Monday, April 05, 2021

From Ian:

JCPA: The False Claim that Israel Is Bound to Lose Either Its Jewish or Democratic Identities
Most Israelis consider warnings about the inevitable need to choose between being Jewish or being democratic and the urgent messages to Israel to save itself as misguided, dangerous, patronizing, condescending, and undemocratic, as well as indicative of gross ignorance of the situation in Israel and disregard for the rights of the Jewish people. These messages are seen by most Israelis as offensive, hostile, anti-Zionist, and even anti-Semitic. Most Israeli voters lean more and more toward parties that reject these exhortations.

Most Israelis would gladly change the status quo by reaching an agreement with the Palestinians, but they insist on an agreement that includes Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, as well as one that really addresses Israel's security concerns. Virtually no one in Israel envisages a situation where Israel takes complete control and extends its sovereignty over the densely populated Palestinian areas. Most of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza already live under Palestinian rule, and no one intends to dismantle the two entities that govern them.

The main obstacle to reaching a settlement to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the Palestinian narrative. According to this narrative, the struggle against Zionism until its demise is the core identity of the Palestinian people. Israel does not deny that the Palestinian people have rights, and it is ready to share the land with them, but it does not regard the West Bank as "Occupied Palestinian Territory." For Israel, and according to the Oslo Accords, these are disputed lands, subject to negotiation of their permanent status.
Afghanistan’s Last Known Jew Leaves for Israel
The last known Jew living in Afghanistan is reported to be leaving for Israel, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“I’m going to watch TV in Israel to find out what’s going to happen in Afghanistan,” Zabulon Simantov told Arab News on Sunday.

Zabulon Simantov, 61, has announced that he will be immigrating in the fall to join his wife and their two daughters, who have lived in Israel since 1998.

Simantov chose to stay in Afghanistan to take care of the only synagogue, located in Kabul.

“I managed to protect the Kabul synagogue like a lion,” he told Arab News.

Simantov, a carpet and jewelry seller, was born in Herat, a city that was home to hundreds of Jews decades ago.

He then moved to Kabul before fleeing to Tajikistan in 1992, and then returned to live in the Afghan capital.

Following Simantov’s departure, the synagogue will close, marking the end of Jewish life in the country, which began at least 2,000 years ago.

The Afghan Jewish community is one of the oldest in Central Asia, once numbering over 80,000 members.

In 1951 the Jews were allowed to leave the country, and the majority flew to Israel. Over 10,000 Afghan Jews or their descendants currently live in Israel.

Loyalty of last Yemen Jews repaid with expulsion
The scholar SD Goiten once described Yemen’s Jews as the most Arab and Jewish of Jews. Rabbi Yahya has insisted that he is Arab before he is Jewish. He has bent over backward to show his willingness to integrate into Muslim Yemen. He has tried to fight for Jews to have seats in Parliament, said that Jewish children should go to Muslim schools, and even said he believed in Muhammad as much as Moses.

There is a name for this kind of behavior: Stockholm syndrome, or to use a word familiar to the Jewish-Muslim lexicon, dhimmi syndrome. Dhimmi describes not only the subjugated status of Jews and Christians under Islam, but a survival strategy employing flattery and appeasement.

Beleaguered Jews in Arab or Muslim countries have long expressed their hostility to Israel and loyalty to their countries of birth. Where has it got them in the long run? A one-way ticket out of the country. There are no communities left in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Libya or Algeria. In Iraq, a Jew died recently, bringing the number down to three.

It is heartening that countries like the United Arab Emirates and Morocco have chosen a different path, “normalizing” with Israel and encouraging the growth of local Jewish communities. But where are the expressions of consternation, where are the protests, the petitions, the governments and NGOs calling out those Muslim countries which have ethnically cleansed their Jews? The silence is deafening.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs' Real Enemies: Iran and Turkey
The Arabs are warning the world that Turkey and Iran are funding and arming terrorists, that they a major threat to security and stability in the Middle East, and that they keep meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

The Arabs are also telling the world that the only way to deal with Turkey and Iran is by increasing political and economic pressure on them and holding them to account for their malign actions.

