U.S. and Iran Trade Prisoners, $6 Billion in Frozen Iranian Funds Unlocked
- John Hudson (Washington Post
Iran freed five American citizens on Monday in a prisoner swap. The U.S. government, in exchange, released five Iranians and unblocked the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds held in South Korea.
See also Iran's Oil Exports Have Soared during Quiet Diplomacy with U.S.
- Ian Talley (Wall Street Journal
As Washington and Tehran conducted negotiations that led to Monday's release of five Americans, the U.S. backed away from sanctions enforcement that has seen Iran's energy exports grow.
Iranian crude production has topped 3 million barrels a day and oil exports are approaching 2 million barrels a day.
The Trump administration had reimposed sanctions that forced sales to fall to 400,000 barrels a day in 2020.
Israeli Aid Team in Morocco Saves Lives
- Pesach Benson (JNS
Israeli United Hatzalah emergency medical services volunteers working in earthquake-stricken Morocco have pivoted from search and rescue to treating victims.
Within 24 hours of the Sept. 8 earthquake, a Hatzalah delegation was on the ground, involved in search and rescue operations. The delegation has been traveling around rural Morocco, setting up a field clinic in small communities.
"We're treating on average 150-200 people a day," said Hatzalah's director of French operations, Samuel Arrouas.
The aid work meant spending Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in the Atlas Mountains. But saving lives "comes before everything," Arrouas stressed.
Israel's Economy Minister Nir Barkat Rings Closing Bell at New York Stock Exchange
- Itamar Eichner (Ynet News
Israel's Economy Minister Nir Barkat was given the honor of ringing the closing bell ending trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Monday night.
During the special ceremony, the NYSE was festively decorated with blue-and-white Israeli flags.
"I am proud to stand here as a representative of the State of Israel in the most important and largest stock exchange in the world and to close trade. As I said when meeting with the NYSE heads, Israel is a strategic focus for investors, thanks to our distinct advantage in the field of technology, where the economic future of the world lies," he said.
"As a former investor, I say to all investors in America - investing in Israel is the best investment that anyone can do. Those who invest in Israel will benefit immensely."
UK Signs Deal with Israel to Collaborate on Science, Innovation and Technology
Israel and the UK have signed a memorandum of understanding for "faster and deeper collaboration" on science, innovation and technology.
The agreement commits the parties to a total of 1.7 million pounds in support to research focused on technologies critical to our future prosperity and quality of life.
The funding includes 1.1 million pounds earmarked for the UK-Israel Innovation Mobility Scheme, supporting UK-based researchers to travel to Israel and work jointly with Israeli partners at top Israeli institutions.
GPS Jamming Forces Planes to Land in Israel Using Alternative Routes
- Michael Horovitz (Times of Israel
Incessant GPS interference has recently forced planes landing at Ben-Gurion Airport to use alternate routes in recent months, the Israel Airports Authority said Wednesday.
Authorities are investigating if Russia's cyberwarfare units based in Syria are responsible.
Poll: A Third of Saudis Want Business with Israel Now, Even without Formal Ties
- David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy
One-third of Saudi society say they would approve cooperation "with Israeli technology companies on things like climate change, cybersecurity, and water resource management," according to an August 2023 survey commissioned by the Washington Institute.
Only 15% of Saudis say it would be important to acquire "new American weapons and security guarantees for Saudi Arabia," while 16% say it would be important to have "a new partnership with the U.S. for Saudi civilian nuclear power."
61% agree at least "somewhat" that "We cannot count on the U.S. these days, so we should look more to other countries like Russia or China as partners."
48% prefer "those who are trying to interpret Islam in a more modern direction," up from 27% in 2017.
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Israel Using Bacteria to Detect Landmines
- John Jeffay (Israel21c
Researchers in Israel are using bacteria to detect landmines. They've developed tiny pellet-sized biosensors based on E. coli.
The biosensors are dispersed over the target area, where they sniff out the buried explosives and become luminescent. A drone then photographs them and reveals the location of any landmine.
"This new biosensor is a game changer. It can be cheaply deployed anywhere in the world to safely detect a variety of hidden explosives and do so more accurately than current alternatives," said Gideon Lapidoth, CEO of Enzymit.
Israeli Startup Wins Healthcare Tech Challenge to Help U.S. Hospitals Cut Costs
- Sharon Wrobel (Times of Israel
Israeli startup CatAI, which has developed a smartphone-based health app to monitor patients' medical conditions at home, was selected from among 106 companies in a healthcare competition to help U.S. hospitals cut costs.
