Israel Foiled over 200 "Significant" Terror Attacks in 2023
(Times of Israel
Israel Security Agency head Ronen Bar said Tuesday that "only three months have passed, and this year more than 200 significant attacks have been thwarted, including about 150 shooting attacks, 20 bomb attacks, rammings, kidnappings and others."
Video: Hamas Fires Missiles at Israeli Jet
On April 3, a video appeared on Twitter showing Hamas fighters in Gaza firing shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles at an Israeli jet. The plane can be seen deploying decoy flares.
U.S. Strike Kills Senior Islamic State Leader in Syria
(Stars and Stripes
Khalid 'Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri, a senior ISIS leader responsible for planning attacks in Europe and developing the group's leadership network, was killed Monday by a U.S. strike in northwest Syria, U.S. Central Command said.
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IDF Veterans Volunteer in Brazil
- Carrie Rubinstein (Ynet News
Dozens of discharged Israeli soldiers have volunteered in Rio de Janeiro to support local children living in shantytowns on the outskirts of the city.
The Israeli volunteers came with the "Heroes for Life" organization, which recruits Israeli backpackers traveling in third-world countries for humanitarian causes.
32,000 veterans have already participated in the program, 8,000 in 2022 alone.
Last month, 40 former soldiers arrived in Rio, where they prepare lesson plans, draw the multiplication table, and clean and paint whatever's needed.
The veterans teach English, math, and personal hygiene, and work to improve the children's living conditions.
Tourism to Israel nears Pre-Covid Levels
966,200 foreign visitors entered Israel in the first three months of 2023, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported.
This compares with 309,700 visitors in the same period in 2022, and the record 1.1 million visitors in 2019, before the pandemic.
Israel Tech Sector Still among World's Strongest
Tel Aviv ranked third in the Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) region for venture capital investment in 2022 with $6.9 billion, behind London with $20.5 billion and Paris with $11.1 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by Amsterdam-based Dealroom.co and Tel Aviv Tech, an initiative from the Tel Aviv mayor's office.
In 2022, the total value of companies in Tel Aviv's tech sector reached $393 billion, up from $113 billion in 2018.
19.2% of venture capital investment in the city went to cybersecurity in 2022, followed by health (10.7%) and fintech (5.6%).
View Videos from Historical Israeli Film Collection
(Israel Film Archive
The Women's International Zionist Organization's
historical film collection, ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s, is now available for viewing online.
The collection spans WIZO's main areas of activity, including daycare centers, youth villages, helping immigrants, professional training, and assistance to senior citizens.
Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- U.S. Discussing New Approach to Iran Nuclear Deal - Barak Ravid
The Biden administration has recently discussed with its European and Israeli partners a proposal for an interim agreement with Iran that would include some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran halting enriching uranium at 60% purity. The Iranians have so far rejected the idea. (Axios)
- How the U.S. Government Bought Israeli Spyware - Mark Mazzetti and Ronen Bergman
A secret contract was finalized on Nov. 8, 2021, between a company that has acted as a front for the U.S. government and the American affiliate of the Israeli NSO Group. It gave the U.S. government access to one of its most powerful weapons - the Landmark geolocation tool that can covertly track mobile phones around the world without the phone user's knowledge or consent. Only five days earlier, the Biden administration had announced it had placed NSO on a Commerce Department blacklist.
The secret contract - which the New York Times is disclosing for the first time - still appears to be active. The contract stated that the "United States government" would be the ultimate user of the tool.
As reported last year, the FBI purchased access in 2019 to NSO's Pegasus, which invades mobile phones and mines their contents. The secret November 2021 contract used the same small New Jersey-based government contractor that the FBI used two years earlier to purchase Pegasus. L3Harris, the American defense giant, had discussions with Commerce Department officials about buying NSO's hacking tools and there was a draft agreement in place before the White House publicly objected.
(New York Times)
- Weapons from Israel Are Entering the European Market
The Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands is seeking reactive artillery to provide fire support at short, medium and long distances. It reported that "compared to the American HIMARS system, [the Israeli PULS artillery system] can carry more missiles. It is also possible to buy more missiles on the budget and they will be available earlier. In addition, in the future, PULS will be suitable for ammunition of European manufacturers."
