July 10, 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:

How the Israeli Air Force Is Preparing for Multi-Arena War - Yaakov Lappin (Israel Today)
    In mid-June, the Israel Defense Forces completed a major two-week war exercise, dubbed "Firm Hand," which simulated a multi-arena war starting with Hizbullah and Lebanon and spreading to other locations, including Iran.
  In May, the Israel Air Force sent, for the first time, F-16 fighter aircraft to Cyprus as part of the "Blue Sun" exercise, which simulated war with Hizbullah in Lebanon. The drill also saw Israeli intelligence-gathering jets, C-130 transport helicopters, Apache gunships, and special forces on the ground.
  The IAF, which is due to have two full squadrons of F-35 fifth-generation jets by 2024, and is due to receive a third squadron in the coming years, is preparing itself for the plentiful security challenges of the 21st century.
  "Iran is the one pushing with full force for a multi-arena conflict," said Jacob Nagel, a former national security advisor. "The Iranians have to understand that they won't stay outside of this. That will create additional and important roles for the IAF, in the depth of enemy territory and in nearer arenas, but others will also be involved -- intelligence, cyber, precise missiles, special forces and more."
  Nagel said that it is vital to build multi-domain ground forces made up of a combination of forces, which are versatile enough to operate in multiple arenas and are well defended against developing threats.
  "There will be much significance to secrecy and the ability to reach targets at any range without being discovered," he said. "The future mix should be made up of two-thirds unmanned and a third manned," he added.
  With time, even more of the air force could become unmanned, according to Nagel. However, "There will still remain manned aircraft in the coming generation," he added.
  The navy, for its part, will also have an important role, said Nagel, particularly special naval forces.

Israeli Air Force Successfully Tests "Expanded Capability" of David's Sling Defense System - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Israel's Defense Ministry said Sunday that the Israeli Air Force and Rafael defense firm had successfully completed a recent series of tests with the David's Sling medium-range air defense system.
  The system faced off against "advanced threats," expanding the system's capability "and significantly improving the air defense layers of the State of Israel."
  "The existing capabilities of the system were tested in a number of challenging scenarios, which prove the capabilities of the system during conflict," the ministry said, calling it an "important milestone."
  David's Sling, developed by Rafael, successfully made its first real-world interceptions during a recent flareup of violence between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in May. It shot down a rocket heading to Tel Aviv, and two days later downed a missile aimed at Jerusalem.

IDF and U.S. Military Team Up for Joint Drill. A Threat to Iran? - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF and the U.S. have started another joint drill which is a not-so-veiled threat against Iran, the military announced on Monday.
  The statement by the IDF did not specifically mention the Islamic Republic by name, but mentioned training for situations where there would be conflict "at a distance" - an often-used code phrase for Iran, and noted the use of the KC-46 midair refueling aircraft.
  Midair refueling is not necessary for the IDF to strike Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, or Syria, but would be necessary for any potential strike on Tehran.

Russian Fighter Jets Harass American Drones over Syria -- Again - Basem Mroue (Navy Times/AP)
    Russian fighter jets have "harassed" American drones over Syria for the third day in a row this week, the U.S. military said. The U.S. military said in a statement that Friday's encounter lasted for about two hours during which three MQ-9 drones were "once again harassed" by Russian fighter aircraft while flying over Syria.
  "Russian aircraft flew 18 unprofessional close passes that caused the MQ-9s to react to avoid unsafe situations," Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said in a statement.

Iran Carries Out 354 Executions in First Six Months of 2023: Report - Andrew Bernard (Algemeiner)
    The Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO) reported that Iran has carried out at least 354 executions so far in 2023, including six women and five protesters.
  206 of those killed were for drug-related offenses, a 126% rise compared with the first six months of 2022, and 20% of those executed were from Iran's eastern Baluch minority, which makes up just 2-6% of Iran's population.