CatAI recognized healthcare providers' need for dependable remote home patient health monitoring to help reduce rehospitalization and hospital overcrowding and thereby lower costs.
As the population ages, the number of elderly patients requiring healthcare monitoring is rising.
The platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track and monitor medical parameters, including blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation level, and temperature from a patient's home using the existing smartphone camera.
It extracts and transmits medical data and test results directly to a patient's medical file, which is accessible to caregivers and healthcare providers.
In addition, the app sends alerts to caregivers about changes in home patients' vital signs.
CatAI was awarded a $75,000 pilot to work with Baptist Health Innovations, part of South Florida-based Baptist Health, operating 12 hospitals and 200 outpatient centers, to further develop its technology to enter the U.S. market.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets with U.S. President Biden
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with U.S. President Joe Biden.
At the start of the meeting Netanyahu said: "Under your leadership, Mr. President, we can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia. And I think such a peace would go a long way first to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians....I believe that working together we can make history."
"I appreciate, Mr. President, your continuous commitment to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. I think that's critical. And that shared goal of ours can be achieved by a credible military threat, crippling sanctions, and supporting the brave men and women of Iran who despise that regime and who are our real partners for a better future." (Prime Minister's Office)
See also President Joe Biden Meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
President Joseph R. Biden met on Wednesday in New York with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to ensuring Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, as well as ongoing close cooperation between Israel and the United States to counter all threats posed by Iran and its proxies. They also consulted on progress toward establishing a more integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Middle East region, including through efforts to deepen and expand normalization with countries in the region. President Biden invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington, D.C., before the end of the year.
See also The Biden-Netanyahu Conversation - Itamar Eichner
A senior Israeli political official spoke Wednesday after the hour-long meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden.
"The conversation was warm and friendly, between two friends who have known each other for 40 years."
"The main part of the conversation dealt with the question of how to promote the normalization and peace agreement with Saudi Arabia. Not if, but how. We went into a lot of details. There is a desire to overcome the obstacles....There is an absolute unity between the positions of Israel and the U.S. in relation to the issue of civilian nuclear power in Saudi Arabia."
Regarding any link between normalization with Saudi Arabia and peace with the Palestinians, "Netanyahu told Biden that the Palestinians are part of the process - but they will not have a veto over it."
"Biden asked about the [judicial] reform, but did not give his opinion....Netanyahu said that the direction is to reach a consensus with parts of the opposition, or with the public." (Ynet News)
- Israel's Ambassador to UN Detained after Protesting Iranian President's Speech - Bradford Betz
UN security personnel on Tuesday detained Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan shortly after he left the General Assembly Hall to protest a speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Before leaving the hall, Erdan held up a picture of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman who was brutally murdered last year by the country's morality police for not properly wearing her hijab. A caption accompanying the photo read: "Iranian women deserve freedom now!"
Erdan told Fox News: "The UN's lost moral compass was on full display today. Being detained for standing with the Iranian people and protesting a vile mass murderer who was given an audience on the global stage is utterly disgraceful....Other ambassadors have previously held signs for ideological reasons, including in recent sessions on the war in Ukraine, with no repercussions."
"Israel is standing with the people of Iran, and we want to live in peace with the people of Iran. But their regime is the one who is preventing it and causing them to suffer so much." Former President Trump sanctioned Raisi for his role in the massacre of 5,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988 and the regime's slaughter of 1,500 Iranian demonstrators in 2019. (Fox News)
See also Israel Stages Lone UN Walkout Against Iran
Israel's ambassador to the UN was the only diplomat to protest at President Ebrahim Raisi's speech at the General Assembly on Tuesday. Raisi is known as the "Butcher of Tehran" for his history of gross human rights violations.
In contrast, in March, more than 100 diplomats from 40 Western countries and allies walked out of a speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the top UN human rights forum in protest over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Netanyahu Calls on UN to "Refrain from Baseless Criticism of Israel"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the UN to "condemn Iranian subversion and Palestinian terrorism against innocent civilians and to refrain from its baseless criticism of Israel," in a meeting with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. Netanyahu said "it was untenable that while major changes for the better were taking place in the world and the Middle East, the UN was unaffected and remained steadfast in its hostility to Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
- Netanyahu Meets Zelensky in New York - Lazar Berman
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Netanyahu and Zelensky greeted one another with a handshake and a hug. Zelensky called the meeting "good," while Netanyahu's office described it as "friendly." Israel pledged to continue to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including assistance in dealing with land mines.
