Tag: India


Netanyahu in India: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Jan. 12, 2018— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits India just half a year after the first historic trip of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel (July 2017)

Considering Netanyahu’s Transformational Leadership: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 7, 2018— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the most underappreciated leader Israel has ever had.

Is the IDF Ready for Our Next War?: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 29, 2017 — I came away from a conference this week deeply concerned about the IDF’s battle preparedness; actually, about its fighting spirit and ethos.

War Prevention: A Top IDF Goal: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Dec. 18, 2017— At the end of October, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed graduates of a military officer’s course at Training Base 1, deep in Israel’s Negev Desert.


On Topic Links


Meretz Reshuffles Israeli Left's Political Deck: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Jan. 10, 2018

WATCH: The IDF ‘Dreams Big and Achieves Big’: United With Israel, Dec. 13, 2017

2017 Was Tough But Successful Year for Israeli Army: Tsivya Fox, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 8, 2018

General Says ‘Jewish Brains’ Have Found Solution to Eliminate all Hamas Tunnels: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, Jan. 14, 2018



Prof. Efraim Inbar

Israel Hayom, Jan. 12, 2018


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits India just half a year after the first historic trip of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel (July 2017). These visits reflect the significant expansion in relations between the two countries that has taken place since the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1992.


Since Modi came to power in May 2014, his Bharatiya Janata Party government has shed its predecessors' reservations regarding India's ties with Israel. Noteworthy, Modi's trip to Israel was not "balanced" with a visit to the Palestinian Authority, indicating that India has decoupled its relations with Israel from its historical commitment to the Palestinian issue. India has even occasionally refrained from joining the automatic majority against Israel in international fora. The two states decided to focus on the bilateral relationship.


The strategic glue consists of high levels of threat perception and a common strategic agenda. Both have waged major conventional wars against their neighbors and have experienced low‐intensity conflict and terror, as they are both involved in protracted conflicts characterized by complex ethnic and religious components not always well understood by outsiders. Weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of their rivals. Both regard parts of the Arab world as hubs for Islamic extremism – a common threat. Moreover, India fears the Pakistani nuclear arsenal might ultimately fall into the hands of Islamic radicals, while Israel sees the mix of Islamic zeal in Iran with nuclear ambitions as an existential threat. The offshoots of ISIS threaten the stability of Egypt and Jordan – Israel's neighbors – and are increasingly sources of concern in South and Southeast Asia.


Indeed, the first paragraph of the India-Israel joint statement issued at the end of Modi's visit in Israel states that that the friendship between the two states has been raised to "a strategic partnership." Modi explained, "Israel and India live in complex geographies. … We are aware of strategic threats to regional peace and stability. … Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests." Washington is important for Jerusalem and New Delhi. India, a major player in the international system, has improved relations with the U.S. Nevertheless, New Delhi's links with Jerusalem have the potential to smooth over some of the difficulties in dealing with the U.S. Working with Israel fits into Modi's plan to deepen relations with the U.S. given the U.S.‐Israel friendship.


The American Jewish organizations valued the importance of India for the U.S. and for Israel, as well as the potential advantages of nurturing good relations with the Indian community in America, whose political power is on the rise. The Jewish and Indian lobbies worked together to gain the George W. Bush administration's approval for Israel's sale of the EL/W-2090 Phalcon airborne early warning and control system to India. In the fall of 2008, Jewish support was important in passing through the U.S. Congress the U.S.‐India nuclear deal, which allowed India access to nuclear technology for civilian use despite its not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


Two strategic developments of the 21st century are likely to strengthen the strategic glue between India and Israel: the perceived decline of the U.S. and the rise of China. In the Middle East, the American reluctance to get involved in the region helped Iran's quest for hegemony. U.S. weakness inevitably has ripple effects in other parts of the globe. Indeed, Asian states view the declining American role with concern…


Gradually, India has overcome its reservations about security cooperation with Israel. It is not only on counterterrorism, which preceded the establishment of diplomatic relations and has been conducted away from the public eye. The November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks underscored the need for better counterterrorism preparations in India and elicited greater cooperation with Israeli agencies.


Arms supply and technology transfer have also become important components in the bilateral relationship. Israel's export policy is flexible, meeting Indian demands for technological transfer and offsets. The India-Israel Joint Statement hailed the defense cooperation, noting that India and Israel agreed that "future developments in this sphere should focus on joint development of defense products, including transfer of technology from Israel, with a special emphasis on the ‘Make in India' initiative."


As result of the successful overtures of its military industries, Israel has become the third‐largest arms supplier to India. Over the years, New Delhi purchased Israeli advanced radar and communications equipment and turned also to Israel for portable battlefield radars, night warfare vision equipment, and electronic fences to improve border monitoring. A long list of Israeli military items, such as ammunition, UAV parts, and missiles (Spike anti‐armor, the Python‐4 air‐to‐air, naval Barak 8 surface‐to‐air) are being produced in India.


Recent examples of purchase include a contract for two additional Phalcon systems, valued at $1 billion, signed during the November 2016 visit of President Reuven Rivlin to India. Additional large contracts were concluded before Modi's visit to Israel last year. The occasional difficulties in implementing the Indian military procurement contracts do not obscure the general trend of close cooperation. These deals are part of India's $250 billion plan to modernize the armed forces by 2025 amid tensions with neighbors China and Pakistan.


For Israel, good relations with India reflect an awareness of structural changes in the international system as the center of gravity moves to Asia and the Pacific Rim. India is an extremely important protagonist that requires Israel's utmost attention. While national security issues, including defense contracts, are an important facet of the bilateral relations, it is only one component. The joint statement mentions a myriad of agreements in the civilian sphere:  space, water management, agriculture, science and technology. In addition, the two countries decided to create a $40 million innovation fund to allow Indian and Israeli enterprise to develop innovative technologies and products with commercial application.


Netanyahu values very much Israel's relations with Asia, particularly India. His visit will be an opportunity to gauge the progress made in the bilateral relationship, overcome the blocks hindering the implementation of the agreements signed during the Modi visit and further cement India's strategic ties with the Jewish state. Netanyahu will adopt once more the salesman role and try to expand economic relations between the two countries and promote Israel's image as a technological giant and an important member of the international community.                                                    





Caroline Glick

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 7, 2018


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the most underappreciated leader Israel has ever had. In the near future, he will likely take Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s title of the longest-serving premier. Yet, Netanyahu is not only perceived as being a leader of less significance than Ben-Gurion. He is considered a less consequential leader than prime ministers like Levi Eshkol, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon, whose records in office are far thinner than Netanyahu’s.


Both Netanyahu’s detractors and supporters view his long stewardship of Israel as largely inconsequential because Netanyahu has not overseen any grand, headline-grabbing initiatives. He didn’t declare Israel’s independence, as Ben-Gurion did. He didn’t lead Israel through the 1967 Six Day War and so oversee Israel’s greatest military victory to date, as Eshkol did. He didn’t recognize the PLO, like Rabin. He didn’t withdraw from Gaza like Sharon did. He hasn’t withdrawn from Judea and Samaria, as Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert tried to do. He didn’t surrender south Lebanon to Hezbollah, as Barak did.


True, grand initiatives like all of these have left their marks on Israel – for better and for worse. And no, Netanyahu has no grand initiative in his record. But when you stop and think about what Netanyahu has accomplished during his more than a decade in office, it rapidly becomes clear that he has adroitly and successfully transformed Israel for the better in a way that no leader except Ben-Gurion has done.


Netanyahu has operated in a media environment more hostile than any his predecessors ever faced. Despite this, beginning with his first term in office in the late 1990s, Netanyahu authored and implemented the economic reforms that transformed Israel from a sclerotic socialist backwater into a prosperous first world economy. All of Israel’s citizens have benefited from the change. Consider, for instance, that when Netanyahu replaced Olmert in office in 2009, Israel’s per capita GDP stood at $27,000. By 2016, it had risen to $37,000.


Rather than seeking to transform Israel’s diplomatic weakness through a grand gesture of appeasement to the PLO, as so many of his predecessors tried to do, Netanyahu opted, instead to leverage the economic prosperity he engendered. He turned Israel’s economic strength into the foundation of a new, far more powerful diplomatic strategy. It served to return Israel to Africa after a forty year absence. More importantly, Netanyahu used Israel’s comparative economic advantages to develop strong diplomatic and economic relations with China, India and other major markets and great powers for the first time in Israel’s history.


As for Russia, far from the spotlights, Netanyahu has skillfully and quietly cultivated a strong personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin based on mutual respect. Military and intelligence officers credit the understandings Netanyahu has reached with Putin regarding the war in Syria as the reason Israel was able to avoid getting sucked into the conflict on its northern border while still protecting its strategic interests.


As for Israeli-US ties, for eight years, Netanyahu deftly ducked and parried and waited out Barack Obama’s presidency. He kept Israel strong and safe and able to defend itself despite Obama’s support for its enemies and hostility toward the Jewish state. No other Israeli leader could have withstood the Obama administration’s pressure to make strategically cataclysmic concessions to the Palestinians. So too, no Israel leader would have been capable of leading the opposition to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran as Netanyahu did.


Had Netanyahu remained silent as Obama gave the keys to the nuclear club to the ayatollahs, Obama and his echo chamber would have successfully demonized opposition to the deal. It was Netanyahu with his unswerving, reasoned opposition to the centerpiece of Obama’s foreign policy that empowered Republicans and even some Democrats to maintain their public opposition to the deal. Their opposition, in turn, paved the way for President Donald Trump’s decision last October to refuse to certify Iranian compliance with its terms. As for Trump, Netanyahu has deftly cultivated his relations with the new president. Trump’s respect for Netanyahu’s statesmanship empowers the president to break with the failed Middle East policies of his predecessors and base his policies on support for America’s allies and opposition to its enemies.


So yes, it is true that Netanyahu’s long tenure in office has been largely undramatic. But his record of accomplishments makes clear that drama is not what we should be seeking. Under his quiet, workaday leadership, Netanyahu has transformed Israel into an economic and military power. He has cultivated good relations with Israel’s regional neighbors and with the nations of the world.


He has developed constructive and mutually beneficial ties with all the major world powers while preserving and enhancing Israel’s strategic alliance with the US. All of these accomplishments render Netanyahu one of Israel’s most successful leaders. Indeed, they place him second only to Ben Gurion as the most significant leader Israel has ever had.





David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 29, 2017


I came away from a conference this week deeply concerned about the IDF’s battle preparedness; actually, about its fighting spirit and ethos. I hope that the weaknesses exposed by the experts I heard from can be corrected in time for our next military confrontation. On the one hand, it is apparent that the IDF is building an impressive capacity to crush Hezbollah and Hamas and Iranian assets in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza when the next inevitable round of fighting ensues.


Major General Yair Golan, the immediate past deputy chief of staff, and Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told a forum convened by Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies (JISS) that the IDF is intensively training its front-line combat troops for decisive ground offensives against Israel’s enemies. “No amount of airpower is going to win the next battles for us or be able to quash enemy missile fire on Israel. We will have to maneuver on the ground in large formations with power and agility,” Golan says.


The two generals also emphasize that the IDF and IAF are better equipped than ever with tactical communications systems, exact targeting systems, accurate field intelligence, outstanding cyber abilities and robotic weapons, alongside world-leading air force platforms (F-35 jets and killer drones) and naval platforms (submarines and more). Golan’s view is that the Russian military and political entrenchment in Syria can also play in Israel’s favor – if Israel plays its cards well. Only Russia can rein in Iran’s operatives and militias in Syria, not the US; and Russia may discover an interest in doing so as its economic investment in Syrian reconstruction grows.


Amidror, who is now the Anne and Greg Rosshandler Senior Fellow at JISS, is of the view that Israel has a very deep bench: a powerful economy and industry, a motivated citizenry and army, and a resilient home front. “Israel is a huge power, and can overwhelm any of the Islamist forces that surround us.” But here is where doubts seep in. Is this country’s leadership hardening the home front for the resilience needed going into our next confrontations? And is the fighting spirit of the IDF all that it needs to be? Not so much, according to other experts I heard from this week.


Uzi Rubin, a senior fellow at JISS who was founder of the Israel Missile Defense Organization in the Ministry of Defense (which developed the Arrow missile), warns that the Iranian strategy is a long war of attrition against Israel; a series of “nuisance” wars that will eat away at the Israeli economy and make life here intolerable. Without significant investments in the protection and survivability of national infrastructures – which Rubin says Israel isn’t sufficiently making – he fears a collapse of national resilience leading to emigration from Israel.


Lt. Col. (res.) Eytan Honig of the Kohelet Forum has a different concern – that IDF soldiers are being fed a diet of liberal-progressive messages that undermine their fighting spirit and determination. He says that over the past two decades the IDF outsourced its “values” education to civilian associations which wrenched the IDF’s “moreshet krav” (combat legacy) programs away their foundations in Maccabee and Zionist ethos, and towards curricula that emphasize humanitarian values and international law. (Honig believes that the IDF is beginning to fix this, by bringing its educational programs back in-house; but I’m not sure this is a real remedy)…

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





Yaakov Lappin

BESA, Dec. 18, 2017


At the end of October, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed graduates of a military officer’s course at Training Base 1, deep in Israel’s Negev Desert. During his speech, he warned of Iran’s attempt to place a chokehold around Israel, including an attempt to take over Syria. He warned that Israel would not back down from the need to act when necessary to lift this chokehold. “We do not search for adventures, and our role is to first of all ensure the security of the citizens of the State of Israel, and to prevent wars as much as possible,” Lieberman said. “And that occurs, first and foremost, through strengthening deterrence, and through an effort in the diplomatic arena.”


Those brief comments accurately reflect the priority list guiding the Israeli defense establishment. War prevention is at the top of the list, but if war cannot be prevented, then winning it as quickly and decisively as possible shares the top spot. War prevention receives little attention among the general public, yet it is a central planning component that guides the decision-making of the Israeli defense establishment on a daily basis.


The merits of war prevention are self-evident. The absence of high profile armed conflict, and the stability offered by prolonged periods of quiet, cultivate the Israeli economy. They offer Israeli citizens the chance to focus on their daily, routine affairs, free from the traumas and severe disruptions created by conflict, and free from enemy projectile fire on Israeli cities and towns. This boosts Israeli morale and national resiliency. A prolonged quiet also enables the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to focus on force build-up and restructuring programs. These are critical in allowing the military to adapt to the challenges posed by the 21st century hybrid terrorist armies that have formed across the Middle East, and to prepare for the multiple challenges posed by the Iranian regime.


Lieberman’s comments alluded to a central tactic used to promote war prevention: deterrence. This is a somewhat hazy concept and far from an exact science, but recent experience has shown that it can be developed and fortified through a range of actions. These include an effective force build-up program accompanied by the selective use of Israel’s enhanced strike powers.


In the War Between the Wars – Israel’s low-profile military and intelligence campaign to selectively disrupt the force build-up of the Iranian-led axis – force has reportedly been used for at least six years. In other words, low-profile, pinpoint military strikes, made possible by breakthrough intelligence capabilities and advanced weaponry, have served the goal of war prevention. They demonstrated to enemies both the extent of Israel’s intelligence penetration of their activities and the lethality of standoff, precise firepower that can strike targets near and far. These strikes also, according to international media reports, place limits on the force build-up program of Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors by preventing them from becoming overconfident. They are now less willing to launch provocations against Israel that can deteriorate into war, as Hezbollah did in 2006 when it attempted to kidnap Israeli soldiers.


In this complex security environment, then, military strikes, if conducted correctly, can push back war and promote the goal of war prevention. “We will not hesitate, even for a single moment, to prevent the Iranians from setting up a chokehold [in Syria],” Lieberman vowed. Such a statement is designed to enhance Israeli deterrence, and thereby serves the objective of war prevention. This deterrence is magnified when it is backed up by action. This thinking can be found across the Israeli defense establishment, and has been alluded to in comments by the high command…

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




On Topic Links


Meretz Reshuffles Israeli Left's Political Deck: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Jan. 10, 2018—Israel's Meretz Party decided to change its internal election system Jan. 7, transferring power from the 1,000 members of its Central Committee to a primary system open to all the party's members. In this way, Meretz hopes to restore the relevance it lost after a decade of crises and political indolence.

WATCH: The IDF ‘Dreams Big and Achieves Big’: United With Israel, Dec. 13, 2017 —The Israeli military constantly faces new challenges – and adapts, training in the air, on land and at sea and creating new technology in order to respond to a multitude of threats. In this monthly update, Lt. Col. Jonathan describes some of the major successes of the IDF, including, for example, the “Knights of the Jordan Valley” and the launch of the naval Iron Dome.

2017 Was Tough But Successful Year for Israeli Army: Tsivya Fox, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 8, 2018—The Israel Defense Force (IDF) recently published the latest statistics on terror attacks in Israel for 2017. The numbers show that Israel’s soldiers, in conjunction with  intelligence, did an impressive job protecting the country and her citizens.

General Says ‘Jewish Brains’ Have Found Solution to Eliminate all Hamas Tunnels: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, Jan. 14, 2018— An IDF general on Sunday said the Israeli military, helped by the “Jewish brain,” had devised a solution that would see all of Hamas’s cross-border tunnels into Israel destroyed.






Historic Israeli Mini-Satellite to be Launched with French Cooperation: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2017— Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus,” the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES, will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2.

China is Increasingly Becoming Key for Israel's High-Tech Industry: Ferry Biedermann, CNBC, July 18, 2017— China's investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to Israel's economy, and in particular to its booming high-tech industry.

How Israeli Technologies Improve Water, Food Security In India: Amanda Ngo, NoCamels, July 03, 2017— Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Israel this week in a historically significant first visit.

Israel’s Tech Startups are Giving Silicon Valley a Run for its Money: Ed Zwirn, New York Post, May 28, 2017 — Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing?


On Topic Links


Israel: Internship Nation: Jeff Seidel, Times of Israel, July 16, 2017

Modi's Visit: The View from Jerusalem: Efraim Inbar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, July 10, 2017

Modi’s Visit to Israel: Oshrit Birvadker, BESA, July 31, 2017

The Role of Azerbaijan in Israel’s Alliance of Periphery: Aynur Bashirova and Ahmet Sozen, Rubin Center, June 22, 2017





BE LAUNCHED WITH FRENCH COOPERATION                                                         

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich

                                                  Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2017


Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus,” the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES, will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis called the upcoming launch an “important national event.” Israel, he said, is “known around the world for its boldness and innovation, which are expressed also in the technological developments of ‘Venus.’ We are so proud to see how work of many years of our best engineers and researchers at the head of the Israel Space Agency, along with CNES, will reach its peak at the launching.”


Environmental satellites have become very important in recent years because of problems on Earth resulting from population increase, declining space for agriculture, pollution and natural disasters. The Venus, the world’s smallest satellite of its kind, was built in the last few years by Israel Aerospace Industries. It will observe fields and nature from space for environmental research, monitoring land conditions, forestry, agriculture, the quality of water sources and more.


The mini-satellite is equipped with a special camera that can visualize details on Earth that are invisible to the naked eye. It will take photos of set locations in Israel and around the world and provide researchers with scores of images daily, each of which will cover 760 square kilometers. The Venus will revolve around the Earth 29 times each 48 hours and repeat exact photo angles, making it possible to note differences in conditions – characteristics that make the satellite unique, the Science and Technology Ministry said.


The Venus satellite weighs only 265 kilograms. It will be launched along with an Italian satellite and reach its position 720 kilometers above Earth within 37 minutes and 18 seconds. The first confirmation of proper position and function should be received on the ground after five-and-a-half hours from launch time, but the initial images will arrive a week later. Processed images will be sent to users three months after launch. The Venus is due to remain in operation for four-and-a-half years, after which time it will be shifted to a lower trajectory. Some 110 different set research areas around the world will be photographed. When the satellite passes over Israel, the Venus will photograph three swaths in the Galilee, the coastal area and the Negev Desert, where most national parks, forests, ecological stations and nature areas exist. The photos will also benefit university, government and state research institutes.


Venus will transmit data to a reception station in northern Sweden. From there, the data will be processed initially by the French Space Agency, which will be led by French researcher Gerard Didiot. The images of Israel will arrive at the research center at the Sde Boker campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, headed by Prof. Arnon Karnieli. The research center is an operational arm of the Science and Technology Ministry. One of the first research projects to be used by the satellite simulations – funded by an investment of NIS 500,000 from the Israel Space Agency – will be one designed by high school pupils from Rishon Lezion and Rehovot.


Venus is also the first innovative technological mission of its kind to test the feasibility of a plasma-based electric propulsion system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, using an electric propulsion system that saves fuel and satellite weight to increase the weight of the equipment for research purposes. Although the Venus is a joint project of Israel and France, all of the satellite’s hardware components were developed in Israel’s space industries. In addition to IAI, which built the satellite and integrated the components, Elbit developed the unique camera, and Rafael developed the propulsion system, resulting in the entire satellite being the product of Israeli construction and development.


Meanwhile, IAI president and CEO Yossi Weiss said that the Italian and the Israeli-French satellites are “the glory of Israeli technology and reflect Israel’s international activities in space and the extraordinary cooperation with Italy and France. The stateof-the-art observation satellites program enables the development and production of local needs and exports, and is supported by clear government policy in the field.” He added, “On the eve of the launch, I call upon the Israel government to make the necessary decisions regarding the future of Israeli media satellites. Since the loss of Amos-6 about 10 months ago, no decision has been made regarding the future of the field, which will eventually lead to the loss of knowledge and accumulated technological capabilities. We are approaching the point of no return that could lead to the elimination of Israel’s capabilities in the field of communications satellites.”                      





Ferry Biedermann

CNBC, July 18, 2017


China's investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to Israel's economy, and in particular to its booming high-tech industry. The first IPO (initial public offering) of an Israeli high-tech company on a Chinese stock exchange, Hong Kong, is expected within the year and Chinese investments in Israeli high-tech venture capital approached $1 billion in 2016, industry experts say.


"The Chinese stock exchange market will become another very viable option for Israeli companies looking for public funding," if the first IPO goes off successfully, Eli Tidhar of Deloitte Israel, told CNBC. Tidhar heads what Deloitte calls its "Israel-China corridor". Israel has laid out the welcoming mat to Chinese companies and investors who may face more troublesome regulations and scrutiny elsewhere.


Hardly a day goes by without another Israel-China initiative being announced, whether it's a new Israeli tech incubator in China, new investments, joint ventures, trade conferences or delegations. In May this year, another audit firm PwC led a delegation of Israeli companies to Hong Kong to explore the possibilities of listing on the stock exchange. Deloitte's Tidhar says that a sea change is taking place among Israeli companies looking for funding. Israeli high-tech VC (venture capital) companies raised $500 million from Chinese investors in 2014 and $700 million in 2015 and the amount keeps growing, according to Tidhar.


