January 19, 2023
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In-Depth Issues:

Iranian Military Leader Threatens Destruction of U.S. and Israel - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    Iranian Brig.-Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that "very soon" the world "will witness the destruction of the Zionist regime."
    Iran, he said, is equipping Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas to wage war against Israel.
    "The Zionists are taking actions under the guidance of the United States, but soon the great Satan [the U.S.] will also be destroyed."

Iran to Install Air Defense Batteries around Damascus (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
    Very reliable sources say Iran is working to install Iranian-made air defense batteries at three locations south and southwest of Damascus, and near Damascus Airport.
    This comes in light of repeated airstrikes by Israel that hit positions of Iranian-backed militia, amid the inability of Syrian air defenses to counter any Israeli attack.
    In 2022, SOHR documented 32 airstrikes and ground rocket attacks, which destroyed 91 targets, including buildings, warehouses, headquarters, centers, and vehicles.
    These strikes killed one civilian and 89 combatants and injured 121 others.

Israel Delivers Air Attack Alert Technology to Ukraine - Inder Singh Bisht (Defense Post)
    "Work is underway on the transfer of Israeli technology related to smart alert regarding missiles and drones," Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk said on Friday.

Top U.S. General for Middle East Discusses Regional Threats in Israel - Joseph Haboush (Al Arabiya)
    Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, met with Israel's new defense minister, Yoav Gallant, and senior Israeli military and defense officials on Monday and Tuesday to discuss regional threats, ways to strengthen ties between the two militaries, and an upcoming joint training exercise.

Morocco to Boost Military Ties with Israel (AFP)
    The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces said Tuesday it had agreed with Israel "to further strengthen cooperation and expand it to other areas, including in intelligence, air defense and electronic warfare."
    The announcement follows the first meeting of the monitoring committee for Moroccan-Israeli defense cooperation in the Moroccan capital.

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Lebanon Headed Back to the Stone Age - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    The court system in Lebanon is on strike, as judges and prosecutors wait for state funding that would enable them to return to work.
    The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value since the economic crisis began in 2019. The monthly salary of judges, based on the black-market exchange rate, is now $150, compared to $4,500 before the crisis.
    Moreover, the courtrooms aren't being maintained, the cleaners aren't coming, there is no electricity and the bathrooms have no running water.
    Public school teachers have announced a week-long strike, but it may last longer. The teachers live on $130 a month.
    Three tankers have been anchored in Beirut Port for three weeks with fuel meant for the Lebanese electric company's power plant.
    The cause of the delay in unloading the ships is lack of money to pay for the fuel.
    See also Lebanese Flee Stricken Country - Andrea Lopez-Tomas (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
    The number of Lebanese emigrants soared from 17,721 in 2020 to 79,134 in 2021, according to the Beirut-based Information International research center.
    More than 40% of Lebanon's doctors have already left the country, data from September 2021 indicates.
    A Gallup poll from December 2021 found that 63% of Lebanese say they want to leave forever.
    90% of Lebanon's youth have indicated that they are thinking about or actively seeking emigration, according to the Arab Youth Opinion Poll.

Israel's Debt Shrank Dramatically in 2022 - Oren Dori (Globes)
    Israel's GDP ratio shrank dramatically in 2022 to 60.9% from 68% in 2021, according to the Ministry of Finance's Accountant General Yali Rothenberg.
    The reduction was due to GDP growth of 6.3% and debt reduction of NIS 7 billion.
    The Accountant General used the revenue surplus last year to repay old debts of almost NIS 20 billion.
    Before the Covid crisis, Israel's GDP ratio had fallen to 59.5%. Due to the Covid crisis, the GDP ratio rose to 71.7% in 2020.

Israeli Device Remotely Monitors Vital Signs - Naama Barak (Israel21c)
    Israel's Neteera Technologies has developed a small device that can be placed up to five feet away from patients to monitor their heart rate, respiration rate, respiration depth and inhale-exhale ratio.
    Neteera founder and CEO Isaac Litman said the device uses very high-frequency radar programmed specially to monitor human vital signs.
    It is currently deployed across 15 nursing homes in the U.S., having received FDA approval last September.

