July 5, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Experts See Major Damage at Iranian Centrifuge Production Facility (Times of Israel)
    Experts believe a June 23 attack on the Karaj facility producing centrifuge parts for Iran's nuclear program caused extensive damage, destroying or disabling all equipment at part of the site, Israel's Channel 11 reported Sunday.
    Satellite photos taken July 1 and published by the private Israeli intelligence group Intel Lab on Saturday showed a large hole in the roof of one building, as well as evidence of a large fire.
    According to David Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, "all equipment in the area had been destroyed completely or rendered inoperable."

Israel Assists Cyprus in Fighting Wildfires (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Israel on Sunday dispatched two firefighting planes and flame retardant material to Cyprus to help fight devastating wildfires.

NEA Defeats Anti-Israel Resolution - Jane Kaufman (Cleveland Jewish News)
    The National Education Association, the major U.S. teachers union, has soundly defeated a measure that would have called on the U.S. "to stop arming and supporting Israel."
    The measure was defeated July 3 with just 23% of the 8,000 delegates at the NEA's 2021 virtual assembly voting in favor.

Israel Approves Sale of Additional Water to Jordan (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has approved the immediate sale of 50 million cubic meters of water to Jordan, to be followed by another 50 million next year.
    Israel supplies Jordan with 55 million cubic meters of water annually, according to the 1994 peace agreement. However, Jordan's water needs increased significantly after the influx of three million refugees from Iraq and Syria.
    The Netanyahu government had agreed to provide Jordan with additional water in April but the deal was not completed.

Moroccan Air Force Plane Lands in Israel ahead of Drill - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    A Royal Moroccan Air Force C-130 landed at an Israeli Air Force base on Sunday ahead of an international drill this week together with the U.S.

