May 5, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Russian Radar Systems Deployed in Egypt (Al-Masdar News)
    The Russian publication NZIV reported this week that the Russian Armed Forces have deployed their Resonance radar system in two locations in Egypt "that can detect planes and missiles up to 1,100 km. away."
    "One station was built in Javelin Oved at a distance of about 40 km. east of the Suez Canal." A "second post was in the Gulf of Suez on a hill between Jabel al-Galla and Kabir."
    "Equipping Egypt with state-of-the-art radars is part of the accelerating process of arming and building military infrastructure, mainly in eastern Egypt and the Sinai. The system also provides data for intercept systems within 350 km. This area includes all of Israel."

Report: Iranian Border Guards Forced Afghan Migrants into River Where Many Drowned - Storay Karimi (Reuters)
    Afghan officials on Sunday launched a hunt to retrieve bodies of Afghan migrants from the Harirud river in Herat province bordering Iran.
    A senior official in the presidential palace in Kabul said at least 70 Afghans who were trying to enter Iran were beaten and pushed into the river.
    Afghan citizen Shir Agha, who survived the violence, said at least 23 people thrown by Iranian soldiers into the river were dead.

Iran to Cut Four Zeros from Falling Currency (Reuters)
    Iran's parliament has passed a bill allowing the government to slash four zeros from the rial, Iranian media reported on Monday.
    Iran's national currency will be changed from the rial to the Toman, which is equal to 10,000 rials.

Israel to Build Its First Vaccine Factory - Idan Zonshine (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's first vaccine production facility will be built in Yeruham in partnership with the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) and an international pharmaceutical company, the Yeruham local council announced Monday.
    Tens of millions of vaccine units, of various types, will be manufactured in Yeruham, which will ensure Israeli self-sufficiency including in cases of pandemics.

