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Israel News

Daily Alert

Senate Votes to Condemn Saudi Crown Prince for Khashoggi Killing, End Support for Yemen War

on December 14, 2018
(Washington Post) Karoun Demirjian - The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 56 to 41 to end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen and then unanimously approved a measure blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Oct. 2 in Istanbul. The Yemen resolution was put forward by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah); seven Republicans joined all Senate Democrats to back the measure. The House is not expected to take up either measure this year.

Strasbourg Christmas Market Attacker Killed by Police

on December 14, 2018
(BBC News) A French police unit in Strasbourg on Thursday came across Cherif Chekatt, the man who attacked the city's Christmas market on Tuesday, and killed him after he opened fire. On Tuesday, Chekatt opened fire close to the Christmas market, then escaped after commandeering a taxi. As he fled he came into contact with four soldiers and began firing at them. The soldiers fired back, hitting him in the arm. The attacker boasted to the taxi driver that he had killed 10 people, and also said he had been injured during a firefight with soldiers. The three victims killed in the market attack included Kamal Naghchband, a Muslim originally from Afghanistan and the father of three; a retired bank worker, 61; and Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, a Thai tourist.

Iran Hackers Hunt Nuclear Workers, U.S. Targets

on December 14, 2018
(AP) Raphael Satter - Iranian hackers sought to break into personal emails of more than a dozen U.S. Treasury officials tasked with enforcing economic sanctions on Iran, AP has found. Also on the hackers' hit list: Arab atomic scientists, Iranian civil society figures, and D.C. think tank employees.

Israel to Build Diplomatic Compound in Jerusalem

on December 14, 2018
(Bloomberg) Alisa Odenheimer - Israel is advancing plans for a 25-acre diplomatic compound to house embassies it expects will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv following the relocation of the U.S. mission in May, Israel's Construction and Housing Ministry said Wednesday.

Incoming Lawmakers Briefed by Netanyahu, Tour Hamas Tunnels into Israel

on December 14, 2018
(Washington Free Beacon) Brent Scher - A bipartisan group of new members of Congress were given a security briefing by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip to Israel this week. They include Congressmen-elect David Trone (D-Md.), Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), and Denver Riggleman (R-Va.). Riggleman said, "When you look at the distances they deal with, you have to be very impressed with the Israeli people. Everything is so close here. They're worried about ISIS and Gaza, but at the same time they have a priority towards Iran."

University of California Chancellors Condemn Israel Boycott

on December 14, 2018
(Algemeiner) Shiri Moshe - All ten chancellors in the University of California system have reaffirmed their opposition to the academic boycott of Israel. In a statement shared on Tuesday, the chancellors said their "commitment to continued engagement and partnership with Israeli, as well as Palestinian colleagues, colleges, and universities is unwavering." The boycott of Israeli universities and scholars "poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty," as well as to the free exchange of ideas and perspectives on campus.

U.S. Army Buys Israeli Armored Vehicle Protection System

on December 14, 2018
(Breaking Defense) Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr. - The U.S. Army will buy Israel's Iron Fist active protection system for a brigade of its M2 Bradley armored vehicles. The U.S. Army is already buying the Trophy active protection system, also Israeli, for four brigades of M1 Abrams heavy tanks.

Two Israeli Soldiers Shot to Death by Palestinian Terrorist

on December 14, 2018
(Times of Israel) Alexander Fulbright - The two Israeli soldiers killed in a terror shooting in the West Bank near Giv'at Asaf on Thursday were identified as Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, 20, and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19. Both were members of the Netzah Yehuda infantry battalion for religious soldiers. A third soldier was critically injured in the shooting and a civilian woman was also seriously wounded.

Hamas Is Trying to Open a New Front in the West Bank

on December 14, 2018
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim - According to a senior IDF officer, a "large part of the [Arab] population in the West Bank is very violent and wants to carry out attacks. Only this year we succeeded in thwarting hundreds of terrorist attacks and we have arrested more than 2,700 people, but every month between four to eight attacks are successful." Dr. Barak Ben-Zur, former head of the Israel Security Agency's Intelligence and Research Division, said recent incidents are "a part of the new initiative of this organization [Hamas] that decided to open a new front in the West Bank."

