Wednesday, December 23, 2020

From Ian:

Seth Frantzman: Israel's Peace Deals Show How Abnormal Israel's Treatment Has Been
Acceptance of the isolation of Israel and erasure of Jewish history in the Middle East has been an open wound afflicting the whole region. It should never have happened. Israel and some Arab countries fought a war in 1948, and there are legitimate reasons that Palestinians and their supporters opposed Israel's policies. But similar terrible wars, such as that between India and Pakistan in 1948, didn't result in dozens of countries not recognizing India or pretending that Hindus don't exist. Normalization and the presence of diplomatic relations are the most basic geopolitical norms throughout the world. Yet so many politicians, like former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who pushed for engagement with Iran, blindly accepted the fact that so many countries did not normalize ties with Israel.

The whole nature of the conversation about Israel over the last decades has been tainted by accepting as normal a situation that was inherently abnormal. It became normal in Western universities to debate the very existence of Israel, and to advocate for a "one-state" solution without even consulting the eight million people in Israel and millions of Palestinians. In no other instance in the world do American college students blithely decide that they will erase countries and shoehorn them into new "one-state" solutions, like recreating Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia without first asking people in Slovakia and Kosovo. Only when it comes to Israel was it taken for granted that people will debate its very existence itself. This semi-genocidal debate, like the erasure of Jewish history in countries like Iraq, places from which the Talmud was created, is a brutal assault on both history and international norms.

Now, long years of this abuse are being corrected with the new era of relations between Israel, Morocco, the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan. The usual predictions of doom and gloom have not come true. Israelis can be safe in these countries. Instead of the ingrained anti-Semitism and ways in which Jewish holidays have been made to seem controversial if celebrated in most countries across the region, we now see how countries are embracing Jewish culture and history. The Crossroad of Civilizations Museum in Dubai, for instance, now has brochures in Hebrew. Kosher food is now offered at the Ritz-Carlton in Manama. These are symbolic changes that speak volumes about a new normal that is banishing the intolerance of the past. It feels like a revolution is happening in the Middle East.
Understanding the Abraham Accords inside and out - opinion
The Abraham Accords signify a potential paradigm shift in the Middle East, one that moves away from rejectionism and toward normalization. In a historic pivot, Arab states, once committed to an ideology embodied by the 1967 Khartoum Conference and its “three No’s,” have normalized relations and moved to a paradigm where country after country – the United Arab Emirates, then Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – have shifted toward the “three Yeses,” declaring yes to recognition, yes to negotiation, and yes to peace.

While “negotiation” and “peace” are perhaps more intuitive to understand, the fundamental step of “recognition” is the most essential; without it, the additional processes are impossible to embark upon. To understand the precondition of recognition, we must identify what it was, or is, that is being rejected. Indeed, the very legitimacy of the State of Israel as Jewish and democratic to exist was, and remains, the hurdle for some. Only when Israel as both Jewish and democratic is recognized by its neighbors is it possible to move toward negotiation, ultimately enabling peace.

The imperative for recognition must be acknowledged, even and especially in the euphoria surrounding the Abraham Accords. While headlines focusing on business opportunities and transactions dominate the press, and though this is part of the historic process, it is secondary to the monumental acceptance of a Jewish and democratic Israel as an equal and legitimate partner by the UAE. In this regard, the fact that the UAE inculcated its children with “tolerance” of religious differences for years is far more ground-breaking than what military technology may be sold or shared.

Similarly, Israeli business leaders and tourists flocking to the UAE, anxious to grab a piece of this peace, must not take for granted the fundamental step of recognition. By focusing solely on interests and implications, we might miss the monumental potential of applying the transformative framework of “three Yeses” internally, to achieve internal recognition, internal negotiation and internal peace.
Israel calls 4th election in 2 years as Netanyahu-Gantz coalition collapses
The 23rd Knesset officially dispersed as the clock struck midnight on Tuesday night and the deadline to approve a 2020 budget expired, sending Israelis to the polls for the fourth time in less than two years. Elections were automatically called for 90 days from now, namely March 23, 2021, though that date could yet be changed by vote.

The failure to pass a budget came just seven months after the swearing-in of the “unity government” between Likud and Blue and White. The two parties, which had fought each other bitterly in three indecisive elections, agreed to form a power-sharing government with a rotating premiership between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in May.

But despite pledges to put aside their differences in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the political turmoil followed them into government, with both leaders soon claiming the other was breaking their coalition agreements.

Unlike the previous three elections, when Netanyahu’s chief rival was Gantz and his centrist Blue and White alliance, the prime minister’s main challengers this time are set to come from his own right wing of the political spectrum. A former Likud minister, Gideon Sa’ar, has set up a new party, New Hope, dedicated to ousting Netanyahu, and the right-wing/Orthodox Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett is also aiming to try to supplant him. Both Sa’ar and Bennett are seen as more hawkish than Netanyahu on issues relating to the Palestinians and the settlements.

Netanyahu, 71, has held power uninterrupted since 2009, and also served a term as prime minister from 1996-1999, making him Israel’s longest-serving leader. He remains in office as head of the transitional government until the elections are held and a new coalition is formed.




Vivian Bercovici: A momentous shift in the Middle East, brought by the people who actually live there
Since the formal “normalization” agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel was announced in August, more than 50,000 Israelis have popped off to visit the Emirates, with many Emiratis doing the same in Israel.

Social media feeds in Israel are overrun by ads and articles encouraging ties on every level: religious, cultural, business, political, health. Most noteworthy is that these words are reinforced by action that is strongly supported by the Israeli and Emirati governments; encouraging what is referred to in foreign policy circles as the development of “people-to-people” ties.

Among the many negative lessons learned from the now decades-old peace treaties between Israel, Egypt and Jordan is that without interpersonal connections and relations there is no meaningful peace. Those treaties were forged and based solely on security concerns, with many Jordanian and Egyptian leaders and influencers very openly and vociferously broadcasting their continued loathing of Jews and Israel. To this day it is illegal in Jordan to sell property to a Jewish person (as well as Israelis). Jordanian and Egyptian media tend to portray Israel and Jews as nothing short of diabolical, to the point that a leading Egyptian newspaper in that country of 100 million has blamed pretty much every natural and other disaster on the mendacious, conspiratorial, omniscient and uber-powerful global Jewish cabal.

While serving as Canada’s ambassador to Israel several years ago, I had occasion to discuss this lamentable state of affairs with a very senior Egyptian official. Before visiting Israel for the first time, he expected to encounter pure evil, everywhere, and expressed unbridled astonishment at how free, beautiful and welcoming he found Israelis. All of the vicious propaganda he had learned, he realized, was utterly false; an intensely difficult epiphany for him, personally. But, he also lamented the complete deficit of “people-to-people” ties between Egyptians and Israelis, without which the peace on paper would never yield economic or cultural benefits. (h/t L_King)
Seth Frantzman: Does Israel Now Have the Best Air Defense Systems in the World?
In the lead-up to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, a series of Israeli vessels took to sea to prepare for an unprecedented air-defense system test. Using advanced targets meant to resemble cruise missiles, drones and ballistic missiles Israel deployed its multilayered air-defense in a test designed to show all its systems work together.

In the lead-up to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, a series of Israeli vessels took to sea to prepare for an unprecedented air-defense system test. Using advanced targets meant to resemble cruise missiles, drones and ballistic missiles Israel deployed its multi-layered air defense in a test designed to show all its systems work together.

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), of the Directorate for Defense Research and Development in the Ministry of Defense, together with the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said this week they had “successfully completed a series of live-fire intercept tests of the David’s Sling weapon system, against threat-representative cruise and ballistic missiles.” The test also demonstrated the interoperability of the multilayer air defense mechanism using Iron Dome and Arrow air defense systems. Israel’s Ministry of Defense said this “this indicates that the systems will be capable of intercepting threats simultaneously during conflict.”

These tests are the sum of everything Israel has been working on since the 1990s to perfect a shield against missiles and other threats. The United States and Israel worked closely on the Arrow and David’s Sling programs. The Iron Dome system, which Israel deployed ten years ago against rocket fire from militants in the Gaza Strip, has been the most often used of Israel’s systems. Recently Israel delivered one Iron Dome battery to the U.S. Army and a second will be delivered soon. Iron Dome can be used against short-range rockets, missile mortars and drones. Now Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems says the recent tests “demonstrated the capabilities of the Iron Dome in intercepting a variety of threats including UAVs and cruise missiles.” This is a major step for Iron Dome.

