Israel Confirms It Destroyed Syrian Nuclear Reactor, Warns Iran It's Next

Israel on Wednesday formally acknowledged what everyone already knew - that its air force destroyed Syria's nuclear reactor on September 6, 2007.

For over 10 years, Israeli officials have merely "winked" when asked about the operation. Now that it's official, the IDF is calling the covert bombing operation deep inside Syrian territory a warning shot for other enemies.

"The message of the attack on the reactor in 2007 is that Israel will not accept the construction of a capability that threatens the existence of the State of Israel. That was the message in ’81. That was the message in 2007. And that is the message to our enemies for the future," said IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

Both Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz more directly suggested that if Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons, it's next.

"Our enemies’ motivation has increased in recent years, but so has the might of the IDF… This equation should be understood by anyone in the Middle East," said Liberman.

Katz tweeted that "the courageous decision of the Israeli government almost 11 years ago to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria and the successful operation following it sends a clear message: Israel will never allow countries like Iran who threaten its existence to have nuclear weapons."


American Ambassador Responds to Palestinian Leader Calling Him a 'Son of a Dog'

Tension between the Palestinian Authority and the Trump Administration ratcheted up yet again this week when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas insulted the American ambassador to Israel.

Speaking to Palestinian officials at his headquarters in Ramallah, Abbas referred to US Ambassador David Friedman as a "son of a dog."

Trump "has said that [Jewish] settlement building is legitimate," Abbas complained. "That’s what several American officials have said including, first and foremost, their ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman. He said [settlers] are building on their land. Son of a dog, they are building in their land?"

Friedman was made aware of Abbas' remarks just moments before delivering a speech of his own at the Sixth Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem.

The American decided to bring up Abbas' insult, asking his audience, "Antisemitism or political discourse? Not for me to judge, I will leave that up to you."

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that such rhetoric from the Palestinian leadership has become the norm ever since Trump took office and Washington stopped blindly accepting the Palestinian narrative.

"For the first time in decades, the American administration has stopped pampering the Palestinian leaders and says to them: ‘Enough is enough,’" said Netanyahu. "Apparently, the shock from the truth is causing them to lose their tempers."


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South Africa Eats Humble Jewish Pie

In the face of an apocalyptic scenario, the South African government has apparently been forced to eat humble pie in its ongoing spat with Israel.

The three-year drought that has afflicted the nation has now reached the drastic stage of a looming so-called Day Zero – July 15 this year – when Cape Town, a city of four million, will effectively run out of water; that is, they will be cut off from running water, and will be forced to line up at collection points for a miserly rationing.

Opposition MP Kenneth Meshoe revealed in the Cape Town Parliament last month that both the national and provincial authorities there had refused an offer of help from the Jewish state, who have developed an extraordinary prowess in innovative water technology.

The African Christian Democratic Party member said the aid had been turned down in the pursuit of a “narrow political agenda” focused on boycotting Israel over its alleged discrimination against Palestinians.

But now an Israeli researcher who attended a water symposium in Johannesburg last month is saying that the South African government is open to the possibility of help from Israel, and that suggestions they had spurned such aid were incorrect.

Dr Clive Lipchin, a water expert and lecturer from Tel Aviv University who grew up in South Africa, said: “ANC (the ruling African National Congress) government officials who addressed me from the audience said they were happy to look at Israel as a model.”

Whatever the truth about refusal or acceptance, I have not heard any official denial of Mr Meshoe’s damning claim. In any case, the ANC leaders have made their aggressive stance against Israel abundantly clear, accusing it of being an ‘apartheid’ state, which is obviously based on misinformation spread by the UN-backed Palestinian propaganda machine.

But South Africans who lived through apartheid and know more about the situation on the ground in Israel have made their position crystal clear – for those with ears to hear – that ‘apartheid’ in Israel is pure fiction, but is very much a reality in the surrounding Arab states.

And a further dose of reality is that a dry country with a scarce water supply has more than it needs due to innovative programmes such as desalination. This has obviously led to the new approach in Cape Town, which has seen Economic Free Fighters (another opposition party) leader Julius Malema challenge those who “created water out of nothing” to see if it can be done in the Cape.

But back in 2016, a Johannesburg conference focusing on the water crisis was cancelled due to Israeli participation. There are also wild claims circulating that the drought is a Zionist plot from which Jews stand to benefit. But apparently a fear of dying of thirst is trumping political correctness.

However, I believe the crisis does have a Zionist link. And it is quite simple and straightforward. The South African government has repeatedly – and openly – spoken against God’s chosen people about whom He said: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse…” (Genesis 12.3)

South Africa’s leaders have despised the people God has chosen to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49.6) – yes, a spiritual light because they gave us the Bible, and they gave us Jesus, but also a practical, physical light in the form, for example, of technical expertise in water conservation. It is marvellous indeed how people living in a desert have turned their country green in fulfilment of ancient prophecies (see Isaiah 35).

The Bible speaks of how there will come a time when many will acknowledge the hand of God on Israel. Isaiah 49.23, for example, says: “Kings…and queens…will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet.”

But those who oppose Israel will find that they are fighting God, who brought them out of Egypt with a mighty, miraculous hand by making a path through the sea to freedom.

Why wait until the plagues have multiplied, as Egypt did, before repenting over evil plans against God’s people?

There was a drought in Israel at the time of Elijah, of similar length to South Africa’s. And it was only broken after the people turned from idols thanks to the prophet’s leadership.

South Africa’s leaders, I suggest, need likewise to repent and abandon the worship of false gods.

PHOTO: While suffering from a drought of its own, Israel has become an expert in water management, and is still able to assist others. (Yaakov Lederman/FLASH90)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


Looking For Meal Ideas For Your Pesach Seder Table?

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The meal that is integral to the Pesach Seder, is usually full of significance and special.

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In Eulogizing Terror Victim, Gov't Minister Shouts: 'God Gave Us This Land'

Israeli government officials used the funeral of yet another victim of terror to remind the Jewish state's enemies that it is by Divine decree that Israel has been reborn.

Adiel Kolman, a 32-year-old father of four, was stabbed to death in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.

The terrorist was identified as Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel, a 28-year-old Palestinian Arab who had been granted a five-day entry permit to look for work inside "Israel-proper."

Kolman reportedly managed to struggle with Fadel until police arrived and shot the terrorist dead. Kolman then succumbed to his wounds. His heroic actions might very well have prevented Fadel from stabbing anyone else.

At Kolman's funeral on Monday, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel insisted that the response would be even more Jewish settlement in all the Land of Israel.

"Our revenge is settlement and holding tight to the land," said Ariel. "This land is ours. We received it from God, blessed is he."

Also attending was Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who highlighted Kolman's work at the City of David archaeological site, and stated:

"Yesterday, they succeeded in harming Adiel. The sorrow is deep and difficult, but they’ll never succeed in removing us from our path. We in Jerusalem are determined not to change our daily routines and to continue to build in Jerusalem and in the Land of Israel."

PHOTO: Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau speaks during the funeral of Adiel Kolman. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90


Palestinian Bystanders Tried to Help IDF Soldiers After Terror Attack

A young Palestinian Arab man rammed his car into a group of Israeli soldiers on Friday, killing two and badly wounding two more.

That naturally elicited more feelings of frustration and anger among Israelis toward the Palestinians.

At the same time, something happened that, after finally being fully reported, is countering that ill-will.

Following the car-ramming attack in northern Samaria (the so-called "West Bank"), a group of Palestinian Arab bystanders did their best to assist the wounded Israeli soldiers, and to prevent a follow-up attack.

The entire incident was captured on video by one of the Palestinian bystanders.

In the footage, after the ramming itself, a Palestinian man can be heard calling out to the soldiers in Hebrew, "Soldier, has someone called for assistance? Can we help?"

CLICK HERE to see the video on the website of Israel's Ynet news portal (text and audio are all in Hebrew).

Aware that the other Israelis at the scene were understandably on edge, the Palestinians kept their distance, but were eager to provide aid.

Also of note is that the video shows that the loaded M-16 assault rifle of one of the soldiers who had been hit by the vehicle was lying on the street at the feet of the Palestinian bystanders.

It was a golden opportunity to carry out an even more devastating attack on the hated "Zionist occupiers." A member of Hamas wouldn't have hesitated.

But these Palestinian men were seen clearly keeping their distance from the weapon, making it clear to the soldiers that they meant no harm.

PHOTO: Israeli soldiers at the scene of where two Israeli soldiers murdered and another two were injured in a car-ramming terror attack near Mevo Dothan, in the West Bank, March 16, 2018. Photo by Meir Vaknin/Flash90


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Two Young Israeli Soldiers Laid to Rest After Weekend Terror Attack

Israel on Saturday tearfully laid to rest Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, 20, and Capt. Ziv Daos, 21, after a Palestinian Arab rammed them with his vehicle a day earlier.

"I have not yet processed this and I don’t know if I can go on," said Netanel Kahalani's father, Danny, at this son's funeral. "I loved you so much, and I lost you in a second. Twenty years is nothing, but I am thankful for them."

Kahalani's mother, Naomi, added: "Netanel was a gift. I thank God for giving me this child. He had a heart of gold, a pure soul. He was an incredible child."

Daos, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain, was scheduled to be buried on Sunday afternoon.

The two were killed on Friday afternoon when 26-year-old Palestinian terrorist Ala Qabha rammed his car into a group of soldiers at a military outpost in the northern "West Bank."

Two other soldiers wounded in the attack are still hospitalized with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

Qabha initially claimed the incident was a mere car accident, as did his family. But he later recanted and admitted his intention to kill Israeli soldiers.

The terrorist's brother and father have since been arrested on suspicion they were party to his plans, and the family home is slated for demolition.

Israeli soldiers mourn over the fresh grave of Cpt. Ziv Daos during his funeral in Holon Cemetery on March 18, 2018. Ziv Daos was killed on Friday in a terror vehicle-ramming attack near Mevo Dothan, in the West Bank. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90


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Israel Pounds Gaza After Terrorist Bomb Targets IDF Troops

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip detonated a bomb against Israeli soldiers on Thursday, sparking a furious Israeli response.

The bomb was detonated along the Gaza security fence as an IDF patrol approached. No Israelis were injured in the explosion.

Moments later, Israeli tanks opened fire on several Hamas installations. Palestinian media reported that Israeli aircraft also bombed Hamas bases in northern Gaza.

Israeli officials said that while it is still unclear who planted the explosives, the IDF holds Hamas responsible as the ruling power in Gaza.


Did You Know Israel is the Fifth Largest Arms Supplier in the World?

Israel has been rated as the world's fifth largest arms supplier, following the US, Russia, France and Germany.

Israeli weapons manufacturers racked up a whopping $1.26 billion in sales last year, according to a survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Over half of those sales ($715 million) were to India. The next largest customers for Israel's arm industry are Vietnam ($142 million) and Azerbaijan ($137 million).

Sadly, being a good customer doesn't seem to include diplomatic support. Both Vietnam and Azerbaijan, despite maintaining solid business and military connections, routinely vote against Israel at the United Nations.

Israel is ranked 18th among importers of arms, having spent $528 million last year. Nearly all (97.5 percent) of Israel's arms imports come from the US, with the remainder coming from Germany.

PHOTO: Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon inspecting developments at Israel Air Force Industries. (Ariel Hermoni/MOD/Flash90)


You Are Helping to Green Israel's Desert - As We Speak

The first 1000 olive trees are being planted in the Negev desert. Some of our Israel Today employees are on-site, planting the trees and enjoying the breathtaking view of the desert.

We have reserved 200 olive trees for our readers that want to plant their own trees.

We invite you to visit your tree in the south, that's only a 2 hour drive from Jerusalem, next time you are in Israel!


VIDEO: Your support for our "Lonely Soldiers"!

Your support are primarily used for the following projects:
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• Pre-military vouchers for "Lone Soldiers"

We will report on the upcoming "Lone Soldier" support workshop at the end of March / beginning of April, letters of thanks for vouchers from some lone soldiers will follow.

The following video explains the "Wings project" which supports lone soldiers which come to Israel from all corners of the earth. Their appreciation and thanks for the support they receive are expressed in their own words. Without this support it would be more difficult to cope without family support.


Israel Holds Emergency Drills, Preparing for War on Six Fronts

Last week at the graduation ceremony for new Israeli naval officers, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Aviv Kochavi said that the Jewish state was preparing for war on no fewer than six fronts.

Kochavi did not list those fronts, except to say that Iran is among them.

The others can be guessed at: Egyptian Sinai, where ISIS holds sway; Hamas-ruled Gaza; Lebanon; Syria; and the cyber realm.

Of course, many of those other threats are being encouraged and even financed by Iran.

This week, Israel launched massive war drills together with 2,500 visiting American soldiers.

As part of those drills, air raid sirens sounded throughout the country on Tuesday, unfortunately frightening those who were unaware it was just an exercise.


Israeli Birth Rates on the Rise

The Israel Bureau of Statistics has released new figures showing a massive rise in birth rates in the Jewish state.

In 2016, 181,405 babies were born in Israel. That's a 92 percent increase over the number of babies born in 1980. Of those babies, 73.9 percent were born to Jewish women, and 23.3 percent to Arab women.

Among developed nations, Israel has by far the highest birth rate. The OECD average is only 1.7 children per woman, well below the minimum required for population replacement. In Israel, women have an average of 3.11 children.

Like most developed countries, Israel experienced a sharp decline in birth rates between 1950 to 2000. In 2005, Israeli women were having an average of only 2.8 children. But the Jewish state has experienced a resurgence in its birth rate over the past decade, and now leads many surrounding Arab communities. For instance, Saudi Arabian women were having 7.3 children in 1979, but now have just 2.7 on average.

A similar trend was observed among local Arab women. While Palestinian Arab Muslims were having an average of 6 children in 1980, today that number has dropped to 3.29. That's still slightly above the Israeli Jewish average, but it's falling, while the Jewish average is rising.

