November 16, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Most Arabs Don't View Israel as Greatest Threat (Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies-Qatar)
    According to the Arab Opinion Index (2019-2020), published in October, 51% in Jordan and 48% in Lebanon see Israel as the greatest threat to their country, while only 25% in Egypt, 24% in Sudan, and 23% in Kuwait agree.
    50% in Iraq, 29% in Saudi Arabia, and 34% in Kuwait see Iran as the greatest threat.
    61% in Algeria see France as the greatest threat.
    Overall, the number of those who say Israel poses the greatest threat to the Arab countries has fallen from 52% in 2012-13 to 37% in 2019-20.
    88% of Arabs disapprove of recognition of Israel by their home countries. Saudi Arabia was the country with the lowest level of disapproval of recognition - 65%, while 6% approved, and 29% did not answer.

Givat Hamatos: A Strategic Jerusalem Neighborhood - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Jan. 4, 2018)
    On Nov. 15, 2020, the Israel Lands Authority published a request for bids to construct 1,257 homes in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos (Airplane Hill), one of the last reserves of land available for building within the city.
    Some of the housing will serve the adjacent Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa.
    The plan was approved in 2014, but has been frozen for years due to pressure from the U.S. and EU.
    Before the Six-Day War, there were Jordanian outposts at the spot and sometimes they fired at Jewish neighborhoods.

7 Sinai Peacekeepers Killed in Helicopter Crash (VOA News)
    Seven peacekeepers from the Multinational Force and Observers, including five Americans, were killed Thursday when a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a routine mission in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
    The two additional victims were French and Czech. An eighth crew member, an American, was badly injured and airlifted to an Israeli hospital.
    The MFO monitors the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace accord. The crash appears to have been an accident and there were no signs of the aircraft being attacked.

Israel in Contact with Niger to Normalize Ties (Asharq Al-Awsat)
    Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has revealed that Israel has carried out secret contacts with Niger to reach an agreement on the normalization of relations. Niger is the largest Muslim country in West Africa.
    The report said Chad, also a Muslim state, will conclude a normalization agreement with Israel as well.

