JDC announces new chief
(JNS.org) The world’s largest Jewish relief organization, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), has announced that Alan Gill will take the reins as CEO of the organization early next year. Gill, a former CEO of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, Ohio, is a 20-year veteran of JDC and will succeed interim CEO Darrell Friedman, who had replaced longtime CEO Steven Schwager. In his current role as executive director of international relations, Gill presided over a tenfold increase in JDC’s direct philanthropic revenue and was also instrumental in establishing a number of JDC’s landmark programs. Founded in 1914, the JDC is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian organization. Currently, it assists Jewish communities in more than 70 countries and Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, and provide relief for other victims of natural or man-made disasters, such as the 2004 South Asia tsunami or the genocide in Darfur.
Fears of ‘Islamist dictatorship’ grow in Egypt
(JNS.org) Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi is facing mounting protests at home over a controversial ruling that many fear could result in a new Islamist dictatorship. Opponents are upset with President Morsi’s decree on Nov 22., which declared that Egyptian courts cannot
overrule any decisions he has made over the last six months or decisions he will make until the a new constitution is passed. However, the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution has been complicated by the lack of a parliament, which was dissolved last June by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces after an Egyptian high court ruling that found issues with the election. Egypt’s Islamists — who dominated the parliament at the time — were upset with the dissolution.
Later, after becoming president, Morsi replaced several prominent generals in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in a move that many analysts viewed as an effort to consolidate his authority over Egypt’s military. Morsi also attempted to restore the parliament, but the move was rejected by Egypt’s courts. Even if parliament is restored and constitution is drafted, Middle East experts see Islamists continuing to dominate. “By the time you get that new constitution, it will have been written by an Islamist-dominated assembly that all non-Islamists have completely abandoned,” Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told CNN.
Nasrallah says Hezbollah can strike all of Israel
(JNS.org) Hezbollah has the capability to hit Israeli targets “from Kiryat Shmona — and let the Israelis listen carefully — from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat,” representing the Jewish state’s northernmost and southernmost points, the Iranian-funded group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday. Nasrallah’s statement came in the wake of Iranian-developed Fajr-5 rockets, with their range of 75 kilometers (45 miles), falling near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during the latest conflict with Gaza. “Israel, which was shaken by a handful of Fajr-5 rockets during eight days — how would it cope with thousands of rockets which would fall on Tel Aviv and other (cities) … if it attacked Lebanon?” Nasrallah said. “If the confrontation with the Gaza Strip… had a range of 40 to 70 kilometers, the battle with us will range over the whole of occupied Palestine — from
the Lebanese border to the Jordanian border to the Red Sea.
Israel successfully tests new missile defense system
(JNS.org) On the heels of the success of the Iron Dome system, Israel successfully tested a new missile defense system in the Negev. Dubbed David’s Sling, after the weapon used in the biblical story of David and Goliath, the system is being developed jointly between the Israeli and American defense firms Rafael and Raytheon. It is designed to intercept medium to long-range missiles between 70 and 300 kilometers — likely to be primarily launched from Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. The technology “is designed to defeat a variety of short-range ballistic missiles, large caliber rockets and cruise missiles,” according to Raytheon. The system is designed to complement the existing short-range Iron Dome and long-range Arrow 3 missile defense system, currently under development with Boeing. “Once we finish David’s Sling and Iron Dome and the Arrow, then we’ll have the most advanced capability available to give a multilayer protection to Israeli citizens,” said an anonymous Israeli defense official quoted by the Associated Press.
Jerusalem Arab suspected of spying for Hezbollah
(JNS.org) An Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem has been indicted by the district attorney’s office for allegedly spying for the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, Israel Hayom reported. Azam Mash’hara was arrested by the Shin Bet and the Israeli police on Oct. 24. The indictment charged Mash’hara with illegally traveling to Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah operatives and providing them with intelligence information on sites in Israel including the Jerusalem government buildings, schools, hospitals and the residences of the prime minister and defense minister. Mash’hara also was allegedly provided with money and advice by his Hezbollah handlers to contact the terrorist group through email and social media. The Shin Bet noted that Mash’hara may be part of a troubling new trend by Hezbollah to use Israeli Arabs for intelligence information due to their access to Israel proper, instead of Palestinians from the West Bank.
Police: Israeli Arab planted Tel Aviv bus bomb
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) An Israeli-Arab from Taybeh and several other Palestinians from the West Bank were arrested last week for their alleged role in the Tel Aviv bus bombing that wounded 28 people on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) apprehended the suspects Wednesday night in what was a joint operation with the Israel Police and the IDF. Law enforcement officials say the Taybeh man and his handlers were part of a terrorist cell with links to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The suspects confessed, saying they chose the venue for the attack and prepared the cell phone-activated explosive device. The Palestinians, who reside in the West Bank village of Beit Lakiya, apparently told the Taybeh man to use his employer’s car to drive to Tel Aviv, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The employer, an East Jerusalem Arab, was not aware of the plan to use his car to enable the attack. After boarding the bus and planting the bomb, the man, who police declined to identify, got off and called the Palestinians, who remotely detonated the explosive by calling the phone. The suspected bomber, who is originally from the West Bank, received Israeli citizenship under the family reunification law. The cell leader apparently recruited the Taybeh man for the mission because his documentation allowed him unrestricted travel inside Israel.
Calif. student board regrets aspects of anti-Israel resolution
(JNS.org) The University of California Student Association (UCSA) board of directors on Nov. 20 expressed regret for several aspects of a resolution two months earlier that condemned HR35 — a unanimously passed State Assembly resolution urging California schools to squelch nascent antisemitism and crack down on anti-Israel demonstrations. UCSA’s board said in a statement that it was “unaware that the resolution would be presented by members of UC Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine” and also unaware of “the confidential e-mail communication happening between members of SJP.” The board said it agreed that such procedure “undermines the democratic process.”
The board recognized the “negative impact that the resolution’s language had on the Jewish community and our campus climate” through the inclusion of phrases such as “illegal occupation” when referring to Israel. The UCSA resolution’s main focus was supposed to be the protection of freedom of speech, but its language went astray and “blurred the lines between advocating for free speech and taking a stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” according to the board.
Regarding the resolution’s discussion on Shabbat, the board said that move was not made “with the intention of excluding Jewish students from the conversation,” but rather, with scheduling considerations in mind.
India executes terrorist from 2008 Mumbai attack
(JNS.org) The lone surviving terrorist from the 2008 Mumbai attack was hanged in the early hours of Nov. 21 in an Indian prison, the Associated Press reported. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab’s execution was carried out after India’s President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for mercy. Kasab was part of a 10-man Pakistani Islamic terrorist squad that killed 166 people at various targets over a three-day period in Nov. 2008, including a local Chabad House where six people were killed, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who was five months pregnant. Their two-year-old son Moshe survived the attack after being rescued by his Indian nanny. According to radio transmissions picked up by Indian intelligence at the time, the terrorists were told by their organizers that “the lives of Jews were worth 50 times those of non-Jews.” India blames Laskhar e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist organization, for carrying out the attacks.