Newsletter : 19fx1024.txt
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Israel Reportedly Preparing for Iran Missile Strike
Israel is preemptively bolstering its defenses over fears that Iran may retaliate against
an ongoing series of attacks on its proxies in Syria and Iraq that have been attributed to
Israel, Army Radio reported.
Citing unidentified sources, the report claimed Israel was focusing its defense
capabilities on harder to detect, low-flying cruise missiles and drone strikes - unlike
high-arcing ballistic missiles that are easier to intercept.
As tensions escalate in the region, the IDF has been on high alert and the security
cabinet will convene for an impromptu meeting next week, according to sources. Last month,
citing several Iranian, Western and Iraqi sources, Reuters reported that Tehran had
dispatched missiles to its allies as a "back-up plan" in case Iran was attacked by the
United States or Israel.
The missiles, of which were said to be in the dozens, were intended to send a warning to
the U.S. and Israel, especially following several airstrikes on Iranian troops in Syria
that analysts have attributed to the Israel.
According to the report, the missiles have ranges of between 200 to 700 kilometers, saying
Israel's densely populated city of Tel Aviv and Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh were within
striking distance if launched from southern or western Iraq.
Earlier this week, eyes have been on the Syrian-Turkish border as the U.S. pulled its
troops from the region, but at Israel's request, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would
leave a "small contingent" behind. The pullback of the military presence by Israel's
biggest ally has been a key concern in Jerusalem, and Israeli leaders have been outspoken
on their mission to defend the country against the Iranian threat.
Gantz Gets Shot at Forming Government, Invites Netanyahu to Negotiations
By World Israel News
Israel's former military chief Benny Gantz was tasked Wednesday with forming the next
government, but he has few options after last month's elections left him in a near tie
with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
President Reuven Rivlin formally granted the mandate to Gantz, who will have 28 days to
form a coalition. It is the first time in over a decade that anyone besides Netanyahu has
been given the task. After accepting the mandate at Rivlin's official residence in
Jerusalem, Gantz commented, "I will invite all the parties that are represented in the
Knesset, even those who will not be in the government. I will first turn to the Likud and
to its head Netanyahu and offer for him to be part of that government," the Times of
Gantz, a lifelong military man, has presented himself as a practical leader who can bridge
Israel's many divisions and address the various security threats it faces. Gantz presents
himself as a more trustworthy alternative to the Netanyahu and may hope to evoke past
generals who became statesmen, including Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon. But
he faces steep odds in every possible path to forming a government. He has been endorsed
by just 54 lawmakers representing an array of parties that are unlikely to sit together in
Both Gantz and Netanyahu say they favor a national unity government. Together, Netanyahu's
Likud and Gantz's Blue and White control a solid 65-seat majority. But the two men are
divided over who should lead any new government. Netanyahu has insisted he head the
government, at least for the first two years, and that it include his right-wing allies,
conditions that Gantz has repeatedly rejected. Blue and White nevertheless invited Likud
negotiators to a meeting planned for Thursday.
Gantz could potentially break up the right-wing alliance and recruit some of the smaller
parties to his coalition. But that might be seen as a major betrayal by those parties'
Another option would be to form a minority government with Avigdor Lieberman, who emerged
as kingmaker after his party won eight seats and has refused to endorse either Gantz or
Netanyahu. Gantz might be able to convince the Arab Joint List, which won 13 seats, to
support the coalition from the outside. That would bring down Netanyahu but result in a
highly unstable government. It's also far from clear that Lieberman, a nationalist with a
history of harsh rhetoric toward the Arab minority, would support such a scheme. No Arab
party has ever sat in an Israeli government.
The political deadlock dates back to April when Lieberman refused to join a right-wing
coalition under Netanyahu, denying him a majority. In response, parliament voted to
dissolve itself, leading to an unprecedented repeat election in September. A similar
scenario could play out again.
A recent poll found that Likud MK Gideon Saar received the greatest support among the
general public (41%), as compared with Likud MKs Yuli Edelstein (8%), Gilad Erdan (6%),
and other candidates (8%) to replace Netanyahu.