The reason cruise missiles and drones loom large in the list of threats is that Iran used cruise missiles and drones to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq facility in September 2019. Tal Inbar, an expert in missiles and air defense said “the latest series of tests carried out by Israel on its active defense systems—Iron Dome and David Sling—has been used, among other things, to test the effectiveness of defense against new threats including cruise missiles and attack drones. Considering recent attacks against Saudi Oil and Gas infrastructure carried out by the Houthis in Yemen, which used Iranian origin weapons—emphasized the need to evaluate against such an attack scenario against Israeli facilities.” He notes that different scenarios were used to put all the components of the active defense to the test, from radars to control centers and the interceptors. “Israel’s multilayered active missile defense architecture constantly improves and adjustments are made on a constant basis, in light of the ever-changing nature of threats.”
Here’s Why America Gives Israel Foreign Aid
What these critics don’t understand is American foreign aid to Israel strengthens and expands the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel. it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state remains safe, strong and secure. The U.S.-Israel relationship is a mutually beneficial partnership that reinforces America’s moral values and strategic interests. Israel is a reliable, stable, democratic ally that advances American interests in a highly volatile and strategically important region of the world. American support for Israel promotes peace and helps deter regional conflict by making clear to potential foes that they cannot defeat the Jewish state.

The United States provides security assistance to Israel because it advances American interests and regional objectives. Given growing security threats to Israel, it is essential that America maintains its commitment to the Jewish state. U.S. assistance helps ensure that Israel has the means necessary to defend itself—by itself—against growing threats. For decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations have provided security assistance to Israel.

Under the current memorandum of understanding signed between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, that American foreign aid to Israel is spent in America. It creates American jobs, like in the F-35 fighter jet plant in Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth, Texas. America and Israel partner in intelligence, health care, scientific studies, energy and water sustainability challenges, military defense, border security, maritime security, biometrics, cybersecurity, and video analytics which help keep both countries safer.

As Yair Rosenberg wrote, “The relatively small investments America makes in overseas foreign aid rebound to America’s benefit in the form of a more stable and advanced world, diplomatic leverage over other countries, better collective efforts to fight global threats like disease, and in the case of military aid spent in the US, allies and technological advances funded by the aid money.”

The Pro-Israel community relies on AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to engages with and educate decision-makers about the bonds that unite Israel and the United States. It is through thousands of hours of lobbying AIPAC ensures Americans and especially American elected officials are aware of the benefits of American military aid to Israel. Their efforts have consistently won bipartisan support, and it is only the fringe outliers who remain critical of the strong U.S.-Israel relationship. AIPAC deserves the gratitude of Americans and Israelis for the role it plays in strengthening both countries.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Omar OK With Aid To Israel If Husband’s Consulting Firm Gets Percentage (satire)
One of the small number of opponents to American funding of Israeli military procurement and development conceded today that her principled stance against the practice could reverse if, as on at least one occasion involving her election campaign, some of the funds found their way to the operation where her spouse works.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) told reporters yesterday following the passage of the Defense Department’s annual spending bill that while she voted against the proposal owing to its inclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars toward Israeli defense needs, she might be persuaded to change her position if her husband Tim Mynett’s E Street Group consulting firm could obtain a percentage of that funding, following the model that her 2020 reelection campaign used in directing $2.78 million in contracts to that outfit.

“The moral position demands that we refrain from funding the ongoing human rights abuses that Israel perpetrates daily against Palestinians under brutal, illegal military occupation,” she stated in a post-vote interview. “Yes, the bill that passed despite my principled opposition – and that of a handful of others, and this does them credit – contains much that is good, but that all pales in comparison to the cardinal sin of funding anything involving the Israeli military. So solid is this ethical principle that the only thing I can contemplate might outweigh it is if an appreciable chunk of the funds somehow get diverted to the E Street Group. Then I might be willing to swallow this pill.”

Congressional sources noted that the funding for Israeli military acquisition and development ends up funding American jobs, as the provisions of the arrangement mandate that the monies cover only US-manufactured products and US-based services. In keeping with that provision, Representative Omar observed, her husband’s firm qualifies as a legitimate entity to receive such monies.
The Israel-Morocco Deal Is a Triumph for Trump—and Biden, Too
Over the past four years, the White House has worked diligently to advance its vision of a more integrated and economically prosperous Middle East. This plan has borne fruit in what has turned out to be its last year in office. Since this summer, the "normalization" wave nurtured by the current Trump administration has yielded no fewer than four separate agreements between Israel and the Islamic world (with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco), as well as other ententes and diplomatic breakthroughs with Serbia, Kosovo and Bhutan. (Additional such arrangements may still be in the offing in the final weeks of the Trump presidency.) As a result, President Trump will leave office next month having done more to advance regional stability and Israeli-Islamic world relations than all of his predecessors combined.

But the Israel-Morocco deal should also be seen as a boon for the incoming Biden administration, for at least two reasons.

First, it is a timely reminder of a regional context that has profoundly shifted over the past half-decade. The historically fractious Middle East is now more economically integrated and politically moderate than at any time in recent memory. The Biden administration will inherit this benevolent trend, and—with the proper diplomacy—can build on it to further promote regional prosperity and stability in the years ahead.

Second, it positions longtime U.S. ally Morocco to take on a more sizable role in North African security. Morocco's strategic location on the continent, situated near geopolitical hotspots like Mali and Nigeria, makes it a natural candidate for such a function. Yet, for years, the uncertain legal status of the former Spanish territory of the Western Sahara, which the Kingdom has administered since the 1970s, has prevented Morocco from playing a larger role in the security of its neighborhood. Now, however, the U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara that accompanied "normalization" with Israel has paved the way for the Kingdom to take on a more meaningful role in regional policing.
Morocco and Israel to open diplomatic missions within two weeks
Morocco announced that diplomatic missions would open in Tel Aviv and Rabat within two weeks, when it hosted a joint Israeli-American delegation for a series of one day events to mark the advancement of the normalization of ties between the countries.

News of the opening of the missions was announce by Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita at a press event Palace of Hospitality in Rabat, hosted by King Mohammed VI.

"Morocco and Israel are making huge strides on their commitments to resume full diplomatic relations, promote economic cooperation and to reopen their liaison offices very quickly," White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner said.

"This trip has captured the imagination of Israel, especially of the over one million Israelis of Moroccan descent," Kushner said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday lauded the historic breakthrough with Morocco.


Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum in Bahrain to forge ties
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum has spent the last week in Bahrain meeting locals, forging ties and talking about the new era of peace.

The momentous and important meetings come in the wake of the Abraham Accords and after her trip to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, where unprecedented Hanukkah celebrations took place.

“This country lives and breathes interfaith and coexistence,” she said in an interview.

Bahrain has been supportive of peace and coexistence efforts for years. It joined the UAE this summer to support the Abraham Accords. Since then there have been two high-level ministerial visits from Bahrain, and the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence sent a delegation to Israel.

Hassan-Nahoum’s trip is a groundbreaking visit by an Israeli official and also is important because Hassan-Nahoum is a co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council, a model that could be applied to Bahrain as well.

“I am in Bahrain and it is a fascinating place,” she said this week. “It is the road less traveled so far in terms of the Abraham Accords. I am here to discuss tourism and business opportunities. Israelis and Jewish tourists will want to visit Bahrain and get an authentic Gulf experience here.”
What Dubai taught me about Israel
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined lighting a full menorah on the eighth day of Chanukah in the United Arab Emirates. Nor had I contemplated saying kaddish for my father on his 14th yahrtzeit, last week, in the desert dunes on the periphery of Dubai. (My father would have been amused and excited about both moments, I think.)

And yet, there I was in an Arab country, newly at peace with Israel, on Chanukah – the holiday of Jewish spiritual resistance and military victory. Amazingly, there was no reason to hide my Jewish religious affiliation or my national citizenship as an Israeli. Just the opposite was true. Everyone in Dubai was thrilled to meet a religious Jew and a real Israeli. Emiratis are proud to be associated with us.

(I was in the United Arab Emirates to teach Torah and strategic affairs on behalf of koshertravelers.com, for visiting Jews from around the world. Last week, there was more Hebrew than Arabic heard in the streets of Dubai!)

To tell you the truth, at first, I was put off by the seemingly preening skyscrapers of modern Dubai. Every guide boasts that the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. This reminds me of the Tower of Babel, of which G-d did not approve. "And they said: 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'" (Genesis 11:4). And indeed, G-d then scattered mankind upon the whole face of the earth, to curb the arrogance.

