November 8, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Intelligence: Samples from Site Israel Revealed Point to Secret Iranian Nuclear Conversion Facility - David M. Halbfinger (New York Times)
    Israeli intelligence and national security officials contended Thursday that the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspections earlier this year, including analysis of samples taken from the site, had shown that Iran stored nuclear material at the Turquzabad site that had been converted from raw uranium but not yet enriched.
    The Israelis said the material's characteristics and age did not correspond with any nuclear facility previously disclosed by Iran.
    In other words, the inspection pointed to the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear conversion facility which, if confirmed, amounted to a fresh violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's safeguards agreement.

Israel Backs U.S. in UN Vote Condemning Cuban Embargo - Edith M. Lederer (AP)
    The UN General Assembly voted 187-3 on Thursday to condemn the American economic embargo of Cuba for the 28th year, with the U.S., Israel and Brazil voting "no," and Colombia and Ukraine abstaining.
    Last year, the assembly voted 189-2 with the U.S. and Israel voting "no."
    General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.

Saudi Strategic Expert: Israel Has the Right to Defend Itself from Iran (MEMRI TV)
    Saudi strategic expert Muhammad al-Qabiban said in an Aug. 29, 2019, interview on Al-Sumaria TV (Iraq) that Israel has the right to defend itself and its borders from Iranian "lackeys" like Hizbullah.
    He said that Iran's intervention has created anarchy in the region and he criticized Iraqi, Lebanese, and Yemeni leaders for empowering Iran.

Video: Nikki Haley Accepts World Jewish Congress Award (World Jewish Congress)
    On Nov. 6, 2019, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addressed the WJC in New York upon receiving the Theodor Herzl Award.

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

How Hizbullah Is Using the Internet to Incite Violence in Israel - Michael Shkolnik and Alexander Corbeil (Combating Terrorism Center at West Point)
    Hizbullah has used social media to recruit Israeli Arabs and West Bank-based Palestinians to attack Israeli targets.
    It uses social media to establish contact with potential recruits before transitioning to more encrypted communications platforms, transferring funds, and issuing instructions to form cells, conduct surveillance, and carry out terrorist attacks.
    While every virtual plot has been foiled thus far, Israeli authorities must spend time and resources disrupting these schemes.

IDF Appoints First Female Artillery Corps Battalion Commander - Tamar Beeri (Jerusalem Post)
    Major Efrat Kikov Levi, 32, will be promoted to lieutenant-colonel and will be assigned to command an artillery corps battalion currently deployed in the Golan Heights.

Israeli Forces Rescue Badger Caught on Syria Border Fence - Ahiya Raved (Ynet News)
    IDF soldiers this week rescued a badger that was caught in the fence on the Israel-Syria border in the Golan Heights.
    An IDF soldier on patrol in the Tel Saki region noticed the badger struggling to get through the border fence's metal bars on the Syrian side.
    The Israel Nature and Parks Authority was contacted and sent a volunteer veterinarian.
    Uriah Vazana, an INPA park ranger, said, "We started the treatment immediately, starting with sedating the badger so she wouldn't resist our rescue attempts. After we got her out, we made sure she was unharmed and later released her near a water source in known badger territory."

Israeli Firm Announces Success in Drug Trials for Severe Sepsis (Xinhua-China)
    Israeli immunotherapy company Enlivex Therapeutics announced on Monday a success in trials of a drug for the treatment of severe sepsis, a life-threatening condition which affects more than 30 million people worldwide each year.
    Enlivex developed Allocetra, which rebalances the immune system using its own natural regulation mechanisms.
    6 of 43 patients in the trial were treated with Allocetra, while the other 37 matched controls received standard care.
    11 of 37 (29%) in the control group died during the next 28 days, while none of the Allocetra-treated patients died.
    Allocetra treatment also resulted in improved recovery.

Israeli Researchers Develop Multi-Purpose Anti-Bacteria Coating - Keren Setton (Xinhua-China)
    Israeli researchers have developed an anti-bacteria coating as a way to combat infections in hospitals and nursing homes.
    The coating can be used on bedding, patient gowns, socks and carpets.
    Aharon Gedanken, a professor of chemistry at Bar-Ilan University, used ultrasonic sound waves to insert the anti-bacteria chemicals into the fabric.
    The technology can also make surfaces fire-resistant, water-resistant and odor-proof.

