Spiritual Diplomacy

Israel Today spoke to Dr. Eli Nacht, founder of the Israel Empowerment Lobby, about his view of Christians and why he is working together with Messianic Jews.

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


Debunking Gary Burge's Supersessionist Theology Regarding Israel

In the ninth chapter titled “Jesus and the Early Christians” of his book, Whose Land? Whose Promises?, Prof. Gary Burge of Wheaton College argues that Jewish Israelis cannot claim that the Land of Israel belongs to them according to the Bible, because the New Testament spiritualizes the Land promise to Israel.

Burge suggests that the New Testament introduces a new and revolutionary treatment of Israel and the Nations that has not been revealed before, which implies that God’s promises to Israel cannot stand alongside God’s supposed new inclusion of Gentiles in His Kingdom.

Burge misrepresents Scripture in his attempt to delegitimize the physical descendants of Israel’s possession of the Land of Israel.

Was the Land Covenant contingent on Israel’s obedience?

Burge writes that “Jesus’ words reflect those of the Old Testament prophets when he says that people who possess the land must exhibit righteousness or else they will lose their gift” (173). This statement ignores the fact that God’s Land promise to Abraham was unconditional and eternal (Genesis 17:8). When God made the Land Covenant with Abraham, the covenant was one-sided and based on God’s integrity alone, not on anyone’s obedience (Genesis 15:7–18).

To prove his point that Israel has lost her gift, Burge points to Jesus’ parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33–44, and Mark 12:1–11, where Jesus “says that new tenants, new occupants, will gain the vineyard. New Residents will come to the land of Israel” (173–174).

It is true that God did promise later on in the Torah that the result of Israel’s disobedience will be dispersion, however, when God made His covenant with Israel in the wilderness, He also promised them that after they rebel against Him and He disciplines them with dispersion, He will restore them back to their Land (Deuteronomy 30:1–5). This means that there is not a thing that can cause God to break His land promise to Israel.

After the nation of Israel had forsaken the Lord’s ways many times throughout their history, He affirmed the restoration promise that He initially revealed through Moses, through his prophets who functioned as His covenant enforcers. For example, God tells the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah, that in the last days, He will have compassion on them, and their dispersed sons will be regathered to the Land from the four corners of the earth where they were scattered as a result of being struck with discipline (Isaiah 60:9–10).

Even if Israel “loses” the Land for a time of discipline, they will be restored to it in the end, because God is not a liar (Numbers 23:19) and He does not change His mind (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17).

In telling the parable of the vineyard, Jesus does not go “one step beyond the Old Testament prophets” as Burge claims (173), but He affirms what had already been revealed to Israel from the beginning in the Law and the Prophets. In telling the parable, Jesus addresses part A of God’s plan for Israel, the discipline part, because that was the relevant part to his audience at the time. Jesus did not cancel part B of God’s plan for Israel, the compassion part, by not mentioning it.

Burge writes that “the New Testament announces a new covenant filled with new promises. In some cases, it neglects older promises; in some cases, it refashions them, making them spiritual gifts that were barely anticipated by their original recipients such as Abraham” (167).

However, Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). By rendering the Sinai Covenant inoperative with the inauguration of the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31–34, Jesus did not change, cancel, or spiritualize any of God’s covenants with His people.

God’s gifts are always free, just like the gift of salvation that cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:4–9). The nation of Israel did not ask God to give them a land, and they did not desire for Him to choose them as His people, nor did they deserve any of it. The Lord is the one who initiated the covenant relationship between Israel and Himself, and He chose them because of His love and not because of their merit or performance.

When He unconditionally promised to give them a Land, He meant it and He will keep His promise, because it is incompatible with God’s character to freely give a gift and then to take it away (Romans 11:29).


Jewish Israelis, as the physical descendants of Abraham, do have a biblical basis for having a Jewish State in the parameters of God’s Land promise to Abraham, and the New Testament does not spiritualize it away, as Burge suggests.

Jewish Israelis are undeserving of it and they exhibit no righteousness, yet there will come a day when Israel will turn to Jesus in national repentance, and then they will be clothed in His righteousness (Romans 11:26). God describes Israel in that day: “Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified” (Isaiah 60:21).


Israel Prepares for War With Hamas

Senior commanders in Israel’s Southern Command are warning their troops to be prepared for possible preemptive action against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel knows that Hamas is digging terror tunnels into southern Israel in preparation for the next war. In fact, Hamas itself has admitted as much.

On Wednesday, IDF officials cited by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot assessed that some 1,000 terrorists are currently engaged in digging tunnels into Israel, including a massive central tunnel that could already extend deep into Israel’s southern Negev region.

Many in Israel, most especially the residents living in the vicinity of Gaza, want the army to strike first and not give Hamas the chance to infiltrate their communities.

One officer told Walla! News that “the various units should prepare for the possibility that the political echelon will lose patience or that the threat of tunnels in the Gaza Strip will not allow for restraint, and they will try to initiate treatment of the tunnels in Palestinian territory.”

In recent weeks at least a dozen Hamas terrorists have been killed when the tunnels in which they were working suddenly collapsed. There is much speculation that IDF engineering units were behind those incidents.


"Love your neighbor as yourself"

Love your neighbor as yourself!

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We invite you to a weekend of love!
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Israeli Arab Sheikh: 'We Are the First Zionists!'

Muslim sheikh makes startling revelations to Israel Today about growing movement of Muslims who support Israel's claim to this land and more.

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


What Do a Small UK Town, Chinese Christians and Israel Have in Common?

Coach tours are now being conducted around a UK town, not far from where I live, to enable Chinese pilgrims to pay tribute to one of their greatest heroes.

James Hudson Taylor (pictured in his later years), who was also a true friend of Israel, was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, in 1832 and later followed the call of God to China, where he established hundreds of churches and nearly 200 schools. As founder of the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship), he became spiritual father to millions of Chinese Christians.

As part of their weekly Songs of Praise programme, BBC Television focused on the visit to Barnsley of a coach-load of British-based Chinese tourists. Interviewed about what Taylor meant to them and filmed publicly praying and thanking God for his ministry, they sang Amazing Grace in their native tongue as they honoured his memory.

“I cannot believe God has used this little place (population 225,000) to do an amazing work among the Chinese,” one of the tourists told the BBC.

Historian Ruth Tucker wrote: “No other missionary in the 19 centuries since the Apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor.”

So what was the secret of his success? Firm resolve to follow a clear calling was no doubt a key – he was so determined to identify with the Chinese that he adopted their dress and even wore a pigtail. But despite his primary calling to China, he clearly also saw the priority Scripture set on Jewish evangelism; that even for the Apostle Paul, who was called primarily to the Gentiles, the gospel was “to the Jew first” (Romans 1.16).

He was so convinced of this truth that, in his latter years, he would write out a cheque in support of a Jewish mission on the first day of each year.

This habit began on New Year’s Day 1897 when, at home in Britain, he went round to the house of one John Wilkinson, founder of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, with what Taylor’s wife Jennie described as “a brotherly note enclosing a gift”. A cheque was accompanied by a note saying “To the Jew first”.

Mrs Taylor continued: “Mr Wilkinson’s warm heart was touched, and he immediately wrote a brotherly reply, enclosing his own cheque for the same amount, with the words: ‘And also to the Gentile’.

“This helpful interchange of sympathy was kept up ever after,” she wrote, “the only change being that each doubled the amount of their contribution.

“Work among God’s ancient people occupied a special place in the prayerful sympathy of both Mr and Mrs Taylor,” she explained.

St Paul wrote: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1.16)

This statement reflects something of God’s heart for the Jewish people, first expressed in Genesis 12.3 as: “I will bless those who bless you…”

Taylor’s attitude and understanding of the place on God’s heart for the Jews will surely have contributed in no small measure to the incredible success of his mission – there are at least as many Christians in China today as there are people in the UK! And that’s despite severe persecution. Now Chinese Christians are working on a plan to take the gospel all the way back to Jerusalem, where it all started!

The most encouraging aspect of watching those Chinese believers paying tribute to Hudson Taylor was that they represented the undeniable evidence that what you sow, you will surely reap. As St Paul urged the Galatians: “Let us not become weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6.9)

Charles Gardner is author of Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com


VIDEO: Revealing the Buried Treasures of the Temple Mount

For years, Muslim authorities carrying out illegal construction projects atop the Temple Mount have unceremoniously dumped tons of earth and debris containing treasures of Jewish history outside the Old City walls.

Groups of Israeli archeologists have struggled to sift through the remains, but it is a daunting task.

But it is also a critical task. These remains that are so flippantly, but also so foolishly, exposed to the world by the Muslims are some of the best evidence to debunk Islam’s claims to the Bible’s holiest site.


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A New Wailing Wall

The Israeli government after years of deliberation has granted permission for non-traditional Jews to pray as they see fit at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. 

For a thousand years, Jews who prayed at what is known in Hebrew as the Kotel did so in a traditional manner, including gender separation. Since the 1980s, however, Reform and Conservative Jews have challenged the consensus by demanding recognition of their right to pray as they wish.

Small in number though they be, these non-traditionalists, most recognizable among them the Women of the Wall (pictured), finally convinced the Israeli government to allocate the southern portion of the Temple Mount's western retaining wall for their use.

That marked a bitter compromise for the Western Wall's chief rabbi, who called the new arrangement "the lesser of two evils." 

The rabbi stated that "ever since this marginal and tempestuous group of the Women of the Wall started its media campaign, the Western Wall has transformed from a unifying place to a wrestling arena. It will take years to amend the sacrilege this group has caused." 

This new arrangement, he continued, "is the result of legal constraints and fear of further escalation in this fight to break the walls of holiness. We must do whatever we can to leave this horrid affair behind us."

Reform Rabbi Uri Regev wasn't too happy, either. "We are talking about a painful compromise. While the Orthodox occupation of the traditional Western Wall continues, the liberal constituency will have to travel to Robinson Arch [the southern portion of the wall]," he complained.

The new area, called Azarat Yisrael, is to be located in the archeological garden at the southern foot of the Temple Mount. The future prayer plaza will be built around the archeological site and will have its own separate entrance. In other words, the Israeli government has effectively created a new holy site for non-traditional Jews that will be separated from the Western Wall.

Little wonder that even lenient rabbis like Haim Navon think that this is a clumsy and expensive arrangement that will solve nothing. He rightly warns that the clashes instigated by the non-Orthodox with the Chief Rabbinate are designed to impose a particular liberal worldview, which is why such confrontations won't end with the new prayer plaza, but will simply be refocused on other issues.

Navon also touches upon the issue of the of minority groups' right to impose their practices on the public space that can't be easily divided. 

The Western Wall, he argues, is a national symbol out of which no one has the right to cut a piece for himself. The Wall can't be equally divided, and demands for an egalitarian holy site can only result in egalitarian disputes where, in the name of minority rights, petitions to the Supreme Court may come to absurdities. Nothing of value can come when common sense gives way to the discourse of rights, he said.


Israel Gives More Palestinians Jobs

Israel Security Cabinet this week approved the issuing of 30,000 additional work permits for Palestinian Arabs who are seeking or have found employment inside Israel-proper.

Many of these Palestinians are employed in construction, agriculture, infrastructure and other public services. Securing such jobs in Israel is a highly coveted achievement, as the wages far outstrip what these workers would be paid by Palestinian employers.

A number of high-ranking government and defense officials, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF chief Gen. Gadi Eisenkot have been pushing for such a move

Some high-ranking officials from the government and the defense establishment, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, have pushed for such a policy, arguing that it will provide a significant economic boost to the Palestinian economy.

It is Israel’s hope that by bettering the lives of average Palestinians, terrorism against Israel’s citizens will decline.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, suggested increasing the number of work permits to 100,000, according to a report in the Israeli business newspaper The Marker.

This development again demonstrated two truths often ignored or “lost in translation” in mainstream media reports:

  1. Despite enormous per capital financial aid, a Palestinian state established today would be unable to stand on its own two feet economically, and would remain inextricably tied to Israel economy, making it a sovereign state in name only;
  2. Often painted as enemies of peace, Israel’s right-wing, and in particular the settlement movement, is actually doing more than anyone else to help the Palestinians in practical ways that affect their day-to-day lives, like providing employment.


Israel's New God-Fearing Security Chiefs

Though the Left fears the rise to power of people of faith, they lack the political power they once had to prevent this profound change in Israeli society.

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


Palestinians Quote UN Chief to Justify Terror

Just as Israel feared, Palestinian officials are citing the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to justify terrorist violence against Israelis.

Over the weekend, the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem-based spokesman Rafat Alian stated that the “occupation” of the “Palestinian nation” demands a “natural response.”

He was speaking about last week’s foiling of a coordinated three-man terrorist assault near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate in which a 19-year-old female Israeli soldier was killed.

A week before that, the UN chief responded to the current wave of Palestinian terror by saying “it is human nature to react to occupation.”

In an official letter sent to Ban, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon demanded he take back his words.

“Since when is it the UN’s role to find justifications for terror? Since when does the UN create two categories for terror and victims? I call on you to take back your statements and say clearly that there is no justification for the bloodshed of Israeli victims,” wrote Danon.


Training in the bitter cold

It was freezing outside as we communicated with Moran via our family's WhatsApp group.

My son Moran is someone that has always endured the cold without discomfort. Since he was a young boy he liked to lie on the floor in order to cool down.

While everybody was warmly wrapped in sweaters and jackets during the winter, he would be wearing shorts. He would usually comment how warm it was.

A couple of Shabbats ago, when he returned home, he expressly stated, "I do not like winter!"

The week that followed, Israel was enveloped by an unusually cold spell and the temperatures dropped below freezing.

He and his whole unit were in the field training during that whole week.

They were out in the field exposed to the elements without tents, without warm jackets, no hot showers and without hot food.

In the howling wind and freezing rain they slogged on with their training.

All honor to those kids who, just a year ago, were spoiled high school scholars who got up to the usual mischief.

Here they are, having matured enormously from teenagers to IDF combat soldiers full of discipline, understanding the responsibility entrusted to them of defending the country and her citizens.

"What a man he has become!" says everybody.

But for me as a mother it is not always easy. I want my 19 year-old son at home! I would like him to remain a child for another couple of years. The transformation from child to soldier has been so sudden and drastic.

What choice do I have?

But to sit in a cosy home and pray that as he and his soldier buddies sleep on the cold earth, it will only be in training.

That they will return home healthy, safe and sound is the prayer of mothers and fathers.


Skeptical of Peace Process, Israelis Support Annexation

Most Israelis want genuine and productive peace talks, but skepticism over the diplomatic process with the current Palestinian leadership has resulted in growing support for simply annexing Judea and Samaria, the so-called “West Bank.”

That according to the results of Israel’s monthly “Peace Index” survey published last Tuesday.

Asked if they are in favor of a renewal of peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, nearly 62 percent of all Israelis answered in the affirmative.

At the same time, nearly 68 percent believed such talks would fail to reach a solution in the short term, and only 29 percent felt peace process in its current incarnation would ever be successful.

The poll further revealed that a 45.3 percent plurality of Israelis now support annexing Judea and Samaria, thus ending the “dream” of a Palestinian state, while 44.8 percent oppose such a move.


Israel Hints It Collapsed Gaza Terror Tunnels

Tunnels being dug by Hamas from Gaza into southern Israel have been collapsing with greater frequency in the past several weeks. Last week, a top Israeli general hinted his force might have something to do with that.

At least nine Hamas terrorists were killed last month while working in tunnels running under the Gaza border. The terrorist organization confirmed the deaths and labeled the deceased as “martyrs,” an honor typically reserved for those who died participating in the campaign of violence against Israel.

Heavy rains were initially blamed for the collapsing tunnels, which are dug in an area with soft ground and sand.

But Hamas has been stealing much of the building material entering Gaza as humanitarian aid in order to construct the tunnels, most of which are reinforced with concrete. In other words, it would likely take a force stronger than rain and wet sand to cause such collapses.

The question was put directly to Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), in an interview with the Bethlehem-based Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

Did the IDF have a hand in collapsing these tunnels, which pose a threat to Israel’s citizens?

“God knows,” the general replied.


Evangelicals and the Gospel to Israel

Israel is waking up to Christian support, but isn't yet sure what that means in regards to all the Messianic Jews living here.

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


Israel to Declare Drought as Sea of Galilee Barely Rises

The Israel Water Authority (IWA) has determined that Israel is suffering from yet another year of drought, the third in a row, after the Sea of Galilee (known locally as the Kinneret) rose by only a fraction of its typical winter increase.

The IWA reported that this winter has been one of the worst on record in terms of rainfall. As a result, the Kinneret has risen a mere 22 centimeters (8.66 inches) this winter.

In a year of average rainfall, the Kinneret rises by about 1.6 meters (63 inches). With the relatively dry weather expected to continue in February and March, Israel’s primary fresh water reservoir will be woefully understocked for the parched summer months.

Even with average rainfall, the Kinneret still sits many meters below its optimal water level due to a previous seven-year drought that only ended in 2013.


Israel Slams American Network's 'Unprecedented Chutzpah'

The mainstream international media on Wednesday again demonstrated its outrageous bias against Israel in reporting on the terrorist attack near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City.

The culprit this time around was the American television network CBS, whose news website headlined its report of the incident “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on”.

It’s fairly simple to ascertain the goal of such an elusive headline.

The initial impression most readers would get is that the three Palestinians in question were the victims. And since so many news consumers these days merely scan headlines, they would have walked away believing that.

The problem is that the Palestinians were in fact the perpetrators.

An online outcry resulted in CBS later changing the headline to “Israeli police kill 3 alleged Palestinian attackers”. It was subsequently altered again to “Palestinians kill Israeli officer, wound another before being killed”.

At no point did CBS publicly apologize or clarify its change.

Israeli media officials called for all Israelis to denounce CBS’s blatant bias as loudly as possible, while Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the fraudulent headline “unprecedented chutzpah.”

This debacle has provided an opportunity to again highlight why it is so important to find a reliable source of news from Israel.

The news must be read with a critical eye, knowing that important elements were probably omitted, perhaps purposefully so. Our mission at Israel Today is to fill in those gaps, to provide the stories and angles that the mainstream media left out so that you can form a more complete and clear picture of what is really happening in the Holy Land.

CLICK HERE to subscribe now and become an informed ambassador for Israel


Slain Israeli Soldier Died a Hero

Israeli Border Police officer Hadar Cohen, 19, was sworn in to her mandatory national service just two months ago. On Wednesday, she met an untimely demise while confronting three armed terrorists in Jerusalem.

The attack occurred near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City, where Cohen and another young female Border Police officer spotted a trio of Palestinian Arabs behaving suspiciously.

Cohen and her comrade demanded to see their identification, but instead the Palestinians pulled out knives and guns.

Eyewitness accounts stated that Cohen, despite being so young and inexperienced, managed to return fire before being fatally shot and stabbed. The other officer suffered serious injuries, but is currently in stable condition.

Additional police forces that arrived at the scene and killed two of the three attackers discovered two guns, several knives and pipe bombs on the bodies of the terrorists.

In other words, they were planning a much grander, more coordinated attack, and were ultimately foiled by Cohen and her partner.

Israeli security officials called the incident a “turning point” in the current wave of violence, that until now has consisted primarily of “lone wolf” terrorists spontaneously deciding to attack Israelis.


For Israel, the Unthinkable is Thinkable

The ancient, divine call to be above reproach can be seen in action within Jewish society to this day.

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


US to Fund Israeli Anti-Tunnel Tech

Israel’s defense establishment is soon expecting an influx of US funds to complete work on an advanced anti-tunnel system that will hopefully prevent future terrorist incursions from the Gaza Strip.

The American Congress approved involvement in the Israeli project already last summer, and Washington has now agreed to match the Israeli government’s financial contribution by transferring $120 million, according to Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

The US sees the new system as being equally applicable in curbing illegal migration across the US-Mexican border.

Israel has been tight-lipped about the new system to date, and very few details have reached the press.

What is known is that Hamas and its terrorist allies have resumed in earnest their efforts to tunnel into southern Israel, and residents in the Jewish state’s Negev region are growing increasingly anxious over the situation.


Do you have Israel at heart?

The current events in Israel, as well the surrounding areas, increasingly challenge us to make a decision on whose side we stand.

Learn to separate the chaff from the wheat. True friends of Israel stand by her. This also means opting for pro-Israeli news sources.

Israel Today more than simply reports from Jerusalem. For us Jerusalem and Israel are a matter of the heart!


Turkey, Hitler and Gog & Magog

In biblical circles, some are suggesting that Turkey is Gog and Magog, the powerful army that invades Israel from the north in the last days.

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


Netanyahu's Dangerous Slide in the Polls

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally continues to poll well with Israelis, but his governing Likud party is in a downward slide, even as the centrist Yesh Atid party of Yair Lapid is gaining significantly in popularity.

Last week, Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, commissioned a survey in which it asked Israelis for whom they’d vote if elections were held today. Netanyahu’s Likud would win 23 seats, down from its current 30, while Yesh Atid would gain nine, giving it 20 seats.

The left-wing Labor Party, currently branded the Zionist Union, would drop from 24 to 16 seats, while the national religious Jewish Home party would increase from eight to 13 seats. The center-right Kulanu faction would lose just one of its current 10 mandates, and Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu would rise from six to eight seats.

The ultra-left Meretz party would also gain slightly, going from five to seven seats, while the Orthodox Jewish parties Shas and United Torah Judaism would drop one seat for a combined 12 seats, and the Joint Arab List would remain steady at 12 seats.

The overall picture does not bode well for Netanyahu’s ability to form the next ruling coalition, and if those numbers hold true, the possibility exists that Lapid could be tapped for that task.

The general feeling in Israel is that while Netanyahu is a brilliant politician who knows how to win elections, he has once again fallen short when it comes to actually governing. Even within Likud, Netanyahu’s popularity is said to be waning, as his list of challengers and critics grows.

At the same time, Lapid appears to be doing everything right. Instead of sitting at home criticizing Netanyahu, with whom he often disagrees, the centrist politician is constantly abroad arguing Israel’s case. Lapid has demonstrated that he appeals to a broad spectrum of Israelis, that he is a true centrist on most issues.

The expected gains by Jewish Home will also come at the expense of Netanyahu’s Likud. Those national religious voters who may have cast their ballots for Likud in order to prevent a Labor-led government will return to Jewish Home because of their dissatisfaction with Netanyahu.

All of the above makes Netanyahu’s already narrow majority coalition (61 out of 120 seats) seem all the more fragile.

In the meantime, Netanyahu is doing all he can to avoid the kind of mistake that could result in early elections, as so often happens in Israel. But even if that happens, most remain confident that Netanyahu will once again pull out the magic and the victory. Because even if a growing chorus is calling for his removal, the simple fact is that a viable alternative to Netanyahu as prime minister has yet to be found.


Will Two-Thirds of Israelis Perish?

There is a popular belief, even among Christian lovers of Israel, that according to Zechariah’s prophecy, two-thirds of the Jewish people in Israel “will be cut off and perish” (Zech. 13:8). This interpretation is tied to the belief of how God will bring about Israel’s ultimate salvation. The theory being, that nothing short of near annihilation will ever be able to overcome their stubborn resistance to accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

Quite frankly, I believe it is dispassionate theological interpretations of Scripture like this that only reinforce Jewish resistance to the gospel.  How can we loudly proclaim love for Israel one minute, and in the next breath, say, “oh well, it’s a shame, but up to four million more Jews must die before all Israel is saved.” I don’t buy it.

So - can Zechariah’s prophecy be understood another way? Let’s look at it. “It will come about in all the land, declares the Lord, that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; but the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (Zech 13:8,9).

Like all prophecy, we never really know when or how it will be fulfilled until it happens. Who could have guessed the massacre of the children in Bethlehem would be a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of “Rachael weeping for her children?” (Matt. 2:18) Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit can and does give us advanced insight on Bible prophecy, often based on what God is doing in our day. And one thing that should be abundantly clear today, especially to a Christian Zionist, is that God is now squarely on Israel’s side. That their long exile is over and God is restoring all that the “gnawing … swarming … creeping … stripping locust has eaten” (Joel 1:4).

So when we read Zechariah’s prophecy, I believe it must be understood in light of God’s favor being shown to Israel today. Not in terms of the divine displeasure the nation has already suffered. If we look at the prophecy in full context we see it follows these words, “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered, and I will turn My hand against the little ones” (Zech 13:7). We know this is speaking of Yeshua, as John informed us (John 26:31). So we can safely assume the judgment that follows is connected to that first-century rejection of him. 

Historians tell us that 1.1 million Jews died in the siege of Jerusalem, far less than two-thirds of the population needed to fulfill the prophecy. But who can say the counting didn’t continue over the centuries? When Zechariah said “in all the land,” it could mean the whole earth. In fact, I find it beyond coincidental that the number of European Jews murdered in the Holocaust is always said to be “two-thirds.” If we needed to have an obvious sign that God’s judgment spoken by Zechariah has been fulfilled, that did it for me.

More importantly, we know that just three years after the Holocaust the dark days of Jewish exile came to an end when the nation of Israel was resurrected from the rubble of history. Those who had ears to hear understood immediately God was once again restoring favor to His people. The winter was over. 

So does that mean Israel will avoid severe tribulation in the days ahead? Of course not. They are even now being “refined as silver” in their efforts to reclaim the land. Jeremiah states concerning the last days, “Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7). 

It doesn’t take a military genius to see Israel is facing the battle of its life in the days ahead. And with the mass migration of Muslims to Western nations, it’s inevitable European and American Jewry will also soon face an explosion of anti-Semitism. Yes, God will no doubt use all the coming tribulation to bring His chosen ones to faith (and home), but it won’t be Israel that suffers the catastrophic judgment. 

Instead of forecasting doom and gloom upon Israel, Christians ought to see the handwriting on the wall regarding their own nations. As Jeremiah also told Israel: “I am with you, declares the Lord, to save you; For I will completely destroy all the nations where I have scattered you” (Jer. 30:11). 

Is there any nation on earth where a descendant of Abraham has not lived?

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


Serving in the IDF always has its dangers

Everywhere you go in Israel… in the mall, on the bus or standing in line at a falafel kiosk, you’ll see young people just out of high school, dressed in army uniform.

