June 29, 2023
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
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In-Depth Issues:

Israel Seizes Millions in Iran Quds Force, Hizbullah Crypto Assets - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has seized millions of dollars in cryptocurrency belonging to the IRGC's Quds Force and Hizbullah, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Tuesday.
    He said the funds were specifically designated to be used for terror purposes.

Israel Works to Thwart Iran's Cyber Operations - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) Chief Gabi Portnoy said Tuesday, "The Israeli cyber community knows Iran's cyber operations inside-out and works to thwart it in many ways. Iran's intelligence personnel, the IRGC and Hizbullah who are involved in cyber operations against Israel, know exactly what I am talking about."
    "Two key players in Iranian intelligence, Farazin Karimi and Majteba Matzafi...set up the Radwan Academic Group, which trains hackers for bad purposes."
    Ali Hidari operates out of Beirut and "coordinates cyber operations between Iran and Hizbullah, which causes harm to the Lebanese civilian sector."
    Portnoy called on top international cyber officials to work together to stop Iranian and Hizbullah hackers "from their attacks on the world."

Israel Helped UAE Fend Off Major Cyberattack - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel recently helped the UAE fend off a serious cyberattack, UAE cyber chief Muhammad al-Kuwaiti said Tuesday.
    "Thank God for the Abraham Accords....We plug into the great Start-Up Nation [Israel]...to build up that cyber dome or to extend that cyber dome" to defend against cyberattacks.

PA Official: "Iran Is Already in the West Bank" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian security source said Palestinian Islamic Jihad has become a dominant force in the northern West Bank, largely thanks to the financial aid it receives from Iran.
    "Islamic Jihad is using Iranian money to buy weapons and loyalty in the West Bank. The organization is paying high salaries to its members."
    A Palestinian official in Ramallah said, "Iran is already here, in the West Bank. The Iranians want their Palestinian agents to extend their control from Gaza to the West Bank."

Assessing Israel's Ongoing Campaign Against Iran in Syria - Col. (ret.) Dr. Eran Lerman (Jerusalem Strategic Tribune)
    Since 2013 - and more intensely since 2017 - Israel has been conducting an active military and intelligence campaign against Iran's presence in Syria. The Israeli defense establishment assesses that its pressure on Iran's presence in Syria is effective.
    Israel's campaign includes airstrikes in Syrian territory and occasionally in northern Iraq, and low-intensity naval warfare - including operations by Israeli special forces against Iranian ships carrying oil or weapons to Lebanon and Syria.
    The purposes of the Syrian campaign are to destroy Iran's efforts to build up a significant military presence in Syria and disrupt the line of supply to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
    The Israeli air force could act almost without losses against targets in Syrian territory, as long as it secures deconfliction arrangements with foreign air forces operating there, including Russia, beginning in September 2015.
    When Iran tried to retaliate in May 2018 by firing 34 rockets into the Israeli Golan Heights, the Israeli air force responded with a massive attack on nearly 100 Iranian targets all over Syria.
    The IRGC continues to seek alternative methods of retaliation against Israel. Iranian agents or people in their pay plotted attacks on Israeli citizens in Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Turkey and Greece.
    All were averted by the local authorities, apparently with the help of Israeli intelligence tip-offs.
    The writer, a former senior intelligence officer, served as Israel's deputy national security adviser.

Israeli Embassy in Muslim Senegal Gives Out Sheep for Eid al-Adha Holiday - Ben Raab (Jerusalem Post)
    Since 2006, the Israeli embassy in Dakar, Senegal, whose population is 95% Muslim, has provided families with sheep for the Eid al-Adha holiday.
    Ahead of each school year, the embassy also distributes school supplies and IT equipment to schools in Dakar as well as more remote communities.

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Video: Israel's Public Diplomacy Ministry Warns Against Fake News (Times of Israel)
    Israel's Public Diplomacy Ministry has put out an English-language video on social media offering "a quick guide in reading the news about Israel."
    The video, published Tuesday, gave examples of several instances in which terror attacks on Israelis were inaccurately described.
    "You'd think a bunch of innocent people died for some mysterious reason. The network later apologized for the incorrect reporting but the damage was done."
    "Sometimes you can't even guess the identity of the terrorists, because it seems like inanimate objects do the killing for them: guns, cars, and flying rockets out of nowhere. There is no identity for the actual murderer. This is not journalism."

