Muslim Clerics Incite Against Jewish Holidays

Muslim Clerics Incite Against Jewish Holidays

Israeli media is warning of increased Palestinian violence during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days in September and October.

During Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the week-long Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), a great many Jews congregate publicly, especially at the Western Wall.

This year, some of those holidays coincide with Muslim holidays and Palestinian nationalist memorials. Yom Kippur and the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha falls on the same day, and the anniversary of the eruption of the Second Intifada is during Sukkot.

If the past is any indicator, the coinciding of Jewish and Muslim holidays spells trouble, particularly in and around Jerusalem.

Already, Muslim clerics are working their flocks up into a frenzy over what they term the impending Jewish “invasion” of the Temple Mount. From the Israeli perspective, this is nothing short of incitement. Jewish groups always go up to the Temple Mount over Sukkot as it is a biblically mandated practice.

But the head of the Koranic Academy of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Nashach Bakhirat, said in an Arabic broadcast in Israel: “The Jewish festivals are ominous for Muslims and for the Al-Aqsa Mosque because at that time Jewish religious extremists will perpetrate attacks against us.”

Sheikh Kamal Khatib, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, accused the Jews of seeking to defile the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Jewish holidays. Khatib further charged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of conspiring with Israel to “Judaize” the city of Jerusalem.

Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and head of the Islamic Council, went even further, claiming that Jewish groups visiting the Temple Mount during Sukkot were “trying to implement their scheme to build a [Jewish] temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

As easily rebutted as these accusations might be, they are consistently effective in whipping up the Muslim masses against Israel’s Jews.

 

Jewish Israeli Suspected of Trying to Join ISIS

Jewish Israeli Suspected of Trying to Join ISIS

Over the weekend Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was urgently approached by an Israeli family that feared its son had flown to Crete with the intent of eventually joining ISIS in Syria.

According to online correspondence with the 21-year-old Jewish man, the danger seemed very real.

After arriving in Crete, Israel’s Foreign Ministry believes the Israeli man flew to Turkey, and from there made his way toward the Syrian border.

In cooperation with Interpol Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul worked to identify and return the Israeli citizen. With the aid of Turkish authorities, the young man was found and detained not far from the Syrian border.

He arrived back in Israel on Tuesday, and will presumably face charges for his actions, just as have many Israeli Arabs who have tried to join ISIS.

“We are talking about a serious and worrying incident,” Ilana Ravid, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs department responsible for Israelis traveling abroad, told Channel 2 News.

 

End of the Shmita: Aliens, Blood Moons and Economic Collapse

End of the Shmita: Aliens, Blood Moons and Economic Collapse

Millions of both Jews and Gentiles are excitedly predicting an ominous period ahead for Israel as the current Sabbatical year (shmita) comes to an end on September 14, 2015. 

The Sabbatical Year, or Year of Release, is a biblical command outlined in Deuteronomy 15 where it is written: "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release … every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor [and by observing it] the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess."

Failure to uphold this command, according to the Book of Chronicles, is what caused the first 70-year exile: "And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon … to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths [Sabbatical years]" (2 Ch. 36:20-21).

The number of years in exile corresponds to the number of Sabbatical and Jubilee years that Israel had failed to observe since entering the Promised Land. In other words, that exile was punishment for social and environmental injustices Israel had inflicted upon the Land and the people dwelling in it.

To evaluate the different warnings concerning this September, it must be remembered that the command is only concerned with how the people of Israel treat the Land and its inhabitants. This is why it was Israel that suffered the first exile and no one else.

With this in mind, following are three warnings from three completely different groups of people predicting awful things in store for the coming weeks and months.

Alien Intervention

The first is the Israeli chapter of New Age Raelian Movement. The movement's prophet, who took the name Maitreya Rael, has instructed his Israeli followers to publish an urgent "oracle" in a highly unusual public campaign. In his message, Rael conveys a warning from an extraterrestrial being, "The Elohim," who blames Israel with "stealing the land and houses" of the Palestinians and for creating "concentration camps for the Palestinians whose homes and Lands they stole … and are even projecting a final solution with the goal of Palestinian genocide." 

As result, warns Rael, "the protection that had been granted to Israel is from today (August 6th 2015) totally withdrawn and I ask all the real Jews to leave the Land of Palestine as quickly as possible." 

This messenger of doom - who sounds like a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) loudmouth - is a grotesque messiah bringing false charges against Israel with no consideration for the Old and New Testaments, which state, "do not think that I will accuse you [Israel] to the Father" (John 5).

Economic Crash

A more specific Sabbatical year warning comes from a YouTube video gone viral, in which financial whiz Jeff Berwick prophesies doom and gloom upon the United Stated of America. 

Berwick's prediction is based on a study he had done on events occurring at the end of previous Sabbatical years. His conclusion is that September 15th will change the course of history, and wise Americans should stock up on gold and flee. 

The silver lining in his forecast is that the wise will eventually profit when the global markets recover from the financial collapse of America. 

Berwick's message does not involve faith, nor does it care about morality. His gospel is that of personal safety and financial gain.

Blood Moons

Lastly, there is the "four blood moons" theory exciting End Times enthusiasts amongst both Christians and Jews. 

This scenario is based on a prophecy in the Book of Joel: "...and I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth ... the sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood" (Joel 2:30-31). 

In his latest book Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change, John Hagee has popularized the idea of blood moons occurring on four consecutive biblical feasts and coinciding with the end of a Sabbatical year. The last of these four moons is scheduled to appear on the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles (September 28 or thereabout). 

This event, believes Hagee, will usher in a period of two years during which "something dramatic will happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history and impact the whole world." The trigger, according to Hagee, is the Iran nuclear deal. 

The Israeli Jewish version of this theory sees the pending cosmic phenomenon as a sign of the imminent collapse of the Muslim empire and all its supporters. 

In all of this, the various versions of the "four blood moon" theory overlook the darkening of the sun spoken of by Joel, and likewise fail to account for Israel's neglect of the Mosaic covenant.

Sober Conclusion

Predictions that dazzle the mind have caused sober people serious problems in the past, especially when they have acted upon them and set off on perilous journeys (such was the case of the First Crusade in 1096, to give but one example). 

It seems that such a time as this bears repeating the warning: "If they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24).

 

Who Will Speak Out For Those Abused By ISIS?

Who Will Speak Out For Those Abused By ISIS?

A group of Christian women has put together a short video (see below) pleading with all able and willing to speak out and act on behalf of the thousands of Muslim, Christian and Yazidi women and girls being sexually abused, tortured and killed by ISIS.

The organizer of the group reached out to Israel Today after seeing our recent report about a young Christian girl whose family had fled from ISIS-controlled Syria and is now living as beggars in Turkey.

She said it was reports like this that had prompted her group to take action.

“We felt that more attention needed to be drawn to the plight of these women, many of whom are very young,” she wrote. “Our hope is that the eyes of many around the world will be opened to this particular atrocity, and that with this realization, people will speak up for these women.”

It would seem obvious that such a situation would garner more attention, but the world media, at least, seems more interested in minor scuffles between Israeli soldiers and prolific “Pallywood” rioters.

See the video:

 

Get your 20% holiday discount for Rosh HaShana!

Get your 20% holiday discount for Rosh HaShana!

Rosh Hashana - the Jewish New Year - is around the corner beginning on the evening of September 13th this year.

Come and celebrate a blessed New Year with us. Claim your 20% discount in honor of the holiday now!

* This offer is only available until September 7th, 2015

 

The Truth Behind That Viral IDF Soldier Photo

The Truth Behind That Viral IDF Soldier Photo

Over the weekend a photo of an armed IDF soldier holding a young Palestinian boy in a headlock went viral on the Internet and was the lead story on major media websites like CNN.

The problem, as is often the case, is that the likes of CNN left a LOT out of the story, and in so doing used the photo to paint a picture of the situation and of Israeli soldiers in general that bore very little resemblance to reality.

One of the few facts CNN and others go right is that the incident occurred in a place called Nabi Saleh. What you weren’t told is that the residents of Nabi Saleh hold a weekly violent demonstration against the nearby Jewish community of Halamish.

Every week for the past several years at least, IDF soldiers show up to make sure the Nabi Saleh rioters don’t get too close to to Halamish.

That’s right, this has been happening every Friday for years, but you never hear about it, because typically nothing of note happens.

But that doesn’t stop photographers from the international media pitching up week after week in hopes of catching the next juicy shot of perceived Israeli abuses. And the residents of Nabi Saleh are only too happy to do their best in helping achieve that goal.

In fact, some of the residents of Nabi Saleh are already well known, and have adoring fans abroad. They are proper actors on the “Pallywood” stage.

Take for instance Ahed Tamimi, seen in the most recent photos taking a bite out of the IDF soldier in question. Tamimi and her parents, Bassem and Nariman, are habitual rioters.

In 2012, Tamimi gained notoriety when she was filmed trying to provoke a violent response from IDF soldiers. Soon after, she was invited to Istanbul to be given the Handala Award for Courage by Turkish President Erdoğan.

For years, the Tamimi family and their co-rioters were experiencing something of a dry spell. But they struck gold on Friday when an IDF soldier sent to play peacekeeper at the weekly demonstration got separated from his unit.

Immediately, the young boy in the photos began incessantly stoning the soldier, who responded by grabbing him. The Tamimis and others pounced and delivered a severe and humiliating beating to the soldier, all as the media photographers eagerly snapped as many shots as they could.

Another important fact left out of the stories at CNN and elsewhere is that not once during the entire ordeal did the soldier in question threaten to use his weapon against the assailants.

Ironically, it was Arab readers who had seen the article and photos on the website of Al Jazeera that first and most notably picked up on this.

“Note how although he had a weapon, and although he is a soldier of the Zionist entity, he did not shoot him in the head. Imagine the same thing [happening] in Arab countries, how our people would have acted,” wrote a commenter named Osama, as translated into Hebrew by Israeli Facebook user Shay Ket.

Another named Tita pointed out that “if it had happened in Egypt, they would have shot that boy with live ammunition instead of being so considerate.”

In short, these photos that our august media gatekeepers thought so important as to make international headline news were ultimately “much ado about nothing.”

 

Deir Yassin Massacre Myth Resurfaced

Deir Yassin Massacre Myth Resurfaced

A stone thrown into a puddle will cause all sorts of light debris buried in the mud to surface. Jeremy Corbyn's quest to become the next Labour Party leader has created a similar effect in the puddle of British politics, allowing rotten debris like Holocaust denier Paul Eisen to surface. 

It turns out that in 2013, Corbyn attended Eisner's annual anti-Israel event titled "Deir Yassin Remembered." Having surfaced from the sludge, it now needs to be addressed.

But before directly addressing this, I want to draw attention to an article by STV (Scottish Television) journalist Stephen Daisley, who did an outstanding job exposing the danger inherent in the popularity of Corbyn. 

Corbyn, Daisly correctly reasoned, is "just a symptom and a symbol" of the anti-Zionist phenomenon that "has removed much of the need for classical anti-Semitism by recycling the old superstitions as a political critique of the State of Israel."

It is in the midst of such a phenomenon that people like Eisen can appear as compassionate humanists rather than what they really are. Otherwise, as Daisley had rightly asked, "why is Deir Yassin remembered, but not Safed or Hebron or the Hadassah convoy?" 

Yet, even this comparison is misleading because Daisley, like most people, is still under the impression that there was a massacre of Palestinians by Israelis at Deir Yassin.

In the Palestinian annals, Deir Yassin - a small village west of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Jewish militias Etzel and Lehi on April 9, 1948 - has become the symbol for the "Nakba," the "catastrophic" military defeat that in its wake spawned the Palestinian refugee problem. The fate of Deir Yassin has become their remembrance day, held on May 15, and it is of paramount importance to them.

At the risk of being liked to "Holocaust deniers," I find it necessary to highlight the work of military historian Uri Milstein, who spent 30 years investigating this affair that took place during Israel's War of Independence. 

In his book The Birth of a Palestinian Nation (2012), Milstein's scathing criticism is directed not toward Palestinians, but rather toward Jews who, out of narrow political interests and internal rivalry, have perpetuated the massacre myth. 

The battle of Deir Yassin itself came as a result of intelligence that Arab soldiers had infiltrated this otherwise peaceful village in order to block the road to Jerusalem. This led the two right-wing militias, Etzel and Lehi, to propose to the more left-wing Haganah (which later became the IDF) a joint operation against the village as part of a larger operation aimed at clearing the only road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

As everybody well understood, the fate of Jerusalem depended who controlled that road. 

