March 10, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Has Delayed Iran's Drive for Nuclear Weapons - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Former Israeli Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon was asked whether blowing up nuclear facilities and killing nuclear scientists was effective or had failed now that Iran has gotten closer than ever to a nuclear weapon.
    Ya'alon said: "If Israel didn't do anything, Iran would already have nuclear weapons. In 1995, the estimate was that they would have it by 2005 if they went straight ahead [uninterrupted]. We are close to 2025, and they still do not have it."

An Israeli War Reporter's Notebook: Living under Siege in Kyiv - Ron Ben Yishai (Ynet News)
    Kyiv has adopted a siege routine. Shelling was relentless most of the day in Kyiv on Tuesday.
    Long lines of refugees waited to leave in small convoys of buses heading for the Polish border.
    The most evident change was in the amount of fortifications erected by the Ukrainian forces, which would be a real obstacle even for the most advanced Russian armor.
    The barricades would not only slow the tanks down, they may stop their progress altogether.

The PLO Renounces All Agreements with Israel - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)
    After a recent meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the highest authority in the PLO, Deputy Chairman Ali Faisal clarified to PA TV on Feb. 18 that there is a binding Palestinian decision to "renounce the commitments of all the agreements with the State of Israel."
    He added that from the point of view of the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinians "have entered a path of resistance in all its forms" - a term that clearly includes the use of violence and terror.
    The writer, director of legal strategies for PMW, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps.

PA Rebuffs U.S. Request to Condemn Russian Invasion - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    The Palestinian Authority rejected a request from the U.S. to issue a statement condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.
    "We don't have the luxury of picking sides like many stronger countries do," he said.

French Interior Minister Dissolves Pro-Palestinian NGOs Advocating Israel's Destruction (Algemeiner)
    France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin on Wednesday announced the dissolution of two pro-Palestinian advocacy organizations - the Palestine Will Overcome Collective and the Palestine Action Committee, accusing them of inciting violence and hatred.

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Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Abound around Russian Assault on Ukraine (ADL)
    Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, extremists and anti-Semites across the ideological spectrum have used the war as fodder for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
    Tropes of Jewish power and financial control, and abuse of the Holocaust narrative, abound online.
    In recent weeks, tens of thousands of social media users have been exposed to these dangerous lies.

Poll: Only 59% of British Jews Felt They Had a Long-Term Future in the UK - Kristy Buchanan (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    A survey carried out by YouGov and King's College London for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) found that almost 8 in 10 British Jews felt "intimidated as a Jew" by the anti-Israel protests during the 2021 Gaza conflict.
    Only 59% of British Jews felt they had a long-term future in the UK - down from last year's 66%.
    87% thought media bias against Israel fueled persecution of Jews in Britain.
    The CAA has urged the BBC and Channel 4, where trust is lowest, to appoint independent anti-Semitism advisers to improve coverage of relevant issues.
    78% felt intimidated by the boycott of businesses selling Israeli goods.

Israel's Elbit Systems Denies Producing Cluster Munitions - Ben Butler (Guardian-UK)
    The Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems has denied producing cluster munitions after Australia's sovereign wealth fund and Norway's largest pension fund, KLP, banned investment in the company.
    In 2018, Elbit took over IMI Systems, formerly known as Israeli Military Industries, which previously produced the weapons.
    In a Feb. 15 letter to Guardian Australia, Elbit's chief legal officer and executive vice president, Jonathan Ariel, said Elbit "has never been engaged in the production or sale of cluster munitions."
    "Following the acquisition of IMI Systems Ltd in 2018, Elbit Systems discontinued all activities of IMI relating to IMI's legacy cluster munitions" in compliance with the international convention banning cluster munitions.

IDF Sees Major Increase in Female Soldiers (Jerusalem Post)
    The number of female soldiers in the IDF rose by 170% in the past seven years.
    The number of female soldiers serving in clerical positions has fallen by 50% in the past two years. 46 women held the rank of colonel in 2021, compared to 39 in 2020.
    In the last draft year, women made up 40% of all recruits who entered technological units.

Israel Hopes New Data Cables Can Make Friends of Former Enemies (Economist-UK)
    A high-speed, fiber-optic data cable is being laid under the Red Sea that will connect Israel to Saudi Arabia for the first time.
    The new link, part of two longer submarine cables running from France to India, promises to improve the speed and lower the cost at which information can whizz between Europe and Asia.
    It is also knitting together a new regional alliance between Israel and countries in the Gulf.
    The new data pipeline, being built by Google and Telecom Italia, is due to be finished in 2024.
    "For over seven decades all the Middle East's trade routes and communications networks bypassed Israel," says an Israeli official.
    "For the first time since Israel's establishment, we're becoming part of a regional infrastructure."

Israel Foils Smuggling of 7,000 Bullets to Gaza (Xinhua-China)
    Israel last Thursday announced that it had thwarted the smuggling of 7,000 9mm bullets destined for Gaza.
    Customs inspectors found the bullets hidden inside rolls of insulation material, which were stored inside a container with household products.

Israel to Supply Rifles to Spanish Civil Guard - Eyal Boguslavsky (Israel Defense)
    Israel's Emtan has won a contract to supply the Spanish Civil Guard with at least 3,500 new MZ-4P assault rifles, based on the M-16, at a value of $6.5 million.
    In recent days, due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, Emtan is receiving many requests from countries near Russia to purchase small arms that meet the NATO standard.

Eight Palestinian Leaders Have Left Gaza - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    Eight prominent Palestinian leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad have left Gaza.
    Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh left his home in the Al-Shati refugee camp with his wife and children for an extravagant hotel in Doha, Qatar.
    Khalil al-Hayya, who until recently served as deputy to Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, has also moved with his family to Qatar.
    Others include senior Hamas member Salah al-Bardawil, spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, and top official Fathi Hamad, who is now in Turkey.
    Islamic Jihad leader Nafaz Azzam has left Gaza for Syria, while Muhammad al-Hindi is now in Istanbul.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Threatens to Derail Iran Nuclear Talks - Liz Sly
    The Iran nuclear deal may become collateral damage in the Ukraine war. In a phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that Russia wants the revival of the nuclear deal to be accompanied by U.S. guarantees that sanctions imposed by the West in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine won't apply to Russian trade or investment with Iran. The demand has rocked the negotiations underway in Vienna.
        U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated Sunday that the U.S. would not be prepared to bargain over the sanctions imposed on Russia for the sake of the nuclear deal. (Washington Post)
        See also Iran Nuclear Talks Stumble over Unresolved Russian Demands - John Irish
    Last-minute Russian demands threaten to scupper negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal, diplomats said, with the U.S. appearing unwilling to engage with Russia on the matter. Russia is demanding written guarantees from the U.S. that Western sanctions targeting Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine would not affect its trade with Iran. Russia's envoy to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, dismissed any suggestion Moscow was holding up an agreement and said a final text had in any case not been completed. (Reuters)
  • Russia Says Iran Got More than Expected in Vienna Nuclear Talks - Clifford D. May
    Will the U.S. capitulate at the negotiating table in Vienna to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a regime that funds and instructs Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Houthi movement in Yemen whose catchy slogan is "Allah is Greater, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam"? In Vienna, the U.S. is working hand-in-glove with Mikhail Ulyanov, Vladimir Putin's envoy. Iran's negotiators - as a matter of revolutionary Islamic principle - have refused to sit at the same table with Americans and the U.S. has meekly accepted this humiliation.
        According to sources, Ulyanov is not just a go-between but "the dominant player," proposing compromises to the Americans (who are always flexible) and to the Iranians (who never are). When the talks began, President Biden vowed to produce a "longer and stronger" deal. It's now clear that a shorter and weaker variant - more economic relief in exchange for fewer verifiable restrictions - has been taking shape.
        Ulyanov has said, "Realistically speaking, Iran got more than frankly I expected, others expected. This is a matter of fact." The "Iranian clerics are fighting for Iranian nuclear - national interests like lions. They fight for every comma, every word, and as a rule, quite successfully."
        The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Presidents of Turkey and Israel Meet in Ankara
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in Ankara at the start of an official visit on Wednesday, the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey in 14 years. He was greeted at the Presidential Complex by Turkish President Erdogan and a military honor guard, while a band played the Israeli anthem. Herzog told Israeli reporters before the visit, "We shall try to restart our relations and build them in a measured and cautious manner, and with mutual respect between our states. I always emphasize that my vision is that Jews, Muslims, and Christians will live in peace in our region."
        "I hope that in the wake of my visit, a serious process will begin with Turkey, an in-depth dialogue at various levels, and that ultimately we will see, so I hope, progress in our relations and positive results."
        In Istanbul, members of pro-Islamist groups protested Herzog's visit, chanting anti-Israeli slogans. Turkey and Israel were once close allies, but the relationship frayed under Erdogan. (Ynet News)
        See also Erdogan Lauds "Turning Point" in Relations with Israel - Tal Schneider
    Turkish President Erdogan said Wednesday he believed that Israeli President Herzog's "historic visit will be a turning point in relations between Turkey and Israel. Strengthening relations with the State of Israel has great value for our country." He said, "This important visit, taking place after so long, will provide an opening for future joint opportunities."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli President Herzog Meets with Turkish President Erdogan (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Israel to Host 25,000 Ukrainian Citizens until Danger Subsides
    Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced Tuesday that the State of Israel will host 25,000 citizens of Ukraine until the danger subsides. This will include temporary protection from repatriation for 20,000 Ukrainian citizens who were present in Israel before the outbreak of fighting, most of them without any legal status. In addition, Israel will grant entry for 5,000 additional Ukrainian citizens who have fled the fighting.
        In addition, Israel is expected to absorb in the coming weeks and months around 100,000 Ukrainians who are fleeing the fighting, within the framework of the Law of Return. Ukrainians fleeing the war, both those who have a Jewish background and their family, will be able to come to Israel and receive full citizenship. Therefore, Israel is expected to be one of the world's leading countries of destination and refuge for Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war, both in absolute numbers and certainly based on the country's size. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Israel Evacuates Ukrainian Pediatric Cancer Patients to Israel for Treatment (JNS)
  • Two Israeli Police Officers Stabbed near Jerusalem's Temple Mount - Emanuel Fabian
    Two Israeli police officers were stabbed in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday evening near an entrance to the Temple Mount. The Palestinian assailant, Hamas member Abd al-Rahman Jamal Qasim, 22, was killed. A similar attack had occurred Sunday morning. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Israel-Turkey Detente

