June 8, 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:

IDF Expands Its Electronic Warfare Capabilities - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    In a recent operation, the IDF's adversaries were about to aim and fire a precise weapon at IDF forces in the field when suddenly the IDF could hear the enemy asking, "Why aren't we shooting?"
    The IDF's electromagnetic spectrum warfare center had disabled the enemy forces' ability to function.
    The unit carries out a variety of activities that include direct jamming and confounding an enemy's communications.
    A senior IDF official from the unit said, "The purpose of the unit is to enable total control over the electromagnetic spectrum, which allows much freer action by the IDF's various forces in the field."
    "Now when the air force attacks, it can be assumed that the electromagnetic warriors are involved in some way, the same with the navy and the same on land with operations by tanks and armored personnel vehicles."
    The unit's capabilities were used during the May 2021 conflict in Gaza. In a variety of situations, Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives in the field unexplainably lost touch with their commanders.

Egypt Bans Public Funeral for Soldier Who Killed Three Israeli Soldiers - Thaer Mansour (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
    Egyptian authorities on Tuesday imposed a ban on activists and family members holding a public funeral for Mohamed Salah, the policeman who killed three Israeli soldiers at the Egyptian border on Saturday.
    Authorities feared he could be treated as a "martyr."
    Egyptian security forces cordoned off roads leading to the deceased's home northeast of Cairo, and policemen were deployed around the house.
    Pro-Palestinian activists and members of opposition groups who had attempted to reach the house were hunted down by security forces and forced to back off.

The Saudi-Jordanian Marriage - Harold Rhode (JNS)
    On June 1, 2023, Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein - son of King Abdullah bin Hussein - married Rajwa al-Seif, a Saudi royal whose maternal grandmother is a first cousin of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.
    The Saudis and Jordanians share the same enemies: radical Sunni Islam, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, and radical Shiite Islam led by the Iranian regime. Israel shares these same enemies.
    Although it is rarely made public, the Saudis and Jordanians view the Palestinian Authority, Hamas (a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (backed by Iran) as mortal enemies and as potential threats to their regimes.
    Thus, they need Israel to keep these Palestinian groups under control.
    The writer served for 28 years as an advisor on the Islamic world in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Israel Received Critical Iran Intelligence from IDF Soldier's 15-Year Side Project (Jerusalem Post)
    An Iranian Israeli immigrant who was fluent in Farsi and Arabic, known as SWO (res.) E., was assigned to monitor broadcasts from Arab nations for the IDF.
    While not part of his job, he also began listening in on the Iranian military, filling numerous notebooks over 15 years with intelligence on senior Iranian forces.
    After the Shah was overthrown in 1979, E.'s side project became his full-time job, as he built a team to help monitor Iranian communications.
    E. also compiled the first Hebrew-Farsi military dictionary which is still in use today.

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Britain and Israel Aren't Just Old Friends, They Are Natural Allies - Dr. Stepan Stepanenko (Daily Express-UK)
    The UK and the State of Israel are not just old friends, they are natural allies whose success very much depends on their respective ability to show a common front and play into each other's strength.
    This is true more than ever before, if we consider how quickly the "Iranian" front has moved to land east of our European continent, courtesy of the new Russian-Iranian bloc.
    We would do well to remember that Israel is coming up against the very crises and dangers that will befall us soon unless we pay closer attention, and learn from one of our most strategic partners' experience and expertise.
    The writer is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society in London.