Turkey and Iran, in other words, are telling the Arabs that they can go to hell. They are also telling the Arabs that Turkey and Iran will continue to occupy Arab countries, meddle in their internal affairs, and unleash terrorist attacks to undermine their stability and security.

Veteran Saudi columnist Abdulrahman Al-Rashed warned that Iran's continued "military activities" in the region will likely lead to more chaos that will be increasingly difficult to control.

Al-Rashed also pointed out that the Houthi militia increased its missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia after the Biden administration revoked its designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

[T]he latest Arab warning concerning the Turkish and Iranian threats has gone almost unnoticed by the international community and media. They only pay a great deal of attention to the resolutions of the Arab League foreign ministers when they include -- as they frequently do -- a condemnation of Israel.
Dubai taxi driver’s gesture proves UAE one of safest places for Jews: Israeli official
Dubai: A Dubai taxi driver’s “warm” gesture to the family of Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, had left them with a feeling that the UAE is one of the safest places in the world for Jews to live and visit.

Sharing her experience of walking on a Dubai street after attending a dinner along with her husband and four children in December 2020, she said her husband was wearing Kippah, a traditional head covering for Jews.

“My husband never wears Kippah outdoors in Europe because we are always a bit scared of anti-Semitic attitude, and in general, he normally just wears a hat,” she told Emirates News Agency (WAM) ahead of her weeklong visit to the UAE, which begins on Monday.

'Welcome Jews'
“That Friday night in Dubai we were invited to a communal dinner; on the way back, he kept his Kippah on his head. All of a sudden a taxi stopped in the middle of the road and the driver rolled down the glass window and said, ‘Welcome Jews. We are so happy to have you here!’ “ she said.

How her children’s impression on Arab world changed
Expressing her delight, Hassan-Nahoum said the taxi driver’s message represented the “warmth and greetings of the UAE people. It was really incredible.”

She said her children, aged 18, 17, 15 and 12, had grown up with an impression that “the Arab World does not like us, and I am so happy to be able to give them a different narrative. We can be friends; we can be family again and then we can build the region together. So that’s very significant to me as a mother and also as a politician and leader.”

The Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, who is also co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council and the Gulf-Israel Women’s Forum, said she has many such interesting experiences from her visits to the UAE since the two countries signed the Abraham Accords in September 2020.

“But this [taxi driver’s story] was the most touching one,” she added.
US reaches out to Knesset for security advice following assaults on capitol
Several US lawmakers spoke with Knesset officials last week to discuss security procedures in place at Israel's parliament, a US representative said on Friday.

According to Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, House Appropriations Committee chair and ranking members reached out to Knesset officials to learn about the security measures on the site.

In his interview with Fox News, Ryan did not specify who they spoke to from the Israeli legislative body.

"There are other capitals around the world that now that have a lot more threats over the years than we've had, but now we're maybe in the same boat," he told the channel.

The interview followed a deadly ramming attack at the Capitol, with a vehicle plowing into two police officers at a security barrier.

The attacker, identified as a 25-year-old follower of the Nation of Islam, whose leader Louis Farrakhan has a history of making anti-Semitic remarks, was shot by police after jumping over the vehicle with a knife in his hand.

He died shortly after the attack after being airlifted to a hospital. One of the police officers he hit, later identified as an 18-year veteran with the force William 'Billy' Evans, was killed in the attack.
Netanyahu's chances boosted by Arabs rejecting Lapid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to receive the first mandate from President Reuven Rivlin to form a government received a boost on Monday morning, when the Hadash Party in the Joint List announced that none of its three MKs would endorse opposition leader Yair Lapid.

Netanyahu has the support of the 52 MKs of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Religious Zionist Party. Ra'am (United Arab List) could decide to give Netanyahu four more.

After Blue and White announced that its eight MKs will endorse Lapid, he will have the support of 45, including representatives of Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beytenu, Labor and Meretz.

Two of the three parties in the Joint List - Hadash and Balad - have rejected Lapid, but Ta'al, which has two MKs, has not decided yet. Lapid called Ta'al leader Ahmad Tibi to ask for his support, which together with New Hope's six, could give Lapid 53, one more than Netanyahu.

