Comparing the New Israel Aid Deal to the Previous Deal - Nahal Toosi and Bryan Bender (Politico)
Some experts push back at the notion that the new U.S. military aid MOU provides much more than the current arrangement.
Col. Gilead Sher pointed out that Congress has added roughly $500
million every year on top of the estimated $3 billion a year given out
under the current agreement.
"So the difference between the coming deal and the existing one would be just $300 million a year."
The Saudis Have Killer Drones - David Axe (Daily Beast)
Saudi Arabia has signed a contract with Chinese firm Chengdu for Pterodactyl drones.
The 30-foot-long, propeller-driven Pterodactyl, apparently modeled
on America's Predator and Reaper drones, can fly for hours carrying
cameras and missiles.
Muslim Arabs Feel Comfortable in Israel - Ron Kronish (Times of Israel)
This week during the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, I visited two
malls in Jerusalem where I saw hundreds of Muslim families out shopping
for the holiday. No one harassed them, no one even noticed.
Israeli Muslims easily enter Jewish malls without fear and travel to vacation spots all over Israel without trepidation.
They are Israeli citizens and feel comfortable here. They share
the workplace with Jews and are part and parcel of the landscape and
of civil society.
Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish is the founding director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI).
U.S., Israel to Establish Joint Energy Research Center - Sharon Udasin (Jerusalem Post)
The U.S. Department of Energy will establish a joint U.S.-Israel
energy research center in 2017, Jonathan Elkind, the department's
assistant secretary for international affairs, announced last week.
The center will build on the "extensive engagement that already
exists between our two countries through the U.S.-Israel Energy
Dialogue, as well as programs such as the BIRD [Binational Industrial
Research and Development] energy program, the upcoming energy-water
desalination challenge, and others."
Israeli Invention Helps Paralyzed Woman Finish Race - Josh Jackman (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
Claire Lomas, 36, a sportswoman from Leicestershire who is paralyzed
from the chest down after she was thrown off her horse in racing trials
nine years ago, has completed the Great North Run wearing an Israeli
Lomas, who is 16 weeks pregnant, took five days to walk the half marathon in the ReWalk suit.
Last week, ReWalk announced it had made its hundredth sale to private customers.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S.-Israel Security Aid Agreement Prevents Congress from Giving Israel More Money in 2017 and 2018 - Josh Rogin
As part of the new 10-year U.S.-Israel security aid agreement, the
Israeli government signed a letter promising not to accept any money
given by Congress for 2017 and 2018 above the levels in the new
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations
subcommittee that manages the foreign affairs budget, said, "You know
the White House pressured them into writing that letter. It is a level
of antagonism against Israel that I can't understand."
Graham pointed out that Congress regularly increases foreign aid
above the levels in MOUs when dealing with other countries. For example,
Congress increased foreign aid to Jordan above its $1 billion annual
allotment last year in light of that country's refugee crisis.
Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Brookings Institution scholar and former Middle
East official in the Obama administration, tweeted this week that
Congress still has the right to appropriate whatever it wants.
See also Israel Could Ask for Additional U.S. Military Aid in Case of Emergency - Michael Wilner
Israel's acting National Security Adviser Yaakov Nagel, who negotiated
the new defense aid deal on Israel's behalf, said Wednesday that the
deal guarantees $5 billion over the next decade for missile defense and
that Israel has obligated itself not to ask Congress for additional
funds for this purpose.
Nagel added that Israel can ask for additional funding in case of war,
and that it also can ask for additional funding for other items, such as
While under the current defense aid arrangement Israel was able to
use 26% of the funds for procurement in Israel, under the new MOU
that percentage will gradually decline, starting in the sixth year,
until by the 10th year all the funds will have to be spent in the U.S.
Nagel said that if under the current MOU, $7.8 billion could be spent in
Israel, under the new MOU that number will drop to $5.6 billion. He
stressed that the change will be done in a gradual manner, giving
Israeli defense industries plenty of time to prepare for the new
Nagel did not characterize his talks with the administration as
"negotiations," saying that this assistance is a gift. He added that at
no time did anyone link the aid package and the Palestinian issue. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu Thanks U.S. for New 10-Year Security Aid Package
Prime Minister Netanyahu said Wednesday:
"I would like to thank President Obama and his administration for this
historic agreement. I also thank our many, many friends in the American
Congress and among the American people for their great support....Many
in the United States understand that investment in the security of
Israel strengthens the stability of the unstable Middle East and serves
not only our security interests but those of the United States as well."
