November 20, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Israel Helped Foil Hizbullah Attack on Jewish Targets in Argentina (i24News)
    Israel's Mossad intelligence agency helped thwart a terror attack against Jewish targets in Argentina by passing on information to security officials, Israeli Hadashot TV reported on Monday.
    Two brothers and their cousin were arrested in a hideout near Buenos Aires where police found an arsenal of weapons and explosives. The suspects admitted planning attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina.
    On Thursday, Argentina's security ministry said police discovered "credentials in Arabic and an image of the Hizbullah flag," along with evidence of travel abroad, when they arrested two of the men.

3 Men Charged in ISIS-Inspired Terror Attack Plot in Melbourne (ABC News-Australia)
    Three men inspired by the Islamic State terror group were charged on Tuesday with plotting a mass-casualty terror attack in Melbourne.
    The men, Australian nationals of Turkish background who had been under surveillance since March, were "certainly inspired by ISIS, we know that," said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.

Israeli NGO Sends Aid to California in Wake of Wildfires - Nicky Blackburn (Israel21c)
    IsraAID is sending an emergency response team to California to help communities affected by the unprecedented wildfires.
    After a request from local communities, IsraAID will conduct a needs assessment of the population in affected areas, promote community resilience and recovery, and distribute relief items to families currently staying in temporary accommodations.
    Yotam Polizer, co-CEO of IsraAID, said the Israeli team will set up operations in Chico and will focus on psycho-social support.
    IsraAID's team will include Israeli and U.S.-based mental health specialists, who will work with partner organizations to support affected communities as they recover and promote community resilience.

Photos: Stunning Biblical Mosaics Revealed in Detail for the First Time - James Rogers (Fox News)
    Archaeologists have released detailed images of stunning biblical mosaics discovered at the site of an ancient synagogue site in Huqoq in northern Israel.
    The mosaics depict Noah's Ark, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah and the fish, and the Tower of Babel, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    See also Huqoq Excavation Project (University of North Carolina)

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Haley Warns of Increased Iranian International Terrorist Activity
    U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Monday: "Iranian assassinations of political opponents are as old as the Islamic Republic itself. While U.S. diplomats were still being held hostage by Islamic revolutionaries in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iranian agents and proxies began a campaign of political murder in Europe, North Africa, and across the Middle East."
        "Over the last months...multiple European countries publicly decried Iranian attempts to murder dissidents on their own soil....On October 30, Danish officials revealed a plot by Iranian intelligence agents to murder three exiled Iranian dissidents on Danish soil....The French government accused Iranian intelligence of plotting a bomb attack on an Iranian opposition rally in Paris in June....This follows an Iranian-backed attack on the U.S. consulate in Basra [in Iraq]."
        "These attempts to murder their political opponents on foreign soil reflect the true nature of the Iranian regime. These attacks are precisely the sort of behavior that led the United States to re-impose sanctions against Iran."
        "In the Middle East...Gaza militants targeted [Israeli] civilians....There is only one side that attacks indiscriminately. One side that targets civilians. One side that terrorizes to achieve its objectives."  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
        See also EU Open to Iran Sanctions after Foiled France, Denmark Plots - Robin Emmott
    EU foreign ministers showed cautious support on Monday for possible new economic sanctions on Iran in a shift of policy after Denmark and France briefed their counterparts at a meeting in Brussels on Iranian attack plots in their countries, five diplomats told Reuters. (Reuters)
  • Israel Lashes Out at Airbnb after Company Pulls Listings of West Bank Home Rentals - Glenn Fleishman
    Airbnb announced on Monday it will remove all listings by Jews in the West Bank, an Israeli-controlled disputed territory. In response, Israel said it would act to restrict Airbnb in the country, and encouraged affected Airbnb hosts to file lawsuits under Israel's anti-boycott law. Airbnb's action affects about 200 hosts.
        Israelis noted that Airbnb continues to offer listings in a number of other locales that remain in dispute or are controlled by dictators. Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren pointed out Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Moroccan-occupied Sahara, Tibet, and the Crimea as examples.
        Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said he will work with U.S. officials to determine if Airbnb has violated laws in U.S. states that prohibit boycotts targeting Israel. About 25 states have enacted anti-boycott laws. (Fortune)
        See also below Commentary: The NGOs and Funders behind Airbnb's BDS Policy (NGO Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Iranian Weapons Transfers to Hizbullah through Syria Have Significantly Dropped - Jonathan Lis
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, "The amount of Iranian weapons transfers to Hizbullah through Syria has significantly dropped since the downing of the Russian plane" by Syria in September. He added that Israel is "continuing to operate in Syria." However, he noted that Russia alone does not have enough leverage to get Iran out of Syria. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: We Won't Let Hizbullah Establish Terror Infrastructure in the Golan - Lilach Shoval
    Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick, head of the IDF's Northern Command, said Sunday, "We are well aware of Iran's increasing attempts to establish itself militarily in many areas of Syria. We see how the Iranians are trying to transfer weapons to Hizbullah in Lebanon through Syria. We know that Hizbullah is trying to establish terrorist infrastructures on the Syrian Golan Heights, near our border, but the IDF will not allow this to happen."  (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Implications of the Khashoggi Murder for the House of Saud - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
    The Washington Post cited unnamed U.S. sources who claimed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was carried out under the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and perpetrated by his closest assistants and advisers, after which MBS was reportedly briefed by the task team on the results. Eventually, the Saudi regime admitted that the murder was carried out by a rogue Saudi team, with no connection with MBS.
        It is obvious that the Saudi regime was too slow in its reactions, did not grasp the changing mood in world opinion against it, and did not offer adequate answers. Suddenly, MBS is no longer seen as a reformist or a visionary, but rather as a cruel politician who profited from the weakness of his rivals.
        The Saudis ignored the changing mood of President Donald Trump, who felt the Saudis had misinformed him (or even openly lied to him) about the Khashoggi assassination. Under the pressure of the media and the newly elected Congress, Trump chose to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia for the first time in the history of the two countries.
        There is no doubt that Turkey, Qatar, Iran and its satellite Hizbullah, together with the Syrian regime, are the big winners of the Khashoggi error. The writer is a special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The NGOs and Funders behind Airbnb's BDS Policy
    On Monday, Airbnb announced it was "removing listings" in "Israeli settlements" in the West Bank. This change in policy was a clear result of a coordinated and well-financed campaign targeting the company by NGOs involved in BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, led by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), in concert with the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), at least three Israeli groups, and the PA. The funders responsible for this campaign include a number of European governments as well as the U.S.-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
        Airbnb has thousands of listings in occupied territories and areas of extreme violence and human suffering. Yet, the company has decided to solely apply this policy to approximately 100+ Jewish-owned apartments. (NGO Monitor)

  • The development of the Iron Dome system for the interception of short-range rockets and some mortar rounds is a great technological achievement that was for many years considered to be beyond engineering capability. But it is not a cure-all for an attack of thousands of such rockets against civilian populations.
  • The Iron Dome system can be saturated by the launching of a number of rockets at the same target, some of which get through. It is not an impenetrable umbrella under which life can proceed as usual.
  • The tremendous difference in the cost of the simple rocket and the expensive system operated to intercept it also makes it financially unsustainable in the long run.
  • There is no getting away from it: The only way to stop the launching of rockets against Israel's civilian population is by physically eliminating that capability. That can be achieved only by troops on the ground - through the entry of the Israel Defense Forces into the launching areas and the destruction of the manufacturing and storage facilities.
  • The belief that terrorist organizations pledged to destroy the State of Israel can be inveigled to abstain from attacking Israel has proven to be false and is not likely to be borne out in the long run.

    The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs.