December 29, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

New Israeli Government Takes Office Thursday (Times of Israel)
    Israel's 37th government was sworn in on Thursday, capping a return to power for Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister almost two months after the Nov. 1 elections.

IDF Reports Rise in Terror Attacks in 2022 - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    According to the IDF's 2022 year-end report, released Thursday, 31 Israelis were killed in Palestinian terror attacks in 2022, a majority being civilians, compared to 4 in 2021, 3 in 2020, and 5 in 2019.
    285 shooting incidents were recorded in the West Bank in 2022, up from 61 in 2021, 31 in 2020 and 19 in 2019.
    There were 1,268 firebomb incidents, up from 1,022 in 2021, 751 in 2020 and 839 in 2019.
    There were 7,589 rock-throwing incidents, up from 5,532 in 2021, 4,002 in 2020 and 3,805 in 2019.

Israel's New Ambassador to Turkey Presents Credentials to Erdogan after Years of Strain (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Israel's new ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, on Tuesday in Ankara, as the two countries normalized ties after four years of strain.
    See also Full Normalcy in Turkish-Israeli Relations Hinges on Restrictions on Hamas - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    It appears as if Turkish-Israeli relations are returning to better days, but there remain fundamental questions about Turkey's ongoing support for Hamas.
    Israel has yet to receive clear assurances that Hamas will be restricted in its ability to operate on Turkish soil, from where it coordinates funding for attacks in Judea and Samaria.
    "Erdogan knows very well what he has to do to help the Israeli government - but also ordinary Israeli citizens - trust Turkey again. It will be a long process," said George Tzogopoulos, research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Palestinian Authority Seeks to Stop Gunmen from Holding Public Rallies - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The PA leadership has come under heavy pressure from the U.S. and some EU states to take real measures to end the phenomenon of gunmen roaming the streets of Palestinian communities, Palestinian sources said Wednesday.
    The rallies, mostly in the areas of Nablus and Jenin over the past year, have embarrassed the Palestinian leadership in the international arena, especially to Western donors.
    A Palestinian official in Ramallah said nearly all of the Fatah-affiliated members of the Lions' Den armed group in Nablus have turned themselves in to the Palestinian security forces with the prospect of joining the forces.
    Most of the current members of the group, who are affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are refusing to follow suit.

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Nearly 4,000 Jews Make Aliyah from North America in 2022 (JNS)
    Nearly 4,000 North American Jews move to Israel in 2022, Nefesh B'Nefesh announced Tuesday.
    They include 1,424 families, 907 children, 981 single men and women, and 697 retirees.
    Among them are 97 physicians and 214 young people who will serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel Funds Training Programs to Prepare Arab Citizens for Hi-Tech Sector (Xinhua-China)
    The Israel Innovation Authority and the Economy Ministry on Tuesday announced the allocation of $3.4 million to support 12 training programs to prepare Arab Israelis for the hi-tech sector.
    The programs include training in programming, robotics, automation, analytics, web development, cloud, infrastructure engineering, recruitment, and sales.
    More than 2,200 Arab citizens will be trained over the next two years to deal with the shortage of hi-tech workers in the country and raise the low representation of Arab Israelis in the industry.

Desalinated Seawater for Israel's Sea of Galilee - Oren Dori (Globes)
    On Dec. 27, 2022, Israel launched the "Reverse Water Carrier" project to send desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in order to maintain the level of the Kinneret in dry and low rainfall years.
    Israel supplies water from the Kinneret to neighboring Jordan, as part of the peace agreement between the two countries.
    Recently, Israel agreed to double the amount of water it supplies to Jordan to 100 million cubic meters annually, making the need to maintain the Kinneret's level even more critical.

Hamas at 35 - Devorah Margolin (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    Hamas remains committed to its original goal - violent struggle against Israel by any means necessary, with itself at the helm of the Palestinian leadership.
    The writer is a Fellow at The Washington Institute.

Israel's Elbit to Supply F-16 Simulators to Polish Air Force (Elbit Systems)
    Elbit Systems announced last Thursday a $36 million contract to supply four F-16 Full Mission Simulators to the Polish Air Force.
    The simulation technology enables higher quality training and improves mission readiness.