Considering the current birthrates, Israel is expected to have a total population of 20 million people by the year 2065.


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We are limiting this meeting to around 25 participants in order to keep the atmosphere personal and intimate. Meeting Point JLM is ideal for editors, journalists, pastors, church leaders, and anyone else who wants to tackle the tough topics with us here, at our editorial offices in downtown Jerusalem.

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Reports: Hamas Tries to Assassinate Palestinian Authority Leadership

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday survived what appeared to be an assassination attempt while entering the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Hamdallah was traveling to Gaza for the inauguration of a new wastewater treatment facility.

As his convoy passed into the Gaza Strip, a large roadside bomb was detonated, wounding several members of the Palestinian leader's entourage.

Hamdallah himself was unharmed.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, to which Hamdallah also belongs, called the incident a "terrorist attack" and blamed it on Hamas.

Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 after Abbas refused to honor the outcome of Palestinian legislative elections by appointing one of its leaders as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas had won a clear parliamentary majority in the election.

PHOTO: Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Rami Hamdallah, attending a Fourth of July event at the US Consulate General in Jerusalem on July 12, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)


Israel Pleased With Planned Meeting Between Trump and North Korean Leadership

Surprising everyone who believed he was leading America to war, US President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation to meet with the North Korean leadership.

Trump insisted that the only outcome he'll accept is North Korea's denuclearization.

Last week, the White House confirmed the invitation and said the exact date and location of the meeting are currently being hashed out.

In the meantime, Israel is very much looking forward to such a gathering.

According to MK Michael Oren, who serves as a minister in the Prime Minister's Office, the very fact that North Korea was the one to offer the invitation proves that Trump has won.

And that will have a huge impact on preventing Iran from building and fielding nuclear weapons.

"The Iranians are looking at this meeting very closely," Oren told Israel's 103 FM radio. "They see an American president who doesn’t compromise on the nuclear issue, while North Korea is the one caving in."

Oren noted that Trump's ability to keep enemies guessing was what forced North Korea to back down, and it will have the same effect on Iran.


Israel Will Be Celebrating Her 70th On April 18th

Are you planning to visit Jerusalem during her 70th anniversary celebrations? Have you already booked a place to stay?

Our well appointed and situated apartment in Jerusalem is still available on this date and we would prefer offering it to subscribers before advertising it to a larger audience.

But don't delay, it will not be available for much longer.


Report: Trump's Mideast Peace Plan is Almost Finished

True to his nature, US President Donald Trump is planning to take a radically different approach to brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

According to senior American officials who spoke to The New York Times, the Trump White House is currently putting the final touches on its Middle East peace proposal.

Unlike past proposals from presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Trump's plan will reportedly eschew broad (read: vague) suggestions and predetermined outcomes.

Rather, it will take head-on the very specific issues currently preventing an agreement and offer very specific solutions to them.

For instance, rather than push off the issue of sovereignty in Jerusalem or call for a vague "fair and just solution" to the "refugee" issue, Trump's plan is said to contain very real, very practical proposals for each.

Also notable is that Trump's plan reportedly does not call for the creation of a two-state solution, though its proposals do open up the possibility for such an outcome.


Putin Tries to Blame the Jews

Amid an ongoing investigation into possibly Russian interference in the last US presidential election, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he "could not care less."

Recently, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a string of indictments in the case, most of them to Russian nationals and companies.

Speaking to to NBC News last Friday, Putin insisted that these individuals, if they are indeed guilty, "do not represent the interests of the Russian state."

After all, he continued, "they might be Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship."

Israeli officials were furious.

Member of Knesset Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), who was born in Moscow, told The Jerusalem Post:

"Maybe the Jews interfered in the American elections, maybe the Jews control the world, maybe Jews slaughtered the Jews in Poland. For all those allegations, there is one origin: Jew-hatred. I expect the Israeli government to come out strongly against these serious remarks made by the Russian president. If Israel won’t defend the Jews, nobody will do so in its place."

PHOTO: Flash90


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COMMENTARY: Is This the True Face(Book) of Labour?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is under fire over yet more allegations of anti-Semitism.

Screenshots obtained by the UK’s Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) reportedly cite historic involvement of Mr Corbyn and other party members – as well as a BBC reporter – in a secret Facebook group trafficking Jewish conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial and the like.

They allegedly show Corbyn participating “right up until his first weeks as leader of the Labour Party”, the CAA claimed.

Labour are said to be investigating the allegations, which include group discussions on conspiracies about Israeli involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and members using terms such as ‘JewNazi’ along with a comment that ‘[I] am reading Mein Kampf [by Adolf Hitler] …everybody should be forced to read it, especially Jews who have their own agenda as to why they were not liked,’ the Jewish Press reported.

During last year’s snap General Election, some sections of the media accused Christian candidates of being “not fit for office” because of their traditional views on sexual ethics and the unborn.

Well, if Mr Corbyn and his colleagues were indeed members of this odious group, they too are surely not fit for office – certainly not that of Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition!

This latest shocking revelation only serves to emphasise how the squabbling Tories urgently need to get their act together and line up squarely behind Theresa May. Or else, never mind Brexit – hard, soft, or none at all – Britain could find themselves undoing all the sacrifices made in two world wars by allowing something too close to Nazism for comfort to flourish on our own shores.

There’s no doubt that many have become hypnotised by the inexplicable magnetism of Labour’s hard left leader who has already come dangerously close to power despite negative press coverage linked with anti-Semitism such as his reference to terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone was handed a year’s ban from the party last April, which has now been extended indefinitely, after claiming Hitler supported Zionism before he went ‘mad’.

The new claims emerged only days after a separate row over anti-Semitism begged yet more questions of the Labour Party. These revolve around tweets by a key Corbyn aide that Israel was guilty of ‘genocide’. Joss MacDonald, a Labour Party speech writer, has also branded Israel an ‘apartheid’ state, insisting people excuse its behaviour ‘because of the Holocaust’, according to a tweet he posted in the aftermath of the 2014 conflict with Gaza.

And yet, ironically, Labour is also currently under fire for receiving £540,000 from Formula One tycoon Max Mosley who is said to have done much to keep apartheid South Africa on the world motor-racing circuit at the time of the global sporting ban on the then white-led nation.

Tory MP Andrew Percy, who is Jewish, said MacDonald’s “disgusting slur” (accusing Israel of genocide) shows yet again that Labour have “a systematic problem with anti-Semitic racism”. And there is an urgent need for that problem to be addressed, he added.

As I’ve already intimated in earlier posts, British politicians are once again in danger of being side-tracked by issues – including Brexit – that blur our focus on the bigger picture.

In God’s eyes, according to the Bible, Jerusalem is the very centre of his attention. The prophet Ezekiel records: “This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the centre of the nations, with countries all around her.” (Ezek 5.5) Apparently the Hebrew for Zion (another name for Jerusalem) suggests something that is ‘marked’. In other words, it is the focus of God’s attention, the most important city on earth. This is why it has been fought over so much through the centuries; it’s centre-stage for the great battle between God and his enemies, and it could all erupt into a global conflict before too long.

Already, there is much talk of a possible war looming between Israel and Iran (along with its Russian-backed proxies Hamas and Hezbollah). In light of such a dark shadow, there is surely an urgent need to hone and clarify our relationship with the Jewish state. We need to get used to the idea that Europe is not our future. But a strong relationship with Israel and the United States would most definitely be in our interest – certainly promising hope and blessing.

Speaking of Israel, the prophet Isaiah warns: “For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.” (Isa 60.12) We can surely take comfort from God’s Word, promising blessing to those who bless Israel, and cursing on those who don’t. (Genesis 12.3, Numbers 24.9)

I am encouraged to hear that, thanks to the vision of a giant sword being planted in the ground in Parliament Square given to a lady vicar from London’s Notting Hill, plans are in hand to read the Bible (the sword of the Spirit – Ephesians 6.17) outside Parliament each day this year. We need to get back to the Bible, on which our great country was built.

Battered and bruised by social disintegration as values based on our Judaeo-Christian legacy are recklessly jettisoned, Britain could sure do with some blessing rather than the curse that would inevitably follow lack of comfort for the people who gave us the Bible, Jesus and indeed Western civilization itself.

It’s time to choose whose side we’re on!

PHOTO: Those who think the kind of antisemitism that gave rise to the Holocaust is a thing of the past need only look at the rise in anti-Jewish incidents today, and the rhetoric of ascending Western political figures. (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)


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The flag of The State of Israel includes two blue stripes on white background with a Star of David (in Hebrew, Magen David) in the center. The two blue bars on the side represent the tallit (the prayer shawl with blue stripes worn by Jews during prayer) and the Star of David is a common symbol of the People of Israel from Biblical times.


Israel's Christian Kibbutz

Israel Today's David Lazarus pays a visit to the little-known, but enormously successful Christian kibbutz of Beth-El.

The full article appears in the March 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it now >>

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Poll: Early Elections Will Only Strengthen Israel's Right-Wing Gov't

If various coalition partners make good on their threats to abandon the Netanyahu government in a vote of no-confidence by the opposition, polls show that the right-wing Likud party will only benefit from early elections.

A new poll conducted this week by Israel's Maagar Mochot (Brain Trust) found that if elections were held today, the Likud would win 34 of the Knesset's 120 seats.

In second place would be the centrist Yesh Atid faction with 24 seats.

The opposition Zionist Union (Labor) would suffer the most, dropping from its current 24 seats to just 10 in the new Knesset, while the right-wing settler faction, Jewish Home, would rise from 8 seats to 14 seats.

The other drastic change, according to this particular poll, is that the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, one of the sources of the current government's headaches, would fail to pass the electoral threshold and would be absent from the new Knesset.

These numbers would enable the head of Likud to establish a stable government of 67 seats, even without Shas.

However, whether or not Netanyahu would be the one to lead that new government would also depend on the outcome of the various corruption investigations targeting himself, his wife and numerous of their political, personal and business associates.


France: Trump Was Wrong to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

France's president believes that for the sake of advancing a peace process that hasn't gone anywhere in 20 years, the international community should continue adhering to a fantasy that is clearly debunked by facts on the ground.

Speaking at the annual dinner of France's Jewish umbrella organization, CRIF, President Emmanuel Macron chastised US President Donald Trump for his recent public recognition of the obvious - that Jerusalem is the capital city of the State of Israel.

Macron called this move an "error" that only served to perpetuate the Middle East conflict.

He went on to echo Palestinian leaders by insisting the US could no longer play the role of honest and unbiased peace broker.

What Macron glossed over was the fact that 20 years of playing to the Arab narrative regarding Jerusalem had likewise never served to advance the cause of peace. Even former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's offer to surrender most of the eastern half of the Holy City didn't result in an agreement. In fact, it preceeded precisely the opposite - an explosion of violence.

Pretending that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel to avoid Palestinian outbursts is akin to a parent letting a belligerent child have his or her way to forestall a temper tantrum.

PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)


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Iran Says It Has Tripled Production of Missiles. Guess Who's the Target

There can be only one real target.

While Iran has many enemies in the Middle East, none but Israel poses any real military obstacle to Tehran's dreams of hegemony.

With that in mind, Iran's government-controlled Fars news agency reported on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic has tripled its production of missiles.

A top officer in Iran's Revolutionary Guards suggested that former US President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran had enabled this increase by removing strict international oversight of Iranian military activity.

“In the past we had to do a lot of explaining to various bodies for our actions, but it’s not like that anymore,” said Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh.

Iran has missile capable of striking Israel on the other side of the region.

But far more dangerous is Iran's effort to establish missile bases in neighboring Syria.

With this increased missile production and a firm military foothold in Israel's war-torn neighbor, the Iranian threat to the Jewish state has grown exponentially.


Israeli Rabbi: Religious Jews Aren't Homophobic, We're Just Not Insane

A prominent right-wing rabbi was invited to speak at an event organized by a faction within Education Minister Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party, and promptly outraged most secular Israelis.

Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira (pictured) is head of the Ramat Gan Yeshiva, and has often spoken out against homosexuality, insisting that such tendencies can be overcome with proper therapy.

At Tuesday's event, Shapira let loose:

"We are not homophobes, and we are not phobic. We do not live out of fear, and we are not scared. We are courageous people, we are the Land of Israel's heroes, and we are not scared of the LGBT trend.

"I have invested many hours in helping people with difficulties in this area. But no, we're not homophobes, we're believers and we're healthy people. And there is an illness which is growing and spreading, and more and more, we are becoming a country that looks like LGBTistan.

"Anyone who speaks about a believing and healthy family is immediately classed as someone who has phobias. He's an extremist. Why? Because he said something that has always been the basis of all of humanity and all of the Torah. It's insane to see this as the problem with Religious Zionism's image.

"When there is an atmosphere of LGBTistan, we don't belong, and they hate us because we're sane."


Make Sure You Get Your "Israel's 70th" jubilee edition

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UN Complains About Trump Aid Cuts to Palestinians, but Ignores the Real Problem

The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) complained this week that US President Donald Trump's decision to cut funding had left the organization crippled.

While there are numerous refugee situations in the world, UNRWA exists solely to aid the Palestinians and perpetuate their status as "refugees."

Trump slashed aid to the group after learning that it routinely finds itself involved in anti-Israeli incitement and Palestinian terrorist activity, and in response to ongoing Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel.

UNRWA chief Pierre Krähenbühl moaned that the result was that "525,000 students no longer have access to education, three million patients don't have access to healthcare and 1.7 million don't receive emergency assistance."

His remarks ignored two very inconvenient facts:

  1. US aid makes up about one-third of UNRWA's total budget. And Trump only cut some of that funding. If losing a small fraction of its overall funding caused UNRWA to shut down all its most critical programs, then there's some serious mismanagement, or corruption, or both.

