June 2, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel, U.S. Prevented Iran from Becoming North Korea - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot said Wednesday, "Iran would have been a nuclear power 17 years ago" without Israeli operations and U.S. interventions to thwart its progress.
    Eisenkot added, "Iran still is pushing forward on its desire for nuclear weapons, wants hegemony, wants precision-guided missiles to strike from afar - to erase [Israel] from the region."

Israel Simulates Massive Strike on Iran with Hundreds of Aircraft - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Hundreds of Israel Air Force planes including fighter jets and refueling aircraft took off Tuesday night from various bases to simulate striking targets far from Israel's borders.
    Israel has taken steps throughout the past year to prepare a credible military option against Iran's nuclear facilities.
    The IDF is carrying out its largest drill in history with thousands of soldiers and reservists, which will end on Friday.

Iran Terror Squad Likely in Turkey to Attack Israelis - Attila Somfalvi (Ynet News)
    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, former head of the Israel National Security Council, said Tuesday that he thinks an Iranian terror squad is already in Turkey to target Israelis.
    He said the wording of Israel's warning to civilians to avoid unnecessary travel to Turkey indicates that security agencies are convinced there is a credible and immediate threat.

FBI Director Blames Iran for Cyberattack on Boston Children's Hospital - Sean Lyngaas (CNN)
    Iranian government-backed hackers were behind an attempted hack of the Boston Children's Hospital computer network in June 2021, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday, calling it "one of the most despicable cyberattacks I've ever seen."
    The FBI was able to help thwart the hackers before they did damage to the hospital's computer network.
    The FBI got a tip about the Iranian hackers from a "valued partner within the intelligence community."

China Threatens to Downgrade Israel Ties over Jerusalem Post Taiwan Interview - Michael Starr (Jerusalem Post)
    A top Chinese diplomat threatened to downgrade relations with Israel unless the Jerusalem Post deletes an interview with the Taiwanese foreign minister published on Monday.
    Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz rejected the request.

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Pakistani TV Anchor Fired after Visiting Israel (Arab News-Pakistan)
    Ahmed Qureshi, a news anchor affiliated with Pakistan Television (PTV), has been fired from his job for a recent visit to Israel, Pakistani Information Minister Marriyum Auranzeb said Monday.

PLO, Palestinian TV Openly Advocate for Israel's Destruction - Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    During Ramadan, official PA TV entertained viewers with quizzes meant to reinforce the PA's vision of a world without Israel by presenting all of the State of Israel as "Palestine."
    The answers of the participants confirmed that the PA policy of denying Israel's right to exist in any borders has become rooted in Palestinian consciousness.
    When asked about the borders of "Palestine," a participant cited "the Mediterranean Sea, the Jordan River, Lebanon, and the Gulf of Aqaba" as borders.
    In other TV quizzes, Mount Meron, the Sea of Galilee and Hula Lake in the north, and the Red Sea in the south, were claimed to be "in Palestine."

Jordan to Double Amount of Electricity Exported to Palestinians in West Bank - Batool Ghaith (Jordan Times)
    Jordanian Minister of Energy Saleh Al Kharabsheh said Monday that Jordan will raise the quantity of electricity exported to Palestinians in the West Bank from 40MW to 80MW as of July.
    Jordan began supplying 40 megawatts of electricity to the city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley beginning in 2008.
    The Al Rama power station will generate twice the amount of electricity for Jericho, and to expand later to Jerusalem, Ramallah and more, reducing dependence on Israel for energy.

Israel Seeks to Double Trade with Egypt - Danny Zaken (Al-Monitor)
    This year, on Israel's Independence Day, for the first time in 40 years and as a sign of warming relations, the Jewish-Arab Firkat Alnoor Orchestra traveled to Egypt where it presented a repertoire of classical Arab music.
    Following contacts with the Egyptian government, Israel is expected to soon authorize a plan to expand economic ties with Egypt with the declared goal of doubling the scope of commerce (not including the sale of natural gas) from $330 million in 2021 to $700 million.
    Joint working groups are planned on topics such as technology and climate, the expansion of tourism by opening more direct flights to Egypt, and a real increase in the involvement of Israeli companies in developing agriculture in Egypt, with an emphasis on water technology and desert agriculture.
    These developments send a clear message to the rest of the region and particularly to the Palestinians, who continue to remain outside the economic-diplomatic game in the region, depending quite significantly on the generosity of other nations.

Israeli Company Detects Covid-19 in 20 Seconds (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli company Virusight Diagnostic has developed a device that detects Covid-19 with 96.3% accuracy.
    The Virusight solution, tested on 550 saliva samples, detected Covid-19 within 20 seconds.
    Virusight's SpectraLIT device obtains spectral signatures of samples from mouth swabs and analyzes machine learning algorithms that identify Sars-CoV-2.
    The device has been approved for the European market and will be available there in the coming weeks.

Israeli Startups Raised $1.75 Billion in May (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised $1.75 billion in May for a total of $8.1 billion in the first five months of 2022.
    Israeli tech companies raised a record $25.6 billion in 2021, more than double 2020's $10 billion.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN Says Iran Has Enough Uranium to Produce Nuclear Weapon - Laurence Norman
    The UN atomic agency said Monday that Iran's stockpile of highly enriched uranium has grown to roughly enough material for a nuclear bomb. Since the U.S. quit the nuclear deal in 2018, Iran has scaled up its nuclear work, including producing uranium enriched to 60%, which is near weapons-grade. It has also stonewalled a probe into the nuclear material found in Iran, which many experts consider to be related to work on a nuclear weapon Iran carried out years ago.
        The IAEA reported that Iran's stockpile of 60% highly enriched uranium had reached 43.3 kg., an increase of almost 10 kg. from three months ago. A person close to the IAEA said Iran's stockpile is now above the "significant quantity" that defines how much nuclear material could be needed for a nuclear weapon. Experts say it would take Iran just a couple of weeks to convert the 60% material into 90% weapons-grade fuel. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran Can Have Enough Explosive Material for Five Nuclear Weapons in Six Months - David Albright and Sarah Burkhard
    Iran's breakout timeline is now at zero. It has enough 60%-enriched uranium to fashion a nuclear explosive. Within a month, it could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a second nuclear explosive from its existing stock of 20%-enriched uranium. Within 1.5 months, it could have enough for a third nuclear weapon. In 2.75 months it could have enough for a fourth bomb and in six months have enough for a fifth.
        With these capabilities, it could test a nuclear explosive underground or deploy a crude nuclear weapon within several months, certainly within six months, and deploy nuclear weapons on ballistic missiles in a year or two. It is time to recognize that only the toughest type of pressure, akin to that on Russia today, is going to convince Iran not to build nuclear weapons. (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • U.S., Israeli Officials Meet to Prevent Iran from Getting Nuclear Weapons
    On May 31, 2022, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Israeli National Security Advisor Dr. Eyal Hulata convened a meeting at the White House of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group. The officials committed to coordinate on efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and toward deterring Iran's aggressive regional activities. They also discussed economic and diplomatic steps to achieve these goals. (White House)
  • Israel, UAE Sign Free Trade Pact - Alexander Cornwell
    Israel signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday in Dubai, its first big trade accord with an Arab state. The UAE-Israel Business Council predicts there will be almost 1,000 Israeli companies working in or through the UAE by the end of the year doing business with South Asia, the Far East and Middle East. "The domestic market doesn't represent the entirety of the opportunity. The opportunity is really setting up in Dubai, as many companies have, in order to target the broader region," said Council President Dorian Barak. (Reuters)
  • Israel Renews Gas Exploration, Expects Export Deal to Europe
    Israel is renewing offshore natural gas exploration with a view toward exporting gas to Europe, Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said Monday. She has instructed the ministry to prepare a new round of tenders for gas exploration off Israel's Mediterranean coast. Gas will be sent to Egypt through an expanded pipeline network for liquefication and then shipped to Europe. Other options, like the long-discussed Eastmed pipeline connecting Israeli gas fields directly with Europe, are also under consideration. (Reuters)
        See also Video: Energy and the Eastern Mediterranean in 2022
    View a webinar held on May 30 with Israeli and Italian experts. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Leadership Plans to Increase Pressure on U.S. ahead of Biden's Visit - Elior Levy
    Palestinian sources told Ynet on Thursday that the Palestinian leadership has agreed on a tactic to stir international pressure and turn the screws on the White House in order to score lucrative overtures from the Americans.
        Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is considering moves to suspend its 1994 recognition of Israel as well as security ties with Jerusalem. Palestinian sources said, "If President Biden intends to come to the meeting with [Abbas] offering only a modest economic relief package, then it is better that he not come at all."
        As part of the Palestinian pressure campaign, Abbas scolded U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call on Tuesday for what he considered "the international community's lack of action against Israel and its actions" and Washington's silence on "Israeli provocations."  (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Cell Commander Given Life Sentence for 2019 Murder of Israeli Student - Emanuel Fabian
    An Israeli military court on Tuesday sentenced a Palestinian man, Ahmad Asafra, to life in prison for the murder of Israeli teenager Dvir Sorek, 18, who was stabbed to death near Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion in 2019. Asafra was the commander of the Hamas terror cell that carried out the attack. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran Is Developing Preemptive-Strike Capabilities with Drones and Cruise Missiles - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, Jerusalem Center-Iran Desk
    Iran is continuing to develop and expand its capabilities to deploy and produce drones. At the same time, it is producing air-launched precision weapons, launch platforms, and intelligence-gathering systems carried by drones.
        Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, Iran's chief of staff, said that achieving preemptive-strike capabilities against the enemy necessitates a transition from old to modern weaponry and new combat methods, such as drones. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Sen. Menendez: "The Iran of May 2022 Is a Much More Dangerous Threat" - Jacob Miller
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said Tuesday: "The Iran of May 2022 is a much more dangerous threat, and is a far less interested party in negotiating, than the Iran of 2015." Menendez cited former CENTCOM Commander Frank McKenzie's comments that Iran has reached "overmatch," a state in which it would be impossible for the U.S. and its allies to intercept all the missiles Iran could conceivably launch. He also pointed to the country's stockpile of enriched uranium and its unlawful detention of American and European citizens on false charges.
        "A deal under which Iran has far less than a six-month breakout time, with sanctions relief in return that will unlock millions of dollars and no sunset extensions, is definitely not longer and stronger. It is shorter and weaker."  (Jewish Insider)

