March 18, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Iran-Backed Fighters Step Up Attacks in Yemen as U.S. Disengages - Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
    Saudi and Yemeni officials said recent moves by President Biden to disentangle the U.S. from the civil war in Yemen have emboldened Houthi fighters.
    Last month, the Houthis launched more drone and missile strikes than in any other month during the 6-year conflict, U.S. officials say.
    "The Houthis misunderstood Biden's moves and saw them as a green light," said a senior Saudi official.

Iran Has Built New Missile Launch Positions, Satellite Images Show - Yonat Friling (Fox News)
    The Iranian Khorgo underground ballistic missile site is almost operational after four new launching positions were constructed that can rapidly deploy two ballistic missiles each, satellite images show.

Turkey Tells Israel, Greece, EU to Seek Its Permission for Undersea Cable (AFP-Al Arabiya)
    Turkey has told Israel, Greece and the EU to seek its permission before working on a proposed undersea power cable in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish state media reported Monday.

More than 30,000 Filipinos in Israel Receive Free Corona Vaccine - Bernadette E. Tamayo (Manila Times-Philippines)
    30,000 Filipino caregivers, 400 agriculture students, and the staff of the Philippine Embassy in Israel have received free Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz said on Wednesday.

Israel Vaccinates 700 Jordanians Who Work in Eilat - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel began administering Covid-19 vaccinations to 700 Jordanians who returned to work in Eilat hotels on Monday.

Israel Donates Medical Equipment to Nepal (The Himalayan-Nepal)
    The Embassy of Israel on Monday donated medical equipment to three hospitals in Nepal to help fight Covid-19 and other ailments.

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Israeli Spike Missiles Give U.S. Army New Capabilities - Joseph Trevithick (The Drive)
    A U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopter fired an Israeli-made Spike non-line of sight (NLOS) missile at a boat 20 miles away in a successful test off the coast of Florida in February.
    Israeli Apaches have been employing the Spike-NLOS operationally for years.
    The U.S. Army has announced plans to integrate the weapons onto its AH-64Es.
    The Spike's guidance system allows an operator to make adjustments during the flight thanks to a video feed from an infrared camera in the weapon's nose, giving it incredible accuracy, even against moving targets.

IDF Reveals New Laser-Guided Mortar System (i24News)
    The Israel Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems revealed Sunday the new Iron Sting, a 120 mm mortar that employs laser and GPS to engage targets accurately and prevent collateral damage.
    It can be mounted on Humvees or armored personnel carriers and will equip battalions with organic, accurate and effective firepower to contend with enemies hidden within civilian, urban environments.

Israel Seeks U.S. Help on Lasers - Arie Egozi (Breaking Defense)
    The Israeli Defense Ministry is seeking U.S. funding and expertise for its air and missile defense lasers. Defense contractor Rafael is developing a ground-based laser, Elbit an airborne one.
    While Israel already has a multi-layered missile defense system, interceptor missiles are expensive, while a modern laser weapon never runs out of interceptors.
    While lasers won't replace physical interceptors - they have problems in heavy rain, for instance - they could add a valuable extra layer of defense.
    The Israeli Directorate of Defense Research and Development has hinted at technical breakthroughs with lasers to counter drones, rockets, artillery shells, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles.

Palestinians Attack Israeli Homes with Firebombs in West Bank - Tal Lev Ram (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
    IDF soldiers identified three Palestinians throwing firebombs at houses in the Israeli community of Beit El in the West Bank on Monday.
    They were apprehended after two were hit by IDF fire.

Murderers of Israeli Family of 5 to Get Salary Increase from PA - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)
    On March 11, 2011, Hakim Awad and Amjad Awad snuck into the home of the Fogel family in Itamar and brutally murdered Ruti and Udi Fogel and three of their children - Yoav, Elad and baby Hadas.
    As part of its Pay-to-Slay terror reward policy, the Palestinian Authority has been paying the murderers a monthly salary since they were arrested. To date, each of the murderers has received $101,847.
    According to PA law, after 10 years, their salary will rise by 50%, from $1,203 per month to $1,806.
    The writer served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.

