Iran Infiltrates Israel’s Heartland

The Shin Bet officially confirmed that an advanced Iranian espionage network has been operating in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Biblical heartland.

Iran enlisted the help of Muhammad Maharma, 29-year-old computer science student from Hebron. Despite being the lead in Israel, the Shin Bet said Maharma received his directions from an Iranian operative in South Africa.

The network had two other members named Dia’a Sarahnehand  Nour Maharma, both 22 and both also from Hebron.

“The operation demonstrates the Iranian involvement in encouraging terror attacks against Israel and also shows the forces being sent by Iran to countries around the world, in order to advance enemy activities against Israel,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

“The operation demonstrates the Iranian involvement in encouraging terror attacks against Israel.”

According to the Shin-Bet, Muhammad Maharma was enlisted to work for Iran in 2015, by his cousin, Backer Maharma. Backer Maharma moved to South Africa from Hebron where he started working for Iranian intelligence.

“Backer even introduced Muhammad, on a number of occasions, to Iranian officials, some of whom visited [South Africa] from Tehran in order to meet him,” the Shin Bet said.

The Shin-Bet’s  investigation uncovered that South Africa has become  a “significant front for finding, enlisting and deploying agents to Israel and the West Bank” for Iranian intelligence.

The Iranian network based in Hebron was given a various directives by Iranian intelligence servises.  These included recruiting people to carry out shooting and suicide bombing attacks.

Most shockingly, the network was supposed to recruit Israeli Arabs specifically high level journalists to spy on and take pictures of sensitive locations.

Three were charged in a military court for attempting to join an illegal organization. Maharma was charged additionally with contacting an enemy agent, and receiving money from an enemy nation.

The Shin-Bet’s report comes at a sensitive time in the Palestinian Authority’s relationship with the Israeli government.  As the PA shops around for new benefactors due to the Trump administration’s threat to cut them off, Iran becomes the most likely address.  Of course the Iranian people might have second thoughts on their government wasting even more money on failed Arab initiatives.

So You Think Israel is Apartheid?

Once again accusations of Israel being an apartheid state have hit the headlines.  A UN committee ESCWA (Economic Social Commission of Western Asia) has released a report accusing Israel of practicing ‘apartheid,’ which has since been pulled from their web site. The term itself refers to what took place in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. However, its popularity increased primarily as a result of a book written by former President Jimmy Carter-  “Peace, Not Apartheid” released in November 2006. Carter, a strong supporter of Hamas and Yasser Arafat, sought, to portray Israeli policies toward the terror groups committed to its destruction as racist and discriminatory.

To call Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” a mischaracterization is akin to calling the Pacific Ocean a tiny lake. Moreover, his use of said term suggests he either doesn’t understand its meaning, or he is truly anti-Israel, which is more likely.

Let me illustrate….

During apartheid South Africa was comprised of approximately 70 – 75% black people with roughly 25 – 20% whites. Under the apartheid system of government, the small minority of white people ruled the country. The black majority was forced to live in ghettos, which were separated from the white cities. Plus, they were surrounded by walls or fences, making it impossible for blacks to come and go freely. The gates were guarded and no black could leave without proof of ID and the strict understanding they were only allowed to leave for specific purposes, such as work.

Within the cities they lived in “townships,” which were very rundown separate slum areas. All non-whites were required to carry special passes which designated where they lived. They were required to show them to police upon demand.

After a prolonged series of negotiations between 1990 and 1994 the apartheid system was done away with and free elections took place. Nelson Mandela, a hugely popular black activist who had been imprisoned for 27 years was elected President.

Comparing and Contrasting

Let’s review why use of the term “apartheid” is so incorrect.

First off, the situation in South Africa occurred within the sovereign borders of the country. In the Israeli-‘Palestinian’ conflict there are three distinct areas. The land within the ’67 lines, Judea/Samaria (disputed territories) and the Gaza Strip, which is run by the terrorist group Hamas, whom Carter is quite fond of. Both the major terror groups Fatah in the disputed territories and Hamas in Gaza have charters which commit them to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

Unlike the blacks under apartheid in South Africa, the ‘Palestinians’ in Judea/Samaria and Gaza have always had the option of resolving the conflict by renouncing terror and accepting the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. In South Africa the blacks and whites all lived within the country. The blacks were subjected to overtly racist laws and were harshly mistreated by the white Afrikaners, and never had the same options as the ‘Palestinians.’ In other words their fate was not in their hands, whereas the ‘Palestinians’ have always had that option. To date they have not committed to peacefully co-exist with the Jewish state of Israel. This is an important distinction.

