Monday, June 18, 2018

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Gaza Media Coverage: Snipers and Lies
"We will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies." — Yahya Sinwar, Hamas political leader.

"[W]hen we talk about 'peaceful resistance,' we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support." — Mahmoud Al-Zahar, senior Hamas official, on Al Jazeera.

When a doctor in Gaza announced that a congenital heart defect was likely the cause of her death, the Gaza health ministry removed her name from the list of those killed in clashes with Israel, pending an autopsy.

"Hamas' goal is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so that the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line, while their own fighters hide behind these human shields." — Alan Dershowitz, Esq.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Victims of Arab Apartheid
Tens of thousands of Palestinians are now living in a Lebanese ghetto called Ain Al-Hilweh, and the world seems to be fine with that.

No one cares when an Arab country mistreats and discriminates and kills Palestinians. But when something happens in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, the international media and community suddenly wake up. Why? Because they do not want to miss an opportunity to condemn Israel. One can only imagine the uproar in the world were Israel to pass a law denying Arabs jobs or the right to inherit property.

There are no protests on the streets of London or Paris. The UN Security Council has not -- and will not -- hold an emergency session to condemn Lebanon. Of course, the mainstream media in the West is not going to report about Arab apartheid and repressive measures against Palestinians. As for the leaders of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they do not have time to address the problems of the camp residents. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are too busy fighting each other, and the last thing they have on their minds are the interests and well-being of their people.
Former Israeli minister Gonen Segev charged with spying for Iran
Former minister Gonen Segev was charged last week with spying for Iran, giving Israel’s arch-foe sensitive information about locations of security centers and the country’s energy industry, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

He was allegedly an active agent at the time of his arrest, and had twice been to Iran to meet his handlers.

Segev, a disgraced politician who served time in jail for drug smuggling, was extradited to Israel from Equatorial Guinea and charged with spying for Iran last month.

According to the Shin Bet, Segev, whose former ministerial responsibilities included energy and infrastructure, has knowingly been in contact with Iranian intelligence officials since 2012, making first contact with them at Iran’s embassy in Nigeria.

“Segev gave his operators information about [Israel’s] energy sector, about security locations in Israel, and about buildings and officials in diplomatic and security bodies, and more,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

“Segev even visited Iran twice to meet with his handlers in full knowledge that they were Iranian intelligence operatives,” the security service said.

The Shin Bet said Segev met with his Iranian handlers in hotels and safe houses around the world and used a special encrypted device to send them messages in secret. (h/t Yenta Press)

Britain condemns ‘anti-Israel bias’ at UN Human Rights Council
Britain on Monday urged the UN Human Rights Council to reform its treatment of Israel, joining the United States in demanding an end to what has been been described as the body’s bias against the Jewish state.

Addressing the opening of the 38th council session, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7,” Johnson said.

Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item. Item 7 on “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” has been part of the council’s regular business 2007, almost as long as it has existed. The council was established in 2006.

PMW: They “sold their souls to the Devil” – Fatah on Indonesians at conference with Israelis in Jerusalem
When an Indonesian delegation of religious scholars came to participate in a conference of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Jerusalem earlier this month, Abbas' Fatah Movement called it "a crime against the city, the members of our people, and Muslims throughout the world":
"The Fatah Movement said that the participation of a delegation of Indonesian religious scholars in the Jewish-American Relations Conference (i.e., the American Jewish Committee Global Forum) that will be held in occupied Jerusalem is a crime against Jerusalem, against the Palestinian people, and against Muslims throughout the world, and constitutes support for the criminal Israeli occupier against our fighting and resolute people." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 12, 2018]

A spokesman of Fatah said the participants had "sold their soul to the Devil":
"Official Fatah Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi said in a press statement that the participation of Secretary-General of the [Nahdlatul Ulama] Association Yahya Staquf in this conference in occupied Jerusalem is a betrayal of the religion, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Palestinian people, and the Arab and Islamic nations. Al-Qawasmi demanded that the senior Indonesian officials and the Indonesian people, which is honorable and supports the Palestinian cause, settle the account with those who have sold their souls to the Devil and agreed to serve as pawns in the hands of the Zionists and Israelis."

