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Israel News

Daily Alert

Signs Increasingly Point to Sabotage in Explosion at Iranian Nuclear Complex

on July 09, 2020
(Washington Post) Joby Warrick - A massive explosion and fire at an Iranian nuclear facility last week was probably an act of sabotage, intelligence officials and weapons experts said Monday. A Middle Eastern security official said in an interview that the damage was caused by a "huge explosive device" planted by Israeli operatives to "send a signal" to Tehran. "There was an opportunity, and someone in Israel calculated the risk and took the opportunity." The official described the building as having been "completely destroyed." Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser and head of Israel's National Security Council, applauded the attack as a necessary check on Iran's ongoing progress toward nuclear and strategic weapons capability.

3/4 of Natanz Centrifuge Assembly Hall Destroyed

on July 09, 2020
(Institute for Science and International Security) David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and Frank Pabian - High-resolution commercial satellite imagery from July 4-5 shows that the Iran Centrifuge Assembly Center (ICAC) at the Natanz Enrichment Site has suffered significant, extensive, and likely irreparable, damage to its main assembly hall. This new facility, inaugurated in 2018, was critical to the mass production of advanced centrifuges. The destruction of the ICAC must be viewed as a major setback to Iran's ability to deploy advanced centrifuges on a mass scale for years to come.

Iran Ordered to Pay $879 Million to Khobar Towers Bombing Survivors

on July 09, 2020
(Military Times) Todd South - 19 U.S. airmen died and 400 were injured in the terrorist attack at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on June 25, 1996. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled in Washington last week that the backers, planners and supporters of the bombing - Iran and its terrorist arm - should pay out $819,120,000 to 14 airmen and 41 of their family members who suffered that day and have been suffering since. In 2018, the same judge awarded $104.7 million to 15 servicemembers and 24 relatives hurt in the Khobar Towers bombing. Iran historically has not responded to such lawsuits and a monetary payout is not likely, barring seizing of assets or state funds by the U.S. or international governing bodies.

Israeli Expresses Concern as U.S. Drops Satellite-Imaging Cap

on July 09, 2020
(Reuters) Dan Williams - An Israeli official flagged a possible security risk on Monday following a U.S. move to allow American providers to sell clearer satellite images of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Under a 1997 U.S. regulation, satellite images of Israel used in services like Google Earth could show items no smaller than 2 meters (6.56 ft.) across. The curb, Israel had argued, would help prevent enemies using public-domain information to spy on its sensitive sites. The U.S. said on June 25 it would allow enhanced resolutions of 0.4 meters, telling Reuters, "a number of foreign sources" are already producing and disseminating sub-2 m. imagery of Israel." Amnon Harari, head of space programs at Israel's Defense Ministry, said, "We would always prefer to be photographed at the lowest resolution possible." Israel worries that Hizbulah and Hamas could use commercial satellite images to plan rocket strikes on key civilian and military infrastructure.

UN Official Deems U.S. Killing of Iran's Soleimani "Unlawful"

on July 09, 2020
(Reuters) Stephanie Nebehay - Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said Monday that the January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law and the UN Charter. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

Israel Sees 1,262 New Coronavirus Cases

on July 09, 2020
(Ynet News) The Israel Health Ministry reported 1,262 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the number of active cases to 15,138 on Thursday (compared with 11,856 active cases on Monday morning). 115 patients are in serious condition (compared with 89 on Monday), of whom 41 are intubated (compared with 32 on Monday). The death toll is 346 (compared with 332 on Monday). 412 patients are being treated in hospitals (compared with 332 on Monday).

2,200 Jewish Coronavirus Victims outside Israel, U.S., and FSU

on July 09, 2020
(Jerusalem Post-Ha'aretz) Rossella Tercatin - Coronavirus has claimed the lives of at least 2,200 Jews outside of Israel, the U.S., and the former Soviet Union, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog announced Wednesday. Jewish Agency figures showed that 33 Jews had died from the virus in Middle Eastern countries (predominantly Turkey), 50 from Mexico, 40 from Chile, 70 from Argentina and 100 from Brazil. Other Jewish communities hit hard included those in Italy, France, South Africa, and Austria. The Jewish Agency has provided $9.6 million in interest-free loans to Jewish organizations in 23 countries, while receiving requests for double that amount.