Israeli Medic in Surfside: "Our Brothers and Sisters Are Here. We're Here to Help" - Jacob Miller (Jewish Insider)
    Israeli medic Dvir Dimri, 37, has spent several days and nights shuttling between the pile of rubble at Champlain Towers South and a nearby private home trying to console grieving Jewish families.
    Dimri is part of a team of 10 volunteers from the Israeli medical-relief agency SSF-Rescuers Without Borders. "Our brothers and sisters are here. We're here to help," he says.
    SSF members have previously volunteered in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
    Dimri says Jewish tradition compels the sacrifices Israeli volunteers are undergoing to help in the search-and-rescue mission.
    "If you understand that you are following a value that life is above everything, and that the respect of bodies is above everything, so this is why you stop everything, you put all your money, all your business on the side, and you come to work, and you come to do your best."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Ship Previously Owned by Israeli Company Attacked in Indian Ocean - Ronen Bergman
    A commercial ship that was previously owned by an Israeli-led company was attacked in the Indian Ocean on Saturday, an Israeli official said. There were no casualties. The ship was headed from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Jebel Ali in the UAE.
        Since ships with ties to Israel started coming under Iranian fire in March and April, the U.S. has provided Israeli ships in the Persian Gulf and nearby areas with escorts. (New York Times)
  • Khaled Awad Charged in Stabbing of Rabbi outside Jewish School in Boston
    Khaled Awad, 24, approached Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside a Jewish school in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston on Thursday and tried to steal his car at gunpoint. When the rabbi ran, Awad chased him and stabbed him eight times. His former college roommate described Awad as violent and very anti-Semitic. (WBZ-CBS-Boston)
  • U.S. Shifts Bases from Qatar to Jordan - J.P. Lawrence
    The U.S. has closed sprawling bases in Qatar that once served as a forward staging area in the Middle East, and has transferred the remaining weaponry and supplies to Jordan, in a move that analysts say positions Washington to deal better with Iran. Moving U.S. troops to Jordan decreases the threat of rocket attacks against U.S. troops in the Gulf region from Iranian-backed militias.
        "You want to be able to deny the Iranians that leverage, in a negotiation," said Kamran Bokhari, a national security expert at the Center for Global Policy. "If they're signaling that they have your bases in missile range, that decreases your leverage behind the scenes." The U.S. will continue to use Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a basing hub for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). (Stars and Stripes)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Bombs Hamas Weapons Factory in Gaza on Friday in Response to Arson Balloon Attacks
    Israeli planes bombed a Hamas weapons factory in Gaza early Friday in response to a wave of arson balloon attacks launched at Israel on Thursday, the IDF said. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza on Saturday in Response to Arson Balloon Attacks - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli planes struck a Hamas rocket launcher and a weapons factory in Gaza on Saturday night in response to continued arson balloon attacks. The response indicated a shift in Israeli government policy, which previously did not always respond to arson balloon attacks with airstrikes. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Protesters Reveal Details of Undercover PA Police on Social Media - Assaf Gabor
    Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by Palestinian security personnel on June 24, was a supporter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. After demonstrations in Ramallah protesting his killing were broken up by plainclothes undercover PA police, opponents of the PA posted photos, personal details, and home addresses of 30 undercover police on Palestinian social media for the purpose of "shaming."
        One of these undercover police was Wa'ed Tamimi, whose sister is Ahed Tamimi, known for her and her family's attacks on IDF soldiers. Ahed posted a notice on Facebook expressing her embarrassment that her brother was involved in violence against Palestinian protesters and revealed that their mother had forbidden her brother from returning home until he resigned from the police and apologized for his actions. (Makor Rishon-Hebrew-2July2021)
  • Jerusalem Arab Woman Recruited for Hizbullah
    Yasmin Jabar, a resident of Jerusalem's Old City, was sentenced on Sunday to 2 1/2 years in prison for recruiting people for Hizbullah, the Israel Security Agency reported. Jabar was an employee at Israel's National Library. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Experts Warn of Iran's Quest for Hegemony - Israel Kasnett
    Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Israel's former ambassador to the UN, told an online discussion hosted by the Emirates Policy Center that while the threat of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is considered the most dangerous, it is also the least likely element of the Iranian arsenal to be used in the near future. Instead, Gold believes it is Iran's proxies that represent the greatest threat today. "Many people anticipated in 2015 the proxy problem would diminish. But after the deal was concluded, the problem of proxies mushroomed across the Middle East."
        There is "a very dangerous Middle East on the horizon if the West and the negotiators allow the proxy issue to expand and not be addressed." The malign activities of Iranian proxies "are a reflection of Iran's quest for regional hegemony."
        Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior project director at the Jerusalem Center, said Iran wants to be "a regional superpower and eventually a global superpower. This is why Iran does not want to be a nuclear threshold country; it wants to have nuclear weapons." If Iran crosses the nuclear threshold, its proxy forces in the Middle East "will feel much more comfortable increasing their activities with the nuclear backbone of Tehran and will work harder to spread Iran's ideology throughout the Middle East and the world."  (JNS)
  • At Nuclear Talks, U.S. Is Handing Out "Carrots" without Reciprocity - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel
    Thus far, the negotiations taking place in Vienna over restoring the original, flawed nuclear deal have been completely dominated by the Iranians. The Americans are handing out "carrots" with no sticks and no reciprocity from the Iranians, who are demanding more concessions and receiving almost everything they request.
        The idea of negotiating for a long-term, more durable nuclear deal is an illusion and a fantasy. Israel must avoid becoming tied to the process of renewing the old deal.
        The writer is a former national security adviser to the prime minister of Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran and U.S. Strategy: Looking beyond the JCPOA - Anthony H. Cordesman
    The U.S. must consider a range of critical issues that will not be solved by simply renewing the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). Iran's increasing ability to use its proxies and engage the U.S. in gray area warfare means that the U.S. must reshape its strategy to comprehensively engage Iran beyond the JCPOA.
        If the U.S. is to succeed in both preventing an Iranian nuclear program and helping to bring some form of stability to the Gulf and the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region, it needs to broaden its approach to the Iranian nuclear program and focus on the overall military balance in the Gulf. At the same time, the U.S. must recognize that the Iranian missile threat, Iran's influence over key neighbors like Syria and Iraq, and Iran's capabilities for asymmetric maritime warfare in the Gulf must be considered.
        The writer holds the Chair in Strategy at CSIS in Washington. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
  • Ilhan Omar Has a Problem with Jews - David Harris
    Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has a Jewish problem. When 12 Jewish members of Congress, all from her party, were prompted to condemn her comments, calling them "offensive" and "misguided," Omar's spokesman tweeted: "As usual, the far right is ginning up hate against Rep. Omar." The "far right" in this case were Reps. Jake Auchincloss, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Josh Gottheimer, Elaine Luria, Kathy Manning, Jerry Nadler, Dean Phillips, Brad Schneider, Kim Schrier, Brad Sherman, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz - all liberal Democrats.
        Omar's record of incendiary, anti-Semitic comments - about Israel, the U.S.-Israel relationship, and American supporters of Israel - goes back nearly a decade. Each time, she insists she was misunderstood, though her comments are all a matter of public record. Then, rather than debate the merits of the issue, she and her defenders belittle anyone who would question her as a "right-winger," "racist," "misogynist," or "Islamophobe."
        The irony in the Omar story is that, if not for a Jewish House member from New York named Emanuel Celler, who as chair of the House Judiciary Committee spearheaded a change in America's immigration policy in 1965, Omar and her family might not have even been admitted to the U.S.
        The writer is CEO of the American Jewish Committee. (Newsweek)

  • During the 2021 Gaza War, while Israel refrained from crossing the border with land forces, some of those forces employed unmanned systems to seek and destroy hidden targets. This was the combat debut of a new capability developed by the IDF.
  • The IDF created a new Seek-and-Destroy (S&D) company in the paratrooper brigade, equipped with autonomous drones that operate in groups to gather intelligence, acquire targets, and deliver precision attacks.
  • The backbone enabling the new capability is the IDF network-enabled command, control, communications and intelligence system, which enables the creation of a highly detailed and accurate situational picture.
  • It has tools to spot anomalies that could indicate the existence of hidden enemies or targets in real-time. The system enables ground forces to direct precision airstrikes at targets they can see without delay.
  • In recent years drones have proved essential for all military operations, providing critical intelligence and pursuing time-sensitive targets. On May 6, 2021, the new S&D unit became the first military unit to operate drone swarms in combat, seeking and destroying dozens of hidden enemy targets in over 30 missions beyond the border in complex terrain in rural and urban areas. After striking the targets selected for engagement, the drones performed battle damage assessment.
  • Following its success in Gaza, the IDF Ground Forces Command recommended establishing more S&D companies over the next year to improve combat effectiveness.

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