Nov 3: Intelligence chief expects regional conflict

The Headlines: Bad for Israel

> Israel’s outgoing chief of Military Intelligence (and future head of Mossad?), Maj Gen Amos Yadlin, warns Israelis not be fooled by the “unprecedented” security they have enjoyed recently. The IDF’s own Jeremiah predicts that the “next military conflict” will happen on multiple fronts and may incur more fatalities. As I have written here in the past, the importance of such assessments is not derived from the predictive power of Israeli intelligence, which has often proven quite poor. Rather, what worries me is the IDF’s tendency to produce self-fulfilling prophecies: by reacting to every event as a prelude to the war they have warned about, they help bring it about.

> The US mid-term elections occupy front pages for a second day, even though the time difference ensured Israeli newspapers will have nothing new to report. To those who don’t know: Republican took over the House of Representatives, Democrats held the Senate, just barely. Kudos to Shimon Shieffer from Yedioth, who notes Obama has made huge efforts to supply every weapon and intelligence system Israel has requested; while Netanyahu has refused every one of Obama’s requests on progress with the Palestinians. Shiffer concludes: “Obama was good for the Jews, but is Netanyahu good for Israelis?”

> In the past 7 years, settler population in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights (illegally annexed by Israel) has increased [Heb] by 60% to 14,000.

The Sidelines: Freedom of Speech

> The Education Minister is planning an Orwellian “Code on Academic Freedom”, seemingly intended to silence critics of Israel’s policies in universities and colleges.

> An IDF colonel will not be indicted, despite voicing support for assaulting Palestinian detainees in open court for (Yedioth).

> The Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) denies it supported a bill to penalize terrorists with loss of citizenship (Ha’aretz supplement).

> Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad moved a planned visit to Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem to a nearby locality, which is not part of the territory annexed to Israel. This was following pressures by the Israeli government, which viewed the intended visit as an assertion of foreign authority on soil which it claims as its own.

> Diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey could be downgraded, further highlighting the crisis between the two former allies (Ma’ariv).

> Israel’s military industry is refusing to allow inspection of lands it is suspected of polluting (Ha’aretz).

> The Knesset moves ahead on a bill cutting benefits for single moms.

> The trade unions and the government have reached a compromise on public sector pay, averting a general strike.

The Bottom Lines: Xenophobia

> An 89 year old Jewish man, who rented his Safed apartment to two Bedouin college students, has been the target of a harassment campaign, led by rabbis who want to keeps Safed a pure-blood Jewish city. In Carmiel, another northern town, the deputy mayor has initiated a hotline to gather anonymous tips on Jews selling home to Arabs.

> Interior Minister Yishay (Shas) thinks [Heb] that the entry of asylum seekers to Israel is a strategic threat, tantamount to national suicide. In the past few years, 30,000 refugees entered Israel, versus nearly half a million babies born during the same time.