Why Israel is the World's Startup Nation

"There is no other country on earth that thinks the same way that we [at Google] do like Israel does. Israel truly is the ‘Startup Nation.’ You think like us."

The full article appears in the January 2017 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Israel Makes Wish Come True for Gaza Girl Suffering From Cancer

This story happened a couple months back, but we are quite certain that amidst all the bashing of Israel, the mainstream Western media ignored it completely.

Little Aya is suffering from advanced leukemia. Back in August of last year, she was given a permit, along with her mother, to travel from Gaza to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem to receive the care she needs.

After three months of tests and treatment, including intensive chemotherapy, little Aya had just one wish - to go to the beach again.

The “Make a Wish Ambulance” from Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service happily made that wish come true.

They took Aya and her mother for a day of sun, waves and pizza along the beaches of Tel Aviv. Then it was back to Jerusalem for continued treatment.

All Aya’s mother wishes is for her little girl to get better. And there, too, Israel is doing all it can to make her wish come true.

This is the real Israel. The Israel that isn’t afraid to fight, but also loves and cares for its enemies. The Israel that, given the opportunity, wants nothing more than to live in peace and harmony with its Arab neighbors.

 

Jerusalem Mayor Barkat Gushes Praise for Trump

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is urging all Israelis to voice their unequivocal support of US President-elect Donald Trump ahead of his inauguration on Friday.

In a video posted to the Internet this week, Barkat said that Israelis must join with Trump to “make the US-Israeli relationship great again.”

He continued:

“This week Donald Trump will enter the White House as president. Let’s together welcome him as a friend and thank him for his intention to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.”

In an interview with the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom earlier this week, Trump said he had not forgotten his pledge to return the US Embassy to Israel’s capital.

“Of course I remember what I said about Jerusalem,” he told the newspaper. “You know that I am not a person who breaks promises.”

Sunday’s “peace” conference in Paris warned Trump against moving the embassy, as did Barack Obama in his final press conference as president. The Palestinian Arabs have vowed an “explosion” should Trump fulfill that particular promise, which would show firm support for Israel’s position that Jerusalem is its eternal, undivided capital.

 

Police Officer Killed, Arab Knesset Member Wounded in Violent Clashes

Police attempting to enforce a demolition order in the southern Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran on Wednesday were violently opposed by local residents, left-wing activists and Arab Israeli Members of Knesset.

A great many Bedouins construct houses and other buildings on state property without purchasing the land or otherwise obtaining the necessary permits. Every once in a while, Israeli courts actually issue a demolition order in response to this criminal activity.

The officers taking part in Wednesday’s demolition expected opposition, but didn’t expect the day to end in bloodshed and death.

Already during the early morning hours, residents, activists and Arab MKs violently demonstrated, some hurling stones at the police.

MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List party, was wounded in the head during this confrontation. Police officials say Odeh was hit by one of the stones thrown by the protesters. Fellow Arab lawmakers insisted that was a lie, and that the police had shot him. They couldn’t explain why Odeh had no signs of a bullet wound.

A short time later, a local Bedouin resident began speeding toward the police line in his pickup truck. It is unclear whether police opened fire before or after he reached their lines, but the outcome was that the driver was killed and that he ran over and killed one of the officers.

 

Paris Answer to Prayer

Britain’s change of heart over their Israel policy is a welcome answer to prayer, and goes some way to make amends for their shameful betrayal when voting for the recent UN resolution aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state.

But their refusal to sign the Paris ‘peace conference’ communiqué is nevertheless a contradiction, reflecting the moral confusion of a government no longer recognizing right from wrong.

“There are risks,” the UK government warned, “that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace.”[1]

Thankfully, the Paris meeting merely re-stated the oft-repeated position of most nations, calling on Israel and the Palestinians to renew their commitment to a ‘two-state solution’, whereas it was expected to try to impose a settlement on the protagonists despite their absence from the proceedings, derided by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu as “futile” and described by Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon as “flat as a failed soufflé”.[2]

Indeed, hard-earned taxpayers’ money will have funded a luxury weekend jaunt for diplomats from the 70 participating countries just to read a script.

A hundred years ago, when Britain pledged their support for Jewish repatriation in their ancient homeland through the Balfour Declaration, many of the Cabinet looked to the Bible for guidance. They were, after all, evangelical Christians.

Now most of our politicians choose instead to consult the Politically-Correct Dictionary. On this occasion, however, they have changed their tune which many believers put down to divine intervention in the form of answered prayer.

Tragically, the same government we expect to honour Israel (for biblical reasons as much as anything else) and do right by other nations passes laws approving wholly inappropriate behaviour between members of the same sex and then disapproves of those, like Christians, who refuse to hold that view because it is plainly wrong and against the teachings of the Bible.

Dame Louise Casey, for example, in addressing a parliamentary committee on the findings of the Trojan Horse scandal (exposing radicalization within certain Muslim schools), suggested that Christian schools may also be targeted for their teaching of biblical views on sexuality.

She said the issues raised by Trojan Horse were “not okay, in the same way that it is not okay for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage.”[3]

Equally absurd at a time when the National Health Service has been in the headlines for being in a state of virtual collapse amid huge demands in the face of lack of staff, facilities and finance, we hear of a completely unnecessary operation they are funding at a cost of around £29,000.

A 20-year-old woman who has been living as a man has become the UK’s first ‘transgender’ individual to become pregnant. She has been taking male hormones, but decided to postpone surgery to have her breasts and ovaries removed so that she could give birth, and duly became pregnant after finding a sperm donor through a Facebook group.[4]

What incredibly warped, upside-down, thinking drives our leaders these days? But this is what the Bible says: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5.20)

It’s time to awake from our spiritual slumber.


  1. Jerusalem News Network, January 16 2017, quoting the Jerusalem Post  ↩

  2. World Israel News, January 16 2017  ↩

  3. Saltshakers, January 14 2017, quoting the Christian Institute  ↩

  4. Saltshakers, January 14 2017, quoting Christian Concern  ↩

 

In memory of Shira

Dear friends,

It has not been long since the dreadful news of the terrorist attack in Jerusalem killed three young girls and a young man. All of Israel is still shaken and the mourning and solidarity is being shown from all corners of the world.

This tragedy has touched me personally and goes deep, very deep! It has taken me a while to be able to put anything into words at all... It is difficult to describe my feelings which accompany a day-to-day life...

Shira was the daughter of Einat and Dudi, who I met shortly after arriving in Israel 27 years ago, when attending a pre-natal course. Einat and I gave birth just 1 day apart and our sons, Yarin and Adi, lay side by side in the hospital. Since then we have been in contact. We also lived in the neighbourhood and our children played and grew up together. Dudi and Einat went to live in Germany, my home country, as representatives of the Israeli Navy. Shira showed an affection to Germany and enjoyed her time there. Shira was a perfect ambassador of both Israel and Germany.

As a mother of children that have served in the IDF, I know what it is like to have sleepless nights worrying about the safety of one's children.

And then it happens,
The misfortune!!!
So close to you,
That it takes your breath away.
The pain...

It is difficult to comprehend the pain that Einat and Dudi are experiencing after the loss of their daughter that many parents and families in Israel have endured. And to realize that it could have been you. The thought is unbearable!

One hopes that sooner or later a solution will be found in which the people of the Middle East could live together in peace so that no mother will have to live in fear of her children's safety not to mention experiencing a tragic loss!

In memory of Shira

Cathrin Shalev

After the numerous incidents and attacks on our soldiers, in the last few weeks and months, we decided to continue the project "Warm Clothes - Warm Heart"! Show our children the love and support they deserve!



(The author: Cathrin Shalev, born in Lippert, Germany, has been living with her family in Haifa since 1990. In her youth, she was a German champion and international tennis player. After immigrating to Israel for love, she worked for the intercultural exchange and the understanding of the German - speaking countries, especially Germany and Austria, with Israel. She worked in the German honorary consulate, established a language school for German as a foreign language in northern Israel, is a member of the board of directors of the Haifa Foundation, in particular for the German partner cities, and since 2007 as the administrative director of the DAAD Center for German and European Studies at the University of Haifa as well as a lecturer in German and European Studies.)

 

Obama, Kerry Still Think They Were Good for Israel

Outgoing US President Barack Obama and his top diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, were busy this week defending their record on Israel, despite recent outright betrayals of the Jewish state.

In a farewell interview on CNN, Kerry explained why the Obama Administration refused to veto last month’s UN Security Council resolution targeting Israel, and why he thinks it was a “friendly” gesture.

The resolution called the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and on the eastern side of Jerusalem illegal. Included in those territories is the Old City of Jerusalem and Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

But Kerry glossed over that inconvenient truth:

“We, at the UN, made the decision we made, because we believe that Israel has a major choice and the Palestinians have a major choice. The choice we put to Israel is ‘if you want to be a Jewish state and you want to be a democracy, you cannot be a unitary state’ and right now they are marching down the road because of the increased settlements, because of the absence of a legitimate negotiation toward that possibility.”

Kerry, and Obama, have also ignored the fact that the resolution has only emboldened Israel’s enemies. Some feel that was their intention all along.

But according to Kerry, Israel has no better friend than the outgoing administration.

“All we are trying to do is speak as a good, solid best friend of Israel and we have done more for this government, more for Israel than any other administration,” he said.

Of course, Israel’s government sees the situation very differently.

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the Middle East peace conference that was taking place in Paris the same day, and which was enthusiastically attended by Kerry as a follow-up to his administration’s behavior at the UN.

“I must say that this conference is among the last twitches of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow’s world will be different – and it is very near,” Netanyahu said in clear reference to Israel’s anticipation of this Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

 

UK Blocks Adoption of 'Unhelpful' Paris Conference Declaration

After helping the UN Security Council pass a harsh anti-Israel resolution last month, Britain this week turned the tables and blocked the European Union from officially adopting the final declaration from Sunday’s Middle East peace conference in Paris.

London spurned the conference by sending three low-level diplomats, while the other 70 or so nations attending all sent heads of state or foreign ministers.

British officials noted the ridiculous timing of the conference, just days ahead of the inauguration of a new US administration that has very different views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict than its predecessor. They also pointed out that Israel and the Palestinians weren’t even at the conference, and yet everyone there agreed that peace can only be achieved through bilateral negotiations.

London further stressed that the most likely outcome of the conference would be a hardening of Palestinian positions, putting true peace even further out of reach.

At the end of the confab, both the UK and Australia refused to sign the final declaration, which, as usual, placed the lion’s share of the blame for the lack of peace on Jewish settlement activity.

No matter. The European Union still intended to adopt the declaration. But London had other plans.

At the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, the UK again refused to endorse the document, and convinced several eastern European nations to do the same. The council can only officially adopt such resolutions with a unanimous vote.

PHOTO: Israel Prime Minister meets with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson late last year in Jerusalem (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

 

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Trump Taps Jewish Son-In-Law to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Jared Kushner, who is married to US President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, will be the next American peace envoy to the Middle East.

Trump confirmed the appointment in an weekend interview with London’s Sunday Times.

“You know what? Jared is such a good lad, he will secure an Israel deal which no one else has managed to get. You know, he’s a natural talent, he is the top, he is a natural talent. You know what I’m talking about – a natural talent. He has an innate ability to make deals, everyone likes him,” Trump told the newspaper.

Kushner was said to have been one of Trump’s chief advisers on foreign policy during the election campaign.

In the past, Kushner’s family donated large sums of money to Jewish settlement projects in Judea and Samaria.

 

Britain Needs to Protect Israel Until I Get in Office, Says Trump

US President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday urged Britain to veto any new anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council this week.

There is some concern that after yesterday’s “peace” summit in Paris, the Palestinians and their allies will introduce another motion, possibly recognizing an independent Palestinian state.

After this Friday, January 20, Trump will be in the White House, and intends to slap down any UN efforts detrimental to the Jewish state.

But until then, he doesn’t trust President Barack Obama, and hope the right-wing government of British Prime Minister Theresa May will get the job done.

Trump made his remarks in an interview with London’s Sunday Times.

 

Erev Miskhakim - Games evening

Every week Israelis usually look forward to spending "Leil Shabbat - Friday evenings" together. After welcoming in the Shabbat and enjoying the weekly festive meal together, the experiences of the week are exchanged.

Often the family turn the evening into a games evening, savouring a cup of tea, sharing treats and enjoying the family time together on Shabbat.

Why not spend quality-time with your loved ones with our brand new "MONOPOLY Jerusalem"? The whole family can experience a short trip to Jerusalem: experiencing sights from the Machane Yehuda market to the Western Wall.

While playing, why not warm up with some flavorful Israeli tea sweetened with Silan from Israel.

You can also find some of our other available specials here as well!



 

Israel Watches Unimpressed as Nations Gather to Decide Fate of Holy Land

The nations of the world gathering in Paris on Sunday to determine the fate of the Holy Land. Israel was not among them, and watched wholly unimpressed as the international diplomats engaged in “pointless” dialogue.

Trying to sound a note of balance, French President Francois Hollande said that both Palestinian terrorism and Jewish settlements are holding up peace in the Middle East.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was dismissive.

“The conference that is convening today in Paris is a pointless conference,” he said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “It was coordinated by the French and the Palestinians and aims to force conditions on Israel that conflict with our national interests.”

In a none-too-subtle reference to Donald Trump’s inauguration later this week as president of the United States, Netanyahu said that Israel need hold fast only a little longer.

The Paris conference “is among the last remnants of the world of yesterday,” the prime minister said. “Tomorrow will look different, and that tomorrow is very close.”

Trump was actually a major topic of discussion at the Paris confab.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault blasted the US president-elect over his firm commitment to finally move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, in accordance with US law.

“When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace,” insisted Ayrault.

The Palestinian have threatened to “unleash hell” if Trump actually goes through with the embassy move.

The French criticism of Trump was sure to delight outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in attendance.

 

Israel Suspected in Aerial Assault on Damascus Airport

Over the weekend, the Al-Mezzeh military airport in Damascus was heavily bombed. The Syrian regime immediately pointed an accusatory finger at Israel.

The Syrian army accused the Jewish state of support rebel groups, and said that the “Israeli enemy” had fired several missiles from the skies over the Sea of Galilee, without violating Syrian airspace.

Israel has repeatedly warned that it would respond forcefully to any aggression from the Syrian side of the border.

And that includes strengthening Israel’s Lebanese foe, Hezbollah.

While the Israeli government would neither confirm nor deny involvement in the Damascus bombing, journalist and military expert Ron Ben-Yishai said it was likely meant to prevent the delivery of Iranian missiles to Hezbollah.

The attack was part of the “war between the wars,” Ben-Yishai wrote in an article for the Ynet news portal.

A Syrian military source told Russian media that the Israelis had used their new US-made F–35 fighter jets in the attack.

 

No Peace in Paris

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a problem that is going to disappear with a wave of a magic wand weaved by the world’s politicians. It’s an age-old dilemma that has spiritual roots, and a spiritual solution.

Representatives of 70 nations will descend on Paris on Sunday for a global conference to promote a “two-state solution” as the way to lasting peace in the Middle East. It’s a ‘peace’ they plan to impose on Israel, who will not even be there! And the fear among Jews is that whatever is agreed in France will be used as the basis for a UN Security Council resolution that would permanently divide Israel and create an Islamic Palestinian state.