In possibly far-reaching ramifications should Israel go to a third election, only about
half of Israel Beiteinu voters (51.5%) said they would vote for the party again. It was
the lowest outcome compared to the other parties, such as Likud (88.5%) and Blue and White
Israel Beiteinu, led by Liberman, brought about both the April election and the subsequent
September election by first quitting as defense minister and then, second, by refusing to
join the Netanyahu coalition. A loss of Knesset seats would significantly weaken
Liberman's ability to influence events. It is also likely that his generally right-wing
supporters would flow to other right-wing parties, including the Likud.
The poll was done under the direction of Menachem Lazar of PanelsLTD for the Israel
Democracy Institute's Guttman Center. Among its other findings, 56% of the public support
a rotational government between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, in which
they would take turns acting as prime minister. Of those surveyed, 14% support a rotation
only if Netanyahu is first in line to serve as prime minister, and 20% only if Gantz is
The poll found that 41% of the general public is in favor of including the ultra-Orthodox
parties in the government, while 66% of Israeli Jews view the establishment of a coalition
that includes the Arab Joint List as problematic.
Kurdish Children are Being Treated at Israeli Hospital
By the Jerusalem Post
After being bombed and attacked by both the Turkish Army and its allied Free Syrian
Army Forces in Afrin last year, Aram (name changed for security reasons) and her family
Kurds who were native to northern Syria were forced to flee to Iraqi
Kurdistan, much like the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have recently become
refugees due to the Turkish military operation.
When Aram arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan, her 3.5-year-old son, Ajwan, required open-heart
surgery that was unavailable in Kurdistan, but an American doctor working in Kurdistan
told her that Ajwan could be treated in Israel. "I was not afraid to come to Israel, even
though I was warned I could lose my Syrian passport," Aram told The Jerusalem Post.
Within a short time, Ajwan was connected to the Jerusalem-based Christian Zionist NGO
Shevet Achim, which arranged visas for Aram and Ajwan and heart surgery for Ajwan at Sheba
Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. The goal of Shevet Achim is to help non-Israeli children
receive life-saving medical care in the Jewish state. The program, headed by the NGO's
head, Jonathan Miles, is specifically focused on heart surgeries for children.
In the last 10 months, they have arranged treatment at Sheba and visas for 41 Iraqi
Kurdish children, as well as three from Syria. Despite recent escalations, efforts are
continuing. Two new patients are slated to arrive from the war-torn areas on Sunday,
according to Miles, though he could not disclose further details.
"For a Kurdish child to come here, his visa has to cross the desk of the interior
minister, who limits entry to those who need life-saving medical care," Miles said, noting
that the families fly through Jordan to Israel.
He said that with as many as 200,000 to 300,000 Kurds who have sought or are
seeking refuge in northern Iraq, he assumes another 20 to 30 children with
congenital heart diseases will need to be treated, and Israel will "have an opportunity to
reach out a hand in this way."
Most of the surgeries are handled by Dr. David Mishali, head of the International
Congenital Heart Center with Sheba's Safra Children's Hospital. He told the Post that
without these surgeries, the children would either die or face a lifetime of debilitation.
"In many cases, when we read the children's medical file from his country of origin, it
can differ from what we discover with our advanced check-ups," Mishali explained. "That is
because in many Third World countries, medical technology is nearly 60 years behind from
developed Western countries, like Israel."
Similarly, Mishali said that he has to consider carefully which specific type of surgery
to perform because patients are being sent back to a country where there is little if any,
primary care. He said that he is rarely able to talk directly with the families because of
communication barriers. Most of the Kurdish patients don't even speak Arabic, so they have
to communicate via somebody who speaks both Arabic and Kurdish, and then have that person
relay a message to someone who speaks both Arabic and Hebrew and vice versa.
The surgeon explained that he reads the news and knows his newest patients will be coming
to him after experiencing extensive trauma. However, he said he is not focused on recent
events in Syria or Iraq or political policies in the region. "I am taking care of the
patients the same way I take care of my Israeli patients," he said. "They are beautiful
people warm and authentic people. It is a pleasure to take care of them."
