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AIJAC expresses regret over cancellation of asylum-seeker deal in Israel, and...

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council today expressed its regret over the cancellation of the arrangement between the State of Israel and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) to regulate the standing of migrants seeking refugee status in Israel.

Behind the News – April 2017

The Nigerian Government this month declared the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) a security threat. The Nigerian network is similar to other welfare systems established by Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups. It boasts more than 300 schools, Islamic centres, a newspaper, guards and a "martyrs' foundation", and is said to be encouraging significant numbers of Nigerians to convert to Shi'ism.

The Last Word: Stars over the Desert

"This is the Hamsa. This is the Hand of Fatima. This is (hesitation) a star".

In a typical Moroccan jewelry shop, the proprietor was discussing the recurring motifs in his necklaces, rings and decorations. The "star" was a Magen David, the well-known Jewish symbol.

The jewellery, religious ritual items and artworks on sale were a reminder of the once large, vibrant Jewish population of the Kingdom, and the shopkeeper's words a reminder of the conflicted attitude of many Moroccans towards that population, Judaism and Israel.

Essay: Bibi the Strategist?

In June, the Israeli journalist Amir Tibon wrote an article for Politico detailing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's long-standing and bitter fights with Israel's defence leaders. Former IDF chiefs of staff and spymasters described Netanyahu as messianic, driven by personal calculations, and incapable of protecting Israel's interests. His former defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, said the Prime Minister's conduct had caused him to lose faith in Netanyahu, and ex- Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin said he "represents six years of constant failures."

Israel’s diplomatic spring

Israel, in short, had always had at any given time at least two friends within the Turkish-Iranian-Egyptian triangle. In 2012, however, all three were at odds with the Jewish state.

Four years on, the tables have turned.

Back into Africa

In February Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced, "Israel is coming back to Africa." In July, he followed through on this commitment by visiting Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda...

Interestingly, each country Netanyahu visited has a unique connection with Israel: Uganda and Ethiopia have historic Jewish communities; Rwanda experienced genocide; Kenya and many others are battling Islamist extremist forces. By understanding the complexities and uniqueness of each nation, Israel is hoping to reap the benefits of improved relations.

Bibi’s travels

Today's Update looks at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's historic trip to Africa, which is about to conclude. Whilst there, he visited, and met with the leaders of, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda. His first stop was Uganda, where he commemorated the famous 1976 Israeli rescue of the hostages from the country’s Entebbe airport. The operation was renamed Operation Yonatan, in honour of Mr. Netanyahu’s older brother, who led the operation and was killed there. More information is contained in Aaron Torop’s blog post here.

Uganda is Full of Surprises

The first stop of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's widely anticipated trip to Africa was Uganda, where he commemorated the fortieth anniversary of Operation Yonatan.

Editorial: The Isolation Myth

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners and their supporters like to claim that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated internationally. Israel's supporters also sometimes express concern that the relentless campaign of misinformation and false blame may be having a detrimental effect on Israel's international standing.

Yet, as is so often the case with Israel, the reality is somewhat different to the perception.

Scribblings: Proportionality Again

In Nigeria, on July 19, the Boko Haram terror group reportedly took the town of Damboa, gunned down everyone they saw and burned most of the town to the ground. At least 100 people were killed - but the death toll may actually be considerably higher. Know about that one?

Further, more than 15,000 people were displaced over a few days around July 19-20 by Boko Haram attacks. It is estimated that at least 2,000 civilians have been killed in Boko Haram attacks this year.

Of course none of these tragic situations lessens the suffering of Gazans, or are themselves, a justification for Israel's action there (however, there are ample others).

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