December 5, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Lockheed Martin Joins Development of Israeli Laser Anti-Missile System - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin has joined Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to build a laser-based system against missiles, called Iron Beam, the two companies announced on Monday.
    The deal was signed by the two companies, the Israeli defense establishment, and the U.S. government.
    Rafael's CEO, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yoav Har-Even, said, "The strategic cooperation agreement with Lockheed Martin is a force multiplier for Rafael and the Israeli economy. We expect Iron Beam to become the first operational system of its kind in the world."

Iran Executes 4 People It Says Spied for Israel (AP-Washington Post)
    Iranian authorities executed four people Sunday accused of working for Israel, the state-run IRNA news agency said.

UN General Assembly Demands Withdrawal of Israel from Golan Heights (Syrian Observer)
    The UN General Assembly on Wednesday called on Israel to fully withdraw from the Golan Heights to the line of June 4, 1967.
    92 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 8 voted against, and 65 abstained.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Warns of Domestic Terror Threats to Jewish Community - Julia Ainsley (NBC News)
    In a terrorism advisory bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday raised concerns about potential threats to the Jewish community from violent extremists inside the U.S.
    The report highlighted an "enduring threat" to the Jewish community.
    Referring to high-profile celebrities trafficking in conspiracy theories, a senior DHS official said, "Certainly the Jewish community seems particularly targeted in recent days by that kind of activity," which only serves to ignite violence among extremists.

Israel Sends Armored Ambulances to Ukraine - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Defense Ministry delivered an armored ambulance to the Ukrainian rescue forces on Friday, the first of four such ambulances to be provided.

Iran's IRGC Responsible for Antisemitic Attacks in Germany - Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post)
    German state security sources on Wednesday accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of contracting terrorism against German synagogues in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and spying on the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
    One investigator told German ARD TV, "We're talking about state terrorism here."
    The attacks involved a shooting targeting a synagogue in Essen, a failed arson attack on a synagogue in Bochum, and an effort to burn a synagogue in Dortmund.

