Israeli technology chosen to ease Lake Chad water crisis

September 9, 2019

An Israeli invention that pulls water from air will be deployed in Nigeria following a meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York regarding the freshwater crisis in the Chad Basin of Africa. Lake Chad is the main source of drinking water for millions of people in Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

The Complexity behind Hezbollah’s Response to Israel’s Attacks

September 4, 2019

The considerations that have so far guided Hezbollah’s calculated retaliation on September 1, 2019 following Israel’s strikes, and the August 25 drone strike in Beirut in particular, reflect its character as an organization with multiple identities – all of which influence its decision making. Hezbollah simultaneously constitutes a pivotal link in the regional “resistance axis” led by Iran; a Lebanese “resistance” movement and “defender of Lebanon”; and an organization within Lebanon that preserves its independent identity and autonomous decision making. Even as Hezbollah is involved in the overarching “resistance axis” against Israel, its commitment to the Lebanese state serves as a restraint. In its brief round of fighting with Israel, Hezbollah, which seeks to avoid broadening the confrontation to a war ruinous for both Lebanon and itself, behaved like a careful state-like actor.

Two Weeks to Election Day: IDI Poll Reveals Jewish Israelis are in Favor of a Unity Government

September 3, 2019

Two weeks to the elections Jewish Israelis show a strong preference for a unity government while Arab Israelis prefer a center-left wing government led by Gantz. Also over the past five months there has been a steady decline in the public’s optimism about the future of Israel’s democracy and security.

Middle East Demographics to 2030

August 30, 2019

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) the population of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA: the Arab countries and Iran) will increase from 484 million in 2018 to 581 million in 2030 and 724 million in 2050.[1] (See Table 1) Between 2018 and 2030, the population is forecast rise by almost 1.7 percent annually and between 2030 and 2050 by just over 1.2 percent annually. By far the largest country demographically is Egypt, and its population is forecast to rise by almost 1.8 percent annually between 2018 and 2030 and by almost 1.4 percent annually between 2030 and 2050. This edition of Iqtisadi examines the report and its implications.

The Positions of the Israeli Right-Wing

August 26, 2019

This special survey examines attitudes of right wing voters on a number of issues related to September’s election including the possibility of a unity government and recent proposals that would limit judicial review and oversight of Knesset and government decisions. The poll reveals that 42% of right-wing voters support a unity government and that 43% oppose additional political power for elected officials at the expense of the Judicial Branch of government.

On Demography and Economic Development in Jerusalem

August 21, 2019

Jerusalem is the largest and most complex city in Israel. According to data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) at the end of 2017 Jerusalem residents comprised roughly 10% of the total population of the State of Israel (901,302 persons). 62.1% of the city’s population are classified as “Jews and others” (559,849 persons), and 37.9% of its residents are classified as Arab (341,453 persons). At the same time, according to ICBS figures, approximately 72,600 residents left Jerusalem between the years 2007-2017. In 2017 for example, Jerusalem’s population was reduced by 6,000 people as a result of negative internal migration (of which, 5,800 were “Jews and others” and 200 were Arabs).

Is a New Wind Blowing through the State Comptroller’s Office?

August 19, 2019

The State Comptroller’s Office is the only institution outside of the defense establishment that conducts comprehensive and independent audits of security matters; hence its importance to national security. In the view of newly-appointed State Comptroller and Ombudsman Matanyahu Englman, an audit is meant to be a constructive process that addresses issues of national value; the audit process is a tool that supports the government and prime minister; audits that are liable to affect real-time decision making should be avoided; and the Comptroller should also report on the success of those audited. By contrast, his predecessor, retired judge Yosef Shapira, stressed that the State Comptroller is not the government’s in-house auditor and that audits do not depend on the good will of any external party.

The Crossroads between Ethics and Technology

August 16, 2019

Imagine a growing Israeli startup whose product is deepfake videos that are based on artificial intelligence and appear to be utterly authentic. The company’s marketing efforts, according to its website, are conducted by two departments — “consulting for corporations” and “consulting for governments and politicians.” In addition, “the company helps its customers uncover their opponents’ weak spots and make them go viral.” Finally, imagine that the company describes its employees as “highly experienced men and women, graduates of elite units of the IDF intelligence branch and Israeli government intelligence agencies,” and that its technology is based on developments by these same security agencies. When you are done imagining this, it’s time to think about the private intelligence firm Black Cube.

Forgotten Heroes: The Jewish Resistance and Exodus 1947

August 14, 2019

Veterans of the Jewish Resistance in France participated in the rescue of tens of thousands of Jews during WWII. They provided emissaries from the Land of Israel with vital infrastructure for clandestine Zionist activities in France, including money, manpower, forged documents, accommodation, and contacts among the French authorities. In July-August 1947, they were significantly involved in the dramatic story of the Exodus 1947, the ship full of Holocaust survivors turned back by the British. It is regrettable that their contribution to the creation of the State of Israel is almost entirely absent from the collective memory.

Overwhelming Support for Retaining Judicial Review Among Right Wing-Voters

August 12, 2019

The Israel Democracy Institute published on August 12th a special survey examining attitudes of right wing voters on a number of issues related to September’s election including. These include the possibility of a unity government and recent proposals that would limit judicial review and oversight of Knesset and government decisions. The poll reveals that 42% of right-wing voters support a unity government and that 43% oppose additional political power for elected officials at the expense of the Judicial Branch of government.

A Port Rush: Competition for Control of Trade Routes

August 9, 2019

In the Arabian Sea, competition has been building for the past few years over control of the strategic ports adjacent to major trade routes. Power struggles have developed in the context of China’s efforts to consolidate its hold on key ports in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Red Sea, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). From Israel’s perspective, the competition over the Red Sea shipping lane allows the consolidation of the presence of different actors along the southern access routes to the Gulf of Eilat and to the Suez Canal, creating a new space of challenges, and maybe also opportunities for (low profile) Israeli involvement in some of the initiatives.

Towards the Elections: Prime Minister Netanyahu gets Mixed Grades

August 7, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is awarded high grades for improving Israel’s international standing (60%), enhancing the country’s military strength (56%), and successfully contending with the Iranian threat (50.5%) but poor grades for failing to increase solidarity between Israel’s different segments of society (51%) and on the question of personal integrity (49%).