Gaza Missile Hits Israeli Shopping Mall

Gaza Missile Hits Israeli Shopping Mall

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday broke a days-long ceasefire and resumed rocket fire on southern Israel.

By Tuesday night, nearly a dozen missiles had been fired at Israeli towns and villages, one of which scored a direct hit on a shopping mall in the port city of Ashkelon.

Despite considerable damage being caused, there were no injuries in the attacks.

Israel responded with aerial strikes against at least two dozen terrorist targets across the Gaza Strip. Local residents were reportedly once again fleeing their homes after having tentatively returned to some semblance of normal life amidst the now-shattered ceasefire.

Israel also immediately withdrew its delegation from long-term truce talks in Cairo. The Netanyahu government insists it will not negotiate under fire.

The Obama Administration openly blamed Hamas for breaking the ceasefire and ruining the peace talks. But Hamas insisted that, despite the first shots being fired from Gaza, it had not violated the truce. According to the terror group, Israel was to blame for the whole mess after stalling the Cairo talks by failing to accept Hamas’ extravagant demands.


Hamas Coup Plot Again Challenges Wisdom of Palestinian State

Hamas Coup Plot Again Challenges Wisdom of Palestinian State

When Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, there were firm assurances that such a coup could never happen in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), which the international community was pressing Israel to surrender for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Of course, those same types of promises were made when Israel surrendered Gaza two years earlier, when the world vowed that the Israeli gesture would result only in calm and future peace.

Hamas, it would seem, was on the verge of once again getting the better of Israel, the Palestinians and the international community.

Israel’s Shin Bet (the local equivalent of the FBI) revealed on Monday the recent arrest of over 90 Hamas operatives and a large quantity of weaponry in Judea and Samaria.

After interrogating the suspects, Israel learned that Hamas was planning a series of major attacks against both the Palestinian Authority and Israel (including an assault on the Temple Mount) aimed ultimately at overthrowing the regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas himself was taking the report seriously, and ordered an internal investigation into what he called “a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future.”

Israeli government officials said this was yet further evidence of why a fully independent Palestinian state must not be established.

“Today, once again, it was proven that it is impossible to abandon the security of Israel to the Palestinian Authority,” said Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky. “It’s time to wake up from the dreamland…and understand that only a constant military and political presence in Judea and Samaria will prevent [the Tel Aviv area] from becoming” the new front from terrorist rocket attacks.

Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis added: “This publication is a warning sign. It makes clear that we must not acquiesce to innocent illusions that will turn into a nightmare for us all.”


Palestinians Again Leverage Violence for Political Gain

Palestinians Again Leverage Violence for Political Gain

The Gaza ceasefire was extended by an additional 24 hours last night, giving the various sides engaged in talks in Cairo just a little more time to hammer out a deal.

Judging by Palestinian sources, it is difficult to understand what is going on behind the scenes. And Israeli government sources are tight-lipped.

But, what is known is that Hamas’ 3,500 rocket attacks against Israel this summer have paid off, and the limited blockade of Gaza will be lifted. In addition, Gaza’s Mediterranean fishing zone will be extended to 12 miles.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is supposed to assume some form of control over Gaza, though it remains unlikely Hamas will voluntarily relinquish power. And all talk of demilitarizing the territory is off the table.

Sometime in the next four weeks, the sides will possibly begin discussing the construction of air and sea ports in Gaza, as demanded by Hamas.

All this has been portrayed by Hamas as a victory against Israel.

“Hamas’ leadership just convinced their population that without violence, nothing can be gained from Israel,” political commentator Raviv Drucker told Israel Radio. “Historically, Hamas has made all its gains against Israel through violence.”

In short, Israel has once again played right into the terrorists’ hands. Hamas has been politically strengthened, while Abbas has been weakened. And, if Israel is not careful, this whole cycle will repeat itself in the near future.

Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threats that should Hamas break the current ceasefire Israel will respond in force are not being taken seriously, not by many Israelis, anyway. Again, history shows that such threats from Jerusalem carry no water.

Ever since the so-called “Oslo Accords” were signed 20 years ago, Israel has warned that the Palestinians must not use violence as a means to gain concessions from Israel or create political breakthroughs. But that’s precisely what they’ve been doing all along, and are successfully doing again in Cairo at this very minute.


Israel: There is No Gaza 'Siege'

Israel: There is No Gaza 'Siege'

Key to pro-Palestinian propaganda against Israel is portraying the situation in and around Gaza as a “siege.” But Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued a statement explaining that such a portrayal simply isn’t accurate.

The statement begins by pointing out some basic geography: Gaza is not wholly surrounded by Israel:

"There is no Israeli “siege” on the Gaza Strip. First of all, Gaza shares borders not only with Israel, but with Egypt as well. There is a 13 kilometer (8 mile) frontier between Gaza and Egypt. That country, and not Israel, controls the Rafah crossing into Gaza which has been used primarily by people traveling to and from Egypt, and from there to the rest of the world."

It goes on to explain that even on those sides where Gaza shares a border with Israel, there is not a full blockade of the coastal enclave. Everything outside of weapons and a short list of dual-use items are permitted to enter Gaza as normal. And the barring of those dual-use items has been fully justified by the discovery of a massive Hamas tunnel network:

"…for the past four years all goods are allowed to enter Gaza from Israel, except for weapons and a short list of dual-use items which can be exploited by terrorists. The ban on weapons and the restrictions on dual-use items stem from the fact that since 2007, Gaza has been ruled by a terrorist organization, namely Hamas, whose declared aim is the destruction of Israel. They are in place solely to protect Israel’s citizens from Hamas’ ongoing terrorist attacks."

The entry of normal, every day products and merchandise is determined by the Gaza market, not by Israel. The presence of a swank shopping mall, stocked open-air markets and upscale eateries is evidence of this:

"Not only do food, medicine, fuel and aid enter freely at all times, but in peacetime, commodities and consumer goods of every type are transferred daily from Israel to Gaza through the land crossing. The types and amounts of consumer goods are determined by Palestinian merchants and depend primarily on market forces in Gaza. For the more affluent, Gaza offers a variety of consumer opportunities, from a modestly-sized mall to upscale restaurants. Even during the latest hostilities in Gaza, an international journalist reported on shopping at one of Gaza’s supermarkets, which offered “all kinds of goods.”"

All of these goods enter Gaza by truck via Israel. Prior to the outbreak of this summer’s Gaza war, over 18,000 trucks carrying nearly 228,000 tons of supplies entered Gaza in the first five months of 2014.

In addition to consumer goods and produce, huge quantities of humanitarian aid, fuel, water and electricity are provided to Gaza largely free of charge (the Palestinian government is supposed to pay Israel for the water and electricity, but never does).

The MFA statement concluded:

"In light of all these facts, not only is it obvious that there is no siege on Gaza, but it is also not reasonable to say that as a whole the Gaza Strip is under an Israeli blockade.

"The economic plight of the Gaza Strip does not stem from a mythical siege, but from its rule by a recognized terrorist organization dedicated not to the welfare of its people, but to…advancing its agenda to destroy Israel."

The following is a short video clip produced by the MFA more succinctly explaining the situation:

PHOTO: A truck loaded with Israeli-produced medicine prepares to enter Gaza.


Messianics Respond: They Call My Children Genocidal

Messianics Respond: They Call My Children Genocidal

The following emotional open letter from Pastor David Lazarus is the second in a short series of responses by Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders to a problematic video produced by Bethlehem Bible College regarding this summer’s Gaza war.

Additional responses will be published in the next issue of Israel Today Magazine. Don’t miss them - SUBSCRIBE NOW

I thought the brothers at the Bethlehem Bible College were my good friends. That was until they began spreading rumors that my two sons are indiscriminately killing women, children and the elderly. I can hardly believe my ears and my heart is broken.

My dear Christian brothers, whom I have loved and walked together with for the past 30 years, why are you promoting a devious hate campaign against my children, encouraging people to say that my beautiful and amazing young Messianic Jewish boys are committing genocide? I am at a loss for words.

Your Bible College (I can call it that no longer) has embarked on a devious propaganda campaign that is stirring up more Arab hatred towards the Jewish nation and towards my boys now serving in the IDF.

Instead of praying for my sons, and the many other young men and women now fighting to save Israel and your beloved Palestinian people from the blood thirsty Hamas terrorists, you use the name of Christ to spread the Muslim libel that the IDF wants to murder innocent people?

Shame on you!

You call yourselves a Christian institution? How are you serving Christ by encouraging your people to vent their anger, hatred and violence towards Israel? Have your people not suffered enough? Why do you not comfort the poor Palestinians and teach them to look to Jesus for relief from their pain, as your Bible teaches? Instead, you add to their anger towards Jews and Israel by your hate campaign? Did Christ teach his disciples to stir up rage with slander and propaganda?

You ask the world to pressure Israel to give in to the demands of Hamas, a terror organization that is teaching your people to hate and kill. And you do this in the name of Christ? What part of the Bible do you use when you train your students to spread the same lies and propaganda against Israel that is being used by the Islamic rulers of Gaza?

You told me that you understand that the only way to bring any kind of peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict is to teach both sides to forgive. You said that we need to teach our children that it is wrong to hold grudges that lead to more conflict.

So, why do you now encourage Palestinians to continue to blame Israel for all of your problems? What you are doing will only result in more suicide bombers.

Some of your people tell me, “You don’t understand the grievances of Hamas. If we would listen to them and make life better for them there would be less terror in the world.”

Are these terrorists the only ones with grievances? In the last century alone, our world has endured two world wars, murderous civil wars, Hiroshima, untold massacres, pogroms and a holocaust. Is there any other religion in the world that teaches its people to continue taking revenge by killing innocent people? Did you ever see a survivor of Hiroshima or the Holocaust blow up a hospital, a school or a hotel? Do they not also have grievances?