The plan was accepted by all factions, which is why several Haganah men armed with machine guns were placed on Mount Herzl facing the village to provide cover for the Etzel and Lehi assault troops.

During the battle, some 40 Jewish soldiers were wounded and six were killed. There were also 110 dead Palestinians, including women and children. Dreadful as the outcome was, civilians were killed during the heat of battle, and not after it. 

In his book, Milstein willingly accepts Palestinian anthropologist Sharif Kanaana's definition of massacre, which is "intentional killing of captives – civilians, military men and soldiers – after they have surrendered…" 

Kanaana, who also studied the Deir Yassin affair, seemed to concur with Milstein in that that the label "massacre" in regards to the battle of Deir Yassin was a "lie that originated in disputes between the Haganah on one hand and Etzel and Lehi on the other." The Palestinians for their part exploited the myth to their own advantage.

This is not to say that Israel's conduct in times of war is flawless. The War of Independence was ruthless, and both sides did whatever they could to gain the upper hand. 

From this perspective, however, "Deir Yassin Remembered" as enthusiastically endorsed by Corbyn seems like a myth dredged up from the mud for the benefit of malevolent forces interested not in peace and justice, but in the vilification and destruction of the Jewish nation.

 

Israeli President: It's Our Right to Settle This Land

Israeli President: It's Our Right to Settle This Land

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin last week stated unequivocally that it is the right of Jews and the Jewish state to settle the biblical Land of Israel.

“I love the land of Israel with all my heart. I have never and will never give up on this land. For me, our right to this land is not a matter of political debate,” Rivlin said in a meeting with Jewish settler leaders.

Rivlin suggested that Israel more firmly cling to this right, debatable as its implementation may be, in national discourse and the peace process.

“We must not give anyone the sense that we are in any doubt about our right to our land,” the president said. “For me, the settlement of the land of Israel is an expression of that right, our historical right, our national right.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in the Israeli government have long demanded that recognition of the Jews’ religious and historical connection and claims to this land be a starting point of peace negotiations with the Arabs.

But Rivlin was also adamant that acting on the right to settle the Land of Israel must be accompanied by compassion for and care of the non-Jewish population.

“Our sovereignty in this land means responsibility for all those who live here, and obliges all of us to uphold the strictest of moral codes, which is inherent in each and every one of us,” concluded Rivlin.

 

Orthodox Jews More Like Christians Than Other Jews?

Orthodox Jews More Like Christians Than Other Jews?

Orthodox Jews are like evangelical Christians. They believe in God, vote, worship, act and raise their children more like evangelicals than like any other Jews. That is the revelation of a new Pew Research study on the attitudes of Orthodox Jews in America. Here are some of the surprising conclusions.

On Israel

The survey finds that almost nine out of every ten Orthodox Jews (84%) believe that Israel was given by God to the Jewish people. That is more than twice the number of other American Jews (35%) who hold this view. Among evangelicals 82% say they believe that the land of Israel was given to the Jewish people by God.

Orthodox Jewish attitudes towards the Israeli/Palestinian peace process are much closer to evangelical Christian views than to other Jews. Most Orthodox Jews do not believe that Israel can coexist peacefully alongside an independent Palestinian state. Orthodox Jews are less than half as likely as other Jews to support a state for the Palestinians.

Like many evangelicals, most Orthodox Jews support building Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Non-Orthodox Jews were much more likely than Orthodox Jews to say that building Jewish settlements in the West Bank hurts Israel’s security (47% vs. 16%).

Modern Orthodox Jews have a very strong attachment to Israel. Almost all of them say that they are very emotionally attached to Israel and that caring about Israel is essential to being Jewish (79%). They are also convinced that the U.S. is not supportive enough of Israel (64%).

On Politics

Similar patterns can be seen in Orthodox Jewish political views. Orthodox Jews and Christian evangelicals support the Republican Party (57% and 66%) compared to a mere 18% of non-Orthodox Jews who back Republicans. In the U.S. non-orthodox Jews lean heavily toward the Democratic Party.

Like evangelicals, Orthodox Jews tend to identify as Republicans because they hold conservative values on social issues such as homosexuality. Orthodox Jews are far more likely than other Jews to say that homosexuality should be discouraged in society (70% compared to 38%).

On Faith

Asked about the importance of faith in their lives, the large majority of Orthodox Jews (83%) and evangelicals (86%) say that religion is very important to them. Only one in every five of other Jews asked (20%) say that faith or religion have meaning for them. Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians frequently attend religious services (74% and 75%, respectively). Only 12% of non-Orthodox Jews go to synagogue at least once a month. Most modern Jews never go to synagogue at all.

The report shows that 93% of Christian evangelicals and 89% of Orthodox Jews believe in God with absolute certainty. Only 34% of all other Jews share this belief.

What does it mean?

The Orthodox Jewish community is growing far more rapidly than other, non-Orthodox Jewish populations. 98% of all Orthodox Jews will marry a Jewish spouse, while more than half of all other Jews will intermarry. Orthodox Jews will raise on average more than five-times as many children in their lifetime compared to all other Jews.

As the populations of Orthodox Jews continues to grow at a rapid pace, and the numbers of all other Jews shrink, there will eventually come about a shift in the characteristics and practice of Jewish life in areas of faith, social values and political views.

The similarities between the Orthodox Jewish and evangelical communities have been a source of inspiration to many pro-Israel Christian groups who are working together with the Orthodox primarily on issues concerning Israel. A number of evangelical pro-Israel groups are mobilizing support for Israel politically and financially while putting emphasis on the message of the Bible while strengthening moral and godly values in society.

 

COMMENTARY: Was Jesus a Christian?

COMMENTARY: Was Jesus a Christian?

I once heard a Jewish believer make this sobering statement: “Jews don’t need a Christian Christ. Christians need a Jewish Jesus.” Hmmm, I thought, he has a point.

Many Christians are shocked to learn that Jesus, the one they consider the founder of Christianity, was born a Jew, died a Jew, arose a Jew, is seated in Heaven a Jew and will return as a Jew on steroids – “the lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the root of David” (Rev. 5:5). But their eyes really start to cross when they learn Jesus would have never thought himself a Christian. Or called himself one.

The term "Christian" did not come into existence until decades later when unbelievers in Antioch started calling his followers that name (Acts 11:26). And as many historians believe, it was not a compliment. But a mockery.

But what’s truly rattling the stained-glass windows of Christendom these days is the discovery by more and more believers that Yeshua never started, much less converted to, the religion of Christianity. That he came, not to start a new religion, but to fulfill the types and shadows of the only religion God has ever given His people. Or ever will. Namely, the Mosaic Law. And Yeshua’s arrival signaled that even that divine religion had fulfilled its purpose. “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal. 3:24,25).

Christianity did not begin to organize into a religion until almost a hundred years after Yeshua’s ascension. It reached full religious status under Constantine, who after severing the faith from its Jewish roots, made it the chief religion of the Roman Empire. And himself, as pontifex maximus, its chief priest. In the process, the simple gospel message that we could now come boldly into God’s presence through faith in Yeshua was nullified. It was replaced by a glitzy, full-blown, ecclesiastical approach to God through a robed priesthood unsanctioned by Scripture. A religion given theological support by a handful of influential writers, rightly called “the Fathers of the Church.”

These Church scribes, unlike the Jewish writers of the NT who grew up with the Scriptures, had little knowledge of, or interest in, God’s promises to Israel. Converted from pagan backgrounds, they preferred the “wisdom” of the Greek philosophers, especially Plato. And their leavened teachings soon pushed God’s ecclesia off the bedrock of Scripture onto the shifting sand of man’s thoughts.

And that’s where we’ve been ever since – even after the Reformation! In retrospect, have we been any less blind to the gospel than the Jews in thinking Yeshua gave us a new religion called Christianity to practice?

But today is a new day. And God’s Spirit beckons. “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him” (Hosea 6:1,2).

 

Where is the Christian world?

Where is the Christian world?

The photo to the left is of a young Christian girl whose family fled Syria ahead of invading jihadist hordes and today lives as beggars on the streets of northern Turkey. She is just one of a great many in a similar situation, and they are the lucky ones. Countless other Christians have been brutalized and massacred in the Middle East in recent years.

The photo was shared on Facebook by the Israeli Christian Lobby, a group of Arabic-speaking Christians that both lobbies for Christian issues in Israel and publicizes the fact that the Jewish state is the one safe place for Christians in this volatile region.

Considering the deafening silence of the Christian West in regards to Syrian and Iraqi Christians like this little girl, the Israeli Christian Lobby appealed to “our Jewish brothers to request that the government of Israel open its borders to these Christian refugees.”

While Israel is ill-equipped to handle a flood of refugees, the response from average Israelis, at least on Facebook, was overwhelmingly positive.

“We must give them shelter in Israel,” wrote one Jewish commenter. “Bring them to the Land [of Israel]!!!” insisted another.

“Who better than our people knows this [suffering]?” noted one Israeli Jewess. “She should seek refuge in Israel,” recommended a respondent.

Others were outraged at the plight of these Christians and the lack of response by the global Christian leadership.

“The Pope is mute and deaf,” concluded one Israeli, while another pointed out that Christian leaders like the Pope “only pay attention when Jews and Israel are involved.”

 

Jerusalem Suffering Wave of Palestinian Arab Violence

Jerusalem Suffering Wave of Palestinian Arab Violence

Palestinian Arab assailants on Thursday hurled firebombs at an Israel Police vehicle in eastern Jerusalem. The occupants of the vehicle were able to escape as it went up in flames, but suffered smoke inhalation.

A day earlier, a knife-wielding terrorist stabbed and wounded an Israeli police officer near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. He tried to stab several other Israelis before being overpowered and arrested.

The attacker had previously murdered Israeli Jewish historian Menachem Stern in 1989. In 2013, the stabber, a 56-year-old resident of Hebron, was set free as part of a highly controversial prisoner release corresponding to US-brokered peace negotiations.

These are only the latest attacks in what authorities have identified as a major increase in violent incidents in the Israeli capital. Over the past two months, Jerusalem has experienced no fewer than 580 reported attacks on civilians and security forces. Some 477 of those were cases of stone-throwing at Jewish motorists, while 28 were arson attacks against Jewish homes and vehicles. Jewish cemeteries were also repeatedly desecrated.

These are separate from the even more numerous violent incidents in the outlying Palestinian suburbs of Shuafat, Beit Hanina, Isawiya and Jabel Mukaber.

Aryeh King, a right-wing member of Jerusalem’s City Council, accused the government of tying the hands of the security forces in dealing with this phenomenon for fear of a political backlash.

Despairing of any serious response by the political echelon, those Jewish citizens suffering from this wave of violence have launched an initiative known as “Anti-Terror TV.” Those involved have determined to document on video every possibly attack in order to draw attention to the worsening situation.

 

Blog: The rocky road of integration of Ethiopian Jews

Blog: The rocky road of integration of Ethiopian Jews

The Jewish New Year is around the corner! Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, begins on September 14. Twice a year Israel Today distributes food parcels to needy new immigrants in absorption centers. In spring at Passover and once again at Rosh HaShana. Stand with us to aid socially disadvantaged families and children!

The life of the majority of the Ethiopian Jews is characterized by social and economic challenges. This holds true for both, the new Ethiopian immigrants arriving nowadays and Ethiopians who immigrated decades ago and for their children as well.

The biggest waves of immigration were back in the 1980s and 1990s which peaked during operation “Solomon” (1991). Still, the ongoing economic hardship can be seen in the fact that about half of the 125,000 Ethiopian Israelis live under the poverty line. One reason for is that once they arrived in Israel they didn’t have any family to support them and were therefore, economically and financially left on their own.

In addition to economic challenges, they faced cultural differences, language barriers and a lot of those that arrived in Israel were elderly. Due to the fact that most of the older Ethiopians were never eligible for military service after they immigrated, some of them fail to understand the hardships and challenges their children endure while serving or preparing for service in the IDF. The second generation therefore can’t rely on the experiences or understanding of their parents.

Israeli society often expects that the Ethiopian-Jewish community become "Israeli" as soon as possible after their immigration by adopting an Israeli lifestyle and habits. But like all immigrant communities, this community has its own ancient and unique cultural characteristics. Moshe Selomon, a social entrepreneur with Ethiopian roots told the news agency Tazpit that this is one of the reasons why integration attempts often failed in the past. “The authorities tried to integrate us by erasing our special characteristics and heritage.” Such an expectation can be unrealistic and painful to immigrants. “I strongly believe each group in Israeli society contributes its flavor. Therefore, Israeli society should embrace diversity, in order to create a better, more inclusive atmosphere, where there is a place for all the groups that compose Israeli society,” Selomon continued.

To embolden the Jewish-Ethiopian identity and their self-esteem, Selomon brings back successful Israelis of Ethiopian origin to their old neighborhoods, so that they can talk with the children living there and serve as role models. “The Ethiopian community possesses great power,” he explained. “It’s the same power that enabled us to walk for thousands of kilometers in order to immigrate to Israel. This power needs to be harnessed to the benefit of the Ethiopian community and Israeli society.”

This is a blog post from "Bundle of Love - Immigrants" from our "Support Israel" section. We appreciate every donation. In order to help the Land of Israel and her immigrants see "Support Israel".

 

Israel Eyes US Presidential Frontrunners

Israel Eyes US Presidential Frontrunners

It’s still early to say who will be the Republican candidate to become American’s next president come next year’s election, but already the topic of Israel is getting major play in the nomination process, and Israelis are taking notice.

Frontrunner Donald Trump and crowd favorite Dr. Ben Carson have been particularly vocal in their support of Israel, and in their harsh criticism of current President Barack Obama over his handling of relations with the Jewish state.

Carson in an interview with Fox News charged that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran was evidence of his disdain for the Jews and the survival of their national homeland.

“All you have to do,” said Carson, “is, like I have, go to Israel, and talk to average people, on all ends of that spectrum. And I couldn’t find a single person there who didn’t feel that this administration had turned their back on Israel.”

When challenged over whether or not that made Obama anti-Semitic, as Carson suggested, he replied: “I think anything is anti-Semitic that is against the survival of a state that is surrounded by enemies, and by people who want to destroy them. And to sort of ignore that, and to act like everything is normal there, and that these people are paranoid, I think that’s anti-Semitic.”

Carson spoke out strongly against the Iran nuclear deal in July, warning that it puts the “whole country in jeopardy” and represents “a complete lack of common sense.”

In a separate interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump warned that “Israel is in big trouble. Obama has really let Israel down.”

Implementation of the Obama-brokered nuclear deal, according to Trump, means that Iran is “going to be such a wealthy, such a powerful nation. They are going to have nuclear weapons. They are going to take over parts of the world that you wouldn’t believe. And I think it’s going to lead to nuclear holocaust.”

Unfortunately, Trump explained, it will be almost impossible for the next president to just “rip up” the nuclear deal signed by Obama.

Still, if elected, the real estate mogul vowed he would “police that contract so tough that they [the Iranians] don’t have a chance. As bad as the contract is, I will be so tough on that contract.”

 

Surviving the Obama Presidency and the Iranian Bomb

Surviving the Obama Presidency and the Iranian Bomb

When, in 2012, I authored a cautionary tale about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, I never imagined a U.S. president who would, just a few years later, actively try to strengthen Iran’s geopolitical and financial position while providing international legitimacy to the Iranian nuclear program. But sometimes truth is scarier than fiction.

In my thriller, 35 Israeli submariners must decide what to do after Iran gets the Bomb. In an unexpected twist on fiction, a small group of undecided members of Congress may similarly have to determine the course of history. They represent the last chance for a democracy to reject the nuclear appeasement of the Ayatollahs. There are reportedly 26 Senate Democrats currently in favor of President Obama’s Iran deal, so eight more are needed to sustain Obama’s veto of a Congressional resolution disapproving of the Iran agreement.

But as ineptly negotiated as the Iran agreement is, defeating it would probably be worse, given the political realities. The best possible outcome, at this point, would be a Congressional resolution that rejects the Iran deal but then gets vetoed by Obama. Why? Because if Congress overrides Obama’s veto and defeats the deal, Iran will likely use that as an excuse to abandon whatever limited and temporary constraints it accepted under the agreement. Iran can then – at a time of its choosing – race towards nukes while Obama is still in office, secure in the knowledge that Obama wouldn’t dare to stop Iran militarily. If Obama cowered from enforcing his no-chemical-weapons “red line” against the far weaker Syrian regime in 2013, there is no chance that Obama would militarily confront Iran over its nuclear program (and he essentially admitted as much in an Israeli television interview). Lest anyone doubt Obama’s enforcement laxity, he has already accepted Iran’s brazen violations of existing sanctions.

Incidentally, Obama claimed that “diplomacy” could handle the Syrian chemical weapons threat more effectively than force could, but now ISIS is gassing the Kurds with impunity, which undermines any notion that diplomacy will prevent nuclear abuses. In the Middle East, strength is far more respected than diplomacy, and it’s clear that Obama projects weakness to foes and friends alike. Indeed, senior Iranian military leaders have openly laughed at the emptiness of Obama’s military threats.

Not only will Obama fail to take any military action against Iranian nukes, he will probably thwart any Israeli operations to that effect. The Obama administration reportedly floated the idea of attacking Israeli jets en route to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. Incredibly, Obama’s Iran deal arguably obligates the U.S. to help Iran protect its nuclear program from an Israeli attack.

The Islamic Republic couldn’t have a greater ally in the White House, and therefore would probably exploit a Congressional defeat of the Iran deal in order to race towards a nuclear weapon with impunity.

American Jews would also be harmed by the defeat of Obama’s Iran deal: Obama and his supporters would fuel anti-Semitism by alleging excessive Jewish power even more than they already have, and Jews and Israel would be blamed if Iran abandoned the agreement and dashed towards nukes – particularly if any military conflagration ensued.

As dangerous and risky as it is for Israel to undertake a unilateral military strike on Iran’s hardened and dispersed nuclear sites, such an operation is effectively impossible as long as Obama is in office. During Operation Protective Edge last summer, Obama reminded Israel that he could endanger the tiny state in the middle of war by refusing to resupply its military, and his FAA isolated Israel by imposing a ban on flights to Israel after just thirteen days of conflict (it took about three years of war in Syria for the FAA to take the same action there).

On the diplomatic front, Obama has already threatened to withhold diplomatic support for Israel at the UN on the Palestinian issue, so on the Iranian nuclear issue – his legacy foreign policy “achievement” – he would be far more dangerous to Israel at the UN.

The Obama administration has also leaked highly sensitive information to Israel’s detriment, from Israel’s attacks on Syrian weapons transfers to Hezbollah, to details about Israel’s nuclear program.

In addition to the already abundant evidence of Obama's anti-Israel animus, Michael Oren, Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.S., detailed Obama's hostility towards Israel in his recently published memoir, Ally.

Given the Obama administration's willingness to harm Israel, the Jewish state simply cannot risk a major military operation as long as Obama is in office. Thus, the pro-Iranian nuclear deal is now, thanks to Obama, the only way to stop Iranian nukes until Obama leaves office.

56% of Americans think Congress should reject the deal with Iran, and 60% disapprove of Obama’s handling of the U.S. relationship with Iran, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. Congressional rejection of the deal will officially reflect these sentiments and undermine the deal’s legitimacy (despite Obama’s subsequent veto) – particularly because Obama purposely rammed the accord through the U.N. Security Council in order to make it a fait accompli that deprives Congress of any meaningful constitutional role in the process.

But if Congress officially rejects Obama’s disastrous deal and it survives only by Obama’s veto, the next president can more legitimately rescind it and – with the help of traditional Mideast allies – stop Iranian nuclear ambitions and hegemony.

Unfortunately, Obama’s policies have made the job of his successor much harder. The next president will face a far stronger and less isolated Iran, economically empowered by a world rushing to do business with the Ayatollahs. Iran’s $150 billion post-sanctions windfall will increase Iranian financial support for terrorist groups (as Obama officials now concede) and boost Iran’s military capabilities (Russia just agreed to sell Iran its advanced, S-300 long-range, surface-to-air missile systems, complicating future missions to destroy Iranian nukes).

Until the 45th president assumes office on January 20, 2017, those concerned about Obama’s reckless and feckless foreign policy and his increasingly imperial presidency need to keep him on the defensive by focusing public attention on Obama administration controversies, many of which involve abuses of power that should interest the mainstream media. The busier Obama is defending his prior excesses, the less he can commit new ones during the rest of his tenure.

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

 

President of Refugees or Holy Land Celebrity?

President of Refugees or Holy Land Celebrity?

The Palestinian Authority and its collaborators in the mainstream media like to paint the Palestinian-controlled territories as a land oppressed and destitute. But one has only to look at the palatial living standards of the Palestinian leadership to realize something’s fishy.

This week, photos emerged on social media showing the newly completed palace of Palestinian “president” Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah (pictured left). Many commenters could be excused for at first glance thinking this was an artist’s rendition of the historical and grandiose Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Plans to construct this princely dwelling were not unknown. Years ago the Palestinian Economic Council for Development & Reconstruction (PECDAR) posted the project details. And in late–2010 Abbas was photographed by the AP as he laid the cornerstone of this new “West Bank” chateau.

But there seemed to be some discrepancies between particulars provided by PECDAR and, well, reality.

First, the Palestinian leadership described the project as a “public facility,” though it is doubtful the average public will ever see its interior. It is listed as a “guest palace,” ostensibly a residence for visiting dignitaries. But that begs two questions: a.) can the cash-strapped Palestinians really afford to be building such lavish “guest houses”?; and b.) if that’s the presidential “guest” palace, what does Abbas’ primary residence look like?!

By way of comparison, here’s a photo of the official, Israeli taxpayer-funded residence of Israel’s prime minister (foreign dignitaries have to stay in a hotel):


The second glaring issue is that PECDAR claims construction of Abbas’ palace was “self-financed.” But as any informed observer knows, the bulk of the Palestinian Authority national budget comes from foreign aid, and even then there’s a huge deficit.

In other words, take a look at the new home your taxes just bought for the head of the PLO!

And, in the meantime, Abbas and his regime are still spending very, very little of that aid to actually boost the Palestinian economy and better the lives of the people he claims to serve.

Several years ago, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) conducted research revealing that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1995, the Palestinian Authority had received 25 times more financial aid per capita (considering current inflation) than the citizens of Europe received under the Marshall Plan following World War II.

For those who know their history, the Marshall Plan financially enabled Europe to successfully rebuild following the most devastating war in history.

And yet, having been handed 25 times more cash and resources than post-war Europe, the Palestinian Authority continues to complain of unemployment, a faltering economy and destitute living conditions.

But hey, they’ve got enough to build presidential palaces!

 

Jewish Pop Star Finds Joy in Jesus

Jewish Pop Star Finds Joy in Jesus

Just as the ‘swinging sixties’ started to gain momentum, a Jewish teenager from the East End of London took the pop world by storm with a string of hits.

Her first – Don’t Treat Me Like a Child – was appropriate enough as Helen Shapiro was only 14 at the time (1961) and it reached No 3 in the charts.

By early 1963 she was bigger than The Beatles – for a time. They actually accompanied her on a tour of the UK as her support act; she was the main attraction.

She recalls with affectionate nostalgia the banter she shared on the bus with John, Paul, George and Ringo. And it was during this tour, in February 1963, that Please, Please Me became the Fab Four’s first No 1.

Helen also made No 1 around this time with her classic upbeat number Walking Back to Happiness, but says the lyrics of the song were not fulfilled until August 26 1987 – over twenty years later – when she found Jesus!

That was 28 years ago almost to the day, as she told an audience in South Elmsall, near Doncaster, Yorkshire, on Saturday night.

And for someone who associated Christians with persecutors of her people, it was quite an amazing turnaround.

She had been confused and upset when, as a child in the school playground, someone yelled at her: “You killed Jesus Christ!”

[This is a common misconception about Jews, especially among those untutored in the Scriptures, which make it clear that Christ had to die as the spotless Lamb of God paying for the sins of the world. He had offered himself of his own accord to be nailed to a cross.]

Helen duly developed her own system of beliefs after turning to mediums and spiritists, believing that God was involved in all those things. But then, soon after her 40

th birthday, she no longer believed it and began questioning the very existence of God.

She was in the midst of this crisis when her musical director (who was unaware of it) gave her a book to read, Betrayed by Stan Telchin. It was about a respectable member of a Jewish community who was suddenly faced with a daughter announcing that she believed Jesus was the Messiah of Israel. He duly set out to prove her wrong and ended up becoming a believer himself!

Helen began studying the many prophecies of the promised Messiah in the Jewish Bible (what Christians refer to as the Old Testament) and was astonished at how accurately they seemed to be fulfilled in Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew). These included references to a virgin birth in Bethlehem while the description of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 was surely a picture of the crucifixion, despite having been written some 600 years earlier.

