Jews Saved From 'Amalekite' Clinton

There were some very interesting reactions in Israel to the victory of Donald Trump, and the defeat of Hillary Clinton. Come take a look.

The full article appears in the December 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Israel Tour With Jesus

A unique journey of discovering Jesus, the Jew, in today’s Israel is offered in a new book.

Bobbie Ann Cole, a Jew who found her Messiah in Jerusalem, turns tour guide as – with her pen in Love Triangles (Scrollchest.com) – she paints a fascinating picture of life in the Holy Land.

Surprised and overwhelmed by the worship at a ‘Christian’ congregation in the nation’s capital, Bobbie subsequently committed her life to Jesus and was discipled at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, in London.

Her new-found faith so deepened her love for Israel that she made aliyah (immigrated to the Jewish state) with her new Canadian husband Butch. But in time they felt so uncomfortable and marginalised as Jews who followed Jesus that they retreated to their homes in the diaspora.

Bobbie takes issue with the Israeli community in general over why Messianic Jews are treated as lepers – persecuted just as they were in the first century – particularly in view of repeated claims of freedom of worship being sacrosanct in the only Middle East democracy.

Application forms for potential immigrants are now said to include ‘Messianic Judaism’ as an option to tick from a variety of branches of the faith. Although this appears to recognize Jewish believers in Jesus, it would seem instead to be a trap leading to rejection, she claims.

Though, at some 20,000, still representing a tiny proportion of Israel’s population, the worldwide Messianic movement has seen exponential growth in recent years with estimates ranging as high as 350,000, roughly the number of Jews living in the UK today.

On a positive note, however, Bobbie waxes lyrical about the beauty of the country and takes the reader on a guided tour to emphasize the Jewish roots of the Christian faith in light of the Tenach and how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies and Jewish feasts. She writes of how Christ can be traced throughout Scripture, even to Joseph interpreting the dreams of the baker and cupbearer – linking the baker, who was impaled on a pole, to Jesus’ crucifixion and the cupbearer, who was restored to his position, to the resurrection after the sharing of bread and wine at the Last Supper.

The author also demonstrates how an appreciation of the land and its history and culture throws new light on our understanding of Scripture and of Jesus himself, who walked the land in person 2,000 years ago and who comes alive in a deeper way as we retrace his steps from Bethlehem to Nazareth, Capernaum on the shores of Galilee and down to Jerusalem where he gave himself as the ultimate Passover Lamb before rising again and returning to his Father. And it is also the land to which he will return as the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Revelation 5.5).

This is a challenging and inspiring book that will deepen your faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, who came to save the world and bring peace to those who seek it.

 

Passing Through Fire

While Israel is still trying to assess the damage caused by hundreds of fires across the country, testimonies of people whose lives were spared begin to surface. 

Yated Ne'eman, the daily newspaper of the Israeli-Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox school, has published in its November 29 issue a special article highlighting what it sees as God's providence in protecting people in miraculous ways. Not surprisingly, Yated Ne'eman brings the stories of members of the religious community who went through the fire.

Rabbi Moshe Adler, CEO of United Hatzalah of Haifa (an Orthodox Jewish "Red Cross" equivalent), who worked alongside the firefighters, said that nothing of what happened should be taken for granted. "There were obvious miracles here," he said. "People were experiencing miracles amid great tribulation. We should recognize it and give thanks to God. We have seen God's providence with our own eyes." 

Jews, by the way, are commanded to proclaim God's miracles, as it is said, "give praise to the Lord … tell of all his wonderful acts." This is why during the coming feast of Hanukkah people walking through religious neighborhoods will be able to note the burning candles of the Menorah placed by the windows to proclaim the miracle of the Temple's rededication at the time of the Maccabees.

Rabbi Rosenberg recalls his mother-in-law's miracle. "The whole apartment was completely burnt," he said, "except one thing –  the Menorah." A paramedic of United Hatzalah told Yated Ne'eman how he had to use a garden hose to contain the fire. "This was an obvious miracle," he said, "that our building didn't burn … it was divine providence. There is no other way to explain it. It wasn't in the natural power of the garden hose to contain the fire."

These and other similar stories brought the newspaper to conclude that "these tribulations did not happen by chance, rather it was a warning from heaven for the people on earth, that they may repent."      

 

Obama Not Expected to Harm Israel On His Way Out

A report based on information from senior US officials suggests that outgoing US President Barack Obama will not try to force any “peace” moves on Israel during his final weeks in office.

According to the Associated Press, Obama now has no intention of presenting one last peace proposal or of altering US policy by recognizing Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.

Prior to last month’s US presidential election, many were certain that Obama, like Bill Clinton years earlier, would in fact use his final weeks in office to try to secure for himself a positive legacy regarding the Middle East conflict.

But the surprise electoral victory of Donald Trump seems to have saved Israel from that particular headache.

The AP report suggested that knowing Trump would simply shelf any final proposal he put forward, Obama prefers not to leave office amidst public confrontation regarding his views on Israel.

 

Did Israelis Convince American Christians to Vote Trump?

Shocking evidence that Israel managed to convince most American Evangelical Christians to vote for Donald Trump.

The full article appears in the December 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Israel Reportedly Strikes Arms Convoy Near Damascus

Arab media reported overnight that Israeli aircraft had entered Syria and bombed an arms convoy near the capital of Damascus.

The Syrian regime’s official news agency confirmed the strike, and accused Israel of trying to “divert attention from the successes achieved by the Syrian Arab army and to raise the deteriorating morals of the terrorist gangs,” by which it meant all rebel groups in the country.

But more likely is that Israel bombed this particular convoy because it was transferring weapons to Hezbollah forces, which are fighting on the side of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Israel has vowed to do everything possible to prevent Hezbollah from strengthening as a result of the Syrian civil war.

The incident comes just days after Israel battled ISIS terrorists operating on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

 

30 Years to Fully Recover From Israel Fires

Israeli experts lamented that it could take as much as 30 years to fully recover from the wave of fires that ravaged the country over the past two weeks.

While hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed by the flames (mostly in the Haifa and Jerusalem areas) huge tracts of forests, including entire nature reserves, were decimated.

Current estimates are that well over 35,000 acres of forest were destroyed, and much of the wildlife living there was killed.

“While some of the foxes and hyenas and other animals managed to flee the fires, others were not so lucky. Snakes and turtles for example, did not survive,” Uri Naveh, head of the Nature and Parks Authority Jerusalem District, told Israel’s Ynet news portal.

We invite you to join with us in restoring the Land following this tragedy.

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Iranian General: Israel Will Fall Within 10 Years

A senior Iranian army commander last week assessed that Israel would be destroyed sometime in the next 10 years as a result of further Islamic revolutions in the region.

Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Reza Naqdi (pictured) told a gathering of students near Tehran that their own nation’s Islamic Revolution had succeeded in ejecting the US from Iran, repulsing Saddam Hussein and forcing an American withdrawal from Lebanon.

“Considering these achievements, the liberation of Palestine [sic] by the Islamic Revolution is not unlikely at all,” he stated in remarks carried by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.

Earlier in the month, Gen. Naqdi predicted that the US itself would only last another 20 years, and that it’s collapse had been accelerated by the election of Donald Trump as president.

“According to the analysis made by the behind-the-stage and shadow decision-makers of the establishment in the US, the United States will collapse in 2035 and I think that it is an optimistic analysis as this will take place much earlier,” the general said.

 

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Israel Battles ISIS on Golan Heights

Israeli soldiers operating along the border between Israel and Syria on Sunday came under attack from terrorists affiliated with ISIS.

The soldiers were conducting a mission in the buffer zone between the two countries, but still inside Israeli territory, when they came under small arms and mortar fire.

Israel Air Force aircraft quickly responded, destroying a pick-up truck with a mounted machine gun and its four passengers.

“It was a short exchange, but it was productive,” said IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

Later that night, Israeli aircraft bombed a facility in Syria that had been used as a base of operations by ISIS.

The target was an “abandoned UN building that has been used by the Islamic State as an operations center along the border in the southern Syrian Golan Heights,” read an army statement. “This is an additional response to yesterday’s attack, and it is aimed at preventing the terrorists from returning to the installation which poses a significant threat.”

 

A Tree of Life

After the numerous wars and intifadas (Arab uprisings) Israel can include another conflagration in the history books: "The war for our own possessions" with a "fire intifada"! This is not new terror but rather just another way to fight Israel!
Since last Tuesday, the 22nd of November when the first fire was intentionally set, the Israeli fire service and rearguard soldiers have fought the flames in numerous places like Haifa and the Jerusalem mountains. More than 500 homes and houses have been completely destroyed and in Haifa more than 60,000 people were evacuated at the height of the fires. Firefighting aircraft from all over the world helped to fight the fires. Israel's citizens have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder in support, among them Arab citizens, who opened their hearts and doors to fire victims.
Approximately 3,000 acres of forests in Haifa and the Jerusalem hills have been destroyed. Now the houses have to be rebuilt and the forests have to be replanted. It will take years and, in some cases, even decades until nature regenerates itself.
The coverage of this event has been very scant in the West. With Israel Today you will not miss out on what is happening in the Holy Land.
For every annual subscription purchased we will plant a tree on your behalf.
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Palestinian Authority Mourns Passing of Fidel Castro

Palestinian Authority officials on Sunday issued a number of statements mourning the passing of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Castro broke off Cuba’s diplomatic relations with Israel in 1973 in support of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s campaign against the Jewish state.

Through the PLO was seen by most nations as a terrorist organization, Castro officially recognized the group and its leader, Yasser Arafat, as the legitimate representatives of “Palestine.”

Castro and Arafat had a long and warm friendship as fellow “revolutionaries.”

Israeli leaders were for the most part mum on Castro’s passing. The long-time Cuban leader had a complicated relationship with Israel and the Jews.

Castro initially was supportive of Israel, but, most believe, as a result of Cold War alliances ended up supporting the Palestinian cause. But that never stopped Castro from preventing antisemitism in Cuba.

In his later years, Castro did publicly recognize Israel and even indirectly praised the tenacity of the Jewish nation.

 

WATCH: American Supertanker in Action Near Jerusalem

Twenty-nine aircraft are currently taking part in the battle against fires raging across Israel, among them the US 747 Supertanker.

The Supertanker was spotted over the weekend helping to contain a fire that destroyed part of the Jerusalem-area village of Nataf.

Thousands of exhausted firefighters continue to battle blazes, which now number over 600 in the past week.

The northern port city of Haifa and the Jerusalem corridor have been hardest hit. Hundreds of homes have burned, and over 75,000 have been evacuated, many of them with nothing to return to.

The fires have so far consumed 32,000 acres of forest, 30 percent more than the disastrous Carmel Forest fire of 2010.

We are calling on our faithful readers at this critical time to help us restore Israel’s woodlands.

Amidst this tragedy, join us in truly lifting Israel up and planting the land.

CLICK HERE to plant a tree today!

 

Black Friday Means Something Else This Year in Israel

Today, all over the world people are marking Black Friday with major sales and a lot of shopping. Israelis usually like to participate in this, but this year many have more important matters to deal with.

While the rest of the world is taking advantage of Black Friday sales, Israelis are trying to keep their country from turning black.

Black clouds are covering the heavens, and this holy land is being scorched as hundreds of wildfires, many of them acts of arson, continue to rage, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

And the strong winds that are spreading the fires are expected to continue until the middle of next week, keeping Israel on high alert, and its exhausted firefighters working overtime.

Already large forested areas outside Haifa and Jerusalem have been destroyed.

We are calling on our faithful readers at this critical time to help us restore Israel’s woodlands.

Amidst this tragedy, join us in truly lifting Israel up and planting the land.

CLICK HERE to plant a tree today!

 

Some Arabs Rejoice Over Israel Fires, Others Shelter Victims

While many Arabs in the Palestinian Authority and across the Middle East celebrated the wildfires currently ravaging Israel, a number of Arab municipalities offered to shelter victims being forced by the flames to evacuate their homes.

The hashtag #israelisburning is now trending on Arabic-language social media, with many Palestinians and those in neighboring countries viewing the fires as divine retribution against Israel.

Video clips of joyous celebrations during which Allah is thanked for punishing the Jews have gone viral in recent days.

In reality, Israeli officials believe many, if not most, of the fires were set by terrorist arsonists. Already 12 suspects have been arrested, and many more are being questioned.

But while many Arabs further afield are pleased by the fiery destruction, most of those living closer to the blazes realize they are in the same boat as their Jewish countrymen, and are looking to help.

Several of the larger Arab municipalities on Thursday notified the government and the municipalities of those cities most endangered, like Haifa, that their towns were open to shelter both Jews and Arabs forced to evacuate their homes.

