Israel & Mideast:
Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address, many are examining President Obama’s visit to the Middle East next month, his first since taking office in 2008. In other Mideast news, a new Israeli foreign ministry report claims the department is underfunded and understaffed, and in Bulgaria, officials are pursuing the terrorists allegedly responsible for the bus-bombing deaths of five Israelis.
On the Iran front, a day before meeting with the UN nuclear watchdog, Iran said it was converting enriched uranium into reactor fuel. Israeli PM Netanyahu called for tougher Iran sanctions and an advanced plan to expand a West Bank settlement. And in response to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Iran has denied agreeing to allow international investigators to question Tehran officials.
• Washington Post – Ahead of Obama’s visit to region, Israel advances plan to build in West Bank settlement http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/ahead-of-obamas-visit-to-region-israel-advances-plan-to-build-in-west-bank-settlement/2013/02/11/ae97be40-7444-11e2-9889-60bfcbb02149_story.html
• JPost -- US reassures Israel on Iran before Obama visit http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=302993
• Bloomberg -- Make Israel Feel Special Again http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-12/make-israel-feel-special-again.html
• Times of Israel -- ‘Israel neglects diplomacy at the expense of arms’ http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-neglects-diplomacy-at-the-expense-of-arms/
• Haaretz -- Bulgaria asks Europol to hunt down Hezbollah men suspected in Burgas attack on Israelis http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/bulgaria-asks-europol-to-hunt-down-hezbollah-men-suspected-in-burgas-attack-on-israelis.premium-1.503155
• NYTimes -- Iran Converts Enriched Uranium to Reactor Fuel, Reports Say http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/world/middleeast/iran-converts-enriched-uranium-to-reactor-fuel-reports-say.html?_r=0
• Wall Street Journal -- Israel Hardens Positions on Palestinians and Iran http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323511804578298343877253164.html
• Forward -- Iran Denies Officials Will Faces Questions in Argentina Jewish Center Bomb Probe http://forward.com/articles/171022/iran-denies-officials-will-faces-questions-in-arge/
For more Israel news, see the weekly JFNA Israel news page: http://www.jewishfederations.org/Weekly-News-Items-in-Israel.aspx
For more security news, see JFNA’s Secure Community Network (SCN) news page:
Israel Advocacy and Countering Anti-Semitism:
A day after Pope Benedict XVI announced his planned resignation, Israel’s chief rabbis say he worked hard to fight anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League also expressed appreciation for Pope Benedict, saying he “profoundly bolstered the positive trajectory of Catholic-Jewish relations.” And in a Haaretz opinion piece, one rabbi says that anyone interested in the Church's relationship with Jews must hope the pope’s successor will continue in his footsteps.
• Arutz Sheva – Chief Rabbis Laud Pope's Work to Fight Anti-Semitism http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/165137#.URqrfRxpF4c
• JPost -- ADL thanks Pope for support of Israel and Jews http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=303011
• Haaretz -- Pope Benedict XVI, true to his declared commitment to the Jewish people http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-opinions/pope-benedict-xvi-true-to-his-declared-commitment-to-the-jewish-people.premium-1.502956
For Israel advocacy news, see the Israel Action Network’s newly redesigned and enhanced website: http://israelactionnetwork.org/
Several stories highlight the formation of a 15-member federal commission on long-term care, which includes JFNA and Federation leader Judith Brachman. (Read more about the Institute in JFNA’s recent leadership briefing: http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=260842)
Other media featured the Government Affairs Institute, convened by JFNA in Washington to discuss strategies for helping the Jewish community’s most vulnerable people. (Read more about the Institute in JFNA’s recent leadership briefing: http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=260838) The Nonprofit Quarterly examines the impact of the papal transition on Catholic charities in the U.S. and around the world.
Locally, Federations are highlighted in Monmouth County, N.J., South Palm Beach County and New York.
• JTA -- JFNA’s Judith Brachman to serve on federal long-term care commission http://www.jta.org/news/article/2013/02/11/3119276/jfnas-judith-brachman-to-serve-on-federal-long-term-care-commission
• McKnight’s Long-Term Care News -- Pruitt, Brachman become first Republican appointees to long-term care committee http://www.mcknights.com/pruitt-brachman-become-first-republican-appointees-to-long-term-care-commission/article/279975/
• JTA -- D.C. forum looks at protecting the most vulnerable in Jewish community http://www.jta.org/news/article/2013/02/11/3119286/conference-teaches-how-to-protect-jewish-communitys-most-vulnerable
• Nonprofit Quarterly -- What Will Pope’s Retirement Mean to Catholic Charities? http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/21789-what-will-pope-s-retirement-mean-to-catholic-charities.html
• NJ Jewish News -- Donors 'tour' potential sites for federation aid http://www.njjewishnews.com/article/16278/donors-tour-potential-sites-for-federation-aid
• Jewish Press -- Josh Malina Rebukes Hollywood Jews Who Avoid Israel http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/josh-malina-rebukes-hollywood-jews-who-avoid-israel-video/2013/02/12/?src=ataglance
• Forward -- Start with the Silverware: The Jewish Greening Fellowship http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/170748/start-with-the-silverware-the-jewish-greening-fel/