Meet Israel's Unofficial Arabic Language Spokesperson - Vivian Bercovici (State of Tel Aviv)
    Beirut-born Dr. Edy Cohen, who lived there until age 19, has more than 550,000 followers on Arabic-language Twitter.
    "Because I'm a native son of Lebanon, from the Jewish community in Beirut, and my mother tongue is Arabic, I'm kind of one of them. More or less. Other than religion. I understand them. I understand the mentality."
    "I'm the only Israeli Jew with so many followers in the Arab world."
    I interviewed Cohen shortly after the conflict in April at the Al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.
    Speaking to more than 9,000 people directly on Twitter Spaces on the days following, he explained, "I sent them proof of the 1994 Peace Agreement between Jordan and Israel governing conduct and access to the Al Aqsa compound, and more."
    "I showed them Article 9 of the Agreement, where it is clearly written that Israelis and Jordanians are permitted to access the holy sites on the Temple Mount."
    This agreement was a watershed recognition by an Arab leader that the al Aqsa compound is also important to Jews.
    When he explained this fact to his listeners, "They were in shock. They didn't know that there's an agreement between Israel and the Jordanians; that all Israelis...are permitted to go to the Temple Mount."
    The writer is a former Canadian Ambassador to Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Secretary of State Blinken to AIPAC: U.S.-Israeli Partnership Touches on Every Aspect of Our Lives
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the 2023 AIPAC Policy Summit on Monday: "Today we celebrate 75 years of the U.S.-Israeli partnership" that "touches on every aspect of our lives, from security to business, from energy to public health...making deserts bloom, developing the clean energy technologies of the future, producing vaccines, charting the future of space exploration, and so much more."
        "President Truman never wavered in his decision to extend recognition to the new Jewish state. He said, 'I had faith in Israel even before it was established. I knew it was based on the love of freedom, which has been the guiding star of the Jewish people since the days of Moses....I believe that it had a glorious future before it, not just as a sovereign nation but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.'"  (U.S. State Department)
  • Arab States Take Part in EU Event for Israel's 75th Anniversary
    Brussels hosted a reception marking the 75th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, attended by more than 700 people. "The celebration was organized by the Israeli embassy in Belgium and the EU institutions, in the presence of dozens of ambassadors and senior officials of the EU, more than 40 members of the European Parliament, heads of the Jewish community in Belgium, representatives of foreign countries, and, for the first time, Arab representatives from five countries: Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Morocco and Bahrain," wrote Itamar Eichner in Yediot Ahronot. The Arab delegates' attendance was marked and applauded by those present. (Middle East Monitor-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Plays Down Iranian Claim of New Hypersonic Weapon - Daniel Salami
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday played down Iran's announcement it has developed a new hypersonic ballistic weapon. "I hear our enemies boasting about their development of various weapons. However, we have a better response to every such threat, whether in the air, sea, or land, for both defensive and offensive efforts," he said.
        Iran claimed that the new weapon could overcome Israel's Iron Dome air defense system. But Iron Dome was not designed to intercept long-range missiles. Israel has tools in its air defense arsenal to counter long-range missiles, in the David's Sling and Arrow defense systems. (Ynet News)
  • Major Progress Made in Nuclear Talks between U.S. and Iran - Amos Harel
    The U.S. and Iran have made major progress in the past few days on an agreement on a nuclear deal, Israeli defense officials say. Iran would stop the process of enriching uranium to high levels in return for the alleviation of international sanctions. In the first stage, this would include releasing $20 billion in Iranian assets from frozen bank accounts in South Korea, Iraq, and at the International Monetary Fund.
        Israel opposes the understandings, concerned that such an agreement will neither set back its nuclear program nor reduce the danger coming from Iran. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Wounds Two Israeli Soldiers in Car-Ramming Attack in Huwara - Emanuel Fabian
    Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank town of Huwara on Monday evening. The Palestinian driver initially fled the scene but was later caught. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Civilian Wounded in Shooting Attack in Huwara - Emanuel Fabian
    An Israeli motorist came under fire while driving near the West Bank town of Huwara on Tuesday night. The car was hit with 12 bullets, shattering its windows. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Israel: The Only Formula to Deter Iran Is a Credible Military Threat - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Monday, "Apparently, there is an interim agreement that is being discussed these days with Iran." It would put the Iranian nuclear program on hold but won't roll back the enriched uranium or the nuclear faculties of Iran and, in exchange, they will get economic benefits."
        "The international community has totally failed to block Iran from advancing itself to becoming a nuclear threshold state....Everything that Israel has been saying has been proven correct. The audacity of Iran has crossed any red lines."
        "I do not see any sanctions that are being discussed and might be imposed against the nuclear program of Iran. This is not the way to deter Iran. We always believed that the only formula to deter Iran, which is a rogue and ruthless regime, is through a credible military threat. The positive news is that we are working to develop these military capabilities to stop Iran if needed."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Significance of Reza Pahlavi's Visit to Israel - Ahdeya Ahmed
    At a time when the Iranian people are rebelling against the ayatollah regime, much of the world watched the visit of Iran's Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi to Israel with surprise and admiration. In the Gulf, the Crown Prince was never involved in any intrigues targeting Gulf countries' stability and was never considered an adversary.
        The impact of the visit was positive in the minds of all those who reject the IRGC and seek an empowered and publicly acknowledged opposition figure who stands a chance of replacing the brutal ayatollahs. Pahlavi may not be accepted as a future king, as many may not accept the return of a monarchy. However, he may still be acceptable as a civilian candidate and future leader.
