July 4, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Rescuers Working to Save Boys Trapped in Thai Cave Rely on Israeli Tech - Assaf Golan (Israel Hayom)
    Search and rescue teams taking part in efforts to save 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand have been relying on advanced communications systems donated by Israeli company MaxTech Networks.
    The systems facilitate communication in areas without reception.

Israeli Communities Collect Toys, Clothes for Syrian Refugees - Michael Bachner (Times of Israel)
    Israeli authorities in the Golan Heights have launched a campaign to donate toys, clothes, and mineral water to displaced Syrians near the border who fled bombardment by Syrian government forces.
    "These are our neighbors and we regard it as a mitzvah [religious duty] to help them in their time of need," said Eli Malka, head of the Golan Regional Council.

Six Fires Rage Next to Gaza Border on Tuesday (Jerusalem Post)
    Fires raged on Tuesday in six different locations in Israel near Gaza, the National Fire and Rescue Authority's southern district reported Tuesday.
    Firefighters kept the flames in Kissufim, Be'eri, and Nahal Oz under control.

IDF: Hamas Tried to Spy on Soldiers with Fake Dating Apps (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday warned soldiers about Hamas hackers who have been trying to install spyware on their phones via a World Cup app and two online dating sites.
    IDF intelligence officers said over 100 soldiers had been affected by the scam.
    Attackers used stolen identities to create convincing fake Facebook profiles of young Israelis, written in fluent Hebrew studded with current slang. They then initiated flirtatious exchanges with their targets, before encouraging them to download the apps from Google Store.
    In most cases, the officers said, soldiers did not download the apps and in many cases informed their superiors.
    "Thanks to the soldiers' vigilance, Hamas' intelligence infrastructure was exposed before it caused actual security damage," the IDF said.

