August 4, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri Killed in U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan - Kevin Liptak (CNN)
    Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's successor, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said Monday.
    He said Zawahiri "was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil. For decades, he was the mastermind of attacks against Americans. Now, justice has been delivered."
    See also Taliban Hosted al-Qaeda Leader - Yoram Schweitzer (Institute for National Security Studies)
    The elimination of al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri in Kabul at the home of Siraj Haqqani, the Taliban's Minister of Internal Security, exposed for all to see that the Taliban hosted Zawahiri, contrary to its commitment to the U.S. in the 2020 Doha Agreement, which was the basis for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
    See also Zawahiri Appeared on His Balcony; the CIA Was Ready to Kill Him - Shane Harris (MSN)

New Video Shows Iranian Kill Squad Tracking Israelis in Istanbul (Ynet News)
    New footage from Istanbul's CCTV cameras, shown on Turkish media on Wednesday, showed Iranian terror squads following Israeli tourists and diplomats whom they planned to kidnap or kill.
    See also Iranian Hitmen Conducted Target Practice with Silencers in Hotel Rooms (Hurriyet-Turkey)

Shi'ite Children in Houston, Texas, Pledge to be Soldiers of Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei (MEMRI)
    In July 2022, a video posted by the Islamic Education Center of Houston, Texas, shows Shiite children at the Center performing an Iranian children's anthem in English and Farsi pledging allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
    They sang: "[Khamenei] is calling on his children, his soldiers....May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, I will sacrifice everything for you....I make an oath to be your martyr."

U.S. Army Carries Out Iron Dome Interception Test - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    U.S. Army soldiers completed the latest Iron Dome Defense System interception test at the White Sands missile range in New Mexico.
    In the test, soldiers detected, tracked and intercepted multiple cruise missile and drone targets.
    The Israeli Defense Ministry's Missile Defense Organization director, Moshe Patel, said the system "intercepted all the threats, while being interoperable with U.S. systems."
    The U.S. Army in 2018 purchased two batteries from Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems which included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers and 240 interceptors.

IDF, U.S. Navy Launch Joint Exercise in Red Sea - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The American and Israeli navies began a four-day joint maritime exercise in the Red Sea on Monday to counter Iran's growing maritime activity in the area.

IsraAID Brings Safe Water Systems to Ukrainian City (IsraAID)
    IsraAID has provided four reverse osmosis water filtration systems to the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, east of Odesa, where the water infrastructure was severely damaged in the fighting with Russia in April.
    Last Thursday, Deputy Mayor Sergey Korenev noted that all Mykolaiv residents will have free, round-the-clock access to water.
    IsraAID will provide ongoing technical support to ensure long-term sustainability.

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Canadian Jews Saw Rise in Hate Crimes in 2021 - Zvika Klein (Jerusalem Post)
    Hate crimes targeting Jews grew by 47% from 2020 to 2021, Statistics Canada revealed Tuesday.
    There are 380,000 Jews in Canada, representing 1% of the population, yet Jews were victims of 14% of all reported hate crimes in 2021.
    "Statistically, Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than any other Canadian religious minority to report being the target of a hate crime," said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). "One hate crime is one too many."

Volkswagen Orders $4 Billion Worth of Sensors from Israel's Innoviz - Gabrielle Coppola (Bloomberg)
    Volkswagen is tapping Israel's Innoviz Technologies to provide laser sensors and software for a push to outfit its cars with more advanced driver-assistance features in a $4 billion deal.
    Laser-based sensors allow a vehicle to see its surroundings.
    Innoviz also has an agreement with BMW.

Ethiopian Immigrant to Israel Becomes Top Surgeon - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Mero Getta tended to the family's livestock in Gondar, Ethiopia, and did not go to school until he was 8. In 1991, his family immigrated to Israel as part of Operation Solomon.
    Getta served in the IDF as a combat officer in the Golani Brigade and dreamed of becoming a doctor, after his father who was a traditional healer in their village in Ethiopia.
    Getta went to university and medical school at Ben-Gurion University with an IMPACT scholarship, on behalf of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).
    He is currently specializing in head and neck cancer surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto before returning to work in Israel.

Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East

Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert and want to share it with friends, please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IAEA Head: Iran's Nuclear Program "Moving Ahead Very, Very Fast"
    International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said Tuesday that the Iranians "have a very ambitious nuclear program that needs to be verified in the appropriate way. The program is moving ahead very, very fast and not only ahead, but sideways as well, because it's growing in ambition and in capacity."  (Reuters)
        See also Iran Announces Activation of Hundreds of New Centrifuges
    Behrouz Kamalvandi, Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Monday that AEOI staff have been ordered to launch and inject gas to hundreds of centrifuges including advanced IR6 machines. (IRNA-Iran)
  • Iran Nuclear Talks Resume in Vienna - Karen DeYoung
    Negotiations over a return to the Iran nuclear deal resumed Thursday in Vienna, with participants expressing little optimism that agreement can be reached. Negotiators will consider a comprehensive text agreement that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tabled last month. "We should know very quickly" whether agreement is possible, a senior Biden administration official said.
        Chief U.S. negotiator Robert Malley tweeted Wednesday: "Our expectations are in check, but the United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good-faith attempt to reach a deal."  (Washington Post)
  • Iran Steps Up Bahai Persecution with Wave of Arrests - Stuart Williams
    13 Bahais were arrested on Sunday in raids on homes and businesses across Iran, Diane Alai, of the Bahai International Community (BIC), told AFP. This is after dozens of members of Iran's largest non-Muslim minority had been arrested, summoned or subjected to house searches in June and July. Those detained included prominent Iranian Bahai figures Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi and Afif Naemi, who had previously each served a decade in jail.
        Iran's intelligence ministry said Monday that those arrested were suspected of spying for a center in Israel and of working to "infiltrate educational environments" and spread their religion. Bahais are used to accusations by Iran of links to Israel, where the city of Haifa hosts a center of the Bahai faith established well before the State of Israel was established. (AFP-Barron's)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Deals a Painful Blow to Islamic Jihad - Ron Ben Yishai
    Islamic Jihad's West Bank commander Bassam al-Saadi, 61, was arrested by IDF troops in the Jenin refugee camp on Tuesday. Earlier reports say that 50 of the group's operatives have been detained in the West Bank and are undergoing questioning by the Israel Security Agency. Al-Saadi acquired funds and weapons, often with the help of Iran, to carry out deadly attacks against Israelis. He offered $300 for a successful attack, killing Israelis, and $100 for an unsuccessful attempt. (Ynet News)
        See also How IDF Is Curbing Palestinian Terrorist Activity in West Bank - Yaakov Lappin
    The Palestinian terror wave that began this spring has not vanished, but it has receded after months of Israeli counter-terrorism operations and intelligence efforts. Launched by the IDF in March, "Operation Breakwater" has significantly dented the motivation and intent of terrorists in the West Bank to act. Nightly raids were conducted by the IDF in the heart of terrorist hornet's nests, like the Jenin refugee camp. A growing number of cells planning attacks on civilians were foiled at the planning stage, with Israeli security forces surprising them in their homes in the dead of night.
        In addition, large forces were deployed to gaps in the security fence and Israel fast-tracked a program to build a barrier in high-risk areas. Throughout this period, security coordination between the IDF and the Palestinian Authority's security forces has remained at an overall high level, forged by a common interest in repressing Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. (JNS)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Illegal Iranian Oil Sales Skyrocketing - Adam Kredo
    From January 2021 to June 2022, Iran sold $44.7 billion in oil, primarily to China. Iran's export revenues between March 2021 and March 2022 from oil and gas "totaled $39 billion, compared [with] $22 billion for the previous year," according to United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), a watchdog group that tracks Iran's oil tankers.
        "The Iranian leadership does not feel pressure to finalize the nuclear deal because they've already enjoyed the benefits of effective sanctions relief," said Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department special adviser for Iran. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • U.S. Eyes Sanctions Against Global Network Shipping Iranian Oil - Ian Talley
    The U.S. is considering sanctions that would target a UAE-based businessman and a network of companies suspected of helping export Iran's oil. The firms and individuals under scrutiny have been using ship-to-ship transfers of oil in waters that lie between Iraq and Iran and then forging documents to hide the origin of the cargo. By passing off the oil as Iraqi, those involved can avoid Western sanctions targeting Iranian oil.
        Robert Greenway, former senior director for Middle East policy at the National Security Council, said Iran's sanctions-evading operations through Iraq represented up to 25% of Tehran's exports in 2020. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Palestinians

