April 3, 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 Downs Iran-Linked Drone that Came from Syria - Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz)
    A drone that entered Israeli territory from Syria late Sunday was intercepted and downed by the IDF in a controlled manner using electronic warfare in an open area in the Hula Valley in the Galilee. The aircraft was found early on Monday.
    Defense officials believe that Iran sent the drone, either directly or through one of its proxies.
    On Sunday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, "We won't allow the Iranians and Hizbullah to harm us.... We will push them out of Syria and back to where they should be, which is Iran."
    "The Iranians are sending their tentacles into Judea, Samaria and Gaza and trying to entrench themselves in Syria and on the Lebanese border."

Israel Shoots Down Aircraft over Gaza (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Air Force shot down an aircraft over Gaza on Monday, the IDF Spokesperson said.
    The aircraft did not enter Israeli airspace and did not pose a threat.

Israel Escalated Attacks on Iranian and Hizbullah Targets in Syria - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Israel increased air attacks on Iranian and Hizbullah targets in Syria to strike electronic components from Iran destined for Hizbullah's precision missile project, and as part of the Israeli response to the March 13, 2023, bomb attack at Megiddo Junction inside Israel.
    Israel has accurate information about the arms shipments from Iran to Syria and attacks them as soon as they land in Syrian territory and before the Syrians transfer them to Lebanon.
    See also Satellite Images Show Syria Strike Targets Hizbullah Drone Capability - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Images released by ImageSat International on Sunday show the destruction of an airplane hangar, a UAV command and control facility, and a communications vehicle. Sources said the target was Hizbullah's drone capability.

Family of Tel Aviv Attack Victim Donates Organs to Five People (JNS)
    The family of Or Eshkar, 32, who died on March 20 after being shot during a Palestinian terror attack in Tel Aviv on March 9, donated his organs to five people.
    Eshkar was mortally wounded when a Hamas member opened fire outside a cafe in the city center, wounding his friends Rotem Mansano, 34, and Michael Osdon, 36, who were all on their way to a wedding.
    Eshkar's heart was transplanted into a 65-year-old man. A 75-year-old man received his liver. A 52-year-old and a 59-year-old each received a kidney. And a liver lobe was transplanted into a one-year-old.

Israel Conducts Joint Naval Drill with Five Countries - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Navy led a three-week joint drill last week that included surface vessels, submarines and aircraft from Greece, Cyprus, Italy, the U.S. and France.
    Naval Squadron 32 Cmdr. Steven Gordon said, "This was one of the bigger drills. We went all over the Mediterranean Sea and along the various coast points of Israel."
    "The drill included practicing maneuvers and operations against submarines, other above-surface vessels, aircraft, maneuvers to protect strategic assets and inspections of suspicious ships.... Anything you can imagine, we drilled for it."

