October 7, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt's President Sisi Hails Peace with Israel (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    During a ceremony commemorating the October 1973 war, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hailed the peace agreement signed with Israel in 1979.
    Sadat's initiative to reach a peace deal with Israel reflected his ability to move beyond the entrenched ideas and policies of his era, Sisi affirmed.
    He urged rulers in the region to take Sadat's action as an example and pursue his steps.

Tens of Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza Line Up for Israeli Work Permits - Wafaa Shurafa (AP)
    Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza lined up on Wednesday to get permits to work inside Israel after rumors circulated that more would be issued.
    An Israeli security official said authorities decided to allow in 7,000 merchants in September but were only able to issue 4,500 permits. They are now taking applications for the remaining 2,500.

Iranians Are Leaving Iran - Dr. Raz Zimmt (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
    There has been a rise in the number of Iranian asylum seekers who illegally and unofficially leave via Turkey for European countries and request refugee status.
    The number of Iranian emigrants increased from 15,500 in 2016 to 42,000 in 2019, according to the Iran Migration Observatory at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.
    From 2010 to 2020 there were 500,000 Iranian emigrants, the Nilgam Center reported.
    Intensifying economic difficulties, combined with restrictions on personal freedoms, limit opportunities for many educated and skilled young people, and are considered central factors encouraging emigration.
    In 2019-2020, the unemployment rate reached 18% among young people aged 18-35, the Statistical Center of Iran reported.
    In May 2020, Minister of Labor Ali Rabii said 40% of university graduates in Iran were unemployed.
    In 2021, it was estimated that more than four million Iranians live outside Iran.
    The writer, a research fellow at INSS, is a veteran Iran-watcher for the Israel Defense Forces.

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An Iraqi Perspective on Israel - Hussain Abdul-Hussain (Algemeiner)
    Growing up in Iraq, I learned in elementary school that three things should not have been created: "Persians, Jews and flies."
    Most Iraqis are Shiites. Because of animosity toward the Sunnis, Shiites rarely sympathize with the "Palestinian cause," which is viewed as a Sunni issue.
    In fact, the holiest Islamic spots in Jerusalem, the Mosque of Omar and the Dome of the Rock, were both constructed by people that Sunnis revere and Shiites hate.
    Popular opinion in Iraq is ripe for peace and normalization with Israel. Non-Arabs, such as most Kurds, who make up one quarter of the population, have been friends with Israel for decades.
    But until Iraqis can enjoy freedom of expression, many of them will run for the exits every time the word Israel is mentioned.
    Iraqis want peace with Israel, but are not willing to sacrifice their lives for it.
    The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

F-35 Components Made in Israel - Dan Arkin (Israel Defense)
    The helmet worn by an F-35 stealth fighter pilot is manufactured by Israel's Elbit Systems.
    Each helmet is personal, tailored to each pilot individually, a match that takes several days to complete and includes a 3D scan of the head and the distance between the pilot's eyes.
    The helmet directs the armament to its target by a simple movement of the pilot's head, enabling rapid response and reduction of the pilot's workload.
    The F-35's wings are produced with the utmost precision by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which to date has manufactured 270 pairs of wings.

Estonia Signs Contract for Israeli Coastal Defense System (ERR-Estonia)
    On Wednesday, Estonia signed a contract with Proteus Advanced Systems for the purchase of Blue Spear 5G coastal shore-to-ship defense rockets.
    Proteus is a joint company of Israel Aerospace Industries and Singapore's ST Engineering Land Systems.

The Romanian Mayor Who Saved Thousands of Jews - Baruch Tenembaum (Times of Israel)
    Dr. Traian Popovici was the mayor of Cernauti, a town under Romanian control during WWII, today part of Ukraine and known as Chernivtsi.
    He was responsible for saving 20,000 Jews of Bukovina from deportation during the Holocaust and has been recognized as one of the Righteous among the Nations.
    In 1941, when he was ordered to comply with the deportation of all the Jews of Cernauti, he appealed to Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu, arguing that the expulsion of the Jews would be a mortal blow to the economy of the region, and succeeded in securing a postponement.