Unlike the blacks of South Africa the ‘Palestinians’ have weapons and have made it clear they prefer to murder innocent Jewish Israeli’s rather than live in peaceful co-existence with them.  Plus, their charters specifically call for the destruction of Israel, to be replaced by a single Muslims controlled ‘Palestinian’ state. Whereas, all the ruling white Afrikaners had to do was agree to fully integrate the country and allow democracy to take hold, which is what ended up happening in 1994. There were no border issues in South Africa, everything occurred within the sovereign nation. This is another distinction.

However, with the ‘Palestinian’s’ commitment to eliminate the Jewish state and kill innocent civilians it makes unilateral moves of full integration impossible for Israel. Plus, the demographic s would shift dramatically, placing the Jewish majority of Israel at risk.

Apartheid Practice inside ’67 Lines?

Israel has been accused of practicing apartheid within the ’67 lines as well. This is absolutely false. Within the ’67 lines there are roughly 1.5 million Arabs who are full Israeli citizens. They own homes and businesses. They vote, hold local government positions, are elected to the Knesset, and serve on the Israeli Supreme Court.

They are fully integrated into Israeli society, sitting side by side with Jewish Israelis throughout the overall workforce in virtually all cross sections of industry. They are construction workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, electricians, etc. Go to a supermarket and you’ll find Arabs working side by side with Jews. The same is true in hospitals. In fact in certain industries Arabs make up virtually all the employees on the weekend because of the Jewish Sabbath, (Shabbat).

Arabs are professors, students, doctors, lawyers, gas station attendants and virtually every other profession.

Fact Checking President Carter

Regarding President Carter, here are some of his comments, which question his integrity and truthfulness:

  • For example, in his book he describes Yasser Arafat as a man of peace saying “the PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel.”  (pg. 62)
    Fact check: “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.” (Article 9 PLO Charter)
  • He also says there would be peace if Israel would only return to the 1967 borders. (pg 242)
    Fact check: The PLO was founded in 1964, 3 years before the Six Day War of 1967. The goal of the PLO is to replace the Jewish state of Israel with a Muslim controlled Arab state.
  • He said “Since August 2004 Hamas has not committed a single act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life, not one.” (PBS Newshour interview Nov. 28, 2006.
    Fact check: There have been 44 Israeli deaths from terror attacks from Gaza since 2004.

I once had the opportunity to speak with him one on one when he was a guest on a talk show. He stuck to the same lies as indicated in the aforementioned quotes. I, along with the show host took him to task for his remarks. He remained immovable.

There are also critics who say if Israel wishes to be seen as truly ‘democratic,’ it should cease the practice of Zionism, which they describe as racist. Former Secretary of State John Kerry for example, said” Israel can be Jewish or Democratic, it cannot be both.” Let’s examine this…

Jews were scattered all over the world after the failed revolt against Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD. In his anger he renamed Judea Phillistia. For two millennia they were separated from their ancestral homeland and the center of their spiritual life. The Zionist movement sought to bring Jews home to the land which was given to them by God. The realization of the Zionist dream provides the only nation on earth the Jewish people can truly say is their home. This, in spite of its 20% Arab population. Keep in mind there are already 22 sovereign Arab nations in the Middle East with a population of almost 400 million. One tiny nation with 6.5 million Jews as the majority should be fully understandable by any fair minded person.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with Arabs who live within the ’67 lines and they have acknowledged the quality of their lives is superior than if they lived under ‘Palestinian’ rule, or in a Muslim dominated country. They also indicated those who accuse Israel of practicing apartheid are incorrect.

I suggest those who accuse Israel of such practice take a closer look at themselves, and check their own level of racism.

For more of Dan Calic’s articles visit his Facebook Page.

