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On Topic Links


Is Erdogan Closing Hamas' Istanbul Office?: Shlomi Eldar, Al-Monitor, Dec. 21, 2015

Hungary: Labeling of Settlement Goods is Counterproductive: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2015

David’s Sling: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2015

Legacy or Bust: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2015




"We apologized and we’re ready to pay compensations. [Turkish President Recep Erdogan] should stop talking nonsense about the removal of the Gaza siege, because Turkey knows that there is no such thing, and we are not about to pay more for normalization." — An Israeli government official. Israel officially avoided issuing a response to Erdogan's hint at warming ties, saying if the Turks wanted to normalize their relations with Jerusalem, then "the ball is in their court." Turkey, like some officials in Israel, thinks that a rare opportunity has presented itself to bring an end to the conflict between the two countries. They are really trying to squeeze an Israeli statement out of the deal, which would have Jerusalem promise to end its blockade on Gaza. Officials in Jerusalem on their part say that the Turks can "forget about it."  (Ynet, Dec. 14, 2015)  


“News that the Turkish and Israeli governments are about to renew full diplomatic relations after years of tensions causes me to smile cynically — and to worry again about Israeli gullibility… Under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish government took one step after another to degrade Israelis and diminish relations between the two states, peaking with its indirect sponsorship of the Mavi Marmara ship to Gaza in 2010…Then, on November 24, Erdogan made the disastrous mistake of shooting down a Russian plane that had veered into Turkish airspace for 17 short seconds. This action came, it bears noting, against the backdrop of some 2,244 violations of Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft in 2014. The almost-unprovoked aggression raised the extreme ire of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin…Once the Russian threat has passed, Turkish Islamists (who will likely be around for a good long while) will resume their old ways, including the bitterly anti-Israel dimension.” — Middle East Forum President, and CIJR Academic Fellow, Daniel Pipes. (National Review, Dec. 20, 2015)


“In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has.” —Republican presidential candidate and business magnate Donald Trump. On Sunday, Trump defended Russian president Vladimir Putin’s alleged record of assassinating journalists. During an interview on ABC, when Trump was asked about Putin’s reported involvement with the murder of journalists critical of his government, Trump replied, “Our country does plenty of killing also.” Trump has expressed admiration of Putin in the past. In July, he said that if he were elected president, “I think I would just get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.” He also used the opportunity to take a jab at Obama, saying, “At least he’s a leader unlike what we have in this country.” (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 21, 2015)


“We are being told that we are rescuing Syrians, but it’s not true. We are not pulling people out of the battlefield or people who are on the run. What we are doing is we are pulling people out of Jordan and Turkey who have been there for months, even years. People whose screening has already taken place. Those are the people we are bringing in.” — Guidy Mamann, a Toronto-based immigration lawyer. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is bringing in 25,000 people “from a very disturbed part of the world…I’m not telling you all 25,000 refugees are bad. What I am telling you for sure is that some of these people are bad. This is not an anti-Muslim sentiment. It’s a fact that everyone should understand. If a young boy or girl is raised in an environment where people are killing each other every day, where there is religious intolerance, hatred towards gays and disrespect for women, it’s going to be a lot to ask of them to suddenly develop those skills…There are going to be problems, there is no question about that,” said Mamann (CIJ News, Dec. 17, 2015) 


"Aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology and activities … run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs…The Muslim Brotherhood is not the only movement that promotes values which appear intolerant of equality and freedom of faith and belief…But I have made clear this government's determination to reject intolerance, and to counter not just violent Islamist extremism, but also to tackle those who create the conditions for it to flourish." — British Prime Minister David Cameron. The U.K. declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after an 18-month study — and the White House slammed the document as flying in the face of the Brotherhood's history as a "nonviolent Islamist group." The report described the Muslim Brotherhood as anti-democratic, openly supportive of terrorism, dedicated to establishing an Islamist government — and opposed to the rule of law, individual liberty, and equality. (Newsmax, Dec. 22, 2015)

