Palestinians Fear Their Own rulers

Palestinians Fear Their Own rulers

Two-thirds of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria are afraid to criticize Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.

The results of the poll come in the wake of Abbas arresting the leader of the strongest union in the Palestinian-controlled territories.

If two-thirds of Palestinians fear Abbas, how much more does the radical Hamas instill terror in the hearts of the residents of Gaza? Abroad, Abbas' Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority is often depicted as a pragmatic counterpart to Hamas, and as a genuine partner for peace with Israel.

In Bethlehem, Palestinian church leaders and other Christian institutions assert that they enjoy broad freedom in so-called "Palestine." They talk proudly of freedom of speech and of the press under Palestinian Authority rule. Especially during the Christmas season these Christians preach about harmonious coexistence with the Muslims.

Either the results of the above survey are false and Palestinians in general do not really fear their government, or the Christians leaders in question are concealing the truth for fear of being punished by their Muslim rulers.

Welcome to the "democratic" Palestinian state everyone is so eager to establish.


New Archaeology Supports Existence of King David

New Archaeology Supports Existence of King David

Detractors of the biblical text like to assert that its passages are filled with little more than folklore and myth. But new archaeological finds have again provided evidence that biblical figures like Kind David did exist and did rule over a large portion of the ancient Near East.

Leading journals recently wrote on the discovery of eight significant sites in Turkey and northern Syria which revealed the existence of a large Philistine kingdom under the rule of Tai(ta) of Hamath.

Prof. Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa says this is clearly the same regional ruler as the "Toi, king of Hamath" referenced in II Samuel 8:10, which records that when this king "heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, he sent his son Joram to King David, to greet him and to congratulate him on defeating Hadadezer in battle --- for Hadadezer had been at war with Toi."

According to Prof. Galil: "We know for sure now that Toi of Hamath existed, and that he was indeed a historical figure. The biblical text in the Book of Samuel is therefore well supported by the historical reality of the 10th century BC."

These discoveries also helped to clarify more earlier Egyptian finds according to which the Ramses III boasted of having conquered Philistine cities in northern Syria. Previously, archaeologists had believed the pharaoh was exaggerating.

The finds in Syria and Turkey coincide with the recent discovery of a stele, or stone slab, from a later Aramean king, Hazael, who spoke of having killed 70 rival kings during his conquests. Among his listed victims are kings from the "House of David."

This new evidence backs up the biblical account not only of the existence of King David, but of the fact that he was far more than a small-time, hill-top chieftain.


Hamas-Ruled Gaza Prepares for Next War Against Israel

Hamas-Ruled Gaza Prepares for Next War Against Israel

In Gaza, there is no serious reconstruction and certainly no disarmament. Instead, the Hamas-ruled enclave is gearing up for its next war against Israel.

Three months after Operation Protective Edge, nothing has changed in Gaza. The Palestinian media has been full of reports about how the people in Gaza continue to suffer and how Hamas does nothing to help, preferring instead to invest its time and money in new rockets and terror tunnels.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in the recent war are still living in tent camps set up by the refugee agency UNRWA. Well over one million Gazans continue to be caught in the middle of an often-violent dispute between Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Hamas sees violence against Israel as a means of strengthening its own position.

Reconstruction funds totaling USD $5.4 billion that were promised during negotiations in Cairo this summer continue to exist only on paper. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is currently touring the Persian Gulf in an attempt to collect the pledges.

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the money is not being released because Hamas refuses to honor its agreement to hand over control of Gaza’s border crossings.

Hamas, in turn, blames Israel and Fatah of holding up the money, but it has become clear to both Israelis and Palestinians that the terror group will do anything to prevent the reconstruction of Gaza.

Israel, for its part, has been working for months with the UN to advance the reconstruction in Gaza. But every step of the way, Hamas has scuttled any progress, such as when it suddenly raised taxes on imported cement.

Earlier this week, Hamas forces proudly marched through Gaza City with large missiles and aerial drones, a clear message that the group intends to strike Israel even harder next time, even to the detriment of its own population.


Jewish Parents Honor Slain Druze Police Officer

Jewish Parents Honor Slain Druze Police Officer

A Jewish couple from New York has decided to name their newborn baby boy after Israeli Druze police officer Zidan Seif, who was killed on November 18 while battling two Palestinian terrorists as they slaughtered Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem.

Seif was widely praised throughout Israel for his selfless actions on behalf of his Jewish countrymen, and his funeral was attended by thousands of Israeli Jews. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Seif as a “hero of Israel,” and said his sacrifice was further proof of the blood bond that exists between the Jews and Druze of Israel.

Alexander and Jennifer Chester of New York agreed and named their newborn son Yaakov Zidan in honor of the slain officer.

“Zidan Seif was part of Israel’s patriotic and loyal Druze community,” Chester wrote in an article carried by Israel’s Ynet news portal. “When he heard the terror attack at the synagogue in Har Nof, he did not hesitate for a moment. He did not consider remaining on the sidelines because he wasn’t Jewish.”

Chester said that he considers Zidan to be “a Jewish hero, and he deserves to have his name spoken by Jews for the rest of time. [Zidan] deserves to have Jews name their children after him.”


Netanyahu Applauds Christian IDF Soldiers; 'We Are Brothers!'

Netanyahu Applauds Christian IDF Soldiers; 'We Are Brothers!'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday told a pre-Christmas gathering of Christians in Nazareth that they and the Jews are brothers, and that Israel will never cease to defend Christians against the forces that seek to harm and destroy them.

The gathering was organized by the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, whose spiritual leader, Father Gabriel Naddaf, was singled out repeatedly by Netanyahu for his untiring efforts to encourage young Christians to join the Israeli army and fully integrate with Israeli society.

“On the first of December, I took my own son, Avner, to the recruitment center in Jerusalem. He volunteered to become a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. The next day…Father Naddaf took his son, Jubran, to the recruitment enter in Tiberias. He volunteered to become a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces,” Netanyahu recounted to strong applause.

“We are brothers!” the prime minister exclaimed. “We are partners! Christians and Jews and Druze and Muslims who together defend the State of Israel.”

Turning to a group of Christian soldiers attending the event, Netanyahu stated, “We are brothers in arms. I commend you on the will to be full partners in contributing to and defending this nation.”

Netanyahu noted that it was not always easy for Arabic-speaking Christians to so fully join themselves to Israel, but vowed that “we will firmly support you against all that would harass you.”

Echoing what Father Naddaf has been busy instilling both in local Christians and Western leaders, Netanyahu pointed out that Israel is the only place in the region where Christians find safe haven.

“Christians are suffering in the Middle East,” said the Israeli leader, recalling the recent “shrinkage and disappearance of entire Christian communities, communities that were there thousands of years, since the birth of Christianity, entire communities that are erased in one fell swoop, brutally, savagely.”

Netanyahu insisted that all who would criticize Israel and work toward the birth of a Palestinian state that would most likely fall to Hamas must “compare this [regional situation] to Israel, the only nation in the region where the Christian population is growing.”


West Identifies Yet Another 'Window of Opportunity' for Peace

West Identifies Yet Another 'Window of Opportunity' for Peace

Western diplomats say they have identified yet another of those apparently-not-so-uncommon “windows of opportunity” for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and US Secretary of State John Kerry has summoned everyone to Rome to talk about it.

“If there is a window of opportunity for a consensus resolution it might be this month,” an unnamed Western diplomat told Reuters last week, referring to frantic efforts to cobble together a UN resolution aimed at jump-starting the peace process before the Palestinians put forward their own, more hard-line motion.

Every year or so, American, European and “moderate” Arab leaders engaged in the peace process make similar announcements, usually at times when Israel and the Palestinian leadership are most unlikely to be able to agree on anything.

Even so, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed for the Italian capital on Monday, primarily to make sure the Obama Administration sticks to its policy of vetoing any unilateral Palestinians moves at the UN Security Council.

“In a reality in which Islamic terror is spreading its branches to every corner of the globe, we will rebuff every effort that will bring this terror into our own home, into the State of Israel, and these things I say in the clearest possible way,” Netanyahu said before departing. “Even if they are dictated we will stand firm against them.”

The Palestinian resolution, which has been backed at the UN by Jordan, demands a full Israeli surrender of Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) by November 2016 at the latest, and regardless of whether or not a bi-lateral peace agreement has by then been signed.

Those reading between the lines will notice that November 2016 coincides with the next presidential election in the US, meaning Barack Obama will by that time be a “lame duck” president and, therefore, far less likely to interfere in any subsequent moves should Israel fail to meet the resolution’s demands.

It is not certain the Palestinian resolution will pass in the Security Council when it is presented later this month, even in the absence of an American veto. Nevertheless, European leaders have taken advantage of the situation to hurriedly put forward a new framework for peace negotiations, though there remains some debate over whether or not it, like the Palestinian resolution, should have a two-year deadline.

Meanwhile in Israel, very few are focusing on the stagnant peace process as the Jewish state gears up for yet another national election. That also means that no leader, including Netanyahu, is going to make any far-reaching moves regarding the peace process until at least a month after the March 17 vote.


WATCH: Iranian Militiaman-Turned-Christian Visits Israel

WATCH: Iranian Militiaman-Turned-Christian Visits Israel

Afshin Javid was born into a pious Muslim family that heartily supported Iran’s “Islamic Revolution” and the rise to power of the ayatollahs. Today, he has embraced faith in Yeshua, and is looking to reconcile with former enemies, including Israel.

In an interview with Channel 2 News (see below) during a visit to Israel last month, Javid recalled that as a young man he enthusiastically joined what is known as the Basij militia in Iran.

The Basij Resistance Force is a volunteer paramilitary organization operating under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guard. It’s young members roam the streets of Iran brutally enforcing the dictates of their clerical overlords.

“We basically enforced Sharia on the streets,” Javid told his Israeli hosts. “If a girl talks to a boy, or a boy is talking to a girl, you grab them, you arrest them, you beat them. We were the ‘Children of Islam.’ That’s what Ayatollah Khomeini called us.”

He even personally took part in six executions, and recalled feeling nothing but callous hatred, despite not even knowing the alleged crimes of the condemned.

The Basij militia continue to be a driving force of anti-Israel sentiment in the Islamic Republic.

“I remember the days when I would walk the streets of Iran shouting ‘Death to Israel,’” said Javid with tears in his eyes. “I had never met a Jewish person, but I hated them.”

After coming to faith, Javid fled Iran, and now lives in Canada. He has hopes that a better future lies ahead for his native land, and can see the younger generations in Iran are ready for and in desperate need of change.

“The drug addiction in Iran is massive. [As are] the suicide rate, the divorce rate,” he explained. “[Everyone] is saying, ‘Look, we didn’t get any of the things that they [the ayatollahs] promised us.’”

But Javid doesn’t believe Western sanctions and diplomatic pressure are going to bring about the desired changes, and certainly not spark a new revolution.

“The only way to change the mindset of a nation is to show them in your friendship a better way to live,” he insisted, noting that Iranians “are stuck in their own school of thought.”

The narration in the following video is in Hebrew, but Javid speaks in English:


Pollster: Netanyahu Could Lose This Election

Pollster: Netanyahu Could Lose This Election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month set in motion the process of early elections against the backdrop of public opinion polls showing his Likud Party cruising to an easy victory. But more recent polls have revealed an opposite trend, and a leading pollster now says Netanyahu is by no means a shoo-in for Israel’s next prime minister.

Last week, a pre-election poll for the first time showed Likud coming in second to the leftist Labor Party and its new alliance with former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua faction.

According to that poll, carried out by the Knesset Channel, if elections were held today, Labor would win 23 seats, while Netanyahu and his Likud would take 21, meaning Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog would most likely be tapped by President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government.

Subsequent polls have again shown Likud on top, just barely, but Netanyahu also appeared to be losing the support of several centrist and right-leaning parties, meaning that even if Likud scores more seats, Herzog could still have the best chance of cobbling together a coalition.

Of note, both Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party and former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu faction have expressed willingness to join a Labor-led coalition. Current centrist powerhouse Yesh Atid, which is expected to take a nosedive in the upcoming vote, would also almost certainly join with Labor, as would the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, for the right price.

Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, who conducts political polls for Channel 10 News and Ha’aretz, told a press conference organized by the Jerusalem Press Club that “it is no longer guaranteed that Netanyahu will be the next prime minsiter.”

Fuchs explained that up until about a month ago, Netanyahu remaining in the prime minister’s chair was considered a “1”, a statistical certainty. Today, said Fuchs, that number had dropped to somewhere between “0” and “1”, though he believed Netanyahu still had a better chance than any other candidate of heading the next government.

Fuchs further noted that the overall trend among Israeli voters is to the right, though parties like Yisrael Beiteinu and Kulanu crossing political lines could still bring a left-wing government to power. The professor also pointed out that the public’s growing distaste for Netanyahu notwithstanding, a plurality of voters still view him as the best candidate for prime minister


Study: Israeli Home Demolitions Deter Terror

Study: Israeli Home Demolitions Deter Terror

Israel takes a lot of flak for demolishing the houses of Palestinian terrorists who carried out successful attacks against Israelis. But a new survey by a respected international journal found that the policy had been successful, and, therefore, had saved many lives.

Appearing in the latest issue of the Journal of Politics, the study titled “Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions” was jointly prepared by researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Northwestern University in Chicago.

After examining data from 2000–2005, the period during which Israel carried out the most home demolitions, the researchers concluded that the controversial security measure had resulted in “an immediate, significant decrease in the number of suicide attacks.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently resumed the practice of demolishing the homes of terrorists in response to a string of deadly attacks in Jerusalem.

In addition to providing a direct deterrent, home demolitions are also seen as a counter-measure to the fact that the Palestinian Authority pays a generous monthly salary to the families of jailed or deceased terrorists.

The Journal of Politics in a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication produced by the Southern Political Science Association and published by Cambridge University Press.


Israeli MK: We Can't Trust in God Alone

Israeli MK: We Can't Trust in God Alone

A leading, and somewhat controversial member of Knesset earlier this month stated that those in positions of authority in the Jewish state must not rely on God alone when making decisions regarding the governance of Israel.

“We have to hope, we need to pray, but to be rational,” MK Elazar Stern told a political conference organized by Besheva magazine.

Despite himself being a religious, yarmulke-wearing Jew, Stern was insistent that “…when we trusted in God alone, we lost out.”

Rabbi Yitzhak David Grossman, the chief rabbi of the Migdal Haemek region in northern Israel, and a long-time personal friend of Stern’s, was not at all in agreement.

“I am sure that you do not mean what you say. …There are children sitting here. Do you want them to hear you say, ‘We relied on God and we lost out’?” Rabbi Grossmann wondered, before stating firmly that “without God there is no world, there is no Nation of Israel, there is no State of Israel, there is nothing, nothing!”

Stern later tried to clarify by noting that he believes “the state of Israel is a miracle. It has no explanation without God,” but remained committed to the notion that “a leader must make rational considerations” and that God cannot be confined to human rationality.

In the current government, MK Stern was a member of the leftist Hatnua Party. Ahead of the upcoming early election, and following Hatnua’s union with the Labor Party, Stern is reportedly looking for a new political home.


