Israel Mourns Loss of Last Founding Father, Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres, the last remaining of Israel’s “Founding Fathers,” died overnight at the age of 93.

Peres suffered a stroke two weeks ago and never fully recovered.

In a life that spanned nearly a century, Peres was there for Israel’s modern rebirth and played a leading role in most of the major events to occur over its 68-year history.

A die-hard left-wing liberal, Peres was the target of harsh criticism over his failed policies in regards to the Middle East peace process.

At the same time, few doubted the former prime minister’s and former president’s sincerity in trying to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, misguided as they may believe his efforts to have been.

Peres was also the driving force behind a number of policies and decisions for which most Israelis from across the political spectrum are thankful.

Peres is widely regarded as the “spiritual father” of Israel’s nuclear program, and it was Peres who pushed for the daring raid on Entebbe when most of Israel’s political leadership at the time feared undertaking such an operation so far from home.

It his latter years, Peres gained the respect of Israelis as the nation’s elder statesman, a role most feel he fulfilled faithfully and with dignity.

 

A Bundle of Love!

On July 31, 2014 a little "bundle of love", Tal-Or, saw the light of day. Tal means "dew" and Or means "light". The little girl was named in memory of her father, Sergeant Major Bayhesain Kshaun, who fell in the Gaza war just 10 days before the birth of his fourth child. "Bayhesain began his service every day at 4am and he fell during the daylight hours", his wife Galaitu explained the reasoning for the name of her daughter. "We hope that this little girl will bring light to the world in these dark days."

Many Ethiopian immigrants integrate into army and police units. The fate of the Kshaun family is not an isolated case. Many Ethiopian families live below the poverty line and struggle to find their place in Israeli society.

We would like to bless our immigrants with "a bundle of love" for the upcoming holidays and need your support. Help us prepare as many food packages as possible to bring some joy to each family!



 

Foreigners in Israel vs. Jews in Europe

While foreigners feel safe in Israel, fear is rising among Jews in Europe. Why? Israel is different from the so-called “Christian West” in that it keeps Jewish laws, most of which stem from the Bible.

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

 

Netanyahu: Doesn't Matter Who Wins US Presidential Election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday stated that, as far as Israel was concerned, it didn’t matter who wins the upcoming US presidential election.

“Both [Clinton and Trump] talked about their support of Israel, and the importance of the ties between the two countries,” Netanyahu told reporters. “It doesn’t matter which of them will be elected, the support for Israel will remain strong, the alliance will remain strong, and will even get stronger in the coming years.”

Netanyahu had just returned from a visit to New York for the UN General Assembly. While there, he met separately with both of the American presidential candidates.

During a heated televised debate on Monday, Trump made reference to his sit down with Netanyahu, insisting that the Israeli leader was none too happy with the Iran nuclear agreement that Clinton had helped put in motion during her time as secretary of state.

“This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history,” said Trump. “I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day. Believe me, he is not a happy camper.”

Clinton responded by claiming that “when I became secretary of state, Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb,” and that the deal in question had succeeded in “put[ting] a lid on Iran’s nuclear program.”

Besides that brief exchange, Israel was never directly referenced in the debate, which is something of a change of pace for these campaigns.

 

Palestinian Christian: We Still Hate Jews Too Much

A bravely outspoken Palestinian Christian man recently recalled former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s famous quote: “Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us.”

This Palestinian wondered if that time had yet come, and acknowledged that the continued, and even escalating incitement of young Arabs to violence against Israel proved that it had not.

“In my opinion, we still do not love our children more that we hate Israel. Why? Because of the silent violence perpetuated against our children by our Palestinian leaders and our media,” he wrote.

Several examples of how Palestinian society effectively abuses its children to wage war against Israel are offered in his full op-ed, published at Kehila News.

 

Messianics Respond to Rabbi Who Threatened Them

 

Trump Camp Boasts of Most Pro-Israel Platform Ever

US presidential candidate Donald Trump not only views Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, but will fight to keep Jews “eternally” in Judea and Samaria, too, if he wins the White House.

That was the pledge made recently by Trump’s aid on Israel affairs, David Friedman, during a meeting with Israeli officials from the Samaria Regional Council.

Trump’s “Republican platform on Israel is the strongest that either party has ever developed in the history of this country,” Friedman insisted in remarks that were recorded and uploaded to the Internet.

To prove his point, Friedman noted that in addition to echoing past presidential candidates in verbally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, Trump’s platform refuses to refer to the Jewish presence in the so-called “West Bank” as an “occupation” and does away entirely with the notion of a two-state solution.

Trump met on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, where he promised that as president he would go beyond words and finally move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump was also reportedly keen to discuss with Netanyahu Israel’s advanced border fences, which he sees as a model for his controversial Mexico border plans.

Netanyahu later met with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who vowed that as president she would vigorously enforce the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement that Israeli leaders see as fundamentally flawed.

 

Study Finds Israeli Schools Teach Peace, Palestinians Don't

Two recent studies have found that while the Israeli school curriculum makes a great effort to promote peace between Jews and Arabs, the Palestinian Authority school curriculum is doing the exact opposite in violation of signed peace agreements.

Both studies were conducted by IMPACT-SE, and organization that “monitors and analyzes education across the world to determine compliance with international standards on peace and tolerance.”

In its most recent report, the group analyzed 123 Israeli textbooks for grades 7–12 and concluded Israeli children are taught that “peace [is] the ultimate goal, and depict[ed] it as highly desirable and achievable, while war is considered a negative event, though at times necessary.”

Furthermore, the Israeli schoolbooks openly recognize the “existence of the Palestinian National Movement and events regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are, as a rule, given in a balanced and impartial manner.”

By contrast, an earlier analysis of 78 Palestinian Authority textbooks for grades 1–12 revealed that “the word ‘peace’ does not appear at all,” and that the “State of Israel, with one exception, never actually appears on maps.”

Instead, the schoolbooks used to educate young Palestinians are filled with statements, poems and instructions that glorify and encourage jihad.

 

We Are Seeing Red...

With this issue, just before Rosh Hashanah, you would expect some attractive and exclusive offers in from our shop. Well, not to disappoint you, we are offering some sweet deals all related to the pomegranate - the symbol of the season.

Browse through our Red October deals and get 20% off selected items. Shana tova!

* Offer valid until October 22, 2016!


 

'A Divided Nation Is More Dangerous than Iran'

Internal division has always plagued Israel, and we were recently reminded just how deep the religious-secular divide remains today.

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

 

Scandal at the 'Israeli Oscars'

Israelis don't have the finesse of actors like Julia Louis Dreyfus who can skewer politicians without creating a scandal. "Our show [Veep] started out as a political satire but it now feels more like a sobering documentary, so, I certainly do promise to rebuild that wall and make Mexico pay for it," she said to the bemusement of her Emmy audience, not all of whom were Democrats.

The Israeli Oscar equivalent, The Ophir Awards, that took place last Thursday, was meant to look like its glitzy American counterpart. Instead it turned out to an embarrassing event for everybody, including Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev (picutred). The presence of a political figure at this event is not surprising, given that the Israeli film industry is partially subsidized by the Israeli government. Regev was therefore duly invited to speak.

But Regev is not just another minister. Even before she took office there were actors, singers and journalists who thought it appropriate to defame her. The acclaimed Gavri Banai was the first to call her behema (exceptionally vulgar person), and popular pop singer Aviv Geffen compared her to religious racist Bentzi Gopstein (head of the anti-assimilation and anti-Christian organization Lehava). 

For her part, Regev has always vowed to fight the elitist left-wing Ashkenazi cultural guild that has for decades dominated the industry and dictated the list of Ophir winners. Her contention has been that the Israeli Left is becoming ever more extreme, especially in its use of film and music to justify Palestinian terror and blame everything on Israel.

Given this background this year's Ophir Awards ceremony was volatile from the get-go. And yet, the organizers of the event thought it appropriate to invite rappers (Jewish) Yossi Tzuberi and (Arab) Tamer Nafas to perform a particularly provocative style of poetry slam in which the lyrics allude to the virulently anti-Israel work "ID Card (1964) by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish. 

And in case anyone was wondering, the lyrics of the Israel-bashing rhyme were written by the rap duo's Jewish half, Tzuberi.

Regev, who most likely was pre-informed about these rappers, walked out as soon as Tzuberi and Nafar raised their black-gloved hands, a pro-Palestinian gesture, and the uproar ensued when she walked up to the podium to give her speech. Booed and constantly interrupted, Regev remained resolute and finished her speech, a political one to be sure.

Explaining her protest against using Darwish's poem, Regev wrote on Facebook: "For moral and ethical reasons there is one voice which should be excluded from our discourse, which marks the limit of our tolerance, and this is the voice which is calling for the destruction of the State of Israel and the Jewish people! This isn't a struggle between Left and Right. This is a struggle for our survival."

Controversial as Regev may be, it seems that at least this time she struck a chord that crosses partisan lines. It seems that this time even hard-line Labor voters are thinking that the inclusion of Darwish was outrageous and shameful.

 

Netanyahu Addresses the World

Following is a transcript of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks
today (Thursday, 22 September 2016), at the United Nations General Assembly
in New York:

"Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I'm about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at
the UN.

Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because
year after year I've stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its
obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for
the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions
against the democratic State of Israel and a grand total of three
resolutions against all the other countries on the planet.

Israel – twenty; rest of the world – three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year
condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined. As women
are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the
world, which is the only country that the UN's Commission on Women chose to
condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel where women
fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside –
twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset
and Prime Minister.

And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with
preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe but UNESCO just
denied the 4,000 year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest
site, the Temple Mount. That's just as absurd as denying the connection
between the Great Wall of China and China.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes
to Israel at the UN, you'd probably think nothing will ever change, right?
Well think again. You see, everything will change and a lot sooner than you
think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your
governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner
or later, that's going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more
nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism
of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That's nearly
double the number that we had when I served here as Israel's ambassador some
30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World
leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one
of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched
experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your
governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel's ingenuity in agriculture, in health,
in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and
artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every
way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We
recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well,
given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its
wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world,
and we do, there's no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That's an issue that affects everyone. Israel
accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world's population, yet last
year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in
cybersecurity. I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is
punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global
cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power
grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help.

Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel because they know
that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them,
can help them better their lives.

This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly
during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. This is the first
visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I'll
be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We'll discuss how Israeli
technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries.

In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes
towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that,
despite Israel's small size, it can make a big difference in many, many
areas that are important to them.

But now I'm going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in
attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It's taking place in the
Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors
of stability in the volatile Middle East. But I have to tell you this: For
the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize
that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally.
Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security,
prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work
together to achieve these goals, work together openly.

So Israel's diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a
revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished
alliance, our deepest friendship is with the United States of America, the
most powerful and the most generous nation on earth. Our unbreakable bond
with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It
reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the
American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are
deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And
a central pillar of that defense has been America's consistent support for
Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama's commitment to that
longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a
UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an
anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this
podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United
Nations.

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many,
many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when
UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today's automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story,
the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was
sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for
food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn't happen
until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended. For decades, Hiroo
refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle,
Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby
Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo's former commanding officer was sent to
persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished delegates from so many lands,

I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel
at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don't know it yet, but I am confident
that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message
from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war
against Israel at the United Nations has ended. Yes, I know, there might be
a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at
the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does
anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and
our vital national interests?

We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The
road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.

But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence
that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel's standing among the
nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much
confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime
minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the
UN. But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep
vilifying Israel? Perhaps because some of you don't appreciate that the
obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country, it's a
problem for your countries too. Because if the UN spends so much time
condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less
time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other
serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of
Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our
hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan
Heights border with Syria. Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped
by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in
our streets and serve in our parliament, including I'm proud to say in my
own Likud party. Are the starving children in North Korea's brutal tyranny,
are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural
knowhow is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world?

The sooner the UN's obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for
Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas
just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He's preparing a
lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That's almost 100
years ago – talk about being stuck in the past. The Palestinians may just as
well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild
our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a
Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land
in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried
4,000 years ago? You're not laughing. It's as absurd as that. To sue the
British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is
taken seriously here?

President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the
right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When
the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it
recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our
homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to
recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a
state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the
conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state
in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It
never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when
Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were
in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again. And when we
uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of
Gaza, we didn't get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at
us from Gaza.

This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements
they're after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be
resolved in final status negotiations. But this conflict has never been
about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It's always
been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate all final status issues but one
thing I will never negotiate: Our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the Prime Minister of Israel in the General
Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought.

Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have
been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally
say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for
all.

Now here's the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped
in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future.

I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy,
I'll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a
soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible
for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event
sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who
last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up
at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian
Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of
Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior
Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb,
he'd detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and
he hears President Abbas's adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging
Palestinians, here's a quote, "to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you
find them." Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President
Abbas's Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the
Munich Olympics a "heroic act". On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President
Abbas himself saying, "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem."
Direct quote.

Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and
went to an Israeli prison? Here's what she tells him. She tells him he'd be
paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact,
she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he'd get. Oh, and
when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the
Palestinian Authority.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents
hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with
hate every moment, every hour.

This is child abuse.

Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a
young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far
too many don't. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace
when their leaders poison their minds against peace?

We in Israel don't do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we
recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of
Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each
other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace.

Of course, like all societies Israel has fringe elements. But it's our
response to those fringe elements, it's our response to those fringe
elements that makes all the difference.

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I'll never forget visiting Ahmed in
the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby,
he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act
perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors
worked around the clock to save him.

