Tag: Israeli elections

ISRAEL PREPARES FOR 2019 ELECTIONS AMID ONGOING GAZA INCENDIARY ATTACKS AND NATION-STATE LAW CONTROVERSY

Israel Rolls Out Election Campaigns, Scenting Early Vote: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Aug. 1, 2018— On July 27, Defense Minister Avigdor Libe

rman brought the members of his Knesset faction on a visit to the kibbutzim surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Opposition Took the Bait of Bibi’s New Law: Zev Chafets, Bloomberg, Aug. 3, 2018— The controversy over the nation-state law passed by Israel’s Knesset on July 19th continues to percolate. At first glance, it is hard to understand why.

Can Israel Be Both Jewish and Democratic?: Alex Grobman, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018— There seems to be no end to the myths surrounding the Jewish state.

Which Foreign Leaders Should Israel Welcome?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 5, 2018— There were several negative reactions in Israel to the welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received during his recent visit to the country.

On Topic Links

Dangerously Disloyal Opposition?: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 3, 2018

Hypocrisy and Hysteria Regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 13, 2018

Livni Returns as Israeli Opposition Leader: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, July 24, 2018

Israel Is Losing the Social Media War: David Patrikarakos, Tablet, June 25, 2018

 

ISRAEL ROLLS OUT ELECTION CAMPAIGNS, SCENTING EARLY VOTE

Mazal Mualem

Al-Monitor, Aug. 1, 2018

 

On July 27, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman brought the members of his Knesset faction on a visit to the kibbutzim surrounding the Gaza Strip. At Kibbutz Or HaNer, the Yisrael Beitenu chairman met with local residents who are frustrated after many long weeks of flaming kites destroying their fields and ruining their children’s summer vacations. Liberman sent the message that he is not afraid of taking the conflict with Hamas up a notch, making statements like, “If we get Code Red sirens here, it’ll get deep red in Gaza.”

Liberman and his staff have been making many such comments online and to journalists. During their visit to the south, the faction also held a private meeting in the restaurant on Kibbutz Bror Hayil. That evening, the News Company reported on a clash between Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting a few days earlier. Liberman wanted to deal a harsh military blow to Gaza, but Netanyahu blocked it.

According to the report, Liberman used the faction meeting to give his own account of the tension between himself and Netanyahu. He has a reputation for creating crises for his own political ends, so it is certainly safe to assume that the current one is another example. Liberman wants to present himself as taking a much more aggressive stance against Hamas than Netanyahu is, particularly since voters currently give the government low marks on this issue. According to a July 24 poll by the News Company, 70% of the public is unhappy with the way the flaming kites from Gaza are being handled by the government.

Liberman may sit in the Defense Ministry, but most people still do not consider him an authority on security matters. He is therefore trying to use the Gaza crisis to boost his standing. He will continue fighting with Netanyahu on this issue as long as it serves his interests.

Meanwhile, all signs on the ground seem to indicate that Liberman is preparing for early Knesset elections, as are all the other key players. His highly publicized clash with Netanyahu — the first of its kind since he became defense minister in May 2016 — is further evidence. Officially, the prime minister’s office denies any dispute, but a source close to Netanyahu has been quoted in the Israeli press as saying, “Liberman is a big talker but his actions are very much the opposite.”

All this happened one week after the Knesset began its summer recess July 22. While the coalition is still intact, there are still a lot of unresolved tension and conflicts that could come to a head when the Knesset begins its winter session Oct. 15. Then, many believe, some excuse will be found to dissolve the Knesset and the country will head to early elections. Since none of the major players want to be caught off guard, they launched their 2019 campaigns last week, even if unofficially.

Kulanu’s chairman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, was the quickest and also the most direct. Last week he hosted a festive inauguration of his election headquarters in Tel Aviv and plastered the streets with campaign posters.

But that was just the beginning. On July 29, hundreds of thousands of readers of Yisrael HaYom, the free newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson and usually identified with Netanyahu, came across a very unusual headline. It was actually a huge ad in disguise that took up the entire front page. It contained a long list of achievements attributed to Kahlon, drawn from every imaginable field: security, healthy and education. Kahlon’s boasting about achievements far beyond his own finance domain infuriated the other ministers, who claimed that he was taking credit for things that he did not do. “He always complains that Netanyahu does that to him, but now that he is facing election pressure, he is doing the exact same thing,” one Likud minister told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.

Kahlon isn’t too worried. In talks with his associates he expressed his belief that sometime in October, Netanyahu will find an excuse to hold an election before any recommendation to indict him is made. What will be the excuse for dissolving the government? Netanyahu has several options. In any case, he is acting as though he is preparing for early elections. He refuses to change the controversial recently adopted nationality law despite growing protests among the Druze community, because the new law is popular with Likud voters and Netanyahu believes that it will be a banner issue in his upcoming campaign. As he prepares to face off against HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett, with whom he will be competing for the right-wing vote, Netanyahu will try to resolve the problem with the Druze protests through dialogue, economic incentives and point-specific legislation, but he will not back down from the law. On the contrary, the Likud leader is already marketing the new law aggressively. A new video he posted online goes so far as to accuse the left of disseminating lies about it.

Then there are the LGBT protests over the last few weeks over the amended surrogacy law, which discriminates against gay men. Here, too, Netanyahu is not expected to surprise anyone with an about-face on policy. With elections in the offing, Netanyahu will not risk his alliance with the ultra-Orthodox parties, which he will need to put together his next government. Netanyahu will need to be fully confident that the ultra-Orthodox parties will continue be his partners if he forms his fifth government…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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            ISRAEL’S OPPOSITION TOOK THE BAIT OF BIBI’S NEW LAW        

                                                  Zev Chafets

                                                Bloomberg, Aug. 3, 2018

 

The controversy over the nation-state law passed by Israel’s Knesset on July 19th continues to percolate. At first glance, it is hard to understand why. The bill seems superfluous. It starts by asserting three principles that have been the essence of Jewish nationalism for more than a century: The land of Israel is “the historical homeland of the Jewish people.” The State of Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people.” And, in that state, the Jewish people are uniquely entitled to “national self-determination.”

From there the law reiterates long-established facts of Israeli law. The flag, which it describes, is the same old Star of David. The national anthem remains the same. Saturday is the day of rest (with alternatives for non-Jewish citizens). Hebrew is the official language (Arabic enjoys the same special status it has always had). Israel encourages free Jewish immigration with the goal of gathering “exiled” diaspora communities. And so on.

