October 24, 2020

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09/27 Links: UAE minister: Iran’s aggression made Arab world look at Israel ‘with fresh eyes’; ‘Israel had more than one ‘angel’ during Yom Kippur War’

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2020/09/0927-links-uae-minister-irans.html

From Ian:

UAE minister: Iran’s aggression made Arab world look at Israel ‘with fresh eyes’

The United Arab Emirates didn’t need peace with Israel to counter Iran, a top UAE official said Friday, but he said Iran’s aggressive policies over three decades alarmed many Arab countries and made them look at their relationship with Israel “with fresh eyes.”

Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, acknowledged at a virtual briefing on the sidelines of the equally virtual UN General Assembly’s annual meeting of world leaders that this may not have been Iran’s intention. But its actions had an impact in the region, he said, though he wouldn’t speculate on whether other Arab countries would follow the UAE and Bahrain in establishing relations with Israel.

“The only thing I want to say is the more strategic the Israelis look at these relationships, the more doors will open to them,” Gargash said. “If they look at it very `transactionally’, I think that it is not going to send a very good omen for normalizing relations with many of the Arab countries.”

Gargash said the UAE’s message to Israel is to “look at these opportunities and build strategically, and think long term rather than short term” — and prove wrong the countries who say that because of the Israeli political system its decision-makers think only tactically.

A month after the US-brokered diplomatic agreement with Israel signed at the White House, Gargash said the two countries are negotiating “what I would call normal bilateral relations.” He said the UAE has sent several agreements to the Israelis on protecting investments, double taxation, visa exemptions and air services.

“We’re waiting for them to come back to us, because it is essential for a relationship to be built on these solid bases,” Gargash said.

With spy series ‘Tehran,’ Israelis reach out to an enemy

Things are not as they seem in the new Apple TV+ series “Tehran” − as it should be in a spy thriller.

The series opens with a commercial flight from Jordan to India that’s suddenly diverted to Iran. A few of the passengers on board have secrets. Those secrets will soon have war jets scrambling and a covert manhunt launching.

As audacious as the premise, “Tehran” is equally bold: an Israeli production that offers viewers a sympathetic view of Iran − one of Israel’s greatest foes − without anyone from the production setting foot in the Islamic Republic.

“The core of the show is dealing with the question of identity, nationality, immigration and family roots,” Moshe Zonder, the show’s co-creator and co-writer, said from Tel Aviv. “It asks how we connect to them and our obligation to them and can we get free from them? This is relevant to everyone on the globe.”

The show’s eight episodes aired in Israel in June and July, to largely rave reviews. The espionage thriller, with dialogue in Hebrew, English and Farsi, debuted on Apple TV+ on Friday.

“Tehran” centers on a computer hacker-agent undertaking her very first mission in Iran’s capital, which is also the place of her birth. When the mission goes wrong, the agent has to survive by her wits.

With several of the same actors and featuring a woman spy dealing with Middle Eastern and Central Asian intrigue at its center, some viewers may see similarities with the recently completed run of “Homeland.”

But while that Showtime series explored how notions of good and evil can become corrupt and twisted on the international stage, “Tehran” is about making connections across ideological borders.

“There is not one clear enemy. It’s not about one side against the other. It’s really about people,” Niv Sultan, the actress who plays the “Tehran” spy heroine, said from Tel Aviv. “For the first time, we’re showing a different point of view of this conflict.”

Story of unknown Egyptian officer who helped Israel avert defeat in Yom Kippur War reveleaed

On Friday, Oct, 12, 1973, at 2:30 pm, Prime Minister Golda Meir convened her so-called “Kitchen Cabinet” – the small forum that made the Israeli government’s major military-political decisions. The Yom Kippur War had entered its seventh day, and the discussion centered on one fateful question: should the IDF cross the Suez Canal the next night.

After the IDF had successfully pushed the Syrian army back from the Golan Heights, breaking through the Syrian border, the war’s center of gravity shifted to the south. These were the most crucial moments on the Egyptian front. The decisive meeting took place in Golda’s room and included Zvi Zamir, the director of the Mossad; GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev, and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Benny Peled.

The situation reports presented at the discussion were stark. Chief of the General Staff David (Dado) Elazar warned that with no decisive victory the forces would grow exhausted, and proposed requesting a ceasefire. Major General Benny Peled said that the Air Force had already lost a large number of planes and that it was nearing the threshold of 220 planes – which, if reached, would mean it could no longer assist the ground forces.

Israel’s defense establishment had for many days been expecting Egypt’s 2nd and 4th Armored Divisions, deployed west of the canal, to move eastwards; their failure to do so reduced the chances of a successful crossing. Nevertheless, Bar-Lev and Peled expressed their support for the operation. Then, before Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Israel Tal, had a chance to sum up the discussion, Zamir was called away to answer an urgent phone call from his bureau chief Freddy Eini and Yoel Salomon, head of the Mossad’s technology division.

Upon his return to the room, Zamir said that he had received a “golden piece of information,” according to which the Egyptian army was preparing a paratrooper assault on the Mitla and Gidi Passes within a day or two. The operational conclusion was that the armored divisions would follow.

“I understand that Zvika has ended our discussion,” said Meir, and the decision was made: the crossing of the canal was suspended; the IDF was to organize for a defensive battle, lay in wait for the Egyptian forces, contain the attack – and then begin the crossing.

David Collier: An open letter to SJAZ – the handful of anti-Zionist Jews in Scotland

I have reported on the antisemitism of the spokesperson of Scottish Jews against Zionism – SJAZ. In response SJAZ published a post on their website supporting her. SJAZ actually came out in support of a Holocaust denier. They said she posted just a few ‘antisemitic conspiracy theory posts’. They made rubbish excuses about how Jola AlJakhbeer was just ‘angry at what was happening in Palestine’. They even promoted her Jewish identity.

As evidenced below in my open letter to the group – they’ve been caught lying and supporting a far-right racist – and their excuses show us all that their primary purpose is to protect those that hate the Jews. Wait till they see what she says about black people, gays, ‘Feminazis’ and yes, Scottish people.

To Scottish Jews against Zionism – SJAZ – the handful of anti-Zionist Jews in Scotland,

I can think of few non-violent actions that are more antisemitic than your current behaviour. Not for the first time I exposed the antisemitism of Jola Hadzic / AlJakhbeer as a raging antisemite. Obviously, my message spread, because you felt the need to respond. You did so publicly, in one of the most disgraceful cover-ups of antisemitism I have seen. This letter exposes the true nature of your group. SJAZ and the Background

Prior to your groups founding in 2018, I published a report on the horrific levels of hard-core antisemitism present in the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The response of your co-founder Sarah Glynn, was to dismiss my report. What is astonishing here is that anti-Israel commentary had no part in my findings. I avoided all relevant criticism of Israel. But in her article Sarah Glynn suggested that ‘the majority of the posts.. are conspiracy theories implicating the Israeli Secret Service’. It is probably worthwhile for Sarah Glynn to take a course in antisemitism. Thinking Israel is behind 9/11 or that Charlie Hebdo was a covert Mossad attack is not criticism of Israel. When instead of criticising Israeli activity in lets say Hebron, you turn Israel into the global Jew – that sinister – all controlling – powerful demon – you are clearly engaging in antisemitism. This is pretty basic stuff.

The thing is, Jolanta Hadzic and her Holocaust denial featured prominently in the report Sarah Glynn criticised, meaning SJAZ knew all this a long time ago. Yet you still deployed her as your key spokesperson when you were founded.

You base your defence on the fact that ‘Israel’s behaviour’ made Jola AlJakhbeer do it – a blame the victim strategy. As I will show here your lies and hers are easily exposed. As soon as you scratch the surface you realise everything is a lie.