While most 18 year-olds, the world over, are enrolling in universities and colleges or getting jobs, their peers in Israel are enrolling in the Israel Defense Force. They patrol our borders, man checkpoints, serve as medics, gather intelligence and participate in a variety of combat roles.

Our young soldiers serve irrespective of weather conditions day and night! Many soldiers have been serving recently in some of the coldest places in Israel.

Even during “quiet” times in Israel, there is always be a risk of danger. The recent "intifada of the knives" has especially targeted our young operational soldiers as well as unarmed civilians.

Recently, the terrorist group Hamas, bragged about their ongoing tunnel digging activities from Gaza under the border fence for the purpose of attacking Israel and also to abduct IDF soldiers. Typically, kidnapped soldiers are used as “bargaining chips” by Hamas to get Israel to release hundreds of terrorists back into society.

Despite the dangers they experience, Israeli soldiers continue to fulfill their duties to the maximum.


VIDEO: Who Are the Real Invaders?

Israeli Jews are accused of being invaders, colonialists and occupiers. Aside from biblical and historical evidence debunking these allegations, did you know that most of Israel's leaders were actually born here?

That stands in stark contrast to the fact that most leaders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas were born in other Arab countries - they aren't even "Palestinian"!

Indeed, on several occasions local Palestinians to whom we've spoken have openly wondered why the international community imposed a foreign body, the PLO, upon them, instead of supporting truly local Arab leaders who were capable of coexistence with the Jews.


Depraved Academia: Pro-Israel Professor Silenced, ISIS-Backer Embraced

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

To understand just how depraved today’s college campuses are, compare the treatment of two professors – one defending a Western, pro-American democracy (Israel) and the other suspected of supporting this century’s most gruesome Islamist terror organization, the Islamic State (“ISIS”).

Julio Pino (pictured), an associate history professor at Kent State University, is currently under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for potential ties to ISIS.

Pino’s jihadist leanings include possible threats against the U.S. government and virulently anti-Israel rants. In 2002, he praised a teenage Palestinian suicide bomber who had killed two people in Jerusalem, saying that the teen had “died a martyr’s death in occupied Jerusalem, Palestine.”

In a 2014 open letter to “academic friends of Israel,” Pino published an unhinged and anti-Semitic invective: “I hold you directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month…[w]hile The Chosen drain the blood of innocents without apologies you hide behind the mask of academic objectivity, nobility of research and the reward of teaching to foreign youth – in a segregated university, of course.” Pino closed the letter with: “Jihad until victory!”

Despite decades of hateful and extremist statements, Kent State reportedly gave Pino multiple awards, including the Faculty Excellence Award in 2010, 2003, 2000 and 1996, along with the Professional Excellence Award in 1999 and 1997.

The Kent Stater, the university’s student newspaper, provided him with a video platform to defend himself, and the editorial board wrote that “it is too soon to make a judgment on the investigation, both from the FBI and public perspective.” When asked about the allegations against Pino, the editor of the paper, Emily Mills, reportedly replied: “He’s very well spoken…He expresses his viewpoints, which he has every right to do.”

Kent State remains comfortable with him in the classroom despite his Islamist rhetoric and now a federal investigation.

Contrast Pino’s treatment with how Connecticut College has persecuted professor Andrew Pessin for defending Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas (a State Department-designated terrorist organization).

Over six months after Pessin’s Facebook post critiquing Hamas, the student newspaper at Connecticut College launched a surprise character assassination by publishing three editorials condemning Pessin (including on the front page), without giving him a chance to defend himself against libelous accusations of racism.

In a reportedly packed auditorium (including members of the media, like NBC), Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron said that she was “disappointed by the language” of Pessin’s post, which “seemed to show poor judgment,” and she praised “the valor of the students who responded to these incidents by exercising their own right of free speech with confidence and intellectual acuity.” These statements by Bergeron continue to appear on the college’s website, long after a Washington Post column exposed evidence strongly suggesting that the allegations against Pessin were politically motivated lies.

More absurdly, Bergeron promised to “review our social media policies to ensure they include appropriate advisory language about respectful expression,” even as her administration continues to allow the school’s student newspaper to host libels against Pessin alongside anti-Semitic diatribes about Zionists ruling the world. The administration also continues to display statements from scores of academic departments, school officials, student associations, and other college affiliates, denouncing Pessin on the official Connecticut College website. As of this writing, no other issue or speech is similarly scrutinized or condemned on the school’s website.

In her remarks last March, Bergeron also promised to update the school’s “protocol for bias incidents so that those who come forward under these circumstances are well served by the process.”

Too bad her lofty commitments proved empty after the bias incidents against Jewish students at the school last December, when Conn Students in Solidarity with Palestine (“CSSP”) placed posters around campus bashing Birthright, a program that helps young people travel to Israel. The CSSP posters call the program a form of “settler colonialism” and demonize Israel.

As Phyllis Chesler reported, the CSSP campaign “frightened and humiliated…Jewish students on campus who will soon be visiting Israel for the first time” but the administration’s spineless response was merely to “recognize CSSP’s right to share its perspective [and] the right of members of the community to express their disagreement with the posters’ characterization of the Birthright program.”

Anti-Israel sentiment is therefore welcome on bulletin boards throughout Connecticut College’s campus, regardless of whether it is true. But the “poor judgment” Andrew Pessin showed in a Facebook post merits his absence from campus for at least a year.

It gets much worse. In her article attacking Pessin last March, Lamiya Khandaker admits that she was Pessin’s student but “never felt victimized in class,” even as she claims to “feel unsafe” because of a barely noticed Facebook post published six months earlier. Shockingly, Khandaker initiated a campus-wide campaign accusing Pessin of racism, even after he apologized for any misunderstanding, clarified that his post was intended only about Hamas and not all Palestinians, and deleted his post.

When the Washington Post revealed evidence that Khandaker’s accusations against Pessin were likely factual distortions, the administration should have realized that Khandaker’s op-ed probably violated the honor system at Connecticut College because:

a) Khandaker failed “to take responsibility for [her] beliefs” by distorting opposing arguments and hiding her real agenda: to silence an Israel supporter at Connecticut College;

b) she failed to “conduct [herself] with integrity, civility and…respect for the dignity of” Professor Pessin by publicly attributing repugnant views to him that he doesn’t actually hold; and

c) her actions, which viciously libeled Pessin, were neither “thoughtful” nor “ethical.”

Thus, if Bergeron wants to review school policies to promote appropriate behavior on her campus, she should start by applying Connecticut College’s honor code to Khandaker’s defamatory conduct.

But Khandaker was apparently never sanctioned, and was allowed to keep her position as the student government chair of “equity and diversity” at Connecticut College.

Khandaker kept that position even though she reportedly scoffed at anti-Semitism and called for Israel’s destruction on her Facebook page.

It’s an elected position, school spokeswoman Pamela Serfes said last fall, and the administration “does not select or pre-qualify candidates, nor would it seek to remove duly elected office holders with whom it may disagree.”

Would the same be true if a white student publicly dismissed concerns about racism and called for the destruction of a black-majority state?

No reply. Why not? Probably because the Connecticut College administration had doubled down on its support for anti-Semites and anti-Israel activists, by granting Khandaker the “Scholar Activist Award” last spring. They must understand how insane that looks because they also refused to comment about or even confirm giving her that award.

To recap, not only did the Connecticut College administration participate in the character assassination of a professor who did nothing more than criticize Hamas, it rewarded those behind the campaign to silence their school’s only openly pro-Israel professor. Then, when CSSP spread its vitriol in anti-Israel posters with no effective voice on campus to counter their hateful propaganda, the administration issued a spinelessly neutral statement while students were on break.

Meanwhile, the school refuses to apologize to Pessin, who is still not on campus.

At worst, Pessin made one statement that was subject to interpretation. He insists he never meant what Khandaker thinks, and neither she nor anyone else who piled on Pessin has found anything else in his past to warrant the hysterical response. Indeed, back in 2010, the administration seemed to recognize his merit as a thought leader by noting how Pessin’s Huffington Post article had generated over 1,000 comments within hours.

Back to Pino, the Islamist. He’s still teaching at taxpayer-funded Kent State and receives far more support from his school’s newspaper. Kent State has given Pino many teaching awards over the years, unlike Pessin, who has never received any award in his decade of teaching at Connecticut College (student ratings of Pessin’s teaching average 4.2 out of 5; Pino’s rating is 2.7). There was no campus-wide talk where Pino was condemned in front of the community and media. A statement by President Beverly Warren seems primarily intended to reassure the community that there is no related terrorism or security threat.

In a 2014 video experiment, Ami Horowitz captured the bafflingly different campus attitudes towards Israel versus ISIS. Things have clearly gotten worse since then. If George Orwell were observing academia, he would remark that “All speech is equal, but anti-Israel speech is more equal than others.”

As Hamilton Foundation president Christian Whiton notes, “Diversity to college administrators means a Benetton ad – an obsession with race and ethnicity – not true diversity of thought.” Indeed, the worldview promoted by the tyranny of political correctness breeds a new generation of radicals friendly to Islamist regimes, values, and trends, and hostile to the U.S., Israel, and Western values.

This is the morally bankrupt climate in which America’s future is being educated. We’re in trouble.

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


Nazareth on Edge

Israel Today visits with Nazareth Mayor Ali Salaam about efforts by hostile anti-Israel Arab Knesset members to rile up his city's peaceful population.

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


Open Letter to Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Dear Sir,

We in Israel think of you as descent and honorable man. This why so many were offended by your speech of January 26 in which, through historical shortsightedness, you were able to portray Israel as an immoral and oppressive country. To arrive at this negative position you had to use the one and only crutch you have – the occupation.

As the head of one of the most important institutions in the world you can ill afford misrepresenting terms and history for highly contested political ends. In resorting to this kind of demagoguery, sir, you are risking the loss of two components without which you can't fulfill your duty in good faith – credibility and trust.

I would like to draw attention to just one sentence from your unfortunate speech in which you spoke about "oppressed peoples [that] have demonstrated throughout the ages [that] it is human nature to react to occupation."

You off all people, sir, should know that already in 1920 the League of Nations, later to become the UN, recognized the right of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland. This recognition must surely assumes that any people other than Jews inhabiting what came to be known as "Palestine" are occupying a land not theirs. Non-Jews settling in Palestine during the times of Rome, Byzantine, Mamelukes, Ottoman and British took possession of a land which wasn't theirs. It goes without saying that "occupiers" is a term fitting those Arabic-speaking people who came here following the Muslim conquest.

At first the area envisioned to be the Jewish homeland included what today is Israel and Jordan. That, however, quickly changed. The League of Nations' resolution from 1922 sliced down the borders of the Jewish homeland to be from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. The carving down of the Jewish homeland continued with the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

I remind you, sir, that the 1948 war wasn't over Gaza and the West Bank, but over Israel. I would also remind you that from 1948 to 1967 (after which Israel remarkably found herself back in the 1922 League of Nations borders), the idea of an occupied Palestine wasn't even conceived. Attacks against Israel were carried out from Egypt, Jordan and Syria not to free the occupied territories, but to regain Jaffa and Haifa. The PLO, sir, came into being in 1963 not to free Gaza, but to destroy a Jewish settlement called Tel Aviv. Yes, sir, one does not have to like Netanyahu to acknowledge this undeniable historical fact.

But you insist on the contrary, that Israel, through repossession of her ancient homeland, is destroying another people. Regretfully, in doing so you are rejuvenating the Muslims' hope of replacing Israel with an unheard of new Muslim state called Palestine. From this perspective, sir, your admirable effort to end the conflict seems not much different from the peace plans of Haj Amin el Husseini, Yasser Arafat, Ahmad Yassin and their successors.

What's even more distressing is what seems to be contempt for a country that in principle has agreed to give those dwelling in the West Bank something no one else has ever given them – a state of their own on a land they have been occupying for centuries.

And finally, since you will probably fall back on Resolution 242 to justify your position, I will have you remember that though you Israel's occupation illegal, the truth is that "illegal" is your interpretation of that resolution, an interpretation that is contested by Israel. Calling occupation "illegal" is to take a political position disguised as a legal position.

The resolution itself, which never once mentions the word Palestine or Palestinians, calls for Israel's withdrawal "from territories occupied in the recent [1967] conflict" in exchange for a just and lasting peace between the involved parties (Egypt, Jordan and Syria).

This resolution that has been subjected to endless debates has tragically done nothing but encourage vehement anti-Israel sentiments that are now turning to unabashed anti-Semitism.


Though I am sure you didn't intend it to be so understood, your speech added fuel to an ever growing flame that could only result in complete chaos. It is your duty, sir, to tell the world that Israel's willingness to give land for peace is a gesture of such magnitude that should not be carried out unless a lasting peace can be guaranteed by those whose perverted dream has brought upon them the life they now have.


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Israeli Settlements and International Law

Finally, Israel is clearing up the confusion concerning the alleged “occupation,” “colonialism” and other buzz words used to discredit and defame the Jewish state.

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


Holocaust – 'atheists at the heart of the problem'

As UK Christians remember the Holocaust, marked on January 27 as the day in 1945 when Auschwitz was liberated, they have been reminded that it was spawned by godlessness and the rejection of faith.

Steven Jaffe, a member of the UK’s Jewish Board of Deputies, was addressing a largely Christian audience at a church in Sheffield, Yorkshire.

He said the exodus from Egypt was immediately followed by the battle with Amalek, who had no reason to attack Israel. There was no territorial dispute or history of conflict, for example. And they attacked the sick and the elderly – those who were most vulnerable. (Deuteronomy 25.17-18)

“The conflict with Amalek is not over,” he said. Amalek denied God and his power in the same way the Nazis did, and the latter mirrored their lack of mercy.

He recalled that Britain’s former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sachs, was once asked where God was during the Holocaust, to which he is said to have replied: “Where was man?”

My worry is that the growing influence of rank atheism in Britain and Europe will have a bearing on the future of anti-Semitism. The poisonous view that God does not exist naturally leads to godless behaviour and thought, even among those previously tutored in godly ways. The result is that even some who claim to have faith, and who perhaps stand in pulpits, start believing the lie that is proclaimed so often through almost every strand of media.

It is indeed frustrating that, as fast as we spread word about the horrors of the Holocaust, vowing that it should never be repeated, the vile infestation of anti-Semitism creeps into every crack and crevice of a broken society as the walls of a Judeo-Christian civilization come crashing down around us.

In polite Britain, hatred of Jews is generally not expressed openly, but often takes the form of a loathing of Israel, so that the very mention of the Jewish state is enough to raise the hackles, not only of the politically-aware man in the street, but of the semi-biblically aware man in the pew.

As Steven told the Bush Fire Church, such loathing cannot be explained in rational terms. But he was spot on target, I believe, in linking the phenomenon with a society that has thrown God out of the window. Pledges of never letting it happen again are not enough, in my opinion; without a recovery of faith in the God of Israel, there can be no guarantee that another holocaust won’t take place.

Even as I write, Iran is boasting of a nuclear deal that “has provided an historic opportunity to… face threats posed by the Zionist entity.” It is well to recall that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, collaborated with Hitler, thus setting the stage for today’s jihad against Israel. And yet, bizarrely, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have both publicly denied that the Holocaust ever took place.

Against such a dark background, however, there is plenty of encouragement. The Sheffield gathering heard much about the heroic acts of so-called ‘righteous Gentiles’ like Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia in 1938. Generations of people – almost 7,000 of some of the world’s greatest doctors, lawyers, teachers and inventors – owe their lives to the act of one man’s efforts to help Jewish children escape the Nazis.

And Steven Jaffe himself, through the launch last year in the neighbouring city of Leeds of the Shalom Declaration, committing to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and fight against anti-Semitism, is sending out a clear message of Christian support for Britain’s Jewish community. “There isn’t a corner of the British Isles that the Shalom Declaration has not been signed,” he said.

Making nonsense of campaigns to boycott Israel, he pointed out that one in six of the drugs and medicine dispensed through Britain’s famous health service have either been manufactured or developed in Israel.

And on the faith front, we were told that “there are more Jews learning the Torah today in Israel that at any time in our history”.

All of which is preparing them well for the great event we are perhaps soon to witness when Jesus reveals himself on a grand scale to his brothers in the flesh.

Though many Jews quite understandably have a problem with this, especially with the Holocaust in mind, the key is forgiveness.

British television viewers were treated to a remarkable Channel 4 documentary, The girl who forgave the Nazis, recounting the story of how Hungarian Jew Eva Kor, now 81, a former inmate of Auschwitz, has publicly forgiven 94-year-old Oskar Groenig, the death camp’s former accountant, who was recently sentenced to four years in jail for his part in the Nazi’s evil scheme.

Eva and her twin sister Miriam were experimented on by the infamous Dr Josef Mengele, but survived the camp, though Miriam died in 1993 possibly through the effects of the experiments. Eva said: “It’s time to forgive, but not forget… I believe that forgiveness is such a powerful thing... and I want everybody to help me sow these seeds of peace throughout the world.”

This takes amazing courage. But it’s worth remembering that Jesus, our Messiah, made the first move when he prayed, as he died in agony on a cross in Jerusalem: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23.34)

When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he had already long since forgiven them for acting treacherously against him.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…” (Psalm 103.2-3)

“Seek the Lord while he may be found…for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55.6-7)

Charles Gardner is author of Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com


Israeli Deputy FM: West Finances Palestinian Terror

Three of the latest Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews were carried out by children aged 13, 15 and 16. All three of these children were encouraged to commit heinous crimes by programming on Palestinian Authority TV, as confirmed by the 16-year-old killer of Dafna Meir, a Jewish mother of six.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (pictured) said Western governments are ultimately responsible for this because it is they who bankroll the Palestinian Authority without demanding proper accountability.

Of course, Palestinian parents also have a role to play.

The father of the aforementioned 16-year-old killer told Israeli media that he opposed the attack, but when speaking before Palestinian cameras he praised the actions of his son.

The father of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, Rakia Abu Ayid, who was shot and killed while trying to stab Israelis, likewise said he was proud of what his child had done. “Praise be to Allah. This was done in service to Al Aqsa Mosque and Palestine,” the father told Palestinian TV. “She will now meet her siblings in paradise and Allah will have mercy!”

A similar account was given by the parents of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot and killed after stabbing and moderately wounding a pregnant Jewish woman in Judea. The boy’s mother called him a “holy martyr.”

Hotovely told Israel Radio on Monday that Western governments involved in the peace process need to take responsibility for their role in this tragic situation.

“The international community needs to intervene here. It is unreasonable that money given by the West to the Palestinian Authority is used to incite terrorism against Israel,” she said.

Indeed, the West seems almost entirely unconcerned about what has become of the roughly $21.5 billion given to the Palestinians over the past 25 years. “Where’s has all that money gone?” wondered Hotovely.


Palestinian Terrorists Kill Another Jewish Woman

Two Palestinian Arab terrorists, one of them just a teenager, killed an Israeli woman and wounded another in the Jewish community of Beit Horon north of Jerusalem on Monday.

Unarmed women appear to have become the favorite target of those Palestinians taking part in what has come to be known as the “Stabbing Intifada.”

The fatality in Monday’s attack was named as 24-year-old Shlomit Krigman (pictured), who was attacked while shopping at the local grocery. Krigman had been a youth leader in the community.

Both terrorists were shot and killed by a security guard following a short chase.

Police later found two pipe bombs at the scene, indicating that a much more severe attack had been averted.


A blue bag, army boots and an olive green uniform...

Till today I remember my mom taking a blue bag, army boots, and olive green uniform from the top of a closet. This ceremony immediately informed me that my father was leaving us for a few weeks to do his reserve duty as an Israeli soldier.

Each night during my father's absence I would wait until my brother was asleep and the lights were out, and then I'd start crying - crying and praying. I was afraid that my father wouldn't come back, and I'd pray for his safe return.

Time passed and I got married and became a mother, yet the feelings and fears I had as a child returned when my husband, Aviel, was called upon again and again to do his stints of duty as a reserve soldier. Now it was I who reached to the top of the closet and brought down the blue bag, the army boots and the olive green uniform.

During my husband's reserve duty, it was up to me to survive, to maintain a fully functioning household and to take care of the kids on my own. It occured to me that I might not have been as sensitive of my children's feelings as I should have. I wonder if they, like me, waited each night for the lights to go out so they could cry and pray.

This is our sacrifice and the sacrifice of generations to come. IDF reserve duty, and the confrontations with our neighbors that make it necessary, is part of our lives. It has been this way since before Israel's declaration of independence, and unfortunately it continues till today.

With your kind assistance we have a chance to thank those who leave everything behind and defend our nation - summer or winter! By doing so we also let the concerned wives and children of these brave soldiers know that they are not alone in praying for the safe return of their husbands and fathers.

Thank you, our readers, for the love and support that you give to our loved ones.

Be a blessing to an Israeli soldier this winter!


Europe's 'Non-Violent' Campaign Against Israel

The European Union's relentless pressure on Israel to comply with conditions it believes would bring peace amounts to a "non-violent" campaign against the Jewish state. If in the end Israel capitulates to the EU's terms, the peace enforced upon her would be of the kind Field Marshal Archibald Wavell predicted for post-WWI Europe. Forcing Germany to sign the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, Wavell famously stated, would be a "peace to end peace."

The latest attempt to corral Israel was the EU's statement from January 18 reiterating that it will maintain a "full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlements products. The EU expresses its commitment to ensure that … all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967." 

The statement then goes on to insist that the above "does not constitute a boycott of Israel, which the EU strongly opposes."

In other words, though it strongly opposes efforts to boycott Israel, the EU nevertheless continues its policy of boycotting Israeli goods coming from places like the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and Barkan Industrial Park east of Petah Tikvah. This statement follows the November 2015 EU decision to brand Israeli products made in East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, which was brushed aside as "technical" by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen.

Equally alarming is the American change in policy toward Israel that appears to be a closing of ranks with the EU. It was no accident that US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro delivered what one described as an "egregiously anti-Israel speech" on the very same day the EU issued its statement. 

In words that could have been said by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Shapiro launched his version of this same kind of vitriolic rhetoric. "Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked," he said, even as Palestinian kids are killing and wounding Israelis on a daily basis. 

Shapiro appears to be joining the ever-growing crowd that blames Israel for Palestinian terror. If Israel would withdraw to its 1967 borders, these people believe, peace and tranquility would descend upon this troubled region.

Yet, if Israel's withdrawal to its 1967 Gaza borders is to teach us anything, it would tell us quite clearly that these borders have no magic in them, that there is no magic wand that can be waved to erase the Palestinians' stated purpose of conquering Israel. 

Under present conditions, pressuring Israel to accept a two-state solution is a recipe for peace that will end all peace, one that a responsible Israeli government must reject.


Pessin Affair Exposes Connecticut College Anti-Semitism

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

A pro-Israel professor won’t be on campus at Connecticut College when classes start Monday, missing the second straight semester since his 2014 Facebook post criticizing Hamas led to death threats and ostracism.

Andrew Pessin “requested and received a sabbatical for the Spring semester to continue his studies in Jewish philosophy and Israel studies,” Connecticut College spokeswoman Pamela Serfes said in an email last week. “He has been and continues to be a valued member of the Connecticut College faculty.”

The vague and misleading response glosses over the intensity of the campaign against Pessin – he first took a medical leave last spring as a smear campaign against him peaked. The controversy exposed an administration unwilling to enforce its own honor code to protect a professor against anti-Israel activists and a student journalist responsible for covering the very controversy she had joined.

It started with an August 2014 Facebook post written as Israel and Hamas fought their latest war, in which Pessin referred to “a rabid pit bull chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.”

It wasn’t until March that the comment suddenly resurfaced to ignite a campus firestorm. On March 2, three editorials condemning Pessin were published in the print and online editions of Connecticut College’s student newspaper, College Voice. The op-eds, which started on the front page and covered all of page three and part of page four, accused Pessin of racism and comparing Palestinians to rabid dogs.

Not so, the professor insisted. He was talking about the Hamas terrorists who govern the territory, but the Voice reportedly didn’t bother to give him a chance to present his side.

Pessin, a heretofore popular philosophy professor, stood accused of peddling “hate speech.”

“I feel unsafe,” Lamiya Khandaker wrote, not really explaining how a Facebook post from the previous summer that hardly anyone had noticed suddenly threatened her security. She did note that she had contacted Pessin, who repeatedly tried to explain that she had misunderstood his comments. 

Khandaker is an activist with Students for Justice in Palestine, an aggressively anti-Israel organization active on campuses nationwide.

Two other students, Michael Fratt and Katilyn Garbe, co-authored an article falsely alleging that “Pessin directly condoned the extermination of a people.”

Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, the Voice’s editor-in-chief, reportedly authored an anti-Pessin petition, thereby actively participating in the very controversy covered by her newspaper.

The College Voice also posted anti-Semitic reader comments, which still can be seen. For example, one commenter wrote: “your universities and colleges are owned by Aipac..the zionists who control America and its foreign policy, apart from its banks, media and movie business.” Another wrote that “student senators have been bullied by Zionist ideologues and moneychangers” and calls Pessin “an unapologetically racist bigot who likes the perks of being buddies with Israeli colonists who torture, maim and kill unarmed Palestinianns (sic) with impunity.”

In April, George Mason University law professor David Bernstein uncovered evidence that Pessin’s Facebook post had clearly referred to Hamas all along and wrote that “the whole controversy [looked like it had been] ginned up to score anti-Israel political points.”

Pessin’s isolation and vulnerability were undoubtedly intensified by the school’s small size: only about 1,900 students attend this private, liberal arts college located in New London.

He declined to comment for this story. However, his wife, Gabriella Rothman, expressed the frustration of seeing a witch hunt waged against her husband, and the disappointment in the lack of support from colleagues and the university community.

As the controversy erupted, school officials “pressured him not to speak or tell anyone that his post was being misunderstood out of context,” she said. “I believe because it was trying to appease the students.” A bias complaint filed against him remained active, but officials wouldn’t tell Pessin what consequences he might face from it.

“He was worried his job was on the line,” she said. “So he did what they told him to do.”

The couple contacted the FBI and local law enforcement about the death threats, “and for two months we literally felt under siege,” Rothman said.

Making matters worse, some of Pessin’s “closest friends at the college joined the mob of condemnations in a heartbeat, even though they knew that the post was about Hamas. Not one of them stood up and said to the mob, wait a minute, this post is not racist or hate speech. Not one stood up and said, let’s not rush to judgment, let’s wait to hear his side of the story.”

