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Post  Admin on Wed 01 Aug 2018, 10:42 pm

Is Iran Withdrawing Forces From Israeli Border?
Today’s Top Stories
Alexander Lavrentiyev
Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiyev
1. Israeli media picked up on a claim by Russia’s envoy to Syria that Iran has already withdrawn (or, depending on how you understand the quote, only agreed to withdraw) its forces a distance of 85 km (53 miles) from the Israeli border. In an article widely picked up in the Israeli media, Alexander Lavrentyev told Russia’s government-owned Sputnik News:
“Of course, we take into account the interests of neighboring states, interests of Israel, our president spoke about that. As we took into account the Israeli concerns, we managed to attain the pullout of Iranian units 85 kilometers [some 53 miles] from the Israeli [-Syrian] border,” the presidential envoy added.
I haven’t seen an official Israeli reaction yet, so note the differences between coverage in the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Ynet and the Times of Israel. The latter noted:
It was not clear what prompted him to say this as Israel has repeatedly and forcibly stated that it will not accept any Iranian presence at all in Syria and last week Israel rejected a Russian proposal to keep Iranian forces in Syria 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from Israel’s northern border, a senior Israeli official said, moments after a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded in Jerusalem.
In any event, you gotta be careful with Sputnik.
Eliyahu Kamisher
Russia attained an Iranian pullout of 85km from the Golan Heights, Russia's Syria envoy tells Sputnik. Contradicts earlier reports of a 100km buffer zone and Israel's official position that it will not tolerate Iran forces anywhere in Syria. https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201808011066840176-russia-iran-syria-israel-envoy/
7:53 AM - Aug 1, 2018
Russian Special Envoy for Syria: Moscow Acts Openly on Syrian Settlement
SOCHI (Sputnik) - The summit of the Syrian guarantor states - Russia, Turkey and Iran - is likely to take place after the meeting of the Russian, Turkish, German and French leaders scheduled for...
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2. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued an apology after the Times of London reported that he “hosted an event that compared the Israeli government to the Nazis at the House of Commons on Holocaust Memorial Day.”

In January 2010 when he was a backbencher, Mr Corbyn spoke at and opened a talk entitled Never Again — for Anyone. The event was part of a UK tour called Never Again for Anyone — Auschwitz to Gaza.
The main talk, entitled The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes, was delivered by Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz who became a passionate anti-Zionist and repeatedly made the comparison between the Nazi regime and Israeli policy.
That comparison has become one of the most heated elements of the row over Labour’s decision to rewrite an internationally accepted definition of antisemitism.
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3. Palestinian Authority security personnel, armed and in uniform, toured Israeli-controlled areas of Hebron for first time. Israeli officials confirmed they gave the group of 30 Palestinian security personnel permission, calling it an “exceptional matter” and that the tour didn’t reflect any changes in the status quo of the city’s security. A Palestinian official described the tour to the Times of Israel as “symbolic.”

Under the Hebron Protocol signed by the PLO and Israel in 1997, the Jewish state controls the segment of the West Bank city known as “H2,” where some 500 Israeli settlers live surrounded by 40,000 Palestinians. Hebron’s Old City falls within the area.
In the News
• At a High Court of Justice hearing over the fate of the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar, judges told lawyers representing the residents that the village’s demolition was unavoidable. Details at the Times of Israel.
• President Reuven Rivlin reportedly intends to protest the nation state law by signing it in Arabic.

• The New York Times takes a closer look at Druze opposition to the nation state law. Two Druze IDF officers have already resigned in protest.

• Worth reading: Thumbs up to Vox‘s balanced and comprehensive explainer piece on the nation state law.
building campaign
• Jeremy Corbyn ally Pete Willsman apologizes for rant about Jewish ‘Trump fanatics.’
• If you’re new to the issue of the UK Labour party’s antisemitism problem or having trouble wrapping your head around its almost-daily woes with the Jewish, this JTA piece nicely overviews what’s going on.
• Anti-Zionist graffiti was discovered on a synagogue in the French town of Le Havre. Vandals wrote on a wall by the entrance “no to Zionists, no to Israel” and placed stickers of Palestinian, Lebanese and French flags.
• “The online travel reservation service Booking.com amended its definition of the city of Jerusalem as an “Israeli settlement” following a critical query from a Belgian Jewish newspaper.”
• Following up on last week’s controversy, the Jerusalem Post explained in a staff-ed why it fired freelance cartoonist Avi Katz. The Jerusalem Report, a magazine owned by the Jerusalem Post, published Katz’s cartoon about the passage of the nation state law, depicting Israeli lawmakers as a pigs reminiscent of George Orwell’s book, “Animal Farm.”
Ron Skolnik
This @Jerusalem_Post editorial seeks to explain why cartoonist Avi Katz was fired. (It claims the pig imagery used was antisemitic.) But it fails to explain why the cartoon that prompted the firing was approved for publication. https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Lines-crossed-563887

11:12 PM - Jul 31, 2018
Lines crossed
The swine image is reminiscent of antisemitic memes used against Jews throughout history. Just recently, a Hamas-affiliated scholar said, “Allah has transformed Jews into pigs and apes.”
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• Here’s what else I’m reading today:
– Bassam Tawil: The secret reason Arabs reject the Jewish nation state law
– Raphael Ahren: Israel says it’s unfazed by specter of US-Iran summit, but anxiety brews
– Charles Bybelezer: Was the peace process doomed to failure from the start?
– Gilad Kabilo: End the discrimination against Israeli chess players
– Melanie Phillips: Labour antisemitism: The skies are darkening even more
– Gaby Hinsliff: Peter Willsman’s rant points to a Labour party still blind to antisemitism
– Benjamin Weinthal: A deadly plague for Iran

Featured image: CC BY-NC Lori Erickson; Lavrentiyev via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Tue 31 Jul 2018, 8:58 pm

Israel Suspends Aid to Syrians As Assad Retakes Border Area
Today’s Top Stories
1. After seven years of fighting, the Syrian army completed its takeover of the Golan Heights frontier with Israel. According to Israeli media reports, Israel conveyed a message to Russia “to ensure that Syrian government forces do not harm or massacre civilians,” and also suspended humanitarian aid programs.

The decision marks the first time the Israeli border will be fully closed to Syrians seeking life saving services and medical care since Operation Good Neighbor was initiated nearly five years ago.

2. A number of Arabs noted on Twitter with irony that Ahed Tamimi gained nine kilos in prison, unlike prisoners of the Bashar Assad regime. The tweets caught the Jerusalem Post‘s eye.
The difference between Israel and Bashar AlAssad#AhedTamimi lucky girl Because it was in Israel's prison not Assad’s prison
ahed Tamimi came out of prison in good health, better than before.
Notice : The father of ahed Tamimi supports Assad's regime

2:18 PM - Jul 29, 2018
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3. The family of Mohammad Tareq Yousef, the Palestinian terrorist who stabbed Yotam Ovadia to death last week is now eligible for a terror stipend. Yousef was shot and killed as he stabbed two other Israelis on Thursday night in Adam, a settlement north of Jerusalem.

By declaring the murderer a “Martyr”, the PA is saying that he did an exemplary act according to Islam, for which he will be rewarded in the afterlife by Allah. In addition, the PA will reward the terrorists’ family financially, as the PA does all families of so-called “Martyrs,” with a one-time grant of 6,000 shekels ($1,643) and a monthly allowance for life of 1,400 shekels ($383).

4. You Won’t Believe What One News Site Called the IDF: “Israel Occupation Forces” is just a provocative slur used by Palestinians and the press release which the story was based on.

5. New York Times’ Myths About Israel as a Jewish State: Everyone’s entitled to their views, but op-eds still have to be grounded in accurate facts.

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In the News
• Israeli policewoman lightly hurt by Molotov cocktail during a violent riot in this morning. Israeli security forces were carrying out an arrest raid in the Deheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem when Palestinians started throwing rocks and firebombs.

• Palestinian terror balloons landed in Beersheva for the first time on Monday evening.

• Israeli journalist Neri Zilber has me going hmmmmmmm.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Neri Zilber
For 1st time Palestinian security forces patrol through Hebron's (divided) Old City in full uniform & weapons. Israel must have given okay. This is good news as far as these things go. http://maannews.net/Content.aspx?id=956873

2:08 PM - Jul 31, 2018
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• Israel’s security cabinet was briefed on possible scenarios for a war with Hezbollah and its implications for the home front. Haaretz reports that because Hezbollah’s rocket threat, a conflict in the north could mean evacuating hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the north.

One issue that keeps the top brass up at night is the level of the Israeli public’s expectations, based on experience of attacks on the Home Front in the past and versus what they should expect in the event of a major conflict up north. During the last two Gaza campaigns, Pillar of Fire (2012) and Protective Edge (2014), the Iron Dome system managed to shoot down about 90 percent of the rockets fired at built-up areas. People living in central Israel became entirely too sanguine and many have come to ignore instructions during war. But a clash up north will force Israel to cope with hundreds of rockets a day, and will do much more damage to the home front, both in the north and in the center of the country.

The extent of rocket shootings and the still-limited number of anti-ballistic missiles Israel has, will not enable similar interception statistics in the event of another war in the north.

building campaign

• Poll: 58% of Israeli Jews support the nation state law.

• Isaac Herzog begins his first day as chairman of the Jewish Agency tomorrow. The former Labor Party leader shared his thoughts on bridging Israel-diaspora gaps in Associated Press interview. Meanwhile, Haaretz looks back at the legacy of the man Herzog’s replacing: former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky.

Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
• Prime Minister backs artificial island for new Tel Aviv airport. The government plans to close down the Sde Dov Airport, which handles domestic flights to Eilat, northern Israel and the Golan.

• No end to the madness: Bombshell tape shows Jeremy Corbyn ally blamed ‘Jewish Trump fanatics’ for inventing Labour antisemitism. The Jewish Chronicle posted a recording of “Peter Willsman’s angry rant – at the meeting attended by Mr Corbyn where Labour’s ruling body approved a controversial new code of conduct on antisemitism.”

• The Times of London takes an in-depth look at the UK Labour Party’s problem with antisemitism.

• Why does it not surprise me that The Independent was the only mainstream paper to treat Noam Chomsky’s latest rant as news?

The Independent

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Nahum Barnea, Raphael Ahren and Dror Eydar weigh in on the nation state law.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Arnold Roth: More horror than heroism: Ahed Tamimi
– Colin Shindler: Would a Corbyn-led Labour government pose an existential threat to British Jews?
– Councillor Nickie Aiken: Strip away the ideological cloak that masks the new antisemitism: it is crude racism

Featured image: CC BY-NC Kartik Malik; Sharansky via YouTube/CBN News;

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.


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Post  Admin on Mon 23 Jul 2018, 8:34 pm

Judo Tourneys Cancelled Over Israeli Participation
Today’s Top Stories
1. A pair of international judo tournaments were cancelled in Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, apparently over concerns about the fair treatment of Israeli participants.

“The International Judo Federation’s Executive Committee decided to suspend both the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix until governmental guarantee is given to ensure free and equal participation of all nations at the said events,” a statement posted Friday on the federation’s website announced.

The Federation did not mention Israel specifically but the statement referred to “past situations involving the denial of participation in equal conditions of all IJF member federations – with their national insignia and anthem at the aforementioned events,” a clear reference to Israeli athletes.

Meanwhile, 7-year-old chess champ Liel Levitan of Haifa can’t compete in an international tournament because host Tunisia isn’t allowing Israelis to compete.

2. The David’s Sling missile defense system was used for the first time when it detected a pair of Syrian missiles which the system calculated would strike Israel. Haaretz explains what happened next:

The military investigation found that, while airborne, one of the Syrian missiles changed course and was expected to fall in Syrian territory. Therefore, one of the interceptor missiles was ordered to self-destruct. Israel also launched another interceptor missile at the second Syrian rocket, but it was still unclear if it hit its target.

David’s Sling, also known as Magic Wand, is one part of Israel’s three-layered missile defense system. Iron Dome defends against short-range rockets, David’s Sling against medium range missiles while the Arrow is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles.

3. Two Palestinian scientists were found dead in Algeria. It’s not clear if their death was accidental or an assassination. More at Haaretz.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• The IDF believes Gaza snipers used an Iranian armor-piercing rifle to kill soldier.

• Yet another flotilla will try to symbolically break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. A four-boat “freedom flotilla” is due to depart the Sicilian city of Palermo this week. They are expected to reach Gaza waters in 10 days.

• Cracks are emerging in the PA boycott of the US peace plan as some officials in Ramallah do not believe spurning the White House initiative is in the Palestinians’ best interest. The Media Line explains:

In the current diplomatic climate, officials warned, Europe cannot replace the U.S. as an intermediary because many European capitals are reluctant to assume America’s traditional role as primary peace broker between the two sides. European leaders are also wary of ignoring the Trump administration’s demand to not abide by the PA’s push to form a new, multilateral mechanism for negotiations.

• Following up on CNN and Washington Post op-eds by Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman and Amb. Nikki Haley, the New York Times examines the US threat to abandon plans for rehabilitating Gaza. This might explain why Washington’s staying on the sidelines as UN envoy Nickolay Mlade­nov pushes for quiet in Gaza.

building campaign

• An ancient boulder dislodged from the Western Wall on Sunday, crashing into the mixed-prayer plaza on Sunday afternoon, during Tisha B’Av. Nobody was injured; the 220 pound (100 kilo) stone’s fall was caught on video. Depending on who you follow on social media, its either a call for Jewish soul-searching, Allah’s anger, illegal Palestinian digging, or Israeli efforts to undermine the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a statement, the [Israel Antiquities Authority] said there were a number of possibilities that may have led to the stone’s fall, such as vegetation growing in the wall’s cracks, or entrapped moisture that may have led to the stone’s wear. There is also the possibility of a still unknown engineering failure. . .

Al-Aqsa Mosque director Omar al-Kiswani denied that anyone on the Temple Mount pushed the rock down to the bottom.

• Globes takes a closer look at what’s known about Hamas’ cyber capabilities and the threat posed by its hacking attempts.

Mideast Matters
Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to host Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian military chief of staff Gen. Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov in Jerusalem today to discuss Syria, reports Haaretz. (Their meeting was underway as this roundup was published.)
Meanwhile, according to Russia’s Ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov, Moscow and Jerusalem have “understandings” about how Syria will look after Bashad Assad consolidates his control over southern Syria.

• Israeli jets reportedly struck an Iranian-run missile production facility in Syria. Unconfirmed Arab reports picked up by the Israeli media said several Hezbollah members were killed at a site in northwest Syria that was once allegedly used to produce and store chemical weapons.

Window Into Israel
• With Isaac Herzog due to take over the Jewish Agency on August 1, Tzipi Livni returns to her former position of the Knesset’s opposition leader. The Jerusalem Post explains the politics behind that.

• Druze leaders, including three MKs, petitioned the High Court against the Nation State Law.

Haviv Rettig Gur
That an Egyptian dictator or a western progressive criticized the nationstate law is far less important than that Israel's Druze believe we Jews have betrayed them. | Druze MKs petition High Court against Jewish state law https://www.timesofisrael.com/druze-mks-petition-high-court-against-jewish-state-law/ … via @timesofisrael

8:06 PM - Jul 22, 2018

Druze MKs petition High Court against Jewish state law
Lawmakers from coalition and opposition say legislation is a 'spit in the face' to minority group that 'gives of its blood and sons for the state'

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• For commentary on the Nation State Law, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich (click via Twitter), Reuven Berko and a counter-intuitive take by Fred Maroun throw their support behind it. Weighing in against was a staff-ed in The Guardian. Kontorovich also debated the law with Jewish Voice for Peace director Rebecca Vilkomerson on MSNBC.

Around the World
• UK Labour’s in-fighting over antisemitism continues. A number of senior party members want Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman, Seamus Milne, to retract a number of past comments he made about Israel from his days as an editor at The Guardian. The Times of London reports:

Seumas Milne, the leader’s director of strategy and communications, was a vocal critic of Israel during his career as a left-wing columnist. Senior Labour insiders have questioned whether Mr Milne’s previous statements were linked to Labour’s decision to omit part of an internationally accepted definition of antisemitism from its new code of conduct.

A row broke out last week after the party accepted part of the guidelines from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) but left out some of the official examples. One of the omissions states that antisemitism may include “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

Mr Milne wrote in The Guardian in 2009: “The truth is that throughout the Arab, Muslim and wider developing worlds, the idea that Israel is a racist state is largely uncontroversial . . . This is a state, after all, created by European colonists, built on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.”

Mr Milne went on: “There’s a perfectly reasonable argument to be had about the nature of Israel’s racism and whether it should be compared to apartheid, for example.”

Seamus Milne
Seamus Milne, Labour’s director of strategy and communications
• A key ally of Jeremy Corbyn admits Labour has failed to ‘win the faith of the Jewish community’ on anti-Semitism.

• Stanford U. student threatens to ‘physically fight Zionists’ on campus.

• South African model and media personality Shashi Naidoo expects to be barred from entering Israel when she arrives to “re-educate” herself on the conflict. The Jerusalem Post explains the extent of the BDS bullying:

Naidoo made headlines last month after she defended Israel’s actions in Gaza and explained the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a factual manner. However, during her explanation, she called Gaza a “shithole,” due to the way Hamas is running the Strip. She said the international aid and money given was being used for rockets instead of housing, schools and better infrastructure.

Following her comments, the celebrity said she received 10 death threats and was intimidated, threatened and dropped by several of the brands she represents.

After the death threats, Naidoo issued an apology for her comments. She has since been coerced by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel into holding a press conference, at which she agreed to go on a trip with the organization.

Shashi Naidoo
Shashi Naidoo
• Tunisian police arrested six people after photos showing Arab men holding a barbeque in a Jewish cemetery were posted online. “The cemetery reportedly has become a hangout,” the JTA reports.

• Anti-Semitic graffiti found in two Bosnian cities.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Seth Frantzman: David’s Sling and the Syrian regime’s news normal
– Josh Rogin: Inside the Putin-Netanyahu-Trump deal on Syria
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Helsinki: Israel, Syria and Iran
– Ron Ben-Yishai: Hamas’s military wing wants war
– Daniel Siryoti: Hamas got the message
– Tomas Zdechovsky: EU member states should follow US and leave the UNHRC
– Elliot Kaufman: World socialism’s anti-Israel turn (click via Twitter)
– Mandy Blumenthal: ‘We no longer feel safe in Britain. Anti-Semitism is forcing us to leave our home’
– Charles Moore: Anti-Semitism is an issue that could blow the Labour Party to smithereens
– Lawrence Franklin: Ireland’s anti-Israel bill and the Muslim Brotherhood
– Asaf Romirowsky, Alexander Joffe: Time to rethink our attitudes toward Middle East refugees

• For a sense of what the Israel-bashers are saying, see Rebecca Vilkomerson‘s take on defining antisemitism.


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Post  Admin on Sun 22 Jul 2018, 3:13 pm

IDF Soldier Killed at Gaza Border
Today’s Top Stories
1. Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral Sunday in Petah Tikva of IDF Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, who was killed by Palestinian sniper fire on the Gaza border on Friday. Israel responded with air strikes that killed four people in Gaza, three of whom were confirmed Hamas fighters. Israel’s Channel 10 had an unconfirmed report: Egypt warned Hamas that Israel would launch a war “in two hours” if Hamas were to respond. Since that time a form of ceasefire has been holding, more or less.

View image on Twitter
Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi, a platoon sergeant in the Givati Brigade, was shot and killed yesterday during operational activity in the southern Gaza Strip. He was 21 years old.
6:02 PM - Jul 21, 2018
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2. The Washington Post published an important opinion piece by US heavyweights Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman who say “Help is at hand for Palestinians. It’s all up to Hamas.” Meanwhile, the same authors plus US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley wrote in a CNN op-ed, that they see the beginning of a “paradigm shift” at the UN regarding Israel. Is it possible that the tide is changing?
When the amendment came to a vote, a miracle by UN standards happened. Although the measure ultimately failed for technical reasons, more nations voted for holding Hamas accountable with the US amendment than against it.
3. Thousands of LGBT rights activists are protesting Israel’s Surrogacy Law , which excludes single men and homosexual couples. Dozens of companies announced support for the protest, including local divisions of Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft. The protests are occurring in cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be’er Sheva.
Rocky Baier
Thousands of protestors block Ayalon Hwy in support of LGBTQ rights @Jerusalem_Post
8:45 AM - Jul 22, 2018
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4. There is legitimate debate over Israel’s new “Nation State Law,” but some news sources are going a step further and getting the facts wrong. HonestReporting critiqued Sky News and even got them to remove a problematic Tweet.
It is perfectly legitimate to take issue with the nation state law but this @SkyNews piece isn’t analysis, it’s agitprop. Even critics of the law don’t need to descend to the apartheid libel @alexrossiSKY. How can we trust someone with these views to report impartially on Israel? https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1020163136576466944
6:31 AM - Jul 20, 2018
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To get a fuller picture of the law itself and both sides of the debate, you can refer to our previous IDNS.

5. WATCH: A new law keeps organizations like Breaking the Silence out of Israeli schools. Is this anti-free speech or not? Is BtS a legitimate watchdog group or anti-Israel extremists? HR’s Senior Editor Daniel Pomerantz explains on i24News. Watch, and tell us, what’s your opinion?

VIDEO 2.52 mins .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRJ9yzpAV4c&ab_channel=HonestReporting
Israel and the Palestinians
• In light of several “ceasefires” and ongoing exchanges of fire over the weekend between Israel and Gaza, the UN’s Antonio Guterres weighed in:

I call on Hamas and other Palestinian militants to cease the launching of rockets and incendiary kites and provocations…[and Israel] must exercise restraint to avoid further inflaming the situation.
• After this weekend’s exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas, a shaky ceasefire has been restored.
Our strength is grass roots.
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Mideast Matters
• Israel helps evacuate 800 of Syria’s “white helmet” aid workers to Jordan, amidst increasing danger in the region.
• Sisters who spent 6 years in Syria’s Palestinian camp, Yarmouk, recount years of horror.
•A Saudi Journalist calls on Arab countries to advance peace with Israel.
Around the World
• A San Francisco State University professor posted a photo on Facebook that rejects welcoming Zionist students to the university, SFSU is not planning to take action on this matter.
• This isn’t the first time Teen Vogue has taken an unfair and misleading position on Israel. Is this a pattern?

•Netanyahu is optimistic about Iran’s exit from Syria. This comes after Israel was the only country explicitly mentioned in the Trump-Putin summit.
• Israelis disagree on whether or not restaurants should be required to close for Tisha Be’av.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
–David Harris: The “If Only Israel” Syndrome
–Shlomo Nakdimon: The winner of the Trump-Putin summit is Israel
–Gil Hoffman: Much Ado About a Jewish Nation-State
–Charles Moore: Anti-Semitism is an issue that could blow the Labour Party to smithereens
–Bel Trew: Meet the girl who dreams of being Gaza’s first Olympic swimmer

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Post  Admin on Thu 19 Jul 2018, 11:29 pm

Israel Passes Contentious Nation-State Law
Today’s Top Stories
Israel1. The Knesset passed the Nation-State Law last night, formally declaring in law that Israel is a Jewish state. Supporters say it enshrines Israel’s identity as a Jewish state while critics say it marginalizes Arab citizens. Here’s the full text of the law, and few key snippets so you can judge for yourself.

> “The Jewish nation-state bill is a Basic Law with constitutional heft that declares Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. It anchors in law the state’s menorah emblem, Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, national holidays and the right of all Israeli residents to preserve their heritage without consideration of religion and nationality.”

> “Similar to a constitution, the Basic Laws underpin Israel’s legal system and are more difficult to repeal than regular laws. The nation-state bill, proponents say, puts Jewish values and democratic values on equal footing. Critics, however, say the law effectively discriminates against Israel’s Arabs and other minority communities.”

> The basic laws, enacted in the absence of a single constitution, legally supersede the Declaration of Independence and, unlike regular laws, have never been overturned by Israel’s Supreme Court. Basic laws can only be amended by a majority of 61 in the Knesset.

> “The bill also strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions.”

> “The most controversial clause, which appeared to pave the way for the creation of communities segregated by nationality or religion, was removed from the legislation earlier this week.”

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

2. The British Labour Party’s National Executive Council rejected the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s full working definition of antisemitism, and is accused of fudging the issue by “pledging a review.”

Meanwhile, Jewish Labour MPs fear a civil war, but it seems like that’s already underway. Veteran MP Dame Margaret Hodge told off party leader Jeremy Corbyn, calling him an ‘an antisemite’ to his face (she only denied using the f-word) then doubled-down in a Guardian commentary. MP John Woodcock resigned from Labour as did Jewish party activist Tal Ofer.

3. IDF delivers aid to displaced Syrians as rebels surrender to Bashar Assad. More on the ceasefire deal at Ynet.

4. Sky News Distorts Contentious Israeli Nation State Law: While there’s room to debate the merits of the Nation Sate Law, Sky News paints an incomplete picture.

5. Talk Show Producer Tweets Hooey and Why It Matters: What does it say about public discourse when a talk show producer retweets a months-old lie about Israeli “apartheid” and “genocide?”

building campaign

Israel and the Palestinians
• Just before this roundup was published, Israeli media reported an IDF airstrike on a Hamas terror balloon cell, killing one Hamasnik and injuring three others.

• Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban arrived in Israel yesterday for a two-day visit. Ties between Budapest and Jerusalem have expanded despite concerns over the right-wing Orban’s brand of nationalist politics and antisemitic dalliances. President Reuven Rivlin warned Orban of the dangers of ‘neo-fascism.”

Previews in the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel lay out the significance of Orban’s visit. Dispatches in Haaretz and the Times of Israel take the pulse of Hungarian Jewry.

Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
• Flaming balloon from Gaza lands in preschool near children at play.

• People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals condemned the Palestinian use of a bird to start a fire. PETA’s denunciation on Twitter came after a dead falcon with an incendiary device tied to it was found in Habesor National Park by an Israeli parks worker helping extinguish a fire.

• The IDF’s using an autonomous drone system to try to intercept Gaza kites, balloons. The system “uses optic sensors to identify the launch of airborne arson devices, then launches another drone to intercept the threat and neutralize it — a process the system handles from start to finish without any human input.”

• Palestinians slammed a Saudi documentary about Israel’s founding. “The two-part series, titled ‘The Naqba,’ is rich with imagery from the Holocaust and from the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish population. It interviews Israelis, Arabs and historians in what it says is an attempt to depict the controversial topic in an unbiased light.”

Window Into Israel
earthquake• State comptroller Yosef Shapira warned in a new report that Israel is not prepared for a major earthquake. Too many schools, police and fire stations, buildings housing medical services, prisons and bridges are at risk — because A) they were built before the 1980s, when the government began enforcing durability standards, and B) plans to reinforce them were never implemented.

Shapira also criticized the Ministry of Tourism for the insufficient preparedness of hotels.

• United Torah Judaism party to remain in government despite the question of Haredi army conscription being unresolved. Party leader Rabbi Yaakov Litzman had threatened to pull out of the governing coalition if the issue wasn’t settled by today, when the Knesset begins its summer recess.

Around the World
• Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is distancing herself from the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her latest comments on a Democracy Now! livestream interview came on the heels of a disastrous Q&A with PBS.

• Another Mideast peace plan bites the dust. Oldoz Javidi has already retracted her idea, saying it could be “misinterpreted.”


• An Austrian province is mulling limiting kosher meat sale to registered Jews, with government officials citing concerns for animal welfare. Jewish leaders say that the required registry smacks of Aryan racial laws implemented by the Nazis. JTA coverage.

• Study finds online antisemitism is going mainstream in Germany.

• Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg told Recode he wouldn’t remove Holocaust denial posts because “I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” That brought a heap of criticism, forcing Zuckerberg to clarify his comments. Meanwhile, Berlin lawmakers insisted that Facebook must adhere to German Holocaust denial laws.

Jessica Huseman
Just tuning in here, but if Zuckerberg won’t shut down Holocaust denials, just why should we believe they are gonna tamp down misinformation ahead of the election? What is the baseline for when wrong information is being offered in bad faith if not that?

1:16 AM - Jul 19, 2018 · Belize
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• Over at i24 News, Eugene Kontorovich explains the legal case for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Emmanuel Navon and Dr. Aviad Bakshi weigh in for the Nation-State law while Amir Fuchs and Yedidia Stern oppose it.

• Plenty of spilled ink and burnt pixels about the British Labour Party’s antisemitism problem . . .

– Naftali Bennett: We won’t let Labour divide the Jewish people
– Stephen Pollard: Jeremy Corbyn, the anti-racist who turned Labour into the party of anti-Semitism
– Times of London (staff-ed): Labour and antisemitism
– Denis MacShane: Labour rejection of EU’s definition of antisemitism is morally wrong and politically foolish
– David Hirsh: Understanding Labour’s disavowal of the IHRA definition
– Stephen Daisley: Labour members must pick a side in the fight against anti-Semitism

Dave Rich
This Labour leadership "would rather lead a party where it is not antisemitic to compare Israel to Nazi Germany, than lead a party where Margaret Hodge MP, whose grandmother and uncle were murdered in the Holocaust, feels she is welcome." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/18/labour-antisemitism-code-jeremy-corbyn?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

2:02 PM - Jul 18, 2018

Labour’s antisemitism code exposes a sickness in Jeremy Corbyn’s party | Dave Rich
For years, certain antisemitic attitudes have been normalised in parts of the left. It seems they are now an official party stance, says Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust

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• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Daniel Shapiro: Trump’s appalling display in Helsinki shows Netanyahu was right all along to invest in Putin
– Ian Lee: Why Netanyahu liked what he saw from Trump in Helsinki
– Ilan Jonas: If Iran gets back to nukes, Israel is better prepared to strike
– Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Iran supports Palestinian terror groups
– Noa Landau: Israel’s tightening alliance with central Europe’s nationalist leaders is splitting the EU
– Herb Keinon: Putting the Western Wall on the itinerary for world leaders
– Anna Ahronheim: Is Israel heading to another war with Gaza … over kites and balloons?
– Charles Bybelezer: The Israel-Hamas standoff is set to play out
– Seth Lipsky: Will Schumer drop Israel for Ocasio-Cortez?
– Yonah Jeremy Bob: What does Trump’s denial of Russian hacking mean for Israeli elections?
– Allison Kaplan Sommer: Principled activists or entitled brats? What’s wrong with the Birthright walk-outs
– Bethany Mendel: Playing politics with Birthright? That’s like stealing a free trip to Israel
– Ira Rifkin: Anti-semitism: Journalistically parsing its current upsurge both here and abroad

Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA ERIO; Israeli emblem via Wikimedia Commons; Orban via YouTube/Dr. Steve Turley; earthquake via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Jul 2018, 11:16 pm

Trump-Putin Summit: The Israel Angles

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Meeting in Helsinki, US and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin said all the things Israelis needed to hear about Syria. But in the absence of specifics, I won’t say I’m reassured. More on the Israel angles at the Times of Israel and Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter).

When terrorist forces are wiped out in south and west Syria, Putin said, “the situation on the Golan Heights must be restored to what it was after the 1974 agreement, which set out the terms for the disengagement of forces between Israel and Syria.”

In a statement following the press conference Monday, Netanyahu thanked the two leaders for their commitment to Israeli security . . .

Netanyahu “very much appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and the clear position expressed by President Putin regarding the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria,” the statement added.

Daraa Israel DMZ

2. As Russian-backed Syrian forces pressed their offensive in the Daraa province, some 200 displaced Syrians massed at the Israeli border waving white flags, apparently asking for help.

After a few moments, the Syrians dispersed, the army said, and they could be seen walking back toward a displaced persons camp in the village of Bariqa, near the border.

Since Assad’s renewed offensive against the largely rebel-held Daraa and Quneitra provinces began last month, Israel has expressed fears that Syrians from the areas might attempt to breach the border in an attempt to seek refuge inside the Jewish state.

3. Egypt gives ultimatum to Hamas to end the terror kites and balloons within days, shuts the Rafah border crossing.

“Hamas cannot stop the launching of the balloons in one go because it will damage its position in the eyes of the Gaza residents and those who support it who will see it as a collapse. Therefore, it has to do it gradually,” once source in Gaza told Ynet.

Meanwhile, Israel halted the transfer of gas and fuel to Gaza. Food and medicine are still being allowed in, but only on a case by case basis.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Israeli army drills for Gaza incursion, in apparent warning to Hamas.

Monday’s exercise — which the IDF invited local media to film, and which was detailed on the evening’s main news broadcasts — appeared intended to send a message to Hamas that Israel was prepared to take drastic action, if needed, to bring peace back to the communities in the Gaza periphery, which have also endured weeks of “fire kite” attacks launched from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

• Israelis discovered a falcon near Gaza with an incendiary device tied to it. Per Ynet, “An initial inspection by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority revealed that the falcon was harnessed to, and not merely entangled in, the combustible material.” The Times of Israel adds that “the falcon was found dead, hanging by the attached string from a burned tree near the Nahal Habesor riverbed.”

It’s the first time Palestinians used animals to spread fires. On a handful of occasions, Palestinians unsuccessfully sent bomb-laden donkeys and horses at soldiers, resulting only in the deaths of the animals.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

 A falcon attached to a rope with flammable material was found today near the Gaza Strip. Arson fires have been caused by incendiary materials flown from Gaza into Israel. Apparently it’s not enough to destroy nature with kites, now falcons are being used for terror as well.

6:04 PM - Jul 16, 2018
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• If the IDF were to overthrow Hamas, what would the power vacuum mean for Israel? Analysts discussed the issue with The Media Line.

• Although the Trump administration hasn’t expressed any inclination on the matter, a congressional sub-committee is going to hold hearings on recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

• Iranian ties to Hamas are more overt than ever. An address by Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, to a Gaza conference by video link up was cut short by a technical glitch. Hamas blamed Israel. More at Ynet.

• CNN got rare access to UNIFIL to learn more about what peacekeepers do along the Israel-Lebanon border.

• European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini blasted Israeli cabinet minister Gilad Erdan, demanding the Minister of Strategic Affairs provide proof to his accusations that the EU finances terror and BDS activities. Haaretz saw the letter while the Times of Israel fills out more details.

Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
Window Into Israel
• An inaugural flight of landed at Eilat’s new llan and Assaf Ramon International Airport. The airport is due to open in March, 2019.

• The Knesset passed the ‘Breaking the Silence’ bill into law; non-governmental organizations deemed to be acting against the state or IDF will be barred from Israeli schools. More on the story at the Times of Israel.

• Does Israel need a law to define itself as the nation-state of the Jewish people?

• Knesset passes law: Pregnant women no longer need to wait in line.

Around the World
law• A federal judge in Louisiana ruled that Jewish heritage can be basis for race discrimination. AP explains:

The nation’s highest court hasn’t defined what “race” means under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, U.S. Magistrate Mark Hornsby said in a court filing Friday. But he concluded that Jewish citizens have been treated as a racial or ethnic group entitled to the law’s protection against employment discrimination . . .

The magistrate issued his findings in a civil case football coach Joshua Bonadona filed against Louisiana College in February. Bonadona claims the college’s president, Rick Brewer, refused to approve his hiring because of what he allegedly called the applicant’s “Jewish blood.”

• Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has a history of Israel-bashing, struggled with explaining “the Israeli occupation” during an interview on the PBS talk show The Firing Line. The Jerusalem Post has backstory on this video people are buzzing about.

[Margaret] Hoover then asked: “You use the term ‘the occupation of Palestine’. What do you mean by that?”

In response, Ocasio-Cortez exclaimed “Oh!”, paused, and said “I think that what I meant is the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas, in places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes.”

The interviewer continued to press her for clarification, at which point Ocasio-Cortez somewhat deflected the request, stating that she is “not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.”


Ryan Saavedra

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Post  Admin on Mon 16 Jul 2018, 6:34 pm

What Does Trump-Putin Summit Mean for Israel and Syria?
Today’s Top Stories
*** Breaking news *** After this roundup was published, the IDF struck two Hamas positions after terror balloons launched from Gaza sparked fires in southern Israel. Code Red Alerts are being heard in southern Israel. Developing . . .

1. As this roundup was published, US and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin began their first face-to-face meeting in Helsinki, Finland. The Mideast is paying particularly close attention as their discussions on Syria are expected to have major ramifications on Iranian entrenchment in Syria and Israel’s pushback. (The New York Times, CNN and BBC are liveblogging from Finland.)

Indeed, Israel reportedly struck an Iranian base in northern Syria near Aleppo last night. The Al-Nayrab military base near Aleppo is linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Reports say 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in the attack, which targeted weapons warehouses.

Helsinki seafront
2. Israel allowed reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) to take a first-hand look at selected Iranian nuclear documents which the Mossad stole from Tehran earlier this year. If you’re stymied by their paywalls, the Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post summarized their coverage.

Coincidentally or not, the stories were published on the eve of the Trump-Putin talks . . .

In a lengthy briefing at a security facility here last week, senior Israeli intelligence officials disclosed additional details about the operation. Those include specifics on how the documents were removed from Iran; the existence within the documents of the warhead designs, for which Israel said Iran got unspecified foreign assistance; the operation of a secret explosives-testing facility that international inspectors had long searched for in vain; and a scramble by Iranian officials to keep their nuclear program alive after international inspectors concluded it had been suspended . . .

The documents track, and in some cases repeat, revelations and assumptions made previously by the International Atomic Energy Agency, but also provide specifics—including, for example, the existence of an underground metallurgical testing facility—about which international inspectors were unaware.

3. The Swiss ambassador to Israel apologized to Hebron’s Jewish community after a Swiss member of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was caught on video slapping a 10-year-old Jewish boy. The man, who serves as a TIPH legal counsel, was ordered to leave Israel.

4. Gaza Rocket Barrage = Anti-Israel Media Barrage: For a number of news services, the Gaza crisis started when Israel fired back.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
In the News
• In rare step, International Criminal Court is reaching out to ‘Palestinian victims,’ raising the ire of Israeli officials.

In a little-noticed press release issued Friday, three judges who are members of the so-called pretrial chamber dealing with Palestinian complaints of alleged Israeli war crimes ordered the court’s registry “to establish, as soon as practicable, a system of public information and outreach activities for the benefit of the victims and affected communities in the situation in Palestine.”

• The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ elite force, Qassem Soleimani, to address Gaza via satellite link. Haaretz notes this isn’t the first time Iran-Hamas ties have been on such overt display.

• Additional Iron Dome batteries deployed in southern and central Israel

• The Jerusalem Post and Israel HaYom visited Kfar Aza, Moshav Ein Habasor and Sderot to take the pulse of Israeli communities on the Gaza border.

• Eastern Jerusalem is undergoing an Arab tourism boom as pilgrims from countries that don’t recognize Israel increasingly flock to the Holy City.

• The Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) takes a closer look at Iranian efforts to create a land bridge to Syria, and Israel’s efforts efforts against it.
View image on Twitter
Dov Lieber
 This map, put together with info from intelligence officials and @LeBeckInt shows the common route by which Iran, with the help of Iraqi Shiite militias, brings weapons from Iran to Syria & Lebanon. 

Israel is intent on shutting this route:https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-broadens-fight-against-iran-1531684841?tesla=y&mod=article_inline …

10:14 AM - Jul 16, 2018
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• Syrian government forces continued pounding rebel-held areas of southern Syria. According to AP, more than 800 missiles were fired on positions as close as four km (2.5 miles) from the Israeli border. Reuters adds that the Syrians captured a strategic hill overlooking the border.

• Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias aligned with Iran are integrated into the Syrian army in its campaign to take control of south Syria.

• Award-winning Palestinian photographer died in a Syrian jail, reports AFP. Niraz Saied had documented life in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus. Saied was arrested by Syrian forces in 2015.

Around the World
Britain• The UK Labour party’s antisemitism definition could breach the Equality Act, according to legal advice.

The advice, seen by the Guardian, suggests that because Labour has ignored the so-called Macpherson principle – that a racist incident is one perceived to be racist by the victim – when it comes to antisemitism, Jews are being treated less favourably than other groups . . .

The Macpherson principle, which has been widely adopted since the murder of Stephen Lawrence as part of the inquiry into racism in the police, says: “The definition [of a racist incident] should be: A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”. Once the fact of the incident have been established, the burden of proof is then on the accuser to provide an alternative explanation.

• Argentina freezes assets of suspected Hezbollah fundraising network.

• ESPN removes weekly Australian Football League pool participant for ‘Burnthejews’ screen name.

building campaign

• A New York Post staff-ed slams international silence on Hamas’ terror balloons and “ecological war on Israel.”

The world regularly shrugs at such Israeli suffering. But what about the assault on Mother Nature? The fires are destroying nature preserves, killing some animals and destroying the food supply for others . . .

Calling PETA, Greenpeace and all the rest: If one combatant can launch environmental war without global censure, the tactic will catch on. Even if it risks showing sympathy for Israel, you have a clear duty to raise the alarm.

Related viewing: The Environmental Impact of War
• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Charles Bybelezer: Trump-Putin summit could avert or pave way to Mideast war
– Zvi Bar’el: If Moscow’s ‘deal of the century’ for Iran works, both Damascus and Jerusalem will smile
– Shlomo Bolts: Putin is laying a bomb on Israel’s doorstep
– Anna Ahronheim: Gaza: Another futile round?
– Amos Harel: Israel signals Hamas it’s not afraid of confrontation
– Michael Cotler-Wunsh: Scorched earth and international law
Featured image: CC BY-SA Gage Skidmore; Helsinki CC BY-NC-ND Jonathan Britain via Wikimedia Commons;

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

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Post  Admin on Sun 15 Jul 2018, 9:41 pm

Cease-Fire Holding After Heavy Gaza Violence

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Violence erupted along the Gaza-Israel border with a weekend of rockets and air strikes, but an Egypt-brokered ceasefire has taken hold. Over the course of the weekend, some 200 rockets/mortars were fired at Israel and the IDF struck 40 different targets, including weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, training sites and command centers. Too many developments to summarize so see below for all the details.

2. Unfolding coverage of last week’s Benjamin Netanyahu-Vladimir Putin summit reports that Israel has accepted Bashar Assad rule in Syria in exchange for Iranian and Shiite forces being kept “tens of kilometers” from the Israeli border. The New York Times explains:

With Syrian government forces raising the national flag on Thursday over Dara’a, birthplace of the revolt against Mr. Assad, the endgame of the Syrian civil war seemed to be fast approaching. And with it, time could be running out for Israel to dislodge Iran from Syria by diplomatic means.

Adding to the urgency is a summit meeting on Monday between Mr. Putin and President Trump in Helsinki, where Iran and Syria are expected to be on the agenda. Mr. Netanyahu moved up his meeting in Moscow by several days to make a last pitch to Mr. Putin before the meeting.

But a commitment to keep Iranian forces tens of kilometers from Israel was a far cry from ejecting them completely from Syria, which Mr. Netanyahu has been lobbying Mr. Putin to do. And even that commitment was not confirmed by Russian officials.

Netanyahu conferred with President Donald Trump ahead of the US leader’s meeting with Putin tomorrow.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump
3. JTA: Prominent British journalist Paul Mason is accused of beating a man protesting against Labour anti-Semitism.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Here’s the rundown on the weekend violence, based on Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and Times of Israel reports one and two.

-Friday afternoon: IDF officer moderately wounded by grenade thrown by a 15-year-old Palestinian along the Gaza border. The teenager was killed by responding soldiers. In a separate incident, a Palestinian teenager was shot and killed trying to breach the border fence. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Hamas targets in the Strip, including a site used for manufacturing terror balloons
-Friday night: Hamas responded by firing more than 30 rockets. An Israeli family four was all injured when their Sderot home was hit by a rocket. Another mortar hit the courtyard of an empty synagogue.
-Saturday morning: Israel responded by destroying a terror tunnel and other targets including a high-rise building (it was meant to be the Palestinian national library). Hamas continued firing rockets.
-Saturday night: Hamas announced a ceasefire with Israel brokered by Egypt. This ceasefire reportedly includes a gradual stopping of terror kites. (The ceasefire didn’t take hold right away.)
– Sunday morning: IDF gives all clear to southern residents as ceasefire appears to hold. Later in the morning, the head of a Fatah-aligned rocket unit and his 13-year-old son were killed in a “work accident.”
-Sunday afternoon: Israel strikes Hamas cell launching incendiary kites during ceasefire. No reports of further rocket fire.

Elad Ratson

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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Jul 2018, 4:21 pm

IDF Strikes Syrian Positions After Drone Infiltration

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Today’s Top Stories
1. The IDF struck several Syrian army positions in retaliation for a drone infiltration yesterday afternoon. The drone, which the IDF said appeared to be an unarmed Syrian reconnaissance aircraft, was shot down about 10 km inside Israel by a Patriot missile.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

2. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where the two discussed Syria. Take your pick of Jerusalem Post or Haaretz coverage.

Meanwhile, US Senator Lindsey Graham urged Israel not to cut any deals with Moscow at Washington’s expense. Backstory on that i24 News. Netanyahu responded, saying he coordinated with the US.

Ireland3. As expected, the Irish Senate approved legislation that would criminalize the import and sale of products and services from West Bank settlements. The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill now moves to parliament’s lower house. The Irish Times (click via Google News) reports that the US State Department lobbied Fianna Fail, Ireland’s leading opposition party, not to support the bill.

Questioned by the Jerusalem Post, Ireland’s Ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly said the minority government was against the bill, but Israeli settlement activity makes opposition to the legislation difficult.

I liked Eugene Kontorovich’s Twitter thread in response.

4. What is HonestReporting? Check out our new YouTube trailer telling new visitors who we are and what we do.

Israel and the Palestinians
• A Jerusalem judge issued a temporary confiscation order for a pair of Norwegian ships due to participate in a flotilla to symbolically break the blockade of Gaza, reports Ynet. Till now, intercepted ships were towed to Ashdod and then subsequently released.

The court order allows for the Karstein and Freedom, worth approximately 75,000 euros, to be used for monetary compensation for victims of Hamas terrorism the moment they enter Israeli waters.

• Congressional Democrats demand ‘transparency’ over Trump administration’s review of US aid to Palestinians.

Acknowledging the need to ensure that no tax-payer money “is diverted from its intended purposes, or even worse, inadvertently benefiting the terrorist organization Hamas,” the Democratic lawmakers expressed concern that depriving US funds from the Palestinians could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

• Worth watching: Yael Raz-Lachvani of Kibbutz Nachal Oz discusses Palestinian terror kites with the BBC.

• Along the Gaza border yesterday, an IDF drone opened fire near a group of Palestinians preparing incendiary balloons. The Times of Israel also reports, “In a separate incident, also east of Rafah, Israeli soldiers shot and detained a Palestinian youth who the army said tried to breach the Gaza security fence with a pair of wire-cutters and a bottle full of a flammable liquid.”

• State-owned TV New Zealand apologize and admitted botching its in coverage of Gaza riots. TVNZ mistakenly reported that Israel had killed “hundreds” of Palestinians. As the Israel Institute of New Zealand of pointed out, “the UN has reported 131 Palestinian deaths. And approximately 80% of the casualties have been identified as terrorists.”

The Independent• The Independent has a new Mideast and North Africa correspondent, and she’s off to a nice start. Bel Trew, who I believe is based in Cairo, filed this nice dispatch from Gaza after meeting with some goons from the Resistance Brigades of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

It’s encouraging that The Independent finally has a Mideast correspondent who can openly travel and report in Israel. Beirut-based journalists like correspondent Bethan McKernan file plenty of reports about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without ever seeing it for themselves because Lebanese authorities and Hezbollah are very suspicious of things like Israeli datelines, passport stamps, receipts, etc.

• Worth reading: The Christian Science Monitor visited the Israel-Syria border to learn more about the evolving status quo between the two countries. See more dispatches from the border at the Jerusalem Post and Reuters.

Window Into Israel
• Police arrested four suspects over the kidnapping of an Israel-Arab boy. Footage released by the police shows seven-year-old Karim Jumhour being abducted from the entrance to his home in the village of Kalansua, in central Israel. As this roundup was published, police were still searching for Jumhour. According to Israeli media reports, “the kidnapping is believed to have been carried out by a crime family over unpaid debts.”

• Teen suspect in Duma terror trial released to house arrest.

Around the World
Jeremy Corbyn
UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
• UK Labour’s Jewish affiliate is threatening to sue the party over its adoption of a controversial definition of antisemitism. The Guardian reports that A) the Jewish Labour Movement, the only Jewish group to be an official Labour affiliate, never signed off on the party’s antisemitism definition, and B) general secretary Jennie Formby misled Labour’s National Executive Committee to believe the JLM had approved the definition.
British Jews are furious with Labour and Jeremy Corbyn over the party’s recently adopted definition of antisemitism. The party, in essence, took the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism and edited out the references to Israel and how certain criticisms of the Jewish state can be antisemitic. The IHRA’s full definition of antisemitism was adopted by adopted by Britain in 2016.

• New Labour antisemitism row as Jeremy Corbyn promotes MP who once called for moving Israel to the US.

• With an eye towards re-establishing “universal jurisdiction,” Spain is re-examining policy that would allow it to put on trial Israeli officials accused of war crimes.

• Argentina asked Russia to arrest an Iranian official linked to the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community headquarters in Buenos Aires. The attack killed 85 people and injured more than 300. Alí Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been implicated in the attack.

Noga Tarnopolsky
 Fun fact from Moscow: Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian official sent to meet with Putin on Syria, faces an international warrant for ordering the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. Argentina today asked Russia to arrest him & turn him over. No answer as yet https://www.timesofisrael.com/argentina-asks-russia-to-arrest-iran-official-over-1994-jewish-center-bombing/

11:26 PM - Jul 11, 2018

Argentina asks Russia to arrest Iran official over 1994 Jewish center bombing
Senior adviser Ali Akbar Velayati, in Moscow for meetings with Putin, already has an international warrant against him on suspicion of ordering deadly terror attack

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• California State Assembly candidate accuses Israel of genocide and offers support for Louis Farrakhan

• Norwegian hospitals refuse to assist in circumcisions.

• Greek Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki vandalized for second time in two weeks.

building campaign

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Amos Harel: Israel’s ultimate consideration in shooting down Syrian drone
– Herb Keinon: The message in the Netanyahu-Putin meeting
– Oded Granot: Iran not going anywhere from Syria
– Ben-Dror Yemini: Don’t worry, they are only flying kites
– Karl du Fresne: Israel’s continuing existence a remarkable feat of survival


Featured image: CC0 Pexels; Ireland CC0 Pixabay; Corbyn via YouTube/ITV News;

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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Jul 2018, 2:53 pm

Irish Senate to Vote on Criminalizing Settlement Goods
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Today’s Top Stories
*** BREAKING NEWS *** Shortly after this roundup was published, the IDF shot down an aerial drone that infiltrated Israel from Syria. Developing . . .
1. As this roundup was published, Irish parliament’s upper house, the Seanad, was due to vote on legislation criminalizing the import and sale of goods and services from West Bank settlements. Under the terms of The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill, anyone importing or selling settlement products would be liable to up to five years in prison and a 250,000 fine.
With wide support from independent and opposition parties, bill is widely expected to pass despite opposition from the government itself. The Attorney General says the bill violates European Union trade regulations while the Foreign Ministry prefers what it calls a common EU response to settlement activity.

The bill will also be a source of friction for Irish companies doing business in the US, where Congress has already passed anti-boycott legislation. Orde Kittrie explains:

If enacted, it could force U.S. firms with Irish divisions or subsidiaries to make a costly choice between violating either Irish law or U.S. law. If the companies refuse to join in Ireland’s boycott of such products, they could violate the new Irish law. But if they abide by the Irish law, they could violate U.S. law, which prohibits U.S. companies from participating in foreign boycotts that the United States government does not endorse.

Following the bill’s presumed passage, the legislation will then move to the lower house (the Dail) for debate and vote.

More on the story at the Times of Israel and Irish Times. Tweet of the day goes to Alex Ryvchin.

Alex Ryvchin
 Anti-Israel activists argued that labelling goods from Israeli settlements was about “consumer choice”. Now Irish steps to criminalise such goods, and remove all consumer freedom to purchase them, makes clear that this was just the latest attempt to boycott the Jewish state.

4:30 AM - Jul 11, 2018
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2. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed for Moscow today for his third meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin in six months. They’ll discuss — what else? — the latest developments in Syria and Iran’s entrenchment there. Haaretz reports this:

Foreign diplomats informed of the details of discussions between Israel and Moscow say that Israel has agreed not to disrupt the Assad regime’s retaking of control on Israel’s northern border and not to assist the rebels except for humanitarian aid, in exchange for keeping Iranian troops and Shi’ite militias away from the border and maintaining room to maneuver against any increase in their strength in Syria.

Indeed, Syria widened its assault on rebels in areas near the Golan Heights.

Democrats3. The JTA takes a deep dive look at the wave of progressive American Democrats who criticize Israel, and the bind it puts on the party’s supporters of the Jewish state. What does the rise of candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Leslie Cockburn mean?

“There’s a lot of evidence that defining liberalism through an intersectional lens has had the effect of casting Israel as an ‘oppressor’ and thus a nation worthy of condemnation even as its actual policies on issues associated with intersectionality are infinitely better than those of its neighbors,” KC Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College, former Fulbright instructor at Tel Aviv University and regular Washington Post contributor, told JTA in an email interview . . .

“Liberal Zionists,” Johnson warns, “will need to more effectively communicate how Israel’s policies on women’s issues, LGBT rights and civil rights are consistent with a Democratic Party increasingly oriented around identity politics.”

4. Israel Hate Journalist Tweets Old (Fake) News: Reporter Kitty Holland once tweeted that she won’t interact with Zionists. So it’s not a surprise that she’s spreading more anti-Israel poison on Twitter, this time an old and fake “news report” from a fringe website.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• The Israeli Navy intercepted a Palestinian boat trying to break the Gaza blockade yesterday. Eight Palestinians aboard were arrested and the boat was towed to Ashdod. Some of the Palestinians were said to have been injured in recent clashes and seeking medical attention abroad. However, the Times of Israel reports:

The vessel’s purported destination was Cyprus, however the boat lacked the equipment necessary to safely reach the island nation, making it more likely that this was a symbolic act of protest.

• Mufti of Jerusalem issues religious decree prohibiting Palestinians from selling property to Jews.

The fatwa, according to Palestinian sources, came in response to an Israeli bill allowing Jews to purchase land in Area C of the West Bank. The bill, put forward by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi), aims to change a 1953 Jordanian law that prevents foreigners and non-Arabs from directly purchasing land in the West Bank.

Socialist International• Israel’s Labor Party quit the Socialist International after the umbrella organization of socialist parties and organizations adopted a resolution joining the Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel campaign.

I haven’t seen any response from Israel’s Meretz party, which is also a member of the Socialist International.

• The White House tapped former Obama Mideast peace envoy David Hale for a top post in State Department post. A career diplomat, Hale currently serves as US ambassador to Pakistan. President Donald Trump’s peace plan is yet to be released and it’s not clear what role, if any, Hale might have getting Israeli-Palestinian talks back on track. More at the Times of Israel.

