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Israeli Security Forces Arrest Citizen Muhammad Azzam for Planning to Join ISIS

June 25, 2017 News

Israeli security forces prevent terrorism, at home and abroad. Israeli police car. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The resident of an Israeli Arab town was arrested earlier this month for contact with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State (IS), and for making plans to join the brutal terrorist organization. Muhammad Azzam, an Israeli citizen from Kfar Manda, was arrested on June 6 in a joint operation between the Israeli Police and Israel Security Agency (ISA), according to an ISA press release published on Sunday.

During the investigation of Azzam, the ISA said they learned that Azzam “supports the IS idea, followed IS propaganda online and recently made tangible preparations to leave for the combat zone in order to join the ranks of IS fighters.” He was also in online contact with ISIS fighters who were helping him.

The Israelis take the situation very seriously. “The ISA views Israelis who support IS, are in contact with it and who go to fight in its ranks, as a severe strategic threat,” said the ISA press release. … Continue Reading

After US Downs Syrian Plane, Tensions Spike with Russia that Could Put Israel, Others at Risk

June 19, 2017 News

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the office of the President of Russia.

The United Stated defended local fighters assisting in the coalition against ISIS by shooting down a Syrian plane that was bombing near the locals, and now Russia is threatening to shoot down almost everybody. The New York Times reported that the Russian Defense Ministry not only supported their ally in the Syrian regime, but issued threats on their behalf. “All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday, according to the report.

The Russians have long coordinated with the various nations engaged in the skies above and around Syria to avoid dangerous mistakes. That has included Israel as well as the United States. The Russians also said they suspended the coordination hotline with the U.S., but The New York Times noted that threat has been issued before only to disappear later. The United States on Monday defended their actions. … Continue Reading

UN Agrees with Israel that Gaza Electricity Crisis ‘Internal Palestinian Dispute’

June 15, 2017 News

This is where the Gazan taxes are being spent – on rockets. Illustrative photo of spent Rockets fired from Gaza. By Joshua Spurlock.

The United Nations and Israel agree: The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip—occurring after the Palestinian Authority requested that Israel cut supply due to lack of funding from Hamas in Gaza—is an “internal Palestinian” matter. U.N. Resident Coordinator assigned to the Palestinians, Robert Piper, was quoted by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs website as saying on Wednesday that “the people in Gaza should not be held hostage to this longstanding internal Palestinian dispute.”

That language is almost identical to how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the situation one day before. “It needs to be understood that the issue of electricity in Gaza is subject to a disagreement between the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) and Hamas,” said Netanyahu in comments from his office on Tuesday. “Hamas is demanding that the P.A. pay for the electricity and the P.A. is refusing to do so. This is an internal Palestinian argument.” And while Israel is a key provider of electricity to Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman made it clear it’s not their decision to cut the power—in fact, they are “definitely ready to provide.” … Continue Reading

Israel Funding University Research into Super Secure Quantum Communications

June 12, 2017 News

This system in the lab at the Hebrew University’s Quantum Information Science Center is used to control light in optical fibers, shaping the wavefront of photons using a fiber piano. (Photo courtesy of Yitz Woolf for Hebrew University)

Imagine a communications system that uses some of the smallest particles known to man, and then imagine that that system makes that communication even more resistant to hacking. Israel certainly is, which is why the nation’s Ministry of Defense awarded 7.5 million shekels ($2.12 million) to Hebrew University to pursue research into quantum communications. The project’s ultimate goal is develop the talent and technology necessary to develop a system that “will prevent eavesdropping, protect data privacy and secure national infrastructure,” said a press release from the University.

Quantum communications—which is based on quantum physics and the special characteristics of matter and light at the infinitesimally small scale—could be the key to the future of securing data. “Current methods of encrypting data are increasingly vulnerable to attack as the increased power of quantum computing comes online,” said the press release. “Quantum communication systems use the laws of physics to secure data and are therefore resistant to attack.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu in Africa: Include Us in African Union, Support Us at United Nations

June 4, 2017 News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conference.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / Israeli GPO

Israel wants to partner with African nations to build a better future for Africa. They also hope to build a better future for Israel, too—specifically, in international organizations such as the United Nations and the African Union. “Our growing bilateral relations should also be reflected, I believe, in international forums,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office during a visit to Liberia.

Netanyahu went on to ask for African nations’ “support in rejecting anti-Israel bias at the United Nations,” as well as calling for Israel to again be an observer state of the African Union (AU). Regarding the AU status, Netanyahu said, “Now, it’s clearly—and I say this openly, especially with my great sympathy and affinity for Africa. It’s definitely in our interest. But, ladies and gentlemen, I fervently believe that it’s in your interest too, in the interest of Africa.” … Continue Reading

Palestinians Apoplectic over Israeli Plans for Cable Car to Western Wall

May 29, 2017 News

The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Western Wall is central to Judaism today as the holiest site for regular religious observance, but when Israel announced plans to build a cable car there and add elevators and tunnels to link it to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, the Palestinian response was outrage.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that “condemned” the plans and—according to a report by the WAFA Palestinian news agency—didn’t even refer to it as the Western Wall, but as the Al-Buraq wall, the Islamic name for the location that discounts any Jewish connection to the site. And last but not least, the Palestinians called upon the powerful United Nations Security Council to stop Israel from carrying out a collection plans for Jerusalem, including the cable car. … Continue Reading

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