Jewish Family Targeted in Acid Attack

Jewish Family Targeted in Acid Attack

A Palestinian Arab terrorist on Friday hurled acid at a family of Israeli Jews south of Bethlehem.

The attack occurred adjacent to the Palestinian Arab town of Husan. As the family was stopped at a local junction, the assailant hurled an acidic substance through an open window of their vehicle.

The father, mother and three of their children, aged 8–10, were all lightly injured in the attack.

The terrorist fled the scene, but was shot and seriously wounded a short distance away by an armed Israeli civilian. A screwdriver was found on the terrorist, indicating he had intended to also stab his innocent victims.

In other violence, a Palestinian rammed his car into an Israeli army checkpoint near the Samarian town of Nablus (biblical Shechem). No one was injured besides the driver.


Young Messianics Draw Closer to Jewish Roots

Young Messianics Draw Closer to Jewish Roots

As many young Messianic Jewish believers in Israel draw closer to their Jewish roots, we let one young man share his views openly, views which may challenge traditional Christian notions.

The full article appears in the December 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Is Israel a Fulfillment of Prophecy?

Is Israel a Fulfillment of Prophecy?

Israel’s increasingly vocal Christian antagonists have been trying to blunt support for the Jewish state by Christian Zionists by teaching that it must not be viewed as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

This despite the wholly unprecedented survival of an exiled people for 2,000 years and the eventual rebirth of their nation, and the fact that all this appears to line up pretty neatly with what the prophets foretold.

The reality is that the rebirth of Israel as a nation-state is the most tangible piece of evidence today that God exists and is faithful to His promises. That some leading Christian figures are teaching the opposite is a big problem, according to Tel Aviv-based Messianic Jewish congregation leader Ron Cantor.

“What is the purpose of prophecy if not to confirm the Word of God,” Cantor wonders rhetorically in a video posted to YouTube (see below).

The trick, of course, is being able to properly discern between what is prophetic and what isn’t. As Cantor goes on to explain, there are a few tests that can determine whether or not something is prophetic.

The first test is time. Despite being repeatedly attacked by numerically-superior enemies, the State of Israel has not only continued to exist these past seven decades, but has today become the region’s strongest economic and military power.

The second test is the direct fulfillment of other related prophecies. Jeremiah 16 speaks of a day when people would no longer chiefly identify God as the One who brought the Israelites out of Egypt, but rather as He who brought them home from the “land of the north.” The massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, an “exodus” that outnumbered its biblical counterpart, can not but be referring to this event.

“The evidence is pretty overwhelming,” sums up Cantor. “The only way you can conclude that Israel is not a prophetic fulfillment is if you interpret these passages with a preconceived anti-Israel, anti-Jewish bias.”

Check out the full video below:


Palestinians, Not IDF, Denied Medical Aid to Dying PA Minister

Palestinians, Not IDF, Denied Medical Aid to Dying PA Minister

As additional details come to light in the untimely death of Palestinian Authority minister Ziad Abu Ein on Wednesday, it would seem that not only did IDF soldiers not kill him, but that Palestinian bystanders actually prevented the Israelis from providing life-saving medical aid as the official lay dying of an apparent heart attack.

What is known is that Abu Ein led what turned into a violent demonstration against Jewish “settlement activity.” That was, after all, his job in the Palestinian Authority. At some point, Abu Ein personally scuffled with Israeli Border Police officers, one of whom grabbed the minister by the throat and pushed him away.

According to Israeli, Russian and British journalists at the scene, it was some five minutes later that Abu Ein sat down short of breath and holding his chest. The eye-witnesses denied allegations that an Israeli soldier had struck Abu Ein in the chest with the butt of a rifle.

At this point, Tom Rayner of Sky News reported that a female Israeli medic attempted to clear the area and administer aid to Abu Ein. But the Palestinian mob was having none of it, and quickly moved the dying man to a nearby vehicle.

The report debunked Palestinian claims that Abu Ein was purposely denied medical attention, a factor that contributed to his death.

The circumstances seemed to support the Israeli army’s assessment that Abu Ein, who suffered from heart disease, had been hit by a major heart attack.

But still, Israel agreed to participate in a full investigation, including sending an Israeli representative, Dr. Hen Kugel, to Abu Ein’s autopsy. Kugel reported back that Abu Ein’s arteries were nearly 80 percent blocked, and that all signs pointed to a massive coronary attack.

“We know that he died from a heart attack. He had significant blockage of the arteries and his heart was in bad shape. When they grabbed his neck it caused massive stress which led to bleeding and then full blockage, which is what killed him,” Kugel told Israel’s Ynet news portal.

While the Palestinian doctors involved reportedly concurred that a heart attack ultimately killed Abu Ein, the Palestinian Authority nevertheless accused Israel of a “cold blooded murder.”

“After hearing the results of the autopsy, the Palestinian government holds Israel fully responsible for the killing of Ziad Abu Ein,” said spokesman Ihab Bseiso.

“What happened is a crime by all means, we cannot sit idle and silent (after) this crime,” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reportedly told his cabinet.

“The PA has decided to stop all forms of coordination with Israel following the intentional assassination of…Ziad Abu Ein,” stated Abbas aide Jibril Rajoub.

Already, the fresh incitement was bearing fruit on Thursday as riots erupted in Hebron ahead of Abu Ein’s funeral and Israeli police braced for additional violence in Jerusalem and elsewhere.


Poll: Most Palestinians Support Terror Against Jews

Poll: Most Palestinians Support Terror Against Jews

A Palestinian public opinion poll conduced this week found that an overwhelming majority of Arabs in the Holy Land support acts of terrorism against the Jews in order to protect Jerusalem’s Muslim-dominated Temple Mount from Jewish influence.

The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, but modern Islam denies any Jewish connection to the site, and claims it as the Muslims’ third holiest site. Jewish visits to the Temple Mount and talk of permitting Jews to pray at the holy site are seen as a “provocation” by Arab Muslims in the region.

According to the poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 86 percent of Palestinians believe the Temple Mount is in “grave danger” from Israel.

As such, 80 percent said they support the recent string of deadly terrorist attacks targeting Israeli Jews, including last month’s gruesome synagogue massacre. Well over half of respondents said they would back the outbreak of a new terrorist uprising, or intifada.

It was against this backdrop that a prominent Muslim cleric late last month delivered a spontaneous sermon atop the Temple Mount in which he called for the “slaughter” of the Jews, “the most evil creatures to have walked this Earth.”

Omar Abu Sara also publicly praised the Islamic State, or ISIS, suggesting it would eventually aid in the utter destruction of the Jews and their state.

Watch Abu Sara’s vile sermon atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount:


Palestinian Minister Said Killed in Clash With IDF

Palestinian Minister Said Killed in Clash With IDF

The Palestinian Authority official in charge of “settlement affairs,” Mr. Ziab Abu Ein, reportedly died on Wednesday following an altercation with Israeli soldiers near the northern Samaria Jewish community of Shilo.

Abu Ein was in the area leading a group of Palestinian protestors who ended up violently confronting local Jewish residents and the Israeli soldiers protecting them.

According to Palestinian reports, during the course of the confrontation, Abu Ein inhaled tear gas and was subsequently struck in the chest by the butt of an Israeli rifle. Israeli eye-witnesses said the Palestinian official was not struck by a rifle.

Whatever the case, Palestinian media later reported that Abu Ein had died en route to a nearby hospital in Ramallah. Israeli army officials appraising the situation said it appeared Abu Ein had died of a heart attack, and noted that he had suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes.

Despite evidence that Israel had played no role in his death, Palestinian Authority officials wasted no time decrying what they called Abu Ein’s “barbaric assassination,” and threatening to end all security cooperation with Jerusalem.

The incident threatened to plunge the region once again into a frenzy of violence as local Arabs, spurred on by Palestinian Authority media incitement, seek “street justice” against the Israelis.

Regarding Ziad Abu Ein himself, the man was more than simply the PA official in charge of opposing Israel’s “settlement activity.”

A long time member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council (also known as the Abu Nidal Organization), a recognized terrorist organization in Europe and the US, Abu Ein was convicted in the 1979 murder of two Israelis in Tiberias. He attempted to flee to the US, but was extradited to Israel in 1981 and sentenced to life in prison a year later.

Like many senior Palestinian leaders who had personally participated in the murder of Israeli Jews, Abu Ein was granted de facto amnesty with the signing of the so-called “Oslo” peace accords.


Jerusalem’s Silwan Shows Coexistence is Possible

Jerusalem’s Silwan Shows Coexistence is Possible

The international media heavily criticizes Jewish life in what is today called the Arab neighborhood of Silwan near Jerusalem’s Old City.

Every time a Jewish family moves into what historically was the City of David, it is presented as an act of provocation by so-called "settlers."

The media is quick to jump on stories of riots, stone-throwing and other violence in Silwan, but in reality there is a quiet and functioning coexistence between the neighborhood’s Jews and Arabs.

Jewish and Arab children playing peacefully on local streets never makes the evening news. Nor does a wedding invitation in Arabic hanging on the refrigerators doors of several local Jewish families. But even if it’s invisible to the world’s eyes, local Jews and Arabs often work together.

The Jewish residents speak of this openly. The Arabs, however, have to be more careful, often only speaking anonymously.

"One day," an Arab man named Bassem told us, "men knocked on my door and told me that it was forbidden from that moment on to work for Jews. The next morning, the tires of my car were slashed. I got the message. It wasn’t long before all 70 of the local Arabs working at the Jewish [archeological] excavation site quit their jobs."

The upcoming January issue of Israel Today Magazine includes additional interviews with Jewish and Arab residents of Silwan and a deeper analysis of the situation there.

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While Bassem toes the party line when it comes to criticizing Israel, he has nothing against the Jewish "settlers" who are his neighbors.

"I wish all my neighbors were like them [the Jews]," said Bassem. "But if you post my picture, or include my name, then you can be sure that my wife will be a widow and my children orphans! I know what I'm talking about. Some Palestinians were already killed just because they were suspected of having worked for the Jews."

Another local Arab who asked that we not even give him a pseudonym for fear of retaliation added, "I've driven pregnant Jewish women to the hospital several times on Shabbat [a day on which religious Jews won’t drive]. And Jews have helped me to apply for social assistance. Unfortunately, we also have Hamas and Islamic Jihad people among us who can not stand it when we live together in peace with the Jews."

Rabbi Doli Bassok, who is on the committee that moves new Jewish families into Silwan, also spoke of a muted coexistence. "We don’t always trust the Arabs, but we do respect them," he said. "None of us hate the Arabs."

Today, some 90 Jewish families totaling a little more than 600 people live in Silwan among just under 40,000 Arabs. Their presence is seen as a bulwark against efforts to again divide Jerusalem.

The upcoming January issue of Israel Today Magazine includes additional interviews with Jewish and Arab residents of Silwan and a deeper analysis of the situation there.

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WATCH: Arab Muslim Discovers He's a Jew

WATCH: Arab Muslim Discovers He's a Jew

Mordechai Halawa’s touching story of growing up a Kuwaiti Muslim with Palestinian Arab ancestry only to discover he’s actually a Jew has been making the rounds in the Israeli media over the past week.

Born Mumtaz Halawa, he always knew his grandmother had been a Jew who converted to Islam in order to marry his grandfather, an Arab from what is now the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Nablus (biblical Shechem).

In Islamic law, someone born to a Muslim father is, therefore, a Muslim. Halawa never thought differently of himself, despite knowing his grandmother’s background.

That was until a Jewish man in Canada, where Halawa had gone to study, informed him that Jewishness is not primarily a religion, but rather an ethnicity that cannot be erased by conversion to one religion or another.

“I felt that until that day I was in a dream world, and then someone smacked me and I woke up,” Halawa told Orot TV.

Having come to a sudden realization that he was the enemy he was raised to hate, Halawa changed his first name to Mordechai, immigrated to Israel, began living as a Jew, married a Jewish girl, and is proudly hopeful that the children he will one day have will be Israelis.

A number of research projects in recent years have revealed that Halawa might not be alone, and that a large percentage of what are considered to be “Palestinian Arabs” have at least some Jewish heritage.

The narration in the video below is in Hebrew, but Halawa speaks in English throughout (besides the opening seconds, when he is speaking to friends in Arabic):

PHOTO: Halawa standing outside the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem, where he lives today. (Orot TV)


Israel Eco-Disaster: We Must Care for Our World

Israel Eco-Disaster: We Must Care for Our World

In what looks to be a disaster of biblical proportions, five million liters of oil gushed out of a broken pipeline flooding a desert nature reserve in southern Israel, causing one of the worst ecological disasters in the country’s modern history.

The oil poured out of the ground creating a seven-kilometer long river of poisonous sludge flowing down the Arava Valley and through the Evrona Nature Reserve located 20 kilometers north of Eilat. The unique nature reserve is home to many indigenous animals, flora and fauna from biblical times, including rare acacia trees.

“Rehabilitation could take up to 50 years,” said Guy Samet of the Environmental Protection Ministry, who called it one of the gravest pollution events in the country's history. “We are still having trouble gauging the full extent of the contamination,” he added. Police have ruled out foul play after discovering that the pipeline burst during regular maintenance work.

With heavy rains forecasted for this week, officials are now concerned that the highly toxic pollutants could run down to the Gulf of Eilat, endangering the coral reefs and abundant marine life in the Red Sea.

The aging pipeline was first opened in the 1960s to bring oil from Iran in the Persian Gulf and on to European markets across the Mediterranean. Since Israeli-Iranian relations broke down following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the pipeline has been used to bring oil from the Gulf of Eilat to different parts of Israel.

Like many Old Testament prophesies, oil spills can easily appear to be environmental calamities by which God punishes his people for recklessly tampering with his creation. Certainly, the thoughtless exploitation of the earth’s natural resources -- especially during the past century – and all in the name of socio-economic progress, is ungodly. The earth’s resources have been wastefully misused, and many plant and animal species have become extinct, due in many cases, to careless human consumption.

Some fear that modern science has given humans so much power that we think we can play God with the world. Indeed, without God’s Word and His wisdom to guide us, the unshackled progress of science and economics may very well destroy us before they can save us.

While the prophets predicted that God would cause the desert of Israel to blossom and new life to spring up in a land that was barren, one would have to be heartless not to be moved by the sight of the deer, birds and other precious wildlife squirming with suffocation stuck in the muck of this man-made oil spill.

Israel is a tiny land with a very delicate and easily damaged eco-system, and this awful ecological disaster is a rude awaking that we must be more careful in the way we take “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

For as it is written, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”


Do Israelis Want to Oust Netanyahu?

Do Israelis Want to Oust Netanyahu?

Israel is in full election-mode, and everyone is speculating what will be the outcome and long-term ramifications of the upcoming March 17 vote. According to surveys conducted this week, if a majority of Israelis get their way, Benjamin Netanyahu will no longer be prime minister.

A poll commissioned by The Jerusalem Post and Ma’ariv found that 60 percent of Israelis do not want Netanyahu as their next prime minister. According to a Channel 2 poll, 65 percent want a new leader.