More than 75,000 Israelis have had to flee their homes as firefighters struggle to contain the fires. At one point, more than 200 fires were burning simultaneously. At least 100 homes have already been destroyed.

The Palestinian Authority also dispatched some of its firefighting teams to help the Israelis. They will join teams that have already arrived from Russia, Turkey, Greece and Croatia. On Thursday night it was reported that the US would send its supertanker firefighting plane to battle the inferno.

But worrying to many Israelis is that if indeed the fires represent a new form of Muslim terror, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to fully bring an end to the blazes without a tremendous amount of rainfall. And all predictions are that this will be a very dry winter.

 

Israel Thrilled by Trump's Appointment of Nikki Haley

Israel was among the first, and was certainly the most exuberant of UN member states to welcome US President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to the world body.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was selected for the position on Wednesday, and Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon immediately hailed the decision.

Haley is a “longstanding and true friend of Israel,” wrote Danon in a statement that went on to note the governor’s “outspoken [fight] against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in her state and throughout the US.”

While laws pushed through by Haley do not mention Israel specifically, they forbid state bodies from doing business with any companies or individuals who are engaged in a boycott against an entity with which South Carolina does trade.

Earlier this year, Haley promised that if the Republicans won the recent election they would, contrary to the Obama Administration, “make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.”

Danon vowed that with Haley filling the critical position of US Ambassador to the UN, “we at the Israeli mission will continue to work in full partnership with our friends in the American Mission, as we further strengthen the special bond and shared values between Israel and the US.”

 

Exhausted Firefighters Battling 'Hundreds of Fires'

An Israel Fire Department official told Army Radio on Thursday that exhausted firefighters across the country continue to battle “hundreds of fires.”

Strong winds and unseasonably dry weather small brush fires to become raging wildfires in a number of locations from the Galilee to the northern Negev.

Thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from their homes and schools as fires encroach on local communities and heavy smoke fills the air. In at least one town, Zichron Ya’akov, several homes suffered severe fire damage and numerous parked vehicles were destroyed.

Israeli officials are increasingly convinced that at least some of the fires are the work of arsonists. “I know for a fact that they tried to set fire to the department’s station in Haifa deliberately to cause the Haifa fire department to be paralyzed,” local firefighter Shimon Ben Ner told Army Radio.

“There is no doubt that this is terror activity whose aim is to damage the State of Israel and the beautiful landscapes that it is building,” Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan told Arutz 7. “I have no doubt that we’re talking about terror. They’re lighting fires next to Jewish communities which are now in danger.”

Together, let's do our part to help Israel recover and further fulfill the biblical injunction to plant the land.

Would you consider joining us in planting trees to replace those that have burned?

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COMMENTARY: Will We Succeed Where Our Forefathers Failed?

Views expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Israel Today.

A long, long time ago, our forefathers were presented with the greatest opportunity the human race had ever been given. A chance to enter the Sabbath rest of God. 

But by a decisive vote of 10 to 2 they turned it down and said, “We want to go back to Egypt.”  

Their failure came as no surprise given they’d already flunked the first nine tests of faith they’d faced.  But this one was their final exam. This time their unbelief would sentence them to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness until they dropped dead. Worse, they condemned countless generations of descendants to continue wandering in the harsh wilderness of Satan’s world system. 

And so the golden opportunity was lost. That was untilan unnamed saint observed new hope hidden in the Scriptures. In his epistle titled, “Hebrews,” he revealed his exciting discovery that the Sabbath rest promised to Israel had not been forfeited. That it had only been postponed. God was going to give us another chance. 

The revelation came when he read in the Psalms, “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me in the day of trial in the wilderness…and I swore in my wrath they shall not enter My rest” (Heb. 3:7-11; Ps. 95:7-11). In that moment he heard two important things. 

First, that one day God would speak again concerning another opportunity to enter His rest. And second, that it was a misconception to think that Israel had already entered that rest under Joshua. They hadn’t. Because David, the one who had written those words of hope, lived long after Joshua’s day! Therefore, as rewarding as entering the land was, it was not the glorious reward God had prepared for them. His day of rest and universal peace would have to wait until some tomorrow.

That prompted the Writer to echo David’s grave warning to us: when “Today” does come don’t make the same mistake our forefathers did. Implying, if we fail to enter this time we’ll find ourselves in an even worse place than our forefathers. No doubt in the “outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12) wailing like Esau, when we see what we could have had, but lost through unbelief. Because “we set our minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:19).

So what exactly is this “Sabbath rest of God” that awaits us?  As the Writer reveals, it’s the seventh day of creation. It’s the fulfillment of all the Sabbath rests Moses had instructed Israel to keep. It seems God, after creating the natural world in six days, created a supernatural spiritual environment of rest and peace for us on the seventh day. After finishing His work He then entered that seventh day Himself and rested. He has been waiting there ever since for His chosen ones in Messiah to join Him - and “recline at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Matt. 8:11).

This long-awaited seventh day is most commonly known as the Kingdom of God. Or the thousand-year reign of Messiah. Or “the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:21). It will be a time when “the wolf will dwell with the lamb” (Isa.11:6). When “nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again learn war” (Isa. 2:4). It is characterized by the spiritual rest Yeshua invited all who believe in him to experience right now! “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  

To enter God’s rest in Messiah we must cease from works of the flesh, either to secure ourselves in God’s kingdom. Or to secure ourselves in this world system.  “For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His” (Heb. 3:10). We must begin to put our complete trust in God to reckon us righteous, fulfill His purposes in our life and provide for all our needs. “For I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread” (Ps. 37:25).

In short, it’s a walk of faith from start to finish. It’s a way of life that can only be learned through trial and error, because it’s completely unnatural for our flesh to just take God at His word.  We want to walk by sight. But we’d better keep at it, relying on God’s Spirit to teach us. For one day His voice will sound again, inviting us to enter His rest. And I believe we are very close.

The question is, will we have the faith to go forward? Or will we follow in the tragic footsteps of our forefathers? “Therefore let us be diligent [now]to enter that rest so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11). 

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

BLACK FRIDAY SALE

The Thanksgiving sale frenzy, that has become a tradition in the USA, has captivated consumers all over the world! Even we at Israel Today Shop are offering you unprecedented discounts!

Bargain watchers!

We will be celebrating Black Friday, not for one day, but for a whole week!
Do not miss our Black Week Sale through November 27th, 2016!
Only while stocks last!

* Offer valid until November 27th, 2016!


 

Terrorist Arson Suspected as Wildfires Rage Across Israel

Israeli officials suspect that at least some of the wildfires raging across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday were set intentionally by pro-Palestinian nationalists.

As multiple brush fires erupted and were quickly spread by strong winds and unseasonably dry weather, thousands of Israelis had to be evacuated from their homes in both the northern and central parts of the country.

In the northern town of Zichron Yaakov, firefighters were unable to prevent one blaze from entering the community and destroying a number of homes and numerous parked vehicles.

So severe was the situation that Israel strongly considered exercising civil emergency aid treaties with Greece and Croatia, which would oblige both nations to send firefighters and aircraft to help battle the inferno.

“When you have simultaneous fires raging you can’t rule out the possibility of arson. All leads are being pursued, but our first priority is to extinguish the fire. The extreme weather is making it difficult, and we are preparing for an intense couple of days,” Fire and Rescue Services Coastal District Commander Amos Yaakov told Israel Hayom.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also noted on Twitter the fact that so many fires had started all at once, and said the possibility of arson would be vigorously investigated.

In the meantime, we want to do our part to help Israel recover and further fulfill the biblical injunction to plant the land.

Would you consider joining us in planting trees to replace those that were burned?

CLICK HERE to plant a tree today

 

'What Kind of God is This?'

A Ugandan pastor severely injured by Islamic opponents of his faith has made a stirring appeal for British Christians to help their persecuted brothers in other parts of the world.

Umar Mulinde, who was badly burned by an acid attack outside his church five years ago, was speaking to a congregation in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, during a brief tour of the UK following treatment by Israeli doctors.

His challenge coincides with reports of an assassination attempt in Nigeria on Baroness Caroline Cox by Fulani Islamic militants who have wreaked havoc among Christian communities in the area. Baroness Cox, a committed Christian, is a religious freedom campaigner and cross-bench member of the House of Lords.

Umar’s plea also comes amid ongoing reports of violence against Christians in his country despite the fact that Muslims are in a minority there. Even in the UK, former Muslims who have converted to Christianity are not safe, as indicated by the case of Nissar Hussain whose family had to be moved from their Bradford home under police protection following years of harassment.

Umar, now 40, suffered the “nightmare” of being “excommunicated” from his large Muslim family after deciding to follow Jesus. And having been taught to hate Jews, his heart melted when he understood from the Scriptures how much God loved them.

“I have survived a dozen attempts on my life through guns, bombs and poison. On Christmas Eve 2011, as I was coming out of church, I was followed by extremists who, just as I was about to enter the car, poured acid on my face. Any metal other than gold will immediately dissolve in such a concoction, so you can imagine what happened to my skin.”

A skin transplant and specialist hospital treatment only available in Israel has done much to repair his face, but it is clearly a serious handicap requiring constant dabbing of his injured mouth while speaking.

Recounting the attack, he said: “I screamed, ‘Jesus!’ But they shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great!) They were praising God while hurting me. What kind of God is that?

“But for you to see me standing here is a miracle. Jesus has spared my life.”

He then turned his focus to the suffering of Christians the world over and warned: “No country can say they are safe. It’s a matter of time. This is not prophecy; it’s a reality. Even in the UK you are sitting on a time-bomb.”

The persecution of Christians was a matter the Church in the West needed to address with the utmost urgency, he said, pointing out that, though the Ugandan constitution guarantees religious freedom and more than 80 per cent of the population is Christian, converts from Islam there are still persecuted.

“If one part of the body is hurting, the whole body suffers,” he said, quoting St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians on the subject of unity in the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12.26)

“I have buried people who have been strangled and poisoned just because of converting from Islam to Christianity.”

He suggested that it wasn’t ‘Islamophobia’ we should be concerned about, but ‘Christophobia’. Efforts by media and politicians to defend Islam as a “peaceful religion” were deceptive.

“Victims of persecution feel their Christian brothers have betrayed them,” he said, adding that he was in touch with friends in Aleppo, Syria, who had witnessed the beheading of dozens of believers. He had a video to prove it, but did not recommend watching it in view of its gruesome scenes.

Having expelled Jews from Arab lands, Islamic fundamentalists are now driving away Christians, he said. Whatever injustice is visited on Jews will sooner or later be visited on others, unless they do something to help. After the world was largely silent as violent attacks were committed on innocent bystanders in Jerusalem, bloodthirsty terrorists struck London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin as part of an ongoing attempt to bring the whole world under Islamic rule.

“Israel’s war is our war if you are a Christian. I’m not a preacher of hate. I love Muslims and pray for them every day, even those who attacked me with acid. In fact the first thing I did at the time was to ask God to forgive them!

“Like it or not, the invasion is on. The Muslim extremists are trying their best to use intimidation and violence in order to establish an Islamic world empire under Sharia Law. There are even some places in the UK where the British police can’t go.”

Quoting a number of Quran verses calling for violence against ‘infidels’ (non-believers), he said: “Every non-Muslim is a candidate for death,” adding: “If a church prays and does nothing, it will be defeated.”

 

Other Countries Muffle Mosques, But Israel Cannot?

Quite the controversy is raging over Israel’s proposed legislation aimed at muffling the five daily Muslim calls to prayer from local mosques. In recent decades, the call of the muezzin has been amplified by multiple loudspeakers, resulting in tremendous noise pollution starting at 4:30 AM every morning.

While Jewish residents have been most vocal in complaining about the muezzin loudspeakers, local Muslims have expressed outrage over the bill, which last week gained approval from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet.

Arab Members of Knesset say the bill will limit religious freedom for Muslims in the country, and the Palestinian Authority has threatened to take the matter to the UN Security Council.

But when pressed on the issue, many local Muslims admit that the volume of the muezzin’s call is often excessive.

Nor has similar legislation in Muslim countries ever elicited such opposition.

In Egypt, for example, the use of loudspeakers to amplify the muezzin’s call is restricted. Muslim scholars at Al-Azhar University previously determined that the loudspeakers are a modern invention, and therefore have nothing to do with the Islamic law that mandates calling the faithful to prayer.

The spokesman for the Israel Embassy in London reminded everyone via Twitter that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also has a problem with noise pollution as a result of amplified daily calls to prayer.

The Arabic-language daily The National reported in 2011 that the UAE had limited the volume of mosque loudspeakers following repeated complaints by Muslim residents.

