Israel goes on the alert on her Sinai border

Israel goes on the alert on her Sinai border

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

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

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

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

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

 

Demonstration of True Reconciliation Between Jews, Arabs, Turks

Demonstration of True Reconciliation Between Jews, Arabs, Turks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turkish Christians apologise for Armenian genocide

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

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

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

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

Call to focus on the wheat

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

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

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

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

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

 

United Church of Christ urges boycott of Israeli companies

United Church of Christ urges boycott of Israeli companies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Israel Sees Boycotts as Existential Threat

Israel Sees Boycotts as Existential Threat

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

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

 

Palestinians Uninterested in Support From Gays

Palestinians Uninterested in Support From Gays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jewish, Arab, Iranian Believers Prove Peace is Possible

Jewish, Arab, Iranian Believers Prove Peace is Possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Happy 239th Birthday America!!

Happy 239th Birthday America!!

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Anti Gaza blockade flotilla ends with a whimper

Anti Gaza blockade flotilla ends with a whimper

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Terror attacks increase during Ramadan

Terror attacks increase during Ramadan

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

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

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

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

 

The PLO's Ten Point Plan is Alive and Well

The PLO's Ten Point Plan is Alive and Well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Christian events in Jerusalem only if city's rabbis approve

Christian events in Jerusalem only if city's rabbis approve

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

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

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

 

ISIS in Jerusalem

ISIS in Jerusalem

Flyers made their appearance in the North Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Thursday last week, signed by the "ISIS in Palestine" organization, with threats against Arab Christians of the area. Christians are threatened with slaughter if they do not evacuate the area by Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan. The flyer went on to say that one month is enough time and warning for Christians to flee the area to avoid a massacre.

The news of the flyers spread quickly amongst the Arabs in Israel on social networks. Some expressing doubts at the authenticity of the flyers while others took the warning seriously. There are groups of Arabs, both christian and Muslim, that either do or don't believe that there is an active branch of ISIS in Jerusalem. One local Arab, on condition of anonymity, said to Israel Today that, "it may simply be an attempt to intimidate local Christians. I do not fear. We are here in Israel, I do not think that Israel will allow that," he added.

That there are supporters of the brutal terrorist group among Israeli and Palestinian Muslims, has long been known. Just recently a family with three children, including the youngest only 18 months old, from Sakhnin in the north left the country to join ISIS in Syria. There have been other instances of Israeli Arabs that have joined ISIS in Syria and some have been killed in skirmishes there.

In Gaza there have been regular clashes between ISIS supported Salafists and Hamas. The latest rockets that have been fired into Israel from Gaza are believed to have been the work of this group. Observers believe that this was one of the stimuli for Hamas to engage in talks with Israel. Read more about the secret ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas in the current issue of Israel Today Magazine!

 

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UN Human Rights is NOT Watching

UN Human Rights is NOT Watching

This week’s publication of the UN Human Rights Watch report on last year’s Gaza war made the expected splash.

Reporting on the findings of this “independent commission of inquiry,” most Israeli journalists and specialists concluded that it wasn’t as bad as the 2009 Goldstone Report that had likewise accused Israel of war crimes. They also complained about equating Israel with Hamas and about predetermined conclusions, but none of what I heard in the Israeli media touched on the amateurish and deeply biased nature of the report, which can now be used as evidence in courts of law.

The report refers to the “State of Palestine” time and again, even though no such state exists. Hamas is never referred to as terror organization, despite the fact that the US, EU, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand formally regard at least the military wing of Hamas as a terror group. The report doesn’t even use terms like “insurgents” or “militants,” but rather “Palestinian armed groups.” By choosing this term the commission is effectively recognizing Hamas as legitimate.

Denied the cooperation of both Israel and Egypt, the commission based its report on 500 written submission from unspecified sources. The commission also “obtained first-hand testimony by means of interviews conducted via Skype, videoconference and telephone.” In other words, the commission collected unverified testimonies from people whose reliability can’t be verified.

When the report does speak of Hamas war crimes, it does so reluctantly, as if these were the unintentional results of primitive ammunition. “The use of rockets in the possession of Palestinian armed groups,” says the report, was “indiscriminate in nature,” which is why hits on civilian areas “may amount to a war crime.” The report also makes it very clear that “the majority of projectiles fired by Palestinian armed groups were rockets without guidance systems so they could not be directed at specific military objectives.”

Though there is abundant verified evidence that Hamas used schools, hospitals, mosques and residential houses for military purposes, the report excuses Hamas by saying that “the obligation to avoid locating military objectives within densely populated areas is not absolute. The small size of Gaza and its population density make it difficult for armed groups to always comply with this requirement.”

This is probably why whenever there is an indication of a Hamas war crime, it is framed as allegation. So, for example, the commission can’t verify if a building hit by Israel was used for military purposes.

The report concludes that the use of civilian facilities for military purposes amounts to allegation: “Palestinian armed groups allegedly often operated from densely populated neighbourhoods, including by firing rockets, mortars and other weapons from built-up areas. In addition, they were alleged to have frequently placed command and control centres [sic] and firing positions in residential buildings and to have stockpiled weapons and located tunnel entrances in prima facie civilian buildings.”

The commission could have easily verified these “allegations” simply by watching YouTube.

When it comes to Israel, however, the report avoids the qualifying label “allegation,” thus giving the impression that, unlike alleged Hamas war crimes, Israeli war crimes are very real. It even suggests that Israel targeted civilians intentionally.

“The large number of targeted attacks against residential buildings,” says the report, “raise concern that the strikes” were “approved at least tacitly by decision-makers at the highest levels of the Government of Israel.” In lieu of the lack of evidence, the report resorts to psychology and the subconscious.

There is much more to say about this unworthy report, including the absence of a proper definition of proportionality, and the insinuations throughout that Hamas’ violence should be blamed on “occupation.” Ultimately, the report was noting more than one more political tool in the global war to delegitimize Israel.

 

BLOG: Jerusalem Hills under Threat

BLOG: Jerusalem Hills under Threat

On the slopes of the hills surrounding Jerusalem blooms a forest, the Jerusalem forest. Again and again, this unique habitat, the hills and the forest, are threatened. The latest threat comes from eight projects comprising 25,000 new housing units. The housing project is planned for the hills west of Jerusalem. A new highway would also lead through a now forested area. According to information from the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) provided on their website, the SPNI is currently taking action to stop the projects and the environmental damage they would cause. They cooperate with local municipalities, regional councils and other environmental organizations like the Jewish National Fund, Green Course and Life and Environment.

The Jerusalem forest covers parts of the south-western Jerusalem hills. The Jerusalem forest was planted in the late 1950s by the Jewish National Fund, financed by private donors. The very first tree was planted in 1956 by the second President of Israel, Itzhak Ben Zvi. The forest consists mostly of pine and cypress trees as well as oak, terebinth, carob, olive, fig and pomegranate trees. At its largest, the forest extended over about 4 square kilometers. Due to urban expansion it has shrunk and today covers about 1.2 square kilometers.

The western hills of Jerusalem have a great value for the environment. One can hear birds singing, insects buzzing, and small animals rustling through the leaves. But the hills not only constitutes a habitat for a variety of animals, trees and plants, it is also the “green lung” of Jerusalem. The plants and trees clean the air of the crowded city, there are a plenty of hiking tracks through the forest that allow the residents to enjoy the views and recreational areas. The hills of the Jerusalem Forest also have a historical significance as remains of ancient farming implements, burial caves, winepresses and cisterns are also dotted throughout the area.

According to the SPNI the proposed projects would encompass 18,000 dunams in the hills. Some of the area has recently been designated as nature reserves.

This was 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".

 

VIDEO: The road from Jericho to Jerusalem

VIDEO: The road from Jericho to Jerusalem

The road from Jericho to Jerusalem was the scene of various biblical events. From David's escape from the clutches of his son Absalom, to the story of the "Good Samaritan" and even trips that Jesus made including one when he healed the blind man Bartimaeus.

Watch the biblical accounts come to life with this docu-video including intriguing drone footage.

 

'Anti-Semitism Infects Mostly Democracies'

'Anti-Semitism Infects Mostly Democracies'

No fewer than 150 million Europeans believe that Israel is an apartheid state, and many even equate the Israeli government with the Nazi regime. This worrying data regarding a rise in anti-Semitism was recently debated at the Knesset’s Immigration and Diaspora Committee together with foreign ambassadors.

“It’s not just about anti-Semitism, but a Jew-phobia with the intention of demonizing Israel,” explained renowned author and educator Prof. Gustavo Daniel Perednik. “Foreign governments, which claim to fight anti-Semitism in their countries, are actually partners in a blood libel against Israel.”

American activist and former head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, noted that as delegitimization of Israel escalates, those who are identified with the Jewish state come under attack. “Israel must constantly grapple with hostility, which aims to destroy its right to exist,” Foxman told the Knesset.

The phenomenon is growing on university campuses, even as traditionally supportive Protestant churches start to join the anti-Israel boycott and the Obama Administration threatens to stop backing Israel at the UN.

The deputies of both the German and British embassies in Tel Aviv, Monika Iversen and Rob Dixon, respectively, both told the committee that the situation was no better in their countries, where a significant rise in anti-Semitism was registered over the past two years.

Dutch Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp concurred, and stressed that his country rejects any boycotts of the Jewish state.

Gidon Bachar, head of the department charged with fighting anti-Semitism in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, noted with interest that anti-Semitism was most pronounced in democratic countries. “Political statements promising to combat anti-Semitism are important, but without enforcement by the government nothing will change,” Bachar insisted. “We have to intervene, because the Jewish communities in Europe have lost confidence in the European governments.”

 

Launcher Used to Attack Israel destroyed by IAF

Launcher Used to Attack Israel destroyed by IAF

Another rocket was launched at Israel at about 10pm Tuesday night landing in an open area near Askelon. IAF struck the launcher, destroying it, within a couple of hours.

Politicians and council heads across the spectrum condemned the ongoing "trickle" of rocket fire at Israel's southern communities. An IDF spokesperson said that Israel considers the Hamas terrorist group responsible for any rocket attacks from Gaza. Hamas has been attempting to curb the latest firing of rockets into Israel claiming that the current rockets are "against the interests of the Palestinian people."

This follows an irregular firing of rockets at Israel claimed by the Salafist "Omar Brigades" group in the Gaza Strip who are sympathetic to the Islamic State group. A senior Salafist leader in Gaza said his people could not tolerate the reality of Hamas persecuting, arresting, and killing them. He added that the militants intended to continue firing rockets at Israeli targets, but claimed the intention was to trigger a civil war with Hamas and not to drag the Palestinians into another conflict with Israel.

 

Druze lynch two wounded Syrians on Israel's Golan Heights

Druze lynch two wounded Syrians on Israel's Golan Heights

The Druze in the Israeli Golan Heights have a problem with Israel's treatment of Syrian wounded in Israeli hospitals. Overnight Tuesday, about 150 Druze ambushed an Israeli Defense Forces ambulance on its way to hospital from the Syrian border and beat one of the two wounded Syrians to death. Two soldiers, one of them a doctor, in the ambulance were also injured. The Druze position is that the opposition to Assad's army their Druze brothers in Syria are rebels and not civilians. Israel has decided to beef up their security around Syrian wounded in northern hospitals. Syrian television praised the lynching of the Syrian rebels in Israel stating, "This is a heroic deed. These two terrorists died after heroes attacked the Zionist ambulance on the occupied Golan."

