Tag: cyberwar


What's Next for Israel's Satellite Program After Amos-6?: Noam Amir, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 2, 2016 — The future of Israel's satellite industry has recently been called into question.

Cyberspace, the Final Frontier: Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, BESA, Aug. 30, 2016 — Sometimes dramatic advances are made in important fields far from the public eye, overshadowed by senseless media uproars over insignificant things.

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here: Rowan Jacobsen, Scientific American, July 29, 2016 — Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand.

Zionism Jilted as Israelis Flock to Far Lands in Tech Push: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Sept. 13, 2016 — As Israeli engineers, academics and high tech workers leave their homes to conquer foreign markets, one cannot but help wonder what the founder of the Zionist movement Theodor Herzl would have to say on the matter.


On Topic Links


Israel’s Greatest Victory?: Seth Siegel, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 8, 2016

SpaceCom to Recoup $173m, Plus Interest, for Destroyed Satellite: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Sept. 4, 2016

Israel Launches New Ofek-11 Spy Satellite (Video): Breaking Israel News, Sept. 14, 2016

Israeli Invention Helps Paralysed Woman Finish Race: Josh Jackman, the JC, Sept. 12, 2016




Noam Amir

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 2, 2016


The future of Israel's satellite industry has recently been called into question. On Thursday, Israel's space industry was shocked after a rocket carrying the Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd's Amos-6 satellite, considered to be the most-advanced Israeli communications satellite in history, exploded on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The blast decimated the $200 million Israeli-built device, which was made by Israel Aerospace industries (IAI) and the Israel Space Agency.


The Israel Space Agency said an explosion occurred during the fueling of the missile launcher, leading to the satellite’s total loss, which will have a “substantial affect on the agency.” Worries about the future of Israel's satellite program were nothing new, however. There had already been fears that Israel would scrap its satellite program after the government said it would thin out funding to the program. In addition, the State had already said it would not continue funding development of an "Amos 7" satellite. This alone would have caused Israel to lose its competitive edge in the field of satellite technology.


Even though Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis said his office will continue to support Israel's communication satellite program, he did not specify how much funding would continue. Many worry it will not be enough. Currently, the program gets $300 million worth of government funding. Even in April, senior IAI officials had fears that they would have to let go of some of its most qualified employees, responsible for the satellite's development, manufacturing, assembly and hoped-for launch into outer space.


Although the IAI invests large sums of its own money into satellite development,  the government had plans to thin out its contribution, which would have lead to the firing of between 200 to 250 people, most of them experts in their field. Of further concern is that there is no long-term government plan for the satellite industry, despite Israel's 30-year dominance in the field. Thursday's explosion will delay any new satellite launches by at least two-and-a-half years, causing a major setback to Israel's space program. In addition, the IAI would have to shut down its pressure detection department, which employs some of the best satellite engineers in the world.


In contrast, Israeli satellites used for security purposes do not have funding problems. For communications satellites, however, there is no real policy in place. Currently, Spacecom purchases its parts outside of Israel because they are cheaper and are produced in larger amounts. While the United States produces between five to eight satellites a year, Israel produces one every three to four years. Israel cannot expect to maintain its competitive edge at this pace. If it wants any chance in the industry, the government must also reach into its pocket and give the program more funding.



Contents                                                                                                                                                                                                  CYBERSPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror

BESA, Aug. 30, 2016


Sometimes dramatic advances are made in important fields far from the public eye, overshadowed by senseless media uproars over insignificant things. One of these leaps was made a month ago when Israel's cybersecurity legislation entered a new phase. After prolonged discussions, the Knesset voted in favor of a temporary provision laying the groundwork for Israel's civilian cyber defenses. In 2012, following the recommendations of a committee headed by Maj. Gen. (res.) Isaac Ben-Israel, the National Cyber Bureau (NCB) was established at the Prime Minister's Office. The NCB has come a long way since then, and its framework of principles allows Israel to better protect its civilian cyber infrastructures.


This was a case in which the quality of the human capital involved in the government's efforts would have significant impact on the fate of the initiative. A high bar was set for those involved with the NCB. They would have to be top-notch individuals, ready and willing to dedicate their time, energy and skills to a project whose objectives are sometimes ambiguous. Israel has had several breakthroughs in civilian cyber defense knowhow and organization. People now come here from all over the world to study the field so they can construct similar infrastructures and systems in their own countries.


The captains of the NCB held firm that the pursuit of cyber excellence should be multi-pronged. This meant bolstering the academic aspect of the field, encouraging private sector investment, and building the mechanisms necessary to protect current cyber infrastructure while constantly developing it further. The object was for Israel to capitalize on its achievements in the field by bolstering cybersecurity ties worldwide and boosting both its economy and its defensive capabilities.


The southern city of Beersheba, the "capital of the south" and home to Ben-Gurion University, was selected as the focus of government efforts in cyber defense. The decision to turn Beersheba into a hub of cyber excellence coincided with the decision to relocate the military's Communications Branch and Intelligence units to the Negev.


The nationally important greater Beersheba area can no longer be considered the "periphery," and global giants have recognized this. Encouraged by significant tax breaks, they are setting up research and development centers there, either moving them from other locations in Israel or establishing new ones. If this continues, Beersheba will soon be a household name within the international cyber community – an Israeli Silicon Valley, if you will.


Israel's young cyber industry is a remarkable success story. A few years ago, 200 Israeli startup companies were known in the field, and over 100 additional companies were anonymous. Today there are too many budding cyber startups to count. The more top-notch researchers our academies produce, the more their success will encourage others to follow their dreams, resulting in more capital being earmarked for cyber initiatives. The scope of ideas in this field is endless, and the world is thirsty for them. In this respect, the biggest challenge Israel faces is building a truly robust cyber industry, rather than serving solely as an incubator for ideas that are to be sold off early in their development. The rush to run towards an “exit” is somewhat ingrained in Israeli culture – a culture that is also responsible for the wealth of ideas.


One of the most important aspects of Israel's cyber endeavor is the outlining of measures to protect the country's critical civilian infrastructure. These efforts have been quietly pursued by the Shin Bet security agency for years, but rapid changes in this sphere now require more comprehensive efforts. In a democracy, it is best to divide responsibility for the protection of critical infrastructure between intelligence services and other organizations, devoid of intelligence interests, that are tasked with the technical aspects of the issue. It was therefore decided that another state body, one removed from the Israeli intelligence community and with a technological outlook on the issue, would assume the mantle…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]  




Rowan Jacobsen

Scientific American, July 29, 2016


Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand. The pipe is so large I could walk through it standing upright, were it not full of Mediterranean seawater pumped from an intake a mile offshore. “Now, that’s a pump!” Edo Bar-Zeev shouts to me over the din of the motors, grinning with undisguised awe at the scene before us. The reservoirs beneath us contain several feet of sand through which the seawater filters before making its way to a vast metal hangar, where it is transformed into enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people.


We are standing above the new Sorek desalination plant, the largest reverse-osmosis desal facility in the world, and we are staring at Israel’s salvation. Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. That remarkable turnaround was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s meager water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants.


Bar-Zeev, who recently joined Israel’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research after completing his postdoc work at Yale University, is an expert on biofouling, which has always been an Achilles’ heel of desalination and one of the reasons it has been considered a last resort. Desal works by pushing saltwater into membranes containing microscopic pores. The water gets through, while the larger salt molecules are left behind. But microorganisms in seawater quickly colonize the membranes and block the pores, and controlling them requires periodic costly and chemical-intensive cleaning. But Bar-Zeev and colleagues developed a chemical-free system using porous lava stone to capture the microorganisms before they reach the membranes. It’s just one of many breakthroughs in membrane technology that have made desalination much more efficient. Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination, and that has helped to turn one of the world’s driest countries into the unlikeliest of water giants.


Driven by necessity, Israel is learning to squeeze more out of a drop of water than any country on Earth, and much of that learning is happening at the Zuckerberg Institute, where researchers have pioneered new techniques in drip irrigation, water treatment and desalination. They have developed resilient well systems for African villages and biological digesters than can halve the water usage of most homes. The institute’s original mission was to improve life in Israel’s bone-dry Negev Desert, but the lessons look increasingly applicable to the entire Fertile Crescent. “The Middle East is drying up,” says Osnat Gillor, a professor at the Zuckerberg Institute who studies the use of recycled wastewater on crops. “The only country that isn’t suffering acute water stress is Israel.”


That water stress has been a major factor in the turmoil tearing apart the Middle East, but Bar-Zeev believes that Israel’s solutions can help its parched neighbors, too — and in the process, bring together old enemies in common cause. Bar-Zeev acknowledges that water will likely be a source of conflict in the Middle East in the future. “But I believe water can be a bridge, through joint ventures,” he says. “And one of those ventures is desalination.”