30-Minute Covid-19 Test Developed in Israel

on July 09, 2020
(Times of Israel) Nathan Jeffay - Izhak Haviv, chief scientist of AID Genomics, said his company has changed the enzymes and other components normally used in coronavirus test kits in order to enable small batches of "VIP" tests to be processed in 30 minutes, and bigger batches in around double the time. "To process a planeload of passengers would take me 75 minutes, and I can push it down to an hour," he said. "We have an actual tool that is 50 times more sensitive than tests kits produced until now." "I hope as a result of this technology, activities involving many participants will be open and not need to close. Movie sets, for example, aren't filming, but if everyone can get tested in the morning, they can know within half an hour if everyone is clean, and start filming."

Amid Iran Tensions, Israel Asks U.S. to Speed Delivery of Aerial Refueling Planes

on July 09, 2020
(Times of Israel) Israel has asked the U.S. Department of Defense to speed up delivery of its KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft, as tensions rise with Iran, Israel's Channel 12 reported Wednesday. In March, the U.S. Department of Defense approved the sale of up to eight KC-46 aircraft and related equipment for $2.4 billion.

U.S. Report Undercounts Palestinian Terrorism

on July 09, 2020
(Israel Hayom) Ariel Kahana - According to the State Department's Israel 2019 Human Rights Report, published in March, Palestinians committed 101 acts of violence against Israeli civilians in the West Bank, "primarily stonethrowing." However, the IDF reported that in 2019 there were 290 firebomb incidents and 1,469 stonethrowing incidents. The Israel Security Agency reported 1,327 Palestinian terrorist acts in 2019.

Chief Justice of South Africa: I Will Not Retract My Comments on Israel

on July 09, 2020
(Jerusalem Post) Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng Mogoeng, who has been facing criticism for attacking the ruling ANC party's one-sided approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said he will not retract his statements, according to a report Saturday by South Africa's Gateway News. Responding to the criticism, Mogoeng said, "Even if 50 million people can march every day for the next 10 years for me to retract and apologize for what I said - I will not do it. I will not apologize for anything. There is nothing to apologize for. There is nothing to retract. I can't apologize for loving. I cannot apologize for not harboring hatred and bitterness. I will not."

PA Banks Refuse to Accept Salaries for Terrorists

on July 09, 2020
(Palestinian Media Watch) Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch - At least four banks in the PA have ignored a directive from the PA to accept money for payment of salaries to the accounts of terrorists and families of killed terrorists, the official PA news agency WAFA reported on July 5. New Israeli anti-terror legislation has made any bank transaction connected to the payment of rewards for terrorism a criminal offense. The writer served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.

Bedouins Pay Tribute to Jewish Man Who Saved Mother and Three Children from Drowning

on July 09, 2020
(Algemeiner) Dozens of Muslim Bedouins on Sunday came to pay their final respects to Jewish hero Michael Ben Zikri, 45, who died on Friday after rescuing a Bedouin mother and three of her children from drowning in a lake near Ashkelon.

Where Does the Palestinian Authority Dump Ramallah's Garbage?

on July 09, 2020
(JNS) Josh Hasten - Exploiting the furlough of Israeli Civil Administration inspectors during the coronavirus shutdown in March and April, convoys of Palestinian Authority municipal garbage trucks have dumped more than 10,000 cubic meters of refuse from the towns of Ramallah and El Bireh into the Binyamin Region's Tarrifi Quarry, just outside the Jewish communities of Kochav Ya'akov and Psagot. A spokesperson for the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said it is well aware of the illegal dumping and vowed to take action.