No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood
by his bedside I told his uncle, "This is not our people. This is not our
way." I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed's assailants to
justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the
Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial.

Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and
both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict.

But what Ahmed's story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates
the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli
leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike,
Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of
Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists
among them.

So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to
stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work
with me to establish peace between our two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want
you to know – I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision
of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that
changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to
advance that peace.

I commend President el-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and
stability in our region. Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace
initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader
peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the
Palestinians have to be part of it. I'm ready to begin negotiations to
achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today.

President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn't it be better if instead of
speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas,
instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I
invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I
would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has
no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this
fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here. It runs through
Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and
New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery:
Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others.

Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent
Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned
into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of
militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would
especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear,
a life of peace, a life of hope.

But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly.
We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual
world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit
their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is
no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than
fear.

We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every
day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS, we prevent the smuggling of
game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, we thwart Palestinian terror
attacks in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and we deter missile attacks
from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

That's the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly
refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen
soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin's parents, Leah and
Simcha Goldin, are here with us today. They have one request – to bury their
beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to
visit the grave of their fallen son Hadar in Israel. Hamas refuses. They
couldn't care less.

I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that's decent in our
world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric.
Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The greatest threat to my country, to our region, and ultimately to our
world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks
Israel's annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it
sponsors terror worldwide.

This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security
Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in
Yemen. Iran, the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism continued to build
its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents.

So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind
us, it's before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and
united effort to push back against Iran's aggression and Iran's terror. With
the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be
clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear
weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I stand before you today at a time when Israel's former president, Shimon
Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel's founding fathers,
one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you
will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah
shlemah Shimon, a speedy recovery.

I've always admired Shimon's boundless optimism, and like him, I too am
filled with hope. I am filled with hope because Israel is capable of
defending itself by itself against any threat. I am filled with hope because
the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with
hope because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over
the forces of terror. I am filled with hope because in the age of
innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I
am filled with hope because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and
opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze,
everyone. And I am filled with hope because despite all the naysayers, I
believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all
our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I've seen what Israel
has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel's independence, our population
was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too
small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive,
let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics
are wrong about Israel now.

Israel's population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our
biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world's
computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The future belongs to those who innovate and this is why the future belongs
to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that
future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel,
dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future
of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a
future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this
hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the
nations.

Thank you."

 

Netanyahu Convenes Special Meeting With African Leaders

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 22 September 2016), at the United Nations in New York, held a special meeting with over 15 heads of state and representatives from African countries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told his interlocutors that he believes that Israel could be an amazing partner for their countries. He said that technology changes everything, including in communications, medicine, agriculture and education. He noted that Israel wants to share its technology with African countries.

The African leaders told Prime Minister Netanyahu that they thanked him and Israel for its cooperation in so many fields. They added that this cooperation was very important and would benefit the citizens of Africa and improve their standard of living.

Afterwards, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife, along with Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, attended a unique event at UN headquarters with dozens of African leaders under the heading "Israeli Technology and Innovation for Africa." They were welcomed with applause. The event, led by the Prime Minister, is an Israeli-African summit that presents the start-up nation to the entire world.

Israeli technological firms and start-ups will present their innovative solutions to over 15 presidents, prime ministers and ministers from Africa and developing countries, and to dozens of ambassadors, senior UN officials and private sector representatives from around the world.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Ambassador Danon for organizing these important events.

 

American Embassy Apologizes for 'Settler' Gifts

Just in case anyone forgot, the American government does not like Jews living in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and would never intentionally buy anything from those who do.

This week, the American Embassy in Tel Aviv apologized for unwittingly including bottles of wine from a “settler” winery in gift baskets sent out ahead of Rosh Hashanah.

One of the recipients of those baskets was the ultra-leftist organization Peace Now, which made a stink over receiving wine made by filthy Jewish settlers.

The wine in question came from the Zion Winery located in Mishor Adumim, the industrial area of the large Jerusalem suburb of Ma’aleh Adumim.

Like the rest of the so-called “West Bank,” Peace Now views Ma’aleh Adumim as occupied Palestinian territory, and the American government agrees.

US Embassy officials explained that they bought the gift baskets “ready made” and did not directly choose the wine that was included. The Americans stressed that Washington’s official position regarding Jewish “settlements” had not changed.

 

When Bibi Disturbed Everyone's Dinner

Patrons of the upscale New York City restaurant Harry Cipriani had their evening out rudely disturbed when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in town for the UN General Assembly, decided to dine there with his wife, Sarah, on Tuesday.

A number of other celebrities were at the restaurant at the time. An eyewitness told Page Six that 20 agents from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) arrived before Netanyahu to secure the premises and take up positions around the restaurant. The Israeli leader arrived shortly after with an additional 20 bodyguards.

Harry Cipriani only seats about 100 people.

Those who witnessed the affair were somewhat bemused by the fact that 20 bodyguards accompanied Netanyahu to the bathroom midway through his meal.

Less amusing was how the Israeli agents took control of the restaurant and the hotel in which it is located, subjecting all who entered to pat-downs and metal detectors.

“He must be the most protected man in the world right now,” one eyewitness told Page Six.

 

A Most Stunning Video of Israel

If there were a prize for Israel video of the year, this one would probably win. Check out and immerse yourself in this stunning footage from Jerusalem, Caesarea, Masada and the Dead Sea. Even as an Israeli, I got goosebumps watching it. I am so grateful to live in this country. Watch the video and you'll understand my enthusiasm.

 

Israel Buses In Syrian Children For Medical Treatment

With the help of the Jewish-American organization "Amaliah" and in coordination with the Israeli army 42 children and their parents have been brought from Syria to Israel to receive medical treatment at hospitals in Safed (Tzfat) and Nahariya.

The children come from the area of ​​Quneitra in southern Syria, which has been hit hard by their country's ongoing civil war.

This is not the first time Israeli hospitals have aided Syrian civilians, including children. But until now, such aid has always been paid for by the Israeli taxpayer.

The current operation marks the first time that the funding for Israeli aid to Syrians has come from donors, mainly from the American Jewish community.

American-Israeli businessman Moti Kahana, the president of Amaliah, the organization that facilitated the donations, had this to say:

"These children have not seen a hospital for five years. The goal of our organization is to help the Syrians on the other side of the border to be able to help themselves. We can be proud of our country... [Israel] is doing something that no other country is doing" to help the Syrians.

After treatment in the hospitals, the children spent several days on a kibbutz in northern Israel. They also received aid packages with food, medicine and toys to take back to Syria.

 

Anticipation!

"Mom, when is Rosh Hashana?" My son asked still a bit sleepy, when I woke him up this morning. "I am looking forward to Erev Chag (New Year's Eve)!"

While Rosh Hashana is still a few weeks away, our children are looking forward to the approaching holidays, the festive family meal and, of course, the short school break.

Our staff are continually keeping tabs on how many food packets we can sponsor for our immigrant families this holiday season. My heart pains when I think of the families that cannot afford a festive meal. At the same moment I thank God that He provides our family with food so that our children may look forward to the holidays.

Help us build up the anticipation of needy immigrants and their families towards the upcoming holidays by giving from your excess and blessing one of their families!



 

Trump Praises Israel's Use of Racial Profiling

US presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday repeated his praise for Israel’s use of racial profiling in counter-terrorism, and suggested the US would have greater success in its own security efforts if it followed suit.

During a phone interview with “Fox & Friends,” the Republican nominee noted that “our local police, they know who a lot of these people [terrorists] are, [but] they’re afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of profiling.”

Meanwhile, “in Israel they profile,” Trump pointed out. “They’ve done an unbelievable job, as good as you can do. They see somebody that’s suspicious, they will profile. They will take that person and they’ll check out.”

Referencing the recent bombings in New York City and New Jersey by a Muslim immigrant, Trump wondered, “Do we really have a choice? They’re trying to be so politically correct in our country and this is only going to get worse. This isn’t going to get better.”

 

Where Jews May Not Pray

Did you know that there are areas inside the sovereign Jewish state where it is illegal for Jews to pray?

That may come as a shock to many. Even more shocking is the lack of attention given to this fact. Were Israel to place a similar ban on Muslims, such discrimination would receive immediate and overwhelming media coverage.

But as things stand, the international mainstream media could seemingly care less that the Israel Police recently extended the ban on Jewish prayers atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to the adjacent Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

Given the ban on praying atop the Temple Mount (Judaism’s holiest site), many Jews had taken to praying outside the gates of the sacred compound. But many of those gates are in the Muslim Quarter, and so police arrested a number of the Jewish worshippers.

In a court hearing, the police justified their actions by labeling Jewish prayers in the Muslim Quarter as “disturbing the peace” because it might spark Muslim violence.

That left many to wonder, would Muslims praying in the adjacent Jewish Quarter similarly be arrested?

 

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Legendary IDF General: Terrorists Should Be Killed

Legendary Israeli general Uzi Dayan (ret.) appeared in court on Monday to state his opinion that 19-year-old IDF soldier Elor Azaria did the right thing in shooting a wounded and disarmed Palestinian terrorist back in March.

Azaria’s manslaughter trial has been a divisive topic in Israel in recent months.

Video footage of the incident shows Azaria shooting the terrorist as the latter lie bleeding on his back following a failed stabbing attack against other soldiers.

Azaria later testified that he and other soldiers feared the terrorist was in possession of a bomb or other weapon and still posed a threat.

Whatever the case, Dayan told the court that all terrorists should be killed.

Dayan noted that as head of Israel’s Central Command in the late 1990s he “ordered [soldiers] to kill terrorists just because they’re terrorists, regardless of their condition, whether they are dangerous or not.”

“Terrorists,” continued Dayan, “should be killed. In any situation? No. But as for the question whether terrorists are sentenced to die, the answer is yes.”

Dayan later served as deputy chief of staff and then as head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Azaria was also defended by Gen. Dan Biton, head of the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate, and formerly the head of the Doctrine and Guidance Brigade in the General Staff.

According to Biton’s expert opinion, Azaria “did not know whether or not the terrorist had a bomb,” and was therefore right to open fire.

Biton went on to chastise his fellow commanders for shirking responsibility for the operational failures on the day in question, including a clear failure to properly check if the wounded terrorist was still armed.

Instead, Biton lamented, everyone is intent on making a scapegoat out of a 19-year-old soldier who acted in a moment of pressure and perceived danger, just as he was trained to do.

“I’ve been in that situation,” said the general. “If a soldier kills for no reason, he should go to jail. But in this case I disagree with the prosecution. Or should every soldier go to battle with a lawyer at his side? You are emasculating the army.”

 

Civil War, Muslim Cops and BREXIT's Impact on Israel

This week we look at warnings that Israel could be at risk of civil war, plans to recruit more Israeli Muslim police officers, and the impact of BREXIT on the Jewish state.

 

Female Cop Seriously Hurt in Terror Stabbing

A young female police officer was seriously wounded on Monday when a Palestinian Arab terrorist stabbed her in the next just outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

The 20-year-old victim was stationed at Herod’s Gate when the terrorist snuck up behind her and began stabbing. An older male police officer was also stabbed, but managed to open fire on the terrorist and critically wounded him.

Additional forces were called in to secure the area. Israeli officials are increasingly concerned over the fresh wave of terrorist stabbings with the autumn biblical festivals just weeks away.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening convened an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss increased security measures during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

As part of efforts to reduce tensions, Netanyahu ordered Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to continue to prevent Jewish government ministers and members of Knesset from ascending the Temple Mount.

 

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Burkinis? No Problem in Israel

Images of French police demanding a Muslim woman remove her "burkini" caused a bit of a stir in Israel.

One would think that given their long conflict with the Muslim world, Israelis would be the most suspicious of such Muslim garb.

But quite to the contrary, Israel's Yediot Ahronot conducted an experiment at a popular Tel Aviv beach and found that not a single Israeli Jew was bothered by the presence of burkini-clad Muslim women.

The entire affair was puzzling to Israelis, who are so often criticized for their anti-terror methods, but who would never follow the European example of outlawing traditional Muslim clothing.

The full article will appear in the next issue of Israel Today Magazine.

Don't miss it! SUBSCRIBE NOW!

 

Iron Dome Downs Syrian Rockets Headed for Israel

This past weekend saw for the first time Israel's vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile defense system go into action against Syrian missiles on the Golan Heights.

The Iron Dome battery recently redeployed to the Golan successfully intercepted two rockets in Syrian airspace on Friday.

Over the past week, a number of errant mortar shells from Syria's bloody civil war have landed in Israeli territory, prompting fierce aerial reprisals. During one of those retaliatory missions, the Syrian army fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli jets, sparking fears of a major escalation.

It is hoped that with the Iron Dome intercepting Syrian artillery before it reaches Israel, reprisals will become less necessary, thereby reducing the risk of an explosion on Israel's northern border.

 

IDF Officer Wounded in Terrorist Stabbing

An IDF reservist officer was stabbed and wounded on Sunday morning in a continuation of the Palestinian knife terrorism that renewed in a flurry of five additional attacks over the weekend.

The attack took place in the large Judean town of Efrat, where the terrorist managed to moderately injure the Israeli officer before being shot and wounded by other nearby soldiers.

Both the victim and the terrorist were taken for treatment to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

Security cameras show the terrorist approaching Efrat already at 2 AM. Several army patrols were sent out to search for possible suspicious figures. Around 6 AM, the officer in question found the terrorist hiding in a bush and was immediately attacked.

A spokesman for the town offered his thanks to the soldiers who put their own lives at risk to ensure the terrorist could not perpetrate greater bloodshed against local residents.

 

Morning of Terror in Jerusalem, Hebron

A Friday morning of terror as Muslim assailants carry out two separate attacks.

The first happened in Jerusalem, where a Jordanian national screaming "Allahu Akbar" attempted to stab an Israeli police officer near the Damascus Gate of the Old City.

Not long after, two Palestinian Arabs, a man and a woman, used their vehicle to run down Jewish civilians waiting at a bus stop near the Judean town of Hebron.

Israeli soldiers stationed nearby opened fire, killing the driver and seriously wounding the female passenger.

Three Israelis were reportedly wounded in the ramming attack.

 

Israel's Duplicitous Temple Mount Policy

There is a ring of truth to what Rabbi Israel Eichler, an Orthodox member of Israel's Knesset, once said about anti-Semites. Jew haters, he told fellow parliamentarians, are only echoing what Jews themselves are saying. 

Every conceivable anti-Semitic libel was hatched in a Jewish mind, the rabbi explained. There are many examples of this disturbing phenomenon, the latest being a Palestinian news agency spreading yet another water-poisoning libel that was fed to it by the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence

Several months ago, Israelis were outraged over a UNESCO resolution referring to the Temple Mount area only as al-Aksa Mosque or al-Haram al Sharif. Prime Minister Netanyahu even went so far as rebuking France for being among the 33 countries that supported the resolution. "While we have no illusions as to the UN’s commitment to truth or decency," he wrote to French President Francois Hollande, "we were honestly astounded to see our French friends raise their hands in favor of this shameful resolution."

Outrageous as the UNESCO resolution may be, is it at all possible that it is yet another example of this vile self-accusing phenomenon? 

Freshman MK Yehuda Glick has repeatedly stated that "the [policy of] discrimination [against Jews] on the Temple Mount is obvious." Glick can no longer be brushed aside as a fanatic. In its September 9 issue, the weekly Makor Rishon ran an article exposing Israel's de facto policy against Jews on the Temple Mount.

For a long time now Israelis have been complaining bitterly about official discrimination evident in the severe restrictions on Jewish entrance and behavior on the Mount. Such was the case when two Jewish teenagers were recently charged with disturbing the peace by "bowing down" at Judaism's holiest site. Thankfully, the court acquitted the two, but the trial revealed how Israeli policemen have been trained to view the Temple Mount, which is worryingly similar to UNESCO's description.

Of the three policemen who testified against the teenagers, two were Arabs and one Jewish. Nevertheless, what they said in court reflects what they have been trained to say in police classrooms. In fact, it was the Jewish policeman who presented the most extreme view concerning the Temple Mount. When asked if he thinks that Jewish prayers on the Mount are the equivalent of terror attacks, the Jewish policeman answered: "Yes." When asked if his job is to disturb Jews in the middle of their prayers, this policeman said: "It is saving lives more than disturbing prayer. They could have prayed outside the Temple Mount."

The Arab policemen also did not express their own personal beliefs, but that of the Israel Police. When asked whether the whole of the Temple Mount is a mosque, one of the two Arab policemen answered: "It is a mosque from every possible perspective." When asked "and you say this as a representative of the Israel Police," the Arab policeman's answer was: "Of course." 

If this is the official Israeli stance regarding the Temple Mount, why should UNESCO be expected to contradict it?

 

Reclaiming the High Places for the God of Israel

“Why do you always feel you have to climb mountains?” my wife Linda asked me with a note of exasperation on our recent visit to see friends in Wales.

I avoided the standard answer, “Because they are there!” since, for me, that isn’t the reason; I am not looking to conquer Everest or anything like that, although I did scale the 10,000ft escarpment of the mighty Drakensberg range in South Africa when I was a teenager.

So, as I scrambled up the steep slopes of Cwmcarn in South Wales, I got thinking. And I concluded that it must be a spiritual quest to draw closer to God. It’s so exhilarating to get away from all the noise and clatter of daily life, breathe fresh clean air into your lungs and commune with the Lord about your concerns.

And I found myself reading with fresh insight about the transfiguration of Jesus – how he took his closest friends up a mountain to share in the mighty revelation of who he was. Yes, those who seek a closer walk with God will share in a greater revelation of his power. You will know, for sure, that he is the Son of God – and that you should “listen to him!” (Matthew 17.5)

A true mountaintop experience awaits those who witness the grandeur of our mighty Creator and hear his “still, small voice” just as Elijah did on Mt Horeb (1 Kings 19.12) and as Moses did on Mt Sinai, where he was instructed to write down the Ten Commandments. And in the Sermon on the Mount (of Beatitudes, above Capernaum), Jesus expanded on this with the most sublime teaching ever known as he showed that he had come, not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Indeed, had Jesus appeared on the mountain with Moses and Elijah to emphasize this very point: that he had come to fulfill both the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah)?

God’s words are heard most clearly on the mountaintop. That’s why there’s an ongoing battle for the high places, both in the physical and spiritual realm. Thus the Golan Heights are strategically vital for Israel’s security. We also saw how Elijah, through his courage and confidence in God, defeated the false prophets on Mt Carmel. And there is an ongoing battle over Jerusalem – also known as Mt Zion – as evil schemes multiply against the city God calls his own.

Through our prayer and proclamation, we need to recapture the high places for the God of Israel, paving the way, in the spirit of Elijah and John the Baptist, for the return of the Messiah.

I’ll never forget an experience some 35 years ago when, on one of my mountain walkabouts, I gazed intently across the valley at a large cross erected on the hilltop as part of an Easter message. 

It was dusk, the cross was lit up, and I found myself focusing my attention on the symbol, meditating on its meaning, when all of a sudden I was surrounded by a bright light. I checked to see if it might have been car headlights, but there was no-one about. It was an awesome, yet frightening moment as I felt the presence of God. I guess it was a little taste of what those three disciples felt on the Mount of Transfiguration. Matthew wrote that they were “terrified”. It’s not the sort of experience that is supposed to make us feel important, but to humble us, which is why the Master told them: “Don’t be afraid.”

On another occasion around that time, I was contemplating the launch of an evangelistic newspaper when, as I got to the top of a hill, I was stunned by the view before me. But the Lord dropped the words of Isaiah into my mind: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news…who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isa 52.7) Yes, an evangelist’s feet are more beautiful even than the mountains and valleys of our Creator! (The paper still circulates around the UK, and has won many to the Lord.)

And whereas the giving of the Law on Mt Sinai came amidst a terrifying spectacle of fire and shaking, the prophet Haggai wrote that a time would come when God would once more shake all nations (again preparing for the return of Messiah – see Haggai 2.6f) so that, as explained in Hebrews 12.27, what cannot be shaken will remain.

Talking of high places and what cannot be shaken, witness the amazing testimony of Stanley Praimnath, the only known survivor from the impact zone at New York’s World Trade Centre towers on September 11 2001.

As United Airlines 175 was about to strike Tower 2 in front of his very eyes, Stanley cried out to God and dived under his desk as part of the wing sliced through his 81st floor office. Everything was smashed except his desk which, with his Bible on top of it, provided him temporary cover before making his incredible escape. Within an hour, the 110-storey building collapsed, as its twin had done, leaving 3,000 dead and the iconic Manhattan skyline covered in smoke and dust.

Stanley’s riveting tale is chronicled in Plucked from the fire (Rosedog Books) co-authored with William Hennessey.

“My survival is all about God and his grace, because I’m not a hero,” he says. “The Lord is the hero. If you call on Him with all your heart and soul, he will intervene on your behalf and deliver you.”

For him, 9/11 can also now be seen in a positive light as 91.1 – in other words, Psalm 91, verse 1, which says: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

I am particularly moved by the picture of the Bible on Stanley’s desk. As that massive skyscraper shook and collapsed from a blazing furnace, God’s Word remained – and saved its owner.

Speaking of the end times, Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24.35)

Why not climb that mountain and seek the Lord? You will surely hear his still, small voice.


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

 

Education Minister: Bible Most Important School Subject

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett this week stressed that the Bible and Jewish faith are the most important topics children learn in school.

Bennett, himself a religious Jew, previously led a campaign to force religious Jewish schools to teach core subjects like math and science if they wanted to receive government funding.

That demand was dropped several months ago as a result of pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition.

Speaking at an education event on Monday, Bennett clarified that his desire to see religious children learn core subjects was in no way meant to diminish the importance of biblical studies.

“Learning about Judaism and excellence in the subject is more important in my eyes than mathematics and the sciences,” he said. “Even though [Israel] is a high-tech superpower, an exporter of knowledge and innovation to the world, we must [also] be a spiritual superpower and export spiritual knowledge to the world.”

Bennett reminded Israelis that their primary mandate was “to be a light to the nations. ‘For out of Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem.’”

Defending his remarks a day later, Bennett was adamant that “it is not enough to be solely the nation of the startup. We must also be the people of the Bible.”

At the start of the current school year two weeks ago, Netanyahu similarly called on young students across Israel to study the Bible.

“Study of the Bible,” Netanyahu admonished. “This is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.”

 

Rabbi: Never Marry a Man With an iPhone

One of Israel’s leading rabbis recently cautioned a bride-to-be to immediately cancel her wedding should her fiancé be found to be in possession of a “non-kosher” mobile phone.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, in a statement published by the Orthodox news portal Kikar HaShabbat, explained that a person who owns and uses such a device cannot be trusted to raise children devoted to Orthodox Judaism.

Kanievsky has previously urged fellow Orthodox Jews not to use mobile phones that have Internet and text messaging capabilities, and to instead opt for “kosher” phones that can be used only for voice communication.

H/T: Israel National News

 

Is Donald Trump Israel's Only Hope?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump last week warned that if he is not elected America’s next president, it will spell doom for Israel.

The Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama Administration “is going to destroy Israel — unless I get elected. Then Israel will be just fine,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Cleveland.

Regarding the agreement that lifted sanctions on Iran in return for more openness regarding its nuclear program, a deal the Iranian leadership has since treated with great disdain, Trump called it “one of the worst negotiated deals I have ever seen.”

Whether or not they believe Trump’s “messianic” prediction, a growing number of Israelis are urging locals who hold American citizenship to vote for the controversial real estate mogul.

“I urge all eligible voters to register and vote for [Trump], who can significantly help strengthen of the State of Israel, as well improve the ties between us and the US,” said Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, during a visit to a local Republican field office last week.

While a majority of Israelis still hold fond memories of Bill Clinton, and therefore support Hillary, many fear the Democratic candidate would push Israel to make dangerous concessions to her enemies. And there is little hope that she’d get along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

Syria Says It Downed Israeli Jet; IDF Denies Claim

State-controlled media in Syria on Tuesday claimed that the Syrian army shot down an Israeli fighter jet and a drone that had violated the country’s airspace, a claim that was quickly denied by the Israeli army.

Israeli aircraft did indeed conduct an overnight mission in Syrian airspace after Syrian mortar shells once again landed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights on Monday.

But Israeli military officials said all aircraft returned safely to base following the operation, despite having been fired at by Syrian forces.

“Two surface-to-air missiles were launched from Syria after the mission overnight to target Syrian artillery positions,” read the Israeli army statement. “At no point was the safety of IDF aircraft compromised.”

Monday’s mortar incident in the Golan was the fifth such case of errant fire resulting from Syria’s ongoing civil war in the past week. Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not tolerate spillover from that conflict endangering the lives of Israeli citizens.

 

Genius Israeli Commando Was First 9/11 Victim

Did you know that one of the first victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States was a former Israeli commando, a bonafide genius and a driving force behind the modern Internet?

Daniel Lewin was on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles when it was hijacked by Mohammed Atta and his four fellow Al Qaeda terrorists.

Lewin witnessed Atta and another terrorist assault a flight attendant and, according to FAA analysis of an in-flight phone call with another flight attendant, leapt to defend her.

Lewin is believed to have tackled Atta and his accomplice, but was unfortunately unaware that another terrorist was seated right behind him. That terrorist is believed to have surprised Lewin and stabbed him to death.

Friends and family were unsurprised by Lewin’s heroic response to the situation.

At age 14, Lewin’s family moved from Denver to Jerusalem. Understandably reluctant to make aliyah as a teenager, Lewin nevertheless made the most of the move, and four years later was accepted into Sayeret Matkal, one of the Israeli army’s most elite combat units. He left the IDF years later with the rank of captain.

From there, Lewin began studies at the prestigious Technion in Haifa. But even that apparently didn’t push him enough, so Lewin simultaneously worked for IBM’s local research and development center, where he developed a processor verification tool that continues to be used by top tier tech companies around the world.

From there, Lewin moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to begin studying for his Ph.D at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But, once again, Lewin craved more than just scholastic stimulation.

It was during his time as a Ph.D candidate at MIT that Lewin and his advisor, Professor F. Thomson Leighton (pictured together), developed algorithms that significantly boosted Internet traffic speeds, and which are still in use today.

Lewin went on to found Akamai Technologies, which today serves up to 30 percent of all Internet traffic, achieving great wealth and widespread acclaim in the process.

Lewin was just 31-years-old when he died.

 

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Jerusalem Synagogue Defaced With Christian Graffiti

A synagogue in Jerusalem was vandalized overnight, the assailants spray-painting black crosses across the front of the Jewish house of worship.

Police are currently investigating the incident.

Wadi Abu Nasser, a local spokesman for the Catholic Church, condemned the apparent hate crime, stating, “All peoples should respect each other, especially the others’ holy sites.”

Recent anti-Christian vandalism against churches in Jerusalem received heavy press coverage, while such attacks on synagogues typically garner less attention, though they occur no less frequently.

