May 13, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Again Blocks "Unhelpful" Security Council Statement on Israel, Gaza - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    The U.S. once again blocked a UN Security Council joint statement on the violence in Israel and Gaza, telling member states at the second emergency meeting on the matter in three days that such a measure would be "unhelpful" in de-escalating the situation, two diplomats said Wednesday.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad: The Rockets We Use to Pound Tel Aviv Are Provided by Iran (MEMRI)
    Palestinian Islamic Jihad official Ramez Al-Halabi told Al-Ahd TV (Iraq) on May 7:
    "The mujahideen (fighters) in Gaza and in Lebanon use Iranian weapons to strike the Zionists. We buy our weapons with Iranian money. An important part of our activity is under the supervision of Iranian experts."
    "I am proud to say that the rockets that are used to pound Tel Aviv have an Iranian signature on them, the signature of [the late Iranian Gen.] Qasem Soleimani."

Video: Imagine If Your City Was Under Rocket Attack (Israel Defense Forces)
    Imagine if it was Washington, Paris, or London under rocket attack. Right now it's Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
    Palestinians in Gaza have fired over 1,500 rockets at Israeli cities.

Video: Israelis Sing in Tel Aviv Bomb Shelter as Hamas Hits City with Rockets - Crystal Jones (Daily Mail-UK)
    Footage has emerged of Israelis singing in a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv as the city was targeted by a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.
    A large group of people are seen standing in a basement car park being led in song by Shuli Rand, a well-known Jewish actor and musician.

Huddled in the Bomb Shelter, Waiting for the Boom - Eylon Levy (Jewish News-UK)
    It's a strange feeling knowing someone is trying to kill you.
    But that's exactly what was happening in my apartment block's bomb shelter at 3 a.m. as Hamas unleashed a barrage of rockets at greater Tel Aviv.
    In Tel Aviv, we have 90 seconds to reach shelter when the Red Alert siren goes off.
    Sitting in the communal bomb shelter, a room of reinforced concrete, with all my neighbors, the walls rumble with every Iron Dome interception in the sky.
    Videos show what looks like a Star Wars-type battle above our heads.

Instructions to My Children for Rocket Attacks - Yael Eckstein (Townhall)
    For days now we've been living with endless rocket attacks in Israel.
    This means putting my children to sleep and reminding them that if they hear a siren in the middle of the night, they need to run quickly to the bomb shelter.
    I will be holding their youngest brother, so they need to make it there on their own.
    The writer is president of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews.

Religious Woman Uses Headscarf to Save Child's Life in Rocket Attack - Benjamin Kerstein (Algemeiner)
    Liane Ben Moshe was in traffic with her three-year-old twins in Holon on Tuesday when the air raid siren sounded.
    She struggled to get her children out of the car quickly enough to run to shelter, and Galia Levi, who was in the car behind, rushed to her aid.
    As a nearby bus took a direct hit, one of the twins was struck in the neck by shrapnel.
    Galia, who is a religious woman, used her headscarf as a makeshift bandage to stop the bleeding. Doctors later said this saved the child's life.

Newborns Held by Fathers in Israeli Hospital Corridor during Rocket Attacks (9News-Australia)
    The IDF posted a photo of new fathers cradling their newborns in the hallway of a Tel Aviv maternity ward.
    Authorities advised parents to take the babies out of their cribs and guard them in the fortified halls while rockets rained down from above.

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Hamas Rockets Manufactured Using Foreign Aid and Smuggled Material - Daniel Sonnenfeld (Media Line)
    The majority of Hamas' rocket arsenal is manufactured locally in Gaza based on Iranian knowledge," said Dr. Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies.
    The rockets are the product of "a cynical use of material which enters the Strip to aid its recovery and for agricultural uses, in combination with money from Qatar."
    For example, fertilizer is used to produce explosives. In addition, medical equipment is disassembled for parts, and oxygen tanks intended for medical care are repurposed.

U.S. Ship Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Boats in Hormuz Straits - Nancy A. Youssef (Wall Street Journal)
    The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui accompanying the Navy's USS Georgia guided-missile submarine fired more than a dozen warning shots at a swarm of 13 Iranian fast attack craft during a tense encounter in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday, a Pentagon spokesman said, in at least the third such incident in five weeks.

