November 17, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Accelerating Arrow-4 Development Due to Iranian Hypersonic Threat - Arie Egozi (Breaking Defense)
    The Israel Defense Forces have begun accelerating efforts to develop measures to counter the potential new threat of Iranian hypersonic missiles, sources say.
    Israel started work some years ago on developing the advanced Arrow-4 interceptor.
    It is also focusing on developing better early warning sensors and systems designed to intercept long-range, hypersonic missiles.

Israel Thinks Iran Is Two Years from Ability to Detonate Nuke - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Top Israeli sources said Iran would need two years to master nuclear weapon detonation and delivery.

Georgia Foils Iranian Attempt to Murder Israeli (Times of Israel)
    The State Security Service of Georgia revealed Tuesday that Georgian security officials foiled a recent attempt by a Pakistani citizen to murder an Israeli in Georgia on orders from an Iranian operative.
    The attacker received weapons from Iranians in Georgia.

Iranian Drones in Ukraine Built with Western Parts - Ian Talley (Wall Street Journal)
    New intelligence collected from downed Iranian drones in Ukraine shows that a majority of the aircrafts' parts are manufactured by companies in the U.S., Europe and other allied nations, prompting a U.S. government investigation.
    Despite Iran being the target of comprehensive sanctions, Ukrainian intelligence estimates that 3/4 of the components in the Iranian drones downed in Ukraine are American-made.
    Many of the parts aren't under export controls and can easily be bought over the internet and shipped to Iran through other countries.

Hizbullah Using Honorary Consuls to Smuggle, Launder Funds (Jerusalem Post)
    Hizbullah has used special diplomats known as "honorary consuls" to smuggle and launder cash, according to an investigation published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and ProPublica on Monday.
    Honorary consuls are private citizens, such as businesspeople, appointed by their governments to serve their interests in foreign countries.
    "Hizbullah has realized that if they use these honorary consuls...they can basically move stuff with impunity and no one is ever going to bust them - you flash your diplomatic passport, no questions asked," said David Asher, a former senior counterterrorism finance adviser for the Department of Defense.

Estonia Changes Policy, Won't Side Against Israel in UN Votes (AP)
    Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported Monday that Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Estonia has changed its policy toward Israel and will no longer vote for UN resolutions condemning it.
    Instead, Estonia from now on will align its UN voting position on such matters with Washington, its closest security policy ally.
    Estonia recently voted together with the U.S. against the condemnation of Israel at the UN, where it formerly voted to support such resolutions.

Follow the Jerusalem Center on:

Israeli Voters Were Worried, Not Bigoted - Gil Troy (Jerusalem Post)
    Western critics of Israel seem to have overlooked the Palestinian violence and terrorism that impacted on the recent Israeli elections.
    Nearly 30 Israelis have been murdered in over 2,200 terrorist attempts or attacks in 2022 - so far!
    Yezen Falah, 19, was a Druze police officer. Amir Khoury, 32, was a Christian Arab cop. Shulamit Rachel Ovadia, 84, was bludgeoned to death. Eytam Magini, 28, about to marry, was shot with his childhood friend in a Tel Aviv bar. Noa Lazer was merely 18. Noam Raz, 47, a father of six, was killed at the end of a counter-terrorism operation.
    Their stories are etched into every Israeli's soul and weigh on every voter's heart. Israeli voters were worried, not bigoted.
    The writer is a distinguished scholar of North American history at McGill University.

The Palestinians Aren't Boycotting Israel - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)
    While calling on the rest of the world to boycott Israel, the Palestinians maintain substantial levels of trade with Israel.
    Monthly trade reports published by the PA Central Bureau of Statistics prove that without trade with Israel, the Palestinian economy would completely collapse.
    In August 2022, goods purchased by Palestinians from Israel constituted 56% of all the goods imported to the Palestinian market.
    Goods sold by Palestinians to Israel constituted over 90% of all goods exported.
    The writer is director of legal strategies at PMW.

Palestinian Terrorism Is Getting Stronger in the Northern West Bank - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    A number of new Palestinian terrorist groups have formed in Nablus and Jenin in the West Bank.
    In addition to the Lions' Den, there is the Nablus Battalion and the Balata Battalion in Nablus and the Wasp's Nest in Jenin.
    Security officials in Israel estimate that terrorist activity in the West Bank will increase in the coming days as the terrorist organizations try to challenge the new Netanyahu government.
    The terrorist organizations are being encouraged by Islamic Jihad to form groups of armed terrorists in every city and refugee camp in the West Bank in order to bring about an armed intifada.

PA: Marrying 72 Virgins in Paradise Is Better than Having a Real Family - Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The Palestinian Authority presents Palestinian mothers as different from other mothers because they possess a unique power that enables them to smile when their terrorist children die, and rejoice over their "wedding" to the 72 Virgins in Paradise, rather than marrying in real life.

How Israel Is Helping India Defend Its Borders - Manraj Grewal Sharma (MSN-Indian Express)
    Avi Bleser, vice-president of marketing for India at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), says he is working closely with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force to tailor solutions for their defense needs.
    This includes the Heron MK II, a state-of-the-art UAV that can fly at a height of 35,000 feet, cover a radius of 1,000 km., see through dense clouds, work in bad weather and fly for 45 hours.

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:
  • Israel Says U.S. Is Probing Death of Al Jazeera Journalist - Erin Cunningham
    Israel's Channel 14 reported Monday that the FBI had decided to open an investigation into the death of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May while covering an armed clash in the West Bank. Israel concluded in September that she was probably killed by unintentional Israeli gunfire.
        Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday called the decision to investigate "a grave mistake." Israel's Defense Forces "conducted an independent and professional investigation, which was presented to the Americans. I made it clear to the American representatives that we stand behind the [IDF] soldiers, that we will not cooperate with any external investigation, and we will not allow interference in Israel's internal affairs."  (Washington Post)
        See also Israel: IDF Soldiers Will Not Be Interrogated by the FBI - Jack Khoury
    Israeli Prime Mnister Yair Lapid said Tuesday that "Israeli soldiers won't be investigated by the FBI, nor by any other foreign authority or country, as friendly as they may be." Lapid said that Israel "will not abandon its soldiers to foreign investigations," and that Israel had "conveyed its fierce protestations to the Americans in the appropriate channels. The IDF is a moral and ethical army...committed to the values and laws of democracy." Any "unusual incident" is "thoroughly investigated."
        Israeli officials believe that the U.S. investigation is a symbolic statement, Israeli sources told Ha'aretz, and claim that an investigation is unlikely to go forward without approval from the U.S. State Department and Israeli consent. (Ha'aretz)
        See also White House Tells Israel: Justice Department Opened Abu Akleh Probe Without Its Knowledge - Barak Ravid
    The White House and the State Department told the Israeli government they were not behind the FBI decision to open an investigation into the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. A senior Israeli official told me, "We spoke to every Biden administration official we work with and made it clear how furious we were."  (Axios)
        See also below Commentary: U.S. Justice Department to Investigate IDF
  • U.S. Says Iranian-Made Drone Hit Oil Tanker off Oman
    The Pacific Zircon oil tanker, managed by Israeli-controlled Eastern Pacific Shipping, was attacked off the coast of Oman on Tuesday by an Iranian-made drone, U.S. Central Command said Wednesday. The company said there was minor damage to the hull but no injuries or spillage of the cargo.
        The U.S. said that debris "reveals that it was a Shahed-series one-way attack drone. This unmanned aerial vehicle attack against a civilian vessel in this critical maritime strait demonstrates, once again, the destabilizing nature of Iranian malign activity in the region."  (Reuters)
  • Iran Tried to Assassinate British Residents 10 Times This Year, MI5 Chief Reveals - Robert Mendick
    Iran has plotted the assassination and kidnapping of at least 10 British residents it accuses of being "enemies of the regime," Ken McCallum, the head of MI5, disclosed on Wednesday. McCallum said Iran was the "state actor which most frequently crosses into terrorism."
        "Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime. We have seen at least 10 such potential threats since January alone."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Iran's Shopkeepers Strike in Support of Protest Movement - Sune Engel Rasmussen
    Iranian shopkeepers across the country began a three-day strike starting Tuesday in solidarity with a monthslong protest movement demanding the ouster of the clerical leadership. In Tehran, shopkeepers in the Grand Bazaar closed their stores and chanted "death to the dictator." Steelworkers in Tehran and Isfahan also went on strike. In the western Kurdistan province, shopkeepers closed markets in 18 cities. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Kills Three Israelis in West Bank - Yoav Zitun
    Mohammad Souf, 18, a Palestinian employed at a factory in the industrial zone of the West Bank city of Ariel, killed three Israelis and wounded three others in a series of attacks on Tuesday. He first attacked the Israeli guard at the entrance to the industrial zone, then stabbed three more people at a nearby gas station. He then stole a car, intentionally collided with another vehicle on a nearby highway and struck a person. He was eventually shot by soldiers and civilians. (Ynet News)
        See also Three More Israeli Victims of Palestinian Terror
    The victims of the Palestinian terror attack on Tuesday are Tamir Avichai, 50, a father of six who resided in Kiryat Netafim; Michael Ledigin, 36, a father of two who lived in Bat Yam; and Mordecai Ashkenazi, 59, a father of three from Yavne. (Algemeiner)
  • Israel to Revoke Work Permits for 500 Palestinians Related to West Bank Terrorist - Yaniv Kubovich
    Israel will revoke work and entry permits for 500 Palestinians related to Mohammad Souf, who killed three Israelis near Ariel on Tuesday. In order to increase deterrence, a security cabinet ruling in March widened the circle of people related to terror suspects who could face restrictions to working in Israel, including cousins and even friends and neighbors. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire at Israeli Community in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    Palestinian gunmen fired at least 39 bullets Wednesday at the Israeli community of Shaked in the northern West Bank, damaging a home. The community has been targeted several times in recent months. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Arab Teen in Contact with Islamic State, Received Plans to Make Bombs - Emanuel Fabian
    An Israeli Arab, 16, from northern Israel, was indicted Wednesday for being in contact with several members of Islamic State via Telegram and other social media sites. In 2021 he swore allegiance to the group, whose members provided him with instructions to build explosive devices and makeshift weapons. He also attempted to convince several of his friends to join IS as well; however, they declined. As he is a minor, his name was barred from publication. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S. Justice Department to Investigate IDF

  • U.S. Decision to Investigate Death of Journalist in West Bank Is "Deeply Offensive" to Israel - Omri Nahmias
    The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will launch an investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. It is not every day that the U.S. launches an investigation into the armed forces of another country, and there is no recent precedent for such action regarding an allied country.
        The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Tuesday: "In cooperation with the U.S., Israel has already conducted a complete and thorough investigation of this tragic incident. Israel, like the U.S., would rightly not accept an uncoordinated investigation of the actions of its troops by a foreign entity."
        "This is outrageous," said Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to Washington. "It puts Israel on a par with the Islamists who murdered Daniel Pearl in 2002 - the only death of an American journalist overseas ever investigated by the FBI. This is an affront to Israel's military and judiciary, which thoroughly investigated Abu Akleh's tragic death, and a violation of Israel's sovereignty."
        Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, said, "This is highly irregular and deeply inappropriate and will unquestionably be viewed by the IDF and the Israeli security establishment as not only unnecessary but deeply offensive. The IDF is a professional, modern military that conducts its own reviews and has often taken punitive action against soldiers that have acted in ways not in accordance with IDF guidelines."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Decision on FBI Investigation Undermines Pentagon and State Department - Yaakov Lappin
    The decision by the FBI to investigate the Israel Defense Forces over the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh undermines the official positions of the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department, Prof. Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University, an Israeli expert on U.S.-Israel relations, told JNS. "Not only is it a vote of no confidence in the IDF's investigation, but also in the Pentagon, since the U.S. Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Lt.-Gen. Michael R. Fenzel, himself welcomed the IDF's investigation....If it was Israeli fire, it's clear that it was an accident. The decision therefore to investigate is unprecedented," said Gilboa.
        The FBI's decision harms American interests, too, by creating problematic precedents regarding unintentional deaths during armed conflicts. "According to a study by Brown University published in September 2021, during the campaign known as the global war on terror...680 journalists were killed. A body known as the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 13 journalists were definitely killed by the U.S. military in Iraq. Washington said that its soldiers did not violate regulations in any of these cases."
        "In 2007, U.S. Apache helicopters killed noncombatants, including two Reuters journalists. The U.S. can't demand of us what it does not demand of itself....Israel has to stop this quietly, at a high level....Clearly, the FBI has no authority in Israel and can't investigate any [Israeli] soldier. The entire issue has [already] been examined in any case." Even if one assumes that it was indeed an Israeli bullet that killed Abu Akleh, it's obvious that her death was an accident, "so what is there to investigate?"  (JNS)
  • The U.S. Weaponizes the FBI Against Israel - Caroline Glick
    Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh died on May 11 in Jenin while she was embedded with Iranian-controlled Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists engaged in a gun battle with IDF soldiers. The battle took place in the midst of an onslaught of murderous Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis. On May 5, two PIJ terrorists from Jenin hacked three Israelis to death with axes and wounded three more in the city of Elad.
        The IDF's operation was legitimate and necessary. Any reasonable observer could have been expected to recognize this fact. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority refused to cooperate with Israel's investigation into Abu Akleh's death. The PA refused to permit Israeli medical examiners to examine her body or IDF investigators to look at the bullet that killed her. Everyone knew the IDF didn't target Abu Akleh.
        By having the FBI open a new investigation of IDF soldiers in relation to her death, President Biden and his advisers are demonizing America's most powerful and loyal ally in the Middle East. Journalists are killed in all war zones. The U.S. would never investigate British or French soldiers. They would never investigate Ukrainian soldiers. They would never investigate their own soldiers for actions leading to the death of reporters embedded with terrorists during a firefight.
