September 22, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Logistics Unit Targeted in Latest Israeli Strikes in Syria (Iran International-UK)
    Israel carried out airstrikes on Syria's Damascus International airport and other positions south of the capital on Sep. 16 and 17, targeting "Unit 2250" - a special Iranian logistics institution run by Tehran's Revolutionary Guards.
    The unit is in charge of receiving incoming equipment, weapons and personnel from Iran as well as supporting the Iran-backed Lebanese forces in the country.
    In the recent attack, the warehouses and the main office were targeted by Israeli strikes.

U.S. Court Awards Millions to Victims of Hizbullah Rockets (AP-Washington Post)
    Judge Steven L. Tiscione of federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday ordered the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah to pay damages of $111 million to a group of Americans who sued saying they were wounded by the group's rockets during a war with Israel in 2006.
    The case was brought under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.

Former Pakistani Government Minister Meets with Israeli Foreign Ministry Officials in Jerusalem - Munir Ahmed (AP-Washington Post)
    A delegation of Pakistanis, including a former government minister, met Israeli Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
    Pakistan has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
    "Yes, I am in Jerusalem with a delegation to promote interfaith harmony," Pakistan's former development minister Nasim Ashraf, the head of the delegation, told AP.

Israeli, Turkish Leaders Hold First Meeting since 2008 (Reuters)
    Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday for the first face-to-face talks between leaders of the two nations since 2008, Lapid's office said.

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Israel's Population Reaches 9,593,000 on Eve of Jewish New Year - Yaron Druckman (Ynet News)
    Israel's population has reached 9,593,000, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. 7,069,000 residents are Jews (74%) and 2,026,000 are Arabs (21%).
    91.5% of Jewish Israelis reported being satisfied with their lives, as did 70.7% of Israeli Arabs.

Israel Absorbs over 60,000 New Immigrants in Current Jewish Year - Zvika Klein (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel expects to see a total of 65,000 new immigrants during the current Jewish year, compared to 28,500 in 2021.
    47% came from Russia, 25% from Ukraine, 6% from the U.S., 4% from France, and 2% from Ethiopia.

Hamas Plotting to Take Over in West Bank - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    According to Col. (res.) Grisha Yakubovich, an expert on Israeli-Palestinian relations and a senior fellow at the MirYam Institute, the mounting Palestinian terrorist attacks are part of a larger trend of the growing dominance of Hamas rhetoric in Judea and Samaria and an ongoing battle for Palestinian hearts and minds based on the message that violence achieves results and that negotiations and diplomacy do not.
    "Hamas has been silent recently; we are not hearing them. On the Palestinian street, this silence is being interpreted as preparations by Hamas to attempt a repeat of their 2007 takeover of Gaza - this time in Judea and Samaria," Yakubovich cautioned.

Israel Aerospace Industries Lands $1 Billion in Drone Deals - Udi Etsion (Calcalist)
    Israel Aerospace Industries has closed two mega-deals for drones in recent weeks with a combined value of $1 billion. IAI will sell drones to a foreign country for $600 million, while a contract with the Israel Ministry of Defense is valued at $400 million.

