Leading Evangelism Movement Slams Christian Zionism

Leading Evangelism Movement Slams Christian Zionism

The Lausanne Movement, the world’s leading Christian evangelism movement, has once again taken aim at what it believes to be the sinful practice of Christian support for the State of Israel, or Christian Zionism.

“For over 60 years, many evangelicals have clung to a very narrow theological narrative that weds Christian theology with a political ideology known as Zionism,” writes Steve Haas, vice president of World Vision US, in the latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis.

He went on to compare Christian Zionism to the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, Apartheid South Africa and other large-scale atrocities to which Christians were party.

Lausanne as a movement has what some would describe as an unhealthy negative obsession with Israel in recent years, having apparently fully swallowed the allegations that the Jewish state is the chief oppressor of Christians and other people in the Middle East.

At its gathering in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010, Lausanne produced what came to be known as the Cape Town Commitment, which, among other things, urged Christians to repent for their role in “Palestinian suffering” as a byproduct of support for Israel.

In that statement, “Palestinian suffering” was equated with the Holocaust, and besides the Jews, the Palestinian Arabs were the only other people group specifically referenced.

This vague approach to the suffering of Christians under Islam, while Israel and Zionism are enthusiastically singled out has become something of a pattern.

As Rosh Pina further noted, Lausanne has managed to mention the brutalization of Iraqi and Syrian Christians by ISIS only once. And even then, ISIS was only referenced in passing as part of an article in which Lausanne incredibly suggested that the radical Islamist group Boko Haram in Nigeria could serve as an example for Christian evangelicals.

PHOTO: Lausanne, like many evangelical groups today, fails to take on overt Muslim oppression of Christians, while leaping on each and every allegation of Israeli wrong-doing.

 

Physicians Against Israel

Physicians Against Israel

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) last week published its own report on alleged war crimes committed by Israel during Operation Protective Shield (last summer’s Gaza war). This is the first among other forthcoming reports from third parties that have decided in advance that Israel is guilty.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned an investigation launched by the UN Human Rights Commission as a "travesty [that] should be rejected by decent people everywhere." The same could be said of the PHR report, which was produced by its local branch, PHR-Israel.

Like most human rights organizations, PHR is guilty of shouting "bull's-eye" before firing the first shot.

Physicians for Human Rights is a somewhat misleading name because the group’s primary goal is not to heal the sick, but rather to advance extreme leftist political agenda. It is in fact a body created to use science and medicine to stop human rights violations. That’s why physicians working for the organization have taken upon themselves to investigate alleged war crimes that are in actuality outside of their sphere of expertise.

It should be noted that, like for the aforementioned reason, the PHR report refrained from directly accusing Israel of committing war crimes. Instead, it suggested there was justification for such allegations.

For example, the fact-finding mission (FFM) concluded that "attacks were characterized by heavy and unpredictable bombardments of civilian neighborhoods in a manner that failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property. Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government."

Such severe conclusions are provided despite the fact that, as the report itself admits, "the FFM teams did not have access to UNRWA facilities" that were used as shelters for civilians and simultaneously as Hamas ammunition depots, which the FFM fails to mention entirely.

Such revelations were numerous:

"The FFM also had no access to evidence regarding the conduct of Palestinian armed combatants within Gaza, and the teams were not able to examine official Israeli allegations regarding misuse of civilian or medical facilities for military purposes, beyond what its members were told by interviewees."

Also, as a kind of aside, "because of a lack of military expertise, the FFM was not in a position to provide a comprehensive analysis of the types of weapons used by Israeli forces."

In other words, PHR-Israel conducted an unprofessional, partial and biased investigation.

These "limitations" were demonstrated the moment media outlets received and aired video interviews with purported Gaza witnesses of Israeli crimes. Among those interviewed, as it turned out, were at least two Hamas fighters.

Undeterred by such minutia, PHR-Israel is pressing the international community to conduct "urgent and rigorous investigation into the impact of this war, as well as the previous armed conflicts … in Gaza. In this assessment, the implacable effects of the on-going occupation itself must be taken into account."

Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is the abhorred occupation that fuels the extreme Israeli left, which in turn has fallen prey to the false Palestinian narrative that claims control of the historical Land of Israel.

It is truly sad that even though 80 percent of Israelis view the activities of organizations like PHR in much the same way as Americans viewed Jane Fonda's visit to North Vietnam, their influence far exceeds their numbers, and the damage they inflict upon Israel is beyond measure.

The road to hell is paved with good intensions, and groups like PHR are working overtime to finish this road as quickly as possible, not realizing that they, too, will reach the same destination as their political rivals.

 

Iran: Goal Remains Israel's Full Obliteration

Iran: Goal Remains Israel's Full Obliteration

A top Iranian general last week reiterated that one of the Islamic Republic’s chief military goals remains the “full obliteration” of the Jewish State of Israel, according to Iran’s state-run PRESSTV.

Iranian forces “will continue and deepen support for the Muslim combatants and fighters in the region until full removal of this very epitome of evil from the geopolitics of the region,” said the chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari (pictured), in reference to Israel.

Jafari was responding to last week’s assassination of another Iranian general, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, who was killed when Israel targeted Hezbollah field commander Jihad Mughniyeh near the border of the Golan Heights.

Iran has long supported, facilitated and directed Hezbollah terrorism against Israel.

Jafari’s remarks also come days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to make a controversial appearance before the US Congress in an effort to convince Washington to impose stricter sanctions on Iran.

Israel remains convinced that Iran is seeking to attain nuclear weapons, and that those weapons would be aimed at the Jewish state.

 

Israel Launches Annual 'Space Week'

Israel Launches Annual 'Space Week'

Sunday marked the start of five days of space-related exhibits and activities as part of the annual Israel Space Week.

The Israel Space Agency and the Ministry of Science launched a special Hebrew-language website with video clips, space and technology news and ideas for home activities aimed at getting children interested in space technology and exploration.

The Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv will host central exhibits and activities, while planetariums in at least half a dozen more cities will also open their doors to Israelis young and old as they look toward the heavens.

Among the activities on offer, all of which are free of charge, are satellite building workshops, planetary observations, and astronaut training courses.

Among the guests of honor will be NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who died in the tragic Shuttle Columbia accident, will also be a central focus of the event. Ramon has been a major inspiration for thousands of young Israelis interested in space-related technology and exploration.

 

Gay Christian Palestinian Says Israel Saved Him

Gay Christian Palestinian Says Israel Saved Him

A young Palestinian man currently seeking asylum in Canada says that after converting to Christianity and coming out as a homosexual, he would never had made it if not for Israeli compassion.

Going today by the name John Calvin, the 24-year-old is the grandson of a top Hamas commander in the so-called “West Bank,” terrorist royalty, if you will.

Suffering regular domestic abuse from a young age, Calvin crossed illegally into Israel-proper a number of times. One of those visits landed him in jail, where he was raped by a Muslim inmate.

Calvin told The Times of Israel that following that horrific experience, he “received assistance from Jewish psychiatrists and from the jail administration, which helped me through the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life. That ended up changing my life entirely. The entire staff tried to help, including the prison warden… They tried to keep it quiet because of the culture in jail and even followed up with me after my release. This was not the image I grew up with about Jewish people.”

Like most young Arabs, Calvin was brought up to believe that Israeli Jews are “monsters whose goal in life is to kill and destroy us in every opportunity they get.”

Instead, he discovered that the Jews of Israel are “normal people who showed humanity and compassion in my time of need.”

The episode convinced Calvin that something in his life was not right, and that realization soon after led him to the New Testament and a newfound faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as his savior.

It was after fleeing to Canada that Calvin eventually informed his family of his homosexual leanings.

Now, he is facing possible deportation, which Calvin said would be “the equivalent of a death sentence. Even if it wasn’t because I’m Christian, it would be because I’m gay.”

 

Six Million and One

Six Million and One

With International Holocaust Day approaching, Yad Vashem hosts an art exhibit including works by Jewish artist Moshe Hoffman, who places Jesus squarely in the fold of the Jewish nation, its plight, suffering and destiny.

The full story appears in the February 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Project 929: Israel's National Bible Study

Project 929: Israel's National Bible Study

Project 929 aims to get all Israelis to read the Bible. Certainly a noble goal. But it is the array of associated commentaries by celebrities and other contributors that worries and even infuriates some rabbis.

The full story appears in the February 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Iran Long-Range Missile Revealed

Iran Long-Range Missile Revealed

Iran has produced a 27 meter-long missile capable of carrying a warhead “far beyond Europe.” Israel’s Channel 2 News broadcast satellite images of the missile at a launch site near Tehran (pictured).

The missile was ostensibly built to ferry satellites into orbit, but could also be used to deliver warheads nearly anywhere on the planet. Israel has also produce and successfully launched missiles with such dual capabilities.

According to the Channel 2 report, Iran has made “very rapid progress” in its long-range missile research and development.

Israel accuses the Islamic Republic of working toward nuclear weapons technology, and a long-range delivery platform would be an integral part of such a program. Iran denies that it is seeking a nuclear bomb.

The images presented by Channel 2 were provided by the Israeli satellite Eros B, a commercial observation satellite developed by ImageSat International.

 

Using the Paris Attacks to Encourage Anti-Semitism

Using the Paris Attacks to Encourage Anti-Semitism

Excalibur, the campus newspaper at York University in Ontario, last week featured an editorial penned by Features Editor Abdul Malik, who was attempting from a Muslim perspective to come to terms with the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

Malik’s take on this event elicited a sharp response from another student, Danielle Shachar, who charged that at the third largest university in Canada, "Jewish students are being compelled to pay for a newspaper that incites against them and threatens their safety and well-being on campus … Abdul Malik’s article is not an anomaly; it is a manifestation of the systemic, vitriolic anti-Israel bias."

If this Muslim student’s reasoning is indicative of York's academic atmosphere, Shachar is right in titling her response "J'Accuse," thereby linking the situation at the university with France at the time of the infamous Dreyfuss Affair.

Malik, who it must be reiterated was writing about a massacre perpetrated by two Muslims, opens up by comparing "Orthodox Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women on airplanes" with the unqualified "gunmen" that killed 12 people "responsible for publishing cartoon images of the prophet Muhammad."

Since Malik's article is an Excalibur editorial, it can be assumed that it reflects the opinion of a newspaper representing some 50,000 students. Though Malik wrote it, it is Excalibur that believes an Orthodox Jew refusing to sit next to a woman is as much a terrorist as those obscure, murderous "gunmen."

The further insinuation that the cartoonists are as responsible for their own deaths as the "gunmen" speaks volumes about Excalibur, a newspaper so obviously lacking knowledge and journalistic ethics.

As the editorial continues, the reader discovers that not only are Orthodox Jews as bad as the Paris terrorists, but Zionism itself is comparable to ISIS and Al-Qaeda in that they are all "designed to create suffering."

Of course, to suggest that Zionism, a national movement started among other reasons to end Jewish suffering, is a terrorist movement of the same ilk as ISIS is as credible as saying that monkeys were created to eat cakes. Such baseless comparisons correspond to nothing except the twisted and bizarre world created in depraved minds.

