December 11, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Three Jewish Bystanders Killed in Jersey City Shootout - Danielle Ziri (Ha'aretz)
    Three Jewish bystanders, a police officer, and two gunmen died in a shootout in Jersey City on Tuesday.
    Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said the JC Kosher Supermarket that was the scene of the shootout may have been the intended target of the gunmen.
    "We now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked," he wrote on Twitter.

Albania's Prime Minister Lauds Israeli Help after Earthquake - Llazar Semini (AP)
    Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama on Monday hailed the work of Israeli engineers who are among scores of foreign experts helping to determine whether buildings left standing in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake can still be inhabited.
    "They are from Israel and they are No. 1," Rama told a resident who was hesitant to enter a building.

AP Distorts: Bethlehem Is Not "Almost Completely Surrounded" by Israel's Security Barrier (CAMERA)
    AP's Joseph Krauss and Mohammad Daraghmeh wrote Monday: "Bethlehem itself is almost completely surrounded by the [Israeli security] barrier."
    A Peace Now map shows where the barrier exists or is planned on the northern and western sides of Bethlehem, but to the east and south of the city there are significant stretches with no barrier.

False Claim: "Israeli Policeman Strangles Palestinian Child" - Archit Mehta (Alt News-India)
    Several recent accounts on Twitter posted a video of a policeman pinning down a young boy, with the text, "An Israeli policeman strangles a Palestinian child to death Saturday during a demonstration in front of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem."
    Alt News performed a reverse image search and found that the video is of a 2015 incident in Malmo, Sweden, where a security guard at the Malmo central station detained a boy after he was thrown off a train for travelling without a ticket.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology Opens Israel Office - Eanna Kelly (ScienceBusiness-Belgium)
    The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) opened a new office in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Israeli Startups Raised nearly $900 Million in November (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised nearly $900 million in November.
    Israeli tech companies have now raised $7.84 billion since the start of 2019, a figure that easily surpasses the record $6.4 billion raised in 2018.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. to Target Anti-Semitism on College Campuses
    President Trump plans to sign an executive order on Wednesday threatening to cut federal assistance to colleges that fail to combat anti-Semitism, a senior administration official said Tuesday. The order would extend protections against discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act to people subjected to anti-Semitism on college campuses, the official said.
        The order "just explains if an incident is anti-Semitic it could fall into a Title 6 violation," the official said, referring to the law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in activities receiving federal financial assistance. "Just because someone is Jewish doesn't mean they should be punished and not receive the same protections for discrimination under Title 6," the official said. The Anti-Defamation League recorded 201 anti-Semitic incidents at colleges and universities in 2018. (Reuters)
        See also President to Sign Order Recognizing Jewish University Students as a Protected Class - Ron Kampeas
    President Trump will sign an executive order recognizing Jewish university students as a class protected from discrimination. The order leapfrogs bipartisan legislation in Congress that would do the same thing. Classifying Jews as a protected class under existing civil rights protections for other minorities would effectively recognize Jews as an ethnic minority and not exclusively a religious minority. (JTA)
        See also below Commentary: The U.S. Should Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Anti-Semitism - Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) (Times of Israel)
  • Iran Building New Underground Tunnel in Syria to House Missiles - Trey Yingst
    Iran is building an underground tunnel within the Imam Ali military base in eastern Syria to store missiles and large-scale weapons, according to satellite images obtained by Fox News and Western intelligence sources. The tunnel is in the final stages of construction and will shortly be considered operational.
        Last week the New York Times reported that Iran is secretly moving hundreds of short-range missiles to Iraq that are capable of hitting Israel, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. troops in the region. (Fox News)
  • Lebanon Rejects Iranian Threat to Attack Israel from Its Territory
    Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Morteza Qorbani's recent threat to attack Israel from Lebanese territory sparked outrage in Beirut. Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab said: "These statements are unfortunate and unacceptable. They are a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon." Information Minister Jamal al-Jarrah said Qorbani's remarks are "irresponsible" and "arrogant." "Iran may defend itself in any way it likes, but Lebanon is not the Guards' mailbox or an arena for foreign actors."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Ambassador Urges Germany Not to Fund Iranian Terrorism - Benjamin Weinthal
