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October 2, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Army Buys Israeli Trophy System to Protect Tanks - Joseph Trevithick (The War Zone-TIME)
    The U.S. Army will install the Israeli Trophy active protection system on some M1A2 Abrams tanks in response to the proliferation of guided anti-tank missiles among insurgent and terrorist groups.
    On Sept. 28, the Pentagon reported that the Army had hired General Dynamics Land Systems to add the system to an unspecified number of tanks for $10 million.
    Trophy combines radar with launchers that shoot a burst of metal pellets, akin to a large shotgun, to destroy incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles.
    During Israel's three-week ground operation in Gaza in 2014, no Israeli Merkava tanks suffered damage, thanks in no small part to Trophy.
    See also Video: Active Protection System Destroys RPG Fired at Israeli Tank - Tyler Rogoway (Foxtrot Alpha)
    Watch a Merkava IV tank being fired on in Gaza by an RPG, with Trophy intercepting and destroying the explosive projectile before it could plow through the tank's side armor.

Egypt Purchased Weapons from North Korea - Joby Warrick (Washington Post)
    In August 2016, the Cambodian-flagged freighter Jie Shun was detained en route from North Korea to the Suez Canal, carrying more than 30,000 North Korean-made rocket-propelled grenades under bins of iron ore.
    A UN investigation has now uncovered that the buyers were the Egyptians.
    U.S. officials said the Jie Shun episode was one of a series of clandestine deals that led the Trump administration to freeze or delay $300 million in military aid to Egypt over the summer.
    Delivery of the rockets was foiled only when U.S. intelligence agencies spotted the vessel and alerted Egyptian authorities through diplomatic channels - essentially forcing them to take action.

Israeli Paralympic Rower Wins Silver at World Championships (Times of Israel)
    Israeli Moran Samuel, 35, won a silver medal at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida, on Sunday in the women's Paralympic 2,000-meter race.
    Samuel had been a member of Israel's national basketball team until 2006, when she suffered a rare spinal stroke and became paralyzed in her lower body.

