Monday, June 26, 2017

From Ian:

Palestinians: Why Abbas Cannot Stop Funding Terrorists
This is their way of expressing their gratitude to those who have chosen to "sacrifice" their lives by trying to murder Jews. It is also their way of encouraging young people to join the war of terrorism against Israel. The financial aid sends a specific message: Palestinians who are prepared to die in the service of murdering Jews need not worry about the welfare of their families.
The more years a Fatah terrorist serves in Israeli prison, the higher the salary he or she receives. Some Fatah terrorists held in Israeli prison are said to receive monthly stipends of up to $4,000. Many of them are also rewarded with top jobs in both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Why should any Palestinian go to university and search for a job when he can make a "decent living" murdering Jews?
Such a plan to dry up the funds that support terrorists and their families, is doomed from the start unless these leaders reverse their behavior and embark on a process of de-radicalizing their people.
PMW: When a Palestinian man hits his wife, is Israel responsible? PMW responds to UN report
During a recent UN Human Rights Council meeting, Israel was blamed for causing Palestinian men's violence against Palestinian women. It was claimed that there is a "clear linkage between the prolonged occupation and violence against women." However, Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Palestinian Authority TV teaches Palestinian men how to beat their wives according to Islam. At the UN session, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer responded to the claims by citing a PMW video, which exposes a Palestinian religious official describing on PA TV the conditions under which a man may hit his wife.
However the example that was cited at the UN is not a solitary example of justification of Palestinian male violence against women on official PA TV. The following is a PMW compilation of a repeating message on official PA TV, even by a female TV host, that a Palestinian man has a right to hit his wife under Islamic law, and describing the way he should do so.
The following are the instructions broadcast on PA TV:
How to hit your wife properly
The following are broadcasts from official Palestinian Authority TV explaining the conditions that a Palestinian man should follow when hitting his wife, according to Islamic law:

UK government threatens to nix pro-Palestinian event over Hamas ties
The British government is considering whether to cancel an upcoming, large-scale Palestinian event in London due to concerns over support for the terrorist group Hamas, British media reported on Monday.
Palestinian Expo, which is scheduled to begin on the weekend of July 8-9 at the QE2 center, is billed as a cultural festival featuring political discussions, concerts, comedy acts, workshops, a food court and other events.
The event is expected to draw an estimated 10,000 participants.
But British Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, is now weighing whether to allow the event to take place.
Last week, Javid's sent a letter to FOA citing “concerns that your organization and those connected with it have expressed public support for a proscribed organization, namely Hamas, and that you have supported events at which Hamas and Hezbollah – also proscribed – have been praised.” (h/t Think of England)
Guardian whitewashes the extremism of Ismail Patel and his ‘pro-Palestinian’ group
What the Guardian journalist fails to tell you is that the government isn’t acting on “hearsay from a pro-Israeli group”, but a plethora of evidence demonstrating the extremism of Ismail Patel and Friends of Al-Aqsa, the group he founded in 1997.
2011 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh meets with pro-Hamas activists, including Patel.
Here are some highlights:
  • Patel’s group, Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), is described by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center as “a pro-Hamas British organization based in Leicester which advocates Israel’s elimination.”
  • FOA was involved with an effort to bring antisemitic extremist Raed Salah to Britain in 2011.
  • FOA has has published articles by Holocaust Denier Paul Eisen; Gilad Atzmon, who claims “Hitler might have been right after all”; and Israel Shamir, who’s claimed that Jews “ritually murdered Christian children for their blood” and that Jews are aligned with demonic forces.
  • Patel was previously spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a group whose officials included Hamas operative Mohammed Sawalha.
  • Patel took part in a ‘Convoy to Gaza’ organised by activists in the West to bolster support for Hamas.
  • Patel was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara ship, part of the 2010 flotilla organised by a group (IHH) with terrorist links.
  • Patel has expressed support for the late French Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy.
Patel addressed a pro-Hamas rally in 2009 (clip below):
Also, Patel previously was an op-ed contributor at the Guardian.
MacAskill’s failure to challenge Patel’s claim that the government was “acting on hearsay from a pro-Israeli lobby group” is classic Guardian: failing to reveal well-documented evidence demonstrating that individuals and groups they cover – who claim to be merely ‘pro-Palestinian’ – are compromised by extremism and antisemitism.
