June 5, 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:

Israeli Strikes in Syria Said to Target Training Base for Hizbullah's Golan Unit (Syrian Observer-Turkey)
    The Syrian opposition al-Souria Net, quoting Israel's Channel 11, reported that recent Israeli airstrikes on Damascus were aimed at Hizbullah's Golan Unit.
    The airstrikes targeted a training camp for the unit near Damascus where individuals received training to carry out operations against Israel.
    The strikes also hit a Hizbullah headquarters in southern Syria involved in planning attacks against Israel and the U.S. in the region.

Hizbullah Members Accused over Killing of Irish UNIFIL Officer in Lebanon (Reuters)
    A Lebanese military tribunal has formally accused five members of Hizbullah and the allied Amal Movement of killing Irish UN peacekeeper Pvt. Sean Rooney, 23, on Dec. 15, 2022, a senior Lebanese judicial source said Thursday.

Israel to Share Data for Weaving Iron Dome into U.S. Air Defense - Jen Judson (Defense News)
    The Israeli military and the U.S. Army are taking steps to tie the Army's two Iron Dome batteries into the U.S. missile defense program.
    On May 30, Moshe Patel, who heads the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said, "We are going to give them the right solutions and whatever they need in order to integrate fully the capability of Iron Dome inside the" U.S. Integrated Battle Command System.

How UAVs Have Increased Israel's Military Power - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    During Israel's operation in Gaza on May 9-13, IDF drones logged over 4,000 hours and carried out 115 airstrikes.
    According to a senior IDF official, over 75% of the flight hours of the Air Force currently are flown by drones as opposed to piloted aircraft.
    IDF drone Unit 210 commander Lt.-Col. T. told the Post that slightly less than half of the senior commanders who help run the drone unit are women, including his top deputy. Half of the technical maintenance force are also female.

Guardian Corrects False Claim over Palestinian Water Use - Adam Levick (CAMERA)
    A misleading Guardian article on May 17, written by Bethan McKernan, included the claim that "100 liters a day" is the "minimum" per capita, per day water requirement "set by the World Health Organization" (WHO).
    That would mean that Palestinian water consumption in the West Bank (at 85.6 liters) is less than the minimum requirement.
    We contacted Guardian editors, noting that WHO in fact states that the minimum is between 50-100 liters - meaning that Palestinian water consumption is within the standard.
    On May 24, the editors corrected the relevant sentence.

Israel to Inaugurate Elevator at Tomb of the Patriarchs - Pesach Benson (JNS)
    On June 8, Israel will inaugurate an elevator to improve handicap accessibility at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs - the burial place of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Leah.
    Previously, visitors had to climb 89 steps to enter the site.
    Efforts to build the elevator had been mired for decades in legal petitions filed by Palestinians. A High Court of Justice ruling in November 2021 cleared away the last legal hurdles.
    The current structure around the tomb was built 2,000 years ago by King Herod.
    After the Mamluke conquest in 1260, the site was converted into a mosque and Jews were banned from going past the seventh step of a staircase outside the building.

