October 14, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Threatens to Act Against Iranian Jews (MEMRI)
    Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezaee warned Monday that if Israel "makes a mistake" vis-a-vis Iran, the Iranian regime "will treat the 10,000 Jews living in Iran differently."
    In June, then-presidential candidate Rezaee told Iranian television that Iran's economic problems could be solved by taking 1,000 Americans hostage and demanding billions of dollars in ransom for them.

Israeli Aid Group Secretly Evacuated 167 Afghan Refugees - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    The humanitarian aid group IsraAID coordinated the evacuation of 125 vulnerable Afghans via Albania earlier this month, the NGO said on Wednesday.
    In September, IsraAID took part in the evacuation of 42 Afghan women and girls to the UAE.

Israel to Double Volume of Water Sold to Jordan - Guy Lieberman (Globes)
    The volume of water that Israel sells to Jordan will double and is likely to reach 100 million cubic meters over the next year, following an agreement signed on Tuesday.
    Since the mid-1990s, Israel has sold 50 million cubic meters of water annually to Jordan. Ten years ago this amount was raised to 60 million cubic meters.
    Israel has been selling water to Jordan since the 1990s at the especially cheap tariff of $0.04 per cubic meter, far lower than the $2.48 rate per cubic meter paid by Israeli consumers.
    This latest agreement hikes the price to $0.65, which means Israel is still subsidizing the cost of water for Jordan.
    Israel's Minister of Infrastructures, Water and Energy Resources Karine Elharrar said the new "agreement to increase the amount of water is an unequivocal statement that we want good neighborly relations."

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For the IDF, New Weapons May Change Future of Warfare - Hanan Greenwood (Israel Hayom)
    Recently I made the first-ever visit by a journalist to Elbit's classified labs where a lot of the most secret technologies in the IDF are being developed.
    The IDF has already brought into service autonomous and robotic vehicles, as well as drones on a large scale. It has also assimilated night vision systems for almost all infantry soldiers.
    Digital systems used by infantry officers provide immediate information on the enemy's position and targets for immediate strikes that are updated by intelligence personnel in real-time.
    During the next war, thousands of "seismic pearls" - small circular sensors that carry an antenna - will be dropped from planes and drones, and will be able to detect movement on the ground to give an up-to-date situational picture to digital army systems.
    "The digital ground army gives us intelligence that we have never had before. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. It's in another league," said Col. (res.) Arik Avivi.
    "If we had these capabilities in previous operations...we would have lost far fewer soldiers."

IDF's All-Female "Red Unit" Challenges Troops - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    For over a year, the IDF's first all-female, special-forces "Red Unit" has been challenging forces from all units to defend against attacks by Hizbullah and Hamas.
    "Our job is to challenge the troops and act like the enemy," said Sgt. R. "We learn about the enemy to know how they fight....We switch uniforms and really get into the drill, where we really feel like we are the enemy...and think like them."
    They hold drills in the middle of the night and inside tunnels. When they are not busy drilling with soldiers, they are studying Israel's enemies to better understand how to plan a future drill based on their fighting strategy.

IDF: Young Israelis Seeking Service in Combat Units Highest in 7 Years - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    "In the last two years there has been a continuous increase in willingness to serve in combat units," IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday.
    The most recent draft cycle in August saw "the highest figures in the last seven years." The high numbers "testify to the readiness and sense of mission that the recruits have." 

Report: Anti-Jewish Hatred in Ireland - David Collier (David Collier)
    It is almost impossible to overstate how toxic the situation in Ireland has become. Anti-Jewish racism spreads within the corridors of power and, unlike in the UK or U.S., appears to be as much driven from the top down as the reverse.
    Some Irish politicians are obsessed about attacking Israel and Zionism, treating it in a manner different from the way they treat all other international issues. Some politicians love to share the most outrageous fake news about Israel.
    The key problem in Ireland is that there is no real fight-back. This has led to a proliferation throughout the Irish mainstream.