  • Erdogan Wants Turkey to Have a Part in Israel's Mediterranean Natural Gas - Isabel Kershner
    Turkish President Erdogan has repeatedly expressed a desire for Turkey to have a part in Israel's lucrative natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean. "Turkey is extremely interested in getting a share of the eastern Mediterranean gas bonanza," said Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat who is president of the Israeli think tank Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and who helped negotiate the 2016 reconciliation agreement with Turkey.
        "Israel has signed agreements for the development of the fields with Cyprus and other eastern Mediterranean states, but it has not done so with Turkey." Nevertheless, Gold said, "normalization of relations with Islamic countries has been a constant interest for all Israeli governments."  (New York Times)
        See also Europe's Rising Need for Israeli Gas Production - Amb. Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel-Turkey Detente Shadowed by Ankara's Ties with Hamas - Herb Keinon
    Turkey continues to host Hamas leaders, and it has been widely reported that past attacks in Israel have been planned on Turkish soil. Turkish President Erdogan has long been a Hamas-embracer.
        Erdogan has engaged in strident anti-Israel rhetoric over the last 15 years that often crossed the line into anti-Semitism. Not that long ago, Erdogan accused the Israeli people of genocide, called Zionism a "crime against humanity," and said "we view the Holocaust in the same way we view those besieging Gaza and carrying out massacres in it." Make no mistake, Erdogan has not had a change of heart, has not become a Zionist, and has not parked his Muslim Brotherhood sympathies at the door.
        It's not that Erdogan wants Israel, it's that he needs Israel. Last fall, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed visited Turkey and pledged $10 billion in investments, along with a $5 billion currency swap to bolster Turkey's floundering foreign currency. With this, the UAE bought a move by Turkish foreign policy toward the Abraham Accords, which means toward Israel. Secondly, Turkey wants Israeli natural gas for its own domestic needs and for export to Europe. Finally, Erdogan hopes that a photograph with Israeli President Herzog, and improved relations with Israel, will convince the U.S. and the West that he is sincere about wanting to return to the fold.
        But Israel needs to make it clear to Erdogan that it has expectations and demands of its own. It wants Erdogan to stop his strident anti-Israel posturing, stop financially backing those agitating on the Temple Mount, stop blocking Israeli cooperation with NATO, and stop trying to torpedo Israel's burgeoning ties with other countries in the Muslim world. First and foremost, Israel wants Turkey to kick Hamas out of the country, instead of it playing host to an organization hell-bent on killing Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Festive Welcome of Israeli President in Turkey Couldn't Erase Erdogan's Vicious Insults from the Past Decade - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)

