July 24, 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:

Prime Minister Netanyahu Implanted with Pacemaker - Adir Yanko (Ynet News)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was implanted with a pacemaker early Sunday.
    Netanyahu said in a video Saturday: "A week ago, I was fitted with a monitoring device. That device beeped this evening and said I must receive a pacemaker and that I must do this already tonight. I feel great, but I need to listen to my doctors."
    See also Netanyahu Discharged from Hospital after Pacemaker Surgery (Jerusalem Post)

3,600 Palestinian Terror Attacks in First Half of 2023 (JNS)
    In the first six months of 2023, Israel's emergency services recorded 3,640 acts of terror throughout Israel, including 101 shootings at Israelis, 2,118 rock-throwing attacks, 799 firebomb attacks, 18 attempted stabbings and six car-rammings.
    These figures do not include hundreds of attacks on Israeli security personnel during counterterrorism operations.
    Palestinian attacks have killed 28 people and wounded 362 others since January.

Polls Show Increasing Satisfaction with Israeli Services to Palestinians in Jerusalem - Lord Leigh (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    A comparison of polling in eastern Jerusalem in 2010 and 2022 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research reveals a significant shift in views, increasing satisfaction with Israeli services, growing support for Israeli sovereignty, and a desire for a united Jerusalem.
    Arab Jerusalemites are satisfied or very satisfied with health services (83%), water (82%), electricity (75%), and the ease with which they can reach the al-Aqsa Mosque (74%) in the Old City.
    Arab Jerusalemites indicate an unwillingness to participate in future Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections (92%).
    Lord Leigh of Hurley is Chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation.

Israel Receives Three New F-35 Jet Fighters - Dan Arkin (Israel Defense)
    The Israeli Air Force received three new F-35 aircraft on Thursday, bringing the total number of Israeli F-35s to 39. The Air Force aims to have 75 F-35 aircraft.

American Tourists Visit Israel in Record Numbers - Gall Sigler (Forward)
    American tourism to Israel has hit a new peak, with U.S. tourists flocking to the country in greater numbers than before the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Israel's Ministry of Tourism said 12% more American travelers visited Israel in 2023 than had by the same point in 2019.