In June 2015, the AFP reported that Indonesia’s vice president had established an investigative committee to look into the problem of noise pollution caused by mosque loudspeakers. As the largest Muslim population country in the world, Indonesia has hundreds of thousands of mosques all blaring their calls to prayer at the same time.

Even in Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, the government ruled that calls to prayer could only be amplified by a mosque’s indoor loudspeakers, and no longer using the loudspeakers fixed to the top of the minaret. The Arabic-language news portal Arab News reported over a year ago that Saudi imams had been required to remove the loudspeakers atop their minarets.

In Europe, Switzerland decided nine years ago to ban minarets altogether, and in Cologne, Germany approval to build a new mosque was only granted in 2007 after the local Muslim community undertook in write not to use loudspeakers to amplify its calls to prayer.

None of these decisions resulted in international crises.

The fact is that the excessive volume of the muezzin is a nuisance first and foremost to Muslim residents, and that includes in Israel. I personally know many Muslims in the Jerusalem area who can’t stand the daily harassment of the loudspeakers.

But the moment Israel’s government dares to intervene (and in exactly the same way as Muslims governments have in recent years) it is accused of being discriminatory and racist.

 

Wildfire Rages in Central Israel

A large wildfire broke out during the night near Latrun in central Israel. The fire is believed to have been started accidentally by people cooking in a nearby forest. Strong winds soon spread the blaze to surrounding areas.

On Tuesday morning, more than 140 firefighters and some 10 aircraft were involved in trying to control the fire. The nearby village of Neve Shalom was fully evacuated as the flames inched closer to its location.

 

The December issue of Israel Today Magazine has been published!

We are currently offering you a choice of gifts when you subscribe for an annual print subscription of Israel Today Magazine

You can read the following, and more articles, in December's Israel Today Magazine.

"Hineni - here I am Lord!" - Leonard Cohen
Israelis Convinced Christians to Vote Trump
Who was crucified on Calvary?
New Evidence about David and Goliath
Mysteries of the Scarlet Thread



 

The Political Correctness of Women in Combat

Four young women recently graduated the IDF's prestigious Ground Forces Officers Course, again signaling the Israeli army's intention to fully integrate women in all combat roles. 

The four will all serve as officers in the Lions of Jordan Battalion, one of three co-ed battalions tasked with "routine security" along some of Israel's volatile borders, which is nevertheless not viewed as "full" combat.

At the same time, the IDF is starting a new experimental program to fully integrate women into the Armored Corps. Women can already serve in the Armored Corps, but not (yet) as tank crew members. The program aims to determine how mixed tank crews function under normal training conditions. If successful, women would be able to join any combat role in the IDF except for elite special forces.

These further efforts to integrate women into combat roles were probably inspired by the conduct of female security forces over the past two years amid the wave of "lone wolf" Palestinian terror attacks. Female officers serving in the Border Police time and again proved to be as competent and courageous as their male comrades. 

Of course, as the name indicates, serving in the Border Police is not the same as facing full-scale combat in a time of war.

Many in Israel are questioning why we are now repeating the failed experiment of 2015, when the ability of women to serve in the Armored and Artillery corps was thoroughly examined. At the time, the army's psychological and medical experts concluded that "the attempt to train women for frontline combat roles (which is beyond their physical ability) for the sake of 'equality' may result in many injuries just to find the one woman who can cope with the required physical demands." 

The army also argued that a woman's special privacy needs couldn't be accommodated by crew operating for days at a time in their tanks.

It is no secret that the IDF was forced into equal opportunity by the Supreme Court back in 1995, following the appeal of Alice Miller, who sued the military for her right to enlist into the prestigious Aviation Course. In a historic decision, the court deemed the ban on female recruits to the Aviation Course to be unconstitutional. 

Backed by the likes of the feminist Women's Lobby and the ultra-liberal Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the case effectively transformed the issue of women in combat from a professional discussion to an ideological crusade.

The IDF's present efforts to find ways for women to serve in all military units have elicited harsh criticism from retired colonels and generals who think that such ideology can only be detrimental to the army as it takes precedent over real military demands.

Col. (ret.) Raz Sagi was especially alarmed: "It will turn the IDF into something which is not combatant. This is not about women, but about unqualified people … men included, of whom not all are qualified to serve in Golani or the Paratroopers … (By this) I understand that it was decided to turn the IDF into something that does not fight." Sagi concluded by saying he hopes that the report is nothing more than a canard. If not, he said, "we better know how to swim to the nearest shore, which is Cyprus. And that's a long swim."

Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yiftah Ron-Tal took a similar position. Though later he apologized for suggesting it, Ron-Tal initially accused a left-wing NGO of deliberately trying to weaken the IDF. "There are evidences, and I am being very careful, that the purpose of this initiative – is the weakening of the IDF," he told Israel Radio.

Right-wing activist Noam Federman, a resident of Hebron, wrote yesterday on Facebook: "This is the second week in which female soldiers of the Lions of Jordan Battalion are securing the road from Kiryat Arba to the Cave of the Patriarchs. But, as it turns out, a back-up paratrooper platoon is present, just in case … By placing women in Hamas-dominated Hebron, the IDF is sending a message of weakness and flaccidity … that invites terror."

Whether it is a good idea or not, it is clear that the question of women in combat has turned completely political, which means that the future fighting capability of the IDF will now be dictated by political correctness.

 

Jerusalem Ready To Build, A Lot

The Jerusalem Municipality is set to discuss a new building project in the northern neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo that will see 1,400 new apartments added to the area, which sits on the side of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians.

The project is one of the largest single construction plans in recent years, and it has a lot to do with the outcome of the US presidential election.

Until now, building plans in Ramat Shlomo and other “controversial” neighborhoods has been restrained by criticism from Washington. But following Donald Trump’s surprise victory, city officials say it is not only time to build, but to build big.

“Here in Jerusalem, we behave as if Donald Trump had already taken office as president, but no one knows what his policies will be,” warned a member of the municipality’s construction committee in a radio interview.

The Ramat Shlomo plan had been shelved years ago following harsh opposition from the Obama Administration. But now it, and others like it, are unexpectedly back on the agenda.

 

BLACK FRIDAY SALE

The Thanksgiving sale frenzy, that has become a tradition in the USA, has captivated consumers all over the world! Even we at Israel Today Shop are offering you unprecedented discounts!

Bargain watchers!

We will be celebrating Black Friday, not for one day, but for a whole week!
Do not miss our Black Week Sale from today through November 27th, 2016!
Only while stocks last!

* Offer valid until November 27th, 2016!


 

Trump Presidency: So Far, So Good For Israel

Israel has high expectations for the presidency of Donald Trump, and the Republican president-elect’s first round of political appointments did not disappoint.

Trump at the weekend named Rep. Michael Pompeo as the next director of the CIA, and Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor.

Both Pompeo and Flynn have taken hard lines in regards to Islamic terror, and both are believed to be opposed to the Iran nuclear agreement.

Pompeo is also a retired Army officer, and a graduate of both West Point and Harvard Law School. Troubling to many liberals is his advocacy for government surveillance and the use of “enhanced” interrogation against foreign terrorists.

“These positions and others merit serious public scrutiny through a confirmation process,” insisted Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But Pompeo will face a Republican-dominated Congress, and is already well-regarded by many Democrats, including those with whom he disagrees.

“Mike is very bright and hard-working, and will devote himself to helping the agency develop the best possible intelligence for policy makers,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “I know that he is someone who is willing to listen and engage.”

Israel is most pleased by Pompeo’s outright opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement. “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” he tweeted last week.

General Flynn is a bit more of a mixed bag. He has said controversial things about the liberal Jewish community in America. At the same time, he is very warm toward Israel, and will take a no-nonsense approach to combatting the forces of radical Islam.

 

Piqapoo - Israeli Low-Tech At Its Best

Israel is known to be a high-tech wonder, but what about its low-tech contributions?

Well, a new Israeli Kickstarter campaign goes as low as possible. As its brilliant name indicates, Piqapoo is supposed to help dog owners to collect their pets’ poo. Israel, like other Western countries, obligates dog owners to collects their animal’s excrement. This is an unpleasant task no matter how much you love your pet.

Israeli inventor Gideon Hazan claims that with Piqapoo, the task becomes so easy a blind person could do it.

Piqapoo is brilliantly simple. A silicone clip holding a plastic bag is attached to the dog’s tail. The droppings fall into the beg that easily detaches from the clip. This hands-free, no-scooping device comes in different sizes to fit different tails. Hazan insists that dogs easily adjust to the device.

But even this simple device has already triggered anger among some animal rights activists, who claim that denies the dogs’ right to mark their territory. Still, this funny-looking thing dangling on a dog’s tail may just be the answer that so many dog owners have been waiting for.

 

Israel Braces for Another Dry Winter

The climate models for the upcoming winter in Israel are not encouraging. For eight years Israel has been going through dry winters. In the last few weeks this topic has often been discussed in the media. Most fear a dry winter, with or without the models.

Even though Israel’s desalination plants are increasingly responsible for national water supplies, they are not an alternative to the necessary rainfall. The water level of the country’s main reservoirs are falling every year.

Israel’s Meteorological Service reported this week that there is a 35 percent chance of a rainy winter, a 37 percent change of an average winter, and a 27 percent chance of a dry winter. It would seem difficult to accurately predict what kind of winter we will have from these numbers.

“The models in our region have never been accurate compared to tropical areas,” explained Dr. Yoav Levi, who heads the Research Department of the Meteorological Service. “In the past five years, we have only twice accurately projected the winter months.”

For Dr. Baruch Ziv, a climate researcher at the Open University in Tel Aviv, the real start of winter is still to come. “A few weeks will pass before the first fierce rain will arrive in Israel,” Ziv told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. “This is a problem for us. A November without precipitation is an expensive problem for our farmers, as they have to irrigate their dry fields with the irrigation system.”

Dr. Ziv also pointed out that precipitation in Central Europe has intensified considerably in recent years. But Israel is always left out. In 2010, Israel was surprised when a dry November was followed by a massive snowstorm in December.

“The climate is shifting, and this makes it very difficult to offer reliable weather forecasts,” said Dr. Ziv. Nevertheless, local farmers and religious Jews continue to pray that the land will be abundantly blessed this winter, despite the forecasts.

 

COMMENTARY: UNESCO’s Temple Mount Decision Should be Apolitical

The following is an article submitted by Turkish Muslim intellectual Adnon Oktar. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Israel Today, but is an important insight into how many Muslims view the question of the Temple Mount.

UNESCO’s decision that "Al-Aqsa Mosque had no affiliation to Judaism" met with a strong reaction from the Jewish world last month. There are, of course, some important points that need to be evaluated and clarified in this decision. The fact that the resolution was backed by twenty-four countries, which have a troubled history with Israel, clearly hinted at the presence of political motives at work. This view is reinforced when we consider the twenty-six countries that abstained from voting. 

The truth is, this resolution is of an unsolicited nature from the beginning. Why?

First of all, the significance of an important religious site such as the Temple Mount for the three Divine religions should not be determined through an international vote, as in the case of this UNESCO resolution. Moreover, it is an undeniable fact from religious and historical perspectives that the Temple Mount is sacred for the three Abrahamic religions. In the Torah, the Temple Mount is described as a sacred location, the Christians deem the site sacred because it is where the Jesus, Messiah was taken up to the Sight of God. And the Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the holiest sites for Muslims, as the Prophet Mohammed’s Mi’raj (ascension) took place here. It was also the first qibla (the direction Muslims face while praying). 

Moreover, in stark contrast to certain Muslim countries’ approach to the matter, the Temple Mount’s relationship to and holiness for the Jews is clearly explained in the Qur'an through many verses:

"We settled the tribe of Israel in a noble place and gave them good things as provision" (10/93), stating that He chose these lands for the Jews. 

As revealed in another verse, the Prophet Moses (pbuh) called upon his people to enter and dwell in the Holy Land: "My people! Enter the Holy Land, which God has ordained for you. Do not turn back in your tracks and so become transformed into losers." (5/21) 

The following verse also reveals the holiness of the site for Jews: *"Remember when We said, ‘Go into this town and eat from it wherever you like, freely. Enter the gate prostrating and say, “Relieve us of our burdens!” Your mistakes will be forgiven. We will grant increase to all good-doers.’” (2/58)

These verses make it abundantly clear that the Muslim countries are making a mistake in their attempts to cover up Jewish link to the site. In pursuit of largely political goals, they seem to be ignoring the clear commandments of the Qur'an. 

Muslims all around the world, rather than trying to prevent a Jewish presence in this holy area, should rejoice in the fact that the Temple Mount is sacred for all three of the Abrahamic religions. As it has for centuries in the past, it can and must be once again, a place where the members of three religions, all those who love Almighty Lord, can worship and thank God in peace. 