Glenn Greenwald, Apartheid and Me

I just had an animated back and forth via email with celebrated journalist Glenn Greenwald, for whom I have great respect — and now I’m pissed. At issue: Greenwald’s contention that Israel is an apartheid state, which it clearly is not.

You know who Glenn Greenwald is. From Glenn Greenwald is one of three co-founding editors of The Intercept. He is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place to Hide, is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to co-founding The Intercept, Glenn’s column was featured at The Guardian and Salon. He was the debut winner, along with Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the abusive detention conditions of Chelsea Manning. For his 2013 NSA reporting, he received the George Polk award for National Security Reporting; the Gannett Foundation award for investigative journalism and the Gannett Foundation watchdog journalism award; the Esso Premio for Excellence in Investigative Reporting in Brazil (he was the first non-Brazilian to win), and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award. Along with Laura Poitras, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. The NSA reporting he led for The Guardian was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service.

That someone as obviously bright and well-informed as Greenwald could believe that Israel is an apartheid state has always baffled me. I won’t bore you with the back and forth itself; suffice it to say that I concluded matters with this:

“Glenn: I will say again that as a fellow journalist I have great respect for you, but I’m afraid that on this issue we must disagree. The Palestinians have been slaughtering Jewish men, women and children in cold blood since the 1920s; have partnered with Hitler to bring the Holocaust to then-Palestine; and since the establishment of the state have never stopped murdering, raping, committing acts of terrorism, de-legitimizing Israel, and otherwise exporting their hate around the world. Just as cold-blooded murderers do not enjoy full rights here or in any civilized country, terrorist/murderers like the so-called Palestinians (there is no Palestinian people in real life) should have no rights in Israel. But the fact is…………… they do. And so they continue their crimes.”

Greenwald never wrote back.

As an extra added favor to a fellow journalist, I also sent Greenwald a link to a Huffington Post (!) article entitled 10 Reasons Israel Is Not An ‘Apartheid’ State, to which author Jake Beaumont, a research analyst for HonestReporting Canada, added another 15 reasons. Here they all are:

1. All people living in Israel have full equal rights.
There are no inferior or second-class citizens, unlike non-whites in South Africa or minorities in Islamic or Arab countries. Moreover, Arabs occupy senior positions on the Israeli police force, the Knesset and the Israeli judiciary. For example, Salim Joubran, who currently serves on the Israeli Supreme Court, is a Christian Arab. South Africans living under apartheid could only dream of obtaining these types of positions.

Ishmael Khaldi, an Islamic Bedouin, is currently a diplomat in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Majalli Wahabi (Druze) was the acting president of Israel in 2007. These are just a few examples out of the many minority groups holding prominent positions in Israeli society.

2. An Arab judge, George Karra, sentenced an ex-Israeli president Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years.
When an Arab judge sentences a former Israeli president to jail — this is truly a testament to Israel’s equality amongst all citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity.

3. In 1953, the Bantu Education Act was passed.
This separated blacks from whites in the South African educational system. The government created a new curriculum for black people in which they were taught skills related to manual labour and serving in their Bantustans. In Israel, citizens are given equal opportunity in the workplace and educational department as evidenced by the fact that there are Palestinians and Arabs in Israeli universities who both study and teach as professors.

Today in Israel there are hundreds of Arab schools. Furthermore, education in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Courts, laws, taxes, police etc. are also under PA jurisdiction in the majority of the West Bank.

4. Incitement to racism is a criminal offence in Israel.
This is the polar opposite of apartheid in South Africa, whose government specifically passed incendiary racist legislation.

5. Arabs and Israelis receive the same treatment in hospitals.
The Hadassah Medical Organization which operates two hospitals in Jerusalem, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize due to its push for peace in the Middle East and its equal treatment of Palestinians and Israelis. Furthermore, Arab and Israeli children are born amongst each other in the same hospitals.

Even during Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, Palestinians receive top-of-the-line treatment in Israeli hospitals. During apartheid, blacks were specifically given limited access to health care.

6. Non-whites in South Africa had separate amenities.
These include hospitals, beaches, buses, restrooms, drinking fountains and even designated park benches to sit on. None of this discrimination is prevalent in Israel and a law prohibits discrimination in public places.

