Friday, November 28, 2008

Daily Alert

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


November 28, 2008
To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Behind Mumbai's Terrorist Attacks - Fareed Zakaria (Newsweek)
One misconception is the assumption that these attacks were aimed primarily at foreigners. Look at their targets.
The two hotels they attacked - the Taj and the Oberoi - are old, iconic Indian hotels. It used to be true that these places were affordable only by Westerners, but today they are filled with Indian businessmen.
If the aim was to hit Americans or other Westerners, the big American chains all have hotels there, and there are many more distinctly American targets.
One of the untold stories of India is that the Muslim population has not shared in the boom the country has enjoyed over the last ten years. There's enough alienation out there that there are locals who can be drawn in to plots.
That tends to be a pattern, from Madrid to Casablanca to Bali - some hard-core jihadis who indoctrinate alienated locals they can seduce.
The writer, a Mumbai native, is editor of Newsweek International.

Syria and the Nuclear Cops - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed last week that it had discovered a "significant number" of chemically processed uranium particles at a suspected Syrian nuclear site destroyed last year by Israel.
The IAEA also reported that satellite images of the site taken prior to its destruction had the markings of a nuclear reactor.
So what did IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei do with this information? Why, urge the approval of a Syrian request for a $350,000 feasibility study for a new reactor.
See also IAEA Chief: Will Confront Syria with Imagery of Suspect Site (AFP)
The UN atomic watchdog hopes to confront Syria soon with satellite imagery of a suspect nuclear site bombed by Israeli planes last year, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday.
The UN says the remote desert site, Al-Kibar, had been a covert nuclear reactor close to completion.
See also Nuclear Chief "Baffled" as Syria Site Photos Disappear (Irish Examiner)

Israeli Surgeons Weld Wounds Shut with Surgical Laser - Judy Siegel (Jerusalem Post)
A team of applied physicists at Tel Aviv University led by Prof. Abraham Katzir have developed an efficient and safe way to close incisions.
Katzir and his team use a technique called "laser welding" in which biological glue is smeared on the two sides of the incision.
Then a laser warms it at the correct temperature to create a hard "shell" that protects the wound and allows it to heal.
They use a temperature-controlled carbon dioxide laser and special silver halide optical fibers to prevent overheating and burns.

Introducing Israel Studies in U.S. Universities - Interview with Mitchell Bard by Manfred Gerstenfeld (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
The anti-Israeli activism on college campuses during the Second Intifada created the incentive among the American Jewish philanthropic community to promote education and scholarship on Israel at universities.
The first two centers for Israel Studies were established in 1998, their initiators driven by the concept that it was important to teach American students about modern Israel.
Israel Studies remained largely neglected, however, until 2004. Since then it has rapidly grown.
There are at present nine Israel Studies centers throughout the U.S. By the end of 2008 about 15 chairs in Israel Studies will have been endowed.
The program for visiting professors from Israel started in 2004-2005 and, in the current academic year, has 27 such scholars teaching on 26 campuses.
See also U. of California to Reopen Study-Abroad Program in Israel - Josh Keller (Chronicle of Higher Education)
The University of California announced on Tuesday that it would end its six-year suspension of study-abroad programs in Israel, and would reopen a program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem next year.

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Fair Use News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

