A Half-Century and More of Israeli-Kurdish Friendship

Oct. 25 2019

Following the announcement of the U.S. drawdown in Syria, Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the Turkish invasion and declared a willingness to extend nonmilitary aid to the Syrian Kurds. To understand why, writes Kassy Dillon, one must look to the 20th-century history of cooperation between the Jewish state and the Middle East’s largest stateless people:

Ties between Israel and the Kurds first started in the 1960s when the Kurds helped smuggle the remaining Jews out of Iraq after decades of rising anti-Semitism, which included pogroms, public executions, and discriminatory laws. Meanwhile, . . . after hearing of severe poverty the Kurdish people were facing, Golda Meir, then foreign minister, allocated the Kurds $100,000 in 1963.

Soon after, the humanitarian aid expanded into military assistance for training, arms, and ammunition, and eventually anti-aircraft weaponry. In 1980, Prime Minister Menachem Begin admitted that the Israelis assisted the Kurds during their uprising against the Iraqis between 1965 and 1975.

In 2017, Israel was the only country publicly to announce its support for Kurdish independence after the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq announced its intentions to hold a referendum for independence. At Kurdish independence rallies, Israeli flags were waved, leading to unanimous censure from the Iraqi parliament. Israel and the Iraqi Kurds have also enjoyed economic cooperation in recent years. Israel accepted a large Kurdish oil shipment in June of 2014, at the peak of the Kurdish struggle against Islamic State.

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More about: Golda Meir, Iraq, Israel diplomacy, Kurds, Menachem Begin

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror