June 25, 2017

Why spies like scientists


Stumbled on one interview, I wanted to share with you. In a sense, it is also suited to the site — these people have made.

Why spies like scientists

Scout-illegal Andrey Bezrukov, "If you behave like James Bond, you have enough for half a day."

Donald Heathfield owned a consulting company in the United States, was educated at Harvard and raised two children with his wife. He was quite successful American citizen. Hardly anyone of his friends and colleagues could have imagined that Donald Heathfield real name is Andrey Bezrukov and he is the head of the Russian reconnaissance. Bezrukov worked abroad under cover from the end of the last century and during that time did not utter a single word in Russian. Two years ago he issued a traitor, after which he returned to Russia.

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Andrey Bezrukov Born in Kansk Krasnoyarsk Territory. He studied at the Tomsk State University. Together with his wife, Elena Vavilova, more than twenty years was in hiding, doing intelligence work. In 2000 he graduated from the Harvard School of Public Administration, John F. Kennedy with a Masters degree. In the summer of 2010, was arrested in the United States and with the other defendants in the spy scandal, including Anna Chapman, was sent home in exchange for four Russian citizens convicted of spying for the U.S. and the UK. Now working for the company "Rosneft".

"You can not use the native language even at home …"

For starters will specify what to call what you do in the United States. Spying?

This is the same than the U.S. security services in Russia. You know, there's a difference in concepts. English 'spying' translates as spying, but in Russian language spy has two meanings: "spy" and "scout". Can be understood in different ways. Not for nothing in the Soviet Union, its called good word "scout" and enemies — "spies."

They say that for all the work you have not uttered a word in Russian. Is that true?

It is true. This feature of the illegal work. You can not use the native language even at home, all the while being under strict self-control. Although after a few years it becomes quite natural. Even dreams are dreams in other languages. My wife and I now speak mainly in English and in French.

And your wife to work with you? She, too, was under the cover?

Yes, my wife Helen also a professional scout, and we worked together abroad from the first to the last day.

You have lived a long time in the country, actually working against it, right?

You know, intelligence is not determined by those against whom you work. Exploration is defined by those for whom you work. "Working against anyone" — it can not be a reference, the tasks may change. As a scout you work to benefit the country. The offense can be against someone, and exploration activities are as patriotic character.

And then you perceive the people around, if not as enemies?

As the main object of study. It is a country that you should know is the people you want to understand in order to help guide the country to make the right decision.

That is a scout — it's something like a scientist undercover?

Yes, very often raises questions of knowledge, understanding of the issues. I would even say this: in order to win, we need to understand in order to understand the need to love. That is, you have to love the country in which you work. The presence of a person who can in spite of misinformation on the site to understand what is going to be a positive stabilizing factor. In order to prepare for and protect themselves, sometimes quite critical nuggets of information. I would say that intelligence is essentially a defensive measure.

You could fall in love with the United States?

I will not say that I love this country. Culturally, I lived in a more interesting world than the United States. But I certainly respect the Americans. I love many of the features of the American people, such as optimism, resourcefulness, willingness to necessary changes, ability to fairly and quickly recognize and correct their mistakes.

Where do you like to live: after the exchange in Russia or the United States?

Frankly, I'm more interested now live in Russia. First, it's my culture. But most importantly, in Russia, I have witnessed the historic moment — the process of establishing a new country. The process is difficult, painful, but extremely interesting, especially for me, whose job was to understand what is really happening and what are the forces behind it.

"I'm an expert on the formation of the future"

You can elaborate? You have worked in the U.S. since 1999, and before that?

I can not comment on it.

What kind of business you have had in America?

I am a specialist in strategic forecasting, to shape the future. My research papers and patents relate generally to this field. I have worked with leading corporations and government agencies in several countries, including the United States. But as a consultant I have worked in other areas: managing change in corporations, to organize the fight for major contracts and so on.

Money, a business that should be conducted — it's a whole life abroad …

Yes, of course. In general, if you look from a professional point of view, when a man in my situation is abroad, he must completely and build a new life in material terms and in terms of family. The man actually begins life anew. You can say, you feel like a different person. My wife and I flew away on a business trip with a suitcase. I had to re-get an education, find a job, build a business, and not one. Without assistance and with minimal means — do you remember what the situation was in the country at the time. And while watching our main thing — to carry out the tasks.