"In the past, Israel used to look mostly at the U.S. and Europe as our source for investment, especially in high tech," he said. But now, "It becomes less and less awkward that a company that would like to raise money would pursue this investment from China." This view is echoed Dorian Barak, who heads the Israeli arm of Kuang Chi, one of the few Chinese conglomerates that has so far actually set up a permanent local representation. Israel's venture capital landscape and its exits were until now largely a matter of Western money, Barak said. But that's about to change. "The rise of China and China's adoption of an outward looking policy of investments and cooperation has the opportunity to have as much of an impact on the local economy as did the massive capital influx from chiefly the United States in the (1990s) and the first decade of the 21st century," Barak said in a telephone interview.


Kuang Chi last year set up a $300 million fund, particularly for smart city investments in Israel. It has so far, among other companies, invested in machine vision company eyesight Technologies. Large chunks of Israel's infrastructure projects, including ports, railway lines and tunnels, are being carried out by Chinese companies these days. And some flagship Israeli companies have been acquired by Chinese conglomerates, such as ChemChina's acquisition of Adama and Bright Food's takeover of Tnuva. Reuters earlier this year reported that in 2016 total Chinese investments in Israel jumped to $16.5 billion.


But in the high-tech sector, this has not yet translated to the same massive presence of Chinese conglomerates that Western companies have in Israel, whether in R&D (research and development) centers, production or representative offices. Kuang Chi's Barak said that Chinese companies are very slowly coming to the realization that there's an added value to a local presence. He's getting constant inquiries from Chinese local government and private investors.


"When you see Chinese names on the sides of buildings in Herzliya Pituah (near Tel Aviv) as you currently see American names, you'll know the Chinese investors have really arrived and the Chinese strategics have arrived en masse. There's a long way to go," said Barak. But it's getting there, is the consensus. One company that has seen Chinese investment is intelligent search company Twiggle. It's received backing from the likes of e-commerce giant Alibaba and MizMaa – a fund specializing in Chinese investments in Israeli high-tech.


CEO and co-founder Amir Konigsberg, said that for Twiggle, as for many other Israeli companies, the ties with China are not merely about getting finance. Help with market access is of much greater importance. "Not disregarding the growth in other markets, such as the U.S. and Europe, in terms of e-commerce China and Asia are very dominant markets," he said.


Israeli start-ups had been used to working with U.S. and European investors, he said: "The collaboration and the synergy with the China market and the big Chinese companies is more recent. The adaptation to that has been gradual and the Israeli companies like ourselves are learning to work better with the Chinese companies." One potential adaptation to be made was in the differences of expectations that sometimes occurs, said Denes Ban, managing partner at Israeli high-tech crowdfunding firm OurCrowd. Those expectations center around the tension between getting funding and getting access to Chinese markets.


"If you look at the term sheet, there's no such thing as free Chinese money," said Ban. Many Israeli companies, who are far from naive, initially misjudge the intentions of the Chinese investors: "What often happens is, 'OK we invest but actually the amount we invest doesn't go into the headquarters in Israel, actually it will only go to a joint venture in China and we own 51 percent of it', so basically they control it. We have seen this."


For OurCrowd, Ban is very excited about the emerging interest of large Asian, including Chinese, financial institutions in getting their clients a piece of the pie in the Israeli VC market. "We signed a deal in Singapore with UOB, Shanghai Commercial Bank, Reliance India, these are some of the biggest institutions that are looking to offer these venture capital products to their clients," said Ban. He, like others interviewed by CNBC, sees one crucial Israeli advantage to attracting Chinese investment, apart from Israel's start-up nation image: an openness to Chinese investors where the U.S. and Europe are getting pickier. Deloitte's Tidhar puts it simply: "The restrictions, limitations, barriers that Chinese companies face in other markets, they don't face in Israel."                                                           





                    Amanda Ngo                                                                         

NoCamels, July 03, 2017


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Israel this week in a historically significant first visit. This trip marks the first time that an Indian Prime Minister has travelled to Israel, and will strengthen what is already a flourishing relationship between the two nations. India’s demand for Israeli tech, particularly water and agricultural technologies, as well as a shared desire to invest money in innovation, research and development, continue to drive the partnership to new heights.


Modi’s delegation is expected to include 100 entrepreneurs, including executives from some of India’s biggest companies. He will engage in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the goal of promoting strategic partnerships in the areas of water conservation, food security, space technology, defense, and others.


Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, Israel and India have seen trade between the two countries jump from $200 million in 1992 to $4.167 billion in 2016 (not including defense agreements), according to Israel’s Ministry of Economy. An Israeli-Indian Free Trade Agreement has been in the pipeline since 2010, with observers speculating that this upcoming visit could add momentum to the process…


A glance at the strengths and needs of both India and Israel reveals why the partnership has been so successful thus far. With a burgeoning population (currently at 1.3 billion), India is experiencing difficulties with water conservation and purification, and food security. According to the World Bank, around 21 percent of infectious diseases in India are related to unsafe water. Agriculture, too, is a significant part of the Indian economy, representing 17 percent of the GDP and depended upon by 50 percent of the population.


Israel is known worldwide for its strengths in water and agricultural technology. For years, Israel has been providing India with world-leading expertise and technology to help the larger nation combat these issues. In return for capitalizing on Israel’s technological expertise, India provides Israel with a huge market opportunity, and endless avenues for business investment. With the second largest population in the world, and a GDP of around $2 trillion (according to the World Bank), the Indian market offers the kind of scale that Israeli businesses need.


Over the 25 years of diplomatic relations, the shared initiatives have been wide-ranging. Since 2008, the nations have strengthened their relationship through the joint establishment of ‘Centers of Excellence’ in India, as part of the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Project. Present across nine Indian states, the 26 centers provide Israeli technology and expertise to Indian farmers. They have been highly successful, and there is suggestion that Modi’s upcoming visit will lead to an expansion of this plan.


One of the leading Israeli startups making waves in India is Aqwise. A water tech firm, Aqwise has built a water treatment plant that supplies drinking water to the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. Using an innovative technique of releasing polyethylene biofilm carriers into the water supply, the company provides around 2 million inhabitants and tourists with clean, potable water. Israeli company IDE has also done impressive work in the water conservation industry in India, implementing desalinization methods that have saved millions of dollars and thousands of millions meters cubed units of water. Israel’s Netafim has been implementing drip irrigation technologies that help Indian farmers conserve precious water.


WaterGen, an Israeli air-to-water technology company, is a global leader in water purification. By extracting moisture from air, WaterGen is able to generate water that is safe to drink. Earlier this year, they signed a memorandum of understanding with the India solar engineering firm, Vikram Solar. The deal, which is estimated to be worth at least $100 million, will help the company expand in the Indian market.


Indian companies have shown an unbridled eagerness to tap into the Israeli tech scene. Aditya Birla, the third-largest conglomerate in India valued at $41 billion, has been targeting Israel to find new investments since 2016. Focusing on clean-tech, cyber security, financial technology, and water tech, the company has reviewed hundreds of startups. Infosys, an Indian conglomerate, bought Israeli cloud tech firm Panaya for $200 million in 2014. In 2007, Indian company Jain Irrigation acquired Israeli firm NaanDan, forming NaanDanJain Irrigation Ltd. The company is headquartered in Israel, and now serves farmers in over 100 countries.


Significant amounts of money continue to be channeled into joint initiatives by both governments. In the very near future, the Israeli government is set to approve a proposal to further economic cooperation with India by investing NIS 280 into water and agricultural technology, among other strategies. NIS 140 of that budget will go into an Israeli-Indian fund aimed at encouraging innovation and R&D for Israeli and Indian companies.


Indian and Israeli companies have shown a shared desire to foster innovation. Earlier this year, Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd and Indian private sector company Reliance Industries, together with American data communications company Motorola, set up an incubator in Jerusalem aimed at encouraging innovation in hi-tech in Israel. The incubator will focus on up-and-coming areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, FinTech, IoT, and computer vision. OurCrowd has also formed a partnership with LetsVenture, the largest marketplace for startup funding in India. The partnership will give exposure to Indian startups, and offer deals to Indian investors.


India is also an ardent supporter of Israeli defense technology: Earlier this year, Israeli Aerospace Industries revealed its plan to provide India with missile defense systems in what will be the organization’s biggest security contract ever. The contracts amount to almost $2 billion, and will deliver advanced medium-range surface-to-air missiles to the Indian Army. India is currently the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment…

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






Ed Zwirn                                         

New York Post, May 28, 2017


Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing? Israel’s answer to Silicon Valley is Silicon Wadi, an area around Tel Aviv on the country’s coastal plain with a heavy concentration of high-tech industries that rivals the San Francisco Bay Area’s cluster of innovative firms. There are about 4,300 startups operating in Israel, with about 2,900 of these located within a 10-mile radius, a rate of development second in intensity to only Silicon Valley itself. Even as President Trump was meeting with the Israeli political elite on the Jerusalem leg of his first foreign trip, a huge slice of that country’s brain trust was gathered in Midtown Manhattan to explore the reasons behind this tech wave and showcase some of the developments that have enabled this small country to punch above its weight.


Or maybe jumping would be a more apt metaphor. “The cat flea has the ability to jump almost 200 times its height,” Oded Shoseyov, a professor of protein engineering and nano biotechnology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the crowd at Nexus: Israel, a gathering sponsored by the American Friends of Hebrew University. Shoseyov, who has his name on more than 50 patents and has served as the scientific founder of 10 companies specializing in everything from nanotechnology to production of medical cannabis, says one of the most exciting scientific quests is understanding the jumping power of the flea. That and other marvels of nature are helping spark solutions to real-world challenges faced by humans.


CollPlant, one of the companies he helped found, is attempting to bioengineer solutions to these problems by cloning human DNA onto tobacco plants. “I have no doubt that we’ll be able to produce a human heart in the laboratory,” he says. “This heart is not going to be the same as a human heart, it’s going to be better.”


One of the more established players in both Silicon Valley and its Middle Eastern rival is Intel Corp., which set up a research and production operation in Israel in 1972. Intel Israel has since grown to the point where it has become Israel’s largest private employer, with more than 10,200 workers on its payroll as of last year. According to Maxine Fassberg, executive in residence and vice president of Intel Capital, the company exported $3.35 billion of chips and other products from Israel last year, accounting for 1 percent to 2 percent of the country’s GDP.


In addition to the tech developments fostered by Intel, Fassberg credits both Israel’s defense sector and its academia for propelling this development. “The bottom line is the people and the quality of the education there,” she says. For his part, Dr. Yaron Daniely, chief executive of Yissum, Hebrew University’s technology transfer arm, and himself the driving force behind many Israeli developments in medical technology, credits the amazing performance of Israeli R&D to “chutzpah,” shown in the willingness of the country’s scientists and entrepreneurs to take on risk. “Exceptional people exist everywhere who are more creative than others, but that doesn’t guarantee success,” he points out. “We were arrogant Israelis. We didn’t think that we were stupid.”




On Topic Links


Israel: Internship Nation: Jeff Seidel, Times of Israel, July 16, 2017— In this day and age, getting a high-quality job is difficult. Since “the internship” has become a prerequisite for being in the race for a good job, the competition for finding one that builds your resume while providing you real-world experience, has only made the process more difficult.

Modi's Visit: The View from Jerusalem: Efraim Inbar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, July 10, 2017— The visit by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi caused many Jerusalemites, like me, a lot of traffic delays. In retrospect, it was definitely a price worth paying.

Modi’s Visit to Israel: Oshrit Birvadker, BESA, July 31, 2017— From the 1920s until the establishment of official bilateral relations in 1992, Indian-Israeli ties were dictated by the views of Indian Muslims and moves by Pakistan.

The Role of Azerbaijan in Israel’s Alliance of Periphery: Aynur Bashirova and Ahmet Sozen, Rubin Center, June 22, 2017— Israel’s alliance of periphery was formed in the 1950s in order to end the newly established state’s regional and global isolation, which was a result of its conflict with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors.




Startup Nation Has Grown Into Tech Nation, Intel Israel R&D Chief Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 6, 2017 — Israel should start defining itself as a technology nation and not a startup nation anymore in light of the fact that it is managing to grow more mature companies over time…

Israel Reaches for the Skies and the Moon: Ferry Biedermann, CNBC, May 31, 2017 — A telltale white plume streaked across the sky over Israel Monday morning, revealing the country's latest missile test.

Mobileye Acquisition to Start Israeli Auto-Tech Boom: Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2017 — From a business standpoint, the multi-billion dollar Intel-Mobileye deal on the Israeli auto-tech industry had the effect of a level 8 earthquake on the Richter scale shifting the tectonic plates.

The Indian PM’s Historic Visit: Ephraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, June 27, 2017 — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at the beginning of July in the first-ever trip to this country by an Indian prime minister.


On Topic Links


Mossad Recruits Start-Ups for Real-Life Spy Tech (Video): Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2017

Can Israeli Water Technology Save the World?: Jeevan Vipinachandran, Times of Israel, June 19, 2017

Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping the World Fight Water Shortage: Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels, May 24, 2017

How Israeli Startups are Driving the Car Technology Revolution: Andrew Tobin, Times of Israel, May 17, 2017




NATION, INTEL ISRAEL R&D CHIEF SAYS                                                                            

Shoshanna Solomon

                                       Times of Israel, June 6, 2017


Israel should start defining itself as a technology nation and not a startup nation anymore in light of the fact that it is managing to grow more mature companies over time, a top Intel Corp. official in Israel said at a conference on Tuesday. “We are in a new era,” said Ran Senderovitz, VP, general manager at Intel Israel Development Centers at the Technovation Conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. “We must define Israel not as Startup Nation but as Tech Nation. To define Israel as a Startup Nation is like saying we are Peter Pan — we are this kid that never grows up; we are eternally young. The fact that multinational companies invest in Israel is proof that we can not only create technologies but also grow them in the longer term.”

Companies like Intel, Google, Apple have been snapping up Israeli firms and setting up research and development centers in Israel to make sure they are on top of new technologies being developed in the so-called Startup Nation — the name comes from a book by Den Senor and Saul Singer — which creates some 1,400 new startups a year. But rather than selling off early, as was once the case, entrepreneurs are holding on to their companies for longer in the hope of getting better valuations at a later stage of development.


Some 1,400 startups get created every year in Israel and some 800 shut down, said Aharon Aharon, the newly appointed chief executive officer of the Israel Innovation Authority, formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. “Do entrepreneurs really know what they are getting into?” he asked attendees at the Technovation 2017 Conference. Aharon formerly headed the activities of Apple in Israel.


“Irresistible passion” in an idea and not looking for a quick exit is key, he said. Entrepreneurs should believe their product is going to be a game changer; they must also be willing to take on sacrifices. “You can’t take your children three times a week to the playground or train to be iron woman” if you want to succeed with a startup, he warned. In addition, entrepreneurs should have deep knowledge in one of two things: either know the technology well or know the market and who the competitors to this technology will be.


Entrepreneurs also need to know when to take a step back and bring in the experts they need to complement their abilities, as well as be ready for the “roller-coaster ride” of successes and failures the company will encounter along the way. “If you have no stomach to absorb the roller-coaster ride don’t start. You must understand what you are getting into.” Charisma – and the ability to talk and convince customers and investors — is also a key quality entrepreneurs must have. “Good looks are for Tinder, not for a startup,” he said, referring to the popular online dating app. The ability to take tough decisions and be alone when taking them is also a must, he said. This could mean firing your best friend who no longer suits the needs of the company, or changing direction of the product to fit market needs.


And patience. “On average startups need seven years to succeed,” Aharon said. It took Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems set up in 1999, some 15 years before its IPO in New York and some 18 years before its sale, in March this year, to Intel Corp. for $15.3 billion. Louise Phelan, VP CEMEA at online payments processing firm PayPal, who grew up in Ireland in a family of 17 children, said women especially need to overcome a confidence problem when entering the labor and technology market. When you get up in the morning make sure to “take a spoon of confidence” along with your coffee, she advised. “Believe in yourselves.”


Technology leaders should make sure to constantly learn and develop by seeking feedback; they should also make sure to know when to take decisions, to learn from failures and move on from them. “Just as we celebrate successes, we must also celebrate failures,” she said. “In life, 10 percent is what happens to you and 90% is what you do about it,” she said. And most importantly, make sure you look after your people. “Technology doesn’t change the world,” she said. “People change the world. Look after your people who are critical to your success.”


The CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, Gil Shwed, spoke about the need to be dedicated to your company. For the first three years after setting up the cybersecurity firm he heads, he “cut off friendships, had no family,” he said. Only after the IPO in June 1996, three years after the company was founded, did he start to rebalance his life with friends and family, he said. He now works “just” eight to nine hours a day.


The temptation to sell out early was great, especially when the founders got a $3 million offer from BRM at the very early stages of the company, Shwed said. “But we believed in the company and did not even enter negotiations,” he said. Check Point’s market value on the Nasdaq at close on Monday was almost $19 billion.


When running a company, Shwed said, it is important to give your workers a feeling that they are doing something important and making a difference. And he channels any unrest he may feel after so many years at the head of his firm into the company itself. “My drive is to do better,” he said. “I push to get better results.”





Ferry Biedermann

CNBC, May 31, 2017


A telltale white plume streaked across the sky over Israel Monday morning, revealing the country's latest missile test. No announcement was made on what propulsion system was tested but experts say it was for an intercontinental ballistic missile or a missile defense rocket. Either way, it was a manifestation of Israel's activity in aerospace, a field in which it is developing significant new capabilities, including in the commercial sector.


The country has developed missile systems, such as the Jericho and the Shavit, which has been used to launch its own military satellites into space, anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome and the Arrow, and is dominating the international export market for military drones. One man who sits at the nexus of Israel's space and drone industries is Yariv Bash, co-founder of SpaceIL, the organization that seeks to put Israel on the moon, and CEO of drone startup Flytrex. With the latter he's seeking to put into place complete solutions for automated drone delivery. While the former, SpaceIL, is a finalist, one of only five in the world, in Google's Lunar X Prize competition for a privately funded moon landing.


Bash spoke to CNBC about his passion for all things flying and how he expects the aerospace industry in Israel to develop. "I like to say that I found other people to pay for my hobbies. Seeing something hover above you in the air or seeing a spacecraft leaving the atmosphere, these are two of the most amazing feats you can do as an engineer."


What does Flytrex do, what are you currently capable of? "Our systems are capable of delivering up to three kilograms up to ten kilometers away. We can deliver everything. We have a complete system that allows you to drop packages from the air in a safe way, hovering at twenty meters above ground and lowering the package on a wire in a completely safe way that enables you to lower a package to someone."


Where Flytrex is currently seeking to operate, Bash will not divulge but he says that he expects that within the next quarter the company will be operating in an urban environment and he will seek a new funding round within the next few quarters. At the beginning of this year, Flytrex was reported to have raised $3 million from several angel and VC investors.


How do you see the Israeli drone and aerospace industries develop? "It's like cyber[security]. Israel became a superpower when it comes to cyber startups because of the military capabilities and then you had personnel leaving the military and starting their own companies. I think it's a bit the same with the drone industry. We have a very successful military industry and drones are becoming more civilian. You see a lot of people leaving the military or the aviation industry today and beginning their own startups, joining other startups, to accomplish something on the industrial, commercial, civilian level."


How does Israel's international reputation in drones help Flytrex? "I have to say that with our clients I haven't seen them think well, the Israelis are great in military drones so Flytrex might be a good company. I think it mostly helps, the reputation, when you approach government officials. If you want to fly in certain countries you need to be in contact with the local civil aviation authorities, like the FAA in the United States. I think that when it comes to that, most of the countries, most aviation authorities already know Israel as a drone exporter and they most likely went through Israeli documentation and have approved Israeli drones before. They're more familiar with Israel, which really helps when you start the process with them."


With SpaceIL you've had a setback (when SpaceX's Falcon rocket blew up in 2016, delaying SpaceIL's launch date and possibly ending its X Prize chances). What will that mean? "It is rocket science, things sometimes explode and go off track. It did postpone a bit our efforts but we're building a spacecraft. It's amazing. Even if it's going to take a few more months than we anticipated, it's still an amazing project. In two months from now you'll be able to come to Israel and see the spacecraft being built. We'll be launching in 2018. We don't have a specific date yet but we're getting very close to the launch date, which is making things a lot harder and a lot more exciting."


So, SpaceIL will continue, even if it can no longer win the prize? "For us it's all about Israel reaching the moon, planting out flag there and exciting the next generation… We're actually an education non-profit. Our main vision is impacting every kid in Israel… We'll be recreating something that in the '60s was called the Apollo effect. After the Apollo program kids went in increasing numbers to be scientists and engineers. Here in Israel that's our main vision and we're working to generate thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of new engineers for Israel a decade or two from now." SpaceIL is a $70 million program that has received much of its funding from two billionaire donors, Israel's Morris Kahn and the US's Sheldon Adelson, says Bash.


Will there be commercial spin-offs from SpaceIL? That's why the Israeli space agency donated $1.5 million. They believe SpaceIL could sprout a new industry for Israel, just like the aviation industry or the civilian cyber industry. We're a non-profit. Once we go to the moon it will help our engineers and trainees to open up new companies and start new business, they will not be competing with us.





Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu

Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2017


From a business standpoint, the multi-billion dollar Intel-Mobileye deal on the Israeli auto-tech industry had the effect of a level 8 earthquake on the Richter scale shifting the tectonic plates. Not only was it the largest acquisition in Israel's history, but it also provided a concrete financial criterion for the developing sector and was registered on business seismographs all over the world. BM (before Mobileye), the industry attracted attention mostly from professional parties and knowledgeable people in the global auto industry, as well as a few small-to-medium fish in the venture capital industry. AM (after Mobileye), the business ocean's deep water sharks and whales are gathering round.


Every earthquake of these proportions naturally has aftershocks that continue for a long time afterwards, the results of which in this case are evident. Since the deal was announced in March, Israeli companies concentrating on various aspects of the smart vehicle vision have raised over $120 million. Most of the companies found more money available than they were planning on raising, and had to politely turn down some serious investors. Specialist venture capital funds also raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors all over the world seeking to build a portfolio of investments in seed-stage Israel auto-tech companies and ventures. An airlift of auto industry executives is also continuing under the radar – the very top management level – and that is only the tip of the iceberg.



