The Messiah Contest

The Messiah Contest

The Israeli public is fascinated by the Messiah, which is why the topic is covered frequently in the media. Reports on the Messiah do not only appear in the Orthodox press, but also in secular news outlets.

The full article appears in the August 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Baby Boom: Israel's Troubling Self-Flagellation

Baby Boom: Israel's Troubling Self-Flagellation

Time and again Israelis fall prey to their own sense of self-righteousness. The death of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha from Duma near Nablus (biblical Shechem) has spawned an embarrassing display Jewish self-flagellation. 

Though arson attacks carried out by Palestinians in order to falsely accuse Israel are not unheard of, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin didn't even wait for the start of an investigation into the fire before demonstrating just how ready Jews are to take the blame.

"More than I feel ashamed," he said, "I feel pain over the murder of a little baby. Pain caused by a few of my people who chose the way of terror and thereby lost their humanity. Their way is not my way. Their way is not our way. Their way is not the way of the State of Israel and not the way of the Jewish people." 

Rivlin's response, which Arabic-language Israeli newspapers headlined with "I Am Ashamed," only served to bolster the impression that Israel was directly responsible for this murder.

Rivlin, who more than once has demonstrated an inclination toward political correctness, again revealed that his concern for Israel's image comes at the expense of Israel's future. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why he didn't use this sad occasion to likewise condemn the Palestinian Authority, which hails as heroes the killers of Jewish babies. 

For those who would deem such a condemnation improper, the very least Rivlin could have done is point out the difference between Israel's contrition and the Palestinians' institutionalized incitement.

The lack of similar outrage over the premeditated killing of Jewish babies raises as much concern as the death of Ali Saad Dawabsha.

<img src="http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Portals/0/News/150803_babies.jpg"><br/><small>A poster of murdered Jewish babies reading "Does anyone remember them?"</small>

Rivlin, however, with all his lack of sophistication, can't be suspected of being a leftist activist. Irritating as his politically-correct speeches are, the president is at least genuinely concerned, and for good reason. 

Such is not the case among Israel's left-wing constituency, which quickly seized the opportunity to further their own political agenda. 

While Rivlin might be unaware of the ramifications of his own self-flagellation, politicians and journalists are fully aware of the advantages they can draw from this tragic incident. 

The several hundred leftists who on Saturday night protested in Jerusalem against the murder of Dawabsha under the banner "Rally for the Advancement of Tolerance" never did the same for the bereaved parents of dead Jewish babies. Their insincerity was most exposed when they raised blood-stained hands toward Minister of National Infrastructure Yuval Steinitz as he stood to address the gathering.

<img src="http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Portals/0/News/150803_hands.jpg"><br/><small>Photo: Moti Kimkhi</small>

This abominable display (red-painted gloves prepared in advance), which recalled the 2000 Ramallah Lynching, accompanied by shouts of "the blood is on your [the government's] hands," shows just how far Israeli leftists are willing to go in service to the pro-Palestinian agenda. 

Sadly, it wasn't only them who were quick to roll Israel in tar and feathers. Respected columnist Ron ben-Yishai penned a piece entitled "How to Stop a Jewish Jihad," in which he wrote: "These are not hate crimes, this is religious-messianic terrorism, committed by people who view themselves as acting according to God's true will. In simpler words - this is Jewish jihadism, identical in every detail to Islamic jihadism, except that, fortunately, this is not a mass phenomenon, the likes of which we have been seeing both in our region and in Europe."

At the very least, ben-Yishai's contradicting and false comparison ignored the possibility that given the "price tag" movement's record (if indeed they were behind the fire), Ali Dawabsha's death might have been unintentional. He also sidesteps the likelihood that "price tag" is not about implementing God's will, but rather is a crude reaction against what those in the movement perceive as the lack of a proper Israeli response to Palestinian terrorism.

Whatever the case, Israel's carnival of self-flagellation does nothing to ease the tension.

As blogger Thomas Wictor right observed, "inflating your 'wrongdoing' is just as self-aggrandizing as boasting about your moral superiority. Most of the commentary on the murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha is just ritualized posturing." 

The question of why Jews are so eager to take blame can be answered by looking to history, beginning perhaps with the scandalous words of those irresponsible Jews who, in the name of all Jews, took the blame for crucifying Jesus.

PHOTO: Israelis visit at the scene of a house in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus on August 2, 2015, where a Palestinian infant was killed early on July 31, 2015, in an arson attack, apparently by Jewish extremists. (Flash90)

 

Israeli Christian Children Connect to Aramean Roots

Israeli Christian Children Connect to Aramean Roots

It is time for most children in this region to head off to summer camp, and the Arabic-speaking Christians largely concentrated in Israel’s north are no exception.

But while Israeli Jewish children will be doing largely recreational activities and Palestinian kids in Gaza will be training for violence at the hands of Hamas, the Christians will be reconnecting to their ancient Aramean roots.

The Israeli Christian Aramaic Summer Camp began last Thursday under the auspices of the Israeli Aramaic Christian Association (ICAA) in the Galilee town of Kfar Baram.

Prior to the start of the camp, the ICAA published the following Hebrew-language press release:

"…[From] July 30 - August 3 will be held the first Christian Aramean children’s camp following the historic recognition by the State of Israel and the Jewish people of the Arabic-speaking Christians in the Land as the descendants of the Aramean nation.

"The Israeli Aramaic Christian Association under the management of IDF Maj. (res.) Shadi Khalloul…persists despite various attacks, provocations and threats emanating from Arab and Islamist elements that are determined to prevent us from returning to our Aramean roots and preserving our language that was in the past shared by Jews and Arameans living in the Land.

"We as a movement will continue to strengthen our partnership with the Jews and be loyal citizens of the state… We will continue the struggle to preserve our heritage and our language centered on the ancient settlement of Kfar Baram.

 

“The Maronite Christians of Baram have integrated into the State of Israel in various roles, including as member of the security forces and the IDF. Many also do national service and enjoy a dignified life together with their brothers, the Jews, in the State of Israel.”

As noted in the press release, the camp will be held in and with a focus on Kfar Baram, which is of great symbolic importance to the Israeli Christian community.

Kfar Baram was originally a Jewish village dating back at least till the time of Queen Esther. Remains of a large ancient synagogue are clearly visible. At some point between the 7th and 13th centuries AD, Jews abandoned the village for unknown reasons. Several centuries later, Kfar Baram had become a fully Christian village.

During the War of Independence in 1948, the IDF captured Kfar Baram and resettled its Christian population elsewhere. Due to the village’s close proximity to the Lebanese border, and Israel’s wary approach at the time to Arabic-speaking Christians, the inhabitants were forbidden to return to Kfar Baram after the war for fear it would become a point of terrorist infiltration.

That fear has clearly been put to rest today, as Israel now views its Christian population as a loyal and integral part of Israeli society. As such, the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association is at the forefront of efforts to rebuild Kfar Baram and return the community to its ancestral home.

In a previous interview, Khalloul told Israel Today that rebuilding Kfar Baram is important not only to local Christians, but to Israel at large as it would blunt the Arabs’ ability to cynically use Christians in their anti-Israel agenda.

 

Armageddon – Painting a Picture of Hope for the Future

Armageddon – Painting a Picture of Hope for the Future

Armageddon, biblical scene of the world’s last great battle that will usher in the return of Jesus Christ, is no fictional location. It is a real place at Megiddo in northern Israel that has witnessed conflicts going back several millennia, but which has also inspired a series of priceless paintings.

The works are the legacy of Lady Barbara Brassey, who died in her 99th year in 2010, and have been left in the custody of Wrexham-based TV and radio executive Gareth Littler

Lady Brassey actually played a part in the little remembered 1939 Battle of Armageddon (the Greek name for Megiddo, which overlooks the Plain of Jezreel) that was won without a shot being fired and which paved the way for the birth of modern Israel.

Yet if the Islamic jihadists who fled from the British forces at Megiddo had been successful, it could all have been so different. However, they have now re-emerged as perhaps the biggest threat, not only to Israel, but to world peace.

For though Armageddon itself has since been quiet, wars and revolutions have broken out all over the Middle East, prompting fears of something much bigger and more brutal to come.

Of great strategic importance, Megiddo guards a narrow pass on the ancient Egypt-Assyria trade route and is perhaps the most fought over place on earth. It was also where General Allenby’s British Allied troops defeated the Turks in 1918 after taking Jerusalem without a shot fired.

But the paintings speak of hope, not war. The hands of the artist actually held the bullets with which to feed the machine gun aimed at the invading jihadists. Lady Brassey was married to Col. Campbell Westmoreland, who marched his battalion from Caesarea on the coast to face a hostile army at Megiddo. He lined his men up with their rifles and stationed his best ‘Tommy’ on the flat roof of a nearby building with a machine gun.

Outnumbered and short of men, he asked his wife to feed the gun with the bullets. But miraculously, no shots were fired as, suddenly and inexplicably, the entire jihadist army turned and marched away. The war developed along different lines, and in other theatres.

But, as Gareth Littler put it: “If that part of Palestine had fallen to a cohesive, organized jihadist army in 1939, no Jewish refugees could have passed through Haifa or Tel Aviv sea ports in the 1940s. The extraordinary battle helped pave the way for modern Israel. And in thanks to God for such a miracle, we have these marvelous paintings as a lasting legacy.”

Barbara became a committed Christian in later life and the ‘Armageddon Paintings’ – depicting ten scenes from the Bible including Jesus’ baptism, crucifixion, resurrection and return to earth at the end of the age – are seen as a prophetic sign that when Christ intervenes, peace is secured.

Lady Brassey was a silver medal winner at the Royal Academy with works exhibited in London, Paris, America and South Africa, and this unique collection has been described as “priceless” by fine art valuer Peter Ashburner.

The collection is expected to attract particular interest at a time when the sort of apocalypse envisaged by biblical prophets like Ezekiel and Daniel, and Jesus himself in the Book of Revelation, is becoming an ever-greater present reality.

Gareth says the message, both of the experience of Barbara at Armageddon that inspired the paintings and of the Scriptures themselves, is that it will not be Russia, as many Christians believe, that launches an all-out attack on Israel in the last days, but an alliance of Islamic jihadists.

Muslim countries, he explains, have a history of recurring jihad (holy war) in common – Islamic State arose 100 years after the massacre of millions of Armenians and others in a Turkish jihad.

An apocalyptic scenario is rapidly developing before our eyes, but the solution lies with the Lord Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah’s ‘Prince of Peace’, who will bring an end to warmongering as he turns swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2.4).

Gareth wonders, too, whether the 1939 battle could also be a prophetic picture of God intervening there again with massive power at the end of time, with victory again won without men firing a shot!

Zechariah wrote: “A day of the Lord is coming when… I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it… Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations...” (Zech 14.1-3)

“World leaders recognize a cataclysmic world war is now possible, but those who love God are reassured over Armageddon,” says Gareth.

“As things get worse, the world will struggle to find answers. But the good news of the Armageddon Paintings is that the Christian gospel holds the answer because Jesus rose from the dead and is coming back soon!”

The custodians wish to sell the entire collection, also including ten plaques, with the intention that they will be displayed in an internationally prominent venue where the public can see and experience for themselves the story that lies behind them.

The paintings combine history and hope for the future, says Peter Ashburner, adding: “As a qualified valuer of many years’ experience, I have never seen such a fascinating and powerful collection of art; and for this reason, in my opinion and in the right hands, they are likely to be priceless.”

 

Highest Alert After Palestinian Child Killed by Apparent Jewish Terror

Highest Alert After Palestinian Child Killed by Apparent Jewish Terror

Israeli security forces were on highest alert going into the weekend after an 18-month-old Palestinian child was killed in what appeared to be an arson attack carried out by Jewish extremists in Samaria.

A fire broke out in two adjacent homes in the Palestinian town of Duma south of Nablus (biblical Shechem) during the predawn hours on Friday. Only one home was occupied at the time, and the family inside scrambled to escape. But the mother was reportedly unable to reach her youngest child as the flames spread. Both parents and a four-year-old child were treated for severe smoke inhalation.

Hebrew graffiti reading “Long live King Messiah” and “Revenge” was found nearby, raising suspicions that this was yet another “price tag” attack by Jewish extremists angered over a political process that would see their ancestral homeland surrendered for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Other such attacks have targeted Christian institutions, which are seen as part of an effort to spiritually destroy the Jewish people.

To date, only a handful of price tag attacks have resulted in fatalities, or even injury, and police expected Palestinian extremists to use Friday’s tragedy as an excuse for further violence.

Indeed, Hamas had already declared a “day of rage” at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount over increased Jewish visits to the holy site, and the arson attack would only add to the tension.

Thousands of police were deployed to Jerusalem and around the country to prevent additional bloodshed, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed those responsible for the death of the Palestinian child would be duly punished.

“I am shocked by this terrible criminal act,” said Netanyahu. “This is a terror attack. Israel deals harshly with terrorism, no matter who the perpetrators are.”

Somewhat predictably, the Palestinian Authority exaggerated the situation as though such deadly acts of arson were a regular occurrence, and threatened to drag Israel before the International Criminal Court.

“This is a war crime and a crime against humanity,” declared Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. “We will take this to the International Criminal Court and no one will stop us from doing so. We demand that the world act. What does the United States think of these crimes?”

