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July 12, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Tests Arrow 3 Interceptor - Designed to Counter Long-Range Missiles from Iran (Ynet News)
    A rocket was launched from the Palmachim army base in central Israel on Friday in a test of the propulsion system of a long-range rocket.
    "This is the first flight test of the Arrow 3 interceptor and was conducted at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea," the Israel Defense Ministry said.
    The Arrow 3, the latest generation Arrow missile system, is designed to counter long-range missiles from Iran.
    "The Arrow 3 is the upper tier for exo-atmospheric interceptions to provide the State of Israel additional opportunities for interception of incoming missiles from Iran or elsewhere," said a senior defense ministry official.
    Yair Ramati, Arrow 3 project leader, said the defense system when operational will "intercept missiles with nuclear weapons in particular." "It goes far, faster and hits harder. It may intercept any space," he said.

The Terror Threat and Iran's Inroads in Latin America - Sebastian Rotella (Pro Publica)
    According to Western intelligence officials, during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Venezuela in January 2012, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) met with Venezuelan military and security chiefs to set up a joint intelligence program between Iranian and Venezuelan spy agencies.
    The Venezuelans agreed to provide systematic help to Iran with intelligence infrastructure such as arms, identification documents, bank accounts and pipelines for moving operatives and equipment between Iran and Latin America.
    See also Threat to the Homeland: Iran's Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere - Ilan Berman (InterAmerican Security Watch)
    The writer is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.

In Israel, Doctors Quietly Treat Injured Syrians - Ben Lynfield (Christian Science Monitor)
    Over the past four months, Israeli doctors have treated about 100 Syrians.
    When Syrian patients first started coming to Ziv Hospital in Safed, they tended to be ''rebels who were involved in the war,'' said hospital director Oscar Embon. ''But now it's simple citizens. There are shellings of innocent civilians and a share of them seek care in Israel.''
    Political analyst Yossi Alpher says, ''The idea is to do the minimum that human morality demands from us as neighbors, but not to be seen as the medical corps of the rebels.''

Video: Netanyahu Wishes Israel's Muslim Citizens a Happy Ramadan (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broadcast a Ramadan message to Israeli Arabs and Muslims around the world on Thursday.
    He wished on the region the "same freedoms and rights that we have in our country," and said that Israel "continues to extend a hand of peace to its neighbors, both near and far."

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Jihadists in Italy - Soeren Kern (Gatestone Institute)
    Italian counter-terrorism authorities are monitoring some 40-50 Italian Muslims who have obtained combat experience in Syria and are now promoting jihad in Italy.
    They are mostly Muslim immigrants from North Africa, but also include some Italian converts to Islam.
    Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo, 24, of Genoa became the first Italian to die in Syria. The director of Italy's Security Intelligence Department (DIS), Giampiero Massolo, told Il Giornale that Delnevo, a convert to Islam, became increasingly radicalized due to exposure to Islamic propaganda on the Internet.

Higher! Faster! Stronger! Jewishly! - Aaron Kalman (Times of Israel)
    The 19th Maccabiah opens next Thursday in Jerusalem, the world's largest Jewish sporting event, with participants and supporters from over 70 countries.
    Maccabiah chairman Amir Peled said, "there are teams from 20 countries which didn't have a team at the last Maccabiah, including a delegation from Cuba."
    Some of the world champions who will be at the Maccabiah after participating in the 2012 London Olympics include U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman and swimmers Garrett Webber-Gale and Jason Lezak, as well as Australian sprinter Steven Solomon and Israeli gymnast Alex Shatilov.

Israeli Computer Whiz Kids Bring Home the Gold - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    At the International Olympiad in Informatics, the "computer Olympics" in Brisbane, Australia, Team Israel ranked 8th out of the 80 teams that participated.
    Daniel Hadas won a gold medal, while Tom Kalvari won two silvers. Ohad Klein and Ron Ribchin won bronze medals.

Israelis Visiting Wales Help Rescue Man Who Fell from Cliff (BBC News)
    Two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Search and Rescue Unit members who were visiting Wales have helped rescue a man who fell from a cliff in Gwynedd.

