Palestinians in Gaza Make Incendiary Balloons Sent to Israel More Lethal
- Matan Tzuri (Ynet News
The terror groups in Gaza appear to have found a new formula for incendiary balloons to ignite as many fires as possible on Israeli territory, thereby maximizing the damage.
The latest upgrade is a slow-burning fuse soaked in incendiary liquids that drips fireballs as it flies, creating several fires from a single balloon.
Israeli Strike on Hizbullah in Syria a Reminder of Its Potential for Terror
- Yaakov Lappin (Investigative Project on Terrorism
Hizbullah remains highly active in Syria and is trying to turn the south of the country into a launchpad for terrorist attacks against Israel. A reported Israeli Air Force strike Wednesday hit Hizbullah positions near the Golan Heights, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"I believe Hizbullah has not given up on Syria," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the Analysis Division of IDF Military Intelligence. "Syria is an important asset for Hizbullah, both in terms of assisting Assad in staying in place and in the context of serving Iranian interests."
Hizbullah's main mission has evolved in recent months into building up a terrorist network that is mostly composed of Syrian recruits, but "which is trained, directed, and commanded by Hizbullah forces. And these forces are, among other places, in the [Syrian] Golan Heights area," he said.
By recruiting Syrians, and by keeping terror recruiters in the region, possibly disguised as Assad military personnel, Hizbullah may have worked out "a solution that also lines up with Russia's demands of a border zone free from an Iranian presence."
Israel and Lebanon to Begin Talks to Determine Maritime Border
- Amos Harel (Ha'aretz
Israel and Lebanon, together with the U.S., will meet this month at the UNIFIL base at Naqoura just north of the Israeli border to discuss establishing the maritime boundary between them in light of natural gas explorations in the Mediterranean.
Lebanon hopes to upgrade its energy economy the way Israel did a few years ago.
Beirut's willingness to hold talks after years of refusing to do so is apparently based on economic considerations.
Such talks wouldn't have happened without a green light from Hizbullah, which it gave for those very reasons.
According to Israeli intelligence, Iranian financial support for Hizbullah has fallen from $1 billion annually to about $600 million.
Hizbullah, a key partner in the Lebanese parliament, hopes to receive its share of a future gas deal.
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Israeli Pilots Recall How Iran Inadvertently Enabled Iraqi Reactor Raid
(Times of Israel
38 years after the Israeli air attack in 1981 that destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor at Osirak, surviving pilots recalled that the attack was enabled by the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
When Israel first discovered in 1977 that Iraq was building a plutonium reactor that could be used to build nuclear weapons, the fighter jets at its disposal were not capable of flying over 1,000 miles into enemy territory and returning safely.
But in 1979, the Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran, leading the U.S. to cancel a deal to supply Iran with 75 top-line F-16 fighter jets. The Americans then offered them to Israel.
"The fact that the jets came to us because of the Iranian revolution is one of the greatest ironies in history," said Col. (ret.) Ze'ev Raz, who led the raid.
How Many Major-Generals Does the PA Need?
- Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch
A 2017 report by Aman - a European-funded NGO which enjoys the cooperation of the PA - showed that between 2013 and 2017 the number of officers in the different PA security apparatuses grew from 23,163 to 30,313.
Between 2016 and 2017, the number of major-generals grew from 68 to 144.
Members of the PA security apparatuses who were imprisoned by Israel for participating in acts of terrorism continue to rise in rank as if their prison terms were part of their military service.
According to PA regulations,
those who spent 25-30 years in prison receive the rank of major-general.
Much of the rise in the number of officers in the PA security apparatus may be due to the release of long-term terrorists.
The writer is head of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.
Non-Jewish British Soldier Who Fought for Israel in 1948 Dies at 97
- Stephen Oryszczuk (Jewish News-UK
Tom Derek Bowden, a non-Jewish soldier from Britain who died on Monday aged 97, was one of 5,000 foreigners who volunteered to fight for the State of Israel in the 1948 War of Independence. These volunteers became known as "Machal."
He enlisted in the British Army in 1938 at age 17 and fought in the Second World War. In 1942, he led a cavalry charge in Syria against the Vichy French, under the command of Moshe Dayan.
In 1944, he parachuted into Arnhem in The Netherlands and was captured.
After an escape and subsequent recapture, he was sent for a month to Bergen-Belsen. He spent the month piling corpses onto carts and tipping them into pits during a typhus outbreak.
The experience influenced his decision to go to Haifa in 1948 to enlist, where he was given the nom de guerre Captain David Appel.