“Isaiah 53 was about how He took our sins… I was gobsmacked. And Daniel prophesied that the Messiah had to die before the temple was destroyed. It all seemed to point to Jesus.”

So now she ventured to read “the chunk on the end I’m not supposed to read. And taking my courage in both hands, I opened the New Testament.”

She wondered if she would discover “anti-Jewish poison” in view of the track record of the professing church, which had committed unspeakable crimes against her people. “No wonder we don’t come running towards this Jesus.”

She started at the beginning – Matthew’s gospel – and was surprised to find “the most Jewish thing outside the Old Testament” – the genealogy of Jesus which included a list of all the names from which Messiah must come.

“Did you know the New Testament is Jewish?” she asked the audience. “It was written by Jewish men about the most famous Jew of all, and they were living in the land of Israel according to the Law of Moses.

“Jesus rose up out of the pages to me and I fell in love with him. I was so taken with him. He looked at people’s hearts and saw all the rubbish and yet still loved them. Even in his agony he came out with gracious, comforting words. I saw that he was fulfilling one Messianic prophecy after another.”

Just to make sure the English translators hadn’t twisted anything to suit their purposes, she got hold of a Bible (the Tenach, or Old Testament to Christians) from a Jewish shop to check that it included the same Messianic prophecies.

“Blow me: there they were in all their glory. I was so relieved.”

Back to the New Testament, she read through the four gospels. “By the end of John I knew without a shadow of doubt that Jesus was the fulfilment of every Messianic prophecy; that he was the Jewish Messiah.”

She contacted her musical director and his wife, bombarded them with questions, realised that she had been deceived by her dabbling with the occult and, at 10.30pm on August 26 1987, gave her life to Jesus.

“There were no lightning flashes, but somewhere inside I knew that I knew, and that there was no turning back. The Creator and sustainer of the universe came to live in my life. I didn’t get religion. I got Jesus, and I love him.”

She had one further question and wrote to Stan Telchin, the author of the book that had started things off for her, asking: “Will I stop being Jewish by following Jesus?”

“Of course not,” he replied. “You will be fulfilling your Jewishness. He’s coming back as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”

Acknowledging that God still has a plan for the nation of Israel, Helen emphasised that both Jew and Gentile find salvation only through the blood of Jesus.

Though we are born physically, our spirits are dead because of man’s sin and rebellion against God. That’s why we need to be born again.

And God established the system of animal sacrifices to demonstrate that only through the shedding of the blood of an innocent substitute can a sinner be saved.

“They were pointers to the once-for-all sacrifice that Jesus became that day on the cross in Jerusalem when he shed his blood for the sins of the world. That’s why he came.”

_Walking back to happiness _is also the title of Helen’s autobiography, published by Harper Collins.

 

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British Anti-Zionism Still Marches On

British Anti-Zionism Still Marches On

Anti-Zionists like British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in front of a Hezbollah flag) vehemently deny they are anti-Semites. They have lots of Jewish friends, they say, which proves that they only hate Zionists.

In their progressive minds, irrespective of what Israel actually does, a Jewish state is racist by definition, and therefore justifiably hated. At the same time, public demand for a Jew-free Palestine doesn’t seem to bother people like Corbyn, who will curse Israel while blessing a “state” that, unlike Scotland and Ireland, has never existed.

British antagonism toward Zionism is almost as old as Zionism itself.

Sure, it was Great Britain that first agreed that the recently-conquered Ottoman province known as Palestine become once again a national homeland for the Jewish people. But this decision met strong domestic opposition from the outset, and was effectively annulled by Neville Chamberlain’s infamous 1939 White Paper.

Appeasing an Arab world that at the time was looking to the Nazis to free them from British rule, and thereby harming Allied interests, became the pretense for transforming the UK’s subtle antagonistic attitude toward the Jewish people into official policy.

The White Paper aimed at ending Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine and partitioning the area originally designated for a Jewish state, which also included Jordan, into small discontiguous areas within what is now the State of Israel. This new policy had made the prospect of a Jewish state practically impossible.

Though the British White Paper policy finally collapsed in 1948, its spirit remained alive.

Corbyn represents the strata of British society that has always resented Zionism – essentially a movement to realize the Balfour Declaration – and has used excuses like appeasement or the new, more “sexy” cause of human rights to cleanse their conscience of otherwise indefensible behavior.

Whatever grudges those like Corbyn hold against Zionism, the root of it was and remains anti-Semitism. Otherwise, emphatically Muslim states like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the envisioned “Palestine” would have long ago been on the receiving end of their self-righteous anger.

 

Israeli Farmers Look to Marijuana as Cash Crop

Israeli Farmers Look to Marijuana as Cash Crop

Israel is busy sorting out regulation for offshore natural gas reserves that are expected to be a boon for the local economy, while some argue that medical cannabis offers the Jewish state an even bigger financial opportunity.

Earlier this month, the Israel Loss Adjusters Association (ILAA) held a conference to discuss how Israel’s farmers could benefit from the growing global market for medical cannabis.

“The US cannabis market stands at $35 billion a year,” noted ILAA Chairman Doron Havkin. “Are we able to give up revenues from this market?”

Havkin argued that the government could help the stumbling agricultural sector in the arid Arava Valley in southern Israel by declaring it a closed zone for growing export-oriented medical cannabis. The nearly 6,000 acres of land, he said, were waiting for such a development.

Dr. Tamir Gadot, CEO of pro-medical cannabis agricultural association Breath of Life, explained that if Israel grew pot instead of peppers, the economy would be the biggest beneficiary.

“The economic potential of growing Big Cannabis is greater than that of [natural] gas,” he said.

Ernst and Young estimated the economic worth of Israel’s gas reserves at $52 billion. Israel’s agricultural exports currently amount to around $2.5 billion, primarily in the sale of flowers and oranges. But medical marijuana would sell for much more, and could outstrip natural gas exports in a matter of 10 years.

Amos Regev, an ILAA’s appraiser, warned that if Israel did not take action soon, it would missing the boat on medical cannabis. “If we don’t do this, somebody else will do it instead of us.”

There is also a growing local market.

Last month, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announced that medical marijuana will eventually be available at regular Israeli pharmacies for patients with a doctor’s prescription like any other drug; and the number of physicians who are authorized to prescribe cannabis to patients would increase.

“Today there are about 20,000 patients in Israel and almost everyone has a relative who because of their medical situation needed cannabis,” said Aharon Lutzky, CEO of Tikun Olam, the largest grower of medical marijuana in Israel. “In Israel there is a potential for 100,000 consumers.”

Still, recreational use and the private growing of marijuana remains illegal in Israel.

Three men were arrested last week after being caught growing marijuana in a cemetery in central Israel. The suspects told police that they did not know anything about the marijuana and were in the cemetery to volunteer to clean up gravestones.

 

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Obama Trying to Shame Israel?

Obama Trying to Shame Israel?

While it flew somewhat under the radar of the mainstream news cycle, the Obama Administration last week apparently tried to shame Israel into supporting its dangerous Iran nuclear deal by declassifying historic documents regarding the Jewish state’s own nuclear program.

Many saw it as no accident that the Nixon-era State Department documents were made public just as Israel is leading the charge to have Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement defeated in Congress.

The release of the 1,100-page official report, which covers meetings from 1969–1976, would seem to be an effort to draw moral equivalency between Israel and Iran, and between America’s approach to both nations’ respective nuclear programs.

Most notably, a July 19, 1969 memorandum from then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger to President Richard Nixon outlined the proposed approach to Israel, and highlighted disagreement between the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, and State Department on what demands to present the Jewish state.

All involved agreed that Israel must be made to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Everyone agreed that, as a minimum, we want Israel to sign the NPT. This is not because signing will make any difference in Israel’s actual nuclear program because Israel could produce warheads clandestinely,” the memo said. “Israel’s signature would, however, give us a publicly feasible issue to raise with the Israeli government — a way of opening the discussion. It would also publicly commit Israel not to acquire nuclear weapons.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff “felt that if Israel’s program becomes known, we should be in a position to say we did everything in our power to prevent Israel from going nuclear,” while the Department of Defense felt that “we could live with the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons provided they were not deployed.”

The State Department, meanwhile, believed “we should try to keep Israel from going any further with its nuclear weapons program — it may be so close to completion that Israel would be willing — and make a record for ourselves of having tried.”

The Obama White House claimed the release of the documents was routine declassification that just happened to coincide with debate over the Iran deal.

But many say it is even more cause for concern that the Obama Administration and the West intend to do very little to actually stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

The content of the documents would suggest that, just as it did with Israel, when Iran goes nuclear the White House will simply throw up its hands and say, “We tried.”

Except, Iran isn’t Israel, and trying to subtly draw moral equivalence between the two again demonstrates for many the moral bankruptcy of America’s policies.

 

Palestinians Ethnically Cleansed, But Not By Israel

Palestinians Ethnically Cleansed, But Not By Israel

Many Palestinians captured by Shiite militias in Iraq have been brutally tortured and forced to “confess” to their alleged involvement in terrorism, according to Palestinian researcher Abu al-Walid.

That has led to the exodus of 19,000 out of the 25,000 Palestinians who lived in Iraq up until recently.

“It is no secret that most of the Arab countries have long been mistreating their Palestinian brethren by subjecting them to a series of Apartheid-like discriminatory laws and regulations that often deny them basic rights,” writes Palestinian-Israeli investigative journalist Khaled Abu Toameh.

“In countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt,” he notes, “Palestinians are treated as second and third class citizens, a fact that has forced many of them to seek better lives in the U.S., Canada, Australia and various European countries.”

The situation is even worse in war-torn Syria, from which a much larger number of Palestinians have fled in the past three years.

“Not only do the Arab countries despise the Palestinians, they also want them to be the problem of Israel alone,” continues Abu Toameh. “That is why, since 1948, Arab governments have refused to allow Palestinians permanently to settle in their countries and become equal citizens. Now these Arab countries are not only denying Palestinians their basic rights, they are also killing and torturing them, and subjecting them to ethnic cleansing.”

What the Arab journalist finds “most interesting” is the “complete indifference displayed by international human rights organizations, the media and the Palestinian Authority toward the mistreatment of Palestinians in Arab countries.”

He is left to derisively conclude that “the UN and other international bodies have obviously not heard of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Arab world [because] they too are so obsessed with Israel that they prefer not to hear about the suffering of Palestinians under Arab regimes.”

 

COMMENTARY: Are We Witnessing the Conclusion to Story of the Prodigal Son?

COMMENTARY: Are We Witnessing the Conclusion to Story of the Prodigal Son?

If you recall, when Yeshua (Jesus) ended his famous parable (Luke 15), the older brother was still having a hissy-fit. And the father, who had organized a wonderful homecoming celebration for his younger brother “who was lost and has been found,” was desperately trying to talk him into joining the party. But the older boy was having none of it. He couldn’t understand how his father could have a party for that worthless, no-good brother of his when he had served so faithfully and nobody had ever thrown him a party.

And that’s where Yeshua left us. Wondering if the older son would ever understand and receive his father’s unconditional love. Or if the two brothers would ever reconcile.

Well, after 2000 years, we may be watching the conclusion to this parable unfold before our eyes. And it seems headed for a happy ending. Of course, what happened to the angry older brother in the interim, sad to say, was pretty devastating. In fact, he ended up in the same pitiful homeless situation his younger brother had experienced. I know that because the parable was clearly a prophecy about to be fulfilled. And hindsight tells the tale.

The older brother surely represents the Jews. And Yeshua was revealing how his own brethren would react when Father God began to bring Gentiles (the Prodigal) into the house. They’d go ballistic. Why? Because the Jews, who had been dutifully following God’s commandments, believed righteousness was the reward for their diligence. Seeing un-kosher Gentiles, who didn’t know Moses from Adam, claiming they’d been forgiven and declared righteous through faith in Yeshua pushed them right over the edge.

History records how the older brother’s hardened heart soon drove him from the Father’s estate. And how the brothers’ relationship went from bad to worse. In fact, there was a complete role reversal. The Prodigal (now called “Christian”) began to consider himself the favorite son and persecuted his older brother, driving him further away from knowing his Father’s love.

Centuries passed. Then two miracles occurred.

First, the older brother was allowed to return home from his bitter exile. Secondly, the younger brother came to his senses again and remembered the unconditional love and mercy he had been shown. Yes, suddenly, we saw how poorly we’d been treating our older brother. And we wept bitter tears. And began to love again.

So here we are today. Two brothers, separated for centuries by jealousy and persecution, trying to trust one another again. Still not on the same page, but letting the mutual worship of our Father in Heaven and desire to see Israel restored heal our self-inflicted wounds. The story is almost complete.