        All U.S. foreign and defense policy professionals know there is nothing to investigate either legally, morally or operationally. And they know that there is no way any U.S. ally other than Israel would ever be treated this badly. In directing the FBI to open this probe, the Biden administration is engaging in a political campaign to delegitimize Israel by accusing Israeli soldiers of murdering journalists. This action supports Palestinian terrorists and their war for Israel's destruction, which is antithetical to U.S. interests. (JNS)
  • A Double Standard for Abu Akleh, Israeli Victims - Lahav Harkov
    Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi's "Most Wanted Terrorist" poster, which can be viewed on the FBI website, describes her as "charged with participating in an August 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among 122 others injured in the attack." The FBI offers a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Tamimi's arrest. Here's a tip: She's in Jordan, hosting a talk show on Hamas TV. Jordan refuses to extradite her, despite an ongoing campaign by the family of one of the Sbarro attack victims, Malki Roth.
        Which brings us to the extraordinary lengths to which Washington seems willing to go for Palestinian Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. The U.S. Department of Justice recently notified Israel that the FBI would be conducting its own investigation. This is an unprecedented situation, in which the U.S. officially considers a democratic ally to have an independent judiciary capable of investigating and prosecuting its own soldiers when need be, and is proceeding with an FBI investigation against that ally's wishes after the ally's probe reached its own conclusions.
        The U.S. was involved in Israel's inquiry, yet they're insisting on going forward with their own probe. In other words, this apparently accidental, but still tragic, death of a U.S. citizen seems to warrant special attention that an intentional terrorist bombing with several American victims does not. And, of course, the Sbarro attack is just one example. There are 49 U.S. citizens that have been murdered by Palestinians since then. The FBI doesn't seem to have done much to get justice for them, either. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Should Reconsider Launching New Investigation into Journalist's Death - Editorial
    We are dismayed by the news that the FBI is launching an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin on May 11 during clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen. Israel conducted several thorough investigations into the circumstances of her death, with the IDF concluding in September that she was most likely killed in "unintentional fire" from an Israeli soldier who did not realize she was a journalist. The results of all the investigations were shared with the U.S.
        It is hard to believe that the FBI will reach another conclusion. However, its investigation is a slap in the face for Israel. Washington knows that Israel respects the rule of law and has an independent, reliable judicial system. This is not how friends treat friends, and we strongly urge our American allies to reconsider their decision. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Netanyahu: Israel-Saudi Normalization Could End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Melissa Weiss
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was charged by Israel's President with forming the next government after the Nov. 1 Knesset elections, predicted in a new interview that Israel and Saudi Arabia reaching a formal peace agreement would "effectively end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." "Understand that the Abraham Accords, the peace treaties that Israel had with four Arab states: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco - that didn't happen without Saudi approval....And I assure you, [Riyadh] wasn't negative about it."
        Normalization with Saudi Arabia would "open up all sorts of possibilities...connecting the Saudi rail system," giving Saudis "direct accessibility to Israeli innovation and technology."  (Jewish Insider)
  • 355 PA Security Forces Participated in Terror and Are in Israeli Prisons - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
    In the Palestinian Authority, the participation of PA Security Forces in acts of terror against Israelis is a source of pride. On Oct. 12, the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs revealed that the number of Palestinian Security Forces in Israeli prisons had reached 355.
        In the most recent terror wave, members of the PA Security Forces have again taken a major role. The PA, PLO, and Fatah have praised the terrorists, highlighting that by day they are members of the Security Forces and by night they are terrorists - "self-sacrificing fighters."
        The international community, led by the U.S., has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to professionalize and train the PA Security Forces. Are the donor countries demanding any accountability from the PA, or are they just accepting the fact that the forces they pay to train are actively involved in terror? (Palestinian Media Watch)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • People Have a Huge Blind Spot When It Comes to Jews - Judith Woods
