November 3, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Netanyahu's Bloc Leading after Knesset Vote (Ha'aretz)
    With 95% of the vote tallied from Tuesday's Knesset elections, former Prime Minister Netanyahu's bloc was projected to win 65 seats in the 120-member Knesset, enough to form the next coalition government.
    As of Thursday, the results were: Likud (Netanyahu) 32 seats, Yesh Atid (Lapid) 24, Religious Zionism (Smotrich and Ben Gvir) 14, National Unity (Gantz) 12, Shas (Sephardi religious) 11, United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi religious) 8, Yisrael Beiteinu (Lieberman) 5, United Arab List (Mansour Abbas) 5, Joint List (Arab) 5, Labor (Michaeli) 4.
    The veteran Meretz party did not pass the 3.25% electoral threshold.
    See also Netanyahu Expected to Be Tasked with Forming Next Israeli Government - Luke Tress (Times of Israel)

Hamas Operations Continue Unhindered in Turkey - Joe Truzman (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
    Despite warming relations with Israel, Ankara continues to turn a blind eye to Hamas activity in the country.
    The organization is using Turkey as a hub to circumvent international sanctions and direct military operations against Israel.
    If Turkey is serious about improved relations with Israel, it must demonstrate it is making a genuine effort to curb Hamas activity within its borders.

Jordanian Lawmakers Seek Expulsion of Israeli Ambassador - Raed Omari (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
    A group of 66 Jordanian MPs from the 130-strong Lower House have called for the expulsion of Israel's ambassador in Amman, citing "Israeli massacres against the brotherly Palestinians." They also called on the government to recall Jordan's ambassador from Israel.
    Moreover, the MPs called on the government to terminate the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty.
    The Palestinian Parliament hailed the Jordanian MPs' appeal and urged other Arab and Islamic parliaments to pressure their countries' governments to end relations with Israel.

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The Jihadi Onslaught Against Christians - Melanie Phillips (Substack)
    Last Saturday, in the vicinity of Bethlehem, a Christmas bazaar opened in the neighboring Christian town of Beit Sahour.
    When a young Muslim Arab came and started taking videos of Christian girls wearing western clothes, a Christian scout leader threw him out of the bazaar.
    A short time later, he returned with a gang of men. They started stoning the Holy Forefathers Greek Orthodox Church near the bazaar. They smashed up cars parked nearby belonging to Christians and struck the scout leader in the face.
    Videos of these events started circulating on social media.

Azerbaijan Arrests Group Established by Iranian Intelligence - Tzvi Joffre (Jerusalem Post)
    Azerbaijan's State Security Service announced Tuesday it had arrested a group of Azerbaijani citizens who had been trained and funded by Iran's intelligence service.
    Members of the group, the Muslim Unity Movement, received military training and funding in Iran and Syria.

India and Israel to Produce Electronic Warfare System for Indian Navy (Outlook-India)
    India's Centum Electronics and Israel's Rafael Advanced Systems signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Oct. 29 to jointly develop an electronic warfare system for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.
    Nikhil Mallavarapu, Executive Director of Centum Electronics, said, "Through this partnership, we look forward to augmenting our indigenous electronic warfare offerings with a range of high-performance, mission-critical products."

Israeli Business in Saudi Arabia Emerges from Shadows at Investment Conference - Stephen Kalin (Wall Street Journal)
    Israeli businessmen addressed Saudi Arabia's flagship Future Investment Initiative conference last week, in a clear sign of burgeoning commercial ties and Israel's growing acceptance in the kingdom.
    "We're proudly from a little country just down the road called Israel," Jonathan Medved, chief executive of online venture investing platform OurCrowd, told a panel that included two Saudis.
    Medved said it was becoming normal for Israeli companies to operate in the kingdom.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Plans to Send Ballistic Missiles to Russia - Kylie Atwood
    Iran is preparing to send 1,000 additional weapons, including surface-to-surface, short-range ballistic missiles and more attack drones, to Russia before the end of the year to use in its war against Ukraine, officials from a Western country that closely monitors Iran's weapons program told CNN. Iran has already shipped 450 drones to Russia, which have already been used to deadly effect in Ukraine. The new shipment would mark a significant increase in Iranian support to Russia's war effort. (CNN)
        See also Biden Must Act on Iran's Drone and Missile Transfers - Behnam Ben Taleblu and Andrea Stricker (The Hill)
  • Saudi Arabia Warns Iran Planning Imminent Attacks - Dion Nissenbaum
    Saudi Arabia has shared intelligence with the U.S. warning of an imminent attack from Iran on targets in the kingdom, putting the American military and others in the Middle East on an elevated alert level. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel Tells UN: Palestinian Terror behind Rising West Bank Casualties - Mike Wagenheim
    While members of the UN Security Council on Friday expressed alarm over the rising number of Palestinian casualties, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan responded: "Israel is in the midst of a terror wave. Since the start of this year alone, there have been over 4,000 Palestinian terror attacks perpetrated against Israelis. Car-ramming, rock throwing, fire bombings, stabbing, shootings, rockets and many other acts of Palestinian violence have become a fact of life for millions of Israelis." While "the Palestinian Authority may play victim here at the council," in Jenin and Nablus it "praise[s] terrorists."  (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Israeli Knesset Elections - 2022