In 2008, Israel teetered on the edge of catastrophe. A decade-long drought had scorched the Fertile Crescent, and Israel’s largest source of freshwater, the Sea of Galilee, had dropped to within inches of the “black line” at which irreversible salt infiltration would flood the lake and ruin it forever. Water restrictions were imposed, and many farmers lost a year’s crops. Their counterparts in Syria fared much worse. As the drought intensified and the water table plunged, Syria’s farmers chased it, drilling wells 100, 200, then 500 meters (300, 700, then 1,600 feet) down in a literal race to the bottom. Eventually, the wells ran dry and Syria’s farmland collapsed in an epic dust storm. More than a million farmers joined massive shantytowns on the outskirts of Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and other cities in a futile attempt to find work and purpose.


And that, according to the authors of “Climate Change in the Fertile Crescent and Implications of the Recent Syrian Drought,” a 2015 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was the tinder that burned Syria to the ground. “The rapidly growing urban peripheries of Syria,” they wrote, “marked by illegal settlements, overcrowding, poor infrastructure, unemployment, and crime, were neglected by the Assad government and became the heart of the developing unrest.” Similar stories are playing out across the Middle East, where drought and agricultural collapse have produced a lost generation with no prospects and simmering resentments. Iran, Iraq and Jordan all face water catastrophes. Water is driving the entire region to desperate acts.


Except Israel. Amazingly, Israel has more water than it needs. The turnaround started in 2007, when low-flow toilets and showerheads were installed nationwide and the national water authority built innovative water treatment systems that recapture 86 percent of the water that goes down the drain and use it for irrigation — vastly more than the second-most-efficient country in the world, Spain, which recycles 19 percent. But even with those measures, Israel still needed about 1.9 billion cubic meters (2.5 billion cubic yards) of freshwater per year and was getting just 1.4 billion cubic meters (1.8 billion cubic yards) from natural sources. That 500-million-cubic-meter (650-million-cubic-yard) shortfall was why the Sea of Galilee was draining like an unplugged tub and why the country was about to lose its farms.


Enter desalination. The Ashkelon plant, in 2005, provided 127 million cubic meters (166 million cubic yards) of water. Hadera, in 2009, put out another 140 million cubic meters (183 million cubic yards). And now Sorek, 150 million cubic meters (196 million cubic yards). All told, desal plants can provide some 600 million cubic meters (785 million cubic yards) of water a year, and more are on the way. The Sea of Galilee is fuller. Israel’s farms are thriving. And the country faces a previously unfathomable question: What to do with its extra water?…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]






Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, Sept. 13, 2016


As Israeli engineers, academics and high tech workers leave their homes to conquer foreign markets, one cannot but help wonder what the founder of the Zionist movement Theodor Herzl would have to say on the matter. Ironically in the Israeli town of Herzliya, named after Herzl, some 140 of Israel’s brightest attended a gathering on Tuesday evening to find out how to navigate their transition to Silicon Valley in the smoothest possible way. Most of them will soon join as many as 50,000 other Israelis that are said populate the strip between San Francisco and San Jose working in high tech jobs there.


The gathering was of people, mainly in their 30s, who were both hopeful and fearful of their future ahead. It also highlighted how far Israel, the Start-Up Nation has moved from the days in which those who left the country were looked down upon as betrayers of the Zionist dream. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once dubbed those leaving Israel, “Nefolet shel nemoshot“, loosely translated as the “falling of the weak” and the term has seared the minds of Israelis. Today however, academics and high-tech workers who leave for foreign shores are seen as pioneers of Israeli technology who set sail to flaunt Israel’s talent, create ties and push their careers forward. They are viewed as the lucky ones.


And if and when they come back, they are viewed as bringing their knowledge and acquired experiences to the benefit of the nation. They leave with their heads held high. “This is definitely not a falling of the weak,” said Oded Solomon, 35 (no relation to this reporter) who attended the meeting. “This is the falling of the stronger ones. People who can leave are perceived as those who have an advantage over others. This is the falling of the successful ones.” Solomon and his wife Lihi, 35, will be leaving for Silicon Valley, possibly Sunnyvale, in December because of his job with Nokia. They don’t have a home yet, but hope to find one close to where other Israelis are located. They have a four-year old child and a baby on the way. They are leaving indefinitely. It is a “one-way ticket”, said Solomon. “Our parents are sad but they support us. My father talks about Zionism and how important it is to come back. He worries we won’t.”


According to figures provided by Ogen, a relocation company that organized the gathering, there are about 50,000 Israelis who live in the Silicon Valley area, based on figures provided by the Israeli consulates. “They generally come for two or three years but then stay for five years or more,” said 39-year old Aya Shmueli Levkovitz, the organizer of the conference and the founder of Ogen. “Most of them come back to Israel, even if it is after 12 years, and generally before their children go to middle school or high school because that is when they change schools anyway.”


Levkovitz also moved to Sunnyvale, California 10 years ago following the high-tech job of her husband. Spotting a need, she set up her company together with another Israeli partner in 2012. Since then, Ogen has helped steer a “few hundreds of families” through the quagmire of getting visas,finding a home and the best supermarket for those who have relocated, said Levkovitz. “There is a significant change in attitude of Israel’s government,” said Dr. Nurit Eyal, director of a government program set up three years ago to lure academics and high tech professionals back to Israel. “If once people who left the country were viewed as rotten fruit that should be shunned, today the attitude is that relocation is part of the Israeli academic and hi-tech ecosystem and when they want to come home we are here to help them,” Eyal said.


Eyal believes Ogen’s figure about Israelis living in Silicon Valley is too high. According to the program’s data based on the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are about 27,856 Israeli academics living abroad – for a period of three or more years, compared with 24,503 in 2012 – 75 percent of them in the US. The statistics bureau figures also show that over the last three years there has been an average net outflow (more people leaving than coming back) of academics (in all sectors of academia) of around 1,000 people a year. “From our experience most come back” at one point or another, Eyal said. But not enough long-term data is available on the matter, she said.


Even so, the phenomenon of leaving Israelis cannot be avoided, said Eyal. “Israel has opened up and has become global, the know-how is global and we are part of this trend. Today we don’t talk about brain drain but about brain cycling. Many people relocate, perhaps even more than once,” she said. “People have an alternative to live and work elsewhere in the era of globalization. Companies are competing for workers worldwide and the Israeli government recognizes this. That is why we try to make it as easy as possible to return,” Eyal added.


The Israel National Brain Gain program that Eyal heads can match returning Israelis to a network of 350 companies in Israel and it also assists them with bureaucratic and other issues that may deter their return. Initial findings of a recent survey conducted by the program among 800 people who are living abroad or returned via the program found that most of the program’s academics living abroad left Israel for career reasons. And those who return, do so because they view Israel as their country and because their family is here, Eyal said.


Dar, 32, and Adi, 31, are married and prefer not to disclose their family name as they are still not sure if they will be relocating. Both are bio-medical engineers and are still checking out the work options available abroad. Both have jobs in Israel and said their motivation is to advance their careers and climb the economic ladder. “Economically the value you get for the work you do is higher abroad than in Israel,” said Dar. His brother also left, and came back to Israel after 10 years abroad. “My mother raises the issue of Zionism and she says there is no place like Israel. But we are a different generation. We have done our bit for the country by going to the Army and now we want to get ahead economically. In Israel it is almost impossible to get ahead, to exist.”


The high cost of living and the deterioration of public services and education in Israel drove citizens to the streets in protests in the summer of 2011, spurring the government to take steps to lower prices for its citizens. “The exit of highly skilled Israelis to work and live abroad – with some of them staying abroad is unavoidable if Israel wants to be part of the global world and global economy. It would be disastrous if Israel tried to be a closed economy,” said Omer Moav, professor of economics at the University of Warwick and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. “However the government must take this brain drain problem into account in terms of policy. We need to allow Israelis to have a reasonable life here, especially for those who have higher education and who have the ability to push our economy forward. The returns-to-skills shouldn’t be taxed so heavily.”

“The Zionist dream is to have people here and a successful state,” Moav said. “A dictatorship that just locks people in is not an attractive option nor a reasonable scenario. But another way is to create a country that is great to live in. Unfortunately that is not the case in terms of housing, cost of living, bureaucracy, or security for that matter. When the Zionist dream, with its strong socialist roots, meets the global economy, a change in policy is required to maintain the skilled Israelis in Israel.”                                                              




On Topic Links


Israel’s Greatest Victory?: Seth Siegel, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 8, 2016 —There isn’t a high school student in Israel who doesn’t know about the War of Independence, the Six Day War and the audacious raid at Entebbe among other Israeli triumphs on land, sea and air. Far less known to most – yet with potentially greater impact and reach – is Israel’s triumph over nature and its current water abundance in a time of growing global scarcity.

SpaceCom to Recoup $173m, Plus Interest, for Destroyed Satellite: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Sept. 4, 2016—Israel’s Aerospace Industries will compensate a communications firm whose satellite was destroyed in a fiery rocket explosion last week, IAI said Sunday.

Israel Launches New Ofek-11 Spy Satellite (Video): Breaking Israel News, Sept. 14, 2016—Israel launched its Ofek-11 observation satellite from the Palmachim army base on Tuesday in a breathtaking display of aerodynamic splendor. Watch it make its way into space!

Israeli Invention Helps Paralysed Woman Finish Race: Josh Jackman, the JC, Sept. 12, 2016—A woman who is paralysed from the chest down has completed the Great North Run wearing an Israeli exoskeleton. Claire Lomas, who has also finished the London Marathon, took five days to walk the half marathon in the ReWalk suit, created by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer after he was paralysed in a car crash.























AS WE GO TO PRESS: TERROR AT SARONA MARKET; 4 MURDERED, 16 WOUNDED (Tel Aviv) — Four people have been killed and 16 people have been wounded in a terror attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. One of the terrorists was neutralized at the scene and taken to hospital in critical condition while the second terrorists was taken into custody. Multiple shots were heard at the open-air shopping center in the heart of Tel Aviv, adjacent to IDF and Ministry of Defense headquarters, The terrorists, two cousins from Yatta in the Hebron area, sat at the popular restaurant Max Brenner before they set out on their shooting spree. Multiple shots were heard at the open-air shopping center in the heart of Tel Aviv, adjacent to IDF and Ministry of Defense headquarters. Of the 16 wounded, four died, and three are still in the hospital. (Ynet, June 8, 2016)


‘Come to Canada’: Ontario Looks to Woo, Learn From Israelis: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, June 7, 2016— When people think of cutting-edge cities, where innovation and new businesses thrive, they generally think of San Francisco, of Boston, Tel Aviv or London. Not many think of Toronto.

Secrets To Israel's Innovative Edge: David Yin, Bloomberg, June 5, 2016 — Eighteen and fresh out of high school, Yossi Matias reported for his first day of military service at the Hatzerim Airbase in the Negev Desert, approximately 100 km south of Jerusalem.

How Israel is Turning Part of the Negev Desert into a Cyber-City: Ellen Nakashima and William Booth, Washington Post, May 14, 2016— Here in the middle of the Negev Desert, a cyber-city is rising to cement Israel’s place as a major digital power.

More Positive Signs for the Israel-China Relationship: Judith Bergman, Algemeiner, May 26, 2016— Welcome to the beauty of Chinese-Israeli cultural relations.


On Topic Links


The Real State of the Israeli Economy (Video): Breaking Israel News, Apr. 28, 2016

A Deeper Look at Israel, a Global Medtech Innovation Hub: Arundhati Parmar, Medical Device Business, May 3, 2016

Israel-Greece Relations: Ambassador Arye Mekel, BESA, May 18, 2016

As Old Friendships Cool, Netanyahu Looks East for Support: Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg, Apr. 26, 2016




          ‘COME TO CANADA’: ONTARIO LOOKS TO WOO, LEARN FROM ISRAELIS                                                                   

                                                             Judah Ari Gross                                                  


Times of Israel, June 7, 2016


When people think of cutting-edge cities, where innovation and new businesses thrive, they generally think of San Francisco, of Boston, Tel Aviv or London. Not many think of Toronto. In the world of high-tech, Canada has an image problem, and it’s turning to Israel — the self-described start-up nation — for help.


Toronto and the nearby cities of Hamilton, Waterloo and Kingston feature world-leading research institutions, the Ontario province and the country have a “business friendly” tax code, and Canada has the 15th-largest economy in the world by gross domestic product, according to Gregory Wootton, assistant deputy minister of Ontario’s ministries of Economic Development and of Research and Innovation. “A lot of effort by the province has been put into creating a welcoming business environment where businesses can succeed and be successful,” Wootton, the self-described “salesperson” for the province, said.


Yet despite those advantages, the Great White North has struggled to transform from a resource-based economy — one that is driven by the discovery and sale of timber, oil and minerals — to a knowledge-based economy, focused on intellectual services, scientific advancement and technology. So Canada is asking Israel, a resource-poor but knowledge-rich country, to show it how it’s done. “Israel knows how to be its best,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said. “It punches well above its weight.”


According to Compass, a consulting firm, Tel Aviv is ranked fifth in the top start-up cities, while Toronto comes in at just 17th. To move up that list, Wynne’s government is going on a full-scale push to attract Israelis. “We have a lot to learn from Israel,” she said, “and we have a lot to offer.” In May, the Ontario government brought a handful of Israeli journalists, including this one, to Toronto in order to meet with officials from the provincial government, local businesses and area universities. Later in the month, Wynne, along with a group of over 100 industry, academic and political leaders, also traveled through Israel on a two-week visit during which they signed contracts with Israeli companies and announced a variety of new initiatives and partnerships. “We didn’t have to beat the bushes to get people to sign on for the trip,” Wynne said.


Though Israeli political leaders constantly warn of the looming threat of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state, the issue the delegation appeared to address was not encouraging Canadian companies to take an interest in Israel, but encouraging Israeli companies to take an interest in Canada. Canadians, it seems, are interested in working with Israel; it’s Israelis who are less interested in Canada, according to Henri Rothschild, the head of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, which works to bring together Canadian and Israeli companies by offering grants of $400,000 on average.


“We realized our problem in bringing Canadians and Israelis together was not going to be in Canada. Initially we thought Canadians don’t know much about Israel, there might be biases or it might not be a natural place,” Rothschild said. “In 20 years, I have to say, I have only once had a Canadian prospective partner tell me they wouldn’t want to work with Israel,” he said. “However, in Israel, I found many more who said they wouldn’t want to work with Canada,” Rothschild said, explaining that Israelis see Canada as the “B-team” compared to the United States.


Despite that apparent Israeli bias against Canadians, during Premier Wynne’s visit some $140 million in business deals were signed, according to the delegation, alongside renewed and expanded collaboration agreements between Canadian and Israeli universities. Wynne also met with a number of Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though those meetings were almost entirely overshadowed by the political upheaval that was rocking Israel at the same time. “Israel is one of the top innovation economies in the world, and a priority market for Ontario. Israel and Ontario are both leaders in the fields of research, innovation, and life sciences, making us natural partners,” Wynne said after meeting with Netanyahu. Most of those contracts, however, were worked out long ago. Those initiatives were similarly agreed upon long before the delegation’s plane touched down. Some networking and impromptu contacts may be made, but the visit may have been more of a public show than a business-only trip.


When it comes to starting businesses — generating so-called seed capital — Canada has been successful, according to Bill Mantel, an assistant deputy minister in the Ontario government’s Ministry of Research and Innovation. “There’s always a few places in the top tier, then there’s a big gap and then there’s the second tier. We’re at the top of that second tier,” Mantel said. But when it comes to turning those little start-ups into full-blown corporations, Canada has had less success, he said. “Canada has tremendous expertise in generating the knowledge, but we’re not as good as Israel at commercializing and bringing things to market,” Dr. Barry Rubin, a leading vascular surgeon and Canadian medical leader, told Israeli journalists, specifically referencing the country’s biomedical innovations.


This sentiment was repeated by many industry and government representatives. “Israel is a country that has thrived by focusing on innovation, and that’s something that Ontario aspires to be like,” William Charnetski, Ontario’s chief health innovation strategist, said. “Countries that innovate thrive; those that don’t do not,” he added…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]







David Yin                                         

                                 Forbes, June 5, 2016


Eighteen and fresh out of high school, Yossi Matias reported for his first day of military service at the Hatzerim Airbase in the Negev Desert, approximately 100 km south of Jerusalem. As a reward for passing several rounds of standardized tests and a six-day selection test involving problem solving and disaster management exercises, Matias had been selected to train as a pilot for the Israeli Air Force, widely considered one of the most prestigious positions in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The program was intense, with only one out of six trainees completing it. But the next phase – operational missions in a volatile region in constant turmoil – was even more challenging. “I was responsible for flying airplanes in pretty demanding situations,” recalls Matias. “These challenges make later challenges in life look smaller.”


After six years as a pilot and obtaining a doctorate in computer science from Tel Aviv University, Matias began his career as a research scientist, first at Weizmann Institute and later at Bell Laboratories. His name appears in thirty patents and a hundred journal papers. Yet, rejecting a cushy life in academia, Matias went on to co-found Zapper Technologies, where he pioneered customized and contextual search technologies, and worked as CTO and Chief Scientist of HyperRoll, an enterprise software company that was later acquired by Oracle…In 2006, while thinking about his next venture, Matias received a call from Google … to set up an R&D center in Israel. “This was an opportunity to take up a start-up-like challenge, to build a team and decide on projects with maximum impact,” explains Matias, who has since grown the team to 500 engineers.


Under Matias’ leadership, Google’s R&D center in Israel has developed several of the company’s most prominent innovations in search. These include Google Suggest (which provides autocomplete suggestions in the search box), Google Trends (which tracks viral search terms), and Google Live Results (which delivers more direct results to popular enquiries, such as foreign exchange rates and sports scores). Starting from a project that aimed to put the Dead Sea Scrolls online, the center has also led Google’s digitization efforts, which have since expanded to thousands of historic documents globally.


