The news on July 11 that caught my attention was the arrest of Adnan Oktar and more than 200 of his followers.
Turkish police arrested controversial television evangelist Adnan Oktar and are seeking 235 of his associates and followers, state-run Anadolu news agency said. … Oktar, famous for his plastic-surgery enhanced female assistants, was launched early on Tuesday in five provinces of Turkey … Oktar’s group … are accused of charges including forming a criminal gang, sexual abuse and fraud. … Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate had slammed Oktar’s religious practices in January. He mixed discussions on Islam and social issues with dancing with his so-called “kittens” on live television.
Adnan would appear to be, well, weird. He has a bevy of females who literally seem entranced with him—not to mention their enhanced features. Rumors abound. His anti-creationism is out of whack with the rest of science.
However, I have been following him for several years. Friends and acquaintances have visited with him in Turkey. I haven’t, although an invitation was extended. I have met with close associates of his at events in Jerusalem, including the recent Global Antisemitism Conference.
The bottom line is that he seems, at this stage of his life, to be reaching out to Judaism and Israel with a coexistence-based approach. So why not cooperate and test the waters? Did Jabotinsky not reach out to anti-Semitic pogromist Petlura to try and save Jews?
Unfortunately, perhaps, the visits of Orthodox rabbis, right-wing politicians and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to his Iftar feasts have upset Israel’s Foreign Ministry and, more importantly, Haaretz newspaper.
The willingness of at least some Israeli politicians and clerics to appear on his TV program and at other events stems from another element of his religious outlook: his attitude regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque. As Haaretz published last March, terming it “a refreshing message to Israel’s Temple Mount Faithful movement,”
“Christians, Jews, Muslims—everyone can worship there”… He’s in favor of rebuilding the Temple. “The land there is sufficient for this,” he said: “We will build the prayer house of Prophet Solomon there, and in this century, inshallah [God willing].”
As for the uncomfortable feeling of the Foreign Ministry, when asked for comment, Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told Haaretz there:
“Adnan Oktar, known also as Harun Yahya, is a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite who is trying by underhand means to be ‘koshered’ by Israeli political elements. The Foreign Ministry is against all ties with him and has cautioned about this on numerous occasions in the past.”
Well, after the Polish statement, I wonder how officialdom defines desire or undesired political expediency.
Whether Oktar is an anti-Semite now, which I personally do not believe, or if I should try to set up my own haram of plasticized bevies, is irrelevant to the possible positive progress that Oktar can make a contribution to in specifically Israel-Turkish relations or those with Islam. If he can help or assist Israel, then he is legitimate in my eyes.
By the way, reading the charges against him would indicate to me something is wrong in Turkey and protested even if he were an anti-Semite. But Haaretz newspaper’s involvement is even more intriguing.
Haaretz, which is not known for any conservative sexuality line, is obviously upset with Oktar. Asaf Ronel was in Turkey a second time recently. But if you reached the bottom of his yesterday’s profile, you would read that he was
a guest of the Turkish state English-language television channel TRT World.
Hmm. State television of the Erdogan regime? Isn’t that regime anti-Semitic, Erdogan calling Zionism fascist? Supports Hamas? Promotes flotillas to break the Gaza “blockade”? Is trying to buy property in Jerusalem’s Old City? Fomenting violence on the Temple Mount? And, perhaps, ultimately recreating an Ottoman-style Empire?
Isn’t Haaretz liberal?
Shouldn’t Israel’s Foreign Ministry seek out possible friends?
In any case, Tisha B’Av is in another week.
Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli journalist and author.
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