Fatah's defining the participation of Yahya Staquf, Secretary-General of Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia - the largest independent Muslim organization in the world - in the AJC conference as "selling his soul to the Devil" is reminiscent of other hate-speech by Palestinians who have compared Israel to the Devil or even stated that Israel "is Satan."
Rockets fired toward Israel from Gaza Strip, IDF strikes terrorist targets
Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel early Monday morning, one of which landed in the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF spokesperson.

Several rounds of red alert sirens were heard in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, the Ashkelon industrial zone, Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha'asara.

In response to the rockets, IAF fighter jets struck 9 military targets in two military compounds and in a munition manufacturing site belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip.

"These are terrorist acts that endanger Israeli residents living in southern Israel and damage extensive areas in Israeli territory," the IDF spokesperson commented.

"We have fired warning shots against groups who were responsible for the arson and destruction in Israel, and have carried out attacks against infrastructure used by these groups. The IDF's intelligence and operational capabilities will allow it to increase these strikes as necessary. We are determined to continue to act with increasing intensity against these acts of terror as long as required, using the variety of tools at its disposal."

Incendiary balloons land in backyard trees in south
Police sappers were called to a home in the moshav of Beit HaGadi in south Israel on Sunday evening after two balloons carrying objects suspected of being incendiary devices landed in a residential backyard tree.

An initial investigation revealed that the objected attached to the balloons, which were likely flown from the Gaza Strip into the moshav near Netivot, were incendiary devices.

Three more balloons, also affixed with incendiary devices that were flown into Israel from Gaza at around the same time, were found in a tree in the suburbs surrounding the southern city of Sderot. Firefighters and security forces were called to the scene.

Shortly after, the IDF announced that Israeli jets had fired warning shots at a group of Palestinians who were flying balloons carrying incendiary devices from south Gaza into Israel.

Palestinian reports claimed that a military drone had attacked a military outpost belonging to one of the military arms in central Gaza. However, it was not immediately clear whether the report was connected with the same attack.

Over the last few hours alone, 17 fires broke out in southern Israel as a result of the incendiary kites and balloons being launched from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
Gazan killed, three more wounded while trying to cross border fence
One Palestinian was killed and four others wounded after trying to infiltrate into southern Israel from the Saja’iyya neighborhood in Hamas-run Gaza Strip, on Monday.

The IDF said in statement that the group was injured when a "security infrastructure exploded," while they tried to cross the security fence border, but would not clarify what the exact source of the explosion was.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry 24 year-old Sabri Ahmed Abu Khader was killed by the explosion.

The incident came several hours after Israeli jets struck nine Hamas targets in response to the dozens of incendiary aerial devices launched on Sunday.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Monday that the IDF will not allow Palestinians to continue launching incendiary kites towards southern Israel as they have been doing in recent months, causing millions of dollars in damage, but no casualties. His statement came just hours after Israeli jets struck nine Hamas targets in response to the dozens of incendiary aerial devices launched on Sunday.

"If anyone thinks we can carry on with daily (incendiary) kites and fires, he is mistaken,” Liberman said while visiting an Israel Aerospace Industries factory to mark the signing of a close to $1 billion dollar agreement with the German Defense Ministry.
'Syrian handler paid Hamas cell $100,000 to attack Israeli cities'
A Hamas plan to carry out terrorist attacks in ‎Israeli cities has been thwarted, the Shin Bet security ‎agency revealed Sunday.‎

According to available details, Shin Bet agents, in collaboration with the military and police, uncovered ‎terrorist infrastructure they described as "extraordinary in its size ‎and level of activity" operating in the Nablus area in the West Bank.