Israeli Aid Group Sends Relief to Malawi Following Cyclone - Naama Barak (Israel21c)
    IsraAID has launched an emergency response to Malawi, which is dealing with the aftermath of a cyclone that compounds a deadly cholera outbreak.
    An 8-person delegation is setting up cholera prevention points. They brought two large water filtration systems, chlorine tablets and oral rehydration salts to provide access to drinking water and prevent the spread of cholera.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Top UN Court Rejects Iranian Bid to Free Assets Frozen by U.S. - Mike Corder
    In a 10-5 majority ruling, the International Court of Justice on Thursday rejected Tehran's legal bid to free up $2 billion in Iranian central bank assets frozen by U.S. authorities to be paid in compensation to victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran, saying it did not have jurisdiction to rule on the Iranian claim. Court vice-president Kirill Gevorgian said the majority "upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by the United States of America relating to the claims of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
        The court found that some other U.S. moves to seize assets of Iran and Iranians in the U.S. breached a 1955 treaty between the countries and said they should negotiate compensation. But it said the protections offered by the 1955 Treaty of Amity do not extend to central banks. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that money belonging to Iran's central bank could be used as compensation for the 241 American troops who died in the 1983 bombing, believed linked to Tehran. (AP)
  • Saudi Arabia Clamps Down on Regional Aid - Vivian Nereim
    From 2013 to 2020, Saudi Arabia sent $46 billion in aid to Egypt. But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is increasingly attaching conditions to such aid - insisting on economic overhauls like cutting subsidies and privatizing state-owned companies. Saudi officials say they are tired of doling out endless aid to Egypt, Pakistan and Lebanon, only to watch it evaporate. (New York Times)
        See also Egypt-Saudi Ties Grow Stronger as Leaders Meet - Seth J. Frantzman
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday night. El-Sisi was received by the Crown Prince at the airport. Reports in the West have sought to portray Riyadh as potentially reducing investment in Egypt. However, it appears that Egypt-Saudi ties are as strong as ever. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Netanyahu Says Understanding with Opposition on Judicial Overhaul "Possible" - Zain Khalil
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "We are currently in a process of dialogue with the aim of reaching a broad consensus. I would like to remind you that before the elections (Nov. 2022), many leaders of the current opposition supported fundamental changes in the judicial system. Therefore, there is a basis for understanding with the opposition that can be reached with good faith and real dialogue."  (Anadolu-Turkey)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Three Israeli Soldiers Injured in Palestinian Car Ramming Attack - Hagar Shezaf
    Three Israeli soldiers were injured, one of them seriously, in a Palestinian car ramming attack between Beit Ummar and the Gush Etzion junction in the southern West Bank on Saturday. The driver, Muhammad Baradeya, 23, a member of the Palestinian security forces, was shot dead. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Bedouin Grabbed Policeman's Gun and Fired at Israeli Officers in Jerusalem's Old City
    Mohammed Elasibi, 26, was stopped by police officers for questioning near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday night in an area that was closed at the time, when he attacked one of them, grabbed his firearm, and fired two shots during a struggle. Police responded with gunfire and he was killed.
        The officer, M, said, "He argued with me and I took him toward the exit. At a certain point the attacker turned to me, grabbed my gun and managed to fire a few bullets toward [Border Police] officers. I managed to take control of him within seconds, to get the weapon out of his hands and I neutralized him along with the second policeman with me." His partner, Y, said: "I felt our lives were in real danger. If I hadn't tackled him, shot him and neutralized him, he would have shot me, my partner and the Border Policemen."
        A Border Police officer, L, said the man "aimed the gun at my head" and that she took cover behind a cement pillar as he fired. Another officer said, "If the policeman hadn't shot and neutralized him, we wouldn't be here." Police announced on Sunday that they had found DNA evidence proving that Elasibi had grabbed the gun of the police officer. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Forces Arrest Two Palestinians in Nablus Linked to Huwara Attack - Tzvi Joffre
    Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians in Nablus on Monday who aided the terrorist who conducted a drive-by shooting attack in Huwara on March 25 that wounded two IDF soldiers. During the arrest operation, soldiers were met with gunfire and responded. In the exchange, two Palestinian gunmen were killed. (Jerusalem Post-Times of Israel)
        The Lions' Den said one of its members was killed. The second slain gunman was claimed by Fatah. (Reuters)
  • Israel Thwarts Terror Attack in Jerusalem
    A planned shooting attack by Hamas on a bus carrying police officers near the Temple Mount was thwarted, the Israel Police and the Israel Security Agency announced Sunday. Omar Abedin, 21, from eastern Jerusalem, was communicating on Facebook and Telegram with a terrorist operative from Lebanon, who asked him to carry out a shooting or bombing attack and was told he would receive financial aid. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Greenlights Creation of Anti-Riot National Guard
    The Israeli government authorized on Sunday the formation of a national guard. The previous government began setting up an auxiliary police force to tackle internal violence following riots in mixed Jewish-Arab areas during the Gaza war of May 2021. The cabinet appointed a multi-agency panel to recommend whom the national guard would be subordinate to. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Chant in Support of Hamas at Temple Mount in Jerusalem
    Palestinians chanted slogans in praise of "martyrs" and in support of Hamas chief Mohammad Deif after morning prayers on Friday at Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Deif appears on the U.S. list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Palestinians raised a banner in support of Hamas and its military arm, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. (i24News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran Is Increasing Its Pressure on Israel - Yoav Limor
    Iran has been increasing its pressure on Israel lately. This is demonstrated by its efforts to smuggle weapons into Syria and Lebanon; the attempt to harm Israelis and Jews in Athens; by direct and indirect aid to Palestinian terror organizations; and by increasing activity in the northern arena - with an emphasis on Hizbullah, which sent a terrorist from Lebanon to Israel to carry out an attack at Megiddo junction.
        Israeli security officials think this activity results from Iran's assumption that Israel is preoccupied with internal problems in light of the crisis over judicial reform. However, this premise is incorrect: Israel's security apparatus continues to operate as before to thwart terror activity, and an external crisis will actually unite Israeli society.
        If Israel did not retaliate for the Megiddo attack, this would likely be interpreted as weakness, which will invite more attempted terror attacks. Therefore, Israel wants to make clear to Hizbullah and Iran that they are playing with fire. Alleged Israeli strikes on Syria targeting Iranian weapons, infrastructure and operatives will likely convey this message.
        Iran hastened to threaten Israel that it would take revenge for the killing of its operatives. This does not need to upset us; Iran is always trying to kill Israelis and Jews in every corner of the world, and Israel's latest attacks will not change anything in this regard. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli, Ethiopian Think Tanks Sign National Security MOU - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
    The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Ethiopian government's Institute of Foreign Affairs signed a memorandum of understanding last week to collaborate on national security issues, including water and food security. "The very first thing we should do is conceptually move food security from the social and economic realm to the realm of national security," explained Dr. Yechiel M. Leiter, director-general of the Jerusalem Center. "National security is not just a matter of tanks and planes and soldiers - it is bread. It is the ability to feed the people of one's sovereign territory."
        "Imagine Ethiopia's cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the 2 or 3 that they produce today," said Leiter. "Imagine the establishment of an agriculture industry that grows alternatives to wheat. Imagine a fish industry based on fish pond production. Israel has proven technology in these and other agri-areas."
        "Imagine we bring together a think-tank plan that's a collaborative effort: We bring together the financial resources of the Gulf States, the technological resources of Israel, and the human resources of Africa."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Tehran University Professor: Most Iranians Don't Want Israel to Be Annihilated
    Iranian Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam, who teaches at Tehran University, said in a discussion posted on March 14, 2023: "You people say that you are on a mission to annihilate Israel. Who gave you this mission?...Let's have a public opinion poll....If 50% plus one of the Iranians say 'yes,' then by all means, we should annihilate Israel. But I completely believe that not even 10% would say they want to annihilate Israel. [The regime] says that we should annihilate Israel, but 90% of the Iranian public says: 'Why? How is this our business? This is a conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli Jews. What does this have to do with us?'"  (MEMRI-TV)
        See also The Outspoken Iranian Professor - Benjamin Weinthal
    Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American expert, told the Jerusalem Post that during the last decade or more, Iranian Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam "has been openly criticizing the regime. He has done things like refused to walk over, and has walked around, the U.S. and Israeli flags that the Khomeinist regime has painted on the floors of their administrative buildings and offices."  (Jerusalem Post)

