PMW: PMW calls to ban Jibril Rajoub, head of PA Olympic Committee, due to terror support
Palestinian Media Watch is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, from all activities and events related to the Olympics, and to demand his removal from his position within the Olympic organization.
This comprehensive PMW report documents that Jibril Rajoub has consistently supported terror and even incited to murder. The report includes documentation of Rajoub’s support for attacks
during the recent terror wave (2015-2016); his use of his title as Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee when glorifying terror; and his prohibiting Palestinians from participating in peacebuilding sports activities with Israelis.
As an overt supporter of Palestinian terrorism, Rajoub represents the antithesis of Olympic values. At a time when terror is being fought throughout the world, permitting Rajoub to participate in Olympic Committee activities and events disgraces the International Olympic Committee and the entire Olympics community.
Douglas Murray: Jihadis: Who Are Their Targets?
The attacks did of course also give rise to a flush of virtual solidarity. The “Je Suis Charlie” (‘I am Charlie’) tag prevailed not only in demonstrations but also across Twitter and other social media. In the 18 months since then, the hashtag became repetitively and wearily wheeled out: “Je Suis Paris”, “Je Suis Bruxelles” and so on after every attack. Perhaps some people learned subsequently that solidarity on social media — while having the advantage of making people feel slightly better — has no effect whatsoever on diminishing or ending the terror. Meanwhile, one of the most important acts of actual solidarity was sorely missing.
The Pope’s intervention into the debate after the Charlie Hebdo attack was one of the most regrettable of the whole period. Speaking to journalists on his plane in the week after the attack, Pope Francis signalled to a Vatican official beside him and said, “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch in the nose.” Pretending to throw a punch, the Pope then said: “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Charb and his colleagues — living and dead — would have expected nothing more from the Pope whose church had been such a constant target of their pens. Nevertheless, it was a painful intervention. Not only was the representative of a religion whose founder is known for peace now talking the language of violence, but the remark suggested an irreconcilable divide between the religious and the secular in an age of Islamic violence. Where alliances should have been easy, they looked suddenly fractious and impossible.
The brutal slaughter of Father Jacques Hamel opens up this question from the other end. What “provocation” had Father Hamel provided? If any good can come from an act of such savagery. it would be in the possibility of healing such a rift. Obviously the Pope has condemned the killing of a priest of his own church. But many other anti-clerical figures in France may well pause before the enormity of what the jihadists have once again done. You do not have to be religious to experience revulsion at such an act being done to a man of God in the act of celebrating the Eucharist. The usual debates in French life over the role of the church and its role in the state may be able at least to pause during this period, raising the possibility of a more suitable and lengthy pause in hostilities.
Un Watch: UN made discussion of Islamist ideology taboo
Hillel Neuer of UN Watch challenges UN’s Durban Racism Program for turning blind eye to genocidal ideology that led to ISIS.
I have driven round Le Périphérique, the orbital motorway that divides Paris from the banlieues, to ask her a Jewish question. Can a Jew still live safely in a banlieue?
“A Jew can’t live where he wants anymore,” says Mme Saada. “Bit by bit, everyone is moving from the banlieues. As soon as there are ethnic populations, and as soon as it gets, shall we say, problematic, the Jews move. The visible ones — they get constantly attacked.”
The rise of Saint-Denis France means the flight of the Jews. Since 2000, when banlieue anti-Semitism began to flare alongside the Palestinian intifada, the number of Jewish families in Aulnay-sous-Bois fell from 600 to 100, in Le Blanc-Mesnil from 300 to 100, in Clichy-Sous-Bois from 400 to 80, and in La Courneuve from 300 to 80. French Jews call this flight internal aliyah.
This is why they move: in 2014, 51 per cent of reported racist incidents in France targeted Jews. On average a Jew is assaulted in France every day. And this means it touches most families. A recent poll found that 74 per cent of Jews who wore traditional skullcaps and 20 per cent who didn’t reported being attacked.