Progressive as it may pretend to be, the type of rhetoric Excalibur publishes on its pages has nothing to do with progress. It would be utterly naïve to think that such vitriolic articles could convince Jews to turn Israeli swords into plowshares. If anything, this type of journalism is likely to further incite those prone to knee-jerk reactions and lead to calls to bomb the Jews along with the "Islamists."

More than once in our history have Jews experienced how inflammatory rhetoric spoken in the name of progress can end in catastrophe. That’s why rather than yield to such incitement, many Jews will be inclined to harness their incredible talents in order to defend themselves against the likes of Excalibur before the latter is able to facilitate the creation of an atmosphere conducive to another holocaust.

 

Israel Invests in Boosting Arab Hi-Tech Employment

Israel Invests in Boosting Arab Hi-Tech Employment

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett this week awarded tenders totaling $2.5 million to two organizations tasked with training and integrating more local Arabs into the hi-tech industry.

The two companies, Tsofen and ITworks, will examine hi-tech manpower needs around the country, and accordingly train and provide job placement services for Arab hi-tech students.

“There is a skilled and high-quality workforce in Israel in the form of hundreds of male and female academics from the Arab, Druze and Circassian sectors, available for employment,” said Michal Tzuk, deputy director-general at the Ministry of Economy.

Tzuk further explained that “this program aims to meet these economic and cultural needs, and create a connection between the supply of manpower and the great demand among the employers.”

 

Palestinians Celebrate Tel Aviv Bus Stabbing

Palestinians Celebrate Tel Aviv Bus Stabbing

Average Palestinians and those in positions of power again demonstrated their commitment to and desire for peace with Israel by praising and celebrating a brutal terrorist attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning, when a 22-year-old Arab man boarded a public bus and stabbed 17 Jews.

The cartoon to the left was published just hours after the attack, and was enthusiastically shared by Palestinians on social media and displayed by local Arab news agencies. The character in the cartoon celebrates the stabbing of 10 “Zionists” (the original casualty figure provided by police) next to a sign that reads “Occupied Tel Aviv.”

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq took to Twitter to hail the attack as “heroic and daring.” Another Hamas leader, Husam Badran wrote on Facebook that the group “praises this extraordinary act and calls for more devotion, as well as individual and collective resistance.”

It should be noted that Hamas is the ruling authority in Gaza, and is still being courted by “moderate” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in order to form a unity government.

Speaking of Abbas, who by mid-morning had failed to condemn the Tel Aviv attack, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he and his regime in Ramallah were as much to blame for the bloodshed as anyone.

“They are all part of a process of undermining the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, and it doesn’t matter to them whether it’s in Judea, Samaria, the Negev, the Galilee, Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem,” wrote Lieberman. “Therefore we must act with determination against all those people, who are operating under different names and at different levels, but they all have the same target: To kill Jews and destroy Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likewise pointed an accusatory finger at the Palestinian Authority.

“The attack in Tel Aviv is the direct result of the poisonous incitement spread by the Palestinian Authority toward the Jews and their state,” he said in an official statement. “The ones who rushed to praise this attack are Hamas, Abbas’ partners in the unity government.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, whose Labor Party is predicted by some to score an upset victory in the upcoming election, said the attack highlighted that under Netanyahu, “There is not a feeling of security for Israeli citizens, not in Jerusalem, the Gaza region, or Tel Aviv.”

Wednesday’s attack, which left at least four in life-threatening condition, was halted by officers in a Prison Service’s vehicle traveling behind the bus. They noticed it had started driving erratically and followed closely before seeing the terrorist leap from the bus as he tried to flee the scene.

One of the Prison Service’s officers quickly responded by shooting the terrorist in the leg. The assailant was captured by police and interrogated at the scene.

It was later reported that the bus driver had struggled with the terrorist, accounting for the erratic driving. The driver suffered a stab wound to the liver, and is one of those listed in serious condition.

 

Messianic Jews Declare: We Are Israel

Messianic Jews Declare: We Are Israel

A group of young Israeli believers in Yeshua (Jesus) have started an online media campaign aimed at driving home that point that they remain an integral part of the Jewish people and state.

Under the banner “We Are Israel,” the group has published a Hebrew-language website explaining why “a Jew who believes in Yeshua is a Jew, period.”

“Does the faith in the Jewish Jesus of Nazareth cause [Jews] to switch to another religion?” the group asked. “The project ‘We are Israel’ was born to answer this question and more, to present Jesus of Nazareth in a concrete historical and vivid picture.”

To kick off the launch of the campaign, “We Are Israel” posted a YouTube video of reenactments based on actual events.

Watch now (Hebrew dialogue with English subtitles):

 

American Muslim Mayor Harassed on Temple Mount

American Muslim Mayor Harassed on Temple Mount

It’s not only Jews who aren’t tolerated on the Temple Mount. It’s anyone, of any faith suspected of having any ties to the Jews, as devout Muslim Mohammed Hameeduddin (pictured), the popular former mayor of Teaneck, New Jersey, discovered while visiting Jerusalem over the weekend.

Hameeduddin was in the country as part of the Muslim Leadership Initiative, which in conjunction with the leftist Israeli think tank Shalom Hartman Institute invites leading American Muslim to the Holy Land to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict up close and in person.

The fact that Jews were somehow involved in the group’s visit meant that in the eyes of Palestinian Muslims, Hameeduddin and his colleagues had become “collaborators” with the hated Zionists.

As the group ascended the Temple Mount, it was set upon by at least one antagonist who repeatedly harassed a female member of the Muslim Leadership Initiative, telling them that they had come “against the will of the Palestinian people” and in concert with an “Islamaphobic organization.”

Hameeduddin intervened.

“The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activists were waiting to ambush me while I was going to prayers. I did not hit anyone; I was protecting the women in my group,” Hameeduddin wrote in an email to supporters, answering accusations that he had physically assaulted the man harassing the group.

The editor of a Jewish publication later wrote that Hameeduddin, whom she counts as a personal friend, “is now fearful because he crossed the ‘picket’ line by touring the area with a pro-Israel group.”

It wasn’t only in Israel that the group faced such opposition.

Back in America, some 43 Muslim organizations and 200 independent activists reportedly signed a letter condemning the Muslim Leadership Initiative’s cooperation with Jews, and vowing to never again invite the participants to speak at Muslim events in the United States.

 

Gazans March Against Charlie Hebdo, in Support of ISIS

Gazans March Against Charlie Hebdo, in Support of ISIS

Gazans on Monday joined in worldwide Muslim demonstrations, many of them violent, against the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which responded to the recent jihadist attack on its Paris office by publishing a caricature of Prophet Mohammed on its latest cover.

“Today, we are telling France and world countries that while Islam orders us to respect all religions, it also orders us to punish and kill those who assault and offend Islam’s Prophet Mohammad,” one protestor told Reuters.

The mob later tried to storm the local French cultural center, but was held back by Hamas security forces.

The Gaza demonstration was attended by local Salafi Muslims. Gaza’s Hamas rulers don’t typically suffer the Salafis to gather en masse, except, it would seem, when that gathering is for common cause.

That was of interest to observers in Israel given that in addition to condemning Charlie Hebdo, the demonstrators also expressed support for ISIS, with many donning the now familiar black jihadist garb and waving the flag of the Islamic State.

Various Salafi groups in the coastal enclave have in recent years significantly increased their numbers from among the Gaza population.

 

Miss Israel Saddened by Miss Lebanon's Snub

Miss Israel Saddened by Miss Lebanon's Snub

Doron Matalon, the Miss Israel representative at the Miss Universe competition, has expressed regret that Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, responded negatively after the two were photographed together.

Last week, as all the girls arrived in Florida for the 63rd iteration of the pageant finale and were getting to know one another, Matalon snapped an impromptu “selfie” with Greige, Miss Slovenia Julija Bizjak and Miss China Du Yang.

The friendly photo was quickly posted to one of Matalon’s social media accounts, where it quickly sparked a firestorm of criticism against Greige. Many in Lebanon demanded that she be stripped of the title of Miss Lebanon and be recalled in disgrace.

Greige quickly took to Facebook to insist that she has absolutely not formed a friendship with the Israeli beauty queen, nor had she consented to being photographed with Matalon.

“…Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me),” she wrote. “I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”

Lebanese and other Arab media accused Matalon of a nefarious “photobombing” against an otherwise innocent Greige.

In a post to Instagram, Matalon was sorrowful over what has become an all too common occurrence any time Israelis try to befriend Arabs from neighboring countries while attending events abroad.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad,” wrote Matalon. “Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

PHOTO: From left to right - Matalon, Greige, Bizjak and Yang.

 

Israel: The International Criminal Court Promotes Terror

Israel: The International Criminal Court Promotes Terror

Here in Jerusalem we are outraged by the preliminary investigations into alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza by the International Criminal Court in The Hague (pictured). Israel finds it impossible to take seriously the insistence of Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that the proceedings will be fair and impartial.

This is merely another example of the West’s double standards. What is permissible in and for the Western world when it comes to self defense is prohibited for the Jewish State of Israel.

“We will not ask permission to defend ourselves,” stressed ex-Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Israel Radio. “Thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Terror tunnels were dug under kindergartens. And what does the International Criminal Court do? It decides to investigate Israel!”

An incensed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that this decision was taken “just days after the terrorist attacks in Paris. That is absurd! Four Jews were murdered, and the court challenges the Jewish State of Israel. Even Hamas suggested it will file suit against Israel. I would not be surprised if Hezbollah did the same, and then ISIS and Al Qaeda. All will come to accuse us before the International Criminal Court.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has advised not cooperating with the tribunal, as it will certainly operate from an anti-Israel bias. “We will ensure that this tribunal is dissolved, as this institution represents nothing but hypocrisy and support for terrorism,” said Lieberman.

The foreign minister noted that “around 200,000 have died in the Syrian civil war, and the International Criminal Court has done nothing there or in other Arab countries. Instead, the court focuses its attention on the only moral army in the region.”

In confidential talks with Israel Today, many politicians and experts in Jerusalem have expressed strong criticism of the International Criminal Court’s European member states. Many are of the opinion that the European states, which largely fund the court, are trying to pacify the burgeoning radical Islam in their midst. Others insist that Europe “is anti-Semitic and will always be anti-Semitic.”

The International Criminal Court in The Hague was founded in 2002 and counts 122 member states. Israel and the United States of America are not among them. The court’s annual funding, as noted, is largely covered by its European members, nations that are largely critical of Israel.

Nevertheless, Israel has called on its European allies to halt funding for the court, pointing out that it has become a political institution. To date, the International Criminal Court has initiated proceedings against only African countries, 36 in total.

 

Israel Attacks Forces Hezbollah Claims Weren't There

Israel Attacks Forces Hezbollah Claims Weren't There

An Israel Air Force helicopter gunship fired at least two missiles into the Syrian border town of Quneitra on Sunday, killing a top Hezbollah commander and a number of his deputies and advisors, some possibly Iranian.

Hezbollah officials were incensed and vowed that a harsh response would be forthcoming. This was curious, since just days earlier Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah claimed that his militia had not deployed any forces to the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

“If Hezbollah say their people were hurt in the targeted killing, let them explain what they were doing in Syria,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Israel Radio, though he avoided directly claiming responsibility for the strike.

At any rate, Israeli and Western intelligence confirmed that the slain commander, Jihad Mughniyeh, son of assassinated Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh, had led a large and powerful Hezbollah cell that was planning attacks against northern Israel.

Lebanese media quoted Hezbollah officials as calling the younger Mughniyeh’s death “an unbearable blow,” and threatening revenge against the Jewish state.

Hezbollah “will launch between 4,000–5,000 rockets at Israel and will destroy hundreds of targets per day,” read Monday’s editorial in a Lebanese newspaper affiliated with the group. Hezbollah is estimated to have a stockpile of well over 50,000 missiles.

“The weapons at Hezbollah’s disposal are there to be used, and not to be stored,” the editorial concluded.

A Hezbollah official speaking to another Lebanese newspaper insisted a military response to the Israeli strike was “inevitable,” but insisted the group must carefully weight its options and “not act out of emotion.”

Experts here believe Hezbollah will not launch any major military attack as they fear any serious Israeli reprisal would jeopardize the Lebanese group’s efforts to aid the beleaguered regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

 

Argentina Accused of Covering Up Iran Involvement in Bombing

Argentina Accused of Covering Up Iran Involvement in Bombing

The lead prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina was found dead on Sunday, just hours before he was to present parliament with evidence that the government had covered up Iranian involvement in the terrorist attack.

According to statements made by prosecutor Alberto Nisman (pictured), some to the Israeli news site Times of Israel, Iran had decided to attack Argentina after the latter suspended nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

“When they choose to act against a country, the attack is commonly on the Jewish community,” said Nisman.

Evidence collected by the prosecutor suggested the attack was planned and ordered by the upper echelons of Iran’s leadership, including then-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But that evidence has never been officially accepted because, as Nisman charged prior to his untimely death, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner engaged in a cover-up both to appease Tehran and to facilitate new trade relations between Argentina and Iran.

“The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran’s innocence to sate Argentina’s commercial, political and geopolitical interests,” Nisman told the Buenos Aires Herald.

All of this was to be presented to the Argentine parliament on Monday. Nisman was found with a single fatal bullet wound to the head. Despite the circumstances, police initially determined his death to be a suicide.

In addition to the clear signs of a government cover-up, the episode draws attention to the fact that Iranian leadership’s problem is not with Israel alone, but with Jews in general, no matter how much it might claim otherwise. In Buenos Aires, Jews were attacked simply because they were Jews in a matter with little or no connection to Israel.

 

'Je Suis Charlie' is Worth Fighting For

'Je Suis Charlie' is Worth Fighting For

The cold blooded Charlie Hebdo massacre sparked unprecedented European solidarity that was characterized by the "Je suis Charlie" slogan. "I Am Charlie" meant for most people "I am for freedom of speech," or in truth, "I am for letting me say whatever the hell I want, whenever I want, to whomever I want."

Charlie Hebdo is the glass case where readers could watch the old Judeo-Christian values being trampled under the boot of a godless society that actually takes pride in ridiculing, belittling and mocking all who refuse to accept the lofty (lefty?) culture of contempt, a culture that defies its own core values by showing the deepest disrespect to billions of people who, for the life of them, can't figure out what's so funny about the reduction their holy men to farting figures.

Ironically, if turned into a cartoon, Charlie Hebdo’s own sense of freedom of speech would look as grotesque as its caricatures mocking Jews, Muslims, Republicans and anything and everything in between.

The truth is that Charlie Hebdo does not represent freedom of speech. It is the post-modern face of repression that in a clever way is able to make tyranny look good. It is the same tactic used by the pro-Palestinian propaganda machine to win over Europe. Like Charlie Hebdo, this movement was able to persuade Europe that their culture of contempt is a noble fight for freedom.

Its own intolerance notwithstanding, the Charlie Hebdo massacre exposed intolerance of such colossal scale that decent people around the globe were left with no choice but to declare, "Je suis Charlie," which should be more accurately translated for most to mean "I stand against an imperialistic religion that opposes freedom."

Though Europeans would like to think so, it is not a coincidence that though not all Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists are Muslims. If anything therefore, the Charlie Hebdo massacre demonstrates once again that Islam and the values of the French Republic cannot coexist. It is simply one or the other, and Muslims are making sure in every possible way to let the world know that this is so.

Though definitely unintended, the deadly Islamic assault on liberal Western freedoms is like a slap in the face of a man intoxicated with his own inertia. Muslims by their actions show an unwilling Europe that there are things worth fighting for, and that they better figure this out before it's too late.

If "Je suis Charlie" is more than just the right to be offensive, Muslims are in for a hell of a fight. If all "Je suis Charlie" means is a childish desire to be left alone, Europe most likely is going to be taken over by those who, cruel as they are, are persuading a growing number of ex-Christians simply because they still believe there are things worth fighting for.

 

Egypt’s Al-Azhar University: Key to Ending Terror, or the Reason for It?

Egypt’s Al-Azhar University: Key to Ending Terror, or the Reason for It?

Just one month before the Paris massacre of the staff at Charlie Hebdo, the prestigious Sunni Muslim Al-Azhar Institute organized and held a conference at its headquarters in Cairo to address worldwide terrorism.

The conference was entitled, "Al-Azhar in the face of extremism and terrorism." After two full days of discourse focused on the ISIS terror group, Al-Azhar concluded with a statement aligned with an earlier one made by US President Barack Obama: ISIS is not Islamic. The President saw fit to omit this opinion from his subsequent speech at the UN, but Al-Azhar is sticking to it.

PHOTO: Obama delivering a speech in Cairo in 2009 at an event co-hosted by Al-Azhar University.

Al-Azhar religious scholars (an autonomous body separate from the state, but financed by taxpayers) form the center for Koranic interpretation and spiritual guidance to the largest Muslim sect in the world, the Sunnis, estimated at one billion believers -- 80 percent of the worldwide Muslim community. If the religion of Islam were governed by a hierarchy of leadership, Al-Azhar would surely be its head.

Renowned for its doctrinal instruction to imams and its slightest pronouncement (fatwa) obeyed by Muslim followers, Al-Azhar wields a subtle but powerful authority over Muslim believers. Its influence over the West’s perception of Islam is as great. In this capacity, Al-Ahzar has the power to significantly contribute to the eradication of Muslim violence around the world. But instead, what has its impact been as spiritual head with a state role?

Unlike the American president, Al-Azhar would not condemn ISIS when put to the test. Surely, if Al-Azhar posited that ISIS terror is Islamic then a denunciation of ISIS actions would be a condemnation of its own doctrine. But, if ISIS terror is not Islam as Al-Azhar proclaims what is the harm done with condemning it? This contradiction alone clues us in on a leadership that is allowing if not fostering crimes against humanity.

This ambiguity coming from the reverential summit of Islamic scholarship transmits confusion and inauthenticity to the West which seeks to find a benign Islam to tolerate. Al-Azhar’s unwillingness to clarify Islam in relation to current realities and the relative terms sought to define them – Islam, Islamist, Islamic terror, terror, Islamic extremism, extremism, etc. – is suspicious at best.

No matter how many millions march for “freedom and tolerance” in Paris little will change without Al-Azhar -- the preeminent Islamic authority -- making clear, concise statements to properly identify and condemn violence by Muslims. It could begin by reversing a silence dating back to its 880 AD origins regarding Muslim attacks on the Coptic Christians. This Cairo institute has never condemned the violence or the propaganda of Muslims against Christians within its own state. Tragically, this lack of responsibility has advanced jihad throughout the state and the world.

Al-Azhar excluded Jews from this worldwide summit on terrorism. Its failure to invite synagogues and Jewish leaders was not disguised by its otherwise inclusiveness. Joining the Egyptian Mufti, Dr. Shawki Allam, Al-Azhar University chairman and deputy, and six hundred Muslim scholars (including those of minor sects) from 120 countries were heads of the Eastern Orthodox churches, including Egyptian Copts, and Vatican representatives. Protestant denominations from the West were present, and speakers from communities persecuted by terror groups (Pakistan, Syria, and others) attended.

Did this important conference at the heart of Sunni-Muslim religious learning hold the least promise for genuine examination of worldwide terror? Not really.

We’ve seen Al-Azhar fail to denounce Muslim Brotherhood members as terrorists when the pro-democracy presidency of Al Sisi banned the organization from Egypt last year. Also, the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar, who is required by law to confirm or deny death sentences issued by the Egyptian courts, reversed the death penalty of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and others -- all convicted murderers.

So far, the Sunni authority of Al-Ahzar has placed itself at odds with Muslims in the Egyptian streets and the rest of the modern world presumably in order to remain true to Islamic doctrine.

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah is founder and director of the Egyptian Christian movement Voice of the Copts.

 

Palestinians Assault Visiting Canadian Foreign Minister

Palestinians Assault Visiting Canadian Foreign Minister

A Palestinian mob hurled eggs and shoes at the vehicle of visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird as he arrived for meetings in Ramallah on Sunday.

Palestinian media reported that dozens of heavily armed Palestinian police officers did nothing to halt the assault, but did prevent the rioters from reaching the diplomatic convoy.

Palestinians, including a number of activists from President Mahmoud Abbas’ own Fatah party, told Baird in no uncertain terms that he was “not welcome in Palestine.”

For the past few years, Baird has been the frontman for a Canadian government that unequivocally and unabashedly backs Israel in its ongoing struggle against Islamic terror and global anti-Semitic sentiments.

Last summer, Baird joined his boss, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in bringing clarity to the Gaza war, and demanding that the international community lay the blame where it truly belonged.

A few months later, amidst a string of deadly terrorist stabbing attacks, Baird contradicted those who claimed the violence was evidence of the need for a Palestinian state by, once again, laying the blame on the guilty parties.

While Baird signaled that he and his Palestinian hosts had continued to fail to see eye-to-eye, he characterized the meeting in Ramallah as “cordial and constructive.”

 

Silwan and the Obstacles to Peace

Silwan and the Obstacles to Peace

Here, in the shadow of the Temple Mount, the religious undertones that are often dismissed in the West, but which truly drive the conflict, quickly come to the surface and reveal that a genuine peace is much further off than most would be comfortable admitting. Furthermore, this volatile situation is being encouraged and inflamed by outside forces.

For free access to the January issue of Israel Today Magazine, where you can read the full article, CLICK HERE

 

Nazi Nightmare Ends for War Criminal's Son

Nazi Nightmare Ends for War Criminal's Son

Being brought up as the son of a Nazi was a burden hard to bear for Werner Oder, an Austrian born in the aftermath of the Holocaust. His father Wilhelm had presided over the murder of many Jews as he trained men in the art of killing at a camp in Poland during World War II.

But in spite of all attempts at denial and covering up the truth, his complicity in the massacre of defenseless men, women and children came to haunt his son – quite literally.

As a small boy, Werner, now 64, regularly woke up screaming from horrific nightmares – a demonic entity actually rising up from a hole in the floor to frighten the life out of him – and he developed into a sickly child as a result.

His father had somehow escaped immediate post-war punishment on account of apparent lack of sufficient evidence, but Werner saw little of him anyway as he was a serial adulterer. Eventually the legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal uncovered the truth of his wicked crimes, but he died of a heart attack just before his trial.

Werner, meanwhile, whose two half-brothers had served in the Hitler Youth, was growing into an angry young man bent on destruction as the psychological damage caused by his family’s involvement with the Nazi death cult manifested itself in aggressive, drunken behavior and self-harm.