Behind the scenes, these aftershocks are starting to generate structural changes in the young and developing industry: consolidation of the existing players, the entry of new companies from parallel sectors, major strides forward by existing companies, etc. Before trying to map some of these changes, it is worth noting that the earthquake epicenter itself, i.e. Intel, has not necessarily calmed down and stabilized.


Last week, Intel unveiled an "autonomous vehicle laboratory" in Silicon Valley, in which it is exposing and focusing research and development in many technological areas of the smart car vision extending far beyond Mobileye's computer vision and mapping. We therefore recommend that analysts ignore this earthquake, and continue following Intel's automotive activity in Israel. It is a real possibility that the Mobileye deal was merely Intel's first acquisition, and will serve as a core for the acquisition of a group of Israeli companies with complementary solutions.


The dimensions of the Intel-Mobileye deal were also a wakeup call for the Israeli defense industries – the dumb giant of the Israeli economy. "Globes" has already commented about the indirect connection between former defense industry figures and the developing auto-tech industry, but other than a few minor civilian automotive spinoffs, most of the defense industry giants have until now preferred to stay off the superhighway and focus on tanks, missiles, and aircraft. There are quite a few reasons for this. First of all, it is mentally difficult for companies accustomed to working with government customers with products costing from tens of thousands to millions of dollars per unit to get used to the auto industry's stringent cost policy, in which every dollar counts.


This situation is now changing, and a good illustration of this appeared last month in the form of a very rare visit to Michigan by a "commercial" delegation organized by the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority for 13 representatives of the largest defense industries in Israel. Michigan, of course, is the center of the US auto industry, and the purpose of the delegation's visit was described, among other things, as presenting solutions and products in sub-systems for military vehicles, robotics, and autonomous propulsion. There is a high correlation between civilian and military uses of smart car technologies. Matters such as autonomous propulsion, artificial intelligence, machine vision, connectivity, encryption, and protection of information transmission to and from a vehicle are also an integral part of the smart battlefield vision in which governments throughout the world have been investing trillions in recent years.


Anyone gaining a foothold in advanced core technologies in such sectors and successfully making the necessary mental and business adjustment is therefore likely to benefit from a two-way business track. Defense companies can grab a share of the rich global vehicle market, and civilian companies can win military contracts amounting to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. It cannot be ruled out that we will see cooperative efforts or intensive activity involving local defense industries in civilian uses of their technology, and perhaps even separate stock exchange offerings by subsidiaries in this sector.


Another sleepy giant now responding to the Mobileye deal fallout is Israeli cyber security firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. , the pride of the cyber industry. A connection between Check Point, a software company, and the hardware-intensive auto industry ostensibly appears unnatural. In an era of connected vehicles, however, this situation could change dramatically. The auto industry estimates that a single autonomous vehicle will generate a stream of data amounting to four terabytes every 90 minutes. This prodigious stream of data, multiplied by tens and hundreds of millions of vehicles throughout the world, has to be processed, filtered, and also secured against malicious attempted break-ins. This goal requires integration of advanced hardware capabilities in a vehicle, and but also on the cloud to which the data from the vehicle will be streamed…

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





Ephraim Inbar

Israel Hayom, June 27, 2017


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at the beginning of July in the first-ever trip to this country by an Indian prime minister. The visit reflects the significant expansion in relations between the two countries since they established full diplomatic relations in 1992. Since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in May 2014, his administration has shed its predecessors' reservations about regular public discussions regarding India's ties with Israel. It is worth noting that Modi's trip to Israel is not planned to be "balanced" with a visit to the Palestinian Authority, indicating that India has freed its relations with Israel from its historical commitment to the Palestinian issue. Indeed, India has modified its voting pattern at international organizations by refraining from joining the automatic majority against Israel.


India and Israel share high levels of threat perception and a common strategic agenda. Both have waged major conventional wars against their neighbors and have experienced low-intensity conflict and terrorism, and both are involved in protracted conflicts involving complex ethnic and religious components not always well understood by outsiders. Both also face weapons of mass destruction in the hands of their rivals. The two nations share a common threat from the radical offshoots of Islam in the greater Middle East. Israel regards parts of the Arab world –Saudi Arabia in particular — as hubs for Islamic extremism, while India views Saudi-Pakistani relations with suspicion. Moreover, India fears the Pakistani nuclear arsenal might ultimately fall into the hands of Islamic radicals.


For Israel, Islamic radicals in the Arab world and in the Islamic Republic of Iran constitute a constant security challenge. This challenge has become more acute with Iran's nuclear potential. The more recent Islamic State phenomenon has ramifications beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, as its offshoots threaten the stability of Egypt and Jordan — Israel's neighbors — and are increasingly sources of concern in south and southeast Asia. India has gradually overcome its inhibitions and engaged in security cooperation with Israel. Following diplomatic normalization in 1992, India's then-Defense Minister Sharad Pawar admitted to having already been cooperating with Israel on counterterrorism. This cooperation involves exchange of information on the finances, recruitment patterns, and training of terrorist groups, and is conducted away from the public eye. The November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks underscored the need for better counterterrorism preparations in India and elicited greater cooperation with Israeli agencies.


Arms supply and technology transfer have become important components in the bilateral relationship. Initially, Russian failure to deliver promised weapons at expected prices or schedules led India to turn to Israeli companies to upgrade some of its aging Soviet platforms, such as its Mig-21s and T-72 tank fleet. Difficulties in the development of weapons systems at home have led to the purchase of Israeli products and to partnership in developing advanced military technology. New Delhi purchased Israeli advanced radar and communications equipment, and turned also to Israel for portable battlefield radars, hand-held thermals, night warfare vision equipment, and electronic fences to improve border monitoring. A long list of Israeli military items, such as ammunition, UAV parts, and even missiles (Spike anti-armor, the Python-4 air-to-air, naval Barak-8 surface-to-air) are being produced in India…

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


CIJR Wishes all our friends & supporters: Happy Canada Day?


No Daily Briefing will be published on Friday, June 30




On Topic Links


Mossad Recruits Start-Ups for Real-Life Spy Tech (Video): Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2017

Can Israeli Water Technology Save the World?: Jeevan Vipinachandran, Times of Israel, June 19, 2017—Water, the most precious resource in the world, is increasingly scarce. However even as global water shortages threaten the world, Israeli innovation in countering water scarcity could yet lead the world out of the abyss of water shortage and war.

Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping the World Fight Water Shortage: Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels, May 24, 2017—In the hot and arid Middle East, clean water is liquid gold. Faced with limited rainfall and a grueling climate, Israel has increasingly relied on seawater since it built its first desalination plant in Eilat in the 1960s.

How Israeli Startups are Driving the Car Technology Revolution: Andrew Tobin, Times of Israel, May 17, 2017—Israeli startups are revving their engines ahead of the country’s largest-ever “smart transportation” event. Over 200 local companies working in transportation technology will be at the EcoMotion Conference on Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. The plan is to give auto industry giants a look under the hood of “Startup Nation.”











Greece-Israel-Cyprus Relations: Ripe for Expansion?: Dr. George Voskopoulos, JCPA, Dec. 18, 2016— Inter-state relations consist of rational choices aimed at producing desired outcomes.

Israel and India: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2016 — President Reuven Rivlin’s eight-day trip to India is yet another sign of Israel’s warming ties with the Asian giant. Rivlin is in India with a delegation of Israeli businesses to mark a quarter of a century of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Netanyahu Pays Visit to Strategically Positioned Azerbaijan: Ari Lieberman, Frontpage, Dec. 16, 2016 — On Monday, Israel took delivery of its first two F-35I “Adir” multi-purpose fighters.

Australia and Israel: Good Guys Should Stick Together: Prof. Efraim Inbar, BESA, Nov. 22, 2016— Australia and Israel have a warm relationship.


On Topic Links


Israel’s Economy Defies BDS: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2016

For Israel, the Task is to Work Even Harder to Keep Old Friends and Reach Out to New Ones: Eran Lerman, Mosaic, Nov. 21, 2016

Meet The Coolest Israeli Companies On Wall Street: Einat Paz-Frankel, No Camels, Dec. 4, 2016

World’s Largest Desalination Plant Turns Mediterranean into Drinking Water (Video): Breaking Israel News, Oct. 26, 2016




Dr. George Voskopoulos                                                         

JCPA, Dec. 18, 2016


Inter-state relations consist of rational choices aimed at producing desired outcomes. For Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, this means a continuation of stability and security in the chaos that has erupted from the Arab Spring. In light of this upheaval in the Middle East, cooperation between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel is essential to produce a haven of stability.


First, for Israel, Greece and Cyprus represent a bridge of stability to Europe, a stable region close to home. This security dimension is important for a country surrounded by pockets of instability and sources of radicalism. Both countries provide Israel with an allied neighbor and bring Israel closer to Europe in terms of security, trade, and energy. Second, Israel is also a crucial security actor in a region affected by drastic domestic changes within states lacking a culture of peaceful co-existence. Currently, Greece is heavily saddled by the influx of refugees fleeing war. Cyprus, Greece, and Israel share similar significant interests such as security, energy security, and the need to deal with radicalism and terrorism. These three countries have a lot to gain by deepening multilevel cooperation.


Third, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus are the only working democracies in a region of undemocratic, semi-democratic, and failing states. This is a powerful motivation factor for cooperation since democratic values are a fundamental criterion for partnerships. This strategic partnership could set the groundwork for future cooperation among these states.


In the last few years, Greek-Israeli relations have intensified due to the intensity of threats, the urgency, and the need to solidify relations in a region tormented by multifaceted threats. Israeli-Greek relations have advanced to a degree where the militaries are conducting joint air force operations and joint maneuvers by Greek and Israeli navies. Greece permitted an overfly mission by Israeli military aircraft in Greek air space in 2014. An Israeli military attaché has been stationed in Athens since 2014. These are major choices on the part of Athens, whose foreign policy of the past had focused exclusively on building a one-way relationship with the Arab world, leaving Israel out of the picture. Israel expressed deep gratitude to both countries for sending fire-fighting aircraft when widespread fires hit Israel in November 2016.


Greece-Cyprus-Israel relations are setting clear ground rules of engagement for states to operate as regional stabilizers. Jerusalem, Athens, and Nicosia constitute a stable axis of power that should be expanded to fill the vacuum of leadership in the region. The tripartite cooperation between the three countries as well as the joint declarations that followed recent meetings were labeled “non-exclusive,” thus leaving the door open for others willing to participate. Yet, any potential candidates for joining this cooperation will have to be clear about its intentions, policy choices, and above all their support for peace and democracy. These trilateral understandings are a message to the region. Israel, Greece, and Cyprus are initiating an alliance of stable nations, who share common values, and are willing to fight (in different ways) terrorism.


The recent advances constitute just the security dimension of this new tripartite cooperation. Cyprus and Greece provide Israel with close proximity to Europe, a continent where, despite problems, democracy flourishes. The intensity of threats, as well as the deteriorating security in the Middle East, point to the need of further cooperation between the stable forces in the region. This is a historic moment for the future of this region and the time is ripe to produce more allied relationships amidst the chaos of the Middle East.


In a very promising development, Greece, Israel, and Cyprus have decided to formalize their proposal for the construction of a pipeline from gas fields off the coast of Israel. They are taking their case to the EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, thus making a formal step in materializing the project. The feasibility report of the proposal and its financial competitiveness are encouraging. The project possesses strategic advantages since it uses the safest route to Europe. The three democratic countries can guarantee in the long-term a secure means of delivery in the effort to minimize Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. 




ISRAEL AND INDIA                                                                                                              


Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2016


President Reuven Rivlin’s eight-day trip to India is yet another sign of Israel’s warming ties with the Asian giant. Rivlin is in India with a delegation of Israeli businesses to mark a quarter of a century of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The president is a guest speaker at the Confederation of Indian Industries Premier Biennial Agro Technology and Business Fair. He will also visit the sites of the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed 195 people, including 162 Indians and nine Israelis. The two events – the agro convention and the eight-year anniversary of the Mumbai attack – underline the two fields in which Israel and India have fruitful cooperation: business and defense.


Israel’s innovative, dynamic and free economy has so much to contribute and teach India. And India’s huge market offers an important destination for Israeli products. Indian farmers can benefit from Israeli expertise in drip irrigation, water security, methods to increase milk production in cows and genetic advances that breed disease-free poultry among others. Hi-tech startups in Bangalore and Hyderabad see Israeli firms as role models of creativity.


Israel and India also have in common a need to defend themselves from radical Islam. Both are democracies with highly diverse populations that are struggling to maintain robust democracies. Both countries face threats from Islamist terrorists who are motivated to violent acts not by anything India or Israel has done, but by what the countries represent. The 2008 attack in Mumbai is illustrative of how both India and Israel embody all that is despised by fundamentalist Islamists: the two countries’ freedoms and tolerance, their democratic rule, and their proudly non-Muslim cultures.


One of the most public expressions of India’s warming relations with Israel was its decision in July 2015 to abstain from a vote against Israel in the United Nations Human Rights Council that blamed Israel for “war crimes” it supposedly perpetrated during Operation Protective Edge, while ignoring the war-mongering of Hamas. But the pro-Israel pivot goes back much farther, beginning with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, once upon a time India’s most important ally in its conflict with US-backed Pakistan.


Nevertheless, India has faced some constraints when it comes to improving ties with Israel. One factor is India’s large Muslim population – approximately 180 million – more than any other non-Muslim state. But India has profited little from its consistent pro-Palestinian position. Arab countries have failed to back India against Pakistan in its dispute over Kashmir. Even the Palestinians have consistently and overwhelmingly favored Muslim Pakistan over India. In contrast, Israel has supported India’s position vis-à-vis Kashmir, offering it critical counter-terror know-how and technologies at least since the 1999 Kargil War.


Another factor contributing to the warming ties between Israel and India was the rise to power of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. If India’s leftists viewed Israel as a “neo-imperialist proxy of America,” BJP supporters – and Hindus in general – tend to see Israel as a plucky democracy with a strong, non-Muslim religious identity standing up to nihilistic Islamist terrorists – not unlike the Indians themselves. Many parallels can be drawn between BJP and our Likud-led government. Both seek to strengthen what they see as a more authentic national identity – Hindutva in India, Jewish in Israel – while maintaining a robust democracy.


Caving in to Muslim dictates is bad for India. Muslim countries have little of consequence to offer India. Good relations with India is an important Israeli asset. With its huge population, many of whom are well-educated, India provides a regional counterweight to Russia and China. India, like Israel, is an officially secular federal democracy that is based on ethnic and confessional pluralism that faces constant threats from jihadists. Rivlin’s visit to India as the two countries celebrate 25 years of cooperation is a reminder of how much Israel and India have in common and how the ties between the two countries can be mutually beneficial. India’s leaders should not allow intimidation from Muslim countries to dissuade them from reaping the benefits of cooperation with Israel.






Ari Lieberman

Frontpage, Dec. 16, 2016


On Monday, Israel took delivery of its first two F-35I “Adir” multi-purpose fighters. Barring any unexpected cost overruns, Israel is slated to take delivery of a further 48 of these machines, reckoned to be the most advanced in the world. The acquisition will add to Israel’s already formidable fleet of F-16I, F-15I and F-15C fighter bombers. The following day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, paid an official state visit to Azerbaijan to meet with his counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev, to sign various trade agreements and solidify understandings. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan is predominantly Shia, the Muslim nation maintains very good relations with Israel.


The two events are seemingly mutually exclusive but must be viewed within a wider geo-political context involving the Islamic Republic of Iran, its militarized nuclear program and the JCPOA, more commonly referred to as the Iran Deal. In any strike against Iran, the F-35, with its stealth capabilities, advanced avionics and large payload, will be the tip of the Israeli spear. These aircraft along with F-15 and F-16 fighter jets will be at the forefront of any operation targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities.


Israel also has an undisclosed number of Jericho III intercontinental ballistic missiles that can accurately deliver a payload of 1,000 kilograms of high explosives over a distance of 6,000 kilometers – well within range of every square inch of the Islamic Republic. The Jericho can also be fitted with an unconventional warhead. It is silo-based but there have been reports that Israel possesses a mobile tracked or wheeled version as well.


There will be a role for Israeli Navy as well. Its recent acquisition of the INS Rahav, its fifth submarine, will significantly enhance Israel’s offensive and defensive capabilities. The craft can accurately deliver the Israeli version of the American Tomhawk cruise missile called the Popeye Turbo, and do so virtually undetected. The Popeye Turbo can also be equipped with an unconventional warhead. Israel’s advanced submarine platforms will also be tasked with carrying out covert operations. But Iran is large and distant. Its nuclear facilities are well protected, fortified and scattered about the country. Israel will need to covertly partner with other nations bordering Iran to ensure maximum success.


Enter Azerbaijan, a relatively small nation that shares a border with its much larger neighbor, Iran. As a Muslim nation and a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Azerbaijan has paid lip service to anti-Israeli Muslim political initiatives. But despite this, Israel and Azerbaijan maintain excellent, if somewhat discreet relations. That is so because both nations share mutual concerns and strategic interests and both view Iran warily. President Aliyev once described Azeri-Israel relations as being like an iceberg, nine-tenths of it is below the surface. That analogy is quite accurate but with Netanyahu’s public visit, it seems as though Azerbaijan is no longer concerned about keeping its ties with the Jewish State secretive.


During Netanyahu’s visit, Aliyev spoke of the deepening defense ties between the two nations and noted that “so far the contracts between Azerbaijani and Israeli companies with respect to purchasing of defense equipment is close to 5 billion dollars.” He added that he was “very satisfied with the level of this cooperation [between Israel and Azerbaijan].” Israel in turn derives much of its energy requirements from Baku.


Naturally, Netanyahu’s visit irked the Iranians who were quick to issue hysterical public denunciations of it. The Iranians have good reason to worry. An Israeli military presence in the Caucasus represents a game changer and heavily tilts the military balance in Israel’s favor. Forward operating bases would naturally close the vast distances separating the two nations and would further enable Israel to circumvent flyovers and aerial refueling over hostile enemy airspaces while en route to targets in Iran. Israel would also be able to carry out logistical, rescue and covert operations with greater ease.


In 2012, it was reported that Israel was seriously considering carrying out a preventative strike against Iran and had been covertly working with Azeri officials to further that goal. But in what can only be described as an act of supreme perfidy, the Obama administration leaked damaging information that inexplicably sought to expose and sabotage the burgeoning strategic alliance between Israel and Azerbaijan. The administration’s reasons for doing so remain a mystery. Perhaps it was an attempt to derail Israel’s attack plans or perhaps, as some have suggested, it was an act of pure malevolence. Either way, the betrayal harmed Israel’s covert efforts and security interests.


Four years later, there’s a new sheriff in town, one who has openly expressed disdain for the JCPOA and one who, unlike Obama, has promised to hold Iran accountable to its international commitments. When Netanyahu meets Trump, it’s a sure bet that Iran will be at the top of the agenda and the two realist leaders see eye-to-eye on the nature of the Iranian menace and the pitfalls of the JCPOA. The military option, all but sidelined by Obama, is now very much alive and the mullahs should be afraid, very afraid.




AUSTRALIA AND ISRAEL: GOOD GUYS SHOULD STICK TOGETHER                                                           

Prof. Efraim Inbar

BESA, Nov. 22, 2016


Australia and Israel have a warm relationship. In addition to the bond of their common values, both countries well remember the important Australian military contribution to the eviction of Turkish forces from the Land of Israel in 1917, and many Israelis have fond memories of the Aussies who passed through Mandatory Palestine during WWII. The two countries also share serious strategic concerns. They should work together more closely to tackle them.


In the Middle East, the Obama administration has projected weakness and encouraged Iran’s quest for hegemony. The vacuum created by the lower American profile has been partially filled by the Russians, a trend with worrying implications.


Asian as well as Middle Eastern states view the declining American role with concern. Despite the Obama administration’s rhetoric about pivoting to Asia, it did little to reassure its allies. Indeed, many of them now fear the rise of China, which is aggressively pursuing ambitious goals. The Philippines, under the colorful President Rodrigo Duterte, appears to wish to substitute its American orientation with a Chinese one. China has been more active of late in the greater Middle East, offering support to anti-American states like Iran and Syria. The Chinese Belt and Road initiative, while primarily motivated by economics, nevertheless has strategic significance in East and West Asia.


The spread of radical Islam, too, is a challenge for both Australia and Israel. In the Middle East, it is not only small radical Islamist states and groups that cause trouble. States with an Islamist agenda are contributing to the radicalization of the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia, for example, has spread its Wahhabi version of Islam for decades. Since 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has disseminated its revolutionary understanding of Shia, gaining control of four Arab capitals in the process – Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Sana. Since 2002, Turkey has been ruled by an Islamist leader who supports Sunni radical elements in Gaza, Syria, Libya, and Iraq.


Radical Islam is increasingly infiltrating South and East Asia, with the potential to destabilize countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. This prospect is of great concern to Australia, the Muslim minority of which is displaying signs of unrest. Finally, the specter of nearby nuclear proliferation is much feared by both Australia and Israel. Until recently, the Americans’ traditional position as security provider was a disincentive for nuclear proliferation. The 2015 nuclear deal with Iran changed that by legitimizing Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure.


Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to stand idly by as Iran, their regional competitor, makes nuclear progress. Unfortunately, the increased mistrust of Washington’s leadership has made American security guarantees less credible.


A similar development is underway in East Asia, where Chinese assertiveness and the growing North Korean nuclear threat are believed to be receiving an inadequate American response. The perception of American disengagement increases the likelihood that South Korea and Japan will adopt a nuclear posture, starting a chain of proliferation in other parts of Asia.


Australia’s and Israel’s common apprehensions about these global trends provide the strategic glue with which to build closer relations in defense and foreign affairs. With that in mind, Anthony Bergin of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and I co-authored a report, The Wattle and the Olive: A New Chapter in Australia and Israel Working Together, which suggests that the two countries move towards greater cooperation.


Up to now, there have been almost no high-level military exchanges between the two countries. Israel doesn’t have a uniformed military attaché in Canberra (although it has posted a civilian from the Ministry of Defense). The Australian military attaché to Israel is based in Ankara, Turkey. A regular and sustained dialogue of foreign and defense ministers is clearly in order. A strategic interchange involving senior uniformed and civilian defense personnel should look at strategic thinking, US alliance issues, military-to-military cooperation, and defense industry cooperation.


Australia should upgrade military and diplomatic relations with Israel to tap into its expertise in counter-terrorism, hi-tech weapons systems, and cyber-security. The Australian and Israeli militaries would benefit from enhanced cooperation: both operate American equipment, and both have invested heavily in world-class technology. The two militaries can share doctrinal insights and intelligence. Israel, whose military doctrine is based on self-reliance, can learn from Australia’s experience in military coalitions. Israel, in turn, has experience in urban warfare and in the development of unmanned aerial systems for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat, an area in which the Australian air force is developing its capability.