An Israeli Druze from Majdal Shams said in an interview to Israel Radio, "We must kill all Syrian wounded in Israel. They murder our family members in Syria. These people deserve no treatment in Israel. Israel's government must understand that we will not sit still. We will avenge our families in Syria."

An IDF spokesperson stressed time and again that those being treated are Syrian citizens and Israel does this out of consideration for the Syrian civilians. Over a year ago Israel Today met with four Syrian casualties in Ziv Hospital. Although not admitting that they were rebels, this was made clear to us by the types of wounds and "reading between the lines."

According to the Israeli commentator Ron Ben-Yishai, the Israeli Druze on the Golan Heights have been trying to implicate Israel in an undesired war with Syria. "For a long time the Druze have been spreading the rumor that Israel supports the Syrian rebels and especially the Islamist terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra in the eastern sector of ​​the Golan heights for tactical reasons. This guarantee to Israel border calm and fight Assad Sold types and the Hezbollah. According to the Druze, Israel not only treats wounded rebels, but supplies these rebels with weapons. "This has nothing to do with the truth," and according to Ben-Yishai Israel helps the Syrian injured only on humanitarian grounds.

Israel is currently in a dilemma, whether to save the lives of about 500,000 Syrian Druze in an emergency, when the Syrian rebels attack. So far, the Druze have rejected an escape to Israel and Lebanon from Syria. The problem is that the Druze are connected in Syria as a minority and support the Assad government, which belongs to the Alawite minority in Syria and are backed by Hezbollah and Iran. The Druze are therefor supportive of Assad and are connected with Iran and the Shiites.

Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed the rising tensions in Israel's northern Druze communities on Tuesday morning saying, "that authorities wound capture those responsible for the lynch mob that attacked an IDF ambulance on Monday night. We are a State of laws," said Netanyahu. "We are not part of the anarchy that's spreading around us. We won't let anyone take the law into their hands; we won't let anyone interfere in the missions of IDF soldiers."

UPDATE: Ten Druze suspects were arrested in connection with the lynch after raids on Golan Druze villages by Israel Police overnight Tuesday.

 

Cause for Concern: Israel's Rigorous Compliance With International Law

Cause for Concern: Israel's Rigorous Compliance With International Law

“Our overall findings are that during Operation Protective Edge last summer … Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.”

That was the conclusion reached by the High Level International Military Group report submitted last week to the UN Human Rights Council. According to the report, this inquiry was unprecedented, and so was the access granted to IDF personal and information.

This group, made up of former chiefs of staff, generals and senior officers from the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, among others, was intently focused on one of the most pressing issues surrounding modern armed conflict: “How civilian lives can be protected and military forces can fight effectively … in a densely packed civilian area.”

This challenge haunts not only Israel, but all Western democracies. Today, these nations face asymmetric armed conflicts where armies no longer fight armies, but must rather contend with paramilitary organizations that exploit international laws of war for their advantage. This yet unresolved challenge is a cause of severe headache for many statesmen and generals.

Contrary to the anti-Israel rhyme heard all over the world, these 11 experts appeared to be concerned that Israel was in fact going “beyond the required legal principles of proportionality.”

Though not saying so explicitly, they feared that Israel’s extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties represented too high a standard, and would therefore hinder effective military action.

Rather than condemn Israel for alleged war crimes, this group seemed to be saying quite the opposite. Because of its fear of condemnation, Israel becomes an example of ineffective military operations that can have dire consequences not only for Israel, but for any other Western country fighting terror.

Though Israelis have long known it to be true, the conclusion that the Gaza campaign “was a legitimate war” carries extra weight coming from an independent international commission of inquiry.

It confirms the fact that “Hamas’s rocket attacks deliberately and indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilian population.”

It reiterates that “Hamas launched attacks against Israel from the heart of its own civilian communities in Gaza and positioned its munitions and military forces there also, including in schools, hospitals and mosques.”

These experts also arrived to the conclusion that “in general Israeli forces acted proportionately as required by the laws of armed conflict and often went beyond the required legal principles of proportionality, necessity and discrimination.”

And finally, just like the Israelis, this fact-finding commission is also concerned that “the measures taken [to avoid civilian casualties] were often far in excess of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. They sometimes placed Israeli lives at risk. To an extent these steps also undermined the effectiveness of the IDF’s operations by pausing military action and thus allowing Hamas to re-group and replenish.”

This report is a ray of light trying to penetrate the thick prejudice encapsulating the UN. Based on past experience, however, it is unlikely that such reports will make so much as a dent in the world’s blatantly anti-Israel attitude.

 

Boycott Israel? Not in Bethlehem

Boycott Israel? Not in Bethlehem

It’s somewhat ironic that as “human rights” activists around the world push to boycott Israeli goods, in Bethlehem, which is the capital of Christian efforts to promote the BDS movement, products from the Jewish state are widely available there.

That fact was demonstrated last week by Israeli activist Kay Wilson, who during a visit to Bethlehem to spend the day with a Palestinian friend decided to browse a number of local shops.

“I saw some beautiful Palestinian shops. I saw Israeli goods sold in Palestinian supermarkets (which makes a mockery of the Boycott, Divestment [and] Sanctions),” Wilson wrote on her Facebook page.

She went on to note how Bethlehem, often propagandized as an open air prison, is a perfectly normal town, no better or worse off than most Israeli towns.

“Just like any other town, Bethlehem has wealthy neighbourhoods and poor neighbourhoods. Personally, I saw some very nice housing,” Wilson explained. “I saw that some Palestinians have cars that the rest of us can only dream of.”

Wilson’s post when viral on Facebook, and for good reason. Pro-Palestinian activists and the mainstream media that eats up their words routinely caricature Bethlehem and other Palestinian towns in a way that wholly defies reality.

And that phenomenon only puts genuine peace further out of reach. For, as Wilson correctly pointed out, “for peace to be possible, it has to be based on truth. And the truth is that there is no genocide against the Palestinians. There is no Holocaust being perpetrated by Jews.”

 

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A Palestinian Who Opposes the Boycott

A Palestinian Who Opposes the Boycott

“I’m opposed to the boycott because it only ends up harming the Palestinians themselves,” says Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid.

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

 

Priest: We'll Respond to Galilee Church Arson With Love

Priest: We'll Respond to Galilee Church Arson With Love

Abbot Gregory Collins, head of the Order of Saint Benedict in Israel, urged local Christians to respond to last week’s apparent arson attack against the Church of the Multiplication on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with love and forgiveness.

“A few nights ago we suffered a severe attack here. A fire that endangered human lives. All residents of the area – Christians, Druze, Muslims, and Jews should protest against this deed,” Collins told some 3,000 Israeli Christian demonstrators on Sunday afternoon.

However, Collins continued, “we are Christian and must react like Christians. …We will replace the terrible fire with the fire of God’s love and forgiveness.”

The protestors insisted that the Israeli government do everything to bring those responsible to justice and thereby prevent future hate crimes against Christians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend promised to do just that, noting that “the shocking arson of the church is an attack on all of us.”

The attack caused serious damage to the church. Police determined the fire was set intentionally after finding Hebrew graffiti vowing to destroy idol worshippers and discovering that the blaze had started from several different locations around the facility.

Sixteen Jewish youth were briefly arrested and brought in for questioning, but were later released due to a lack of evidence.

 

Palestinian Terrorists Kill Israeli, Stab Policeman

Palestinian Terrorists Kill Israeli, Stab Policeman

In two separate incidents over the weekend, Palestinian terrorists shot and killed an Israeli man and left a police officer with severe stab wounds.

Friday’s fatal shooting of Danny Gonen, 25, occurred in Samaria near the Jewish community of Dolev.

Gonen and a friend were in the vicinity to hike at a known natural spring. As they were driving away, a young Palestinian man flagged them down appearing to need assistance. After asking if the spring had any water in it, presumably to determine if Gonen and his friend were Jews, the Palestinian fired 10 bullets into the car from point blank range.

“You loved the Land of Israel. You also loved those who live in this land. You loved to travel. And you were murdered on a trip in the land that you loved,” wept Gonen’s mother, Devorah, at his funeral on Saturday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to bring the killer to justice, and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said he would petition to have the name of the spring changed to Ein Danny (“Danny’s Spring”).

Ariel vowed that the terrorists “who did not want to see [Jewish] hikers will soon see thousands more Jews flocking to the area.”

At the UN, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor reacted angrily to an official statement by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling on both sides to show restraint, noting that “only one side is responsible for this heinous murder.”

Prosor tried, once again, to explain to the UN chief that “these violent acts are ignited by the constant incitement by the Palestinian leadership. Instead of leading their people towards peace, these leaders are leading the whole area into instability.”

Seemingly determined to prove Prosor right, Palestinian leaders across the board either excused or celebrated the slaying of an unarmed Jewish hiker.

“We welcome the unique and heroic operation that took place near Ramallah,” said Hamas spokesman Husam Badran. “We, and with us all our people, view with the utmost respect and appreciation those pure hands who held on to the resistance and turned their fire toward the occupier.”

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a key member of the PLO and Palestinian Authority, insisted that “the Palestinian people have a legitimate right to practice resistance of every type using any means.”

The WAFA news agency controlled by the regime of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas sought to legitimize the murder by labeling Gonen a “settler,” despite the fact that he lived in the town of Lod, firmly situated in Israel-proper. Several Palestinian Authority-controlled newspapers followed suit.

In other violence, an 18-year-old Palestinian man stabbed and severely wounded an Israeli police officer outside the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning. The assailant was shot and killed either by his victim or another nearby officer. The wounded officer was reportedly on life support at a Jerusalem hospital.

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reminded the world that these weekend attacks weren’t isolated or random incidents. “We are faced with constant attempts to carry out terror attacks - unfortunately some of them succeed,” he said.

PHOTO: Scene of Sunday’s terror stabbing in Jerusalem

 

BDS: No Problem With Oppression, Only Hate Israel

BDS: No Problem With Oppression, Only Hate Israel

American journalist and Jewish activist Ami Horowitz was at it again recently, exposing the outrageous double standards of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

BDS targets Israel in the name of what it calls “human rights,” but at the same time all but ignores, and often times excuses, far greater humanitarian crises around the world.

To demonstrate that, Horowitz traveled to Ireland, which he described as “ground zero of the BDS movement.”

Like many, Horowitz doubted the commitment of these BDSers to actual human rights, suggesting that they instead were merely anti-Israel. And those he spoke to didn’t disappoint.

Pretending to be a representative/salesman for phony companies in places like Iran, Sudan and North Korea, and almost comically spilling the beans about abusive work conditions there, Horowitz met with nothing but approval from these business owners that had eagerly boycotted the Jewish state.

Watch the disturbing video below:

 

Netanyahu: Attack on Galilee Church is Attack on All Israel

Netanyahu: Attack on Galilee Church is Attack on All Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said that the shameful arson attack against the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee was not only an attack against Christians, but against all of Israel.

“The shocking arson of the church is an attack on all of us,” said Netanyahu in an official statement. “Israel’s freedom of religion is a cornerstone of our values and it is anchored in the law. We will mete out justice to those responsible for this atrocious act. We have no room for hatred and intolerance in our society.”

The attack causes serious damage to the church. Police determined the fire was set intentionally after finding Hebrew graffiti vowing to destroy idol worshippers and discovering that the blaze had started from several different locations around the facility.

Sixteen Jewish youth were briefly arrested and brought in for questioning, but were later released due to a lack of evidence.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and many more government officials were adamant that those responsible would be brought to justice. Most agreed that not only had the attack on Israeli Christians been unacceptable, but had stained the Jewish state.

“Whoever lights fire to a church is not only an idiot who lacks respect for religion — he is also a terrorist who is severely damaging the State of Israel. Law enforcement authorities should act with abundant severity toward whoever is found guilty,” wrote former Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beiteinu party chief Avigdor Lieberman.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the arson a “cowardly and vile act that I vigorously condemn. We will not allow anyone to shake the coexistence between religions and ethnic groups in Israel.”

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom called the head of the church, Father Matthias Karl, to let him know that “a hate crime like this is unbelievable and unacceptable. I apologize personally and on behalf of the state for this extremist attack.”

Religious leaders, too, were outraged. Chief Rabbi David Lau explained that “the actions taken this morning, apparently by ignorant and violent cowards, are completely at odds with the values of Judaism and humanity.”

Israel’s Army Radio spoke to a number of average Israelis who expressed similar sentiments. One of those callers was IDF Lt. (ret.) Shadi Khalloul, himself an Israel Christian, who concurred that “if in this case Jewish zealots are fingered, then, first of all, they clearly don’t represent all the Jews.”

 

Messianic Jews Help Christians Understand Shabbat

Messianic Jews Help Christians Understand Shabbat

For Christians gaining an awareness of the Hebraic foundations of their faith, there’s a lot of new and exciting elements to incorporate. Sabbath, or Shabbat, is not just another one of those elements. It is, in fact, a core tenet of the biblical religion.

After all, Shabbat was important enough to warrant a place in the 10 Commandments, forgotten though as it often is amongst that august list of moral stipulations.

A new Messianic endeavor based in Jerusalem is looking to help Christians plug in to the beauty and spiritual significance of Shabbat. The Sabbath Experience invites small groups of Christians to partake in a traditional Jewish Sabbath meal from the perspective of local believers in Yeshua (Jesus).

“We strive to bring our guests through a traditional experience that a typical Jewish family would encounter on any given Friday evening,” reads their website. “The Friday evening Sabbath Experience (Erev Shabbat) is so much more than a religious experience. It is more of an event where everyone is involved and participating.”

More information can be found at The Sabbath Experience

 

Israel vs. Hamas: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Israel vs. Hamas: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

A senior Hamas official, whose name cannot be revealed for security reasons, confirmed that talks are taking place; but he wouldn’t comment further, describing the matter as “sensitive and very delicate.”

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

 

UN Admits Hamas Rockets in its Schools, Still Condemns Israel

UN Admits Hamas Rockets in its Schools, Still Condemns Israel

For the first time a senior UN official has personally and publicly admitted that Hamas terrorists abused UN-run schools and other facilities in the Gaza Strip during last summer’s war.

“We were the ones who found the weapons caches in our facilities during inspections,” Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner-general of UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) tasked with aiding “Palestinian refugees,” told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot. “The reason that the whole world knew about it is that we told them.”

On at least three occasions during the 50-day conflict UNRWA officials discovered that its schools and other facilities in Gaza had been used by Hamas as arms depots. On all three occasions, Krähenbühl and UNRWA returned the weapons to Hamas.

“I was the only senior international official who condemned the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip at Israel,” Krähenbühl continued. “And I didn’t do that from a place where it was easy and convenient to talk like Jerusalem or Geneva, but rather from within the Gaza Strip itself. I can say of myself that I take international law very seriously, and if I know that rockets are fired intentionally at regions where there is a population that can be harmed by it - I condemn.”

While that is true, the American news site Breitbart pointed out that in making those statements last summer, Krähenbühl conspicuously failed to identify Hamas as the perpetrator of those crimes.

But the UNRWA chief has no problem directly calling out Israel over its strike on a UN-run school in the Gaza City suburb of Jabaliya (one of the locations found to be housing Hamas weapons).

“The day after the strike I visited the wounded children at the hospital, and I saw with my own eyes their parents who stood by them; what does that mean when you don’t have the ability to protect your children,” he told Yediot.

Video evidence published by the Israeli army not only showed the school being used as a depot, but Hamas terrorists actually launched missiles at Israel from the adjacent street.

Still, Krähenbühl complained that “even after we gave the IDF the locations and clarified that there are civilians there, they were still attacked by Israel, so it is my duty to condemn them.”

Despite what even the UN confirmed were Israel’s exaggerated efforts to minimize civilian casualties, according to Krähenbühl some 540 Gaza children lost their lives during the war. “That doesn’t match with the Israeli assessment that all steps were taken to reduce to a minimum the number of wounded,” he charged, sidestepping the fact that these children and others were often used as human shields, of which Hamas actually boasted.

At any rate, the interview marks the first time a senior UNRWA official had admitted what Israel has been complaining about for years: that the Palestinian terror groups abuse their own people in service to their goal of destroying Israel.

 

Blog: Lone Soldiers – thousands of miles away from home

Blog: Lone Soldiers – thousands of miles away from home

They are young, they have often just finished high school and they have their future ahead of them. Enrolling in university, getting a job, earning money or maybe traveling throughout the world. But some of the Jewish adolescents in the diaspora decide for something totally different. They travel to Israel to join the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

These persons are called lone soldiers. In general, the term “lone soldier” refers to ordinary conscripts who lack a traditional family support network within Israel like volunteers or new immigrants whose parents are abroad or Israelis without families like orphans or from “broken homes”.

According to official army statistics from December 2014, 6,191 lone soldiers were enrolled in the IDF last year. That is more than in any preceding year. Among them were 3,484 lone soldiers that grew up in another country, immigrated to Israel leaving family and friends behind to contribute their share to the Jewish state. These soldiers came from over 70 countries with a quarter of them coming from the USA followed by Russia and the Ukraine. Around half of them serve in combat units or in combat-support units. The figures regarding the share of female soldiers are surprising. Almost a third of recruits from abroad are women.

During operation “protective shield”, three lone soldiers lost their lives: Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli from the USA and Jordan Bensemhoun from France. According to Israeli media over 30,000 mourners attended the funeral of Steinberg and some 20,000 the funeral of Carmeli in last year.

But what motivates young Jews to join the IDF even though their center of life is outside Israel?

A 22 year old man from New York that serves in the IDF explained his motivations. “In the United States, I worked for a business company and earned pretty well. But after working there for a couple of years, I had the feeling that there must be something more in life, something meaningful,” he said. “As a Jew Israel was always a central part of my life.” In the first months he learned basic Hebrew before his military service started. He doesn’t regret his decision at all, “I became a different person, a stronger one.”

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

 

Persecutors of Jews Queue Up to Say Sorry!

Persecutors of Jews Queue Up to Say Sorry!

Amidst rising anti-Semitism, there appears to be a somewhat surprising parallel move towards repentance by some European nations for the many shameful actions taken against Jews over the centuries. The latest comes from Spain which, having expelled some 300,000 Jews in 1492, now appears ready to invite their descendants back!

The Sephardic Ancestry Bill, which is expected to pass through the Spanish Senate this month, aims to correct an “historic mistake” by offering citizenship to as many as 3.5 million Sephardic Jews around the world whose ancestors were forced out by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Neighbouring Portugal has in recent years passed a similar ‘Law of Return’ offering citizenship to the many Sephardic Jews they persecuted, including my own ancestors who were forced to flee to America in the 19th century. So I guess that entitles me to Portuguese citizenship!

These are welcome moves which contrast sharply with the growing hostility towards Jewish communities being demonstrated in Europe generally, not only in the desecration of synagogues and personal attacks, but in the calls for boycotts and condemnation in the political and economic sphere.

No doubt Spain has been influenced by their former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar who, in a Times article almost exactly five years ago, urged support for Israel on the basis that “if it goes down, we all go down.”

Aznar argued that the Jewish state is at the cutting edge of the battle between militant Islam and the West and concluded: “Israel is a fundamental part of the West which is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not our fate is inextricably intertwined.”

And in 2008 a Spanish newspaper is said to have published a hard-hitting article expressing similar sentiments – regretting the part Europe had played in an attempt to destroy a people who had pursued nothing but life and peace, while at the same time welcoming Muslims whose extremist ranks blew up trains and hijacked planes.

It does at least continue to demonstrate the potential power for good inherent in the printed word in a world where there is an ever-intensifying battle between truth and propaganda.

Meanwhile, a group of nearly 200 British Christians want to apologize and make amends for the way in which their government turned back Jewish refugees fleeing war-torn Europe 70 years ago, preventing tens of thousands from landing in their biblical homeland apparently because they exceeded a quota on immigration.

In doing so, Britain reneged on its own Balfour Declaration of 1917 promising to do all in its power to establish a home for the Jewish people. Shortly after making the promise, penned by Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, Britain was awarded the mandate to rule the area following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

They were thus presented with an obvious opportunity of fulfilling their pledge. But from 1938 to 1948 the British prevented more than 90 ships from landing at Haifa, according to Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell in an article for CBN News.

“I’m here to commemorate those Jews…who suffered or died as a result of the shameful policies of the British government of the day,” Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, is reported as saying.

Rosie Ross, who organized the day of repentance, said: “We turned them away and put them in camps in Cyprus and Mauritius, and some were even returned to deportation camps in Germany.”

Others were locked up in a detention camp in Atlit, south of Haifa.

Lord Simon Isaacs, speaking at the event, said the quota on immigration breached Britain’s contract with the Jewish people ratified at the treaties of San Remo (1920) and Versailles (1923). And he said there were two reasons behind their behaviour: appeasing the Arabs and a Labour government that was essentially anti-Jewish.

He hopes the British government admits its mistake in time for the 2017 centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Modern Israel was re-born in 1948 despite Britain’s obstructive tactics.

For more on the subject, read my new book, Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com and Amazon.com

PHOTO: Scene depicting the expulsion of the Jews from Spain

 

The Cost of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Cost of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The American research institute Rand Corporation has released a study showing that a two-state solution would benefit Israel to the tune of USD $120 billion over ten years, while the Palestinians would rake in USD $50 billion over the same time.

But with both sides plunging repeatedly into violent conflict, they are forfeiting the enormous sum of USD $250 billion, considering the costs of conflict in addition to the lost economic growth.

According to Rand, Israel would be even more of a money magnet than it is today following a comprehensive peace agreement, but it must first agree to the division of the Holy Land. The same is true for the Palestinians.

In the study, the Rand researchers expressed confidence that the international community would foot the bill for implementing the two-state solution.

“We hope our analysis and tools can help Israelis, Palestinians and the international community understand more clearly how present trends are evolving and recognize the costs and benefits of alternatives to the current destructive cycle of action, reaction and inaction,” said C. Ross Anthony, co-leader of the study and director of RAND’s Israeli-Palestinian Initiative.

Of course, there are also other ways forward besides a comprehensive peace agreement, such as a unilateral Israeli withdrawal coordinated with the Palestinian Authority, an Israeli withdrawal minus such coordination (much like the Gaza pullout of 2005), and Palestinian non-violent resistance against the status quo.

But in the case of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal, the Jewish state would be crushed under an almost unbearable financial burden as some 500,000 Jews are uprooted from their homes (and that’t not counting the parts of Jerusalem that the Palestinians claim).

Palestinian non-violent resistance would increase economic pressure on Israel, as can already be seen in the international boycott campaign. As a result of current efforts on that front, Israel loses about USD $80 billion, while the Palestinians are out USD $12 billion, a far larger percentage of their GDP.

At the same time, the outcome sought by the Rand researchers looks like wishful thinking.

Israel could never relinquish Jerusalem without plunging itself into an intractable political-spiritual dilemma. Religiously-minded Jews would never sell their eternal capital even for the princely sum of USD $120 billion.

And the Palestinian Authority won’t end its incitement against the Jewish state without recovering all of what it deems “occupied territory.” Nor would the Palestinians consider letting the Jews have Jerusalem in order to get their payday.

 

Israel Foreign Ministry Mocks Media Over Gaza Coverage

Israel Foreign Ministry Mocks Media Over Gaza Coverage

Israel’s Foreign Ministry this week published a YouTube video (see below) mocking the misleading coverage of last year’s Gaza war by the mainstream international media.

Repeatedly, the world’s biggest news outlets used images from other conflicts to depict the situation in Gaza, failed to put any blame for the dire conditions there on Hamas, and all but ignored terrorists using civilian population centers as cover for launching rockets at Israel.

These largely erroneous reports contributed to the predictably allegations of “war crimes” by Israel, which could soon lead to the Jewish state being dragged before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Despite overwhelming evidence of their faulty reporting (some self-acknowledged), the Foreign Press Association in Israel (FPA) was fuming on Tuesday over the Foreign Ministry’s playful video.

“Israel’s diplomatic corps wants to be taken seriously in the world. Posting misleading and poorly conceived videos on YouTube is inappropriate, unhelpful and undermines the ministry, which says it respects the foreign press and its freedom to work in Gaza,” the FPA complained in a press release.

A Foreign Ministry official said the FPA needs to lighten up.

“The film mocks many journalists with a gentle wink, too many of whom are blind to what is happening around them,” ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told Ha’aretz.

 

New jewelry from Jerusalem!

New jewelry from Jerusalem!

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This offer is valid until Tuesday June 23rd!

Browse our jewelery collection here!

 

Top World Generals: No Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

Top World Generals: No Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

Israel at the weekend published the findings of 10 of the world’s top generals who concluded that, contrary to widespread allegations, the Jewish state had not committed war crimes during last summer’s Gaza war.

The delegation, headed by Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Klaus Naumann (pictured), said in a statement that its “mission to Israel was unprecedented. We were the first such multi-national group of senior officers to visit the country. We were granted a level of access to the Israeli government and Defense Force that has not been afforded to any other group…”

After vigorously investigating the Israeli army’s conduct during the war, the group found that “Israeli forces acted proportionately as required by the laws of armed conflict and often went beyond the required legal principles of proportionality, necessity and discrimination.”

In fact, the foreign generals noted that on many occasions “the measures taken were often far in excess of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions.” For instance, Israel repeatedly put off a major military response despite escalating terrorist rocket fire. And once war had begun, the IDF routinely paused military action to spare civilians, even though doing so allowed Hamas and its allies to re-group and replenish.

Addressing the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, the generals said this was the sad, but inevitable reality of conducting war from such a densely populated area.

“We recognize that some of these deaths were caused by error and misjudgment… But we also recognize that the majority of deaths were the tragic inevitability of defending against an enemy that deliberately carries out attacks from within the civilian population,” read the findings.

Earlier this year, Israel invited two leading American legal experts, Michael Schmitt and John Merriam, to likewise probe its conduct during the 50-day conflict that devastated much of Gaza.

Both Schmitt and Merriam lecture on the law of armed conflict at the US Naval War College, and Schmitt also advises on the topic at NATO, Harvard and Exeter.

Their survey took a sympathetic, if not uncritical, look at Israel’s “siege mentality” and the various other factors that create the “specific operational and strategic environment in which the IDF must fight.”

And while Israel’s aggressiveness in some scenarios and the resulting collateral damage might be viewed by some as excessive and contentious, the authors determined that Israeli military policy and practice fell within legally acceptable boundaries.

“While there are certainly Israeli legal positions that may be contentious, we found that their approach to targeting is consistent with the law and, in many cases, worthy of emulation,” read the survey’s concluding sentence.

 

Syria: The Slowly-Sinking Titanic

Syria: The Slowly-Sinking Titanic

The conclusion for Israel is that it owes the British and French nothing regarding the artificial borders of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Likewise, the borders of the 1947 UN Partition Plan no longer exist.

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

 

My Shoe is Missing! Mossad Stole It!

My Shoe is Missing! Mossad Stole It!

The Zionists have been blamed for everything from Middle East instability to global warming to bringing down financial markets. But perhaps their most nefarious crime to date is pilfering a single shoe from their most vocal detractors.

That is if you are able to take at his word a man like Asghar Bukhari, co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and one of the more outspoken and hostile critics of the Jewish state.

In a Facebook post that epitomized the ludicrous nature of the global anti-Israel movement, Bukhari claimed that earlier this week someone broke into his home while he was sleeping and stole a single shoe.

Convinced the disappearance of his shoe was an act of psychological warfare by the Zionists, Bukhari continued: “Now think about that, the only thing they took was a single shoe - they left one shoe behind to let me know someone had been there. …Of course I cant prove anything and thats part of the intimidation.”

And he was totally serious, sparking a hilarious social media response under the banner of #MossadStoleMyShoe.

One poster warned that while Cinderella had been Mossad’s first victim, she clearly hadn’t be its last. An Israeli ambassador wrote that he had Bukhari’s shoe, and that the two needed to talk. Someone even set up a Twitter account for Asghar’s Shoe.

Through it all, Bukhari maintained his position, adamant that all the jesting was yet another conspiracy to silence his legitimate charge of theft and his concerns over being targeted by such a dangerous organization.

“Funny thing is the zionists now trying to desperately hide their game of intimidation on my Twitter feed,” he wrote.

And then everything went from funny to just plain sad when Bukhari posted the following 15-minute YouTube video rant defending himself and his outrageous claims.

ABOVE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns the world what will happen to anyone who stands against the Zionist enterprise.

 

Prophetic Dreams in Service to the New Antisemitism

Prophetic Dreams in Service to the New Antisemitism

Antisemitism can no longer be regarded as just another topic among many, a matter of personal preference, as it were. Nor is it really my shtick, but what is going on simply can’t be brushed aside.

“Never Again” was never meant to be a slogan, a catchy phrase to be rehearsed in elementary schools. It is a vow Jews have no choice but taking. My articles on this issue stem from the same principle that motivated Paul – how shall they believe if they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Hopefully the knowledge disseminated through my own articles and those of others will motivate, however little, more people toward a meaningful protest, and yes, even outrage, against the new Antisemites disguising themselves as angels of light.

Many of the new Antisemites are gathering around the “pro-Palestinian” scarecrow dressed up with bits and pieces of shabby cloths made from all kinds of “anti-fibers” (anti-colonialism, anti-Zionism etc.). These people, writes Ruth Wisse in bitter irony, find a sort of twisted relief “to have Israel on hand to represent the world’s worst criminal: occupier, racist, exploiter, warmonger, aggressor-in-chief extraordinaire!”

What is presented as a progressive agenda intended to enlighten the world is being used to destroy Israel. That’s why the new Antisemites now find themselves in need of a supernatural crutch to support what is otherwise an indefensible position. Without such a crutch, Jews and non-Jews alike who objectively explore motivations of the pro-Palestine movement begin to realize that what at first come across as lofty liberal ideals mask what is ultimately an irrational position.

Consider the article published in The Guardian, a British daily that normally has no time for promoting para-normal phenomena. This newspaper leans on the likes of Giles Fraser to provide this spiritual crutch in order to give life to the pro-Palestinian scarecrow it strives to create. In his article titled “Little wonder that my dreams in Nablus are so disturbing,” Fraser, the priest-in-charge at St Mary’s Newington in south London, is delivering the goods in the form of prophetic dreams.

On a visit to Nablus (biblical Shechem), Fraser was having a dream in which he saw something that “had the size and colour of a mouse, bulging in the middle, with legs like a spider. It scuttled across the floor and into a cardboard box, set in a confusing diagonal shadow. A ginger cat sat on the top of the box, peering down into it. Nothing happens. The cat just waits. I wake up … But dreams return. I am walking down the street with a woman, next to a large concrete wall. I can hear panicked shouts, the sound of a large number of young people on the other side. Suddenly, one of the panels of the wall rotates, like a revolving door. Through the opening I glimpse people running away from something, but the source of the panic is unclear. She goes through the concrete door. I do not. The door closes. I hear more shouting. I don’t know if I should have gone through with her. All I know is that we are separated. I wake again, sweating, confused, frightened.”

According to Fraser, “You don’t need to be Freud to figure all this out,” though he does apparently need the out-of-control liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz to confirm his claims. And without much of an effort, he finds what he needs. An article written by an Israeli journalist informs Fraser that though there aren’t separate toilets for Jews and Arabs, Israeli policy on the West Bank is nothing short of a “grand apartheid.”

For this predisposed priest, a blatant lie printed in an Israeli newspaper is an indisputable fact.

Having interpreted his dreams just the way he wanted, Fraser turns to the usual anti-Israel rant to give alleged evidences for the authenticity of the dreams he was having, not far from where Joseph had his dream “about the domination of his brothers,” for which he “was exiled into slavery” (what a neat interpretation).

Not giving in to any doubt, the Anglican priest ends his prophetic experience with the conclusion that “Joseph’s dream has become a reality,” which is another way of saying that Israeli Jews deserve exile. This new scheme of presenting “divine revelations” is now supposed to justify pro-Palestinian hate-mongers who are wishing the Jews a pleasant drowning in the Nile or a happy exile in Birkenau.

PHOTO: Giles Fraser near a portion of the Israeli security barrier.

 

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Get your discount in honor of Father's Day today!

With so many media outlets broadcasting a biased viewpoint, Israel Today helps you to fully understand events in and around israel through the eyes of local believers.

This offer lasts only until midnight Sunday June 21st!

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Jihad, the 6th Pillar of Islam

Jihad, the 6th Pillar of Islam

A study of recent Middle East history shows that today’s terrorism did not begin with the establishment of the State of Israel but in fact nearly three decades earlier, in the 1920s.

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

 

Did Netanyahu Order IDF to Strike Iran?

Did Netanyahu Order IDF to Strike Iran?

A heated debate at the recent Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York highlighted that back in 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently ordered Israel’s defense establishment to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, or to prepare to do so.

During the discussion, Post columnist Caroline Glick accused fellow panelists former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi of refusing Netanyahu’s orders during their respective tenures.

“In 2010, according to a report from 2012 on the Israeli news program Uvda, we learned that two of the gentlemen on this panel were given an order to prepare the military for an imminent strike against Iran’s military installations and they refused,” charged Glick.

The popular columnist was adamant that had Dagan and Ashkenazi gone along with Netanyahu’s policies, the region and the world would not today be facing the specter of a nuclear Iran.

Dagan responded that he had rebuffed Netanyahu “because it was an illegal order.” Earlier in the debate, he had suggested that a firm order was never given: “We were always willing to obey any legal order by the prime minister. We never refused an order.”

