Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Tag: Japan

IDF INVESTIGATES GAZA OPERATION WHILE JEWISH STATE PREPARES FOR NEXT CONFRONTATION

IDF Opens Probes into Gaza Special Ops Raid that Went Awry: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2018 — The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday announced it was launching two separate investigations into an operation that went awry in the Gaza Strip earlier this month…

Israel’s Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges: Michael Hostage & Geoffrey Corn, Real Clear Defense, Nov. 3, 2018 — Hezbollah has threatened Israel’s northern border for decades.

Why Japan is Building its Military, Fast: David J. Bercuson, National Post, Nov. 6, 2018— With 18 diesel electric submarines, four so-called “helicopter destroyers” that look suspiciously like small aircraft carriers, 43 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 25 minesweepers and training ships, fleet oilers, submarine rescue ships and other vessels, Japan’s navy…

The INF Treaty Hamstrings the U.S. Trump is Right to Leave It.: Elbridge Colby, Washington Post, Oct. 23— The Trump administration has announced that it plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987.

On Topic Links

Israeli Air Force Holds First-Ever Combat Rescue Drill With Six Other Forces: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Nov. 26, 2018

Looking at the Gaza Strip: From Short Term to Long Term: Kim Lavi, Udi Dekel, INSS, Nov. 20, 2018

Hezbollah Firepower Exceeds 95% of World’s Conventional Armies, Report Says: Sean Savage, JNS, Nov. 9, 2018

In the Middle East, You Win With Fear: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018

                             

IDF OPENS PROBES INTO GAZA

SPECIAL OPS RAID THAT WENT AWRY                                                                 

Judah Ari Gross                                                                                                  

Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday announced it was launching two separate investigations into an operation that went awry in the Gaza Strip earlier this month in which special forces soldiers were exposed by Hamas operatives, leading to a firefight in which one Israeli officer and seven Palestinian gunmen were killed. In response to the raid and the deaths of its men, the terror group launched a massive three-day attack on Israel, along with other terror groups in the Strip, firing some 500 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza border and leading Israel to the brink of war.

On the night of November 11, Israeli special forces soldiers entered the Gaza Strip on an intelligence-gathering raid, the details of which remain under a strict gag order by the military censor. According to Hamas officials, the Israeli soldiers were from the Sayeret Matkal elite reconnaissance unit and entered the coastal enclave through a proper border crossing, either Israel’s Erez Crossing or Egypt’s Rafah. They were said to have been driving through Gaza in civilian vans, approximately three kilometers (two miles) from the border. Israel has not confirmed any of the claims.

During the mission, the unit was stopped and searched at a Hamas checkpoint, and were initially believed to be Palestinian criminals, according to recordings of the terror group’s radio chatter, transcripts of which were published by Hadashot news. At a certain point, the Israeli troops opened fire on the Hamas gunmen, prompting a gun battle. An Israeli lieutenant colonel — who can only be identified by the first Hebrew letter of his name, “Mem” — was killed and another officer, who went back to recover Mem’s body, was wounded. The special forces unit beat a rapid retreat from the coastal enclave, calling in airstrikes for cover and a helicopter evacuation from the elite search-and-rescue Unit 669.

According to the army, one investigation will be conducted within Military Intelligence. The findings will be presented to the head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Tamir Hyman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. The military said an initial probe was expected to be completed within the coming weeks. In addition, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon — the former head of IDF Operations — was also charged with a wider investigation into how the army conducts such raids. Alon was instructed to lead a team to “examine and study the challenges and [make] recommendations at the level of the General Staff, of multiple army branches and of the inter-organizational cooperation between different special forces,” the army said.

The Hamas terror group is conducting its own investigation into the Israeli raid. Last week, Hamas published photographs of eight people that it says were involved in the raid. The photographs were distributed on social media along with the email address and two phone numbers of the terror group’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in order to allow people to provide information about the operation. The phone numbers stopped working later in the day.

Pictures of the two cars allegedly used by the Israeli special forces soldiers during the raid were also published. Though freely available on the internet, the photographs could not be published by Israeli media by order of the military censor. The censor approved the publication of the pixelated photograph used in this article.

In a highly irregular public statement, the censor also called on Israelis not to share any information they have about the raid, even if they think it benign. “Hamas is working now to interpret and understand the event that occurred within Gaza on November 11, and every piece of information, even if it is considered by the publisher as harmless, is liable to endanger human lives and damage the security of the state,” the censor said. Hamas officials are said to view the gun battle as a failure, because their primary goal — according to a Hadashot news report — was to capture the IDF soldiers who had placed themselves so near Hamas’s grasp.