What you should teach your people is that there is no grievance, suffering or pain that can justify the kind of terrorism practiced by Hamas and other Palestinian groups. None. Never. Jesus warned you that your unchecked anger will lead to murder.

However, you continue to reinforce the devious justification of hatred, anger and murder propagated by the likes of Hamas. The values of an entire generation have become so white-washed that you are blinded to this clear manifestation of evil. By identifying with the hate ideology of these groups you are promoting their terror and are responsible for the outcome of your hate campaign.

You have become an institution of politically-motivated agitators, a pro-Palestinian propaganda media outlet. You told me to my face that you intend to adversely influence uninformed Evangelicals and incite international opinion against Israel.

I told you that my government has warned us about you. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs put out a warning that you are “using religion for the purpose of incitement.” You are misusing Christian teachings to inflame anti-Israeli passions. Your blame Israel campaign encourages violence and stirs up even more radical Islamic terror. I call you my friends no longer. May God protect all our sons and daughters from this present evil.

Additional responses will be published in the next issue of Israel Today Magazine. Don’t miss them - SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO: IDF Captain Josh Lazarus, son of the author, Pastor David Lazarus.


What Gaza (Again) Reveals About the Danger of Palestine

What Gaza (Again) Reveals About the Danger of Palestine

A chorus of Israeli officials are again singing the dangers of facilitating the creation of a Palestinian state, as demonstrated by this summer’s Gaza war.

The ninth anniversary of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza actually occurred during the fighting, as Hamas was raining rockets down on Israeli cities, and IDF soldiers were battling to find and destroy an enormous network of terror tunnels.

Israelis have been noting that this is the third Gaza flare-up since the so-called “disengagement,” which Israeli and Western officials alike promised would result in calm and improved regional and international relations for the Jewish state.

As that has clearly not been the case, many insist that the situation in Gaza is the final piece of evidence needed to prove that permitting the birth of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state is suicidal, and therefore must be taken off the table.

“After withdrawing from Lebanon brought Hezbollah to power and withdrawing from Gaza brought Hamas to power, the lesson must be not to form a terrorist state in the heart of our land,” said Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar at a conference in Jerusalem earlier this month.

A Palestinian state, which the Palestinian leadership says must be free of Jews, “would endanger Israel’s future,” insisted Sa’ar. “Where there are no settlements, there is no IDF, and where there is no IDF, there is terrorism.”

And, contrary to the lofty assertions coming out of Washington, Brussels and even Jerusalem, the 2005 Gaza pull out proves this to be the case. “Terrorism was not defeated by withdrawing,” Sa’ar pointed out. “It was strengthened by the withdrawal.”

Days later, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett voiced similar sentiments, stating that Israel could not afford to allow the terrorism that has overtaken Gaza to gain a foothold in Judea and Samaria.

Recalling that international air travel to Israel was briefly halted after a Gaza rocket struck near Ben Gurion Airport, Bennett argued, “What one rocket fired at [central Israel] from Gaza succeeded in doing is liable to be duplicated by an anti-aircraft missile from Samaria, [less than four miles] from Ben Gurion Airport… In this case [the airport] would be shut down for more than just two days.”

In short, Bennett said, “a Palestinian state will destroy the Israeli economy. It will destroy tourism, business and commerce.”

Such remarks put Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a difficult position. Ministers like Sa’ar and Bennett are popular with the public, and their views on this topic make a lot of sense to a lot of people.

Netanyahu, however, has previously committed himself to negotiating a “two-state solution” to the present conflict, and it is a certainty that America and Europe will hold him to that, even in the face of Palestinian violations and intransigence.

Earlier in the Gaza war, Netanyahu told a Jerusalem press conference that “the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

Failing to relinquish security control over the so-called “West Bank” would mean no Palestinian state, as the Palestinian leadership would never agree to such as stipulation.

But it would seem that Netanyahu’s claim that the Israeli public at large, let alone the international community, now understands why this is impossible might be somewhat premature.

Some Israelis are already demonstrating and calling for an immediate renewal of bilateral peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the Gaza war, and Netanyahu’s earlier warnings have already been drown out by international voices insisting that the status quo is unsustainable (diplomatic-speak for birthing a Palestinian state, now).


Hamas Resorts to Direct Blackmail as Truce Talks Collapse

Hamas Resorts to Direct Blackmail as Truce Talks Collapse

While Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams remained in Cairo on Sunday, the chances of reaching a long-term agreement before the current ceasefire expired a day later were almost nil, according to Israeli participants.

On Friday, Egypt leaked to the press details of its comprehensive truce proposal, which calls for a gradual easing of the blockade of Gaza to be overseen by Israeli and Egyptian forces and future talks on a Gaza seaport and airport, as demanded by Hamas.

Israel responded to the proposal with some wariness, noting that it wasn’t prepared to dilute its security demands, and that agreeing to a seaport and airport as part of the overall ceasefire package, regardless of when they would be built, would be seen as a prize for Hamas’ aggression against the Jewish state.

“If Hamas thinks it will make up for its military losses with a political achievement, it is wrong,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

But Israel’s cautious approach to the new Egyptian proposal was of little consequence, as Hamas had already rejected the deal a day earlier. Hamas leaders said that Israel would accept all their demands, including the immediate and unconditional lifting of the Gaza blockade, or face a new war of attrition in its southern regions.

Netanyahu said if Hamas believed Israel would play along with this blackmail, it was sadly mistaken. “If Hamas thinks that by continuing the steady trickle of rocket fire it will force us to make concessions, it is wrong,” the prime minister insisted.

Israel was far more accepting of recommendations issued on Friday by the European Union, which called for the lifting of the Israeli blockade in exchange for the disarming of all militant groups present in Gaza.

Many Israelis, including most members of Netanyahu’s government, are adamant that the demilitarization of Gaza be a firm condition of any long-term ceasefire.


VIDEO: What it's Like for a Believer in the IDF

VIDEO: What it's Like for a Believer in the IDF

As the summer’s Gaza war raged, many Israeli believers in Yeshua found themselves being called upon to take up arms in defense of their nation.

One young man, Hananya Naftali, filmed a short video in an effort to dispel some of the misinformation floating around about the conduct of Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

With the Gaza ground war over, Hananya is back at it, this time with a video providing a more general explanation of what it’s like for local believers serving in the IDF.

Still in the midst of his compulsory service, Hananya says it’s not always easy, but he, like most other Israeli believers, is happy for the opportunity. “Every day I get the chance to speak with secular soldiers about God,” he write to Israel Today.

Watch Hananya’s full video below:


Israeli Leftists Want Peace Talks, as Palestinians Call for War

Israeli Leftists Want Peace Talks, as Palestinians Call for War

Left-wing Israeli protestors gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday demanding that the end of this summer’s Gaza war lead to the start of fresh peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Unfortunately, Israel’s Palestinian “peace partners” were singing a different tune.

The still-not-fully-concluded Gaza war was characterized by broad unity across the Israeli public. From the left-to-the-right of the Israeli political spectrum, nearly everyone recognized the justness of combatting Gaza’s terrorist infrastructure. But the opposing sides of the Israeli polity differ greatly on what lessons must be learned from the conflagration.

Many on the Right insist that the Gaza war is yet another demonstration of why Israel cannot repeat the mistake of the 2005 Gaza disengagement by facilitating the creation of an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).

On the Left, voices are calling for the Netanyahu government to take advantage of the present national unity and the strong blow dealt to Hamas to reengage Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in meaningful and direct peace negotiations.

Those voices were out in some force in Tel Aviv over the weekend.

The more radical speakers addressing the crowds filling Rabin Square tried to blame the Gaza war on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his failure to “make peace” by accepting Arab demands in previous US-brokered talks. “When there is no peace war comes,” read a sign carried by many in attendance.

More reasonable critics, like opposition leader Isaac Hertzog (Labor), do not lay the recent violence on Netanyahu, but insist he will be held accountable if the war doesn’t lead to fresh negotiations.

As usual, neither Herzog nor the rabid antagonists taking the podium in Tel Aviv on Saturday paid any attention to what the Palestinians themselves are saying.

A video posted to YouTube two weeks earlier by a branch of Abbas’ own ruling Fatah faction reaffirmed the movement’s decision to return to “open war” against the “Zionist enemy.”

Just last week, the official Fatah page on Facebook boasted that the movement has over the course of decades killed far more Jews than Hamas, which is now enjoying surging popularity in the West Bank for its determined violent struggle against Israel.

Abbas, long portrayed as a “moderate” and genuine peace partner, has failed to condemn or otherwise distance himself from these statements.

In fact, Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, via its official mouthpiece PA TV, has signaled its complicity in Fatah’s new, more violent tone. A hit music clip calling on Gazans and all Palestinians to sacrifice themselves for the ultimate prize of fully destroying Israel has been broadcast numerous times in PA TV in recent weeks.


Messianics Respond: Palestinian Christian Video on Gaza Unworthy of Yeshua

Messianics Respond: Palestinian Christian Video on Gaza Unworthy of Yeshua

The following is the first in a short series of responses by Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders to a problematic video produced by Bethlehem Bible College regarding this summer's Gaza war.

Bishara Awad (pictured), founder and former president of Bethlehem Bible College, opens this video with a stark announcement:  "There is a church of Jesus Christ here in this land and that church is the Palestinian church."  He then warns his American Christian audience that without their help, "the church will disappear from this part of the world."  

Awad's comments lay the theological basis for the highly political message of this short video.  According to Awad, only the "Palestinian church" has the right to receive the support of American Christians in the west, because they alone are the "Church of Jesus Christ" in this land.  In one sentence, Awad has declared the Body of Messiah "judenrein" ("free of Jews"), even as Hamas has declared its intent to purge "Palestine" of its Jewish inhabitants.  Awad and Hamas have a shared theology of Replacement: Palestinians replace the Jews, whether in the community of faith or in the community of nations.