Window Into Israel
Shaul Elovitch
Israeli businessman, Shaul Elovitch arrives for extension of his remand in case 4000 at the District Court in Tel Aviv, February 22, 2018. Photo by Flash90
• Media tycoon Shaul Elovitch reportedly admitted to police investigators that he altered coverage of the PM at the request of the Netanyahu family.
Police are investigating whether the PM had an understanding with Elovitch, Bezeq’s majority shareholder, in which Netanyahu gave the telecom giant regulatory benefits in exchange for favorable coverage on the Elovitch-owned Walla! News site.

During his interrogation, which reportedly lasted even longer, Elovitch said he had called Walla’s CEO Ilan Yeshua to change the content of news articles, adding, according to Channel 10 news: “I couldn’t ignore the pleas of [the prime minister’s wife] Sara Netanyahu and the rest of the Netanyahu family. I didn’t want to anger the prime minister. He was my regulator.

“What did you expect? That I would ignore those requests?” Elovitch reportedly told his interrogators. “But I never expected any favors in return. I didn’t talk to Netanyahu about regulatory benefits and there was no bribery deal.”

Netanyahu, who was also grilled by investigators yesterday, said he and his family didn’t get favorable coverage from Walla.

1927 earthquake
Damage to the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City after the 1927 earthquake.
• With earthquakes on the minds of Israelis, today happens to be the anniversary of the last major earthquake to hit Israel. The Jericho earthquake struck on this date in 1927.
Known as the 1927 Jericho Earthquake, the 6.25 magnitude quake lasted approximately five seconds and rippled from its epicenter in the northern Dead Sea region to Jerusalem, Jericho and Nablus, reaching Ramle, Lod and Tiberias – claiming 500 lives and injuring an additional 700 people. It also caused massive structural damage throughout the region.

This was also the last time an earthquake caused significant damage to Jerusalem. Over 130 people were killed and some 450 were injured.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Ori Chudy criticizes Israel’s earthquake preparedness as “inadequate.”

building campaign

Around the World
• In New Zealand, National Party leader, Simon Bridges acknowledged that New Zealand “got it wrong” by co-sponsoring UN Security Council resolution 2334, which denounced Israeli settlements. The resolution was passed in December, 2016, during the waning days of the Obama administration, when the US abstained from the vote rather than veto it.

• Alumni group knocks Columbia U. for ‘disappointing’ response to professor who blamed Israel for “every dirty act in the world.”

Columbia University
• French Jewish family told to remove mezuzah outside apartment.

• Caught between jihadists and neo-Nazis, Swedish Jews fear for their future.

• Looks like The Australian‘s staff-ed shares HonestReporting’s sentiments towards Nabil Shaath and his response to Australia’s decision to cut aid to the PA.

In expressing himself as he did, Mr Shaath revealed how out of touch the Palestinian leadership has become in relation to terrorism against Israel and its citizens. It defies reason that Mr Shaath can seriously believe that any self-respecting country should go on providing aid to the Palestinian Authority amid suspicions that it may find its way into supporting those carrying out acts of terrorism. That is the purpose of the “Martyrs’ Fund” and Ms Bishop has taken the right action.
 Nothing sums up the arrogant Palestinian sense of entitlement more than Nabil Shaath saying Australia is "worthy of being spat on" for sending aid through accountable NGOs rather than the corrupt PA that pays terrorist salaries. #Chutzpah. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/australia-worthy-of-being-spat-on-nabil-shaath-condemns-decision-to-cancel-10-million-in-aid/news-story/6222e9beff77591b7be4f464f7412318

7:55 AM - Jul 10, 2018

‘Worthy of being spat on’
A senior Palestinian Authority official has condemned a decision by the Australian government to cancel $10 million in aid, describing Australia as “worthy of being spat on” and “servants of the US”.

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• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser: Economics won’t help. The Palestinians will continue with terror attacks
– Avi Issacharoff: Closing Gaza border crossing shows Israel has no clear vision for the Strip
– Alex Fishman: The games at play in Syria
– David Wainer, Jonathan Ferziger, Donna Abu-Nasr: Israel’s support for Sunnis in Syria was not a failed investment
– Dominic Green: Trump’s Mideast ‘deal of the century’ turns out to be a big fat nothing burger
– Keith Kahn-Harris: Without trust, Labour’s new antisemitism code is bound to fail
– Kenneth Waltzer: From ‘intersectionality’ to the exclusion of Jewish students: BDS makes a worrying turn on US campuses

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Alex Moreno Fuster; Dublin CC BY-NC ladyb; Democratic donkey CC BY DonkeyHotey; earthquake via Wikimedia Commons; Columbia CC BY-NC-ND Wally Gobetz;

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Post  Admin on Tue 10 Jul 2018, 7:45 pm

Israel Designates TV Station As Terror Entity

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel designated the Al-Quds TV network a terror organization. The move bars the network from operating in Israel. The Defense Ministry said the channel acts as the propaganda arm of Hamas. Haaretz explains:

The channel, which first went live in October 2008 and broadcasts from Beirut, has offices in the Gaza Strip as well as in Ramallah and Jerusalem. It makes use of local companies to produce content.

Owners, journalists and photojournalists of a production company which collaborates with Al-Quds and is based in the Arab-majority northern city of Umm Al-Fahm were summoned on Monday morning for questioning.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you

2. The Jerusalem Post takes a closer look at divisions within Hamas over international initiatives to rehabilitate Gaza:

Here’s the dilemma Hamas is facing: On the one hand, if Hamas accepts these initiatives, its rivals – first and foremost the ruling Fatah faction – will accuse it of “selling out to Israel and the US,” and giving up Palestinian national rights in return for economic projects and humanitarian aid.

On the other hand, rejecting proposals to improve the living conditions its constituents could aggravate the situation and possibly prompt desperate Palestinians to revolt against the Hamas regime.

3. Since Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on May 18, some 18,000 Palestinians have left the Strip. Who is fleeing and what does this mean for Gaza?

Most of those who are leaving aren’t ordinary Gazans, because getting out of Gaza requires financial resources, political networking, energy and initiative and – above all – somewhere to go to, in a world increasingly hostile towards immigrants. Hence, most Gazans who make it out are necessarily Gaza’s most resourceful, highly-educated, promising, accomplished, and sometimes wealthiest people.

The exit of these Gazans over the last few months constitute a clear attenuation of the territory’s future: A mass brain drain and human capital flight . . .

Hamas leaders dismiss the numbers of emigrants as a “small fringe.” However, had it not been for the Egyptian’s pre-specified capacity to process about 500 people a day (of which 400 are from an endless waiting list and about 100 “coordinated passages” – the result of bribes), the numbers would certainly have been far more shocking.

4. Reaching out to Israeli audiences, Daniel Pomerantz discussed HonestReporting’s work and the nature of media bias on Radio Eretz FM‘s Noam Nir (in Hebrew). Forward to 1:35:55.

Israel and the Palestinians
• A flotilla seeking to symbolically break the Israeli blockade of Gaza was left the Strip today. Organizers say the boats will carry sick and injured Palestinians who have been unable to travel abroad to Cyprus. There was no information about yet about the Israeli navy intercepting the boats when this roundup was published.

Israel enforces a blockade of the Strip to prevent weapons smuggling.

• Reacting to Australia cancelling $10 million in aid to the PA over terror stipends, Palestinian official Nabil Shaath displays a stunning sense of entitlement.

The Australian

• No injuries reported after shots fired at West Bank settlement of Beit El on Monday night.

• Hamas’ Gaza strongman, Yahye Sinwar, broke his arm in a traffic accident. According to Palestinian reports picked up by the Times of Israel, no foul play is suspected.

• Worth reading: The Washington Post takes a closer look at Israeli efforts to reduce Palestinian lone-wolf terror attacks by monitoring social media.

flames• A by the numbers look at terror kites, per figures reported by Ynet.

– More than 100: Days since Palestinians launched the first terror kites
– 678: Fires sparked across farmlands and woodlands near Gaza border
– 9,160: Dunams of land consumed (around 2,263 acres)
– 6,000: Dunams of agricultural produce consumed (around 1,482 acres)
– 15,100: Dunams of Jewish National Fund land consumed (around 3,731 acres)
– 33: Number of fires fought on Monday alone

Window Into Israel
• Another minor earthquake rumbled northern Israel near the Kinneret Lake, “bringing the number of tremors in the area in recent days to more than 40.” Israeli media raised concerns about the nation’s earthquake preparedness:

Out of 1,600 schools deemed three years ago to be in danger of collapsing, just 53 have since been reinforced, Hadashot TV reported Monday.

None of the 108 dangerous material factories, ordered two years ago by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to strengthen their structures, has completed the process, the report added.

They’re taking the earthquake threat seriously in Tiberias. More on the national preparedness at Globes.

building campaign

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had another round of police questioning about the “Bezeq affair.” Police are investigating whether the PM had an understanding with Bezeq’s majority shareholder, Shaul Elovitch in which Netanyahu gave the telecom giant regulatory benefits in exchange for favorable coverage on the Elovitch-owned Walla! News site. Netanyahu denies any wrong-doing.

• Tel Aviv‘s Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir announced that he’s going to challenge Mayor Ron Huldai in municipal elections. Residents of the White City go to the polls in November.
Tel Aviv
Around the World
• The courtroom battle against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions continues. Legal Insurrection updates the latest on a lawsuit against the American Studies Association, which adopted an academic boycott of Israel.

• We knew all along that Students For Justice in Palestine never believed in a two-state solution. Now SJP confirmed it in an op-ed in the California Aggie, the student paper of U. California, Davis. Backstory at The Algemeiner.

Lastly, it is an ideological fantasy to really believe that progress is possible so long as the state of Israel exists. Underlying this naive fantasy is the belief that a state that engages in racist laws, systematic killings and home demolitions can also function as a beacon of peace. The goal of Palestinian resistance is not to establish “love” with those who are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people; it is to completely dismantle those forces at play.

• Muslim Democratic congressional candidate calls Israel ‘apartheid regime,’ the JTA reports.

• Knife-wielding man threatens Zurich Jewish family on way to synagogue.

girl reading paper • Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Tony Badran: Iran’s two-front strategy against Israel
– Amos Harel: Israel tightens Gaza blockade – but ball is in Hamas’ court
– Herb Keinon: Why close the Kerem Shalom crossing now?
– Yossi Yehoshua: Protective Edge deterrence has eroded
– Yaakov Selavan: While you were busy denouncing Israel
– Yoav Limor: Syria strike is a message to Iran ?
– Eytan Halon: What does Boris Johnson resignation mean for UK-Israel relations?
– Daniella Peled: Too little, too late on anti-Semitism from Corbyn and UK Labour Party

Featured image: CC BY Christine Rondeau; flames CC BY palo; Tel Aviv via YouTube/Moshe Tutian girl CC BY-NC Roland Scheerer;

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

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Post  Admin on Mon 09 Jul 2018, 8:40 pm

Is Hamas Moving Forces to Calm the Gaza Border?
Today’s Top Stories
1. Hamas forces have returned to the Gaza border in what appears to be a bid to restore calm, according to Israeli media reports. Meanwhile, Israel announced that it is closing the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza because of the terror kites and balloons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is taking other steps, but didn’t elaborate.

On a related note, Qatar’s envoy to Gaza floated a trial balloon of his own, telling Israeli radio that letting 5,000 Gazans work in Israel would calm the border and end the terror kites and balloons.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you

2. Syria blamed Israel for an airstrike last night on a military base. The T4 base, located near Homs, is known to be used by Iranian personnel. After one airstrike on T4 earlier this year, an IDF officer confirmed to the New York Times that Israel had been responsible.

3. South Carolina became the first state to adopt a uniform definition of antisemitism. Columbia lawmakers adopted the State Department’s definition, which adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition.

The IHRA working definition made news in the UK last week when the Labour party adopted a watered down definition, angering British Jewry.

South Carolina
South Carolina statehouse in Columbia
In the News
• The opening of Sara Netanyahu’s trial has been postponed to October 7. Mrs. Netanyahu is accused of fraudulently spending $96,000 on ordered meals at the state’s expense despite the prime minister’s residence having a cook available.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court accepted a request from attorney Yossi Cohen, who sought to postpone the opening hearing in the case due to a clash with another case he is working on.

• Defiant Abbas says he won’t halt stipends to terrorists.

• After Israel arrested a Turkish national suspected of transferring money to Hamas, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu says Ankara will “retaliate.” Israel is taking measures to restrict President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to expand his influence in eastern Jerusalem.

earthquake• Israel’s earthquake preparedness, by the numbers. Based on Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel coverage of an emergency meeting of officials from the Defense Ministry, municipalities and rescue services following a series of light earthquakes in northern Israel.

– Over 10: number of earthquakes striking around the Kinneret in recent days
– 4: Earthquakes felt in northern Israel just on Sunday
– 6.2: Richter scale magnitude of Israel’s last major earthquake in 1927
– 500: Fatalities from the 1927 earthquake
– 74,000: Israeli students trained to be first responders after an earthquake
– 16,000: Expected fatalities in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake
– 100,000: Expected injured in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake
– 10,000: Expected number of buildings destroyed in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake
– 377,000: Expected homeless in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake
– NIS 200 billion: Estimated cost of damages from a 7.5 magnitude earthquake
– 80,000: Buildings more than three-stories high that were built before 1980, and not constructed to current standards
– “not much”: What’s been done to strengthen buildings and infrastructure, according to a 2004 state comptroller’s report

• Pakistan’s only officially recognized Jew, Fishel Khalid openly made his case against restrictions on traveling to Israel in a recent Pakistani Daily Times op-ed. His piece caught the eye of National Public Radio, which interviewed Khalid to learn more.

I am raising my children to be Jewish, yes. And mark my words, either Pakistani state allows me or not, I’m going to celebrate Passover next year in Jerusalem, Israel.

building campaign

• North Korea once sought to extort Israel by offering to stop working with Iran on missile technology — if Israel coughed up $1 billion. The Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) picked up on the new memoir of a North Korean diplomat who defected.

In a Stockholm cafe one winter’s day in 1999, North Korea’s ambassador to Sweden made a proposal to his Israeli counterpart, according to a former Pyongyang diplomat: Give North Korea $1 billion in cash and we will scrap our agreements to sell our missile technology to Iran and other enemies of Israel.

The Israelis refused, and days later offered food aid instead, according to the account. The talks ended without an agreement. Since then, North Korea has remained a steady supplier of conventional and ballistic weapons and nuclear technology to countries such as Iran and Syria.


• Jewish Syrian wearing a Star of David pendant attacked in Berlin.

• More swastika carvings found in Ridgefield, Conn.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Ron Ben Yishai: Assad’s huge victory and what it means for Israel
– Amos Harel: Syria strike: On eve of Moscow meeting, Netanyahu sends Putin strategic message
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Assad’s Pyrrhic victory
– Manfred Gerstenfeld: Can Labour stamp out antisemitism as long as Corbyn is chairman?

Featured image: CC BY Sjoerd Lammers Photography; South Carolina CC BY Jeff Turner; earthquake via Wikimedia Commons; North Korea via Good Free Photos; Iran CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Sun 08 Jul 2018, 10:29 pm

White House Pivots to ‘Gaza First’ Strategy

Today’s Top Stories
1. With peace efforts stuck in the mud, the Trump administration is focusing its efforts on improving Gaza’s living conditions, the Washington Post reports.

[A US infusion of development aid] could demonstrate a commitment to the Palestinian people that could make it more difficult for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to continue to rebuff overtures to engage in the peace process . . .

Israeli officials said they welcome a “Gaza first” approach as a way to both put pressure on Hamas and wait out the rival Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.

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2. According to Israeli media reports, Israel is moving to restrict Turkish activities in eastern Jerusalem, amid concerns that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to expand his influence there through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), a non-governmental organization that also operates in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Turkish aid group is suspected of A) trying to purchase property in eastern Jerusalem, B) transferring money to Hamas, and C) involvement in last year’s Temple Mount protests. That all ties in with the Israel’s arrest of a Turkish national, Ebru Ozkan. She’s accused of trying transfer money to Hamas.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
3. British Jews are furious with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party over its newly adopted definition of antisemitism. The party, in essence, took the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism and edited out the references to Israel and how certain criticisms of the Jewish state can be antisemitic.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, Stephen Pollard, Nick Cohen and Jewish Labour activists Mike Katz and Adam Langleben castigated the party’s watered down definition. The IHRA’s full definition of antisemitism was adopted by adopted by Britain in 2016.

Jonathan Freedland
 So Labour have rejected a definition of antisemitism accepted by UK, Scottish and Welsh govts, 124 local authorities, gov’ts around the world and most Jews. It seems Labour found that definition too stringent - it prohibited anti-Jewish expression that Labour wants to allow

3:20 PM - Jul 5, 2018
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Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel’s High Court of Justice put a freeze on plans to demolish the illegally built Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.

• Palestinians in Ramallah are accusing the PA of hypocrisy after the police force received 25 brand new American-made jeeps from the US consulate. The PA has boycotted American officials since the White House recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

building campaign

• Foiling a terror attack, police arrested a Palestinian with meat cleaver and knife outside the Beit El settlement on Saturday.

• First cabinet member enters Temple Mount after three years as Prime Minister lifts ban.

Michele Chabin
 #Palestinian media outlets are characterizing the visits of Israeli MKs on the Temple Mount as "storming." You can criticize without lying. 
"To storm" means to "suddenly attack and capture (a building or other place) by means of force." They're walking, not storming. #FakeNews

3:04 PM - Jul 8, 2018
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• Britain to lead review of incitement in Palestinian textbooks, which is expected to be completed in September, 2019.

• South African International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced that Pretoria will not reinstate its ambassador to Israel. Pretoria recalled Ambassador Sisa Ngombane two months ago in protest of Israel’s handling of the Gaza border clashes.

Lindiwe Sisulu
South African International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
• Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s niece was seriously wounded in Friday clashes along the Israel-Gaza border, Ynet reports.

• An incendiary balloon from Gaza landed near a kindergarten in moshav Netiv HaAsara on Sunday, causing light damage on Sunday.

• The Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) takes a rare look at Palestinian discontent with Mahmoud Abbas and the PA. Call it restless in Ramallah?

“We have never reached this level of weakness in front of our people,” said Saeb Erekat, a 63-year-old top aide to Mr. Abbas.

“At the end of the day, governing is not about how decent you are and how honest you are,” Mr. Erekat said. “You promised your people you do something. You didn’t.”

• Jerusalem denied an i24 News report that Israel hosted a military delegation from the United Arab Emirates “to review operations of the advanced US-made F-35 fighter jets.” The UAE is seeking to procure the advanced stealth fighter, and has openly participated alongside the Israeli Air Force in exercises in both Greece and the US.

A US Air Force F-35 taking off on a Oct. 25, 2017 training flight.
Window Into Israel
• Plans for a mixed prayer pavilion at the Western Wall took another hit when another member of the committee tasked with implementing the compromise plan quit.

Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party announced his resignation from the committee in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he charged that the decision to build the permanent plaza had already been made by the premier ahead of a committee meeting set for Sunday.

Culture Minister Miri Regev and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked resigned from the committee in recent days.

• Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug announced that she will step down from her position when her five-year term ends in November. The 63-year-old Flug is the first woman to serve as the Bank of Israel’s governor. Flug did not indicate why she isn’t seeking a second term. Times of Israel coverage.

Karnit Flug
Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug
• A new right-wing list, the “United” faction, seeks to bring together Jerusalem’s haredi and national-religious residents in the October 30 municipal elections. Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King heads the new faction and joins an already crowded field of people vying to succeed outgoing Mayor Nir Barkat.

Other announced candidates include Deputy Mayor Moshe Lion, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Kulanu MK and former Jerusalem deputy mayor Rachel Azaria, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, and activist Ofer Berkovich of the pluralistic Hitorerut faction.

• Northern Israel felt another minor earthquake today. It measured 3.2 on the Richter scale. After a number of minor earthquakes in recent days, a retired IDF Home Front officer warns a warns a major earthquake will hit Israel in the near future.

Around the World
• Progressive Democrats increasingly criticize Israel, and could reap political rewards, ABC News reports.

• French website removes ad for Auschwitz showerhead.

• Australian glasses company under fire for ad campaign filmed at Holocaust death camp.

Saying it was unaware of site’s sensitivity, Valley Eyewear apologizes and takes down pictures and video shot at Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

 .@valleyeyewear, perfect for vampire cataract sufferers who love to loiter around Holocaust and WWII memorials.

2:27 PM - Jul 1, 2018
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• Jewish Israel advocate Sergio Kowensky was shot and killed in his Johannesburg work place last week. According to the South African Jewish Report, it’s not yet clear if the businessman, who was chairman of the Likud South Africa Jewish group, was specifically killed for his Zionist activities, or was “just another senseless act of urban violence on the crime-ridden streets of Johannesburg.”

Kowensky, who was 67, is survived by his wife and three children.

• Anti-bullying experts are being sent to 170 German schools in a bid to counter rising antisemitic incidents.

• Two teachers at New York’s elite Riverdale Country School lost their jobs for sharing anti-Israel views with students.

UNRWA• Over at the Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter) Richard Goldberg and Jonathan Schanzer call on a the White House to declassify a single US document they say would blow the lid on the Palestinian refugee “scam.”

Unrwa labels more than five million Palestinians “refugees”—an impossible figure. The first Arab-Israeli war, in 1948, yielded roughly 800,000 Palestinian Arab refugees. Perhaps 30,000 remain alive today, but Unrwa has kept the refugee issue alive by labeling their descendants—in some cases great-great-grandchildren—as “refugees,” who insist on the “right of return” to their ancestors’ homes. Israel categorically rejects this demand . . .

In 2012 Congress ordered the State Department to disclose how many Palestinians currently served by Unrwa fled the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and how many are merely their descendants. The Obama administration classified the report, citing national security—as if revealing foreign census data were a threat to America.

A year and half into office, Mr. Trump hasn’t reversed this policy, but momentum is building against it.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– David Weinberg: Thwart Turkey’s Jerusalem incursion
– Amos Harel: Assad returns to the Israeli border. The big question is who is coming with him
– Zvi Bar’el: As Syrian army heads south, Assad will require new agreements with Israel
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: The end of the Syrian revolution
– Avi Issacharoff: As war edges toward end, Iran faces hard fight to keep its influence in Syria
– Yarden Ben-Yosef: The digital battle over the narrative of the Gaza protests
– Daniel Siryoti: Abbas had better fall into line
– Lahav Harkov: When realpolitik crosses the line
– Yossi Beilin: When BDS has a Jewish face
– Gol Kalev: Are Palestinians ready tell supporters, ‘We’re not your toy?’

• Last but not least, Saeb Erekat is sour grapes after Australia ended direct financial assistance to the PA.


Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA Armando G Alonso; Erdogan via Wikimedia Commons with alterations; Sisulu CC BY-ND Government ZA; F-35 U.S. Air Force with alterations; Flug via YouTube/Gazunda – Today’s Finance;

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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Jul 2018, 3:09 pm

Israel Confirms Efforts For Prisoner Swap With Hamas
Today’s Top Stories
1. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan confirmed to Ynet that Israel is trying jump-start talks for a prisoner swap with Hamas. He didn’t elaborate on the specifics about reports that Germany is acting as a go-between to facilitate an exchange.

According to the source, the negotiations are being conducted on two levels — via German diplomats in the Palestinian Authority, and a second track working out of Berlin — and that Israel and Egypt both trust the German team. If a deal is reached, the paper reports that Egypt will facilitate the exchange.

Hamas currently holds the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Hamas also holds captive Israeli civilians Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who both wandered across the Gaza border in separate incidents. Both are mentally unstable.

The last prisoner swap was in 2011 when Israel released 1,027 prisoners for Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped and held captive for more than five years.

From left to right: Hadar Goldin, Oron Shaul, Avraham Mengitsu and Hisham al-Sayed

2. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center slammed an Israeli and Polish joint declaration after Warsaw amended a contentious Holocaust law.

Yad Vashem’s statement said the Israeli-Polish declaration contained a number of historical errors, and that it paves the way to continue with legal battles against historians and other Holocaust researchers – even though now these will be only civil and not criminal proceedings . . .

Another controversial part of the joint declaration is its final section, which drew parallels between anti-Semitism and “anti-Polonism and other negative national stereotypes” and condemned both equally.

Poland launched an PR blitz featuring full-page ads in Israel, Europe and the US. (You may ask, Why Germany?)

3. The trial of former cabinet minister Gonen Segev began in Jerusalem behind closed doors. Segev, who served as minister of energy and infrastructure from 1992 to 1995, is accused of spying and transferring secret information to Iran. Take your pick of Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, or Ynet coverage.

Segev is expected to plead not guilty initially, though the prosecution believes that there may eventually be a plea deal.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
Israel and the Palestinians
• There’s a new strain on Israeli-Jordanian tensions. When Britain’s Prince William visited the Temple Mount, Nizar al-Qaissi, a diplomatic working in Jordan’s mission in Ramallah, joined Waqf officials in greeting the royal, to the ire of Israeli officials. According to the Times of Israel:

Israel’s Foreign Ministry and police were opposed to al-Qaissi’s presence and made their position known to organizers of the prince’s visit, a well-placed source told The Times of Israel, speaking on condition of anonymity . . .

An official at the UK Consulate General in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel that “the Waqf invited those to attend and greet” the future king.

The Islamic Waqf, which administers the Temple Mount, is overseen and funded by Jordan. The 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan recognizes the Hashemite Kingdom’s “special role” in regard to Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Raphael Ahren
No Israeli diplomats were present when Prince William visited the Western Wall. But a Jordanian diplomat, stationed in Ramallah, accompanied the future king to Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. Official Israel is not pleased. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-irked-over-jordanian-diplomat-greeting-prince-william-on-temple-mount/

11:57 AM - Jul 5, 2018

Israel irked over Jordanian diplomat greeting Prince William on Temple Mount
Ramallah-based Nizar al-Qaissi had joined Waqf officials in greeting royal on 'private visit' to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock

See Raphael Ahren's other Tweets
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• If you can’t beat them, join them. Ariel Gold, a prominent backer of BDS and leader of CodePink, is mulling aliyah to get around Israel’s recent refusal to let her enter the country.

• Latest poll finds Palestinians favor jailed terrorist Marwan Barghouti as successor to Mahmoud Abbas.

• Worth a listen: London’s LBC Radio talked to an Israeli soldier about his recent experiences on the Gaza border.

• The IDF warned Bashar Assad that any Syrian forces entering the demilitarized zone along the Israel-Syria border will be legitimate targets. The DMZ was established in 1974. International peacekeepers monitoring the border left as the civil war made their work too dangerous.

Meanwhile, a Hezbollah commander in Syria confirmed to Reuters that the terror group commands Syrian soldiers.

“Hezbollah is a fundamental participant in planning and directing this battle,” a commander in the regional alliance that backs Damascus told Reuters. “Everyone knows this – the Israeli enemy, friends, and even the Russians.”

Hezbollah’s role includes directing Syrian forces, the commander said. It has also deployed its own elite forces.

Window into Israel
water• A major study suggests desalinated water raises the risk of heart disease. Researchers said there was a failure to add magnesium to the water, leaving the Health Ministry and Water Authority to point fingers at each other.

According to the Israel Water Authority, only 1% of desalinated water is used for drinking and adding magnesium as part of the production process would be very costly. However, some argue that even the water used for agriculture should be enriched with magnesium because it is absorbed by the produce that people eventually eat, the television report said.

While the idea of introducing magnesium into the desalinated water has been raised in the past, the Water Authority and the Health Ministry have failed to agree on a plan to implement the proposal.

• Former employee at Israeli cyber-weapons firm sought to sell stolen top-secret code on the Darknet.

building campaign

Around the World
• The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign is targeting a Berlin cultural festival because the Israeli embassy among the sponsors.

• Sydney high school students suspended over Nazi salutes and antisemitic bullying of Jewish students.

• Jews in Turkey fear growing antisemitism.

• Polish priest set for sainthood criticized for antisemitism.

Fishel Benkhald
• Unable to visit Israel, Pakistan’s only officially recognized Jew, Fishel Benkhald lays out his beef with Islamabad policies in an op-ed that must be unusual for regular readers of the Pakistani Daily Times:
I am stuck in a real life conundrum. Being a practicing Jewish man, I want the freedom to perform my religious duties, a right granted to me and other minorities in the country by the constitution. However, the reality is that my Pakistani passport states that ‘this passport is valid for all countries of the world, except Israel’. As per the constitution, every citizen has the right to practice their religion, including religious pilgrimages. How then, can the state be justified in prohibiting not only Jews, but Pakistani Christians, Messianic Jews, and even Muslims from travelling to Jerusalem? This self-conflicting sentence on our passports is flawed and inconsistent with our constitution, and it is time to challenge this archaic law.

All I simply want is to invoke my given constitutional right to perform a religious pilgrimage without having the threat of criminal persecution from the state of Pakistan hanging over my head.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Oded Yaron: Hamas’ cyber honeypot exposes Israeli weakness and tech giants’ complicity
– Dan Margalit: Israel to declare a boycott on Viktor Orban? Get real
– Mitchell Bard: How UC Berkeley went from anti-Israel bastion to Israel studies powerhouse
– Sirwan Kajjo: Hezbollah’s indefinite presence in Syria

Featured image: CC BY Bartosz Brzezinski; water CC BY Aqua Mechanica

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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Jul 2018, 2:06 pm

Hamas Hacked Israeli Soldiers’ Phones
Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel uncovered a Hamas “honey pot” network that sought to lure IDF soldiers into downloading infected apps onto their phones by posing as young women. The malware gave Hamas access to the phones’ location, photos, messages and contacts, and allowed the terror group to remotely operate the camera and microphone without the soldiers’ knowledge. As for the extent of the hacking, the Washington Post reports:
While it could not give exact numbers on how many soldiers were allegedly approached or duped into conversation with Hamas’s cyberoperatives, the army said hundreds of recruits reported being approached through their Facebook accounts. About 2 percent of those agreed to download the apps. It is possible that more people will come forward now that the information about the purported cyberthreat has been made public.
Hamas managed to compromise soldiers’ phones in a similar “honey pot” scam last year. See Lilach Shoval‘s take.
2. Israel’s Eurovision win is in jeopardy as a US label claims Netta Barzilai’s ‘Toy’ was copied from “Seven Nation Army,” a 2003 hit by the Detroit rock band, The White Stripes. According to Israeli media reports, if Universal Music Studios’ claim is proven in court, “it could disqualify Toy’s eligibility to participate in Eurovision and strip Israel of its win and hosting rights for the 2019 tournament.”
If you want to listen and judge for yourself, here are links to Toy and Seven Nation Army plus this mashup of both songs. The White Stripes broke up in 2011.
I presume Cyprus — which came in second place with Eleni Foureira’s Fuego— will host next year’s tournament if (and that’s a big if) Israel is indeed disqualified.
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3. An Israeli law professor was tapped to head the UN Human Rights Committee. The JTA introduces us to Professor Yuval Shany of Hebrew University and the Israel Democracy Institute.
The Human Rights Committee is different from the more well-known Human Rights Council, which is generally hostile to Israel. The United States recently withdrew from the council.
The committee, which operates under the aegis of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is a nonpolitical body that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its state parties.
4. The Environmental Impact of War: What exactly is the environmental impact of Palestinian terror kites and what can you do about it?
Israel and the Palestinians
• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lifted a ban on Knesset members and cabinet ministers visiting Temple Mount. The change in policy came after police recommended that parliamentarians be allowed to visit the holy site. See Times of Israel and Haaretz coverage.
The ban was put in place three years ago for security reasons. Lawmakers will be required to coordinate their visits with the police, and are limited to one visit every three months.
• The Palestinian Authority defiantly doubled down on its stipends for imprisoned terrorists and the families of “martyrs” a day after the Knesset passed a law cutting tax revenue transfers to Ramallah.
Mahmoud Abbas
• According to the Israeli security establishment, Mahmoud Abbas is the biggest obstacle to rehabilitating Gaza. Haaretz explains:
In conversations over the past few weeks, Abbas is said to have expressed little interest in the Gaza Strip’s distress. He remains very hostile to Hamas, which he accuses of sabotaging the internal Palestinian reconciliation process and of the assassination attempt on PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during a visit to Gaza in March. As a result, the PA chairman has not responded to the feelers that have been put out by Israel, the United States and Nickolay Mladenov, the UN secretary-general’s envoy to the Middle East, about advancing the rehabilitation of the Strip.
• In Paris, IDF chief spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis briefed French lawmakers on the Gaza situation. According to the Times of Israel:
Manelis’s comments on the Gaza protests may have been meant as a rebuttal to the official stance of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris on June 6 that the violence was caused by the US moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.
• Netanyahu to meet Putin in Moscow next week.
• The trial of former cabinet minister Gonen Segev gets underway tomorrow. Segev, who served as minister of energy and infrastructure from 1992 to 1995, is accused of spying and transferring secret information to Iran. Although there’s a gag order, Haaretz looks at what’s known about the affair.
Around the World
• The Israeli Embassy in Dublin denounced a bill making its way through the Irish parliament that would criminalize the import and sale of settlement products. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney opposes the legislation.
Niall Collins
 · 19h
 The @fiannafailparty Parliamentary Party meeting this evening has decided to support the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill initiated by @frances_black https://twitter.com/niallcollinstd/status/1014108695666585600?s=21
The Irish Government has always condemned construction of illegal settlements. But this Bill asks Irish govt to do something it is not legally empowered to do - trade is an EU competence, not an Irish one. FF knows this - so this move is both opportunist and irresponsible.
7:53 PM - Jul 3, 2018 · London, England
87 people are talking about this
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• The British Labour party selected a Ken Livingstone defender as head of its disputes panel. Jewish activists called Claudia Webbe’s appointment “a step backwards” as the party continues to grapple with antisemitism within its ranks, the Jewish Chronicle reports.
• UK Jewish youth group drops Israel teen tour leader who said ‘Kaddish for Gaza’.
• Amsterdam’s oldest Jewish cemetery vandalized with swastikas.
building campaign
• Worth reading: Haviv Rettig Gur weighs in on the “brief but exciting life of the bill to outlaw filming IDF soldiers.” Not only did the contentious bill have no prayer of being passed, the legislation’s principal advocates and critics (including its author) knew it. Hence, the smoke and mirrors of Israeli politics.
The bill was fake from the start, the cabinet committee that “approved” the bill actually killed it, the preliminary vote was an agreed-upon fiction, Liberman’s gloating was a lie and the left-wing activists’ pearl-clutching was a demonstration of either a similar dishonesty or, worse, ignorance . . .
To recap, a bill to outlaw the filming of IDF soldiers has transformed into a bill that increases the maximum sentence for obstructing those soldiers — a crime never prosecuted in Israel’s history — from one year to three. It doesn’t forbid filming. And even as it was gutted, the bill was removed from the Knesset’s agenda for the foreseeable future. In its brief life, it offered left-wing activists a chance to rally to democracy’s defense, and the right’s populists a chance to show their uncompromising defense of Israel’s young soldiers . . .
Israeli soldiers at the entrance to the village of Husan, in the West Bank, on June 23, 2018. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90
• Here’s what else I’m reading today:
– Charles Bybelezer: Planning for when terrorism no longer pays
– Clifford May: The courage to say yes
– The Australian (staff-ed) Good call on Palestinian aid
– Leon Hadar: The Trump-Netanyahu honeymoon appears destined to end
– Raphael Ahren: Does the Israeli-Polish Holocaust law agreement defend truth or betray history?
– Seth Frantzman: Foiled Iranian bomb plot overshadows Tehran’s European charm offensive
Featured image: CC BY PACAF; malware CC BY-SA Christoph Scholz; Abbas via President of Russia;

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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Jul 2018, 8:41 pm

What Does Assad’s Advance on Border Mean for Israel?
Today’s Top Stories
1. As the Syrian army along with an Iranian-backed militia make gains in the southwestern province of Daraa, the Jerusalem Post examines what it means for Israel.

The offensive, backed by Russian planes, is now within 10 km. of Israeli forces on the Golan border and risks opening a new front between Islamic State and the Syrian army . . .

As the regime closes in on the rebels the potential fighting with ISIS could threaten the relative stability near the border.

This is because the ISIS affiliate controls an area very close to al-Rafeed where thousands of Syrian internally displaced persons are clustered. It is also because ISIS could threaten any Israeli humanitarian aid crossing the border or seek to provoke Israel into a clash with the Syrian regime. In addition the Russian air force has consistently said its main role in southern Syria is to strike at ISIS and other extremist groups, which could draw the Russian activity closer to the border. Israel has so far had a working de-confliction arrangement with Moscow.

In addition, if the regime cuts the road from Nawa south the rebels and the civilians in the area near the Golan will be cut off from any aid they had been receiving from near Jordan. This will make them increasingly reliant on Israel for humanitarian aid, increasing chances of a crisis. The Syrian regime and its Russian allies likely know this and they are waging the current battle accordingly.