Israel also has expertise in countering improvised explosive devices (an area in which Australia also displays considerable proficiency) and is a global pacesetter in active measures for armored vehicle protection, defense against short-range rocket threats, and the use of robotics in the battlefield. Both countries are close to major choke-points along maritime oil and trade routes, making naval affairs an important component of their national strategies. Australia has a big navy and Israel plans to expand its own, in part to protect its offshore gas fields. Regarding air power, both countries have acquired the US-made F-35A, so there might be potential for collaboration. (In the technical domain, collaboration is most likely to occur in the broader community of international operators of the F-35A.)…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link




On Topic Links


Israel’s Economy Defies BDS: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2016—1. In December, 2016, Israel is unprecedentedly integrated into the global economy, highlighting the successful battle against BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), while rejecting pessimism and fatalism.

For Israel, the Task is to Work Even Harder to Keep Old Friends and Reach Out to New Ones: Eran Lerman, Mosaic, Nov. 21, 2016 —Arthur Herman’s essay, “Everybody Loves Israel,” comes as a breath of fresh air amid the pummelings being administered by the United Nations and the BDS movement and the dirge-like laments of friends about the Jewish state’s growing isolation as it courts a fate worse even than apartheid South Africa’s.

Meet The Coolest Israeli Companies On Wall Street: Einat Paz-Frankel, No Camels, Dec. 4, 2016—Israel is the largest foreign presence on Wall Street following China and Canada. Some 70 Israeli companies are currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with many technology firms listed on NASDAQ. “The level of Israeli equities listed on Wall Street is yet another example of Israeli innovation and the strong US-Israel relationship,” Daniella Rilov, executive director of the America-Israel Friendship League, said during a New York Stock Exchange event dedicated to Israel last month.

World’s Largest Desalination Plant Turns Mediterranean into Drinking Water (Video): Breaking Israel News, Oct. 26, 2016—Take a sneak peek into the largest desalination plant in the world using reverse osmosis – found in Israel, of course! How does one tiny desert nation provide water for all its citizens safely and ecologically? Check it out!






A New U.S. Front in Afghanistan?: Jessica Donati & Habib Khan Totakhil, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2016— On the night of Nov. 3, U.S. and Afghan Special Forces in helicopters landed in a village on the outskirts of Kunduz, Afghanistan, hoping to kill or capture local Taliban leaders planning another major attack on the city, the capital of Kunduz province in the country’s north.

Acting President of Afghanistan Lays ‘Barbaric’ Beating on Political Rival and Takes Him Captive: Mujib Mashal & Fahim Abed, New York Times, Nov. 28, 2016— As heavy snow fell on the muddy arena in northern Afghanistan on Friday where a traditional game of buzkashi — two teams of horsemen fighting for a dead goat — was underway, a scuffle broke out near the stands.

India-Pakistan ‘Tinderbox’ to Test Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy: Siddhant Mohan, Washington Times, Nov. 20, 2016 — Aiina Shah lost her brother to the latest surge of violence to engulf Kashmir, the India-controlled province that is also claimed by Pakistan.

Hostile Nations Are Taking Advantage of Obama’s Final Days: Benny Avni, New York Post, Oct. 23, 2016 — Why would an Iranian proxy in Yemen provoke a fight with America?


On Topic Links


Obama Leaves Office With Strong Taliban, Crumbling Afghan Gov’t: Saagar Enjeti, Daily Caller, Nov. 16, 2016

Why Military Force Matters: Jeff Bergner, Weekly Standard, Oct. 13, 216

Pakistan Names New Military Leader: Salman Masood, New York Times, Nov. 26, 2016

Leaders of the Taliban May Have Moved to Afghanistan from Pakistan: Fox News, Nov. 26, 2016



Jessica Donati & Habib Khan Totakhil                                                              

Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2016


On the night of Nov. 3, U.S. and Afghan Special Forces in helicopters landed in a village on the outskirts of Kunduz, Afghanistan, hoping to kill or capture local Taliban leaders planning another major attack on the city, the capital of Kunduz province in the country’s north. Instead, the militants led them into a trap. An hourslong battle erupted. By the time it was over, two U.S. and three Afghan soldiers had been killed, nine had been wounded, and some 30 civilians lay dead in the rubble.


U.S.-trained Afghan commandos and U.S. Special Forces are bearing the brunt of efforts to prevent the Taliban from seizing major cities such as Kunduz. They face an increasingly dangerous foe that is threatening to overrun a substantial part of the country. As many as six of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces are in danger of falling to the militants, according to Afghan and coalition officials. At least three provinces—Kunduz, Helmand and Farah—would probably have been lost already had it not been for the deployment of U.S. Special Forces to their capitals to support Afghan commandos with additional firepower and airstrikes, coalition officials say.


As a result, the U.S. is expected to face an unappealing choice: either escalate its involvement in the Afghan conflict—by sending in more troops or increasing the tempo of airstrikes and Special Forces operations—or risk allowing the Taliban to capture several Afghan provinces next year. The coalition raid in early November came just one month after the Taliban had mounted a lightning strike on Kunduz, which prompted a battle that ended 10 days later when Afghan and U.S. forces managed to drive the insurgents out.


The Taliban assault on the northern city was part of a campaign also involving other provinces. The offensive has opened several new fronts in the war, exposed weaknesses in the Afghan government’s security operations and highlighted the growing dependence of Afghan forces on the support of their U.S. counterparts.


In early October, two U.S. Special Forces teams were dispatched in rotating shifts to the governor’s compound, the symbolic headquarters of Kunduz province, to help Afghan commandos regain control of the city. When they arrived, no one was there—not even the Taliban. Provincial staff had left a message for them in English on a whiteboard, according to a U.S. soldier. It said: The Taliban are at the gates, we had to go. After Kunduz began to collapse, the Taliban broke through front lines north of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in Afghanistan’s south. U.S. troops stationed at a makeshift base in the city center called for airstrikes to hold the militants back.


As U.S. and Afghan forces were regaining control of Kunduz, the Taliban struck in the provincial capital of Farah province in the west. U.S. Special Forces were rapidly deployed to the remote western city, where they helped to coordinate at least 21 devastating airstrikes against columns of Taliban fighters. The U.S. military insists that Afghan forces are battling the Taliban to a stalemate and says that its recent operations in Afghanistan fall within the scope of the military’s mission to train and advise Afghan forces, not to fight their battles. “In the conduct of our noncombat missions, there are times where U.S. forces are in combat situations,” said Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, a spokesman for the coalition.


The Taliban’s gains signal a crumbling of state control across Afghanistan—one that the U.S. military has been hard-pressed to reverse since it withdrew most of its forces and left the Afghan government in charge of the war, alongside local forces that are often reluctant to fight. Afghan security forces have suffered some 15,000 casualties in the first eight months of the year, including more than 5,500 deaths, according to government figures. U.S. and Afghan officials say that Taliban deaths are even higher.


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed dismay at the disarray of his forces at a recent security conference in Kabul. He added that casualty rates among the country’s special forces, which are being used to prop up the army and police, were shocking. “I want discipline. I want these complaints to be addressed,” he told Afghan and coalition officials. A spokesman for Mr. Ghani acknowledged that the Taliban had raised the pressure on major Afghan cities but said that the government’s efforts, supported by coalition forces, had prevented the insurgents from achieving their military objectives this year.


Afghan authorities have struggled to inspire regular police and soldiers to fight the Taliban. When the militants attacked Kunduz in the early hours of Oct. 3, they encountered scant resistance—even though many had arrived on sandaled feet, armed only with Kalashnikov rifles, city residents said. Afghan soldiers abandoned checkpoints and police stations emptied without a fight, the residents said. By afternoon, the insurgents were in Kunduz’s main square, snapping photos of one another in the deserted city streets.


American firepower proved crucial to driving them out. U.S. Special Forces soldiers fired on Taliban militants who had holed up around the local governor’s compound as Afghan commandos cheered in the background, according to a video shot by one of the Afghan soldiers. As Afghan commandos battled in the streets outside, U.S. drones and attack helicopters chased Taliban fighters, killing the majority of the estimated 200 Taliban militants who took part in the attack on Kunduz.                                                     

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





Mujib Mashal & Fahim Abed

New York Times, Nov. 28, 2016


As heavy snow fell on the muddy arena in northern Afghanistan on Friday where a traditional game of buzkashi — two teams of horsemen fighting for a dead goat — was underway, a scuffle broke out near the stands. It was not just another group of hotheaded fans going at it. The man who had thrown the punch was the vice president of Afghanistan, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum. And he did not stop there: to drive the humiliation home, he put his foot on the chest of his downed victim, a political rival named Ahmad Ishchi, who was then beaten by the general’s bodyguards, thrown into the back of an armored vehicle and taken away, said several of Ishchi’s relatives, many of them speaking on the condition of anonymity out of a fear for retaliation.


“Dostum came there and he walked around the stadium, then he called Ahmad Ishchi over to him,” said Gulab Khan, a relative of Ishchi who was present at the game with about 5,000 other spectators. “After talking with him for a couple of minutes, he punched him and his bodyguards started beating him with AK-47s. They beat Ahmad very badly and in a barbaric way.” Dostum’s act, while not unexpected for a former warlord with a history of accusations of human rights violations and abuse (including physical acts of retaliation against allies and rivals), confirms the worst fears about someone a heartbeat from the presidency.


With President Ashraf Ghani traveling abroad on an official visit to Central Asia, Dostum is technically the acting president of the country. For more than two days, he has held his political rival hostage in one of his properties, with family members increasingly concerned about Ishchi’s health. On Sunday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the vice president’s pink palace in the northern city of Sheberghan, pleading with him to free Ishchi. The protesters remained all day, but Dostum did not meet with them. His guards simply told the protesters the general was busy or resting.


Spokesmen and advisers to Dostum did not respond to requests for comment, despite promises from several of them. Aides who had accompanied the general to the game, and who were shown at his side in official pictures, flatly denied they had been there. Lutfullah Azizi, the governor of Jowzjan province, which includes Sheberghan, said he was away from his office on a visit to Kabul, the capital, but was trying to calm the situation. “I am aware of the dispute between General Dostum and Ahmad Ishchi; I organized the tribal elders and sent them to talk with General Dostum to release Ahmad,” Azizi said Sunday. “They are currently meeting General Dostum, and we are emphasizing Ahmad’s release tonight as he is sick.”


While the two men have a long history of not getting along, a senior Afghan official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity said Ishchi had shown some sign of disrespect at what is a vulnerable time for the general. He has increasingly felt marginalized and humiliated by Ghani in Kabul. He has spent more time away from his office, often seen in uniform in the battlefields of his northern stronghold, than behind his desk.


Ishchi has been involved in politics in the north for decades, and he helped Dostum found the Junbish party that he leads now. A former labor leader during the communist regime, he rose to serve in senior provincial government positions. One of his sons was a district governor in Jowzjan, and another is a member of the provincial council there. A third son has become rich in recent years through businesses he has in Turkey. The senior Afghan official said though Ishchi’s power amounts to little compared with Dostum’s, the general nevertheless considers the Ishchi family a threat to his own dynasty as he grooms his children to inherit his party and power.


The incident happened soon after Dostum returned to the country after weeks of absence following another outburst aimed at Ghani, in which he threatened to cause trouble if he was not taken seriously. The outburst was triggered by anger at the lack of help from the central government when the general’s convoy was ambushed by the Taliban during a military operation in Faryab province, killing many of the men who had been at his side for years.


At Friday’s game, Dostum arrived in a convoy of black armored vehicles. Before the goat was slaughtered to start the action, local musicians sang a tribute to the recent martyrs as the general wept. His trembling lips pushing out deep breaths of pain, and with snow gathering on his shoulders, he wiped his tears with a white tissue. Then, he took it out on Ishchi.                                                


INDIA-PAKISTAN ‘TINDERBOX’ TO TEST                                                                     

DONALD TRUMP’S FOREIGN POLICY                                                                                     

Siddhant Mohan                                                                                                                     

Washington Times, Nov. 20, 2016


Aiina Shah lost her brother to the latest surge of violence to engulf Kashmir, the India-controlled province that is also claimed by Pakistan. He was blinded by pellets that the security police fired on demonstrators, she said. He died a few weeks later from wounds to the rest of his body. “He did not want to go the hospital for treatment because the police were raiding hospitals to arrest [those injured],” said Ms. Shah, a 28-year-old student from Sopore in the Baramulla district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. “Local doctors could not help [heal] his infection.”


Ms. Shah’s brother was one of more than 100 people, mostly protesters, killed in demonstrations that began in July after a popular young Kashmiri militant died in a gunbattle with police. Since then, local shops have shut their doors, schools have closed and outbreaks of violence have risen steadily in protests and an escalating tit-for-tat spat between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. India and Pakistan have expelled each other’s diplomats in the past month.


The escalation may prove an unexpected early test for President-elect Donald Trump and his emerging foreign policy team. The issue was almost entirely overlooked during the presidential race, where the foreign policy debate focused heavily on Russia and the Middle East. Mr. Trump has established a personal rapport with the strongly pro-business Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he also raised eyebrows across the region when he told an Indian newspaper last month that he would be honored to serve as a mediator if asked in the long-running Kashmir clash.


Pakistan has long pushed for international intervention in the dispute, while India has refused to accept outside mediators. Mr. Trump in the interview called Kashmir a “very, very hot tinderbox.” Pakistani officials said last week that thousands of villagers near the border in Kashmir fled a day after Indian shelling killed seven Pakistani soldiers. That was only the latest shooting across the Line of Control, which divides the Himalayan region claimed by both countries.


In the worst incident in September, 19 Indian soldiers were killed at their base in Kashmir. Indians said the attack was orchestrated by a militant group based in Pakistan with Pakistani help, a charge Islamabad denies. That attack was followed by an Indian strike on “militant bases” across the Pakistani border.


Now many believe this is the conflict that will push tensions in the region over the edge. “A proxy war between these two nations [over Kashmir] is already happening,” said Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a political and international law professor at Kashmir Central University. “And incidents in last four months have tensed the relationship even more.” He added that he expects violence to grow, especially with no resolution in sight: “[Nothing] can make us believe India or Pakistan are going to sit down together and talk on Kashmir issue.”


The violence is just the latest turmoil to strike the mountainous region on a border that has witnessed three wars between India and Pakistan. In between those conflicts, violence has been common throughout the Kashmir Valley in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir since India and Pakistan became independent states in 1947. Insurgents seeking to join Pakistan and achieve independence for the region rose up in an armed insurgency in the 1980s. India has suppressed those movements.


In recent years, however, separatists have gained support especially among disaffected Kashmiri youths. Unemployment, tensions between citizens and officials, heavy police militarization of civilian spaces and suspected human rights violations by the Indian army have pushed Kashmiri youths to take part in anti-India protests. This time, in Burhan Muzzaffar Wani, they found a leader. The 22-year-old commander of the Hizbul Mujahedeen, an Islamic militant group, had become popular through social media and was one of the more charismatic separatists. It was his killing in a July 8 shootout with security forces that triggered the latest round of violence. In this region, the group is considered heroic.


Thousands attended Wani’s funeral, which became the biggest protest in recent years. Demonstrators poured into the streets and hurled stones. Police responded with pellets, and hundreds were hit in the eyes, local officials say. In the subsequent months, protesters have defied curfews that have shut down streets and closed schools and businesses. Mobile phone, internet and television services have been intermittently cut off. The curfews, violence and security measures have made life harder for residents.


“We haven’t opened our shop since July,” said Muzamil Waseem, a businessman from Baramulla district. “We were managing to live with whatever savings we had. Our employees aren’t able to come to work, but we do pay them. That’s how people are managing their lives here.” “I stayed in Kashmir to manage my family business,” he said. “I thought it was an easy way of earning a living. But now I think my decision was wrong. We’re stuck between security forces and protesters. There is no way out now.”


Ghulam Hassan Pandit, 46, of the Kakpora Tal area, Wani’s hometown, said the situation is increasingly dire. “Our area is badly hit,” he said. “We are running short of food supplies, our savings are dwindling and medical services lessening. People wish to move out, but they are now framed as terrorists, so they refrain.” Hassan Beg, a businessman from Srinagar, conceded that Kashmir has always been a conflict zone but said the situation is getting worse. “This time, things turned more violent and got much attention,” said Mr. Beg. “Many innocent lives were lost. But what hurts most is that our fellow countrymen now consider us as terrorists. They do not count us as Indians. TV channels were accusing us of destabilizing the nation, but they did not bother to see that we were crushed under army boots. My son doesn’t want to go New Delhi for his higher studies,” he said. “He fears that he’d be framed as terrorist and will be lynched.”…

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




HOSTILE NATIONS ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OBAMA’S FINAL DAYS                                                                   

Benny Avni                                                                                                            

New York Post, Oct. 23, 2016


Why would an Iranian proxy in Yemen provoke a fight with America? There was almost most universal puzzlement among several Middle Eastern diplomats I talked to in the last few days. They were trying to game out what exactly happened when US Navy ships, including the destroyer USS Mason, came under rocket fire off the coast of Yemen earlier this month. The likely culprit: a Yemeni militia known as the Houthis.


The Houthis denied involvement and — as is always the case in the region — speculations abound about other possible aggressors. In Washington, officials went back and forth several times, quite confidently implicating the Houthis, Iranian allies, at first — then raising doubts about their involvement and, later still, implicating them yet again. On the ground, though, the US targeted three radar posts that the Pentagon said served to home in on the Mason. That response was described by Washington officials as “measured” and “limited.” Which may answer the mystery as to why would Iranians, or their Yemeni proxies, pick a fight with America: because they can. And because soon a new US president may change all that.


Donald Trump often describes President Obama’s response to foreign threats as a “disaster” and has vowed to restore America’s military deterrence. So does Hillary Clinton. “We need to respond to evolving threats from states like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea,” she said in August at the American Legion in Cincinnati. “We need a military that is ready and agile so it can meet the full range of threats and operate on short notice across every domain,” she added. After eight years of retreat, that may prove a tall order.


Russia, for one, increasingly provokes American allies in Europe and elsewhere. Since April, Russian fighter planes have buzzed American planes and warships with barely a protest. On Friday, a Russian armada, led by the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, provocatively sailed the English Channel. American and British ships watched. China, meanwhile, steadily turns man-made islands into naval military fortresses, transforming the South China Sea into its private lake — much to the chagrin of our allies, who’ve relied on American defense treaties for decades. Beijing also restricts commercial flights over disputed areas and constantly confronts Japanese fishermen in the East China Sea, where Tokyo has administered several territories for a long time.


Washington advises Pacific allies to use international arbitration to regain sovereignty back from increasingly belligerent China. But when a Hague court ruled for the Philippines recently on one such dispute, China simply ignored the verdict. This week, Manila’s new president, Rodrigo Duterte, announced his “separation” from the US and swore allegiance, instead, to China and Russia. The next president must demonstrate that there’s a new sheriff in town, starting by significantly upping military budgets


Then there’s North Korea. At odds with America and much of the rest of the world since the 1950s, the Hermit Kingdom is increasingly pushing the envelope, testing ballistic missiles and nuclear devices — with various degrees of success, perhaps, but certainly at an accelerated rate. These trends have been building for several years, but “the pace is accelerating and intensifying,” says John Hannah, senior councilor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. America’s enemies and competitors have “tested and tested, and found that there’s not much resistance,” Hannah says. “Once deterrence begins to wear down, restoring it can, perhaps, be done by the next administration, but at higher costs. And that’s the danger.”…

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



On Topic Links


Obama Leaves Office With Strong Taliban, Crumbling Afghan Gov’t: Saagar Enjeti, Daily Caller, Nov. 16, 2016—Afghanistan’s parliament dismissed seven cabinet ministers in a single week, deepening its political crisis amid historic Taliban battlefield gains.

Why Military Force Matters: Jeff Bergner, Weekly Standard, Oct. 13, 216— An observer of this summer's party conventions would get the idea that the use of military force is almost always and everywhere wrong and ill-advised. Any reference to the use of force was drowned out at the conventions by chants of "America First" and "no more war."

Pakistan Names New Military Leader: Salman Masood, New York Times, Nov. 26, 2016—Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan on Saturday chose Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, a military commander with a solid soldierly reputation and a firm belief in civilian supremacy, to lead the country’s powerful army.

Leaders of the Taliban May Have Moved to Afghanistan from Pakistan: Fox News, Nov. 26, 2016—After operating out of Pakistan for more than a decade, the leaders of Afghanistan's Taliban movement may have moved back to their homeland to try to build on this year's gains in the war and to establish a permanent presence.





Israel Strengthens Asia Links as European Ties Fray: Frida Ghitis, World Politics Review, Jan. 21, 2016 — Relations between Israel and major Western countries have become increasingly contentious in recent years, owing largely to disagreements over Israel’s approach to its conflict with the Palestinians.

China, Israel Embraces Golden Age for Innovation Cooperation: Song Miou, Xinhuanet News, Jan. 6, 2016— A buzz filled the auditorium as a drone hovered over the heads of hundreds of businessmen attending the China-Israel trade summit in Beijing.

Why India Is Getting Serious About Its Relationship With Israel: Harsh V. Pant, The Diplomat, Jan. 26, 2016— In recent days, India has reached out to its Middle Eastern partners in a major way.

A Roving Ambassador: Suzanne D. Rutland, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2016 — “One day India may discover that her one-sided orientation in the Middle East is neither moral nor expedient.”


On Topic Links


India’s Foreign Minister a ‘Personal Advocate’ for Strong Ties With Israel: Bradley Martin, JNS, Jan. 20, 2016

India Successfully Tests Missile System Developed With Israel: Times of Israel, Dec. 30, 2015

President Xi Targets Energy, Stability During Debut Middle East Foray: Jeremy Koh, Channel News Asia, Jan. 20, 2016

Latest China Stock Crash Spotlights Urgent Need for Financial Reform: Francesco Sisci, Asia Times, Jan. 5, 2016





Frida Ghitis                                                                                   

World Politics Review, Jan. 21, 2016


Relations between Israel and major Western countries have become increasingly contentious in recent years, owing largely to disagreements over Israel’s approach to its conflict with the Palestinians. Ties with the U.S. and Europe remain of paramount importance to Israel. But the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a concerted effort to look toward major Asian countries, if not to replace Israel’s traditional European connections, then at least to lessen the country’s diplomatic and economic dependence on the West.


The refocused efforts have started yielding results, most notably in transforming relations with India, China and Japan. To be sure, Israel sees itself as a Western country, one whose culture and values align more closely with the West than the East. But, it also sees itself as a unique state, facing some challenges that are best understood in the East.  The most dramatic and profound change has occurred with India, particularly since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014. Modi and Netanyahu, by all accounts, have developed a strong personal connection, and they have done so very publicly, which is a dramatic change from the two countries’ history of bilateral links.


India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, who completed a visit to Israel last week, declared that “India attaches the highest importance” to developing the full range of ties with Israel. While reaffirming India’s continuing support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, she spoke of enormous potential for expanded links with Israel. Her visit came just a few months after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee became the first Indian head of state to visit the country. Prime Minister Modi is expected in Jerusalem later this year, and Mukherjee extended an invitation for Netanyahu to visit India.


The old joke in Israel was that India treated Israel as its mistress: Their relationship was intimate, but never in public. New Delhi bought billions of dollars of Israeli goods, mostly weapons, and had all manner of deep connections with the country, but on the surface remained cold and distant. That’s not an altogether unfamiliar position for Israel, which has quiet ties with many countries that publicly shun and criticize it, including many Arab states. That makes the changes with India particularly gratifying.


Since Modi became prime minister, India is no longer bashful about its ties to Israel. Modi and Netanyahu even proclaim their friendship over social media. When Netanyahu won re-election last year, Modi congratulated him in Hebrew via Twitter. In a separate Tweet, he said it in English for all the world to see. “Mazel Tov, my friend Bibi @Netanyahu,” he wrote. “I remember our meeting in New York last September warmly.” Indians and Israelis, and their respective leaders, see their two countries as having much in common. Both are home to lively democracies in regions where democracy remains fragile, in the case of South Asia, or uncommon, in the case of the Middle East; both face active hostility from Muslim states and Islamist militants; and both view their economies as engines of innovation.


While reinvigorated exchanges with China and Japan have focused mostly on expanding economic activity, Israel’s links with New Delhi amount to a full embrace. The newfound boost to ties is not just about technological exchanges and expanded trade, even if those areas have grown at a striking pace. It is also about diplomacy, an area in which Israel is in dire need of international support. Last July, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, India refrained from siding with the Arab bloc in a major anti-Israel vote. Since then, India has twice more abstained when the U.N. held a vote against Israel, reversing what used to be its automatic support for the Arab consensus in international forums.


Israel has reciprocated, declaring its support for India’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Not surprisingly, deepening diplomatic and security bonds have coincided with an explosion in trade, which has grown from less than $200 million in 1992 to more than $5 billion now, comprising not only defense equipment, but all manner of technology, in areas such as agriculture, water treatment, recycling and more.


Ties with China have expanded at an even more rapid pace. A recent preparedness conference in Tel Aviv included quite a few Chinese military participants in uniform. But the heart of Israel’s relationship with China is not military or diplomatic; it is commercial. While the U.S. and the Europe Union as a whole remain Israel’s top two trading partners, China has climbed to become Israel’s third-largest, accounting for about one-third of Israel’s total trade.


In a landmark agreement, Israel and China are jointly developing an ambitious project to build a railway from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. When completed, the “Red-to-Med,” or “Steel Canal,” will allow cargo to bypass the Suez Canal by unloading at Israel’s Eilat port on the Red Sea and traveling by train to the port of Ashdod on the Mediterranean. The two countries also just signed an agreement expanding technology and energy cooperation, as countless large- and small-scale projects come together between Israeli and Chinese firms.


Last month, Israel held an event called the Silicon Dragon to promote Israeli firms’ work in China. And last week, Beijing held its first China-Israel Trade Summit, attended by China’s commerce minister and Israel’s minister of industry, trade and labor. Ties with China are not without controversy. Some security experts worry about China’s espionage track record. And former Mossad head Efraim Halevy says deals, particularly in local infrastructure, that have strategic value should be scrutinized more closely. But despite these concerns, the trend remains toward increased economic exchange.


Besides growing connections with India and China, there is another, perhaps more striking change in bilateral relations with a third Asian country. Japan, a nation whose reliance on imported oil made it observe the Arab boycott of Israel and keep its distance from the Jewish state, is suddenly effecting a drastic change in its diplomatic stance toward Israel. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited Israel last year, is actively encouraging Japanese firms to engage in the Israeli market. Israel recently opened a trade office in Osaka and expanded its trade staff in Tokyo. Amid feverish activity, bilateral trade volumes are reaching new records.


Israel still views the West as its ideological and diplomatic home. However, the Israeli pivot to Asia is already yielding dividends that lessen the sting of the barbs coming from Europe and the U.S., and is sure to remain a central feature of Israel’s economic and diplomatic activity.





                            CHINA, ISRAEL EMBRACES GOLDEN AGE

                      FOR INNOVATION COOPERATION                                                             

                                         Song Miou

               Xinhuanet News, Jan. 6, 2016


A buzz filled the auditorium as a drone hovered over the heads of hundreds of businessmen attending the China-Israel trade summit in Beijing. Arriving on stage, it dropped a key into the hands of Amir Gal-Or, an Israeli entrepreneur who was presenting his opening remarks. "This key is a symbol of something very small but I hope it opens something very big," said Gal-Or, founder and head of Infinity Group, a China-Israel private equity firm.


Gal-Or is referencing the long-term innovation cooperation between China and Israel, two countries that have both viewed entrepreneurship as a key future growth strategy. However different the two nations are geographically and culturally, innovation is bringing the two countries together at an unprecedented pace.

At the first China Israel Technology Innovation and Investment Summit on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 in Beijing, entrepreneurs lined extra chairs along the back wall of the packed conference hall. Outside the hall, Israeli businessmen were busy exchanging business cards with Chinese counterparts, hoping to find potential partners.


The enthusiasm from both sides doesn't come out of nowhere. Chinese investors have begun parking their money in world-renowned Israeli high-tech industries at a stunning pace. About 40 percent of all venture capital flowing into Israel came from China in 2015, according to Ziva Eger, chief executive of the foreign investments and industrial cooperation division at the Ministry of Economy of Israel. "2016 will be much much bigger than that, (the investment from China) will probably double," Eger told Xinhua.


But it's not merely money that the fund-thirsty Israeli companies are looking for. Seeing the tremendous market in China, Israel is trying to form a long-term strategic relationship with China through academic exchanges, research and development (R&D) cooperation and incubator programs. About 4,000 miles away from each other, China, with a population of 1.3 billion and Israel, with 8 million, have hardly anything in common. While China is a giant economy with significant manufacturing power, Israel is widely regarded as the innovation hub of the world, with little interest in manufacturing.


But it's the anomalies that have made Israel and China the perfect match, said Raz Gal-Or, co-founder of weWOWwe, a startup that tries to connect football fans around the world. "They say opposites attract," the Israel-born, China-educated entrepreneur told Xinhua. Indeed, Israel excels in fields where Chinese technology eagerly looks for breakthroughs. Modern agriculture, medical devices, and cyber security are sectors that brew the most innovation from partnership.


Alibaba, for example, made its way into the Israeli startup scene by investing in QR code company Visualead in 2015. It then became an investor of the Israel-based venture fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), a venture capital firm known for its investment in cyber security. Fosun International, one of China's biggest private conglomerates, acquired Israeli medical device firm Alma Lasers for 222 million U.S. dollars in 2013. China's major food manufacturer Bright Food closed a deal in 2015 to purchase a majority stake in Israeli dairy giant Tnuva, a deal the Bright Food executive said would creates synergy in R&D.


The increase in cooperation between China and Israel is not surprising. Partnerships between the two countries can be traced back to the ancient Silk Road, according to Philippe Metoudi, co-author of the book "Israel and China: From Silk Road to Innovation Highway.” While differences exist, the Israelis and the Chinese still have many in common, Metoudi said. Their views on education, family values and appreciation for history, for example, are all shared philosophies that will help further boost long-term cooperation between the two nations. "We don't speak the same language, but we speak the same 'language' — we have the same ideas, the same values," Metoudi said.


As China transforms into a more innovation-driven economy, it's speeding up efforts to partner with Israel to strengthen its own technological might. For Israeli officials, helping create a better startup ecosystem in China also benefits local firms. "It's not only about money," said Ophir Gore, head of the trade mission at the Embassy of Israel in Beijing. "It's getting access to the Chinese market." In the past few years, China and Israel stepped up academic exchanges and R&D collaboration.


The recent establishment of Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a partnership between China's Shantou University and the Israel's Technion, is a prime example of the attempt by the two countries to cooperate in higher education. Platforms such as the Changzhou Innovation Park in southern China provide physical proximity for Israeli firms to get funds and collaborate with Chinese companies in industrial R&D.


Israeli officials are further calling for Chinese companies to build R&D centers and set up production lines in Israel, pledging the best platform and grants from the government. With growing academic cooperation, collaborative programs, and shared vision from both governments, "the golden age for Israel-China innovation cooperation has come," said Yin Hejun, China's Vice Minister of Science and Technology.           




      Harsh V. Pant

the Diplomat, Jan. 26, 2016


In recent days, India has reached out to its Middle Eastern partners in a major way. Last week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj went to Bahrain to attend the first ministerial meeting of the India-Arab League Cooperation Forum. This was an opportunity to engage with the 22 member countries of the Arab League at a time when the region is going through a major crisis and sectarian divisions are rearing their heads like never before.


Further cementing the goodwill generated by the visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Israel and Palestine some three months ago, Swaraj also visited Israel and Palestine. Her visit has paved the way for a possible visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India later this year and it is also likely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may pay a return visit to Tel Aviv.


A hallmark of the Modi government’s foreign policy has been a self-confident assertion of Indian interests. This is reflected in his government’s moves vis-à-vis Israel, marking a distinct break from the unnecessary and counterproductive diffidence of the past. Despite sharing 24 years of diplomatic ties and working closely on defense, counterterrorism, agriculture, and energy-related issues, no Indian prime minister or president had visited Israel until Mukherjee’s visit last year.


There has been a steady strengthening of India’s relationship with Israel ever since the two established full diplomatic relations in 1992. It is a tribute to Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s foresight that he was able to lay the foundation of the Indo-Israeli partnership. In contrast to the back-channel security ties that existed before the normalization of bilateral relations, India has been more willing in recent years to carve out a mutually beneficial bilateral relationship with Israel, including deepening military ties and liaising on countering the threat terrorism poses to the two societies.


Over the years, the Indian government has toned down its reactions to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. India has also begun denouncing Palestinian suicide bombings and other terrorist acts in Israel, something that was seen earlier as rather justified in light of the Israeli policies against the Palestinians. India is no longer initiating anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations and has made serious attempts to moderate the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM) anti-Israel resolutions. This re-evaluation has been based on a realization that India’s largely pro-Arab stance in the Middle East has not been adequately reciprocated and rewarded by the Arab world.


India has received no worthwhile backing from Arab countries in the resolution of problems it faces in its neighborhood, especially Kashmir. There have been no serious attempts by the Arab world to put pressure on Pakistan to reign in the cross-border insurgency in Kashmir. On the contrary, Arab nations have firmly stood by Pakistan, using the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to build support for Islamabad and jihadi groups in Kashmir. If Arab nations, such as Jordan, have been able to keep their traditional ties with Palestine intact while building a new relationship with Israel, there is no reason for India not to take a similar route, which might give it more room for diplomatic maneuvering in the region.


In fact, it was recently revealed that since the beginning of 2014, representatives from Israel and Saudi Arabia have had five secret meetings to discuss a common foe, Iran. Though Saudi Arabia still doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and Israel has yet to accept a Saudi-initiated peace offer to create a Palestinian state, this has not prevented the two from working together to thwart a strategic threat that they both feel strongly about.


Keeping India’s wider strategic interests in perspective, successive Indian governments since the early 1990s have walked a nuanced line between expressing genuine concern for the Palestinian cause and expanding its commercial and defense ties with Israel. India is the world’s largest buyer of Israeli weaponry and was Israel’s third largest trading partner in Asia, just after China and Hong Kong…

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




   Suzanne D. Rutland

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2016


“One day India may discover that her one-sided orientation in the Middle East is neither moral nor expedient. She may yet adopt a truly independent policy between the Arab states and Israel; only then will she be able to become a factor working for peace in the area which Indians call ‘West Africa.’” – Dr. S. Levenberg, January 4, 1957, Jewish Observer and ME Review, p.14. Despite the optimism of this hope expressed by Jewish Agency representative Dr. S. Levenberg, it took 35 years before it was realized.


On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, and the two discussed increasing the already lucrative ties between the two countries. But the road to cooperation between the two democracies was not without struggle. Until 1992, India refused to grant full diplomatic relations to Israel. Even though the two nations shared much in common, and despite efforts made by Jewish leaders, including key Australian figure Isi Leibler, there seemed to be no chance of change. However, in 1991, a number of factors led to a dramatic change. Leibler and Australia’s role in India’s granting full diplomatic statues to Israel has been largely forgotten. With the full realization of Levenberg’s hope – thanks to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – it is worthwhile recalling this history.


IN 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru became India’s first prime minister. He was concerned with maintaining India’s neutrality in relation to the Cold War and with building the block of Third World nations. In November 1947, India voted against the partition of Palestine, but in 1950 Nehru granted de facto and de jure recognition to Israel. Yet, for reasons of expediency, he left the question of diplomatic recognition unresolved due to concerns about the Arab world, India’s 40-million- strong Muslim minority and the conflict in Kashmir. Nehru maintained an ambiguous position. In 1958 he stated: “Israel is a fact and I am not one to deny facts… I am not one to say it is altogether a negative fact.” But he did not change his policy.


After Nehru’s death in 1964, his daughter, Indira Gandhi, became the dominant figure until her assassination in 1984. She sought to strengthen India’s connections with the Arab world and remained very antagonistic to Israel. During the Six Day War, India supported Egypt, Russia and the Arab world. Commenting later, US B’nai B’rith leader William Korey wrote in The New Leader that the war “unmask[ed] India’s posture of Olympian morality and neutrality – so carefully cultivated among liberals through the world – as sheer pretense. From the start of the crisis on May 18 [1967], the Indian government has parroted the Cairo-Moscow arguments, however contradictory…”


Similarly, during the Yom Kippur War, India continued to maintain its anti-Israel policies, largely due to its dependence on Arab oil and trade. In 1978, Isi Leibler was elected as president of Australian Jewry. He had founded Jetset Travel, the largest travel agency in the Southeast Asia/Pacific region, and was keen to build links between Israel and the Asian countries. At the same time, the World Jewish Congress was becoming more aware of the importance of the region and Leibler was appointed as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, Asia Region.


During a business trip in December 1981, Leibler managed to meet with Indira. After a five-minute presentation, when he spoke about Jewish concerns, she responded: “You are politically on dangerous ground here in India. I am under enormous pressure. It is not only Pakistan. I have a potential catastrophe with Muslims.” She then said: “Tell me why the American Jewish dominated press hates me… [and why] Jews concentrate their spite on me as if I were their worst enemy.” She ended by saying that she felt that Israel “hated” her and stressed that she liked Jews…

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





On Topic


India’s Foreign Minister a ‘Personal Advocate’ for Strong Ties With Israel: Bradley Martin, JNS, Jan. 20, 2016—Almost three months after the landmark visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj this week followed suit with a two-day visit to Israel amid increasingly warm ties between the two countries.

India Successfully Tests Missile System Developed With Israel: Times of Israel, Dec. 30, 2015—The Indian Navy overnight Tuesday successfully tested the Barak 8 missile defense system, which was developed jointly with Israel.

President Xi Targets Energy, Stability During Debut Middle East Foray: Jeremy Koh, Channel News Asia, Jan. 20, 2016—Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to focus on energy and negating regional extremist influences during his five-day tour through Riyadh, Cairo and Tehran, which began Tuesday (Jan 19).

Latest China Stock Crash Spotlights Urgent Need for Financial Reform: Francesco Sisci, Asia Times, Jan. 5, 2016— The crash of the Chinese stock market on the first day of trading in 2016 is a stark reminder of the urgent need for reform in China’s financial system in particular and its economy in general.














Israel: Start-Up Nation Comes of Age: John Reed, FT, Jan. 6, 2016— Vonetize, an Israeli company that offers video on demand to customers in Africa, Latin America and other emerging markets, is “not very focused on the exit”, in the words of its chief executive, Noam Josephides.

Forget BDS: Large Corporations Look to Israel for Innovation: Raphael Poch, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 21, 2016 — 25 of the world’s largest multinational corporations gathered in Tel Aviv on December 16 for the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate meetup…

Israel’s MobilEye Wants to Use Your Car to Build a Roadmap to the Driverless Future: David Gilbert, IBT, Jan. 7, 2016— At the Consumer Electronics Show here this week we've seen flashy demonstrations and slick presentations heralding the driverless car revolution…

Israel and India: A Partnership of Equals: Vijeta Uniyal, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 7, 2016 — Amid increasing bilateral trade and improving diplomatic ties, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj embarked on a two-day tour of Israel yesterday…


On Topic Links


2015 Was Red-Hot Year for Israeli High-Tech Scene: Viva Sarah Press, Israel 21C, Dec. 31, 2015

Google and Israel May Be Heading to the Moon: Jeffrey Kluger, Time, Oct. 7, 2015

Big Deals Expected at Biggest-Ever Israel Investment Event in China: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 4, 2015

“In the Fields of Warheads & Rockets we are Among the Global Leaders”: Ami Rojkes Dombe, Israel Defense, Jan. 6, 2015



John Reed

FT, Jan. 6, 2016


Vonetize, an Israeli company that offers video on demand to customers in Africa, Latin America and other emerging markets, is “not very focused on the exit”, in the words of its chief executive, Noam Josephides. The founder says he has no plan to sell the company any time soon.


Vonetize, which provides a Netflix-style premium streaming service via mobile devices and smart TV, launched in 2011 with $200,000 from an angel investor. The company in 2014 then raised $6m via small, private financing rounds, with some help from friends and family.


Until recently Vonetize — like Israel’s other ambitious technology start-ups — would have struggled to muster the funding and overseas marketing muscle needed to see it from the start-up stage into a global expansion. Many, at the first reasonable opportunity, sold out to the highest bidder — typically a US technology or private equity group — and moved on to the next thing.


But now, Israel’s technology sector is awash with funds from US, European and Chinese investors scouting for companies that want to grow on their own terms and timetable. This is partly driven by the high valuations in the US that are encouraging funds to look beyond Silicon Valley for good deals, but it also underlines the attraction of Israel’s start-ups.


Vonetize is weighing up its options: to fund expansion into Southeast Asia and other new markets, the company may raise money from institutional investors, or launch an initial public offering in Tel Aviv, New York or London, its chief executive says. In any event, an IPO would be just a “step on the way” to what Mr Josephides calls the company’s first milestone: a $5bn valuation. “We want to build a huge company,” he says. “That is clear to us.” Shooting for a $5bn valuation might sound like hubris, but Israel is known for its cluster of innovative start-ups.


With a small domestic market of just 8m people, entrepreneurs in Israel have a tendency to sell early. A common question posed at conferences was when Israel — nicknamed Start-Up Nation in an eponymous 2009 book — might become “scale-up nation”. Israelis asked when their country, which has no household-name multinationals other than generic drugs group Teva, would get its own corporate national champions like Finland’s Nokia or Germany’s Siemens. But as its technology sector matures, the Jewish state is seeing more companies expand to employ hundreds of people locally, achieving valuations of $1bn or more and gaining the status of “unicorns”.


“Up until five years ago, 99 per cent of Israeli companies, when you asked them ‘what is your strategy?’, they would answer ‘exit’,” says Josef Mandelbaum, chief executive of Perion, a Nasdaq-listed digital advertising group that has been acquiring other companies and now has a staff of about 660 worldwide. Mr Mendelbaum, whose company launched in 2010 with $30m sales and closed 2015 with more than 10 times that amount, says: “I don’t think there’s any reason why you can’t build a big company headquartered in Israel. That’s what I want to do.”


The crop of new and bigger companies worth $1bn or more is a source of growth for an economy that contends with demographic challenges and acute political risks. While some “old-economy” companies and industries are stagnating or struggling, the country’s growing technology sector is a magnet for inward investment and a continuing source of jobs — including for its underemployed Palestinian and ultra-Orthodox minorities. The industry accounts for 18 per cent of gross domestic product and more than one-third of the country’s total exports, according to official statistics. 


One of the reasons Israeli technology groups are expanding is that they are over-represented in sectors that are growing on the back of global demand: mobile applications, web engineering and most notably cyber security — an area where Israel’s national security needs are helping to feed a world-class industry. Check Point, founded by veterans of Israeli military intelligence, pioneered firewalls and Israel’s broader push into cyber security. It has long set an example for new companies, and remains one of Israel’s largest with a market capitalisation of $14bn.


It now has competition. Mobileye has built up a dominant presence in the market for camera-based automotive systems, powered by image processing algorithms that allow cars to brake or drive autonomously. It has resisted advances from would-be buyers; its founders Amnon Shashua, a computer science professor, and Ziv Amiram secured an early $100m investment from Goldman Sachs and set their sights on building a standalone company. It listed its shares in 2014 in the biggest Nasdaq IPO for an Israeli concern, and is now worth about $8bn.


CyberArk, a cyber security company that listed on Nasdaq in 2014, is worth about $1.5bn. Nasdaq-listed Wix.com, with a valuation just under $1bn, is growing its office in Tel Aviv as it expands its do-it-yourself web development business. Other “good candidates” for unicorn status, according to PwC’s partner in Israel Rubi Suliman, include Gett (formerly GetTaxi), an Uber-like cab-hailing and delivery company; IronSource, an online software and mobile distribution company; Outbrain, a “content discovery platform” provider; and Taboola, which helps content providers find links that will drive traffic to their sites. None have yet floated.


Critically there is a new generation of experienced serial entrepreneurs, who are drawing on resources gained building big companies overseas, to offer examples to new start-ups. “We now have two to three cycles of Israelis who spent time in the US, developed their companies there, came back to Israel, and re-created or joined another company, effectively importing this expertise,” says Gadi Tirosh, managing partner of Jerusalem Venture Partners, a leading venture capital fund, and CyberArk shareholder.


Uri Levine, co-founder of the mobile navigation and mapping app Waze, joined other shareholders in selling the company to Google for a reported $1.1bn in 2013 and is now involved in several new technology companies.  “The difference is coming from the entrepreneurs themselves,” says Mr Suliman. “They are looking at Waze, Gett, and Mobileye and saying: ‘I want to build a large company, a large multinational’.” …[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





FORGET BDS: LARGE CORPORATIONS LOOK TO ISRAEL FOR INNOVATION                                                    

Raphael Poch                                                                                                                         

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 21, 2015


25 of the world’s largest multinational corporations gathered in Tel Aviv on December 16th, for the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate meetup, in which the Israeli company Axis Innovation, introduced them to 15 handpicked Israeli startups. The catch: the 25 multinational corporations were vying for the attention of the startups.  


While the event was aimed at introducing the startups to the corporations, it was the corporations who came to Israel to woo the startups that Axis Innovation suggested for them. Senior representatives from firms such as AVG, Ford, IBM, GE, Tyco, GM, Coca-Cola, Singtel, PayPal, Yahoo, ProSieben and Kimberly-Clark participated in the second annual networking and deal-making meetup of its kind organized by Axis Innovation. “It is no secret about the large influx of international companies and corporate investors interested in Israel recently," said Ed Frank CEO of Axis Innovation. "The unique breadth of innovation and creativity has made Israel, and particularly Tel Aviv, a global high-tech hub.” “We put on this event to provide a platform for Israel’s leading startups and global companies to pitch to each other, network and support a full-face dialogue for partnerships to be created, subsequently benefiting both parties.”


The 2015 Corporate Edition is said to have been the biggest event of its kind and the only event in Israel, thus far, to target global corporate venture arms. Participating startups, whose identity is still being kept secret, even after the event, came from a variety of startup fields including big data, cloud, cyber-security, mobile, fintech and e-commerce. One of the highlights that Frank illustrated was what he termed “the internet of things”. The internet of things, according to Frank, is a new idea being developed in which one can put an internet connection onto a light bulb and you could use your phone to turn on and off the lights in the room.


“Another innovation that one of our companies is working on would give the ability to the consumer to put a small device on a water bottle which will flash if the person is not hydrating enough,” he said. Frank said that while some of the applications may seem “a little scary for some, we take it in stride, and keep an open mind to the innovations of the next generation.”

One of the chosen startups created a revolutionary agriculture technology for farmers to use their own generated data for optimization and sharing best practices worldwide, while another devised a tool to help small and medium businesses build an all-inclusive online marketing campaign in two minutes.


Frank pointed out that all of the multinationals have a presence in Israel, but “often startups have a hard time knocking on doors and and getting those doors to open.” But with the help of meetups like the one sponsored by Axis Innovation, the multinational corporation come to the startups and ask the startups to work with them.


“With all the talk of the boycotts in the EU, the fact that these multinational corporations are coming here, to Israel, shows that they all understand that the next best product is coming from here,” said Frank. “In order for our homegrown startups to really grow, they will need to partner in some way with these multinational corporations in their field. This is how they get larger and grow on the international market, and we are helping them to do so,” Frank concluded. 





TO BUILD A ROADMAP TO THE DRIVERLESS FUTURE                                

                       David Gilbert

IBT, Jan. 7, 2016


At the Consumer Electronics Show here this week we've seen flashy demonstrations and slick presentations heralding the driverless car revolution, but on the sidelines of the world's biggest technology conference one little-known Israeli company has proposed a unique solution to one of the biggest problems standing in the way of bringing autonomous vehicles to the masses: mapping. But not everyone is convinced it's the solution.


Compared to the flashy events held by the likes of Nvidia, Faraday Future and Volkswagen, the press conference by MobilEye here at CES Thursday was downright dour, but the plans laid out by co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer Amnon Shashua  could have a much bigger impact on the market than anything else announced in Vegas this week.


MobilEye is a market leader in providing car manufacturers with the ability to put semi-autonomous features into their cars, including parking assist, lane departure warnings and crash avoidance — such as Tesla's AutoPilot feautre. By the end of 2016, MobilEye's technology will be in 237 car models from 20 manufacturers, including almost all of the world's major automakers.


At CES, Shashua outlined his latest plan to help solve one of the biggest challenges facing companies seeking to build autonomous vehicles — mapping. MobilEye revealed that it has developed a system which would allow all cars using its technology to effectively map the world and create what Shashua called a "roadbook," a detailed cloud-based map of the entire world, which would be constantly updated in real time and could eventually be used by all car manufacturers.


At the moment there are two approaches to solving the driverless car navigation challenge. The first, employed by companies like Google, is to created highly detailed maps of particular areas and then use them to allow their vehicles full autonomy in the areas that have been mapped. While this, along with some other technology, allows for a completely driverless solution, scaling it on a global level would be virtually impossible, and keeping the maps updated is also a tough ask considering the huge amount of data needed to create the maps initially.


The second solution is to create lower-resolution maps of the entire globe and employ higher-resolution sensors (cameras) on the cars to augment them. This is the approach being taken by companies like Ford, Volvo and Tesla today, but to work properly it requires human-level artificial intelligence to process the data captured by the sensors, which is still many years away.


To overcome this problem, MobilEye is proposing to create maps based on identifying landmarks in the environment (such as road signs, lampposts, road markings), then process this information in-car before sending it to the cloud packaged in a very small amount of data. This could facilitate the creation of maps on a global scale. MobilEye has already signed up General Motors (GM) and Volkswagen to its Road Experience Management mapping system, with GM rolling it out this year while Volkswagen — and a third unnamed partner — are to begin testing the system in 2018.


"The low bandwidth of the model, and the fact that it requires only a camera, which is already available in most new car models as part of the trend toward growing driver assistance deployment, enables the map creation and update to be managed by a cooperative crowdsourcing mechanism," Shashua said Tuesday.


However, not everyone agrees that using only a camera is a good solution. James McBride, who has been heading up Ford's autonomous car efforts for over a decade, believes there are some questions to be asked about MobilEye's system. "The thing I would say about a camera-only solution is that cameras have some sort of technical challenges that are very different from Lidar [light detection and ranging] sensors," McBride told International Business Times

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




Vijeta Uniyal

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 17, 2016


Amid increasing bilateral trade and improving diplomatic ties, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj embarked on a two-day tour of Israel yesterday. The ministerial trip comes just three months after President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the Jewish State, the first ever by an Indian head of state. Swaraj’s presence in Israel gains even more significance in light of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much awaited visit, expected to take place this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also be visiting India in the near future, honoring an invitation extended by President Mukherjee during his visit.


Swaraj is well known in diplomatic and government circles in Jerusalem. She served as the chairperson of the Indo-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group from 2006-09. A gifted orator and a strongwilled politician, she regards Israeli stateswoman Golda Meir as her role model. Twenty months ago, as Prime Minister Modi embarked on an ambitious plan to transform the Asian giant, he named Israel as one of the leading cooperation partners for India in the world, besides the United States, Canada, Japan and Singapore. He entrusted Swaraj to engineer India’s pivot to Israel.


Since India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, bilateral trade and cooperation has risen exponentially. In 1990s the trade between India and Israel was pegged at a meager $200 million, by 2014-15 it had crossed $4.5 billion. Since early 1990s, when prime minister P. V. Narasimha Rao (Congress Party) initiated normalization between the two countries, there has been a political consensus between India’s main political blocs, the center-right BJP and socialist-leaning Congress Party, to further improve ties. The recent diplomatic will to do so has been driven by the demands of the technology and business community back home.


However, India’s much-anticipated pivot to Israel has been less than smooth, and slow to come. Despite the strong political desire to strengthen technological and commercial ties with Israel, India still doesn’t want to lose the congeniality contest in the Arab and Muslim world. The real political considerations of over-dependence on Arab oil and a significant Muslim population at home force India to undertake a meticulous balancing act. Swaraj’s brief stopover in the Palestinian territories before embarking on her official engagements in Israel is seen as an attempt to assure President Mahmoud Abbas of India’s backing for his demands.


Seen as a traditional backer of the “Palestinian cause,” India has managed to change its diplomatic stance since Prime Minister Modi took office. India signaled a significant policy shift by repeatedly abstaining from anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations. Considering India’s foreign policy constraints, the country has come a long way in past two decades and even more so in past two months of Prime Minister Modi’s reign.


Despite the intricacies of statecraft and international diplomacy, there has always been strong support among Indians for the Jewish state since its inception. And these two countries share a lot more with each other than meets the eye. Both India and Israel gained independence from British colonial rule around the same time and went on to prove themselves robust democracies despite being surrounded by military dictatorships, failed states and theocracies. Both nations faced the trauma of displacement, absorbing huge refugee populations after being partitioned on religious and ethnic lines. Today, both India and Israel are multicultural societies with equal rights for religious minorities.


Free press, independent judiciary and vibrant civil society shape the political and social discourse in both India and Israel. Their societies are fiercely self-critical – a trait rare in their respective neighborhoods. Nowhere are their government policies scrutinized more intensely and their political class reproached more severely than at home. Both Israel and India hold the unique distinction of being ancient nations with a young demography. More than 40 percent of Israeli population is under 25; 50% of Indians are in the same age group. Young men and women in both countries share a passion for entrepreneurship and technological innovation.


Nowhere is the need to connect with Israel felt more in India than within country’s IT and start-up community. Indian entrepreneurs and technology driven companies have come to appreciate the need to connect with Israel. In 2015 alone, leading Indian corporations like Tech-Mahindra, Reliance Industries and Tata Group have made substantial and long-term investments in Israel’s innovation and start-up ecosystem.India’s private sector involvement in Israel also includes setting up start-up incubators and investments in academic research. Tata Group is the lead investor in Tel Aviv University’s RAMOT, a $20 million technology fund that translates academic research into industry-relevant solutions.


Since the advent of the Information Age, Indian and Israeli professionals have been at the cutting edge of innovation and business in Silicon Valley, San Francisco. What initially started as the brain drain soon created IT hubs back home. Clusters of high-tech industries sprang up around major population centers. The trend witnessed in Silicon Wadi has lot in common with technology-driven success stories unfolding in Bangalore, Delhi or Hyderabad. This bilateral cooperation does not restrain itself to university campuses or corporate board rooms.


Israel’s agriculture project in India is the Jewish state’s largest engagement anywhere in the world. In the framework of Indo-Israel Agricultural Project, MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) operates 26 Centers of Excellence in nine different states across India. These agriculture centers act as platforms for transfer of technology to Indian farmers. If implemented, Israeli expertise in water resource management and cultivation of arid land could be valuable in ensuring India’s future food and water security…

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


On Topic


2015 Was Red-Hot Year for Israeli High-Tech Scene: Viva Sarah Press, Israel 21C, Dec. 31, 2015—Israeli high-tech startups were red hot in 2015, and are entering 2016 as exciting commodities for investors worldwide, according to numerous end-of-year market reports.

Google and Israel May Be Heading to the Moon: Jeffrey Kluger, Time, Oct. 7, 2015—Tired of waiting for NASA to get its Apollo-era mojo back and start putting spacecraft on the lunar surface again? Then you’ll be happy to know that Israel—with some help from Google—is about to show the moon a little love.

Big Deals Expected at Biggest-Ever Israel Investment Event in China: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 4, 2015—At the biggest-ever Israel-China investment event ever, being held in Beijing this week, the recent woes on the Shanghai Stock Exchange are just a passing thought, according to Ophir Gore, commercial attaché of Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry in Beijing.

“In the Fields of Warheads & Rockets we are Among the Global Leaders”: Ami Rojkes Dombe, Israel Defense, Jan. 6, 2015—IMI’s Corporate VP Marketing speaks about the challenge of maintaining the technological edge in a world where American and European defense industries have switched into an export-oriented strategy.















We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


The Rise of Danny Danon – From Little Pisher to the Big Apple: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 17, 2015— Throughout his political career, Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon surprised friend and foe with his chutzpah.

Improving Ties Between India and Israel: BESA, Aug. 6, 2015 — Relations between India and Israel are changing and improving.

Israel and Japan Are Finally Becoming Friends. Why?: Arthur Herman, Mosaic, Aug. 6, 2015 — Walk down a side street in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol and you may came across a group of students chatting loudly in Hebrew as they review their Bible lessons of the day.

The Nuclear Deal: No Pause in Iran’s Vow to Destroy Israel: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Aug. 16, 2015— Sixteen years after his death, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s founding vision — that the eradication of Zionism is an inevitable precondition for redeeming contemporary Islam — keeps guiding the current generation of Iran’s religious, political and military establishment.


On Topic Links


Danny Danon Confidant Says Hawkish Minister Will ‘Surprise Many’ as Israel’s UN Envoy: Dovid Efune, Algemeiner, Aug. 14, 2015

Israel’s Cabinet Approves Regulatory Scheme for Gas-Field Development: Sara Toth Stub, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 16, 2015

On the Future of Israel’s Natural Gas Reserves: BESA, July 15, 2015

Reforms – Prospects and Impediments: Daniel Doron, Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2015

American Jewry’s Fateful Hour: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 13, 2015


THE RISE OF DANNY DANON – FROM LITTLE PISHER TO THE BIG APPLE                                                                

Gil Hoffman

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 17, 2015


Throughout his political career, Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon surprised friend and foe with his chutzpah. When he first ran for leader of Likud in 2007, veteran Likud activists asked who is this “little pisher” Danon who dared challenge Benjamin Netanyahu? He only got 3.7 percent of the vote, but after that a lot more people knew who Danon was.

The year before, in 2006, Danon ran and beat Netanyahu’s closest political ally, Yuval Steinitz, in a race for head of World Likud. The year before that, Danon challenged then prime minister Ariel Sharon from behind the scenes when he tried to run an alternative candidate for chairman of the Jewish Agency, a post the prime minister usually picks without opposition. When he ran for Knesset in December 2008, he managed to beat an Israeli icon and veteran basketball star Tal Brody for a slot on the Likud list. Brody had famously “put Israel on the map.” But Danon had mapped out the Likud activists who decided the race.

He also was elected chairman of the Likud central committee despite opposition from Netanyahu and other top figures in the party. Danon is not the first Likud politician who succeeded by building support among the party’s rank-in-file. But he is the first, at least in many years, to employ the strategy of building himself internationally concurrently with his work among grassroots Likud activists. He employed respected public relations advisers – the late Charley Levine, Jonny Daniels and Elie Bennett. While many Likud MKs fight for good press in Israel Hayom and Yediot Aharonot, for more than a decade Danon has actively sought as many headlines as he could in The Jerusalem Post.

Danon wanted politicians in Washington and pastors in Texas to know who he was just as much as he wanted to reach out to Likud activists in Petah Tikva and Ashkelon. He reached out to Christian Evangelicals and Republican congressmen and even wrote a book criticizing US President Barack Obama as a freshman MK. Before too long, he was much more known in America than higher ranking Likud officials like Gideon Sa’ar and Gilad Erdan, who did not try as hard to build themselves abroad.

Building his reputation internationally made Danon seem worldly and bigger for the Likud activists who decided his political fate. His rebelliousness repeatedly irked Netanyahu but also forced him to take him seriously, which built Danon up further. When it came time to pick an ambassador to the United Nations, Netanyahu could have picked an ally like Minister-without-Portfolio Ophir Akunis. But instead he picked Danon, whose rebelliousness Netanyahu preferred to see in a different country.

If Danon is the Likud’s troublemaker, Netanyahu wants to sic him on the UN and have him wreak a little havoc over there among Israel’s enemies. Netanyahu’s associates said the prime minister learned to respect Danon’s chutzpah and thinks it could help Israel in the hardest of international arenas. So Danon is off to the Big Apple, in part because he was not afraid to show Israelis and the world that he is not a little pisher.





IMPROVING TIES BETWEEN INDIA AND ISRAEL                                                                                  

Prof. Efraim Inbar

BESA, Aug. 6, 2015


Relations between India and Israel are changing and improving. It was recently announced that Indian president Pranab Mukherjee will hold a state visit to Israel in October, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to visit – the first visit of an Indian prime minister to Israel – early next year. In February 2015, Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon visited India, during which the two countries finalized a major defense deal worth more than $1.5 billion.


No less significantly, we have witnessed a shift in India’s traditionally pro- Palestinian stance at the United Nations. New Delhi abstained from voting on a UN Human Rights Council motion in favor of the Palestinians. (The vote was to accept the Inquiry Commission Report on the 2014 Israeli strikes in Gaza, and transfer the file to the International Criminal Court). Indeed, India had already abstained in June on a vote to give UN recognition to an NGO with Hamas links. It should however be noted that India still does not vote with Israel and the United States, and that both abstentions were related to Hamas (an Islamist terrorist organization). It remains to be seen whether a similar shift can be expected on other Palestinian issues.


This long-awaited shift in India’s position toward Israel is the result of several domestic and international developments. First, the Hindu nationalist BJ Party (BJP) returned to power in May 2014. The BJP has always been more favorably disposed toward the Jewish State – a natural ally against Muslim extremism – than the left-leaning Congress Party. Moreover, the BJP’s charismatic leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been a good friend of Israel.


The BJP is also less sensitive to the large Muslim minority in India (180 million) that is believed to be more critical of close ties with Israel. And in any case, Islam in that part of the world is more tolerant than in the Middle East. While for many Muslims around the globe, Islam is the dominant component of their identity, this is not necessarily true of India’s Muslims. The Indian component of their identity, several thousand years old, precedes the Muslim one. Indeed, about 8 percent of India’s Muslims voted for Modi.

Second, a large part of the Indian political and bureaucratic establishment, which in the past had evinced a lukewarm attitude toward Israel, nowadays shares the view that the bilateral relations that have intensified since the mid-1990s are very beneficial to India. The multi-faceted interactions in the areas of defense industries, counter terrorism, intelligence, agriculture, health, science, and technology have blossomed in recent years. The defense ties, in particular, have been a significant factor in the increased closeness between Jerusalem and New Delhi. Moreover, the lobbies of the two states cooperate in Washington…


Third, international factors that had inhibited good relations with Israel have lost some of their power. As India gradually acquires greater global importance, it feels less pressure to please the Muslim, and particularly the Arab, bloc. The Arab world is in the midst of a deep sociopolitical crisis that will probably last for decades. Moreover, the balance of power in the international oil market has shifted largely towards the buyer. Hence despite the fact that over eight million Indians are employed in the Gulf, and that most of Indian’s oil comes from that area, the international leverage of the Arab countries has been weakened. India has also been bitterly disappointed by the lack of support it receives from Arab states on the Kashmir issue.


Fourth, India can still plausibly claim that its abstentions at the UN are not a betrayal of its historic support for the struggle of the Palestinians. Nevertheless, New Delhi realizes that Muslim and other states merely pay lip service to the Palestinian issue.

The shift in India’s position on Israel also reflects several international trends. First, it shows that India is gradually growing into its elevated status on the world scene and increasingly behaves in accordance with its own interests, and with diminished sensitivity to other actors. Although India has always claimed a special role in international affairs, following the end of the Cold War and the liberalization of the Indian economy its potential for great power status is coming to fruition.


Second, it reveals the true power of the Arab world. As the Arab tragedy unfolds, particularly since the so-called Arab Spring, the Arab world is in disarray and unable to wield much international pressure. Third, it indicates that the Indo-Israeli relationship has matured and entered into a new stage. India recognizes the importance of the relations with the Jewish State and is willing to take into consideration Israel’s interests. Obviously, the contents of the bilateral relationship are more important than votes at the United Nations – a morally bankrupt institution. But India’s gesture is welcome nonetheless.


Finally, India’s shift is likely to resonate beyond the corridors of the United Nations, and Third World countries might follow its example. After all, India is considered one of the leaders of the Third World bloc. We have already seen how African countries such as Nigeria have sided with Israel at the United Nations. Israel is a strong country with much to offer the international community, while its Arab enemies are losing influence in the international arena. Indeed, one important lesson from India’s behavior is that the fears of international isolation among Israelis are greatly exaggerated.




ISRAEL AND JAPAN ARE FINALLY BECOMING FRIENDS. WHY?                                                                

Arthur Herman                                                                                                            

Mosaic, Aug. 6, 2015


Walk down a side street in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol and you may came across a group of students chatting loudly in Hebrew as they review their Bible lessons of the day. Hardly an extraordinary sight in Israel—except that these aren’t Israelis. They’re young Japanese on student visas who have assumed hybrid names like Asher Sieto Kimura and Suzana Keiren Mimosa. And they’re Makuyas: members of a Japanese religious group that’s been fervently supportive of Israel since 1948.


The movement’s founder—“Makuya” is Japanese for ohel moed, the biblical tent of meeting or tabernacle—was Ikuro Teshima, a Christian businessman who adopted the name Abraham in the belief that the birth of Israel marked the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. His dream, finally realized in the 1960s, was to send groups of young Japanese to Israel, there to study Hebrew and Jewish thought and to volunteer in hospitals, schools, and senior centers. Since then, over 1,000 Makuyas have attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the University of Haifa, the Technion, and other institutions of higher learning. In Japan itself, the Makuya newsletter reaches more than 300,000 subscribers.


Makuya aside, it is true, love of Israel used to be an anomaly in Japan. But it is much less of one now. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the first Japanese premier in almost a decade to visit the Jewish state, represents a political establishment that has undergone a significant shift in perception, to the point where a country once kept at arm’s length by Tokyo is now increasingly seen to merit a friendly and indeed a deferential bow. And the feeling is warmly reciprocated.


How significant is this? When one thinks of Israel’s relations with Asia, two countries may come to mind before Japan. First, India: a fellow democracy with which Israel’s trade ties have been fairly constant over recent decades and diplomatic relations, always cool, have been notably warming under the current premiership of Narendra Modi. Second, China: a country with which Israel’s trade ties are likewise substantial and growing— jumping from $51 million in 1992 to more than $11 billion in 2014—even as on the international scene China not only sides vocally with some of Israel’s and the West’s deadliest enemies but also remains a largely closed society within and militarily belligerent without. This is all the more reason to focus on the largely neglected story of Israel and Japan: another democracy, another American ally, and, with India, another Asian nation directly threatened by Chinese aggression and expansionism.


Before the 1990s, the best word for describing Japan-Israel relations was chilly. Although Israel’s first embassy in Tokyo opened in 1952, Japan’s embassy in Tel Aviv had to wait till the 1960s. Deep dependence on Middle East oil made observing the Arab boycott of Israel a diplomatic priority for decades. Japan did abstain from voting on the UN’s notorious Zionism/racism resolution of 1975, but to this day most Japanese politicians mouth the kind of kneejerk anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian rhetoric that prevails in international diplomatic forums.


It’s a matter of historical curiosity that, long ago, relations were once better. As early as 1918 the imperial Japanese government, echoing the words of Britain’s Balfour Declaration, endorsed “the ardent desire of the Zionists to establish in Palestine a National Jewish Homeland.” In 1934, Tokyo unveiled what came to be known as the Fugu Plan, encouraging Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany to settle in Japanese-occupied Manchuria and Shanghai (the latter occupied in 1937). Jews in these places were to be given complete religious freedom as well as the right to set up their own schools and cultural institutions, funded, or so Tokyo hoped, by the world Jewish community. Although the Fugu Plan never found either sufficient settlers or sufficient funding, in the end some 24,000 Jews managed to escape Hitler either by immigrating through Japan to other countries or by living in places like Shanghai, which accepted 15,000 Jewish refugees.


Meanwhile, Japan’s true Raoul Wallenberg was Chiune Sugihara, briefly the Japanese consul in Kovno, Lithuania. From late 1939 until August 1940 when he was reassigned to Berlin, Sugihara allowed escaping Jews to travel and stay in Japan itself, ostensibly on their way to the Dutch island nation of Curaçao (which required no entry visa). Thanks to Sugihara, at least 6,000 Jews received Japanese transit visas. Some desperate refugees even learned to forge his signature.


But that was then. The Arab economic boycott, compounded in the mid-1970s by the OPEC oil embargo, terminated any residual warm feelings between Japan and Israel. And so things would long remain. Starting in the late 1990s, and accelerating as Israel’s own economic prospects began to boom, it was not Japan but South Korea and, especially, China that became the Jewish state’s most important East Asian trading partners. By 2013 Israeli was exporting to China four times more than to Japan. All this being so, it is no surprise that, in addition to playing foreign-investment catchup, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now strongly encouraging Japanese companies to take the plunge into the buoyant Israeli market, and why an Israel eager to enlarge its own Asian export market is no less eager for a connection with the world’s third largest economy.


At least on the surface, the rapid thaw in Israel-Japan relations has centered primarily in consumer trade. At a Tel Aviv news conference during his January visit, Abe declared that “the economy is the one area which has the greatest potential for advancement of bilateral ties.” Israel’s government reciprocated by announcing the opening of a new trade office in Osaka and an increase in the number of trade officials at the embassy in Tokyo. In his response to Abe, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to invest tens of millions of shekels over the next three years “to strengthen the Israeli-Japanese partnership.” He added: “we all understand there is great untapped potential in our relations.”


Potential there certainly is—and it extends well beyond consumer trade. Abe’s January visit was preceded by May 2014 meetings that produced bilateral agreements concerning everything from cooperation on tourism and agriculture to space and cyber defense. Technology looms especially large. Japanese medical-device and other tech companies are queuing up to meet with their Israeli counterparts, and a road show of Israeli start-ups is headed for Tokyo this fall to show their wares to Japanese executives. Last October, Toyota held a first-ever “hackathon” at its InfoTechnology Center in Tel Aviv. By December, the Times of Israel was reporting on the first joint Israeli-Japanese start-up: fittingly, a start-up for start-ups that, at the click of a button, matches the ideas of Japanese entrepreneurs with Israeli venture-capital firms and enables meetings over the Internet.


Small stuff, perhaps, but it’s precisely small-scale innovation that is important for reviving the Japanese economy. Japanese companies “have awakened to the need to innovate,” says Vered Farber, director of an NGO working to bring Israeli and Japanese businessmen together, and “they realize few countries are as innovative as Israel”—especially in areas like robotics, medical devices, and information technology. But the interest in Israeli innovation goes beyond these areas to, especially, cyber and defense technology. Although, on both sides, defense officials are understandably reticent about their growing ties, and joint development of new weapons systems won’t happen anytime soon, Japan’s Ministry of Defense has started to send more teams of representatives to Israel and it’s not difficult to imagine where key visits will take place…

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





NO PAUSE IN IRAN’S VOW TO DESTROY ISRAEL                                                                

Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall                                                                                                                          

JCPA, Aug. 16, 2015


Sixteen years after his death, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s founding vision — that the eradication of Zionism is an inevitable precondition for redeeming contemporary Islam — keeps guiding the current generation of Iran’s religious, political and military establishment. To him the destruction of Zionism was an axiom never to be questioned or strayed from and an objective to be perpetually and actively pursued. According to this vision, Israel should be fought as part of a protracted global struggle between Islam and the West, which “planted intentionally the Zionist Entity in the heart of Islamic World.”


Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was faithful to this doctrine, making it the centerpiece of his foreign policy; current President Hassan Rouhani, his successor for the last two years, is also faithful to this doctrine, just less obvious. Notwithstanding, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei bears the torch and is the chief agitator for the extermination of Israel, spreading this message worldwide over social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, books1 and addressing various target audiences in English, Arabic and Persian.


The Iranian religious, political, intellectual and military elite support and repeat Khamenei’s messages. Members of the Iranian Army high command (as opposed to the Revolutionary Guards) have even declared their willingness and capability to destroy Israel, once the leader’s order is given. Practically speaking, the regime’s intelligence and international subversion agencies, mostly the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, massively support anti-Israel terror groups and stage repeated conferences in Iran dedicated to denial of the Holocaust and to the deligitimization of Israel’s right to exist.


Current Iranian anti-Israeli rhetoric is nothing but an adjustment of the battle cries from the 1979 Revolution to the unfolding of new Middle East geopolitics, especially the Islamic Awakening, as Iranian leaders refer to the Arab Spring uprisings, and the recent Israeli-Palestinian clashes.


Iran’s current  leadership, especially Revolutionary Guards leaders who progress to assume political senior positions as Parliament (Majlis) members, cabinet ministers, provincial governors and captains of economy, interpret Iran’s perceived “divine” international achievements as signs of the Mahdi’s messianic coming, reaffirming to them Khomeini’s revolutionary, activist Shiism. These signs include Iran’s retaining its nuclear program, defying Western sanctions and signing a  historical nuclear deal; the repeated successes of Iranian-backed Palestinian and terror groups, namely Hamas, and Palestine Islamic Jihad,  Hizbullah, in standing up to Israel; the disintegration of Arab states and the Arab world; and the Islamic Awakening. They believe that just as Khomeini “prophesied” the downfall of the USSR and Saddam’s Iraq, his prophecy about Israel’s destruction must also come true. Iran can facilitate its downfall either by fighting Israel or by massively supporting anti-Israel terror groups. The nuclear deal establishing Iran as a threshold nuclear state with fast breakout capabilities to a nuclear bomb will enable Iran to increase its efforts in hastening Khomeini’s prophecy.


The intensive propaganda for the destruction of Israel is just part of the Iranian regime’s activities aimed at “exporting the revolution,” allowing Iran to pose as a champion of the Palestinian issue, as well as fulfilling Khomeini’s vision of destroying Israel. This championing assumes the form of supplying various weapons — from sniper rifles, anti-tank (AT) missiles, rockets and drones — to terror groups attacking Israel’s southern border (the Gaza-based Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad), and its northern border  (Lebanese Hizbullah). Throughout the last year, and especially since the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, the Iranian Supreme Leader ran an extensive campaign to provide West Bank Palestinians with weapons “just like the Gaza groups have,” and was widely supported by the Iranian Army, as well as the Revolutionary Guards High Command.


The aforementioned conflict coincided with the Iranian holiday Yom Al-Quds, or Jerusalem Day, celebrated since 1979 not only in Iran but all over the Islamic world on the last Friday of Ramadan to demonstrate Muslims’ desire to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli domination. It is celebrated by anti-Israeli and anti-American belligerent rhetoric and with calls to destroy Israel, “the regime occupying Jerusalem,” and “Death to America.” In short, Khomeini’s teachings, including the wish to destroy Israel, keep defining the Islamic Revolution’s purposes…

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






On Topic


Danny Danon Confidant Says Hawkish Minister Will ‘Surprise Many’ as Israel’s UN Envoy: Dovid Efune, Algemeiner, Aug. 14, 2015 —Hawkish Israeli Minister Danny Danon, just tapped to become Israel’s next envoy to the United Nations, “will surprise many” in his new role, a close confidant and adviser to the U.S.-educated Likud Party member told The Algemeiner on Friday.

Israel’s Cabinet Approves Regulatory Scheme for Gas-Field Development: Sara Toth Stub, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 16, 2015 —Israel’s cabinet Sunday approved a regulatory framework that will allow the stalled development of its large offshore natural gas fields to resume.

On the Future of Israel’s Natural Gas Reserves: BESA, July 15, 2015—On July 15, 2015, prominent academics, civil servants, corporate leaders and an audience of well over 300 people gathered at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies for a discussion of the strategic and geopolitical aspects of Israel’s newly-discovered natural gas deposits. Below is a summary of the conference.

Reforms – Prospects and Impediments: Daniel Doron, Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2015 —Israel’s last elections proved how right David Ben-Gurion was when he said that, in Israel, whoever does not believe in miracles is not a realist.

American Jewry’s Fateful Hour: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 13, 2015—American Jewry is being tested today as never before. The future of the community is tied up in the results of the test.







We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


Officials, Experts Hail India-Israel Ties as Prime Minister Modi Announces Historic Visit to Jewish State: Elizer Sherman, Algemeiner, June 1, 2015— Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi will make an historic visit to Israel later this year, the Times of India reported on Monday.

Coming Out of the Closet: India-Israel Ties Under Narendra Modi: Ronak D. Desai, Foreign Policy, May 7, 2015 — Relations between India and Israel are experiencing a diplomatic renaissance.

Israel Accelerates China Engagement: Ng Weng Hoong, Canadian Jewish News, May 27, 2015— As Iran’s nuclear talks with the UN and Israel’s campaign to stop it dominated the headlines, news of the two countries joining others to help China found a new multilateral bank largely escaped scrutiny.

Israel's Newest Ally in Asia – Taiwan: Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 16, 2015 — Taiwan appears to be posed to be the latest in a growing coalition of Asian allies Israel is building, including Japan, China, India and South Korea.


On Topic Links


India, Israel To Build Missile Defense System: Vivek Raghuvanshi, Defence News, Feb. 26, 2015

An India-Iran-Israel Alliance Could be Modi's Legacy: Viju Cherian, Hindustan Times, June 3, 2015

India's New Transatlantic Push: Dhruva Jaishankar, Real Clear World, Apr. 17, 2015

Big Risks, Big Rewards Await Israeli Firms in China, Says Expert: David Shamah, Times of Israel, June 3, 2015

How Isolated Is Israel?: Elliot Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, June 1, 2015






Elizer Sherman                                                                                                              

Algemeiner, June 1, 2015


Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi will make an historic visit to Israel later this year, the Times of India reported on Monday. An Israeli diplomatic source said Jerusalem was “excited and happy” at the announcement. “We’ve got fantastic relations with the Indians that have just been getting better and better over the years. We’ve got a significant commercial relationship, which has been growing dramatically,” said the source.


The Indian premier, who has warmed up relations with Israel since assuming office in May 2014, will likely travel to Israel this fall as part of a visit to the region, the newspaper reported. His visit would likely also include stops in the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Egypt, though the Indian Foreign Ministry did not fix a date for the trip.


While the official state visit will be the first of its kind for a sitting Indian leader, Modi already visited Israel in 2007 as part of a high-tech agricultural conference when he was leader of the Indian state of Gujarat from 2001-2014. Israel and India have maintained diplomatic relations since 1992, which is relatively late compared to other Asian countries in the region, such as Thailand, Nepal and the Philippines, all of which stretch back some 50 years.


But strategically India has become extremely significant for Israel in recent years, especially as it controls much of South Asia’s seas. Though China is a larger trade partner of Israel’s — investing heavily in Israeli high-tech industries and perhaps on the road to surpassing even the U.S. in this realm — Israel has a lucrative arms trade with India because U.S. restrictions on Israeli arms sales do not affect these defense ties, as they do with China. Just recently, India announced it was gearing up to conduct a naval test of the joint Israeli-Indian developed Barak 8 missile-defense system, culminating a $1.1 billion arms deal with Israel signed back in 2009.


In 2013, Israeli trade with India amounted to $4.39 billion. India’s prime minister shares a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Modi congratulating Netanyahu on his fourth election victory in Hebrew. Earlier this year, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited India and met with the Indian premier. India’s relationship with Israel is underlined by the harder stand Modi has taken against homegrown and cross-border terrorism, said Dinesh J. Sharma, an associate research professor at the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at SUNY-Binghamton. “Modi is strong on anti-terrorism,” he said, and has “tried to set stronger ties with the U.S. on that as well,” highlighted by President Barack Obama’s trip to India earlier this year.


India wants stronger surveillance and intelligence technologies for its border with Pakistan and its monitoring of the Indian Ocean, which is crucial to Israel’s relationship with India, he said. He said the Indians “identify” a terrorist threat from the Middle East that has potential to “spread through Afghanistan and Pakistan into India.” Though there has not been a large scale terror attack in India in recent years, “on the border between India and Pakistan there have been ongoing events and skirmishes between groups infiltrating from Pakistan into India.”


In 2008, a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai targeted the Nariman House Jewish center, among other targets, and in 2012 a bomb exploded on an Israeli diplomatic car in the Indian capital of New Delhi. The Muslim minority populations in India and Israel are both around a fifth of the population. There is some “unease among Muslims about Modi,” said Sharma, and they probably feel “somewhat unsure” about Modi’s courting of Israel.


Additionally, India has been “walking a tightrope” between its relations with Israel and Iran, which used to be one of India’s largest providers of crude oil before U.N. and Western sanctions caused those purchases to diminish in the last few years. Modi’s visit to Israel is “likely not connected to the Iran deal,” said a source at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. India, like Iran, Israel and Pakistan, is not a member of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty.         





INDIA-ISRAEL TIES UNDER NARENDRA MODI                                                                               

Ronak D. Desai                                                                                                                            

Foreign Policy, May 7, 2015


Relations between India and Israel are experiencing a diplomatic renaissance. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in India’s elections last year has ushered in a new, conspicuously more visible phase of bilateral ties. Cooperation with Israel—conducted secretly throughout most of India’s history—has now become a public affair. Modi has openly and enthusiastically embraced the Jewish state. Although some wonder whether the change is merely one of style rather than substance, there is no question that India’s recent public displays of affection toward Israel are a stark departure from the past. If current trends continue, the Modi government could become the most pro-Israel government New Delhi has ever seen.


Throughout most of its post-independence history, India benefitted privately from Israel while refusing to publicly acknowledge it. New Delhi voted to recognize Israel in 1950, but Cold War alignments, fear of alienating its large Muslim population, and its need to maintain strong ties to the Arab world over the Kashmir issue resulted in New Delhi adopting an unsympathetic, if not outright hostile, posture toward Israel.


India reflexively supported the Palestinian position, viewing the conflict in zero-sum terms. But this did not stop New Delhi from covertly accepting critical intelligence and military assistance from the Jewish state during its wars with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought with it the end of the ideological and geopolitical foundations of India’s longstanding Israel policy. New Delhi sought a more pragmatic and balanced approach to the region. With some help from Washington, India finally established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, the last major non-Arab country to do so. Both countries quickly moved to make up for lost time, pursuing cooperation in a wide array of arenas ranging from security and defense to education and agriculture.


Although it was India’s left-leaning Congress Party that normalized relations with Israel, ties flourished under the country’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Leaders in both countries expressly emphasized the ideological affinity their two nations shared as democracies and longstanding victims of terrorism. The two states embarked on a strategic partnership, with Israel emerging as one of India’s most important military suppliers. Following the Congress Party’s return to power in 2004, however, New Delhi appeared to revert back to past tendencies, preferring cooperation with Israel behind closed doors. Ties were shoved firmly back in the closet.


Ten years later, the outlook appeared very different. Modi had forged a personal connection with Israel long before becoming prime minister. In 2006, he visited Tel Aviv as chief minister of his home state of Gujarat and spoke glowingly about what India could learn from Israel. Modi actively courted Israeli investment and expertise, harnessing them to help achieve Gujarat’s storied economic growth. Notably, Israel extended the invitation to Modi at a time when he was unwelcome in many countries, including the United States, for his purported role in failing to stem communal riots in Gujarat in 2002. Proponents of stronger Indian-Israeli ties hoped that a Modi-led BJP victory would lead to a more public relationship and even-handed approach to the region.


The optimism proved justified. Less than two months after Modi’s election, signs emerged that New Delhi was again recalibrating its posture toward Israel and the Palestinian conflict. Just days after Israel launched its controversial Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer, India’s Foreign Ministry released a statement signaling its alarm over the civilian loss of life, but at the same time also expressed its concern over “cross-border provocations resulting from rocket attacks” targeting Israel. The balanced statement represented a change from past official declarations that had instinctively denounced Israeli actions.


Days later, the Indian government rejected a parliamentary resolution seeking to condemn Israel over the conflict in Gaza. Sponsored by India’s opposition Congress and Communist parties, the proposed resolution sought to denounce Israel over its use of “brute force” in Gaza. The government, led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, refused to adopt the measure.


The personal chemistry between Prime Ministers Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu has also given India-Israel ties a powerful boost. Netanyahu was amongst the first world leaders to congratulate Modi last year following his landslide victory at the polls. In September, the two premiers met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly where Netanyahu declared that the “sky is the limit” with India. Later that year, Modi sent Hanukah greetings over Twitter in Hebrew, delighting members of the Jewish community around the world. In March, Modi again tweeted in Hebrew to congratulate his “friend Bibi” on his re-election.


High-level exchanges between Indian and Israeli leaders quickly resumed. The outreach went beyond official meetings. Last September, Modi met with the American Jewish Committee just hours before his celebrated address to the Indian-American diaspora at Madison Square Garden. In less than a year, Modi had rekindled the romance between India and Israel.


But does India’s unprecedented public embrace of the Jewish state represent a shift in policy or just in optics? India-Israel ties have undoubtedly assumed a more public dimension since Modi’s election, but a question persists whether there has been a more significant change in India’s foreign policy toward Israel. Although conducted outside the public eye under the previous government, cooperation continued unabated. In 2008, for example, India launched an Israeli spy satellite, capable of surveilling Iran’s nuclear sites. Even after rejecting the proposed parliamentary resolution condemning Israel last June, Swaraj emphasized that the BJP’s Israel policy was unchanged.


Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether the new government has begun to fundamentally alter the trajectory of its Israel policy or whether the change is more cosmetic. At a minimum, it is clear that Modi is keen on expanding the political relationship…By bringing India-Israel ties out of the closet, Modi has brought focus, direction, and substance to the relationship. How long ties will remain in the public spotlight will largely depend on the results of the next Indian election still four years away. But regardless of the outcome, it is safe to conclude no government in New Delhi has ever been as enthusiastic about its affection for Israel as the one in power now.                     




ISRAEL ACCELERATES CHINA ENGAGEMENT                                                                             

Ng Weng Hoong

Canadian Jewish News, May 27, 2015


As Iran’s nuclear talks with the UN and Israel’s campaign to stop it dominated the headlines, news of the two countries joining others to help China found a new multilateral bank largely escaped scrutiny. After the March 31 deadline, 57 countries had joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to fund proposed multi-billion-dollar projects in Asia and the Middle East.


The bank’s rise barely six months after its memorandum signing has presented Israel and Iran with an unexpected opportunity for collaboration. The AIIB forms part of China’s grand strategy to reshape the global economy that includes the revival of the ancient 6,500-kilometre Silk Route alongside a new maritime trade channel stretching from the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf.


“Both countries have huge motivations to join the AIIB and support China’s Silk Route strategy,” said Shalom Salomon Wald, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute. While security remains their primary concern, Israel and Iran are also eyeing the area’s huge infrastructure demands and opportunities to work with other countries. Iran is so desperate to escape Western trade sanctions that it immediately accepted China’s offer to join the AIIB, said Wald in a telephone interview.


In contrast, Israel’s engagement with China has been in the works for at least two decades. Wald credits Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for laying the groundwork for Israel’s China pivot following his first visit to Beijing in 1998. Well before taking office in 1996, Israel’s youngest prime minister at 46 years old had identified China’s importance to his country’s future, although the “Look East” shift was briefly interrupted when he lost re-election in 1999. By then, Israel was already convinced it needed to actively engage Asia’s rising powers.


According to Wald, who wrote an influential book, China and the Jewish People, in 2004, Netanyahu felt that Israel was too focused fighting intractable prejudices in Europe and the Middle East made worse by the rise of radical Islam. China, India, Japan and some of their neighbours with almost no history of anti-Semitism were in full economic bloom, and buying products and services that Israel could supply. Israel faced a simple choice: continue obsessing over the old world, or branch out to a welcoming Asia with its large fast-growing markets.


Netanyahu made his move in May 2013 with a trip to Beijing to meet the new leadership under President Xi Jinping who was envisioning a globally-involved China with a large footprint in the Middle East. That meeting culminated nearly two years of groundwork to re-position Israel for an increasingly multi-polar global order. “In 2010 and 2011, we undertook a detailed analysis of Israel’s economy and concluded that we had to expand ties with Asia. China topped our agenda,” said Netanel Oded, a senior National Economic Council (NEC) member in the Prime Minister’s Office. Headed by influential economist Eugene Kandel, the council also counts India and Japan in Israel’s long-term plan.


In his second coming to Beijing, Netanyahu played to China’s self-esteem by calling Israel “a small country” and “a perfect junior partner” in their joint quest for economic development. He clinched the relationship with an offer to his host to co-operate in Israel’s technology development. Why would anyone risk sharing technology development with a country so notorious for intellectual property (IP) violations?


“We discussed this issue at length,” said Oded in a phone interview as the NEC wrestled with the challenge of protecting Israeli technology in courting the Chinese market. “China craves foreign technology, and Israel is seen as a world leader in technology,” explained Dan Ben-Canaan, a China-based Israeli academic. Netanyahu’s offer was timely as China was seeking international expertise to help clean up its environment and reduce its economic dependence on smokestack industries. His trip helped launch the China-Israel Joint Task Force (JTF) to develop large projects that would “integrate Israeli advanced technologies into the Chinese market.”


China responded by boosting its economic commitments with Israel. Oded said Chinese firms have invested more than $2 billion (US) in Israel so far this year compared with $300 million in 2014. Chinese firms are vying for Israel’s infrastructure projects including a 300-kilometre freight rail linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. The two countries will soon begin free trade agreement talks as China prepares to overtake the U.S. as Israel’s largest trading partner. As part of its strategy to safeguard Israeli IP, the JTF has invited top Chinese firms to invest in Israel and jointly develop solutions with local firms. “It’s important to build trust so that we can focus on jointly developing the technology to meet China’s demands. The Chinese need to know our work style and expectations, and we have to know theirs too,” said Oded.