At the same time, Abbas and his regime claim Palestinian violence against Jews is an understandable, if not justifiable, response to the “Israeli occupation.”

 

For Many, the Gaza War Is Not Over

For Many, the Gaza War Is Not Over

"I was stunned by how I was treated by the Israelis. I grew up being told that the Israelis are our enemies and we have to hate them. But doctors have treated me like a brother," one wounded Palestinian told us.

The full article appears in the August 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Again America 'Deeply Concerned' by Jewish Houses

Again America 'Deeply Concerned' by Jewish Houses

Though Israel on Thursday demolished a number of “West Bank” houses its Supreme Court deemed illegal, the US and Europe did not waste the opportunity to suggest that the building of new Jewish residences in areas claimed by the Palestinians called into question Israel’s commitment to peace.

The Palestinian Authority quickly latched onto that message.

“We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government’s announcement today of the advancement of nearly 300 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, as well as hundreds of new housing units in East Jerusalem,” said US State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

“Settlement expansion threatens the two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated resolution to the conflict,” the American official continued.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly approved the new Beit El and Jerusalem construction projects after Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a demolition order against a Beit El neighborhood that it determined had failed to obtain proper approval.

The American condemnation came despite the fact that no signed peace agreements prevent Jewish construction inside the already-defined boundaries of existing Jewish settlements, nor has Israel ever agreed to even the possibility of surrendering Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, the European Union quickly followed up the American statement with condemnation of its own, insisting that the building of Jewish homes in disputed territories, rather than continuing Palestinian violence and incitement, was the primary obstacle to peace.

“The EU expects the Israeli government to demonstrate its commitment to the two-state solution not only in words, but also through its actions,” read the European response.

Needless to say, the Palestinian Authority was thrilled with the international reaction to the audacity of Jews building homes in Samaria, the ancient biblical heartland of Israel.

“These settlement measures and war crimes are part of a plan by Israeli leaders to impose a ‘Greater Israel’ on historic Palestine and destroy the two-state solution and the chance for peace,” said senior PLO figure Hanan Ashrawi, who sought to both outdo the condemnations emanating from the West and rewrite history.

 

Report: Israel Eliminates Child-Killer Freed in Prisoner Exchange

Report: Israel Eliminates Child-Killer Freed in Prisoner Exchange

Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Wednesday that a suspected Israeli Air Force (IAF) strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights had eliminated the notorious terrorist Samir Kuntar, along with four other militants loyal to the regime of dictator Bashar Assad.

Kuntar was captured and jailed by Israel in 1979 after he led a terrorist infiltration team from Lebanon to the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya, where he killed a police officer before dragging an Israeli father and his four-year-old daughter down to the beach and brutally executing them.

Against much protest, Kuntar was released by Israel in 2008 as part of a larger prisoner exchange with the Lebanese terrorist militia Hezbollah. Upon returning to Lebanon, Kuntar was given a hero’s welcome and vowed to continue his blood-soaked jihad against the Jewish state.

At the time, then-President Shimon Peres said Kuntar would neither be forgiven nor forgotten, and an unnamed defense official promised that final justice would ultimately be served against the unrepentant terrorist.

“Samir Kuntar, who was released…in the framework of a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, has become a dead man walking,” the official told Yediot Ahronot. “Israel will eliminate him.”

The Israeli military declined to comment on whether or not that promise had been fulfilled on Wednesday, but the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights suggested that it had.

“An Israeli plane hit a car inside the town of Hader, killing two men from Hezbollah, and three men from the pro-regime popular committees in the town,” said the group’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman.

Kuntar was known to have been given command of a local militia based in Hader.

 

Knesset Renews Ties to Worldwide Christian Lawmakers

Knesset Renews Ties to Worldwide Christian Lawmakers

Israel’s Knesset last week renewed its Christian Allies Caucus, something that must be done after each election. The fact that the Knesset continues this trend is evidence that it views relations between Israel and the Christian world with increasing importance.

The event, chaired by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, was attended by no fewer than 25 Knesset members from eight different factions, including three government ministers.

New caucus chairman MK Robert Ilatov (Israel Beiteinu) said he would work to further strengthen ties to the 32 sister caucuses in parliaments around the world in a broader effort to combat global boycotts of the Jewish state.

“There are many challenges that lie ahead, but I have no doubt that together, we will succeed in defending and blessing the State of Israel and the well-being of its people,” Ilatov told his fellow Israeli lawmakers and the numerous Christian leaders at the gathering.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who today serves as a Knesset member with the Kulanu Party, also addressed the gathering, noting that as a Christian nation “US-Israel relations go back to spiritual ties. …We are on a holy mission to ensure the Jewish state remains strong and beloved.”

Oren further pointed out that were Jesus to come today to Bethlehem (or any number of other places he ministered, like the Temple Mount) he’d be labeled a “Jewish settler.”

Caucus director Josh Reinstein summed up the event by stating that “Israel is now dependent on Christian support. We will be tested like we never have before.”

 

COMMENTARY: Will the Church and Israel Ever Be One?

COMMENTARY: Will the Church and Israel Ever Be One?

A long, long time ago, for a brief moment, the church and Israel were the same people. Oh, not everyone in Israel belonged to the church. But everyone in the church belonged to Israel. Nobody was named O’Malley.

Then one day God encouraged the apostle Peter to go to the home of a Roman centurion named Cornelius and share the gospel. And, lo and behold, the man’s whole family believed and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Things were never the same after that.

Paul then followed Peter’s example and made a career out of bringing Gentiles into the church. Soon the only Jew left in the church was Jesus. And even he was looking more Gentile-ish every day.

In time, the church came under new management. It was now all Gentile, and had become a religion called Christianity. The new leaders soon determined God had clearly changed His mind about the Jews being His favorite people. Their glorious city and temple lay in ruins, and the people were scattered in disgrace.

But the church of Jesus Christ was flourishing. Even the Emperor of Rome, Constantine, was now on board. And he had promoted Christianity to be God’s number one religion, officially severing it from the religion of “the murderers of our Lord.”

Yep, the church was surely God’s new Israel! It was a new day. The Bible was then put under lock and key for safe keeping. Churches were built. New holy days proclaimed. And a priesthood with powerful sacerdotal authority evolved. But as night follows day, a deep, deep darkness descended on the land that lasted for centuries.

But God, who is light, sent His servants to reignite the torches. The Bible was given back to the people in their own languages. Scales began to fall from blinded eyes. Faith arose to overcome religion. And then, miracle of miracles, the Jews defied history and returned to their ancient homeland to reestablish their nation. Many in the church marveled, realizing God must still love the Jews after all. And was again honoring His covenant promises to them.

But that raised big questions. For if the Jews were still God’s people, and the church had not replaced them as previously taught, who or what was the church ? The theologians quickly latched on to another teaching that seemed to solve the problem. God had two peoples! Christians and Jews. A spiritual Israel and a physical Israel.

And that’s sort of where we are today.

But is that what God wants? To have two separate peoples? What happened to Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “that they may all be one?” (John 17:21). Or his assurance we will “become one flock with one shepherd?” (John 10:16) Or Paul’s revelation, that in Messiah, God had “made both groups (Jews and Gentiles)… into one new man, thus establishing peace?” (Eph. 2:13-15)

Seems to me we’re not quite there yet. And a glorious reunion lies ahead.

 

Netanyahu Coalition in Trouble Over Evacuation of Jews

Netanyahu Coalition in Trouble Over Evacuation of Jews

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fragile coalition looked to be in trouble Tuesday morning hours after police forcibly removed residents from a newly constructed neighborhood in the Jewish town of Beit El north of Jerusalem.

Israel’s Supreme Court recently ordered the houses in the new Dreinoff neighborhood of Beit El be demolished following a left-wing petition claiming the structures were built on “Palestinian” land.

On Monday, so-called Jewish “settlers” barricaded themselves in the houses to prevent the order being carried out. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, hundreds of riot police showed up to evacuate the neighborhood. Some 50 demonstrators were arrested during the ensuing confrontation.

The entire episode enraged right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition, who wondered why the police had been given a green light for the evacuation when both the prime minister and his defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, claimed to be against the demolition of the Dreinoff neighborhood.

For his part, Netanyahu maintained that he was working to strengthen the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, but that it must be done in accordance with the law and the approval of the courts.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whose Jewish Home faction is the champion of the “settler” cause, hinted that his party would stop cooperating with Netanyahu and might leave the government altogether if the prime minister did not make right this situation.

PHOTO: Jewish settlers and riot police clash in the Samarian town of Beit El north of Jerusalem.

 

Israeli Unity? Only in Times of Crisis

Israeli Unity? Only in Times of Crisis

The results of a new survey published by Israel’s Ynet news portal this week suggest that Israelis are united only in times of crisis, such as wars or other disasters, and that the norm for the Jewish state is division and internal conflict. This is especially true when considering the secular-religious split.

The survey was conducted to mark Tisha B’Av, the solemn fast day held this week in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple, considered a divine punishment for division within Israel.

While the results painted a fairly bleak picture, they also provided reason for optimism.

Participants in the survey were asked how much attention they pay to the various divisions between Israel’s Jews. A 45–46 percent plurality said that religious and economic divisions were of great concern to them, while 44 percent said that the ethnic divide between Ashkenazi (western) and Mizrahi (eastern) Jews was of little importance.

Deeper analysis revealed that the religious divide between “secular” and ultra-Orthodox Israelis was of much greater importance to secular and traditional Jews than it was to the ultra-Orthodox community.

A full 80 percent from all societal groups recognized that Israel as a people are only united in times of crisis, and a 41.5 percent plurality expect the situation to get worse.

One of the biggest contributing factors to this is a lack of willingness to integrate between the groups. While daily contact is frequent in such a small country, the survey found that, for instance, both secular and ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews are largely unwilling to marry someone from the “other” side. When it came to doing business together or living in close proximity, both sides were a little more tolerant.

On a positive note, a 43 percent plurality of Bible-believing religious Israelis (situated somewhere between “secular” and ultra-Orthodox) expect the situation to improve. Furthermore, most of the respondents from all sectors agreed that despite the differences, the Jews of Israel are in this together, and that their shared heritage does provide common ground for unity, even if only temporarily.

Asked how to solve this problem, 40 percent wanted better education on the topic, while 23 percent called for increased dialogue.

Ilan Gal-Dor, director of the “Gesher” research institute that conducted the survey concluded optimistically: “The results indicate a willingness for dialogue amongst the different sectors. However, there is much work before us. We [Israelis] attach great importance to dialogue and understanding between ourselves as a nation, in service to a better common future - especially [considering the lessons] of Tisha B’Av.”

 

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Historic Agreement, or Historic Mistake?

Historic Agreement, or Historic Mistake?

In wake of US-brokered deal, "Israel must prepare for a potential pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities," warns senior Israeli defense analyst.

The full article appears in the August 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Israel to Obama: We'll Continue to Oppose Iran Nuke Deal

Israel to Obama: We'll Continue to Oppose Iran Nuke Deal

Israel at the weekend sent a crystal clear message to the Obama Administration that it would not be cowed into quietly accepting what it views as a naive and dangerous US-brokered nuclear agreement between Iran and the Western powers.

In remarks to the New York Times, a senior unnamed Israeli official on Saturday slammed US Secretary of State John Kerry for suggesting that the Jewish state would be blamed if Congress overturns the Iran nuke deal.

Speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York last week, Kerry said that “if Congress were to overturn [the deal], our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed.”

Earlier, Kerry warned in an appearance on the American news network NBC that any Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear program in the wake of the US-brokered deal would be a “huge mistake.”

In response to Kerry, the Israeli official said Jerusalem “rejects the threats directed at Israel in recent days. …The regrettable attempt to intimidate Israel will not prevent us from voicing our concerns about this deal, which poses direct threats to Israel’s security.”

Jerusalem insists that the nuclear deal is faulty in nearly every way, and is little more than a diplomatic stunt by an Obama Administration desperate for a foreign relations success.

Of notable concern to Israel is that the agreement does not require Iran to dismantle and dispose of the nuclear technology, facilities and material it has already developed. It also enables the Islamic Republic to avoid meaningful inspections without serious consequences.

PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the media following the signing of the US-brokered Iran nuclear deal earlier this month.

 

Ancient Scroll Shows Bible Hasn't Changed

Ancient Scroll Shows Bible Hasn't Changed

Last week archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the successful deciphering of a fully charred Torah scroll first discovered in the ruins of an ancient synagogue 45 years ago.

The scroll was unearthed in 1970 during excavations at Ein Gedi on the shores of the Dead Sea. It was found inside a Holy Ark situated in the remains of a synagogue dating to the 6th century AD.

For decades, the 1,500-year-old scroll sat in storage, far too burned to be legible.

But recently, Israeli archaeologists decided to throw caution to the wind and subject the delicate scroll to scrutiny using new advanced 3D imaging technology.

The gamble paid off, and the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus were soon made clear.

Outside of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this scroll is the oldest fragment of the Bible to be found in modern times. It is significant for two reasons.

  1. The scroll is yet more proof of the ancient connection between the Jewish people and this land, contrary to present-day claims that the Jews are invaders and usurpers;

  2. As the Messianic blog One For Israel pointed out, the text on the scroll matches perfectly to modern Hebrew editions of the Bible. “This shows that the accusations flung from other faiths that the Biblical text has been corrupted are untrue: we have yet more proof that it hasn’t changed one iota! Not in 1500 years!”