Madame Saada’s community is a refuge: in 2000 it was 800 families strong, now internal aliyah has enlarged it to 1,500. This crush makes the synagogue feel more like a home than a place of worship. And, like so many things Jewish, it is a cacophonic mess: someone is looking for a tennis racket, a flotilla of pastry boxes seems to be arriving, and the rabbi is nowhere to be seen. It seems so similar to Jewish life in London — but then 20 soldiers arrive. “I’m the next guard,” booms a tall white trooper with a buzz cut.
Since the jihadi slaughter at the HyperCacher after the Charlie Hebdo attack last year, 10,000 troops and 5,000 police have guarded all Jewish sites in France. The military has been brought in because there are now so many potential jihadist cells and lone wolves in the banlieue that there is simply no other way to protect them.
France’s main religious leaders sent a message of unity and solidarity after meeting Wednesday with French President Francois Hollande a day after two extremists attacked a Catholic church and slit the throat of an elderly priest in front of other hostages.
Yet even as they spoke, more horrifying details of the church attack became known.
An 86-year-old woman, one of five held hostage Tuesday at the Normandy church, said the attackers had handed her husband Guy a cellphone and demanded that he take photos or video of the priest after he was killed. Her husband was in turn slashed in four places by the attackers and is now hospitalized with serious injuries.
The attackers took hostages at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in France’s northwest region of Normandy, during morning Mass. After the priest was slain, both attackers, at least one of them a local man, were killed by police outside the church. The exact timeline of the attack is still unclear.
The elderly woman identified only as Jeanine told RMC radio that her husband played dead to stay alive. Two nuns were held hostage along with the couple and the priest, while a third nun escaped and gave the alert.
In a revelation likely to fuel further questions about security failings in France, investigators revealed Tuesday afternoon that one of the two men who killed a priest in his church in northern France earlier in the day had been charged with terror links and was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet. He carried out the attack while on morning release from house arrest, they said.
The attacker has been identified as Adel Kermiche,19, a local youth whose parents flagged his radical behavior to authorities in their hometown of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, where the attack took place.
Kermiche was arrested trying to go to Syria and was put under judicial supervision upon his return, with an electronic bracelet that was deactivated for five hours a day, allowing him to leave home without surveillance, according to a police official with knowledge of the investigation.
The Paris-based Marianne magazine reported that he was jailed after his second attempt to travel to Syria and had become radicalized following the attacks in Paris in January 2015. He was allowed furlough every day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., according to the report.
Edgar Davidson: Media: If today’s Church attack had taken place in Israel
This is getting repetitive now, but still needs to be noted….
Note that in November 2014 when Muslim Jihadists slaughtered 5 rabbis as they preyed in a Jerusalem synagogue, this was exactly the response from the media. Obama also demanded that the Israelis ‘show restraint’, while the Jordanian Government honoured the Jihadists the NEXT day at their opening of Parliament.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves maps. Considering them a helpful tool to illustrate his view of global affairs, he often brings them along to public speeches, to briefings with the press and to hearings in the Knesset.
“May I reveal to the members of the press that there is a big map in my office, and it’s been made bigger,” he said last week during a meeting with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes in Jerusalem. “It used to be the Middle East. Now it encompasses a good chunk of the Eastern hemisphere.”
The map of the world Netanyahu brandished Monday at the Knesset State Control Committee, where he defended his foreign policy record, offers some valuable insights into his view of Israel’s place among the family of nations. (A quarter-century ago, as he was rising to become the leader of the then-Likud opposition, Netanyahu published a book entitled, “A Place Among the Nations: Israel in the World.”)
The map, a copy of which was made available to The Times of Israel, is meant to highlight positive trends in Israel’s foreign relations. It divides the world’s countries into different categories: those with which Jerusalem has “recently developed/upgraded” relations are marked in red; states that entertain “good relations” with Israel are in blue; and “overtly hostile enemy states” are in black. With the rest of the world, in green, “Israel does not have special relations,” according to the prime minister’s aides, who created the map especially for Monday’s Knesset session.
Why then would the Israelis give him that kind of cover? The answer may be that getting a good aid deal in hand may outweigh other considerations, especially since it isn’t likely that Netanyahu can do anything to win Obama over.
But there is another factor that may be impelling the Israelis to act now. But Israelis must also be concerned that even if a new administration provides a chance for a fresh start between the two governments, there will be other factors that may make it harder to conclude a favorable aid agreement.
