April 28, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

On Independence Day, Israel's Population nearly 9.2 Million - Amiram Barkat (Globes)
    Israel's population has reached 9.19 million on the eve of Israel's 72nd Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports.
    Since last Independence Day, 180,000 babies were born, 32,000 people immigrated to Israel and 44,000 people died.

Inside the Iranian IRGC's Secretive Drone Unit - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    Col. Akbar Karimloo, head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps drone unit, spoke in a recent interview about its new "stealth" drones capable of waging war across the region.
    He said the drones had been tested in operations against Kurdish resistance groups.
    Iran has built long distance attack drones that behave like cruise missiles. It used 25 drones and cruise missiles in an attack on Saudi Arabia in September last year.
    Iran has harassed U.S. ships with drones in the Persian Gulf and it has delivered them to Hizbullah and Syria.
    In February 2018, Iran flew a drone into Israel from the T-4 base in Syria.
    Karimloo has spoken about a new "Fotros" stealth drone that can fly up to 2,000 km., meaning it can strike Israel.

Egypt Building Steel Wall along Border with Gaza (Anadolu-Turkey)
    Egypt has recently started constructing a 7-meter-high steel wall equipped with electronic sensors along its 14-km. border with Gaza, eyewitnesses said.
    So far 1 km. of the wall has been built beginning at Kerem Shalom. It runs in parallel with a concrete wall 8 meters away, whose construction started in February and almost half of it has been completed.

Video: Israel's New Roadside Coronavirus Testing Booth - Ruth Eglash (Washington Post)
    Maccabi Healthcare Services' one-stop testing booth allows the examiner to stand safely inside, eliminating the need for protective personal equipment, as they interact with patients from behind a fiberglass screen.
    They administer the test through oversized rubber gloves that poke out of the booth.
    Immediately after each test, the examiner presses down on a foot pump that sprays disinfecting soap over the outside of the booth, including on the gloves.

Video: The Covid-19 Miracle - Nas Daily (Facebook)
    Facebook vlogger Nuseir Yassin, who is known as Nas Daily, published a video on Friday outlining the difficult illness and dramatic recovery from Covid-19 of Eli Beer, founder of the United Hatzalah rescue service.

Israel's Pluristem Secures EU Financing for Covid-19 Treatment - Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post)
    Haifa-based Pluristem has secured 50 million euros ($54 million) in financing from the EU's European Investment Bank to focus on the clinical development of a placenta-based treatment for Covid-19.

We wish our readers Happy Israel Independence Day!
Daily Alert will not appear on Wednesday, April 29