(Times of Israel)
See also Zelenskyy Discussed Protection of People and Cooperation in Civil Defense with Netanyahu (President of Ukraine)
- Hamas Behind Attempt to Smuggle Explosive Material from Gaza
The Israel Security Agency on Wednesday accused Hamas of directing a recent attempt to smuggle explosive material out of Gaza. Earlier this month, guards at the Kerem Shalom Crossing found several kilograms of "high-quality" explosive material hidden in a shipment of clothes being exported from Gaza. Israel's Defense Ministry said the explosives were intended for terror activity in the West Bank.
The ISA blamed the smuggling attempt on Arafat Natash and Muhammad Abu Awwad, both originally from the West Bank, who were expelled to Gaza as part of a prisoner swap. It said the explosives would have "allowed the elements that hold it to carry out mass terror attacks" if it had reached its destination.
(Times of Israel)
- Gaza Crossings Remain Closed amid Palestinian Riots and Terrorism - Michael Starr
Crossings from Gaza to Israel remained closed to Palestinian workers on Thursday amid ongoing Palestinian riots and attacks along the security barrier.
See also Qatar Refuses to Renew Gaza Aid - Baruch Yedid
Qatar has informed Hamas that it will not be renewing its monthly aid package of $30 million. Palestinian sources said the decision was driven by anger at Hamas' recent overtures to Syria and its increasing involvement in violent escalations in Gaza.
Since 2014, Qatar has invested over a billion dollars in the leadership of Hamas and in the rehabilitation of Gaza. (JNS)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Negotiating with the PLO instead of Local Leaders Has Led to an Intractable Conflict - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi
The creation of Palestinian autonomy (or as Yitzhak Rabin repeatedly called it, "less than a state") was part of the peace agreement Menachem Begin forged between Israel and Egypt. But the decision to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, a bloodthirsty terror organization devoted to the destruction of Israel, was an act of sheer folly. Viable alternatives existed, first and foremost, local leaders in the Arab cities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The implementation of the Oslo Accords in 1994 began with the Israel Defense Forces' withdrawal from city centers in Gaza. Arafat and the PLO immediately started building a domestic military industry to produce rockets, explosives and mortars and to dig tunnels. In seven years, Gaza went from the stone age to firing rockets.
Israel soon faced an unprecedented wave of suicide murderers and other terrorists. To restore security, Israel was forced to reconquer the city centers through Operation Defensive Shield, after more than 1,000 Israeli civilians had been murdered.
Israel unwittingly allowed the creation of a global terrorist network that directs international efforts to challenge Israel's legitimacy and fuels anti-Semitism. The Arab citizens of Israel are now subject to intense Palestinian propaganda, while international funds provided to the Palestinian Authority support terror activities and the gradual takeover of Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian curriculum is rife with Israel-hatred, creating generations of future terrorists and diminishing the prospects of future peace.
The idea behind the Oslo Accords might have been noble, but the implementation was deeply flawed.
(Wall Street Journal)
- UNESCO's Collusion with Palestinian Efforts to Erase Jericho's Jewish Heritage - Editorial
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and declared ancient Jericho to be a World Heritage Site. Jericho appears numerous times throughout the Bible and was notably the site of the Israelites' first battle in their conquest of the Land of Israel, as documented in the Book of Joshua. The city was an important center during the Hasmonean and Herodian periods and the remains of several spectacular synagogues have been uncovered in and around the city.
Perhaps the most outrageous part of UNESCO's designation is its collusion with Palestinian efforts to not only erase the city's Jewish heritage but claim it as their own, by ascribing it to the "State of Palestine." Three more West Bank locations have been designated as World Heritage Sites and ascribed to the "State of Palestine" since 2012: ancient Hebron (home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one of the most important sites in Judaism), Battir (known in ancient times as Betar, the site of an ancient Jewish village and a consequential battle during the Bar-Kochba Revolt), and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
At present, there is no State of Palestine: the Palestinian Authority does not meet the basic requirements of statehood, which is why the U.S. and Israel withdrew from UNESCO after the so-called "state" was admitted to the body in 2011.