But then I learned from Emiratis to see their tall towers differently. They do not mean to lord it over others or express conceit. They mean to say: We are a forward-looking nation.
Qatar Minister Calls for De-Escalation of Gulf Crisis, Gulf-Iran Dialogue
Qatar‘s foreign minister has called for a de–escalation of tension in the Gulf region and for dialogue between Arab countries and Iran, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-Gulf state Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in mid-2017 over accusations that Doha it supports terrorism, charges which Qatar denies.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the Gulf crisis should be resolved by dialogue, respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

Al-Thani also told Doha-based al Jazeera that talks to resolve the crisis were under way, with Saudi Arabia representing the other parties to the dispute.

Riyadh said this month a solution was within reach.
US Could Increase Indonesia Aid by Up to $2 Billion If It Normalizes Ties With Israel: Report
The US administration offered to increase the development aid Indonesia receives by up to $2 billion if it normalizes its ties with Israel, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

The agency cited Adam Boehler, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation, as saying the offer had been extended to Jakarta by the administration of US President Donald Trump in a bid to promote Israel’s normalization in the Muslim world.

“If they’re ready, they’re ready, and if they are then we’ll be happy to even support more financially than what we do,” Boehler told Bloomberg.

Boehler was speaking in Jerusalem, where he arrived with top White House advisor Jared Kushner to head to Morocco as part of a joint US-Israeli delegation.
Portuguese FM: We'll move embassy when Jerusalem is capital of two states
Portugal would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem only when the city is the capital of both the State of Israel and the state of Palestine, Portuguese Foreign Minister Santos Silva told The Jerusalem Post during his two-day visit.

His country has no plans to follow the United States on this issue, he said as he sat on the veranda of Jerusalem's King David Hotel, located in the western part of the city.

Portugal would contemplate such a move he said, only on "the day when I can put the two embassies in Jerusalem, the embassy of Portugal in Israel and the embassy of Portugal in Palestine."

When asked if he considered that the location where he sat was part of Israel, he said, "I think it is a matter of fact."

But when it came to the question of whether he considered Jerusalem to be Israel's capital, he said carefully, "You know the Portuguese Embassy is in Tel Aviv."

Silva arrived in Israel late Sunday night, on the sidelines of a much more publicized visit by US White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on Monday, followed by a departure Tuesday of a joint Israeli-US delegation to Morocco to sign the initial documents with regard to the normalization of ties between Jerusalem and Rabat.
Seth Frantzman: New pro-Palestine Twitter campaign denies Israel’s existence
A new campaign on social media platform Twitter appears to include more than one hundred pro-Palestinian accounts that are attacking posts about Israel by claiming that all of Israel is “Palestine.”

This campaign was revealed by a post that I put up of a peacock in the Negev over the weekend. The hundred comments on the post are all similar and appear to be a network of Twitter accounts that are coordinated.

This is not the first time that groups of accounts have acted in concert using social media to push political messages. The corporation disclosed in June networks of 32,000 accounts that appeared state-linked. For instance 7,340 of the accounts were linked to Turkey’s ruling party, coordinating attacks on dissidents and those who don’t support Ankara’s regime.

The current network coordinated an attack on a photo that included the word “Israel.”

One account called “Nana” was created in December 2020 and replied “this land belongs to the Palestinians from the north to the south and to the east and west long live Palestine such a beautiful country until the Israelis came and occupied.”

The same account replies to posts from Dawn in Pakistan regarding reports that Pakistan could recognize Israel. The account replied “Israel is a terrorist state that kills innocent people and demolishes their homes. It must be boycotted. Normalization with Israel means stealing more Palestinian lands.”
Avi Abelow: Here is Why Everyone Must Stop Calling it the "West Bank"

Seth Frantzman: Turkey bashes Gulf outreach to Israel while feigning less aggressive face
Ankara continues to claim to foreign media and friends that it seeks reconciliation with the US, European Union and Israel, even as its state-controlled media suggest the opposite.

For instance, Turkey secured a piece on Voice of America about its “reconciliation” with Israel, while state-run Turkish Radio and Television bashed people from the UAE and Bahrain who visited Israel.

Turkey, which has diplomatic relations with Israel, has been attempting to isolate it under its far-right Hamas-backing ruling party, the AKP. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his team have made it clear their agenda is to “liberate al-Aqsa” and have even described Jerusalem as “ours,” asserting that the city belongs to Ankara, not Israel. Turkey recalled envoys after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

Yet Ankara has managed to alienate most of Europe through threats against France, Greece and other states. It has angered the US by hosting Hamas and buying Russia’s S-400 antiaircraft system.

