May 11, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Was Prepared for the Iranian Missile Attack - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force.
    Israel had received extensive intelligence several days ago about the Quds Force in Syria planning an attack on Israel and was reported to have carried out a preventative strike on a base in Kisweh, outside Damascus, on Tuesday, effectively thwarting the attack.
    It is believed that due to that strike, Iran implemented its backup plan, firing 20 Fajr-5 and Grad missiles toward Israel at midnight on Thursday.

Iran Denies Missile Attack on Israel (Ha'aretz)
    The deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami, on Thursday denied that Iran was behind a barrage of missiles on Israel.
    "Iran does not have any connection to the missiles fired at Israel....Iran does not have any military presence in Syria and it was the Syrian army that fired missiles," Iran's Fars news agency reported.
    See also Iran Denies Firing Rockets at Israel - Daniel Salami (Ynet News)
    Iran's Supreme National Security Council's deputy head Abu al-Fadl Hassan al-Baiji said Thursday, "Tehran has nothing to do with the missiles launched at Israel from Syria overnight Wednesday," Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV reported.

Report: Israeli Airstrike in Syria Used 28 Jets, Ground-to-Ground Missiles (Times of Israel)
    Russia's defense ministry said that early Thursday, "28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 aircraft were used in the attack, which released around 60 air-to-ground missiles over various parts of Syria. Israel also fired more than 10 tactical ground-to-ground missiles."
    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that five Syrian regime troops and 18 other allied forces were killed in the strikes.
    Syria's military denied the report, saying the Israeli airstrikes killed three people and wounded two others.
    See also Video: Israel Destroys Syrian Antiaircraft Battery - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)

Surprise: Iran Is Full of U.S. Supporters - Menashe Amir (Israel Hayom)
    Global news outlets, broadcasting in Farsi, are obtaining thousands of responses from Iran on a daily basis.
    Most of the latest messages are expressions of gratitude and appreciation for President Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, and expectations that the U.S. will help the Iranian people topple the oppressive regime.
    It is believed that the vast majority of Iranians support a regime change.
    Yet they are deterred by the large number of casualties incurred in the failed uprising in Syria and the absence of a worthy leader who would unite and command the resistance movement.
    They welcome any pressure the U.S. can exert on the regime.
    The writer is former head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's Persian language division.

Saudi Arabia to Pursue Nuclear Weapons If Iran Restarts Program - Nicole Gaouette (CNN)
    Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday, "We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability, we will do everything we can to do the same."

Israel and Iran in Syria - Dr. Max Singer (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
    Israel has to try to prevent Iran from gaining new abilities to threaten it from Syria.
    It can't do this through diplomatic demands or other forms of negotiation with Iran. But Israel can prevent Iran from having new military facilities in Syria - such as bases or factories - by bombing any such facilities that Iran builds so they become unusable.
    Iranian leaders care much more about who controls Syria than about building bases in Syria that threaten Israel, and they don't seem to want to have a war with Israel at this time.
    So for now, Israel can probably prevent Iran from building military facilities in Syria that it finds unacceptably threatening.
    The writer, a founder of the Hudson Institute, is a senior fellow at the BESA Center.

In Iran They Buy Chinese - Ladane Nasseri (Bloomberg)
    When a major contract to supply Tehran with more than 600 subway cars came up for tender, it went to China's CRRC Corp., which beat two European bids to win a contract worth $900 million this year.
    Chinese companies are building or funding railway lines to the eastern city of Mashhad and the Gulf port of Bushehr, under deals signed in the past year worth $2.2 billion.
    Iran's trade with China has more than doubled since 2006, to $28 billion.
    The biggest chunk of Iran's oil exports go to China, $11 billion a year at current prices.
    "The Chinese have been in Iran for the past 30 years. They have the contacts, the guys on the ground, the links to the local banks," says Dina Esfandiary, a fellow at the Centre for Science and Security Studies at King's College in London.
    Persia was on the old Silk Road, and Iran is at the heart of Chinese President Xi Jinping's plans for a new one.