Elliott Abrams: Reviving the Peace Process Brings Great Costs and Little Potential for Success
Now that President Trump has sent envoys to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, it seems clear that he will try to revive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which he has declared to be “maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.” Even those less sanguine argue that there is little harm in trying. Not so, writes Elliott Abrams:
To begin with, it is always harmful for the United States to fail—and for a president to fail. Influence in the world is hard to measure, but when a president devotes himself . . . to any project and fails to pull it off, his influence and that of the United States are diminished. . . .
What’s more, the United States has been championing the “peace process” now for about 30 years. . . . On the Palestinian side many view the “peace process” as a formula for sustaining the occupation. Many Israelis see it as a shield protecting Palestinian malfeasance and worse: when they demand a stop to official Palestinian glorification of terrorism, they hear, “Don’t rock the boat now, negotiations may start.”
A further reason to be wary of another big peace effort is the opportunity cost. When each successive American administration works for a comprehensive peace deal, it tends to neglect the many opportunities to make less dramatic but still consequential real-world progress. . .
David Singer: Trump, Kushner, Greenblatt Flirt With Phantom Palestinian Authority
The Office of the Historian in the State Department faithfully records the creation of the Palestinian Authority under “Milestones in the History of US Foreign Relations” (Milestones):
“On September 13, 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Negotiator Mahmoud Abbas signed a Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, commonly referred to as the “Oslo Accord,” at the White House. Israel accepted the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians, and the PLO renounced terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace. Both sides agreed that a Palestinian Authority (PA) would be established and assume governing responsibilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a five-year period.”
However on 3 January 2013 Abbas unilaterally signed the Palestinian Authority’s death certificate when issuing the following Decree:
“Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.”
Quite bizarrely, the Palestinian Authority’s 2013 demise was never recorded in Milestones.
The reason was only made clear on 9 May 2017 when the Office of the Historian reported it had retired Milestones which was no longer being maintained or expanded.
The Office explained that it had completed a review of its online offerings in Milestones and concluded that extensive resources would be needed to revise and expand its publication of any further developments in the subject matters dealt with up to 2000 to meet the Office’s standards for accuracy and comprehensiveness. The timing of this announcement came just six days after the White House visit by “President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority”.
Palestinian rejectionism means no deal
The U.S. Congress may soon consider the Taylor Force Act, which would require an ‎aid cutoff if the payments continued. There are reports that there ‎has been significant tension in the meetings between U.S. officials and the ‎Palestinians over this issue. ‎
In essence, the Palestinians on their own are very unlikely to show any more ‎flexibility in a new negotiating process than in previous efforts. What may be ‎different is that several important Sunni Arab states in the region -- Saudi Arabia, ‎Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates -- may lean on the PA to take advantage of the opportunity ‎of talks. These nations, over time, have come to understand that on key strategic ‎concerns in the region, primarily Iranian aggression, the instability created by the ‎Syrian civil war, and the threat from ISIS and al-Qaida, they share some common ‎interests with Israel. The degree to which these nations have been willing to work ‎with Israel, almost always behind the scenes, but a bit more in public, suggests that ‎the constant long-standing narrative of Palestinian rejectionism that these ‎countries have largely accepted may now be viewed as a bad path forward.
This is not to argue that peace is at hand because the Arabs will deliver the ‎Palestinians. They won't. The Arab street suffers from the disease of Israel-hatred ‎and anti-Semitism, much as is the case with the Palestinians, and the Arab leaders ‎are hardly a courageous lot leading their people to new and better relations with ‎Israel. The good news is that if the current effort fails, as it likely will, the obsession ‎to get a deal done among Arabs and American peace processors may fade.
Group of Top Ex-Israeli Security Officials Back US Legislation to Cut Funding of Palestinian Authority Over Terror Payments
A group of former top Israeli security officials are speaking out in favor of a proposed congressional bill that would cut off American funding of the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay monetary rewards to terrorists and their families.
In a letter that was seen by The Algemeiner, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yosef Kuperwasser wrote that a failure to pass the Taylor Force Act would mark a “surrender to terror.”
Providing the PA with money that enables its terror payments is “illogical, illegal and immoral,” Kuperwasser said. “Most of all it’s inhuman.”
