August 10, 2023
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
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In-Depth Issues:

How Serious Is the Palestinian Rocket Threat from Samaria? - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    Six times in the last three months, Palestinian terrorist organizations have tried to launch rockets against Jewish communities bordering on northern Samaria.
    Iran and Hamas are the main actors encouraging and funding the attempt to develop a credible rocket threat against Israel from Judea and Samaria. The know-how comes from Gaza.
    Judea and Samaria covers an area 16 times larger than Gaza. The rockets that the Palestinians are now producing there are easily transportable and can be readily concealed in a variety of hiding places.
    Only last week, an attempt to smuggle arms was thwarted in the northern Jordan Valley, the specific details of which are still subject to a gag order.

Israel Sends Fire-Fighting Planes to Fight Cyprus Wildfires - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel sent firefighting planes to Cyprus to help put out wildfires on Monday.
    The delegation includes two "air tractor" planes, firefighters on the ground with expertise in forest fires, and over six tons of equipment.

New York University Denounces Academic Boycott of Israel - Dion J. Pierre (Algemeiner)
    New York University (NYU) President Linda G. Mills and Interim Provost Georgina Dopicoon on Friday denounced the American Anthropological Association's (AAA) endorsement last month of a full academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
    "It is regrettable that the AAA, a scholarly organization meant to promote the advancement of knowledge throughout the discipline, an organization that has reaffirmed its commitment to academic freedom, has taken a step seemingly at odds with those objectives," they said.

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Psychological Warfare in the Age of Social Media and Political Discord - Irwin J. Mansdorf (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Psychological warfare between Israel and its enemies involves an asymmetric equation. Whereas the Palestinian Arab leadership benefits from and encourages victim status, Israel does not.
    Many international media sources enable the Palestinian leadership by selective and biased reporting of events focusing on Palestinian victimhood.
    Israeli political leaders have a special responsibility to project security and confidence during a conflict.
    Strategically, preventing psychological dysfunction such as public panic is critical to stabilizing the populace in future conflicts likely to challenge the homefront.
    Irwin J. (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, PhD., is a clinical psychologist and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center, specializing in political psychology.

Iran's Worsening Brain Drain - Raz Zimmt (Institute for National Security Studies)
    The director of Iran's Migration Observatory recently warned against the worsening "brain drain" of Iranian experts in the high-tech and science fields.
    According to the center's data, 67% of employees in the Iranian high-tech industry are in various stages of immigration.
    The data also reveals that over 60% of Iranians who have emigrated abroad in recent years have no intention of returning.
    In the wake of these reports, Iranian authorities have come up with an original solution to the problem. They have decided to close down the Migration Observatory to prevent the publication of further data on the issue.

Rescue Mission Saves 13 Israelis from Ethiopia Conflict - Yoav Etiel (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
    The PassportCard insurance company and Magnus International Search & Rescue rescued 13 Israeli travelers and 7 foreign citizens in Ethiopia on Monday after fighting broke out last week between the Ethiopian army and the local FANO militia in Amhara province.
    See also Israel Monitoring 160 Israelis, 54 Ethiopian Jews Stuck in Gondar Region (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Navy Takes Possession of U.S. Landing Craft - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli Navy took possession of the Nahshon landing craft in a ceremony in the U.S. on Tuesday, the first of two such vessels.
    They will give the IDF significant new tactical options to drop forces behind enemy lines in any future war with Hizbullah.

Israel's Largest Defense Companies Report Growth - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    Israel's three largest defense companies reported growth in 2022.
    Elbit Systems reported revenue of $5.511 billion in 2022, up 4% from 2021.
    Israel Aerospace Industries saw 2022 revenue of $4.973 billion, up 6% from 2021.
    Rafael Advanced Defense Systems had revenue of $3.449 billion in 2022, up 13% from 2021.