New Israeli Tech Can See Through Walls at Long-Range - Maya Margit (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli firm Camero-Tech specializes in pulse-based, ultra-wideband (UWB) imaging solutions. Its Xavera LR40 can detect live objects hidden behind walls from over 50 meters away, a longer range than any other existing system.
    The system is so sensitive it can even detect breathing.
    The technology is particularly helpful in standoff situations or covert operations where a tactical team needs to remain at a safe distance from a target. It is also relevant for search-and-rescue operations.
    The goal is to provide ground forces in hostile environments with an operational advantage.

Israel Inaugurates Its Biggest Floating Solar Field - Guy Lieberman (Globes)
    Israel on Thursday inaugurated its largest floating photovoltaic solar energy field which will produce 23 megawatts, sufficient to supply electricity to 3,000 households.
    The field, comprised of 51,500 solar panels, floats above the Habonim reservoir south of Haifa.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S., Israel Exploring "Plan B" for Iran - Matthew Lee
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Wednesday in Washington they are exploring a "Plan B" for dealing with Iran if it does not return in good faith to negotiations to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. They said discussions between their two countries have begun on "other options" should Iran reject an offer to come back into compliance with the agreement if the U.S. rejoins it. There are a wide range of non-diplomatic options that could be considered, ranging from stepped up sanctions to covert or military actions.
        Blinken said, "We are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn't change course, and these consultations with our allies and partners are part of it." Lapid said, "There are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil. If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon we must act....If the Iranians don't believe the world is serious about stopping them, they will race to the bomb."  (AP-Washington Post)
  • Israel Opposes U.S. Consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem - Amy Cheng
    Israel will not agree to have the U.S. reopen its consulate dedicated to Palestinian affairs in Jerusalem, Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Saar said Tuesday. (Washington Post)
        "We will not compromise on this issue" for generations to come, Saar told a conference in Jerusalem. "I want to make it very clear...we are 100% opposed to it."  (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Calls on PA to Join Abraham Accords: "Our Hand Is Extended in Peace" - Yoni Weiss
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, speaking on Monday at a Knesset event marking the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords, said: "I take this opportunity to call on the Palestinians, as well as the citizens of every Arab nation, to turn to peace. The people of Israel have not returned to their ancient homeland to fight, but to build a life of prosperity and good neighborliness here....If you decide to join the Abraham Accords, to bring prosperity, jobs, a culture of progress and success to your peoples, our hand is extended to you."  (Hamodia)
  • Former Mossad Chief: Iran Not Close to Getting a Nuclear Bomb - Lahav Harkov
    Former Mossad intelligence agency director Yossi Cohen said Tuesday, "I think that Iran, to this day, is not even close to acquiring a nuclear weapon....This is due to longstanding efforts by some forces in the world." He added that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Israel must be able to stop it on its own. "We have to develop capabilities to allow us to be absolutely independent, doing what Israel has done twice before" - bombing nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Wounds Israeli Border Policeman in Car Ramming - Elisha Ben Kimon
    An Israeli Border Police officer was seriously wounded on Thursday by a Palestinian in a car ramming attack at the Qalandiya border crossing north of Jerusalem. The driver was apprehended. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Authority Cracks Down on Activists, Rivals in West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority has targeted dozens of Palestinian political activists and rivals in the West Bank over the past few weeks. In September, at least 52 Palestinians were arrested by PA security forces, the Palestinian Committee for Political Detainees revealed. Another 62 Palestinians were summoned for interrogation.
