Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 49 min 38 sec ago
(WGCU and YouTube) "The U.S. and the Holocaust" is directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein. Telescript by Geoffrey C. Ward.
(Times of Israel) Emanuel Fabian -
Shots were fired at a bus carrying Israeli soldiers on a major highway in the Jordan Valley on Sunday, injuring seven people, the military and medics said.
The Israel Defense Forces said Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the bus near the settlement of Hamra, seriously wounding one soldier. Another five soldiers and the bus's civilian driver were hurt. The attack came amid rising violence in the West Bank.
Two suspected gunmen were arrested shortly after by Israeli soldiers and police. The pair were named by Palestinian media as Muhammed and Walid Turkman, apparent relatives, and residents of the Jenin area in the northern West Bank. A third suspect fled, and a search has been launched to capture him.
(I24News/YNet News) President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog departed Sunday morning for a state visit to Germany, where they will participate in the 50th anniversary memorial for the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The president will lead a delegation with the victims' families.
(Israel Defense) Mandi Kogosowski -
Mossad Director David Barnea departed for Washington D.C. on Monday, where he will hold a series of meetings with senior officials from the White House, CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, State Department, and other security agencies, and present Israel's stance regarding the resurrection of the Iranian nuclear deal.
Barnea's visit is another one in the string of top Israeli officials fighting to stop the deal. Last week, Israel's Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, and National Security Advisor, Eyal Hulata, both visited the U.S. Prime Minister Yair Lapid has held phone conversations with U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders.
(Al-Monitor) Hamas and Islamic Jihad held a meeting on Aug. 22 in Gaza City. Tension was high at the meeting, where Hamas called on Islamic Jihad to financially compensate the families of the civilian victims who were killed by its rockets that fell inside the Gaza Strip. Sources said that Islamic Jihad denied that any of its rockets fell inside Gaza and rejected any responsibility.
An investigation team consisting of members of the Gaza ministries of interior and health collected evidence indicating that Palestinians were killed by locally made rockets. "The investigation team got their hands on rocket shrapnel and local missiles that fell in residential neighborhoods," a source added.
Islamic Jihad's denial seems at least partially an effort to avoid paying financial compensation to the families of the victims, at a time when it is suffering from a stifling financial crisis.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs) The first-ever Germany-Israel Strategic Dialogue was held in Jerusalem between senior national security officials from Israel and Germany on September 1-2. It was presided over by the national security advisors and directors-general of the foreign ministries of Germany and Israel, the Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the Director of the Mossad, the Director of the Israeli Security Agency, and their German counterparts.
The participants discussed a wide range of issues related to national security. The Israeli participants presented the danger posed in Israel's view by a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
(Ynet News) Elisha Ben Kimon, Itamar Eichner -
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday named Herzl (Herzi) Halevi as the new chief of the military staff to replace Aviv Kochavi. He takes office in January.
Today, Halevi serves as the deputy chief of staff under Kochavi and, before that, headed the IDF southern command. He had also served as commander of the IDF's special forces unit. Gantz decided that Halevi comes to the job with a rich and diverse experience and a proven ability as a commander, shown over his many years of service in the field and the general staff.
(Times of Israel and AFP) Hamas announced on Sunday that it had executed five Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including two for "collaboration" with Israel. "Three others were executed in criminal cases."
One of the two was a resident of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. He was convicted of supplying Israel in 1991 with "information on men of the resistance, their residence, and the location of rocket launchpads," Hamas said. The second was condemned for supplying Israel in 2001 with intelligence "that led to the targeting and martyrdom of citizens" by Israeli forces.
(I24News/YNet News) For the first time in over a decade, a Turkish warship docked in an Israeli port on Saturday, a sign of both the rapprochement between the two countries and Israel's close alliance with NATO.
Turkish destroyer F-247 TCG Kemalreis, which sailed into the Haifa port along with the U.S. Navy ship USS Forrest Sherman, is part of a NATO drill. The Jewish state fully cooperates with and supports NATO, an Israeli army spokesperson said.
(Times of Israel) Iranian intelligence said a dozen members of the Baha'i religious group were arrested because they were spying for Israel, according to Iranian media reports.
The General Intelligence Department of Mazandaran Province in the north of the country claimed in a statement that two of those arrested were "trained" at the Baha'i center in Haifa, Israel, the religious group's global center. It said they formed a network of spies throughout Mazandaran.
Although the statement referred to just 12 suspects, the Baha'i International Community, which represents members of the faith, said that 14 people in total were detained - 13 of them youths.
(Times of Israel) Jacob Magid -
The upcoming report is said to be in the works due to White House pressure, including the recent visit by the assistant secretary of state, almost four months after the journalist was shot dead.
(Bloomberg) Vivian Nereim and Daniel Avis -
Previously clandestine links between Saudi Arabia and Israel are increasingly visible as some of the Middle East's deep-seated rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties. Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to accelerate his plans to overhaul an oil-reliant economy, while Israel is keen to build on 2020's diplomatic breakthroughs with smaller Gulf nations. "We do not view Israel as an enemy, but rather as a potential ally," Prince Mohammed said earlier this year.
Israel and Gulf nations established largely hidden security ties over shared concerns, especially Iran. But it's primarily the strong economic motivation driving more visible relations now.
