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Middle East Update

Iran accuses Israel of attacking networks with ‘violent’ virus 

Iran has indirectly accused Israel for a cyber attack on its strategic networks and infrastructure with a computer virus “more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated” than Stuxnet.

Israeli officials have not admitted any role in this operation, but the report came in hours after Israel’s Mossad thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark and days after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s phone was found to be bugged.

Hadashot, an Israeli TV show, reported the incident last week.

“Remember Stuxnet, the virus that penetrated the computers of the Iranian nuclear industry?” the Hadashot news asked. Iran “has admitted in the past few days that it is again facing a similar attack, from a more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated virus than before, that has hit infrastructure and strategic networks.”

The Iranians, the TV report said, are “not admitting, of course, how much damage has been caused.” Iran said it has neutralized the computer attack.

Several Iranian officials made reference to “the occupying regime” and “the regime – with a notorious background in using cyber weapons in cases such as Stuxnet,” as being responsible for the attack. 

Last week Israel announced that its intelligence agency Mossad had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark. In addition, Iran acknowledged that Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged for weeks. 

Though Israel won’t say whether it had a role in the attack, the TV report noted that “behind the scenes lately, the Mossad … has been fighting a real shadow war.”

Last week, Israeli officials said the Mossad provided Denmark with information concerning an alleged plot by Tehran to assassinate three Iranian opposition figures living there. Denmark on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran over the incident.

“What Iran hides, Israel will find,” Netanyahu declared in his speech at the United Nations in September.

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Students from Gaza border towns march to Knesset

Israeli teenagers who have been living under the threat of rockets and arson attacks by Palestinians are taking their plight to the highest level of government with a five-day march from their school near the Gaza border to the Knesset in Jerusalem. 

The teens say they are tired of the current security situation and they want change. 

“Since we were born, we’ve been living from one war to the next. We want to grow up on the Gaza border in peace,” said Roei Rahaf, a senior at the Shaar HaNegev regional high school. 

The students embarked on this 90-kilometer (56-mile) march and are expected to reach the Knesset by Thursday. They will be joined along the way by students from other areas of the country. 

This is the biggest protest by Israelis since the Palestinians in Gaza began their “March of Return” in March. The weekly protests at the border, intermittent rocket fire and daily threat of arson terrorism coming from the Gaza border have traumatized the residents in the towns surrounding the coastal enclave.

“The change is in the hands of the leadership in Israel, and that is why we are marching to the Knesset,” Rahaf said. “This is a journey to raise awareness of what’s going on here, on the Gaza border; to tell our story, of the teenagers who deal with the difficult security situation.” The students are wearing shirts that say, “Let us grow up in peace.” 

The students will be posting updates on social media. Meanwhile several adult protesters blocked the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Sunday morning, preventing trucks with supplies from entering the Gaza Strip.

Footnote: When Israel evacuated Gaza in 2005, Israelis were very divided, but the feeling was, if we were going to forcibly removed 10,000 Israelis from their homes in Gaza, we should then respond as if we have been attacked by another nation, when Hamas sends its rockets. Sadly, we have not, and it has only encouraged belligerence.

Israel welcomes restored US sanctions on Iran

Israel’s Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed newly implemented American sanctions against Iran and said they will deal a “critical blow” to the Islamic regime’s military presence in the Middle East. 

This decision by the Trump administration “is the sea of change the Middle East has been waiting for,” Lieberman said on Twitter.

President Donald Trump said the original agreement negotiated by former President Barack Obama was the “worst ever” deal and announced in May that his administration was withdrawing from it. Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have said they will not leave.

Israel has fiercely opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal saying it did little to halt Iran’s progress on developing an atomic bomb.

The United States reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran on Monday.

Ben & Jerry’s new anti-Trump flavor won’t make it to Israel

Israel has rejected Ben & Jerry’s new anti-Donald Trump ice cream not for its taste, but for its political ingredients and anti-Semitic flavor.

Stunning! Ben and Jerry stand with Palestinian’ terror supporter named Linda Sarsour. Boycott Ben and Jerry’s!

“Ben and Jerry’s, the American Jewish ice cream producers, decided to name their new ice cream after a ‘Palestinian’ terror supporter named Linda Sarsour, who has become a symbol of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel (a darling of the media and the American left),” Israeli Facebook personality Yoav Eliasi wrote.

Eliasi called for a boycott of all Ben & Jerry’s products until the company retracts its decision and, in the meantime, urged his followers to check out Haagen-Dazs ice cream instead. His post was shared over 1,400 times.

According to Ben & Jerry’s, proceeds from the new flavor — called “PeCAN Resist!” — will go to four groups that rally against the policies of President Donald Trump, including the Women’s March, whose co-leaders support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“Who knew that Ben & Jerry’s would align the company with people who idolize the bigot Louis Farrakhan and seek the destruction of Israel,” another Twitter user said. “This is just so offensive and hurtful.”

Here, Linda Sarsour embraces Palestinian terrorist, Rasmea Odeh, who was complicit in the murdering of two Israelis. She was sentenced to life in prison after she not only confessed to the crimes, but investigators found “extensive bomb-making materials and explosives” and “explosive bricks in her room”. She was released in a prisoner exchange. She then fraudulently immigrated to America. When here identity was discovered, she was deported to Jordan.

Israelis and Jews around the world say this social activism has forayed too far into the realm of anti-Semitism.

“Just days after the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, you honor (Linda Sarsour) a racist and anti-Semite who publicly told people not to ‘humanize’ Israelis, and who stated that she was honored to share a stage with a convicted murderer of Jews? Are you crazy?” Joseph Steinberg said in a Tweet referring to the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27.

The Israeli Ben & Jerry’s franchise said it will not import Pecan Resist.

“Ben & Jerry’s Israel is not involved in local or global politics and we have no connection to the move made by the Ben & Jerry’s company in the U.S.,” it said. “We do not intend to market in Israel the flavor discussed.” Trump is popular among Israelis who appreciate his pro-Israel policies and his Jewish daughter and son in law. 

In response to changes of anti-Semitism, the liberal Ben & Jerry’s defended the “controversial” nature of the selected groups. 

“We’re comfortable with the idea that the people and the causes we partner with may have a point of view different from our own on some issues,” the statement said.