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Israeli Kurdophilia and the American 'Betrayal' of the Syrian Kurds

Guest Column

Photo for Israeli Kurdophilia and the American

Demonstrators in Tel Aviv, Israel protest in solidarity with the Kurdish community, October 15, 2019. (Photo: LC via Wikimedia Commons.) CC0 1.0

Y&S Nazarian Center postdoctoral fellow Scott Abramson looks at Israeli sympathy for the Syrian Kurds in light of recent American policy.

This sudden swerve in American policy – the withdrawal of support for an ally deputized as the American infantry in the fight against ISIS – shocked the sensibilities of Israelis and American Jews not a little.

UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, December 16, 2019 - Describing public opinion in his country, in all its Babel-like diversity, the late Israeli author Amos Oz offered that “Israel is not split down the middle on two sides of one single divide. It is split up by lines that intersect one another at various points.”1 Rarely, then, is a position taken by Israelis so uncontroversial that it spans the entire grid of public opinion described by Oz. Now, when this same position is also embraced by the mass of American Jewry, we may observe a phenomenon not unlike a “great comet,” a cosmic wonder that appears about once a decade and only under the rarest concurrence of circumstances.

This “cometary unity” within and between Israeli and Jewish-American opinion could last be seen in October, after President Trump recalled American troops from Syria, acquiescing in a Turkish invasion of the country’s north to roll back the hard-won autonomy of Washington’s former allies, the Syrian Kurds. This sudden swerve in American policy—the withdrawal of support for an ally deputized as the American infantry in the fight against ISIS—shocked the sensibilities of Israelis and American Jews not a little. Yet far from producing the usual cacophony of clashing opinions, Mr. Trump’s retreat from the Kurds brought a rare monophony—a chorus of Israeli and Jewish-American voices sounding the same line of support for the luckless Kurds.

Israel and the end of American support for the Kurds

While this latest chapter was being written in the “sorrowful history of the mountain”—as the preeminent Kurdish poet of the twentieth century, Sherko Bekas, described the pathos of Kurdish experience—Israelis of every description were quick to register their solidarity with the Kurds, whether in the Knesset, the press, on social media, or in demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Nor were these several hundred-strong demonstrations the only collective endeavor in support of the embattled Kurds. Among other Israeli efforts, MKs formed a pro-Kurdish parliamentary caucus,2 an NGO launched a crowdfunding campaign for the relief of displaced Kurds,3 and a contingent of reservist officers in the IDF addressed a petition to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi urging assistance to the Kurds.4 Whereas the petition was the initiative of a left-wing officer who had also run on the ticket of the Democratic Union Party in the most recent Knesset elections, many centrist and right-wing MKs made their own pleas for support for the Kurds or at least trumpeted their sympathy for them.

Diplomatic delicacy largely spared Mr. Trump the public disapproval of Knesset members, as Israeli officialdom, for the most part, took care to restrain itself either to expressions of sympathy for the Kurds or of antipathy to the Turks. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s commentary was a case in point. Avoiding any mention of the American president altogether, he spoke a tribute to the “gallant Kurdish people,” to whom he offered Israeli assistance and against whom he alleged a Turkish campaign of “ethnic cleansing.”5

But no such diplomatic etiquette guarded Mr. Trump from the salvos of the Hebrew press. “If Trump’s move isn’t a betrayal,” thundered popular right-wing Yediot Ahronot columnist Ben-Dror Yemini, “then it’s not clear what a betrayal is.”6 Yoav Karny, a veteran journalist and onetime Washington correspondent for Haaretz, diagnosed Washington’s pull-back from the Kurds as merely the latest outbreak of a chronic American disease of treachery to small peoples, a disease he says first struck a century ago when the Americans promised and later refused to recover “Turkish Armenia” for Armenian refugees whom genocide had expelled but not exterminated.7 The Jewish-American commentariat was not much gentler nor the political bent of disapproving Jewish-American organizations less varied. It was indeed a matter of some curiosity that two opposite organizational poles representing Jewish-American sentiment toward Israel—the Zionist Organization of America and the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace—converged on a rare patch of common ground to sympathize with the Kurds.8

From the near unanimity of this support for the Kurds, the obvious question follows: What is it about President Trump’s “abandonment of the Kurds” that has roused Israeli and Jewish opinion so? By way of an answer, three distinct if overlapping reasons—the sentimental, the historical, and the geopolitical—suggest themselves.