7. Israeli Arabs have their own political parties in the Knesset — some of whom are Israel’s harshest critics.
The Joint List is an example of this. They received 13 seats in the 2015 Israeli election. Furthermore Arabs have equal voting rights, whereas coloured people during apartheid were not allowed to participate in the political process.

8. Arab citizens are allowed to seek redress through the courts and government if they feel they have been wronged.
Arab citizens also receive trial based on the facts, not ethnicity. This is nothing compared to apartheid South Africa, where discrimination was authorized from the highest position in the government.

9. Arabs in Israel have more fundamental rights than other Islamic and Arab countries in the Middle East.
Ironically, they have more rights than they do in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.

10. In Israel, there are 1.6 million Arab citizens integrated within Israeli society.
They make up 20 per cent of Israel’s population. There was no such integration in South Africa. Furthermore, according to a poll done by Harvard University, 77 per cent of Arab citizens living in Israel would rather live there than any other country in the world. If these citizens were experiencing “apartheid,” why are so many of them supportive of Israel?

To proclaim that Israel is an “apartheid state” is to undermine and trivialize the harsh and actual struggles many blacks went through during that dark time of human history. These are the words of many South Africans who would also concur that Israel is not an “apartheid” state.

Arabs have the right to move freely, vote, obtain an education, work in prominent positions, receive world-class health care, own land and speak freely. Blacks in South Africa had none of these rights.

Regardless of the unfounded criticisms, Israel will still strive in the face of growing adversity. Those who seek to delegitimize, malign and deprecate Israel have lost their moral compass.

While those who are able to discern the truth for themselves, are able to recognize the fact that Israel is a beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.

11) Arabs can participate fully in the political process. They have equal voting rights. Coloured people during apartheid were not allowed to participate in the political process.

12) Israeli Arabs have their own political parties in the Knesset – some of whom are Israel’s harshest critics. The Joint List is an example of this. They received 13 seats in the 2015 Israeli election. This is a testament to Israel’s vibrant democracy. Non-white South Africans were often tortured or killed for small political actions like peaceful protests.

Break the BDS

13) It was written in Israel’s Declaration of Independence of May 14, 1948 that: “The State of Israel… will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice, and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex…” The concept of apartheid would go against the very legislation Israel is based upon. Furthermore, the declaration encourages Israeli Arabs to “participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.” Protests are allowed and actually are commonplace in Israel. Many different ethnic groups protest and are well within the laws of doing so. Israel allows the freedom to protest and the freedom to congregate. During apartheid, blacks were specifically not allowed to protest, and the few protests that did happen, resulted in many deaths from police officers firing indiscriminately into the crowds. Furthermore, no officers were ever convicted in these massacres. In 2000, following the Second Intifada, the Israeli Cabinet set up the Or Commission, in which a report was created to review the discrimination experienced by Israel’s Arab Minority. The report concluded that this discrimination ‘is the most sensitive and important domestic issue facing Israel today.’ Furthermore, as a result of the reports, eight policemen were reprimanded due to excessive violence. This is empirical evidence that Israel has been making active efforts in addressing racial and economic inequality.

14) In South Africa, sex or marriage between whites and non-whites was prohibited – legislation was passed – the Immortality Act. There are many inter-racial relationships prevalent in Israel.

15) Israel recently okayed a $4 billion upgrade plan for its Arab communities. The 5-year plan will focus on housing and improved education.

16) In 2014, the most popular name in Israel was Mohammed with 2,650 newborn Mohammed’s.

17) According to a poll done by Harvard University, 77% of Arab citizens living in Israel would rather live in Israel than any other country in the world. If these citizens were really experiencing “apartheid”, why are so many of them supportive of Israel? Furthermore, polls show that from 1,000 people polled, 83% of Arabs in Israel would not move to the west bank if a Palestinian state was created there. Fifty-four percent of these respondents said that they’d rather live in the democratic state of Israel with higher living conditions.

18) The result of Israel’s acquiring land in the west bank in 1967 was due to Arab countries initiating an act of aggression – an attempt at genocide of the Israeli people – and Israel simply defended its people’s very right to exist. Israel obtained these territories in defensive purposes. Even so, generous Israeli offers were made to give up various lands for peace (1967, 1978, 2000) – only to be met with Palestinian denial and rejectionism. Furthermore, the west bank is not subjected to Israeli law, as per the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 by late Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. Their courts, laws, taxes, police etc. are under Palestinian jurisdiction in the majority of the west bank, while Gaza is not “occupied” and is completely under the control of the Hamas terror organization.

19) Israel has made peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt which demonstrates its commitment to make calculated risks to achieve peace. The PA and Hamas, on the other hand, refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist, making it harder for Israel to withdraw from territory, due to a denial for compromise and mutual acceptance. Furthermore, non-whites never sought the destruction of South Africa, rather the end of apartheid. The UN has recognized, endorsed and administered these Israeli peace agreements – giving these efforts international legitimacy.

20) Arabic is an official language in Israel, and there exists a thriving Arabic theatre and literature scene in Israel.

21) The freest Arabic media in the Middle East is in Israel. Apartheid signifies segregation; this is just representative of integration and equality. Government censorship of media was also a prevalent theme in South Africa.

22) There are no restrictions for Arabs or special privileges for Jews to lease private land in Israel, whereas Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the PA in the west bank, has stated that “any Arab who sells land to a Jew should be put to death.” Furthermore, blacks in South Africa were only allowed to purchase land in their demarcated territories.

23) Signs in Israel are written in Hebrew, Arabic and English. If Israel is an “apartheid” state which, defined by most dictionaries means segregation and separation – why are they helping to accommodate their Arab population?

24) All religions in Israel are free to practice. There are Muslims, Christians, Druze, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus living in Israel. There are mosques, churches and temples to accommodate people of all faiths. This is another example of tolerance and pluralism within Jewish society.

25) Blacks had their own different means of transportation. They were relegated to an often dilapidated form of transport. Arabs and Jews have the same means of transportation and can be found riding the same trains/buses in Israel.

Facts, my friends.


Tel Aviv Startup Empowering South African Women

Even in our all-accepting and gender-equivalent society, woman are still struggling to show doubters that they have every bit as much to offer the world – in particular, the scientific world – as their male counterparts. Fortunately, Start-Up Tel Aviv has got these ladies’ backs because their tremendous international competition is focusing its attention on promising South African women in high-tech this year.

israel in south africa

Start-Up Tel Aviv Invites Women to Compete

The competition has broad parameters, allowing any woman in senior or founding positions within a South African high-tech startup to apply. While this is always the case for the exciting competition, this year has a particular focus on the women of the industry, and it promises to reward individuals who show innovation and unique leadership qualities.

Judging Fairly

The respected judges will choose between the many applicants to find the women with some of the most unique and innovative technologies that can be both scalable and sustainable for the future. Among the judges themselves are several prominent women including Noluthando Gosa, Hillary Joffe, and Tanya Kovarsky. Gosa is known as being a significant and active voice in various projects including the Institute of Directors of South Africa, the Black Business Council, and the Business Women’s Association of South Africa. Joffe is a major player in the financial journalism field in South Africa, and Kovarsky is currently the PR and Communications Lead of Core Group. Other judges include Toby Shapshack, Stuff Magazine publisher, and Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx founder and acclaimed writer.

Competition: Rules & Requirements

Start-Up Tel Aviv is currently running its third competition. The contest works in two stages. First startups from all over the world compete to be one of the finalists. The cream of the crop are chosen from the various startups spanning 21 different countries. From there, these companies will compete for the coveted prize.

What is the competition prize? Winners are awarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Tel Aviv, where they will spend almost a week in the vastly knowledgeable startup communities within this tech hub. Tech startups are eager to win because they know how much they can learn from this experience-rich atmosphere. Winners will also be introduced to several prominent members in various fields including investors, scientists, and cultural leaders, all individuals who could potentially change the course of development for these startups.

The only requirements are that the contestants must be a part of a tech company that is currently in the seed stage of development. Oh, and they had better be coming in with some major innovations because the competition is fierce.