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October 23, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Ayatollah Khamenei's Top Aide Lauds Hamas for Not Leaving Armed Struggle Against Israel (Fars-Iran)
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's top adviser for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, on Saturday praised Hamas for insisting on continued armed struggle against Israel.
    See also Senior Hamas Delegation's Visit to Iran Defines the Limits of Palestinian Reconciliation - Ben Lynfield (Jerusalem Post)
    Tehran was the first stop for Hamas after signing a reconciliation agreement with Fatah.

Iranian Nuclear Revelations from Argentina - Ben Cohen (
    Former Argentine intelligence operative Ramon Bogado testified in a Buenos Aires court last week about allegations that former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner negotiated a secret pact with the Iranians in 2011 to exonerate Tehran of responsibility for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
    According to Bogado, a part of the deal involved the transfer of nuclear expertise, technology and equipment to Iran from Argentina, which has operated a domestic nuclear program since the early 1960s.
    Bogado confirmed that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez was the key influence on Kirchner in her decision to embrace Tehran.

Family of Arab Who Saved Jews during Holocaust Rejects Israeli Recognition - Sebastian Scheiner (AP)
    Mohamed Helmy was an Egyptian doctor who lived in Berlin and hid several Jews during the Holocaust.
    Last month, he was honored by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as "Righteous Among the Nations" - honoring those who risked great personal danger to rescue Jews from the Nazis.
    But Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy's great-nephew, told AP in Cairo that her relatives wouldn't accept the award.
    In reaction, on Sunday Yad Vashem said: "We regret that political sentiment seems to have overcome the human aspect and hope one day that the latter will prevail."

Ukraine's Honoring of Anti-Semites a "Problem," Says Israel's Ambassador (JTA)
    Israel's ambassador to Ukraine Eliav Belotzercovsky said Friday that the honoring of anti-Semites in that country was a "problem" that is "not in line" with Israel's interests, following a wave of condemnations by Jewish groups over the unveiling of a statue for Symon Petliura in the western city of Vinnitsa.
    During Petliura's time as head of the Ukrainian People's Republic, 35,000 to 50,000 Jews were killed in a series of pogroms between 1918 and 1921.

