WASHINGTON, DC, United States (Kurdistan24) – The State of Israel expresses appreciation towards the Kurdish spirit of fighting against Islamic State (IS), said a senior Israeli official on Monday.
In an exclusive statement to Kurdistan24, Israel Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer highlighted Kurdish–Jewish relations and praised Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting against IS extremists.
“Israel has another people in the Middle East who truly love freedom, and they are fighting for their freedom; that is the Kurdish people,” he continued. “We feel very close ties with them—both between Kurdish and Jewish people; and between Israel and [Kurdistan]. We wish them well.”
Dermer mentioned that Israel knows that Kurds stand on the front lines fighting against “the great fanaticism” that threatens people all around the world.
“Militant Islam [IS] is not just a threat to Israel, it is a threat to [all] people[s] throughout the Middle East [including], minorities, Christians, Kurds and also Muslims everywhere…Millions of Muslims have become refugees; tens of thousands of them have been killed,” he added.
Additionally, Dermer stated, “We appreciate very much the strong fighting spirit of the Kurdish people [sic] and standing up for their freedom. We look forward to not just years—but decades of continued friendship between the Kurdish and Jewish peoples.”
Senior Israeli officials have praised Kurds and the Kurdistan Region before. On June 29, 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly called for Kurdish statehood.
"We should...support Kurdish aspiration for independence," stated Netanyahu, adding that Kurds are "a nation of fighters [who] have proved political commitment and are worthy of independence."
Most recently on Jan. 19, 2016, Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked called for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state during the ninth annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Israel.
Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Benjamin Kweskin and Karzan Sulaivany
(Kurdistan24 team in Washington conducted the interview)