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ISRAEL’S NEXT NORTHERN WAR:

OPERATIONAL AND LEGAL CHALLENGES

Michael Hostage & Geoffrey Corn

Real Clear Defense, Nov. 3, 2018

Hezbollah has threatened Israel’s northern border for decades. Today, however, the nature of this threat has become dire, and the risks of escalation real, as Iran continues supplying Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon with game-changing weapons to devastate the Israeli homeland.

When the next conflict erupts between Israel and Hezbollah, its scale and intensity will bear little resemblance to those of recent memory. Hezbollah today is highly competent, adaptable and lethal. Its forces have gained invaluable battlefield experience in Syria and amassed more weaponry than 95 percent of the world’s conventional militaries, including at least 120,000 rockets and missiles. This is more than all of Europe’s NATO members combined, and ten times as many as when it last went to war with Israel in 2006.

Especially troubling is Hezbollah’s growing arsenal of powerful long-range precision missiles capable of striking targets throughout Israel. Unlike in recent conflicts, Israel’s missile defenses will be incapable of shielding the nation from such a threat. From the outset of conflict, Hezbollah will be able to sustain a launch rate of more than 3,000 missiles per day – as many as Israel faced in the entire 34-day conflict in 2006.

Despite this quantum leap in its capabilities, Hezbollah is under no illusion about its ability to inflict military defeat on Israel. It will not seek victory in the valleys of Lebanon or the skies over Israel, but in the court of public opinion. To do so, it will use combat operations to lay the groundwork for an information campaign delegitimizing Israel. Two tactics will be central to Hezbollah’s efforts: first, deliberately attacking Israeli civilian population centers to compel an aggressive response by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); second, illegally exploiting the presence of Lebanese civilians to shield itself from IDF attack.

Hezbollah will then manipulate the inevitable casualties by relying on widespread misperceptions about the true nature of combat operations and how international law (the law of armed conflict, or LOAC) regulates such operations. It will use the inevitable images of civilian suffering in Lebanon to portray Israel’s lawful operations as immoral and illegal. By weaponizing information and the law, Hezbollah will seek to force Israel to halt its self-defense campaign before the IDF can achieve decisive victory.

This is the increasingly prevalent face of hybrid warfare, where law-abiding militaries confront non-state actors like Hezbollah who blend robust combat capabilities and unlawful tactics with sophisticated information operations. This difficult reality is highlighted in a new report by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s (JINSA) Hybrid Warfare Task Force, which examines the significant operational and legal challenges Israel will confront when it is compelled to engage Hezbollah and potentially other regional adversaries including Iran.

A key finding is that Hezbollah’s intentional emplacement of rockets, missiles and other vital military assets in villages and cities throughout Lebanon will increase risks to innocent civilians. To gain strategic advantage, Hezbollah will exploit the common – but erroneous – assumption that Israel, by virtue of attacking these sites, must be acting unlawfully, even when the unfortunate effects of these attacks are rendered unavoidable by Hezbollah’s deliberate and illegal use of human shields. This dilemma for Israel is further complicated by our expectation that the IDF will be compelled to undertake large-scale, aggressive operations to neutralize as much of Hezbollah’s rocket threat as possible before it is ever employed.

This will include ground operations deep into Lebanon. In addition to their sheer scale, the nature of such operations in towns and villages will magnify the likelihood of collateral damage and civilian casualties. This will also make it much more difficult for the IDF to utilize the extensive and often innovative measures to mitigate risks to civilians that have been commonplace during more limited operations – for example, warnings and providing civilians time to evacuate before an attack.

Despite these challenges, our task force found an IDF fully committed to compliance with the LOAC, knowing full well Hezbollah seeks to exploit this very same commitment. We worry, however, that the nature of a major combined arms operation will contribute to the operational and legal misperceptions that are so adeptly exploited by enemies like Hezbollah, resulting in false condemnation of Israel from the international public, media and many states.

How this story plays out for Israel will have reverberating effects for other professional militaries, including our own. Unless the challenges of such operations become more widely understood, with more credible assessments of legality, morality and legitimacy, others will be incentivized to replicate Hezbollah’s perverse tactics.

Ultimately, this requires a greater appreciation of the realities of combat against hybrid adversaries. It also requires a greater appreciation for how the LOAC strikes a rational balance between civilian protection and military effectiveness. Nowhere will these considerations be more apparent – and more consequential – than in Israel’s next conflict with Hezbollah.