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How Israelis See the World - Yossi Klein Halevi (New York Times)
    In 2000, Israel offered to withdraw from virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza. In return, it received a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings known as the Second Intifada, the worst wave of terrorism in its history.
    When critics trivialize a threat to Israel's border as "peaceful demonstrations," Israelis conclude that world opinion is either obtuse or hostile.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Selling the IDF to the World (Australian Jewish News)
    According to former Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt.-Col. (ret.) Peter Lerner, it has been an uphill struggle to push positive stories about the IDF or stories about Hamas, Hizbullah and other topics.
    Journalists are here "to do the story about Palestinian suffering first and foremost and blame that suffering on Israel. They don't want to question that because the nature of media today is the nature of reinforcing existing preconceptions."
    "These are the rules of the game and how do you influence that?"

First Druze Woman Appointed as Judge in Israel - Revital Hovel (Ha'aretz)
    Attorney Sawsan Elkassem, 49, was appointed to the Haifa Labor Court on Thursday by Israel's Judicial Appointments Committee, the first Druze woman to be appointed as a judge.
    She is currently a senior deputy to the National Insurance Institute's legal adviser.

Israeli Researchers Find Key to Creating Better Medicines with Fewer Side Effects (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
    A new study published in Science by Professors Yossi Paltiel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ron Naaman from the Weizmann Institute of Science describes a breakthrough technology with the power to create drugs with fewer unwanted side effects.
    Their method will allow chemical manufacturers to keep "good" molecules and to discard "bad" ones that cause harmful or unwanted side effects.
    Currently only 13% of drugs undergo such separation, even though the FDA recommends that all drugs be separated.
    In the field of agrochemicals, separated pesticides and fertilizers require smaller doses and cause less environmental contamination than their unseparated counterparts.
    The simple and cost-effective separation technique that relies on magnets has the ability to produce better medicines, food ingredients, dietary supplements and pesticides.

Google Buys Israeli Cloud Migration Company Velostrata - Yasmin Yablonko (Globes)
    Google has acquired Israeli cloud migration company Velostrata.
    "Velostrata's patented solution allows workloads to transparently migrate to the public cloud in minutes," said Velostrata CEO Issy Ben-Shaul.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Condemns Iranian Rocket Attacks Against Israel
    The White House press secretary said Thursday: "The United States condemns the Iranian regime's provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel's right to act in self-defense. The Iranian regime's deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions, and we call on the IRGC and its militant proxies, including Hizbullah, to take no further provocative steps."  (White House)
        See also Britain Condemns Iranian Rocket Attacks Against Israel
    British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Thursday: "The United Kingdom condemns in the strongest terms the Iranian rocket attacks against Israeli forces. We strongly support Israel's right to defend itself. We urge Iran to refrain from further actions which will only lead to increased instability in the region."  (UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
        See also EU Backs Israel's Strikes Against Iran in Syria
    "Israel has the right to defend itself," EU foreign chief Federica Mogherini's office declared on Thursday, calling Iranian attacks against Israeli army posts from inside Syria "extremely worrying."  (EU Observer)
        See also Bahrain Backs Israeli Strikes on Iranian Targets in Syria - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Raises Pressure on Iran with Sanctions on Currency Exchange - Ian Talley
    The U.S. took a step toward cutting Iran off from the global economy on Thursday, levying sanctions on a financing network and accusing the country's central bank of helping funnel U.S. dollars to the blacklisted Quds Force. Acting jointly with the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several Iranian companies, individuals and officials it said are operating an illegal currency-exchange network in the UAE. Iran's central bank wasn't formally sanctioned in Thursday's actions, but will be in the coming months.
        U.S. officials insist that the objective isn't to collapse the Iranian economy but rather to drive Iran to the negotiating table to discuss a broad new pact that permanently restricts Iran's nuclear program, stymies its ballistic-missile efforts, and curbs Tehran's support for militants fighting across the region. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also U.S. and UAE Disrupt Large Scale Currency Exchange Network Transferring Millions of Dollars to the IRGC-QF (U.S. Treasury Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Demands UN Security Council Condemn "Iranian Aggression" following Golan Rocket Attack - Daniel J. Roth
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon demanded the UN Security Council condemn Iran on Thursday after its forces launched a missile attack on Israel's Golan Heights from Syria. In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Danon said: "Israel holds the government of Iran, together with the Syrian regime, directly responsible for this attack and we will continue to defend our citizens vigorously against all acts of aggression. Israel is not interested in escalation, but under no circumstances will we allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria whose purpose is to attack Israel."
        "I call on the Security Council to immediately condemn this attack and demand that Iran remove its military presence from Syria that not only threatens Israel, but the stability of our entire region. The international community must not stand idly by while a tyrannical regime attacks a sovereign nation and continues to threaten the very existence of a member-state of the United Nations."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran's Entrenchment in Syria Set Back Months after Most Extensive Israeli Strike in Decades - Amos Harel
    On Wednesday night, Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force executed its retaliation plan for the death of seven Iranians when the T-4 air base in Syria was bombed on April 9. Four of its missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system and the rest fell in Syrian territory. The Israeli reaction was disproportionate: massive bombing of 50 Iranian targets in Syria, which probably set back Iran's effort to establish a military presence there by several months.
        Israel has acted in Syria exactly as it said it would. For months, the prime minister, defense minister and IDF chief of staff have been saying that Iran establishing a military presence in Syria was something Israel couldn't live with and would take forceful action to prevent.