Israeli Fraud Prevention Company Riskified Raises $165 Million (Globes)
    Israeli payments and fraud-prevention solutions provider Riskified announced Tuesday the completion of a $165 million funding round.
    Riskified has developed payment and fraud-prevention solutions to optimize online purchasing for merchants, banks and consumers.
    The solutions allow merchants to instantly and accurately distinguish legitimate customers from fraudulent ones.

Israeli Precision Agriculture Company Agritask Raises $8.5 Million (Globes)
    Israeli precision agriculture startup Agritask has completed a $8.5 million financing round.
    Agritask has developed a flexible and integrative data-driven software platform for agronomic management that can integrate with over 40 hardware and software data sources.
    It supports the entire agricultural production process, from soil fertility management and growth monitoring to harvest logistics.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert and want to share it with friends, please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: The World Must Address Iran's Nuclear Escalation
    Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said Thursday: "Iran's latest nuclear escalations reflect the regime's intentions all along: to extort the international community into accepting its violence and terror while it undermines the sovereignty of its neighbors. Members of the international community who are rightly concerned with Iran's latest attacks and provocations should imagine how Iran would behave with a nuclear weapon. The United States will never allow this to happen."
        "Iran's expansion of proliferation-sensitive activities raises concerns that Iran is positioning itself to have the option of a rapid nuclear breakout. It is now time for all nations to reject this regime's nuclear extortion and take serious steps to increase pressure. Iran's continued and numerous nuclear provocations demand such action."  (U.S. State Department)
  • U.S. Accuses Iran of Intimidating UN Nuclear Agency Inspector - Laurence Norman
    The U.S. accused Iran of intimidating a nuclear inspector after a woman from the UN atomic agency was blocked from entering the country's main enrichment site and briefly stopped from leaving the country last week. The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Jackie Wolcott, called the move an "outrageous provocation" and harassment of the agency's monitoring work. Before the nuclear deal, Iran repeatedly denied IAEA inspectors access to sites and accused the agency of sending in spies. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Pentagon: We Will Continue to Aid Kurdish-Led Militia in Syria, Oil Fields to Provide SDF with Revenue Stream
    Rear Adm. Bill Byrne said Thursday, "The military mission in Syria continues. It is the defeat of ISIS, like it has been since 2014, shoulder-to-shoulder with our SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] partners....The securing of the oil fields is a subordinate task to that mission, and the purpose of that task is to deny ISIS the revenues from that oil infrastructure....Back in 2015 when they [ISIS] were in control of that infrastructure, it was pumping out 45,000 barrels per day, to the tune of $1.5 million a day, to support their operations, and we're just not going to let that happen again."
        Jonathan Hoffman, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said control of the oil fields will "provide the Kurds in the area and the SDF forces to actually have a revenue stream and an ability to work on building up their strength for the D-ISIS [Defeat-ISIS] campaign. So it's preventing ISIS from getting it [and] allowing the Kurds and the SDF in there to have control of it, as well."  (U.S. Defense Department)
  • Uprising in Iraq Is Broadest in Decades - Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim
    As the latest round of protests in Iraq enters a second week, at least 264 have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded. On Wednesday, the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in decades spread across central Baghdad.
        Two government officials said that Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had planned to resign, but was pressured not to do so by advisers and officials linked to Iran. "He wanted to resign, but after a long meeting, they convinced him not to," said one official. "The Iranian side considers this as their government, and for the first time they have control of the decision-making. They don't want to lose that easily."
        "This is the largest grass-roots movement in Iraq's modern history," said Harith Hasan of the Carnegie Middle East Center. "The government lost the narrative in the face of a very vibrant movement."  (Washington Post)
  • U.S.-Led Naval Coalition Protecting Gulf Oil Tankers Launches Operations - Verity Ratcliffe
    The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) - to protect ships transiting the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Bab el-Mandeb - was formally launched in response to a series of attacks on vessels and onshore facilities blamed on Iran. "Over the last six months, we have seen increased threats in these waters," said U.S. Vice Admiral James Malloy, commander of America's Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain. Frigates and destroyers will guard critical chokepoints and smaller vessels will patrol the seas, while airborne surveillance will monitor traffic through "high risk areas," the U.S. Navy said. Coalition members include the UK, Australia, Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: IAEA Confirms that Iran Lied about Its Nuclear Program
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday: "A year ago, speaking at the UN, I exposed Iran's secret nuclear warehouse in Turquzabad. This morning, a special board meeting of the IAEA published its findings on Iran's activities in the no-longer secret facility. The IAEA now confirms that Iran lied. And that Iran continues to lie."
        "Everything I told you a year ago has now been confirmed by the IAEA. The IAEA has confirmed that Iran has been violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran continues to hide its secret nuclear weapons program. It's time for the nations of the world to resist Iran's aggression and terror. It's time to snap back sanctions. It's time to pressure Iran until it changes its ways. Iran must stop attacking the nations of the Middle East. Iran must stop threatening to destroy Israel. Europe must stop stalling. It must act against Iranian aggression now."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel Security Agency Thwarted over 450 Terror Attacks in 2019 - Judah Ari Gross
