February 6, 2023
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
Dan Diker, President - Yechiel Leiter, Director General

In-Depth Issues:

Israel to Send Medical, Rescue Aid to Quake-Hit Turkey (i24News)
    In response to a deadly earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced: "At the request of the Turkish government, I instructed all authorities to prepare immediately to provide medical and rescue assistance.

Israel Foiled Election Day Bomb Plot by Hamas - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Security Agency said Friday it foiled an attempt by Hamas to carry out a bombing attack against Israelis on election day, November 1, using two Arab Israeli men, Mohammed Amin Muslah, 24, and Mohammed Faid Mahmeed, 28.
    The pair conducted surveillance operations at several bus stops frequented by soldiers, practiced with a "Carlo" submachine gun, and sought to find a stolen car for the attack.

Iranian Wrestler Defects after Backing Protests - Mehdi Rostampour (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
    Iranian wrestler Mohammad Namjoomotlagh, 26, is the latest athlete to seek refuge in the West.
    He told Radio Farda he faced "constant threats and psychological pressure" from the Iran Wrestling Federation and other state bodies.
    He is believed to have posted social-media posts that were critical of the authorities and supportive of the protests.
    "I would either lose my life or they would blind me, or in the best-case scenario, I would be sent to prison."

Omani Blogger Visits Israel, Causing an Uproar in the Arab World (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
    Omani blogger Asmaa Al-Shehhi, who lives in the UAE, visited Israel and posted videos on her Instagram account when she arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport. She filmed the entrance gate where Israeli flags appeared.
    Many Twitter users condemned her Israel trip. One tweeted, "This is a step in promoting normalization with the Israeli enemy and serves the agenda of the parties that strive to integrate the Israeli entity in the Arab region. The Arab people curse this step."

Imprisoned Palestinian Terrorists Are PA Soldiers - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The Palestinian Authority and its leaders openly admit that all the imprisoned Palestinian terrorists are their soldiers who they sent to fight and kill Israelis.
    The terrorists and their families also see themselves as "soldiers" of the PA.
    Released terrorist Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre'I, who spoke with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a televised phone conversation, stressed that the imprisoned terrorists see themselves as "your loyal soldiers."
    Munir Zgheir, the father of terrorist Ashraf Zgheir, stressed that both his terrorist son and all the other imprisoned terrorists are "soldiers."
    Ashraf Zgheir, a Hamas member, drove a suicide bomber to Tel Aviv in 2002 where he boarded a bus, murdered 6 people, and wounded 84 others.