But the nations are merely engaging in another distraction – a denial of reality – that does not begin to address the issue. Just three weeks ago the UN passed a resolution declaring that Israel is illegally ‘occupying’ much of the land to which it is historically, and biblically, entitled – including the Temple Mount, Western Wall and the Old City itself (every inch of east Jerusalem, in fact) which has been part of Judaism for thousands of years. And Britain, to its shame, voted for this!

In rewriting history and making a mockery of justice and fairness, the United Nations has become a sick joke as it brazenly continues to back the Palestinian narrative that would drive Israel into the sea. Their spokesmen have been quoted over and again saying that they only want such a state as a launch pad for ridding the region of Jews altogether.[1]

The response to the truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem which killed four Israeli Defence Force soldiers[2] says it all. Arab Palestinians took to the streets and social media to celebrate and, in Gaza, the ruling Hamas terrorist group praised the attack as a “natural response to the Israeli occupier’s crimes”. People in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-controlled ‘West Bank’ were seen festively handing out sweets to mark the occasion.

According to the PA, the murder of Israeli youths is sanctioned by Islam! The official PA daily said the killer “died as a Shahid” (that is, a martyr for Allah). And the Authority will now reward the terrorist’s wife with a lifetime monthly allowance of £627 ($760 or 2,900 shekels). And this in a territory led by Mahmoud Abbas – a so-called ‘moderate’.

No, the problem is not the settlements, or Jewish communities, built on disputed land claimed by the Palestinians. The root of this enduring conflict is anti-Semitism, currently in the shape of Islamic fundamentalism. Actually, Israel is entitled under international law to Judea and Samaria (currently known as the West Bank) courtesy of the San Remo Conference of 1922 in the aftermath of World War I. In fact it was around this time that a ‘two-state solution’ was first tried when, with the stroke of a pen, the British Government handed over a major portion of the territory originally earmarked for Israel to the Arabs – the country now known as Jordan. So why is there a need for further division?

The Paris Conference, like the recent UN resolution, could well make things worse for Israel and render peace even less likely by encouraging terror groups to believe they have the backing of world powers.

This would be a profound tragedy, however, especially for the nations involved. There will undoubtedly be further battles for Israel, but in the end they hold the ‘trump’ card – and I am not referring to the incoming U.S. President.

Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, will return to his beloved land – and the nations who scattered his people and divided up his land will be put on trial. But the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem will be restored. (See Joel 3.1f)

Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and will be king over the whole earth. (Zechariah 14.1–9)

Come, Lord Jesus!


  1. For this and other information in this article, I am indebted to David Soakell’s January 12 2017 newsletter, Watching Over Zion, produced weekly for Christian Friends of Israel, as well as to official PA TV, January 8 2017.  ↩

  2. This included three young women aged 20–22, one of whom, Yael Yekutiel, was a Facebook friend of my CFI colleague David Soakell, who described the 20-year-old officer as “full of light and life” who “seemed to love everyone and everyone loved her.” David himself narrowly missed being a victim of a suicide bomb back in 2002.  ↩

 

Video of the Day: Gate of Mercy

On Thursday, popular Israeli musician, singer and poet Meir Banai passed away. He was only 55.

Banai belonged to the well-known Banai family that has produced many top artists and musicians over the years.

Meir Banai had numerous hits to his name, including the one in the video above, titled Sha'ar HaRachamim - Gate of Mercy.

 

Trump's Secretary of State Affirms Strong Support for Israel

Incoming US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday voiced strong support for Israel in his new role.

That was something of a relief. Tillerson was previously CEO of Exxon Mobil, and had for years done business with some of Israel’s Middle East foes.

But at his Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson made no qualms about labeling Israel “our most important strategic partner in the region.”

He even took aim at outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry for being so hostile toward the Jewish state.

“The secretary’s speech, which followed that UN resolution (condemning the presence of Jews in areas claimed by the Arabs), I found quite troubling because of the attacks on Israel and in many ways undermining the government of Israel itself in terms of its own legitimacy and the talks,” said Tillerson.

When it comes to US foreign policy under Trump, Tillerson affirmed that “Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region. I think in the Trump administration, the president-elect already made it clear and, if I’m confirmed, I agree entirely and will support (Israel).”

 

Moon-Walkers' Heavenly Perspective

Following in the steps of Jesus was more exciting than walking on the moon. These are the words attributed to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon’s surface, during a visit to Israel.

And fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who accompanied him for the Apollo 11 lunar landing, was similarly taken up with a heavenly perspective. Shortly after touching down where no man had been before, he took communion with bread and wine he had carried from earth in special plastic packages, and ensured that among the first words ever spoken there were those of the Creator of the Universe, Jesus Christ, when he read a passage from John’s Gospel. (The bread and wine are symbols of the sacrifice Jesus made – through his broken body and shed blood – in dying for our sins on the cross).

Buzz had wanted to share his experience with the world at the time – back in 1969 – but NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) were embroiled in a legal controversy over broadcasting the Christian beliefs of their pilots, and he was persuaded to tone down his enthusiasm. He went ahead with the ceremony nevertheless, but with radio contact switched off.

Completing a trio of famous astronauts with a strong faith in the Creator is John Glenn, who recently died, aged 95, and who was the first man to orbit the earth in space.

When Neil Armstrong visited Israel in 1994, he asked his host, archaeologist Meir Ben Dov, if there was a place where Jesus would undoubtedly have walked when he was on earth. Dov, one of the excavators of the Temple Mount, was sure that he would have used the southern steps as he walked up to the Temple. So when Armstrong got there, the man who is more famous for his statement “This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” is understood to have bent down and kissed the ground, saying that this was an even more exciting moment for him than walking on the moon.

This rings so true. I can’t speak for the moon, but I know that there is something out of this world about Israel – and Jerusalem in particular. As the Bible says, it truly is God’s city, and when you know that it is where Jesus walked, your faith really does come alive in a new way.

Back to Buzz Aldrin and the controversy surrounding Apollo 11. A previous mission, Apollo 8, was the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. On Christmas Eve 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast in the world at the time, the crew read in turn from the opening verses of the Bible (Genesis chapter 1). Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman unashamedly recited the first ten verses (focusing on creation) to a world still mercifully free of political correctness.

Aldrin had planned to do something similar by sharing communion with the world over the radio, but NASA were in the middle of a legal battle with arch-atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair who was determined to remove Christian influence from schools and other public organizations.

So, just before the two men stepped onto the lunar surface, Aldrin reluctantly switched off radio communication and took communion while also reading a verse from John’s Gospel. Later explaining what he did, he said: “I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture (quoting Jesus), ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.’

“It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

And through Aldrin’s momentous decision, the first ever ceremony to be performed on the moon was in honour of his Lord, who created it all!

Madalyn O’Hair’s atheistic life mission ended tragically in 1995 when she was murdered, along with her son and granddaughter, by fellow anti-God activist David Waters. Surviving son William J Murray, who thus lost his mother, brother and daughter, had been disowned by his family after becoming a Christian in 1980.

Meanwhile John Glenn, whose historic space flight aboard Friendship 7 in 1962 catapulted him to heroic stature, was also a man of deep Christian faith. And when he again left the bounds of earth on December 8, 2016, he passed into the arms of his Saviour, Jesus Christ.

He said he prayed every day during those pioneering space flights, which were inherently risky, and shortly after orbiting the earth he delivered a sermon entitled Why I know there is a God that described how his mission had strengthened his belief, and pointing out “the orderliness of the whole universe about us, from the smallest atomic structure to the most enormous thing we can imagine.”

In 1998, aged 77, Glenn returned to space on the Space Shuttle Discovery’s STS-95 mission, becoming the oldest person to travel in space. Afterwards he told reporters: “Looking at the earth from this vantage point, looking at this kind of creation and not to believe in God is, to me, impossible. To see [earth] laid out like that only strengthens my beliefs.”

Sources

  • For Buzz Aldrin’s story – www.reallifestories.org founded by Rev Ralph Burden
  • For Neil Armstrong’s Israel visit – Christian Friends of Israel’s David Soakell in his weekly newsletter Watching Over Zion, December 8 2016
  • For John Glenn’s story – Mark Ellis, senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and founder of www.Godreports.com

Image Credit: NASA via Flash90

 

Radical Left-Wing NGO Banned From Israeli Schools

A radical left-wing NGO that aims to disparage the Israeli army could soon be banned from entering Israeli schools.

The Knesset on Wednesday passed the first reading of a bill that would prevent “Breaking the Silence” from holding events at public schools.

The motion did not pass easily. After a fiery debate, just 51 out of 120 members of Knesset voted in favor. But only 17 voted against.

Members of the extreme leftist political party Meretz tried to disrupt the proceedings and had to be forcibly removed from the plenum.

Breaking the Silence has for years promoted bombshell allegations of aggressive and brutal behavior by Israeli soldiers toward Palestinian Arabs.

But the group has been accused of exaggerating and even fabricating such stories. And it’s refusal to reveal the identities of the supposedly disgruntled soldiers telling these tales has only fueled suspicions.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (pictured) said the group’s only true goal is to poison Israeli society against the IDF.

During the debate over the new bill, Bennett stated:

“Breaking the Silence aims not only to poison the world against us, with their hatred of Israel, but also to poison our children and youth. They want to visit schools and poison the students with their ugly lies. Whoever poisons our youth and harms the IDF abrogates his rights to meet with Israel’s students.”

Bennett stressed that he and other supporters of the bill were not trying to silence anything. It has been widely noted that the IDF is already its own harshest critic, and any legitimate claims of abuse are vigorously investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted.

Rather, the bill seeks to bring greater unity.

“It is a law supporting true education, values, Zionism, and significant contributions to the IDF,” said Bennett. “Israeli schools will educate students to work together and not harm each other, to appreciate the good Israel’s soldiers do for us and not to try to hurt them.”

PHOTO: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

 

Meryl Streep Takes Subtle Jab at Israel While Trashing Trump

While accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes earlier this week, actress Meryl Streep went on a rant about how terrible she thinks Donald Trump is.

Undetected until a couple days later was that Streep also took a subtle jab at Israel.

During her tirade, Streep began listing actors who were born outside of the United States. It was meant to shame Trump for his alleged anti-immigrant views.

As she named off each actor, Streep noted where he or she was born, including the city and country.

For instance, “Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy… And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia…”

But when Streep got to actress Natalie Portman, she simply mentioned that the star “was born in Jerusalem.”

It might seem like a minor omission. But it is the same omission the US State Department makes on all documents issued by its consulate in Jerusalem. The city is never paired with the country, Israel. Because Washington and Hollywood don’t accept that Jerusalem belongs to Israel and the Jews.

PHOTO: Natalie Portman in Jerusalem to promote a new movie in 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

 

Berlin Draped In Blue And White

For Israel this image was not just a sign of solidarity! After the Christmas market truck ramming attack in Berlin, it seems as if a little understanding for Israeli terror victims is now being demonstrated.

A day later the projector was switched off and the Brandenburg Gate returned to its golden glow. The moment of solidarity passed.

But we know that the thoughts of our Israeli friends and readers are still with us and that you bear our Israeli soldiers up in prayer.

We would like to offer you an opportunity to show your solidarity with our soldiers!

Purchase a Soldiers Winter Package for $75 and receive an annual subscription of Israel Today Magazine.



PHOTO: Courtesy Wilfried Winzer

 

'Our Father Abraham Walked Here'

Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (pictured) on Tuesday toured the biblical city of Hebron and decried the restrictions placed on Jews living there.

Referring to upcoming inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump, and the departure from the White House of Barack Obama, Shaked said there would very soon be no more excuses for failing to strengthen the Jewish presence in this cradle of Jewish civilization.

“It is unthinkable that construction in Hebron has been stuck for so many years,” Shaked told reporters. Hebron is one of the cities claimed by the Palestinian Arabs, and so the world says any Jews living there are “occupiers.”

Shaked said that position blatantly disregards historical and biblical facts.

“This place is ours both by legal and historic right,” she insisted. “Our forefather Abraham walked here and began to build a nation which taught the world what true morality means. Afterwards, David, King of Israel, established his monarchy here.”

Like many in the Israeli government, Shaked hopes that after the January 20 inauguration of Donald Trump, she won’t have to continue explaining the obvious.

“I wish to say from this place that in ten days time all the excuses will be gone. We must build and build, develop Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria since it is our home. This is our right,” she concluded.

PHOTO: Photo by Marc Israel / Sellem / POOL / Flash90

 

VIDEO: Winter Wonderland in the Galilee

 

Learn About Spirulina - A New Trend In Health

Algae has been discovered as superfood and is being produced in commercial quantities in the Holy Land.

Israel is on the way to become an international supplier of algae. From the cultivation of the tiny, persistent plants in giant tubes filled with bubbling water, to the production and distribution of healthy foods, food supplements and cosmetic products.

One of Israel's leading superfood manufacturers is Spirulina. The company has been producing high-quality products for six years near the city of Ashkelon in the southern part of Israel.

In defiance of the worldwide BDS actions against Israel, we urge you to support Israel! We offer you a selection of healthy and tasty Spirulina health bars and crispy flakes in our online store.



 

'My Love, Answer Me...'

Shiri, debri eeti dachouf… chaim sheli, debri eeti - “Shiri, speak to me urgently… My love, speak to me”

Those were the frantic final Whatsapp messages sent to IDF Lt. Shir Hajaj by her mother, Meirav. They will forever remain unanswered, for Shir Hajaj was among the four young Israeli soldiers run down and killed by a Palestinian terrorist on Sunday.

Meirav Hajaj later said that when she first heard about the truck ramming attack at the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem, she feared that foreign tourists had been targeted.

She later realized that her daughter’s army unit had gone there for an educational outing.

Meirav frantically sent Whatsapp messages and called to make sure Shir was OK.

As the family prepared to bury Shir Hajaj on Monday, her mother described her as a “flower, a crown jewel.”

Her distraught father later told Israel’s Ynet news portal: “These are our children, we send them to the army knowing they may not come back. Did I ever think this would happen to me? Never.”

The other three soldiers killed in the attack were also named late Sunday night: Lt. Yael Yakutiel (20), 2nd Lt. Shira Tzur (20) and Cadet Erez Orbach (20).

All were honored with heart-wrenching messages from family and friends published by the Israeli media on Monday as the nation mourned. By the end of the day, all four would be buried.

Seventeen more young soldiers were wounded in the attack. Two of them remain in serious condition, fighting for their lives.

PHOTO: Compilation from Flash90 and IDF Handout Photos

 

Palestinian Celebrate Murder of 4 Young Israeli Soldiers

The murder of four young Israeli soldiers in a terrorist ramming attack in Jerusalem on Sunday was widely celebrated by Palestinian Arabs.

In several locations throughout Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), local Palestinians reportedly bought and distributed candies to commemorate the attack.

In Gaza, Hamas issued official statements glorifying the murderous action and sanctifying the attacker, a young Arab man from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber.

Thousands gathered in the streets of Gaza in celebration.