After the War of Independence he founded the IDF Parachute School, wrote the manual of operations and helped lead the Israeli Paratrooper brigade.
See also Tom Derek Bowden
Technion Students Have Created over 2,000 Companies
- Eanna Kelly (Science Business-Belgium
Entrepreneurship fever has made the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel's oldest university founded in 1912 in Haifa, one of the main fuses for the country's roaring tech sector.
"Many of our graduates are running the economy," said university president Peretz Lavie, who is stepping down in October after 12 years.
Technion students have created over 2,000 companies. The record for a single student is 21.
In a country known as start-up nation, failure isn't the end, Lavie says. "Israelis don't stop asking questions."
"In some countries if you fail, that's the end of it. I know people here who succeeded on their 10th attempt."
"In Japan, there is the same level of ambition as here but it's the failures that they cannot tolerate. In Brazil, if you have a failed start-up, you can't apply for more grants."
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- U.S. Blames Iran for Attack on Oil Tankers, Video Shows Iranians Removing Unexploded Mine - Erin Cunningham
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for a "blatant assault" on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz and said the U.S. would defend itself and its allies against Iranian aggression in the region. A coordinated attack damaged the hull of a Japanese-owned tanker and struck a Norwegian-owned vessel, which caught fire. The incidents were similar to acts of sabotage against tankers near the UAE port of Fujairah last month.
Pompeo said that the U.S. assessment of Iranian involvement is based on intelligence, the type of weapons used and the level of expertise needed, and that no Iranian-backed militia in the region has the resources or proficiency to pull off such a sophisticated operation. "Our policy remains an economic and diplomatic effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table," Pompeo said. "Iran should meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not with terror, bloodshed and extortion."
Senior U.S. officials showed photographs of one damaged tanker with what the Navy identified as a suspected magnetic mine attached to its hull. The unexploded weapon was probably applied by hand from an Iranian fast boat, one official said, and is thought to be the same kind of weapon used to blow a hole elsewhere in the same tanker. The U.S. Central Command released a video showing an Iranian IRGC patrol boat approaching
the tanker. The patrol boat "was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine," said spokesman Capt. Bill Urban.
One U.S. official said, "It's clear that there is a pattern of Iranian naval activity in and around commercial shipping lanes that is inconsistent with their prior behavior." He described the Iranian view this way: "If we can't ship oil, no one can." (Washington Post)
See also Attacks in the Gulf of Oman - Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo (U.S. State Department)
See also U.S. Consults Allies on How to Protect Shipping in Wake of Tanker Attacks
The U.S. is discussing with its allies options on how to protect international shipping in the Gulf of Oman in the wake of tanker attacks that Washington has blamed on Iran, senior U.S. officials said Thursday. They said the U.S. wants to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz. "We don't think this is over," one official said of the possibility of more attacks.
- Saudi Arabia Intercepts Five Houthi Drones in New Attack
Saudi forces on Friday intercepted five drones launched by Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen targeting Abha airport, the Arab Coalition said. A missile on Wednesday left 26 civilians wounded at Abha airport. (AFP-Al Arabiya)
- ISIS Expands in Afghanistan, Threatening West - Kathy Gannon
In the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, the Islamic State is recruiting new fighters and plotting attacks on the U.S. and other Western countries, according to U.S. and Afghan security officials. Nearly two decades after the U.S.-led invasion, ISIS is seen as an even greater threat than the Taliban because of its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities. Concerns run so deep that many have come to see the Taliban, which has also clashed with ISIS, as a potential partner in containing it.
A U.S. intelligence official based in Afghanistan said, "This group is the most near-term threat to our homelands from Afghanistan. The ISIS core mandate is: You will conduct external attacks" in the U.S. and Europe. "That is their goal. It's just a matter of time." Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, noted, "ISIS has invested a disproportionate amount of attention and resources in Afghanistan," pointing to "huge arms stockpiling" in the east.
ISIS in Afghanistan received a major boost when the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan joined its ranks in 2015. Today it counts thousands of fighters, many from central Asia but also from Arab countries, Chechnya, India and Bangladesh, as well as ethnic Uighurs from China.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in recent months on an agreement in which the U.S. would withdraw its forces in return for a pledge from the Taliban to keep the country from being used as a launch pad for global attacks. But a negotiated settlement could also prompt an exodus of more radical Taliban fighters to join ISIS.
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Gaza Rocket Strikes School in Israeli City - Tzvi Joffre
A rocket fired from Gaza struck a school in Sderot on Thursday night.
In response, IDF aircraft attacked a number of targets in Gaza.
See also Gaza Missile Barely Misses Sderot Students
Most students had already left the Lev Ladaat hesder yeshiva religious school in Sderot for the weekend, but three people were sitting down to study just before 9 p.m. on Thursday when a missile slammed into a wall just steps away, sending concrete and glass flying but leaving them unharmed.
Eyewitnesses said had the rocket hit a few minutes earlier, when the main study hall was filled with students, or a few meters from where it did, it could have been a very different story. Moreover, there was no explosion from a warhead, which could have caused much larger devastation. A Chabad Lubavitch synagogue adjacent to the school was holding a weekly Bible study session at the time. (Times of Israel)
- U.S. Envoy Greenblatt: Palestinian Refusal to Attend Economic Workshop in Bahrain Is "Shortsighted" - Omri Nahmias
U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday: "We...hope that Palestinian leadership will realize that their refusal to attend the workshop [in Bahrain] is short-sighted. The PA is only harming themselves and shutting their people out of crucial discussions on a framework for a prosperous future for Israel, the Palestinians and the region." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Moscow's Track Record in Syria Suggests It Is Unable and Unwilling to Keep Iran Out - Anna Borshchevskaya
This month, Jerusalem will host a meeting between U.S. national security advisor John Bolton, Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and Israeli national security advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat. Analysts expect the talks to focus on Syria and Iran.
The string of broken ceasefires that have occurred on Russia's watch instill little confidence that Moscow will honor new agreements in Syria. In July 2018, Moscow promised that Iran would withdraw its forces and proxies at least 85 km. away from Israel's border. Yet many Iran-allied militia elements remained near the frontier, reportedly switching into Syrian military uniforms in an apparent effort to avoid Israeli airstrikes.
The resultant withdrawal was superficial at best and ultimately failed to diminish Iran's presence.
Even if Moscow wanted to push Iran out, it seems unable to do so. Diplomacy alone would not do the trick, and using military force is unfeasible. Russia may rule Syria's skies, but Iran holds a stronger position on the ground. It is difficult to imagine Putin would use his military to dismantle Iranian and Hizbullah weapons infrastructure. Nor is it clear that Moscow can limit the forces Tehran deploys in Syria.
Above all, Moscow does not want Iran to turn pro-Western, and Tehran shares the Kremlin's broad strategic goal of reducing American influence in the region. The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- The Palestinians Are Choosing to Fall Behind - Prof. Eyal Zisser
In the past, the Palestinians simply had to nod in a certain direction for the Arab world to heed their desires and whims and dutifully follow the dictates of the PLO. The glory days of Palestinian nationalism, however, are gone. Arab countries no longer fear saying no to the Palestinians. They also don't want to abandon their own interests anymore on the Palestinians' behalf. The Arab world, by and large, no longer views Israel as the enemy - rather as a strategic ally in the fight against the extremism and terror espoused by Iran and its proxies.
The decision by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Gulf States to attend the U.S.-led economic summit in Bahrain, therefore, is a resounding slap in the face of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian public is fed up with the PA and doesn't trust it anymore. Arab countries are following suit. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.
- India Votes in Favor of Israel Against Palestinian NGO in UN
In a rare move, India voted in favor of a decision introduced by Israel in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that objected to granting consultative status to a Palestinian non-governmental organization that Israel said did not disclose its ties with Hamas. The Council decided to return the NGO's application in a 28 to 15 vote with 5 abstentions. Countries voting in favor of the decision included Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Israel's Permanent Mission to the UN said the NGO, registered in Lebanon under the name "Witness," ostensibly deals with the rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. However in recent months, Israel's security services have revealed that "Witness belongs to the Hamas movement and acts on its behalf against Israel as part of a network of institutions and organizations the terrorist organization operates outside the Gaza Strip." "Witness" has been declared a terrorist organization in Israel.
The Deputy Chief of Mission at Israel's Embassy in New Delhi tweeted: "Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelinUN and rejecting the request of terrorist organization 'Shahed' to obtain the status of an observer in #UN. Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm." (Press Trust of India)
See also Netanyahu Thanks India for Backing Israel at UN (Times of India)
- The New York Times and Birthright - Jerold Auerbach
A New York Times front-page story by reporter Farah Stockman about Risa Nagel, who abandoned her Birthright tour in Israel in protest, highlighted (yet again) the imagined deficiencies of the Jewish state. Birthright has brought nearly 700,000 young Jews (including my daughter) to Israel. Among the reasons cited for skepticism regarding Birthright's impartiality is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "routinely addresses Birthright events" and even "urges participants to support Israel" once they return home.
