November 10, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Strikes Iranian Shipment of Surface-to-Surface Missiles in Syria - Boyko Nikolov (BulgarianMilitary.com)
    Israeli F-35 jets carried out a series of airstrikes on an Iranian convoy traveling from Iraq to Syria.
    The Syrian government claims the convoy was only transporting fuel. However, Iraqi sources claim that in addition to fuel, there were containers filled with surface-to-surface missiles or loitering munitions - Shahed-131 or Shahed-136.
    The airstrikes killed 18 members of an Iranian group, including their leader. Seven more were seriously injured.

Palestinian Killed when Bomb He Was Holding Exploded - Zena Al Tahhan (Al Jazeera)
    Mahdi Hashash was killed during armed clashes with the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Nablus at dawn on Wednesday.
    Government sources told Al Jazeera that Hashash died when a hand-made explosive he was holding blew up in his hand.

Turkey Refused Israel's Requests to Deport Hamas Leaders - Ragip Soylu (Middle East Eye-UK)
    Turkey refused to comply with Israeli requests to deport Hamas leaders living in the country during recent bilateral talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.
    "We don't perceive Hamas as a terror group," Cavusoglu said.

Malaysia Asks Where Is the $1 Million Sent to the PA to Restore Gaza Medical Clinic? (Middle East Monitor-UK)
    The Palestinian Authority embassy in Malaysia has attempted to evade responsibility for failing to rebuild the Al-Remal clinic in Gaza nearly a year after receiving funds to do so from Malaysia.
    The Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organizations demanded clarifications on the fate of the $1.12 million transferred last October by Malaysia to the PA Finance Ministry to restore the clinic, after a Palestinian newspaper revealed that the PA in Ramallah had cancelled the project.

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Most Israeli Arabs Don't Identify as Palestinians - Sean Durns (CAMERA)
    A mere fraction of Arab citizens of Israel prefers to exclusively be called "Palestinians."
    A 2020 survey by Tel Aviv University found that 23% define themselves as "Israeli" and 51% self-identify as "Israeli Arab." Only 7% choose to call themselves "Palestinians."
    But this hasn't stopped foreign reporters and newspapers from telling Israeli Arabs what they should be called. With growing frequency, many news organizations are now referring to Israeli Arabs as "Palestinians."
    Further, polls have consistently shown that many Israeli Arabs wouldn't want to be part of a Palestinian state should one be created.

More Lions' Den Fighters Turn Themselves In to Palestinian Authority - Ahmad Abu Amer (Al-Monitor)
    More fighters of the Lions' Den group in Nablus have turned themselves in to the Palestinian Authority amid PA-led contacts aimed at dismantling the group.
    An official in the Palestinian security services said Israel had informed the PA that it would liquidate these fighters in the wake of their escalating attacks against Israelis.
    He said 13 Lions' Den fighters have so far turned themselves in to the PA, and they are now held at Jnaid prison in Nablus. Contacts are also underway with other fighters of the group.
    The PA offers them protection from being targeted or arrested by the Israeli army and a job at the security services.
    Mohammed Mona, a journalist from Nablus, said the group's fighters have been lying low in recent days, most probably hiding from the Israeli army.

Video: Female Hamas Cadets Demonstrate Firearm Skills (MEMRI-TV)
    On Oct. 31, 2022, Hamas TV aired a graduation ceremony for security forces in Gaza that included a unit of female cadets dressed in black hijabs, abayas, and surgical masks demonstrating various techniques with kalashnikov rifles and handguns - next door to Israel.

Israel to Supply Morocco's Army with Advanced Electronic Warfare System - Safaa Kasraoui (Morocco World News)
    Israel's Elbit Systems has secured a $70 million contract to supply Morocco's Royal Armed Forces with an Alinet Electronic Warfare Solutions system.
    "These units will generate a comprehensive passive air and ground picture and provide an electronic order of battle, which enables an effective response to both air and ground threats," Elbit said.
    Alinet enables armies to put pressure on rivals' air defenses as well as detect their locations using radar signals.
    Since the re-establishment of relations with Israel, Morocco's army has signed several contracts allowing the country to secure high-level, military-related technology.