According to the Shin Bet, the leader of the 20-‎member cell was paid $100,000 by a Syrian operative to target ‎major Israeli cities. ‎

The investigation so far has revealed that the cell became operational in October 2017 and ‎remained active until late April, when all 20 ‎suspects were arrested. ‎

According to the Shin Bet, most of the ‎suspects are Hamas operatives and some have previous records that include terrorist activities, ‎especially building bombs.‎

During their interrogation, the suspects revealed ‎that they were tasked with carrying out a number of ‎known terrorist attack attempts, including a bombing in Tel Aviv, a suicide attack in Jerusalem, an attack in the ‎Samaria community of Itamar, and several shooting ‎attacks across Judea and Samaria. ‎

The cell also enlisted the help of a Palestinian ‎‎chemistry teacher to manufacture explosives. ‎

The Shin Bet said these attacks were foiled "at the ‎11th hour."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Brawl At Gaza Birthday Party Over Who Gets To Blow Out Balloons (satire)
Tension gripped this refugee-camp-cum-urban-jungle this afternoon following an outbreak of violence at a celebration for a local boy’s tenth birthday where an argument over who got to extinguish the flaming balloons led to a neighborhood-wide donnybrook that injured dozens.

Hospital and medical officials reported that at least ten wounded adults and six wounded children – one with serious burns to his face and arms – came to local clinics for treatment Sunday afternoon and evening, in the aftermath of a tenth-birthday party at the home of a child whom officials declined to identify. Witnesses recounted a fracas that began when the parent of one boy insisted that the birthday boy relinquish the traditional privilege of blowing out the burning helium balloons in favor of his nephew, whose father was injured preparing similar balloons to release over the border at Israeli fields and brush.

Initial reports indicate that other children and parents resisted the demand, while several supported it, and the shouting soon gave way to thrown chairs, grabbed hair, fisticuffs, and blows with various blunt objects. Word of the altercation spread through the immediate area and partisans of both camps joined in, resulting in carnage not seen in Khan Younis since Israeli airstrikes hit Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions here during the 2014 war.

“It’s usually not a big deal – I mean, balloons are for burning, or at least attaching burning things to,” remarked a neighbor who requested not to be identified for fear of retribution from partisans of the opposing faction. “But you have to let a little kid have his day in the sun – does that man think his brother is the only guy in Gaza releasing flaming balloons and kites at the Jews?”

JPost Editorial: What’s the purpose?
The value of rolling out the plan may be in the details.

If, for example, the peace deal removes the possibility of an Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines as advocated by Kerry, accepts an indefinite Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley and does not call for the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, this could be advantageous for Israel since it would move the goal post on these issues for future administrations that will try to broker a deal once the possibility of peace becomes truly viable.

For Israel, and possibly the ultimate objective of achieving peace, this would be beneficial. For far too long the Palestinians have lived in an illusion that their intransigence will pay off. They have believed that they can sit and wait for the world to do the work for them. Instead of true economic, educational and social reforms, the Palestinians have invested their efforts in delegitimizing Israel and achieving small wins like getting Lionel Messi to cancel a friendly soccer match in Israel. That is not the way to make peace.

Trump has changed that. He has not blindly taken the Palestinian side. He has moved the embassy to Jerusalem and has a declared policy of support for Israel, as seen on display this week once again at the United Nations.

Before rolling out the plan, Trump and his team need to ask themselves the most important question of all – what is their real purpose? Their answer will determine what might be the best course of action.
PA leader under pressure to 'end Trump boycott'
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly facing ‎substantial pressure to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump's ‎top Middle East advisers this week, despite the rift between ‎Washington and Ramallah.‎

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. ‎Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason ‎Greenblatt will visit Israel, Egypt and Jordan to discuss the ‎upcoming U.S. peace plan for the region. ‎

Abbas has rejected the ‎U.S. as a peace broker in the wake of ‎Trump's Dec. 6 recognition of ‎Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying ‎the move proved the U.S. was ‎‎"grossly biased" toward Israel.‎