The letter — which Kuperwasser said was cosigned by ex-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and ex-National Security Adviser Uzi Dayan, as well as Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gershon Hacohen and Brig. Gen. (ret.) Oded Tira — was penned in response to a missive published last week by Commanders for Israel’s Security (a group of hundreds of former Israeli security figures) that warned of potential negative consequences of the US legislation, including the harming of Israeli security.
In Kuperwasser’s view, however, “there is no reason to believe that if the Taylor Force Act is enacted the security cooperation [between Israel and the PA] is going to stop. The security cooperation serves the interest of the PA.”
Also, he explained, “the PA is not going to collapse because of the Taylor Force Act.”
David Friedman attends ceremony honoring Hadar Goldin
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday attended a ceremony at Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill Wall dedicating a plaque to missing IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The Wall of Honor was erected by the Jewish National Fund, and honors Jewish soldiers who died protecting their home countries.
"The pain of [Goldin’s] parents is unforgivable and unspeakable, and we hold Hamas responsible," Friedman said.
"The United States is very clear that Hamas is a terrorist organization, and a brutal and evil organization, and the US is committed to defeating Hamas and we’re committed to ending the suffering of Israeli parents – and any of those who have suffered from their acts of terrorism.
"I have no interest in [negotiating] with [Hamas] directly, but they will be defeated. I’m certain of that."
"He was ambushed and killed during a cease-fire brokered by the US and UN, so he was a victim of a ceasefire and is still being held by Hamas as a bargaining chip," Leah Goldin said.
Latest UNESCO resolution targets Hevron, Jerusalem
A new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution backed by Arab countries and submitted at the behest of the Palestinian Authority declares the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron, one of the oldest Jewish holy sites, to be a Muslim Palestinian shrine, utterly devoid of its Jewish connection.
The resolution, which is expected to be voted on in the next two weeks, also includes a clause denying Israeli sovereignty over the Israeli capital of Jerusalem.
Israel’s Mission to the United Nations is scrambling to form a coalition against the resolution and block its passage when the measure comes up for a vote during next month’s World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland from July 2nd to the 12th.
Blocking the resolution will require building a 7-state coalition within the 21-member body.
In recent years, UNESCO has become a platform for Arab states and their allies to attack and delegitimize Israel, with a series of resolutions singling out the Jewish state being passed by UNESCO’s steering committee.
Bennett rejects Palestinian right of return, warns of refugee camp in central Israel
Palestinian refugees can not be allowed to return to the West Bank en masse, Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Army Radio on Sunday morning. He warned that such a move would endanger the State of Israel.
“Anyone who allows millions of [Palestinian] refugees into Kalkilya and Tulkarm will turn Route 6 into a large refugee camp,” Bennett said, referring to the major highway that lies adjacent to the two Palestinian cities.
Kfar Saba is just three minutes from Kalkilya said Bennett, as he spoke of the area in the center of the country.
“I want to see a resident of Kfar Saba who would agree to see [in their backyard] thousands of buildings filled with refugees from Syria and Lebanon,” he said.
Bennett said part of his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state stems from the issue of Palestinian refugees, who would be allowed the right-of-return to such a state.
Providing the Palestinians with autonomy instead of statehood in the West Bank would prohibit such an option, he said.
Bennett linked the issue of the return of Palestinian refugees to a future state in the West Bank, to his opposition to an approved plan to expand Kalkilya by 14,000 new homes by 2035.
NJ college recalls hosting US-Russia summit after Six Day War
As relations between the US and Russia make daily headlines over election meddling and Moscow’s growing global influence, a New Jersey town is marking the 50th anniversary of when leaders of the world’s two superpowers gathered at a small liberal arts college to talk through similarly turbulent times.
Soviet Premier Alexi Kosygin sent a message to President Lyndon Johnson as the Six Day War between Israel and Arab states raged in 1967, in hopes of ensuring the conflict did not escalate into world war. The leaders decided to meet, but the Cold War atmosphere required negotiations for picking the site.
They looked for a spot nearly equal distance between New York and Washington, selecting what was then Glassboro State College to host the hastily arranged summit 50 years ago this weekend in the college president’s mansion called Hollybush.
“It was one of the most quickly arranged summits,” said Professor Jeremi Suri, of the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs. “The majority of the planning was aimed at controlling events from spinning out of control.”
"In a setback for the United Kingdom, the General Assembly voted Tuesday to seek an opinion from the top U.N. court on Mauritius' claim that Britain illegally maintains sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia, where the United States has a major military base in the Indian Ocean.