  • Sunni Arab Leaders Are No Longer Willing to Wait for the Palestinians - Dennis Ross and David Makovsky
    In speaking to Arab leaders of nine states in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, President Biden said that "we will operate in the context of the Middle East as it is today: a region more united than it has been in years....Increasingly, the world is seeing the Mideast through the lens of opening and opportunity."
        As he told an Israeli television interviewer, "the more Israel is integrated into the region as an equal and is accepted, the more likely there is going to be a means by which they can eventually come to accommodation with the Palestinians down the road." Biden is saying that ties with the Arabs give Israel a gateway to an Israeli-Palestinian deal.
        For Sunni Arab leaders, what began as under-the-radar cooperation against terror and traditional security threats is now expanding to include domestic economic needs. With Israeli business people now doing business in Saudi Arabia, albeit on second passports, the phenomena is clearly not limited to the countries that have made formal peace with Israel.
        What the Palestinian leadership has failed to realize is that the needs of Arab states now mean they are no longer willing to wait for the Palestinians, particularly because they doubt the Palestinian leadership is capable of doing anything to help resolve the conflict. The continuing Palestinian public incitement against Israel, which necessarily legitimizes violence, gives the Israeli public little reason to think that the Palestinians will ever make real peace.
        Dennis Ross is counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where David Makovsky is director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations. (The Hill)
  • Hamas Summer Camps in Gaza Offer Weapons Training to Prepare Kids to "Liberate Palestine"
    As in previous years, Hamas in Gaza is operating 500 summer camps for children and teens that champion jihad and armed struggle against Israel. Hamas official Muhammad Abu 'Askar said the camps "are intended to raise a generation that...is capable of liberating [Palestine]." The campers are given lessons on the use and maintenance of various weapons, and also use shooting simulators to practice targeting "Israeli soldiers."  (MEMRI)
        See also Fatah Summer Campers in Nablus Undergo Military Training
    Videos of a summer camp for children and adolescents in Nablus showed the youth, some of them armed with rifles, undergoing military training by Palestinian security forces, including urban warfare tactics and hand-to-hand combat. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
  • Hamas as Tehran's Agent - Jonathan Schanzer
    Since the late 1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been plying the Hamas terrorist group with hundreds of millions of dollars and weapons, while also teaching it how to be self-sufficient. In 1991, Hamas opened offices in Tehran.
        As of March 2022, according to one senior Israeli intelligence official, Hamas received $80 million annually from Iran. Hamas engineers are also studying precision guided munition technology in Iran to learn to target Israel more accurately.
        The writer is senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • Life in Gaza Improving as More Palestinians Work in Israel - Amos Harel
    Today, about 14,000 Palestinians from Gaza have permission to work in Israel. Barring any new military escalation with Hamas, that number is expected to grow to 20,000 or even 30,000. To date, no Gaza worker has taken part in attacks on Israelis. Should this occur, everyone knows that the program will be rolled back. The average pay for a worker in Gaza is $1.77 a day. In Israel, the lowest salary for a Palestinian is $89 a day, and many earn a lot more than that. A Gazan with a work permit can rise to the top of Gaza's middle class in a flash.
        Recently, the distress of day-to-day life in Gaza has eased with the electricity supply doubling to 12 hours a day. Israel has upgraded its ability to inspect goods crossing into Gaza using advanced technology, which has allowed larger quantities to enter. Many obstacles have been overcome that previously prevented critical projects, such as developing desalination facilities and upgrading the fishing and farming industries.
        The Egyptians are more closely searching goods entering through the Rafah crossing and investing more resources in deterring the smuggling tunnels running into Gaza from Sinai. The Israeli Navy's blocking of Palestinian efforts to smuggle anti-tank missiles into Gaza on fishing boats last month reflects Hamas' difficulties in using the tunnels. (Ha'aretz)