* Indian Commandos Storm Jewish Center in Mumbai - Keith Bradsher and Somini Sengupta
Indian commandos Friday morning stormed the Habad Jewish center that had been seized by terrorists during a coordinated series of attacks on Mumbai. While many of the targets seemed to indicate a focus on tourists and Westerners, most of the victims were Indians. The gunmen appear to have come ashore at the Sassoon Docks, not far from the Leopold Cafe, one of the first places struck Wednesday night. They moved on to the train station, then opened fire on Cama and Albless Hospital. At one point, the gunmen hijacked a police vehicle and opened fire near the Metro Cinema. (New York Times)
See also Cool and Composed, They Killed and Killed - Randeep Ramesh, Duncan Campbell and Paul Lewis (Guardian-UK)
* 10-20 Israelis Among Mumbai Hostages
"There are between 10 to 20 Israeli nationals being held hostage, but it could be more," said Eli Belotsercovsky, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. (AFP)
See also Brooklyn Rabbi and Israeli Wife Caught in Attacks - Fernanda Santos
In 2003, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, moved from Brooklyn to Mumbai, India, to manage a mix of educational center, synagogue and social hall known as a Habad house, one of about 3,500 outposts around the world run by the Lubavitch Hasidic movement. The place soon became a year-round magnet for Israeli backpackers, Jewish businessmen and tourists, as well as for the Iraqi and Indian Jews who live there. Mrs. Holtzberg served visitors coffee and homemade kosher delicacies. Rabbi Holtzberg always offered a helping hand to someone who was sick or stranded. On Wednesday, the Holtzbergs' Habad house became the target of terrorist gunmen. Firing grenades and automatic weapons, the men took the Holtzbergs and at least six other people hostage. (New York Times)
See also India: Holtzberg Toddler Reunites with Grandparents - Hagai Einav
Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg, the parents of Rivka Holtzberg, who with her husband Gavriel run the Habad center in Mumbai, arrived in India from Israel on Friday morning and were reunited with their two-year-old grandson, Moshe Tzvi, who was rescued from the house the day before by Sandra Samuel, an Indian cook at Habad house. (Ynet News)
* Canada Leads in Pushing UN Censure of Iran - Paul Lungen
A resolution that Canada spearheaded censuring Iran for violations of human rights passed in a UN General Assembly committee last week. The resolution accuses Iran of "torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations." It criticizes Iran for executing juveniles, killing people by stoning, and discriminating against women and girls. It also calls on Iran to end human rights violations affecting religious and ethnic minorities, among them Jews, Christians, Kurds, Arabs, Sunni Muslims and, in particular, Baha'is. The resolution was co-sponsored by 42 mostly European and North American democracies, plus Israel, Fiji and Micronesia. Seventy members of the General Assembly's Third Committee voted in favor of the motion. (Canadian Jewish News)
See also Iran Furious at Peace Plan Advert Bearing Its Flag and Israel's - Ian Black
Iran has angrily dissociated itself from Arab and Islamic attempts to publicize an offer to make peace with and recognize Israel. Officials in Tehran are furious that the Iranian flag appeared on an advertisement, published in the Guardian and other papers, promoting the Saudi-brokered initiative. The Iranian embassy in London protested that the Islamic Republic objects "to any move taken by some Arab countries to push the recognition of the occupying Zionist regime in any manner." (Guardian-UK)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

* Palestinian Rocket Hits House on Kibbutz - Shmulik Hadad
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket Thursday evening that damaged a house in a kibbutz in southern Israel. Tami Tuchman, 61, whose home was damaged, said she had fled with her dog to their family's bomb shelter when the Color Red rocket alert system sounded at the kibbutz. (Ynet News)
* Hamas Weakening in West Bank - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
The achievements of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad over the past year and a half, in making the West Bank a much more bearable place to live, cannot be ignored. In Jenin, Nablus and Hebron, armed militants are no longer on the streets, and the general atmosphere of anarchy has faded. And while the economic situation isn't great, it's immeasurably better than in Gaza, under Hamas. Israeli defense sources confirm that PA security forces are close to crushing Hamas' military infrastructure in the West Bank. Hamas has also drastically reduced its money transfers to its charity organizations in the West Bank, fearing the PA will get its hands on the money. (Ha'aretz)
* Jerusalem Symposium Discusses Scandinavian Anti-Semitism - Cnaan Liphshiz
"Norway is the most anti-Semitic country in Scandinavia," Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a scholar of Western European anti-Semitism, told a discussion on Scandinavian anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred hosted on Tuesday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Gerstenfeld presented cartoons from the Norwegian mainstream press and noted, "There is something wrong with a society which is willing to accept these Nazi cartoons. With a Jewish population of only 1,300, Norway has led the pack in anti-Semitism before, during and after WWII." Zvi Mazel, a former ambassador to Sweden, spoke of a "deep-rooted" anti-Semitism in Sweden, while Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Israel - which co-sponsored the event - addressed Norway and Sweden's failure to prosecute Nazi war criminals. (Ha'aretz)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