PHOTO: Scroll fragment as it was delivered to The Lunder Family Dead Sea Scrolls Conservation Center (IAA)

 

No Light at the End of the Tunnel

No Light at the End of the Tunnel

"Israel’s power of deterrence is dwindling, and Hamas is not going to be silent," says top Israeli expert. "That’s the reality we live in."

The full article appears in the August 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Temple Mount Erupts in Violence

Temple Mount Erupts in Violence

Israeli police raided Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Sunday in response to Muslim stockpiling of weapons intended for use against Jewish worshippers marking Tisha B’Av, the traditional commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second temples.

Every year, thousand of Jews gather at the Western Wall to mournfully remember the Temple’s downfall.

In preparation for this year’s service, Muslim officials and worshippers sitting atop the Temple Mount had stockpiled stones, Molotov cocktails (firebombs) and firecrackers inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.

In order to prevent what would have been a massive attack on unarmed Jewish worshippers, police entered the Temple Mount compound in force early Sunday morning and clashed with the Muslim rioters.

The would-be assailants were pushed back into the Al Aqsa Mosque and the doors were shut on them. Six Muslims were reportedly arrested for violently assaulting police officers.

 

Israeli Christians Take Aim at Anti-Israel Boycotts

Israeli Christians Take Aim at Anti-Israel Boycotts

The Christian Empowerment Council based in Nazareth has released a new, freely available digital book aimed at debunking Christian anti-Zionism and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement it facilitates.

Presented earlier this month by CEC spiritual leader Father Gabriel Naddaf, Test the Spirits: A Christian Guide to the Anti-Israel Boycott Movement demonstrates the decidedly unpeaceful agenda of BDS and calls on Christians the world over to recognize God’s true purposes for Israel.

The CEC and the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum have for the past several years been leading a camp to more fully integrate local Christians into the Jewish State of Israel. The first and most important step has been encouraging young Christians to join their Jewish brethren in physically defending Israel.

The book can be read online by visiting the new CEC website: www.cecisrael.org

 

King Hussein's Christian Peacemaker

King Hussein's Christian Peacemaker

The decorated Bible-believing Jordanian officer was handpicked by King Hussein to help broker peace between Jordan and Israel in 1994, a treaty that has held for over 20 years.

The full article appears in your COMPLEMENTARY July 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

‘Praise Allah, we can ride with the Jews!’

‘Praise Allah, we can ride with the Jews!’

"Israelis do more for the Palestinian people in our areas than our own leadership in Ramallah. Allah be praised that we can ride with the Jews!" says Khalil from the Arab village of Samoa.

The full article appears in your COMPLEMENTARY July 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Ohad's journey to life!

Ohad's journey to life!

Protective Edge changed the lives of many people. In the case of Sergeant Ohad Ben Yishai, his life turned upside down.

Ohad served in the Golani Brigade's elite Egoz unit. He and his unit's comrades were involved in a brutal battle in Gaza's Shuja’iyya neighbourhood, which later became known as the bloodiest battle with Hamas during Protective Edge, with Hamas. Thirteen soldiers lost their lives during the battle and many were injured. Ohad suffered a serious shrapnel wound of his head and was defined as the most seriously injured soldier during the operation. On his arrival at hospital his condition was so serious that the doctors did not think he would make it through the night.

After an unrelenting battle to stabilize Ohad, that lasted a few weeks, Ohad rewarded their efforts when he regained consciousness.

Ohad’s recovery process is far from over, but he has shown great progress. At the beginning he was not able to talk, lift his own head, not to mention walking or using his hands. In addition his memory was badly impaired. Ohad’s recovery journey resembles a baby's learning to walk and talk, it is like he was "born again". His speech and language therapist and physiotherapist are only a couple of the people standing by him, helping and encouraging him through this long and difficult process. However he wouldn’t have gotten this far without the love and support of his parents.

It is a known fact that to be accepted into an elite unit, more than physical fitness alone is needed. Having a tough and and ambitious character are essential personal traits are also needed. No doubt Ohad has the personal character and is made of the right material. He is a fighter and does not plan to surrender to his condition but is ready to fight for his life! Little by little he is making progress having started to talk and also starting to walk.

We have heard many stories about soldiers that are in the recovery process after suffering injuries during Protective Edge. They all have something in common and that is their will to live and do everything in their power to reach their goal.

These young men set examples for us, when you aim high and your faith is strong you can achieve anything you wish for!

This was a blog post from "Support Israeli Soldiers" from our "Support Israel" section. We appreciate every donation. In order to help the Land of Israel and her residents see "Support Israel".

 

Iran Nuke Deal Could Drive Away Israelis

Iran Nuke Deal Could Drive Away Israelis

The Iran nuclear deal poses not only a military threat, but also a severe economic challenge that could harm foreign investments in Israel, deter tourism and cause many young Israelis to leave the country.

That was the gloomy assessment offered by Interior Minister Silvan Shalom in a briefing to foreign reporters this week.

Shalom added:

“Imagine what will happen if Israel is faced with a genuine nuclear threat. Would any of you agree to live in Israel under such a threat? We don’t want to be like Japan and South Korea, both of which said North Korea would never have a nuclear bomb and now live in fear of what will happen. This can cause Israelis to leave the country and damage tourism, because no one will want to live in a country facing existential threat.”

Shalom, who also serves as vice prime minister, noted that while most other countries are concerned with quality of life, Israel must focus on staying alive.

Estimating that the US-brokered deal that will lift sanctions on Iran will provide the Islamic Republic with an additional 500–750 billion dollars over the next 10 years. “The international community preferred the short term over the long term, the present over the future,” he insisted.

Asked why Israel was not negotiating an increase in American military assistance as part of the deal, Shalom responded:

“Everyone asks about the level of American military aid Israel will receive following the agreement with Iran. I ask, if the deal is so good and protects the interests of Israel, why would we even need to discuss an increase in military aid?”

 

Enough With the Double Standard Argument

Enough With the Double Standard Argument

Pro-Israel social media activists are complaining non-stop about moral standards required only of Israel. One tweet out of myriad points this out:

Israeli politicians and spokespeople are the first to use the "double-standard" argument to defend Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu alludes repeatedly to the UN and Europe double standards toward Israel. Following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's comment on the suffering of children in Gaza, Netanyahu angrily replied: "It turns out there is no limit to hypocrisy." 

Likewise, most pro-Israel people share former Minister of Defense Ehud Barak's view of the IDF being "the most moral army in the world."

And yet, true as it all may be, Israel's insistence on moral supremacy does nothing to alleviate the charges leveled against her. If anything, it only deepens hostility toward a country seemingly unable to meet its own declared moral standards. 

Failing to recognize the danger of this vicious cycle, Israel itself continuously raises the moral bar following every commission of inquiry that predictably accuses her of war crimes. In this futile attempt to satisfy her critics, Israel now warns her enemies in advance and prefers conciliatory military tactics over decisiveness, thereby putting her soldiers' lives at unnecessary risk and prematurely ending vital military operations - all in a vain effort to gain international approval.

It is time to acknowledge that the moral argument has not only run its course, but is in fact bankrupt. 

To appease the international outcry, Israel does next to nothing to bring justice to thousands who have killed Israelis. Likewise, it ignores ongoing unconventional terrorism including the torching of fields and forests, theft, robbery and vandalism. 

At the same time, Israel spares no effort in condemning the sporadic, non-lethal, childish Jewish vandalism, presenting it as an unforgivable form of "Jewish terrorism."

It is not surprising, therefore, that when Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr was asked to comment on the European "double standard" toward Israel, he said that "Israel should insist that we discriminate, that we apply double standards..." Vahr, so it seems, is taking Israel's claim for moral supremacy seriously, and, like so many others, uses it to indict the Jewish state.

Though none would argue that upholding moral codes is not important, Israel's high moral ground position is used as an excuse for more condemnations and more violence. It is a demoralizing strategy that prolongs conflicts rather than ending them. The moral argument has become an effective tool in the hands of the pro-Palestine crowd to defeat Israel. 

It is time to stop trying to explain what is actually purposeful self-imposed "Palestinian suffering," and instead encourage Israel to get off its unattainable moral high horse and act in a manner more fitting a such a time when "all is fair in love and war."

 

COMMENTARY: Is Israel Just Our Good Luck Charm?

COMMENTARY: Is Israel Just Our Good Luck Charm?

Ask a Christian why he or she loves and supports Israel and the Jewish people and the response will most likely be, “Genesis 12:3: Those who bless Israel, shall be blessed, and those who curse Israel shall be cursed.” It has almost become our mantra.  

But is that the right answer? 

Because if our love is supposed to be unconditional, then blessing Israel to get blessed has strings attached. It’s a way to get blessed, not be a blessing. Or avoid getting cursed. It’s a bit self-serving.

The fact is, the way many of us are using Genesis 12:3 is close to fetishism. It’s like Israel has become our good luck charm. Our rabbit’s foot. Caress it and it will bless you. Disrespect it and it will curse you.

Is that how we are to understand God’s promise to Abraham? Are we missing something here? I believe so. Centuries of Replacement Theology has left us with an “us” and “them” mentality due to the Jews prolonged state of disbelief regarding Messiah. We may no longer accept that the Church has displaced the Jews as God’s chosen ones, but we still see the Church and the Jews as two separate people of God. We reveal that mindset when we look at Israel’s restoration and say things like, “well, if God kept His promises to them, then we know He’ll keep His promises to us.” As if God has two different sets of promises and destinies for His people. Do not ALL the promises of God “have their yea and amen” in Yeshua? (2 Cor. 1:20) 

So how then should believers, especially those not Jewish, treat Genesis 12:3?

If we look at the last part of the verse God spoke to Abraham, it says, “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” That means all who are “in him,” that is in his seed, will be automatically blessed and be a blessing to others. But aren’t all New Covenant believers who are circumcised in heart “in him” - in Abraham’s chosen family? Absolutely.  “For if you belong to [Israel’s] Messiah you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:29) And, “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” (Gal. 3:7). And again, “You brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). 

So if we are all included in the chosen line of Abraham’s family through faith in Yeshua, then we are already blessed, right? Right! “Those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer” (Galatians 3:9)

Our problem then is just plain unbelief. By all means we should bless the state of Israel and the Jews. But not to get something we already have! We should love and support them as family. Because that’s what families do. It is the nations who need to realize if they bless Israel (or us) they’ll get blessed. And warned if they curse Israel (or us), well, things will soon turn ugly for them. 

That’s just the way it is.

 

Christian Saviors of Jews Honored

Christian Saviors of Jews Honored

The Chief Rabbi of Poland honored 50 elderly Christians who saved Jews from the Nazis during World War II. Calling them “heroes” at the event held in what was the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, the Rabbi expressed “our deepest gratitude to these Righteous Gentiles.”

One of the oldest Christian ladies who had saved Jews from the Nazis was 100-years-old. Others present were already in their 80s and 90s. The event was organized by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR), a Jewish group currently providing monthly financial assistance to more than 500 aged and needy Christians who have saved Jews from the Holocaust.

"You are our heroes," said Stanlee Stahl the JFR executive vice president standing before the elderly group who had saved many Jews from certain death. "It is so important to acknowledge the courage and heroism of the righteous, for each of you saved the honor of humanity," she told attentive crowd.

Under Nazi occupation non-Jews and their families caught helping Jews were punished with death. Poland which was once home to Europe's largest Jewish population, about 3.3 million before the war, also has the largest number of non-Jews recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem Israel's Holocaust memorial. "You will always be remembered in our prayers for you made it possible for generations to be born and to live," Stahl said.

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, who knows many of the rescuers personally describes them as modest people who don't consider their actions heroic. "A universal theme is that 'we did nothing special. We were just normal,’" Schudrich said. "It's a really important lesson for everyone that helping another human being is normal."

Among those gathered was Janusz Durko, a retired historian and centenarian. During the war he and his wife hid 20 Jews who escaped the Warsaw ghetto. He said it was the "obvious" thing to do and never considered himself a hero or even courageous. "You had to help a person whose life was at risk," he said.

An 86-year-old Polish Christian woman fought back tears as she remembered the Jewish woman that she and her family rescued. For decades after the war the two women were close like sisters living around the corner from each other. As she was leaving the event she approached the Rabbi and holding back tears told him that her "sister" died last year of leukemia.

She said she was thankful to the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous for helping pay for the expensive medications that the woman needed before her death.

The JFR supports impoverished Christians who rescued Jews during the war. Over the past twenty years, the Foundation has awarded more than $36 million to these aging heroes. Funds are used to cover the costs of food, home heating fuel, medical care, medication, and emergency needs or to help defray funeral expenses. The JFR which is a Jewish Foundation also provides one-time grants for the purchase of food during the Christmas holiday season to rescuers living in Poland and other Eastern European countries. The Foundation is “committed to supporting these aged and needy rescuers throughout the remainder of their lives,” according to their website.

Material for this article was gleaned from the origin report published by the World Jewish Congress.

Pictured: Rescuer Janusz Durko, 100 years old

 

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Another terrorist released in Shalit deal kills again

Another terrorist released in Shalit deal kills again

Israeli security cleared for publication the identities of the terrorists involved in last month's shooting attack, in which Malachi Rosenfeld was murdered, and once again a terrorist released in the Shalit deal was involved.