“The message of our Islamic party Hamas is a message of encouragement and support for every jihadi who carries out an attack that puts an end to the acts of the Zionist enemy,” said Hamas leader Fathi Hamad.

The victims of the attack were mostly young female soldiers who were on an educational outing.

The terrorist, Fadi Ahmad Al-Qunbar, apparently decided spontaneously to carry out the attack.

His sister had nothing but praise for Al-Qunbar’s actions: “Praise be to Allah that he became a martyr. It’s the most beautiful martyrdom.”

The Al-Qunbar family on Monday attempted to erect a mourning tent for their fallen “martyr,” but were stopped by Israeli police.

Israeli government officials put the blame squarely on the Palestinian Authority, pointing to ongoing incitement, much of it religious in nature, in the Palestinian education system.

“We should have full control over the education system in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods,” demanded Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud).

PHOTO: Celebrating the terrorist murder of Israelis is a common practice in many Palestinian communities (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

 

You Can Help Israel Replant The Land

Less than 2 months ago Israel experienced devastating fires that destroyed many square kilometers of forests and burned down many homes leaving many people homeless. Seeing the destruction is really heartbreaking.

In other instances, Israel Today is there for you bringing you the latest news from Israel with unbiased reporting "of both sides of the story".

Israel experienced the heaviest amount of rain during the last month of December since December 1992 AND the land is receptive to be replanted.

You can both get the latest news from Israel and help replant the land when you buy an annual print subscription to Israel Today, either for yourself, a loved one or a friend.

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We need YOU to help Israel rebuild nature.



 

4 Soldiers Killed, 15 Wounded in Jerusalem Terrorist Ramming Attack

Four young Israeli soldiers were killed and another 15 were wounded on Sunday when a terrorist rammed his truck into them in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv.

The soldiers had just gotten off a bus when the utility vehicle plowed into them.

Bus driver Moshe Aharon recounted the harrowing moments on Army Radio:

“A group of soldiers was standing with their bags near the bus. I had just let them off. The truck drove into the group of soldiers, ran over them and kept going. The soldiers shot at the driver. He reversed and ran over them again.”

Police confirmed that the incident was indeed a terrorist attack, and not a traffic accident, as evidenced by the fact the driver reversed and ran over the bodies several times.

A number of soldiers were trapped under the vehicle and had to be rescued.

The driver of the truck was shot and killed. He will no doubt be honored as a “martyr” by the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s other antagonists.

PHOTO: Illustration (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

 

Israel and Purity of Arms

Many believe that better a living soldier who erred than a dead soldier who adhered to a particular code.

The full article appears in the January 2017 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

US Senators Push Trump to Keep His Promise on Jerusalem Embassy

Three prominent US senators have introduced legislation to push President-elect Donald Trump to keep his promise to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and obligates the White House to return the US Embassy to the Holy City.

The US, like most other nations, moved its embassy to Tel Aviv in the early 1980s to protest Israel’s annexation of the eastern half of Jerusalem.

The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which the new legislation closely echoes, also obligated the US government to return its embassy to the Israeli capital. But successive presidents have cited “national security interests” in order to indefinitely delay its implementation.

Trump vowed he would break with that policy and finally move the embassy.

But there is concern that once in office, pressure from various quarters will cause Trump, like some of his predecessors, to change his mind.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the new legislation to insure that doesn’t happen.

Moving the embassy would “honor an important promise America made more than two decades ago but has yet to fulfill,” Heller stated.

Rubio added:

“It’s time for Congress and the President-Elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore US law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Senator Marco Rubio in Jerusalem in 2013 (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90)

 

A Tale of Two Nations

The effect of the shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN has, it seems, been quite literally earthshaking.

I reported last week on how, after Britain voted for the motion, a leading UK journalist accused our government of anti-Semitism in an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Now I learn from New Zealand friends that the November 14 earthquake – one of the most powerful ever to strike the Pacific nation – came just minutes after a closed meeting at which a draft of the resolution was allegedly discussed between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister John Key.[1]

The Obama administration is widely believed to have been behind the motion, which condemned all Israeli settlement activity as illegal and even delegitimized Jewish claims to Jerusalem’s Old City, which has an unbroken link to Judaism over thousands of years.

And we know that it was New Zealand who co-sponsored the resolution (with Senegal), which saw 14 out of the 15 Security Council members vote in favour, with the U.S. abstaining rather than casting its veto as it usually does on issues relating to borders, thereby giving it added credence.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for ambassadors of those countries voting in favour to be reprimanded, and called home envoys to the sponsoring states. And it seems that the Judge of all the earth has sent tremors to the proposers as a warning to those who would touch the ‘apple of his eye’ or divide up his land (Zechariah 2.8, Joel 3.2).

My friend described it as ‘Genesis 12.3 in action’ – the Bible verse reading: “I will bless those who bless you (the seed of Abraham), and whoever curses you I will curse…”

Another friend, from north of Auckland, pointed out that New Zealand were given the “ignominious honour” of fronting the resolution when Egypt (once an enemy of Israel) stepped back from doing so. The Bible does teach that, in the last days, Egypt will become a friend of Israel (see Isaiah 19).[2]

The resolution effectively legitimizes the Palestinian narrative that Israel has no entitlement to land that is historically theirs – the same line taken by the butchers of Islamic State and similar terror groups who have caused such mayhem over Christmas in Cairo, Berlin and Istanbul.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett issued a defiant response to the UN action from a snowy Mt Hermon in the Golan Heights: “Five minutes from here, the Syrian government and ISIS have butchered over half-a-million men, women and children. The UN resolution suggests that this is occupied territory and should be handed over to those enemies… You have Israel thriving and a terror state five minutes from here in an abyss of murder. We will prevail.”[3]

Christians in Egypt, meanwhile, have followed their Saviour’s example by responding to the bombing of a Cairo church, which left 25 dead, with forgiveness for the perpetrators.

Arabic TV host Mona Roman is quoted as saying: “We had a lot of phone calls from Muslims saying, ‘We are killing you; we are destroying your churches, and you are saying we forgive you, we are praying for you.’ In fact, two Muslim men called in after the attack to give their lives to Christ. They said, ‘All that we see from you is love and forgiveness. You never answer us with explosions or weapons or hate speech. You are very strong people in love. We are the ones who are weak.’”

Witnesses said that, when the bomb went off, the priest was presiding over communion, repeating the words of Jesus, ‘This is my body, broken for you’. The women (separated from the men in the Coptic Church) were standing with arms lifted in worship of Jesus when, a moment later, they would have been standing in front of Him in heaven.[4]

PHOTO: Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully (Haim Zach / GPO)


  1. This quake, of a 7.8 magnitude causing extensive structural damage, struck just after midnight on November 14 near Christchurch, which suffered a devastating tremor five years ago. Just a week later, a second quake struck central New Zealand, with the epicenter some 200km north-east of Wellington, the capital. Although this measured 5.6 on the Richter scale, my sister Penny, who lives over 100 miles away on the west coast, felt the earth shaking – a truly frightening experience.  ↩

  2. To be fair, many New Zealanders have protested their country’s role in this debacle and the nation has become a favourite destination for young Israeli tourists.  ↩

  3. Jerusalem News Network, December 30 2016, quoting Arutz–7  ↩

  4. Egypt’s tragedy…and a story of forgiveness by Bonnie Brown of ASSIST News Service  ↩

 

IDF Soldier Who Shot Wounded Terrorist Convicted of Manslaughter

IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, 19, was convicted of manslaughter on Wednesday, ending an eight-month trial that deeply divided Israeli society.

On March 24 of last year, Azaria was caught on camera shooting a wounded Palestinian terrorist.

The terrorist had stabbed another soldier before being shot and wounded. As he lied on the street bleeding, Azaria could be seen taking several steps forward and firing a single shot.

Azaria was immediately subjected to widespread and harsh condemnation, even before the trial began.

His defense later argued, alternatively, that Azaria’s bullet did not kill the wounded Palestinian and that the terrorist still posed a threat to the nearby soldiers.

But Judge Maya Heller, the head of the military tribunal that met at IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv, ultimately dismissed all such claims.

According to the unanimous decision, Azaria’s bullet did kill the terrorist, who at that point did not pose a threat.

Over the course of the trial, Azaria was defended by a number of high-ranking former military commanders. Some of them echoed widespread public sentiment that the circumstances were inconsequential, since Israel is at war with the terror groups, and Azaria had eliminated an enemy combatant on the field of battle.

Hundreds of those who felt Azaria was innocent protested outside the military headquarters on Wednesday. As the judge drew closer to pronouncing her verdict, they broke through police barricades and briefly clashed with security forces.

Azaria’s sentencing is expected to take place next month. In the meantime, his lawyers have said they will vigorously appeal the decision.

 

The Legal Warfare Against Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday spent three hours of his valuable time being subjected to questioning by the Police Anti-Corruption Unit. He is suspected of illegally receiving gifts from two businessmen. 

The next morning, Netanyahu wrote on Facebook that just as all previous investigations against him ended in nothing, so too will it be with this investigation. "I repeat," he wrote, "nothing will happen because there is nothing."

Investigations against Netanyahu, and against his wife Sara, have intensified since the last election. The so-called "Bibi Tours" case relates to Netanyahu's time as minister of finance (2003-2005). He stood accused of not properly reporting $50,000 worth of flights paid by a foreign businessman on behalf of Sara and their sons. That case resulted in no charges being filed.

Netanyahu was also accused of receiving illegal funding for his 2005 election campaign. He responded to this suspicion by filing libel suits against Channel 10 and the daily newspaper Ma'ariv. In this 2011 suit, Netanyahu claimed that that the allegations amounted to an "orchestrated smear campaign." He also said that this campaign was designed to force him out of office.

In 2013, another scandal broke out after it was discovered that Netanyahu's annual ice cream budget amounted to $2,700. His wife, Sara, was also investigated by police that year for keeping thousands of shekels from recycling empty bottles.  

More recently, Netanyahu was accused by that same Channel 10 of a conflict of interests in a submarine deal signed with Germany. Netanyahu's personal lawyer also represented the German shipyard. This affair, too, died as quickly as it started.

This short list of the different allegations against Netanyahu and his wife, all of which have thus far come to nothing, supports the prime minister's claim that there is indeed an orchestrated smear campaign aimed at forcing him out of office. 

Journalist Amnon Lord, a supporter of Netanyahu, reminded his readers what respected jurist Prof. Ruth Gabizon said a few months ago. She defined these clouds of investigations as a legal war of attrition, a strategy to overthrow Netanyahu.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) inadvertently supported this assertion just days ago when he insisted that a prime minister can't adequately fulfill his duties while facing so many investigations. 

Herzog unintentionally exposed the strategy behind the endless suspicions and interrogations. Their primary role is not so much to indict Netanyahu, but to roll him in tar and feathers long enough to render him dysfunctional.

A Facebook poster from the radical liberal Molad Center also points to this strategy by quoting what Netanyahu said in 2008 about then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "A prime minister inundated with investigations does not have the public mandate to decide on crucial matters since there is a real fear that he will base his decisions on personal, rather than national interests."

Reading some of the comments to Netanyahu's post assuring everyone that nothing will come out of this investigation, it is pretty clear that by now the scheme to overthrow the prime minister is in full swing. 

One comment in particular caught my eye because it captures the mood of so many in Israel. The poster says: "If they succeed in their attempt to remove you, I swear I will vote for the Likud Party even if they nominate a cat in your place." 

It's safe to say that meddling with democracy inevitably backfires on those who plot to overthrow their elected leaders.

 

How About Starting The New Year With A Good Resolution?


"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?" James 2:14

Extract from a current article:

WAR BY FIRE
The hundreds of fires that broke out in late November prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that “arson is terror in every way and we’ll treat it as such.” That doesn’t mean all of the fires were set deliberately, but it does mean that there were enough to merit the notion of “arsonist terror.”

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

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Palestinian 'Christmas Tree of Terror' Attracts Christian Leaders

A Christmas tree featuring photos of dozens of Palestinian terrorists killed while attacking Israeli Jews has been erected in eastern Jerusalem.

Until the past weekend, the tree had attracted many visitors, both Muslims and Christians. Among them was Archbishop of Sebastia Theodosios, better known as Atallah Hanna.

Channel 2 News reported that Hanna told those gathered at the tree that it constituted a “Christmas message [from] the heart of Palestine - we are one nation defending one issue…standing firm and remaining in the Holy Land.”

Israel Border Police later arrived and removed the photos of the dead terrorists from the tree’s branches.

Last month, Hanna’s boss, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, attended a party at President Reuven Rivlin’s official residence, and openly praised Israel’s protection of Christians.

Stated Theophilos:

"We take the opportunity of this holiday gathering to express our gratitude to you for the firmness with which you defend the freedoms that lie at the heart of this democracy – especially the freedom of worship.

“The State of Israel takes pride in the fact that [it] was founded on democratic principles in the Middle East and that it guarantees full freedom of worship; and we are confident, Mr. President, that you will continue to resist any restrictions on religious practices.”

Theophilos is Greek, while Hanna is just the second Palestinian Arab to hold his current title. Many traditional churches in the Land turn far more anti-Israel when they appoint local Arab priests to positions of leadership.

PHOTO: Illustration (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

 

INTERVIEW: Canon Andrew White on Christians in the Middle East

 

A Basket Of Flowers

One day a rich man gave a poor man a basket full of rubbish. The poor man, smiling, took the basket and went his way...

The poor man cleaned the basket and filled it with beautiful, fragrant flowers. He went back to the rich man and gave him the pleasant flower basket.

The rich man, surprised, enquired of the poor man why he would return such a beautiful basket after giving him only garbage?

The poor man replied, "Everyone gives from what he carries in his heart!"

You could also prepare your personal basket full of love for Israel. Give to one of our support projects from what you carry in your heart:
- Needy children and families
- Food packages for new immigrants
- Winter packages for Israeli soldiers
- Support our media work
- Tree and vineyard plantings



 

Santa Sighted at the Western Wall

After 2,000 years of traveling the globe, Santa was seen visiting Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and davening at Judaism’s holiest site just days after Christmas.

The surprise visit has stirred much speculation as this is the first time Mr. Claus has come to a Jewish city in Israel. 

“He must have finally read the Hebrew Bible,” commented one bystander. “He sees how far he has strayed from the Jewish roots and has come to repent for misunderstanding the true meaning of Christmas all these years.”

Some speculated that Santa had come to understand that the verse “Every good gift comes from above” was not referring to the North Pole, but to a higher source. In fact he and Mrs. Claus were considering moving the entire operation to Jerusalem. 

“Our workshop is flooded,” complained Mrs. Claus. “And the reindeer can hardly pull the sleigh through all the slush now that all the glaciers are melting.” Mrs. Claus was concerned that the changing climate was not healthy for their flock. “Rudolph’s nose isn’t even red anymore!” she exclaimed.

Santa admits that Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem also had something to do with his visit to the Holy City. “If Trump can do it, so can I,” he ho ho-ed. “It also looks like we are approaching the Last Days real fast and I am beginning to think that flooding around our home is like the Days of Noah,” he almost oy-veyed.

