News Digest — 9/13/22

Gantz: Iran Building ‘Terror Industries’ Across The Middle East

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday (12th) delivered remarks at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York City.  His speech presented a critical crossroads for the international community, which may lead to two distinct futures for the Middle East region by 2032.  The first, a scenario in which Iran achieves its hegemonic ambitions and spreads terror and radicalism, which would only be further strengthened should Iran attain a nuclear umbrella.  The alternative, should the international community take significant action – would be a Middle East that builds on the achievements of the Abraham Accords.

Defense Minister Gantz revealed a map showing more than 10 different facilities in Syria’s Centre D’Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS) in Masyaf that are used by Iran to produce advanced missiles and weapons for its proxies.

Gantz stated in his remarks: “Under the vision of Qassem Soleimani, Iran transferred CERS into production facilities for mid and long-range, precise missiles and weapons, provided to Hezbollah and Iranian proxies.  In other words, it became yet another Iranian front – factories for advanced, strategic weapons.  These sites, particularly the underground facilities at Masyaf in Syria, host significant threats to the region and to the State of Israel.  Masyaf specifically, is used to produce advanced missiles.”

“In addition to CERS, the Iranians are currently working to build missile and weapon industries in Lebanon and Yemen.  If this trend is not stopped, within a decade,  there will be advanced Iranian industries across the entire region, producing weapons and spreading terror,” he said.

Despite economic hardships facing its own citizens, Iran sends more than $1 billion to its proxy groups, including over $500 million to Hezbollah in Lebanon, hundreds of millions of dollars to the Houthis in Yemen, more than $100 million to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza and tens of millions of dollars to pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.

Iran, which possesses more than 1,000 short-and medium-range ballistic missiles, continues to smuggle weapons to countries and non-state actors such as Hezbollah, which is assessed to have an arsenal of some 50,000 missiles and rockets on Israel’s northern border.

Israel’s war-between-wars campaign has targeted the smuggling routes, as well as individuals believed to play key roles in Hezbollah’s precision-mission projects.

“To address Iranian aggression, we must expand cooperation with regional partners, as well as strengthen industrial and economic ties followed by military cooperation under the umbrella of CENTCOM,” Gantz said.  

Minister Gantz also commented on Iran’s nuclear program: “Our intelligence confirms international reports about Iran’s steady progress – including both its production capabilities and rate of enrichment.  Iran is producing more and more advanced centrifuges – including at underground facilities where activities are prohibited.  According to our assessments, should Iran decide to do so, it can reach 3SQ (enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon) at 90% within a matter of weeks.”



Wary Of Russia: Germany In Talks To Buy Arrow 3 Missile Defense System

Germany is in talks to buy the Arrow 3 missile defense system from Israel as part of Berlin’s efforts to strengthen its armed forces after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on a visit to the German capital on Monday (12th).

Germany has ramped up its military spending after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February, while shipping aid and heavy weapons to Kyiv as part of an international response.

“Israel … will play a big part in building Germany’s new defense force, mainly in the field of air defense,” Lapid told reporters, speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“… it has to do with our total commitment to the safety of Germany, to the safety of Europe, to the ability of liberal democracies to defend themselves,” he added.

Lapid described their talks as leading to a future possible deal” but declined to outline the cost.  Scholz said Germany would strengthen its defenses by buying more air defense systems in the future and called the Arrow 3 system a “high-performance offer” but also declined to go into specifics.

Arrow 3 interceptors are designed to fly beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, where their warheads switch to become “kamikaze” satellites, or “kill vehicles” that track and slam into targets.  Such high-altitude shoot-downs are meant to safely destroy incoming nuclear, biological or chemical missiles.

One German government source told Reuters: “Yes, there is a plan to buy Arrow 3, but nothing is signed.”

The two leaders also discussed the on-and-off efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, with Scholz urging Tehran to not turn down proposals made by Europe.

Before leaving Germany, Lapid also planned on Monday (12th) to visit the site of the 1942 Wannsee Conference that laid out the “final solution” –  the plan by Nazi Germany to exterminate all the Jews.



Hamas News Report: In August There Were 73 Shooting Attacks In Judea And Samaria

The Al Risala news site, which is affiliated with the Hamas terror group, has continued documenting the escalation of terror activities in Judea and Samaria.