New Study: College Newspapers Single Out Israel for Harsh Criticism - Dion J. Pierre (Algemeiner)
    A new report released on Monday by Alums for Campus Fairness, a U.S. watchdog monitoring antisemitism in higher education, documents bias against Israel in campus newspapers.
    In a survey of newspapers at 75 U.S. colleges, only 17% of 1,450 articles published about Israel since 2017 were positive.
    Moreover, 307 out of 585 editorials portrayed Israel negatively.
    "These same newspapers are notably silent on antisemitism and discrimination against Jews on their own campuses," ACF said Monday. "Campus media is extremely biased against Israel."
    Of the campus newspapers surveyed, the most negative stories about Israel were published by New York University, Harvard, Stanford, and University of California-Berkeley.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iranian Women Burn Their Hijabs as Protests Spread - Jessie Yeung
    Outrage over the death of a woman in morality police custody in Iran, where women are required to wear hijabs (or headscarves) in public, has fueled protests across the country. Human rights groups have reported that at least seven people have been killed.
        The protests are striking for their scale, ferocity and rare feminist nature; the last demonstrations of this size were three years ago, after the government hiked gas prices in 2019. Thousands took to the streets Tuesday night, with videos of protests emerging from dozens of towns and cities. (CNN)
        See also Video: Iran Protests Intensify as Women Burn Headscarves in Defiance of Police (NBC News)
  • Iran Renews Claim to Bahrain - Hussein Ibish
    In recent weeks, Iranian media have been reviving long-dormant claims that Bahrain, a key U.S. ally, is the "14th province" of Iran. Bahrain is vital to American interests: It hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces coalition, which pursues missions in antipiracy, maritime security and counterterrorism.
        History shows Iran's demand is baseless. In 1957, under the shah, Iran formally laid claim to the island, a British protectorate since 1861. However, after heavy British and U.S. pressure and a UN survey showing overwhelming public support in Bahrain for independence, in 1971 Iran recognized the nation as a sovereign state.
        It's no coincidence Iran is just now ramping up these specious claims, formally resolved half a century ago. Teheran's belligerence raises the stakes surrounding the nuclear talks by threatening greater regional instability. Iran's renewed claims on Bahrain will only reinforce the view in Manama that normalizing relations with Israel was a good idea.
        The writer is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. (Bloomberg)
  • Britain Considers Moving Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
    British Prime Minister Liz Truss told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid that she is reviewing moving the British embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They discussed the possible move during a meeting at the UN in New York on Wednesday. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Army Foiled Dozens of Iranian Cyberattacks in Past Year - Anna Ahronheim
    "In the past year, the IDF thwarted dozens of attempts by Iran to carry out cyberattacks," a senior Cyber Defense Directorate official said Wednesday. "The IDF and the defense community have developed groundbreaking capabilities to defend against our enemies." In recent years the IDF has identified an increase of 70% in hostile activity.
        Tehran invests enormous resources in developing offensive cyber power and has 10 cyber units that specifically operate against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        A senior Israeli officer added, "Cyber has become a new dimension of combat over the past decade, and this thing is accelerating like crazy the world over. There is a kind of cyber arms race going on here, in which we have to preempt the enemy. We must win the battle for cyber and spectrum superiority, in both defense and offense. We'll have to put our foot on the gas, because our enemies are also engaged in this."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Moves to Confiscate Terror-Linked Funds from Palestinian Security Prisoners - Yoav Limor
    Israel launched an operation Sunday to confiscate funds transferred by the Palestinian Authority to the private accounts of security prisoners who had perpetrated or were involved in deadly terror attacks. Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued seizure orders for $3 million of terror-linked funds as part of Israel's ongoing efforts to fight the PA's pay-to-slay policy. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Nabs West Bank Hamas Terror Cell Planning Bomb Attacks - Yoav Zitun
    The Israel Security Agency said Monday it has apprehended seven Palestinians belonging to a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank who were planning bombing attacks against Israeli citizens and security forces. Weapons and materials to assemble explosives were found. The operatives were recruited via social networks by Yahya Amer Muhammad Abu S'eifan - a Hamas member in Gaza - and received funds to purchase materials and weapons. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Clashes between PA Security Forces and Palestinians in Nablus Leave 1 Dead, 17 Wounded - Mohammad Al-Kassim
    Violent clashes broke out on Monday between Palestinian Authority security forces and Palestinian residents of Nablus in the northern West Bank, after the arrest of two men, one of them a Hamas operative wanted by Israel. Angry young Palestinians hurled stones at PA security's armored vehicles, a scene usually reserved for clashes with the Israeli army. The municipality suspended work at its offices due to shots fired at its building.
        Palestinian factions in the city called for a general strike and demanded the release of both men, threatening that they will not let security forces enter the city until the men are freed. "I think we are living in a preparatory phase for an uprising against the PA. Unfortunately, some ill-considered measures are hastening this," a Fatah member from Nablus told Media Line. (Media Line)
        See also PA Bolsters Forces amid Growing Unrest - Einav Halabi
    Palestinian Authority forces including snipers were positioned in West Bank cities on Tuesday, hours after the arrest of Musab Shtayyeh, a senior Hamas operative, by PA security. Militants smashed several security cameras belonging to the PA in Nablus, burned tires and fired at local media stations. (Ynet News)
  • The Palestinian Authority's Fall Is Becoming a Palpable Threat - Jack Khoury
    On Wednesday, representatives of armed Palestinian groups in Nablus and the Palestinian security services reached agreements to end the recent clashes. But the city's residents are now left with a sobering taste of what could happen if the Palestinian Authority loses its control over the West Bank. Palestinians don't want a vacuum of governance; they want a functioning PA that will protect them. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Justified in Closing Palestinian NGOs - David Matas
    The Government of Israel designated in October 2021 as terrorist organizations and closed in August 2022 six NGOs due to their ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated by Israel, Canada and many other countries as a terrorist organization. It is common for terrorist organizations to work through associated entities in order to escape the rigors of the terrorist designation.
        Under the Canadian Regulations Implementing the UN Resolutions on the Suppression of Terrorism, any entity listed as terrorist can ask the Government to be delisted. Israel has similar legal provisions to allow for the challenge of listing. None of the six designated entities has invoked this delisting procedure. The failure of the six designated organizations to invoke legal remedies open to them raises a different question - whether Canada and other countries should also be listing these organizations as terrorist entities.
        The writer is senior counsel to B'nai Brith Canada. (B'nai Brith Canada)