"This agreement illustrates a simple truth: relations between Israel
and the United States are strong and steadfast. This does not mean that
we do not have disagreements from time to time, but these are
disagreements within the family. They have no effect on the great
friendship between Israel and the United States, a friendship that is
expressed in this agreement, which will greatly assist us in continuing
to build up Israel's strength in the coming decade." (Prime Minister's Office)
See also Israeli Official: Netanyahu's Stance on Iran Nuclear Deal Had No Impact on U.S. Military Aid Package - Barak Ravid
Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of the National Security Council who led
the team that negotiated the new defense aid agreement with Washington,
said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to
the nuclear agreement with Iran had no impact on the size of the defense
"As the one conducting these talks since 2013, I can say that at no
stage of the negotiations was there a higher American offer on the table
than the one we ultimately received. There are many speculations,
but...the figures thrown in the air, about whether we hadn't made the
speech in the Congress, are simply not true."
"This agreement isn't an American compensation for the agreement
with Iran. It never was. The agreement is intended to support Israel's
security....I believe it's the maximum the Americans could give us
considering their economic situation and defense budget cutbacks." (Ha'aretz)
- Iran's Foreign Minister in the New York Times - Danielle Pletka
In a New York Times op-ed
Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif is right to note
that Wahhabism is indeed a danger to the world, a scourge of extremist
Salafi ideology that successive Saudi regimes have inflicted upon the
Muslim (and Christian and Jewish) world. The Saudis helped created
al-Qaeda and have systematically used their oil riches to crowd out
moderate Islam through the funding of mosques, imams, and textbooks.
Saudi funded schools and madrasas have taught intolerance, anti-Semitism
and extremism to susceptible young minds for decades.
Zarif is only concerned with Sunni terrorism, but Iran is the
veritable godfather of modern terrorism. Unlike the Saudi government,
which has actually begun to grapple with its legacy, Iran has merely
doubled and tripled down on its terror model.
It was the Islamic Republic of Iran that created Hizbullah and
sponsored the groups that kidnapped and murdered Americans through
Lebanon's long civil war. It is Iran that funds Hamas and Palestinian
Islamic Jihad. It is Iran that props up the murderous Assad regime that
has repeatedly gassed its own people. It is Iran that has assassinated
its enemies the world over, and it is Iran's Islamic Revolutionary
Guard Corps that was responsible, during the Iraq war, for the deaths of
hundreds of U.S. servicemen.
It is Iran that helped arm and support Hugo Chavez's dictatorship
in Venezuela; Iran that has been in attendance at at least one of North
Korea's nuclear tests; Iran that has long hosted al-Qaeda and
facilitated the movement of its people before and after 9/11. The notion
that somehow the Islamic Republic of Iran can be a leader against
terrorism is macabre humor. The writer is senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI.
(American Enterprise Institute)
- The Businesses of Mahmoud Abbas and His Sons - Yoni Ben Menachem
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejected the request of four Arab states -
Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates - to mend
fences with his bitter rival Muhammad Dahlan. Some of those states want
to see Dahlan as the next PA chairman. At the urging of Egypt and
Jordan, which fear Hamas, Abbas called off the elections in the
territories and consented to a return to Fatah by some of Dahlan's
Abbas' rejection of Dahlan has impelled the interested parties to
reveal publicly the power-wealth nexus of Abbas and his sons. On
September 11, Egyptian journalist Hussein Yousef wrote in Al-Masri Al-Youm
about the business activity of Abbas and his two sons, Yasser and
Tareq. The family's business empire is based on Abbas' own commercial
ties and connections with states and large companies worldwide, all of
which benefit his two sons' business concerns.
The sons own a large business consortium called Falcon, which is
involved in tobacco and cigars, electrical and mechanical contracting,
international media, and insurance, among other things. Dahlan said
Abbas' sons' wealth today comes to $300 million. Abbas seeks a
suitable successor who will safeguard his sons' economic empire after he
retires. The writer, an Arab affairs expert, is former director general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Palestinian Hostility to the Presence of Jews Must Be Addressed - Jonathan S. Tobin
In the State Department's view, a two-state solution means a
Palestinian state that would be only for Arabs alongside an Israel in
which an Arab minority enjoys full legal rights. PA leader Mahmoud
Abbas said in 2013, "In a final resolution, we would not see the
presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands."
Given the drumbeat of incitement to hatred of Jews and Israelis
in Palestinian media and in their schools, it is hard to argue that
Jews wouldn't be at risk in a Palestinian state. The primary reason
Israel withdrew every settler when it evacuated Gaza in 2005 is the
certainty that Jews whose lives would depend on the mercy of the
Palestinians would be as good as dead.
Indeed, deprived of the opportunity to attack individual Jews
after the Israelis withdrew from Gaza, Palestinian mobs vented their
rage on the abandoned buildings the Jews left behind, including the
greenhouses that had been purchased by well-meaning philanthropists for
use by the Arab population.
In any other conflict, we would label the Palestinian demand
for the removal of Jewish communities (or those of any other group) with
the same words used by Netanyahu: ethnic cleansing. But when it comes
to Jews living in their ancient homeland, the rules are different, and
bigotry is not only accepted but also supported.
Palestinian hostility to the presence of Jews is addressed by both the
U.S. and the international community rather than ignored, the peace
everyone claims to be seeking will never happen.