News Digest — 12/15/21

The Tehran Times: “Just One Wrong Move”

Iran’s premier English-language newspaper published Wednesday (15th) a map of Israel showing hundreds of points throughout the country where it could strike if Israel attacks it, under the headline “Just One Wrong Move.”

The threatening headline is followed by a clear warning, with the opening line, “An intensification of the Israeli military threats against Iran seems to suggest that the Zionist regime has forgotten that Iran is more than capable of hitting them from anywhere.”

The article then quotes a line from Tuesday’s (14th) Yediot Ahronot paper that Israel’s most recent strike in Syria is “a direct message” to Tehran.  It goes on to explain in some depth the IDF’s plans for a massive aerial exercise over the Mediterranean Sea in the spring that will test its capability of hitting Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iran’s top army commander, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said in the piece that the country’s forces are in a state of “maximum vigilance” and are ready for a counterstrike.

“At the strategic level, we do not intend to strike anyone, but at the operational and tactical level we are ready for a decisive response and a quick and tough offensive against the enemy,” he said.

Looking like the red, rocket alert signs that the Israeli government uses, the points on the map stretch all the way to Eilat at Israel’s southern tip.  Dozens overlap each other specifically on the eastern and western borders.  On the seafront, they are crowded from central Raanana down to the Gaza Strip, where they veer inland to avoid the coastal enclave to mark the entire border with Israel.  They then continue in a line down a good section of the Sinai border with Egypt.  The borderline with Jordan between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is also teeming with red marks, as is most of the center of the country, including Jerusalem.

Starting with the first time rockets were launched at Israel, when Iraq fired off a few dozen scuds in the 1991 Gulf War, and throughout all the airborne attacks led by either Hamas or Hezbollah in subsequent years, Jerusalem has pretty much been left alone.  The assumption has been that the Arabs do not want to risk hitting their compatriots or holy places in Israel’s capital.

If the target bank is accurate, this time seems to be different.  Just north of the capital is a sea of red as well, which would put part of the Palestinian Authority in danger.  Even the major Palestinian cities of Nablus and Jenin, which are more isolated from Jewish towns, are marked by single red dots.  And at the top of the map, while the northern border with Lebanon and Syria is buried under red circles, some of them pin places in Lebanon itself although the country is basically controlled by Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah.

The article ends with a warning given in 2013 by then -leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said that while Israel was “threatening to strike militarily…they must know that if they make a mistake the Islamic Republic will destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa.” 



Terrorist Cell Uncovered By IDF, Shin Bet In Largest PA University

Terrorist infrastructure at the largest Palestinian university, An-Najah National, was uncovered by a joint IDF and Shin Bet operation, IDF Spokesperson for Arab Media Avichay Adraee announced on Tuesday (14th).

11 Islamic Bloc student activists involved in Hamas operations in Judea and Samaria were arrested on the campus in Nablus. 

According to Adraee’s tweets, the suspects were involved in the “transfer of funds and organizing rallies in support of Hamas, in addition to incitement campaigns under the supervision and direction of senior Hamas officials.

Adraee warned of students being recruited to Hamas through the Islamic Bloc, which indoctrinates them into adopting Hamas ideology. The Islamic Bloc demonstrates a “readiness to work” with the terrorist group, which covers students’ university tuition fees.

Adraee added that in recent years, a number of terrorist cells that had planned operations, had members that belonged to the Islamic Bloc at An-Najah National University.

With 23,000 students and 11 faculties, An-Najah National is the largest Palestinian institution of higher learning in the West Bank.

An-Najah University is ranked 1st among Palestinian institutions, 11th in the Arab world, and among the top 100 in the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies Ranking for 2022. 



UK To Outlaw BDS In The ‘Following Months’ Conservative MP Says

British MP and member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party Robert Jenrick, announced on Tuesday (14th) that the British government will pass legislation to outlaw the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the UK.

Jenrick, formerly the UK’s secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, made the comments during the Leadership Dialogue Institute’s (LDI) 2021 online conference on pandemic management, anti-Semitism and Israeli technology.