Google is not alone in setting up camp in Israel. As early as 1974, Intel had already recognized the country’s strengths in innovation and built its first R&D plant outside of the United States there. Over the next forty years, it became Israel’s largest tech employer and exported a billion processors. Many of these processors were developed at Intel Israel, such as the 8088 (the first PC processor), the Pentium MMX (which became the most popular processor of the 20th century), and the Centrino (the first laptop processor with wifi).


More than 250 global companies have R&D labs in Israel today, with 80 of them being Fortune 500 companies. Two-thirds are American tech giants such as Facebook … and Apple …, but there is an increasing presence by Chinese and Korean players such as Huawei and Samsung. Some build greenfield operations, while others acquire smaller companies which they build upon – out of HP ’s eight R&D facilities in Israel, seven evolved from buyouts. “If you’re a multinational company today, one of your assets would be a R&D center in Israel,” says Yair Snir, a director of M&A and business development at Microsoft … “Especially if you’re looking for an innovation hub and adding an extra mile to do things differently.”


Over the past few decades, Israel has cemented its reputation as the “Start-up Nation”, a nickname popularized by a 2009 book of the same title by Saul Singer and Dan Senor. Between 1999 and 2014, Israelis started 10,185 companies, with half of them still in operation and 2.6% having annual revenues of over $100 million. Several became billion-dollar unicorns and were subsequently bought over by foreign tech giants, such as Viber and Waze (acquired by Rakuten and Google, respectively). Others sought listing on foreign stock exchanges, with over 250 Israeli companies going public on the tech-focused NASDAQ since the 1980s. After the U.S. and China, Israel is the most represented country on NASDAQ. Despite its size, Israel clearly has a disproportionate impact on global innovation.


In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2013 best seller David and Goliath, he describes the famous battle at the Valley of Elah. Though confronted with a much larger and better armed opponent, David (the future king of Israel) reacted with speed and agility, ultimately killing the towering Goliath with a slingshot. Gladwell continues by arguing that seeming disadvantages can prove to be hugely favorable in other situations. Like David, Israel is a living example of turning weaknesses into strengths and triumphing over the odds. At first sight, it appears limited by its small size, precarious geopolitical environment, and lack of natural resources. But what seems like weaknesses can also be translated into strengths.


Israel’s innovative sectors are in part the result of its numerous vulnerabilities. With almost no resources, it has limited potential for resource-intensive primary and secondary industries. As a result, it was necessary for Israel to invest heavily in education and maximize the intellectual capacity of its people. Its economy naturally gravitated towards knowledge and innovation-heavy industries. It was able to overcome its lack of freshwater and become a leader in desert agriculture by developing world-class technologies in drip irrigation and desalination – an example of Israel’s penchant for turning limitations into assets. Today, swaths of desserts in Israel have been converted into dates and olives orchards, with such produces forming a sizable portion of the country’s agricultural exports….                                                                               

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]



HOW ISRAEL IS TURNING PART OF THE NEGEV                                                                

DESERT INTO A CYBER-CITY                                                                              

Ellen Nakashima and William Booth                                                                                                

Washington Post, May 14, 2016


Here in the middle of the Negev Desert, a cyber-city is rising to cement Israel’s place as a major digital power. The new development, an outcropping of glass and steel, will concentrate some of the country’s top talent from the military, academia and business in an area of just a few square miles. No other country is so purposefully integrating its private, scholarly, government and military ­cyber-expertise.


Israel is a nation of 8 million people with little in the way of natural resources. But in global private investment into cyber­security firms, it is second only to the United States, with half a billion dollars flowing to the sector annually. Israel has not only vowed to repel the thousands of daily hack attacks against targets as diverse as the electric grid and ATMs, but it has also promised to build its commercial cybersector into an economic powerhouse.


More quietly, the Jewish state is also at the cutting edge of cyberoffense, developing stealthy computer weapons to penetrate its enemies’ networks. The United States and Israel, working together, launched the world’s most destructive cyberweapon known to date, Stuxnet, which was let loose on Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility to devastating effect.


But where the two countries diverge is in Israel’s apparent ability, because of its size, history, geography and culture, to organize itself to defeat cyberthreats. Different sectors of society — that in the United States do not have a tradition of collaborating — appear willing in Israel to work closely together under a strong centralized authority. “You will not find it in the United States,” said Eviatar Matania, the head of the National Cyber Bureau. “First, we have more enemies than others. We understand that the cyberthreat is here and now. Second, a lot of Israel’s high-tech and innovation culture is in cyber. This is where we can gain an advantage over other countries in defending ourselves. And thus, we see cyber not just as a threat to mitigate, but also as one of our economic engines.”


That strategy is the foundation of Beersheba. A cyber emergency response team, which was launched in 2014 to respond to cyber crises, will be housed in the midst of this booming development. It is part of the National Cyber Security Authority, which is mandated to protect all private-sector systems. Nearby, next to a new advanced technology park that already houses cyberfirm incubators and global companies such as PayPal, Lockheed Martin and Deutsche Telekom, backhoes are preparing a construction site that will become the headquarters of the Israeli military’s cyberdefenders.


Eventually, the nation’s secretive, elite cyberattack branch — the army’s Unit 8200 — will also burrow in here. The two branches are scheduled to merge next year. They in turn will work closely with the National Cyber Security Authority. Joining the effort will be the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, which as well as its role in Israel and the occupied territories, has been a key cyber player for more than a decade. And completing the complex is Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which is the nation’s top school for cybersecurity. The university will also work with the cyber-response team.


“What you get out of that is the research capabilities that academia brings, the real-world knowledge that the [tech firms] bring, the hands-on experience that the military brings, alongside the entrepreneurial ability that the start-ups bring,” said Nadav Zafrir, a former head of Israel’s Unit 8200, who is himself now a tech entrepreneur. “You put all that together, it sparks magic.” Israel will never achieve a ­cyberespionage network on the scale of the United States. But it wants to be feared in the region, and its computer hacking and spying skills are sophisticated and innovative. “The United States has more capabilities than Israel in cyberspace,” said Gabi Siboni, director of the cybersecurity program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “But we are small. We are very anxious, and it’s the difference between a speedboat and an aircraft carrier. We go very fast.”


So central is security seen for the state’s survival that every citizen — men and women alike, with exceptions for ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Arab population — is required after high school to complete a term of military ­service. The cream of the computer science and math crop are scouted by the elite military ­cyber-units when they are as young as 14. “If you ask me what’s the biggest secret of the Israeli high-tech system, it’s the military’s ability to look at people when they are in high school,” Zafrir said…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





MORE POSITIVE SIGNS FOR THE ISRAEL-CHINA RELATIONSHIP                                                    

Judith Bergman                                                  

Algemeiner, May 26, 2016


Welcome to the beauty of Chinese-Israeli cultural relations. Seen against the backdrop of solid loathing of all things Israeli that so dominates the European cultural establishment, the relations between China and Israel almost seem like something out of a dreamlike alternate reality. The good news is that there is nothing imaginary about them. The story of popular Israeli children’s writer Yanetz Levi, author of the series “Adventures of Uncle Arie,” which has sold more than 700,000 copies in Israel, is a good example of this.


Levi arrived in China this week and was received like a rock star. Fifty thousand copies of his books sold in China before he arrived, and since his arrival tens of thousands more have been sold. In one school alone, 5,000 copies were purchased. While that may not seem like much for a country the size of China, with a population of more than 1 billion, it is still very impressive for a children’s writer from small Israel. The Chinese children greeted him like a superstar, shouting “Lioooshushu” (the equivalent of “Uncle Arie” in Chinese) as he came to their schools. What is there not to love? Evidently, Chinese children are not raised on a BDS-infused diet of lies and hatred.


According to the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, “Israeli culture and its diversity are very popular in China. In addition, culture is an important instrument for deepening relations between the Israeli and Chinese peoples. Bringing Yanetz Levi is an excellent example of the unique connection between the two cultures. The embassy will continue to bring different Israeli artists to increase the Chinese public’s exposure [to Israel].”This is of course what all embassies do, including Israeli embassies in Europe, but there Israel has little long-lasting success to show for its efforts in the cultural fields. Only this week, British professor Catherine Hall refused to accept Tel Aviv University’s prestigious Dan David prize for her work in gender history, after the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement called on her and other recipients to refuse the prize due to “Tel Aviv University’s complicity in the occupation.”


Such pathetic anti-Israeli posturing seems almost inconceivable from a Chinese scholar. Last August, 19 Chinese teenagers came to visit Israel as their prize for winning a prestigious science contest in their country. Given a choice of travel destinations, the teenagers chose Israel, where they attended a special 10-day workshop hosted by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. That says something about the high standing of Israel in China, but it also speaks volumes about the respect for Israel’s accomplishments, which Chinese children evidently learn and hold from an early age. “For China, Israel is never a small country, but rather, a happy and innovative startup nation with many cutting-edge technologies and rich experience in governing social affairs,” Chinese Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping said in 2014.