The Rabbinic Council for the Oversight of the Western Wall went into an emergency meeting after the Santa appearance. “We couldn’t ask him to leave as he was wearing a head covering,” they explained to the nation. But they did offer a number of suggestions for Santa if he is serious about returning to Jerusalem and the roots of his faith. 

“We suggest he change his name to Sol Klausner, and we never liked December 25, it’s always raining and it’s too close to Hanukkah. We have enough Holy Days already, thanks. Better he should come on Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. That way he can come down to the porch and visit a Sukkah instead of coming through those filthy chimneys, which anyway we don’t have them over here,” the council continued.

The Rabbis also insisted that instead of the “ho-ho-hoing” Santa go with “oy-oy-oy,” at least for the first few years. “He must get a greater feel for the agony of our people, and lots of that is connected to the history of Xmas,” they pointed out. “He would also need to change that red suit. Black would be much better, at least until we improve relations.”

Before leaving, Mr. Claus left a note in a crevice of the Western Wall, which curious onlookers later posted on Twitter. “I now realize I have drifted away from the reason for giving gifts on Christmas. Even for me it was a shock when the UN declared that Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians. It felt like the skis were ripped right off the bottom of my sleigh. Please forgive me. And Happy Hanukkah,” it read. Some say they saw a light from heaven appear in response to the prayer.

[<em>EDITOR’S NOTE: The above is meant to be a light-hearted fictional account used to highlight some very real current events.</em>]

<em>PHOTO: Flash90</em>

 

Palestinians Thank UN for Giving Them Permission to Murder Jews

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was more than just a carefully-orchestrated slap in Israel’s face by outgoing-US President Barack Obama.

It was a trigger, intentional or not, for renewed bloodshed.

The resolution essentially supports the Palestinian interpretation of Security Council Resolution 242, namely, that Jews have no right to live in any part of the so-called “West Bank,” including the eastern half of Jerusalem.

Several of those who authored Resolution 242 back in 1967 have stated that they intentionally did not demand that Israel surrender all the territory it captured in the Six Day War.

But the Palestinians and Israel’s other detractors don’t see it that way. And Resolution 2334 has just given them a major boost.

Most worrying is that Palestinian groups see it as approval for their violent struggle (read: campaign of terror) against those Jews who dare defy the international community by settling in their biblical heartland.

This was demonstrated by none other than Fatah, the political movement of “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Fatah boasts many violent logos and political cartoons. One depicts the entire Land of Israel colored as a Palestinian flag and being used to stab the word “settlement.” Following the passing of Resolution 2334, Fatah reissued that picture, adding the words “Thank You” above a list of the 14 nations that voted in favor (the US, which abstained in the vote, was left out).

“Fatah is saying more Israelis will pay with their lives as a result of the UN resolution,” explained Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli NGO that monitors and analyzes local Arab media.

Perhaps that was Obama’s intention. Perhaps it wasn’t. But either way, it once again demonstrates that the “wisdom of this world” (1 Cor. 3:19) cannot undo God’s plans. It can only lead to more suffering.

PHOTO: A young Fatah supporter shouts anti-Israel slogans (Wisam Hashalmoun/Flash90)

 

Get Your Holy Land Calendar Before It's Too Late

While you are about buying one of these calendars, why not get one for a friend or family member as well. They could be an ideal gift for someone that loves Israel!

We are offering up to 33% percent off when you buy more than one of the Holy Land Calendars.

This beautiful 24-month calendar with stunning glossy photos from the Holy Land will take you to another biblical venue in Israel every month! Visit Jerusalem, Haifa, Bethlehem, Nazareth and many other places!

 

Israel Chief Rabbi: We Don't Need America, We Have God

Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, gave a divine response to the Obama Administration’s gross betrayal of the Jewish state last week.

Days after US President Barack Obama instructed his representative at the United Nations not to veto a dangerous anti-Israel resolution, Yosef expounded on the bright side of the situation.

“Sometimes, we need to be reminded from above that we can count on no one but our Father who art in heaven,” Yosef told a gathering at the Western Wall. “Even America… forsook us last week at the UN.”

According to the resolution, Jews do not belong in the so-called “West Bank” or on the eastern side of Jerusalem. And that includes the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.

“We mustn’t forget that the hearts of kings and captains are in the hands of the Lord, and we can count on no one but (the Lord),” continued Yosef.

PHOTO: Flash90

 

YouTube Sensations Slam Obama, Kerry for Betraying Israel

 

VIDEO: Jerusalem Coffee Shop Hot Spots

 

Cunning as Serpents: David's Defection

This story of David’s defection demonstrates how, at unique times of clear and present danger, normal moral codes can be suspended for the sake of a greater good.

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

 

Britain Accused of Anti-Semitism

Britain Accused of Anti-Semitism
Britain Accused of Anti-Semitism

On the very eve of ‘celebrating’ the centenary year of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British Government has once more betrayed the Jewish people.

The pledge made through Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour 100 years ago next November, promising to do all in its power to re-settle God’s chosen people in their ancient land, was repeatedly broken in the 1920s and 30s as Britain kowtowed to Arab opposition.

Nevertheless, they had set the ball rolling towards the re-birth of the Jewish state thanks to a combination of Zionist lobbying and evangelical Christian influence – and for that we can be justly proud.

Tragically, however, giants of the faith such as William Wilberforce, Charles Spurgeon and Bishop J C Ryle don’t appear to be around these days.

But thank God for Melanie Phillips[1], one of Britain’s most highly-respected journalists, who has vented her fury over the country’s latest betrayal of the Jews in an open letter[2] to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Voting for a United Nations resolution[3] effectively delegitimizing much of Israel amounted to a “declaration of diplomatic war” and an act of anti-Semitism against the Jewish state, she wrote.

In a much-needed history lesson for the Prime Minister, Phillips points out the irony of backing such a resolution at a time when Mrs May has been hailed as an ardent friend of Israel.

Britain had signed up to propositions that repudiate law, justice and truth, she said. And it had put itself “firmly behind the attempt to exterminate the State of Israel under the cowardly cover of vacuous pieties about supporting two democratic states and opposing terrorism and incitement. It has done this by endorsing the inflammatory falsehoods and legal and historic fictions deployed by those whose purpose is to destroy the State of Israel.

“By declaring that Israel’s borders should be established on terms demanded by its mortal enemies, the British government has backed coerced surrender to aggressors bent on Israel’s extermination.”

They had further shown “contempt for international law” which entitled Jews to settle in land now in dispute. There was no such thing as Palestinian territory or a Palestinian people, she pointed out. It was an artificial creation invented solely to destroy Jewish entitlement to their own homeland.

And in supporting this resolution, Britain had made itself party “to the proposed racist ethnic cleansing of the Jews from their own ancient land.”

Phillips raged: “As the Arabs have repeatedly made clear, the sole purpose of a state of Palestine is to bring about the extermination of the Jewish homeland. The Arab-Israel impasse continues principally because Britain, Europe and America have consistently sanitised, rewarded and incentivised Arab aggression against Israel while punishing it for trying to defend its right to the land.

“Britain bears primary responsibility for this. In the thirties, it betrayed its Mandate[4] obligations by reneging on its treaty obligation to settle the Jews in the land and instead rewarded genocidal Arab aggression by offering the Arabs part of the Jews’ own entitlement to the land. Voting for UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolution 2334 merely continues that history of British infamy.”

Phillips concluded that, if Mrs May continued to support such moves, “it will be a dreadful irony that someone who is so obviously well-disposed towards the Jewish people should go down in history as one of its most bitter enemies”.

Mike Evans, of the pro-Israel Jerusalem Prayer Team which boasts 14 million members, said: “The events foretold by ancient prophets are unfolding before our eyes – the nation of Israel, miraculously reborn (in 1948), is surrounded by enemies on every side. And the Jewish people are in need of our love, help and support as never before.”


  1. A former columnist for the Daily Mail, Melanie Phillips now writes for The Times, Jerusalem Post and Jewish Chronicle. Although Jewish, she does not identify herself as religious, but has long been an indefatigable campaigner for Judeo-Christian values. She is also author of The World Turned Upside Down (Encounter Books), a brilliant commentary on the cancerous undermining of Western civilization.  ↩

  2. For the full transcript, see http://melaniephillips.com/open-letter-theresa-may/  ↩

  3. The resolution condemned Israel’s settlement enterprise and declared all disputed territories as ‘occupied’ including Jerusalem’s Old City and Temple Mount, historically tied to Israel for thousands of years.  ↩

  4. Britain was given the Mandate to govern what was then known as Palestine following the collapse of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, with the goal of preparing the region for Jewish repatriation and statehood.  ↩

 

Shana Tova from Jerusalem!

2016 is almost over and 2017 is around the corner! We would like to say "Thank You"!

Thank you for your support, for your faithful friendship with us, our country and for your prayers, which have accompanied us through 2016. We are looking forward to seeing you again in the new year!

We sincerely wish you and your loved ones a happy, prosperous and blessed 2017!

Stay tuned for the new year!

Happy New Year!


 

Trump to Israel: Hang On, I'm Coming!

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President-elect Donald Trump had a bit of a “bromance” moment on Twitter yesterday.

Following Israel’s shameful treatment in recent days at the hands of the outgoing Obama Administration, Trump urged the Jewish state to hold strong.

“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the US…” Trump wrote.

Trump again vowed that once he is in office, things will look very different. “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!” he posted in reference to his inauguration day later next month.

Less than an hour later, Netanyahu responded:

“President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!”

Many have speculated that once Trump is in office, these two leaders are likely to see the situation as them against the world.

 

Netanyahu Slams John Kerry's Vision for 'Peace'

 

Ukraine's Jewish Prime Minister Who Voted Against Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu's refusal to meet Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman after he voted in favor of UN resolution 2334 condemning all Israeli settlements as illegal, drew attention to the fact he is the first Jew ever to ascend to such prominence in Ukraine, a country whose past is tainted with bloody antisemitism. 

Whether Netanyahu's diplomatic disciplinary actions toward the 14 countries that voted in favor of this resolution is wise or not, his attitude toward Ukraine demonstrates impartiality. Jew or not, hostility toward Israel is unacceptable.

Volodymyr Groysman (38), was born to Jewish parents in Vinnytsia. In 1941, the Nazis shot dead in open mass graves some 28,000 Jews of Vinnytsia and its surrounding areas. Vinnytsia's chief rabbi, Shaul Horowitz, told COLive that "his grandfather and grandmother … were taken by the Nazis to be shot. Miraculously, they fell onto the pile of corps and faked their death. That's how they were saved."

Unlike many Jews who try to downplay or even conceal their Jewishness, Groysman is up front about it. 

Following his lead as chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in 2014 he asked the representatives to stand for a minute of silence in remembrance of the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This was the first time ever that such a gesture took place in the Ukrainian parliament. 

Groysman also prays regularly in a local synagogue, knowing that doing so may upset many of his countrymen. The Ukrainian Prime Minister has family living in the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod.

As for Ukraine's reason for voting for this resolution, it is suggested that by so doing Ukraine showed its displeasure over Israel's idleness toward Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

 

Local Christian Leaders Praise Freedom of Religion in Israel

With Christians suffering in most of the surrounding nations, local Christian leaders took this Christmas season as an opportunity to thank Israel for protecting them and their freedoms.

That message was delivered by Greek Patriarch Theophilos III during the annual Christmas and Hanukkah gathering at the presidential residence in Jerusalem.

Addressing Israel President Reuven Rivlin directly, Theophilos stated:

"We take the opportunity of this holiday gathering to express our gratitude to you for the firmness with which you defend the freedoms that lie at the heart of this democracy – especially the freedom of worship.

“The State of Israel takes pride in the fact that [it] was founded on democratic principles in the Middle East and that it guarantees full freedom of worship; and we are confident, Mr. President, that you will continue to resist any restrictions on religious practices.”

Rivlin himself strongly condemned the abuse of Christians in Syria and other neighboring countries. He and Theophilos openly prayed together for God’s protection over the Christians of the Middle East.

 

Israel Thwarted Over 400 Major Terror Attacks in 2016

Just because the number of successful attacks in Israel is down doesn’t mean the terrorists aren’t trying.

In fact, Israel faces hundreds upon hundreds of planned or premeditated attacks every year. You just don’t hear about most because our security forces manage to thwart them.

At a ceremony this week honoring the top operations carried out in the past two years by the Shin Bet (Israel’s equivalent of the American FBI), it was reported that over 400 major terror attacks were thwarted in the past year alone.

“It is thanks to the quality intelligence, the advanced technology, and the excellent human capital that the Shin Bet this year thwarted more than 400 significant attacks,” said Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman.

That’s just the “significant attacks.” It doesn’t include the many thousands of additional spontaneous or low-level acts of violence Israel must contend with on a regular basis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attended the ceremony, added:

“The Shin Bet carries out hundreds of operations that are a protective wall against the terror [threatening] to harm the security of Israel and its citizens. …The lives of many citizens were saved thanks to the amazing preventative actions the Shin Bet takes… In the name of the citizens of Israel — I salute and thank you for your actions as an unseen shield.”

 

Speaking in Arabic, Druze Diplomat Scolds Anti-Israel UN Assembly

Nizar Amer, Israel’s Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs at the UN, laid into Syria’s representative for accusing Israel of human rights violations.

Amer noted the hypocrisy of such an accusation coming from a member of the Syrian regime, which has killed well over 100,000 of its own citizens in recent years.

He, as an Arabic-speaking citizen of Israel, went on to note that minorities live very well in the Jewish state.

 

Jews of the Wild West

Jews played a very interesting part in the development of America's "Wild West".

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

 

Simple... Even For a Male

Funny, in bad taste, culturally indicative - what do you make of it? 

An Israeli commercial for a new shopping center depicts males as useless brutes, brain-dead couch potatoes unable to do the simplest of chores. 

But, there is hope for the common male. Now, with the new shopping center, life is so much easier that even males can finally fulfill their only basic role, which is to serve females. 

The commercial makes a clever use of the Hebrew root zachar, which means "male" and also "memory." The dialogue goes like this:

Female: Get to know the common male in his natural habitat. He is called zachar (male) because once upon a time, many years ago, he remembered (zachar) many things. For example, he was told, "Bring food back home."

Male: Food...

Female: He is a male/he remembered. But since then his condition has deteriorated. For example, he was told to remember to buy gifts for the holiday. But he isn't a male/he didn't remember. This why the male's woman is going to rip off his…

Male: I'm going to buy gifts for the holiday.

Female: Lucky for him there is Mivneh (the name of the shopping center). All the male has to do is jump, park and buy in order to see another day. Simple, simple, simple. Even for a… male!!!

Whatever one makes of it, once thing is certain. A decade ago such a commercial could not even have been conceived.

 

Traitorous Christian Arab MK Harms Entire Community

It was only a matter of time until Christian Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas of the Joint Arab List pulled such a stunt in his self-styled role as a champion of the Palestinian cause.  

But he never suspected the stunt could put him behind bars.

What's known so far is that on December 18, Ghattas arrived at Ketziot Prison to visit two jailed Palestinian terrorists - Walid Daka, who is serving a life sentence for his part in the 1984 abduction and murder of IDF Cpl. Moshe Tamam, and Basel Bazara, once a commander of the PLO terrorist arm known as the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. 

