An Arab Knesset Member’s Bold Statements about Israel’s Jewish Identity Deserve Praise

Last week, the Israeli Arab parliamentarian Mansour Abbas—who broke precedent this year by leading his Islamist Ra’am party into the governing coalition—made headlines again when he told an interviewer:

The state of Israel was born as a Jewish state. That’s the people’s decision. . . . It was born that way and that’s how it will remain. . . . We [Arabs] have to decide whether we want to engage in campaigns that have a chance of succeeding—and then we’ll be able to develop as a society and prosper, and be an influential sector of society—or whether we want to be in an isolationist position and continue to talk about all these things for another 100 years.

Yet, notes Ruthie Blum, Abbas has also made statements of a different sort in Arabic to his supporters, and just recently one of his fellow Ra’am parliamentarians appeared publicly with a notorious terror-preaching religious leader. Nonetheless, Blum writes,

it’s not for nothing that [Abbas] had to hire private bodyguards to protect him from Arab citizens angry at him for “selling out” to the Zionists by vowing to place legislative work for his community above Islamism and Palestinian activism. Ditto regarding the Knesset guard’s order earlier this month that he be provided with a security detail, due to threats on his life for being part of Israel’s governing coalition.

Even after being attacked by Arab Israelis and Palestinians across the spectrum, Abbas—who last month told the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab newspaper and news site, “whether we like it or not, Israel is a Jewish state, and my central goal is to define the status of the country’s Arab citizens”— refused to retract. In fact, he doubled down. . . . These words, from an Islamist party leader, are significant in and of themselves. That he uttered them unapologetically, publicly, and in Arabic makes him not only courageous, but credible.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Islamism, Israeli Arabs, Knesset, Mansour Abbas

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security