Israel’s Military Ties with Asia Are Growing

On July 14, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin arrived in Seoul, where he met with senior officials and laid the groundwork for a trade agreement. He also made a point of praising Israeli missile-defense systems, which of course have some appeal to a country in the sights of North Korean rockets. To Alvite Ningthoujam, the visit reflects the success of Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to expand his country’s diplomatic ties with East Asia: ties that in many cases have military as well as economic dimensions:

Of Israel’s total arms exports in 2018 (worth $7.5 billion), 46 percent were purchased by Asia-Pacific countries. . . . Vietnam has become one of the three largest Israeli arms clients between 2014 and 2018, along with Azerbaijan and India. This growing defense trade is crucial for Israel, mainly for funding its defense research-and-development programs, but also for ensuring an uninterrupted flow of foreign earnings into the country.

Moreover, with a limited scope for the consumption of its own defense products internally, Israel is on a constant look-out for clients elsewhere, and Southeast Asia has become a lucrative market. Besides aircraft and related systems, missile and antimissile systems, border-protection equipment, early-warning systems, intelligence equipment, and military-aviation components are the most sought-after Israeli-made items.

Beyond the arms trade, Israel has entered the domain of counterterrorism cooperation. Troops from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), for the first time, trained their Philippine counterparts.

It is certain that military-security cooperation between Israel and these Asian countries will progress further. . . . Notwithstanding the importance of economic cooperation, the Israeli government will continue to encourage defense engagements as a means of diversifying its revenue sources, which could also further lead to the establishment of political ties with these countries.

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Read more at Diplomat

More about: Asia, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel diplomacy, Israeli technology, Reuven Rivlin, South Korea, Southeast Asia

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank