Israeli Schools Drill for Missile Attack Amid Threats From Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Is Jerusalem About to Start Taxing Churches?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Palestinian Leaders Angry That Israel Won't Pay Terrorist Salaries

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

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

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

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

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


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Israel Bombards Gaza After Soldiers Hurt in IED Blast

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

Two of the soldiers were seriously wounded.

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

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

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


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Netanyahu Insists Israel Will Continue Bombing Syria As Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Christian and Jewish Teens Prepare for IDF Service Together

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTO: Illustration (Flash90)


COMMENTARY: The Incurable Romantic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come, Lord Jesus!

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


Thank You: Tactical Suits For Some Trainee Commanders.

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

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


Christian Drilling Company Strikes Oil in Northern Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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


Netanyahu Fumes as Police Call for His Indictment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What Netanyahu said is a lie"

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

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

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

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


Palestinians Try to Lynch Israeli Soldiers Who Accidentally Entered PA Town

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

They nearly paid for the mistake with their lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Many Israelis feared it was inevitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, Netanyahu insisted he's not worried.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many of those installations were covert in nature.

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

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

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

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

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

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


COMMENTARY: A Jew for Jesus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Do you appreciate our reporting on Israel from Israel? Why not take advantage of our subscription offers.

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Trump Envoy Tells Palestinians to Stop Denying Jewish History

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

Finally, it would seem that the American government agrees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friend or Foe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Leftist Lawmaker Taunts Netanyahu to Annex 'West Bank' Already

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Hasson's rant (Hebrew only):

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


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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all very much!


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Israeli Rabbi Stabbed to Death by Palestinian Terrorist

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

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

The terrorist managed to flee the scene.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Report Exposes Israeli Airstrikes on Egyptian Soil

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

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

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

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

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

This is seen by many as a groundbreaking development.

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


Israel Moves Closer to Silencing Muslim Call to Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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


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American Diplomats Violently Chased Out of Bethlehem

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

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

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

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

The US State Department issued a statement shortly after:

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

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


Britain on Israel: War or Peace?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s it to be? War or peace?

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


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

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

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

Do you appreciate our reporting on Israel from Israel? Why not take advantage of our subscription offers.

If you are not quite sure whether you are ready for an annual subscription you could always purchase our 3 issue trial subscription for only $15.

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Fake News in the Service of Self-Hating Jews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Israel Mourns the Loss of its 'War Poet'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hamas Founder Dies After Accidentally Shooting Himself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Report: Trump Prepared to Kick Palestinians Out of Washington

US President Donald Trump won't stop merely as cutting financial aid if the Palestinian Authority doesn't change its belligerent tune, and soon.

According to sources that spoke to Israel's Channel 2 News, Trump told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos last week that he might soon shutter the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in Washington.

Those offices serve as a de facto embassy for the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that under the "Oslo Accords" the Palestinians aren't supposed to be conducting foreign relations prior to a final status agreement.

In speaking to the press at the World Economic Forum, Trump addressed the issue of American aid to the Palestinians:

"They disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support — tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands. That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace."

PHOTO: US president Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on May 23, 2017. (Flash90)


Syria Threatens to Fire Missiles at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad threatened at the weekend to strike Israel's primary point of entry, Ben Gurion International Airport.

Assad said in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Israel again attacks on Syrian soil, he will fire SCUD missiles at Ben Gurion Airport.

That according to the Lebanese newspaper A-Diyar, which reported that Putin promised to pass the message along to Israel.

Israel has struck both Syrian government and Hezbollah targets in the war-torn country on numerous occasions, the latest attack occurring just three weeks ago, when Israeli aircraft attacked a weapons depot not far from Damascus.

The Israeli attacks are ostensibly to prevent Syria from obtaining advanced weapons from Iran and other sources and then passing them on to Hezbollah.

PHOTO: An Up plane, a branch of the El Al airline, seen at the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, on August 17, 2016. (Tomer Neubergi/Flash90)


Trump Envoy 'Deeply Angered' by Ongoing Hamas Terrorism

US President Donald Trump's special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, was in the region this past week, and, like Trump, he was none too happy with the behavior of different Palestinian groups.

Following a tour of Gaza terror tunnels provided by the Israeli army, Greenblatt issued a statement harshly condemning the coastal enclave's Hamas rulers.

Excerpts from the statement, via the US Consulate in Jerusalem, read:

"I am deeply angered by Hamas’ continued terror activity, including the digging of tunnels that facilitate terrorist activities. Such activities show Hamas’ continued exploitation of the people of Gaza and Hamas’ threats to stability and security in the region."

"Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other extremists continue to build up their military strength at the expense of the civilian population, causing danger to the people of Gaza, Israel, and Egypt."

PHOTO: Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt seen during a previous visit to the Gaza Strip - Israel border on August 30, 2017. (David Azagury/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)


Galilees Halva Date Spread

Tonight, Tu B'Shvat (Jewish New Year for trees) will be celebrated. Paret of the celebration is, amongst other things, savoring the 7 species with which the Holy Land is blessed. Date (honey) is one of these 7 species.

Halva is made from ground sesame seeds and, together with date honey, makes a healthy and delicious halved-flavored date spread.


Palestinians Hang Trump and Pence in Effigy Over Slashed Financial Aid

US President Donald Trump speaking at the World Economic Forum over the weekend threatened that if the Palestinians didn't start showing more respect, they'd lose even more American backing.

A Palestinian mob on Saturday responded by heaping even more scorn and threats of violence on the Americans.

During a rally in Bethlehem, masked Palestinians hung and burned both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in effigy.


Arab MK Aimed Slingshot at Mike Pence When He Addressed Knesset

This is the type of thing that'll get you thrown in jail real fast in America.

But here, in Israel, it's the kind of nonsense that hostile Arab members of Knesset get away with on a routine basis, even as they moan about perceived racial discrimination.

By now, everyone's aware that at the start of US Vice President Mike Pence's address to the Knesset last week, all members of the Joint Arab List party stood in protest holding signs insisting that Jerusalem is the capital of a fictional Palestinian state.

But just before that little stunt, it seems that the party's most outspoken member, MK Hanin Zoabi, pulled a little stunt of her own, one that should see her investigated and removed from the halls of power.

In the photo below, Zoabi appears to be aiming a slingshot at Pence just as he takes the podium.


Christian Nuns in Bethlehem Subjected to Violence, and the Media is Silent

Every Israeli slight against Christians, whether real or perceived, becomes the topic of international headlines.

Take for instance the occasions of anti-Christian graffiti scrawled on churches in Jerusalem by a handful of radical Jewish youth. As upsetting as those incidents were, no real harm was done, and both the authorities and local Jewish community were quick to stand with the wronged churches.

And yet, Israel was falsely lambasted in the mainstream media as a place unwelcoming to and even hostile toward Christians.

So, it's more than a little curious that a far more severe trial being faced by Christian nuns in nearby Bethlehem is being all but ignored.

Middle East Concern, one of the few organizations willing to expose the plight of Christians living under the Palestinian Authority, reports that portions of the St. Mary's Coptic Convent in Bethlehem have been unlawfully taken over by a local Muslim family, and the nuns living there exposed to routine physical abuse.

Sisters Maria and Esther have filed official complaints against the Mahatna family, but Palestinian Authority courts have failed to take any real action.

The convent remains partially occupied, despite the fact that the nuns filed their first complaint back in April of 2017, when a female member of the Muslim family, Rania Mahatna, assaulted Sister Maria and caused damage to the property.

It was when the nuns were on their way to the police station to file that initial complaint that a second major incident occurred. Rania's brother, Rami, along with a gang of friends, stopped the nuns' car and attacked it with iron bars.

A police officer who witnessed this attack reportedly later changed his testimony when questioned in court.

The nuns and their lawyer believe the Mahatna family has connections within the Palestinian Authority that it is using to obstruct justice in this matter.

This is not an isolated case. But, because Israel and the Jews aren't involved, it receives little, if any attention. Highlighting it simply wouldn't fit with the narrative that Israel is behind all the woes of the local Christian population.

PHOTO: Illustration. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)


COMMENTARY: The Battle of Britain

As we mark another Holocaust Memorial Day, held each year on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ongoing nightmare experienced by the Jewish people – with anti-Semitism once again spreading like cancer – should drive us to our knees.

And I’m glad to say that our African brethren, at least, who have brought much-needed new life and vigour to the British church, are doing just that by calling a special day of prayer focused on our fractured relationship with Israel.

Wale Babatunde of the World Harvest Christian Centre in south London is particularly concerned by Britain’s failure to follow President Trump’s lead in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

This follows a series of betrayals over the years which have undone much of the goodwill fostered by the government’s pledge, through the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago, to do all in its power to re-settle the Jewish people in their ancient land.