U.S. Sanctions Seven Lebanese for Hizbullah Financial Ties (Reuters)
    The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday sanctioned seven Lebanese nationals connected to Iranian-backed Hizbullah and its financial firm, Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH).
    "The threat that Hizbullah poses to the United States, our allies, and interests in the Middle East and globally, calls for countries around the world to take steps to restrict its activities and disrupt its facilitation networks," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Israel Donates Food to Nigerian Muslim Families for Ramadan - Chimezie Godfrey (Newsdiary-Nigeria)
    The Embassy of Israel in Nigeria on Monday donated food items to support some Muslim families in the on-going Ramadan fast.
    Yotam Kreiman, Charge d' Affairs of Israel to Nigeria, said that the bags of rice, beans, maize, groundnut oil, and pasta would assist 1,800 families.

Pentagon Orders Small Israeli Drones for Indoor Special Operations - Seth J. Frantzman (Defense News)
    The U.S. Defense Department has ordered dozens of Israeli-made, small unmanned Skylord Xtender drones, currently operational with Israeli forces, for use indoors and in urban environments by U.S. special forces.
    The basic underlying technology provides operators who don't have flight experience the ability to "control cutting-edge drones within seconds of training," said Xtend vice president Ido Bar-On.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Airstrike on Hamas Command Post Kills 16 Hamas Figures
    Israeli forces killed 16 Hamas figures in an airstrike on a command post in Gaza on Wednesday, the Israel Security Agency said. (Reuters)
        See also IDF Strikes Top Hamas Command - Tzvi Joffre
    The IDF and the Israel Security Agency (ISA) carried out a series of targeted killings of senior members of Hamas' General Staff in Gaza City and Khan Yunis on Wednesday. They included Jamaa Tahla, head of the group's cyber network and missile improvement project. Tahla was the right-hand man of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif. "Hitting him is a significant blow to Hamas' capabilities," the ISA said. (Jerusalem Post)
        Also killed was Jamal Zabeda, the head of research and special projects in the munitions production department. Zabeda held a PhD in mechanical engineering with a specialty in aerodynamics. Hazzem Hatib, chief engineer in Hamas' munitions department, was also targeted.
        Sami Radwan, who led Hamas' technical intelligence department, and Walid Smali, who was in charge of industrial equipment for the weapons production department, were killed in earlier attacks on Hamas sites. "In addition, 10 other operatives from Hamas' weapons production and research and development department were killed," the ISA said. (Times of Israel)
        See also IDF Destroys Hamas Internal Security HQ, Central Bank in Gaza - Anna Ahronheim
    The IDF destroyed Hamas' internal security headquarters located in a 14-story building, as well as Hamas' central bank, in a series of airstrikes early Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • President Biden Conveys "Unwavering Support for Israel's Legitimate Right to Defend Itself"
    President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He conveyed his unwavering support for Israel's security and for Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and its people. (White House)
        See also U.S. Secretary of Defense Conveys "Ironclad Support for Israel"
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke Wednesday with Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz. Secretary Austin conveyed the Department's ironclad support for Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and its people, and he strongly condemned the launching of rockets by Hamas and other terrorists groups that targeted Israeli civilians. (U.S. Defense Department)
  • U.S. Lawmakers Express Support for Israel - Dmitriy Shapiro
    While Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) characterized the violence in Israel as "attacks on Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan," dozens of U.S. lawmakers have expressed their support for Israel.
        "The barrage of rocket attacks from Hamas is terrorism and no country should have to tolerate this kind of threat against its population," wrote Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "When our friends are under attack, we stand with them," wrote Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.). "Equating massive Hamas attacks on Israeli citizens to Israeli efforts to target Hamas militants (with prior civilian warning) is reckless and irresponsible," said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
        House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) tweeted: "Hamas' attacks into Israel are terrorism, plain and simple." Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) tweeted: "My heart is with the Israeli people as they shelter from rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip."  (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire on Israel Continues Thursday - Judah Ari Gross
    Palestinians in Gaza renewed rocket fire into Israel at dawn Thursday. In light of the ongoing rocket fire, Ben-Gurion Airport was closed to incoming commercial flights, with planes being diverted to Ramon Airport north of Eilat. 150 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza at Israel on Wednesday night. Shortly after midnight, a rocket struck in Petah Tikva. Two people were injured by shrapnel and six others were treated for smoke inhalation. (Times of Israel)
  • 5-Year-Old Israeli Boy Killed, Dozens Injured in Gaza Rocket Attacks
    Ido Avigal, age 5, was killed in his home in Sderot by a rocket fired from Gaza on Wednesday. At least 20 more Israelis were injured. (Times of Israel)
        See also Victims in Israel of Gaza Rockets - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Soldier Killed by Hamas Anti-Tank Missile
    Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, was killed on Wednesday by a Hamas anti-tank missile near Moshav Netiv HaAsara, close to Gaza. Three others were wounded when their jeep was hit. Rockets were also fired from Gaza at the area of the attack as the wounded were being evacuated. IDF troops responded with tank and artillery fire. (Ynet News)
  • 2 IDF Soldiers Wounded in West Bank Shooting Attack - Efrat Forsher
    Two IDF soldiers were wounded in a shooting attack near Yitzhar in the West Bank on Wednesday night after a Palestinian exited a vehicle with a gun and fired at the troops. The attacker was shot. (Israel Hayom)
  • Defense Minister: "Israel Is Not Preparing for a Ceasefire" - Judah Ari Gross
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday: "Israel is not preparing for a ceasefire. There is currently no end date for the operation. Only when we achieve complete quiet can we talk about calm. We will not listen to moral preaching from any organization or institution regarding our right and duty to protect the citizens of Israel."
        The IDF "has over the last hours been carrying out a series of significant attacks. We have hit commanders, important Hamas infrastructure...we have hit many hundreds of targets, high-rises are falling down, factories are collapsing, tunnels are being destroyed and commanders are being killed."  (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas' Situation Worsening as Fighting Continues - Oded Granot
    Gaza's terror groups would have signed a ceasefire deal yesterday. They believe they have succeeded in establishing the perception among Palestinians that it is Hamas and not the Palestinian Authority that is now defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is leading the struggle to "liberate Palestinians." They are also aware that the balance of force has begun to clearly lean in Israel's favor and the perception of a Hamas victory is dissipating. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Gaza Fighting Has Nothing to Do with the Sheikh Jarrah Controversy - Bassem Eid
    As a Palestinian living in Jerusalem, I can only blame Hamas. The fanatics who rule over Gaza with an iron fist cannot resist the opportunity to stir up anti-Jewish violence for their own political gain. If innocent Jews and Muslims die in the process, all the better for them.
        The pretext for the latest missile barrage is the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, where a long-running legal dispute was scheduled for a court hearing. It is the kind of situation that would be handled by a local municipal court in any other country and there would be no public interest.
        After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled highly anticipated elections, Hamas saw an opportunity it could not pass up and exploited the Sheikh Jarrah situation. They are encouraging Palestinian youth to throw their lives away by hurling rocks at police.
        Hamas-led riots outside of the Al Aqsa Mosque prove that Israeli police are not at fault for preventing Muslims from praying. Hamas has incited mobs and provoked violence with the intention of framing Israel for ethnic cleansing.
        It is important to remember that Hamas' penchant for murder is almost matched by their blundering incompetence, which is partly the reason one out of every three of their rockets crashes into Gaza, where the only possible victims are Palestinian.
        This dispute is about Hamas seeing a chance to seize the narrative and increase its own influence and control over Palestinians in Jerusalem. In the coming days, Jews and Muslims are both likely to die because Hamas saw a political upside in violence.
        The writer is a veteran Palestinian human rights activist living in Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • Most Jerusalem Arabs Not Interested in PA Elections - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Announcing the delay of the May 22 Palestinian parliamentary election, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel had failed to respond to the PA's request to hold the elections in Jerusalem. In reality, however, Israel never said that it would prevent the Palestinians from holding elections in Jerusalem.
        Only 6,300 Arab residents of Jerusalem were expected to vote at five Israeli post offices. The rest of the 150,000 eligible voters were free to cast ballots at voting centers in PA-controlled areas surrounding Jerusalem. In fact, only a small number of Jerusalem Arabs participated in previous PA elections because they did not seem to be interested, being well aware that the PA has no jurisdiction over their neighborhoods.
        Therefore, it was safe to assume that the majority of Jerusalem Arabs had no intention to be involved with the Palestinian elections. Their participation or nonparticipation would not have made a big difference. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas' Dangerous Decision to Postpone PA Elections - Ramzy Baroud
    The decision on April 30 by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone Palestinian elections scheduled for May 22 was due to his fear of losing power. The truth is Abbas cancelled the elections because all credible public opinion polls showed that the May vote would have decimated the ruling clique of his Fatah Party, and would have ushered in a whole new political configuration, one in which his Fatah rivals would have emerged as the new leaders. If this scenario were to occur, a whole class of Palestinian millionaires who turned the Palestinian struggle into a lucrative industry, generously financed by donor countries, risks losing everything.
        36 lists were registered with the Palestinian Central Elections Commission as Fatah disintegrated. A whole new political class is now defining itself through allegiances to various lists, parties and leaders. The mass of Fatah supporters that were ready to break away from the dominance of Abbas will not relent easily, simply because the aging leader has changed his mind. In fact, an unparalleled discussion on democracy, representation and the need to move forward beyond Abbas is currently taking place and is impossible to contain. (Jordan Times)