Israeli Medical Professor Abdulla Watad Is Just 35 - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    Dr. Abdulla Watad, 35, from the Israeli Arab village of Jatt, is the youngest Israeli physician to receive a full professorship at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine.
    Watad is a senior rheumatologist and deputy director of the Internal Medicine B ward at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan. He has co-authored about 200 scientific publications.
    "To be fair, at Sheba, I never felt there is discrimination between Arab or non-Arab," he said.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel to UN: Vast Majority of Palestinian Fatalities in 2022 Were Terrorists - Yvonne Murray
    At Wednesday's UN Security Council meeting on tension in the Middle East, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the remarks of Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour "an Academy Award-winning act of false victimization." "Over and over again, we have heard how the past year has been the deadliest year for the Palestinians," he said. Yet the vast majority of Palestinian fatalities and casualties are not civilians, but, instead, terrorists who were "neutralized in the midst of their acts of violence."
        "This may have been the deadliest year for Palestinian terrorists, but it was also the year with the most terror attacks committed against Israelis in a decade." He said more than 5,000 attacks had been carried out against Israelis in 2022, killing 31 and injuring 418. (RTE-Ireland-United Nations)
  • Pentagon Sends U.S. Arms Stored in Israel to Ukraine - Eric Schmitt
    The Pentagon is tapping into a vast but little-known stockpile of American ammunition in Israel to help meet Ukraine's dire need for artillery shells in the war with Russia, American and Israeli officials say. The stockpile provides arms and ammunition for the Pentagon to use in Middle East conflicts. The U.S. has also allowed Israel to access the supplies in emergencies. The Pentagon has tapped a similar stockpile in South Korea.
        According to two senior Israeli officials, the U.S. has promised Israel that it will replenish what it takes from the warehouses in its territory. Israeli officials said that Israel had not changed its policy of not providing Ukraine with lethal weapons and rather was acceding to an American decision to use its own ammunition as it saw fit. The Israeli minister of defense at the time, Benny Gantz, brought the issue to the Israeli cabinet, where the defense establishment recommended accepting the plan because the ammunition was American property. (New York Times)
  • Iranian Hit Squad Identified in Foiled Terror Attack in Georgia
    The perpetrators of a botched operation by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to assassinate an Israeli citizen in Georgia in November involved five members of a hit squad from Quds Force Unit 400 of the IRGC who sought to kill Itsik Moshe, chairman of the Israel Georgia Chamber of Business. According to the hacker group Backdoor, the agents were Hossein Rohban, Mohammad-Reza Arablou, Mohsen Rafiei Miandashti, Farhad Fashaee and Ali Feizipour.
        The leader of the team - Rohban - was under the direct command of Hamed Abdollahi, the head of Unit 400, who is wanted internationally following the assassination plot targeting Adel al-Jubeir, the former ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.S.  (Iran International)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Rejects Calls to Lift Sanctions on the PA
    Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Tuesday rejected a call from dozens of countries that Israel end punitive measures it applied against the Palestinian Authority over Ramallah's push for an investigation of the Jewish state at the International Court of Justice. Instead, Cohen urged the international community to act against Palestinian incitement, which encourages terrorism.
        "Meaningless statements and signatures will not stop us from making the right decisions that will protect our citizens and secure our future," Cohen said. "The interest of all the countries of the world should be to stop the incitement of the Palestinian Authority, which encourages terrorism and pays terrorists who kill Jews."  (Times of Israel)
  • PA Security Officer Opens Fire at IDF Troops - Emanuel Fabian
    Hamdi Shaker Abdullah Abu Dayyah, 40, an officer in the Palestinian Authority security services, opened fire at IDF troops near Halhul on Tuesday before he was shot dead. The IDF said it suspected the gunman was responsible for an attack on a bus in the area on Sunday. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Gunfire Strikes Home in Jewish Community in Samaria - Emanuel Fabian
    Palestinian gunmen fired a hail of bullets Monday evening at the Jewish community of Shaked, west of Jenin. Images from the scene showed a large hole punched through the kitchen window of a home. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran Is Key Topic for U.S.-Israel Discussions - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Jacob Nagel
    U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is visiting Israel this week and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit shortly. On the Palestinian issue, it is important to present why Israel has no negotiating partner for real talks, especially in the wake of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas' decision to take Israel to court on the world stage. Abbas must pay the price for that. Any U.S. attempt to discuss internal Israeli domestic matters must be rebuffed politely.
        Iran must be at the center of all discussions. This includes Iran's aggressive conduct in its nuclear program, its support for terrorist organizations and their arming, and the dangers of having Tehran move closer to Russia and establish a base of operations in Syria. The widespread riots in Iran have created new turf for the U.S. and Israel to renew their collaboration. This is what the talks should focus on. U.S. public opinion has become numb to the Iranian nuclear breaches, but it has not been indifferent to the killing of young girls and women.
        Israel must present its readiness for a widespread and total campaign against Iran and its nuclear program. Its nuclear weapon development program is run by a clandestine weapons team that continues to operate, despite Iranian denials.
        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. (Israel Hayom)
  • Making the Case for the UK to Proscribe Iran's IRGC - Kasra Aarabi
    On 12 January 2023, the House of Commons voted unanimously in favor of having the UK government proscribe Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is a violent, Islamist-extremist organization that operates no differently to proscribed groups in the UK, including the Islamic State (ISIS), al-Qaeda and Hizbullah. This is apparent from its formal program of indoctrination designed to radicalize members to adopt its hardline Islamist-extremist ideology as well as its use of terrorism, militancy, hostage-taking and hijacking.
        For more than 43 years, the IRGC has been responsible for plotting global terrorist attacks, hostage-taking and other offenses on foreign soil - including in Europe and the UK - as well as human-rights violations in Iran. Since 2015, there has been a surge in IRGC activity in the UK, Europe and the U.S.  IRGC-related propaganda efforts to nurture homegrown extremism on UK soil are also escalating. (Tony Blair Institute for Global Change)
        See also EU Lawmakers Want Iran's Guards Branded Terrorist Group (Reuters)
        See also Iran Warns EU Not to List Revolutionary Guards as Terrorist Entity (Reuters)