Nevertheless, both polls continued to find that Netanyahu’s Likud Party will remain the largest faction in the Knesset following the election, meaning the leader of Likud is most likely to be chosen by the president to form the next government.

But what if Netanyahu were no longer the leader of Likud?

Likud is scheduled to have a primary election ahead of the national vote, and Netanyahu has some serious challengers to his position as party chief.

The Jerusalem Post poll revealed that most Likud voters would by a sizable margin prefer either former Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon or former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar to take over as head of the faction.

Kahlon left Likud several years ago, and has announced the formation of his own party that is expected to win at least 10 seats in the upcoming election. Sa’ar recently temporarily resigned from politics, but is said to be considering an immediate comeback to challenge Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, current opposition leader and Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog is declaring on an almost daily basis that he will be Israel’s next prime minister. If the will of the people as reflected in the above surveys holds, Herzog might just be right.


Poll: Israeli View of Obama Falls (Even Further)

Poll: Israeli View of Obama Falls (Even Further)

Whereas his predecessors were consistently counted among Israel’s best friends in the international arena, US President Barack Obama is seen by the majority of Israelis as being either neutral or negative toward the Jewish state, according to a new survey.

Conducted late last month by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, the poll revealed that only 37 percent of Israelis believe Obama has a “positive” attitude toward their country. An equal number labeled the American leader as “negative,” and the remainder listed him as neutral.

Even worse, as far as Israelis are concerned, has been Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and other regional issues.

Some 52 percent of respondents said Obama’s handling of the peace process had been “bad,” and 65 percent felt his policies in general had damaged America’s standing in the Middle East, which in turn harms Israel’s position.

Days after the results of the survey were published, reports leaked that the Obama White House was considering sanctions against Israel, a wholly unprecedented move for an American government.

According to the reports, Obama and his top aides had discussed sanctions as a means of deterring Israeli “settlement activity” and kick-starting the once-again stagnant peace process.

While the reports, which cited unnamed Israeli diplomats, remain unconfirmed, US congressional leaders aren’t taking any chances, and a letter to the president signed by 48 members of the House of Representatives read thus:

“Recent reports suggest that your administration has held classified meetings over the past several weeks to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Israel for its decision to construct homes in East Jerusalem. Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome.”

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, reaffirming Israel as a “major strategic partner” of the US. The bill had already won unanimous support in the Senate back in September, and will now be placed on Obama’s desk for his signature.


Syria Furious, Unlikely to Respond Over Alleged Israeli Airstrike

Syria Furious, Unlikely to Respond Over Alleged Israeli Airstrike

The embattled regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad on Sunday demanded international sanctions against the Jewish state after what were reported to be Israeli warplanes bombed military targets in Damascus and along the Syria-Lebanon border.

Syria’s official SANA news agency suggested the airstrikes were related to Israel’s upcoming national election and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to remain in power.

But the former head of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Edris, wrote on a website belonging to the Syrian opposition that the target had been advanced S–300 anti-aircraft systems provided by Russia, which Israel feared could make their way into the hands of Hezbollah.

Regardless of the target, the Syrian regime said the act of aggression was unacceptable, and called for “imposing deterring sanctions on Israel, which did not hide its policy in supporting terrorism,” a reference to Damascus’ claims that Israel is actively supporting the various Syrian rebel forces.

While many in Israel have voiced support for the Free Syrian Army and some of the previous Israeli airstrikes certainly aided the battle against Assad’s forces, Jerusalem remains wary of getting too heavily involved.

There is concern in Israel that should Assad fall, any number of forces could seize power in Syria, including groups affiliated with Al Qaeda, turning the country into even more of a have for terrorist activity than it is today.


Christian Affection for Islamic Terrorism

Christian Affection for Islamic Terrorism

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you … will perish. (Esther 4)

I am fully aware of the diversity existing within the Christian world. I know that Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), for example, does not even represent all the Presbyterians, let alone other denominations. I also know about the millions of Christians that are true allies of the Jewish people and Israel.

I am also aware of the preference of many to see Christian anti-Semites as "false Christians." But this seems too convenient. It's like me calling self-hating Jews like Norman Finkelstein heathens. Anti-Semitism is a Christian problem that decent Christians need to deal with decisively.

That being said, let me direct attention toward another disturbing growing phenomenon: Christian ties to Islamic terror organizations that are primarily concerned with Israel.

The most publicized case for such ties came to light after Senator Ted Cruz appeared at the inaugural summit of a new organization called In Defense of Christians (IDC), convened in Washington DC this last September. Cruz was booed out after saying that the participants should support Israel.

A day before the conference, Cruz discovered that some of the speakers from the Middle East, like the patriarchs of the Syriac and Maronite Churches, were expressing support for Hezbollah. While these two patriarchs can be excused for befriending terrorists for the sake of their communities, one must wonder about the motivation of some PCUSA members in cozying up to the Lebanese terrorist militia.

PCUSA ties to Hezbollah were exposed a few days ago by the Israeli legal organization Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center). Contrary to the vague allegations raised by Cruz, on December 5 Shurat Hadin filed a detailed IRS complaint against PCUSA for conducting prohibited activities under US tax law that included meetings between PCUSA members and Hezbollah terrorists.

According to Shurat Hadin, "documentary and video evidence was sent to the IRS showing PCUSA delegates meeting with members of Hezbollah – which is designated by the US as a terrorist organization – as well as publishing anti-Semitic materials and passing around political advocacy materials in violation of its status."

PCUSA is not alone. Leaving aside Palestinian Christian terrorism, a troublesome phenomenon not properly addressed by any of the churches, a growing number of Western Christians have started to collaborate with the Muslim fight against Israel, primarily via support for anti-Israel Palestinian Protestant organizations like Sabeel and Kairos.

Much more blatant is the Christian support for Hamas that has grown virally after the summer’s Gaza war. Non-denominational movements like Tony Compolo’s Red-Letter Christians continue to be counted among those trying to help Hamas to "free Gaza."

And films like With God on Our Side by Porter Speakman, Jr, formerly of Youth With a Mission, and Little Town of Bethlehem, produced by Oral Roberts University chairman Mart Green, are much more than run-of-the-mill anti-Israeli propaganda. By romanticizing Muslim expressions of hate for Israel, such films have effectively become recruitment tools.

Though Christian support for Palestinian violence has thus far remained nonviolent itself, to think this will remain the case is naive at best.

Strange as it may sound, it is precisely at times like this, times of capitulation to false and deadly anti-Semitic narratives, that Christians can shine through and demonstrate the true nature of their faith, which is nourished by Jewish roots. There are many millions of good and honest Christians out there. Will we hear their voices?


Star of David Shines in Miss World Beauty Pageant

Star of David Shines in Miss World Beauty Pageant

Miss Israel is representing her native country in the international Miss World beauty pageant adorned in a patriotic blue and white gown featuring the Star of David.

Mor Maman, the current Miss Israel, is highlighting her pride in her native land of Israel. The bold decision by Miss Maman to appear in a dress depicting the symbol of the State of Israel is intended to make a clear statement to the international community: Israel is alive, well and here to stay!

Showing off the national colors of Israel with the star of David embossed across the front and along the arms of the gown, Miss Israel will be competing against 100 other beauty queens from around the world.

Last year the pageant was watched by over 2.5 billion people in 180 countries. This year over 3 billion are expected to view the 64th annual event, which will be broadcast live from London.

The competition began on November 20th and concludes with the Grand Final on 14th December.

There is a Miss World app – a free smartphone application from which viewers can vote for their favorite contestants and help them advance to the final round.


View From Israel: Aftermath of the US Midterm Elections

View From Israel: Aftermath of the US Midterm Elections

Obama wants to let Shiite Iran “duke it out” with Israel—and even with the Sunni Arab states—without the US having to get involved. Can the Republicans, who crushed the Democrats in the elections, do anything about this before Obama’s appeasement policy allows Iran to acquire the atom bomb?

The full article appears in the December 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Messianic Guest House Loses Appeal to Lesbians

Messianic Guest House Loses Appeal to Lesbians

A Jerusalem District Court has rejected the appeal of the Messianic village of Yad Hashmonah and has ordered it to pay compensation to the tune of USD $15,000 to two lesbians for refusing to allow a wedding reception on its premises.

Judge Moshe Hacohen upheld the previous ruling that since the Yad Hashmonah Messianic Guest House is a open to the public, the community cannot impose its religious faith on individuals or groups who want to use its facilities.

“There were no contradictions in this case,” said Hacohen. “Yad Hashmonah refused to allow the wedding reception because the women are lesbians. In their appeal, the village claims that they have authority to refuse the reception because of their faith. Most of the members of the village are Messianic Jews, who base their faith on elements of Judaism and Evangelical Christianity, a faith based on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament as the word of God.”

In its appeal, Yad Hashmonah explained that “the lifestyle of these lesbians is in absolute contradiction to the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament. The laws regulating freedom of religion must protect us from allowing a ceremony in our backyard which is in complete contradiction to our faith.”

However, the Jerusalem Court determined that the refusal by Yad Hashmonah to allow the lesbian celebration is against the law, which states that “it is forbidden to act in a way that discriminates against persons for services rendered or entrance to public places.” The judge pointed out that the village’s Messianic meeting room is completely separate from the guest house, which is a secular tourist business.

Yad Hashmonah’s lawyers, Michael Decker and Sarah Weinberg, argued that it was the village’s legitimate right to refuse the lesbian celebration given its members’ beliefs in the Bible and their faith, which prohibits same-sex marriages. The lawyers explained that the Messianic believers hold dearly the importance of traditional marriage between and a man and a woman.

The court agreed that the residents of Yad Hashmonah had every right to practice their faith. However, since they are running a regular secular business, they are required to adhere to the law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or sexual preferences. If Yad Hashmonah wants to open its business to the general public, the judge ruled, then they must be willing to provide services even to persons or groups who are not to their liking or taste.

There are many guest houses and businesses in Israel that are owned and operated by Messianic or Christian organizations. The ruling comes as a warning to all faith-based establishments in Israel that they cannot refuse use of their facilities once they have opened them up to the public.


Netanyahu's Youngest Son Enters the IDF

Netanyahu's Youngest Son Enters the IDF

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, along with their eldest son Yair, accompanied their youngest son Avner to the recruiting center at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem prior to the start of his military service in the role of combat field intelligence.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"We are as excited as any father and mother, seeing their son going to the army. We are filled with pride and naturally concern. Everyone experiences this, every home in Israel, we are no different.

"I told Avner to guard the country and to look after himself. I wish all the soldiers who are enlisting today success."

The Prime Minister's wife, Mrs. Sara Netanyahu, wished all the recruits success and a safe return home.

Netanyahu chatted with recruits and their families and wished them success on their recruitment.


Early Elections: Who Wins, and Who Thinks They'll Win?

Early Elections: Who Wins, and Who Thinks They'll Win?

It’s official. The current government in Israel is dissolving. An early election has been set for March 17, 2015. The nation is about to be plunged into yet another season of political campaigning.

The question on the minds of just about everyone is who benefits most from this move, and, equally important, who thinks they will benefit, but might be sorely mistaken?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu triggered the early election process by firing the two leading left-wing ministers in his cabinet - Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni - in hopes that going to the polls would deliver a less fractious 20th Knesset, enabling him to form a government that, in Netanyahu’s words, doesn’t include an “internal opposition.”

Surveys conducted by Channel 2 News and Channel 10 News shortly before Netanyahu’s announcement showed that most Israelis blamed the prime minister for the early elections, but that a plurality of voters would choose his Likud party in the upcoming poll.

According to both surveys, Likud will win 22 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset in March, making it easily the largest party. Next would be the right-wing Jewish Home faction with 17 seats, followed by the left-wing Labor Party (13), a new right-wing party headed by former Likud heavyweight Moshe Kahlon (12), and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu faction with either 10 or 12 seats.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is predicted to fall from 19 to just nine seats, while Livni’s Hatnua faction will win just four mandates, barely passing the 3.25 threshold to make it into the Knesset.

If those numbers hold true, Netanyahu might get his wish of being able to form a majority coalition made up of only right-leaning parties that largely share his views on issues ranging from the peace process to economic reforms.

There is much speculation that Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett had a hand in bringing about the early election given that he and his party stand to gain the most. Jewish Home is the only party predicted to grow by more than 50 percent, and Bennett could then make a strong case for demanding the position of defense minister, putting him on track to one day take the prime minister’s chair.

Those on the left see a different outcome.

“The state of Israel isn’t stuck with Bibi anymore,” declared Labor MK Stav Shafir, referring to Netanyahu by his popular nickname.

Shafir continued by calling on left-wing voters: “This is our chance, the democratic camp in Israel led by the Labor party, to show that it is possible to do things differently. This is our time to bring the change that the public in Israel wants so badly.”

Earlier in the week, Shafir’s boss, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog, insisted that despite the current poll numbers, he will be the next prime minister of Israel. “I think today it is clear that I present an alternative to [Netanuahu],” he told Channel 10. “I believe I’ll lead the next government.”

Further afield, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped that whatever government comes next will help advance his own failed efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a failure that Kerry and the Obama Administration largely blame on Netanyahu.

Last, and certainly least, is Hamas, which tried to connect the dissolution of the Knesset to the summer’s Gaza war, even though security issues played little-to-no role in the disputes between Netanyahu, Lapid and Livni.

“The collapse of the Israeli coalition is another example of our victory and of Netanyahu’s defeat in Gaza,” declared ever-informative Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

PHOTO: The 19th Knesset votes unanimously for its own dissolution. (Flash90)


'Palestinians No Longer Believe in Two-State Solution'

'Palestinians No Longer Believe in Two-State Solution'

Israeli human rights lawyer Calev Myers, who has done much to defend the local Messianic Jewish community, says most average Palestinians no longer believe in or desire a two-state solution.

Myer’s and his Jerusalem Institute of Justice were recently invited to present the findings of their research before the French Parliament, the Paris Institute of Political Science and other leading institutions in France.

“…the vast majority of Palestinians living in the disputed territories, who do not receive a salary from the Palestinian Authority, would prefer to be citizens of Israel, rather than the proposed state of Palestine,” Myers wrote in a report of the advocacy trip.

A central part of Myer’s long struggle for basic human rights in this land has been taking on the Palestinian Authority, which receives a historically unprecedented amount of international financial aid that never seems to trickle down to the people in need.

“Over the past twenty years, the Palestinian Authority received approximately 26 billion dollars from the international community to build the infrastructure of a future state,” Myers noted. “Tragically, it decided to invest these precious resources on other goals, particularly the personal enrichment of corrupt leaders, as well as military armament for the destruction of Israel.”

Given this situation, and the comparably high living standards of the Arab citizens of Israel, Myers argues that “the Palestinian people no longer believe in two states for two peoples,” and that a one-state solution is now preferable.


Muslims Desecrate Temple Mount by Playing Soccer

Muslims Desecrate Temple Mount by Playing Soccer

The Muslims claim that Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, or, more accurately, the Al Aqsa Mosque that occupies its southern end, is the third most holy site in Islam. The Muslims regularly demonstrate their reverence by using the sacred plateau as a soccer field, much to the consternation of the Jews, for whom the Temple Mount is the most holy site in the world.