  • Iran

  • Expert: Iran's Role in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Cannot Be Overlooked - Sean Savage
    "Amid nuclear negotiations that will soon yield the Islamic Republic a massive windfall, the Biden administration is on the cusp of indirectly providing Hamas with the cash it needs to replenish its rocket supplies," said Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "Iran is Hamas' key patron."  (JNS)
  • Why the Iranians Can't Be Trusted - Gary Anderson
    Recent events have shown that the people in the Iranian Foreign Ministry that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his team are dealing with have little or no control over the actual workings of the nuclear program. Leaked documents from the last round of negotiations show that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) actively subverted compliance with the agreement that diplomats negotiated.
        Since the IRGC physically controls the nuclear development program and has no desire to see outside inspectors, it is fair to ask why we are going through the farce of negotiating a worthless agreement for the second time. Any attempt to negotiate in good faith with Iran is dead on arrival without IRGC concurrence. It is unlikely that the IRGC will allow the implementation of any agreement that is reached with the Americans in the long run.
        The writer lectures on Alternative Analysis at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. (Washington Times)

  • Other Issues

  • Survey: 80 Percent of Jewish Americans Care about Israel - Ben Sales
    A survey of 4,700 Jewish Americans in 2020 was published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. More than 80% say that caring about Israel is an important or essential part of being Jewish. Nearly half have been to Israel, and a quarter have been there more than once.
        The survey found that most Jews believe anti-Semitism in America has increased in recent years and said they feel less safe now than they once did. 51% have experienced anti-Semitism over the past 12 months. (JTA)
        See also Survey: Jewish Americans in 2020 (Pew Research Center)
  • English Village Caught in Anti-Israel Protests - Ross Slater
    On the face of it, Shenstone, in the West Midlands, is the village other villages wish they were. But on Feb. 23, scores of police officers were surrounding a factory building flying the Palestinian flag. On the factory's roof were six activists from the group Palestine Action, protesting that the company, UAV Engines, is owned by Israel's Elbit Systems.
        But what do the locals think? One of the factory's employees pointed out that the firm had been there since 1992 and that nothing they made was exported to Israel. Those targeting the firm, he said, were "pure anti-Semites" who would just as easily attack supermarkets for selling kosher food. "This is a factory full of local guys, engineering and trying to make a living and put food on their family's tables."
        MP Michael Fabricant said, "These products made in Shenstone go to the British Army and the Royal Air Force and other Nato countries."  (Middle East Eye-UK)
  • UK Pledges to Stop Council Boycotts of Israel - Lee Harpin
    Boris Johnson's government unveiled a new legislative program on Tuesday that includes measures to stop publicly-funded bodies backing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. Local councils will be banned from "taking a different approach" to the national government and "imposing their own approach or views about international relations." The government said legislation was required to address concerns that "such boycotts may legitimize anti-Semitism."  (Jewish News-UK)
  • Appropriating "Apartheid" to Bash Israel - Warren Goldstein
    Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of apartheid. Yet the group brazenly acknowledges that it has "detached the term apartheid from its original South African context." This is immoral. "Apartheid" has a sacred historical meaning, sanctified by the blood and suffering of millions of South Africans who were oppressed and discriminated against on the basis of race. In appropriating the word, Human Rights Watch presents a grotesquely distorted picture of the current reality in Israel.
        No one who truly understands the systematic racism and denial of basic human rights that made apartheid infamous could, with any integrity, apply the term to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There can be no greater desecration of the memory of the victims of apartheid than ripping the word out of South African soil, detaching it from its original meaning, and weaponizing it in the cause of another form of bigotry. The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Weekend Features

