October 27, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Cabinet Approves Lebanon-Israel Maritime Boundary Deal - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli cabinet voted in favor of the agreement with Lebanon on maritime boundaries on Thursday.
    See also Lebanon Delivers Signed Sea Border Deal to U.S. Mediator - Kareem Chehayeb (AP)

Energean Starts Gas Production at Israel's Karish Field - Steven Scheer (Reuters)
    Energean has begun production at Israel's Karish offshore gas field and the first gas has been safely delivered, the company said on Wednesday.

Israeli Official: U.S. Despairing over Increasingly Distant Iran Nuke Talks - Luke Tress (Times of Israel)
    The U.S. has soured on the possibility of resuming fruitful talks with Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, and is disappointed and angry at Tehran over its approach to the negotiations, a senior Israeli official said Wednesday.
    The atmosphere in Washington toward Tehran has turned "very negative," according to the official, who is familiar with the Americans' thinking on the issue.
    The U.S. has come to believe there is no one to talk to or trust on the Iranian side.
    See also U.S. Not Seeking New Negotiations on Iran Nuclear Deal (White House)
    U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Wednesday:
    "We are not seeking or asking for a new set of negotiations or renegotiation discussions on the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal]. That's not what our focus is on right now. It's on holding Iran accountable...for the way they're treating innocent protesters in their country."
    "Frankly, we are just too far apart right now to be able to have any meaningful discussions in that regard."

AP Claims New IDF Chief of Staff Is a "Settler" - Tamar Sternthal (CAMERA)
    On Oct. 24, AP headlined a story "Settlers Rise in Israel," about the newly appointed IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi.
    He lives in Kfar HaOranim, a community just across the armistice line that separated the Jordanian-occupied West Bank from Israel between 1948 and 1967. Under every peace plan, this community was always slated to be included in Israeli territory.
    Moreover, according to the official voting record of Kfar HaOranim, his fellow residents are overwhelmingly aligned with the political bloc that does not represent the settlement movement.
    In the March 2021 elections, Prime Minister Yair Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid party captured the most votes (30.8%); Defense Minister Benny Gantz's center Blue & White party snagged 18.2%; and left-wing Labor took 13.4%. In fourth place, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud garnered 12.1%. The pro-settlement Religious Zionist party received no votes.
    Yet AP's fictional account cast Halevi as a settler bogeyman.
    The writer is director of CAMERA's Israel Office.

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Iran Regime Officials Seek Future in U.S. - Amir Taheri (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Even the Khomeinist ruling clique prefers the U.S. to their new Russian and Chinese allies.
    According to an Iranian parliament report in 2019, some 3,000 children of regime apparatchiks were studying in the U.S., while over 1,500 senior officials held U.S. "green cards" (a kind of permanent residence permit).
    A study by a Swiss-Iranian researcher shows that over 400 former Islamic Republic and Islamic Revolutionary Guard officials are employed in U.S. universities, media and think tanks.
    Iranians don't ask the U.S. for any material or military help in their struggle to build a different Iran. All they ask is for the U.S. to be true to its professed principle of never siding with oppressors.
    The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.

In First, Israeli Athlete to Compete in Saudi Arabia (Times of Israel)
    Olympian triathlete Shachar Sagiv is slated to participate on Saturday in the fifth round of the Super League Triathlon, a team-based cycling, swimming and running competition.
    "I am very excited to be a trailblazer by being the first Israeli athlete to compete in Saudi Arabia," Sagiv told the website Sport1.

Israel Aims to Grow Plants on the Moon - Nathan Jeffay (Times of Israel)
    Researchers at the Institutes for Desert Research at the Sde Boker campus of Ben-Gurion University are working with universities in Australia and South Africa to prepare a tiny 2-kg. greenhouse with a range of seeds and plants that will head to the moon in 2025 aboard Beresheet 2, the second attempt at an unmanned moon landing by Israel's SpaceIL.
    The mini-greenhouse will be sealed, retaining the Earth's atmosphere, but will be subject to the moon's microgravity.
    "Bases on the moon or colonies on Mars could become a reality, and we're exploring whether we know how to grow plants there," said Prof. Simon Barak.
    "Plants would be important for food, for oxygen, for medication, for removing CO2 from the air, and also for general wellbeing."