Bazara is considered the leader of the PLO prisoners at Ketzion Prison.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit was only willing to say that Ghattas was caught smuggling 12 mobile phones, 16 SIM cards and a set of headphones. The Knesset House Committee voted to strip Ghattas of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution, which in turn led to his arrest for further investigation.

Ghattas' latest stunt joins a list of actions designed to test the limit of the public's patience for his provocations. 

On October 15, Ghattas entered the Temple Mount, thus defying Prime Minister Netanyahu's order forbidding MKs from entering the holy site until further notice. 

In August 2016, days after the "knife intifada" broke out, Ghattas participated in the anti-Israel World Social Forum convened in Montreal, Canada. Canadian Jewish organizations had accused this forum of holding extreme anti-Israel positions and of encouraging antisemitism. The Montreal forum held several workshops supporting boycotting and sanctioning Israel.

Ghattas himself said he raised funds for a flotilla trying to break the Gaza embargo and called to boycott Israel. He also confirmed that he was involved in the Hamas-PLO reconciliation attempt. 

In September 2016, while former President Shimon Peres was in intensive care from which he never recovered, Ghattas stated that "he is covered with our [Palestinian] blood." He, as well as the rest of the Joint Arab List, refused to attend Peres' funeral, thus sparking an uproar even among Israeli Arabs.

Ghattas is not the first Arab MK accused of breaching national security. The founder of Ghattas' own Balad Party (which is part of the Joint Arab List) was a Christian named Azmi Bishara. He fled Israel in 2006 after it was discovered that he aided Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. Similarly, former Balad MK Said Nafa was sentenced to one year in prison for contacting a foreign agent.

These kinds of actions are hurting the Israeli Arabs by stigmatizing the entire minority, most of whom are opposed to such subversion. The Arab community therefore must condemn Basel Ghattas, as well as Hanin Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka, who, instead of working toward coexistence and partnership, are doing whatever they can to disrupt Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.

Jonathan Elkhoury is a spokesman for the Christian Empowerment Council that encourages Arabic-speaking Christians to integrate with Israeli Jewish society.

 

The Three Musketeers And Thermal Clothing

Family time, hanukkah candles, tasty treats and cuddled up in the winter cold on the sofa in front of a warm heating source.

Not all children enjoy their free time at home: our three sons gleefully lent their hands to help put together our Soldiers Winter Packages for distribution.

The countdown to the actual distribution has started!

Would you like to help us bless some of our young soldiers this winter as they secure Israel's safety against persistent terror and security threats?

 

From the Soles of His Shoes: Obama's Hostility Toward Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu's outrage over President Obama's final attempt to harm Israel is justified. 

Shortly before lighting the first candle of Hanukkah commemorating the rededication of the Temple over 2,000 years ago, Netanyahu attacked the American, saying that "the Obama administration carried out a shameful anti-Israel ploy at the UN."

So it was that on the eve of Hanukkah, the UN Security Council approved yet another anti-Israel resolution, which says among other things that the international community "reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."

Such a resolution is nothing new, as Israel is repeatedly condemned by this institution. What's new is not only Obama's blatant refusal to honor his written commitment to stand by Israel at the UN. It is also safe to assume from Netanyahu's response that Obama was the instigator of said resolution. "We knew that this [shameful ploy] is possible and we expected that it will come," the Israeli said.

Netanyahu's opponents at home insist this was Obama's payback for his hostility toward the American president. But this explanation contradicts all those who kept emphasizing that the Obama administration is not motivated by feelings, but by American interests, including maintaining a strong alliance with Israel. 

If this is the case, and I think it is, Obama's part in concocting this anti-Israel resolution, which goes so far as to call the Western Wall an occupied place, represents American interests, which are now evidently opposed to the interests of the State Israel as represented by Israel's Prime Minister.

Obama's hostility toward Israel was played out before. Well remembered is the angry 2009 phone conversation between the two leaders, after which the White House released a picture with the soles of Obama's shoes on full display. For the uninformed, it simply shows the president in a relaxed posture. But those more familiar with the Arab world know it was a carefully-calculated effort to humiliate Netanyahu. For Israel's Arab foes, showing the sole of one's shoe is an insult of the highest degree. 

Obama's resentment toward Israel has come out on numerous other occasions, including the suspension of weapons shipments during the 2014 military campaign against Gaza.

The proximity between Hanukkah and Obama's final attempt to harm Israel is peculiar, to say the least. Jews across the world are now lighting the Menorah for eight days, during which they sing the ancient poem of Maoz Tzur Yeshuati (my refuge and rock of salvation). This poem reminds us that:

Furiously they assailed us,
But Thine arm availed us,
And Thy word broke their sword,
When our own strength failed us.

 

Santa Claus Attacks IDF Soldiers in Bethlehem

Nearly every Christmas someone dresses up like Santa Claus and engages in violence against Israeli soldiers. Usually in or near Bethlehem. And always in hopes of bolstering Christian antagonism toward the Jewish state.

This year, several Palestinians dressed as Santa and joined a larger group that set out to confront IDF soldiers stationed at the checkpoint separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Others in the mob held signs reading: “Santa Claus stands with the Palestinian people”

“We came here to go to prayers in Jerusalem. We want to get to the capital of Palestine, Jerusalem, and we want to say that this land is Palestinian land and it is our right to get to that land,” one of the Santas told Israel’s Ynet news portal.

The protestors threw stones and tried to force their way through the checkpoint, but were pushed back with the use of tear gas.

Many Palestinians claim Jesus was one of their own (rather than Jewish, as the Bible makes clear) and so manipulate Christmas into an anti-Israel demonstration.

 

Holding Bible, Israeli Ambassador Slams UN Security Council

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, gave an impassioned and biblical response to the Security Council’s passing of a resolution denying Jews the right to live in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

The vote took place just a day before Hanukkah. Danon noted that if the Greek overlords of the time couldn’t keep down the Jews, then neither can today’s UN.

 

Obama Has Shown His True Face to Israel

With less than a month left in office, US President Barack Obama finally showed his true face toward Israel by refusing to veto an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council.

That was how a senior Israeli government official described Obama’s stunning departure from US policy.

The resolution passed by a vote of 14–0, with the US abstaining. It demanded Israel stop allowing Jews to live in the so-called West Bank and the eastern side of Jerusalem.

The US has traditionally vetoed all such resolutions. Obama’s failure to do so was seen as a final jab at his Israeli rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This is the last sting from President Obama. An act that revealed the true face of the Obama administration,” the Israeli official told local media. “Now the world can see what we have been facing for the past eight years.”

Both Israel and the US Congress have threatened to respond by cutting funding to the United Nations, and aid to the nations that promoted the resolution.

While it does not carry any immediate ramifications, the resolution could result in a new wave of lawsuits and sanctions against Israel and those Israelis who live in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

 

Oil Refinery Explodes in Northern Israel

An large gas tank at an oil refinery in the northern port city of Haifa exploded Sunday morning.

Officials are still unsure how the fire started. Some 40 firefighting teams worked tirelessly to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby tanks, some of which contain dangerous materials.

Miraculously, the tank that exploded was relatively empty at the time of the incident. Had it been full of gas, Israel could be facing catastrophe.

 

Israel Thanks Trump For Saving It From Spiteful Obama

Israeli officials on Thursday thanked US President-elect Donald Trump for saving the Jewish state from one final jab from a spiteful President Barack Obama.

Earlier in the day, Egypt tabled a resolution at the UN Security Council demanding Israel halt all Jewish settlement activity in the so-called West Bank, including the eastern side of Jerusalem.

Obama had signaled that he would take the unusual step of not using American’s veto in the Council to squash the resolution.

“All the signs show that this was a [diplomatic] hit by Obama against [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the settlements,” a government source told Israel’s Channel 2 News.

Knowing it could not rely on Obama, Israel turned to Trump. And Trump delivered.

Egypt suddenly pulled the resolution just hours before the vote. What changed their minds? A phone call from Trump to Egypt President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, expressed the Jewish state’s “deep appreciation” for Trump’s efforts.

 

Season's Greetings from Israel Today!

The management and staff of Israel Today would like to wish all of you, our supporters and friends, all the best over the holiday season!

We are looking forward to lighting the first Hanukkah candle on Christmas eve and to enjoy the most delicious traditional sufganiot (jelly donuts)... What are you looking forward to the most?

For those of you that celebrate Christmas, may your Christmas be filled with the true meaning of this beautiful time when the greatest gift of all was given to mankind. Enjoy the fellowship of friends, and cherish the company of family in this season of loving and sharing.

Merry Christmas!

And, for those of you that celebrate Hanukkah, the holiday which celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, we wish that your house be filled with the Light of our Lord and may it be bright with joy during this season.

Happy Hanukkah!


 

Emergence of the New Judaism

Many today anticipate a new Judaism that is both traditional and innovative, capable of meeting the challenges of our time in a meaningful way.

The full article appears on page 14 of the January 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Israel Shows What It Means to 'Love Your Enemies'

Israel won’t give an inch when it comes to defending against the state’s enemies. Every shot from Syria that crosses the border is met with a far stronger Israeli military response.

But Israel also won’t sit idly by while its enemies suffer.

Syria has openly declared itself an enemy of Israel. Dictator Bashar Assad even took the time to reiterate as much last week, despite the fact he’s got far bigger problems at the moment.

The people of Syria have been raised on hatred of Israel. They view the Jewish state as their chief foe, regardless of what other calamities they may currently be facing.

But Israel won’t let that stop it from trying to help those Syrians ravaged by their country’s ongoing civil war.

Already Israel has treated thousands of civilians from southern Syria at an IDF field hospital on the Golan Heights and at medical centers across northern Israel.

At the moment, its the population of the northern Syria city of Aleppo that is most in need. Being so far from the border with Israel, however, it’s difficult for the Jewish state to provide aid.

Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Eitan Na’eh, told Israel Radio on Wednesday that the government is looking for other ways to help.

“Everyone who sees the images from Syria, and especially from Aleppo, cannot but be shocked by the suffering of the civilians, and try to do what is possible to ease their suffering,” he said.

One idea is that wounded from Aleppo will be brought to neighboring Turkey, and from their transported to Israel for advanced treatment.

“We are prepared to take in wounded women and children, and also men if they are not combatants – bring them to Israel, take care of them in our hospitals as we have done with thousands of Syrian civilians,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement released this week.

Another proposal is for Israel to provide funding, equipment and supplies to other aid organizations operating in the area.

In a letter to Netanyahu, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef offered to coordinate directly with the Red Cross to bring Israeli assistance to the people of Aleppo.

Yosef closed his letter with a powerful statement that demonstrated how Israel may, ironically, be the nation that most adheres to Jesus’ teaching to love your enemies:

“This should be our eternal declaration, that we, the Children of Israel, who believe in the sanctity of life, do not distinguish between blood and blood. We treat all people as those who were created in the image of God, even if we are talking about enemies.”

PHOTO: Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with wounded Syrians being treated in northern Israel (Flash90)

 

Has Christian Liberalism Harmed Support for Israel?

Christian support for Israel in the West has declined sharply, even as liberal teachings have flourished.

The full article appears on pages 4-5 of the December 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Trump Advisor: West Bank Belongs to Israel

A senior officials in US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team visited this week and stated that the so-called “West Bank” clearly belongs to Israel.

Becky Norton Dunlop (pictured) was touring the areas known biblically as Judea and Samaria when she told reporters:

“Anyone who comes and visits Judea and Samaria sees that it is an inseparable part of the State of Israel.”

She went on to debunk the notion that Jewish settlers in the region are all hostile toward local Arabs.

“During the visit we saw that Arabs living in Israel are completely able to work together with their Israeli neighbors,” Dunlop said. “The international community has to take note of what is really happening here instead of listening to the mainstream media which doesn’t report the news but rather invented things.”

Many in Israel expect the failed “two-state solution” to finally be put to bed during Trump’s presidency. Senior members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet are calling for increased building in Judea and Samaria after Trump takes office.

Dunlop was joined on the tour by Republican members of the US Congress, as well as a number of European parliamentarians.

 

WATCH: Israel Gives Christmas Trees to Christian Residents

 

The Balfour Declaration's Comeback

The love-hate relationship between the UK and Israel is well known. 

One could dwell on the many setbacks of British policy toward the Jewish state. The 1937 partition plan proposed by the Peel Commission, the infamous 1939 White Paper that restricted Jewish immigration to mandatory Palestine, and the present anti-Israel vitriolic from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

These are sufficient examples of British hate toward the Israel.

But Britain has another side, the one that has produced the 1917 Balfour Declaration that proved foundational to the rebirth of the Jewish state. 

Despite the many setbacks, the recent December 12 announcement by the British government that it is now adopting the 2005 US Department of State definition of antisemitism—"denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist"—shows that the sentiments that gave rise to the Balfour Declaration are still well-embedded within British culture and politics.

Though received little attention in Israel, the UK's adoption of this new definition marks an important departure from the Labour Party's anti-Israel platform. As The Guardian reported, "Britain will become one of the first countries to use this definition of antisemitism … to ensure that culprits will not be able to get away with being antisemitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organizations or bodies have different interpretations of it."

One immediate result of this statement by Downing Street is its acceptance, reserved as it is, by the Labour Party. 

Though she omitted the part that states that "denying Israel the right to exist" is an integral part of antisemitism's new definition, Corbyn's spokeswoman still made it clear that "Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party share the view that language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews is antisemitism, and is as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism."

Britain under the leadership of Theresa May and America under the leadership of Donald Trump may prove to be the long awaited formidable power that will put an end to the legitimacy antisemitism receives from human rights organizations that are dangerously effective at disguising defamation as legitimate "criticism."

 

WATCH: Life as an Israeli Soldier

 

Your last chance for a personal Hanukkah offer!

Issues are "hot" in the January issue:
- Playing with fire
- Has Christian Liberalism Harmed Support for Israel
- Terrorism Has Declined
- Divine Intervention
- Driving Through Wind and Fire

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Arab Member of Knesset Suspected of High Treason

Basel Ghattas (pictured), a member of the Joint Arab List faction in Israel’s Knesset, is suspected of committing high treason.

Israel Police reported on Sunday that they have “substantial evidence” that Ghattas smuggled cellphones to jailed Palestinian terrorists.

Ghattas often visits Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, as he sees himself as part of the Arab “struggle” against the Jewish state.

On several of those visits, police officials say the lawmaker smuggled 15 cellphones to two specific Palestinian prisoners.

Following his visit to prisoners on Sunday, authorities tried to stop and question Ghattas. But he cited his immunity as a member of Knesset and refused.

Now police officials are opening an investigation into his conduct, and not a few Knesset members are calling for Ghattas to have his immunity stripped.

A former commissioner of the Israel Prison Service said Ghattas could face serious jail time if convicted.

Of course, he could also decided to flee the country like former Arab Member of Knesset Azmi Bishara did after it was discovered he was aiding Hezbollah in a time of war.

For his part, Ghattas insists the entire affair is a political “witch-hunt” by Israel’s “racist” Jewish authorities.

 

Israelis Rally For Syrian Civil War Victims

Syrians see themselves as officially at war with Israel. But that didn’t stop Israelis from rallying on behalf of Syrian civil war victims on Sunday.