Israel's Exports Rise Sharply in 2022 - Danny Zaken (Globes)
    According to the Ministry of Economy and Industry's Foreign Trade Administration (FTA), Israel's exports of goods and services will amount to at least $160 billion in 2022, a new record and up more than 10% from last year.
    Beginning in 2021 and continuing in 2022, exports of services from Israel have outstripped exports of goods, mainly reflecting the sharp increase in exports of software and R&D services.
    There were also very significant increases in the exports of goods in chemicals and chemical industry products (+55%), diamonds (+41%), and electrical and mechanical equipment (+18%).
    Israel's exports to the U.S. grew by 19% in 2022, by 113% to the UK, by 115% to Ireland, by 90% to Brazil, by 39% to India, by 95% to Canada, by 85% to Singapore, by 24% to Hong Kong, by 17% to Turkey, by 22% to France, and by 181% to the Philippines.
    FTA Director General Ohad Cohen said, "The global economic crisis... has not harmed Israeli exports, since the composition of our exports is very diverse....Israeli exports are less dependent on supply chains that were severely affected by Covid."
    See also Israel Ranked 4th-Best-Performing Economy among OECD Countries in 2022 - Sharon Wrobel (Times of Israel)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Scrambles to Stop Iran from Providing Drones for Russia - David E. Sanger
    The Biden administration has launched a broad effort to halt Iran's ability to produce and deliver drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, accelerating its moves to deprive Iran of the Western-made components needed to manufacture the drones. U.S. forces are also helping Ukraine's military to target the sites where the drones are being prepared for launch.
        In the effort to stop the drone attacks, Biden's aides are also engaging an ally with a long history of undermining Iran's nuclear program: Israel. In a secure video meeting last Thursday with Israel's top national security, military and intelligence officials, Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, "discussed Iran's growing military relationship with Russia, including the transfer of weapons the Kremlin is deploying against Ukraine, targeting its civilian infrastructure, and Russia's provision of military technology to Iran in return," the White House said.
        The fact that the administration chose to highlight the discussion was notable. Israel and the U.S. have a long history of operating together in dealing with technological threats emanating from Tehran. (New York Times)
  • IRGC Qods Force Commander: 50 Operations Conducted Against Israel Each Day
    Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Commander Brig.-Gen. Esmayeel Qaani said Tuesday that 40-50 operations are carried out against Israel in the West Bank every day. He stated that it won't be long before the Palestinians expel the Israelis from their land.
        In August, IRGC Commander Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami said, "The Zionists have no safe haven in occupied Palestine and all parts of the land are within the reach of Palestinian resistance movements' firepower. When Lebanese resistance movement Hizbullah is added to this equation, the conclusion is the deployment of hundreds of thousands of missiles that are pointed at the Zionist regime."  (Fars-Iran)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Lapid: Israeli Consensus Supports Acting to Prevent Iran from Going Nuclear - Emanuel Fabian
    Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid told new Israeli Air Force pilots on Wednesday: "Two weeks ago we held a large-scale joint exercise with the U.S. Air Force. The exercise, which simulated an attack thousands of kilometers from Israel's borders, was the first in a series of planned exercises in the near future."
        "Our enemies should know that we will not stand idly by in the face of threats that we see as existential. I discussed this with incoming prime minister Netanyahu, and this is one of the few issues on which there is a consensus in the Israeli public. No Israeli government will agree to Iran becoming nuclear. If it is necessary to act, we will act."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Chief of Staff: The IDF Will Be Ready to Act Against Iran's Nuclear Program
    Israel carries out on average at least one operation against Iran every week somewhere in the Middle East, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi revealed on Tuesday. He also told the Institute for National Security Studies that "The level of preparedness for an operation in Iran has dramatically improved. I will say more than that. The IDF will be ready for the day when an order is given to act against the nuclear program and it will fulfill the mission that it is given."
        Kohavi also said, "The Iranian vision to establish a second Hizbullah in Syria has been disrupted. The Iranians wanted to deploy hundreds of surface-to-surface missiles in Syria alongside tens of thousands of Shia militiamen....This didn't happen...due to [Israel's] war between wars, which will mark 10 years in March."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Arrests Palestinian for Bomb Attacks in Jerusalem - Yael Freidson
    Asalam Faroukh, 26, from eastern Jerusalem, has been arrested for the Nov. 23 twin bombing attack in Jerusalem which killed 2 and injured more than 20. According to the Israel Security Agency, he operated under a "Salafi-jihadist ideology" which identifies with the Islamic State, and carried out the attacks alone.
        Faroukh learned how to build an explosive device online from household materials. One charge was placed behind bushes at a hitchhiking station, and the second charge at the Ramot bus stop was hidden under wood that he had cut in advance. He placed the charges an hour before they exploded and rode away on a scooter.
        Two other suspects with American citizenship were deported to the U.S. following the investigation. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Video: Palestinian Plants Explosives at Scene of Bombing - Haim Goldich (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S.-Israel Relations