A Clinton administration will be heavily indebted to Bernie Sanders and his left-wing supporters who are, if anything, more hostile to Israel than Obama. Her freedom of action when it comes to military aid may be a good deal less than some of her ardent Jewish supporters think.
Just as if not more problematic would be a Trump administration’s attitude toward aid. While Trump is quick to proclaim his friendship for Israel, he is hostile to foreign aid in principle. His isolationist policies will not only make Israel’s strategic position more rather than less perilous, he has made it clear that he expects allies to pay for the privilege of being tied to the U.S. His “America First” mantra would also seem to militate against any flexibility about letting Israel support its own industry that some American firms see as a competitor. Rather than being more likely to be generous, Netanyahu has every reason to think Trump will be even less forthcoming than Obama.
Thus, for all of the backbiting that has gone on between Obama and Netanyahu, the latter may have decided that the smart play is to get the best deal possible now rather than gambling on the whims of the mercurial Trump or a Clinton who called herself the “designated yeller” at Israel during her time as secretary of state. 2017 may be a bad time for Israel to be asking for more help. The prime minister may well be thinking the devil he knows may be a better bet for a vital aid package than the uncertainties associated with Obama’s successors.
Discussing this matter with Israel Hayom over the weekend, Kahlon said, “We will know how to deal with it. The State of Israel will know how to adapt itself to the new reality.”
The third issue revolved around supplemental aid (which every year amounts to several hundreds of millions of dollars) received by Israel for projects pertaining to the development of missile interception systems. It appears that this aid will now be included as part of the fixed overall annual package.
“The desire of both sides is that the new agreement, which will go into effect in October of 2018, will be predicated on a settled-upon figure, without the need to add more aid from Congress,” an Israeli official explained.
“Israel places great value on the predictability and certainty of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
White House officials declined to comment on Israel’s announcement of Nagel’s visit, but said U.S. and Israeli officials are in regular contact to try and finalize the deal.
Daniel Pipes: End US aid to Israel
Exactly 20 years ago, a newly elected Israeli prime minister — Benjamin Netanyahu — dramatically announced the following to a joint session of Congress:
“We are deeply grateful for all we have received from the United States, for all that we have received from this chamber, from this body. But I believe there can be no greater tribute to America’s long-standing economic aid to Israel than for us to be able to say: ‘We are going to achieve economic independence. We are going to do it. In the next four years, we will begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic assistance to Israel.’ I am convinced that our economic policies will lay the foundation for total self-reliance and great economic strength.”
Even though Netanyahu has been prime minister for about half of the time since that July 1996 speech, and economic aid to Israel ended in 2007, U.S. military assistance has nearly doubled in that time period, and is still increasing. Indeed, Netanyahu’s office just announced the dispatch of an emissary to Washington to sign “a new memorandum of understanding between the two countries as soon as possible” to expedite an annual transfer of $3.8 billion in American funds to Israel over the next decade.
But Netanyahu was on the right track with the goal of becoming self-sufficient (I treat economic and military aid as functionally equivalent for both involve transfers of fungible money). Reams of research has established that modern foreign aid, which began after World War II, has had a nearly negligible impact on economic growth. Sound policies — free markets, equitable prices, the encouragement of exports, and holding to disciplined macroeconomic rules — matter far more. Countries with sound policies do well in the development race; those that do not have sound policies ultimately fare poorly, regardless of how much aid they receive.
The U.S. is retreating from the Middle East. The implications of this policy shift include the acceleration of Tehran’s drive to regional hegemony, the palpable risk of regional nuclear proliferation following the nuclear deal with Iran, and the spread of jihadist Islam.
The new perception of the U.S. administration as a vacillating ally weakens Israel’s deterrence. In addition, Washington’s attempt to compensate its Arab allies for the Iranian nuclear deal by providing them with the latest state-of-the-art weapons erodes Israel’s qualitative advantage.
Washington’s disengagement appears to close the book on the longstanding U.S. support for democratic movements around the world and undermines the relatively small and weak pro-democratic forces in the Arab world. The prospect of regime change in Iran has faded as challengers to the mullahs see little hope of getting substantial assistance from Washington.