Terror Attacks in India

* Mumbai Attacks Suggest Outside Help - Craig Whitlock and Karen DeYoung
Counterterrorism officials and experts said the scale, sophistication and targets involved in the Mumbai attacks were markedly different from previous terrorist plots in India and suggested the gunmen had received training from outside the country. "This is a new, horrific milestone in the global jihad," said Bruce Riedel, a former analyst for the CIA and National Security Council. "No indigenous Indian group has this level of capability." Several analysts and officials said the attacks bore the hallmarks of Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Muhammad, two networks of Muslim extremists from Pakistan that have targeted India before. The Hindu newspaper reported Friday that at least three of the suspects held by police were members of Lashkar-i-Taiba. (Washington Post)
* India: Homegrown Terror or International Jihad? - Benedetta Berti
India is reeling from the worst series of terrorist attacks in its history. The Deccan Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility, is apparently linked with the Indian Mujahideen (IM), a splinter group of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). In the past six months, four IM attacks in major Indian cities claimed the lives of over 140 people. IM's previous attacks consisted of a series of coordinated, simultaneous blasts aimed at causing the highest number of casualties. A senior officer of the Indian Police Service, briefing parliament on the group's September 2008 attack in Delhi, stated: "This group...doesn't attack parliament or police stations. They go directly for maximum chaos and maximum financial damage." Following the Delhi blasts, the IM threatened to hit Mumbai in its next operation.
The highly coordinated and planned nature of the attacks, as well as the terrorists' modus operandi, also suggest the existence of a strong international connection between IM and international as well as regional terrorist groups. The Mumbai operation was qualitatively more sophisticated and deadly and shared several characteristics of al-Qaeda's operational strategy: the choice of targets, the deliberate decision to kill the maximum number of Western citizens, the simultaneous use of suicide missions, as well as hostage-taking. Thus, it is clear that the terrorist organization has received assistance and backing from al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations and has adopted an international jihadist agenda. The writer is a Neubauer Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Jerusalem Post)
* How Not to Deal with Militant Islam - Sadanand Dhume
Over the past four years, Islamist groups have struck in New Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, among other places. The death toll from terrorism - not counting those killed in Mumbai - stands at over 4,000. India's failure to protect Mumbai offers a textbook example for fellow democracies on how not to deal with militant Islam. The country's antiterrorism effort is reactive and episodic rather than proactive and sustained. Its public discourse on Islam oscillates between crude, anti-Muslim bigotry and mindless sympathy for largely unjustified Muslim grievance-mongering. Finally, India's inability to modernize its 150-million strong Muslim population has spawned a community susceptible to militant Islam's faith-based appeal. (Wall Street Journal)

Other Issues

* Sanctions? What Sanctions? German-Iranian Trade Booms - Matthias Kuntzel
While the U.S. reacts to reports that Iran had enriched enough uranium for a nuclear weapon with concern and calls for tighter sanctions, in Germany it is business as usual. On Thursday, many of the leading lights of German-Iranian trade gathered at a conference in Hamburg on "Iran Sanctions: Practical Consequence for German Firms" to discuss how further to promote German business with Iran. "Even in these difficult times" the conference announcement states, the Chamber of Commerce wants to "support" German firms "developing markets in Iran." "We would be delighted if we could thus contribute to the success of your business with Iran."
One speaker was Norbert Eisenmenger, managing director of the European-Iranian Commerce Bank. As its latest report notes, the bank closed out 2007 "with record earnings yet again." "Net profit doubled...the volume of transactions increased by 35%." The topic "Financing Iranian Business Deals" was covered by Sabine Hummerich, representing Bank Melli Iran, which is fully-owned by the Iranian regime. The 2007-2008 report of Bank Melli's German subsidiary in Hamburg notes that net income increased by 33% over the previous year. In June 2008, the EU placed sanctions on Bank Melli. (Pajamas Media)
See also Berlin Loves Iran - Editorial
As Europe's largest exporter to Iran, Germany has unique leverage over that regime. But Berlin refuses to use it, unwilling to go beyond the relatively soft UN trade restrictions. German exports to Iran are up 14% in the first seven months of this year, according to Germany's Federal Statistical Office. (Wall Street Journal)
* Terrorists Feel Exempt from International Law - David Altman
At the end of the Vietnam War, visiting PLO representatives congratulated the commander of the North Vietnamese army, General Vo Nguyen Giap, on his victory over the American superpower and asked him when he predicted terror organizations would be victorious over Israel. Gen. Giap answered: "Never! You will never be victorious due to lack of determination." Some believe this meeting represented a turning point in the development of Islamic terrorism, which began to educate its society in the sanctity of suicide and initiated the era of suicide terrorism, believing that the more people willing to prove their readiness to die for a cause, the greater the determination and the closer the victory.
Today, a new, different terror army is being developed, one that enjoys the advantages of feeling exempt from any international law or accountability. In addition, they handicap the power of their opponent through exploitation of the claims of internationally accepted values of human rights, correct treatment of prisoners of war, and prevention of harm to civilian populations - though none of these values apply to them, but only to their opponent. The writer is the senior vice president of Netanya Academic College and the deputy chair of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue. (Jerusalem Post)
* Security Fence Makes Vast Difference to Life in Israel - Licia Corbella
Since the security fence was built, there have been no more suicide murders and no more sniping at children walking to and from school in Jerusalem. Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim journalist who lives in Israel and writes for the Jerusalem Post, says life was unbearable and extremely dangerous before the fence was erected.
"It's very simple," explains the reporter who once worked for a PLO newspaper. "I live in Jerusalem. I have three children and I can tell you that for three years I was afraid to take my children to the shopping malls here in Jerusalem. For three years if you asked me to meet you in downtown Jerusalem, I would have refused and for three years I was afraid to stop my car at a red traffic light next to a bus because I didn't want to die in a suicide bombing. The suicide bombers killed both Jews and Arabs."
Today, Abu Toameh says he feels much safer and Jerusalem is a bustling city again, instead of the veritable ghost town it became for three years until the barrier was built. "Look, the wall is bad. I don't like walls....But let's be honest, what other choice did the Israelis have?" he asks. "If I were the Israeli authorities, I would write on the wall that this wall was made by Yasser Arafat and Hamas," said Abu Toameh. (Calgary Herald-Canada)