Ankara also appears to be working closely with Russia and Iran on Syrian issues. Recently, Turkish-backed extremists began to shell the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Ain Issa. Turkey has also hinted it is planning an operation in Iraq against Kurds.
Health Ministry set to push immediate 3-week lockdown amid rising cases
The Health Ministry is reportedly planning to present cabinet ministers Wednesday with a proposal to introduce an immediate three-week national lockdown that would include shuttering schools and limiting people to within a kilometer of their homes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have agreed to impose a third national lockdown to curb a surge in new COVID-19 infections, Israeli television reported Tuesday, but have not finalized the details of the specific restrictions.

With Health Ministry Yuli Edelstein saying that Israel has entered a “third wave” of the virus, Health Ministry officials plan to recommend that the government vote in favor of a full and immediate lockdown rather than waiting any longer, according to Hebrew media reports Wednesday morning.

The cabinet is set to convene Wednesday afternoon. It isn’t clear if there is sufficient support among ministers to approve another lockdown, and with the Knesset having dissolved Tuesday and fresh elections coming up, it is likely that the decision could be affected by political considerations.
Israel ranks no. 1 in COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per capita
Only three days after launching its nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign, Israel now ranks first in the world in the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people, according to official data collected by Our World in Data and published on Wednesday.

According to the recent data, Israel and the UK outrank other countries by far, with Israel ranking at 0.83%, followed by the UK with 0.74%. The US is next with a much lower rank of 0.19%. The world average stands on 0.03%.

As more and more Israelis are getting vaccinated for coronavirus, it seems like the ongoing endeavors of providing vaccines from different companies around the world paid off. With doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already available and with more AstraZeneca vaccines expected to arrive, it looks like Israel is heading towards a coronavirus-free population, perhaps sooner than expected.

"Israel is the first country in the world to vaccinate its citizens against the coronavirus," Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday, adding that the country will be "significantly increasing the rate of vaccinations starting next week."
Netanyahu hints Israel won't shy away from military action against Iran
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that Israel would not shy away from military action against Iran when he spoke at the graduation ceremony for IDF pilots on Wednesday.

"We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.

"We do not take lightly the threats made against us, nor do we shy away from them," Netanyahu said.

"Our policy is clear and consistent: whoever tries to harm us will suffer a crushing blow.

"In the face of danger, the Air Force is ready to act forcefully - in any range, in any arena and in any target," Netanyahu stated.

He promised that Israel would stand firm against Iran's nuclear program and its entrenchment in Syria.

"We will continue to act against attempts by Iran and its proxies to establish military bases in Syria. We will not compromise on this issue," he said.
The Myth of ‘Lone-Wolf’ Terrorism
Horgan was the latest victim to be killed seemingly "out of sight." Like in other similar cases, the terrorists didn't suffice with murder, adding mutilation to their already heinous crime.

The stark contrast between the peaceful nature, with its sunny skies and floral bloom, and the atrocities committed in its midst never fails to shock us. Still, the best way to counter such acts of terrorism is to adhere to the healthiest Jewish instinct there is – revival. Live and build despite death and bereavement; plant in the face of displacement; erect communities in the name of the victims and enshrine their memory through positive action – that is how you exact vengeance on killers and all those who wish us harm.

In a few days, when the killer is caught, experts will again speak of "lone-wolf terrorism," noting, presumably, that the perpetrator acted alone and not on behalf of a known terrorist group.

The mere concept of "lone-wolf terrorism," however, is misleading. Wolves, after all, travel in a pack and while these individuals may decide to act of their own volition, they all drink from the same poisoned well and share the same warped mindset by which the murder of Jews, either in the name of "Islam," or in the name of the "Palestinian cause," is a good thing.

Those who stab their victims, shoot them, run them over or bash their head in with rocks are all inspired to carry out their "lone" attacks by the ongoing glorification of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority, and this, too, must not be forgotten.
After murder, IDF sends reinforcements to West Bank, halts home leave for troops
The military on Tuesday said it was sending reinforcements to the West Bank, following a series of violent incidents in the area.

The decision was made “in accordance with a situational assessment that the IDF continuously holds,” an Israel Defense Forces statement said, without further elaborating.

The troops will be tasked with guarding settlements and roads, the military said.

The IDF also said that effective Tuesday, troops attached to the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) Division wouldn’t be granted home leave.

The move came after the body of an Israeli woman was found in a northern West Bank forest on Monday, a day after she went for a run near her home in the Tal Menashe settlement.