“I wanted to be accepted and loved, but the more I tried to be acceptable, the more rejection I felt,” he recalls in his book Battling with Nazi Demons.

He tried to kill himself by swallowing an entire box of tranquilizers his mother kept for her own peace of mind. But he desperately wanted help nevertheless. He remembered how, as a small boy in the throes of his recurring nightmares, he somehow prayed to God for help – even though he knew nothing about God, having been brought up in a completely pagan environment.

His mother was so touched on hearing him that she wrote it down on a slip of paper: “Dear God, look upon me your little child and have mercy on my tears. I do not want to die. If you let me live I will serve you.”

And God did not forget him as the answer finally came many years later in the form of a Christian missionary from over the mountains with whom he came into contact.

He heard that Jesus offered release from the “visitors from hell” that had plagued him all those years. He could hardly believe it was true, but when he invited Christ into his life, he was suddenly and miraculously freed from all the demons that had strangled his mind, spirit and body for so long.

“Kneeling to confess my sin and my need of forgiveness and deliverance, it seemed as if the weight of the whole world rolled off my shoulders," said Werner. "With tears, I sensed the light of God flooding my mind, driving out the darkness of despair and fear. Like chains, the troubles of my soul fell off; my sanity returned and I knew from that moment that God’s only Son Jesus Christ had come to set this prisoner free. From that day, all demons left and my nightmares stopped.”

For the past 30 years Werner has been pastor of the Tuckton Christian Centre in Dorset, England. Not only has he made friends with a Polish Jew who had witnessed and given evidence of his father’s cruelty in court, but he is now a passionate supporter of Israel and the Jews.

And he believes the Church itself was complicit in the Holocaust, which resulted in the death of six million Jews.

Martin Luther, for all his positive contribution to the Reformation in restoring the place of faith in Christ rather than religious observances as the key to salvation, had unfortunately ended his life by publishing terrible anti-Semitic rants, which later served as clerical endorsement for Hitler.

Werner sees a direct correlation between anti-Semitism and denial of the Holy Spirit’s work and relates how, shortly after the modern-day Pentecostal movement emerged on the scene at the turn of the 20th century, a group of 56 German evangelicals (those who believe in the Bible’s absolute authority) met to discuss whether or not it was of divine origin and decided, in what is known as the Berlin Declaration, that it was “of the devil”.

As Werner told a conference in York, this amounted to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which even Jesus said was unforgivable.

“They turned out the light in Europe, and we’re still paying the price for it,” he said. “The Holy Spirit was knocking on the door of the church in Europe and saying, ‘The darkness is coming. I want to empower you to resist the Nazis and protect my people’.”

Battling with Nazi Demons is published by Onwards & Upwards, with a foreword by author and international speaker David Pawson, and is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

 

'No Part of Jerusalem Will Be Free of Jews'

'No Part of Jerusalem Will Be Free of Jews'

Ateret Cohanim (Crown of the Priests) is an organization dedicated to ensuring that Jerusalem will never be divided again. Its mission is to strengthen the Jewish presence in the Holy City by purchasing Arab-owned property in disputed “East Jerusalem.” Israel Today’s Tommy Müller spoke to Ateret Cohanim’s executive director Daniel Luria (pictured giving a tour of Jerusalem to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008).

For free access to the January issue of Israel Today Magazine, where you can read the whole interview, CLICK HERE

 

Israel to Europe: We Warned You

Israel to Europe: We Warned You

Israel’s outspoken embassy in Ireland this week again stirred the pot with a post to its Twitter feed reminding Europe that the Jewish state had warned it about failing to take seriously enough the threat of radical Islam.

The post, which featured the Mona Lisa in Muslim head garb and holding what appears to be a missile, came just days after Muslim terrorists killed 17 in three separate attacks in Paris.

Under the title “Israel Now - Paris Next,” the image was a repeat of an earlier Israeli PR campaign at the height of the ISIS conquest in Iraq and Syria, warning Western nations that if they didn’t halt the jihadists in the Middle East, a new wave of terror would soon reach European shores.


The embassy later posted a tweet linking to an op-ed on the Ynet news portal that insisted the West’s anti-Israel propaganda is a major motivator of Islamic terrorism both against the Jewish state and increasingly vulnerable European nations.

 

Seriously? Israel, Jews Said Behind Paris Attacks

Seriously? Israel, Jews Said Behind Paris Attacks

It’s inevitable. Any time there is a high profile terrorist attack, someone, somewhere will say the Jews did it. And that is precisely what is starting to happen following last week’s string of shootings that took the lives of 17 innocent people in Paris.

I’m not talking about the BBC reporter who told a Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors, of all people, that in the eyes of some, the Paris attacks could appear justified in light of what he called Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians.

I’m not even talking about former US President Jimmy Carter, who more explicitly blamed Israel not only for the Paris attacks, but for Muslim agitation and aggression across Europe.

I’m talking about people who believe that Jews directly planned, financed and personally carried out the Paris attacks.

Sadly, or perhaps tellingly, these people are not some fringe lunatics or conspiracy theorists, but rather are normal French Muslims and government officials in the Muslim world.

A reporter for the online news magazine The Daily Beast said that French Algerian Muslims she interviewed in Paris were largely of the opinion that the attacks were a Jewish plot to make Islam look bad.

Dana Kennedy told MSNBC that one interviewee went so far as to claim the perpetrators “weren’t just regular Jews…but a race of magical shape-shifting Jews that were master manipulators that could be everywhere at the same time.”

As outlandish as it might sound, these are the types of libelous fairytales many Muslims across the Middle East are taught about Israel and the Jews at large.

If average French Muslims aren’t a serious enough source, the mayor of the Turkish capital of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, also got in on the act.

Gokcek told a political rally following the Paris attacks that “it is certain that [Israel’s] Mossad is behind these kinds of incidents. Mossad enflames Islamophobia by causing such incidents.”

 

Israeli Leaders Defiant as Paris Victims Buried in Jerusalem

Israeli Leaders Defiant as Paris Victims Buried in Jerusalem

Israeli leaders sounded a defiant tone on Tuesday as four Jewish victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris were laid to rest in Jerusalem.

Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab and Francois-Michel Saada were all killed during after a Muslim gunman stormed a Jewish grocery store and held shoppers and staff hostage, just days after fellow jihadists massacred employees at the offices of a satirical magazine in the French capital.

The bodes of the four victims of the grocery store attack were flown to Israel along with their families.

Their funeral at Jerusalem’s Har HaMenuchot cemetery was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and many other political and military leaders.

“This is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel,” Rivlin said, looking to the bereaved families. “I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation. …This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life.”

Netanyahu vowed that no matter how dark the present situation, the terrorists “will never, ever beat us. This is the strength of an ancient people that has always prevailed and thank God, look around you, here in the mountains of Jerusalem, today we have a state of our own, flourishing and advanced, a state that is a moral beacon to the world.”

Herzog said there was a direct connection between the hatred that brought about the Paris supermarket attack, and the spilling of Jewish blood in Israel.

“A straight line connects the murder of the four Jews [in the Paris supermarket] to the bastards who penetrated the Har Nof synagogue and killed people at worship in their prayer shawls two months ago,” the opposition leader stated.

Herzog echoed Netanyahu in insisting that “terror will not win. …This is what brings the Jewish people together: the fact that we are set apart from other nations, the fact we face enemies.”

 

Jimmy Carter Blames Israel for Paris Attacks

Jimmy Carter Blames Israel for Paris Attacks

Former US President Jimmy Carter once again provided his sagacious insight into the root causes of Islamic violence by pointing an accusing finger at, where else, Israel!

Carter made the remarks on Monday while appearing on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. When asked by host Jon Stewart what drove the kind of Islamic violence that claimed the lives of 17 people in Paris last week, Carter responded:

“Well, one of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem. And this aggravates people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza, what they are doing now — what’s being done to them. So I think that’s part of it.”

Carter has a long history of blaming all Middle East woes, and, indeed, most of the problems in the world, on Israel. And he is absolutely convinced that the lack of peace in this small sliver of land is no one’s fault but the Jews, as detailed in his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.”

The former peanut farmer-turned-most powerful man in the world has gone so far as to extol Hamas as totally trustworthy, unlike those Israeli Jews and their hordes of “Zionist” cohorts.

In late 2008, Carter during a trip to Damascus boasted over having advised Hamas leader Khaled Mashal on what price to demand for then-hostage Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

 

Gay Israeli Diplomat to be Married by Philadelphia Mayor

Gay Israeli Diplomat to be Married by Philadelphia Mayor

Two Israelis, one of them a deputy consul, are set to tie the knot later this week in a same-sex marriage officiated by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Elad Strohmyer, Deputy Consul General of Israel in Philadelphia, said that in addition to being a special occasion personally, his wedding to Oren Ben-Yosef would be another tool in his hasbara belt.

“Through our wedding that has been awarded with a high media profile we are adding another important element of representing Israel other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Strohmyer said.

Ben-Yosef added: “It is important for us to represent the pluralistic side of Israel, a liberal country that has progressive legislation on the subject of the rights of the [gay] pride community.”

Strohmyer and Ben-Yosef met at a gay pride parade in Tel Aviv last summer. They got engaged in October during a technology conference put on by the Consul General of Israel. Mayor Nutter was made aware of the proposal, and immediately offered to marry the two Israelis.

Gay marriage was legalized in Pennsylvania in May 2014. But since then, Mayor Nutter has only been called upon three times to officiate same-sex weddings.

In Israel, same-sex couples cannot officially marry, though those married abroad are recognized and receive the same benefits as heterosexual married couples.

PHOTO: Elad Strohmyer (right) with his fiancé Oren Ben-Yosef (left) and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (center).

 

Israel, Hamas Slam Abbas Participation in Paris March

Israel, Hamas Slam Abbas Participation in Paris March

Israel and Hamas found themselves in rare agreement over the participation of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Sunday’s massive anti-terror rally on the streets of Paris.

An estimated two million people took part in the march just days after Islamic terrorists killed 17 people in three separate attacks in the French capital. The event was attended by numerous foreign dignitaries and heads of state, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several of his cabinet ministers.

But Abbas shouldn’t have been there, insisted senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar. “Abbas wants to seem as if he’s fighting terror but he doesn’t know the meaning of terror,” he told Arab media in remarks that were quickly picked up by the Israeli press.

Al-Zahar said that Abbas “thinks that in acting this way, he’s earning the sympathy of world nations. …This behavior is part of the hypocrisy and political acrobatics typical to Abbas.”

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who was also present at the rally, came to a similar conclusion regarding both Abbas and the emir of Qatar.

“It’s hypocritical of those same Qataris and Arabs who are financing terrorism to come and demonstrate as if against terrorism,” Bennett told a Jewish youth group in Paris. “I don’t accept this. They’re hands are covered in blood.”

It was later revealed that, in fact, it was Netanyahu whom France didn’t want at the Paris rally, and that Abbas was only formally invited as a kind of slap in the Israeli leader’s face.

An unnamed official in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem told Israel Radio and Channel 2 News that France wanted to avoid any mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and so asked Netanyahu not to attend the historic demonstration.