Australia Takes Step Backwards on Middle East Peace - Michael Rubin (American Enterprise Institute)
    On Aug. 8, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced that the Australian government would henceforth classify the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as "Occupied Palestinian Territories" and would further declare all settlements as "illegal under international law and a significant obstacle to peace."
    In doing so, Australia sets the clock back on peace, misstates international law, fans the flames of terrorism, and aligns Australia with the rejectionist bloc's anti-Israel mob mentality.
    In 2000, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat walked away from a deal his own negotiators had hashed out, without any counter offer. In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas more than 100% of the land area Palestinians declare occupied. Abbas rejected the deal.
    The Palestinian leadership cannot accept any peace that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.
    The basis of the peace process - and the Oslo Accords - is peaceful negotiation of the land dispute. To make an end run around negotiations encourages recalcitrance, not peace.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Saudis Agree with U.S. on Path to Normalize Kingdom's Ties with Israel - Dion Nissenbaum
    The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have agreed on the broad contours of a deal for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel in exchange for concessions to the Palestinians, U.S. security guarantees and civilian nuclear help, according to U.S. officials. U.S. officials expressed cautious optimism that, in the next nine to 12 months, they can hammer out the details of a Middle East peace deal but warned that they face long odds.
        President Biden's focus on the deal is a reflection of his view that America has to remain a central player in the Middle East to contain Iran, isolate Russia, and thwart efforts by China to supplant Washington in the region.
        On Wednesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that negotiators still had a long way to go. "There is no agreed-to set of negotiations, there's no agreed-to framework to codify the normalization or any of the other security considerations that we and our friends have in the region."
        Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told aides that he isn't ready to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said negotiators have yet to float specific ideas with Israeli leaders. "At the moment, we don't even know where to begin. They are still dealing with basic issues between them. So apparently it's premature even for them to discuss it."  (Wall Street Journal)
        See also State Department: Reports of U.S.-Saudi Deal "Vastly Overstate Where Things Stand"
    State Department spokesman Matt Miller said Wednesday that the Wall Street Journal report "vastly overstated the reality of the situation....Reports that we have reached some sort of agreement vastly overstate where things stand."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also An Israel-Saudi Deal Isn't Imminent - Alexander Ward
    There sure is a lot of excitement about a potential U.S.-brokered Israel-Saudi Arabia deal, but even the Biden administration insists an agreement isn't close to happening. "There's really no new information here," said Richard Goldberg, a former NSC official now at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Politico)
        See also Korea Is a Model for Middle East Peace - Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Minister Dismisses U.S. Terrorism Label in Death of Palestinian - Dan Williams
    Former Israel Security Agency director Avi Dichter, a member of Israel's security cabinet, on Tuesday brushed off the U.S. use of the term "terror attack" to condemn the death of a Palestinian near Burqa village in the West Bank. Lawyers for the Israelis arrested say the shooting was in self-defense after they were attacked by a much larger group of rock-throwers. The Jerusalem District Court ruled that one of the two Israelis should be released to house arrest. The other remains hospitalized with a head wound.
        "I wouldn't advise treating the U.S. definition as a precise professional definition. At the end of the day, they are not drawing on intelligence, but on media reports," Dichter told Israel's Army Radio. "Everything gets poured into media reports - things that are correct, things that are wrong, tendentious and other things. In the end of the day, what is important as far as we are concerned is what happened there."  (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Syrian Precision Weapons Expert Dies in Missile Strike - Ron Ben Yishai
    A scientist working on the production of precision missiles was killed in Damascus on Sunday in a missile strike attributed to Israel at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS), security officials believe. They said that although his demise would not cause a major change to weapons production, it would have a chilling effect and could act as a deterrence.
        The facility, which has come under numerous Israeli attacks in the past year, houses classified military facilities that serve the Syrian army, the Iranian regime, and Hizbullah. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Foils Palestinian Terror Cell Directed from Lebanon
    Palestinians in a West Bank terror cell who planned to carry out shooting attacks on Israelis have been arrested, the Israel Security Agency said Tuesday. The Palestinians were directed by Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) activist Alaam Kabhi, originally from Nablus, and now based in Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Thwarts Gaza Drone-Smuggling Attempt - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Israeli security personnel on Wednesday thwarted an attempt to smuggle 10 reconnaissance drones into Gaza concealed within a black bag inside a minibus at the Erez Crossing. During the inspection of the vehicle, a specially trained canine detected the suspicious package. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S.-Israel Relations

  • House Democratic Leader Jeffries: U.S. to Ensure Israel's Security - Lahav Harkov
    The U.S. will continue to ensure Israel's security no matter how Israel's judicial reform debate ends, U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said Monday during a visit to Israel by 24 Democrats. "The two things that bind our countries together relate to shared democratic values and shared strategic interests related to the very tough neighborhood Israel lives in. The need to ensure we maintain Israel's qualitative military edge will still be with us, regardless of where Israel lands in terms of the judicial reform effort."
        Jeffries said he was "confident the security relationship between the U.S. military and the IDF will remain strong, consistent, reliable, and robust. The stakes are too high in a very dangerous world for anything other than our continued security cooperation to remain ironclad."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Democratic Lawmakers Say Ties with Israel Will Survive - Amichai Stein
    Members of a visiting delegation of 24 Democratic Representatives expressed unwavering support for Israel despite controversy over proposed judicial reforms. Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) said of the reforms that "this is really for Israel and Israelis to sort out....I must add: It's remarkable to see the protests and how democracy really is alive here."
        Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) said: "Israel is a democracy and will make its own decisions, and should make its own decisions. What's best for this country should be decided by this country."
        The writer is the diplomatic correspondent for Israel Public Broadcasting - Channel 11. (JNS)
  • Despite Anti-Israel Rumblings, U.S. Democrats Signal Business as Usual - Herb Keinon
    On July 16, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called Israel a "racist state." Her words prompted the Republicans to bring a resolution to the House floor asserting that Israel "is not a racist or apartheid state" and that the U.S. "will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel." That resolution passed in a 412-9 vote. Those 9 represent only 2% of the 435 members of the House of Representatives - not exactly a tidal wave against Israel. Even among Democrats, the number is only 4% of the total.
        Some newspapers headlined the story, "Nine Democrats vote against GOP resolution calling Israel 'not racist.'" That would be akin to Belgium beating Israel in a World Cup qualifying match 20-1, and the headline the next day reading: "Israel scores goal against Belgium."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ending U.S. Aid Would Put Israelis in Danger - Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY)
    Hysterical hatred for Israel, reinforced by decades of demonization, would not magically disappear with the end of U.S. foreign aid. For the anti-Zionist crusaders in the BDS movement, ending U.S. aid to Israel is a distant second to ending Israel itself.
        Both the White House and Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have never wavered in affirming that, no matter what policy differences emerge between the two democracies, U.S. aid to Israel should be unconditional, much like the friendship itself. Indeed, Israel is an oasis of bipartisan cooperation. The value of U.S. aid to Israel has led to lifesaving inventions like the Iron Dome missile defense system. (Tablet)
  • Biden Should Publicly Show Solidarity with Israel - Douglas E. Schoen and Saul Mangel
    Israel is not only one of America's closest allies - with deep cultural, social and religious ties to the U.S. - but also one of our most important national security partners, as the only true democracy in the Middle East. It is unfortunate to see the White House repeatedly inserting itself into Israel's internal conflicts and taking veiled shots at the current government.
        Increasing hostility toward Israel's current government is not going unnoticed by terrorists and their state sponsors like Hizbullah and Iran, which would happily take advantage of the growing distance between the U.S. and Israel. Moreover, any hostility in the U.S.-Israeli relationship will only dissuade Saudi Arabia, the most powerful Arab country, from making peace with Israel.
        America must not lose sight of the big picture: There is a long history of Israel using American military aid to further our shared geopolitical interests and protect both nations' national security - by taking actions that the U.S. could not without igniting a large-scale international conflict. Israeli strikes prevented both Saddam Hussein (1981) and Bashar al-Assad (2007) from developing nuclear weapons, and Israel continues to be at the vanguard of preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of Islamic terrorists. Recently, Israel has carried out strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities as well as factories making weapons for Russia's use in Ukraine.
        Israel has stood by the U.S. as our democracy has been tested time and time again, never losing sight of our shared goals and values, and it is incumbent on President Biden to pay the Jewish State the same respect.
        Douglas E. Schoen is a political consultant who served as an adviser to President Clinton. Saul Mangel is a senior strategist at Schoen Cooperman Research. (The Hill)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • Gaza Protest Movement Maintaining Momentum on Social Media - Gianluca Pacchiani
    "People are much more outspoken against Hamas on social media today than they were 10 or five years ago," said Rami Aman, a prominent Gazan critic of Hamas living in Cairo. "If you look at the official social media pages of Hamas and its ministries, you find a plethora of critical comments, with people writing openly from their Facebook accounts, showing their name and profile picture. You will find more positive comments on the Facebook page of the [IDF] 'Coordinator' than on the pages of Hamas."
        "There is not a single family in Gaza that has not suffered at the hands of Hamas in one way or another, because of arrests or persecution. People are tired of having no opportunities and no way out. The only way to make a decent living is to be affiliated with Hamas. If you want to apply for a government job, you need a letter from your mosque. In the meantime, Hamas leadership live in nice villas, drive expensive cars and eat in fancy restaurants. And the top leaders, of course, don't live in Gaza at all."
        The current round of popular outrage was sparked by the accidental killing by local authorities of a resident of Khan Younis, Shadi Abu Quta, on July 27. Abu Quta became trapped under a wall of his own house as it was being demolished by a municipal bulldozer. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Activist Tortured and Imprisoned for Fostering Dialogue - Jeremy Abraham Rabbani
    Palestinian activist Rami Aman was imprisoned by Hamas for speaking with Israelis over Skype from his Gaza residence. He was brought up in Gaza to believe that Israel is the sworn eternal enemy of the Palestinian people and must be annihilated. As he grew older, he began looking at the situation from a different angle.
        In 2010, Aman founded the Gaza Youth Committee that worked to empower young Gazans. By 2015, Aman had secretly arranged several small-scale Skype chats between Palestinian and Israeli activists. April 6, 2020, marked one of the biggest Skype calls orchestrated, which included Israelis, Palestinians, Europeans and Americans. Three days later, Aman was detained by Hamas authorities, interrogated, subject to brutal physical torture, and held in a minuscule cell.
        Aman understands that since assuming power in 2006, Hamas has done absolutely nothing to help the Palestinian people and alleviate their hardship. Fortunately, Aman is not alone in his feeling. I was informed by him that most people who live in Gaza are decent, honest people who are grounded in reality. They understand that the continued armed struggle against Israel has been fruitless. The status quo of constant conflict and a hardline stance against normalization has accomplished absolutely nothing positive for Palestinians. (Times of Israel)

  • Antisemitism

  • ADL Report Finds Penetration of Antisemitism into European Political Mainstream - Melissa Weiss
    A new report by the Anti-Defamation League delves into the rise of left-wing antisemitism in four Western European nations (UK, France, Germany, and Spain), finding that "its penetration into the political mainstream is cause for concern." The challenges facing European Jewish communities "can be a bellwether for what is to come for the U.S. Jewish community," the report says.
        In the UK, the Community Security Trust found "strong crossover between the pro-Palestine movement, the far left of the Labour Party, and other left-wing groups including some Trades Unions." In France, K. magazine said the Jewish community faces "a rapidly growing left-wing antisemitism that includes both anti-Zionism and traditional antisemitism."
        The German Amadeu Antonio Foundation NGO writes that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel is growing, "not least in leftist, anti-racist and post-colonial circles," which has begun to cause "debates and alliances to be hijacked by anti-Israel activists." In Spain, the pro-Israel ACOM notes a shift away from right-wing antisemitism over six decades, by which "anti-Israel antisemitism of the political left accounts for the overwhelming share of antisemitism."
        The ADL suggests the report "highlight[s] the need for the American Jewish community and supporters of Israel more broadly to pay close attention to the trends happening in elements of the political left in Europe and to remain alert to the potential for them to spread around the world."  (Jewish Insider)
        See also Antisemitism and Radical Anti-Israel Bias on the Political Left in Europe (Anti-Defamation League)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israel's Energy Boom - Shira Rubin
    The natural gas processing rig for Israel's Karish field in the Mediterranean is like a floating town. The $2 billion project, which came online last fall, is manned by a crew of 145 Israelis and foreign workers. They are trained to oversee on-site gas refinement and respond to the unique security risks of an Israeli installation. Natural gas has transformed Israel into a regional energy powerhouse, with gas accounting for more than 70% of its electricity.
        There are an estimated 1.75 trillion cubic feet of reserves in the Karish field alone; already, it produces 35% of the gas consumed by Israel. Shaul Zemach, chief executive of the Israeli subsidiary of Energean, thinks there could be even more abundant wells 2-3 km. below the current extraction level. (Washington Post)
  • Yorkshire's Unsung Holocaust Hero - Rosa Silverman
    During the 1930s, Leeds tailor David Makofski became aware of the peril that threatened Jews on the continent. He was the son of Latvian refugees, fiercely proud to be British, and had fought for his country in the First World War. "He saw really early on what was happening," says Diane Mckaye, Makofski's granddaughter. He became chairman of the Leeds Jewish Refugees Committee and devise a rescue mission by establishing a trainee scheme that opened the door to several hundred young men. Under this program, Jewish men below the age of 35 would be found positions as trainees by employers in and around Leeds.
        It's estimated Makofski and his associates saved the lives of over 200 Jewish men between 1938 and 1939, at which point escape was no longer a possibility. Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, says: "The lengths he went to in order to help Jewish people, culminating in hundreds of lives saved, is extraordinary. As a result, thousands of descendants including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are now able to tell this important tale."  (Telegraph-UK)

  • There's no use pretending that Israel's agreement to treat all U.S. passport holders in the same manner, rather than singling out those who are also Palestinian Arabs for special scrutiny, doesn't present genuine risks for the country's security. Making this change was the price Prime Minister Netanyahu had to pay in order to get the U.S. to change its own entry policies for Israeli citizens.
  • Up until now, Israel was denied the visa waivers extended to 40 other countries. Now, those Palestinians with U.S. passports will have the same free entry to Israel and its international airport as other Americans, as will Palestinians with American citizenship currently living in terrorist-run Gaza.
  • Israel and the U.S. have very real differences in their approach to security, especially concerning air travel. There is no question that an unwillingness to treat everyone the same is at the heart of Jerusalem's efforts to keep terrorists from boarding Israeli planes or entering the country. Israelis, as well as those who travel there regularly, are used to putting up with a great deal of security measures. But they largely accept it as a reasonable price to pay for safety.
  • Israeli security personnel hone in on the people most likely to be terrorist suspects. Yet it's a mistake to assume that Israeli security is purely a matter of group profiling. To the contrary, Israel has long relied on sophisticated behavioral analysis, reading eye movements and body language as people respond to questions to try to filter out potential risks.
  • But those tasked with defending Israel understand that members of groups that are broadly supportive of anti-Israel terror, like the Palestinians, have to be given more scrutiny than others, even if that might seem unfair to some peaceful individuals. The main thing is to make it harder for potential terrorists.
  • It's possible that terror groups will take advantage of the situation by using those with American documents to commit some outrage. That's why the chiefs of the Israeli security agencies were reportedly opposed to the decision to bow to the American demand.
  • The problem here is an American mindset that treats Israel's security concerns as less important than making a point about protecting Arab and Muslim Americans. Israel remains a nation under threat in a way that few Americans understand.
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