    "Jews Don't Count" is a thought-provoking, occasionally funny, documentary reprise of British comedian David Baddiel's book of the same name, published in 2021. Its aim, he says, was to highlight and kickstart a debate on "anti-Semitism, the racism that sneaks past" while virtue-signaling progressives are professing their dedication to the defense of diversity. It is for those "who believe themselves to be on the right side of history, but have a huge blind spot when it comes to Jews as vulnerable and in need of allies at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Britain and America."
        "There's a really strong notion anti-Semitism is about religion and so effectively 'downgraded.' In the hierarchy of things that are considered important, religious intolerance is not deemed as important as racism, and is either dismissed or not recognized." Baddiel points out that for centuries, Jewishness has been seen as race. Non-observance didn't save any of the six million Jews murdered by the Third Reich, individually selected and exterminated under the Nuremberg racial purity laws. He owes his life to the fact that Britain took in his grandparents and mother who fled Nazi Germany. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Antisemitism Is Anti-Jewish Racism - Dov Waxman
    People often think that antisemitism just means hating Jews. But it is more useful to think of antisemitism as a kind of racism. Antisemitism is "anti-Jewish racism." It can involve overt hostility, or covert bias. It can be intentional or unintentional. It can be expressed in stereotypes, in coded language, and in conspiracy theories.
        Most people do not know the long history of malicious myths and conspiracy theories about Jews that have circulated for centuries. Nearly half of Americans told pollsters they do not even know what the word antisemitism means. Countering antisemitism, therefore, requires educating people about antisemitism. As the number of reported antisemitic incidents in the U.S. surges to record levels, there is an urgent need to do so.
        The writer is Professor of Israel Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. (The Conversation)
  • Why Ivy League Schools Get an "F" on Campus Antisemitism - Dan Diker
    According to the latest report by the Stop Antisemitism monitoring group, 55% of students surveyed report being a target of campus antisemitism. 72% report that university administrators fail to take both verbal expressions of antisemitism and threats to Jews' physical safety seriously. 55% said they hide their support for Israel, while 73% hide their Jewish identity on campus. Flagship schools such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia have nurtured the BDS campaign and its publicly declared goal of dissolving "apartheid Israel" and replacing it with an idyllic "Palestine."
        Countering the new antisemitism requires an unwavering, unconditional, and zero-tolerance policy for hate speech that frequently leads to violence against Jews.
        The writer directs the Project to Counter BDS and Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal Once and for All - David Albright and Henrik Rasmussen (The Hill)
  • As thousands of Iranians rising up for freedom and dignity have made clear, now is not the time to revive a nuclear deal that would entrench and legitimize Iran's current regime.
  • European decision-makers soon may follow America's lead in classifying the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. This is the exact opposite of what Iran would demand in exchange for a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • Then there are the Iranian drones in Ukraine, killing civilians and destroying critical energy production infrastructure. The supply of drones violates the UN's missile embargo on Iran, a central tenet of the nuclear deal and its establishing mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 2231. That violation will grow even more menacing if Iran delivers advanced ballistic missiles to Russia.
  • Instead of negotiating with Iran, America and its allies must now take urgent steps to stop the regime's human rights abuses, block its support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and prevent it from building nuclear weapons.
  • For too long, the U.S. and Europe have given the Iranian regime a free pass on human rights violations and regional meddling in the name of keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But this approach has only strengthened the regime while failing to halt its development of advanced nuclear capabilities.
  • The West must draw a firm line in the sand and get serious about preventing Iran from ever possessing nuclear weapons.

    David Albright is the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and Henrik Rasmussen is the Institute's executive director.
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.