Stockman writes that Nagel visited Hebron, "a populous West Bank city divided between [200,000] Palestinians and a few hundred Israeli settlers" who "occupy" (i.e., inhabit) a tiny neighborhood under heavy military protection. She does not indicate why it is tiny - because for decades the Israeli government has prevented attempts to expand the community beyond its current limit of 600 Jewish residents. The nearby towering Herodian structure of the Cave of Machpelah, burial site of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people, eludes her notice.
Nagel was offended to see the Star of David painted on the walls of shops once owned by Arabs on streets that for security reasons Palestinians may not use. There is no mention of Palestinian Hebron, a commercial hub of the West Bank inhabited by 200,000 residents with access to shopping malls and high-rise apartment buildings. No Jews may enter. Nor does she reveal why there is "heavy military protection" - it is against repeated acts of murderous Palestinian violence against Hebron Jews dating back to 1929 when the centuries-old Jewish community was destroyed. The writer is the author of Print to Fit: The New York Times, Zionism and Israel, 1896-2016.
- Video: Google Seeks to Block Anti-Semitic Websites, Takes Down Holocaust Education as Well - Tom Gross
British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr called attention two years ago on BBC to how Google would direct users to anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial websites. She said: How does Google Search work? I started playing around with search terms and put "Jews" into the search bar of Google. You make it into a question - and so I put "Are Jews" and Google auto-completed the search box to "Are Jews evil?"
I didn't even have to press return, the page filled and it was an entire page of results, every single one of which said, yes, Jews are evil. And at the bottom their suggested search terms. What do you want to search for next?
And the first suggestion was, "Did the Holocaust happen?" So I clicked and every single one said, no, the Holocaust didn't happen. And the top result was Stormfront, which is a Nazi website.
After years of requests to do so, YouTube (owned by Google) announced last week that they will start removing videos promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. But instead they have banned this video of Carole Cadwalladr that I tried to post which opposes anti-Semitism. The writer is a veteran British journalist.
- Is Anti-Semitism Becoming Mainstream? - Josh Hasten
At a panel in Jerusalem this week on "The Mainstreaming of Anti-Semitism," David Hazony, executive director of the Israel Innovation Fund, said, "What you are seeing on campuses is only a thin slice of the anti-Semitic beast that has emerged in our public life around the world in the last six months, in the last year. All of a sudden, the New York Times' editorial-page cartoons; all of a sudden, columns; all of a sudden, valedictory addresses, commencement speeches, congressional convocations, politicians - all of a sudden in America, you've got synagogues being shot up, synagogues being torched. All of a sudden, what we thought had been hidden, gone away, has come roaring back."
Dan Diker, who heads the political warfare and BDS program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, displayed the recently published anti-Semitic New York Times political cartoon and noted, "We have been living with the new normal - the normalization of the demonization of Jews and the Jewish state. And I would argue that the ongoing, decades-old long demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish state has been misunderstood as political criticism when, in truth, it has been the new virulent form of anti-Semitism."
Ricki Hollander, senior media analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), recalled that when CAMERA tried to set the record straight after several articles in the Times referred to violent rioters at the Gaza border as "peaceful protestors," the corrections editor refused, even while acknowledging that some of the rioters were armed, saying, "So what if they were armed? They were also demonstrators." Hollander explained that "When a newspaper standards editor twists herself into a pretzel to defend their biased reporting, we see how deeply entrenched is this anti-Semitism that masquerades as criticism of Israel." (JNS)
- Jewish-Arab Relations in the Jordan Valley - Alan Rosenbaum
David Elhaiini heads the Jordan Valley Regional Council, comprised of 21 Jewish communities, whose growth rate is an annual 6%, among the highest in the country. Elhaiini reports excellent relations between the Jewish communities and their Arab neighbors. "The only source of income for the Arab population in the Jordan Valley is the Jewish settlements," he explains. "We employ over 6,000 Palestinians each day, and in the peak periods - June, July and September - the number reaches as much as 12,000." Salaries paid by Jewish industries are three times higher than those from other local sources.
"We live together. When you have a worker who has worked together with you for years, you have a relationship. You become his friend. They come to our weddings, and we attend theirs....When I worked in agriculture, my wife would tell me that I spend more time with Yusuf, my field manager, than I do with her. We would be together from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m. When you work together, sit together and eat together, you create relationships."
He points out that the Jewish farmers share their agricultural expertise with their Palestinian neighbors. "We teach them the best ways of growing dates. They ask questions and work with us. Our instructors visit them unofficially, because the PA does not want any connection." Elhaiini says that the quality of life for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley has improved dramatically. "You can see it in the number of their children who attend university. Their profits and benefits have increased."
"We want to transform these good relations into more concrete areas, but the Palestinian Authority is preventing us from doing anything, and their BDS supporters don't understand that they work to prevent peaceful relations." (Jerusalem Post)
- Palestinian Arabs Who Fought the Nazis - Maya Margit
Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini's ties with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy are well-documented. Less known is the story of 12,000 Palestinian Arabs who volunteered to serve in the British army during World War II in North Africa and Europe, often fighting side-by-side with 30,000 Palestinian Jews who served. Prof. Mustafa Abbasi, a historian at Tel-Hai Academic College in Israel, has recently published "Palestinians Fighting the Nazis: The Story of Palestinian Volunteers in World War II."
"It appears that an important and central portion of the Palestinian public believed that it was necessary to stand on the British side....They didn't accept the mufti's policies....Arabs and the Jews were in mixed units and fought together." Abbasi decided to research the matter after discovering that his own maternal grandfather had volunteered in the British army during the war. Abbasi notes that economic motives were the deciding factor for the majority. The British army provided low-priced food, clothing and medical care. (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
- Hollywood Idol Audrey Hepburn Helped Save Dutch Jews during the Holocaust - Rich Tenorio
A new book, Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, by veteran star chronicler Robert Matzen, describes Hepburn's life in the city of Arnhem and nearby Velp during the war where she displayed heroism on behalf of individuals in danger. In 1942, the Nazis executed her uncle, Otto Ernst Gelder, Count van Limburg Stirum.
Audrey, known at the time as Adriaantje, refused an order to join a Nazi artists' committee, ending her burgeoning dance career, which had made her Arnhem's most famous ballerina by 1944. Hepburn also assisted Dr. Hendrik Visser 't Hooft, who helped shelter hundreds of Jews in Velp throughout the war. She was one of the ones bringing messages to families protecting Jews. She also danced to raise money for the resistance and to feed Jews in hiding. Her family members risked their lives sheltering a British soldier, and she and her mother assisted as nurses. At one point the Nazis rounding up Dutch women and girls to work in German kitchens including Hepburn, but she escaped.
(Times of Israel)
- How Germans Remember the Holocaust - Roie Yellinek
In Nuremberg, Germany has constructed a museum to remember the era of Nazi rule. The area of the museum was the site of a huge construction project designed to glorify the name of Hitler and his party. The museum's introductory video expresses pride at the tremendous size of the Nazi-era project.
The museum displays the historical process that began with the birth of Hitler and ended with the Nuremberg trials after the war ended. In the entire museum, the Holocaust is mentioned only three times. One mention is near the monument to the six million dead, built in cooperation with the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel. The reference on the monument is to "people," not "Jews," though the names appearing on it are Jewish.
The museum tries to bestow on the German people a history that is easier to stomach than the historical reality. The museum's narrative states that 1) the Germans were led into a situation that almost forced them to start the war; 2) things took place during the Nazi regime that Germans can be proud of; 3) the Germans were also victims, and some of them opposed the regime; and 4) the Holocaust belongs on the margins of historical memory.
The writer is a doctoral student in Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University and a fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum.
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- We were brought to the brink of extinction by the Nazis, but even the greatest evil was not enough to stop us, and out of the ashes rose a new state for our people, Israel. Through innovation and moxie, multiple generations of Israelis have changed the world.
- Even as Jews have thrived around the globe since the end of the Holocaust, an ominous undercurrent of anti-Semitism has remained. Now that current is a rising tide, one that threatens to plunge us back into the darkness.
- Once again, Jews are being persecuted for the simple reason that they are Jews. In the U.S., nearly 60% of religion-based hate crimes committed in 2018 were against Jews, who make up 2% of the population.
- Given our understanding of how hatred toward Jews can quickly escalate to concerted violence, one might think the reaction to this threat would be swift and decisive. But governments around the world have been slow to grasp the threat, and even slower to respond and counter it.
- We must ask more of the world. Today, I am calling on all heads of state, on all business leaders, on the people who run media and social media companies, on ambassadors and artists and those who shape opinion around the world, to reject anti-Semitism and to work to prevent crimes of hatred against Jews and all people.
- We Jews have always stood tall, even when we've been forced to stand alone. But today we must not stand alone. Now, let people of good conscience around the world join us.
The writer is President of the World Jewish Congress.
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