In a subsequent interview with Israel’s Channel 10, Dagan explained that Netanyahu had indeed told himself and Ashkenazi to prepare the IDF to strike, but had backed down after realizing that doing so would put Israel on a slippery slope toward regional war.

Also speaking at the Jerusalem Post event was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who lamented that with the Obama Administration now racing toward an ill-advised agreement with Tehran, a nuclear-armed Iran seems inevitable.

“We went through these negotiations with Iran in the earlier part of this decade, and they cheated for three years and were caught three times cheating,” Giuliani noted. “There is no reason for Iran to have peaceful use of nuclear power, they have plenty of energy. You have to be naive to think they want nuclear power for peaceful uses.”

 

Byzantine Church Found on Israel’s Highway 1

Byzantine Church Found on Israel’s Highway 1

A Byzantine church dating to the 5th century AD was discovered this month along Highway 1 connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The site is situated near the Arab village of Abu Ghosh and the Messianic moshav of Yad Hashmonah.

According to archaeologists, the church was part of a rest stop on the route between Jerusalem and the coastal region. During the excavations, a chapel featuring a white mosaic and a small baptismal in the shape of a cross (pictured) was found. Red plaster chips scattered around the floor indicated frescoed walls.

Nearby living quarters and storage facilities contained ceramic tiles, beautifully-preserved oil lamps and other objects belonging to the church.

Annette Nagar, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, noted that this was the third church that had been discovered along this ancient route, the other two being located in Kiryat Ye’arim and Emmaus.

The church was discovered quite by accident during a major construction project to expand the highly-trafficked Highway 1. It again goes to show that no matter where you dig in Israel, you are certain to come face-to-face with history.

 

Blog: Living with Down Syndrome in Israel

Blog: Living with Down Syndrome in Israel

In Israel some 140 children are born with Down Syndrome each year. In total, there are about 7,000 people with this condition in the country. This syndrome is disproportionately represented within the ultra-orthodox community due to their taboo on abortions.

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. Therefore, the syndrome is also called trisomy 21. The syndrome is characterized by cognitive impairments that can be identified as a mild to moderate intellectual disability and physical condition. The average IQ of a young adult with Down syndrome is 50 which usually leads to learning disabilities and developmental impairment. Persons with Down Syndrome are easily recognizable due to some characteristic facial features like a flattened nose, a short neck and crossed eyes.

Decades ago, physical conditions that often accompany the disease, like heart diseases or respiratory problems, caused those born with this condition to die at very young age. Thanks to improved medical treatment, the average life expectancy for those with Down’s is now 60, compared to 12 years in 1912.

Though some misconceptions remain, those born with this disease are usually accepted. But, a child born with Down Syndrome today, is often considered a burden on the family.

Yad Al HaLev (Hand On The Heart) was founded to provide support to families with Down Syndrome children. The organization supports families socially and professionally with counselling and lectures and also unites families of children with Down Syndrome. Their main aim is to support Down's children to grow up into adolescents and adults that can lead as as ordinary as possible lives.

"When you get the news that you have a Down syndrome child, a few things happen. You can't believe it, you're in total shock and denial. It's something sort of like a bomb that fell on your head,” says Liba Rozenbaum, a mother of a child with Down syndrome. “Somehow Yad Al HaLev knows how to get to families and to give them the support that they initially need and to help them cope with life's new situation."

Down syndrome patients have a hard time learning the basics of language. Yedida Levine- Sternberg, a clinical communications specialist at the Meshi Children’s Rehabilitation Center, told Jerusalem Post how children with Down's are helped in acquiring language skills. “For years, we have been using the strategy of visual stimulation. This technique allows time for exposure and repetition. Sign language turned out to be very helpful for Down’s children and the use of computer tablets is a real step forward.

In the past, a person with Down’s serving in the army would have been something unimaginable. But, due to a program organized by the IDF and various social agencies in 2008, 31 young men and women with Down's have joined the IDF. Seven of them have already completed their service and received the financial and other benefits of any discharged soldier.

This syndrome is widely accepted in israel and can be noticed in the fact that World Down Syndrome Day was established with cooperation between Israel's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Singapore Down Syndrome Association. This day is held every year on March 21st. This day has been recognized by the United Nations and was made a permanent annual world event.

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

Picture: Flash90 Archive

 

The World of Child's Play

The World of Child's Play

"We are able to go head-to-head with Disney, and we have been consistently beating them in downloads," say company execs.

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

 

Google CEO Praises Israel's Culture of Innovation

Google CEO Praises Israel's Culture of Innovation

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is in Israel this week, and had nothing but glowing praise for the Jewish state’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Israel is booming in terms of entrepreneurship because you have a culture to challenge authority and to question everything,” Schmidt told students at the Weizmann Institute on Sunday.

The Google chief said Israelis were so successful because “you’re not going by the rules.”

And that success has benefitted not only Israel, but the world. “The impact of the Israelis on science and technology is immense, so that’s why I’m here and why I’m investing here,” said the head of one of the world’s largest technology firms.

On Tuesday, Schmidt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. While he hardly needed to do so, Netanyahu reminded Schmidt of Israel’s leadership in the cyber industry, and reiterated his commitment to bolstering the growth of what has been called “the Start-Up Nation.”

Schmidt, for his part, reaffirmed Google’s commitment to investing in Israel.

PHOTO: Netanyahu and Schmidt meet at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem.

 

UK: We'll Bolster, Not Boycott Business With Israel

UK: We'll Bolster, Not Boycott Business With Israel

In a major blow to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement, UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid this week vowed that his government would be bolstering, not boycotting business ties between Britain and Israel.

“…Let me be very clear: I do not believe in boycotts, nor, I am proud to say, does my party, my prime minister or, for the most part, my country,” Javid said at the annual awards dinner for UK Israel Business, a bilateral chamber of commerce.

He went on to state that “my department… will be working hard to boost Anglo-Israeli trade and investment, and I as business secretary will do anything I can to support and promote it.”

Javid’s remarks came just days after Britain’s National Union of Students voted to boycott the Jewish state. The secretary noted that it “speaks volumes” that the student organization had chosen to target Israel, while rejecting a similar motion against ISIS.

Surprising to many, Javid, despite coming from a Muslim background, has long been an outspoken supporter of Israel. In 2013, he described the Jewish state as “the only country in the region that shares the same democratic values as Britain,” and said that were he to move to the Middle East with his family, Israel would be the only country he would consider calling home.

 

Worse Than Hamas? ISIS in Gaza

Worse Than Hamas? ISIS in Gaza

Earlier this month Hamas “police” stormed the Gaza home of Yunis Hunnar, believed to be a member of a Salafi group linked to ISIS. A Hamas spokesman later said Hunnar had carried out attacks against the ruling group in May. Nor was it the first time Hamas’ rule had been challenged by Islamists more radical than itself.

In 2006 – in tight cooperation with Hamas’ military wing – a Salafi cell called “Soldiers of Allah” kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. A year later, they repeated the move by abducting BBC correspondent Alan Johnston. In 2009, it was reported that a group of Salafists had managed to establish a caliphate in southern Gaza, sparking a bloody confrontation with Hamas that left 39 members of the Salafi group dead.

With the rise of ISIS and the establishment of a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq, the voice of Gaza-based Salafi groups has become more prominent. In January of this year, following the bloody attacks in Paris, members of various Salafi groups took to the streets of Gaza to protest against Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the prophet Muhammed. Some of them went as far as to plant bombs near the French cultural center. Although no injuries were reported, Hamas got the hint and arrested hundreds of suspected radicals.


The upcoming July 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine further explores the nascent, but growing cooperation between Israel and Hamas’ political wing. Don’t miss it - SUBSCRIBE NOW >>

On the surface, most of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents claim to support Hamas. But they are constantly exposed to the views of Salafi groups that embrace a more radical version of Islam, and offer an alternative to the corruption of Hamas.

A Gaza-based political analyst and professor at Al-Azhar University, whose name cannot be revealed for security reasons, told Israel Today that these groups have growing appeal among downtrodden Gazans.

“Rampant unemployment and extreme poverty - most Gazans live on $1.5 a day - have radicalized our society. The Salafi groups have learned to play on the religious feelings of the masses, saying that Allah is punishing the population for its sins and the only way to end the Israeli occupation [sic] is through purification and Jihad in the name of Allah,” he explained to us over the phone.

While many fall into this trap, the expert believes Hamas’ grip in Gaza remains strong. “Hamas’ position in the Strip is still unshakeable. We are talking about some 35,000 trained fighters. Still, it would only take one suicide bomber to turn Gaza into a bloodbath,” he warned.

Perhaps wary of confronting Hamas directly, some Salafi groups have taken to lobbing rockets at Israel, hoping to trigger harsh enough a reaction by the IDF to dislodge Hamas.

Still licking its wounds from last year’s costly Gaza war, Hamas vowed to punish the perpetrators, rather than praise the latest attacks on Israel.

Surprising as it sounds, the rising threat of ISIS and its affiliates might be bringing Hamas and Israel closer together.

“Indirect cooperation is definitely possible,” said our Gaza source. “While Hamas and Israel can defend themselves, they also understand the threat of groups like ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra and Al Qaeda. For now, Israel views Hamas as its enemy, but if ISIS decides to strike, Israel might want to change its stance, opting for cooperation with the rulers of Gaza.”


The upcoming July 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine further explores the nascent, but growing cooperation between Israel and Hamas’ political wing. Don’t miss it - SUBSCRIBE NOW >>

 

Israel Laments, Palestinians Celebrate US Ruling on Jerusalem

Israel Laments, Palestinians Celebrate US Ruling on Jerusalem

The US Supreme Court ruling on Monday that Americans born in Jerusalem could no longer list their country of birth as “Israel” in US passports had the Jewish state fuming, while the Palestinian Authority celebrated the decision as a justification of its narrative regarding the holy city.

The ruling invalidated a 13-year-old congressional law that stipulated Americans born in Jerusalem could list “Israel” as their country of birth. In a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court determined that Congress had overstepped its authority in enacting the law, and had encroached on the President’s power to set foreign policy.

Justice Antonin Scalia, one of those to vote against the motion, said it was a “leap worthy of the Mad Hatter” to suggest that putting “Israel” on the passports of those born in Jerusalem would prejudge the outcome of Middle East peace talks.

The Israeli government issued no formal response to the ruling, but Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat noted that “just as Washington is the capital of the US, London is the capital of England, and Paris is the capital of France, Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel – but more than that, it’s the heart and soul of the Jewish nation.”

Israeli legal expert Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner told Arutz Sheva radio that the ruling was “a real kick in the face of every Israeli citizen, that such a great friend of Israel’s does not recognize its rights.”

But more than that, Darshan-Leitner warned that the Supreme Court had handed the White House and State Department a major victory in the battle over who sets the foreign policies of the United States.

While the overwhelming majority of Americans and their representatives in Congress are supportive of the Jewish state, the White House and State Department are typically seen as being much less so. Giving full authority over foreign relations to the administrative branch without allowing for checks and balances by the legislative could spell trouble for Israel.

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian Authority was thrilled with the ruling.

“The decision sends a clear message that Israel is an occupying power in East al-Quds (eastern Jerusalem), the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” said Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

 

UNITE AGAINST THE WORLD-WIDE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL!

UNITE AGAINST THE WORLD-WIDE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL!

Now after the Arab boycott of Israel, the West is also getting on the band-wagon against Israel.

Don't fall for BDS! Buy "Blue & White"!

Stand together with Israel & the Jewish people and show your solidarity.

 

(American) Pharaoh Pays Out Big Bucks to Egyptian Jew

(American) Pharaoh Pays Out Big Bucks to Egyptian Jew

American Pharaoh, a race horse owned by Egyptian-born Ahmed Zayat, became the first thoroughbred to capture the coveted Triple Crown in nearly four decades. Sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes for the first time since 1978, Pharaoh paid out big time for his Orthodox Jewish owner.

The win was something of a miracle for Zayat, an Orthodox Jew who grew up in a neighborhood outside of Cairo. Egypt expelled its entire Jewish population in the 1950’s following the establishment of the State of Israel. The Egyptians confiscated all Jewish-owned property and reduced the Jewish population from a thriving community of more than 80,000 in 1948 to just 20 persons in 2014.

But the Zayat family not only survived the afflictions of modern Egypt, somehow they thrived. Zayat’s father was appointed as personal physician to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the family prospered while living in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Cairo.

As a young teenager, Ahmed Zayat, who always had a love for horses, won numerous national show jumping championships in Egypt – but instead of the traditional Arabic keffiyeh, Zayat rides wearing a yarmulke!

Today, Zayat owns 144 horses, and prior to American Pharaoh’s historic victories over the past weeks, he had watched his thoroughbreds suffer bitter defeat, coming in second in the Kentucky Derby three out of the last four years. In 2012, his horses finished second in each of the three Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharaoh has become one the biggest forces in horse racing history and is now said to be worth untold millions. Pharaoh may have had some Jewish mazal, or good fortune, working for him. It has been reported that the non-Jewish jockey who rode American Pharaoh to the celebrated Triple Crown victories visited the Lubavitcher rebbe’s grave to pray and ask for good luck.

So what is it like for an Orthodox Jewish family and friends to gather around the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Derby? “There is no conflict,” Mrs. Zayat said. “Most of our big races are on Saturdays, so we walk to the track. Shabbat is still Shabbat.”

Who would have imagined that an Orthodox Jewish family from Egypt would raise what has become the most prized race horse in modern times. I mean, after reading the Bible, who would have even thought to place a bet on Pharaoh? Go figure.

 

Embassy of Good Will

Embassy of Good Will

Israel Today met with the head of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), Jürgen Bühler, to discuss his vision for a new Reformation on the scale of that led by Martin Luther.

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

 

Report: Israel Plans to Evacuate 1 Million Lebanese

Report: Israel Plans to Evacuate 1 Million Lebanese

Israel last week wrapped up nation-wide preparations for a future multi-front war that on the surface appeared to focus on how to protect the local population from the increasing capabilities of Israel’s foes.

But senior military officials said offensive exercises were also held in order to hash out the complex situation wherein Israel’s most dangerous enemies make widespread use of human shields.

This is particularly true in Gaza and southern Lebanon, where Hamas and Hezbollah, respectively, dig tunnels and bunkers under civilian population centers, and even store missiles in family homes.

Recent reports suggested that Israel’s retaliatory actions in the event of a future war with Hezbollah would result in thousands of civilian casualties. But military officials who spoke to The Jerusalem Post said Israel would do everything possible to avoid such a scenario, including the mass evacuation of southern Lebanon’s civilian population.

“If we have no choice, we have to evacuate 1 million, 1.5 million residents in Lebanon, and act,” one official told the newspaper. Doing so would free up the IDF to hit thousands of Hezbollah targets and cripple the military capabilities of the Lebanese terrorist militia.

Many in Israel don’t expect Hezbollah to start trouble any time soon given its entanglement in the ongoing Syrian civil war. But IDF officials note that Hezbollah is suffering some serious blows in Syria, and is in something of a panic mode. If that is true, the Hezbollah leadership, which cares little for the collateral damage its actions bring upon Lebanon, might very well provoke a war with Israel in order to again bolster its own image in the Muslim world.

Israel Today recently spoke to Israeli experts about the inevitability of another war with Hezbollah and what such a conflict would look like for both sides.

 

Millions Watch Testimony of Jewish Believer in Yeshua

Millions Watch Testimony of Jewish Believer in Yeshua

An online evangelism effort by local Israeli Messianic Jews has become something of an Internet sensation over the past month after the video testimony of an Jewish man who came to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) went viral.

Mottel Baleston’s was just one of the latest in a series of video testimonies titled “I Met Messiah” produced by the Israeli Messianic group One For Israel in cooperation with Chosen People Ministries.

But Baleston’s testimony apparently touched a nerve, and by the first week of June well over five million people had viewed the brief video explanation of how he had many years earlier come to faith as a young man in Brooklyn.

Growing up, Baleeston was acquainted with a large number of Italian Catholics, leading him to believe that Jesus must be Italian. In the video he explains how “the understanding that [Yeshua is] actually Jewish was a shock. And then to hear that the New Testament was written by Jews, I couldn’t believe it. …when I open it, I’m reading a story written by Jews about Jewish people.”

What followed as a natural progression for a young man seeking spiritual truth. “As I came to faith that Yeshua - that Jesus was the Messiah, it was clear that that was the most Jewish thing I could do,” he recalled. “This is the One who was promised in our Bible.”

The most tear-jerking part of the testimony is when Baleston recounts convincing his father to attend a lecture by an author he knew to be a believer. Baleston was happily stunned when both he and his father raised their hands when asked by the speaker for all Jewish believers in Yeshua to identify themselves.

One For Israel director Eitan Bar told Israel Today that Baleston’s testimony had opened a lot of doors. By press time, it had been shared over 175,000 times on Facebook and had a “reach” (number of personal profiles on which it was viewed) of well over 15 million on the largest social network.

“It sparked discussions among many Jewish groups,” said Bar. “I myself got into discussions with Orthodox Jewish Rabbis from the USA and France about Yeshua!”

Bar concluded that he felt “like we are changing the direction of Jewish evangelism. After 1,900 years the Gospel is finally ‘going forth from Zion’ (Ps. 14:7).”

Check out Mottel Baleston’s testimony:

Jewish man turns to Jesus and explains why in a way you never heard before!

WOW! This Jewish man turns to Jesus and explains why in a way you never heard before! His testimony goes viral with 5 million views and shakes the Jewish world - PLEASE SHARE!!!! by One For Israel Ministry follow & like us: www.facebook.com/oneforisraelMore stories at: www.imetmessiah.com

Posted by One For Israel Ministry on Saturday, May 9, 2015

 

VIDEO: Ancient Village of Shivta

VIDEO: Ancient Village of Shivta

The following video offers stunning aerial footage of the ruins of Shivta, a Nabatean farming village situated along the portion of the ancient Spice Route that passes through Israel’s southern Negev region.

The outlines of the village, its houses, markets and large Byzantine-era church remain well preserved, and some of the community’s terrace farms have been recreated to give a more accurate look at desert life in that time.

Shivta lies far off the typical Holy Land pilgrimage route, and is just one more example of how saturated Israel is with tangible ancient history. Indeed, despite Israel’s small size, it would take more than a lifetime to see and take it all in.

Check out ancient Shivta:

Shivta from Amir Aloni on Vimeo.

 

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Netanyahu Pressured to End Messianic Jewish Evangelism

Netanyahu Pressured to End Messianic Jewish Evangelism

"This seems to be a right-wing, Orthodox-heavy government and it may cause more troubles to the Messianic community," said one leader.

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

 

Obama and the Jewish Experience

Obama and the Jewish Experience

The interview President Obama gave to veteran Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan went very well. In her Hebrew introduction, Dayan said that being the first black president, Obama had "changed America forever." While she failed to explain how skin color had changed America, viewers at home could tell by the tone of Dayan's voice that whatever change to which she was referring must have been a good change.

With such an intro, it wasn't surprising that contrary to promos suggesting Obama would put all his cards on the table, Dayan delivered an irritating interview showing a smug president having fun with one of his admirers.

Sympathetic as Dayan was, however, speaking for half an hour about Israel inevitably yields some insights, and most disturbing was Obama's deep pro-Palestinian disposition. 

During the 30 minutes that were aired, nothing was said about Palestinian institutionalized incitement against Israel; nothing was said about how official Palestinian insignia shows the State of Palestine replacing all of Israel; and nothing was said about the spread of Antisemitism on American campuses.

This alone demonstrated Obama's inclination to embrace a Palestinian narrative that accuses Israel of apartheid and racism in order to deflect attention from its real agenda, which is clearly outlined in nearly every aspect of Palestinian culture, from school plays to soccer teams inform everyone willing to listen that their holy land must be freed from the Zionist monster. 

Obama, it must be said, shares only half of that Palestinian vision in pushing the same old partition plan (two-state solution) that the Palestinians themselves rejected.

Most revealing was Obama's answer to Dayan's question over what he thinks about plans to segregate buses going in and out of the West Bank. Dayan's use of "segregation" was misleading at best, and the president knew that. The demand for separate buses came from Israelis fearing for their lives. This demand that is so eagerly condemned is in essence no different from the two-state solution, for it too seeks to separate, not segregate, Jews from the Palestinians.

The question, framed as it was in the context of apartheid, found a ready president:

"In my mind there is a direct line between the Jewish experience, the African-American experience" Obama said, insisting that there should be "a special empathy and a special regard for those who are being mistreated because the color of their skin or the nature of their faith. The Israeli people," continued Obama, "don't have to look to me to determine how to feel about a law like that." 

Though the request for separate buses for Israelis and Palestinians was never intended to become legislation, and will ultimately not be implemented due to the tyranny of "political correctness" that prefers stupid ideas over life, the president nevertheless framed the conflict in terms of race and justice, or more precisely, Israeli racism and injustice.

In so doing, Obama has shown that he had embraced the guiltless Palestinian narrative that constantly blames Israel for criminal acts that range from rape to war crimes. This explains why he chose to reference a nameless, peace-loving child from Ramallah instead of address the phenomenon of a Palestinian children's choir singing to dignitaries: "My holy land, I will sate you with my blood." 

Though Obama repeatedly stressed America's commitment to Israel's security, this interview did nothing to appease apprehension toward his administration.

 

Blog: Israel's Ethiopian community raises its voice

Blog: Israel's Ethiopian community raises its voice

For centuries, the Ethiopian Jews dreamed of their return to their biblical home as Israelis from an Ethiopian background tell today. The most extensive operation to bring back Ethiopian Jews to Israel recently marked its 24th anniversary. On May 24 1991, the IDF carried out Operation Solomon, a massive airlift with 34 planes that brought over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel within 36 hours. The mission remains the largest aerial operation in Israel’s history.

The integration of the Ethiopian Jewish community into mainstream Israeli society turned out to be more difficult than expected. The Ethiopian community still struggles in several areas. They are over-represented in numbers living under the poverty line, Ethiopian Jewish pupils are least likely to graduate their final high-school (bagrut) exams and they are under represented among university students. According to community members, they claim to face police brutality quite often.

The Israeli government or society aren’t to blame for everything as many different factors affect their situation. Nevertheless, the Ethiopian community took their fate silently. They did so until they raised their voices at the beginning of May in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv where they gathered together to protest against their perceived discrimination, racism and police brutality.

Why only now one may ask?

The immediate trigger was a video clip showing how Damas Pakada, of Ethiopian extraction, was beaten by a police officer and a police volunteer. In the video, Pakada stood in his IDF uniform in the street, at the scene of the police dealing with a suspect package, waiting, before the officer attacked him. The officer stated in a recent interview that, "I don’t regret what I did and my behavior had no racist motivation at all." He explained, that while dealing with the suspicious object Pakada had refused to follow his instruction to move further away from the area. Whether racism was behind the beating or not is now up to the legal system. Pakada has lately filed charges against the police officer and his assistant.

Pakada explained after the attack during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he loves Israel and that, "I want to serve the country to give something back." In the aftermath of the biggest protest on May 3rd, President Reuven Rivlin admitted that Israel had committed mistakes. "We did not see nor listen enough: among those protesting in the streets are some of our most excellent sons and daughters, gifted students and those serving in the army". He continued, "the protests expose an open and bleeding wound in the heart of Israeli society." He announced that further measures will be implemented and Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed a ministerial committee to address the challenges faced by Israelis of Ethiopian origin, including difficulties in the field of education, housing and employment. Maybe the protests were a catalyst to help improving the situation of the Jewish-Ethiopian community in Israel.

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

Picture: Flash90 Archive

 

Israel Increasingly Sees Boycotts as Existential Threat

Israel Increasingly Sees Boycotts as Existential Threat

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

“BDS has been winning the battle for public perception,” noted prominent columnist Ben-Dror Yemini in Yediot Ahronot. “Those who claim that BDS will not affect the Israeli economy are correct. For now. …But it’s an illusion. On campuses, at research institutes, and in media outlets, there has been a consistent, protracted, and dangerous erosion of support for Israel.”

The most stunning achievement of the BDS movement has been legitimizing the notion that Israel has no right to exist at all. BDS exploits the language of human rights in order to attract well-meaning people, even as delegitimizing the miracle of Israel’s modern rebirth.

Yemini and others worry that Israel, content with legal victories and the steady support of older generations, is doing too little to combat this phenomenon.

Read more about this in the upcoming issue of Israel Today Magazine

 

Did Israel and America Create ISIS?

Did Israel and America Create ISIS?

"None of them have an interest in defeating ISIS. If they really wanted to solve this issue, they would have cooperated with the Syrian government. Instead, they bomb our lands..."

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

 

Iran: John Kerry Wounded in Firefight With ISIS Gunmen

Iran: John Kerry Wounded in Firefight With ISIS Gunmen

Just as an example of the type of outlandish reporting that characterize the mainstream media in the Muslim world, particularly when covering Israel, a number of leading Iranian news agencies this week “revealed” that US Secretary of State John Kerry had been wounded in a firefight with ISIS gunmen, and not by falling off his bike.

According to the Iran’s Nasim news agency, which cited an American website, which cited unnamed Russian officials, Kerry was meeting with a senior ISIS official who had secretly planned to assassinate the American.

As the ambush unfolded, Kerry was wounded and at least one other person was killed in the ensuing gun battle.

To Western readers, that might seem ludicrous and the stuff of the most exaggerated of conspiracy theories, but it was quickly gobbled up as legitimate news by dozens of Iranian news outlets.

Of course, at the same time, the US State Department claimed in an interview with French radio that it and coalition partners had managed to slay a whopping 10,000 ISIS fighters over the past nine months, and all without causing civilian casualties.

 

Israel: Obama Wants Iran Deal at Any Cost

Israel: Obama Wants Iran Deal at Any Cost

Senior Israeli diplomatic sources this week accused US President Barack Obama of being ready to sign a nuclear deal with Iran even if it endangers the Jewish state, despite Obama’s own statements to the contrary.

“US President Barack Obama is determined to reach a bad deal with Iran,” the sources told the daily newspaper Israel Hayom, which has close ties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is seen by many as a mouthpiece for his government.

The sources continued by noting that “it appears that the agreement with Iran will will be signed [by the June 30 deadline], because the American president is interested in the agreement,” regardless of the negative impact it might have on the region long-term.

The White House has repeatedly stated that “no deal would be better than a bad deal,” suggesting it wouldn’t enter into any agreement that allowed Iran to eventually acquire nuclear arms.

But in a weekend interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Obama hinted that his red lines had become somewhat more flexible, and that one way or another, a deal must be signed.

Obama sought to assure the Israeli public that “I understand your concerns and I understand your fears,” but insisted that “a military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States will participate, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program, but it will not eliminate it.”

The American leader expressed confidence that he could “demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and evidence and analysis that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable tough agreement.”

However, with Iran continuing to shoot down any and all stipulations that would constitute a “tough verifiable agreement” (such as its refusal to allow spot inspections), Israel remains understandably skeptical.

 

Group: Palestinian Human Rights at All Time Low

Group: Palestinian Human Rights at All Time Low

In one of its more recent reports on human rights in the Palestinian-controlled territories, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights said the situation had reached an all-time low, but not because of Israel.

While the advocacy group does routinely lambast Israel for security measures that inflict hardships on average Palestinians, the reason highlighted for the worsening human rights was corrupt and abusive governance by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

The report revealed that over the past year, hundreds of Palestinians had been tortured by both the Palestinian Authority in the so-called “West Bank” and Hamas in Gaza. Several people in both places died while incarcerated, and Hamas openly executed some 16 prisoners during last summer’s Gaza war based on charges that they had aided Israel.

The head of the commission, Ahmad Harb, noted that such violations of human rights had “increased in volume” annually. Nevertheless, such violations rarely receive coverage in the international media that tries to paint the Palestinian Authority as a “moderate” force and a genuine peace partner for Israel.

Earlier this year, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) updated its own reported titled “Hidden Injustices” that painstakingly documents the Palestinian Authority’s state-sponsored abuse of human rights.

“Sadly the Palestinian people have been (and remain) subject to numerous, severe violations of basic (human) rights —not primarily at the hands of Israelis, but from their own leaders,” read the report, pointing out that despite this situation “the Palestinians received aid exceeding 15 times the amount per person granted by the US Marshall Plan for the post-World War II reconstruction of Europe.”

Headed by Adv. Calev Myers, an Israeli human rights lawyer who has done much to defend the local Messianic Jewish community, the JIJ has presented this and other reports to parliaments around the world, as well as initiated “Palestinian Human Rights Week” on numerous university campuses, all in an effort to wake the world up to the true violators of Palestinian human rights.

 

Keep your skin healthy through the summer!

Keep your skin healthy through the summer!

Get your 10% discount on our MORAZ range - until June 5th, 2015!

"Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing." Ezekiel 47:12b Man was created with a direct connection to nature and it's forces!

Moraz Medical Herbs specializes in the production of various herbal ointments, from the Polygonum plant that is found only in Galilee.

Moraz is committed as a "green company" on Fair Trade, all packaging is environment friendly. All products are free from animal ingredients, and are not tested on animals.

Shop All Our Moraz Cosmetics Products Now!

 

Which Jesus Do You Mean?

Which Jesus Do You Mean?

The people saw in Jesus not the Messiah, but simply a miracle-worker with the same name as many righteous men. The fact that He is God’s Son can only be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

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

 

Pope Francis and the 'Angel of Peace' Scandal

Pope Francis and the 'Angel of Peace' Scandal

A scandal recently erupted after media reports such as that by BBC's David Willey quoted Pope Francis as telling Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting on May 16: "You are an angel of peace." The Vatican was subsequently forced to issue a clarification that ultimately did little to alleviate anger over the Pope seemingly bestowing a completely unmerited and extravagant compliment upon the head of the PLO. 

"Pope Francis meant no offense to Israel by referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as being 'an angel of peace' and intended to encourage harmony between the two sides," said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, who further explained that "the word 'angel' in this context means 'messenger'." 

This anemic response that essentially confirmed Willey's report, along with the Vatican signing a formal treaty recognizing a Palestinian state, did very little to "encourage harmony."

Two days after that unfortunate phrase was uttered, Dror Eydar, a keen-eyed and forthright columnist, wrote an open letter to the Pope in the English edition of the daily Israel Hayom, in which he stated: "Your Holiness, establishing a Palestinian state on the Samarian hills in the heart of the historic Land of Israel is the latest attempt to nail the entire Jewish people to the cross." 

At least from Eydar's perspective, the Holy See's gesture of adorning Abbas with a Christian medal did very little to alleviate concerns about the intentions of the Vatican.

The excitement over the appearance of a new angel of peace, unlike any we have seen before, was given a new twist following this tweet by journalist Henruque Cymerman, who revealed that the Pope had sent him an email insisting that "whoever does not recognize the Jewish People and the State of Israel falls in antisemitism."

Yearning for some kind of sympathy from the Holy See, Avi Lewis responded to this tweet with a column in The Times of Israel which he entitled "Not recognizing Israel as Jewish is anti-Semitic, Pope says." Another website echoed the sentiment: "Historic declaration from Pope Francis, Anti-Zionism=Antisemitism." 

Unfortunately, however, this is not what the Pope wrote. In fact, if anything this tweet only reiterates the known fact that since 1948 the Vatican refuses to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Slow reading the tweet quickly reveals that the Vatican is willing to recognize Israel as a state but not as a Jewish state. Good for the Vatican.

This is no different than the view held by Abbas, who is willing to recognize that Israel exists as a state, so long as it's not dubbed a "Jewish state." 

At the same time, it is difficult to understand how "not recognizing … the state of Israel" amounts to anti-Semitism. The only way I can understand this hazy statement is if threats to annihilate Israel include annihilating the Jews living in it. If this is the case, the Pope has said nothing of value and his email remains as evasive as his clarification that "angel" really means "messenger."

 

Palestinians Attacked for Marching With Israelis

Palestinians Attacked for Marching With Israelis

Palestinian participants in a co-existence march with Israelis were attacked by fellow Palestinians on Thursday.

The victims were taking part in the annual “Jerusalem Hug” march, the purpose of which is, according to the group’s website, “…to promote a peaceful experience, a life of freedom and joy to all people. The ‘Jerusalem Hug’ focuses on love, respect and unity between all people…[and] symbolizes a different way to achieve peace: the way of the heart.”

A significant number of Arabs both from inside sovereign Israel and from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas joined the demonstration, only to be set upon as they neared Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.

The Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported that Palestinian opposed to the co-existence event tried to convince the Arab participants that the “Jerusalem Hug” was a “normalization” scheme (which to them is a negative thing). But the Arabs taking part in the march apparently already knew that. Harsh words were exchanged, and several people were wounded (see photo).

Palestinian officials who spoke to Ma’an later insisted that those Arabs joining the “Jerusalem Hug” march had been duped, and didn’t realize what they were doing.

PHOTO: A Palestinian Arab man is treated for a head injury after being attacked by fellow Palestinians for daring to join a ‘normalization’ event with Jews.

 

Iran Cartoons: Israel is Behind ISIS

Iran Cartoons: Israel is Behind ISIS

Iran recently hosted a competition in which participants were tasked with drawing political cartoons with a negative view of ISIS and other Sunni terror groups. One of the entries was interesting in that it depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wielding a blood-stained sword while riding atop a monster called ISIS (see picture below).

