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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 19, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Intercepts Iranian Drone Sent by Hizbullah from Syria - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel intercepted an Iranian-built drone that penetrated into Israeli airspace from Syria on Tuesday.
    IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said the Hizbullah-operated, intelligence-gathering drone took off from Damascus International Airport and was intercepted by a Patriot missile.
    "The IDF will not allow any infiltration or attempt to infiltrate Israeli airspace by any Iranian terror group, be it Hizbullah or Shia militia groups. We will respond to every action very clearly and we will act to prevent any future attempt," he said.

Two Arrested in London Subway Bombing - Ceylan Yeginsu and Karam Shoumali (New York Times)
    Two men have been arrested for the bombing of a subway train in London on Friday that injured at least 30 people.
    One was an 18-year-old Iraqi, arrested on Saturday at Dover while trying to flee Britain. The other was Yahyah Farroukh, 21, from Syria.

U.S. Says Iran Is Smuggling Increasingly Potent Weapons into Yemen - Eric Schmitt (New York Times)
    U.S. Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan said Monday that Iran is enabling Houthi rebels in Yemen to fire missiles into neighboring Saudi Arabia that are more precise and far-reaching.
    He said Iran is providing the Houthis with an increasingly potent arsenal of anti-ship and ballistic missiles, deadly sea mines, and even explosive boats that have attacked allied ships in the Red Sea.
    "These types of weapons did not exist in Yemen before the conflict," said Admiral Donegan.

President Trump Speaks with U.S. Jewish Leaders ahead of Rosh Hashanah (White House)
    In a conference call with Jewish leaders on Friday, President Trump said, "I am grateful for the history, culture, and values the Jewish people have given to civilization."
    "We forcefully condemn those who seek to incite anti-Semitism, or to spread any form of slander and hate - and I will ensure we protect Jewish communities, and all communities, that face threats to their safety."