  • U.S. Jewish Leaders to Work with New Israeli Government - Mike Wagenheim
    The bottom line among the mainstream Jewish community is a willingness to work with an Israeli government in any form. "The fact that so many people voted shows that Israelis are saying they believe in the system and want to be a part of it," said William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "I'll go to Prime Minister Netanyahu and we will work with him. The American government will work with him." Daroff said that when Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Washington last week, "President Herzog was right on the mark, telling us, President Biden and others that we must have respect for each country's democracies."
        That approach was seconded by Adam Odesser, director of the Israel Action Center at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, who said the high turnout among the Israeli electorate on Tuesday "shows how Israel is a thriving democracy. The turnout was one of the highest percentages in the past 20 years....No matter who comes up on top, I think we will continue to work with whoever is there, and our connection will continue to be strong."
        Andrew Keene, who represents the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), said, "any democracy should have the full range of expression and ideology represented in government."
        The Jewish Federations of North America umbrella group said it looked "forward to working with the government selected by the Israeli people, as we always have, to support Jews around the world and strengthen the relationships between Israel, the North American Jewish community, and our government leaders."
        B'nai B'rith International said, "Israel proudly exemplifies what it means to be an engaged, participatory democracy. We look forward to working with Israel's next governing coalition on issues critical to the future of global Jewry and the Jewish state."  (JNS-Times of Israel)
  • Israeli President Herzog: "The Vote of the Israeli People Should Be Respected"
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog appealed to American Jewry to respect Israel's election results in a Monday address to the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly in Chicago. "The results may or may not be to your liking, but the vote of the Israeli people should be respected," Herzog said via video feed from Jerusalem.
        Herzog also downplayed concerns about the frequency of Israeli elections in recent years. "[W]hile frequent elections are clearly not ideal - they are also evidence of a vibrant, dynamic democracy. We must all recognize that the Israeli people, abundant with diversity and varying opinions, are correctly exercising their fundamental, democratic right to vote."  (JNS)
        See also In a Democracy, the Will of the People Should Be Respected - Editorial
    Israel went to the polls on Tuesday and in rather uncharacteristic fashion rendered a clear decision. The nation has spoken. It's time to honor the people's choice. (Jerusalem Post)
  • A Decisive Win for Netanyahu in Israel - Editorial
    As his victory in Tuesday's election shows, Israelis still trust Benjamin Netanyahu for the job of prime minister he has held twice before. He is on a path to a coalition government as large as 65 seats, a larger majority in the Knesset than anyone saw coming, ending the political paralysis that has plagued the country since 2019.
        This reflects important realities in Israeli politics. Mr. Netanyahu is still considered the Israeli leader best able to deal with great powers: with Russian troops in Syria, the poisoned chalice of Chinese economic engagement, and an America that is hot and cold. The vote means Mr. Netanyahu will have a mandate he lacked in the final years of his previous turn as prime minister. That should make Israel more confident in meeting regional threats, as it remains America's most valuable ally in the region. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Iran

  • Iran's Hard-Liners Are Starting to Crack - Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh
    This time is different. The Iranian people have been protesting in the streets for more than a month. Now even Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's allies are distancing themselves from the government, putting unprecedented stress on the regime. For four decades, regime loyalists have united in times of crisis. It's telling that today many influential conservatives display little compunction about criticizing Mr. Khamenei and his henchmen.
        The security services have been hesitant to use lethal force. That conservatives are now critiquing Mr. Khamenei shows that the regime is losing its core strength. They seem to realize that Tehran can't kill its way to success. These men either don't have the stomach to murder thousands of women, or they believe - rightly - that doing so would only lead to mass confrontation with hundreds of thousands of angry men.
        The demonstrators aren't interested in compromise. Conservatives now face a choice between joining the protest or being left behind. The Islamic Republic's rulers, like the shahs before them, know that their regime ultimately rests on the awe of unchallengeable power. That neither teenage girls throughout Iran nor foundational figures of the theocracy see this majesty any longer suggests that Mr. Khamenei's time is running out.
        Mr. Gerecht, a former Iranian-targets officer in the CIA, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Fabric of Iranian Repression Has Begun to Unravel - David Ignatius
    The basic demand of the Iranian uprising, now in its seventh week, that women no longer be forced to wear headscarves, challenges the primacy of the old men who run Iran's theocracy. "The world is seeing crowds successfully taking on small groups of security personnel....The regime's tactics to neutralize unrest have proven unsuccessful," said Norman T. Roule, a 34-year CIA veteran who managed the intelligence community's Iran activities from 2008 to 2017.
        Hayder al-Khoei, a member of one of Iraq's most prominent Shiite clerical families, tweeted Monday: "Just landed in Tehran. It doesn't feel or look like a revolution is underway but there has clearly been massive sociopolitical changes: women now casually walking in public with no headscarves." But reform on the headscarf issue won't be an easy option. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei believes that once he starts making concessions on something as seemingly small as women covering their hair, the broader authority of the regime will begin to erode.
        Cracking down on this movement will be difficult, in part because the protests are led by women and girls. "Few ordinary security forces will be comfortable attacking women," Roule argued. (Washington Post)