Arab Israeli Life Has Gotten Better - Prof. Robert Cherry (Forward)
    There have been dramatic improvements in the lives of Israel's Arab citizens over the last 15 years.
    Beginning in 2006, the government funded training programs, improved educational support, subsidized employment, expanded transportation networks and built industrial parks near Arab towns.
    Funding to rectify imbalances between Jewish and Arab communities has meant that 85% of homes in Arab towns are now connected to modern sewer networks, up from less than 40% in 2015.
    The employment rate among Arab Israeli women ages 25-54 rose from 21% in the early 2000s to 35% in 2016.
    In the 2017-2018 academic year, Arab Israelis made up 16% of college students in Israel compared to 8.3% in 1999-2000. The Technion - Israel's MIT - reports that its proportion of Arab students increased by 200% since 2004.
    Arab Israelis now comprise 17% of the country's doctors, 24% of nurses and 47% of pharmacists.
    The writer is professor emeritus of economics at Brooklyn College.

Vietnamese Launch Organic Farm after Studying in Israel (Viet Nam News)
    Four young men have started an organic farm in Khanh Hoa province after training in Israel, the world's leading country in agricultural technology.
    The Moshav Farm grows coconuts, pomelos, guavas, grapes, jackfruits, mangos and plants for herbal medicine, as well as raising chickens and sheep.
    The farm's products have been distributed to more than 100 retail and wholesale channels nationwide, and it has attracted hundreds of trainees. The farm uses automatic drip irrigation, mist spraying and automatic organic fertilizing.
    Nguyen Ta Dong, the team's leader, said his "studying time in Israel helped me absorb effective professional working methods. These practical experiences have given me the mindset about high-quality organic agriculture."
    Another founder, Nguyen Manh Tien, said his time in Israel "helped me learn from the mindset and working spirit of the Jewish people. Israeli people working on the farm do not have the mindset of farmers but the mindset of businessmen in the agricultural sector."