        In April, right after the raid on the Iranian T-4 air base, military sources hinted that the IDF could eradicate Iran's military presence in Syria if Iran insisted on retaliating. The Thursday morning attack did so, even if the airstrikes focused on infrastructure and logistics sites, rather than trying to kill as many Iranian fighters as possible. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iranians Are Aware of the Price They Pay for the Regime's Misadventures Abroad - Alexandra Lukash
    Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, who headed the Iran branch of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate's Research Department, said after the Israeli counterattack on Iran in Syria, "There is a clear message to the Iranians here - that so long as they are in the Syrian arena, they will continue being hit with such attacks."
        "This is only one facet of the overall campaign Israel is waging against Iran, whether it's against the nuclear program, its presence in Syria and Lebanon, or anywhere else Iran endangers Israeli interests. As long as there's intelligence indicating there's still an Iranian presence in Syria that may threaten Israel, these kinds of strikes will continue, as will combating Iran on the strategic and tactical fields."
        "The Iranian public is very enlightened and smart. This is a people with a glorious history, and residents are well aware of the goings-on in Syria and Lebanon, and are aware of Iran's exploits throughout the world." They "are entirely aware of the price the Iranian people keep paying for its regime's misadventures abroad."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • The Nuclear Deal Hasn't Reduced Iran's Threat to International Security - Peter Brookes
    The Iran nuclear deal was a well-intentioned effort to limit Iran's nuclear program - including its nuclear weapons program. But Tehran didn't sign up to limit its nuclear-power (or weapons) program forever, and the JCPOA essentially kicks the can down the road to the next president after Trump.
        Despite early calls for it to do so, the JCPOA doesn't fully address Iran's ballistic-missile program, a common delivery system for nuclear weapons. UN Security Council Resolutions 1929 and 2231 attempted to limit Iran's activities involving nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and Tehran has been accused of violating both resolutions. UN IAEA inspectors aren't allowed to check Iranian military sites. This is beyond comprehension, since nations are likely to develop nuclear weapons within the context of a military program. The writer, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow, is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. (National Interest)
  • For U.S., JCPOA Is DOA. What Now? - Norman Roule interviewed by Suzanne Kelly
    For two and a half years, the Europeans have done very little to confront Iran for its regional behavior and missile programs. The Iranians committed to allowing inspectors to visit any location needed. Iran's IRGC and Supreme Leader have stated they would not be allowed to visit military sites. Which is it?
        How do we deal with all of Iran's behavior? When the JCPOA was originally constructed, Secretary Kerry and President Obama routinely stated that the deal did not prevent us from using sanctions and other tools to constrain Iran's behavior.
        The Israelis cannot tolerate the establishment of a surface-to-surface missile architecture in Syria, aimed at Israel or aimed at enhancing Lebanese Hizbullah capacity against Israel, and they shouldn't tolerate this. It is an existential issue, given the capacity of Iran to strike so many strategic sites in Israel from such a close proximity.
        So I anticipate the Israelis will continue to do what they have traditionally done, try to get rid of those facilities before they come online and work with regional countries and the U.S. to pressure Iran to stop sending material into Syria. There is no reason to believe that the Israelis won't continue to do this with every ounce of energy they've got. Norman Roule served as National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from 2008 to 2017. (Cipher Brief)
  • Iran Deal Surrogates Undermine Arms Control - David Albright
    Iran nuclear deal surrogates' unwillingness to compromise on fixes ended up ensuring Trump would walk away. Their behavior is shameful and a black mark on all arms control. They knew the deal had problems, and when raised, they trivialized it, lied about it, and denied and distorted it over two years. They could not even bring themselves to raise the Iranian atomic archive as significant. When it was time to improve the deal, they blocked any effort to do so by trying to block Congress and encouraging the Europeans not to act. The writer, a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector, heads the Institute. (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • Iran's Response to the Cancellation of the Nuclear Agreement - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall
    Reacting to President Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei explained that this American move was a demonstration of long-standing U.S. hostility toward Iran. Iranian President Rouhani and Parliament Chairman Larijani emphasized that they would hold talks with the other countries that signed the agreement before deciding whether to restart the nuclear program.
