(1) DSCA Releases FY2010 Sales Figures
US military sales overseen by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) topped $30 billion for the third consecutive year. Total sales for fiscal year 2010 were $31.6 billion. Sales under the government-to-government sales program called Foreign Military Sales (FMS) were $25.2 billion. Non-FMS security cooperation cases managed by DSCA under various security cooperation authorities were $6.4 billion.
The DoD program for support of Afghanistan’s security forces using the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) made up the majority of non-FMS security cooperation cases in fiscal year 2010 and totaled some $4.7 billion. This reflected continued support to the Government of Afghanistan in its fight against the Taliban and other insurgent forces. This ASFF-funded support was for training and equipping of the
Afghanistan National Security Forces. Non-FMS security cooperation cases also provided support to other foreign governments, including Iraq and Pakistan.
The Government of Israel at $4.0 billion led the FMS customer list with the highest value in sales followed by the Government of Egypt at $2.6 billion. Israel and Egypt are also the largest recipients of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds appropriated by Congress through the State Department to be used to pay for purchases of U.S. defense articles and services. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at $2.5 billion and the Government of the United Kingdom at $1.8 billion rounded out the top four FMS customers in terms of the value of sales.
(2) 2009 Human Rights Report: Israel and the occupied territories
The 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law protects all holy sites, but the government implemented regulations only for 137 Jewish sites, leaving Muslim and Christian sites neglected, inaccessible, or threatened by property development. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other well-known sites have de facto protection as a result of their international importance; however, community mosques, churches, and shrines faced threats from developers and municipalities that Jewish sites did not face. Christian pilgrimage sites around the Sea of Galilee faced regular threats of encroachment from government planners who wanted to use parts of the properties for recreational areas. The law provides for a hearing of objections to any plan or construction, including submissions by representative bodies such as the NGO Arab Center for Alternative Planning.
On March 16, the Supreme Court rejected Adalah’s 2004 petition requesting that the government promulgate regulations for the protection of Islamic holy sites. The government maintained that the promulgation of specific regulations, including determining how to expand the list of holy sites, was not necessary to preserve and protect the holy sites of any religion since the law provided for the protection of all holy sites of all religions.
(3) The 2010 Israeli Democracy Index: Democratic Values in Practice
Some of the findings:
- Israel’s high incarceration rate, combined with inadequacies in the rule of law, cause it to fall short of the accepted standard in Western countries.
- 60% of the population in Israel thinks that a few strong leaders would be better for Israel than all the democratic debates and legislation. 59% of that same group would prefer a government of experts who make decisions based on professional rather than political considerations.
- 86% of the Jewish public (76% of the total population) thinks that critical decisions for the state should be made by the Jewish majority.
- 53% of the Jewish public also believe that the State is entitled to encourage the emigration of Arabs.
- 70% of Israel’s population thinks that there is no justification whatsoever for using violence in order to achieve political goals.
- 81% of the population agrees with the assertion that “democracy is not a perfect regime, but it is better than any other form of government.” However, 55% of the public believes that Israel should put observing the law and public order before the ideals of democracy. Of the Jewish respondents, 60% of those on the political right supported this idea compared with 50% of those in the center and 49% of those on the left.
- 54%, slightly more than half the general population in Israel today, state that they have full or partial confidence in the Supreme Court, compared with 44% who claim that they have no confidence in it at all.
- Only 41% of respondents said that they have full or partial confidence in the police force.
- 72% of the population say that they do not trust the political parties, although a 63% majority oppose the view that parties are no longer needed and should therefore be abolished.
- Compared with 45% of Arab respondents, 69% of the Jewish population claims that the constitution is important to them.
- 43% of the general population feels that it is equally important for Israel to be a Jewish and democratic country, while 31% regards the Jewish component as being more important, and only 20% defines the democratic element as being more important.
- 41% of the population believes that freedom of religion and speech are implemented adequately; however, 39% believe that human rights are not sufficiently implemented.
- 72% of the general public thinks that Israel’s democracy is adversely affected by the increase in socio-economic gaps.
- 54% of the Jewish public opposes the view that legislation should be passed penalizing anyone who speaks out against Zionism.
- 50% of the Jewish respondents agree that it is important to allow non-Zionist political parties to participate in elections.
- 56% of veteran Israelis agree that people who have refused to serve in the IDF should not be allowed to vote or stand in elections. 62% of immigrants from the FSU disagree with this, while 76% of the ultra-Orthodox public rejects the idea.
- 51% of the general public approves of equality of rights between Jews and Arabs. The more Orthodox the group, the greater the opposition to equal rights between Jews and Arabs: only 33.5% of secular Jews oppose this, compared with 51% of traditional Jews, 65% of Orthodox Jews and 72% of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
- 67% of the Jewish public believe that close relatives of Arabs should not be permitted to enter Israel under of the rubric of family unification.
- Almost two-thirds (62%) of Jews believe that as long as Israel is in conflict with the Palestinians, the views of Arab citizens of Israel on foreign policy and security matters should not be taken into consideration.
- 51.5% of the Jewish sample agrees that only immigrants who are Jewish as defined by Halakha should be entitled to receive Israeli citizenship automatically, while only 34.5% of immigrants from the FSU agree with it. By segmentation, 41% of secular Jews and 88% of ultra-Orthodox agree, while traditional Jews and Orthodox Jews fall in the middle, with 63% and 79% respectively.
- 55% of the general public thinks that more resources should be allocated to Jewish municipalities than to Arab municipalities, while a 42% minority disagrees with this statement.
- Within the Jewish public, 71% of right-wing supporters agree that more resources should be allocated to Jewish municipalities than to Arab municipalities, as compared to 46% of centrists and 38% of leftists. When segmented by degree of religious observance, 51% of ultra-Orthodox Jews agree with the statement, while 45% of Orthodox Jews, 28% of traditional Jews, and 18% of secular Jews agree with it.
- 39% of the general population supports equal funding of religious services while 35% oppose it. Taking only the Jewish population into account, 41% support equal funding of religious services, while 33% oppose it.
- 54% of the general population supports equal funding of schools, while 26% oppose it.
- 46% of the Jewish public admitted to being most bothered by the possibility of having Arabs as neighbors. This was followed equally by people with mental illness being treated in the community and foreign workers (39% each). 25% would be bothered by same-sex couples, 23% by ultra-Orthodox Jews, 17% by Ethiopian immigrants, 10% by non-Sabbath observers, and 8% by immigrants from the Former Soviet Union.
- The Arab public is less tolerant than Jews of neighbors who are “Other.” 70% thought the least desirable neighbors would be same-sex couples and 67% were opposed to having ultra-Orthodox Jews as neighbors, followed closely by 65% who would be opposed to former settlers. 48% answered that the most “tolerable” neighbors would be foreign workers.