Initially, Netanyahu complied with the request, but later decided that it was important for the Israeli prime minister to participate in the world’s largest anti-terror protest. France quickly issued an official invitation to Netanyahu to make it appear as though he’d been welcome all along, but also highlighted that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had likewise been invited.

PHOTO: Netanyahu and Abbas on the front row of a procession through the streets of Paris in protest against terrorism.

 

BBC Reporter Seemingly Justifies Paris Attack on Jews

BBC Reporter Seemingly Justifies Paris Attack on Jews

Just days after a senior CNN anchor tried to drag Israel into the debate over the Paris terror attacks, a BBC reporter on Sunday seemingly justified the targeting of a Jewish grocery store in the French capital.

Correspondent Tom Willcox was tasked with interviewing a Jewish participant in what turned out to be the largest rally in European history when some two million people turned out on the streets of Paris to denounce radical Islamic terror.

That it is becoming increasingly impossible to avoid the fact that most terrorism today emanates from Islam appears to irk many in the mainstream media and other liberal Western elements. And the BBC is no exception.

Willcox’s interviewee was an Israeli-French woman by the name of Chava, a daughter of Holocaust survivors who warned that the anti-Semitic atmosphere in Europe today is dangerously reminiscent of the 1930s.

Willcox cut in, insisting that “many critics…of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well.”

The remark struck most as either wholly unrelated or a subtle justification of, or at least understanding for, the rising tide of Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe.

Chava, who was taken aback by the suggestion, said that the two situations shouldn’t be linked, to which Willcox replied that everyone sees things “from different perspectives.”

Critics in both Israel and Europe slammed Willcox for his “disgraceful” display, and said the episode was yet further evidence that the BBC could not be trusted to be impartial and objective in its reporting on the Middle East conflict.

 

Poll: Both Jews and Arabs Proud to be Israeli

Poll: Both Jews and Arabs Proud to be Israeli

An annual “state of the nation” survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute last week found that a firm majority of both Jews and Arabs are proud to call themselves Israeli.

Unsurprisingly, 86 percent of Jewish respondents had no problem identifying with their nationality. But those who often characterize Israel as a racist state might be surprised to learn that 65 percent of Arabs, too, are proud to be Israeli.

The survey also asked respondents to rate national institutions as either trustworthy or not.

Amongst Jews, the most trusted were the IDF (88%), the president (71%) and the Supreme Court (62%). Surprisingly, the response from Arab participants was very similar, with most trusting the Supreme Court (60%), the police (57%), the president (56%) and the IDF (51%).

Both groups most distrusted the media, the Knesset and religious leaders.

 

Obama Admin Deals Demoralizing Blow to Palestinian Cause

Obama Admin Deals Demoralizing Blow to Palestinian Cause

While staunchly backing the establishment of an independent Palestinian Arab state, the Obama Administration last week dealt a demoralizing blow to Palestinian efforts to achieve that goal unilaterally.

Shortly after losing a UN Security Council vote to recognize a Palestinian state and demand a full, unconditional Israeli withdrawal from said state, the Palestinian Authority threatened to become the newest member of the International Criminal Court, where it would no doubt file copious lawsuits against Israel and its leaders.

But US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki reminded the Palestinian Authority that it isn’t a state, and therefore can’t join the ICC.

“The United States does not believe that the state of Palestine qualifies as a sovereign state and does not recognize it as such and does not believe that it is eligible to accede to the Rome Statute,” Psaki said at a Washington press conference.

She went on to warned that the US Congress would now deliberate on whether or not to halt $400 million in annual financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Former US Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross encouraged European powers to take a similar stand against ongoing Palestinian intransigence if they are serious about facilitating a genuine peace.

In a New York Times op-ed, Ross noted that the Palestinian Authority had rejected three separate peace deals - in 2000, 2008, and 2014 - and that the Palestinian leadership had unfortunately been conditioned to believe it could get everything for nothing.

“Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anti-colonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal,” he explained. “If saying yes is costly and doing nothing isn’t, why should we expect the Palestinians to change course?”

Ross insisted that the Palestinians must start suffering consequences for so many failed peace efforts.

 

Netanyahu, Abbas to Join Paris Anti-Terror Rally

Netanyahu, Abbas to Join Paris Anti-Terror Rally

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas both departed for Paris on Sunday to attend a scheduled massive rally against terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks last week that left 17 dead in the French capital.

Twelve people were slaughtered when two Muslim assassins attacked the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last Wednesday. A day later, a policewoman was shot on the streets of Paris, and on Friday four people were killed when a Muslim gunman took hostages at a local Jewish grocery store.

Tens of thousands attended anti-terrorism rallies in cities around France earlier in the weekend, and the Paris march was expected to garner the participation of one million people, including a number of foreign dignitaries and heads of state.

As Netanyahu departed, he told reporters, “I am off to Paris to attend the rally with world leaders in a renewed fight against the Islamic terror that threatens all of humanity. I have been calling for this for years.”

Ahead of the event, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reminded everyone, “Journalists were killed because they defended freedom. Policemen were killed because they were protecting you. Jews were killed because they were Jewish.”

French President Francois Hollande stated plainly that his government views the attack on the Jewish shop as an act of anti-Semitism, and the Obama Administration backed up that assessment.

Netanyahu said that in light of the situation in France, Jews there and in the rest of Europe should consider “coming home to Israel. …Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home.”

 

Can Charlie Hebdo's Spirit Include Israel?

Can Charlie Hebdo's Spirit Include Israel?

The Islamist massacre at Charlie Hebdo has understandably captured global attention because it was a barbaric attack on France and freedom of expression. In a moment of defiant moral clarity, "je suis Charlie" emerged as a popular phrase of solidarity with the victims. Hopefully such clarity persists and extends to those facing similar challenges every day in the Middle East.

Christians and other religious minorities have been beheaded by Islamists for years, but it wasn't until U.S. journalist James Foley was beheaded that the West cared. ISIS raped and slaughtered thousands of Yazidis -- leaving the surviving refugees stranded on Mount Sinjar -- before the West took notice. But one Islamist besieging a cafe in Sydney, killing two, dominated global coverage for the entire sixteen-hour incident.

PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a press conference with French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave following the Paris massacre

Western leaders and media must realize that religious minorities in the Middle East are the canary in the coalmine for the West when it comes to Islamist threats. And Israel provides the clearest early warning of all, precisely because -- despite Israel's location in a region of Islamists and dictatorships -- the Jewish state has free elections, freedom of speech, a vigorous political opposition and independent press, equal rights and protections for minorities and women (who are represented in all parts of civil, legal, political, artistic, and economic life), and a prosperous free market economy.

But had Palestinian gunmen similarly attacked Israel's most important daily newspaper and then escaped, would the event inspire such constant coverage or international sympathy? Israel has suffered countless massacres followed by a suspenseful manhunt for the Islamist terrorists; in each of these incidents, the world hardly noticed until Israel forcefully responded and Palestinians died (prompting global condemnation of Israel).

However, when there is an attack in Europe, North America, or Australia, there is widespread grief, solidarity, and an acceptance of whatever policy reaction is chosen. But when Israel is targeted, there is almost always a call for "restraint," as happened last November after fatal stabbings by Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv and the West Bank.

If two Palestinians entered a European or North American church and attacked worshipers with meat cleavers, killing five people, including priests, the outrage would be palpable in every politician and journalist's voice. But when Israelis were victims of such an attack, Obama's reaction was spineless and tone deaf. Did Obama condemn the Charlie Hebdo massacre by noting how many Muslims have died at the hands of French military forces operating in Africa and the Middle East? Of course not. Such moral equivocation would be unthinkable with any ally or Western country except Israel.

Similarly, would Secretary of State John Kerry ever suggest that ISIS is somehow motivated by French policies (whether banning Muslim headscarves at public schools or fighting Islamists in Mali)? Obviously not. Yet Kerry did just that sort of thing with Israel when he suggested that ISIS is driven by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And the media's anti-Israel bias is well known but became even more obvious when they couldn't get a simple story about vehicular terrorism against Israelis correct. Compare how The Guardian writes accurate headlines when France or Canada suffers an Islamist car attack but not when Israel does.

Consider all of the justifiable news coverage and outrage over the 2013 Boston bombings, and imagine if one of those happened every week. Would anyone dare suggest that the U.S. make peace with any Islamists demanding changes to U.S. policy? And yet Israel had such bomb attacks almost every week of 2002 and was invariably asked to restrain itself and make concessions to the very people bombing them (as happened again last summer, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel).

As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has ruefully observed, "There is a standard for dictatorships, there is a standard for democracies, and there is still a third standard for the democracy called Israel."

Even when compared to Western democracies, what other country gives incredibly forgiving medical care to terrorists and agrees to treat the children of those working to destroy it? Israel is where a Hamas family member finds refuge when he is a gay convert to Christianity but this is yet another inconvenient fact for the mainstream media (as is the fact that some Israeli Arabs supported the IDF's 2014 war against Hamas). Why report what contradicts the one-sided, anti-Israel narrative that the media and groups like Human Rights Watch have adopted? That narrative is only reinforced on college campuses (leftist college history professors openly supported Hamas last summer). Nevertheless, US funding of anti-Israel groups continues to aggravate the misinformation problem

Israel is still the country that everyone loves to hate. So it's the cheap way to please Muslim voters in Europe and oil producers in the Gulf. But what happens to Israel eventually comes to the West, because Israel is an extension of the West. And just as surrendering Czechoslovakia failed to appease the expansionist appetite and murderous rampage of Nazi totalitarianism, so too will feeding Israel to Islamist totalitarianism fail to appease that movement. In the end, there is no set of concessions -- short of civilizational surrender -- that the Islamists will accept.

Nevertheless, an EU court decided to remove Hamas from the European Union's terror list, even though Hamas is responsible for scores of terrorist attacks that have murdered hundreds of Israelis, North Americans, and Europeans, and has a charter calling for the destruction of Israel. And Western European countries have voted for Palestinian statehood at the UN and in their parliaments, effectively rewarding Palestinian terrorism and intransigence. Europe supports the Palestinian Authority as if Hamas couldn't overthrow it in the West Bank as easily as Hamas did in Gaza Strip in 2007. How can Europe not know that Hamas has designs on the West Bank and that any Israeli withdrawal from that territory will only facilitate such a takeover? And how can Europe believe that Israel could ever make peace with Hamas, which has launched three unprovoked wars on Israel in the last five years (in the decade since Israel withdrew from Gaza)?

Moreover, if lofty concerns about self-determination and human rights are the true motivation behind Europe's vocal support for Palestinian independence (despite its undemocratic and violent record), why is Europe deafeningly quiet on Kurdish statehood? Given that six million Jews were annihilated by a genocide on European soil, Europe's hypocrisy on Israel should embarrass the continent even more.

Worse still, Europe's gestures of appeasement only encourage the Islamists. The best response to the Charlie Hebdo attack is to redouble the free expression Islamists meant to stifle. Similarly, the best response to Islamist attacks on the only Mideast democracy, Israel, is to increase support for it.

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

 

Gay Marriage Takes Center Stage in Israeli Election Campaign

Gay Marriage Takes Center Stage in Israeli Election Campaign

At first it was the economy, now it’s gay marriage that is taking center stage in Israel’s roiling election campaign.