Israel’s “sentiment for this people”

If a brief digression on semantics may be permitted, the Latin-derived word “affinity,” in contemporary English usage, carries two principal meanings: “similarity to another” and “fondness for another.” It might therefore be said that these two companion definitions reflect in language the causal relationship they bear in life: that is, that affinity to another causes affinity for another, that likeness to another causes liking for another. Of this observation, it might further be said, and on the authority of no less a sage than Edmund Burke, that “it is with nations as with individuals” and that “nothing is so strong a tie of amity between nation and nation as correspondence.”9 In the conception of Israelis—to say nothing of many Kurds—the Burkean “tie of amity” that binds the two peoples is a “correspondence” not so much of national identity (Kurds and Israelis having fairly different national profiles) as of demographic and political circumstance. For, just as demographic difference has made Israelis and Kurds outliers in a Middle East in which Arabs, Turks, and Iranians predominate, so political differences—Zionism and Kurdayeti (Kurdish nationalism) both being regarded as abominations in the region—have made them outcasts. Accordingly, when far-right former MK Arieh Eldad wrote in an op-ed a few weeks ago, “We have a deep sentiment for this people,”10 he was expressing a tenderness for the Kurds of which empathy was the parent and similarity, in turn, the grandparent. All this to say: An especially inspired flight of the imagination is not necessary for Israelis to put themselves in the klash (traditional Kurdish shoes) of a regional minority intent on self-government and surrounded by enemies⁠.

Nor are Israelis oblivious or indifferent to the reality that they’re hardly the only people in the Middle East to notice parallels between their country and the Kurds. Ever since 1962—when the label “Second Israel” was first attached to that same community of Kurds that has recently attracted such profound Israeli sympathy, the Kurds of Syria—the epithet has regularly been applied not just to them, but to the three other Kurdish populations of the Middle East too.11 The accusation that the Kurds form a “Second Israel” was refreshed in regional discourse as recently as September 2017, when the Kurds of northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly, if unsuccessfully, to secede from Baghdad and to broaden their autonomy into full sovereignty. The “Second Israel” epithet seemed to find yet more credence after the “First Israel” emerged as the only country in the world to support the pro-independence referendum and after Kurds in northern Iraq were photographed waving Israeli flags in gratitude, a scene that left one to wonder whether this was the only time since 1948 in the Middle East, outside the Jewish state, in which Israeli flags could be seen waved overhead in support, rather than trampled underfoot in contempt.

Surely among these flag-wavers were Kurds who would wear the “Second Israel” label with high relish, Kurds like the head of the polling station in Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, who cried out on the day of the referendum , “We are the Second Israel!”12 The Kurdish poll-watcher was, in fact, following in the tradition of some of the twentieth century’s leading Kurdish personalities who have happily claimed the title of “Second Israel” for their people, not least Kamuran Ali Badr Khan, Ibrahim Ahmad, and⁠—most iconic of all post-Ottoman Kurdish figures⁠—Mulla Mustafa Barzani.

Besides the similarity of circumstance between the “First” and “Second Israels,” which Israelis, Kurds, and their regional detractors have each observed, the well-known affection of Kurdish Jews in Israel for their former neighbors has also influenced Israelis as a whole, endearing the Kurds to them yet more. Although the Jewish experience in pastoral Kurdistan was no idyll, the intensification of Middle Eastern anti-Semitism that began in the early twentieth century largely eluded the Jews of Kurdistan. The lot of Jews in the rest of the Arab and Islamic world, however, was quite otherwise. In the years leading up to their settlement in Israel, the Jews of these lands endured all manner of abuses: violence, dispossession, extortion, harassment, intimidation. In the 1940s alone, large-scale massacres of Jews struck in Gabes (May 1941), Baghdad (June 1941), Tripoli (November 1945, June 1948), Aden (December 1947), Aleppo (December 1947), Oujda (June 1948), and Djerada (June 1948). The mass exodus to Israel of Jews from the Arab and Islamic world consequently brought many Jews to Israel whose feelings toward their former neighbors had been much embittered by recent experience.

Different, however, was the entire 35,000-strong Jewish community of Iraqi Kurdistan that settled in Israel in 1950 and 1951, whose distance from faraway Baghdad still had not removed them from beyond the reach of its hostility. Instead of nursing some ill feeling toward the Kurds they had just parted from, many came to Israel bearing fond memories of their former non-Jewish neighbors, and some, like the Jews from the towns of Zakho and Amadiya, told of the Kurdish leadership’s benevolence to the departing Jews. In this respect, Jews from Kurdistan stand alone among Jewish immigrants to Israel from elsewhere in the region; for the same reason, they have been the only community of Jews from the Islamic world to lobby the Israeli government—and devotedly, at that—on behalf of their former neighbors.