The IDF Underwater Missions Unit - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF Special Forces Underwater Missions Unit (UMU) is an elite force specializing in diving, sabotage, search and rescue, and special missions up to 42 meters under the sea.
    The unit, founded in 1963, is comprised of less than 100 soldiers - both women and men.
    The unit specializes in handling explosive devices such as the remains of missiles that fall into the sea or naval mines.
     It also assists the Navy in thwarting the infiltration of Hamas frogmen.
    In January, the unit participated in the recovery of a Navy helicopter that crashed off the coast of Haifa.
    In 2018, the unit was sent to Brazil and helped discover victims after a large dam collapsed.

Israel to Provide Spanish Army with Tank Shells - Eyal Boguslavsky (Israel Defense)
    Israel's IMI Systems, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, has won a contract worth 9.4 million euros from the Spanish Army for the supply of 2,000 shells for its Leopard battle tanks.

Israel's Exports Rise 23 Percent in First Half of 2022 (Xinhua-China)
    Israeli exports of goods and services rose by 23.3% in the first half of 2022, rising from $66.6 billion in the same period last year to $82.1 billion, the Ministry of Economy and Industry said Tuesday.
    Export of services increased by 28.4% from $32.7 billion to $42 billion, while goods exports grew by 18% from $33.9 billion to $40 billion.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli President: Israel Providing Serious Humanitarian Assistance to Ukraine
    Israel has always been on Ukraine's side by providing serious humanitarian assistance, but in other areas the country's support is limited due to national security reasons, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told the Atlantic Council in Washington on Wednesday.
        "Let's put the record straight. First of all, Israel is aligned with the international community and the United States at all the international forums. Secondly, of course, we made it clear that we object to any violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity. But the big thing is, of course, Israel is assisting quite substantially in an array of issues, most predominantly humanitarian issues. If you walk around the various volunteer organizations and NGOs in Ukraine, Hebrew is the predominant language."
        "We've set up hospitals, we are making a huge effort on psychological and post-traumatic treatment...we've supplied medical equipment, Ukrainian soldiers are being treated in Israeli hospitals, we've offered a lot of equipment that has to do with civilian needs. We've also offered Ukraine...civilian systems for early detection of missile attacks - something that Israel has huge experience in."
        "But there are things that we cannot supply, due to our national security interests of utmost importance, and that is by the way the rule in many other countries....Israel is doing what it can in light of its strategic and security considerations."  (Tass-Russia)
        See also Israeli President: Civilians in Ukraine Are Being Killed by Iranian Weapons
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog told the Atlantic Council in Washington on Wednesday: "Innocent civilians in Ukraine are being killed and hurt and wounded and are suffering from Iranian weapons. Iran flatly denied supplying drones to the war against Ukraine. I want to show you two slides that unequivocally prove that Iranian drones are participating in the war in Ukraine against innocent Ukrainian civilians. I want to point out that Iran has kept on supplying these drones and they are attacking all over Ukraine with suicide drones, special UAVs that are meant to create havoc in large scope."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Israeli President Gives U.S. Intelligence on Iran Drones in Ukraine
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Tuesday in Washington that he was sharing intelligence with the U.S. to prove Iran supplied Russian-operated drones that have reaped destruction in Ukraine, as he urged a tough response. "Iranian weapons play a key role in destabilizing our world, and the international community must learn its lessons, now and in the future," Herzog said. "The world must speak with Iran in...a tough, united and uncompromising language."  (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Destroys Lions' Den Bomb Factory in Nablus, 5 Palestinians Killed in Heavy Fighting - Emanuel Fabian
    Early Tuesday, "A joint force of IDF soldiers, Israel Security Agency agents and anti-terror forces raided a hideaway in Nablus' Old City that was being used as a bomb workshop by central members of Lions' Den," the IDF said. "The bomb workshop was blown up by our forces."
        The raid in the West Bank city sparked intense clashes. Blasts and gunshots rang out for over an hour. Soldiers returned fire when shot at during the rioting. Palestinian health officials reported five people dead and 21 injured. One of the fatalities was Wadee al-Houh, 31, a senior and founding member of Lions' Den. Palestinian media identified the other killed men as members as well. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Goes on the Offensive in the Heart of the Palestinian Lions' Den - Anna Ahronheim
    Israeli security forces have carried out operations deep in the Casbah of Nablus where the Lions' Den gunmen felt most secure. The operation targeted Wadee al-Houh, who not only fired toward Israeli troops on numerous occasions, but was the middle-man between bomb-makers and weapons smugglers and Palestinians whom he sent out on attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Behind the Scenes of Operation Against Lions' Den in Nablus - Elisha Ben Kimon
    An Israeli security official noted that Israel's operation against Lions' Den in Nablus caught the terrorists off guard. "They are not well-organized and are not the best terrorists in the world....Our message to them is that no matter where they are in the West Bank, there will be nowhere to hide."  (Ynet News)
  • IDF Arrests 3 More Lions' Den Members in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    In the West Bank city of Nablus, IDF troops arrested three more members of the Palestinian Lions' Den terror group, which has claimed near-nightly attacks on troops and civilians. (Times of Israel)
        See also After Israeli Raid, 4 Lions' Den Members Turn Themselves in to PA Custody - Emanuel Fabian
    At least four members of the Nablus-based Lions' Den terror group turned themselves in to the Palestinian Authority security services on Wednesday including Mahmoud al-Bana, a prominent member who was wounded in an Israeli raid against the terror group on Tuesday. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Targets Lions' Den Terror Group - Khaled Abu Toameh
    In the past few days, Palestinian gunmen of the Lions' Den terror group saw how Israeli security forces are determined to hunt them down.
        In addition to raids and arrests, the IDF has imposed a closure on Nablus and its surrounding towns and villages as part of the effort to thwart attacks by the Lions' Den gunmen. The closure has severely disrupted economic activities in the Nablus area, increasing the pressure on the Palestinian Authority to find a solution to the crisis. Israeli authorities recently revoked permits to family members of the gunmen to work in Israel. Palestinians believe that the countdown for the dismantlement of the armed group has begun. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Israel-Lebanon Maritime Deal