Israelis Win Gold, Silver at World Sailing Championships (Times of Israel)
    Israelis Gil Cohen and Noam Homri on Saturday won the gold medal in the mixed-gender category at the 470 World Championships sailing tournament in Portugal, where Israelis Tal Sade and Noa Lasry took silver.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert and want to share it with friends, please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IAEA: Iran Enriching Uranium with New Advanced Centrifuges at Underground Plant - Francois Murphy
    Iran has started enriching uranium at its underground Natanz plant with advanced IR-4 centrifuges, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report to member states on Monday. Iran is already enriching underground with IR-2m centrifuges, while the nuclear deal only lets it enrich with first-generation IR-1 machines. "Iran was using 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges installed in 30 cascades, 522 IR-2m centrifuges installed in three cascades, and 174 IR-4 centrifuges installed in one cascade," the IAEA report said. (Reuters)
  • Israel's President Calls on Europe to Stand Against Iranian Threat, ICC Probe - Rina Bassist
    Israel's President Reuven Rivlin met Tuesday in Berlin with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Rivlin thanked Germany for its commitment to Israel's security and called on all European countries to stand by Israel on the Iranian nuclear file, on the International Criminal Court (ICC) probe against Israel, and on the issue of Israeli civilians and bodies of IDF soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza. Rivlin visited Austria on Wednesday and France on Thursday. (Al-Monitor)
  • Israel Tests Upgraded Iron Dome Missile Defense System - Christen McCurdy
    Israel's newly-configured Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted multiple drones, rockets and missiles, Israel's Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday. "We have achieved a significant leap forward in the technological capabilities of the Iron Dome system," Israel Missile Defense Organization director Moshe Patel said.
        "In the three test campaigns conducted in the last few months, the Iron Dome system demonstrated outstanding capabilities against evolving threats, including successfully intercepting salvos of rockets and missiles, as well as intercepting multiple UAVs simultaneously."  (UPI)
        See also U.S. to Get Iron Dome Upgrades - Arie Egozi
    The new upgrades to Israel's Iron Dome will be rapidly installed on the two Iron Dome batteries sold to the U.S. Army. The upgrades were based on the latest Israeli military intelligence regarding Iranian threat scenarios, based on the use of drones and advanced rockets in recent months by the Houthi rebels in Yemen against targets in Saudi Arabia. (Breaking Defense)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Concerned as Iran Provides Its Mideast Proxies with Better Weapons - Amos Harel
    Israeli intelligence has observed a leap in Iranian capabilities in the development of precision-guided rockets, cruise missiles and drones, which are now being distributed to Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Assad regime in Syria, Shi'ite militias in Iraq, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Tehran's aim is to enable these organizations to achieve independent production capability in their respective countries, so they will be less vulnerable to Israeli strikes against the smuggling channels.
        Hizbullah plans a massive upgrade of the precision of its missiles so they can strike within just a few meters of their targets. Some assessments say that Hizbullah now has hundreds of precision missiles.
        In Gaza, Hamas, with Iranian aid, has significantly boosted its production capacity for rockets and drones. In the last few years, Hamas members have traveled to Iran and elsewhere for training in weapons development. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arab Israeli Defends Israel on Vaccines at UN Human Rights Council - Aryeh Savir
    After representatives from Iran, Qatar, and the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday condemned Israel for its coronavirus vaccination policy at the UN Human Rights Council, Yoseph Haddad, an Arab Israeli social activist, speaking on behalf of UN Watch, noted that he is an Arab from Nazareth who has been vaccinated.
        "Accusations have been made against Israel that its vaccination program is racist and that is not true. Like me, my family, friends and hundreds of thousands of other Arab Israelis have been vaccinated. The State of Israel is campaigning in Arabic to encourage us Arab Israelis to get vaccinated and Israel's Magen David Adom National Rescue Organization, which consists of Jews and Arabs, works directly with Arab communities to vaccinate its residents."
        Haddad concluded that he is "proud to be an Arab and I am proud to be an Israeli because Israel cares for all its citizens and even for others."  (Tazpit Press Service)
  • Coronavirus in Israel Continues to Decline
    Israel's coronavirus outbreak continued its decline Thursday amid the widespread vaccination campaign. The number of serious cases stood at 579 on Thursday, down from a peak of 1,237 on Jan. 17. There were 24,003 active cases, including 1,496 new cases on Wednesday. The death toll has reached 6,062. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Returning to the Iran Nuclear Deal Is Not a Simple Prospect - Elliott Abrams interviewed by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
    Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council for Foreign Relations, served as President Donald Trump's special representative for Iran. He told the Jerusalem Post: "Iran obviously claims it is not seeking a nuclear weapon, but we know how countries behave when they actually don't seek a nuclear weapon. We know how countries behave when they want nuclear energy only. It's not how Iran behaves."
        "The U.S. has not lifted any sanctions and Iran has been doing more and more terrible things. I wonder today if they [the U.S.] really believe it is possible to rejoin the JCPOA....I think they are probably much less optimistic now." Abrams is also not so sure that Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, wants to get back to the JCPOA, much less negotiate further agreements.
        Discussing the previous administration's "maximum pressure campaign," Abrams admitted that Iran has moved closer toward developing a nuclear bomb. On the other hand, he said, "If you look at the finances of Hamas and Hizbullah, you see them getting quite a reduced amount from Iran."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • The U.S. Shouldn't Return to the Iran Deal - Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz
    Tehran has increased the quantity and quality of its enriched uranium and started to deploy advanced centrifuges faster than allowed. The regime is also preventing the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency from accessing Iran's nuclear facilities, in violation of the NPT. And for the fourth time under the Biden administration, an Iran-guided Shiite militia has rocketed an American base in Iraq.
        Since 2012, we have seen the Islamic Republic's official emissaries take the lead in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Syrians; undertake an assassination campaign against expatriate dissidents; try to bomb an opposition conference outside Paris which many Americans attended; and savagely crush ordinary Iranians protesting. Iran's supreme leader certainly isn't going to accept more restrictions on his industrial-size atomic aspirations after the U.S. lifts sanctions.
        Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former Iranian-targets officer in the CIA, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mark Dubowitz, sanctioned by Iran in 2019, is the CEO. (National Review)
  • Can Saudi Arabia Defend Itself Against Iran? - Lt.-Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar
    On March 7, missiles and drones struck the Saudi oil-loading facility at Ras Tanura - the largest in the world. The attack was very similar to the one in September 2019, which tied up about half of Saudi Arabia's oil-exporting capacity for weeks. It appears that both attacks were launched from Iraq or perhaps even directly from Iran, although the Houthis took responsibility, even though Yemen is 1,000 km. away.
        It is likely that Saudi intelligence knows perfectly well who attacked the kingdom and from where, but is choosing not to reveal this information so that they will not have to respond. From a military standpoint, the kingdom is substantially weaker than Iran so they continue to absorb Iranian blows quietly.
        With all due respect to Saudi Arabia's honored status in Arab and international arenas, any strategic reliance on Riyadh by Israel must be cautious and restrained, taking into account that the kingdom is incapable of defending itself effectively and is afraid to call an enemy by its name even when that enemy attacks it again and again.
        The writer, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • Palestinians