The terrorist cell that carried out the attack was headed by Ahmad Najar, a Hamas operative. He currently resides in Jordan and carries out his terrorist activities, planning, organizing and funding terror attacks, from there.

Najar had been imprisoned in Israel various times in the past. The most recent from December 2003 until his release in October 2011. He was released in the Shalit deal and banished to Gaza having had Israeli blood on his hands having been involved in the murders of six Israelis. He subsequently made his way to Jordan where he now lives.

Two of the terrorists involved in the attack, near Shvut Rachel junction, were arrested by the Palestinian Authority and are being held by them. These include the leader of the cell in the West Bank and actual shooter in the attack, Mu'ad Hamed. He is also a Hamas operative and has also spent time in Israeli prisons for past terrorists activities.

Recently the Palestinian Authority has conducted a large wave of arrests of Hamas members, approximately 170 having been arrested, across the West Bank. A Palestinian security official recently said that there was a direct link between the spate of recent shooting attacks in the West Bank and the wave of arrests.

 

Israelis - Daily Victims of Terror

Israelis - Daily Victims of Terror

While the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings that left a trail of death and destruction across London was rightly remembered with special memorials, few give any thought to the trauma suffered by much of Israel’s population on an almost daily basis.

True, terrorism struck with shocking brutality in France, Kuwait and Tunisia on June 26. And we must not forget the ongoing slaughter of Christians in the Muslim world. But around the same time there were six terrorist attacks in Israel in just eleven days.

And chillingly, just as the deadline approaches for reaching a deal allowing terrorist sponsors Iran to continue their nuclear program, the end of the Muslim fast month of Ramadan will be marked the world over by rallies calling for the destruction of Israel.

Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the eviction from the Gaza Strip of over 8,000 Jews carried out under pressure from American and other politicians in a so-called ‘Land for Peace’ deal.

But the Jewish state was sold a dummy. Having completed the evacuation amidst much pain and protest from its own people, no such peace was forthcoming.

For in the ten years since the pullout, southern Israel has sustained constant bombardment from the Hamas terrorist group that now controls the enclave, with more than 11,000 rockets leaving much of the population traumatized.

Over five million Israelis are currently living under threat of such attacks. According to latest reports, at least 63 per cent of children in the southern Israeli town of Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress due mostly to terrorism. Yet Israel is under fire from both media and Western politicians for employing bullying tactics (rather than legitimate self-defence) against those whose ultimate aim is their extinction from the human race.

Few realise that Gush Katif – where Jews built their homes in the strip – was an area of empty sand dunes that was certainly not dominated by Arab Palestinians. But the barrenness was transformed into beautiful communities with multiple fields of greenhouses growing flowers, fruit and vegetables both for local consumption and export.

There are many, including myself, who see a connection between the timing of a series of weather-borne disasters in America and the administration’s repeated attempts to force an unacceptable ‘peace’ deal on Israel. Remember that God has given the land to his chosen people as an everlasting possession, and has warned in his Word (Joel 3.2) that judgment awaits those who divide it!

On August 23, 2005, just as Jews were being evicted from their homes in Gaza as part of the ‘peace’ plan, a seemingly insignificant tropical storm slowly gained momentum in the Atlantic and, defying all forecasts with wind strength ‘off the scale’, struck New Orleans with a vengeance, leaving 10,000 dead and destroying thousands of homes in its wake. It was America’s worst disaster in recorded history.

Eyewitness Geoffrey Grider wrote: “As I saw the thousands of homes destroyed, my mind kept going back to those U.S. ordered bulldozers destroying Jewish homes in the Gaza Strip. As I saw the thousands and thousands of United States citizens being evacuated from their land, my mind could not keep from remembering the Jewish people crying and literally begging to stay in their land. America found no mercy for the Jewish people.”

And, without mercy, Katrina literally ‘bulldozed’ tens of thousands of homes and completely ‘evacuated’ the celebrated city of New Orleans. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless, helpless and hopeless in the greatest ever displacement of US citizens. Around 600,000 jobs were wiped out and estimates put the final bill at over $150 billion.

Yes, the Bible is true: Almighty God is watching over his own special piece of land, and the people he has chosen to inherit it, surrounded as they are by sworn enemies and at greater risk than ever of genocide. We dare not walk on the other side as if this was nothing to do with us! Like the Good Samaritan, we must tend the wounds of the man who has been mercilessly robbed and beaten by the roadside.

It is right to love our own; but we must also love our neighbour – especially those to whom the Bible refers as “the apple of God’s eye”.

For more on this subject, see my latest book, Peace in Jerusalem, available from Amazon & olivepresspublisher.com

 

What is happening under the Dome of the Rock?

What is happening under the Dome of the Rock?

Torah scholars believe the foundation stone to be the site upon which God established the world. This same place has also been identified as Mount Moriah where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac; and the Holy of Holies of the First and Second Temples was believed to have stood above the Even haShtiya.

The full article appears in your COMPLEMENTARY July 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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The New Sanhedrin and the Redemption of Israel

The New Sanhedrin and the Redemption of Israel

The people long for a judiciary that is both willing and able to administer the kind of righteous judgment the Bible requires.

The full article appears in your COMPLEMENTARY July 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Holocaust Survivor Saved by Christians Returns the Favor

Holocaust Survivor Saved by Christians Returns the Favor

At the age of 19, Arthur George Weidenfeld was among the many Jews whom British Christians successfully rescued from Nazi-controlled Austria just as Adolf Hitler and his cohorts were putting the “Final Solution” into action.

Seventy-seven years later, now a British lord, Weidenfeld is looking to return the favor by rescuing Syrian and Iraqi Christians under mortal threat from the advancing Islamist horde known as ISIS.

Weidenfeld was brought to England in 1938 by the Quakers and the Plymouth Brethren. Not long after, he started the publishing business of Weidenfeld and Nicolson. In 1976, his overwhelming success and unrestrained philanthropy landed Weidenfeld the title of Lord, Baron Weidenfeld, to be exact.

This week, Weidenfeld told London’s The Times that he “has a debt to repay,” and has established the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund to transport and financially support Middle East Christians facing forced conversion and death.

According to reports, the Fund has already flown 150 Syrian Christians to Poland, where it will support them financially for the next 12–18 months while they get on their feet and integrate with their new country.

The initial goal is to get as many as 2,000 Christians out of Syria in the coming months.

Much like with the Nazi Holocaust, the nations of the world are doing very little to assist and save the beleaguered Christians of the Middle East, leaving individuals and smaller organizations to tackle this impossible task.

Weidenfeld acknowledged that he can’t save everyone, but feels there is significance in a Jewish Holocaust survivor reaching out a helping hand to Christians in the greatest of need.

 

Arab Hatred for Israel Turns to Love

Arab Hatred for Israel Turns to Love

An Egyptian church leader now based in West London has told how hatred for their ancient enemy Israel turned to love through reading the Bible.

Sameh Metry leads a lively 100-strong Arabic congregation in Ealing while at the same time serving as vicar of an English-speaking church in nearby St Hugh’s, Northolt. And he showed his keyboard skills as he led a high-octane worship session during a conference in Manchester aimed at building bridges between Middle Eastern followers of Jesus.

He was born into a Coptic Orthodox family in Upper Egypt and became a born-again Christian at 15.

But he explained that even Christians in Egypt are encouraged to hate Jews and that in writing essays, for example, the more vitriol you could express against them the higher marks you would get.

“But whenever I read about Israel in the Bible I fell in love with these people; something happened in my heart connecting me with them. I identified with them, even wondering if perhaps I had Jewish ancestry.”

Before he began a theological course in Singapore, the principal warned him that they prayed for Israel at the college, and was shocked to discover it was not a problem for him.

He started a successful Bible school in Egypt, with 350 students enrolled, but the secret service closed it down. He was jailed for a time and prevented from leaving the country, but eventually got out with the help of a friendly customs official and settled in London where he founded a Bible school and started his church.

Asked if he believed Arabs and Jews could be reconciled, he answered in the affirmative, adding: “But only in Jesus.”

 

Blog: The sky is the limit - it just depends on your will to live!

Blog: The sky is the limit - it just depends on your will to live!

If you Google the entry Protective Edge, you will find that it was one of longest operations in the history of Israel. The operation started July 8th and ended August 26th. During this period, thousands of rockets and missiles were indiscriminately launched at most areas of Israel including Haifa and Jerusalem.towards wide areas of Israel. Most of Israel's citizens were exposed to danger.

A year after the operation ended, with most Israelis having returned to normal life, a few are still going through a healing process. One of them is Lieutenant Colonel Shay Siman-Tov, the commander of the Golani Brigade's 12th Battalion.

Siman-Tov’s amazing and inspiring story began when he was seriously injured a year ago in Shuja’iyya, in the Gaza Strip during Protective Edge. The Golani Brigade which lost a significant number of soldiers, also had many soldiers that suffered wounds, and Siman-Tov was one of them. He was injured when a wall collapsed on him, while his force was on a mission uncovering Hamas tunnels. His wounds were significant and nobody really knew if he Siman-Tov would get through this as the odds were stacked against him.

For the first month of hospitalization, Shay was in the Intensive Care Unit, being unable to breathe on his own he was connected to a respirator. Due to an injury of his spinal cord, it was not clear if he would ever stand on his feet or be able to use his arms.

Despite his injury, Siman-Tov made a decision he will not give up, and no matter what he would do everything to return to normal life, including wearing his IDF uniform. Shay was blessed to have his wife by his side who encouraged and supported him throughout the ordeal. Their positive attitude and strong faith paid off when Shay, against all odds and just one month after being admitted to hospital, was disconnected from the respirator and was moved out of the Intensive Care Unit, Ten months later, as he promised himself the day he started his personal battle, Siman-Tov finally dressed himself in his army uniform, which he loves and honors, and walked out of hospital using a walker.

Today, a year after Protective Edge, Shay Siman-Tov is living proof that when your faith and desire are strong, the sky is the limit. His struggle continues but he has vowed not to give up until his recovery is complete.

This was a blog post from "Support Israeli Soldiers" from our "Support Israel" section. We appreciate every donation. In order to help the Land of Israel and her residents see "Support Israel".

 

Has the agreement with Iran placed military options back on the table!

Has the agreement with Iran placed military options back on the table!

The world has placed the fate of the Middle East in the hands of the regime in Tehran, which is not trustworthy. Most Israeli commentators are of this opinion and appalled by the agreement, which has been concluded with Tehran by the P5 + 1 world powers. The agreement does not keep Iran from attaining nuclear capability, neither does it reign in its nuclear infrastructure. While US President Barack Obama celebrates the biggest foreign policy success of his tenure, once again there is talk in Israel of a possible military strike against Iran.

"Israel should take the necessary precautions, if Iran violates the agreement," writes columnist Ron Ben-Yishai in the news portal Ynetnews. From Israel's perspective, the agreement has brought the military option back to the table. "The Israeli government will have to decide whether it wants to attack Iran or not, if the ayatollahs decide to build a nuclear bomb." According to experts, Iran currently needs about a year to build a nuclear weapon and use it. If Iran violates the agreement and secretly continues to enrich uranium, the regime could build a nuclear device much faster. We are talking about a matter of a few weeks.

In Tehran, people cheered and celebrated the imminent end of the sanctions with processions and motorcades. In Jerusalem Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized again that the world's future is now more uncertain because of the Agreement, the international community has committed a mistake of historic proportions. Germany's Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier rejected Israel's criticism and stated that any Iranian bid for an atom bomb will be excluded reliable and verifiable for the foreseeable future. "I can say with full conviction, that this is an agreement that brings security to the world, the region and even the neighbors of Iran," said Steinmeier.

In the mainstream media the agreement is being hailed as an historic breakthrough and are accusing Netanyahu of fomenting fear of Iran for domestic political reasons, having ensured Netanyahu three electoral victories. Emphasis has been placed on the substantive achievements of the agreement with Tehran: The number of centrifuges being reduced by two thirds, the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors being granted access to all sites and the UN arms embargo remaining in force for another five years. In return, the sanctions will be gradually lifted, but can again take effect in the case of infringements of the agreement at any time.

 

Jerusalem is Israel's Capital (and Other Inconvenient Truths)

Jerusalem is Israel's Capital (and Other Inconvenient Truths)

It has long been said that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are sensitive to each other’s narrative, and that there cannot be a true peace process without the willingness to appreciate the other side’s history, pain, suffering, hopes and dreams.

In simpler terms, negotiations cannot go anywhere without a mutually agreed baseline of truth. Sadly, a shared truth has always been one of the missing ingredients between Israelis and Palestinians, and the U.S. as would-be mediator is not helping.

Take the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting the right of the President to decide that Israel does not have sovereignty over Jerusalem. I have no issue with the constitutional matter of who gets to make those decisions; every President asserts his right to make foreign policy decisions without Congressional meddling.

The problem is that the U.S. position reeks of political correctness and a refusal to tell the truth. Under any final-status agreement, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital, even if one day East Jerusalem ends up being the capital of a new Palestinian state. U.S. unwillingness to state this forthrightly only serves to patronize Palestinians, to unnecessarily antagonize our Israeli neighbor, and to illustrate why U.S. mediation has not been particularly effective.