The Islamic authorities that oversee the Temple Mount could care less if Jews are offended by the soccer matches, given that they do not recognize the Jews’ historical and religious connections to the site.

But Israeli law does, and it officially forbids the desecration of this holy site in such ways.

Police officers stationed at the site are supposed to put an end to soccer games played atop the ruins of the biblical Temple. But just as Muslim intimidation prevents police from protecting freedom of worship for Jews and Christians atop the Temple Mount, so too does it preclude any interference in these acts of desecration.

In fact, insisting that the law be enforced in this regard could land the offended party in hot water, as a Jewish man who became upset upon finding Muslims playing soccer on his religion’s most hallowed ground discovered this week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently reassured Jordan’s King Abdullah II that his government would in no way alter the Temple Mount status quo, which permits the Jordanian-linked Islamic authorities there to forbid any hint of non-Muslim worship and to belligerently disregard any Jewish affiliation.


Kurdish Leaders: Israel, US Could Do More Against ISIS

Kurdish Leaders: Israel, US Could Do More Against ISIS

As the terrorists of the notorious Islamic State or ISIS sweep across the Middle East, one group more than any other has borne the brunt of trying to halt the advance of the jihadist horde. Israel Today’s Elizabeth Blade spoke with two representatives of the Kurdish people—one from Iraq and the other from Syria—who helped shed light on the situation in this war-stricken region.

The full article appears in the December 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Messianic Video Series Answers Rabbis' Objections to Jesus

Messianic Video Series Answers Rabbis' Objections to Jesus

What started as a brief set of video responses to anti-Messianic activists in Israel (see below) has blossomed into a new online initiative featuring no fewer than 52 short clips answering the most pressing rabbinical objections to Yeshua (Jesus).

A new Hebrew-language website ( presents the videos produced by local Messianic media professionals Eitan Bar and Moti Vaknin of the Internet-based ministry “One for Israel.”

The videos and website are “our most advanced production so far, and perhaps the most advanced in Jewish Evangelism until today,” wrote Bar. “In these videos we expose how the Rabbis have been keeping Jesus a secret from Israel for over 2,000 years. We even quote ancient Jewish sources showing that the Old Testament prophecies we refer people to were interpreted in the past just as we interpret them today - as being about the Messiah!”

Israel Today has written before about One for Israel, which is taking a fresh approach to evangelism in the Jewish state. Israeli society is one of the most “online” in the world, and recent statistics showed that every month 18,000 Israelis search Google for the term “redemption,” and over 22,000 search for “Yeshua.”

Some of the topics addressed in the new video series include:

  • Why do the rabbis really reject Jesus?
  • Can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?
  • Is the Messiah supposed to rule like King David or suffer like Joseph?
  • Is the Messiah an incarnation of God in flesh and blood?
  • Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?
  • Son of God: a pagan concept, or a Biblical one?
  • Does the New Testament claim that Israel have been rejected or replaced?

Below are the two original videos published by Eitan and Moti with English subtitles:


Netanyahu Fails to Save Coalition, Early Elections Expected

Netanyahu Fails to Save Coalition, Early Elections Expected

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his finance minister, Yair Lapid (pictured), held a stormy meeting on Monday that was intended to save the governing coalition, but instead made the prospect of early elections all the more likely.

Lapid heads the Yesh Atid party, which is the largest single party in Netanyahu’s coalition. He has for months been at odds with the prime minister over a proposed economic reform that would eliminate taxes on young couples buying their first home, a move Lapid hoped would stimulate Israel’s slumping housing market and bring prices more within reach of average Israelis.

During their meeting, Netanyahu demanded that Lapid freeze the plan, which had been the central plank in Yesh Atid’s electoral platform. He also insisted that Lapid openly back the controversial “Jewish State” bill that would codify Israel’s nature first and foremost as the national homeland of the Jewish people. Lapid and other left-leaning ministers fear the bill would result in discrimination against Israel’s minorities.

Following the meeting, Lapid accused Netanyahu of secretly acting on behalf the ultra-Orthodox parties, with whom it is rumored he would like to form the next government.

“The prime minister decided once again to behave irresponsibly for the nation and put the needs of the public last on his priorities,” Lapid said. “The citizens of Israel understand today that they are led by a prime minister who does not keep his promises, who prefers his own political survival over the good of the public.”

For his part, Netanyahu insisted that the constant bickering and threats from his ministers had made it impossible to effectively govern.

“If the unprecedented behavior of the ministers continues, we will have no choice but to request the support of the voters again,” the prime minister said. “It is not the choice I want, but it is worse to have a government with ministers who harm it against the interest of the public.”

Opposition parties have already submitted a motion for the dissolution of the Knesset, and party officials say Netanyahu’s Likud faction will support them, thereby accelerating the process of early elections, which would presumably be held by mid-March of next year.

Current polls suggest that Netanyahu and his Likud will handily win the election, and that the right-wing overall will benefit, while leading centrist and left-wing parties will almost all lose mandates.


BDS Would Rather Hurt Israel Than Help Palestinians

BDS Would Rather Hurt Israel Than Help Palestinians

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) National Committee are trying to block a $5.4 billion investment to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

The huge sum of money was pledged during a conference this October in Egypt in order to help reconstruct some of the damage done during the recent Israeli military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Norwegian foreign minister who played a role in organizing the fundraising conference announced that half of the 5.4 billion dollars was to be used for rebuilding efforts in Gaza, while the remainder was to support the budget of the Palestinian Authority through 2017.

But the BDS boycott-Israel people are not happy with the project and are actively protesting the Gaza rebuild. Anti-Israel boycott groups are opposed to the rebuild because they are more interested in damaging Israel than helping the Palestinians. They want to keep the Palestinians in poverty, show pictures of destroyed terrorists’ houses and stir up more anger, aggression and sanctions against the Jewish nation.

“It is time the UN feel the extent of public outcry as details emerge of the UN’s complicity in keeping Gaza under siege,” the BDS people claim in a mass mailing demanding that the UN reject the multi-billion dollar support for the Palestinians.

The boycott-Israel groups have run out of ways to criminalize and boycott Israel, so they are now focusing their attention on preventing the Palestinians from developing their lands. They have learned that keeping the Palestinians in poverty and increasing their suffering stirs up international anger and backlash against Israel.

That is the same strategy these hate groups tried when they called for a boycott of the popular SodaStream factory east of Jerusalem. The boycott-Israel groups tried to shut down the factory that employed over 600 Palestinians and and put food on the table and shelters over the heads of their thousands of children. The Palestinians themselves refused to cooperate with the boycott-Israel extremists whose policies would only hurt them while trying to destroy the Jewish nation.

This new BDS rejection of such substantial aid to the Palestinians in order to stir up hatred towards Israel is alarming on many levels, but even more dangerous is their direct support for radical terror groups.

The Palestinian Authority had requested the $5.4 billion for the rebuilding project not only as a chance to repair the damage from the war, but also to weaken the Hamas militants who ousted the PA from Gaza in 2007. The boycott-Israel people want that money to go to Hamas in order to rebuild their terrorist armament.

Israel contends that the building materials donated in the past for building projects in Gaza were used to construct tunnels into Israel intended for terror attacks. Guy Inbar, the spokesman for an Israeli military body that oversees shipments to Gaza, said, “Some of the tunnel-building materials were destined for Palestinian aid agencies, but most of it came through former smuggling routes underneath the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza.”

It is unclear how much of this material, if any, wound up with Hamas—an estimate the Israelis were not prepared to make. What is clear is that the BDS and other boycott-Israel affiliates are anti-Semitic warmongers whose only desire is to destroy Israel. By channeling UN funds and other international investments to support Hamas terrorists and other jihadist organizations they are robbing the Palestinians of their rights to live in this land, making them dangerous enemies of both Jew and Arab.

PHOTO: A BDS campaign grotesquely misuses a picture of Jewish Holocaust survivors for its anti-Israel agenda.


Jerusalem Remembers General Who Halted WWI

Jerusalem Remembers General Who Halted WWI

The World War I British officer who gave the order to lay down arms in 1918 is the subject of a year-long exhibition in Jerusalem that opened last week.

On the 50th anniversary of his death, Lt.-Gen. Sir William Dobbie’s life is being celebrated at Christ Church, an Anglican community with strong links to the family and located within the ancient walls of the Old City.

When in 1929 riots broke out in what was then part of the British Mandate of Palestine as Arabs became anxious about growing Jewish immigration, the then Brigadier Dobbie – a distant cousin of T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia fame) – successfully brought calm to the situation as he sought God’s guidance!

With very few troops and widespread disorder throughout the country, the career army officer and devout Christian was faced with a dilemma.

Rejecting outright such suggestions as placing the country under martial law or requesting RAF bombing raids on Arab villages, Dobbie turned to prayer.

It was hardly a textbook tactic but, when reinforcements arrived, he spread his men very thinly to cover as wide an area as possible, and the violence ceased in the early stages before things got out of hand.

Out of gratitude, the Jewish community of Hebron presented Dobbie with a silver Hebrew Bible.

As the staff officer on duty on November 11, 1918, Dobbie (then a Lt.-Col.) signed the telegram calling for hostilities to cease at 1100 hours. He actually fought on the front line in all three major wars of the twentieth century, starting with the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902. Then in April 1940 he came out of retirement and helped turn the tide of World War II as he led the defence of Malta, the most bombed place on earth.

Also covering the contributions his family have made to Israel’s welfare, the exhibition includes historic photographs, a film montage, Dobbie’s books and the silver Bible.

The general’s son, Colonel Orde Dobbie, was a member of Christ Church with his wife Flo while living in Jerusalem during the 1970s and 80s. And his grandson, Jos Johnston, has set up the exhibition.

In the foreword to his memoirs – A Very Present Help – Gen Dobbie wrote: 

“During the course of a long, varied and interesting military career I have had many tokens of God’s great goodness to me. I have seen his overruling control in my life and his guidance in my affairs… I desire to emphasise, especially to the rising generation, that it is a practical and intensely real thing to let Christ come into one’s life, and that today, as ever before, it is no vain thing to trust in the living God.”

And it was while commanding troops in the Holy Land in 1929 that he gave New Testaments to his soldiers, with the following inscription:

“You are stationed at the place where the central event in human history occurred – namely the crucifixion and death of the Son of God. You may see where this took place and you may read the details in this Book. As you do so, you cannot help being interested, but your interest will change into something far deeper when you realise that that event concerns you personally and that it was for your sake that the Son of God died on the cross here. The realisation of this fact cannot but produce a radical change in one’s life – and the study of this book will, under God’s guidance, help you to such a realisation.”

The oldest Protestant church in the Middle East, Christ Church is the headquarters in Israel of CMJ (Church’s Ministry among Jewish people), was built in 1847 to double as a chapel for the British consul, and continues to reach out to both Jew and Arab with the message of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

PHOTO: General Dobbie pictured with his wife and daughter, both Sybil, in 1941 – the latter being mother to Jos, who has set up the exhibition.


Terrorist Stabs Israeli Teen Near Bethlehem

Terrorist Stabs Israeli Teen Near Bethlehem

A Palestinian Arab terrorist stabbed and lightly wounded a 19-year-old Israeli at a bus stop outside the Etzion Bloc of Jewish communities situated just south of Bethlehem.

The assailant was shot and seriously injured by Israeli soldiers who arrived at the scene and feared the female terrorist could be wearing an explosive belt.

She was later identified as a resident of a nearby Bethlehem suburb who in 2011 had tried to carry out a stabbing attack at the same location. The girl's family claimed at the time that she was mentally unstable.

The site of Monday's attack is the same junction where a Palestinian terrorist last month attempted to run over Israelis before leaping from his vehicle and stabbing to death 26-year-old Dalia Lemkus.

It is also not far from the site from where the three Israeli teenagers - Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel - were abducted early in the summer, an act that set off a tense showdown culminating in latest Gaza war. The three teens were later found dead, having been summarily executed by their captors.


'Occupation is a Crime - Ferguson to Palestine'

'Occupation is a Crime - Ferguson to Palestine'

Signs reading "Occupation is a Crime - Ferguson to Palestine" held aloft during the recent demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri were seen by some as an attempt by the anti-Israel BDS movement to hijack the ongoing crisis in America for their own agenda.

However, Palestinian tweets of solidarity like "the Palestinian people know what it means to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity" show that the Ferguson-Gaza comparisons are accepted on a much broader scale than just among BDS supporters.

And these comparisons suggest that the same people justifying terror against Israel are now justifying violent riots in America.

As far as Israel is concerned, framing both places in the context of discrimination when knowing full well that Israel is fighting against sworn enemies, and not against an ethnic group (even accepting assertions that there is Palestinian ethnic group), is yet another lie by the anti-Israel propaganda machine.

And yet, Palestinian solidarity with the looting mobs of Ferguson shouldn't be surprising. They, too, justify violence on the ground of oppression, thus forgetting that oppression is the result of their own violence. Saying otherwise is like accusing American authorities of using force before, rather than after, legitimate demonstrations have turned into looting mobs.

No matter how hard one tries, looting and destruction of property cannot be justified, even if Darren Wilson is a racist who unjustly shot and killed Michael Brown (and I’m not sure he is). Nevertheless, this is exactly what those who compare Ferguson to "Palestine" are doing.

Many may still think that this is about a fringe group that is taking a legitimate protest to dangerous places. It seems, however, that this comparison hit a chord with mainstream Americans, like poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye, an American Palestinian who grew up in Ferguson.

Shihab Nye published an article in the Washington Post on August 28 that drew a direct comparison between Ferguson and "Palestine." In this woman’s mind, what happens in both places is the result of an oppressors determination to dominate.

As far as Israel is concerned, this convenient argument ignores certain facts, such as that Israeli dominance over formerly Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian territories came only after these countries attempted to conquer Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973.

Suggesting that Israel lusts for dominance and takes pleasure in suppressing the Palestinians is as bad as accusing the Jews of controlling the world economy. Like it or not, suppression can sometimes come as a result of violent civil uprising, a situation no sovereign country can tolerate.

In her own words, Shihab Nye says that "after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot, quiet old Ferguson took over the news. Citizens marching, chest placards, 'I'M A MAN TOO' 'DON'T SHOOT.' It's easy to see how delusions of equality in Ferguson – where a white officer might raise a gun against an unarmed black kid – are simply wrong. Why is that harder for people to see about Gaza? People in Gaza actually sent messages of solidarity to Ferguson – Internet petitions signed by Gazan citizens. I thought I was hallucinating. What if they could all march together? 1.8 million Gazans would really clog old Florissant Avenue."

Never mind that Gazans were paying the price for supporting a regime that for 14 years has rained rockets on Israeli civilians. Never mind that the "kid," as Shihab Nye refers to Brown, was not exactly innocent. Even if one chooses to ignore such facts, the prospect of 1.8 million Gazans marching in the streets of St. Louis that so excites Shihab Nye would be a nightmare for the majority of Americans. Though Israelis probably like the idea of transporting Gaza to Missouri, my guess is that if having to make the choice, Americans would take 1.8 million Mexican immigrants over Gazan jihadists every time.


Israel's New Army Chief: Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot

Israel's New Army Chief: Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Saturday announced that Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will become the Israeli army's new chief of staff when current army chief General Benny Gantz steps down on February 15.

Eisenkot has spent the past four years serving as Gantz's deputy. Despite having never served in an elite unit like most of his predecessors, and having never won any top commendations, Eisenkot was seen far and wide as the obvious and proper choice.

Eisenkot was praised by the Israeli press and by politicians from across the political spectrum as one of Israel's most level-headed officers.

The general has made surprisingly few enemies while climbing the army ladder, and set himself apart during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 as an officer who can keep his cool in a tense situation.

When Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers necessitating a strong response, Eisenkot openly disagreed with then-IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Halutz's more aggressive and unprepared approach. Despite not seeing eye-to-eye, Eisenkot was able to remain on good terms with Halutz, which enabled him to continue to effectively execute his post.

Five years later, then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak wanted to name Eisenkot as the new IDF chief of staff, but the general turned down the appointment, noting that Gantz was a more senior officer and would be the right choice at that time.

Eisenkot is seen as a safe and stabilizing choice for army chief, as well as being a skilled strategist.

Eisenkot's appointment was also interesting given his disagreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yaalon over their approach to the Iran nuclear crisis. The general has on several occasions stated that Israel should not resort to military action unless and until Iran poses a clear and immediate existential threat to the Jewish state. Netanyahu has argued that by such a time, it could be too late to save Israel.


Israel Prepares for Possible Early Elections

Israel Prepares for Possible Early Elections

Israel's media on Sunday was abuzz with reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intended to initiate early elections sometime next month.

On at least two occasions over the past several days, Netanyahu was reported to have told close associates that he cannot continue to govern the country while trying to hold together a fractious unity coalition including parties ranging from the right-wing Jewish Home to the leftist Hatnuah.

"The coalition will only survive if I can govern," Channel 2 quoted the prime minister as telling his aides. "I'm not sticking to my chair. I was chosen to run the country and the nation as I see fit, but I can't run the country this way."

Netanyahu appeared to be trying to lay the blame for the situation squarely on the shoulders of the charismatic leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, current Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whom many see as a future prime minister himself.

Lapid's proposed 2015 national budget, along with various other economic reforms, have been panned by Netanyahu and his Likud Party, who believe the proposed cuts will ultimately harm the IDF and national security at a time when terrorism is again on the rise and Iran is inching ever closer to attaining nuclear arms.

Lapid and Netanyahu also remain largely at odds over how to approach the stagnant peace process with the Palestinian Authority.

From the sidelines, opposition leader and Labor Party head Isaac Herzog said he was confident that early elections would put him in the prime minister's chair.

"I think today it is clear that I present an alternative to [Netanuahu]," he told Channel 10 over the weekend. "I believe I'll lead the next government."

Herzog made his assertion despite the fact that a series of recent polls showed that if elections were held now or in the near future, Netanyahu's Likud would again come out on top, and be the only reasonable option for form the new government.

Netanyahu's approval rating has been plummeting since the summer, but a poll commissioned by Ha'aretz over the weekend showed that Likud would still win 24 seats in early elections, up from the 18 it current holds. The national-religious Jewish Home would grow from 12 to 16 seats, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Our Home faction drop to 11 seats, and a new right-wing party to be headed by former Likud member Moshe Kahlon would win 12 mandates.

Were these numbers to hold true, Netanyahu would be able to put together a majority 63-seat right-wing government.

On the other side of the aisle, the Ha'aretz poll sees Lapid and his Yesh Atid party sliding from its current 19 seats down to 12, while Herzog's Labor would fall from 15 to 13 seats. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's Hatnua would win just four mandates.


Palestinian State Suffers Setbacks in Europe

Palestinian State Suffers Setbacks in Europe

Efforts to secure unilateral recognition of an independent Palestinian state suffered serious setbacks in Europe last week, despite warnings by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that, following Sweden's decision, far more countries were likely to recognize "Palestine" with or without the agreement of Israel.

On Wednesday, former, and possibly future, French president Nicolas Sarkozy urged members of his UMP party to vote against an upcoming motion in France's National Assembly demanding Paris follow Stockholm's example regarding a Palestinian state.

Similar motions recently passed in Britain, Ireland and Spain.

But Sarkozy, who reiterated that he was still in favor of the creation of a Palestinian state, was level-headed about what unilateral recognition would mean.

"I will fight for the Palestinians to have their state. But unilateral recognition a few days after a deadly attack and when there is no peace process? No!" he was quoted as saying by French media.

A similar opinion was recently expressed by new Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, a long-time and harsh critic of Israel's "settlement enterprise."

Israel's antagonists were certain that Koender would champion their cause. But in a surprising statement issued shortly after his appointment, the new foreign minister said: "The overwhelming majority, including the Dutch government, believes that it does not contribute to the priority issue of restarting negotiations if we all of a sudden go ahead [and recognize a Palestinian state] because Sweden also did it."

On a continent-wide level, a European Union Parliament vote on recognizing "Palestine" that was scheduled for last Thursday was postponed until mid-December following petitions to alter the resolution's wording.

The parliament's leading center-right party, the European People's Party, insisted that while it was in favor of a Palestinian state, recognition of such an entity must be conditioned on the successful conclusion of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

These European leaders appeared to have heeded Israel's warnings that unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state would hand the Palestinian Authority all it demanded without the need for compromise or reciprocity, thereby effectively killing the peace process.

PHOTO: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas with then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a press conference in Ramallah in 2009. [Flash90]


Druze to Jews: There is a Covenant of Blood Between Us

Druze to Jews: There is a Covenant of Blood Between Us

The family of slain Druze police officer Zidan Seif on Thursday paid an emotional visit to the Jerusalem synagogue where he fell last week while defending Jewish worshippers against two rampaging Palestinian terrorists.

Seif was one of the first officers to respond to the scene after it became clear a severe terrorist incident was underway at the Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood.

Survivors of the attack told the family that the terrorists were hacking and shooting their way through unarmed worshippers nearly unchecked before Seif arrived. The officer opened fire already from outside the synagogue, causing the terrorists to halt their grizzly killing spree and engage in a gun battle during which Seif sustained his fatal injury.

Local Jews who were on hand to receive the Druze family said that without Seif’s selfless actions, many more Jewish worshippers would have been slaughtered that morning.

Seif’s uncle was quoted by Israeli media as telling his hosts: “Our prophet, the Prophet Jethro binds us to the Jewish people.”

The Druze of Israel have long spoken of an ancient “blood covenant” with the Jewish nation. It is because of this deep connection that the Druze community, by its own request, is the only minority community in Israel that is required to do mandatory military service alongside their Jewish bethren.

PHOTO: Officer Zidan Seif's father meets with Jewish rabbis at the scene of the Jerusalem synagogue terrorist attack, where the Druze policeman gave his life defending his Jewish countrymen.


Israel to Remember 850,000 Jews Driven From Arab Lands

Israel to Remember 850,000 Jews Driven From Arab Lands

On Sunday, November 30, Israel will commemorate the 850,000 Jews driven from their homes in neighboring Arab countries on the occasion of the Jewish state’s rebirth.

While the international community has numerous days and events marking the flight of hundreds of thousands of Arabs from the land during Israel’s War of Independence (there is even an official UN commemoration), the Jewish side of the equation is all but ignored.

For thousands of years Jews had been living in what are today Arab countries, with many of their communities dating back much earlier than the Arab Muslim conquest of the region.

Some 70 years ago, with the rise of Arab nationalism and a growing struggle for control of what the British called “Palestine,” the newly-created Arab regimes began a campaign of intimidation and oppression against their own Jewish citizens.

Local Jews in Arab countries had their property expropriated, their citizenship stripped, and a great many were imprisoned, tortured and murdered.

One regional Jewish community in particular, that centered in and around Baghdad, was over 2,500-years-old. Originally based in Babylon, this community had given birth to the Babylonian Talmud and had long been a leading Jewish cultural center.

But with the rebirth of Israel as a nation-state, the Iraqi government at the time attacked and dispossessed the local Jews, driving nearly the entire community to emigrate to the new Jewish state and elsewhere.

PHOTO: Aharon Aboudi grew up in Iraq, before his family was evicted and forced to build a new life in Israel.


Can God Go to War Too?

Can God Go to War Too?

Does God decide what politics have to look like? Or do politics provide the limits within which God can work? Does God lead His people Israel into battle? Or does the nation drag the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into war? Are Israel’s enemies automatically God’s enemies? These questions are a source of heated debate in Israeli society.

Israel Today spoke to a number of leading religious and political authorities to examine the different positions on this important topic.

The full article appears in the December 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Turkey Provides Hamas With New Headquarters

Turkey Provides Hamas With New Headquarters

The Hamas terrorist organization has found a new best friend in the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and has decided to move its international headquarters from war-torn Damascus to Istanbul.

Israel has expressed a certain degree of shock that a NATO-member like Turkey will now host and facilitate a recognized terrorist organization. But all appeals from Jerusalem have been ignored by Erdogan.

Already, the Turkish government’s decision is having a negative impact on the region. Israeli security forces this week arrested 30 Hamas-linked terrorists who were planning a series of large-scale attacks on Jerusalem. The cell received its instructions and funding from Hamas offices in Turkey.

In communications with NATO headquarters in Brussels, Israel said that it was incomprehensible for a member of the international military alliance to not only maintain ties to a group like Hamas, but to actually facilitate its activities. But Erdogan is a long-time friend of Hamas’ parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Once close ties between Israel and Turkey took a nosedive in mid–2010 when Israeli commandoes raided a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break the maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. While commandeering the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli troops were attacked, leading to a battle that left nine Turkish nationals dead.

Erdogan accused Israel of piracy, and diplomatic relations between the two nations were drastically reduced.

PHOTO: Gaza-based Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Erdogan meet in Turkey in 2012.


Pope Francis and the Myth of Flower Power

Pope Francis and the Myth of Flower Power

Pope Francis is an intriguing figure, and the name he chose for himself, Francis, after Francis of Assisi, is a telling choice, if only for the reason that he is the first pope ever to take this name.

A Catholic friend has suggested that St. Francis, a wealthy lad who chose poverty, is an attractive role model for "Beat Generation" Catholics who witnesses and lived through the hippie cultural revolution of the 1960s. The hippie movement changed the Western world forever by turning, among other things, anti-war and peace sentiments into prominent social values.

In many ways, the Beat Generation ushered in today's ideal of multiculturalism that is affecting religion by placing all faiths on the same plane of truth and importance.

It is within this context of the 1960s that the famous Vatican II Council released the ecclesiastical document Nostra Aetate that dealt with relations between the Church and non-Christian religions.

Regarding Islam, it stated that "the Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth … they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God … they value the moral life and worship God…"

In this light we can better understand Pope Francis' remarkable comments to journalists as he flew back to Rome following an appearance before the European Parliament in Strasburg on Tuesday. Nick Squires from The Telegraph quoted the Pope as saying the following regarding possible dialogue with the Islamic State (ISIS): "The door is always open … I never say 'all is lost', never."

Though Christians and other minorities have been subjected to "barbaric acts of violence" by an "unjust aggressor," the Pope seems to be saying that the only legitimate way to stop the Islamic State's violent expansion is through peace talks, that by their very nature look for compromises.

It is legitimate to try to stop an unjust aggressor, said the Pope, while at the same time warning of "another threat, that of state terrorism … Each state, for its own part, feels it has the right to massacre terrorists. But so many innocent people perish at the same time as the terrorists."

Just to make the picture clear, the states the Pope spoke of that are today busy massacring terrorists are mainly Israel, America, Great Britain and France.

According to the Pope, fighting the Islamic State is possible only "with international consensus. No country can, on its own, stop an unjust aggressor." In other words, since such consensus can never be achieved, entities like the Islamic State can only be stopped through peace talks, if at all.

There was a humorous slogan during the 1960s that went something like this: "If you wanna be a hippie, put a flower in your pipi." Unbelievable as it may sound, the representative of Christianity on earth believes that somehow "flower power" can prevail over a horde of jihadists whose ultimate goal is to raise the flag of the Caliphate over St. Peter’s Basilica.

It was of people like this that is has been said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."


Arabs and Jews Unite to Proclaim Messiah's Return

Arabs and Jews Unite to Proclaim Messiah's Return

A new generation of Arab and Jewish followers of Jesus met together last week to strategize on how to “turn Israel upside down.”

Two hundred and sixty Messianic Jewish and Arab pastors, youth leaders, evangelists, Bible-school teachers and ministry leaders gathered for a three-day council to discuss, study, pray and work together to effectively bring the word of God in power to Arabs and Jews throughout the whole Land of Israel.

These seasoned men and women of faith embody decades of labor proclaiming the Gospel to local Arabs and Jews. Most have given up everything to preach Messiah to their unbelieving Muslim and Jewish families and friends. Despised because of their faith, they have lost jobs, suffered rejection and endured multiple other hardships, yet their passion to bring the Good News to their people remains unquenched.

“We will keep preaching and teaching the Word of God until it changes the people of Israel,” declared one leading pastor. “We must be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel and keep going no matter what happens. God will accomplish His will through the power of His word.”

With tensions now raging in Jerusalem and across Israel, it was astonishing to witness firsthand the deep friendships between these Arabs and Jews. Even the cold-blooded murders in a Jerusalem synagogue that took place on the final day of the gathering could not separate these godly men and women from their warm fellowship in Messiah.

In fact, the cowardly acts of terror and violence still raging in Jerusalem only served to move them to stand even stronger together and compelled them to more boldly declare the life-giving Word of God to both Muslim and Jew.

A regular theme throughout the gathering was the need to understand God’s prophetic word concerning the Last Days.

Scriptures related to the Second Coming of Messiah were studied. There are many signs that we are living in the latter days, particularly the return of the Jewish people to their biblical land, and the leadership of the local congregations in Israel discussed the need to prepare God’s people for the Messiah’s soon return.

All agreed that time is short, and the peoples of this land, both Arab and Jew, must hear the Word of God now.

It was mentioned that some local leaders are not teaching or preaching about the Second Coming. They do not want to stir up controversy or division over what can be a difficult subject.

While there remains much debate in Christianity and among Messianic Jews as to what exactly will happen around the Second Coming of the Lord, all were in agreement that He is coming, and that the Gospel much be preached in boldness, especially in Israel, before it is too late, for He comes this time in glory and in judgment.

According to many New Testament scriptures, the return of Messiah should unify believers, inspiring them to ready themselves in purity and holiness. It is seen as a cunning ploy of the enemy to cause so much confusion and division concerning the Last Days and Messiah’s return.

The leadership of the local Arab and Jewish congregations in Israel prayed for unity of faith in the Messiah’s return and boldness to tell others of His coming Messianic kingdom, the only real solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the peace of Jerusalem.


First ISIS Terrorist Arrested in Israel

First ISIS Terrorist Arrested in Israel

Vocal support for the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) has been growing among Israeli and Palestinian Arabs, but so far no one had acted on the jihadist horde's ideology.

