News Digest — 11/4/21

Christians From Africa To Gather At Foreign Ministry In Support Of Israel

A group of pro-Israel Christians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will host an event next week in support of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and his decision to open a trade office in Israel and to accept Israel into the African Union with observer status.

The event, which will be held at the Foreign Ministry, is a project of DR Congo Benit Israel – in collaboration with the Congolese Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus and Christian churches and ministries.

Word of the event comes a week after Tshisekedi visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, during which he made an announcement that his country would open a diplomatic and trade office in Jerusalem.  The two leaders also discussed strengthening collaboration in agriculture, communications and trade.

“This is a major victory for faith-based diplomacy and shows why it is essential to continue strengthening Israel’s ties with Bible-believing Christians worldwide,” Israel Allies Foundation President Josh Reinstein said of Tshisekedi’s commitment to open the office in Jerusalem.

Tshisekedi, who also serves as chairman of the African Union, was one of the key proponents of granting Israel observer status in the AU.

“Our goal is to demonstrate popular and legislative support for the important work of our president and AU chair in strengthening ties with Israel,” said MP Didler Kabampele Ngabul, who will speak at the event.  “Millions of Christians stand firmly behind the decision to include Israel as observers in the AU.”

Another MP, Henriette Wamu, said, “Africa stands to benefit greatly by proudly advancing diplomatic relations with Israel.  As we know, those who bless Israel shall be blessed.”

Israel Allies Foundation Africa director Bishop Scott Mwanza added, “We are indebted to President Tshisekedi for leading the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the African Union according to the principles of his Christian faith.”

“The acceptance of Israel into the African Union has been a dream for Bible-believing Christians, and it finally has come to fruition due to the power of faith-based diplomacy.”



Israel Launches Giant Missile-Detecting Balloon Over Its Northern Border

Israel on Wednesday (3rd) began deploying a new surveillance system in the country’s north to detect incoming aerial threats, including from drones.

The move came against the backdrop of a nationwide emergency drill simulating among other scenarios, a host of airborne threats to Israeli communities in the country’s north.

Following years of development and manufacturing, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense R&D, the Israeli Air Force , and ELTA, an Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary and a prime contractor for the “Elevated Sensor” (ES) program, “began initial inflation operations” of the balloon on Wednesday (3rd), the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It added that “Tel Shamayam” (Hebrew for “Sky Dew”) will assist security forces with the detection and tracking of both aerial and ground threats in the region.

The High Availability Aerostat System is one of the world’s largest aerostats, and was developed under a cooperative program between the IMDO and the US Missile Defense Agency.

The ES system consists of the High Availability Aerostat System (HAAS) and advanced radar designed to detect incoming threats at long ranges when operating at high altitudes.

“It will provide additional detection and early warning capabilities to the already existing operational air defense detection array deployed around Israel,” the statement read.

Last week, IAF officials noted the increased threat of drones, particularly Iranian drones located in several countries in the region.  Most of the details are classified, but it is known that these drones are capable of reaching Israel from thousands of kilometers away.

Israel’s other current air defenses include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets and drones, the Arrow system which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium-to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 25-and 186 miles.

Israel also has Patriot missile batteries stationed in the north of the country and has used them to intercept drones infiltrating Israeli airspace from Syria.



Senior PA Official: Britain Should Make Up For Balfour Declaration

Rawhi Fatuh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, demanded on Tuesday (2nd) that Britain correct what he defined as the “historic mistake of the Balfour Declaration.”

“The British should recognize a Palestinian state and pressure Israel to stop its crimes against the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement marking the 104th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the establishment of a Jewish national home in the Land of Israel.

“Israel continues with racist and fascist policies, desecrating the holy places of Islam and Christianity, and builds settlements which is considered war crimes,” charged Fatuh.

“The worthless Balfour Declaration has given those who have no right what they did not deserve to receive.  It will remain a wound in the human conscience because of the disaster inflicted on the Palestinian people and the region,” he added.

Palestinian Arab organizations have not only been waging a campaign aimed at forcing Britain to apologize for the document, but also want compensation for any suffering it caused the Palestinian people.



Lebanese Journalist: Peace With Israel Will Benefit Lebanon’s Economy

Lebanese Shiite journalist and media personality Nadim Koteich wrote in an article in the popular London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that Hezbollah is holding the country hostage and preventing it from reaching a peace agreement with Israel.

According to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Koteich, who is known for his opposition to Hezbollah, said that an agreement with Israel would allow Lebanon to take advantage of much-needed energy resources.

“The Iranian-backed terrorist group is using a ‘conflict first’ strategy,” he explained, “that keeps Lebanon from reaching understandings with Israel on the demarcation of the maritime border, which would enable it to drill for gas.”

Koteich called on the Lebanese to free themselves of Hezbollah’s grip and sign a peace agreement with Israel, since there is no ideological dispute between them but only technical problems that can be resolved.

“But more than that,” he wrote: “Can Lebanon be sure that the pharmaceutical labs all over the world have no Israelis working in research and development?  Can the Lebanese make sure that their children studying in universities abroad will graduate without having their ideas contaminated by ideas of Israeli philosophers, who are now among the world’s leading thinkers, such as Yuval [Noah] Harari and Daniel Kahneman?  Can they ensure that what they watch on Netflix and on similar entertainment platforms is free of Israeli content?”

Koteich noted that the country is holding back its own progress.

“What prevents Lebanon from being part of the changes that have taken place in the Eastern Mediterranean in the area of gas?” he posed.  “Very simply, what prevents this is the culture of perpetuating the conflict with Israel.”

It should be noted that this was not the first time Koteich has called for Lebanon to forge peace with Israel.

In September 2020 he penned an article titled When Will There Be Peace Between Lebanon and Israel? in which he advised the Lebanese to join the dynamic of peace in the region, and argued that peace with Israel was in Lebanon’s interest, but that Hezbollah was standing in the way.

Similar calls were also made by other Lebanese politicians and journalists over the last 18 months.



Tel Aviv University Ranks 5th In World For Entrepreneurship

What makes Israel the Startup Nation?  It’s a combination of Israeli ingenuity and thinking-out-of-the-box, a robust venture capital ecosystem, mandatory army service that provides young Israelis with leadership experience far beyond their years, and world-class universities that perfectly intersect with the startup scene.

The role of the latter received outside validation by Startup Genome, a policy advisory and research firm focusing on high tech, which placed Tel Aviv University (TAU) fifth in the world in terms of the level of involvement of its alumni in entrepreneurship.

That put TAU just behind Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley and Harvard, which claimed the top four spots.  It’s the only non-American school in the Startup Genome’s top 10, which also includes Cornell, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University.

According to Startup Genome, about 1,300 TAU alumni have founded active startups over the last few decades.

Startup Genome notes that some 40 companies launched by TAU alumni have attained the status of “scaleup” – an industry speak for firms worth $50 million or more.  TAU’s ranking here was seventh in the world, just after Stanford and ahead of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

Finally, in terms of universities that have attracted the highest amount of funding for their graduates, TAU came in 13th place.

“This is a very significant achievement for both Tel Aviv University and the State of Israel,” noted Moshe Zviran, dean of the Coller School of Management and chief entrepreneurship and innovation officer at TAU.

In a separate Startup list, the city of Tel Aviv ranked as the seventh hottest location worldwide for entrepreneurship.  That’s a slight decrease from 2020s list, which tied Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for sixth place.