The U.S. administration’s position on Jerusalem is inconsistent and even contrary to its general policy towards Israel / Palestine. When Israel declared its independence following the 1947 U.N. partition plan that called for two states, Palestinians and the Arab world rejected the partition plan and attacked Israel with the intent to destroy it. 

Israel not only survived, but the war ended with Israel holding territories beyond those allocated to the Jewish state in the Partition Plan. Those 1949 Armistice lines are now referred to as the 1967 borders, or the “green line.”  If West Jerusalem, which has been inside the green line since 1949, is not recognized as part of Israel, then none of the territories beyond the U.N. plan can be recognized as present day Israeli territory; if that is U.S. policy, Washington should say so openly.

Of course, the U.S. is not about to change its general policy on Israel / Palestine, but its stated policy on Jerusalem is an unsavory mix of evasions and falsehoods that hurt U.S. credibility. Here in my opinion are the hard but necessary steps that the three main protagonists in this conflict should take:

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas openly admitted that Palestinian rejection of the U.N. partition plan was a mistake, but then he asks why Palestinians have been punished by Israel ever since. Instead of finger-pointing, Abbas must acknowledge that Palestinians should have demanded that Jordan turn over the West Bank territories and East Jerusalem when it was under Amman’s control between 1949 and 1967. Abbas should add that the 1967 Six Day War also was a big mistake, just as the late King Hussein did. And Abbas should continue by saying that the two, deadly and years-long Intifadas that killed thousands of Palestinians and Israelis were also wrong, and that Palestinians should have taken seriously Israel’s peace offerings over the years. After all, he now bemoans the opportunity he squandered when former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed what Abbas now calls a genuine peace plan.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserts that he supports a two-state solution. If that is true, he should say that while disposition of existing settlements will be left for negotiations, there will be no new settlements in the West Bank. He should state that he does not want Israel to have to choose between maintaining its Jewish character and its democratic ideals. To be a peacemaker, though, he must go further, saying that he understands the need for Palestinian dignity and freedom, which must come about in the context of assuring Israel’s security. In fact, he must tell the Israeli public that Palestinian statehood is in Israel’s security interest.

  • If President Barack Obama wants Israel to appreciate the purity of his motives as he delivers his messages of “tough love” to Israel regarding settlements, he should share similar expressions with Palestinian leaders by calling them out on their undiminished culture of hate that vilifies Israelis and Jews, extols terrorists and murderers, and refuses to prepare their people for peace and reconciliation. He must tell Abbas that Jews should have every right to live in a future Palestinian state, just as 20% of Israelis today are Palestinians. And he must end the fiction that Jerusalem – at least its western half – is not the capital of Israel, so that Palestinians have no doubt about the parameters of what the two-state solution can accomplish. 

This would be a good start towards a shared truth and therefore towards peace, though no doubt there are many other things that Obama, Netanyahu, and Abbas should tell each other and their people instead of following the advice of fearful political operatives. In addition to finding it liberating to speak so honestly, they might be surprised at how much good it can accomplish.

* Bassem Eid is a Palestinian human rights activist, political analyst and political commentator. He has agreed to write periodic commentaries for Israel Today Magazine. Don't miss out - <a href="https://www.israeltoday.co.il/Subscribe/Subscription.aspx">SUBSCRIBE NOW >></a> 

 

All indications from Vienna is that a final nuclear deal has been reached with Iran

All indications from Vienna is that a final nuclear deal has been reached with Iran

"All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people," one Iranian diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Another source in Vienna said that the Iranians are laughing all the way to the bank with Western countries all lining up to trade with Teheran and compensate her for agreeing to a deal.

The last obstacles to the agreement were Teheran's defiance not to allow nuclear inspections of "military" installations. Teheran claimed that such inspections were tantamount to military espionage on their country.

Reports coming out of Vienna have Teheran seemingly agreeing that inspections of military installations could be carried out. But that Teheran has the right to appeal such UN inspections with an arbitration committee set up, composed of Iran and the P5 + 1 world powers, to decide the issue.

Detractors of this agreement claim that and such appeal would simply give Teheran enough time to stall such inspections and allow her to cover up any military nuclear work.

Israel's news outlet Ynet has reported that, the Iranian state news agency has broadcast that under the current deal; all Iranian nuclear facilities will remain up and running and research on key centrifuges will continue.

The official announcement of a final deal having been reached has yet to be announced by officials in Vienna!

 

COMMENTARY: Is Christian Zionism Misguided?

COMMENTARY: Is Christian Zionism Misguided?

There’s no question the birth of the Jewish State in 1948, followed by such miraculous victories as the Six-Day War, caused many Christians to sense a paradigm shift had taken place in the heavenlies. That after nineteen long, painful centuries God was again intervening on behalf of the Jews.

This understanding delivered a crippling blow to the lie of Replacement Theology. Because how could this be happening if God had indeed replaced the Jewish people with the Church as His only covenant people, as RT taught?

Christian Zionism, which had always been a small stream within Christendom, suddenly became a raging river of support. Worldwide ministries like the ICEJ, Friends of Israel and CUFI sprang up. The words of Isaiah to “comfort, comfort My people” were seen as a mandate for the Church today to stand with both the beleaguered state and Jews worldwide – prayerfully, economically and politically. Tens of thousands flocked to Jerusalem to say, “God loves you!”

But now, decades later, doubts have crept in. Whispered questions demanding answers. Like, if God brought the Jews home, why don’t they live more godly? Why is abortion allowed? Why do we see hedonism, materialism and even blatant sexual perversions on display? Why don’t they give God more glory for their military and economic successes, rather than tout their own ingenuity and strength? And although it’s the only country in the Middle East where Christianity is growing, why is freedom to share the gospel still hindered?

Adding to these disturbing thoughts is the steady acid drip of those who slander Israel as an oppressor nation that built its state on stolen Arab land. And enforces apartheid policies.

It’s no wonder even many Christians Zionists are asking what will it take to bring Israel to her knees? Worse, wondering if God was ever in this restoration as others have argued.

I believe the problem lies not with them, but us. The poison of Replacement Theology is still with us. For by such judgmental demands we are embracing the same hypocritical attitudes of the nations that hold the Jews to a higher standard in order to condemn them. We point a self-righteous finger at their imperfect society, conveniently forgetting these same things are rampant in our own so-called Christian nations. And churches.

And we judge their spiritual qualifications as if we had earned our own righteousness in Messiah. Did God require us to clean up our sin first to come to Yeshua? Or did He instead grant us the grace to repent so He could forgive us? Well, He promised the Jews no less when He said, “a deliverer will come from Zion to remove ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom. 11:26).

My advice, dear Christian, is have patience. And do not doubt what you first believed. God is still working. Hundreds of promises throughout the Bible assure us – and them – of the restoration of Israel prior to the coming of Messiah’s kingdom.

And if it is not now, when?

 

VIDEO: Messianic Soldier Addresses 2014 Gaza War

VIDEO: Messianic Soldier Addresses 2014 Gaza War

Several weeks after the UN predictably condemned Israel over alleged war crimes in last year’s Gaza war, a young Israeli Messianic soldier that took part in that conflict has again published a YouTube video giving an inside look at what really happened from the perspective of a local believer.

“Exactly a year ago, I found myself on my way…to Gaza,” opens Hananya Naftali, giving a basic explanation of why Israel felt compelled to launch Operation Protective Edge.

Even a year later, Naftali says “my heart is still beating when I recall how many times God saved me without me even knowing. I’ll never know.” Many soldiers offered similar stories of what could be described as supernatural protection on the front lines.

Check out the video:

 

3 Jewish youths suspected of arson at Galilee church arrested

3 Jewish youths suspected of arson at Galilee church arrested

Fire caused extensive damage to Church of Loaves and Fishes, where perpetrators left Hebrew graffiti denouncing the worship of idols.

Israel police and the Shin Bet arrested three Jewish youth who are suspected of being involved in the arson at the Church of Loaves and Fishes in northern Israel about a month ago.

Immediately after the incident the police arrested 16 youths, all yeshiva students from West Bank settlements, but released them shortly after.

A covert investigation led the Shin Bet to the three suspects.

In an initial investigation by the fire brigade there were indications that the fire broke out in several places in the affected compound pointing to the fact that arson had been committed.

The church, which Christians believe is where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, lies on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and is a traditional site of pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

 

First western female fighter against ISIS returns to Israel

First western female fighter against ISIS returns to Israel

Gill Rosenberg, a Canadian - Israeli, returned to Israel after spending the last 8 months on the front lines against ISIS in Syria and Iraq with Kurdish fighters.

In November 2014 it was reported that Rosenberg had joined the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Syria. She flew via Jordan to Erbil in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq where she assumed her combat role.

A few weeks later media reports stated that she had been abducted by ISIS being the first western female combatant having been abducted. Within a matter of days the reports of her abduction were put to rest with reports of a post on her FaceBook page that she was alive and well.

After seeing action in Syria Rosenberg moved to Iraq where she continued in her combat role util she left Iraq for Paris about 10 days ago.

She arrived in Israel on Sunday where she was briefly detained by Israel's General Security Services (Shin Bet) and interrogated before being released.

"It's good to be home. I'm here for now, and don’t plan on going back there anytime soon," she said.

Rosenberg spoke of her difficulty witnessing the humanitarian crisis in the areas that she found herself, saying, "It's a country at war. There are millions of refugees scattered across the country, most of them women and children."

Rosenberg reportedly said that that she left the area for political reasons, saying that peoples attitudes towards the US and Israel and increasing Iranian advances in the area warranted her departure.

 

Israeli Arab Imam openly calls for support of ISIS in mosque speech

Israeli Arab Imam openly calls for support of ISIS in mosque speech

The Imam of the Al-Tawhid Mosque in the Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm openly called for support of the Islamic State in a July 2nd sermon. He accused Hamas of being too moderate and accused the organization of collaborating with Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also denigrated by Imam Muhammad Abd Al-Ghani as a "Jewish dog". The Muslim cleric further accused the Jews of being behind every disaster that plagued the Islamic people.

The population of Umm al-Fahm, located on the border of Samaria under Palestinian Authority control, consists exclusively of Arabs. The name of the centuries-old city means "mother of coal", and charcoal production was the village's primary business once. Israel's former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, had previously suggested swapping the village for inclusion in the Palestinian territories in exchange for Jewish settlements. The residents of Umm al-Fahm had rejected this outright.

Imam al-Ghani's scandalous statements in his sermon were revealed by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute). MEMRI follows, translates and publishes articles from the Arab media.

MEMRI also reports that Al-Ghani was instructed to remove the symbol of the ISIS terrorist group from the entrance of his mosque by Israel's Police. The symbol, however, continues to appear on his YouTube account.

 

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'There Are Christians Praying for Israel Inside Iran'

'There Are Christians Praying for Israel Inside Iran'

“I love Israel,” an Iranian delegate told a conference in Manchester aimed at building bridges between Middle Eastern followers of Jesus.

“I may be from Iran, but I love Israel, and there are Christians praying for Israel inside Iran.”

The young man, whose name is being withheld for security reasons, was addressing the UK at the Crossroads event hosted by the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people (CMJ), a 200-year-old Anglican society.

A refugee forced to flee Iran because he had become a Christian, he spoke of the growing church in his adopted city led by a pastor who gives clear teaching about the special place of Israel in God’s purposes.

With the government and police on his case after converting to Christianity from Islam (which is against the law), he and his wife fled Iran three years ago, hidden in a wooden box on the back of a lorry for a tortuous 72-day journey to the UK. God watched over every detail, even in directing him to an Iranian church when he finally arrived in an English city.

Although financially secure back home with a house and car, he was empty inside and became disillusioned by the harshness of Islam. A troubling home life didn’t help and he became addicted to medicinal drugs until he learnt to play the sitar. For the first time in his life, he was given a hug, and began to share his problems with his tutor who eventually prayed for him with the laying on of hands in Jesus’ name. He was instantly healed, and subsequently became a believer. Now he wakes up every morning thanking Jesus for bringing him out of darkness.

Another ex-Muslim from Iran struggled to comprehend the harshness of the religion and was “switched on” to Christianity after watching a film about Jesus. She initially came to the UK to visit relatives and subsequently married an Englishman. Her faith, however, was put on the backburner until her five-week-old daughter was diagnosed with a tumour. It reminded her that she was a Christian who “knew someone who could sort it out” and her now five-year-old girl recovered so well that she is even swimming already.

A teenage boy, born in Tehran, told the conference how he turned his back on strict Muslim observance when his heart was touched by a church’s worship band.

Music was regarded as sinful among his radical group. But he was sickened by the brutal treatment of soldiers and shocked by the discovery of guns in a mosque. He realised he was being taught to kill and control people. He had been reaching out to God from an early age, but had found no answers until – in the UK – he heard people talking of Jesus. He reluctantly accepted an invitation to church, where his heart was melted by the music. “They told me this wasn’t about religion, but a relationship with God, which was exactly what I had been looking for all those years. I gave my heart to Jesus Christ, and what a difference it made. Now he’s my Lord, my God …my everything!”

An Iranian bishop, meanwhile, spoke of the suffering endured by Christians in a country where he also experienced discrimination as a member of the Jewish community, who were forced to live in designated areas.

Rt Rev Iraj Kalimi Mottahedh came to faith in Jesus through the influence of his uncle and became minister of a church visited by the Queen and the Shah of Iran. But when the revolution struck in 1979, the Anglican Church was the first to be targeted. A pastor was killed and an assassination attempt was made on the bishop at the time, who survived despite being shot through the head six times.

