Newsletter : 15fx1229.txt
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Tehran Names New Hizbullah Golan Terror Ring Chief
Tehran has further ramped up the tension between its Lebanese proxy Hizbullah, whose
leader Sunday threatened to avenge the death of Samir Quntar, and Israel, which is
conducting a military exercise along its northern borders. Four days after Quntar was
assassinated in Damascus, Tehran appointed a successor to carry on building a new
terrorist network for striking Israel from the Golan.
This successor is revealed by DEBKAfile's exclusive sources as a Lebanese called Raafat
Al-Bakkar, about who very little is known. According to our sources, the Iranians spotted
Al-Bakkar as promising talent earlier this year, shortly after the Israeli air strike
which on January 18 killed Iranian Gen. Ali Dadi and the high-profile Hizbullah leader
Jihad Moughniyeh. They were caught touring the Golan around Quneitra in search of a site
for a terrorist base. Al-Bakkar was sent to Tehran at that time for a course in building
and running terrorist networks, and this week he was given charge of the new "National
Resistance on the Golan" organization for deep strikes inside Israel.
When Nasrallah boasted Sunday that his jihadists were already on their way to punish
Israel, he was looking forward to the arrival of Quntar's successor.
And in Israel, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott explained why it was
necessary to bring forward the launching of the new Commando Brigade by two months, when
he addressed the formation ceremony on Sunday at the Ein Harod National Park: "The
Commando Brigade is more necessary than ever in light of the threats from Hizbullah and
the Islamic State," he said, in reference to the boasts heard in the last 48 hours from
Hassan Nasrallah and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. The Chief of Staff introduced Col. David Zini
as the first commander of the new Brigade.
The ceremony took place shortly after the Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah said,
"Revenge for the death of Samir Quntar is on the way
The orders have been given and
execution is in the hands of resistance fighters on the ground
The Israelis are
worried and rightly so - those on the borders [soldiers] and those inside the
. We shall not let the blood of our Jihadi fighters and brothers to be
spilled anywhere in the world," he said.
DEBKAfile's military sources report: Analysis of the kinds of threats posed by
Hizbullah (and ISIS) at this time, which are likely to focus more on terrorism than on
tank or infantry border incursions, persuaded IDF leaders of the need for a new framework
for bringing under one roof some of the top-notch, highly-trained, experienced, well-armed
and determined fighting men who are willing to take on new challenges.
The self-styled Islamic State's "caliph" Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, also devoted special
attention to Israel, or rather "the Jews," in his first audio speech in seven months on
Saturday, Dec. 26, the day before Nasrallah sounded off. His message was similar to that
of his Shiite enemy, albeit in his own inimitable style:
The Islamic State would soon be in Palestine to establish an Islamic state there, he
said, "Jews, soon you shall hear from us in Palestine which will become your grave
The Jews thought we had forgotten Palestinian
Not at all, Jews
The pioneers of
the jihadist fighters are getting closer every day."
If and when the Shiite Hizbullah and Sunni ISIS make good on their similar but separate
threats - or sooner - they will encounter Israel's new Commando Brigade. Its fighting men
are trained for combat in miscellaneous conditions of terrain, day or night, under deep
cover. They are equipped with high-tech equipment, most of it classified, for gathering
visual and electronic intelligence, communications, photography and targeting. They may
either kill terrorists or take them captive.
In a word, these elite troops will hit the enemy in his back yard or at home, and blow
the threats heard from Hizbullah and ISIS leaders' back on their own forces. The 89th
Commando Brigade is composed of four battalions:
Duvdevan specializes in operating amidst an Arab population under deep cover for
locating and arresting terror suspects. Egoz is a special kind of infantry battalion,
whose commandos operate solo or in very small teams behind enemy lines, especially across
the Syrian and Lebanese borders.
Maglan is skilled in the use of weaponry designed for precision operations against high
quality enemy targets. These elite fighters go deep inside enemy territory to gather
intelligence and use their specialized technology, exclusive for the use of this unit, for
Rimon members are desert fighters who gained their experience in the terrain of the
Gaza Strip and Egypt. Their experience as back-up for operations against drug smugglers is
invaluable for urban combat in civilian environments. Excluded from the new brigade are
the separate IDF commando units: Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13 (Navy), the Oketz unit which
trains dogs for anti-terror work, and Yahalom, of the Engineering Corps.