Alarming Rise in Complaints by American Jewish Children of Antisemitism at School - Zvika Klein (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli-American Council's (IAC) School Watch initiative reported a rise of hundreds of percent for complaints on behalf of Jewish children on antisemitism in public schools.
    IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet told the Jerusalem Post: "I don't think that Israel fully understands the depth of the strategic significance and effect that these antisemitic incidents have on Israel's perception in the U.S."
    "Hate and incitement have become more popular at younger ages. We need to combat it."
    "Antisemitism is new to Israeli-Americans," Nicolet explained. Israelis living in the U.S. "are still learning what it means to be a minority."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia Sends Captured Western Weapons to Iran - Deborah Haynes
    A Russian military aircraft secretly transported 140 million euros and a selection of captured UK and U.S. weapons to Iran on Aug. 20, a security source said. They included a British NLAW anti-tank missile, a U.S. Javelin anti-tank missile, and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile. The source said they could give Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards the ability to study Western technology and potentially copy it. (Sky News-UK)
  • UN Commission of Inquiry Opens New Hearings Targeting Israel - Lisa Schlein
    The UN Commission of Inquiry on the Palestinians and Israel began a weeklong series of public hearings Monday, focusing on closure orders and terrorism designation by Israel of several Palestinian organizations.
        The Israeli mission in Geneva likened the proceedings to a "kangaroo court." It accused the Commission of choosing to focus on its anti-Israel agenda by playing judge, jury and executioner. The Israeli mission said no public hearing can be taken seriously when it is evidently based on predetermined conclusions. The mission called these sham trials and said they shamed and undermined the Human Rights Council. (VOA News)
  • PA Security Forces Crack Down on Palestinian Reform Event in Ramallah - Sally Ibrahim
    Palestinian Authority security forces on Tuesday forcibly broke up a press conference at the headquarters of the Popular Alliance for Change in Ramallah, which calls for reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Security forces expelled the participants and prevented journalists from documenting the event, detaining a number of them. (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Biden Congratulates Netanyahu on Election Win - Jacob Magid
    U.S. President Joe Biden phoned former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to congratulate him on last week's election victory. Netanyahu's office said Biden told Netanyahu, "we're brothers" and "we'll make history together."
        Netanyahu told Biden that together they would bring about additional "historic peace agreements," referring to the expansion of the Abraham Accords normalization deals between Israel and its Arab neighbors. "They are within reach," Netanyahu said. (Times of Israel)
  • Defense Minister: Israel Doesn't Have Production Capacity to Supply Air Defense Systems to Ukraine - Anna Ahronheim
    Israel does not have the production capability to supply Ukraine with air defense systems, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday. "It is impossible to empty our supply of air defense systems," said Gantz. "We are checking every day what can be done and how we can expand our aid, but we must not forget that NATO stands behind Ukraine."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Arrests Palestinian Involved in Death of Israeli Commando in Jenin - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Israeli troops arrested Tzdaki Ahmed Ali Marai, 23, in the West Bank city of Jenin for his involvement in the fatal shooting of Sergeant Major Noam Raz in May, security forces said Thursday. Marai was described as a "high-level militant operative" who was involved in a number of shooting attacks at IDF soldiers. An M-16 rifle and two handguns were found in his possession. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Man Dies Two Weeks after West Bank Stabbing Attack - Hagar Shezaf
    Shalom Sofer, 63, who was stabbed by a Palestinian two weeks ago in the village of Al-Funduq, west of Nablus, died on Tuesday. His attacker was arrested shortly after the incident. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three Palestinian Women with Islamic Jihad Ties Charged for Planned Shooting - Emanuel Fabian
    Three Palestinian women from Nablus with ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad were charged this week over plans to commit a shooting attack against Israeli security forces in the West Bank. The three were detained by Defense Ministry security guards at the Eliyahu Crossing, near Qalqilya. A loaded Carlo submachine gun was found in the trunk of their car. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S.-Israel Relations