In Yeshua’s parable, we know the father wanted to celebrate with both sons. But only the forgiven son had reason to rejoice. That tells me this unconditional love we have been given for our embattled brother is a preparation for him to enter God’s “covenant of peace.”

Which means Abba is about to throw a huge party – this time for the two of us!

“How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1).

 

The Jesus Trail

The Jesus Trail

There are plenty of hiking trails all over Israel but one of them is unique. It is the Jesus Trail created by the State of Israel specifically for Christian pilgrims! Israel Today's Carolin Wendt toured the 38-mile.

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

 

Sarcastic Israeli Minister Lauds World's 'Brilliance'

Sarcastic Israeli Minister Lauds World's 'Brilliance'

Israeli National Infrastructures Minister Yuval Steinitz (pictured) on Wednesday congratulated the international community on its “innovative and out-of-the-box thinking” in permitting Iran to self-inspect its own nuclear facilities.

“One can only wonder if the Iranian inspectors will also have to wait 24 days before being able to visit the site and look for incriminating evidence?” Steinitz added.

The facetious remarks came in response to news that the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had reached what many saw as a face-saving arrangement with Iran whereby the latter will provide its own experts to inspect sites like Parchin, a sprawling and particularly sensitive nuclear facility near Tehran.

Parchin is effectively run by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards, and is one of the sites that the IAEA, among others, previously suspected of being involved in the early production of nuclear weapons.

The Iranian regime had in recent weeks repeatedly made clear that the terms of the Obama-brokered nuclear deal notwithstanding, it would be setting the rules for any nuclear inspections on Iranian soil.

The White House tried to downplay the reports, telling France’s AFP news agency that it had “every confidence” in the IAEA and its approach to Iran.

 

Blog: Ayala Shapira fullfills her dream

Blog: Ayala Shapira fullfills her dream

In December 2014, the then eleven year-old, Ayala Shapira became a victim of an arson attack when Arab terrorists threw a firebomb on the family car while Ayala and her father were on their way home close to Ma'ale Shomron in Samaria. In the attack, Ayala suffered from severe burns as 40 percent of her face and upper body were burned. The brave Ayala, during her stay in hospital, was so touched seeing other children that had lost their hair due to cancer, that she motivated her friends to donate their hair for wigs.

In March of this year, in her first interview after the attack, Ayala stated that it was her dream to visit the the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount. The Bat Mitzvah ceremony signifies that a Jewish girl has reached the age where they are accountable for their own actions, instead of their parents, and that they are responsible for their own observance of the Jewish commandments.

In June, shortly before her Bat Mitzvah, Ayala was transferred from the Sheba Tel Hashomer Medical Center's burn unit to a children's general ward at the hospital. The now 12 year-old fulfilled her dream and, in honor of her Bat Mitzvah, physicians gave their green light for Ayala’s trip to ascend the Temple Mount, together with her family.

This is a blog post from "The Children are the Future" from our "Support Israel" section. We appreciate every donation. In order to help the Land of Israel and her children see "Support Israel".

 

What Iran Will Do With Obama Deal Money

What Iran Will Do With Obama Deal Money

The Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama Administration is going to provide the Islamic Republic with a financial windfall, and, if criticisms prove accurate, fail to prevent it from developing atomic weapons.

Just what is Iran going to do with all that new money once sanctions are lifted?

Well, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that the first item on his spending list is to bolster the terrorist forces operating against Israel.

“We spare no opportunity to support anyone #FightingTheZionists,” Khamenei wrote on his official Twitter account this week.

Days later, the following propaganda video produced by the Islamic Revolution Design House, an outfit with ties to the Iranian regime, was posted to the Internet:

In the animated short, terrorists bearing the insignias of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah and Hamas can be seen readying for a final mass assault against Jerusalem.

The video ends with a message echoing the dictate of former Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini:

“Israel must be erased from the annals of history, and the youth will definitely see that day when it comes.”

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he wasn’t sure Iran really wanted to wipe Israel off the map, as its leaders have so often publicly threatened to do. The above video would seem to indicate that Kerry has his head in the sand.

 

Hamas: We Captured Dolphin Spying for Israel!

Hamas: We Captured Dolphin Spying for Israel!

Once again, Israel’s Arab enemies have caught the Jewish state red-handed utilizing animals as spies and assassins.

Sources in Gaza reported on Wednesday that Hamas a few weeks ago captured a dolphin that was equipped with advanced surveillance devices.

According to the report, the dolphin was tracked and nabbed by the “naval commando” unit of Hamas’ military forces, the same unit that during last summer’s Gaza war infiltrated southern Israel via the sea only to be wiped out by Israeli soldiers guarding a coastal village.

The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported that the Hamas commandoes became wary when they spotted the dolphin making “suspicious movements” just outside the Gaa port.

If their account is to be believed, the dolphin was sent by Israel to film the training of Hamas naval commandoes.   More than that, Palestinian officials claimed the dolphin was also carrying some sort of dart gun that could have wounded or killed member of the Hamas unit.

The dolphin was dragged onto a Gaza beach for “inspection,” but its ultimate fate is unknown.

Over the years there has been no shortage of claims from Arab media that Israel has somehow managed to make the beasts of the wild do its bidding. Most famously, voices from Egypt in 2010 accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of sending a killer shark to attack tourists in the Sinai Peninsula.

 

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Obama's An Anti-Semite, Charges US Presidential Candidate

Obama's An Anti-Semite, Charges US Presidential Candidate

As was to be expected, the fate and future of tiny Israel has become a central issue in the upcoming presidential election in the world’s leading superpower, America.

Two front-running Republican candidates at the weekend lambasted President Barack Obama over his mistreatment of Israel, calling the current administration’s policies anti-Semitic and an existential threat to the Jewish state.

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson in an interview with Fox News charged that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran was evidence of his disdain for the Jews and the survival of their national homeland.

“All you have to do,” said Carson, “is, like I have, go to Israel, and talk to average people, on all ends of that spectrum. And I couldn’t find a single person there who didn’t feel that this administration had turned their back on Israel.”

His Fox interviewers wondered how that made Obama an anti-Semite, to which Carson replied:

“I think anything is anti-Semitic that is against the survival of a state that is surrounded by enemies, and by people who want to destroy them. And to sort of ignore that, and to act like everything is normal there, and that these people are paranoid, I think that’s anti-Semitic.”

At the same time, controversial real estate mogul, and currently the leading Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump was telling NBC’s Meet the Press that “Israel is in big trouble. Obama has really let Israel down.”

He was referring to the much-maligned Obama-brokered Iran nuclear agreement, which, according to Trump, is going to enable to Islamic Republic to become “such a wealthy, such a powerful nation. They are going to have nuclear weapons. They are going to take over parts of the world that you wouldn’t believe. And I think it’s going to lead to nuclear holocaust.”

Unfortunately, as Trump explained, now that the agreement is out there, it will be nearly impossible for the next president, whomever it may be, to simply “rip up” the contract.

Even so, Trump vowed that if elected he would “police that contract so tough that they [the Iranians] don’t have a chance. As bad as the contract is, I will be so tough on that contract.”

 

VIDEO: Messianic Soldier Shares Induction As IDF Medic

VIDEO: Messianic Soldier Shares Induction As IDF Medic

Our favorite Israeli Messianic soldier is back with a video sharing his recent induction as a combat medic in the IDF.

In the video, Hananya Naftali translates into English the oath every IDF medic must swear upon his or her induction.

As part of the oath, IDF medics vow to “lend a helping hand” to any and all, “be they friend or foe.”

We have certainly seen this demonstrated by IDF medics who don’t hesitate to provide life-giving assistance to Palestinian terrorists and Syrian jihadists, despite the fact that those patients would love nothing more than to see Israel burn.

Naftali notes that he and fellow graduating medics discussed this part of the oath in depth. “Some had trouble accepting” the need to offer the same help to friend or foe, he explains. “But these are the rules of the IDF, and we have to submit to orders. It just shows the humanity of the [Israeli] army, which is amazing, in my eyes.”

Another poignant portion of the oath echoes the Bible in promising to “be my brother’s keeper.”

Watch the video:

 

COMMENTARY: If Jews and Christians Share Same Roots, Aren’t We in Same Tree?

COMMENTARY: If Jews and Christians Share Same Roots, Aren’t We in Same Tree?

You often hear Christians say they’ve discovered the Hebraic roots of their faith. Yet so much teaching today insists God is putting Gentile followers of Yeshua into one “tree,” and Jews into another. But does that line up with Paul’s figurative example in Romans 11?

Using a cultivated olive tree for his model, Paul terms the Jews “natural branches” in this tree. And the grafted-in Gentiles as ‘wild olive branches” taken from an uncultivated tree. So we do start out in different trees. But his point is, that except for those Jews who were cut off for unbelief, we are all now in the same tree through faith in Messiah Yeshua! And that all who abide in him, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are being nourished by the same holy Abrahamic root. “For he himself is our peace who made both groups into one…so that in himself he might make the two into one new man.” (Eph. 2:14,15).

Of course, Paul tells us God is not finished with His horticultural project. Future Jewish descendants will also be given the grace to believe in Yeshua, just as the Gentiles were, and be quickly grafted back into their own tree. At the same time he warns the new Gentile transplants not to be arrogant towards the unbelieving “natural branches,” or they’ll suffer the same fate. Snip, snip!

So why do so many Christians still think the Lord has two trees?

One major contributing factor is the different way the Greek word ecclesia is translated. We know from the Septuagint translation that whenever ecclesia is used for chosen Israel in the Old Testament it is always rendered in English as “congregation” or “assembly.” But when you enter the New Testament it is suddenly translated as “church.” Only when ecclesia refers back to ancient Israel in the NT is it rendered as “congregation/assembly” (see Acts 7:38, Hebrews 2:12 NAS).

Of course, if the King James had retained the first NT translation of ecclesia in English by William Tyndale as “congregation,” and not changed it everywhere to “church,” it would be consistent throughout the Bible. And clearer to all that God only had one chosen remnant from Genesis to Revelation. For what is the NT ‘church’ of Jesus Christ, but the continuation of the OT ‘church’ made righteous?

As for Paul’s olive tree….ever notice all the branches are the same type? That Paul didn’t describe the grafted-in Gentiles as coming from a fig tree? Or a horse chestnut? Jews and Gentiles are both olive branches! The only difference is the Jewish branches had been cared for. While we who were Gentile had been growing wild until the Gardener saw fit to feed us with faith and transplant us.

Which raises this question: Were we once under His loving care also but ‘let go’ for some reason? Can you think of any time in Israel’s earlier history when the Lord disowned a large number of Abraham’s family with the promise He’d graft us back in one day under Messiah?

No? Consider 2 Kings 18:9-12, Hosea 1:10,11 and Ezekiel 37:15-28.

 

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Israel Prepares Possible Invasion of Syria

Israel Prepares Possible Invasion of Syria

Israeli forces in the north of the country have for the past several months been laying plans for the possible small-scale invasion of neighboring Syria, reported Israel’s Ynet news portal.

According to Israeli army assessments, Iran is equipping Islamist forces in western Syria, including the Lebanese terrorist militia Hezbollah, with the intent of opening a new front against the Jewish state on the Golan Heights.

In the scenarios envisioned by the IDF, heavily-armed terrorist cells would infiltrate the Israeli side of the Golan and attack Jewish and Druze villages there, necessitating a strong Israeli response in Syria.

Another possibility is that one of the various jihadists groups taking place in Syria’s ongoing civil war could find itself in a desperate situation and launch a major attack against Israel in hopes of drawing the IDF into the fray.

There is also the matter of the large Druze population in south-western Syria. Al Qaeda-linked jihadists have been making advances on the Druze-controlled areas in recent weeks, and the many Druze living in and loyal to Israel have beseeched the Jewish state to intervene militarily on behalf of their brothers, should the need arise.

In our August 2015 issue, Israel Today explored the possibility that Israel’s borders could soon extend further east as it looks to protect the Druze and other non-hostile populations that are today threatened by the Islamists.

 

The Obtrusive Voice of Yisrael Aumann

The Obtrusive Voice of Yisrael Aumann

CORRECTION: Israel Today wants to correct the impression in the following article that David Goldman is post-Zionist. Though the original interview does create this impression, Goldman by his own admission is a Zionist who deeply respects Professor Yisrael Aumann.

Brilliant as he is, we would have not heard of Yisrael Robert Aumann (85) if it wasn't for the Nobel Prize he received in 2005 for his work on conflict resolution through game-theory analysis.