How did you get into Harvard University?

At Harvard, I received a master's degree of public administration. When you receive a detailed passed the qualifying procedure, like other candidates, including tests, motivational letters recommendations. I had already had a diploma and MBA and a degree in the global economy, and the experience of development and business management. That is, the degree of preparation of the other candidates I was no different.

"Exploration — this is the most romantic profession"

Scout needs acting talent?

I think so.

And they themselves were never going to be an actor?

No. Just when the actor transforms a certain time, and then returns to his life, then there is a gradual transformation, but a deeper, comprehensive. You actually become a man of another nation, another language, but not other ideas.

It happened that the psychological fatigue, if it was, reached a critical level, so that you were ready to give up everything?

No, it did not happen, because I really loved my job. I feel very happy man. I'm in the shower was and still am a romantic. Exploration — this is the most romantic profession. My colleagues and associates — those whom I know personally and whom heard — people are amazing, talented, imaginative, often h
umanly complex. These are people striking purity. Their fates are often difficult on a personal level, it is possible to write the book. And that is a pity, and tragically, the best of them, we often learn only after they die, and if ever … you know, working in an irregular situation clears people communion of something higher — the bustle just do not have time.

USA. 1997. Family picnic. Bezrukov son did not even know that his parents — Russian agentsfrom the archive A. Bezrukov

What qualities are important for a scout? What is the principal?

I think patriotism. This and only this is the whole meaning of the work. Money can not be a sense of exploration. Only the devotee ideas people can do their own thing, knowing that the rest of life can spend in jail. No material benefits do not justify it.

Work like a spy James Bond films? What it is: routine or still a real risk?

I will say this: intelligence work is not built for it failed. That is, the risk is clear, and decisions are made so as to minimize this risk. Exploration — this is not an adventurous adventure. If you behave like Bond, you have enough for half a day, the maximum for the day. Even if we imagine that there is a magic safe in which lie all the secrets, tomorrow half of them will become obsolete and useless. Upper class intelligence — is to understand what your opponent will think tomorrow, not what he was thinking yesterday.

"My family tree goes back to the times of Ermak"

What does it mean for you, the word "patriotism"?

I think patriotism — understanding your place in the world as a part of Russia. These are my friends, my parents, this is my family tree that goes back to the times of Ermak, when my praprapraroditeli came to Siberia. For me, forget it — it means being left with nothing. To me as a historian of the first, Russian, education is especially close to the idea of a great and tragic history of my country, those fractures through which it has passed, its endless, painful search of itself between the East and the West.

It turns out that such a national spark is there for everyone. But is not it just a dressing for cold political struggle?

No. So, let's talk about the national idea, not even touching the political struggle. The national idea — is to realize what in the world is your country, that we as a nation want to be able to accept, and what we can not. If we have a commonality and understanding of who we are, where we are going, what principles underlie the — that's what brings people together, is what is called a national idea. The ideas that have been used to unite us, more are not. They are gone. Russia is now in the process of formation of new ideas. The political struggle over how is the future of Russia — is evidence of the ongoing process of crystallization of the national idea, the element of creation.

How would you characterize the current period in the history of Russia?

I think it is very interesting stage, when we are involved in the formation of a new country. This is a painful period of time that many countries have passed. The main thing — to themselves it does not spoil. Not destabilize the country, and to find common ground and decide which way to grow. We do not have consensus, but as a nation we need to give an answer that does not turn the boat in which all sit.

"We purposely identified children in the French school"

Your children are now 18 and 22. They were born abroad, right?

Yes, our children were born and raised abroad. Grew up there like normal children, of course, not knowing a word in Russian.

They lived there all his life. Perhaps they have more American?

The fact that in them before coming to Russia was nothing Russian — that's a fact, but the typical American, I would not call them too. Knowing how American cultural melting pot melts all a common model that we purposely identified children to a French school. So they kept the European, open, broad minded instead of simplistic clichés and empty political correctness. And, of course, tried, so they can have as many opportunities to see and compare different countries, by the conclusions. It is obvious that living in another country, you can not join the Russian values. But you can instill if not love, because they do not know the country, then at least respect.