The Starting Point for Peace - Lior Ben Dor (Guardian-UK)

* I read with great interest the Guardian's suggestion that president-elect Obama should "tear up" the 2004 letter from President Bush to Ariel Sharon regarding Israel's major settlement blocs within the West Bank (Editorial, Nov. 24). The future borders of the state of Israel will not be determined on the pages of this newspaper. Instead, they will be determined by negotiations between Israel and the legitimate leadership of the Palestinians.
* In 2005 Israel took the initiative as regards peace with the Palestinians by evacuating nearly 30 settlements, including every Jewish settlement in Gaza and more in the northern part of the West Bank. This process cost the Israeli taxpayer $2.5 billion and risked heightening tensions within Israeli society. However, Gaza became a launch pad for rocket attacks against Israeli citizens and terrorist action at our borders. This reality worsened still further after Hamas seized total control of Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007.
* The Israeli public overwhelmingly supports the concept of land for peace, if it brings the reward of greater security with a pragmatic, peaceful neighbor. Evacuation of settlements would be less popular, however, if the consequences are likely to be increased violence against Israel's citizens and the creation of a vacuum to be filled with extremist terror. The precedent of Gaza has increased the skepticism of the Israeli public towards similar arrangements in the West Bank.
* Thus while the 1967 borders are the natural starting point for negotiations, the demographic realities of Israel's population, and the understandable security concerns of the Israeli public, will need to be taken into account. These issues are on the agenda for any negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The writer is spokesperson at the Embassy of Israel in London.

Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Copernicus and Thanksgiving

remains found
Researchers say DNA confirms astronomer's final resting place
By Monika Scislowska | Associated Press
November 21, 2008
WARSAW — Researchers said Thursday that they have identified the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus by comparing DNA from a skeleton with hair retrieved from one of the 16th Century astronomer's books....

Nicolaus Copernicus is believed to have come up with his main idea of the sun at the center of the universe between 1508 and 1514, and during those years he wrote a manuscript commonly known as Commentariolus (Little Commentary).

His final thesis was published, however, only in the year of his death. His ideas challenged the Bible, the church and past theories, and they had important consequences for future thinkers, including Galileo, Descartes and Newton."

