December 2, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Mob Attacks Israelis Who Entered Ramallah by Accident (Ynet News)
    A mob of Palestinians attacked two Israelis who drove into the West Bank city of Ramallah by mistake on Wednesday.
    They were rescued by the Palestinian Authority police, but their vehicle was set on fire at Al-Manara Square.
    See also Attempted Lynch in Ramallah - Col. (res.) Ronen Itsik (Israel Hayom)
    In October 2000, two IDF reservists, Yossi Avrahami and Vadim Nurzhitz, were horrifically murdered by a frenzied Palestinian mob in Ramallah.
    On Wednesday, two Israelis were rescued by Palestinian security forces from a similarly crazed mob.
    What was the sin of the two Israelis - that they were driving in Area A? Does that justify such a pogrom?
    The alarming hatred and anti-Semitism reflects the undercurrents in Palestinian society, which for the past 15 years has received economic relief and cooperation from Israel.
    The streets of Ramallah are prospering - yet this matters not to the incited mob.

German Bank Closes Hamas/BDS Group Account - Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post)
    The German Postbank has confirmed that its account for the Hamas-linked Palestinian Community in Germany is no longer active.
    Postbank spokesman Oliver Rittmaier said, "You can be assured that we are not interested in maintaining relationships with extremist groups. When we discover such a relationship, we end it under applicable law."
    According to a 2020 intelligence report from Berlin's domestic spy agency, the "Palestinian Community in Germany is an umbrella association for Palestinian organizations in Germany whose members overwhelmingly belong to Hamas or sympathize" with Hamas.

Lebanon Likely to Receive Israeli Natural Gas - Gabby Deutch (Jewish Insider)
    Egyptian gas could start flowing to Lebanon in the next two to three months, the U.S. State Department's senior advisor for global energy security Amos Hochstein said this week.
    But the natural gas reaching Lebanon will almost certainly be mixed with Israeli gas that now flows to Egypt.
    "It is the worst-kept secret in town," said David Schenker, former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

Iran Has the Lowest Birthrate in the Middle East - Miriam Berger (Washington Post)
    Iran's birthrate has decreased 25% over the past four years to a fertility rate of 1.7 children per mother, Seyed Hamed Barakati, deputy health minister for family and school population, said in May.
    On average, a couple had their first child after four years of marriage and a second one five years later.
    A new law for the "Rejuvenation of the Population and Support of the Family" was enacted by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi last month.

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Israeli Bedouin Birthrate Dropping Rapidly - Or Kashti (Ha'aretz)
    Birthrates among Bedouin women in the Negev have dropped from 10.6 children in 1998 to 4.9 in 2020.
    Rising education levels are driving the trend. Today, women account for 70% of all Bedouin students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Squash World Championship in Malaysia Canceled over Refusal to Allow in Israelis - Amy Spiro (Times of Israel)
    The World Squash Federation announced on Monday that the World Men's Team Squash Championship scheduled for next week in Kuala Lumpur was canceled after Malaysian authorities refused to allow entry to Israeli athletes.
    WSF President Zena Wooldridge indicated that Malaysia's Olympic officials worked to allow the entry of Israeli athletes, but were unsuccessful in persuading the government to reverse course.

Naomi Yakobovich's Holocaust Hanukkah Miracle (Jerusalem Post)
    In 1944, Naomi Yakobovich and her family were sent to Auschwitz from their home in Hungary.
    After a few months, in December Naomi and her older sister were placed in line for the gas chambers.
    About 20 people were in line before them and then a Hanukkah miracle happened - the chamber ran out of Zyklon B - the cyanide-based pesticide used in the death camps.
    Naomi and her sister were sent back to the work camp where they survived the rest of the war.

Church of Sweden Calls to Investigate Israel as an Apartheid State - David Stavrou (Ha'aretz)
    A decision by the Central Board of the Church of Sweden last week calling on ecumenical organizations to investigate Israel as an apartheid state has been condemned by the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities and members of the church itself.
    Aron Verstandig, president of the council, said the Church of Sweden "repeatedly chooses to criticize the only Jewish state, without criticizing any of Israel's neighbors for the persecution that Christians are subjected to."
    The church's head, Archbishop of Sweden Antje Jackelen, said she was personally opposed to the decision. "It is the use of the word 'apartheid' that provokes anger and sadness. I myself would not have used the word in this context."
    "The decision also raises the issue of an examination of how the Palestinian Authority and Hamas live up to international law."

Israel Donates Cows to Rwanda Residents - Alice Kagina (New Times-Rwanda)
    On Nov. 25, 20 vulnerable families in Rulindo District were given a cow each by the Embassy of Israel in Rwanda, in line with the government's Girinka program, also known as "One Cow Per Poor Family," initiated in 2006.
    Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda Ron Adam said, "A cow is one of the most sustainable supports you can give because the beneficiary is able to get milk and fertilizer, and can make money out of it."
    When a heifer gives birth, the first female calf is given to another vulnerable family.
    In 2020 and June 2021, Israel donated 40 cows to families in Nyamasheke and Gisagara Districts.

Indian Army Gets 4 Israeli Heron Drones - Manjeet Negi (India Today)
    The Indian Army has deployed 4 new Heron drones from Israel with advanced anti-jamming capabilities to keep a close eye on China's movements in the Ladakh region of Kashmir.

Estonia Orders Israeli Mortars (Shephard News)
    Estonia has ordered 120mm mortars from Elbit Systems of Israel under an agreement worth $17 million, the EU contracts database announced on Nov. 10.

Israeli Startups Raised $2.8 Billion in November (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised $2.8 billion in November 2021.
    Israeli tech companies have raised $23.6 billion so far this year, more than double last year's figure of $10 billion, which was itself a record.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Has Enough Enriched Uranium to Produce a Nuclear Weapon in Three Weeks - David Albright
    Based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's quarterly safeguards report for November 17, 2021, Iran has enough 20% and 60% enriched uranium to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon in three weeks. In two months, Iran could produce enough enriched uranium for a second weapon. After about 3.5 months, it would have enough for a third weapon. Production of enough for a fourth weapon would take six months. In essence, Iran is effectively breaking out slowly.
        In a new development, as of November 9, 2021, Iran installed 166 IR-6 centrifuges in a cascade at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP). The installation of advanced centrifuges at the FFEP enhances Iran's ability to break out using a declared but highly fortified facility.
        The writer, a physicist and former weapons inspector, is the founder and president of the Institute. (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • Iran Preparing to Enrich Uranium to Weapons-Grade, Israel Warns U.S. - Barak Ravid
    Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity - the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources said. The Iranian preparatory steps would allow Iran to move ahead with 90% enrichment within weeks if it chose to do so.
        There is no civilian use for 90%-enriched uranium. Iran is already enriching uranium to 60%. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said there was indisputable intelligence that Iran intended to secretly continue its nuclear program no matter the result in the Vienna talks. (Axios)
        See also U.S.: Iranian Enrichment to 90 Percent "Would Be a Provocative Act"
    State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter briefed the press in Washington on Monday.
    Q: "There is a report that Israel shared intelligence with the U.S. suggesting Iran is taking steps to enrich uranium to 90% purity."
    Porter: "The enrichment to 90% obviously would be a provocative act....We've made clear that Iran's continued nuclear escalations are unconstructive and they're also inconsistent with...the goal of returning to a mutual compliance with the JCPOA. Of course, they won't provide Iran any negotiating leverage...in the talks."  (State Department)
  • Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Could Imperil Talks, European Diplomats Say - Laurence Norman
    Senior European diplomats warned on Tuesday that negotiations to revive nuclear talks could be terminated if Iran moved to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel. "It would seriously imperil the process" if Iran did something "as provocative as going to 90% enrichment," said a senior diplomat. "You cannot enrich to weapons grade and say that you are seeking a return to an agreement whose goal is to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," a second senior diplomat said. Another senior diplomat added, "If they don't show us that they are serious this week, then we have a problem."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • UN General Assembly Erases Jewish Link to Temple Mount in Jerusalem
    The UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution titled "Jerusalem," in which the Assembly reiterated its determination that any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal.
        The representative of the United States said that the resolution concerning "Jerusalem" only references Haram al-Sharif rather than "Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount," which recognizes the shared history of the holy site.  It is morally, historically and politically wrong for the Assembly to support language that denies both the Jewish and Muslim connections to the Temple Mount and Haram al-Sharif, he said. (United Nations)
        See also Israel: UN Seeks to Erase Jewish History in Jerusalem
    Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said Wednesday: "This morning, I addressed the UN General Assembly before it voted on 3 biased and anti-Israel resolutions, including one which tries to erase Jewish history in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. One of the most absurd demands in these resolutions is the call to maintain the status quo...when...the resolution does the exact opposite. By referring to the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount, only by its Muslim name, the resolution itself is changing the status quo!"
        "So let me be clear - whether it's through terror attacks against Jews at our holy sites or biased UN resolutions that are completely detached from reality, the eternal bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem - our capital - will never be erased."  (Twitter)
        See also 129 Nations Ignore Jewish Ties to Temple Mount, Call It Solely Muslim - Tovah Lazaroff
    The UN General Assembly approved this resolution in 2018 by 148-11. This year the vote to approve was 129-11. The number of countries that abstained grew from 14 to 31. The UK switched from "yes" three years ago to "abstain."  (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Warns: "Do Not Give In to Iran's Nuclear Blackmail"
    On the backdrop of the nuclear talks in Vienna on Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: "Despite Iran's violations and undermining of the nuclear inspections, Iran will be arriving at the negotiation table in Vienna, and there are those who think they deserve to have their sanctions removed and hundreds of billions of dollars poured right into their rotten regime. They're wrong."
        "Iran deserves no rewards, no bargain deals and no sanctions relief in return for their brutality. I call upon our allies around the world: Do not give in to Iran's nuclear blackmail."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel Blasts UN "Palestine Day," Reminds that Jews Were Expelled from Muslim Countries
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan on Monday protested the UN's marking of the 74th anniversary of the 1947 partition plan by holding a Palestinian solidarity event. On November 29, "the UN recognized the Jewish people's right to a state. The Jews and Israel accepted this partition plan and the Palestinians and the Arab countries rejected it and tried to destroy us. The Palestinians and the Arab countries not only attacked Israel, the Jewish state, they also persecuted, massacred, and ultimately expelled the Jewish communities in their own countries."
        "Instead, the UN has the audacity to hold a solidarity event for the Palestinians on the anniversary of the Palestinians' own decision to choose violence....The UN also dares to advance…the outrageous, the false 'demand of return,' a demand that would lead to the total obliteration of the Jewish state. By advancing and amplifying on the one side the false and dangerous narrative of the Palestinians and by silencing…the true…tragic stories of the Jewish refugees who were expelled from the Arab countries and from Iran, the UN is erasing Jewish history and distorting the truth."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Israel Has "Free Rein" to Deal with Iran's Precision Weapons, Not Its Nuclear Program - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel
    According to foreign media reports, not a week goes by without reports of Israeli strikes at Iranian infrastructure and forces in Syria, and targeting efforts to transfer precision components to Lebanon. Israel has made it clear it won't allow Iranian forces and proxy militias to operate and establish a foothold in Syria, and won't allow Syria to be used as a transit hub for game-changing weapons earmarked for Hizbullah.
        Interestingly, the Russians and Syrians are not complaining. Putin is permitting Israel to act freely, while Assad understands that without dislodging the Iranians from Syria, he won't be re-welcomed into the family of Arab nations.
        Washington understands Israel's position regarding the precision weapons, hence Israel has "free rein" to deal with them, but not Iran's nuclear program, not even through its considerable cyber capabilities - which is unacceptable from Israel's perspective.
        The writer is a former Israeli acting national security advisor, a visiting professor at the Technion, and a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Israel Hayom)
  • Raisi's Rising Elites: Iran's Indoctrinated Technocrats - Saeid Golkar and Kasra Aarabi
    Iran's new president, hardline Islamist cleric Ebrahim Raisi, is a student and loyal follower of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi was groomed to become president to "purify" the Islamic Republic and create the ideal Islamic state. As well as cleansing the system of Western influences, one of the goals is to make the Islamic Republic more efficient by reversing decades of government mismanagement. To advance this goal, Iran's clerical regime requires ideologically devoted technocrats equipped with both modern knowledge and religious training who can implement the regime's policies.
       The supreme leader and his allies blame decades of mismanagement not on corruption and a lack of technical expertise but on Western-oriented and -educated technocrats not having undergone the ideological-religious training required to run an Islamic state. The emerging cohort are all alumni of the Imam Sadegh University (ISU), an elite institution designed to indoctrinate Iran's next generation of civil servants. (Tony Blair Institute for Global Change)