That changed on Saturday evening, when Israeli security forces performing a sweep of suspected terrorists in Judea and Samaria arrested a Palestinian man who had taken up arms as a member of ISIS.

In a related development, Muslim cleric Ali Abu Ahmad last Friday delivered a fiery sermon at the Al Aqsa Mosque that occupies the southern portion of Jerusalem Temple Mount.

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.

Palestinian and other Muslim leaders accuse Israel of denying Muslim rights at the Temple Mount, but Abu Ahmad's open incitement without fear of repercussions clearly proves the opposite is true.

Watch Abu Ahmad's sermon and prayer (with English subtitles):


Israeli Beast-masters Unleash Wild Boars, Claims Palestinian Leader

Israeli Beast-masters Unleash Wild Boars, Claims Palestinian Leader

If Israel’s antagonists in the region are to be believed, the Jewish state employs all manner of bizarre and even mythical tactics against its foes. The latest, according to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, is the unleashing of wild boars upon the fields of Arab farmers.

“Every night, they [Israelis] release wild boars against us,” Abbas said during a conference in Ramallah last Friday. “Why are they doing this to us?”

The accusation was apparently a little too over the top even for Abbas’ own media department, because the official English-language reports from the event omitted all mention of wild boars.

But the Arab media was all over the claim, which ultimately brought it back to the mainstream international press after media watchdogs translated regional news reports.

Another of Abbas’ assertions did make the cut in the official conference report, that being that his regime is seeking to establish “bridges of love” with the Israelis.

This from the same Palestinian leader whose official government mouthpiece praised as martyrs the terrorists who slaughtered four Jewish worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue.


Both Israel and Iran Pleased by Extension of Nuke Talks

Both Israel and Iran Pleased by Extension of Nuke Talks

A US-set deadline for concluding an agreement with Iran over its defiant nuclear program passed on Monday, forcing Washington and its allies to extend the negotiations by another seven months, a development that pleased both Israel and the Islamic Republic.

"New ideas surfaced" in the days leading up to the deadline, US Secretary of State John Kerry said without elaborating, before reiterating his position that the US and the West "would be fools to walk away" from 12-years of diplomatic efforts that have thus far born little, if any, fruit.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saw in the extension of the talks and Kerry's attitude toward the situation a clear victory for Iran.

On his English-language Twitter account, the Iranian leader gloated that "arrogant" world powers had done their best to "bring Iran to its knees, but they were not able and will not be able to do so."

Israel has long feared that Iran is simply stringing the West along until such a time that it can successfully test a nuclear device, at which point negotiations become moot.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on his Facebook page that Israel, too, was happy with the extension of negotiations, at least when compared to the alternative.

Netanyahu had been tirelessly warning the West against accepting the currently tabled nuclear arrangement, which would have effectively enabled Iran to continue a suspected clandestine nuclear arms program, while being relieved of nearly all international sanctions.

"We have always said that no agreement is preferable to a bad agreement and the agreement that Iran signed is a very bad and dangerous agreement for Israel, for the region and in my opinion for the future of the entire world," wrote the Israeli leader.

He later told the BBC that "the right deal that is needed is to dismantle Iran's capacity to make atomic bombs and only then dismantle the sanctions."


Jerusalem Church Faces Regular Attacks

Jerusalem Church Faces Regular Attacks

A church in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Musrara has for months been facing regular attacks by local Arab Muslims over its refusal to sell the property and move out.

Living Bread International Church has ministry centers in Jerusalem, Gaza and Jericho. It has a 20-year lease on the Jerusalem location, but was recently told by a gang of Arab residents that it must vacate the premises, which is situated near the Old City.

"When we said we would not sell it, they decided to take it by force," Karen Dunham, pastor and director of the ministry, told The Jerusalem Post

Since then, Dunham said the church's 45 employees have been subjected to constant harassment, as have two Jewish orphans with Down's Syndrome that are housed at the facility.

Staff members, including Dunham herself, have been physically assaulted, property has been stolen, and the assailants have started building make-shift structures on the church's property in an attempt to take it over.

As with many similar situations in the city, Dunham has been frustrated by the Police Department's reluctance to fully and effectively enforce the law.

"We...took pictures of [the assailants] during attacks and [were] able to identify them using Facebook, but after filing the first two or three police reports I realized nothing was happening," she said. "They [the assailants] continued to sit outside [the church] and harass us."

Police in Jerusalem rarely take firm action in cases of Arab violence against the city's Jewish residents, and are even less likely to intervene in Arab assaults on a largely Arab church. And this for fear of further inflaming Muslim rioters who have for the past six months turned parts of Jerusalem into something of a war zone.


Poll: Arabs Prefer Israel to Palestinian Authority

Poll: Arabs Prefer Israel to Palestinian Authority

The picture painted by the mainstream international media and loud-mouthed anti-Israel advocates is always the same: Israel is a racist and oppressive place to live for Arabs. This, so the argument goes, is particularly true following this week's government approval of the controversial "Jewish State" law.

But, if Israel's such a bad place for non-Jews to live, then why does an overwhelming majority local Arabs prefer life under the rule of the Israeli government, as opposed to the Palestinian Authority?

That was the finding of a survey commissioned by Israel's Channel 10 News and carried out last week by the Statnet research institute, which is headed by Israeli Arab statistician Yousef Makladeh.

Makladeh asked fellow Arabs plainly and clearly: "Under which authority do you prefer to live, Israel or the Palestinian Authority?"

A full 77 percent of respondents chose Israel.

This was despite the fact that most respondents said that as a minority, they experience some degree of racism, and that only nine percent felt they enjoy full equality with Israel's Jewish citizens.

An 81 percent majority said they believe Israel is trying to alter the status quo on the Temple Mount, where Jews are currently forbidden to pray, but 84 percent said they oppose the reactionary violence emanating from the Arab sector.

An earlier Peace Index poll found that a 46.5 percent plurality of Israeli Arabs ultimately support allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site. Just 34 percent continue to oppose such a change, and 19.5 percent declined to weigh in on the topic.

PHOTO: Former Israeli President Shimon Peres hosts a Muslim holiday together with local Arab leaders at the presidential residence in Jerusalem.


The Temple Mount: To the Jew First

The Temple Mount: To the Jew First

"Israel must rescind the abusive authority of the Muslim Waqf, restore law and order, and open up the Temple Mount to peoples of all faiths to come to worship and pray at this holy place," says Israeli pastor. "The time has come for the Jews to again declare, 'The Temple Mount is in our hands.'"

The full article appears in the December 2014 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Israel in Their Hearts: The Jewish State's Honorary Consuls

Israel in Their Hearts: The Jewish State's Honorary Consuls

They are the long arm of Israeli diplomacy, and they aren't even Israeli citizens. They help foster strong relations, and open doors that would otherwise be shut. They are motivated by love for Israel, and, no, they receive no monetary compensation. In fact, they invest much of their own time and money to fulfill their important diplomat mission.

Introducing the honorary consuls of the State of Israel, a total of 77 specifically accredited persons, many of them non-Israeli Jews, but also including a large number of Bible-believing Christians.

Earlier this month, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs held its second Honorary Consuls of Israel conference, which was attended by 48 of the honorary consuls, representing 36 nations, 13 of which don't even have official diplomatic representation in Israel.

One of the honorary consuls in attendance was Roberto Nelkenbau of Bolivia, which severed all diplomatic ties to Israel in 2009. As the only representative of Israel in the South American country, Nelkenbau is often called upon to provide consular services to Israelis visiting Bolivia, which remains a popular destination for backpackers from the Jewish state.

Following the summer's Gaza war, the Bolivian government decided to punish Israel by canceling a 1972 agreement that exempted Israeli visitors from obtaining a visa before arriving. Nelkenbau quietly negotiated with his government on Israel's behalf, ultimately securing an understanding whereby Israelis could continue to travel to Bolivia and pay at the border for a temporary visa.

The backpacking and hiking adventures in which these Israelis partake are often dangerous, and Nelkenbau regularly plays a key role in dealing with accidents involving Israelis in Bolivia.

And while he is known to Israelis visiting the country, Nelkenbau is even more recognizable among his own countrymen. Like most of the other honorary consuls, Nelkenbau is a known public figure in his country. He is a former professional race car driver who today owns a chain of popular cinemas.

Also like Nelkenbau, many of the honorary consuls are from nations in which Israel has no embassy or official diplomatic representation. These consuls, in effect, serve as Israel's ambassador. They raise the Israeli flag with pride at their residences, the addresses of which are often used by the Israeli government for all matters pertaining to government or local media.

One of the longest-serving honorary consuls is Benny Gilbert of Barbados. Despite Barbados' small size, Gilbert has been able to play an important role in Israel's global diplomacy. Any time there is an important vote regarding Israel at the UN, the Jewish state scrambles to find nations willing to vote on its side. In such situations, the Israeli Foreign Ministry calls up Gilbert and guides him in how to approach the government of Barbados and what message to convey. More than once, Gilbert's intervention has resulted in Barbados abstaining from votes on important anti-Israel resolutions.   "My greatest success was convincing Barbados to abstain from a vote on accepting the [State of] Palestine at the UN, [a motion] the government had planned to support," said Gilbert.

 Fredrik Ekholm is one of the newer honorary consuls. He represents Israel in the city of Vasa, Finland. As a devout Christian, Ekholm is constantly on the lookout for anti-Israel boycotts, which he and a group of like-minded Christians immediately seek to counter by promoting the boycotted Israeli goods.

"I explain to people that they must not be foolish. Even if they have criticism of Israel, it is no reason to boycott Israeli products, which are the best available," said Ekholm. "I believe that doing business with Israel is a blessing."

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Ekholm owns a company that imports Israeli wines and Dead Sea products to Finland. He also regularly organizes pro-Israel conference and rallies, and never tires of directly intervening when he comes across biased anti-Israel news reports.

"Whenever I read or see reports negative of Israel, I immediately pick up the phone and contact the reporter in question to correct him," said Ekholm, who has become something of a one-man PR army.

"The problem is that the media in Europe constantly reports false information," he explained. "We have to find a way to deliver the right information, and one way is through videos. In Finland, we have published numerous videos, for instance showing Hamas hiding rockets in residential areas or calling for Israel's destruction. Those who see the videos often change their tune."

Jewish businessman Philip Kaye has been serving as Israel's honorary consul to Wales since 2010. In this capacity, Kaye works closely with the Israeli Embassy in London, in addition to also operating as a one-man PR war room. Not a scrap of anti-Israel propaganda in the local media escapes Kaye, who immediately responds either personally or by mobilizing a network of pro-Israel voices.

"People are affected by the information they receive. This is not a lost cause, and we must not give up," said Kaye.   During the last Gaza war, Kaye hosted the former mayor the rocket-battered southern Israel town of Sderot, David Buskila. "We introduced [Mayor Buskila] in churches, where he explained life under the threat of missiles," said Kaye. "Unfortunately, we were unable to arrange any media interviews."

Presently, Kaye is working to bring Israeli musicians for a first of its kind music festival in Wales. "I try to advance Israeli interests not only in politics, but also in culture and economy," he said.

But doing this work often comes with a price.

Kaye has received threats in the past, but said local police are on the case and he is not frightened. Much more harrowing is the situation for Israel's honorary consul in Cordoba, Argentina, Mr. Alejandro Orchansky. The Jewish businessman's private home has been the scene of four demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists, and he has received a number of death threats necessitating regular police protection.

Orchansky related that the situation is so bad that most are scared to actually speak up for Israel, or to even be neutral on the subject.

"I fight constantly with a local media that is completely against Israel," he said. "I spoke to journalists and asked, 'Why don't you allow anyone to write in favor of Israel, or at least to be neutral?' The answer shocked me: 'What do you want, we would be the only ones!'"

Orchansky lamented that the media in Argentina are "like cattle. I found the best way is to avoid politics and instead show the beauty of Israel. I show Israel's achievements in medicine, education and culture. I also take governors and other trainees on tours of Israel. They all return to Argentina as ambassadors for Israel."

During the recent conference, attending honorary consuls met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who provided an overview of the current situation in the region. They also received briefings from senior Foreign Ministry officials and toured local "hot spots" like the Gaza border.

Concluding the visit, Israel's Foreign Ministry called the honorary consuls "an important part of Israel's diplomatic 'Iron Dome,'" referencing the anti-missile system that saved so many lives during the Gaza war. 

PHOTO: Israel's honorary consuls meet with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. (Chaim Tzach)

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Israel's New 50 Shekel Note: The Devil is In the Details

Israel's New 50 Shekel Note: The Devil is In the Details

I would never have come up with the following if it wasn't for Avshalom Kor, a Hebrew linguist known for his five-minute daily Hebrew show on Israel's Army Radio. He drew my attention to the text appearing on the newly-released 50 shekel note that displays the portrait of Shaul Tschernichovsky (1875-1943), one of Israel's most celebrated modern poets.

The design of the banknote itself was inspired by one particular line from the poem "Oh My Country, Place of My Birth," a love song for the Land of Israel.

The full poem describes the Land that was given as an inheritance to Israel, but the anonymous designer chose the bank note's theme based on a single line reading "the smell of the spring orange groves." Accordingly, the note has the poet's portrait under the canopy of an orange tree.

Though the poem mentions olive trees, grapevines and other native biblical vegetation, the designer nevertheless chose to hide the feverish yearning of the poet for the Land of his fathers by highlighting the only tree in the poem that carries no Jewish flavor.

On the note's back appears the verse "For I shall yet have faith in mankind, In its spirit great and bold" from another of Tschernichovsky's poems, "I Believe," written six years before the first Zionist Congress in 1897, when the Jewish state was still only a dream.

Distilling this beloved poem to one line demonstrates that Tschernichovsky was willing to believe in mankind, so long as mankind was willing to support the return of the Jewish people to their Land.

In other words, what "I Believe" seems to say is that humanity can't become what it ought to be so long as mankind denies the right of the Jews to return to their Land. Typical to many Zionists of the time, Tschernichovsky believed that the solution to the "Jewish problem" was immigration to the Land of Israel, the only place where the Jewish people could be truly free. And not only for the sake of the Jews, but for the sake of all humanity.

Tschernichovsky and other Zionists truly believed the redemption of the Jews was the key to the redemption of the world. It is in this context - that the wellbeing of humanity depends upon the wellbeing of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel - that the verse "For I shall yet have faith in mankind, In its spirit great and bold" should be understood.

This is not, as the bank note designer would apparently like us to believe, an atheistic Nietzschean epithet that can be embraced by all liberal atheists of the world. Rather, Tschernichovsky's faith in mankind was clearly dependant on the way mankind treated the Jewish people.

This attempt to turn a beloved Zionist poet into some kind of post-modern liberal Jew who could just as happily lived in Berlin as he could in Tel Aviv is a sham and a disgrace to his memory.

And yet, the note's text, which went under the radar of those supposed to guard against such subversive messages on official Israeli insignia, does reflect a small Jewish minority in Israel that pushes to make "I Believe" the new Israeli anthem. Who knows whether this will ever happen, but in the slim chance it will, keen readers will find that even in "I Believe," Tschernichovsky's vision for Israel and the world is deeply messianic.

PHOTO: Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug at the unveiling of the new 50 shekel bank note.


Netanyahu Government Approves 'Jewish State' Law

Netanyahu Government Approves 'Jewish State' Law

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Sunday voted 15 to 7 in favor of new legislation that would make official Israel’s status as the “Jewish state.”

The bill, which will go before the Knesset plenum later this week, seeks to codify the national rights of Israel’s Jews, while also reinforcing the individual rights of all minorities.

In practical terms, that means only Jews can make claims to a national flag, anthem and a right of immigration.

In reality, the law changes nothing. The Israeli flag and anthem are already focused on the Jewish nature of the state, and only Jews are granted a “right of return.”

As such, the move is largely symbolic, but seen as important nonetheless by Netanyahu and many others at a time when the Palestinians and some Israeli Arab elements are trying to undermine the Jewish nature of the state and, in the prime minister’s words, “create a state within a state.”

But, as seen in the vote count from this morning, not everyone agreed.

The cabinet only cast its votes following what was reported to be a heated shouting match between Netanyahu and some of his more left-leaning ministers.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni both painted the bill as racist toward the nation’s minorities. However, their outbursts seemingly failed to take into account the changes Netanyahu made to the original draft.

In its original form, the proposed legislation made Israel’s democratic nature subservient to its Jewish nature, and sought to downgrade Arabic as an official language of the state.

Netanyahu was harshly critical of anyone, both in Israel or in the international community, who calls for a two-state solution, but opposes this bill.

“They rush to recognize a state of the Palestinian people, but they strongly oppose a state of the Jewish people,” he said.

Netanyahu has made Palestinian recognition of Israel as the “Jewish state” a cornerstone of his position regarding peace negotiations.


The Abusive Brainwashing of Palestinian Children

The Abusive Brainwashing of Palestinian Children

In what many have previously likened to a form of child abuse, many Palestinian Arab children from the youngest ages are taught to hate and to seek out violent confrontation with Israeli Jews.

A weekend report in Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper highlighted this heart-breaking phenomenon by interviewing four child rioters from Jerusalem who were so seething with hatred that they would rather “martyr” themselves than play or study as normal children.

“We are ready to die as martyrs, we have nothing to lose,” said one child from the Jerusalem suburb of Shuafat. “Our heads aren’t in studies at all, we are always planning what to do against the police.”

Another 13-year-old boy said that he no longer attends school “because I want to continue our struggle.” His justification for taking violent action in lieu of studies? The death of an Arab motorist who ran over and killed two Israelis earlier this month as part of what has become known as the “Car Intifada.”

Young Arabs were told that the incident was a mere traffic accident (even though security camera footage showed the driver purposely enter the light rail track), and that the driver was murdered by Israeli security forces.

And they come even younger than that. An eight-year-old rioter told the newspaper that “Allah willing we’ll succeed in liberating Palestine and Jerusalem.”

Summing up the sentiment among the children of Jerusalem’s Arab-dominated eastern neighborhoods, two other boys said they were “proud” of engaging in daily violence, and that “all of us here are ready to sacrifice our lives and die as martyrs.”

The current battle for Jerusalem and various aspects of it is discussed further in the upcoming December issue of Israel Today Magazine. Don’t miss it - SUBSCRIBE NOW >>


VIDEO: Weapons Found in Palestinian Christmas Supplies Shipment

VIDEO: Weapons Found in Palestinian Christmas Supplies Shipment

The Jerusalem Police Department last week seized two large shipping containers marked as carrying Christmas ornaments to Arab Christian residents of the capital, but which were also transporting a large number of “cold weapons.”

The containers arrived in Israel from a supplier in China over two weeks ago. The buyers form the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina went to retrieve the shipment, but not before raising the suspicions of customs officers at the port.

Days later, police raided the warehouse where the containers had been taken. They did indeed find Christmas ornaments, but under those were hidden 18,000 fireworks, 5,200 commando knives, 4,300 flashlights concealing an electric shocker, 5,500 regular electric shockers, and 1,000 samurai swords.

All of this was en route to the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, where violent riots have become a daily occurrence, and have of late escalated into deadly attacks against the city’s Jewish residents.

The operation was launched specifically to stop the shipment fireworks, which have been used with increasing frequency to attack police officers, synagogue and other Jewish targets.

Watch the Jerusalem Police video of officers unpacking the containers:


Obama: Helping Terror Go Nuclear

Obama: Helping Terror Go Nuclear

Last Tuesday’s terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue killed five people: four rabbis (including three born in the USA) and a Druze police officer. Two Palestinians entered during morning prayers and attacked worshipers with knives, meat cleavers, and a handgun. Congress showed moral clarity when blaming the horrors on Hamas and Palestinian Authority incitement, but Obama’s statements were perfunctorily “balanced.” Obama warned of a “spiral” of violence – an obtuse refrain of those suggesting moral equivalency between terrorism and the fight against it. Obama also misleadingly claimed that “President Abbas...strongly condemned the attacks” omitting that Abbas did so only after pressure from the administration and with equivocation (Abbas suggested a link between recent terrorism and visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, as if to justify the attacks). It’s also worth noting that Palestinians celebrated the massacre (as they did after the 2013 Boston bombing and the 9/11 attacks).

Obama’s weak reaction is consistent with his mostly impotent response to ISIS terrorists who behead Americans and Mideast Christians and grow their Islamist empire by the day. Frighteningly, his approach to Iranian nukes follows the same meek pattern, but the stakes are exponentially higher, because when Iran goes nuclear, so does terrorism.

Iran is already the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, without nuclear weapons. Iran-supported Hamas has already tried to commit nuclear terror: last summer, Hamas launched rockets at Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor. How much more dangerous will Iran become when it has nukes? Even if Iran doesn’t directly commit nuclear terrorism, an Iranian nuclear umbrella will embolden the regime and the terrorist organizations it sponsors. 

Obama has a long record of weakness towards Iran. In 2009, when Iran’s Basij paramilitary force brutalized demonstrators protesting Iran’s fraudulent presidential election, Obama kept his response irrelevantly mild for the sake of “engaging” Iran. That surely helped Iranian voters understand the risks of protesting the “free” election of 2012 (involving eight regime-picked candidates). It was indeed a very orderly rubberstamp.

In 2011, when a U.S. drone went down on Iranian soil, Obama cordially requested it back. The regime recently scoffed at such impotence by showcasing its knock-off based on that drone and some U.S.-made helicopters that it purchased,  highlighting just how useless sanctions have become.

President Hassan Rouhani’s election vastly improved the public face of Iran’s nuclear program, and Obama was charmed too. Obama has been unilaterally weakening the sanctions against Iran by not enforcing them. He has threatened to thwart any Congressional attempt to limit his nuclear generosity by simply lifting sanctions without Congressional approval. Yet despite these concessions and Rouhani's smiles, human rights abuses in Iran have actually worsened.  

Obama declared in 2012 (while running for reelection) that he doesn’t bluff when it comes to stopping Iranian nukes, and that containment was not an option, unlike military force. But the credibility of that statement collapsed after Obama shrunk away from his “red line” against Syrian chemical weapons use. In 2013, Basher Assad gassed his own people and Obama took no military action. So if Obama cowers against a disintegrating state, what are the chances that he’ll militarily prevent Iranian nukes?

And Obama has dangerously undermined the only military threat to Iranian nukes that anyone still takes seriously: Israel. On the Iranian nuclear issue, Obama has isolated Israel on how close Iran is to a nuclear capability with estimates that are far laxer. And as long as Obama continues negotiating (even if Iran is clearly playing for time as the U.S. offers ever more desperate proposals) or reaches a deal allowing Iran to become a threshold nuclear weapons state, an Israeli military option to defang Iranian nukes appears less legitimate. 

The media’s anti-Israel bias is well known (they can’t even get a simple story about vehicular terrorism against Israelis correct (compare how The Guardian writes accurate headlines when Canada suffers an Islamist car attack but not when Israel does). So if Obama accepts Iran’s nuclear program and Israel then attacks it, the media will be even harsher on Israel (even though the world will be silently relieved, if Israeli courage succeeds at neutralizing what scared everyone else).

Downgrading US-Israel relations seems to be part of Obama’s détente with Iran. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei recently tweeted his plan for destroying Israel, but Obama grows even more determined to reach an accord that legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program. And the Obama administration’s diplomatic abuse of America’s closest Mideast ally is unprecedented – from his humiliation of Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2010, to Secretary of State John Kerry’s betrayal of Israel during Operation Protective Edge, to calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit” a few weeks ago, without even apologizing later (note the irony of calling Netanyahu a coward anonymously). Obama seems far more concerned by Israeli construction of apartments in Jerusalem than a nuclear Iran. And he has been pressuring Israel to retreat from more disputed territory, effectively rewarding Palestinians for launching the third missile war against Israel from Gaza in five years last summer and now the third Intifidah inside Israel in 17 years. That puts Obama just behind the European appeasers who think Palestinian bellicosity merits statehood. They all naively think -- at Israel's peril -- that peace is possible with raw hatred.

Obama indeed appears desperate to get a nuclear accord with Iran at any price. He has written letters asking for Iran’s help against ISIS after they hinted at an ISIS-for-nukes exchange, and has pursued an agreement at all costs. Obama’s top aide, Ben Rhodes, was caught saying how a nuclear accord is as important to Obama as “healthcare”; at least there’s a fitting slogan to sell the deal to Americans: “If you like your nukes, you can keep them.”

Russia, the serial spoiler, suggested extending nuclear talks past the November 24th deadline. Iran will undoubtedly agree to more enrichment time (while it keeps stonewalling the IAEA’s investigations into it nukes), as it did last July. For Obama, a bad agreement or an extension looks far better than concluding that talks have failed and issuing more empty threats to stop Iran militarily. And so U.S. foreign policy will continue its freefall, as the world’s bad actors will want to see what they can extort from a leader even weaker than President Carter. While Carter permitted Iran to hold 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage for 444 days, Obama may allow Iran to hold the world hostage with nuclear terrorism. It's now dreadfully obvious: without massive public pressure, Obama will help Iran get nukes. Anyone concerned about nuclear terrorism should sign this petition: 

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


Nazareth Priest: In Israel, Christians Have Freedom

Nazareth Priest: In Israel, Christians Have Freedom

Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Nazareth-based Greek Orthodox Christian priest of Aramean background, has become a symbol and vocal witness of the situation for Christians in Israel, and how that differs from the way Christians are treated everywhere else in the Middle East.

Speaking before US congressional leaders in Washington, DC this week, Father Naddaf explained:

“In the Middle East today, there is one country where Christians are affectionately granted freedom of expression, freedom of worship and security. It is Israel, the Jewish State. In Israel, Christians enjoy good education, employment, welfare, healthcare, and high socio-economic standing. In Israel, Christians have freedom, which no Muslim power has ever offered us.”

In telling the American lawmakers about his own journey of faith, Father Naddaf recalled moving as a young man to the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Haifa, where, in the course of meeting and working with Jews, he discovered that “the idea that I needed to be scared of Jews, or that there was something dangerous about them was simply not true. The myth was shattered.”

It is this same hate-filled misinformation about Israel’s Jews and their intentions that is fueling the current violence centering on Jerusalem.

Father Naddaf is currently in the US on a speaking tour on behalf of The Face of Israel organization.

Father Naddaf and his efforts amongst and on behalf of the Aramean Christian community in Israel is the focus of a feature story in the upcoming December issue of Israel Today Magazine. Don’t miss it - SUBSCRIBE NOW >>


Tel Aviv Named World's 'Smartest City'

Tel Aviv Named World's 'Smartest City'

Tel Aviv this week beat out 250 cities from across the globe to receive the World Smart Cities Award, a competition launched as part of the Smart City Expo World Congress.

The Smart City Expo, held this year in Barcelona, is considered an important conference in the city innovation industry.

At this year’s event, Tel Aviv set up a booth showcasing the city’s various digital projects, such as city-wide WiFi service, location-based technology tools, adaptation for smart phones, and the activation of public round tables, discussions and a collaborative budget.

The Tel Aviv Municipality said its urban digital campaign also includes a new resident card that has been used by 90,000 locals to date.

The card enables residents to receive services and information by e-mail, text message and a personal website customized by place of residence, interests, marital status and more.


Muslims Chant to Remove Jesus at Washington’s National Cathedral

Muslims Chant to Remove Jesus at Washington’s National Cathedral

It looked like a chilling scene from a Last Days, anti-Christ-takes-over-the-world disaster movie. Hundreds of Muslims take over America’s most notable church, prostrate on their prayer rugs as their unified chant echoes out in full volume: “There is only one god, he begets not and I bear witness that Muhammad is His only servant and Apostle."

Only this was not a movie. This was the scene, last Friday, for the first time in history, at the iconic National Cathedral in Washington, where orthodox Muslim clerics were invited to lead an Islamic prayer service. A congregation of hundreds were lead by an Imam in declaring that “god has no son, that Jesus Christ cannot be his son, and that there is no god like Allah.”

Only a single middle-age woman jumped up in the middle of the service and shouted, “America was founded on Christian principles. . . . Leave our church alone!” She was escorted quickly out of the church by security guards.

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC has been an extremely important symbol of the Christian roots of the United States. The cathedral was designated by Congress as America's "National House of Prayer." The church has hosted a number of inaugural presidential prayer services, including Franklin Roosevelt and both presidents Bush.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, took to Facebook in reaciton to the Muslim prayer service:

“The National Cathedral in Washington, DC–one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America–will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah. It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible, who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said, 'I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6)."

As of this writing, 80,000 people had “liked” Graham’s post.

The Islamic service at the cathedral was ostensibly intended to promote interfaith dialogue. Its organizers said that they hoped the service would “help correct some Americans’ misperceptions of Muslims as extremists and reinforce tolerance among faiths.”

However, it is hard to understand how a Christian church opening its sanctuary for Islamic prayers that renonce Jesus Christ contributes to interfaith tolerance. Muslims would never allow a Christian to preach the Gospel in a mosque. Palestinian Muslims continue to ban all Jews and Christians from praying at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It would appear that “interfaith dialogue and tolerance” are just more code words calling for Muslims to rise up and conquer.

The Washington Post reported that the Islamic prayer service was closed to the public because of security concerns. Armed guards checked every person and every bag of those in attendance.

Islam is growing rapidly around the world, and is now the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, with an estimated 2.6 million American Muslim citizens.


Synagogue First-Responder: You Don't Want to Know What I Saw

Synagogue First-Responder: You Don't Want to Know What I Saw

Minutes after Tuesday’s horrific synagogue terror attack that ultimately left five people dead, an Israel Today television crew was on the scene to speak to first-responders.

Our first interviewee was a paramedic by the name of Dov Weingarten, who was one of the first rescue personnel to reach the synagogue even as two Arab terrorists were will carrying out their grizzly act of murder.

Weingarten recounting his harrowing experience, but stopped short of a full description. “You don’t want to know what I saw,” he told Israel Today.