  • Israel's New Government Seeks to Move Closer to the American Model - Bezalel Smotrich
    The U.S. media has vilified me and the traditionalist bloc to which I belong since our success in Israel's November elections. In reality, we seek to strengthen every citizen's freedoms and the country's democratic institutions, bringing Israel more closely in line with the liberal American model.
        On matters of religion and state, the new government will never seek to impose anything on a citizen that goes against his or her beliefs. For example, arranging for a minuscule number of sex-separated beaches, as we propose, scarcely limits the choices of the majority of Israelis who prefer mixed beaches. It simply offers an option to others.
        Israel's justice system needs urgent reform to restore democratic balance. In the U.S., elected politicians appoint federal judges, including Supreme Court justices. In Israel, sitting Supreme Court justices have veto power over new appointments to the court. We seek to appoint judges in Israel in a process similar to America's, and to define the attorney general's scope of authority in a manner similar to what's set down in America.
        The writer is head of Israel's Religious Zionist Party and the incoming finance minister. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Will Israel's New Government Cause a Rift with the U.S.? - Maya Margit
    Is Israel on a collision course with the U.S. as a result of expected policy changes by Prime Minister Netanyahu's new government? Dan Diker, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said, "Prime Minister Netanyahu has...said that he would be responsible for decisions made by his coalition government and I think that President Biden is very familiar with Mr. Netanyahu. They've been personal and professional friends for four decades."
        "My expectation is that Mr. Netanyahu - who is not only the most seasoned politician in Israel but the only prime minister in the democratic world to come back from a political graveyard twice in order to lead a democratic country - will be very sure about maintaining the strongest possible alliance with the United States."
        One issue is the incoming government's plans to pass a mechanism for lawmakers to override Supreme Court decisions and put some judicial appointments under political control. Diker said the issues surrounding the Supreme Court had been widely distorted in international discourse and there is a need to find a balance between a "very activist Supreme Court" and the democratically-elected Knesset. (Medialine)

  • Iran

  • Iranian Government Relies on Loyal Supporters as Bulwark Against Protests - Benoit Faucon
    According to polls, about one in five Iranians say they support the current government system. The government empowers this minority with perks, jobs and guns, making it a force for maintaining the status quo. "There is a thin but hard-core infrastructure that is deeply loyal," said Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East North Africa program at Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). "The die-hards have nowhere to go," she said. "This is why the regime is still confident and in charge."
        The most visible group opposing the protesters is the Basij, a volunteer force of 700,000 people formed as a youth militia during the 1979 revolution. Others include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a 210,000-strong army dedicated to protecting the government against domestic unrest and foreign attacks, as well as the Iranian Hizbullah. Young loyalists get priority at Iran's best universities, putting them in line for top government positions and well-paid jobs, said Saeid Golkar, who teaches at the University of Tennessee. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Other Issues