NY National Guard Soldiers Learn Urban Search and Rescue Skills from Israeli Experts - Staff Sgt. Matthew Gunther (DVIDS)
    15 New York Army National Guard engineers got hands-on training from four members of Israel's Home Front Command on Israeli techniques for locating and rescuing people from destroyed buildings during three days of training from July 17 to 19 in Oriskany, NY.
    Israel's Home Front Command are the acknowledged experts in the art and science of saving people from destroyed buildings, said Maj. Kevin O'Reilly Jr., executive officer of the Guard's 204th Engineer Battalion.
    "They are able to understand and map collapsed structures, accurately predicting where to find victims trapped in chaotic rubble."
    Spc. Jerome Griffin said, "We have a tendency to want to jump in and just start saving people as fast as we can, but the engineers from Israel really stressed patience."
    "They said to take a step back and really calculate how to operate safely and smoothly without causing more damage, and that really resonated with me."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • The U.S. Navy Is Preparing for War in the Persian Gulf - David Axe
    Twenty times in the past three years, Iranian forces have tried to board foreign-flagged commercial vessels sailing through the narrow Strait of Hormuz into or out of the Persian Gulf. After Iranian gunboats opened fire on the Bahamas-flagged tanker Richmond Voyager on July 5, the Pentagon announced it would deploy a destroyer and F-16 and F-35 fighters to reinforce U.S. forces - including F-22 stealth fighters and a pair of destroyers - already in the Middle East.
        Iranian forces have harassed Persian Gulf shipping off and on for decades. More than once, the harassment - and the American response - have escalated into open air and naval warfare. Each time, it was a disaster for Tehran. U.S. forces hugely outgunned Iranian forces in the 1980s and the mismatch is no less dramatic today. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also U.S. Sending More Warships, Marines to Middle East Amid Rising Tensions with Iran - Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran's Most Powerful Unit Yet in Syria Targets U.S. and Israel - Tom O'Connor
    Iran has assembled a heavily armed unit comprising thousands of fighters capable of conducting attacks on U.S. troops in Syria as well as against neighboring Israel, according to a document shared with Newsweek by a member of an intelligence agency of a nation allied with the U.S.
        The "Imam Hossein Division" is linked to Iran's expeditionary Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Armed with precision-guided munitions and both attack and spy drones, along with a broad array of lighter weaponry, the division conducted an intensive barrage of drone and rocket attacks that hit the U.S. military garrison in Al-Tanf in October 2021.
        The division has also launched attacks against Israel, including a surface-to-surface missile attack in January 2019, a rocket attack in June 2019, and an attempted drone attack in August 2019 that was intercepted by the IDF. Most of its operatives are Syrian Shiites, especially Alawites, although some are from Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Sudan. (Newsweek)
  • EU Commissioner Commits to PA Funding Freeze over Textbook Incitement
    Oliver Verhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, tweeted on July 14 his support for conditioning the release of EU funds on the removal of incitement and antisemitism from PA textbooks. "Incitement to hatred and violence and glorification of terror violate EU core values. It is a poison for our society, in particular in classrooms and textbooks. There can be no justification to turn a blind eye, neither in Europe nor beyond."
        "The Commission has an obligation to protect the integrity of the EU budget, and act if European taxpayers' money is used to call into question our fundamental principles."  (ANI-India-Twitter)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Stab Israeli in Jerusalem
    An Israeli man, Or Sayer, 25, was stabbed on Thursday in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and brought to a Jerusalem hospital with a knife still embedded in his back. Three Palestinian teens aged 17-19 from Bethlehem have been detained. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Thwarts Car-Ramming Attack - Emanuel Fabian
    Fawzi Hani Mukhlafa, 18, accelerated his vehicle toward IDF troops operating in Sebastia, near Nablus in the West Bank, on Friday. "The forces returned fire at the two suspects in the car," the IDF said. Mukhlafa was killed and the second Palestinian in the car was wounded and detained. (Times of Israel)
  • Stabbing Attack Thwarted at West Bank Crossing - Yoav Zitun
    A Palestinian resident of Jenin ran toward Israeli security personnel with a knife in his hand at the Gilboa Crossing on Sunday. Security personnel responded with warning shots, causing the assailant to drop the knife, and he was taken into custody. (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Raids Islamic Jihad Mosque in Gaza - Michael Horovitz
    Hamas police in Gaza arrested Sheikh Yahya Mansour in Rafah's Al Awda mosque, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad stronghold, on July 18. Monsour's hand was broken by police and other civilians were wounded in the raid. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Confronts Tight but Turbulent Relationship with Israel - Peter Baker
    Prime Minister Netanyahu's proposal regarding the judiciary concerns a strictly domestic issue inside Israel. Robert B. Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the fight over the judicial plan it did not really affect relations with the U.S. in a profound way. "It's a bit of a controversy lite," he said. "In historical terms, this doesn't begin to rank as a U.S.-Israel crisis." Instead, he said, "this really is a fight within the family."
        Diana Fersko, senior rabbi at the Village Temple, a Reform synagogue in Manhattan, said the issue is complicated and noted deep differences between Israeli and American societies. "I don't think the Jewish American community needs to be overly involved in this," she said. "But I do think we need to have a deep belief that the State of Israel will find a path forward."  (New York Times)
  • The Palestinian Authority's Corruption and Its Impact on the Peace Process - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Nearly three decades after its establishment, the Palestinian Authority and its institutions continue unchecked in their corruption and human rights violations. Many Palestinians believe that weak compliance with the rule of law, absence of the parliament, failure to hold corrupt senior officials accountable, and weak civil society organizations have all contributed to the spread of corruption.