Israel to Help Canada Improve Earthquake Early Warning Systems - Becca Clarkson (CTV News-Canada)
    The Canadian government is providing funding to Tel Aviv University with the goal of improving Canada's Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems.
    On Tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced, "We are pleased to bring Tel Aviv University's world-leading expertise to Canada, helping us gain access to the earliest, most accurate alerts for earthquakes and tsunamis."
    SeismicAI, an Israeli high-tech company, collaborated with Tel Aviv University to develop an EEW system that's been utilized around the world.

Israel Aerospace Industries Signs New Agreements with NATO Countries (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced a new agreement with NATO member Estonia on Thursday to supply it with drones.
    IAI has signed separate contracts with three other NATO members to supply them with Rotem loitering munitions systems.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Majority of House Members Call for Increased Measures to Stop Iranian Nuclear Weapons - Marc Rod
    249 U.S. Representatives, including 133 Democrats and 116 Republicans, joined a letter urging President Joe Biden to take additional steps to prevent Iran's nuclear program and prepare to seek the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran. The letter, sent on June 23, represents the largest unified call for stronger steps against Iran's nuclear program among House Democrats since Biden took office. Signatories include Democrats who were supportive of the 2015 JCPOA.
        "The United States must increase its efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability and to communicate to Iran, without any ambiguity, that any further progress in its nuclear program will result in severe consequences," the letter reads. "Iran cannot be allowed to advance its nuclear program with impunity."  (Jewish Insider)
  • Europeans to Keep Ballistic Missile Sanctions on Iran - John Irish
    European diplomats have told Iran they plan to retain EU ballistic missile sanctions set to expire on October 18 under the defunct 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Sources said reasons for keeping the sanctions included Russia's use of Iranian drones against Ukraine, the possibility Iran might transfer ballistic missiles to Russia, and depriving Iran of the nuclear deal's benefits, given that Tehran has violated the accord.
        An Iranian official brushed off the possibility of the sanctions remaining, saying Tehran had advanced its nuclear and missile programs for years despite Western sanctions. "Maintaining sanctions, in any capacity and form, will not hinder Iran's ongoing advancements," he said. (Reuters)
  • Iran Takes Canada to Court over Terror Compensation
    Iran has taken Canada to the International Court of Justice for allowing victims of terror attacks to claim damages from Tehran, the court said Wednesday. Iran asked the Hague-based ICJ to make Canada overturn a law passed in 2012 that allows victims to collect damages from state terror sponsors in Canadian civil courts. Ottawa listed the Islamic Republic as a sponsor of terrorism that same year.
        In 2022, a Canadian court awarded more than $80 million in compensation to the families of six people who died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner on January 8, 2020, shortly after take-off from Tehran. All 176 people aboard were killed, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents. (AFP)
  • Netanyahu Drops Most Controversial Part of Judicial Overhaul Plan, Seeks Middle Ground on Ukraine - Dov Lieber
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that he would drop the most controversial part of his judicial reform plan, eliminating a provision that would have given the Knesset the power to overturn rulings by the Supreme Court.
        Netanyahu also rejected calls to join the West's effort to arm Ukraine, saying, "We have concerns that I don't think any of the Western allies of Ukraine have." He said he needs to ensure Israel has "freedom of action" in Syria, where Israeli pilots often bomb Iranian targets in the vicinity of Russia forces.
        He is also concerned that Israeli weaponry could be captured and turned over to Iran, especially the Iron Dome air-defense system. "If that system were to fall into the hands of Iran, then millions of Israelis would be left defenseless and imperiled," Netanyahu said. He added that Israel had delivered to Ukraine an early-warning system for detecting missile attacks.
        Regarding the announcement that Netanyahu would soon visit China, his office said this would be his fourth China visit and that the U.S. was notified of the visit a month ago.  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Beijing on June 18-19. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Saudi Ambassador to U.S. Envisions Israel's Integration in the Middle East - Melissa Weiss
    Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud said on Saturday, "We want to see a thriving Israel. We want to see a thriving Palestine. Vision 2030 [the kingdom's massive social reform project] talks about a unified, integrated, thriving Middle East and last I checked, Israel was there. We want a thriving Red Sea economy."
        "We don't say normalization, we talk about an integrated Middle East, unified [as] a bloc like Europe, where we all have sovereign rights and sovereign states, but we have a shared and common interest.... Integration means our people collaborate, our businesses collaborate, and our youth thrive."  (Jewish Insider)
        See also Video: Interview with Saudi Ambassador to U.S. (Twitter)
  • Palestinian Authority Criticizes Russia's Decision to Open Diplomatic Office in Jerusalem
    The Palestinian Authority on Monday expressed frustration at Russia's June 16 decision to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. "Such a decision could be taken advantage of by other countries waiting for the opportunity to follow," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said during a meeting with Russian Ambassador to the PA Gocha Boachidze in Ramallah. The decision came without prior coordination with the Palestinian side or providing an explanation afterward, al-Maliki noted. (Xinhua-China)
  • Pro-Palestinian Protesters Jailed for Attack on UK Electronics Plant
    Pro-Palestinian protesters who caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage to an electronics plant they believed was making circuit boards for Israeli drones have been jailed. Teledyne Labtech, in Presteigne, Powys, was targeted in December 2022. Four people were convicted of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and sentenced to 23 to 27 months.
        The combined cost of the damage and consequential costs for security measures totaled 1.2 million pounds, said the prosecutor. The factory, which employed 64 people, was closed for three weeks for the clean-up and repairs. It makes circuit boards for MRI scanners in hospitals, radars in planes and satellite antennas. (BBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • State Department: U.S. Not Saying Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria Are Illegal - Lahav Harkov
    The U.S. was not reverting back to the Hansell Memo of 1978, which called Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines illegal, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday.
        The U.S. decided last week to stop joint scientific research with Israel in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, reversing a decision by former secretary of state Mike Pompeo in 2020. However, a U.S. diplomatic source said since Pompeo's decision, no grant money had actually been given to Israeli institutions in those areas. (Jerusalem Post)
  • European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Calls for War Crimes Charges Against Israel - Lahav Harkov
    The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee voted Tuesday to call on the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israel for war crimes. The measure, spearheaded by MEP Evin Incir of the Swedish Social Democrats, was approved by 41 to 24, with 9 abstentions.
        The MEPs also "regret the unilateral decisions of some states to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital and move their embassies." At the same time, they sought to have the EU treat Jerusalem as Palestinian.
        The conservative ECR group attempted to amend the text so that it condemns terrorism and calls for Hamas to immediately return the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and release Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, but the amendments did not pass. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fire Rockets at Israel from Jenin - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Palestinians launched two rockets toward Israel from the Jenin area in the West Bank on Monday, the IDF reported. One rocket fell five meters from the launch area and the other landed 80 meters away. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Video: Rockets Fired at Israel from Jenin (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • A Rejuvenated Iran-Al-Qaeda Link Poses New Security Threats - Yaakov Lappin
    Despite the many military blows that Salafi jihadist entities have absorbed over the years, both ISIS and al-Qaeda have been able to survive and create new threats due to their ideology, which cannot be bombed out of existence.
        The new leader of al-Qaeda, Saif al-Adel, who arrived in Afghanistan from Iran in November 2022, has significance for Israel, according to Michael Barak, senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT). "Al-Adel is in very good contact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)," Barak told JNS. "It's a relationship that goes back to the 1990s. Al-Adel has a team behind him. And al-Qaeda and Iran have cooperated in the past - Iran can use al-Qaeda to launch attacks against Israel while denying their involvement."
        In November 2022, an Israeli businessman in Georgia was the target of a Pakistani terror squad affiliated with al-Qaeda. The squad had traveled to the country under Iranian orders. "Al-Qaeda still has some of its leadership in Iran," said Barak. "With al-Adel now trying to strengthen his status within al-Qaeda, this organization poses more of an external threat to Israel than ISIS."
        Despite Egyptian declarations about the elimination of ISIS, it remains a problem in northern Sinai, particularly near Rafah. "It's weakened significantly, but still there," Barak said. In recent months ISIS has reemerged, carrying out attacks on Egyptian security personnel and civilian infrastructure sites. In Syria and Iraq, ISIS still maintains some 10,000 operatives, who have entered into guerilla warfare mode. ISIS and al-Qaeda "say that they will set up an Islamic Salafi jihadi base as soon as they can on Israel's borders, and from there they will attack Israel, and that this is a highly important goal," he said. (JNS)

  • Palestinians

  • Israelis, Palestinians Are Not Morally Equal Now - David M. Weinberg
    What is missing from the glib reporting of international media from the West Bank is any reference to the political and moral implications of Palestinian terrorism. Nobody has remarked upon the death-glorifying political culture of the Palestinians that repeatedly chooses violence over negotiations. Few are prepared to recognize the distinction between child-murdering Palestinian terrorists and Israeli soldiers conducting anti-terrorist operations who must arrest or eliminate Palestinian combatants and who occasionally hit a bystander too.
        Few acknowledge that Palestinian society celebrates the kidnapping and murder of Israeli men, women, and children, while the IDF does its utmost to avoid civilian casualties. Instead, too many Western diplomats and journalists who should know better outrageously plug symmetry, presenting Israel as a violent society, not particularly different from its Palestinian neighbor.
        There is no moral equivalence between Israelis and Palestinians in the current struggle. In Israeli society, moral standards are clear. Israel is not planting bombs in Palestinian markets or kidnapping Palestinian children. Israelis seek conflict resolution, not the annihilation of the enemy. Israel has put eight far-reaching compromise proposals on the diplomatic table over the past 20 years.
        In 2022 there were more than 5,000 Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli Jews, including car rammings, shootings, stabbings, and fire-bombings of innocent men, women and children. Over the past few months, Palestinian terrorists have slaughtered close to 40 Israelis.
        The contrasting viciousness of much of Palestinian society is repeatedly laid bare by atrocious terrorism; the glorification of terrorists by Palestinian leadership; the financial support of Palestinian governments for such terrorism; and repeated rejection of any and all compromise peace proposals.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Netanyahu Is Not Showing Contempt for U.S. by Going to China - Col. Richard Kemp
    I wouldn't be surprised if Jerusalem and Washington discussed China's invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Beijing before it was accepted. Those who have suggested Netanyahu is looking for an alternative partnership to the U.S. are clearly mistaken. Netanyahu is never going to lead his country closer to the Chinese dictatorship at the expense of the fundamental relationship with America. The U.S. is and will remain Israel's closest and most important strategic and military ally. China's repressive communist autocracy is anathema to Israelis.
        Netanyahu needs to go to Beijing because China is Israel's third largest global trading partner, although the trend of growth between the two countries has slowed as a result of Israel's own national security considerations and accommodation of U.S. concerns. Last year Netanyahu stressed the "limit to how much we can open ourselves up to being dependent on non-like-minded states."
        With increasing Chinese diplomatic involvement in the Middle East, Netanyahu cannot afford to be left out of the moves that China is making in the region, all of which have a direct bearing on Israel's critical national interests. It is not good enough for him to stand on the sidelines and watch as events unfold. It is crucial that Xi Jinping understands Israel's position directly from the prime minister.
        The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA. (Ynet News)
  • Former U.S. Ambassador Friedman: U.S. Distancing from Israel Emboldens Israel's Enemies - Itamar Eichner
    Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in an interview published Wednesday that "when enemies see the U.S. distancing itself from Israel, unfortunately, they become emboldened." According to Friedman, the two-state solution is impossible. "But the reason it will never happen is...because the Palestinian side doesn't condone the mere existence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. And until this stance changes, what is there to discuss with them?"
        Regarding Netanyahu's invitation to visit China, Friedman said, "Just now, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken himself visited China, so criticizing a diplomatic visit to China is baseless. If Blinken can go, why can't Netanyahu?"  (Ynet News)
  • Israel's Pursuit of Terrorists in Jenin Echoes U.S. Actions Abroad - Stephen M. Flatow
    When the U.S. carried out airstrikes on Iran-backed terrorists in Syria on March 23, killing 11 of them, President Biden said the airstrikes demonstrated his commitment to the principle that the U.S. must be "prepared to act forcefully to protect our people." Biden was right. Every government must act forcefully to protect its people. In May alone, according to CENTCOM, U.S.-led forces carried out 21 operations against ISIS terrorists in Iraq and an additional 17 operations in Syrian territory. That's 38 U.S.-led anti-terror operations in 30 days.
        When a U.S. drone strike in Syria killed ISIS terrorist Khalid Ayyd Ahmad al-Jabouri on April 3, the Pentagon said the killing was justified because it "will temporarily disrupt the organization's ability to plot external attacks." That is exactly what Israel is doing when it sends troops into PA cities such as Jenin. Disrupting enemy attacks saves lives. Every Israeli is grateful to the IDF for removing dangerous Palestinian Arab terrorists from the field. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Constitutionality of Anti-BDS Laws - Eugene Volokh
    Anti-BDS laws, which bar government contractors from boycotting Israel, are generally constitutional - for the same reason that anti-discrimination laws are generally constitutional. Decisions not to buy or sell goods or services are generally not protected by the First Amendment.
        A store has no First Amendment right to refuse to sell to Catholics, even if it describes this as a boycott. An employer has no First Amendment right to refuse to hire Democrats, even if such discrimination is described as a boycott. A cab driver who is required to serve all passengers has no First Amendment right to refuse to take people who are visibly carrying Israeli merchandise.
        All these people would have every right to speak out against Catholicism, the Democratic Party, and Israel. That would be speech, which is indeed protected by the First Amendment. However, commercial conduct is different from advocacy. For this reason, properly crafted anti-BDS statutes are constitutional.
        The writer is Professor of Law at UCLA. (Reason)