The Israeli system can carry 16 high-precision 122-mm missiles with a range of up to 35 km and up to two Predator Hawk missiles with a range of up to 300 km. "This year, the army will get access to the Israeli PULS system. As a result, the [Netherlands] Ministry of Defense has its own rocket artillery for the first time in many years."
Denmark previously concluded a contract for the purchase of this system. Germany plans to create a new European next-generation missile system called Euro-PULS, based on the Israeli PULS system.
- Israel's Oil Imports from Kurdistan Disrupted - Noam Raydan
The flow of crude oil from Kurdistan in northern Iraq to Israel was temporarily suspended on Mar. 25. Some 40% of Israel's oil supplies were sourced from Kurdistan in the first three months of 2023 - almost double the proportion in 2022, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. The oil flows through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
This trade was disrupted when an international arbitration court ruled in favor of the Iraqi federal government in its claim against Turkey over Ankara's decision to permit the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to export oil via Ceyhan without its permission and in violation of a 1973 agreement governing the Iraq-Turkey Crude Oil Pipeline.
Israel also sources its crude oil needs from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Gabon, Kazakhstan, and Nigeria.
See also Iraq, Kurds Reach Temporary Deal to Unblock Oil Flows - Benoit Faucon
The central Iraqi government and Kurdish authorities struck a deal Tuesday to end a standoff over oil sales that had blocked nearly 500,000 barrels a day in exports through a pipeline from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
(Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Palestinians Barricade Themselves inside Al-Aqsa Mosque prior to Passover Holiday - Ash Obel
On Tuesday night, dozens of masked Palestinian youths barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after Ramadan prayers, together with fireworks, clubs and rocks, prior to Jewish visits to the area on Wednesday, Passover Eve. (Times of Israel)
"If armed rioters barricaded themselves in the Vatican or the Great Mosque of Mecca, we'd expect the police to similarly restore peace," said Aviva Klompas, a former official at the Israeli Mission to the UN. (JNS)
See also Israel Police Acted to Prevent Riot and Ensure Prayer at Al-Aqsa
The Israel Police said Wednesday:
"Dozens of law-breaking and masked juveniles smuggled fireworks, clubs and stones into the mosque and violently barricaded themselves inside of it using iron rods, closets and other objects from the mosque, which they vandalized."
"Following many continuous attempts to remove the individuals from the mosque using dialogue failed, police were forced to enter the compound in order to remove the individuals, allow the Fajr [dawn] prayer to take place as planned, and prevent a violent riot."
"Following the removal of the violent rioters, Israel Police forces left the Temple Mount, and the mosque was cleaned after the rioters vandalized, defiled, and desecrated it. Early this morning, the Fajr prayer was held at the Temple Mount as planned and the police worked to enable the arrival of significant numbers of Muslim worshipers. The site is quiet at this time." (Israel Police-Twitter)
- Palestinians in Gaza Fire Rocket Barrage at Israel on Wednesday
Palestinians in Gaza fired 16 rockets at Israel early Wednesday. One rocket struck a factory in the Sderot industrial area, causing damage. In response,
the Israel Air Force targeted a Hamas weapons factory and a weapons storage facility in Gaza. Media reports indicated that the rockets were fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from the territory it rules.
(Times of Israel)
- Two IDF Soldiers Stabbed by Palestinian in Central Israel
Two IDF soldiers were stabbed by a Palestinian near the Tzrifin military base in central Israel Tuesday morning. The attacker was arrested.
(Times of Israel)
- Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire at Israeli Kibbutz - Einav Halabi
Gunmen in the Palestinian Authority opened fire at Kibbutz Ma'ale Gilboa in Israel on Monday evening, with bullets striking the walls of four homes. Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video of the shooting.
- Terrorists from Palestinian Authority Open Fire on IDF Cargo Plane
Palestinian Arab terrorists fired on an Israel Air Force cargo plane as it flew over Samaria on Sunday.
- Cyberattacks Take Down Israeli University Websites
The websites of seven major universities in Israel were attacked by hackers calling themselves "Anonymous Sudan" on Tuesday. Sites targeted included Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Haifa University, Weizmann Institute of Science, Open University, and Reichman University. All of the sites were soon back online.
"These are service-preventing attacks - those that only bring down websites and do not steal information and that can be recovered from relatively easily," cyber security firm Check Point told Maariv.
See also Emergency Medical Services Provider United Hatzalah Hit by Cyberattacks (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Netanyahu: "If We Do Not Prevent Iran from Obtaining Nuclear Weapons, the Entire World Will Be Held Hostage"
"In every generation there are those who rise up to destroy us and in this generation Iran has risen up to destroy us," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a ceremony to award the Prime Minister's Prize for Mossad Operations on Tuesday. "If we do not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, we will be in a different reality in which the entire world will be hostage to those who have inscribed on their flag their desire to destroy us; therefore, this is our supreme mission."
"I would like to tell our enemies not to err: No internal debate will prevent us from doing what needs to be done together in order to defend our state and prevent them from carrying out their destructive desire."
(Prime Minister's Office)
Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Israel Security Agency, "Iran is responsible for 95% of the security threats against us." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Why Israel Has Been Stepping Up Strikes on Iranian Military Targets in Syria - Bassel Oudat
In the past three years, Israel has targeted Iranian soldiers, depots, planes and military advisers across Syria as Iran's presence and influence have expanded across the country. The threat to Israel from Iranian forces in Syria is growing and is no longer limited to border areas. The intensity and frequency of the Israeli strikes on Syrian sites in recent weeks have been unprecedented. It indicates an increase in Iranian militia movements and arms shipments in Syria.
"Israel is now trying to compensate for the hiatus following the earthquake" that took place in Syria in February "when it ceased all air strikes against Iranian targets," said Diaa Qadoor, a Syrian expert on Iranian affairs. "Meanwhile, Iran has taken advantage of the humanitarian disaster to accumulate threatening elements, whether missiles, drones, or at the leadership level." Israel is now targeting military advisers and not just military targets.
Syrian opposition figure Ahmed Rahhal said that there "has been an increase in the quality and quantity of weapons entering Syria from Iran, and Iran brought many weapons into the country under the guise of humanitarian aid during the earthquake period. This crosses many Israeli red lines, as Iran has also increased production inside Syria. All the weapons coming on oil ships entering the port of Banias go to Hizbullah's warehouses in Syria until they are transported to southern Lebanon." (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
- U.S. Report: Iran's Support for Terrorism
Iran was the "leading state sponsor of terrorism," according to the State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2021. Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security facilitated a "wide range of terrorist and other illicit activities" in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The Qods Force - the external operations branch of the Revolutionary Guards - provided arms, training and funding to militant groups in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. The Islamic Republic also harbored senior al-Qaeda leaders despite the ideological differences between the Shiite theocracy and the Sunni jihadi movement.
(U.S. Institute of Peace)
- The People of Israel are a nation captive to its history. Everything we believe we are making new has, in fact, already happened throughout our nation's existence.
- Our history books describe bitter wars between tribes and kingdoms, Pharisees and Sadducees, Karaites and Rabbis, Hasidim and Misnagdim, and the Zealots and moderate leaders. The scars of these fights are borne by our nation's body and have harmed its soul.
- And after all this - the People of Israel live. One of our most prominent startups is using conflict as a lever for society's advancement. Thanks to the characteristics instilled in us from the dawn of our existence as a nation and throughout history, we knew how to use conflict to unite us.
- Passover seats us all together at the table, returns us to our past, and obligates us to remember and recount our journey so far. No less important is that Passover renews our optimism and hope.
- We made it past Pharaoh. We made it through crises, conflicts, and separations. We will make it through this too.
The writer served as Israel's national security advisor and head of the National Security Council between 2017 and 2021. He is head of the Institute for Zionist Strategy and National Security in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Center family mourns the loss of
Zvi R. Marom, z"l
Zvi R. Marom served as Director General of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs from 1984 to 2003 and served on the Steering Committee of the Board of Fellows from 2004 to 2020. Prior to that, he held a variety of senior positions in the Israeli intelligence services and retired with the equivalent rank of Major General.
Zvi was very involved in studies on election reform and constitution, economic privatization, law enforcement, the education system, and the Druze minority. He was born in Romania and came to Israel in the 1950s.
May his memory be a blessing.