To date, more than 30 large Chinese firms including Alibaba, Xiaomi, Baidu, Lenovo and Fosun have established subsidiaries in Israel with the goal of developing technology and boosting exports to China. In a March 30 update, Kandel predicts that growing bilateral relations between the two countries will have “far-reaching effects on the Israeli economy.” Not everyone shares Kandel’s optimism. Alon Levkowitz, an East Asia analyst at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said “some Israeli companies are limiting co-operation with China,” for fear that their IP will be compromised. He reminds Israel that the U.S. remains its main ally while China enjoys close ties with Iran and Syria.


But some Israelis are now accusing the U.S. of “abandoning” Israel with its proposed nuclear deal with Iran. Exacting some revenge, Netanyahu defied the Obama administration by committing Israel to the AIIB and supporting China’s Silk Route strategy. China might yet help Israel and Iran find common ground. Or it might not, as the world awaits the next twist in this convoluted plot.





ISRAEL'S NEWEST ALLY IN ASIA – TAIWAN                                                                                  

Ari Yashar

Arutz Sheva, Apr. 16, 2015


Taiwan appears to be posed to be the latest in a growing coalition of Asian allies Israel is building, including Japan, China, India and South Korea. Following the footsteps of Japan, which last July chose Israel as its first partner to sign an Industrial R&D (Research and Development) Collaboration Agreement with, Taiwan next Monday is to sign its own first R&D Agreement – with Israel.


The signing will take place as part of an Asia visit by Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson, and will be likewise attended by the Taiwanese Minister of Economic Affairs John Chen-Chung Deng. "As far as Taiwan is concerned, this agreement is groundbreaking – it is the first agreement of its kind Taiwan has signed," said Hasson. "The agreement was also aided by the fact that Taiwanese industry holds Israeli innovative technologies in high esteem and many Taiwanese companies have already expressed interest in beginning to work on joint projects with Israeli companies."


While there has been cooperation between Israel and Taiwan in academic research in the past, the new government support for R&D between Taiwanese companies and Israeli companies is expected to have a massive impact on bilateral ties and trade. Taiwan features several world-leading technology companies, including HTC, Asus, Acer, the world's largest chip producer TSMC, and electronic components manufacturer Foxconn. In fact, almost 90% of all laptops are produced in Taiwan, as are 20% of semiconductors and a quarter of LCD screens.


And yet bilateral trade between Israel and Taiwan is only at $1.3 billion. The new agreement is expected to greatly expand trade, as Israel's technological innovation and Taiwan's leading technological engineering and manufacturing make them ideal partners. "Taiwan is interested in Israel. In recent years, we have seen increasing interest from Taiwanese companies in what is happening in Israel," said Doron Hemo, head of the Economic and Trade Mission in Taiwan and the Philippines.


"Taiwan today understands what was perhaps not clear four or five years ago – that Israel has much to offer in innovation and hi-tech and in fact both economies can be mutually beneficial," Hemo added. "As evidence, we have seen in recent months repeated visits by flagship Taiwanese companies in Israel and we expect to see an increase in cooperation and visits from the Israeli industry to Taiwan." That assessment was shared by Simon Halperin, head of the Israeli Bureau for Economy and Culture in Taiwan. "Taiwan has in recent years discovered Israel as a powerhouse of innovation and entrepreneurship, complementary to Taiwan's economic prowess as a world power in engineering and manufacturing," said Halperin.


The head of the bureau added, "it is no secret that Taiwan is boarding the train several years after its neighbors – technology powers and competitors in eastern Asia like Korea and Japan – since the concept of government funding for R&D for Taiwanese and foreign companies is new to this country."…

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







On Topic


India, Israel To Build Missile Defense System: Vivek Raghuvanshi, Defence News, Feb. 26, 2015—India and Israel agreed to jointly develop a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) system for the Indian Army to replace Russian-made air defense systems, said a source in the Indian Defence Ministry.

An India-Iran-Israel Alliance Could be Modi's Legacy: Viju Cherian, Hindustan Times, June 3, 2015 — At 9 Yitzhak Rabin Bvld in Jerusalem on a cool November evening last year a senior Israeli official, a diplomat who served in the Indian subcontinent, was interacting with a group of journalists from India.

India's New Transatlantic Push: Dhruva Jaishankar, Real Clear World, Apr. 17, 2015—Diplomatically speaking, it has been a busy first year in power for India's prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Big Risks, Big Rewards Await Israeli Firms in China, Says Expert: David Shamah, Times of Israel, June 3, 2015 — The next stage in the Israel-China business relationship, according to investment maven David Fuchs, is to bring more Chinese investors into the Israeli investment ecosystem.

How Isolated Is Israel?: Elliot Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, June 1, 2015—It’s common to hear about Israel’s growing isolation in the world, and UN votes are sometimes held up as evidence of this. The BDS movement, especially in Europe, is also adduced to show Israel’s increasing isolation.





We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org



A Raid on Iran? Uri Sadot, Weekly Standard, Jan. 6, 2014— As world powers debate what a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran should look like, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to maintain that Israel is not bound by the interim agreement that the P5+1 and Iran struck in Geneva…

Security Analysis of the IDF Intelligence Chief: IDF Blog, Jan. 30, 2014— For the first time in decades, enemy forces can attack all of Israel’s cities, Chief of the IDF Intelligence Directorate Major General Aviv Kochavi said on Wednesday.

Terror Underground: How Hamas Is Digging Tunnels and Building Rockets in Gaza: IDF Blog, Feb. 3, 2014 — Although 2013 saw fewer rocket attacks than previous years, terrorist organizations in Gaza are actively preparing to attack Israel.

India-Israel Defense Cooperation: Alvite Singh Ningthoujam, Besa Center, Jan. 27, 2014— Defense relations between India and Israel have come a long way, against all odds.


On Topic Links


'Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force' (Video): Vimeo, 2013

Mapping Israel's Enemies (Video): Mark Langfan, Youtube, Oct. 30, 2013

IDF Looks on With Concern as 'People's Army' Model Faces Challenges: Ya’akov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 11, 2014

Going Green: Israeli Military Chooses Solar Energy over Diesel: IDF Blog, Feb. 5, 2014


A RAID ON IRAN?                                                                              

Uri Sadot

Weekly Standard, Jan. 6, 2014


As world powers debate what a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran should look like, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to maintain that Israel is not bound by the interim agreement that the P5+1 and Iran struck in Geneva on November 24. Israel, says Netanyahu, “has the right and the obligation to defend itself.” One question then is whether Netanyahu actually intends to strike Iranian nuclear facilities. The other question, no less important, is whether Israel could really pull it off.


American analysts are divided on Israel’s ability to take effective military action. However, history shows that Israel’s military capabilities are typically underestimated. The Israel Defense Forces keep finding creative ways to deceive and cripple their targets by leveraging their qualitative advantages in manners that confound not only skeptical observers but also, and more important, Israel’s enemies. 


Military triumphs like the Six-Day War of June 1967 and the 1976 raid on Entebbe that freed 101 hostages are popular Israeli lore for good reason—these “miraculous” victories were the result of assiduously planned, rehearsed, and well-executed military operations based on the elements of surprise, deception, and innovation, core tenets of Israeli military thinking. Inscribed on one of the walls of the IDF’s officer training academy is the verse from Proverbs 24:6: “For by clever deception thou shalt wage war.” And this has been the principle driving almost all of Israel’s most successful campaigns, like the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, the 1982 Beka’a Valley air battle, and the 2007 raid on Syria’s plutonium reactor, all of which were thought improbable, if not impossible, until Israel made them reality. 


And yet in spite of Israel’s record, some American experts remain skeptical about Israel’s ability to do anything about Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities. Even the most optimistic assessments argue that Israel can only delay the inevitable. As a September 2012 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies contends: “Israel does not have the capability to carry out preventive strikes that could do more than delay Iran’s efforts for a year or two.” An attack, it continued, “would be complex and high risk in the operational level and would lack any assurances of a high mission success rate.” Equally cautious is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who argued that while “Israel has the capability to strike Iran and to delay the production or the capability of Iran to achieve a nuclear weapons status,” such a strike would only delay the program “for a couple of years.” The most pessimistic American assessments contend that Israel is all but neutered. Former director of the CIA Michael Hayden, for instance, said that airstrikes capable of seriously setting back Iran’s nuclear program are beyond Israel’s capacity.


Part of the reason that Israeli and American assessments diverge is the difference in the two countries’ recent military histories and political cultures. While the American debate often touches on the limits of military power and its ability to secure U.S. interests around the globe, the Israeli debate is narrower, befitting the role of a regional actor rather than a superpower, and focuses solely on Israel’s ability to provide for the security of its citizens at home. That is to say, even if Israel and the United States saw Iran and its nuclear arms program in exactly the same light, there would still be a cultural gap. Accordingly, an accurate understanding of how Israelis see their own recent military history provides an important insight into how Israel’s elected leaders and military officials view the IDF’s abilities regarding Iran. 


Any account of surprise and deception as key elements in Israeli military history has to start with the aerial attack that earned Israel total air supremacy over its adversaries in the June 1967 war. Facing the combined Arab armies, most prominently those of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, Israel’s Air Force was outnumbered by a ratio of 3 planes to 1. Nonetheless, at the very outset of the war, the IAF dispatched its jets at a time when Egyptian pilots were known to be having breakfast. Israeli pilots targeted the enemy’s warplanes on their runways, and in two subsequent waves of sorties, destroyed the remainder of the Egyptian Air Force, as well as Jordan’s and most of Syria’s. Within six hours, over 400 Arab planes, virtually all of the enemy’s aircraft, were in flames, with Israel losing only 19 planes.


Israel’s sweeping military victory over the next six days was due to its intimate familiarity with its enemy’s operational routines—and to deception. For instance, just before the actual attack was launched, a squad of four Israeli training jets took off, with their radio signature mimicking the activity of multiple squadrons on a training run. Because all of Israel’s 190 planes were committed to the operation, those four planes were used to make the Egyptians believe that the IAF was simply training as usual. The IAF’s stunning success was the result not only of intelligence and piloting but also of initiative and creativity, ingredients that are nearly impossible to factor into standard predictive models. 

The 1981 raid on Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak is another example of Israel’s ability to pull off operations that others think it can’t. The success caught experts by surprise because every assessment calculated that the target was out of the flight range of Israel’s newly arrived F-16s. The former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Israel Bill Brown recounted that on the day after the attack, “I went in with our defense attaché, Air Force Colonel Pete Hoag, to get a briefing from the chief of Israeli military intelligence. He laid out how they had accomplished this mission. .  .  . Hoag kept zeroing in on whether they had refueled the strike aircraft en route, because headquarters of the U.S. Air Force in Washington wanted to know, among other things, how in the world the Israelis had refueled these F-16s. The chief of Israeli military intelligence kept saying: ‘We didn’t refuel.’ For several weeks headquarters USAF refused to believe that the Israelis could accomplish this mission without refueling.” 


Washington later learned that Israel’s success came from simple and creative field improvisations. First, the pilots topped off their fuel tanks on the tarmac, with burners running, only moments before takeoff. Then, en route, they jettisoned their nondetachable fuel drop tanks to reduce air friction and optimize gas usage. Both these innovations involved some degree of risk, as they contravened safety protocols. However, they gave the Israeli jets the extra mileage needed to safely reach Baghdad and return, and also to gain the element of surprise by extending their reach beyond what the tables and charts that guided thinking in Washington and elsewhere had assumed possible.

Surprise won Israel a similar advantage one year later in the opening maneuvers of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. For students of aerial warfare, the Beka’a Valley air battle is perhaps Israel’s greatest military maneuver, even surpassing the June 1967 campaign. On June 9, Israel destroyed the entire Soviet-built Syrian aerial array in a matter of hours. Ninety Syrian MiGs were downed and 17 of 19 surface-to-air missile batteries were put out of commission, while the Israeli Air Force suffered no losses. The brutal—and for Israel, still controversial—nature of the Lebanon war of which this operation was part dimmed its shine in popular history, but the operation is still studied around the world. At the time it left analysts dumbfounded.                                                                                                             

[To View the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]        


                       SECURITY ANALYSIS OF THE IDF INTELLIGENCE CHIEF                   

IDF Blog, Jan. 30, 2014


For the first time in decades, enemy forces can attack all of Israel’s cities, Chief of the IDF Intelligence Directorate Major General Aviv Kochavi said on Wednesday. “About 170,000 rockets and missiles are pointed at Israel, and they are deadlier than ever,” the intelligence chief said. “Many of these weapons can be fired deep into Israel’s territory.” Speaking at the annual conference of The Institute for National Security Studies, Maj. Gen. Kochavi described Israel’s rising security challenges, ranging from regional instability, to organized terrorism and Global Jihad. “Every day, the enemy continues to advance,” he said. “For the first time in many years, Israel is almost completely surrounded by threats. These are not potential threats, but threats posed by an active enemy.”


Maj. Gen. Kochavi estimated that Hezbollah, the terrorist organization positioned along Israel’s northern border, now possesses 100,000 rockets and missiles. The extraordinary size of this stockpile redefines Hezbollah’s capabilities, placing it in the category of a “semi-military” organization. “Hezbollah is no longer a terrorist organization in the most basic sense of the term,” the intelligence chief stressed. “An organization that has more than 100,000 rockets resembles a military more than a terrorist organization.”

This change in definition applies to terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East, Maj. Gen. Kochavi stressed. “The line between ‘terrorist organization’ and ‘military’ is becoming increasingly blurred,” he warned. “They possess advanced anti-tank missiles and mortars. The same goes for Hamas,” the Gaza-based terrorist organization whose rockets threaten millions of Israeli civilians. “Thousands of our enemies’ missiles are armed with warheads and 700-900 kilograms of explosive material,” the intelligence chief said. “These weapons can define the course of war and our decision making [in battle]. As long as our enemies have rockets that threaten every part of Israel, they can continue to wage a war, even after we have taken [parts of enemy] territory.”


Terrorist groups near Israel have changed the nature of war, moving from open spaces into urban areas. “The enemy is hiding in cities and villages, wearing civilian clothing while equipped with advanced weaponry. Tens of kilometers of underground tunnels exist in Gaza and Southern Lebanon.” IDF forces must quickly adapt to this evolving reality of asymmetric warfare, Maj. Gen. Kochavi said. “Today we must provide them with precise details about every rocket launching site. Otherwise, the enemy will continue to fire on the Israeli population.”


In the wake of the Arab Spring, governments throughout the Middle East have lost control of their populations.  This widespread phenomenon of fragmentation has confronted Israel with an evolving and uncertain reality. “The Syrian side of the Golan region has fallen under the control of several different powers,” Maj. Gen. Kochavi said. “Every village is controlled by different authorities, including the Syrian Free Army, Jihadist groups and the Syrian military.” The intelligence chief pointed to Global Jihad as “the most troubling phenomenon of all,” explaining that about 30,000 Global Jihad operatives are active in Syria. “Syria has turned into a magnet for these operatives – from Europe, Asia, Australia and even the Americas,” he said. “They may not take over Haifa, but for the first time in history, they are injecting a radical religious ideology against the west into the Middle East.” Maj. Gen. Kochavi focused on similar challenges in the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, where a changing landscape is creating uncertainty for Israel. “All of the small groups in these areas can become larger. This creates a tremendous challenge for the Intelligence Corps.”


The IDF is quickly enhancing its readiness for threats, improving its intelligence capabilities to maintain its edge over the enemy. Advancements in cyber defense constitute a major part of these efforts. “Today, the intelligence we used to gather with 40 people is now obtained with four,” Maj. Gen. Kochavi said. “Cyber defense, in my modest opinion, will soon be revealed to be the biggest [military] revolution in the past century, more than gunpowder and the use of air power.” As he discussed upgraded capabilities in the air force and the navy, he focused on Israel’s tremendous strides in intelligence. “We are upgrading our units in order to obtain intelligence through greater means,” he said. “We are obtaining better-processed and more diverse intelligence from more sources, and we are providing it to our fighters.”




INDIA-ISRAEL DEFENSE COOPERATION                                       

Alvite Singh Ningthoujam

BESA Center, Jan. 27, 2014


Defense relations between India and Israel have come a long way, against all odds. Israel has emerged as India’s second-largest arms supplier, behind only Russia, with bilateral arms trade over the last decade estimated at $10 billion. 2013 witnessed major developments in India-Israel defense cooperation, most of which involved enhancing arms trade and furthering joint projects. There were certain constraints as well, none of which curbed ties.


Israel has carved its niche in India by supplying some of the most sought-after weapons systems, with the exception of bigger platforms, such as aircraft. The January 2013 visit to Israel by India’s former air force commander, Air Marshal N. A. K. Browne, further bolstered ties. Military officials from both countries discussed upgrading cooperation, specifically in the area of drones. Browne also expressed India’s desire to acquire Israeli-made air-to-air missiles, along with other precision-guided munitions. India also pushed for additional joint missile projects, despite Israel’s delay in the development of its own joint medium-range surface-to-air missile project.


In mid-2013, India considered buying Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems. While at first Indian officials were hesitant to commit to Iron Dome, on the grounds that it would be ineffective for India’s long borders and congested air space, it has since been believed that Israel’s willingness to share the sophisticated technology behind the system may alter India’s decision. If these deals go through, they will not only benefit Israel, whose military industries and defense R&D largely depend upon arms sales, but will also enhance India’s air defense capabilities against her adversaries.


The US as a competitor in India-Israel arms trade surfaced in 2013. The US has long tried tapping into the Indian defense market, but its reservations over technology transfers remain a roadblock. However, efforts for such agreements are underway. The latest example is the US proposal to forge a joint venture partnership with India for the development of next-generation Javelin anti-tank missiles. This deal almost caused India to reverse its decision to purchase Israeli-made Spike anti-tank guided missiles. However, no major breakthrough has yet been reported, and the Spike was back on the Indian Army’s acquisition agenda in November 2013.


Another concern was the November 2013 interim nuclear deal between the US and Iran. With the thawing of US-Iran ties, certain doubts were raised about the impact of the deal on India-Israel defense cooperation, specifically because of past defense cooperation between India and Iran. Israel watched these ties cautiously, concerned that India might transfer Israeli-based military technology or training to Iran. However, with an agreement for a nuclear deal between India and the US in 2005, Israel’s worries over Indo-Iranian defense ties gradually dissipated. The initiative would see India place its nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The US agreed, recognizing India’s non-proliferation record despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. With certain preconditions from the US, India scaled down its defense ties with Iran, which have since remained almost non-existent.


India’s increasing focus on Iran has brought the possibility of a resumption of military ties. In July 2013, the Iranian Ambassador to India expressed interest in enhancing defense ties with India, a sentiment that was reciprocated by Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony. Discussions were held to initiate more bilateral defense exchanges between the two countries. In December, two Iranian warships and a submarine paid a “goodwill” visit to Mumbai, and naval officials from both countries called for close naval cooperation. In addition, the need for a “framework for joint cooperation and security for vessels in India’s western waters to the Persian Gulf” was suggested. If New Delhi and Tehran succeed in furthering their now-dormant defense ties, the latter would lure Indian defense planners with its military equipment such as ground surveillance radar systems, personnel carriers, drones, destroyers, submarines, and missile-launching frigates. Only time will tell how the military-security relations between India and Iran unfold.

[To View the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]





TERROR UNDERGROUND: HOW HAMAS IS DIGGING TUNNELS AND         BUILDING ROCKETS IN GAZA                                                  

 IDF Blog, Feb. 3, 2014


Although 2013 saw fewer rocket attacks than previous years, terrorist organizations in Gaza are actively preparing to attack Israel. Under the guidance of engineering experts, Hamas continues to dig underground, building dozens of tunnels used to attack and kidnap Israelis. The terrorist organization is also manufacturing powerful weapons, producing rockets that can reach major Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


During the past several years, civilians living in the Gaza Strip have become experts in building underground tunnels. Such smuggling tunnels have been used by terrorists to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and military personnel. In 2006, armed terrorists infiltrated Israel through a smuggling tunnel, killing two soldiers and taking hostage a third – Gilad Shalit. This growing trend is directly linked to the policies of Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ military wing devotes about twenty percent of its budget to building these tunnels inside Gaza, many of which lead under the border into Israel.


In October 2013, IDF soldiers discovered the opening of a tunnel built by Gazan terrorists near the Israeli community of Ein Hashlosha. The tunnel, which stretched into Israel from the Gazan city of Khan Yunis, was approximately 1.7 kilometers long and 18 meters deep. According to experts, digging tunnels in the region’s terrain requires advanced knowledge of how they are built. This suggests that the terror tunnel was designed and constructed by professionals. “Today, there’s one Gaza Strip above ground, and another one underground,” says a senior officer in the IDF Intelligence Corps. “Tunneling has existed [in Gaza] since the mid 1990s, but it has really grown into an industry. More funds are invested in it – we’re talking about millions of dollars every year – and the need for engineers are growing.”


Today, the tunnels in Gaza pose as much of a threat as Hamas’ weapons. “Our estimate is that there are tens of tunnels from Gaza into Israel, only half of which we know about,” the officer says.  “Hamas pays professionals to train special military units that have one simple purpose: to dig and tunnel underground.”


Since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, in November 2012, Hamas has been busy rebuilding its arsenal. Because importing weapons has become more difficult for Hamas, the terrorist organization has begun manufacturing rockets inside of the Gaza Strip. Today Hamas is producing its own rockets, namely the M-75, which can reach as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Hamas routinely parades the streets of Gaza with the rocket to show off its strength. These public displays allow Hamas to establish its dominance in Gaza while inspiring members of the younger generation to join its ranks.

“They focus on rockets of higher quality,” explains the officer. “During Operation Pillar of Defense, only five M-75 rockets were fired, but we expect more in a future conflict.” The rocket is only one part of Hamas’ expanding arsenal. Today there are more than 10,000 rockets, mortar shells and ammunition in the hands of the Gaza terrorists.                                                                                                                  




'Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force' (Video): Vimeo, 2013 — Sample Reel for forthcoming documentary feature "Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force" currently in production.

Mapping Israel's Enemies (Video): Mark Langfan, Youtube, Oct. 30, 2013— Mark Langfan of Americans for a Safe Israel examines Israel's borders with a set of interactive maps and what a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria means for the entire State of Israel.

IDF Looks on With Concern as 'People's Army' Model Faces Challenges: Ya’akov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 11, 2014 — The IDF was not surprised on Monday when a Knesset committee voted in favor of shortening mandatory military service for men from 36 months to 32, but it is viewing the development with concern.

Going Green: Israeli Military Chooses Solar Energy over Diesel: IDF Blog, Feb. 5, 2014 — The IDF is the largest organization in Israel, with bases across the country. That means we have a responsibility to protect not just the people of Israel, but its environment too.



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