Many in Iran would like to believe that their two arch-enemies - the Sunnis and Israel - are in league in assaulting Shia Islam. It is widely suggested that Israel is prompting the current Sunni holy war.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that the cartoon competition focusing on the “crimes of the jihadists of the Islamic State” had attracted more than 800 submissions from around the world. “Several famous cartoonists participated, but for security reasons had to submit their work under pseudonyms,” said organizer Mohammed Habibi.

Another entry hinting at Israeli involvement showed a puppet in the form of a green monster being manipulated by Israel and the United States. While the Jewish state has nothing to do with the turmoil currently engulfing the Islamic world, she is nevertheless repeatedly dragged into the spiritual and geopolitical chaos between Shiites and Sunnis.

 

Palestinian Follower of Jesus: 'Love Your Enemy'

Palestinian Follower of Jesus: 'Love Your Enemy'

"I am writing this because I need to share that true love for one’s enemy goes beyond mere words. Many around me say they love their enemy, but their actions and words do not support this claim..."

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

 

Is War With Hezbollah Inevitable?

Is War With Hezbollah Inevitable?

A leading expert tells Israel Today that such a war isn't inevitable, and that Israel is partly responsible for deciding what happens, but if it comes to that, the results will be "devastating" for both sides.

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

 

The FIFA Files

The FIFA Files

In October 2011, Jack Warner resigned as vice-president of FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, after being accused of bribing members of the Caribbean football union in an effort to elect Mohamed Bin Hamman of Qatar as FIFA’s next president.

Commenting on these allegations, Warner blamed Zionism, among other things, for his downfall. "I will talk about the Zionism, which probably is the most important reason why this acrid attack on Bin Hamman and me was mounted" he said. This bizarre statement was brushed off as nonsense.

On Wednesday, seven FIFA officials were arrested at their hotel in Zurich. The arrests were made at the request of the US Department of Justice. This new scandal exploded just as FIFA was discussing a PLO request to suspend Israel from the organization.

In April, Jibril Rajoub, head of Palestinian Football Association, appealed for the third time to bar Israel from FIFA. Twice before, current president Sepp Blatter has rejected the appeal. This latest appeal, however, has created enough commotion to get Prime Minister Netanyahu involved.

Rajoub charged Israel using the typical slurs. Evil Israel is imposing travel restrictions on Palestinian football players and officials, and its major football clubs are racist. "For years," insisted Rajoub, "we have asked confederations in Asia and Europe to interfere and stop the suffering of Palestinian footballers … When that didn’t work we decided to go directly to FIFA’s general assembly."

The motion to suspend Israel requires support from two-thirds of the 209 delegates. If the motion passes, Israel will become the only national team to be barred from FIFA, aside from South Africa's temporary suspension from 1964-1992. Such an outcome could literally destroy Israeli football (soccer).

Aware of the implications, on May 19, Netanyahu met with a sympathetic Blatter (pictured), who said after the meeting: “Football is nowadays such a strong organization that we should go into a peace situation and not into a fighting situation, and football shall connect and not divide people. I'm very happy about what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said … I'm sure we will find a solution.”

In timing that couldn't have been more beneficial for Israel, just as pressure was mounting on FIFA like never before to ban Israel, seven of the organization’s top officials have been arrested for corruption.

The effect of the scandal was felt immediately. Rajoub was adamant that the vote against Israel, scheduled for May 29, would not be derailed by the corruption investigation. But Israel Football Association chairman Ofer Eini said before leaving for Zurich that he is "an optimistic man."

Whatever the outcome of Friday’s vote, only fools would suggest any correlation between attempts to ban Israel from FIFA and the timing of the scandal that has embroiled the organization.

 

Israel Suffers Under Searing Heat Wave

Israel Suffers Under Searing Heat Wave

Israel on Wednesday suffered the most intense heat wave to hit the country in over a decade. Temperatures ranged from 37ºC (98.6ºF) in Jerusalem to a sizzling 46ºC (114.8ºF) at the Dead Sea. The populous coastal plain was sweating with temperatures hitting between 42ºC (107ºF) to 44ºC (111ºF).

Unsurprisingly, the dry and hot weather resulted in not a few fires, one of which destroyed three houses in Tel Mond, not far from the coastal town of Netanya. A large forest fire blazed just outside Beit Shemesh in the hills west of Jerusalem.

The sweltering conditions delayed air traffic at Ben Gurion Airport, and Israel Railway officials ordered all passenger trains to keep their speeds below 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph).

Fortunately, the heat wave was forecast to break overnight with temperature falling slightly on Thursday and light rain predicted on Friday.

PHOTO: Israeli children cool themselves in a public fountain in Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Rockets Strike Southern Israel

Gaza Rockets Strike Southern Israel

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired an estimated five missiles at southern Israel on Tuesday night. At least one missile landed near the Jewish village of Gan Yavne near the coastal city of Ashdod. There were no injuries or damage reported.

So far, no terror group has claimed responsibility for the first significant missile attack since last summer’s Gaza war. Officials in Jerusalem, however, hold Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, firmly responsible for this new provocation.

Palestinian reports suggested the attack was carried out by the smaller Islamic Jihad, which Hamas permits to operate out of Gaza. Islamic Jihad was said to have appointed a new commander in northern Gaza, but the move was vocally opposed by his predecessor. In retaliation, supporters of the new commander reportedly abducted two backers of his predecessor, who in turn responded by striking Israel. Hamas is said to have made arrests in the incident.

But Israel wasn’t about to wait for Hamas justice, and launched aerial strikes overnight on terrorist positions across Gaza in response to the attack on Israeli civilians.

 

Police Brutality or Child's Play?

Police Brutality or Child's Play?

Foreign media, including Jewish bloggers, (willfully?) swallowed and disseminated a blatant and amateurish phony photo op meant to paint Israeli police as brutal oppressors.

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

 

ISIS Rings Bound for 'Palestine' Confiscated by Israel

ISIS Rings Bound for 'Palestine' Confiscated by Israel

Israeli Customs agents earlier this month discovered 120 rings bearing ISIS slogans bound for a jewelry shop in the de facto Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah.

Like all packages transiting via Ben Gurion Airport en route to the Palestinian Authority, this particular package from a seller in Turkey underwent strict security checks.

During the course of these checks, an Israeli agent well versed in Arabic noticed the now-famous ISIS slogans and immediately informed superiors.

Israeli Customs will destroy the merchandise, barring a successful appeal by the Palestinian buyer.

But that doesn’t lessen the concern over the fact that in the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories, there is apparently a market for merchandise promoting the ISIS ideology.

“The thought that there are people who affiliate themselves with a murderous agenda like ISIS is simply shocking,” one Customs agent told Israel’s Ynet news portal. “A large number of rings mean that there are buyers. It’s scary and shocking to know that in the lands of the Palestinian Authority there are those who support that murderous organization.”

 

VIDEO: To Be a Jew in Egypt

VIDEO: To Be a Jew in Egypt

What happens when a Jew passes through the streets of Egypt? An Egyptian journalist has asked this question and disguised himself as a Jew to find out the answer.

Similar experiments in Europe over the past six months revealed that a high level of anti-Semitism still exists there. In Egypt, the hostility was even more pronounced.

See for yourself:

 

What Makes Israelis Happy?

What Makes Israelis Happy?

Israel Today speaks to Knesset members, average Israelis and Palestinians to find out why, despite all the problems, Israelis are such a happy people.

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

 

A Tribute to Robert Wistrich

A Tribute to Robert Wistrich

Robert Solomon Wistrich, a professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a world-renowned scholar on the topic of anti-Semitism, died of a heart attack last Tuesday. His sudden and untimely death will negatively impact all who are dedicated to combatting this ugly phenomenon.

Wistrich, who served as head of the Hebrew University's Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of anti-Semitism, was a prolific writer. His many published works included The Left Against Zion (1979) and A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism – From Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010). 

Two days before his death, Wistrich sent his last column to the editor of the Jerusalem Post. Following is an excerpt from this column published by on May 20:

"There are few topics of more pressing concern today to Jewish communities around the world than the current resurgence of anti-Semitism. I emphasized the need to free ourselves from certain outdated myths. My first point is that even today, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora are fixated on the dangers of far-right traditional anti-Semitism. While neo-fascism has not altogether disappeared, it is in most cases a secondary threat. 

"Second, there is an illusory belief that more Holocaust education and memorialization can serve as an effective antidote to contemporary anti-Semitism. This notion is quite unfounded. On the contrary, today 'Holocaust inversion' (the perverse transformation of Jews into Nazis and Muslims into victimized 'Jews') all-too-often becomes a weapon with which to pillory Israel and denigrate the Jewish people.

"Third, we must recognize much more clearly than before that since 1975 (with the passing of the scandalous UN resolution condemning Zionism as racism) hatred of Israel has increasingly mutated into the chief vector for the 'new' anti-Semitism. By libeling the Jewish state as 'racist,' 'Nazi,' 'apartheid' its enemies have turned Zionism into a synonym for criminality and a term of pure opprobrium. Hence, every Jew (or non-Jew) who supports the totally 'illegitimate' or immoral 'Zionist entity' is thereby complicit in a cosmic evil.

"Fourth, today’s anti-Semitism is a product of a new civic religion that could be termed 'Palestinianism.' The official Palestinian narrative seeks to supplant Israel with a judenrein Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. 

"Fifth, since the turn of the 21st century, anti-Semitism has undergone a process of growing 'Islamicization,' linked to the terrorist holy war against Jews and other non-Muslims with its truly lethal consequences. 

"My sixth observation relates to the need for Israelis and Diaspora Jews to rediscover, redefine and reassess their Jewish identity, core Jewish values and the depth of their own connection to the Land of Israel as well as to their historic heritage.

"My final reflection flows from it. I believe that in an age of Jewish empowerment, living in a sovereign and democratic Israeli state, we can and must first clarify for ourselves our vocation, raison d’être, moral priorities, and the deeper meaning of our near-miraculous return to the historic homeland. This is the other side of the coin in our essential and relentless fight against anti-Semitism. 

"As we celebrate Jerusalem Day let us be worthy of the scriptural promise that 'the Torah will come forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' We must be true to the national and universal vision of our biblical prophets. Anti-Semitism is neither 'eternal' nor must it prevent Jews from fulfilling their ultimate destiny to one day become a 'light unto the nations'." 

May Prof. Wistrich's memory be blessed.

 

Not Just Social Media: Facebook, Twitter Become Gaza Perfumes

Not Just Social Media: Facebook, Twitter Become Gaza Perfumes

Shoppers in the Gaza Strip can now purchase a new range of fragrances bearing some familiar names. Brazenly appropriating both the names and logos of top social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instragram, the new line also plays on the common slogan “Connecting People” with the re-wording “Connected by Scents.”

The new fragrances for both men and women are being locally produced either in Gaza or the adjacent Egyptian Sinai, which remains connected to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave via smuggling tunnels.

Israel Today phoned the manufacturer, who told us that bottles of his new perfumes cost a mere $2 USD, and that he has plenty in stock.

Another Gaza contact told us that the copyright-violating line of fragrances is wildly popular. “Facebook is no longer only online, but can be smelled as well,” he told Israel Today by phone from Gaza City. “Young men and women are scrambling for the new fragrances, which are now pushing even name-brand perfumes to the back of the shelf. The most popular are Facebook and WhatsApp, followed by Twitter and Instagram.”

 

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