News Digest — 1/18/22

Israel Successfully Tests Arrow 3 Anti-Ballistic System

Israel on Tuesday (18th) successfully tested its Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.  The test which took place in central Israel, was led by the Israel Aerospace Industries.

According to a ministry statement, Tuesday’s (18th) live-fire test followed a number of recent ballistic missile tests by Iran.

In a brazen threat to Europe, the Islamic Republic announced recently that it had increased the range of its arsenal of ballistic missiles. 

“The operational radar arrays of the Arrow system detected the target and sent the data to the fire management system, which analyzed that data and fully plotted the interception.  Once the plans were completed, two Arrow 3 interceptors were fired at the target, and they completed their mission successfully,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Israel’s multi-layered air defense includes Iron Dome designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells; David’s Sling, which counters medium-to long-range rockets and missiles; the Arrow 2 short-and medium-range ballistic missile interceptor; and the Arrow 3 long-range missile interceptor, which is one of the most advanced systems of its kind in the world.

Arrow 3 is the product of a collaboration between the Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization and the American Missile Defense Agency.  Work is underway on the even more sophisticated Arrow 4.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz welcomed the result, saying, “This successful and unprecedented experiment points to Israel’s technological superiority, led by the defense establishment and the defense industries.”

“Step by step, development by development, we maintain Israel’s ability to defend itself against the threats developing in the [regional] theater, and we allow Israel its offensive action-leeway against our enemies, with the understanding that the best defense allows for the most effective attack.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi issued a statement saying, “The IDF and the defense establishment lend great importance to the upgrading of our air defenses.”

“Today’s [Tuesday] experiment is another component in our ability to counter threats developing in the region as part of the IDF’s work plan.  The successful combination of air defense fighters and advanced Israeli technology produces one of the best multi-layered defense capabilities in the world.”

US Missile Defense Agency Director Adm. Jon Hill also welcomed the results, saying that the information collected during the test will assist in future improvements to Arrow 3.

“The MDA remains committed to assisting Israel in upgrading its air defenses against existing and future missile threats in the region,” he said.



Stabbing Attack Thwarted In Gush Etzion, Terrorist Killed

An Arab terrorist attempted to stab Israelis waiting at a bus stop at the Gush Etzion Junction, south of Jerusalem, early Monday afternoon (17th).

IDF soldiers securing the junction shot and killed the terrorist.  There were no Israeli casualties.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yigal Mizrachi, who was one of the first responders at the scene, said that when he arrived, “the security forces had already neutralized the attacker, and thankfully there were no other people injured in the incident.”

The IDF has reportedly launched a search for the vehicle that dropped off the terrorist at the junction.

Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said that “this attempt to harm the State of Israel and the Israeli settlement enterprise was also successfully thwarted by our heroic soldiers.”

“We thank the fighters from the bottom of our hearts and inform the terrorists with full force: You are doomed to death and extinction and we are destined to eternal life in the homeland.”

The Gush Etzion Junction has been the scene of multiple terror attacks in recent years, some of them lethal.



The IDF’s Commitment To The International Laws Of War Is Not A Disadvantage – Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser

Some are claiming that the specter of prosecution and trial hampers the freedom of action of the IDF, as well as its ability to function when faced with complex operational challenges,  This claim is mainly voiced in the context of the IDF’s war on terrorist organizations, which themselves flagrantly violate the rules of war, intentionally attacking civilians and hiding behind human shields.

It is true that fighting armed terrorist organizations is much more complicated than fighting other armies, and that applying international law rules of war demands some creative thinking.  This is mostly because the other side does not see itself as obligated to international law and tries to leverage the asymmetry of the two sides’ commitment to itself to improve its ability to achieve its goals.

The IDF uses four main principles behind the laws of war in its operations:

→ The principle of necessity – military force is exercised only when there is a military purpose in doing so whose focus is protecting the security of the country and its citizens and defeating the enemy. 

→ The principle of humanity – avoiding unnecessary suffering.

→ The principle of distinction – an assault distinguishes between military targets and soldiers, and civilians and civilian objects.

→ The principle of proportionality – it is acknowledged that assaults on military targets could cause collateral damage to civilians but it seeks to ensure that the collateral damage is not excessive in relation to the military advantage resulting from the action.

The IDF is careful to uphold these principles, not only because doing so anchors its ability to defend itself in the International Criminal Court, but because the laws of war align with our own moral codes.

It could be argued that in a specific situation, not adhering to the laws of war could lead to greater success and reduce the danger to Israel in the short term, but the cost of doing so would be insufferably high.  It would harm uninvolved persons, as well as our ability as a people to face ourselves.  The moral advantage actually increases Israel’s power in the long run.

(The writer who headed the Research and Assessment Division of IDF Military Intelligence, is a Senior Project Director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)



Report: Indonesian Officials Makes Rare Visit To Israel Over Pandemic

A delegation of Indonesian officials made a rare visit to Israel recently to discuss coronavirus strategies, despite the countries not having diplomatic relations, Army Radio reported Monday (17th).

The Indonesian health officials aimed “to learn how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic” and met with Israeli officials, the report said, without specifying when it occurred.

The Indonesian government denied the visit had taken place.

The Foreign Ministry would not confirm the report but said that Israel “believes in international cooperation in every regard to fight against the coronavirus” and is prepared to share information and experience.

Israel and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations, but for years there have been back-channel overtures to establish official ties.  Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

Indonesia has refused to normalize relations with Israel until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinians.

Last month during a visit to Jakarta, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly discussed with Indonesian officials the normalization of ties with Israel.



Jewish Holiday Of Tu B’Shevat Inspires Tree Planting In The UAE

Special tree plantings were carried out on Sunday (16th) for the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat in the United Arab Emirates, more than a year after Israel normalized relations with the Gulf state in September 2020.

Tu B’Shevat, known as the “New Year of the Trees” or the Jewish version of Arbor Day, includes the custom of eating a meal consisting of the seven species mentioned in the Torah and called “fruits of Israel” – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives (oil), and dates (honey).

The event was organized to celebrate the first anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Educational Campus in the UAE, an organization that welcomes around 100 children from the nascent Jewish community.

The celebration, also billed as a “Jewish ecology holiday,” is an opportunity to think upon the cycle of nature.

The event was held in cooperation with Israel’s Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).

Present at the tree-planting ceremony was Israel’s Consul General in Dubai Ilan Sztulman and KKL-JNF managing director of the Israeli pavilion at Expo 2020 Nave Shachar.

“We are excited to plant a tree within the Jewish Educational Campus in the UAE for future generations,” Shachar said.

“KKL-JNF promotes cooperation with the government of the UAE in striving for environmental development.  Today’s events symbolize our excellent relations, and we trust that we will continue this cooperation for our mutual benefit.”

Rabbi Levy Duchman, who heads the Jewish Community Center of the UAE, gave a blessing to the guests, the students of the campus and their families.