IDF Now Identifies "as Many Targets in a Month as It Did in a Year" - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    The Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Directorate is using artificial intelligence technology to generate the same number of targets in a month that it once took a year to produce, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi revealed on Sunday.
    The Military Intelligence Targets Center, established in 2019, "takes all of our existing advanced sensors and sources... and connected these abilities to advanced artificial intelligence."
    "The result is that the number of [potential enemy] targets we identified per year, we now produce in a month or two, depending on the arena. The significance of this for strategy is enormous."
    In Syria, such intelligence has been used to severely disrupt Iranian plans to build a war machine against Israel.
    "80% of the Iranian smuggling routes to Syria via sea, land and air have been closed," Kochavi said.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Has Agreed to Military Option Against Iran If Diplomacy Fails
    U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley told a Foreign Policy podcast on Wednesday that the U.S. and Iran came very close to reaching an agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal many times in the past two years, but each time Iran stepped back and came up with new demands that often had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.
        "We'll have the sanctions, pressure and diplomacy. If none of that works, the President has said, and, as a last resort, he will agree to a military option because if that's what it takes to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, that's what will happen. But we're not there," he said.
        Malley emphasized that the U.S. focus and energy are not on the deal. Currently, the focus is on what is happening in Iran and its support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "We are mobilizing international attention, putting the spotlight on what's happening in Iran. It's very important that the world know at a time when the Iranian regime is trying to hide what's happening and to distort what's happening."  (Iran International)
        See also Hillary Clinton Says U.S. Should Not Engage in Nuclear Talks with Iran - Emmet Lyons
    Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday, "I would not be negotiating with Iran on anything right now, including the nuclear agreement." She added that the U.S. should not "look like we are seeking an agreement [with Iran] at a time when the people of Iran are standing up to their oppressors."  (CNN)
        See also Iran Begins Construction of New Nuclear Power Plant
    Iran on Saturday began construction on a new nuclear power plant, Iranian state TV has announced. The new 300-megawatt Karoon plant in Iran's southwestern Khuzestan province will take eight years to build and cost $2 billion. (AP-CBS News)
  • Iran State TV Denies Termination of Morality Police - Yaghoub Fazeli
    Iran's state-run al-Alam news channel on Sunday denied media reports claiming the country's morality police had been shut down. Despite comments made by Iran's attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri on Saturday, al-Alam said: "No official in the Islamic Republic of Iran has confirmed the closure of the morality police."  (Al Arabiya)
  • Bahrain King, Israeli President Discuss Bilateral Relations, Economic Cooperation
    Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa received Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the Gudaibiya Palace in Manama on Sunday and discussed bilateral cooperation and international issues of common concern. It was the first trip by an Israeli head of state to the Gulf kingdom. A delegation of industry and business representatives accompanied Herzog.
        Herzog said, "My visit underscores the importance Israel attaches to relations with Bahrain, including partnerships on defense, trade, tourism and environment. The expanding circle of peace [in the Middle East] is highly important, especially amid threats to global and regional stability. In the face of hate, threats and terror, there is one answer: alliances with friends."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
        See also Israeli President Arrives in UAE after Bahrain Visit - Lazar Berman (Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Border Police Officer Stabbed in West Bank, Palestinian Attacker Killed - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer in the West Bank town of Huwara on Friday, before being shot dead by Israeli forces. Graphic footage posted to social media showed a Border Police officer trying to apprehend the suspect as two other Palestinians were trying to pull him free. The footage is partial and did not show the initial stabbing.
        The police said the incident started when the Palestinian tried to enter a vehicle with an Israeli couple inside. The attacker then ran at a nearby Border Police officer and stabbed him. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Defense Minister Condemns Attempts to Present Shooting of Palestinian Attacker "in a False and Manipulative Manner"
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Saturday condemned the critical comments made Friday by Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, following a terrorist attack. Gantz praised the Border Police officer that neutralized the terrorist and added, "I fully condemn the attempts to present the incident in a false and manipulative manner, and the statement by the UN envoy to the Middle East against the officer, who functioned with determination and professionalism."
        "The officer who neutralized the terrorist and all IDF and Border Police combat personnel have full backing to continue to act against terrorism and to preserve the security of Israeli citizens."  (JNS)
  • In Response to Gaza Rocket Fire, Israel Strikes Hamas Rocket Factory - Emanuel Fabian
    After a Palestinian rocket was fired at Israel from Gaza on Saturday evening, Israeli planes retaliated, targeting a central rocket-making site used by Hamas early Sunday. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Nabs Lions' Den Terror Operative behind Shootings, Bomb-Making - Yaniv Kubovich
    Ahmed Al-Kharaz, 22, a Palestinian militant with ties to the Lions' Den organization, was arrested Thursday night by the Israeli army. Al-Kharaz is a suspect in multiple shooting incidents aimed at Israeli soldiers stationed in the Nablus region. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran Supporting New West Bank Terrorist Groups with Money and Weapons - Yoni Ben Menachem
    After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups including the "Jenin Battalion," the "Nablus Battalion," the "Tulkarem Battalion," the "Tubas Battalion," and the "Balata Battalion."
        This follows a meeting in August, after the IDF military operation against Islamic Jihad in Gaza, where Revolutionary Guards Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami hosted Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhallah and agreed to strengthen Islamic Jihad activities in the northern West Bank. Salami announced that Iran will arm the "resistance" forces in the West Bank as it did in Gaza and that the process has already begun.
        The head of IDF Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva, has confirmed Iran's involvement in the current wave of terrorism in the West Bank. The activity in the West Bank is another step in the tightening of Iran's stranglehold around Israel. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The New Israeli Coalition Is Not to Blame for Palestinian Violence - Gil Troy
    In their Dec. 1 op-ed, Daniel C. Kurtzer and Aaron David Miller predicted that the new Israeli coalition government's agenda could "intensify" Palestinian terrorism. They somehow overlooked that the most recent surge of Palestinian violence, which has murdered 31 innocents and injured dozens more, began months ago with a very different Israeli coalition in charge. Moreover, Israelis experienced the worst wave of Palestinian terrorism 20 years ago, under governments that were willing to make the kind of territorial concessions to Palestinians Mr. Miller and Mr. Kurtzer have long championed.
        Exaggerating the impact that one or two cabinet members can make on any country is unsophisticated - as so many Washingtonians know. And implying that Palestinian terrorists launch their violent assaults on commuters, shoppers, drivers and pedestrians as responses to one Israeli government or the other is simply obscene.
        The writer is a Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University. (Washington Post)
  • The Self-Inflicted Palestinian Tragedy - Amb. Mark Regev
    In 1947, the Palestinian Arabs rejected the UN partition proposal that awarded them an independent sovereign state. They opposed all compromises with the Jews. The Zionist leadership at the time was not enamored with the borders set out in the UN plan, but a small state was preferable to no state at all.
        Upon suffering diplomatic defeat in the General Assembly, the Arab world chose to overturn the UN's determination through the force of arms. There was an immediate escalation of Palestinian violence against the Jews. And in May 1948, when the British Mandate ended and Israel was established, the surrounding Arab countries invaded in support of their Palestinian brethren. The ensuing bloodshed and displacement stemmed directly from the Arabs' decision.
        It is easy for Palestinians to blame their statelessness on the Zionists. This response avoids confronting difficult questions about their own leadership's all-or-nothing culpability in their national tragedy. Had the Palestinian position been more pragmatic and moderate, they too could be celebrating their 75th Independence Day this May.
        The writer, formerly an adviser to the prime minister and Israel's Ambassador to the UK, is chair of the Abba Eban Institute for Diplomacy at Reichman University. (Jerusalem Post)