  • Palestinians

  • Video Evidence Proves Israel Was Not at Fault for Violence at Al Jazeera Journalist's Funeral - Itamar Marcus
    Palestinian Media Watch has examined the broadcasts on official PA TV and Al-Jazeera prior to and during the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, which confirm the Israeli version of the events that led to the violence. The videos of Israeli Police hitting some of those who carried the coffin on their shoulders were made to seem as if the police were interfering with the funeral. In fact, it was the exact opposite.
        It was a Palestinian mob that had hijacked the funeral and Israeli Police who were forced to intervene and have the funeral return to be held as the family planned. The family, who are Christians, wanted the coffin to be taken by hearse from the hospital to the church. However, the Palestinian mob at the hospital stopped the hearse and prevented it from approaching. It was the mob and not Israel that prevented the burial from taking place as planned.
        Amjad Abu Asbeh, head of the Prisoners' Families Committee in Jerusalem, explained that the insistence on carrying her on their shoulders is so that it wouldn't seem to be a Christian funeral with a "church car" as had been planned. Israeli Police were forced to stop this and return the body to the hospital. Shortly after, the hearse returned under Israeli protection and the coffin was taken to the church. (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Demonization of Jews, Not Flag Parade, Caused Jerusalem Unrest - Ben-Dror Yemini
    The claim that the Jerusalem Day flag parade serves as the catalyst for violence by Palestinians is simply outrageous. In stark contrast to years prior, the Muslim world remained mostly indifferent to the parade this year - apart from Jordan's condemnation and Al-Jazeera's usual attempt to incite the region.
        Under Muslim rule, Jerusalem was one of the most neglected cities in the region. Though it is said to be the third most holy city in Islam, for centuries they thought nothing of it and paid it very little attention until the Jews sought a national home to call their own. (Ynet News)
  • Boycotting Israel Doesn't Advance the Palestinian Cause - Avner Halperin
    As an Israeli, I stand firmly against the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for unfairly singling out Israel in a complex conflict. As a researcher looking at the economic development opportunities in the Middle East, I see much better ways to advance the Palestinian cause. If we hope to make progress towards the resolution of this conflict, we need to move away from the simplistic debate of "I am good, you are bad," and instead search for creative solutions to strengthen Palestinian economic opportunities.
        Proponents of BDS want to strengthen Palestinians by weakening Israel. Yet, practically all data has shown that BDS has achieved a negligible impact on Israel. After more than a decade of intense activity, the impact of BDS on Israel's GDP was estimated to be a decrease of only 0.004%.
        The writer is a research fellow at the Middle East Initiative of Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. (National Interest)