Israeli Startups Raised over $2.2 Billion in September (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised over $2.2 billion in September, for a total of $17.5 billion raised in the first nine months of 2021, already far above the record $10 billion raised in all of 2020.
    Cloud security company Snyk raised $530 million, payroll platform Papaya Global raised $250 million, payments platform Melio also raised $250 million, video editing mobile app Lightricks raised $130 million, streamer platform Streamelements raised $100 million, and customer success platform Totango also raised $100 million.

Israeli Gaming Startup Beach Bum Acquired by France's Voodoo for $500 Million - Sophie Shulman (Calcalist)
    The Israeli gaming company Beach Bum is being acquired by French mobile gaming company Voodoo.
    Beach Bum, which develops mobile games based on popular board games like backgammon, was founded by Gigi Levy-Weiss and Uri Shahak, co-founders at gaming giant Playtika, which went public at an $11 billion valuation earlier this year.
    Beach Bum has more than two million monthly active users.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Aides Tell Israelis U.S. Will Pursue "Other Avenues" if Iran Diplomacy Fails - Matt Spetalnick
    Top U.S. officials told visiting Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata on Tuesday that the Biden administration remains committed to diplomacy with Iran, but if necessary would be prepared to pursue "other avenues" to ensure Tehran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. official said. The two allies will share intelligence and develop a "baseline assessment" of how far Tehran's nuclear program has advanced, an official said. (Reuters)
  • Iran's Armed-Drone Prowess Reshapes Security in Middle East - Benoit Faucon
    Tehran's rapidly developing ability to deploy armed drones is changing the security equation in the Middle East. "Drones have changed the balance of power in the Middle East," an Iranian official told the Wall Street Journal. Tehran's engineers rely on imported components to create aerial vehicles that can accurately strike targets at long distance and rapidly change direction to avoid air defenses and radar, say European and Middle Eastern security officials.
        On Sept. 13, Iran-aligned forces in Yemen targeted the city of Jazan in Saudi Arabia with drones and missiles. A few days earlier, a drone equipped with explosives targeted an Iraqi airport where some U.S. forces are stationed. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iranian Foreign Assassination Campaign Uncovered in Colombia - Potkin Azarmehr
    In June, Colombia's Direccion Nacional de Inteligencia (DNI) issued an imminent security alert after determining two Israeli businessmen were the targets of an assassination attempt planned and financed by a high-ranking Iranian Quds Force officer, Rahmat Asadi. The businessmen and their families had to quickly leave Bogota under rigorous security measures.
        The Colombia investigation, with the help of 15 other foreign intelligence agencies, led to the identification of a sophisticated Quds Force infrastructure to carry out similar actions in Azerbaijan, the U.S., Bulgaria and Africa by hiring professional hit men. Iran has killed at least 21 dissidents throughout the world and has plotted dozens of attacks against Jewish, Israeli, Arab and Western targets, the U.S. Institute of Peace reported in 2020. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Vows to Continue to Destroy Iranian Capabilities
    Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday, "Operations to destroy Iranian capabilities will continue, in any arena and at any time, and the operational plans against Iran's nuclear program will continue to be developed and improved."  (Times of Israel)
  • Report: Mossad Kidnapped Iranian General to Obtain Info on Israeli Airman Ron Arad - Emanuel Fabian
    A Mossad operation last month that aimed to discover information about the whereabouts of missing Israeli airman Ron Arad saw agents kidnap an Iranian general for interrogation, the London-based Rai al-Youm reported Monday. Mossad agents took the man from Syria to an unnamed African country, interrogated him, and eventually released him.
        Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed on Monday that Mossad agents recently went on a mission to uncover the whereabouts of Arad, an Israeli Air Force navigator who was captured in Lebanon in 1986 and was last heard from in 1988. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Why an Israeli Military Option Against Iran Is Back on the Table - Ilan Berman
    Addressing the UN General Assembly on Sep. 28, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made it clear that the Jewish state continues to view the Islamic Republic's persistent nuclear ambitions as a truly existential danger - and that it is prepared to take military action on its own in order to thwart them if it feels it has no other choice.
        Such a step has never been Israel's preference. Israeli policymakers have long maintained that diplomacy and multilateral pressure - or collective action - are preferable for containing Iran's nuclear progress. Moreover, after decades of development, Iran's atomic enterprise is simply too vast and too distributed to be eliminated outright by a targeted strike. Israeli strategic planners make clear that the best they hope for is to cause temporary setbacks and complications to Tehran's path toward the bomb.
        Israel's prime minister told the UN: "There are those in the world who seem to view Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons as an inevitable reality, as a done deal - or they've just become tired of hearing about it. Israel doesn't have that privilege. We will not tire. We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon." If Israel ends up acting to prevent a nuclear Iran, it will be because the U.S. and its international partners did not take Iran's nuclear program, or Israel's concerns, seriously enough.
        The writer is senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council. (National Review)
  • Quest for More Leverage Drives Iran's Nuclear Stalling Tactic - Parisa Hafezi
    Western powers have been trying for weeks to get Tehran to agree to return to nuclear talks that have been on hold since June. Behind Tehran's stalling is an attempt to gain leverage to extract more concessions when negotiations do eventually resume, officials and analysts said.
        "Iran will eventually return to the talks in Vienna. But we are in no rush to do so because time is on our side. Our nuclear [program] advances further every day," a senior Iranian official said. Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, said, "More time equals more leverage, given the exponential growth of Iran's nuclear program." A senior European diplomat said, "They want to create a fait accompli on the ground - technical and nuclear - and preserve the possibility of a negotiation."
        Iran's rulers are confident their stalling strategy will not bring serious repercussions, analysts said. "Ayatollah Khamenei seems to believe that by waiting, he can get a better deal from Washington - that time is on his side," said Meir Javedanfar, Iran lecturer at Israel's Reichman University. (Reuters)

