February 13, 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:

Technion under Ransomware Attack - Mandi Kogosowski (Israel Defense)
    The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology has fallen victim to a cyber attack, the institution confirmed on Sunday.
    "The scope and nature of the attack are under investigation," said a Technion tweet. "We are utilizing the best experts in the field, both in and outside the Technion, and are coordinated with the authorized authorities."
    An unknown threat group called DarkBit is behind the attack, and has demanded a ransom of 80 bitcoin - the equivalent of $1.7 million.

Is Assad Stealing Earthquake Disaster Aid? - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Residents in Syria reported that disaster relief aid arrived directly in Damascus in recent days from several Arab and European countries and was taken from the airport by the regime's agents and transported through mafia organizations linked to the regime to markets for sale.
    See also Video: #Assad_Loots_Aid - Abd al-Hade Alani (Twitter)
    This brave woman exposes how international aid is being sold in the streets of Damascus.
    The video shows bags of grain with the UN logo on it, and with writing in a bold font that says "not for sale."
    In the video you can clearly see cans of UAE-made Polo Luncheon Beef being sold that were sent as aid to the affected people in northern Syria.

Hijab Protests Sow Doubt and Confusion among Iran's Revolutionary Guards - Melanie Swan (Sunday Times-UK)
    Leaked recordings have revealed that Gen. Qassem Qureshi, deputy commander of the Iranian Basij paramilitary, said "a huge fraction of the revolutionary forces on the streets are experiencing doubt and confusion."
    Moreover, in documents seen by The Times, IRGC soldiers receive on average $300 a month.
    By comparison, Lebanon's Hizbullah militia soldiers earn $1,300. "While Hizbullah militants get richer, the Iranian public is hitting rock bottom," the source said.

Anniversary of Iran Revolution Disrupted by Hackers (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
    The government of Iran marked the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Saturday with demonstrations around the country.
    During President Ebrahim Raisi's televised address, the Edalat-e Ali hacker group disrupted the online livestream as a person wearing a mask shouted: "Death to the Islamic Republic."

Palestinian Activists Attack Israeli Ambassador in Madrid (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli Ambassador to Spain Rodica Radian-Gordon was attacked by several dozen pro-Palestinian activists during a lecture at a university in Madrid on Wednesday.
    The ambassador was evacuated by Israeli and local security guards while dozens of activists swarmed around them.
    After police evacuated the protesters, the ambassador's lecture resumed.

IDF Launches Joint Air Defense, Cyber Drill with U.S. Central Command - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) launched a joint drill Sunday focused on air defense, cyber security, intelligence and logistics.

25 Sea Turtles Saved from Winter Storm in Israel - Holly Patrick (Independent-UK)
    25 sea turtles are undergoing rehabilitation at the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Mikhmoret, Israel, after being injured in a severe winter storm.
    They will be released back to the sea once they are in full health.
    See also Injured Eagle Nursed Back to Health in Israel - Kochava Rozenbaum (Israel21c)