It should also be kept in mind that such politically motivated decisions have a potential to incite further division and hostility in an already volatile environment. Therefore it would certainly be a serious mistake to pass such resolutions that defy not only religious facts but also historical truths and common sense. 

UNESCO, on the other hand, should set aside the agenda of certain deep powers, ignore their political interests and base its decisions regarding religious topics on the commandments of the Holy Books. 

Despite all these seemingly mistaken resolutions, righteous and sincere Jews, Christians and Muslims know that there is no preventing the beautiful destiny created by God. Therefore, they are comfortably waiting for the beautiful promise to come true. They know that King Moshiach will open the Ark of the Covenant at the Temple Mount in the presence of Muslims, Christians and Jews. When this happens, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the site is holy and sacred to all three Abrahamic religions, who are joined in their shared love for God. King Moshiach will surely bring ultimate peace to the whole world and the world will clearly understand that what God wants from us is not enmity, but love and peace.

 

Misleading Jewish Believers in Israel

The "lack" of theological schooling and the formal creeds that come with it is an advantage for Israeli Jewish believers, who are consequently freed from burdensome denominational legacies.

The full article appears in the November 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Trump Team Urges Israel to 'Calm Down'

US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has urged Israel to bridle its overt excitement over their candidate’s surprise victory and what it could mean for the Jewish settlement enterprise.

“We’ve been receiving official messages from Trump’s team. They’re expecting us to act modestly,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a press conference on Wednesday. “There are people in his close circle that we know well, they’re telling us ,‘Wait. Don’t set facts on the ground.’”

Lieberman continued by hoping his fellow Israelis will “have enough sense to stop the jubilation and public enthusiasm. It is undoubtedly damaging.”

Numerous Israeli public figures, including government ministers, have hailed Trump’s taking the White House as the end of the failed land-for-peace process and any notion of an independent Palestinian Arab state.

Israeli Jews would enjoy unrestrained approval from the Trump Administration to build in all areas of their biblical heartland, many claimed.

And it could be argued that they were justified in those assertions.

Just a week ago, shortly after his upset win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump’s close legal advisor, Jason Greenblatt, told Israel’s Army Radio that America’s next president “does not view the settlements as being an obstacle for peace.”

Earlier in his campaign, Trump told the UK’s Daily Mail that in regards to the settlement enterprise, Israel must “keep going. They have to keep moving forward.”

Trump has expressed a desire to get involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but insists his administration, contrary to its predecessors, will not impose conditions or formulas on either side.

Lieberman says that Israel must work now to reach an understanding under which the incoming Trump Administration will officially recognize the major Jewish settlement blocs and support much-needed construction within their boundaries.

 

Amona's Fate Is Israel's Own Doing

Some fear that the Israeli Supreme Court's final decision to demolish the settlement of Amona (pictured after its previous demolition in 2006) may mark the beginning of what could be the end of the Jewish settlements. 

Overlooking the town of Ofra, the flagship of the settlement enterprise in the so-called "West Bank," Amona is sought after by the Palestinians as a prime target. This small outpost, they believe, could be the first piece in a legal domino effect that brings an end to the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. 

Amona, which was actually approved by Israel's government in 1995, is slated for demolition no later than December 25, 2016. The 40 families living there will be left to fend for themselves.

But Amona is just a microcosm of Israel's broader unwillingness to declare the rightful sovereign in the West Bank. As such, understanding the Amona case is vitally important. Unfortunately, the mainstream media, which is ideologically committed to the two-state solution, makes it very difficult to get unpolluted information.

Given the above, it is no surprise to hear the residents of Amona referred to as land-stealers. Media commentators who otherwise care little for the Bible (or for truth in general) are using the story Naboth's Vineyard (1 Kings 21) to paint Jewish settlers as modern versions of Ahab and Jezebel. Lest there be any misunderstanding - Israelis, not Palestinians, are using our own legal system to accuse Jews of stealing the Land of Israel.

Finding the truth, therefore, depends much on who one chooses to trust. In this case, I am depending on the trustworthy journalist Yehuda Yifrach, head of the legal desk at Makor Rishon. As a former resident of Amona, he has been closely following the legal case against the outpost since 2004. 

When I told Yifrach that it was difficult to find one's bearings with regards to this story, he said it was the same for many of the settlers themselves, whom the media had managed to confuse. Yifrach sought to clarify the issue in an article entitled "I Saw An Upside-Down World," from which the following extract is taken:

"The petitions of Yesh Din and Peace Now [both extreme left-wing NGOs] didn't come out of concern for the property rights of oppressed Palestinians. They are part of a warfare that uses the law to force Israel to unilaterally withdraw.

"When the Amona case reached the Supreme Court, the Israel Civil Administration [which administers the West Bank] argued that the land [upon which Amona was built] was previously registered to Jordanian officers and sheiks [who claimed it following Jordan's illegal annexation of the West Bank in 1950]. When Amona's case was brought before the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, it was made plain that the land belonging to two out of nine of the [Palestinian] petitioners lies outside the settlement's boundaries.

"The two remaining petitioners owned only half an acre of the settlement's total 123 acres, though the specific location of the plots within this area could not be determined. But the State Attorney's office chose to ignore this, thus turning that half acre into an iodine drop that stained the whole area, even after the petitioners were compensated with 15 acres, instead of the mere half acre they actually owned, at the southern end of the outpost. Rather than recognize a signed agreement between the settlement and the petitioners to partition the land, the Supreme Court adopted the State's position."

Amona will most likely be demolished. But the real crime is the deceitful smearing of the Jewish settlers as land robbers. When asked how the State Attorney's office could fall into the trap of these anti-Israel NGOs, Yifrach lamented that it had done a sloppy job. He added that radical left-wing lawyers employed by the State Attorney's office were working to implement their political agenda.

In the final analysis, though such NGOs are a real menace, Yifrach says, and I must agree, that the responsibility for Amona's fate and whatever that may mean for the settlement enterprise as a whole lies primarily with the State of Israel.

 

Leonard Cohen: On the Frontline With His Israeli Siblings

The passing of Leonard Cohen was the source of great mourning in Israel. The Canadian Jewish legend had always seen himself as a brother to all Israelis.

During his nearly 60-year music career, Cohen often visited Israel and even worked on a kibbutz for a time in the 1970s.

But his most notable visit came during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when he put a European tour on hold and rushed to the Sinai to be with Israel’s frontline troops. His impromptu first performance in the desert dust standing amid tanks and other military equipment was a huge source of comfort to Israel.

Cohen himself was so overwhelmed by the experience that he retreated to a rock at the corner of the encampment and penned the popular song “Lover Lover Lover.” In the final verses of the song, Cohen offered encouragement to Israel’s soldiers:

And may the spirit of this song
May it rise up pure and free
May it be a shield for you
A shield against the enemy

For a full eight weeks, Cohen traveled with famed Israeli musician Matti Caspi, visiting the widely dispersed Israel Army camps across the Sinai and uplifting the exhausted soldiers fighting for the survival of the Jewish state.

Cohen at the time was already a world-famous musician and performer, having previously given two concerts in Israel. Caspi later recalled how he, Cohen and two other popular Israeli singers - Oshik Levi and Pupik Arnon - drove from base to base in an old Ford Falcon. The quartet called themselves the “Geneva Conference” after the international forum that was attempting to bring an end to the bloody conflict.

His traveling companions noted that despite his international star status, Cohen refused a special tent or room, preferring instead to sleep on the ground amongst the soldiers.

Many of the soldiers who met Cohen during his desert tour told of the great love he had for the people of Israel. When he returned to perform in Tel Aviv seven years later, Cohen told the audience about how the courage of those soldiers had inspired him.

Shortly after the Yom Kippur War and his time in the Sinai, Cohen published one of his best albums, New Skin for the Old Ceremony. The lyrics of several of the hit songs were clearly influence by the war and his experiences with the Israeli troops.

In the upcoming December issue of Israel Today Magazine, I write more about Leonard Cohen, who was an inspiration to so many Israelis, myself included.

 

Jews Now Have As Many Children As Arabs

Israel’s Bureau of Statistics this week announced that for the first time in the history of the modern State of Israel, the Jewish birth rate is on par with the Arab birth rate. Both Jewish and Arab women are having an average of 3.13 children.

Several years ago, the birth rate for Arab women stood at 4.3 children, while their Jewish counterparts were only having 2.6 children on average. But for around a decade now, the birth rates have been converging, with Jewish women having more and more children, while the trend in the Arab sector has been the opposite.

Further to the birth rates, the government body noted that at the end of 2015 there were 2,798,000 children in Israel (33 percent of the population), out of which 1,996,000 were Jewish and 718,000 were Arab (the discrepancy between these two numbers and the total number of children is due to other, smaller minority groups).

Taken as a whole, these new statistics are yet another repudiation of the notion that Israel faces a demographic threat if it does not surrender Judea and Samaria for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.

 

Help us protect these young people, like they are your own!

The moment was moving, extracting tears from the family members present. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, little children, everybody that attended.

Each family arrived with their own baggage containing delicacies, the fullness of the country. Israeli families love expressing themselves through food. Everything digests that much easier when it is consumed as a result of a celebration.

Each family's children matured in such a short time becoming men and women! It is a fact that our children accept such a huge responsibility, such a burden at such a young age. Each one of them contributing their share to the service of their country.

Delaying by a few years their studies, careers, money - everything that is planned by children in other parts of the world. Israeli young women place their future on hold for 2 years at best, young men for 3 and officers for an additional 2 years at least. In many cases these youngsters will spend many years as career officers until they are finally released.

We the parents, having raised these children with love, dreamed that in their days there will not be another war. It is now they themselves that realize that their turn has arrived to contribute to preserving and protecting their motherland.

And on occasions like this there are so many mixed voices within us.
Voices of parents proud of their children.
Voices of caring parents.
Voices of parents longing for peace and a better world for everyone.
Voices of parents understanding that reality is different from the dream and that our security is in the military's and God's hands.

Voices praying to our heavenly Father for the protection of these youngsters. Amen!



 

Rabbis Urge Trump, Putin to Help Rebuild Temple in Jerusalem

A group of leading Israeli rabbis see in US President-elect Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin echoes of King Cyrus of Persia, who 2,500 years ago assisted the Jewish people in rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem.

Prof. Rabbi Hillel Weiss, a spokesman for the Sanhedrin, a modern effort to revive the ancient Jewish religious court, noted in remarks reported by Israel National News:

“The political conditions today, in which the two most important national leaders in the world support the Jewish right to Jerusalem as their spiritual inheritance, is historically unprecedented.”

The Sanhedrin sent letters to both Trump and Putin urging them to work together to fulfill a project that will benefit all mankind - the rebuilding of the Holy Temple atop Jerusalem’s hotly contested Temple Mount.

Both leaders have expressed support for Jewish claims to Jerusalem, though Trump has certainly been the most vocal of the two.

At any rate, Israel is “poised to rebuild the Temple,” Weiss insisted.

 

COMMENTARY: The Ultimate Sacrifice

As tributes were paid over the weekend to all who sacrificed their lives in modern conflict – with special reference to the horrors of the Somme 100 years ago – I thought of the part my own ancestors played.

There was Lt Frank de Pass, a cousin of my grandmother Minola, who was posthumously awarded the VC (Victoria Cross) – the first Jewish soldier to be so honoured – for conspicuous bravery during the early stages of World War I in November 1914. He led an attack on a German post under enemy fire and subsequently rescued a wounded soldier, but was killed in action not long afterwards, aged just 27. A plaque in his memory was unveiled in London’s Victoria Embankment Gardens a century later. And Frank’s dress tunic is now on display at the Jewish Military Museum in Hendon, north London.

In addition, both my grandfathers fought in the Battle of the Somme, and I am honoured to have been named after them – as in Charles Geoffrey. Although they survived, the traumatic effects of what they experienced never left them. Charles, my South African granddad, won a Military Cross for repairing telegraph wires under enemy fire but, after inhaling poison gas, suffered with diminished lung capacity for the rest of his days.

Geoffrey Johnson, my Yorkshire granddad, suffered badly with shell-shock and – ironically – was sent first to Kenya and then to Cape Town to convalesce. I believe that the stress he suffered led to his premature death from a heart attack in 1934, aged 42, when my mum was just ten years old. And it was because of Minola’s early widowhood that we ended up in South Africa as she subsequently met and married an Afrikaans businessman, Zach Coetzee.

It is right, of course, that we should remember our heroes who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. But it is also worth being reminded at this time of the greatest sacrifice ever made on our behalf.

A passage of scripture often associated with military memorials is from John’s Gospel when Jesus is recorded as saying: “Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15.13)

Jesus was indeed encouraging his followers to put no limit on the extent to which they should love one another, but he was also speaking of his coming execution in Jerusalem – not only on their behalf, but for the sins of the whole world as the ultimate Passover Lamb. And as our Messiah also said, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3.16)

“There is no greater love than Jesus’ love for me,” we used to sing.

That is why, although I believe in the patriotism espoused in the words of the song I Vow to Thee My Country, I felt that the beautiful melody to which it is sung (an excerpt from Gustav Holst’s _The Planets Suite _written in 1914) also justified a hymn of praise to our God.

For no greater sacrifice was ever made on our behalf.

The middle verse of my hymn, written twenty years ago, captures the great hope of believers amidst the turbulent times in which we are living today:

When nations are in great distress, we’ll see the Lord Most High

From east right over to the west, as lightning lights the sky

Though we live in troubled times, we have no need to fear

Our Lord has told us it’s a sign that our redemption’s near

Behold, he’s coming with the clouds, and every eye will see

The Alpha and the Omega, the King of Kings is he.


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

 

COMMENTARY: Is the New Covenant Kosher?

Views expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Israel Today.

In Judaism, much attention is paid to the kinds of food one is allowed to eat, as well as its preparation. A meal is considered “kosher” – ritually clean – if it conforms to the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law. Or as interpreted by today’s rabbinical standards.

The question is, should Christians have the same concerns?  I have met many sincere believers who, having rediscovered the Hebraic roots of their faith, believe the dietary laws are still valid under the New Covenant. And included in the restoration of Israel. But is that true? Or are we now free to eat all foods without worrying if some are still forbidden?

Let me say without hesitation that the only dietary restriction you will find in the New Testament is the caution not to flaunt our freedom in Messiah. Either to cause a brother to stumble who has a weaker conscience: “For one person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables” (Rom. 14:2). Or to perhaps bring offense to local Torah-observant Jews by eating (or serving) “what is strangled and from blood” (Acts 15:20).  

Otherwise, Scripture tells us that we are now free to eat whatever we want without wondering if God will be displeased: “For food will not commend us to God. We are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat” (1 Cor.8:8). We just need to believe it!

The best insight on the whole subject is found in the words of Yeshua in Mark’s gospel. The Pharisees had confronted him about his disciples not washing their hands before eating according to their tradition.  He immediately rebuked them for making up laws God never gave. And then, knowing God would soon be transitioning the nation out of the dietary laws He had given them, he explained that the true cause of defilement comes from within a man. Not from food.

When the disciples questioned him later, he explained: “Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach and is eliminated….That which proceeds out of the heart, that is what defiles him” (Mark 7:18-20). Mark then comments, so his readers didn’t miss the important implication of his words, “Thus he declared all foods clean.” 

Which raises the question: Why did God establish the kosher laws and all the other stringent laws on ritual purity in the first place?  

Because God is a holy God. And His chosen nation was by nature an unclean, sinful people living in a fallen world. Therefore, in order for us to have fellowship with Him He had to make Israel “a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 1:9).  So He began the process of sanctification by making our forefathers acutely aware of their sinful, unholy state and the world’s potential to continually contaminate them. 

 Each of the purity laws showed Israel how easily they could become defiled again after being ritually cleansed. Either from our own flesh (represented by a skin disease like leprosy, childbirth, menstruation, etc.) or by things in the world (represented by unclean animals, touching a carcass, intermarrying with the nations, etc.). Because even though defilement can come only from us, temptations to sin can come from within and without.

 Of course, once Yeshua enacted the New Covenant those laws were no longer necessary. For believers are washed clean in his blood. And kept clean by confessing all future sins to God who is “faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

I believe the greatest challenge for a new believer, Jew or non-Jew, is to have the courage to put away his dependence upon the religious rules of his upbringing and not feel condemned. But to totally trust that faith alone in Yeshua’s work makes him righteous. If you think it is hard for those of us raised in Church Christianity today, think how difficult it was for first-century Jews to walk away from their God-given traditions. Even the great apostle Peter backslid into keeping the letter of the Law.

Paul relates the story, that before some Pharisaic believers came to visit them in Antioch, Peter had been eating with the Gentiles. But suddenly he came under a spirit of condemnation and began “to hold himself aloof” (Gal. 2:11-15). That is, he separated from the non-Jewish believers and reverted to eating kosher. Even Barnabas fell victim to his hypocrisy.  And Paul had to publically rebuke them both.  

Paul, of course, was the one whom God anointed to help transition Israel from Law to the covenant of grace. And Paul was unequivocal in his teaching that the dietary laws of Moses no longer applied to believers. “I know, and am convinced in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything is unclean, to him it is unclean” (Rom. 14:14).  He told believers to feel free “to eat anything sold in the marketplace…or anything set before you, without asking questions for conscience sake; For the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains” (1 Cor. 10: 25-27). 

And finally there is this. A big part of God’s call for Israel to be “holy” included separation from the Gentiles.  But once He lowered that heavenly sheet full of unclean animals and told Peter to eat, the world of Judaism changed forever. The Gentiles, as symbolized by the unclean animals, were no longer taboo. The wall of separation God had erected between Jews and Gentiles had been torn down. “What God has cleansed no longer consider unholy” (Acts 19:15). 

Therefore, Christians who want to embrace kosher eating as a way of uniting with the Jews should realize they are just rebuilding the wall of commandments that once separated us. We can never become one nation in Moses. But only in Messiah. “For he himself is our peace…so that in himself he might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace” (Eph.2:14,15).

The bottom line: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). 

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

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Israel Wants to Muffle Muslim Call to Prayer

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Sunday approved a proposed bill that would put an end Muslim calls to prayer being blasted over loudspeakers across Israel.

Known as the muezzin, this mosque official is supposed to call the faithful to prayer from a mosque’s minaret five times every day. Modern mosques, like those found in most cities in Israel, amplify that call using multiple loudspeakers.

The so-called “muezzin bill” is aimed at protecting the rights of those Israelis, most non-Muslims, who don’t want such Islamic practices imposed upon their lives.

“The bill comes from a view that freedom of religion should not harm quality of life,” the bill’s creator, Member of Knesset Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post.

Netanyahu offered his backing, noting that “Israel is committed to freedom for all religions, but is also responsible for protecting its citizens from noise. That’s how it is in cities in Europe. I support similar legislation and enforcement in Israel.”

The bill has received the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and must now be submitted for voting in the Knesset plenum.

As expected, Arab Muslim politicians slammed the bill as “racist.”

“Its whole goal is to create an atmosphere of hatred and incitement towards the Arab public,” insisted Joint Arab List party head Ayman Odeh.

But most Israelis would argue that it is in fact “racist” and hostile to impose religious practices upon those who are not members of your own religion.

Odeh and other critics also ignored the fact that the new bill does not prohibit the call of the muezzin, just the use of loudspeakers to amplify that call and thereby disturb the peace.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened that if signed into law, the measure would “drag the region to disaster.”

 

UN Calls IDF Field Hospital 'Best in the World'

The United Nation’s last week paid Israel a rare compliment by publicly recognizing the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) medical aid team as the very best in the world.

The IDF field hospital is routinely dispatched to disaster zones around the world to provide much-needed assistance and treatment to the victims of tsunamis, earthquakes and other calamities.

The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has now made it official that the IDF field hospital is a “Type 3” medical facility, the only one to have attained that classification.

“We’re going to recommend the director-general verifies [Israel’s team] as a Type 1, Type 2, and also Type 3 and multiple different types of specialty cells,” said WHO delegation head Dr. Ian Norton at a ceremony outside Tel Aviv. “We haven’t had that ever before.”

The commander of the field hospital, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, called the IDF’s aid missions a “national treasure,” and recognizing the field hospital as a “Type 3” facility will open new doors to Israeli teams ready and willing to provide critical assistance.

Members of the IDF Medical Corps will receive special WHO patches when the world body confirms the new designation at the end of the month.

 

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Anti-Trump Tel Aviv Rally Fails to Materialize

Liberal Israelis were desperate to join their American counterparts in mass protest of Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency. But they just couldn’t seem to find the numbers.

An anti-Trump demonstration was scheduled for last Friday in front of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. A mere 20 people showed up.

It was more an oddity than a political rally.

Passersby scoffed at the handful of protestors and their paranoia over Trump’s victory.

But at least, as the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported, the Tel Aviv event was peaceful, unlike the many anti-Trump rallies in the US that have become orgies of violence and destruction.

Meanwhile, a majority of Israelis remain pleased with Trump’s surprise victory, and are certain he will put an end to ineffective and naive US policies vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other Middle East crises.

 

Palestinians Threaten Trump Over US Embassy Move

The Palestinian Authority has threatened to “make life miserable” for US President-elect Donald Trump if he follows through on his election campaign promise to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem, the official capital of the Jewish state.

“If people attack us by moving the embassy to Jerusalem…it means they are showing belligerence towards us,” stated the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour. “If they do that nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves and we have a lot of weapons in the UN.”

In remarks carried by the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, Mansour acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority couldn’t take any legally binding action against the US in the Security Council, but said he could cause Washington headaches by constantly petitioning for official admission of the Palestinian Authority as a member state.

At any rate, the Palestinian Authority continues to believe Trump will follow the example of his predecessors, most of whom likewise promised while they were campaigning to move the US embassy, but failed to fulfill that promise once in office.

“Many candidates gave the same election promise but didn’t implement it because what you do when you are campaigning is one thing but when you have to deal with the legal thing it is something else,” Mansour asserted.

While the UN does not recognize Israel’s annexation of the eastern half of Jerusalem, it is in fact not illegal for nations to have their embassies to Israel located within the pre–1967 boundaries of the city’s western half, which is recognized as the official administrative capital of Israel.

Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem’s western side would send a strong message in support of Israel’s claim to the city in general, but would not be breaking any laws, contrary to Mansour’s faulty interpretations.

 

VIDEO: Experience Israel

 

COMMENTARY: Life's Ultimate Deadline!

A British author has ably demonstrated how Moses and the Prophets spoke of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. And he does so while explaining how the carpenter from Galilee holds the answer to man’s greatest problem – what happens when we die.

As a journalist of more than 40 years, I am well used to deadlines. But I take my hat off to fellow writer Richard Roe for daring to tackle the ultimate deadline. In his excellent book, Beyond the Final Curtain (Zaccmedia), he addresses an issue most of us try all our lives to avoid.

It may well be a taboo subject not suited to livening up a party, but it’s not as morbid as it sounds, and is both well written and hugely insightful.

Basically, his thesis is that the resurrection of Jesus has dealt with man’s greatest enemy, if only we will have the sense – and humility – to believe and act upon it. As Richard puts it, “Jesus is God’s solution to the problem of death; He has conquered death.”

But at the same time the author pulls no punches, asserting that Jesus is the only way to heaven and the only means of avoiding hell.

His reasoning is intelligent, sound and practical, but essentially biblical, concluding that the Word of God – the source of all wisdom and knowledge, and authenticated by Jesus himself – holds the key to the hereafter. And the Bible says that all of us are serving a ‘life sentence’ of being ‘enslaved’ by our fear of death (Hebrews 2.15).

When faced with a deadline to complete a task, our minds become focused and we won’t rest until it is finished. Yet with a deadline we will certainly all face sooner or later, we pretend it will never happen and thus refuse to face the inevitable questions of life and death.

Endorsed by famous preacher R T Kendall, the book is a stirring challenge to that mindset. But it’s also a clear and beautiful presentation of the gospel that tells us Jesus has paid the price for our sins, which would otherwise condemn us to everlasting torment.

And for those familiar with the Jewish Tenach (what Christians call the Old Testament), the author ably demonstrates how so many well-known Bible passages point to the role of their future Messiah, so perfectly fulfilled in Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus).

For example, the Passover lamb of Exodus whose blood protected the Israelites and set them free from slavery in Egypt, foreshadowed the crucifixion of Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb, who freed us from slavery to sin.

In the same way the bronze serpent Moses raised on a pole for those suffering snake-bite foreshadowed the ‘healing’ of our sin and sickness by Jesus, for “by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53.5).

Another such sign cited by the author (and Jesus himself – 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 a beach. As with Jonah, Jesus died and was buried before being raised to life after three days. And in his gospel, the Apostle John records Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine, which the author asserts as proof enough that he is the God of creation, the Lord of the Universe to whom Jews pray every Sabbath.

This miracle also indicates that, when you put your trust in Jesus, life will taste sweeter. And if you read the account in John chapter 2 (verses 1-12), you will see how the Messiah saves the best wine till last!