Israeli Startups Raised $550 Million in May (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised $550 million in May 2023, for a total of $2.7 billion in the first five months of 2023.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Appointed Vice-President of UN General Assembly
    The Iranian regime was appointed Thursday as one of the vice-presidents of the UN General Assembly which will begin next September. Iran's envoy Heidar-Ali Balouji was also appointed the rapporteur of the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Committee.
        The U.S. Mission to the UN expressed its opposition to Iran's leadership throughout the UN system, saying: "Iran cannot act as an honest broker in its role as a Vice President of the General Assembly, because it has shown, time and time again, that it does not seek to enhance global peace and security, but rather works against it."
        Israel's Foreign Ministry called the decision "shameful," saying: "In addition to murdering its own citizens, attacking innocents around the world and racing towards a nuclear weapon with the goal of wiping Israel off the map, Iran will now serve in a senior UN position. This is the same country that calls for the destruction of another member state of the organization it represents," referring to Iran's repeated call that Israel must be obliterated from the face of the Earth. (Iran International)
        See also Iran Elected to UN Committee on Disarmament and International Security
    The Islamic Republic of Iran was elected by acclamation to the UN General Assembly's Committee on Disarmament and International Security on June 1. "The criminals who trample their own people, violate UN Security Council resolutions, arm Russia with 400 UAVs to bomb Ukrainian civilians, fail to cooperate with IAEA and foment terrorism at home and abroad are unfit to serve on a committee dealing with disarmament and international security," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. (UN Watch)
  • Ukraine Armed Forces Mastering Israeli Early-Warning Radar System in Poland
    The Ukrainian and Israeli militaries are working together in Poland to implement an early-warning radar system in Ukraine to detect missiles and drones. "As we speak, the Israeli and Ukrainian militaries are working together in Poland to implement our warning system, which will save the lives of civilians in Ukraine," said Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.
        One of the significant advantages of the Israeli system is its ability to calculate a relatively precise time and place of impact for launched missiles. The Israeli system will allow air warning sirens to be activated more quickly, but only in those places where there is a real danger. (Ukrainian Military Center)
  • Israel Complains to UN after Hizbullah Drills Takeover of Israeli Communities - Ben Caspit
    Hizbullah staged an unprecedented show of force in mid-May in southern Lebanon, with a military drill simulating special forces penetrating Israel and taking over Israeli communities. Yet a senior Israeli military source told Al-Monitor, "There really was nothing new here. We know what Hizbullah has and we don't need showcase maneuvers to learn about it. In our opinion, this extravagant exercise was a mistake and caused damage to Hizbullah in quite a few areas."
        The exercise provoked domestic Lebanese anger against Hizbullah, and also drew considerable criticism in the Sunni Arab world, which sees Hizbullah as a collaborator of Iran. Moreover, Hizbullah's drill underscored Israel's claims that Hizbullah was constantly violating UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war and banned maneuvers along the border. In fact, Israel submitted a formal complaint against Lebanon on Thursday to the UN Security Council, over what Israel called "Hizbullah's provocations."  (Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Egyptian Policeman Kills Three Israeli Soldiers at Egypt-Israel Border - Emanuel Fabian
    Combat soldiers Staff Sgt. Ori Yitzhak Iluz, Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan, and Sgt. Lia Ben Nun, tasked with guarding Israel's border with Egypt, were killed early Saturday by an Egyptian policeman who had infiltrated into Israel.
        The gunman walked 5 km. from his guard post in Egypt and climbed up a cliff to reach an emergency gate used by the IDF to cross the border when necessary, in coordination with the Egyptian army, which indicated his knowledge of the area. He entered Israel and walked 150 meters to the guard post where he killed Iluz and Ben Nun.
        After the two soldiers were discovered dead, the IDF began to search for the perpetrator. An army drone identified the attacker hiding behind a rock formation 1.5 km. from the border. As a group of soldiers approached him, the attacker opened fire from 200 meters away, killing Dahan. Another group of soldiers then killed the Egyptian. The IDF said the Egyptian army was fully cooperating with the investigation. (Times of Israel)
        See also Egypt Border Terrorist Preplanned Deadly Attack - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
  • Israel Slams IAEA for Ending Probe into Iranian Nuclear Site - Itamar Eichner
    Israel's Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for closing its investigation of the Iranian Marivan site where remnants of uranium had been detected. Iran later destroyed large sections of the site.
        "The explanations Iran had submitted on nuclear materials on the site were not credible or technically possible. It continues to lie to the IAEA and deceive the international community," the ministry said. "The IAEA's capitulation to political pressure from Iran is very disappointing, especially due to the information on file pointing conclusively to Iran's blatant violation of the inspection agreements."
