August 31, 2023
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
Dan Diker, President - Yechiel Leiter, Director General

In-Depth Issues:

Senior Hamas Official Saleh Al-Arouri: We Want War with Israel (MEMRI)
    Hamas Political Bureau Deputy Chairman Saleh Al-Arouri told Lebanon's Mayadeen TV on Aug. 25 that a "total war" with Israel is inevitable, that the Palestinian people want such a war, and that Hamas is preparing for it.
    He said that in a "total conflict," Israel's airspace, seaports, electricity, water supply, and communications will be shut down.
    He added that Hamas is capable of imposing a curfew in Israel and bringing its economy to a standstill.

Hizbullah's Increased Activity among Arab Israelis Intensifies the Security Risks Israel Faces - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Israel Security Agency is concerned that criminals within Israel's Arab community might align with Hizbullah to pose a heightened security risk for Israel.
    Hizbullah has been striving to recruit individuals from Israel's Arab population for over two decades and has achieved some success.
    The recent infiltration of Israel with at least two large Iranian-made explosive Claymore mines is deeply concerning.
    Security officials believe that Hizbullah is capitalizing on the escalating demand for weapons and explosive devices among Arab criminal factions engaged in internal conflicts.
    This situation allows Hizbullah to forge alliances with hostile elements within Israel's Arab population, potentially recruiting them as operatives and agents.

Iran Bans Weightlifter for Life over Handshake with Israeli (AFP-Barron's)
    Iranian weightlifter Mostafa Rajaei shook hands with Israeli weightlifter Maksim Svirsky on Saturday at a World Masters championship in Wieliczka, Poland.
    In response, Iran's weightlifting federation banned Rajaei for life from entering all sports facilities in the country and dismissed the head of the delegation for the competition, Hamid Salehinia.

Weapons Found next to Teddy Bears in Palestinian Nursery School - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
    IDF soldiers searching a Palestinian nursery school in the village of Deir Tzamat near Hebron found guns, dozens of bullets, and a grenade.

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Lebanon Comedian Arrested for Jokes, Released (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
    Nour Hajjar, one of Lebanon's best-loved comedians, was detained on Aug. 25 after a joke he made on stage that due to the economic crisis, Lebanese soldiers have had to work as delivery drivers to supplement their meager army incomes.
    He was released after four days following an outcry from local and international rights groups.
    The Tripoli-based Sunni Muslim group "Soldiers of Al-Fayhaa" recently warned that if the state doesn't charge the comedian with blasphemy, they will "cut off [Hajjar's] tongue."

Driving through Terror: Israelis Learn to Survive Highway Attacks - David Isaac (JNS)
    Residents of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are lining up to take a driving course that teaches survival skills in the event of a terrorist attack on the road.
    Participants learn they can drive over a burning tire and can continue even with a flat tire.

Arab Israelis Are Purchasing Luxury Homes in Jericho - Ethan Bronner (Bloomberg)
    Last year, two Palestinian sisters - Hilda and Diana - bought a villa in a 750-acre development called Jericho Gate.
    Each of its three bedrooms has its own bathroom. Through remote-controlled sliding glass doors is a private swimming pool.
    The villa cost $264,000) and is one of 1,400 similar vacation homes in the area, with an additional 700 planned or already under construction.
    They live in Jerusalem, 25 minutes away by car, and see it as a weekend retreat to play host to their extended family.

Israel's Natural Gas Revenues Reach $270 Million in January-June 2023 (Xinhua-China)
    Israel's natural gas revenues from its three offshore gas fields totaled $270 million in the first half of 2023, up 23% from the same period in 2022, the Ministry of Energy reported on Tuesday.
    Half of the gas was directed to the domestic economy and half to exports to Egypt and Jordan.

Video: Israel Wins Gold at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships - Jacob Gurvis (JTA)
    The Israeli team won gold medals at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Valencia, Spain, on Friday.
    Linoy Ashram, who won an Olympic gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, served as an assistant trainer.
    The gold medal-winning performance featured a three-minute ribbons and balls routine by the five-woman team.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Saudi Arabia Offers to Resume Palestinian Authority Funding - Dion Nissenbaum
    Saudi Arabia is offering to resume financial support to the Palestinian Authority, said Saudi officials and former Palestinian officials. The kingdom has pumped more than $5 billion into Palestinian causes, including direct support to the Palestinian Authority. But Riyadh began cutting back funding to the PA in 2016 amid allegations of incompetence and corruption, with aid plunging from $174 million a year in 2019 to zero in 2021.
        Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has connected the resumption of aid to the PA cracking down on militant groups and violence in the West Bank. Militant groups hold more power than Palestinian security forces in some cities.
        Saudi leaders have told U.S. officials that they expect Palestinians to accept concessions short of statehood and that the Palestinians won't have any power to veto a Saudi-Israel deal. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Saudi Arabia Moves to Assert Influence in West Bank as Normalization with Israel Appears Possible
    "Funding of the Palestinian Authority is now a measure employed by the Saudis to provide cover for what could come next: normalization with Israel," said Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • Libyan Foreign Minister Suspended, Flees Country after Meeting with Israeli Counterpart - Samy Magdy
    Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who heads one of Libya's rival governments, said he suspended Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush on Monday after it was revealed that she met in Rome last week with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. The news of the meeting prompted scattered protests in Tripoli and other towns in western Libya. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also A History of Secret Meetings between Israel and Libya - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
        See also Libya's Decade-Long Outreach to Israel - Elis Gjevori (Middle East Eye-UK)
        See also Recalling "Cruelty" of Former Homeland, Some Libyan Jews Cast Wary Eye on Contacts - Gianluca Pacchiani (Times of Israel)
  • Netanyahu Thanks Saudi Arabia after Israeli Plane Lands in Jeddah
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday thanked Saudi Arabia for hospitality towards Israeli passengers after their plane, traveling from Seychelles to Israel, was forced to land in Jeddah on Monday due to technical difficulties. 130 Israelis aboard the plane were housed overnight in a hotel at the airport. "I greatly appreciate the warm attitude of the Saudi authorities to the Israeli passengers whose flight was in distress and was compelled to make an emergency landing," he said. "I greatly appreciate the good neighborliness."
        Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, but allowed Israeli flights over the kingdom's airspace last year. (Anadolu-Turkey)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 1 Dead, Six Injured in Palestinian Terrorist Ramming at Checkpoint - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    One IDF soldier was murdered and two others, as well as three civilians, were injured in a Palestinian truck ramming at the Maccabim checkpoint on Route 443, a major Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, on Thursday morning. The terrorist, a Palestinian in his 40s with an Israeli work permit, rammed into the soldiers who were on their way to a bus stop, then struck a civilian car. He then drove 10 km. to a second checkpoint, where he was shot and killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Four IDF Soldiers Hurt by Large Explosive Device in Nablus - Emanuel Fabian
    Four Israeli soldiers were wounded in the West Bank city of Nablus Wednesday night as they walked past a large explosive device when it was set off. Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Stabs Israeli in Jerusalem
    A Palestinian attacker stabbed an Israeli man at the Shivtei Yisrael light rail station in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening. The attacker was killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Troops Foil Palestinian Attack near Hebron - Elisha Ben Kimon
    A Palestinian was shot by IDF troops on Wednesday when he accelerated his car toward them outside the Israeli community of Beit Hagai. A resident of the community was killed last week and another was injured when terrorists opened fire on their car. (Ynet News)
  • Defense Minister Gallant: Israel Must Widen Arab Alliances, But Maintain Military Superiority - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday met with U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf. Gallant thanked McGurk for his continuous efforts to advance normalization with Arab countries in the region, especially with the Saudis. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Said to Press U.S. on Proposed Saudi Nuclear Program
    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant asked White House National Security Council Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk for clarifications regarding a possible Saudi nuclear program during their meeting in New York on Tuesday. According to Army Radio, Gallant presented White House officials with a list of Israeli concerns over such efforts.
        The questions mainly concerned Saudi Arabia securing nuclear fuel enrichment for civilian purposes. Israeli officials wanted to understand the mechanisms for supervising Saudi nuclear activities, and what guarantees exist that it will not be diverted for military purposes. The Americans understand that Israel's security concerns are crucial for continuing the talks.
        Israel is also seeking clarifications regarding advanced weapons the U.S. could sell to Riyadh. An official statement from Gallant following his meeting noted the "importance of preserving Israel's qualitative military edge."  (Times of Israel-Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran, Israel, and the Struggle for the Skies over the Middle East - Major Joshua Dryden, USAF
    In March 2021, Israeli F-35s shot down a hostile drone, the first confirmed air-to-air kill for an F-35. The aircraft was one of three Iranian drones destined for Hamas-controlled territory in Gaza. In addition to collecting intelligence as they passed over Israeli territory, the drones carried weapons for Palestinian fighters. This incident is part of an increasing attempt by Iran to contest Israel's long-held supremacy in the skies over the Middle East. Israel has relied on a range of capabilities to sabotage Iranian capability developments and undermine Iranian power-projection efforts.
        This study examines Israeli airpower strategy in light of Iranian weapons developments and deployments across the region. (Maxwell Air University-U.S. Air Force)
  • Iran's Religious Influence Spreading in the U.S. - Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
    The Iranian regime is advancing its ideology and increasing its influence in Shia mosques throughout the U.S. Nine House Representatives sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on July 28, warning: "In four separate cases, recent reports have illustrated the Iranian regime's influence on multiple Shi'a mosques and religious institutions in the United States."
        The writer is president of the International American Council on the Middle East. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Palestinians

  • Economist Accepts False Palestinian Claim at Face Value - Adam Levick
    An Aug. 26 article in the Economist represents another example of how journalists often fail to fact check claims by Palestinians. The piece focuses on a small winery in Bethlehem owned by Palestinian Sari Khoury. The requisite anti-Israel claim in the article is that "it is virtually impossible to get a permit from the Israeli authorities to expand his type of business physically. 'I can't even build a shed for my tools,' he explains."
        However, Bethlehem is in Area A of the West Bank, which means that the Palestinian Authority has complete administrative and military control of the area where Khoury's winery is located. So, Israeli permits to expand his business in the city are not needed. (CAMERA-UK)
  • Reforming Fuel Subsidies in the Palestinian Territories - Arden Finn, Gianluca Mele, and Nur Nasser Eddin
    The Palestinian Authority (PA) subsidizes fuel. In 2021, the fuel subsidy provided by the PA Ministry of Finance was $77 million. In 2022, the fuel subsidy rose by 191%. Subsidies mean that fuel retail prices in the Palestinian territories are lower than the global oil price.
        Richer households receive a higher share of subsidies since they consume a higher amount of fuel than poor households. The fuel subsidy going to the richest 10% in the West Bank is almost four times higher than the amount going to the poorest 10%. (World Bank)

  • Antisemitism

  • Israelophobia Is the One Hatred that Polite Society Embraces - Jake Wallis Simons
    The Jewish state shouldn't matter very much. Accounting for just a quarter of 1% of the Middle East, its area is the size of Wales, with a population the size of London. Despite all the controversies, it's not particularly violent. In its 75-year history, its conflicts with the Arab world have claimed 86,000 lives. The 2003 Iraq invasion killed 600,000 people in three years.
        Yet like the antisemitism of previous centuries, there is bigotry based on conspiracy theories and falsehoods. Israel is accused of pulling the strings of politicians, finance and the media. The country is labeled "white supremacist," despite being at least 60% non-white. It is blamed for "genocide," even though the Palestinian population has grown five-fold since its birth.
        It is accused of "apartheid" when its national soccer team contains more Arabs than Jews. Although it is the Middle East's only democracy - the only country in the region to protect the rights of women and minorities - it is routinely compared to the Nazis.
        The writer is editor of the Jewish Chronicle-UK. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)

  • Other Issues

  • Democratic Lawmakers Describe Takeaways from Trip to Israel - Marc Rod
    26 House Democrats traveled to Israel this month on a trip sponsored by the AIPAC-linked American Israel Education Foundation and agreed that the trip had given them a better appreciation for the security threats that Israel faces. "The issues on the northern border, Lebanon, Syria, they are more serious than I realized....It is urgent, it's a daily issue," said Rep. Greg Landsman (D-OH). "Iran has really encircled this country with these proxy terror groups."
        Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-MI) said the group personally saw Hizbullah operatives maneuvering along the border. "It's one thing to talk about these talking points from the comfort of an office in Washington, D.C.  It is another thing to be standing there...looking over the border with a Hizbullah spy in the trees looking down at you and your group."
        A trip to a kibbutz near the Gaza border, in short range of rocket attacks from the Palestinian enclave, also resonated with several participants. Rep. Don Davis (D-NC) said, "To think that residents would have just a matter of seconds to get families, their children, into a bomb shelter...it's amazing to me."  (Jewish Insider)
  • There Are No Anti-Arab "Apartheid" Roads in Judea and Samaria - Yigal Dilmoni
    Judea and Samaria contain 2,500 km. of roads for intercity traffic, of which 1,600 km. are located in Area C. Arabs can use all the roads, including those in Area C, apart from those that provide access inside Jewish communities and security zones controlled by the IDF, which comprise only 3% of the area.
        At the same time, Israelis are permitted to drive in Area C, but entry into Area A constitutes a criminal offense. Therefore, almost 35% of the region's roads are off limits to Jewish Israeli traffic. The ban on Jewish traffic can be construed as racist, seeing that an equal ban is not enforced when it comes to Arab Israeli citizens. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Weekend Features

  • Helen Mirren Explains Why She Ignores BDS Pressure, Praises Israel - Shiryn Ghermezian
    British actress Dame Helen Mirren, 78, who plays former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the recently released film "Golda," told Israeli media outlet N12 that she ignores requests not to go to Israel or participate in Israeli projects because she's "met such extraordinary people" in the country. "I know that there is a foundation of deep intelligence, thoughtfulness, commitment [and] poetry even in Israel that is very, very special."
        "I believe in the existence of Israel, and I believe Israel has to go forward into the future for the rest of eternity. And I believe in Israel because of the Holocaust," Mirren said. (Algemeiner)
  • 300-Meter Stretch of Second Temple Period Aqueduct Uncovered in Jerusalem - Alexander Fulbright
    Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a 300-meter-long stretch of an ancient aqueduct that served Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday. The ruins were discovered during construction work on a school in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood.
        The Upper-Level Aqueduct ferried water to Jerusalem from natural springs near Bethlehem to the upper city, where royal palaces and the homes of other elites were located and today houses the Old City's Jewish and Armenian Quarters. Another Low-Level Aqueduct brought water to the Temple Mount. The Romans continued to use the aqueduct for decades after destroying Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE and later carried out renovations. (Times of Israel)

In List of Arab Grievances, Hating Israel Is Way Down - Reuel Marc Gerecht (The Dispatch)
  • The "Arab Spring" that began in Tunisia in 2010 accelerated the withering of the Palestinian cause. Hating Israel and Western imperialism is now way down the list of regional grievances.
  • The Arab intelligentsia, which sustained and drove anti-Zionism since the 1920s, effectively no longer exists.
  • Anti-Zionism is probably a much more passionate subject on Western campuses than it is in Arab universities - outside of Gaza, the West Bank, and Jordan.
  • Lost causes, which is now what the quest for a Palestinian state most likely is, can have astonishing resonance.
  • But geography is destiny: Jerusalem simply can't afford to allow militant Palestinians the capacity to launch drones and short-range missiles into Israel.
  • Palestinian leadership has either egged on, co-opted, or been incapable of stopping radicals.

    The writer, a former Iranian targets officer in the CIA, is a resident scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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