This is Zionism 101. Since the founding of the state, it has gone without saying. So why did it need to be said now? The answer is a national election is on the horizon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ex-special forces officer, always lays a few traps in the political battlefield beforehand. And his opponents consistently fall into them. That has happened again with the law. Bibi’s two main rival parties joined with the anti-Zionist Arab List and a hard-left fringe party, Meretz, in voting against the law. The final count was 62-55 in favor, with two abstentions and one absence.

A who’s who of Israeli writers and artists denounced the legislation as “a sin” and demanded it be rescinded forthwith. Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the international best-seller, “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind,” publicly refused an invitation to appear with Bill Gates at an event sponsored by the Israeli consulate in LA. Meanwhile, Israel’s airwaves and social media were dominated by commentators calling Bibi a fascist and the law a disgrace. The climate was hot enough that one or two of his centrist colleagues seemed to waver.

Then, at the weekly Sunday cabinet meeting, Bibi launched a counter-offensive. “Do not apologize” he ordered his ministers. “Attacks from the Israeli left, which calls itself Zionist, reveal how low it has sunk, how a basic tenet of Zionism — a Jewish nation-state for the Israeli people in its country — has become, for [the left] a rude and dirty term, a shameful principle. We are not ashamed of Zionism.”

Cabinet ministers heard the message and stood firm. The wisdom of Bibi’s approach was confirmed when the first post-legislation poll was published, showing 58 percent of the public favors the law, while just 34 percent (including 100 percent of Israeli Arabs) are opposed. Even more important, slightly more than half of Yesh Atid’s voters and a substantial number of Zionist Union supporters — the two main opposition parties who voted against the law — agree with the law.

These numbers will grow as Netanyahu relentlessly charges his opponents with abandoning the symbols and principles of the founding fathers. I don’t want to suggest that this is merely a cynical campaign strategy. Netanyahu, like every one of his predecessors (and the great majority of Israelis) believes that Israel is sui generis, a country founded with a specific purpose for a particular people. The law reflects that.

Israel is a democracy, but it’s not egalitarian. It is a Jewish democracy. All its citizens have civil rights (to vote, hold office, get a fair trial, speak freely and worship in their own way) but the Law of Return gives Jews anywhere in the world the right to automatic immigration. This is discrimination, plain and simple.

Members of the progressive intelligentsia and their Jewish counterparts abroad, want to see Israel drop its Zionist mission and become, like other modern democracies, simply a state of all its citizens. They argue that an officially Jewish state is both undemocratic and unattractive. In the long run, critics say, it could cost Israel its reputation and its American support.

Perhaps they are right about this. But the long run isn’t really the issue. Prime ministers stay in power one election at a time, and Bibi intends to win re-election to a fourth consecutive term. His right wing coalition partners will be with him because they have nowhere else to go. But if he makes inroads in the center, he can have the kind of broad government he has dreamed of. If that comes to pass, he will look back on the 19th of July, 2018 as the day his opponents walked into the trap by voting against a bill that happens to enshrine the most cherished values of the Israeli mainstream.

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CAN ISRAEL BE BOTH JEWISH AND DEMOCRATIC?

Alex Grobman

                                                Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018

There seems to be no end to the myths surrounding the Jewish state.  Israel is accused of being an apartheid state, an occupier of Palestinian Arab lands, and an international war criminal. On December 28, 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry added another canard to this litany when he warned that if Israel rejects a two-state solution, “it can be Jewish or it can be democratic-it cannot be both.”

Mr. Kerry, thereby, demonstrates his limited understanding of how Israel is governed as well as how against incredible odds the country remains both Jewish and democratic.  Nor did the Obama administration even attempt to draw such a distinction in its outright support of the Muslim Brotherhood-based government of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt.

Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, observed that the U.S. Britain and Canada are among the few countries in the world that have had continual democratic governments. Although from inception Israel has been threatened with extinction, she has never yielded to the wartime demands of instituting onerous restrictive laws that often destroy other democracies.

If anything, the Palestinian Arab/Israeli conflict has “tempered” Israeli democracy, providing equal rights even to Arabs and Jews who refute her right to exist. “Is there another democracy,” Oren asks, “that would uphold the immunity of legislators who praise the terrorists sworn to destroy it? Where else could more than 5 percent of the population — the equivalent of 15 million Americans — rally in protest without incident and be protected by the police. And which country could rival the commitment to the rule of law…whose former president was convicted and jailed for sexual offenses by three Supreme Court justices — two women and an Arab? Israeli democracy, according to pollster Khalil Shikaki, topped the US as the most admired government in the world — by the Palestinians.”

What is equally remarkable Oren opines, is that Israel was founded by Jews from autocratic societies who were forced to grapple with issues of identity and security that would have overwhelmed even the most seasoned democracies. These discussions occurred at a time when they were occupied in absorbing almost two million Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

While Israel’s institutions and principles of governing are democratic, the Jewish state is nevertheless different. Like Bulgaria, Greece, and Ireland, Israel is a nation-state, but with a large Arab minority, whose national character and language are officially recognized. Though Judaism plays a preeminent role in the country’s public and political life, Judaism is not Israel’s national religion, unlike Denmark, Great Britain, and Cambodia, which have a national religion. And in contrast to the other democracies in the world, Israel has never lived in peace with her neighbors.  Israel continually struggles with balancing the responsibilities of preserving liberty, while safeguarding her national existence.

Israeli historian Alexander Yacobson and Amnon Rubinstein, a former Israeli Minister of Education, point out that except for Lebanon, the constitutions of the Arab countries acknowledge Islam as the state religion, and confer official status to Sharia law, albeit in different formulations. Syria’s constitution states that Islam is the religion of the head of state, while declaring Sharia is the primary source of legislation. Though some Western democracies have “official, established,” or state churches, this does not preclude freedom of religion for those practicing other religions.

Israel’s refusal to compromise democratic principles even during times of extreme national emergency has not gone unnoticed.  “Congress should have spent more time learning from the Israeli experience,” wrote Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow and Professor Gabriella Blum in 2006, noting that Israel provides broader rights to security detainees than the United States. In spite of the unrelenting and often existential nature of the threats confronting Israel, the country has maintained the standards established on the day of her independence. As Arab armies joined with local Arab forces in attempting to destroy the nascent state, Ben-Gurion determined that Israel “must not begin with national discrimination.’” Israeli Arabs vote and run for political office.