  • Other Issues

  • Hizbullah Is Now on Israel's Border - Lt.-Col. (res.) Sarit Zehavi
    Friction between IDF soldiers and Hizbullah operatives, considered unusual a few years ago, now happens daily. I see Hizbullah's men every day as I tour the border, though they don't usually wear uniforms. Sometimes I see them patrolling in a long column along the fence. Sometimes they pop up from observation posts with binoculars and cameras.
        UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Lebanon war in 2006, called for "the establishment between the Blue Line [border] and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL [the UN Interim Force in Lebanon]."
        Alarmingly, in recent months, Hizbullah appears to have moved UNIFIL away from the border and positioned itself directly facing Israel, building some 20 positions along the border. Armed military operatives belonging to Hizbullah's military units man these positions around the clock. Some belong to Hizbullah's commando units, the Radwan Brigades. On social networks, Hizbullah is waging a campaign to "rally the troops," preparing them for war with clear threats against Israel.
        The writer is president and founder of the Alma Research and Education Center. (Tablet)
  • Christian Zionists Dispute Jordanian King Abdullah's Claim that Christianity in Jerusalem Is "Under Fire" - Kassy Dillon
    During his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Jordan's King Abdullah II claimed that Christianity in Jerusalem is "under fire." A spokesperson for Christians United for Israel (CUFI) disputed Abdullah's remarks, saying that "Jerusalem never knew true peace or prosperity until its liberation by Israel....It is because of Israel's respect for liberty that Jews, Christians, Muslims and all others enjoy true religious freedom in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land."
        Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, "Under Israeli rule since 1967, there has been a clear effort to ensure religious freedom for all three monotheistic faiths. I don't think anyone could argue that Christian holy sites are imperiled in any way."
        Schanzer pointed out that Israel provides Jordan with crucial assistance in the areas of water, gas, intelligence and security. "Israel guarantees Jordan's stability," he said. Schanzer said that "Jordan has dropped from the warmest peace with Israel some five years ago to the coldest."  (JNS)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israel Is Showing the World How to Save Water - Seth M. Siegel
    With drought becoming the new normal, policymakers would be wise to take a look at what Israel has done, and begin the process of creating their own water-resilient societies. Israel gets nearly all of its tap water from desalination plants along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and a large part of its water for agriculture by purifying and re-using the nation's sewage.
        Israel charges the real price for water (though the cost is subsidized for those receiving social welfare). This means consumers, farmers and industry are always looking for ways to conserve water, or to use technology for the most efficient use possible. In most of the world, water is deeply subsidized, which leads to enormous wasting of water due to overuse. For Israel, it is cheaper to fix leaky pipes than to waste water, so Israel has an uncommonly low leak factor of 7-8%. The administration of the country's water is in the hands of apolitical technocrats. (CNN)
  • IDF Innovation Branch Tasked with Meeting Enemy Threats - Sharon Wrobel
    Lt.-Col. Michal Frenkel, 34, said in an interview, "We need to shape the future of defense today and to innovate to be one step ahead of our enemies. I get up in the morning as the head of the innovation branch to make sure that the armed forces have all they need technologically to meet security threats and that soldiers with innovative ideas have the right mechanisms within the IDF to fulfill their dreams to solve operational challenges." The branch, established in 2020, brings innovation of future technologies across all of the IDF's divisions under one roof.
        Frenkel's background is in anthropology, organizational sociology and behavioral sciences. Before rejoining the IDF after her mandatory service, she worked at tech giant Intel Corp. "I came back because there is no soul in the high-tech industry....I wanted to get up in the morning and feel that what I do has meaning."  (Algemeiner)
  • Moroccan Muslims Reviving Jewish Heritage in Former Jewish Neighborhoods - Adi Koplewitz
    "Rebuilding Our Homes" is a multi-year USAID-supported initiative of the American Sephardi Federation and Mimouna Association that aims to teach the residents of urban neighborhoods in Moroccan cities that were once thriving Jewish quarters about local history and the rich heritage of the areas.
        Today, many of the residents of these neighborhoods make a living from creating Jewish artifacts and selling them to tourists. Mezuzas, Shabbat candlesticks and other traditional pieces of Judaica made by Muslims are filling the shops in the narrow alleys. Some 200,000 Israeli tourists are expected to visit Morocco next year.
        El Mehdi Boudra, president of the Morocco-based Mimouna Association, said, "I'm a proud Muslim....Culturally I'm Moroccan, which means Jewish as well. Morocco was home to the biggest Jewish community in the Muslim world for centuries. Judaism is an integral part of our culture as Moroccans, and we should take pride in that....We surveyed what people here thought about Jews before we started the project, and discovered 85% of the population has a positive opinion about them."  (Media Line-Ynet News)
  • Jewish Partisans Recount Struggle Against Nazis in New Documentary - "Four Winters" - Andrew Lapin
    The new documentary "Four Winters" recounts the story of eight former Jewish partisans: women and men from the ghettos who escaped Nazi roundups to the concentration camps, fled to the woods of Eastern Europe and carried out guerilla attacks on Nazis and their collaborators for the remainder of the war. It includes some remarkable archival images of the partisans in action, showing men and women armed with repatriated Nazi weapons.
        They say they don't like to think of themselves as brave - more that, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, they had bravery thrust upon them, because they couldn't allow themselves to be carted away to die without a fight. Holocaust stories routinely portray Jews as defenseless victims - not as gutsy combatants capable of stabbing Nazis to death with makeshift knives so as not to waste precious bullets. (JTA)