Sanctions Will Harm Only the Iranian Regime, Not the Iranian People

on December 14, 2018
(National Interest) Patrick Kennedy - When my late father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, led the effort to place sanctions on South Africa, the apartheid government insisted it would only hurt the people. But Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu assured him they wanted the sanctions because they wanted to speed up the end of Apartheid. The Senate, led by Senators Kennedy and Lowell Weicker, overrode a presidential veto to impose the restrictions. The story is much the same with Iran. The protests and strikes in Iran's cities have made it clear that the people recognize their economic hardships are rooted in the self-serving priorities of the mullahs. "The enemy is right here," protesters are chanting. "They lie when they say it is America." The experience of sanctions relief has left Iranians with no doubt that foreign wealth is not about to reach their homes, meaning that international pressure affects only the regime. Only intense pressure, from at home and abroad, can compel the regime to accept comprehensive change or be driven out of power. The Trump administration has accordingly set meaningful change as its goal, which is clearly what the Iranian public also wants, though it is more likely they will demand, and achieve, regime change. The Iranian resistance has no expectation of, or desire for, direct outside intervention in the conflict between the regime and its people. However, the resistance would clearly like Western policymakers to agree that sanctions and diplomatic pressure will harm the regime alone, not ordinary Iranians. As they did in South Africa, sanctions will impede an unwanted regime's ability to stave off an uprising by a long-suffering people desiring freedom and democracy. Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2011.

How Europe Has Gone Astray on Iran

on December 14, 2018
(Jerusalem Post) Emily B. Landau - The Europeans have been doing everything in their power to undermine U.S. efforts to recreate pressure on Iran as a starting point for a new negotiation that would cover its nuclear, missile and regional activities. France, Britain and Germany envision an alternative payment system that will enable them to continue trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. But do the Europeans not recognize that there are serious flaws in the nuclear deal and that it would not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state? Don't they see that it is in everyone's interest to try to strengthen the deal, especially since Iran has become an even more aggressive regional actor since the deal came into force? The horror of the Islamic regime is clear to see: the war crimes in Syria, the transport of weapons and advanced technologies to Hizbullah, the testing of missiles that can carry a nuclear warhead, and the steadfast refusal to allow the IAEA to inspect non-nuclear facilities (especially those revealed in the nuclear archives), to name a few. Iran made only minimal nuclear concessions to secure maximum sanctions relief. It has given no indication of a strategic U-turn in the nuclear realm, and continues to threaten Israel with destruction. Moreover, the deal itself ensures that Iran can continue with its nuclear program, allowing R&D work on an entire range of advanced centrifuges. It excludes Iran's missile program, which it continues to advance virtually unhindered. Finally, the deal has an expiration date, so it is at best a temporary arrangement. It flies in the face of reason that the Europeans don't see what a dangerous nuclear proliferator Iran still is. The writer heads the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Iran Is Infiltrating Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon

on December 14, 2018
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Pinhas Inbari - Iran has infiltrated into the refugee camps in Lebanon, primarily through the group Usbat al-Ansar. In its most recent messages, the group has only cited Hamas and Islamic Jihad as legitimate forces within the refugee camps, but it ignored Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah. The writer, a Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center, is a leading expert on the Arab world and Islam.

Palestinian Leaders Have a Disturbing Idea of "Heroism"

on December 14, 2018
(New York Post) Editorial - Little Amiad Yisrael Ish-Ran perished Wednesday, just four days after his delivery by emergency Caesarian at 30 weeks, after his mother, Shira, was badly wounded in a West Bank shooting. Hamas took "credit" for the attack, calling it a "heroic and qualitative operation." Its rival, Fatah, called the killer a "heroic martyr of the homeland." As with all Palestinians who commit the political murder of any Israeli, the late killer's family will qualify for a substantial stipend from the Palestinian Authority. You don't have to support Israel to find this beyond barbaric.

The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank

on December 14, 2018
(Gatestone Institute) Khaled Abu Toameh - It is clear by now that Hamas is behind some of the recent terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. Hamas and its allies have a plan to ultimately to take control of the West Bank and they are openly encouraging the eruption of a new anti-Israel uprising there. They have been emboldened by the recent failure of the UN General Assembly to adopt a U.S.-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas and other Palestinian groups for firing rockets at Israel and inciting violence. Hamas is not interested in ruling only Gaza. It wants the West Bank, Jerusalem, and all the land "from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea." Hamas does not believe in negotiations. Rather, it believes that the only way to "liberate" Muslim land is through jihad. This is why Hamas celebrates and applauds every terrorist attack against Israel. The Hamas-engineered attacks in the West Bank are not only a threat to Israeli civilians and soldiers; they also undermine the Western-funded Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas. Each "successful" attack carried out by Hamas earns it more popularity in the West Bank, at the cost of Abbas and his regime. Every dollar and every concession that is being made to Hamas will only increase its appetite to continue its plan.

