Israel's Three Millionth Tourist Gets Private Jerusalem Tour from Netanyahu - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
Ioana Isac, 31, from Bucharest, Romania, arrived in Israel on Tuesday as tourist number 3 million this year.
Together with her partner, Mihai Georgescu, Isac was greeted in the arrivals hall with balloons, flowers, a red carpet, and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.
The couple were whisked away in a limousine to enjoy an upgraded hotel suite, a helicopter flight, and a tour of the Tower of David museum in the Old City of Jerusalem where their guide was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
See also Video: Prime Minister Netanyahu Guides at the Tower of David Museum (Prime Minister's Office)
UK Minister Sought to Help Fund IDF Humanitarian Aid to Syrian War Casualties (Times of Israel)
UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel is under fire for holding
unauthorized talks with Israeli officials while on a family vacation in Israel in August.
She discussed providing UK aid to help Israel's efforts to treat wounded Syrians in the Golan Heights.
On Monday Patel issued a full apology. "In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures."
Is the Saudi Throne Shaking? - Col. (res.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
In June 2017, the Saudi Kingdom woke up with Mohammad Bin Salman as the new crown prince.
King Salman has made a very daring bet by choosing his son, MBS, to succeed him, to the detriment of other parts of the royal family who feel betrayed and bypassed.
MBS will now staff key government positions with princes whom he trusts and can work with without fearing a sudden reversal of allegiance to a potential competitor.
At this time, it does not seem that the Saudi regime is in danger. However, an accumulation of setbacks in foreign policy, a military retreat without honor from Yemen, accompanied by a serious deterioration on the domestic scene, could lead to a revolt.
It remains to be seen whether MBS will succeed in his quest to remodel Saudi Arabia, or will inexperience and hasty decisions destabilize Saudi Arabia.
The writer, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center, was Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.
South Korean F-16s Upgraded to Carry Israeli Weapons - Chen Chuanren
(Aviation International News)
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) now employs the Rafael Spice 2,000-pound guided glide bomb on its F-16 fleet.
The Spice family deploys pop-out wings after launch and employs GPS/INS for midcourse navigation. When approaching the target, Spice employs a scene-matching algorithm.
The Spice 2000 gives the Korean F-16s standoff and precision capabilities of approximately 60 km.
India has acquired the longer-range Spice 250 and Spice 1000 weapons.
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- U.S. Calls for UN Action Against Iran - Michelle Nichols
The U.S. accused Iran on Tuesday of supplying Yemen's Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the UN to hold Tehran accountable for violating two UN Security Council resolutions. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said a missile shot down over Saudi Arabia on Saturday "may also be of Iranian origin." "We encourage the United Nations and international partners to take necessary action to hold the Iranian regime accountable for these violations," Haley said.
Under a UN resolution that enshrines the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved in advance by the Security Council. A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and "those acting on their behalf or at their direction." (Reuters)
- Iraqi VP Calls Iran-Backed Militias His Nation's Top Threat - Stephen Braun
Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraq's highest-ranking Sunni leader, said Tuesday in Washington that the growing influence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias looms as his nation's most pressing future security threat. He told administration officials he hopes they will deliver on pledges to counter Iran's growing influence inside Iraq and across the Middle East. Al-Nujaifi told the U.S. Institute of Peace that Shiite militias were operating in Iraq as a "parallel army." (AP-PBS)
- Terrorist Attack in France Thwarted, 9 Held
French media reported that a planned terrorist attack on the city of Nice had been thwarted as 9 people were arrested by counter-terrorist police. An additional arrest was made in Switzerland.
In 2016, 86 people were killed in Nice in a Bastille Day truck attack. Last week French Minister of Interior Gerrard Collomb claimed that 32 attacks had been foiled since the State of Emergency was declared after the November 2015 attacks in Paris.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Seeing the Balfour Declaration as a Crime Is the Root of the Israeli-Arab Conflict - Moran Azulay
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. "When the... Palestinian leadership define the Balfour Declaration as a 'crime,' when they call on the British government to apologize for it, they are...going back a hundred years....And that is the root of the conflict - the 100-year refusal to recognize Zionism, to recognize the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel, to recognize the State of Israel within any borders....The tragedy of the Balfour Declaration is that it took 30 years to implement it."
"We are tightening our relations with the moderate elements in the region and establishing peace with Egypt and Jordan. We are acting to achieve peace with other Arab countries who stand with us in the face of radical Islam, and I can only hope that the Palestinians finally adopt this approach and turn to peace." (Ynet News)
- Report: Israel Tells Its Envoys to Back Saudis, Hariri against Hizbullah, Iran - Stuart Winer
The Israel Foreign Ministry has instructed its diplomats to contact government officials and make the case for reining in Iran and its proxy Hizbullah, Channel 10 reported Wednesday. They were to back Saudi Arabian claims that the two Shiite allies were behind a missile attack on Riyadh International Airport over the weekend, and note former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation announcement in which he lashed out at the influence of Hizbullah and Iran on his country.
"The events in Lebanon, and the ballistic missile launched by Houthis toward the Riyadh international airport, should cause [the world] to increase the pressure on Iran and Hizbullah on a range of issues, from ballistic missile production to its efforts at regional subversion," the Foreign Ministry memo read.