Saudi Grand Mufti: ISIS Comprised of 'Israeli Soldiers'
Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a whopper of a
conspiracy theory on Monday, claiming that Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists are actually
"Israeli soldiers." Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, Asheikh said ISIS members are "harming"
Islam and Muslims.
"They cannot be considered as followers of Islam. Rather, they are an extension of
Kharijites, who rose in revolt against the Islamic caliphate for the first time by
labeling Muslims as infidels and permitting their bloodletting," said Asheikh.
Ironically Jürgen Todenhöfer, the only Western journalist allowed into ISIS
territory, reported this week that the jihadists revealed to him during his 10-day stay
among them that the IDF is the only army they fear.
Asheikh's claims echo those made by the Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency back in
October, when it claimed an IDF colonel had been captured fighting for ISIS in Iraq. The
conspiracy theory was patently false, not least of all from the absurd dog tag number the
paper listed for the supposed soldier.
Iranian officials have long claimed Israel and the US created ISIS, with Brig. Gen.
Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of Iran's Basij paramilitary force, just last month claiming
Israel was behind the lethal Paris attacks, as opposed to ISIS. Asheikh's comments would
seem to show that while Iran and Saudi Arabia are fierce Shi'ite-Sunni rivals, they unite
in blaming Israel for ISIS.
While ISIS is an enemy, rather than a tool, of Israel, the brutal jihadist group does
have support from a large swath of Israel's Arab population. ISIS supporting terrorists
have on a number of occasions tried to attack Israel from within, including several
homegrown ISIS cells.
A poll last month found that 18.2% of Arab Muslim citizens of Israel do not consider
ISIS to be a radical terrorist organization, and that they are not ashamed of the brutal
jihadist group. That figure jumped to 28.1% among Arab citizens who are supporters of the
radical Islamic Movement in Israel.
Algerian Army's Marching Drill Song: Kill, Slaughter, and Skin the Jews
During the early twentieth century some 120,000 Jews lived in Algeria, part of a
thriving Jewish community which once existed across North Africa. Today, like in most
other North African countries, none remain, having been driven out by an Arab campaign of
discrimination, pogroms and mass-expulsion. Perhaps they should probably consider
themselves lucky, though, given footage showing how Algerian army recruits are drilled in
the fine arts of shooting, slaughtering and, yes, skinning Jews.
In footage translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), soldiers of the Algerian National Gendarmerie can be seen marching to a chant which includes the following words: "Oh, Arabs, sons of Arabs, march on and turn your guns towards the Jews in order to kill them [no kidding...!], to slaughter them and skin them!" Video at https://youtu.be/wbLIs0lren0
Israeli Court: Lifting Hands on Temple Mount is Permitted
The Jerusalem District Court issued unprecedented criticism of Israel Police conduct on
the Temple Mount Monday, in an appeal hearing against the expulsion of activist Yehuda
Etzion from the site for 15 days for the crime of raising his hands in the air.
Justice Ram Winograd called the arrest a "slippery slope," condemning police conduct on
the Mount in general. He accepted the arguments of the Attorney Sinia Mozes-Harizi for the
Honenu legal rights organization, who wrote in the appeal that Etzion lifting his hands
was merely an expression of the God-fearing while walking around the Mount - which is
Judaism's holiest site - and to cancel the ban on his visiting the Mount.
Winograd also ruled that, contrary to police testimony, the Israel Police did not
prevent Etzion from ascending the Mount with his hands raised on previous visits, based on
video and photo evidence. As such, the "restriction" is a new and undeclared one on the
Israel Police's part - and he ruled that "if the Israel Police wish to modify the
instructions for ascending the Temple Mount, it should do so explicitly."
Winograd then blasted the Israel Police for even more draconian rules, such as banning
religious Jews from wearing the kippah (yarmulke) and for even lifting their eyes to the
heavens. "Under the circumstances there is no need to discuss whether tilting palms up is
an act of worship, it is sufficient that the police did not forbid this until now," wrote
the judge. "Indeed, this is a slippery slope, and there is a need to think through every
step before banning it.