One would think that after his outstanding achievement had been awarded with the highest honor, Israelis would treat Aumann with a corresponding level of respect. But Aumann is religious and conservative, two traits detested by most Israeli journalists.

Nevertheless, since ignoring Aumann following his recognition in 2005 is no longer an option, the media does reluctantly allow his voice to be heard. That's why one might incidentally come across a 2014 interview he gave to David (Dudi) Goldman, who simply couldn't hide his disdain for Aumann's political views.

The leading paragraph sets the tone for the entire interview:

"The real danger," says Aumann, "is not Hamas, and not the rising European hate toward Israel, but our resilience, and the more the numbers of anti-Zionists increase so our resilience weakens."

Goldman believes that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has waved the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees to Israel as a condition for peace, which makes him hopeful that the conflict could be resolved if only Israel would agree to the two-state solution.

For Aumann, this is a delusional, wishful thinking:

"Nonsense," he retorts. "Not a single Palestinian waves the right of return. Abbas's position," he alerts Goldman, "is a diversion tactic. Among themselves, Palestinians continue to talk about returning to Haifa, Jerusalem, Ramleh [a town near Ben Gurion airport]."

Goldman also supports Europe's negative attitude toward Israel stemming from the view that the Palestinians are "natives" under the thumb of Israeli "colonialists."

Such a view shocks the professor.

"What you are saying is horrific," returns Aumann. "Your approach is disastrous, since it means that we are colonialists, and we are not. Do you know that in 1885 Jews in Jerusalem were the vast majority? The tragedy is that there are still Israelis, like you, who think in terms of natives. If this is the case, we have no business being here."

Post-Zionists like Goldman, insists Aumann, "are extremely dangerous because they undermine the moral justification of our existence. If the post-Zionists are right, then [people like] Helen Thomas [who famously told the Jews to 'get the hell out of Palestine'] are right, and we should start packing and give the keys to Abbas and [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniya."

Following Israel's most recent elections it has become clearer than ever why the "Goldmans" marginalize the "Aumanns."

No matter how brilliant the latter may be, Zionists or pro-Zionists are perceived by a growing number of people as primitive and slow-minded.

Post-Zionists, on the other hand, are seen as rational, educated and enlightened. Posturing themselves as such, post-Zionists, along with radical Muslims and Western liberals, have successfully justified hatred toward Israel and framed the conflict in the cosmological terms of a battle between light and darkness.

Aumann, however, insists that this image of "angels of light" hides a sinister agenda that has nothing to do with peace or light.

Myriad people around the globe don't have the time or knowledge to decide who's telling the truth, who is right and who is wrong. They therefore rely more than anything else on the contenders' reputation.

In the Aumann-Goldman skirmish, reputation tilts strongly toward the one decorated with a Nobel Prize, which is why his voice ought to be presented as obtrusive in a liberal media landscape.

 

COMMENTARY: A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

COMMENTARY: A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

There is a season for everything under heaven, according to the wisdom of Solomon. And I’m specifically thinking of his dictum that there’s “a time to mourn and a time to dance”. (Ecclesiastes 3.4)

Black clouds of impending doom are swooping down upon us all, and especially on God’s ancient people, but the rainbow of ultimate peace also lies ahead, and we should not be too downhearted.

On September 14 there will be much rejoicing as Jews everywhere celebrate their New Year in a month set to witness some quite extraordinary, even alarming, events connected with the future of Israel. I will look at these in a moment.

We have just marked a time of mourning for Israel – a date known as the 9th of Av in the Jewish calendar (July 25 this year) which brings back bad memories of a past which has seen so many attempts to annihilate the Jewish nation.

For it was on this date that the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. And it was on the very same day 656 years later – in 70 AD – that the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. The Jews subsequently rebelled against their occupiers, but were brutally butchered in 133 AD – again on the 9th of Av – after which they were dispersed to all four corners of the earth.

This included England, from which they were expelled in 1290 AD – on the 9th of Av. Then in 1492 they were expelled from Spain and given four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country, the deadline for which was the 9th of Av.

Then came World War II and the Holocaust, said by historians to have been the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I, which broke out on the 9th of Av. And, it is said, the first gas chambers were put into use on the very same day of the year!

Understandably, the Jewish people have much to mourn. And our duty as Christians, grafted into the Olive Tree of God’s chosen people (Romans 11:11-24), is to love them, stand with them and pray for them.

A series of significant events are scheduled for September, starting with the New Year celebrations perhaps. The Pope will be visiting the White House to meet with the President on the holiest day of the Jewish Year (Yom Kippur, September 23). And a super-sized blood-red moon will shine over Jerusalem on September 28 during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). This will be the last of four successive blood moons (known as a tetrad) to coincide with the main Jewish feasts of Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and 2015, a rare occurrence last witnessed in 1967 when, as a result of the Six-Day War, the Old City of Jerusalem came under Israeli control for the first time in 2,000 years.

In addition, the United Nations are said to be planning to declare a Palestinian state without Israel’s consent or input and there is also, of course, the ongoing threat of Hamas and Hezbollah along with that of a potentially nuclear-armed Iran whose leaders have made no bones about their intention to “wipe Israel off the map”. The recent deal negotiated with the big powers is, at best, only putting off the evil day rather than neutralizing a dangerous rogue state.

In the light of this, an 800-year-old rabbinic commentary is most revealing. Known to the Jewish world as the Yalkut Shimoni, it has been translated by Rabbi Nachman Kahana, a specific portion of which says:

“Paras (Persia-Iran) will be the dread of humanity. The world’s leaders will be frustrated in their futile efforts to save what they can, but to no avail. The people of Yisrael will also be petrified by the impending danger. And HaShem (the Lord) will say to us, ‘Why are you afraid? All of this I have done in order to bring you the awaited redemption. And this redemption will not be like the redemption from Egypt, which was followed by suffering. This redemption will be absolute, followed by peace.”

Various Jewish rabbis are now sensing that their Messiah is soon to come. The day is surely not far off when beleaguered Israel will recognize the One who has loved them with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31.3) and who is destined to reign from Jerusalem for a thousand years of perfect peace (Revelation 20.4).

Jesus told his disciples that his coming would follow an unprecedented period of distress after which “the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light”. (A total solar eclipse occurred in the midst of the current tetrad of blood moons).

“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory,” he said. (Mark 13.24-26)

I am indebted for much background to David Soakell of Christian Friends of Israel and to Kolyah, a correspondent in the know who wishes to keep a low profile for security reasons.

 

Israel's Media Controlled by Gays, Warns Lawmaker

Israel's Media Controlled by Gays, Warns Lawmaker

Homosexuality and the gay community in general wouldn’t garner nearly so much attention or enjoy such a strong level of legitimization in the Jewish state without the grip that homosexuals and their supporters have on the local media.

That according to Bezalel Smotrich, an outspoken Member of Knesset from the right-wing Jewish Home party.

In an interview with Israel Radio last week, Smotrich asserted that “there are a whole lot of prominent figures in the Israeli media, those who have the microphone, and they determine for all of us what to think and what to say.”

Earlier, he had referred to the recent gay pride parade in Jerusalem as the “abomination parade.”

Smotrich explained that for a very long time he had wrestled with why homosexuality had become such a prominent issue in Israel when, “after all, I’m convinced that 95 percent of Israeli citizens would very much want their children to start wonderful families and give them grandchildren.”

The vast majority, nearly all, of Israelis want their child to be “a healthy person, a normal person,” insisted the lawmaker.

Smotrich said the answer to his conundrum lies in the fact that the gay community can today list among its members and supporters “many dozens of the most dominant figures” in society.

“These people possess an immense power in the ability to shape our perceptions,” he noted. “So, naturally, they won’t listen to an opinion like mine and they cut me off after a quarter of a sentence, and I come out looking bad because I can’t explain myself.”

 

Could Israel's Borders Expand East?

Could Israel's Borders Expand East?

Might Israel be compelled to send the IDF to protect the beleaguered Druze population in Syria? Could Israel’s borders expand to the east to include these new lands and population?

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

 

Hamas Admits Israel Not Guilty of Gaza Water Crisis

Hamas Admits Israel Not Guilty of Gaza Water Crisis

Israel is often blamed for all woes befalling the Palestinian Arabs. One of the favorite accusations is that Israel takes most of the region’s water for its Jewish citizens, while leaving the Arabs with far too little of this precious resource.

But a Hamas-run newspaper recently featured an investigative report revealing that the water crisis in Gaza, at least, cannot be blamed on the Jewish state, after all.

In surveying the agricultural lands abandoned in the wake of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, the Al-Risalah newspaper found that today’s Palestinian farmers were using up to six times more water than the previous Jewish tenants.

In the areas encompassing the former Gaza Jewish communities, a total of 20 wells had been dug up until 2005 to tap into the area’s water table. These wells pumped an average of 20–30 cubic meters of water per hour for use by the Jewish farmers and their villages.

The Hamas publication reported that there are now, since the departure of the Jews, no fewer than 110 wells in the area pumping anywhere between 120–200 cubic meters of water per hour.

Considering these figures, is it any wonder Gaza’s water table is in serious danger of becoming unusable?

PHOTO: A Palestinian child seeks fresh drinking water.

 

Blog: The Dead Sea

Blog: The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, a unique gift of nature with healing minerals, serves as a natural oasis of wellness and a source of health and beauty.

The Dead Sea is known for its extremely salty and mineral-rich water. The minerals have a healing effect on skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis.

The Hebrew name "Yam HaMelach" from the Old Testament means "Salt Sea".

The Dead Sea covers an area of approximately 900 square kilometers and is a terminal lake in a drainless Valley situated between Jordan and Israel.

The climate in the Dead Sea valley is sunny all year round with low humidity. The average temperature in summer is 39° C and in winter 20° C. The water temperature ranges between 19 and 31° C.

The Dead Sea is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water with a salinity of about 34.2% compared to the the salinity of the Mediterranean at about 3.8%.

The most commonly found minerals in the Dead Sea are anhydrous chlorides with a weight percentage basis of, calcium chloride (CaCl2) 14.4%, potassium chloride (KCl) 4.4%, magnesium chloride (MgCl2) 50.8% and sodium chloride (NaCl) 30.4%. In comparison, the salt in the water of most oceans and seas is approximately 85% sodium chloride. The concentration of sulfate ions (SO42−) is very low, and the concentration of bromide ions (Br−) is the highest of all waters on Earth. The waters also contain lose-degrading anaerobic bacteria resulting in its therapeutic properties.

In the last few decades the level of the Dead Sea has been dropping at the disturbing rate of approx. 1 meter per year. This tendency is as a result of reduced inflow to the Dead Sea from the Jordan River as a result of large-scale irrigation along the Jordan valley and generally low rainfall.

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

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Jews and Arabs Living in Peace and Love

Jews and Arabs Living in Peace and Love

The ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Romema on Jerusalem’s northern side played host on Sunday to a touching example of Jews and Arabs living together and interacting in peace, love and mutual respect.

The story begins last October, when a Palestinian Arab terrorist rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people waiting at the light rail station at Jerusalem’s French Hill junction. Killed in the attack was an Ecuadorian tourist and a 3-month-old Jewish baby girl, Chaya Zissel Braun.

Aboard one of the first ambulances to arrive at the scene was Israeli-Arab paramedic Ziad Dawiyat (pictured). As Dawiyat recalled in a statement released by Magen David Adom (the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross):

“We found the baby girl unconscious and not breathing. We started CPR and transported her in very serious condition to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, where, unfortunately, she was declared dead. The parents were with us in the ambulance. They were very confused and did not fully grasp the situation. [The father] was injured in his leg and I remember that he refused any medical attention until his daughter returned, but to my sorrow, she did not return.”

One detail Shmuel Braun did remember from that day, amidst the din and overwhelming grief, was the number 12 emblazoned upon the side of Dawiyat’s ambulance.

The distraught father would later note that every time he saw the number 12 he would remember his daughter and pray that no other parent ever have to feel his pain.

Fast forward 10 months, and the Braun family on Sunday found themselves in immediate need of an ambulance as Chana, the mother, went into heavy labor with their second child.

Minutes after making the call, an ambulance arrived, and Shmuel was shocked to again see that number 12.

Dawiyat said that as he ran up to the family’s apartment, Shmuel was mumbling something about the number 12, but the medic didn’t pay much attention to it, instead focusing on Chana, who was clearly too far along to be moved to a hospital.

Dawiyat and his team sprung into action and delivered the Braun family’s new baby girl right there in the apartment. Only after the birth did Chana suddenly recognize Dawiyat. “I remember you,” she told the medic, who admitted he was at first surprised and confused. “You are the driver who transported us from the terrorist attack with our first daughter,” she continued, as the fog lifted for Dawiyat.

As Dawiyat continued about his business of caring for the new Braun baby, Shmuel “hugged me and kissed me. It was very emotional.”

Dawiyat later transported Shmuel, Chana and their newborn child to a nearby hospital for post-natal care in the same ambulance in which they had taken a far more fateful ride 10 months earlier.

Summing up the remarkable day, Shmuel stated, “We thank the Lord Almighty for everything and for giving us a daughter today.”

 

COMMENTARY: Is Christian Love for Israel a Passing Fad?

COMMENTARY: Is Christian Love for Israel a Passing Fad?

Many Christian Zionists, when pressed, can’t really explain how they fell in love with Israel. Or why. Over and over you hear them say – “It just happened to me.” One minute they were totally ignorant and uncaring about the Jews and Israel, and the next they were passionate Zionists. Writing letters to newspapers to protest slanderous columns written against Israel. Volunteering to help scrub anti-Semitic graffiti off a local synagogue wall. Attending every pro-Israel rally within driving distance. And trying to figure how they can scrape up enough money to visit Israel.

Often they discover to their dismay they are the only one in their church who cares about Israel. And when they try to explain why Israel matters to fellow congregants they get that same blank stare they got when they told their non-Christian friends they just got saved.

Clearly this awakening of love has a divine origin. Who can explain it? But how will this historic courtship end? Is this love affair as doomed as Romeo and Juliet? Or as short-lived as a Hollywood romance?

One could hardly blame the Jews for not thinking so based on the most popular Christian end-time teaching called the Rapture. How many times have we publicly repented of our silence during the Holocaust? And sworn never to abandon Israel or the Jews again? Yet many Christian Zionists hold to this teaching that promises to fly them off to heaven at the first sign of trouble. Just when Israel needs us the most.

I don’t want to speculate here about how God’s salvation plan will unfold, or when. But if we truly believe Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, and not just the church’s Christ, then his rescue plan must include “all Israel.” Both Jewish and non-Jewish elect. Which means His last-days salvation plan will somehow bring us alongside Jewish Israel to stand with her. And not leave her in the lurch.

Jesus, Jeremiah and Daniel all described the Great Tribulation as a time of unparalleled anguish that will overpower the whole earth with evil, including Israel. Jeremiah declared, “It is the time of Jacob’s distress!” But then quickly added, “But he will be saved from it!” (Jer. 30:7)

And Daniel told us that that when this “time of distress” occurs Michael will arise to protect the nation and “everyone who is found written in the book shall be rescued.” (Dan. 12:1)

I ask you, we who have come forth from the nations through faith in the Jewish Messiah – are not our names also written in that book ? Is not the title of the book revealed at the end of the Bible to be – “The Lamb’s Book of Life?” (Rev. 21:27)

So I would say this courtship between Jewish Israel and the followers of Yeshua now awakening to the Hebraic roots of our faith will blossom into a full-blown, God-blessed family reunion. And we will all live happily ever after. To which I raise high my glass of Manischewitz, and toast, “L’chaim!” And forward Moses and Paul’s heartfelt wedding congratulations – “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” (Rom. 15:10).

 

Israel Today

Israel Today

Israeli society is hard to decipher. Being at once both intensely secular and intensely religious gives the impression of a society divided beyond hope. The difference between secularists and the religious, however, is not as simple as one might imagine. 

Polls show time and again that secular as Israeli society might be, the vast majority of Israelis believe in God. 

Many who oppose religion continue to eat kosher food, rest on Sabbath and almost all Israelis circumcise their boys. Many from the secular part of society attend synagogues from time to time, and many participate in the ever-growing forums for Torah and Talmudic studies.

The dividing line becomes fuzzier when considering the increasing number of religious people that resist certain aspects of Jewish tradition, and secular people who are turning more religious. Notable among the latter are the many artists who are becoming religious. 

Israeli artists are perceived as left-wing human right activists who oppose religion, occupation and whatever else that is on the menu of the radical left. But Israel's ynet news portal has brought attention to the fact that this is a false impression.  According to Dan Ben-Hakoun, director and producer of the documentary series "Returning Forward," some 50 percent of Israeli artists are in the process of becoming religious.

I recently discovered a most vivid expression of this complex reality while walking down Rabin Street in the center of Tel Aviv. Almost unnoticed, written on a concrete pillar stained with urine, was a graffiti poem entitled "Porn." It spoke of a person yearning for redemption while waiting on the download of an HD porn movie. 

The poem read: "HD quality porn film, weighs four gigabyte, is downloading now. While waiting for the film, there is an expectation of redemption. There is concern. And tension. Sexual tension. Between me and the film, and between the film and myself."

This extreme tension between two opposing forces is experienced by many Israelis today.

 

Poll: Most Israelis Feel Their Nation is in Danger

Poll: Most Israelis Feel Their Nation is in Danger

The monthly Peace Index survey conducted in late July found that a firm majority of Israeli Jews believe their nation is in serious danger from various security and military threats.

Over 26 percent of respondents described the level of danger to Israel as “very high,” while another 51.4 percent said it was “moderately high.”

Despite this, 26.1 percent of Israelis Jews feel the defense establishment receives enough funding, and 41 percent said the army eats up too much of the national budget. Less than 20 percent said the IDF was under-funded.

The results come amid mounting debate over the US-brokered Iran nuclear agreement, which Israelis from across the political spectrum view as a strategic error that puts the Jewish state at grave risk.

 

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What's Happening Under the Dome of the Rock?

What's Happening Under the Dome of the Rock?

"What is going on [under the Temple Mount] is outrageous," the chairman of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, told Israel Today. "Structural changes are being carried out without any consultation with us."

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

 

Poll: Most Israelis Own a Bible, Revere the Word of God

Poll: Most Israelis Own a Bible, Revere the Word of God

A survey conducted late last month revealed that nearly all Israeli Jews own a Bible, that most revere it as the holy Word of God, and that nearly half the Jewish population still reads from the Scriptures at least on occasion.

The poll was conducted in the run-up to the “Opening the Tanakh” conference at the Herzog Academic College, which was attended by 7,000 Israelis and foreign visitors who were treated to a wide range of lectures and workshops dealing with the Bible and its place in modern society, especially Israeli Jewish society.

The results, originally published in Israel’s largest daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, showed that no fewer than 95 percent of all Israeli Jews have a Bible in their home.

A full 68 percent of respondents said they revere the Bible as a “holy book,” and nearly half (42 percent) said they read the Scriptures at least infrequently.

Only 15 percent of Israeli Jews said they never read the Bible, and just 9 percent said they have no connection to the Word of God.

PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosting a Bible study at his official residence in Jerusalem last year. (Flash90)

 

War and Peace – a Tale of Two Books

War and Peace – a Tale of Two Books

Although originally unintentional, I am planning on an official home town launch of my new book, Peace in Jerusalem, on the anniversary of 9/11. But the timing turns out to be appropriate enough because the narrative provides the answer to the ongoing terrorist threat we all face 14 years on. I will explain that in due course.

As I have said before, the ultimate target on September 11, 2001, was not the Twin Towers, or even America as such, but Israel.

The United States have become fanatical Islam’s ‘Great Satan’ because they are perceived as the backers of the Jewish state – and, of course, they are also home to almost as many Jews as live in Israel; not to mention the fact that more Jews live in New York (two million) than in any other city on the planet, exceeding even Tel Aviv’s 1.6 million.

Now Iran – the world’s chief sponsor of terror – boasts of outwitting America en route to the destruction of Israel, which has long been its much-publicised goal. At least that is said to be the narrative of a new book by Ayatollah Khameini (pictured) – Iran’s supreme leader – which apparently scorns the naivety of politicians who have fallen hook, line and sinker for a ‘deal’ said to make the world a safer place for us all. It is not available in English, by the way.

I’m led to believe that, among the conditions agreed for this ‘deal’, the Iranians are free to choose where and when inspectors can go in efforts to ensure that nuclear weapons are not being developed. [1] In other words, they are being effectively trusted to police themselves, and thus call the shots.

But this is to reckon without the Islamic practice that allows for lying if it furthers the cause of Allah or jihad (holy war).[2]

For example, PLO founder Yasser Arafat agreed to change the organization’s charter calling for Israel’s demise in signing the Oslo Accord of 1993 – and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing so! But the charter was never changed.

Similarly with Iran, duplicity and deceit are the tools of their political trade-offs. And their unabashed mantra remains the same – to “wipe Israel off the map”.

To make a pact with a bunch of raving revolutionaries and actually believe they’re going to keep their side of the bargain is foolish in the extreme.

In 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was duped into signing a ‘peace’ deal with Hitler – and we all now know that it wasn’t worth the paper on which it was written. Do Messrs Kerry and Obama think they are wiser than Mr Chamberlain?

The truth is that all of us, and the Jewish people in particular, are in at least as much danger now from the ‘new Nazism’ than we were in the lead-up to World War II.

Yet, for all this, ‘Peace in Jerusalem’ is possible and is actually a work in progress as I write – but only through Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. For I have witnessed Arab and Jew embracing one another in love because of their shared experience of Christ who has – in the words of the Apostle Paul – broken down the dividing wall of hostility between them through his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins. (Ephesians 2.14-16)

The biggest problem in our sorry world is not politics, or religion, or looming environmental disaster – but sin. I’m talking about our sin, yours and mine, expressed in the evil deeds which seem to come so naturally to us.

Behind the rage and fury of the ayatollahs is a sinful heart, full of wickedness, which will not be dealt with by appeasing politicians and bureaucrats. Only the blood that was shed by our Lord on the cross of Calvary outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago can cleanse and unite hearts.

As Jeremiah said so long ago, ‘Woe to those who prophesy peace, when there is no peace’. (Jeremiah 6.14 & 8.11)

[1]: Various sources including Kolyah, a correspondent who wishes to keep a low profile for security reasons

[2]: Tass Saada with Dean Merrill, Once an Arafat Man, Tyndale Publishing, page 197

Peace in Jerusalem is available from olivepresspublisher.com and Amazon.com and will be launched at the Church’s coffee & bookshop on Thorne Road, Doncaster, on September 11 at 7pm.

 

Rare Archaeological Find Has Israeli Officials Excited

Rare Archaeological Find Has Israeli Officials Excited

Every construction project in Israel must be preceded by a thorough archaeological inspection to ensure nothing of great historical value is being built over. And that is precisely what archaeologists examining the location of a new Jerusalem preschool found.

During the preliminary ground-breaking for the new preschool in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, officials uncovered the remains of a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh) and adjacent winepress dating back to the time of the Second Temple.

Now, it is not uncommon to find such remains in Jerusalem and elsewhere throughout the country, providing firm evidence of the Jewish people’s ancient connection to this land.

What made the recent discovery so special was the level of preservation of the numerous inscriptions and wall paintings, all of which were written in the Aramaic language using the cursive Hebrew script common at the time.

Moshe Tur-Paz, head of the Education Administration at the Jerusalem Municipality, said that the “archaeological and historical site that was exposed is of tremendous value to our identity as a Jewish people which might shine more light on the lives of our ancestors in the city of Jerusalem. We will maintain contact with the Israel Antiquities Authority and together we will examine how we can give educational and symbolic expression to the discovery that was found.”

Royee Greenwald and Alexander Wiegmann, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, added:

“There is no doubt that this is a very significant discovery Such a concentration of inscriptions and symbols from the Second Temple period at one archaeological site, and in such a state of preservation, is rare and unique and most intriguing.”

The Antiquities Authority quickly removed the inscriptions from the site and began a complicated preservation treatment to protect the fragile remains from damage. Following that process, experts will closely examine the inscriptions and paintings in order to determine their origin and meaning, if any.

The find will be put on display in the future, and construction of the new preschool will soon resume.

 

Hijacking the Bible for a Palestinian Gospel

Hijacking the Bible for a Palestinian Gospel

The Koran hijacked Abraham, Moses and Jesus by turning them into Muslims. Now, Palestinian Christians are doing the same. In all fairness to Mohammed, however, he never denied the Jews their unique identity.

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

 

Goliath’s Humongous Gate Found

Goliath’s Humongous Gate Found

An expedition from the Bar Ilan University has discovered the fortifications and giant-sized entrance gate of the biblical city of Gath of the Philistines, home of Goliath. The extraordinary size of the gate was surely enough to make way for the famed giant, though he never did return from meeting David.

