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Israel News

Daily Alert

U.S., Israel Kick Off Massive Exercise with 142 Aircraft, Satellites, and More

on January 25, 2023
(Air & Space Forces) Chris Gordon - The U.S. and Israel kicked off a massive combined weeklong military exercise Jan. 23, the largest since Israel was moved to U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility in 2021. U.S. officials said the exercise, dubbed Juniper Oak, will include space assets, a carrier strike group, strategic bombers, stealth fighters, electronic warfare aircraft, Special Operations forces, and crews operating HIMARS precision artillery launchers. The exercise will involve 6,400 U.S. personnel, 450 of whom will be on the ground in Israel. Of the 142 aircraft participating, 100 are American, including Air Force B-52 strategic bombers, F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, Army Apache attack helicopters, airborne early warning planes, and electronic warfare aircraft. Six U.S. ships are participating, including the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, cruisers and destroyers.

U.S. and Israel Launch Massive Joint Military Exercise to Send a Message to Iran

on January 25, 2023
(NBC News) Courtney Kube - Juniper Oak 23 is "the most significant exercise between the United States and Israel to date," a senior U.S. defense official said. Citing the focus on China and the 100,000 U.S. forces in Europe to support NATO and Ukraine, the official said, "We still have the excess capacity to be able to flex to another high priority area of responsibility and conduct an exercise on this scale." "The scale of the exercise is relevant to a whole range of scenarios, and Iran may draw certain inferences from that....It would not surprise me if Iran sees the scale and the nature of these activities and understands what the two of us are capable of doing. This is a sign that we continue to have Israel's back at a time where there's a lot of turbulence and instability across the region. If there's a sense that the Americans are distracted, or the Americans are going away from the Middle East, and therefore they have free rein for their malign activities, I think this will disabuse them."

EU Says It's Anti-Semitic to Call Israel an Apartheid State

on January 25, 2023
(European Parliament) EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Jan. 20: "The [European] Commission considers that it is not appropriate to use the term 'apartheid' in connection with the State of Israel. The Commission uses the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA definition) as a practical guidance tool and a basis for its work to combat antisemitism. Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor is among the illustrative examples included under the IHRA definition."

Iranian Warships Reach Brazil in Round-the-World Cruise

on January 25, 2023
(U.S. Naval Institute) The frigate IRIS Dena and IRIS Makran, Iran's largest warship, arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday as part of a round-the-world cruise, Iranian press reported. The ships deployed from the Persian Gulf last year and traveled east through the Indian Ocean, the Pacific, and around Cape Horn in South America into the Atlantic.

Nine Palestinians Killed in Clashes with IDF near Jenin

on January 25, 2023
(Ynet News) Nine Palestinians were killed during a clash with the Israeli army in the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, the PA Health Ministry reported. The IDF said the operation was launched to "apprehend a terror squad belonging to the Islamic Jihad terror organization," acting on intelligence provided by the Israel Security Agency to thwart "a major attack." Eight of the Palestinian casualties were armed militants, most of whom were Islamic Jihad operatives. At least 20 others were wounded in the fighting. Such an extensive operation in broad daylight is unusual and suggests the planned Palestinian attack was due shortly. One of the those killed was Salahat 'Iz a-Din, considered one of the most prominent militants in Jenin.

High Number of Deaths in Jenin Raid due to Threats Against Soldiers

on January 25, 2023
(Ha'aretz) Yaniv Kubovich - A senior IDF official said the high number of casualties in the clashes in the Jenin refugee camp was due to the "threat level against troops." The suspects were previously involved in planning and executing shooting attacks on Israeli targets, he said. According to the official, the level of force used was correct. Security forces fired anti-tank missiles at the house where the suspects were hiding due to a barrage of gunfire from inside, along with explosive devices thrown in the direction of the soldiers.

Hamas Tricked West Bank Residents into Delivering Cash, Weapons to Terrorists

on January 25, 2023
(Maariv-Jerusalem Post) Tal Lev Ram - The Israel Security Agency said Wednesday it had uncovered a scheme in which Hamas terrorists in Gaza use Palestinians from the West Bank, sometimes without their knowledge, to aid Hamas members in the West Bank in carrying out terror attacks. Hamas operatives in Gaza hid their real identities and, posing as businesses, recruited young Palestinians from the West Bank to carry out deliveries. Some transferred funds meant for buying weapons. Others transported packages with weapons or ammunition without knowing their contents. An Israeli defense source said that as a result of this case, "the security system will deny the entry permits of approximately 230 Gazan workers who work in Israel - relatives of those involved in terrorist activities."