  • Ukraine

  • Understanding Putin's Psychology - Interview with Natan Sharansky
    Natan Sharansky, the world's leading anti-Soviet, dissident Zionist, and pro-democracy voice, was born in Donetsk in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In an interview, Sharansky said: Putin "has said over many years that the biggest tragedy of the 20th century was the destruction of the Soviet Union. So his mission is to bring back that unique Russian superpower."
        "Russia today is something like 3% of the world economy and NATO represents something closer to 50%. And here it is very important to understand Putin's psychology. From my time among criminals in prison, I know very well that the one who's the ringleader in the cell is not the one who is physically strongest, but the one who is ready to use his knife. Everybody has a knife, but not everybody is prepared to use it. Putin believes that he is willing to use his knife and the West isn't, that the West can only talk, even if it is physically stronger."
        "Now we are facing the new Iran deal....So the free world is taking many steps to take away billions of dollars from Putin, and at the same time, it is making sure Iran will receive billions of dollars - and...it will not be linked to any Iranian obligation to stop terrorist activity in the region, or to drop their commitment to destroying the State of Israel."  (Tablet)
  • Why Ukraine and the Palestinians Cannot Be Compared - Rolene Marks
    The anti-Israel folk lament that the focus of the world is on Ukraine and not the Palestinians and that the situation for both peoples is the same. Yet unlike the Palestinians, egged on by decades of incitement of hate against Israel and the Jewish people, the Ukrainian people have not fired thousands of rockets into Russia, have not dug tunnels to kidnap Russian civilians, thrown firebombs into cars, stoned Russian drivers, or shot and stabbed civilians in malls and on streets.
        While hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets and Russian embassies throughout the world, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria. South Africa's most important foreign policy goal is to get Israel's observer status at the African Union revoked.
        The writer is co-founder of South Africa Israel Policy Forum. (News 24-South Africa)

