Encouraging signs in Israel’s efforts to directly engage with Arab population

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Galvanized by common threats by Iran and Islamic extremism, Israel and the its fellow Sunni Muslim Arab states have seen an unexpected warming in relations in recent years. However, despite public and closed-door cooperation, Israel still remains deeply unpopular among the so-called “Arab street.”
Drawing on its high-tech prowess and unprecedented social media opportunities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has strongly embraced new media channels to reach millions of viewers directly, including in the Arab world.

Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu’s spokesman for the Arab media, told JNS.org in recent years “Israel has become a powerhouse of public diplomacy directed at the Arab world.”

“Israeli officials are now regularly interviewed on main Arab TV channels and Israeli pundits offer there their insights,” he said, adding that Israel is also active on social media in Arabic. With the aid of Arabic language spokespeople in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry, and the IDF, there are millions of followers on the Arabic Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Hamas Is Restoring Its Alliance with Iran

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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

    Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif confirms the importance of the relationship with Hamas’ delegation to Tehran

By: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi. The renewed alliance with Hamas will enable Iran to strengthen its zones of influence along Israel’s borders, including within the West Bank where Hamas and Islamic Jihad give it a foothold.

During the first week of August 2017, a delegation from the Hamas Political Bureau visited Iran. The Islamic movement said the visit meant that the sides were opening a “new page” in their relations.

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When a murderer is called a martyr: The Palestinian Martyrs Fund is flush with blood money from America

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Washington Times

Ethics now get short shrift nearly everywhere, and what was once normal behavior is regulated only by moral ambiguity. But murder, whether by an angry spouse, street hoodlum or terrorist driven by religious fanaticism, still has no sanction. There’s no justification for outbursts of butchery, and cash doled out to Palestinian terrorists and to their families is blood money, and it’s to the shame of the U.S. government that some of that blood money is lifted from the pockets of Americans.

The practice of paying for murder is front and center now following the execution-style shootings of two Israeli Druze policemen at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. The families of three Israeli Arabs who carried out the attack are eligible for money from the Palestinian Martyrs Fund, as well as the families of the attackers who stabbed an Israeli policewomen at the Damascus Gate in June.

The Palestinian Authority, in its 2017 budget, allocates $355 million to “direct terror funding expenditures,” according to Palestinian Media Watch, and of that $158 million goes to “salaries” for imprisoned terrorists, an increase of 13 percent above last year. Another $197 million is paid to the families of “martyrs,” as terrorists slain in the act are called, an increase of 4 percent. Rather than encourage productive citizens, the Palestinian leaders encourage acts of terrorism, including murder, as a way of life.

More than 20,000 Palestinian families receive monthly payments, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and another 500 families of “martyrs” are eligible for a free religious pilgrimage to Mecca, paid by Saudi Arabia. It’s a telling indicator of where the powers that be place their priorities, that peaceful families with incomes under the poverty line receive smaller welfare payments than killers of Jews.

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Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Are Getting Their First Startup Fund

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    Moshe Friedman

The first investment fund for Israel’s ultra-Orthodox startup community is about to close, offering a new springboard for religiously devout entrepreneurs whose centuries-old garb and insular ways haven’t made them a natural fit for the tech scene.

With a target of $5 million, the 12Angels fund is meant to encourage the slow but steady inroads the ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, community is making into an industry dominated by veterans of elite Israeli military units. Its first investment, of $150,000, was supplemented by the head of Facebook Israel, the chief scientist’s office and another fund. The company, developing a cyber tool for websites, raised $1 million in total.

