weapons, and political power.
  • Four days earlier, Arafat and Rabin had signed letters of "mutual recognition." "The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security," Arafat wrote. "The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations. The PLO... renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations, and discipline violators."
  • Arafat's pledge was a sham from the outset. He said so explicitly in a message to the Palestinian people, broadcast in Arabic by Jordanian television on the very day of the White House ceremony. "This is the moment of return, the moment of gaining a foothold on the first liberated Palestinian land."
  • Arafat declared that the "Phased Plan" adopted by the PLO in 1974 remained in force. That plan was a strategy to establish political control over any territory it could acquire from Israel, then use that territory as a base of operations to continue the "armed struggle" until all of Israel was conquered. 1,675 Israeli women, men, children, and babies would lose their lives to Palestinian terror in the years following Arafat's renunciation of violence.
  • As the late great Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post, "Underlying Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is the cliche that one can only make peace with one's enemy. It is equally true, however, that one can only make peace with an enemy who truly wants peace. If the enemy is intent on remaining an enemy, if his objective is not peace but victory, if he believes your very existence is a stain on his honor and his God, peace is not possible. With such an enemy, negotiations are futile."

    The writer has been a columnist for the Boston Globe since 1994.
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