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Israeli Intel Estimate: New Iranian Threat from Iraq\

By DEBKAfile
DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report that the Palestinians reckon that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he arrives in the Russian capital on Feb. 21, will find in the Kremlin a newly friendly face for the Palestinian cause. Therefore, Iran and Syria won't be the only items on the agenda of his talks with President Vladimir Putin. The Intelligence Estimate points to changes in Iran's Syrian deployment. Its forces are described as pulling away from proximity with Israel's northern border and regrouping in northern and eastern Syria. This redeployment is cause for concern in Israel. Rather than being driven back under the pressure of Israel's aerial and missile assaults, Tehran aims to take advantage of the coming withdrawal of US troops from Syria to extend its strategic depth into Iraq, from which Iranian missiles can reach Israel. The Iranians are expected to leave their Shiite militias behind for dealing with the Israel front and arm them with ground-to-ground, short-range ballistic missiles. Israel's northern front is therefore not moving farther away; it is expanding into Iraq and, in addition to the rockets piled up by Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Israel is now faced with ballistic missiles from Iraq and close by. Iranian forces are moving back from Israel's border to northern and eastern Syria and arming Shiite proxies with surface missiles. This is reported in the Israeli Military Intelligence Estimate 2019, laid before the government two weeks ago and divided into two sections: pre- and post-election. The document foresees heightened tensions on the Gaza and northern fronts in the coming months. After the April 9 general election, the next government will have to take a stand on President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a challenge which does not figure in any party campaign. In the run-up to the election, AMAN predicts the following events: The Gaza Strip will heat up. Already this week, thousands of Palestinians are gathering night after night on the Gaza border to attack Israeli troops with explosive devices and hand grenades. The explosions cause alarm in neighboring Israeli communities. The northern front, including the Golan, will see escalating violence from across the Syrian border. The Iranian Al Qods Brigades and Hizbullah will be choosing their moment to fire missiles into Israel, taking advantage of the Russian presence somewhat inhibiting Israeli payback. Palestinian terrorists will raise the stakes in Judea and Samaria to cast a pall on Israel's election, encouraged by Moscow's first supportive intervention in the Palestinian arena. The first Palestinian unity conference is taking place this week with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the chair.

Netanyahu: Israel and Arab States Advancing Common Interest of Combating Iran

By the Jerusalem Post & Reuters

Arab countries and Israel are talking about combating Iran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in Warsaw, as he filmed a shot near a skating rink for his Facebook page. "From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran. What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of combating Iran." Netanyahu said. On the northern front, Israel is working to oust Iran from Syria, Netanyahu said. "What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria. We are committed to doing this," he said. "It is cold in Warsaw right now, but Israel's foreign relations are warming up, warming up for the better." The Israeli Prime Minister is in Warsaw to attend the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East, which opened Wednesday night and will extend into Thursday. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Europe to distance itself from the US. "Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them," he wrote. "Iran must not retreat a single step from national and revolutionary values." An Iranian protester Mahmoud Masoudi of Germany said," We are coming here to support Maryam Rajavi (head of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as our leader and the only alternative to the dictatorship in Iran. This is the basic reason that all of us are here today. And we think it is the time to support NCRI, National Council of Resistance, which includes the most democratic groups in Iran against Khamenei regime, against dictatorship in Iran, the religious dictatorship." The NCRI members joined the 1979 Islamic revolution but later broke from the ruling clerics. Based in Iraq in the early 1980s, their fighters clashed with U.S. forces during the 2003 Iraq war, but have since renounced violence. NCRI, also known by its Farsi name Mujahideen-e-Khalq, was once listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union but that is no longer the case.

Diplomat: Nikki Haley's UN Departure Opening Floodgates Against Israel

By World Israel News

Amid reports that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is set to publish a blacklist of Israeli companies operating in territories captured by the Jewish State in the 1967 war; there is concern that the anti-Israel atmosphere at the United Nations could get even worse following the departure of Nikki Haley as the U.S. ambassador to the world body. Haley stepped down on December 31st. "The U.N. is on Israel's case more than ever before. I think the departure of Haley plays a role," says Jenny Aharon, director of the Golden Gate public affairs group and a World Jewish Congress (WJC) diplomat. "Also at the U.N. Human Rights Council, they are set to condemn Israel more than ever before," she told World Israel News. In June, the United States announced that it was withdrawing from the Human Rights Council over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform. At the time, Ambassador Haley charged that the "disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights." Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the U.S. decision to pull out of the council. Haley has not been replaced. Jonathan Cohen is her acting successor. "Israel has been singled out [at the Human Rights Council] by placing a special session called Item 7 which makes it mandatory for the council to address Israel's supposed human rights violation," Aharon notes, adding that American support is especially important because "the E.U. [European Union] never condemned the outrageous bias at the U.N." The council was created in 2006. U.N. officials said the United States was the first member to withdraw from the council. Among reforms the U.S. had pushed for was to make it easier to expel member states who have egregious human rights records. Currently, a two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly is needed to suspend a member state. "Look at the council membership, and you see an appalling disrespect for the most basic rights," said Haley in June, citing Venezuela, China, Cuba, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The blacklist against Israeli companies operating over the "green line" is expected to be released next month. It is said to include some of Israel's largest companies and could expose them to legal action abroad. Israeli officials credit U.S. efforts for delaying the publication of the list until now. The territories involved are eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights. Israel also captured the Gaza Strip and Sinai in the 1967 war but later withdrew. Companies informed that they might be on the list reportedly include Teva Pharmaceutical, Elbit Systems – a defense electronics company, the Rami Levi and Shufersal supermarket chains, Egged transportation, Bank Hapoalim, and Bank Leumi. In January 2018, a report from the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that 206 companies were doing business in these territories, but did not list them.

Shin Bet: Hamas TV Sent Secret Signals to Sleeper Cells Inside Israel

By World Israel News

A report issued Wednesday morning by Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency is accusing Hamas of using its television station to direct Arab terrorists inside Israel and Palestinian Authority areas. According to the Shin Bet report, Hamas has been using Al-Aqsa television to reach potential terrorists in Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem. Israeli military intelligence officials have been warning for years about an increased Hamas presence in Judea and Samaria. The terror group seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. The Shin Bet is accusing the Hamas satellite television channel of using secret coded messages to signal directions to "sleeper" cells in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. These cells are groups of terrorists which remain inactive within a target population until ordered to act. Al-Quds TV, a pro-Hamas television station, has halted its operations because of a major financial crisis after just over ten years on the air, a manager at the channel said Tuesday. "The administration has asked employees to stop coming to work because of a massive financial crisis. So we are now sitting at home," Imad al-Efrenji, the head of Al-Quds TV's Gaza office, told the Times of Israel on Tuesday. "If no Arab, Muslim or Palestinian donor makes a significant donation to save the channel, the administration will have to permanently close it," he said. "We have always relied on Arab and Muslim donors and to a small extent on advertisements," he added. "We recently have seen our supporters sending their money to other causes [in] Yemen, Syria, and other places instead of us." In July, then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman signed an order which declared Al-Quds TV, which operates from Lebanon, a terrorist organization, the minister's spokesperson stated. The decision was made at the recommendation of the Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry's recently-established national bureau for countering terror financing, said the statement.

Germany Anti-Semitic Offenses up Sharply in 2018, Government Says


Anti-Semitic offenses rose almost 10% in Germany last year, and violent attacks were up more than 60%, crime statistics showed Wednesday. Police recorded 1,646 offenses motivated by hatred against Jews, said a government answer to a request by far-left Die Linke party lawmaker Petra Pau. Among these were 62 violent offenses that left 43 people injured, up from 37 physical attacks the previous year. Germany, like other western countries, has watched with alarm as anti-Semitic and other racist hate speech and violence have increased in recent years as the political climate has coarsened and grown more polarized. A mass influx of mostly Muslim refugees and migrants to Germany from 2015 drove the rise of the far-right and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which since late 2017 is the biggest opposition group in parliament. Leading AfD members, aside from railing against Islam and multiculturalism, have also made comments that play down the Holocaust. Party co-leader Alexander Gauland described Nazi Germany's industrial-scale murder of Jews and other minorities as a mere "speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history." Another leading AfD politician, Bjoern Hoecke, has criticized the sprawling Holocaust memorial in Berlin as a "monument of shame." The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, and other Jewish community leaders have accused the AfD of fomenting hate against refugees, Muslims and Jews. At the same time, Germany has also witnessed a rise in anti-Semitic attacks committed by migrants from Arab states. In one prominent case last year a 19-year-old Syrian man was convicted for assault after lashing out with his belt at an Israeli man wearing a kippa while shouting "yahudi," Jew in Arabic. A video of the street assault, filmed by the victim on his smartphone, had sparked widespread public revulsion as it spread on social media and triggered street rallies in solidarity with Jews. Days after the belt assault, some 2,000 people rallied at a "Berlin Wears Kippa" solidarity demonstration, matched by smaller events in several other German cities.

News of the belt attack coincided with another public outcry, over a rap duo who made light of Nazi death camp prisoners but went on to win the music industry's sales-based Echo award, which was subsequently axed. The controversial winners were Kollegah and Farid Bang, whose lyrics include: "I'm doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov" and who sing that their bodies are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners." Most anti-Semitic offenses were however committed by far-right perpetrators, reported the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel in an article on the new crime statistics. Pau in her statement charged that "we are seeing that militant right-wing extremists can openly call for the desecration of Jewish institutions and attacks against Jewish people." A rising number of people and groups in the "gray zone between conservatism and right-wing extremism are denying the Holocaust and engaging in anti-Semitic agitation," she said.

Israel's High Court Tells Serial Sperm Donor 'Enough'

By the Jerusalem Post

Israel's High Court ruled against a 43-year-old woman who sought to become a single mother using a semen donation from Jewish-American mathematics professor Ari Nagel on Wednesday on the grounds "it's doubtful he can function as an actual father." Nagel, known to the court as a serial sperm donor, already fathered 35 children by various women and three children with his wife - making him the biological father of no less than 38 children. The court ruled that such a high number of children "leads to a real and serious concern about the ability of the petitioner to actually serve as the father to over 38 children, both financially and in the essence of what a father's rule is within the family." Sperm donation in Israel must be done anonymously unless the male donor signs documents saying he will co-parent with the mother. In 2017, Nagel deposited his semen in six different sperm banks and filled joint requests with seven women asking to become mothers by him, the number of requests, the court said, create a false presentation of facts. Nagel doesn't mean to function as a father to these children, yet claims to want to in these documents. The court also pointed out that under the law, there is a duty between the father and the child which is independent of the mother, and that leaving the mother with sole authority to determine the extent of fatherhood as in this case, is unacceptable.

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