News Resources - North America and Europe:
  • U.S., Israel Holding Another Joint Air Drill Apparently Focused on Iran - Emanuel Fabian
    The Israeli and American air forces on Sunday launched a joint drill, the latest in a series of exercises apparently aimed at readying the Israel Defense Forces for a potential strike in Iran.
      In a statement Monday, the IDF said the drill, dubbed Juniper Oak, would include the Israeli Air Force carrying out airstrikes against "strategic targets in the depth," an apparent reference to Iran's nuclear facilities. Additionally, the air drills would simulate "achieving aerial superiority in the region and cyber ​​defense against a variety of threats," the IDF said.
      "The exercise continues and strengthens the operational cooperation between the militaries and takes place as part of the series of IDF exercises with the U.S. Central Command," the Israeli military said.
      There was no immediate readout from the US CENTCOM on the drill. (Times of Israel)
  • Biden: Israel Has "One of the Most Extremist Members of Cabinets that I've Seen"
    Fareed Zakaria: Mr. President, what will it take for Bibi Netanyahu to get an invitation to the White House?
      Well, first of all, the Israeli president is going to be coming, we have other contacts. I've been, I think it is fair to say, an unyielding supporter of Israel for over -- I've only been around a couple of years, but for as long as I've been around. And Bibi, I think [he] is trying to work through how he could work through his existing problems in terms of his coalition. I'm one of those that believes that Israel's [ultimate security rests] in a two-state solution.
      I think it's a mistake to think that as some members of his cabinet -- and this is one of the most extremist members of cabinets that I've seen. I go all the way back to Golda Meir and, you know, not that she was extreme, but I go back to that era. I think that the fact that the Palestinian Authority has lost its credibility, not necessarily because of what Israel has done, just because it is just lost its credibility, number one.
      And number two, it created a vacuum for extremism among the Palestinians. They are -- there are some very extreme elements. So it's not all Israel now in the West Bank, all Israel's problem. But they are a part of the problem. And particularly those individuals in the cabinet who say we could settle anywhere we want, [and the Palestinians] have no right to be here, et cetera.
      I think we -- we're talking with them regularly, trying to tamp down what is going on and hopefully Bibi will continue to move toward moderation in changing the court. (CNN)
  • Hizbullah Operatives, Lebanese Soldiers Crossed into Israel
    Hizbullah operatives and dozens of armed Lebanese army soldiers briefly entered Israeli territory last week, according to Israel's Army Radio. The July 5 incident occurred in the area of Menara, a kibbutz adjacent to the Lebanese border in the Upper Galilee region, while the IDF was carrying out work on the border area. According to the report, the Hizbullah operatives and uniformed Lebanese soldiers stayed on the Israeli side of the border for about 20 minutes. During this time, the IDF did not use dispersal methods, taking a cautious approach and attempting to resolve the issue via liaison channels with the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL). (JNS/Charlotte Observer)
  • Israeli Graduate Student Abducted in Iraq by Iran-Linked Militia - Mikhail Klimentov
    Elizabeth Tsurkov, an Israeli-Russian dual citizen and a graduate student at Princeton University, is being held captive by a Shiite militia, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday. Tsurkov was conducting doctoral research in Baghdad when she went missing in March.
      "Elizabeth Tsurkov is still alive," the prime minister's office said, "and we hold Iraq responsible for her safety and well-being." Israeli media reports said Russian and Israeli officials were cooperating in efforts to secure the researcher's release. Israel identified Tsurkov's captors as the Shiite militia Kataib Hizbullah, a group closely affiliated with Iran that has been linked to other kidnap attempts involving foreigners.
      Gisha, an Israeli nongovernmental organization at which Tsurkov previously worked, characterized the academic as an advocate "for the human rights and the well-being of Palestinians in Gaza." (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:
  • Israeli Cabinet Votes to Save the Palestinian Authority - Lahav Harkov
    Israel will act to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, the security cabinet voted on Sunday.
      In addition, the cabinet decided to "advance the demand that [the PA] stop its actions against Israel in the international legal and political arena, its incitement in the media and its education, its payments to terrorists and murderers and its illegal construction in Area C." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Remains of Rocket Fired from West Bank Found in Northern Israeli Town - Emanuel Fabian
    The remains of a makeshift rocket were found on Sunday evening in a town in northern Israel bordering the West Bank security barrier, the military and local officials said.
      The Israel Defense Forces said a local security officer in Ram-On found the shrapnel. The local council said in a statement that the projectile was found in the town's cemetery. (Times of Israel)
  • Iranian Official: Zionist War Machine Suffered New Historic Defeat in Jenin
    Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani confirmed that the Zionist enemy criminal's war machine suffered a new historic defeat during the recent brutal attack on Jenin.
      On Sunday, Tasnim International News Agency quoted Kanaani in a tweet: "The war machine of the Zionist criminal entity suffered a new historic defeat during the recent brutal attack on Jenin. But the greatest defeat is for the entity's supporters. The devastation of the attack on Jenin is a shameful moral defeat for the entity's supporters."
      All enemy forces withdrew from the explosion of dozens of improvised explosive devices in their machinery and then acknowledged the death of one of their soldiers, but the resistance confirmed that the toll was much greater. (Yemen News Agency)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Col. Richard Kemp on Jenin Op: "Remarkable Achievement Unprecedented in Modern Warfare" - Gary Willig
    According to Col. Richard Kemp, the complete avoidance of civilian fatalities over two days in Jenin constitutes a "remarkable achievement by the IDF," which is "probably unprecedented in modern warfare."
      "To conduct an operation of such intensity in an urban area without killing any uninvolved civilians at all is a remarkable achievement by the IDF and probably unprecedented in modern warfare. Casualty ratios in most such operations have often been 3 to 5 civilians killed for every fighter, and that is by Western armies that do their best to avoid civilian casualties and adhere to the laws of war," he explained, adding: "I doubt any other army in the world would be able to achieve what the IDF did in Jenin."
      Col. Kemp noted that avoiding civilian casualties in a terrorist stronghold such as Jenin "is even more remarkable given that the terrorists in Jenin hid behind the civilian population, used human shields and deliberately tried to lure the IDF into killing civilians in order to attract world condemnation." (Israel National News)
  • Making Sense of the Jenin Raid - Shoshana Bryen
    Two things can help turn the tide in Israel's favor and benefit Palestinians who want security, economic advancement, and peaceful coexistence -- if not peace. First, a strong statement of support for Israel's right to self-defense by the United States. Second, Palestinian parents standing up for themselves and their children by refusing to be used as human shields or fodder for Palestinian terrorist organizations. So, after Jenin 2023, Israel will do what it must do to protect its citizens, but the job would be done better if the Palestinians themselves decide to protect their children and build a better future. (McClatchy News Network)
  • The Ugly Opposition to Britain's Anti-boycott Bill - Melanie Phillips
    A government bill to outlaw boycotts of Israel received its second reading this week in the House of Commons. The bill prevents local councils and other publicly funded bodies from "pursuing their own foreign policy agendas" by using procurement or investment deals "to indicate disapproval of a foreign state." While it provides for exceptions to this ban, it states that no boycotts of Israel will be permitted.
      This is because, said the Communities Secretary Michael Gove, an "existing, organized and malign campaign" is trying "to persuade public bodies to make commercial decisions solely on the basis of harming that state and its people."
      The opposition to the bill is deeply disingenuous. Critics say that it is so wide-ranging, it will prevent boycotts of places like China or Russia. Yet exemptions would permit boycotts of those countries.
      But surely, the main objection to BDS is that it is unconscionable to demonize Israel through libelous falsehoods with the aim of destroying it. (MelaniePhilips.Substack)
  • Kurdish General: "The Kurdish Region Is Not Southern Lebanon, Kurds Do Not Take Orders from Tehran" - Suzan Quitaz
    The Iranian regime has repeatedly called on the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to disarm opposition groups like the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), relocate them to refugee camps, and move them away from the Iraqi-Iranian border, a border predominantly populated by Kurds.
      PAK's Commander, General Hussein Yazdanpanah, spoke about the Iranian threat and its mission to turn the Kurdish region into a proxy enclave like Southern Lebanon. "The Kurdistan Region and Kurds do not take Tehran's orders," he said. "Iranian forces tried to occupy Erbil in 2017, but the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, including PAK forces, defeated the attacks. Now Tehran is using missiles and drones to impose its will and control on the Kurdistan Region." (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Real Story of Israel's Operation in Jenin Isn't What You've Read - Gil Troy
    Although Israel's army left Jenin on July 5 after two days spent attacking terrorist infrastructure, the cycle of nonsense attacking Israel's action began. In fact, Israel's surgical strike was totally justified, long in the making, and potentially game-changing.
      In Jenin, Israel was cutting out tumors, not "mowing the lawn." The "tumors" included hundreds of weapons confiscated, multiple bomb-making factories destroyed, and two terrorist command-and-control centers eradicated.
      Despite more than 1,000 soldiers entering that once impenetrable area, only 12 Palestinian militants died in combat. Hundreds fled because hunting them wasn't the main mission.
      Unfortunately, COVID-19 devastated Jenin's economy, just as the Palestinian Authority started losing control. Backed by millions of Iranian dollars, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and smaller terrorist groups infiltrated Jenin. After trusting the PA's security for years, by the time the IDF realized that terrorists had reconquered Jenin, a dramatic raid was necessary.
      Palestinian apologists ignore the way Palestinian militants terrorize their fellow Palestinians. Cowering behind civilians and civilized norms, Palestinian thugs recruit teenagers to keep prosecuting their uncompromising war against Israel's existence by killing civilians -with 28 Israeli victims in 2023 alone. (Newsweek)

Moves Toward Possible Atom Bomb Test in Defiance of Western Sanctions: Intel Reports - Ben Weinthal (Fox News)
  • A fresh batch of damning European intelligence reports reveal that the Islamic Republic of Iran sought to bypass U.S. and EU sanctions to secure technology for its nuclear weapons program with a view toward testing an atomic bomb.
  • According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which first published translations of the intelligence documents on its website, the security agencies of Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany revealed sensitive data during the first six months of 2023 on the Iranian regime's illicit nuclear weapons proliferation activities. The reports mainly cover Iran's alleged illegal conduct in 2022.
  • The most shocking revelation in the trove of intelligence data was from the Netherlands General and Intelligence Security Service (AVID) that determined Iran's astonishingly fast development of weapons-grade uranium "brings the option of a possible [Iranian] first nuclear test closer."
  • The Swedish Security Service wrote in its annual report in 2023 that "Iran engages in industrial espionage, which is mainly aimed at the Swedish high-tech industry and Swedish products that can be used in a nuclear weapons program. ... The Swedish Security Service can confirm that Iran are conducting security-threatening activities in Sweden and against Swedish interests," said Adam Samara, a spokesperson for the Swedish Security Service.
  • Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) also had warnings in its June 2023 intelligence report. "The authorities for the protection of the constitution were able to find, in 2022, a consistently high number of indications of proliferation relevant procurement attempts by Iran for its nuclear programs," the report states.
  • Israeli Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (res.), a senior researcher at the Israeli Defense Security Forum and an expert on Iran, warned, "Iran is evidently committed to its nuclear weapons plan. ... The European intelligence reports describe covert Iranian efforts to shorten the breakout time to a nuclear arsenal by illegally acquiring equipment and knowledge from various European countries."