Pessin went on medical leave before the Spring semester ended. He has not taught since.

Exacerbating the harm to Pessin, the administration chose to host statements from scores of academic departments, school officials, student associations, and other college affiliates, condemning Pessin on the official Connecticut College website. As of Wednesday, no other issue or speech in the university community is similarly scrutinized or condemned on the school’s official web site. Such selective outrage highlights the anti-Semitic climate on campus – in this case, directly enabled by the administration – and the dangers of the ironically mistitled “Office of the Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion,” which hosts the anti-Pessin statements.

The administration has apparently taken no disciplinary action against any of the students who, in their efforts to defame Pessin, likely violated Connecticut College’s Honor Code, which requires students to act “with integrity, civility, and the utmost respect for the dignity of all human beings.”

Instead, the administration appears to have awarded the “Scholar Activist Award” to none other than Lamiya Khandaker – the driving force behind the campaign against Pessin and one of the most vocal anti-Israel activists on campus. This fact was discovered from Lamiya Khandaker’s LinkedIn profile (a screenshot of which was taken, in case her profile is subsequently edited).

Apparently, the school chose to honor a student who (as originally reported by Daniel Greenfield) “accused Israel of ‘genocide,” scoffed at anti-Semitism “and even claimed that‘Starbucks supports occupation and Apartheid,’” and whose anti-Pessin writing violated the school’s honor code.

School officials refused to confirm or deny granting the award. What are they hiding? Maybe it’s time for the administration to admit the basic policy underlying their conduct throughout the Pessin affair: anti-Israel voices are to be encouraged, while pro-Israel voices are to be condemned and silenced. They seem to have won: Pessin is silent and nobody knows when he’ll be back on campus.

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


Hillary Clinton Wanted to 'Shame' Israel Into Compliance

A large number of Israelis remain supporters of Hillary Clinton in her bid to become the next president of the USA, despite earlier revelations of her disdain for their own leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But the latest release of emails from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State suggest it wasn’t just Netanyahu whom she held in low esteem, but the Jewish state at large.

Among the nearly 3,000 pages of emails published last week was an exchange between Clinton and former State Department Director of Policy Planning Anne Marie Slaughter in which the latter proposed a “Pledge for Palestine” campaign.

The idea, according to Slaughter, was that “a campaign among billionaires/multi-millionaires around the world would reflect a strong vote of confidence in the building of a Palestinian state… There would be a certain shaming effect [regarding] Israelis, who would be building settlements in the face of the pledge for peace.”

Slaughter got a thumbs-up from her boss. “I am very interested–pls flesh out. Thx.” read Clinton’s documented response.


COMMENTARY: Are We Working Too Hard For God?

Most have heard the expression, ‘Our arms are too short to box with God.” But it’s equally true that “our arms are too weak to work for God.” Which is why every time we tackle a work for Him in our own strength we become exhausted. Burned out. Both physically and spiritually.

To prevent that problem God gave us the Sabbath. He introduced the concept as a day of physical rest at the end of the week under the Mosaic Law. Six days of work followed by one day of complete inactivity. It was His signature piece of legislation upon which all His other precepts hinged. And He made sure everyone understood its importance by attaching the ultimate penalty for non-compliance. “Therefore you are to observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people." (Ex. 31:14)

But as welcome and God-honoring as that day off was, it was the principle embedded in the commandment Father most wanted us to learn. Our 24-hour rest from physical work was simply a means to teach us about ceasing from unprofitable ‘works of the flesh.’ We became aware of those carnal works when we met the Savior and saw how our best efforts to save ourselves were, to quote Paul, “like dung” (Phil. 3:8 KJV). 

But once saved, many believers stop resting in Yeshua’s salvation. They return to living a divided life, seeing their career and family life as secular and separate from their spiritual life. They work as if everything depended upon them. And their spiritual life continues to be understood as participation in religious activities, even full time, without regard to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They do not yet see they have died in Messiah and are risen with him. That we are no longer our own, but are part of Yeshua’s body.  And in him we are summoned to rest in his completed work 24/7. “For the one who has entered God’s rest [in him] has himself rested from his works, as God did from His” (Heb. 4:9). 

Nor do they consider, that if death was the penalty for violating the Sabbath command given on Mt Sinai, how much more attentive should we be to honor God’s new covenant Sabbath sprinkled with Yeshua’s blood?  For those found working their own programs when Yeshua returns, it will be gut-wrenching anguish. “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will say to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness'” (Matt 7:22,23). Lawlessness? Yes, they broke the Sabbath!

How then should we live?

When the disciples asked Yeshua, “what shall we do, so that we may do the works of God?” he responded, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He has sent” (John 4:28,29). In other words, if we want to walk with God, yoke yourself to Yeshua.  “I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We are in him now! Exhaustion is the early warning signal we are working apart from him.

To each follower, Yeshua continues to call, “Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).   

Yes, rest for our souls. But at the same time, obedience to God’s Sabbath command, as Isaiah declared: “Turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways and seeking your own pleasure” (Isa. 58:13). 

I’m convinced we are well into the night of the sixth day. God’s full kingdom rest is about to dawn. Are we learning to rest in Yeshua now so “he may cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?” (Heb. 9:14)

Or are we still straining and sweating away?

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


Hamas Wants More Lifestyle and Fashion Coverage?

Palestinian journalist Ayman al-Aloul from Gaza recently stated publicly that he will from now on write only on lifestyle and fashion, and not on the political, economic and security situation in the Hamas-ruled enclave.

This decision was made after al-Aloul was arrested and tortured by the Hamas regime.

The journalist was the only Palestinian television reporter to have openly criticized the Hamas leadership in a televised broadcast. According to al-Aloul, Hamas was responsible for the widespread ruin in Gaza.

It was little surprise that he and several other like-minded Palestinian bloggers and writers were then arrested by the Hamas regime.

“This arrest has made me a new man,” al-Aloul said in a statement released following his brief detention. “I have decided not to write bout the economic situation in the Gaza Strip. What I’ve been through the last few days was incredibly difficult. They (Hamas) believe that my comments misrepresent the government in Gaza and unjustly criticized the Palestinian resistance.”

The arrest of al-Aloul and his colleagues in turn resulted in even more criticism of the Hamas regime in Palestinian society. The economy in Gaza is a shambles, and promised reconstruction following the last Gaza war has not progressed. It is not Israel, but rather Hamas that is chiefly responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Al-Aloul and other Palestinians have echoed what much of Palestinian society is feeling, as it suffers under rising unemployment and poverty. Hamas fears an “Arab Spring” could break out in Gaza, and for this reason sought to muzzle growing discontent by arresting and intimidating al-Aloul and others like him.

The mainstream international media, meanwhile, continues to publish exactly what Hamas & Co. tells them. Any time a differing opinion arises, especially one expressing criticism like al-Aloul, he or she is swept aside and hushed as a “troublemaker.”

The reality is that true freedom of the press in the Middle East exists only in Israel. This fact is often admitted by Palestinian journalists in conversations with colleagues, especially those on the Israeli side of the fence.

From now on, Ayman al-Aloul will report on the lifestyles, colorful fashion and diverse culture of Gaza, even as most of the population wallows in unemployment.


Living the Bible in the Grape Harvest

It’s good to pray for these prophecies about Israel to be fulfilled, but it’s even better to come to the Land to fulfill them ourselves!

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


Does Israel Lack Strategic Thinking?

The Netanyahu government has been harshly criticized over its handling of the current security situation by not only the Opposition, but also by a growing number of Cabinet ministers.

In recent weeks, several voices from within the governing coalition have called into question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the escalating wave of terrorism plaguing Israel.

Their concern is that Israel is demonstrating no clear strategy, and that is seen as a sign of weakness that only encourages more terror.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who is a Cabinet minister, summarized the criticism in a recent speech at the annual conference of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Bennett, who leads the right-wing Jewish Home party, accused Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon of “stagnated thinking,” which he called the “main threat to Israel.”

Israel’s leaders, insisted Bennett, need to start thinking “outside the box.”

The response from sources close to Netanyahu were swift and harsh. “At a time when the IDF, Israel Security Agency and the police are fighting terrorists everyday, it is expected of cabinet ministers that they be responsible and help with our common goal, rather than leak ideas discussed in the cabinet that they are a part of, and spout them as populist slogans,” said one source.

Netanyahu accused Bennett of behaving like a member of the Opposition, while Ya’alon, without mentioning Bennett by name, suggested his fellow Cabinet minister was acting childish. “Leadership is responsibility, not chasing after a few more ‘likes’ on Facebook,” said the defense minister.

But Bennett’s assessment that “instead of shaping our futures ourselves, Israel is being dragged along by the existing reality” may not be far off the mark. Against the Palestinian “lone wolf” terrorist Israel currently has no effective strategy, and senior military officials have admitted as much in recent weeks.

The question of whether or not Israel today lacks true strategic thinking has become a hot topic in the Israeli media.


VIDEO: Israel Highlights Ongoing Palestinian Incitement

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan presented ministers with an index of Palestinian Authority-sanctioned incitement against Israel over the past year.

This incitement is not only ongoing, but actually escalating despite the Palestinian leadership’s commitment in various signed agreements to halt all glorification of violence against Israel and its Jewish population.

This gross violation of the so-called “Oslo” accords, seen by Israel as one of the key reasons peace has been so elusive, is routinely ignored by Western power brokers.


Head of EU Parliament Opposes Labeling Israeli Products

The European Union’s publishing of official guidelines on the labeling of Israeli “settler” products was met with praise and approval by the Palestinian Authority, America and most European governments.

But it was categorically rejected by the president of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz.

The labeling fiasco is aimed at harming Israeli businesses situated in the so-called “West Bank” and the Golan Heights in order to drive the Jews out of those territories claimed by the Palestinians and Syrians, respectively.

Schulz, however, recognized who the true victims of the policy would be.

“I oppose labeling products from the territories. It will mainly hurt the Palestinians, who make an honest living there,” noted the German politician, referencing the fact that the Israeli businesses in question employ thousands of Palestinian Arabs.

Schulz’s remarks were made during a meeting in Berlin with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who added, “Israel will survive the labeling of products. Those who will not survive are the thousands of Palestinian families who work shoulder to shoulder with their Jewish friends and have a shared life there. It will hurt their economy, their lives and their families, and it will destroy the seeds of peace that exist in those employment zones.”

Edelstein cynically wondered to whom Europe would have him surrender the Golan, assuming he was willing to do so. “Just tell me, to whom? To Syria? To ISIS?”

Nor was Schulz alone among Europe’s elite in opposing the labeling of Israeli products.

Earlier this month, some 200 EU officials, diplomats, parliamentarians and NATO representatives welcomed in the New Year at a party featuring Israeli “settler” products.

In toasting the New Year, Israeli Ambassador to the EU David Walzer and his guests raised glasses filled with wine from the Golan Heights, before digging in to Israeli foods like falafel and being entertained by an Israeli DJ.


French Jews 'Come Home'

The Anti-Defamation League recently hosted a memorial event marking the first anniversary of the “Charlie Hebdo” and Hypercacher terrorist attacks in Paris, and recognizing some of the French Jews who made aliyah to Israel as a result.

The event was attended by the French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave (pictured), former Israeli Ambassador to France Daniel Shek, cartoonist Michel Kichka, and Patrice Valid, the manager of Hypercacher who was wounded in the Muslim terrorist attack on the supermarket.

Maisonnave told the gather that “radical Islam is our common enemy. Terrorism is terrorism no matter where it happens in the world.” A night earlier, during a memorial service in central Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls insisted there was no justification for the attacks.

Patrice Valid, who has since moved to Israel, recalled the events of that fateful day. “The terrorist instilled in us fear. He wanted to kill us because we were Jews,” he explained. “But I did not move to Israel out of fear. I came home.”

Carole Nuriel, director of the ADL in Israel, said it was now clear that the anti-Semitic and anti-Western terrorism plaguing Europe had nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as is so often claimed.

“The conflict is just an excuse,” stated Nuriel. “Understanding that anti-Semitism affects not only the Jews, but any society in which it exists is very important.”


COMMENTARY: Jesus Unveiled!

I was greatly encouraged to read the report from David Lazarus about a group of prominent rabbis calling for a renewed look at Jesus. At the same time I have been greatly inspired by a book about Joseph, the Jewish patriarch, and how he offered total forgiveness to his brothers who had sold him into slavery.

God Meant it for Good by R T Kendall was published by Kingsway 30 years ago, and is an absolute classic that could transform lives, communities and nations. The author’s main purpose was to deal with the issue of forgiveness, so vital in all our dealings. But I want to deal with the issue of Joseph, as a type of the future Messiah, revealing himself to his brothers in the flesh, and of course forgiving them.

Effectively given up for dead, Joseph is finally unveiled – alive and in charge of all Egypt – and instead of wreaking vengeance by handing out the punishment they fully deserved, he astonishes them by saying: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50.20)

This is the gospel, and especially so for the Jew, to whom it was first given; that though we put Jesus on the cross – and the Jewish religious leaders were especially culpable – it was meant to happen. “…It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…” (Isaiah 53.10)

Despite his brothers’ rejection, Joseph became the saviour of Israel, and was a sign of what would happen 400 years later when God’s method of substitutionary sacrifice for sin was demonstrated on the night before the Exodus from Egypt. Although Moses was the chosen human instrument in Israel’s deliverance from slavery, the vital spiritual element was the blood of the lamb daubed on the lintels and doorposts of their homes, prefiguring the death of the Lamb of God who was to lead them into true freedom.

Joseph’s brothers threw him down a well in a fit of jealousy over their father Jacob’s misplaced favouritism. Thanks to Reuben’s influence, they thought better of it and rescued him, only to sell him as a slave to passing Ishmaelites. But when, many years later, they were forced to go down to Egypt during the famine predicted by Joseph in interpreting Pharaoh’s dream (of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine), they felt they were being punished for their wicked deeds and began to repent among themselves.

They did not at first recognize their brother, whose wisdom in hearing from God and thus storing up grain in preparation for the lean years was to save them from starvation, but of course it was a great shock when he was finally revealed as the Prime Minister of the greatest nation on earth!

And I imagine it was an even greater shock when they realized that he held nothing against them; that he wept with joy at being re-united with his brothers; and that they were totally forgiven.

It’s interesting that Joseph was taken into Egypt after being rejected by his brothers. After Jesus was largely rejected by the Jewish people (though a significant number accepted him, of course, or the Church would never have come into existence), the message about him was taken to the nations, and the Gentile world elevated him to a prominent role in their affairs. Isaiah had prophesied that the Gentiles would put their hope in Him. (Isaiah 42.4; see also Matthew 12.21)

As far as the UK and the USA are concerned, it would be true to say that from the 17th through 19th centuries the gospel of Christ and the Bible itself was the most influential teaching they possessed, affecting virtually every institution and producing great wealth and power in the process. At the same time a host of passionate preachers went out to the far corners of the world spreading this gospel to heathen nations. Jesus had in some respects become Lord of the Gentile world, a situation that would, in time, make Israel “envious”, according to the Apostle Paul, an orthodox Jewish rabbi who led the mission to the Gentiles. (Romans 11.11)

But just as Joseph never forgot his brothers, and longed for reunion with them, so Jesus – actually descended from Judah and described in the Bible as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev 5.5) – reaches out in love to his long-lost brothers in the flesh, for whom things got worse before they got better. Now, over the past two centuries (even in the midst of multiple pogroms and the Holocaust itself), He has been revealing himself afresh to his people.

Though sadly Jesus is still seen largely as God of the Gentiles, Jewish eyes have gradually been opened. It is believed, for example, that there were as many as 100,000 Jewish followers of Jesus at the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Tragically, many of them would have perished in Hitler’s gas chambers. But out of the ashes of the Holocaust, we not only have a re-born nation of Israel, but a growing number of so-called Messianic fellowships bringing Jesus back to where he belongs.

Just as Joseph was a sign of what was to come 400 years later with deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lamb, so the voice of the prophets recorded in the Jewish Tenakh (what Christians call the Old Testament) fell silent for 400 years until the revelation of Jesus in the New Testament.

Joseph provided his brothers with grain amidst the famine. And now Jesus is “the bread of life” – the manna from heaven – as he “fills the hungry with good things” (John 6.35, Luke 1.53)

There will come a time when, back in the land of promise and delivered from bondage in a hostile world, all Israel will recognize Yeshua, their Messiah. (Zechariah 12.10, Romans 11.26) What a day that will be – life from the dead as he who was despised and rejected of men is revealed to his brothers alive… and as Lord of all!

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


Man, the Land and Trees...

In Israel there is a proverb that says, "we can learn from trees!"

Each year most of Israel's rainfall falls between the onset of winter and Tu B'Shvat (15th of Shvat) - which usually falls between mid January to early February each year.

Just as trees need water and sustenance inorder to survive, grow and thrive, man needs spiritual sustenance in order to survive, grow and thrive.

Tu B'Shvat is the time when the first trees of the field - usually the Wild Almond called the "Bride of the Field" - start to blossom.

And... just as trees bear fruit in their season, man also bears fruit in his season.


COMMENTARY: Is 'Christian Zionism' Becoming a Dirty Word?

Approaching the Jewish people under a Christian banner, even when connected to “Zionism,” has always been a liability. The memory of forced conversions and unbridled Christian anti-Semitism is too ingrained to be quickly set aside. So even though Christian support for Israel has been quite forthcoming over the last 40 years, it wasn’t until recently that many Israelis began to accept our support as genuine. And to reciprocate with a generous measure of trust.

However, the problem I’m alluding to concerning the term ‘Christian Zionism’ is not coming from Jews, but the Church. It seems there is a growing hostility within the Traditional Church towards those members whom they feel love Israel too much!  A church in my own hometown of Pennsylvania recently spilt over support for Israel. 

The hostility is being spearheaded, of course, by pastors and denominations still in the grip of Replacement Theology. But they are being increasingly joined by other Christians who aren’t anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist, but who just don’t get it. Not having awakened yet to the Hebraic roots of their faith they can’t understand why Zionist Christians love Israel so much. They feel we’re putting our love for Israel above our love for the Church. 

 If things continue, Christian Zionists could one day be unwelcome within the Christian tent. 

Inflaming this problem, of course, is the false narrative being pushed by both religious and secular anti-Semites who keep insisting the so-called Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the reason Muslims hate the West. And Israel, they say, is responsible for both the cause and continuation of the problem. If Israel would just give back the land they took from the Palestinians, then peace would come to the Middle East and joy to the rest of the world. That this is a complete nonsense is besides the point. The lie has been repeated so many times, in so many ways, it has become the reality.

Complicating things even further is a new ecumenical movement on the rise within Christendom. It involves a final push to patch up all the major theological differences that has fractured Christianity into thousands of sects. Their goal is to fulfill Jesus prayer to the Father about his followers, “that they might all be one’ (John 17:21). Many influential evangelicals are now paving the way for reunification, believing all roads must lead to Rome. The scriptural protests that inspired the Protestant Reformation are being minimized, while our points of agreement maximized. Even the giant schism that divided the Church into east and west is quietly being sewn back together.

If this reunification takes place, as it probably will, Christianity would once again become that intolerant ecclesiastical power we’ve been apologizing to the Jews for since the Holocaust. And Christians who love Israel could become as much of a pariah in their home churches as Israel presently is to their governments. 

If that happens, I believe Christian Zionists will be forced to make a hard decision about where their loyalty lies. Will we stand with Israel, or with the religion that long ago severed us from the Hebraic roots of our faith, and persecuted the family of Messiah Yeshua? 

When push comes to shove, it will help to recall the name ‘Christian’ is not something we owe a great deal of loyalty to. It was just a name imposed upon us by our enemies that we eventually adopted. And it was not a nice name at that. According to the scholars, it was meant to be one of scorn and derision. The term only appears in the Bible three times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). Paul never used it to address believers. The name the early church referred to themselves by most often was as members of “The Way.”  

In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion “Christian” may be the name Isaiah was referring to when he uttered this judgment against the persecutors of God’s people: “You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones. And the Lord God will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name” (Isa. 65:15).

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


'Heroic' Palestinians Stab Israeli Mother, Pregnant Woman

Palestinian Arab terrorists, so often described as “heroic” by Palestinian leaders and media, demonstrated their tremendous bravery this week by stabbing a petite, defenseless Israeli mother and a pregnant Jewish woman.

On Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist entered the home of Dafna Meir in the Jewish settlement of Otniel and brutally stabbed her to death in front of three of her six children. A day later, another knife-wielding Palestinian seriously wounded a 30-year-old pregnant woman in the nearby Jewish community of Tekoa.

Meir’s older teenage daughter witnessed the attack, and told authorities that her mother wrestled with the terrorist to prevent him from harming any of the children. By some miracle, after fatally stabbing Meir, the terrorist fled the scene instead of killing the children.

Two of the six children in the Meir household are foster children. Dafna was also a nurse at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, where she treated Jews and Arabs, alike. Adding to her saintliness, the apparently tireless Meir provided couples’ counseling.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that no effort would be spared in bringing justice to the killer.

“In the name of all Israelis, I want to give strength to all the children of the family. All of us are hurting and share in the painful grief. We will find the terrorist, and he will pay the full price for this heinous murder,” Netanyahu posted on Facebook.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon concurred: “We will not rest until we settle accounts with the terrorist, wherever he is. [Dafna Meir’s] murder…teaches us yet again what a cruel enemy we are up against.”

Monday’s attack took place at a clothing warehouse in the Judean settlement of Tekoa, essentially a suburb of Jerusalem. Security guards managed to shoot and kill the terrorist, but not before he inflicted serious upper body injuries to his pregnant victim, who was taken to a hospital in the capital.

In light of the two attacks, Israeli security officials are reconsidering allowing Palestinian workers into Jewish settlements. Both of the above terrorists are believed to have gained entry to Otniel and Tekoa by being employed by local Jewish businesses.


Anti-Christian Graffiti Again Mars Jerusalem Church

Dormition Abbey situated atop Jerusalem’s Mt. Zion was over the weekend again marred by anti-Christian graffiti reading: “Death to the Christians, the enemies of Israel.” (see picture)

Israeli authorities found the Hebrew slogans daubed on several exterior walls of the Christian holy site. A church spokesman told Israeli media, “The inscriptions are not only against Jesus the Messiah, but also call to slaughter the Christians and send them to hell! How long will these acts of vandalism continue?”

A number of acts of vandalism and even arson have been perpetrated against churches, including Dormition Abbey, in recent years, presumably by extremist Jewish youth.

These hate crimes have been harshly condemned by the Israeli government, though church official insist the authorities could and should do more.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he would not tolerate such anti-Christian activity, and has instructed Israel’s security apparatus to spare no effort hunting down the perpetrators.

The Israel Security Agency (Shabak) believes those responsible to be a faction of the radical hilltop youth, young religious Jews who tolerate no foreign religions in the country.

Mainstream religious Jewish voices, such as the online news portal Haredim10, slammed such mistreatment of non-Jews, while vociferously anti-Israel Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi (Joint Arab List) insisted such hate crimes were the norm. “For years churches and priests in Jerusalem have been harassed and the government does nothing,” claimed the Muslim lawmaker.

Meanwhile, most average Israelis responding online to Hebrew-language reports of the incident expressed outrage and shame, as did Israel Radio.


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VIDEO: The Truth of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This video was made by Messianic Jewish IDF soldier Hananya Naftali to address the relentless lies presented by the mainstream media in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As Naftali notes, he is a soldier often stationed in “Palestinian” areas, and has the opportunity to see the truth first-hand. And it is very different than the picture painted by CNN, the BBC and the like.

Naftali also points out that most Israelis don’t want war, Israeli mothers don’t want to send their children to the military, Israelis want to live in peace, but are forced to live a far different life.


From Russia to Rock to Yeshua

This is the story of Alex Atlas who was born into a famous rabbinic family, turned radical Russian rock star and somehow ended up in Israel singing the praises of Yeshua (Jesus).

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


Palestinian Children Wear Mock Suicide Belts in Bethlehem Parade

In what can only be described as a celebration of violence and death, young Palestinian children participated in a Bethlehem parade last week by dressing up as armed terrorists, complete with mock suicide belts.

The parade marked the 51st anniversary of the first terrorist attack by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, and was attended by several high ranking Palestinian Authority officials.

Ofer Gendelman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official spokesman to the Arab media, called the event a glorification of terrorism aimed at encouraging a new generation of Palestinian youth to join the violence.

It was notable that while the Bethlehem-based Palestinian news agency Ma’an covered the parade extensively on its Arabic-language website, the story was completely missing from its English-language website, which is widely followed by the international press.

Yet another example of the Palestinians sending out completely different messages in Arabic and English, just as the parade itself was further evidence that Israel has no Palestinian peace partner at the governmental level.

H/T: The Blaze


Yeshua on Israeli Talk Radio

Check out the recent interview that Israel Today contributor and Messianic Jewish pastor David Lazarus gave to Voice of Israel Radio on the topic of faith in Yeshua.

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


POLL: More Israeli Arabs Recognize Jewish Claim to Land

A growing number, in fact now a majority, of Israeli Arabs recognize Jewish rights and claims to this land, according to the latest installment of the monthly Peace Index survey conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute.

The poll’s third question asked respondents whether they “agree or disagree with the claim that the Jews’ historical, religious, and cultural bond to the land and the Palestinians’ historical, religious, and cultural bond to the land are equally strong.”

Unsurprisingly, 92.8 percent of Jewish respondents either agreed or insisted that Jewish claims to the land are stronger than those of the Palestinians.

What did some as a shock to many was the fact that 41.3 percent of Israeli Arabs agreed with the statement, while a further 15.9 percent agreed with most Jews that the Jewish claims to the land were stronger than those of the Palestinians.

Again, 57.2 percent of Israeli Arabs said that Jewish claims to this land are equal to or stronger than Palestinian claims.

This revelation comes at a time when several different local Arab movements and public figures, both Christian and Muslim, are encouraging greater integration with the Jewish majority.


Study Finds Need for Stronger Jewish Education in Israel

The organization "Generations" that works to strengthen Jewish identity among youngsters in Israel paints a grim picture of local youths' disconnect from their Jewish heritage. It further revealed that among Israeli immigrants living abroad there is a higher tendency toward assimilation and mixed marriages than among local Jews. Generations seeks to change the approach of Israel's Ministry of Education and plans a national educational campaign in high schools across the Jewish state.

