ISIS Has Secret Cells in Europe, U.S. Spy Chief Claims - Julian Hattem (The Hill)
Islamic extremists have more secret cells hidden throughout Europe
that could be deployed in terror attacks against civilians, Director of
National Intelligence James Clapper said Monday.
U.S. intelligence officials "continue to see evidence" on the part of ISIS in Germany, England and Italy.
He added that the extremists "have taken advantage, to some extent, of
the migrant crisis in Europe - something which the nations, I think,
have a growing awareness of."
U.S. University Heads Oppose Academic Boycott of Israel - Shahar Chai (Ynet News)
The chancellors of leading U.S. universities, including MIT, the
University of Chicago, and all ten campuses of the University of
California, have clarified that they are opposed to any academic
boycott, in particular to one against Israel.
Their comments followed an appeal from the Association of
University Heads of Israel (VERA), which was intended to prevent the
final adoption of the American Anthropological Association's (AAA)
resolution to boycott Israel.
See also Israeli, U.S. University Heads Combat BDS Calls for Academic Boycotts - Lidar Grave-Lazi (Jerusalem Post)
Protect Israel from Its Enemies - Stanley G. Tate (Miami Herald)
It seems that some people don't like successful Jews, so a new
movement has arisen to destroy the Jewish state and undermine the U.S.
They seek to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) the Jewish state into
submission by selling a pack of lies to a generation of uneducated
That's why I joined forces with Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
(PJTN), a Christian Zionist organization that recently began a
nationwide campaign to facilitate grassroots resolutions against the
anti-Semitic BDS movement.
After PJTN successfully spearheaded the first anti-BDS resolution
in Tennessee, legislators in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Virginia,
Georgia, Alabama and Florida followed suit.
Similar grassroots anti-BDS resolution campaigns are now underway in another 40 states, as well as in 10 other countries.
Make no mistake - BDS isn't just about Israel, it is the new form of
politically correct anti-Semitism that has led to intimidation and
attacks against Jewish students nationwide.
The writer is chairman of PJTN.
Israel to Equip U.S. F-35s with Israeli Software - Eric Tegler (Aviation Week)
Israel has announced it will equip the F-35 fighter aircraft it starts
receiving this December from the U.S. with its own command, control,
communications and computing system software produced by Israel
Aerospace Industries (IAI).
With the right application interface, developers can add new functionality for the F-35.
Gaza Kids Put on Play about Stabbing, Killing Israelis (Times of Israel)
Palestinian children participating in a festival in Gaza this week
wore military fatigues and brandished toy knives and machine guns as
they performed a play simulating violence against Israelis.
The event was broadcast on Hamas television, according to Israel Channel 2 news.
Ofir Gendelman, the Arab media spokesperson at the Prime Minister's
Office, noted, "When Palestinians send their kids to act in this school
play, no wonder their kids commit attacks when they're older."
Israeli Doctors Save Gazan Child from Paralysis - Maytal Yasur Beit-Or (Israel Hayom)
Sliman, 3, from Gaza, had developed a benign tumor which caused a
malformation in his spine and posed a risk of permanent paralysis.
After a rare procedure performed at the Hadassah Medical Center in
Jerusalem, the boy was released from the hospital walking on his own.
Novocure Uses Electrodes to Treat Brain Tumors - Gali Weinreb (Globes)
Novocure, which offers a treatment for brain tumors that uses
electrodes, has proven its approach better than the current method in
its clinical trials.
Two of the first ten participants in a trial conducted eight years
ago are still alive: the average life expectancy for the disease was six
Recently, one of the company's trials was stopped because it was
too successful. The FDA determined it would be unfair to keep
participants in the control group when the efficacy of the treatment was
The person behind the technology at Novocure is Prof. Yoram Palti, 78, who came up with the idea during his retirement.