 

Israelis and Americans Remember 9/11, Vow to Fight On

American officials and police officers joined Israeli counterparts outside Jerusalem on Sunday to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The ceremony took place at a large 9/11 memorial, the only one outside the United States to list the names of all 2,996 victims.

Ron Lauder, chairman of the US branch of the Jewish National Fund, which paid for the memorial, noted that the memorial even lists numerous victims from nations that continue to view Israel as their enemy.

“Everyone is remembered, no matter their country of origin, no matter their religion, no matter what the color of their skin is,” said Lauder. “That’s because Israel recognizes all people as human beings, no matter what their governments say and do.”

Echoing that sentiment, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told the gathering that “perhaps none can identify more with our pain than Israelis.”

The event was addressed by several other officials, including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (see above video) and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.

Nearby in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting by stating, in English:

“We remember the victims. We embrace their loved ones. We stand with our greatest ally, the United States of America, and with other partners in the battle against militant Islamic terrorism that spreads its fear, its dread, its murder around the world.”

 

Obama Fumes as Netanyahu Schools Him on Real Peace

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekend uploaded another YouTube video, this time taking at the assertion (most often made by the Obama Administration) that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) is an obstacle to peace.

“I am perplexed by this notion,” stated Netanyahu, “because no one would suggest that the two million Arabs living inside Israel are an obstacle to peace. Because they aren’t.”

Netanyahu also turned the tables on the “ethnic cleansing” charge, noting that the only side trying to ethnically cleanse anything is the Palestinian leadership, which demands a state free of Jews.

While the prime minister only vaguely referenced “some enlightened nations” who are unfortunately backing this “outrageous” demand, he very clearly had the United States in mind as he asked, “Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, which Hispanics, without Blacks?”

The connection was not lost on the Obama White House.

“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank,” US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters.

Trudeau added that what she called Netanyahu’s “inappropriate and unhelpful” remarks are the current topic of (probably heated) discussion with the Israeli government.

 

World of the Absurd

Today’s world has been well described as the ‘age of absurdity’. And there are abundant examples of this in the pages of our daily newspapers. Wednesday’s Daily Mail[1], for example, included a report of protesters aligned with the Black Lives Matter campaign bringing London City Airport to a standstill.

As the paper pointed out in its editorial, police shootings of unarmed black people are almost unheard of in Britain, which perhaps explains the shift in focus to the ludicrous claim that air pollution discriminates against minorities.

The popular tabloid also devoted acres of column inches to the scandal involving leading Labour politician Keith Vaz, forced to quit as chairman of the House of Commons home affairs select committee following a lurid expose in which he was caught on film having sex with ‘rent boys’. And yet it wasn’t this deed in itself that brought him down, but the fact that it somewhat compromised his position as head of a highly influential parliamentary body investigating, among other things, prostitution and sex trafficking.

Many of his colleagues were at pains to point out that he hadn’t broken any laws, which says something about the current state of our society! Mail columnist Quentin Letts, in mocking the overall ‘regret’ and ‘sadness’ with which the political establishment greeted news of his resignation, wrote: “If he had been filmed saying anything politically incorrect, he would have been shunned like a biblical leper.”

It was a well-aimed damning indictment on our generation, who will put up with just about anything except Christianity.

Another story reported on an unrepentant Independent Television (ITV) after receiving 170 complaints over a ‘gay’ kissing scene being shown on their prime-time soap hit Coronation Street.

Welcome to first century Rome, described by St Paul as a wicked world experiencing the “wrath of God” because they were determined not to follow his ways. The end result was a society full of evil, greed and depravity in which both men and women “committed shameful acts” with one another, and where they “invented ways of doing evil”, claiming to be wise, but in fact becoming fools with no understanding. (See Romans 1.18–32)

It was into this bubbling cauldron of godlessness that Paul brought the gospel. He could not have been unaware of the implications – that his message ran completely counter to everything the Roman world stood for – and indeed there were some fiery trials ahead. But it changed the world! Thank God he was able to assure the Roman Christians that he was “not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1.16)

At Thessalonica in ancient Greece, believers were dragged before city officials, with their accusers shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here…” (Acts 17.6, New International Version). This is also translated in other versions as men who have “turned the world upside down”.

But just as the Roman civilization descended into chaos and violence, so Western civilization is now experiencing the “wrath of God”. And why? …Because we have discarded the gospel that was such good news to those first century pagans.

Former Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips, who makes no claim to be either Christian or a religious Jew, has brilliantly grasped the nettle of these issues in The world turned upside down (Encounter Books) which chronicles how brainwashed we have all become by the brave new world’s politically correct dogma.

Christians seriously committed to proclaiming the gospel should prepare for persecution.


  1. September 7, 2016  ↩

 

VIDEO: Jerusalem's Historic Nachlaot Neighborhood

Nachlaot is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Jerusalem outside the Old City walls. The first houses were built there in 1875.

With its narrow streets, hidden courtyards and many small synagogues, the neighborhood sits just on the edge of the famed Mahaneh Yehudah market, and just down the street from the Israel Today offices!

 

Island Appears in Parched Sea of Galilee

A new drought is in full swing in Israel, as evidenced by the plummeting water level of the Sea of Galilee, known locally as the Kinneret, which has resulted in the appearance of a large island near its southern shore.

The Galilee today stands some 4.5 meters (nearly 15 feet) below its optimal water level, and is fast approaching its “Black Line”, at which point it will suffer irreversible ecological damage, experts have warned in the past.

The deputy head of the Kinneret Authority told Israel’s Ynet news portal that “everyone needs to pray for a rainy winter.”

But meteorologists have already forecast below average rainfall in the coming months.

Indeed, Israel’s Water Authority bleakly predicted that “the worst is still before us.”

In other words, a miracle is in order.

And while this danger is lost on no one, some are pointing out that the drying up of the Sea of Galilee was foretold millennia ago, and could be connected to the coming of Messiah.

According to ancient Talmudic sage Rabbi Yehuda, “in the generation when the Son of David comes, the house of assembly will be for harlots, Galilee in ruins, Gablan [the rivers of the Golan] lie desolate.” (Sanhedrin 97a)

This prediction is tied to Isaiah 19:5, which reads: “And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be drained dry.”

In remarks to Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of David’s Tomb in Jerusalem, explained that “the Talmud is full of signs that indicate the coming of the Messiah, and every single one of them is undeniably coming true.”

 

Enjoy Your Flight to Palestine?!

Ground crew at the international airport in Belgrade, Serbia last week caused an uproar when they made a final call for an Air Serbia flight to Tel Aviv by urging passengers to board their flight to “Palestine.”

Israeli passengers refused to board until the ground crew retracted and corrected the call.

“Suddenly, the flight attendant announced over the loudspeaker: ‘Passengers on flight 816 to Palestine should proceed to gate C3.’ And she made the announcement twice,” said one of the Israelis. “I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked several people if I heard the announcement correctly. Myself and another Israeli passenger approached the counter and insisted they announce the flight to Israel, not Palestine.”

The managing attendant insisted that the flight was to Tel Aviv, not Israel.

“I told her that it was also not a flight to Palestine, and insisted that the announcement be amended, otherwise we would not board a flight to ‘Palestine,’” the passenger continued.

After heated debate with colleagues, the manager eventually announced the flight to Tel Aviv, and apologies were offered to the Israelis.

Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the incident “very disturbing. He promised to bring the issue to the Serbian authorities and Air Serbia, adding that ”it’s inconceivable that an airport employee with a microphone can try and change reality in such a defiant and false manner."

Israel’s ambassador to Serbia, Alona Fisher-Kamm, later contacted the CEO of Air Serbia, who reportedly expressed shock and dismay over the incident.

“This political position doesn’t reflect the company’s position,” he insisted, while apologizing profusely to Fisher-Kamm.

The following day, an investigation by Air Serbia found that it was an airport employee, and not an employee of the airline, that had made the offending announcement. Air Serbia has demanded that airport officials in Belgrade discipline the employee for damaging the airline’s reputation.

 

"Dad Why Did You Leave Us? What Will We Do Without You?"

Herzl Shaul, father of Oron Shaul declared dead in action, passed away Friday last week Friday aged 54. He fought in vain for 2 years for the return of the body of his son which is being held by Hamas in Gaza. After he was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, he continued with his battle "Operation bring Oron back". He was adamant and in the end he forfeited his life.

Herzl's condition deteriorated in July when planned protests against Israel's government drew less support than was hoped for which was a major blow to him. According to his wife, Zahava, Herzl's spirit finally broke and the disease spread throughout his body.

Aviram, his son, addressed Israel's President and Prime Minister saying that his father had died of a broken heart.He had died regretting mourning for Oron who had been declared dead simply because of a bullet hole and bloodstains in his helmet.

Israel Today visited the Shaul family and conveyed our deepest condolences and a little comfort during the "week of mourning". Many parents who had lost their sons during "Operation Tzuk Eitan" came to pay their condolences. Army Generals also came to pay their condolences and told Zahava that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must do everything possible to bring back the body of her son Oron.

Kay, Oron's beloved boxer dog, still waits for his missing master. He lays down in the doorway of Oron's empty room, as he has done every night for the last two years.

Herzl's two surviving sons, Ofek & Aviram promised their father, that they would continue to do everything they possibly can to bring Oron home, as he lay on his deathbed!



 

Colorful Floor of Jerusalem's Temple Reconstructed

After 12 years of painstaking work, Israeli archeologists were able to reconstruct seven complete tiles from the 600 pieces of tile found in the debris resulting from the Palestinians' reckless and illegal diggings on the Temple Mount. The Muslims are clearing out Jewish history in order to build a third mosque, the largest in Israel. 

The tiles in question were found as part of the special Temple Mount Sifting Project supervised by Gabriel Barkai and Yitzhak Dvira.

Prof. Barkai has told Israel's Ynet news portal that the seven reconstructed tiles "are of exceptional beauty, and were probably used for the Temple Mount porticos … The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius has described the floors of the Temple Mount as colorful … and here for the first time we have a glimpse of one aspect of the beauty of the Temple Mount."

Originally imported from Rome, Asia Minor, Tunisia and Egypt, the tiles were cut to different geometrical shapes and most likely were laid by foreign craftsmen sent by Emperor Augustus to his friend Herod the Great. 

Franky Schneider, a specialist in decorative ancient floors who works with the sifting project and who reconstructed the tiles, said that the floor style, called Opus sectile, was the most exclusive type of tiling of the era.

Schneider and Dvira will present their findings in the annual conference of Megalim (City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem) on Thursday. Scheduled to speak at this conference is Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Dore Gold, who will address UNESCO’s treatment of the subject and its consequences on archaeological research in the State of Israel.

 

Bibi's Bible Formula

Whatever else you may say about Israel – though the cradle of Judeo-Christian civilization, they are clearly now as secular as the rest of us in the West – they are currently being blessed by a leader who believes in the importance and authority of the Bible.

And whereas former British Prime Minister Tony Blair trumped education as the all-important issue of his tenure, Israeli PM Binyamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu has been more specific.

At the start of the school year, he announced to his cabinet that “excellence and Zionism”, with an emphasis on Bible study, were at the root of an education “revolution” his government wanted to bring about.

“First of all the study of the Bible,” he said. “We must make a major effort; this is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.”[1]

What a contrast to the way things are run in Westminster, seat of the British Parliament. Of course there’s much talk about raising educational standards, but we have cast the Holy Scriptures to the margins of our schools, and there are even efforts by humanists to wipe out their influence altogether. Yet without the Bible, our knowledge is incomplete. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1.7)

St Paul wrote: “Love never fails… But where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13.8) And he is not talking about gushy love, but the ‘agape’ (Greek) love that is unique to those who have experienced a personal encounter with Jesus.

It was in holding to the authority of the Bible and proclaiming its truth that Britain became a great nation whose influence covered the globe, and it was because we believed in its literal veracity that we were privileged to help pave the way for Jewish restoration – both to their ancient land and to their Lord.

Our spiritual forefathers such as William Wilberforce, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Simeon and Bishop J C Ryle saw from the Scriptures that Christians should pray for and facilitate Israel’s return. And they played a crucial role in the modern-day re-birth of the Jewish state.

But our Jewish brethren also need the “new heart” Ezekiel prophesied (Ezek 36.26) if they are to fulfil their God-given role as “a light for the Gentiles” (Isaiah 49.6).

Mercifully, Mr Netanyahu is paving the way for this by his declaration of intent on the spiritual front.

Tragically, however, neither church nor state in Britain is following this kind of lead, as they once did, caving in on all sides to politically correct pressure undermining the Bible’s authority. The result is increasing breakdown in society with all too few children growing up under the love and discipline of a mother and father.

Key to Israel’s restoration was an Anglican society called CMJ (the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people) who are still doing a great work among God’s ancient people. But the Church of England, with whom they are linked, is literally at the point of breaking up. And the issue is… the Bible’s authority!

A dozen evangelical[2] parishes in the South-East – including representation from the Diocese of Canterbury, the ancient heart of Anglicanism – are currently in discussions toward what could lead to a formal split over the ‘watering down’ of biblical teaching on issues of marriage amid talk of ‘blessing’ services for same-sex couples. They are setting up ‘embryonic’ structures that could be used were a split to take place.

The Rev Dr Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Mark’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, said: “If senior leaders of the Church of England water down the [church’s] teaching on key issues like homosexuality, then this synod could easily evolve into a new Anglican jurisdiction.”[3]

Disagreements over sexual issues have already caused schisms within the wider Anglican body – in Canada and the United States, for example.

It was on the Bible’s authority that a Judeo-Christian civilization was built that became the envy of the world. And Israel’s future – their protection from enemies and hope of a Messiah – is bound up in the authority of the Bible. Pray for Mr Netanyahu.


  1. Jerusalem Post August 30, 2016, also quoted by Jerusalem News Network on September 1 2016  ↩

  2. A term signifying belief in the absolute authority of the Bible on all matters of faith  ↩

  3. Christian Concern, August 31 2016  ↩


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

 

The Jewish High Holidays Are Approaching

All of these are signs that the Jewish high holidays are drawing closer.

We have put together a selection of Jewish holiday themed products for use during the High Holidays. Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

From tasty honey to shofarot and from kippot to prayer books! A visit to our online store will be worth a visit.



 

Israel Wants More Muslim Cops

The Israel Police have been running a determined campaign to recruit more Muslim Arab officers.

Officials previously stated their intention of adding hundreds of additional Muslim Arab officers to the force over the next five years. Currently, Muslim Arabs make up less than 2 percent of the police force in Israel.

Efforts to increase Muslim Arab participation in public service and safety are vociferously opposed by Muslim Arab Members of Knesset, who, ironically, accuse Israel of being racist.

But the campaign seems to be working. There has been a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of resumes submitted by Muslims wanting to join the police this year.

“We are witnesses to a wave of interest amongst the Muslim population to join the police. We are seeing a shift in this population segment and we are focusing on absorbing these new officers in the most efficient way possible,” Cdr. Amir Ratzon, the director of the Manpower Directorate, told Israel’s Ynet news portal.

PHOTO: Gen. Jamal Hakrush recently became the first Muslim Arab Israeli appointed to the position of Deputy Police Commissioner.

 

Former London Mayor Still Thinks Hitler Was a Zionist

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Monday reiterated his belief that Adolf Hitler at first wanted to help the Jews return to the Holy Land, before later deciding to exterminate them.

Livingstone initially made the claim in a BBC interview in April. As a result, he was suspended from the British Labour Party and publicly harangued.

But, according to Livingstone in a fresh BBC interview this week, a lot of people agree with him.

“After I did the interview with you and I got suspended, I couldn’t walk down the street for people stopping me and saying ‘we know what you said is true – don’t give in to them,’” he insisted.

Livingstone maintained that he is in possession of firm evidence that “during the 1930s, Hitler collaborated with the Zionists and supported them because he believed that a solution to his problem – the Jews – was that they should all move to Palestine.”

Only later, according to Livingstone’s version of events, did Hitler decide the best solution was simply to round up and murder all the Jews.

When confronted during a parliament hearing, Livingstone was adamant that he had not called Hitler a Zionist, but merely claimed that the Nazi leader had initially collaborated with the Zionists.

However, as many have pointed out, the primary aim of Zionism is the return of the Jewish people to Zion, so if Hitler was supportive of that goal, then he was a Zionist, at least initially, and at least according to Livingstone.

 

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Black Christians, Donald Trump and a Jewish Prayer Shawl

Trump does it again. The unfathomable Republican nominee, in response to accusations of racism and bigotry, strolled into a neighborhood Black Christian church in Detroit, donned a Jewish prayer shawl (Tallit), and sermonized about the unity of all peoples. According to the Jewish proverb, he managed to kill three birds with one shot. 

When you think you have seen it all, watch the presidential nominee, Donald Trump, donning the Tallit in a church as people in the audience shout for joy.

What is so exciting about putting on a Tallit? Do people understand its meaning? Were Jews who watched also applauding?

I am sure that many Jews would be proud to know that one of their most revered traditions is being embraced by Christians around the world. We like to think that others are finally learning to appreciate, and even respect, our ancient and endearing traditions, especially Christians who are rediscovering the Jewish roots of New Testament Christianity.

I distinctly recall the first time I was allowed to wear the Tallit in my synagogue. My grandfather placed his own prayer shawl, passed down to him through the generations, on my shoulders during my Bar Mitzvah. It was an incredibly moving experience, especially knowing that this very Tallit had survived on the prayerful shoulders of my people during the Holocaust. 

For us, putting on a Tallit means coming into the presence of God to pray. Jesus himself warned that these emblems of faith and prayer should not be used “to be seen by men.” (Mt. 23:5)  Rabbi Hezekiah  taught that, “When the children of Israel are wrapped in their prayer-shawls, let them [ feel ] … as though the glory of the [divine] Presence were upon them, for . . . Scripture does not say: ‘That ye may look upon them’ [the fringes], but That ye may look upon Him (Midrash Tehillim 2:99).

While we can appreciate that the Detroit pastor perhaps had sincere intentions, it just didn’t feel right watching him put our Tallit on a politician in church. Jews are extremely careful when using the Tallit. The use of these prayer shawls requires proper etiquette. When Christians are unaware, or irresponsible with these symbols, it can be insulting to Jews.

Jesus gave the church their own sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and there are major requirements before performing either of these. Should we not require some manner of commitment before bestowing one of the most important emblems of the Jewish roots of our faith on someone?

The local church is the earthly expression of Jesus among men. Could it not have been more meaningful to have offered to hang a cross around Trump’s neck? Or better still, lead the Republican nominee in a meaningful prayer asking God to help him become a better Christian, leader or faithful servant to the Lord?

Of all the wonderful passages in the Jewish Bible the pastor presented to Trump, he chose to read from Mark 9:23 – “If thou can believe, all things are possible?”

When did the church stop challenging the leaders of this world? A pastor truly committed to the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, could have quoted from the Hebrew prophets, or even Jesus, and their call for politicians and government leaders to repent from their ungodly ways. I wish Trump could have visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and listened to the pastor Dr. Martin Luther King. I can only imagine what a powerful message would have sounded. It is time church leaders once again rise to challenge men and women everywhere, and stop pandering to politicians providing them with unchallenged pulpits to sell their wares.

 

Muslims: Jews Desecrating Jerusalem With Wine

The Muslim world refuses to acknowledge the religious and historical connection Jews have to Jerusalem, and so are quick to condemn Israel for “desecrating” the holy city at every opportunity.

For example, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s Committee for Education, Culture and Science has publicly decried the annual Jerusalem Wine Festival being held this week at the Art Garden of the Israel Museum and at the open-air Mamilla Mall adjacent to the Old City.

The Palestinian official, Murad Al-Sudani, said the wine-drinking Jews represented a “dangerous provocation,” especially those at the Mamilla venue, which is partially situated over an ancient Muslim cemetery.

Al-Sudani asserted that according to Muslim tradition, several of the Prophet Mohammed’s companions are buried in that cemetery. As such, in the eyes of many in the Islamic world, the Jews are literally dancing on the graves of prominent Muslims.

 

The Occupier and the Occupied

Consider the following scenario: Violent settlers clash with the indigenous people. They take away their property and drive them off their land. Murders and kidnappings occur daily. There is no judicial recourse. The indigenous people are often relegated to the lower strata of society and the government makes sure they are kept there. 

This is the tragic state of affairs, when those people who lived peacefully on their land before the settlers came, are now being dispossessed of their land on the one hand, and being treated no better than slaves by these colonialist occupiers on the other.  

Now most people, especially Jews, or UN officials or members of other such organizations, would automatically assume that the above description is about Israel and the “occupied West Bank”. But in point of fact, it is not about Israel. Rather, it is about Egypt, and the Arab majority’s persecution of the indigenous non-Arab Coptic community, descendants of the ancient Egyptians. 

Since the 7th century when Egypt (along with most of the rest of the Middle East) came under Arab occupation and colonization, the Copts and the other indigenous peoples in the region have suffered bitter persecution.  

It is a common mistake for people who are not of Middle Eastern ancestry to think in terms of only ‘Jews and Arabs’. Only racists among those who are of Middle Eastern ancestry have this mindset – if you are not Jewish, you’re Arab. Copts, Maronites, Assyrians, Kurds, Berbers, etc. are all Arabs, the indigenous people of the area. 

But the above-mentioned peoples are not Arab and do not like being identified as such. In fact, they are presently living under Arab occupation.

Hypothetically, let’s imagine that these indigenous peoples of the Middle East have liberated their homelands from their Arab overlords. One can be certain of one thing – none of them would consider their ancestral lands to be occupied territory and they would openly acknowledge their deep histories in those lands. 

Now, suppose in an independent Coptic Egypt, for example, the Copts find that they have a substantial Arab population in their country, with the majority not having Egyptian citizenship. Would they be granted citizenship? If so, the Arab vote could conceivably outnumber the Coptic vote, and in short order vote Coptic Egypt out of existence leading to a resumption of severe persecution of Copts by the Arabs. 

Considering this, one would think that the question of partition would come up. But probably not. (Mentally normal people just don’t give up their ancestral homelands.) A more likely scenario would be that only the peaceful Arabs would be given citizenship, or other residential arrangements, and the others would be encouraged to leave and go back to Arabia, their land of origin.   

This Coptic/Arab experience could have also happened to the other Arab-occupied peoples in any Arab-occupied country in the Arab-occupied Middle East. 

In Lebanon during the 70s, Arabs massacred an estimated 100,000 Maronites, descendants of the ancient Phoenicians. Today, the Maronites suffer from violence at the hands of Arab supporters of Hezbollah, causing their population to decrease dramatically. 

In Iraq and Syria, especially since the American invasion and certainly since the rise of ISIS (a largely Arab organization), at least 46 churches (and that’s a conservative figure) and other Christian holy sites have been bombed and thousands of Assyrians/Chaldeans – not to mention Yazidis – have either been forced to flee their homes or sold as sex slaves. 

While the Kurds have suffered from Turkish atrocities for decades, they and the Berbers of North Africa have also endured forced Arabization. In fact, North Africa is often referred to as the “Arab Maghreb”, a not too subtle racist dig against the Berber people. 

Black Africans are continuing to be enslaved by Arabs in Sudan and Mauritania, while Nubians have been forced from their homes either from southern Egypt to northern Sudan, or vice-versa. Arab atrocities in Darfur and South Sudan are well documented. 

The Jews – the truly indigenous Palestinians – have suffered from Arab persecution and violence for centuries, even today, but especially before 1948 and certainly before Zionism. 

These, and the other indigenous peoples in the region have not only the Arab occupation and violence in common, but also varying degrees of collective punishment, and in many cases, even genocide – all to force them to accept that they live in “Arab Muslim” countries and they better not forget it.

But the fact is that not every country in the Middle East was meant to be Arab. Certainly, if the indigenous peoples in the region (including the Israelis, if they were smart) established a united front, then perhaps there would be an “Indigenous Spring” – resulting this time in a positive outcome for everyone concerned. Then peace would most certainly break out, at least in the Middle East.

The author, David Marc Silon, is a resident of the Los Angeles area and is a pro-Israel advocate, writer and free-thinker. He is the author of the booklet “The Occupied Territories”. Parts of this article was taken from the booklet’s introduction.

 

Are All God’s Children, Children of God?

In my last article I quoted Pope Francis’s belief that the devotees of any religion can be considered “children of God.” However, I focused mainly on the ramifications of that belief, which says it doesn’t matter what name we call God, or how we serve Him. And I tried to show how the Bible utterly rejects that understanding.

Nevertheless, it is true God created everyone on earth. So in the broadest sense of the term it could be said we are all “children of God.”  But when we look in the Bible we find the term defined in far narrower terms. Paul writes:  “It is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise who are regarded as descendants” (Rom. 9:8). 

Clearly, the term “children of God” cannot be applied to everyone in the world. Or to all the followers of the world’s religions. But is limited to a certain group of people known as “the children of promise.”

Well, who are these blessed people? If we keep reading in Romans 9 we find out. It is those who by their divinely ordained birth are the fulfillment of a promise made specifically to one man – Abraham. “For this is a word of promise: At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son” (v. 9). That promised son, of course, arrived right on time and was named Isaac. He became the first miraculous child of promise. And from then on, only his descendants would be reckoned “children of God”. 

However, Paul then goes on to show that not even all of Isaac’s descendants would automatically qualify as children of God! But only some. For when Isaac became the father of twin boys, Jacob and Esau, God immediately rejected Esau, but blessed Jacob. And this determination was made while both boys were still in the womb – “before either had done anything good or bad.”

What’s that all about?  Paul tells us. “[It was] so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand” (Rom. 9:11). In other words, God wanted to show that He alone would determine who of Abraham’s seed would be counted as God’s children. So it was said, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (v. 13). The “children of promise” might only come forth through the line of Isaac, but they would not include every descendant. Some would be known as “children of the flesh.” 

But there is more. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians we suddenly discover the category dramatically narrowed even further! Paul reveals there is actually only one pre-chosen physical descendant of Abraham who officially can be called a “child of promise.” It is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ). “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘and to seeds,' as referring to many, but rather to one. 'And to your seed,’ that is Messiah” (Gal. 3:16).

So Yeshua then is the true fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. He alone is qualified to be “a child of God.” He alone can be called God’s son. Yet, as every true disciple knows, Yeshua has a corporate body. So that all who believe in him are included in him by God’s Spirit – and they too may be called “children of God.” 

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.” (1 John 3:1). And, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Messiah” (Rom. 8:16,17).

So we finally know who the “children of God” are. They are all those, both Jew and non-Jew, who believe Yeshua is the Messiah and follow him in faith. By the mercy of God all of us have been reckoned heirs to Abraham’s promise.  “For if you belong to Messiah, you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal 3:29).

What is that inheritance? Nothing less than eternal life with rulership over the whole planet. “He said to me, ‘You are My son, today I have begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as your possession” (Ps. 2:7,8). It is what Yeshua calledthe kingdom of God, with Jerusalem at its center!

But it gets even better! It seems when Yeshua comes into his kingdom we will experience a heavenly bar mitzvah, so that we will no longer be called God’s children. We will have come of age. “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when he [Yeshua] appears, we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is” (1 John 3:2).

We will have graduated to become God’s adopted sons. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). Glory!

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

The Deadlock of 'Occupation'

While Israel’s current borders resulted from arduous due legal process, the Palestinians insist on seeing Israel as a mere reflection of "true historic Palestine."

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

 

Netanyahu Tells Kids to Study Bible, Seek Coexistence

Much to the delight of parents, the new school year has begun in Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had two related messages for students: study the Bible and seek peaceful coexistence.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu told his cabinet that he wants to “carry out an education revolution based on two things: excellence and Zionism.”

Central to achieve that is the study of the Bible, the prime minister insisted.

“First of all, the study of the Bible,” Netanyahu told his ministers. “This is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.”

While that message may have been primarily geared toward Jewish students, Netanyahu on Thursday helped kick off the new school year by visiting a school in the northern Arab city of Tamra.

Addressing the school’s 200 Arab youngsters, Netanyahu called for increases in coexistence and integration of Israel’s Arab minority.

“I want you all to learn about the history of the Jewish people as well as of the Arab communities and learn the truth. We are meant to live together,” he told the students.

PHOTO: Netanyahu speaking to and dancing with Arab elementary students in northern Israel. (Flash90)

 

The Incurable Romantic

Aided and abetted by the growing aggression of the gay movement both in the West generally and in Israel – cradle of Judeo-Christian civilization – traditional marriage is facing unprecedented opposition.

South African evangelist and friend of Israel Angus Buchan, currently touring the UK, has faced strong protests over his alleged ‘homophobic’ views and was even barred from a venue in Scotland, his ancestral home.

And for the first time ever, more humanist wedding ceremonies took place in Scotland last year than those conducted by the Church of Scotland.

My wife and I were profoundly stirred by a ‘sex talk’ at the Keswick Convention – a gathering of Christians in England’s beautiful Lake District held every year since 1875. Professor Glynn Harrison[1] made the point that the Church’s reaction to the ‘sexual revolution’ had been too negative and challenged his 3,000-strong audience to model the gospel through their marriages.

I have been mulling over this for quite a while, and the more I have thought about it, the more certain I am that he has hit the nail on the head – that it is time the truths about God’s perfect plan for marriage were hammered home, both practically so that people can see that it works, and theologically.

The modern trend of couples ‘living together’ has gone unchecked partly because the alternative has not been convincing enough. Children often witness parents bickering and verbally biting one another. Other couples rub along and apparently put up with each other, perhaps even occasionally holding hands, but few seem to display sheer delight in each other. And some who are still in love after many years together are perhaps reluctant to demonstrate this in public.

But I truly believe that marriage is made in heaven and that there is a direct correlation between the gospel and wedded bliss. God planned the institution right at the beginning of creation, and we are told in Genesis 2.24 that a man is designed to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, so that the two become “one flesh”. In fact the entire Bible narrative depicts God as a loving bridegroom in pursuit of a beautiful bride. Jesus identified himself as that bridegroom (Matthew 9.15) when he was revealed to the world as the Son of God – and even now the risen, ascended and glorified Christ is waiting in heaven for his bride to make herself ready for the time of consummation when he would return to receive her in a great celebration known as the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19.9).

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

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

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

As lovers caress each other with groping arms and gestures, so we should be engaging with the Godhead with our entire beings. As marital consummation involves both our bodies and souls, so should our worship of Christ. Should we not love him with all our heart, soul and mind (Deuteronomy 6.5, Matthew 22.37), and worship in spirit and in truth (John 4.23f)? It should not be a ritual, something done at a certain place and time with the aid of a formally structured ‘order of service’. We should surely surrender ourselves with abandon to his loving arms as we offer ourselves to his service and will.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He loved you so much that he allowed wicked men to nail him to a cruel cross. But it was meant to happen because it was necessary for a perfect sacrifice to be offered for our sins. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3.16) As for Israel, his love for them has never waned and he longs for them to return it, as many ‘Messianics’ are already doing throughout the Jewish world.

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

He doesn’t offer us dry and dusty formalism, or repetitive ritual, but a love that never stops flowing. And though tears may flow in this life, the future is one of unbounding joy and happiness as we bask in ‘married bliss’ with our Saviour and Messiah. Meanwhile we join the rest of God’s chosen people in making elaborate preparations (essentially by inviting guests, i.e. sharing the gospel) for the biggest wedding of all, when the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root and Offspring of David, returns for his bride (Rev 5.5, Rev 22.16, Rev 21.2).

Come, Lord Jesus!


  1. Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, UK  ↩

 

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Is Israel at Risk of Civil War?

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo on Tuesday warned that rifts in Israeli society are becoming so deep that the Jewish state is at risk of civil war.

Speaking at a ceremony to honor fallen Druze IDF soldiers, Pardo said that the polarization of Israeli society is far more urgent than Hamas, Hezbollah or even Iran.

“This internal threat should concern us more than external threats,” said the former spymaster. “If a divided society crosses a certain line, a civil war becomes a possibility in the most extreme scenario. I’m concerned we’re heading in this direction.”

Pardo noted that all sectors of society - Left and Right, Jew and Arab - are responsible for this situation, and that everyone needs to be reminded that “there is more that unites us than divides us.”

As examples of societies that have become hyper-polarized, Pardo pointed to Britain following its abrupt exit from the EU and the United States during a bizarre presidential primary season.

 

Israel Police Chief: Natural to Suspect Immigrants, Minorities

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich on Tuesday courted controversy when he suggested that it was “natural” to be suspicious of immigrants and minorities.

Speaking at a gathering of the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv, Alsheich noted that statistically, “immigrants are invariably more involved in crime than others.”

As such, Alsheich explained that “when a police officer comes across a suspicious person [either young or from an immigrant background, or both], his brain suspects him more than if [the suspect] were someone else, it’s natural.”

The police chief noted that he was referring not only to Ethiopian immigrants, but also to Israel’s Arab minority.

Alsheich later insisted that he “had no intention of offending Israelis of Ethiopian origin,” and had simply been stating the reality of the situation.

It didn’t take long for the remarks to elicit widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, with Ethiopian and Arab lawmakers demanding Alsheich’s resignation.

 

IDF Preparing for Inevitable ISIS Attack

Recent violence in the Sinai Peninsula is raising a lot of questions in Israel’s defense establishment. Most notably, there is growing concern that the thousands of ISIS terrorists currently operating there against the Egyptian army could attack southern Israel.

Attacks on southern Israel from the Sinai are not unprecedented. Just five years ago, Sinai-based terrorists launched a multi-pronged attack on the main highway leading to the southern resort town of Eilat. Eight Israelis were killed.

That assault succeeded despite advanced warnings by Israeli intelligence and a bolstering of security forces in the region.

Given its numbers and resources, an attack by ISIS would likely be far more catastrophic.

The IDF isn’t waiting to find out. Military planners are busy envisioning the ways in which ISIS could try to assault southern Israel, and significant resources are being allocated to improving defenses in the southern part of the country, reported the NRG news portal.

Staying one step ahead of the terrorists is a never-ending battle of wits, but one that Israel’s military minds have come to excel at.

 

Exploring the Salt Cave Under Mount Sodom

Everyone knowns about the salt pillar believed by many to be the remains of Lot's wife following the divine destruction of the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But have you ever visited the salt cave under Mount Sodom?

Check it out in the video above. Just one of many breath-taking stops for those seeking a more "adventurous" tour of Israel.

 

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Is Gaza Impoverished or Flourishing?

The “Gaza siege” is a favorite buzzword of the international media and the pro-Palestinian propagandists who feed it. The picture they have so successfully painted in the minds of most Westerners is that the entire population of Gaza is destitute, living in the most pitiable conditions known to man thanks to a heartless Israeli embargo.

And Gaza’s Hamas overlords encourage that perception, when it suits their agenda.

At other times, such as now, with Palestinian municipal elections looming, Hamas is looking to portray Gaza in a much different light.

The above campaign video features average Gazan’s holding signs reading “Thank you, Hamas” against the backdrop of a Gaza Strip that certainly doesn’t match the descriptions propagated by most of the media.

The Gaza Strip has wealthy neighborhoods, green parks, shopping malls, pristine beaches, water parks, etc. And, yes, Gaza also has poor, even destitute areas, like any other population center on earth. Were the mainstream media to likewise only take pictures of the slums of Paris, it too would look like a place of total deprivation.

So, which is it? Is Gaza impoverished or flourishing?

 

Is God 'God' By Any Other Name?

In a recent interfaith video, Pope Francis argued that all religions worship God, whether we call Him God, Buddha, Jesus Christ or Allah. He then suggested we should lay aside our theological differences and all celebrate our Deity together. To quote him: “In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God.”

I couldn’t help thinking of Zerubbabel’s response to a similar invite to come together, this one by the enemies of Judah who’d offered to help rebuild the second temple. After they told him that “we like you, seek your God,” Zerubbabel replied: “You have nothing in common with us in building a temple to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the Lord God of Israel” (Ezra 4:1-3). Apparently, he didn’t consider them to be children of the same God Israel served. 

But could the Pope be right? Does God not care much about what we call Him? Or how we worship? Is it enough just to acknowledge He exists and be sincere in our religious beliefs? Or is our God more particular about how He wants to be addressed and worshipped?  

We don’t have to look far in the Bible to get the answer. There’s an account of God’s prophet, Elijah, confronting Israel and the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah is obviously one who also does not embrace the big religious hug fest as proposed by Pope Francis. For we find him here challenging Israel to choose: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).  

If Baal was indeed Israel’s God by another name, it shouldn’t matter, right? But clearly our God didn’t see it that way. Because after Israel voted to follow Him, He had Elijah slay all the priests of Baal!

It seems Israel never learned its lesson at Mt. Sinai where God instructed them on how to  worship Him. For while Moses was off getting the instructions in writing, Israel decides to worship God Egyptian style. And they set up a golden calf. As a result, three thousand died that day. What were they thinking? Hadn’t God just told them: “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I, the LORD [Yahweh] your God, am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:4,5).

Still the people did not depart from their idolatry: “It was not Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it O House of Israel? You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of Rompha, the images which you made to worship” (Acts 7:42,43).

So we see God will not identify with the names of other gods. Not then. Not now. To begin, God has only one proper name, which is Yahweh – or Jehovah. It is written as the Tetragrammaton YHWH, but translated as “LORD” (all caps) in our Bibles out of deference to Jewish belief the name is too holy to be written or spoken. When speaking of Him, Jews today usually call Him HaShem (The Name). Before His true name was revealed the Patriarchs called Him El Elyon or El Shaddai.

We can also address our God by His title, which is “Lord” (Heb. Adonai).Or as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” which is the only family on earth to whom He has forever linked His name (Ex. 3:15). But the most intimate way to speak to Him is to call Him “Father” (Heb. Abba). That’s how Yeshua talked to Him, and no one knew Him more intimately than he.

But Satan is a deceptive marketer who doesn’t quit. He knows if we approach God any differently than how God has prescribed we’ll be serving him. “I say the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I don’t want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?” (1 Cor. 10:20- 22).

As a former Roman Catholic, for example, I was taught that, at the incantation of the priest, the bread and wine at Mass were transformed into the actual physical body and blood of Jesus. Jesus could then be offered over and over on their altars as a bloodless sacrifice. The Council of Trent declared this sacrifice to be “propitiatory,” that is able to “pardon even the gravest crimes and sins” (Twenty-Second Session, Chapter II). After I started to read the Bible I found Hebrews 10:10-14 totally refuted this false doctrine. How deceived I was to think that worshipping a piece of bread as God, as we were taught, was any less idolatrous than worshipping a golden calf. 

We live in the Age of Grace right now. But one day this grace period will end and the wrath of God will begin. We don’t want to be found at that time hesitating between two opinions.

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

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After Conquering Jerusalem, Jews Will Try to Take Mecca

That was the gist of a charge leveled by a senior member of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction in protesting the Jerusalem Municipality’s plan to build a cable car to ease access to the Old City.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has openly endorsed the plan, which envisions a cable car stretching from the city’s old train station (which is now a popular pedestrian venue) to the City of David to the Mount of Olives and back to the Lion’s Gate of the Old City.

“I want to bring ten million tourists to these places, but without an infrastructure of trains, cable-cars, a fast train (to Tel Aviv), hotels, et cetera, we will not be able to enjoy this unique experience,” said Barkat. “In order to bring people from around the world, in order to understand who the real boss is in this city, we need to create infrastructure.”

Muslim officials were furious.

Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, called the cable car a “dangerous” provocation and part of a larger effort to “Judaize” the city.

Rafat Alayan, a Fatah representative in Jerusalem, threatened that “the Palestinian people will never” permit the cable car to be built.

Alayan added the hysterical warning that if the cable car were built, the Jews would next attempt a transportation link between Tel Aviv and the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

PHOTO: Artist’s rendition of the proposed Jerusalem cable car.

 

UN Wants Immunity for Terrorist Employees

Israel has rejected a demand by the United Nations that immunity be granted to one of its Palestinian employees who was convicted of working for Hamas.

Waheed Borsh was a high-ranking official with the UN development agency UNDP in the Gaza Strip.

He was arrested by Israel on July 16 on suspicion of using his position to aid not the average citizens of Gaza, but rather their Hamas terrorist overlords.

Earlier this month, Borsh was convicted of these crimes, which included diverting UNDP funds to build a facility for Hamas naval forces and convincing his employers to prioritize the reconstruction of destroyed homes belonging to Hamas officials.