Me reflection:
Copernicus dared to challenge the Church's thesis that the earth was the center of the world. Even though we know our sun is just one sun of trillions, the mind shift that the earth, and hence we, are not the center of all things, is the beginning of wisdom

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

JUF Alert

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Forward this to a friend November 13, 2008

In This issue

Chicago, Midwest, and US news

* Obama's victory speech may bode well for Israel
* Rahm Emanuel to be the next White House chief of staff
* Heard in the Loop: Chicago and Israel partner in environmental innovation
* JCRC analyzes FBI's 2007 Hate Crimes Report
* Help Chicago's neediest keep warm this winter
* US cracks down on Islamic charity
* Local program for teens recognized
* Illinois Holocaust Museum to open next year
* The secrets of old-school matchmaking

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

* Mortar shells fired at Israel from Gaza
* IDF kills four Hamas gunmen in tactical shift in Gaza
* Israel resumes fuel supplies to Gaza
* Barak seeks OK to hit residential areas

Israel and World news

* Bush holds unscheduled talk with Peres, Livni
* 70 years on, family traces road from Nazi terror to reconciliation
* Germany, Israel mark 70 years since Kristallnacht
* 'Environment could be strong connector between Israel, Diaspora'
* Jerusalem, other Israeli cities hold elections
* Diplomats: Uranium found at Syrian site bombed by Israel
* Livni: Syria must stop smuggling weapons if it seeks recognition
* Israeli circumcision experience helps fight AIDS in Africa
* 2,000-year-old gold earring found in Jerusalem

Iran Watch

* Iran successfully test-fires new missile
* ElBaradei welcomes Obama Iran pledge
* World powers to meet anew on Iran sanctions
* VP-elect Biden discusses Iran, Hamas with Israeli FM
* Iran economists denounce Ahmadinejad's policies

Events and Programs

* JUF offers resources on planning children's Israel experiences
* TOV's Merry Mitzvot starts Nov. 23
* Shalom TV focuses on Israel

Editorial, Opinion & Analysis

* From the world press

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jewish election results


1) All incumbent Jewish U.S. senators and congressmen won reelection, including all 6 freshmen congressmen.

2) There remains 13 Jewish US Senators (even if Minnesota’s results are reversed). As it happens, the only two senators who are neither Republican nor Democratic are Jews: Independent Joe Lieberman and Socialist Bernie Sanders.

A) Jewish congressmen increased 3 from 29 to 32 (Adler of NJ, Grayson of Fla and Polis of CO).

B) Some Jewish congressional candidates did lose, including those in Alaska, Wyoming, and Alabama as well as a rabbi in NJ, a Chinese Jew in CO (Hank Eng), and a Jewish Latina in Fla (Annette Taddeo).

C) Eric Canter remains the only Jewish Republican in House, and is expected to become an even more senior leader in that caucus.

3) Jewish governors increased from 2 (Ed Rendell of PA and Linda Lingle of HI, who weren’t up for reelection) to 3 as Jack Markell of DE won.


1) All Illinois Jewish incumbents were up for re-election and won:

A) Jan Schakowsky and Rahm Emanuel in House. Challenger Steve Greenberg lost to Melissa Bean.

B) Both Jewish state senators (Jeff Schoenberg and Ira Silverstein) won.

C) All 6 state representatives won: Sara Feigenholtz, Jack Franks, Julie Hamos, Lou Lang, Sid Mathias and Karen May. Jewish challenger Daniel Biss lost by four points to Beth Coulson.

2) Illinois general results:

A) Congress: All incumbents won, including, despite huge Obama and Durbin margins, even all Republicans: Biggert, Johnson, Kirk, Manzullo, Roskam, Shimkus. Suggesting that when it comes to congress, even in this special year in this state, incumbency trumps coattails.

B) The parties split the two open, contested congressional seats: Dem Debbie Halverson replaces Republican Jerry Weller and Republican Aaron Schock replaces Republican Ray LaHood. (JUF/JF has worked in Springfield with both new congressmen as well as meeting them as candidates here at JUF HQs.)

C) Illinois has two open seats: Senator Obama’s (to be filled by a gubernatorial appointment) and Rahm Emanuel’s (to be decided by a special election). There could be a third open seat if the governor appoints an incumbent congressman to Obama’s senate seat.

Jay Tcath, November 10, 2008

New video on Exodus evidence and Mount Sinai

New video on Eshet Chayil woman of valor

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daily alert

Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at


November 6, 2008
To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Record Number of Jews Elected to Congress - Allison Hoffman (Jerusalem Post-Ynet News)
The next Congress is expected to include 46 Jewish lawmakers - 13 Senators and 33 members of the House of Representatives.
Three new representatives are Democrats Alan Grayson of Florida, John Adler of New Jersey, and Jared Polis of Colorado.