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Did Israel Strike Iranian Factory Producing Drones for Russia? - Martin Chulov
    Iran has used boats that crossed the Caspian Sea and a state-owned airline to smuggle new types of advanced long-range armed drones to Russia for use in its war on Ukraine, sources have revealed. Russian officers and technicians made a special visit to Tehran in November, where they selected missile-carrying drones with air-to-ground strike capabilities. The new higher-flying drones are designed to deliver bombs and return to base intact. Sources said the Iranian craft's ability to beat jamming systems is much valued by Russia.
        The drones were produced in the same military factory in the Iranian city of Isfahan that was targeted on 28 January by what was believed to have been an Israeli drone. U.S. officials have indicated they believe Israel was motivated by its own national security concerns, and was not trying to intervene in the Ukraine war. The strike is understood to have caused significant damage to the manufacturing of Iran's most advanced weapons systems, including precision-guided missiles and drones. (Guardian-UK)
  • Israeli Energy Minister in Cairo for Talks on Mediterranean Gas
    Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek al-Mulla hosted Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz in Cairo on Sunday. The two parties discussed increasing the supply of eastern Mediterranean gas through the Egyptian gas facilities, and then exporting it to meet part of the energy needs in light of the current geopolitical crisis, Russia Today reported.
        Katz stated that he is open to cooperation in the energy file, given the great importance it represents, the effects of which have been evident during the recent period, indicating that cooperation achieves benefits for all. (Egypt Independent)
  • Israeli Arab Pro-Israel Activist Chased Off Nottingham Campus by Screaming Mob - Nicole Lampert
    Arab pro-Israel activist Yoseph Haddad was chased by an angry mob after he gave a speech at Nottingham University. Haddad, 37, who runs a charity focusing on peace between Arabs and Jews in Israel, says he was sworn at and abused by 70 pro-Palestinian activists during his speech, and that a crowd of people ran after his car as he left the campus.
        During his talk, he said, one pro-Palestinian activist shouted a stream of curses in Arabic, while others called him a traitor and not a real Arab. "What was unusual was the level of violence, the aggressiveness, the hatred, the racism," he said. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Rams Jerusalem Bus Stop, Killing Three Israelis including Two Children - Emanuel Fabian
    Three Israelis were killed when Hussein Qaraqa, 31, a Palestinian Arab from eastern Jerusalem, accelerated into a group of Israelis waiting at the bus stop. The fatalities included Yaakov Yisrael Paley, 6; his brother Asher Menahem Paley, 8; and Alter Shlomo Lederman, 20, who had gotten married two months ago. The boys' father, 42, remains hospitalized. Two other men in their 20s are in serious condition. Qaraqa's Facebook page included posts hailing attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. (Times of Israel)
        See also Palestinians Celebrate Jerusalem Terror Attack
    Palestinian streets erupted in celebration and terror groups assembled in praise after Friday's car-ramming terror attack in Jerusalem which killed three people, including two children. (i24News)
  • Israeli Teams Rescue 19 People in Turkey - Michael Starr
    19 victims of last Monday's earthquakes in Turkey were rescued from the rubble by the Israel Defense Forces since Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also below Observations: Israeli Earthquake Rescue Teams in Turkey
  • In Response to Palestinian Rocket Fire, Israel Strikes Underground Hamas Facility in Gaza - Emanuel Fabian
    In response to a rocket fired at Israel from Gaza on Saturday evening which was downed by the Iron Dome air defense system, Israeli jets targeted an underground weapons facility in Gaza early Monday. The IDF said the Hamas facility produced raw materials for manufacturing rockets. Four anti-aircraft missiles were fired toward Israeli aircraft and Israeli territory. In retaliation, Israeli tanks on the Gaza border fired on a number of Hamas military observation posts. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Cabinet Okays 9 West Bank Outposts - Jacob Magid
    The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved the legalization of nine outposts in Judea and Samaria in response to a string of recent Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem. The policy's backers argue that those seeking to harm Israelis will be deterred upon realizing that such attacks only lead to the strengthening of Israel's presence.
        The cabinet decision came two days after a Palestinian plowed his car into a bus stop in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot, killing three. Two weeks earlier, a Palestinian man opened fire on Israeli civilians outside of a synagogue in Neve Yaakov, killing seven people. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Attempts to Stab Israeli Soldier near Hebron - Yaniv Kubovich
    Palestinian Sharif Rabah, 22, tried to stab an Israeli soldier on Thursday near Hebron, before being shot dead. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Arrests Terrorists behind Killing of Israeli Soldier - Emanuel Fabian
    The IDF arrested Palestinian terrorists Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, members of the Lions' Den terror group, in Nablus early Monday, accused of carrying out the shooting attack in which IDF Staff-Sgt. Ido Baruch was killed on October 11 near Shavei Shomron. Two M-16 rifles were confiscated. (Times of Israel)
  • Bedouin-Israeli, Palestinian Cell Sold Bullets to Islamic Jihad - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Bedouin brothers Adam and Mahmoud Abu Taha, as well as Palestinian Majdi Amrana, were indicted on Thursday for selling 150,000 bullets to Islamic Jihad in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • When Terrorism Pays in Cash - William Daroff
    Murder can be an all-too-profitable endeavor for Palestinian terrorists. The Palestinian Authority doles out hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists and their families. The PA's continued incentives to commit heinous crimes should not be ignored.
        The PA grants an allowance of as much as $3,500 a month to those held in Israel's prisons for having murdered Jews. The allocation becomes a lifetime entitlement if the prison sentence runs more than five years.
        The PA's subsidies for terror are a moral outrage, spurring further violence and rewarding fanatics. Funding murder is always wrong, no matter the reason. Nothing could do more to showcase the PA's moral degeneracy and inaptitude as a partner for peace. Not a dime of American money - nor for that matter, those of our Western allies - should go to the PA until it discontinues this obscene program.
        The writer is CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (Newsweek)
  • By Maintaining Palestinians' Permanent Refugee Status, the UN Has Perpetuated Violence - Avi Benlolo
    Despite the work being done to promote peaceful solutions in the Middle East through the Abraham Accords, the UN appears to insist on keeping Israel's very existence in question and ensuring Palestinians remain as permanent refugees. The UN established the only permanent refugee organization in the world, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
        Millions of refugees poured out of Syria during the civil war, but no dedicated UN agency was founded for them. There are no international campaigns or significant Syrian refugee movements on university campuses calling for their return, because most have acclimatized to their new homes - as refugees generally do. Of all the refugees past and present, the Palestinians are the only ones who have their own permanent exhibit near the UN General Assembly.
        After the Arab world went to war against the newly founded State of Israel in 1948, instead of absorbing the refugees into their host countries, UNRWA deliberately kept them in refugee camps. From a human rights point of view, that is completely unfair to the millions of children who have had their futures stolen from them by the UN and their host countries which refuse them citizenship.
        Before 1948, the area was ruled by the British for a short time and by the Ottomans for 400 years before that. There was never a state of Palestine. This generation of Palestinians wants to lay claim to Jerusalem, but the holy city was never Palestinian. The way back to peace is for the UN and its agencies like UNRWA to stop deceiving the Palestinian people by suggesting that Israel is a temporary political entity. It's not going anywhere. (National Post-Canada)