  2. The Palestinians themselves have had decades to build a functioning society and government. And they've been provided the money to make that happen. One study revealed that per capita, the Palestinians have received more than did the Europeans under the Marshall Plan following World War II. In all that time, and with all that money, the Palestinians have failed to establish for themselves even the most basic public services. That doesn't sound like a very firm foundation for statehood.


COMMENTARY: British Royalty Returns From ‘Exile’

No British royal has ever yet made an official visit to Israel. But now that ‘exile’ is about to end, appropriately enough, after 70 years – the period spent in Babylon by the Jews of old.

Prince William, the Queen’s grandson and second in line to the throne, will arrive in the country shortly after the celebrations of the Jewish state’s 70th anniversary, which is expected to coincide with the controversial U.S. Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The historic visit will also take in Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

The long exile from the modern Jewish state by British royalty is perhaps complex, but seems to reflect Foreign Office policy, which generally amounts to appeasement of the surrounding Arab nations.

Last year a rumoured visit by Prince Charles, heir to the throne, was reportedly cancelled by the Royal Visits Committee on the grounds that it would “upset Arab nations in the region who regularly host UK royals”.

The Royal family has historically always rejected Israeli invitations for official state visits, although individual members have visited the country in a personal capacity.

Although the Queen has travelled the world more than most, she has never set foot in Israel, the land which gave birth to the Christian faith she so devoutly follows.

Prince Philip’s only trip was in 1994 to attend a ceremony commemorating his mother, Princess Alice, who is buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

Prince Charles has visited twice to pay respects at state funerals as well as fulfilling a longstanding wish to visit his grandmother’s grave, but these were not considered official tours.

It will be the most high-profile and politically sensitive trip yet for the 35-year-old Duke of Cambridge, and I suspect he too will want to visit the grave of his great-grandmother, recognised by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum as ‘righteous among the nations’ for saving a Jewish family during the war.

As Princess of Greece, she hid Jewish widow Rachel Cohen and two of her five children in her home. Rachel’s husband had in 1913 helped King George I of Greece, in return for which the king offered him any service he could perform, should he ever need it.

When the Nazi threat emerged, his son recalled this promise and appealed to the Princess, who duly honoured her father’s pledge.

No doubt it was effectively out of her hands for the Queen to visit the Jewish state, but she has done even better than that by remaining a loyal, consistent and outstanding ambassador for the Jewish Messiah, whom she worships with undying devotion.

That said, now that the exile of official British royal visits to the Holy Land is finally over, I pray that our political, diplomatic and spiritual relationship with Israel will reach new heights of understanding and support, and thus bring blessing back on our own beleaguered land, plagued with infighting over Brexit along with threats to our freedom from the hard left and extreme right.

We have betrayed Israel in her hour of need for long enough. A hundred years ago we were granted the great privilege of restoring Jews to their ancient land through an international treaty (at San Remo in 1920) that recognised their right to such territory.

But in the face of Arab opposition, boosted by riots and massacres, we backed down and thus failed to fully carry out our noble calling. To this day we have kept appeasing those who made the most noise and threats, so that we have even allowed ourselves to be taken in by United Nations-backed Palestinian propaganda downplaying Jewish links to Jerusalem, and the Promised Land as a whole.

So, shamefully, we refused to follow President Trump’s lead in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – it’s been part of Jewish history for 3,500 years while the Palestinians were not even recognised as a people until recent decades.

In fact, there was a time not long ago when Arabs refused to be known as Palestinians. When 30,000 Jews, along with a few hundred Arabs, volunteered to serve with the British forces during World War II, they were permitted to wear a ‘Palestine’ shoulder patch. But the Arabs wouldn’t wear it: “We are not Palestinians; we are Arabs,” they responded.

The celebrations marking seventy years since Israel’s re-birth on May 14 1948 are particularly significant as 70 is a number holding great importance in the Bible, of which the exile in Babylon was just one example.

On the other hand, it also has some experts worried as, despite its long history in the land, Israel has only been a united fully sovereign state (not occupied by foreign armies, for example) on three occasions, lasting an average of 70 years so far!

But the fact that the big birthday will coincide with the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, followed by an official visit from British royalty, is both intriguing and encouraging.

I realise that we now live in a secular-humanist environment, but politicians and diplomats would do well to consider the Bible’s recording of God’s word to Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse…” (Genesis 12.3, Numbers 24.9)

Even more alarming is the stern warning from Isaiah: “For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.” (Isa 60.12)

The responsibility for Britain’s fortune or failure will inevitably have much to do with how we treat Israel.

We stand at the crossroads with a great opportunity to bless the Jews – to work with them towards a peaceful future in the Middle East or to work against them in appeasement of their enemies as we have done for much of the last century.

Which road will we take? Will we step out in faith – honouring the God of Israel – or succumb to fear of the repercussions?

PHOTO: Jerusalem as seen from the Mt of Olives, where the Queen’s mother-in-law, Princess Alice, is buried. (Charles Gardner)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


Our Olive Tree Planting Will Commence Mid-March

The planting of the olive trees in our new olive grove was originally planned for this week but due to logistical and weather-related circumstances we are unfortunately forced to postpone the tree planting.

The initial tree planting will now take place, God willing, between the 14th and 16th of March. The Israel Today editorial team will be there and you can be there too!


Iranians Blame 'Jewish Influence' for Ugly New Mosque Design

The Jewish people were surprised to find themselves entangled in a heated debate over mosque design in Iran.

A massive new mosque being constructed in Tehran sports a sleek, minimalist design that architects say evokes the "austerity of early Islam."

But more conservative Muslim voices have slammed the departure from the more traditional domes and minarets characteristic of mosques across the Middle East.

Some called it the result of "secular and Jewish influence."

The New Arab reported that one local news website, Mashregh, went so far as to state that the new mosque looks like a Jewish kippa (yarmulke), and that the architects should be tried for "treason" for aiding a Zionist conspiracy.

Next time someone tells you that Iran has no problem with the Jews in general, and is only opposed to Israeli government policies, remember this story.

PHOTO: Illustration (Flash90)

H/T Elder of Ziyon


Family of Terrorist Who Murdered Israeli Rabbi Rewarded With Fully-Furnished Apartment

The Palestinian Authority's blatant encouragement of terrorist violence continues apace.

In January, a gang of Hamas terrorists brutally murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six young children who was widely loved in his small Samarian Jewish community.

A month later, Israeli security forces tracked down the terrorist to his hideout in the PA-controlled town of Jenin.

Ahmad Nasser Jarrar was killed after resisting arrest and engaging in a shootout with IDF soldiers.

Last week, it was reported that Jarrar's family had been rewarded for his "heroic" actions with a new, fully-furnished apartment.

The PA's official news agency Wafa reported that the apartment had been provided by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' own Fatah party.

"Our people is united and consolidated and does not forget its martyrs who gave their lives for Palestine," said Fatah Jenin secretary Nour Al-Din Abu Al-Rab, in remarks translated by MEMRI.

Israeli forces had demolished Jarrar's family home after his heinous attack on Shevach.

PHOTO: Yael Shevach, widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, attends her husband's funeral in the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad, January 10, 2018. Shevach was murdered in a drive-by shooting near Havat Gilad. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)


Pesach Specials At 25% Discount

During the week-long Pesach festival, each Jew commemorates the Exodus from Egypt as if he had personally been there.

Pesach (Passover) this year is celebrated from March 31 until April 6 inclusive. The Pesach Seder (Passover meal) takes place on Friday evening March 30. Transform your Pesach Seder meal with these Pesach products from Israel.

The Passover Haggada is read by the head of the family during the ceremony. You may ask questions to keep your attention during the long evening. The historical happenings are complemented by rabbinic wisdom and in the end everyone participates boisterously in the well-known songs. Our Pesach Haggada is in both Hebrew and English.

Charoset is used during the ceremony and is reminiscent of the clay that was used by the Israelites to produce bricks during their slavery.

Augment your meal with applicable dishes that make use of Dates and Silan (Date honey) which will leave everybody with reminders of the tastes of the Holy Land!

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Netanyahu Government Dangerously Close to Collapse

The big news of the day in Israel on Sunday was how dangerously close Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is to collapse.

According to some sources within the coalition, Israel might have early elections as soon as June of this year.

The issue at hand is passing the national budget, which the ultra-Orthodox parties in Netanyahu's coalition are refusing to support unless the prime minister first pushes through legislation exempting Jewish seminary students from serving in the IDF.

"Secular" Israelis have long balked at the status quo that enables the religious sector to skirt the obligations and responsibilities carried by every other Israeli Jew.

The heads of the other parties in Netanyahu's coalition have vowed to never allow such "exemption" legislation to pass.

If the ultra-Orthodox parties were to revolt, the Opposition would presumably call for a vote of no-confidence in Netanyahu, which would pass with the backing of the religious factions, necessitating either the formation of a new government coalition, or early elections.

Complicating matters further is that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is threatening to pull his Kulanu Party out of the coalition if Netanyahu gives in to ultra-Orthodox "blackmail" and postpones the budget.

Netanyahu bemoaned that "there is no reason for us to go to early elections" over the question of ultra-Orthodox Jews doing military service.

But, Israel has gone to early elections over less in the past, and that appears to be where she's headed now.

"Israel will be headed to the polls within the coming months," announced Hadashot news (formerly Channel 2 News), estimating that the vote would take place in June.

Netanyahu officially still has another year-and-a-half on his current term.


Report: Satellite Surveillance Finds Iranian Missile Base in Syria

Iran's presence in Syria can no longer be dismissed as involvement in its ally's ongoing civil war.

Fox News reported this week that satellite imagery had revealed a new Iranian military facility near Damascus.

The size and position of two large hangars indicate that the base is hosting short and medium range missiles.

A similar base constructed by Iran last year was bombed and destroyed by Israel.

The rebellion against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad wouldn't require Iran to deploy medium range missiles to the country, especially given that the Russian Air Force is also involved on their behalf.

The only reasonable assumption is that these missiles are meant for Israel.

PHOTO: Israel's Iron Dome, Patriot and David's Sling anti-missile systems have been deployed to counter the Iranian threat. In the photo, an Iron Dome battery intercepts a Hamas missile fired from Gaza. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)


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Israel Prepares for War in the North

A top Israeli general and member of Knesset says that recent clashes with Iranian and other forces in Syria indicate that war in Israel's north is only a matter of time.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva radio, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben-Reuven, who is also a member of Knesset with the Zionist Union (Labor) party and sits on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said:

"The people who were supposed to be the 'brakes' in this situation were the Russians, whose planes are currently massacring Syrian civilians in Damascus. The Russians aren't doing their job, and the Americans, unfortunately, aren't in the area and hardly say anything. So if the situation continues the way it is, we're on our way to another wide-scale war in Israel's north. I pray that I'm wrong.

"The explosive situation is just getting worse, because Israel, according to foreign sources, is not sitting and waiting, and things are happening.

"It's important that the Israeli public understand the situation. The public needs to follow the IDF's lead, and the IDF is doing its job and preparing for all possibilities."


Unofficial Poll Shows Arabs Would Back Israel in War Against Iran

In an unofficial, unscientific survey, a firm majority of respondents from across the Arab Middle East said they would back Israel in a war against Iran and its proxies in Syria.

The poll was conducted on Twitter by Faisal al-Kasim, an Al-Jazeera host who is one of the most influential TV media personalities in the Arab world.

Nearly 24,000 of al-Kasim's followers responded to the poll, 56 percent of whom said they'd side with the Jewish state against the Islamic Republic.

While the survey is, again, not scientific, it is nevertheless significant given al-Kasim's prominence and the massive number of Arab media consumers who bothered to respond.

Already for years Arab leaders have been quietly leaning toward Israel in the face of regional threats like Iran's nuclear program and the rise of ISIS. In so doing, they have acknowledged that the "Palestinian issue" is a side concern, at best, and that Israel has more to offer as an ally than an enemy.

Al-Kasim's poll would indicate that the Arab masses are waking up to that reality, too.


Today is Purim! Get Megillat Esther At 25% off!

Purim is celebrated on the 14th and 15th Adar (this year the 1st and 2nd of March). On the evening of the 13th Adar and on the morning of the 14th, the Megillat Esther (the scroll of Esther) is read in synagogues.

The Book of Esther tells the story of Haman, a minister at the time of King Xerxes in 485 - 465 BC, who wanted to destroy the Persian Jews. Haman chose the date of annihilation with one lot (in Hebrew: "Pur", several lots - in Hebrew: "Purim"), hence the name Purim. Only by intervention by the Jewess Esther (the wife of the king), was this project stopped and Haman received his just punishment.

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Iran to Host Festival Celebrating Israel's Imminent Demise

Iran already plays host to an international conference denying the facts of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people.

Now, the Islamic Republic is gearing up for the first ever International Hourglass Festival, a gala event celebrating the imminent demise of the State of Israel.

Iran Front Page reported that the event's marketing information features an hourglass and a disintegrating Star of David above the words "25 Years," a reference to predictions by Iran's top leadership that Israel would cease to exist within the next quarter century.

The festival organizer is Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an aide to the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament. He told the publication that the event is being put on to celebrate the fact that "the Islamic Republic won’t allow the Zionists to play with the security of the sensitive region of Middle East. Iran and its allies in the region, who defeated terrorists, will never allow the Zionists to endanger the region’s security."

Anti-Israel organizations around the world have reportedly jumped at the opportunity to promote the festival.

PHOTO: Despite such blatant incitement against Israel, the United Nations and many of its member states continue to insist that the Iranian regime is becoming more "moderate." (Amir Levy/Flash90)


Drought-Stricken Nation Refuses Water Aid From Israel

As Jews celebrate the time in ancient Persia when they were rescued from annihilation, anti-Semitism rears its head at UK universities and the South African Parliament.

The effects of the longstanding drought that has struck South Africa’s Western Province could have been alleviated if they had accepted an Israeli offer of help, the Cape Town Parliament heard.

In responding to a state of the nation address from new President Cyril Ramaphosa following the resignation of Jacob Zuma amidst allegations of corruption, opposition MP Kenneth Meshoe revealed that the Jewish state had offered their world-renowned expertise in the prevention of water shortages.

The ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) member said it had been refused on the grounds of a narrow political agenda linked with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign that seeks to isolate Israel along lines comparable to that suffered by South Africa during the apartheid era.

BDS supporters accuse Israel of being an apartheid state because of their alleged mistreatment of Palestinians – this in a region where in fact they stand out as the lone democracy with Arabs and Jews sharing equal rights along with positions of influence in the nation.

Mr Meshoe said it was surely irresponsible for the government (both national and provincial) to turn down aid from people with a proven track record – “people who live in a desert and yet have no water shortages” – and described it as “the politics of hatred that will not help our country,” urging the new President to root out corruption, starting with his Cabinet, and pursue truth, righteousness and justice for all.

Israel has also suffered a drought of late, but their innovative drip irrigation scheme has already been successfully tried in other dry areas of the world including Africa.

Meanwhile UK universities are taking part in another so-called Israel Apartheid Week, part of a hostile worldwide campaign to delegitimise and demonise the Jewish state that in fact contravenes the International Definition of Anti-Semitism the British Government adopted last year, which states that “claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist and illegitimate endeavour is anti-Semitic”.

Christians United for Israel last year successfully campaigned to prevent some universities hosting these weeks after sharing their concerns with academic authorities – pointing out, for example, that Israel’s 1.6 million Arabs have the same rights as their 6.8 million Jewish fellow citizens.

The truth is that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and apartheid is being practiced by its neighbours, where there is no freedom of speech or religion, and where women do not enjoy equal rights.

South Africans like Kenneth Meshoe lived through apartheid, which bears no resemblance to Israel’s policies.

Jewish people everywhere will this week be celebrating their annual feast of Purim, marking their deliverance from genocide in ancient Persia when Queen Esther used her position of influence to save her people.

Those who call for boycotts and protests against Israel today are in danger of being linked with unsavoury groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and their sponsors, Iran, who seek the annihilation of the Jewish race. Hitler tried it too.

At a London university, Jewish students were jeered and sworn at as a motion was passed supporting BDS while photographs were taken of those who opposed the motion! Since apartheid was basically racist, is this not a case of the pot calling the kettle black? And all this on UK campuses that were once the bastion of free thought.

Those who stand with Israel, and for truth, would do well to match the courage of America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who responded to the advice of a top Palestinian negotiator that she should “shut up” by saying: “I will not shut up! Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”

The great evangelist Billy Graham, who died last week, succinctly put it this way: “The Jews are God’s chosen people. We cannot place ourselves in opposition to Israel without detriment to ourselves.”

PHOTO: "Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool..." (Isaiah 35.6f) Expertise in water conservation has helped to fulfil such prophecies. A desert spring near Dimona provides rest and refreshment for weary tourists. Picture: Charles Gardner

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


Helping To Green The Desert Is A Privilege, Not A Demand!

Our vineyard in the desert is very important to us after we established it in the Negev desert. Our vineyard grows in the sand where the Israelites once camped on their journey to the Promised Land close to the biblical Kadesh Barnea.

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Messianic Movie Flops in Israel

Despite being given every chance, the first major Messianic movie screened in Israel has flopped. Here's why...

The full review appears in the March 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it now >>

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Tel Aviv Demonstrates Against Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

The battle over "illegal" (or, "undocumented," if you prefer) immigrants is heating up in Israel.

The Netanyahu government has ramped up its rhetoric and drawn its battle-lines in preparation for deporting most of the 38,000-plus Africans currently in the country.

Some 20,000 residents of Tel Aviv (where most of the immigrants are living) took to the streets over the weekend to protest the government's policies.

Holding signs reading "Refugees Do Not Deport Refugees," the demonstrators sought to remind the Jewish people of their own history of exile. But similar protests held by the other side of the argument have highlighted the differences in those situations–namely that the African migrant to South Tel Aviv has brought with it an unprecedented rise in crime and sexual assault.

The situation is complicated. Israel has stated unequivocally that it won't deport genuine asylum-seekers, such as black Christians from Sudan who face almost certain death if returned to the hands of their Arab Muslim oppressors.

But most of the Africans squatting in South Tel Aviv are from Eritrea. And that's a trickier case. Eritrea is without question an oppressive dictatorship. However, unlike the situation in Darfur, Eritreans are not being ethnically-cleansed, they aren't facing imminent death.

Most Eritreans are running away from compulsory military service (which, of course, exists in Israel, too), restrictive laws governing religious worship and harsh economic conditions. Because these issues do not put them at the same level as those fleeing Darfur, some European nations have stopped classifying most Eritreans as "refugees" or "asylum-seekers," and instead view them as economic migrants.

Israel has taken a similar approach, meaning most of the Eritreans in Israel are currently slated for eventual deportation to a third country, such as Rwanda.

PHOTO: Israelis join African migrants in protesting their deportation in Tel Aviv on Saturday. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)


Israeli Group Issues Temple Tax Coin Featuring Image of Trump

The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord's offering to make atonement for your lives. – Exodus 30:15

One of the various Israeli groups preparing for the building of the Third Temple has issued a half shekel Temple tax coin featuring the images of Persian's King Cyrus and US President Donald Trump.

Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to the Land of Israel following their captivity in Babylon, and facilitated construction of the Second Temple.

The Hamikdah Betzion (The Temple in Zion) organization believes that Trump's December 6 declaration recognizing Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem set him on a similar path.

"This is a historic act for which the Jewish people is grateful," Prof. Hillel Weiss, chairman of the group, told Israel National News.

But Weiss cautioned that Trump must not stop now if God's full blessing on his administration is to be bestowed: "The Trump Declaration must continue with a declaration of the role of the Jews in establishing the Temple in its place. Only then will President Trump's international ambitions come true in the Middle East."


This Thursday and Friday is Purim!

Purim, a Jewish family celebration, will be celebrated in Israel and around the world this Thursday and Friday! Children dress up in costume, parade through the streets, prepare gift baskets (Mischloach Manot) and above all fulfill the commandment to give to the poor and bless them.

We would like to give you, our supporters and friends of Israel, the opportunity to share in this celebration! Israel Today, has accepted the task of finding needy children groups and make them happy through various actions.

"And Mordecai... sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor." Esther 9:20 - 22

This year, on Purim, lovingly packaged Purim packets will be distributed to needy children.


Trump Accelerates US Embassy Transfer to Jerusalem

Much to the chagrin of the Palestinian Authority, US President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he'd be accelerating the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The US mission is slated to being moving in phases to its consular facility in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona starting in May.

The first stages of the move are expected to see Ambassador David Friedman and a small personal staff take up offices at the Arnona facility, officially granting it the status of "embassy."

Later, a full embassy annex will be added to the complex, with a new embassy facility to be built elsewhere in the city during the years to come.

Israeli government ministers called Trump's announcement and "Independence Day gift," given that the May transfer coincides with Israel's 70th anniversary celebrations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to extend a formal invitation to Trump to visit Israel at that time to both join the anniversary celebrations and oversee the embassy's initial transfer.

Unsurprisingly, Palestinian leaders were furious over the announcement.

Lead Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat, who recently told US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to "shut up," issued the following overly-dramatic statement:

"The US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and now to move its embassy on the eve of marking 70 years since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of at least 418 Palestinian villages, and the forcible displacement of two-thirds of our people, shows the determination of the US administration to violate international law, destroy the two-state solution and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people, as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe."

PHOTO: A Palestinian militant prepares to execute Trump in effigy over his support for Israel's claims to Jerusalem. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)


COMMENTARY: Rainbow of Hope

News of the resignation of Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s president comes as a great relief following allegations of corruption that have hung over the country like a dark shadow for far too long.

And it coincided with a literal downpour of heaven’s blessings as the drought-stricken land was drenched by an all-night cloudburst in the Northern Cape – I will explain more about that later.

Zuma’s longstanding refusal to budge from his position has further threatened the stability of an embattled nation already facing serious economic and social problems.

Cyril Ramaphosa, declaring himself “a servant of South Africa”, has been sworn in as his replacement, and I am hopeful of a brighter future for the ‘Rainbow nation’ that showed such promise following the success of its first-ever multi-racial elections in 1994. But the legacy of peace, prosperity and reconciliation left by Nelson Mandela was thrown to the winds of tribalism and strife that mirrored much of what has been going on in the rest of Africa.

The dawn of the New South Africa, you may recall, was preceded by a very worrying time when civil war looked a real possibility – and was widely predicted by the media – as the Zulu-led Inkhata Party threatened not to cooperate with the transition talks.

Thankfully, South Africa’s many Christians flooded sports stadiums to pray for a resolution, and Christian leaders like Michael Cassidy were used by God to broker peace. The nation was pulled back from the brink as a result, relatively little blood was spilt, and a wonderful new era dawned.

Tragically, in recent years, lack of leadership with integrity, along with non-cooperation with all parties of goodwill, has left a trail of destruction in its wake – violence, especially in rural areas, is rampant, along with corruption, unemployment and disease. And with the ruling African National Congress party strongly influenced by Marxism, South Africa has inevitably climbed onto the bandwagon of political correctness where anything goes except good, honest living according to God’s standards. Part of the government’s PC dogma is a thoroughly nonsensical accusation that Israel is now practising the ‘apartheid’ that so blighted South Africa, and they are using this as an excuse to downgrade diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

The irony of the earlier threat to peace posed by Inkhata is that Zuma is a Zulu. But I don’t wish to taint the rest of his people – the country’s largest ethnic group – with his alleged corruption. They are a wonderful tribe; I was virtually brought up by a lovely Zulu woman, Agnes Nzimande. Indeed, they were once great warriors, who even defeated the British at the Battle of Isandhlwana in 1879, and their present King, Goodwill Zwelithini, is reputedly a believing Christian who has bravely challenged the government over their anti-Semitic stance against Israel, urging them against loosening ties.

Wrong relationships have caused all these problems; politicians have allowed themselves to be influenced by the wrong people, leading to division and corruption. But we worship a God who is, above all, a God of relationships. He himself is not alone, but acts in harmony with the Son and the Holy Spirit, and he calls us into a relationship with him. And when this happens, we also come into a right relationship with others. The greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind; and to love our neighbour as ourselves. (Matthew 22.37-40)

But there is now another rainbow of hope on the horizon. Before I had even heard the news of Zuma’s fall, my wife and I were still in bed having a WhatsApp conversation with friends in South Africa who were touring the Northern Cape encouraging farmers to keep trusting God through these difficult times, especially the long-running drought that has blighted the country for so long. Not surprisingly, there has been much prayer for rain.

Our friends – Julian and Trish Southey (Julian was my best friend from boarding school days over 50 years ago) – were escorting another couple on a ministry tour of the region, and were travelling to a distant farm to hold a Bible Study on the eve of Valentine’s Day. On arrival, they could see a black cloud heading their way, and during the evening there was an almighty downpour. The heavens opened and the farmers were ecstatic. They rushed outside to measure it, and reported that they hadn’t seen that much rain in ten years.

But much more was to come! Our friends left the farmhouse at 10.45pm, but due to the downpour, and their planned route being rendered impassable, they had to make a 100-mile detour over very rough roads to return to base.

It took them all night. Their truck got stuck in deep mud, and it must have been a frightening experience watching a river of floodwater rushing past as they prayed for help, which eventually came complete with a tow-bar to extricate them from the mire.

Their ordeal was matched with much joy, of course, because these god-fearing farmers have been faithfully praying for an end to the drought for a long time. The picture above was taken next morning – a rainbow (promise of God’s faithfulness) of hope now hangs over the land, no longer parched but drenched by the goodness of God. And it stands as a reminder that South Africa’s only long-term hope is to put their trust in the only One who can supply the rain, while at the same time putting their relationships right – first with God, and also with one another.

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


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IDF Prevented ISIS Attack on Arab Airliner

The IDF on Wednesday decided to provide a quick glimpse into the clandestine activity of Unit 8200, the Israeli military's equivalent to America's NSA. This secretive unit was able to thwart an ISIS attempt to blow up a civilian airplane en route from Australia to Abu Dubi. The IDF referred to a July 30, 2017 news report about Australian police arresting four suspects in Sydney who were planning to “commit a terrorist act using an improvised device.” 

Now the IDF informs us that it was thanks to the efforts of Unit 8200 that the Australians were able to save the lives of hundreds of passengers. According to the Ynet news portal, the terrorists attempted to kill everyone on board of the Etihad flight by an explosive device placed in the suitcase of an unsuspecting relative to one of the terrorists. Though the incident happened on Australian soil, it is possible that ISIS’s decision to target Etihad, on of the official airlines of the United Arab Emirates, was no accident. The UAE and Israel have been flirting with one another for quite a while now. At least two Israeli ministers openly visited the UAE, in 2010 and 2016. 

The astonishing Mossad debacle in its alleged 2010 assassination of Hamas terrorist mastermind Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai points not only to an interesting intelligence cooperation between the two nations, it also demonstrates that this embarrassing incident wasn’t enough to sever ties between Israel and UAE. Israel’s saving of the Etihad flight in particular, and this unique case of Arab-Israeli cooperation in general, shows how beneficial Israel can be to other Arab countries. 

Unit 8200's vital role in today’s changing military arena was again seen just a day after the IDF revealed its role in Australia. On Thursday morning, Israelis were informed that all cellular networks in southern Israel were shut down. According to some sources, this wasn’t a technical problem, but a cyber-attack, most likely perpetrated from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The soldiers of Unit 8200 are tasked with fighting this kind technological warfare, which can take on so very many different forms. Dovetailing the report on the Australian incident, a senior officer from Unit 8200 went just as far as saying that this unit also “operates beyond Israel’s borders. We do things like turning utilizing cyber-tech as an offensive weapon … this technology has turned into a tool for achieving military and political objectives.” The same officer also said that over the last year, Unit 8200 has thwarted dozens of terror acts from Judea and Samaria. 

PHOTO: Illustration. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)


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Israelis Establish New 'West Bank' Settlement, Say Trump Will Support Them

While unwavering in his support of Israel, US President Donald Trump has quietly echoed his predecessors in labeling the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria as problematic.

But a group of Israelis on hand for the construction of a new settlement on Wednesday insisted that once he understands the importance of their enterprise, Trump will change his tune.

The new settlement is called "Amichai" and is situated not far from the biblical town of Shiloh in central Samaria. It is being built, with government approval, for those Jews forcibly evicted from the unauthorized settlement of Amona several years ago.

This week saw the first temporary houses erected in Amichai, with more permanent homes to be constructed in the coming months.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, settler leader Avi Roeh said of the expected international backlash:

"This is a beneficial period and we, as the State of Israel, must take advantage of this, including by declaring sovereignty over the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

"I think that the American administration is completely with us, and the moment that we explain the importance, [the US] understands it, because it is disconnected from the pressures of the Arab countries."

PHOTO: Bulldozers late last year began preparing a barren hilltop for the new Jewish settlement of Amichai. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)


'Israel Cares More for Palestinian Life Than Hamas Does'

A Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip stumbled across the security fence into Israeli territory on Wednesday after having been shot by Hamas forces.

Soldiers with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who are so often smeared as blood-thirsty racists, did not hesitate to provide the man with emergency medical treatment.

IDF Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of COGAT (Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories), took the opportunity to set the record straight, posting to Facebook in Arabic the following message to the people of Gaza:

"Nothing simpler: a Palestinian passed the security fence from the Gaza Strip into Israel today after Hamas forces shot him. IDF soldiers helped him - this is a purely humanitarian issue.

"The State of Israel and its army care for Palestinian life more than Hamas does, and this is the issue.

"The more you internalize it, people of Gaza, you will understand that Hamas has nothing to offer. You deserve more!"

PHOTO: Illustration (Dudu Greenspan/Flash90)


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'The Netanyahu Era is Over'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's legal woes amplified on Wednesday after a powerful close confidant turned state's witness in the escalating corruption investigations.

The Israel Police had already recommended Netanyahu's indictment in the two investigations known as Case 1000 and Case 2000, which respectively accuse the prime minister of accepting bribes in return for political favors, and of making an underhanded deal for more favorable media coverage.

Earlier this week, Police officials surprised the nation by unveiling Case 4000, in which Netanyahu is suspected, among other things, of doing political favors for Israel's Bezeq telecommunications company in exchange for favorable coverage on the popular Walla! online news portal, which is owned by Bezeq's controlling shareholder.

The situation for Netanyahu turned grim overnight when Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber turned state's witness in the case.

Filber was reportedly Netanyahu's deal-making man in the Bezeq scandal, and his testimony could land the prime minister in jail.

That being the case, Israel's opposition on Wednesday started ramping up for early elections.

"The events of the last two days and recent hours make very clear: The Netanyahu era is over," wrote Zionist Union (Labor) party chief Avi Gabbay. "We must prepare for an election soon."

However, the most recent public opinion polls still show that the left wouldn't necessarily benefit from new elections at this time.

A survey conducted on behalf of The Jerusalem Post revealed that if elections were held today, Likud would remain the largest party in the Knesset, followed by the centrist Yesh Atid, with Labor coming in third with just over half the seats of Likud.

The mix of smaller parties would remain more or less as it is today, meaning it would still be easier to forge a right-wing coalition than a left-wing one.


American Ambassador Warns Israel Could Descend Into Civil War

Israel, despite being the homeland of the tightly-knit Jewish people, is not immune to civil war. It's happened before in the nation's history.

And top American officials apparently fear it could happen again.

Israel's Channel 10 News reported on Tuesday that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman had stated in private remarks his concern that forcing the Jewish state to evacuate settlers from the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria could lead to deadly internal conflict.

On the sidelines of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, Friedman came down hard on the Palestinian Authority as the primary obstacle to peace, but also reportedly said of Israel:

"The command echelon in the IDF is going more and more to the national religious [sector]. These are people who feel duty-bound to this land as land given to them by God. The expulsion of hundreds of thousands of settlers could lead to a civil war in Israel."

Ongoing Palestinian intransigence and the potential for a catastrophic rift in Israeli society has, in Friedman's estimation, led the Trump Administration to be more "realistic" about the peace process. "We do not want to raise expectations about the chances of reaching a peace agreement too much," he was quoted as saying.

The US Embassy in Israel later issued a statement that didn't deny Friedman had made those remarks, but did call out the sources for failing to provide full context:

"The Channel 10 report is based upon three attendees at the conference who failed to provide much of the context behind Ambassador Friedman’s comments as well as significant additional and related remarks by the Ambassador."

Of course, civil war in any context is a bad thing. And the fact that Washington believes it to be a real possibility is frightening, but also echoes warnings of many experts in Israel itself.


Trump Admin Unimpressed by Palestinian Temper Tantrum at UN

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas visited the UN Security Council on Tuesday to further complain about how Israel and America aren't giving him what he wants, despite his regime's failure to honor signed agreements.

Abbas reiterated his demand for an international conference to which Trump will not be invited, resulting in a "mechanism" paving the way for Palestinian statehood.

In other words, the Palestinians want it all, without giving anything in return.

Abbas insisted this was necessary because Trump's America and Israel were refusing to make the kind of peace he envisions.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was not impressed.

While Abbas ran out of the chamber before Haley spoke, she still addressed him directly:

"The United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership. Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.

"You can choose to denounce the United States, reject its role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I assure that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations.

"Or you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people."

Haley slammed Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat for previously telling her to "shut up," and informed the Palestinians that they'd ultimately receive nothing unless they drop their "absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement and violence."


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Israeli Schools Drill for Missile Attack Amid Threats From Iran

Elementary schools across Israel held emergency missile attack drills this week, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu engaged in a frightening war of words with Iran.

Speaking Sunday at the Munich Security Conference, Netanyahu denounced Iran for probing Israeli defenses a week earlier with a drone, a piece of which the Israeli leader held aloft.

Israel responded to that incident by bombing Iranian military installations in Syria. Netanyahu warned that future incidents could see Israel take direct military action against Iran.

Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council and former chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, said Netanyahu had spoken foolishly, and invited destruction upon the Jewish state.

"About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground," Rezaei told Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station.

Israel's Homefront Command cautioned that the potential for war between Israel and Iran (possibly via its proxies in Syria and Lebanon) are higher than ever.

As part of its preparations for such a scenario, Israeli grade schools held exercises and drills to prepare students for a potential missile attack on the Jewish state.

Homefront Command officials were on hand at many schools, as children prepared for the worst. Teachers also gave their students homework aimed at readying them for the likelihood of a regional conflagration.


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You could also click on the image below in order to view the location in the Negev Desert.

The planting of our olive grove will take place in stages over the next 2 weeks! We will keep you up to date!


Is Jerusalem About to Start Taxing Churches?

The headlines look bad. While there's no mention of synagogues and mosques, it's being reported that the Jerusalem Municipality has decided to start taxing local churches.

The heads of major churches (mostly Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) have boycotted an upcoming event hosted by Mayor Nir Barkat in protest.

A few days earlier, these Church leaders issued a statement reading:

"Civil authorities have always respected the great contribution of the Christian churches, which invest billions in building hospitals and homes, many for the elderly and disadvantaged, in the Holy Land."

But, as with most stories of a controversial nature, some key elements are being left out of many reports.

First, this is a property tax, known in Hebrew as arnona, not a tax on Church income.

The reason it's a bigger deal for these traditional churches is because they own a large percentage of the land in the city of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, and this point is critical, the Jerusalem Municipality has decided only to collect arnona from those Church-owned properties that house businesses, such as guest houses. No house of worship is going to be taxed.

Still, given just how much of the land in Jerusalem these churches own, collecting arnona on the businesses is estimated to bring in hundreds of millions of shekels per year.


Palestinian Leaders Angry That Israel Won't Pay Terrorist Salaries

The government of "moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday condemned Israel for deciding to no longer help it pay the salaries of jailed Palestinian terrorists.

Under the terms of various signed peace agreements, Israel is obligated to collect tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and transfer those funds accordingly.

At the same time, the Palestinian Authority is obligated to cease all incitement to violence against Israel. And Israel considers providing handsome salaries to those who attack and kill Jews to be incitement, or, at the very least, incentive.

As such, Israel's Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved a bill promoted by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to deduct any amount the Palestinian Authority pays to terrorists from future tax revenue transfers.

The Palestinians called the move an act of "piracy, a theft of money, and yet another crime added to the Israeli occupations' ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people."


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Israel Bombards Gaza After Soldiers Hurt in IED Blast

In what constituted the heaviest fighting in the region in years, Israeli aircraft bombarded the Gaza Strip Saturday night, hours after a terrorist bomb planted along the coastal enclave's border fence wounded four Israeli soldiers on patrol.

Two of the soldiers were seriously wounded.

Israel said that it holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza, and proceeded to strike 18 facilities belonging to the ruling terror group.

Air raid sirens sounded in several nearby Israeli towns, but army officials later said they were false alarms, and that Hamas and its allies had not fired any rockets into the Negev region.

A Palestinian source cited by Israel Radio later said that Hamas had informed Egypt that it is not interested in escalating the conflict with Israel, and was not directly behind Saturday's border attack.


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Netanyahu Insists Israel Will Continue Bombing Syria As Needed

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rejected the idea of internationally-imposed restrictions on Israeli military action in Syria after a serious clash with Iranian and Syrian forces earlier in the week.

Israel has bombed Syrian regime, Iranian and Hezbollah targets and facilities in war-torn Syria a number of times over the past few years, usually to prevent the transfer of game-changing weaponry to terror groups.

But last weekend, it was Iranian provocation that resulted in a significant confrontation that left numerous bases in Syria destroyed and saw Israel lose its first military plane to enemy fire in nearly 35 years.

Minutes after an Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace, it was destroyed by Israel Air Force helicopters.

The Air Force launched an immediate retaliatory strike against the facility from which the drone was piloted, deep inside Syria. An Israeli F-16 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed shortly after returning to Israeli airspace.

Israel again responded with a massive aerial assault on Syrian anti-aircraft batteries and secret Iranian bases throughout the country.

Netanyahu is heading to the Munich Security Conference, which he called "the most important security convention in the world," and where the prime minister is expected to come under heavy pressure to limit Israeli military responses to what's happening in Syria.

Speaking to reporters before departing Israel, Netanyahu said that's not going to happen.

"I will again emphasize our determination to defend ourselves, of our own power, with no restriction," he said while boarding his plane at Ben Gurion Airport.


Christian and Jewish Teens Prepare for IDF Service Together

Many Israeli Jewish teenagers will attend what's known as a mechina - a preparatory camp prior to entering their compulsory military service.

Years ago, such camps were also established for Druze and Bedouin Israelis wishing to volunteer for the IDF (Druze are required to serve, at their request, while Bedouins are not).

Last year, Lt. (ret.) Shadi Haloul decided it was time for something similar for the growing number of young Israeli Christians choosing to take up arms for the Jewish state.

His mechina, which like the others is subsidized by the Israeli government, was established at Kibbutz Beit Zera on the southern shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Twenty-eight youngsters signed up, half of them Jews and the other half Christians.

All but one of the Christians refuse to be identified as Arabs. While their mother tongue is Arabic, they identify as Arameans, an ancient ethnic group that Israel decided to officially recognize several years ago at the insistence of Haloul and other like-minded Christian leaders.

The youngsters have already been in the camp for several months now, and, according to a report in Ha'aretz, they've become fast friends. Some have even paired off into interfaith couples.

PHOTO: Illustration (Flash90)


COMMENTARY: The Incurable Romantic

With traditional marriage under increasing pressure, February 14th is a golden opportunity to reclaim lost ground.

The world at large focuses on the romance of St Valentine’s Day and, in the UK, we are marking the completion of Marriage Week.

My thoughts go back to a ‘sex talk’ at the 2016 Keswick Convention – a gathering of Christians in England’s beautiful Lake District held every year since 1875.

Professor Glynn Harrison made the point that the Church’s reaction to the ‘sexual revolution’ had been too negative and challenged his 3,000-strong audience to model the gospel through their marriages.

He is right. It is time the truths about God’s perfect plan for marriage were hammered home, both practically so that people can see that it works, and theologically.

The modern trend of couples ‘living together’ has gone unchecked partly because the alternative has not been convincing enough. Few couples seem to display sheer delight in each other.

But I truly believe that marriage is made in heaven and that there is a direct correlation between the gospel and wedded bliss. God planned the institution right at the beginning of creation, and we are told in Genesis 2.24 that a man is designed to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, so that the two become “one flesh”.

In fact, the entire Bible narrative depicts God as a loving bridegroom in pursuit of a beautiful bride. Jesus identified himself as that bridegroom (Matthew 9.15) when he was revealed to the world as the Son of God – and even now the risen, ascended and glorified Christ is waiting in heaven for his bride to make herself ready for the time of consummation when he will return to receive her in a great celebration known as the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19.9).

From Genesis to Revelation God pursues his bride, first identified as Israel, his chosen people, and later expanded to include Gentiles also devoted to him. God says of Israel: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31.3) And even when their love for him cools, he still burns with desire for them. As we see from the Book of Hosea, God even witnesses the horror of his ‘wife’ prostituting herself (to other gods and idols), yet He remains faithful.

As Prof Harrison put it, the ecclesiastical phrase ‘holy matrimony’ is not for nothing. Marriage is “a holy way of life. We put the gospel on display to the world in our fidelity to each other. And God says, ‘That’s what my love is like’. You are a picture of the kind of love God has. You are saying, ‘I don’t do one-night stands, because God doesn’t. He’s always faithful’.”

God does not give up on us. But he is looking for a bride who is devoted to him. When you’re in love, you don’t keep each other at arm’s length. You draw as close as you can and gaze into each other’s eyes with adoration. Indeed, this is a picture of how God appreciates worship – whether we are dancing in exuberant praise or kneeling at his feet in blissful wonder.

As lovers caress each other with groping arms and gestures, so we should be engaging with the Godhead with our entire beings. As marital consummation involves both our bodies and souls, so should our worship of Christ. 

Should we not love him with all our heart, soul and mind (Deuteronomy 6.5, Matthew 22.37) and worship in spirit and in truth (John 4.23f)? It should never be a ritual, something done at a certain place and time with the aid of a formally structured ‘order of service’. We should surely surrender ourselves with abandon to his loving arms as we offer ourselves to his service and will.

But love is also practical. If we love God, we also love his law, as King David put it in Psalm 19. Carrying out God’s commands – by loving him, loving our neighbour, loving justice and mercy and living unselfishly for the benefit of others – should become part of our nature as we grow in the overflowing grace of God. A husband wishing to please his wife may need to hoover the house.

Having said that, both emotion and devotion is involved for a couple who are truly in love. And surely the Lord who created these intense feelings desires that we should also express them towards him? He is, after all, the ultimate Bridegroom gathering together all those whose devotion is total and unwavering, unlike the foolish virgins who allowed their lamps of ardour to burn out (Matthew 25.1-13).

Despite all today’s emphasis on sex, a survey has concluded that people are actually having less of it, according to Prof Harrison. And in making the rather startling statement that “our bodies drive us to the gospel,” he explained that we can never be wholly satisfied with sexual intimacy alone. We are made to desire something greater and higher, reflected by the psalmist when he writes: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42.1f)

Yet human love is also well expressed in popular songs, the writers extolling the unbounded joy and delight of discovering, when you fall in love, that you simply can’t have enough of it. One of my favourite songs is the incredibly romantic Some Enchanted Evening (from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific) which tells of when, as the lyrics go, “you may see a stranger, across a crowded room, and somehow you know, you know even then, that somewhere you’ll see her, again and again.”

My wife Linda and I met as strangers on a blind date organised by mutual friends. But God – the incurable romantic – was behind it. Six months earlier, on a tour of Israel, Linda was visiting Cana in Galilee, where Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. As she watched monks playing guitar in the church reputed to have been built on the site where the miracle took place, she suddenly caught a vision of her own wedding; she could even see the groom, though his back was turned.

Around the same time, an elderly friend of mine, Denis Penhearow, rang me to apologise for not having attended the funeral of my late wife Irene as he had been ill. He was an intercessor in our church – praying on behalf of others for needs both great and small. And he told me that, as he had been praying, he had a vision of a smiling Irene reaching down from heaven with arms outstretched as if she was letting me go and urging me to marry again. Denis then added very confidently: “You will know who this (new bride) is before the end of the year (2000).”

Linda and I met on November 18th that year and were engaged before Christmas, much to the surprise of her parents.

As with marriage, so with God… If you haven’t yet fallen in love with Jesus, you may not have become aware that he has been consistently romancing and courting you. But he won’t force himself on anyone; he wants the feeling to be mutual.

He loved you so much that he allowed wicked men to nail him to a cruel cross. But it was meant to happen because it was necessary for a perfect sacrifice to be offered for our sins. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3.16)

As for Israel, his love for them has never waned and he longs for them to return it, as many ‘Messianics’ are already doing throughout the Jewish world.

When you recognise that he loves you, you surely can’t help responding by falling in love with Him. And when it becomes a mutual love – knowing that God loves you and you love him – it’s the most amazing experience you will ever have.

He doesn’t offer us dry and dusty formalism, or repetitive ritual, but a love that never stops flowing. And though tears may flow in this life, the future is one of unbounded joy and happiness as we bask in ‘married bliss’ with our Saviour and Messiah.

Meanwhile we join the rest of God’s chosen people in making elaborate preparations (essentially by inviting guests – i.e. sharing the gospel) for the biggest wedding of all, when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root and Offspring of David, returns for his bride. (Rev 5.5, Rev 22.16, Rev 21.2)

Come, Lord Jesus!

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


Thank You: Tactical Suits For Some Trainee Commanders.

In early February, tactical suits were distributed to field soldiers from various units of the Israeli army. These are special suits for combat soldiers e.g. Paratrooper, Golani, Kfir and Givati brigades. These provide ease of movement providing comfort of the soldiers during combat and training.

The grateful combatants are currently participating in a IDF commanders course. They couldn't afford these suits themselves. The boys were really appreciative and thank you from the bottom of their hearts for your generous donations!


Christian Drilling Company Strikes Oil in Northern Israel

Zion Oil & Gas several months ago began drilling at its new license in the Jezreel Valley, following the vision of company founder John Brown, who believes vast amounts of oil will be found in the Holy Land to the benefit and blessing of Israel.

The Dallas-based Christian-run company announced on Tuesday that it has found clear evidence of oil at the well.

During operations to clean the well bore, Zion reports that it it encountered "free-flowing" oil while circulating the drilling mud.

This is a big breakthrough, and offers more than a little hope that there are, indeed, substantial oil deposits in the Promised Land.

In a statement released by the company, Zion's President and Chief Operations Officer, Dustin Guinn, said that this "is obviously very exciting news and as a result, we have decided to continue to drill up to another 70 meters (about 230 feet). We expect that to take a couple of days, and barring any operational difficulties, we will continue with our open hole logs immediately thereafter."

Zion CEO Victor Carrillo cautioned that the company cannot yet "comment on the commerciality or ability to successfully produce the well," and urged backers and shareholders to "continue to pray for safe and successful drilling...and for God's wisdom for management as we make key decisions in the following days and weeks."


Netanyahu Fumes as Police Call for His Indictment

Calls for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's immediate resignation have reached fever pitch after the Israel Police on Tuesday publically recommended his indictment for corruption.

The recommendation will now be thoroughly reviewed by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who has the final say on whether or not to officially charge the prime minister's over his alleged dirty dealings.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned after he was indicted on charges of corruption, and opposition lawmakers are demanding Netanyahu do the same, though the law does not require it of him.

Even former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party was part of Netanyahu's previous governing coalition, insisted the prime minister must step down.

"Even if the letter of the law doesn’t obligate the prime minister to resign, in a proper country a person accused of such serious allegations… cannot continue to serve as prime minister," Lapid told reporters. "There is no way to manage a country while you are fighting such serious suspicions."

It was Lapid's own testimony to police that many believe made the case for indictment. Lapid told them that as finance minister, he had come face-to-face with crooked behavior on the part of Netanyahu for the benefit of his wealthy patrons. Others accused Lapid of scheming to bring down Netanyahu to serve his own agenda of becoming prime minister.

For his part, Netanyahu called the Police recommendation "slanderous" and "outrageous," and lashed out at his detractors. Netanyahu insisted he will not resign, since, unlike Olmert, he is innocent.

"This time, too, things will end without anything. These recommendations have no place in a democratic state," Netanyahu stated adamantly.

Netanyahu did get one bit of good news when top coalition partner Kulanu, headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, announced it would not abandon the prime minister.

Writing on Facebook, Kahlon reminded Israelis that at this point, there is merely a Police recommendation, not an official indictment. But Kahlon also urged Netanyahu to stop attacking the police and let them do their job.


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What makes the Middle East conflict different from other conflicts? Which determines the politics of the Middle East–the Bible, or the Koran? Why are truth and peace often enemies? Who is the "neighbor" in the Bible verse "Love your neighbor as yourself"? We'll explore these and many other topics as we together seek more profound insight into the political and spiritual realities of this land. It's all about fellowship and dialogue with some of Israel's foremost experts.

This is a unique opportunity to discuss some of the hottest topics in the world with the people who know them best. It's all about Israel and her future. Editor-in-Chief Aviel Schneider and his team in Jerusalem, we welcome you to join us.

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Israel Abuzz After Netanyahu Gets 'Slap in the Face' From Trump

Israel's mainstream media was abuzz Tuesday amid the first real tension between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.

Until now, the close cooperation between the two leaders and the amplified pro-Israel positions of the current White House have been unprecedented, even for this long-time "special relationship."

But on Monday, Trump called Netanyahu a "liar," or so reported Israel's major newspapers.

Speaking to members of his Likud party, Netanyahu stated that "for some time now" he had been discussing with the Trump White House his government's intention to apply Israeli civil law to the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The so-called "Sovereignty Law" is regarded by many as nothing less than the annexation of territories claimed by the Palestinians.

In other words, Netanyahu suggested that he and Trump had been conferring about Israel's possible annexation of the "West Bank."

The White House immediately fired back, with spokesperson Josh Raffel telling reporters:

"Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false. The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the President's focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative."

Israel's best-selling daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, as well as several competing publications, chose to translate the word "false" as "lie" when reporting in Hebrew. The provocative headline referencing Raffel's statement read:

"What Netanyahu said is a lie"

The subheading sought to further drive home the point that the honeymoon between Netanyahu and Trump is officially over:

"Netanyahu didn’t expect a slap in the face like this. Especially when the president of the US is Trump, who loves to describe Netanyahu as his good friend"

The question, of course, is whether these are just journalistic word-games aimed at selling newspapers, or the first cracks in what many at first viewed as an unassailable diplomatic and personal friendship?

Many Israelis would agree that Netanyahu has to some degree taken advantage of Trump's affinity for the Jewish state. And we all know that Trump makes no qualms about slapping down even good friends if they get in the way of his deal-making.


Palestinians Try to Lynch Israeli Soldiers Who Accidentally Entered PA Town

Two Israeli soldiers, a male and female, accidentally drove into the Palestinian town of Jenin in northern Samaria on Monday.

They nearly paid for the mistake with their lives.

Just minutes after the marked IDF vehicle entered Jenin, it was surrounded by an angry and violent mob.

The Palestinian rioters smashed the truck's windows with stones and attempted to pull the female soldier out of the vehicle. Failing that, they took her unloaded M16 assault rifle.

Fortunately for the terrified pair, Palestinian Authority police officers quickly arrived at the scene and escorted the Israelis out of town and to the nearest IDF installation.

Palestinian security also later recovered the stolen M16 and returned it to the IDF.

Both soldiers suffered light injuries. Photos of the female soldier with a bloodied face were featured on Tuesday's front pages, infuriating most Israelis.

Writing in Israel's best-selling daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, columnist Shlomo Pyutrekovsky accused the government of responding too weakly to such incidents, and thereby putting the lives of our young soldiers at even greater risk. He wrote:

"The Jenin rioters who attacked the soldiers are not afraid of what will happen to them. They don’t really think someone will knock on their door in a day or two and haul them in front of a judge. The IDF is no longer scary and these soldiers paid the price."


Arab Official Wants to Sue Israel for F-16 Crashing on His Land

Wouldn't you know it. The Israeli F-16 downed by Syrian anti-aircraft at the weekend crashed on land owned by the parliamentary aide to the most hostile and venomous Arab member of Knesset.

The plane went down near Kibbutz Harduf in the Lower Galillee after being badly damaged during a raid on Iranian military installations in Syria.

The land is reportedly owned by the top aide to MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List), who has made a career of badmouthing Israel and accusing IDF soldiers of being "murderers."

The aide claimed that the plane crash did extensive damage to his wheat fields, though photos (see above) of the site reveal it is an unused portion of land. No wheat in sight.

Nevertheless, the aide is said to be considering suing the State of Israel for damages.


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Trump Begins to Sound a Little Like Obama on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Many Israelis feared it was inevitable.

The trend has always been that no matter how pro-Israel American presidential candidates sound during the election campaign, after entering the White House they always end up blaming Israel for the lack of peace.

The Arab world will have it no other way, and successive presidents (ostensibly the most powerful men on earth) have always been too afraid of upsetting the oil-rich sheikhs, emirs and military dictators.

There's certainly been more than a little hope that Donald Trump would be the one to buck that trend. For the past year, he has been doing just that.

But, in an interview over the weekend with the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, Trump started to sound worryingly like his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump once again labeled the Palestinian leadership as the primary obstacle to peace, saying, "Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace. They are not looking to make peace."

But, for the first time publicly, Trump also laid blame on Israel.

"And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace," said the president. "So we are just going to have to see what happens."

Like Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, Trump fingered the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") as glaringly problematic.

"The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements," he stated.

It was still a far cry from the outright criticism and condemnations of past administrations regarding the settlements and Israel's claims to the land. Nevertheless, more than a few Israelis are starting to worry that this president, too, could end up going down that well-worn path of scapegoating Israel.

PHOTO: Palestinians hang dolls bearing the portrait of US Vice President Mike Pence and US President Donald Trump during a protest in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on January 27, 2018. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)


Netanyahu Tells Worried Voters What Will Happen to Him in the Coming Days

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains embroiled in two corruption investigations that Israel Police investigators seem determined to see through to the bitter end.

On top of that, the police and local media are now accusing Netanyahu of hiring his own private investigators to dig up dirt on police officials in order to persuade them to back off.

In an angry video posted to Facebook, Netanyahu acknowledged that the Israel Police are likely to recommend his indictment in at least one, if not both, of the cases. And that could happen as early as this week.

On Sunday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit instructed the police to cool their jets just a little until a Supreme Court petition aimed at preventing publication their recommendations.

But, it's widely expected that the police will very soon recommend Netanyahu's indictment, at which time Mandelblit will need to decide whether or not to act on the evidence.

Either way, Netanyahu insisted he's not worried.

"Many of you are asking — what will be [in the future]?" the prime minister said. "I want to reassure you, there will be nothing because I know the truth."

"No worries," Netanyahu added sarcastically. "There will be [police] recommendations, there will also be posters saying 'Bibi is guilty until proven otherwise,' and there will be inappropriate pressure, too. But I'm sure that at the end of the day the legal authorities will arrive at one conclusion, at the simple truth: There is nothing."

In the investigation known as "Case 1000," Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, stand accused of requesting and receiving expensive gifts in exchange for political favors on behalf of wealthy benefactors.

"Case 2000" is even more serious, as it centers on charges that Netanyahu struck a deal with Israel's best-selling daily newspaper to receive more favorable coverage in exchange for pushing through laws that would weaken the publication's competitors.


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Israel Launches Devastating Aerial Assault on Syria After F-16 Shot Down Over Galilee

The Israel Air Force hadn't lost a fighter jet to enemy fire in 34 years, until Saturday, when Iranian and Syrian forces downed an Israeli F-16 over the Galilee.

The plane in question was part of a strike force on a retaliatory mission into Syria after an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace during the early morning hours.

The drone was promptly shot down, and then a squadron of Israeli fighters entered Syria to destroy the command center from which the infiltrator had been remotely piloted.

The Israeli planes faced overwhelming anti-aircraft fire. The downed F-16 was hit either directly by an Iranian-supplied Syrian missile, or by shrapnel resulting from an explosive anti-aircraft shell.

Either way, the injured pilots managed to return to Israeli airspace before crashing near a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley.

That sparked a full day of devastating Israeli aerial assaults on Iranian and Syrian military installations.

According to IDF officials, four Iranian and eight Syrian bases were hit, including Syria's main command and control bunker.

Many of those installations were covert in nature.

"They, and we, know what we hit and it will take them some time to digest, understand, and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites," Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Army Radio. "These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there and yesterday we proved that."

In addition to the demoralizing effect of destroying secret bases, Israel also reportedly did significant damage to Syria's air defenses.

Air Force commander Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar told reporters that Saturday's bombings constituted "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses since Operation Peace for the Galilee" - Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon to halt incessant PLO terrorist attacks.

Unsurprisingly, Saturday's aerial assault on Syria won the support of the Trump Administration in Washington.

"Israel is a staunch ally of the United States, and we support its right to defend itself from the Iranian-backed Syrian and militia forces in southern Syria," read a statement released by US President Donald Trump.

"We call on Iran and its allies to cease provocative actions and work toward regional peace," the White House added.


COMMENTARY: A Jew for Jesus!

Orthodox Jew David Rose became a follower of Jesus after meeting a believer through Facebook. Family and friends turned on him, and he was barred from attending his synagogue, but he nevertheless rejoices in a personal relationship with the living God for the first time in his life.

He has since married his Facebook friend Christine, and also been baptized, both in the same church and in the traditional Jewish way – underneath a chuppah (canopy) for their wedding and in the form of a mikvah (a ritual bath taken before entering the Temple) for his baptism. 

From the tribe of Levi, who are set apart for holy service to God, David (whose Hebrew name is Dovid Yonah ben Moshe Halevi) was nurtured in a North-West London Jewish community, observing the rituals and feasts and regularly attending synagogue.

It was through a Facebook group he joined in 2015 that he eventually met Christine the following year when David was struggling with his Jewish faith and its demands. He very much wanted to do something for God, and felt he should move to Bournemouth on the South Coast.

“As well as questioning my beliefs, I was into a lot of bad and ungodly things, which I knew were not pleasing to God,” he explained.

Christine, meanwhile, told him she was a born-again Christian who had invited Jesus into her life some 30 years earlier and David became jealous of her apparent direct communication with God.

According to the Scriptures (Romans 11.11 & Romans 10.19 quoting Deuteronomy 32.21), this is something Jews will experience on meeting Gentile believers with a confident faith.

“I thought it should be me, a Jew from the priestly tribe of Levi, who should be having this connection with God. So I told her that I too wanted whatever it was that she had.”

So her son Richard, a church elder, prayed with him and he was put in touch with Rev Ralph Goldenberg, a fellow Jew and retired Church of England vicar.

He subsequently attended a Christmas Eve service (which, in 2016, happened to coincide with the Jewish festival of Chanukah) at St Mary’s, Ferndown, where Ralph was once churchwarden.

“I was nervous because I had been told all my life that if I went into a church I would be struck down by lightning. And I was also worried about what people might think of me wearing a kippah (skull cap). But I was welcomed wholeheartedly and one lady even wished me a ‘Happy Hanukkah’.

“After taking communion, and being nudged by Christine not to drink all the wine (which is the Jewish custom for feasts), I returned to my seat and began to feel strange. Suddenly I felt a ‘whoosh’ of cool air go right through me – and I knew I had received the Holy Spirit!

“My life has since turned around. I have been delivered from demons, and have had dreams, visions and messages from Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus). God is taking me on a journey, and I have complete faith and confidence in him.

“But because of my new-found faith, I am no longer welcome at the synagogue I was attending. Worse still, three of my children will have nothing further to do with me and old friends have also disowned me.

“But I know that Yeshua is the Son of God, and he has promised to be my support and strength.”

David was baptized at St Mary’s in October last year and returned to the church to marry Christine within a week.

“Last year was unbelievably eventful, and it turned my life around big time,” he enthused.

Familiar as he is with the Jewish Tanach (what Christians call the Old Testament), David has now discovered how it all points to the role of the coming Messiah, perfectly fulfilled in Yeshua.

For example, the Passover lamb of Exodus, whose blood protected the Israelites and set them free from slavery in Egypt, foreshadowed the death on a cross of Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb, as did the bronze serpent Moses raised on a pole for those suffering snake-bite – foreshadowing the ‘healing’ of our sins at the cross by Jesus, for “by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53.5).

Another such sign (see Luke 11.29-32) is the prophet Jonah, who was in the belly of a whale for three days before being spewed up on the beach. As with Jonah, Jesus died and was buried before being raised to life after three days.

David now shares his new-found love for Yeshua both within church congregations, which helps them better appreciate the roots of their faith, as well as with other Jews searching for the truth.

PHOTO: HOLY MOMENT–David Rose gets baptized at St Mary’s Church, Ferndown, in Dorset. (Charles Gardner)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


EXCLUSIVE: "I Must Express My Faith and Love For Jesus as a Jew"

Israel Today recently conducted an exclusive, ground-breaking interview with best-selling Israeli author Yochi Brandes.

Brandes' most popular Hebrew-language book, The Orchard, which deals extensively with Jesus, has now been translated into English.

The full interview appears in the February 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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Trump Envoy Tells Palestinians to Stop Denying Jewish History

As far as Israel is concerned, denial of the Jewish historical and religious connection to this land, and especially to Jerusalem, is the primarily roadblock to peace at present.

Finally, it would seem that the American government agrees.

US President Donald Trump's special Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, on Thursday blasted Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for failing to mention that Jerusalem's connection to the Jewish people.

On Tuesday, Abbas addressed a Palestinian youth festival and repeatedly told the young Arabs that Jerusalem is and always has been a city for Muslims and Christians. No mention of Jews.

According to Greenblatt, that kind of rhetoric only pushes peace further away.

"Pres. Abbas states about Jerusalem: ‘it is Arab, Muslim, and Christian.’ And makes no mention of any Jewish ties. Nothing peaceful or productive can come from statements like this," Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.

"Lasting peace will not be achieved by denying Judaism’s thousands of years of ties to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is holy to Muslims, Christians, and Jews," he added.

All of the Palestinian Authority's most hard-line positions are based on the premise that the Jews have no right to be here.

Furthermore, Israel believes that a genuine, long-lasting peace can only be achievable if it's built upon a foundation of truth and acceptance of documented historical fact.

PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with Jason Greenblatt in Ramallah, March 14, 2017. (Flash90)


Friend or Foe?

Fine-sounding words are not enough. Actions speak much louder. The apostle James berated those who boasted about their faith when it wasn’t matched by their deeds (James 2.14).

Britain’s new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the United Kingdom “will always be Israel’s friend” and spoke of how the Jewish state is a “beacon of light and hope in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt”.

In addressing the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual parliamentary reception, he also hailed “the wonderful blooming of democracy that is Israel”.

I was heartened by his resounding praise for the Jewish state, and do not doubt his sincerity, but he is part of a government that in recent days has refused to follow U.S. President Trump’s lead in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and which also continues to desist from applying a full ban on the Hezbollah terrorist organisation.

Both these actions encourage Israel’s enemies to believe they have our support for their bloodthirsty Jihad (holy war) against the Jews, illustrated once more on Monday with the brutal stabbing to death of a 29-year-old Israeli rabbi at a bus stop in Samaria. Itamar Ben-Gal leaves a wife and four children. This followed last month’s murder, also in Samaria, of a 35-year-old rabbi and father-of-six in a drive-by shooting outside Nablus (the biblical Shechem, home to Joseph’s Tomb and Jacob’s Well.) Ten children in the area are thus left fatherless in the space of a few weeks.

At best, we are sending out mixed messages, the modus operandi of Palestinian politicians who have often been caught saying one thing to their Arab audience and quite another to the English-speaking world. (For examples of this, see <a href="">Palestinian Media Watch</a>)

Oh yes, I know that diplomats are charged with seeking peace and should try, if at all possible, to accommodate all parties, but appeasement will only ever succeed in putting off the evil day of reckoning which, when it comes, will be much more difficult to unravel. The current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is itself an example of the persistent failure of short-term deals made to keep the ‘peace’ with Arab parties ever since the Balfour Declaration was published 100 years ago.

Instead of getting on with it and immediately implementing its declared goal – the resettlement of Jews from the diaspora in the Promised Land – we dithered and dallied for decades in a fruitless effort to please all parties. The enemies of Israel saw it as weakness, which they exploited to the hilt with violence that had us chasing our tails looking for a way out of the awesome responsibility we had been given.

Now, just days after marking Holocaust Memorial Day in Parliament and all over the country, we hear of rising anti-Semitism in Britain, Ireland and France.

The Community Security Trust, in their annual report on anti-Semitism, said there were 1,382 such incidents in Britain in 2017 – the highest since it began gathering data in 1984.

In Paris, an eight-year-old boy was attacked in the second assault on Jewish children in the area in three weeks, drawing condemnation from French President Emmanuel Macron, rightly concerned at the prospect of losing yet more citizens as a result. France has Europe’s largest Jewish community, but many have made Aliyah (emigrated) to Israel in the wake of increasing anti-Semitism in recent years.

The Irish Parliament, meanwhile, is considering a Bill that would boycott goods produced by Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, with up to five years’ imprisonment awaiting offenders.

Quite apart from the fact that such a boycott would also harm Palestinian workers, it is a shocking form of anti-Semitism which, not surprisingly, provoked anger from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with reported intervention from the United States. The parliament has now postponed voting on the Bill, which is likely to be re-visited in the summer.

From Britain’s point of view, the situation is aggravated by worrying in-fighting among the ranks of the Conservative-led government – mostly over Brexit – which could open the door to a Labour Party having its own problems with anti-Semitism.

The Bible says: “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” (Proverbs 28.2)

The Irish, like the South African government, have clearly fallen into the trap, set by Palestinian propaganda, of seeing Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state. South African diplomat Clinton Swemmer told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that apartheid, once used to describe black disenfranchisement in South Africa, now applies to Israel because of its policies towards Palestinians.

He said: “Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state.” But as Dan Diker, of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, points out, Swemmer is speaking for many who know little or nothing about Israel and never lived through apartheid. “There is not even one point of similarity (between apartheid South Africa and Israel),” Diker said, adding: “Our parliament, Supreme Court, universities, bathrooms, hospitals and everything else in Israel are fully integrated.”

At the end of the day, the word of God is clear, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling…” (Psalm 132.13)

PHOTO: Nablus, where the murder of a 35-year-old rabbi and father-of-six took place. Courtesy Charles Gardner.

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


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Israel Education Minister Slams Rabbi For Calling Women 'Weak-Minded'

In certain corners of Israel, one can find Jewish religious figures who very closely echo the misogynist beliefs that characterize much of the Muslim world around us.

One of those, apparently, is Rabbi Yosef Kelner, who told young Jewish yeshiva students preparing to enter military service that "women have a limited capacity for spirituality. They can reach a medium level of spirituality. There’s no such thing as spiritual women. It’s just not true."

Kelner qualified his statement by insisting he had nothing against women: "It’s not a failure on women’s part, it’s just that nobody is expecting them to reach certain heights spiritually."

The reason for this, according to the rabbi, is that women are "weak-minded."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded by seeking to demonstrate that, unlike much of the Muslim world around us, such views are not commonplace, acceptable or part of official policy in Israel.

"I don’t agree with either the content or the way it was said," Bennett told Voice of Israel Radio. "This is not what religious Zionism believes, and not what Judaism believes. All my life experience tells me exactly the opposite."

Bennett, who is himself a product of the national religious movement, called the rabbi's remarks "intolerable and inappropriate."


Leftist Lawmaker Taunts Netanyahu to Annex 'West Bank' Already

During a recent Knesset debate over the so-called "Sovereignty Law" that would apply Israeli civil law to the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria), the Netanyahu government was taunted over its unwillingness to actually implement core right-wing ideology.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often paid lip-service to the Jewish settlement enterprise and the fact that Judea and Samaria are Israel's biblical heartland, but has for over a decade shied away from anything that hinted of annexation.

That, according to left-wing lawmaker Yoel Hasson (Labor), makes Netanyahu a hypocrite.

During the debate, Hasson told Netanyahu and his cabinet, "Annex! Follow through! Don't make it a creeping annexation. Go with the ideological truth of the true right."

With a mocking tone he continued: "You are a government of cowards who won't implement the ideology you claim to believe in."

Watch Hasson's rant (Hebrew only):

PHOTO: MK Yoel Hasson is restrained during a heated session at the Knesset Interior Affairs Committee. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)


Our Plans To Plant Our Olive Grove Are Well Under Way!

We will probably be planting our young olive trees during the first week of March!

This will be after the Jewish festival of Purim. We may close our editorial offices in Jerusalem for the day and all participate in the planting together.

If any of our sponsors and friends happen to be in the country, or would even like to fly in especially for the occasion, you would all be welcome to join in! For more information and details please call us.

In the meantime, the land is being prepared for the future olive grove in the desert, the seedlings are being delivered, the land tilled and fertilized, and the irrigation system is going in. Greening the desert of Israel is a privilege and not an obligation.

Thank you all very much!


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Israeli Rabbi Stabbed to Death by Palestinian Terrorist

A young Israeli rabbi was mercilessly stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist near the Jewish settlement of Ariel in Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") on Monday.

Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, was waiting at a hitchhiking post while on his way to a brit milah - circumcision ceremony - for a nephew when the unprovoked attack occurred.

The terrorist managed to flee the scene.

Ben-Gal leaves behind his wife, Miriam, and four young children. He was buried on Tuesday in the family's hometown of Har Bracha, a small settlement on the outskirts of the Palestinian Arab city of Nablus (biblical Shechem).

Har Bracha town manager Yoni Hayisraeli told Hebrew-language media:

"Itamar was a special person, dynamic, energetic, young and fresh-faced, full of life, who devoted his life to education and to adding life, adding Torah."

Ben-Gal was a middle school teacher at a yeshiva near Tel Aviv.

A statement released by the school stated that Ben-Gal's "moral and educational image will be engraved in us forever."

PHOTO: Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal's widow, Miriam, at his funeral in the Jewish settlement of Har Bracha on Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)


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Report Exposes Israeli Airstrikes on Egyptian Soil

A bombshell report by the New York Times last week revealed that Israeli aircraft have been bombing the Egyptian Sinai for the past two years with little or not media coverage.

Of course, the target of these strikes is not Egypt or its military. The target is ISIS.

The jihadist horde has managed to set up a fairly significant base of operations in the Sinai Peninsula, which, with the fall of the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is now the major ISIS stronghold in the region.

ISIS terrorists in Sinai have been behind numerous deadly attacks on Egyptian soldiers, which is why, according to the Times, Cairo was only too willing to cooperate with Israel to eradicate the threat.

The report revealed that for the past two years, unmarked Israeli jets, drones and helicopters have carried out no fewer than 100 strikes against ISIS targets in Sinai, with the full approval of Egyptian authorities.

This is seen by many as a groundbreaking development.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the two largest and most influential powers in the Arab world, and both have been quietly cozying up to Israel of late in the face of common enemies.


Israel Moves Closer to Silencing Muslim Call to Prayer

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition partners are again pushing a bill that would prohibit mosques from broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers.

Known as the Muezzin Law, two versions of the bill passed their first readings in the Knesset last March.

However, fearing a local and international backlash, the government put the breaks on the legislation by introducing restrictions, primarily that the two versions of the bill be combined and be submitted for approval by Netanyahu's cabinet.

One version of the bill would prohibit the use of loudspeakers overnight and during the early morning hours, while the second forbids the use of loudspeakers altogether.

Both versions refer only vaguely to the use of loudspeakers by "places of worship," but since churches and synagogues do not impose their calls to worship on the general public, the obvious targets are local mosques.

Israel's Ha'aretz daily newspaper reported recently that the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home), has scheduled fresh hearings on the bills in order to prod movement from the government.


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American Diplomats Violently Chased Out of Bethlehem

Palestinian outrage over US President Donald Trump's support for Israel's claims to the city of Jerusalem has finally turned to violence against Americans.

The US Consulate in Jerusalem last week attempted to host a digital marketing workshop in Bethlehem. But, before the event could begin, a small mob of Palestinian men busted in screaming and holding signs reading "America = ISIS = Terror."

The Americans were physically shoved out of the building and told "you are not welcome."

The Palestinians were then seen hurling tomatoes at and kicking the cars of the diplomats as they attempted to flee back to Jerusalem.

The US State Department issued a statement shortly after:

"Though no one was hurt, the objective was clearly intimidation. The United States absolutely opposes the use of violence and intimidation to express political views."

PHOTO: Last week Palestinians in Bethlehem hung and burned President Trump and Vice President Pence in effigy. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)


Britain on Israel: War or Peace?

Britain’s dithering contribution towards peace in the Middle East was well illustrated by last week’s Parliamentary debate on terrorist group Hezbollah.

While it was heartening that MPs on both sides of the House called for a complete ban on the organisation, it was hardly surprising that no action was promised as ministers resisted pressure to proscribe the organisation’s political wing.

Worse still, the advice to their MPs from the Labour leadership – Her Majesty’s official opposition – was as shameful as it was lame, explaining that outlawing Hezbollah in its entirety could hamper diplomatic efforts towards peace.

Britain applies a distinction between the organisation’s political and military wings, with the former effectively allowed to freely operate in the UK despite its declared intention to destroy Israel. Whereas the United States, France and even the Arab League apply a full ban, and the terror group itself does not accept this distinction.

The poorly-attended debate was secured by Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan who said Hezbollah was “driven by an anti-Semitic ideology that seeks the destruction of Israel” and that the UK distinction was “utterly bogus”.

But Security Minister Ben Wallace and his shadow, Nick Thomas-Symonds, defended the government’s position.

All this obfuscation comes amid increasing ignorance and denial of history, with the Polish parliament passing a Bill banning reference to their country’s involvement in the Holocaust.

Labour MP Ian Austin criticised his leader Jeremy Corbyn for having referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’ back in 2009, adding that Mr Corbyn had later explained that he had used the term in a ‘collective way’. But Mr Austin said these groups had made it clear they had “absolutely no interest in the peace process”.

Joan Ryan later told Jewish News: “It is deeply disappointing that the government has yet again refused to act decisively against Hezbollah.” She said such anti-Semitic terror groups should have no hiding place, yet the UK was continuing to provide them with one.

It's worth pointing out that Hezbollah is backed by Iran – the world’s leading sponsor of terror organisations – who have fired 23 ballistic missiles (16 of them with nuclear capability) since signing the 2015 nuclear deal designed to maintain peace in the region.

Meanwhile former Israeli Ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor said Hezbollah had been given freedom to operate in Europe and elsewhere by the alleged distinctive wings and Conservative MP Theresa Villiers said they posed “a serious threat to the citizens of the UK”, adding that a new poll revealed that 81% of Britons support a full ban and that the annual Al-Quds Day march through central London, during which anti-Israel protestors wave Hezbollah flags, was “a scandal” and “an embarrassment”.

American counter-terrorism expert Dr Matthew Levitt has said that “London has a Hezbollah problem”, explaining that Britain’s partial ban was not working and had resulted in the organisation carrying out illegal activities including drug-running and fundraising for military campaigns.

I believe the debate was really about war and peace; the Hezbollah flag features a machine-gun and does not distinguish between its so-called armed and political wings. Not surprisingly, therefore, the organisation has no wish to discuss peace – they are, after all, engaged in Jihad (holy war), as their flag demonstrates.

And on this and other points, the British government is dithering. We can’t make up our mind whether to support war or peace in this instance and so we sit on the fence while Iran’s terrorist proxy builds up further weapons with which to bring murder and mayhem to the Jewish state.

It’s a bit like the dithering we demonstrated in the years during and after the Holocaust itself, as a television documentary screened on the More 4 channel on Sunday night (January 28) showed, shelving promotion of a gruesome film, including particularly harrowing scenes, for fear it would demoralise the German people in the wake of their crushing defeat. The Americans at the time, under the direction of legendary Hollywood producer Alfred Hitchcock, went ahead with a condensed version incorporating some of the British army footage.

And what a contrast we see again today in the way the United States handles the Middle East diplomatic impasse head-on and with unusual clarity – by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing that the U.S. Embassy will move there by the end of next year.

Vice-President Mike Pence, in making this announcement to an Israeli parliament (the Knesset) willing even to give up precious land for peace, littered his speech with biblical references as he spoke to a packed room, emphasising the Bible’s command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Paraphrasing Psalm 122.6f & Zechariah 3.10, he said: “The USA is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends. And so we will pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that those who love you will be secure, that there be peace within your walls and security in your citadels. And we will work and strive for that brighter future, so everyone who calls this ancient land home shall sit under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.”

What’s it to be? War or peace?

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from


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It is not only rabbis and priests, but even Muslim sheikhs have been calling for prayer for rain over the past few weeks.

In December, the flow of the northern rivers that feed the Sea of Galilee was at an unsustainable low-point. These rivers typically replenish the lake during the winter months. During December, they were flowing at just over 90 cubic feet (2.6 cubic meters) of water per second. This is less than half of the 234 cubic feet (6.6 cubic meters) per second needed to just maintain the current water level of the Sea of Galilee.

The full article appears in the February 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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Fake News in the Service of Self-Hating Jews

Many Israelis would agree with the increasingly popular and worrying sentiment that "the fire of antisemitism currently burning around the world is the result of Israeli arson."

Such a thing is not said lightly, but many feel that the mountain of evidence before them leaves no choice. This phenomenon of self-hate is so prevalent in post-Zionist Jewish circles that one need not look hard to find numerous examples.

To recall but two, consider a 2013 report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that listed the ten most dangerous anti-Israel Jewish organizations. On that list was the Jewish Voice for Peace, which the ADL accused of exploiting "Jewish culture and rituals to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish values." The second is the 2009 Goldstone Report, authored by a Jewish person, which based its accusations of Israeli war crimes on fabricated reports provided by radical post-Zionist Israeli groups. Three years later, after realizing he'd been fed false Israeli and Palestinian testimonies, Richard Goldstone regretted writing the report.

The latest scandal in this vein has been sparked by the Israeli daily newspapers Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post.

After the Israel Population and Immigration Authority posted a job ad for new immigration inspectors, Ha'aretz on January 17 led with the headline: "Israel to Pay $9,000 to Any Civilian Willing to Help Deport Asylum Seekers by Force." On January 29, The Jerusalem Post ran a similar headline: "Interior Ministry to Pay Civilians $9,000 Bonus to Deport African Refugees."

In a separate piece, Ha'aretz accused Israel of nothing short of conducting a "racist manhunt."

At issue are the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants (estimates put the number anywhere between 40,000 to 100,000) who came to Israel during the 1990s and early 2000s. Many were smuggled through the Egyptian border before that practice was halted by a new border fence completed in 2012. The status of these immigrants has become yet another battleground between the Israeli left and right. In May 2017, a new law provided the government with more flexibility in deporting these illegal immigrants, most of them from Sudan and Eritrea, to other African countries willing to take them in. That led to a well-organized left-wing campaign that succeeded in painting the government policy as the inhumane deportation of asylum-seekers.

The campaign against this new law has turned so ugly that Israel is now being portrayed as a Nazi-like state, while the immigrants are presented in the image of Anne Frank. This abominable comparison proclaims to the world that Israel is sending asylum-seekers to their certain deaths merely because of the color of their skin. It's an obvious, but very effective lie that literally justifies every expression of hate toward Israel and Jews.

Following a request by CAMERA, both Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post corrected their headlines to report that the government is recruiting additional immigration inspectors. Both newspapers, however, insist that Israel will deport not illegal immigrants, but asylum-seekers.

The job ad that enraged the anti-deportation crowd sought to recruit immigration inspectors to "conduct hearings ... and other tasks designed to implement free-will self-deportation." The $9,000 (NIS 30,000) is a bonus for those who complete a two-year contract.

In response to this anti-deportation campaign, Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked wrote on Facebook (November 24) that "the campaign started in the last couple of days is using lies to frustrate the government’s effort to expel illegal immigrants … nothing about it is innocent. There are many provocateurs with lots of money that are creating this fake news. Don’t believe them."


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Israel Mourns the Loss of its 'War Poet'

Iconic Israeli poet, novelist, journalist and filmmaker Haim Gouri passed away on Wednesday at the age of 94.

While few in Israel's younger generations might be familiar with Gouri, he was for decades regarded as the Jewish state's "war poet," giving voice to both the pride and the pain experienced by those who fought in the young nation's earlier wars.

Gouri was born in Tel Aviv in 1923 under the British Mandate for Palestine.

In 1941, he signed up to the pre-state Palmach paramilitary force, and participated in several operations against British forces.

During the War of Independence, Gouri commanded Palmach forces in the souther part of the country. His first book of poems, "Fire Flowers," was published not long after, and contained anguished verses recalling his own personal experiences in battle.

While he went on to do many other things, and do them well, Gouri never stopped writing poetry, publishing his last collection in 2009 at the age of 86.

While he is not well known abroad, Gouri is widely credited at home with playing a prominent role in reviving Israeli culture and nationalism in the Land.

Upon hearing of his death, Culture Minister Miri Regev stated: "Gouri was and will always remain one of the ‘Fire Flowers’ of our national revival in the State of Israel."

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein added: "Gouri’s life story is interwoven with the history of the state of Israel and his poems have been and will always remain a part of the Israeli ethos."


Hamas Founder Dies After Accidentally Shooting Himself

It's always a relief when Hamas does the IDF's job for it.

That was the reaction of many Israelis on Tuesday upon hearing that Hamas co-founder Imad al-Alami had died some three weeks after accidentally shooting himself in the head.

On January 9, a Hamas spokesman reported that al-Alami had been critically wounded after his personal firearm unexpectedly discharged while he was inspecting it.

Note to readers: Never point a loaded gun at your own face.

Al-Alami spent the past three weeks at a hospital in Gaza City, but finally succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday.

In addition to being one of the group's original members, al-Alami was crucial to Hamas operations given his close ties to the Iranian government.

PHOTO: Palestinian Hamas supporters attend a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Hamas movement. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)


On The Occasion Of Tu B'Shvat - Plant A Tree In Israel!

From delicious dried fruit, date honey, organic tea to honey from Israel, enjoy some of the 7 species of the Holy Land.

Throughout the country trees are being planted. You could put down roots in Israel and sponsor either a tree, grapevine or an olive tree. Join in the wonderful tradition of greening the Holy Land.


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