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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
January 21, 2021
Report: Israeli, Syrian Officials Discuss Removal of Iran and Its Militias from Syria - Rawad Taha (Al Arabiya)
Israel's demand to remove Iran and its militias from Syria was discussed by Syrian and Israeli officials last month at the Russian Hmeimim base in Syria's Latakia, according to the Syrian Bridges Center for Studies.
According to the report, the meeting included the Director of Syria's National Security Office Maj.-Gen. Ali Mamlouk, Security Advisor at the Syrian Palace Bassam Hassan, and Israel's former army chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Alexander Tchaikov, the commander of Russian forces in Syria, was also present.
The center reported that Israel demands "completely removing Iran, Hizbullah and Tehran's militias."
See also Syria Strongly Denies Report of Israeli-Syrian Meeting (Tehran Times-Iran)
Fearing Israeli Attacks in Eastern Syria, Dozens of Fighters Leave Iranian Militias, Joining Russian-Backed Forces (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
34 fighters from Deir ez-Zour affiliated with pro-Iranian militias have left and joined the 5th Corps established by Russia in the area, reliable sources say. The number is expected to rise significantly in the coming days.
Russia seeks to reduce Iran's role in Syria, launching frequent security campaigns with militias loyal to Russia.
Russia Carries Out 40 Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
Russian planes carried out 40 airstrikes on ISIS areas in Aleppo, Hama and Raqqa in Syria on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory reported.
Since the start of the year, ISIS sleeper cells have upped their attacks on regime forces, killing at least 44.
Israel: No Thaw in Relations until Turkey Ends Hamas Operations in Istanbul - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
Israel told Turkey on Monday that it will not normalize relations until Turkey shutters the activities of Hamas in Istanbul - from where it now directs terrorist activities in the West Bank, recruits Palestinians for terrorism, and finances Hamas terrorism.
Iran Targets Israel with Growing Number of Cyberattacks - Danny Zaken (Globes)
Since December, Iranian sources have been responsible for a growing number of cyberattacks targeting the Israeli government and private companies in Israel and abroad.
The vast majority of attacks have been thwarted in their early stages and, as far as is known, no major damage has been inflicted.
Chevron to Help Build Israel-to-Egypt Pipeline - Yaacov Benmeleh (Bloomberg)
Chevron Corp. and other companies helping to develop Israel's natural gas fields will invest $235 million to lay a new subsea pipeline from Israel's Mediterranean gas fields to Egypt.
Abbas Accused by Rival of Embezzling $2 Billion - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
On Jan. 3, 2021, Mohammed Dahlan broadcast on his Al Kuffiya network a two-part documentary program called "The Lost Story," including the revelation that PA President Mahmoud Abbas embezzled more than $2 billion from the Palestinian Authority Investment Fund.
The program revealed documents and audio recordings of senior Fatah figures allegedly confirming Dahlan's accusations.
Dahlan's accusations include responsibility for the fall of Gaza to Hamas and the failure of the Fatah movement in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Attempts by Abbas to kill Dahlan were also cited. As a result, Dahlan feared for his life and fled the West Bank to Jordan and then on to the UAE.
Senior Fatah official Dr. Sari Nusseibeh appeared on the program alongside Dahlan, describing the Abbas' behavior against him as "Mafia conduct."
It is likely that Dahlan concluded that this was the best time to disclose all the information he possessed about Abbas' actions and failures in an attempt to discredit him before the new U.S. administration.
At the same time, Dahlan wants to improve his own image among residents of the territories as the battle of succession in the Palestinian Authority leadership continues.
The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center.
See also Hamas Credits Abbas Rival Dahlan for UAE Assistance to Gaza (i24News)
As coronavirus aid from the UAE made its way from Egypt into Gaza earlier this month, Hamas thanked Mohammed Dahlan, a key rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, for helping to secure the assistance, Media Line reports.
Slovakia Signs $182 Million Deal to Purchase Israeli Radar - Udi Etsion (Calcalist)
Following the Czech Republic and Hungary, Slovakia is purchasing 17 MMR Radar systems manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary ELTA in a deal valued at $182 million.
The radar components will be manufactured in collaboration with defense industries in Slovakia.
The radar detects airborne threats, calculates their threat level, and provides essential data that enables systems to neutralize multiple threats simultaneously.
The MMR radar is used by Israel's Iron Dome air-defense system and has been acquired by Canada, Finland, and India.
Plant a Tree in Israel via Zoom - Alan Rosenbaum (Jerusalem Post)
Eran Zavadi is a forester with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), founded in 1901, which has planted millions of trees in Israel.
Planting a tree in the Land of Israel has great meaning and creates a profound connection between the person planting the tree and the land.
For some, it is a religious experience, while for others, it affirms their Zionist values.
Zavadi, who has planted trees with tourists for the past 10 years, says the tourists seek a "people-to-people" connection.
Visitors plant trees to mark special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays and bar and bat mitzvahs, or to honor the memory of family members. Many of those who plant trees are not Jewish.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zavadi and his team have begun conducting live, online tree plantings via Zoom.
People sign up at the KKL-JNF page - plantatree.kkl.org.il, choose a date and a time, and then receive a link to the tree-planting ceremony, which is conducted by Zavadi from the forest.
Frequently, the online Zoom tree-planting can involve family members from around the world and is a significant family event.
A special prayer of the tree-planter is recited in Hebrew and in the language that the donor speaks.
Afterward, a certificate is sent to the person who ordered the tree and a video of the event is sent to the recipient.
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