Awad's exclusion of the Messianic Jewish Community (numbering 10-15,000) from the Body of Messiah in the Land is used to perpetuate the lie that the Arab-Israeli conflict is "a war of the Jews against the Christians," which therefore demands the political intervention of the Christian world on behalf of their beleaguered Palestinian brethren.  In fact, nominal Christians (almost all being Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox) make up less than 2% of the total Palestinian Arab population.  The overwhelming majority are Muslims, many of whom support jihadist terrorist (aka "resistance") movements like Hamas.

It is therefore not surprising to hear a later interviewee declare, "We have been under Israeli occupation for 65 years"; that is, since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.  For the producers of this video, liberation from "the Occupation" can only be accomplished by the destruction of Israel, reversing the "nakba" or catastrophe which befell Israel's enemies when they failed in their attempted "infanticide" of the new-born Jewish state.

Rather than using their media department to produce evangelistic and discipleship materials, BBC has 'unequally yoked' itself to an Islamic political program, becoming the Christian "face" of what is at its root an anti-Christian, anti-Semitic jihadist movement.  Although Awad begins with a plea for "" for the sake of the "church", his true goal has nothing to do with lofty spiritual principles.  Instead the repeated chorus of this video is "to make big pressures in the United States", "to push their governments", and to "lobby your congressmen, senators, and your president."  

Bethlehem Bible College, through its sponsorship of the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences, claims to be a force for "peace, justice, and reconciliation" for the sake of the "Kingdom of God."  They seek to recruit Messianic Jews into this movement, claiming that they are both "pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel."  Such claims run aground on the reefs of their violent rhetoric, as evidenced in this video: "The suffering is going to be extended to their [the Israelis] land if they keep going.... This is not a war, it is a genocide."  

Even children are exploited for the sake of the cause, to recite the same twisted, one-sided litany that Hamas spokesmen have repeated daily to western reporters: "Enough support for Israel!  This support is destroying Gaza using illegal bombs and hitting hospitals and schools and shelters and destroying Gaza and its people."

If this is the gospel of Bethlehem "Bible" College, it is "a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6), not worthy of the One whom they claim to serve.


The Rainbow Crusade

The Rainbow Crusade

I was completely captivated by the picture to the left showing a single, large gay-lesbian rainbow flag amidst a sea of Palestinian flags. The accompanying caption "someone brought the wrong flag" missed the point completely.

The picture was taken on European soil, perhaps Holland or Belgium. A seemingly unrelated and strange piece of news that surfaced the same week involved the tiny French village of La Mort Aux Juifs (Death to Jews), which refuses to change its name.

Marie-Elizabeth Secretand, the deputy mayor of nearby Courtemaux, said that the request to change the name is "ridiculous" because, she implied, it is part of French heritage. I believe Secretand when she says that no one has anything against the Jews in particular. However, by refusing to change the name of this town, she and others openly embrace the France's anti-Semitic legacy.

This brings me back to the blond-headed homosexual man proudly waving his rainbow flag together with a Jew-hating Muslim crowd.

Leaving aside the fact that he would have been killed in a heartbeat had he raised this flag in a Muslim country, what was he doing there in the first place? Is he just a solitary moron, or does he represent a wider phenomenon?

There should be little doubt by now that protests against Israel have crossed the line from criticism to outright, unabashed anti-Semitism. The two seemingly unrelated and opposing groups fanning the flames of this phenomenon are Muslims and liberals.

Just like the ISIS (Islamic State) flag, committed Muslims see the world in black and white. It is a world in which there is no place for anyone else but Muslims. Under Islam, the best that Jews, Christians and Yazidis could hope for would be living as second-class citizens (dhimmi).

For a Muslim, the Western axiom "treat others as you would treat yourself" – based of course on "love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord" – means that Muslims are expected to treat other Muslims like themselves. Everyone else will either have to convert, be reduced to a second-class status or be killed. Indeed the very name Islam means submission, not peace.

This begs the question: Why are Western liberals, who want to live in an amoral world, cursing Israel for committing fictitious war crimes? Why are homosexuals, anarchists, socialists and even millions of Christians endorsing the very people that would destroy them if given the chance? Is this a global suicidal movement, or what?

As I have watched this swell of anti-Semitism gaining momentum over the past month, it became clear that the only thing holding together these otherwise opposing forces is the cry "death to the Jews." Europe's legacy has been revived by the Muslim spirit of jihad.

What is happening in Europe today is nothing short of a holy war, a crusade against the Jews. Muslims, Christians and millions of French, Dutch, Swedish and British liberals are creating a lynching atmosphere that is beginning to manifest itself as de facto ethnic cleansing.

I live in Tel Aviv, but I hear French everywhere I go. Jews are once again on the run, and Europe once again is acting as the self-righteous inquisitor. A new holocaust is brewing. And this time it's not under the cover of Nazi flag, but rather under the cover of the rainbow.


Israel Waiting for Hamas to Get Serious About Ceasefire

Israel Waiting for Hamas to Get Serious About Ceasefire

Israel’s leading newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, on Thursday cited Israeli officials as saying they are waiting for Hamas to “climb down from the tree” and get serious about a long-term Gaza ceasefire.

Hamas and/or its terrorist allies fired several missiles into southern Israel overnight as the latest 72-hour ceasefire expired. Israel briefly responded to the renewed rocket fire before agreeing to yet another ceasefire, this one scheduled to last an unprecedented five days.

PHOTO: Senior Hamas negotiator, Nahoul the Bee.

Hamas’ repeated violations of the ceasefires are seen as an outworking of the group’s frustration over everyone else’s failure to recognize that it won this summer’s Gaza war, and to award it accordingly.

In return for halting the launching of missiles that Israel’s Iron Dome easily swats out of the sky like flies, Hamas wants an end to the limited blockade of Gaza, an extension of the territory’s fishing claims and the construction of air and seaports so Hamas’ estimated 1,000 millionaires can more easily reach their vacation destinations.

Much to the group’s dismay, even fellow Arabs and Palestinians don’t seem to be taking seriously its reasonable demands.

There is broad hope in the Palestinian Authority that it will regain control of the Gaza Strip, or at least of the coastal enclave’s border crossings, which it lost after folding like a house of cards in the face of Hamas’ 2007 military coup.

And the new Egyptian regime might as well be Israel for all the hostility it is reportedly pouring on Hamas’ head. If accounts of the talks in mainstream Israeli and Arab newspapers are to be believed, Egypt and the Jewish state are presenting something of a united front in negotiations with Hamas.

Like an emotionally-wounded schoolgirl, Hamas is unlikely to return to the talks in Cairo during the new ceasefire. The group needs to save face by scoring some kind of victory from the month-long war that brought tremendous devastation upon Gaza.

But no one involved in the negotiations, least of all Israel, is going to give anything substantial without Hamas agreeing to disarm, which would be even more dangerous for the group than failing to win any concessions.

While Hamas did a good job of deceptively shaping worldwide public opinion during the war, the players on the ground know the truth of the overall situation. As such, Hamas, which everyone wants rid of, now finds itself very much in a lose-lose situation.

But for many Israelis, who know how slippery Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups can be, and how accommodating of such groups Western powers can be, the aforementioned scenario isn’t good enough.

Israeli residents of the Gaza border communities, many of whom still haven’t returned home for fear the rocket fire will resume, were scheduled to hold a large rally in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

They, like many Israelis, believe the government ended the Gaza war prematurely, and should have seized the opportunity to militarily defeat Hamas and eliminate its ability to violently threaten the Jewish state.

In the absence of such an outcome, most Israelis know that the next Gaza war is only a matter of time.


Israeli Officials: Obama is Weak and Naive

Israeli Officials: Obama is Weak and Naive

Israeli officials responding to the latest pressure from US President Barack Obama said the American leader is weak and naive, suggesting that Washington, which today has little leverage anywhere else in the Middle East, is trying to strong-arm the Jewish state.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that the Obama Administration had held up a delivery of missiles to Israel during its war against Gaza’s Hamas terrorist infrastructure.

In a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the same day, Obama reportedly repeated his demand that Israel implement an immediate, unilateral, unconditional and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The frozen missile shipment would appear to be a pressure tactic to get Israel to acquiesce to Obama’s demands, which Israeli officials have said only serve the interests of Hamas and terrorists throughout the region.

The month-long Gaza war was rife with diplomatic confrontations between Israel and the United States.

When Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a ceasefire deal drawn up in coordination with Hamas allies Turkey and Qatar, Israelis from the highest levels of government to the average man on the street were left wondering if America was still their ally.

Officials on both sides have been frantically working to downplay the worsening relations.

“The allegations are unfounded,” said Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer. “Israel deeply appreciates the support we have received during the recent conflict in Gaza from…the Obama administration.”

“We know nothing of this,” an Israeli government official told 0404 News in relation to the Journal report, claiming that “relations between Netanyahu and Obama are much improved.”

But the Israeli press was unimpressed by the denials, and news of the “deepening rift” between America and the Jewish state was the leading headline on nearly every Israeli media outlet Thursday morning.

Many speculated that Netanyahu knows well the workings of the American government, and is content to wait out a hostile Obama White House knowing that Congress will shield Israel from any truly severe measures.


WATCH: Hamas Continues to Manufacture Missiles

WATCH: Hamas Continues to Manufacture Missiles

Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV this week broadcast a special report featuring masked terrorists continuing to manufacture medium-range missiles in the Gaza Strip, even as the group’s leader purportedly negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel.

In the clip, Hamas engineers are seen assembling and polishing M–75 missiles.

The M–75 is based on the Iranian-made Fajr–5 missile. It has a range of 80 km (50 miles) and can hit Jerusalem and most of Greater Tel Aviv. The Fajr–5 sports a 400-pound warhead, and the M–75 is believed to carry a similar payload.