  • How the Israel-Lebanon Maritime Deal Impacts Hizbullah's Resistance Narrative - Hanin Ghaddar
    Israel will receive the most immediate benefits from the maritime border agreement between Beirut and Jerusalem, as it can now quickly begin to exploit existing energy reserves in the Karish gas field.
        Hizbullah has seen its resistance rhetoric take a major blow with its public recognition of Israel. Although this is officially an agreement between Lebanon and Israel, in reality, many in Lebanon see it as a deal between Hizbullah and Israel. According to Reuters, the group reviewed and approved the agreement line by line.
        I grew up in a Shia town in South Lebanon during the establishment of Hizbullah. The word "Israel" was taboo. If anyone dared to say "Israel," the immediate reaction was a forceful reminder that "it is called Palestine!" Yet in response to the maritime border deal, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said, "We do not have any problem with the agreement with Israel." He didn't say "occupied Palestine" or the "enemy state." For many Lebanese, this indicates a major shift in narrative and strategy.
        This creates a new reality where the state next door actually exists and is Lebanon's partner in gas. What's more, Hizbullah accepted U.S. mediation in the negotiations and acknowledged American diplomacy.
        The writer is a fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (War on the Rocks)

  • Iran

  • The West Should Strengthen the Freedom Activists Protesting in Iran - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and Joel Zamel
    The international community should today enhance direct assistance for human rights activists, endorse private initiatives of non-violent civil resistance, and speak with a louder voice supporting a free Iran.
        Unlike in previous waves of protest, unity is being formed around both anti-regime slogans, such as "death to the dictator," as well as social issues, including "Woman, Life, Freedom." This is a major advancement from past protest waves which demonstrated against fake elections and the cost of living but not against the fundamental legitimacy of the regime.
        One option to deal with the Iranian nuclear program is to push for regime change by helping the Iranian people overthrow their oppressors, through any non-violent means necessary. We have long argued that this strategy offers the best prospects for a long-term solution and may well today be the only option. Regime change does not have to mean military force; rather an intentional effort to utilize non-kinetic means to strengthen and support the opposition to liberate their country.
        Amos Yadlin is former Head of IDF Military Intelligence and former Director of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies. Joel Zamel is the founder of Wikistrat, a global crowdsourced intelligence firm. (National Interest)
  • A Second Iranian Revolution? - Ray Takeyh
    A revolt has begun in Iran, just as one did in 1978. It features an aging autocrat who's dying of cancer and overseeing a rebellious nation that has tired of his rule and the corruption of his cronies. In the White House, Jimmy Carter assured himself that Iran's armed forces could be counted on to restore order. Yet, too often, we ignore the fact that national armies don't like shooting their own people.
        Iranians today are bereft of delusions. They know the theocracy remains in the grip of an unelected few and is drowning in corruption. The current uprising shows that the head mullah, Ayatollah Khamenei, forgot the most essential lesson of the shah's demise - that desperate masses have little choice but to revolt.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Commentary)
  • Iran's Labor Strikes Give Protest Movement Added Momentum - Benoit Faucon
    Iran's labor unions are helping antigovernment protests maintain momentum by calling for strikes at oil facilities, schools and factories. On Sunday, teachers started a two-day strike to protest the large number of deaths and imprisonment of pupils. Organized labor played a key role by paralyzing the economy in the 1979 Islamic Revolution that forced the Shah to abdicate. Still, calls by unions to carry out a nationwide strike haven't been heeded so far. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Palestinians

  • Positive Signs in West Bank Security Situation - Avi Issacharoff
    Some positive things have happened in the past few weeks in the West Bank that could yield a more stable future. Israel is expressing partial satisfaction with the Palestinian security apparatus as it steps up its anti-militant activities, especially in Nablus and Jenin, although these activities may not be going at the pace or depth that Israel would prefer. The PA is even taking action against the Nablus-based Lions' Den terror group, arresting their supporters and members, which sends an important message to the public.
        The general Palestinian public is still keeping their heads down and trying to avoid getting involved in violence. Despite the growing number of terror attacks and the increase in armed combatants, the current unrest is still not considered an intifada. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Authority Concerned over Weapons Menace in West Bank - Hazem Balousha
    The Palestinian Authority is increasingly concerned about the proliferation of weapons in the West Bank that is fueling conflict between families and groups. There are fears that some Palestinian groups will use these arms to destabilize the PA and attempt to control the West Bank. Armed individuals are now increasingly being seen at the funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
        The Israeli website Walla reported an increase in arms smuggling to Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, with prices skyrocketing. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)

  • UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry Report

  • UN Human Rights Council Goes on the Offensive Against Israel - Clifford D. May
    Vladimir Putin is slaughtering Ukrainian men, women and children. Xi Jinping is committing genocide against the Muslims of East Turkistan. Ali Khamenei is murdering Iranian girls for wearing their hijabs in what he considers a provocative manner. What is the UN doing in response? It's going after Israel. The UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry is funded - with Americans contributing the lion's share - for the purpose of demonizing and delegitimizing Israel in perpetuity.
        The COI's latest report urges UN members to prosecute Israeli officials for alleged violations of "international humanitarian law" during the May 2021 war between Israel and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood faction that holds power in Gaza and is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, UK, and Canada. What does the report say about the 4,000 rockets Hamas fired at Israelis? Not a word.
        The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). (Washington Times)
  • The Gaping Holes in the UN Commission of Inquiry Report - Kenneth Jacobson
    The recently released report by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) ignores any Palestinian responsibility for the current situation. Not a word about Palestinian rejectionism for decades. Not a word on Israeli steps that completely contradict the narrative that Israel is all about permanent occupation. Not a word about Israeli efforts to make Palestinian life better.
        Not a word about the anti-democratic forces and corruption at work in Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, which have greatly contributed to the ills of the Palestinian people. Not a word about an educational system in the Palestinian community which preaches and teaches hatred of Israel and Jews and the virtues of violence against the Jewish state.
        The report fails to mention numerous Israeli peace offers that would have transformed Palestinians lives, including through the creation of a Palestinian state. The consequence of such one-sidedness is to make the Palestinians think once again that history is on their side in their decades-old rejection of Israel's legitimacy.
        The writer is Deputy National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. (Times of Israel)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Woke Antisemitism Harms Jews - David Bernstein
    In January 2016, I became President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the 70-year-old Jewish advocacy and community relations umbrella group for the American Jewish community. On my first day on the job, JTA published an opinion piece I wrote, "The Anti-Israel Trend You've Never Heard Of," in which I argued that the progressive doctrine of "intersectionality" was a danger to the Jewish community.
        "If a group sees itself as oppressed," I wrote, "it will see Israel as part of the dominant power structure doing the oppressing, and Palestinians as fellow victims. That oppressed group will be susceptible to joining forces with the [anti-Israeli] BDS movement." Regrettably, the dangers I warned about have come to pass.
        I'd come to believe that the mainstream Jewish community needed to find a way to include the Jewish narrative in the intersectional matrix - to complicate it - so that Jews and Israel were not viewed as the perennial oppressors and Palestinians the perennial victims.
        The writer, founder of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, is the author of Woke Antisemitism: How a Progressive Ideology Harms Jews (2022). (Quillette)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israel Developing Drone Swarm for Urban Battlefield - David Hambling
    Israel is converting infantry support companies into "seek and strike" units equipped with swarming drones to search buildings and carry out attacks. The swarm is powered by Legion-X, an "autonomous networked combat solution" developed by Elbit Systems.
