Iraqi Kurds fly an Israeli flag and Kurdish flags during an event to urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 16, 2017. / AFP / SAFIN HAMED
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Israel has become the only country to openly support an independent Kurdish state, a result of good ties between Kurds and Jews and expectations it would be a front against Iran and extremism, experts say.To Gideon Saar, a former Israeli minister, the Kurds are a minority in the Middle East that, unlike the Jews, have yet to achieve statehood.Former Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani visited Israel, as did his son, current president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani, and many Israeli officials have visited Kurdistan, Bengio said.The U.S. supports the current Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq and relies on its forces in the war against Daesh, but has urged the Kurds to call off the potentially "provocative and destabilizing" independence referendum.
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