Contrary to a popular myth, Israel is not a theocracy.  More accurately, Israel is “a nation-state of the Jewish people,” including many who would not be considered Jewish according to Jewish law. In many areas, Israel is exceptionally liberal, with progressive legislation on gay rights, support for single-parent families, and abortion. Israel never had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for her military. Restrictions on gay enlistments were removed in 1993. Same-sex couples are granted the same rights as heterosexual couples, and Israel offers refuge to Palestinian Arab homosexuals fleeing from Islamists in Palestinian Arab controlled areas.

Aharon Barak, a former President of Israel’s Supreme Court, claims the emphasis on human rights is a direct result of the Holocaust from which Israel has learned “that human rights are the core of substantive democracy…without protection for human rights, there can be no democracy and no justification for democracy.” Religious parties participate in elections, and although the Chief Rabbinate wields broad influence regarding lifecycle events (marriage, burial), Israel’s secular legislative and judicial branches and security services have the definitive authority. In other words, “Israel has no official state religion, and Judaism does not enjoy any legally privileged status (other than that which derives, as a matter of course, from its being the religion of the majority)” asserts Amnon Rubenstein, a former dean of the Tel Aviv Law School…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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WHICH FOREIGN LEADERS SHOULD ISRAEL WELCOME?

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 5, 2018

There were several negative reactions in Israel to the welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received during his recent visit to the country. The arguments brought forward included Orban’s rehabilitation of Hungary’s antisemitic leader and ally of Hitler, Admiral Miklós Horthy. There were also complaints about Orban’s illiberalism and the antisemitism in Hungary. It was 80 years ago in July that the Evian conference took place to discuss the fate of the Jewish refugees, who had nowhere to flee. Except for the Dominican Republic, no country was willing to accept them. The democracies at that time were unsavory nations, the others were usually worse.

Democracies and other states are still partly unsavory, be it in a mutated way. The big difference in the world is the arrival of biased supranational bodies. For instance, the voting pattern at the UN General Assembly concerning Israel, according to the prime definition of antisemitism – that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – leads to the conclusion that the UN is a frequently antisemitic institution.

In view of the superficial comments against Orban’s visit, it is worthwhile to try to establish more rational political criteria – in addition to business considerations – for welcoming visiting state leaders. These could include issues such as: 1) Does the government of the visiting leader financially support the Palestinian Authority, which enables it to free other monies to incentivize and pay murderers of Israelis and their families? 2) Does that country vote against Israel in the UN, and where relevant, in the EU? 3) Does that country’s government interfere in Israel’s internal affairs? 4) Has the country let in a massive number of Muslims without barring the antisemites among them? 5) Are Jews in the visiting leader’s country subject to violence? 6) Do the country’s leaders distort the Holocaust?

Other criteria could include: When country leaders visit Israel, do they also visit the Palestinian Authority, thereby placing it at the same level as Israel? Does their government support BDS-promoting organizations? As the level of sophistication in this investigating process increases, different weights can also be given to the various categories listed.

The reproach that Orban has rehabilitated Horthy, the antisemitic leader of his country from 1920 to 1944 is justified. Horthy applied antisemitic measures already before the Second World War. However, Hungary does not finance the Palestinian Authority, it usually does not vote against Israel in supranational institutions, it has not let in Muslim refugees and thus avoided the import of extreme antisemites among them. There is sizable verbal incitement against Jews in Hungary, but little or no violence against them. Orban’s government does not interfere in Israel’s internal politics. The Hungarian Prime Minister did not visit the Palestinian Authority. As far as I recall, the synagogues in Budapest I went to did not need security guards. The Hungarian government does not give money to BDS-supporting institutions.

Israel would gladly welcome French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. The Israeli opposition politicians who came out against Orban would most likely remain silent. On most of the other above criteria – except for the distortion of the Holocaust – France’s reality is far more negative than that of Hungary. France is the West European country where the majority of murders of Jews for ideological reasons in this century have taken place. No Western European country has such a significant percentage of Jews emigrating as France…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Dangerously Disloyal Opposition?: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 3, 2018—The last week was one of immense sadness for me. It was a week in which I watched—incredulously—as a savage, mindless and hugely hypocritical attack was launched against a noble ideal to which I have devoted almost my entire adult life: The idea of a sovereign nation-state for the Jewish people in their ancient homeland.

Hypocrisy and Hysteria Regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 13, 2018—Heaps of hypocritical and hysterical bombast are being hurled at the government’s plans to constitutionalize Israel’s status as the Jewish nation-state, so it is important to explain why this law is necessary and must be passed into law next week. In short: The delicate balance between Israel’s Jewish and democratic characters has been upset over the past 25 years by the Israeli Supreme Court. Former Chief Justice Aharon Barak and his ultra-liberal successors have dramatically diluted the Jewish dimension of the Jewish-and-democratic equilibrium. Time for a reset.

Livni Returns as Israeli Opposition Leader: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, July 24, 2018—When Avi Gabbay defeated Isaac Herzog last year and was elected head of the Zionist Camp, he could not take over the position of Knesset opposition head, a post reserved for incumbent Knesset members. When the Jewish Agency approved Herzog as its chief in June, the issue of opposition head came up once again. A few weeks later, Gabbay decided that Tzipi Livni would replace Herzog in the post.

Israel Is Losing the Social Media War: David Patrikarakos, Tablet, June 25, 2018—Global outrage over last month’s peak to the so-called Great March of Return on the Gaza-Israel border was instant and understandable. Over 50 people died and hundreds more were injured on a single day. What happened was as viscerally unpleasant as civil strife gets. It was brutal.

 

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

 

ContentsDownload today's Daily Briefing.pdf

 

Media-ocrity of the Week

Weekly Quotes 

Short Takes

On Topic Links

 

 

Patronising the Palestinians: Pat Condell, YouTube, Jan. 3, 2013

A Trail of Bullet Casings Leads From Africa’s Wars Back to Iran: C. J. Chivers, New York Times, Jan. 11, 2013

Good News for Knees: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, January 15, 2013

 

Media-ocrity of the Week

 

New York Post review of
THE CRISIS OF ZIONISM
by Peter Beinart

 

Beinart’s contention is that the West Bank occupation that has gone on for so manyyears is changing the nature of Israel itself, so it’s less democratic than it used to be, and it might be impossible for there to be two separate states. Unfortunately, Israel’s isolating itself from many nations. Beinart’s an Orthodox Jew, and I found this book very convincing. —Sheldon Harnick, the lyricist for “Fiddler on the Roof”. 

 

 

Weekly Quotes

 

"America must signal that it will not be business as usual with the government of the Arab world's largest and most powerful nation, while they continue to characterize Jews as 'descendants of apes and pigs', 'war mongers', and threaten anti-Semitic Jihads. Today Egypt is asking the U.S. and the international community for $12 billion to keep its ailing economy afloat. Now is the time for American leadership to demand an end to Egypt’s public anti-Semitic posturing. The mainstreaming of Jew-hatred in the Arab and Muslim world will not only end hopes for any Middle East peace deal, but puts Jews in jeopardy around the world."—Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Founder and Dean and Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jan. 15, 2013)

 

“Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them. They must be nursed on hatred. The hatred must continue. [T]hese bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs. The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine…. What they took before 1947-8 constitutes plundering, and what they are doing now is a continuation of this plundering. By no means do we recognize their Green Line. The land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to the Zionists." The Arab-Islamic world "want[s] a country for the Palestinians on the entire land of Palestine…[and] all the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion." The Jews "have been fanning the flames of civil strife wherever they were throughout history. They are hostile by nature…. The Zionists understood nothing but the language of force."—Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in comments made in TV interviews in 2010 discovered and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). (Jerusalem Post: Jan 15, 2013)
 

"We believe that President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic Egypt.” President Morsi’s comments were "deeply offensive," and ran counter to the goal of peace in the region.—White House spokesman Jay Carney condemning comments Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made in 2010 when he was still a Muslim Brotherhood leader, before being elected President. (Huffington Post, Jan 15, 2013)

 

“Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”—U.S. President Barack Obama, quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg, correspondent for Bloomberg News, in reference to Israeli announcements concerning new building in settlements in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria which, according to Goldberg,  Obama views, as moving Israel down a path toward near-total diplomatic isolation. “If Israel, a small state in an inhospitable region, becomes more of a pariah – one that alienates even the affections of the U.S., its last steadfast friend, it won’t survive. Iran poses a short-term tthreat to Israel’s survival; Israel’s own behaviour poses a long term one.” — Jeffrey Goldberg paraphrasing President Obama. (Bloomberg News, National Post, Jan. 14, 16, 2013)

 

"Your activism and your intolerance are abominable. Phony Facebook "fans" have posted messages expressly asking our musicians not play in Israel. This is sheer harassment. Moreover, it's really quite surprising because these fans purporting to sway the artists are not fans at all, but simply your army of little soldiers polluting the calm and positive spaces of our artists' Facebook pages. …What bothers me the most about your effort…is your hatred of Israel, a pathological hatred, blind and most assuredly hidden behind a veil of "political correctness." Your actions don't demonstrate a love or defense of Palestinians but rather a hatred for Israelis.”—Christophe Deghelt, manager for jazz musician Jack Terrasson, speaking out against BDS online harassment of artists. (Camera, Jan. 14, 2013)

 

 “If there is no diplomatic decision, the Palestinians will go back to terror. Knives, mines, suicide attacks. Even if the local inhabitants do not want to resume the violence, they will be under pressure of the Arab world.”—Israeli President Shimon Peres in pre-election comments to the New York Times magazine critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the “peace process”. Peres drew criticism for violating the principle of Presidential political impartiality. (National Post, Jan. 11, 2013)

 

“This afternoon, French armed forces lent support to units of the Malian army to fight against terrorists. This operation will last as long as needed. We have one objective: to make sure that when we leave, when we end this intervention, there is security in Mali, legitimate leaders, an electoral process and the terrorists no longer threaten its territory. We are confident about the speed  with which we will be able to stop the aggressors”—French President Francois Hollande commenting on the French government’s sudden decision to assist to the Malian army in its fight against the encroachment of al-Qaeda-linked rebels in the country.

   “I would advise France not to sing their victory song too quickly. They managed to leave Afghanistan. They will never leave Mali.”— Omar Ould Hamaha, a commander of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, in response to the French military intervention. (Wall Street Journal, National Post,  Jan. 12 16, 2013)

 

“The establishment of a terrorist region in the middle of Africa is of grave concern to the broader international community, including Canada and our close allies.” —Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Canada’s participation (the loan of one transport aircraft) in France’s intervention in Mali. (Globe and Mail, Jan. 15, 2013)

 

“No fear, no horror, power belongs to the people. No to emerging dictatorship. No to religious dictatorship. Ennahda out, down with the [Muslim] Brotherhood Party. Where is the constitution? Where is democracy?” —Tunisian demonstrators chanting slogans against the ruling Islamist Ennahda Movement. (Globe and Mail, Jan. 15, 2013)

 

“We were waiting for our deaths so we came out, but we found our second deaths here. There we were foing to die from the fires. Here we’re going to die from the cold . We don’t want to die in this tent.”—Abu Tarik, a Syrian refugee in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. (New York Times, Jan 13, 2013)

 

“The transition is well under way. By the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete. Afghans will have full responsibility for their security and this war will come to a responsible end. Starting this spring our troops will have a different mission: training, advising, assisting Afghan forces.” —U.S. President Barack Obama on ending the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. (New York Post, Jan. 12, 2013)

 

“It is part of our war strategy to target any foreign citizen whose country has a military presence in Afghanistan and enters our country without permission from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” —Zabiullah Mujahid, spokeman for Afghan insurgents from northern and eastern Afghanistan.  “No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence. There is an ongoingand increased risk of kidnapping and assassination of U.S. citizens.”— U.S. State Department travel advisory.(New York Times, Jan. 13, 2013)

 

“The United Nations seems to have an unwritten rule that the more barbaric the nation, the better its chance of being appointed to monitor barbarity. Last month [Nov] , Sudan – whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court – was awarded a seat on the Economic and Social Council, which is responsible for upward of 70 percent of the human and financial resources at the UN. The advocacy group UN Watch complained that Sudan was “genocidal, misogynistic and repressive. So it’s no wonder they fit right in.”—the editors of National Review in the Dec. 17 issue as quoted by Leah Speer in the New York Post. (New York Post, Dec. 15, 2012)
 