  • Other Issues

  • Hizbullah Is Calling the Shots on Israel-Lebanon Maritime Border Dispute - Sam Sokol
    Hizbullah will have the final word in the dispute between Israel and Lebanon over the border between the two countries' maritime economic zones. Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel's National Security Council, said Monday that Hizbullah "isn't interested in a settlement....Any agreement between Israel and Lebanon is bad news because if Israel and Lebanon agree on the demarcation of the border, they [Hizbullah] will lose the perfect excuse to attack Israel."
        "More Israeli and Lebanese cooperation on economic or ecological matters could create problems for Hizbullah to justify its very existence." However, without an agreement, Lebanon will be unable to exploit its natural resources and Lebanese citizens, who are already limited to only several hours of electricity a day, could come to blame Hizbullah for their continuing economic woes, Eiland said. (Ha'aretz)
  • As Biden Said, You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Be a Zionist - Noa Tishby
    While the restoration of Jewish nationhood in the Land of Israel has deep roots, most Americans support the Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East. From the very beginning, Zionism - the movement for the re-establishment of a sovereign Jewish nation - has counted non-Jews among its most enthusiastic supporters.
        Due to a well-organized campaign against it, Zionism is now considered a slur in certain circles. But Zionism is in fact a progressive movement, created to progress Jews from two millennia of discrimination, pogroms and persecution to self-governance and self-determination in their indigenous land. Zionism is not in opposition to anyone else's self-governance and self-determination, Palestinians included.
        On the other hand, "Free Palestine from the river to the sea," the chant adopted by BDS and its celebrity followers, is a call for the destruction of the single Jewish state in the world, a shamelessly antisemitic goal.
        Lovers of democracy around the world understand that Israel is fighting the battle for all free people to live in peace and dignity. The truth is that while there are only a few million Jews in the world, there are hundreds of millions of Zionists.
        The writer is Israel's special envoy for combating antisemitism and delegitimization of Israel. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israel's Precision Irrigation Could Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change and Global Warming - Keren Setton
    Thanks to the Israeli invention of a smart irrigation system, it is now possible to not only save water, but also manage the quality and quantity of grape yields. According to Yishai Netzer, an Israeli agronomist from Ariel University, a large number of sensors that monitor the grape crops let farmers know how "thirsty" the crops are. Managing the irrigation according to the precise needs of the grape crops is economically beneficial for the farmers. The higher the quality of the grapes, the more expensive the bottle of wine they produce will be.
        While climate change has impacted rainfall levels all over the world, less water consumption due to precision irrigation could mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming, Netzer said. (Xinhua-China)
  • Israeli Interrogators Reinvent Lie Detection - Zachy Hennessey
    For the past 101 years, the most reliable form of lie detection has been the standard polygraph device. Former Israel Security Agency interrogators Avivit Yorkevich and Yossi Penias have developed a new lie detection platform using a selfie camera and a microphone that can detect lies with near 85% accuracy, comparable to the polygraph.
        "There are almost 40 indications of the sympathetic system that you can gather. The polygraph only takes five," said Penias. "Microexpressions, eye tracking, voice stress analysis - those are all measurable impacts of the sympathetic system that can be measured over time, and with a basic, elementary smartphone."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • As the Holocaust Raged, U.S. Newspapers Buried Reports on Hitler's Final Solution - Matt Lebovic
    In America and the Holocaust: A Documentary History, published this year, Rafael Medoff, who directs the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, writes: "In the spring of 1942, as the reports of mass murder multiplied and many additional details were relayed to the Free World by reliable sources...instead of questioning Roosevelt administration officials about the emerging genocide, journalists usually avoided the subject altogether." Between 1941 and the end of 1943, Germany and its collaborators murdered most of the Holocaust's 6 million Jewish victims.
        "As much more information, including eyewitness reports about the mass killings, reached the outside world in 1943, American Jewish leaders began speaking out more consistently. But the Roosevelt administration routinely suppressed such reports, fearing that publicity would increase public pressure to open America's doors to refugees."  (Times of Israel)

Does Biden's Israel Visit Signal New U.S. Resolve in the Middle East? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • In the wake of President Biden's visit to Israel, even if the potential for a strategic change in U.S. policy in the region is only partially realized, the potential nevertheless exists.
  • The visit illustrated the intimacy that characterizes Israel-U.S. relations, the American commitment to Israel's security, and the common interest in promoting relations between Israel and Arab countries. Biden emphasized the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.
  • The visit reflected American recognition of the new reality created by the war in Ukraine and the failure to return to the agreement with Iran. This reality is forcing the Biden administration to come to terms, slowly and reluctantly, with the fact that the same forces that threaten the world order - Russia, China, and Iran - are also the ones that threaten the regional order in the Middle East and threaten vital American interests there. Therefore, the situation requires cooperation with the parties that oppose these destabilizing forces.
  • During the visit, President Biden repeatedly pointed out that the return of the U.S. to the region is necessary to prevent the creation of a vacuum that Russia and China will fill, implicitly through their cooperation with Iran.
  • While there is a trend toward weakening the powerful U.S. regional position, especially since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, America remains the most critical superpower in the world (as the elimination of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on August 1 attests).
  • The primary goal shared by Israel and the pragmatic Arab countries is to translate their meeting of interests into a change in American policy towards Iran so that the U.S. will exert pressure on the extremist Islamic regime, including presenting a credible military threat to Iran to curb its nuclear program.

    The writer, director of the project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.
Support Daily Alert
Daily Alert is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Daily Alert is published every Monday and Thursday.
Unsubscribe from Israel Alert.