As Levi’s popularity proves, Israeli and Chinese children appear to cherish the same kind of children’s books; there appears to be no brainwashing going on about Israel and the “detrimental effects” of too much exposure to “Zionist” literature, as one imagines taking place among the BDS-infatuated European cultural elites. Already today, there are places in Europe, including Sweden, where classic children’s literature is reviewed by publishing houses for the purpose of altering or deleting potentially “offensive” passages for the more sensitive political palates of the current generations. Several Swedish and Danish writers have even had books taken off the market in Sweden. The step toward limiting other works of litrature simply because of its national origins is a very small one in the current toxic climate of BDS and political correctness.


It is therefore an example of unusual normalcy that China is increasingly proving to be a thriving and growing place for cultural exchange with Israel. The positive ramifications of that relationship can hardly be overestimated, nor should they be taken for granted.     




On Topic Links


The Real State of the Israeli Economy (Video): Breaking Israel News, Apr. 28, 2016—Financial expert Ronen Avigdor discusses the true, complex state of the Israeli economy compared to the weakening world economy. Is the news good or bad?

A Deeper Look at Israel, a Global Medtech Innovation Hub: Arundhati Parmar, Medical Device Business, May 3, 2016—When it comes to medtech markets, the story is always of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the so-called BRIC nations. But when it comes to novel healthcare solutions, you can’t ignore the global innovation hub that is Israel. The medtech subsector accounts for a majority of the overall Israeli life sciences industry—53% of all Israel-based life sciences companies active in 2014 were medical device companies, according to Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI), a nonprofit trade group representing the company’s high tech and life sciences industries.

Israel-Greece Relations: Ambassador Arye Mekel, BESA, May 18, 2016—This study, by Dr. Arye Mekel (a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and former Israeli ambassador to Greece) focuses on the strengthening of Israeli-Greek relations, especially since 2010. The enhanced ties between the two countries allows for the emergence of a new pro-Western geopolitical bloc in the eastern Mediterranean.

As Old Friendships Cool, Netanyahu Looks East for Support: Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg, Apr. 26, 2016—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to Israel’s international relations is changing. Criticized by U.S. and European leaders over his policies toward the Palestinians, the Israeli leader is cultivating allies in other parts of the world that share economic interests and enemies.










CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH RESEARCH PRESENTS THE 28TH ANNUAL GALA 2016: Israel in Space: Beyond the Blue (and White) Horizon — “Technology, Economy, Security.” In commemoration of Ilan Ramon z”l. Keynote speaker: Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center, the Fischer Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies. Mr. Inbar will discuss the topic “The Israeli Space Endeavor: Accomplishments and Future Challenges.” Join CIJR for this special event that will include a special video presentation by Rona Ramon (Ilan Ramon’s widow), greetings from the Canadian Space Agency, and more. This event will take place in Montreal, Thursday, April 14, and in Toronto, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. For more information and tickets, call 1-855-303-5544, email yunna@isranet.org, or register online at our website: www.isranet.org   


Israeli Rocket Technology Will Help Explorer Ease Onto Mars: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Mar. 15, 2016— Man’s latest attempt to search for life on the Red Planet has a critical blue-and-white component – a propulsion system that will gently guide the newly-launched ExoMars spacecraft to the surface of Mars when it gets ready to touch down sometime in 2018.

About the Nature of Cyber Warfare: Isaac Ben-Israel, Israel Defense,, Jan. 21, 2016— Not a day passes without some report about a cyber warfare event taking place somewhere around the globe…

Airport Exhibit Showcases Israeli Breakthroughs: Ynet, Mar. 11, 2016— Going abroad? You have a chance to learn about Israel’s groundbreaking scientists.

Salomon Benzimra: A Terrible Loss for the Jewish People: Diane Bederman, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17, 2016— I had the honor of joining Salomon Benzimra and Goldi Steiner, co-founders of Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights, to speak to members of Knesset and ask them to proudly proclaim Israel’s legal rights under international law – rights that clearly state Israel’s borders run from the river to the sea.



On Topic Links


Moon Shot | Episode 7 | Israel: Space IL (Video): Google Lunar XPrize, Mar. 17, 2016

From Jerusalem to Mars – An Israeli Space Odyssey! (Video): United With Israel, Feb. 24, 2016

Q&A with Isaac Ben-Israel, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency: Peter B. de Selding, Space News, Oct. 5, 2015

San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone: Salomon Benzimra, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 26, 2015





David Shamah              

         Times of Israel, Mar. 15, 2016


Man’s latest attempt to search for life on the Red Planet has a critical blue-and-white component – a propulsion system that will gently guide the newly-launched ExoMars spacecraft to the surface of Mars when it gets ready to touch down sometime in 2018. The craft’s propulsion system was developed by Rafael, the same company that developed, among other things, the Iron Dome missile defense system. While known for its defense systems, Rafael is also active in the space business, specifically as the manufacturer of controllable propulsion and reaction control systems (RCS), which help “brake” the landing of satellites and missiles. This ensures that their fuel tanks do not crash into the ground as they land and ignite an explosion.


When ExoMars, launched Monday, gets to its destination, it will release a descent module called Schiaparelli which will land on Mars. During the descent phase, a heat shield will protect the payload from the severe heat flux. Parachutes, thrusters, and damping systems will reduce the speed, allowing a controlled landing on the surface of Mars. The module’s fuel tanks are equipped with Rafael-supplied mini-rockets that will spring into action when the craft gets ready to land on the surface of Mars, according to Zvi Zuckerman, a Rafael engineer who helped develop the system. In comments to Yedioth Ahronoth, Zuckerman said that the landing “will be a dramatic moment, because if anything goes wrong, the spacecraft could explode” due to the impact of landing.


According to Zuckerman, the European Space Agency, which is sponsoring the mission along with Russian space agency Roscosmos, chose Rafael’s propulsion system for the job “because our propulsion tanks are lighter, and use cleaner fuel,” which ensures a smoother landing. The inclusion of Israeli technology in the mission, Zuckerman added, was especially noteworthy as the ESA prefers to use only Europe-developed and manufactured systems for its missions. The Rafael tanks are manufactured at the Rafael facility in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Yam.


ExoMars is far from Rafael’s first foray into space. The company’s propulsion modules have been used in dozens of satellites (30 of them currently active), among them the OFEQ, EROS and TecSAR satellites. The positive-expulsion propellant tank technology present on ExoMars has been used on Proteus, Galileo-GIOVE-B, Spirale, Prisma, Myriad/Astrosat-100 and other satellites, many of which were launched by the ESA. The ESA is not the only space-exploring body to use Israeli technology. Last October, Israel signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (COPUOS). Under the agreement, Israel will develop protocols and systems to use satellite technology in a number of projects, including using satellites to take photos of areas where natural and other disasters take place, and the distribution of photos to rescue agents for use in locating and identifying survivors.


According to Minister of Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon, last year’s agreement was “a small step into the UN agency, and a big step for Israel. This agreement proves that Israel is a leader in space technology, and that it has a great deal to contribute to humanity in this area, especially in satellite development and research.”



Isaac Ben-Israel

Israel Defense, Jan. 21, 2016 


Not a day passes without some report about a cyber warfare event taking place somewhere around the globe: credit card theft, a demonstration of a car being taken over remotely, espionage and monitoring of international leaders, hacking into computers and so forth. The cyber security issue grows hotter from one day to the next and practically everyone is talking about it: from academia, through government and industry circles to social small talk. What is the right definition for this realm? What is a cyber warfare event?


As this is a relatively new medium, it comes as no surprise that the definition is flexible and changes rapidly as it evolves. After all, computers came into the world only about seventy years ago; The first computer on earth (ENIAC) was built by a Hungarian-Jewish mathematician, John von Neumann, for the US Army in 1946, based on the concepts of British mathematician Alan Turing. The major breakthrough into our life occurred only in the early 1960s, after the industry began building computers that were based on transistors instead of the older electronic vacuum tubes. From that moment on, a technological race began which is still in progress to this day – to miniaturize transistors and to place as many as possible onto a single computer chip ("Moore's Law"). A typical current computer chip contains more than one billion transistors.


The powerful computation capabilities of current computer chips, along with their small physical size, led to a situation where computer chips have been incorporated in almost every modern system, from the car we drive through our electrical home appliances to bank account management and critical infrastructure systems, like controlling electrical power generating turbines, managing water supply systems and so forth. This situation has also provided an opportunity for computer abuse: there are those who take advantage of this dependence for terrorism, crime, information theft and similar activities.


The computer revolution has been taking place concurrently with the communication revolution: everything is becoming interlinked. The combination of computation capabilities paired with fast communication, which originated with the conversion of telephone switchboards into computer servers and continued with the Internet and electronic mail revolution of the early 1990s, changed our life dramatically. But there is a fly in the ointment: more opportunities have been opened for those malevolent parties wishing to take advantage of our dependence on computers.


Interlinked computers facilitated the information revolution and have evolved into a primary tool for storing information and transferring it from one place to another. Owing to those malevolent parties, it has become necessary to protect this information. A new profession has emerged in the 1990’s – information security.