        Pahlavi spoke about a democratic secular Iran and emphasized a Middle East that must defang the extremist regime. The Iranians need to unite behind a leader who is accepted in the region. Pahlavi is the only realistic hope to forge a united front to unseat the ayatollahs.
        Journalist Ahdeya Ahmed is former chairwoman of the Bahraini Journalists Association. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran's Proxies Have Seized Power in Baghdad - Michael Knights
    Iraq may look calm, but Iran's allies have achieved unprecedented control of Iraq's parliament, judiciary, and executive branch, and they are rapidly rigging the political system in their favor and looting the state of its resources.
        Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani leads Iraq in name only. The real powers are three warlords, each closely tied to Iran: U.S.-designated terrorist Qais al-Khazali, the head of the Iran-trained Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia; former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; and the leader of the Iran-founded Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri.
        The U.S. can position itself on the right side of history in Iraq if it continues to push back energetically against the worst excesses of the militias that stand behind the current government. Washington can still use its voice and unmatched financial and intelligence capabilities to weaken antidemocratic forces and give Iraq's youth, reformers, and anticorruption investigators the opportunity to defend the fragile democracy that still - barely - exists in Iraq.
        The writer is a senior fellow of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • How Israel Can Solve Its Gaza Problem - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are Palestinian terror organizations committed to annihilating Israel, controlling Gaza, and threatening to launch attacks at times of their choosing if Jerusalem does not act as they demand. They use Gaza's civilian population as human shields to prevent the Israelis from hitting their military infrastructure.
        Jerusalem wants Hamas sufficiently weak to be deterred from initiating armed conflict yet strong enough to force its will over any potential competitor, such as PIJ or Salafist groups. The Israelis also seek to keep Egypt on their side.
        Yet this approach grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemns Israelis to persistent threats from Hamas. Israel's goal should be to remove Hamas' threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. With proper preparation, this goal may be feasible at the appropriate time.
        Israel must reassess its strategy and embark on a campaign to permanently end Hamas' threats. It will have to take the initiative and deny Hamas the ability to produce and develop new weapons even absent Hamas' provocations.
        The writer, former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • The "No Israel, No Problem" Approach to Peacemaking - Clifford D. May
    "We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimeter," Brig.-Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman for the Iranian regime's armed forces, has vowed. Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas have the same goal. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that governs the West Bank, doesn't call for Israeli Jews to be killed, but he does provide financial rewards to Palestinian terrorists and their families.
        Why don't self-proclaimed champions of the "Palestinian cause" pressure Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to grant more rights and freedoms to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank? Why do they ignore the fact that if missile and terrorist attacks from Gaza and the West Bank ceased, counterattacks from Israel also would end? Why do they never criticize Palestinian leaders for rejecting offers of two-state solutions in 1937, 1947, 2000, 2001, and 2008?
        The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)
  • Mahmoud Abbas' Ridiculous Temple Denial - Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein
    Mahmoud Abbas, in his speech at the UN on May 15, denied once again that there was any proof of a Jewish link to the Temple Mount. In doing so, he ignored the overwhelming archeological, documentary and historical evidence of the Jewish Temples, including non-Jewish historical writings and documentary sources, as well as a substantial and growing body of archeological evidence.
        The ninth-century Muslim historian Al-Tabari gave a detailed account of the decision by Omar, the great Caliph who conquered Jerusalem, not to place a mosque on the site of the Jewish Temple and, instead, to locate the Al-Aqsa mosque outside of the Temple precincts. Muthir al-Ghiram, a 14th-century Arab historian of Islamic traditions, provided a similar account, emphasizing Omar's intention to separate the Muslim prayer site and rituals from those holy to the Jews.
        Muslim scholars like eighth-century Abd al-Rahman and 13th to 14th centuries Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya rejected the idea that Islamic tradition attributes any sanctity to the Temple Mount for Muslims. In more modern times, the Waqf's own Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Jerusalem, published in 1925, explicitly stated about the Temple Mount: "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute."
        Farley Weiss is chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF). Leonard Grunstein serves on the AIPAC National Council. (JNS)
  • Palestinians Prefer Terrorists Who Want to Kill Jews - Bassam Tawil
    Hamas-affiliated lists won most of the seats in the elections for the student councils at the two most important Palestinian universities in the West Bank: An-Najah University and Birzeit University. Students affiliated with Hamas boasted that their group continues to carry out terrorist attacks to kill Jews and ridiculed their rivals in Fatah for being too soft on Israel. The underlying message the Hamas-affiliated lists sent to thousands of students was: Vote for us because we uphold the armed struggle against Israel and promise to continue the Jihad (holy war) to murder Jews and replace Israel with an Islamist state.
        The Hamas victory is yet another reminder how Palestinians have been raised to hate Israel and glorify those who murder Jews. For generations, Palestinian leaders have been poisoning the hearts and minds of their people. The elections are a clear indication that if all of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were ever handed over to the Palestinian Authority, they would end up in the hands of Hamas, whether through elections or a violent coup like the one that took place in Gaza in 2007. (Gatestone Institute)
        See also Top Fatah Official Warns of Its Decline in West Bank (AFP)

