News Digest — 12/6/22

2 Injured In Shooting On Highway 6 Near Modiin

Two vehicle occupants were shot on Highway 6 at the Ben Shemen interchange near the city of Modiin just after midnight on Tuesday (6th), according to the Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit.

One of the people is reported severely wounded and the other moderately so.  Modiin police officers believe the shots came from another vehicle that fled the scene.

Israeli police in Modiin station are investigating using operational scans, and the collecting of data from the scene, according to the Spokesperson’s Unit.

One victim is from east Jerusalem.

MDA Spokesperson Zachi Heller explained that “shortly after midnight, a report was received at MDA’s 101 in the Yarkon area about 2 men injured in a violent incident on Highway 6 to the south in a tunnel near the Ben Shemen interchange.

MDA medics and paramedics provided medical treatment and transferred the injured individuals to Beilinson and Sheba Hospitals in Tel Hashomer.  The injured men with penetration wounds were conscious including: a 46-year-old man in serious condition, and a 31-year old man in moderate condition.”

MDA paramedic Elan Polak and MDA medic Shlomo Levy said “Inside the tunnel, we saw a vehicle on the side of the road, and two men with penetrating wounds sitting nearby.  We gave them life-saving treatment.  They are currently in the hospital.”



Lockheed Martin Joins Iron Beam Project To Build Variant Of System For US Market

US defense contractor Lockheed Martin on Monday (5th) signed an agreement with the Israeli Rafael weapons manufacturer to join the development of a high-powered laser interception system, dubbed Iron Beam.

In a statement, Lockheed Martin said the cooperation would be geared toward developing, testing, and manufacturing a variant of the Iron Beam system for the American market as well as others.

The Iron Beam is designed to work in tandem with systems like Iron Dome and shoot down smaller projectiles.

Israel had hoped to partner with Washington on the Iron Beam project, including American investment in further development and deployment of the system.  

Rafael CEO Yoav Har-Even on Monday (5th) hailed the “strategic agreement,” saying it would “expand and diversify the capabilities” the company has to offer its customers.

“This serves as a clear example of Israeli-made capabilities leading to strategic cooperation which will greatly benefit both sides,” he added.

“This unique capability will enhance Israel’s vital air and missile defense system with state-of-the-art laser technology, and we are honored by the opportunity to expand Lockheed Martin’s role as a security teammate for the State of Israel,” said Lockheed Martin’s CEO, Frank St. John.

Lockheed Martin’s operations in Israel have mostly been limited to supplying and helping maintain aircraft used by the Israeli Air Force, from the C-130 transport planes to the F-16 and F-35 fighter jets.

“Lockheed Martin is entering a new area of operations in Israel.  Now, we step into the high-energy laser era and look forward to fielding operational, reliable, and highly-effective systems with teammates such as Rafael,” said Joshua Shani, chief of Lockheed Martin Israel.

The Iron Beam, which is being developed by Israel’s Defense Ministry with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is not meant to replace the Iron Dome or Israel’s other air defense systems, but to supplement and complement them, shooting down smaller projectiles and leaving larger ones for the more robust missile-based batteries.

The ministry has been testing the laser-based defense system for several years, shooting down drones, unguided rockets and anti-tank guided missiles in a series of tests in March.

Hundreds of millions of shekels have been allocated to the final development stages and trial phase, in which the system will be placed on the border with the Gaza Strip.  It is not clear when the initial deployment will happen.

The ministry’s research and development department initially planned to deploy the anti-missile system by 2024, but the military has pushed for an earlier deployment.

According to the Defense Ministry, as long as there is a constant source of energy for the laser, there is no risk of it ever running out of ammunition.  Officials have hailed it as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against projectile attacks.

The downside of a laser system is that it does not function well in low visibility, including heavy cloud cover or other inclement weather.  For that reason, the ministry intends to also mount the system on planes, which would help get around this limitation by putting the system above the clouds, though that is still a few years off, ministry officials said.

The Lebanese Hezbollah terror group is believed to maintain an arsenal of some 130,000 rockets, missiles, and mortar shells, which the military believes would be used against Israel in a future war.

The two largest terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), are also believed to possess thousands of rockets and mortar shells.

Israeli military officials have also said they have seen a growing trend in Iranian use of drone attacks in recent years, dubbing it Iran’s “UAV terror.”

Against these and other threats, Israel operates a multi-tiered air defense array, made up of the short-range Iron Dome, the medium-range David’s Sling, and the long-range Arrow and Patriot systems.



The Self-Inflicted Palestinian Tragedy – Amb. Mark Regev

In 1947, the Palestinian Arabs rejected the UN partition proposal that awarded them an independent sovereign state.  They opposed all compromises with the Jews.  The Zionist leadership at the time was not enamored with the borders set out in the UN plan, but a small state was preferable to no state at all.