Chinese Tourism to Israel Reaches Record High - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has become an increasingly attractive tourism destination for Chinese visitors, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
    In 2012, more than 20,000 visitors from China came to Israel, and there was a 27% rise in the first five months of 2013.

India-Israel Trade Rises to $6 Billion (The Hindu-India)
    Trade between India and Israel touched the $6-billion mark during 2012-13, up from $5.15 billion in 2011-12, according to the Israeli Embassy.
    Indo-Israel trade was a modest $200 million in 1992.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Government Report: Iran Could Develop an ICBM Capable of Reaching the U.S. by 2015
    Iran could develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. by 2015. Since 2008, Iran has conducted multiple successful launches of the two-stage Safir space launch vehicle (SLV) and has also revealed the larger two-stage Simorgh SLV, which could serve as a test bed for developing ICBM technologies.
        Since 2010, Iran has revealed the Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), the fourth-generation Fateh-110 SRBM, and claims to be mass-producing anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs). Iran has modified its Shahab 3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) to extend its range and effectiveness and also claims to have deployed the two-stage, solid-propellant Sejjil MRBM. (U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center)
  • Egypt's Brotherhood Vows to Keep Defying "Coup"
    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood vowed Thursday to continue its "peaceful" resistance in defiance of the military's ouster of the country's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. "We trust that the peaceful and popular will of the people shall triumph over force and oppression," the Brotherhood said. (AP-Al Arabiyia)
        See also Egyptian Policeman Killed in Militant Attack in Sinai
    One Egyptian policeman was killed and another was badly wounded in El-Arish on Friday by Islamist militants who fired rocket-propelled grenades at security checkpoints. A police station and two army checkpoints in the city came under attack. (Reuters)
  • Egypt Prosecutor to Investigate if Morsi Aided by Hamas - Hamza Hendawi
    Prosecutors will investigate allegations that Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi and more than 30 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders escaped from prison during the 2011 revolution with help from the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Chief prosecutor Hesham Barakat said Thursday he received testimonies from a court in Ismailia that will be the base for the investigation. Critics have suggested that proof of foreign intervention on Egyptian soil could lead to treason charges. (AP-USA Today)
        See also Hamas Denies Its Fighters Were Killed in Sinai - Ariel Ben Solomon, Herb Keinon, and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Al-Hayat reported Thursday that the Egyptian army had killed and arrested around 200 fighters in Sinai in the past few days, with 32 Hamas men among the dead and 45 arrested. A source said some gunmen entered Sinai through the Gaza tunnels to carry out attacks and then fled to Gaza afterward. The Hamas government in Gaza denied the report, calling it part of a smear campaign waged by the movement's enemies. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Revamp Army for New Risks - Joshua Mitnick
    Israel's military plans to downsize its conventional firepower such as tanks and artillery to focus on countering threats from guerrilla warfare and to boost its technological prowess, in a recognition that the Middle East turmoil has virtually halted the ability of neighbors to invade for years to come. Formidable militaries in Egypt and Syria, which fought together against Israel three times in a quarter century, are now mired in domestic unrest. The plan marks a sea change in Israel's outlook toward the main military threats it faces.
        "Wars of military versus military - in the format we last met 40 years ago, in the Yom Kippur War - are becoming less and less relevant," said Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. Defense chiefs and military analysts said that the overhaul would focus on countering threats from guerrilla armies with rockets embedded in civilian areas, such as Hizbullah and Hamas. Israel will also focus on cyberwarfare and confronting Iran, which seeks to build a nuclear weapon. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Kerry to Make Sixth Mideast Visit Next Week Amid Doubts - Herb Keinon
    Jerusalem is expecting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to return to the region next week in an attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israeli officials said Thursday. U.S. sources said that even inside the State Department there is little confidence that Kerry's efforts will succeed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF to Builds Border Obstacle Opposite Egypt in Red Sea - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF is planning to erect a tall obstruction in the Red Sea in coordination with Egypt to help protect Israel's border. (Ynet News)
  • Israel: Iran and Syria on UN Human Rights Council "Is Like Placing a Mob Boss in Charge of Witness Protection" - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel on Thursday attacked Iran and Syria's planned bid for a spot on the UN Human Rights Council. "Its like placing a mob boss in charge of the witness protection program," said Israel's ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor.
        Hillel Neuer, the head of UN Watch, said "countries that murder and torture their own people must not be allowed to become the world's judges on human rights."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ramadan Series "Khaybar" Is a Battle Cry Against Jews - Ariel Ben Solomon
    During Ramadan, which began Wednesday, many Muslims enjoy television shows made especially for the holiday. This year Arab satellite TV channels are airing "Khaybar," a series referring to the Muslim massacre of Jews in that town in northwestern Arabia in 628 CE. After the attack, some Muslims, including Muhammad, took surviving women as wives. After Muhammad's death, the Caliph Omar expelled the remaining Jews from Khaybar.
        In Islamic tradition, the chant "Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning," is used as a battle cry when attacking Jews or Israelis. It was chanted on the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla ship in May 2010. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Why the Brotherhood Won't Back Down - Eric Trager
    After only one year in power, during which its blatantly autocratic behavior alienated millions of Egyptians, the Muslim Brotherhood is back where it started. But the Brotherhood does not seem ready to go quietly. It has called for an intifada and has repeatedly vowed escalate its protests until Morsi is reinstated. The Brothers doubt that the military is unified in favor of the ongoing crackdown. They see the possibility of fragmentation within the military's ranks if the generals escalate violence further.
        The military is "already talking to us - not just low level, but high level," Gehad al-Haddad, a spokesman for the Brotherhood, told me this week. "They're telling us that Morsi is all right. They were in touch with me about the fact that my father [detained Morsi adviser Essam al-Haddad] needs medication. They are briefing us on what's going on."
        The Muslim Brotherhood knows that it can count on its legions of members, around 250,000 by conservative estimates, to continue risking death to protest Morsi's removal. After all, Muslim Brotherhood ideology extols martyrdom in pursuit of its Islamist agenda. At the same time, it would be suicidal for the military's leadership to reinstate a president whom they just removed from power. Thus, the military and Muslim Brotherhood have mutually exclusive interests for which they are willing to fight indefinitely. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Egypt's Deep State Dilemma - Walter Russell Mead
    The situation in Egypt still looks more like a gathering storm than any kind of transition to democracy. The long term outlook is not pretty. The divisions between the Brotherhood and the rest of society will probably deepen, and Egyptian Islamism will curdle and sour while the army and its allies continue to make things work well enough to keep the peace…for a while.
        Polarization and authoritarianism, a "managed democracy," Mubarakism without Mubarak - it's what the army wanted all along. And the Saudis and the UAE seem ready to grease the wheels with money for a while. (American Interest)
  • The Revolution in Egypt: Recommendations for Israel - Avner Golov, Udi Dekel, Orit Perlov, Yoel Guzansky, Oded Eran, and Anat Kurz
    Egyptian military commanders, having learned the lessons of the 2011 revolution, were careful during the revolution of 2013 not to place themselves at the forefront, but to promote civilian figures acceptable to the public to lead during the transition period. The army and security forces will now have to deal with suppressing opposition by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, maintaining order and stability, and ensuring the effective functioning of the transition government.
        Israel has been meticulous about continuing and even tightening its special relationship with the Egyptian military, which is a key to peaceful relations between the two countries. The Muslim Brotherhood government avoided any open and direct diplomatic relationship with Israel, but it did not attempt to damage the formal relationship.
        The fact that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt survived an Islamic regime that in principle rejects the State of Israel's right to exist is an important precedent. On the other hand, had the Muslim Brotherhood government become entrenched, grown stronger, and depended less on Western economic aid, the organization's deep ideological hostility toward Israel might have undermined Egypt and Israel's shared security and diplomatic interests.
        The likelihood of increased terrorist activity by jihadi and Salafist groups in the Sinai region, which will attempt to challenge the government in Cairo by striking at it directly, or indirectly through provocations against Israel, will undermine security in Sinai and spill over into Israeli territory. Israel must deepen its cooperation with the Egyptian army and continue to allow it to deploy troops in Sinai against jihadi infrastructures and weapons smuggling to Gaza in numbers that exceed what is dictated by the military appendix to the peace treaty.
        The young people in Egypt leading the revolution also perceived Hamas as a collaborator with the regime that was toppled and the "enforcer" of violent operations that harmed Egyptian society and the Egyptian army. In addition, Hamas suffers from increasing criticism from the Gaza "street." There has been a considerable response to initiatives to have the Gazan population sign petitions against the Hamas leadership, on the Egyptian model of tamarud. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Other Issues