Hamas fired a great many M–75 and other medium-range missiles during this summer’s Gaza war. Nearly all that were predicted to hit populated areas were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.

That Hamas continues to manufacture these weapons is not only a slap in the face of all those now working toward a lasting ceasefire, but a gross violation of Israel’s past signed agreements with the Palestinians, which stipulate that the Gaza Strip is to be a demilitarized area.

The materials used to make these missiles are among those sent into Gaza ostensibly to build facilities and services for the civilian population. That they are instead used to manufacture weapons of war is one of the reasons Israel maintains a limited blockade on Gaza.

Click here to see the Al Aqsa report on Hamas continuing to manufacture M–75 missiles. The linked page is in Hebrew, and the audio of the video is in Arabic, but the images speak for themselves.


Reviving the Music of the Bible

Reviving the Music of the Bible

The Hebrew Bible is not only a sacred text, it is a massive and complex musical work, according to the renowned 20th century composer and music theorist Suzanne Haik Vantoura.

The full article appears in the August 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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'We Elected Hamas, We Made a Mistake'

'We Elected Hamas, We Made a Mistake'

Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian-Jordanian journalist, activist and voice for many Palestinian Arabs living in the Hashemite Kingdom and elsewhere says the Gaza war has reinforced for most that electing and supporting Hamas was a bad idea.

“Not a single Gazan that I spoke to was not against Hamas,” said Zahran, who came to the “West Bank” to cover the conflict in and around the Gaza Strip.

“Come on, do you guys think we are animals? That we would love seeing Hamas terrorists hiding among our crowds just to have Israeli F–16’s bomb us so we can get the sympathy?” he asked in an interview with JerusalemOnline. “Please understand, yes, Gaza elected Hamas, but people make mistakes. Didn’t the Germans elect Hitler? Were the Germans still in favor of Hitler when Russia and the Allies were marching into Berlin and bombing the hell out of it?”

Of course, that doesn’t mean most of the population in Gaza is ready to ally with Israel or even return to Israeli rule.

“We have to be clear; Palestinians hate Israel,” Zahran reminded his Israeli readers. “This might change in thirty years or so, but they hate Israel. So Gazans hate Israel, but for sure and I can authoritatively say this, they hate Hamas even more now.”

Several days later, Zahran appeared on i24 News to debate Dimitri Diliani, a member of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Revolutionary Council, who tried to frame the Gaza war as a bloodthirsty Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people as a whole.

While Diliani painted himself as no friend of jihadists in Gaza, he was adamant that “when it comes to Israel and the crimes that it is committing, I will stand on the side of Hamas any given day.”

Zahran was having none of it.

“Is Israel an angel? As a Palestinian, do I think that Israel is innocent? No. But, I know that in this war, Hamas was provoking Israel, Hamas wanted the war,” insisted Zahran. “I am in touch with people in Gaza constantly, and those people have had enough of Hamas.”

Zahran went on to explain that in the Gaza war, Hamas’ strings were being pulled in service to other regional powers with a score to settle with one another.

“We are fighting other people’s wars. Qatar, the king of Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and Syria - they wanted to teach Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel a lesson,” he said.

And for Hamas to play along demonstrates that, in Zahran’s words, it is “a traitor to my people.”

As for Israel? Zahran appeared to be fairly clear-headed on that score.

“You know what is the only country around that treats us as human beings?” he asked. “Ironically, it’s Israel. Israel does very stupid things in Gaza. They even commit crimes in Gaza. On the other hand, Israel is the only sane partner with whom we can sit with and say, ‘Let’s make peace.’ They are the only partner that actually labels a Palestinian, even a terrorist, as a human.”


Israel's Disproportionate Decency

Israel's Disproportionate Decency

When observers describe or denounce Israeli military actions as "disproportionate," they glibly assume sweeping legal conclusions without sufficient proof or analysis. But the evidence shows that Israel has acted with disproportionate decency while Hamas has committed war crimes.

Hamas' indiscriminate rocket and missile attacks – which now total about 3,500 in the last month – target primarily Israeli civilians. The effects of Hamas' attacks have been serious (contrary to what most media reports suggest):

a) increasing premature births,

b) shutting down Israel's biggest airport, blocking 90 percent of incoming and outgoing passengers,

c) forcing about 8 million people to live on the edge 24/7, fearing that if their missile defense system or scramble to shelters falters, they could die,

d) constant interruptions throughout the day and night, with as little as ten seconds to find shelter,

e) billions of dollars in economic damage.

The principle of distinction requires belligerents to distinguish between combatants and civilians. Hamas' violations of this principle amount to a double war crime: first by targeting Israeli civilians, and second by using Gazan civilians as human shields for these attacks, thereby making it much harder for the IDF military response to distinguish Gazan combatants from noncombatants.

Hamas exhorts Gazans to act as human shields and its combat manual encourages this war crime while admitting that Israel avoids civilian casualties – an avoidance that Hamas exploits for tactical advantage. Alan Dershowitz deftly highlights yet another proof of Hamas war crimes: Hamas chooses to locate its military efforts in the most densely populated parts of Gaza, instead of in the far less populated areas nearby – a decision calculated to maximize Gazan civilian deaths. Cynically breaking all rules, Hamas even uses ambulances to transport fighters and converts Gaza's hospitals into command centers, weapons depots, and rocket-launch sites.

Hamas perfected suicide bombing and is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and Europe, so its war crimes are unsurprising, even if the media concealed Hamas' barbarism for the last month. But what of the oft repeated but seldom questioned claim that Israeli military actions are "excessive" or "disproportionate?"

The first duty of any state is to provide security to its citizens. Adjusting for size differences (the US has about 473 times Israel's land mass, and 40 times Israel's population), what would be the US military response if Al-Qaeda took over Mexico and launched about 47,300 projectiles per day at the US mainland, killing 120 US civilians and 2,560 soldiers and causing significant property damage, widespread insecurity, and travel shutdowns? Such a comparative context supports those proclaiming that the IDF and Bibi Netanyahu deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for their restraint during such a challenging war.

As of August 9, Israel's military has attacked about 5,000 targets in Gaza (4,762 during the first 29 days of Operation Protective Edge and a few hundred since) resulting in 1,915 deaths (according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health). Even if this total were accurate and represented entirely civilian deaths, the strike-to-kill ratio absurdly implies that Israel's military needs about 2.5 attacks to kill one person.

But if Israel's goal were just to kill Gazans, it could kill well over 1,915 with a single airstrike. Why spend so much on intelligence gathering and precision-guided bombs (or force Israeli citizens to endure so many costly weeks of war) when the IDF could raze half of Gaza in an hour? The fact that the IDF has struck so many times with so few casualties shows the extent of its restraint and precision while destroying the terrorist infrastructure threatening Israelis.

Israel has made extraordinary efforts to minimize civilian casualties – despite Hamas' plan to maximize them. Israel aborts airstrikes that will result in excessive civilian casualties, warns civilians to clear areas that will be targeted, and loses ground troops in densely populated areas like Shejaiya to avoid airstrikes that would kill far more Gaza civilians. Israel chose not to target Gaza City's main Shifa Hospital, even though it knew that Hamas leaders were cynically hiding there and an airstrike could have substantially harmed Hamas' military leadership.

As this article explains, Israel sacrifices blood and treasure to minimize harm to Gaza civilians. And yet somehow Israel is still accused of deliberately targeting civilians even when Hamas' misfired rockets are responsible or when an IDF mistake happens. But as Colonel Richard Kemp argues, "mistakes and malfunctions happen in all fighting armies and in all conflicts…Do those who condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians as deliberate acts by the IDF suggest that…incidents in Gaza [in which the IDF accidentally kills Israeli soldiers] are also intentional?"

Some of the same media outlets that rushed to portray Israel as using disproportionate force have belatedly acknowledged that fighting-age men are vastly overrepresented among Gaza's dead, strengthening Israel's claims all along that it has done its best to target combatants and avoid civilians.

Israel's restraint is all the more remarkable given the genocidal intent of its enemy, as clearly stated in the preamble to Hamas' covenant and demonstrated by Hamas' genocidal missile attacks on Israel's nuclear reactor (for more on Hamas' genocidal plans, see this article by Jeffrey Goldberg). Would the US military be as careful as Israel has been to avoid civilian casualties when confronting an enemy trying to kill millions of Americans and destroy the US?

The knee-jerk assumption that Israel uses disproportionate force oversimplifies complex situations requiring deeper analysis and overlooks the powerful factors limiting Israel's military:

1) internally, Israeli democracy subjects leaders to checks and balances from a vigorous political opposition, independent investigations (like the Winograd Commission), and a defiantly free press and protest culture (including anti-war protests in Tel-aviv); so when about 90% of a normally fractious democracy supports military action, the country clearly faces very serious and legitimate threats;

2) externally, the military actions of Israel are more scrutinized than those of any other country (as Bret Stephens brilliantly highlighted in 2009), and therefore always carry a greater risk of war crimes accusations, anti-Semitic attacks abroad, and unprovoked attacks from neighboring countries (over a dozen rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon during the current conflict in Gaza). Such realities compel Israel to use force judiciously.

In the end, Israel must protect its citizens from an Iran-backed terrorist army that is disproportionately willing to kill Israeli and Gazan civilians, while facing disproportionate blame despite Israel's disproportionate efforts to defend its population more humanely than any state in history has. Only if Israel decisively defeats Hamas can real peace come to Gaza – one more reason to let Israel's soldiers finish the job, before granting them the Nobel Peace Prize.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.


Palestinian Activist: We Have to Get Rid of Hamas

Palestinian Activist: We Have to Get Rid of Hamas

The following is a translation of portions of an article penned by Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid and published by Israel’s leading daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot.