Iraj himself, who took charge when the bishop left, was imprisoned for eight months, unable to leave the country for twelve years and forbidden to accept Muslim converts into his church.

 

Revealed: 2 Israelis held in Gaza by Hamas

Revealed: 2 Israelis held in Gaza by Hamas

In addition to the bodies of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose bodies were snatched by Hamas after being killed in action during Operation Protective Edge, Israel yesterday lifted a gag order on two additional Israelis being held by Hamas in Gaza.

However both of these missing Israelis crossed the Gaza perimeter fence of their own accord and were promptly arrested and incarcerated in Gaza.

Avraham Mengistu left his home in the southern city of Ashkelon on September 8, 2014 and crossed into Gaza along Zikim beach. After setting off alarms on the electric fence the IDF scrambled troops and helicopters to the scene only to observe Mengistu continuing walking along the beach into Gaza. The troops fired in the air as a warning sign, and called on Mengisto to return to Israel, but he ignored them.

He was arrested by Hamas and interrogated. Israel has no further information regarding him. Hamas acknowledged arresting and questioning him but also stated that they had since released him and they do not believe that he is any longer in Gaza possibly having crossed into Sinai via the smuggling tunnels.

Mengistu was known to have mental issues and was known to social services organizations in his home town Ashkelon.

A second citizen, a Bedouin resident of the south also also crossed the Gaza border into the Strip of his own accord in April 2015. The young Bedouin is said to be mentally ill, and had tried to cross into Gaza in the past.

 

UNESCO raises Israel's "endangering" Jerusalem's Old City

UNESCO raises Israel's "endangering" Jerusalem's Old City

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is about to accuse Israel of "endangering" the Old City of Jerusalem.Arab countries such as Algeria, Lebanon and Qatar have submitted a resolution to UNESCO condemning “the persistence of the illegal excavations and works conducted by the Israeli occupation authorities and the extreme settler groups in the Old City of Jerusalem."

Additionally, Israel is accused in the proposed Resolution of "damaging artifacts and Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount, Islam’s Haram al-Sharif, and castigates the Jewish state for building a light rail line that passes near the Old City walls that damages their visual integrity and the authentic character of the site.”

The resolution compiled by the Arab countries speaks only of the Temple Mount as a "Muslim holy place" and requests to keep the Old City on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger, where it has been since the agency acquiesced to a 1982 Jordanian request to categorize the Israeli-controlled site as “endangered.”

Israel's government denounced the resolution as "very one-sided", "distorted and far from reality," said Dore Gold, Director General of Israel's Foreign Ministry. UNESCO "deliberately ignores the historical connection between the Jewish people and its capital as well as the close ties of Christianity to this city."

Gold accused the UN agency of hypocrisy. “As historical heritage sites of the region are being systematically destroyed by jihadist forces, such as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, UNESCO’s adoption of utterly false allegations regarding Israeli archaeological practices is misplaced and hypocritical, at best,” he said.

Israelis are upset over the move saying, “Jerusalem is considered holy for three different religions, it attracts millions of tourist with over 200 monuments, including the majestic Dome of the Rock. Israel provides security of the area but this is ignored by UNESCO while heritage sites and statues that are thousands of years old are being destroyed by IS fighters. These sites are not even considered for inclusion on UNESCO's 'Red List'!"

 

Israel discussing easing Gaza conditions

Israel discussing easing Gaza conditions

High-ranking officers of the Israeli army have recommended easing restrictions on the Palestinians in Gaza. The recommendations include permitting thousands of residents of the area to travel abroad. Relaxing of the import restrictions of goods through the Kerem Shalom border crossing as well as granting Palestinians from the Gaza Strip work permits in the Israeli communities near the border are also being considered.

The relaxations are aimed at helping and supporting the Gaza residents to restore their infrastructure damaged in last summer's Operation Protective Edge. “As long as the economic problems of Gaza remain unresolved, there remains potential for another bout of fighting, regardless of the level of deterrence we achieved in the previous conflict,” a senior officer told an Israeli newspaper.

In this context, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin said that "the restoration of Gaza is in Israel's interest. However, the only requirement for Gaza's reconstruction is that attacks against Israel, or even planning of attacks, need to cease."

However, there are vejement critical voices in IDF. Intelligence reports have detailed how Hamas is currently in progress to once again increase their arsenal of rockets and is digging an extended network of tunnels with which to infiltrate Israel. Officers have also warned of cooperation between Hamas and the Islamic State both in the Northern Sinai and Gaza.

 

Stones with a human heart

Stones with a human heart

My guess is that the recent recognition of Beit She'arim as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will not change the minds of those who believe that the "Jewish people" is a modern invention concocted to solidify Western colonialism in the Middle East.

Fortunately, unlike people, stones are incapable of rewriting history. They can't change the inscriptions engraved on them and they can't move themselves to new, less sensitive places.

This is not to say that archeology is not used as a tool to support beliefs and political aspirations. Archeology was initiated by people who sought to find hard proofs for biblical history, and Israel has always used it to support the right of the Jews to return to their ancient homeland.

Beit She'arim was a first century AD Jewish town destroyed by the Romans in 352 AD. The site is located 20 km east of Haifa, in the southern foothills of the Lower Galilee. Its fame came from Rabbi Yehuda Ha'Nasi, who lived there most of his life, and there he was buried.

Ha'Nasi was the compiler of the Mishna, the most important Jewish text after the Bible, which is why his burial site became a magnet for many Jews from Yemen to Antioch wishing to be buried by his side. With time, the town's cemetery has become a Jewish necropolis that has documented "two centuries of historical and cultural achievement."

UNESCO recognition of this site as a "Jewish cultural center" is not a political move in support of Israel. It is simply a statement of the obvious, just as the newly deciphered inscription is.

Similarly, while the reasons for Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to publish a newly found inscription bearing the name Eshba'al Ben Beda on its webpage are quite obvious, the ceramic jar from the time of David with its ancient Hebrew script that bears the name doesn't leave much room for manipulation.

According to Yosef Garfinkel of the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "This is the first time that the name Eshba'al has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country … until about five years ago we knew of no inscriptions dating to the tenth century BCE from the Kingdom of Judah."

Eshba'al was also the name of King Saul's son (1 Ch. 8:33), who according to Jewish tradition is the same person named Mephiboshethin 2 Sa. 4:4. Whoever Eshba'al Ben Beda was, there seems to be no argument that he was a Judean who lived in the Valley of Ellah, the same place where David fought Goliath.

Stating the obvious is becoming increasingly necessary in an age when archeology is has become prey for those denying any Jewish links to the Land of Israel.

Most know of the systematic destruction of archeological findings by the Palestinian digging under the Temple Mount. Fewer know about the removal of any reference to Jewish life even from villages bearing Hebrew names, like Beitar (Batir), Anatot (Anata) and Tekoa (Tekua).

The Visitor Information Center of Bethlehem (Hebrew: Beit Lehem), for example, does not inform visitors at all regarding the history of nearby Batir at the time of the Great Jewish Revolt in 135 AD. Likewise, though the prophet Amos is mentioned in the history of Tekua, visitors are not told that he spoke Hebrew, not to Palestine, but to Israel and Judea.

As one Hebrew song puts it, "there are people with a heart of stone," but there are also "stones with a human heart" that are speaking to us so that we may know, if only we had ears to hear.

 

Blog: Gadi Yarkoni lost his legs during protective edge – now became Mayor

Blog: Gadi Yarkoni lost his legs during protective edge – now became Mayor

On the very last day of operation protective edge last summer, Gadi Yarkoni was badly hurt in a mortar attack and he lost both of his legs. But he didn’t give up. He continued fighting, for his recovery and health, and now for his beloved home. He was the economic coordinator of Kibbutz Nirim which is situated close to the Gaza border.

On the very last day of the operation, only around four hours before the final ceasefire went into effect, Hamas terrorists fired a hail of mortar shells into Nirim. The mortar shells struck Yarkoni and two of his close friends, Ze'ev Etzion (55) and Shahar Melamed (43) neither of which survived the attack. Yarkoni's injuries were initially so severe that the doctors were not sure he would survive.

"There was a Code Red alarm and I didn't make it to cover in time," Yarkoni said. "While I was lying on the ground, I could tell that my legs were injured; I simply shouted that I was hurt so that they would come take care of me. I was fully conscious." During the flight to the hospital he was in great pain. "It was a terrible flight; I was in excruciating pain. I didn't care about what happened to my legs; I just wanted something take away the terrible pain and make me feel nothing."

Yarkoni spent a total of six months in hospital while he underwent special treatment and rehabilitation. The doctors gave him prostheses on which he learned to walk again. It was a long painful process for the father of three to cope with the loss of his legs and that that of his two close friends. He also struggled with severe phantom pain. The love and support he received from his wife, his son and two daughters was immense.

At the beginning of this year, he announced that he will continue working for the kibbutz. He decided to run for mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council in the elections this past spring, with success! Garnering an absolute majority of 51 percent, the 47 year old Gadi Yarkoni defeated two other candidates. Yarkoni expressed a deep connection with the kibbutz having been born and raised there. "I was born on the kibbutz, my children live here, and I hope to die on the kibbutz at a ripe old age. There's nowhere else for me," he said.

During the election campaign, Yarkoni stated that he wants to strengthen the communities around Gaza. "We are one of the most important areas in the country, if not the most important. We are living near Gaza because of Zionism". Before the campaign he expressed that the residents of the kibbutz are exhausted. "The people here won't be able to withstand barrages of mortars and rockets again; we're too weak now," he explained. He predicted a mass exodus if the area suffers more attacks or does not undergo a recovery period. "Like me, the kibbutz needs to get back onto stable legs and race forward, with the crutches and with prostheses."

This was a blog post from "Support Israeli Soldiers" from our "Support Israel" section. We appreciate every donation. In order to help the Land of Israel and her residents see "Support Israel".

Photo by courtesy of Yuval Chen

 

Getting a Bad Iran Deal at Any Price

Getting a Bad Iran Deal at Any Price

Much has been written about just how bad the proposed Iranian nuclear deal has gotten. This outcome is hardly surprising after Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, bravely published Ally, his memoir detailing Obama’s hostility towards Israel. But even without Ambassador Michael Oren’s personal testimony, there is overwhelming evidence that – on the issue most important to global security and Israel’s very existence – Obama has been, at best, reckless and, at worst, treasonous.

Obama’s administration has shown a breathtaking readiness to cover for a wide range of abuses and violations by the same Iranian regime that seeks international acceptance of its nuclear activities. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz recently noted that the State Department was illegally delaying the publication of a report on Iranian human rights violations, which was due last February, to avoid adversely affecting the talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

According to a report by the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank, Iran has violated the current interim nuclear deal, the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). The president of the institute, David Albright, noted that “When it became clear Iran could not meet its commitment to convert the LEU into uranium dioxide, the United States revised its criteria for Iran meetings its obligations.” Such leniency on a crucial compliance issue suggests that the world powers negotiating with Iran (the “P5+1”) will ignore or explain away Iranian violations of any future agreement over its nuclear program.

In another breach of the JPOA, Iran continues trying to acquire nuclear-related materials – some of which would be prohibited under the emerging deal. Reuters reported last May that the Czech government had uncovered an Iranian attempt to purchase a shipment of compressors from a U.S.-owned company based in Prague. These parts can be used to extract enriched uranium directly from the centrifuge cascades. In April, the British Government reportedly informed a UN panel about an illicit Iranian nuclear procurement network involving two firms under sanctions for suspected links to Iran’s nuclear activities. Iran fed uranium hexafluoride gas into an advanced centrifuge, yet another violation of the JPOA. In April 2014, Reuters reported that Iran’s oil exports were well above the monthly 1 million barrel-per-day limit imposed by the JPOA. If the P5+1 countenanced all of these Iranian violations of the JPOA, why would they be any more forceful when an even stronger Iran violates a permanent nuclear accord?

The news outlet Al-Monitor reported that the U.S. State Department is three years late in applying certain sanctions on Iran. The report provides more proof that the State Department is intentionally delaying sanctions on Iran in its quest to close a nuclear deal. The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration has pressured the CIA so that its analysts are now in an “impossible position regarding analysis of Iran’s nuclear program.”

Not only has the Obama administration ignored Iranian violations, it has also disregarded evidence that sanctions relief will only support Iran’s most dangerous policies. Under Iran’s “moderate” President Rouhani, spending on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the entity tasked with spreading Iranian influence abroad while suppressing dissent at home, has increased by 48%. Iran spends approximately $200 million per year on Hezbollah and up to $15 billion per year to support the Assad regime in Syria. (Apparently the Obama administration sees no contradiction in calling for Assad’s ouster while helping Iran to fund him by removing sanctions.) Former Senior Advisor on Iran at the State Department, Ray Takeyh, has warned that the “massive financial gains from [a sanctions-lifting nuclear] deal would enable [Iran’s] imperial surge.” Iran is now the main power broker in four Arab countries (Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria). So how much more powerful and aggressive will Iran become when sanctions are lifted and billions of dollars flow into its economy?

