September 28, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Netanyahu Exposes Secret Hizbullah Missile Conversion Sites in Beirut: View Satellite Photos (Israel Defense Forces)
    In his presentation to the UN on Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed the locations of three secret sites in the Uza'i neighborhood in Beirut near the international airport where Iran and Hizbullah are converting inaccurate missiles into precision guided missiles.

Syrian Planning Chemical Attack on Israel Nabbed in Germany (Ynet News)
    German special police forces arrested a Syrian man last week in Berlin on suspicion of planning to carry out a chemical attack on Israel, Bild reported Friday.
    The Syrian, who arrived in Germany via Libya using a fake passport, recruited people to join ISIS to carry out the attack.
    According to German media, the Federal Intelligence Service BND was tipped off by a "foreign intelligence service."

Major Jihadist Terror Attack Foiled in Netherlands (AFP)
    "Police arrested seven men on Thursday...suspected of being at a very advanced stage of preparation for a major terrorist attack in the Netherlands," the public prosecutor's office said Thursday.
    The men plotted to attack a public event using explosive belts, an AK-47 assault rifle, and a car bombing.
    The likelihood of a terror attack in the Netherlands "remained substantial," the Dutch anti-terror agency NCTV said last week, with terror threat levels remaining at level four out of five.

Lebanon Detains Palestinian over ISIS-Directed Poisoning Plots (AFP)
    Lebanon's security forces said Thursday they had detained a Palestinian linked to the Islamic State over two poisoning plots.
    The first was to "poison one of the water tanks from which the Lebanese army's trucks fill up on water every day to take it to the army barracks."
    The second was to "carry out a mass poisoning in a foreign country" through "poisoning food during a public holiday."

Israel: Contacts with Russia Unaffected by Il-20 Crash (Sputnik-Russia)
    Security coordination with Russia in Syria continues despite the recent crash of a Russian Il-20 plane, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday.
    "First of all, we appreciate our relations with Russia as well as very significant coordination in the security sphere between the Russian military and the Israel Defense Forces."
    "At the same time, we are not interested in maintaining a dialogue with Russia via the media....We continue our contacts and coordination, all of which is done through secure channels."

Egypt Arming Sinai Tribesmen in Fight Against Islamic State (AP-Daily Mail-UK)
    The Egyptian military has begun arming Bedouin tribesmen in northern and central Sinai and having them patrol the area in the long-running fight against Islamic State militants.
    The tribesmen say their local knowledge gives them an advantage. In the past, Egypt had not armed the Bedouin and said they only provided intelligence.
    The shift appears to be an attempt to bring the Sinai population more onto the government's side in the fight.

Congressmen Call for Allowing "Israel" on Passports of Jerusalem-Born Israelis (JTA)
    55 U.S. Congressmen have written to President Trump to ask that he direct the State Department to allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birth country on their passport.
    "The State Department has not yet fully implemented the administration's policy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital for purposes of registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem," said the letter sent Sept. 17.

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The Thriving Artificial Intelligence Landscape in Israel - Gil Press (Forbes)
    Israeli AI startups (using technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, and speech recognition) raised close to $2 billion in 2017, an increase of 70% over 2016, and have already raised $1.5 billion this year.
    There are now over 950 active Israeli startups utilizing or developing AI technologies.

Israeli Online Fraud Prevention Company Raises $50 Million - Tal Shahaf (Globes)
    Israel e-commerce fraud prevention company Forter announced on Wednesday the completion of a $50 million financing round.
    Forter helps retailers prevent identity fraud, internet fraud and phone fraud and offers an automated, real-time solution for online merchants.

TransEnterix Acquires Israeli Medical Technology Company MST (Verdict Medical Devices)
    U.S.-based TransEnterix has purchased Israel-based Medical Surgery Technologies (MST).
    MST has developed software that will add advanced surgical image analytics technology capabilities to TransEnterix's Senhance digital laparoscopy platform.
    TransEnterix CEO Todd Pope said the addition of MST technology "will increase the effectiveness of surgeons, making procedures quicker and less error-prone, leading to better outcomes for the patient."