We also spoke to paramedic Akiva Pola, who likewise arrived at the scene while the attack was still taking place. Pola recalled attempting to enter the synagogue over the body of a dead Jewish worshipper, only to be fired upon by the terrorists.

Watch now as these two men describe a scene of utter chaos and bloodthirsty rampage made possible by decades of anti-Semitic indoctrination:


Israeli, Arab Media Speak of Religious War; West Remains Blind

Israeli, Arab Media Speak of Religious War; West Remains Blind

The Israeli and Palestinian presses have in recent months been replete with talk of religious war in the Holy Land. In the foreign mainstream media, however, this reality is completely overlooked.

The danger of a mounting religious war far overshadows the political aspects of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and both peoples - Jews and Arabs - speak openly of it. This is especially true of the Muslims, who view the current violence as the start of a great war that will break out in accordance with the Koran.

Jews and Christians, too, see a coming storm foretold in the Bible, a confrontation that will bring all the nations against Israel, primarily over the issue of Jerusalem. But for the mainstream international media, all this is just too religious, and is therefore dismissed as nonsense.

This topic is discussed much more in depth in the November issue of Israel Today Magazine, and will be covered even further in the December issue. Don’t miss these important articles - SUBSCRIBE NOW >>

It is instructive, nonetheless, to listen to the voices from this region. Take for instance the families of the five Palestinian terrorists who over the past four weeks have killed 10 Israelis. Those who spoke to Israel Radio stressed that a necessary religious war is already raging.

In front of television cameras, the parents of deceased Muslim terrorists hailed the deeds of their sons, who in their eyes had “defended the Al Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah in recent weeks warned numerous times that a dangerous religious war is brewing over Jerusalem. For this reason, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry met with the monarch in Amman last week.

There is a desire to calm the tension. But Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said that, unfortunately, the carnage is a direct result of Palestinian politics in Jerusalem. “While we try to calm the situation in Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership under [Mahmoud] Abbas is busy inciting violence,” said Edelstein.

Abbas and Israeli-Arab lawmakers have in turn blamed the situation on Israel.

The extent to which the conflict has already become a religious war is evident in Palestinian social networks. On Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, Muslim religious leaders accuse Israel of trying to conquer the Temple Mount and urge their followers to violent defense of Islamic holy sites. It matters not that such accusations have little in common with reality.

The battle for the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount has already become the cornerstone of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and transformed it into a Judeo-Islamic conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to understand this when he stated: “We are in a battle for Jerusalem, our eternal capital. In this struggle, we must stick together.”

The bottom line is that in the Jewish state of Israel and its Arab Muslim neighbors, politics and religion are inseparable. This, of course, is contrary to the situation in most Western nations, where the Christian religion has been removed from politics.

For this region, Western journalists often find it difficult to understand and properly perceive the religious basis of the Israeli-Islamic conflict. In their view, everything must be discussed at a political level.

That might work in the Christian Europe of today, but not in the Middle East. This is obvious to any observers truly listening to the media from this region.

This topic is discussed much more in depth in the November issue of Israel Today Magazine, and will be covered even further in the December issue. Don’t miss these important articles - SUBSCRIBE NOW >>


26 Israeli Children Lost Their Fathers Yesterday

26 Israeli Children Lost Their Fathers Yesterday

The attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood on Tuesday claimed the lives of five men - four Jewish worshippers and one Druze police officer - who in turn were fathers to a total of 26 children.

Twenty-six Israeli children have buried their fathers over the past 24 hours.

But there were signs of hope in the outpouring of love and support for these children. As an example, a local resident of Har Nof who witnessed the aftermath of the synagogue attack conveyed this story:

"I was in a small supermarket in Har Nof. The shopkeeper spoke with an employee about the names of the victims, which had just been released. At that very moment, a handsome seven-year-old boy walked into the store with his rabbi. In a husky voice, the rabbi stated the boy’s name, and the shopkeeper immediately realized this was the son of one of the slain men. The rabbi quickly and subtly signaled that the boy did not yet know what had happened.

"The shopkeeper immediately ran to the boy, holding out candy and said, ‘Here, my dear, you can have what you want - do you like it here?’

"The child smiled and said yes. Then the shopkeeper whispered to him: ‘When you want something from my store, just come here and I give it to you for nothing.’

“The boy whispered back a thank you and looked happy. His rabbi thanked the shopkeeper with a nod and they both left the store. The shopkeeper could hold back no longer and broke down into tears.”


Jerusalem Synagogue Attack Claims 5th Victim

Jerusalem Synagogue Attack Claims 5th Victim

The murderous terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday has claimed a fifth victim. Overnight, police officer Zidan Seif (30), a member of Israel’s Druze minority, died of his wounds after being shot in the head during a standoff with the terrorists.

The four others killed in the massacre were also named: Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Kalman Levine and Aryeh Kupinsky. The four were buried under and atmosphere of national mourning.

Religious Jewish authorities urged their communities to also attend the funeral of Zidan Seif, who, despite not being Jewish, laid down his life in defense of his Jewish countrymen. Seif leaves behind a wife and young child.

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Meanwhile, Jerusalem’s Arab population continued to riot, especially in the neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, home of the synagogue terrorists, who were killed while attacking police officers who responded to the scene of the attack.

Arab youths in Jabel Mukaber burned tires and hurled stones at police, who in turn used stun grenades and tear gas to quell the violence. Jerusalem’s light rail also sustained additional damage.

Nearby in Jerusalem’s Old City, a 20-year-old Jewish man was attacked by a pair of Arab youths wielding an iron pipe. The perpetrators were identified thanks to security cameras and were later arrested.

On the other side of town, some 300 Israelis protested on Jerusalem’s main access road. They demanded revenge for the synagogue slaughter, and some shouted slogans against Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. A number of protestors were briefly detained for disobeying police orders to not block traffic around Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.

Around the same time in Gaza, photos published by local and international media showed Palestinian Arabs were praising the perpetrators of the synagogue massacre as martyrs and heroes, and were celebrating gruesome attack by passing out sweets and marching with photos of the two terrorists.


Palestinians Celebrate Jerusalem Synagogue Slaughter

Palestinians Celebrate Jerusalem Synagogue Slaughter

Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and elsewhere openly celebrated the massacre of Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem Tuesday morning.

Hamas hailed the attack as “revenge” for the death of an Arab bus driver in Jerusalem a day earlier, a death that was ultimately determined to be a suicide.

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri even managed to commission or otherwise obtain a grotesque political cartoon (left) praising the “heroic” synagogue attack, which he promptly posted on Twitter.

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Hamas’ sister organization, Islamic Jihad, said that it, too, “salutes the operation in Jerusalem which is a natural response to the crimes of the occupier.”

For his part, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement firmly condemning the murder of Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer.

But Israeli officials suggested that Abbas was shedding crocodile tears, and insisted that it was ongoing anti-Jewish incitement in Abbas’ own state-controlled media that sets the stage for such atrocities.

“This is the direct result of the incitement led by Hamas and Abu Mazen [Abbas], incitement that the international community irresponsibly ignores,” read a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman added, “It is incumbent upon the international community to condemn Abbas’ anti-Semitic remarks, which lead to massacres such as what has taken place this morning.”

Indeed, just last week, Palestinian Authority TV, which is directly controlled by the Abbas regime, aired a documentary on the history of the Palestinian leader’s Fatah movement in which the Jews were presented as a foreign contaminate that were put in this land by European powers that had grown tired of their problematic Jewish populations.

In a related development, it was reported that the perpetrators of Tuesday’s synagogue attack were relatives of one of the 1,027 terrorists Israel released in 2011 in exchange for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

That revelation further bolstered arguments that the “goodwill gesture” of freeing jailed terrorists does absolutely nothing to soften Palestinian views of Israel or advance the cause of peace.


Will Bosnia Be a Precedent for 'Palestine'?

Will Bosnia Be a Precedent for 'Palestine'?

During a fundraising gathering for a major Israeli hospital that took place in Germany earlier this month, two Israeli boys from the Kinderlach boys’ choir that participated in the event were asked to conceal the fact that they live in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank"), lest the choir be forbidden to perform.

This threat to boycott Israeli singers on German soil happened just days after the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, stated while visiting the region that "it is not only the people of Gaza that can’t afford having a fourth war, the world cannot afford this.”

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One would be naïve to think that the incident with Kinderlach and Mogherini's visit to Gaza are two unrelated events. Mogherini's statement was nothing short of an implicit threat and a denial of Israel's right of self-defense. Her words were especially annoying to this author, considering that this blond, smug-looking woman was born the same year I fought in the Yom Kippur War (1973).

Like so many of her European colleagues, Mogherini enjoyed an uneventful and good upbringing in her native country. Her political activism started at a young age, and her entire adulthood has been spent in the political arena.

Mogherini, a professional politician with no real life experience, is now rebuking Israel over its perceived lack of desire to pursue a "two-state solution"; and she is doing so knowing full well that Gaza has proved that the land-for-peace formula works here just about as well as it did for the Native Americans, who once traded their land for "peace."

Europe’s obsession with Israel under the new policy regime of Mogherini was astutely criticized in a response to the article titled "European Nations Threaten to Recognize Palestinian State" that appeared on The Times of Israel. A commenter going by the name of Gregory Aharfi correctly observed:

"They (the Europeans) don’t give a sh*t about how palestinians live, they just want a piece of paper (with their name on it) saying a state of 'palestine' exists. And when they'll realize it does not change anything, they will ask Israel to take on fake refugees and to disappear. And when they'll realize it did not change anything, they'll just look the other way. May God give them what they deserve..."

But it may be that Europe will do more than just look the other way.

Smug European politicians who have never even had to pick up a stick to defend their country, repeatedly condemn Israel for waging war against those who vow to destroy the Jewish state. The loud and repeated demands that Israel adhere to sterile textbook theories regarding the ethics of war stand in sharp contradiction to the understanding Europe shows to the fanatic religion (Islam) that is growing in its midst.

After Mogherini's implicit threat, one wonders what Europe might do in the likely event of Israel launching another military operation. In light of Europe's policy so far, one can imagine that in such a scenario Europe will immediately begin to meticulously count bodies in order to prove that Israel is committing "war crimes." And after reaching its pre-conceived conclusions, Europe will then move to declare Israel a pariah state, enabling the implementation of severe economic and other sanctions.

Seeing as such a world power is tacitly backing Muslim terrorism, we can expect Muslims to continue provoking Israel, such as is now taking place in Jerusalem. And, since Israel can't tolerate indefinitely the stabbing of Jews in the streets of Jerusalem or other attacks, Muslims in and around Israel may be setting themselves up for another disaster.

Flabby and complacent as Europe is, it is not unthinkable that, just as it did with Bosnia in 1995, the European community could use the situation to help birth yet another Muslim state in the Middle East. Perhaps in doing so the Europeans see atonement for allowing a Jewish state to come into existence in the first place.


Jewish Worshippers Massacred During Morning Prayers

Jewish Worshippers Massacred During Morning Prayers

The seething situation in Jerusalem took a turn for the worse early Tuesday morning when Palestinian Arab terrorists entered a local synagogue and attacked Jewish worshippers conducting traditional morning prayers.

Two Muslim assailants entered the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue complex in the religious Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof shortly after dawn armed with a pistol, knives and axes.

Four Israelis were killed and another nine were wounded, many of them seriously, during the bloody rampage. Eyewitnesses who survived the attack said the terrorists did not wear head covering, but were shouting “Allah Akbar” - “Allah is Greater” - as they shot and hacked at their Jewish victims.

Police forces responding to the scene engaged the terrorists in a brief gun battle before shooting both attackers dead.

The attack comes a day after escalating Arab Muslim riots over the death of an Arab bus driver, who was found hanged in the rear of his vehicle. An autopsy revealed no signs of foul play, and police ruled the case a suicide. That evidence notwithstanding, the driver’s family and Arabs across Jerusalem insisted Jewish “settlers” had murdered the man, and vowed revenge.


Anti-Missionaries Warn Against New Testament Audio Player

Anti-Missionaries Warn Against New Testament Audio Player

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish anti-missionary group Yad L’Achim has published an urgent video to social media sites warning against a “dangerous Christian missionary audio player” currently being distributed in Israel.

Produced by MegaVoice, the pocket-sized audio player known as “Envoy” has access to a library of over 10,000 messages, as well as the New Testament, all of which is available in over 4,600 languages and dialects.

According to Yad L’Achim, a version of the device including a Hebrew-language recording of the New Testament is currently being distributed to Israeli soldiers.

Darrel Templeton, vice president of strategic partnerships for MegaVoice, told Israel Today that this negative exposure is likely to be a blessing in disguise.

“What they meant for evil, God can use for good,” said Templeton, recalling a hidden-camera reality show that featured “people just walking past a park bench. Then they put a sign on the bench that read, ‘Wet Paint - Do NOT touch.’ Well, you can imagine what happened. Many would slow down and look at the bench, and some would stick their finger out to see if the paint was still wet.”

In the same way, Templeton believes that Yad L’Achim’s urgent warning will draw in those who are curious, and create curiosity where it might not have existed.

“Where many would have just walked on past and not noticed the MegaVoice unit, now they will be curious, pick it up and begin listening. And those that were looking for the truth will now know what to look for,” he said.

Templeton confirmed that MegaVoice is distributing the audio players to Israeli soldiers, and praying for additional funding so that every soldier might receive an Envoy “loaded with hundreds of hours of interesting music, stories, testimonies, debates, audio books and God’s Word that they could listen to during the hours and hours of waiting, so they can hear and understand the Truth.”


'Temple Mount is in OUR Hands,' Declares Arab Muslim MK

'Temple Mount is in OUR Hands,' Declares Arab Muslim MK

The situation in Jerusalem remains tense, and it is being fed by a war of words between Arab and Jewish politicians.

On Sunday, Arab Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi visited the Temple Mount and declared before television cameras that the holy site is and will remain in Palestinian hands. It was a stunning, and unfortunately accurate, reversal of the immortal words spoken by former IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren as Israeli forces liberated Jerusalem’s Old City during the Six Day War in 1967: “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”

Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz responded furiously to Tibi’s provocation: “Tibi is a liar and a traitor. The Temple Mount is a place with 3,000 years of jewish history that is today, again, under Israeli sovereignty.”

MK Nissan Shlomianski also chimed in, “[Tibi] probably still hasn’t reconciled himself to the idea that the rightful and historical owners [of the Temple Mount] have returned home. Distortion of history is a malignant disease, but even if a lie is repeated a thousand times, it does not become reality.”

Shlomianski also sought to remind Tibi that he is currently serving as vice speaker of the Knesset in the Jewish state, and is not in the employ of ISIS.

More and more it is becoming clear that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs centers on Jerusalem. Unlike the Western media, the Israeli and Arab presses, respectively, speak openly of a religious conflict over Jerusalem that has manifested itself as an intractable political process.

So long as both sides continue to cling to their claims to Jerusalem, the peace process will fail. At least that’s how local Israeli and Arab media understands the situation.

SPECIAL NOTE: This topic of Jerusalem as the ever more evident stumbling block is covered more in depth in the upcoming December issue of Israel Today Magazine. Don’t miss it - SUBSCRIBE NOW!


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