        Closing the investigation will "send the message that there is no cost attached to the violations and Iran can continue deceiving the international community on its way to achieving its nuclear military program, in full."  (Ynet News)
  • UNRWA Agrees to New Framework for U.S. Support - Khaled Abu Toameh
    UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, last week agreed to renew a framework agreement with the U.S. for 2023-2024. While it reaffirms the U.S. commitment to support UNRWA, it includes multiple specific commitments to strengthened accountability, transparency, and consistency with UN principles, including neutrality.
        The agreement stipulates that "no contributions by the U.S. shall be made to UNRWA except on the condition that [UNRWA] take all possible measures to assure that no part of the U.S. contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training...or who has engaged in any act of terrorism." On Friday, the U.S. announced a contribution of $153.7 million to UNRWA. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • In New York State, a Huge Majority Knocks Down a Legislative Attack on Israel - Ronald Lauder and Dan Rosenthal
    Last month, while hundreds of rockets were raining down on innocent Israeli civilians, Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and state Sen. Jabari Brisport introduced legislation in Albany attacking charitable Jewish organizations. Though the bill's sponsors claim it would prohibit nonprofit organizations from supporting Israeli settlement activity, the legislation is no more than a thinly veiled attack on the State of Israel.
        Bills such as this must be stopped in their tracks wherever they are put forth. Speaker Carl Heastie said the bill is a "nonstarter" and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins quickly echoed the same position. Knowing the bill would be dead on arrival, the sole purpose of the proposed law was to attack the credibility of Jewish organizations supporting Israel. We applaud the dozens of lawmakers who have already signed on to a statement condemning the proposed law.
        Jews of the diaspora look up to the miracle of Israel, admire its astonishing achievements and view it as their second home. We must make clear that New York will always stand up to Jew-hate in whatever form it takes. Our state and Israel have deep ties spanning generations that will never be cast aside.
        Ronald Lauder is president of the World Jewish Congress. Dan Rosenthal is an assemblyman representing parts of Queens. (New York Daily News)
  • Shame on the UK Foreign Office for Its Arabist Bias - Ben Shaw
    I'm an ordinary Jew from London, but I had an extraordinary sister. Lucy Dee's life was filled with good deeds, until she was murdered by gunmen in the West Bank with two of her beautiful, kind and empathetic daughters, my nieces Maia, 20, and Rina, 15. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "The UK condemns this appalling attack on civilians."
        Let's contrast this with the Foreign Office. Its statement was short, dismissive and lacked any moral fiber. "We are saddened to hear about the deaths of two British-Israeli citizens and the serious injuries sustained by a third individual. The UK calls for all parties across the region to de-escalate tensions." No mention of terror, no outrage. The sisters merely "died" and a third person - Lucy - was somehow injured. (She died three days later.)
        I wish to use my family tragedy as a force for good, and for me that is exposing the hypocrisy inside the Foreign Office that allows UK taxpayers' money to support terrorism. (The Times-UK)
  • The Historic Ties between Israel and the Kurds of Iraq Will Continue - Suzan Quitaz
    Historically, Israel has had cordial ties with the Kurds in a generally hostile region. After the fall of Saddam Hussain in 2003, the Kurds established a de facto Kurdish state and renewed and deepened their relations with Israel. On September 25, 2017, the Kurds held an Independence Referendum, in which 93% of Kurds voted in favor of independence. Israel was the only country in the world to endorse an independent Kurdish state.
        If Kurds ever have their own independent state, they most definitely would join the Abraham Accords. However, many challenges and obstacles remain for this to happen. In May 2022, the Iraqi Parliament passed a law that threatens the death penalty or life imprisonment for any Iraqi citizen, company, or institution that attempts any kind of normalization with Israel or Israelis.
        The writer is a Kurdish-Swedish journalist and researcher on Middle Eastern affairs. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Dana Stroul, the Pentagon's top Middle East policymaker, told JNS that the decision to transfer Israel from the U.S. military's European Command to its Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East, was "a strategic game changer for how the United States can partner with Israel and our Arab partners in the region to advance security and stability."
  • The Pentagon thinks that sharing intelligence, exploring integrated air and missile defense, and expanding maritime awareness "contribute in a positive way to security and stability," Stroul said. "We work on it every day."
  • "We see Israel and the IDF as the most combat credible and capable military partner for CENTCOM." Deepening that relationship helps prepare Israel and the U.S. "to respond to a variety of scenarios, and that includes Iran's destabilizing activities....We are constantly sharing exchanges on Iran nuclear advances, and discussing how both sides will most effectively work together to address them."
  • "The United States learns as much from Israel as Israel learns from the United States, and it's not just Iron Dome. It's what Israel has achieved with a multi-layered air defense system, and the expertise which it brings to bear every day to protect civilian lives."

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