Neither Israelis Nor Palestinians Expecting a Major Obama Effect - Ashraf Khalil (Los Angeles Times)
Everyone is intrigued, but Israelis aren't panicking and Palestinians aren't dancing in the streets.
Both sides seem to accept that Barack Obama's ascension to the White House won't mean an immediate change either way in the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic.

Israeli Leadership Confident in U.S-Israel Ties - Barak Ravid, Ofri Ilani and Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert congratulated Senator Barak Obama on winning the U.S. presidential election Wednesday.
Olmert said that relations between Israel and the U.S. are not expected to change under Obama.

Hamas Bans Arafat Memorials in Gaza (PNN-PA)
A source in Hamas told the Arab daily Al Hayat that the death of Yasser Arafat will not be officially marked in Gaza this year.
On November 11, 2007, police killed a number of people in Gaza who were marking the day, and the Hamas source said that 2008 events are being banned out of fear of a repeat occurrence.

Moscow Invests $100M in Dead Sea Resort (Bloomberg-Jerusalem Post)
The city of Moscow will invest $100 million to build a luxury resort hotel in Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea, the Israel Tourism Ministry said Wednesday.
The Moscow municipality will subsidize flights and accommodation packages at the resort for city residents, the ministry said.
Russia and Israel signed a visa-free travel agreement this year.

Morocco Bans French Magazine for Insulting Islam - Hassan Alaoui (AP/Washington Post)
The Moroccan government has banned an issue of the French magazine L'Express International, claiming it insults Islam in articles exploring the relationship between that religion and Christianity.
The magazine said the articles were inspired by a meeting in Rome between Christian and Muslim scholars and is intended to "help the dialogue between Islam and Christianity."
It said pains had been taken to adhere to Islamic norms, notably by covering the face of Muhammad with a white veil in side-by-side cover portraits of Jesus and Islam's prophet, in line with Islamic law.

Key Links
Media Contacts
Back Issues
Fair Use News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

* Iran Sends Mixed Signals on Obama Victory - Borzou Daragahi
Tehran feels the Obama team represents potential new threats to Iran, analysts say. A unifying figure like Obama might help convince fence-sitters such as India, China, Turkey, Malaysia and Russia to synchronize their Tehran policies with the U.S. "There is the thought that Obama could be as dangerous as Bush, but in a different way," said Abolfazl Amouei, a conservative-leaning political scientist at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran. "In Iran, Democrats don't have a good reputation. They were the first ones who started the sanctions under President Clinton."
Obama's victory could take the wind out of the sails of Iranian hard-liners who have consolidated their power on the threat of an American attack and weekly chants of "Death to America!" at Friday prayers. Saeed Leylaz, a Tehran analyst and newspaper editor, predicted that outreach by the Obama administration might spell the end of Ahmadinejad and usher in a more pragmatic government more amenable to compromise over Iran's nuclear program. In any case, it might be a tough sell to condemn a country whose leader's middle name is the same as that of the prophet Muhammad's grandson. (Los Angeles Times)
* Israel Cautions Against Dialogue with Iran
Israel said Thursday U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's stated readiness to talk to Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program. "We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue - in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue - is liable to be interpreted as weakness," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Israel Radio. Asked if she supported any U.S. dialogue with Iran, Livni replied: "The answer is no." Livni also said "the bottom line" was that the U.S., under Obama, "is also not willing to accept a nuclear Iran." (Reuters/Washington Post)
* Israel Denounces UN Human Rights Council - Edith M. Lederer
Israel accused the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday of targeting the Jewish state "in an obsessive and discriminatory fashion." The performance of the council, which replaced the discredited UN Human Rights Commission, was the subject of debate in the General Assembly. Israel's Deputy UN Ambassador Daniel Carmon said the council had adopted seven resolutions condemning Israel in the past year and held "a one-sided special session against Israel" - far more than any other UN member. The U.S. argued against the creation of the council and has not sought to join it because rights-abusing countries remain members. (AP)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