Daraa Israel DMZ

2. The IDF confirmed that Arab non-governmental organizations from countries that don’t have relations with Israel are using Israel to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians, Haaretz reported. “Lt. Col. E. refused to specify the Arab countries involved, ‘so as not to complicate things for them.'”

3. Trying to expand its influence in Jerusalem, Turkey is renovating the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, Israel HaYom reports.

Recently, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Saudis warned Israel of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meddling in Jerusalem. (His efforts to Turkify the city interferes with their own efforts to Arabize it. They both agree that the latest nefarious move to Judaize Jerusalem is a beyond the pale.

See related commentary by Nadav Shragai.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Western nations held a de facto boycott of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, the day the organization its controversial Agenda 7 debate on Israel. The Jerusalem Post explains:

The silence marked a slim sign of continued success for the Israeli and US campaign to abolish the UNRHC mandate that requires a debate on Israeli actions against the Palestinians at every council session under Agenda Item 7.

All other alleged human rights abuses around the globe are dealt with under Agenda Item 4, save for Israel, which is the only country with a permanent dedicated agenda item.

• When the family of Naftali Frenkel sued Iran and Syria for their connections to his 2014 kidnap and murder, Federal Judge Rosemary Mayers Collyer awarded the family a surprisingly low compensation, “arguing that the family had taken its chances when it chose to live in the West Bank.” But Ynet reports that sanity prevailed after the Frenkel’s appealed the ruling:

About a month ago, the [appellate] court accepted most of the family’s claims and handed the case back to Judge Collyer, clarifying that no guilt should be ascribed to the victim and that the damages should be increased. Collyer is expected to make a decision on the matter soon.

The principle (and possible precedent) matters more than the money as neither Iran nor Syria responded to the lawsuit. Frenkel, a dual Israeli-US citizen along with Eyal Yifrach and Gil’ad Sher, were abducted by Hamas terrorists from a hitchhiking spot at the entrance to Alon Shvut, near Bethlehem.


• Israel passed a law cutting funding to PA over its payments to imprisoned terrorists and the families of “martyrs.” The PA called the Knesset vote “a declaration of war.”

The US froze aid to the PA pending review, and Australia ended direct aid to PA over the issue. More at Reuters.

building campaign

Mideast Matters
• Latest reports put the number of displaced Syrians at 270,000, of which an estimated 11,000 are now encamped along the Israeli border. They’re fleeing a Syrian-Russian offensive against rebels which has so far killed 293 people, including rebels, civilians and children.

• The Times of Israel picked up on Arab reports of a powerful explosion at a weapons depot used by Iranian-backed militias in southwestern Syria today.

• Worth reading: Haaretz visited the northern border to gauge the new Syrian realities facing Israel.

• An Iranian general accused Israel of stealing clouds and snow, and manipulating weather. If Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali isn’t careful, the Mossad may just steal Iran’s sunshine and bluebirds too.


• The Shin Bet is reportedly concerned that Iran may target former prime minister Ehud Barak and other Israelis abroad, per Israeli media reports. Far-fetched? Reuters reports, “An Iranian diplomat has been arrested along with two people suspected of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in France attended by Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Belgian authorities said on Monday.”

Window into Israel
• Orthodox lawmakers are threatening to topple the government after a contentious bill to draft yeshiva students passed its first Knesset vote.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Uri Regev and Yossi Verter weigh in on the yeshiva conscription bill and its implications.

Around the World
• Members of Ireland’s leading opposition party, Fianna Fail, are throwing their weight behind a bill to boycott products from Israeli settlements. More at the Times of London.

• Does a UK High Court ruling spell the end of BDS motions in local governments?

Deborah Lipstadt
Prof. Deborah Lipstadt
• Holocaust expert Dr. Deborah Lipstadt said the UK Labour party is partly responsible for a rise in “softcore Holocaust denial.”
Speaking at the Holocaust Education Trust’s annual conference in Westminster, London, she described how “softcore Holocaust denial” can also crop up in connection with Israel, where people go beyond criticism of policies and strategy and begin to draw comparisons with Nazi Germany.

“To talk about a genocide, or to talk about the Nazi-like tactics of the Israeli army is ludicrous,” she said. “Every army makes mistakes, every army does things wrong. There are things the Israeli army does wrong, but to compare it to Nazis is softcore denial.”

• UK court forces apology from Israeli-born antisemitic activist Gilad Atzmon for libeling a Jewish campaigner.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– MK Elazar Stern: Ending Palestinian ‘pay to slay’ payments for the sake of peace
– Zvi Bar’el: Syria’s Assad has become Israel’s ally
– Bassam Tawil: Palestinians beat female journalists; world ‘sees no evil’
– Charles Dunst: Does cozying up to authoritarians make Israel safer?
– Herb Keinon: Will golden age of Israel-Mexico ties continue under new president?

Featured image: CC BY Shironeko Euro; gavel CC BY-ND bloomsberries; clouds CC BY-NC david reid; Lipstadt via YouTube/Nederlands Auschwitz Comité;

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

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Post  Admin on Mon 02 Jul 2018, 9:45 pm

Australia Stops Direct PA Aid Over Terror Stipends
Today’s Top Stories
1. Australia stopped its $10 million funding for the Palestinian Authority amid concerns that the assistance was freeing up other money for the PA to spend on stipends for imprisoned terrorists and the families of “martyrs.” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement:

I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended. However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA’s operations there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to activities that Australia would never support.

Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values, and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

More on the story at the Sydney Morning Herald and AP.

Australia Israel

2. Seeking to thwart a yet-to-be-released US peace plan, Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to form a new unity government — including Hamas — and arrange Palestinian elections. According to Asharq al-Awsat, Abbas is also looking into the possibility of bringing former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad to lead the new government.

Fayyad was prime minister between June 2007 and June 2013 and was succeeded by current PM Rami Hamdallah. Palestinians haven’t held national elections since 2005 and the 82-year-old Abbas is in the 13th year of a four-year term as President of the PA. Previous attempts to organize elections collapsed amid Fatah-Hamas feuding.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
3. According to the Daily Mirror, Prince William has caught the Mideast peacemaking bug and “has pledged to make peace in the Middle East his ‘lifelong project’ after his historic trip to the region.”

A highly-placed Palace source told the Sunday Mirror that the Duke is determined to solve the region’s long-simmering mutual hostility – a problem which has stumped a series of world leaders . . .

An insider revealed: “The politicians who affect this younger generation’s lives may only be in office for five, 10 or 20 years – but William knows his duty is for life.”

Tradition dictates that royals stay neutral rather than entering the political landscape at home or abroad.

But sources say William wants to play a significant role in bringing “peace and prosperity” to the Middle East and intends to use his global platform as a force for good in the region.

building campaign

In the News
• Anti-Israel activists are pushing the European Union to exclude Israel from research projects that are part of the Horizon 2020 R&D program. Israel HaYom reports that “154 organizations from 16 countries signed a letter urging EU lawmakers to exclude Israeli defense contractors from $117 billion research and innovation program in 2021-2027.” If the boycotters succeed, the exclusion could cost Israel billions of dollars in grants.

Ariel Gold
Ariel Gold
• A prominent Jewish Boycott Divestment and Sanctions activist was barred from entering Israel on Sunday. Ariel Gold, is the national co-director of Code Pink and an unequivocal supporter of BDS.

Gold had reportedly come to Israel on a visa to take part in a Jewish studies program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In interviews, she has spoken of her desire to learn more about Judaism.

However, Israeli officials believed she was actually here to urge support for a boycott of Israel.

• Haaretz takes a closer look at budding Israel-Bahrain ties.

• Palestinian Authority condemns annual Jerusalem Light Festival as “judaizing” the city.

• Kansas judge dismisses lawsuit over Israel boycott ban but orders state to pay legal fees.

• The BDS movement is not only struggling to gain traction in Germany, it faces a surprisingly broad spectrum of opposition. The New York Times examines why.

• Worth reading: Moshe Yaalon (former defense minister) and MK Yair Lapid (who serves on the Knesset Committee on Intelligence and the Secret Services) make the case for why the West should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Their argument boils down to three elements, namely a) historical Jewish claims, b) it’s not in Israeli interests to trust Bashar Assad, and c) taking the Golan away punishes the Assad regime for using chemical weapons without requiring Western boots on the ground.

Golan Heights
An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights
• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Amos Harel: In bid to avoid conflict, Israel unlikely to help Syrian rebels near its border
– Seth Frantzman: Syria challenge: How will Netanyahu act?
– Yoav Limor: Things up north can quickly go south
– Daniel Shapiro: Trump’s appeasement of Putin will backfire on Israel
– Prof. Eyal Zisser: Arab states not waiting for the Palestinians
– Gary Rosenblatt: ‘Kill The messenger’: How the Annapolis shooting hits home

Featured image: CC BY daliscar1; Golan CC BY-NC Israel Defense Forces;

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Post  Admin on Sun 01 Jul 2018, 8:48 pm

Displaced Syrians Flocking to Israeli Border
Today’s Top Stories
1. Encampments of displaced Syrians sprung up along Syria’s border with Israel and Jordan as civilians fled renewed fighting in the southwestern Daraa province.

Syrian and Russian forces last week launched an offensive against rebels in southern Syria, violating a ceasefire brokered by the US, Russia and Jordan. Israel was not a party to that ceasefire. Of the estimated 160,000 people driven from their homes, 45,000 people have made their way to the Israeli and Jordanian borders. Jerusalem and Amman insist that no refugees would be allowed to enter, though six injured Syrian children were taken into Israel for treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

The IDF transferred humanitarian aid sprung up along Syria’s border with Israel and Jordan and is also bolstering defenses along the unsettled frontier. Reuters also reported that peace talks between rebels and Russia have resumed under Jordanian mediation.

Displaced Syrians explained to CNN and Haaretz why they fled to the Israeli border:

Abu Khaled said they decided to head for the Israeli border “because it’s safest there. It’s a demilitarized zone, according to international agreements, and the regime and its allies can’t attack there with their planes.”

Daraa Israel DMZ

2. An Israeli court ordered the PA to pay $3.5 million compensation to 51 “collaborators” tortured in Palestinian prisons. The Times of Israel explains the precedent-setting ruling:

Many of the plaintiffs were arrested by the PA’s forces from within Israeli territory — mostly East Jerusalem — and/or have Israeli citizenship. The Jerusalem court therefore ruled it had the jurisdiction to preside over the case.

Plaintiffs said while held between 1990 and 2003, interrogators beat them, put out cigarettes on their bodies, pulled out their teeth, forced them into painful positions for lengthy periods of time and withheld food and drink. Several said their genitals were abused, leaving them sterile and impotent.

3. The Palestinian Authority is stepping up activity in eastern Jerusalem in violation of agreements with Israel dating back to 1994. We’re talking about conferences, receptions, youth groups and cultural events organized and/or funded by the PA or Palestinian factions.

The Palestinians claim the activity is legal and that Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has emboldened police to clamp down.

4. Western Wall Confusion in the UK Press: HonestReporting corrected the record when several papers mischaracterized the holy site visited Prince William.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.
In the News
• Two Palestinians were killed and another five were injured in a mysterious explosion in a Gaza apartment building. There were conflicting details but the consensus coverage in the Israeli media suggests “mishandling of explosives.”

• Plans to build a permanent mixed-prayer pavilion at the Western Wall were cast further in doubt today when Likud lawmakers balked at joining a committee tasked with implementing it. In recent days, the committee’s chair, Miri Regev (Minister of Culture and Sport) and Ayelet Shaked (Justice Minister) dropped out and have not been replaced. The Jerusalem Post reports that the committee’s last remaining member is Religious Services Minister David Azoulai of Shas, “who will vote against the upgrades.” More at the Times of Israel.

• Government delays aliyah of Ethiopian Jews. Around 8,000 Jews in Ethiopia are waiting to immigrate:

At least 1,500 of those entitled to make Aliyah have been separated from their parents or children.

The Interior Ministry has decided the Law of Return does not apply to Ethiopian Jews due to suspicions that they willingly converted to Christianity after suffering persecution during the last century and later returned to Judaism.

building campaign

• The cabinet approved an Orthodox army conscription bill for passage to Knesset. Judging from the Jerusalem Post, it appears the bill will pass the Knesset and that the religious parties will likely not follow through on earlier threats to topple the government.

• South Africa’s leading Jewish organization is pursuing criminal charges against three online antisemites. “Laden with obscenities, the messages openly threatened Jews and evoked crude antisemitic stereotypes.”

• A congressional bill combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee. The Jerusalem Post explains that the legislation “would shield Israel and Israeli businesses by criminally penalizing US citizens seeking to participate in international boycotts against them.”

• French prosecutors announce investigation into anti-Semitic mosque sermon in Toulouse.

• Dutch Muslim political activist wishes cancer on ‘filthy Jews’ at pro-Israel paper.

• The Spanish city of Sagunto voted to boycott Israel in defiance of court rulings.

Sagunto Castle
• My blood went cold when I first learned of the terrible attack on the Annapolis Capital-Gazette. In memory of the five victims, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith, its worth pausing to remind ourselves of something that’s so obvious, we take it for granted: Journalists tell us the stories of the day — in our hometown, our country, and around the world — so we can be a better-informed, self-governing citizens.

Annapolis Capital Gazette

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Amos Harel: Assad preparing to retake southwest Syria and Israel will Have to decide whether to intervene
– Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, Dr. Nir Boms: Daraa: Will Israel once again turn its back on those who have been on its side?
– Yossi Yehushua: Israeli deterrence against Hamas has ended
– Marc Schulman: This summer, Israel and Hamas could reach a peace agreement — or tumble into war
– Jonathan Tobin: Why Trump and Kushner will never get the Palestinians to the negotiating table
– Daniel Gordis: Can Abbas revive Israel’s left?
– Irish Examiner (staff-ed) Eurovision Song Contest: Sound of hypocrisy in boycott call
– Raphael Ahren: Prince William’s visit a PR coup for Israel, with some royal pain amid the gain
– Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis: Why Prince William’s Israel visit meant so much to British Jews
– Ben-Dror Yemini: The Palestinian paradox: 70 years of perpetuating refugeeism
– Jonathan Schanzer, Varsha Koduvayur: Kuwait best get with the program – or be prepared to face Trump’s wrath
Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Alex Moreno Fuster; Sagunto Castle CC BY-ND santiago lopez-pastor;

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Post  Admin on Fri 29 Jun 2018, 12:53 pm

Prince William Visits Western Wall
Today’s Top Stories
1. Prince William concluded his Israeli tour with visits to the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Duke of Cambridge also visited the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg and a Mount of Olives observation point. Due to diplomatic sensitivities, they were classified as “private visits.” The Jewish Chronicle live-blogged the day.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that Prince William refused to meet with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in Jerusalem.
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 Western Wall, Jerusalem. Quite a picture ...#RoyalVisitIsrael

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2. The PA, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have all warned Israel about Turkey’s growing influence in eastern Jerusalem. According to Haaretz, we’re talking about donations to local Islamist organizations, efforts to purchase property, organized tours arranged by Islamist groups, “and the prominent presence of Turkish activists in demonstrations around the Temple Mount.”

According to these officials, the phenomenon reached its peak last year when hundreds of Turkish citizens became a regular presence in and around the Old City, becoming involved in clashes with police officers during Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The defense officials said the Israeli authorities handled the problem with a combination of arrests and deportations of some of the Turkish activists – barring some of them from reentering Israel.

The officials admitted, however, that even though the Turkish activity has quietened in recent months, it is still an ongoing concern.
Our strength is grass roots.
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3. Terrorist killed in attempted Israel-Gaza border breach.

Israel and the Palestinians
• UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres removes Palestinian kite tweet.

• The battle to deport Omar Shakir, a Human Rights Watch official accused of involvement in BDS activity, continued in the Jerusalem District Court. The Jerusalem Post was on hand.

• Haaretz: Concerned about potential Iranian or Hezbollah missile strikes, Israel is boosting defenses at the Dimona and Nahal Sorek nuclear reactors.

building campaign

Mideast Matters
• As Syria and Russia press their offensive against rebels in the southern province of Daraa, appear to be cautious about airstrikes near the Israeli border. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Two major issues now facing the Syrian regime and its Russian ally is how to proceed in areas near the Israeli border and, to a lesser extent, near Jordan. As the number of displaced people reach more than 45,000 and they move towards the border for protection, an increasingly volatile situation will emerge. That includes civilians and fighters packed into a small area, as well as extremists from ISIS further south along the Golan.

The second major concern is the movement of any Iranian- backed militias or Hezbollah units. In the last month, they have been accused of changing uniforms to blend in with local militias, and some Iraqi militias operating in the Euphrates valley were even hit with an air strike, shedding light on how Iranian-backed groups in Iraq use the border to reach Syria.

Israel has said it will not accept Iranian bases in Syria, and that any hint of Iranian encroachment behind the offensive could result in escalating tensions.

The most recent Russian air strikes in the province killed 22 civilians. The offensive breaks a ceasefire reached last year by the US, Russia and Jordan. Israel was not a party to that agreement.

• Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump will discuss a full Iranian withdrawal from Syria, among other things, at their July 15 summit. Media reports add, that “According to the diplomat, ‘The US will give Israel the green light to attack any Iranian presence in Syria wherever and however Israel wants to.'”

Window into Israel
• Plans for an expanded mixed prayer area by the Western Wall got unexpectedly complicated. Haaretz reports that cabinet minister Miri Regev resigned from her position as head of a ministerial committee tasked with approving construction plans at the southern end of the Western Wall.

Her conscience does not allow her to convene the committee and approve the work to prepare the historic archeological site for mixed-gender prayer, said her office on Wednesday . . .

Netanyahu is worried that if the committee does not approve the construction soon, the High Court will rule against the government and forbid the work. That could lead to a High Court ruling that would allow mixed-gender prayer in the Kotel Plaza itself – which would lead to a political crisis.

• To address problems associated with African asylum seekers, Israel is going to designate south Tel Aviv a “national priority.” According Israeli media reports, this will millions of shekels in grants and assistance for residents and for rehabilitation of run-down neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in other cities with high concentrations of Africans will also receive this designation.

South Tel Aviv
An African woman walks by colorful graffiti in South Tel Aviv, January 09, 2018. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
• The Manhattan apartment serving as the residence of Israel’s ambassadors to the UN is still registered under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s name, “although it actually belongs to the state and was purchased on its behalf,” Globes reports.