The Israel State Archives preserve many appeals from immigrants from Kurdistan pressing their government to take up the cause of the non-Jews they had once lived among. That some of these letters date as far back as 1950, the first year of mass Kurdish-Jewish settlement in Israel, and that Kurdish Jews have formed several pro-Kurdish “lobbying” organizations over the years explain why the Kurdish intellectual Jasim Abdullah Rikandi called Israel’s Kurdish citizens “excellent ambassadors” for the Kurds.13 Though impossible to quantify, the effect of this “ambassadorial” activity on Israeli public opinion has, at any rate, not been inconsequential.

The “longest and most fascinating” relationship

 It is to history that we must turn for the second reason for Israeli sympathy for the Kurds. Just as the “Second Israel” slur was coming into currency in the early 1960s, the Kurds’ and Israelis’ common enemies and common isolation led them to make common cause. The logic that recommended this alliance was based on a strategic calculus so ancient its origins stretch back to remote antiquity: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In the case of the Israelis and the Kurds, it was the enmity of their common enemy, the Iraqi government, that made them friends and, indeed, allies. Most of the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s found the Israelis and the Iraqi Kurds, who were waging a rebellion against Baghdad, in an alliance that Shabtai Shavit – the former chief of the Mossad – considers Israel’s “longest and most fascinating” relationship with a regional minority.14 In fact, such was the length of the Mossad-led alliance and such the value set on it by Israel that every director of Israel’s national intelligence agency (except Isser Harel) until 1996—Reuven Shiloah, Meir Amit, Zvi Zamir, Yitzhak Hofi, Nahum Admoni, and Shabtai Shavit—visited Iraqi Kurdistan either before or during his tenure.

Describing the alliance with the Kurds that he helped to forge, Meir Amit, one of these spymasters, said, “The benefit we derived was enormous.”15 It was indeed. The Israelis furnished weaponry and training to the Kurdish insurgents and lent their much-needed assistance in other domains, including agriculture, health care, radio broadcasting, education, public relations, and diplomacy. The Kurds, in turn, not only diverted Baghdad’s energies from strengthening the Arab front against Israel, they also supplied Israelis with valuable intelligence and helped smuggle out of Iraq the last holdouts in the country’s hugely depopulated Jewish community. It also bears mentioning that even then, as this history was being enacted in the 1960s and 1970s, sentiment and strategy united in the hearts and minds of the Israelis involved. In his memoirs, Meir Amit relates, “There is a special place in my heart for the Kurdish freedom fighters.”16 Relevant archival documents, diaries, and other memoirs make clear that yet another Mossad official, Eliezer Tsafrir, the head of the agency’s last station in Iraqi Kurdistan, was not presuming too much when, speaking for his colleagues, he wrote, “Virtually all of the Israelis who served in Kurdistan, this writer included, fell in love with the Kurds.”17

A Kurdish reverse and an Iranian advance

 And now we come to the last in the triad of interconnected reasons for Israeli sympathy for the Kurds and disappointment with Mr. Trump’s turnabout: geopolitics. The recent statement by former Mossad official Haim Tomer that “the fate of the Kurdish people is linked to the fate of the Jewish people” may border on melodrama, but it holds true insofar as the enfeeblement of the Kurds means, inversely, the empowerment of Iran.18 

Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria, fortified by the American presence there, had interfered with Iran’s ambition to crown itself as a Mediterranean power, a distinction no Iranian state has boasted since the pre-Islamic Sasanian Empire in 628. By means of two land corridors extending from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea, corridors guarded by its Shite proxies and transited by its arms convoys, Iran has worked determinedly to project its power across the Fertile Crescent. But the Kurdish autonomous zones in northern Syria, where several thousand Americans had been deployed before their withdrawal, disrupted the contiguity of the northern of the two land corridors, disappointing Iranian ambitions.

But since the Turkish invasion, the political geography of northern Syria has changed to the advantage of the Iranians and the detriment of the Kurds (and, derivatively, the Israelis). In the face of the Turkish onslaught, the Syrian Kurds cut their losses and struck a deal with Iranian-allied, Russian-supported Damascus, surrendering much of their autonomy to the Syrian military, which restored central government control in Syrian Kurdistan (known as Rojava in Kurdish), to save themselves from the Turkish military. With no other recourse, the Syrian Kurds chose to sacrifice self-government to self-preservation.