    Israel Security Agency head Nadav Argaman said Thursday: "In the past year, we have thwarted over 450 significant terror attacks." Argaman credited these successes to specialized technologies used by the service, its cooperation with other Israeli security forces, and its "synergy with our counterparts around the world."
        In addition to conventional intelligence-gathering techniques, the ISA uses advanced algorithms to scan social media and other databases for indications of terrorist activities. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Commander Learns to Manage Gaza Border Riots - Tal Lev Ram
    IDF Lt.-Col. Avi Marciano, a Golani Brigade commander who just completed four months of securing the Gaza border, says it is a challenge to deal with the riots on Fridays. "You have to manage it and not let it manage you." The soldiers in the field receive clear instructions. "When there is a life-threatening event, of course, the threat is removed. The differences between different situations are very clear to the soldiers."
        "We talk to them directly at the beginning of operational deployment, explaining...in what situation they shoot and when they don't; what are the conditions for shooting; and who is the commander who approves the shooting and the target....Over time, you know how to characterize the people who are on the other side."
        "The achievements required from us are very clear: to prevent penetration into Israeli territory, to prevent damage to the fence, but also to minimize damage to the other side. At the end of the day, it is mainly teenagers and children, and we have no intention or interest to unnecessarily hurt them. We're not like that."  (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation Is a Win-Win - Shoshana Bryen
    Israel remains the one country the U.S. can rely upon to defend itself by itself and in coordination with American interests. The following list of Israeli assets was developed in 1979 as a guide to security cooperation: a secure location in a crucial part of the world; a well-developed military infrastructure; the ability to maintain, service, and repair U.S.-origin equipment; an excellent deep-water port in Haifa; modern air facilities; a position close to sea lanes and ability to project power over long distances; an air force larger than many in Western Europe; a democratic political system with a strong orientation to support the U.S.
        Added in 1996: Israel's military research and development capabilities complement those of the U.S. Its intelligence services cooperate closely with ours - to our benefit. And large numbers of American troops train in Israel. Added in 2006: The establishment of police-to-police counterterrorism training in Israel. (Jewish Policy Center)
  • Iran's Deadly Diplomats - Matthew Levitt
    In July, Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat accredited to Tehran's embassy in Vienna, was arrested in Germany and charged with providing 500 grams of TATP explosives for a plot targeting a rally of Iranian dissidents near Paris. In June 2018, two Iranian diplomats based at the Iranian embassy in Amsterdam were expelled from the Netherlands following the assassination several months earlier of an Iranian Arab activist who was gunned down in the Dutch capital. In other cases, Iranian diplomats involved in terrorism or surveillance of possible targets for attack were quietly arrested and deported.
        Iranian diplomats were deeply involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli embassy and AMIA Jewish community center, respectively, in Buenos Aires. The writer is director of the Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Combating Terrorism Center-West Point)
  • Uncovering Turkish President Erdogan's Ties to ISIS - Kenneth R. Timmerman
    Since 2012, the Turkish intelligence service MIT, under the direction of Turkish President Erdogan, has been providing material assistance to ISIS, while Turkish border officials turned a blind eye to ISIS recruits flowing across Turkey into Syria and Iraq. Scores of ISIS fighters captured by Kurdish forces in northern Syria showed Turkish exit stamps on their passports, and otherwise boasted of the direct assistance they had received from Turkish authorities.
        In 2016, Wikileaks published emails documenting the involvement of Erdogan's son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, in helping ISIS market oil stolen from Syria and Iraq. Sumeyye Erdogan, the president's daughter, reportedly set up an entire medical corps including a hospital to treat wounded ISIS fighters in Turkey close to the Syrian border. ISIS evacuated severely wounded fighters across the border in Turkish army trucks. (New York Post)
  • Why Turkey Invaded Syria - Jeremiah Rozman
    Turkey's invasion of Syria stems from domestic political considerations, not security concerns. Erdogan wants to boost his Justice and Development Party's ratings after a dismal electoral showing in June when the party lost Istanbul. By invading Syria and forcibly resettling millions of Sunni Arab Syrian refugees in the homes of Turkey's Kurds, Erdogan hopes to stoke nationalist pride.
        The SDF is not a threat to Turkish security. The Turkish military, the second largest in NATO, is more than capable of defending its borders without invading Syria. There has been no recent cross-border aggression from Syria into Turkey, nor is there evidence of cross-border material support from the SDF to the PKK. The writer is a national security analyst for the Association of the United States Army. (Jerusalem Post)
  • A Gaza Palestinian Who Now Seeks Peace
    Sameer Abu Ramzi, 27, from Gaza, says that amid the raging Arab Spring in 2011, he took part in mass protests against Israel. "Back then I was willing to do everything, whether it was just to throw rocks at Israelis or die as a martyr for the sake of Palestine." But after the 2014 Gaza war, "when I saw all the poverty and the death around me, I started asking myself whether this conflict - that I have been supporting for my entire life - was worth the suffering, said Abu Ramzi, pinning the blame on the mass media and the Palestinian education system. "I was not born with hatred. I was raised to it."
        He says that behind closed doors, many admit that they want to end the hostilities and normalize relations with Israel. "Back in the 80s, many Gazans commuted to Israel for work. For many, it was a golden era. Cooperation was great back then and many want to resurrect what we have lost. I believe it is possible and I am not the only one thinking this way."  (Sputnik-Russia)