The apartment was purchased in 1986. Netanyahu served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN from 1984-1988.

• For commentary on the domestic scene, Ben-Dror Yemini weighs in against legislation restricting the filming of IDF soldiers. See also Shmueli Rosner‘s take on Israel’s conversion dilemma and the “Who is a Jew” question.

Around the World
• The JTA examines how the US leaned on Poland to soften its law on Holocaust speech.

• Citibank and Arab Bank have both stopped servicing a Palestinian non-governmental organization with close ties to a terror group.

• Human Rights Watch chief Ken Roth is being rapped on the knuckles for using an ‘antisemitic dog whistle.’

• This National Review columnist is defending the Spanish Inquisition(!?).

• Activists launched a campaign calling for Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision song competition in Israel.

Eurovision 2019

• ‘Boycott’ leader Peter Manning’s role at Australian Labor conference angers Jews.

• A Tel Aviv court convicted an Israeli-American man of making hundreds of hoax bomb threats to North American Jewish schools and community centers. The 19-year-old’s name is barred from publication in Israel.

[His] parents and lawyer have not disputed his involvement in the bomb threats but asserted in his defense that he has a brain tumor and a low IQ.

• Donald Macintyre is certainly impressed with Netanyahu’s deft use of social media to reach out to Iranians. Here’s the PM’s latest message on YouTube in English with Farsi subtitles.

But while Donald Trump’s use of Twitter continues to provoke acres of commentary on his adeptness in reaching his base and making news, it’s arguably Netanyahu who is really out in front as the master user of social media among heads of government.

• This cartoon depicting Prince Williiam wrapping Mahmoud Abbas in an Israeli straitjacket is from the poison pen of The Guardian‘s Steve Bell.

Considering that A) the royal visit to Ramallah is a significant boost of legitimacy for the PA, B) the Duke of Cambridge called Palestine a “country” and C) refused to meet Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in Jerusalem, the only conclusion I can draw is that Bell is really opposed to the overall royal visit — probably because it’s a new degree of normalization of UK-Israel relations.

Steve Bell

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Bassam Tawil: What Prince William did not see in Ramallah
– Ali Salim: The PA’s suppression of protests and free speech
– Yoav Limor: Next Israel-Hamas clash is imminent
– Max Boot: Trump can’t make a ‘deal of the century’

Featured image: CC BY-SA Tom Woodward;

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Post  Admin on Wed 27 Jun 2018, 9:41 pm

Syrian Civilians Flee to Israeli Border
Today’s Top Stories
1. As the Bashar Assad’s forces press their offensive against rebels in southern Syria’s Daraa province, civilians are fleeing to the Israeli border. An estimated 50,000 people have been displaced by fighting and Jordan isn’t taking in any more refugees:

Daraa’s residents described living in extreme fear and said many had also headed to the border with Israel, believing it to be safer.

“The safest place is the border with Israel because the regime and Russian airplanes cannot strike the area near the Israeli border,” said Waseem Kiwan, a 36-year old civilian in the village of Tafas north of Daraa city . . .

An Israeli military spokesperson said the IDF “is prepared for a large variety of scenarios and is monitoring the events in the area.”

Question is, what does this mean for Israel?

2. Prince William’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian areas continued with events in Tel Aviv emphasizing youth activism followed by a a meeting with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The Jewish Chronicle is live-blogging the Duke of Cambridge’s day.

The royal, who is second in line to the throne, will tour Jerusalem’s Old City tomorrow. It’s expected — though not confirmed — that the Prince William will visit the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Those would presumably classified as private visits, similar to the protocol of President Donald Trump’s 2017 visit. He will also visit the grave of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, on the Mount of Olives before leaving Israel.

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Justin Cohen
 ..and immediately reminded of context as journos asked to remove lanyards with Israeli flag ahead of municipality visit #royalvisitpalestine

1:50 PM - Jun 27, 2018
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3. Israel is boycotting the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. “Without any fanfare it stopped attending the daily council session last week after the United States announced that it planned to withdraw from the UNHRC.” The Jerusalem Post explains:

Israel has since gone through a second periodic review in January, the results of which are due to be voted on this Friday.

After that it has time to consider what relationship it wants with the UNHRC in light of the Trump Administration’s announcement, which has not ended what Israel considers to be a slew of biased steps.

On Monday the UNHRC is set to debate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Agenda Item 7. It is mandated to hold this debate at every session, no other country is singled out in this way. All other country specific human rights issues are debated under Agenda Item 4, save for Israel.

The UNHRC is also working on a black list of companies doing business with Israeli regions over the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

4. Bigoted Columnist: Jews ‘Poisoning the Wells’: Accusing Jews of ‘poisoning the wells’ is a classic antisemitic trope dating back to medieval Europe. Columnist Peter Oborne just revived it in one of the world’s most-read papers.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Palestinians fired 13 rockets at Israel early this morning after the IDF targeted an empty car it said belonged to a Hamas operative involved with the production and launching of terror kites and balloons. The Times of Israel explains the emerging dynamic:

In recent weeks, the military has adopted a policy of targeting Hamas positions in response to repeated incendiary kite and balloon attacks from Gaza in an effort to force the group, which rules the coastal enclave, to stop launching the arson devices and to force others in the Strip to abandon the tactic as well.

However, Hamas is attempting to maintain that the near-constant airborne arson attacks, which have burned thousands of acres of Israeli land, do not warrant retaliatory strikes by Israel and therefore accuses Jerusalem of violating the tacit ceasefire between the two sides.

building campaign

• Officials in Cyprus confirmed they are considering Israel’s proposal to set up a port to process goods bound for Gaza. Meanwhile, the PA rejected Israeli and US ideas to help the Strip. Ramallah claims that improving Gaza’s living conditions is “undermining the Palestinian national project.” It’s a very, very hard line:

Some PA representatives said they were hoping that the sanctions would aggravate the humanitarian crisis to a point where Palestinians would revolt against Hamas, which violently seized the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

The Media Line dug deeper into the Cyprus story.

Nebi Qena
• Journalists cried foul after the Prime Minister’s security detail barred an Associated Press reporter from covering Prince William’s meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu. Nebi Qena, an Albanian citizen, has been AP’s chief television producer for Israel and the Palestinian Authority for three years and is accredited with the Government Press Office:
He said he was repeatedly questioned by security guards about his “ethnic origin.” AP colleagues, on the scene and in the Jerusalem bureau, were asked by Netanyahu aides about Qena’s religion and whether he was a Muslim as they tried to secure him entrance.

Qena had registered for the event ahead of time and been assured he would be allowed to enter. The AP was serving as the video press pool for international media.

“The Associated Press decries this blatant ethnic and religious profiling of an AP journalist and calls on the prime minister’s office to cease such biased practices immediately,” said Lauren Easton, the AP’s director of media relations.

The Prime Minister’s Office subsequently apologized, attributing the mishap to “human error.”

Veteran journalists with government-issued press credentials attending media events with government-issued invitations don’t deserve this. Full stop.

• Nobody bracing for the eventual post-Mahmoud Abbas era ever imagined this. (Reuters deleted the original tweet and posted this update, though not before people poked Reuters with screengrabs.


• “Israel has reversed its ban on Indonesian tourists entering the country, after Jakarta agreed to lift its own moratorium on issuing visas to groups of Israelis, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.”

Window into Israel
Israeli soldier• The IDF ombudsman released what’s being described as a “gloomy” assessment of the military’s readiness for war, listing a variety of shortcomings, Ynet explains.

“If I read you these reports, you would fall over,” Brik said of the report whose content is not made available to the public.

The report is rife with pessimistic conclusions and highlights a series of failures in the IDF apparatus that he says could come to the fore in the IDF’s levels of preparation during the next war.

According to Brik, concerning discrepancies exist between the public declarations and bravado about the IDF’s capabilities and the realities on the ground.

Around the World
• Poland backtracks on contentious Holocaust law, scrapping threat of prison.

[Prime Minister Mateusz] Morawiecki asked the parliament to reopen discussions on the law. According to a statement by his office, the government believes that the law did not achieve its goal of “defending the good name of Poland and the historical truth.” . . .

In its current form, the law makes it a criminal offense to accuse the Polish people or Polish state of being responsible or a partner to the Nazi crimes and outlaws the use of the term “Polish death camps” in reference to death camps that Nazi Germany established in Poland during World War II.

• Johannesburg city councilwoman Mpho Phalatse, who was suspended for calling Israel a friend of the South African city, apologized for her remarks.

• Jeremy Corbyn’s Gaza briefing for Labour MPs accuses IDF of “war crimes.” One Labour MP described the document to the Jewish Chronicle as “disgustingly one sided.”

• A little-known New York Democrat who slammed Israel for Gaza killings is the shock winner of a New York primary election. Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez — a supporter of Bernie Sanders and member of Democratic Socialists of America — defeated influential incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley, who many viewed as a potential Speaker of the House. New York’s 14th congressional district is heavily Democratic, making Ocasia-Cortez a virtual shoo-in to defeat Republican challenger Anthony Pappas in the November elections.

• Ten US university presidents visit Israel on trip to promote academic collaboration.

• Bands supporting BDS not welcome in Frankfurt, says deputy mayor.

• J St. chief Jeremy Ben-Ami is entitled to his views on US Ambassador David Friedman. I just find it a odd that this commentary urging Congress to call the envoy onto the carpet was published in a British paper. Exactly what kind of audience is Ben-Ami playing to? The wider US public, or like-minded readers of The Guardian?

• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– David Horovitz: Prince William says Israel ties are soaring. But visit signifies more than that
– Roger Boyes: Prince William’s visit is a snub to the camel corps
– Melanie Phillips: HRH, the FCO and the big lie about Israel
– Nadav Eyal: The British interest behind Prince William’s Israel visit
– Daily Telegraph (staff-ed): The significance of Prince William’s visit to Israel cannot be overestimated
– Avi Issacharoff: In Gaza, Hamas is dictating the rules of the game with Israel
– Amos Harel: Netanyahu’s Gaza dilemma: How to avoid a war without being ‘weak on terror’
– Charles Bybelezer: An ‘Israeli’ port in Cyprus: Kicking the Gaza can down the waterway?
– Yonah Jeremy Bob: The Gaza crisis, Israeli hasbara and the ICC
– Yoram Ettinger: Quitting the UNHRC: A message to the free world
– Zev Chafets: Trump’s new deal for the Middle East
– Vijeta Uniyal: ‘Dear Shashi Naidoo: Like you, I too share the desire for peace’
– Yoel Guzansky, Oded Eran: The Red Sea: An old-new arena of interest

Featured image: CC BY-SA The Next Web Photos; soldier CC BY-NC Israel Defense Forces; Auschwitz CC BY Juan Antonio Segal;

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Post  Admin on Tue 26 Jun 2018, 2:58 pm

Iranian Protesters Chant ‘Death to Palestine’

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Today’s Top Stories
1. Iranians chanted “Death to Palestine” as they demonstrated over the collapsing economy and Tehran’s support for terror groups. Protests continued today, with reports of demonstrations in Qom, Mashhad, Kermanshah, Rasht, Shiraz, Isfahan and Hamadan — not all of which were verified.

Videos posted to social media showed protesters chanting: “Death to Palestine,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon” and “Leave Syria and think of us.” Chants of “We don’t want the ayatollahs” and “Death to the dictator” were also heard at some rallies.

The demonstrations indicate widespread anger at the regime for spending billions of dollars on regional proxy wars and supporting terrorist groups, instead of investing it on the the struggling economy at home.

More on the protests at the Wall St. Journal (click via Twitter). There was a lot of buzz over Sohrab Ahmari‘s reaction.

Sohrab Ahmari
 MUST-WATCH: Crowds in Iran are chanting "Death to Palestine!" Not to Israel. Not to America. But to Palestine.

Hamas and Hezbollah and Palestinian Jihad can kiss their Iranian funding goodbye if the regime falls. https://twitter.com/jalilazizi13/status/1011216813944901633


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Post  Admin on Mon 25 Jun 2018, 6:57 pm

US Quietly Freezes Aid to Palestinians

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Today’s Top Stories
1. i24 News reports that the US has quietly frozen aid to the Palestinian Authority. This comes in the wake of last month’s Taylor Force Act, which is intended to pressure the PA to end its stipends for terrorists and their families.

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide told i24NEWS, “Our understanding is that US funding to the West Bank and Gaza is on hold pending an administration review.

“Separately, i24NEWS understands that the West Bank and Gaza office of USAID — the American international development agency — has not received its budget for the upcoming fiscal year and therefore has not been able to put its projects out to tender . . .

The withholding of USAID’s total budget as well as third-party projects means the administration is taking an expansive interpretation of what assistance “directly benefits” the PA, viewing humanitarian projects that would otherwise need to be paid for by the PA as constituting direct assistance to that organization.

A Palestinian official confirmed the report, saying the Trump administration had told the PA in mid-January 2018 that it was reexamining its Palestinian aid budget.
US Capitol
2. Arab diplomats told visiting US envoys they will support the Trump administration’s peace plan regardless of whether or not PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is on board. Israel HaYom explains:

Senior officials in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met with White House adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in recent days and reportedly told them that, having become fed up with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rejectionism, they will not stand in Trump’s way when he presents his Middle East peace plan. . .

A top Egyptian official told Israel Hayom Sunday that the moderate Arab nations’ position was “unanimous” and that Cairo, Amman, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would not oppose an attempt by Washington to go over Abbas’ head in this case.

However, officials in all four nations made it clear to both American envoys that they would not be party to any deal that compromises Palestinian interests.

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3. As this roundup was published, Prince William was due to land at Ben-Gurion Airport for his historic visit to Israel. It’s the first official royal visit to Israel. The Duke of Cambridge spent the day in Jordan.

4. Video: Hackathon at the Gaza Border: Israelis came together to brainstorm creative solutions to Gaza’s terror balloons and kites.

In the News
• The IDF blamed Hamas for having direct involvement in the preparation and launch of terror balloons. The army named names and released surveillance footage of a masked figures preparing balloons from a Hamas position along the Gaza border. More at the Times of Israel and Ynet.

Embassy of Israel
 Hamas terrorists prepare and launch arson and explosive device-laden kites and balloons, targeting Israeli territory from the #Gaza Strip.

Read more:https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/hamas/idf-reveals-the-hamas-terror-organizations-efforts-of-arson-terror-cells/ … 

8:33 PM - Jun 24, 2018
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• The New York Times took a closer look at Khan al-Ahmar. That’s the unauthorized Bedouin town facing a Supreme Court-ordered demolition. The report gives the false impression that Israeli development of the land Khan al-Amar sits on (known as E1) destroys the contiguity and viability of a Palestinian state.

With the start of the Oslo peace process in the 1990s, the Bedouins’ presence took on great geopolitical significance: If Israel were to develop the area, as the government has long threatened, it would bolster Maale Adumim’s contiguity with greater Jerusalem. But it would also effectively slice the West Bank into pieces, isolating Arab East Jerusalem and dividing Ramallah in the north from Bethlehem in the south — leaving a future Palestinian state to try to stitch itself together with tunnels or bridges through Israeli territory.

The West Bank “waistline” between Maale Adumim and the Dead Sea would be roughly 15 km wide. That’s the same width as Israel’s narrowest point, between the Israeli coastal city of Netanya and the PA town of Tulkarem. That waistline has never caused any issues for the contiguity or viability of the state of Israel. The New York Times itself has acknowledged this in a 2012 correction.

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 Whatever one's stance on the legal and moral issues, Israeli development of the land Khan al-Amar sits on (a.k.a. E1) would NOT threaten the contiguity or viability of a future Palestinian state. @nytimes @halbfinger https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/israel-bedouins-demolition.html

3:04 PM - Jun 25, 2018
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• Pro-Assad troops took over an abandoned UN post in the demilitarized area of the Israel-Syria border, according to Israeli media reports.

demilitarized zone

• Bulgaria to put honorary consulate in Jerusalem, but not an embassy, the Jerusalem Post reported.

• Without any advance warning or explanation after the fact, Facebook and Twitter shut down a number of accounts belonging to Hezbollah.

• New Arkansas law takes aim at boycotts of Israel

building campaign

Window into Israel
• Prime Minister vowed to push ahead with Orthodox conscription bill despite threats from Haredi coalition partners to oppose the legislation and even topple the government. The brinkmanship continues . . .

[Netanyahu] brushed off the Haredi threats to the coalition, saying, “I don’t want elections, but I’m not afraid of elections. If there are elections, I’ll be okay.”

• The latest with Sara Netanyahu’s indictment makes my head spin. Ynet has the latest dish on recordings made by a state’s witness:

Recordings made by state’s witness Nir Hefetz, who served as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara’s media advisor, reveal that the family had planned to renovate its villa in Caesarea at the state’s expense, that suitcases filled with clothes had been taken abroad for dry cleaning services, and that the legal advisor of the Prime Minister’s Office had tried to mislead reporters.

• For a sense of the domestic commentary, see Sima Kadmon and Yonah Jeremy Bob‘s takes on Sara Netanyahu’s indictment. David Sedley weighs in on Jerusalem’s upcoming mayoral elections.

• Over at The Guardian, readers’ editor Paul Chadwick weighs in on the paper’s decision to spike a cartoon editors deemed antisemitic and offensive.

royal coat of arms• Here’s what else I’m reading today:

– Melanie Phillips: Prince Wiliam comes to Israel under a Foreign Office cloud
– Justin Cohen: William’s visit to Israel has been a long time coming
– Ron Ben-Yishai: War or an agreement: Israel’s critical dilemma vis-a-vis Gaza
– Jonathan Tobin: Learning the lessons of Gaza
– Dan Feferman: The Gazan kite offensive and the arc of human progress
– Dr. Reuven Berko: Pressuring the Palestinians from above
– Yaakov Katz: Moving the goalposts: The much-anticipated US peace plan
– Amnon Lord: Ramallah is unavailable
– Yoram Ettinger: Quitting UN Human Rights Council serves US interests
– Denis MacEoin: Bishop Graham Tomlin and the demonization of Israel

Featured image: CC BY-SA tedeytan;; US Capitol via YouTube/US Capitol; coat of arms via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Sun 24 Jun 2018, 6:50 pm

IDF Fires on Aerial Drone From Syria

Today’s Top Stories
1. The IDF fired a Patriot missile at an aerial drone approaching Israel from Syria. The army said the drone turned back after the Patriot launch, but wasn’t able to verify if it scored a hit. Syrian and Russian forces recently launched an offensive against rebels in southern Syria. The IDF didn’t disclose any information about what kind of drone or who sent it. More at the Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post.