A Blood Libel Against Israel on Netflix - Dr. Mark Goldfeder (Washington Times)
  • On Dec. 1, Netflix started streaming the Jordanian film "Farha," which depicts fictionalized, heartless Israeli soldiers viciously killing Palestinian men, women and children in cold blood. These events never actually happened and the film admits that it is "dramatized." But that does not mean it will not have an outsized impact on anti-Jewish hate and violence.
  • The movie offers a fanciful retelling of the 1948 war in which the would-be genocidal Arab armies failed to destroy a newborn Jewish state (and kill all its inhabitants in the process). Those who tried to help them do it are romantically recast as the helpless victims of a horrible catastrophe.
  • Yet primary sources - from the Arab side - attest to the fact that the vast majority of Arabs who left their homes did so voluntarily, or under orders from the invading Arab armies, not the Israeli armed forces.
  • This is not a matter of perspective or worldview. A movie that malevolently depicts Israeli forces murdering defenseless Arab children in order to feed the nakba mythology is nothing short of a modern blood libel.
  • In a world of rising antisemitism, it is dangerous and disgusting for Netflix to feed false and anti-Jewish information to the masses by giving a film like this a platform.

    The writer is an international lawyer and director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center.
  • On Dec. 1, the Guardian ran an article by Bethan McKernan about a Netflix film by a Jordanian film-maker "depicting Zionist forces murdering a Palestinian family" in 1948. The film, readers are told, is "inspired by real events," which mean that the director is not claiming that the events in the film actually occurred.
  • There wouldn't have been a single Palestinian refugee if Arab armies - supported by Palestinian leaders - hadn't invaded the nascent Jewish state with the objective of annihilating the country, a mere three years after the Nazis murdered one out of every three Jews on earth.
  • The Palestinian refugee problem was created by the Arabs themselves, in their malevolent decision to launch an invasion to rid the region of Jews.
  • The "Jewish baby killers" accusation in the film is emblematic of the Palestinian insistence in their own immutable victimhood and lack of agency, and their belief in the irredeemable sin of the modern Jewish state.
  • Those who are convinced that their foe isn't just wrong but evil, lack the moral incentive to ever make the kind of difficult compromises necessary for peace.

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