  • Weekend Features

  • Friday Night Dinner with Palestinian Rockets - Avi Tilonsky
    Each week, my cousins Dina and Yair host students in their home from Sapir College in the Israeli city of Sderot. This week, the guests included students and my wife, myself, and our baby son. My wife and I had finally put our 1-year-old to sleep and were sipping soup when, suddenly, a sharp, oddly calm, almost robotic announcement came over loudspeakers. "Tzeva Adom - Code Red." We know we have 15 seconds to run to a bomb shelter as a rocket speeds towards us. This is not a test.
        I run into our bedroom and scoop the sleeping baby out of his crib. Like a football player running downfield, I hold him under one arm and guide people down the hallway to the shelter with my other. We dive into the shelter and slam shut the heavy vault door just as the first blasts shake the walls and rattle the roof. Our sleepy 1-year-old claps his hands and screams, "Boom, boom."
        Ten minutes later, we leave the shelter to sit around the table once again and pretend that things are normal. After a second barrage of rockets half an hour later, we decide to leave our son in the bomb shelter overnight with the other kids. At least we won't need to wake them up if more rockets are fired at us - as indeed they were at 2 a.m. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Daily Reality: The Story of Aluma - Barbara Sofer
    I've been asked to update the stories of terrorism survivors, those I met in the years between 2000 and 2005 when the horror of bus bombings, restaurant bombings and disco bombings aimed at young people was our daily reality in Israel. On Nov. 21, 2002, Aluma, 17, was riding a bus to school when Na'el Abu Hilail, 23, triggered 5 kg. of explosives packed with shrapnel. 11 people, 4 of them kids, were murdered and 50 passengers were injured. Aluma was unconscious, bleeding from 30 cuts from her right arm and leg. A rusty metal fragment had passed through her ear into her brain, but her school backpack protected her internal organs from the blast.
        For five days she lay unconscious. The neurosurgeons said the brain damage was so severe, they weren't sure they could repair it. Fortunately, a new immigrant neurosurgeon named Jose Cohen, skilled in endovascular procedures, had arrived from Argentina and his surgery worked. During a long rehabilitation, Aluma started regaining her speech and her ability to walk, gaining back everything but the use of her right arm. She went on to finish three academic degrees, in education, art and visual communications, and is now married and expecting a child. The writer is the Israel director of public relations at Hadassah. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Historian: New Evidence Shows FDR Derailed Many Holocaust Rescue Plans - Matt Lebovic
    U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt obstructed opportunities to rescue Jews from the Nazis that would have cost him little or nothing, according to Holocaust historian Rafael Medoff, who detailed FDR's role in preventing the rescue of European Jewry in a new book, The Jews Should Keep Quiet.
        According to Medoff, Roosevelt's policies toward European Jews were motivated by sentiments similar to those that spurred him to intern 120,000 Japanese Americans in detention camps as potential spies. Medoff told the Times of Israel: "I was struck by the similarity between the language FDR used regarding the Japanese, and that which he used in private concerning Jews - that they can't be trusted, they won't ever become fully loyal Americans, they'll try to dominate wherever they go."
        Even in 1944, when a Gallup poll found that the American public overwhelmingly approved of letting in an unlimited number of Jewish refugees, Roosevelt worked to make sure nothing of the sort took place. "His harsh policy was a choice that he made, which emanated from his vision of what he thought America should look like," said Medoff. (Times of Israel)
  • Kristallnacht without Jews - Dr. Rafael Medoff
    Imagine if the president had responded to ISIS atrocities against the Yazidis by issuing a condemnation which did not mention either ISIS or the Yazidis. That's essentially what former President Franklin D. Roosevelt did in response to Kristallnacht, the nationwide anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany. On the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, Nazi mobs torched hundreds of synagogues, smashed the windows of thousands of Jewish businesses and homes, and murdered nearly 100 Jews. Another 30,000 were dragged off to concentration camps.
        At his press conference on Nov. 11, Roosevelt was asked if he had anything to say about the violence. "No, I think not," he replied. In the face of widespread public revulsion against the German horrors, the president's aides decided a statement might be prudent. In the statement he made on Nov. 15, Roosevelt did not use the words "pogrom" or "violence," or make any reference to Adolf Hitler, the German government, or their Jewish victims.
        Roosevelt gave 348 press conferences between 1933 and the autumn of 1938. He never once brought up Hitler's oppression of the Jews. Drawing attention to the Jews' plight would have increased the pressure on the Roosevelt administration to accept more refugees - something FDR strongly opposed.
        Interior Secretary Harold Ickes was invited to participate in a post-Kristallnacht broadcast on CBS Radio. As was customary, he submitted the draft of his speech to the White House. Ickes wrote in his diary, "the President wanted us to cut out all references to Germany by name as well as references to Hitler, Goebbels, and others by name."  The writer is founding director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, and the author of The Jews Should Keep Quiet. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Jew Whom Hitler Blamed for Kristallnacht - Stephen Koch
    On Nov. 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, 17, a Jewish boy distraught over the Nazi persecution of his family and thousands of other Polish German Jews, slipped into the German Embassy in Paris and shot German diplomat Ernst vom Rath. Adolf Hitler and his propaganda henchman, Joseph Goebbels, turned this act into a pretext for Kristallnacht, a nationwide orgy of state-sponsored anti-Semitic criminality, violence, and murder.
        When France fell in 1940, the Gestapo was ordered to find Grynszpan and bring him to Berlin alive. Hitler had decided to make him the defendant in a major media show trial "proving" that the Second World War had been started by the "World Jewish Conspiracy." Enormous amounts of Nazi money, time, and energy went into planning this charade, but it never took place because Grynszpan kept it from taking place.
        He quickly grasped what was to take place and to prevent it he concocted an ingenious lie. He claimed that he had not killed the German diplomat for any political reason but that it was part of a homosexual lover's quarrel. This inspired falsehood made an enraged Goebbels advise Hitler to postpone the whole thing. The writer chaired the Creative Writing division in the School of the Arts at Columbia University. (Jewish Review of Books)