The increase in terror activities raises concerns in Israel that there may be a loss of control leading to a widespread intifada, Al Risala stated.

According to the report, during the past 24 hours, “36 fighting activities” were carried out in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, including three shootings at Jewish-owned vehicles, which injured three Israelis.

Other shootings included attacks on Homesh, an IDF post on Mount Gerizim, and IDF forces operating in Jenin and near the town of Ramana.

The report details the injuries to Israelis: “One Jew was pulled out of his vehicle near Salfit and beaten by Palestinian Authority Arabs; a female soldier was injured by a rock near Beit Horon, and a Jew was injured in a rock attack near Havat Maon.”

In the past day, there have been firebombings around Judea and Samaria, including five near the town of Husan south of Bethlehem; also young Palestinian Authority Arabs fought with Israelis in eight different incidents, and with IDF soldiers in several locations, according to Al Risala.

“Maati,” an Arab information center, documented 832 acts of terror in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem during the month of August, and noted that these acts had injured 28 Israelis.  Also during August, there were 73 shooting attacks towards IDF forces and Jewish civilians according to the center.



Israel Is A ‘Tolerant, Peace-Loving Western Democracy’ – Sylvan Adams

Noted business leader and philanthropist Sylvan Adams said he is trying to promote the message that Israel is a “tolerant, benevolent, Western democracy.”

Speaking at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York City on Monday (12th), the Canadian-born Adams, who immigrated to Israel in 2018, pointed out that his efforts to promote Israel through sports and culture have resulted in vastly positive exposure of the country to hundreds of millions of people around the world who are not otherwise aware of Israel.

“I am not trying to convince the haters and the antisemites,” said Adams.  “I am speaking to the apolitical silent majority in their living rooms and on their mobile phones.”

Adams added that his promotion of sports and cultural events in Israel showed the positive side of Israel.  The events included Israel’s hosting of the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia Grand Tour bicycle race in July, and of the French soccer league, the Trophee des Champions which was watched by 400 million fans of French soccer. 

Adams noted the beauty of sports is that it is “a language that everyone speaks” and mentioned the positive encounters of his Israel Start-Up Nation professional cycling team in the United Arab Emirates.

He added that his efforts to present Israel in a positive light extend beyond sports and culture to arranging for life-saving surgery on children from around the world, as well as bringing children to Israel for no-cost medical treatment through the “Save a Child’s Heart” NGO.

“Save a Child’s Heart shows off the big heart of Israel and the Jewish People,” said Adams.

He also cited a daring rescue mission he led that extracted more than 400 Afghans, including the last Jewish family in Afghanistan, from the clutches of the Taliban, arranging visas for them in France, Switzerland, Italy and Canada.

Adams invited conference attendees to join him in his projects to increase the visibility of Israel.

“I’m always looking for partners,” concluded Adams.  “If anyone wants to join me in these positive, fun and impactful projects, I would love to meet you.”



Kuwaiti Government Forces Shop To Close For Selling Star Of David Necklaces

Kuwait’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has ordered a shop in the city of Salmiya to close for selling Star of David necklaces that are illegal, by law, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

The ministry said in a Twitter post on August 27 that an arrest had been made due to the “sale of slogans in violation of the public order of the state.”  Included in the tweet was a photo of two necklaces featuring the Jewish symbol. The ministry also said that legal action was being taken against the seller.

A spokesman for the Embassy of Israel in London slammed the ministry’s actions, telling The Jewish Chronicle: “We are not familiar with the details of the case, but if it is true that a store was closed because of the sale of a Star of David and other Judaica items, this is a clear anti-Semitic act.  It is unacceptable that a state would so blatantly and aggressively attack freedom of religion.”

Kuwait does not formally recognize Israel and when the Abraham Accords were signed the Gulf country declared that it would “be the last” to normalize relations with the Jewish state.  In May, 2021, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a bill prohibiting contact with and visits to Israel, and any efforts to normalize ties with the country.  Violators risk facing jail time and fines.

Kuwaiti athletes have withdrawn from competitions to avoid going head-to-head with rivals from Israel, and Kuwait Airways was at the center of a lawsuit in 2018 when it refused to board an Israeli passenger due to his nationality.