The world found out fairly quickly that the very possibility of hacking into computers enables the hacking party not only to manipulate the information those computers contain but also to inflict physical damage on the systems they control. The entire world realized that when a malicious software was inserted into the computers that controlled the rotating speed of the centrifuges at the uranium enriching facility in Natanz, Iran. The damage inflicted was physical: the centrifuges collapsed, and the transition from information security to cyber security was born.


Meanwhile, computers have continued to evolve and the current vision, known as the "Internet of Things" (IoT) reigns supreme: all of our appliances and devices, including those in our homes, in our cars, in our offices and so forth – will be computer controlled and will "communicate" with one another with no intervention on our part. Those silent objects, along with the entire home, will attain some degree of intelligence and become "smart" owing to the artificial brain (namely – the computer) incorporated in them. All of this will not be possible without effective cyber security measures. We are currently undergoing yet another transformation: the transition from cyber security to cyber technology, which will enable the vision of the smart home, smart city and smart nation.


So what is cyber defense? All of the above leads to my suggestion to define it as protection against the dark side of computers. Just like the moon, the computer, too, has a bright side that has attracted mankind since the dawn of creation, as well as a dark side which is not visible, and unless we address it, it might devour the bright side.


Admittedly, most cyber issues have technological solutions, but the issues themselves are not at all technological: they are interdisciplinary in nature. The problems of the cyber technology world cannot be understood without taking into consideration such factors as public behavior (social sciences), personal and social psychology, economic considerations, legal and judicial limitations, inter-state relations (political science), changes in the digital world (humanities) and so forth. It is not even possible to point to the trends of the technological solution without taking into consideration the non-technological factors listed above.


For this reason, the cyber research center established less than two years ago at the Tel-Aviv University, in cooperation with the National Cyber Bureau, was defined from the outset as an interdisciplinary center, as its full name indicates: the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC). The Center employs about 250 researchers and is one of the largest not only in Israel but in the entire world. About 70% of the researchers belong in the exact/technological disciplines (e.g. computer science, mathematics and engineering), and the remaining 30% hail from such disciplines as law, social sciences, economics, psychology, humanities, business administration and so forth.


In order to illustrate the breadth of the interdisciplinary canvas of the research activity taking place at the Center, we have chosen to present, in a nutshell, a few of the studies currently being conducted at the Center: one involves the smart city concept, another involves the cars of the future, a third one involves unorthodox ways to crack passwords (known in the cryptography world as side-channel tactics) and a fourth one involves the use of economic models in order to prepare for sophisticated cyber warfare attacks.


Cities around the world and in Israel are becoming smarter. The "Smart City" concept is still in its infancy, and the number of definitions equals the number of parties involved in this activity. The common denominator of the various definitions is the transition from analog infrastructure management to real-time, data-based digital management. The various municipal systems and utilities are changing. Management systems of various municipal activities, from property tax collection and parking to education and welfare are unified with such regional infrastructures as transportation, communication and electricity, and state databases, as well as private systems, are added to them. All of those elements are interlinked, interfaced and serve as the basis for the smart city. The result – the balance of power between the inhabitants and the municipal authority changes in ways that are not yet clear and need further studying. The legal rules that regulate the municipal setup, its relations with the inhabitants on the one hand and with the state – the central government – on the other hand, are not clear. This applies in particular to issues of privacy and participatory democracy at the local level. The interface between various types of public systems and private systems raises additional questions regarding the political-social setup. So, cities find themselves in charge of critical information infrastructures. These infrastructures are gradually emerging as a prime objective for cyber warfare attacks. Such attacks possess the potential of paralyzing the infrastructures and inflicting an unprecedented blow on the privacy of the city's inhabitants.


This particular study, conducted by Professor Michael Birnhack of the Law Faculty and Dr. Eran Toch of the Engineering Faculty, examines several primary dimensions of municipal cyber systems: their influence on the political-municipal fabric and the urban space in general, the flow of information through the municipal technological systems and the privacy aspects of information management. This study is interdisciplinary in nature, and aspires to illuminate the complexity of cybernetic systems in new contexts.

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




Andrew Scott Cooper    

                                                         Ynet, Mar. 11, 2016


Going abroad? You have a chance to learn about Israel’s groundbreaking scientists. Ben Gurion International Airport unveiled this week the first exhibition of its kind, initiated by by the Science Ministry, showcasing 60 Israeli developments and discoveries that influenced the world. The exhibit is set to run for one year on a wall stretching from passport control to the duty-free area, which 8 million people pass through annually.


The purpose of the exhibition is both public diplomacy and making science accessible to Israelis. A recent Ministry of Science survey painted a worrying picture regarding the Israeli public's familiarity with scientific topics and central figures. The survey showed that 43 percent of Israelis do not know that former president Chaim Weizmann was originally a chemist, and about half of Israelis can’t name a single Israeli scientist who won a Nobel Prize. In order to make science more accessible, the ministry initiated, in cooperation with the Israeli Young Academy, the exhibit presents science in Israel and the prominent people. The exhibit features about 60 discoveries and developments in Israel selected for their innovation and their direct or indirect influence of the lives of millions of people worldwide. The committee that chose the discoveries was composed of representatives from the Israeli Youth Academy and the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Science.


Alongside well-known developments such as cherry tomatoes, USB flash drives, PillCam, Copaxone (used to treat multiple sclerosis), a robot for back surgeries, the Mobileye system for preventing accidents, and Intel’s chips,  all developed in Israel, there are also important, lesser-known contributions: A method to activate immune cells in cancer treatment, technology for early diagnosis of diseases via one’s breath, drugs to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, the discovery of fungal species in the Dead Sea, the development of strains of seedless cotton, the development of algae for healing heart tissue, detecting the shape of bacteria's self-organization, development of muon detectors that were used in the particle accelerator at CERN, the Venus satellite for environmental monitoring, and more.


A large part of the exhibition is devoted to eight winners of the Nobel Prize from Israel, the three Israeli winners of the Turing Award in computer sciences, and the winner of the Fields Medal, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in mathematics. The exhibit begins with photographs of Israeli-linked historical figures who contributed to science, such as Chaim Weizman, agronomist Aharon Aharonson, Maimonides, Albert Einstein, and others. It also displays developments from various branches of science: medicine, agriculture, environmental science, archeology, chemistry, social sciences, exact sciences, and more.


Science Minister Ofir Akunis said: "The exhibition is an incredible public diplomacy asset for Israel. We present the tremendous contribution of science and technology in Israel to the world and humanity as a whole. We have much to be proud of. Israel is a trailblazer and leader in innovation. The whole world watches in amazement and appreciation our mighty achievements, and so they should be displayed at Israel’s entry and exit gates. "                       




       SALOMON BENZIMRA: A TERRIBLE LOSS FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE                                               

                                                    Diane Bederman

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17, 2016


I had the honor of joining Salomon Benzimra and Goldi Steiner, co-founders of Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights, to speak to members of Knesset and ask them to proudly proclaim Israel’s legal rights under international law – rights that clearly state Israel’s borders run from the river to the sea.


Salomon was not a lawyer by vocation but he was one by avocation. He is the author of the book, The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel, published in 2011, which was endorsed by Moshe Ya’alon, now the minister of defense.


He had spent the last seven years immersing himself in the legal intricacies of Israel’s borders and rights, following in the footsteps of the late Howard Grief, and Edmund Levy, former Supreme Court justice, who prepared his report on Israel’s legal rights under International law at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013; a report which was never released. These men had hoped to stop the accusations of “occupier” and “apartheid” that are based on a spurious, fictitious narrative of a people that does not exist, and of a state that was never legally declared.


Salomon was particularly concerned because of recent events: The pope embracing the terrorist Abbas and the idea of a Palestinian state, and the French calling for the same thing. And then the arrival of US Vice President Joe Biden in Israel to tell the Jewish people where we can and cannot live, as if the Jewish people would ever go back to a ghetto.


Benzimra eloquently and brilliantly explained to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely the legal justification for declaring Israel’s true borders in order to stop the wanton murder of Jews around the world and the attacks on Jewish students on Diaspora campuses because of the false Palestinian narrative that has taken hold over the past 25 years. He came to Israel with the hope that he would find a champion with the courage to speak truth to the Jewish people and stand up to those who were prepared to sacrifice the Jews for “peace” in the Middle East. He had hoped that Mme Hotovely would be that champion…


He then spoke to Education Minister Naftali Bennett about the need to proclaim Israel’s legal rights under international law, speaking at the same time as the civics books Bennett had commissioned, which included eight new chapters on Israel and its legal rights, were released. We left these meetings without any assurances.


Salomon, a resident of Toronto who was born in 1943 in what is now Morocco, died on the El Al plane on the way home to Canada on Tuesday. I think it was from a broken heart. Am Yisrael has lost a true Lion of Judah with the death of this brilliant but humble man who spent the last years of his life fighting for the Jewish people. It is truly sad that the people of Israel did not know the name of this man or the work he had done.