        Palestinian human rights activist Walid Abdullah said most were accused of being affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). At least seven Palestinians were summoned for interrogation on suspicion of "insulting" Palestinian leaders on social media. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Azerbaijan Defies Iran - Dr. Michael Doran
    In recent weeks, Tehran has engaged in a crude campaign of intimidation of Azerbaijan that included military exercises near the border. Iranian officials are demanding that Azerbaijan end its alliance with Israel, which aided Azerbaijan during its 2020 war with Armenia.
        Ethnic Azerbaijanis, a Shiite Turkic people, comprise 20-30% of Iran's population. When members of the Azerbaijani minority in Iran learned that Iran was helping Russia to resupply the Armenian army during the war, they sabotaged transport vehicles and launched public protests.
        In 2012, when the Obama administration was courting Iran, senior American officials briefed the press on military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel with the clear intention of scuttling it. Although Washington is currently doing nothing to impede cooperation between Baku and Jerusalem, its posture in the face of Iranian aggression has created an environment that invites acts of intimidation. The Biden administration would be better served by following Israel's example.
        The U.S. must find a way to deter nasty international actors while simultaneously respecting an electorate that is wary of military interventions. The best way is to forge productive understandings with countries that wield capable militaries - and who aren't afraid to use them.
        The writer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, served in the departments of State and Defense, and on the U.S. National Security Council. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Growing Azerbaijan-Iran Tensions - Dr. Mohammed Al-Sulami
    Azerbaijan decided last month to levy customs tariffs on Iranian trucks crossing through its territory into Armenia. Tehran has embarked on consultations with Armenia over completing its Tatev road project, which would connect it with Armenia and Europe without the need to pass through Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has accused Iran of sending help to Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Baku regained from Armenia following last year's war. Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan also recently held joint military drills in the Caspian Sea.
        Meanwhile, on Sep. 19, Iran mobilized its forces on the border with Azerbaijan, where they carried out drills involving heavy weapons and helicopters for the first time. There have been radical calls by some Iranian lawmakers to annex Azerbaijan under the pretext that it was historically part of the Persian Empire and was "taken away" by the Russian Empire in the 19th century. In Baku, angry protesters attacked the Iranian Embassy in protest against Tehran's threats. Azerbaijani authorities also shut down the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's representative.
        It could be said that Iran is getting a taste of its own medicine after spending decades undermining the security and stability of its neighbors. Tehran has created a new enemy on its northern border.
        The writer is president of the International Institute for Iranian Studies in Riyadh. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Western Media Aren't Telling You the Truth about Iran - Hossein Ronaghi
    There have been five nationwide uprisings against the regime in our country in the past four years. Our government has slaughtered protesters and tortured political prisoners to suppress them. Yet most people in the West don't know our reality. Your Iran is defined by a pesky nuclear negotiation. Ours is much worse. It is a religious police state where we live in fear, with countless red lines that most dare not cross. I would know - I have spent six years in its jails.
        Dissidents are jailed for holding up photos of their murdered children. Many relatives of those killed by the regime aren't allowed to hold funerals. They often are charged a fee to have their loved one's body released or are required to pay for the bullet or rope used to kill him.
        You have been told that your solidarity would hurt us, that talking about our struggle would put us at risk. That is a lie. It is your silence and indifference that threaten us. Writing this could land me back in prison. But if that's the price for giving a voice to the voiceless, it will be worth it. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Other Issues

  • Why Palestinians Prefer to Work in Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The news that Israeli authorities have decided to allow thousands of Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza to work in Israel prompted tens of thousands to converge on the offices of the chambers of commerce in the hope of obtaining a permit. The fact that a large number of Palestinians are desperate to work in Israel is a sign of the failure of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to improve the living conditions of their people despite the massive sums of money they receive from the U.S., EU and UN. Instead of building industrial zones, Hamas has been investing millions in manufacturing weapons and digging attack tunnels.
        Why isn't Egypt opening up its shared border with Gaza to allow Palestinians in to work? Why don't the Arab governments allow the Palestinians in to work? The answer, sadly, is that the Arabs want the Palestinians to remain Israel's problem. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Elie Wiesel's Legacy Includes Unapologetic Zionism - Elisha Wiesel
    My father - author, activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel - didn't advocate just for the people of Kosovo, Darfur and Cambodia. He also supported Israel and defended her right to exist in peace and security. My father understood what it meant to live in a world without a Jewish state, and he saw the anti-Zionist movement as an extension of millennia-old anti-Semitism, which unfortunately is becoming more common and acceptable today.
        Accusers throw the word "apartheid" at Israel, ignoring that thousands of Arabs serve voluntarily in the Israel Defense Forces and take their oath on a Koran or New Testament. Some celebrities charge Israel with ethnic cleansing, disregarding that as of 2017, the population of Palestinian citizens in Israel is more than nine times as high as it was in 1948. Meanwhile, almost all states in the Arab Middle East are Judenrein - "cleansed" of Jews. (Washington Post)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Israel Foreign Ministry: Irish Author Impedes Peace - Melanie Finn
    After Irish author Sally Rooney said she supported a cultural boycott of Israel and would not allow the translation rights for her latest novel to be sold to an Israeli publishing house, Israel's foreign ministry said, "This is an unfortunate position that promotes narrow-mindedness and impedes peace, dialogue, or any meaningful change....There is something inherently flawed with an intellectual who refuses to engage in conversation, and instead supports the silencing of opinion."
        Nurit Tinari, director of the foreign ministry's culture division, said: "The boycott movement is an illegitimate campaign that has been tainted with anti-Semitism since the day it was founded through to today....If Ms. Rooney had visited Israel and studied the situation in depth, I believe that she would not have made such a discriminatory decision that excludes an entire group of people based on its place of residence and language."  (Independent-Ireland)
  • Irish Author Sally Rooney and the Bigotry of the BDS Movement - Brendan O'Neill
    If it is true that Irish author Sally Rooney is refusing to allow her latest novel to be translated into Hebrew because she supports the cultural boycott of Israel, then that's a new low for the anti-Israel set. It also speaks to the prejudices that swirl around the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
        This has led to some despicable scenes in the UK and the U.S. in recent years: the booing of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; the cancellation of an Israeli-produced hip-hop opera at the Edinburgh Fringe; the jeering, harassment and No Platforming of speakers from Israel in certain universities; the removal of Israel-produced food from shop shelves. It's from the Jewish state? Then bin it, ban it, shout it down. This is the singular, dubious motivation of the BDS mob.
        This is a species of bigotry. BDS treats Israel by a staggering double standard, in singling out Israel for a unique and extreme form of censorious punishment, for bans and boycotts that they do not seek to impose on any other state. Being "Israel-free," ostentatiously refusing to buy Israeli products or to engage with Israeli culture, has become the ultimate and most nauseating virtue-signal among smug radicals. It is prejudice dolled up as political principle. (Spiked-UK)
  • BDS Is All about Anti-Semitism - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Irish novelist Sally Rooney thinks that she's an advocate for human rights. Ben and Jerry believe they are righteous advocates for social justice. Yet despite their well-advertised good intentions, they are promoting hatred against Jews. They refuse to acknowledge that backing the BDS movement that seeks Israel's destruction is inherently anti-Semitic. The goal of BDS isn't to adjust Israel's policies towards the West Bank and the Hamas terrorist state in Gaza or to advocate for Palestinian independence as part of a two-state solution. Its aim is the eradication of Israel, the one Jewish state on the planet.
        Rooney signed a letter in May which spoke of 1948 (and not 1967, when Israel came into possession of the West Bank as part of a defensive war) as the beginning of "Israeli settler colonial rule" and referred to Israel's attempts to defend its citizens against 4,000 terrorist rockets fired by Hamas in Gaza as a "massacre of Palestinians."
        It's no accident that Israel is the country that is always singled out by so-called human-rights advocates for its alleged crimes even though other nations, which are actually tyrannies, get ignored. Israel is the only nation in the world that has spawned a worldwide movement that aims at its destruction. Only Jews and Jewish rights are treated in this manner, which says that BDS is inherently anti-Semitic.
        In much of the mainstream media, BDS is still treated like a legitimate protest rather than anti-Semitism. But those who think that only Israel's efforts to defend itself against the Palestinian war on its existence are the most intolerable acts happening anywhere on the planet mustn't be allowed to pose as do-gooders. They are complicit in a hate campaign that essentially justifies terrorist violence. (JNS)