Gath was the largest city in Israel during the 10th-9th century BCE, about the time of the "United Kingdom" of Israel. The city is located in the Judean foothills about halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon in central Israel.

Prof. Meir Ettinger of the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology says that the city gate is among the largest ever found in Israel and is evidence of the status and influence of the city of Gath during this period.

Among the various building discovered in the city is an iron production facility large enough to produce the kind of weapons used by Goliath as mentioned in the Bible. The city was eventually conquered and destroyed by Hazael, king of Damascus, around 830 BCE.

The gate of the Philistine city Gath was so impressive that it received mention in I Samuel 21 in the story of David's escape from King Saul to Achish, king of Gath.

Gath is one of the largest tells or ancient ruin mounds in Israel and was settled almost continuously from the 5th millennium BCE until modern times.

Among other significant findings at the site is evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE connected to the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos 1:1. There was also found the earliest Philistine inscription ever to be discovered which contains two names similar to the name Goliath. In addition, a large assortment of weapons used by the Philistines were uncovered along with extensive evidence of the capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, as mentioned in 2 Kings 12:18. There is also evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan around 1200 BCE.

And there is more to this giant story…

Scripture tells us that David chose five smooth stones when he went out to meet Goliath (I Samuel 17:40). Was he thinking that he might miss with the first? Or did he think that Goliath would wait for him if he did?

We know that Goliath had four giant brothers called “Lords of the Philistines” in Joshua 13:3. When David goes out to meet the humongous warrior of Gath he knows that he will also need to deal with his oversized brothers. Indeed, the other four Philistine giants eventually do show up in II Samuel 21:22 only to be defeated by David and his men.

David understood that in order to achieve full victory, Israel must cast out all the giants from the land. You cannot deal with just one stronghold (or sin), but must be prepared to go all the way. Better not to cast that first stone only to discover we are in a battle for which we are not prepared.

 

Christian Attacked by Muslims on Temple Mount

Christian Attacked by Muslims on Temple Mount

A Christian tourist from France was assaulted by Muslims atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Tuesday after waving an Israeli flag at Judaism’s holiest site.

Video footage of the incident showed the Christian man being mobbed by at least four assailants who beat him about the head with stones. His life was likely saved by Israeli police forcibly intervening and escorting the bloodied tourist from site.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and reported to be in stable condition. He now faces charges for disrupting public order. Jews and Christians are forbidden to express their faith in any way, shape or form while visiting the Temple Mount for fear of violent Muslim backlash, just as happened on Tuesday.

Four assailants, including a member of the Islamic Trust that oversees the Temple Mount, were arrested for taking part in the attack on a Christian visitor.

A day later, local Muslim and Arab Christian leaders signed a document asserting that the Jews had no religious or historical connection to the Temple Mount, and therefore should not be permitted to visit the holy site.

The Temple Mount is “purely and exclusively sacred to Muslims,” declared former Jerusalem mufti Sheikh Ekrima Sabri at a press conference presenting the “Blessed Aksa Mosque Document.”

Many local Arab Christian leaders have gone along with and even supported such claims by their Muslim counterparts, despite the fact that the New Testament is full of descriptions of the Temple Mount as a site most holy to the Jewish people, including Yeshua (Jesus) himself (John 2:15–16).

 

Support Israel's Children

Support Israel's Children

Recently, after a lengthy debate and administrative process, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has implemented its proposed reductions to child support payments.

The new ruling is a blow to big families - individual child grants, paid to families with children under the age of 18, have been significantly reduced. The rationale behind the cuts is a drive to encourage parents to work - all very well in theory, but employment is scarce in many areas in Israel, and women in their childbearing years, with young ones at home to take care of, are not usually in a position to take on responsible work with high earnings.

A month of Jewish holidays, and high back-to-school expenses, both loom ahead. Child poverty rates have risen alarmingly in the recent past - something a God-fearing nation cannot allow. Israel Today is committed to alleviate child poverty in Israel.

Click here to donate $29 and you can make an invaluable contribution to a cause close to the heart of God.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

 

Miracles Depend on Our Faith

Miracles Depend on Our Faith

Israel Today's financial director recounts her recent involvement in a Tel Aviv women's support group that taught her we must make ourselves available as conduits for the miraculous.

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

 

Palestinian Analyst: Gazans Would Welcome Israel Back

Palestinian Analyst: Gazans Would Welcome Israel Back

The following is a guest post by a leading Palestinian analyst and commentator. 

The following are partial counts of building materials that entered Gaza as of July 6, 2015 for the purpose of reconstruction after the devastation of the latest war:

  • 3,281 trucks carrying 131,240 tons of cement;

  • 353 trucks carrying 12,355 tons of steel;

  • 3,380 trucks carrying 135,200 tons of gravel;

  • 276 trucks carrying 11,040 tons of cement for the Qatari projects;

  • 19,628 trucks carrying 785,120 tons of gravel for the Qatari projects.

It is clear from these counts that the Gaza regime was able to coordinate and obtain the approval of the Israeli side to allow into Gaza 142,280 tons of cement through the Karm Abu-Salem passage in order to facilitate the projects for the reconstruction of Gaza.

It is well known that the Gaza Strip experienced in the last few days the movement of large quantities of cement that drew much attention, but after checking as to who is receiving these large quantities of cement, it became clear that these shipments went to storage facilities of merchants who work under the influence of Hamas.

As of this writing, not a single person of those who need these supplies have received any, and Gazans began wondering about Hamas’ intentions regarding these large quantities of cement.  

There is speculation that no one can even get one bag of cement because they are all going to Hamas for the building of bunkers and death tunnels.  It is well-known in Gaza that Hamas is getting ready for another confrontation with the IDF, so we wait for more devastation, more victims, and more deaths.

When we interviewed some of those whose homes were destroyed in last year’s war, their answers were very revealing:

  • One person when asked about his hope for his home to be rebuilt and how long it might take, said, "Hamas brought us war and we said ok.  We were threatened that we would be dealt with as collaborators if we evacuated our homes, so we didn't evacuate, and our homes came crashing on our heads.  It is only by God's mercy that we were not killed, and we said ok.  But we reached a point where we have to buy building materials on the black market at extremely high prices while Hamas leaders and members enjoy a comfortable life and have their homes rebuilt without having to account to anyone.  This is the ultimate shame brought by what the so-called resistance that brings more destruction.  So I dream today of a civil administration that I can provide a better life for my sons."

  • Another man said, "we were proud that [Hamas] provided us protection during the war, but the tragedy is that this protection came at a high price: the confiscation and destruction of our homes. Today they enjoy a comfortable life while we suffer with nobody caring about us. We are still waiting on the promises of [the Palestinian Authority] and Hamas, but it is becoming clear that they all lie, so today we only wait for God's mercy", and he broke down crying from the pain of missing his son and his destroyed home that is no longer safe to live in.

Gaza residents are divided into two groups: citizens who do not have ration cards and who get no benefits from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and immigrants who have ration cards and enjoy the relief agency services.  As far as UNRWA is concerned, its main focus is to rebuild the destroyed homes for the immigrants, and after that maybe look into helping the citizens.

We talked to someone who does not hold a ration card and he said:

"I wish my grandfather had migrated from Gaza and then came back so I could get a ration card.  We did not know that the day would come when this card would mean everything to us.  It is just cruel that my neighbor receives thousands of dollars to buy cement to rebuild his house while I wait on the mercy of the government of hypocrisy (he means the Palestinian 'unity' government).  For me to rebuild my destroyed home I have to borrow money, and the lender would have to wait to get paid since we only get little money from the government.  Sadly it is not possible to find someone who would lend me the money."

Local Gazans are also concerned over UNRWA’s difficult financial situation.  We must wonder if the agency will be forced to cancel an academic year, which would not save much money and would likely not help much in rebuilding our destroyed homes.

Another citizen complained about the failure of UNRWA to effectively rebuild what the war has destroyed.  He said:

“The agency's employees in Gaza first take care of Hamas and its members while throwing in our faces its financial crisis to avoid fulfilling its responsibilities toward us. They just give us food and medicine and that is the best we can get from it.”

If you walk around in Gaza to gauge the true meaning of corruption, you will find it at the government in Gaza.  Unfortunately, UNRWA remains silent and avoids confronting Hamas about its corruption and its excesses both in regard to reconstruction and other matters.

As a result, the residents of Gaza do not trust anyone to solve Gaza’s problems, especially with regard to reconstruction and electricity.  The phrase most often heard among the residents of Gaza is: "we wish the Israeli Civil Administration would return."

 

Muslims Rebuild Synagogue, Embrace Jews

Muslims Rebuild Synagogue, Embrace Jews

Abdullah Demirbas (pictured), former Mayor of the Old City of Diyarbakir, a large and important city on the banks of the Tigris river, is restoring a local synagogue that served the Jewish population before they were expelled by the Turks.

“This area in Turkey belongs to the Jews,” said Demirbas at a recent meeting in Jerusalem. “It is their land and our responsibility to make sure that they are recognized and honored here in our city.”

Demirbas is a Muslim. He believes that by restoring their synagogue he can heal some of the wounds caused when Jews fled his country. He came to Jerusalem to discuss with Kurdish Jews his plans to restore their ancient house of worship. There are over 100,000 Turkish Jews living in Israel. Most of them settled in Jerusalem.

“It has always been my dream to come to Israel,” Demirbas told the group of Messianic Jews and Christian who had gathered in Jerusalem to listen to his plans to build the synagogue. Clearly moved by the unity he saw between Arab and Jewish believers in Israel he said that this was the kind of "Shalom" he wanted to see in his own country and throughout the Middle East.

In addition to building the synagogue, Demirbas is also reaching out to Christians.

The mayor was the first Turkish official to obtain a permit from the Muslim government to build a church in his town. He has been personally instrumental in the reconstruction of six Armenian and Assyrian churches in Diyarbakir.

Demirbas then inspired the local Muslims to rebuild the churches and support the same Christian groups they had formerly persecuted. “These are not only buildings I want to build. This is about learning to respect one another and learning to live together. God created us to live together,” he said.

Demirabas may dream of peace in the Middle East, but because of his bold stand he has received numerous death threats and assassination attempts on his life. He is not afraid to publicly challenge Muslim hatred and aggression towards Jews and Christians. But most Muslims are angered by efforts to live in peace with Jews and Christians, particularly since the Koran teaches that “if a Jew or Christian do not agree that Muhammad is the only prophet of God they should be treated as infidels and you should declare war on them.”

To make matters worse, Demirbas has also been a staunch defender of women’s rights in a country where women are regularly mistreated, demeaned and publicly humiliated. His activities supporting women have stirred anger among Muslims who believe that Allah wants them to “beat your wives.”

Demirbas, who is considered among Turkey’s “most undesirable persons,” was imprisoned for showing respect to Jews, Christians and other religious groups. But the people love him and elected Demirbas mayor of his city from his jail cell!

Before getting involved in politics, Demirbas rose to prominence as a philosophy teacher and educational leader in the region for 29 years. He now serves as a leading member of the People's Democratic Party that recently won 80 seats in Turkish parliamentary elections.

With President Erdogan at the helm of the government, Turkey will most likely continue the systematic process of Islamization, meaning more persecution of Christians and what can only be described as anti-Semitic hatred towards Israel. But Mayor Demirbas and his People’s Democratic Party (HDP) now present a serious challenge to Erdogan and these recent elections could be the beginning of a gradual reversal of the Islamization of Turkey’s 75 million people.

 

Arabs Firebomb Jewish Motorists in Jerusalem

Arabs Firebomb Jewish Motorists in Jerusalem

A 27-year-old Israeli woman suffered moderate injuries with first and second-degree burns over 20 percent of her body after she and her husband were firebombed while driving in northern Jerusalem on Monday.

The attack occurred at a junction between the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina (Arab) and Pisgat Ze’ev (Jewish).

The woman’s husband was uninjured in the attack. But a passerby who tried to offer assistance suffered smoke inhalation, and a pedestrian was lightly injured after being hit by the couple’s vehicle as it went up in flames.

The injured woman was said to be in stable condition at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

Police forces quickly secured the junction and set up roadblocks in an effort to apprehend the perpetrators. Authorities also ejected a group of Arab youth who had gathered to watch the targeted car burn.

Stoning and firebomb attacks against Jewish motorists have become routine at this particular junction, as well as at other locations on the eastern side of Israel’s capital.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in the wake of Monday’s attack that “every stone and firebomb thrown is an act of terrorism. We will not surrender to terror.”

 

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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)

 

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