Liberal Israel Supporters Exasperated Over AOC Dumping of Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Event

Liberal Jews and Israel-supporters expressed exasperation and anger over the weekend after far-left Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced she would not attend a memorial event marking the 25th anniversary of the murder of late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The event, to be hosted by Americans for Peace Now, will honor Rabin’s forging of the Oslo Accords and mourn his assassination by a right-wing extremist in 1995.

Ocasio-Cortez, who has openly defended and supported antisemitic members of her “Squad” of far-left congresswomen, was set to attend the event, but after being questioned on Twitter by anti-Israel journalist, Alex Kane, she said, “This event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted. Thanks for pointing it out. Taking a look into this now.”

She confirmed later on Friday that she would not attend.

In his tweet, Kane had highlighted Rabin’s role as Israel’s defense minister during the First Intifada in the late 1980s, claiming Palestinians remembered him “as someone who reportedly ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones.”

Americans for Peace Now responded with measured criticism, saying, “We are sorry to hear that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will no longer be speaking at our Oct. 20th Yitzhak Rabin memorial. Her participation would have added to the event. We are certain that the event will be a success and invite the public to register and attend.”

Dan Shapiro, the former US ambassador to Israel under Barack Obama, called it a “very disappointing decision.”

It was, he said, “A mistake to give in to pressure, a missed opportunity to speak constructively to both sides of this conflict, honoring a peacemaker while acknowledging complexity. Hope she will try again and do better.”

Republican Jewish group: Biden must apologize for comparing Trump to Goebbels

The Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday demanded an apology from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden after he likened US President Donald Trump to the Nazi’s propaganda chief.

“He’s sort of like [Joseph] Goebbels,” Biden said of Trump. “You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge.”

In a statement, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said: “The rule in debate is that if your only argument is to call your opponent a Nazi, you have no argument at all. Instead of engaging in a debate on policy, Joe Biden has descended to name-calling and Holocaust references.

“There is no place in political discourse for Holocaust imagery or comparing candidates to Nazis. It’s offensive and it demeans the memory of the Holocaust, the suffering of the victims, and the lessons we must learn from that terribly dark chapter of history. Joe Biden has been in politics long enough to know this. To diminish the horrors of Goebbels and the Nazis by trying to attack the president with that comparison is, as we say, a shanda.

“We call on Joe Biden to retract and apologize for that egregious comment,” said Brooks.

HonestReporting CEO Speaks At the Jerusalem Post Conference

HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz gave a presentation at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference, widely considered one of the most important political and diplomatic gatherings of the year. WATCH NOW – Pomerantz shared his personal story of immigration to Israel, known in Hebrew as aliyah, and how it relates to fundamental changes in the political culture in America. He also detailed the work we do at HonestReporting and how it helps people abroad feel safe when standing by their values, without sacrificing their friendships, careers or overall belief systems.

Sudan reportedly requesting billions in aid in exchange for ties with Israel

Sudanese officials reportedly requested $3 billion to $4 billion in aid in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel during negotiations with US officials.

Sudan’s Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, its de-facto leader, held talks this week in the United Arab Emirates with US and Emirati officials.

During the talks, Sudan turned down an offer of $800 million in aid and investments as part of an exchange for a deal with Israel, The New York Times reported on Sunday. Most of the sum would have been paid by the US and UAE, with Israel paying around $10 million.

Sudan has also asked to be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terror, which US officials said they are willing to do. The designation prevents Sudan from receiving foreign funding, contributing to its ongoing financial crisis.

Sudan is now seen by US officials as the most likely candidate to follow the lead of the UAE and Bahrain, which normalized ties with Jerusalem earlier this month, but the financial aid package has emerged as a stumbling block in the talks, the report said.

The Walla news site previously reported that Sudan was asking for oil and wheat shipments worth $1.2 billion to cope with recent devastating floods, a $2 billion grant to deal with Sudan’s economic crisis and a commitment of economic support from the US and the UAE over the next three years.

Israeli officials have long expressed a wish for better relations with Khartoum, citing its importance in the region as well as its geographic location.

Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes could affect wider Middle East – analysis

The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan that began Sunday morning appear larger than usual. After similar clashes in July it is clear that the southern Caucuses are becoming increasingly important. After decades in which the Caucuses were largely ignored internationally, they are back in the spotlight. Conflict there has major ramifications for the Middle East because Turkey, Iran and Russia all have a potential role.

The Caucuses experienced conflict after the fall of the Soviet Union. A series of unresolved disputed were left to freeze, sometimes percolating to the surface in new rounds of war. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is one of those. Azerbaijan has an exclave near Turkey and it claims Nagorna-Karabakh, an area between it and Armenia. That area declared itself a separate Republic of Artsakh in the 1990s. With Russian backing, Armenia remained in control.

Further north, clashes between Georgia and Russia erupted in 2008 that humiliated Georgia as it was defeated after an ill-fated attempt to retake the South Ossetia, a self-declared republic that had emerged in 1991. With backing from Russia ,Georgia had been kept out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A Russia that was being reformed under Vladimir Putin was quick to show Georgia who was stronger in the 2008 clashes. Similarly. Putin had been able to put an end to the Chechnya wars that plagued Russia in the 1990s. Russia also put down Islamist insurgencies in the northern Caucuses.

The end of fighting in 2008 brought a period of relative calm to the Caucuses. But all these conflicts were unresolved. They were also linked to tension in Ukraine that exploded in 2014 with war there between Russian-backed separatists and the government. Russia annexed Crimea and supported two new republics in the Donbass. The guns never fell completely silent in Ukraine.

Today, Russia hold frequent military drills to show off its power, both in southern Russia, the Caucuses, the Baltic and near Belarus. The overall picture is an emerging powerhouse of Russian power. Slavic Brotherhood drills were underway with Serbia and Belarus last week, for instance. Caucuses drills were also held in early September with China, Armenia, Iran and Myanmar. In July Putin ordered massive drills involving 150,000 soldiers to secure southern Russia. The message from Moscow is clear. Russia is sharpening its knife to be ready for any eventuality, whether problems in Belarus, or the Caucuses.

Contact tracing failure to blame for severe 2nd wave outbreak – Israel TV report

An investigation broadcast Friday into Israel’s failure to contain the coronavirus pandemic blamed the lack of an effective contact tracing program to cut infection chains.

Israel swiftly responded to the novel coronavirus when it first emerged in the spring, and limited its spread through lockdown measures and restrictions on international travel, but likely reopened too quickly, leading to a severe second wave outbreak. Israel now has one of the highest per capita infection rates in the world.

Most experts believe that effective contact tracing, combined with isolation of infected and exposed people, is key to stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

The Channel 12 report, broadcast on Friday, highlighted the tracing system’s failures, including that people who needed to enter quarantine were not informed, and the Shin Bet’s surveillance system repeatedly made mistakes.

It wasn’t until the second wave outbreak in Israel was in full swing, in mid-August, that the military, with its manpower and know-how, was tasked with devising and operating a system to cut infection chains.

The decision likely came too late, as the virus outbreak was already out of control, the report said. The military-run program will only be fully operational by November, Israel’s virus czar Ronnie Gamzu has said,

IDF cancels leave for combat troops, soldiers in training amid coronavirus surge

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday canceled all leave for combat troops and soldiers in training for at least the next month amid a spike in coronavirus infections in the military.

As of Saturday night, over 1,190 soldiers, officers, non-commissioned officers and civilian employees of the military had tested positive for the disease — all of them with light symptoms — and another 13,038 servicemembers were in quarantine. This was nearly double the amount of confirmed cases as there were two weeks ago, 622.

The military said the decision to halt furlough was made by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi following an “ongoing situational assessment in the IDF and following a General Staff situational assessment.”