What is at issue here is the deliberate erasure of the Jewish people's connections to the cradle of Jewish civilization. For a UN body to go along with the Palestinians' distortions of history and their erasure of the Jewish people's connections to its land brings shame on the UN. (Jerusalem Post)
- Can Israel and the Palestinian Authority Continue to Cooperate? - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
The Palestinian Authority as one unified body has ceased to exist.
In its place, two entities - Fatahland and Hamastan - have developed, both governed by despotic leaders.
Veteran Palestinian leader Abbas is 87 and could disappear from the political scene without prior warning.
Israel's prime minister has declared that maintaining the pretense of an existing Palestinian Authority is in Israel's interest. No Palestinian democracy or democratic institution exists. The Palestinian Authority is entirely financially dependent on Israel.
The writer, Director of the Palestinian Authority Accountability Initiative at the Jerusalem Center, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- In Judea and Samaria, the Post-Abbas Era Has Already Begun - Yaakov Lappin
On Tuesday, Israeli security forces conducted a counter-terror raid in the Jenin refugee camp, the epicenter of terrorism in Judea and Samaria. Israeli forces were engaged by Palestinian gunmen and returned fire, also deploying a Spike Firefly loitering munition. Palestinians detonated an explosive device under an IDF vehicle, and targeted rescue vehicles sent to assist it. Four Palestinian terrorists were killed in the raid.
The Israeli operation came after an attempt by the PA to regain a degree of control in Jenin following a large IDF operation there in July.
Already, sub-factions within the PA are behaving like the post-Abbas era has arrived, with some acting independently to build support among armed militias.
Israel's response has been to create a capability to disrupt terrorism irrespective of the PA's political and internal security dynamics. Those preparations also take into account Iran's growing role in Judea and Samaria, which finds expression through terrorist financing and the smuggling of weapons. Israel is taking preemptive action to prevent a third intifada, identifying and disrupting threats as they materialize.
- Judicial Reform Opponents Cross Red Line by Bringing Dispute to U.S. - David Isaac
Dan Diker, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS,
"When Israeli protesters, who absolutely have the democratic right to protest in their own domestic milieu, export those protests against the Israeli government outside of Israel to the UN and San Francisco, they are actually undermining not only the government but, in international eyes, the very legitimacy of the country they claim to be saving."
"They are unwittingly converging with Israel's worst enemies."
When protesters say Israel is an "undemocratic," "fascist" and "apartheid" state, they are providing ammunition to Israel's adversaries. "In a world in which cellphones and selfies determine policy, the pyrotechnics of this are very dangerous." (JNS)
See also Delegitimizing Israel's Government Only Helps Foes of the Jewish State - Jonathan S. Tobin (JNS)
- "Israel Has Much More Legitimacy since the Abraham Accords" - Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan interviewed by Amichai Stein
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told JNS in an interview: "In the private conversations I conduct, there is an understanding that [the Palestinian issue] should not be an issue and that it's not going to be resolved anytime soon."
"Israel has much more legitimacy since the Abraham Accords. Ambassadors of countries with no relations with Israel have conversations with me and cooperate with us....There are many Muslim countries that feel comfortable participating in Israel's events, for example, in the fields of technology and water."
"Now that the Iranians have reached the point that they are enriching uranium to 60% and their violations of human rights have increased, we hope that the international community's patience will run out. The solution is diplomatic isolation, strong sanctions and a credible military threat."
- BBC Gives a One-Sided Portrayal of the Oslo Accords - Hadar Sela
On Sept. 13, BBC News published a report headlined "Oslo Accords: 30 Years of Lost Palestinian Hopes," presenting an entirely one-sided account that fails to mention the "crushed" and "lost" hopes on the Israeli side which has seen over 1,700 of its citizens murdered in Palestinian terror attacks in those 30 years. BBC reported, "As far as Palestinians were concerned, the PA was supposed to be replaced with an elected government, running their own independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with its capital in east Jerusalem." Yet the Oslo Accords make no mention of the two-state solution or an "independent" Palestinian state.
As former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk has written:
"The Oslo process was supposed to have provided the blueprint...[for] the difficult compromises needed finally to achieve peace. The Oslo Accords did not spell out those compromises; they did not provide for a Palestinian state, nor for a solution for Jerusalem." (CAMERA-UK)
- IDF Unveils "the Most Advanced Tank in the World" - Yoav Zitun
The IDF has begun to deploy its new Merkava V tank, with significantly enhanced survivability and defensive capabilities. It will include the Windbreaker anti-tank missile protection system, and will have the ability to detect and engage anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) even before they are fired. The loader will assist in target acquisition using new technologies that scan the battlefield through advanced sensors and cameras.
