News Digest — 11/12/21

Assad Regime Shuns Iranian Leader For Nearly Provoking War With Israel

A commander in Iran’s Quds Force stationed in Syria has been shunned by the Syrian leadership after he nearly provoked an “unwanted regional war” with Israel, a Saudi media outlet has reported.

Saudi television AlHadath told viewers Wednesday (10th) that “contrary to instructions” Mustafa Javad Ghafari led “a number of activities against the United States and Israel that almost led to the entry of Syria into an unwanted regional war, including the attack on American targets in Syria on October 20 by Iranian-backed militias.”

The October attack was a drone attack on a US military base, which resulted in no casualties.

AlHadath further noted that “Ghafari admitted the presence of Iranian elements and weapons in the areas where the Syrian regime prohibited their deployment.”  The deployment came amid a series of alleged Israeli attacks on Iranian-backed targets in the region.

The move against Ghafari by the Assad regime appears to be political maneuvering on the part of the Syrians.

In addition to the allegations that Ghafari was provoking conflict with Israel and America, he was also accused of smuggling goods and creating a black market, in competition with Syria’s economy, among other transgressions which had led to “months of disputes” a source familiar with the situation told AlHadath.

The source added “The Iranian forces in Syria have repeatedly exploited Syrian natural resources for their personal interests, as well as looting economic resources and evading paying taxes to the Syrian state.”

The source also said that the move against Ghafari was “part of the negative trend facing the Iranian position in Syria and in the entire region,” which is described as a “blow” to the legacy of Qassem Solemani.

Solemani, a former Quds Force leader who was assassinated by America nearly two years ago, had been working to establish continuous control by Iran throughout the region.



Bennett To Christians: Radical Islam Wants To Take Over The World

Iran wants to dominate the world through Islamist extremism, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned during the Government Press Organization’s seventh annual Christian Media Summit on Thursday (11th).

“Here in Israel, we are fighting a very visible enemy, radical militant Islam,” Bennett warned in a pre-recorded message, delivered to the virtual conference.  “The terror that begins in Tehran seeks to destroy Israel, dominate the world, and drive it into a dark abyss.”

Bennett said that people should not kill or spread war and hatred in the name of the God of life, peace and love.

The only place in the Middle East that fully protects Christians is Israel, where the Christian community is “growing, thriving and prospering,” he said.  “More than ever, Israel stands united with Christians.  We’re brothers and sisters.  We are united. We won’t let anyone extinguish our light.”

The theme of this year’s Christian Media Summit was the Abraham Accords which Bennett called “a new dawn for Israel’s standing in the region.”

The accords increased regional stability and prosperity, he said.

“Just like the doors of Abraham’s tent were open, the doors of Israel are open to a better and brighter future,” the prime minister stated.

Bennett emphasized the importance of Jerusalem to Christians and Jews.  “Jerusalem is the beating heart of Israel, and our hearts beat with love for Jerusalem and the State of Israel.”

President Isaac Herzog hailed the Abraham Accords as the consequence of a “culture of tolerance and respect for different religions,” in Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, and their “common conviction that the path to peace and a brighter future lies in cooperation, rather than conflict, in dialogue instead of distrust.”

Herzog also warned about growing anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel, while saying Israel can count on its Christian allies “to be our partners in the effort to counter the lies and spread truth about Israel, as well as being our partners in promoting the spirit of peace of the Abraham Accords.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid similarly thanked “the millions of Christians who proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us, fighting the wave of anti-Semitism we see today, wherever it rears its ugly head.  Thank you for telling our story.  Thank you for being part of our story.”

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and The Friends of Zion Heritage Center founder, Mike Evans also were speakers at the summit.



Message To Iran: Israel, UAE, Bahrain, USA, Hold Drill In Red Sea

The militaries of Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and the United States on Wednesday (10th) kicked off a multilateral maritime security operations exercise, the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) said Thursday (11th).

The five-day exercise in the Red Sea is the first public naval exercise Israel has held with the UAE and Bahrain since the Abraham Accords were signed last year.

The exercise includes training on the USS Portland, which will “enhance interoperability between participating forces’ maritime interdiction teams,” NAVCENT said in its statement.

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said “Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability.”

On Sunday (7th), Iran kicked off a wide-scale military exercise, conducted throughout the area from north of the Indian Ocean to parts of the Red Sea.  The Iranian exercise includes among other things, the use of drones, manned aircraft, special forces, and both defensive and offensive missile systems.



Israel Tech Makes Time’s List Of 100 Best Inventions Of 2021

Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 best inventions of the year, released this week, included a number of Israeli-developed technologies.

Percepto, based in Modi’in, was listed in the Artificial Intelligence category for its software that enables drones and robots to automate inspections, emergency response and security.  The company’s solution allows critical infrastructure and industrial facilities to monitor sites remotely and without a human operator to prevent serious failures, respond quickly to disasters, and enable business continuity.  The company also makes Sparrow, the most deployed drone-in-a-box solution on the market.

In the transportation category, ElectRon was selected for its system to charge electric vehicles wirelessly using electrical fields generated by coils under the asphalt roads.  This reduces the size of batteries required in vehicles, reducing their weight and cost, and enabling an almost unlimited driving range as it obviates the need for infrastructure for charging stations and gas stations.

The company is currently working on various pre-commercial projects in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Israel, and intends to expand to North American markets soon.

In the accessibility category, OrCam’s Read uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to read any piece of text aloud, helping tens of millions of people who struggle with comprehension difficulties, poor vision, dyslexia or other issues.  The device priced at $1,990, can read text in multiple languages and respond to voice commands.  OrCam, which develops multiple products for people with vision impairment, was founded by Amnon Shasua and Ziv Aviram, who also founded autonomous-driving technology giant Mobileye.

Finally, under sustainability, Afula-based SupPlant was included for its sensor-less solution to collect and analyze climatic, plant and irrigation data to guide farmers with low-cost irrigation recommendations, weather forecast, and crop stress alerts, as well as Al-enabled agronomic guidance to make smallholders more resilient to climate change.

The company intends to serve at least two million smallholders across Africa and India by 2022, and has already provided access to 500,000 maize farmers – mostly women living in Bungoma and Busia – to technology that is helping them avoid crop failure.

Time’s annual list highlights inventions “that are making the world better, smarter and a bit more fun,” with products nominated by its editors and writers, and through an online application process.



Survey Finds Most Brits Unaware Nazis Killed 6 Million Jews In Holocaust

More than half of the people in the United Kingdom did not know that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during World War II, according to the findings of a new survey published Wednesday (10th).

A majority, 52%, of UK respondents were unaware of the most cited death toll from the Nazi German genocide of Europe’s Jews and 22% of Brits thought 2 million or fewer Jews were killed, the survey found.

The survey, conducted, by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a New York-based group that seeks compensation and restitution for Holocaust survivors and their families, was released to coincide with the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass pogrom that targeted Jews in a series of attacks throughout Germany and Austria on the night of November 9, 1938.

“We are very concerned to see the profound gaps in knowledge of the Holocaust in this and previous studies, including about events connected to the UK,” said Claims Conference President Gideon Taylor.

The vast majority of respondents – 88% – said that it was important to continue to teach people about the genocide of Europe’s Jews, in part so that it never happens again.  Seventy-one percent said the government should support Holocaust education.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they thought something like the Holocaust could happen again.