  • Palestinians

  • Expect Copycat Armed Groups after Palestinian Lions' Den - Yaakov Lappin
    Despite the blows dealt to the Nablus-based Lions' Den terrorist group by Israeli security forces, it will continue to serve as a model for many Palestinians. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, one of the founders of security coordination between the IDF and the PA, and a lecturer at Western Galilee College, told JNS: "We will apparently hear more about other groups and their various names who succeed the Lions' Den, because the Palestinian history and legacy points to imitation as a central motive in this society."
        In previous years, "there were the 'hawks of Fatah' and the 'Eagles of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,'...the comparison to animals is a winning and prestigious message....Lion's Den is perceived as a winning organization," despite its leading members being killed and arrested and some of its members turning themselves in. "In Palestinian tradition, failure becomes dazzling victory."  (JNS)

  • Weekend Features

  • Germans Who Saved Jews from Nazis Honored by Yad Vashem - Deborah Cole
    On Wednesday, Israel's Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor and Berlin's Deputy Mayor Bettina Jarasch presented descendants and grand-daughters of four Germans with "Righteous Among the Nations" medals from Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial during a posthumous ceremony in their honor.
        Moritz and Henriette Mandelkern survived the Holocaust only thanks to the help of their neighbors, Bruno and Anna Schwartze, and a farming family, Friedrich and Helene Huebner. "Even in Berlin, where my father was born, there were people who fought for good and didn't forget humanity and compassion," said Amb. Prosor.
        The Schwartzes took Moritz Mandelkern into their attic from December 1942 for 18 months. Henriette found safe haven at the same time on the Huebners' farm in the village of Gross-Schoenebeck, 50 km. away, where her cousin had already sought refuge. After the Schwartzes' home was badly damaged in a bombing, Moritz also fled to the farm, where they were eventually liberated.
        Yad Vashem has since 1963 kept a historical record of non-Jewish people who risked their lives trying to save Jews from Nazi extermination, with nearly 28,000 people recognized. (AFP-Times of Israel)

  • There's no question that President Joe Biden and his foreign-policy team have strong opinions about who should be running the Jewish state that are echoed by most Democrats and the liberal mainstream media. The prospect of not only a victory for Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party, but the formation of a government with a prominent role for the Religious Zionist Party and its leaders, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, is enough to set the hair of the foreign-policy establishment on fire.
  • But the rise of Smotrich and Ben Gvir is a natural consequence of the failure to adequately address the rise in Palestinian terrorism. It also reflects the collapse of credibility of those parties that championed outreach to the Palestinians over the course of the last two decades as the Oslo peace process proved to be a disaster.
  • In contrast to the liberal bent of American Jewry, Israeli Jews are more likely to be proudly nationalist and have fewer illusions about the Palestinian desire for peace. They are sympathetic to leaders who are unashamed about their desire for Israel to be a Jewish state rather than a non-sectarian nation in which Jewish peoplehood and religion are downplayed. Smotrich and Ben Gvir have prospered because they have captured the spirit of the times.
  • The claims that Smotrich and Ben Gvir would be a threat to democracy are partisan bunk. Neither their justified efforts to reform Israel's judiciary nor their demands for a more aggressive stance against terrorists would transform the country into a non-democratic entity or fundamentally change its character.
  • The "defending democracy" rhetoric of those Americans inclined to meddle in Israeli politics is a smokescreen for something less admirable. Their main problem is that their side didn't win the country's free and fair democratic elections.
  • Israel's people don't need to be saved from themselves. Their governments are supposed to represent the needs and concerns of their citizens, not the sensibilities of the country's foreign friends. If Americans truly support the Jewish state, they will accept the verdict of Israeli voters. If not, they should stop posing as defenders of democracy.

    The writer is editor-in-chief of JNS.
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