Russia announces naval exercises in eastern Mediterranean while increasing its military presence in Syria


On Thursday Russia announced naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean that will take place later this month and in October, which will include three warships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The exercises will take place while Russia continues to expand its military presence on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. Defense analyst Amos Harel, writing in Haaretz, reported on Israel’s reaction to Russia’s increasing role in the region. The Israelis and Russians were reported to have agreed this week to coordinate and communicate their actions to avoid any clash between the two nations’ militaries in the region. Israel, Harel wrote, wants to be sure of maintaining the ability to destroy armaments on their way to Hezbollah, either in Syria or Lebanon. In the past, such airstrikes have occurred near Latakia, where the Russians are present, and have destroyed convoys carrying Russian weapons, including Yakhont anti-ship missiles. In addition to the Russians, it has been reported that 1,500 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters have deployed to the Latakia region. Russia has been a firm supporter of Assad, Iran’s most important ally in the region, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, which has claimed over 250,000 lives. According to a Western intelligence analyst quoted in Politico, “[e]ven if Putin’s help can’t prevent Assad from sinking, he is now positioned to play a role in choosing Assad’s successor. There’s no doubt Putin views Syria as an opportunity to build a significant presence in the region and establish Russia as a key player.” Journalist Yaroslav Trofimov wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that “a perception in the region that the U.S. has pulled back and can’t be trusted to protect its allies helps lubricate Russian ambitions.”


George Washington University announced Monday that it was creating an Israel Studies program, including an endowed professorship, in the latest example of universities developing closer ties with Israel.The endowed position will be named after Rabbi Max Ticktin, a recently retired professor of Hebrew at GW and a former assistant director of Hillel, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization. It will be funded by a grant from the Morningstar Foundation, the family foundation of Michael and Susie Gelman.

“We are absolutely delighted to honor the legacy and impact on generations of students of our dear friend and beloved teacher, Max Ticktin, by establishing the Max Ticktin Professorship in Israel Studies,” the Gelmans said in a press release. “We are very excited to partner with the George Washington University in creating the cornerstone of what will be a significant academic enterprise that will strengthen the knowledge and understanding of the modern State of Israel, which is so important to Max and to our family.” “The addition of a dedicated professor who will advance the discourse and knowledge of the field will help us reach our goal of becoming one of the premier academic destinations for the study of Israel,” added Ben Vinson, dean of the Columbian College of the Arts and Sciences, which will house the program.

The professorship “will promote the academic field of Israel studies” by creating a network of scholars engaged in the study of Israel and promoting students to achieve “a broad understanding of the history, politics, society and culture of modern Israel.”

Michael Gelman is a member of the board of directors of The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower. (via


The US Navy will start using an Israeli product as part of a comprehensive treatment approach to depression at some of its healthcare centers for service people and their families. Brainsway’s deep TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) helmets use magnetic pulse energy similar to MRI to stimulate deep structures of the brain and regulate their electrical activity. The helmets are used in several countries for noninvasive, painless treatment of major depressive disorder, addictions and a wide range of other neurological, psychiatric and medical conditions. “Our validation as a supplier to the US Navy is an important stepping stone for our company into the US market,” said Brainsway CEO Guy Ezekiel in Jerusalem. “We are concentrating our efforts on expanding our strategic presence in the US and increasing sales there.” Since receiving US Food and Drug Administration approval in 2013 for the treatment of depression in patients who have failed to respond to antidepressant medications, the Brainsway device has been installed in many therapeutic settings in the United States, Australia and Sweden, among other countries. (via Israel21c)


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