Fortunately, African Christians know how to pray, so we are fully expecting God to shake up our complacency over Israel – both in Parliament and in the Church.

My own MP, Dame Rosie Winterton (Labour, Doncaster Central), has already chaired a debate on Holocaust Memorial Day in the House. In a report to her constituents, she said this year’s theme, The Power of Words, was a reminder that the Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers, but with hate-filled words, adding that words can also be a force for good through which we can demonstrate that we will not stay silent when such vilification and de-humanisation occur.

In South Africa, meanwhile, farmer/evangelist Angus Buchan has called another It’s Time day of prayer for his country – this time in Cape Town where he recently addressed Parliament as part of a prayer rally.

Last year, 1.7 million Christians travelled to a farmer’s field near the central city of Bloemfontein to pray for a nation steeped in corruption and lawlessness, and Angus is hoping for a similar response on March 24 this year

We should be doing it here too. Many of us have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, that it was prevailing prayer – not Spitfires and Hurricanes – that won the Battle of Britain. Rees Howells and his Bible College students in Wales were on their knees daily throughout the war. In fact, according to Norman Grubb, in _Rees Howells – Intercessor _(Lutterworth Press), “the whole college was in prayer every evening from 7pm to midnight, with only a brief interval for supper. They never missed a day. This was in addition to an hour’s prayer meeting every morning, and very often at midday. There were many special periods when every day was given up wholly to prayer and fasting.” Howells told his students: “Don’t allow those young men at the Front to do more than you do here.” Over the Dunkirk period, Howells spent four days alone with God “to battle through and, as others have testified, the crushing burden of those days broke his body. He literally laid down his life.”

It’s time we did it again. Both Britain and Israel face an enemy just as terrifying as the Nazis, only subtler. This is the belief that we are no longer answerable to a heavenly authority, and that man is his own god – a secular/humanist view that has brought the beginnings of totalitarianism (that brooks no dissent) to a society once proud of its freedom. It was for this that my father’s generation risked their lives in World War II.

But as journalist Melanie Phillips has said on a tour of America, Israel is absolutely central to the recovery of Western values, which are based on the Hebrew Bible. “We’re in this together,” she told the Minnesota-based Olive Tree Ministries radio programme.

Here is the stark reality of what is facing the Jewish people today: Iran is fast developing nuclear weapons with which to “wipe out” Israel (in the words of the Ayatollahs and Iranian presidents) and, ominously in the eyes of many, the Russian Bear has now established a foothold in the region. The current spat between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia further adds to the tension and Gaza-based Hamas is repeatedly firing rockets into the Jewish state while Lebanon-based Hezbollah continues to pose a serious threat on its northern border. Brutal Islamic State are also stalking the area while the Palestinian Authority incites its people to murder and mayhem, and some Westerners are engaged in a boycott of Israeli goods on the pretext that they are oppressive occupiers of land not their own. But the truth is that, in most cases, Jews are being attacked simply because they are Jews, not for political or economic reasons.

Tragically, however, the South African government is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism with their ruling party, the African National Congress, having last month announced its intention to loosen diplomatic ties with Israel, citing alleged apartheid policies against the Palestinians along with America’s acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.

Thankfully, the Zulu King is urging them to reconsider. Goodwill Zwelithini, monarch of South Africa’s largest ethnic group, praised the Jewish state for their help in curbing the devastation of drought through their cutting-edge water technology along with the spread of HIV/AIDS through Jewish-sponsored medical circumcision.

But in both Britain and South Africa, we have a God in heaven waiting to hear our cry for mercy. Jesus said we could move mountains with our faith. (Matthew 17.20 & 21.21, Mark 11.23)

Let’s pray for the mountain of paralyzing unbelief and complacency to be removed from our nations, in Jesus’ name!

PHOTO: Courtesy of Charles Gardner

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


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Trump, Haley Attack Palestinian Authority as Obstacle to Peace

While attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, US President Donald Trump again let loose on the Palestinian Authority (PA), accusing it of being the primary obstacle to peace.

"That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace, too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer," said Trump of the large amount of financial aid the US contributes annually to the PA and international organizations supporting it.

Trump criticized past administrations for not leveraging American aid to persuade the Palestinians to adhere to signed agreements and be more pliable regarding their red lines.

As for Jerusalem, Trump insisted that, at least for the time being, it's "off the table."

Meanwhile at the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley was busy accusing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as being either unwilling or unable to actually make peace with Israel.

"We will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace," said Haley. "Peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage."

