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Nasrallah, Gaza Leaders Plot Disruptions of Israel's Election, Including Rocket Fire

By DEBKAfile

Rocket fire on Tel Aviv in mid-March was one of the tactics for disrupting Israel's election campaign approved by Hizbullah's Hassan Nasrallah and Palestinian terrorist chiefs from the Gaza Strip when they met in Beirut on Wednesday, Jan. 30. DEBKAfile discloses this. Ayman al-Shashniya and other heads of the Palestinian Resistance Committees (PRC) traveled to the Lebanese capital from the Gaza Strip for the meeting. It was prompted by a coordinated signal from Tehran and Beirut. On Saturday, Jan. 26, Nasrallah said in a speech that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would not be allowed to commit "big and foolish" actions under the pressure of his campaign for re-election. Three days later, Ali Shamkhani, head of Iran's National Security Council, disclosed that precise rockets had passed into the hands of "the resistance" in Lebanon and Gaza, ready to respond to "foolish actions." Shamkhani is one of the most competent and controlled officials of the Islamic regime. Placing him in charge of the "Gaza Dossier" indicates that Tehran and Hizbullah are seriously plotting to intervene in the campaign for Israel's April 9 election, specifically by igniting the Gaza front. Nasrallah praised the Palestinian terrorists at their meeting for their role in the regular, weekly Gaza border offensives on Israeli forces. He complimented them on the exploding Palestinian flag trick, which on Sept. 23, caused four Israelis soldiers to be injured when they tried to take it down. The communique they issued after talking for three hours spoke of a discussion of "the latest developments, especially those related to the Great Marches of Return and the Palestinian resistance readiness to confront the Zionist enemy." DEBKAfile's military and counter-terror sources report that the PRC is a small terrorist group whose operations, finances and organization are controlled by Hamas. Hamas itself opted to stay in the background of the plot to keep the monthly cash payments from Qatar on tap through Israel and the UN. Therefore, the PRC was sent to Beirut to work on details of the Palestinian operation for sabotaging Israel's election campaign in coordination with Hizbullah and Tehran. According to our sources, they decided on a stage-by-stage strategy, scaling up the attacks from the Gaza Strip in the coming weeks up to a climax towards mid-March, three weeks before polling day. The meeting lined up Israeli targets for rocket attacks, including Tel Aviv.

Iran's Multi-Front Approach in the War against Israel

By (Analysis by Yochanan Visser) Iran plans to pose a nuclear threat, is improving its missiles' operations and is also testing cyberwarfare aimed at aircraft systems. The threat Iran poses to Israel is well known and is taken seriously by everyone in the Jewish state, first and foremost by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This threat is not limited to the so-called Iranian proxies, the terrorist organizations in Lebanon, Gaza and the territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority, or the Iranian activities in Syria, but also appear in other areas. First, there is the Iranian nuclear threat which allegedly has decreased since the so-called JCPOA, the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers was negotiated. Officially, Iran fulfills its obligations under the agreement, which was implemented in the first months of 2016. The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicates the Islamic Republic adheres to the terms of the agreement. This is being disputed by the government of the United States and by the Israeli government. President Donald J. Trump this week fired off one of his famous tweets in which he criticized his intelligence chiefs and claimed that the heads of the various intelligence services in the US were "naive and passive" when it comes to Iran's nuclear threat. In his tweet, Trump probably referred to testimony from CIA Director Gina Haspel and his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats during a Congressional hearing earlier this week. "The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran," Trump wrote in his message. The Americans left the JCPOA in May 2018 and ever since, the Trump Administration has been trying to increase the pressure on Iran through reinstated and new sanctions and through measures aimed at curbing Iran's imperialist politics in the Middle East. That policy has already led to results despite Trump's announcement that the US military will withdraw from Syria, a decision which has led to opposition in both Congress and Israel. One of my contacts in the Middle East, the Jordanian opposition leader Mudar Zahran, reported this week that the Quds Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard now controls only 7% of Syrian territory, a decrease of 53% compared to the beginning of 2018. Zahran based his report on unidentified sources in Syria which are gathering information about the Quds Brigade of the IRGC, and his observation confirms what Israeli army commanders reported earlier. Other good news about the Iranian threat came from David Albright, a nuclear expert, and former IAEA inspector. Albright, who is following Iran closely, said that the new advanced IR-8 centrifuges for uranium enrichment in Iran are not working well because they are made of carbon fiber. The IR-8 centrifuge is 16 times more powerful than the old IR-1 centrifuge which Iran developed with the aid of Pakistani engineer Khan who stole the blueprints for the machine from URENCO in the Netherlands. "The IR-8 has been a failure. The centrifuge uses carbon fiber bellows, which involve carbon fiber tubes connected by a movable part, the bellows. They go into the shape of a banana when they hit a certain speed. You need to make them bendable. The bellow must be flexible, but they are made of carbon fiber so there are lots of problems with them cracking," according to the nuclear expert. The only Iranian centrifuge that works well is the IR-6 said Albright, who repeated his warning about optimism regarding Iran's intentions in the nuclear field. The former IAEA inspector says that everything in Iran points to an intention to continue with the development of nuclear weapons and that the Iranian nuclear program definitely has "military dimensions."

Albright's comments came on the same day that Al Shamkali, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council in Iran, reported that the Islamic Republic has no limits in the development of guided missiles. Shamkhani claimed that these advanced missiles are already in possession of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah and that these terrorist movements will use them when Israel does something stupid. Other high-ranking Iranian military officials threatened that the day that Iran's "revolutionary patience" will be over is rapidly approaching and that Iran's advanced missiles will be raining down on Israel "Iran's roaring missiles with pinpoint accuracy will rain on you in revenge for the blood of the region's oppressed Muslims shed unjustifiably," according to Mohammed Ali Jafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the IRGC, also claimed that the day of the destruction of the "Zionist project" is coming closer. The coming war against Israel will end in the devastation of the country and there will not be enough land in "Palestine" to bury the bodies of Israeli civilians, Salami said: "We declare that if Israel does anything that will cause the outbreak of a new war, this war will surely end in its destruction and the occupied lands will be liberated from the occupation, and there will not even be enough land in Palestine to bury their bodies," according to Salami. Then there's the cyber threat Iran poses to Israel. Netanyahu revealed this week that Iran is attacking Israel in the field of cyberinfrastructure on a daily basis. Iran daily tries to keep Israeli aircraft on the ground through cyberattacks on air traffic control centers, communication systems, and electronic systems in the aircraft. These attacks could affect "ground control, interference, systems within the plane and communications," Netanyahu said while adding that this is "the most vulnerable system" Israel has, "dramatically vulnerable." Israel is a world power in the field of cybersecurity, and Netanyahu claimed his government is doing everything it can to increase the number of cyber start-ups and the number of foreign cybersecurity companies operating in Israel. Netanyahu's allegations about Iran's aggression in cyberspace were supported by a new report from Fire Eye, an American company in the field of cybersecurity. Fire Eye reported that an Iranian group of cyber experts operating under the name APT39 is attempting to steal information from tour operators, IT companies and telecommunication companies in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East. Fire Eye's warning came a day after the heads of US intelligence warned that Iran was spying on the US, Israel and other US allies through cyberattacks. The annual Worldwide Threat Assessment drawn up by the joint US intelligence services warns against devastating Iranian cyberattacks shortly. "Iran uses increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques to conduct espionage; it is also attempting to deploy cyberattack capabilities that would enable attacks against critical infrastructure in the United States and allied countries," the assessment warned.

Plans for Sausage Museum at Buchenwald Spark Outcry

Plans to build a sausage museum at an annex of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald Thursday sparked protests over a "lack of historical awareness" in Germany. An association called Friends of the Thuringer Bratwurst had announced plans to move the Bratwurst Museum from its current location in Holzhausen to Muehlhausen, where a theatre and a hotel will also be built. But the Muehlhausen site was once part of the Buchenwald camp, where the Nazis imprisoned almost a quarter of a million people between 1937 and 1945. Around 700 Jewish women were held in the outlying location that is to be redeveloped into a tourist attraction. The prisoners had been sent from the Auschwitz death camp to work in a weapons factory nearby, and warned that they would be returned to the death camp when they could no longer work. Rikola-Gunnar Luettgenau of the Buchenwald memorial foundation said the redevelopment plan showed a "lack of sensitivity" and a "lack of historical awareness." He said the foundation does not automatically rule out any plans to re-use the site. "It depends on what is to be done there," he added. Amid the uproar, the local mayor is holding talks with the region's Jewish community as well as the memorial foundation. An estimated 56,000 people died at Buchenwald. They were either killed by the Nazis or perished through illness, cold or starvation. Thousands of Jews were among the dead, but also Roma and political opponents of the Nazis, gays and Soviet prisoners of war.

Can Israel's Anglos (English Speakers) be Galvanized into a Powerful Voting Force?

By the Jerusalem Post

The 250,000 immigrants of voting age from English-speaking countries in the Interior Ministry database are more than the amount of votes Shas received in the 2015 election when the party won seven seats. And that is without counting their children and grandchildren, whose mother tongue is also English. That is why it's no wonder that over the past 16 years, parties have made a serious effort to attract these voters by fielding Anglo candidates and doing events for English-speakers. But is it possible to galvanize these voters into a force like Jewish voters in American elections? Past and present Anglo candidates and heads of some parties' Anglo divisions disagreed. Arguably the most serious effort ever made by an Israeli party to attract English-speaking voters came in 2003 from Natan Sharansky's Yisrael Ba'aliyah (Israel immigration, on the rise) party, which fielded Harvard-educated candidate Eli Kazhdan in what looked like the realistic fifth slot. The party won only two seats, and Sharansky's political career was over. Kazhdan said there was value back then in there is a party that put aliyah first, reaching different groups of immigrants. He said he no longer thinks Anglos will vote for a party just because it has an Anglo high on its list, just as Russian immigrants won't vote for Likud or Yesh Atid if they have a Russian candidate on their list. "Anglos vote wherever they are ideological," Kazhdan said. "People like [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid can represent Anglos, because they are worldly people, even though none of them [were] born in the US – just like Sharansky spoke to Anglos, even though he was born far from America." But parties will make an effort nonetheless, knowing that one Knesset seat in the last election represented only 32,822 votes. Bennett's New Right Party will be fielding former Chicagoan and Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick in a top slot, and she said that she is ready to reach out to her constituents. "This is a significant electoral demographic," Glick said, adding that Anglos are not homogeneous in their outlooks, but run the gamut of the religious-secular spectrum, but share certain core ideals and concerns. "The overwhelming majority of Anglo-Israelis are deeply Zionist," she said. "They made aliyah because of their commitment to Zionism. Not surprisingly, given their high motivation and education levels, the contribution that English-speaking Israelis have made in every facet of Israeli society is simply extraordinary." Glick said native English-speakers are disproportionately engaged in efforts of hasbara (public diplomacy) efforts to defend Israel from its many detractors abroad; are concerned about the trajectory of the American Jewish community; and have practical concerns in relation to taxation of foreign income, pensions and wealth, integration and absorption assistance, and English-language instruction in schools. Likud MK Yehudah Glick, a New York native who is running for re-election and is not related to Caroline, said he is relying on Anglo support, doing parlor meetings in Modi'in, Beit Shemesh, Ra'anana and Hashmonaim – all of which house a large number of English-speakers. Former Kulanu MK Oren – who was also born in New York and has not yet decided on his political future – said Anglos do not vote as a bloc but rather divide themselves among many parties. "Anglos must first be convinced that their interests can best be guaranteed by voting together," he said. The former MK said he sees a place for an Anglo party or a bloc within an existing party. He called for Anglos to become active in the party they vote for and to try to push for the party to act on the issues that matter to them. Former basketball star Tal Brody – a native of Trenton, New Jersey, who has run unsuccessfully for Knesset with the Likud – said that if an Anglo party is formed, "Oren would be excellent as its leader." Jerusalem City Council member Dan Illouz said that on the municipal level, questions of community building and integration of olim are much more relevant, which helped his Hitorerut Party galvanize English-speaking voters to almost win the election. He called for national parties to make their platform on key issues accessible in English, as his party did in Jerusalem and new Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch did in her city.

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