“For over 26 years, I have dedicated my life to the defense of human rights. I’ve seen it all, war and terrorism. But the last month has been particularly hard for me. Death and the rubble of Gaza are like a tsunami. Both peoples are in pain, but both sides deny the pain of others. But as a Palestinian, I must admit: I am responsible for what happened. We can not deny our responsibility for our own dead.

“Most Palestinians are against missile attacks on Israel. We elected Hamas with the knowledge that doing so would bring about the death of our own people. We knew Hamas was digging tunnels, which eventually lead to our own destruction. …Hamas also knew that an attack on Israel would result in a high death toll. But the Hamas leadership is only interested in their own victory, not about the people.”

“Hamas requires death. Death brings her power and money for more weapons. Hamas was never interested in liberating the Palestinian people from occupation. And Israel will not be able to destroy the infrastructure of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Only we, the Palestinian people, can do that. The Palestinians in Gaza have to rebel against the Hamas regime.”

“Will we learn from this latest tragedy? I think so. We must first get rid of Hamas and demilitarize the Gaza Strip. Then the border crossings can be opened. And I say this as a loyal Palestinian. I say this because I care about the future of my people. ”


Israel Uninterested in UN 'War Crimes' Sideshow

Israel Uninterested in UN 'War Crimes' Sideshow

Israel, the United States and the European Union have all dismissed a UN commission of inquiry into possible war crimes committed during the Gaza war as little more than a sideshow with a foregone conclusion.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday named a three-man panel to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes during the Jewish state’s month-long battle against Gaza’s terrorist infrastructure.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the committee amounted to a “kangaroo court” whose findings were “predetermined.” This, the Israelis insisted, was made all the more clear when the UN decided to name Canadian Prof. William Schabas (pictured) to head the panel.

Schabas has previously called for the prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres for alleged war crimes, and asserted that past Israeli offenses against the Gaza terrorists (in 2009 and 2012) were more severe than any other crisis taking place in the world.

Naming Schabas to the panel “proves beyond any doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from such a body,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement read.

The Obama Administration shared Israel’s assessment. “There’s a way to investigate things that’s not one-sided and biased, and there’s a way that we don’t support,” US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in reference to the Schabas-led commission.

The European Union (EU) had already voiced its discontent weeks earlier when the UNHRC voted to establish the commission. The resolution ultimately accepted by the UNHRC was “unbalanced, inaccurate and prejudges the outcome of the investigation,” read an EU statement.

Also named to the panel was British human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, best known worldwide for being the fiancé of Hollywood actor George Clooney. Critics accused the UN of trying to score publicity points by choosing Alamuddin, who later declined the invitation, citing a heavy workload.


Hillary Clinton Gets Real About Israel, Gaza and Mideast Peace

Hillary Clinton Gets Real About Israel, Gaza and Mideast Peace

In the run-up to a possible presidential campaign, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week drew a clear line in the sand between the policies of President Barack Obama and her own views vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Relations with Israel have long played a major role in American political campaigns. And Israel could be even more in the spotlight than ever ahead of the 2016 election, given the tremendously strained relations between the Jewish state and the Obama Administration.

Many Americans (and Israelis) want to know how the next president is going to put the two allies back on better terms. And Clinton, assuming she runs, made clear in an interview with The Atlantic her intention to fully back Jerusalem.

When asked about the Gaza war, Clinton said Israel “did what it had to do to respond to the rockets.” She also seemed to backtrack on a previous remark that the reason Hamas weapons were stored in and used from civilian areas is because Gaza is so small. In this most recent interview, Clinton spoke of the “steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command-and-control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas.”

During the war, Obama Administration officials suggested that Israel hadn’t done enough to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza. Clinton was asked if she agreed. Her response:

“[J]ust as we try to do in the United States and be as careful as possible in going after targets to avoid civilians, [mistakes are made]. We’ve made them. I don’t know a nation, no matter what its values are–and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position–that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas.”

That was a point she sought to drive home: “There’s no doubt in my mind that Hamas initiated this conflict. … So the ultimate responsibility has to rest on Hamas and the decisions it made.”

Clinton also took the international community to task for playing along with Hamas’ PR game. “It is striking … that you have more than 170,000 people dead in Syria. … You have Russia massing battalions” on the border of a neighbor and annexing territories, “and yet we see this enormous international reaction against Israel… This reaction is uncalled for and unfair,” she said.

Surprisingly, Clinton even appeared to throw a wrench in the two-state solution into which both she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had invested so much political capital.

Echoing a number of Israeli government ministers, Clinton said she could fully understand how Gaza once again demonstrated that Israel simply cannot surrender security control of Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).

“If I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security,” said Clinton. “…Netanyahu could not [relinquish this] in good conscience.”


Foreign Journalists Decry Hamas Harassment

Foreign Journalists Decry Hamas Harassment

Think you were receiving accurate, thorough coverage of the Gaza war from the mainstream international media? That’s certainly what one would expect, given that the already bloated foreign press corps in Israel grew by an additional 700+ journalists during the latest round of fighting.

But many of those journalists themselves are now admitting that their own reports from Gaza need to be viewed with skepticism.

Was it a lack of journalistic integrity? A number of journalists have in the past been caught expressing outright anti-Israel bias in their reports. But this time around, foreign correspondents say the culprit was Hamas.

“The Foreign Press Association protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month,” read a statement released by the umbrella group representing foreign journalists in Israel.

The FPA decried the fact that journalists were forcibly exploited by Hamas to advocate for the terror group and support its agenda.

The FPA’s statement once again confirms that it is impossible to rely on the mainstream international media for a clear picture of the situation in times of conflict, at least in this region.

Israel Today is different. We are Israelis. We have sources within the military and government, as well as amongst people on the ground who owe no allegiance to, nor fear the intimidation of Hamas.

We can and do provide the context that others leave out.

We invite you to Subscribe Today to our monthly in-depth, feature-filled magazine to gain the full advantage of a reliable news source that truly understands the land and the conflict.


Circus of Ceasefires Leaves Israelis Irate

Circus of Ceasefires Leaves Israelis Irate

Criticism of the government’s handling of the Gaza war is reaching fever pitch. No one seems to understand what direction Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling them in vis-a-vis Hamas. And everyone is getting the feeling that the terrorists increasingly determine the flow of life in Israel.

Hundreds of families from the villages in the vicinity of Gaza protested what they said is the government’s failure to provide security in Israel’s southern regions. The sentiment, which is shared by Israelis across the country, is that the army pulled out of Gaza too early.

A number of cabinet ministers agree. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Gidon Saar advocated fully destroying the Hamas regime and its military infrastructure.

Yesterday, more than 40 rockets were fired at Israel. Although Israel insists it will not negotiate under fire, it nevertheless continues to agree to temporary ceasefires and is once again participating in talks in Cairo.

These repeated ceasefires have become a local joke, as everyone knows that Hamas does not intend to honor its side of the bargain. Israel agrees to these truces, only to be bombarded the very second they expire.

Israelis are taking exception to this bizarre reality. It simply cannot continue, they say.

The former head of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency, Avi Dichter, said it was time to really defeat Hamas and its terrorist allies. “Hamas must be defeated militarily and the Gaza Strip be demilitarized,” he wrote.

Alex Fishman, a political commentator for Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper, called the on-again-off-again negotiations in Cairo “a three-ring circus.”

Dan Margalit, who writes for the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom, said the prime minister needs to tell Egypt, Hamas and everyone “Enough!” Margalit recommended that Netanyahu finally inform the other players that this is the last temporary ceasefire Israel will join.

Israel’s government launched Operation Protective Edge (“resolute rock” in Hebrew) to defend the nation against Hamas. But the war demonstrated that it is the people of Israel, not the government, that is the true firm foundation of this nation.

It is rumored that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon want to push forward against Hamas. But their hesitation to do so is picked up upon by Israel’s enemies, who cynically make, and then break ceasefires.

But the people have no such hesitation, and have made clear, via the media and other channels, that the government has the backing of an overwhelming majority of Israelis to finish the job and eliminate Hamas.


Messianic Soldier Explains the War in Gaza

Messianic Soldier Explains the War in Gaza

Many Israeli Jewish believers in Yeshua were called upon to take up arms in the war against Gaza’s Hamas terrorist infrastructure, and one, Shai Kushnir, even paid the ultimate price in defense of this nation.

Another Israeli believer who fought in Gaza has created a YouTube clip in an effort to dispel some of the misconceptions regarding the war.

“I have a lot to say [about the Gaza war] as a soldier, a citizen [of Israel] and a Christian,” Hananya Naftali opens the video.

“The media around the world says that Israel is killing innocent people, that we bomb hospitals, mosques and lots of other innocent places. And that sounds horrible to a normal person, right? I agree. But because I know the whole picture, it doesn’t sound horrible to me,” he continues.

Naftali thanked believers around the world for their prayers, explaining that God saved his life several times while in Gaza, and concluded by asking fellow believers to also pray for those living under the tyranny of Hamas rule.

Watch the full video:


Israel's Peace Partners: We Killed More Jews Than Hamas!

Israel's Peace Partners: We Killed More Jews Than Hamas!

Among some Palestinians, Hamas’ stock is soaring after it dragged Israel into a month-long war that saw 3,500 missiles rain down on the Jewish state’s most populated civilian areas.

It was after years of successful, gory suicide bomb attacks that Hamas garnered enough popularity to win a parliamentary majority in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction isn’t about to let that happen again, and is trying to remind everyone that it has killed far more Israeli Jews than Hamas.

In a post to its official Facebook page, Fatah boasted (fictitiously) that it “has killed 11,000 Israelis,” while “sacrificing 170,000 shahids (martyrs)” to do so.

Fatah also noted that it was the first to launch an intifada (terrorist uprising) against Israel all the way back in 1988, and that it was the first to fire a shot in the Second Intifada that began in 2000.