Fierce debate over recognition of same-sex marriage in Israel was triggered following the airing of a video in which several Knesset candidates belonging to the right-wing Jewish Home Party were seen staunchly opposing what they see as the violation of biblical matrimony.

The left wing parties were quick to capitalize, accusing Jewish Home and its leader, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (pictured), of being “homophobic.”

Bennett appeared on Channel 10 News to defend himself: “It’s no secret that I’m [religious]. Judaism does not recognize gay marriage. We do not even view as kosher the mixing of milk and meat, and nothing is going to change that.”

In representing the religious community in Israel, Bennett insisted that his party was being pragmatic on the issue, noting that while Jewish Home rejects formal recognition of same-sex marriage, it is in favor of tax breaks for homosexual couples.

In the video in question, member of Jewish Home insisted that officially recognize gay marriage was unnecessary, that a family requires a man and a woman, and even that homosexuals suffer from a “condition” for which they “need help.”

Opposition leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni of the merged Labor-Hatnua faction responded with their own video in which they spoke out strongly in favor of recognizing same-sex marrage. Livni called for legislation permitting anyone and everyone in Israel to love, marry and start a family.

Herzog and Livni urged voters to prevent the backward, homophobic and racist Jewish Home and others on what they called the “extreme right” from controlling the next government.

Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, said Jewish Home had finally shown their true faces as homophobes, and urged Bennett to alter course.

Zahava Gal-On, head of the far-left Meretz Party, wrote on Facebook that one should only watch the Jewish Home video bashing gay marriage “on an empty stomach to avoid vomiting.”

 

PHOTOS: Light Jerusalem Snow Disappoints

PHOTOS: Light Jerusalem Snow Disappoints

Fears of a repeat of last year’s blizzard proved unfounded on Wednesday when the ongoing winter storm dropped only a meager amount of snow on Jerusalem.

Amid dire forecasts, the Jerusalem Municipality preemptively canceled school and closed roads leading into the city. And while the capital was blasted by strong winds and subjected to freezing temperatures, the expected heavy snowfall never materialized.

By Wednesday evening, only a thin layer of snow had blanketed the city, and overnight rains washed much of that away.

Perhaps most disappointed were the children of Jerusalem, who learned that schools would open on Thursday, albeit a couple hours late.

The winter storm continues across the country, and forecasts at press time predicted possible snowfall on Friday and into the weekend.


Ambulance crews and IDF armored personnel carriers take up positions in Jerusalem amid dire weather forecasts


Only a light layer of snow covered the capital


President Reuven Rivlin serves coffee to some of the hundreds of troops called upon to provide assistance


Night life in downtown Jerusalem was largely uninterrupted by the storm


Public transportation ran as usual, though most stayed home from work after local schools were preemptively closed


Obligatory shot of the Temple Mount with snow

 

CNN Anchor Drags Israel Into Debate Over Paris Shooting

CNN Anchor Drags Israel Into Debate Over Paris Shooting

In the aftermath of the horrific massacre at the headquarters of a satirical magazine in Paris, veteran CNN news anchor and international correspondent tried to promote the notion that the Muslim perpetrators of this and all such atrocities are extremists, and therefore unrepresentative of mainstream Muslim sentiments or Islamic teachings.

“The cartoons [published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo] NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word,” CNN’s Jim Clancy posted to his Twitter account.

It is a similar argument to that made by most Western leaders who continue to uphold Islam as a “religion of peace,” while painting Muslim terrorists as fringe elements disconnected from the will and direction of their own religion.

When one of Clancy’s followers on Twitter pointed out that Charlie Hebdo had in fact directly mocked Mohammed in the eyes of most Muslims, the journalist accused the man, who has a Jewish name, of being an Israeli propaganda agent.

When additional followers wondered why in the world Clancy would drag Israel into the argument, he likewise accused them of working for the Jewish state. [Click here to read a full report of the bizarre exchange]

Clancy’s tirade was described as “unhinged” and “extraordinarily ill-judged” for a man in his position. It was also further evidence of the overriding anti-Israel bias that characterizes many mainstream international journalists and their reporting.

 

Winter Storm Paralyzes the Holy Land

Winter Storm Paralyzes the Holy Land

The predicted severe winter weather has reached Israel, and much of the country is now on lock-down amid hailstorms and snowfall.

Hilltops across the Galilee are already covered in snow, the sea is raging with waves measures several meters in height along the Mediterranean coast, and Jerusalem has been blanketed in a layer of slush and ice with a promise of heavy snowfall overnight.

Already, a number of roads are flooded, as are some residential areas in Israeli coastal towns and in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Highways leading into Jerusalem have been closed to prevent vehicles from getting stuck en masse as they did during the December 2013 blizzard.

Schools in the Galilee and Jerusalem were closed preemptively, and children enjoyed a “snow day” even before the white stuff began to fall.

The biggest concern remains maintaining power supply to as much of the population as possible. Strong winds have already ripped a number of trees from the ground, and some have damaged power lines. Electric company technicians are contending with the harsh weather conditions as they battle ceaselessly to repair the damage.

In Gaza City, parts of which are situated on low, sandy ground, many residents have been evacuated from houses threatened with severe flooding. Most have taken to temporary shelters where blankets and warm winter clothes are being distributed.

In Jerusalem and the higher elevations in the Galilee, areas where many found themselves utterly cut off during the 2013 storm, over 1,000 soldiers have been deployed to assist residents and clear roads should the situation worsen.

News reports earlier in the week forecasting the inclement weather caused a rush on local supermarkets on Tuesday. Experts say the storm will come in two waves and last until Sunday.

 

Most Persecution of Christians is at Hands of Muslims

Most Persecution of Christians is at Hands of Muslims

The non-denominational relief organization Open Doors on Wednesday published its annual World Watch List of the 50 countries around the world where Christians face the most persecution.

The group estimates that some 100 million Christians globally are persecuted for their faith. Over the past year, both the severity and the geographic distribution of persecution have increased, reported Open Doors.

That is especially true in the Middle East, where only in Israel does the Christian population grow and thrive. Needless, to say, the Jewish state did not make the list of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

Since 2002, North Korea has held tight to the inglorious top position on the World Watch List. Of the estimated 200,000–400,000 underground Christians in North Korea, up to 70,000 are listed as “enemies of the regime” and made to suffer torture and hard labor in detention camps.

After North Korea, most of the persecution is happening in the Middle East, where violent jihadism has been on the rise, putting the local Christian populations under increasing pressure.

Iran rose to seventh place on the list over the past year. Unlike other Muslim countries in the region, in Iran persecution of Christians is government sanctioned. Under the leadership of the “moderate” President Rouhani, prison sentences are more common than ever for those suspected of having come to faith in Jesus.

In neighboring Iraq and Syria, the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (ISIS) against local Christians have shocked the world. With the assistance of jihadists from around the world, ISIS has vigorously pursued the establishment of a caliphate imposing strict Islamic principles reminiscent of the violent times of the Prophet Mohammed.

Christians unfortunately enough to find themselves living under the caliphate have been forcibly evicted, enslaved and murdered. In the Nineveh Plains and the city of Mosul, ancient Christians communities, the entire Christian population have virtually disappeared.

The authors of the Open Doors study noted that in no less than 18 of the 20 highest ranking countries “Islamic extremism” is the main driving force behind the persecution of Christians.

 

Israel's President Rivlin Hailed as 'Hero' by Foreign Media

Israel's President Rivlin Hailed as 'Hero' by Foreign Media

Israel’s right-wing President Reuven Rivlin last week was surprisingly chosen as one of the “heroes of 2014” by the liberal British daily newspaper The Guardian.

Rivlin’s predecessor, Shimon Peres, was much more a darling of the international media due to his willingness to surrender large swaths of the biblical Land of Israel in return for a “peace” agreement.

But The Guardian noted that Rivlin, too, had made a point of “standing up for the civil rights of Palestinians” and condemning bigotry emanating from all sectors in the Jewish state, making him an “unlikely hero.”

For many, Rivlin is a prime example of ethical conservatism. He indeed takes very seriously issues of equality, and insists that Israel’s Jewish majority must treat its minority countrymen with fairness. At the same time, for Rivlin, that does not translate into surrendering to the demands of the Palestinian nationalist movement.

Rivlin is on record as staunchly opposing the division of Jerusalem and the evacuation of Jews from Judea and Samaria, the so-called “West Bank.”

Those little tidbits were largely left untouched in the Guardian article.

 

Israel Marks its Second Christmas; Third Coming Up

Israel Marks its Second Christmas; Third Coming Up

Suffer from post-Christmas blues? That’s not uncommon. One cure would be to move to Jerusalem, where not one, not two, but three Christmases come around every year!

Everyone in the West knows about the “regular” Christmas on December 25. But in the Holy Land, which is a meeting place for Christians of various denominations and sects, the use of different calendars has given rise to two additional celebrations of the birth of Messiah.

January 7 marks the second of those Christmases, the Eastern Orthodox Christmas celebrated by the Russian, Greek, Coptic, Ethiopian and other orthodox churches. Only the local Armenian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem has decided, due to an ancient calendar mix-up, to celebrate on a different day, January 18.

Most Israelis are only familiar with the Western (Catholic) Christmas of December 25, to which they were exposed during the Diaspora, as a result of Western Evangelical Christian support and the local influence of Western culture.

But the reality is that most of the Christian population in Israel belongs to the various Eastern Orthodox churches, and so January 7 is in fact the day celebrated as Christmas by more people in the Holy Land.

 

Jerusalem in Panic Mode Ahead of Expected Snow Storm

Jerusalem in Panic Mode Ahead of Expected Snow Storm

The trauma of the December 2013 blizzard has left its mark on Jerusalem, and the Israeli capital isn’t about to take any chances ahead of predicted snowfall the second half of this week.

Last year’s three-day snowstorm was the most severe to hit Jerusalem in over 100 years. Hundreds of cars were stranded on local highways, electricity was knocked out in large portions of the city, and not a few people were hospitalized either from freezing or accidents arising from ill-advised schemes to heat their homes.

This year, even before a single flake of snow has fallen, Jerusalem’s municipality has advised residents in certain parts of the city to prepare power generators, has announced that major roads leading into the capital will be closed hours before the storm is expected to arrive, and is considering preemptively canceling school for Wednesday and Thursday.

All of that might sound a bit paranoid for those readers from colder climates. But Israel is in general inadequately equipped to deal with such weather.

Forecasters are currently saying that snow will begin to fall at higher elevations in northern Israel and in Jerusalem around noon on Wednesday and will continue through the night until Thursday morning, at which point the storm will die down.

A second cold front is expected to hit the country on Friday, possibly dumping another load of snow on Jerusalem overnight and into Saturday.

Already over the past weekend, Mount Hermon at the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights experienced its first heavy snowfall of the winter, providing visitors with their first real skiing opportunity of the season.

PHOTO: Israel Air Force F–16s fly past a snow-covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights.

 

Expert: Be Realistic, Only Israel West of the River

Expert: Be Realistic, Only Israel West of the River

Professor Mordechai Nisan, a scholar of Middle East Studies at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been promoting his book “Only Israel West of the River: The Jewish State & the Palestinian Question.”

Professor Nisan has long argued that the narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River simply can not accommodate two separate states, especially two that are in constant conflict with one another.