India's Flipkart Buys Israel's Upstream Commerce (Globes)
    Flipkart, India's largest e-commerce marketplace, has acquired Israeli startup Upstream Commerce, which builds cloud-based, automated competitive pricing and product analysis solutions.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu at UN Reveals "Secret Atomic Warehouse" in Tehran - Jennifer Peltz and Angela Charlton
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that Iran was keeping 300 tons of nuclear equipment and material in a "secret atomic warehouse" in Tehran. Netanyahu also said Iranian officials had been clearing some radioactive material out of the site and "spread it around Tehran."
        Netanyahu said, "Instead of coddling Iran's dictators," other countries should support the sanctions on Iran. He accused Europe of "appeasement" of Iran, a word that harkens back to criticism of Europe's approach to Nazi Germany before World War II. (AP-Chicago Sun-Times)
        See also Video: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Addresses the UN General Assembly (YouTube)
        See also below Observations - Prime Minister Netanyahu at UN: Israel Will Defend Itself Against Iran's Aggression (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • U.S. Calls on IAEA to Investigate Netanyahu's Claims about Iran's Nuclear Program
    A U.S. State Department official called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to investigate Netanyahu's claims about Iran's nuclear program. In a statement, the official said it was "absolutely imperative that the IAEA fully exercise its authorities in order to provide confidence to the international community that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran."  (Reuters)
  • U.S. Will No Longer Subsidize PA Anti-Normalization Campaign Against Israel
    Speaking to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of international donors to the Palestinians on Thursday in New York, U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt said efforts to improve life for Palestinians in the West Bank "are constrained by Palestinian Authority leaders who refuse opportunities to build the economy due to an anti-normalization prejudice towards doing business with Israelis. Such policies only harm the Palestinian people, leave them further and further behind, and cost donor countries more and more money."
        "The Trump administration has closely watched the PA leadership thwart economic improvement for Palestinians in the West Bank and directly challenged them to change their destructive policies or lose American support....Clearly, none of our financial assistance is getting Israelis and Palestinians closer to a solution."
        "We must all ask ourselves why we should keep struggling to raise money when everyone can plainly see the Hamas regime and the PA are squandering the opportunities our money provides for a better future for Palestinians....The United States will not use the hard-earned tax dollars of its citizens to subsidize anti-normalization."
        "We care about all Palestinians - those in the West Bank, those in Gaza, and those languishing in refugee camps who have been used as pawns in a political game, and who should have started new lives years ago. We will not continue to invest in temporary solutions that only prolong the cycle of suffering and violence."  (U.S. State Department)
  • UNRWA Gets $118 Million in New Funding
    UNRWA on Thursday received pledges of $118 million from donor countries to help it overcome a crisis triggered by U.S. funding cuts, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said. Kuwait and the EU were among the biggest contributors along with Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and Japan. (AFP-Al Arabiya)
  • Argentine President at UN Calls on Iran to Cooperate in Investigation of Attacks in Buenos Aires
    Argentine President Mauricio Macri remembered the victims of the 1992 and 1994 attacks in Buenos Aires in his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. "We suffered two serious attacks in 1992 and 1994, which claimed the lives of 107 people and hundreds wounded....I would like to again ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate with the Argentine judicial authorities to advance in the investigation of the most brutal terrorist attack in our territory."
        Ali Akbar Velayati, who was Iran's foreign minister at the time, has been implicated in ordering the bombing. There has been an international arrest warrant against Velayati and seven other Iranian officials since 2006. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • EU Parliament Committee Votes to Freeze $18 Million in Aid to PA over Textbook Incitement Against Israel - Lahav Harkov
    The European Parliament's Budgetary Committee has voted to freeze $18 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority if it does not remove incitement against Israel in its textbooks. The committee said the funds will be released "when the Palestinian Authority has committed to reform its school curriculum and textbooks to bring them in line with UNESCO standards for peace and tolerance in school education." "The textbooks published by the PA in 2017, which are financed by the EU...contain, across all subjects, numerous examples of violent depictions, hate speech - in particular against Israel - and glorifications of jihad and martyrdom."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also New Palestinian Textbooks Indoctrinate for Death and Martyrdom - Aiden Pink
    Textbooks created as part of the Palestinian Authority's new K-12 educational curriculum "are teaching Palestinian children that there can be no compromise" and "indoctrinat[e] for death and martyrdom," according to a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.
        For example, 4th graders learn addition and 9th graders learn multiplication by counting the number of Palestinian "martyrs" killed by Israel over the years. A physics textbook uses a Palestinian wielding a slingshot against Israeli soldiers to teach Newton's Second Law of Motion. "Jews" and "Zionists" are used interchangeably. (Forward)
  • At UN, Abbas Lobs Threats at U.S. and Israel - but Reserves True Ire for Hamas - Avi Issacharoff
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday was predictable, with attacks on Israel and the U.S. But the most aggressive message was reserved for Hamas. Abbas threatened to "remove all responsibility" from Gaza if Hamas does not agree to reach a deal with the Palestinian Authority. In other words, he intends to stop transferring to Gaza the $96 million the PA spends there every month.