These are the people whom the Western world (and some Israeli politicians) call “moderates” and genuine peace partners. These are the people with whom Israel is told to negotiate its future.

[Translation of the Fatah Facebook page by Palestinian Media Watch]


After War, Israeli Schools to Teach Tolerance for Arabs

After War, Israeli Schools to Teach Tolerance for Arabs

As two months of abductions, street violence and outright warfare (hopefully) draw to an end, Israel on Monday once again demonstrated how it is different than its enemies.

Education Minister Shai Peron announced at the Knesset that the upcoming school year will kick off with a week-long campaign to combat racism and encourage greater tolerance for the nation’s Arab and Muslim enemies.

The abduction and execution of three Jewish teens by Palestinian terrorists earlier this summer sparked a wave of anti-Arab sentiment from many sectors of Israeli society. The subsequent Gaza war, during which Hamas fired 3,500 missiles into Israel, only served to create more tension.

By contrast, the ongoing Arab street violence, primarily in Jerusalem, that began in the wake of the revenge killing of a young Palestinian boy has barely warranted the attention of local Arab leaders.

In July alone, Jews in Jerusalem found themselves the victims of no fewer than 360 violent assaults.


Hamas Caught Fudging the Numbers in Gaza

Hamas Caught Fudging the Numbers in Gaza

When violence flares between Israel and the Palestinians, it always becomes a game of numbers, the facts and root causes of the confrontation be damned.

And so, Israel always ends up being the loser, given that it actually tries to protect the lives of civilians, and far more effectively uses its military might to slay the enemy.

In other words, Israel will always suffer less casualties, and will therefore always be blamed.

The Palestinians, and in particular Hamas, know this well, and work to further game the system by artificially inflating casualty figures and manipulating their interpretation.

This is to be expected. What really gets Israelis frustrated is that the world happily plays along with what couldn’t be a more transparent deception.

Mid-way through the latest Gaza war, US President Barack Obama was rumored to have told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that 1,000 dead Gazans was the limit before Israel would start to face heavy international pressure.

But upon whom would the world rely for those casualty figures? And who would differentiate between the number of civilians and combatants killed in the action?

Why, the United Nations, of course! But wait, from whom did the UN get those numbers? From none other than Hamas itself, the very entity busily engaged in a global public relations war against Israel.

Sounds reasonable.

Belatedly, a number of major media players are calling into question the veracity of the figures provided by the Hamas Ministry of Health and the UN’s presentation thereof.

An analysis by The New York Times revealed what Israeli bloggers had been pointing out for weeks: that a disproportionate percentage of the casualties were men of fighting age.

According to the article:

“The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, shows that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided. At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties.”

Why were only 1,431 names examined? Didn’t over 2,000 die in Gaza? Well, maybe. Hamas was also caught duplicating names on the list of casualties provided to the media and the UN, which themselves didn’t bother to check for such inconsistencies.

Not wanting to be left looking the fool, the BBC also quickly changed its tune, admitting that “if the Israeli attacks have been ‘indiscriminate’, as the UN Human Rights Council says, it is hard to work out why they have killed so many more civilian men than women….In conclusion, we do not yet know for sure how many of the dead in Gaza are civilians and how many were fighters.”

The Washington Post had already noticed that something was awry much earlier, with one of its lead bloggers lamenting that “the media has engaged in journalistic malpractice by reporting casualty figures for civilians coming from Gaza as gospel.”

Much closer to reality is a detailed analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center, which found that there was a rough 1:1 ration of combatants to civilian casualties in Gaza. If accurate, such a ratio would be unprecedented for modern urban warfare, and would speak highly of Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties.

PHOTO: Demonstrators participate in a “die in” in Brussels to protest the large number of casualties resulting from Israel’s military action in Gaza.


Palestinians Demand Israel Negotiate Under Fire

Palestinians Demand Israel Negotiate Under Fire

Hamas and Palestinian Authority negotiators were on Sunday threatening to quit long-term ceasefire talks in Cairo after the Israeli delegation abruptly left for home on Friday and never returned.

Hamas and its terrorist allies resumed rocket fire on southern Israel on Friday, as a 72-hour temporary ceasefire expired. The terrorists did this despite the fact that negotiations had already begun in the Egyptian capital.

Israel insists that it will not be party to truce talks held under fire.

Dozens of rockets were fired into southern Israel over the weekend, and Israel responded with targeted airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s cabinet was scheduled to meet on Sunday morning to discuss declaring Hamas-ruled Gaza an “enemy territory,” and several ministers proposed reconquering and reoccupying the volatile coastal enclave, at least long enough to fully defeat Hamas.

“Operation Protective Edge is ongoing,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “At no point did we declare it over. The operation will continue until its goal is met — restoring long-term quiet. I said all along, it will take time and requires patience.”

Nevertheless, residents returning to their homes in southern Israel on the recommendation of the army and the government are furious with Netanyahu and his cabinet. They say that the renewed rocket fire on their homes proves that Israel ended its ground invasion of Gaza prematurely.


'It's Time for Real Victory Over Hamas'

'It's Time for Real Victory Over Hamas'

The former head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, wrote on Friday that the time has come for real victory over Hamas and other jihadist forces holding sway in the Gaza Strip.

Avi Dichter lamented in a post to his Facebook page that the Western world has lost its capacity to truly defeat its enemies and win wars, as it did in World War II.

“69 years ago exactly, the American leadership understood that there is no other way to end the bloody war against Japan, but with one action: dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima,” he noted.

Dichter stressed that while “Hamas is not the Japanese army and Israel is not the United States,” Israel and its Western critics can nevertheless “learn something from the process that the United States and Japan went through during that war.”

As the 72-hour ceasefire crumbled and Hamas resumed rocket fire on southern Israel, Dichter insisted that any further long-term truce negotiations simply must include the demilitarization of Gaza. Hamas must be defeated in a military sense.

And expecting Hamas to agree to that conclusion is nothing short of “delusional,” said Dichter, meaning that Israel or some other force is going to have to enter Gaza and defang the terrorists.

Friday’s renewed rocket fire on southern Israel had resulted in damaged to a number of civilian homes, and at least two people - a soldier and a civilian - were wounded. By mid-afternoon, Hamas had fired more than 40 rockets into southern Israel.

Israel waited over two hours before finally responding to the renewed rocket fire.

Hamas said that it was willing to continue truce negotiations even as its forces attack southern Israel, but Jerusalem recalled its delegation to the Cairo talks as the nation geared up for another round of fighting.


Hamas Also Fired Missiles From Gaza Church

Hamas Also Fired Missiles From Gaza Church

Israel has been trying to drive home the point that Hamas fired many of the 3,500 missiles that targeted the Jewish state over the past month from either inside or within the vicinity of mosques, schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities.

Archbishop Alexios, the most senior Christian figure in Gaza, says churches can be added to that list.

In an interview with CBN News, Alexios revealed that Hamas militants had fired missiles at Israel from inside his church’s compound, even as the facility was being used to shelter civilians.

Gaza’s tiny 1,500-strong Christian community has no choice but to play along. “Islam is the rule of this place and whatever Hamas says we must obey or face consequences,” said Alexios.

Another Arab Christian leader, Pastor Steven Khoury of Bethlehem, says he doesn’t see any end in the near term to Islam’s violent hatred for Israel, and its cynical use of Christian and Muslim civilians in its quest to destroy the Jewish state.

“The reality is that this [warfare] is going to continue until” Jesus’ return, Khoury said during a discussion on God TV last month. “The Jewish people have a great responsibility, but with that comes a sacrifice. I think that what is happening now to Israel will always be happening. The reality of the Jewish people being a despised nation will always be” because they were chosen.

But it’s not only the Jews who pay the price.

“I could be killed for sitting here [next to a Jew] and for what I am saying,” said Khoury, who was joined in the studio by Messianic Jewish Pastor Asher Intrator.

In a follow-up interview via video link, Khoury told God TV that his congregation and many other Christians in Jerusalem and Bethlehem are facing persecution “either because of our love for Israel or because of our evangelism. [In the Muslims’ eyes] you’re OK only so long as you don’t talk about your faith.”

PHOTO: Archbishop Alexios and others share a meal in the courtyard of the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza City, as the war between Israel and Hamas rages just beyond its walls.


Hamas Threatens to Renew Gaza War

Hamas Threatens to Renew Gaza War

Hamas is threatening not to renew the current ceasefire and to resume attacks on the Jewish state after both Israel and Egypt rejected many of the terror group’s demands during truce talks in Cairo.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the threat amounted to nothing short of “blackmail,” while Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned Hamas not to test Israel’s resolve.

During negotiations on Thursday, Israel and Egypt said no to Hamas’ demand that the international community build for it an airport and seaport in Gaza. Egypt also rebuffed the stipulation that it reopen the border crossing between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel has actually been reported to be somewhat more compliant, but not with Hamas directly. Rather, Israel has expressed openness to a proposal put forward by Britain, Germany and France that outlines major reconstruction in Gaza, an easing of the Israeli blockade and the demilitarization of the volatile coastal enclave.

Israeli officials said they are more than willing to go along with the European plan, so long as it hinges on the disarmament of Hamas and other terror groups currently holding sway in Gaza.

It was unclear how the Europeans intended to accomplish that goal, though the document did make mention to reinstalling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as the governing authority in Gaza.

Many Israelis would argue, however, that Abbas was previously in charge of Gaza and his forces failed to retain control when Hamas decided to violently seize the area in 2007.

For its part, Hamas has rejected all talk of disarming, and has instead boasted that despite Israel’s best military efforts, it still possesses a huge arsenal of missiles and that a number of terror tunnels reaching into southern Israel remain intact.