  • The U.S. Plan for a "Reset" with the Palestinians - Joyce Karam
    A 4-page memo, The U.S. Palestinian Reset and the Path Forward, drafted by deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs Hady Amr, was presented to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 1. The memo recommends a two-state solution "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps and agreements on security and refugees." The U.S. will "take a two-fold approach of maintaining and ideally improving the U.S. relationship with Israel by deepening its integration into the region, while resetting the U.S. relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership."
        The document mentions "rolling back certain steps by the prior administration that bring into question our commitment or pose real barriers to a two-state solution, such as country-of-origin labeling." It also seeks "to obtain a Palestinian commitment to end payments to individuals imprisoned for acts of terrorism."  (The National-Abu Dhabi)
  • Hamas Might Win the PA Elections - Yoav Limor
    IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun told Israel Hayom that Hamas is "a terrorist organization, and that's how they should be treated. It's imprinted on their brains....They are motivated by hardline Islamist ideology. Their main goal right now is to take control of Judea and Samaria and establish an Islamist state there."
        He said Hamas really wants the PA elections "because their goal is to get into Judea and Samaria. They'll cooperate with anything that can lead them there." Hamas might win, as they did in the 2006 election, because of the alienation the Palestinian public feels from the PA, the internal rifts in Fatah, and Hamas' well-oiled party machine. "If that happens, automatically there would be no...security coordination" with Israel.
        Asked whom he expected will succeed Mahmoud Abbas, who is 86, Abu Rukun said, "I am betting on Nasser al-Kidwa [Yasser Arafat's nephew, who represented the Palestinians in the UN and was the PA's former foreign minister]."
        Asked about the International Criminal Court investigation of Israel, he said, "I have no doubt that our military is the most moral in the world, and if The Hague has any questions about it, they should look into what [Syrian President] Assad did or what they're doing in Iran, and then get back to us."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Implications of Hamas Participation in Palestinian Authority Elections
    Eight Washington Institute experts on the Middle East peace process said Monday: The Biden administration should welcome moves toward the conduct of elections within the Palestinian Authority. However, should the PA decide to conduct elections with the participation of Hamas, this could have significant implications for the ability of the U.S. to engage constructively with the PA and to advance the cause of Palestinian-Israeli peace.
        Elections that produce a PA whose ministers include people unwilling to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by past agreements are incompatible with the ultimate objective of a two-state solution. It is important that the PA know that the U.S. will refuse to engage with a government that fails to require its officials to renounce violence and commit to peaceful resolution of conflict. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