Instead, Israel should be universally recognized as the sovereign power west of the Jordan, a democratic state that protects the individual rights of all citizens and residents.

“There is a grave incompatibility between what Israel needs for its own well being and national military integrity, its right to settlements in the land of Israel, and what the Palestinians demand, which is a Palestinian state emptied of any Jews and which is not ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state at all,” Nisan told NewsmaxTV last month.

“It’s not surprising that after 20 years, no agreement has been reached,” he added.

Professor Nisan’s book can be found on Amazon.

PHOTO: Former US President Bill Clinton overseeing the birth of the failed “Oslo Accords” with since the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and deceased Palestinian icon Yasser Arafat.

 

Baby Survivor of Cafe Bombing Joins IDF

Baby Survivor of Cafe Bombing Joins IDF

Eighteen years after her mother was killed shielding her from a Palestinian suicide bomber, Shani Winter this month proudly joined the Israel Defense Forces.

Touchingly, Winter was joined at her induction by Ziona Bushri, the policewoman who famously carried the then-six-month-old Winter away from the carnage of the Apropo Cafe bombing in Tel Aviv on March 21, 1997.

Winter’s mother, Anat Winter-Rosen, and her friend, Yael Gilad, were killed and another 48 people were wounded by the suicide bomber. In the aftermath, Bushri was photographed carrying a crying and blood-stained Winter from the scene. It was a picture that made the front pages of every major newspaper, and touched the heart of the nation.

Bushri has reportedly remained in close contact with Winter and her family ever since.

“Memories of this awful bombing accompany me every day,” the now-senior staff sergeant major told Israel’s Ynet news portal. “I will never forget the moment I picked Shani up and ran to search for her family. And here she is, the baby we all remember has grown up and is joining the IDF.”

Understandably, it was a bitter-sweet day for Shani. “I’m the baby from the Café Apropo bombing, and I’ll carry that for the rest of my life,” she said. “I’m jealous of my friends who have mothers. I don’t know what it’s like to have a mother. On the other hand, I find comfort in the fact my mother saved me. That I was a part of her, and she protected me.”

In the comments following the Ynet article, one reader rightly stated that “THIS is the spirit and courage of Israel,” and added that so long as that is true, “terror will never, ever win.”

 

Israel's Loyal Christians Gaining Attention Abroad

Israel's Loyal Christians Gaining Attention Abroad

As Israel’s former ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, stated on several occasions, Israel has proved to be the one place in the Middle East where Christians can not only live without persecution, but can actually thrive.

It is no secret to the readers of Israel Today that a growing number of Israeli Christians, in particular a large group from Nazareth, are responding by volunteering to serve in the IDF and fully integrating with Israeli society as loyal and productive citizens.

This trend is increasingly gaining the attention of the foreign media, though in most places it is still sadly overshadowed by claims that Israel oppresses all non-Jews in the region.

In an example of the more positive aforementioned coverage, The Wall Street Journal last week published a piece on “Israel’s Christian Awakening,” which concluded that the changing attitudes of local Christians constituted a “notable shift in the balance of power among religious groups in the Middle East.”

Among those cited in the article were Father Gabriel Naddaf, Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum spokesman Shadi Khalloul, and former IDF naval captain Bishara Shlayan.

Subscribers to our monthly Israel Today Magazine will recognize those names as regular interviewees and the subjects of numerous feature reports.

Unlike much of the mainstream international media, Israel Today is committed to covering this exciting realignment of Christians coming alongside their Jewish brothers in the Holy Land.

Make sure you don’t miss out on what is happening - SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO: Father Gabriel Naddaf meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem (Flash90)

 

Israel Nabs ISIS Cell in Hebron

Israel Nabs ISIS Cell in Hebron

Israel’s military censor on Sunday cleared for publication the recent arrest of a terrorist cell claiming affiliation with the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in the Judean town of Hebron.

The Shabak (Israel’s equivalent of the FBI) worked together with the IDF in November to track and successfully arrest the terror cell, which was made up of Palestinian residents of Hebron. There were no injuries on either side in the raid.

Security sources said the cell had been planning to attack a number of Israeli targets, both civilian and military. One specific plan involved the murder of an Israeli soldier and the use of his weapon and uniform to carry out a shooting attack against Israeli civilians.

Also in November, video footage showed Palestinian Muslim cleric Ali Abu Ahmad using Jerusalem’s Temple Mount as a platform to deliver an impromput, fiery sermon against the Jews and in support of ISIS.

In speaking to the faithful, Abu Ahmad denounced the Jews as “the most vile of creatures,” and openly prayed for the jihadists of ISIS to defeat America and its allies in Syria and Iraq.

“Oh Allah, annihilate America and its coalition. Oh Allah, enable us to cut off their heads. Oh Allah, help our brothers, the mujahideen in the land of Iraq and Syria,” Abu Ahmad cried.

In October, Barzilai Medical Center in the southern Israel coastal city of Ashkelon confirmed that one of its doctors had joined ISIS and had been killed while fighting for the Islamist horde in Syria.

A month earlier, a shocked Israeli media reported that mosques in Israel proper were preaching on behalf of the Islamic state.

“ISIS is on the right path,” an imam at a mosque in northern Israel told his congregants.

At another mosque in the area, a congregant publicly declared, “The Islamic State is the only one that can establish an Islamic state, and it is good they are punishing people. I hope they make it to Israel.”

Israel’s Ynet news portal reported that in both those cases, and many others like them, the statements of support for ISIS were quickly followed by verbal and even physical confrontations between local Muslims both for and against the Islamic State.

Many Israeli Muslims view ISIS as a threat, but the concern is that they will quickly and quietly fade to the background as the clamor from the terrorist movement’s backers grows ever louder.

“When the picture becomes clear, everyone will understand that the Islamic State is the only solution for everyone. Jews should also support the state and convert to Islam,” another imam told Ynet.

In Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, a large sign featuring the ISIS symbol and a threat against “infidels that do not accept Islam” was taken down by police, only to be put back up with little or no public outcry.

“When a backdrop of sympathy exists, there are usually some who cross over to wider action,” warned former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy in a September interview with Army Radio.

Halevy noted that a similar thing had “occurred in western Europe and could already be happening here.”

 

Does New Testament Back Israel's Claim to the Land?

Does New Testament Back Israel's Claim to the Land?

Pastor Ron Cantor of the Tel Aviv-based Messianic congregation Tiferet Yeshua addresses in the following video the oft-heard argument that nowhere in the New Testament is Israel’s modern claim to to this land reaffirmed.

Even among Christians who on the surface claim to reject Replacement Theology, many insist that God’s promise of this particular piece of land to the Children of Israel and their descendants as a perpetual inheritance is null and void under the new covenant sealed in Yeshua’s blood.

Cantor starts off by noting that the New Testament never reaffirms the concept of tithing, but nearly all Christian pastors and ministers hold that it is still a valid and even necessary practice. As such, the mere absence of a particular promise or concept from the pages of the New Testament is not enough to declare it invalid.

“Can God, who cannot lie, break His promise?” Cantor wonders. “I would think not. If so, our faith is on shaky ground.”

Even so, Cantor explores why the New Testament fails to mention God’s promise of the land to Israel, which was such a central theme during the centuries covered by the Old Testament.

Or does it? As Cantor explains, a number of passages traditionally misused and taken out of context in fact reaffirm all of God’s promises to the Jews, including those regarding the land.

This short teaching is worth a watch:

 

Bethlehem Pastor: There Are Palestinians Who Love Israel

Bethlehem Pastor: There Are Palestinians Who Love Israel

Naim Khoury, director of Holy Land Missions and pastor of First Baptist Church in Bethlehem, has a long history of boldly going against the grain and telling it like it is. Israel Today’s Ryan Jones sat with Dr. Khoury to discuss the situation in Bethlehem, growing Christian opposition to Israel, and how believers abroad can better relate to the conflict.

For free access to the January issue of Israel Today Magazine, where you can read the whole article, CLICK HERE

 

VIDEO: Take a Drone Flight to Jerusalem

VIDEO: Take a Drone Flight to Jerusalem

Highway 1 connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is perhaps the most important highway in the country, and is currently being expanded to handle constantly increasing traffic.

As part of the road work, a drone was sent to track the progress. It also provides an excellent opportunity to discover the beauty of the highway leading to the city many consider to be the center of the world.

 

Israel Without 'Bibi' is No Solution for Peace

Israel Without 'Bibi' is No Solution for Peace

Whoever wins the upcoming elections will, like all his predecessors, fail to achieve a peace deal with the Arabs.

The international community sees Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace, but this is wrong. As a senior official in the Foreign Ministry told Israel Today: “The obstacle to peace is Jerusalem.”

For free access to the January issue of Israel Today Magazine, where you can read the whole article, CLICK HERE

 

Textbook Publisher Apologizes for Erasing Israel

Textbook Publisher Apologizes for Erasing Israel

HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest English-language publishing companies, apologized this week after it was discovered that a new atlas printed for schools in the Middle East omitted the State of Israel.

The map in question shows Syria and Jordan extending to the Mediterranean Sea, while Gaza and the West Bank are clearly identified. Israel itself is missing from the map entirely.

HarperCollins initially tried to justify the omission by noting that its customers in the Persian Gulf found identifying Israel on the map to be “unacceptable,” and that the Jewish state was therefore erased to suit “local preferences.”

A subsequent outcry from Church leaders in the UK accused the publishing house of actually harming the prospects of peace in the Middle East.

“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence,” Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, told the British Catholic journal The Tablet.

Dr. Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews, added that “maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimizing ‘the other’ and can lead to confusion rather than clarity.”

The publisher later issued an apology reading:

“HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offense caused.”

 

Rabbis Ban New Year's Celebrations in Israel

Rabbis Ban New Year's Celebrations in Israel

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has declared that there can be no New Year’s celebration in the Land of Israel. The Rabbinate’s requirements state explicitly that "placing references to Gentile holidays at the end of the secular year is not allowed.” That means no New Year’s Eve for many Israelis.

New Year’s Eve in Israel is called Sylvester

The Israeli term for New Year’s Eve is “Sylvester,” the name of the Roman Pope who presided over the conversion of Constantine and reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 AD). It was Sylvester who convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem and instituted a host of viciously anti-Jewish requirements into Roman Christianity.

Much of Europe, like in Israel, also call New Year’s Eve “Sylvester.” For Eastern European Jews, January 1st is remembered as a day of pogroms. From early days, once the birth of Christ was set on December 25th, Christianity understood the New Year to be a symbol of the reign of Christianity, and the death of Judaism. New Year’s Day became a time for anti-Jewish activities: synagogue and book burnings, public tortures, and murder.

Anti-Semitic practices on New Year’s Eve have continued throughout history.

It was on New Year’s Day 1577 that Pope Gregory XIII decreed that all Roman Jews, under pain of death, must listen to the compulsory Catholic conversion sermon given in Rome’s synagogues after Friday night services. On New Year’s Day 1578, Gregory signed into law a tax forcing Jews to pay for the support of a “House of Conversion” to convert Jews to Christianity. On New Year’s 1581, Gregory ordered his troops to confiscate all sacred literature from the Roman Jewish community. Thousands of Jews were murdered in the campaign.