In honor of his love for our people, his determination to defend us from lies about our people, I suggest that Am Yisrael rise up in his name and demand of the government that it finally declare and proclaim Israel’s legal rights under international law, and in the words of Salomon Benzimra, “Tell the world there will be no negotiating until the territorial sovereignty of Israel and Judea Samaria is no longer questioned.” Benzimra was buried at the Steeles Memorial Chapel in Toronto on Thursday.      


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic


Moon Shot | Episode 7 | Israel: Space IL (Video): Google Lunar XPrize, Mar. 17, 2016—One of the last teams to enter the GLXP, SpaceIL was co-founded by Yariv Bash, whose grandfather's life was tragically altered by the Holocaust.

From Jerusalem to Mars – An Israeli Space Odyssey! (Video): United With Israel, Feb. 24, 2016 —The International Astronautical Congress, hosted this year in Jerusalem, may be the first step in Israeli exploration of Mars!

The prestigious conference, attended by top space official from 58 countries, took place in the nation’s capital.

Q&A with Isaac Ben-Israel, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency: Peter B. de Selding, Space News, Oct. 5, 2015—On a per-capita basis, Israel may have the world’s most developed space program. With a population no greater than New York City’s, Israel is home to at least two publicly traded pure-play space companies — telecommunications satellite fleet operator Spacecom and satellite broadband ground hardware provider Gilat Satellite Networks.                                                                                         

San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone: Salomon Benzimra, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 26, 2015—Ninety five years ago, prime ministers, ambassadors and other dignitaries from Europe and America gathered in the Italian Riviera. 


















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The Obama Administration Puts Its Trust in Negotiations with Iran: Barry Rubin, PJ Media, Nov. 12, 2012—


The most important foreign policy effort President Barack Obama will be making over the next year is negotiating with Iran. The terms of the U.S. offer are clear: if Iran agrees not to build nuclear weapons, it will be allowed to enrich a certain amount of uranium, supposedly for purposes of generating nuclear energy (which Iran doesn’t need) and other benefits, supposedly under strict safeguards.


Saudis’ Proxy War Against Iran: Joseph Braude, Tablet Magazine, Nov. 12, 2012 —Following the logic that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a few influential policymakers in Washington and Tel Aviv have argued for years that support for the aspirations of non-Persian Iranians—like Arabs, Baluchis, and Kurds—would be both morally right and strategically useful as a means to destabilize the regime.


On Topic Links


Did Israel and the U.S. Just Cooperate on a Dry-Run for an Iran Intervention?: Jonathan Schanzer, The New Republic, Nov. 2, 2012

Victim Complex Redux: Iran's Fake Anger: Ali Alfoneh, The Commentator, Nov. 5, 2012

Sanctions Have Crippled Iran’s Economy, But They’re Not Working: Christopher de Bellaigue, The New Republic, Nov. 12, 2012

Responding To Iran: It’s A Matter Of Trust: Amos Yadlin, The Globe and Mail, Nov.12, 2012

The Cyber War With Iran: Bill French, The National Interest, Nov. 7, 2012





Barry Rubin

PJ Media, Nov 12, 2012


The most important foreign policy effort President Barack Obama will be making over the next year is negotiating with Iran. The terms of the U.S. offer are clear: if Iran agrees not to build nuclear weapons, it will be allowed to enrich a certain amount of uranium, supposedly for purposes of generating nuclear energy (which Iran doesn’t need) and other benefits, supposedly under strict safeguards.


Will Iran accept such a deal? The Obama Administration and others argue as follow: Sanctions have taken a deep bite out of Iran’s economy and frightened the regime with the prospect of instability. Iranian leaders are concluding that nuclear weapons aren’t worth all of this trouble. They are interested in becoming wealthy not spreading revolution and this includes even the once-fanatical Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which is steadily gaining power in the country.


In a few months, June 2013, Iran will have elections to choose a new president to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Perhaps, goes the argument, they will pick someone more flexible and less provocative, a signal that they want to stand down from the current confrontation. Thus, a deal is really possible and it could be implemented.


I won’t dismiss this altogether. The truth is that despite extremist statements and radical tactics, the Iranian regime is by no means ideologically or theologically mad. The rulers want to stay in power and they have been far more cautious in practice than they have in rhetoric. Despite the claims that the Iranian regime just wants to get nuclear weapons to attack Israel as soon as possible, a serious analysis of this government’s history, its leaders and factions, indicates otherwise.


A key factor here is that Iran wants nuclear weapons for “defensive” purposes. By this I do not mean that a poor Tehran regime is afraid that it will be attacked for no reason at all and thus needs to protect itself. Not at all. It is Iran’s aggressive, subversive, and terrorist-sponsoring positions that jeopardize the regime. Like it or not, if the Tehran government got on with the business of repressing its own people without threatening its neighbors the world would be little concerned with its behavior. But it has refused to take that easy and profitable choice.


Rather, Iran wants nuclear weapons so it can continue both regime and behavior without having to worry about paying any price for the things it does. The situation has, however, changed in two respects.


First, the “Arab Spring” has put an end to any serious hope by the regime of gaining leadership in the Middle East or in the Muslim world. Two years ago it was possible that Arabs would dance in the street and cheer Iran having a nuclear weapon as the great hope of radical Islam. Today, though, the Sunni Islamists are on the march and have no use for rival Shias, much less ethnic Persians.


They want to make their own revolutions, destroy Israel, expel the West, and seize control of the Middle East for Sunni Arabs and not under the leadership of Persian Shias. Iran’s sphere of influence has been whittled down to merely Lebanon, Iraq, and a rapidly failing Syrian regime. Under these conditions, getting nuclear weapons will not bring Iran any great strategic gain.


Second, sanctions have indeed been costly for Iran, though one could exaggerate the extent of this suffering. Additional internal problems have been brought on by the rulers own mismanagement and awesome levels of corruption. In other words, to stay in power and get even richer Iran’s leaders, along with disposing of Ahmadinejad, might seek a way out of their ten-year-long drive for nuclear weapons.


Thus, it is not impossible that Iran would take up the Obama Administration on the proposed deal either because the leaders now seek riches rather than revolution or because they intend to cheat or move far more gradually toward getting nuclear weapons or at least the capability to obtain them quickly if and when they decide to do so.


It is, however, equally or more possible that Iran would use the negotiations to wrest concessions from the West without giving anything in return and to stall for time as it steadily advances toward its nuclear goal. As this happens, Israeli concerns will be dismissed by the administration and the mass media. The kinder ones will say that Israel is being unnecessarily concerned; the more hostile that it is acting as a warmonger when everything can be settled through compromise….


Of course, it is worthwhile to try negotiations. But as in all policymaking such endeavors must be entered with a clear sense of the possibilities, alternatives, goals, unacceptable concessions, and a readiness to admit the strategy isn’t working. What happens as talks drag on month after month, with Iran demanding a better offer and proof that the West has honest intentions? Certainly, as long as the talks continue the White House would argue for reducing pressure and stopping threats lest Iran gets scared or mistrustful. Already, we are receiving hints that it is Israel’s fault for scaring Iran into thinking it needs nuclear weapons, forgetting the fact that Israeli threats result from Iranian leaders’ boasts about the genocide they intend to commit once they have atomic arms.


Part of the Obama Administration sales pitch for U.S.-Iran talks is that Obama really will get tough if Iran stalls, uses the time to continue developing nuclear weapons, or cheats. People in positions of authority or influence—including in the mass media as well as governments—claim Obama will attack Iran if it plays him false. The administration’s patience is wearing thin we are told, it won’t let the Iranian regime make it look like a fool.


For my part, I don’t believe that Obama would ever initiate military action against Iran and that he will also do everything possible to prevent Israel from doing so, which means that Israel would also not launch an attack. Personally, I don’t favor an attack on Iran (for reasons I’ve explained in detail elsewhere) but it is a costly error to base a policy of concessions and letting Iran stall based on a false claim of willingness to use force at some later point. In addition, whether or not you think it a good idea, an attack on Iran by either Israel or the United States as a means of stopping the nuclear program isn’t going to happen.


I suggest the most likely possibilities are as follows:


If Iran’s leaders find the pressures of sanctions so tough, the threat to the regime’s survival so great, and their greed for remaining in power and making more money so big they will then make a deal. We will be told that Obama is a great statesman who has achieved a big success and rightly won the Nobel Peace Prize. He will indeed have avoided Iran going nuclear, at least for a while.


Or Iran will use the chance to talk endlessly and build nuclear weapons while the administration’s hints of dire retribution will prove to be bluffs as the leaders in Tehran expect. The year 2013 will pass without any deal. During Obama’s second term Iran will either get nuclear weapons or have everything needed to do so but will not actually assemble them for a while. U.S. policy will then accept that situation and shift to a containment strategy.


I’d bet on the latter outcome. But we are now going to see a campaign insisting that a peaceful resolution with Iran is at hand and ridiculing anyone who has doubts about this happy ending.