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told Palestinian media ‎Sunday that Kushner and Greenblatt's visit is "a waste of time" ‎and that the U.S. peace plan is "doomed to fail."‎

He claimed the White House is trying to "separate the ‎Gaza Strip from the West Bank," and repeated that "without the ‎agreement of the Palestinian people and as long as an attempt to ‎circumvent the legitimate Palestinian institutions continues, the ‎meetings are destined to fail."‎

Despite this, Palestinian officials told Israel Hayom Sunday that officials in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab ‎Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, as well as top officials in the ‎Palestinian Authority itself, are pressuring Abbas to meet with the ‎American envoys. ‎
Report: U.S. to ask Gulf states to invest in Gaza economy
The Trump administration is trying to convince Arab monarchies in the Gulf to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in economic projects in Gaza, Haaretz reported on Sunday.

The move is an attempt to calm the security situation in the coastal enclave and generate momentum before the White House presents its Middle East peace plan.

Israeli and Arab sources quoted in the report said that the idea will be raised when Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy, speak this week with the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

According to these sources, Kushner and Greenblatt hope to secure funding from the Gulf states and the cooperation of Israel and Egypt in implementing the economic projects.

The White House declined to elaborate, telling Haaretz that the administration “won’t discuss specifics before the conversations have taken place.”

Kushner and Greenblatt are heading to the Middle East this week for talks focusing on both Gaza and the administration’s upcoming peace plan.

According to the sources who spoke with Haaretz, among the issues Kushner and Greenblatt seek to tackle first is the energy supply for Gaza, which has suffered severe electricity shortages and disruptions in recent months.
District Court Bars UN Construction in Jerusalem Without Israel’s Permission
The Jerusalem District Court required the United Nations last week to freeze all new construction projects at the UNTSO’s Armon HaNatziv compound.

In March 2017, a lawsuit submitted by Regavim revealed that the United Nations had committed numerous violations of Israel’s building and construction laws in the Armon HaNatziv compound, and had illegally seized dozens of dunams of state-owned land beyond the area set aside for the treaty-monitoring body’s use.

The state’s attorney admitted that extensive illegal construction had been carried out at the site and made a commitment to engage the United Nations in diplomatic negotiations aimed at creating a system for coordination regarding construction at the site.

Last week, the state submitted a report on the progress of these diplomatic talks, in which it explained that “diplomatic efforts take a very long time, and no apparatus for coordination has been agreed upon by the parties as of yet,” but the discussions are proceeding “to the state’s satisfaction.”

Regavim notes that the diplomatic channel was opened more than a year ago with no end in sight: The sides do not appear to be close to agreement.

Upon receiving the state’s progress update, Justice Oded Shaham required that an additional update be submitted in November. Until then, the United Nations is to refrain from new construction of any kind at the site.
New Colombian president open to moving embassy to Jerusalem
The newly elected Colombian president said recently he would be open to moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, potentially becoming the fourth country, and third from Latin America, to do so.

Conservative Ivan Duque won just over 54 percent of the vote, beating out leftist rival Gustavo Petro’s, who took 41.7% with nearly all the votes counted, electoral authority figures showed Sunday.

On May 16, Duque said at a campaign event that if elected he would not rule out “the possibility of placing the diplomatic seat in Jerusalem.”

The comment, made at an event with local churches, garnered cheers and applause at the time.

Duque also said he wanted to “maintain the best possible relations with the state of Israel.”

The statement came on the same day Guatemala became the second country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, two days after the US. A week later, Paraguay became the third country to do so.
'If placing explosives and injuring 24 isn't extreme, what is?'
A judge in Tel Aviv's District Court on Sunday rejected Interior Minister Aryeh Deri's (Shas) request to strip a terrorist of his Israeli citizenship.

On November 21, 2012, then-18-year-old Muhammad Mafarji detonated an explosive device on a crowded bus in central Tel Aviv, wounding 24 people, two of them severely.

Mafarji and his father received permanent residency in 1995, under an Israeli law aiming to unite formerly separated families. In 2008, he received Israeli citizenship, and four years later, he carried out a terror attack against Israeli civilians.

Mafarji was charged with intending to aid Israel's enemies, attempted murder, and causing severe injury. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

After consulting with Israel's Attorney General, Deri submitted to the court a request to revoke Mafarji's citizenship. On Sunday, the court rejected his request, claiming that "when measuring acts of terror - most of which are brutal and criminal - what [Mafarji] did, though severe, is not unusual or extreme."
Soccer fans call to ban Iranian forward after anti-Israel tweet
Soccer fans have filed a complaint with FIFA against Iranian forward Mehdi Taremi, 25, a year after he reposted a tweet from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying Israel would not exist in 25 years.

The soccer fans are calling on the International Federation of Association Football to ban Taremi from playing for the Iranian national team in the 2018 World Cup, which is currently ongoing in 11 cities across Russia.

The hashtag #BanTaremi went viral, with hundreds of Twitter users criticizing Taremi's endorsement of Israel's destruction. Many of those calling for his ban are Iranian citizens, some exiles.

As a result, Taremi rushed to delete the tweet.

One user on Twitter wrote, "This man is one of the players of Iran's dictatorship team, and he is wishing for Iran's annihilation like his murderous leader Khamenei. The real Iranian people condemn his actions and demand his suspension from the games."

Another wrote to FIFA: "The Iranian people want to report to you on one of the players of the Iranian team called Mehdi Taremi, who tweeted a terrorist threat against the State of Israel. We urge you to expel him from the 2018 World Cup, so our team is not involved in such political issues."
Netanyahu's water tech offer draws wave of Iranian support
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's video offering to share Israeli water technology with the Iranians racked up 5 million views in the first five days it was online, 1.6 million of which were on Netanyahu's own social media channels.

Perhaps more significantly, nearly 100,000 Iranians joined the Israeli government's Farsi-language Telegram account within 24 hours of the video going live.

All in all, this was the second-most watched Netanyahu video, after a presentation in April in which Netanyahu unveiled an Iranian nuclear archive smuggled out of Iran by Israeli agents.

In the video, posted a week ago, Netanyahu addresses the Iranian people directly, offering to teach Iran how to manage its water resources.

In the video, Netanyahu pours himself a glass of water and says, "I want to help save countless Iranian lives. Here's how: Iran's meteorological organization says that nearly 96% of Iran suffers from some levels of drought."
Kremlin: Putin, Netanyahu Agree to Boost Israel-Russia Coordination in Syria
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin agreed to strengthen coordination on Syria with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Friday, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The two leaders discussed “the situation in Syria in the context of joint efforts to ensure security around the Syrian-Israeli border,” and they “voiced readiness to strengthen coordination on Syria, including on combating international terrorism,” said the Kremlin.

Russia has been involved in the ongoing war in Syria since 2015, supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against rival Syrian rebel forces and largely ensuring Assad’s continued rule. Iran has also supported the Assad regime in Syria, and Israel has consistently declared that it will not permit Iran to establish a presence there.

Since Israel has launched a number of strikes in Syria in recent months to prevent Iran from entrenching itself there, it has become necessary for Israel and Russia to coordinate on security and prevent unnecessary clashes.

Friday’s phone conversation between Putin and Netanyahu follows up on the two leaders’ meeting in Moscow last month, as well as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recent visit to Russia.
Head of Russia's Military Police in Israel to Discuss Syria
Russia’s Military Police Directorate head Vladimir Ivanovsky arrived in Israel late Friday to meet with officials here to discuss developments in Syria ahead of an expected offensive.

Ivanovsky, who is responsible for Russian forces deployed in Syria’s southern de-escalation zones, is set to meet with several senior IDF officers to discuss the withdrawal of all Iranian troops and Shi’ite militias from areas near Israel’s border, according to public broadcaster Kan.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone and, according to Netanyahu’s office, the two discussed regional developments and the situation in Syria.