While the Ministry of Education is now busy arguing whether or not a controversial book promoting assimilation should enter the curriculum, Generations says the horses have already escaped the barn.

The organization surveyed 85 locations where Israeli families congregate in the Americas, Europe and elsewhere. The survey asked local leaders and rabbis about the patterns of behavior of their congregants.

The survey found that while assimilation among Diaspora Jews increases slightly year-after-year, and though the ratio is high, most parents view negatively the possibility of their children marrying non-Jews. Among Israeli immigrants, however, assimilation and mixed marriages is growing rapidly, and very few parents view negatively the possibility of their children marrying non-Jews. Half of the Israeli immigrants believed that their children would neither go back to Israel, nor keep their Jewish identity.

A major difference also exists in affinity toward tradition. Contrary to old established Jewish communities abroad where a high percentage make sure to visit the synagogue at least a few times every year, particularly during holidays, among Israeli immigrants very few bother to visit the synagogue at all. Among second generation Israelis born abroad or those who immigrated at young age, even fewer attend the synagogue, and in some places no one visits a synagogue at any time during the year.

Leaders of congregations abroad have testified that Israelis are the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to activities aimed at strengthening Jewish identity. They are either indifferent or downright hostile, these leaders say. 

The Israelis in question are not the downtrodden, but the educated who have finished their army duty, cream of the crop who simply can't understand the importance of Jewish education for their children, or what's wrong with mixed marriages. Some even see a measure of success in assimilation. When approaching these Israelis, they speak in clichés absorbed from their high school teachers or the Israeli media, making reference to "religious coercion," "racism" or "all man are equal." Education about what Jewish identity really means seems to be missing.

Established just last year by a group of Israeli intellectuals, rabbis and teacher, Generations aims to fundamentally change the way the Israeli education system teaches Jewish identity.

Generations is preparing to publish the full findings of its survey, promising what many see as a media storm. There is something rotten at the root in the way Israeli education looks at Judaism as a civilization. Israeli youth get the impression that Judaism is some kind of nice folklore without any real meaning for "He who has chosen us from among all peoples."

Over the past week, Generations issued its first booklet entitled "Danger, Assimilation." This problem can't be solved by talks alone, says CEO Yechezkel Gvirtz. "We are talking here about the continued survival of Israel as a nation. The present system brings us to a national catastrophe. Outright revolution is needed here."


Report: Messianic Couple Sues Wedding Hall for Canceling

A Messianic Jewish couple is suing an event hall in the Israeli coastal town of Yavne after the owner refused to host their wedding upon learning that they believe in Yeshua and intended to read scriptures from the New Testament at the ceremony.

That according to a report in a local subsidiary of Israel’s Ynet news portal.

Already six months ago, the couple had booked the event hall in question. As the big day neared, they held a rehearsal, during which the owner realized the New Testament would play a role in the ceremony.

He reportedly told the couple they could still hold the wedding in his hall, but only if they agreed not to read from the New Testament.

The couple explained this was an important part of who they are, and would therefore not agree to his demand, at which point the owner cancelled the booking.

The couple is suing the event hall for 100,000 shekels (~$25,000 USD) for what they said was religious discrimination.

Responses to the article on the Hebrew-language site were varied, though a majority seemed to side with the couple, some even calling for a boycott of the event hall. One respondent said that while he is not a Messianic believer, he sees the Messianic Jews as good and loyal citizens who deserve the same respect as all other Jews. Another said that if Messianic Jews are labeled as a cult, then so, too, should the various ultra-Orthodox sects.

PHOTO: Illustration


COMMENTARY: Who are the Sand and the Stars?

Some six thousand years ago God promised an aging Abraham he’d have as many offspring “as the stars in the heavens and sand on the seashore” (Gen. 22:17). Was that just God’s way of saying, “Stop doubting! You’ll have more grandkids than you can imagine!”  Or was He saying something more?

According to one popular teaching, God was distinguishing between Christians and Jews. It holds He was saying the stars in the heavens represent the Christians, his spiritual seed, whose reward will be Heaven. And the sands are the Jews, his physical, earthly seed, who will receive their inheritance on Earth. But if that is true, then how can we ever become one flock with one shepherd?  Or one new man in Messiah? Or one at all? 

Of course, that doesn’t mean God wasn’t prophesying to Abraham in a hidden way that in addition to fathering an astronomical number of descendants there’d be a spiritual difference in his offspring. Meaning, that although all his descendants would have an earthly Adamic nature (the sand), many would also experience a spiritual rebirth and become as the stars in the heavens who shine forth with God’s glory. 

The stars in the family would be from the chosen line of Isaac who would reign in glory with Yeshua upon the earth. They would be the faithline within Abraham’s bloodline. But the rest of his offspring, like Esau, would be excluded from the inheritance. “It is not the children of the flesh [those born outside the promise] who are children of God, but the children of the promise who are regarded as descendants” (Rom. 9:8). In other words, all the stars are sand. But not all the sand are stars.  

Of course, replacement theologians would say this physical/spiritual understanding of the promise to Abraham fits their doctrine perfectly. That is, they would argue the physical people were the Jews who, because they didn’t believe in Jesus, were replaced by a more spiritual people from other families. Christians are now reckoned as Abraham’s spiritual seed who inherit it all.

 But that is a false understanding because Christians did NOT replace the unbelieving Jewish nation as God’s new people. Paul clearly informs us that, even in their unbelief,  “…from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:28,29). We simply were grafted in among the believing wing of the family, while a promise was given to the rest that one day a remnant would be given the grace to believe also, once “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). And then “all Israel would be saved” (Rom. 11:26).

Furthermore, it’s silly to suggest Old Testament saints like Joseph, Moses, David and Elijah were less spiritual than New Testament (NT) saints. Are they not all listed in Hebrews 11 as heirs to the same promises as those who believe in Yeshua? And are not all NT believers just as physical in nature as the saints of old? 

Paul explained it this way: “The spiritual is not first, but the natural; then [comes] the spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:46). You need both to be a saint of God. First we must be born a human being, a descendant of Abraham. And then, if we are among the elect of his family, we will be given ears to hear the Shepherd’s voice and be reckoned among the seed that inherits. 

Of course, this principle of ‘physical first-spiritual second’ can be applied to what God is doing in Israel today. It explains the dilemma that confounds those who look at the mostly secular Jewish State today and ask, “if God is with them, where is their spirituality?” Well, God told us their spiritual awakening would follow their physical restoration. As Ezekiel put it, “I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. THEN I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean” (Ezek 36:24,25 NAS). And in Ezekiel 37 we see the flesh coming on the dry bones first before the spirit blows life into them.

The bottom line is if you belong to Yeshua you are one of Abraham’s grains of sand. “For if you belong to Messiah, you ARE Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29). But more importantly, you were represented by one of the stars Abraham saw shining in the night sky. 

If we don’t become earthbound, one day, “nations will come to our light, and kings to the brightness of our rising” (Isa. 60:3).

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


In Search of Solomon's Temple

Excavations of the various sanctuaries in Israel, based on Solomon’s Temple, provide sufficient proof to back Jewish claims and debunk Islamic myths.

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


Joel Rosenberg on 'Apocalyptic Islam'

Acclaimed Messianic Jewish author Joel Rosenberg has written several books relating biblical prophecy to current events. He spoke with Israel Today reporter David Lazarus about the pressing issues of our times.

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


Israeli Kids and Their Smartphones

Israeli children are increasingly addicted to smartphones and television. According to a new report, 83 percent of Israeli children and adolescents aged 8–15 are in possession of a smartphone, and 93 percent of these children use their mobile devices for at least four hours every day. Half of all Israeli children said they received in excess of 100 Whatsapp messages daily.

These are just a few of the worrisome details to emerge from the annual statistical report by the National Council for the Welfare of Children, highlighting a range of trends among Israel’s 2.7 million children, roughly 33 percent of the population.

Half of those interviewed in the study said that already within the first 15 minutes after waking up every morning they are on the Internet, most often in order to connect with friends via social networks like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat.

What was particularly troubling was the fact that because of the growing amount of time they spend online, nearly half of all Israeli children have already been exposed to some manner of sexually negative content.

Today, life is increasingly interconnected and revolves around the devices that make that possible. The world is literally in the hands of our children. And despite all the risks that carries, a world without smartphones and the interconnectedness they provide is no longer conceivable to the next generation.


Exclusive Interview With the General Who Uprooted Jewish Gaza

"I want to inherit the land," Major-General Gershon HaCohen tells us in explaining his complex worldview that draws heavily on modern Zionism and Jewish heritage.

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


UK Christians Rally Behind Israel

When the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was celebrated this time last year, few could have imagined that anti-Semitism would get even worse. But it has.

The past year has seen two shocking terrorist attacks on Paris, with Jews specifically targeted on both occasions, along with the wave of stabbings and shootings in Israel itself. One incident occurred on Christmas Eve at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, just yards from Christ Church, where they were celebrating the birth of the Messiah who came to bring peace to a troubled world and where, ironically, they steadfastly work towards reconciling Arab and Jew through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

But even as the UK marks Holocaust Memorial Day later this month, we too are witnessing an ongoing rise in anti-Semitic incidents necessitating armed guards having to be deployed to schools in London’s Jewish community. But is the Church as a whole rallying to the support of those who are once more threatened with genocide, as they were under the Nazis? Do they even care?

British publishing magnate Lord Weidenfeld did indeed benefit from caring Christians who took him in after he was rescued from Czechoslovakia through the so-called Kindertransport project of 1938, and has launched a campaign to rescue Christians from Syria out of gratitude for the compassion he was shown. He believes that the Islamic State terrorists are worse even than Hitler’s henchmen. The latter were cold and calculated as they killed on an industrial scale, but the Muslim fanatics seem to enjoy what they are doing.

Here is the stark reality of what is facing the Jewish people at the dawn of 2016: Iran is fast developing nuclear weapons with which to “wipe out” Israel (in the words of the Ayatollahs and Iranian presidents). And the current spat between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia only adds to the tension in the region. Meanwhile Lebanon-based Hezbollah has once again started firing rockets into the Jewish state, ISIS are believed to be stalking the Golan Heights near Galilee, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority continue to incite their people to murder and some Westerners are engaged in a boycott of Israeli goods on the pretext that they are oppressive occupiers of land not their own. But the truth is that most Jewish victims of persecution are attacked simply because they are Jews, not for political or economic reasons.

With all this in mind, UK Christians who can see what is happening are trying to draw the attention of a generally uncaring public to the plight of Jews everywhere. One such event will be held on January 24 at a Sheffield church and will involve other Holocaust escapees brought to England via the Kindertransport. One of them, John Fieldsend, whose parents perished at Auschwitz, was also taken in by a kind Christian couple. He became a follower of Jesus and a full-time preacher, but it could all have been so different. On a visit to the Children’s Memorial at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, he recalls: “As we listened to the names of the children being read out on an endlessly looping tape – which took several days to go round – I realized that had my journey from Czechoslovakia been delayed by only about five weeks, my name would have been on that tape! It was a very dramatic experience…”

Among the organizers of the Sheffield event – at the Bush Fire Church, 427 Halifax Road, Grenoside S35 8PB from 3 to 5pm – are Ginnie White, whose mother Stella was roughed up by Oswald Mosley’s fascists as a child growing up in London’s East End where she was also once jeered at as a “dirty Jew”. The afternoon will also involve the signing of the ‘Shalom Declaration’ promising support for the Jewish people.

And under the banner of Christians United for Israel, a petition is being sent to the UK Government expressing condemnation of anti-Semitism and acknowledging the huge contribution of its Judeo-Christian heritage in shaping British values.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s account of his own family history, shared in a United Nations speech, perfectly illustrates the necessity for such memorial days. After being beaten senseless by a group of anti-Semitic hoodlums at a railway station in the heart of Europe, his grandfather Nathan promised himself that, if he lived, he would take his family to the Jewish homeland and help build a future for the Jewish people.

Six million Jews perished in the gas chambers, but the nightmares of the survivors live on while new generations face fresh threats. When will it stop? We have so much for which to thank them – they gave us the Bible, on the foundations of which we have built a great civilization. And they gave us Jesus, Saviour of both Jews and Gentiles who put their trust in Him, who said: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25.40)

PHOTO: Jaffa Gate, site of a fatal incident also involving a serious wounding on Christmas Eve, and only a stone’s throw from Christ Church, a haven of reconciliation. (Charles Gardner)

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


"What Good Is Faith Without Works?" (James 2:14)

Do you want to convert your sentiments for Israel into deeds?

Read Israel Today Magazine and broaden your knowledge of Israel's past and present.

And in doing so become an ambassador for Israel!


Israeli Messianics Respond to Vatican's New Position on Jews

Many think the Vatican said the Jews don't need Jesus. But did it? Israel Today spoke to Messianic Jewish leaders about the important new document.

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


Gay MK Pleased Religious Parties Skipped His Induction

The Likud’s first openly gay member of Knesset was officially sworn in last week with the noticeable absence of all members of the two ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. And he had absolutely no problem with that.

Amir Ohana moved into the Knesset thanks to the retirement of Likud heavyweight and former Interior Minister Silvan Shalom amidst a sexual misconduct scandal.

In his swearing-in speech, Ohana stated that he was entering the Knesset “with everything that I am - the things I chose to be and those I didn’t - and I’m proud of both. Jew, Israeli, Mizrahi, gay, Likudnik, defense man, liberal, and a believer in free economy.”

Told later about the apparent boycott of the ceremony by religious MKs, Ohana said he hadn’t noticed, but would be pleased if “in all subjects regarding LGBT rights they will continue to be absent. That would be wonderful.”

For his part, Netanyahu said he was proud to welcome Ohana into the Knesset:

"Amir is the first representative of the LGBT community who was elected in open primaries while who he is was completely out in the open, and he was elected by thousands of voters in the Likud primaries.

“He represents our views of liberal nationalism well. He believes in the right of the Jewish people to their country, protecting the state’s security, civil rights, free economy and a free market. …I think he will make an excellent MK and serve as a bridge between the different parts of the public. I welcome him with appreciation and pride.”


Jesus Removed From Headlines in Israel

Recently, I reported exciting news about a series of Hebrew-language testimonies promoting faith in Jesus by Messianic Jews on the front page of the popular “Walla! News,” one of Israel’s largest news corporations (see link to the article).

With sadness, I must now report that the video series about Jesus has been cancelled, and all references to Jesus and Messianic Jews have been removed from the site.

“Walla!” had taken a bold and calculated risk broadcasting a Messianic campaign that promotes interest in Jesus to their massive Israeli audience. We expected that there would be serious resistance to the unprecedented promotional by Messianic Jews on mainstream Israeli media. Eitan Bar, one of the Messianic Jews who had been interviewed for the series, told us that, “Messianics in Israel can expect strong reactions. We know that there will be unyielding opposition.” He was right.

According to Erez Soref, president of the Israel College of the Bible and one of the project’s initiators, here’s what happened: 

“’Walla! News’ received intense threats from some within the Ultra-Orthodox community, which banded together threatening to sue the company because of the exposure 'Walla! News' provided to the name of Yeshua and to Messianic Jews. 'Walla! News' received additional threats from Ultra-Orthodox representatives, threatening a major consumer boycott … 'Walla! News' decided to remove the interviews from the site on Friday, the 25th of December.”

The Orthodox Jewish community in Israel was extremely upset about the promotional videos which they called, “A surprise move by a major Israeli media source providing significant official Israeli sanction to a missionary organization.”  Others called the campaign to highlight Jesus on mainstream Israeli media, “Shameful behavior of the internet site that gives the Christian (sic Messianic) sect a platform to spread their agenda intended to harm Judaism.”

Advertising missionary activity (which in Israel means Messianic Jews or anyone preaching about Jesus) is prohibited in Israel. A Israeli Broadcasting Association rule states that advertising must not be broadcast if it "includes advertising for missionary activities or cults.”  This law, it should be noted, which was written in 1993,  applies only to commercials and sponsorship on radio or television. Promotional campaigns about Jesus on the internet are still legal.

Avi Alcalay, chief editor for “Walla! News,” explained in an official response to the Messianic promotional that, "Advertising is permitted by the law, and we are a liberal media company with the largest number of internet surfers in Israel. We will always bring the widest range of opinions to our audience.”

Nicely put Mr. Alcalay, but threats of financial loss due to boycotts and legal fees still keep Jesus off the air. Soref claims that, “Just as the first Messianic Jews refused to keep silent about their Messiah two thousand years ago, we do not intend to slow our pace or to silence the public discussion about Yeshua just because of persecution.”

As long as Israeli media companies remain unwilling, or unable, to endure the financial losses, boycotts and threats that Messianic Jewish promotional campaigns still stir up, it is unlikely that Jesus in Messianic promotionals will be making headlines in Israel anytime soon. That is until, as we expect, he soon appears on the Mount of Olives. Now that is going to be news!


The Curious Voice of Sheikh Omer Salem

Olam Katan (Small World) is one of many religious newsletters distributed in synagogues throughout Israel each Friday. It is the last place one would expect to find an interview with Yale University alumnus Sheikh Omer Salem who visited Israel last week. Salem's December 26 lecture in Haifa University was heckled by an Israeli Arab student who just couldn't stand a sheikh speaking on behalf of Israel. 

Sheikh Salem, a PhD graduate of Al Azhar University in Cairo has just published his book The Missing Peace: The Role of Religion in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Following are excerpts from the sheikh's interview:

"Everything I say is based on the Quran. I wasn't poisoned by political Islam. A lot of money is invested to advance the anti-Israel position. One needs to understand that much of what is said is politics, not Quran. Anyone following the Quran will be kind to you and will not tell you [Jews] to leave the Land." 

Concerning the infidels loathed by Muslims, Salem distinguishes between religious and secular Jews. 

"There are Jewish infidels, those who mock the Law of Moses, may he rest in peace, and concerning them Surah 5 says 'they turn away [from the Torah] hence they are not believers'. There are, however, Jewish believers with whom Islam has no problem. Surah 3 says that there is 'a party of the people of the Scripture [who] stand for the right, they recite the Verses of Allah during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer.' The Quran praises the Jews for obeying the Torah."

Concerning the right of the Jews to live in Israel, Salem admits that this is a difficult question, but, he says, Jews should obey the Torah wherever they are. 

"[If your ways are pleasing to Allah], even your enemies will become your lovers. Remember that you are the chosen people. You may doubt that Islam appreciates and respects the Jews, but when Muslims ruled the world they were the protectors of the Jews. My vision is to restore this attitude. I want to say to my Muslim brothers and sisters: You are not the enemies of the Jews, you are their protectors." 

Unfortunately, Salem alleges, Muslims inherited hatred for Jews from their Christian conquerors. 

"For two thousand years Christians have taught that Jews killed Jesus, that Jews are from the devil, and until today there are churches holding this theology."

The one thing that seems to irritate the Sheikh is the Temple Mount. 

"The Jews can pray peacefully on the Mount [but they need to be patient]. You will get the Temple Mount, but that needs to happen in stages. Muslims will agree to remove the mosque, but it must be initiated by the Muslims. If Jews try to do it there will be great bloodshed. When it [the removal of the mosque] will happen it will be a gift from Allah. He is the one who will turn the hearts of the Muslims."


Now It's Up to the Israeli Arabs

The first day of this new year left the country in shock with the deaths of Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruimi who were killed in the Tel Aviv pub attack on Friday. Despite the terrorist’s father publicly denouncing his son’s actions, the fact that the killer is an Arab citizen of Israel left Israelis increasingly concerned and eager to hear condemnations from the Arab sector.

The “Intifada of Knives” is still with us. While the average number of daily attacks has declined, the violence continues, with Israeli Arab leaders not only unwilling to openly condemn it, but actually doing whatever they can to encourage it.

Some of these Israeli Arab leaders, like Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi, have called for an escalation of this Intifada. “Today, only individuals are acting. We need the support of our [Israeli Arab] people. Only the acts of thousands of our people can turn this into a real Intifada,” Zoabi told a Hamas publication last November.

A November 2015 survey conducted by Israeli research groups Dialogue and Taldor found that 68 percent of Israeli Arabs accept Israel’s existence, and 65 percent believe they can be loyal to Israel as Palestinians. In reality, however, this is a passive majority that simply accepts the policies of activists with whom it most likely disagrees.

It may be that the question of identity is no longer an issue. Indeed, one can today hear voices like that of Father Gabriel Naddaf, leader of the Israeli Aramean Christian community and spiritual leader of the forum for recruitment of Israeli Christians into the IDF. Muslims like Mohammed and Sarah Zoabi, Bedouin activist Mohammed Kaabiya, and Abdul Abu-Ghosh - manager of the “Arabs and Right-wingers Tweeting” page on Facebook - are also encouraging young Muslims to join the IDF as a way of further integrating into Israeli society.

As Arab political activist Ali Adi said to Time Out magazine: “Of course we [Arabs] have things to strive for, but to say I hate the country and that the government is my enemy just because I have a few complaints is unfair. It is a mistake.”

In the same vein, the head of the Department of Pharmaceutics at Ben Gurion University, Prof. Riad Agbaria, said that Friday’s shooting in Tel Aviv “was without a doubt a terror attack.”

Unfortunately, at present, these voices are but a dim light in a dark room.

In the coming year, Israeli Arabs must either take a clear stand as citizens who love and support the State of Israel and care about its future, or continue to stick their collective heads in the sand and wait for a future that doesn’t look very bright.

PHOTO: Hostile anti-Israel politicians like MK Basel Ghattas no longer represent a majority of Israeli Arabs, but continue to be elected nevertheless.


COMMENTARY: Is Heaven the Christian's Promised Land?

For centuries, Christians have considered Heaven the ultimate reward for deciding to follow Jesus.  Death was celebrated in gospel songs as crossing the river Jordan, transforming Heaven into the Promised Land. It was a comforting metaphor for those who had to say goodbye to deceased loved ones before Jesus returned. 

For most of my Christian life I too assumed Heaven was the destination of the true believer. But one day I decided to look up all the verses that promised life in Heaven – and, lo and behold, I couldn’t find one! I saw that our inheritance is “reserved for us in Heaven” (1 Pet. 1:4). That our names “are enrolled in Heaven” ((Heb. 12:23). That our “citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20). But nowhere did I see we are promised an eternal life in Heaven – or even a temporary stay. 

The only afterlife I found promised to us in the Bible was in a resurrected, immortal body here on earth. And that new body wouldn’t become ours until Jesus returned! “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible” (1 Cor. 15:52).

Like most Christians, I suspect, I just assumed resurrection occurred when we died and ourspirit “ascended” to Heaven. But if going to Heaven is what the Bible means by ‘resurrection,’ then what’s the point of Jesus coming back to earth to raisethe dead? Because the dead in Christ would be in Heaven already, and the rest would simply join the party in Paradise when they died. And if you think about it, once there who’d ever want to come back to earth?  

I began to see how this hope of Heaven had completely overshadowed the hope of resurrection. It made a bodily resurrection unnecessary. Yet wasn’t the promise of being included in Jesus’ resurrection victory over bodily death the good news that electrified the world in the first century? If resurrection is just a graduation of disembodied spirits to the unseen spiritual world of Heaven, which Plato taught, then death still reigns as the final arbiter of life on this planet. And the joke is on us. As Paul said, “If the dead are not raised [on earth], let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32).

It seems in the course of history Yeshua’s message about the kingdom of Heaven got twisted to mean we had to go to Heaven to receive it. But the kingdom Yeshua talked about was coming to earth! Didn’t he teach us to pray to the Father…”Thy kingdom come?” And wasn’t John told in his heavenly vision that all those Jesus had purchased with his blood “shall reign upon the earth?” (Rev. 5:9,10). 

This promise of a heavenly kingdom on earth is nothing less than the fulfillment of the covenant promise made to Abraham and his seed that they “…would inherit the earth” (Rom. 4:13). “For all these died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, confessed they were strangers and exiles upon the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own” (Heb. 11:13,14). There are no countries in Heaven!

Anthony Buzzard in his book, _Our Fathers Who Aren’t in Heaven, _writes: “Our fathers…looked forward, as did New Testament Christians, to entering and inheriting the land of promise, the Kingdom of God on earth, by resurrection from the dead.” (pg. 69).

Well, if we don’t go to Heaven after we die, where do we go? The New Testament never really says, but seems to remain consistent with the Old Testament view that Sheol (“Hades” in the Greek) is our temporary destination. It is not a place of reward or punishment, but a place of unconscious rest. “For there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going” (Eccl. 9:10).

 The phrase used repeatedly in the NT is that we “have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6, 18,20,51). But wherever our spirit goes between death and resurrection, whether conscious or unconscious, we are assured of one thing: Father God will never let go of us. “For neither death nor life…can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38,39). 

There we will stay until the trumpet blows and “the dead in Messiah will be raised, and we [who are still alive] will be changed” (1 Cor. 15:52). And life on our sin-sick planet will finally become – Heaven on earth!

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


2 Dead in New Year's Tel Aviv Shooting; Terrorist at Large

An Arab terrorist opened fire on a cafe in downtown Tel Aviv on Friday, killing two people and wounding another seven.

Those who survived the attack said the killer smiled as he fired round after round at the panicking patrons.

The terrorist managed to flee the scene before police arrived. But after security camera footage was released to the media, the terrorist’s father, who is a police volunteer, recognized his son and contacted authorities.

The suspect is a resident of the Wadi Ara region in northern Israel. By Friday evening, he remained at large, presumably in the Greater Tel Aviv area, though police were fairly confident that he was no longer armed after having discarded the weapon used in the cafe shooting.

Another relative of the shooter told Israeli media he was “staggered, horrified” by the attack, and insisted the young man had never expressed anti-Israel sentiments in the past.

None of the local Palestinian terror groups have claimed responsibility for recruiting the shooter, though Hamas did openly praise the fatal attack on unarmed cafe patrons in the heart of Tel Aviv.

PHOTO: Police conduct a manhunt in Tel Aviv after fatal terrorist shooting (Flash90)


Support the Refugees, But Beware

I believe in helping everyone—including the Muslims; but the diluted version of Christianity prevalent in the West will result in it becoming a mission field for Islam.