"I think that all over the world we have problems with radical Muslims. What we see… is a common enemy. These radical terror organizations have similar tactics and I hope the world will understand what Israel has [faced] in the last decades…I hope that maybe now they will understand what a threat the world has, facing non-state actors and terrorist organizations – and we know it is Iran that gives money to Hizballah and tries to give them missiles to hit every place in Israel." — Senior IDF official, who asked to remain anonymous. The IDF official spelled out the likely scenario should Hezbollah live up to its promises and attack Israel from the north. He did not discuss the likelihood of an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah, but painted a grim assessment of what the Israeli public can expect. "The next war will be different. As an Israeli citizen, father to two boys in the army, I really hope we will find a solution to peace in the area… but we have to deal with this," he explained. "I believe that in the next war we will see that Hizballah and Hamas will both launch missiles. They have the same interest here." (IPT News, Dec. 16, 2015)

“As world attention focuses on the latest spate of Middle East fiascos—from the migrant hordes swamping Europe, to Russia's Syria intervention, to the latest flare-up of Palestinian terrorism—for which the U.S. administration is partly culpable, the Iran nuclear deal will undoubtedly remain Obama's foremost foreign policy folly. For the real issue is not whether the JCPOA irrevocably blocks Tehran's road to the bomb (which it does not), or whether the administration could have attained a better deal (which it could), or even whether no agreement is better than a bad agreement (as initially argued by Obama) or an assured recipe to war (as he later claimed). Rather the question is whether an agreement with a murderous, messianic, Islamist tyranny, reigning over one of the Middle East's most powerful nations and committed to the world-conquering agenda of its founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, should have been sought in the first place.” — Efraim Karsh (Middle East Quarterly, Winter, 2016)  


“…Let’s imagine some clerics, some academics, some women and men of goodwill doing this work of rereading, reintegrating, putting in the context of Nostra Aetate, ‘our age,’ the holy work of which, then, in the model of Nostra Aetate will spread in this way, if we could have this last avatar, it would really change the world and it would really solve the ‘uneasiness’ in civilization which we are today dealing with. So please, a Muslim Nostra Aetate!” — French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. Lévy called on the Muslim world to formulate its own version of the famed Nostra Aetate declaration by Pope Paul VI in 1965. The document, which denounced antisemitism and effectively absolved Jews for the death of Jesus, amounted to a historic reset of Catholic-Jewish relations and also outlined the Church’s modern attitude to other world faiths. (Algemeiner, Dec. 20, 2015)


“Right now, a lot of Jews in Sweden are scared. Parents are scared to drop off their kids at the Jewish preschool…People of all ages are scared of going to synagogue, there are many people who are taking off their Stars of David because they are too scared to wear it.” — Johanna Schreiber, a prominent Jewish journalist in Stockholm, Sweden. Hate crimes against Swedish Jews are on the rise, with 2014 seeing a 38 percent increase in reported antisemitic incidents from the previous year. Last month Schreiber received hateful comments and was targeted for identity theft after publishing an article where she called out political groups for not inviting Jewish organizations to ceremonies across Sweden commemorating Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass,” when violent anti-Jewish pogroms erupted throughout Nazi Germany and Austria in November 1938. When questioned, one of the organizers claimed Jews might not feel safe at the event. (Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2015)


“It is quite outrageous that the Hungarian taxpayer should fund a monument for a man who was not only an anti-Semite, a key figure in the persecution of Hungarian Jews before and during World War II, and a supporter of Nazi Germany and the fascist Arrow Cross regime in 1944, but who also remained unrepentant until his death.” — World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder. Hungary has dropped plans to erect a statue honoring Balint Homan, a World War II-era government minister who was behind many of the country’s anti-Jewish laws. Hungarian news reported that the private Balint Homan Foundation has dropped the plans for the statue, which sought to honor him for his role as a historian and former minister. Homan served as a minister to several Hungarian governments during the 1930s and 40s, and played a significant role in the drafting of anti-Jewish laws in the late 1930s as well as in the deportation of 430,000 Jews to Auschwitz. (JNS, Dec. 18, 2015)


“In response to this effort to cast a beacon of freedom, tolerance and decency as a pariah state, I have decided this holiday season to send you products that were made in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights…I hope you will enjoy them.” — Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. Dermer sent holidays gifts with products produced in settlements to strike back against those advocating a boycott of Israel. In a letter posted on Twitter, Dermer said the BDS movement was promoted by “fanatics and fools” who are “promoting a new anti-Semitism.” The letter accompanied a photograph of holiday gift boxes labeled “Embassy of Israel Washington, D.C.” (JTA, Dec. 22, 2015)






TERROR CHIEF KUNTAR KILLED IN REPORTED ISRAELI STRIKE IN SYRIA (Beirut) — Arab media reported Sunday that Israel assassinated Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar. Several IAF missiles struck a Damascus suburb, killing Kuntar and eight other operatives. Hezbollah confirmed that he was killed in an Israeli airstrike, and alleged that Israel may have coordinated the hit with Syrian rebel “terrorists” in the area. A Lebanese Druze, Kuntar became infamous for a brutal 1979 raid from Lebanon in which he helped kidnap an Israeli family, then smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle butt, killing her. Three other Israelis including her father were killed in the attack. Kuntar was 16 at the time, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front. (Times of Israel, Dec. 20, 2015)


THREE WOUNDED, ONE CRITICALLY, IN JERUSALEM STABBING (Jerusalem) — Three Israelis were wounded in a stabbing attack Wednesday at the Old City’s Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. Paramedics said they treated one critically wounded victim and two who were in serious condition. The attack was carried out by two Palestinian stabbers, both of whom were shot by policewomen at the scene. The Old City of Jerusalem has seen multiple stabbing attacks against Israeli civilians and security personnel in recent months. Over 20 people have been killed by Palestinian attackers in the recent wave of violence in Israel and the West Bank, which broke out in September. (Times of Israel, Dec. 23, 2015)


LIKELY TURKISH-ISRAELI THAW RAISES HOPES FOR GAS PROJECT (Ankara) — Expectations that Turkey and Israel will restore relations after a five year rift have raised hopes of speedy progress in talks to import Israeli natural gas, potentially a multi-billion-dollar project. Turkey, largely dependent on imports for its energy needs, has ramped up efforts to find new sources of natural gas due to worsening tensions with Russia. Turkish firms have long been negotiating with Israeli counterparts on a pipeline to carry Leviathan gas. Leviathan, with estimated reserves of 622 billion cubic meters, will cost at least $6 billion to develop. It is meant to begin production in 2018-2020, and supply gas to Egypt and Jordan, and possibly Turkey and Europe. (Ynet, Dec. 18, 2015)


CANADA AIMS TO DOUBLE INTAKE OF SYRIAN REFUGEES TO 50,000 (Ottawa) — Canada’s Minister of Immigration and Citizenship says the country’s resettlement program for Syrian refugees could double its intake by the end of next year to 50,000. John McCallum was in Amman, Jordan, meeting with Syrian families preparing to go to Canada. He told one family: “Everyone in Canada is waiting to meet you.” Canada’s new Liberal government is pushing forward with its pledge to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February. McCallum says Canada hopes to settle 35,000 to 50,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, with the UN, the Jordanian government and the International Organization for Migration assisting with the vetting process. (Globe & Mail, Dec. 21, 2015)