During a conversation titled “Why Do So Many People hate Jews?,” moderated by former Labour Party MP Joan Ryan and featuring Likud MK Avi Dichter, Jenrick stated that “In the following months, we will be working to outlaw BDS in the UK.”

“I do think BDS is being beaten back here,” the Conservative MP said.

“There is no political party in the UK that would support BDS today and [supporting BDS] is becoming much more of a fringe activity,” he added.

Despite Jenrick’s comment that no political party in the UK would support BDS today, the UK Labour Party, headed by Keir Starmer, passed a motion in their annual Brighton conference in September to define Israel as an apartheid state and impose sanctions against the Jewish state as a result.

The motion further demands actions against “the building of settlements.” It also “reverses any annexation and ends the occupation of the West Bank and the Blockade of Gaza.”

The Conservative Party’s manifesto during the 2019 general election in the UK included a commitment to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, divestments or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries.”  

The LDI, founded by Jewish-Australian businessman and philanthropist Albert Dadan, is a private diplomatic think-tank between Australia, the United Kingdom and Israel, founded with the aim of fostering closer cultural ties between the three nations.



Azerbaijan To Commemorate International Holocaust Day

Azerbaijan will for the first time mark International Holocaust Day on January 27, becoming one of only a handful of Muslim-majority countries to commemorate the day.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made notice of this decision in a meeting earlier this month with Rabbi Marc Schneier, a longtime advocate for Jewish-Muslim relations, while also committing to funding a Jewish school in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Schneier said he had asked Aliyev to take this step during their meeting, and that Aliyev readily agreed.

“President Aliyev said in response, ‘We would very much like to do this, and to be a part of it,’ and said he would instruct his Foreign Ministry to coordinate with Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan in planning the commemoration events for the day,” said Schneier.  “I think this is one more step, one more benchmark in Aliyev’s unparalleled solidarity and commitment to his indigenous Jewish community, and to world Jewry and the State of Israel.”

Aliyev also committed to providing funding for the growing Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish school in Baku, and asked the rabbi there to update him in the event of any future financial distress at the school, giving his commitment to funding any such shortfall as well.

The school, the only Jewish school in Azerbaijan, was facing a very large financial deficit that Aliyev said he would pay for as a gesture to the local Jewish community.

“All around the Muslim world, we are seeing miracles of a bold new support for Jewish life and partnership between our communities,” said Schneier, who is president of the Foundation for Ethic Understanding and a member of the board of trustees of the Baku International Center for Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation.

“This magnanimous demonstration by President Aliyev is truly an astounding example of goodwill at the highest level, and mirrors Azerbaijan’s wholehearted commitment to embrace its Jewish population.  I express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to President Aliyev for his profound commitment to interreligious cooperation and coexistence,” said Schneier.

Azerbaijani Chief Rabbi Schneor Segal, a leader of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, said “Azerbaijan is taking the concept of tolerance to a whole different level than what we see anywhere else in the world.”

“For decades the Jewish community has enjoyed a comfortable and peaceful life, without experiencing any sign of anti-Semitism.  The government is truly committed to supporting and strengthening the future of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan.  We are thankful to President Aliyev for his constant care for the Jewish population.”



Poll: Israeli Arabs In Jerusalem Prefer Israeli Rule To PA Rule

A poll by the SHFA “Palestine News Agency” found that a vast majority of Israeli Arabs in Jerusalem prefer Israeli rule to PA rule.

The sample included 1,200 Arab residents of Jerusalem with an Israeli ID.  1,116 of respondents said they would prefer to live under Israeli rule, while only 84 people answered that they prefer the transfer of power to the Palestinian Authority.

In addition, among the 84 who favored PA rule, 79 said they would be unwilling to give up their Israeli citizenship.  Only five answered that they would prefer to carry PA identity cards.

Pro-Israel activist Yoseph Haddad commented on Facebook on the findings, pushing back against claims that Israel is an “apartheid” state.

“Amazing how people prefer to continue living under an ‘apartheid’ regime,” he wrote.