Obama has also disregarded his own former Iran and nonproliferation experts, who last month signed on to a letter warning that the emerging Iran deal may “fall short of the administration’s own standard.” Signatories include the White House’s former chief weapons of mass destruction advisor, Gary Samore, the Department of State’s former principal nonproliferation advisor, Robert Einhorn, the former director of the CIA, David Petraeus, the former special advisor on the Persian Gulf, Dennis Ross, and other notable officials and analysts. The letter asserts that the emerging deal will not dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and outlines the elements of a good deal. These include unlimited inspections, including military sites; strict limits on centrifuge R&D; disclosure of Iran’s past nuclear military work; phased sanctions-lifting that is tied to Iran’s compliance with the deal; and the creation of an effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically in the event of an Iranian violation.

Iran’s breakout time under the emerging deal would be far less than the Obama administration’s estimate of one year, according to one proliferation expert and the former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In pursuit of this bad deal, Obama has not only covered for Iranian violations and ignored Iran’s continued ballistic missile developments, it has actually offered the Iranian regime nuclear technology. On what basis does Obama so trust a regime that, for decades, has been one of the most dangerous on the planet, and an arch foe of the U.S. and its closest Mideast allies? In another shocking example of that misplaced trust, the U.S. is sharing a base in Iraq with Iranian-backed Shiite militias, who have killed American soldiers in the past, despite concerns that doing so puts American soldiers at risk by allowing the militias to spy on U.S. operations at the base.

The overwhelming evidence all points to the same troubling question: in the nuclear faceoff between Iran and the West, whose side is Obama on? He may get his “legacy deal,” but it will include nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, an Iranian regime much more able to support terrorism and hegemonic policies, and the far greater prospect of nuclear terrorism and/or doomsday in the world’s most unstable region.

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

 

Israeli men will serve less time in compulsory service

Israeli men will serve less time in compulsory service

The next draft of young men who complete their military service in the Israeli army will, for the first time, serve less than three years. This implies that there will be less staff available to the military. Some divisions will have to look for creative solutions to offset the lower number of staff.

According to the government decision male soldiers will in future serve only two years and eight months. In order to cushion the shortage of personnel, women (who previously served for 2 years) will now serve four months longer. In addition, more ultra-orthodox Jews are expected to serve in order to alleviate the situation.

Those conscripts that request and are accepted into special forces and coveted elite units, will continue to serve for a full three years.

Israel's air force plans to outsource some technical services to civilian companies, such as the F-16 fighter jets maintenance. A senior air force officer said the IAF was in the process of negotiating a contract with a major defense contractor for these services. Plans call for the construction of a maintenance center and a laboratory for the Air Force. In addition there is the possibility that some function would be fulfilled by robots instead of human resources!

Army courses would be made more efficient, so that the overall duration of study is shortened. Certain roles will have their boot camp training completely eliminated, for example those fulfilling kitchen service.

The issues created by the shorter military service for men has not come without controversy. Now that the ultra-Orthodox parties are again represented in the governing coalition, many policy experts expect the religious not to be drawn in large numbers to military service.

 

COMMENTARY: Will Israel Suffer Another Holocaust?

COMMENTARY: Will Israel Suffer Another Holocaust?

Many Christians who say they love Israel believe the Jewish nation has one more appointment with God’s wrath. That it will be the worst suffering she has ever known. Worse than 70 AD. Worse than the Inquisition. Even worse than the Holocaust. And it will come by means of the armies of anti-Christ in the last days.

This popular consensus is based on the belief that Jesus words in Matt. 24: 15-31, Mark 13:14-23 and Luke 21:20-24 are all speaking of the end times without reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. So when Luke says that “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, recognize her desolation is near” this is understood to be her coming fate in the Great Tribulation. What Jeremiah calls “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer. 30:5-7). And Daniel, “a time of distress” (Dan. 12:1) .The justification given for this devastating wrath is the necessity to purify Israel from her sin and bring her to salvation.

But is this true? Must this nation, this people, endure one more horrifying chastisement from God via the hands of a sworn enemy? Must she suffer one more humiliation and dismemberment for her sins? Or is this the time Isaiah spoke about for the Church to comfort the Jewish people, and speak kindly to Jerusalem? To tell her “that her iniquity has been removed; that she has received double for all her sins?” (Isaiah 40:1,2).

I am 100% convinced it is the message of hope that God wants spoken today. I believe the Holocaust was the last of her punishment. That the curses detailed in the Law of Moses (Deut. 27,28) that fell upon Israel for her Law-breaking are fulfilled. That her long night of suffering is over. That God has now brought her home to bless her, not bash her. Because this is God’s time to restore the kingdom to Israel. It is the set time to favor Zion!

So what about those passages that seem to tilt exclusively towards an end-time fulfillment? First, I believe Jesus dire warning pertained to both the 70 A.D. disaster and the end-times distress. Second, Israel will surely face Satan’s final attempt at a final solution, but as Jeremiah tells us, “he [Jacob] will be saved from it” (30:7). Daniel also tells us Michael will arise to protect Israel at that time, “and everyone who is found written in the book will be rescued” (Dan. 12:2). Surely we can see He is already on her side fighting for her?

Those who think otherwise are judging Israel through the lens of the Mosaic Law. They see her sins and her continued unbelief today and they say, “How can God bless her?” They forget that God has promised to have the same mercy on her as He did on us (Rom. 11:30-32). And that His covenant of promise spoken to Abraham is not based on ethical righteousness, but the righteousness of faith. And since that faith is always a gift it shall be given.

It’s the nations who will be judged this time, not Israel.

 

Video: Caesarea National Park

Video: Caesarea National Park

Caesarea’s antiquities park is one of Israel’s most impressive parks, housing unique buildings from various periods, bearing silent witness to the upheavals that have visited Caesarea over the past 2,300 years. Standing side by side over an area of 500 dunams (125 acres), there are architectural remains from the Hellenistic period (the 3rd century BCE) to the Crusader period (the 12th century), when Caesarea was a port city and spent many years as Israel’s capital.

Caesarea was given to King Herod as a present by Augustus Caesar and is named after him. Herod built a massive port there alongside entertainment facilities, bathhouses and temples. In the Byzantine period, the Crusader period the city was fortified with walls and gates, which were eventually destroyed by the Mamluk Conquest in the 13th century never to be rebuilt.

Caesarea National Park from Amir Aloni on Vimeo.

 

Israeli "Smart-vest" for Benelux troops

Israeli "Smart-vest" for Benelux troops

The Israeli military equipment producer, Elbit Systems, signed a $150 million contract with the Netherlands Ministry of Defense for the supply of an advanced system for infantry troops of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The Smart Vest integrates a mobile communications system whereby the infantry troops can network together. Each unit can locate the position of their comrades via a touchscreen display and, thanks to a radio and GPS receiver, communicate effectively with each other as well as with command headquarters.

The contract period will cover 5 years with Elbit Systems as the main contractor. Thales Netherlands will supply and integrate the vehicle integration system, the battery and GPS device. The E-lighter, a Fokker developed portable diesel generator, will provide the Smart Vest with up to 48 hours of power.

The system incorporates the latest technological innovations, which is a collaboration between the military modernization programs of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This collaboration is the first joint strategic program between these forces. The first tests of the system are expected to begin in 2016 with the supply of the first 80 pieces. The deployment of 5500 vests are expected in 2017.

Vice Admiral Matthieu Borsboom, Director of Defence Material Procurement, said at the contract signing, "the 'Smart Vest' is a large step forward in personal safety, situational awareness, effectiveness and performance of military personnel in operational deployment."

 

Israel goes on the alert on her Sinai border

Israel goes on the alert on her Sinai border

The Islamic State (ISIS) organization launched an offensive against Egyptian security forces on Wednesday killing dozens. The fighting which is now in the third day is the largest battles that have taken place in the Sinai peninsula since the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The IS caught the Egyptian forces in north-western Sinai off guard with their surprise attack carrying out a well coordinated simultaneous attack on 15 posts and centers of the Egyptian security forces in northern Sinai.

In addition the, IS used sophisticated and modern weapons in their attacks. It was previously unknown that the IS fighters had the types of weapons at their disposal. Egypt quickly received clearance from Israel to move additional weapons, including tanks armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, into the Sinai.

The battles taking place between the Egyptian army and the ISIS fighters could also develop into rocket and mortar fire towards Israel, and the Central Command is preparing for that too. In the meantime, it seems that the IS fighters are busy battling the Egyptian army, which is attacking them from the air and from the ground, but the heightened state of alert on the Israeli side will likely continue for a few more days, as experience shows that ISIS will try to create provocations on the border with Israel in a bid to cause a friction between the IDF and the Egyptian army and affect the relationship between Egypt and Israel.

By Thursday night, Egypt had reported that they had killed 123 IS fighters in their retaliation.

In the initial attacks, the IS gained control of tanks and armored vehicles which quickly had Israel raising the level of readiness on the Sinai border fearing that these vehicles could be used in attacks on Israel herself. Highway 12, which runs mostly along the Egyptian border, has been closed to civilian traffic until further notice. The IDF quickly shut off all Sinai crossings and alerted all the communities along the border with Egypt, especially in its northwestern part to stay alert. The IDF has also reinforced the presence of armored vehicles on the ground and unmanned aircraft monitoring events near the border. The IDF has increased helicopter and fighter jet patrols along the border.

 

Demonstration of True Reconciliation Between Jews, Arabs, Turks

Demonstration of True Reconciliation Between Jews, Arabs, Turks

The Middle East peace process has taken a new turn with the hosting in Manchester, England, of a conference aimed at building bridges between Arabs and Jews who have become followers of Jesus. Key figures behind the event, and the vision of the so-called ‘Isaiah 19 Highway’, are Robert Sakr and Michael Kerem, along with Rev David Pileggi, rector of Christ Church in Jerusalem, built in 1849 by CMJ (the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people).

The reconciliation for which they have such a passion is reflected in the marriages of both Robert and Michael. Robert was brought up in Tel Aviv and his wife, Miriam, was raised among the Arab people of Jordan. Their current focus is a fulfilment of a word they received from a Dutchwoman at a discipleship conference in Cyprus back in 1978 that, in representing the two countries, they would become a blessing to the surrounding nations. Michael, on the other hand, is a Jew who met his Armenian wife Alis in Turkey.

The Isaiah 19 Highway*, from Assyria to Egypt via Israel, represents the very path travelled by Abraham, father of the Jewish race, and so it’s perfectly appropriate that it is also the road to peace for Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Abraham.

Rev Pileggi, meanwhile, comes from Italian background, and moved to Jerusalem from the United States 36 years ago. He said: “Understanding Jesus in his Jewish context has made all the difference for our faith. For Jesus, in most cases, reference to the kingdom of heaven was about the here and now, not the hereafter. And Isaiah 19 is a very practical way to extend God’s kingdom in a region that’s controlled by the devil.”

*See the book of Isaiah, chapter 19, verses 23-25.

Meanwhile Michael Kerem expressed his sorrow to the Iranians for the unforeseen problems that led to the deportation of most of their contingent travelling to last year’s conference in Jerusalem.

They were interrogated for a period of 48 hours at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport before being deported on the basis that they represented an element of risk despite holding British passports.

But the positive outcome of this is that the Israeli authorities apparently now understand how much Muslim-background believers in Jesus want to visit the country of his birth and ministry, where he died and was raised from the dead, and to which he is returning.

“They also want to come to Israel to meet their Jewish brothers, which could mean that God is going to use ‘Ishmael’ to open the eyes of ‘Isaac’ (referring to the mass recognition of Christ as their Messiah prophesied in the Scriptures)”, said Michael, adding: “Their mind is changing because of what happened.”

Turkish Christians apologise for Armenian genocide

The conference also heard how Turkish Christians recently met with a group of Armenians to apologise for the genocide that took place 100 years ago.

Admitting a mistake goes very much against the grain in the Middle East, but they embraced in the name of Jesus and a Turkish pastor, Ali Pektash, got down on his knees to wash the feet of an elderly Armenian, apologising for what his grandparents had done, whereupon the Armenian responded by washing the feet of his Turkish brother-in-Christ.

“Forgive me for what my people have done in killing, torturing and forcefully converting and expelling you from our land,” Ali told his hosts, asking them to pray that the curse he believed had come upon his nation as a result would be lifted.

The Armenians, along with a group of Yazidi Kurds, duly prayed for their visitors and forgave them. And when two pastors who had been at loggerheads with each other saw what happened, it melted their hearts and they were reconciled.

Call to focus on the wheat

Robert Sakr, one of the visionaries behind the conference, frankly admitted that he didn’t understand what was happening in the Middle East today with borders being wiped out and bloodshed on a horrific scale. “But I know that God is in control and that the harvest will come in an environment of both persecution and blessing.”

Referring to Jesus’ parable of the weeds (Matthew 13) in which he explains that the weeds, planted by an enemy, should be left to grow with the wheat until the harvest, Robert said that while organizations like CNN and the BBC were focused on covering news about the weeds, “we must take care of news about the wheat”.

“We’re the ‘good news’ people; our job is telling people what God is doing, not the enemy.”

He said Zionism and Arab aspirations are incompatible. “But God has the last word. For 67 years some of the smartest people in the world have tried to solve this problem. It’s a puzzle. But I’m focusing on the crop of wheat which is growing and expanding. Israel was a spiritual desert when I was growing up. Now there are so many believers. We need to focus on the wheat.”