"I had a notion about how to hit some cells and not others. I
started making calculations and models in my basement and saw it could
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S.-Russia Cooperation Frays as Syria Truce Falls Apart - Karen DeYoung
Barely two months after the U.S. and Russia joined to forge a partial
cease-fire in Syria, cooperation between them is rapidly eroding. Some
U.S. Defense Department and intelligence officials think Russia and its
Syrian government client are clearly violating the cease-fire and
provoking the opposition into doing the same.
Violence has escalated throughout April, leading the opposition
last week to suspend participation in UN-run political talks in Geneva.
At least 90 people, including more than two dozen women and children,
have been killed over the last four days in shelling and airstrikes by
the Russian-backed Syrian government on rebel-held zones in Aleppo,
according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
See also As Syria Talks Stall, a Hunt for Alternatives - Sam Dagher
Talks aimed at ending the five-year war in Syria ground to a halt with
the government and opposition divided over fundamental issues, including
whether President Bashar al-Assad's political fate even belongs on the
agenda. "Geneva is a process without content," a senior Western diplomat
said. The two-week session that ended Wednesday was the third round of
talks since January. The Syrian regime and various opposition
delegations are still not talking face-to-face, but rather using the UN
as a go-between in proximity talks. (Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- IDF Commanders Discuss the Decline in Palestinian Terror Attacks - Yossi Yehoshua
Six battalion commanders from the Judea and Samaria Division discussed
the current wave of terror attacks and the methods employed which
brought about their significant decline.
Col. Roman Gofman said: "In two-and-a-half months, 12 terrorists came
from the village of Sa'ir near Hebron, for example. We checked the clans
that they belonged to and targeted them and them only, while we made
things easier for the rest of the clans. They quickly recognized this
and stopped whoever they needed to."
Col. Roi Strait said that the village of Budrus, north of Ramallah,
"with about 2,500 residents, caused a lot of problems. But the moment
that we began to pave a central road for them, the mayor and the
principal of a school came and stopped a demonstration that had
erupted." (Ynet News)
- Israel's Economic Prospects - Ilan Evyatar
Israel's economic prospects are looking a whole lot better than
Europe's and that of most member countries of the OECD, says Adam
Reuter, CEO of risk management firm Financial Immunities. Looking
forward, Israel has an "enormous demographic advantage." The 34 OECD
member states have an average median age of 42 while Israel's median age
is 31. In the crucial 20-34 age group the OECD is set for a 14% drop,
while Israel is headed for a 28% gain.
Other areas where Israel has an edge include its technological
advantage - Israel is among only eight countries that launch satellites
into space; Israel is the world leader in R&D employees per capita
and first in business expenditure on R&D, first in cyber security
and second in scientific research. Then comes Israel's global edge - its
export-oriented focus; generations of immigrants from around the world
with their knowledge of cultures and languages and global networks of
Israel is also undergoing revolutions in three major fields: water,
where Israel now has a surplus due to investment in desalinization;
energy, where Israel is set to achieve independence and to become a gas
exporter; and transportation, where massive investment is bringing the
periphery closer to the center. Moreover, while the world is
experiencing a net loss of jobs due to automation, Israel's hi-tech
industry is creating new professions and new jobs. (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel a Role Model for U.S. Air Force - Jonathan S. Tobin
U.S. Air Force Gen. Peter Gersten said this week that Americans seeking
to take out terrorists embedded in civilian areas were now using the
"knock on the roof" technique created by the Israelis. During the
fighting in Gaza, the Israelis sought to warn civilians in a building
that was being used by Hamas by shooting a non-explosive device onto
the roof allowing non-combatants as well as any terrorists present to
escape. The tactic saved many lives, though sometimes Hamas discouraged
civilians from availing themselves of the chance to get out of harm's
Of course, when one is fighting terrorists who deliberately choose
to place themselves in and around civilians, no technique is foolproof.
As Gen. Gersten admitted, a women and child were killed when the
Americans tried the "knock on the roof" tactic in Mosul because,
unfortunately, they rushed back into the building when the lethal shell
The rules of engagement used by Israel are highly restrictive as are
those of the U.S. armed forces. But if terrorists are in built-up
areas, they must still be tracked down and killed lest they be allowed
to slaughter even more innocents. The Israelis have been role models for
Americans tasked with the same thankless job of hunting killers.