  • Israeli Elections Reflect Strength of Its Democracy - Bret Stephens
    Israel has had five elections since 2019, a function of an evenly split electorate and unstable coalition politics. It has returned Benjamin Netanyahu for his third turn as prime minister. Israelis are tired of going to the polls, though 71% of the electorate still turned up to vote last week. And unlike in the U.S., pretty much everyone accepts the official results. None of this suggests a fading democracy.
        Netanyahu's views on the Palestinians reflect a resigned Israeli consensus: Peace will come when a future generation of Palestinian leaders - not the theocrats of Hamas or the kleptocrats of Fatah - abandon their dreams of destroying the Jewish state. Until then, Israel will accept an unhappy status quo as the best of bad alternatives. (New York Times)
  • Alarm over Israel's New Government Is Mistaken - Eugene Kontorovich
    In the wake of the Israeli elections, one would think Itamar Ben-Gvir was the future prime minister, rather than the head of a second-tier party with 7 of 120 seats in the Knesset. Those saying Ben-Gvir's inclusion in the government is unacceptable were untroubled by the departing government, which included Ra'am, a party affiliated with Israel's Islamic Movement, which was founded by a convicted terrorist; or Meretz, with roots in an actual Stalinist party.
        Another theme in the dire forecasts for Israeli democracy are legal-system reforms that the new government may pursue. The measures would actually reinforce democracy and introduce checks and balances to a political system in which the Supreme Court has far more power than its American counterpart. The potential legal reforms would bring Israel closer to the American model.
        On the Palestinian issue, the departing government was the first to include an Arab party. Yet the Palestinians still refused to negotiate. After decades of rejections of statehood by the Palestinian Authority, it shouldn't be surprising if Israel stops holding its breath and applies its civil law to the areas within its jurisdiction under the Oslo Accords.
        The writer is a professor at George Mason University Law School and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Confrontation between Biden and New Israeli Government Seems Unlikely - Aaron David Miller
    Will the new Israeli coalition lead to a train wreck in the U.S.-Israel relationship? Biden's view of Israel as an embattled democracy and his concern about Israel's security stretches back to his first visit to Israel in 1973. Biden feels very much part of Israel's story and struggles. That long-standing commitment has generated a certain familiarity and even affection for Netanyahu that comes from decades of interaction.
        Biden's default position with Netanyahu isn't inherently or inexorably adversarial. And Netanyahu knows that fighting with a U.S. president, especially one that's perceived to be pro-Israel, makes little sense. Fortunately for Netanyahu, the two major issues that have roiled U.S.-Israeli relations in recent years - the Iran nuclear accord and Palestinian statehood - are now neither ready for prime time nor top priorities for the Biden administration.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Foreign Policy)
  • New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman's Inaccuracies - Ira Stoll
    New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's post-Israeli election column, "The Israel We Knew Is Gone," is factually inaccurate. Writing about Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, Friedman says that Netanyahu had never before brought such elements "into his ruling faction or cabinet." In fact, Smotrich was Minister of Transport in Netanyahu's government from 2019 to 2020. The sky did not fall.
        Friedman and the New York Times have been proclaiming the death of the Israel they supposedly once loved for forty years now. Friedman writes basically the same column after every major or minor news development in Israel. He predicts that this time this latest event is going to lead the world and American Jewry to shun Israel. Each time, Friedman's fear turns out to be wrong.
        It's actually a relief to read Friedman with the knowledge that all the dire things he predicts: "profound effect on U.S.-Israel relations" or an erosion of "bipartisan support in Washington," are figments of his hyperactive imagination rather than reflecting a nuanced understanding of Israeli reality. (Algemeiner)

  • Iran

  • Iran's Ballistic Missiles and the Folly of Appeasement - Michael Doran and Can Kasapoglu
    The news that Iran's contribution to Russia's war effort in Ukraine will soon include ballistic missiles as well as kamikaze drones has alerted the world to the surprising advances the Islamic Republic has made in disruptive weapons technologies. To the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, these technologies are as important as its nuclear-weapons program.
        Recently-retired commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, said on Oct. 6: "Over the past five to seven years, Iranian capabilities...have risen to such a degree that now they possess what I would call effective 'overmatch' against their neighbors. 'Overmatch' is a military term that means you have the ability to attack, and the defender won't be able to mount a successful defense."
        The IRGC combines ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones in strike packages, each with different flight characteristics, radar signatures and homing angles. When launched simultaneously, they tax the sensors of missile-defense systems. Even the most sophisticated systems operating at peak performance can't prevent at least some of Iran's weapons, when launched in significant quantities, from hitting their targets.
        Solely defensive weapons can't reverse an offense-dominant regime. A shield alone can't fend off a powerful sword. A shield is most effective when wielded together with a sword. Only the U.S. has the power to persuade Khamenei that his aggressions will result in unbearable pain for him. But the Biden administration has systematically taught him the opposite, that it much prefers to cover up acts of Iranian aggression rather than to punish them.
        Mr. Doran is director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East. Mr. Kasapoglu is a nonresident senior fellow at Hudson. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran's Oil Exports Are Vulnerable to Sanctions - Henry Rome
    In recent months, Iran has increasingly engaged in violations of UN resolutions and international norms, from sending weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine, to brutally suppressing mass protests at home, to advancing its nuclear program in irreversible ways. The Biden administration has not rigorously enforced its predecessor's sanctions on Iran's energy sector. Taking a stronger approach could impose greater costs on Tehran for its nuclear, regional, and domestic policies.
        Over the past three months, Iran's oil exports averaged between 810,000 and 1.2 million barrels per day. While far below the 2.7 million bpd Iran was exporting in early 2018, they are much higher than May 2019, when oil import waivers expired and Iranian exports fell to 500,000 bpd.
        The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