Yes, unimaginable evil is being perpetrated in today’s world. “But what God is intending to do in our day is beyond our wildest imaginations.”

 

United Church of Christ urges boycott of Israeli companies

United Church of Christ urges boycott of Israeli companies

The liberal Protestant group with 1.1 million members is the latest to take such action. Last year, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to sell stock in a few companies whose products are used by Israel in the territories. The United Church of Christ resolution was broader. Delegates are calling on the denomination's financial arms to sell off stock in any company profiting from what the church called human rights violations arising from the occupation. The church also voted to boycott Israeli products made in the territories.

Israeli companies like Ahava and Sodastream, amongst others, will be the main focus of the church's boycott activities.

US companies stocks that the church will sell-off, are companies like Motorola , Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Veolia.

This is a really myopic point of view by the UCC regarding these companies because these companies are also involved in projects that support the Palestinian "people on the ground".

One example is the building of a school for disabled kids in Gaza. The contractor makes use of Caterpillar equipment in it's construction inventory on the construction site (see picture above).

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the denomination's policies have "reflected the most radical politics for more than a decade and in no way reflect a moral stance or reality-based position." In 2005, the United Church of Christ passed a resolution calling for "economic leverage" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and had accused Israel of widespread human rights abuses against the Palestinians.

"People of faith ought to be acting to help Israel and the Palestinians to renew efforts to achieve peace, rather than endlessly demonizing one party in the conflict — in our view, the aggrieved party," Nahshon said.

 

Blog: Almost half of Jewish teens in prison are of Ethiopian descent

Blog: Almost half of Jewish teens in prison are of Ethiopian descent

Data recently released by the Israel Prison Service show that of the jailed teenagers at the Ofek detention center half are of Ethiopian descent. The Ofek detention center is the only detention facility in Israel for adolescents under 18. The data shows that the rate of Israeli Ethiopians detainees is almost 12 times that of their representative rate in the general population.

In absolute figures, 27 out of the 65 Jewish teenagers were of Ethiopian descent (41.5 percent). Most of the Israeli Ethiopian detainees are imprisoned on property offenses convictions. Others are serving time for assault and intimidation, robbery, sexual offenses, battery and one for manslaughter and one for disturbing the public order.

"This is not just an Israeli Ethiopian problem, it is a problem of the entire Israeli society," said Ziva Mekonen-Dagu, the head of the Israel Association of Ethiopian Jews to Ynet. "No child is born bad, these children become victims. If the welfare system took care of them, these children would not have gotten into these situations," she continued.

According to Knesset member, Michal Rozin, the data should cause the government to take action. "The high incidence of youth crime is caused by disadvantages in resources and in infrastructure. Therefor, the government should increase resources to this community," Rozin said.

This was a blog post from "Bundle of Love" from our "Support the Ingathering" section. We appreciate every donation. In order to help the Land of Israel and her residents see "Support Israel".

 

Israel Sees Boycotts as Existential Threat

Israel Sees Boycotts as Existential Threat

A handful of victories for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have Israelis concerned that this growing phenomenon could become, and perhaps already is, an existential threat to the Jewish state.

The full article appears in our free July 2015 digital issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Palestinians Uninterested in Support From Gays

Palestinians Uninterested in Support From Gays

It is somewhat ironic that the most vocal supporters of the Palestinian cause are ultra-liberals who also champion issues such as gay rights, given that Palestinian society does not tolerate homosexuals. In other words, they are fighting for the creation of a state that would suppress the very rights they demand elsewhere.

This was again demonstrated on Monday when protestors whitewashed a gay rights “rainbow” flag that had been painted on the West Bank security barrier by renowned Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar.

Jarrar said he painted the homosexual symbol on the security wall near the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah in order to draw attention to the “Israeli occupation” under which his people live.

But he later admitted to the Associated Press that the real oppressors of liberal human rights in the area are his own people. The whitewashing of his painting “reflects the absence of tolerance, and freedoms in the Palestinian society,” said Jarrar, whose work has been featured in the US and Europe.

Protestors who took part in the whitewashing said there was no choice but to remove such disgraceful imagery. “It would be shameful to have the flag of gays in our refugee camp,” said Mohammed al-Amleh, a 46-year-old lawyer.

The Associated Press report noted that in order to live openly and without risk to their lives, Palestinian homosexuals must actually flee to Israel, the very state that champions of the Palestinian cause claim oppresses Arabs.

Those who remain in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas must live secretive lives. In the past, some Palestinian homosexuals have been brutally and publicly killed. By contrast, Tel Aviv last month played host to a gay pride parade attended by over 100,000 people.

 

Jewish, Arab, Iranian Believers Prove Peace is Possible

Jewish, Arab, Iranian Believers Prove Peace is Possible

With the Middle East engulfed in flames, a story of peace and reconciliation was unfolding last week in Manchester, England, where delegates from all over the Muslim world came together for a unique conference.

And as Iran continues its aggressive stance against Israel, threatening to wipe the Jewish state off the map, Iranian refugees and asylum seekers now living in Britain embraced their Jewish ‘brothers’, some of whom had travelled from Jerusalem to meet with them.

Also present was a sizable contingent of Egyptians along with representatives from Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria. Others wanting to join them had been unable to get visas.

As part of the great untold story of the Middle East, the three-day conference was hosted by the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people (CMJ), a 200-year-old Anglican society specifically dedicated to spiritual revival in Israel.

Although working mainly among Jews since its founding in 1809 by slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce and others, CMJ has also consistently reached out to Arabs over the years and, in 2012, held their first At the Crossroads conference at their Jerusalem headquarters to enable Jew and Gentile to express their oneness in Christ and work together to spread the gospel on the basis of a prophecy from Isaiah (chapter 19) of a “highway” of peace and reconciliation from Egypt to Assyria (which includes much of the modern-day Arab world) via Israel.

For the second of what is now a bi-annual event, in 2014, a number of UK-based Iranians, as well as a group of Egyptians, were turned back at the border and thus missed out on a chance to meet up with other Muslim-background converts from all over the region at a conference hosted by Jewish believers in Jesus, generally known as Messianic Jews.

And so UK at the Crossroads was arranged to encourage and inspire those who would struggle – mainly due to visa issues – to enter Israel.

David Friedman, a Messianic rabbi from Jerusalem, was delighted that so many Iranians had turned up for the conference – they have established thriving churches throughout England – and implored them to join him in praying for barriers to be broken between their two countries.

“We need to get together and pray for our two nations,” he said. And before he had finished speaking, they came forward to pray for him, and for Israel! It was an awesome moment, something akin to an earthquake in reverse as a shattered and broken world is put back together again, with all the pieces mended.

Sessions were interspersed with times of worship in Arabic, Farsi (the language spoken in Iran), Hebrew and English creating a beautiful atmosphere of shared love and identity. Communication may have been a challenge at times, but you only had to look in each other’s eyes to know you were one in Christ who, in the words of St Paul, destroys the dividing wall of hostility, creating “one new man” out of the two, thus making peace and reconciling both of them to God through the cross. (Ephesians 2.14-16)

One Egyptian musician was playing a lute, a modern version of the ancient instrument played 3,000 years ago by Israel’s King David. Prayer was also offered in various languages with translators on hand for some of the speakers.

Beirut-based Robert Sakr, one of the visionaries behind the conference, said: “There’s no such thing as a peace process apart from Jesus. In the 55 years I’ve lived in the Middle East, there has been no political solution.”

And it was ironic, in light of the current enmity between Iran and Israel, that when the 1967 Six-Day War broke out, his family fled to Iran for safety. But the Islamic Revolution of 1979 had changed all that.

 

Happy 239th Birthday America!!

Happy 239th Birthday America!!

In honor of this occasion we are offering you 20% discount on all regular priced items in our shop until July 6th.

To claim your discount use coupon code 4thjuly when checking out.

Don't miss your chance! Shop now!

 

Anti Gaza blockade flotilla ends with a whimper

Anti Gaza blockade flotilla ends with a whimper

The Israeli Navy intercepted the latest anti-Gaza blockade flotilla, attempting to dock in Gaza, early yesterday morning.

The flotilla was warned to either change course to Ashdod, where their cargo would be transferred to Gaza via the normal channels after undergoing inspections, or turn back.

One of the 4 vessels in the flotilla had already turned back prior to the Israeli Navy's interception. Two more of the vessels in the flotilla heeded the Navy's warnings and then turned back as well.

When it became clear that the "Marianne", carrying the leader of the flotilla's organizers, ex-Israeli Dror Feiler, as well as the Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, had no intention of changing course or turning back and all diplomatic channels had been exhausted, forces of the Navy's Shayetet 13 were ordered to board the ship and take it to Ashdod port.

The boarding and control of the vessel went without incident. After the ship arrived in Ashdod Monday night, the passengers will be questioned and deported from Israel via Ben Gurion Airport. Israeli MK Basel Ghattas was handed over to the Israel Police. If the vessel is found to be carrying any goods destined for Gaza these will be transferred via the normal channels.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said, "This flotilla was not a humanitarian one and was not concerned for anyone's welfare. The participants' desire was to continue the campaign of Israel's de-legitimization."

 

Terror attacks increase during Ramadan

Terror attacks increase during Ramadan

4 Israelis were wounded, one seriously and the others in moderate condition, in a terrorist shooting attack at the Shvut Rachel Junction in the Binyamin region overnight. This is the 6th terror attack in 10 days of Ramadan.

It was not immediately clear if the incident was a drive-by shooting or if an ambush had been set up by the perpetrators. The IDF set up checkpoints and roadblocks in the vicinity immediately after the attack in order to attempt to cut off their escape route and started intensive searches for the terrorists.

Apart from the fact that this is the 6th terrorist attack in the 10 days of Ramadan, this is the 4th attack in 4 days. The last one was the stabbing of a female IDF soldier in the neck by a female Arab yesterday morning at the Tomb of Rachel checkpoint near Bethlehem.

After the arrest of the 20 year-old attacker yesterday morning, she was found to be carrying two more knives in her belongings and under interrogation admitted that she arrived at the checkpoint with the intention of killing a soldier.

 

The PLO's Ten Point Plan is Alive and Well

The PLO's Ten Point Plan is Alive and Well

For decades Israelis have been conditioned to think that the uncompromising, all-or-nothing position of the Palestinians to end the conflict is a negotiation tactic aimed at achieving a reasonable compromise in the shape of a two-state solution.

Few, however, imagined that the unyielding Palestinian position is the modern implementation of the Ten Point Plan, or Phased Plan, as it is known in Hebrew.

This plan adopted by the Palestinian National Council in June 1974 is a well thought out program to bring an end to the State of Israel. This plan also violates the UN Charter (cha.1 2,4) requiring that "all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

The Palestinian plan speaks of commitment to armed struggle to liberate Palestinian territory (that includes all of Israel), refusal of any solution that denies the right of refugees and their descendants to return to their original towns and villages, and working with socialist countries and progressives and liberals to bring the Zionist state to its knees.

In a nutshell, this Ten Point Plan is the unwavering Palestinian commitment to the destruction of Israel by any means necessary, including the exploitation of Western values like democracy and human rights as tools for achieving this goal.

From the day it was adopted, no Palestinian leader ever sought to annul it or alter this plan. Yasser Arafat saw the Oslo Accord as part of this plan, rather than a deviation from it. For him, this peace process was a Palestinian Trojan Horse. In a closed meeting with Arab diplomats that took place 1996, he told them: "We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare … Jews will not want to live among Arabs. I have no use for Jews ... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem."

Israelis, let alone the world, refuse to believe it. No matter how forthcoming the Palestinians are about their true goals, many still maintain that their statements amount to some kind of negotiation "trash talk."

Unfortunately for all, that is not the case. Just a few days ago Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi exposed the new position paper of chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, who called for rigorous implementation of the Ten Point Plan.

In Erekat's list of recommendations to "president" Mahmoud Abbas, one can find reaffirmation of the right of the refugees and their descendants to return to villages in Israel, fighting Israel by all means (including joining international bodies for the purpose of delegitimizing Israel), and full support for Palestinian terror organizations, among other things.

Dahoah-Halevi demonstrated how Erekat's recommendations express reaffirmation of the Ten Point Plan that is not looking for any political compromise. Accordingly, forcing Israel back to its 1967 borders is an important phase that will put the Palestinians in better position to fulfil their long term goal of creating a Palestinian state in place of Israel.

Those who believe that two states is a viable solution should have their faith checked in the face of this latest evidence that the Palestinians remain committed to their destructive plan.

 

Christian events in Jerusalem only if city's rabbis approve

Christian events in Jerusalem only if city's rabbis approve

As thousands of Christians attended a conference at the Payis Arena last month, haredi ultra-Orthodox officials expressed their anger at the Municipality and the management of the Payis Arena for allowing a Christian organization to hold a conference at the venue last month. The event was eventually held as planned, despite the haredi outcry, due to legal issues involved in calling off the already approved event.

A protest by ultra-Orthodox followers was held which defined the event as a "major show of forced conversion," with the haredi media asserted that the event was aimed at convincing Jews to join Christianity with the help of missionaries who had arrived in Israel for that very purpose. There were a few arrests as the protesters ignored police directives and resorted to violence.

The Jerusalem Municipality decided to give in to the haredi demand concerning any future events and has agreed to consult the city's rabbis before approving and issuing permits for any future Christian event that may include "missionary activity".

 

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