“The question is: Why do Arabs fear a right-wing Israeli government? The reasons for the concern stem from the cultural mindset of the region. An Israel that has a strong character and is confident of itself and the justice of its cause, might stop behaving like a dishrag, as it has done in the past, more than once, under the irresponsible leadership of the bleeding hearts who are the "Pursuers of Peace", and might adopt a pattern of behavior typical to the Middle East.  In the embattled region where Israel is situated, the weak individual gets beaten up: he is shot at, missiles rain down upon him, his buses are blown up, he is de-legitimized, marginalized diplomatically, sued in international courts, states are established on his back that threaten him and declare their violent struggle against him again and again, and he – the weak one – must take all of this garbage that is rained down upon him and say, "It's only words". Sometimes he issues a warning but few take him seriously because he is weak and obsequious; he ‘seeks peace’.”—Mordechai Kedar, a 25-year veteran of Israeli army intelligence and a Bar-Ilan University expert on Israeli Arabs.

 

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‘JEW’ IS THE NEW ‘COOL’ IN DUTCH, LINGUIST SAYS(The Hague) Dutch teenagers are using “Jew” akin to “cool” or “awesome” in English, according to a linguist from Leiden University. Professor Marc van Oostendorp wrote Monday on his blog that he heard the new usage of the word “jood” (pronounced yode) at a high school in Leiden shortly after learning about the phenomenon from an online forum about the Dutch language. “One is at first unsettled by it. The word Jew is still a slightly sensitive issue if used improperly,” van Oostendorp wrote. Van Oostendorp notes that Dutch already has one positive exclamation connected to Judaism in “tof,” which was borrowed from Yiddish and means “good,” but he writes that “it’s not clear if those two are connected. I don’t believe too many people are aware of the etymology.” (Times of Israel, Jan. 15, 2013)

 

CANADIAN FIRM TO DREDGE, PURIFY KISHON RIVER(Jerusalem)A Canadian sewage giant, EnGlobe, will be dredging the Kishon riverbed and purifying its sediments in an effort to turn Israel’s once most polluted waterway into an oasis for the country’s northern residents. In addition to preventing floods, revamping the Kishon will decrease land pollution damages, encourage a more vibrant collection of biodiversity, and provide an oasis for the public. “Canada is one of our strongest allies around the world, if not the strongest lately, and I think it’s very important for us to strengthen the relationship. It’s great that you have companies with the international experience and abilities to do such a project,” Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said. Canadian Ambassador Paul Hunt praised the success of EnGlobe and said that he looked forward to following the progress of the Kishon’s ongoing rehabilitation. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 15, 2013)

 

EGYPTIAN MOM, KIDS SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CONVERTING TO CHRISTIANITY(Cairo) The criminal court of Beni Suef (115 kms south of Cairo) has sentenced an entire family to prison for converting to Christianity. Nadia Mohamed Ali and her children Mohab, Maged, Sherif, Amira, Amir, and Nancy Ahmed Mohamed abdel-Wahab will spend 15 years in prison. Seven other people involved in the case were sentenced to five years in prison. (Asia News, Jan. 14, 20)
 

FACEBOOK 'CENSORS' PALESTINIAN WRITER POSTING ANTI-CORRUPTION ARTICLES—(Jerusalem) Khaled Abu Toameh has had his Facebook account suspended after a flurry of threats, seemingly simply for posting anti-corruption articles implicating the Palestinian Authority. Toameh also told The Commentator that over the past few days, he has been the subject of much online abuse, as well as threats and an apparently concerted smear campaign against him. This recently culminated in the posting of an article on the ‘Sabbah biz’ website, accusing Toameh of being an ‘Israeli Hasbara agent’ and showing a picture of him with the Star of David on his head. The website is run by ‘Haitham Sabbah’, who is based out of Tulkarm in the West Bank. (The Commentator, Jan. 15, 2013)
 

ISRAELI IMPLANT ENABLES BODY TO REGENERATE JOINT CARTILAGE—(Tel Aviv) A privately held Israeli medical device company is now offering a safe and effective novel off-the-shelf cartilage regeneration solution in a global market worth an estimated $1.6 billion annually. CartiHeal’s trademarked Agili-C can be implanted in a single-step arthroscopic procedure. In clinical studies, it was shown to regenerate true hyaline cartilage (the most abundant type of cartilage in the human body) after six months. Founder and CEO Nir Altschuler tells ISRAEL 21C that this is a breakthrough in the field — the “Holy Grail” in orthopedics. “Our clinical results, to date, confirm rapid cartilage and bone formation, as clearly visible on MRIs and X-rays,” says Altschuler. “Patients are reporting significant improvement in pain level and return to normal function, including sports.” (Israel 21C, Jan 15, 2013)

 

PROMINENT KURDISH REBEL MURDERED IN FRANCE—(Paris) Sakine Cansiz, one of the original founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), well as two other women, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez were found shot dead inside the Kurdish Institute of Paris. Cansiz led a tough life that included stints on the frontlines and in notorious Turkish jails, making her a legend in PKK ranks. Born in the mountainous Tunceli province in eastern Turkey, Cansiz’ family belongs to the minority Alevis — a historically persecuted sect that is considered an offshoot of Shia Islam. An eloquent women’s rights proponent, Cansiz insisted that women’s participation in the PKK’s armed struggle was not a “token gesture” nor were they “a showpiece”. (France 24, Jan. 12, 2013)

DOZENS KILLED AS EXPLOSIONS HIT SYRIAN UNIVERSITY—(Beirut, Lebanon) At least two deadly explosions, possibly caused by regime airstrikes or rebel bombs, devastated the campus of Aleppo University in Syria on Tuesday [Jan 15] as students were taking exams, a major escalation of the violent struggle for control of the country’s largest city. The opposition and the government blamed each other for the blasts, among the worst since the Syrian conflict began nearly two years ago. Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, said at a Security Council meeting that 82 people had been killed and 192 wounded in the explosions, which he called a terrorist attack. (New York Times, Jan. 16, 2013)

 