 

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WHY JAPAN IS BUILDING ITS MILITARY, FAST                                                                 

David J. Bercuson

National Post, Nov. 6, 2018

With 18 diesel electric submarines, four so-called “helicopter destroyers” that look suspiciously like small aircraft carriers, 43 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 25 minesweepers and training ships, fleet oilers, submarine rescue ships and other vessels, Japan’s navy — the Maritime Self-Defense Force — is the second largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world. It is also highly advanced technologically and is growing all the time. The two 27,000 ton Izumo-class helicopter destroyers, the largest in the fleet, with flat flight decks and islands on the starboard side of the vessels, are small compared to the United States Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers (approximately 100,000 tons) or Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers (65,000 tons). But if equipped with the new short-take-off-and-vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighter they will still pack a powerful punch. And Japan is considering adding more of these aircraft carriers to its fleet and advanced U.S.-style Aegis class destroyers, capable of shooting down medium-range ballistic missiles.

The irony in all of this is that Japan’s post Second World War constitution still contains a provision — Article 9 — that prohibits it from possessing any offensive military capability. In the early 1950s, Japan began to build its self-defence forces and now has a powerful navy, a modern medium-sized air force that will soon fly the F-35 along with specially built F-15s, alongside more than 300 fighter aircraft and 50,000 personnel, and a growing land army and marine sea landing capability.

Are these military assets “defensive” in nature? Partly, but aircraft carriers, high-speed destroyers, modern fighter aircraft and assault ships are surely as offensive as they are defensive. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it plain that in less than two years, he intends to seek to change the Japanese constitution to drastically curtail any obligation Japan has to maintain a purely defensive capability. In other words, he will ask the Japanese people and legislature to bless what Japan has already done. That could be more problematic than people realize.

Like Germany, Japan suffered greatly in the Second World War. Virtually all its great cities were levelled either with atomic bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) or fire raids that were carried out by giant B-29 bombers at low altitude at night. The attacks burned the heart out of Japan’s cities. In March 1945, 100,000 people were killed in one night in a fire raid on Tokyo and many acres of the city were burned to the ground. Submarine blockades of Japan drastically curtailed food and fuel supplies. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers were killed either in the United States’ march across the Pacific or in the Russian invasion of Manchuria near the end of the war. Japan was a prostrate nation by the end of 1945 and its ancient system of government was a shambles.

The result of this terrible defeat was the rise of pacifist thinking throughout Japan. Having suffered from military defeat, few Japanese were interested any longer in military adventurism. At the same time democracy took root under the American occupation of Japan. To give but one example, although women still endure many disadvantages in Japan — as they do here also — the Americans forced the Japanese to accept women as fully equal in civil rights and political authority. Japanese industry re-grew and although Japan is no longer the second largest economy in the world — it was recently surpassed by China — it is still a highly technologically advanced economy turning out everything from advanced motor vehicles to high-quality TV sets and computers. Prime Minister Abe is a strong supporter of free trade as are most of the political hierarchy of Japan.

Why then would the Japanese people support a militarization of their country? We need look no further than the bellicose growth of Chinese nationalism and the recent moves by the Chinese to dominate the South and East China Seas in the way that the United States dominates the Caribbean. The Chinese have made no secret of their ambition with the creation of artificial islands that now host air bases, anti-aircraft missiles, and Chinese “coast guard” vessels that though mostly painted white (as coast guard vessels generally are), mount naval-style guns on their foredecks.

Japan is heavily dependent on sea transport, especially for fuel oil and natural gas, that comes from the Middle East via the Strait of Malacca and the Formosa Strait. With the U.S. under President Donald Trump adopting an increasing isolationist tone, Japan, like Australia and other nations in the region, will have to put more assets into their own defence.

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THE INF TREATY HAMSTRINGS THE U.S. TRUMP IS RIGHT TO LEAVE IT.          Elbridge Colby                       

Washington Post, Oct. 23

The Trump administration has announced that it plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987. This treaty banned the United States and Russia from possessing any ground-launched ballistic and cruise missile systems with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles). The administration’s decision is sure to elicit a cacophony of criticism, but the truth is that the United States should no longer tolerate the INF status quo. The reasons basically boil down to two: Russia appears unwilling to give up the systems that violate INF (meaning INF is essentially a dead letter), and, more important, the United States no longer benefits from a ban on ground-based intermediate-range systems — but because of China, not Russia.

This is not to downplay the importance of INF. The treaty played a major role in enabling and locking in the diminution of tensions that ended the Cold War. In particular, it eliminated all of the Soviet Union’s SS-20 intermediate-range missiles, which posed a particularly pressing threat to NATO’s defenses in the 1970s and 1980s.

This was all well and to the good. But today is another day. Russia is no longer abiding by the treaty, and Moscow gives no indication of being open to coming back into compliance. The treaty has therefore become a one-way arrangement: The United States is abiding by it, but Russia is not.

This would not by itself be a compelling argument for withdrawal, because the United States does not require INF-restricted systems for effective deterrence and defense in Europe, and staying in the treaty highlights Russia’s perfidy. The United States and its NATO allies must take steps to improve their defense posture against Russia, but noncompliant systems are not necessary to do this. Since the Russian threat is more modest in scale than the Soviet one was, the United States could meet the need by investing in better penetrating strike aircraft and munitions, sea- and undersea-launched missiles, improved ground-based fires, more resilient basing, better logistics, more effective and affordable air and missile defense, and the like.

Rather, the most compelling reason for withdrawal is that the United States could materially improve the military balance against China in East Asia by developing and deploying INF-noncompliant systems. China poses a much larger and more sophisticated long-term military threat than Russia, and U.S. strike options are more constrained by the geography of the Pacific. Washington would benefit from having the ability to deploy survivable land-based ballistic and cruise missile systems to provide a larger, more diverse and resilient greater strike capability in the event of a conflict in the western Pacific.

The United States is currently complying with a treaty unilaterally and suffering for it — albeit in a different theater. It was worth spending several years trying to bring Russia back in compliance, but that course has clearly failed. Now is as good a time as any to adapt our arms-control architecture to our strategic needs. Many will argue that leaving the INF treaty is tantamount to tearing down the late-Cold War arms-control architecture, thus bringing the world to the nuclear brink. But such statements are gross exaggerations. First, INF did not need to be a disarmament treaty; most arms control treaties involve ceilings rather than bans, as well as transparency and inspections. There is nothing inherently destabilizing about INF systems. In reality, it was likely that then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev simply wanted to reduce the economic burden imposed by the Soviet military, and getting rid of INF systems was a convenient way to do that.

Second, if anyone should be calling for withdrawal, it should be the disarmament community. For those who look at arms control as a useful strategic tool but not a panacea, violations are important but not existential, because resting a nation’s security on arms control would be foolhardy in the first place. It is disarmers who argue that we should put our faith in treaties — but if there is no consequence for violating them, what hope is there for disarmament?

All that this means, however, is that there is a middle course open. Russia clearly believes it needs INF systems, and the United States could benefit from them in Asia. A revised INF that regionalized the treaty and replaced the ban with ceilings and transparency measures, as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty does with strategic systems, is therefore a natural area of potential agreement. Ending up there could make sense for all parties.

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On Topic Links

Israeli Air Force Holds First-Ever Combat Rescue Drill With Six Other Forces: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Nov. 26, 2018—In the first international drill of its kind, the Israeli Air Force hosted six foreign air forces for an helicopter combat search-and-rescue drill in November.

Looking at the Gaza Strip: From Short Term to Long Term: Kim Lavi, Udi Dekel, INSS, Nov. 20, 2018—In the most recent escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the message conveyed by both parties was that they are not interested in paying the price of a war that will ultimately return them to square one.

Hezbollah Firepower Exceeds 95% of World’s Conventional Armies, Report Says: Sean Savage, JNS, Nov. 9, 2018—Israel and Hezbollah have been adversaries for decades now, dating back to the Jewish state’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war.

In the Middle East, You Win With Fear: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018—The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltrations, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons. This means that a so-called “agreement” or truce is not a viable option.

PIVOT TO ASIA: ISRAEL— “INNOVATION HUB OF THE WORLD” —BOLSTERS TIES WITH INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN, LESSENING DEPENDENCE ON WEST

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

 

                  

 

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. 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.

 

 

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                            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.           

                                                                       

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 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. 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.]    

                                                                       

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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. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

DANON APPOINTED TO UN AS ISRAELI RELATIONS WITH INDIA & JAPAN IMPROVE, BUT IRAN STILL A THREAT

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.

 

                                                                       

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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.

                                                                  

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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.]   

                                                                       

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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. 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.]   

 

           

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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.