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says It Would Recognize Israeli Sovereignty in "Areas of the West Bank Foreseen as Being Part of Israel"
    Referring to the Middle East "vision" unveiled in January by President Trump, a State Department spokesperson said Monday, "As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel." The step would be "in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump's Vision," she said. (AFP)
  • Cheap Oil Poses New Quandary for Iran - Farnaz Fassihi
    The oil market's collapse because the global coronavirus clampdown has shriveled demand was an unanticipated blow for Iran, where the authorities have struggled to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East. While Iranian leaders have significantly lessened their dependence on foreign purchases of Iran's oil, it remains a basic industry for a country with OPEC's third-largest oil reserves. In March, one oil trader said, Iran's oil sales had dropped from 300,000 barrels a day to 80,000. (New York Times)
  • ADL: More than Half of American Jews Have Seen or Experienced Anti-Semitism in Recent Years - Ben Sales
    More than half of American Jews have either witnessed or directly experienced anti-Semitism during the past five years, according to an Anti-Defamation League survey conducted in January and published on April 21. 63% of American Jews say they are less safe than they were a decade ago.
        More than 20% of Jews have directly experienced verbal anti-Semitic harassment; more than 20% are affiliated with an institution that has been vandalized or defaced due to anti-Semitism; 5% have experienced physical attacks motivated by anti-Semitism; and 14% say they have experienced anti-Semitic harassment online. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Mourns 23,816 Fallen on Remembrance Day
    On Remembrance Day, from Monday evening until Tuesday evening when Independence Day starts, Israelis honor all the soldiers and civilians killed in battle or terror attacks. A siren marked the start of the commemoration at 8 p.m. Monday and a second siren was heard at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
        All key events were held with either a small audience or none and broadcast online to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Military cemeteries have been ordered closed, since Remembrance Day in previous years has drawn hundreds of thousands to pay respects to relatives or friends who lost their lives. (i24News)
        See also Video: Israelis Sing Hatikvah from Balconies, Usher in Remembrance Day - Celia Jean
    The official Israel Remembrance Day ceremony held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem was held for the first time without an audience as Israelis watched the broadcast live from their homes due to the coronavirus crisis. After speeches were given and prayers were said, ceremony coordinator Dan Caner asked viewers: "Go out to your balconies, stand by your windows, and we'll all sing the national anthem together as one." Tens of thousands of Israelis set out to their balconies to sing Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Video: IDF Officer Describes His Journey from Injury to Triumph (i24News)
  • Israel's Coronavirus Death Toll Is 208
    Israel's coronavirus death toll is 208, up from 202 on Monday, the Israeli Health Ministry said Tuesday morning. 117 are in serious condition (down from 129 on Monday), including 94 on ventilator support (down from 96 on Monday). 7,375 have recovered (up from 6,796 on Monday). (Times of Israel)
        See also Veteran Israeli Nurse Dies of Covid-19 - Stuart Winer
    Suzy Levi, 65, a veteran nurse who worked for 46 years at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, died of Covid-19 on Sunday, the first Israeli medical worker to pass away due to the disease. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel's Defense Ministry Combats the Coronavirus - Yaakov Lappin
    In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Defense Ministry's Directorate of Production and Procurement (DOPP), which usually deals with the acquisition and maintenance of military equipment, suddenly changed course. In less than four weeks, after launching a series of massive operations spanning the globe, the DOPP has transformed the readiness of the Israeli health-care system for dealing with the pandemic.
        DOPP head Avi Dadon said the unit dealt with setting up hotel recovery centers for Covid-19 patients in good condition, and in getting medical equipment to the Israeli health-care system - and fast. This included personal protection equipment (PPE), ventilators, and testing swabs and reagents. Later, a request came in from the Health Ministry to stop the imports, as stockpiles were overflowing.
        For the first time in its history, the DOPP faced the reality of tenders canceled at the last minute with orders for millions of N95 masks sold to others. "My lesson was that we have to rely on ourselves and produce here," said Dadon. The DOPP reached an agreement with Sion Medical in Sderot to begin mass production of PPE in Israel as part of a wider strategic shift to medical self-sufficiency. It will be producing a million N95 masks per month by the end of May.
        Moreover, Dadon estimates that Israel will soon be making 500 ventilators per week and "we have to start thinking about where the excess production will go."  (JNS)
  • Without Sanctions, Iran's Provocations Would Be Deadlier - Bobby Ghosh
    While the U.S. "maximum-pressure" sanctions campaign failed to restrain the Iranian regime's dangerous and provocative maneuvers around U.S. warships, imagine how much more dangerous and provocative Iran would have been in its absence. Without the economic sanctions, Iran's rulers would by now have had access to tens of billions of dollars - much of which would have gone into military spending.
        This is no mere supposition. In the first year after the nuclear deal, Iran's military budget spiked by 30-90% and swelled again the following year. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps always gets the biggest slice of pie. (Bloomberg)

Anti-Semitism and the Coronavirus - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Since the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, we are witness to anti-Semitic expressions that denote the Jews, in general, and Israel, specifically, as those who have developed the virus and are responsible for its propagation. The anti-Israel BDS community and the Palestinian establishment have been leveraging the coronavirus to defame Israel.
  • The facts are, of course, unimportant to them. In practice, Israel cooperates with the Palestinians in treating the coronavirus, transfers large amounts of medical equipment for their use, and advises medical teams in Gaza and the West Bank on how to treat the disease.
  • Israel has further encouraged international medical aid to the Palestinians, gave a loan to the PA, and has delayed the execution of the law that offsets money used to pay salaries to terrorists. Israel's cooperation with the Palestinians has been praised by the international community. Israel also follows the same medical treatment policy among all sectors of its population including the Israeli Arab population.
  • The Israel-haters see this as an appropriate time to harness events to advance their permanent policy aims, such as the removal of the Israeli security blockade on Gaza and the release of imprisoned terrorists. They also use anti-Semitic tropes as a tool to prevent internal criticism of their corruption, their lack of concern for a proper medical system for their citizens, and their decision to use their resources to promote terror instead.
  • But more than the dissemination of vilifications, anti-Semitism reflects the beliefs of those who stand behind these slanders that their accusations are real, and their target audiences tend to believe these fabrications. Anti-Semitic brainwashing throughout history has brought a large public to believe in the responsibility of Jews for plagues.
  • The new attempt to disseminate Israel-hatred cannot be taken lightly. While continuing cooperation with the Palestinians, we must denounce the brainwashing, the libels, and their disseminators. And we must demand from the international community to condemn them, loud and clear.

    The writer, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division and director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center.

        See also Examples of Corona-Linked Online Anti-Semitic Messages (Anti-Defamation League)