The kingdom's religious and regional prominence dictates different political considerations than those of smaller neighbors. In this mixed atmosphere, Saudi officials maintain that a resolution between Israelis and Palestinians remains at the core of their policy.
Normalization is "borderline offensive to keep talking about" and isn't a policy goal in and of itself, Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., said in June.
(Gatestone Institute) Majid Rafizadeh -
Biden's new nuclear deal is the biggest gift that one could give to the world's "top state sponsor of terrorism": unlimited nuclear weapons; no inspections past, present, or future; the missiles to deliver them; enriched uranium to be held by Russia and returned to Iran or wherever they both decide; and "$100 billion per year to spread terror around the globe."
The main beneficiaries of the increased revenues will most likely be the office of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and more importantly, the IRGC's elite branch, the Quds Force, which carries out extraterritorial operations to advance the revolutionary principles of the Islamic Republic abroad.
Oil and gas revenues are crucial for the ruling mullahs: Iran reportedly has the second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Venezuela. The sale of oil accounts for nearly 60% of the regime's total revenues and more than 80% of its export revenues.
The writer is a board member of Harvard International Review and president of the International American Council on the Middle East.
(FDD Analysis) Bradley Bowman and Ryan Brobst -
The Pentagon announced on Wednesday an up to $927 million foreign military sale contract with Boeing to provide Israel four KC-46A air refueling aircraft, with the first currently expected to arrive in 2025. Signing the contract this summer locks in Jerusalem's place in the queue for the aircraft and avoids delaying delivery by another year, but the Pentagon and Israeli Ministry of Defense should take several additional steps now to minimize the time between Israel's receipt of the aircraft and when they can be employed in combat operations.
The Biden administration is wise to welcome an enhanced Israeli capability to strike Iran's nuclear program, understanding that the credible threat of such an attack provides the United States with additional coercive leverage when dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Indeed, as then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz told an audience at Kansas State University in 1984, "Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table."
(Israel Hayom) Ariel Kahana -
Over the past 18 months, the world has been watching the U.S. play a match of regional tennis: the nuclear talks with Iran. Tehran and the West have each been hitting the ball back and forth. We occasionally get news about the deal being "closer" or that the latest draft is "the final offer" and that it is "just a matter of days" or that "the window is closing." Both sides prefer this process to play itself out forever, very much like various inconclusive sporting events.
Iran is hardly the most pressing issue on the U.S. foreign policy docket. As for Iran, time is on its side, because a protracted process allows it to continue with the nuclear program. Enrichment levels have already reached 60% purity levels; Tehran's coffers from trade have been filling up, in part because of the rise in oil and fuel prices and Chinese consumption; and Russia has been buying Iranian arms.
The talks have allowed Iran to divert attention from what it really cares about: shortening the time it would take to reach a bomb - the breakout time - to zero. This means it would be ready to break toward a nuclear weapon once the talks collapse, and by the time the U.S. comes up with a Plan B, it will have already gotten a bomb.
For Iran, the never-ending tennis match is just a ruse for the real game. From what has been reported in the media, the breakout time currently stands at several weeks. One can assume that Iran will not be foolish enough to show their hand, holding some cards close to the chest. Thus, when the talks are history, they will break toward the bomb, and the U.S. will face an excruciating dilemma it had wanted to avoid all along: accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or a bloody war with the murderous regime in Tehran.
(AP-Washington Post) Jon Gambrell -
Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized an American sea drone in the Persian Gulf and tried to tow it away, only releasing the vessel when the USS Thunderbolt, a Navy coastal patrol boat, as well as a Seahawk helicopter, approached, the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet said Tuesday.
The Guards' Shahid Baziar warship attached a line to the Saildrone Explorer in the center of the Persian Gulf in international waters on Monday night and began towing it. The Saildrone Explorer carries cameras, radars and sensors for remotely monitoring the sea. After four hours, the Iranians unhooked the tow line and left the area.
(Syrian Observatory for Human Rights-UK) Israeli missiles targeted an Iranian missile warehouse near Aleppo Airport in Syria on Wednesday. Russian forces located inside the airport had prior knowledge of the Israeli strikes, as they started mobilizing ten minutes earlier.
(Reuters) Israel predicted increased defense exports to Japan on Tuesday as the Asian economic powerhouse signals intent to boost military spending amid more assertive Chinese conduct in the region. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrapped up a two-day visit to Tokyo with the signing of a bilateral defense cooperation memorandum.
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to double defense spending to 2% of GDP, which would make Japan's military budget the world's third-largest.
(Al-Monitor) On July 14, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza banned street concerts that are traditionally an integral part of Gazan weddings. Many Gazans hold week-long celebrations ahead of their weddings, usually in public squares and streets.
(Times of Israel) Mohammed Halabi, Gaza director of the international Christian charity World Vision, was sentenced on Tuesday by an Israeli court to 12 years in prison for diverting tens of millions of dollars to the Islamic terror group Hamas. The court said Halabi had joined the military wing of Hamas in 2004 and was "planted in World Vision" the following year. From his position, Halabi gave Hamas millions of dollars of World Vision's money to fund terror, as well as 12 tons of steel and other materials for its tunnels. His sentence was meant to deter Gazans working in international aid groups from aiding Hamas, according to the court.