December 20, 2017

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

New U.S. Security Doctrine Emphasizes that Israel not the Root of Mideast’s Problems

A blueprint for U.S. national security presented by President Trump on Monday (18th) notes: “For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region.  Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems.  States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats.”

“As a priority action, we will work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and to neutralize Iranian malign influence.”



Pence postones Israel visit to mid-January, citing tax bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday (18th) again postponed his trip to Israel and Egypt until mid-January, citing the need to preside over the Senate on a sweeping tax overhaul.  

Pence will instead travel to the Middle east the week of January 14, so he can be in the Senate for the expected tax vote.



Indonesia labels calls for U.S. boycott over Jerusalem move ‘misguided’

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s vice president said on Tuesday (19th) that calls for a boycott of U.S. goods over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel were misguided – not least because of the country’s reliance on U.S. technology.

There have been a series of protests in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country since Trump’s move this month to reverse decades of U.S. policy.

At a rally, about 80,000 people on Sunday (17th), including the Indonesian Ulema Council, a body of Muslim clerics, called for a boycott of U.S. and Israeli products if Trump did not revoke his action.



Half of Jerusalem’s Arabs work in Jewish areas of the city – Matti Friedman

Jerusalem is always said to be on the brink of catastrophe.  Every act of bloodshed here is heavily covered by the media, which creates the impression that Jerusalem is a violent place, but that’s misleading.  If you count every violent fatality this year in this city of 860,000 – not just political violence but apolitical homicides, too – the number is 27, less than a quarter of the homicide number last year in Jacksonville, Florida, a city the same size.

In the Talpiot Industrial Zone in Jerusalem, an Israeli area, of the 50 workers I counted at one of the big supermarkets, at least 2/3 were Palestinian.  One cashier, a Jewish woman with a modest hair covering, was serving three Muslim women with modest hair coverings.  At a SuperPharm nearby, an Arab female pharmacist was serving a Jewish woman with a prescription.  It’s remarkable how unremarkable it’s become to see Palestinian customers or salespeople in a Jewish part of town.

Jewish Jerusalem is drawing more and more workers from the city’s Arab areas, and mixing in the workplace has dramatically increased.  Nearly half of the city’s Arab workers are now employed in Jewish areas and the number is rising.  So is the number of Palestinian students enrolled at Israeli universities.  Palestinians and Israelis might not like each other, but their fates are becoming more tightly entwined, and everyone has more to lose if things fall apart.



Stabbed J’lem bus guard’s condition remains critical

The life of Asher Elmaliach, the security guard who was stabbed in the Jerusalem central bus station attack last week, is still in danger, a Shaare Zedek Medical Center spokeswoman said Tuesday (19th).

“He is still in very critical condition,” she said.  “He is still in a coma and connected to life support systems.

Elimaliach, 46, , was stabbed in the heart by Yasin Abu al-Qur’a, a 24-year-old from the Nablus area, who was  apprehended and arrested immediately after the attack.



Hamas moves to curb Gaza rocket fire into Israel – Amos Harel

Hamas in Gaza has in recent days arrested many Salafi-militants responsible for the recent rocket launches at Israel.  Hamas has sent a message through Egyptian intelligence that it seeks to avoid an escalation of the recent violence with Israel.  Since Dec. 6, nearly 30 rockets have been fired at Israel, but around half fell short and landed in Gaza.



Hamas: West Jerusalem also belongs to Palestine

The Al-Quds division of the Hamas terror organization held a protest rally this week against the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At the rally the Hamas leaders pledged to give everything, including blood, so that Trump and others understand that Jerusalem is a “red line.”

“Jerusalem, both east and west, is the capital of Palestine,” they declared.



Palestinians are destroying King Herod’s palace in Jericho – Nadav Shragai

The Palestinians received the excavated site of King Herod’s third palace near Jericho as part of the Oslo Accords.  Recently it was discovered that the Palestinians had built housing around it, with some of the homes constructed on the grounds of the palace itself.  The remains of the palace are being systematically demolished to construct a road.  The historic edifice is being stripped of its stone, and the supporting pillars and arches have been defaced.  Most of Herod’s palaces lie within Area A of the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority has exclusive control.



Canadian synagogues targeted with ‘Jewry must perish’ hate mail

Canadian police have opened an investigation into a spate of anti-Semitic hate mail sent to several synagogues in Canada over the weekend.

B’nai Brith Canada said synagogues in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Edmonton received identical letters featuring a swastika inside a bleeding Star of David with the phrase “Jewry must perish.”

The letters coincided with the Jewish festival of Hanukkah which began Dec. 12 and ends the evening of Dec. 20.



Elbit Systems gets $46 million NATO contract

Haifa-based Elbit Systems announced on Tuesday (19th) that it was awarded a follow-on $46 million contract to supply additional J-Music Direct Infrared Countermeasures self-protection systems to NATO for its Airbus A330 Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet program over a four-year period.

Similar to several previous awards from global air forces and other customers, Elbit Systems will equip the NATO tankers with said systems along with the company’s infrared-based Passive Airborne Warning Systems.