Most Israelis don’t believe Yeshua is the their Messiah. And yet, they tend to follow some of his teaching far more dutifully than most Christians.

For example, the teaching to love your enemies.

Israelis are in a constant battle for survival. Still, as a matter of policy (there are of course bad apples in every society) Israel has no hatred for its sworn enemies.

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated that when they gathered outside the Russian and US embassies in Tel Aviv to protest the international community’s failure to stop the reported massacre of civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

“I’m here doing the only thing I can, because I feel powerless in this ordeal,” one protester told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). “There are people who are suffering, so we have to do something.”

Another protester, Rabbi Hananel Rosen, explained why Israeli Jews would take up the cause of even their most intractable enemies:

“God created the world and everybody in it in the image of God, and if we’re not willing to put our foot down about that then we’ll find ourselves religiously and morally wanting.”

 

Light In a Dark World!

When the stars lined up to lighten the path of the Wise Men as they travelled from the East to worship the new-born King of the Jews, it was the dawning of an amazing new era.

Now, 2,000 years later, the Jewish feast of Hanukkah coincides with Christmas. They are usually close together, but such a precise convergence doesn’t often happen. Both are festivals of light cheerily illuminating our dreary winter days with sparkling symbols of God’s intervention in human affairs.

But at a time of unprecedented threats both to Israel and the Gentile Christian world, are we about to see God’s light shine as never before in the midst of the darkness, with growing recognition – especially in Israel – of the Messiah who appeared as a helpless babe in Bethlehem?

Special candles will be lit all over Jerusalem to remind her people of the time, in 167 BC, when God came to their rescue. The ruthless Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus Epiphanes had desecrated the Jewish Temple by sacrificing a pig there and blasphemously proclaiming himself God. Judah Maccabee led a brave and successful revolt against the tyrant and re-established temple worship (Hanukkah means dedication) with the aid of the menorah (seven-branched candlestick) which burned miraculously for eight days despite having only enough oil for a day – the Greeks had polluted the rest.

I believe this event foreshadowed another great rescue, less than two centuries later, when the Jewish Messiah – the light of all mankind (John 1.4, New Testament) – was born in a stable at nearby Bethlehem, as prophesied in the Scriptures (Micah 5.2). And now much of the world is lit up with brightly-coloured decorations to commemorate his birth.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” Isaiah prophesied of Yeshua (Isaiah 9.2) who did not at first lead Israel in a military victory, although that would indeed happen one day (Zechariah 12.9), but came to cast his glorious light on a dark world, and bring peace, hope and comfort to all those who seek him.

The Wise Men travelled a thousand miles to worship Yeshua, bringing gifts of gold and frankincense (Isaiah 60.6). Should we not follow their example by giving him our best treasures, laying down our lives and letting him fill our hearts, minds and souls with his holy presence?

I love Christmas, partly because it draws my faith back to its roots in Israel. Tragically, much of the Western church seem for the rest of the year to have divorced themselves from the Jewish state, as if it were unrelated to the ongoing story of the church.

But there is no getting away from the Messiah’s birth being inextricably linked with Bethlehem and Jerusalem, as the carols clearly reflect: Once in royal David’s city, O little town of Bethlehem, O come, O come, Emmanuel… shall come to thee O Israel. And, in the First Nowell (an archaic word for Christmas), the chorus keeps repeating the line “born is the King of Israel!”

The Bible clearly teaches that the Messiah will come first as the “suffering servant” (Isaiah 53) and then, in the fullness of time, as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, ruling and reigning from Jerusalem as the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Revelation 5.5) after finally defeating God’s enemies on the mountains of Israel.

So it is that, as with his first coming, the focus returns to Israel for his second advent. Should we Christians not more adequately prepare ourselves for this great event by re-aligning our hearts with the hopes and aspirations of God’s chosen people? We are in this together.

The anti-Semitic hatred currently manifested through Islamic State and related terrorist groups (and in past generations through Haman, Hitler and others) is directed at those who look to the God of Israel – first the Jews, then the Christians. Encouraged by growing co-operation on this level in the face of an implacable foe, we look to increasing revelation for all that the child born to a virgin (Isaiah 7.14) is the true Messiah – Emmanuel (God with us) – who fulfilled all the Jewish Scriptures. As the carol put it so beautifully, “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.” It’s an awesome truth. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9.6) promised, first to the Jews, and also to the Gentiles (Romans 1.16).

Friends from Ireland, Velma and Alan Beattie, at a Christian worship festival in Antrim, Northern Ireland, recently heard the amazing first-hand account of a man who had just returned from Ethiopia, where he had been to look for a remote Jewish village that is under severe persecution.

“When he arrived he was told that the people had seen a vision that a man would come bringing light to them. And so he was able to share with them about the light of the world, Yeshua!”[1]

Avi Snyder, European Director of Jews for Jesus, tells of a time when his colleague Julia asked a young woman called Miriam to read Isaiah 53, written around 700 BC. “Miriam’s eyes literally grew wide as she read from her own Bible the description of the Servant of the Lord killed as an atonement for our sins.”

“Does this sound like anyone you’ve ever heard about?” Julia asked.

“It sounds like Jesus,” she replied. And, after re-reading the passage, she asked, “Why don’t the rabbis believe this?”

“Actually, that’s the wrong question,” Julia said. “The right question is, ‘why don’t you believe this?’”

Miriam thought for another moment, then said, “I do.”[2]

Just a few chapters later, Isaiah wrote, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60.1–3)

Jesus himself celebrated Hanukkah – also referred to as the Festival of Dedication – and it was there that he came under fierce attack from the Jewish religious leaders. As they debated with him about his identity, they threatened to stone him for blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God. (John 10.22–42)

The encouraging thing about this account is that Jesus subsequently returned across the Jordan to where his cousin John had earlier been baptizing, and many followed him there and came to believe in him.

Today we rejoice that more and more Israelis, along with Jews across the diaspora, are putting their trust in Yeshua who, at Christmas, came to dwell (or tabernacle) among us (John 1.14).

Have a happy Hanukkah and a blessed Christmas!


  1.  CMJ Ireland News, October 2016. [CMJ=Church’s Ministry among the Jewish people.]  ↩

  2.  Jews for Jesus newsletter, December 2016, adapted excerpt from Avi Snyder’s forthcoming book Jews Don’t Need Jesus – and Other Misconceptions, due out in the spring of 2017.  ↩


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

 

Not Only Are Hanukkah Candles Lit Here...

Children will be showing pride in their handmade hanukkiot (hanukkah candelabra) and parents admire the works of art of their offspring. Together they will be singing the traditional hanukkah songs to the candlelight and relish the required jelly donuts.

We, at Israel Today Shop, have been infused with enthusiasm for the upcoming festival, and our hot Hanukkah sale has begun!

Browse through the different categories of our on-line shop and find your personal favorites: personalized jewelery, cosmetics, tasty Israeli treats and more await you...!

Save up to 33% on selected Israeli items!


 

Long Arm of the Mossad Eliminates 'The Engineer'

A Hamas official known as “The Engineer” was assassinated in Tunisia on Thursday, and everyone’s certain that Israel’s Mossad was responsible.

Mohammed Al-Zoari was a Tunisian aviation scientist and engineer who helped Hamas develop unmanned drones, among other weapons.

According to Israeli newspapers, Al-Zoari was lured into a newspaper interview. While he was en route, a truck suddenly blocked his car. Two agents then emerged from an adjacent vehicle and shot him dead.

Both members of the hit squad reportedly managed to flee Tunisia.

Israel will neither confirm nor deny its involvement officially. But local media is reporting as though Mossad carried out the killing, possibly using foreign agents.

Naturally, Hamas has promised a bloody response.

“[Hamas] mourns the martyr of Palestine, martyr of the Arab and Muslim nation, the Qassam leader, engineer and pilot Mohammad Zoari, who was assassinated by treacherous Zionist hands,” read a statement published by the terror group. “The enemy must know the Zoari’s blood was not spilled in vain.”

 

Israeli MKs Hail Incoming 'Bible-Believing' US Ambassador

Many Israeli politicians were excited over the weekend by US President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to the Jewish state.

Some went so far as to hail his reliance on the Bible in making policy decisions.

Friedman previously served as Trump’s lawyer. He transitioned to the role of trusted advisor during the recently-concluded presidential campaign.

Friedman visited Israel a number of times in recent months. Just after Trump’s victory, he told Israel Radio that Jerusalem should consider annexing the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Those positions have liberals in the US fuming over Friedman’s appointment and what it means for the “land-for-peace” process.

But most Israelis already view the the peace process as dead, and so see new hope in both Trump and Friedman.

“Friedman is an enthusiastic supporter of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel according to the Torah of Israel, and I wish him and us luck,” said Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home).

Friedman’s “positions reflect the desire to strengthen the status of Israel’s capital Jerusalem at this time and an understanding that settlements were never the real problem in the region,” noted Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud).

Even to the center of the political spectrum, Friedman was welcomed.

“Look forward to working with Mr. Friedman, the new US ambassador & great friend of Israel, in his rightful office in our capital, Jerusalem,” Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, posted on Twitter.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) insisted that most Israelis still want to separate from the Palestinians, not annex them, and that Friedman would need to learn that. But he nevertheless offered his welcome to the next ambassador.

Only to the extreme Left were the reactions hostile.

“Trump’s appointments are outrageous and one competes with the other for which is worse,” screeched Zehava Gal-On, head of the ultra-leftist Meretz party.

Gal-On did acknowledge, however, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to love working with Friedman.

 

Are Jews Persecuting Other Jews?

There are similarities, and double standards, in the way Israel treats Reform and Messianic Jews.

The full article appears on page 25 of the December 2016 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
CLICK HERE to read it all

 

Living in an Unabashedly Religious Society

I’ve been in Israel a long time now. But it still never ceases to amaze me, having come from the “Christian” West, how unabashedly religious Israeli society can be.

Now, take note that we live in a secular part of town, and all the people around us are “secular” Jews.

And yet, at my 5-year-old’s Hanukkah party today the entire class and all the parents were belting out a popular Israeli rendition of Psalm 147:12–13, which reads:

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you.

My daughter does not attend a private school. This is a public, taxpayer-funded kindergarten. And as a matter of course they teach the children to acknowledge and praise God.

And since it was Hanukkah, I was also again struck by how openly Israel hails its national heroes, in this case the leaders of the Maccabean Revolt that brought about the restoration of the Temple.

I simply can’t imagine this taking place today in my home country of America.

Children can barely mention the word “God” in school, let alone pray. And any teacher who dared to actually instruct his or her students to acknowledge the Most High would be dismissed on the spot.

The attitude toward national heroes is similar. Sure, American students learn about their nation’s historical figures and what they did. But there is no praise and adoration, no deep desire to emulate those actions.

I have never seen an American child praise the exploits of say, Theodor Roosevelt, in the way I see these kids every year lifting aloft the memory of Judah Maccabee.

It simply wouldn’t be politically correct.

 

A Special Message From Our Editor

Shalom Chaverim,

Dear friends,

Why is Israel so hated by the world? The story of Jacob provides the answer. Jacob favored one of his children, Joseph, above the others. And that led to bitter jealousy. I don’t know any father today who would do such a thing. It’s a recipe for disaster. And yet, Jacob was following God’s lead. As creator of all, God also favored one nation - Israel!

From that moment on, Israel has been maligned. And in our day, this is most clearly seen in mainstream media coverage. But this seemingly self-defeating decision by both Jacob and God had a higher purpose. It is for this reason that Israel Today is so critical to truly understanding what is happening in the Holy Land.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place... And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Now is the time. Join us hand-in-hand in spreading the truth that “the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind...” (I Samuel 15:29)

We in Jerusalem cannot do it alone. Like Esther, you have been born for such a time as this - to bring comfort and hope to Israel, to spread God’s truth and to stand against the lies of the enemy. 

Yours from Jerusalem,

Aviel Schneider

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Israeli Family Has Divine Appointment in South Africa

Anyone unconvinced about God’s special love for the Jewish people should look no further than this remarkable story set in the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where I grew up.

A Christian meeting was set to take place at a guest farm near Winterton, in the Drakensberg region, a beautiful range of peaks reaching as high as 11,000ft above-sea-level.

Edith Sher, of the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people, was coming all the way from Cape Town, a distance of 1,000 miles, to speak of the significance of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, Israel’s holiest day of the year), and how it was fulfilled by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus who took our sins upon himself when he was crucified in Jerusalem. (1 John 2.2, New Testament)

The day before the meeting, attended by some 70 people in a converted garage, farm owners Hendrik and Ina Goosen received a call from a family who were touring South Africa and wanted accommodation for the night.

“It turned out they were from Israel – father, mother and three children, all thoroughly secular,” Edith told me. “The owner said they were welcome, but mentioned that a Christian meeting would be taking place. They said they didn’t mind and, to our amazement, came into the garage and sat through the entire meeting.

“Afterwards, at the food table set out on the lawn, I spoke to the wife who responded very positively to my message and said they were bowled over by the love and support for Israel.

“Bearing in mind that this particular meeting had been brought forward a week earlier than planned for various reasons, this was without doubt God-appointed.

“What are the chances of an Israeli family being there at that time – and that the meeting should actually have taken place a week later? It has encouraged other people as a reminder that God is still in charge.”

Ina added: “I feel sure that God had set an appointment with them here in South Africa. At breakfast next morning they all told me how they had enjoyed the previous evening and Yakov (not his real name) said he had especially enjoyed the ‘ceremony’. They were pleasantly surprised by everyone’s love for Israel and how many people with whom they had spoken had been there.

“The next day Yakov sent an sms saying they’d arrived safely in Durban (150 miles away) and that the visit to Winterton would always stay in their hearts. I even got a second sms from him as they left Durban, saying they’d like to return one day. Let’s continue praying for this family, who are precious in God’s sight.”

This story is particularly stirring for me as I grew up in this part of the world, regularly visiting the nearby mountains and on one occasion climbing a 10,000ft peak with my teenage friends. I am especially proud of those Christians who showed such love to this Jewish family; it’s even possible that I grew up with some of them!

And it brings another dimension to Isaiah’s prophecy:_ “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” _(Isaiah 52.7)

Gentiles from the nations have a vital role to play in bringing Israel back to God (Isaiah 49.22).

And God has an appointment with those who seek Him – his timing is always perfect. _“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the human heart…” _(Ecclesiastes 3.11)


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

 

'Hate Spaces' Film Exposes Campus Intolerance

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

A new documentary, "Hate Spaces," exposes the epidemic of campus intolerance favoring Muslims and anti-Israel activists over Jews and Israel supporters when it comes to free speech, academic freedom, and protection from abuse.

The film is being released theatrically by Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to raising public awareness about the increasingly hostile campus environment. "Hate Spaces" premiered Nov. 30 in New York, and will be screened at select locations around the country (contact info@peaceandtolerance.org for details). The film will also be available on DVD in early 2017 and eventually on YouTube. Click here to sign up for alerts.

The film's title refers to the concept of "safe spaces" that has been used to silence unpopular speech on universities around the United States.