Just taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34.8)


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

 

Trump to Israel: I Love You

Just days after his upset victory in the US presidential election, Donald Trump affirmed that his time in the White House will be marked a new closeness in US-Israel relations.

“I love and respect Israel and its citizens,” Trump wrote in a statement to daily commuter paper Israel Hayom, which is owned by one of Trump’s biggest campaign backers, Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

The US president-elect continued: “I look forward to strengthening the unbreakable bond between our two great peoples. I know well that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and that it is the only one that defends human rights, and that it is a ray of hope for many people.”

As for the peace process, Trump, like his official campaign platform, refused to commit to the two-state solution, instead insisting that the two sides must negotiate a mutually-agreeable solution.

“I believe that my administration will be able to fill an important role in aiding the two sides to reach a just and lasting peace, one which must come through negotiations between the two sides themselves, and not through coercion by outside elements,” he said. “Israel and the Jewish people deserve it.”

 

The Irony of Atheists Condemning the Lord of Lies (Trump)

A day before Donald Trump turned president-elect, Yaron London devoted an item on his popular Channel 10 news program to The Economist's editorial, "Art of Lie," published on September 10. London is considered by many to be an intellectual par excellence. Assuming this is a fair assessment, it would also be fair to say that London represents the complete bankruptcy of the Western atheistic liberal intelligentsia that despises the masses for refusing to accept their views.

"Art of Lie" is a masterpiece of delusion. Considering that The Economist is not particularly interested in truth, casting Trump as "the lord of lies" screams of dishonesty. 

Exposing The Economist's disregard for truth is easy. All that is needed is to look at how it covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Spreading the lie of Israel denying water to Palestinians is just a drop in that bucket, so to speak.

But dishonesty is not The Economist's biggest problem. Worse is it's inability to understand that, even if Trump is what they say he is, responsibility for the "post-truth" era lies squarely with the post-colonial, post-modern and multi-cultural frenzy of progressive liberals. For it is they who taught us that conflicting narratives and values are equally true and equally valid; the only exception being the contemptuous post-colonial white West.

Though The Economist is right to say that "feelings, not facts" is what matters today,it fails to note that the promotion of "feeling" above all else was born of hyper-liberal academic hives. 

Again, all that is needed is looking at The Economist's position on the question of gender. "Transgender people are born to one gender but feel that they belong in the other," says one out of many Economist articles on the subject. "Feeling, not facts" is the position this magazine takes and promotes. 

If what The Economist says about Trump's voters - that they were motivated by fear - is true, it would also be true that the worldview The Economist works so hard to promote has penetrated deeply into the conservative camp. Truth would require The Economist to say that Trump's victory is nothing more than a temporary, accidental setback. Instead, it is attacking with religious zeal the very thing it promotes.

Completely uncritical (which is the antithesis of being intellectual), Yaron London is gloating over The Economist's attack on Trump and his supporters. Speaking with Yuval Dror, who tries to explain that "post-truth" began with the fragmented pictures of smartphone cameras and social media soundbites, London begins the discussion with this monologue:

"The biggest lie man has ever invented is God. Until today 90 percent of the people of this world are sure that there is a God, that God created man, that there is a divine providence … now, it is clear to any intelligent person that, let's say, this is dubious at the very least." 

Speaking of intellectual bankruptcy, in London's worldview nine out of 10 people are lacking intelligence. Moses and Isaiah, Jesus and Paul, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, R. Akiva and Maimonides, Newton and Einstein were all lacking intelligence. Same goes for countless other unintelligent people of faith who elevated Western civilization to what it was until Darwin's followers started working hard at reverting everything back to dust.

Speaking of truth, then, atheists like London are looking at believers as sub-humans who need the "Enlightened" to guide them into the Utopia that is awaiting just around the corner. This explains why so many of them praise democracy with their lips, yet resent it in heart. 

It is from similar circles of intelligentsia that the Stalins and the Maos of the world rose, they who terrorized their people in blood-soaked efforts to bring them closer to a brave, "intelligent" new world. But as the recent election has proved, at least in America a majority are still intelligent enough to fear the consequences of "intellectual" godlessness.

PHOTO: London on his popular Channel 10 News program. The banner reads "American Votes: Does the truth no longer matter in the digital era?"

 

Israel Mourns Passing of Leonard Cohen

Legendary Jewish musician Leonard Cohen passed away on Thursday at the age of 82. In Israel, his loss will be felt as deeply as anywhere, perhaps even more so.

“How sad to part from this man whose voice and face accompanied us for so many years. A giant of a creator, open to all people, who also knew how to accompany the State of Israel in the fields of battle and in times of growth,” Israel President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Facebook.

Cohen’s most notable visit to Israel came in 1973. He was performing in nearby Greece when the Yom Kippur War erupted and Arab armies came dangerously close to achieving their goal of pushing the Jews into the sea.

As Israel valiantly fought back, Cohen visited and put on an impromptu performance for frontline troops in the Sinai desert (pictured; Ariel Sharon is standing at Cohen's right).

“I will never forget how he came during the Yom Kippur War to sing for our soldiers because he felt he was a partner,” tweeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had returned from studying in the US to fight in his former commando unit for the duration of that war.

 

Marriage: Can Messianics Learn From Orthodox Jews?

Perhaps it is time for Messianic Jews to consider the wisdom of our ancestors, who for centuries practiced the art of matchmaking.

The full article appears in the November 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Trump Represents 'Historic Opportunity for Israel'

Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday said Israel had been a hostage to the two-state solution for over two decades, and that the election of Donald Trump in America represented an “historic opportunity” to change course.

“It is in our hands to change the course of the State of Israel. To take Israel out of the ‘Oslo’ perception of a ‘Palestinian State,’ to which we have been held captive for 23 years and has brought us only terror, pain, suffering, and a dead end,” read a lengthy statement released by Bennett.

The Jewish Home party leader lamented that the notion of a Palestinian state…has turned into a national and international obsession," despite the fact that pushing for such an outcome has only brought more conflict and bloodshed.

Bennett said it was time for Israel to re-adopt an attitude of “sovereignty.”

He noted that two important world events had provided a rare opportunity to do just that: “On the one hand, the collapse of the Arab-Muslim world in recent years, and on the other hand Trump’s victory in the US.”

Indeed, one of Trump’s close advisors, Jason Greenblatt, confirmed to Army Radio on Wednesday that the US president-elect would break with America’s traditional policy of viewing Jewish settlement in the biblical heartland as an obstacle to peace, and instead put the onus on the Palestinians.

“It is certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activity should be condemned and that it is an obstacle for peace - because it is not the obstacle for peace,” said Greenblatt.

Rather than direct and overbearing interference, like past presidents, Greenblatt said Trump “is not going to impose any solution on Israel. He thinks that the peace has to come from the parties themselves.”

 

God Bless America and Israel

Republican Donald Trump has won the election and will be America’s 45th president. In Israel, as in the other countries, the political drama in the US was followed closely. From the Israeli perspective, many believed the 70-year-old Trump was better for their nation’s interests than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

In the eyes of most Israelis, Clinton is a female version of current US President Barack Obama. She represents nothing new in terms of US policy, and most especially in terms of foreign policy in the Middle East. And according to the Israeli and Arab media, naive US policy in this region bears much of the blame for the current turmoil.

Israeli government ministers, who were forbidden by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to comment publicly on the election, quietly feared that Clinton would only exacerbate the Middle East’s problems, to Israel’s detriment. At the same time, Trump is a big questions mark, and there is some risk in his taking the helm.

But it was precisely for this reason that many of my colleagues in the Israeli media, local politicians and experts felt that it was better to venture a gamble with Trump and hope for a new foreign policy for the Middle East.

Yesterday’s spectacle in America was very reminiscent of our last national election in Israel. The media predicted Netanyahu would lose, and drove that message home at every opportunity, only to see the incumbent prime minister soar to an easy victory. In both cases, the mainstream media was either badly misinformed or was deliberately trying to influence the election results.

Either way, all we can say today is “God bless America and Israel!”

 

Trump Victory Means End of 'Palestinian State'

Israeli politicians and commentators, like most others around the world, woke up Wednesday morning in shock over Donald Trump’s upset victory in the US presidential election.

But Israel was probably one of the few countries where most people viewed Trump’s win as a good surprise.

For months, local polls have showed that a majority of Israelis believed Trump would be better for the Jewish state than his rival, Hillary Clinton.

That is especially true of Israel’s right-wing majority, which views Trump’s victory as the death knell of of the “two-state solution” and all talk of an independent Palestinian state.

Member of Knesset Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) issued a statement calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take the Trump victory as an opportunity “to stand behind the settlements in Judea and Samaria, and announce today the construction of thousands of new housing units, planning and construction of new towns and cities.”

Some commentators on morning radio talk shows even quipped that Israel could now come under American pressure to build more settlements.

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) invited Trump to “visit Israel and Judea and Samaria to see for himself…that settlement is the way to peace.” Glick also hoped Trump would ascend the Temple Mount and help restore Jewish worship there.

 

Drought Warning as Jordan River Reaches Record Low

Israel is on the cusp of another major drought with authorities reporting that the water flowing from the northern portion of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee is at a record low.

The Jordan River is the primary water source for the Sea of Galilee, which is in turn Israel’s primary fresh water reservoir.

And the water pressure today is lower than it’s been in the past 90 years, or since such measurements began.

The situation has been blamed on a lack of rainfall in recent years, leaving the Jordan’s tributaries all but dry.

As a result, Israel has had to cut water supplies to farmers while taking emergency measures to prevent a deterioration in the water quality of the Sea of Galilee.

Also affected are the southern portion of the Jordan River - which most people are familiar with, and which itself is nearly dry - and the Dead Sea.

At present it is expected that Israel’s desalination plants will be able to provide adequate water for home use, meaning there are no plans to introduce rationing.

 

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Rabbis Make Rival Predictions on US Election

Leading Jewish mystics (kabbalists) have put forward rival predictions regarding today’s fateful presidential election in the US.

Rabbi Netanel Shriki, whose followers believe he has supernatural powers enabling him to collapse Hamas terror tunnels, on Sunday offered a signed prediction that Hillary Clinton would win the election with 54 percent of the vote.

Various other rabbis and kabbalists have all predicted that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

One such sage [recently told the head of the Republican Party in Israel][1] that the ancient Jewish text the Zohar had long ago foretold Trump’s victory.

“A great sage came to me — I don’t want to say his name — with all his entourage from Bnei Brak, just to give me this message for Donald Trump,” Republican Party representative Marc Zell told the ultra-Orthodox news outlet Behadrei Haredim. “Rabbis of all streams in the Orthodox public in Israel [know] Trump is the one who will defend Jerusalem, the Land of Israel and the Jewish people.”

 

Jewish, Arab Youth Join Hands for Peace

Some 200 high school students from the “Amal” network of schools joined hands in forming a ring around Israel President Reuven Rivlin. What’s special about this group is that it includes students from all four of Israel’s modern “tribes” - secular Jews, traditional religious Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs.

The event saw students come from all over the country to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, where Rivlin told them:

“It is through you that we have come to understand that we can live together if we study together. You are the next generation of Israel’s leaders and you must always remember that we are destined to live together in this country, and that there is hope together. We all have the same hope, and we all have the same ability to dream.”

 

Israel Says Palestinians to Blame for Lack of Water

Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), has warned in a letter to the international community that the water supply in Gaza and the so-called “West Bank” will soon falter if the Palestinians continue to refuse to cooperate.

Since 2010, the Palestinian Authority has boycotted meetings of the Joint Water Committee set up under the Oslo Accords to ensure a safe water supply for all residents of this parched region.

Mordechai noted that “the Gaza Strip is almost entirely dependent on the pumping of groundwater, but due to over-pumping 96 percent of that water is unsuitable for drinking.”

Despite Israel’s efforts to improve the situation, Mordechai fears a crisis is now unavoidable. There is a plan, among others, in place to build a water pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, improving water supplies for Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians. But the so-called “Red-Dead Agreement” can not be implemented until the Palestinian Authority sign it, which they refuse to do.

According to General Mordechai, the water crisis is expected to hit next summer, barring a dramatic shift in the attitude of the Palestinian Authority.

“We will continue to promote cooperation and hope that our efforts will bear fruit,” Mordechai concluded his letter. “We call on the international community to support the renewal (of) cooperation and promoting water.”

 

"Warm Clothes - Warm Heart"

Many wardrobes have been "converted" and the winter clothes have been brought out of storage. Summer t-shirts and short pants are giving way to cuddly sweaters, long pants and warm cardigans.

Who doesn't remember how mommy, on cold winter mornings, tied our scarves and put on our caps before we left for school.

Children always remain children in the eyes of their mother even when they are adults.

We, as parents, see our soldiers through these eyes and want to make sure that they are warm when they are despatched for their next operation.

This is why we decided to call our effort "Warm Clothes - Warm Heart" this year and distribute warm thermal clothing to our soldiers. Partner with us in our project and give "a cap and scarf" to one of our children!



 

Gaza Christians Being Forcibly Converted; World Uninterested

You’d think a story like this would be making major headlines, given the amount of attention that’s afforded every other aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the forced conversion of Christians to Islam by Gaza’s Hamas rulers just doesn’t seem to interest Western power brokers.

And that should be a wake-up call for any and all advocating a two-state solution.

Arab media commentator Raymond Ibrahim brings the story after surveying Arabic-language media, where the plight of Gaza Christians seems to be covered far more regularly.

“…we hear of the kidnapping of Christians and the coercion of them to embrace the religion of Muhammad,” reads one Arab media report cited by Ibrahim.

It goes on to note that in mid-October, Christians in Gaza held a rally against the abduction and forced conversion of their children, and that the coastal enclave's most senior Christian leader, Archbishop Alexios, confirmed that “Christians who converted to Islam did so under threats, coercion, compulsion and force.”

That was just three weeks ago. Did you hear anything about it in your media? Of course not. Because Hamas didn’t want you to, and the Western journalists on the ground here happily comply with the Islamists so they can keep their jobs, and their heads.

Makes you wonder what else is being left out of or misrepresented in mainstream media reports.

Even so, those whose job it is to know what’s going on in the world can’t be unaware of the situation. Which begs the questions: Where is the outcry from world leaders? Where is the special UN Security Council session condemning this behavior? Where are the human rights organizations that are always ready to jump all over Israel at the slightest hint of misconduct?

 

VIDEO: Israel in 60 Seconds

 

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Palestinians Claim Hebrew-Language Dead Sea Scrolls

So, the Dead Sea Scrolls are demonstrably written in Hebrew. But the Palestinians are now saying these ancient documents are, like Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Arab Muslim in origin.

That is how ridiculous the campaign to delegitimize Israel has become.

Carmel Shama-Hacohen - Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - said the Palestinians raised the matter informally during a recent meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin.

According to the ambassador and to representatives of the Israel Antiquities Authority who were present at the meeting, the Palestinians intend to make a formal claim to the Dead Sea Scrolls when the committee next convenes in 2017.

“This is another provocative and audacious attempt by the Palestinians to rewrite history and to erase our connection to our land,” Shama-Hacohen told The Jerusalem Post. “The Dead Sea Scrolls are factual and weighty archeological evidence of the presence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.”

 

Former CIA Chief Certain Trump Will Mend Israel Ties

Former CIA Director James Woolsey is certain that if elected the next president of the United States this week, Donald Trump will improve damaged relations between his nation and Israel.

Woolsey, who is working as an advisor to Trump, was in Israel last week and told Army Radio that the Obama Administration’s “excessive hostility and criticism” had brought low the US-Israel relationship.

“A good deal of what was done needs to be changed,” he said.

Woolsey said he could not predict the outcome of Tuesday’s election, but seemed confident that either way, the situation for Israel would improve.

 

Russia Tells US to Be More Like Israel

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week encouraged the United States to look to Israel as an example of how terrorism should be fought.

Speaking at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin was critical of what he saw as America’s weak approach to combatting ISIS and other terror groups in the Middle East, and approach the Russian leader suggested had actually enabled the rise of such groups.

In particular, Putin said Washington’s politicized focus on civilian casualties - something Israel has had to contend with in its fight against Palestinian terror - was letting the terrorists get the upper hand.

“Let’s just leave everything as it is,” Putin sarcastically quipped. “Let’s leave Raqqa alone too. Our partners keep saying, ‘We need to take back Raqqa and eliminate the nest of terrorists there.’ But there are civilians in Raqqa. So, should we not fight the terrorists at all? And when they take hostages in towns, should we just leave them be?”

Putin said that Israel, which does go to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties, offers the only model for success.

“Israel never steps back, but always fights to the end, and this is how it survives,” noted Putin. “There is no alternative. We need to fight. If we keep retreating, we will always lose.”

 

Israelis Vote, Rabbis Predict Trump Victory

Israelis with American citizenship have finished voting, and local rabbis are predicting victory for Republican candidate Donald Trump in next week’s US presidential election.

American citizens living in Israel, most of them holding dual Israeli citizenship, finished casting their absentee ballots this week, and an exit poll conducted by iVoteIsrael revealed most chose Trump.

Forty-nine percent of those who took part in the exit poll said they voted for Trump, while 44 percent said they went with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

A mere 30,000 out of an estimated 120,000 US citizens living in Israel bothered to cast a ballot.

But the low voter turnout in Israel won’t prevent Trump from winning the White House, according to rabbis.

The head of the Republican Party branch in Israel, Marc Zell, said a leading Jewish mystic told him that the Zohar, Judaism’s primary mystical work, foretold Trump’s victory centuries ago.

“Two days ago, a great sage came to me — I don’t want to say his name — with all his entourage from Bnei Brak, just to give me this message for Donald Trump,” Zell told the ultra-Orthodox news outlet Behadrei Haredim.

Zell went on to note that initially religious Jews weren’t sure for whom to vote, “but in the last two weeks a decision has been made among the rabbis of all sorts of streams in the Orthodox public in Israel that Trump is the one who will defend Jerusalem, the Land of Israel and the Jewish people.”

 

COMMENTARY: Why Do So Many Christians Love a Jewish Israel?

Views expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Israel Today.

After Israel was miraculously restored from oblivion in the last century, Jews began to return from every nation to their ancient homeland. But they weren’t the only ones rushing to set foot on that storied land. Christians began flocking to “the Holy Land” as well. 

At first, we came as tourists to visit the ancient churches and to walk where Jesus walked. Then God awakened us to see this re-born nation was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and we came as wide-eyed pilgrims. But as the years passed, God showed us something else. We saw in this restoration His everlasting love and compassion for His people who had suffered so much for so long. Often at the hands of those who called themselves Christians. And we began to understand and love the people as much as the land. And we came as friends. 

Over the last 40 years or so, a number of ministries have arisen to help Christians bless the nation in many ways. From bringing Christians around the world to march in streets of Jerusalem waving banners of encouragement. To providing much needed physical and prayer support. To standing up for the nation in political forums. To encouraging tourism, and even more recently, bringing volunteers to help harvest their crops.

Through it all, I believe God has been trying to show Jewish Israel (and us) how much He loves the descendants of Abraham. And how He has never forsaken them, even though it may have looked like it for a time. Isaiah anticipated this time of restoration when he wrote:  “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you, says the LORD your Redeemer” (Isa. 54:7,8). 

In considering all this I realized this Christian attraction for Israel is not diminishing, but growing ever stronger. So you have to wonder– where is it all going? Is it, as many believe, just going to go away when we fly away in a secret rapture before the reign of antichrist? If so, I’d think that would reveal a deep shallowness in our recommitment to the Jews to “never leave you again,” as most of Christianity did during the Holocaust.

Or…does God have something else in mind for Israel and all the members of Messiah’s body ready to receive it? I believe He does! And I believe He put it all in the Bible in advance so we’d know what was coming. It was just hidden. But as Yeshua told us, “Nothing is hidden, except to be revealed” (Mark 4:22). 

That’s why I’m convinced by the Bible prophesies there will be a miraculous migration of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of believers streaming into the land one day. But this time we will not be coming as tourists. Or as pilgrims. Or even as “Christians.”  We will come, I believe, as mishpochah (Hebrew for “family”), the redeemed of the Lord.  

How many times have we sung in our churches this prophecy by Isaiah, understanding it pertained to all of us who are in Messiah?

“Therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return,
and come with singing unto Zion,
and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.
They shall obtain,
gladness and joy,
and sorrow, and sighing, shall flee away. ” (Isa. 51:11). 

Where did we think Zion was? In Heaven? No, Isaiah was prophesying of a worldwide ingathering of God’s scattered children returning to Israel. 

Some believe Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled by the recent Jewish return to Israel. But Isaiah clearly defined these happy souls as “the redeemed (or ransomed) of the Lord.” And as Scripture tells us, it is only those in Messiah who have been redeemed…”from the Law” and “your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers” (Gal. 3:13;1 Pet: 1:18). The Jewish nation has yet to experience that spiritual redemption. 

 Remember, also, how the high priest, Caiaphas, in plotting to murder Yeshua declared it was better that this man should die “so that the whole nation not perish?” John then commented that Caiaphas had unwittingly prophesied the truth that one man has to die for the sins of the Jewish nation. But then John added:  “And not just for the nation only, but in order that he might also gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (John 11:52).

Who are these “children of God scattered abroad?”  Clearly Yeshua was speaking about the “Gentiles” who would hear the Gospel and become sons of God. The ones he “purchased for God with his blood, men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) 

It’s been two thousand years since the Gospel net was cast forth from Jerusalem upon the nation’s shores. But God said a day would come when that net would be full. And then something new would begin. As Paul put it – “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Then God would turn and display the same mercy to Jews as He showed us. And “thus all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25, 26). 

All the signs indicate that time has come.  And for me, nothing testifies louder to it than to see the depth of love an ever growing number of God-fearing “Christians” have for Israel and her people. So get ready. I believe a tsunami of God’s children will soon be gathered from the nations to be united with their Jewish brethren in Messiah to become “one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:16).

As the prophet wrote: “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd…and they will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived” (Ezek 37:24,25).

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

Israelis Await US Election With Bated Breath

Will it be Trump or Clinton? And what do Israelis, including Messianic Jews, think about both candidates? Let Israel Today give you the rundown.

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

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Christians Urged to Flood UN With Bibles

The following is a press release from our friends at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ)

In response to UNESCO’s recent passage of a resolution denying any Jewish or Christian connections to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has called on Christians around the world to send Bibles to the UNESCO offices in Paris to remind them of the irrefutable history of the site. Hundreds of Bibles have already been posted to UNESCO with many of its references to “Jerusalem” and the “Temple” highlighted, and thousands more are expected to arrive in coming weeks.

“We were very shocked and disappointed that UNESCO would adopt such a flawed resolution,” said the ICEJ’s Executive Director, Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “Most of us view these diplomats as being principled and well-educated. But apparently, some of them forgot their history lessons and we are sending them Bibles to refresh their memory. Even worse, some of these representatives are deliberately trying to erase the Jewish and Christian bonds to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and other revered sites in the Land of Israel. Hopefully, our campaign will give our nations’ envoys at UNESCO the courage to stand up to the anti-Semites in their midst.”

At the time the UNESCO resolution was passed two weeks ago, the ICEJ was hosting its annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The day after the UNESCO decision, some 8,000 Christians from over 100 nations took to the streets of the Israeli capital in the traditional Jerusalem March to express their solidarity with the Jewish people and their ancient claim and connection to the city.

As the ICEJ’s week-long Feast was ending, Dr. Bühler issued a call for Christians everywhere to send Bibles to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to press home the message that Jews and Christians have indisputable historic links to Jerusalem which predate Islam by centuries. The Christian Embassy is now receiving reports that hundreds of Bibles are already posted to UNESCO and thousands more will soon be on the way.

Jerusalem is mentioned by name more than 1,000 times in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, while the Temple Mount appears hundreds of times as well. There also are hundreds of other references to the site as “Zion”, the “House of the Lord,” the “courts of the Lord,” and similar terms.

 

Battle Ensues Over Balfour

As British Christians prepare to celebrate a famous milestone in Jewish history, battle lines are being drawn up and some shots have already been fired in anger.

Passions of indignation from left-wing politicians and others are being stirred in response to plans for marking the centenary next year of the so-called Balfour Declaration, through which the British Government promised to do all in its power to facilitate the return to their ancient homeland of the Jewish people.

Lord Arthur Balfour was British Foreign Secretary at the time, the government having over the previous century been influenced by a succession of anointed Christian leaders – such as William Wilberforce, Charles Spurgeon, Lord Shaftesbury and Bishop J C Ryle – along with the fledgling Zionist movement among the Jews themselves.

As it happened, Britain was in Position A to fulfill the pledge she had made within weeks of this announcement when General Edmund Allenby and his forces marched into Jerusalem to end 400 years of Turkish rule over the region.

It should not of course have taken another 31 years for the Jewish state to be re-born, but this extraordinary political act clearly paved the way for such an outcome. And it is something for which British people can be justly proud in spite of the unnecessary delays caused by appeasement in the face of Arab opposition.

But the tide of world opinion has once more turned against God’s chosen people. In 2017 we will also be marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote recognizing Israel to which Britain shamefully abstained. But it was carried by the required two-thirds majority to the great jubilation of world Jewry along with Bible-believing Christians across the globe who were excited by the imminent fulfillment of many ancient prophecies about the return of exiled Jews from the four corners of the earth.