USA. 2005-2006. Together with his wife, also a scoutfrom the archive A. Bezrukov

As children experienced what happened to you, in particular the arrest?

We were arrested during the celebration of the birth of our oldest son. A few minutes the kids thought it was just drawing — a crowd of people in dark suits on black cars … Of course, for them it was a shock. But out of this shock helps that as parents we are constantly kept them good spiritual contact, open dialogue in the family, mutual understanding and trust. After our arrest, they flew to Russia, at our request, not knowing who they meet and what to expect … When, after the exchange, we finally met with them in Russia, and they learned the truth about our profession, the first month we spent the night in conversation about life and history. I think in the end they began to understand why we made certain choices in life. Despite all the difficulties of adaptation in adulthood, in Russia they have something that has never happened before — grandparents, family with its long history, which they love.

And if you offer them some sort of ideology?

No, we were just trying to bring them decent, honest people, open to new ideas, open to the world. That they are humanists in the long run.

Is emerging as their fate? It turned out they integrate into Russian society?

They are in the process of integration, which is now very difficult. Russian language, of course, is not the easiest to learn. Them for two years managed to travel around the country, and was most impressed by their nature produced, especially Siberia. Do sons their plans, which are not connected with politics or intelligence. Older are more interested in the business, especially the financial sector.

"He has until the end of life, and so it will be quite nasty …"

Your group uncovered after you betrayed by one of the officers of the Foreign Intelligence Service. What would you say to him, if met?

Well, I think he's in any case, this type Pot, would try to meet with me …

What if? Just imagine.

You know, I would not say anything to him. There is no need. In my opinion, it is the end of life, and so it will be quite lousy. Betrayal, as an ulcer, if it is in you, she'll eat it. You can not save some emotional balance in your life when you realize that someone has betrayed or killed. And his father was a hero of the Soviet Union. He betrayed not only himself — he killed the memory of their parents. Whatever money he paid no, I agree with Vladimir Putin, who said his life is difficult to envy. He or sopetsya, or just longing eat: wake up every morning and remember what you did. You know, the CIA and FBI treachery Poteeva very happy, but by the attitude of the traitors, as elsewhere, the ugly. After two years in the U.S., he is probably already felt. He is tir
ed of them. He no longer needed them. Like a squeezed lemon.

What are his motives were?

I think this is the person for whom the homeland and intelligence were minor things, which means that a small change. Add to that the unsatisfied ambitions and a taste for money, and he is ready to sacrifice principles for a price.

Have you encountered with the scouts that were overbought or been recruited by?

No, I have not come across. I have not heard about any of this professional, and even more so about the illegals, which can be had been recruited by. My impression about the traitor Poteeva was just what he is weak as a professional. In the exploration was a random person, and here is the result.

When you opened, trying to outbid, to recruit?

No. And from Poteeva traitor, and from their own observations, they knew it was useless. To me and to my wife, FBI agents after his arrest treated as professionals by professionals — stressed respect.

Can you talk a little more about what happened after you opened? How did you feel at that moment?

Immediately after the arrest remember a state of total domestic mobilization, even the purely physical. It was as if all the old life, all the plans suddenly gone on the back burner to some fog. The main concern was the desire to understand the cause of the failure and find a way to contact his wife and children. Was the realization that the old life is over and begins another stage — the stage of the struggle over the new rules, which may last for many years. This state is fully prepared every minute of that is going on for ten days, until it became clear that the high-level negotiations for our release.

"The American politicians Russia occupies a marginal position"

As you are an expert, a historian who knows the country people see America?

U.S. is in a difficult period when a superpower becomes normal strong country. Maybe a leader in certain areas but not unconditional. In the U.S., it is perceived quite painful. There are people who ask the question of what the United States will take place in the world. Interestingly, many of these people — military intelligence, a very educated layer that can really assess the situation of the country. These offer the U.S. military to take a position that focuses more on cooperation in solving global problems, not only the country but also the world, such as the slowing of economic growth, instead of supporting its position by force wherever it may be. But they are in the minority. This dialogue about the future of America is just beginning, but we need to keep an eye on him, as it influences and Russia, how they see us — as the enemy or, more realistically, as one of the strongest players in a multipolar world.

And how Americans perceive Russia?