Some West Bank Arabs Are Learning Hebrew

on July 09, 2020
(Makor Rishon-Hebrew-3July2020) Asaf Gabor - Recent years have seen more and more Hebrew language schools opening in West Bank Palestinian cities. Recently a Samaritan woman told me about the private Leadership School in Nablus where her son learns Hebrew. She said she registered her son at this school because "I see his future with Israel and I wanted him to know the language well." The boy told me: "I love my school....The problem is the teachers. They teach us Hebrew, but also teach us that we need to shoot at Jews." His mother continued: "Because the school is in Nablus, the curriculum is from the Palestinian Ministry of Education. In the math, language, and other textbooks, the content is anti-Israel. We need to swallow this and try to speak the truth at home."

Israel's Security Imperatives in the Jordan Valley

on July 09, 2020
(Real Clear World) IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaacov Ayish - Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley is critical to Israel's ability to defend itself by itself. The benefits outweigh the potential costs, and the move would not preclude a future agreement with the Palestinians. The valley is a natural barrier and Israel's longest border, separating Jordan from Israel and the West Bank. Compared to the pre-1967 armistice lines, it provides Israel with much-needed strategic depth, allowing IDF forces to more efficiently neutralize threats in Palestinian Authority territory. By applying Israeli law to the Jordan Valley, Israel would be able to permanently contribute to Jordan's stability and its own. IDF forces already routinely thwart arms smuggling and other terrorist activities along the Jordan River. Continued Israeli presence will prevent the valley, and by extension the West Bank, from devolving into a terrorist haven akin to Gaza. Such a scenario in a territory adjacent to Jordan, whose population is majority Palestinian, would dangerously undermine Jordanian security. Critics have cautioned that applying Israeli law to the valley could harm the country's security by destabilizing Jordan. The move will certainly create challenges for King Abdullah. Yet Jordan still relies on security and intelligence cooperation with Israel, as well as supplies of water and natural gas. With Syria and Iraq as neighbors, Jordan also needs a stable border - something only permanent Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley can provide. As Syria's violent unraveling and the turbulent power changes in Egypt show, no Middle Eastern country is impervious to sudden, violent changes. Israel must have defensible borders. The valley can provide those. Until Palestinian leaders decide to pursue a lasting solution, Israel must act to secure its interests with American coordination. The writer, former head of the IDF General Staff Operations Branch, is Senior Vice President for Israeli Affairs at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

Israeli Forces along Jordan River May Face Enemies from East and West

on July 09, 2020
(Jerusalem Post) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Oded Tira - Israel must maintain a strategy that will guarantee its security from the east. To do this, three capabilities are required: 1) The ability to eradicate terrorist infrastructures in Judea and Samaria at their very inception. 2) The ability to fight terrorism when it does succeed in operating from there, and to strike it in its home base. 3) The ability to stop the incursion of expeditionary and other forces from east of the Jordan. The whole world has begun to adopt the characteristics of guerrilla warfare. In order to prevent Israel from being potentially paralyzed by short-range rocket fire from the east; terrorist attacks into the coastal plain; or the sabotaging of Israeli forces moving toward the Jordanian border, we must control the relevant territories. When we plan our defense along the Jordan River against forces from the east, we cannot neglect the main enemy, which will be located west of our forces, that is, behind us, in Judea and Samaria. In order to prevent the establishment of a terrorist infrastructure there, the IDF must have freedom of movement and be present throughout the entire area. The writer is a former commander of the IDF Artillery Corps.