        The leaders of the Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian army stressed that they are ready for any type of conflict with the U.S. This report includes extensive translated quotes from their official comments. The writer is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran May Have Shut Down Some Nuclear Facilities But May Have Opened Others to Resume Its Work in Secret - Abdulrahman al-Rashed
    If some of the accusations Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made are true regarding Tehran and its failure to actually halt its nuclear activity, this will destroy the international agreement. It's no surprise at all if it later turned out that Iran continued to work in secret to develop its nuclear structure. Western countries are expected not to hesitate to look into this, as this is one of the major rights of those who signed the deal.
        The Iranian regime wants to be ready with nuclear capabilities that enable it to quickly produce nuclear weapons once the 10-year period ends and it may have these capabilities ready even before they end. The idea of establishing the agreement on the basis that the Supreme Leader's regime will respect the pledges it made is wrong and stupid to begin with. The dozens of cameras set by the international observers and the vows to carry out surprise inspections will not stop the regime from resorting to trickery.
        If the Tehran regime shut down laboratories, deactivated some equipment and opened its nuclear facilities to be inspected, it may have opened other facilities to resume its work in secret. Therefore, we may not know the truth until after it's too late! The writer is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based Asharq al-Awsat. (Al Arabiya)
  • The Iran Deal Withdrawal: It Should Never Have Come to This - David Horovitz
    Before the 2015 agreement with Iran, economic pressure had dragged the Iranian regime kicking and screaming to the negotiating table. Israel, the Little Satan in the ayatollahs' sights, could have contributed to the battle of wills, but was kept at a firm distance by the Americans. The only truly dependable ally of the West in this region, with the best intelligence apparatuses, was told to butt out.
        Meanwhile, the U.S.-led negotiators were outsmarted and outmaneuvered. The Iranians were let off the hook. The regime got the deal it wanted. And it was entrenched in power - bolder and richer, the better to oppress its people, cause havoc in the region, and keep its eye on the nuclear prize. Iran is boasting that it has improved its technology so that it can enrich uranium to higher levels than ever before - all while complying with the deal. That tells you all you need to know about the agreement.
        The P5+1's failure to stop the ayatollahs is mirrored by the demonstrably lackadaisical approach of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN body charged with policing the deal. How it can allow itself to certify that Iran is complying with the accord when the terms of the deal do not allow it to carry out "anytime, anywhere" inspections of suspect sites is beyond comprehension. The writer, former editor of the Jerusalem Post (2004-2011), is the founding editor of the Times of Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • Iran's Nuclear Deal Was Doomed from the Start - Michael Rubin
    Precedent suggests that the revelation of a secret Iranian nuclear archive is itself a violation of the nuclear deal. After all, when South Africa forfeited its nuclear program in 1991, the IAEA did not allow it to keep blueprints for a nuclear warhead. It makes perfect sense to suspend sanctions waivers until such time as the IAEA has methodically reviewed the archive. The writer, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes (2014). (National Interest)
  • In Disarmament, Verification Is the Key - Jamsheed Choksy and Carol Choksy
    Truth, lies, and trust are of limited value in disarmament. Verification is the key to success and must be bolstered to ensure full compliance. Iran needs to open all its past and current nuclear and weapons development sites, including military locations, to international inspections. Even if Iran will not agree to a permanent cessation of nuclear capability, the horizon for reaching breakout capability can be pushed back another 25 to 75 years beyond 2025.
        Iran must also agree to comply fully with the NPT by ceasing to exchange technologies with North Korea and other nations. Short- and medium-range Iranian missiles are already being used by secessionist groups like the Houthis to target civilians. Therefore a missile treaty needs to supplement the JCPOA to freeze, even roll back, all missile development, deployment, and transfer by Iran for several decades. Jamsheed Choksy is Distinguished Professor of Iranian Studies at Indiana University. Carol Choksy is Senior Lecturer in Strategic Intelligence at Indiana University. (Yale Global)