  • The Iran-Hizbullah Terror Connection: What Must Be Done - Irwin Cotler
    Given the clear and compelling evidence of the escalating Iranian state sponsorship of international terrorism - and of the complicity of Hizbullah - the question arises: What can the international community do to combat this dangerous wave of international terror?
        First, all states have the responsibility to invoke the legal, diplomatic, economic and political instruments at their disposal to confront Iranian terrorist aggression. These include increasing bilateral and multilateral diplomatic and economic sanctions; the mobilization of political pressure to isolate the Iranian regime as a pariah among the nations; the naming and shaming of the Iranian perpetrators and their Hizbullah proxies to combat plausible Iranian deniability of their culpability; and the bringing of these perpetrators to justice.
        In addition, the EU must finally blacklist the Hizbullah terror group, as Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands have done, lest it make a mockery of the rule of law and encourage further Hizbullah terrorism. We must act now to hold Iran and Hizbullah to account, lest more lives be lost. The writer, a professor of law (emeritus) at McGill University, is a former minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Water in the West Bank - David M. Weinberg
    Israel has fulfilled all of its obligations about water supply to the West Bank under the Oslo agreements it signed in 1995 with the Palestinian Authority (and in fact has exceeded them), while the Palestinians are wasting tremendous amounts of water while refusing to utilize modern water conservation or sewage treatment methods. Indeed, the PA has violated its water agreements with Israel by drilling over 250 unauthorized wells. Moreover, every Israeli citizen pays more for water in order to subsidize Israel's sale of water to the Palestinians at discount prices. Residents of Tel Aviv and Haifa pay twice as much for their water as residents of Nablus and Ramallah.
        Many Palestinian farmers routinely overwater their crops through old-fashioned, wasteful flooding methods. Generally, they don't pay their own water bills - international donors do - so they don't care to conserve. Moreover, at least one-third of the water being pumped out of the ground by the Palestinians is wasted through leakage and mismanagement - by the Palestinian Water Authority's own estimates.
        At the same time, 95% of the sewage produced by the Palestinians is not treated at all. Palestinian sewage flows untreated into the streams and valleys of the West Bank, and infiltrates into the Mountain Aquifer, polluting it for Jews and Arabs alike. Some raw Palestinian sewage flows into Israel too. Only one sewage plant has been built in the West Bank in the past 15 years, despite there being a $500 million international donor fund available for this purpose, due to a Palestinian strategy of noncooperation with Israel. The writer is director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Weekend Features