A TRAIL OF BULLET CASINGS LEADS FROM AFRICA’S WARS BACK TO IRAN—(Washington, DC) For six years [2006-2012], a group of independent arms-trafficking researchers [have] worked to pin down the source of the mystery cartridges turning up in several African conflicts. Their finding showed that for the past several years Iran’s state-manufactured ammunition was distributed through secretive networks to a long list of combatants, including in regions under United Nations arms embargoes. The trail of evidence uncovered by the investigation included Iranian cartridges in the possession of rebels in Ivory Coast, federal troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Taliban in Afghanistan and groups affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Niger. The ammunition was linked to spectacular examples of state-sponsored violence and armed groups connected to terrorism — all without drawing wide attention or leading back to its manufacturer. (New York Times, Jan 12, 2013)

 

PALESTINIAN FLIGHT VEXES SYRIA'S NEIGHBORS—(Cyber City, Jordan) Fighting in Damascus has sparked fears of a mass exodus of some 500,000 Palestinians toward neighbors Lebanon and Jordan, where officials concerned about stability have moved to limit their entry. Jordan is admitting Syrians but turning Palestinians away at the border. Prime Minister Abdalla Ensour said accepting Palestinians was a "red line" for Jordan because it would spur a greater influx, and that Israel is ultimately responsible for their fate. "Jordan is not a place for solving Israel's problems, and there is a clear, sovereign Jordanian decision to deny entry to Palestinians," he told the Arab daily al-Hayat on Thursday. The prospect of a large new influx of Palestinians has rekindled bad memories from the 1970s, when militants—among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who arrived after the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967—sparked a civil war in Lebanon and an uprising against the Jordanian monarchy. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 12, 2013)

BIZARRE REPORT: CLINTON INJURED, US NAVY SEAL KILLED IN SECRET US MISSION TO IRAN(Moscow)A [Russian] Foreign Military Intelligence (GRU) report circulating in the Kremlin today [Dec 30] is saying that United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was injured, and a top US Navy Seal Commander killed, when their C-12 Huron military passenger and transport aircraft crash-landed nearly 3 weeks ago in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, near the Iraqi border. GRU analysts say in this report that when the C-12 Huron entered into Iranian airspace neither American nor IranIAN air force units responded, clearly indicating that this secret mission was sanctioned. Upon the C-12 Huron landing at Ahwaz, however, this report says it encountered “extreme turbulence” causing it to leave the runway where its main landing gear then collapsed, causing it to crash. This unconfirmed, claims that Secretary Clinton was flying to Iran to meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who had already landed at Ahwaz just prior to Clinton’s alleged crash. (EU Times, an on-line publication, Dec 30th, 2012) [This  story is completely unconfirmed but not completely out of the realm of the plausible. – Ed.]

 

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Patronising the Palestinians: Pat Condell, YouTube, Jan. 3, 2013

 

A Trail of Bullet Casings Leads from Africa’s Wars Back to Iran: C. J. Chivers, New York Times, Jan. 11, 2013 — For the past several years, even as Iran faced intensive foreign scrutiny over its nuclear program and for supporting proxies across the Middle East, its state-manufactured ammunition was distributed through secretive networks to a long list of combatants, including in regions under United Nations arms embargoes.

 

Good News for Knees: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, January 15, 2013—In a groundbreaking advance, a novel Israeli implant provides a scaffold for the body to regenerate true joint-protecting cartilage.

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

 

ContentsDownload today's Daily Briefing.pdf

Weekly Quotes 

Short Takes

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Alan Dershowitz Speaking at the Standwithus Festival of Lights: Stand With Us, You Tube, Dec. 4, 2012

Diving Currency Adds to Egypt's Woes: Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2012

The Peace Index Data – December 2012 (pdf): Israel Democracy Institute, Jan 2, 2013

 

 

 

Weekly Quotes

 

 

 

Always, always believe the threats of your enemies more than the promises of your friends.”—Elie Weisel quoted by Alan Dershowitz in a speech to Stand With Us. (Stand With Us , Dec.4, 2012)

 

“If Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons on the watch of any president, that president will go down in history as the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st C.—Alan Dershowitz in a speech to Stand With Us. (Stand With Us , Dec.4, 2012)

 

“A woman's role is to instill love of jihad and martyrdom in her children…and in encouraging them to wage Jihad for the sake of Allah. This is absolutely the most glorious thing a woman can do….If every mother were to prevent her son from waging Jihad for the sake of Allah, who would wage Jihad? Who would support Palestine? Palestine is dear to us, and its price is paid with our body remains and our lifeblood.  Is not Allah's reward precious? Allah's reward is Paradise. Paradise requires from us our blood, our body remains, and our efforts for its sake.  I am constantly praying: "Allah, make the end of our days be in martyrdom." I pray for this even for my husband and my children. None of us want to die in our beds.”—Umm Osama, wife of Hamas Gaza MP Khalil Al-Hayya, from an interview aired on Al-Aqsa TV. (MEMRI TV, Dec 2, 2012)

 

"The danger to the world is not a university in Ariel. The danger to the world is not that Israel is building neighbourhoods in Jerusalem. The danger is Iran, which is building nuclear weapons. The danger is Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons. History will judge harshly those who equate democratic Israel — which is establishing a university — and dictatorial regimes that slaughter their people and which hold atomic weapons of mass destruction.”—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a visit to the newly accredited Ariel University, the first Israeli university to be established in a settlement in Samaria. (The Algemeiner, Jan 8, 2013)

 

“Now comes the latest news that Al [Gore] has sold Current [Cable TV], for the magnificent sum of $500-million, $100-million of which is his alone. Not bad for a TV station with less reach and inferior programming to most billboards. To whom did the Lord of the Upper Atmosphere sell? Why to al-Jazeera — which is to say, effectively to the ruler of Qatar, a wealthy country that has nothing else to sustain it but the sale of its huge petroleum resources. Qatar is about oil, oil and more oil. It is a global warmer’s hell. Surely there is some pill too tough to swallow in the idea of the world’s greatest alarmist on the subject of global warming, the evils of petroleum economies and the menace of fossil fuels accepting half-a-billion dollars from a state that utterly epitomizes the practices and product he most evangelistically despises.”—Rex Murphy in a National Post op-ed article. (National Post, Jan 5, 2013)

 