Israel launched extensive air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in February after an Iranian aerial drone entered Israeli air space.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

2. The Trump administration is prepared to release its peace plan, even if Mahmoud Abbas isn’t willing to return to the negotiating table and questioned the PA leader’s ability to make a deal with Israel. That’s what the president’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, told Palestinian media.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared the US plan will fail.

Aaron David Miller
 Kushner interview to al-Quds confirms likelihood that the Trump plan will result in an Israeli yes, but; an Arab maybe; and a  Palestinian no. Trump will say I tried; Palestinians will take hit; and peace process will be parked through midterms.https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/jared-kushner-interview-transcript.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer …

11:29 AM - Jun 24, 2018
An interview with Jared Kushner was published on Sunday in the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds.
Transcript: Jared Kushner’s Interview With a Palestinian Newspaper
Mr. Kushner, President Trump’s special adviser on the Middle East, spoke to the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds. His remarks were published on Sunday.

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3. The BBC found Andrew Marr guilty of rules breach over a ‘misleading’ claim that Israel killed ‘lots of Palestinian kids’ in response to complaint filed by Jonathan Sacerdoti.

The Corporation’s extraordinary ruling against one of its most senior personalities is almost unprecedented . . .

Fraser Steel, head of executive complaints at the BBC, wrote to Mr Sacerdoti saying: ‘The BBC’s guidelines require that output is “well sourced” and “based on sound evidence”.

‘In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to “lots” of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point.

‘We therefore propose to uphold this part of your complaint.’

4. Video: Hamas Paid Family to Say IDF Killed Baby: On i24 News, our Daniel Pomerantz discussed the media war and the revelation that Hamas paid a Gaza family to falsely blame Israel for the death of their baby.

Israel and the Palestinians
• UNESCO to defer Jerusalem and Hebron controversies at this week’s annual meeting. In previous years, the organization has passed resolutions denying Jewish ties to the ancient cities. The Jerusalem Post explains why is this year’s confab in Bahrain different:

But this year, an agreement has been reached by which the committee won’t approve any controversial texts regarding either city; any such texts will be deferred until next year’s annual meeting . . .

Both the United States and Israel are expected to withdraw from UNESCO at the end of this year to protest the organization’s anti-Israel bias, particularly with regard to its resolution on Jerusalem.

UN• Now that the US has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, Israel is lowering its own diplomatic participation. The Times of Israel explains that “Since Israel is not a member of the 47-nation UNHRC, it cannot follow suit this time. But Israeli sources maintained Wednesday that it was possible and even likely that Netanyahu would soon announce that Israel was ceasing all contacts with the council.” Like most non-member countries, Israel, has observer status.

• Seeking to learn more about why the British royal family has (till now) never paid an official visit to Israel, i24 News filed a Freedom of Information request for UK government deliberations on the matter. And the Foreign Office’s reply?

The UK’s relationship with Israel would “likely” be harmed if British officials’ comments about Israel during deliberations over a possible royal visit to the country were made public, the UK Foreign Office told i24NEWS . . .

The Foreign Office said that officials’ comments about the UK-Israel relationship “could have incorrect interpretations put upon them” and would therefore potentially damage the bilateral relationship.

Prince William
• British Ambassador David Quarrey defended calling Jerusalem’s Old City “part of Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Israeli officials were irked that royal’s visit to the Old City was billed as part of his visit to the Palestinian Authority.

“All the terminology that was used in the program was consistent with years of practice by British governments. It’s consistent with British government policy,” David Quarrey said.

• Hey CNN, neither the state of Israel, nor its democratically elected government, needs a royal imprimatur for its existence. And this 89-word sentence is a crime against editing. To make this sentence easier to follow, I bolded the punctuation.

At a time when Israel is facing international criticism for its use of live fire against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza and its continued settlement expansion, when the international community has overwhelmingly rejected US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, when Israel’s plans to demolish the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar have drawn condemnation, the first ever official visit from Britain’s royal family is a welcome reprieve, one that adds legitimacy to Netanyahu’s government and to Israel as an ally of the United Kingdom.

• 4 Israeli startups to present innovations to Prince William.

building campaign

• Israel deploys electronic eye to track fire kites and balloons from Gaza.

• Muslim cleanup project ‘illegally disturbed, removed’ ancient soil on Temple Mount, reports the Times of Israel.

Video footage of the multi-day project at the contested holy site shows volunteers with shovels and rakes last week shifting and removing portions of two mounds on the eastern side of the compound made up of earth dumped by the Muslim Waqf custodians during unauthorized excavations since the early 2000s, said Zachi Dvira on behalf of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount (CPDATM). . .

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the site, archaeologists have never been permitted by Israeli and Muslim authorities to examine the soil in the mounds, and it is unknown what treasures, if any, may be found in the estimated 112 truckloads of dirt there . . .

All unauthorized construction or renovations on the mount are infractions of the fragile status quo that was cobbled together by Israel and the Waqf, the Muslim Jordanian administration of the site, after Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 Six Day War.
Temple Mount
• Cyprus, Israel, Greece pledge deeper military ties.

Around the World
• While visiting Jordan, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said and then tweeted that a Labour government would recognize Palestine as a state.

• Holland’s state TV, NOS, apologized for saying Israel was built on occupied land and threatens to destroy Iran.

• ‘We’re called scum, rats, pigs’: South Africa’s Jews protest soaring antisemitism.

• Tempers rose as far-left IfNotNow members ‘engaged’ Birthrighters at JFK airport.

• Italian hotel removed from Bookings.com after telling Israeli customers “You Jews are never satisfied.”

• Antisemitic slur and swastika found on wall at Boston-area middle school.

Sara Netanyahu
• Plenty of commentary about Sara Netanyahu’s indictment.

– Yonah Jeremy Bob: Sara Netanyahu’s fall brings Attorney General one step closer to indicting PM
– Yossi Verter: What Sara Netanyahu’s embarrassing indictment means for her husband
– Eliad Shraga: Is Sara Netanyahu not mentally fit to stand trial?

• For more commentary on Israel’s domestic scene, Liat Collins weighs in on Gonen Segev, political manipulations and treason. Saar Netanel argues why Eurovision should be in Tel Aviv over Jerusalem.

• Over at the Times of London, columnists squared off on the issue of Ireland boycotting an Israel-hosted Eurovision competition. (Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney ruled out a boycott.) Eithne Shorthall favors boycotting while Eamon Delaney opposes.


• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Dror Eydar: A gift for the industry of lies
– Avi Issacharoff: Economic collapse or war: Hamas’s cynical, desperate bid to pressure Israel, PA
– Dr. Hanan Shai: Fight Hamas with ethics
– Prof. Efraim Inbar: ‘Mowing the grass’ in Gaza
– Amos Harel: Why Jordan is worried about Trump’s peace plan
– Seth Frantzman: How Qatar’s Jewish strategy backfired
– Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: How to achieve a better life
– Soeren Kern: Spain: Ground zero for Europe’s anti-Israel movement

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Alex Moreno Fuster; Prince William via YouTube/The Royal Family Channel; Temple Mount via YouTube/Air Videos; Sara Netanyahu via YouTube/Newsy; Irish flag CC0 Pixabay;

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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Jun 2018, 7:01 pm

Sara Netanyahu Indicted for Fraud
Today’s Top Stories
1. Sara Netanyahu was indicted for fraud and breach of trust. She reportedly falsely billed the state nearly $100,000 for meals at the prime minister’s residence.

According to a draft of the indictment, Sara Netanyahu instructed staff at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem to order meals consumed at the residence worth a total of 360,000 shekels ($99,000) from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in violation of rules barring the residence from ordering meals from the outside during periods when the residence had a cook on its staff.

Investigators in the case gathered evidence that purportedly shows that the prime minister’s wife ordered that the employment of cook at the residence be concealed and that she was aware that ordering meals from the outside for the residence when it employed a cook was a violation of the rules.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu visiting China in 2017
2. Hamas paid a Gaza family $2,200 to blame Israel for a baby’s death, according to an indictment Israeli prosecutors filed against a Palestinian related to the child. Mahmoud Omar, a 20-year-old cousin of Layla al-Ghandour, was caught trying to breach the Israel-Gaza border fence and spilled the beans under questioning. The baby’s death triggered furious headlines around the world blaming Israel.

Under interrogation in Israel, Omar, who is Layla al-Ghandour’s cousin, said Hamas leader Sinwar paid the baby’s family 8,000 shekels ($2,200) to accuse Israel of the death of the 8-month-old. The claim came despite the fact that members of the family had previously said that she died of a blood disorder, a condition that the baby’s six-month-old brother apparently also died of last year.

More at Ynet and the Times of Israel.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you.

3. In solidarity with BDS, the Spanish city of Pamplona declared Israeli officials persona non grata.

Israel and the Palestinians
• As Gaza tensions mount, IDF deployed additional Iron Dome batteries near Strip.

• Booby-trapped Gaza balloons land on trampoline forcing an Israeli mom to tell her kids they’re not toys. Then there’s a separate incident that led to a headline which once upon a time would’ve been bizarre rather than blasé.

Times of Israel

• The Jerusalem Post takes a closer look at the possible intelligence fallout from the Gonen Segev affair. Segev, who was minister of energy some 20 years ago, was arrested for spying for Iran. Among other things, Segev is accused of introducing Israelis to agents who were passed off as Iranian businessmen.

In some cases, the best spies are sources who do not even realize they are being exploited.

Furthermore, while Segev can tell the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) everything he told Iran, even he does not know how far the Iranians went with other Israelis he introduced to them.

• The European Union declared that Hamas is violating international law by holding the body of IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, Ynet reports. During the 2014 Gaza war, Goldin was killed and his body seized by Hamas. Hamas also holds the body of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, also killed during that conflict.

building campaign

• Is an airstrike attributed to Israel on the Syria-Iraq border a signal that the world is getting ready to act against Iran?

• Netanyahu wants Ambassador Ron Dermer to serve another year in Washington, according to Israeli media reports.

Window into Israel
Israeli police• The police investigation of “Case 2000” took a new twist. Israeli media reports that police now suspect that Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan was a go-between for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yediot Ahronot publish Arnon Mozes as they worked out an alleged quid pro quo in which Netanyahu would advance legislation handicapping Israel HaYom in exchange for more favorable coverage.

Milchan is already a key figure in a separate police investigation of the prime minister. In what is known as Case 1000, Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu are suspected of receiving thousands of shekels worth of illicit gifts from Milchan and other wealthy benefactors. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in both cases.

• The Knesset amended a law “to allow Israeli employees to request not to work on Shabbat even if they are not religiously observant.” The JTA explains that “the Work and Rest Hours Law previously required employees of any religion to prove that they were religiously observant in order to take off work for their day of rest.”

• For commentary on the domestic scene, see Jacob Magid‘s take on a legal ruling regarding Shin Bet interrogation methods. Gershom Gorenberg‘s weighs in on legislation that would restrict the filming of Israeli soldiers.

Around the World
• I want to thank South Africa’s largest trade union, COSATU, for (unintentionally) drawing attention to the existence of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries after Israel’s founding. The photo in this tweet was taken 1950, in one of Israel’s maabarot (transit camps).

World Refugee Day wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the 850,000 Jewish refugeess forced to leave their homesfrom across North Africa, the Middle East and other areas of Asia.

 Today we commemorate #WorldRefugeeDay

Palestinians are the largest and longest suffering group of refugees in the world says @BDSsouthafrica @UN @RTUKnews

7:11 PM - Jun 20, 2018
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• Britain’s Morning Star, a far-left communist paper aligned with Jeremy Corbyn, deleted an article that blamed ‘Israel’s crimes’ for rising antisemitism. Jewish activists are calling for a full apology. The Jewish Chronicle notes:

Euan Philipps, spokesman for LAAS, said the now-deleted article was “a typically ugly example of the antisemitism that has become normalised across the Labour movement”.

He added LAAS could find “no trace” of “John Elder”, who was listed as the article’s author.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Avi Issacharoff: Hamas’s goal: To convince Israel that tolerating fire kites is preferable to war
– Amos Harel: Hamas, Islamic Jihad just rewrote the rules — and the next Gaza war is staring Israel in the face
– Yoav Limor: Hamas is misreading the situation?
– Shlomi Kofman: Israel has no choice but to defend itself against Hamas attacks
– Eldad Beck: The dangerous weaponization of children
– Raphael Ahren: Israel may follow US in freezing out UN rights body, to some diplomats’ dismay
– Seth Frantzman: Is the UNHRC an ‘old boy’s club’ of dictators?
– New York Post (staff-ed): Leaving the UN Human Rights Council was the moral choice
– Tovah Lazaroff: Is the UN Human Rights Council fated to hate Israel?
– Israel Kasnett: Will Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights be Trump’s next move?
– Moshe Arens: It’s now clear why the Iran agreement was a bad deal

Featured image: CC BY Chris Yarzab; Netanyahus via YouTube/IsraeliPM;

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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jun 2018, 8:32 am

Former Cabinet Minister Arrested for Spying for Iran
Today’s Top Stories
1. Former Israeli cabinet minister Gonen Segev was arrested and charged with spying for Iran. Take your pick of Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Ynet or Times of Israel coverage. The latter explains:

The Shin Bet said Segev met with his Iranian handlers in hotels and safe houses around the world and used a special device to send them messages in secret.
He was accused of making contact with Israeli figures in security, defense and diplomacy order to mine them for information to send to Iran. According to the Shin Bet, he tried to make direct connections between his Israeli contacts and Iranian handlers, presenting the spies as businesspeople.

So who exactly is Gonen Segev? He’s a 62-year-old pediatrician who first became a Knesset member in 1992 with the short-lived secular right-wing Tsomet party. By 1995, Segev became minister of energy and infrastructure in Yitzhak Rabin’s government. Segev’s political career ended in 1996 in the musical chairs game of coalition politics when a breakaway faction he was a member of basically disappeared.

Since then, he has served time for electronic commercial fraud, passport forgery and smuggling 30,000 ecstasy pills he claimed he thought were M&Ms. He was practicing medicine in Nigeria where he made his first contact with Iranian agents. Haaretz has a fuller background.

Segev and Rabin
Gonen Segev (L) speaking with then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
2. A mysterious air strike that is said to have killed 50 or more pro-Assad fighters was carried out by Israel, an anonymous US official told CNN. I’m not clear on the specifics, but most of the fighters killed were apparently foreigners. The attack took place near the Syrian town of Abu Kamal, located near the Syria-Iraq border. Israeli officials haven’t commented, but an attack would fit with Israel’s opposition to Iran’s efforts to create a land bridge across Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean.

US officials have said that many pro-regime militias that are also aligned with Iran operate in the border area between Syria and Iraq.

The area is some distance from Israel and Israeli jets would have had to overcome significant logistical hurdles to strike that area.

3. The UN Human Rights Council may update its blacklist of companies doing business in Israeli settlements. The US has previously threatened to quit the UNHRC if the list is published.

On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said his office would “continue its work on the database of business enterprises engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements.” He added that there could be “an update possibly before September.”

4. The Independent Distorts Amnesty Report on African Migrants: The Independent cherry picks Amnesty International’s worst accusations against Israel while omitting the NGO’s discussion of mitigating issues.

Our strength is grass roots.
Our strength is you

Israel and the Palestinians
• Turns out the Palestinian killed trying to infiltrate the Israeli border from Gaza wasn’t killed by a “work accident.” Ynet reports “the military has studded the security fence with explosive booby traps” designed to deter infiltrators.

• Here‘s what the Palestinians, uh, conceived of . . .

Eylon A. Levy
 You know where this is going:
1) Palestinians use flying condoms to set fires in Israel,
2) Israel bans import of condoms to Gaza,
3) Gaza suffers a contraception shortage....

Hazem Balousha
Palestinians in #Gaza are using condoms instead of balloons to fly them into Israel with flams.

6:41 PM - Jun 18, 2018
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• CNN takes a closer look at the terror kite threat.

• In an unannounced visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman.

• Following international pressure, Netanyahu postponed the demolition of illegal Palestinian homes near Hebron.

The demolition of illegal Palestinian homes in Khirbet Susya is seen as one of the symbols of the Palestinian battle in the West Bank, and Israel has been under heavy international pressure—mainly in recent weeks—to prevent the evacuation which would have received wide international coverage.

The demolition may have also been postponed due to the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, and his special advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, this weekend.

• The New Yorker reveals that President Donald Trump signed a secret letter promising not to pressure Israel on it’s nuclear program in exchange for Jerusalem continuing its policy of “ambiguity.” According to the report, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama also signed similar letters.

building campaign

• Israelis ponder the French meaning of “ally.”

• Arab Knesset member attends event organized by terror groups in eastern Jerusalem. Police had banned the conference, which was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). More at Ynet.

• The US Senate approved $500m for Israel’s missile defense program. Globes points out, “This is the first time that military aid to Israel has been determined under the memorandum of understanding between Israel and the US governing the US aid package for ten years from 2019.”

US Capitol
Around the World
• Amid fears of antisemitism, British Jewish students are not applying to certain universities. Moreover, they, along with an outgoing Labour student leader, told BBC blame Labour’s top leadership for contributing to the antisemitic atmosphere by failing to address the problem in the party’s ranks.

• Norwegian rapper curses Jews at concert celebrating diversity. It’s hard to give the Oslo event’s organizers the benefit of the doubt — the JTA notes that five days before the concert, Kaveh Kholardi tweeted “f***ing Jews are so corrupt.”

• Woman with 10-inch knife screamed ‘I want to kill all you Jews’ as she chased children outside London synagogue.

spy• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

– Judah Ari Gross: Ex-minister likely a spy who knew too little, but Iran still got an intel coup
– Amos Harel: Enlisting a former Israeli minister is a victory for Iranian intelligence
– Raphael Ahren: If convicted, ex-minister will head long list of top officials revealed as spies
– Ron Ben-Yishai: The Iranian connection: Gonen Segev’s narcissism and potential damage
– Yoav Limor: The highest-ranking spy in Israel’s history
– Ohad Zwigenberg: Photojournalists don’t create reality, they document it
– Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gershon Hacohen: Needed: A decisive response to terror kites
– Jonathan Tobin: Why the establishment despises Trump’s ambassador to Israel
– Dennis Ross: A path forward for Team Trump on Israel and Gaza: Follow Nickolay Mladenov’s lead
– Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Victims of Arab apartheid
– Dr. Dave Rich: Antisemitism is well-defined already

Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA Adam Fagen; Segev via Government Press Office; US Capitol CC BY-NC Shankar Kuru; spy via Wikimedia Commons;

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