Despite UN Vote, Palestinian Terror Is Still a Losing Strategy

on December 14, 2018
(JNS) Jonathan S. Tobin - The UN General Assembly narrowly defeated a resolution last week that would have condemned Hamas for its terror campaign against Israel. The vote actually illustrated that the world is losing patience with the Palestinians. 87 nations voted to condemn both Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns, as well as its use of civilian infrastructure to mask its ability to commit such war crimes. It was only because of a last-minute vote to require a 2/3 majority for passage that it failed. But a majority of nations still voted yes. Despite the pro-forma support for the Palestinians in such settings, most of the world has lost interest in their century-old war on Zionism. Moreover, Abbas and Hamas know that even many of those Arab nations that voted with them at the UN are dealing with Israel in private.

Jews on Campus Shouldn't Have to Play the Politics of Permission

on December 14, 2018
(The Ithacan-Ithaca College) Falyn Stempler - Through my college experiences as a Jewish American, I am coming to see that many just do not really care to understand or sympathize with the Jewish struggle for liberation, independence and self-determination. Jewish people are constantly told our history and identity are illegitimate. In conversations surrounding the upcoming Women's March in 2019, it has been made increasingly clear that in order for Jewish Americans to be welcomed, we have to denounce our narratives and hide our heritage. And I am not interested in the politics of permission. According to 2018 data in Moment Magazine, 70% of American Jews have an emotional attachment to Israel. Zionism is a political philosophy that advocated for and aided in the liberation of the Jewish people after thousands of years of statelessness, pogroms, exiles and genocide. It was created by Jews for Jews, and it is simply not the place of a non-Jew to have an opinion. The writer is news editor of The Ithacan.

No Arab Demographic Time Bomb

on December 14, 2018
(Jewish Political Studies Review) Amb. Yoram Ettinger - Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Jewish state is not facing an Arab demographic time bomb. It benefits from a robust Jewish demographic tailwind of births and net immigration. From 1995 to 2017 the number of Israeli Jewish births surged by 74%, from 80,400 to 140,000, while the number of Israeli Arab births grew by 19%, from 36,000 to 43,000. Moreover, the trend of Israeli emigration has slowed down. In 1898 Simon Dubnov, a leading Jewish historian and demographer, projected 500,000 Jews in the Land of Israel by 1998, defining Theodor Herzl's Zionist vision as "messianic wishful thinking." In 1944 the founder of Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Prof. Roberto Bachi, projected 2.3 million Jews in Israel in 2001. In 2018 there are seven million Jews in Israel. In 2000, the CBS projected a decline in the Jewish fertility rate from 2.6 births per woman to 2.4 in 2025. However, by 2017 the Jewish fertility rate had risen to 3.16, and 76.5% of all Israeli births were Jewish, compared to 69% in 1995. The rise of Jewish fertility reflects enhanced optimism, patriotism, attachment to roots, and communal responsibility among Israel's secular population. In 2018 there are 1.85 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) - and not 3 million as claimed by the Palestinians, 1.6 million Israeli Muslim Arabs, 130,000 Israeli Druze, 130,000 Israeli Christian Arabs, and seven million Jews - a 65.5% Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea, and Samaria. The writer is a member of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group.

Why Anti-Zionism Is No Different from Anti-Semitism

on December 14, 2018
(New York Times) David Harris - Re: "Anti-Zionism Isn't the Same as Anti-Semitism," by Michelle Goldberg (New York Times, Dec. 7): If anti-Zionism isn't a form of anti-Semitism, what is? To deny the Jewish people, of all the peoples on earth, the right to self-determination surely is discriminatory, all the more so 71 years after the UN General Assembly voted to recommend the creation of a "Jewish" state. And if the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement isn't another form of anti-Semitism, what is? To single out Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, for demonization and isolation, while ignoring egregious human rights violators aplenty, once again smacks of anti-Jewish hatred. Nor does it take into account the many efforts by Israel to forge a peace deal with the Palestinians, beginning 70 years ago, only to be spurned time and again. Treating Israel differently from any other country in the world is at the core of the anti-Zionist and BDS outlook. The writer is chief executive of the American Jewish Committee.