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Arab humiliation and the Temple Mount

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Asia Times

    David P. Goldman

By David P. Goldman: In 2015, the last time Palestinians rioted over the Haram-al-Sharif – the Temple Mount to Christians and Jews – a handful of pious Jews had committed the offense of attempted prayer. This week’s protest over the presence of metal detectors takes the dispute to a new level of unreality. After Israeli-Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen with weapons hidden on the site, Israel installed metal detectors, a common sight at mosques in many Muslim countries. After Israel removed the metal detectors under apparent pressure from Washington, the Muslim religious authorities announced that they would not accept any Israeli security measures of any kind, including cameras and remote sensing devices. Cairo’s Al-Azhar University denounced any and all Israeli security measures as “irresponsible and provocative,” adding, “All measures taken by the occupation authorities at Al Haram Al Sharif in occupied Jerusalem are null and void and are not based on any humanitarian or civilized principle.”

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The Middle East’s New Peacemaker: Israel

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    Putin and Netanyahu

The liberation of Mosul in Iraq and the imminent collapse of the Islamic State’s Syrian capital of Raqqa are wins for President Donald Trump. He was elected on a promise to pound the terrorists into submission, and that is happening. Trump is a believer in hard power, which is the only kind that works in the Middle East.

The president scored another win with the partial cease-fire in southwestern Syria he negotiated with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sideline of the G-20 talks in Germany. The truce probably won’t last, but it marked a significant moment.

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A Good Story About Israelis and Palestinians

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New York Times

    Jason Greenblatt, center, President Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, announcing an agreement among Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians on a large water infrastructure project on Thursday.

The Trump administration has yet to broker the “toughest deal of all” — that between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Chances seem slim. But Jason Greenblatt, the president’s Middle East envoy, did announce some welcome news at a press conference Thursday in Jerusalem: The Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians will be cooperating on a large water infrastructure project, which will provide billions of gallons of new water supplies for each of the three parties.

That project — first announced in December 2013 — will take water from the Red Sea, near Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat, and use gravity to carry the water 137 miles via the kingdom of Jordan to the southern part of the Dead Sea, adjacent to Israel’s Arava desert. There it will be desalinated, with the brine deposited in the shrinking Dead Sea and the fresh water transferred into Israel for still-to-be-built desert farms. In exchange, a water pipeline will be built from Israel into Jordan’s capital, Amman, and Israel will augment the already significant amount of water it provides to the Palestinians in the West Bank, particularly in the Hebron area.

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Modi’s visit to Israel, Arabs going green with envy

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Al Arabiya

    Ghassan Charbel

By Ghassan Charbel:…Setting aside trees and museums aside, there is something worse. Arabs took close note to Benjamin Netanyahu freeing up his day to attend his visiting guest, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

That was the first time a sitting Indian prime minister visits Israel. What is even more remarkable is that the Modi did not feel the need to visit the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. A move that saw to Israel’s liking.

It is worth remembering that India was a pioneer in understanding the aspirations of the people of Palestinian and did not hesitate to take their side in international arenas.

Arabs kept a close eye to each step of the visit, especially after the warm welcome Modi received in Israel and which exceeded in hospitality that which was afforded United States President Donald Trump.

Modi then said that true cooperation between Israel and India would change the face of the world. Netanyahu also said that Israel welcomed Modi in a manner befitting a president of leading the world’s largest democracy, and the only democratic state in the Middle East.

What turned around heads is that Modi viewed Israel as a prevalent beacon in technology and him clearly speaking of his country’s tremendous need to benefit from Israel’s capabilities in this field.

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Lord Grade condemns BBC over Israel coverage

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Jewish Chronicle

    Lord Grade

A peer and former chairman of the BBC has condemned the broadcaster, accusing it of anti-Israel bias in a House of Lords debate.

Speaking in yesterday’s debate on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, Lord Grade highlighted a headline the BBC ran on its website after the fatal stabbing of an Israeli police officer last month.

Lord Grade said: “On 16 June two Palestinians, unprovoked, attacked Israeli police officers in Jerusalem with guns and knives, while a third stabbed to death Border Police Staff Sergeant Hadas Malka, aged 23.

“The BBC’s headline on its news website was ‘Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem’. The BBC eventually changed its headline to ‘Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem’.

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