  • Palestinians

  • Britain's Decree Declaring Hamas a Terrorist Organization Freezes Massive Funding Enterprise - Yoni Ben Menachem
    The British decision to officially label Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organization is based on considerable material from both the British and Israeli intelligence communities. London is the global fundraising center for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hamas movement. They transfer funds to Gaza to finance Hamas' terrorist activities and, at the same time, fund private investments by Hamas leaders abroad. The Saudi publication AlArabia.net reported on Nov. 28 that Hamas investments in Britain until 2020 amounted to $1 billion.
        According to sources in Gaza, several hundred Hamas operatives work in three "humanitarian" fundraising associations in London. The money flows directly into the pockets of Hamas leaders. The British decree froze or confiscated much of the funds of Hamas' massive enterprise. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • New York Times Misrepresents Palestinian Hatemonger - Gilead Ini
    On November 16, the New York Times wrote about a Gaza poetry professor, Refaat Alareer, who uses Israeli poems to teach about the "humanity" of Israeli Jews. But the story is fiction. On social media, Alareer reveals himself as a man overflowing with hate.
        "Zionists are scum," he insists. "Zionists are the most despicable filth." "Zionism is a disease." Israel is "far worse than Nazi Germany," reads one of his Twitter posts. "Israel is using Nazism to do to Palestinians what the Nazis did." According to the widely adopted IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" is an example of anti-Semitism. This is the man cast as a bridge-builder by the New York Times. (CAMERA)
  • The Palestinian Jihad Against the Jews - Bassam Tawil
    As donor countries were meeting in Norway on Nov. 17 to discuss providing financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told his cabinet that there is no such thing as Jewish history in Jerusalem. The city, he said, belongs exclusively to Muslims and Christians.
        PA leaders claim they support a "two-state solution." But if they believe that Jews are not entitled to their holiest site, the Temple Mount, and that Jerusalem belongs only to Muslims and Christians, how can they talk about establishing a Palestinian state that would exist in peace and security next to Israel? Doesn't that mean that Israel is entitled to its own capital, Jerusalem? Doesn't it mean that Jews would have free access to their holy sites, including the Temple Mount?
        Western donor countries seem not to understand that the refusal by Palestinian leaders to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people remains a major obstacle to peace and the "two-state solution." They might wish to consider Palestinian anti-Semitism and incitement against Israel and Jews the next time they open their wallets to the PA. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Other Issues

  • Israeli President Lights a Hanukkah Candle in Hebron - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Is there something controversial about the president of the State of Israel visiting one of Judaism's holiest shrines to celebrate the start of Hanukkah? President Isaac Herzog gave the world a reminder that history matters, and that denying it is incompatible with both truth and peace.
        Hebron was King David's first capital of the ancient kingdom of Israel before Jerusalem was conquered. But long before that, it was the place where the patriarch Abraham made the first recorded purchase of property in the Promised Land when he bought a burial place for his wife, Sarah. The tombs of the next two generations - Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah - are also there.
        In 1929, Arabs - egged on by the incitement of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem - led a pogrom in Hebron in which 69 Jews were murdered. Herzog's great-grandmother, Faya Hillman, survived the massacre by feigning death among the corpses of her neighbors.
        The problem is that the Arabs continue to regard the Jewish presence at a place where Jewish life began as illegitimate. If Jews have no right to live in Hebron, can their presence in any other part of the country be considered legitimate? Herzog sent a loud message to the Palestinians that they need to give up their delusions about evicting the Jews. Those opposed to Jewish life in Hebron are encouraging an endless cycle of violence fueled by anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate. (JNS)
        See also AP Demotes Second Holiest Place in Judaism to "West Bank Site" - Gidon Ben-Zvi (Honest Reporting)
  • Morocco Welcomes Israel's Defense Minister - Ben Caspit
    The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces welcomed Israeli Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz last week with great honor. He was the first Israeli defense minister to ever publicly sign a defense cooperation agreement with an Arab Muslim state, though several Arab and Muslim states have maintained security ties over the years in secret. The Moroccans have apparently realized that ties with Jerusalem are key to preserving U.S. recognition of their sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.
        Gantz was accorded a welcome fit for heads of state. His photo graced the front pages of most local newspapers, magazines and websites; he penned an op-ed for the French-language magazine L'Observateur Du Maroc and the Arabic newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia. He was received with full military honors.
        Gantz arrived at the head of a large contingent of uniformed officers, as well as intelligence officials and experts. The MOU he signed launches a series of security and intelligence cooperation projects and a race by Israel's defense industries for lucrative contracts. The Moroccans told Gantz they planned to buy Israeli-developed weapons worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Moroccans desperately need intelligence information, unmanned aerial vehicles and air defense systems. (Al-Monitor)
        See also Morocco Mulls Buying Israeli Radar, Drones, Jets Upgrade (Reuters)
        See also Moroccan Economic Mission to Israel Expected in December
    An economic mission led by Chakib Alj, president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), is due to arrive in Israel on December 12. The Moroccan delegation will include over 70 representatives of various sectors, including tourism, agriculture, technology and innovation, education, health, finance, insurance, renewable energy, retail, and textiles. (Morocco World News)
        See also Nationwide Protests in Morocco Slam Security Accord Signed with Israel
    Protests in 36 towns and cities have continued in Morocco against the security cooperation accord signed between Morocco and Israel last week. The protests are being organized by the Moroccan Front For Supporting Palestine and Against Normalization. (Albawaba-Jordan)
  • This Anti-Israel "Special Committee" Must Be Shut Down - Former Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Eliot Engel (D-NY)
    At every session of the UN General Assembly, more than a dozen resolutions are passed to demonize Israel - more than against all other countries combined. One is the reauthorization of the mandate of and funding for the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Practices (SCIIHRP). Established in 1968, its sole purpose is to excoriate Israel before the court of world public opinion. Despite internationally recognized human rights violations occurring in numerous states, no other country has a "special committee" devoted to churning out harsh and inflammatory reports criticizing it.
        The existence of such a body discredits the UN and is offensive to U.S. taxpayers, who pay close to 25% of the entire UN budget. The Abraham Accords have created dynamic partnerships between Israel and visionary, forward-looking Arab countries. Isolation of Israel and the fetishization of Palestinian victimhood is not conducive to peace, which can only come about through direct negotiations between the parties. (New York Daily News)
  • Israel's Jewish Character Does Not Contradict the Norms of Democratic Governance - Milton Shain
    Israel was born from UN recognition of two national movements - an Arab/Palestinian and a Jewish movement - within the British Mandate for Palestine. The Jews were considered a people in the national sense, deserving of "a country of their own" where they could be "masters of their own fate," as the Guatemalan delegate to the UN Special Committee on Palestine put it.
        Israel's Jewish character is questioned by opponents of the Zionist idea. But it does not contradict the norms of democratic governance. A nation's symbols need not be neutral: consider the flags of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary and Scandinavia's democracies. They all bear the sign of the cross. With the exception of Lebanon, all Arab countries declare Islam to be the state religion. Syria, with its huge Kurdish population, is officially known as the "Syrian Arab Republic," while Algeria ignores its Berbers in calling itself an Arab country.
        Even Israel's "law of return" is not unique. Many countries have similar legislation favoring national diasporas. In the 1950s, ethnic Germans could get automatic citizenship in Germany, even after living out of Germany for hundreds of years. Similar laws exist in Ireland, Finland, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia.
        Israel's treatment of Israeli Arabs is certainly comparable to the treatment of minorities in many other respected countries. After all, despite its Muslim minority, Italy's highest court only a few years ago reaffirmed a law requiring that a crucifix be displayed in state schools. Few know that Israel has a lower infant mortality rate among its minorities than France, Britain and other European countries. The bottom line is that Israel's Declaration of Independence declares all its citizens equal, without distinction of race, creed or sex.
        The writer is emeritus professor of historical studies at the University of Cape Town. (Business Day-South Africa)

  • Any way you look at it, Israel is the most legitimate state on Earth. A nation is a product of the collective culture of a group with its own unique language, history, traditions, and beliefs.
  • The Jews had the world's first nation-state, setting "a precedent for all the states that followed," as David Goldman has written. "It united a group of tribes around a common religion and priesthood with a universal God, eschewing the worship of family or clan gods that otherwise was universal in the ancient world. Tribes, clans, and even city-states may unite for self-defense, as did the Greek city-states, but no other nation like the biblical Israel arose in the ancient world with a unified monarchy, a unified legal system and unified religion."
  • Give or take a few differences - instead of a monarchy, for example, a raucous democracy - modern Israel remains a legible embodiment of this ancient idea. Israel's citizens, the first indigenous people in recent memory to return to their ancestral homeland, cultivate a stretch of the Earth over which they can claim ownership by summoning everything from the Bible to reams of archaeological discoveries empirically confirming it had once belonged to their forefathers.
  • Jews with roots in Vienna and Jews whose grandmothers were born in the Atlas Mountains and in the deserts of Yemen all see themselves as belonging to the same extended family. The family speaks the same language and, with varying degrees of observance, practices the same faith. Everything in Israel springs naturally from a national culture shaped by a collective narrative and shared traditions.
  • Israel's existence, and its continuing success, are an intimation that the light unto the nations may shine not from the embrace of universalist dogma, but rather from a small nation that insists on living by its own traditions and happy to simply lead by example.
  • To those who despise the idea of national sovereignty and national character, to those who want us all to obey the same regulations and standards of virtue promulgated by a single authority, there can be no greater threat than the continuing existence of a strong, prosperous, and free Jewish state with its capital in Jerusalem.
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