Yet not all Syrian Kurds and Israelis have despaired of Kurdish autonomy’s future. The optimists among them held out hope that Damascus’s writ might not be fully restored and, consequently, some of Rojava’s ruins might be salvaged and a measure of autonomy retained. MK Zvi Hauser, from the Israel Resilience Party, spoke of the imperative of continued Kurdish self-government, even if unrecognized: “The continued existence of de facto Kurdish autonomy is an Israeli interest. On a geo-strategic level, this is the last remaining buffer in the land corridor between Tehran and Quneitra [the town on the Golan Heights astride the Israeli-Syrian border], which Iran has coveted for many years.”19 In a speech to similar effect, Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely observed that “Israel indeed has a salient interest in preserving the strength of the Kurds and the additional minorities in the north Syria area as moderate and pro-Western elements.”

Apart from threatening to fill in the Syrian gaps of Iran’s coveted land bridge, Washington’s retreat from the Kurds unsettles its Israeli ally because it represents American isolationist disengagement from the Middle East, and it reveals American unreliability, if not perfidy. The specter that haunts Israel most is that the United States under President Trump will turn its back on the Middle East and turn its coat against its allies. Even so, this is not to suggest, as a contributor to Al Jazeera maintains, that Mr. Trump’s dissociation from the Kurds has sown “unprecedented panic in Israel.”21 (The “precedents” of true panic in Israeli history are too many to list here, but a few in particular may be cited, if only to expose the inaccuracy of this observation: Far more harrowing for Israel were the opening of the war following Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948 , the three weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, and the first week both of the Yom Kippur and Gulf Wars, during the latter of which it was feared that Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles would be equipped with chemical warheads.) 

In any case, while American policy in Syrian Kurdistan may not have provoked “unprecedented panic,” it has indeed given Israel cause for anxiety, the more so in light of the American non-response to an Iranian attack on another ally, Saudi Arabia, just days before the Turkish invasion of Syria. As Israelis see it, when the American umbrella fails to shelter an ally from a storm, deterrence is undermined and belligerency encouraged, signaling that hostile action against that ally will be tolerated, not punished. So it was when the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia passed unanswered.

The subsequent withdrawal both of American troops from Rojava and of American support for its people is seen by the Israelis in much the same light: as American indulgence of aggression against an ally and American indifference to the Middle East. The chief beneficiaries of this American apathy and the resulting American disengagement from the Middle East, Israelis wincingly recognize, are the Iranians and their Russian enablers in Syria. Not for nothing, then, was the American departure from Rojava, which made possible the Turkish offensive, as much welcomed by the Iranians as it was bewailed by the Israelis. To remove American troops was also to remove another restraint on Iranian mischief, and both the Iranians and the Israelis well understand that the Russians, untroubled by the American disengagement from the region and unchecked by the now-skeletal American presence in Syria—are a regional policeman far more tolerant of this mischief than the Americans.

Can Israel help the Kurds?

 While the Israelis still benefit from American aegis, even if their confidence in it has been shaken, the Syrian Kurds, on the other hand, have been orphaned of their American patron and stand forlorn and vulnerable as ever. In the past, when Kurdish fortunes had sunk to their lowest ebb (e.g., 1975, 1988, 1991) Israel sought, by means of diplomatic or humanitarian aid, to relieve their sufferings as much as certain limitations, geographical and political, would allow. In 1988, for example, when Saddam Hussein unleashed chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds in the course of his genocidal campaign against them, the Israeli government of Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres announced Israel’s willingness to admit 200 orphaned Kurdish children to the Jewish state, in the same spirit in which Menachem Begin’s government took in several hundred Vietnamese “boat people” a decade earlier.22

But assistance to the Kurds from outside Kurdistan is encumbered by geography. It is another Kurdish misfortune that the expanse of the Middle East where the concentrations of Kurds have found place is entirely landlocked. If overlaid on a political map of the modern Middle East, the mountainous crescent of territory known to the Kurds as “Greater Kurdistan” trespasses on the sovereignty of the four countries in the region it extends partly over: Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. To Syrian Kurdistan in particular, Damascus, Baghdad, and Ankara hold the only keys, but of these governments, only Turkey’s has official, if acrimonious, relations with Israel. Yet well before Turkish-Israeli relations soured under President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara יhad also refused to permit Israeli aid to the Kurds. In 1991, when the Israelis tried to send relief to Iraqi Kurds who had crossed into Turkey to escape more of Saddam Hussein’s brutalities, the Turkish government refused to allow them, despite insistent Israeli pleas, to minister to the welfare of the Kurdish refugees.23 Needless to say, the far more hostile Turkish government of today is not likely to approve Israeli aid to a people it’s just finished making war on. This leaves “unconventional means” as Israel’s only bridge to the Kurds.

But even with the Kurds inaccessible, Israel could still apply itself to diplomacy or a PR push in the service of their relief or their cause. This was just the course Israel pursued in 1975, after the Shah of Iran withdrew his blessing for the Israeli-Kurdish alliance that he, hitherto Iraq’s enemy and Israel’s gatekeeper to Iraqi Kurdistan, had once supported. In March 1975, Iran concluded a peace agreement with Iraq, the Algiers Accord, which, satisfying long-standing Iranian grievances with Iraq, bound Iran to renounce all support for the Iraqi Kurds’ 14-year rebellion against Baghdad. At a stroke, the Algiers Accord converted the Kurds from an Iranian asset in fighting Iraq to an Iranian liability in keeping peace with Iraq. No sooner had the agreement been signed than the Shah, with American connivance, abruptly ended his support for the Iraqi Kurdish rebels, abandoning his former allies to the vengeance of Saddam Hussein and enforcing the end of Israeli assistance. The ink on the Algiers Accord not yet dry, Ephraim Halevy, later director of the Mossad, cabled the Israeli ambassador to Washington, reporting in anguished tones, “The Iranians have ceased all aid to the Kurds and are even preventing us from [assisting them].”24 Yet Israel did continue assisting the Kurds, not on the ground in the now-inaccessible Iraqi Kurdistan, but in the United States, employing diplomacy, public relations, and lobbying on the Kurds’ behalf. In Washington, Israeli personnel assisted the Kurds’ main lobbying outfit, the Kurdish American Society (which Israel had helped found in 1971), providing press contacts, arranging congressional meetings, and securing several thousand student visas for Kurdish refugees. Today, just as it did after the American rug was earlier pulled out from under the Kurds in 1975, Israel might again use such levers of influence as can be activated independently of access to Rojava.

Indeed, it seems Israel already has. Last month it emerged that the support that some Syrian Kurds have requested and that many Israeli parliamentarians have offered has indeed been bestowed. Addressing the Knesset on November 6, Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely confirmed for the first time that Israel is assisting the Kurds “through a range of channels.”25 What exactly has flowed through these channels she did not specify, but she did say, albeit in tantalizingly vague remarks, that Israel has made representations to Washington on the Kurds’ behalf. Then, on the following day, a commentator on Israel’s Channel Twelve posted a photo on Twitter, sourced from a Kurdish journalist based in Germany, that purports to show Syrian Kurds taking receipt of a shipment of Israeli aid.26 Whatever the authenticity of the photo and whatever the nature of Israeli aid, the Israeli response to President Trump’s pullback from the Kurds affords another proof that “the State of Israel,” as an eminent scholar of Kurdish history has recently written, “has become the strongest supporter of Kurdish rights and independence.”27

A historian of the modern Middle East and a postdoctoral fellow at the Y&S Nazarian Center for the 2019-2020 academic year, Scott Abramson received his Ph.D. in UCLA’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. His research interests include the historical relations between Israel and minorities, domestic and regional, and between Israel and the other states of the Levant.

1 Amoz Oz, “The Power and the Purpose” in The Slopes of Lebanon (New York: Mariner, 2012), 62.
2 Itamar Eichner, Yael Friedson, and Inbar Toiser, “Israelis Call for Assistance to the Kurds: An Entire Nation Pays with Its Life and the World Is Silent,” Ynet, October 13, 2019, https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5606498,00.html (Hebrew)
3 Daniel Boguslaw, “How Jewish Organizations Are Responding to the Kurdish Crisis,” Jewish Currents, November 4, 2019 https://jewishcurrents.org/how-jewish-organizations-are-responding-to-the-kurdish-crisis/
4 Anna Ahronheim, “Reservists: We, as Israelis and Jews, Must Not Stand By,” The Jerusalem Post, October 11, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Dozens-of-reservists-call-on-Netanyahu-Kochavi-to-help-Kurds-604235
5 “Netanyahu Condemns 'Turkish Invasion of Kurdish Areas' in Syria,” Reuters, October 10, 2019,
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-israel-netanyahu/netanyahu-condemns-turkish-invasion-of-kurdish-areas-in-syria-idUSKBN1WP1RC
6 Ben-Dror Yemini, “And the World Is Silent,” Yediot Ahronot, October 14, 2019, https://www.yediot.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5607271,00.html (Hebrew)
7 Yoav Karny, “America a Hundred Years Later: Kurds, Armenians, Who Cares?” Globes, October 20, 2019, https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001303928 (Hebrew)
8 Boguslaw, “How Jewish Organizations Are Responding to the Kurdish Crisis.”
9 Edmund Burke, Two Letters Addressed to a Member of the Present Parliament, on the Proposals for Peace with the Regicide Directory of France (London: F. and C. Rivington, 1796), 108-109.
10 Arieh Eldad, “Israel Must Assist the Kurds. If It Engages the Turkish Army in the Process, So Be It,” Maariv, October 15, 2019, https://www.maariv.co.il/journalists/Article-723901 (Hebrew)
11 Avi Shektar, Member of the Research Department of the Foreign Ministry, to Mordechai Gazit, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, “Arab Responses to the Kurdish Question, “ November 12, 1962, ISA 6529/1
12 David Patrikarakos, “In Kurdistan's Erbil, the Polling Station Head Shouted Out: 'We Are the Second Israel!'” Haaretz, September 28, 2017, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-in-erbil-the-polling-station-head-shouted-out-we-are-the-second-israel-1.5453872
13 Jasim Abdullah Rikandi, “The Surprising Historical Ties between Israel and the Kurds: Part One,” Ahewar, August 19, 2014, http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art.asp?aid=429050&r=0 (Arabic)
14 Shabtai Shavit and Yael Shavit, Diary and Letters: Mission in Kurdistan, March-June 1973 (Tel Aviv, Israel: Tefer, 2013), 8 (Hebrew)
15 Meir Amit, “Introduction” in The Iraqi-Israeli Confrontation: 1948-2000, ed. Shaul Shai (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense, 2002), 110 (Hebrew)
16 Ibid., Head On: A Personal Look at Great Events and World Affairs (Or Yehuda: Hed Artzi, 1999), 152 (Hebrew)
17 Eliezer Tsafrir, “Rediscovering the Kurds,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 9, no. 3 (2015), 454.
18 “218 Kurds Killed. Senior Mossad Official: We Must Help,” Srugim, October 17, 2019, https://www.srugim.co.il/381805-218-כורדים-נהרגו-בכיר-במוסד-צריכים-לסייע (Hebrew)
19 Yonatan Klein, “Discussion on the Kurds to Be Held in the Knesset,” Kipa, October 25, 2019, https://www.kipa.co.il/חדשות/מדיני/949164-דיון-בנושא-הכורדים-יתקיים-בכנסת (Hebrew)
20 “Israel Aiding Syria's Kurds, Advocating for Them with U.S.: Official,” Reuters, November 6, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel/israel-aiding-syrias-kurds-advocating-for-them-with-us-official-idUSKBN1XG2AP
21 Adnan Abu Amer, “What Is behind the Israeli Outrage over Turkey's Syria Operation?” Al Jazeera, October 25, 2019,
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/israeli-outrage-turkey-syria-operation-191025094744106.html
22 “Demands that U.N. Secretary General Investigate the Use of Gas against the Kurds,” Maariv, September 14, 1988, 1 (Hebrew)
23 Letter from Dr. David Orenstein, Chairman of the Israeli Association of State Employee Physicians, to Dr. Selim Olcer, President of the Turkish Medical Association, April 28, 1991, ISA 23285/12/Gal.
24 Memorandum from Ephraim Halevy to David Turgeman, Israeli ambassador to the United States, Washington, March 1975, ISA 6710/8.
25 Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely: We Are Assisting the Kurds through a Range of Channels,” Knesset Press Release, November 10, 2019, https://m.knesset.gov.il/EN/News/PressReleases/Pages/press101119g.aspx
26 Arad Nir, Twitter post, November 7, 2019, 1:25 AM, https://twitter.com/arad_nir/status/1192372659188830208
27 David Romano, “Why Isn’t Israel Doing More to Help the Kurds?” Rudaw, December 8, 2019, https://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/08122019?fbclid=IwAR0BDMA7-lsqt3rgmul9R-TTcMnABZwjtVPpT11nSOiQOnx63Og3v5OM-iU