Yamina's representatives, MK Ayelet Shaked and Matan Kahana, recommended their leader, Naftali Bennett. When Rivlin asked who their second choice was, they refused to answer but expressed interest in receiving the next mandate to form a government from Rivlin if the first candidate does not succeed.

"Naftali Bennett has the best chance of forming a government," Shaked said
Palestinian Authority ‘Celebrated’ Passover with Illegal Construction Blitz in Area C
The Palestinian Authority took advantage of the Passover holiday recess for large-scale illegal construction, including sites already under court-issued work-stop orders.

While Israelis enjoyed the week-long Passover holiday, the Palestinian Authority (PA) used the Civil Administration’s vacation to full advantage, carrying out lightning-paced construction at a number of strategically-placed sites in Area C, the portion of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli jurisdiction.

One of the projects aimed at establishing facts on the ground during the inspectors’ vacation is on the outskirts of Rujeib, located between Shechem (Nablus) and the Jewish community of Itamar in Area C. Over the intermediate days of the Passover festival, new areas were leveled for construction and infrastructure was laid for an illegal construction project that broke ground in recent months.

In the vicinity of Duma, a village adjacent to the Alon Road in the eastern Binyamin section of Area C, three permanent structures were built over the holiday – part of an enormous illegal construction project that is doubling the size of the village.

At Khirbet Khurkosh, an archaeological site in central Samaria that has been subjected to large-scale invasion and destruction in recent months, a very large brick-and-mortar structure was built over Passover.

Under current Civil Administration operational guidelines, all field inspectors vacation for the duration of the Jewish high holidays in the fall and Passover in the spring. For a week or more, no oversight, inspection or enforcement activity is carried out in Judea and Samaria. The results have become depressingly predictable: an outbreak of illegal construction in Area C.
IDF destroyed Syrian border outpost in 2020 operation
Cleared for publication: Israeli forces operated inside Syrian territory in the summer of 2020, Israel Hayom learned Sunday. Many details about the operations remain classified, under orders from Israel's Military Censor.

According to available details, in July 2020, troops with the IDF's elite infantry Golani Brigade crossed into Syrian territory under cover of night. This was the first operation to see Israeli incursion into Syria in years.

The mission targeted a Syrian army position that according to Military Intelligence was built in March 2020 in the buffer zone that stretches across the Israeli-Syrian border. The post was erected some 1,200 meters (just under a mile) from the Israeli border, and by creating a fixed military presence in the buffer zone, Syria was in violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement with Israel, signed following the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The agreement calls for the buffer zone to remain free of military outposts at all times.

Israel viewed Syria's move not only as a provocation but also a serious threat to the safety of Israeli forces deployed near the border.

According to available information, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, greenlighted the operation.

A team of 18 soldiers was deployed for the mission, including Golani soldiers and a combat demolition team. An additional IDF contingent remained on the Israeli side of the border, ready to step into the fray if necessary. The Air Force was also on standby to provide air cover should the troops need it.

Upon reaching their targets, IDF demolition experts mined the base of the Syrian post, with the entire force of 18 soldiers remaining in Syrian territory until after the outpost was destroyed.

Lt. Col. Liron Appleman, who was involved in the mission as well as is several similar operations that followed, told Israel Hayom that "it was very important to us [the IDF] to send a clear message to the other side that things perceived as a violation of our sovereignty won't be tolerated."

Highest-paid Palestinian terrorist released from prison
Upon serving a 35-year sentence, Arab Israeli terrorist Rushdi Hamdan Abu Mukh was released from prison, Monday.

According to local media reports, following his release from prison, Abu Makh, a member of a cell that abducted and murdered Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984, returned to his home in Baka al-Gharbiya, where locals were waiting to welcome the terrorist home with pictures of him and Palestinian flags.

In an interview with Army Radio, Monday, Moshe Tamam's brother Oren demanded Israel strip Abu Mukh of his citizenship.