Hizbullah Announces 9,000 New Recruits

on January 25, 2023
(L'Orient Today-Lebanon) Jeanine Jalkh - Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah recently announced that more than 9,000 new recruits had joined the "resistance." This number bolsters the 90,000 members of the al-Mahdi scouts. Nasrallah also recalled that the party can count on at least 100,000 experienced fighters, meaning that Hizbullah can mobilize 200,000 men in the event of an armed conflict. Mohanad Hajj Ali, a researcher at the Carnegie Middle East Center, questioned the validity of the figure of 100,000 fully dedicated combatants. He also cautioned that there is a major distinction between those within Hizbullah's ranks who have undergone a few weeks of small-scale military training and those who are fully dedicated to military operations.

Pompeo: CIA Rescued Mossad Agents in Imminent Peril

on January 25, 2023
(Jerusalem Post) Yonah Jeremy Bob - In his new book, former CIA director and U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo reveals that during his term, the CIA rescued Mossad agents in imminent peril at the personal request of then-Mossad director Yossi Cohen. Israeli intelligence sources repeatedly denied that the operation in question was Israel's heist of Iran's secret nuclear archive in Tehran. Pompeo wrote, "Whenever Yossi called, I took it. He did the same for me....I was there to help our friends, no questions asked, no matter the risks. My people swung into action across the world. We connected with his team, and within 24 hours we had guided them to safe houses. Within the next two days, they were back in their home countries without the world ever knowing that one of the most significant clandestine operations ever conducted was now complete."

How Should Israel Be Discussed in the Public Sphere?

on January 25, 2023
(Jerusalem Post) Alan Rosenbaum - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs President Dan Diker and Talia Sasson, past Board President of the New Israel Fund, talked about how Israel should be discussed in light of current efforts to reform the judicial system, at the Jerusalem Post Democracy 2023 Conference on Tuesday. Diker said, "If Israel delegitimizes itself by using language that its harshest enemies have used against it, it will inflame antisemitism abroad and increase Israel's isolation in international organizations. Israel should be careful about its rhetoric and be very vigilant about what its enemies are saying about it." "When we use the language of Israel's harshest enemies - from the Iranian regime, Hizbullah, Hamas and the PA, which have accused Israel of being fascist - we are engaging in self-annihilation. In political warfare that has been foisted on Israel for decades, words are weapons and Israel must not become the 'weapons supplier' of its enemies." "Israel is a vibrant democracy. The question at hand is what the balance of the democracy should be. It is not as if there will be or won't be democracy. At the end of the day, it is important to speak loudly and confidently about our rights and our responsibilities as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. Stand up for freedom and stand up for democracy."

Israel's New Government Prompts Hysterical Reaction

on January 25, 2023
(Commentary) Elliott Abrams - What explains the hysterical reaction to the victory of Israel's new coalition government in the elections held there in November 2022? This led President Isaac Herzog to tell them to cool it. Herzog, himself the leader of the opposition to Netanyahu from 2013 to 2018, said, "Israeli democracy is long-standing and stable. The world of values of Israeli society is not easy to challenge." Most Israelis have accepted that the old thinking about the "two-state solution" is dead. It was ended by decades of Palestinian refusal to make peace with Israel - after Arafat's refusal to accept Ehud Barak's peace offer in 2000, Abbas' refusal to accept the even more generous offer from Ehud Olmert in 2008, and Abbas' refusal even to give an answer to President Obama's peace proposals. It was also ended by the intifadas - by Palestinian terrorism. No one has a serious answer to the question of how Hamas and other terrorists would be kept from power in the West Bank if the IDF withdrew in favor of "Palestinian statehood." Until that question can be answered, a sovereign Palestinian state is an unacceptable danger to Israel - and to Jordan as well. The Jewish state that actually exists still struggles each day against enemies who seek every day to kill Jews. As Israel's president reminded Israelis recently: "We have only one State of Israel." To slander and disparage it, to speak wildly and carelessly when every word spoken may become a weapon in the hands of Israel's enemies, is a sin. The writer, former Senior Director on the U.S. National Security Council for the Near East, is chairman of the Tikvah Fund and a board member of the Jewish People Policy Institute and the Israel Democracy Institute.