Israel Cannot Allow a Gaza-Like, Rocket-Spewing Entity to Emerge in the West Bank

on July 09, 2020
(Australian Jewish News) Dr. Bren Carlill - Try as it might, Israel cannot end its occupation of the West Bank through negotiations because the Palestinians refuse to negotiate. Israel attempted "final status" negotiations with the Palestinians in 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2014. Each time, the Palestinians have either said no to Israeli or American offers - without making a counteroffer - or merely left the talks without responding at all. Since 2014, Palestinians have refused to negotiate. For a people so apparently eager for statehood, this refusal to negotiate might appear odd. The problem is, the Palestinian leadership has not prepared its people for the compromises they will have to make. The unreconstructed vision of Israel eventually being replaced by Palestine is still their primary message. Israel would end the occupation tomorrow if it could do so in a way that would not undermine its security. The problem is, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and has endured three wars launched from Gaza since that time. The West Bank abuts Israel's civilian, industrial and economic center, and, understandably enough, Israel doesn't want a Gaza-like, rocket-spewing entity to emerge there until it is convinced the Palestinians are both willing and able to keep the peace. The writer is Director of Public Affairs at the Zionist Federation of Australia.

How the Coronavirus Spreads between Israel and the PA

on July 09, 2020
(Israel Hayom) Prof. Eyal Zisser - Mapping the routes of the coronavirus infection tells us a story with diplomatic and security implications. According to a report by Israel's Corona National Information and Knowledge Center, based on epidemiological questioning of confirmed carriers, an infection outbreak in Jaffa a month ago led to the spread of the virus to Bedouin population centers in the Negev. From there, the virus spread to the Mount Hebron region in the West Bank and then to Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus. From there, it spread to Israeli Arab towns in the Wadi Ara region. In half the cases investigated in Wadi Ara, the source was the Bedouin villages in the Negev. The infection routes illuminate a network of connections that should also be troubling from a security viewpoint. These corona routes inform us that the pre-1967 Green Line has essentially been erased as Arab Israelis and Palestinians are voting with their feet in favor of one open space for familial and commercial relations. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

Wedding Season Brings New Virus Outbreak among Palestinians in West Bank

on July 09, 2020
(AP) Mohammed Daraghmeh - Over the last few weeks, coronavirus infections have skyrocketed across the West Bank, with more than 4,000 new cases and an additional 15 deaths. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday that 82% of the cases were linked to weddings and funerals. Hebron accounts for 75% of all active cases and more than 2/3 of all deaths. Hebron's mayor, Tayseer Abu Snaineh, said a group of conservative Muslims, Hezb ut-Tahrir, has called on people to defy restrictions on group prayers, accusing the PA of "using coronavirus as a pretext to fight Islam."

Since We're Debating Labels, Stop Calling It Anti-Semitism. It's Jew-Hatred.

on July 09, 2020
(Forward) Dr. Stephen D. Smith - As hundreds of publications across the country capitalize the "b" in Black, arguing that this reflects a common identity and heritage, it is time for a similarly introspective debate about the language we use to describe discrimination against Jews. Whether spelled anti-Semitism or antisemitism, we should retire the term entirely and begin calling it what it really is: Jew-hatred. The German journalist Wilhelm Marr coined the term "anti-Semitism" in 1879 to give an air of modernity to long-embraced animosity toward the Jewish people. Earlier Germans were blunter: They called it "Judenhaas," literally Jew-hatred. Wilhelm, himself a deeply anti-Jewish political agitator, founded in 1880 the League of Antisemites, the first organization committed to combating the alleged Jewish takeover of Germany and German culture. In other words, the term "anti-Semitism" was coined to mainstream Jew-hatred. Anti-Jewish sentiment is the canary in the coal mine of societal violence. Once Jews are scapegoated, that antagonism almost always spreads to others. The writer is Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education.

Israeli Intelligence Infiltrates Syria

on July 09, 2020
(Zaman Al Wasl-Syria) The Israeli spy Eli Cohen was not the only agent who succeeded in penetrating Syria's regime, a source who worked for years in Syrian Military Intelligence confirmed. In 2001, during a routine inspection of the office of Minister of Defense Mustafa Tlass, a signal was detected from inside his desk. A team cut into the desk to find a sophisticated recording and transmission device. "We discovered that the desk and the office's furniture, which were shipped by sea, were a gift from one of the Minister's friends who lived in Germany." In 2004, a military patrol at Al-Dumayr airport randomly opened a telecommunication inspection chamber to find strange devices inside. Experts discovered a listening and recording device linked to the main cable connecting Dumayr and Al-Sin airports, which had been operating for 2 1/2 years. In 2008, a spying device planted in the ceiling of the office of the commander of the 155th Brigade in Al-Qutayfa was discovered. The device had been planted during the construction of the building. In 2013, a fisherman found a large electrical cable emerging from a rock on Alnaml Island near the port of Tartus. Syrian intelligence discovered a sophisticated high-resolution camera and transmission system, linked with satellite receivers, facing the hill where anti-ship Yakhont missiles were stationed.