The "Two-State Solution": Partition or Politicide? - Dr. Joel Fishman (JNS)
    The Israeli and Palestinian sides each interpret the term "two-state solution" differently.
    Most people of good faith believe the phrase refers to the idea of partition.
    The Palestinian Arabs' objective, however, is to achieve what they call "justice" by means of the "armed struggle."
    Article 21 of the Palestinian National Covenant states: "The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substituting for the total liberation of Palestine."
    We must listen to them carefully and take their words at face value.
    The writer is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Finland to Obtain Anti-Tank Missiles from German-Israeli Eurospike - Rijoef Manuel (Defense Post)
    Finland has contracted German-Israeli weapons provider Eurospike to deliver Spike fire-and-forget anti-tank precision-guided missiles in a $242 million sale.
    Partner Rheinmetall Electronics said this order "underscores the tremendous trust placed in EuroSpike GmbH: the German-Israeli joint venture is now an industrial mainstay of the anti-tank capability of many EU and NATO member nations."
    Eurospike is a joint venture with Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which will serve as the product manufacturer.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • House Votes to Remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee - Clare Foran
    The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday in a 218-211 party-line vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in light of statements she has made that have been criticized by members of both parties as antisemitic. In 2021, a group of Jewish House Democrats accused Omar of equating the U.S. and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas. (CNN)
        See also Ilhan Omar Critical of the Existence of Israel - David Harsanyi
    Rep. Ilhan Omar doesn't believe the Jewish people deserve a state, no matter what policies Israel engages in short of going out of business. She is critical of the existence of this one nation. When Omar says House members are expected to pay "allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country" or that supporters of Israel are in it for "Benjamins," she is not "being critical" of any policy, she is spreading ugly "tropes."  (Federalist)
  • How Israel Is Using Digital Diplomacy in Iran - David Saranga
    Social media users engaged with Farsi-language digital content generated by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year 450 million times - 93% were in Iran. Israel's digital diplomacy team maintains channels in more than 50 languages which reach 2 billion people each year.
        The woman behind our Israel in Persian accounts on Twitter and Instagram escaped Iran as a teenager and moved to Israel where she lives today. Persian food, holidays and Farsi are core components of her identity and Iranians following @IsraelinPersian can see themselves in the content she produces. In October 2022, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducted a poll inside Iran which revealed that over 70% expressed positive sentiments towards Israel.
        Since the beginning of the demonstrations in September, the Israel in Persian account has evolved into an unlikely voice for the Iranian people. Content today focuses on the beatings, executions and violations perpetrated by the regime. Since the beginning of the protests, Israel's Persian-language Instagram followers surged from 400,000 to 1.1 million in the last year, while Twitter numbers rose nearly 15%.
        Amb. David Saranga is Director of the Digital Diplomacy Bureau at Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (New York Post)
  • Iran's First Lady: Mothers, Wives Must Encourage Martyrdom
    Dr. Jamileh Alamolhoda, the wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, said in a January 23, 2023 interview on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon): "If we carry out martyrdom operations...the main support for these operations is the culture of resistance of the wives and mothers. If a wife is not ready to prepare her husband for martyrdom, and if a mother does not want this, and does not sow the resistance sentiment in the makeup of that martyr, he will not be able to do this."  (MEMRI-TV)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Cabinet Approves New Town Adjacent to Gaza
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "Today, the Cabinet will complete the establishment of a new community - Hanun - in the area adjacent to Gaza....Setting up the community is additional testimony to the resilience of the area adjacent to Gaza and to the strength of the State of Israel against all threats, including any trickle to which we respond with full force."
        "We see people making their decisions to come and move to the area adjacent to Gaza and establish new communities in the area. We are proud to build up the Land of Israel and we are proud to strengthen settlement in all of its areas."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Israel to Establish New Town near Gaza Border for 500 Families - Tzvi Joffre
    The new town of Hanun will be located east of Kibbutz Sa'ad and south of Sderot. The head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Idan, stated: "How symbolic this is because precisely on the eve of Tu Bishvat, which expresses growth and renewal, and in close proximity to the terrorist attacks that have occurred in the last few days, we are practically establishing a new settlement in Israel as a real civic response to the terrorist attacks."
        "The message must be clear and unequivocal: let our enemies know that for every threat and act of terrorism and every missile fired at the State of Israel, there will be a crushing response by the security forces and more houses, buildings and settlements will be erected in the Land of Israel. This moment is the victory of light over darkness, the victory of Zionism over terrorist organizations."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Is Helping Ukraine by Targeting Iran, Netanyahu Tells Macron - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's covert operations against Iranian targets ultimately help other countries including Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday. "We operate independently against Iran at different levels, but this activity is also systematically aimed at degrading or harming Iran's capabilities against us....It also harms Iran's capabilities or reduces them in relation to other arenas."
        Netanyahu described the meeting he had with the French leader as "one of the best" he has had with him, noting, "There is a very great rapprochement between Israel and France in the way we see the Iranian threat."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Architect of Judicial Reform Bill "Eager to Compromise" - Shimon Sherman
    "I am eager for a debate, I am eager for a discussion, I am even eager for a compromise," Member of Knesset Simcha Rothman told a press briefing hosted Thursday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Rothman, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, outlined the proposed judicial reforms, saying they focus on the appointment of judges, the Supreme Court's power to overturn laws and the role of legal advisors.
        Rothman said the proposed reforms "should have no effect" on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ongoing trial. He emphasized that the prime minister is not involved in steering the proposed reforms. Rothman criticized media hysteria over the reforms, saying it misinforms the public and pushes people away from the negotiating table. (JNS)
        See also Video: Clarifying the Proposed Israeli Judicial Reform - MK Simcha Rothman
    To counter misunderstanding and misinformation, MK Simcha Rothman spoke at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on February 2, 2023, to clarify the Israeli Government's proposed judicial reform. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • IDF Targets Hamas Terror Cell in Jericho - Tzvi Joffre
    The IDF and Israel Security Agency targeted a Hamas terror cell in the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp in Jericho on Sunday night. During the operation, at least five armed terrorists were killed after they opened fire at Israeli forces. On Jan. 18, members of the cell fired at a restaurant in which 30 people were present, but the terrorists' weapons jammed and they fled back to Jericho. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Decision to Remove Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee Was Overdue - Editorial
    On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over her past comments against Israel as well as the use of antisemitic tropes. It was a decision that was long overdue. Omar has repeatedly shown that nothing is beneath her in her attempts to vilify the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
        In 2019, she suggested that Israel's allies in the U.S. were motivated by money that they receive from AIPAC rather than principle, tweeting: "It's all about the Benjamins baby," a reference to $100 bills. A short time later, she accused Jews of having dual loyalty. "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country." Last summer, she compared Israel to the Taliban: "We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban."
        By ousting Omar, Congress sent an important message that this type of rhetoric will not be tolerated and that there is a price to pay for antisemitism. (Jerusalem Post)
  • International Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon a Costly Failure - David Schenker
    In December, an Irish peacekeeper serving in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed. UNIFIL was established in 1978 to stabilize the frontier between Israel and its enemies across the Lebanese border. Today, the Israel-Lebanon border region remains precarious, and UNIFIL peacekeepers are increasingly threatened.
        There is little doubt that Hizbullah was responsible for the peacekeeper's death. Not only does the militia tightly control the area in which the killing occurred, it has a history of inciting against and attacking UNIFIL, whose mandate is to help ensure that south Lebanon is "free of any armed personnel, assets, and weapons" other than the Lebanese Armed Forces.
        In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizbullah. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on UNIFIL forces, typically perpetrated by men in "civilian clothes" who effectively deny UNIFIL access to Hizbullah's military sites in south Lebanon. Moreover, in collusion with Hizbullah, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) - which received $236 million in U.S. funding in 2021 - routinely obstructs UNIFIL operations and access.
        UNIFIL's mission has clearly become untenable. While UNIFIL provides a useful forum for talks between the Israeli and Lebanese militaries, the peacekeepers will never play a role in constraining Hizbullah or securing the frontier. With Hizbullah increasingly threatening UNIFIL and with Lebanon actively obstructing the mission, it's incumbent on the U.S. to reassess the utility of the deployment and of America's unqualified support for the LAF.
        The writer, a former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Tablet)
  • South Africa Battles to Keep Israel Out of African Union Summit - Steven Gruzd
    While Israel was granted observer status in 2021, it's unlikely to be allowed to attend the African Union (AU) annual summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this month. South Africa has reportedly threatened the AU Commission chairperson, Chad's Moussa Faki Mahamat, not to dare let Israel in. At the 2020 summit, the AU appointed a seven-country committee to deliberate the issue of Israel's status. This committee has never met.
        Benji Shulman, director of public policy at the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), said, "The SAZF calls on the African National Congress government to end its campaign against Israel's observer status in the AU as its participation continues to benefit the continent in a number of innovative ways." Shulman cited several recent projects to help communities across South Africa and Africa with solar energy, water, and technology, and noted that 46 of the 55 states in Africa have diplomatic relations with Israel. "Logically, Israel's entry into the organization is simply an extension of what's happening at the bilateral level."
        Terence Corrigan, project manager at the Institute of Race Relations, said, "Israel's advances on the continent have been remarkable, and the doubtful value of anchoring a Middle East policy on this intractable conflict hasn't been lost on many African states. South Africa has no influence over the conflict but only stands to deprive itself of whatever benefits engagement might bring."  (South African Jewish Report)

There Are No Two Sides Here - Ben-Dror Yamini (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
  • No, there are no "two sides." There is no "cycle of violence." There is a Palestinian side, which is pro-Iranian or jihadist, which has no interest in reconciliation and in peace, but rather in the destruction of the Jewish state. The mythical leader of the Arabs of Palestine was a Nazi Islamist, the Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who preached the extermination of Jews. Hamas and Jihad are his successors.
  • There is another side; the side of the Jews who were persecuted in almost every country in the world, fled or were expelled, from Europe or from Arab countries. They established a state. Throughout the years, the Jews have repeatedly extended a hand for peace, with a willingness to make far-reaching concessions. The outstretched hand was repeatedly rejected.
  • When the Americans killed the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, no one condemned "both sides." When the American army was mobilized to defeat al-Qaeda and ISIS, no one said that "the cycle of violence should be stopped."
  • All the violence belongs to the side that supports terrorism, that educates its children to hatred, that identifies with messages of anti-Semitism and racism.
  • Those who prefer Jihad over peace and reconciliation - they are the problem, even if they are portrayed as the weak side. Those who prefer rockets to welfare - they are the problem.
  • A few days ago there was a suicide terror attack in a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan. Muslims murdered over 100 Muslims. The real enemy of the Muslims and the Palestinians is terrorism, Jihad and Hamas, and not those who fight them.

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