In general in the American media and American politicians Russia occupies a marginal position. After the Soviet Union is gone, they really only care about the theme of our military capability, which is still a risk. I do not think that American politicians are interested in some other aspect. It all comes down to the dies: Russia is imperfect, does not play by the rules, is undemocratic. Russia seems to them so weak and uninteresting, not worthy of a real partnership dialogue. It's like the relationship between human beings: to be respected by others, we must first respect themselves.

You were born in one country, worked in the one that competed with the first, but returned in the third …

The fact that I left the country, which was called the Soviet Union and returned to the one that is called Russia, does not affect me. For me, this is one country. My country

Quote of the day: Bezrukov on Intelligence

The best kind of intelligence is to understand what your opponent will think tomorrow, not find out what he thought yesterday.


Technology, jobs, and the future of work


By James Manyika

Full Report (PDF–147KB)

Automation, digital platforms, and other innovations are changing the fundamental nature of work. Understanding these shifts can help policy makers, business leaders, and workers move forward.

The world of work is in a state of flux, which is causing considerable anxiety—and with good reason. There is growing polarization of labor-market opportunities between high- and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment especially among young people, stagnating incomes for a large proportion of households, and income inequality. Migration and its effects on jobs has become a sensitive political issue in many advanced economies. And from Mumbai to Manchester, public debate rages about the future of work and whether there will be enough jobs to gainfully employ everyone.

The development of automation enabled by technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence brings the promise of higher productivity (and with productivity, economic growth), increased efficiencies, safety, and convenience. But these technologies also raise difficult questions about the broader impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages, and the nature of work itself.

Many activities that workers carry out today have the potential to be automated. At the same time, job-matching sites such as LinkedIn and Monster are changing and expanding the way individuals look for work and companies identify and recruit talent. Independent workers are increasingly choosing to offer their services on digital platforms including Upwork, Uber, and Etsy and, in the process, challenging conventional ideas about how and where work is undertaken.

For policy makers, business leaders, and workers themselves, these shifts create considerable uncertainty, alongside the potential benefits. This briefing note aims to provide a fact base on the multiple trends and forces buffeting the world of work drawing on recent research by the McKinsey Global Institute and others.


Table of contents

Developments in employment, income, and skills

How automation and technology are affecting work

The challenges of digitization—and possible solutions

Iraq’s remaining Kurdish Jews look to the future with both hope and scepticism



Kurdish Iraqi Jews now have a representative in government, but few remain from a once vibrant community

Taha Smith, pictured at the Erbil Citadel, where his grandparents used to attend synagogue. Smith is now open about his faith, and has a Star of David tattoo (Matt Alesevich/MEE)

Matt Alesevich

Sunday 25 June 2017 14:48 UTC

Erbil, Iraq - Growing up in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, Taha Smith and his best friend were inseparable.

Long neighborhood days of football and tag evolved into international adventures - as teenagers they vagabonded around Europe, eventually finding jobs and staying a few years.

Lifelong confidants, it was not until recently each revealed one anecdote: He was Jewish.

“He never told me. I never told him,” says the 30-year-old Smith, who revealed his ancestral religion to his best friend only before marrying the man’s sister earlier this year. “It was crazy for me. We were so close.”

The scenario would perplex Smith’s ancestors.

Jews have inhabited Mesopotamia for over 2,500 years and throughout the rise of Islam and into the twentieth century, mosques and synagogues, like the one Smith’s grandparents attended in central Erbil’s Citadel, enjoyed a cordial coexistence.

Centuries of amicability decayed, however, when in early June 1941 Nazi-inspired anti-semitism in Baghdad encouraged rioters to loot and destroy Jewish homes and shops during the Jewish Shavuot festival.

Known as the Farhud, the two-day pogrom left nearly 200 dead and a community traumatized.

A few years later, the establishment of Israel fanned the embers of anti-semitism in Iraq. In response, Israel organized Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, a 1951 airlift that granted Israeli citizenship to Iraqi Jews who felt threatened.

In just two years, around 120,000 Iraqi Jews fled to Israel - all but a few thousand.  

Today, Jews in Baghdad number in single digits at most, with the BBC reporting in 2011 that just seven remained.

This figure stood at 80,000 just 100 years ago, according to a 1917 Ottoman census.

