Fragments of Jewish History in the United Arab Emirates

Now that Israeli tourists will be free to travel to the UAE, the Times of Israel notes some sites of particular Jewish interest, including the sole trace of the Jews who lived there centuries ago:

The existence of an ancient Jewish community in the area upon which the United Arab Emirates now stands is poorly documented. Benjamin of Tudela, [a 12th-century Spanish Jewish traveler and writer], said he found a Jewish community in Kis in the modern-day emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, the northernmost of the emirates. Beyond his words, little trace of that community remains.

But records of Jewish communities in the area have not entirely vanished. In Ras al-Khaimah’s National Museum stands the tombstone of one David son of Moses, unearthed in the 1970s by local residents.

The tombstone features clearly legible Hebrew writing, with some Judeo-Arabic mixed in. According to the historian Timothy Power, the mysterious David may have migrated from Persia to nearby cosmopolitan Hormuz at the height of its commercial splendor, between the 14th and 16th centuries.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin of Tudela, Jewish history, United Arab Emirates

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security