  • Palestinians

  • Peaceful Demonstrations? I Saw a War Zone - Lt. Col. (res.) Reuven Ben-Shalom
    Hamas' "peaceful protest" narrative shatters when it clashes with reality at the border with Israel. I was taken to the top of a mound of earth, erected a short distance from the border fence, segments of which were ablaze from burning tires, covering the area with black smoke. Nonviolent demonstrations? I saw a war zone. Far from the fence, thousands of Palestinians gathered in what appeared to be a festive event. They did not seem concerned, as they knew very well that the IDF meant them no harm.
        But in proximity to the fence, the Israeli soldiers took cover as they are constantly under attack. All you need to do is stand there and watch. One side attacks; the other defends. One side initiates; the other responds. One side tries to get people injured and killed; the other makes every attempt to prevent it.
        The soldiers told me what they face on a daily basis. Multiple attempts are made to damage and breach the fence. Booby-trapped IEDs are placed under the cover of riots and smoke. Direct attacks include hurling hand grenades and IEDs, as well as small arms and sniper fire. Firebomb-carrying kites are launched in order to burn Israeli forests, fields and villages.
        Rules of engagement are strict and closely monitored. Every shot is approved by a senior commander. Even when shooting is necessary, soldiers aim at the legs. Only individuals who are directly involved in carrying out attacks are targeted. No "protesters" are shot. No one shoots into crowds. The snipers are experienced professionals. Special review sessions follow each incident. The writer served in the IDF for 25 years as a helicopter pilot and in various international relations positions in the General Staff. (Jerusalem Post)
  • How U.S. Jerusalem Embassy Decision Could Lead to Peace for Israel - Gilad Erdan
    In the long run, the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital can help promote a viable peace in the region. A lasting peace must be based on reality. American leadership in recognizing the self-evident reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is already encouraging other countries to move their embassies as well. Wide-spread international recognition of this plain fact will make it easier for Palestinian leaders in the post-Abbas era to abandon their attempts to erase the Jewish connection to the city.
        Once the Palestinian leadership becomes willing to accept the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem and Israel, the conditions will be created for an end to official PA incitement, and the creation of a culture of peace in its stead. This will mark the victory of historical truth over denial, and reality over rejectionism. The writer is Israel's Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs. (Newsweek)
  • The Illegal Bedouin Village of Khan al-Ahmar - Naomi Kahn
    Khan al-Ahmar is a Bedouin village that has been in the news - and in the Israeli courts - for more than a decade. Its residents were nomadic shepherds who moved their herds and tents around southern Israel with the changing seasons until the mid-1970s when they began to abandon their nomadic lifestyle. The problem is that they began to put up illegal structures and tap into municipal water and electricity lines in a strategically critical area adjacent to a major highway - Route 1, the main artery connecting Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.
        In the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority began to use the residents as pawns in their bid to take control of the area. The Israeli government initiated a dialogue with the residents more than a decade ago, offering them alternatives, and they signed a relocation agreement. Then the PA and EU jumped in, pumping money into Khan al-Ahmar and reinventing the narrative of the residents.
        In four separate lawsuits, Israel's highest court confirmed that the Bedouin encampment at Khan al-Ahmar is illegal and must be evacuated. While the residents never made any claims of ownership of the land, the court required the state to "swap" Khan al-Ahmar for alternative property. The government set aside state land for a new neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem and offered a package that includes a large plot of land with infrastructure for water and electricity. The new neighborhood will offer services that the residents can only dream of today - including health clinics, public transportation, proper schools, and access to employment.
        In off-the-record conversations, the residents will tell you how eager they are to relocate, but they are threatened by the PA which will not allow them to relinquish their hold on the strategic piece of land on which Khan al-Ahmar sits. (JNS)