Israel's Population on Eve of Jewish New Year: 8.7 Million - Ofer Aderet (Ha'aretz)
    On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown on Wednesday, Israel's population stands at 8,743,000, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported.
    6,523,000 are Jews (74.6%) and 1,824,000 are Arab (20.9%). The remaining 396,000 (4.5%) are non-Arab Christians and members of other religions or with no listed religion.
    About 25,000 new immigrants arrived during the year.
    See also 88 Percent of Israelis Satisfied with Their Lives - Sarah Levi (Jerusalem Post)
    According to the annual report of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 88% of Israelis aged 20 and above said they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their lives.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • President Trump Meets Prime Minister Netanyahu in New York
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first foreign leader to hold one-to-one talks with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Netanyahu thanked Trump for U.S. support for Israel, and said he wanted to focus on the Iranian threat and Tehran's growing clout in Syria, as well as the "opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab world."  (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
        See also Netanyahu Says Trump Willing to "Fix" Iran Nuclear Deal - Raphael Ahren
    After his meeting in New York on Monday with President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "There is an American willingness to fix the [Iran nuclear] deal, and I presented possible ways to do it....I said in the past that the largest problem would not be Iran violating the deal - which would be bad in itself - but it's even more problematic if Iran keeps the deal." If Iran were to adhere to the deal, it would "within a short time frame be able to produce an industrial nuclear arsenal. Therefore, I don't dismiss the issue of enforcement; I am just saying it deals with one problem only."
        Trump views Iran not as a part of the solution but as "the source for the problems in the Middle East," Netanyahu said. "On this way, we entirely agree. Now we're discussing the details....I made my position very clear, as I told you: either change or cancel the agreement. Because if it won't be changed, it will lead to Iran's nuclearization."
        Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Netanyahu said, "I agreed with his willingness to reach peace with the Palestinians, and I insist on our vital national interests, including security....There won't be peace without Israel having ironclad security arrangements. An agreement without security arrangements would last exactly two hours."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Readout of President Trump's Meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel (White House)
        See also Prime Minister Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of His Meeting with President Trump (Prime Minister's Office)
  • U.S. Calls for Stronger Inspections of Iran at Nuclear Watchdog Meeting - Shadia Nasralla
    U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Monday: "We will not accept a weakly enforced or inadequately monitored deal....The United States...strongly encourages the IAEA to exercise its full authorities to verify Iran's adherence to each and every nuclear-related commitment under the JCPOA."  (Reuters)
        See also Trump: Fate of Iran Nuclear Deal Hangs on Tough UN Policing - George Jahn
    U.S. President Donald Trump warned Monday that Washington will walk away from the Iran nuclear deal if it deems that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not tough enough in monitoring it. (AP-Military Times)
  • U.S. Breaks Ground for New Permanent Base in Israel - Barbara Opall-Rome
    U.S. and Israeli officers broke ground in Israel on Monday for a permanent U.S. Army base at the Israel Defense Forces Air Defense School near Beersheba. The base will house U.S. operational systems to identify and intercept a spectrum of aerial threats.
        "A few dozens of soldiers of our American allies will be stationed here permanently. They are part of an American task force that will be stationed here," said Israeli Air Force Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, the IDF's air defense commander. He emphasized that the American presence "would not hamper the IDFs ability to act independently."
        The U.S. military has operated an independent facility in Israel's Negev desert for nearly a decade that houses an X-Band radar to provide early warning of a ballistic missile attack from Iran. (Defense News)
        See also U.S. Base in Israel to House American Radar Operators - Yoav Zitun
    The new American military base, located within an IDF base, will permanently house dozens of American soldiers operating the large radar deployed a decade ago. (Ynet News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Meets with Egyptian President Sissi in New York - Raphael Ahren and Alexander Fulbright
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in New York for "a comprehensive discussion about the problems of the region," the Prime Minister's Office said. The hour-and-a-half-long meeting was the first public meeting between the two. Sissi met with a group of U.S. Jewish leaders in New York earlier Monday. (Times of Israel)
        See also Egyptian President Holds Public Meeting with Israeli Leader - Avi Issacharoff
    Egyptian President el-Sissi has once again proven that he is the bravest Arab leader in the region by meeting publicly with Prime Minister Netanyahu, something that other Arab leaders will only do under the radar. Their meeting in New York provides a clear indication that Sissi feels confident enough of his position in Egypt and the Arab world to publicly reveal that such an event took place. (Times of Israel)
  • President Rivlin: Iranian Threats to Destroy Israel Are Unaceptable - Stuart Winer and Tamar Pileggi
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told members of the diplomatic corps in Jerusalem on Monday: "The fact that Iran continues to regain more and more legitimacy, while Iranian leadership continues to call for Israel's destruction, is unacceptable....Such actions and statements that we hear against Israel - denying our rights and threatening our existence - are unacceptable."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran-Backed Hizbullah's New Strength - Sulome Anderson
    Hizbullah has emerged from the Syrian conflict stronger and more powerful than ever, thanks to a steady stream of funds and advanced weaponry from its patron, Iran. At the behest of Iran, Hizbullah has been training thousands of Shiite militiamen in Iraq and Yemen, spreading its military might across the region and leading to concern that Iran might be trying to remake the Middle East, with Hizbullah as Iran's enforcer.
        Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security who was a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration, said Iran is committed to expanding across the region - no matter the price. "They haven't been shy about talking about their regional ambitions," he said. "Iran very much sees this as a zero-sum game with America for influence in the Middle East."
        Despite Hizbullah's bravado, in another war with Israel the resulting devastation would likely engulf Lebanon. Gen. Giora Eiland, former head of Israel's National Security Council, said, "The army of Lebanon is fully subordinate to the word of Hizbullah....That is why it is much more just and moral to hold the government and the people of Lebanon as accountable for Hizbullah."  (NBC News)
        See also The Growing Power of Iran and Hizbullah (Economist-UK)
  • Revolution Unveiled: A Closer Look at Iran's Presence and Influence in the Middle East - Phillip Smyth, Tim Michetti, and Owen Daniels
    Iran is waging asymmetric warfare in the Middle East, to exploit social and sectarian tensions with the aim of destabilizing and gaining influence over its neighbors. Through four case studies of Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, this report systematically examines new or less-known methods Iran employs to project its influence beyond its borders.
        The picture that emerges shows Iran as the preeminent state actor working to undermine U.S. policy in the Middle East and restructure the regional order to its liking. (Atlantic Council)

Will Israel's Arabs Join the Modern World? - Moshe Arens (Ha'aretz)

  • The Arab world for the past decades has alternated between the ruthless rule of dictators and seemingly endless bloodshed. In recent years many have fled to Europe. Christians and other religious minorities have faced massacres.
  • Israel's Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, are the exception. They have had the opportunity to live in a democratic society and to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, the opportunities that a modern nation-state offers its citizens, and the norms of a Western society, including sexual equality. They would prefer to be the majority, but being a minority in a democratic state is commonplace around the world and is not a tragedy.
  • Within Israel's Arab community there is a struggle between those who insist on rejecting everything Israel stands for and supporting its enemies, and those who want to integrate into Israeli society and take advantage of the opportunities it offers.
  • Will Israel's Arabs join the modern world, or will they be pushed back into the medieval way of life that prevails in much of the Arab world?
  • Many Israeli Arabs are voting with their feet. Some are professionals, who work in Israeli hospitals, in large law or accounting firms or in business. And each year, growing numbers of young Arabs volunteer for national service and join the ranks of Israel's military and police.

    The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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