July 13, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Senior Hamas Commander Defects to Israel - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz-Times of Israel)
    Al-Arabiya reported on Friday that senior Hamas military figure Mohammed Omar Abu Ajwa, who was in charge of an elite naval unit, had recently defected to Israel by sea.
    He had been cooperating with Israel since 2009 and was reportedly in possession of a laptop and sensitive documents.
    He was a senior commander in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and is said to have overseen the group's divers unit, the Palestinian Amad news site reported.

Senior PFLP Member Killed in Gaza (IMEMC-PA)
    Masked gunmen opened fire and stabbed Jaber al-Qeeq, 50, on Sunday west of Rafah in Gaza.
    Al-Qeeq, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was serving six life terms in Israeli prisons before he was released as part of the Oslo agreement after he spent 15 years in prison.
    Reports claim that, many years ago, al-Qeeq killed another Palestinian accused of "being an informant working for Israeli security," and that the Palestinian's family killed al-Qeeq as an act of vengeance.

Despite Coronavirus, Israeli Hi-Tech Secures $5.25 Billion in Funding in First Half of 2020 - Zachary Keyser (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli hi-tech industry secured $5.25 billion in funding - spread across 312 deals - in the first half of 2020, according to the Israel-based IVC Research Center.

Israel-U.S. R and D Foundation Invests $8 Million in New Projects - James Spiro (Calcalist-Times of Israel)
    The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) has approved $8 million in funding for 10 new projects between U.S and Israeli companies.
    BIRD has invested more than $350 million in 1,000 projects over 43 years, which have generated direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.
    The approved projects include artificial-intelligence-based genetic testing technology and an autonomous driving system for agricultural machinery.

Israel Shipyards to Supply Patrol Vessels to an African Navy (Navy Recognition)
    Israel Shipyards announced that it will provide an African navy with two OPV 45 offshore patrol vessels in light of the increasing threat of piracy in the region.
    See also Philippines to Acquire Israeli Fast Patrol Boats - Priam Nepomuceno (Philippine News Agency)
    The Philippine Navy is to acquire eight Shaldag-class patrol boats built by Israel Shipyards to replace its patrol craft in use since the mid-1990s.
    Four of the boats will be built in Israel, while four will be constructed in the Cavite Naval Yard in the Philippines.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • "Day of Rage" Rallies in U.S. Demonize Jews, Israel
    Anti-Israel groups have held at least 35 rallies in cities across the U.S. since July 1, 2020, ostensibly to express their opposition to the potential application of Israeli law to parts of the West Bank. A large number of these events featured classic anti-Semitic tropes or hostile language demonizing Zionism, the movement for Jewish self-determination and statehood supported by the vast majority of American Jews and Americans in general. About half the rallies included messaging that bizarrely blamed Israel for police brutality in the U.S.
        At the July 1 rally in Brooklyn, some in the crowd chanted in Arabic, "Death to America, Death to Israel." One speaker said, "We don't want a fake Palestinian state that they give us while Israel still exists....We don't want to go back to our homes just in Gaza and the West Bank. We want all of it!"  (Anti-Defamation League)
  • Turkey's President Erdogan Vows to "Liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque" from Israel
    Turkey's President Erdogan vowed Friday to "liberate Al-Aqsa mosque" in Jerusalem from Israel, the official Turkish presidency website said.
        Erdogan also announced Muslim prayers at the Hagia Sophia museum, first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire and converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The mosque became a museum in 1935. (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
  • Former Jordanian Minister: Arabs Need to Act Pragmatically regarding the Palestinian Cause
    Former Jordanian minister and diplomat Ahmad Masa'deh told Roya TV (Jordan) on July 1: "The time has come for us to think somewhat realistically....There is a new reality that we - the Arab world or Arab countries - must acknowledge, whether we like it or not....The global [players] who have influence support Israel....As a former ambassador to the EU, let me tell you: We won't get anything beyond condemnations from them."
        "Some countries are engaged in civil wars, and other countries have crossed their traditional political boundaries and are now directly cooperating with the Israeli side....Why should we in Jordan...be responsible for this cause all by ourselves?...Where are the Arabs and the Muslims? Nowhere."  (MEMRI-TV)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus Death Toll Rises in Israel
    The Israel Health Ministry said on Sunday evening the coronavirus death toll had risen to 362, with 8 deaths in the past 24 hours. 1,206 new cases were confirmed in the past day. 151 are in serious condition, with 47 people on ventilators. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Calls to Empower UNIFIL to Better Monitor Hizbullah in Lebanon - Tovah Lazaroff
    The UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) must be better empowered to monitor violations by Hizbullah, Avivit Bar-Ilan, who heads the Israel Foreign Ministry International Organizations Division, told 12 foreign ambassadors and diplomats touring Israel's northern border on Friday. IDF Brig.-Gen. Effie Defrin said, "UNIFIL must be able to move freely in southern Lebanon and report to the UNSC all violations perpetrated by the terrorist organization Hizbullah."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Argentina Extends Freeze of Hizbullah Funds
    Argentina's federal judiciary on Monday "froze the funds for Hizbullah; its external security organization, Islamic Jihad; its boss, Hasan Nasrallah; Salman El Reda, who faces an arrest warrant for the AMIA attack; and the Barakat clan, the family of merchants based in the Triple Frontier (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil) who are accused of money laundering and terrorist financing," La Nacion reported. In 1994, a joint Iranian-Hizbullah operation blew up the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds.
        "The verdict, made by federal Judge Miguel Angel Guerrero of El Dorado, Misiones, extended the freeze on the financial assets of Hizbullah and 22 more people for another year....The Judiciary determined that Hizbullah was the perpetrator of the attacks on the AMIA and the Israeli embassy."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel's Consul General: Palestinians Have Rejected Every Offer of Compromise - Mira Fox
    Israel's Consul General for New York Dani Dayan said in an interview on Wednesday that he was pleasantly surprised to discover the extent to which American Jews feel connected to Israel, seeing both the Israeli and the American flag hanging in close proximity when he attended many synagogues during his four years in America.
        Dayan said that he has never understood boycotting Israel. Jewish solidarity is broken by boycotting. Comparing the relationship between American and Israeli Jews to a sibling relationship, he said that boycotting your brother would break the relationship. If we Jews are a family, any move to cast someone out breaks the family bond.
        Asked about Palestinian civil rights, Dayan stated that his "conscience is clean" regarding the Palestinians, saying Israel has tried to compromise and the Palestinians have rejected every offer. (Forward)
  • The U.S. Should Take Sudan Off Its State Sponsors of Terrorism List - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    In recent years, Sudan detached itself from the radical camp and joined the pragmatists. The half-popular, half-military revolution in April 2019 signaled the completion of the change in Khartoum's affiliation. In February 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Sudan's President, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, met in Uganda.
        Sudan is still on the U.S. list of terror-supporting states. Sudan reached an agreement with the U.S. on compensating the victims of past terror attacks, which will enable erasing it from the list once it is approved by Congress. If the deal is rejected and its approval delayed, the pragmatic temporary regime may be further destabilized and even toppled by opposing factions with affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. The writer is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Times of Israel)
  • Turks Defy Erdogan's Islamist Social Engineering - Burak Bekdil
    In 2012, Turkish President Erdogan declared his political mission to be "raising devout generations." Recent surveys indicate that his 18-year reign has failed to achieve his broader political mission. Turkish pollster Konda found in 2019 that Turkish youths were less likely than the wider population to call themselves "religious conservative." They were also less likely to fast, pray regularly, or, if female, cover their hair.
        Another survey revealed that 54% of imam school students do not feel they belong at their school, compared to 27-29% of students at non-religious schools. A survey by Ipsos found that only 12% of Turks trust Islamic clerics. When SODEV, a Turkish foundation, asked young people aged 15-25 whether they would live abroad if given the chance, 47% of those youths who said they supported Erdogan's AKP said they preferred to live abroad.
        Another of Erdogan's social engineering failures is the greying of Turkey. Since 2008, he has repeatedly urged Turkish families to have at least three children - "four or five if possible." Yet Turkey is now reproducing below the 2.1 rate required to maintain the population at current levels. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Jews Are Indigenous to Israel - Prof. Ilan Troen interviewed by Rossella Tercatin (Jerusalem Post)
  • Comments on social media last week that Jews are not indigenous to the Land of Israel seek to undermine the legitimacy of Israel as the Jewish homeland, Ilan Troen, emeritus professor of Modern History at Ben-Gurion University and of Israel Studies at Brandeis University, told the Jerusalem Post.
  • "For a long time there was very little doubt on whether the Jews were indigenous here," Troen said.
  • He pointed out that the difference between the European conquest of their lands and the Jewish return to Israel has been conspicuous. "Europeans entered into territories that they never belonged to and implanted Europe there, as proven by names such as New England."
  • "When Jews returned here, they did not give any European names to the places and they spoke Hebrew. There is no other example of people rejuvenating a language they spoke thousands of years ago."
  • "What is fascinating is that Palestinian Arabs began calling themselves indigenous after 1967 and the fall of Nasser and Pan-Arabism. Palestinians needed to demonstrate that they were here before the Jews and they did so by inventing that they are descendants of the Jebusites, which would mean that they were here before Joshua conquered the Holy Land as described in the Bible."
  • "For Muslims to find a connection with a pagan past is highly unusual, an act of political imagination, clearly a decision for rhetorical purposes."

    Prof. Ilan Troen is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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