  • Iran

  • The U.S. Is Poised to Make a Nuclear Deal with Iran that Expires in Twenty Months - Robert Satloff
    While news reports of a likely breakthrough in Vienna negotiations for a renewed Iran nuclear deal may trigger sighs of relief, sadly, that sense of relief is almost surely misplaced. We are likely to see a deal that leaves Iran closer to a nuclear weapons capability than even the original 2015 agreement.
        The new administration promised that a renewed deal would be the basis for a "longer, stronger" agreement that addressed two key deficiencies in the original JCPOA: its lifting of all restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program and its silence on Iran's destabilizing regional activities, including support for terrorist groups and radical militias in Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. But months ago, U.S. officials dropped this formulation as even an aspirational goal.
        Moreover, U.S. negotiators have admitted that the deal will leave America and its allies with, at most, six months' warning of a potential nuclear breakout. Moreover, the date by which all sanctions temporarily suspended by the agreement are legally terminated is just twenty months away, in October 2023. So it will be President Biden's distasteful task to ask Congress for permanent sanctions relief on Iran next year, which promises to be an uphill battle.
        Instead of penalizing Tehran for revving up its centrifuges and speeding toward bomb-level enrichment, an updated agreement is expected to affirm the original timetable of sanctions relief and easing of nuclear restrictions.
        The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Limits of a New Iran Nuclear Deal - Henry Rome
    Negotiators appear close to an agreement to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, rolling back parts of Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from severe U.S. sanctions. In its likely form, the deal will provide significant near-term economic benefits to Iran - allowing it to sell oil freely and reconnect to the global financial system. But any agreement will also suffer from the same shortfalls as its predecessor did six years ago.
        A new agreement will provide Iran with billions of dollars of additional revenue per month. Tehran will also be able to access more of its $100 billion in foreign exchange reserves held overseas. Yet the longevity of the nuclear deal is much more uncertain than it was in 2015.
        Top Republicans have promised to renege on the deal as soon as they retake the White House, potentially in 2025. If Republicans win control of the House and Senate in November, they will probably aim to throw as much sand in the gears of the agreement as possible. That could include new legislation to reimpose sanctions under terrorism or human rights authorities that were otherwise lifted under the new deal.
        Congressional pressure will intensify heading into the fall of 2023, when the agreement requires the U.S. to seek to repeal legislation imposing sanctions against Iran. Congress will almost certainly not fulfill this provision.
        The writer is Deputy Head of Research at Eurasia Group. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Biden's Coming Iran Deal Will Be Even Worse than the 2015 Deal - Richard Goldberg
    The new Iran nuclear deal would lift U.S. terrorism sanctions on the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and leave Tehran's illicit nuclear infrastructure intact without first demanding a full accounting of Iran's secret nuclear work. Under the deal, Iran would get access to more than $100 billion, which it could spend on terrorism, missiles, and the pursuit of regional hegemony. Enforcement remains weak or non-existent, so there is no barrier to Iran's crossing the nuclear threshold at a time of its choosing.
        At the end of 2020, Iran was down to $4 billion in accessible foreign-exchange reserves thanks to the U.S. maximum-pressure campaign. The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency was on course to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for noncompliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty over Tehran's refusal to cooperate with an ongoing probe into concealed nuclear materials, sites, and activities.
        Then the new U.S. administration stopped enforcing sanctions, eased Iran's access to frozen funds, and halted pressure on Iran to declare its secret nuclear work. Iran responded by racing forward with its nuclear program and ordering its terror proxies to step up attacks against U.S. forces and allies in the Middle East.
        The writer is a senior adviser at FDD. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

  • Palestinians

  • Palestinians: U.S. Weakness Facilitates the Rise of Jihad and Fundamentalism - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Like many Palestinians and Arabs, the Iranian-backed Hamas movement sees the Russia-Ukraine war as evidence of the weakness of the Biden administration and the end of the status of the U.S. as the world's sole superpower. As far as Hamas is concerned, the weaker the U.S., the greater are their chances of fulfilling their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic state.
        The Americans need to understand that no matter how many gifts they give to the Palestinians, that will not stop Hamas and many others from continuing to hate the U.S. The only way for the Americans to deal with Muslim extremists is by not showing any sign of weakness or appeasement. The weaker you are and the more you try to appease them, the bigger their appetite becomes to fight against the U.S. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Other Issues

  • Visiting U.S. Lawmakers Find PA Officials Engaged in "Revisionist History" - Marc Rod
    Visiting a kibbutz on the Gaza border in February, Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) spoke to a grandmother who pulled out several missiles and incendiary balloons that had landed on her property, near where her grandchildren were playing. He said, "It's a scary life over there - to see what they have to deal with day in and day out - it was scary. You think about what would happen if something like that was happening in America....I think it would change a lot of [people's] minds."
        "The love of the Israeli people for Israel and the passion that they feel for their nation - it's so evident - it was amazing," offering as an example a 22-year-old officer manning an Iron Dome missile defense battery. "To have that responsibility at 22, they just take it - they love it, they accept that responsibility....You don't see that everywhere, not at all, and not with everyone."
        Garbarino said that in a meeting with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Authority leader dismissed Hamas rocket attacks against Israel - more than 4,000 in May 2021 - as "fireworks." The attacks killed 10 people. Garbarino said Shtayyeh's remark "really annoyed people" in the congressional delegation and reinforced a view that "[the Palestinians] are not ready to have an adult conversation."
        Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) said that PA officials engaged in "revisionist history." She added that she saw "firsthand the Palestinians and Israelis living peacefully as neighbors for the most part." Rice said that anti-Israel rhetoric from far-left Democrats is a "huge concern," adding, "It's really hard to engage in anti-Israel rhetoric when you go there and you actually see on the ground what's going on there. My hope is that people understand how important it is to stand by Israel and maintain this alliance that we have with them."  (Jewish Insider)
  • UK Trade Union Congress Opposes a Trade Deal with Israel - Ian Austin
    Britain's Trade Union Congress emailed Labour MPs to announce its opposition to new trade deals between Britain and countries they say are "systematically abusing human rights." Of course it wasn't about Putin's brutal regime in Russia, China's crimes against the Uighurs or Iranian repression. It was about Israel, the Middle East's only democracy and the only country in the region with a history of independent and vibrant trade unions. What on earth is the organization that is supposed to promote the interests of British workers doing opposing a trade deal that would create thousands of good, well-paid jobs for British, Israeli and Palestinian working people?
        Trade with Israel is already worth billions to Britain. Hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs depend on Israeli trade and investment. It provides employment in hi-tech sectors like science, technology and defense. Cars and taxis manufactured by British trade unionists are exported to Israel. Workers at Rolls Royce are building the engines for El Al's new fleet of Dreamliner aircraft. One in seven drugs dispensed by the National Health Service comes from Israel. Israeli IT and computer software are used by businesses and households across the country.
        Instead of promoting trade and investment to create jobs, bringing people together and creating the foundations on which a peace process can be built, many seem to single out Israel and hold it to standards never applied to countries with truly appalling records on human rights. Too many are obsessed with this tiny country and willing to believe any half-truths, distortions and downright lies about the world's only Jewish state. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