- Misleading Claims about U.S. Barriers to Iran-Europe Financial Ties - Patrick Clawson
Iran blames the U.S. for the various problems that continue to hinder
its businesses, especially in terms of accessing the international
banking system. Indeed, Washington has erected significant barriers to
Western banks seeking to work with Iranian banks. Yet the reasons for
this practice have nothing to do with the nuclear issue.
The 2010 U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) places
tough requirements on foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report
accounts of U.S. taxpayers. FFIs that do not report face a 30%
withholding tax on certain U.S.-source payments made to them. In
practice, almost every financial institution in the world insists that
its correspondents be FATCA-compliant because that is the only way to
avoid the heavy withholding tax.
The barriers to Iranian banks gaining full access to the
international financial system stem from the simple fact that Iranian
firms are not following the same rules applied to all other foreign
banks. If Iran wants to enjoy the fruits of the nuclear deal, it must
join the rest of the world in implementing the tough standards adopted
over the past decade regarding tax avoidance, financial reporting, money
laundering, and other issues.
The writer is director of research at the Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Hizbullah Develops New Skills in Syria, Posing Challenges for Israel - Jamie Dettmer
There is increasing concern among Israeli defense analysts that
Hizbullah is gaining valuable battlefield experience in Syria,
especially when it comes to large-scale, coordinated offensive
operations, something the Shi'ite militia had little knowledge of
before. Hizbullah has been in the vanguard of large assaults on Syrian
rebels. "Syria is a dress rehearsal for our next war with Israel," a
Hizbullah special forces commander told VOA.
"Hizbullah has become more proficient at mass force maneuvers and of
tying together different battle groups - and leveraging all of that
with the lessons it learned from the war with Israel in 2006, especially
when it comes to defeating armor," says Aram Nerguizian, a Mideast
analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"Yes, it [Hizbullah] has taken greater losses in this conflict than
it has in all the wars against Israel," says Matthew Levitt, director of
the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "But overall it is seeing
higher recruitment levels and more people being drawn to the cause."
"The Islamic State has been a saving grace for Hizbullah's recruitment
efforts....Hizbullah is seen as the only one capable of defending
Shi'ites from the onslaught of the radical Sunnis." (VOA News)
- The Limits of the Iran-Russia Alliance - Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Lidia Kelly
The Kremlin's decision a year ago to press ahead with the stalled sale
to Iran of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system was evidence of a
growing partnership between Russia and Iran that has turned the tide in
Syria's civil war and is testing U.S. influence in the Middle East. But
the delay in implementation of the deal also points to the limitations
of the relationship, and Russia is showing signs of reluctance to let
the alliance develop much more, according to diplomats, officials and
Russia is now weighing the financial and diplomatic benefits of arms
sales to Tehran against the risk of upsetting other countries including
Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Israel, or seeing Iran become too powerful.
"On a geopolitical level, Iran and Russia can only form a tactical
short-term alliance, not a strategic one. I think the ideological
differences between the two are just too deep," said Maziar Behrooz,
associate professor of Mideast and Islamic history at San Francisco
Some Iranian officials are also wary of getting too close to
Russia, which fought Britain for domination of 19th century Iran and
occupied the country during both World Wars.
- U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Trapped in a Bad Marriage - Aaron David Miller
When President Obama visited Saudi Arabia last week to discuss the state
of the region and the U.S.-Saudi relationship with King Salman, the
Saudis sent a lower-level official to greet Obama and Saudi state
television didn't even bother covering the President's arrival.
Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian regime that discriminates against
women, doesn't permit religious freedom, and prevents freedom of the
press. It has been exporting a fundamentalist Wahhabist ideology for
years that demonizes Shia, Jews, Christians and the West.