IRAQ SENDS MORE TROOPS TO FIGHT I.S. IN RAMADI (Baghdad) — Iraq sent battalions of reinforcements this week to secure neighborhoods in Ramadi recaptured from I.S., as soldiers continued an offensive for a second day to try to take full control of the city. The reinforcements, including Sunni tribal fighters trained by the U.S., were intended to allow the first wave of troops to continue pushing toward a government complex in Ramadi held by I.S. The recapture of Ramadi would be the most important in a series of recent setbacks for I.S., and the first major success for Iraqi Army troops fighting without support from Kurdish or Shiite militias, the country’s most effective fighting forces. I.S. captured Ramadi in May, dealing a humiliating blow to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and exposing government failures, including the disorganization of the military. (New York Times, Dec. 23, 2015)


NEWLY CROWNED MISS IRAQ RECEIVES THREATENING PHONE CALL: JOIN I.S. OR ELSE (Kirkuk) — Iraq's new beauty queen received a threatening phone call on Tuesday telling her to join the ranks of I.S. or she will be kidnapped, according to a report by the Kuwaiti daily al-Watan. Shayma Qassim, 20, won the first beauty pageant to be held in Iraq in 40 years on Saturday. Following her win Qassim received the threatening phone call. The beauty queen from the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq was distressed by the phone call, but has said that she will not let the threat stop her. She expressed her determination to "continue forward despite any obstacles," according to a report published by the organizers of the Miss Iraq competition. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2015)


SWEDISH CITIZENS RECEIVE THREATENING I.S. STYLE MESSAGES TO CONVERT OR DIE (Stockholm) — Dozens of Swedish citizens received threatening letters with "ISIS" signatures, calling for them to either convert to Islam, pay tax to the terrorist organization, or be killed – according to a Russia Today Arabic report. Swedish media reports that police are taking the threats seriously, considering the messages were disseminated in Swedish to people throughout the country. The messages included the national identity number of the targeted individuals in an effort to enhance the terrorists' credibility. Swedish police confirmed receipt of multiple threats from similar letters distributed in several Swedish regions, including the capital Stockholm. According to a Swedish newspaper, at least 150 jihadists from Gothenburg are believed to have fled to join ISIS. (Algemeiner, Dec. 16, 2015)


'I.S.-INSPIRED TERROR PLOT SOUGHT TO TARGET ISRAEL'S EMBASSY IN BERLIN' (Berlin) — Two German-born Muslims of Palestinian origin, arrested on suspicion of planning an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, were brought before a German court last Wednesday. The men, both aged 21, were arrested in June while trying to prepare an explosive device from firecrackers. Officials said they made preparations between December 2014 and July 2015 to carry out an attack on the Israeli Embassy or some other Israeli or Jewish institution, having possibly been inspired by I.S. The two claim they did not actually intend to target the Israeli Embassy and only wanted to have “fun,” according to an Israeli report. They said their bomb was far from professional. (Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2015)


IDF RESERVE OFFICER BRIEFLY DETAINED IN UK FOR WAR CRIMES (London) — An IDF officer in reserves who fought in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 was detained upon landing in the UK a few weeks ago due to a complaint made against him that he was involved in war crimes. Any soldier who fought in the 50-day war, whose details or photos were posted online, may find himself on the blacklist of pro-Palestinian organizations who filed complaints at European police stations. The officer, who came to Britain on a business trip, was released a few hours after being detained, thanks to the intervention of the Foreign Ministry with the assistance of the IDF's Operations Directorate. British authorities apologized to Israel following the incident. (Ynet, Dec. 13, 2015)


EU MULLS ADOPTING DEFINITION OF JEW HATRED (Berlin) — At Israel’s request, the EU may formulate a clear definition of antisemitism in a bid to better fight the phenomenon, the EU’s new point person for combating Jew-hatred said. “The definition of antisemitism is very disputed, even among Jews themselves. The main dissent revolves around the question of manifestations against the State of Israel,” said Katharina von Schnurbein. “One thing is clear: Antisemitism can sometimes hide behind anti-Zionism. That is certainly our understanding here.” In 2013, the EU’s agency for fighting racism suddenly dropped its definition of antisemitism — which included vilification of Israel — from its website, drawing criticism from Jewish groups. (Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2015)


DAVID'S SLING PASSES FINAL ROUND OF TESTS (Jerusalem) — Israel's air defense system David's Sling has passed its final round of tests, putting it on course for deployment in 2016, the Defense Ministry said on Monday. David's Sling is designed to shoot down rockets with ranges of 100 to 200 km (63 to 125 miles), aircraft, or low-flying cruise missiles. It will fill the operational gap between the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor, both already in service.  The three systems incorporate a network of radar-guided interceptors designed to shoot down everything from the low-flying Katyusha-style rockets of Hezbollah and Palestinian guerrillas to the ballistic Shehab and Scud missiles of Iran and Syria. (Ynet, Dec. 21, 2015)


ISRAEL’S NEWEST SUBMARINE LEAVES GERMANY, BOUND FOR HAIFA (Jerusalem) — The latest and one of the most expensive weapons in the IDF’s arsenal, the Dolphin-class submarine INS Rahav, set out for Haifa from the German port of Kiel on Thursday. Ordered a decade ago, the Rahav will be Israel’s fifth Dolphin-class submarine when it arrives next month. Rahav is the Hebrew name for the Greek god of the seas, Neptune. The diesel-powered sub is over 220 feet (67 meters) long and weighs more than 2,000 tons. Last year, the INS Tanin — crocodile, in Hebrew — arrived in Israel. The nuclear-capable submarine, similar in most ways to the new Rahav, came equipped with 10 torpedo tubes, capable of holding a variety of missiles. (Times of Israel, Dec. 17, 2015)


TECHNION BREAKS GROUND ON FIRST ISRAELI UNIVERSITY IN CHINA (Beijing) — The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology laid a cornerstone on Wednesday for the first Israeli University in China – The Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou, in the Guangdong province of southeastern China. The new university represents a historic collaboration between the Technion and Shantou University in China. The university, set to enroll its first class of 200 students in 2016, will be comprised of three schools – the College of Engineering, the College of Science and the College of Life Sciences. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 16, 2015)


ANCIENT MARBLE SLAB FROM TIME OF JESUS DISCOVERED AT KINNERET (Jerusalem) — Archaeologists from Haifa University discovered a large marble slab with Hebrew writing last week. The slab has been dated to approximately 500 A.D. and was found at the site of a 1,500 year-old village, now considered to be the Biblical Kursi. The discovery was made on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret), in the vicinity of the Kursi National Park, where a Byzantine monastery stood, marking the place where according to the New Testament, Jesus performed one of his miracles. Haifa University experts are currently working on deciphering the scripture on the slab which they said is in Aramaic but written in Hebrew letters. So far, two words have been positively identified, “Amen” and “Marmaria.” (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 17, 2015)


UN RECOGNIZES YOM KIPPUR AS OFFICIAL HOLIDAY (Geneva) — In an historic decision nearly three years in the making, the United Nations officially recognized Yom Kippur as a holiday, to be marked annually starting in 2016. Official UN holidays mean no meetings or official events will be held on those dates, with religious employees permitted to take the day off without losing vacation days. Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day of fasting, prayer and atonement, and offers a chance to wipe the slate clean with God. Yom Kippur has caused considerable strain over the years, as it falls almost every year during the opening week of the UN General Assembly. Each year, Israeli delegates have had to ask for meetings to be postponed or moved to allow them to participate. Israel has been a member state of the UN since 1949. (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 22, 2015)



On Topic Links


Is Erdogan Closing Hamas' Istanbul Office?: Shlomi Eldar, Al-Monitor, Dec. 21, 2015—Two days after it was reported that Israel and Turkey had reached a series of understandings ultimately leading to their reconciliation, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

Hungary: Labeling of Settlement Goods is Counterproductive: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2015—Hungary is sticking to its criticism of the European Union’s policy of labeling settlement goods, arguing that it is counterproductive to the body’s bid to become a significant player in the Middle East, and does nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.  