"This will be the most advanced tank in the world, with a high-quality sensor system based on artificial intelligence for enemy detection and an intuitive and user-friendly interface for the crew, and deadly weapon systems," according to Brig.-Gen. Oren Giber of the Defense Ministry.
One of the features of the Merkava V is the high-tech helmet developed by Elbit Systems, dubbed IronVision. Similar to a jet pilot's helmet, IronVision provides the tank commander with a 360-degree view of the battlefield and displays relevant information in real time. (Ynet News-Army Recognition)
- Why I Continue to Invest in Israel - Lorne Abony
As the founder and CEO of several companies that went from startup to IPO, I've raised more than $1.7 billion through public and private debt and equity markets. The lessons of this experience have driven me to make increasingly significant investments in Israel over the past decade. The cold-hearted business case for investing in Israel has never been clearer.
Israeli start-ups have the best track record of success. Israel now has 41 unicorns, the most per capita in the world. I've been involved with a number of these unicorns and witnessed their explosive growth. You just can't argue with Israel's success in penetrating new areas of technology, and the financial benefit it brings.
In fields from AI to blockchain to water and sustainable energy to cultured meat, Israelis bring together a density of expertise, a bold attitude that allows for risk-taking and experimentation, and a unique pipeline connecting world-renowned academic institutions with business. I am confident that the economic miracle that has been the Startup Nation over the past two decades is just getting started.
(Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
- Ukraine's Jewish Community
Last year, Kharkiv's Jewish school was damaged in a Russian attack; the community's nearby yeshiva, or religious college, suffered a direct hit. "Our schools aren't able to function because rockets are hitting them," says Miriam Moskovitz, director of the school.
Before the Second World War, Jews were a large minority in Ukraine; 1.5 million Jews perished in the Holocaust. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian auxiliaries helped the Germans commit this crime, though more than 7 million fought the Nazis as troops in the Red Army.
National heroes of Ukraine like Bohdan Khmelnytsky, a 17th-century Cossack commander, are remembered by Jews as responsible for the deaths of thousands. Today many Ukrainians revere Stepan Bandera, whose followers were responsible for the murder of Poles and Jews.
In the past Ukrainians often blamed Jews for everything, including the hardships of communism. Now, says analyst Yevhen Hlibovytsky, anti-Semitism is fading. "The generation of those who grew up in the Soviet Union reflected a lot of the anti-Semitism that the Soviet Union practiced. My generation is much freer of that and the generation of my children treats ethnic and religious diversity as normal." The Pew Research Center has found that Ukrainians are among the least anti-Semitic people in Europe.
For decades after the Second World War, most Jews in Ukraine spoke Russian and identified as Soviet Jews. Now, those that remain identify as Ukrainian Jews. Jewish prayer books are being translated into Ukrainian for the first time.
- The Arrow 3 missile defense system is the most powerful and longest-range member of the Arrow Weapon System family. It is built to defend Israel against the most lethal Iranian ballistic missiles, with the capability to lock on, intercept, and destroy incoming missiles while still deep in outer space.
- Israel's Arrow 2 system can intercept ballistic missiles fired from Iran but its interception altitudes were inside the Earth's atmosphere, where the blast and radiation from a nuclear explosion could still cause severe damage on the ground.
- The Arrow 3 addresses this by destroying nuclear missiles on their way to Israel when they were still in outer space. Arrow 3's first successful interception test took place in 2015 and the first production missiles were delivered to the Israel Air Force in 2017.
- With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Germany became practically disarmed. But its largely complacent worldview was shattered by Putin's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, resulting in a veritable U-turn in German national security policy, with missile defense high on Germany's rearmament priority list. Germany selected Arrow 3 over the U.S.-made Lockheed Martin THAAD.
- In response to the perception of the growing threat from Russia, in July 2022 Germany announced the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) to create a European air and missile defense system. 19 European nations have joined the initiative.
- The three-layer system will be based on the German-made Iris T short-range system, the mid-range U.S.-supplied Patriot system, and the Israel-supplied Arrow 3 system providing the upper layer.
The writer was founding director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, which managed the Arrow program.
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