  • Other Issues

  • What Everyone's Getting Wrong about the U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem - Daniel B. Shapiro
    Moving the U.S. Embassy to a location in west Jerusalem is correct and reasonable. West Jerusalem has served as Israel's capital since the founding of the state, and no plausible two-state map would change that. Our embassy's presence in the city reinforces the legitimacy of historic Jewish ties to the city, which are too often denied by Palestinians.
        Palestinians can hold out and refuse to tell hard truths to their own people about the legitimacy of a Jewish state, Israel's permanence and the immorality of violence, but their ability to generate pressure on Israel is declining.
        Unless Palestinian leaders who come after PA President Mahmoud Abbas address the Israeli public's legitimate anxieties about Palestinian intentions, their people will continue to languish while much of the world shrugs, turns away from a hopeless cause, and makes high-tech deals with Israel. The writer, a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, served as U.S. ambassador to Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Hizbullah's Victory in the Lebanese Elections Completes Iran's Takeover of Lebanon - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
    Hassan Nasrallah announced a Hizbullah victory in the Lebanese parliamentary elections that took place on May 6, 2018. Hizbullah has increased its parliamentary power through pacts with the Shiite Amal Party and the party of Christian President Michel Aoun. The party of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is the biggest loser. The vote strengthens the veto power that Hizbullah possesses with regard to any Lebanese government decision. Therefore, Hizbullah will continue to lay the foundations of Lebanese policy in the spheres of foreign and internal policy. Any decisions regarding war and peace in Lebanon will be made in Tehran, not Beirut.
        For this reason, there must be an impact on any decisions regarding U.S. military aid offered to the Lebanese army. Now, more than ever, it must be clear that giving any aid to the Lebanese Army is essentially giving military aid to Hizbullah. The writer served as military secretary to the Prime Minister and as Israel Foreign Ministry chief of staff. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also Hizbullah Majority Means Lebanon Now Has the Fox Guarding the Henhouse - Kersten Knipp (Deutsche Welle-Germany)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israel's Demographic Miracle: Mainstream, Educated, Middle-Class Israelis Are Having Children - Ofir Haivry
    Today, the Jewish birthrate in Israel outpaces that of Arabs both in Israel and in the West Bank, and even in most Arab and Muslim countries. Modern society is indeed characterized by a trend of declining fertility rates that is particularly marked in developed countries. In 2015, the average fertility rate of women in the 35-member OECD was at 1.68 children per woman over the length of her childbearing years - below the average "replacement rate" of 2.1.
        However, in the last generation, higher educational and income levels among Israeli Jews have correlated with a marked rise in fertility. In 2015, Israel's fertility rate in both Jewish and Arab sectors was 3.13. In 2000, Israeli Arab fertility was 4.5, while the Jewish rate was 2.6. Meanwhile, the Jewish rate continues to rise, with an estimate for 2017 of 3.16.
        Since the beginning of the 21st century, fertility has risen by 15-20% among most sectors of Israeli Jewish society. It is attributable to the combined decisions by millions of Jewish women and men of all Israeli social groups, variously described as traditionalist, non-religious, or even secular, who have chosen to have many more children. The writer, an Israeli historian and political theorist, is vice-president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem. (Mosaic)
  • How Israel's Tech Scene Is Helping Wounded Combat Veterans - Ben Sales
    Elad Horovitz was shot in the head during Israel's 2014 war in Gaza. He survived, losing half of his hearing and sight, and underwent two years of rehabilitation before he was able to return to normal life. But his vision problems mean he can't see past the right corner of his car. Then computer engineers installed a screen on his car connected to cameras to overcome his blind spot.
        The Horovitz project was one of 14 showcased at "Makers for Heroes," a Tel Aviv event at which wounded former soldiers worked with 150 Israeli tech engineers to devise solutions to problems posed by their disabilities. One team created a wristband that could sense the advent of a panic attack by measuring the wearer's pulse and the moisture on their skin, then playing a soothing song or providing a different distraction. (JTA)
        See also Designing Solutions to Improve Life for Wounded Israeli, American and French Veterans
    Zarita, 33, was injured in a car accident shortly after returning from Afghanistan. Before she was injured, Zarita loved to dance, and now, due to her condition, she suffers from dizzy spells. With the help of a custom support device, developed at the Makers event, Zarita is now able to dance again.
        A solution was found for a veteran who sustained a back injury 16 years ago and dreamed of surfing. She will now be able to do so thanks to an adapted surfboard. Another veteran, who suffered a spinal cord injury and has since been wheelchair-bound, will now be able to stand with the help of a mobile device. (Israel Hayom)

Middle East Peace Will Come through Containment of the Iranian Threat - Prof. Shmuel Sandler (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • The regional peace that has prevailed in Europe since World War II is supposedly because the countries there finally reached a state of calm and unity and decided to put an end to the bloodshed.
  • The truth is quite different. It was the Soviet threat that forced Western European countries to unite under the American umbrella.
  • The Middle East is now undergoing a similar process. Ethnic, religious, and interstate conflicts are dwarfed by the Iranian threat, which is headed by a Shiite militant religious leadership.
  • The Arab states, most of which are Sunni, are anxiously watching a country with an imperial past that is close to developing nuclear weapons. At this stage, Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not convinced that the Jewish threat is worse than the Shiite.
  • The Israeli attempt to prevent Iran's growing military buildup in Syria, as well as the exposure of the Iranian nuclear program by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the rest of the world, strengthens the image in the Arab capitals of Israeli determination to curb Iranian expansion.
  • Similarly, the departure of the U.S. from the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement will most likely strengthen the readiness of the Sunni Arab states to remain in the anti-Iran coalition.

    The writer is a senior researcher at the BESA Center and the President of Emuna Ephrata College in Jerusalem.
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