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


Visit Us For Coffee in the New Year!

We wish all our friends and Internet visitors a blessed and healthy New Year. In addition, we welcome you in this new year to visit our office in downtown Jerusalem for a cup of coffee and a friendly chat. And to our most prolific commenters, we'll even offer a second cup ;-)


EXCLUSIVE: Destitute Palestinians Blame Abbas More Than Israel

Israel Today visits the impoverished Balata refugee camp outside Nablus to find out who is really keeping its residents living in squalor.

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


Israel Prepares for First Snow Storm of the Winter

A fierce winter storm is expected to drop snow on Jerusalem and Israel’s higher elevations and bring severe flooding to the coastal plain on Friday.

On Wednesday, rain began to fall from Haifa in the north to Beersheva in the southern Negav region, threatening some flooding already. Temperatures also began to fall.

On Thursday, the rainfall is expected to intensify, accompanied by high winds and a steep drop in temperatures.

The peak of the storm is predicted for Friday morning, when downpours and significant snowfall are being eagerly awaited, at least by children living at those higher elevations.

Ahead of the storm, the Jerusalem Municipality is meeting urgently to discuss how to manage the situation, as severe snowstorms have had a detrimental impact on the city in the past.


Former PM Olmert Heading to Jail

For the first time in Israel’s history a former prime minister will be going to jail.

Ehud Olmert, who also long served as mayor of Jerusalem, will begin his 18-month sentence on February 15.

Israel’s Supreme Court did partially accept Olmert’s appeal of his May 2014 conviction by reducing his sentence from six years.

Olmert and six others, including another former Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, were convicted of accepting bribes in connection to the Holyland apartment development in the Israeli capital.

Israeli media also highlighted the fact that a Jewish prime minister had been sent to jail by an Arab Christian judge, as it was Justice Salim Joubran who read out the sentence, once again challenging the notion of Israel as an “apartheid” state.

For his part, Olmert maintained his innocence, and expressed satisfaction that the primary bribery charge against him had been dropped, thus leading to his reduced sentence.

Corruption in Israel has become a national plague, especially among the upper echelons of government. On the other hand, this phenomenon has firmly demonstrated that Israel’s legal system makes no exceptions, not even for a prime minister.


Can a Muslim Arab be a Proud Zionist?

"I am convinced that deep down all Israeli Arabs know the truth," Zoabi told us. "Unfortunately, many people are brainwashed."

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


The Greatest Romance Ever!

Romantic novels have their place in enabling us to draw comfort and joy from a well-told happy-ever-after drama. But Romance of the Hebrew Calendar does much more than that.

In his meticulous way, South African-based author Raphael Ben Levi has shown us just what an immense treasure we have in the Hebrew scriptures, and in their fulfilment by Jesus (Yeshua HaMeshiach) – an eye-opener for Jews and a hugely enriching feast for Gentiles.

This is a beautiful book which will help light up our paths (Psalm 119.105) as we are led through the true meaning of the biblical feasts and much of the Bible’s teaching, while also gaining a better understanding of the trials and tribulations of the Jewish people through millennia, with commentary and stories from the Holocaust and other dark periods of their history.

But through it all they kept the Sabbath, they gave us the Bible and now its light has reached every corner of the globe. Composed by 40 different authors over thousands of years, it is nevertheless “an integrated message system”, he writes, quoting Dr Chuck Missler. “Every detail, every number, every place name and every allusion is there by careful design and is significant.”

In this respect he also quotes Richard Wurmbrand, a Jew who suffered years of torture for Christ in a Rumanian prison, explaining the significance even of the 153 fish the disciples caught after Jesus had instructed them to cast their net on the other side of the boat – the catch was a sign of grace, a word that occurs 153 times in the New Testament.

The point being made here, and throughout this wonderfully researched treasure trove of precious biblical jewels is that, as Wurmbrand put it, “every word in the Bible has a deep meaning. Nothing is superfluous.”

With a foreword by Richard Harvey, director of training at All Nations Christian College in the UK, the book also shines a light on the dark days of ‘Christianity’ responsible for spreading the lie that God’s promises to the Jews now apply only to Gentiles which in turn fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and made the chosen people understandably wary of Christian mission.

But it is also made perfectly clear that Jesus, the Jew, was the fulfilment of over 300 prophecies in the Jewish Tenakh (the Old Testament) – the author includes references to all of them – and still has a special place in his heart for his ‘brethren in the flesh’ as he waits with outstretched arms to welcome them back.

Raphael Ben Levi is the son of Holocaust escapees from Vienna. He was born and educated in the UK but later emigrated to Israel where he spent several years teaching. He is married, with one son, and now lives on the beautiful South Coast in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He can be contacted at roger_lenk@yahoo.co.uk


Hate Wedding and Demons Unleashed

"Jewish terror" is fast becoming an agent of social inflammation threatening to widen the gaps in Israel. 

The killing of three members of the Dawabsha family from the Palestinian village of Duma last July should be marked as the point in time when the Israeli government authorized the Israel Security Agency (Shabak) to treat Jewish suspects of murder as full blown terrorists. This meant that suspension of legal aid and torture, reserved until now for Palestinian terrorists, could be used to extract information from Jews who until that point were considered criminals.

Rumors of torture that began to trickle down a few weeks ago were at first only a matter of concern for the suspects' lawyers. It wasn't long, however, before a growing number of people began protesting against what they perceived as inconceivable. Mobs carrying signs reading "a Jew does not torture a Jew" blocked roads and demonstrated opposite Shabak facilities.

On the fast day of Tevet 10 (Dec. 22), prominent rabbi Daniel Stavsky, who is a member of the "Nascent Sanhedrin" – an attempt to revive this ancient institution – charged the Shabak with nothing less than staging the Duma murder. 

"The Jewish Department of Shabak," he stated, "is operating like a fascist organization implementing the policy of the European Union, the UN, the State Department and the rest of the new world order organizations together with their yea-sayers and agents within the Israeli political system."

The inciting words of Stavsky didn't go unnoticed. In an attempt to stop this murky tide, the Shabak released a wedding video in which Jewish settlers are dancing while waving knives and rifles. The particular scene that horrified the Israeli public was the stabbing of a photo of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha, who died in the aforementioned suspected arson attack. 

It was no coincidence that the rabbi marrying the couple in this wedding video was none other than Stavsky.

This video, aired first by Channel 10 last Thursday, has caused right-wing politicians and rabbis to denounce this culture of hate in no uncertain terms. 

Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau has said what the majority of Israeli rabbis think that "this horrific identification with murder must be condemned in every way. Such behavior is not Jewish." Head of Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett has said that "terror is terror and must be dealt with decisively."

These denouncements, however, don't seem to bring back into cage the demons unleashed by "Jewish terror." 

Like so many other issues, this is being used to further inflame the already strained relationship between left and right. Following the "wedding of hate," left-wing extremists now do their best to stigmatize the entire national religious camp and the political right. 

Mossi Raz of ultra-left Meretz party is as inciting as Stavsky when he says on his Facebook page that "the government of Israel arms these (settlers) people" and "allows them to build illegal settlements." Former MK Avraham Burg, whose dream is to live in a non-Jewish democratic Israel, is now calling openly for "non-violent" undemocratic revolt that will put an end to the rule of the political right. 

One can only pray that Israel's leaders find the way to put a lid on this Pandora's box before the demons consume us all.

PHOTO: Israelis demonstrate with signs reading "A Jew doesn't torture a Jew" and "Jews love Jews." (Flash90)


Orthodox Rabbis Bring Jesus Home for Christmas

More than 25 prominent rabbis from Israel and abroad recently issued a statement calling for a renewed look at Jesus, Christians and the New Testament faith. Quoting from their own sages, these outstanding  Orthodox rabbis are not ashamed to exalt the name of Jesus, welcoming the carpenter from Nazareth back into the Jewish fold.

“Jesus brought a double goodness to the world,” declare the group of well-known rabbis.  “On the one hand he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically…  and not one of our Sages spoke out more emphatically concerning the immutability of the Torah,” and on the other hand “he removed idols from the nations.” 

Saying that Jesus, even more that any other Jewish Sage, honored, strengthened and protected the “immutability of the Torah,” is an extraordinary acknowledgement. These leading rabbis are turning the tides of history by removing one of the main stumbling blocks in the path of a major Jewish reclamation of Jesus!

You will recall, that religious Jews rejected Jesus from the beginning, with the accusation that he did not obey the Torah, therefore he could not be the awaited Messiah. In the New Testament, we find the Pharisees arguing with Jesus over Sabbath rules, dietary laws, ritual cleanliness, marriage regulations and more. They insisted that Jesus cannot be the Messiah because “he is teaching everywhere not to obey Moses.” (Acts 6:14) 

What we are now witnessing is the undoing of 2,000 years of Jewish rejection and animosity towards Jesus, a miracle by any estimation. For the out-and-out refusal by Jews to accept Jesus is slowly, but surely, coming to an end, as growing numbers of prestigious Orthodox rabbis welcome Jesus back.

And there is more. “After nearly two millennia of mutual hostility and alienation, we Orthodox Rabbis who lead communities, institutions and seminaries in Israel, the United States and Europe… seek to do the will of our Father in Heaven by accepting the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters,” the statement reads.

Two thousand years of Christian Anti-Semitism, Crusades, Inquisitions and a Holocaust can not keep the Star of Bethlehem from rising again in Israel. This call by these distinguished rabbis to embrace Christians as “brothers and sisters” is no less a miracle. For Jews to accept Christians with such endearment, after so much misunderstanding and anti-Semitic ugliness, can only be understood as a divine work of heavenly grace, the likes of which I find unfathomable.

For as this group of Orthodox rabbis points out, it is their “Father in Heaven” who is calling the Jewish people to lay down the past, put aside the enmity, and willingly embrace Christians and their faith in Jesus. That, my friends, is the deeper work of the Holy Spirit as spoken about throughout Scripture. 

As Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, Academic Director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation points out, “This proclamation’s breakthrough is that influential Orthodox rabbis across all centers of Jewish life have finally acknowledged that…  Christianity and Judaism have much in common spiritually and practically. Given our toxic history, this is unprecedented in Orthodoxy.”

In their statement, the rabbis want to find a way to acknowledge the differences between Christian and Jewish beliefs, without taking, or giving, offense. “As did Maimonides and Yehudah Halevi, we acknowledge that Christianity is neither an accident nor an error, but the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations. In separating Judaism and Christianity, G-d willed a separation between partners with significant theological differences, not a separation between enemies,” the statement concludes.

These so-called “significant theological differences” between Christianity and Judaism are really about Jesus. He is the stumbling block. Jesus may be Messiah, Son of the Living God for the Gentiles, but my Jewish people are still not quite sure just who he is for them. So while these rabbis are making major and unprecedented strides in bringing my people closer to Jesus, they are still far from the truth. For if Jesus is the Messiah for the Gentiles, how much more must he be for the Jews?

Perhaps Jesus will not quite be at home this Christmas in Israel, or Jewish homes around the world, but he is certainly knocking on the door.

CLICK HERE to read the statement and see the list of rabbis involved.

PHOTO: Illustration only.


Arabic-Speaking Christian IDF Soldiers Celebrate Christmas

Amid increasing discrimination – and even violence – against Christian minorities across the Middle East, a small program in Israel is dramatically increasing the number of Arabic-speaking Israeli Christians who join the Israeli military, with the aim of integrating this minority population into mainstream Israeli society.

The Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, led by Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, is multiplying the number of Christians enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from just 40 in 2012 to more than 100 in 2014. In March of 2015 alone, 102 Christian Arabs were inducted into the army, through the Forum.

Minorities in the Jewish State are not drafted into the IDF, although the Arab Druze minority has remained an exception and Druze have faithfully served since Israel’s creation in 1948. Father Naddaf hopes some of Israel’s 165,000 Arab Christians, whom he prefers to call “Israeli Christians,” will follow, identifying and being perceived as patriotic Israelis rather than enemies of the state.

“Calling them ‘Arab-Christian’ puts them on the side of Palestinians and terrorists, when, in reality, they’ve lived in Israel for generations and just want to live in peace and security,” said Naddaf.

The Forum, which also provides financial aid to needy Christian families and discharged soldiers, does not receive government support, but last week Father Naddaf was recognized by Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon.

“I believe Israel’s Christian community should integrate more into mainstream Israeli society,” said Naddaf. “Why do the Druze serve? Why do the Bedouin serve? But not the Christians? It’s because they’re scared. This has to change. It’s time to say in a loud and clear voice: enough.”

On Monday, Father Naddaf gathered some of these Israeli Christian soldiers for a Christmas party, delivering treats and thanking them for their service to Israel.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Father Naddaf, the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum and its parent organization, the Christian Empowerment Council.


In Which Advent Are We Living?

We should not “sugarcoat” the end times. This will be a time of God’s judgments and believers will not be immune.

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


COMMENTARY: Do Christians Only Have Half the Story?

If someone started watching the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, in the middle of the film, would they ever figure out the point of the story? Or appreciate the challenges Jimmy Stewart had to overcome? I doubt it. They would learn how the story ended, but remain largely ignorant of what was truly accomplished. 

Well, that is what happens when Christians focus exclusively on the New Testament, believing the Old Testament is a completely different story unrelated to following Christ. As a result, we fail to see that the story of the “church,” God’s ecclesia, didn’t start in Matthew 1–but in Genesis 12. Or that the unifying theme of the Bible is found in the fulfillment of a promise made to an old man with a barren wife who believed God “he would be heir of the world” (Rom. 4:14).  

 Is it any wonder so many Christians say today, “I just don’t get Israel?”

Not only are many Christians unaware of the unfolding story of Israel, but we have failed to see how we ourselves are included. So few realize their faith in Yeshua has actually brought them into those covenant promises made exclusively to Abraham. And not into a new religion with different promises. “For if you belong to Messiah, you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).

I have often said, for most Christians Jesus could have been born and died in Toledo, Ohio and it wouldn’t affect their understanding of the gospel one iota. We have been so focused on the theological benefits of our blood-bought salvation we’ve missed the importance of Yeshua’s historical context as a Jew in the land of Israel. We have not studied the still unfulfilled prophecies concerning his kingdom. Or seen that the NT is but the continuing story of Israel’s elect moving forward from the types and shadows of the Old Covenant into the blessings and realities of a New Covenant. 

On the other hand, Jews have the opposite problem. Having rejected the testimony of the NT they only read the first half of the Book and never learn how God is fulfilling the hopes and dreams of the fathers to save Israel through Yeshua, His Messiah. They never read the amazing words spoken by the angel Gabriel to the young Jewish girl, Miriam, that she would give birth to God’s savior. And that this child, who would miraculously form in her womb, “will be called the son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:32,33).

We could excuse the Jews who have been temporarily blinded by God from believing those words. But what about Christians who hear them read each year at Christmas, only to have them go in one ear and out the other? Why? Because Replacement Theology has rendered them incomprehensible. How can Jesus, who they see as the founder of their religion, occupy “the throne of his father David” in Jerusalem and “reign over the house of Jacob?” 

My heart breaks when I hear Christians talk about the Church and Israel as being two separate peoples with no common destiny. Does God have two Messiahs? One for the Church and one for the Jews? Does God have two olive trees? Two temples? Hasn’t God promised to show Jews the same mercy He showed us? And to do so precisely “because of the mercy shown to you?” (Rom. 11:30)  

Today, Christians and Jews are reaching out to each other in ways not seen since the first century.As believers we are commanded to put aside our historic animosities and prejudices and stand with them in their struggle for survival, looking forward to the day when we can  “…with one accord with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:6).

In other words, it’s time for us to step into the story.

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


A Christmas Tree for the Devil

Earlier this month, the annual Christmas tree was adorned once again in Bethlehem as Palestinians gathered under the starlit pine in Manger Square, a reminder of the peace and light that Jesus brought to the world.

What a wonderful time to celebrate the goodness and hope that we have in Jesus Christ, especially in that marvelous Little Town of Bethlehem, lying so still under the starry winter night. 

Let’s listen to the speaker, as he stands before the manger and addresses those gathered in honor of the birth of the Little Boy Jesus, circumcised the 8th day by his Israeli Jewish parents, asleep in the hay.

“From the land of Palestine, which has long been home to the coexistence of human beings, religions and cultures, and their children taught the values ​​of tolerance embodied by Jesus, the messenger of love, we bring the message that, in Palestine, people yearn to live in freedom and peace, and that the time has come to unite the world, to lift the historical injustice done to them, and it is time for the implementation of UN resolutions on Palestine, and end the Israeli occupation.

"As in every year, Palestine is celebrating the glorious festivals, while it is reeling from the injustice of the Israeli occupation, and experiencing a serious Israeli escalation, with the intent of murder and torture, and holding the bodies of the martyrs (sic terrorists). [Palestine] is facing the worst deportation schemes and forced displacement, turning towns and villages and towns into ghetto, and the destruction of their houses and confiscation of their land and violation of holy places. [Israel] prevents worshipers, Christians and Muslims alike, to have access to their churches, mosques, and the practice of worship and religious beliefs.

"As we light the holiday Christmas tree, we remind the world that the city of Bethlehem represents the story of the Palestinian (sic Jewish) people and their history and their struggle. Despite our wounds and general pain and suffering and tyranny we remain steadfast, and we are still vibrant with joy despite the walls and settlements which encircle us, and Israel is trying to stifle hope and to confiscate the necessities of life from us. We hope the valued guests here will be ambassadors of the truth, and to relay to their countries and their governments how much sorrow and injustice that they have seen, and how much resilience and hope the people of Palestine have...”

Wait just a minute! This is a celebration of the life of Jesus Christ? This is their way of bringing Glad Tidings proclaiming that Christ has come into the world? By spreading lies and stirring up more anger and hatred towards Israel and using a celebration of the most precious and pure light that will ever come into the world to spread deceitful rumors and call the Jewish people evil? 

And who is this messenger and Bearer of Sad Tidings? Why it is Rami Hamdallah, Palestinian Prime Minister, and known collaborator with PLO terrorists. His pronouncements confirming once again, for Palestinians, that they have no responsibilities and Israel is evil.

O, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see you lie.


Israeli Farmer Speaks Out on EU Product Labeling

"Europe’s idea is simple: they want us to relocate inside the pre-1967 borders," Jewish farmer told us. "They will not be able to uproot us."

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


Child Terrorism in the Name of Allah

The bereaved father of a teenage Palestinian terrorist and a local Arab journalist are among those speaking out against a sinister culture of murder in service to Allah.

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


Meet the Likud's First Openly Gay Member of Knesset

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, a veteran of the ruling Likud party, resigned from political life on Sunday amid a sexual misconduct scandal, opening the way for the right-wing faction’s first ever openly gay member of Knesset.

Amir Ohana, No. 32 on the Likud list, enthusiastically filled the empty Knesset seat, telling Channel 2 News he knew he’d have an opportunity to serve in the current government.

Ohana heads the Likud’s “Gay Forum,” and has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in Israel.

Paradoxically, in eyes of many, Ohana opposes a two-state solution with the Palestinians, and in a 2014 interview stated that “what is happening in Judea and Samaria is not an occupation but a liberation. …Judea and Samaria are more Israel than Tel Aviv and Herzliya.”

But Ohana rejects the apparent contradiction, insisting that it is entirely possible to be right-wing and homosexual.

The IDF reserve officer and former Shin Bet (Israeli FBI) agent said those who view the Right as being insensitive to the LGBT community have it all wrong.

The Right, explained Ohana, “just sees a more complex picture. It takes into account that before quality of life issues are addressed, it must neutralize possible threats to the lives of others.” Hence, the seemingly exaggerated focus on national security.

Ohana lives in Tel Aviv with his partner and their twin surrogate babies.


Israel Kills Arch-Terrorist Released in Prisoner Swap

Israeli and Arab media on Sunday confirmed that an Israeli air strike near Damascus on Saturday night had killed blood-soaked Lebanese arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar, whom Israel released in 2008 as part of a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah.

Israel reportedly tried to target Kuntar earlier this year, but failed to eliminate him.

Kuntar has been atop Israel’s most wanted list since his release.

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

Smadar Haran successfully hid from Kuntar and his death squad in their home, but accidentally smothered their other child, two-year-old daughter Yael, in an effort to silence her cries.

His inclusion in the 2008 prisoner swap sparked fierce protest, and the hero’s welcome Kuntar received upon returning to Lebanon only fueled Israeli anger. At the time, then-President Shimon Peres said Kuntar would neither be forgiven nor forgotten, and an unnamed defense official promised that justice would ultimately be served against the unrepentant terrorist.

Smadar Haran told Israeli media that government officials phoned her at 4 AM Sunday morning to let her know that “historic justice” had finally been served to the man who destroyed her family.

The strike was praised by Israeli government and military officials, though none would confirm Israel’s involvement. Kuntar’s elimination was also hailed by Syrian rebel forces, who directly thanked Israel.

“Thank you Israel,” wrote Syrian opposition figure Omar Alzoubi-Daraa on Twitter. “Terrorist Samir Kuntar and Other terrorist Huzbollah leaders have been killed by Israeli raids. What a beautiful job”.

Hezbollah, for which Kuntar worked the past several years, mourned his death and glorified him as a “martyr.”

One interesting aspect of the strike against Kuntar is that Hezbollah is allied with the Syrian regime which is allied with Russia. Due to the heavy Russian military presence in Syria, Israel must coordinate any air strikes with Moscow, meaning the Russians had to have green-lighted Kuntar’s elimination, despite his belonging to an allied force.


Investors Visa Arrangement in Israel

On the 11th of September 2014, Section 5a was added to the Regulations of Entry into Israel, 5734 - 1974 (hereinafter: the "Regulations of Entry"), which created new visa categories for foreign investors, and important workers regarding business initiatives. 

Below I will summarize the main points which appear in Section 5a to the Regulations of Entry, and which potential American investors, who are interested in investing in the promising, up and coming Israeli economy, should be aware of.  

This legislative amendment was enacted as a result of a similar arrangement which was enacted by the United Sates in 2012 and which allowed Israeli nationals to obtain an E-2 nonimmigrant investor's visa. Similarly, United States nationals will be eligible for a nonimmigrant status in Israel.

The countries which are subject to this arrangement (hereinafter: the "Arrangement Countries") are those listed in Appendix 2 to the Regulations of Entry. At the moment, the only country listed in Appendix 2 to the Regulations of Entry is the United States. However, the fact that there is an "Appendix 2" which includes the Arrangement Countries, indicates that other countries could theoretically be added to this list, as well (and it stands to reason that those countries would need to have a similar arrangement for Israeli investors). 

This arrangement includes a B/5 Visa, which is the visa given to the relevant investor, a B/51 Visa, which is the visa given to an important worker in a business initiative, a B/52 Visa, which is the visa given to the spouse of the investor or the important worker, and a B/53 Visa, which is the visa given to the children (under the age of 21) of the investor or the important worker.

An important worker is either a worker in a position of very high management, or a worker with very special and unique qualifications, who will receive a high salary. 

The holder of a B/52 Visa, i.e. the spouse of the investor or the important worker, will be entitled to work in Israel, as well.

All visas will be given after it is proven to the Advisory Committee that the applicants will leave the country after the timeframe which the Advisory Committee will decide upon.   

The business initiative which the investor must invest in is defined as "an entity or a business [business activity which is not operated through a registered entity, but which the advisory committee suggested to recognize it as a business initiative], which is established in Israel, and which the control and management thereof is operated in Israel, in order to advance business, industrial, commercial, or an entrepreneur, type of activity, in order to create a financial profit in Israel".

An investor is defined as a "citizen of an Arrangement Country [currently only the United States], or an entity which is more than 50% owned and controlled by citizens of an Arrangement Country, which has invested in order to operate and develop a business initiative in Israel."

In order to implement this amendment, the Minister of Interior will designate a special Advisory Committee. This Advisory Committee will be comprised of an Interior Ministry official, a Ministry of Finance official (recommended by the Minister of Finance), two officials from the Ministry of Economy (recommended by the Minister of Economy), and a Foreign Ministry official (recommended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), who would all serve as members of the Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Board will review and decide upon whether to grant an investor, or an important worker, a visa, and will give its recommendation to the Minister of Interior. Furthermore, any recommendation made by the Advisory Committee will need to be made with the consent of at least three Advisory Committee members. 

The preliminary conditions necessary for being eligible for the relevant visas in accordance to Section 5a of the Regulations of Entry are: (a) that prior to the submission of the application the investor has actively recruited a significant capital, which should be sufficient for the success of the business initiative, and which was already designated towards the business initiative (with all the risks involved), and which can testify to the investor's unequivocal commitment to the business initiative; (b) the investor is the owner of, and has the ability to legally control, the investment capital, which came from a legal source; (c) the business initiative has the potential to create financial growth for the economy and for the job market, and which contributes to the economic financial national interests of the State of Israel; (d) the business initiative is active, and it is not a marginal insignificant initiative, which would be defined as an initiative which is expected to cover only the livelihood of the investor and his family, except for an initiative that has a real tangible possibility to become a significant contribution to the Israeli economy within a reasonable timeframe.

Finally, even though Section 5a to the Regulations of Entry does include an exhaustive overview of the arrangement, and guidelines for its implementation, naturally, a clearer policy will still need to be enacted, and application forms will need to be created. However, since this arrangement has already been stipulated in the Regulations of Entry, any American investor, who may be interested in investing a significant capital in the promising Israeli market, and who would like to obtain a visa to live in Israel, can already begin to take tangible steps towards this goal.

The above-mentioned information naturally does not replace particular legal consultation with a licensed Israeli attorney, and therefore for any further questions in regard please feel free to contact advocate Michael Decker directly: mdecker@yrlegal.co.il. 

Advocate Michael Decker is an Israeli, lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 3 children, is a partner at the Yehuda Raveh & Co. Law Offices, and serves as Chief Legal Advisor to the internal justice project, and the international combatting anti-Semitism project, of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.


Is the New Testament Really 'New'?

Sadly, it is being preached in many churches and Messianic congregations that believers no longer have to do anything because Jesus did everything for us.

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


Terrorist First, Victim Later

Yesterday's lead headline in the daily Israel Hayom announced a dramatic change by the Israel Medical Association's Ethics Board regarding "triage" – the sorting and treating battle casualties according to urgency. 