"Hariri's resignation proves that the claim heard abroad that Hizbullah's inclusion in [Lebanon's] government is a recipe for stability is fundamentally mistaken. This artificial unity creates paralysis and prevents domestic political forces from making decisions that serve their national interests. In practice it makes them hostages subject to physical threats who are forced against their will to advance the interests of a foreign power - Iran - even if the matter is likely to endanger the security of their country."
(Times of Israel)
- Operation Harpoon: How the Mossad and an Israeli NGO Destroyed Terrorist Money Networks - Yonah Jeremy Bob
Operation Harpoon was a revolutionary Israeli intelligence operation to thwart terrorism financing initiated by the legendary Mossad chief Meir Dagan. Harpoon dealt Hizbullah, Hamas, Fatah's Yasser Arafat and other terrorist groups major blows. The development and achievements of Harpoon against terrorism financing over the last 20 years are revealed in Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism's Money Masters, by Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel Katz. Shurat Hadin was one of several law firms/NGOs that Harpoon operatives approached to help get at terrorists' financing through lawsuits.
After 9/11 they helped get the U.S. intelligence community to view terrorism financing as a long-term strategic problem and not a mere short-term tactical issue. While the CIA and FBI would "follow the money" of a particular terrorist cell to seize it, only the Treasury and Justice departments understood Dagan's strategic concept of taking out terrorists' ability to bank and of driving up their cost of moving money globally.
The book contends that Israel's final blow to bring an end to the 2014 Gaza war with Hamas came about "by incinerating the Hamas finance minister's millions of dollars in cash for salaries he was delivering to suicide terrorists." (Jerusalem Post)
See also The Soldier Spy - Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
Harpoon targeted the hundreds of millions of dollars that Yasser Arafat stole from Western aid money that was used to fund suicide bombers. Harpoon mobilized military units to target the money men who made millions in profits handling wire transfers and loans. Funds destined for terrorist cells were confiscated. Harpoon also attacked a drug smuggling empire that Hizbullah ran in South America to finance its efforts against Israel and the U.S.
Harpoon targeted banks and bankers, using sophisticated computer hacking to peek inside Hizbullah's financial secrets; scams were used to defraud Hizbullah's top leadership. And Harpoon launched a crippling offensive against a Lebanese bank that helped to finance Hizbullah operations against Israel and against U.S. forces in Iraq. Mossad director Meir Dagan's "follow the money and destroy the money" playbook became the template used by the U.S. with great success in the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The writer is president of Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law center that has represented hundreds of terror victims in lawsuits around the world.
- After Lebanese PM Hariri's Resignation, U.S. Should Suspend Aid to Lebanese Army - Tony Badran
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, in his televised resignation speech on Saturday, cited Iran's control of Lebanon through Hizbullah as the reason for stepping down. Hizbullah, Hariri said, "has come to control the seams of the state and has the final and decisive say in the affairs of Lebanon and the Lebanese." Hariri went on to list how Hizbullah has turned Lebanon into a launching pad for military interventions and terrorist activities against fellow Arab states.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Hariri's resignation speech as a "wake-up call," and warned that Iran was trying to replicate in Syria the model through which it has come to dominate Lebanon.
The reality of Hizbullah's total control in Lebanon
carries implications for U.S. policy, which has been anchored around supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). By building up the LAF, America imagined this would strengthen "the state," and thereby weaken Hizbullah. When the anti-Hizbullah prime minister resigns, citing the group's total domination of the state, then perhaps a review of this policy is in order, since strengthening a state controlled by Hizbullah strengthens Hizbullah. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
See also Lebanon Could Lose Out on U.S. Military Aid after Hariri Resignation - Chirine Mchantaf (Defense News)
See also U.S. Sticks by Lebanese Army despite Hariri Resignation - Jack Detsch (Al-Monitor)
Who Saved Israel in 1947? - Martin Kramer (Mosaic)
- Abba Eban regarded the 1947 Palestine partition plan as "the first American-Soviet agreement in the postwar era." That it was an agreement over the creation of the Jewish state suggests just how deep lie the foundations of Israel's international legitimacy. With both superpowers aligned, it required a special animus against Zionism to prompt a "no" ballot. With few exceptions, this existed only in countries with Muslim majorities.
- The idea that the U.S. was Israel's "best friend" in 1948 subtracts from the debt owed to the first Israelis themselves.
As summarized by Zeev Sharaf, Israel's first cabinet secretary, Moshe Sharett, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency and later Israel's foreign minister, said: "The United States had not helped to establish the state; [it] had assisted only by taking part in the vote at the United Nations, and this would not be forgotten."
- "But we, the Jewish people, were carrying on the fight in Palestine ourselves without any aid whatever. We had asked for arms, but they had not been given; we had asked for military guidance, but it had been withheld; finally, we had asked for armor plating for buses, but even this had been refused. Whatever we had secured was with our own capacities alone."
- In May 1949, Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary, "The state of Israel was not established as a consequence of the UN resolution. Neither America nor any other country saw the resolution through, nor did they stop the Arab countries (and the British mandatory government) from declaring total war on us in violation of UN resolutions. America did not raise a finger to save us and, moreover, imposed an arms embargo, and had we been destroyed they would not have resurrected us."
The writer was the founding president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, where he teaches the modern history of the Middle East.
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