The resolution seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice was strongly backed by African and nonaligned nations, winning approval on a vote of 94-15 with 65 abstentions.
The loss for Britain came as it begins negotiations to leave the European Union, and there was a lack of support for the UK from the 27 other EU members. Cyprus voted in favor of the court referral and 22 EU nations, including Germany, France and Italy abstained. Only Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Lithuania voted against the measure in support of Britain...
Rycroft accused Mauritius of circumventing 'a vital principle' that a country isn't obliged to have a bilateral dispute submitted for a judicial settlement without its consent - 'and let me be clear: we do not and we would not give that consent, because we are clear about what was agreed with Mauritius.'
The resolution asks the International Court of Justice two questions: Was the process of decolonization of Mauritius lawfully completed in 1968. What are the consequences under international law of the UK's continued administration, including with respect to the inability to resettle Chagos residents on the islands?
After 50 Years, Mood Seems to Be Shifting for Jerusalem Arabs
As Israelis mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war, east Jerusalem's 320,000 Palestinians now make up 37% of the city's population. By now, half of Jerusalem Palestinians work in west Jerusalem, and below the surface, the mood of outright defiance seems to be shifting. More than 5,000 students in east Jerusalem high schools are now studying for the Israeli matriculation examination that eases enrollment in Israeli universities, up from about 1,000 in 2014. Palestinian families applying for Israeli citizenship rose to a record 1,081 in 2016, up from a few dozen in 2003.
East Jerusalem Palestinians were granted permanent residency status, making them free to move and work anywhere in Israel and eligible for Israeli social benefits. Palestinian and Jewish residents frequent some of the same city parks and shopping malls in west Jerusalem. While the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank demands a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, some of the city's Palestinians describe the Palestinian Authority as a corrupt and lawless "mafia," and want no part of it. "We have our rights here, where we live," said Ola Hedra, 35, an English teacher. "Not everything - but it's better than life under the Palestinian Authority."
Saudis deny plane landed at Ben Gurion
Saudi Arabian Airlines has denied the authenticity of a picture circulating on social media of one of its planes parked at Ben Gurion Airport.
The website of Qatar's al-Jazeera television gave prominent coverage Monday to the denial in an apparent bid to embarrass Saudi Arabia, which is embroiled in a confrontation with Qatar over what Riyadh alleges is Doha's support for terrorism.
It published a picture of a Saudi plane near the control tower labelled Ben-Gurion and alongside it the original picture of an El Al plane that was doctored.
The official spokesman of Saudi Arabian Airlines was quoted as saying that there are "parties and knowledgeable elements publishing lies and spreading rumors and inflating facts with the intent of harming Saudi Arabian Airlines as a national Saudi symbol." It added that some well-intentioned people were being duped into retweeting the picture without checking its authenticity.
Publication of the picture came a week after the Times of London reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia may be on the way to establishing economic connections as a prelude to normalization of relations.
Demand to serve in Border Police hits all-time high
Despite, or perhaps because of, the number of border policewomen involved in recent high-profile terrorist attacks, the number of female military recruits seeking combat service with the Border Police has jumped by some 70% over recent years. One out of every three women who volunteer for combat military service requests to join the Border Police and the upcoming August draft will see a record 220 young women joining the force.
Since women first began serving in combat with the Border Police, back in the 1990s, the Border Police had one all-female company called Hanit (Spear), whose name was later changed to Hadar, in honor of Border Police Cpl. Hadar Cohen, who was killed last year fighting terrorists at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
Women's service in the Border Police has garnered headlines in recent years as the public increasingly hears about female fighters who thwart terrorist attacks, sometimes giving their lives in the line of duty.
With the sharp increase in the number of women seeking to serve, the Border Police are preparing the groundwork for more all-female companies, which after basic training will be integrated into service alongside men.
A recent survey showed that 59% of the public believes that women can serve as combat personnel in the Border Police, and 61% are in favor of opening more Border Police combat roles to women.
'We give Gaza fresh water and they give us back raw sewage'
Sewage from Gaza poured into the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council last Wednesday, after repeated warnings failed to alert the government enough to stop it.
Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Head Yair Farjoun demanded the Israeli government put a stop to the sewage flowing out of Gaza.
