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Israeli Couple Accused Of Spying By Turkey Released, Sent Home - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Israeli Couple Accused Of Spying By Turkey Released, Sent Home by Originality007: 12:21pm On Nov 18, 2021
Natali and Mordi Oaknin, who had been jailed for photographing the Turkish president's palace, were returned to Israel on Thursday.

Natali and Mordi Oaknin thanked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for their work towards their release after they were sent to jail in Istanbul for photographing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s home.
Bennett and Lapid called the Oaknins hours after they arrived in Israel on Thursday, and asked how they are feeling.
“We’re touched by everything that happened in Israel,” Mordi said. “Everyone worked together on the mission to get us out.”Natali added: “We don’t take what you did for granted…You were with us. I heard that the minister and prime minister spoke with my family every day…We are eternally grateful. We’re strong, thanks to you.”
During the nine-day ordeal, some in Israel highlighted social media posts by Natali Oaknin against Bennett and supporting former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
However, she said to Bennett: “I am proud you are in my government. I am proud of you. You saved our entire world.”
Bennett also commended Natali's daughter, Shiraz Ben Harush, “for showing so much responsibility and restraint.”
“Shiraz is an amazing girl,” Lapid said. “A 20-year-old girl led this whole thing!”

“Shiraz, we might recruit you to an elite unit,” Bennett quipped, and Shiraz responded: “I’m in.”
The Oaknins have a five-year-old son on the spectrum, and Lapid, who has an autistic daughter, inquired about how the son is doing, and Natali said he was overjoyed to see his parents. Ben Harush had said in earlier interviews that her brother did not know about the arrest

Bennett also reminded the family to go to synagogue and say Birkat Hagomel, the blessing said when someone emerges from a dangerous situation.
The prime minister was also expected to speak with Erdogan on Thursday, which would be the first phone call between Erdogan and an Israeli prime minister in 13 years. The Turkish president spoke with President Isaac Herzog earlier this year.
The couple’s release came nine days after their arrest, after a concerted effort from the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office, as well as the President’s Office. The turning point came when Mossad chief David Barnea spoke to his Turkish counterpart and gave his word that, contrary to the Turkish prosecution’s accusation, the Oaknins are not Israeli spies and have nothing to do with Israeli intelligence. Israeli Charge d’Affairs in Turkey Irit Lillian was also in contact with Erdogan’s Senior Adviser Ibrahim Kalin, who ultimately informed her on Wednesday afternoon that the Oaknins would be freed.
The military censor blocked publication of the details and the Oaknins’ relatives in Israel kept the matter a secret, even when government officials who did not know the latest news visited them.
Israel did not have to give anything to Ankara in return for releasing the couple, a diplomatic source said, explaining that Erdogan and his advisers understood that the arrest was a “Kafkaesque” mistake and there was no reason to keep them in Turkey.
The source speculated that the incident reconnected Israeli and Turkish officials, and that could help repair the poor relations between the countries.

THE OAKNINS, Modi’in residents and Egged bus drivers, flew home on a special flight with Foreign Ministry Consular Department Head Rina Djerassi-Dvir and Human Resources Department head Chaim Levi, who especially went to Turkey several days ago to negotiate their release.

ברוכים הבאים הביתה ❤️ pic.twitter.com/64oVzBnFua
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) November 18, 2021
The Turkish authorities agreed to release the couple on Wednesday evening, but the military censor blocked publication of the details and the couple's relatives in Israel kept the matter a secret.
The Oaknins photographed Erdogan’s palace last week while in the Camlica Tower, the tallest tower in Europe, which opened earlier this year. A waitress heard them talking about it and reported them to the police, who arrested them and a Turkish friend who accompanied them on their visit.
Turkish police originally recommended deporting the Oaknins, but the prosecution sought to charge them with espionage. A court extended their remand for at least 20 days on Friday, as the prosecution prepared its case for a trial.
Bennett and Lapid spoke with the Oaknins’ daughter Ben-Harush and Natali’s brother Eran Peri as they waited for the couple at the airport.
Bennett and Lapid said they “respect the Oaknin family for their strength during this complicated time,” and thanked President Isaac Herzog for his help.

They spoke with the Oaknins’ daughter Shiraz Ben-Harosh and Natali’s brother Eran Peri as they waited for the couple at the airport. The couple also has a five-year-old son, Ofek, who is on the autism spectrum.
“You see? I told you that we are doing everything, and indeed we did everything,” Bennett said. “You were a wonderful partner. The family's restraint was very critical in these days. Give little Ofek a hug for me. Mom and Dad are on their way home.”
Lapid – who had canceled a trip to meet his Hungarian counterpart in Budapest in order to stay involved in the Oaknins’ case - told Shiraz and Eran that they and their family were “amazing.”
“We were with you all week,” he said. "We promised that we would do everything to bring them back to you and now, they are on their way home. Give them a big hug for us."
HERZOG TWEETED a welcome to the Oaknins and also said he sends hugs to them and their family. He also thanked Erdogan and the Turkish government for their cooperation.
Peri expressed his appreciation for the work the Foreign Ministry did to bring back his sister and brother-in-law and pushed back against criticism on social media of his sister for her past Facebook posts supporting former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and harshly criticizing Bennett.
"It was all the Foreign Ministry... They worked like crazy," he told KAN Bet Radio. "We're a right-wing family... It doesn't matter if we're Left or Right. What was important was to bring these parents back to their children and the country that they love."
Israel’s consul in Istanbul, Ronen Levi, visited Natali, and Consul-General Udi Eitam visited Mordy on Tuesday; their Israeli attorney, Nir Yaslovitzh met with them, as well. The diplomats also met with prison authorities to ensure the couple was being held in suitable living conditions. They gave them clothing and supplies.
On Tuesday, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had accused the couple of "military and political espionage," raising concerns that the issue would be a drawn-out affair.
The Oaknins were featured prominently in a 2018 ad campaign for Egged to encourage people to apply for jobs with the bus company, which Yaslovitzh planned to use as part of their defense, arguing that spies would not have their faces appearing in ads online and on buses.
Meanwhile, Ben-Harosh opened a crowdfunding page to pay her parents’ legal fees, which had been covered by the Egged workers' union.
The case comes just weeks after the Turkish news agency Sabah claimed that a Mossad network of 15 Arabs has been caught by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT). Israeli sources have denied the claims.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.


Re: Israeli Couple Accused Of Spying By Turkey Released, Sent Home by Righteousness2(m): 12:29pm On Nov 18, 2021
GOD Bless Isreal
GOD Bless and Jerusalem
May the Isrealis who are yet to know JESUS as the Messiah and Savior come to know HIM in JESUS Name.

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Re: Israeli Couple Accused Of Spying By Turkey Released, Sent Home by Nobody: 2:30pm On Nov 18, 2021
GOD Bless Isreal
GOD Bless and Jerusalem
May the Isrealis who are yet to know JESUS as the Messiah and Savior come to know HIM in JESUS Name.
Re: Israeli Couple Accused Of Spying By Turkey Released, Sent Home by Nobody: 2:30pm On Nov 18, 2021
How dare turkey arresting beloved people nah!

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