Executive Producer Avi Goldwasser, who also wrote and directed "Hate Spaces," first noticed the extent of the campus problem in 2004, when he produced "Columbia Unbecoming." That film documented the intimidation by Columbia University professors of Jewish students who supported Israel. "Jewish students were abused by faculty members and the administration ignored it," Goldwasser told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). "The abusing professor got tenure."

Indeed, anti-Israel lies, incitement, and hate speech are often tolerated under the banners of academic freedom and free speech. Last September, for example, the University of California, Berkeley reinstated a student-led course that presented a demonizing, one-sided history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict after public outcry claimed that free speech and academic freedom were jeopardized by the course's suspension. In contrast, pro-Israel speech is attacked by Israel critics who demand the right to have "safe spaces" free from "hate speech."

"Any support of Israel is hate speech!" one protestor in the film proclaims.

Groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) leverage their politically favored status to exercise rights and protections that they try to deny their political opponents. At Northeastern University, SJP violated school policies over a two-year period, including "vandalism of university property, disrupting the events of other student organizations, not getting the appropriate permits when required, distributing unauthorized materials inside residence halls and sliding them under the doors of private rooms, not providing a 'civility statement' which was required after a previous sanction [and] not meeting with university advisers," according to Northeastern spokeswoman Renata Nyul.

"We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, zero tolerance for racism or any kind of hatred," Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun said in the film, defending his school's decision to suspend SJP.

But SJP successfully reframed the school's response as suppression of free speech and rallied public and media pressure until their suspension was lifted. Thus, in an SJP-dominated campus, speech that violates school policies and harasses Jews and Israel supporters is protected as "free speech" rather than punished as "hate speech."

By contrast, critics of Islam have been silenced with accusations of "hate speech" and "Islamophobia." In 2014, Brandeis University canceled a speaking invitation and honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a campaigner for women's rights and a fierce critic of Islam, after she was branded an "Islamophobe" by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Around the same time, CAIR used similar accusations to stop the screening of a documentary on honor killings.

Meanwhile, Jewish students and organizations are targeted with impunity, as feckless college administrators hesitate to take remedial action (as happened at Connecticut College). One of the reasons for their reluctance, the film suggests, is fear of jeopardizing funding – collectively, over $1 billion over the last six years – from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Through brazen lies – like claiming that Israel "commits genocide" and "apartheid" – SJP and MSA have created campus environments that are hostile to Jews and pro-Israel students, while suppressing support for Israel as "hate speech."

"Hate Spaces" was a story that had to be told, Goldwasser said, because "most people do not realize how the hostility is being institutionalized, made fashionable by a combination of forces including radical faculty, radical student organizations, and an enabling university administration. While many anti-Jewish incidents and the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel] campaign are reported by the media, few are willing to connect the dots and report on the underlying ideology and extremist organizations that are inciting the hostility."

The film shows how such campus hostility can reach as far as student council meetings, events that should be focused on campus affairs and otherwise far-removed from Middle East politics. It features UCLA sophomore Rachel Beyda, who applied for a leadership position on the Undergraduate Students Association Council. She was challenged by an SJP-backed campaign that claimed her Jewish background would make her biased when deciding sensitive campus issues. For about 40 minutes, students questioned whether her Jewish identity would make her a less fair-minded leader, even though three other students deciding her fate had been similarly active in their respective communities (Iranian students' group, the MSA, and the Sikh students' group).

The film also highlights the extent of SJP's infiltration into academia. The organization, which has ties to Muslim-Brotherhood-linked groups, has chapters on more than 600 campuses. "Hate Spaces" underscores how there is "sensitivity training" on many campuses for just about every group (including for bestiality and incest at Yale) but not when it comes to groups relating to Jews or Israel.

The film includes footage of SJP founder Hatem Bazian calling for an intifada in America during a 2004 San Francisco rally. In addition to heading the University of California, Berkeley's Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, Bazian is AMP's founder and national chair. AMP provides funding, printed materials (including "Apartheid walls" for public demonstrations), and staff to SJP chapters.

"Hate Spaces" cites the IPT's 2015 report about AMP support for Hamas and terrorism against Israel.

It includes footage from an AMP event with several disturbing quotes. "When I look at the people who fight with the Israeli Occupation Forces," says AMP's Munjed Ahmad, in one example, "I don't think we understand how many American Jews who were involved in the assault of Gaza the past summer were American...Of those people massacring those 500 children and those civilians, there were American Jews."

Taher Herzallah asks: "What if as Muslims, we wanted to establish an Islamic State? Is that wrong? What if, as Muslims, we wanted to use violent means to resist occupation? Is that wrong?"

"Hate Spaces" attempts to explain how campuses became so hostile to Israel. By manipulating identity politics, SJP created an anti-Israel alliance of hard-left groups. They exploit the academically trendy concept of "intersectionality" – the idea that all injustices are interconnected – to demonize Israel and make common cause with activists from totally unrelated movements, like the campaign to address police violence.

SJP also attracts well-meaning students concerned about equality and social justice by portraying Palestinians as blameless victims of wholly unjustified Israeli attacks. "What drew me to SJP was my motivation to support equal human rights," one student says in the film. "I joined them because I felt that the Palestinian people were being oppressed."

Another student explains how "SJP deliberately works with anti-Zionist Jewish organizations because working with those organizations helps to immunize them ...against charges of bigotry and anti-Semitism. It gives SJP cover."

"Hate Spaces" points out that student demographics have also helped SJP, because tens of thousands of students from Muslim countries that are traditionally hostile to Israel have arrived on U.S. college campuses in recent years. As noted by a former-SJP activist interviewed in the documentary, "There's definitely a lot of ethnic solidarity between Muslims and Palestinians because [a] majority of the Palestinians are Muslims, so it's almost like a brotherhood."

Goldwasser describes the intended audience for "Hate Spaces" as "decent Americans, especially, those in leadership positions." He believes that "once they are educated about this outrage on campus, there is a chance that changes will be made. All we ask is that Jewish students be treated equally, receive the same protection as any other minority on campus."

The film notes that professors and administrators have only exacerbated the campus movement promoting BDS, through their indifference or open complicity with the movement's campus leaders and tactics: "Many university officials are uncomfortable dealing with hatred that comes from a non-Western minority, preferring to selectively invoke the concepts of academic freedom and free speech instead of fulfilling their responsibility to Jewish students."

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

 

WATCH: F-35 Squadron in First Flight Over Israel

Israel Air Forces pilots take their shiny new F-35 fighters to the skies for the first time.

 

Israel Vows to Protects Its Christian Soldiers

A growing number of Arabic-speaking youth are volunteering to serve in the Israeli army. And that has meant an increase in intimidation and threats from those in the Arab community who oppose coexistence within the Jewish state.

At the annual holiday gathering hosted by the Christian Empowerment Council (CEC) last week, Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked vowed to do everything in her power to protect Israel’s Christian soldiers.

“You [Arabic-speaking IDF soldiers] are realizing Ben Gurion’s vision by partnering with us in protecting this country, as well as in breaking down barriers between Jews and Christians,” said Shaked.

Shaked thanked Father Gabriel Naddaf, spiritual head of the CEC, for his unwavering efforts to integrate Christians into Israeli society. Because of those efforts, she noted, “many Christians soldiers fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Jewish soldiers.”

Shaked concluded by telling the Christians: “We will never abandon you. We are with you during the tough times.”

In his address to the gathering, Father Naddaf repeated his position that Jews and Christians are brothers, and must take equal responsibility in defending and developing Israel.

“We and the Jews are the native roots of Israel. We need to be citizens with equal obligations and rights in everything ,” said the priest. “Our forum has made it its mission to integrate Christians into Israeli society by enlisting the young people in the IDF in order to protect our home.”

The conference was attended by hundreds of young Christian soldiers, senior army and police officers, heads of Jewish and Arab municipalities, and a number of high-ranking government officials, like Shaked.

Also in attendance were a number of Bedouin and Druze sheikhs, who similarly encourage their youth to serve Israel by joining the IDF.

 

WATCH: Breathtaking New Messianic Music Video in Galilee

Our favorite Messianic YouTuber, Hananya Naftali, teamed up with local Messianic music artist Joshua Aaron to produce this breathtaking worship video.

 

"The trees of the LORD are well watered..." Psalms 104:16


This past year was not an easy year for us in Israel. How many tears were shed over the victims of the "knife intifada", for a beloved ex-president that left this world for eternity, construction disasters that claimed the lives of many, the losses that people suffered that were directly affected by the fires that ravaged the country....

Sometimes we might feel like a tree. An old tree which, when one looks at it one might wonder what has it seen and experienced! What storms and droughts has it withstood? And yet, with each spring it pushes forth its crown in glorious splendour and pushes its roots ever deeper into the earth in order to bring forth its fruit once again.

Take a look at one of our Support Israel projects and help her withstand the tests of time! From packs for needy children, to thermal clothing for our young soldiers, to the reforestation of our forests!

And of course, we will not hesitate to bring you photographic / video coverage of your support!



 

Israel (Finally) Takes Possession of F-35s

Israel on Monday became the first nation after the US to take possession of F–35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.

Two of the planes landed at Nevatim Air Force Base in southern Israel.

Already adorned with the Star of David, the planes are now officially part of the Israel Air Force.

The welcome ceremony was attended and addressed by Israel’s top political and military leadership, as well as by US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

Israel Air Force engineers will now pore over the planes, and Israeli-developed systems will be added. Then Israeli pilots will take the F–35s to the skies and the Jewish state’s qualitative edge over its enemies will increase.

 

VIDEO: Israel Needs More Christian Volunteers

 

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Women in Tanks. It's About More Than Equality

Last month, the IDF announced its intention to integrate women into the Armored Corps, triggering a wide range of responses that can be easily divided down political partisan lines.

This fact alone should be have been a clear indicator that the Israeli army is engaging in something it shouldn't - the political arena. But years of indoctrination have turned many of our senior officers into devout liberals who now sanctify equality, promote homosexuality, feminism and so on. 

So deep runs this indoctrination that few would question the army's policy of paying for two abortions per female soldier during her mandatory service. Likewise, few would challenge the new policy of unisex bathrooms. 


A sign in the army's headquarters reading:
"joint bathrooms - toilets and bathrooms are for both men and women – lock while in use"

Our officers are so convinced of this brand of liberalism that a senior officer didn't see any problem in saying recently:

"The US Army set a [high standard] and those passing it are accepted. This is not necessarily good for the IDF."

In other words, today's IDF prefers ideology over professional criteria.

<h3>Religious Opposition</h3>

As expected, the strongest opposition to the IDF's intention to include women in any position came from religious circles, some of which today constitute some of the army's most elite units. 

Alkana Cohen wrote in an open letter to the IDF Chief-of-Staff that he will most likely not show up next time he is called for reserved duty. The reason, he says, is that "by integrating women in the fighting forces you declare that the army's job is not to achieve victory … rather its job is to be a people's army that gives equal opportunity to all, and I do not want to be a soldier in an army that doesn't want to win … I do not intend to be in an army that turns into an institution for equality empowerment."

Rabbi Zvi Tau, one of the most influential figures in the national religious community, noted that the IDF chief wasn't appointed to change Israel's culture. 

Tau's main concern is immodesty, which can easily turn to promiscuity. More generally though, Tau says that including women in tank crews desecrates Israel's holiness. "They have gone mad," said Tau. "One is not allowed to enter a tank with a female soldier … this isn't a game, the chief-of-staff was appointed to shoot the enemy … not to change the country's culture … it is neither logical, just or democratic … to force soldiers to act contrary to the Torah or their beliefs … one must stand firm against this disgrace."

In an interview with Rabbi Mordechai Zion, the influential Rabbi Shlomo Aviner agreed that serving with women defiles the army. "Lack of modesty weakens the army and harms it … [this amounts to] lack of national responsibility. A complete folly," he said. 

When asked what a soldier should do when given a direct order to serve with a woman, Aviner's answer was: "This is out of the question … it is as if he would be given an order to eat pork."

Harsh as these two rabbis are, they nevertheless remain optimistic. Rather than calling for mutiny, they are calling on their followers not to despair. "All is going to be all right. Eventually everybody will repent," insisted Aviner.

 

Father Heroically Holds Son as They Plunge to Their Deaths

A grief-stricken nation on Monday laid to rest Dr. Omri Nir and his 10-year-old son, Ilai, who were tragically killed by a fall during a hiking trip in the Judean desert.

Omri and Ilai were part of a larger group including 15 other children that set out to hike the Tze’elim Stream near the Dead Sea on Friday.

During one of the descents, Ilai lost his footing and fell onto his father before continuing to roll toward a nearby cliff.

Omri did not hesitate and leapt for his son, wrapping Ilai in a protecting embrace before they plunged into the canyon below.

A medic with the group quickly descended and found Ilai still breathing. Omri was already gone.

Two days later, following frantic attempts to complete Omri’s mission to save his son’s life, doctors at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva were forced to declare Ilai dead.

“Now you will be together forever,” one family member was quoted as saying by Israeli media, as they prepared to lay to rest Omri and the child for whom he gave his life, little Ilai.

 

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'Battle Royal Ahead Over Balfour'

The newly-retired chief executive of Christian Witness to Israel, one of several movements dedicated to sharing the gospel with the Jewish community, has warned of a “battle royal” over the Balfour Declaration this coming year.

Mike Moore was referring to the forthcoming centenary celebrations of the British Government’s 1917 pledge to do all in its power to help Jews return to their ancient Middle East homeland.

We have already witnessed the chaotic launch of a campaign to persuade the government to apologize for Balfour – a House of Lords meeting where Jews were even accused of bringing the Holocaust on themselves.[1]

That led to the resignation from the Liberal Democrat Party of the meeting’s host, Baroness Tonge.

And the British Government has now supported an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations that completely undermines legitimate Jewish rights to the city of Jerusalem and, in particular, Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.[2]

We have also seen a significant rise in anti-Israel protests on university campuses and elsewhere, causing London’s Metropolitan Police to request organizers of pro-Israel gatherings not to disclose the venue of their meetings in the interests of their own safety.

Indeed, the UK Government has responded to these worrying developments by allocating over £13 million towards the security of its Jewish institutions following 924 reports of anti-Semitic incidents last year including 86 violent assaults[3].

Why is the Balfour issue in particular causing such a stir? The short answer can be summed up as rebellion against God and his plans, both for the salvation of all through his Son and for restoration of his chosen people – to the land promised them for millennia, and to Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah known to Westerners as Jesus.

The timing of the declaration by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour in November 1917 could not have been more precise, coming just weeks before the capture of Jerusalem by British and Allied forces led by General Edmund Allenby, ending 400 years of rule under the Turkish Ottoman Empire and handing to Britain on a plate the means by which they could honour their pledge.

It could not have happened in today’s politically-correct climate which has seen the Bible almost entirely marginalized from our culture – and certainly from the corridors of power. But in 1917 things were very different. Britain was at the zenith of its power and influence largely, I believe, through honoring God and sending out missionaries to many parts of the world.

The preaching of the gospel and the application of biblical teaching to everyday life had been going on for well over a century courtesy of what has become known as the Great Evangelical Revival, all of which had a direct affect on the social welfare of the nation, considerably reducing the crime rate for one thing.