        Meanwhile, Hamas has been arresting Fatah activists in Gaza, while PA security forces nabbed more than 60 Hamas members throughout the West Bank in just over 24 hours, including freed prisoners. (Times of Israel)
  • Incendiary Balloons from Gaza Ignite 4 Fires in Israel on Thursday - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel Blasts UNRWA for Peddling "False Definition" of Palestinian Refugees - Ariel Kahana
    A new Foreign Ministry report maintains that "Instead of providing social aid, UNRWA exacerbates the conflict by inflating the number of fake refugees, instilling a narrative of hatred and undermining Israel's right to exist and having ties with Hamas. There are in practice very few Palestinians who meet the legal definition to receive refugee status. Only a few tens of thousands of the 5.4 million registered beneficiaries are refugees."
        "By inflating the number of registered 'refugees,' UNRWA sustains the demand for '[the right of] return' - a euphemism for Israel's destruction. Actual Palestinian refugees deserve to receive the same international assistance that other refugees around the world receive from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in order to bring an end to and not perpetuate their status."
        A classified State Department report on the number of Palestinian refugees was compiled under the Obama administration. Sources who have seen the report say that the State Department's assessment was that only 20,000 Arab refugees who fled during the War of Independence are still alive and displaced from their homes. (Israel Hayom)
  • Sky News in Arabic Accuses Jewish "Settlers" of "Storming the al-Aqsa Mosque" - Adam Levick
    Sky News Arabia has repeatedly leveled erroneous allegations against Jewish visitors when reporting on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem - Judaism's holiest site. All Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount are blanketly referred to as "settlers," and are accused of "storming," "infiltrating" and "violating" the al-Aqsa Mosque, attributing to Jewish visitors aggressive and violent behavior without any evidence. However, Jews (and all non-Muslims) are forbidden from entering the mosque, and all the visits to the areas outside the mosque are peaceful.
        Here are English translations of the Arabic headlines accompanying some of the articles: "Biggest infiltration to Al-Aqsa mosque in 50 years," Aug. 1, 2017; "Hundreds of settlers storm Al-Aqsa plaza," May 23, 2018; "Under heavy guard: hundreds of settlers storm Al-Aqsa," July 22, 2018. (UK Media Watch-CAMERA)
  • Will Palestinians Finally Sit at the Negotiating Table with Israel? - Lior Haiat
    Ever since 2008, Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel. Palestinian leaders repeatedly have shown that they will not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Every time they negotiated with Israel and the process was nearing a tangible chance for peace, they aborted negotiations, to abort the peace process, and instead reverted to violence and terror. Every time Israel made concessions, the Palestinian leadership found a new excuse to avoid talks.
        Israel remains committed and willing to engage in meaningful negotiations without any preconditions in order to reach a stable and long lasting peace. The writer is the consul general of Israel in Miami. (Miami Herald)
  • The Shia Arabs of Khuzestan - Mehdi Khalaji
    In Iran's Khuzestan province, where dozens were killed in an attack on a Revolutionary Guards parade on Sep. 22, the Arab residents of the area are predominantly Shia. Yet tribal identity supersedes religious affiliation in this community.
        Under the Shah, oil-rich Khuzestan had become one of Iran's most developed and prosperous provinces, but the eight-year war (1980-1988) with Iraq wreaked widespread destruction in the province.
        Borders drawn in the twentieth century divided major Arab tribes in Khuzestan and in Basra province in Iraq. But over the last decade, the opening of borders has facilitated widening interactions within families and tribes. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Overcoming Strategic Deficits in the 1948 Israeli War for Independence - Christian H. Heller
    In 1948, the nascent Israeli state won an authoritative military victory which laid the groundwork for its success in future wars of survival. Israel's national strategy in 1948 revolved around mitigating three strategic deficits.
        First, the Yishuv - or Jewish community in Palestine - lacked a professional military capable of defending its sovereignty against the Arab armies. Second, despite rapid immigration after World War II, Israel's population was a fraction of the size of its combined Arab opponents. Finally, Israel's lack of geographic space in which to maneuver its forces minimized its military options.
        Israel's ability to build and employ an army, divide its enemies to exploit their weaknesses, and create artificial space in which to operate demonstrates how to overcome strategic deficits and attain victory with strong military institutions and a cohesive national strategy.
        The Palestinian Arabs in 1948 had no trained military forces; the local militias had no weapons suppliers; and the population was without leadership. Despite sharing the same language, religion, and history, deep internal divisions divided the Palestinian factions. In contrast, the Yishuv was united politically, motivated to fight, and led by centralized para-state institutions, the most important of which were its militias.
        Israel was able to field a numerically superior army to the Arab states despite its population disadvantage, and 35,000 Israel Defense Forces soldiers faced off against 25,000 Arabs in May 1948. By July, the IDF numbered 65,000. It would ultimately deploy over 100,000 men and women, and mobilized its small population by emphasizing the existential threat it faced.
        The possibility for co-existence or negotiations with the Arabs seemed remote after Arab leaders made blatant declarations about their intentions to destroy Israel. Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, proclaimed, "This will be a war of extermination, a momentous massacre." Hassan al-Banna, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, stated, "All Arabs shall arise and annihilate the Jews. We shall fill the sea with their corpses."  The writer is a U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Officer and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. (The Strategy Bridge)