  • Other Issues

  • The Collapse of the Lebanese State and Hizbullah's Takeover - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
    Russia is seeking to find a solution to Lebanon's political crisis as the Lebanese economy is collapsing. At the same time, Hizbullah operates an alternative government that includes an independent economic system with Hizbullah banks with ATMs, a health system, an independent educational system, and welfare institutions. Funding for all this, estimated at $1 billion a year, comes from Iran.
        Iranian Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani ordered Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's representative in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, to send more than 8,000 fighters to fight rebels in Syria. More than 2,000 Hizbullah fighters returned in coffins, and twice as many were wounded. When the commander of Hizbullah forces in Syria, Mustafa Badreddine, expressed reservations about Hizbullah's continued participation in the war, he was eliminated by Soleimani with Nasrallah's consent.
        The internal processes in Lebanon seem to be advancing faster than Iran and Hizbullah would like. An extreme scenario may arise in which the Lebanese state will fall into the hands of Hizbullah, and Iran will realize its vision of taking over Lebanon.
        The writer, a senior research fellow at the Jerusalem Center, served as Military Secretary to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Russia's Eastern Mediterranean Presence Complicates Israeli Naval Operations - Cdr. (ret.) Dr. Eyal Pinko
    In recent years, the Russian Navy's presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and Syria has expanded dramatically, while there has been a reduction of the U.S. naval presence in the region resulting from strategic decisions made by Presidents Obama and Trump to transfer the bulk of U.S. naval forces to Asia.
        The Israeli Navy has been affected by the Russian Navy's presence. Russian intelligence gathering on Israeli naval activity affects the freedom of executing routine secret operations and will also affect the ability to perform them in crisis times. It can be assessed with high probability that intelligence gathered by the Russian Navy is also conveyed to Syrian and Iranian troops and even to Hizbullah. Moreover, the Israeli Navy's ability to maneuver freely has been hampered in areas where Russian vessels are present.
        The writer served in the Israeli Navy for 23 years and for 5 more years in the prime minister's office. (Center for International Maritime Security)
  • The Canceled Visit of the Jordanian Crown Prince to the Temple Mount - Dr. Edy Cohen
    King Abdullah sought to present his son, Crown Prince Hussein, as a defender of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. A visit of the Crown Prince to the Temple Mount was scheduled for an Islamic holy day commemorating the prophet Muhammad's purported night journey to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. However, though security arrangements for the visit had been carefully planned, Israeli authorities were surprised to discover that the number of armed bodyguards who would be accompanying the prince was significantly greater than previously agreed, which led to the cancellation of the visit.
        It appears there were plans to take photos of the armed Jordanian bodyguards accompanying the prince as he triumphantly entered Al-Aqsa so as to project him as protector of the mosque. This performance was intended to undermine Israel's sovereignty on the Temple Mount. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
        See also Israel's Relationship with Jordan Is Based on Solid Ground - Prof. Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Has Good Reason to Be Wary of ICC Probe - Lawrence J. Haas
    International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced a probe of Israeli activity "since 13 June 2014." The starting date is telling, because it was on June 12, 2014 - a day earlier - that the terrorist group Hamas, as it later admitted, kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenage Yeshiva boys from the West Bank, leaving their bodies, as the New York Times put it, "buried under a pile of rocks in an open field about 15 miles from where [they] were last seen." Hamas called the attack a "heroic operation." One might wonder why the ICC will not probe the gruesome terrorist attack that triggered the 2014 war.
        A broad swath of countries aren't parties to the ICC including the U.S., China, Russia, and India. Israel is one of them, and it understandably chafes at the idea of being adjudicated by a body whose authority it doesn't recognize.
        Ten years ago, Richard Goldstone acknowledged that, despite what the Goldstone Report about the Gaza War of 2008-09 asserted, Israel did not deliberately target civilians as it fought Hamas. The writer is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. (National Interest)
  • The Washington Post Uses Bad Social Science to Push Anti-Israel Propaganda - Lenny Ben-David
    In two recent stories, the Washington Post cites surveys from sources with an anti-Israel bias. On Oct. 26, 2020, Dana El Kurd cites the Arab Opinion Index, conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Qatar. The poll appeared soon after the U.S. sealed historic "normalization" agreements between Israel and a number of Arab states, pacts that were harshly criticized by Iran and Qatar. The director of the Qatari think tank is Azmi Bishara, an Israeli Arab and former member of the Knesset who fled Israel before arrest, suspected of treason and espionage on behalf of Hizbullah.
        On Feb. 16, 2021, the Post reported on a survey of 521 scholars from members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). The survey showed "a strong majority, 59%, describe the current reality for Israel and the Palestinians as 'a one-state reality akin to apartheid.'" However, the Post did not divulge that MESA is a strong anti-Israel advocate and major promoter for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement against Israel, and has crusaded for several years for an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
        The writer, former Deputy Chief of Mission at Israel's Embassy in Washington, served for 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem. (National Review)