Christians: 'We Are Dying, and World is Too Busy With Gaza to Care'

Christians: 'We Are Dying, and World is Too Busy With Gaza to Care'

As the orgy of condemnation against Israel in the wake of the Gaza war continues, Christians in Iraq are doing their best to be heard above the din while they still have a voice.

The radical Sunni movement ISIS, now known simply as the Islamic State, has been happy to have the Gaza war as cover as it completes its conquest of northern Iraq. “We can do anything now the world is looking only to Gaza,” an Islamic State official reportedly said recently.

And Canon Andrew White, popularly known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” lamented that “in reality that is true.”

In a single day last week, the militants of the Islamic State killed no fewer than 1,500 people in Iraq, nearly the same number of people that were killed in the entire month-long Gaza war. Christians are being systematically cleansed from the country. Most have been forced to convert, flee or have been publicly executed for their faith.

“It is as if hell has broken out here and nobody cares,” Canon White said in an impassioned plea published by the Anglican Communion News Service.

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, acknowledged that in Iraq “religious minorities are being targeted and their members subjected to abductions, killings or the confiscation of their property by extremist groups.”

And yet, the world body continues to focus disproportionate (they like word) attention on Israel and its conflict with Hamas, a fact that had Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor fuming as he addressed the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

“It might be too much to ask you to stand on our side in this battle between civilization and barbarism, but at least have the decency to swallow your selective outrage while Israel wages war against the extremist groups seeking to eradicate the values that we all hold very dear,” he said.

Prosor accused the UN of complicity in the slaughter taking place in Iraq and elsewhere thanks to its “allowing organizations like Hamas to continue to exist in the Middle East.”


'World Leaders Need to Actually Read Geneva Conventions'

'World Leaders Need to Actually Read Geneva Conventions'

The predictable accusations of “war crimes” following Israel’s offensive against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza simply do not mesh with international law, an Israeli expert said on Thursday.

On at least three occasions during the war, United Nations facilities were damaged by retaliatory Israeli strikes. Despite the fact that UN-run schools had repeatedly been found to be housing Hamas rockets, these facilities were still being used to shelter displaced civilians.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called these incidents “outrageous” and “indefensible,” and his reaction has fueled demands that Israel be dragged before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

But an Israeli expert speaking to Army Radio said the Jewish state has nothing to fear from any UN or other international inquiry, as it did not violate the accepted rules of war in the targeting of these particular UN facilities or areas nearby.

“The international community needs to actually read the Geneva Conventions,” the expert said, noting that the Fourth Geneva Convention “makes clear that the moment a protected facility is used for a military purpose, it loses its protected status.”

The relevant portion of the Fourth Geneva Convention is Article 28, which specifically states that “the presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

In other words, Hamas’ use of human shields is the true violation of international law, whereas Israel was fully within its legal rights to continue responding militarily even when the terrorists used UN facilities as cover.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman laid the onus on the UN itself, insisting that the world body must do more to ensure its facilities are not utilized by terrorist forces targeting Israel.

In a press conference conducted in English yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would have been a “moral mistake” not to attack terrorists using civilian areas as cover.

Furthermore, Netanyahu insisted that the international reactions to the Gaza war are a test for the entire free world, and not for Israel alone.

“…nearly everyone says that they support Israel’s right to defend itself… But there are those who refuse to…let Israel exercise that right. They would allow Hamas to attack with impunity, because they say ‘they’re firing from schools or from mosques or from hospitals and Israel should not take action against them,’” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister explained that submitting to such demands would be “a moral mistake…an operational mistake. Because that would validate and legitimize Hamas’s use of human shields, and it would hand an enormous victory to terrorists everywhere and a devastating effect to the free societies that are fighting terrorism.”


Parody: Israel Gets Creative With Gaza Problem

Parody: Israel Gets Creative With Gaza Problem

The latest Gaza war left many Israelis throwing their hands up in the air as the international community once again bickered endlessly over Israel’s “disproportionate” military action, while failing to suggest any concrete alternative solutions to incessant Hamas rocket attacks and the threat of terror tunnels.

But it is often under pressure that many Israelis become most creative. A great deal of this nation’s acclaimed innovation in the fields of technology, medicine and agriculture has come as a result of dire situations that demanded quick and unprecedented solutions.

If the world is unwilling to truly let Israel militarily defend itself in a way that ends future threats, one group of Israelis believes it has one or two solid back-up plans.

The first, codenamed “Operation Gaza Dome,” pokes fun at UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay’s complaint that Israel and the US had failed to provide Gaza with an “Iron Dome.”

The second, “Operation Gaza on the Water,” seeks to off-load the Gaza problem on those who like to criticize without truly understanding what Israel is dealing with.


The Genius of Self-Imposed Catastrophe

The Genius of Self-Imposed Catastrophe

A new Pew Research Center poll shows that 40 percent of all Americans blame Hamas for the Gaza war. However, the survey also shows that more than half of African-Americans, Hispanics and young Americans in general see Israel as the perpetrator.

If this poll reflects real trends, it means that within a decade or so a majority of Americans will support the Palestinian cause and back claims that Israel is to blame for the continuing Middle East crisis. In other words, most Americans will join the majority of Europeans who already question Israel’s right to exist.

A clear sign of this disturbing trend appeared in the form of an article by former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren. “In Defense of Zionism” was published in last Friday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal. But it’s not so much the content of the article as it is the need to publish it that highlights the growing discomfort with the Zionist project.

The reason for this shift, many would claim, is Israel’s morality, or lack thereof. The deaths of some 1,800 combatant and non-combatant Gazans, the massive destruction and the 300,000 displaced persons all project a powerful image of a ruthless Israeli attack on a largely innocent people.

On August 3rd, following the deaths of 10 people outside a UN-run school in Rafah, US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted that “the suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians … we once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”

Earlier, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest referred to a similar incident as “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible,” never mind the fact that most of UN employees in Gaza are Hamas people.

For 14 years now, many have questioned why Hamas is annoying Israel with constant barrages of rockets. Though Hamas has never hidden the fact that its ultimate purpose is to destroy Israel, it has nevertheless managed to convince Western hearts and minds that it fights Israel because of the “occupation” and the “blockade” on Gaza.

By deliberately creating a constant human crisis in Gaza by converting the coastal enclave into a military base where civilians and terrorists become completely indistinguishable, Hamas has succeeded in making people around the world believe that it is a humanitarian organization that justly “resists” the evil, colonial and racist State of Israel.

Hamas’ strategy of pulling Israel into never-ending cycles of violence, each more destructive than the previous, is turning out to be a success beyond measure.

Ever since its full withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Israel has been repeatedly drawn into wars it can’t win. Restricted by Western moral codes applied only to Israel, Operations Cast Lead (2009), Pillar of Cloud (2012) and now Protective Edge have done little to help Israel in the long run.

Between each round, Hamas has improved its military arsenal, which in turn forces Israel to be even more aggressive. Hamas knows full well that it can’t defeat Israel on the battlefield, and instead turns to winning the war for hearts and minds. Hamas is counting on the Western bleeding hearts turning against Israel.

This anomaly whereby terror begins to be perceived as some kind of benevolence is partially Israel’s fault. By restricting itself to moral criteria no other country in the world would accept, Israel opens itself up to criticism such that leveled by Psaki, who stressed that “Israel must do more to meet its own standards.”

But, no matter what, Israel will never be able to stand up to its own moral codes, simply because her enemies will never allow her to.

Operation Protective Edge demonstrated that Hamas booby-traps every conceivable thing, including homes, animals and people. It is in this light that the massive destruction of the Gaza City suburb of Shejaiya should be perceived. The fate of this town is a testimony not to the brutality of the IDF, but to the number of civilian structures cynically used by Hamas. Shejaiya was a military post protected not with machine guns and canons, but with human beings, most of whom willingly helpe to achieve this grand deception.

Hamas’ astounding success at reducing Israel’s struggle for survival to a crime scene where “innocents” are constantly being victimized by a criminal state is rapidly becoming Israel’s most potent threat.

The Palestinians have realized by now that “catastrophes” (“nakba” in Arabic) are their best chance of achieving their dream of wiping Israel off the Middle East map. Though their first “nakba” in 1948 was unplanned, their most recent one is a self-imposed catastrophe designed to turn Israel into a pariah state.

If allowed to continue, this strategy that is captivating a gullible international audience will lead not to Israel’s destruction, but rather to a grand “catastrophe ”Nakba" against which all previous will pale in comparison.

If the world cares anything for the Palestinians, it should do its utmost to stop these dangerous cycles of violence. And the way to do that is not endlessly attempting to drag Israel before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but instead by exposing Hamas’ strategy of self-imposed catastrophes.

The alternative is taking a chance that Israel will eventually be forced into a level of brutality previously unseen in order to secure its survival, and in so doing risk the final loss of all legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

This conflict can only truly end by ending the Muslim dream of annexing the Holy Land to a grand Islamic caliphate. Only when the world will understand this and act accordingly can it truly begin to advance peace in this region.


No One Will Investigate Israel as Thoroughly as Itself

No One Will Investigate Israel as Thoroughly as Itself

The Gaza war is hardly over, and already the international community is screaming for war crimes investigations into the conduct of Israeli forces in their battle against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure.

Very few of those calls are being tempered by demands that Hamas also be investigated for using human shields, and almost none are taking into account the supreme difficulty Israel faced in executing what was ultimately a defensive retaliatory action.

But Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein said the world had nothing to worry about in this regard, as the Jewish state has never shied away from investigation, and is more often than not its own harshest critic.

In a letter to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Weinstein recalled that in 2010, Israel itself established an independent, international tribunal to investigate the “Gaza flotilla raid” that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals. The commission (pictured) was headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel, and included former Northern Irish First Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate David Trimble, as well as Canadian former military judge Ken Watkin.