"For several years, the Hanoun Stream has been a source of West Nile fever, which endangers the public's health," Farjoun said. "In addition to the immediate health risk, the sewage flowing in the river causes hydrological pollution."
Farjoun also contacted the Knesset Ministry of Internal Affiairs, Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), and National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud).
A month ago, Farjoun contacted Liberman and Elkin, as well as COGAT Coordinator Yoav Mordechai, and warned them about the sanitation hazards presented by the sewage flowing from the sewage treatment facility in northern Gaza's Beit Hanoun into the Hanoun Stream.
"As we expected, the solid sewage flows into the Shikma Stream, causing an awful stench and polluting the coastal aquifer," the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council said, noting that they have already begun the cleanup.
Report: Israel pays $20 million to families of 2010 flotilla raid victims
Turkish media over the weekend reported that Israel has paid compensation amounting to $20 million to the families of the 10 Turks killed during a raid on a ship bound for the Gaza Strip in 2010.
Turkey's Finance Minister Naci Agbal was quoted as confirming that reparations have been made in full.
The payment comes some nine months after Israel, which had officially apologized for the raid as part of its rapprochement efforts with Turkey, agreed to pay the families of those killed.
The sum was delivered to a humanitarian fund that divided and transferred the money to the families.
"Compensation has been paid to the families of those who lost their lives during the Mavi Marmara attack," Turkish broadcasters quoted Agbal as saying.
After IDF retaliates for spillover, Syrian army warns Israel
The Syrian army on Sunday issued a warning to Israel, following two IDF retaliatory strikes on its territory in as many days for spillover fire from the war-torn country.
The regime said that three Syrian soldiers had been killed by Israeli fire.
Around 10 mortar shells from Syria struck the Golan Heights on Saturday, prompting an Israeli response that reportedly killed two Syrian soldiers. On Sunday, several more projectiles hit Israel, in what the army said was spillover fire.
The IDF on Sunday again responded to the errant fire, confirming it targeted a Syrian military vehicle. Arab media reports said five people were injured in the Israeli raid.
“The general staff of the Syrian army warns of the dangers of these aggressive actions and holds the Israeli enemy responsible for the grave consequences of these repeated actions, despite any excuse there may be,” the Ynet news site quoted the Syrian military as saying.
Ex IDF commander: Israel should take Assad retaliation threats seriously
Emboldened by Russian air support, Syria means business as it threatens Israel that further strikes against regime positions would bear serious repercussions, former deputy commander of the IDF's Galilee Division Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel warned Monday.
“I believe the Syrian government that they have had enough of Israel’s activity in Syria and by having the Russian umbrella they can be more aggressive like they were a few months ago when they launched a missile towards Israel. It [a potential attack] may not be large but the Syrian regime will send the message that it cannot be that you are the only ones attacking,” Nuriel explained.
Israel has carried out several retaliatory strikes against Syrian regime positions after errant mortars struck Israel’s northern Golan Heights for two consecutive days.
In response to Israel's reaction, on Sunday the General Command of the Syrian army said Israel was responsible for "serious consequences if it repeats similar aggressive actions under any pretext.”
The former director of the Counter Terrorism Bureau at the Prime Minister's Office and former deputy commander of the IDF’s Galilee Division said on Monday that the Syrian regime will not attack Israel itself, but will send a proxy to retaliate along the border even though they know that Israel will retaliate “quickly and hard.”
Analysis: 2 US cases provide unique window into Iran’s global terror network
On June 8, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made an announcement that deserves more attention. Two alleged Hizballah operatives had been arrested inside the United States after carrying out various missions on behalf of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The plots took the men around the globe, from Thailand to Panama and even into the heart of New York City.
Both men are naturalized U.S. citizens. And they are both accused of performing surveillance on prospective targets for Hizballah’s highly secretive external operations wing, known as the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO).
Ali Kourani, a 32-year-old who was living in the Bronx, New York (pictured on the right*), allegedly gathered “information regarding operations and security at airports in the U.S. and elsewhere,” while also “surveilling U.S. military and law enforcement facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn.” Hizballah asked Kourani to identify “individuals affiliated with the Israeli Defense Force” inside the U.S. and locate “weapons suppliers in the U.S. who could provide firearms to support IJO operations” as well. Kourani allegedly conducted all of these missions on behalf of his IJO “handler,” who was safely ensconced back home in Lebanon.