“[I]t’s becoming hard to deny that [Chuck] Hagel’s anti-Israel rhetoric and views and antipathy toward defence spending and sanctions on Iran are positives with this president, not demerits. A leading Democrat with a pro-Israel organization told me, ‘…[with] Hagel’s offensive record – from his slurs against minority groups like gays and Jews to his views on Iran and terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas – it is going to be very awkward for Democrats in the Senate.’”—Peggy Noonan in a New York Post op-ed article. (New York Post, Jan 6, 2013)

 

“When I look at Netanyahu, I don’t see a shred of personal example as a leader in him. There is a leadership crisis. It’s a crisis of value, it is a total disregard for the public. People may think that I see this in an overly extreme manner. I am telling you that from up close, things look even worse. I am convinced we deserve a better leadership that's braver and more moral, and that sets a better personal example….I have a very strong feeling that with the Iranian issue Netanyahu is 'haunted' by (former Israeli prime minister) Menachem Begin, who attacked the reactor in Iraq, and by (former Israeli prime minister Ehud) Olmert, who, as it is claimed in many places, attacked the reactor in Syria.” Netanyahu "wants to go down in history as someone who did something of the same proportions."—Yuval Diskin, former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency in an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. Netanyahu's office in a text-messaged statement called Diskin's comments "baseless" and accused him of personal frustration over not being selected to head the prestigious Mossad spy agency. (Yahoo News, Jan 5, 2013)

 

“It’s not that we want to leave [Egypt]. We don’t. It would be very hard to abandon everything we have and start over”. —Ms. Nessim, a Maronite Christian. “But,” in this environment [Morsi’s Muslim Brothers-dominated Egypt] “we worry about the children. I thought maybe Jacky and the kids should go, at least for now.”Mr. Sedrak, Ms. Nessim’s husband. “But I said ‘No’. That’s the sort of thing that ruins a family.”—Ms. Nessim. “Either it becomes like Afghanistan with the Taliban, in which case we’ll have no choice but to leave. Or it gets rid of the Brotherhood and becomes a civilized country. I believe that is what is going to happen, and it will happen very soon.” Mr. Sedrak (The Globe and Mail, Jan.4, 2013)

 

“Christians are approaching Christmas with disappointment, grief and complaints, fearing not only their problems but Egypt’s situation in general. During the reign of [ousted President Hosni] Mubarak and the [military rulers], mainly Christians were facing problems, but now with the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, each and every moderate Egyptian is facing problems. It is not actual frequent sectarian violence, it is fear of further marginalization and second class citizenship.” —Amir Ramzy, a Coptic Christian and a judge in Cairo’s Court of Appeals. Egypt has been deeply polarized as it drafted the constitution. Christians and liberals walked out of the committee writing it, complaining that their concerns were not being addressed by the Islamist majority. (National Post, Jan 7, 2013)

 

"The point is that the government or the governing party alone, as we have seen until now is unable to lead the country in such an extremely dangerous situation. I'm not talking about a dialogue, I'm not talking about a meeting, I'm talking about [forming] a real coalition government."—Amr Moussa, a secular-leaning former presidential candidate and one of the leaders of the National Salvation Front, a leading opposition umbrella group. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 31, 2012)

 

“The United Nations seems to have an unwritten rule that the more barbaric the nation, the better its chance of being appointed to monitor barbarity. Sudan – whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court – was awarded a seat on the Economic and Social Council, which is responsible for upward of 70 percent of the human and financial resources at the UN. The advocacy group UN Watch complained that Sudan was “genocidal, misogynistic and repressive.” So it’s no wonder they fit right in.”—National Review editorial (Dec 17, 2012) quoted by Leah Speer in the New York Post. (New York Post, Dec. 15, 2012)

 

"I am profoundly concerned and disappointed by President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Recent reporting has made clear that Senator Hagel’s views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the United States shares with our greatest Middle East ally." —US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on [his]  opposition to Hagel's nomination, confirming, as well, that the move faces "widespread and bipartisan opposition" in the Senate. (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)

 

“It’s very disappointing, I believe he will ultimately regret it. It undoubtedly will reduce support for him in the Jewish community, but I don’t think he [the President] worries about that now that the election is over. I believe it will encourage the jihadists. They will say: ‘Ah, we are winning the battle. America is beginning to desert Israel,’” — Ed Koch, former mayor of New York. (Newsmax, Jan 8, 2013)

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ARAB-ISRAELI FATALITIES RANK 49TH(Washington) The Arab-Israeli conflict is often said, not just by extremists, to be the world's most dangerous conflict – and, accordingly, Israel is judged the world's most belligerent country. But is this true? The total number of deaths in conflicts since 1950 number about 85,000,000. Of that sum, the deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1950 include 32,000 deaths due to Arab state attacks and 19,000 due to Palestinian attacks, or 51,000 in all. These figures mean that deaths in Arab-Israeli fighting since 1950 amount to just 0.06 percent of the total number of deaths in all conflicts in that period.  [In fact] some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel [Israeli Jews counted for 16,000 of the 51,000 deaths.] In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims. (Mid East Forum, Jan 7, 2013)

 

TERROR ATTACKS IN WEST BANK, JERUSALEM ON THE RISE(Jerusalem) December 2012 witnessed a 400% spike in the number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem compared to August, according to statistics published by the Shin Bet security service on Monday. The Shin Bet tallied 111 attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem in December: 98 involved firebombs, six involved explosive devices, and three involved grenades. There were two instances of small arms fire, a stabbing, and a hit-and-run. Three Israelis were injured in the attacks. At the same time, there was a marked drop in terrorist attacks on Israel's border with Gaza. Only one mortar was fired into Israel in December. (Times of Israel, Jan 7, 2013)

 

FAYYAD: PA IS ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY(Ramallah) The Palestinian Authority is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the severe financial crisis it has been facing over the past two years, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday. He blamed Israel and Arab donor countries for the current crisis as international aid dropped from $1.8 to $ 1 billion. Fayyad said that he did not rule out the possibility that Palestinians would once again take to the streets to protest against economic hardships, as was the case in September 2012.  (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)

 