  • Other Issues

  • New Poll of U.S. Views on Israel and Palestinians - Becka A. Alper
    A survey of American adults conducted March 7-13, 2022, found that 67% have a favorable opinion of Israelis, up from 64% in 2019. 52% have a favorable opinion of Palestinians, up from 46% in 2019. Of those over 65, 78% are favorable to Israelis, while 56% of those 18-29 are favorable. Of those over 65, 47% are favorable to Palestinians, while 61% of those 18-29 are favorable. 48% of all U.S. adults view the Israeli government favorably, while 28% view the Palestinian government favorably. (Pew Research Center)
        See also Why Has Support for Israel Weakened among Younger Americans? - Jonathan S. Tobin
    A new Pew Research Center survey released last week indicates that while Israel remains broadly popular among Americans, support is weak and growing weaker among young people. 56% of those under 30 have a favorable view of Israel, while 61% have a favorable opinion of the Palestinians. That's a potential demographic catastrophe for the pro-Israel movement.
        Those Americans who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and Israel's existential battles for survival in 1948, 1967 and 1973 are likely to sympathize with the Jewish state. Those who came of age in the last 40 years - when Israel has increasingly been falsely depicted as an oppressor of an "indigenous people" or even as an "apartheid state" - are more likely to think ill of it and view Palestinians as deserving of sympathy.
        Israel's continued presence in the West Bank has everything to do with repeated Palestinian rejections of Israeli offers of statehood and peace, and little to do with the policies of Israeli governments. Since, to this day, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas reject the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, the continued "occupation" is their fault - not Israel's.
        The failure of American media, mainstream politicians and the foreign-policy establishment to accept these facts as most Israelis have done is why so many have accepted the false narrative about Palestinian victimization that has impacted public opinion. (JNS)
  • The "War on Drugs" at the Syrian-Jordanian Border - Yoni Ben Menachem
    The last three years have seen an upsurge in the smuggling from Syria to Jordan, primarily involving Captagon amphetamine tablets, opioid Tramadol pills, and hashish. Jordan says Iran and senior Syrian military officers are behind the smuggling. To facilitate the smuggling, Syrian smugglers have begun to use drones.
        Jordanian army spokesperson Col. Mustafa al-Hiyari told Jordanian TV on May 23, 2022, that "dangerous Iranian organizations are trying to undermine Jordan's national security, and the Jordanian army is waging war on drugs at the northern border with Syria."
        During the Syrian civil war, Syria became a Captagon superpower. Captagon is very popular among teens in the Arab world. Amid harsh American sanctions and Syria's severe economic crisis, the regime has turned the drug sector into an essential source of income. According to American sources, the Captagon-production facilities are under the control and protection of the Syrian army's Fourth Division, commanded by Gen. Maher al-Assad, brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • How Can the Mere Presence of a Jew "Defile" the Al Aqsa Mosque? - Yifa Segal
    There are large and powerful masses of people who passionately hate Jews and Israelis just because of our existence. The greater problem is those in the West who accept without question the claim that the mere presence of a Jew on the Temple Mount is a defilement. Acceptance of this claim is fueling anti-Semitism around the globe.
        When Jews visit the site, they are said to provoke Muslim worshipers to commit violent acts. The violence, it is said, is completely understandable; the Jews brought it upon themselves. The Jews are told it's their fault, their responsibility, and that they deserve it. Simply because we are Jewish, our presence can be problematic. We can be Jewish if we insist, but we had better be quiet about it.
        I am free to visit churches, pagodas, ancient temples, and even the Vatican in my global travels. However, my presence in Jerusalem, the capital of my country, is considered a problem that justifies violence. If human beings are allowed to access a certain site, it should be totally unacceptable to restrict access to some based on their religion.
        Imagine security guards standing at the entrance to the Western Wall, inquiring about a person's faith and denying entry to any non-Jew. It would be considered outrageous!
        The writer, an International Director at UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), served as chief of staff of Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Is It Time to Rethink the Relationship between Jews and Elite Universities? - Irit Tratt
    Do we aid efforts to delegitimize Israel by sending Jewish children, along with hefty tuition payments, to schools that are promulgating an illiberal and anti-Zionist pedagogy? In the 2020-21 academic year, student governments voted to support 11 of the 17 BDS measures introduced. Universities with sizable Jewish populations openly curry favor with anti-Semitic speakers and associations.
        Journalist Liel Liebovitz makes the compelling case for sending "our best and brightest to college in Israel," where higher education costs a fraction of what it does in America. Three Israeli universities have been listed among the top 100 leading academic institutions - Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, and Haifa's Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. (Algemeiner)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Arab Journalist Calls for Jews and Arabs to Live Together in Peace - Carmit Sapir Weitz
    Nazareth-born Israeli Arab journalist Nazir Majali has written a new book, The Responsibility of the Minority, that calls for Jews and Arabs to live together in peace. Majali, 70, was editor-in-chief of the Israeli Arabic-language al-Ittihad daily and taught at Ben-Gurion University.
        He said, "Just by looking at how many Israeli Arabs work in Israel's hospitals and study in Israeli universities, we can see that it's possible to live and work alongside each other with mutual respect. I'm striving to create a master plan for Jews and Arabs to work side by side, and so I'm beginning with my side - the Arab side."
        Majali writes: "Why aren't Israel's Arabs interested in being part of a Palestinian state? The truth is, living as citizens of the State of Israel, we are much safer and have better lives than we would in other Arab countries."
        "I don't want to be the victim who just cries and talks about the Nakba. It's time we took responsibility for our own lives. It's in our best interest for Israel to be strong....The Arab minority must take up the mantle and promote change that will show the world that Jews and Arabs can live together in peace."  (Jerusalem Post)