  • The Female Soldiers Operating Israel's Eyes in the Sky - Udi Etzion
    At the IDF's satellite unit, the satellites are operated by mostly female 19-year-old soldiers. "We search for creative nerds with extra credit in mathematics, physics, computer studies but also theater, arts and dance," says Captain S., 32. "Technology is not the only criteria. We need people who can problem-solve because we often encounter situations that require real-time, sensible decision-making to prioritize satellite missions," she says.
        "Some of our work here is not just to retrieve information for intelligence purposes but also to ensure the longevity of the satellite. Our babies are each worth upwards of $100 million and we must be attuned to their problems so that we can solve them remotely."
        Israel's six operational satellites are a main tool in Israel's intelligence-gathering. Operations in Syria, Iraq, the Red Sea, Africa, and Iran could not be carried out without a constant flow of intelligence made possible by satellites. The newest satellite, Ofek 16, launched in July 2020, became operational in recent weeks and has begun providing better quality images than any of its predecessors. (Ynet News)
  • A British Officer Saved Dozens of Jews during the 1921 Arab Riots - Ofer Aderet
    On May 1, 1921, Arabs attacked Beit Hehalutz (Pioneer House) in Jaffa, which served as a hostel for Jewish pioneers in Palestine upon their arrival. 15 Jews were murdered and 30 were wounded; another 50 survived by hiding on the building's second floor. Their lives were saved by British Maj. Lionel Mansell Jeune, 41, who arrived on the scene and fired a warning shot in the air. The Arab rioters fled. "The officer's arrival saved them from certain death," said Samuel Giler, 75, whose uncle, Yitzhak, was among those murdered.
        Giler, a historian of Jaffa, discovered that on the same day, Jeune also saved Jewish merchants whose stores were broken into; forced Arab rioters out of the French Hospital, not far from Beit Hehalutz, where the wounded were taken; and extricated Jews who hid in the homes of Arab neighbors. Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization and later Israel's first president, wrote to Jeune, "[None of us can] ever forget how much we owe to you for your gallant and courageous conduct at Jaffa."
        The Arabs saw Jeune as collaborating with the Jews and demanded that he be dismissed. Jeune protested the fact that he didn't get backing from his superiors and was finally compelled to leave the British Army. He returned to military service in World War II as an intelligence officer and died in the line of duty in Egypt in 1943. (Ha'aretz)
  • Polish Family Who Saved Future Israeli Ambassador from Holocaust Found Seven Decades Later - Agnieszka Wadolowska
    Shevah Weiss, who became Israel's ambassador to Poland and Speaker of the Knesset, has thanked the journalists who found a Polish family who saved him from the Holocaust. Weiss was born in 1935 in the then-Polish city of Boryslaw, which was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941.
        After his family spent several months hiding in their own home behind a "double wall," they moved to the cellar of a neighboring house, where they spent 21 months. Their survival would not have been possible without the assistance of ethnic Poles and Ukrainians who helped hide them and brought them food.
        While Weiss recalled the names of some of those neighbors, during work on a Polish documentary about Weiss, the director, Maciej Dutkiewicz, found an old family photo album that had belonged to Weiss' father that contained photographs of another family who helped the Weisses survive. A journalistic investigation led to Maria Rosinczuk (nee Malendewicz), 97, who still remembers the Weiss family.
        "The Weiss family was hiding in a shrine close to our orchard," Maria told Onet, a Polish news website. "They had to stay there the whole time as in Boryslaw a pogrom was being prepared...and it wasn't permitted to hide anyone. If anyone denounced, anyone noticed, it was the end. It would be the end of everything. They would just shoot them dead....We knew each other. How could we refuse, when someone asked for help?"  (Notes from Poland)

Why Won't Israelis Let Themselves Be Killed? - Brendan O'Neill (Spiked-UK)
  • Two weeks ago, Turkish forces launched a military assault in Iraqi Kurdistan. Villagers were forced to flee in terror from raining bombs. But there were no noisy protests in London or New York. The Turks weren't talked about as crazed, bloodthirsty killers.
  • But when Israel engages in military action, that's a different story. Always. Every time. Protests were instant and inflammatory. Israeli flags were burned on the streets of London.
  • Why do anti-Israel campaigners treat Israel so differently to every other nation on Earth? Why is it child-killing bloodlust when Israel takes military action but not when Turkey does? Why is it only "wrong" when Britain or America drop bombs in the Middle East, but "Nazism" when Israel fires missiles into Gaza?
  • Israel is now the only country on Earth that is expected to allow itself to be attacked. To sit back and do nothing as its citizens are pelted with rocks or rockets.
  • To rage solely against Israel, to curse its people and burn its flag because it has sent missiles to destroy Hamas' firing positions in Gaza, is essentially to say: "Why won't Israelis let themselves be killed?"
  • Imagine if the Isle of Wight was home to a movement whose founding constitution expressed loathing for all ethnic Britons and which regularly fired hundreds of missiles into Sussex, Kent, Hampshire. Wouldn't the British military respond? Of course it would.
  • Western activists who find the very existence of Israel abhorrent cannot understand why Israel doesn't hate itself as much as they hate it, and therefore will not allow itself to be punished by its righteous enemies. How dare you live?
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