  • Weekend Features

  • Curious Israelis Embrace Bahraini Visitors - Lazar Berman
    Mohammed Saleh, an official with Bahrain's Education Ministry, stood, bowed, and sat a few feet away from the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City last week as he went through the Muslim liturgy, decked out in an immaculate white robe, sandals, and a red-and-white keffiyeh. Saleh and eight other Bahraini businessmen flew to Israel on the new direct Gulf Air route from Manama to Tel Aviv, in a visit organized by Sharaka ("partnership" in Arabic), an NGO founded by Israeli, Bahraini, and Emirati social entrepreneurs in the wake of the 2020 Abraham Accords.
        Wherever they walked in the Old City, the Bahrainis experienced the welcoming, inquisitive, and charmingly intrusive Israel that pleasantly surprises so many first-time visitors. Yet in some places they encountered young Palestinian men who called them traitors. The Bahrainis were unfazed, saying the verbal attacks were rather tame compared to what they've experienced on social media and from Palestinians living in Bahrain.
        Khawla Al Shaer, who works at a pharmaceutical company in Bahrain, said she was struck by the warmth of the welcome she received. "We saw a lot of care and love and hospitality," she said. "There are very beautiful, lovely, friendly people," said Nayla Al Meer, a PhD student and official in the Youth and Sports Ministry. Fatema Al Harbi, who works for the Education Ministry, noted, "I saw a lot of Arab Israelis and Arabs; they love living here."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Bahraini Influencers See Reality, and Warmth, that Is Israel - Josh Hasten (JNS)
  • Why the World Would Be a Lesser Place without Israel - Dan Perry
    Israel has posted accomplishments few other countries can equal. Israel's scientific and technological achievements are astounding. Israel is responsible for an extraordinary range of innovations, from the discovery of quasicrystals to the understanding of the structure and function of ribosomes, from the Feldenkrais method of exercise therapy to drip irrigation, and from the invention of tiny cameras that can travel through the body (endoscopy) to the development to flexible stents.
        Israel played a massive role in the creation of mobile and internet telephony (Viber), instant messaging (ICQ), facial recognition and USB flash drives. The Intel 8088 chip that first powered personal computers was developed in Israel. Then there is the marvel of the Iron Dome system that zaps incoming missiles out of the sky.
        Israel attracts venture capital investments at about a third the rate of the entire European Union, with a population 50 times smaller. This has driven Israel's per capita GDP to $44,000/year, higher at present than that of Britain, France, Spain and Italy (and three times that of Greece). It has one of the most stable currencies, lowest rates of inflation and highest foreign reserve levels per capita in the world. Israel has the 12th highest number of Nobel prizes per capita, the 14th highest number of scientific publications per capita, and publishes more books per capita than the U.S.  This is not bad for a country whose existence has been challenged by powerful neighbors since day one.
        The writer, former Middle East editor for the Associated Press, served as the chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)
  • Carabiniere Who Saved Jewish Girls Named Righteous among Nations
    A late Carabiniere (national police) officer who saved two Jewish sisters from the Nazis was named as Righteous among the Nations by Israel on Thursday. Brig. Giuseppe Ippoliti, along with his wife Teresa Zani, took Edith and Trude Fischhof into his home near Brescia in 1943, saving them from deportation to the death camps.
        The great-grandson of Ippoliti, who died in 1974, was given the honor by Israeli Ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar. At the ceremony, Edith Fischhof recalled the dramatic days of their rescue. (ANSA-Italy)

Iran Wants Israel to Be Bogged Down in Gaza - Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat interviewed by Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
  • Outgoing Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat has served in the Israel Security Agency and other security positions for 37 years, spending most of his professional life dealing with Gaza.
  • He said in an interview: "Israel's long-term goal should be a demilitarized Gaza under leadership that recognizes Israel and does not take violent action against it. This goal can be achieved in one of two ways - either through a broad-scale military operation...that would come at a heavy cost, or by gradually wearing Hamas down at every level and leading the population to realize that it's a failed, corrupt regime whose time has come to an end."
  • "Sometimes there are chronic conditions that medicine can't heal completely, but allow you to live with them....Our security situation has to be evaluated with a long lens, by a long list of parameters - strict parameters of lives lost and disruptions to the public's daily routine."
  • "True, there are tense periods in the western Negev [opposite Gaza]. But even there, people live their ordinary lives most days of the year, and the communities there are thriving."
  • "Another consideration in dealing with Gaza is our priorities. Iran, of course, would be happy if we got involved in a conflict with Hamas and directed our attention to Gaza rather than at it."
  • Asked if Israel is depending on the Americans to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, he replied: "We aren't. Israel and the Jewish people can't accept an existential threat, and will not accept Iranian military nuclear capabilities. As for what we do about it, I'll just say that when the political echelon decides that we won't allow it, the military and intelligence echelons realize what that means."
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