The 2013 Israel Medical Association (IMA) ethical code regarding multi-casualty terror attack says that in such events the notion of "charity begins at home" is to be applied. This principle demands treatment of wounded victims first, and wounded terrorists later. 

This Jewish ethical principle contradicts the international concept of sorting patients according to urgency alone. Triage, blind to the identity of the wounded, leads to the possibility of treating a perpetrator first and his victim later. But that is precisely what the IMA has agreed to in its latest decision.

Like other international treaties regarding the ethics of armed conflict, the expectation to treat the wounded regardless of identity proves again the inadequacy of ethics established in the context of WWI and WWII.  

Quoted in Israel Hayom, Asa Kasher, known particularly as the author of the IDF ethical code, criticized the IMA Ethics Board for this dramatic change of policy. Kasher asserts that purely medical needs are never the only consideration. "Suppose there are two wounded," he says, "one slightly worse than the other, the latter being the terrorist. Would you treat him first and the victim second? This is unthinkable … suppose in such a case the victim dies because the physician didn't have time to treat him – we will tell the family that we are sorry, we didn't have a choice but to treat the terrorist? This is absurd."

Yisrael Beiteinu party chief Avigdor Lieberman called from his Facebook page for the resignation of the Ethics Board committee in lieu of their "shameful decision." Rabbi Yuval Sharlo, who is a member of the Ministry of Health's Ethics Committee, said that "in every case treatment should be given first to the attacked in the vicinity and only afterward to the attacker."

The IMA Ethics Board, which in the past has worked closely with the Israeli chapter of Physicians for Human Rights and the International Red Cross, is now adopting the position of these two radical left-wing organizations whose political agenda stands behind their demand to impose pedantic medical ethics on Israel. 

This new demand, which inevitably will be ignored in many cases, is another tool in the ongoing campaign against Israel.



What did the Apostle Paul mean when he said, “salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious?” Is it true that one of the reasons Gentiles are saved is to make Jews jealous? Really? 

If this is true, and I believe it is, then the Church has yet to fulfill this mission in any real way. In fact, we, the Gentile believers in Jesus, have done more to provoke the Jews to anger than to envy. Maybe you and I didn’t do it directly, but throughout Church history Gentile “Christians” have been responsible for some of the most horrific acts against the Jewish people i.e. The Spanish Inquisitions, the Crusades, the Pogroms in Europe, and eventually the Holocaust. 

If this is true, then how did we get so far off the mark? I believe the single greatest reason is the emergence of Replacement Theology that has rooted itself deep within the Church for the last 2,000 years. Simply stated, Replacement Theology teaches that there are no future promises left to the Jewish people, no land to call their own, and no future national regeneration. This theology teaches that the Church has in fact replaced Israel as the people of God.

Let’s just follow the logic of such a doctrine. If God has replaced Israel with the Church, then He has in fact turned his back on them. If God no longer has a special heart for the people He once called “the apple of his eye” then why should we? If God doesn’t love them, then why should his followers?

This is the logic of what I believe to be the most dangerous theology in the history of the Church. If God can turn His back on Israel, whom he made certain eternal and unconditional promises to, then who’s to say he won’t turn his back on you and I?  

A straightforward reading of scripture ensures us that He indeed has not turned his back on the Jewish people. In Jeremiah 31:35-36 He says emphatically that the only way He will ever turn His back on Israel is if the sun, moon and the stars--light sources that He Himself decreed--cease to give their light. In other words, He will never turn His back on the Jewish people.

Yes, God has a wonderful plan for the Jewish people! One of complete restoration, and we, the Gentile followers of Jesus, play an intricate role. Since Israel as a nation (not including the believing remnant) rejected the Messiahship of Jesus, He in turn offered salvation to the Gentiles. One of the reasons for this was to make the Jews jealous (Rom.11:11-15). 

I believe God’s idea was for the Gentiles to have such a special relationship with the Jewish people that we actually arouse them to jealousy because of our possession of their Messiah. We are to be an example of God’s love to them, we are to respect them, and have gratitude towards them. In this way they would become so jealous of us that they in turn come to faith in Jesus as their Messiah.

Could you imagine how different the history of the Jews and the Church might have been if the body of Christ put this teaching into practice?Church Fathers Origen, Justin Martyr and Augustine would have taught Christians to have love toward the Jews, rather than hate. John Chrysostom would never have written his “Eight Homilies Against the Jews.”There would be no such events as the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisitions. Martin Luther would have never written his book _On the Jews and Their Lies _and, in turn, Hitler and his Nazi regime might not have had the support from the German people to succeed in murdering six million Jews. 

This generation of Christians can change the course the Church has taken. We need to start with making the Jews in our life jealous of our relationship with the God of Israel through Jesus. This jealousy needs to start and end with love for the Jewish people, and an attitude of gratitude towards them. 

I challenge you to ask God how He might accomplish His mission to the Jewish people through you. If you don’t have any Jewish friends then start by praying that God would bring some into your life. Let’s change the course of Church history and fulfill our mission to the Jewish people.


PROPHECY: The Dead Sea is Swarming with Fish

"It is exactly as the prophet Isaiah prophesied!” exclaims an Israeli researcher. "The desert and the thirsty land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom!"

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


Foreign Journalist Gets Real About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

“The Palestinians feel the rising threat of ISIS and understand that despite the [negative feelings toward] the Israeli occupation they are more secure under Israeli rule than anywhere else in the region.”

That was one of the conclusions drawn in the new book “Jihad” by Italian journalist Mourizio Molinari, who for the past 15 years served as a Middle East correspondent. Most recently, Molinari was offered the prestigious position of editor-in-chief for one of the largest circulation Italian newspapers, La Stampa.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Molinari explained how Western understanding of the situation in Israel had become increasingly distorted.

For example, “in the Arab village of Duma, following the tragedy of the Dawabshe family, cries for revenge [against the Israelis] were widely published. But villagers told me that while the Jews were indeed their enemies, they had only killed on average three Palestinians a day, while 100 a day were dying in Syria,” Molinari recounted.

Molinari further noted that in the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah, local Palestinian entrepreneurs are eager to find Israeli partners.

Similarly, “Palestinians in Ramallah are trying to get their family members living in Jordan to come to Israel, because they understand that only Israel can guarantee their safety,” said the Italian.

For years, Molinari worked twice a week in Ramallah, and recalled some of the many conversations he had with Palestinians over a meal. “I’ve listened as Palestinians sitting next to me at the table called their grandparents or other relatives in Amman, urging them to come to Ramallah.”

But Molinari spent most of his time in Jerusalem, and described life in Israel as both fascinating and challenging. “The average Israeli you meet on the street is very intelligent,” he said. “And you can sit on a bus alone and speak to a grandma and hear the most exciting life story.”

According to Molinari, a majority of Palestinians would be willing to lay down their arms and live in peace with Israel, “but, just as in Israel, they don’t currently see a way forward toward that goal.”

He believes the threat posed by ISIS is an opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians. “ISIS is a threat to both peoples,” he pointed out. “Before it struck Israel and the Jews, ISIS would first annihilate the Palestinians.”


Uncovering Proof of the Bible

Such finds authenticate the history of the nation of Israel as described in the Bible and undermine those who seek to rewrite history.

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


Courageous Israeli Arabs Honor Slain American Christian

Three courageous and outspoken Israeli Arab young men were on hand this week to help honor Kristine Luken, an American Christian tourist who was brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 2010.

Luken had been visiting her Israeli friend, Kay Wilson, and the two were hiking south of Jerusalem when they were set upon by the knife-wielding terrorists.

Wilson, who miraculously survived the attack despite being stabbed 17 times, has recounted the harrowing ordeal on numerous occasions.

Every year, Wilson has paid tender tribute to her slain friend, but this year was extra special for the reason she describes in the Facebook post below.

5 years ago I set out for a walk with my American friend and tourist Kristine Luken on the Israel National Trail. An…

Posted by Kay Wilson on Monday, December 14, 2015


Baby Among 11 Hurt in Jerusalem Ramming Attack

A Palestinian Arab terrorist on Monday rammed his car into a crowd of people standing at a bus stop near the entrance to Jerusalem, wounding 11, including an 18-month-old child.

The attack occurred near the “chords” bridge adjacent to Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station around mid-afternoon.

Nine of the victims were said to have suffered light injuries, while two, including the baby, were moderately wounded.

Two bystanders, a soldier and an armed civilian, witnessed the attack and quickly shot the terrorist dead before he could exit the vehicle and continue his attack.

Police found an axe in the vehicle, indicating that the assailant, a 21-year-old man from the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina, did indeed intend to hack and stab additional victims following the ramming.


Jesus is Making Headlines in Israel

The second largest internet portal in Israel is putting Hebrew-language testimonies about Jesus on their front page, and 95% of Israelis are hooked into the internet everyday, all day.

Walla!, the mainstream Israeli media giant, is producing a series of up to 24 live interviews with Messianic Jews about Jesus. In the interviews, a well-known Israeli actress asks Israeli believers questions about faith in Jesus.

Some of the topics being discussed are:

  • Who are these Messianics Jews;
  • What is the difference between Messianic Judaism and Christianity;
  • Talmudic fables intended to dismiss Jesus;
  • Why is the Hebrew New Testament not available in Israeli book stores;
  • Isaiah 53

Management at Walla! had noticed popular video clips about Jesus produced by the Israel College of the Bible (ICB) on social media. In an unprecedented and exceptional move for a mainstream Israeli media company, Walla! asked the team at ICB if they could produce their own series about Jesus for the Israeli public.

Walla! has already begun placing the clips about faith in Jesus on the front page of their site, and they are uploading new clips during the busiest hours of their Internet traffic. Already on the first day of exposure, the numbers of visitors and comments are enormous.

Of the multitude of subjects argued and debated in Israel, Jesus is by far the most controversial. Walla!, the second largest Internet news company in Israel, has taken a bold and risky step by promoting interest in Jesus, and in Messianic Jews, to their massive audience. There are likely to be repercussions and resistance to such a major promotion about Jesus, but the management of Walla! seems to think that Israelis are ready to listen.

Eitan Bar, one of the Messianic Jews being interviewed for the series, says that Messianics in Israel can expect strong reactions as well. “Please pray for us and for all of the Messianic Jews in Israel. We know that there will be unyielding opposition.”

Bar and the team at ICB are also asking for prayer that this massive exposure to Jesus would bring the Gospel closer to Israeli hearts and minds. They are garnering support from Messianic believers across Israel to get active in the discussions with the thousands of comments and interactions about Jesus with Israelis on the website.

Bar also suggests some practical ways Christians around the world can help.

“Use your blogs and websites to link to the Messianic websites being promoted by Walla!. This really helps as it increases exposure to these sites and raises the sites rating on Google’s search engine. When Israelis search for keywords in Hebrew like 'Yeshua the Messiah', 'New Testament', 'Jesus of Nazareth' or 'Messianic Jews' they will be pointed to the Hebrew websites where they will be able to learn more about who Jesus really is, rather than to the many anti-Messiah, deceitful websites, some even denying that Jesus ever existed!"

Here is a link to the first Walla interviews about Yeshua. Click here to see the first interview (in Hebrew).

The two Messianic websites (Hebrew) being promoted by the series are: www.igod.co.il www.messiah.co.il


The Mission to Israel, Part 3

As the Messianic movement grows so does the opposition, including attempts by the government to pass laws hindering its activities.

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


The Light of Israel Will Not Go Out!

Fond memories of my time in Jerusalem during the Hanukkah festival two years ago have come flooding back this week. I remember well the colourful light displays amidst a carnival atmosphere as the nine-branched menorah was lit at restaurants, malls and other meeting places around the city, though I suspect there is a mood of caution and anxiety this year in view of the spate of terror attacks on individual Jews innocently going about their daily routine.

The festival of course marks God’s intervention during the reign of the ruthless Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus Epiphanes who desecrated the Jewish Temple by sacrificing a pig there and blasphemously proclaimed himself God. Judah Maccabee led a brave and successful revolt against the tyrant in 139 BC and re-established temple worship (Hanukkah means ‘dedication’) with the aid of the menorah which burned miraculously for eight days despite having only enough oil for a day. The Greeks had polluted the rest.

In an apparent reference to the festival (not a biblical feast as such), Jesus said: “I am the light of the world.” (John 8.12) And in that respect at least, the eight-day festival’s proximity to Christmas is entirely apt.

So how much has changed over the past two thousand-plus years? Not a lot, except that Israel has survived repeated attempts at genocide. But they will _not _be wiped out, as Iran and the various Islamist terror groups have pledged to do. Indeed, the spirit of Antiochus lives on as enemies from the same region are still bent on Israel’s destruction. Politicians need to understand that it isn’t just about ISIS and their evil plans; they are part of a network of terror groups all with the same aim – to wipe out Israel. The Hamas charter states that Israel will only exist “until Islam abolishes it” and that “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”

The current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has yet to condemn a single one of the many murders of Israelis during the recent months of terror on the streets of Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Jewish state. He tells the international community he is against terror while describing the multiple stabbings and shootings as a “peaceful uprising”. So when Arab Palestinians kill Israeli parents in front of their children, it is not to be condemned as terror because it is an expression of “peace”. What sort of crazy, upside-down world are we living in? And Abbas has openly admitted calling for this violence that he describes as peaceful. Should he not be arrested for incitement to murder?

The response to all this from the wider world is equally topsy-turvy. Britain has sanctioned air strikes against ISIS in Syria, but has repeatedly condemned Israel for taking forceful military action against terror groups out to destroy them. Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn was against such action (in Syria) and, for once, I agree with him as it will only further stir up a hornet’s nest.

The ultimate hypocrisy comes from the United Nations, originally set up to ensure lasting world peace but effectively making things worse with a never-ending series of condemnatory resolutions against Israel while ignoring the many dictatorial regimes where human rights hardly exist, much less democracy. Following the terror outrage in Mali, the UN offered its “full support”, but in the case of Israel has offered none. This international body is a sick joke.

But have no fear! The Bible makes it clear that the God of Israel will ultimately triumph over his foes. While preparing for my first book on this subject, Israel the Chosen, I was very nearly wiped out too, but God miraculously delivered me! I was still working as a sports editor by day, and under quite some stress at the time, so I spent my lunch-break at the imposing Selby Abbey (nearly a thousand years old) where I prayed and then wandered up the aisle to read the pulpit Bible, which was opened at the Book of Revelation chapter 12 – a passage about ‘the woman and the dragon’. It’s a picture of how the devil tried to kill the baby Jesus, but the infant was snatched from his grasp. It also proved to be a prophecy of what the rest of the day had in store for me as I had a serious car crash on the way home, with the entire driver’s side front wing of the car ripped off. But I escaped without a scratch. The dragon had set a trap for my doom, but the Lord was watching over me. I was working on a book dedicated to the spiritual re-birth of Israel, and the devil was determined to stop me in my tracks.

In the same way, Israel is hemmed in on all sides and under severe pressure, with terror threats on a daily basis, but Elohim has the last word. For there will come a day when he “will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem”. (Zechariah 12.9)

But as always with the Lord, justice is mixed with mercy – as Naaman discovered at another time in Israel’s history. He was commander of the King of Syria’s army – “a mighty man of valour”, but also a leper. A young Jewish girl, who had been taken captive on one of the Syrian raids, took pity on her master, saying that the man of God (Elisha) could heal him of his leprosy. He took up her suggestion and, after he had obeyed Elisha’s instruction to wash himself in the Jordan seven times, “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (2 Kings 5.14), at which point he declared: “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”

We too should desire the same mercy for our enemies as God showed to Naaman. And even though modern Israel has not yet fully returned to the Lord as a nation, many are displaying the compassionate attributes of our God – like the Israeli doctors on the Golan Heights who treat wounded Syrian soldiers and those who carry out life-saving surgery on Arab children with heart defects.

So we must pray that both mercy and justice will prevail, and that the mass of humanity that is so utterly confused and perturbed by a world full of violence will call out on Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and declare as Naaman did: “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5.15)

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


Teenage Girl Assaulted by Arabs After Identifying as Jewish

A 15-year-old girl was brutally assaulted on Saturday evening simply because she dared to identify herself as being Jewish.

Those who read only the opening line above would be excused for believing this incident occurred in Europe. But the sad reality is that it happened in the Jewish state, in the northern city of Haifa.

The girl was reportedly walking not far from where she lives when two Arab girls believed to be around 18 years of age demanded to know if she was Jewish. When the girl answered in the affirmative, the two Arabs hurled glass bottles at her and beat her around the head, all while shouting curses at the Jews in general.

The teenage victim suffered a broken nose, numerous lacerations and bruises.

Commenters on an Israeli news forum noted that had the roles been reversed, had two Jews assaulted a teenage Arab girl, the incident would have made headline news around the globe.

The attack serves as yet another example that when the mainstream media does report on Jewish violence targeting Arabs, it is telling only half the story. The type violence periodicially highlighted by the media is suffered by Israeli Jews on an almost daily basis.


Hate Islam but Love the Muslims

"We can love the Muslims and share the Gospel without compromising our own faith by making room for Islamic teachings and ideology."

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


Priest to EU: You Boycott Israel as Christian Blood Spills

The speaker was Gabriel Naddaf (center of photo), a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and spiritual leader of the Nazareth-based movement encouraging young Arabic-speaking Christians to join the Israel Defense Forces. 

Naddaf was standing before the European Parliament for an emergency session on the recent limitations being imposed on Israeli produce in European markets.

In his speech, Father Naddaf said that the decision to exclusively mark Israeli products in Europe is racist and anti-Semitic, whether this is being done openly or quietly on the side. “This is anti-Semitism at it’s worse,” Naddaf exclaimed, noting that singling out products made in Israel will hurt all the citizens of Israel, Arab and Jew alike. But most of all it will damage the Palestinians, as tens of thousands of Palestinian families earn their living from the very factories being boycotted by the Europeans. 

“Singling out Israeli products betrays the very core of Europe’s Christian heritage, and is yet another sign of the weakening Christian values in Europe,” Naddaf told the parliamentarians.

The priest added: 

“While Europe is busy specially marking Israeli products, the lands throughout the Middle East and Africa are being drenched daily with the blood of Christians. In the Middle East there is only one country, just one where Christians can live in security, where they can prosper, and where there have freedom of religious expression. Here Christians are able to practice their religious traditions, can be elected to parliament and where they have full democratic rights. It is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing and prospers. 

"This is the Jewish nation, the nation of Israel – and we, the Christians, must protect her, and protect the freedoms we Christians have here in Israel. We Christians should be protecting this holy land, which is the source of the Christian faith.”

In closing, Naddaf stated that he will continue to fight against any and all attempts to harm or weaken Israel in any way. He promised to also continue the fight against any attempt by anyone to damage the Israeli economy, or to sour relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel.

Father Naddaf supports the full integration of Arabic-speaking Christians in all of Israel’s institutions, including the army and national service. As a result of that, he has received threats by other Israeli Arabs, even politicians. His oldest son, Jubran, was physically attacked on December 2013 for the activities of his father. On the other hand, Naddaf has received the support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Ministry of Defense, members of the Knesset and other Israeli officials.


COMMENTARY: Is Jesus the Thief in the Night?

I remember years ago watching the popular 1970’s rapture movie, “Thief in the Night,” with my two oldest children. A week later they came home early from school and their mother and I were not there. They told us later how frightened they became thinking we’d been raptured and left them behind.

That’s when I realized something wasn’t kosher about a teaching that could create such fear in children. Especially when you add in all the chaos that would ensue when pilots and bus drivers suddenly disappear.

As most know, this Rapture teaching was popularized by John Nelson Darby in the early eighteen hundreds. To his credit he departed from Replacement Theology after seeing the prophets had promised a future restoration of Israel. But he stumbled in believing the Church and Israel would remain two separate people of God with different inheritances. He believed Christians would go to Heaven and the Jews would inherit the Promised Land.

To fulfill his understanding he taught Jesus would come secretly like a “thief in the night” to snatch away all Christians before the Tribulation, no matter how worldly, and bring us to Heaven. The Jews, after being brought to repentance as a result of the Tribulation, would set up their Davidic kingdom in Israel to rule the world for the Millennium. 

But Darby’s theology was fundamentally flawed because it divided the body of Messiah in half based on ethnicity. For we know “there is neither Jew nor Greek…for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua” (Gal 3:28). He did not see God had only one kingdom, one people, and that all who were chosen in Messiah will reign with him here on earth! 

As for Yeshua coming suddenly upon us as a thief at night, that is the last thing a believer would want to experience. Paul’s warning couldn’t be clearer: “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night… but you brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief...so then, LET US NOT SLEEP AS THE OTHERS DO, but let us be alert and sober” (1Thess. 5:2-4,6). 

It is the inattentive, unprepared believer deceived by a world system with its strong religious component, along with the unbelievers, who will be caught napping. Yeshua likened that believer to the head of the house, who, if he had stayed awake, “would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matt: 24:42-44). The same warning was given to the dozing saints at Sardis: “If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Rev. 3:3-5). 

The one thing we know for sure about the Lord’s coming is we won’t know for sure when he is coming. Even he didn’t know when he’d be back!Pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib? Who knows? Only the Father. That’s why we are “to be dressed in readiness and keeps our lamps lit” (Luke 12:35) – listening daily to His voice, and walking in love, faith and obedience. 

Although we won’t know the day or hour, multiple signs will alert us “that he is near, even right at the door” (Matt 24:33).  Yes, the worldly ones will be taken by surprise “as in the days of Noah,” but Noah and his family were literally on board with it all before God shut the door. In the same way, Peter tells us to expect a salvation “ready to be revealed in the last time… and to fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:5,13).

Darby was right that the Lord will come for his own before he returns to visit fiery judgment upon the nations and sets up his kingdom. But this salvation will not beam us up to Heaven. Nor will it be for carnal Christians. Nor will it be in secret.  It will be for those who are ready, and will take place in front of the whole world as a witness to the truth about Yeshua. “The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God” (Isa. 52:10). 

I believe it will be seen as nothing less than the long-awaited restoration of Ephraim with Judah in Messiah. “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand, the remnant of His people who will remain” (Isa. 11:11) 

But nobody is going anywhere until “the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed” (2 Thess. 2:4). 

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


Why Proportionality is a Bad Idea

Never a dull moment with Sweden. Last Friday Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom criticized Israel for "extrajudicial executions" and "disproportionate" response toward Palestinian stabbers and car-rammers. Following Prime Minister Netanyahu's phone call, to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and his harsh words in the Israeli Cabinet said on Sunday, Ynet is quoting Löfven who, in an attempt to improve the murky relations between the two states, has said that knifing Israelis does not meet the definition of terror. "According to what I know," he said, "knifing is not defined as terror." This explains why Wallstrom will not condemn current Palestinian terrorism. At least as far as Sweden is concerned, killing Jews with a knife or a car is just fine.

No less troubling, however, is Sweden's notion of proportionality. According to Wallstrom, her controversial comments were not leveled specifically against Israel. Rather, she insisted, "she had spoken in general terms." Her comments on disproportionality then, must mean that this is how she thinks armed conflicts should be carried out. Disproportionality, illegal according to her, occurs when "the number of people killed on [one] side exceeds the original number of deaths [of the other side] many times over.”

Whatever the "original number" means, translating her idea of proportionality to the Israeli context, she suggests is essentially a literal interpretation of eye for eye and tooth for tooth. If, for example, 10 Israelis are killed by Palestinians, Israel's proportional response should be such that about the same number of Palestinians should be killed. The fact that so far she can count 102 dead terrorists and only 19 dead Israelis deeply disturbs her sensitive conscience. Following her logic therefore, what Israel should do now is to order her soldiers to stop killing terrorists until Sweden will have proof of 83 more dead Israelis. No wonder Netanyahu scoffed this idea of Israelis offering their heads on a platter to satisfy Sweden's sick sense of morality.

What is so disturbing is the fact that Wallstrom represents countless people who actually believe that proportionality is a good idea. Unfortunately they fail to realize that by implementing this idea, the way Sweden wants, they guarantee nothing but perpetual conflicts and endless bloodshed. Sweden's sense of morality promises nothing but more dead people. This is why during armed conflicts normal countries do whatever they can to annihilate the threat. This is why France is not only unconcerned with the number of dead ISIS, she surely is striving to kill as many ISIS as she can, even at cost of considerable collateral damage. America, Great Britain, Egypt and any other country fighting an enemy is doing the same, or they will guarantee nothing but prolonged conflicts that produce more dead people, more destruction destabilizing the region.

Why, in the face of the obvious, Swedish-like governments still insist on the implementation of what is so clearly an immoral principle is a question that should be directed to sociologists and psychologists.


Climate Change – a gigantic hoax

Having backed off from further comment on the tired old subject of Climate Change some time ago, perhaps in the hope that it would eventually blow away with the wind, I feel obliged to make a return foray now that the issue is back at the top of the media’s agenda.

Nearly 200 nations are represented at a leaders’ summit being held in Paris, where the real threat to our way of life showed its ugly teeth so recently through the massacre of 130 people by terrorists on a mission to enslave the world to Islam.

Yet there are those – including Christians – who have suggested that what used to be described as ‘global warming’ is the greatest threat of all, with politicians and others engaged in their own form of gospel crusade urging us to help ‘save the planet’.

Among these ‘evangelists’ is Britain’s former Opposition Leader and one-time Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband – an MP from my home town, Doncaster – who will shortly be presenting a call for action to a Christian congregation in his constituency.

Relief agencies Christian Aid and CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) are among many faith-based organizations who have bought this thoroughly secular idea lock, stock and empty barrel. The message is even being put out by an evangelical theatrical group touring the country with a play called Baked Alaska.

CAFOD says it is the world’s poorest who are being hardest hit by increasing droughts, floods and extreme weather which it blames squarely on ‘climate change’, which I guess you’ve noticed has largely replaced ‘global warming’ in common use following a series of unusually cold winters.

So the theory is now being generally accepted that somehow it is man, and his pollution, that is entirely responsible for this – assuming that the earth is heating up – and that catastrophe awaits unless we do something about reducing our carbon emissions.

Yes, scientists have put this theory forward, but there are equally eminent scientists who disagree with it – only they don’t get much media coverage.

At the heart of the campaign to convince us of the need for it being top priority is the humanistic idea that everything depends on us because, with this thinking, God did not create the world. And if we want to save the planet, we must do everything we can to spread the ‘gospel’ of climate change – and the need for humans to do what God is apparently incapable of doing. The fact that some Christians have also bought into the idea is seen to add weight to their arguments – until the microscope of biblical wisdom and common sense is applied.