* Israel Slams "Flagrant Violation" of Gaza Truce - Avi Issacharoff
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday that Israel could not put up with "flagrant violations" of the cease-fire agreement with Hamas in Gaza, after dozens of Kassam rockets hit Israel on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel Targets Gaza Rocket Launching Cell - Ali Waked
An Israeli airstrike targeting a rocket launching cell in northern Gaza killed one Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant and injured four others, Palestinian sources said Wednesday. (Ynet News)
See also Kassam Rocket from Gaza Lands Near Sderot Cemetery Thursday (Jerusalem Post)
* Israel Preparing for Hamas Attacks after Gaza Operation - Hanan Greenberg
Tuesday night's successful Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza, to blow up a tunnel to be used in a kidnapping attempt, thwarted a concrete terror threat, but military officials admitted Wednesday that this was only one of many threats to Israel which still exist in Gaza. The "operation conveyed a message to Hamas that the IDF will not turn a blind eye when a tunnel is being dug near the fence," a military source said. "We proved that we know about it and do not hesitate to operate when needed." (Ynet News)
See also Both Hamas and Israel Want to Continue Ceasefire - Amir Mizroch
Despite the recent flare-up, neither Hamas nor Israel has announced the end of the ceasefire. Hamas has no interest in sparking a war with Israel that would threaten its hold on Gaza. In the meantime, Gaza has turned into the world's largest terrorist base; it has not become the Middle East's Singapore. (Jerusalem Post)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

* New U.S. Approach to Foreign Policy? - David Ignatius
Conversations over the past few days with several members of the president-elect's inner circle yielded some basic outlines of the new administration's approach to foreign policy. Obama wants to make an early push on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, despite political turmoil in Israel. He has learned from watching Presidents Clinton and Bush that you can't wait until the eleventh hour to be an active mediator. On Iran, Obama wants to open the door to a process of engagement and dialogue, even though his advisers aren't confident it will succeed. They think Iran may not yet have found the language of "yes," but that's no reason not to explore areas of possible common interest. (Washington Post)
* Mazal Tov, Obama - Editorial
Those in our part of the world dedicated to rejectionism, violence and terror will soon discover anew that the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem is above partisanship. And the members of the new administration will see with their own eyes that no one wants peace more than Israel. Congratulations President-elect Obama on a historic victory. Godspeed. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Obama and the Challenge of Iranian Islamist Ambition - David Horovitz
Blocking Iranian Islamist ambition is central to the vow at the heart of Obama's victory speech: "To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you." The stirring sentiment will count for nothing if this confrontation is ducked. For only by thwarting the death-cult Islamists can the new leader of the free world liberate the moderates who seek reconciliation. (Jerusalem Post)
* Lawfare Against Israel - Anne Herzberg
The detractors of the Jewish state are increasingly using civil lawsuits and criminal investigations around the world to tie Israel's hands against Palestinian terror by accusing Jerusalem of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity." In the process, the NGOs also subvert and interfere with the diplomatic relations of Western countries with Israel.
Anti-Israeli cases have been filed in Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada and the U.S. by exploiting "universal jurisdiction" statutes. These laws allow courts to rule on cases even though the parties and events at issue are wholly foreign. The honorable intent was to provide relief to victims of real mass murderers in countries that don't respect the rule of law. Instead, these statutes have been co-opted by NGOs to advance an anti-Israel agenda.
NGO superpowers with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars have supported these efforts by providing publicity, organizing demonstrations and issuing reports crafted as legal briefs to coincide with court hearings. The writer is the legal adviser of NGO Monitor. (Wall Street Journal Europe)


Obama Good for Israel If He Can Restore America's Power - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)

* If Obama will be good for America, Israel will benefit as well.
* Since Israel's establishment, all American presidents were ultimately pro-Israeli, because of the shared values and the deep involvement of American Jews in American politics.
* Yet what is truly important to Israel's security are the economic power and military-strategic determination that America conveys, as well as its position as a superpower on the global stage, as Israel benefits from an American deterrence umbrella.
* The U.S. also grants Israel a logistic-military safety net, which has already stood the test even during the terms of less sympathetic presidents, such as Richard Nixon and George Bush Sr.
* Israel's strategic situation improves the greater the power America conveys in the international arena. As America's status as a global power is mostly affected by its economic and technological power, the next president's ability to address the financial crisis in the U.S. is of critical importance for Israel too.
* The next president will be good for Israel should he be able to restore his country's economic and diplomatic power, extract its army from the Iraqi quagmire, and leverage his election victory in order to unite the American people behind his policies.

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