David’s Sling: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2015—The coincidence was impossible to miss: The same day Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to avenge the killing of terrorist Samir Kuntar (allegedly by the IAF), the Defense Ministry carried out a successful final trial of the David’s Sling air defense system.

Legacy or Bust: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2015—Last Saturday, Barack Obama gained the second jewel in his foreign policy triple crown: the Paris climate accord. It follows his Iran nuclear deal and awaits but the closing of Guantanamo to complete his glittering legacy.




Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes


Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf


On Topic Links


Feting Jerusalem: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2013

The Region: Passivity in the Face of Islamism: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2013

Israeli Start-Up Device Gives the Visually Impaired a Way to Read: John Markoff, New York Times, June 3, 2013


"If I open a PA textbook and see that Israel doesn't appear on the map, or that Tel Aviv is designated as a settlement, and when a 3-year-old boy is brought up to admire suicide bombers – you can sign any agreement and in the end it will blow up in your face….We are being attacked over the issue of settlements. If we're talking about peace and coexistence, why are the Palestinians demanding territory free of Jews " — Moshe Ya'alon, Israeli Defense Minister addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday [June 3]. "We're ready to begin the process immediately without preconditions, and discuss all the issues….We don't want to rule the Palestinians. We're ready to advance the diplomatic process, which Abbas is avoiding by setting preconditions. [But] “we are unwilling to pay a price just for them to come to the table,"  Ya'alon said. (Israel Hayom, June 3, 2013)


"Israel has to accept [the Palestinian position] to re-launch negotiations so that we can go back to the negotiating table as soon as possible to reach a solution to all outstanding issues and achieve the two-state solution on the 1967 borders.” — Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority at a press conference in Ramallah with Mohamed Waheed Hassan, President of the Maldives. (Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2013)


"Let’s be clear: If we do not succeed now – and I know I’m raising those stakes – but if we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance. So we can’t let the disappointments of the past hold the future prisoner….I fully recognize the challenges and predicament in which Israel finds itself, but I also firmly believe this is a hopeful time if we choose to make it so. This can actually be a time for possibility, a time for promise.  I still believe peace is achievable. Quite simply, peace pays." — John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, in a speech to the American Jewish Committee Monday [June 3]. "In reality, the dawn of a new era" – the Arab Spring – "is exactly the kind of time to recast Israel’s relationships, to change the narrative with a new generation that is starting to make its voice heard." (Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2013)


"We are very concerned about the new supply of sophisticated arms to Syria itself. We don’t understand Russia's position about it. Why should anyone supply [Syrian President Bashar] Assad with advanced ballistic or anti-aircraft or anti-ship rockets at this very time. Maybe, because of the disorder in Syria, of the very heavy dependence of Syria on the Iranians assistance, some of those weapons might unfortunately find their way to the Iranians. This is very bad, and against the weapon embargo on Iran." — Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs and Intelligence, at a speech at The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). (Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2013)


“It’s a protest against all the things [the government] does – they just say, ‘We want this,’ and proceed to do it but in an undemocratic manner. I think these protests will grow, grow, grow, like a snowball. It’s the first time that you see such protests here – so many people coming together from so many different parts of society.” — Bak, 42, a Turkish protester manning a barricade near the scene of some of the clashes that broke out in Istanbul  on May 31. (Globe and Mail, June 3, 2013)


“Now we have a menace that is called Twitter. The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society. People are being misled by outright lies.” —Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, in an interview on Turkish television during the countrywide demonstrations that swelled across Turkey since May 31. (Globe and Mail, June 2, 2013)


“If we start to lose control, you will see thousands of Iranians come to Syria, thousands of Lebanese, from Iraq also. They are going to fight, they are not going to watch. That’s part of their religion [Shiism] —Rafiq Lotof, a Syrian-American Shiite who left his pizza business in New Jersey to help Syrian officials organize militias known as the National Defense Forces to defend Shiite shrines from Sunni Syrian rebels. Days after pro-government militias killed scores of civilians last month in the Sunni village of Bayda near the Syrian coast, one Sunni resident declared in an interview: “Starting today, I am sectarian. I am sectarian! I don’t want ‘peaceful’ anymore.” (New York Times, June 1, 2013)


“It’s the first time in Turkey’s democratic history that an unplanned, peaceful protest movement succeeded in changing the government’s approach and policy. “It gave for the first time a strong sense of empowerment to ordinary citizens to demonstrate and further their belief that if they act like they did the last few days they can influence events in Turkey.” — Sinan Ulgen, the chairman of the Center for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies, a research group in Istanbul.
   “He criticized Assad, but he’s the same. He’s crazy. No one knows what he’s doing or thinking. He’s completely crazy. Whatever he says today, he will say something different tomorrow.” —  Murat Uludag, 32, a by-stander watching the running battles between protesters and Turkish police in the capital, Istanbul
   “When he first came to power, he was a good persuader and a good speaker. He brainwashed people with religion, and that’s how he got the votes. He fooled us. He’s a liar and a dictator.” —  Serder Cilik, 32, who was sitting at a tea shop watching the chaos in Turkey unfold. (New York Times, June 2, 2013)


"I call on Muslims everywhere to help their brothers be victorious, "If I had the ability I would go and fight with them.Everyone who has the ability and has training to kill … is required to go. We cannot ask our brothers to be killed while we watch.” — Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni Muslim cleric whose TV show is watched by millions across the region, in his Friday sermon in the Qatari capital of Doha. He denounced Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, as "more infidel than Christians and Jews" and Shiite Muslim Hezbollah as "the party of the devil." (USA Today, June 1, 2013)


“I am not a politician at all. I’m not in this for rank or position. I’m in this because I fundamentally want to change the nature of politics in this country and, above all, I want my country back.” — Nigel Farage, head of the upstart UK Independence Party (UKIP) a right of centre party opposing gay marriage, promoting less immigration and pulling Britain out of the European Union. The UKIP’s popularity surged after the gruesome daytime beheading of a British soldier by a pair of Muslim extremists and is about to pass the Conservative party in the polls, to a gathering of foreign reporters Friday [May 24]. (Globe and Mail, May 25, 2013)


[U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder is in a mess of his own making. More than two weeks ago, the attorney general testified to the House Judiciary Committee in categorical terms: ‘With regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I have ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy.’ Then The Post published the text of an affidavit Holder had authorized in an espionage case saying there was ‘probable cause’ to believe journalist James Rosen was a ‘co-conspirator and/or aider and abettor’ because of a leak he received. The affidavit cited ‘the reporter’s own potential criminal liability in this matter.’ Now House Republicans are talking about perjury, and it would seem that they have, well, probable cause…..”— Dana Milbank, in an op-ed article for the Washington Post. (Washington Post, May 31, 2013)


"The fence that we built in the south is achieving the result for which it was erected. As opposed to the over 2,000 infiltrators who entered Israel exactly one year ago…in May 2013 exactly two infiltrators crossed the border and were detained. Now we need to focus on repatriating the illegal infiltrators who are here."  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement Sunday [June 2].  (Israel Prime Minister's Office, June 2, 2013)


Top of Page



MOST ISRAELIS AGAINST DIVIDING JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) 74% of Israeli Jews reject the idea of a Palestinian capital in any portion of Jerusalem. Only 15% say they would support relinquishing sovereignty over eastern portions of the city to the Palestinians, according to a Jerusalem Post-Rafi Smith poll conducted on Monday [June 3]  67% support a two-state solution, but only 8% want a solution based on the pre-1967 lines as proposed by the Palestinians and the Arab League. Of the 500 Israeli Jewish adults polled, 21% were religious or Haredi, 29% were traditional and 50% were secular. The poll was conducted amidst a major United States push to rekindle direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have been largely frozen since 2008. (Jerusalem Post, June 5, 2013)