  • Antisemitism

  • How to Understand Anti-Jewish Prejudice - Yair Rosenberg
    Recent anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. include the 2018 massacre of 11 congregants in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue by a white supremacist; shooting at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, killing three, in 2019, by assailants tied to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement; and the 2022 hostage-taking in a Colleyville, Texas, congregation by an Islamic extremist. What unites all of these seemingly disparate anti-Semitic actors is their adherence to a conspiracy of Jewish control.
        The Pittsburgh white supremacist believed that Jews were responsible for flooding the country with the brown people he hated, as part of the "great replacement" of the white race. One of the Black Hebrew Israelite sympathizers in Jersey City wrote on social media about how Jews controlled the government. And the British Islamic extremist who targeted the Texas synagogue did so because he thought American rabbis held sway over the U.S. authorities and could free someone from prison.
        A conspiracy theory about how the world works that blames sinister string-pulling Jews for social and political problems is more likely to get people killed. And thanks to centuries of material blaming the world's problems on its Jews, conspiracy theorists seeking a scapegoat for their sorrows inevitably discover that the invisible hand of their oppressor belongs to an invisible Jew. (Atlantic)

  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is mandated by Iran's constitution to pursue "an ideological mission of jihad in the way of Allah, that is, extending sovereignty of Allah's law throughout the world."
  • It was responsible for the bloodshed on the streets of Iran in November 2019 that left 1,500 people dead in less than two weeks.
  • The IRGC is responsible for kidnapping and the extraterritorial and extrajudicial execution of Iranian dissidents and opposition figures beyond Iran's borders.
  • The IRGC has a long record of terror in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, and has even penetrated the United States and Latin America.
  • On January 12, 2023, the House of Commons voted unanimously in favor of a measure calling for the UK to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organization. In February 2023, the chief of MI5 reported foiling or exposing at least 15 kidnapping or assassination plots by the IRGC targeting UK citizens since January 2022 alone.
  • Due to its active involvement in terrorist operations around the globe, the IRGC has been deemed illegal by the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Sweden. Great Britain and Europe should follow suit.

    The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center.

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