Esther Horgen, a 52-year-old mother of six, was buried Tuesday.

Security forces were increasingly convinced that the death was a terror attack committed by a Palestinian assailant, officials said on Monday afternoon. No suspects have been apprehended.
Palestinians attack IDF soldiers as they search terrorist's home
Dozens of Palestinians attacked IDF soldiers on Tuesday while they were searching the home of the 17-year-old Palestinian who allegedly carried out a terror attack in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday evening, N12 reported.

IDF soldiers entered the town of Kabatiya in the northern West Bank and encountered resistance from several locals who reportedly threw multiple Molotov cocktails at them and attempted to block traffic.

A shot was heard fired as well. The IDF eventually broke up the protests.

The attack took place at the Lion's Gate. According to police reports, the terrorist used a Carlo-type submachine gun to shoot at the police post before being neutralized by Border Police officers.

Soon after the incident, police arrested a second suspect nearby, believing him to have helped the shooter in his crime and his escape. One police officer was injured, in addition to a jogger who happened to be at the scene. Both received medical treatment.
Israeli Air Force appoints first Druze colonel
The Israeli Air Force on Tuesday promoted Awad Suleiman to the rank of colonel, making him the first Druze to attain this rank in the IAF. IAF Commander Amikam Norkin also named Suleiman head of the air force’s Drone Warfare Unit.

While Suleiman is the first Druze to attain the rank of colonel in the IAF, recent years have seen Druze citizens serving in more and more elite air force roles. In September 2020, Lt. Col. A. made history by being appointed the first Druze commander of the IAF’s Shaldag (“Kingfisher”) commando unit.

The appointment made A. the first Druze commander of any of the IDF’s four elite units: Sayeret Matkal, its top special forces unit; Shaldag; the Shayetet 13 naval commandos; and Unit 669, the air force’s combat search and rescue unit.

A year and a half ago, in June 2019, Lt. G. became the IAF’s first Druze pilot upon successfully completing the 178th’s pilot training course.
Boston Native Makes History as First American Woman to Complete IAF Pilot Course
A “lone soldier” from the United States made history on Wednesday, when she became the first American woman to complete the Israeli Air Force’s prestigious pilot course, the US-based NGO Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) announced ahead of the graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim Airbase in the Negev.

Boston native Lt. O., 21—a member of a small group of women who have completed the course in the past 25 years—is one of only two women out of a total of 39 current graduates who did so this week.

Lt. O., whose father had been a fighter jet navigator in the IAF, enlisted in the IDF with no immediate family in Israel. She arrived in the country and took the IAF’s qualifying exams after a post-high school gap year that she spent backpacking through Central America.

“In addition to making history, it’s important to remember that Lt. O. was not obligated to serve in the IDF, but chose to become a ‘lone soldier’ in order to protect Israel. Lt. O. demonstrates how one person can secure a future for the broader Jewish community. From all of us in Boston, Mazel Tov and thank you—we are so proud!” said FIDF New England Executive Director Luba Loewenberg.
PMW: The EU is again helping the PA pay salaries to terrorists
The PA Minister of Social Development, Ahmed Majdalani, announced that tomorrow, Dec. 24th, the PA will pay allowances to 115,000 poor families and that the European Union has contributed 54% of the cost of the benefits. In parallel, the head of the PA funded Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, attempted to deflect the international criticism of the PA’s terror reward payments to Palestinian terrorists, claiming that the PA only pays the terrorists to “ensure a minimal standard of living.”

While it may seem logical to conclude that since the PA, for PR purposes, is now defining the terrorist prisoners’ families as people in need of social welfare, and since the EU is contributing 54% of the current social welfare benefits, the EU is directly contributing to the PA payment of terror rewards to terrorist prisoners. While this conclusion is false, the EU is, nonetheless, again providing the PA with the support it needs, in order to continue paying financial rewards to terrorist prisoners.

Announcing the intention to pay the allowances to the needy and the EU contribution, Majdalani explained:
“On Thursday [Dec. 24, 2020] the [PA] Ministry [of Social Development] will pay the allowances of the poor families who are benefiting from the cash transfer program… The amount of the allowances that will be transferred in this payment stands at 136,151,268 [Israeli] shekels, and 115,000 families will benefit from it…
The [PA] government’s participation in this payment stands at 44% of the total amount, and… the European Union (EU) is participating at a rate of 56% of the total amount.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 21, 2020]


Just days prior to Majdalani’s announcement, Abu Bakr met with French Consul General in Jerusalem, René Troccaz, and asked that France reject the Israeli definition of Palestinian terror as a crime.
Terrorist hailed as 'hero' by PA after serving 34 years for murder
In 1987, Ofra Moses, a pregnant Israeli mother of four, and her five-year-old son Tal were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. The perpetrator has since been praised as “heroic” by the Palestinian Authority.