Yet Saudi Arabia is not seeking to undermine the regional order or
sponsor terror against the West and create a caliphate. In fact, the
Saudis are themselves a victim of jihadi terror and have worked closely with the U.S. against al-Qaeda in Yemen and on counterterrorism against ISIS.
While the Obama administration has sold almost $95 billion in arms
to the Saudis, the perception that the U.S. is withdrawing from the
region, the Iranian nuclear deal, and what must appear to the Saudis as
U.S. acquiescence in a rising Iran have combined to create a foundation
of suspicion and mistrust.
Wahhabis or not, Washington still needs the Saudis for intelligence
sharing and operations against ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen
and requires Riyadh's cooperation in trying to manage the Syrian
The writer is a vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
See also The Long Divorce - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- In Israel, Iraqi Jews Reflect on Baghdad Heritage - James Glanz and Irit Pazner Garshowitz
During a Passover Seder with her extended family in Givatayim, Israel,
Sabiha Ziluf, 75, paused and said she could still see the Baghdad
streets of her childhood. Ziluf is one of countless Iraqi Jews in Israel
taking fresh interest in their heritage. A Babylonian heritage center
near Tel Aviv has drawn daily crowds of more than 1,300 people during
Passover, and its number of yearly visitors has increased by more than
50 percent since 2011. As of 2014, there were 227,900 Jews of Iraqi
descent living in Israel.
An Ottoman census in 1917 counted 80,000 Jews in Baghdad out of
202,000 residents, a community described as "perhaps the wealthiest,
and certainly the best educated" in that era. In the first half of the
20th century, Jews were not only major forces in Iraq's financial
institutions, but also produced the nation's most renowned historian,
most famous singer and most influential composers. A pogrom in June
1941, the Farhud, killed nearly 200 Jews in Baghdad.
(New York Times)
- Marking the Holocaust - in Mississippi - Diane A. McNeil
In 2009, teachers Susan Powell and Melissa Swartz at Horn Lake Middle
School in Mississippi realized that many of their students had "never
heard there was a Holocaust." The teachers opted to encourage personal
involvement by collecting 1.5 million pennies - one for each child who
perished in the Holocaust.
After three years of collecting, the pennies weighed in at more than 4
In March, child survivor Friderica Beck Saharovici told the
students at the opening of the Unknown Child Holocaust Memorial/Park in
Horn Lake, "I was a first-grader when all the Jewish children were
thrown out of the public schools for no other reason than being born
The centerpiece for the memorial park will be a life-sized sculpture by
Canadian-born sculptor Rick Wienecke, now an Israeli citizen.
He explained that the child in the piece is leaning against the inside
of a crematorium door in a fetal position with his hand (in his mind)
reaching through the door in Auschwitz and clutching a small plot of
ground, the Land of Israel, the only place where he knows he will be
Mississippi native and architect Doug Thornton has designed the
memorial/park, which will include towering Star of David walls holding
each of the collected pennies.
Saharovici concluded, "By preserving the memory of the Holocaust
and its moral lessons, we tell the world that such atrocities should
never happen again to Jews or to any other people in the world. I don't
want my past to become anyone else's future." The writer is president of the Unknown Child Foundation, Inc.
Direct Diplomacy Is the Only Way to Peace - Danny Danon (Los Angeles Times)
- There are increasing calls for world leaders to back a new
Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative. Some are planning an international
summit; others have proposed a UN Security Council resolution that
would set parameters for a final agreement.
- While Israel welcomes the good intentions of our friends, the
modern history of Israeli-Arab peacemaking has taught us that only
direct negotiations between the two sides can actually achieve results.
Israel's enduring peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were the result
of representatives and leaders coming together to negotiate without
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enacted a controversial
construction freeze in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and released
dozens of convicted murderers, all in the hope of convincing Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate with him. Abbas,
however, continually tosses out new preconditions to agreeing merely to
Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan have proved that bitter
enemies can settle their differences if they sit down to talk. Peace
will come only when the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state as a
legitimate partner for direct negotiations to resolve this conflict.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.