French Tax Protests Feature Anti-Semitic Rhetoric

on December 14, 2018
(JTA) Sammy Ghozlan, head of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) in France, said Wednesday that recent protests over taxes are giving rise to anti-Semitic rhetoric, and that "the 'Yellow Jackets' movement has an anti-Semitic base that repeats conspiracy theories about Jews and power." Some protesters have been filmed carrying signs and chanting slogans describing French President Emmanuel Macron as a "puppet" of the Jews. France has seen a 69% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 over the previous year.

Israeli Medical Imaging Startup Makes TIME Magazine's List of Genius Companies

on December 14, 2018
(Israel21c) Brian Blum - Aidoc is saving lives through medical imaging. It applies proprietary artificial intelligence to the millions of images generated every year by CT scans in order to catch serious issues before a human radiologist even has a chance to review the results. Aidoc reviews CT results as soon as they come out of the machine. If an abnormality is detected, an alert appears on the radiologist's screen immediately. Aidoc is now used in 50 medical institutions in the U.S. and Europe, as well as in Sheba Medical Center in Israel. Nearly 300,000 patient scans have been analyzed. Aidoc software detected 140,000 abnormalities and prioritized 46,000 cases. In addition to CT scans, regular X-rays as well as high-tech MRIs will be added in 2019.

Israeli Study: Neurofeedback Training Could Help Prevent PTSD in Soldiers

on December 14, 2018
(SCIMEX-Australia) In an Israeli study published this week in Nature Human Behaviour, researchers trialed "neurofeedback training" in 180 recruits undergoing stressful military combat training. The researchers say this training gives soldiers tools to deal with stressful situations and may prevent them from developing psychiatric disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder. The recruits were trained to change their own brain activity through neurofeedback. Since most neurofeedback routines rely on expensive imaging equipment like fMRI, the researchers used a less costly EEG-based neurofeedback routine designed to target brain activity in the amygdala, a region known to be involved in emotional processing.

Reservists on Duty Combat Anti-Israel Sentiment on Campus

on December 14, 2018
(JNS) Jackson Richman - Reservists on Duty (RoD), established in 2015 by reserve soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, deploys reservists living in the U.S. to counter the anti-Israel narrative on college campuses. Amit Deri, the group's CEO, explained that RoD members can effectively communicate the experiences of living in Israeli culture and serving in the military. Speaking to the success of the initiative, Deri explained that "on college campuses and communities, we cannot meet the demand" to cover all the invitations.

Aboriginals Stood with Jews Against the Nazis - We Have a Long History Together

on December 14, 2018
(Guardian-UK) Jack Latimore - In December 1938, an elderly Aboriginal activist, Yorta Yorta elder William Cooper, led a small delegation from his home in a Melbourne suburb to the city's German consulate to protest the Kristallnacht attacks on Jews in Nazi Germany that occurred less than a month earlier. Over the past 15 years, that protest march has been celebrated as a symbol of solidarity between Aboriginals and the Jewish diaspora. The writer is an Aboriginal reporter and columnist for Guardian Australia.

Video: What's the Connection between Jews and Israel?

on December 14, 2018
(StandWithUs) Michael Dickson - A thousands-year-old love story between a people and their home.

When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House

on December 14, 2018
(New York Times) Bret Stephens - In 2002, Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hizbullah, noted that the creation of the State of Israel had spared his followers the trouble of hunting down Jews at "the ends of the world." Tony Badran of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tracked down the original recording of the speech, in which Nasrallah carries on about "occupied Palestine" as the place appointed by Allah for the "final and decisive battle" with the Jews. By "occupied Palestine," he wasn't talking about the West Bank. Sometimes anti-Zionists are homicidal anti-Semites, too. In recent days, the Israeli Army has discovered at least three tunnels dug by Hizbullah into northern Israel, intended to infiltrate commandos under the border. Given the depth of Hizbullah's fanaticism, it's fair to assume other tunnels will be found. What would Hizbullah do if it got its fighters across? In 1974, three Palestinian terrorists crossed the border from Lebanon and took 115 hostages at an elementary school in the town of Ma'alot. They murdered 25 of them, including 22 children. Another infiltration from Lebanon in 1978 left 38 Israelis dead. All this is to say that Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way than, say, readers of The New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state and those who currently live in it. Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state. The good news is that the conversation about anti-Zionism remains mostly academic because Israelis haven't succumbed to the fatal illusion that, if only they behaved better, their enemies would hate them less.
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