  • Palestinians

  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Has Internalized the Palestinian Big Lie - Melanie Phillips
    In a ceremony at the PA Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Bethlehem, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's investigative arm delivered to the Palestinian Authority a 2,700-year-old spoon dating from the Assyrian empire. The Assyrians, who first emerged around 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), developed a vast empire that included much of the Middle East, before it collapsed around 600 BCE.
        Ivan J. Arvelo, a special agent in charge of U.S. Homeland Security investigations in New York, described the transfer of the spoon to the PA as "the historic repatriation" of the artifact. But the spoon never belonged to the Palestinian people. There was no "Palestinian people" in antiquity. The "Palestinian people" was only invented in the 1960s in a strategy to destroy Israel cooked up by Yasser Arafat in cahoots with the Soviet Union.
        Central to the Palestinians' appeal to gullible supporters in the West is the claim that they are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel. They deny that the only people for whom Israel was ever their national kingdom were the Jews and that the Jews are the only indigenous people of the land.
        In 1977, a PLO executive committee member, Zahir Muhsein, said, "The Palestinian people does not exist....Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism." Why is the U.S., which claims to be Israel's staunch ally, giving credence to a false Palestinian identity created to write the Jews out of their own history?
        The writer is a columnist for The Times-UK. (JNS-Israel Hayom)

  • Other Issues

  • Jordanian King Abdullah's Red Lines - Yoni Ben-Menachem
    According to Jordanian sources, King Abdullah has been working secretly with the White House for several weeks to clarify his red lines and convey them to the Netanyahu government. They include: Strict maintenance of Jordan's position as the "Guardian of the Holy Places" in Jerusalem, especially the Temple Mount, in accordance with the 1994 peace agreement. Opposition to any attempt to give Saudi Arabia a foothold in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Rejection of any attempt to adopt clauses from President Trump's "Deal of the Century" peace plan. Insisting on the "two-state solution" paradigm and rejecting any attempt to imply that "Jordan is Palestine."  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Antisemitism

  • Investigation Finds Antisemitism in UK's Student Union - Ash Obel
    An independent investigation published last Thursday has found that the UK's National Union of Students failed to protect Jewish members from "numerous instances" of antisemitism over the past decade. In May 2022, the union appointed law expert Rebecca Tuck to lead the investigation after 20 former presidents of the union raised concerns over antisemitism within the organization. The NUS represents more than seven million students.
        Tuck's report found discrimination against Jewish students that included "the employing of ancient antisemitic tropes, from blood libels to Rothschild conspiracies," as well as holding Jewish members responsible for Israeli actions. "For at least the last decade, Jewish students have not felt welcome or included in NUS spaces or elected roles. There have been numerous instances of antisemitism within NUS," Tuck said.
        The union said the report was "a detailed and shocking account of antisemitism within the student movement. It is a truly difficult read for all of us but we welcome the clarity it brings to enable us to act with confidence to tackle antisemitism head on."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Report: Independent Investigation into Allegations of Antisemitism within NUS - Rebecca Tuck (National Union of Students-UK)
        See also Anti-Semitism Is Rarely Handled with the Same Severity as Discrimination Against Other Minorities - Zoe Strimpel (Telegraph-UK)
  • Britain's National Union of Students Have Put Jews on Trial and Found Them Guilty - Alex Hearn
    Rebecca Tuck's unambiguous and damning report into antisemitism within Britain's National Union of Students (NUS) relates that Jewish students complaining of antisemitism were assumed to be acting in bad faith and disbelieved. On the other hand, claims about Jewish students being motivated by a racist agenda and other nefarious intentions were automatically accepted without question, despite a lack of evidence. The NUS have put Jews on trial and found them guilty, just like the generations before them did. (Jewish News-UK)
  • Anti-Israel Politics Is Soaked in Jew-Hate - Paul M
    Rebecca Tuck's report on antisemitism in the National Union of Students is precise, carefully distinguishing between legitimate political opinion and prejudice, between mischance and intention, and giving the benefit of the doubt wherever she can. But when she's done, we're still left with a mass of unambiguous bigotry. Most of it comes from NUS elected officers, candidates and volunteers. If there was ever any doubt that the demonization of Israel leads to the demonization of Jews, the report should put an end to it once and for all, but it won't.
        The vast bulk of the episodes in the report are case, after case, after case of Jews being targeted in the context of anti-Israel activism - and being ignored, dismissed, gaslit or piled on. People are allowed their politics. The problem is that good people find themselves acting hatefully toward Jews because anti-Israel politics itself is soaked in Jew-hate.
        The NUS, and students in general, need to think seriously about the implications of data that say 90% of British Jews support Israel's existence, because it means either 90% of British Jews are for apartheid and baby-killing or anti-Zionists have embraced a lie.
        I'm pessimistic because a voluntary mass opening of minds is not consistent with anyone's experience of human nature. It's not going to arise by itself from well-meaning seminars about the history and appearance of antisemitism. Separating people from their beloved prejudices is traumatic, the more so when it pulls the rug out from a self-image of moral superiority. (Harry's Place)

