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  • Author: Sherry Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Jews in America have been known to be, in Earl Raab's felicitous phrase, "politically hyperactive." Yet today, the most fundamental indicators of Jewish support — membership, participation, and contributions — are on the wane for most of the organizations which have been in the forefront of Jewish activity in the public square in recent decades.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert O. Freedman
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main successor state, Russia, emerged in a greatly weakened geopolitical position. Complicating Russia's problems was a politically weak and often physically sick President Boris Yeltsin. Concerned about its "soft underbelly" in Transcaucasia and Central Asia, regions that were threatened by radical Islam, Moscow focused its Middle East efforts on Turkey and Iran, both of which had a considerable amount of influence in the two regions. Moscow sold nuclear reactors and sophisticated military equipment to Iran, as the two countries developed a tactical alliance. Russia had a more mixed relationship with Turkey, alternating between confrontation and cooperation. Russia also sought to get the sanctions lifted against Iraq, a development that would strengthen the greatly troubled Russian economy as well as help Russia politically. In the case of Israel, Moscow developed very close cultural, economic, and military ties, although there were a number of ups and downs in diplomatic relations. Under Putin, there was a more centralized control over Russian foreign policy as the new Russian leader sought to have a more assertive foreign policy for his country, and became much more active than Yeltsin had been in promoting Russian interests in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeff Helmreich
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: On May 15, 2001, the Associated Press circulated an article covering Arafat's Al-Naqba speech, marking the day Palestinians recall the "catastrophe" of the creation of the State of Israel. The article boasted direct quotations of the Palestinian leader's statements. They had been spoken in Cairo, broadcast on Palestinian radio stations, and blared out from loudspeakers into the streets of Nablus and Ramallah and all across Gaza. But something happened to the speech on the way to AP's wire report. By the time it reached the newspapers, entire sentences and clauses had been excluded; moderating words had been added; fiery attacks — like a slur about the United States — had been cleaned out; statements had been condensed, enhanced, or otherwise altered. In short, AP's purported "excerpts" of Arafat's remarks were at best edited, at worst fabricated. Moreover, they served to distort (and significantly soften) the message that passed through Arafat's lips.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Saul Singer
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In the midst of an already crumbling cease-fire, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dropped what to Israeli ears was a bombshell. Standing next to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat after their June 2001 meeting in Ramallah, Powell said, "I think as we get into the confidence-building phase there will be a need for monitors and observers to...make an independent observation of what has happened." Within hours, Powell punctured his own trial balloon by ruling out any mechanism opposed by Israel. Less than one month later, the observer issue was once again thrust to the fore when the G-8 foreign ministers unanimously called for dispatching "third-party monitors" to the region, as long as they were acceptable to both sides. Why should the seemingly innocuous matter of observers top the Palestinian agenda and be such an anathema to Israel?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The wave of Palestinian violence and terrorism that began at the end of September 2000 led to a widespread tendency to focus exclusively on Israeli-Palestinian political and security relationships. This narrow concentration of attention is potentially misleading and obscures the fundamental security threats that Israel is facing at the beginning of the twenty-first century. These threats come primarily from the wider Middle Eastern environment, extending from Libya and Egypt (and to a lesser degree, North Africa) to Iraq and Iran. Indeed, the Palestinian strategy is based, to a large degree, on widening the circle of conflict through escalation and regionalizing the confrontation. As a result, the importance of strategic deterrence, in response to revived coalitions and new military capabilities that threaten Israeli security, should be a basic factor in Israeli planning.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Libya, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Saul Singer
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: At present, there are no substantive Arab-Israeli peace negotiations underway. Israel has had to contend with the ongoing armed offensive launched by the Palestinians in late September 2000 after the failure of the Camp David summit. Meanwhile, Israel and the Palestinians will only return to the negotiating table after a ceasefire, a meaningful cooling-off period, and confidence-building measures, in accordance with the Mitchell Committee Report. Syria, under Bashar Assad, has given evidence of assuming a harder line, making an early resumption of Syrian-Israeli negotiations unlikely.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Raphael Israeli
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted in the Middle East in late September 2000, an almost simultaneous wave of violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment has accompanied it in the Western democracies, initiated and executed mainly by locally nationalized Arab or Muslim immigrants, long established or recent arrivals, legal or illegal. Due to the ubiquity in space, synchronicity in time, and similarity in style and content of these events, one wonders whether they were all triggered and managed centrally, or spread by emulation from one part of the globe to another.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Israel has been increasingly facing new diplomatic initiatives that, in effect, call for a freeze in Israeli settlement activity in exchange for a cessation of the eight-month-old, low-scale warfare on the part of the PLO, which the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Intifada. This new linkage has arisen in two distinct forms. First, according to early versions of the Egyptian-Jordanian Initiative of April 2001, the Palestinians are called upon to end incitement to violence and guarantee security cooperation, but Israel is expected, inter alia, to freeze new settlement activity.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Steven M. Cohen, Arnold M. Eisen
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Molly is a physician in her forties who lives in suburban Boston: thoughtful, soft-spoken, and extremely articulate—reason enough to take careful note of what she has to say about the formative experiences which led to her current commitments as a Jew. There is another reason as well: because the key words in this passage from our conversation, "I remember," are repeated no less than three times. What Molly and the other Jews we interviewed remember of their Jewish journeys, and—more importantly— how they remember it, provide the clues to a new sort of Jewish self emerging in the United States in recent decades.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Betsy Gidwitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Local Jewish volunteer leadership in Ukraine is most likely to emerge in the federated community organizations established and nurtured by a small number of community rabbis, such as Rabbi Kaminezki in Dnipropetrovsk (Philanthropic Fund of the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish Community) or Rabbi Bleich in Kyiv (Kyiv Municipal Jewish Community), who endorse multiple Jewish community institutions. (Rabbi Vishedski of Donetsk supports a similar effort.) Federated Jewish organizations in Ukraine resemble North American Jewish federations in that they are associations engaged in community planning, fundraising, and budgeting for Jewish welfare, educational, and identity-building needs. Among their most important differences from North American federations is that, to date, each is closely associated with one particular rabbi and his synagogue. As noted, Rabbi Kaminezki has thwarted the activation of other Jewish religious and educational organizations in Dnipropetrovsk. In Kyiv, Rabbi Bleich is more welcoming to other Jewish religious groups, at least in theory; in practice, other Kyiv Jewish religious institutions are so weak (e.g., the Progressive and Masorti movements) or so confrontational (e.g., the Chabad congregation associated with Rabbi Asman) that significant collaboration is impractical.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Middle East, Eastern Europe, North America