The UN insisted that as one of its employees, Borsh should enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Israel was having none of it.

“Israel rejects the claim that a person assisting a terror organization recognized by the international community such as Hamas could enjoy immunity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said at the weekend.

 

Evangelism Campaign Faces Opposition

The Gospel is stirring up trouble again in Israel as anti-Messianic groups try to prevent the Jewish people from hearing about Yeshua (Jesus).

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

 

Israel First to Deploy Autonomous Military Robots

Several militaries are currently working on a range of not only unmanned, but autonomous military vehicles. Israel this summer became the first to actually deploy such machines to active duty.

IDF spokespeople told Japanese media on Wednesday that since mid-July, fully-automated, self-driving vehicles have been patrolling the border of the Gaza Strip.

In addition to patrol vehicles, Israeli defense contractors are also developing autonomous assault units.

The robots currently in the field are unarmed, but future plans include equipping them with weapons as they are deployed to additional border regions.

The IDF is envisioning a future of mixed combat formations, always under the command of a human officer, but with robots being sent in first and providing strong fire support.

PHOTO: Illustrative only.

 

Syria Brutality Enabled by Anti-Israel Double Standards

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

Syria's civil war claimed 470,000 lives since it started in March 2011, the Syrian Centre for Policy Research announced in February. That's an average of about 262 deaths per day and 7,860 per month. The carnage has continued unabated, so, applying the same death rate nearly 200 days after the February estimate, the death toll is over 520,000. 

Such numbers are staggering, even by Middle East standards. However, the violence has become so routine that it only occasionally captures global attention, usually when a particularly poignant moment of human suffering is documented. The most recent example is Omran Daqneesh, a 5-year old Syrian boy who was filmed shell-shocked, bloody, and covered in dust after the airstrike bombing of his Aleppo apartment block. 

The tragic image of Omran caused outrage around the world, as did the image of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose body washed up last September on a beach in Turkey. Yet Omran's plight demonstrates that, nearly a year after the last child victim of Syrian horrors captured global sympathy, nothing has changed.

If anything, the violence in this multi-party proxy war seems to be getting worse. Since Aylan Kurdi's drowning, Russia began blitz-bombing Syria in support of the Assad regime. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimates that nine months of Russian airstrikes have killed 3,089 civilians – a toll that is greater, by some estimates, than the number of civilians killed by the Islamic State. By contrast, Syrian civilian deaths caused by U.S. airstrikes are probably in the hundreds (over roughly twice as much time, since U.S. airstrikes began in the summer of 2015). 

But Syrian airstrikes are responsible for the bulk of civilian deaths in Syria. The Assad regime killed 109,347 civilians between March 2011 and July 2014 (88 percent of the total casualties at the time), according to estimates by the Syrian Network for Human Rights. That works out to about 91 civilian deaths per day. More recently, the SOHR documented 9,307 civilian deaths from 35,775 regime airstrikes over a 20-month period running from November 2014 through June 2016. Thus, roughly one innocent Syrian was killed every hour, during the 20 months that the SOHR documented civilian casualties caused by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. 

Compare those figures to the number of innocent Palestinians killed by Israel from 2011 to 2014. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has been accused of anti-Israel bias37 Palestinians were killed in 2011, 103 in 2012, 15 in 2013 and1,500 in 2014 – the year when Hamas fired rockets at Israel from highly populated Gazan areas. That's a four-year total of 1,655. During roughly the same four-year period, the number of Syrian civilian deaths was about 76 times greater than the HRW total of Palestinian civilian casualties. 

Yet the European Union singles out Israel for conflict-related product labels without any similar attempt to warn European consumers about goods or services whose consumption in any way helps the economies of countries responsible for the Syrian bloodshed, including Syria, Russia, and Iran. Human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky has highlighted how none of these countries is targeted by those advocating a boycott of Israel out of a purported concern for human rights. In addition to supporting Assad’s brutality in Syria, Iran executes people for everything from drug offenses to being gay. But, absurdly enough, most of the results produced by a Google search for "academic boycott of Iran" or "academic boycott of Syria" concern academic boycotts of Israel. That asymmetry precisely captures the problem. 

Indeed, the global outcry over Syrian suffering is embarrassingly weak when compared to reactions to Israel's far less bloody conflict with the Palestinians. Imagine if Omran Daqneesh had been a Palestinian boy hurt by an Israeli airstrike on Gaza. College campus protests, the media, NGOs, and world bodies around the planet would be positively on fire. Israeli embassies would be attacked, French synagogues would be firebombed (eight were attacked in just one week during Israel's 2014 war with Gaza), Jews around the world would be attacked, and condemnations would pour in from the EU, the United Nations, and the Obama administration. UN resolutions and emergency sessions would condemn the incident. International investigations would be demanded. Global blame would deluge Israel, regardless of whether Hamas, a terrorist organization, actually started the fighting or used human shields to maximize civilian deaths. Israel would be obsessively demonized despite any risky and unprecedented measures the Israeli military might have taken to minimize civilian casualties. 

Moreover, when an occasional Syrian victim captures global attention, the protests are generally for some vague demand for "peace in Syria,” rather than blaming and demanding the punishment of Syria, Iran, and Russia, even though those regimes are clearly responsible for the slaughter. The starkly different reactions to Israel and Syria are even more shocking when it comes to the United Nations.

From its 2006 inception through August 2015, 62 United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions condemned Israel, compared to just 17 for Syria, five for Iran, and zero for Russia, according to the watchdog group UN Watch. The lopsided focus on Israel is equally appalling at the UN General Assembly, as UN Watch has highlighted. In each of the last four years, as the Syrian bloodbath claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, there were at least five times as many resolutions condemning Israel as those rebuking the rest of the world: 

2012: 22 against Israel, 4 for the rest of the world 

2013: 21 against Israel, 4 for the rest of the world 

2014 and 2015: 20 against Israel, 3 for the rest of the world

A corollary of the anti-Israel bias ensures that no Israeli victim will ever enjoy the kind of global sympathy expressed for Omran Daqneesh or Aylan Kurdi. When a Palestinian man enters the bedroom of a 13-year old girl and stabs her to death in her sleep, the world hardly notices and Obama says nothing even though she was a U.S. citizen. By contrast, imagine if the Israeli father of Hallel Yaffa Ariel had decided to take revenge by entering a nearby Palestinian home to stab a 13-year old Palestinian girl to death in her sleep. The global anger would be deafening. 

Why do Israeli lives matter so much less? And why do student activists, the UN, the EU, the media, and the rest of the world focus so much more on alleged Palestinian civilian deaths than on Syrian civilian deaths? Doing so is woefully unjust to Syrians. It is also deeply unfair to Israel, which has endured countless terrorist attacks on its people throughout its existence as a state. It is also the one country that, according to Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, has done more to protect civilians during war than any other in the history of war. 

The global obsession with condemning Israel not only defames a beleaguered democracy doing its best, but it also enables the truly evil actors like Syria, Iran, and Hamas, by giving them a pass on some of the world's worst crimes.

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

 

Golden Future for Jesus Followers

As the Olympic Games shows increasing signs of returning to its pagan[1] roots, the humility amid personal brilliance of a few outstanding Christian competitors shines out like stars in a darkened universe.

And its promotion as a showpiece for world peace and unity was tarnished by the hostility shown to the 47-member Israeli delegation[2] – 44 years after eleven Israeli athletes were massacred at the Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.

For Britain, bursting with pride after collecting a staggering 67 medals and finishing second in the table to the United States at Rio, it was an event to savour after some of our politicians had downplayed patriotism in favour of staying within the European Union.

It seems the British bulldog spirit has instead received a belated boost. But the prowess of our athletes isn’t enough; what the human body can achieve should not be an opportunity for self-congratulation, but for giving honour where it is really due as in the case of South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk, who gave glory to God just moments after his spectacular win in the 400 metres – echoing the gold medal won in the same event at the 1924 Paris Olympics by legendary Scottish athlete Eric Liddell, who went on to be a missionary in China.[3]

Holding up his running spikes, imprinted with the words ‘_Jesus I am all yours, use me_’ after breaking Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old record with a time of 43.03 seconds, Wayde told the BBC: “The only thing I can do now is to give God praise. I went on my knees each and every day and I told the Lord to take care of me every step of the way.”

His achievement is all the more amazing as he had to fight for his life when entering the world as a 2lb premature baby in Cape Town 24 years ago.

He was congratulated by Usain Bolt, another vocal Jesus-follower, who was on his way to completing an unprecedented triple hat-trick of titles with golds for 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m in three consecutive Olympics. The two might have competed together had the South African 200m champion elected not to enter that race in his first Olympics.

Also giving praise to Jesus was American pastor’s daughter Allyson Felix after winning two golds (4 x 100 & 4 x 400m) and a silver medal in the 400m individual.

Describing her ability as a gift from God, she said: “For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it’s all about using it to the best of my ability.”

But she has suffered pain and disappointment over the years, explaining: “It is with injuries my faith really plays a part because I know I’m able to look at the bigger picture and see that God has a plan for my life and that this is also part of it. I can’t imagine my life without Jesus. I can’t imagine just waking up and going through life without Him. He is my life and that’s what I live for. I have learned that track doesn’t define me. My faith defines me. I’m running because I have been blessed with a gift.”

And what about the Fijian rugby sevens team who, after winning gold by beating Team GB in the final for their country’s first ever Olympic medal, got down on their knees to praise and thank the Lord who is clearly first in their hearts!

As London vicar Andy Palmer[4] put it, they were reflecting the attitude shown by Israel’s King David in penning Psalm 104 that, whatever we achieve as humans, we are merely God’s creation and he is far greater than us – He is the one to be praised!

So let’s take inspiration from these Olympic heroes who understood that there is a bigger picture to our lives; that Jesus wants to win our hearts and a life lived without him is ultimately empty and meaningless.

The Apostle Paul was clearly familiar with the ancient Olympics, making several references to athletics in his letters to the early Christians. In a rebuke to the Galatians who had been deceived by false teaching, he scolds: “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5.7)

To the Philippians, he encourages them to join him as he presses on “towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3.14)

To Timothy his protégé, he urges: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4.7f)

And again to Timothy he declares: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim 4.7f)

Yes, there is a prize for which we can all strive, as St Paul reminds the Corinthians: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor 9.24–27)

And in the letter to the Hebrews, we are urged to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” (Heb 12.2)

So we can learn from athletes of the necessity for strict training in our spiritual lives because we are not running aimlessly, but for a crown that will last forever.

Having competed in many marathons, I have been hugely inspired by these scriptures over the years, encouraging me to keep going, and not give up, even though it hurts and the road ahead seems so long and arduous.

The only occasion I didn’t finish a race – ‘hitting a wall’[5] after 22 miles in the 1972 Scottish Marathon – made me realise there was more to life than running, that God had a purpose and plan for my life. And within a week I had asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour.

I have never looked back. I see this as a picture of Britain, a nation that has been running away from God in a fruitless race to nowhere. But now, perhaps shaken up by the Brexit vote, we have finally run out of steam, leaving us in a position to once more consider the claims of the Jewish Messiah who has helped to make our country great.

‘Britain’s golden age’ was how one tabloid described our success at Rio. Perhaps that is stretching it too far, but if we shift our emphasis to a pursuit of discovering our true purpose instead of a relentless striving after earthly comfort and material benefits, there is a ‘pot of gold’[6] at the end of the rainbow, and it’s found in the person of Jesus Christ, who said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6) Or as a Jewish friend told me, he (Jesus) is the only one who can take us to the finish line and award us the greatest medal of all – forgiveness of sin and eternal life!


  1. We have been reminded, in a Christianity Today article by Steven Gertz, that the Olympics was lost to the world for 1,500 years after being outlawed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in 393AD for being too pagan. Not only did it involve gory violence and naked competitors, but pigs and bulls were sacrificed to pagan gods, to whom athletes swore allegiance. (Apparently Theodosius was strongly influenced by Bishop Ambrose of Milan.) Alarmingly, the current Olympian anthem calls on an “ancient eternal spirit” – clearly with no connection to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – to bless its endeavours.  ↩

  2. An Egyptian judo competitor was sent home after refusing to shake the hand of his Israeli rival Or Sasson, who went on to win a bronze medal – somewhat ironic as the two countries have been at peace for 37 years – and the Lebanese Olympic delegation was reprimanded after blocking Israeli athletes from entering a bus they were supposed to share.  ↩

  3. The subject of the film Chariots of Fire, Liddell elected not to run his favoured race, the 100m, because the heats were held on a Sunday – the Lord’s Day – and surprised everyone with his brilliant run in the longer event. He went on to preach the gospel in China and died prematurely in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. But his legacy lives on – ultimately his whole life was run as a race to complete the work to which Jesus had called him.  ↩

  4. Rev Andy Palmer is vicar of St John’s, Downshire Hill, in Hampstead.  ↩

  5. An expression used by marathon runners to indicate complete inability to go any further  ↩

  6. According to the Bible, all believers can look forward to living in a city of pure gold (Rev 21.18)  ↩


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

 

Anti-Semitism in the Media

Most mainstream media are markedly anti-Israel. Their oft repeated excuse, "being anti-Israel is not the same as being anti-Semitic", is a transparent politically correct attempt to cover up their anti-Semitism and hatred of the existence of the Jewish people.

We repeatedly come across, and hear of, anti-Semitic articles, television programs or talkshow participants that regularly exhibit this phenomenon.

Recently a TV documentary aired concerning the bloody West Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue terrorist attack in which praying Jews were mercilessly murdered with knives, axes and a pistol. Five lost their lives in this attack including 3 rabbis and a policeman. The documentary described the deceased as radical, racist settlers in an attempt to shift the blame of the incident attempting to whitewash the guilt of the hateful murderers.