U.S. Asks Israel to Transfer Mothballed American Air Defense Systems to Ukraine

on January 25, 2023
(Ha'aretz) Yaniv Kubovich - Israel's security establishment will examine a request by the U.S. to supply Ukraine with mothballed air defense systems. Israeli officials were surprised by the American request, since the U.S. and European countries that provide military aid to Ukraine are capable of providing much more advanced systems in greater numbers. One air defense system the Americans requested is the Hawk, which entered IDF service during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and was decommissioned a decade ago. The second is the Patriot air defense system, which entered service in Israel in the Gulf War and is being kept for use in case of emergency. These systems are not currently maintained and their condition is not clear. The American request puts Israel in a tough spot. Israel is interested in maintaining close relations and security coordination with Moscow to continue IDF strategic defensive missions in Syria and to allow the Jewish community in Russia an available access route to Israel. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said that "Even sending older weapons systems to Ukraine is a high-risk proposition for Israel....The Kremlin still controls the skies over Syria. This is airspace the Israeli Air Force needs to access if it is to halt Iranian smuggling of advanced weapons to Hizbullah."

Sending "Dumb" Weapons from Israel to Ukraine Is Smart

on January 25, 2023
(Bloomberg-Washington Post) James Stavridis - The U.S. military announced last week that it would take 300,000 American 155-millimeter artillery shells from a weapons stockpile in Israel and transfer them to the Ukrainian military. Israeli officials said the rounds were U.S.-owned and that how they were used was "American business." The U.S. has a substantial amount of combat material and equipment forward-deployed in Israel. I was in charge of those stockpiles when I was commander of U.S. European Command a decade ago. I toured the stockpiles on several occasions, and they are impressive, extensive and well maintained - ready for combat. One reason Israel is comfortable with withdrawing the 155-mm rounds is that this will free up space for precision-guided munitions, which is about all the Israeli air force uses. Preparing intelligently for war is a good way to prevent the need for actually fighting one. Replenishing the war reserve in Israel will help deter Iranian adventurism, tamp down options for mischief by Hizbullah and keep Syrian forces away from the Israeli border. The writer, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, is former supreme allied commander of NATO and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

The U.S. Needs to Update Its Arms Stockpile in Israel

on January 25, 2023
(Wall Street Journal) Michael Makovsky and Blaise Misztal - A relatively unknown U.S. arms depot in Israel has become a stockpile of democracy in recent months, as the Biden administration has transferred its artillery shells to Ukraine. In 1984, the U.S. established the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel (WRSA-I), a forward-deployed arms depot that could serve as a readily accessible reserve for American forces in case of regional conflict. The station was also meant to function as an insurance policy for Israel, allowing it quick access to weapons if needed. Israel covers the facility's maintenance costs and has used the stockpile at least twice - during its 2006 conflict with Lebanon and in 2014 during its war with Gaza. In recent years, however, the existing stockpile has become obsolete, housing only shells and unguided munitions. Senior Israeli military officials say the depot hasn't been upgraded since before the Obama administration. The U.S. should take the time to equip the WRSA-I with updated materiel so that it may again be a tactical and strategic asset for Israel. It's vital that America restock the WRSA-I with precision-guided munitions (PGMs) because they allow the military to hit ground targets while limiting civilian casualties and other collateral damage. Israel already uses many U.S.-sourced PGMs in its campaign to roll back Iran's regionwide military entrenchment. Mr. Makovsky is president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. Mr. Misztal is JINSA's vice president for policy.

"Whispered in Gaza," Local Residents Challenge Hamas

on January 25, 2023
(Times of Israel) The Center for Peace Communications, a New York nonprofit, has produced a series of short, animated interviews with residents of Gaza conducted in 2022. Gazan men and women describe their professional disenfranchisement by Hamas and the repression of their personal freedoms. They tell of arbitrary arrests, shakedowns of merchants, and the silencing of journalists. They also denounce Hamas for starting wars with Israel it cannot win while hiding in bunkers and leaving civilians to suffer casualties. They convey an understanding of Hamas warfare as a play for aid money. "There's nepotism in everything here," according to Ashraf. "You need friends in the Hamas-run electric company to get a break on your bill. You'll be taxed exorbitantly otherwise - especially if you happen to be among the 17,000 Gazans with a permit to work in Israel." Amna wants her children to have a decent education, "to think rationally...and live a modern life." She fears sending them to Hamas-run schools "because that's where they indoctrinate people," instructing children "how they can go to heaven" through martyrdom, "and I don't want my kids to be exposed to that indoctrination." Hisham says, "Nowadays, it's not an occupier who is killing me," but rather Hamas, which imposes crushing taxes, leaving Gazans in abject poverty, while its officials have "land, businesses, and vast sums of money." A June 2022 poll by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that large majorities of Gazans "are frustrated with Hamas governance," and that 84% prioritize "internal political and economic reform over foreign policy issues."