Crime rates fell dramatically throughout the 19th century, so that by 1870 there were only 10,000 in the jails of England and Wales. But even more remarkable was the continuing fall over the next few decades, so that by 1910 there were only 3,000 prisoners in the nation’s jails, despite the population rising from 25 to 35 million[4].

With today’s population at 60 million, our jails are full to capacity with 80,000 prisoners, and bear in mind that many Victorian inmates would only have been regarded as petty criminals today.

The contrast is staggering. There is no more room in our overcrowded prisons, and yet we live in a more lenient society – with some exceptions of course, such as the repeated injustice meted out to Christians.

During the famous Welsh Revival in 1904, crime was almost non-existent in some places, leaving police with little to do, while the pit ponies (used down the coal mines) are said to have no longer understood the commands of their masters whose foul language had been cleaned up.

It was this revival of biblical Christianity that changed everything for the Jewish people. It meant that the generations preceding the Balfour Declaration were made aware that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still has a special love for his chosen people, whatever they may have done to disown him, and that national prosperity was dependent on our blessing the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12.3).

Men of influence understood this well – among them General Allenby himself who had prayed for Israel’s restoration as a young boy, and in the end he was used by God to help bring that about.[5]

With the bridge to neighbouring Jordan named after him, Allenby is still honoured in Israel.

Tragically, today’s generation is biblically illiterate, knowing almost nothing of our precious Judeo-Christian heritage. On a recent train journey to London, I heard a young boy pointing at a tall church steeple in Grantham, Lincolnshire, (typical of many in the land) asking his dad: “What is that? Is it Big Ben?” (We were still 110 miles from London).

The irony is that Virgin Trains, who sold me the ticket, advertise their service with the slogan Be bound for glory, taken from the traditional gospel song This train is bound for glory.

Recent generations in this great country have rebelled against God, and a glorious future for ourselves and our nation is only possible if we get back on track with the biblical truth that tells of a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned.

Jesus is the only way to glory. If your intended destination is heaven and eternal life, then you need to take the gospel train that leads to Jesus, who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6, New Testament)


  1. Battle ensues over Balfour, Israel Today, November 3 2016  ↩

  2. Christians United for Israel – UK, December 5 2016  ↩

  3. World Israel News, December 5 2016  ↩

  4. Clifford Hill, The Great Evangelical Revival, www.prophecytoday.uk September 30 2016  ↩

  5. Jonathan Cahn, TBN UK, November 20 2016  ↩


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

 

VIDEO: 5 Places you MUST Visit in Israel

 

Africa Longs to Ally with Israel

Africa is no longer under the heel of the Arab world, and it looks to Israel for partnership and leadership.

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

 

INTERVIEW: Jewish Settlers Face Eviction

 

Messiah's Arrows

New program helps young Messianic Jews prepare to serve with valor and faith in the IDF.

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

 

Is Tel Aviv Going Kosher?

Eating shellfish in the predominantly-Jewish city of Tel Aviv is not just about good cuisine. For many, non-Kosher restaurants stand for freedom from religion. 

Tellingly, a mere 3 people from Tel Aviv voted for the nationalist-religious Jewish Home party in the last election. And the city's culinary scene well reflects its commitment to secular liberal values. 

Indeed, so different is this city from any other in Israel that it is referred to by many as "The Bubble."

Still, secular as it is, one survey after another reveals that most Israelis, even in Tel Aviv, won't eat non-Kosher food. This means that inclusive as liberalism claims to be, non-Kosher restaurants exclude more than they include. Such restaurants might as well hang up signs stating: "Traditional Jews Not Welcome". Of course, if nothing else, such an approach would be bad for business in a Jewish city.

While it should be obvious, the restaurant industry has only realized in the past few years that it is suffering financially as a result of turning away most of its potential clientele.

In her article "Kosher and Successful" appearing in the December 2 edition of Makor Rishon, Racheli Malek-Buda opens the door to this industry that for decades ignored all those hungry people roaming the streets of Tel Aviv in search of Kosher steak, falafel, coffee and cake.

Restaurant owners are taking a considerable financial risk by turning Kosher, because it obligates them to be closed on Saturdays (Shabbat) and on biblical holidays. These establishments also must hire Kosher supervisors, who make sure the restaurants meets specific requirements (like the prohibition to mix meat with dairy products). 

Nevertheless, more and more restaurants begin to realize that Kosher can be financially successful. They also begin to realize that the demographic scene in Tel Aviv is changing.

Da Peppe, a much-loved pizzeria, could no longer sell its pepperoni pizza due to the many French immigrants who came to live in the neighborhood. Unwilling to compromise, the owner recently decided to close his business. Those who are not too proud are turning Kosher, mainly to stay in business. 

Yoav Valin, owner of Nini Hachi Sushi Restaurant, admitted that "opening up a Kosher restaurant was the best business decision we ever made." The main reason for this success is the delivery service that allows restaurants to work with big offices and companies. "We are working with Google, Facebook," said Valin, and "one religious employee is enough to make them order only Kosher."

But good business planning and demographic changes, important as they are, can't replace good food. 

Kosher restaurants are still perceived as dull and unattractive. Traditional Jewish food is also not viewed as particularly healthy. The limited choice of products and the religious restrictions present an almost unbearable challenge for chefs and cooks. But, as celebrity chef Nir Tzuk explains, "Today almost any product can be Kosher, and there are solutions from the vegan kitchen, [such as] cream made from cashew nuts … things unheard of up until a few years."

But these changes highlight different challenges. Tzuk says that many of his friends told him they will not eat in his new Kosher restaurant: "This saddens me, because it points to a serious problem we have in this country … there isn't too much love … Kosher restaurant sounds like a threat." The trend, however, seems to be unstoppable.

 

Muslim IDF Soldier: I Love Israel!

A growing number of young Arabs are volunteering to serve in Israel’s army. In so doing, they are rejecting the stereotype of an oppressed minority foisted upon them by the world media.

“The country helps us and I will have a good future,” Sergeant Saleh Khalil, 20, told Reuters in a rare interview with active combat soldiers.

Khalil belongs to that sector of Arab Muslim society that believes it also has a responsibility to the state. “I enlisted in order to contribute to the country, because I live in this country,” he said.

His comrade in arms, Sergeant Yusef Salutta, 20, took that sentiment a step further.

“Why did I decide to enlist? Because I’m from this country and I love the country and I want to contribute,” he told reporters. “Everyone should enlist, anybody who lives here should enlist.”

And for Salutta, it was not just words. Reuters reported that the young Arab Muslim soldier actually wears a silver Star of David around his neck.

PHOTO: Soldiers with the IDF’s all-Arab Bedouin Reconnaissance Unit train in the southern Negev region.

 

The Emergence of the White Jew

A few weeks ago, I said to a close family member that radical feminists are hurting their own cause. "You are a white privileged male," was the response I got in return. This new curse took me by complete surprise, as I have never considered myself either privileged or white. 

Concerning privileges, if I have them, I don't know about it. What I do know is that the little I have in this world didn't come through privilege.

In fact, since Israel got into the business of affirmative action, being a male Ashkenazi Jew, as I am, has become a serious disadvantage. Universities and government offices choose their candidates according to non-professional criteria of gender and origin. This is why females and Arabs will find it easier than "white" Ashkenazi males to get into medical school. Just visit our hospitals if you don't believe me.

But what really struck me was this new accusation of being "white." 

I don't know when this post-colonial derogatory phrase entered our society, but Israeli lefties are now using it to defame any unfortunate enough to disagree with them. Jews have forever been considered oriental Semites (anti-Semite, remember?), but this little fact seems to disrupt the progressive liberal agenda, much of which was hatched in Jewish minds. 

To be fair, many Ashkenazi Jews entrenched within a secular liberal worldview no longer know, or believe, that they are of Semitic origin.

This is the impression one gets from Sarah Ruiz-Grossman's Huffington Post article "White Jews Have A Duty To Stand With Muslims And People Of Color." This sanctimonious rant, filled as it is with liberal clichés, is embarrassing, to say the least. While repeatedly using the term anti-Semitism, Ruiz-Grossman refuses to herself identify as Semitic. "As a white Jew," she writes, "I have the ultimate privilege when it comes to fearing hate: skin privilege. I can walk the streets and no one can identify me as 'other'."

This, it should be remembered, is how German Jews felt even as Hitler's axe had already been raised. They, too, saw themselves as "privileged" and "white" enough to escape the coming wrath. They, too, thought all that was needed was to strip away their Jewish garb and speak good German. And they, like Ruiz-Grossman, failed to realize that their identity runs much deeper than the yarmulke and the Star of David. 

Secular liberal Jews failed to understand that ideology never had the power to save even the most devout among them. Be as enlightened and liberal as you want, the Semitic stain can't be erased. Like Cain's mysterious mark, for better or worse, Jews are inescapably marked for the sake of our divine destiny. And like Cain's mark, as much as Jews try to hide it, it is visible for all to see.

Ruiz-Grossman is representative of where millions of Jews are at. They have attempted to trade their God-given identity for an idealism run amok. An idealism that somehow equates anti-Semitism with anti-Muslim sentiment, as if the two share a common source. 

Like an old grandma trying to dress "young," hard as they may try to blur their identity, attempts by those like Ruiz-Grossman to "look good" only turns them into a caricature.

PHOTO: Where was "white" privilege when Semitic Jews were marched to the death camps by white Nazis?

 

The Grand Canyon Between Islam and Christianity

The god of Islam is most definitely not the same as the God worshipped by Christians and Jews.

That is the no-nonsense conclusion of Sam Solomon’s new book, Not the Same God (Wilberforce Publications), dedicated to tackling a thorny theological issue which has left many confused and misguided.

A number of Christian scholars are said to have suggested that ‘sufficient similarities’ exist between Islam and Christianity to warrant co-operation between the so-called monotheistic faiths which may even prove helpful in introducing Muslims to Christ.

But the author (writing with Atif Debs) – both of whom are former Muslims – makes a convincing case that Islamic theology amounts to a complete contradiction of the Judeo-Christian faith.

In essence, the Qur’an denies the divinity of Jesus, along with his crucifixion and resurrection. It even denies original sin, thus rejecting the need for salvation and the forgiveness of sins which is surely what Christianity (and Judaism for that matter) is all about.

Extensive quotations from the Qur’an, while uninspiring, clearly serve the purpose of the book by demonstrating how similarity with the Bible is an illusion.

Whereas the entire Bible points to Jesus, with the Old Testament (the Jewish Tenach) fulfilled in the New, Muslims claim that Muhammad is the ultimate ‘seal of the prophets’ and fulfillment of all God-given Scriptures.

And although they reject Christianity as worshipping “three gods” while boasting that they are monotheistic, it is hard to differentiate (in terms of names given and honour ascribed) between Allah, the Muslim name for God, and Muhammad, for whom they claim no divinity.

Furthermore, in dismissing Christian belief in the Trinity as worshipping ‘many gods’, they hold that Jesus’ disciples worship the Father, Son and Mary (mother of Jesus), only adding to the confusion in their understanding of our faith.

But the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the debate – which makes union between the faiths impossible – is the Islamic rejection of the uniqueness of Christ, who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6)

Moreover, Allah is described in the Qur’an as the great ‘unknowable’ who does not reveal himself to mortal man. This, of course, is a complete contradiction of Christianity, which says that God became one of us and makes himself known to all who seek him. (Jeremiah 29.13)

Solomon concludes his book (for which he probably won’t be thanked by many, but it is true nonetheless) by saying that the Qur’an can best be described as a set of “…arguments raised up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10.5) and expresses the hope that those looking for a ‘common path’ between Islam and Christianity will in future “reflect the reality, rather than the illusion”.


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

 

Your Last Chance Holiday Shopping From Israel!

Everyone is contemplating how they can surprise their loved ones this holiday season. Should it be something special, something unusual, something individual and personal, not too expensive and yet treasured.

Ties, handkerchiefs, shirts and socks are OUT - a package with that special something from Israel is IN!

We have put together a selection for you in our Holidays Category at great discounts! Browse through our gift items and find the perfect something for you or your loved ones!

Order soon in order to receive your items before the holidays!

On each order, we will give you a small gift directly from Israel on the occasion of the holidays.



 

Netanyahu Might Not Be Next Prime Minister - Survey

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could lose his position in the next general election, according to an Israel Channel 2 News poll conducted last week.

The survey found that if the election were held now, Netanyahu’s Likud Party would win 25 seats in the Knesset. But so would the centrist Yesh Atid faction headed by former television personality Yair Lapid (pictured with Netanyahu in 2013).

That marks a loss of five seats from its current count of 30 for Likud, while Yesh Atid, which currently has 11 seats, gained an impressive 14 mandates.

Given those results, the president of Israel would have to carefully determine which party leader had the best chance of forming a stable coalition. And if that leader failed to do so, the other would be given a chance.

And that means the number of seats won by other parties would be extremely important.

In this particular poll, the Joint Arab List won 13 seats (matching its current 13) and the Jewish Home party garnered 11 mandates (up from its current 8). The right-wing Israel Beiteinu increased to 8 seats, while the religious Shas and United Torah Judaism were each given 7.

Considering that the religious parties have vowed never to sit in a coalition with Lapid, he would be unable to form a majority coalition without Netanyahu’s Likud.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, would still be able to form a majority coalition consisting entirely of right-leaning and religious parties, and excluding Lapid.

The biggest loser in the survey was the Labor Party (rebranded as the Zionist Union), which dropped from its current 24 seats to just 11.

If anything, the poll again confirmed that the Israeli public is moving further to the right. Labor and other left-wing parties are no longer seen as the best alternative to Likud.

Most secular left-leaning Israelis today prefer the more centrist positions offered by Yesh Atid, which is something of a repudiation of the overtly liberal and socialist platforms of Labor and parties further to the left.

 

POLL: Israelis Certain Trump Will Be Pro-Israel

A new survey confirms that a solid majority of Israelis believe Donald Trump will enact pro-Israel policies as the next president of the United States.

Commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation, the poll revealed that an overwhelming 83 percent of Israelis anticipate Trump will be a “pro-Israel president.”

That is a far different result than when Israelis were asked the same question following the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

But that doesn’t mean they think he’ll bring peace.

Just 45 percent of respondents believe Trump can succeed in negotiating a final status peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs.

Unlike with past presidents, a whopping 75 percent of the Israelis questioned said Trump won’t let the lack of a peace agreement stop him from moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Regarding Iran, a 45 percent plurality of respondents said there is a possible-to-good chance Trump will tear up the Obama-brokered nuclear agreement. Israel views that agreement as a threat to its long-term security.

 

Show Our Young Soldiers Love And Support!

Yes! We will give you a FREE annual subscription to Israel Today Magazine when you support our young soldiers!

Last week, Israel experienced her first winter storm. Up to 60 centimeters of snow (about 24 inches) fell on parts of Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights experienced frigid weather. As temperatures plummeted across the country, residents scrambled to keep warm and dry.

Many of the IDF forces are stationed in areas where the weather conditions are the most extreme and they carry on with their security tasks irrespective of the weather conditions.

This winter, Israel Today is planning to distribute warm thermal clothing to our soldiers to show them our love and support. Please join us in showing them some love and appreciation.



 

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