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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
December 10, 2020
Iran Moving Nuclear Fuel Enrichment Facility Underground - Christoph Koettl (New York Times)
After a July explosion destroyed a centrifuge assembly hall at Iran's main nuclear fuel enrichment facility in Natanz, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said the facility would be rebuilt in "the heart of the mountains."
New satellite imagery has revealed new tunnel entrances for underground construction in the mountain foothills south of the Natanz facility.
Senate Fails to Block Sale of F-35 Jets to UAE - Ted Barrett (CNN)
The Senate on Wednesday failed to pass two disapproval resolutions to block the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE in votes of 46-50 and 47-49.
Israel to Attempt New Moon Landing - Kenneth Chang (New York Times)
On Wednesday, SpaceIL, which launched the Beresheet spacecraft that crashed on the moon in April 2019, announced Beresheet 2, involving two landers and an orbiter, to be launched in 2024.
The two landers would be much smaller than the first spacecraft and would land on different parts of the moon, while the orbiter would circle the moon for years.
Turkey Chooses New Ambassador to Israel - Amberin Zaman (Al-Monitor)
Turkey has selected a new ambassador to Israel in line with efforts to normalize relations.
Ufuk Ulutas, 40, is chairman for the Center for Strategic Research at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. He studied Hebrew and Middle Eastern politics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
There has been no ambassador in either country since May 2018, when Turkey asked the Israeli ambassador to leave due to fighting in Gaza and the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
New Saudi Poll Shows Sharp Rise in Support for Israel Ties - David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
A new public opinion poll commissioned by the Washington Institute shows that the Saudi public is increasingly open to contacts with Israel.
41% call the agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain a "positive development, while 54% label the agreements as negative.
37% agree that "people who want to have business or sports contacts with Israelis should be allowed to do so," compared to 9% who agreed in June 2020. 61% disagree, compared to 86% in June.
The writer is a fellow at The Washington Institute.
UNESCO Unanimously Adopts Resolution Condemning Israel over Jerusalem (Ammon News-Jordan)
The Foreign Affairs Committee of UNESCO's Executive Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Monday reaffirming the rejection of Israeli measures in the Old City of Jerusalem.
It also reaffirmed the 18 UNESCO resolutions relating to Jerusalem and Israeli excavations in the city.
See also Diplomats Claim UNESCO Has Reformed, Is Less Political - John Irish (Reuters)
Four years after the U.S. quit UNESCO, the UN cultural agency, over accusations of anti-Israel bias, diplomats say the Paris-based body has managed to put its house in order.
Palestinian Authority Looking for Creative Ways to Continue Payments to Terrorists (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
The Palestinian Authority does not intend to make any substantial changes in financial support for terrorist prisoners, released prisoners, and families of "martyrs."
In order to please the new U.S. administration, two "creative solutions" have recently been put forward in the PA regarding payments to terrorists.
One involves paying stipends based on socioeconomic status. Another is to have the PA employ released terrorists, a practice that dates back to the Arafat era.
Indian Navy to Procure Israeli Anti-Drone Systems (Press Trust of India)
The Indian Navy has finalized a contract to procure the Israeli SMASH 2000 fire control system that is capable of bringing down high-speed enemy drones, official sources said Tuesday.
See also The SMASH 2000 Plus (Smart Shooter)
The SMASH 2000 Plus includes an advanced Counter-UAS Mode which provides accurate Hard Kill capability to counter the emerging drone threat.
Jews Are Native to the Middle East - Sandy Rashty (Jewish News-UK)
Israel's Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely spoke at an event to mark the persecution of Jews from Arab countries and Iran on Dec 1.
"Here in this country [Britain], the perception about Israel is: 'Some European colonialists came to the Middle East and found shelter for the Jewish people.' That is not historically right."
"It's important to remember Jews were always part of the Middle East and we are natives like our Arab neighbors. Many are not aware of the fact that almost a million [Arab Jews] had to leave [their homes]. Israel accepted them - they are an integral part of the Israeli story."
Six Israeli Creations among TIME's 100 Best Inventions for 2020 - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
Six Israeli tech firms have been named in TIME magazine's annual list of 100 Best Inventions.
Beewise offers a smart home for bees, the Beehome, that helps bees thrive at a time when 40% die every year as a result of disease, pesticides, and climate change. It uses precision robotics, computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI).
TrialJectory's software uses AI to read through thousands of clinical trials and extract information about patients for researchers.
Augmedics' xvision headset uses augmented reality to turn a patient's CT scan into a 3-D image to help guide spinal surgeons.
Mifold has developed a compact, portable child's booster seat with a design that keeps the seatbelt off the child's stomach and neck for better safety and comfort.
City Transformer offers a folding electric two-seater car that can reach up to 55 miles per hour. Four of them fit into a standard parking spot.
DouxMatok's Incredo Sugar allows bakers and food companies to reduce sugar content by 30-50% while retaining the same level of sweetness. The sugar grains are engineered so that most of the flavor reaches the taste buds.
Israeli Startups Raised over $900 Million in November (Globes)
Israeli tech companies have already raised over $9.7 billion in the first 11 months of 2020, compared with a record $8.3 billion in 2019, despite the Covid-19 crisis.
The Arab Caretaker of the Largest Jewish Cemetery - Anjana Sankar (Khaleej Times-UAE)
Ibrahim Sayyed, 59, is the Muslim caretaker of the world's largest Jewish cemetery located atop the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. He is the third-generation of caretakers for the cemetery, where Jews have been burying their dead for 3,000 years.
"I have been taking care of the graveyard for more than 40 years now. I took over the mantle from my father and grandfather."
There are between 60,000 and 150,000 tombs from various periods in history.
Sayyed says, "I know each and every one of these tombs by name. Families from different parts of the world come here often to look for a family member who passed away years ago. And if they tell me the name, I know where they are resting in peace."
But Sayyad says none of his children is interested in continuing the family tradition.
See also The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2009)
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