Washington’s reluctance to confront Tehran on the nuclear issue sends the message that nuclear aspirants need not fear direct U.S. intervention, despite stated commitments to counter-proliferation. In addition, states that are ready to sell sensitive technologies are now less deterred by Washington from doing so. One can already see increased cooperation between North Korea and Iran.
U.S. weakness in the Middle East will inevitably have ripple effects in other parts of the globe. Its credibility is now subject to question, and allies elsewhere may determine that it would be wise to hedge their bets and look elsewhere for support.
The Balfour Declaration, or “the cursed promise,” as it’s termed in Arabic, sets down in writing Britain’s commitment to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel. The declaration does not nullify the establishment of an Arab state alongside the Jewish one, something the Arabs have rejected out of hand several times over the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas isn’t the first Palestinian leader who has tried to take on the Balfour Declaration. In fact, the former mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, fought it tirelessly. Moreover, most of the mufti’s political and financial support from the Third Reich had to do with the declaration and opposition to it.
Everyone has always known that the Arabs can create propaganda that sounds good to Western ears. Their lies and incitement are boundless. Today, they are cynically exploiting the Palestinian Nakba festival just as, in the past, the mufti of Jerusalem would vociferously and cynically protest in Germany on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration to curry favor with the Nazis.
In effect, when the mufti arrived in Germany, he took care to mark the anniversary of the declaration with the Arab community in Berlin marching through the streets and a sermon at a Berlin mosque. This is what he said on November 2, 1943: “On this day, 26 years ago, the evil tidings of the Balfour Declaration, which intends to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine following the Jewish-English scheme in the previous war, was issued. This abusive declaration came from Britain, and it gives the Jews this Arab, Muslim land — the direction of the first Muslim prayer, the homeland of Al-Aqsa mosque and other places holy to Islam.”
Young, unaffiliated “lone wolf” terrorists present a huge challenge to intelligence agencies across the world. They are unpredictable, untrackable and almost impossible to stop in advance. As more countries face this growing threat, we spoke to a senior IDF official to see what steps can be taken.
Since October 2015, Israel has faced a new wave of terror, mostly carried out by lone wolves. The attacks have mainly been comprised of stabbings and car rammings, now being imitated by terrorists in Europe.
1. Build an attacker profile
A lone wolf attacker can be anyone, but they’re more likely to fit a certain profile. In the past nine months, the IDF has been extensively researching lone wolf attacks and finding patterns that can help defend against them.
The Palestinian terrorists who carry out these attacks are most likely to be young, usually below 24 years of age, and sometimes even minors. About 90% of them are male and attackers usually come from the same six or seven villages. These attackers are motivated by the perceived success of terror attacks carried out by family members or others in their villages, and are inspired to attack in turn. Terrorists often strike the same five or six locations, turning places like the busy Gush Etzion Junction into a hotspot of stabbing and car ramming attacks.
Israel’s security forces overnight killed the Hamas terrorist who murdered Rabbi Miki Mark in a July 1 shooting attack in the West Bank. Three other members of the terror cell that planned and executed the attack were arrested, the army said early Wednesday morning.
The terrorist identified as 29-year-old Muhammad al-Fakih was killed when clashes broke out between the Israeli troops and the armed cell in the West Bank village of Surif, north of Hebron.
The soldiers were conducting a joint IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police operation to arrest the four-member cell.
Fakih opened fire at the Israeli troops from inside the house in which he was hiding, and the IDF responded by firing several anti-tank missiles, the IDF said. The IDF then used a bulldozer to knock down most of the building, and when the troops finally entered the destroyed home they found Fakih dead inside.
No Israeli troops were hurt in the operation.
A Palestinian terrorist who murdered a West Bank rabbi earlier this month was killed in an overnight raid Tuesday, as Israeli intelligence, police and army units united to track down the Hamas killer and other members of his cell.
Rabbi Miki Mark was killed in a July 1 drive-by shooting as he traveled on Route 60 with his family, close to the Otniel settlement where they lived. Mark’s wife, Hava, was seriously injured and two of his children were wounded in the attack.
