Newsletter : 16fx0628.txt
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Israeli-Turkish Accord: Core of New Lineup vs Iran
By DEBKAfile & VOA News
The reconciliation agreement announced Monday, June 27 for restoring full normalization
between Israel and Turkey after six years of animosity will restart intelligence and
security cooperation between the two countries and entail joint military exercises, and
investments in energy and defense. DEBKAfile's security experts evaluate the deal as
offering a valuable and timely increment for Israeli's national interests on eight
It fits neatly into the current joint Saudi-Egyptian bid for Israel to bolster their
emerging alliance with Turkey that is designed for drawing a Sunni line against Iran's
expansionist moves in the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea, the Straits of Aqaba and in
uncomfortable proximity to the Mediterranean shores of Israel and Egypt.
It is designed as the forerunner of a series of interlocking deals. DEBKAfile can
disclose that the next bilateral accord expected to be concluded is a reconciliation
agreement between Turkey and Egypt for Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdel-Fatteh
El-Sisi to bury the hatchet. In at least one respect, this one will be modeled on the
Turkish deal with Israel: Turkey is committed not to let Hamas act against Israel from its
soil and, by the same token, not to permit Hamas' parent and El-Sisi's archenemy, the
Muslim Brotherhood, operate from Turkey.
In this regard, Egypt and Turkey will maintain intelligence cooperation. 4. The
bilateral intelligence mechanisms to be set up between Turkey and Israel and Turkey and
Egypt will pool their input on Iran.
This key aspect of the renewed cooperation between Ankara and Jerusalem lends it a
military-intelligence dimension rather than that of a diplomatic protocol. This dimension
finds expression in the decision to devolve its implementation not on the holders of
political office but the heads of the military-intelligence services of the two countries.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot, to whom the head of military intelligence
defers, will in fact be in charge of these exchanges, as well as the joint military
exercises which are in the active planning stage. Realizing he had been passed over for
this important facet of cooperation with Turkey, Israel's new defense minister Avigdor
Lieberman announced he was opposed to the deal. This was treated as no more than a token
protest that will not impede it.
Jordan has been slated as another member of the new alliance. King Abdullah is currently
in the process of quietly dismantling the Muslim Brotherhood networks in his kingdom. Many
of is members belong to the Palestinian Hamas. 7. Under the agreement, Israel and Turkey
will begin formal talks to build a gas pipeline between the two countries, through which
Israel might sell its natural gas, with Turkish assistance, to Europe.
DEBKAfile rates this provision as fundamental to the entire process and of cardinal
importance to both their interests. Israel is in need of a major client to boost the
development of its offshore gas fields, whereas Turkey wants to be that client and, at the
same time, Russia is after a piece of the energy bonanza and most of all a contract to
build the pipeline to Europe.
Up until recently, Israel put up a keep out sign for Moscow, mainly under pressure from
Washington. But in recent months the conversations between Binyamin Netanyahu and Vladimir
Putin have progressed into an inclusive strategic dialogue on Middle East issues,
especially on Syria. This opened the door to a Russian role being broached in the export
of Israeli gas.
This role took another step forward Monday. On the table now is Israeli-Turkish-Russian
military and intelligence collaboration for securing the Israeli offshore gas in the
Mediterranean a prospect that brought the Turkish president to finally apologize
for his air force downing a Russian Su-24M bomber over the Syrian-Turkish border on Nov.
For the sake of these promising relations, Turkey was ready to offer compensation in
the case of the dead pilot, just as Israel agreed to pay compensation for the nine Turks
killed in a clash with Israeli troops during an illicit attempt too breach Israel's
blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israeli-Turkish-Russian cooperation and goodwill for their
mutual benefit on the gas issue may also generate joint efforts in other spheres too.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey and Israel would restore their ambassadors
as soon as possible. The re-establishment of full diplomatic relations follows more than a
year of secret negotiations. Relations collapsed when Israeli commandos killed the Turkish
activists who tried to sail to Gaza, which was under a naval blockade in 2010. Under the
deal, Yildirim said Israel will pay families of the dead activists $20 million in
Netanyahu, speaking simultaneously in Rome, said the naval blockade of Gaza would
continue. He said it is vital to preventing arms delivery. Ankara had been demanding
Israel lift the embargo in return for full diplomatic relations.
Yildirim said under the agreement Turkey would be allowed to deliver aid to Gaza,
through Israel. He said the first ship loaded with more than 10,000 tons of humanitarian
aid will leave for the Israeli port of Ashdod on Friday. He also said Turkey would build a
200-bed hospital in Gaza.
Istanbul-based political consultant Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners said
powerful forces of mutual interest are driving the deal. "There are political as well as
economic reasons, obviously the dynamics of the Syria war have compelled both Israel and
Turkey for a reconciliation," he said. "Israel was afraid that its border with Syria would
be occupied by radical fundamentalist organizations." Israel and Turkey were once allies
whose relationship extended to close military ties.
Undercover Cop Busts Major Haredi Drugs, Weapons Ring
An undercover ultra-Orthodox police officer single-handedly busted drug and gun-running
networks in two of Israel's major haredi communities. The agent, who spoke on the record
but whose identity has been hidden for his own protection, infiltrated criminal networks
in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem's insular Mea Shearim neighborhood, leading to the arrests
of 45 drug-dealers, gun-runners and other criminals.
After receiving reams of intelligence concerning criminal activity in those areas -
neighborhoods where many residents are often hesitant to cooperate with authorities -
police decided to launch an undercover sting operation to flush out and arrest the
A religious, yeshiva-educated Jerusalemite was selected two years ago for the job,
which spanned 18 months of intense, sometimes dangerous work infiltrating a complex ring
of Jewish and Arab criminals. He was briefed extensively and coached on all the details of
the criminal underworld, including special slang and other nuances - ignorance of which
could have potentially blown his cover.
Police describe the agent as "a good kid" from a religious family who prior to his
mission had no ties whatsoever to any criminality, but whose dedication to the job
exceeded all expectations. He first infiltrated a criminal network in Mea Shearim, gaining
the trust of a wide range of gangsters and managing to procure drugs including marijuana,
hashish, ecstasy and cocaine, as well as a stolen car for good measure.
The agent also bought illegal guns from two Arab workers, who he discovered were
Palestinians from the Hebron area working illegally in Israeli sovereign territory. He
described how there were two very different sides to Mea Shearim - where he himself spent
much time during his yeshiva years. "The Mea Shearim of the daytime, and the Mea Shearim
of the night."
Following his success in Jerusalem, the police force then transferred him to Beit
Shemesh, where he soon uncovered another major criminal network in the majority-haredi
neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh.
There, he succeeded in purchasing an even larger quantity of drugs - "tens of kilos,"
police say - at the cost of hundreds of thousands of shekels. he also procured an array of
weapons and ammunition including two Karl Gustav submachine guns, an M-16 assault rifle
which investigators believe was stolen from an IDF base, and ammunition.
In total, he succeeded in incriminating 60 drug and weapons dealers, 45 of whom have
already been indicted. Police say more arrests and indictments will be filed soon. Among
the suspects are two minors aged 15 and 17, and a resident of southern Israel who was
allowed to study in a Jerusalem yeshiva as an alternative to jail time for drug
Police have hailed the agent's incredible dedication and bravery. "We are talking about
a very complex investigation, in areas which are hostile and suspicious towards the
police," Edri said. "The agent's professional training by experienced detectives, along
with the agent's ability to learn, resourcefulness and faith in justice, helped
incriminated 60 suspects and distance them from the general public, for the sake of the
security of the residents of the Mea Shearim and Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhoods, and the
residents of all of Jerusalem."
The agent himself responded with humility, thanking "all those who accompanied me
throughout this period." He added that he was confident his actions would bring a greater
sense of peace and security to the law-abiding public, and added that his identity as a
religious Jew in great part motivated him to undertake such a dangerous mission. "As it
says in the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy): 'And you shall purge the evil from your midst.'
I hope that we will learn to do good and purge the evil from among us for a better
The Jewish World May Actually be 5-10 Million People Bigger
One of the more tantalizing mysteries of Jewish history is the possibility of the
discovery of lost Jews. Since the time of Sennacherib in the 7th century BCE, the question
of lost Jews has been one that has received a lot of attention. Today, with the return of
Jews from all over the world to the State of Israel, the subject has never been more
According to various genetic/DNA studies conducted over the past decade, 20% of men in
the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) have Jewish genetic ancestry. In Brazil,
estimates are that 5-10 million people are descendants of so-called Bnei Anousim -
descendants of Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity. This phenomenon spans the
world, potentially reaching millions more.
Two organizations have dedicated themselves to the discovery of lost Jews from the
Iberian Peninsula, Shavei Israel and Reconectar. Arutz Sheva spoke to both organizations
about the work that they are doing to reconnect Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent to
their Jewish roots.
Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based nonprofit, has launched a new initiative to help
Spanish and Portuguese descendants of Bnei Anousim reconnect with their Jewish Heritage,
while Reconectar, which has an Israeli base but is mainly located in South and Central
America, has an ongoing outreach liaison program with whom members of the community can
contact in order to learn more about their heritage.
Michael Freund, Founder and Director of Shavei Israel, told Arutz Sheva about the
challenges of discovering who is a descendant of the Bnei Anousim. "More than five
centuries after Portuguese Jewry was compelled to convert to Catholicism, there are of
course many challenges to identifying people with a Bnei Anousim background. There are
some who have family trees stretching back over the centuries which prove that their
ancestors only married among themselves down through the generations, but in most cases it
involves more detective work."
Ashley Perry, the Director of Reconectar, likewise described the detective work needed.
"There are a lot of clues that we need to uncover. People may not have a heritage stating
that they were Jewish, but their name may signify it, and some of the customs they keep
may point to it. We do not have a 100% answer yes or no, which is why if people want to
fully return to Judaism, they have to undergo a conversion, but according to a response
published by Rabbi Soloveitchik, they do not need to say a blessing on the
In an effort to help those who may think that they are descended from Jewish ancestry,
Shavei Israel has published an online book that will help people who think they are
descendants, identify some of the tell-tale signs. The unprecedented 109-page guide is
aimed at assisting the millions of people in Brazil, Portugal and elsewhere who may have a
long-lost Jewish lineage reconnect to their roots.
According to press release by Shavei Israel "the book covers all the major questions
someone at the beginning of their process of Jewish discovery might have." One of the
primary aims of the book Freund said "is to provide people with the tools they need to
begin assessing their roots by looking at family customs and family names." These as well
as DNA advances can help provide clues to one's Jewish ancestry.
"I want to get people to start asking questions and digging into their past in the
hopes that this will encourage them to uncover their possible Jewish connection. We are at
the beginning of an historic turning point, one that will see millions of people
throughout the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world reconnecting with their Jewish
roots," Freund said.
When asked why it is so important for the about the return of the Bnei Anousim to
return to Judaism Freund responded by saying: "The Bnei Anousim are our brothers and
sisters. Their ancestors were taken from us, they were essentially kidnapped from the
Jewish people. And yet with remarkable courage and determination, many continued to
practice Judaism in secret down through the generations, despite the persecution of the
Inquisition. We owe it to them and their ancestors and to ourselves! to
bring back as many of their descendants as possible."
"The Bnei Anousim are unique because of the breadth and scope of the phenomenon, which
can be found in just about every Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking country around the
world. In addition, the story of the Bnei Anousim is one of heroism in the face of
tragedy, and determination in the face of disaster, which is what makes it so inspiring
Freund pointed out that the return of the Bnei Anousim to the Jewish people was
foretold. "Don Isaac Abarbanel, the great rabbi and financier who was himself expelled
from Spain in 1492, writes in his commentary to the Books of Deuteronomy and Isaiah that a
time will come when the Anousim will one day return to the Jewish people. We are
witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment of his vision, and it behooves us to roll up
our sleeves and do everything we can to help the Bnei Anousim to return to the Jewish
people. Doing so will strengthen us qualitatively and quantitatively, spiritually and
"The numbers of descendants of Bnei Anousim is vast. We believe that the total number
exceeds tens of millions of people; their self-discovery as Jews can greatly impact and
enrich the international Jewish community," says Freund. "Our mission is to support anyone
who is in search of their Jewish ancestry and we are thrilled with the outpouring of
interest, especially at a time when we are witnessing a resurgence in European
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