The move would not affect soldiers serving on so-called “open bases,” who go home most nights, but would only be applied to those on “closed bases,” who live in their units for extended periods. This would also apply only to conscript soldiers on these bases, not to officers, non-commissioned officers and other personnel.

“Exemptions would only be approved by a commander with the rank of major general,” the IDF said.

Troops on open bases would continue to operate on a system of “capsules” — shifts of soldiers with no contact between them — to ensure that if any servicemembers became infected, it would not spread widely.

“All combat troops, people serving on training bases or closed bases should arrive to their bases on Tuesday ready to remain there for an extended period, for a period of 30 days,” the IDF said in a statement.

Former MK and Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick plans to run for president

A new, somewhat surprising contender has joined the race to become Israel’s next president next year.

Yehudah Glick, a former Knesset member and longtime advocate for Jewish rights on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, has told right-wing lawmakers that he will run for the job when Reuven Rivlin’s tenure ends in the summer of 2021, Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site, has learned.

The president, a largely symbolic figure, is elected by Knesset members once every seven years.

Glick, asking the lawmakers to support him, said he was the only candidate who fits the role.

“Over Rosh Hashanah I sat with myself for two whole days and decided I will run for the job,” Glick told the Knesset members. “I see what is happening today in the nation. I am pained by the divisions and the rifts.

“I miss the days when we were a model society, a society of solidarity, when we strove to be a light unto the nations rather than fighting and hating one another,” he said. “We can go back to that.”

Contacted by Zman Yisrael, Glick refused to comment. (h/t Zvi)

Hamas denies agreement with Fatah on elections

Hamas denied on Saturday that it has reached agreement with its rivals in Fatah to hold new elections for the Palestinian Authority presidency and parliament, the Palestine Legislative Council.

The denial came one day after PA President Mahmoud Abbas promised the United Nations General Assembly that those elections would be held.

“Here we are, despite all the obstacles that you know too well, preparing ourselves to hold parliamentary elections, followed by presidential elections, with the participation of all factions and political parties,” Abbas said during his virtual address to the 75th UNGA opening session.

His words echoed those of Jibril Rajoub, Secretary-General of the Fatah Central Committee, who on Friday announced that his faction and Hamas reached agreement on holding the long overdue elections based on the system of proportional representation.

The last presidential election was held in January 2005. The last parliamentary election, held one year later, resulted in a Hamas victory.

Has Hezbollah defeated France in Lebanon?

A month and a half after a massive explosion in Beirut caused a crisis in Lebanon that saw the government fall, France’s decision to try to push for reforms may have been defeated.

Regional media from the UAE to Turkey are focused on what might come next in Lebanon. Lebanon’s Prime Minister designate Mustapha Adib resigned, according to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a news conference on Sunday to discuss the situation.

Lebanese analysts quoted at Al-Ain said that Lebanon could be heading to “chaos” as Hezbollah and the Amal movement are preventing the creation of a new government. France has sought to mediate in Lebanon, with Macron playing a key role. This even included meetings with Hezbollah’s members of the Lebanese parliament. The political parties and entrenched sectarian elites in Lebanon now appear to have sought to frustrate France’s attempts at reform.

It appears that Hezbollah and Amal had sought to obtain the finance ministry as part of the reform. This would put Iran at the helm of Lebanon’s key ministry. Lebanon already needs $93 billion to bail it out of a financial crisis. Iran has used Lebanon for money laundering and other fraudulent transactions in the past.

France had wanted to reduce the sectarian nature of the government, but in Lebanon many ministries are divided as spoils for various groups. Hezbollah has increased its clout in recent years, even though it has only a handful of members of parliament. It has sought to grab the health ministry and other posts.

Two members of Lebanese security forces killed in armed clashes

Two members of the Lebanese Security Forces were killed in an exchange of gunfire with militants in the north of the country late on Saturday, the army said.

They were killed when militants opened fire on an army checkpoint in the northwest area of Araman, the army said on Sunday. One militant was killed, while several fled.