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Joseph Braude

Tablet Magazine, November 12, 2012


On the evening of Oct. 23, part of a gas pipeline facility in the western Iranian city of Shush exploded—one of several recent attacks on Iranian infrastructure near the country’s borders. In contrast to the clandestine campaign of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear facilities, whose perpetrators do not openly claim responsibility—though most suspect it is the work of the United States or Israel—the Shush hit was promptly followed by a press release put out by a group called the “Battalions of the Martyr Mohiuddin Al Nasser.”


The group is comprised of Ahwazi Arabs, one of several non-Persian ethnic groups inside Iran who together number at least 40 percent of the Iranian population. Some of these minority communities, which live mostly in the outlying provinces of the country, are restive and have been for years: The regime in Tehran represses their languages and cultures, chokes the local economy, and limits their movement. Increasingly, these groups have been organizing themselves politically and militarily—and some in Washington and Israel could not be more thrilled with the development.


Following the logic that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a few influential policymakers in Washington and Tel Aviv have argued for years that support for the aspirations of non-Persian Iranians—like Arabs, Baluchis, and Kurds—would be both morally right and strategically useful as a means to destabilize the regime. Some even see an opportunity to partner with these groups for a ground assault to complement air strikes on Iranian nuclear targets.


Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker in 2008, claimed the Bush Administration had begun a “major escalation of covert operations against Iran” including “support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.” Citing retired and unnamed intelligence officials, Hersh suggested that the groups were being used to attack Iranian Revolutionary Guards and other regime targets, complementing American covert action against Iran’s nuclear program. (Hersh did not respond to a request for comment on his assertions.)


I recently spoke with two former U.S. government officials who had been involved in Iran policy during the Bush years. They opined that Hersh had blurred actual policy with contingency plans that had not been implemented. They also felt that the Obama Administration has had little interest in such strategies, preferring a more limited focus on the nuclear facilities themselves. These competing assertions should all be taken with a grain of salt. As Israelis say of their own Iran policy: “He who knows, doesn’t talk, and he who talks, doesn’t know.”


But activities in recent months prove that an equally important question is what Iran’s minorities and sympathetic neighboring countries are doing on their own. Extensive reporting from local sources in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states reveals that several countries surrounding Iran are beginning to back the country’s ethnic dissidents as a way of waging a proxy war against the mullahs. In Saudi Arabia, media and clerical elites recently mobilized to raise public awareness about the situation of Ahwazi Arabs, frame their cause as a national liberation struggle, and urge Arabs and Muslims to support them. Saudi donors are providing money and technological support to Ahwazi dissidents seeking to wage their own public information campaign, calling on Ahwazis to rise up against their rulers. The Saudi initiatives, in turn, join ongoing ventures by Azerbaijan and Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government to organize and train other dissident groups.


These recently expanded initiatives clearly correlate with the upsurge in violent attacks in Iran’s outlying provinces, pointing to a new campaign reminiscent of what Hersh imputed to the Bush Administration—but with local players in the lead. These players seem poised to escalate in the months to come, whether Americans or Israelis attempt to work with them or not.


Ahwaz as defined by Arabs (as opposed to the Persian designation “Ahvaz,” which is smaller) is a territory the size of Belarus that borders Iraq to the west and faces Saudi Arabia across the Persian Gulf. Some estimates say it is home to 3 million Arabic speakers, though locals claim the number is much larger. The area contains approximately 80 percent of Iran’s oil reserves and nearly all of its gas reserves, as well as a nuclear reactor near the city of Bushehr. Small wonder the regime in Tehran takes harsh measures to discourage separatist tendencies…


Few Westerners follow these happenings, and for decades, few Arabs did either: The region’s government media and semi-independent satellite channels barely covered it. Arab disinterest may have stemmed from the fact that the majority of Ahwazi Arabs are Shiite, a despised sect to many in the predominantly Sunni Arab world. “But Arab governments have also been afraid of the regime in Tehran,” said Saeed Dabat, an activist with the Movement of Arab Struggle for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz based in Copenhagen. “None of them was willing to rouse popular sentiments for a cause they wanted nothing to do with.”


Then, last summer, something changed. In June, a young Saudi cleric named Abdullah Al Ya’n Allah, hosting a new satellite TV program called Ahwaz the Forgotten (Al-Ahwaz al-Mansiya), castigated Arabs for ignoring the plight of their brethren living under Iranian occupation….


But Saudi support for the Ahwazi opposition is one piece of a larger regional picture. Saudis are also providing more modest funding to non-Arab ethnics in Iran, as are two other neighboring countries. From the Iranian province of Baluchistan, an overwhelmingly Sunni-populated area, a new separatist group announced its establishment on Oct. 11. Ya’n Allah, the Saudi host of Ahwaz the Forgotten, immediately began to publicize the group, both on television and via his Twitter followers. I reached the group’s media director in Bahrain last week. (He goes by Ali al-Mahdi, a name with a Shiite ring to it—a caustic joke for a Sunni militant who speaks about Shiites with great hostility.)


He complained of too little backing: “We get support for [families of] martyrs, like from students … $500, $1,000 [at a time]. It’s nothing!” For the first time publicly, Mahdi claimed credit on behalf of his organization for the mid-October suicide attack near a mosque in southeastern Iran. “If we get [more] support,” he said in response to a question about Gulf donors, “you will see Baluchistan on fire,” he said, “like Syria and Afghanistan.”…


Meanwhile, as Tel Aviv University’s Ofra Bengio noted last month, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government now provides Iranian Kurdish opposition groups with a safe haven and the freedom to organize, train, and access Iran across its porous eastern border. Thanks to the KRG’s warm relations with the United States and Israel, the area may also have served as a connecting point for talks and cooperation between the two powers and Iran’s Kurds (or play such a role in the future).


As for Iran’s Azeri population, it is better-integrated into Tehran’s power structure than the other groups—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is Azeri himself—and therefore less likely to form a serious separatist movement. But this has not stopped the neighboring government of Azerbaijan from hoping otherwise: A parliamentary resolution was introduced this year to rename the country “North Azerbaijan,” implying that a “South Azerbaijan” should be carved out of northern Iran. The government’s present relations with the United States and Israel have never been better and hostility toward Iran never greater. Aside from the interest in its own co-ethnics in Iran, Azerbaijan also sponsors nationalistic Arabic TV programming and beams it into Ahwaz.


The low-grade assaults this year perpetrated by ethnic minorities receive considerably less coverage than cyber-initiatives like Stuxnet and the assassination of nuclear scientists, but they nonetheless contribute to the bleeding of the regime. This regional proxy war, now escalating, is morally questionable: Should ethnic groups’ legitimate political aspirations be exploited for other purposes? Should attacks on civilian targets, such as mosques, ever be sanctioned? It is also strategically questionable: Will some of these dissidents go on to support a radical agenda and attack the West? Is the fragmenting of Iran into several states in the long-term interest of the region and the United States.? For all its tradeoffs, it belongs in both the public discussion and the quieter conversations about our next steps on Iran policy.

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Did Israel and the U.S. Just Cooperate on a Dry-Run for an Iran Intervention?: Jonathan Schanzer, The New Republic, Nov. 2, 2012—If the U.S. indeed cooperated with Israel in the attack [on Sudan], then this might have been a dry run of an entirely different sort—one that would belie the very public disagreements between the two countries over intervention in Iran.



Victim Complex Redux: Iran's Fake Anger: Ali Alfoneh, The Commentator, Nov. 5, 2012 Should the US embassy ever reopen in Tehran, the visa application line would be longer than any “spontaneous” anti-American rally the regime is capable of organizing. Besides the hollowness of the revolutionary mythology, the "commemoration" should also serve as a sobering reminder to those believing in the normalisation of relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic.


Sanctions Have Crippled Iran’s Economy, But They’re Not Working: Christopher de Bellaigue, The New Republic, November 12, 2012—The assumption is that the more Iranians suffer, the more their leaders will feel the pressure and either change course or be overthrown in a popular uprising. And yet, there is no evidence to suggest that this is probable, and the Iraqi case suggests the opposite.


Responding To Iran: It’s A Matter Of Trust: Amos Yadlin, The Globe and Mail, Nov.12, 2012 —Israel sees the threat posed by Iran, in part, through the prism of the Holocaust. The Iranian regime’s threats to wipe Israel off the map resonate of the propaganda expounded by the Nazi regime. The U.S. trauma, on the other hand, is the highly controversial and costly war in Iraq. Amid its drawn-out war in Afghanistan, the U.S. public and leadership are unlikely to stomach yet another war in a Muslim nation.


The Cyber War With Iran: Bill French, The National Interest, Nov. 7, 2012 —As the United States and Iran inch closer to confrontation over Tehran's nuclear program, a little-asked question lurks in the background: are the two countries already at war? In late September, massive denial-of-service attacks targeted five American banking institutions. Soon after, Senator Lieberman attributed responsibility to Iran…



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