Palestinian Laborers Back Working in Israel as Virus Slows (AFP-Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
    Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank entered Israel to work on Sunday after weeks of absence over fears of the coronavirus, as the pandemic's spread slowed.
    An Israeli security official said the decision to let workers in was reached jointly with the Palestinians and aimed at ensuring "they would not lose their jobs and would be able to continue supporting their families."
    Some 120,000 Palestinians worked in Israel and Israeli communities in the West Bank before the pandemic's outbreak.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UK Supreme Court BDS Ruling Will Not Prevent Israel Divestment Ban - Lee Harpin
    The UK Supreme Court's "narrow" technical ruling against the government over local authority divestments will not prevent forthcoming legislation to ban public bodies from imposing boycotts, the Conservative Friends of Israel group has said. A government spokesperson said this week, "We are committed...to stop local boycotts. We will therefore bring back new legislation that addresses the technical points raised by the Supreme Court."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Intel Buys Israeli Urban Mobility Startup Moovit for $900 Million - Alan Ohnsman
    Intel is buying Moovit, the Israeli startup with an urban mobility app used by hundreds of millions of commuters worldwide, for about $900 million. Moovit provides trip-planning data from public transit agencies worldwide and bicycle, scooter, ride-hailing and car-share services.
        From its origins in 2012 as a provider of real-time arrival and departure data for bus and rail riders in Tel Aviv, Moovit has grown into a powerhouse providing commute-planning services for 800 million users in more than 3,000 cities in over 100 countries. (Forbes)
  • Catholic Church in Germany Says: "We Were Complicit in Nazi Crimes" - Oliver Moody
    A new report from the council of Catholic bishops in the German branch of the Catholic Church makes what one prelate described as a "confession of guilt." The document states: "Inasmuch as the bishops did not oppose the war with a clear 'no,' and most of them bolstered the [German nation's] will to endure, they made themselves complicit in the war. The bishops may not have shared the Nazis' justification for the war on the grounds of racial ideology, but their words and their images gave succor both to soldiers and the regime prosecuting the war, as they lent the war an additional sense of purpose."
        Weeks after the Nazi party seized power in 1933 it signed a "Reich concordat" with the bishops. The Vatican condemned Hitler's race laws in a 1937 encyclical, but for the most part its bishops enthusiastically endorsed the dictator's foreign policy and headlong path into war. The document notes that hundreds of priests were dispatched to accompany the Wehrmacht on the front lines, thousands of church and monastic properties were converted into military hospitals, and tens of thousands of nuns fulfilled their "duty to the fatherland" by acting as nurses. The Church denounced the 1946 Nuremberg trials of senior Nazis as an un-Christian act of revenge. (The Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Seems to Intensify Its Attacks Against Iran in Syria - Amos Harel
    An airstrike attributed to Israel on Monday night struck Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center in the Aleppo area in northern Syria, responsible for developing weaponry, including chemical and biological weapons, and a vital component of Iran's efforts to arm Hizbullah.
        According to Syrian media, beginning in April the Israeli Air Force has been attacking military targets in Syria several times a week: arms storehouses, weapons plants, surface-to-air missile batteries, and observation posts along the Israeli border.
        In the background is the tense relationship between Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Iranian guests. Iran admittedly made a significant contribution to the regime's survival during the civil war, but now the Assad regime is suffering from Iran's insistence on staying. Many recent attacks have been accompanied by strikes on Syrian anti-aircraft batteries. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel's Coronavirus Death Toll Is 237
    Israel's coronavirus death toll is 237 (up from 234 on Monday), the Israeli Health Ministry said Tuesday morning. 89 patients are in serious condition (down from 93 on Monday), including 66 on ventilator support (down from 72 on Monday). Active coronavirus cases dropped to 5,808 (down from 6,145 on Monday). 10,223 people have recovered from the virus. Just 31 new virus cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel: No Need for a UNIFIL Paralyzed by Hizbullah - Lahav Harkov
    Israel may change its mind about the need for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) if it continues to let Hizbullah run rampant in southern Lebanon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN Security Council on Monday. "If Hizbullah continues to paralyze UNIFIL's actions and reinforce its terrorist positions in the area, there will be no choice but to draw conclusions about the necessity of the forces in its current format," Danon warned. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Western Countries Should Defend Themselves Against the ICC - Col. Richard Kemp
    The International Criminal Court should be an important part of the international rule of law. The court's founding Rome Statute allows investigations only within the sovereign territories of state parties to the treaty. But ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has unlawfully accepted delegated jurisdiction over the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza from what she calls the "State of Palestine," despite the fact that Palestine is not a state and never has been.
        The ICC was not established to replace national judicial systems but to complement them - to act only where states themselves lack the capability or will to conduct their own investigations and prosecutions. Israel has a long-established and internationally-respected legal system.
        The U.S., never a party to the ICC, is rightly defending itself against the court. Other Western countries should now leave the ICC and defund it. This would force the court to act as the Rome Statute intended, dealing only with member states without functioning judiciaries that are unable to apply international law themselves. The writer is a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The PLO's Program of Deception and Lies - Bassam Tawil
    Palestinian officials are again threatening to revoke their recognition of Israel's right to exist if the Israeli government extends Israeli sovereignty to any part of the West Bank. They are saying the PLO will no longer honor the letter Yasser Arafat sent to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on September 9, 1993, stating: "The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security...[and] commits itself...to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides."
        In fact, the continued existence of the Palestine Liberation Organization - whose declared goal is the "liberation of Palestine" through armed struggle - is an indication that the Palestinian leadership has not given up its desire to eliminate Israel. They continue to engage in terrorism, glorify terrorists, and pay regular financial tributes to their families. (Gatestone Institute)

Critics Wrong on U.S. Mideast Peace Plan - U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (New York Post)
  • Two of the architects of the last administration's Mideast policy - Philip Gordon and Robert Malley writing in Foreign Policy - have publicly offered their advice on how to frustrate President Trump's vision for the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • The authors argue that the limited annexation of West Bank territory that is envisioned would jeopardize Israel's future as a Jewish state. Wrong. Israel would be claiming sovereignty over a fraction of the West Bank, comprising territories that either are sparsely populated or overwhelmingly populated by Israeli Jews.
  • The authors argue that the U.S. vision would jeopardize Israel's democracy. Wrong again. A majority of Israelis, as well as Israel's democratically elected government, support the president's vision. It is ironic that so many of Israel's critics, who purport to care so much about democracy, condemn Israel when it adheres to the will of its own citizens.
  • The authors charge that the U.S. vision relegates Palestinians to second-class status. Wrong again. The vision gives Palestinians a clear path to statehood and a huge influx of economic investment that would allow them to live independently with peace, prosperity and dignity.
  • The authors want the U.S. to reject any action the Israelis take unless the Palestinians agree. Wrong. That approach was taken for 53 years and led nowhere. Giving the Palestinians a veto on progress guarantees stagnation and violence.
  • The authors would withhold aid to Israel and deny it support at the UN if the Jewish state declares sovereignty in conformity with the Trump vision. Extremely wrong. Israel has made enormous concessions in agreeing to negotiate in accordance with the Trump vision, and it shouldn't be punished for acting in accordance with its commitment to Washington.

Daily Alert was prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations from May 3, 2002, to April 30, 2020.
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