Details on Israel's Entebbe Rescue Revealed

on July 09, 2020
(Hindustan Times-India) Pramit Pal Chaudhuri - On July 4, 1976, Israeli commandos rescued hostages from an Air France flight that was hijacked by a group of Arab and German terrorists and diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. Mossad agent Avner Avraham and special forces officer Rami Sherman recently spoke about what they experienced. En route to Entebbe, British-Israeli nurse Patricia Martel deliberately cut herself and, bleeding profusely, claimed she was having a miscarriage. The hijackers let her off when the plane stopped in Benghazi in Libya to refuel. Sherman said, "She flew back to London from Benghazi and was immediately met by agents of MI6 and Mossad. They gave her thousands of photographs. She identified the terrorists, told how many there were and what kind of weapons they had." Avner Abraham recalled that Uganda's brutal ruler, Idi Amin, had received Israeli military training when he was a soldier. One of his former trainers got on the line and "spoke with him on the telephone five times" to glean what was on his mind. An Israeli engineer showed up with blueprints of the airport terminal where the hostages were being held. His company had won the tender to construct the building. Another enterprising Israeli, using a small Cessna propeller plane, flew repeatedly over the airport taking photographs and flew back home to deliver them. During the raid on Entebbe, another Israeli commando detachment raided a nearby Ugandan airbase and destroyed 11 MiG fighters parked there to assure they would not be scrambled in pursuit.

The UK Rescued 4,000 Jewish Men after Kristallnacht

on July 09, 2020
(Times of Israel) Robert Philpot - In the aftermath of Germany's Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, the British government agreed to admit thousands of Jewish refugees, albeit under stringent conditions, and they were interned at the "Kitchener Camp." This undoubtedly saved the lives of nearly 4,000 German and Austrian Jewish men. The Central British Fund (CBF) for German Jewry agreed to arrange the refugees' transport and accommodation and, because the men wouldn't be allowed to work, to provide them with financial support while they were in the UK. The Home Office demanded that the men leave Britain and emigrate within 12 months. Nearly 900 of the Kitchener men joined the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, a labor and logistics section of the British Army, and were sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in early 1940.

Chief Rabbi of South Africa: Israel Does Not Practice Apartheid

on July 09, 2020
(Daily Maverick-South Africa) Warren Goldstein - The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is wholly different from the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The fact is, Israel has none of the apartheid legislative machinery designed to discriminate against and separate people. Within the sovereign borders of the State of Israel currently exist 1.8 million Muslim and Christian citizens who are the equal of their Jewish compatriots in every conceivable way. They participate side-by-side in elections as part of one voter role, and hold high-ranking positions throughout the levels of Israeli government, including Parliament and the Supreme Court. They serve in law enforcement and even in the army. There are none and have never been separate facilities for Jews and Israeli Palestinians; all across Israel, schools and universities, benches and beaches, buses and hospitals, are unsegregated in any way, and every Israeli citizen, no matter their ethnic or religious origin, has complete and full legal rights. Israel has tried desperately, over many decades, to make peace and to come to some kind of resolution with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, all of these overtures were rejected and, indeed, met with terror attacks, mortars and rockets. Israel wants nothing more than peace - and is willing to pay a huge price for it - but, tragically, there has never been a true peace partner on the other side. Dr. Warren Goldstein is the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, and has a PhD in Human Rights and Constitutional Law.

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