Punishment for Celebrating New Year’s Eve

This week the Chief Rabbinate published notices warning that any Israeli establishment holding a New Year’s Eve Party would be punished by the religious authorities. Although the Rabbinate does not have legal authority to prevent anyone from celebrating the New Year, they are able to impose their will on large portions of the Jewish population due to their control over Kosher certification.

"Any hotel or restaurant offering a New Years Eve celebration will have their Kosher certificate revoked,” warned the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Similar warnings were issued to establishments not to display Christmas trees or put up New Year’s decorations.

Rabbis’ Disgust for New Year’s Activities in Israel

The rabbinic prohibition against celebrating non-Jewish holidays in Israel reflects the profound distaste religious Jews have for Christian activities in the Jewish nation. Nor is it the first time that the Chief Rabbinate had expressed concerns over Christian celebrations in Israel. It’s not even the first time in the past year.

During this year’s Feast of Tabernacles, the Chief Rabbis demanded the government prevent the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) from holding a Prayer Vigil near the Old City’s Huldah Gates. In their appeal, the Rabbinate claimed that the prayer gathering would “prevent true Jewish salvation” and that the ICEJ intended to “dig their claws into the Holy City and Land and cut off our Jewish brethren from the land of the living.”

Other local rabbinic authorities have also tried to stop Christian prayers from taking place near the Temple Mount. They describe Christian prayer gatherings as “ceremonies of idol worship praying to ‘that person’ to reign over Jerusalem,” and conclude with an imprecatory prayer, “May the Name of the Wicked One Rot.” The typical way most rabbis refer to Jesus is “that person,” refusing to even mention his name.

A New Year’s Blessing

It is my hope that through the articles, news reports, teachings and comments from our faithful readers presented daily online throughout the year, and in the monthly Israel Today Magazine, that Jews and Christians alike will come to know the true person of Yeshua the Messiah, and that His name be sanctified in truth in Israel. May you all have a happy and healthy New Year!

 

Israel: Failed Palestinian UN Bid an 'Embarrassment'

Israel: Failed Palestinian UN Bid an 'Embarrassment'

The Palestinian Authority for months hollered as loudly as it could about going to the UN Security Council to unilaterally seek imposed terms of “peace” on Israel. But in the end, the motion failed, and even without America needing to use its veto.

Israel Nitzan from the Israeli mission to the UN issued the following in response to the UNSC vote:

“The Palestinians seek — and find — every opportunity to avoid direct negotiations and to walk circumventing paths. We’ve become accustomed to their political maneuvers. But today they surpassed themselves by going all the way to the Security Council to make a mockery of it with embarrassing resolutions.”

The Palestinian motion had demanded a full Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem by no later than 2017, as well as the resumption of “negotiations” based on that ultimate outcome and resulting in a peace agreement within one year.

Of course, with the outcome already set in stone, Israel noted there would be no need to negotiate, and no need for the Palestinians to even consider Israel’s conditions, such as an end to anti-Jewish incitement in the Palestinian media and official recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Ultimately, the resolution garnered eight votes on the Security Council, with France, China, Russia, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan and Luxembourg supporting the motion. Nine votes are required for a resolution to pass, barring veto by one of the council’s five permanent members.

Voting against the resolution were the United States and Australia, while the five remaining nations (the UK, Nigeria, Lithuania, South Korea and Rwanda) abstained.

The big surprise was Nigeria, which had previously signaled it would support the resolution, leaving the Palestinians to feel confident of victory. But intensive Israeli diplomatic efforts appeared to have won over Nigeria at the last minute.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday phoned Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, with whom he maintains warm personal ties, to thank him for helping to thwart a Palestinian maneuver that would ultimately have only made true peace even more unattainable.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a statement calling on the Palestinians to learn the lesson that “provocation and attempts to impose unilateral measures on Israel will not achieve anything — on the contrary.”

 

Israel's Top Religious Party in Disarray

Israel's Top Religious Party in Disarray

Just two-and-a-half months before the upcoming national election, Israel’s leading Orthodox Jewish political party, Shas, appears to be on the verge of collapse.

Many began predicting the current mess already two years ago, when former party leader Aryeh Deri (pictured) reclaimed the Shas mantle after serving two years in prison on graft charges.

Over the past month, Deri managed to push former party leader and Interior Minister Eli Yishai out of Shas, resulting in the formation of a new Orthodox party.

Then things got really interesting, as a videotape was leaked to the press (presumably by associates of Yishai) showing the late Shas spiritual leader and former Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef calling Deri a “wicked” man.

In the footage, Yosef, who died in 2013, reiterates his backing of Yishai as leader of Shas, and decries Deri’s failure to adhere to the rulings and determinations of his religious superiors.

The airing of the video was a major political blow to Deri, who relies on the votes of an Orthodox community that continues to revere Ovadia Yosef and leading rabbis like him.

As such, Deri responded by tendering his resignation from both Shas and the Knesset. But something smelled fishy to the Israeli media.

First, Shas’ council of rabbis rejected Deri’s resignation from the party. Second, resigning from a dissolved Knesset is effectively meaningless. The move by Deri was then followed by a very conspicuous public outpouring of support for the stained politician.

Not a few saw the entire episode as a scheme by Deri and his supporters to garner more votes for Shas in the upcoming election. But for the time being, polls show Shas winning as few as four seats in the next Knesset, while Yishai’s new party would fail to reach the 3.25 percent voter threshold.

 

America: Israel Among Top Most "Unacceptable" Countries

America: Israel Among Top Most "Unacceptable" Countries

The US State Department in 2014 condemned Israel as one of the most “unacceptable” countries in the world, just behind North Korea.

According to an article published last week by Foreign Policy, over the past year the Obama Administration State Department cited Israel for "unacceptable behavior" more times than Pakistan, Russia, Egypt, China, Afghanistan and Iraq. The article examined how many times a country’s actions were condemned as “unacceptable,” and Israel came in fourth, right after Syria, Iran and North Korea.

Most of the State Department’s criticisms came in response to Israeli announcements for plans to build housing in Jerusalem. The study also found that the US government panned out unprecedented amounts of condemnation towards Israel for civilian casualties during the summer war in Gaza.

The absurd and arbitrary way in which the United States condemns her allies more that her enemies only serves to render Washington’s pronouncements meaningless in the eyes of most Israelis. How can building homes in Jerusalem be condemned on par with the actions of nations repeatedly engaged in aggressive and murderous violence towards their own civilian populations with absolutely no regard for human rights?

As journalist Micah Zenko pointed out in the Foreign Policy article, US officials regularly condemn actions as unacceptable "but then do very little in response to prevent or deter those actions from reoccurring."

The fact that these ongoing condemnations are hollow does not prevent the US State Department and others from regularly castigating Israel in the international diplomatic arena. Israel’s Ynet news portal found that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the word "concerned" 140 times in 2014 in statements about world events, and Israel was the most “concerning” country of all.

The US government just keeps on pretending that their shameful condemnations of Israel are useful, clueless to the fact that no one is listening. Is it any wonder that Israel refuses to heed to the onslaught of mumbo-jumbo condemnations emanating from the White House and the UN?

Indeed, it would be foolish for Israel to even respond to the endless and empty pronouncements of American and international discontent. King Solomon understood long ago that it is utter folly to answer absurd and silly arguments as if you were dealing with a sensible person.

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” Proverbs 26:4

 

Palestinian Arabs Claim They'll Soon Outnumber Jews

Palestinian Arabs Claim They'll Soon Outnumber Jews

The Palestinian Authority on Monday played on the fears of most Israelis that they face a “demographic threat,” a notion that has led many, even among conservative Israelis, to believe they have no choice but to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Census figures published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) claimed there are today 6.08 million Arabs living west of the Jordan River (in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza), compared to 6.10 Jews.

The report predicted that in a mere two years, both people groups will number 6.42 million, and that by 2020 Arabs will outnumber Jews 7.14 million-to–6.87 million.

The PCBS has been issuing such warnings for more than a decade, and its predictions somehow never seem to come true. In 2003, it was said the Jewish and Arab populations west of the Jordan would reach parity by 2006. In 2010, the PCBS claimed Arabs would outnumber Jews by the end of 2014.

Israel stopped collecting census data in the West Bank and Gaza with the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1995 as part of the “Oslo Accords.” Since then, Israel has relied on data provided by the PCBS, and has inexplicably taken those figures at face value despite the fact the Palestinian Authority has a vested interest in promoting the idea of a demographic threat to the Jews.

In 2006, a study entitled “Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza: The Million Person Gap” was presented before the US Congress, which was deliberating over continued financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority. The study found that Palestinian population figures had been grossly inflated.

In 2010, the American-Israel Demographic Research Group published a survey reaching the same conclusion that instead of the 2.5 million Arabs the PCBS says live in the West Bank, the figure is actually closer to 1.5 million.

Both studies were based on pre–1995 census figures, a plummeting Arab birth rate, and a steady stream of emigration from Palestinian-controlled areas.

At the same time, the Jewish birth rate has been on the rise, a long-term demographic trend that clearly favors the Jews.

Additionally, the number of Palestinian Arabs leaving the region every year (an average of around 20,000) is usually matched by the number of Jews making aliyah to Israel.

PHOTO: Birth rates among Arabs west of the Jordan River have plummeted from over 5 births per mother a decade ago to just 2.7 today.

 

Celebrate and Be Merry! Jesus the Messiah is Palestinian!

Celebrate and Be Merry! Jesus the Messiah is Palestinian!

As has become custom, Palestinian Authority last week made a show of claiming Jesus as one of their own in the run-up to Christmas.

Here are some of the more egregious examples (translations provided by Palestinian Media Watch):

We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love,justice and peace. - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, as quoted by the Wafa news agency on December 22.

Christmas is also a Palestinian holiday, because Jesus, peace be upon him, was Palestinian. He was born in Palestine; lived and was sent [as prophet] to Palestine. Therefore, Christmas has a special Palestinian flavor. - Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the PA’s Supreme Sharia Judge, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 22, 2014.

We are standing here, Muslims and Christians, in Yasser Arafat Square, [named after] the symbol of our cause, to celebrate Christmas. So too we will stand united to celebrate victory, far off as it may be. Merry Christmas, let’s celebrate and be merry; Jesus the Messiah is Palestinian, and we are Palestinians and will continue to hold our heads high. - Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam, Palestinian Authority TV, December 7, 2014.

Saeb Erekat, the chief PA peace negotiator who has become notorious for his outlandish historical revisions, stated during the Christmas tree lighting in his hometown of Jericho that Jesus is “the first Martyr, the first Palestinian.”

Sadly, it is not only extremists and fringe elements that are promoting this historical fallacy, but the very leaders whose example most Palestinians look to and follow. As such, the belief that Jesus was a Palestinian, just like the belief that the Jews have no history in this region, has become accepted truth among many local Arabs.

PHOTO: Screenshot from the 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ.”

 

VIDEO: Christmas in Nazareth

VIDEO: Christmas in Nazareth

When the Christmas season begins, that's when Nazareth really comes to lfie.

The ancient Galilean town is the largest Christian community in Israel, the one country in the Middle East where the Christian population is actually growing.

Nazareth is well worth a visit any time of the year, but the following video shows why the Christmas season is extra special in Jesus' hometown.

 

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