  • Other Issues

  • Decline in Israel Venture Capital Investment Is Unrelated to Judicial Reform Controversy - Michael Fertik
    Israeli startups have never been stronger, more inventive, more dynamic, more sophisticated or more attractive. The recent downturn in venture capital investment in Israel mirrors the declines across the globe. In the U.S., venture funding fell by 40%. European venture investment was down by 75% and Asian VC investment declined by 70%. The doomsayers can't blame judicial reform for investment declines in China, Korea, Finland, and Germany.
        While Moody's credit rating agency downgraded Israel's outlook from "positive" to "stable," never once in recorded history has the alleged creditworthiness of a country entered into an investment committee discussion about a particular startup.
        The reason for the global decline in venture capital investment is related to the fact that the U.S. Federal Reserve has raised interest rates from 0% to 5% in the space of a year. When interest rates collapsed to near zero in response to the global economic crisis of 2008, investors plowed funds into riskier high-tech ventures. Suddenly, U.S. bonds once again produce beautiful returns. It's only natural that investors would look to reallocate a lot of their money into safer, liquid assets like U.S. government bonds instead.
        The writer is founder of Heroic Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur and early-stage venture investor. (Ynet News)

  • Antisemitism

  • The U.S. Antisemitism Strategy Has No Clothes - Rabbi Avi Weiss and Eitan Fischberger
    The recently released U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism misses some of the key forces driving antisemitism today. The 60-page document offers a multiplicity of ways to counter the world's oldest hatred, including beefing up security for Jewish institutions and its emphasis on education. But its most serious flaw is that it lacks any real consideration of how anti-Zionism, the denial of the Jewish right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland, manifests as a politically correct version of antisemitism.
        It does so by including the fringe Nexus definition as a guide for identifying Jew-hatred, alongside the globally accepted IHRA working definition. While IHRA equates anti-Zionism with antisemitism, Nexus allows for opposition to the Jewish right to self-determination, opening the antisemitism loopholes that IHRA was intended to close, thereby rendering the endorsement of IHRA entirely meaningless. (Tablet)

  • Weekend Features

  • The Children of Israel March through New York - Sahar Tartak
    On Sunday, tens of thousands marched through the streets of New York in honor of a beautiful cause - the "Celebrate Israel" parade. Hundreds of thousands of spectators watched a variety of organizations and public figures join in the festivities: the Orthodox Union, the NYPD police band, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams, and nearly a dozen Israeli ministers. Holocaust survivors danced through the streets alongside IDF veterans, accompanied by live music, waving Israeli flags.
        I found the greatest hope in the thousands of children representing their Jewish day schools, synagogues, and communities. The stories of their ancestors remain in those children's hearts, and they march because there is nothing more beautiful than resilience in the face of destruction. They are proud and infinitely positive Jews, connected to Jews past and present.
        Those children hear the stories of their ancestors and recognize that their life is a gift. They are tasked with the responsibility to treasure life, in honor of those who could not. Israel itself is a gift - one that keeps on giving, protecting its people from the persecution they would face almost anywhere else in the world.
        The writer is a student at Yale University. (National Review)

  • Norwegian diplomat Tor Wennesland, the UN's resident representative in Jerusalem, has been particularly vocal in condemning Israel and adopting almost in totality a biased and one-sided Palestinian narrative.
  • During the May 9-13 IDF operation against the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, Wennesland declared, "I am deeply alarmed by developments in Gaza after Israel launched a military operation this morning targeting members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)." Wennesland seems to ignore the fact that on May 2, PIJ fired 104 projectiles from Gaza into Israeli population centers.
  • One might expect that the one senior official whose function includes coordination of the Middle East peace process would at least make some attempt to address the realities within which he is functioning in an honest manner and conduct himself with the impartiality and neutrality as is required by the UN Charter.
  • It is surely inconceivable that such a senior official could routinely and glibly condemn Israel for conducting military action in response to blatant terror attacks.
  • Articles 100 and 101 of the UN Charter require UN officials to exercise "the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity." Staff Regulations 1.1 and 1.2 require that the political and religious views and convictions of UN officials and staff do not adversely affect their official duties.
  • In light of his clear predisposition against Israel in contravention of the UN's own internal rules, it might be appropriate that the UN review the functioning of Tor Wennesland and recall him.

    The writer, former legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry, directs the International Law Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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