The Race between Palestinian Rocket Capabilities and Israel's Defensive Capabilities - Dr. Uzi Rubin (Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security)
  • During the fighting on August 5-7, 2022, between Israel and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, most of the rockets fired at Israel that were headed towards Israeli population centers were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • Israel suffered no fatalities and only 3 lightly wounded persons (two IDF troops hit by a mortar bomb and a Palestinian worker in an industrial plant hit by a rocket). 28 other Israelis were hurt while rushing to take shelter. Only four houses were directly hit by rockets (with no casualties among their residents).
  • Nevertheless, in a short time, Islamic Jihad managed to launch 1,175 rockets and mortar bombs against Israeli targets. During a two-day round of fighting in 2019 between Israel and Islamic Jihad, IJ managed to fire only 450 rockets and mortar bombs, which illustrates a major enhancement in its capabilities.
  • In addition, IJ concentrated its fire by launching massive salvoes in brief time periods. This proficiency was seen on the second day of the fighting in 2022, when IJ launched at least five large salvoes against Ashkelon within two and a half hours.
  • It appears evident that IJ's rocket manufacturing and launching facilities have not been seriously damaged by previous Israeli offensives against them. It also appears that there is no lack of raw materials and components for expanded rocket and rocket launcher production lines.
  • Arguably, what is true for IJ is also true for Hamas. It can therefore be expected that in future escalation rounds in Gaza, the combined rate of rocket fire by the Palestinian armed militias will reach or even exceed 1,000 rockets per day.
  • At the same time, there has been a degradation in the reliability of the Gaza-produced rockets. While the rate of failed launches during the 2014 operation stood at 7%, the failure rate grew to 23% during the fighting in 2021.

    The writer was founding director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, which managed the Arrow program.
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