Hidden congregation

In Iraqi Kurdistan, which prides itself as a bastion of tolerance in the region, and which will vote in an independence referendum in September, a higher, yet debated, number reside.

As many have converted to Islam and Christianity over the years and others pose as Christians and Muslims, statistics are unclear and call into question what defines a “Jew.”

Mordechai Zaken, historian and former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has said that most of the several dozen families that had some distant family connection to Judaism immigrated to Israel in the aftermath of the Gulf War.

Read more ►

The Zoroastrian priestesses of Iran

“Most of these people are Muslim Kurds who perhaps have a grandmother or great grandmother of Jewish origin who converted to Islam two or three generations ago,” he told the Jerusalem Post.

Decades into life without a Jewish support system - synagogues, rabbis, collective holiday celebrations - the once flourishing sense of Jewish community has faded.

Additionally, incidents reminding Jews to proceed with caution haven’t been consigned to the 20th century.

In 2012, Mawlud Afand, the publisher of the now discontinued Israel-Kurd magazine, which one Sulaimaniya man remembers buying covertly “like [he] was buying was cocaine,” was kidnapped and imprisoned in Iran after repeated warnings to cease publication, according to those close to him. He was released in 2015.

Law of Minorities

A seemingly progressive development came in 2015 when the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) passed the Law of Minorities, which gave a handful of minority religions - Zoroastrianism, Yarsanism and Judaism among others - the right to official representatives in the KRG through the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.

The Jewish representative appointed by the KRG was Sherzad Mamsani, a man who claims to have lost his right hand in a 1997 bombing in which he says he was targeted for his faith. 

My father was so happy he cried at the first mention of a Jewish representative

- Anonymous, Kurdish Jew

Chief among his goals, he says, is the restoration of the region’s Jewish historical sites, erection of synagogues, and the carrying out of a public relations effort to improve the perception of Jews.   

One Kurdish Jew, who did not want to give his name, remembers vividly his father's reaction when he first heard the news of Mamsani’s appointment.

“My father was so happy he cried at the first mention of a Jewish representative,” he says.

Sherzad Mamsani, pictured in his office at the Kurdish Jewish Community's office in Erbil (Matt Alesevich/MEE)

“I want to remove the bad image for the Jews,” says Mamsani, at an Erbil cafe in April.

“I want people to know that Jewish people are not dangerous.”

But two years into his post, Mamsani has struggled with his own image in Jewish communities.

I want people to know that Jewish people are not dangerous

- Sherzad Mamsani, Jewish representative in the KRG

Just months after his appointment, Zaken told the Jerusalem Post that Mamsani was “someone who does not distinguish between truth and lies in his eagerness,” adding that his “publicity campaign” is “causing confusion” and “damaging the KRG.”

Zaken, the author of Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan, accused Mamsani of inflating the number of Jews in Kurdistan for political gain.

Controversial census

Most recently, Mamsani has controversially undertaken a mission to conduct a census of Jewish families in the region by aggregating documents, an initiative he once described in a 2016 Times of Israel interview as “insanity” and an idea that would let “enemies find us and kill us little by little.”

“Information can be bought in Iraq,” worries one Jewish man with his information, given over by a family member, now on file. 

While some families have cooperated, others have balked at what they see as a double standard initiated by a leader who claims to have, but hasn’t proved to have, Jewish roots and official connections.

KRG’s Director of Relations and Religious Coexistence, Mariwan Naqshbandy, confirmed to MEE that Mamsani was granted his post, which is unpaid, without presenting paperwork or community input, but simply after putting himself forward for the role.

“We didn’t turn over paperwork. I haven’t seen good or bad things yet - I just don’t trust him,” says one Jew who has met Mamsani, speaking on behalf of his family.

An X strikes through a Star of David on a wall in Sulamaniyah (Matt Alesevich/MEE)

“Lots of Jewish people are asking who he is. They don’t want to show their documents - they want proof [of who he is] before coming out.”

But confirmation won’t be coming from what many believe to be the most validating source: Israel.

“Sherzad is not an Israeli citizen, has no (sic) an Israeli passport and has no connection to the Israeli government or any official standing in Israel,” writes Margalit Vega, the director of Israel’s Gulf States Department at the Foreign Ministry, in an email to MEE.  

Earlier this year, Mamsani temporarily stood down for what he called “some reasons,” and he himself admits to having many critics.