A statement released by the Kremlin read that the two leaders agreed to strengthen coordination on Syria as well as to joint efforts to ensure security in the area of the Israeli-Syrian border.

According to Israeli intelligence estimates, there are thousands of Iranian advisers and Revolutionary Guard Corps officers in Syria; 9,000 Shi’ite militia fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq; and another 7,000 Hezbollah fighters.
At least 52 pro-regime fighters said killed in east Syria strike
An airstrike has killed more than 50 pro-regime fighters in eastern Syria, most of them foreign, with the US-led coalition denying accusations from Damascus it was behind the attack.

The strike just before midnight hit Al-Hari, a town controlled by regional militias fighting in the complex seven-year war on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the conflict, said 52 pro-regime forces were killed in one of the deadliest air attacks in recent months.

“Among them are at least 30 Iraqi fighters and 16 Syrians, including soldiers and members of loyalist militias,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The nationalities of the remaining six fighters were not immediately known, he said. There are Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese and even Afghan fighters stationed in the area.
Report: Iranian-backed Syrian militias change uniforms, head toward Golan
Hezbollah and Iranian- backed Shi’ite militias are concentrating in an area dubbed the “triangle of death” near the Golan Heights, as the Syrian regime prepares its major post-Ramadan offensive.

The offensive is designed to defeat the rebels in southern Syria and has raised concerns in Jerusalem, Washington, Moscow and Amman as a potential crisis looms.

This comes as Israel continues warning the Syrian regime to remove Iranian forces from the country.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he reiterated Israel’s demand that Iran withdraw from all of Syria, in conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend.

With the defeat of Syrian rebels in Damascus, the regime has begun to concentrate forces along its long front line that stretches from the environs of the southern Damascus countryside down to Daraa near the Jordanian border.

This front line ranges from 10 kilometers to just one kilometer from the Golan Heights.
Anti-PA demonstrations continue
An organization aimed at ending the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) punitive measures against Gaza continues to organize demonstrations throughout the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria under the slogan "One people, one issue and one enemy".

The organization condemned the activities of the Palestinian security forces against the demonstrators, which it claimed included "oppression, abduction (of activists) and a campaign of institutionalized slander against activists and demonstrators."

The Palestinian Authority's punitive measures against the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip include, among others, a reduction in the salaries of public service employees' salaries. On June 17, a demonstration was held against the PA in London, England, outside the PA mission’s building.

The plan to continue the protests against the PA includes demonstrations against on June 20 (Bethlehem, Beirut, and Amman), on June 23 (New York and Ramallah) and June 24 (Amsterdam).

Last week, Arabs rioted in Ramallah, demanding that the PA cabinet take action over the deteriorating situation in Gaza.
Is Turkey safe for Israelis and Jews?
Last week, members of the Turkish Jewish community attended an Iftar dinner, the breaking of fast during Ramadan, in Edirne in northwestern Turkey.

The state-run Anadolu Agency published a story highlighting that the governor of the province said the dinner was evidence that people of different religions could live together in peace.

For his part, Waldman disagrees with that presumption.

“I don’t think there’s co-existence. I think it’s propaganda.… It should be easy to co-exist with a community of less than 20 000,” he said. “The Jewish community feels they need to do this.”

Waldman added that he does not believe the situation will improve so long as Israel remains in conflict with the Palestinians.

Arik Segal, the Israeli head of the Turkish-Israeli Civil Society Forum, said the relationship between the two countries has always been affected by the larger geopolitical landscape, especially as Turkish President Erdogan tries to cultivate an image as a protector of Palestinians.

His group, which is supported by the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation, organizes an annual meeting of civil society representatives from Israel and Turkey with a view to improving ties.

That, so far, has not led to an improvement for Jews living in Turkey.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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