  • Weekend Features

  • New Dead Sea Scrolls Discovered in Judean Desert Caves - Yori Yalon
    The Israel Antiquities Authority on Tuesday announced the discovery of dozens of new Dead Sea Scroll fragments in a desert cave in the Judean Desert south of Jerusalem, believed hidden during the Bar-Kochba Revolt. The fragments of parchment bear lines of Greek text from the books of Zechariah and Nahum and have been radiocarbon dated to the 2nd century CE. They are the first new scrolls found in 60 years. A national project to survey the desert caves has been underway since 2017. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Scroll Fragments Uncovered in Judean Desert "Directly Attest to the Jewish Heritage of the Region"
    Avi Cohen, Director General of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, said: "The scroll fragments containing biblical texts, the coins and the additional finds from the Second Temple Period that were found in this unique project directly attest to the Jewish heritage of the region and the inseparable bond between the Jewish cultural activities and our place in this land. It is very exciting to see these finds and expose them to the public, finds which shed great light on our history. These finds are not just important to our own cultural heritage, but to that of the entire world."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Dead Sea Scroll Discovery Brings Prospect of More to Be Found - Amanda Borschel-Dan
    As the Israel Antiquities Authority unveils the first Bible scroll fragments found in decades, we learn that there are another 20 promising caves holding potential treasures that have yet to be excavated. Since 2017, the IAA has spearheaded an ambitious survey of 500 caves in the Judean Desert in order to get ahead of the antiquities looters who comb these caves. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: Israel Discovers New Dead Sea Scrolls (Israel Antiquities Authority)
  • After Ten Years of Syrian Civil War, Young Druze in Golan Shifting Focus to Israel - Jonathan Shamir
    Syria's civil war has ushered in a sea change for the Druze community in the Israeli Golan Heights who saw their future in Syria, after the protracted conflict left 600,000 Syrians dead and 12 million displaced. Wael Tarabieh, 53, who works at the Al-Marsad human rights center in Majdal Shams, admits that after the disintegration of the social fabric of Syria, the local Druze population in the Golan doubts it will ever return to Syrian rule.
        In the past, free tuition and monthly stipends from the Syrian government lured thousands of Golan Druze to study in Syria. This ground to a halt after the war began and the number of Golan students studying in Israeli universities spiked. The Israeli government, meanwhile, increased investment in the area for the development of Druze regional councils.
        Roaa Khater, who was director of the Education Department in the Druze village of Mas'ade for most of the past decade, says, "The Druze in the Golan Heights experience security and prosperity: quality of life, education, employment. At the end of the day, this is what's really important to them - and this is what they find in Israel."
        The Druze community used to ostracize everyone who took Israeli citizenship, but the situation is different today. As of 2018, 20.6% of Golan Druze held an Israeli passport and the rate is growing. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hitler Kept Secret Hit List of 3,000 Prominent Brits for after Nazis Defeated UK - Robert Philpot
    The Nazis prepared a secret list of 3,000 prominent Britons they intended to round up had they invaded the UK. In 1945, a copy of the list was found in the Gestapo's Berlin HQ. Academic Sybil Oldfield details the story in the recently published The Black Book: The Britons on the Nazi List.
        Armed with copies of the "most wanted" list, 20,000 SS troops were to sweep the country engaging in a deadly ideological and racial manhunt. SS Col. Franz Six was appointed to lead the task of eliminating any opposition to the Nazis in Britain. He was authorized to "set up Einsatzgruppen [paramilitary SS death squads]...as the situation dictates and the necessity arises."
        The Gestapo's foreign intelligence unit began compiling the "special search" list for Great Britain around 1937. It included an alphabetical list of suspects and their addresses, together with nearly 400 organizations which were to be raided and banned. The organizations to be shut down ranged from the Rotary Club to the Transport and General Workers Union, as well as the YMCA, the Quakers and the Boy Scout movement, suspected of being an arm of the "English Secret Service."
        The list included the entirety of Churchill's war cabinet, as well as a roll-call of prominent British Jews. Well over half of those on the list were refugees - at least 2/3 of them Jews - who had fled to the UK before the war. Oldfield says her principal aim was to discover why the Britons on the list were "suspected above all others of having the potential to obstruct the successful Nazification of Great Britain."  (Times of Israel)

  • The Biden administration understandably does not want to get into an escalating conflict with the Iranians - not in Iraq or elsewhere. But it also does not want to appear to be willing to live with increasing missile and drone attacks on us and others.
  • Doing so - or moving to lift sanctions now - would validate the position of the Revolutionary Guard and the Qods Forces in Iran and that is a recipe for guaranteeing more Iranian pressure and less Iranian responsiveness.
  • Wisely, the administration has made clear that it will not make unilateral concessions to the Iranians. But it will need to employ a mix of diplomatic and coercive options that create counter-pressures and keep the onus on Iran.
  • This is about having Iran's leaders see that we are conditioning the environment to the reality that in the absence of diplomacy, force may ultimately have to be used to prevent Iran's march toward a nuclear bomb.
  • The administration should forge a common public posture with our European allies and convey the message that so long as Iran breaches the agreement, refuses to come to a 5+1 negotiating forum, and directly or through its proxy militias launches rockets against U.S. forces or personnel, any sanctions relief is impossible.
  • The Biden administration should consider taking a page from the Israeli playbook. Israel has launched countless air strikes against Iranian and Shia proxy targets in Syria but it rarely acknowledges them. Why not make that part of the American toolkit? The Iranians would get the message but would not be put in the position of feeling obliged to respond lest Tehran appears weak if it doesn't.
  • We need the Supreme Leader to understand that the IRGC and Qods Forces are playing with fire and Iran is going to get burned if it does not stop.

    The writer, counselor at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served in senior national security positions in four U.S. administrations.
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Daily Alert is published every Monday and Thursday.
Unsubscribe from Israel Alert.