    U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Germany should join the U.S. and work to stop Iranian regime support for terrorism, in response to a German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce event in Berlin. "We will continue to explain to our partners that we should work together to end Iranian support for terrorism, not find ways to give the regime more resources," said Grenell. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Aids Syrian Kurds - Wilson Fache
    In November, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the Knesset, "We identify with the deep distress of the Kurds [in Syria], and we are assisting them through a range of channels." Photos surfaced online of a container full of humanitarian aid, with Israeli flags clearly visible. "We provided them with some support about two months ago - coats for children and babies, as well as medicine," said Gal Lusky, CEO of Israeli Flying Aid. The nonprofit has been providing covert support to Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons since 2011. "It's not the first time we provided help to the Kurds, and more aid delivery is planned," she said. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The U.S. Should Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Anti-Semitism - Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.)
    Four years ago, we in Congress launched the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism as a forum for understanding the threats against Jews at home and abroad and developing legislative ways to address them.
        The French National Assembly recently voted to adopt an internationally-recognized definition of anti-Semitism established in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an organization made up of 34 member countries, including the U.S.  Since 2016, over a dozen countries have adopted or endorsed the definition, as has the European Parliament.
        Opponents of this definition argue that it would encroach on Americans' right to freedom of speech. But this definition was drafted not to regulate free speech or punish people for expressing their beliefs, however hateful they may be.
        This definition can serve as an important tool to guide our government's response to anti-Semitism. The definition is already used by the Departments of State and Education. It is time for Congress to adopt the IHRA definition in the U.S. to lay the groundwork for a whole-of-government strategy to combat anti-Semitism. It's time for our federal government to lead by example and use the IHRA definition as a guide for protecting the American Jewish community. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Obtains New Weaponry Anyway It Can - Lenny Ben-David
    Palestinians in Gaza have fired 2,600 rockets and mortars into Israel over the last two years. These are no longer crude Qassam rockets. Hamas has home-grown rocket production lines in Gaza. They continually test new models, firing them into the Mediterranean, to improve their accuracy and distance. Hamas also has a drone workshop to produce copies of Iranian weapons-bearing, kamikaze UAVs.
        In December 2016, Hamas aviation engineer Mohammad al-Zawahri was targeted in Tunisia. An aerial drone developer, al-Zawahri was also developing unmanned underwater vehicles that could be used to attack Israel's offshore gas platforms off the coast of Haifa.
        For items it is unable to manufacture, Hamas receives them via barrels dropped into the sea off the coast of Gaza which are then picked up by Gazan operatives. Hamas has also built up its naval commando unit. Their bases have been struck repeatedly by the Israel Defense Forces.
        The writer served 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem, and served as Deputy Chief of Mission at Israel's Embassy in Washington. He participated in a multi-year conventional arms reduction program investigating weapons in abandoned and unguarded USSR stockpiles. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The most important test of national security is a societal one. Despite the cliches about Israel being a fractured society, the continued leadership by the centrist camp proves that there is deep solidarity, strong foundations, wonderful resilience, and a deep commitment to pluralism in society and politics.
  • Within this centrist camp, there is a broad national consensus on the biggest national issues. In the last two highly-charged elections, there was no real dispute over civil or economic matters, or about foreign affairs and security.
  • There is no serious disagreement about action against Iran, even though it could lead to a major war. The Palestinian issue? Both sides know there is no chance for peace in the near future.
  • Despite the differences in emphases, there is a very broad national consensus about the principles of the state being Jewish and democratic.
  • Without that, it is impossible to understand how a society exposed to missile threats and the risk of war enjoys such economic success, improves its regional and international standing, or achieves what it does in technology and science, not to mention its rich cultural output.

    The writer is director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa.