03/31 Links Pt1: ISIS Makes the EU More Anti-Israel; Muslim Zionist recognized for her contributions to IDF
Evelyn Gordon: ISIS Makes the EU More Anti-Israel
Like every major Islamist attack in Europe, last week’s terror attacks in Brussels left many Israelis wondering whether Europeans will finally understand what Israel faces. Unfortunately, such attacks are more likely to intensify anti-Israel activity in Europe. To understand why, it’s worth reading an article from the Islamic State magazine Al-Naba that propounds a surprising thesis: Jihad against Israel doesn’t take precedence over jihad anywhere else.
The article, translated by MEMRI, argued that the “Palestine first” slogan, which has reigned supreme for almost seven decades, has led good Muslims to ignore all the other places where jihad is no less necessary, or even more so. Indeed, it said, Muslims’ top priority should be purifying lands already under Islamic control, for both religious and practical reasons. Religiously speaking, “The apostate [tyrants] who rule the lands of Islam are graver infidels than [the Jews].” And practically speaking, defeating Israel won’t be possible without first destroying neighboring Arab regimes that are its “first line of defense.” Consequently, “Waging jihad with the aim of replacing the rule of the Jews with a regime like that of those who currently rule Gaza and the West Bank is jihad that is null and void,” because it would just replace infidel Jews with infidel Muslims.
But fighting Jews also doesn’t take precedence over “fighting the Crusaders and all the polytheists in the world,” the article stressed. In fact, “Muslims everywhere should fight the infidels nearest to them,” since that’s where they have the best chance of succeeding.
That last sentence sums up why Islamic State’s approach is Europe’s worst nightmare. For decades, Europe had a cushy arrangement: All the world’s jihadists were so fixated on Israel that they were willing to overlook longstanding hatreds against “Crusader” Europe, as long as Europe would help them wage war on Israel. As Manfred Gerstenfeld pointed out this week, many European countries — including Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy — tried to take advantage of this offer: They sought deals under which Palestinian terrorists could operate freely in their countries – usually without fear of arrest, but with swift release guaranteed if arrests were necessitated by American pressure – and in exchange, the terrorists wouldn’t attack those countries.
UN Watch exposes bias of proposed Palestine investigators, incurs wrath of Palestinian delegation
In a dramatic opening to Thursday’s IDF court hearing over whether to release or keep in custody the soldier who shot a Palestinian in Hebron last week, IDF Prosecutor Lt. Col. Edoram Rigler said that they were reducing the expected charge from murder to manslaughter.
At the same time, Rigler told IDF Lt. Col. Judge Ronen Shor at the hearing in Kastina near Ashdod that they felt highly confident they would get a conviction for manslaughter, which carries heavy jail time.
A media circus has surrounded the incident with details leaked from both sides of the investigation day-after -day to confirm two polar opposed narratives. In one narrative, the killing was a cold-blooded murder. In another, it was possibly only a less serious negligent homicide with elements of self-defense from danger posed by the Palestinian who had been involved in a terror attack before being shot and immobilized by security forces.
Eyal Beserglick, one of the defense attorneys for the soldier, questioned the CID officer on the stand about whether or not there were concerns that the terrorist had a bomb belt on his body.
“The terrorist wasn’t acquitted,” said the officer, using terminology indicating that there had been no confirmation that the terrorist was not hiding an explosive at the time when the soldier shot him.
“There (were) suspicions of a combined incident with a knife and an explosive?,” asked Beserglick, to which the officer confirmed there were indeed such suspicions.
Afterwards the attorney tried to press the point, asking, “does that mean that according to the testimonies there was a potential situation in which everyone could have been blown up?” The officer shied away from drawing the conclusion, stating, “I don’t want to mislead.”
The officer also described how at the scene contradictory statements were heard, saying, “the soldiers and the civilians, some of them said, ‘call up a bomb sapper,’ some of them said, ‘don’t call one up.'”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back Wednesday at a demand from a US senator that the Obama administration investigate alleged Israeli human rights abuses and determine whether they are reason enough to cut military aid.
“The IDF and security forces are not murderers,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “IDF soldiers and Israel Police officers protect with their bodies, in a moral manner, themselves and innocent civilians from bloodthirsty terrorists set on killing them.”
He was responding to the letter sent by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and co-signed by 10 House members to US Secretary of State John Kerry, asking that the president to look into claims of “gross violations of human rights” by Israel and Egypt, citing examples of alleged extrajudicial killings by both countries.
No, not the incident in Hebron last week but in London in 2005 and the judges found the security officers were blameless with no need to investigate further.
In their ruling the Strasbourg judges said the British authorities had taken appropriate steps after the shooting.
“The court found, overall, that it could not be said that the authorities had failed to ensure that those responsible for Mr de Menezes’s death had been held accountable,” it said.
“The court noted that the facts of the case were undoubtedly tragic and the frustration of Mr de Menezes’ family at the absence of any individual prosecutions was understandable. “However, the decision not to prosecute any individual officer had not been due to any failings in the investigation or the State’s tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts; rather, it had been due to the fact that, following a thorough investigation, a prosecutor had considered all the facts of the case and concluded that there had been insufficient evidence against any individual officer to prosecute in respect of any criminal offence.”
The family of the Palestinian terrorist shot in the head by an IDF soldier after he was neutralized intends to file a petition to prevent the autopsy that was planned to help solve the controversial case, according to the military prosecution.
The prosecution informed the military court of the family’s wishes on Tuesday. Without an autopsy linking the terrorist’s death to the soldier’s gunshot, it is unlikely that the soldier will be convicted of any manslaughter charges, as it is possible that the earlier gunfire that neutralized him during the attack is what ultimately caused his death.
Meanwhile, the soldier is set to attend a remand hearing at the military court in Qastina on Thursday. His remand was extended by two days on Tuesday, though the prosecution requested a nine-day extension.
Material from third-party organizations such as lobby groups must be labeled to ensure the audience understands its provenance.”
Yet even this moderate approach is not observed by the Israeli media. Galatz’s Tal Levram, did not for one minute consider the source of the clip and the dubiousness of the organization behind it. He failed his listeners and violated journalistic norms.
Most of the mainstream media also lends full credence to B’tselem by including in their website article a link to its video footage but not to other clips that have surfaced showing different angles and a different version of events, even if none show the full story.
Perhaps, though, the redeeming factor is that the Israeli public does not “buy” B’Tselem’s narrative. Polls show that more than 80% of Israelis approved of the soldier’s actions.
B’Tselem will probably gain increased donations for portraying Israel as if guilty of a “war crime.”
This would be the most cynical part of this story, that the only profiteer from the demise of the terrorist is the “human rights” organization B’Tselem.
The left-wing rights group B’Tselem says its stringer in Hebron who filmed an IDF soldier shooting a wounded Palestinian stabber last week has been called in for questioning by police.
Emad abu-Shamsiyah has faced a backlash for filming the incident, which has sparked a furor in Israel and led to murder charges against the soldier.
Far-right Israeli activists filed a police complaint against abu-Shamsiyah on Saturday night alleging that he had conspired with the two Palestinian stabbers who attacked soldiers in the West Bank city’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood.
B’Tselem announced late Wednesday that the IDF has closed its investigation into the killing of Muhammad Abu Daher in Beitunya on “Nakba Day” in May 2014 without filing an indictment.
IDF Lt.-Col. Edoram Rigler wrote B’Tselem that the case was being closed by Judge Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek because the IDF could not shed light on the cause of Abu Daher’s death and could not find evidence that any of the soldiers or police in the area had used live fire directed at Palestinians.
He noted that Abu Daher’s family refused to allow an autopsy, and that, at most, some security forces used warning shots to disperse protesters and rioters, but without firing directly at them.
B’Tselem said the decision “exposes the absurdity” of the way the IDF approaches cases in which Palestinians are shot and the problematic leniency in using live fire.
Here are a few samples of what Fatah has been saying about the terrorists and the stabbings:
On March 27, the official Fatah Twitter account posts an illustration of a large knife, with the skyline of Jerusalem on it, above the slogan, “Israel is forcing the young Palestinians to follow this path to Jerusalem.”
On March 9, Fatah’s Facebook page posts an image of a huge hand holding a knife over a map of all of Israel. On the arm are the words “The Heroic Martyr”; the map is labeled “Bashar Masalha” — the name of the terrorist who recently stabbed to death an American tourist, Taylor Force.
Also on March 9, photos of three terrorists are posted on the Fatah Facebook page, over the slogan, “Happy are the Martyrs.” The three are the aforementioned Bashar Masalha; Fuad Kassab Al-Tamimi, who shot attacked and wounded two Israelis in Jerusalem the previous day; and Abd Al-Rahman Raddad, who stabbed an Israeli in Petach Tikva the previous day.
On March 8, the Fatah Facebook page posted this about Masalha, Al-Tamimi, and Raddad: “O the pride of all O the pride of all of the young Palestinians, may your blood remain a source of true honor for the homeland for which you sacrificed all — even your precious lives. We promise you that your blood will continue to be a torch that illuminates our path, until we achieve what you died for as Martyrs. Your blood has taught us a lesson in the school of life.”
These are just three samples of an enormous number of similar Fatah declarations, which have been exposed and translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
In Israel, we have learned—the hard way, through battle—several ways of approaching the problem of violent, maximalist Islamism. The lessons we have learned can be adjusted to be of use to Europe, despite the obvious differences. There are, in particular, important conceptual lessons that can and must be shared.
First among these is the need for pervasive, versatile and penetrating intelligence collection. This requires a combination of several elements. Above all, there must be effective Sigint (signal intelligence), which in today’s world means primarily the monitoring of communications on the internet, as well as more traditional eavesdropping.
Second, there needs to be extensive but discerning and intelligent data-mining in open source material, a method that can be remarkably useful if the right questions are asked and work is closely aligned with other “all source” material.
Third, there must be a strong Humint element (human intelligence; i.e., running agents and penetrating terror rings). Humint is a difficult but vital component on intelligence work; and to judge by recent experience, quite possible, even within the secretive Islamic State organization.
Fourth, there needs to be close cross-national cooperation among relevant agencies that hold different pieces of the puzzle.
Fifth, a strong and dedicated corps of analysts is required; people who are not afraid to speak truth to power.
It is true that to a certain degree, some of this involves the carefully monitored and legally sanctioned infringement of individual rights. But therein lies an important point. We can and should help each other recognize that all basic human rights—including the right to come home in one piece; to walk unafraid in your own town; and to fly safely to your destinations—need to be respected. This can only be accomplished if the authorities know what they are doing.
Middle East Eye reports some startling criticism of Turkey from King Abdullah of Jordan, who is a nominal ally of the Turks, during a visit to Washington in January. The details of the King’s remarks are said to have been kept secret until now.
Evidently feeling snubbed by the late cancellation of a meeting with President Obama, Abdullah told a group of high-ranking congressional leaders that Turkey was enabling the spread of Islamist terrorists into Europe and pushing a “radical Islamic solution” to problems in the Middle East.
Among the charges leveled at Turkey by Abdullah, according to this report, is that Turkey is “absolutely” helping the Islamic State export oil — an accusation frequently leveled at Turkey its critics, notably including Russia, and vehemently denied by the Turkish government.
Middle East Eye also reports Abdullah saying, “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”
A suspected Islamic State operative who was arrested last week had amassed a trove of guns and bomb-making equipment, including the type of explosive used in terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the French authorities announced on Wednesday, reinforcing fears that militants are planning additional assaults on Europe.
The suspect, Reda Kriket, a 34-year-old Frenchman, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in Boulogne-Billancourt, a western suburb of Paris. That evening, the authorities raided a fourth-floor apartment Mr. Kriket had rented under a fake name in Argenteuil, a northwestern suburb that was once a popular weekend getaway and a subject for Impressionist painters.
Inside the apartment, the authorities found “an arsenal of weapons and explosives of an unprecedented size,” which led them to believe Mr. Kriket had been planning an “imminent attack,” the Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said at a news conference on Wednesday evening, describing for the first time the scope of the plot.
The arsenal included explosive materials — among them TATP, which was used in suicide bombs that were set off in Paris on Nov. 13 and in Brussels on March 22 — along with Kalashnikov assault rifles, a submachine gun, pistols, ammunition, four boxes containing thousands of small steel balls, stolen French passports, brand-new cellphones, a tear-gas canister and two computers with instructions to make explosives.
The United States on Wednesday condemned a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that calls for setting up a database of businesses operating in the occupied West Bank, a move that Israel has called a “blacklist.”
The Geneva-based council, established 10 years ago and long accused by the United States and Israel of bias against the Jewish state, adopted the motion last week with 32 votes in favor, none against and 15, mostly European nations, abstaining.
The move came less than six months after the European Union published new guidelines for labeling products made in Israeli settlements, a move Israeli officials view as discriminatory and fear could lead to an effective boycott.
The resolution, which calls for the database of enterprises to be updated annually, was passed under the Human Rights Council’s agenda item seven, which covers the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”
The rate of US visa refusal for Israelis dropped substantially last year, nearing the threshold that would allow Israel into the US visa waiver program.
The drop was revealed Wednesday in a release by Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY, who has advocated for allowing Israel into the visa waiver program, which allows nationals to travel to and from participating countries without pre-arranging visas.
According to the release, the refusal rate for Israelis in 2015 was 3.85 percent, down from 8.2% in 2014.
The threshold for entry into the visa waiver program is a 3 percent refusal rate. There are currently 38 countries with visa waiver agreements with the United States, which has made exceptions for some countries that exceed the threshold.
Israel and pro-Israel groups have long sought Israel’s entry into the program, which allows for 90-day visits for business or tourism. The program is seen as a facilitator for trade.
Mordechai Kedar: Land Day, the mirror reflecting the failed mirage of ‘Palestine’
The demonstrations and protests that take place on March 30 in Israel are the cover up for the dismal failure of those who call themselves “Palestinians” to form a collective national entity.
These lines are being penned on the eve of March 30th, referred to as “Land Day” on the calendar of Arabs who have Israeli citizenship, and also by the Arabs living in Gaza, Judea and Samaria – in memory of six of their brothers killed in violent demonstrations that erupted on that date forty years ago as a result of the Israeli government’s land appropriation in the Galilee. “Land Day” is commemorated every year at public events, but those land appropriations have long been consigned to the realm of vague memories and the public events are mainly an opportunity to raise a long list of condemnations aimed at the State of Israel.
The real truth, however, is that this day personifies the crux of the Palestinian tragedy, namely, the lack of a common goal for all those who are called “Palestinians.”
The four main groups of Palestinian Arabs, described below, are the proof of the pudding.
An Arab Knesset member reportedly accused Israel Wednesday of being a terrorist state, saying the government is responsible for systematic discrimination against Israeli Arabs.
Speaking during the main annual Land Day demonstration in the Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, MK Taleb Abu Arar of the Arab Joint List said that Israel is working to expel Arabs from the country, according to Channel 2 news.
“Israel is a state founded upon exploitation, racism and terrorism and is committed to the continuation of the crimes of expulsion [of the Arabs from Israel],” he told the 8,000-strong crowd.
The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an umbrella organization of Arab advocacy groups, organized the demonstration to highlight what it says are discriminatory polices of Israel against the Bedouin inhabitants of the Negev.
JPost Editorial: Palestinian unity?
Sources close to both Hamas and Fatah are claiming that the two may have reached a breakthrough in talks taking place in Doha, Qatar. But how serious are these reports? Specific details regarding a reconciliation deal are sparse.
Some sources claim Fatah and Hamas have agreed to form a “national unity” government and hold parliamentary elections within six months.
Other, more pessimistic, reports claim the talks may have stalled and the only thing agreed upon by the sides is that neither Hamas nor Fatah officials will speak with the news media about any purported deal.
Fatah and Hamas have repeatedly failed to reconcile their differences since Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
There was the 2007 Mecca Agreement and the 2011 Cairo Agreement and, in 2014, the sides signed the Beach Refugee Agreement. But none of these has led to sustained reconciliation or parliamentary elections, which have not taken place in the West Bank and Gaza in a decade.
Both sides are quick to blame the US, Israel and other countries for sabotaging reconciliation attempts.
IPT: The Gaza Time Bomb
On the surface, the Gaza Strip looks relatively calm, with few security incidents occurring since the end of the protracted 2014 summer conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Behind the scenes, pressure within the Islamist-run enclave is gradually building again, just as it did prior to the 2014 war.
Gaza’s civilian population is hostage to Hamas’s dramatically failed economic policies, and its insistence on confrontation with Israel, rather than recognition of Israel and investment in Gaza’s economic future.
Ultimately, the civilian-economic pressure cooker in Gaza looks likely to explode, leading Hamas to seek new hostilities with Israel, for which it is preparing in earnest.
Right now, Hamas remains deterred by Israel’s firepower, and is enforcing its part of the truce. Hamas security forces patrol the Strip’s borders to prevent Gazans from rioting, to stop them from trying to escape Gaza into Israel, and to stop ISIS-affiliated radicals who fire rockets at Israel.
Amidst talks between Egypt and Hamas regarding the border situation, a 3 km tunnel was found by Egyptian security forces containing weapons, engineering equipment and generators.
The Egyptian border guard destroyed a three kilometer long tunnel between Rafah, Egypt and the Gaza Strip, one of the longest tunnels discovered at the border between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, according to Egyptian security sources Thursday.
The tunnel’s opening point, located in the house of an Egyptian smuggler from the Al Barazeel neighborhood in Rafah, Egypt is made out of concrete and steel. In addition to high quality engineering equipment, lighting, generators and communications devices were found.
Iran’s defense minister said he is “certain” the UN Security Council will not take any action over its ballistic missile tests despite calls from Western powers.
Britain, France, Germany and the United States wrote a joint letter on Monday calling for action over tests they said violated last year’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, and the Security Council resolution that enshrines it.
They said the two kinds of missiles fired by Iran on March 8 and 9, the Shahab-3 and Qiam-1, also called the Qadr, were a breach of the resolution because they were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear warheads,” something Iran denies.
“I am certain that the Security Council and the United Nations will not respond as our actions are neither a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the July nuclear deal) nor are they against Resolution 2231,” General Hossein Dehghan said.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby declined to address growing concerns from experts and Congress about the Obama administration’s reported plans to extend additional sanctions relief to Iran during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Associated Press correspondent Matt Lee pointedly asked Kirby if, “despite assurances that the Administration gave to lawmakers over the course of the negotiations on the nuclear deal,” the White House is in fact “preparing to open up a backdoor for the Iranians to use – to get into and use the [United States] financial system?”
Kirby deflected the question several times, telling Lee to direct it to the Treasury Department instead. He added that the administration intends to meet all its “commitments and obligations” under the nuclear deal with Iran, and that it will “continue to consult with Congress on the way ahead,” but failed to explicitly deny an intent to allow Iran access to the American banking system.
“I have to say that doesn’t sound like it’s going to ease any of the concerns on the Hill,” Lee commented in the end.
A large arms shipment intercepted in the Indian Ocean by French naval forces earlier this month originated in Iran, the United States Navy has said.
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, told CNN that the weapons were likely destined to go to Yemen by way of Somalia, though he would not indicate whether they were headed to Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
French authorities affiliated with the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) intercepted the arms shipment on March 20. After a helicopter from the French battleship FS Provence spotted an unmarked dhow in the northern Indian Ocean, French forces searched the ship and discovered “several hundred AK47 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons,” according to the CMF. The weapons were determined to have been headed to Somalia and then seized in line with United Nations Security Council resolution 2244, which prohibits the shipment of arms to the country.
A similar shipment, also believed to be headed to Yemen by way of Somalia, was intercepted in February. Stephens said that this is the third such weapons seizure since September.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s scheduled visit to Austria was canceled at the last minute due Vienna’s denial of an Iranian request to clamp down on demonstrations protesting his visit, two leading Austrian media outlets reported on Wednesday.
Rouhani was set to meet and sign a number of bilateral agreements with Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Wednesday and Thursday.
Austria’s leading newspaper Die Presse reported that Iran had demanded the cancellation of the planned demonstrations, which were organized by Stop the Bomb — a coalition dedicated to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — as well as Kurdish and Jewish groups, last week. However, the Austrian government refused to comply, citing freedom of assembly. In a follow-up report, Die Presse wrote that Iran “dug in its heels” on its demand, while Andreas Pfeifer, chief of the foreign policy desk at Austria’s state television, added that Iran insisted “quite fiercely” that the protests be canceled.
The Saudi judiciary has demanded stricter punishments, including death sentences, against homosexuals who display their sexuality in public and on social media, Okaz newspaper reported.
According to the paper, over the last six months the Saudi judiciary reviewed 35 cases of homosexuality and what it calls sexual perversion as well as 50 cases of cross-dressers.
The judiciary said that social media has ushered in a sharp rise in “perverts” displaying their “sins and obscenities,” which pose a danger to the country’s social fabric.
Saudi authorities have stepped up enforcement against homosexuality and “men’s attempts to look like women.”
This week, a Jeddah physician was arrested for flying a rainbow flag – a symbol of the gay rights movement – on his roof. He said in his defense that he bought it online at the behest of his son without knowing what it stands for. He was released on bail, pending the investigation.
The Saudis have initiated a major campaign to undermine Iran’s ally Hezbollah, which they believe is vulnerable today. Riyadh is likely to have considerable but not complete success. It’s a characteristically risky strategy.
The Saudis branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization earlier this year and then persuaded their Gulf Cooperation Council allies to do the same on March 2. Then Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef pressed a summit of Arab interior ministers to join in lambasting Hezbollah in Tunis in early March. The Arab League formally agreed to label Hezbollah a terrorist group at a Foreign Ministerial in Cairo later in the month. Only Iraq and Lebanon abstained.
Fall from grace
It’s a long way from when Hezbollah was hailed as the symbol of Arab resistance to Israel a decade ago. The Saudi leadership may have been privately critical of Hezbollah during the 2006 war with Israel, but the group was far too popular for fighting Israel with punishing missile strikes to tackle publicly. Hezbollah squandered its popularity with the Arab street over the course of the next decade.
A Saudi political analyst who is well known for leaking exclusive information about the royal family of Saudi Arabia on Twitter has recently reported that the kingdom buys drones from Israel, in cooperation with South Africa.
In a series of remarks he wrote on his Twitter page Wednesday, the Saudi analyst suggested that the official report released by the Saudi Defense Ministry according to which the kingdom would build a drone factory in collaboration with South Africa is false.
Otto Skorzeny, a former lieutenant colonel in the Waffen-SS, was one of his unit’s most outstanding leaders. Hitler himself presented him with the country’s top medal after Skorzeny rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity.
Due to his high position and notoriety, the Nuremberg prosecutors charged him with war crimes. Skorzeny was acquitted during his first round of trials, then managed to escape and resettle in Spain, under the fascist leader Francisco Franco. He remained there for a number of years, with temporary breaks to work for other despotic regimes.
The Mossad never forgot Skorzeny and considered kidnapping or killing him several times, as it did to other high-profile Nazis. As the threat of unconventional weapons from Egypt grew, though, it came up with a better way to handle the fighter.
Two agents posed as German tourists and “coincidentally” ended up at the same bar he was patronizing. Their attempts to win his confidences appeared to be succeeding — until he pulled out a gun and declared, “I know who you are, and I know why you’re here. You are Mossad, and you’ve come to kill me.”
The pair still managed to surprise Skorzeny by explaining that they didn’t want to kill him, but rather to offer him a job. Skorzeny agreed, on the condition that Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal remove him from the list of war criminals at large.
Skorzeny’s participation allowed the Mossad to step up its efforts against the scientists in Egypt. Prior to his enlistment, Israel had focused on threats and a few mail bombs. These scared the scientists but not enough to make them abandon their project.
In June 2002, terror struck the Shabo family. Two PFLP terrorists infiltrated the town of Itamar and broke into the Shabo’s home.
Asael Shabo, who was 9 years old at the time of the attack, was sitting watching television with his younger brother, Avishai.
When the terrorists entered the house, they began firing wildly. Asael was badly wounded in the attack, while his mother, younger brother Avishai, and two older brothers were all killed.
Asael Shabo lost his right leg in the attack, and spent years in the hospital recovering from the physical trauma.
As part of his long rehabilitation process, Shabo became active in sports, playing basketball with the Israel Sports Association for the Disabled.
Despite his severe physical and emotional trauma, Shabo excelled in the sport, and in 2013 he was part of the Israeli team at the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.
Im Tirtzu, a Zionist activist organization, held a special ceremony this week in recognition of the work of Sara Zoabi on behalf of the IDF and the Zionist movement.
But Sara Zoabi doesn’t exactly fit the profile of the typical Zionist activist. A devout Muslim, Zoabi is a relative of the staunchly anti-Zionist MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List).
Nevertheless Sara Zoabi, a resident of the northern town of Nazareth, has declared herself “a proud Zionist,” and has spent years helping minorities in Israel integrate into the IDF, and promoting Zionism in Israel’s Arab sector.
She first entered the public eye during an appearance on the Israeli cooking show MasterChef Israel. Introducing herself as an “Arab, Muslim, Israeli, and a proud Zionist” she became an instant celebrity and a viral sensation. Her son, Mohammed, has also gone public with his pro-Israel views.
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