Israeli Digital Farming Company Phytech Raises $11 Million (Globes)
    Israeli digital farming company Phytech announced Thursday the closing of an $11 million financing round.
    Based at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Phytech help farmers by constantly sensing, communicating and analyzing plant demands to optimize food production.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Terror Attack in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada: Officer Stabbed, Pedestrians Run Down - Catherine Griwkowsky
    Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht reported a terror attack in the city on Saturday night. Outside Commonwealth Stadium at 8 p.m., a vehicle rammed a barricade and then a police cruiser. The driver of the vehicle then got out and stabbed a police officer several times with a knife before fleeing. An ISIS flag was discovered in the vehicle.
        At midnight, a U-Haul truck driven by the registered owner of the first vehicle was stopped at a police checkpoint. A high speed chase ensued as the driver deliberately tried to hit pedestrians, injuring four. The truck then overturned and the driver was arrested. (Edmonton Journal-Canada)
        See also Edmonton Attacker Is Somali National
    Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, who stabbed a police officer and ran down four pedestrians with a car in Edmonton, Alberta, is a Somali refugee who had been on a watch list over extremist views. (Reuters)
  • Man Shouting "Allahu Akbar" Stabs to Death Two Women at Marseille Train Station
    Two women aged 17 and 20 were stabbed to death and their assailant shot dead by soldiers in the French city of Marseille on Sunday. Police sources said the attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he slit one woman's throat and stabbed the other in the stomach at the city's main railway station.
        "If the military had not been there, we would have had a lot more deaths," said Samia Ghali, lawmaker for the Marseille region. Police sources said the attacker had been carrying a butcher's knife, was around 30, and was of North African appearance. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Denies Erdogan's Claim of Israeli Role in Kurdish Referendum
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "Regarding [Erdogan's] recent remarks about Israel and the people in Kurdistan, in the Kurdish area: I understand why those who support Hamas and want to see the Mossad everywhere, that is uncomfortable for them, but Israel had no part in the Kurdish referendum, apart from the deep, natural sympathy that the people of Israel have had for many years for the Kurdish people and their aspirations."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Knesset Member Observing Catalan Election Caught in Crossfire - Lahav Harkov
    Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova found herself in the middle of police violence against voters during the Catalan independence referendum on Sunday in Barcelona. She was invited by the Catalonian government to be an impartial observer.
        "We saw a group of people who weren't being allowed to vote. So they sat in the middle of the road and sang the Catalan anthem and other patriotic songs," she said. "Without any warning or provocation, the police started shooting rubber bullets....I saw people, young and old, being beaten with clubs....I entered a building and kept out of the way so I wouldn't be beaten."
        She said she told Spanish parliamentarians, "You criticize us, our democracy and use of force when things happen...but first you should look at what's happening at home."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why an Israeli Athlete's Decision Not to Play on Yom Kippur Matters - Editorial
    Conjuring up memories of Sandy Koufax, Israel's top-ranked male tennis player, Dudi Sela, quit the quarterfinals of a Chinese tournament mid-match Friday out of deference to Yom Kippur. Sela's request to play the first match of the day on the main court so that he would have time to finish before sunset was turned down by the organizers of the contest. Sela's personal sacrifice was huge. It is believed that he forfeited $34,000 in prize money and 90 ranking points.
        Like Koufax's decision on Oct. 6, 1965, to sit out the first game of the World Series, Sela's retirement on Yom Kippur eve made a statement: there are some things that stand above sports. This is a powerful message. Life is not all about self-realization and personal advancement. True meaning often comes from selfless acts that affirm our deeper affiliation and belonging. Like Koufax, Sela is a source of pride for the Jewish people. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli NBA Player Misses Preseason Opener on Yom Kippur
    Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the National Basketball Association, missed his preseason opener with the Golden State Warriors because it took place on Yom Kippur. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Casspi had his "full support."  (JTA)
  • Kurdish Autonomy Contravenes Iran's Interests - Dr. Doron Itzchakov
    Does Tehran's opposition to the Kurdish referendum on independence stem from fear of separatism among the Iranian Kurds? Iranian Kurds have far less pronounced national aspirations than those of their counterparts elsewhere. From 1989 to 1996, a string of assassinations of leaders of the Iranian Kurdish movement left a leadership vacuum that remains to this day.
        Moreover, the Iranian Kurdish minority, estimated at 7.5 million, is marked by religious, party, ideological, and tribal differences. Unlike in other countries where the Kurdish minority is mostly Sunni, in Iran, a considerable proportion of Kurds are Shiite and receive preferential treatment from government institutions.
        Tehran's opposition to the nationalist tendencies of the Iraqi Kurds stems from other motives as well. It is well known that Iran has penetrated Iraq's political, diplomatic, and security spheres and influences its decision-makers. For Iran, the establishment of an independent tract of land that is not under its authority and likely to disrupt its operative and strategic plans is out of the question. The writer is a research associate at the BESA Center. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
        See also Post-Referendum: Kurds in Iran Demand Rights as Regime Cracks Down - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
  • Back Off on the Kurds - Eli Lake
    The reaction from Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran to the Kurdish self-determination referendum has been extreme. The U.S. publicly urged the Kurds not to go forward with the referendum, but now that it has happened, it's important to take a step back. This is not a declaration of independence but the beginning of a process of negotiating a separation.
        Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Washington representative of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, told me Wednesday: "The threats don't work against Kurds, and it's much better to engage in dialogue with us now." America needs to persuade its allies to simmer down. (Bloomberg)

Hamas Seeks to Adopt the "Hizbullah Model" - Prof. Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)

  • It took Hamas ten years to completely ruin Gaza. Unemployment and poverty are rampant, quality of life is in sharp decline and infrastructure is collapsing.
  • The first place Hamas has looked for a solution is Tehran, which is looking to bring the group back into its fold after several years of severed ties.
  • At the same time Hamas is trying to turn the PA into a human shield to perpetuate its rule over Gaza. Hamas will permit the PA to resolve the electricity crisis in Gaza, while Hamas will still have ultimate say there and will be the only entity with weapons.
  • Hamas is trying to mimic the "Hizbullah model." In Lebanon, the government maintains diplomatic relations with the international community and is responsible for the welfare of the population; Hizbullah, meanwhile, is the driving military force.

    The writer, vice rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

        See also Palestinian Reconciliation: Abbas Says No to "Hizbullah Model" in Gaza as Hamas Seeks to Retain Armed Wing - Jack Khoury
    The pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported over the weekend that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stipulated three conditions for reconciliation. First, that Hamas dismantle its military wing; second, that there be no foreign involvement in the administration of Gaza; and third, that any money for restoration and development only be channeled through the Palestinian government. According to Palestinian officials, these conditions are intended to block any involvement by former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan or countries like Qatar. (Ha'aretz)

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