In a summary of its conclusions, the Turkel Commission determined that “the apparatus of investigation of complaints and claims about violations of the laws of warfare existing in Israel are, as a rule, in accordance with the obligations of the government of Israel according to the rules of international law.”

And that will continue to hold true in the aftermath of the Gaza war, Weinstein reassured.

The attorney-general insisted that “the many and gross violations of international law by Hamas do not detract from the obligations of the IDF and the State of Israel,” but cautioned observers to “not overlook the nature of the threat directed toward the State of Israel.”

Weinstein went on to explain what far too many in the international community seem to not want to hear:

“In their actions against Israel, the terrorist organizations make cynical and criminal use of the civilian population as a human shield against the actions of the IDF. As a result, unfortunately, even legal and proportional military attacks made in accordance with international law are going to result in unintentional and undesired civilian casualties.”

Nevertheless, Weinstein concluded his letter, “I want to clarify that every complaint or allegation in regards to the actions of IDF forces is and will be taken seriously.”


As Truce Holds, Doubts Whether Israel Met War Goals

As Truce Holds, Doubts Whether Israel Met War Goals

By Tuesday afternoon it appeared a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was holding, as the two sides negotiated a more lasting truce in Cairo.

But amidst the tense quiet, serious questions were raised as to whether or not Israel had achieved the stated aims of the war by creating the kind of deterrence that would prevent Hamas from starting another war a year or two from now.

Without question, Israel failed to reach the lofty objective of Gaza’s disarmament, and no one expects Hamas to voluntarily throw down its arms.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says 900 Hamas and allied terrorists were killed, 32 terror tunnels were found and destroyed, and Gaza’s arsenal of missiles was significantly reduced over the past month of fighting.

Nevertheless, a great many Israelis, particularly those who live in the vicinity of Gaza, say they feel no more secure than they did at the start of Operation Protective Edge.

“They say when the war is over we can return home,” Salait Feter told Israel’s Ynet news portal. “But I can’t say that I feel we’re returning to a safe place. It’s not a safe place to raise my children.”

“It’s not right to start an operation and then suddenly fold, while telling us everything is now OK,” Feter continued. “What about the rest of the tunnels? What about the regular rocket attacks?”

“They keep saying the mission against the tunnels is almost complete, but we know that’s not true,” added Inbal Hamoui. “We don’t want to return to a situation where they tell us the problem is taken care of, only to have Hamas prove them wrong.”

Even if the IDF did manage to severely impede the terrorists’ ability to attack Israelis for the time being, there is little doubt that as soon as the war is officially over, Hamas will immediately return to digging terror tunnels and building missiles.

“The deterrence power of the Israeli army has eroded dramatically. During the last 26 days, the army carried out air, ground and naval attack against Hamas, but it did not succeed to treat [the problem],” said Tourism Minister Uzi Landau.

Pulling out of Gaza prematurely had, according to Landau, sent a “destructive message regarding Israeli deterrence.”

Hamas agreed.

“The destruction of Israeli deterrence” was one of the primary outcomes of the war, declared Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. “The Palestinian people now have confidence in their ability to stand firm and fight.”

But Netanyahu, under tremendous international pressure to stop warring against the Gaza terrorist infrastructure, stood by his decision to withdraw all Israeli ground forces from the coastal enclave ahead of the current ceasefire.

“We did everything to make the most of it,” Netanyahu told reporters, acknowledging that there was no way to guarantee all the terror tunnels had been destroyed. “This is a complicated mission done by heroic soldiers under harsh fighting conditions.”


Want Peace? Build the Third Temple, Says Israeli Group

Want Peace? Build the Third Temple, Says Israeli Group

Ceasefires, truces and bilateral agreements will never bring the peace most people in the Middle East desire. Only by following the biblical model, including the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem, can genuine peace be achieved, argues an Israeli organization dedicated to that goal.

“Every prophet of Israel, without exception, prophesied that the Temple would be rebuilt, ushering a new era of universal harmony and peace,” wrote the Temple Institute as an intro to its new crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo.

The Temple Institute has already spent years recreating 60 of the vessels and implements necessary for Temple worship, per specifications contained in the Bible.

Now, the group is embarking on “one of its most ambitious projects yet: completing architectural plans for the actual construction” of the Third Temple, an effort that will require “fusing ancient texts and modern technology.”

Toward this goal, the Temple Institute is looking to raise $100,000 in the next two months.

Some argue that the Temple will not and can not be rebuilt by earthly hands. The Temple Institute disagrees. “It is not enough to wait and pray for the Third Temple. It is a Biblical obligation to build it,” the group insists.

During a heated session of the Knesset’s Interior Committee last month, an outspoken and extremist Arab MK insisted that the Jews had no right to the Temple Mount and the eastern half of Jerusalem, to which a Jewish MK replied:

“On the Temple Mount our temple will be built in our time.”

PHOTO: Illustration of Third Temple construction taken from Temple Institute promotional video.


Edna and Gali: Two Young Brides in Black

Edna and Gali: Two Young Brides in Black

“Brides in Black” was the leading headline of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot on Monday. Edna Sarussi (22) and Gali Nir (24) both lost their fiancés this weekend. Both were to be married in the coming weeks.

Edna was engaged to Lt. Hadar Goldin (23), whose bodily remains were found in a tunnel in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, and Gali was to marry Goldin’s commander, Benaya Sarel (26), a major of the elite Givati Infantry Brigade (pictured).

Both young men died 90 minutes after a ceasefire was brokered with Hamas last Friday. The unit of in which Benaya and Hadar served was attacked from behind using a terror tunnel. A third soldier, Liel Gidoni, was also killed.

The Yediot story spanned the first two pages of the newspaper, showing heart-wrenching photos of the two young women saying goodbye to their beloved, who fell as heroes in defense of the Jewish people.

“Thank you for the never-ending love you gave me,” wrote Gali of her deceased fiance. “We talked last evening on the phone and you took away my fears. You promised to take care of yourself and your soldiers. I want to thank you for the last three years. These were my best years. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for coming into my life and teaching me so many things. Thank you for your laughter and your eyes that will always follow me.”

Edna’s farewell letter to Hadar was also published by the newspaper. “I love you so much and I miss you,” she wrote. “Hadar my beloved, the love of my life, hero of Israel. I don’t know how to say goodbye to you. I cannot imagine you dead. You were always the most lively person. How much did I want to become your bride and wife! I promise that every person passing me by will recognize a part of you. You are eternal … please continue by my side.”

The death of these two Israeli soldiers from the same unit denied these two young women the love and joy they so eagerly anticipated. In all, 64 Israeli officers and soldiers died in Gaza over the last 28 days while defending Israel. Behind every name lies a painful story.


Israel Commemorates Past, Present Tragedies on Tisha B'Av

Israel Commemorates Past, Present Tragedies on Tisha B'Av

The name literally means “the ninth of the month of Av”, and is an annual fast day in Judaism commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel.

The day also commemorates other tragedies that occurred on the same day in history. Tisha B’Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. This year is certainly no different.

The following are the words of an iconic song by Israeli singer Sarit Hadad (see video below):

When the heart cries only God hears
The pain rises out of the soul
A man falls down before he sinks down
With a little prayer (he) cuts the silence

Shma (Hear) Israel my God, you’re the omnipotent
You gave me my life, you gave me everything
In my eyes a tear, the heart cries quietly
And when the heart is quiet, the soul screams

Shma (Hear) Israel my God, now I am alone
Make me strong my God; make it that I won’t be afraid
The pain is big, and there’s no where to run away
End it because I can’t take it anymore

Time stands still All of a sudden,
the man sees his entire life
He doesn’t want to go to the unknown
He cries to his God right before a big fall


WATCH: Return of Tractor Terror to Streets of Jerusalem

WATCH: Return of Tractor Terror to Streets of Jerusalem

One Israeli was killed and another six were wounded when a Palestinian Arab terrorist attacked a passenger bus with a large bulldozer on the streets of Jerusalem Monday afternoon.

The attack occurred on the major thoroughfare dividing eastern Jerusalem from the western half of the city, very near to the Olive Tree Hotel.

Witnesses believe the bulldozer driver was attempting to run over people waiting at a nearby bus stop when a passenger bus suddenly pulled up. Not wanting to miss his opportunity, the terrorist rammed the bus, flipping the vehicle on its side.

Eyewitness video provided to Israel’s Channel 2 News showed that the terrorist attempted to continue his attack, when an alert police officer quickly opened fire, killing the bulldozer driver before he could do further damage.

Watch video of the harrowing scene:

Jerusalem has seen a number of bulldozer or tractor terror attacks in recent years.

On July 2, 2008, three Israelis were killed and another 44 wounded when a bulldozer positioned on Jerusalem’s Jaffa Street for road work suddenly entered traffic and plowed into pedestrians, cars and two passenger buses.

Less than three weeks later, an Arab municipal worker attempted to repeat the earlier carnage by charging into traffic with a smaller bulldozer along Jerusalem’s iconic King David Street.

Sixteen people were wounded in that attack before nearby police officer shot and killed the terrorist.

In March 2009, an Arab terrorist manning a massive earthmoving bulldozer attacked a police car and attempted to slam into a bus full of schoolchildren near Jerusalem’s Malha Mall.

The two officers in the car were lightly wounded. The schoolchildren were saved when the bulldozer became stuck on a metal electrical pole. An alert and armed taxi driver and another nearby police officer then opened fire on the terrorist, fatally wounding him.


'I Wish Israel Would Reoccupy Gaza'

'I Wish Israel Would Reoccupy Gaza'

Palestinians from Gaza tell Israel Today that the constant cycle of warfare resulting from Hamas' takeover is leading nowhere good. The best possible solution many can think of at present is for Israel to simply reconquer the coastal enclave and restore stability.

PHOTO: The Gaza City beachfront during happier times

The full article appears in the August 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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