  • The reestablishment of a sovereign Israel after two millennia could never have happened without the initiative and leadership of men and women who stepped out of the crowd to change history. In particular, one thinks of the vision and courage displayed by Theodor Herzl and by the Zionist pioneers who turned his vision of a mass return of the Jews to their homeland into magnificent reality.
  • As a country surrounded by hostile neighbors, Israel has had to develop its own defenses, and it has done a brilliant job of it. The country's economy is world-class - ripe with globally significant innovation and entrepreneurship. And Israel's diverse population miraculously speaks the same language as did its ancient forebears: the first society in history to be reincarnated both nationally and linguistically.
  • These days, many are worried that bipartisan American support for Israel is collapsing. American presidential candidates are threatening to withhold American aid, in language better aimed at a recalcitrant puppet than at a strong, trusted, and unfailingly staunch ally of the U.S.
  • A latter-day version of anti-Semitism, directed at the Jewish state and in practice at all Jews, has resurfaced in Europe and has even raised its head in America, to the point of thoroughly infecting advanced sectors of American opinion and, lately, penetrating American electoral politics itself.
  • The rising generations must be educated to confront the poison of anti-Jewish animus lest it spread to engulf them. It is up to everyone who cares about Israel to respond with frankness, vigor, and pride to anti-Semitism wherever, whenever, and by whomever it is promoted.
  • Miracles like Israel are not self-sustaining. They need continuous human support and unhesitating human action. "If you will it, it is no dream," Herzl said. It's for us now to keep the dream alive.

    The writer was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut (1989-2013) and Democratic candidate for Vice President in 2000. This is from his remarks at the Herzl Conference on Contemporary Zionism in Jerusalem on October 30.
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.