But now this same body has denied historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, recognizing them only as Muslim holy sites. Since Islam only emerged in the 7th century AD, and mountains of archaeological and biblical evidence point to Jewish existence there for thousands of years, how absurd is that?

As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu put it, “To declare that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids.”

Meanwhile Palestinian Authority leaders have – not for the first time – threatened to sue the British Government over Balfour! Perhaps this is what encouraged the outrageous meeting held in the British House of Lords – called to launch a campaign to apologize for Balfour – in which Jews were blamed for the Holocaust.

Hosted by Baroness Tonge, a former Liberal Democrat MP who sits as an independent, the meeting provoked concern about the level of anti-Semitic discourse in mainstream politics and sparked off the subsequent resignation from the party of the baroness. An Israeli Embassy spokesman described the gathering as “a shameful event”[1].

Participants at the event said that some in attendance made anti-Semitic statements, including blaming Jews or Zionists for the Holocaust. Participants also reportedly drew comparisons between Israel and Islamic terrorists.[2]

This is just the latest in a series of such occurrences involving Tonge, who recently blamed Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs for the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain. In July this year she said that “the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major cause of the rise of extreme Islamism and ISIS.”[3]

Back in 2004, she said she would consider becoming a suicide bomber if she were an Arab living in the Palestinian Authority.

Also in London last week, police were called to the University College after anti-Israel protesters stormed an event organized by pro-Israel advocacy groups. Things were said to have “got out of hand” and officers apparently warned attendees to stay inside for their own protection.[4]

A similar event took place at King’s College, also in London, earlier this year when protesters violently disrupted a talk by Ami Ayalon, ex-Commander of the Israeli Navy and former head of the Shin Bet internal security operation.[5]

But attempts by the UN and others to rewrite history will ultimately fail because God will have the last word. In Zechariah 12.3, the Bible warns that a day will come when the nations will attempt to wrestle Jerusalem from the Jewish people. But they will only ‘injure’ themselves.

Better to give up opposing Israel now than face the fury of the Lord when he comes in his glory round about the time this prophesied event occurs. (Read Zechariah 12–14)

Jesus, the Jew, is coming back to reign on earth. Make sure you are on his side!


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


  1. Dominic Kennedy, The Times of London, October 27 2016  ↩

  2. Arutz–7/Jerusalem News Network October 31 2016  ↩

  3. Ibid  ↩

  4. Algemeiner/JNN October 31 2016  ↩

  5. Ibid  ↩

 

Israel Rebuffs Obama's Objection to Building in Shiloh

Israel this week rebuffed the Obama Administration’s objection to a new building project in Jewish settlement of Shiloh, the biblical site that was home to the Ark of the Covenant for centuries prior to the conquest of Jerusalem by King David.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government told the Israel High Court that it intends to move forward with the construction of 98 new homes in Shiloh. The new neighborhood will be used to house Israelis evacuated from the illegally-built Jewish outpost of Amona.

The Obama State Department slammed the decision: “This settlement’s location deep in the West Bank… would link a string of outposts that effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote.”

Shiloh was the first major holy site following Israel’s entry into the Promised Land. It was there that the Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) and the Ark of the Covenant stood for 369 years, making Shiloh the primary destination of pilgrimage for the first four centuries of Israel’s existence as a landed nation.

Shiloh’s status is attested to in the book of I Samuel. And today archeologists have uncovered large portions of the religious compound documented in the biblical record.

 

The Hostility and Hypocrisy of Left-Wing Israeli NGOs

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

Views expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Israel Today.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently appeared before a special session of the United Nations Security Council, excoriating Israel and pleading with the body to act against Israel’s settlements. 

In 1975, the UN famously declared that “Zionism is racism” and, four decades later, the organization continues to hound Israel. In each of the last four years, as the Syrian bloodbath claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, there were at least five times as many resolutions condemning Israel as those rebuking the rest of the world. 

The UN’s cultural body, UNESCO, recently passed a motion ignoring any Jewish (or Christian) historical ties to East Jerusalem holy sites, referring to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemning Israel as “the occupying power.” It turns out that some of Israel’s left-wing NGOs worked to help produce the UNESCO motion. 

Given the UN’s chronic hostility, efforts by Israeli NGOs to persuade the UN to act against Israel are arguably treasonous. Indeed, one attorney and activist for Israel’s left-leaning Labor party filed a police complaint alleging treason against B’Tselem, arguing that the NGO has harmed state sovereignty, tried to give land away to a foreign entity, and taken steps that could cause a war.

Israeli democracy is extremely tolerant, to the point of allowing its members of parliament to openly support terrorism and terrorist groups. Last March, several Israeli Arab Knesset members condemned Arab states for labeling Hizballah a terrorist organization, even though it has been at war with Israel for decades and regularly threatens new hostilities.

Last February, members from the Joint (Arab) List paid a solidarity visit to relatives of Palestinian terrorists whom Israeli security forces had killed to stop them from murdering Israelis. In 2014, MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) drew praise from Hamas after she asserted that the kidnappers of three missing Israeli youths were “not terrorists.” Hamas’s connection to the young men’s abduction and murder helped to spark the third war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Thus, Israel already has plenty of dissenting voices and activists without foreign intervention. Nevertheless, foreign interests have identified Israeli NGOs as the soft underbelly of Israeli democracy and have leveraged them to promote their own agendas. The problem became so acute that a watchdog, NGO Monitor, was formed in 2002 to track the self-hostility being funded largely by European and other foreign sources. As the organization notes: “NGOs lack a system of checks and balances, and…provide accountability to their funders and activist members, and not to the citizens or societies whose lives are directly impacted by their activities.”

NGO Monitor also notes that, even though most of the foreign government funding for these Israeli NGOs is “formally designated for ‘educating the Israeli public’ and ‘changing public opinion’ (both in violation of the norms on non-interference in other democracies), these Israeli NGOs are very active externally, in the delegitmization and political warfare against Israel.”

These left-wing Israeli NGO’s receive money from about two dozen foreign governments, and some private organizations. That includes millions of dollars from billionaire George Soros.

In Catch the Jew, author Tuvia Tenenbom exposed how foreign-funded “human rights” and “cultural” organizations in Israel tend to serve as vehicles for attacking Israel. By presenting himself to interview subjects as “Tobi the German,” Tenenbom elicits some surprising confessions. For example, the New Fund for Cinema and TV, a foreign-funded Israeli cultural NGO, told him that that about 80 percent of political documentaries made in Israel are co-produced by Europeans. That includes a documentary called “10%—What Makes a Hero,” which equates Israel’s military with the Nazis. Such films would be too scandalous to be produced in Germany, but German-sponsored NGOs can safely pay left-wing Israelis to make such movies.

Some foreign funders of Israeli NGOs have even unwittingly enriched Hamas. Last August, Hamas allegedly siphoned off “tens of millions of dollars” from World Vision, a U.S.-based charity, and used the funds for weapons purchases, tunnel construction, and other military activities.

The Knesset passed a law in July requiring disclosure of foreign funding sources for NGOs that get more than half of their money from overseas. The law is “clearly aligned with the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),” wrote legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich, who defended the legislation in response to critics.

“Israel is unique in the sheer scale of the foreign government sponsorship of domestic political groups,” he wrote. “For example, the European Union alone has in recent years given roughly 1.2 million Euro a year for political NGOs in the US and roughly an order of magnitude more in Israel—a vastly larger per capita amount.”

The Obama administration opposes foreign influence only when that influence promotes a dissenting view. Obama opposed Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress against the Iranian nuclear deal, but was happy to give a speech to the UK parliament against Brexit. The Obama administration critiqued Israel’s NGO-funding-disclosure law, perhaps because it had sent U.S. taxpayer money to an Israeli NGO working to oust Israel’s prime minister.

The same hypocrisy seems to prevail among Israel’s foreign-funded NGOs. They ostensibly exist to promote democracy and peaceful co-existence, but are conspicuously silent when Palestinian institutions violate those ideals. Such silence enables abuse by Palestinians and promotes a distorted and incomplete picture of the complex reality in which Israelis operate. Foreign-funded Israeli NGOs remained silent after the Palestinian Authority arrested Palestinians who visited a Sukkah in a symbolic peace event promoting coexistence.

“These organizations are silent when the Palestinian leadership pays salaries to the families of terrorists, glorifies murderers and calls streets and city centers after them,” Netanyahu said. “These organizations prove again and again that they are not actually interested in human rights, but only in shaming Israel and libeling it around the world.”

If Israel’s left-wing NGOs truly are committed to democracy and peace, why haven’t they condemned the PA’s efforts to prevent “normalization” with Israel? In 2014, Jibril Rajoub, the deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and the head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, condemned a coexistence-promoting soccer match between Israeli and Palestinian youths on a southern kibbutz, as “a crime against humanity.”

Last week, a Palestinian newspaper came under intense criticism for publishing an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The Jerusalem-based newspaper Al-Quds was denounced by Hamas, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, and the supposedly “moderate” PA. The “chilling effects” and anti-peace message implicit in the harsh reactions to the interview have yet to catch the attention of any left-wing NGOs supposedly working for peace and democracy.

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

 

TV: Israelis Thank Christians for Visiting on Feast of Tabernacles

The Bible says that all nations will one day be required to "come up" to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Israelis are thankful for those Christians who are already doing so.

 

"Warm Clothes - Warm Heart"

Israelis love to make themselves at home. There is the popular black tea with fresh "Nana" (mint leaves) enjoyed by candlelight to create a homely ambience. But many families are not all together to enjoy this family time. There is a child missing, sometimes even two. They are in uniform with a weapon.

Israeli soldiers, our children, carry the burden of the security of the country on their shoulders. They risk their lives daily to protect all Israel from the perpetual hatred and terror.

This winter we will be distributing high-quality thermal clothing among our soldiers. Take part in our project "Warm Clothes - Warm Heart" and help warm up a soldier!

We ask you to keep our soldiers in your prayers. They need your prayers and support more than ever!



 

Arab Knesset Members Given Cold Shoulder

The start of the Knesset’s winter session was all the more chilly for members of the Joint Arab List as fellow lawmakers from both the ruling coalition and the opposition fulfilled their vow to boycott their Arab colleagues.

The move is in response to the Joint Arab List’s very public decision to boycott the funeral of former President Shimon Peres, whom the party insisted is still viewed negatively by the Arab population despite his decades of efforts for peace.

The counter-boycott, a rare bi-partisan initiative, was put into practice on Monday, as a member of the Joint Arab List took the podium to pray for victims of the Kfar Qasim massacre that occurred during the Sinai War in 1956.

As promised nearly every coalition and opposition MK stood up and left the plenum. Interestingly, one of the few to remain was right-wing “extremist” MK Yehuda Glick, who said he would never boycott anyone, regardless of their position.

Also remaining as necessitated by protocol was Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who attempted to shout down the praying Arab Muslim lawmaker, noting that the Knesset chamber “isn’t a place for protests or demonstrations. This isn’t a mosque.”

 

Muslim Inscription Acknowledges Jewish Temple

An inscription from the early Islamic period has been added to the pile of evidence attesting to a long Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, contrary to recent decisions taken by the United Nations.

The inscription, which was found during the excavation of a mosque in the Palestinian village of Nuba near Hebron, refers to what is now called the Dome of the Rock as “Bait al-Maqdess,” the Arabic version of “Beit Hamikdah,” which is Hebrew for the Temple.

According to Israeli archaeologists Asaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the unique inscription dates to the 10th century, and further confirms that for centuries after the Islamic conquest, Muslims continued to link Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to the Jewish Temple of the Bible. Numerous Islamic sources from the time attest to this.

Avraham and Reuven noted in a press conference last Thursday that early Islam drew much from Judaism, leading to the building of the Dome of the Rock where the Temple previously stood.

“At the start of the Muslim period, religious rites were held inside the Dome of the Rock compound that imitated the ceremonies conducted in the Jewish Temple,” Avraham explained.

In more recent years, Arab Muslim leaders in Israel and abroad have vociferously denied any historical connection between the Jews and the Temple Mount, even in the face of their own religion’s documentation.

It has been frustrating for Israel to see the “Christian” West join in this fiasco, but despite attempts to rewrite history, the truth will always be revealed.

 

From Nuclear Visionary to Visionary for Peace...

While he boldly realized one of his dreams, he utterly failed to achieve the other.

Above all, Shimon Peres was concerned with Israel’s survival, and will by some be most remembered as the father of Israel's nuclear program.

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

Don't miss it! You can get an annual subscription at 20% off until November 7th, 2016

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