Upon suffering diplomatic defeat in the General Assembly, the Arab world chose to overturn the UN’s determination through the force of arms.  There was an immediate escalation of Palestinian violence against the Jew.  And in May 1948, when the British Mandate ended and Israel was established, the surrounding Arab countries invaded in support of their Palestinian brethren.  The ensuing bloodshed and displacement stemmed directly from the Arabs’ decision.

It is easy for Palestinians to blame their statelessness on the Zionists.  This response avoids confronting difficult questions about their own leadership’s all-or-nothing culpability in their national tragedy.  Had the Palestinian position been more pragmatic and moderate, they too could be celebrating their 75th Independence Day this May.

The writer, formerly an adviser to the prime minister and Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, is chair of the Abba Eban Institute for Diplomacy at Reichman University.   



Guardian Article on “Israeli Massacre” Inspired By Fictitious Events – Adam Levick

• On December 1, the Guardian ran an article by Bethan Mckerman about a Netflix film by a Jordanian film-maker “depicting Zionist forces murdering a Palestinian family” in 1948.  The film, readers are told, “is inspired by real events” which means that the director is not claiming that the events in the film actually occurred.

• There wouldn’t have been a single Palestinian refugee if Arab armies – supported by Palestinian leaders – hadn’t invaded the nascent Jewish state with the objective of annihilating the country, a mere three years after the Nazis murdered one out of every three Jews on Earth.

• The Palestinian refugee problem was created by the Arabs themselves, in their malevolent decision to launch an invasion to rid the region of Jews.

• The “Jewish baby killers” accusation in the film is emblematic of the Palestinian insistence in their own immutable victimhood and lack of agency, and their belief in the irredeemable sin of the modern Jewish state.

• Those who are convinced that their foe isn’t just wrong but evil, lack the moral incentive to ever make the kind of difficult compromises necessary for peace.



Harvard University Ranks First In Anti-Semitism

Harvard prides itself on ranking first in all things.  And now they do–on three measures of campus anti-Semitism.

The AMCHA Initiative, which tracks campus anti-Semitism, recently issued a report covering the 2021-2022 school year.  It quantifies threats to Jewish identity, explained as the redefinition, denigration and suppression of Jewish identity.  AMCHA”s study shows a coordinated attempt to redefine for Jews what it means to be Jewish and what acceptable Jewish expression entails.

There were 254 incidents that fit at least one category–redefinition, suppression or denigration– “at 63 (58%) of the 109 US schools” most popular with Jewish students.  Redefinition and denigration were most likely to take place on campuses with five or more faculty members supportive of academically boycotting Israel.  Suppression, however, was more likely on campuses with “one or more anti-Zionist student groups.”  Harvard with 25 incidents, topped every category.

Harvard Public Affairs & Communications and President Lawrence Bacow did not respond to requests for comment.  However, it is clear the campus climate has changed.  Among numerous examples, in Feb. 2022, HiIlel Executive Director Rabbi Jonah Steinberg noted “the anti-Israel stickers appearing on Sabra hummus in the dining halls, the tearing down of Harvard Hillel posters all over campus, and the black-colored posters everywhere against the Harvard College Israel Trek.” 

“This is not 1990s Harvard, when the student body was said to be nearly a quarter Jewish,” and those students were warmly welcomed.  A mere 5.3% of Harvard’s class of 2023 identifies as Jewish, along with 5.2% of the class of 2024 and 7.4% of the class of 2025.  So, not only is the campus climate more hostile, but there are fewer Jewish students to protest it.

Harvard sophomore Alex Bernat recalled Passover 2022, when a “swastika was found in Currier House [undergrad dorm], which went unreported by Crimson, the school newspaper, and the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee put up a wall with Holocaust imagery and anti-Semitic statements.  Furthermore, the school paper endorsed BDS,

One Jewish Zionist Harvard grad who works at the university, Ira Stoll, said, “having been around the university on and off for thirty years, the level of anti-Semitism on campus over the past year is shocking, embarrassing, disgraceful–like nothing I’ve seen before.”

Stoll, who is the managing editor of Education Next, which is based at the Harvard Kennedy School, said,  “All of us who care about the University really need to work urgently to improve the situation or else face a real risk of Harvard losing Jewish talent and excellence to other, less hostile institutions.

The AMCHA initiative called on administrators to ensure that Jewish students are afforded equal and adequate protection from harassing behavior conducted as part of assaults on Jewish identity, even when such acts are motivated by anti-Zionism.  The organization noted that the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism may help to ensure Jewish students are protected from these assaults.

The organization additionally recommended that schools adopt a “behavior-based-approach” in which all students have a right to be equally protected from behavior that threatens their safety, impedes their self expression or otherwise denies them the ability to fully participate in campus life.

Harvard University has not responded to the AMCHA initiative’s report as of Tuesday (6th), with JNS and the Algemeiner noting that Harvard Public Affairs & Communications and President Lawrence Bacow did not respond to requests for comment.