  • Palestinians

  • Palestinians Can Only Envy Israeli Democracy - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Under the kleptocratic Palestinian Authority (PA) and the theocratic Hamas regimes, Palestinians have no freedom of speech and no independent or free media. Both regimes crack down on critics, and imprison and intimidate journalists, human rights activists and political opponents.
        Violations committed by Palestinians against Palestinians are virtually always ignored by the Western media and the international community. Such abuses are of no interest to Westerners because they cannot be blamed on Israel. By turning a blind eye to the violations, the international community and media effectively incentivize the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to continue their repressive measures against their own people.
        While Israelis have free debate in newspapers, quarrelsome programs on television and protests, the Palestinians continue to find themselves arrested, silenced and terrorized for daring to demand the freedoms they see every day next door. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Weekend Features

  • Newly Discovered Photos Show Nazi Kristallnacht Up Close - Ilan Ben Zion
    Previously unseen images from 1938's Kristallnacht pogrom against German and Austrian Jews have surfaced, Israel's Yad Vashem memorial said Wednesday. One shows a crowd of smiling, well-dressed middle-aged German men and women standing casually as a Nazi officer smashes a storefront window. Another shows a Nazi officer splashing gasoline on the pews of a synagogue before it's set alight. Firefighters, SS special police officers and members of the general public are all seen in the photos participating.
        In the November pogrom, "The Night of Broken Glass," mobs of Germans and Austrians attacked, looted and burned Jewish shops and homes, destroyed 1,400 synagogues, killed 92 Jews, and sent another 30,000 to concentration camps. The violence is widely considered a starting point for the Holocaust, in which Nazi Germany murdered 6 million Jews.
        Yad Vashem said the photos help demonstrate how the German public was aware of what was going on, and that the violence was part of a meticulously coordinated pogrom carried out by Nazi authorities. They even brought in photographers to document the atrocities. (AP)
        See also Rare Photographs Shed Light on Kristallnacht
    See photograph taken from inside a synagogue ablaze during Kristallnacht.  (Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center)
  • German Jewish Refugees Held in UK Internment Camps during World War II - Amy Spiro
    In May 1940, fearing an imminent German invasion, the British government authorized the arrest and detention of all German citizens residing in the UK. Around 30,000 Germans were rounded up and sent to internment camps - the vast majority of whom were Jewish refugees who had fled the Nazis, many with British assistance. Among them were my grandfather, great-grandfather and great-uncle, held in Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man.
        A new book from British journalist Simon Parkin, The Island of Extraordinary Captives, illuminates the lives of the men held in Hutchinson Camp, many of whom were prominent artists, musicians and intellectuals. Some of the refugees had arrived in Britain as teenagers on the Kindertransports. Others had been imprisoned in concentration camps and managed to escape to the UK.
        Articles in the Hutchinson Camp newspaper reveal anger, bewilderment and a sense of betrayal at being locked up by the British. The front page of the Oct. 15, 1940, edition included a call to the camp commander begging for inmates to be allowed to work for the war effort and "prove our loyalty to Great Britain and our hatred of Nazidom." Many were terrified that they would be repatriated to Germany or exchanged in a prisoner-of-war swap. Others feared that the Nazis would invade the Isle of Man and delight to find so many Jews already rounded up as easy targets. (Times of Israel)

The Impact of the War in Ukraine on Israel - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman (Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security)
  • The war in Ukraine has led the West to wake up to the sudden reality of military threats. The prospect of a major contract for the sale of Israeli missile defense technology to Germany is one part of a broader pattern: enhancing Israel's position as a significant center of military production and innovation.
  • This is often accompanied by a growing understanding of Israel's motivations and conduct in a dangerous strategic environment.
  • Meanwhile, Iran's supply of drones to Russia for attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine makes it easier for Israel to make the case against concessions that would fuel Tehran's ambitions.
  • Another important gain for Israel is the greatly increased rate of Jewish immigration from both Ukraine and Russia.
  • The growing affinity between the regime in Iran and Putin's Russia seems to have led to a Western reassessment of the Iranian issue as a whole. On this point, Israeli messages, both in terms of intelligence information shared with Western partners and its public diplomacy decrying Iran's policies, may have helped move the needle.
  • With Iran firmly aligning itself with the anti-Western camp forged by the war, the meaning of a nuclear deal changes. It is no longer a statesmanlike achievement for U.S. diplomacy, but a sign of fatal weakness in the face of a scheming, hostile player.
  • The bottom line is that the global and regional reality created by the war strengthens Israel and enhances its international and regional standing.

    The writer, who held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years, is Vice President of the JISS.
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