In a separate incident on Saturday, Lebanese security forces killed at least six militants during a heavy exchange of fire with an armed group in northeast Lebanon, close to the Syrian border, security sources said.

Three members of the Lebanese security forces were wounded in the clash, which began after Lebanese forces raided a house in the Wadi Khaled area, where the group that was suspected of planning attacks was holed up, the sources said.

Security incidents across the country have increased in recent weeks, as the country has been pushed to breaking point by a financial meltdown and a political vacuum following the resignation of the caretaker government over an Aug. 4 port blast, which left nearly 200 people dead.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab strongly condemned the attacks in a statement on Sunday, and called for the feuding political blocs to rapidly form a new government capable of addressing Lebanon’s myriad problems.

France vows to protect its Jewish community on Yom Kippur after stabbing

France’s interior minister promised Sunday to protect France’s Jewish community from extremists after a double stabbing in Paris blamed on Islamic terrorism.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin visited a synagogue Sunday ahead of the evening start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, and said more than 7,000 police and soldiers were protecting Jewish services. France has Europe’s largest Jewish community.

“I came to assure … members of France’s Jewish community of the protection of the state,” Darmanin told reporters. “Because we know that Jews are particularly targeted by Islamist attacks and we should obviously protect them.”

Darmanin defended authorities’ handling of a double stabbing Friday outside the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, saying intelligence services have prevented 32 potential terrorist attacks over the past three years.

Coordinated Islamic terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris newsroom and a kosher supermarket in January 2015 killed 17 people, and Friday’s stabbing came as the trial into those attacks is under way.

German police threaten Israeli with crime for show of Israeli flag

The police in the German city of Frankfurt launched a criminal investigation against the young Israeli musician Ana Agre for her display of an Israeli flag at an anti-Jewish state demonstration organized by a pro-BDS group that supports convicted Palestinian terrorists.

The prominent Israeli author Chaim Noll on Friday first reported on the popular German website “The Axis of Good” about the threatened criminal case against Agre, an Israeli musician who works in Germany.

According to Noll, “On July 1st, 2020, she ran into an anti-Israel-demonstration close to her home, arranged by the pro-Palestinian organization Samidoun. She went upstairs into her flat to fetch an Israeli flag and took position on the square where the protesters were marching along, together with their German supporters.”

The flag, wrote Noll, was “about the size of a kitchen towel.” Samidoun is an organization that seeks to secure the release of convicted Palestinian terrorists from prison and supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Noll reported that a Frankfurt “police officer addressed her in English, recorded her identity and advised her to leave the location for reasons of her appearance being provocative to the young Muslims.” (h/t Zvi)

Rivlin: On Yom Kippur, light memorial candle a for coronavirus victims

President Reuven Rivlin called on all Israelis and Jews across the globe on Sunday to light an additional memorial candle on Yom Kippur in memory of those who died due to the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus pandemic and its victims have caused me to think about those who have lost their lives, about the invisible angel of death which does its terrible work of taking lives in isolated emergency rooms, without families there to part from them with a last touch, holding hands,” stroking faces, Rivlin said in a statement.

“To those dear ones, over a thousand victims, I decided to dedicate a prayer and to light a candle in their memory.”

The president then said a modified version of the Yizkor prayer, which is said to remember those who have died and is recited several times a year, including on Yom Kippur.

“May God remember, and may the People of Israel remember the souls of those Israelis who have lost their lives this year because of the coronavirus. May we remember those pioneers and founders, Holocaust survivors, veteran immigrants, fighters and creators, students of Torah and worshipers of the Lord, Jews and Arabs, old and young,” he said.

“They were all loved, all, known, all had names and faces,” the president said. “Fathers and sons, grandmothers and grandfathers, friends and acquaintances, neighbors and colleagues. An inseparable part of the fabric of our lives. May we be forgiven for the sin of weakness and inability, for not doing enough, for not managing to save them. Because of that, lives were lost.



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