  • Muslim Arab Bedouins Serve as Jewish State's Gatekeepers
    Lt.-Col. Magdi Mazarib, a Bedouin Muslim Arab who grew up in northern Israel, is the Israeli army's highest-ranking tracker. He commands a small unit of Bedouin soldiers who use their field craft skills to serve as the Jewish state's gatekeepers. "This is our country," he states in perfect Hebrew with a light Arabic accent.
        Israel's Jewish symbols do not perturb Mazarib. "The flag of England also has a cross on it, and the Jews there are fine with it," he says during a tour of the Bedouin Heritage Center which houses a memorial to the 182 Bedouin killed fighting for Israel. He believes that his fellow Bedouin across the Middle East are even envious of the way those in Israel live. "The state of Bedouin in Israel is better, as far as the respect we get, our progress, education," he says. "It's a different league."
        Cooperation between the Jewish people and Bedouin tribes began before Israel became a state in 1948, when the northern tribes sided with the Jews, whom they believed would win the war against the Arabs. The army says that although they are not required to do military service, there are 1,655 Bedouin on active duty. (AFP-Al Arabiya)
  • German Nazis in Mandatory Palestine - Raffi Berg
    The German Templer community was established in Palestine in 1869 by Christoph Hoffmann, a Protestant theologian from Ludwigsburg in Wuerttemberg, who sought to build a spiritual Kingdom of God in the Holy Land. They began to settle in the Jerusalem neighborhood known today as the German Colony in 1873, where most of their buildings, with their distinctive red-tiled roofs and green shutters, are still intact.
        After the Nazi party rose to power in Germany, the ripples spread to expatriate communities, including in Palestine. A branch was established in Haifa by Templer Karl Ruff in 1933, and other Templer colonies followed, including Jerusalem. A teacher at one of the Templer schools, Ludwig Buchhalter, became the local party chief and led efforts to ensure Nazism permeated all aspects of German life there. The British Boy Scouts and Girl Guides which operated in the German Colony were replaced by the Hitler Youth and League of German Maidens. Workers joined the Nazi Labor Organization and party members greeted each other in the street with "Heil Hitler" and a Nazi salute.
        Buchhalter's house served as the Nazi party headquarters and Buchhalter himself drove with swastika pennants attached to his car. According to Heidemarie Wawrzyn, author of the new book Nazis in the Holy Land 1933-1948, about 75% of Germans in Palestine who belonged to the Nazi party, or were in some way associated with it, were Templers. She says more than 42% of all Templers participated in Nazi activities in Palestine.
        In August 1939, all eligible Germans in Palestine received call-up papers from Germany, and by the end of the month some 249 had left to join the Wehrmacht. On September 3, 1939, when Britain declared war on Germany, all Germans in Palestine were classed as enemy aliens. In July 1941, more than 500 were deported to Australia, while between 1941 and 1944, 400 more were repatriated to Germany as part of three exchanges with the Nazis for Jews held in ghettos and camps. (BBC News)
  • Million-Year-Old Stalactite Cave Discovered in West Bank - Aaron Kalman
    A large cave complex filled with stalagmites and stalactites was discovered in the West Bank near central Israel during construction work to move the security barrier between Israeli and Palestinian territory. A bulldozer working on the project near Tzofim uncovered the opening to the cave, and people who entered were awed by what they saw, Yediot Ahronot reported Sunday.
        Prof. Amos Frumkin, a Hebrew University geologist and head of the Cave Research Unit, estimated the cave to be a million years old. Tzofim resident Irit Lederberg said the complex contained deep caverns and large rooms. "Everything is humid and cold and you can see active stalactites whose ends are still dripping."
        The construction work was carried out in compliance with a ruling by Israel's High Court of Justice, which ordered the Defense Ministry to move the security fence closer to Tzofim following an appeal by Palestinian farmers. (Times of Israel)

Egypt after Morsi: The Defeat of Political Islam? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The Muslim Brotherhood's 80-year dream to take over Egypt ended in a fiasco, barely one year after one of their own was democratically elected to the office of President of Egypt.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood lost its power because it did not correctly assess the opposition, because it was eager to dominate all key positions in the state, and because it did not foresee the possible coalition between the liberals and the army.
  • The Brotherhood's loss is definitely a gain for those struggling against jihadist and Brotherhood-inspired groups in the Arab world, sending a message that political Islam can be subdued by moderate and liberal forces.
  • The situation in Egypt that brought the end of Morsi's presidency was an unwritten alliance between the army and the mass protest movement. In such an eventuality, regimes stand no chance to survive.
  • Israel allowed the Egyptian army to deploy in Sinai, in violation of the terms and agreements governing the deployment of the Egyptian army under the peace treaty, in order to combat jihadists in Sinai, allowing Egypt greater freedom of movement there in order to preserve the peace treaty.
  • Israel is interested first and foremost in maintaining the status quo relating to the peace treaty, and to contain, if not eradicate, the jihadi presence in Sinai. Having the Egyptian army at the helm today makes it easier for Israel to deal with Egypt.

    The writer, a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.
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