Israeli Technology Beams Music Directly to Your Head - Gabrielle Fonrouge (New York Post)
    New futuristic audio technology developed in Israel allows music to be played in a person's head without any headphones or wires.
    Noveto Systems' SoundBeamer 1.0 uses "sound beaming" that locates and tracks the position of the listener's ears and sends ultrasonic waves to sound pockets around their ears.
    "It sounds like a speaker, but no one else can hear it," said product manager Ayana Wallwater. "It follows you wherever you go."
    Because the device is headphone-free, the listener can still hear other things going on in the room.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S., Israel Worked Together to Track and Kill Al-Qaeda No. 2 in Iran - Matthew Lee and James LaPorta
    The U.S. and Israel worked together to track and kill Abu Mohammed al-Masri, al-Qaeda's No. 2, in Tehran on August 7. The U.S. provided intelligence to the Israelis on where they could find al-Masri and the alias he was using at the time, while Israeli agents carried out the killing, according to two U.S. officials. Al-Masri helped plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and was wanted on terrorism charges by the FBI.
        The revelation shows that Iran was harboring an al-Qaeda leader. U.S. officials have long believed a number of al-Qaeda leaders have been living quietly in Iran for years. (AP)
        See also Israel: Al-Qaeda No. 2 Was Planning Attacks Against Israelis and Jewish Targets, Oversaw 2002 Bombing of Israeli Hotel in Kenya (Times of Israel)
  • Iranian Strategic Affairs Expert: Return to the Nuclear Deal by Biden Is Not Enough
    Iranian strategic affairs expert Mehdi Mohammadi spoke to Iran's Channel 1 on Nov. 7 regarding a Biden presidency: "We have sustained damages to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. In my opinion, it needs to be clear what would be [done] about these damages." He added that it isn't obvious that the Iranian public would accept renewed negotiations with someone who sees the "martyrdom" of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani as an act of justice. (MEMRI-TV)
  • Iran's Oil Exports Surge - Joby Warrick
    Iran's oil trade is on the rise again. Independent analysts calculated that Tehran exported 1.2 million barrels of oil a day in September, and nearly as much in October. That's less than half the amount Tehran was selling in 2018, but it is dramatically higher than the 70,000 barrels reported in April.
        Iran conceals the bulk of its oil trade through subterfuge, by changing the names and registrations of oil tankers, or through clandestine transfers of crude oil or liquefied petroleum gas between vessels in the open sea. A substantial share of the black-market oil eventually ends up in China. Much of the rest is hauled overland through Turkey or transferred to Iraq to be relabeled and sold as Iraqi oil. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus in Israel
    Israel saw 613 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the Health Ministry said Monday morning. 532 patients are being treated in hospitals, with 294 in serious condition and 130 on respirators. (Ynet News)
        See also Israeli Arabs Banned from Area B of West Bank due to Covid-19 - Joshua Robbin Marks
    Israel on Thursday began a month-long ban on its citizens entering Area B of the West Bank in an attempt to slow a rise in Covid-19 cases among Israeli Arabs. Some 38% of current coronavirus patients in Israel are in Israeli Arab communities. (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Losing Control of Coronavirus Outbreak in Gaza - Alex Fishman
    Hamas appears to have lost control of the coronavirus outbreak in Gaza. As of Thursday, there were 3,052 active Covid-19 cases, with 250 to 300 additional patients added daily - although many experts believe the numbers are far greater. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Strikes Hamas Targets in Response to Rocket Fire - Anna Ahronheim
    In response to two rockets launched toward the center of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces targeted underground infrastructure and military posts of Hamas in Gaza on Monday morning. The rockets were fired at 2 a.m., sending thousands of Israelis into shelters. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Assassination of Senior Al-Qaeda Leader Is Clear Message to Iran - Yoav Limor
    The story surrounding the assassination of senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Mohammed al-Masri was intentionally leaked. The report is replete with accurate details. Whoever relayed the information wanted to send a message to al-Qaeda, which lost yet another senior leader. It was also meant for Iran, which was exposed as harboring al-Masri. And it was meant for any other extremist actor in the region, that the U.S. and Israel will continue working together in the war on terror.
        According to foreign reports, this level of cooperation has been evidenced many times in the past. For the past 15 years, Israel and the U.S. have shared operational intelligence. The operation indicates the Americans lack a sufficient operational infrastructure in Iran while, based on foreign reports, Israel has proven over the past decade to possess impressive operational capabilities on Iranian soil.
        Iran understands it is again penetrated and is in the crosshairs of the Israelis and Americans. As Iran is mulling its nuclear options, it must know this comes with zero-tolerance. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Hit on Al-Qaeda Leader in Iran Is a Blow to the Revolutionary Guards - Yossi Melman
    The assassination of senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Mohammed al-Masri is a morale-sapping and psychological blow to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which sheltered him for nearly two decades. Iranian intelligence chiefs must ask themselves who's next, and open a new hunt to locate the traitors. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hit on Terrorist Shows Why Israel Is Such a Key U.S. Ally - Seth J. Frantzman
    The killing of one of the world's most-wanted al-Qaeda terrorists provides evidence of the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel and why it is such a key ally. The relationship is not just one of Washington supporting Jerusalem. Israel provides key capabilities in the region for the Americans.
        The revelation that al-Qaeda operatives are being hosted in Iran shows that it specifically harbors those who killed Americans. Iran could have ejected these terrorists as part of the Iran deal to show it is moderating. But it did not. This illustrates what many experts in the region have been saying about Iran: Its threat is not just about the nuclear program but is the sum of all of the threats it poses, including its willingness to work with al-Qaeda. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gen. McMaster: It Would Be a Mistake to Resurrect the Iran Nuclear Deal - Bret Baier
    Former U.S. National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. (ret.) H.R. McMaster told Fox News on Wednesday: "It would be a really big mistake to try to turn the clock back to 2016 and resurrect the Iran nuclear deal. The Iran nuclear deal was a political disaster masquerading as a diplomatic triumph. It was a fundamentally flawed agreement."
        "But what it didn't do, it didn't consider really two fundamental issues that we have to take into consideration when you're dealing with Iran: First of all, the hostile ideology of the regime - the ideology of the revolution - and secondly, this four-decade-long proxy war against us, and these big payoffs to Iran when the deal was signed, as well as the relief of sanctions. What did they do with that money? They applied that money to intensify sectarian violence across the region in an effort to put a proxy army on the border of Israel."  (Fox News)

The 2020 Presidential Election: How Jewish-Americans Voted - Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • A study of 540 Jewish-American respondents after Election Day looked at the role Jewish identity played and asked about "pro-Israel" attitudes. We also looked at which issues played a role in determining how Jewish-Americans voted.
  • When asked, "Would you consider yourself definitely "pro-Israel"?, a majority had no problem saying "yes" (over 57%), while only 5% said "no." 37% preferred the choice: "The term is too vague for me to give a 'yes' or 'no' answer."
  • Among Trump voters, 87% said they were definitely "pro-Israel," with 1% saying "no" and 12% saying "the term is too vague." Among Biden voters, 52% said they were definitely "pro-Israel," with 6% saying "no" and 42% saying "the term is too vague."
  • Fully half of our sample said their Jewish identity did not figure at all into their choice for president. While the other half did say it had an impact, only 13% said it figured a "great deal," and only 8% said it figured "a lot." In this particular election, Israel took a back seat to something else.
  • When asked which were the "most important" issues in choosing a president, 59% chose "character and trust." When asked about the "second most important issue," respondents chose Covid-19, climate change, the economy, and health care (in that order).
  • It appears that many Jewish-Americans are increasingly more concerned about the principle and substance of certain issues as related to their personal ideology and party affiliation and are less inclined to apply identity-based labels such as "pro-Israel" to describe themselves or define their behavior.

    The writer, a clinical psychologist, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center, specializing in political psychology.
Jerusalem Center Post-Election Webinar

The U.S. Elections and the Jewish Vote
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
5:00 p.m. in Israel, 10:00 a.m. New York, 7:00 a.m. Los Angeles

Zoom Webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88331682830

Amb. Dore Gold, Prof. Steven Windmueller, Dr. Irwin Mansdorf,
William Daroff, J.D., MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Dr. Liel Leibovitz
Moderator: Howard Weisband

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