The Necessary Campaign to Destroy the Jenin Terrorist Hub - Kobi Michael and Ori Wertman (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • The Jenin area has recently emerged as a breeding ground of terrorism and a relatively easy theater of action for Islamic Jihad, the largest and strongest active organization there. Cooperation is developing with other organizations, especially Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Fatah.
  • Despite economic prosperity, relatively high employment rates, and the close connection with Arabs from Israel and the Israeli economy, Jenin has remained an active breeding ground for terrorism.
  • The feeling of achievement of Islamic Jihad and the atmosphere of incitement, in addition to the activity of Iran in the area and its major ongoing support for Islamic Jihad, are increasing the motivation and determination of the young generation to enlist in the terrorist campaign against Israel.
  • While special IDF operations aimed at arresting wanted terrorists seek to foil imminent terrorist attacks, armed Palestinians in the area are able to organize relatively easily.
  • The absence of a large-scale campaign designed to strike a major blow against all terrorist infrastructure is perceived as Israeli weakness, leading the terrorist groups in Jenin to show audacity by initiating clashes and the Hamas leadership to show arrogance and euphoria. Furthermore, this concern also affects Hizbullah and Iran, thereby eroding Israeli deterrence.
  • For this reason, the current policy in the Jenin area should be reconsidered, and the possible strategic value of a far more extensive campaign should be assessed to reshape the rules of the game in the Palestinian theater and counteract the impression that Israel is afraid to use force.

    Dr. Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at INSS, served as deputy director general and head of the Palestinian desk at the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Dr. Ori Wertman is a research fellow at INSS.
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