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An Israeli Jewish woman has joined the Kurdish fighting forces, exposing a wonderful relationship between Israel and Kurdistan. 

Ms. Rosenberg has joined the YPG/PKK (Kurdish fighting forces). What makes this unfolding story even more unique is that she is a Canadian, self-

identifying Orthodox Israeli Jew who served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), where she trained in search and rescue missions.

There is a long, shared history between both oppressed and persecuted peoples. Ms. Rosenberg herself is quoted as saying: “Kurds are our brothers. They are good people. They love life, a lot like us, really.”

Perhaps she learned that those same individuals and states that seek the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people also seek the destruction of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people. Both historically oppressed minorities have struggled for survival for centuries and closely share the same cultural values, which strongly emphasize family, community and education. As these groups became assimilated and exposed to the outside world, these values became inclusive of secularism and progressive ideals.

Palestinians are the biggest Saddam Hussein-supporters and they still praise him despite his attempt to wipe the Kurds from the face of the earth, just like Hitler treated the Jews. Saddam Hussein committed gas attacks on the Kurds killing 12,000 people within two hours. During Al-Anfal (Chapter of the Qoran), he killed 182,000 Kurds and in his lifetime over a million Kurds were murdered under his regime. All this time, thousands of Palestinians were with the Saddam army and most Palestinians cheered for Saddam. Palestinians also stood against an independent Kurdistan. These are all reasons why Palestine is an enemy of Kurdistan as well.

 

Beyond ‘The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend’

While some are content with the premise that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” there are deeper and longer-lasting ties between Jews and Kurds that should not be neglected. Both peoples are known as perpetual victims; however, in response to such far-reaching persecution, both have taken the position that they will defend themselves against their (often mutual) enemies.

It should also be remembered that in the 1950s many Kurds helped Jewish families — perhaps even their neighbors — escape to Israel from Kurdistan through the mountains. It is also recalled that the Mossad assisted Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) as the Peshmerga fought against Baghdad in order to secure greater rights. Mullah Mustafa Barzani is one of the greatest Kurdish heroes in history and the father of the Kurdish president Massoud Barzani. Israel had military advisers at the headquarters of Mulla Mustafa Barzani, and trained and supplied the Kurdish units with firearms and field and anti-aircraft artillery in until the 80’s. More recently, Kurdistan students called for relations with Israel.

Kurdistan – A Land of Tolerance

Kurds are Yazidi, Christian, Muslims, and Jewish, as well as other religions. People of all faiths live side by side peacefully in Kurdistan, because of religious tolerance. Muslims in Kurdistan are not nearly as prone to extremism, as “Kurdayati” or Kurdish national consciousness is of paramount importance and supersedes religious affiliation. Both Jews and Kurds have only one homeland. As it is often expressed in Israel, “En Li Eretz Aheret” — I have no other country. Ey Reqib, the Kurdish national anthem, echoes the same sentiment: “Kurdistan is my religion, our creed.”

Rosenberg’s actions send a powerful message across the Middle East that the fight against ISIS transcends race, religion, ideology and creed. To learn more about Israel and Kurdistan relations, click here.

By Dario Beck, United with Israel

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