  • Weekend Features

  • Most Armies Ignore Autistic People. Israel Is Calling Them Up. - Joshua Zitser
    Ro'im Rachok is an innovative Israeli program founded in 2013 to match young adults on the autism spectrum with military professions that need manpower. Tal Vardi, a Mossad veteran who helped found the program, described the program as mutually beneficial for the IDF, people with autism, and their families. Autistic volunteers are assigned to units where they are deemed to have a comparative advantage - usually military intelligence. So far, more than 300 soldiers have been recruited to the IDF and serve across 27 different units.
        The first unit to recruit these soldiers was Unit 9900 that collects, analyzes, and interprets visual images from satellites, drones, and reconnaissance flights. Many autistic soldiers seemed to have a natural aptitude for aerial-photo analysis, while neurotypical soldiers are easily distracted. People with autism show an increased ability to focus their attention on certain tasks.
        Pvt. E., an autistic soldier, said he finds his work for the IDF enjoyable, and it's easier for him than many of his neurotypical colleagues. "I don't want to say I'm slightly superior, because that's condescending, but it sometimes really is annoying when you can clearly see something that others don't."  (Business Insider)
  • A British Diplomat Established a Training Farm for Jews in Jerusalem in 1852 - Lenny Ben-David
    James Finn, the British Consul to the Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem between 1846 and 1863, established "Abraham's Vineyard" - an "Industrial Plantation for employment of Jews of Jerusalem" - in 1852. He found the terrible living conditions of the Jewish community in Jerusalem to be beyond the imaginable, as Jewish charity from the West was cut off during the Crimean War. "Parents were said to be selling their children to Muslims as the only way of preserving their lives," Finn wrote.
        Eventually, more than 200 men and boys worked at the "Plantation," providing support to 450 family members. The farm also produced a quality soap that was sold to tourists. However, by the time Finn left Jerusalem, the foreign contributions to Abraham's Vineyard had dried up. Yet "among the Jews of Jerusalem, the hope of cultivating the desolate soil of their own Promised land was kindled. These objects were never again lost sight of. The Jews themselves took them up."
        This article is part of the "Jerusalem in Historical Context" series by Lenny Ben-David, Director of the Institute for U.S.-Israel Relations at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

In Spite of Growing Frustration with Iran, the West Creates a Problematic, De Facto Arrangement with Tehran - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The West has avoided significant changes in its attitude toward Iran and its nuclear program, creating a problematic, de facto arrangement with Tehran.
  • The military aid Iran provides to Russia for its war against Ukraine, such as the supply of hundreds of Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, effectively places Iran as a party to the war. As a result, the U.S. administration has declared that "Iran may be complicit in war crimes."
  • Iranian assistance to Russia significantly reinforces Israel's claim that the West must take a more resolute stance against the Islamic regime in Iran because it is committed to the struggle against the existing world order.
  • Western frustration with Iran is also fueled by its policy on the nuclear issue. The Iranians continue to prevent the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from monitoring their nuclear activities. They continue accumulating highly-enriched uranium, including to 60%, which allows them to enrich enough uranium to the level required to produce several nuclear explosive devices within a few weeks.
  • Moreover, the Iranians continue to condition the return to the nuclear agreement on the IAEA's waiver of its demand for information about the nuclear facilities exposed in the archives of the nuclear program that Israel seized in Tehran.
  • Additional causes of Western frustration include Iran's violent suppression of demonstrators, its continued support for terrorist elements and its proxies in the Middle East, its advocacy of global anti-Semitism, and its commitment to the annihilation of Israel.

    The writer is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center. He was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.
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