Samer el Debek, a 37-year-old resident of Dearborn, Michigan, is charged with “casing security procedures at the Panama Canal and the Israeli Embassy” in Panama, identifying “areas of weakness and construction at the Panama Canal,” and determining for Hizballah “how close someone could get to a ship passing through the Canal.” His “IJO handlers” also “asked him for photographs of the U.S. Embassy” in Panama, as well as “details” concerning its “security procedures.” (El Debek told authorities he did not provide Hizballah with the information requested on the American embassy.)
The charges brought against Kourani and El Debek have not been proven in a court of law. They remain allegations that have yet to be weighed by the criminal justice system. Still, the legal filings in both cases provide a unique window into how the FBI and the U.S. government are tracking Hizballah’s international terror network, including inside America.
The Iranian Intellectual Who Inspired the Islamic Revolution and Admired Israel
Quite apart from this, Al-e Ahmad’s life was a profile in paradox. He was a detractor of the West who longed to live in Western Europe, a self-proclaimed feminist who badly mistreated his wife, a champion of Islam who led a decidedly un-Islamic lifestyle, an opponent of the Shah who worked in the monarchy’s service for a time, and a former critic of the mullahs who came to see them as the saviors of his country. Not for nothing, then, does Daneshvar wonder in Jalal’s Sunset, “Are all men a bundle of contradictions, or was it only Jalal?”
Whatever the authorship of the travelogue’s last chapter, it nevertheless remains that an Iranian writer who helped lay the foundation for a state consecrated to Israel’s destruction had visited and, at least at one time, admired the Jewish State. And if this is ironic or contradictory, then it fits smoothly into a history of relations between Iran and Israel and between Iran and Jews more generally that has been defined by irony and contradiction.
The history of the Jews of Iran is a case in point. Nowhere else in the Muslim world did Jews both suffer so grievously and flourish so thoroughly. Forced conversions, pogroms, blood libels, and discriminatory legislation embittered the lot of Iranian Jews for centuries only to give way to the era of the Shah and his father (1925-1979), during which Iranian Jews enjoyed full civil equality, seldom met with violence, and even thrived to the point that by the 1970s, as the Iranian-born Israeli scholar David Menashri speculates, “on per capita terms they may well have been the richest Jewish community in the world.” If the likes of Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revel in denying the Holocaust, another of Iran’s sons saved many Jews from the Nazis’ death machine in the 1940s: While serving at the Iranian embassy in Paris, Abdol Hossein Sardari issued more than a thousand passports to Jews in France, thereby reducing the number of victims of a genocide the Islamic Republic insists did not happen. And if Iran’s government, more than any of its counterparts in the Middle East, is notorious for its anti-Semitic pronouncements and initiatives (e.g., the sponsorship of conferences that deny the Holocaust and of cartoon contests that ridicule it), a 2014 poll by the ADL found that Iran’s people are the least anti-Semitic in the world’s most anti-Semitic region. So, in light of all these paradoxes, maybe an Iranian intellectual who both admired Israel and inspired the Iranian Revolution is not so strange after all.
'Israel will be around long after Iranian regime is gone'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the Birthright Israel’s Mega Event in Rishon Letzion Sunday evening, at a gathering marking the 600,000th Birthright participant brought to Israel.
Along with Netanyahu, the event was attended by American Jewish philanthropists Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, former minister Yossi Beilin, Meir Shamir, Birthright Israel board chairman Michael Steinhardt, sitting Knesset members, and donors from around the world.
“By coming here you join the Israeli soldiers in helping secure Israel’s future. I want you to take everything that you see and share it with others, tell others about the miracle of Israel, this rare and thriving democracy in the Middle East”, said the Prime Minister.
“It’s a strong country ready to defend itself from threats and also reach out in peace for those wishing for it. When they attack us, stand proud and say who you are for: is it the free people of Israel or those severing off heads? If you stand for the free, stand for Israel, for the truth. Tell everyone to come see it for themselves- we will be waiting for you; this is your Birthright.”
During the event, Birthright Israel presented three IDF units with awards for their excellent collaboration with the organization throughout the year. These included: Yahalom, the Navy training base (Bahad), Nahal Infantry Brigade and the Intelligence Corps’ 121 unit.
Birthright Israel International CEO Gidi Mark emphasized the importance of Birthright trips in sustaining Jewish identity outside of Israel.

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