  • Palestinians

  • Mahmoud Abbas' Message of Hopelessness and Hostility at the UN - Amb. Alan Baker
    PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' statement to the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2021, was almost identical to Yasser Arafat's statement at the 2001 Durban Conference. Citing the Nakba (catastrophe), Abbas deliberately inverted history and ignored decades of organized violence by Arab groups and forces against Jewish communities, including massacres of Jews in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936, and 1938, all aimed at terrorizing the Jewish residents and removing any Jewish presence from the area.
        Abbas misled the General Assembly into believing that General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) created a "right of return" for Palestinians. The truth is that the resolution was a non-obligatory recommendation and did not create legal rights.
        In violation of UN resolutions and international conventions criminalizing the financing of terror, Abbas blatantly and unabashedly defended and justified the PA's "pay to slay" policy that provides salaries to prisoners guilty of acts of terror and murder, knowing that such payments serve as incentives and encouragement for more acts of terror.
        The writer, a former legal adviser to the Israel Foreign Ministry who participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, heads the International Law Program at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Why Does the U.S. Want a Palestinian Consulate in Jerusalem? - Prof. Eugene Kontorovich
    The Biden administration is trying to partially undo one of Israel's greatest diplomatic achievements of recent decades - the recognition of Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem. The U.S. is pushing to open a new diplomatic office in Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority.
        The U.S. does not want to open a consulate merely to have a place for diplomatic liaisons with the PA. They could easily do this by opening a mission in Abu Dis or Ramallah - where most other countries conduct their relations with the PA. Instead, the purpose of the consulate is to recognize Palestinian claims to Jerusalem.
        Since its creation, no Israeli government of any political inclination has allowed the opening of a diplomatic mission not to Israel. For Israel to allow this would cement the notion that "both sides" have legitimate claims to the city. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has expressed his opposition to such a move, making it clear that this is not about a diplomatic office - it is about the status of Jerusalem.
        The writer is director of George Mason University Law School's Center for the Middle East and International Law. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas Conference Envisions "Post-Liberation Palestine" after Israel "Disappears"
    On Sep. 30, 2021, Hamas sponsored a conference in Gaza on "Post-Liberation Palestine," to discuss preparations for the future state of Palestine after Israel "disappears."
        The published concluding statement recommended rules for dealing with "Jews" in the country, including defining which of them will be killed or subjected to legal prosecution and which will be allowed to leave. It also called for preventing a brain drain of Jewish professionals, and for the retention of "educated Jews and experts in the areas of medicine, engineering, technology, and civilian and military industry...[who] should not be allowed to leave."
        Hamas leader in Gaza Yahyah Al-Sinwar said, "Liberation is the heart of Hamas' strategic vision, that speaks of the full liberation of Palestine from the sea to the river, the Palestinian refugees' return to their homeland, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty over its lands, with Jerusalem as its capital....We are sponsoring this conference because it is in line with our assessment that victory is nigh."
        Hamas political bureau member Mahmoud Al-Zahhar noted, "Hamas' dispute with the plan of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah is that they are settling for the western side of Palestine being for the Jews and the eastern side for the Palestinians - what is known as the two-state solution....We must not relinquish a single inch of our land."  (MEMRI)

  • Other Issues

  • Why Arabs Are Annoyed with the Europeans - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The European Parliament has enraged many Arabs by calling for a boycott of Expo 2020 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has called on EU member states not to participate and for international companies to withdraw their sponsorship. The timing of the resolution is problematic and implies that the European Parliament is seeking to punish the UAE for signing a peace treaty with Israel. The resolution coincided with the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords. Israel is participating in Expo 2020 Dubai.
        The European Parliament resolution targeting the UAE is a valuable gift from the Europeans to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and all those who oppose the Abraham Accords and any peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs. By singling out the UAE, the European Parliament has chosen to side with the enemies of peace, cooperation and normalization between Israelis and Arabs. Such resolutions give the enemies of peace ammunition to keep fighting to achieve their goal of destroying Israel.
        The enemies of peace are not only opposed to cooperation between Israel and the Arabs. They are opposed to the existence of Israel. Most of them want to replace Israel with an Islamist state. By calling for boycotting the Dubai event, the European Parliament has emboldened extremist Arabs and Muslims. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Weekend Features

  • President of Ukraine: We Must Remember Babyn Yar
    President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke on Wednesday on the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy. "In this place, the Nazis shot more than a hundred thousand people....It is difficult to breathe in this place. Thousands of children took their last breath here. It is difficult to stand in this place. Thousands of bullets knocked those killed off the feet right here, in the Babyn Yar, which is permeated with pain and screaming, blood and death."  (President of Ukraine)
        See also President of Israel Marks 80 Years since Babi Yar Massacre (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Last Survivor of Babi Yar Massacre Remembers Every Detail - Itamar Eichner
    Michael Sidko was 6 when he witnessed German forces and their Ukrainian collaborators murder his 4-month-old brother Volodya, his 3-year-old sister Clara, and his mother, who screamed in pain while the Nazi troops kept firing to make sure she was dead. Sidko, 85, is the last living survivor of the massacre in the Babi Yar ravine in Kyiv, Ukraine, where 33,771 Jews were murdered on Sep. 29-30, 1941. For 60 years Sidko kept his Jewish identity and what he had witnessed at Babi Yar a secret, even from his own family.
        "I remember everything, even the small details, but I don't want to, it hurts too much," says Sidko. "My mom was holding my brother, and Clara stood next to her, holding her skirt. One of the Ukrainian collaborators took Clara, hit her in the head, and stepped on her chest until she suffocated to death. My mom saw the whole thing and fainted. Then my baby brother fell, and the collaborator approached him and killed him. Mom woke up, started to scream and he shot her, then they grabbed them all by the legs and threw them into the pit."
        Sidko and his older brother Grisha survived thanks to Ukrainian neighbors, including Sofia Kondratieva, who was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, a title used for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis. (Ynet News)
  • British Spy Saved 10,000 Austrian Jews during WWII
    British spymaster Col. Thomas Kendrick secured passports for 10,000 desperate Austrian Jewish refugees during WWII. Historian Dr. Helen Fry tells the story of Kendrick's Vienna operation in a new biography, Spymaster. Fry said Kendrick "was a senior member of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) or what we know today as MI6." Posted to Vienna in 1925 as SIS station chief, Kendrick, assisted by secretary and fellow agent Clara Holmes, ran the most sophisticated spy network in Europe, under the cover of being the passport control officer at the British Consulate.
        On March 12, 1938, the Third Reich annexed Austria, changing the fate of Austria's 200,000 Jews almost overnight. By April, more than 7,000 Jewish men had been arrested and sent to concentration camps like Dachau. Working 15 hour days, Kendrick and his team processed up to 175 applications a day as hundreds of terrified families besieged the building.