"We live a 10-minute drive from him. This bastard has been receiving support from the Palestinian Authority for decades. We could see this human scum in the mall near our house," he said.

"We were shocked by the pictures of the celebrations of joy in Baka al-Gharbiyye with PA flags, it is as if the country is paralyzed. He is a despicable killer. He has blood on his hands," he said.

Abu Mukh is one of the Palestinian Authority's highest-paid terrorists, according to Palestinian Media Watch's report on Ramallah's pay-to-slay program.

On Facebook, Moshe's niece Ortal said her family had asked Interior Minister Arye Deri to revoke Abu Mukh's citizenship over a year ago but that Deri had refused to meet with them.

Report: PA Leader Flown to Jordan En Route to Germany for Medical Treatment
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, 85, was slated to fly to Germany for medical treatment on Monday, Palestinian media reported.

Abbas has already traveled by helicopter to Amman, Jordan, from where he will depart for Europe, according to the report.

Abbas has a long history of health issues, ranging from heart trouble to a battle with prostate cancer more than a decade ago.

Defiant Jordanian prince vows he won’t obey house arrest restrictions
Jordan’s Prince Hamzah, accused of plotting against his half-brother King Abdullah II, has struck a defiant tone, insisting he will not obey orders restricting his movement.

The government has accused Hamzah of involvement in a seditious conspiracy to “destabilize the kingdom’s security,” placed him under house arrest and detained at least 16 more people.

But 41-year-old Hamzah, who says he has been ordered to stay inside his Amman palace, vowed he would defy orders limiting his freedom of movement.

“I don’t want to make moves and escalate now, but of course I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people, you’re only allowed to see your family,” he said in an audio recording posted on Twitter late Sunday.

Hamzah — a former crown prince stripped off that title by Abdullah in 2004 — has emerged as a vocal critic of the monarchy, accusing it of corruption, nepotism and authoritarian rule.

In a video he sent to the BBC Saturday he denied being involved in a plot, and said he had been ordered under house arrest by Jordan’s most senior military figure, General Youssef Huneiti.

In the latest recording, Hamzah said that: “When the head of the joint chiefs of staff comes and tells you this, it’s a bit… I think it’s a bit unacceptable.”
Jordan’s Queen Noor, mother of detained prince, attacks ‘wicked slander’ of coup
Queen Noor, the mother of Jordan’s former crown prince Hamzah who says he is under house arrest, on Sunday denounced “wicked slander” while Gulf allies backed Jordanian authorities amid a media report of a coup plot.

“Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander. God bless and keep them safe,” Noor tweeted.

In a video published by the BBC, former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein said several of his friends had been arrested, his security detail removed and his communications cut, adding that the kingdom had become “stymied in corruption, in nepotism, and in misrule.”

However, Jordan’s powerful Gulf allies voiced support for King Abdullah II.

The United Arab Emirates said it was in “full solidarity” with Jordan.

In a statement on its WAM news agency, it said it backed “any measures taken by King of Jordan, King Abdullah II… to preserve the security and stability of Jordan and defuse any attempt that seeks to jeopardize either.”

Neighboring Saudi Arabia also swiftly reacted, voicing its “full support… for the decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein to safeguard security and stability.”

The remaining four members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman — also voiced their support in similar terms.
Iran Arrests ‘Israeli Spy,’ Others in Touch With Foreign Intelligence: Iranian Media
Iran has arrested an “Israeli spy” and a number of other people who were in contact with foreign intelligence services, Iranian state media reported on Monday, without giving the nationality of those arrested.

“An Israeli spy has been arrested in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province … also other spies who were in contact with several countries’ intelligence services have been arrested as well,” it quoted an Intelligence Ministry official as saying.

Israeli officials did not immediately comment on the report.

The Islamic Republic does not recognize Israel and has accused it of being behind acts of sabotage and assassinations of nuclear scientists.

An Iranian convicted of spying for US and Israeli intelligence was executed in 2020.

Iran has blamed Israel for last year’s killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was seen by Western intelligence services as the mastermind of a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Tehran has denied seeking to build a nuclear arsenal. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the killing.


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