Israeli Cyber Company Beats Hackers in Global Competition (Jerusalem Post)
    Cyber 2.0, a leading Israeli cybersecurity company, launched a unique competition last month - try hacking the company's defense systems and win NIS 100,000.
    The competition was open to hackers from across the globe and hundreds participated, simultaneously launching more than 1 million attacks.
    All failed, as the company's software blocked viruses, ransom attacks, and Trojan horses.
    The Cyber 2.0 system operates differently from other systems since it operates on the basis of the mathematical principles of chaos.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Syrian Rebels in Surrender Talks in Southwest near Israel and Jordan - Louisa Loveluck
    Syrian rebels said Tuesday that they are taking part in a new round of surrender talks with Russia after an escalating military campaign in the southwest, backed by Russia and Iran, displaced more than 250,000 people in two weeks. This slice of southern Syria is the last opposition-controlled territory without a major foreign sponsor. (Washington Post)
  • Taliban's Best Fighters Being Trained by Iran - Anthony Loyd
    Hundreds of Taliban fighters from Afghanistan are receiving advanced training at military academies in Iran as part of a significant escalation of support by Iran for the insurgents, Taliban and Afghan officials have told The Times. A political adviser to the Taliban at its headquarters in Pakistan said: "The Iranian offer of training came with two demands: that we should put more focus on attacking American and NATO interests in Afghanistan, and devote more forces to attacking" ISIS.
        Senior Afghan military officials have warned that, with new American sanctions looming, Iran is preparing to target U.S. interests in Afghanistan. In recent years, the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards has offered ever-greater support to the Taliban. (The Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Asks Europe to "Stop Appeasing Iran"
    Speaking at an event in honor of American Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday: "There is a meeting this week by the [European] P4 without the United States. They are going to discuss how to go around the decision that President Trump and the United States made to leave this bad [nuclear] deal, which is funding Iran's terrorism and its aggression with billions of dollars....The P4 invited Iran's President Rouhani to attend that meeting."
        "But at the same time, in recent days, this same regime dispatched a terrorist cell to carry out a major terrorist action in France. The commander of this terrorism cell was an Iranian diplomat in Austria. Fortunately, the plot was exposed. The cell's Iranian members were arrested in France, Belgium and Germany. France and Germany are part of the P4. At the time of their capture, the cell members had explosives, detonators and more."
        "This Iranian terror plot was planned on the soil of Europe on the same week that the European leaders are supposed to meet the President of Iran about circumventing the sanctions on Iran. Here's my message to the European leaders: Stop funding the very regime that is sponsoring terrorism against you and against so many others. Stop appeasing Iran."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Palestinian Authority: We'll Continue to Pay Prisoners and Their Families - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The PA leadership stressed on Tuesday that it will not be deterred by the Israeli Knesset decision Monday to deduct the amount the PA pays to security prisoners and their families from the tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians, and that the PA will continue to pay these salaries. The PA said it was planning to take action in various international forums to force Israel to backtrack on its decision.
        The PA Finance Ministry noted that Israel was already deducting NIS 120 million each month from the tax revenues to cover the costs of electricity and water that Israel supplies to the Palestinians, in addition to reimbursement for medical treatment Palestinians receive in Israeli hospitals. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • IDF Spokesman Tells French National Assembly: Hamas Is Spending Your Money on Terror
    IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis told the French National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee in Paris on Tuesday that Hamas was taking France's donations to Gaza and using them to build military infrastructure and prepare terror attacks.
        Millions in funding from donor countries, "including from the French taxpayer, are diverted to building terror capabilities," Manelis warned. "Don't get suckered in by Hamas....This organization has murdered thousands of Israelis, Americans, French citizens and Britons in bus bombings, suicide attacks in malls and restaurants, and stabbing and car-ramming attacks."
        He added that the commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, is a "mass murderer responsible for thousands of deaths around the world...[and] sends $100 million each year to terror groups in Gaza." Manelis concluded, "The residents of Gaza aren't my enemies. Hamas has taken them hostage."  (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinians Continue to Harm Temple Mount Antiquities - Nadav Shragai
    In 2004, Israel's High Court of Justice ruled in favor of a petition filed by a Jewish group to protect Temple Mount antiquities in Jerusalem. The Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount sought to prevent the removal by the Islamic Wakf of some 3,000 tons of dirt and rubble rich in archaeological findings from the Mount. In 1999, the Palestinians, using a fleet of 400 trucks, removed excavated dirt from the Temple Mount in the dead of night. Thousands of volunteers have since sifted through that rubble, turning up about half a million tiny finds from the First and Second Temple eras.
        During this year's holy month of Ramadan, hundreds of Muslims brought up piles of rubble from the excavation of Solomon's Stables 20 years ago, which the High Court ruled could not be removed from the Temple Mount, and started to pick through it, removing stones to use to build terraces. Only the alertness of the members of the Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities stopped the Waqf in its tracks.
        The police have now set up a lookout on top of the Golden Gate from which they can observe the mounds of rubble. The Waqf demands that the observation post be removed, claiming that it violated the status quo. The writer is a journalist and commentator who has documented the dispute over Jerusalem for 30 years. (Israel Hayom)

  • In its 2018 budget, the Palestinian Authority allocated $360 million - 7% of the budget - to two institutions that reward convicted terrorists imprisoned in Israel, released terrorists, and families of terrorists. This massive funding indicates that while the PA ostensibly claims to seek peace, it is actually funding and incentivizing the machinery of violent rejectionism and ongoing conflict.
  • While the PA claims the funds are directed to welfare needs, the World Bank has stated: "The program is clearly not targeted to the poorest households. The level of resources devoted to the Fund for Martyrs and the Injured does not seem justified from a welfare or fiscal perspective."
  • Indeed, the funding does not go to those most in need from a socioeconomic point of view, but rather increases incrementally and macabrely by the amount of death and destruction a terrorist wreaks on Israeli citizens.
  • The amount given to Palestinian terrorists is sometimes many times what they could receive as an average employee in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority is telling its people loudly and clearly that it really does pay to slay.
  • This incentivization to kill, murder and maim is a primary obstacle to the chances for peace. The payments to terrorists provide the gas for the persistence of the conflict.
  • Should our Palestinian neighbors genuinely seek peace in the future, the deducted funds could be rechanneled to the PA.

    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Elazar Stern is the author of the law passed in the Knesset on Monday which offsets salaries paid by the PA to terrorists with tax money collected for the PA by Israel.

        See also Defense Ministry Sets Up Task Force on PA Terror Payouts - Alexander Fulbright
    Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Tuesday the establishment of the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, tasked with implementing the new law to track payments by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists and their families. (Times of Israel)