She went on to note that all Abbas has done of late is reject "any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American president. He called for suspending recognition of Israel... Hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations take us nowhere."


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Trump White House Scorns Palestinian Leaders for Crying to Europe

The Trump White House was none too impressed by the Palestinian leadership's temper tantrum following the president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

And the Americans were downright scornful after the Palestinians then went crying to Europe and attempted to eject Trump from the Middle East peace process.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels this week in a bid to convince the European Union to supplant the United States as the primary third-party broker in the peace process.

Abbas has insisted that following Trump's Jerusalem declaration, the Palestinians will no longer accept American leadership in seeking a resolution to the conflict.

But the Europeans poured cold water on Abbas' ambitions.

While the EU did sympathize with Palestinian anger over Trump acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, they nevertheless stated that no final status agreement could possibly be reached without American involvement.

"No effort will ever bring the two sides to the table if the international multilateral framework does not include the United States," said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

A day later, a White House official who spoke to reporters about the issue could hardly conceal his disdain for the Palestinian leadership's behavior.

The official noted that the European nations' own frustration with Trump's position notwithstanding, "they all want to work with the US, despite the Palestinian reaction."

As for that fresh hostility for America emanating from Ramallah, the official added that "frankly, I don't believe the Palestinians believe the US can be replaced in this process."


Apartheid? Watch Jews and Arabs Dancing Together in the Rain

This video was taken recently on Highway 60 just south of Jerusalem, between the exit of the last tunnel and the checkpoint, for those who know the area.

A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews belonging to the hyper-charismatic "Breslav" sect began playing loud music and dancing joyfully, as they do in many locations. Very quickly, Palestinian Arabs in the area came to see what the commotion was all about, and joined in the dancing!

Such examples of coexistence are actually far more common than most people realize. Sadly, the mainstream media only offers images of hostility and conflict, painting a very distorted picture.


Our Olive Grove In The Negev Starts to Emerge

This is the two hectare area in the Negev, where we will shortly plant your olive trees! In the same area where, ten years ago, we planted our vineyard near Kadesh Barnea and did our part of greening of the desert.

The greening of the desert is not easy, certainly not in arid times, as in recent years. Year after year the desert is becoming more and more green and you, our friends, have contributed! Our farmer appreciates every blessing and love you have shown.

You can advertise in your community and order 10, 50 or more olive trees and plant them in the name of the community.


Palestinians Reject Jewish History in Jerusalem, But Other Arab Leaders Don't

One of the reasons that Arab support for the Palestinian cause is starting to wane is the outlandish nature of key Palestinian Authority positions.

Western power brokers are no longer willing to swallow claims such as today's Palestinian Arabs being direct descendants of the Canaanites, or that the Jews have no history in this land.

Already in 2000, former US President Bill Clinton was critical of deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for telling him the Jewish people had no connection to Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

And yet, Arafat's disciple, current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, continues to peddle such assertions.

Speaking last week to a gathering of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council in Ramallah, Abbas called Israel a "colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews."

Amid a rising sea of extremism, more moderate Arab leaders are starting to sound a more, well, moderate tone. And that includes on matters such as Jewish history in Jerusalem.

In the course of scolding visiting US Vice President Mike Pence over the timing of President Donald Trump's public recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Jordan's King Abdullah II nevertheless acknowledged the important Jewish connection to the city.

"Jerusalem is [as] key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews," Abdullah said, according to reports on the meeting that took place in Amman this week.

Twenty years ago, it would've been much more difficult to find a top Arab leader willing to publicly admit that the Jews had any connection to Jerusalem, let alone one that was at least as important as the Muslim connection.

Abbas is still denying it.

And that is to the detriment of all Palestinians. Because, as the region increasingly divides between the extremists and those fighting them, it appears more and more that the Palestinian Authority is on the side of the extremists, and nations like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia don't want to find themselves guilty by association.


Christian EMTs Saving Israeli Jewish Lives

Don't believe the hype. Israel's not an apartheid state, nor do most average Christians Arabs hate the Jewish state.

Evidence of this is widespread for those willing to open their eyes.

Another example was provided this week when the Israeli first response organization United Hatzalah highlighted the work of its Christian Arab medical volunteers.

"In 2017, just five of our Christian volunteers responded to nearly 1,000 emergency calls around Israel," United Hatzalah Spokesperson Raphael Poch told Breaking Israel News.

Most of those emergency calls would have been to help Israeli Jews. And the Christian volunteers, like Sroor Abood, didn't hesitate.

"The organization believes in saving lives, which Christianity also believes in," Abood said.

And no mention of racism or persecution because he's an Arab and a Christian. Neither in United Hatzalah, nor at Haifa's Rambam Medical Clinic, where Abood works as a doctor of emergency medicine.

Is there racism in Israel? Sure. That's inevitable in any multi-cultural society. But to claim that it's a matter of policy and that Israel is an apartheid state is disingenuous in the extreme.


The Current Issue Of Israel Today's Digital Magazine Has been Published!

European media reported on "terrible riots" in the country. Readers have called our editorial offices in Jerusalem inquiring about the uprising that had broken out on the occasion of the "Jerusalem Declaration". This is just one example of the distorted picture of Israel being propagated after the US President's announcement...

More than a month has passed, the Christian world has celebrated Christmas and the New Year, and the world has not ended just because of the recent US declaration that "Jerusalem is Israel's rightful capital."

"Washington's turnaround on Israel and Jerusalem is too good to be true," said some Israeli politicians.

Who is more upset about Trump's Jerusalem Declaration - the Arab population or the Europeans?

Will Israel be coerced into "paying the price" of Jerusalem effectively being taken off the table of the peace process?

Read about the answers and opinions regarding this, and many other topics in the current edition!

Not yet a Digital Magazine subscriber? Sign up and get your magazine before anyone else!


Palestinian Leader Abbas Fails to Eject Trump From the Peace Process

The Palestinian leadership knows that its full demands will never be met while US President Donald Trump is in office.

At least not so long as America is the primary broker in Middle East peace process.

As such, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is making every effort to eject Trump's America from that role and bring in another third party more sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative.

A week after publicly wishing for Trump's house to be destroyed, Abbas' quest took him to Brussels, where he entreated the European Union to officially recognize the "State of Palestine" and taken the reins of the peace process.

While one nation, Slovenia, agreed to recognize Palestine, and the EU promised to take a more "central" role in the peace process, Abbas ultimately failed in his mission.

In agreeing that the EU should be more prominently represented in the peace process, the union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, nevertheless stated that "no effort will ever bring the two sides to the table if the international multilateral framework does not include the United States."

In other words, no Trump, no deal.


WATCH: Israeli Army Shows Hamas Terror Tunnel


Help Israel's "Lone Soldiers" During This Winter!

Israel's Golan Heights is situated at the base of Mount Hermon, Israel's highest peak. The last few weeks there have been repeated snowfalls recorded. Currently the snow is approximately 20 to 30cm deep.

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With the help of your donations, which will be distributed soon, soldiers will be able to buy warm clothes, caps, gloves or blankets. Help us help Israel's "Lone Soldiers" by providing them a warm environment that they lack right now!


Israelis Ecstatic, Palestinians Furious Over Pence's Knesset Speech

US Vice President Mike Pence addressed Israel's Knesset on Monday, and he said all the right things, if you're Israeli, that is.

Pence told his Israeli hosts that the US Embassy would move to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, that the Trump Administration would never let Iran obtain nuclear weapons, and that it is pressing the Palestinians to return to peace negotiations on Israel's terms.

There was an overabundance of praise for Pence's speech from Israeli leaders.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan gushed that "we are fortunate to have merited to hear his solemn and moving words," which Erdan called "historic" and "moving."

"Today is an exciting day," said the minister, before describing Pence as "a great leader who really loves us with all his heart, not as a politician, but out of deep faith and understanding of the role and mission of the Jewish state."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked added her appreciation for Pence's "very Zionist" speech.

Needless to say, Israel's Arab antagonists were less thrilled. In fact, the Arab members of Israel's Knesset interrupted Pence just as his speech began. Every member of the Joint Arab List stood in unison holding signs reading "Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine."

After they were ejected from the plenum according to Knesset protocol, Pence had the perfect response.

"It is deeply humbling for me to stand before this vibrant democracy," said the vice president, highlighting the fact that, contrary to accusations of apartheid, even the most hostile of Israel's citizens are free to voice their opinion.

Pence then continued to hitting back hard at his detractors: "To have the great honor to address this Knesset, the first vice president to be afforded that privilege, here in Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel."

Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat dubbed Pence's remarks a "messianic discourse" and a "gift to extremists."

Erekat said the Palestinian Authority now sees America as part of the problem, rather than one that can facilitate a solution.


US VP Mike Pence Arrives in Israel, is Greeted by Netanyahu


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