Israeli Earthquake Rescue Teams in Turkey
  • Israeli Rescuers Race Against Time in Turkey - Yifat Erlich
    I arrived in Turkey on Wednesday, the first Israeli journalist to join the IDF Home Front Command's search and rescue team. 500 Israelis have been working non-stop since Tuesday, racing against time and the winter cold. No one stopped to eat or sleep, despite the fact that they had been at it for over 48 hours. Israel was one of the first countries to send help, with rescuers having dropped everything and hopped on a plane as soon as news of the catastrophe broke. (Israel Hayom)
  • More than 300 Patients Treated in Israeli Field Hospital in Turkey (Algemeiner)
  • Israeli Doctor Describes Rescuing Turkish Girl - Judah Ari Gross
    Dr. Itai Basel, a pediatrician from the Jerusalem area, helped organize the 12-hour extraction of a 15-year-old girl who was trapped inside the rubble. (Times of Israel)
  • Video: Israeli Rescuers Pull Two Young Turkish Women from Rubble (Sky News-UK)
  • Video: Israeli Rescuers Extract Turkish Man from Rubble (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Video: Israeli Rescuers Extract Turkish Woman from Rubble (Israel Defense Forces)
  • IDF Intelligence Unit Helps Locate Turkish Earthquake Victims - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    IDF air force intelligence Unit 9900 is using its cutting-edge satellite capabilities and analytical visual training to assist with ongoing search and rescue efforts in Turkey, helping IDF rescue units better target where they should focus their efforts, the military announced Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Some Israeli Rescuers Leave Turkey over Safety Fears - Judah Ari Gross
    A delegation from the United Hatzalah emergency response organization to Turkey cut short its mission and returned to Israel early after receiving intelligence of a "concrete and immediate threat," the group said Sunday. Some 40 volunteers, mostly medical professionals, were assisting in rescue efforts in Kahramanmaras, one of the cities hit hardest by last week's earthquakes.
        The main concerns involved proximity to the Syrian border and the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which has seen Islamic State activity over the years and growing unrest among Turkish citizens. "There were threats against different international delegations to kidnap people and hold them for ransom," a Hatzalah spokesperson said. On Saturday, Austrian military and German civilian rescue workers suspended their search operations in nearby Hatay due to a worsening security situation. (Times of Israel)

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