The trail to Muhammad al-Fakih — who is believed to have fired the shot that killed Mark — ended at the West Bank village of Surif, north of Hebron. Fakih died there early Wednesday morning when the Israel Defense Forces fired anti-tank missiles before bulldozing the house in which he was hunkered down.
The army said the three other cell members — Fakih’s brother, Sahir; their cousin Muaz Fakih; and Mohammed Omaireh — all belong to the Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip and has seen growing popularity in the West Bank.
The family of a rabbi killed in a West Bank shooting attack on Wednesday expressed its gratitude to the army for eliminating his killer and arresting his Hamas accomplices in a pre-dawn raid.
A statement on behalf of Miki Mark’s family said that “they thanked the army, the Shin Bet security service and the security forces who worked day and night to find the murderers.”
Muhammad al-Fakih, 29, was killed in a confrontation with IDF troops in the West Bank village of Surif in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The family statement added: “We were shocked to hear that [Fakih] was a terrorist from the Palestinian Authority, and that they [the cell] were people known to the security forces, who had sat in jail and been released.”
The head of the Har Hevron Regional Council, Yohai Damari, praised the IDF operation, but warned that the security situation remained perilous and demanded tougher measures by Israel.
Should Israel give up its freedom to operate in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority “won’t survive, and the Jordanian kingdom will fall too,” former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Wednesday, during a speech at Bar-Ilan University.
The ex-defense minister added that “there are those on the right” who would settle for an Israeli military presence, but no Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley, describing the position as dangerous.
Ya’alon delivered a speech filled with stinging criticism of the government, saying that ordinary people and young people feel ashamed when they see how the country’s leaders conduct themselves.
Citing “personal example” and the fact that criminal investigations into wrongdoing occur frequently, Ya’alon said, “If there is no confidence in the leadership, there is no leadership.”
The former defense minister, who was unceremoniously dismissed from his post by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May and replaced with Avigdor Liberman, said that above all, “corruption” is what kept him up at nights.
Two male members of the Jordanian Wakf Muslim religious trust were arrested by police Wednesday morning after both men assaulted a Jewish tourist visiting the Temple Mount, in an apparently unprovoked attack.
At approximately 11:30 a.m., shortly after a final group of visitors entered the contested compound where Jewish visitation is severely restricted, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspects approached the unidentified victim.
He said he could not confirm reports that the members of the group were archaeologists.
“One of them punched him in the face, and the other suspect continued to push him around,” said Rosenfeld. “Police units that were on the scene immediately responded and arrested both members of the Wakf and took them into custody at the Old City’s police headquarters.”
Rosenfeld said the victim was lightly injured, but did not require medical treatment. He added that the tour continued after the assault and arrests.
“Police units are continuing to carry out security measures on the Temple Mount in order to prevent any incidents, and to make sure that regular visits are carried out safely and on schedule,” he said.
Jordanian border guards on Tuesday arrested a man as he tried to enter Israel in a car containing firebombs, an official said.
The driver was detained after ignoring orders at a checkpoint and trying to drive through roadblocks leading to the border, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The source said the car was seized and found to contain firebombs that the driver had “intended to use illegally.”
A statement from the Jordanian army reported the arrest of a man and the seizure of his vehicle for “trying to cross the checkpoints on the road to a neighboring country.
“Materials used to carry out illegal acts were found in the vehicle, and the driver admitted that he intended to use them,” the statement said.
On any given day, a strategically vital installation in the IDF’s Southern Command bristles with activity. From here, the military keeps a close watch on the Gaza Strip, and from here, all of Israel’s firepower will be managed in the event of another war with Hamas.
In the Strip, Hamas manufactures rockets, digs tunnels and prepares attacks. Israeli “eyes” keep tabs on these preparations.
In the Southern Command’s Fire Control Center, screens display real-time visual data, broadcast centers, roads and vehicles of interest in Gaza.
Teams made up of the ground forces, air force, navy, Military Intelligence and Shin Bet agents work together, poring over the raw intelligence.
Col. Yuval Ben-Dov commands the center. In recent days, he provided The Jerusalem Post with a glimpse into its daily operations. Ben-Dov hails from the Artillery Corps, where he rose through the ranks. He trained reservists at the Ze’elim Ground Forces training center in the Negev, and commanded the Shivta field artillery training center, where units are prepared for the next war.
