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December 29, 2014 / 7 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Gaza blockade’

Turkish Jews Fleeing

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Turkey has long been a vacation destination for Israelis.  But with increasing tension between the current Turkish government and Israel, and what some describe as a level of anti-Semitism condoned by the highest levels of the current government, the tiny population of Jews who live in Turkey is rapidly dwindling.

According to figures from 2013, there are approximately 17,400 Jews in Turkey, a mere .02 percent of the population. The Jewish Virtual Library counts 23 active Turkish synagogues, of which 16 are in Istanbul.

Even tourism has been affected.

Tourism from Israel to, for example, the Mediterranean city of Antalya is back up to approximately 50,000 this past summer, which was down as low as 10,000 following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident in which nine Turks died while attempting to violate the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Although the Turks on the boat brutally attacked the Israeli soldiers before any Israelis resorted to violence, Turkey insisted that Israel apologize and financially compensate the families of those who died.

The Mavi Marmara episode was just one in a string of incidents in which previously warm relations between the two westernized Middle Eastern countries became brusque.

An earler incident occurred during the Davos Conference of 2009.  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised his voice at the placid, peaceful Israeli President Shimon Peres, accusing him (Israel) of murdering children on the beach and of Israeli prime ministers having told him “we feel happy when we go into Palestine with our tanks and weapons.”  Erdogan refused to yield the floor despite far extending the bounds of time and courtesy.

And let’s not forget last February, when Erdoğan allegedly called Zionism a “crime against humanity.”

And finally, the recent alleged disclosure of the identity of ten Iranians who had been spying on Iran for the Israeli intelligence service, followed by the fury that the Turkish intelligence chief should be blamed for this leak has brought what had been a lot of background noise to a crescendo.

And now, according to the head of the Turkish community in Israel, Nesim Güveniş, the Jews of Turkey are getting out.

“Anti-Semitism, triggered by harsh statements from the Turkish government, has led to the migration of hundreds of Jewish youngsters from Turkey to the U.S. or Europe,” Güveniş told Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

With only a smattering over 17,000 Jews still living in Turkey, it won’t be long before the only Jews left are the few Israelis vacationers.  Until something ominous interrupts that pastime as well.

 

‘Activists’ Hoping to Help Breach Gaza Blockade, Raped in Benghazi

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Three female British nationals who had been attempting to take part in yet another effort to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza were brutally gang raped when, blocked from leaving the Libyan border, they were abducted and assaulted.  Early reports are that the men who abducted and attacked the women are Libyan soldiers.

The women were part of a ten vehicle convoy which had been wending its way through southern Europe and northern Africa towards Egypt, allegedly seeking to bring in “humanitarian” aid to Gaza.  Typically these efforts to break the legal blockade of Gaza carry little of real value, any of which can be brought in through other points of entry.

This vehicular convoy was organized by the Turkish nongovernmental organization IHH, which describes itself as a humanitarian relief organization, but which terrorism experts consider a “a radical Islamist group masquerading as a humanitarian agency.”

According to terrorism financing expert Jonathan Schanzer, the IHH belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good.  Schanzer wrote that “the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.”  Qardawi is alleged to have personally transferred millions of dollars to the Union in an effort to provide financial support to Hamas.

The IHH, of course, is the same “humanitarian” agency that had organized the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in late May, 2010.  During that effort Israeli naval forces repeatedly informed those on board the ships that they had to turn back and all goods could be distributed if they docked at the Israeli port of Ashdod. When the flotilla ships refused to turn back, Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship, where they were brutally attacked. The Israelis eventually opened fire, leading to the death of 9 aboard the ship, and injury to many more, including to the Israeli soldiers.

The “aid” convoy of approximately ten trucks left Britain on February 25, but had been detained for many days along the Libyan-Egyptian border.  Egyptian border guards refused to allow them to cross into that country. The convoy was named the “Mavi Marmara” after the ship on which the Israeli and Turkish nationals had been injured during the 2010 confrontation.

The British nationals, frustrated by the long wait at the Egyptian border, went to Benghazi, hoping to make arrangements to fly back to Britain.  It was in Benghazi that the five were abducted, and the three women, two of whom are sisters and who were accompanied by their father, were sexually assaulted.  The father was present and witnessed the horrific assaults on his daughters.

The IHH allegedly mediated for the release of the captives, and they were released to the Turkish Consulate in Libya, where they are currently reported as safe and waiting to return to the UK.

The Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, Awadh al-Barassi, said he had been to visit the women who had been assaulted and their family was “in a very bad psychological state.”

“Sadly [the perpetrators] belong to army, but they don’t reflect the ethics of Libya army,” Mr al-Barassi said in an interview with the national Libya al-Hurra television channel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/activists-hoping-to-help-breach-gaza-blockade-raped-in-benghazi/2013/03/30/

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