AFRICAN COUNTRY AGREES TO TAKE IN ERITREAN LABOR MIGRANTS LIVING IN ISRAEL (Jerusalem) An African country has agreed to take in Eritrean labor migrants living in Israel, today numbering around 35,000, if Israel gives them agricultural training first. A senior Israeli official said Sunday that talks were underway with several countries that might accept the migrants. Israel has discussed the issue with Ghana, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. (Ha'aretz, June 3, 2013)


PROSECUTOR IN ARGENTINA SEES IRANIAN PLOT IN LATIN AMERICA(Buenos Aires)  The special prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center here that killed 85 people released a report on Wednesday claiming that Iran had set up intelligence stations in different parts of Latin America with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks directly or through Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militant group. The report by Alberto Nisman, who has already accused senior Iranian officials of planning and financing the 1994 bombing and Hezbollah of carrying it out, points to the resistance among some here to a recent thaw in relations between Argentina and Iran. The two nations agreed in January to establish a joint commission to investigate the attack, which has never been solved. (New York Times, May 29, 2013)


NEW PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER PUTS ABBAS AT ODDS WITH HAMAS(Ramallah) Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas named British-educated political independent Rami Hamdallah as new prime minister on Sunday, a move that was immediately condemned by Gaza Strip rulers Hamas. Mr. Abbas and the militant Islamic group agreed in principle last month to form a unity government for the divided Palestinian territories, and a Hamas spokesman said Mr. Hamdallah’s appointment threw that into doubt. Fawzi Barhoum told Reuters: “Abbas should have implemented the reconciliation [deal]” achieved in Cairo last month, rather than name his own independent candidate. The group called Mr. Hamdallah’s appointment “illegal.” (Globe and Mail, June 3, 2013)

IRANIAN AMERICAN IN IRAN-BACKED PLOT TO KILL SAUDI AMBASSADOR GETS 25 YEARS (Washington) An Iranian American used-car salesman from Texas at the center of a bizarre plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Manhattan to 25 years in prison. Mannsor Arbabsiar, 58, had pleaded guilty in October to a charge of murder-for-hire and two counts of conspiracy for his role in attempting to orchestrate the 2011 bombing assassination of Adel al-Jubeir while the ambassador dined at Cafe Milano, an upscale Georgetown restaurant. Prosecutors said Arbabsiar was recruited by a cousin who was a senior official in the Quds Force, which in 2007 the Treasury Department designated a terrorist supporter, according to court papers. (Washington Post, May 31, 2013)


DEVICE FROM ISRAELI START-UP GIVES THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED A WAY TO READ (Tel Aviv) The OrCam device is a small camera worn in the style of Google Glass, connected by a thin cable to a portable computer designed to fit in the wearer's pocket.  The system clips on to the wearer's glasses with a small magnet and uses a bone-conduction speaker to offer clear speech as it reads aloud the words or object pointed to by the user.  It recognizes English-language text and beginning this week will be sold for $2,500, about the cost of a mid-range hearing aid. The system is designed to both recognize and speak “text in the wild,” a term used to describe newspaper articles as well as bus numbers, and objects as diverse as landmarks, traffic lights and the faces of friends. (New York Times, June 3, 2013)

Top of Page


On Topic

Feting Jerusalem: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2013—Forty-six years ago today Israel embarked on a war against the combined armies of its Arab neighbors – Egypt, Syria and Jordan. Today, 46 years after reunification, Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city with a population of over 800,000.


The Region: Passivity in the face of Islamism: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2013—While anger and despair are going to rise in Egypt these factors are not in themselves enough to bring down a regime.


Device From Israeli Start-Up Gives the Visually Impaired a Way to Read: John Markoff, New York Times, June 3, 2013—Liat Negrin, an Israeli who has been visually impaired since childhood, walked into a grocery store here recently, picked up a can of vegetables and easily read its label using a simple and unobtrusive camera attached to her glasses.



Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-82843



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