“Most of my community [is] anti-Sherzad,” admits Mamsani, who repeatedly stresses that he’s not a politician.

The Jewish representative seems to be most favourably viewed on foreign trips and in external publications, where he is painted as a brave champion for religious minorities who, as Mamsani puts it, “stands in the centre of the fire among radical Islamic countries.”

Murder plots?

Many interviews mention his claims that there have been multiple attempts at his life, one which he says is the reason he has a prosthetic right hand.

Last year CNN featured Mamsani in a review of Iraq’s “Minorities on the edge of extinction.”

Also last year, in a New York Times piece summarizing a Kurdish delegation’s lobbying trip to Washington, Mamsani, who attended, is named a “top official” taken “in an open appeal to build support in Israel for the Kurdish effort.” (According to Mamsani, he exchanged gifts - a yarmulke for an American flag - with Arizona Congressman Trent Franks.)

For progressive Kurds, eager to applaud KRG steps toward improving minority relations (for example, five parliamentary seats - out of 111 -  must be filled by each Turkmen and Christian parties and minimum of 30 percent of all seats must be held by women), appointments like Mamsani’s set Kurdistan further apart from rigid Iraq.

A Jewish volunteer creates a Holocaust photo wall before an event at the Kurdish Jewish Community's office in Erbil (Matt Alsevich/MEE)

“I saw [Mamsani’s] work on Facebook and Instagram and what he does for Jews - how he presents for Jewish people,” says Aria Youssef, a Syrian Kurdish women’s rights advocate who attended one of Mamsani’s Jewish shabbat dinner gatherings in Erbil.

“It was interesting to see the reality - not photos - of how he can present Jewish people in Kurdistan.”

While Kurdistan is currently enjoying a period of peace, decades of on-again-off-again conflict - in less than 30 years Kurds have lived through the Iraq-Iran War, Saddam Hussein’s massacre of Kurds, two American invasions of Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State group - has disciplined many to default to caution.

Kurdish people love Jewish people and our government loves Israel

- Taha Smith, Kurdish Jew

Even the now open Smith, who sports a Star of David tattoo on his right arm, acknowledges a future of unknowns.

“I trust my government. I trust the [Kurdish] Peshmerga [military forces]. Kurdish people love Jewish people and our government loves Israel,” says Smith. “But of course, we don’t know what is going to happen next.”

Israeli support

Israel is a vocal, and much welcomed, supporter of Kurdish independence and Kurdistan is sometimes dubbed “Second Israel.”

Americans are also held in high esteem by Kurds, increasingly so since American bombs deterred ISIS’s advance toward Erbil in the summer of 2014.

With strong international alliances, and a well-policed, checkpoint-heavy interior, it is not everyday security that concerns religious minorities here, but the area’s susceptibility to random volatility, and the spread of violence from outside.

In 2014, after a few years’ lull in anti-Yazidi violence, Kurdistan’s Yazidis faced a sporadic and barbaric genocide at the hands of ISIS. 

A sign for the Jewlakan Mosque in Sulamaniyah. The area is still known by its now much diminished Jewish population (Matt Alesevich/MEE)

“If someone sees me comment on a [Jewish] Facebook page, maybe the time will come [when that causes a problem], god forbid,” says one man. “Kurdistan is like a nest of spies and moles.”

While Kurdish Jews feel protected as Kurds, they would welcome further support from Israel and the US, collectively home to around three-quarters of the world’s Jewish population.

“We hope we can make a connection with the US or Israel. We don’t need to go there,” says one Jewish Iraq-Iran War veteran, distancing himself from Kurds who’ve posed as Jews to gain Israeli citizenship over the years.

If Israel sent just two rabbis to Kurdistan, you would see a line in front of the Ministry

- Anonymous, Kurdish Jew

“Even if we have our name at the US embassy [in Erbil]. Even if they give us a piece paper that gives us protection if something happens again—that is enough.”

In terms of spiritual foundations, however, it’s clear which nation has the best shot of bringing the community out of the woodwork.

“If Israel sent just two rabbis to Kurdistan, you would see a line in front of the Ministry [of Religion]. They could say we are official. Here is our passports. Here is our ID,” argues one Erbil Jew. “If that happened, you’d see a crowd like never before