Israel Desk – Dec 2021


US tells Israel to back off attacks on Iran

Biden Administration officials have cautioned Israel that its repeated attacks on Iran’s nuclear program are “counterproductive,” reported The New York Times. While blowing up centrifuges and taking facilities temporarily offline might be “tactically satisfying,” the report cited the US officials as saying that for Israel to do so is “ultimately counterproductive.” 

Israel disappointed with Biden administration’s Iran policy – Israel National News

The Americans stressed that in nearly every case of suspected Israeli interference, the Iranians quickly recovered and came back stronger and even closer to their goal of attaining a nuclear weapon. The report stated that Israeli officials rejected Washington’s warning and stressed that the Jewish state has no intention of backing off.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defence Minister Benny Gantz attended a IDF exercise in northern Israel last week that simulated an attack by Iran and its proxies.

Terrorist Cell Thwarted in Judea and Samaria (

Bennett told reporters, perhaps in direct response to the American position:

‘No matter what happens between Iran and world powers we are concerned that there is not enough toughness in the face of Iranian violations.  Israel will defend itself on its own.’

Naftali Bennett

Gantz added: ‘The world must act against Iran and Israel must continue to do what it needs to do.’

Iran is scheduled resume negotiations with world powers in Vienna. The negotiations are aimed at renewing the previous Iran nuclear deal that Israel’s previous government vehemently opposed. 

Former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, explained the difference in the US and Israeli positions regarding the process with Iran:

‘While the US can live with an Iran that has the ability to make a bomb but doesn’t do so, Israel simply cannot.’

Michael Oren (former US Ambassador to Israel)

In other words, the US is committed to preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, but not to stopping it from becoming a nuclear threshold state. There are a number of nuclear threshold states in the world, and Washington seems to believe that like them, Iran could ultimately be persuaded against going nuclear, even if it has the capability to do so.

A month of Iranian escalation ahead of the Vienna negotiations | In Translation (

But “threshold” in this sense means that a country has the ability to produce and field a nuclear weapon within weeks, or even days, if it ever chooses to go down that path. That would leave far too little time for the international community to do anything about it.

Israel cannot live with that risk.

Even without ever producing “the bomb,” an Iran that reaches threshold status would alter the balance of power in the Middle East by providing a viable, if potential nuclear deterrent for itself and all its proxies. Taking action against Iranian aggression would suddenly become a far more perilous endeavour.

Iran Signals Vienna Talks to Resume | Arms Control Association

Lastly, for Iran to reach threshold status would prompt a number of rival Sunni Arab states to do the same, sparking a nuclear arms race in one of the most unstable regions in the world.

Main Source: Israel Today

Israel’s co-operation with Arab neighbours

The historic Abraham Accords signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in 2020 are causing growing cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbours. 

Israel, UAE to sign deal at White House ceremony next Tuesday | The Times of Israel

Israeli Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Mohamed Al Khaja, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Israel, met in Jerusalem on 21st November. The two discussed bilateral and regional relations, as well as the development of transportation links between Israel and the UAE, according to an official statement.

“You know how keen Israelis are to visit your country. We are looking at ways to make that easier, and we are also keen to welcome Emiratis to come to Israel. There is great potential, and we need to get to work to realize it,”

Merav Michaeli

Michaeli told the ambassador. Michaeli and Al Khaja discussed additional ways to increase business and tourist travel and agreed to work together to address them, according to the statement.

Israeli transport minister, UAE ambassador meet to discuss bilateral ties, trade (

Bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE has reached $1 billion since the two countries established full diplomatic relations last year.

Israel and Jordan struck a historic deal on November 22nd which will see Jordan provide Israel with electricity in exchange for desalinated water. Jordan has vast swaths of unused land in its desert regions. A UAE company will build a massive solar power plant in the Jordanian desert that will then feed energy-hungry Israel. Israel will at the same time begin providing Jordan with about twice as much fresh water as it does today. The Jewish state is considering the construction of another desalination plant on its Mediterranean coast as part of the project.

Israel, Jordan strike linked water, power deal – News for the Energy Sector (

The solar power plant, to be built in Jordan, will produce about 1.2 gigawatts of electricity. It is scheduled to open in five years. The agreement facilitates future expansions to the plant to enable it to produce up to 5 gigawatts of electricity.  Jordan will increase its purchase of fresh water from Israel to 200 million cubic meters annually, about double what it currently buys. The two counties are considering the possibility of building a private desalination plant on Israel’s Mediterranean coast dedicated to the project.

Israeli military tech giant Elbit has announced the establishment of its subsidiary in the UAE (United Arab Emirates).  The subsidiary is working to develop long-term collaborations with UAE military forces. It also facilitates adapting technological solutions to the operational needs of new end users, and leads the transfer of technologies to local partners.

Dubai Airshow 2021: Elbit sets up UAE-based subsidiary – Shephard Media

Israel Air Force Commander Gen. Norkin attended the recent Air Show in Dubai. This included the multi-dimensional network warfare display includes a solution for integrative communications networking for air, sea and land from the tactical level to the headquarters level. The pilot helmet systems on display are of the JHMCS-II type which include a colour display as well as the “Brightnite” system which gives helicopter pilots the ability to fly on dark nights and in extreme weather.

JHMCS II – Elbit Systems

The conference was attended by Air Force commanders from around the world, including Middle Eastern countries.  This visit is indicative of the continued development and strengthening of the relationship between the IDF and foreign armies in general, at the national and strategic level; as well as being an example of the growing cooperation with the IDF here in the Middle East.

Israel joins the hi-tech super league

Significant news for Israeli hi-tech – Israel officially joined the GPAI Forum (Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence) this week affirming its position as one of the world’s most powerful countries in the field of artificial intelligence. Currently, 18 countries are members of the forum and Israel’s acceptance into the prestigious body strengthens the Jewish state’s position as an international leader in hi-tech.

Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence

The forum’s decision to include Israel followed a meeting of Minister of Innovation Science and Technology Orit Prakash HaCohen and Director of the Technology and Innovation Department Moran Dayan with the OECD Secretary General and The Minister of Science of France. At the meeting, the minister presented the significant progress that Israel has made in the past year in the field of artificial intelligence.

The GPAI was established at the initiative of Canada and France with the aim of creating collaborations between experts from academia, industry, governments and leading organizations around the world. To date, members include 18 countries from the European Union as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. Israel was selected from 10 countries that applied.

The Growing Timeline of AI Milestones

Israel’s accession to the GPAI will enable the Jewish state to cooperate with the most powerful countries in the field of artificial intelligence, to take part in international research in the field of AI, to influence the design of international policy and to get to know other countries’ processes in the field.


All of this will help the government to optimize its policies for the growth of the industry and for increased innovations and improvements in the hi-tech industry and of the economy in general.

Rise of anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitic incidents hit an unprecedented high at universities in the United Kingdom during the previous academic year, according to recently released data collected by the Community Security Trust (CST)

National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2021 – Blog – CST – Protecting Our Jewish Community

A total of 111 anti-Semitic cases were recorded at British universities, which is a 59 percent rise from the 70 cases recorded during the 2019-20 school year. The jump represents a record high for CST since it began tracking anti-Semitic incidents on university campuses in 2002.

“The fact that this record total coincided with the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza shows yet again that wherever extreme anti-Israel hate is found, anti-Jewish hatred surely follows,”

CST spokesperson

The Union of Jewish Students, which was reportedly targeted in eight of the incidents, said it is

“incredibly worrying to see how positive and active Jewish student life is being tainted by the growth of anti-Jewish hatred across campuses in the U.K.”


A spokesperson added that

“it is vital that institutions, student unions and the wider community are active in calling out anti-Jewish racism and take concrete steps to safeguard their Jewish students—for example, adopting and using the [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.”

UJS spokesperson

In the Polish city of Kalisz on November 11th (Polish Independence Day), hundreds of far-right activists converged on the main square where they shouted bloodcurdling slogans, including “Death to the Jews!” “Death to the enemies of the fatherland!” and some stomach-churning calumny that linked the Jewish community with paedophiles.

Poland arrests three over ‘disgraceful’ anti-Semitic demonstration | Euronews

Though some of the demonstrators reportedly brandished Palestinian flags, this was not the anti-Zionist anti-Semitism with which we are familiar in the West, which casts the State of Israel as the principal source of suffering and misery in the world. What we saw in Kalisz was the type of anti-Semitism that was familiar to our grandparents and great-grandparents, with Jews as the unambiguous targets of violent incitement.


Main information source:  Jewish News Service.

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