In another documentary aired on a German TV channel, Arab children were shown undergoing military style training with the purpose of being trained to kill Israelis. The presenter immediately claimed that, "both Israeli and Arab children are 'trained to hate' and are taught to mutually despise one another!" Again this was an attempt to place the blame for the hate of Jews equally on both Arabs AND Jews!

Therefore WE NEED YOU!

Israel Today, in collaboration with you, will compile and publish a media blacklist of entities that indulge in overt anti-Semitism. If you observe and witness these activities, we invite you to send us a report of specific incidents (no more than 300 words) to info@israeltoday.co.il, and we will publish selected reports to our site.



 

Israelis Praise Strong Response to Gaza Rocket

Israeli officials insisted they were not seeking an escalation after Gaza-based terrorists fired a rocket into southern Israel on Sunday, but also unequivocally signaled that such attacks would not be tolerated.

Just hours after the terrorist rocket landed in the backyard of a home in the southern town of Sderot, Israel launched a massive wave of aerial strikes on dozens of Hamas installations throughout Gaza.

While Israel was careful to avoid casualties (Hamas reported just 1–2 people physically injured in the strikes), it was an unprecedented response to a single rocket attack.

And that sat well with the battered residents of southern Israel.

“I am satisfied that we are not allowing this trickle of terror to continue and are responding harshly,” one Sderot resident, a mother of two, told the NRG news portal. “The other side has to learn that such random attacks threaten our children.”

Another local mother, Liat Peretz, added:

“It’s about time that every single attack will be met with a response. Our children are supposed to be on vacation, and every terrorist rocket sets them back (psychologically). My son suffers from anxiety, and I managed to get him out of the house only after I promised him that the IDF fought all night.”

 

Is Sharing the Gospel Different in Israel?

This has become a very contentious issue in Christianity today. It has split the followers of Yeshua into two groups with polar-opposite views on the subject. 

The first group, the traditional majority, are quite adamant that Jewish Israel should be treated no different than any other nation. They believe that Christians who say they love Israel and don’t boldly proclaim the Gospel to them are being two-faced. For them proclaiming the Gospel is understood as a face-to-face with someone to “make a decision for Christ.” 

The second group is comprised mostly of those known as “Christian Zionists.” Their view, which I subscribe to wholeheartedly, believes that in Israel love in action will speak louder than words. “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).

The reason this group believes sharing the Gospel must be different in Israel is because Jews are not like any other people on earth. Nor is their situation. “From the standpoint of the Gospel they are enemies for your sake. But from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:28,29).

After centuries of hateful persecution by the church, most Jews don’t want to hear another word from a Christian concerning “That Man.” They have heard it all, often at the point of a sword.  And since we are now in their land they don’t have to.

The only ones I feel who have any right to talk boldly about Yeshua in Israel are Jewish believers. They have a common heritage with Israelis, and have no doubt suffered similar discrimination in their lives. They at least can share how God showed them Yeshua really is the Messiah. 

Of course, Jewish believers have their own difficulties because though physically Jewish they are now viewed by their brethren as “Christians.” Sometimes even called “traitors.” Still, I believe they have more right to initiate sharing the Gospel message one-on-one than the rest of us. But any evangelism, even if done by Jews, will be ineffective if not done respectfully, in love and in God’s anointing.

At the root of this whole controversy in Christendom, I believe, is how one views “chosenness” under the New Covenant.  This Biblical doctrine, taught most notably by John Calvin, has long been a cause of division in the church. But as we know, division is not always a bad thing. Not when it is based on truth and a separation from error. Yeshua himself said, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division” (Luke 12:51).  The Reformation was certainly a good thing. And one day the wheat must be separated from the tares.

Christians who believe God is no longer choosing one person or group over another reject the idea of Jewish Israel today still being a chosen people.  A view no doubt reinforced by an unhealthy dose of Replacement Theology.  For them, all that matters is if one is saved or not. Since most Israelis still reject Yeshua as the Messiah they are viewed as being in the enemy’s camp and are deemed legitimate targets for a missionary project. Ignoring the painful historical background between Christians and Jews they get off the plane in Tel Aviv with Gospel tracts, ready to launch their Gospel crusade. 

Although these folks no doubt sincerely believe they are doing the will of God and fulfilling the commandment “to go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” in reality they are not. Many are probably just fulfilling their pastor’s outreach program. And because of their lack of discernment, they are actually interfering with the true work God is doing in the land. Which is to lovingly restore Israel after 2000 years of exile so she is ready to enter the coming Kingdom of God.

That’s where I believe God is using Christian Zionism. We just want to show them the love of God in Yeshua. If they ask why we care,*we wouldn’t be shy about telling them. But by then some kind of relationship has been established. They are asking because they see something in us they’ve not seen in many Christians before.

But just because we see sharing the Gospel to be different in Israel, and to Jews everywhere, doesn’t mean we believe the Gospel itself is different for them. Which some accuse us of teaching. No, Yeshua was quite clear that unless one is spiritually reborn “he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). And the only way for that to happen is through faith in Yeshua.

As we know, the word “Gospel” means “good news.” When it’s seen as “bad news” it’s time to stop talking. I can appreciate what Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said in a previous Israel Today article: “If God wants Jews to believe in Jesus, He will take care of it.” 

Since we know He does, we know He will. But it will be in His timing and in His way.

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

It Is Time For a New Beginning!

Soon the month of Elul is starting, the month of mercy and forgiveness. Elul is traditionally a month of introspection which culminates in the high holidays of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

During Elul Jews concentrate on the upcoming period of judgment and reconciliation.

Each morning the shofar is blown and penitential prayers are said. Jews the world over see this period as a time of new beginning.



 

Palestinian Mufti: All of Jerusalem is Islamic!

The Palestinian Authority-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein (pictured), declared on Sunday that the entire city belongs to Islam and the Arabs, and must be defended against the Jews.

Speaking on the 47th anniversary of an arson attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque by an Australian man, Hussein urged all Arabs living in the area to surround Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to prevent further visits to the holy site by Jews and other non-Muslims.

That despite the fact that the Temple Mount, as clearly documented by the Bible and numerous historical resources, has been Judaism’s holiest site since long before the advent of Islam.

But the Muslims have so thoroughly rewritten history to fit their agenda that even a top religious leader like Hussein can assert that “each floor of the holy city, every remnant of the city, and every centimeter attest to the fact that it is an Arab and Islamic city, whose roots lie deep in history and culture.”

Two days earlier, Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque were led by Sheikh Ismail Nawahada, who likewise rejected any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and insisted that it was forbidden for Muslims to cooperate with the Jews in their “conquest” of the city.

 

Arab Athlete Proud to Represent Israel at Paralympics

A 26-year-old legally-blind Arab woman says she is proud to be representing Israel at the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Olympic Games have come to an end, which means it’s just about time for the Paralympics. And this year Israel is looking for gold from its women’s goalball team.

Goalball was devised in the 1970s specifically as a sport for blind athletes, and was added to the Paralympics program in 1980.

Elham Mhamid of the Galilee town of Umm el-Fahm was the first Israeli woman to take up the sport.

Today, Mhamid is caption of the Israeli women’s goalball team, and she told The Jerusalem Post that she takes “a lot of pride” in representing Israel.

“I will do everything to make my country, my relatives and the Arab sector proud, showing that there is no difference between all of us and that we can live together,” she said.

Umm el-Fahm is regarded as a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment, and Mhamid noted that she only started learning Hebrew when she was 18. But despite initial tension with some of her Jewish teammates, she soon came to the realization that, contrary to what she was raised to believe, the Jews are not her enemies.

“We slowly began to get to know each other and everything worked out. Now I feel that I really belong. I love everyone and they love me,” Mhamid said. “We sleep together, we go out together, we train together, we cry together and we do everything together.”

As an Arab, Mhamid told the Post that while she can’t personally relate to Israel’s national anthem, “I still get emotional hearing it when I’m on the top of the podium and I see the flag.”

 

NEW! Iced Coffee & Iced Tea a la Israel

The Israeli food manufacturer Elite, has made their popular ice coffee powder available once again. Just add ice cold milk and you have a refreshing summer drink.

On warm summer days there are very few things more refreshing to drink than cold water. One of the things that is more refreshing is a drink of cold water infused with a fruit tea!

B'Teavon!!

p.s. Do you know what matkot is?



 

Hezbollah Threatens to Invade Israel, Destroy Jewish State

A top Hezbollah leader this month said that the Lebanese terrorist militia is now capable of not only firing missiles at Israel, but can also launch a ground invasion of the Jewish state.

“Israel is closer than ever before to its demise,” Lebanese cleric Hashem Safieddine, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, said in an interview with Mayadeen TV.

Asked by the host if Hezbollah had the capability of waging a ground war on Israeli soil, Safieddine insisted that it did.

“Even more than that. We have that capability,” stated Safieddine, prompting the host to wonder, “Even further than the Galilee?”

“We have that capability. Of course,” replied Safieddine, suggesting that Hezbollah believes itself capable of penetrating deep into the heart of Israel.

 

VIDEO: What Tel Aviv Looks Like in 60 Seconds

Stunning aerial footage of Tel Aviv filmed by our favorite Messianic YouTuber, Hananya Naftali, using his new Phantom 3 Advanced drone.

 

Rabbi: Jews Will Come to Jesus - When God Decides

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who solicits Christian support for Israel, makes some shocking statements in a new Israeli-authored biography.

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

 

Palestinians Fume as Europe Fails to Back BDS

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief “peace” negotiator and current secretary-general of the PLO terrorist organization, lashed out this week over Europe’s failure to more substantially support efforts to boycott Israel.

Erekat penned an op-ed for Newsweek in which he asserted that the Palestinians were “astonished” by recent statements by European officials opposing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian official was shocked that European leaders had recently praised Israel’s human rights record, tacitly approved the import of Jewish “settler” products, and, at least in the UK, taken steps to criminalize boycotts against Israel.

Erekat demanded that the EU issue fresh statements reversing these positions, and insisted that the Palestinians would no longer accept what he called empty expressions of support for the Palestinian cause.

But do the Palestinians, as Erekat claims, really support BDS? There’s plenty of evidence to suggest most of them don’t.

Last year, Israel Today interviewed for our print magazine a leading Palestinian human rights activist who told us that he is “opposed to the boycott because it only ends up harming the Palestinians themselves.”

A year earlier, a survey conducted by the Palestinian Authority’s own Consumer Protection Authority revealed that 70 percent of imports to the Palestinian Authority were Israeli products. So much for that boycott.

As reported by the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, most Palestinian consumers prefer Israeli products because they are cheaper than European imports, but of much higher quality than cheaper Arab imports.

In 2013, during a visit to South Africa, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas directly contradicted what Erekat is now saying by stating that the Palestinians “do not support the boycott of Israel.”

Abbas urged supporters of the Palestinians cause to boycott anything produced in the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), but was adamant that his regime was “not asking anyone to boycott Israel itself.”

 

Rain in August?

Summer weather is consistently hot and dry in Israel. But on Thursday the day started with gray skies and pleasant temperatures throughout most of the country.

While meteorologists had already on Wednesday spoken of the possibility of light rain in the north and the coastal region, residents of the Sharon area (Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan region) were surprised by the heavy rainfall in August.

Rain in Netanya

A meteorologist explained that light rain in August can happen, and has done so every few years. “In recent years, however, we had relatively warm summers, so there were no rains,” he said.

On Friday, things will go back to normal as the hot and dry weather returns.

 

Netanyahu: I Care More For Palestinians Than Their Own Leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week posted another social media video in which he asserted that Israel cares more about the Palestinians than do their own leaders.

Netanyahu asked watchers to imagine how the situation in the region would look if the ruling Palestinian factions used their huge influxes of foreign financing to better lives, rather than bankroll war.

 

Israeli Jets Fly With, Face Off Against Muslim Air Forces

For the second year in a row, the Israel Air Force is taking part in Red Flag, the world’s largest air force training exercise, hosted annually at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada.

Besides Israel and the American hosts, the current maneuvers also include the air forces of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

During Red Flag, the participating nations are split into two teams before engaging in mock aerial combat, search and rescue, ground attacks and various other missions.

Last year, Israel was joined by the air forces of Singapore and Jordan. Reportedly, the Israeli delegation refueled a number of the Jordanian fighters midair during the long flight to the United States.

In addition to the unique and high-quality training opportunities afforded by Red Flag, the Israelis see it as a sort of diplomatic mission that allows them to forge connections with the armed forces of nations with which Israel has no formal diplomatic relations.

 

"Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." Luke 18:17

Remembering back to June 2014, Israel was under rocket fire. The tolerance and morale of Israel was being worn down slowly. The attitudes towards our Arab citizens were changing for the worse despite many trying their best to avoid the feelings. Driving with my 8 year-old son one day I was cut-off by an Arab driver forcing me to take avoiding action or we would have been involved in a nasty accident.

I instinctively made a reference to the other driver as an Arab and my son immediately retorted, "Mom! Don't talk like that. Not all Arabs are like that! There are also Arabs that love us." I looked over at him saw the disbelief on his face at my actions. He told about a visit by school psychologists that very day who explained the difference between Hamas, the IDF and Israeli Arabs.

He finished his story with the phrase, "Not all of them hate us and want us dead!" I was taken aback and accepted the lesson he recounted without a word. Later as I reflected on what he had said, the words of Yeshua in Luke 18:17 became clear to me.

"Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." Luke 18:17



 

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