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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘security’

Turkish Foreign Minister Targets Jews, Warns of ‘Treason’

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Red flags are going up for Jews in Turkey again for the second time in less than a week.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu took aim at Turkish Jewry Sunday  in a thinly-disguised reference to the “Jewish lobby” on Sunday during a speech to local lawmakers, linking such a “lobby” to part of a “parallel structure” (U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen’s supporters) accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being in cahoots with Israeli Mossad intelligence agents.

On January 31, Erdogan had told a meeting of business leaders in Istanbul, “The sincere people backing this parallel structure should see this structure is cooperating with… Shame on them if they still cannot see that this structure is cooperating with the Mossad.” (Erdogan has accused Gulen’s followers of illegal wiretapping and a coup attempt that began with a corruption probe in December 2013. Four former ministers and their sons were investigated at the time; all were later acquitted on all charges.)

“I announce it from here: We have not and will not succumb to the Jewish lobby, the Armenian lobby or the Turkish-Greek minority’s lobbies,” Davutoglu said in his own speech on Feb. 8, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported. Speaking at a provincial congress of the ruling Justice and Development party’s (AKP) in Istanbul, Davutoglu added, “I call out to the parallel lobby and send them a message: We will stand before you with dignity no matter where you are; you will be despicable for the treason you have done to this nation.”

It’s not the first time in the past week that local Jews have been targeted by the current Turkish government.

On Feb. 6, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a snide comment about Jewish prayers while accepting an award from the Roma community in Bursa. As he started to condemn racism, Islamophobia and discrimination, Erdogan suddenly aimed at Judaism itself, specifically the Jewish morning blessings.

“I am addressing to those who talk about women’s rights. Why don’t you raise your voice against the Jews who thank G-d in their prayers that they were not created as women? Was there any other understanding, a logic as demeaning for women as this one?” he said.

The remark is a deliberate misinterpretation of one of the morning blessings recited by Jewish men and women each day, albeit with different versions for each. Jewish men do indeed thank God in one of the numerous blessings they recite in the morning that they were not created as women. The women’s version offers praise to God for being created as women (the literal translation of the prayer is, “as He desires”, in recognition of women’s different roles and responsibilities in Jewish life.)

Istanbul’s largest and most prominent synagogue, Neve Shalom, has become a virtual fortress under constant protection by Turkish security personnel. One must surrender one’s passport in order to enter the magnificent house of worship that once was filled to capacity in a former bustling Jewish neighborhood.

The synagogue was attacked several times by radical Islamic terrorists, leaving wounded, death and destruction in their wake. Turkish security is particularly selective about who is allowed to enter the synagogue; every person who attempts to do so is carefully scrutinized and required to walk through a metal detector prior to entry. The entrance itself is subtly hidden towards the back of the building, which must be accessed through a nondescript side gate.

Today the area around the synagogue is a shopping district and the lovely building with its stained glass windows and wooden seats polished to a sheen echoes with the memories of past festivities, empty but for the handful of Jews who dare to enter for prayers on High Holy Days and other important Jewish holidays.

Observant Jews who have remained in Turkey maintain a very low profile. Kosher food is not to be had in any general supermarket or local grocery store; one needs to know where to go in order to find it. There do not appear to be any local kosher supervision agencies — at least no symbols of any on foods available in public stores. Other members of the Jewish community are the descendants of those who arrived as refugees from Spain in 1492, fleeing the Inquisition, business people, and others who as tourists fell in love and married locals.

No White House Worries Over ‘Election Proximity’ with Herzog

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Is the Obama administration tampering with Israel’s electoral process? Top U.S. officials met on Saturday in Munich with opposition leader and Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog, a candidate in the upcoming election.

U.S. President Barack Obama and senior White House staff repeatedly have claimed the upcoming Israeli national elections were too close to allow American administration officials to meet with Israeli candidates, including the prime minister.

Just a matter of policy, after all.

So how does that fit with a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Isaac Herzog? Of course, the meeting was not “formally” scheduled and there were no photo ops.

The two American leaders both have said they will skip Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress on March 3 specifically because the date runs too close to Israel’s elections.

Herzog also managed to squeeze in meetings with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the sidelines of the security conference.

Following the talks in Munich, Herzog told Israel’s Channel 10 news that Netanyahu “won’t get to meet with a single American official on this visit – not from the National Security Agency, not from the White House, not from the State Department. It’s a complete boycott. Even if that’s not stated, that’s the story.”

And what a story it is. A complete endorsement of Labor party candidate Isaac Herzog, for whom the White House is clearly campaigning, along with the European Union.

One might be tempted to think that U.S. President Barack Obama is fiddling with Israeli politics. Tampering, even, with help from the European Union.

But isn’t that illegal?

French Soldiers Protecting Jewish Sites Receive Death Threats

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

French military personnel guarding Jewish sites in Paris are learning first-hand what anti-Semitism feels like.

The soldiers guarding a Jewish school in a suburb of the French capital have received death threats at least twice in the past two weeks.

In the first incident, a man drove in a car past the soldiers as they stood outside a school in Montreuil, shouting, “What does a Kalashnikov bullet in the head do? Does it bleed?”

A police source quoted by Le Figaro said the man also praised the recent terror attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery before escaping the scene.

The car drove away, but was later tracked down by police and the driver, approximately age 27, was arrested and detained overnight but was released the next morning.

The previous Saturday night, a similar incident occurred in the suburb of Le Raincy, according to the France Soir daily. Two soldiers standing guard outside another Jewish school were also threatened by a man pretending to hold a gun, who then fled the scene.

At present some 10,000 French military personnel are deployed around the Paris region following a wave of terror attacks on Jan. 7, 8 and 9 that were aimed at Jewish and non-Jewish French citizens alike.

Shin Bet Sting Nabs Israeli Arabs Joining Al Qaeda, ISIS

Friday, January 30th, 2015

A growing number of Arab Israelis are disappearing from their homes and jobs to run off to Syria to “fight in the jihad,” joining up with Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked terror groups.

Then they are sent back to start cells of their own under the direction of Al Qaeda’s local Syrian branch, Jabhat al Nusra, or pledge their allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — ISIS — itself.

Most get caught — like those who were indicted this month in district courts in the north and south of Israel.

One Israeli Arab who decided to go to Syria and join the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra terror organization didn’t really manage to get very far.

According to court papers filed in an indictment Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 Amin Ahmed Salah Snobar, age 24, was arrested this month as soon as he arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport (Jan. 2) on a flight from Turkey.

Most wannabe terror recruits have been entering Syria via the border with Turkey. Israeli Arabs are no exception. It is impossible to penetrate Israel’s border with Lebanon or Syria without permission from either side and since both are still technically at war with the Jewish State, that isn’t happening unless there is an outstanding diplomatic purpose. Joining a global jihad organization doesn’t fall under that category.

Snobar, a resident of the northern village of Kfar Yassif, told interrogators from the Israel Security Agency (ISA/Shin Bet) that he left Israel on July 7, 2014 to join up with the radical Islamist rebels fighting Syrian government forces. Upon his arrival in Syria, he first spent time at a base run by the Ansar al-Sham rebel group, then he moved over to the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra, according to court documents. Snobar allegedly went through military training with both groups, learning about weapons and how to make bombs. He was put through a rigorous physical fitness program and then sent out on special missions.

“During his time in Syria … he was in touch with a number of elements who suggested to him, on a number of occasions, that it would be preferable for him to return to Israel and carry out attacks in Israel, or fight against it from within,” Thursday’s court papers stated.

According to the charge sheet submitted by northern district prosecutors at the Haifa District Court, Snobar received training in combat and underground warfare. He also was instructed on how to work in cells, how to arrive at destinations and how to operate firearms. He allegedly carried out armed patrols of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist bases and underwent a training course in the use of heavy machine guns. He also allegedly learned how to load, aim and fire an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) and handled a sniper rifle on multiple occasions.

The Shin Bet said that six months after arriving in Syria Snobar “decided to return to his family, retracing his path to Turkey and from there boarding a flight to Israel. Upon his return to Israel he was arrested at Ben Gurion International Airport and taken for Shin Bet questioning.”

Jabhat al Nusra was outlawed by the State of Israel, the ISA reminded in its communique to media. From June 2013 the group became the official Al Qaeda branch in Syria. Part of its charter calls for attacks on Israel.

“The phenomenon of Arab Israelis traveling to Syria is extremely grave and dangerous, as the Syrian arena is rife with active elements hostile to the State of Israel, with a focus on the global jihad operatives,” said the statement by the Shin Bet. “Arab Israelis who travel to this arena undergo military training and are exposed to extreme jihadist ideology. There is a concern that they will be exploited by terrorist elements to carry out military activity against Israel and gather information on targets in Israel.”

The phenomenon is certainly “grave and dangerous” but it is also becoming more and more common, creating a rising risk for those who employ Israeli Arabs as well as those who employ Palestinian Authority Arabs with legitimate working permits.

Less than two weeks ago, seven Israeli Arabs were indicted in the Haifa District Court – including an attorney from Nazareth who worked as a public defender – for allegedly attempting to set up a cell for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Israel. An eighth suspect with the group was indicted separately due to geographic considerations.

The seven suspects were identified as: Attorney Adnan Aladin, 40; Hasam Marisat, 30, a former security prisoner from Deir Hana; Karim Abu Tzala, 22; Ala’a Abu Tzala, 27; Halad Abu Tzahalh, 30; Sarif Khaled Abu Tzala, 29; and Muhammad Abu Tzala, 27, the latter training to become a pharmacist at the time of his arrest, according to the Shin Bet.

The eighth suspect, Omer Koush, was indicted separately on December 18 and arraigned December 29, 2014 in the Be’er Sheva District Court by the Southern District Attorney’s Office. Koush, a resident of a Bedouin village in the south, had recently finished medical studies in Jordan and was recruiting fighters for ISIS, the Shin Bet said.

The other seven were picked up in a joint Shin Bet-Israel Police operation in November and December of last year, although information on the case was held under a gag order until the indictment was filed this month. All seven confessed to having worked together since June 2014 to form a “Salafi Jihadist” group and had pledged allegiance to ISIS. They were part of a terror attack plot that targeted the Druze community in Israel as well as security personnel and others, the Shin Bet said.

A well-known radical Islamist Salafi cleric in northern Israel with whom they met on multiple occasions had called on the group to recruit more men to the cause, according to the Shin Bet. They learned how to make firebombs and also purchased sheep in order to practice slaughtering and to build up their tolerance for “slaughtering infidels in Syria,” according to the indictment.

Aladin referred to himself as the “commander of ISIS in Palestine,” the Shin Bet said, inciting the other members of the group to participate in terror attacks against Jews and to prepare them for their jihad. He was fired from his job with the Public Defender’s Office in July 2014 after uploading a Facebook post praising an alleged Islamic hadith on killing Jews.

The other six suspects, who are residents of Sakhnin, face charges of attempted contact with a foreign agent, membership and activity in a banned organization (ISIS was outlawed in September 2014 by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon) and aiding a terrorist organization. All had planned eventually to fight in Syria.

Netanyahu Warns Iran Hoping For Terrorist Front in Golan Heights

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced at the start of a security assessment Wednesday night that “whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Yoram Cohen and other security officials met to determine Israel’s response to the attack by Iranian-backed Hezbollah at 11:35 am (Jan. 28) that killed two IDF soldiers and wounded seven others.

Six Kornet anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon at a convoy of army and civilian vehicles traveling along a road about two kilometers from the northern border near Mount Dov. In the exchange of artillery fire that followed, a UNIFIL soldier from Spain was killed as well.

“I would like to send condolences to the families of the fallen and my best wishes for a full recovery to our wounded soldiers,” Netanyahu said. “Whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price.

“For some time, Iran – via Hezbollah – has been trying to establish an additional terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights.

“We are taking strong and responsible action against this attempt,” the prime minister continued. “The Lebanese government and the Assad regime share responsibility for the consequences of the attacks emanating from their territories against the State of Israel.

“In all of these events, our mission is to defend the State of Israel. Our only consideration is the security of the State of Israel and its citizens,” Netanyahu emphasized. “Thus we have acted, and thus we will continue to act.”

Bureaucrats Save Gas by Reducing Patrols Protecting Jews

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

A security officer in a community in Judea and Samaria has instructed drivers who rotate on security duty every night to reduce the time they patrol in the security jeep because of orders to save gas.

It is not clear if is the The Wise Men of Chelm in the Defense Ministry or in the community’s local regional council of the Southern Hebron Hills who have reduced the amount of money allocated for gasoline, the security officer told The Jewish Press

His new instructions to drivers are:

“Park with the engine turned off in a strategic spot where there is good surveillance.

“Turn on the engine and move the jeep every nine minutes to a new location.

“Leave the engine running for a few minutes to re-charge the battery and then turn it off again.

“After nine minutes from the time the engine was idles, move again to a different place.

“While the jeep’s engine is turned off, carry out a short patrol by foot.

“On Shabbat, do not turn off the engine at all but do not drive non-stop.”

He concluded that the new instructions severely reduce security.

But so what? It is not enough that gas prices have come down dramatically following the drop in worldwide crude oil prices.

The most important result is that the Defense Ministry is saving a few more shekels.

Melbourne Airport Closed by ‘Security Threat’

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Tigerair Terminal 4 at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne, Australia is closed in response to a “security alert” aimed at the airline.

“We are responding and working with the relevant authorities over a security alert that was directed at Tigerair,” a spokesperson for the airport said.

The terminal was evacuated and a search is being carried out by Victoria Police, the spokesperson said.

Seven incoming flights were due to land at the airport after 9 pm but those schedules have been disrupted by the incident.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/melbourne-airport-closed-by-security-threat/2015/01/09/

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