Both Anglican and Catholic leaders have been particularly outspoken on climate change and Pope Francis even released an encyclical – the highest level of teaching a pontiff can issue – specifically on the environment earlier this year.

But surely, as Christians, we should rather be asking the question: what does the Bible say?

Well, God says that “the earth will wear out like a garment” (Isaiah 51.6) “but my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.” So what is more important: a green campaign or getting right with God?

I believe ‘climate change’ is not only a gigantic hoax, but a massive distraction from the real problems facing our world – like mass migration, worldwide terrorism, the precarious state of our financial system and even the potential for World War III breaking out in the Middle East.

A green campaign will only add to the stress of hardworking people faced with the prospect of paying yet more tax to fund efforts by government to reduce carbon emissions.

But there is a God upon whom we can depend and in whom we can trust for our lives and our future energy needs. We need to resurrect the refrain “He’s got the whole world in his hands”. The Book of Proverbs says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him; and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3.5f)

Trusting in God is not an abrogation of personal responsibility, but provides you with the ability to act with true wisdom. As the Bible also says (on several occasions), “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1.7)

This doesn’t mean the Bible has nothing to say about climate change. It does. But it is more a sign of the need for us to get our lives right – because the Judge of all mankind is coming – than it is for us to protest about the carbon-fuelled sins of others!

For it was when Jesus was asked about the signs that would indicate his imminent return that our Lord replied: “There will be earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

And he added: “…There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21.11 & 25-28)

When I wrote on this subject in similar vein six-and-a-half years ago, one reader commented: “There was so much more pollution than there is now when I did my nursing training in London 50 years ago. I went out in the fog one evening with a ladder in my stocking and, when I took it off, there was a black line down my leg where the soot had got through the ladder!”

Another wrote: “I wish global warming would hurry up. We are freezing in this part of the world. It’s the coldest winter we’ve had for a long time. The weather forecasters can’t always get it right a week ahead, so how can they be so sure of correct forecasts twenty years into the future?”

Clearly we should be looking to God at this time, and not to man’s inadequate solutions served up on a humanistic plate totally lacking in adequate spiritual nourishment.


Netanyahu slams Swedish Foreign Minister

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström once again put her foot in her mouth when criticizing Israel last Friday for extrajudicial executions of Palestinian terrorists. When asked by a Swedish parliamentarian why she refused to condemn "Palestinian acts of violence" against Israelis, she replied that the Israeli responses are "disproportionate" and amount to "extrajudicial executions."

In what seems like a new hard line policy of the Israeli Foreign Ministry toward European countries supporting discriminating acts against Israel, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Netanyahu called Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Sunday to express his concern for Wallström's remarks. "This is the second time [Wallström] referred to Israel making statements that are unacceptable to us and are not true,” he told Löfven. He also called Löfven's attention to the fact that Wallström did not make similar comments after terrorists were killed in Paris and San Bernardino.

Netanyahu was more explicit in addressing the Israeli Cabinet. "I denounce these outrageous comments by the Swedish Foreign Minister. Her statement," he continued, "is scandalous, surreal, impudent, and detached from reality. The Swedish Foreign Minister is suggesting that Israeli citizens should offer up their necks to murderers who would stab them with their knives."

The Foreign Ministry has added that Israeli citizens and security personnel have the right to defend themselves. "Israeli citizens are dealing with terrorism, which is inflamed by irresponsible and false statements like [those of Wallström]." The Swedish Foreign Minister has said outrageous things about Israel before. Last October she tweeted, “escalating violence in Jerusalem. Attacks against civilians unacceptable. Bring perpetrators to justice. Leaders must act responsibly.” Needless to say that the "civilians" and "perpetrators" were terrorists attempting to kill Israelis with knives and cars.

On November 13, after the Paris attack, she linked the Palestinian situation to Muslim terrorism and suggested that killing Israelis is an act of desperation. This was understood by many as legitimizing Muslim terror, not only in Israel but also on European soil.


Christians who deeply move Israelis

The speech of Pastor Victor Styrsky, given on Holocaust Remembrance Day last month, is now surfacing on Israeli social media and is touching the hearts of many.

Styrsky spoke on behalf of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), founded by John Hagee in 2006. CUFI claims 2.5 million members across the United States is probably the most active and vocal pro-Israel Christian organization in the world today. CUFI's unambiguous commitment to Israel stands in sharp contrast to the growing number of Christians whose attitude towards Israel is increasingly crossing the line between criticism and anti-Semitism.

CUFI affirms, what up until a decade or so ago, was considered a mainstream Protestant position on Israel. "The Jewish people," says CUFI, "have a right to live in their ancient land of Israel, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of this historic right." CUFI also reaffirms, what was the Christian norm up until a few years ago, that "there is no excuse for acts of terrorism against Israel." CUFI goes further than just pro-Israel theological statements. It pledges "to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel and to speak out on their behalf whenever and wherever necessary until the attacks stop and they are finally living in peace and security with their neighbors."

During his emotional speech, moved to tears himself, Styrsky compared Christians identifying with and participating in BDS type of activities (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) to WWII European Christians who remained untouched by the suffering of the Jewish people. In the wake of "Kristal Nacht", he reminded listeners, the Nazis made three decisions concerning the violence and destruction of that night: The Jews will be held responsible for the pogrom, Insurance compensations owed to Jews will be confiscated by the state and the Jewish community will be forced to pay a heavy fine of billions of Deutsch Marks for instigating "Kristal Nacht." A similar decision was made by the European Union 77 years after that event, when Israel is being blamed for "Palestinian pogroms" and the Jewish nation should be financially penalized for instigating the unrest by boycotting Israeli goods.

"Certain Christians," he said, "are joining the demand to boycott Jewish products. These Christians," he continued, "are the direct ideological decedents of yesterday's Christians whose voices were silence and their doors closed to the plight of the Jews during the Holocaust." Denouncing these types of Christians he went on to promise that CUFI's constituency will do their utmost to help build Israel's future together with the Jews.

Responses to this video went from "Wow. Awesome" to "hair-raising … there is still love in this world … brother Victor … allow me to wash your hands."


A Commemoration Panel for 856,000 Jewish Refugees at the United Nations

On December 1, a special panel dealing with "The untold story of the Middle East: Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries" was held up at the United Nations. Important as this panel is, is how the UN chose to deal with this issue.

This was the third panel held by the UN that commemorates the 856,000 Jewish refugees who were displaced from Arab countries during the 20th century. November 30th was legislated by the Knesset as the day for marking this day only in 2014. This day follows November 29, the anniversary date on which the UN Security Council adopted the Partition Plan, after which Arabs started attacking the Jewish communities in their countries with the goal of preventing the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said that Israel will work toward world recognition of the Jewish refugee problem. "This story was kept hidden for many years," he said, and marked the difference between the way the world treats the Palestinian refugees and the way it treats Jewish refugees.

Minister of Gender-equality, Gila Gamliel, has pointed out that in the last 65 years the UN and its different agencies have spent billions of dollars on Palestinian refugees and not a penny on Jewish refugees. Since 1949, she continued, the UN has passed over 100 resolutions concerning Palestinian refugees and not a single one concerning Jewish refugees.

The story of the Jewish refugees was told by leading journalists Ben-Dror Yemini, whose family escaped Yemen, and David Swissa whose family escaped Morocco. Minister Gamliel herself is from a family that escaped Tunisia.

Chief executive officer of the World Jewish Congress, Robert Singer, said that though people may not know it, "there were more Jewish refugees from Arab lands than there were Arab refugees from Israel." This phenomenon of ignoring Jewish refugees, he said, is "part of an ongoing distortion of the truth that sadly has become a mainstay of this international body. It has always been in the interest of those who continue to deny Israel's legitimacy."


Sheikh: ‘Killing Jews Is not Permitted’

Jordanian Muslim cleric Ali Hassan Al-Halabi says that it is theologically not permissible to kill Jews in Palestine.

The cleric said: “Our brothers in Palestine tell us that the Jews do not attack anyone who does not attack them. Nobody should think that by saying this, I am defending the accursed Jews, but this is the reality. If they killed any Muslim they saw, nobody would be left in Palestine.

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


Another Sleepless Night - Testimony of a Messianic Soldier

Another rainy night and I'm out, doing my military thing - you know - doing my part helping to make Israel safer.

I looked at the faces of my fellow soldiers who were standing guard with me out in the rain, it doesn't bother any of us.

If we wouldn't be there for Israel, who else is going to do the job? It seems like so many people hate us. Why? Are they being misled by the media?

The other day a young Arab Muslim woman ran toward an IDF officer with an ax in her hand, she was so full of hate that she started to run toward him from a distance. Is that how she wanted to end her life? To throw her life, the dearest gift God gave her, away for a worthless cause? I so wished that the international news teams could have been there to see it happen live, before they covered the event with their stories!

I also wish I could have spoken to this woman before she did what she did.

To try and talk her out of this senseless act. She was probably hate-driven, not knowing that she had lived, and had been taught, a lie her whole life. I wished I could have hugged her and tell her that, yes I'm an Israeli soldier, but I don't hate her back - like her society had brought her up to believe.

In another incident I witnessed a group of Arabs, from the whole spectrum of ages, protesting against the "Israeli occupation". They threw stones at me as they called to boycott Israel. I saw people with hate in their eyes.

But wait!

You use Israeli electricity, Israeli water, everyday you pass the checkpoints into Israel to go work for Israelis and get paid with Israeli money. But when the international TV teams come to your villages you put on a nice show by protesting and screaming that Israel needs to be boycotted. Yes, it is all a show because I really doubt that you mean what you say because it will be you that suffers in the end!


Japan's Israel Connection Turns 100 Years-old

Prince Takahito Mikasa, the oldest living member of the Imperial House of Japan and uncle of the current emperor of Japan, turned 100 yesterday, Dec. 2, 2015.

While serving as a junior cavalry officer in the Japanese army during World War II, Prince Mikasa was posted to China, where he encountered, and was impressed by, the “zeal and devotion of the Christian missionaries from the West, who worked deep in the isolated regions of China.” Since then, Prince Mikasa became extremely interested in the source of such devoted passions.”

After the Western powers defeated Japan, Prince Mikasa had the "on", the obligation, to Westernize himself. He said that, "in the six years of his study he discovered one supreme fact; that the Jews were the key to Western civilization."

Since then, Prince Mikasa became extremely interested in both the source of devoted passions and Judaism.

He decided to study Hebrew for the rest of his life and maintained a particular interest in the biblical prophets of Israel. He immersed himself in scholarly works related to Near Eastern civilization, in the course of which he became a frequent visitor to Jewish communal events in Tokyo, and reportedly learned to speak perfect Hebrew.

Prince Mikasa, however, never got involved in political discourse and insisted that his interest in the study of Hebrew was purely academic, even writing in his autobiography, “the reason I studied Oriental archaeology was to seek out from the ruins of the Middle East and the Near East, the origin of mankind and civilization, the outlines of man and state, and to think over what man should be.”


Netanyahu refuses to meet Belgian Foreign Minister

Reynders is the first European Foreign Minister to pay the price for the Israel Foreign Ministry's new policy of actively opposing countries that support the branding of products.

Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Netanyahu refused to meet Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders for being among those pushing for branding Israeli products. The Israel Foreign Ministry vaguely acknowledged the move by explaining that such a meeting was never formally set due to schedule issues.

One action of the Israeli policy is "the suspension of diplomatic contacts with the institutions of the European Union and its representatives on this issue."

Reynders was the initiator of last month's letter signed by 16 European foreign ministers pushing EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to support the branding of Israeli products. This letter was thought to be the one final act that swayed the EU to finally implement this infamous decision.

Following his letter, Israel's Foreign Ministry has decided to limit the diplomatic interaction with these 16 countries representatives in Israel and prohibit delegations from these countries from visiting Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In addition, as reported by ynet, Netanyahu recently instructed the Foreign Ministry to reassess the European Union's involvement in the peace process with Palestinians.

Last Tuesday, the International Christian Embassy held a special Christian Zionist symposium chaired by MEP Hannu Takkula and MEP Bas Belder. Among the invited guests was Father Gabriel Nadaf, an Israeli Aramean Christian who said that “this labelling of Israeli products is a further betrayal of Christian values in Europe, and it further weakens the Christian spirit in Europe.”


Part of the Solution: Israel at the Paris Climate Conference

Israel's participation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), now being held in Paris, is more an opportunity for important political networking. Though Israel is a relatively small contributor to climate change, her geographic location makes her highly sensitive to the potential impacts of climate change on almost all aspects of life, including: water, public health, agriculture, energy, biodiversity, coastal infrastructure, natural disasters, national security and more.

Addressing the convention, Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that Israel understands "the distress and the need to have a global solution. Many initiatives have been brought forward during this conference and elsewhere, and I want to say first that Israel is committed to those goals and will act accordingly, in deed and in word to fulfill them." Netanyahu also highlighted that "last year Israel was ranked number one in the Global Clean-Tech Innovation Index. We are a world leader in making the use of water more efficient, therefore more energy efficient. Israel is the number one recycler of water in the world. It has the highest ratio of water efficiency in the world. My office," he said, "has launched an initiative to reduce global dependence on crude oil, especially in transportation, by establishing Israel as a global leader in the search for alternative fuels."

Under a binding agreement on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Israel has committed to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions to 7.7 tCO2e (tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030. This constitutes a reduction of 26% below the 2005 GHG emissions level. These reductions will come from sectors such as: electricity, industry, transportation, residential and commercial buildings, waste and agriculture.

The Israeli delegation to Paris, numbering about 70 members, includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay and Director General Yisrael Dancziger, Members of Knesset, government officials, members of environmental NGOs, industry representatives and more.

Israel is actively involved in this convention, having organized, among other things, workshops on deforestation, renewable energies and the use of alternative refrigerants.

Among the Israeli innovations presented at the convention are Solar Edge, Ecoppia, Sologic and Phinergy that has developed omission-free batteries.


Jewish Ex-Cambridge Professor Castigates Israeli Schoolgirl

The 13 year-old Israeli schoolgirl approached the professor for help with school assignment is turned down due to the expert's support of BDS.

When Dr. Marsha Levine, a Cambridge educated professor and researcher, who is an expert on the history of the domestication of horses, was asked for assistance on an assignment relevant to Levine's field of expertise, not only was Shachar Rabinovitz from a kibbutz in northern Israel turned down, she was also castigated regarding the Palestinians "plight".

Rabinovitz led her e-mail with, "I'm from Israel," before explaining the nature of her query. "I'm doing an assessment for school about horses, and it will be great if you could answer a few questions that I will ask," wrote the girl.

Rabinovitz was faced with criticism and Levine answered, "I'll answer your questions when there is peace and justice for Palestinians in Palestine! You might be a child, but if you are old enough to write to me, you are old enough to learn about Israeli history and how it has impacted on the lives of Palestinian people."

Levine explained that she is a member of the organization Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. She also provided Rabinowitz with a link to the Jews for Justice for Palestinians website, urging the girl to educate herself on the history of the Palestinian people.


Is Russia the New Boss in Town?

Obama’s policy is to turn enemies into friends. He believes that once radicals take power or are given legitimacy, they turn into moderates. This expectation isn’t supported by historical trends, as moderation didn’t occur in Iran, Afghanistan, Gaza or Lebanon.

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


A nuclear war of words

As the world shudders at talk of a possible nuclear war, it's worth pointing out that the real confrontation is, as ever, a spiritual one.

And as the battle between light and darkness rages on, a high-tech media with global reach has the potential to influence as never before. But in this brave new upside-down world, truth is so often turned on its head.

The horrific Paris massacre naturally focused media attention, yet there has been relatively little coverage of the almost daily terror in Israel – some 800 attacks in the past couple of months – where Palestinian perpetrators have been portrayed as underdogs with a just cause while the real victims of these unprovoked stabbing and shooting attacks were innocent Jews.

It is not about allegedly stolen land or oppressive occupation; it is sheer hatred of Jews that is behind every attack, with social and other media fanning the flames of incitement. PA president Mahmoud Abbas calls on the UN to "protect Palestinians from Israeli aggression" while at the same time calling on Palestinians to take up knives against Israelis.

In the latest incident, two teenage Palestinian girls viciously attacked a 70-year-old man with scissors right beside a bustling open-air market in Jerusalem. And yet the victim, Yussuf Alharoub, is not Jewish, but a Palestinian from Bethlehem. And one of his assailants was shot dead by security police. Yussuf told the Ynet news service: "Both the Jews and the Palestinians are suffering because of what’s happening now and no-one benefits."

Jesus declared unequivocally that he was "the truth" (John 14.6) and his beloved disciple John said that whoever hates his brother is in darkness (1 John 2.10), adding that those who denied that Jesus (Yeshua) was the Messiah were liars. (1 John 2.22) Jesus further claimed to be the gate to salvation, the Good Shepherd, and that all who came before him were thieves and robbers. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (sound familiar?); I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10.10)

What we are witnessing across our warring world – from the new atheists and secular humanists in England to the Islamic fanatics in the Middle East – is a common thread of hatred for the God of Israel, whom Christians worship. The shocking truth is that in England, as in Saudi Arabia and Islamic State-controlled territory, there is no protection for Muslims who have found Jesus to be the true Shepherd.

Nissar Hussain, a British man of Pakistani descent, was brutally beaten outside his home in Bradford, Yorkshire. This followed nearly 20 years of harassment, intimidation, insults and physical abuse along with attacks on his property and family members at the hands of the Muslim community. And in all of this he has been betrayed time and again by those who are there to protect him. Police, church leaders and political authorities have rigidly refused to concede that it is his status as a convert from Islam that has made him a target. Apparently none of them wanted to compromise their relationship with Muslims.

Now a British court has committed a travesty of justice in the case of appalling anti-Semitic abuse against a Jewish man at London’s famous Speakers' Corner – a long-time icon to freedom of speech. Despite clear evidence of a whole gamut of racial abuse (which is illegal in Britain as a 'hate' crime), the perpetrator was found guilty only for damage to the victim's mobile phone which was knocked to the ground in the scuffle created by the incident. Yet in Northern Ireland (also part of the UK), Pastor Jim McConnell is facing trial for saying that Islam is 'Satanic'.

As I said, it's a battle between light and darkness. Whose side are you on?


Suppose Israeli media reported "7 Men Shot dead: 129 dead" after Paris Attack...

Are Israelis, who shout foul at European media using headlines like, "Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two", dumb? Have decades of conflict turned them too touchy? Are they wrong in expecting foreign media to produce more accurate headlines like "Palestinian terrorist shot dead after murdering two Israelis"?

In the wake of the Paris terror attack, during which 129 people were killed in cold blood, Maariv news portal nrg seized the opportunity to ask a few people on a Paris street who had just been exposed to the reality of terror, what they thought of a faked front page headline saying "7 Men Shot dead during Paris Attack: 129 dead." If those interviewed for the short nrg video are any indication of what Europeans think of such headlines, then it seems Israeli contempt for BBC like news outlets is justified.

Not surprisingly, not a single person approved of nrg's faked headline. Reactions ranged from "this is lying" to "all terrorists should be called terrorists," every one of the respondents disapproved of this headline which they said indicated to them the support of terror. This little video will, most likely, do little to change the way Europeans view at Israel? Nevertheless this is an important documentary showing that such headlines should have been regarded as Europe's intolerable attitude toward Israel.


Is Israel a Nation or a Person?

Most Bible believers can tell you Israel is both the name of a person and a nation. But what most don’t realize is that the term ‘Israel’ can refer to seven different entities in the Bible! And if we don’t know which ‘Israel’ is in play we’ll become hopelessly confused. Throw in the state of Israel today and it gets even more complicated. So let me try and sort them out as best I can.

In general, the seven ‘Israels’ found in the Bible will always fall into one of three categories: a person, a nation, or part of a nation.

As a person, Israel would be Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes that eventually became the nation that bore his name. God had changed his name from Jacob to Israel, which loosely means “he who prevails with God and overcomes,” after he survived a wrestling match with the Angel of the Lord (Gen. 35:10). However, Israel as a person can also be Yeshua, for he is the “seed” who inherits all the promises (Gal. 3:16).

As a nation, Israel would be the whole nation of twelve tribes.

But where it gets tricky is when Israel stands for just part of the nation, because there are four ways to understand a partial Israel.

First, it could be the name of the ten-tribe kingdom that formed after Solomon’s united nation split into the two kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah in the south.

Secondly, it could be referring to the two-tribe southern kingdom of Judah which took sole possession of the title after the northern kingdom was exiled among the nations. The descendants of Judah became known as “the Jews” after they were deported to Babylon. When they returned to the land they became the Israel we encounter in the New Testament. It is mostly their descendants who’ve returned again to establish today’s Jewish state.

Thirdly, ‘Israel in part’ can be understood as the Israel within Israel. This Israel represents just the chosen descendants (like Jacob), who Paul distinguished in Romans 9 from those physical offspring who were not chosen (like Esau).

Finally, Paul calls the body of Messiah “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16), which shows the ecclesia is the continuation of chosen Israel, but now under the New Covenant. This verse, along with Revelation 7:4, are the only two times in the NT (out of 79 references to Israel) where the followers of Yeshua are clearly addressed as Israel. I think the reason God kept references to the ecclesia being Israel to a minimum was He didn’t want us to think we had replaced the Jewish nation. Which, as we know, the institutional church tried to do anyway.

The fact is, the Jews retained sole possession to the title ‘Israel’ even though they rejected Yeshua as Messiah. Didn’t Paul tell us “a partial hardening has happened to Israel [meaning the Jewish people], until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in?” (Rom. 11:25). However, in the next sentence he informs us that when all the “Gentiles” come in, that “all Israel will be saved.” Here the name “Israel’ has been expanded to mean the whole nation – not just the Jews!

I believe there is a day coming, and coming soon, when all the confusion over who or what is Israel will suddenly disappear. The whole world will see the Israel of God revealed in glory as both one nation and one person in Messiah!

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


Christians in Service to a Muslim National Cause

His own background notwithstanding, Ghattas was flippant about the suffering of fellow Christians in Syria. “It’s a civil war,” he said. “So of course the Christians and other minorities there are being persecuted.”

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


Israel Turning East in the Face of European Boycotts

The first Israeli food festival, in Taiwan may be the Israeli answer to Europe's branding of Israeli products. 25 Israeli companies will present and sell some 200 different kinds of foods and beverages to the public in the five stores of the prestigious City Super.

The food festival, that was initiated by the Ministry of Economy"s office in Taiwan and Israel's Export Institute, is part of a concerted effort to break through to new markets in East Asia. In addition, Ministry of Economy's Director General, Amit Lang, has inaugurated a Ministry office in Osaka, Japan. The auto industry of the East is also interested in new Israeli technologies and innovations. Lang headed a delegation of 11 Israeli companies from the auto industry that met representatives of Honda, Suzuki, Daihatsu, Panasonic and Datsun recently. The delegation met with the giant among car manufactures – Toyota, for the first time.

In the first ever food festival with Israeli participation, one can find Israeli Olives, spices, Tahini, Halva, fresh salads and so on. Among the companies present were well known brands like Neviot mineral water, the Prigat fruit juices, Wissotzky Tea and Salt of the Earth. There were also companies with unique Israeli products like the Ta'am VaReach spice company with its authentic Middle Eastern spices, Matza bread of Aviv bakery along with Israeli wines and honey. Gourmet To Go presented Couscous, Falafel and other heat-and-eat dishes.

City Super is a well-known supermarket chain store founded in Hong Kong that operates in several Asian locations five of which are in Taiwan's capital Taipei. This Supermarket chain specializes in fresh fruits and vegetables. The chain regularly holds food festivals and is considered a major influence of new tastes and products unknown to the local people.

Israel's first ever participation in this festival allows the introduction of her products to the Asian market, for the first time ever. The trade attaché of the Ministry of Economy's office in Taiwan, Doron Hamo, says that "this is the first step in introducing Israeli products to Asia that has yet to be exposed to the variety of Israeli tastes. Despite cultural differences in taste, we see a great potential, and just as these tastes succeeded in Europe they will also appeal to the Asian pallet. Success in Taiwan, known for its diverse food culture, will create an interest among her neighboring countries, China, Korea and Japan."

According to the Food & Beverage Manager of Israel Export Institute, Caroline Nave, "in light of the obvious need to target diverse export markets, over the past years we have witnessed diverse exports to Eastern markets. Specifically, we have witnessed a growing Asian interest in the Israeli food industry. In the first half of 2015 the export of food and beverages increased by 12 percent. The Taiwanese are especially interested in healthy and oriental foods more suited to their life style. The next step will be aggressive marketing of such products to Taiwan."

And if this is not enough, food byers from the Philippines, Vietnamese owners of supermarket stores and Chinese buyers from selected companies have recently been invited to visit Israel.


200 North American Lone Soldiers and New Olim Celebrate Thanksgiving in Israel

Some 200 Lone Soldiers and new Olim from North America gathered last night at the Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv for a special Thanksgiving dinner catered by chef Idan Ianovici, a former Lone Soldier from New York and owner of Vici Deli in Raanana.

The Thanksgiving dinner, was hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and the Jewish National Fund, aimed to allow young immigrants without family in Israel to celebrate the traditional holiday – with some Israeli twists.

“Thanksgiving is a very family-oriented holiday,” said Marc Rosenberg, Director of pre-Aliyah at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We wanted to give new Olim who arrived alone, including Lone Soldiers, the opportunity to celebrate this American holiday with other Anglo Olim here in Tel Aviv.”

Guests enjoyed roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving fare, as well as Israeli desserts.

“When I was a Lone Soldier, I celebrated Thanksgiving with only a few friends,” said Ianovici, who served in the IDF’s Armored Corps and has worked at restaurants in New York and Israel since he was 16. “I’m so happy to be able to help give these young Olim the opportunity to experience a proper Thanksgiving in Israel.”

Photo courtesy of Yonit Schiller


What is being done behind the scenes about terror attacks?

Of course, Israel's internal and external security services work frenetically at preventing potential terrorists from carrying out attacks and finding fugitive attackers. Nevertheless, on the political stage officials work just as intensely discussing what kind of additional measurements could be taken.