  • Why Israel Cannot Send Its Iron Dome to Ukraine - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Jacob Nagel
    Israel has refused to provide Ukraine with its Iron Dome air defense system for several reasons. First, Israel harbors legitimate fears that its systems could be captured by Russia on the battlefield and would be sent to Iran. This could enable the Iranian regime to find ways to counter these systems, which would benefit Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in future confrontations with Israel.
        Second, the Israel Defense Forces have already assessed an urgent need to acquire more systems and interceptors for its own protection, as Hizbullah and Hamas weapons arsenals continue to grow. The production of the necessary numbers of systems and interceptors will take some time, and the timetable could be set back by exports to Ukraine.
        Third, the amount of time required to train Ukrainian forces to operate the Iron Dome would not help Ukraine in the short term.
        Finally, Israel does not wish to trigger a harsh response from Russia, which maintains a significant presence in Syria, where Israel is engaged in regular activity to neutralize efforts by the Iranian regime to smuggle advanced weapons to Hizbullah in Lebanon. Whether Israel likes it or not, the Russian military presence in Syria is a long-term issue with which Israel must contend.
        The writer, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is a former Israeli national security adviser to the prime minister and head of Israel's National Security Council. (National Interest)
  • The Case for Safety in the Synagogue - Stuart Halpern and Tevi Troy
    American Jews are feeling vulnerable. The 2018 Tree of Life and 2019 Poway Chabad house synagogue shootings; the Colleyville, Texas, hostage standoff in January 2022; and arrests of those threatening to harm Jews in synagogues in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan in recent months contribute to this unease. Coupled with largely unpunished street violence against Jews in Brooklyn and social-media threats, Jews have had to bolster security measures at houses of worship.
        Many Jews have recently decided that the only ones who can defend them are themselves. Increasing numbers of congregants are attending services while armed, often with the foreknowledge of the rabbi and the synagogue security committee. While some well-meaning laws seek to limit an individual's choice to bring a weapon to synagogue, the fact remains that while potential victims will comply with the law, their potential attackers won't. As a result, the attackers will remain armed and dangerous, while potential protectors will be disarmed.
        In Israel, Jews wary of terror attacks regularly attend synagogue armed. Most of the carriers are trained veterans of the nation's mandatory military service.
        Judaism's emphasis on personal safety is threaded throughout its traditional sources, stressing the importance of protecting life, while seeking to avoid a militaristic mentality. There appears to be sufficient rabbinic justification to allow taking weapons to synagogue for self-protection on religious grounds. Those who receive the certification and training to do so are acting in accord with rabbinic and historic tradition that favors protecting life above all other religious considerations.
        Rabbi Stuart Halpern is the senior advisor to the provost and deputy director of the Straus Center at Yeshiva University. Tevi Troy is a visiting fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a former senior White House aide. (City Journal)

  • Antisemitism

  • Face it, the United Nations Is Antisemitic - Lorrie Goldstein
    The UN General Assembly passed 15 resolutions critical of Israel in 2022, compared to 13 resolutions for all other countries. Since 2015, the UN General Assembly has passed 136 resolutions critical of Israel, compared to 58 against all other nations combined. Selectively holding Israel to a higher moral standard than all other nations is classic antisemitism because its real purpose is to delegitimize the world's only Jewish state.
        Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said, "The UN's automatic majority has no interest in truly helping the Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone's human rights. The goal of these ritual, one-sided resolutions is to scapegoat Israel."  (Toronto Sun-Canada)
  • Barring the Door to Zionists Means Barring the Door to Jews - Lori Lowenthal Marcus and Jerome M. Marcus
    The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has officially recognized that differential treatment of people because they adhere to the Jewish commitment to Zionism violates the Jews' civil rights and constitutes illegal antisemitism. As explained in the complaint to which OCR has now responded, opposition to Zionism means "the denial of Jews their inalienable and collective right to self-determination, as expressed in the connection to their ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel."
        Self-determination by any people can only be exercised in a physical place - a place where that people has the right to determine its own fate. Anti-Zionism is thus at its heart an insistence on perpetual Jewish weakness, on Jews' eternal dependence on the kindness and indulgence of non-Jewish majorities.
        The offices for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at U.S. colleges and universities are charged with ensuring that these educational institutions do not discriminate against minority populations in their midst. That means they must internalize and act upon the central insight now adopted by the federal government: that "a hostile environment" is created for students and teachers "based on their shared Jewish ancestry" when university-recognized student organizations discriminate against people who support Zionism and the State of Israel.
        Lori Lowenthal Marcus is Legal Director for The Deborah Project (TDP) and Jerome M. Marcus is President of TDP. (JNS)
  • Young Americans Must Oppose Antisemitism and Support Modern Israel - Donald Sweeting
    There are more reports that American universities have become the new breeding ground for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias. Young evangelical Christians should never forget the Jewish roots of their faith. Most of our Bible is the Hebrew Scriptures. Without the Jews, we would have no Old Testament. Through the Jews, God gave the law of Moses and the Ten Commandments. We share the same hymnbook - the Psalms. Without the Jews, we have no Mary, no Joseph and no Jesus.
        Israel is a guardian of worldwide Jewry today. After the Holocaust, when other nations would not guarantee a secure refuge, the UN saw fit to approve a separate homeland for the Jews. Israel has now become not only America's best ally in the Middle East but also a democratic beacon in a tumultuous region.
        The writer serves as chancellor of Colorado Christian University. (Washington Times)

  • Weekend Features

  • "Imam of Peace" Fights Islamist Extremism - David Isaac
    Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, an Islamic scholar and thinker, has dedicated his life to fighting Islamic extremism. Tawhidi, who describes himself as the "Imam of Peace," has said, "Palestine is Jewish land" and that he doesn't believe in Islamophobia, as "phobia is an irrational fear. Fearing ISIS is not irrational." He has criticized Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as "absolute frauds and Islamists" who "promote hatred against the Jewish people."
        He is "a passionate defender" of the Jews and in 2019, he visited Auschwitz "to take a stand against antisemitism." Tawhidi has more than 800,000 followers on Twitter alone.
        Tawhidi was born in Iran, where he "was completely radicalized, and willing to kill anyone who spoke a single word against [Supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei, whom I saw as the link between myself and God." However, he became aware of the Islamic regime's corruption and eventually switched sides ideologically.
        He says, "The Islam of the regime in Iran is 100% antisemitic in its core ideology." But "if you look at the UAE and other Abraham Accords countries, it's not like that. The UAE embraced Israel, embraced the Jewish communities....Befriending Jews is not against my God. It is definitely what God wants."  (JNS)
  • Israel Thanks Morocco for Protecting Jews during the Holocaust
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog wrote a letter on Dec. 22 thanking Morocco's King Mohammed VI for his country's provision of a "safe haven" for Jews during the Holocaust. Herzog expressed Israel's gratitude to the king "and the people of Morocco who, for generations, have acted to protect the security, welfare and cultural heritage of the kingdom's Jewish community." King Mohammed's grandfather, King Mohammed V, is famous for his refusal to apply anti-Jewish laws prescribed by France's pro-German Vichy government during World War II. (AFP)
        See also "Salam Shalom" Event Celebrates Strong Morocco-Israel Ties
    The Moroccan association Morocco Coexistence and NGO Sharaka on Monday organized an event under the title "Salam Shalom" ("peace" in Arabic and Hebrew) hosted in Rabat, in celebration of Morocco and Israel's second anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations. (Morocco World News)
  • Video: Koolulam Mass-Singing Event in Paris
    On Nov. 13, 2022, 2,000 people gathered in the Great Synagogue of Paris for an Israeli Koolulam mass-singing event. (YouTube)

Why Does the EU Disproportionately Fixate on Israel? - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
  • As part of its "Joint Strategy in support of Palestine," the European Union recently circulated a confidential document that proposes various measures to finance and advance monitoring, undercutting and undermining Israel's policies in Area C of the West Bank, including providing support and legal assistance to Palestinian residents prosecuting land claims in Israeli courts.
  • Under the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords, signed and witnessed by the EU, Israel and the Palestinian leadership (PLO) agreed to divide the West Bank areas of Judea and Samaria into three distinct areas of control and administration, pending the completion of negotiation on the permanent status of the territories. It was agreed that Area C would remain under Israel's full control, jurisdiction and administration.
  • In attempting to undermine and to intervene in Israel's legitimate and agreed-upon jurisdiction and governance in Area C, and in supporting Palestinian attempts to violate the Oslo Accords, the EU is in fact violating the terms of the very agreement to which it attached its signature as witness.
  • The EU claim that Area C is "to be preserved as part of a future Palestinian state in line with the Oslo Accords" is simply a mistaken and misleading interpretation of the Oslo Accords. They made no reference whatsoever to any "future Palestinian state" or "two-state solution." On the contrary, the Palestinian leadership and Israel agreed that the ultimate fate of the territories will be agreed upon in permanent status negotiations. No determination was made as to the outcome of such negotiations.
  • The EU document notes the EU's commitment to "contribute to building a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders." However, the Oslo Accords made no mention whatsoever of the 1967 borders. On the contrary, there has never been any 1967 border but an Armistice Demarcation Line established in the 1949 Armistice Agreements. These agreements stated specifically that the Armistice Demarcation line was not intended to constitute a border but rather a temporary line separating the forces pending negotiation of peace agreements.
  • It is high time that Israel's government take a far more assertive role in clarifying to the EU and its member states that the anti-Israel fixation of its staff and its actions in undermining Israel's legitimate authority and jurisdiction in Area C will no longer be tolerated.

    The writer, a former legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and Israel's ambassador to Canada, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords.
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