  • Weekend Feature

  • Odessa Jewish Community Leader Had Prepared for the Russian Invasion - Yair Rosenberg
    While many others in Ukraine doubted the prospect of a Russian invasion, Rabbi Refael Kruskal, vice president of the Jewish community in Odessa, took his cues from Jewish history. "I had supplies on trucks. I had generators prepared....I had gas prepared for the buses on the way," he said. Kruskal oversees Tikva Odessa, a network of Jewish schools, orphanages, and community-care programs that encompasses 1,000 people.
        When Russian bombs began to fall, Kruskal and his team decided it was time to leave and headed for prearranged shelter beyond the Carpathian Mountains with hundreds of orphans. "There were people in the Second World War who didn't believe, and they and their communities were wiped out," he said. "We prefer to be cautious and make sure that our communities are safe." While religious Jews like Kruskal normally do not travel on the Jewish sabbath, Jewish law permitted them to do so in order to preserve human life.
        Odessa was once home to the third-largest Jewish population in the world. At its height, the city was half Jewish. But after the pogroms, the Holocaust, and Stalin's purges, that percentage dropped to just 6%. (Atlantic)

  • Egypt is adopting a new approach to Israel and is striving to deepen economic and commercial ties. This new approach can be attributed to the major success of the Abraham Accords, which have helped promote economic deals signed between companies from Israel and Egypt.
  • In his recent gesture to greet Israel's Energy Minister in Cairo, el-Sisi was showing his people and the Arab world that Egypt is prepared to open up to Israel, economically, for tourism, and in a range of other ways.
  • A new deal conveys gas from Israel's offshore Leviathan field through Israel to the Jordanian border and then southwards through Jordan and beneath the Red Sea to Egypt. There is an existing pipeline between Israel's Mediterranean coast and the Jordanian border near Beit Shean following a 2016 deal to supply natural gas to Jordan.
  • The pipelines carrying Israeli gas to Egypt via Sinai are operating at full capacity, with a bottleneck between Ashkelon and Ashdod preventing the purchase of all the gas that Egypt needed. It is hoped that the Israeli government company Israel Natural Gas Lines will complete laying a new gas pipeline to relieve the congestion by the end of 2023.
  • According to the agreement signed in February in Cairo, the amount of gas that will be conveyed to Egypt via the Jordanian pipeline will reach 2 billion cubic meters (BCM) annually, while 3.5 BCM will eventually be conveyed from Ashkelon to El Arish in Egypt. In other words, Israel will be selling Egypt 5.5 BCM annually.
  • Thus the walls are continuing to fall between Israel and its neighbors. Israeli, UAE and Jordanian trucks travel between Israel and the UAE via Saudi Arabia filled with Israeli goods. Israeli water irrigates fields in Jordan.
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