The terrorist, Muhammad Daoud, was described by the PA in a televised report as the victim of a “kidnapping” by Israel, when in reality, Daoud was jailed for the murders of Ofra and Tal, who were killed when he threw a Molotov cocktail at their car. Daoud has since served 34 years for the crime. A translated segment by the Palestinian Media Watch reveals that the report says Daoud "has begun his 34th year in the occupation’s [Israel’s] prisons…” Another journalist reported: “On Dec. 8, 1987, with the outbreak of the First Intifada when young Muhammad Daoud was beginning his path in life, the occupation forces kidnapped him to be a prisoner in their prisons.”

The PA recognizes his crime through payment of a monthly salary paid only to terrorist prisoners, despite previously painting Daoud as an innocent victim of the Israeli justice system.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported this just hours after another Israeli mother, Esther Hurgen, who leaves behind a husband and six children, was killed in an alleged terror attack in the Reiham Forest in Samaria.


US Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Syria in Push for Assad to End War
The United States on Tuesday slapped fresh sanctions on Syria, targeting its central bank and blacklisting several people and entities in a continued effort to cut off funds for President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The latest action, building on sanctions imposed on Syria earlier this year, marked another round in a US campaign to push Assad’s government back into UN-led negotiations to end the country’s nearly decade-long war.

“The  United States will  continue to seek accountability for those prolonging this conflict,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Millions of people have fled Syria and millions more have been internally displaced since a crackdown by Assad on protesters in 2011 led to civil war with Iran and Russia backing the government and the United States supporting the opposition.

In a separate statement, the US Treasury Department said the new sanctions add two individuals, nine business entities and the Central Bank of Syria to Washington’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.

The US State Department also designated Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of the Syrian president, accusing her of impeding efforts for a political resolution to the war, and several members of her family, Pompeo said. Asma al-Assad was previously hit with sanctions in June.
Seth Frantzman: Iran thinks Soleimani is more important in death than he was in life
The endless parade of Iran’s martyr posters in Iraq and the region illustrates an attachment to the “martyrdom” of IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani and Iran’s media is playing this up day after day.

The mourning for Soleimani has reached a crescendo as the one-year anniversary of his assassination in a US airstrike arrives, and it appears that for the regime in Tehran, Soleimani has become more important in death than in life.

This illustrates that Iran doesn’t have a replacement for Soleimani. He was replaced by Esmail Ghaani but broadly, Iran’s generation of soldiers who grew out of the crucible of the Iran-Iraq war are fading from the scene, mainly due to age.

Iran has clung on to key figures such as Soleimani, hoping to rescue the country from its looming problems. It was able to motivate Shi’ites across the Middle East in the 1980s and 1990s by offering an austere and righteous formula that brought pride to some communities that had been persecuted and oppressed, but today, Iran is the powerful one, and it has a stranglehold over Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran’s role in these countries has not brought wealth and prosperity. Its investment in endless propaganda and flags with rifles emblazoned on them harkens back to the 1980s. But now, it is finding it difficult to replace its leaders.

There is no replacement for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. There was no replacement for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, or Imad Mughniyeh and Hassan Nasrallah is clinging to power like an old Soviet bureaucrat and has no true heir.
Qatar Minister Calls for De-Escalation of Gulf Crisis, Gulf-Iran Dialogue
Qatar‘s foreign minister has called for a de–escalation of tension in the Gulf region and for dialogue between Arab countries and Iran, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-Gulf state Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in mid-2017 over accusations that Doha it supports terrorism, charges which Qatar denies.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the Gulf crisis should be resolved by dialogue, respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

Al-Thani also told Doha-based al Jazeera that talks to resolve the crisis were under way, with Saudi Arabia representing the other parties to the dispute.

Riyadh said this month a solution was within reach.





We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Printfriendly

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

comments

Speaking

Follow by Email

translate

E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options


One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs

Categories

#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW hum Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion Opinon oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Blog Archive