August 3, 2023
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
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In-Depth Issues:

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Who Murdered 11 People Sentenced to Death - David Nakamura (Washington Post)
    Robert G. Bowers, 50, who massacred 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018, was sentenced Wednesday to death by a 12-person federal jury after a two-month trial.
    "The defendant acted because of white-supremacist, antisemitic, bigoted views that unfortunately are not original or unique to him," said U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan.

Terror Suspects Arrested in India Had Photos of Mumbai Chabad Center - Gitesh Shelke (Times of India-JTA)
    Maharashtra state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officials on Sunday confirmed that they have seized images of Chabad House in Mumbai from two members of the ISIS-inspired Sufa group, who were arrested on July 18.
    The Chabad center in Mumbai was the site of a 2008 terror attack by the Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba that killed six Israeli and American victims, including Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg. Their son Moshe survived because of the bravery of his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel.

Syrian Chemical Weapons May End Up in the Hands of Iranian-Proxy Hizbullah - Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri and Lt.-Col. (ret.) Teddy Sapir (Alma Research and Education Center)
    The CERS Research Center serves as Syria's national military industry, employing 20,000 people.
    It is responsible for the research, development, and military production of advanced weapons such as surface-to-surface missiles (such as the M-600 / Fateh-110 missile, which is at the heart of the joint Iranian-Syrian and Hizbullah precision project).
    It is also responsible for developing and manufacturing chemical, biological, and potentially nuclear weapons.
    Iran is focused on developing and manufacturing precision missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs on Syrian soil using the CERS Center's infrastructure.
    Certain initiatives, particularly those at Institute 4000, are currently under direct Iranian supervision by senior IRGC Quds Force officers.
    CERS Center installations function as Hizbullah production plants, guided and supervised by Iranian expertise.
    The CERS Center has vast experience in chemical weapons development and production. Despite the Syrian regime's claim to have destroyed its chemical weapons, it now possesses extensive chemical capabilities.
    The Syrian regime considers the stockpiles of chemical weapons in its possession as a guarantee of its survival. This capability may benefit the radical Shiite axis led by Iran.
    Hizbullah's use of chemical weapons in the next confrontation with Israel cannot be ruled out.

U.S. Okays Finnish Procurement of Israel's David's Sling Missile Defense System - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    The U.S. State Department notified Israel on Wednesday that it had approved the sale of Israel's David's Sling missile defense system to Finland for 316 million euros. The system, co-developed with the U.S., is designed to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and drones.

Drones Guard Israeli Gas Fields Against Threats - Ariel Levin-Waldman (i24News)
    Israel's autonomous drones patrol gas fields far larger than the country itself.
    "It's a fully autonomous platform, which means we don't have to fly it, it flies by itself," said Guy Gerasy of Israel Aerospace Industries.
    The observer drone is integrated with artificial intelligence, and its advanced pattern recognition knows what suspicious activity looks like.
    See also Video: How Drones Are Securing Israeli Gas Fields (i24News)

Illegal Hamas Fundraising Operation Exposed in Netherlands - Hanan Greenwood (Israel Hayom)
    Hamas has been working for years with activists in the Netherlands, Britain, Denmark, and other countries to strengthen and support the terror group.
    Undercover research by Ad Kan, which was founded by IDF officers and graduates of intelligence units, led to the arrest last month of Amin Abu Rashid, the senior Hamas official in the Netherlands, who raised millions for human rights organizations that were sent directly to the terror group.
    Abu Rashid's daughter, who managed the funds, was also arrested and 750,000 euros ($826,000) in cash was seized.

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New Suspension Bridge in Jerusalem Makes Holy Sites More Accessible - Pesach Benson (JNS)
    A new suspension bridge connecting Jerusalem's Mount Zion to the Valley of Hinnom was inaugurated on Sunday.
    The 202-meter (663 feet) bridge will make Jerusalem's Old City more accessible to pedestrians and offers a spectacular view of the area.

Elbit Successfully Tests New Electronic Warfare System for Israeli Navy (Navy Recognition)
    Elbit Systems said Tuesday it had successfully tested its latest Electronic Warfare (EW) Counter Measure Dispensing System (DESEAVER MK-4) on vessels of the Israeli Navy.
    The fourth-generation system provides 360-degree defense coverage, significantly enhancing the survival rate of surface vessels.
    The system can rapidly and accurately deploy decoys from multiple launchers to counter simultaneous threats, with precise positioning and timing.
    The system evaluates each threat and generates a unique defense plan tailored to the specific threat.

PA Summer Camps Teach of a World Where Israel No Longer Exists - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Every summer, Palestinian Authority summer camps indoctrinate children with the message that Israel does not exist, presenting all of Israel as "occupied Palestine," Israeli cities as "Palestinian cities" and the map of the world in which "Palestine" replaces Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Former Head of Israel's National Security Council: Iran Hoping to Destroy Israel in the Coming Years - Jotam Confino
    "The Iranian conclusion is that maybe the time has come to destroy Israel in the next few years," Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel's National Security Council and head of the IDF Strategic Planning Branch, told Jewish News in an interview on Monday. Recent developments that have accelerated Iran's ultimate goal include its restored ties with Saudi Arabia and greater cooperation with Russia.
        In addition, Eiland said, Iran has more "precise weaponry" at its disposal: "Today, Iran has accurate cruise missiles, suicide drones, and ballistic missiles with GPS censors that are much more accurate."
        "They believe that if they mange to arrange a simultaneous attack against Israel by Iran, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Shia militias in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and an uprising of Palestinians in the West Bank, this will be something that Israel won't survive."  (Jewish News-UK)
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guard Runs Drill on Disputed Islands as U.S. Military Presence in Region Grows - Nasser Karimi
    Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched a surprise military drill Wednesday on the disputed Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa and Greater Tunb, claimed by the UAE. Swarms of small, fast boats took part, along with paratroopers, drones and truck-launched surface-to-sea missile systems, footage aired on state television showed. The Guard’s chief, Gen. Hossein Salami, later told state TV: "There is absolutely no need for the presence of America or its European or non-European allies in the region."
        Iran's late shah seized the islands in 1971 just before the UAE became an independent country and Tehran has held the islands since. Iran has been trying to signal its displeasure over recent comments about the islands made by Russia, which earlier this summer in a joint statement with the Gulf Cooperation Council called for "bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice" to decide who should control the islands.
        The drill comes as thousands of Marines and sailors on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall, a landing ship, are on their way to the Persian Gulf. Already, the U.S. has sent A-10 Thunderbolt II warplanes, F-16 and F-35 fighters, as well as the destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, to the region. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Gunman Wounds 6 Israelis at Ma'ale Adumim Shopping Mall - Emanuel Fabian
    Mohannad al-Mazra'a, 20, shot and wounded six Israelis, one of them seriously, outside the shopping mall in the city of Ma'ale Adumim, near Jerusalem, on Tuesday. An off-duty Border Police officer heard the gunfire, engaged the gunman and killed him. Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said the officer "prevented a broader terror attack."  (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Opens Fire at Israeli Car, Woman Injured
    An Israeli woman was injured by flying glass when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a car on Wednesday near the Hamra intersection in the West Bank. The car was hit six times. The woman's husband and two children were in the car at the time but were not injured. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Describes Jordan Valley Terror Attack - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Rafael Avneri, whose wife was injured in a Palestinian shooting attack on Wednesday, said his family was returning home from a vacation "when I suddenly noticed a suspicious-looking Palestinian vehicle weaving from lane to lane....Before the Hamra Junction, I decided to pull over. I see him switch to the opposite lane, coming at me. Then he pulls over, the passenger door opens, and the terrorist emerges with an M16 in his hand and starts walking toward us....I put the car in reverse and start driving backward while he is shooting at us."
        The attack occurred near the scene of a shooting attack in April which claimed the lives of Lucy (Leah) Dee, 48, and her daughters Rina, 15, and Maia, 20. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Forces and Terror Group Fighters Clash in Jenin - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Armed clashes erupted on Tuesday night between Palestinian security officers and gunmen in Jenin refugee camp. A senior PA official accused Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas of working on instructions from Iran to undermine the PA.
        The clashes erupted after PA security forces refused to release Khaled al-Ararawi, a member of the Jenin Battalion, an armed group affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Ararawi was arrested for insulting and expelling senior Fatah officials during the funerals of some of the Palestinian gunmen killed during the Israeli operation in Jenin.
        On Tuesday night, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets to demand the immediate release of Ararawi. PA officers fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protesters. A number of gunmen later opened fire at the headquarters of the PA security forces in the city. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • How to Boost Gaza's Economy without Boosting Hamas - Yechiel M. Leiter
    As Gazans take to the streets in protest against Hamas' corruption and ineptitude, it is reported that 70% of the population is unemployed and suffering from food insecurity, and that the entire population, aside from Hamas elites, lives without electricity 20 hours a day. Foreign aid ends up lining the pockets of the Hamas leadership. What is necessary is to identify engines of economic growth that are out of Hamas' reach. Industrial zones could be built to the east and south of Gaza, adjacent to the borders with Israel and Egypt.
        The writer is Director-General of the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • EU Helps Palestinians Sidestep Peace Talks via Illegal Building - Jason Shvili
    Palestinians have illegally built on more than 2,000 acres of Area C of Judea and Samaria in 250 different locations, much of which has been financed by the European Union. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel fully controls Area C, including authorizing construction. In addition, Palestinians have built 373 miles of illegal roads in Area C.
        All of this is being done in accordance with a joint Palestinian-EU plan to take control of land - without negotiations. The EU's "European Joint Development Program for Area C" has an annual budget of 300 million euros. (JNS)
        See also EU Funding of Illegal Palestinian Settlement in Area C - Edwin Black (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • Lebanon - Hizbullah

  • Israel Files Complaint Against Lebanon with UN Security Council
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, lodged a complaint against Lebanon with the Security Council on July 27, demanding that the Lebanese government and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) take immediate action to prevent the ongoing construction of military infrastructure by Hizbullah on Israel's northern border.
        Erdan said, "Tensions on the northern border with Lebanon are higher than they have been for years, due to Hizbullah's violent escalations, clear violations of the Security Council resolutions and dangerous military advances. If the Security Council does not condemn Hizbullah's destabilizing activities and demand that Lebanon take action against the illegal military build-up on its territories - or at least work to enable UNIFIL to fully carry out its mandate - the situation on the ground will continue to deteriorate and the consequences will be deep and disastrous."  (L'Orient Today-Lebanon)
  • Lebanon Maritime Deal - Forced on Israel by U.S. - Did Not Enhance Israel's Security - Tony Badran
    A year ago, leveraging a mock drone attack by Hizbullah against an Israeli offshore gas rig, the Biden administration urged the caretaker Israeli government to sign a maritime boundary delineation agreement with Lebanon, giving potentially valuable gas fields to Hizbullah-dominated Lebanon and signaling an Israeli willingness to retreat in the face of Hizbullah's aggressive threats and actions. Biden got the deal. The U.S. positioned itself between Israel and Hizbullah, taking on the role of advocate for Lebanon, which figured in the imagination of U.S. policymakers and diplomats as an independent country.
        As it turned out, the maritime deal did not enhance Israel's security, as U.S. negotiators claimed. The deal did enhance Hizbullah's security, and consequently increased its confidence to press its advantage against Israel. Over the past few months, Hizbullah has conducted, in tandem with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), a series of border provocations and incursions into Israeli territory. Each time Hizbullah provokes, the U.S. reliably steps in to "mediate" between the terror group and Israel, with the goal of "stabilizing Lebanon." The Israeli role is strictly to make concessions in the framework of a U.S.-brokered agreement.
        In a recent speech, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah explained how Lebanon got everything it demanded in the maritime deal when "the resistance" threatened the Karish offshore platform. That's when the Americans delivered the Israelis. The maritime deal extended a protective U.S. umbrella to Lebanon and therefore to Hizbullah, by openly opposing Israeli action in Lebanon.
        The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Tablet)

  • A U.S.-Saudi-Israel Deal?

  • Is a U.S.-Saudi-Israel Deal Really in the Works? - Jonathan S. Tobin
    I remain skeptical about the U.S. brokering a deal normalizing relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh. There are too many reasons why both the Biden administration and the Saudis are unlikely to sign off on any such agreement. Moreover, the price that Israel is going to be asked to pay for the privilege of exchanging ambassadors with the Saudis is not something Netanyahu ought to agree to.
        Washington has never wanted to validate the Saudis' desire for a response to Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon with its own project. And most of Biden's Democratic Party despises the Saudis as a reactionary regime.
        The idea that concessions to the Palestinians are the sticking point for the Saudis is nonsense. They, like other Arab governments, are tired of having their interests held hostage to an intransigent Palestinian leadership that has no interest in peace with Israel under any circumstances.
        The optimism about a deal for which the Saudis have no real enthusiasm and whose terms are unlikely to be acceptable to Biden or Netanyahu seems unwarranted. If and when the Saudis are ready to upgrade relations with Israel, it shouldn't come at a price that will undermine Israel or strengthen Palestinians who have no interest at all in peace. (JNS)

  • Israel's Economic Prospects

  • Bank of America Official Confident about Israel's Economy - Aharon Katz
    London-based Bernard Mensah, President of International for Bank of America, one of the biggest investment banks in the world, and CEO of its largest international subsidiary, Merrill Lynch International, told Globes he is confident about Israel's economy and sees the situation improving substantially.
        "The economy in Israel is dynamic and driven by the technology industry. Nevertheless, as in many other countries, the global slowdown affected Israel as well," Mensah said. "Our research team sees a slowdown in economic growth this year to a level of 2.5%. Despite Israel's special social and political challenges, this is still faster growth than we are seeing in many other parts of the world."
        "When the global forecast improves, Israel will be able to restart its economy. The country's economy is cooling, inflation is falling, and economic ties in the region are on an improving trend. Fortunately, the inflation shock is small, and much more limited in comparison with other economies....Our economists see a softer landing in Israel, particularly in comparison with many other countries."
        "Israel is known as 'the startup nation.' This is mainly thanks to its strong human capital, large government spending on research and development, leading universities, an entrepreneurial culture, and innovative technology. In the past two decades, Israel has become a world center in several technological segments, among them autotech, cyber, foodtech, cleantech, fintech, and Internet....The Israeli high-tech industry has great value, and when global growth recovers, we believe that it will become more attractive, and will generate opportunities in many areas."  (Globes)
  • Israel Reports Economic Growth despite Recent Challenges - Yoram Ettinger
    The New York-based Jefferies Financial Group global investment bank "expects further growth in Israel's tech sector despite political unrest," Bloomberg reported on July 17, 2023. "We anticipate Israel's tech ecosystem growth and maturation will only accelerate, creating a dominant and necessary opportunity for investors....The volume and density of innovation has made Israel a mandatory destination for all leading investors."
        According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, as presented on July 27, 2023, by senior Israeli economist Shlomo Maoz: Notwithstanding the dramatic decline in foreign investment in Israel's high-tech sector, Israel's high-tech export increased by 6.9% during the first five months of 2023. The recent depreciation of the Israeli shekel (compared with the U.S. dollar) has benefited Israel's exports.
        Industrial production in the high-tech sector expanded during the first five months of 2023 by 5.6% more than it did in the first five months of 2022, as reflected by the 3% growth in the number of high-tech workers during the first five month of 2023. Israeli unemployment has declined to 3.5%, and its GDP grew by 3.2% during the first quarter of 2023, while industrial investment grew by 16.2%. (Algemeiner)
  • Israel's Natural Gas Development Has Led to $86 Billion in Savings
    Israel's economy saved more than $86.7 billion over the past decade thanks to its development of offshore natural gas, according to a study released Tuesday by economic consulting firm BDO and the Israeli Natural Gas Trade Association. The price of electricity in Israel was nearly 50% lower than in Europe at the end of 2022 due to its use of natural gas.
        More than $5 billion in gas revenue has been paid directly to the state treasury, with an additional $19 billion forecast to be paid by 2030. Israel's natural gas reserves have also grown, from 780 billion cubic meters (BCM) in 2012 to 1.087 BCM, as more natural gas discoveries were made. (JNS)
  • Amazon to Invest $7.2 Billion in Israel
    Amazon.com said Tuesday it is planning to invest $7.2 billion through 2037 in Israel, and launched its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing data centers in the country. Amazon said its investment in Israel will contribute $13.9 billion to Israel's GDP. (Reuters)

  • Weekend Features

  • Ben-Gurion on Judicial Reform - William A. Galston
    Israel does not have a constitution in the way most Americans understand the term. Instead, it has a series of "Basic Laws," passed by Israel's Knesset. While Israel's Declaration of Independence, issued on May 15, 1948, promised that Israel would ratify one by Oct. 1 of that year, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding father and dominant political figure, did not want one.
        In a speech that Ben-Gurion delivered in 1949 to the Knesset committee responsible for drafting a constitution, translated by Neil Rogachevsky, he reviewed the reasons that led other countries to adopt constitutions and denied their relevance for the Israeli case. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz Calls for an Israeli Constitution - Attila Somfalvi (Ynet News)
  • Three Czechs Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations - Ruth Frankova
    Three Czechs who risked their lives to save nine members of a Jewish family from the Holocaust have been recognized in memoriam as Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Bohuslav, Olga and Evzenie Cepek were Volhynia Czechs, living on the territory of today's Ukraine. In 1943, the Gerstein family appeared at their farm, begging for shelter, at a time when any help to the Jews meant instant death for anyone who provided it. Together with another farmer, Mr. Cepek provided the family with shelter for 10 long months. (Radio Prague-Czech Republic)

  • In all the coverage of Israel's operation to root out terrorists from the Jenin refugee camp, did anyone ask: Why is there a refugee camp in an area controlled by the Palestinians?
  • The Oslo Accords gave the responsibility for Jenin to the Palestinian Authority, which might have been expected to ameliorate the suffering of the residents by dismantling the camp and moving the "refugees" into permanent housing. But neither Yasser Arafat nor Mahmoud Abbas had any interest in helping them.
  • The international community showered billions of dollars on the PA, yet no funds were allocated to eliminate the camp.
  • The PA, not Israel, keeps more than 12,000 people in the Jenin camp and nearly 1.4 million in 25 others under its control. International supporters of the Palestinians don't care about the people in Jenin or any other refugee camp unless Israel can be blamed for the hardships.
  • During the years it controlled Gaza, Israel wanted to move the people out of camps. However, the Arabs would sponsor UN resolutions demanding that Israel "desist from the removal and resettlement of Palestine refugees."
  • For those who claim to be interested in the Palestinians' welfare, a good place to start would be to demand that the PA dismantle the refugee camps and move the residents into permanent housing where they can begin to live normal lives. The same demand should be made on Arab countries that maintain camps and refuse Palestinians citizenship.

    The writer is executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.

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