SYRIAN REFUGEES ATTACK AID WORKERS IN JORDANIAN CAMP(Zaatari, Jordan) Syrian refugees in a Jordanian camp attacked aid workers with sticks and stones on Tuesday, frustrated after cold, howling winds swept away their tents and torrential rains flooded muddy streets overnight. The riot broke out after the region’s first major winter storm this year hit the Zaatari refugee camp, home to nearly 50,000 refugees in Jordan’s northern desert. Inside the camp, pools and lakes surrounded tents, stranding refugees including pregnant women and infants.Police said seven aid workers were injured. “It is hell — boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold now,” lamented Ahmed Zibi, 45, who said he spent the night watching over his five children when his tent collapsed. “Rain flooded the tent and its shafts submerged and collapsed on us.” (National Post, Jan 8, 2013)

 

HEZBOLLAH SENT 5,000 FIGHTERS TO HELP ASSAD(Riyad) Some 5,000 Hezbollah combatants reportedly entered Syria in December to aid the faltering regime of Bashar Assad, according to a Saudi daily on Monday. Al-Watan, a government daily, said four “support battalions” comprising at least 1,300 soldiers each had succeeded in killing some 300 rebel soldiers in recent weeks as battles raged between government and opposition forces around the capital Damascus. The fighters reportedly entered Syria through the border town of Madaya, located northwest of Damascus. (Times of Israel, Jan 8, 2013)

 

EGYPT SEEKS $500B FROM ISRAEL FOR SINAI DAMAGE(Cairo) In December of 2011 Egypt sent the United Nations a report detailing the reasons for which Israel owes the government of Egypt $500 billion for damage sustained by the Sinai Peninsula when it was controlled by Israel between 1967 and 1982. The 750-page report describes the plethora of ways in which Israel supposedly shattered the local economy. It asserts that Israel destroyed the fishing industry and 40 percent of the coral reefs; took valuable oil, gold, and gems, leaving only “worthless” rock behind. It goes on to say that maritime trade through the Suez Canal was disrupted between 1967 and 1975, thus depriving Egypt of millions of dollars’ worth of revenue; Israel also stole just under $50 billion worth of sand; and conducted excavations, stealing valuable artifacts from both the land and museums in the area. (Nuqudy, Jan 7, 2013)

 

CONCERN OVER POSSIBLE URANIUM STOCKPILE IN SYRIA(London) Concern is heightening over the possible existence of up to 50 tons of enriched uranium in Syria, the Financial Times reported Tuesday [Jan. 8], a stockpile large enough for the production of five atomic bombs. The worry stems from the Assad regime's attempt to build a nuclear reactor in the eastern city of at Al-Kibar in the mid-2000s. With assistance from North Korea, Damascus is believed to have nearly completed the facility prior to its destruction in an alleged Israeli airstrike in 2007. According to one anonymous official quoted by the Financial Times, “Syria is almost certainly in possession of good quality uranium of the type that Iran has been trying to acquire on the international market for years. It would certainly be possible to transfer this from Syria to Iran by air.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 9, 2013)

 

POLISH GOV'T TO TURN NAZI HQ INTO EDUCATIONAL CENTER(Krakow, Poland) The Polish government has announced plans to renovate Adolf Hitler’s wartime headquarters in Nazi-occupied Poland – a network of bunkers known as the “Wolf’s Lair” – and turn it into an educational center and museum. “The main idea behind the project is to introduce the Wolf’s Lair as a place where totalitarian ideas developed and their horrific results,” said Jan Zaluska, 65, the CEO of Wolf’s Nest, the company that leased the site in 1991 and has operated it ever since. “We will turn the Wolf’s Lair into an educational center, especially for the younger generation,” said Zaluska. “We are very concerned by the fact that the younger generation’s knowledge of history gets worse every year as observed in the students who have been coming here from all over the world in recent years.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)

 

HEBREW UNIVERSITY SCIENTISTS HELP BLIND 'SEE WITH EYE MUSIC'(Jerusalem) By activating their visual brain cortex, people who were born blind can describe objects and even identify letters and words, with the proper stimulation and using a device for sensory exchange developed by Hebrew University researchers. The research team, headed by Prof. Amir Amedi of the Edmond and Lilly Safra Center for Brain Sciences and Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada and including doctoral student Ella Streim-Amit, developed a unique training program for seeing while using the device, which transfers visual information to the blind via their healthy senses. The device translates pictures into tones; after a few dozen hours of training, the blind from birth can identify images and put them in visual categories such as faces, houses, parts of the body, ordinary objects and textures. (Jerusalem Post, Jan 8, 2013)

 

QATAR TO DOUBLE AID TO EGYPT(Cairo) Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said Tuesday [Jan 7] in Cairo that Qatari aid to Egypt will increase to $1 billion from $500 million, and that money loaned to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will also be doubled to $4 billion.   Qatar also plans investment in two major projects on the Mediterranean and at Port Said to cost $18 billion. (Daily News-Egypt, Jan 7, 2013)

 

ISRAELI HIGH-TECH START-UPS SOLD FOR COMBINED $5.5 BILLION IN 2012(Tel Aviv) Fifty Israeli high-tech start-up companies were bought out in 2012 for a total of $5.5 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Israel. In recent years, buy-out deals in the Israeli high-tech sector have become fewer, but larger.  Rubi Suliman, the head of PwC's high-tech practice, noted: "Recently, we are seeing Israeli companies grow, and become world leaders in their areas. We are seeing companies with revenues of over $100 million. We did not see these in the past. They were being sold much earlier, often pre-revenue." (Israel Hayom, Jan 8, 2013)
 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Dershowitz Speaking at The 2012 Standwithus Festival of Lights: Stand With Us, You Tube, Dec. 4, 2012 — Alan Dershowitz speaking at the 2012 Stand With Us Dinner before 1100 attendees, touches on Hamas, Gaza, apartheid, Iran, and hopes for peace.

 

Diving Currency Adds to Egypt's Woes: Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2012—Government unveils new steps in bid to avoid devaluation. Egypt's currency plunged to new depths on Sunday as policy makers tried to reassure the public and investors that they can prevent a full-scale currency devaluation while still repairing Egypt's budget deficit.

 

The Peace Index Data – December 2012(pdf): Israel Democracy Institute, Jan 2, 2013—Some claim that no matter which of the large parties wins in the upcoming elections, the peace process with the Palestinians is at a standstill, for reasons that have nothing to do with Israel, and that there is no chance of progress in the foreseeable future. Do you agree or disagree with this claim? Strongly & moderately agree: Jews – 66.7%; Arabs (in Israel) 28.7%

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.