        Just four days after the Nazis entered Austria, British cabinet ministers tightened visa restrictions to enter Britain. Visas were still not required for British dominions or self-governing colonies, so Kendrick began to send people to countries like Southern Rhodesia. He stamped 1,000 temporary visas to Palestine for young men to "attend a sports camp," added children to the passports of British businessmen returning to the UK, issued false passports, and handed out permits to Jews who had received "fake baptisms."
        Forced to flee Vienna after being betrayed to the Gestapo by a double agent, Kendrick returned to Britain where, with the help of 100 German Jewish refugees, he secretly bugged the rooms of German prisoners of war, providing vital intelligence in the war. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Nazis Had Their Sights Set on Palestine - Joseph Croitoru
    Israeli historians Benjamin Z. Kedar and Daniel Uziel reported in the Hebrew-language Israeli history journal Cathedra that the German Luftwaffe flew numerous missions over Mandatory Palestine from 1941 until September 1944, analyzing 286 aerial photographs made by the Luftwaffe which Kedar uncovered in the U.S. National Archive.
        Palestine only became accessible to the German Luftwaffe after the Wehrmacht's Balkan and Greek campaign in April 1941. Crete was captured by the Germans in May and could be used as a base along with Italian-occupied Rhodes. The first German long-range reconnaissance aircraft reached Haifa in June. On June 10, the Germans dispatched 50 bombers in the direction of Haifa.
        Three aerial photographs taken on May 28 were accompanied by information sheets marking air bases, the port and industrial area, oil storage facilities, Haifa's railway station and power plant, which was the main target hit by most of the bombs in the first German air raid. Two subsequent German bombing missions took place - the first targeting Haifa and the second bombing Tel Aviv, where one bomb killed ten people in an apartment building. (Qantara-Deutsche Welle-Germany)

Hamas Is Building a Second Front Against Israel in Lebanon - Yaakov Lappin (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
  • Hamas is busy building a second front against Israel in Lebanon. Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, director of research at the Alma Research and Education Center, who served for 20 years in IDF Military Intelligence, said Hamas recruits from the 200,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who have never received Lebanese citizenship.
  • Hamas' military-terrorist program in Lebanon is led by Salah Al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau. Arouri is also responsible for orchestrating Hamas terrorist activities in the West Bank. After the IDF conducted a series of counter-terrorism raids last week in the West Bank to disrupt a major Hamas terrorist plot for Jerusalem, it would be safe to bet that Al-Arouri had a hand in the plot, Beeri said. Al-Arouri currently resides in Lebanon, where he has set up a significant Hamas headquarters.
  • Beeri said Hamas is also shaping an offensive force in Lebanon itself. Hamas has two Lebanese units that can be activated: The El-Shimali Unit and the Khaled Ali Unit. "Each one has hundreds of operatives. They both deal in recruitment, training, and specialized qualification courses, such as sniping, operating anti-tank missile launchers, drone operators, urban warfare, and tactical intelligence collection."
  • Both of these units develop and manufacture weapons in Lebanon, particularly rockets and drones, as well as small unmanned submarines. "These two units also create operational cells, and formulate operational attack plans," said Beeri.
  • "For around a decade, Hamas has been building a very serious military infrastructure in Lebanon, which will provide them with back-up operational options against Israel in addition to Gaza," Beeri warned. There were five rocket attacks out of Lebanon against Israel between May and August. "The likelihood that Hamas was behind all of these attacks is very high," said Beeri.
  • "All of Hamas' activities in Lebanon are occurring with the assistance of the Palestine Branch of the Quds Force, a part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran."
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