High-ranking Israeli decision makers have decided to annul working permits for Palestinians whose family members have been involved in terror attacks. In addition, their exit permits to Jordan will be revoked. This decision was taken after the last attack in Gush Etzion. The perpetrator had told his Mother in advance that he planned to carry out an attack but she did nothing to prevent him from carrying out his threats.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has met with army officials and the Defence Minister to discuss possibilities of expelling families of terrorists to the Gaza Strip in the future.

Interior minister Silvan Shalom is about to submit a draft law that, if it is passed, would make it possible to revoke the citizenship of terrorists who have betrayed the State of Israel. The revocation would be possible even if the subject is abroad.


Social Networks Goad Children Terror

"The motivation of Children terror comes primarily from social network incitement; this is Israel's new war." As part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' campaign against online incitement, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and with Jennifer Downes, Director of Public Policy at Google at the company's Silicon Valley offices.

In the meetings, Hotovely raised the problem of incitement which goads small children to go out and stab innocents: "The daily stabbings in Israel, said Hotovely, "are a result of young boys and girls who are indoctrinated from an early age via the Palestinian education system and through social media. We are engaged daily in confronting incitement to violence, a task which can benefit greatly from the cooperation of those companies that are involved in social media."

Following the meeting, it was agreed to establish a mechanism to monitor online materials that incite to violence and to assist in preventing their distribution.


The Last Jewish Family from Aleppo, Syria is Safe in Israel

The two women in this story, whose personal story could make a great Hollywood thriller, are now living in Ashkelon's Absorption Center. These last Jews to live in Aleppo, Syria, were smuggled out of the bombarded city in an intricate operation carried out a year ago by Free Syrian Army Muslim men. This operation was financed and run by Moti Kahana, an American Israeli businessman who for the last four hears has been in close contact with Syrian insurgents. 88 year-old Miriam (not her real name) and her 53 year-old daughter were smuggled from Aleppo through the Turkish border to Istanbul and from there were brought to Israel.

Miriam kept a Jewish life style, and continued to eat kosher food despite it being difficult to obtain in the midst of civil war. Miriam's second daughter Linda (not her real name), along with her Muslim husband and his three children from his first marriage escaped with her to Istanbul. However, Since Linda converted to Islam, the couple didn't want to go to Israel and, in any case, were not entitled to enter Israel under the Law of Return which is applicable to Jews only. They, in the end, chose to return to Syria.

Miriam knows biblical Hebrew from the prayer book and at a young age attended Aleppo's main synagogue, where the legendary Hebrew Bible manuscript, the Aleppo codex, was kept. In retaliation to the 1947 UN "Partition Plan," this synagogue was set on fire and destroyed.

The Jewish family lived in extremely difficult conditions in the area of Aleppo which is in an area controlled by the Syrian government forces. Water and electricity were cut off after this area was severely bombarded by the insurgents. The journey from Aleppo to Turkey lasted 12 hours. On the way the family was stopped at a Jabhat al-Nusra road block. Disguised as Muslims, and only after a grueling investigation, were they allowed to continue on their way.

"This is the last Jewish family from Aleppo," stated Moti Kahana. This brings to closure 2700 years of Jewish life in this city. Kahana criticized the Jewish Agency for not permitting the converted daughter to enter Israel and de facto abandoned them in Istanbul. In return the Jewish Agency blamed Kahana for luring the family to leave Aleppo with the promise to bring them to the United States, and that the family initially did not want to go to Israel. The Jewish Agency stressed that they offered Linda's family to arrive in Israel, initially as tourists, but they have refused the offer.


Jerusalem: A 'Cup of Reeling' to the Nations

During a war simulation at Harvard University in 1982, researchers, who were neither Jewish nor Muslim, concluded that World War III will break out because of the mosques on the Temple Mount.

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


Christian Surfers in the 'Promised Land'

The following article first appeared in the October 2015 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

Todd Morehead had always dreamt of one thing—becoming a professional surfer. Growing up in California, he could think of nothing else. But there was a competing focus that eventually won out—a desire to travel in service to the Kingdom of God.

Fortunately, Morehead came to realize his two passions could be combined. “I found myself working for different Christian organizations, not only doing ministry, but also surfing,” he says in the opening to his documentary film Promised Land.

Eventually, those travels brought him to Israel.

“I’ve been able to go all around the world, but Israel keeps coming to the forefront of my mind,” explains Morehead. “My heart is that all Christians would find a really deep-seated love for the Jews, and that they would discover how Jewish our faith is.”

Amid refurbishing bomb shelters in the Galilee with Shelters of Hope and befriending local surfers, Morehead realized other Christians needed to know the struggles of Israelis who want to live in peace but are forced to face constant conflict, and why this should speak to anyone who believes in the Bible.

“As Christians, God calls us to love the Jews,” he asserts. “I feel a debt of gratitude toward the Jewish people.”

Besides his hands-on, practical ministry work, Morehead began to lead groups of other Christian surfers to visit the Holy Land and catch some Israeli waves.

Promised Land is the continuation of that work. In the stunning, hour-long documentary, Morehead highlights his friendship with the Israeli surfer community, its history, the challenges faced by all living in the Jewish state, and how, in whatever small ways possible, a handful of Christian surfers are working with their Israeli counterparts for peace. He also intersperses biblical and historical teachings.

Two people along to help Morehead were world-renowned surfing champion Tom Curren and California-based Messianic rabbi Barney Kasdan.

“As Christians, [Israel] is a very important place for us,” says Curren. “It was really moving to see Jerusalem for the first time. To think that so much hinges on what happens to Jerusalem; it’s such an important place.”

While Curren was moved by his first Holy Land experience, those in Israel familiar with surfing were moved by the presence of such a legend.

“Almost everywhere we went, word got out somehow that Tom Curren is in the Land,” recounts Kasdan, adding jokingly, “I’d almost say it was like Elijah coming ahead of the Messiah.”

The film concludes with Morehead’s Israeli surfer friend Hani stating, “I believe that God gave the Jewish people this land. It’s there, it’s in the Bible.”

Nevertheless, Morehead has found that in the charged atmosphere of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many Christians no longer believe that. He told Israel Today that his next project is a documentary “exploring my continued journey in Israel, seeking truth specifically behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the goal of giving a proper Christian response.”

After already producing Promised Land which has had a positive impact on young people prone to adopting the “Palestinian cause,” we wondered why an additional documentary was necessary. Morehead pointed out that the new anti-Semitism disguised as social justice requires a direct response.

“Christians are being told from both secular and Christian media that if they believe in justice then they need to stand with the underdog, who are always portrayed as the Palestinians,” he said. “But we believe that if people really care about justice, then they need to look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a broader lens, a lens that considers the destructive influence of radical Islam within Palestinian society and the Middle East.”

And, of course, for Christians there is the fact that all of this is part of “God fulfilling His covenant promises to the people of Israel,” which includes “a redemptive plan and a deep love for the Arabs living in the region.”

Check out Promised Land at promisedlandthemovie.com
To contact Todd Morehead about this and his upcoming project: promisedland@walkingonwater.com


Senior IDF Officers Hurt in Vehicular Terror Attack

Two senior IDF officers, a colonel and a lieutenant-colonel, and two enlisted soldiers were wounded on Tuesday morning when a Palestinian Arab terrorist rammed his vehicle into the Tapuah Junction in Samaria.

The officers had been surveying the area as part of an effort to reduce Palestinian stabbing and vehicular attacks on Israelis.

One of the Israelis was listed in moderate condition, while the others suffered light injuries.

The assailant was shot and wounded by other soldiers stationed nearby. He received immediate medical attention and will be taken in for questioning.

The attack comes a day after two Palestinian girls aged 14 and 16 went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem’s open air Mahane Yehudah market.

The girls, relatives of Palestinians killed in violent clashes with the IDF years ago, used scissors to stab four people, including a 70-year-old Arab man they mistook for a Jew.

A police officer who witnessed the attack shot both girls, killing one and moderately wounding the second.

Also on Monday, a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist attacked an off-duty 18-year-old IDF soldier who stopped for gas on the 443 highway north of Jerusalem. The attacker was shot and killed by other soldiers responding to the scene.


The Impertinence of Breaking the Silence

The new viral video showing a tour of the radical Israeli group "Breaking the Silence" in Hebron has forced Israeli news outlets to deal with this organization that is causing considerable damage to Israel's reputation. 

Breaking the Silence is a left-wing organ operating under the pretense of exposing alleged IDF atrocities in the West Bank and Gaza. This group, whose purpose is to end the "occupation," has won the favor of European countries that today finance its activities, among which was assisting the biased 2009 and 2014 United Nations "fact-finding missions" that accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. Last June, Israel formally complained to the Swiss government over its financing this organization.

The video published yesterday was the work of Amit Deri, an IDF reserve platoon commander who got fed up with Breaking the Silence and its subversive activity in Hebron and elsewhere. 

On his Facebook page Deri writes: "Though I thought I'd seen everything, what happened to me during my last reserve duty in Hebron managed to surprise and disappoint me." The video shows one of the Breaking the Silence leaders, Avner Gevaryahu, telling a small group of British tourists stories detached from any context (a favorite technique among such groups) that were supposed to demonstrate how inhumane the IDF is.

One story speaks of "soldiers using machine guns hitting civilian centers in Hebron." Responding to the question of how many were killed in this alleged attack, Breaking the Silence spokesman Yehuda Shaul couldn't provide the name of a single Palestinian casualty from an event that purportedly happened in response to a Palestinian sniper killing Israeli infant Shalhevet Pass in 2001.

Another story speaks of irritated soldiers trying to watch an important soccer game. They "look for an apartment that has a satellite dish, blindfold the people there and watch the game. This happens whenever there is an important game on the television," claimed the tour guide. 

Even if not regarded as trifle, when asked if such things truly happened, Deri said that during all the years he served in Hebron he never encountered anything of the sort. Qualifying himself, Deri stated candidly that "moral failures" could and have happened. But contrary to Breaking the Silence's suggestion that such failures are deliberate policy, Deri insists that they are rare exceptions that are dealt with severely by the IDF.

Amit Deri is the latest addition to a growing number of Israelis tired of fringe organizations fueled by European money working to defame Israel in service to a political agenda rejected and resented by a majority of the nation.


COMMENTARY: Why Aren’t We One, As Yeshua Prayed?

Just before his death, Yeshua prayed for all those who would become his followers, “Father, may they all be one, even as You, Father, are in me and I in You…so that the world may believe you sent me” (John 17:21). 

However, according to official estimates there are now around 40,000 Christian denominations in the world, with the Catholic Church being by far the largest. It has become painfully obvious to all that this often boisterous disunity in the body of Messiah has presented a flawed testimony to our gospel of love and truth. As a result, all sorts of ecumenical discussions have transpired in recent decades to try and put Humpty-Dumpty together again. 

All I can say is God help us if they ever do (and they might). Not only would it be declaring the Reformation a mistake, but staring back at us would be the same monolithic, intolerant, ecclesiastical power that dominated the Western World for over a thousand years. The one which brought us such loving ministries as the Inquisition and the Crusades. So even if the Church does manage to solve its unity problem (at least on the surface), it would hardly convince the world the Father had sent Yeshua. Least of all the Jews, who probably suffered the most from our ‘togetherness.’

The problem is that the Jews are the one people upon whom our unity most depends. But they have been historically excluded from ever being majorly included by Replacement Theology. After all, when Yeshua prayed his prayer of unity the Church was 100% Jewish. At the time, only he understood there’d be a lot of folks coming in after he left who wouldn’t be Jewish. He tried to prepare his little flock that some outsiders “would hear My voice also, and [you’d all] become one flock with one Shepherd” (John 10:10). But even Yeshua’s heads-up couldn’t numb their shock when the new sheep joining the fold turned out to be – ugh – uncircumcised goyiim.  

At first, it was thought the best way to clean up these unsavory new sheep was to apply circumcision, not understanding yet that the circumcised heart was all that was required under Israel’s new Covenant. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit vetoed that approach at the Council of Jerusalem. Our oneness would now be based on faith alone. But no sooner had we begun moving towards unity when Rome threw everybody out of the country. And everything was put on hold for some two thousand years. 

That separation, of course, gave God time to find all those missing descendants of Abraham scattered among the nations whom He’d marked for salvation. But instead of all those new believers remaining as one body with one head, Yeshua, each functioning in their place in the power of the Holy Spirit, we turned it into 40,000 disconnected, squabbling organizations with multiple heads. Perhaps the one thing that united the Church most was its profound dislike for all things Jewish.

In the world’s sight, these two peoples called to proclaim the one true God appeared to have nothing in common. The Jews became the most despised and persecuted people on earth. And the Church a kaleidoscope of unfathomable theologies and diverse worship practices. Jeremiah’s words could not be more fitting: “Have you not observed what this people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the Lord chose, He has rejected them? Thus they despise My people, no longer are they as a nation in their sight” (Jer. 33:24).

But in spite of our continued separation we can be certain our Father heard Yeshua’s prayer and has every intention of answering it. Above all else, He wants the world to know His Son is who he said he was. 

Furthermore, I‘m convinced this coming together of Christians and Jews in our day under the banner of Zionism is God at long last starting to make us His “one new man” in Yeshua. And when our true unity in Messiah is complete, I believe Yeshua will be gloriously revealed to the world in a way we could have never imagined. 

And the best news is – “none will be missing!” (Jer. 23:4; John 6:39). 

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


The Mossad Zoo

Reminiscent of the Dark Ages, no charge is too absurd to blame on the Jews and stir up hatred against Israel.

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


Chutzpa! Formerly-Jewish Store Pulls Israeli Products

The largest department store in continental Europe has pulled from its shelves any product marked “Made in Israel” that has any manufacturing connection to Judea, Samaria or the Golan Heights.

Spokesmen for KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) said the decision was in accordance with the European Union’s ruling that products from these areas be marked as coming from “occupied Palestine.”

As soon as the proper labeling is added, the store promised to return the Israeli products to its shelves.

What makes this move so infuriating to many is that KaDeWe started out as a Jewish-owned store that was stolen from its original proprietors by the Nazis.

KaDeWe was founded in the heart of Berlin in 1905 by Jewish businessman Adolf Jandorf. In 1927, it was purchased by another Jewish businessman, Hermann Tietz, who transformed KaDeWe into Europe’s premier shopping experience.

But just six years later, the Nazis enacted their race laws that prohibited Jews from owning businesses, and Hermann Tietz’s company, including KaDeWe, was handed over to more “Aryan” owners.

If you, dear reader, find this offensive, then it’s time to show the Israeli and worldwide Jewish market that you stand with them.


Jonathan Pollard is Finally Free, Sort Of...

American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is free after spending 30 years of a life sentence in a US prison.

Pollard was released from Butner Prison in North Carolina on Friday morning after becoming eligible for parole.

Successive American presidents had rejected Israeli pleas that Pollard be pardoned. Many have argued that the secrets he sold to Israel as a US naval analyst amounted to information Washington was supposed to share with the Jewish state, but was withholding.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said simply that he had “longed for this day.”

But as Pollard left the confines of prison, he found himself somewhat less free than he had hoped.

The somewhat unprecedented conditions of Pollard’s parole mean that he will live the next five years as isolated as possible.

Pollard must wear a GPS ankle monitor, any company that employs him must open their computers to constant government surveillance, he is forbidden to speak to the media, and immigrating to Israel is out of the question.

Lawyers have noted that these conditions make Pollard virtually unemployable, and he can hardly speak to anyone for fear of being quoted by the press.

Those working on Pollard’s behalf contest the parole arrangement, pointing out that there is almost zero risk the former spy will pass on additional classified information. The secrets to which he was formerly privy are now all outdated.


Healing in More Ways Than One

"I don’t hate the Jews. I only hate those who did this right here," the boy's grandfather tells Israel Today.

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


Dancing With the Devil

Even before I learnt that the main target of the Paris massacre was a theatre until recently owned by Jews, I had been wondering whether we Westerners were reaping the consequences of ‘dancing with the devil’.

That so many civilians enjoying an evening out should suddenly find themselves face to face with a virtual firing squad almost defies the imagination. But there was evidently an elephant in the room, a great unmentionable that dare not speak its name.

London Mayor Boris Johnson referred to the perpetrators – Islamic State terrorists – as a ‘death cult’, which it certainly is. But what commentators seem deliberately to have missed – along with the Bataclan concert hall’s Jewish connection – was the link between such evil extremism and the dark nature of the concert that claimed most of the lives lost last Friday night.

The Eagles of Death Metal band had apparently just started a song called Kiss the devil when the gunmen opened fire and the auditorium morphed into the devil’s domain. Fantasy became reality, with one witness describing it as “hell”.

There was mention of prophecy in the Mail on Sunday, who recalled their “prophetic” report in May headlined “Med boats’ secret cargo: jihadis bound for Britain”. The same paper also reported the “chilling prophecy” of a controversial film about a terrorist rampage in Paris – about to open in French cinemas – that has now had to be withdrawn twice in the wake of the actual thing happening instead. (It was also due to be screened earlier this year, but was pulled following the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and Jewish supermarket.)

Hardly anyone in the media talks of biblical prophecy, however. Yet that would shed an awful lot of light on this dark subject! Just one example of this is that the world would be full of violence – as in the days of Noah – in the time immediately preceding the return of Jesus to set up his kingdom of peace.

Politicians have referred to the Paris massacre as an ‘attack on civilization’. But my response is: what civilization? We seem obsessed with dark and lurid fantasy, and with images of violence in our living rooms. We congratulate ourselves on our culture of ‘freedom’, bought at a great price in two world wars and, before that, with the blood of Christian martyrs who went to the stake for the cause of publishing God’s Word, now discarded and thrown to the winds, only to be replaced by moral relativism where there are virtually no rules for living; where we promote death (through abortion and euthanasia, for example) and set about ‘redefining’ marriage, family and society as a whole.

Homophobia and Islamaphobia are among the many politically-correct don’ts to have replaced the Ten Commandments. As I write, a highly respected Northern Ireland preacher is facing trial on allegations of breaking the latter rule. It’s possibly only a matter of time before we are denied the freedom of saying that Jesus is the only way to God (a claim he made about himself) for fear of offending other religions. But our civilization was built on this very statement! We believed him, because he was totally authentic, and rose from the dead. We don’t have to force anyone else to believe him; we simply declare the truth about him.

Tragically, however, our moral defences are down, our walls have been breached, and the foundations of our Judeo-Christian civilization have been undermined. That is why we are wobbling as a society in grave danger of collapse.

I can’t speak for France and the rest of Europe, but as far as Britain is concerned, time is running out. The iconic Big Ben clock, which has become a symbol of the UK throughout the globe, has recently undergone repairs amidst fears that it is rapidly becoming beyond repair. It is, of course, part of the complex comprising our famous Houses of Parliament, which is itself in danger from crumbling foundations with talk of MPs possibly having to move out. Even some of our great houses, so loved by tourists, are under threat for lack of finance.

We were once a great nation sending missionaries around the world to share the life-changing (indeed, nation-changing) good news about Jesus. But now we have thrown out what was once most precious to us. Jesus told us to build on the rock. But we have built on sand.

Instead of building on the rock that has stood the test of time, the sure and certain foundation that is Christ, the certainty of his resurrection from the dead and his coming again to set up an everlasting kingdom, we have built on the shifting sand of appeasement, uncertainty and short-term comfort.

We need to repent and return to the Lord!

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


The Mission to Israel, Part 2

Religious parties in Israel have had some success using the Supreme Court as a weapon against the Messianic movement.

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


Like It or Not, Paris and Jerusalem are Connected

In the wake of the ISIS attack on Paris, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "militant Islamic terrorism attacks our societies because it wants to destroy our civilization," which is why "all terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination." 

Netanyahu is among those who find no excuse for Islamic terror. Some European leaders, on the other hand, are doing what they have done all along - blaming Israel and the West for Islamic violence.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was rebuffed by some Israeli officials, like Yair Lapid, who misunderstood her as justifying Palestinian terror while condemning ISIS terror. While that is not necessarily the case, what Wallstrom did was just as bad: She justified both types of terrorism

"To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence," she said. According to Sweden at least, the Paris attack is the outworking of Muslim desperation that the West is responsible for.

Wallstorm wasn't the only one to draw Israel into the fray in trying to understand and explain the Paris attacks. Chairman of the Dutch Socialist Party, Jan Marijnissen, was more specific in making this connection between the supposed Palestinian despair and the Muslims who killed 132 people in Paris. 

This type of behavior, explained Marijnissen, "is connected also to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict" because those who carried out the attacks are probably coming "from a group of outraged people from the French suburbs.”

Such views, which can also be heard from Israelis who blame "occupation" for Palestinian terrorism, are condescending and patronizing in that they fail to engage the reasons given by those who have taken full responsibility for the attacks. 

The ISIS communique that followed the Paris attacks explained very clearly that not desperation, but hope is what motivates Muslims to wage war against the Crusaders (Europeans) and Jews. This hope, they say, comes from victory after victory their god gives them in the Middle East and now in Europe.

"In a blessed attack which Allah facilitated the causes," says ISIS, "a group of believers from the soldiers of the Caliphate … targeted the capital of abomination and perversion." This is similar to the way the Palestinian Authority has framed the conflict with Israel in Islamic terms, claiming the Land of Israel as "Ribat" – holy Islamic land. 

This means that the "Wallstorms" and the "Marijnissens" and their Israeli counterparts are in fact contributing to the alleviation of Muslim desperation by giving them the hope that their holy war is justifiable and winnable.

PHOTO: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in front of the wall of the Old City, which was lit up with the colors of the French flag in a show of solidarity with Paris.


The BDS Movement: A Trail of Deception

One hostile Arab Knesset member tells us BDS is necessary to teach Israel a lesson, but many Palestinians strongly disagree.

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


Palestinians: Our Kids Have Right to Stone Jews

Earlier this month, Israel’s Knesset enacted a minimum prison term for minors who throw stones and firebombs at vehicles. An outraged Palestinian Authority called the measure “punitive and racist.”

Stoning attacks in Israel go largely unreported, but on average there are several such incidents every day. The perpetrators are usually Palestinian Arab youth, and their victims are almost always Israeli Jewish motorists.

A number of these attacks have resulted in severe injuries and deaths, including Jewish children.

There are certain areas of Jerusalem that the police, ambulances and other public services simply won’t enter for fear of being stoned.

But engaging in such violence is the “right” of every Palestinian Arab child, insisted the Palestinian Authority’s Committee on Prisoners.

The committee accused the Israelis of attempting to “deprive Palestinian children of their ability to exercise their rights in an attempt to kill their sense of belonging to their land.”


Should Messianic Jews Help Syrian Refugees?

Yoel Shoshani, a Messianic Jew from Jerusalem, thinks so. He went to see for himself and shared the following eyewitness account.

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


COMMENTARY: Is God Still Hiding His Face from Israel?

For those who subscribe to the false teaching of Replacement Theology (RT), God is not only still hiding His face from the Jewish nation, but they will never see it again. Even their miraculous return to the homeland after 2000 years of exile was not considered a game-changer. For them, the Church is the only apple of God’s eye now. Physical descent from Abraham no longer matters.

But the truth is, even though God’s face had been hidden for so long, He never rejected the Jewish people: “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29). And for those with eyes to see, the reestablishment of the Jewish state has signaled a paradigm shift in God’s relationship with the sons of Judah. Though the nations may still rage, it is obvious God is clearly standing with Israel. His face may not be in full view yet, but even the most cynical of Israelis sense He is smiling again.

But still we must ask, what provoked this centuries-long banishment of the Jews from God’s favor? There’s no question the national rejection of Yeshua as Messiah precipitated it. But that is not the whole story. For God’s judgment of hiding His face from Israel began long before they said “no” to Yeshua. What’s more, His ‘hiddenness’ was destined to fall not just upon the Jews, the descendants of the House of Judah – but upon all Israel.

The national sin that provoked this awful punishment actually started way back in Egypt. That’s where Jacob’s family first became addicted to the idolatry that quickly manifested itself in the golden calf at Mount Sinai. The Almighty, knowing this sin would continue even after they entered the land, prophesied of a future judgment through Moses, saying, “I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do” (Deut. 31:18). 

That judgment fell first upon the northern tribes of Israel when Assyria removed them from the land for their apostasy and turned them into goyiim. But Judah was given a pass at that time, even though God revealed she was even more sinful: “Samaria did not commit half of your sins” (Ezek. 16:51). A hundred years later Judah would be exiled to Babylon, but God never totally hid His face from her. He continued to encourage and chastise her through the prophets, restoring her to the land seventy years later.

Then Yeshua was born. And even though unbelief would bring on the beginning of sorrows for Judah – it was the end of God hiding His face from the northern tribes now assimilated among the Gentiles! For in Yeshua, God’s face of mercy had shined forth, just as Isaiah had foretold: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light” (Isa. 9:1).

Tragically, when we came to the light we showed we had not learned very much from the years of exile due to the sins of our forefathers. For just as the nation had reverted to Egyptian paganism as soon as Moses was out of sight, so did we. Within four centuries of Yeshua being taken up to Heaven we allowed the High Priest of Rome, Constantine, to incorporate the Christian faith into its idolatrous religious system. It was an apostasy that plagues us to this very hour. It is only by the grace of God that a remnant has finally begun to come outside this religious camp and to turn their faces towards Jerusalem.

So where are we today? Drawing closer to the moment when all Israel, a remnant of both Judah and Israel, will again experience the glorious unveiled face of our God. Soon these words of Isaiah will resound within the hearts of all God’s people: “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you, says Yahweh your Redeemer” (Isa. 54:7,8). 

And then –all Israel will  be saved!

Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm


Take a stand against global terror?

The recent terror attacks in France in the "City of Lights" has shaken not only Europe but the entire world.

In Israel, the Israeli Knesset and the wals of the Old City of Jerusalem were lit up with the colors of the French flag as Israel stood in solidarity with France. Israel knows what it is to suffer terror attacks day-in and day-out over decades.

Ironically just a few days ago, Israel was singled out by the EU to have products, originating in Judea & Samaria to be labeled in order to have these products boycotted! Those that will be most affected by any boycotts are those workers that the BDS supporters purport to support - the Palestinain workers in Israeli factories.

It is not Israel that should be boycotted but rather Islam that is intolerant of other cultures and religions!


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