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Dozens of Alleged Israeli Agents Arrested in Turkish Anti-Espionage Operation

Pro-Hamas demonstrators in Istanbul, Turkey, carry a banner calling for Israel’s elimination. Photo: Reuters/Dilara Senkaya

Turkish media outlets carried lurid headlines about supposed Israeli espionage on Tuesday after Ankara’s intelligence services announced a wave of arrests targeting an alleged Mossad network operating in the country.

While key details of the operation’s scope were divulged, there was near silence on other significant matters, such as the identities of those arrested and the Hamas-linked targets they allegedly chose.

According to a statement issued by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), 33 suspects out of a total of 46 were detained in a nationwide operation, while another 13 reportedly remain at large. Officials raided several addresses in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities, including the largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in the southeast of Turkey.

Turkish authorities said those arrested had been planning the “kidnap” of pro-Hamas figures residing in Turkey. No information was supplied on how these suspects were apparently groomed by Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, although one outlet, Aydinlik, claimed somewhat improbably that the contacts had been initiated on “social media.”

In addition to the arrests, nearly 150,000 Euros and $24,000 were seized in cash, along with firearms.

Media coverage of the arrests stressed the comments of Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, that were recorded at a meeting in early December and then published by Israeli news outlets. Bar pledged that Israel would target Hamas operatives in “every location, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar, everyone.”

An unnamed Turkish official quoted by the Reuters news agency claimed that “necessary warnings were made to the interlocutors based on the news of Israeli officials’ statements, and it was expressed to Israel that [such an act] would have serious consequences.”

Long hostile to Israel, the regime of Turkey’s Islamist President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has upped its harsh rhetoric in the wake of the Oct. 7 pogrom carried out by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel.

Erdogan himself stated in a Dec. 4 speech that Israel’s military response in Gaza would eventually pose a threat to Turkey’s “own security and territorial integrity.”

“We know very well that those who occupy Gaza today will set their sights on other places tomorrow,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “As a matter of fact, they do not even feel the need to hide these intentions anymore. Gaza butcher Netanyahu himself revealed in front of the cameras that the issue is not Gaza or Ramallah but that he is pursuing expansionist goals.”

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Tribute: Rabbi Dovid Schochet, 91, a pioneer in building Toronto’s observant community

The Jewish community in Toronto lost a towering leader when Rabbi Dovid Schochet, the president of the Toronto Rabbinical Council and the senior rabbi of the Chabad community in Toronto, passed away at the age of 91 on Jan. 28. He was born in 1932 in Basel, Switzerland, the second of 10 children, to Rabbi […]

The post Tribute: Rabbi Dovid Schochet, 91, a pioneer in building Toronto’s observant community appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Attacker in 2021 Antisemitic Assault in New York Sentenced to Three Years in State Prison

Joseph Borgen, victim of an antisemitic attack, addressing a rally in Long Island. Photo: courtesy

The final criminal proceeding for the case of Joseph “Joey” Borgen, a Jewish man whom a gang of antisemites mauled and pepper-sprayed in broad daylight during protests and counter-protests over Israel’s 2021 war with Hamas, resulted in another conviction Wednesday.

Mohammed Said Othman, 29, was sentenced to three years in state prison, according to a press release issued by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg.

Borgen, who is Jewish, was wearing a kippah while walking in Manhattan when Said Othman, along with several other men, ambushed him without being provoked. They shouted antisemitic slurs at the pro-Israel advocate, who suffered a concussion, wrist injury, black eye, and bruises all over his body.

Since then, three other sentences have been handed down in the Borgen case. Waseem Awawdeh, who continuously struck Borgen with a crutch while allegedly joining the others in shouting antisemitic epithets at him, pleaded guilty to attempted assault as a hate crime and received 18 months in jail, as part of a plea bargain negotiated with Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Jonathon Junig.

In November, Mahmoud Musa received seven years in prison for his role in the attack. In December, Mohammed Othman was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in state prison and five additional years of post-release supervision.

As seen in footage of the incident, Othman kicked and repeatedly struck Borgen in the face while sitting on his chest to weigh him down. In court, he pleaded guilty to gang assault and third-degree hate crime assault.

“These defendants violently targeted and assaulted another individual simply because he is Jewish,” District Attorney Bragg said in a statement. “While this office always supports the right to peacefully protest and engage in open dialogue, these multi-year prison sentences makes clear that physically attacking someone because of their religion is never acceptable. I thank our hate crimes unit for its diligent work in this case.”

Throughout the criminal proceedings in his case, Joey Borgen called on New York City lawmakers to do more to eradicate antisemitic hatred in the five boroughs.

In December, he told The Algemeiner that while he is pleased with the outcome of the case he is worried that the group with which his attackers were allegedly affiliated, the extreme anti-Zionist organization Within Our Lifetime (WOL), is still engaging in antisemitic activity that could lead to more hate crimes.

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, WOL has posted (and deleted) a map, titled “Know Your Enemies,” showing the addresses of Jewish organizations in New York City, and staged numerous disruptive protests. The group is led by Nerdeen Kiswani, a former City University of New York (CUNY) student who once threatened to set on fire someone’s Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hoodie while he was wearing it.

“They’re still causing havoc; they’re forcing Jewish attendees of a fundraiser to speak at the backdoor of a police van, and they’re bombarding the mother of a hostage with horrible antisemitic chants,” Borgen said. “While I’m happy that I got a positive result in my case, I’m still disturbed that this same group is still going around causing issues for Jewish people, attacking restaurants, and putting people in danger.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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See Mark Breslin live in conversation with Ralph Benmergui

A special live taping of our podcast ‘Not That Kind of Rabbi’.

The post See Mark Breslin live in conversation with Ralph Benmergui appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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