"From the outset it was clear to me that even within the framework of the shameful
status quo that bans prayer at the Temple Mount that there is nothing wrong with raising
[my] hands up," Etzion stated after the hearing. "By this act I wanted to express unity
with the Temple Mount [...] and there recall also the prayer of King Solomon, who lifted
his hands upwards during prayer.
"I see this ruling as an important act, but implore the Israel Police to implement it,
allow Jews entry onto the Temple Mount and enable us to walk with our hands raised, and
not make the judge's ruling a mockery as it has treated other rulings of the courts."
Jordan Tightens Laws That Bar Jews from Buying Land
Jordan is examining the tightening of laws that forbid Jews from buying land there,
according to items in the Jordanian press monitored by the Elder of Ziyon blog.
While the current Jordanian law already states that "it is impermissible for foreign
persons or corporate entities that do not hold an Arab nationality to purchase, lease, or
own directly or indirectly any immovable property in the kingdom," it appears Jordan is
"still nervous that Jews might want to buy land in their country, especially in Petra
which they are frightened will be taken over by Jews," writes the veteran blogger.
He cites a report in the Watan News website that says local officials in Petra have
been strengthening their laws against selling land specifically to Jews "not just
Israeli Jews but any Jews." The local legislation and fear of a Jewish land grab follow
the legislation of national laws intended to loosen restrictions on foreign
Other Jordanians believe that the tighter anti-Jewish laws are still not enough to
counter the danger that Jews will buy land through middlemen. A columnist in Ammon News
wrote on Sunday that he would prefer that there be no foreign investment in Jordanian real
estate rather than allow the slightest chance that Jews could purchase land.
Petra, the Nabatean site often referred to in Israel as the Red Rock, has attracted
Israelis at least since the 1950s, when Israel and Jordan were still at war. Adventurous
youths were known to cross the border and make their way to Petra as a feat of bravado,
and some were discovered and killed.
Yes Virginia, There's a JCC in Turkey
By Jewish News Service
"We have to keep Judaism alive and sparkling. The younger generation is moving away
from religion and becoming more secular. So we need some sparks, energy and enthusiasm,"
says Sami Aztar, a volunteer with the Turkish Chief Rabbinate Foundation - the Jewish
Community of Turkey, otherwise known as the Turkish Jewish Community Center or T.J.C.
Aztar, who lives in Izmir, runs a smaller JCC program about a 45-minute plane ride from
Istanbul, where two larger JCCs are established. In his town of nearly 4 million people,
only about 1,700 are Jewish.
"In the last 10 years, we have had 387 deaths and only 38 births," notes Aztar during a
recent interview in Jerusalem. He and his colleague, Tuna Alkan, who volunteers with
youths between ages 18 and 35 through the Istanbul T.J.C. network, attended the JCC Global
2015 World Conference from Nov. 3-6. Somewhat isolated as a Jewish community in a
Muslim-majority country where they are forced to keep a low profile, Azar says the
conference helps her to "feel more motivated... It is very good for us."
The institution of the JCC in Turkey is different than the traditional model in the
United States, whose pillars are early childhood, camping, health, and recreation. In
Turkey, the JCC is "really the center for the Jews to feel safe and they feel that is
their community," explains Smadar Bar-Akiva, executive director of the JCC Global
organization in Jerusalem.
Alkan, a dentist by profession, says life is not as bad for the Jews in Turkey as it
might appear in the news. "We haven't had anything in the streets in a long time. I feel
safe." She also feels that there is a future for Jews in the Muslim-majority country.
"In Turkey, we survive our Jewish life," Alkan says with a smile, taking a trip back in
history. Jews have lived in Turkey since Hellenic times. There are several historic
synagogues there, including a synagogue in Sardis that dates back to the 3rd century
The majority of Jews arrived in Turkey in 1492 from the Iberian Peninsula, after the
Spanish expulsion. Today, there are estimated to be as many as 18,500 Jews throughout the
country. The majority of them (17,000) reside in Istanbul. Some 96% are Sephardic and the
other 4% are of Ashkenazi descent.
Alkan describes the Jewish community as "traditional," with roughly 5% of the Istanbul
community and 10% of the Izmir community identifying as Orthodox. A new program for young
adults that Alkan runs is meant to halt a rapidly growing rate of intermarriage. She says
there is an intermarriage rate of around 34% in Istanbul.
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