        Many Palestinians observed that the only thing the "peace process" brought about was a process of avaricious PLO leaders and their entourage diverting international aid and making huge profits out of the Oslo Accords. The conspicuous wealth of Mahmoud Abbas' sons, Tarek and Yasser, have been very controversial in Palestinian society.
        Western donors' failure, or refusal to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for their outlandish abuse of funds was one of the main reasons most Palestinians lost faith in the Oslo Accords. The PA leaders' corruption was also one of the primary reasons so many Palestinians voted for Hamas' "Change and Reform Bloc" in the 2006 parliamentary election, when Hamas won 76 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
        According to a December 2022 opinion poll, 81% of Palestinians think there is corruption in Palestinian Authority institutions. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to engage in massive incitement against Israel to draw attention away from its own corruption, lack of public freedoms, and democracy. The incitement ensures that criticism and grievances would only be directed against Israel.
        The only way to combat the corruption in the Palestinian Authority leadership is for Western donors to demand transparency and accountability, and no longer give them a free pass.
        The writer, an award winning Arab and Palestinian Affairs journalist with the Jerusalem Post, is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center. This article is part of the Center's new "Oslo at 30" compendium. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Wall Street Journal Spreads False Israel "Child-Killing" Charge - Andrea Levin
    Killing children is terrible. Leveling false charges of child-killing against Israel in an influential newspaper like the Wall Street Journal is also reprehensible and should be forthrightly corrected to set the record straight. In two stories on July 5 and 6, 2023, reporter Stephen Kalin asserted, "Twelve Palestinians, including militants and at least five children, were killed during the operation" in Jenin.
        In fact, there were no "children" killed according to the normal understanding of what a child is and the depictions of those killed in other mainstream publications. Most people would assume "children" are 5- or 10-year-olds, not 16 and 17-year-old teenagers affiliated with U.S.-designated terrorist groups, who were killed in violent clashes with Israelis. Photos of the young men show some sporting the headbands of their terrorist group and all are holding guns. The New York Times, AP, Reuters, and other mainstream media did not refer to "children" killed. Reuters termed the dead teens "fighters," which they were.
        The Journal does not refer to other 16 and 17-year-olds as children in any other context. In the extensive coverage of the recent French riots, sparked by the killing of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk by a policeman, the victim is invariably called a "teenager," never a "child."
        The writer is Executive Director and President of CAMERA. (CAMERA)
  • New York Times Coverage of Israel Remains Hostile and Negative - Lilac Sigan
    A study of the New York Times coverage of Israel in the first quarter of 2023 found that 67% of the 148 articles published were negative, while 4.7% were positive (the remaining 28.3% were neutral). During the second quarter, out of 89 articles, 57% were negative, 8% were positive, and 35% were neutral.
        After the Jenin operation in July, the Times published a long article headed "Young Palestinians drawn into the struggle against Israel are writing farewell messages to their loved ones." This was the chosen description for a culture which encourages its young to become suicidal terrorists, while blaming Israel for all their troubles. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel-Morocco Ties Deal a Blow to Iran - Israel Kasnett (Israel Hayom-JNS)
  • Last Wednesday, Moroccan King Mohammed VI sent a warm, personal letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Israel officially recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region, inviting him to visit the kingdom. Israel's decision holds immense significance due to its direct impact on the activities of Iran and its proxy Hizbullah in North Africa, disrupting their efforts to establish roots in the region.
  • Former Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat told JNS that "there is importance in Israel strengthening its position and presence on the African continent, especially at a time when Iran and its partners are trying to establish a foothold in Africa. Despite the impressive progress in relations between Israel and Morocco since normalization, there is still great untapped potential in the economic, technological and political spheres. Additionally, Morocco can play an important role in bringing other North African countries into the peace circle."
  • In an effort to maintain parity with its formidable regional counterpart, Algeria, Morocco has been preparing to acquire an undisclosed number of decommissioned Merkava tanks from Israel. In 2020, when Morocco reestablished diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, the Algerian government initiated a smear campaign against the kingdom. At the same time, discreetly, Algeria engaged in undisclosed business dealings with Israel.
  • Dr. Yechiel Leiter, director-general of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS, "Morocco shares a long border with Algeria, an ally of Iran, which directly threatens it militarily and through its support for Polisario separatism. Were the Polisario to achieve its goal, Western Sahara would be an Algerian puppet state, contributing to strengthening an Iranian proxy."
  • He noted that the Iranian regime "supplies the Polisario with antiaircraft missiles and drones through the services of Algeria and Hizbullah. Together with the IRGC, Hizbullah is also training Polisario fighters. The Polisario has provided cover for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist group that is active in the Sahel region."
  • "Hizbullah is already deeply involved in West Africa, and the last thing the region needs is another dysfunctional state under the influence of the world's most significant terror and illicit drug trade organization. Morocco stands against the fanatical Islam exported by the ayatollahs and their proxies." Its battle against the Polisario "is also Israel's battle."

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