China's Strong Words on the Palestinian Issue Are Unlikely to Be Backed Up with Action

on January 25, 2023
(South China Morning Post) Kawala Xie - China may continue to be vocal on the Palestinian issue to preserve its image as it vies with the U.S. for influence in the Middle East, but its approach is seen likely to remain obscure and distant, observers say. Guy Burton, adjunct professor at the Brussels School of Governance and a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs, said recent statements from Chinese officials demonstrated Beijing's usual approach of showing sympathy for the Palestinian cause. However, it did not indicate any interest in China becoming a conflict mediator in the Middle East. "Amid Chinese [UN] representative [Zhang Jun's] criticism of Israel, he also said that it was up to countries who were most involved in the 'Oslo process' to support Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the conflict," Burton said. "He didn't name any countries, but it seemed telling that he didn't see it as China's role to do this." Li Shaoxian, a Middle East specialist at Ningxia University in China, said, "I think it is very difficult to promote Palestinian-Israeli peace talks at this stage and in this year. But, despite this, China's policy will be to continue to make efforts in this direction."

The Continuing Lie of the "Gaza Blockade"

on January 25, 2023
(Palestinian Media Watch) Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch - UN officials and the Palestinian Authority continue to perpetuate the lie that Israel has applied a "blockade" on "besieged Gaza." Yet statistics released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reveal the truth. In 2022 there were 424,417 exits from Gaza into Israel via the Erez crossing. 14,909 exits were for Gazan patients, who were accompanied by 10,930 people, entering Israel to receive medical treatment. In addition, there were 245,145 exits from Gaza into Egypt via the Rafah crossing. OCHA also reported that 74,096 truckloads of commodities entered Gaza from Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Only 5% were carrying humanitarian products. In addition, thousands of trucks entered Gaza from Israel carrying fuel. Since the UN's own statistics debunk the false claim that Gaza is under "blockade" or "seige," why does this lie persist? The writer is Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch.

Tehran's Shiification of Syria

on January 25, 2023
(Middle East Quarterly) Rauf Baker - The Syrian civil war provides a unique opportunity for the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand its hegemony across the region by cementing its presence in a pivotal Arab state. The pronounced secularism of Syria's Alawite-led Baath regime notwithstanding, Damascus and Tehran have maintained a close relationship since 1979. Iran adopted a two-pronged strategy: converting Sunni Muslims to Shiism and settling Shiites from neighboring countries throughout Syria. In 2021, six Iranian universities were operating in Syria, five of which were established after the outbreak of the civil war. These universities use curricula approved by the Iranian ministry of science and require fluency in the Persian language. Likewise, more than fifteen Iranian cultural centers have opened across Syria.

The Growing Muslim Population in Britain

on January 25, 2023
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia) Chris Doyle - British Muslims are now the second-largest religious grouping in the UK. The 2021 census shows that the Muslim population is now 4 million in England and Wales, 6.5% of the population and an increase of 1.2 million since the 2011 census. Back in 1961, the British Muslim population was only around 50,000. There are now more than 2,000 mosques and Islamic centers in the country. At the last general election in 2019, a record 18 British Muslim MPs were elected, 10 of whom are women. The writer is director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding.

Israel Was Created to Ensure the Survival of the Jewish People

on January 25, 2023
(Jewish Review of Books) Ze'ev Maghen - Critics refer to some of the newly ascendant parties in the Israeli government as "hypernationalist and Jewish supremacist." If by these epithets they mean that their members and supporters care more for Jews - their national family - than they do for the enemies of the Jews; that they are hell-bent on putting a stop to the weekly slaughter of innocent Jewish civilians by Arab terrorists; and that they believe that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, and oppose the erection of a jihadist Palestinian polity controlled by Hamas, then this is just classical Zionism. Ben-Gurion would affix his signature to these propositions. We, whose children and grandchildren will, God willing, grow up here in Israel, want peace more than anybody. We believe, as has many an Israeli strategist hailing from both sides of the political-ideological divide, that peace will come only if we are strong, and only if we are insistent on our rights to this land. In addition, we have noted that when Yair Lapid was at the helm, he came up with no better or more humane ideas for dealing with the conflict than any of his predecessors. The State of Israel was created, and continues to exist, for one purpose: to ensure the survival and prosperity of the Jewish People. Unless we keep present in our minds our polity's Jewish nationalist raison d'etre, and keep at bay those universalist, Western-based notions that are geared by definition to undermine nationalism in all its forms, this country is done for. The writer is chair of the department of Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University.

U.S. Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Include Israel's Iron Fist Protection System

on January 25, 2023
(Defense News) Jen Judson - Following a redesign of how Elbit Systems' Iron Fist active protection system is incorporated onto a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, the U.S. Army is now preparing to field the capability to a full brigade.

Israel's Elbit to Supply Anti-Missile Systems for NATO Tanker Planes

on January 25, 2023
(i24News) Matthias Inbar - Israeli aerospace and defense company Elbit has signed a five-year contract with NATO to supply anti-missile systems for its fleet of tanker transport planes.

Israeli Company to Develop New Attack Drone for U.S. Military

on January 25, 2023
(UPI) Doug Cunningham - Israel Aerospace Industries won a U.S. Department of Defense contract to develop and deliver a new attack drone described as a hybrid electro-optically guided missile. The U.S. said the purpose was to increase "the organic precision strike lethality and survivability of small tactical teams."

Fanny, the Jewish Spy for Germany in World War I

on January 25, 2023
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lenny Ben-David - Fanny (Mina Weizmann) was a Berlin-trained doctor who immigrated to the Jewish homeland from Russia in 1913. Curt Prufer, a German diplomat, was also the head of German intelligence in Palestine, and he recruited Fanny to spy against the British. The British were allied with Czarist Russia, and Fanny was an anti-czarist socialist. Prufer dispatched his new recruit to Egypt in May 1915, where she was welcomed as a doctor at the overcrowded British military hospitals. To report to her spymasters, Fanny accompanied a wounded French soldier to Rome, then went to the German embassy in Italy. The embassy was under British surveillance. Weizmann was arrested and taken back to Egypt for trial, then was deported to Russia. After the war Fanny returned to Jerusalem where she married a British Mandate official. She practiced medicine until her death from disease in 1925 at the age of 35. Fanny was the youngest sister to Zionist leader and pro-British scientist Chaim Weizmann, who would become Israel's first president.

Where Iran Casts a Shadow, Human Rights Recede

on January 25, 2023
(Politico-EU) Israeli President Isaac Herzog - The Iranian regime is, at this point, one of the greatest threats to the free world. The Ayatollahs' policy of "exporting the revolution" has meant exporting the same brutal oppression it applies against its own citizens. In arming violent proxy forces throughout the Middle East, Iran has spread extremism to every place it touches - from Gaza to Lebanon, from Yemen to Syria. And the same cruelty with which the regime in Tehran is now trying to crush protestors demanding dignity and basic freedoms, it is also inflicting on its neighbors. Where Iran casts a shadow, human rights recede. Iran's destructive behavior is now reaching into Europe itself. Iran has been supplying deadly unmanned aerial vehicles used to kill innocent civilians in Ukraine, exporting its chaos as far as the borders of Poland and Romania. This regime knows no bounds and has come all the way to Europe's door. One urgent strategic danger is the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and here Europe and Israel share a fundamental strategic interest. A regime that executes citizens who are simply exercising their basic human rights, sows chaos among its neighbors, violates every agreement, and pursues a policy of aggression against my country must never be allowed to possess nuclear weapons. Against Iran's revanchism, the Middle East is realigning to produce a solid alliance determined to safeguard the peace and stability of our region. The Abraham Accords have articulated a new and bold vision of mutual respect and dialogue between Jews and Muslims. We extend a hand in peace to all our neighbors and call on all nations in our region, including our Palestinian neighbors, to join and harness this positive momentum. I will address the European Parliament on January 26 to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I am the son of a British Army officer who helped to liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and my father told me stories of the horrors he witnessed when he entered the gates of hell. Together, we will remember the 6 million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in the worst crime in human history. And, together, we will pledge to stamp out the resurgence of vicious anti-Semitism.

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