BICOM reports: Hamas has announced that it will field a full list of candidates in Palestinian local and municipal elections scheduled for October, in an apparent surprise for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Hamas said that its list will be known as the National Technocrat Party and a statement explained that Hamas “sees the necessity and importance of holding local elections in the Gaza Strip and West Bank”. The statement also pledged that Hamas would “work to facilitate and make the elections successful in a way that serves the interest of our people”.
According to YNet, the head of the Palestinian Central Elections Committee, located in Ramallah, travelled to Gaza to meet Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, to discuss exactly how a vote would be held in Gaza, which is under Hamas’s full control.
YNet speculates that Hamas, which did not participate in local elections in 2012, is interested in using the upcoming ballot as a barometer of support in the West Bank. There has been speculation that elections may soon be held for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), for the first time in ten years.
Hamas won a majority in the 2006 PLC vote, but the Fatah-controlled PA, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, has not convened the forum since then.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mideast Leaders Can’t Stop Laughing At ‘Consent Of The Governed’ Wikipedia Page (satire)
Heads of numerous Arab and Muslim countries spent time Wednesday finding comic relief in an online encyclopedia entry that discusses the notion of political rule stemming from agreement by the people being ruled.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jordan’s King Abdullah shared several minutes of what the king called “belly-aching laughter” this morning over the content of a Wikipedia entry called Consent of the Governed. Abdullah was so tickled by the page that he then repeated the experience with President of Egypt Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Ahmad Al-Sabah.
The Emir, in turn, shared the treat with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who, witnesses say, guffawed for a full two minutes before his breathing returned to normal. He then called the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, who believed the page was a hoax. “You cannot seriously tell me people entertain this as a genuine, operative political concept,” he insisted.
“Get this – ‘The power of kings and magistrates is nothing else, but what is only derivative, transferred and committed to them in trust from the people, to the common good of them all, in whom the power yet remains fundamentally, and cannot be taken from them, without a violation of their natural birthright.’ – that’s some guy named John Milton,” explained Salman. “Is this guy a riot, or what?”
The commander of a key Iranian military force recently visited the border between Israel and Syria.
General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Basij Resistance Force, toured the abandoned Syrian town of Quneitra on the Golan Heights, the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency reported.
The report did not say when the visit happened.
Quneitra is a Syrian town that lies along the border between Israel and Syria, and which was abandoned after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Iran, through its Lebanon-based proxy Hezbollah, is committed to helping Syrian President Bashar Assad quell a five-year old insurgency.
For the first time since the Syrian civil war began, Israel’s government authorized the delivery of humanitarian aid into Syrian territory near its border, an American-Israeli businessman and philanthropist leading the project, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“Israel finally agreed to allow in three types of aid: medical, educational, and food,” said Moti Kahana, a businessman and founder of the NGO Amaliah, who sold his company in 2010 and since then has been using his own money to aid the Syrian rebels.
The aid is being brought to the Israeli border with Syria, but no Amaliah employees are going into Syria, he explained.
The aid is being transferred into what Kahana calls a “Safe Zone” adjacent to the Israeli border and comprised of the town of Quneitra and its surrounding area.
Being Jewish in Syria was not easy, says Alanov, 25, who has been in Sweden since 2014, but he still dreams of returning home to help rebuild his country.
There has been a Jewish community in Syria since Roman times. In the 19th century it numbered several thousand, but by 2005 just 80 Jews remained. Most of these have fled since the war started, and by the end of last year it was estimated that just 18 were left in the country.
Under Assad, Jews were officially banned from politics and government employment.
“If you talk to my grandparents, they would tell you that there was no hatred among Syrians toward Jews or anyone else. Jews used to have jobs and trade, and that was very popular in Syria before the Assad regime came to power in the seventies, after which most Jews were forced to flee.”
Despite this Alanov says he had a great life, and was two years into a Law degree when he came to Sweden. But back in Syria he had to be discreet about his Jewish background:
“Most of our neighbours knew that we were Jews, it was quite normal and fine. However, I have never said openly that I was Jewish to those who didn’t know us”.
Most Syrians don’t feel comfortable hearing about Jews living in Syria, he says.
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