  • Weekend Features

  • Nova Scotia Marks Connection to David Ben-Gurion and the Jewish Legion - Aly Thomson
    Before he became Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion slept on the ground in bell tents in Windsor, Nova Scotia, during the training of the Jewish Legion, whose 100th anniversary was commemorated on Sunday. Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, both joined a Jewish battalion of the British Army in 1918 for the fight for Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. They trained at Windsor's Fort Edward, which served as a point of departure for all North American recruits of the Jewish Legion.
        Ben-Gurion wrote to Windsor's mayor, Robert Dimock, in 1966, saying, "In Windsor, one of the great dreams of my life, to serve as a soldier in a Jewish unit to fight for the liberation of Israel, became a reality. I will never forget Windsor where I received my first training as a soldier."  (Canadian Press-Halifax Star)
  • Israeli Company Makes Digital Glasses that Give Sight to the Legally Blind - Leoni Jesner
    Israeli company ICI Vision has developed Orama high-tech glasses with the potential to give millions of legally blind people the ability to see. Orama combines artificial intelligence, eye-tracking software, and computer vision, including a built-in 3D camera, to optimize the image in front of the user's eyes.
      The eyewear is personalized to each user through eye mapping to locate healthy retinal cells. "We can build a set of glasses which projects images onto the healthy part of the eye," explains CEO Tal Lotan. The working prototype has been tested on 60 patients, with many able to see for the first time. (Israel21c)
  • U.S. Seeks to Adapt Israeli Pineapple-Based Burn Gel to Treat Mustard Gas Victims - Shoshanna Solomon
    Israel's MediWound has received a contract for up to $43 million from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to adapt its lead product, a gel based on pineapple enzymes for the treatment of burns, to treat mustard gas injuries in case of a mass casualty event.
        MediWound's first product, NexoBrid, is the first approved pharmacological treatment for the removal of scab tissue that is associated with severe burns. The drug is considered a new method of burn care management, with an ability to non-surgically and rapidly remove dead or damaged tissue earlier and without harming viable tissue. (Times of Israel)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday:
  • "Israel openly opposed the nuclear deal with Iran. We oppose it because it threatens our future, even our very survival. We oppose it because the deal paved Iran's path to a nuclear arsenal. And by lifting the sanctions, it's fueled Iran's campaign of carnage and conquest throughout the Middle East."
  • "Last February, Israel conducted a daring raid on Iran's secret atomic archive. We obtained over 100,000 documents and videos that had been stashed in vaults in an innocent looking building in the heart of Tehran....Israel shared this information and even more damning evidence that we found with members of the P5+1, and with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Months have passed. The IAEA has still not taken any action....It has not demanded to inspect a single new site discovered in that secret archive."
  • "Iran has another secret facility in Tehran - a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran's secret nuclear weapons program...in the Turquz-abad district of Tehran. Iranian officials...have been busy cleaning out the atomic warehouse. Just last month, they removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material...and they spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence....This site contains as much as 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material."
  • "Why did Iran keep a secret atomic archive and a secret atomic warehouse? Because, after all, when South Africa and Libya gave up their nuclear programs, the first thing they did was to destroy both the archives and the material and equipment....The reason Iran didn't destroy its atomic archive and its atomic warehouse is because it hasn't abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons."
  • "I have a message to the head of the IAEA. Mr. Yukiya Amano....Go inspect this atomic warehouse, immediately, before the Iranians finish clearing it out. Do you remember when we were promised that inspections could take place anytime, anywhere?...Well, how about inspections right here, right now. And Mr. Amano, while you're at it, inspect the other secret sites we told you about. Once and for all, tell the world the truth about Iran."
  • "Israel will do whatever it must do to defend itself against Iran's aggression. We will continue to act against you in Syria. We will act against you in Lebanon. We will act against you in Iraq. We will act against you whenever and wherever we must act to defend our state and defend our people."
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