Aram explained that she and other Kurds are "not hostages in the hospital," and that Sheba
and Israel allow them out of the hospital under the oversight of Shevet Achim to see the
country, including touring Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and praying on the Temple Mount. "I am
thankful for all of the help," she said, "and especially the doctors at Sheba for saving
Southern Poverty Law Center Lumps Pro-Israel Evangelical Organization into Same List
of `Hate Groups' as KKK
By United with Israel
Each year since 1990, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has published an updated
"hate map" of groups operating within the United States. This year's map features over
1,000 extremist organizations, such as the KKK, neo-Nazi organizations, and
neo-Confederate groups. SPLC also added an Evangelical Christian pro-Israel advocacy group
called Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN) to the list this year.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, PJTN president and founder, was in shock after seeing her
organization on the list. "If being pro-Israel and against anti-Semitism is now considered
a hate crime, I will wear the SPLC listing as a badge of honor," Cardoza-Moore said.
"Placing PJTN alongside bigots and Nazis minimizes the true meaning of hate."
"PJTN is on the front lines fighting against anti-Semitism on a daily basis. Our answer to
this absurd listing will be to open more PJTN chapters in America and fight harder to have
anti-Semitism defined and confronted throughout the free world," she added.
According to a report by Politico, the SPLC is coming under fire by critics who believe
that the group abuses its position as an arbiter of hatred by labeling legitimate players
"hate groups" and "extremists" to keep the attention of its liberal donors. The PJTN's
stated mission is to educate Christians about their responsibility to stand with the
Jewish people against the rise of anti-Semitism.
88% of American Jews say Anti-Semitism is a Problem in the US
More than eight in 10 American Jews say that anti-Semitism has spiked in recent years
and even more believe it is a problem in the United States, according to an American
Jewish Committee survey. Nearly three-quarters of respondents strongly disapprove of how
President Donald Trump is handling anti-Semitism and significantly more see the extreme
political right as more of a serious threat to them than the extreme political left.
The telephone survey of 1,283 Jewish adults conducted from Sept. 11 to Oct. 6 found that
88% of respondents believe that anti-Semitism was a problem: 50% as "somewhat of a
problem" and 38% as a "very serious" problem.
Asked if anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years, 84% said it had: 43% said a
lot and 41% said somewhat. Just 2% of respondents said they had been victims of a physical
anti-Semitic attack over the same time frame, but 23% said they had been the target of an
anti-Semitic remark in person, by mail or over the phone, and 20% said they had been
targeted through social media.
Asked if they approve or disapprove of Trump's handling of anti-Semitism, 72% said they
disapprove 62% strongly and 24% approve. Trump has spoken out forcefully at
times against anti-Semitism but also has equivocated at times, notably after the deadly
neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. He also has downplayed the
threat of violent white nationalism. The president's overall ratings saw similar numbers:
76% unfavorable and 22% favorable.
The respondents mostly identified as liberal, at 56% and Democrats, 53%. Among the others,
21% each identified as "middle of the road" and conservative. Fourteen percent said they
were Republicans and 23% Independents.
They were likelier to perceive a threat from the far-right and radical Muslims than they
did from the left. The extreme right posed a threat for 89% of respondents, including 49%
who said it was very serious and 29% calling it moderately serious.
Asked about "extremism in the name of Islam," 85% said it posed a threat: 27% each said it
was very serious and moderately serious, and 31% calling it slight. Asked about extremism
from the extreme left, 64% identified a threat, with a total of 36% calling it very
serious or moderately serious and 28% saying the threat is slight. The respondents seemed
likelier to see the threat emerging from the far right, with 49% calling it very serious
as opposed to 15% from the far left.
Asked about the political parties and their responsibility for the current level of
anti-Semitism, the respondents rated Republicans at 6.2 on a scale with 10 as the highest,
while Democrats came in at 3.6. Nearly two-thirds of respondents were familiar or somewhat
familiar with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. Twenty-four
percent said they were not at all familiar with BDS.
Of the 1,013 respondents who had at least some familiarity with the movement, 35%
characterized it as "mostly anti-Semitic," 47% said it had "some anti-Semitic supporters"
and 14% said it was not anti-Semitic.
Asked to characterize the statement "Israel has no right to exist," 84% of respondents
said it was anti-Semitic. They also were asked about two other statements: "The U.S.
government only supports Israel because of Jewish money" and "American Jews are more loyal
to Israel than to America." The former was seen as anti-Semitic by 80% and the latter by
Asked if they "avoid certain places, events, or situations out of concern for your safety
or comfort as a Jew," 25% of respondents said they did, while 31% said they avoided
"Publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying things that might help people identify you as a
Jew." The AJC said the survey, conducted by SSRS, had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage
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