Why We Should All Be Zionists - Einat Wilf interviewed by Tori Bergel (Jewish Insider)
  • Former Knesset Member Einat Wilf's most recent book is We Should All Be Zionists: Essays on the Jewish State and the Path to Peace. The book "was the culmination of four years of writing essays that spoke about the importance of Zionism to Jews abroad [and] the importance of Zionism to the Arab world as a path to peace....It's a kind of revival of secular Zionism."
  • "Zionism is essentially a constructive idea. It's an idea about imagining a future and then building that future, and it's all about construction, it's all about building. And this is why Zionism has been a remarkably powerful idea."
  • "Anti-Zionism is a destructive idea by its very definition. It's an idea that sees something vibrant, something that was built, and believes that it shouldn't exist, that it must be destroyed."
  • "As long as the Palestinian goal remains the same...that the goal was no Jewish state in any border whatsoever between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea; as long as their supreme goal is first and foremost that the Jews will not have their state in any part of the land, the problem is not whether they use BDS or whether they use demonstrations or whether they use terrorism, the problem is that regardless of the means that they try to pursue, they're pursuing a destructive goal which, as a result, will not succeed because destructive goals just do not have the energy that we can see that a constructive goal like classic Zionism has."
  • "In the UNRWA schools and in the UNRWA refugee camps, a separate Palestinian national identity was forged....That in itself is not a problem, most of the world's national identities are fairly recent, but the problem is that the foundational ethos became one of return and revenge, and this remains the foundational ethos, not just of the Palestinian people, but the one that is taught at UNRWA schools. And Western nations that fund UNRWA to billions of dollars are essentially fueling the conflict."
  • "[In] the American administration...they just think of it as cheap money to buy quiet....This was protection money. This was a bribe. 'Let's just give this money to buy another year of quiet,' but it actually doesn't buy quiet....It definitely does not buy quiet in the long term, because it feeds another generation of Palestinians who believe it is their most noble duty to rid the land of Zionism and of the Jewish state. And ultimately, the people who pay for that are not Americans...the people who pay for that are Israelis in blood and life."

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