Palestinian Stole Truck to Attack Israeli Soldiers (Times of Israel)
    A Palestinian man arrested by Israeli police Thursday driving a stolen truck said he had sought to use the truck to run over Israeli soldiers.
    At a Petah Tikva court on Friday, the man, 39, from Ramallah, said: "I took a truck, I [wanted] to run over soldiers because of Al-Aqsa," referring to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
    After police had called on the driver to stop, a chase ensued during which the truck smashed into a police car and another vehicle.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson Tells Iranian Militias in Iraq to "Go Home," Warns Against Doing Business with Revolutionary Guards - Carol Morello
    "Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday. Tillerson also said, "Those who conduct business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, or any of their entities, European companies or other companies around the globe, really do so at great risk."  (Washington Post)
  • Netanyahu Lobbies World Powers to Stem Iraqi Kurd Setbacks - Dan Williams
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is lobbying world powers to prevent further setbacks to Iraqi Kurds as they lose ground to Baghdad's army, Israeli officials say. Iraqi armed forces retook the oil-rich Kirkuk region last week, delivering a blow to the Kurds' statehood quest.
        Israeli officials said Netanyahu raised the Iraqi Kurds' plight in phone calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week and with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. It has also come up in his contacts with France, and Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat has been discussing the matter with Trump administration officials in Washington.
        An Israeli government official said Israel wanted to see Iraqi Kurds provided with the means to protect themselves. Another Israeli official framed Netanyahu's efforts as a moral imperative: "They (Kurds) are a deeply pro-Western people who deserve support."  (Reuters)
        See also Iraq Captures Last District in Kirkuk Province from Kurds after Clashes - Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim
    On Friday, groups of Kurdish peshmerga fighters used rockets and mortars in an attempt to halt the advance of Iraqi troops backed by militias as they captured the remaining district of Kirkuk province. (Washington Post)
        See also Hizbullah: Kurdish Defeat Is a Victory over U.S. and Israel - Anna Ahronheim
    Hizbullah's executive council deputy head Sheikh Nabil Qaouk on Sunday called the routing of Kurdish peshmerga forces in Kirkuk by Iranian-backed Iraqi troops "a victory over the U.S. and Israel and an answer to Trump's threats to Iran."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Kirkuk Was Not an Iranian Defeat of America - Michael Rubin
    The idea that Iraq's recent moves on Kirkuk represents a win for Iran against the U.S. is poor analysis. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official. (Washington Examiner)
  • 55 Egyptian Policemen Killed in Raid on Militant Base in Western Desert - Sudarsan Raghavan and Heba Farouk Mahfouz
    At least 55 Egyptian policemen were killed on Friday during a raid on a militant hideout near the Bahariya Oasis in the country's western desert. As the police approached the Islamist militants' hideout, they were ambushed by gunmen using rocket-propelled grenades and bombs. Egypt's security forces say the militants belonged to Hasm, the armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. (Washington Post)
        See also Israel Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack in Egypt
    The Prime Minister's Office said: "Israel strongly condemns the severe terrorist attack in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Egypt, sends condolences on behalf of the people of Israel to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the people of Egypt, and sends wishes for a quick recovery to the injured. There is no difference between the terrorism that strikes in Egypt and the terrorism that strikes in other countries. Terrorism will be defeated quicker if all countries are united in taking action against it."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Believes Rocket Fire from Syria May Have Been Deliberate
    Israel believes five rockets fired across the border from Syria on Saturday, four of which landed relatively deep inside Israeli territory, may have been deliberately launched at Israel, rather than constituting errant spillover, since there was no fighting going on in Syria at the time, military sources said. Israel fired back into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers. (Times of Israel)
        See also Rocket Fire at Israel from Syria Was Intentional - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The intentional firing of five rockets from Syria into Israel are part of the wider battle Iran and Syria are waging against Israel. The Iranians would like to achieve international and regional legitimization for their presence and military activity in Syria, and deter Israel from continuing its attacks within Syria - but without an all-out war with Israel.
        Israel is seeking a long-term American-Russian arrangement in Syria in which the Iranians will have no military presence on the border with Israel in the Golan Heights, nor in air and naval bases on Syrian territory. (Ynet News)
  • 27 Palestinians Arrested Stealing Produce from Israeli Farms - Matan Tzuri
    On Saturday evening, 27 Palestinian adults and 40 teenagers and children from the town of Beit Awwa were stopped in the midst of stealing tens of tons of agricultural produce from Moshav Shekef near the West Bank. The Palestinians picked 20 tons of grapes and 5 tons of tomatoes, while also damaging greenhouses. The adults were arrested while the children were released. One moshav resident said, "Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that is repeated almost every day. We are constantly dealing with it."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • That Inconvenient Israeli Consensus - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Having elected Netanyahu as prime minister four times, including in the last three elections, there exists a broad consensus within Israeli society that sees his policies as the only possible response to a Palestinian political culture that still refuses to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn. Moreover, Netanyahu's rivals on the center and the left also embrace it.
        The Zionist Union, the largest opposition party in the Knesset, which includes the Labor party, elected a new leader, Avi Gabbay, in a primary earlier this year. Last week, Gabbay said he wouldn't uproot any settlements as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians. Earlier in the year, the opposition Yesh Atid party's Yair Lapid said it would take 20 years for the Palestinians to demonstrate they had sufficiently altered their political culture to make peace with a Jewish state. (
  • Implications of the New Iran Revolutionary Guard Sanctions - Annie Fixler
    The U.S. Treasury designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its support for terrorism on Friday. The new designation does not impose additional legal restrictions, but communicates the U.S. assessment that the IRGC is a funder of global terrorism.
        Given the Revolutionary Guard's pervasive role in the Iranian economy, any company doing business with Iran runs the risk of violating this new designation. Working with any of the thousands of IRGC subsidiaries and affiliates would make foreign companies a partner to a terrorist group and thus expose them to legal risk.
        Friday's action did not add the IRGC to the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization list. However, it enables Treasury to sanction individuals, companies, and financial institutions that support the IRGC. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

Israel Expert Discusses Cyberweapons and Missile Defense - Zev Chafets (Bloomberg)

  • Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, former Director of Defense R&D and current Chairman of the Israel Space Agency, said in an interview that if he had to rank countries according to offensive and defensive cyberweapons capacities, "I would say that the U.S. and Russia are first, followed by Israel, Great Britain and China, in that order. There's a second tier, composed of countries like France, Germany and other modern democracies. North Korea, and Iran, by the way, are strictly third tier."
  • "In 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged me with creating a five-year national cyberdefense plan....I delivered 13 recommendations for creating an ecosystem" which were accepted and implemented. "Israel's share of the global market in cyber products and services has reached 10% - a fivefold increase over the past five years."
  • With regard to defense against short-range missiles, "We have solved that technological problem with the Iron Dome. In Israel's 2006 Lebanon War, Hizbullah fired 4,200 missiles at Israel. They killed some 80 people. We didn't then have the Iron Dome. Nine years later, Hamas in Gaza fired 4,500, same type of rockets, and there was not a single casualty. That's the meaning of 'battle-tested.'"
  • Asked about Russia possibly providing Iran with an advanced S-400 anti-aircraft system, Ben-Israel said, "It won't make a big difference. We have the technology to deal with it."

        See also ISIS' Exaggerated Use of Terror Led to Its Destruction - Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel
    The U.S. and its Western allies, Russia, China, and the Sunni Arab states all teamed up to destroy ISIS. Why? Because of ISIS' success in distributing its terror videos on social media. As a result, the world was so afraid that it had no choice but to come together and destroy ISIS, with each terror attack adding more countries to the coalition.
        The same effect has been happening for years in Israel in the face of Palestinian terror, which has only made more and more Israelis radicalize their opinions against the Palestinians. (Ynet News)

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