        The Iranian-supplied Shahed-136 kamikaze drones which Russia is using in Ukraine are often described as swarming drones, but this is not correct. Although the drones are launched in groups, they do not exchange information or co-ordinate their movements like a true swarm. Israel has taken the lead in enabling multiple drones to work together, directed by one human operator.
        In 2021, the IDF used swarming drones in operations in Gaza. Mortar support companies were re-equipped with drones which gathered intelligence, located targets, and carried out attacks on Hamas forces. They also provided targeting information for guided mortar weapons and carried out more than 30 "successful operations" against militants attempting to launch rockets at Israel. (Forbes)
  • New Israeli System Digitally Maps Battlefield, Changing How Wars Are Fought - Tom O'Connor
    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have established a new high-tech system that provides real-time tracking of troop locations and where they may be exposed to enemy fire, offering a significant digital edge on the battlefield. Two senior Israeli officers discussed with Newsweek how the "Identify & Alert" (I&A) platform works and what it means for the future of warfare.
        "The system can define potential lines of exposure [of Israeli forces] from anti-tank missile fire in advance," said Lt.-Col. Idan Hariri. "We created a system that knows how to alert our situation room and the soldier in the field in a matter of seconds when soldiers enter an area that is under the threat of anti-tank missile fire. The system is automatic." Hariri said that during two days of fighting with Palestinian militants in August, the IDF "proved that the I&A system saves lives." The system has been integrated near Israel's border with Lebanon and also is being deployed near Syria.
        The system replaces the longstanding practice of checking in via radio communications. Now, units can communicate via an internal chat resembling WhatsApp. (Newsweek)
  • The IDF Desert Reconnaissance Battalion - Hanan Greenwood
    The Israel Defense Forces' largely Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, established in 1986, is comprised of volunteers from Muslim, Christian, and Circassian backgrounds. Lt.-Col. Guy Madar, 33, the current commander of the battalion, said, "When I joined, I discovered how amazingly they operated....It is a group of fighters who want to contribute. They are strong, good fighters, and know the sector like the back of their hand."
        Sgt. Hassan Fudi, from Taibe village near Afula, said, "I enlisted in the Bedouin patrol unit. My family did not accept it and was very angry with me. As far as they are concerned, they are Palestinians. Since my decision to enlist I have not spoken to my parents....But I got used to it. I'm happy with my decision....It is true, I am Arab, but we are brothers. This is my country and we need to protect it."
        Chief Warrant Officer Ami Mazariv is a testament to what fighters in the unit can achieve. In 2004, Ami could not even read Hebrew. By 2022, he has a bachelor's degree in management and recently began studying law. "We have a unit that is making the State of Israel proud, soldiers with courage above and beyond, who fight all the time to protect, with the richest history in the field of counterterrorism. We have lost 30 fighters over the years, but we are not giving up, and continue to stand guard."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Jewish Women Resistance Fighters in World War II - Eldad Beck
    Judy Batalion came across a Yiddish book at the British Library in London published in 1946 titled Women in the Ghettos, comprising a collection of memoirs of young Jewish women who revolted against the Nazis in Poland. Batalion, who knew Yiddish from home, developed this topic into the 2021 book, The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos. It details how women worked to save other Jews, gather intelligence and smuggle weapons, and actively participate in the uprisings that erupted in dozens of ghettos across occupied Eastern Europe.
        Women contributed to the resistance movement in a different way than men. It was easier for Jewish women to pretend to be Christian and this allowed them to do work on the Aryan side, outside the ghettos and camps. Because of circumcision, Jewish men were easily identifiable. Beyond that, Jewish women were more involved in non-Jewish society than men.
        "In Poland...in many families, the boys were sent to Jewish schools, and the girls, to save on expenses, were sent to public ones. There was a generation of Jewish girls who were more educated than the boys and also spoke fluent Polish without a Yiddish accent....The men were immediately recognizable by their accents. And of course, there was the sexist culture of the Nazis. They did not think that women were capable of engaging in resistance."  (Israel Hayom)

  • It is true that Israel's multi-layered air defense system is one of the most advanced in the world, and several layers of it are built in cooperation with the U.S. and with U.S. financial backing.
  • But there is no evidence that Israel could have supplied Ukraine with these advanced systems, such as David's Sling, Iron Dome or Arrow; and it's not clear even that these systems are appropriate for Kyiv.
  • Billion-dollar air defense systems take years to build and deploy and integrate into battle management systems with the correct radars and air defenders trained to use the systems.
  • The batteries Israel has are needed at home and even if Israel were to agree to sell, it would still take years to field them.
  • Moreover, other Western countries have been slow to provide Ukraine with air defenses, and many advanced systems, such as the Patriot system, have not been sent to Kyiv.
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