Got What it Takes? Mossad Launches Recruitment Drive

Got What it Takes? Mossad Launches Recruitment Drive

Israel’s fabled Mossad spy agency on Monday launched a new website and accompanying YouTube video as part of a broader recruitment drive.

“The goal of the upgraded site is to make the [Mossad] more accessible to potential recruits who may not be exposed to the variety of positions in operations, intelligence, technology and cyber, and administration available,” read a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Mossad Director Tamir Pardo added:

“The State of Israel has been and remains under daily, tangible threats. We must continue to recruit the best people into our ranks so that the Mossad might continue to lead, defend and allow for the continued existence of the State of Israel. The Mossad’s qualitative human capital is the secret of our success. The Mossad will continue to operate wherever and whenever necessary in order to defend the security of the State of Israel.”

For those who make the grade, Pardo promised an extraordinary adventure:

"The Mossad has a long and glorious history of bold and daring operations. Information about the Mossad’s activity does not reach the public, and often what is publicized many years after the event is but the tip of the iceberg of almost imaginary activity and operations. It is for good reason that the Mossad is considered one of the best intelligence organizations in the world…"

The English-language version of the recruitment site can be found by clicking here, and the recruitment video, which is only in Hebrew, can be seen below.


Christians to be First to Use New Jerusalem Arena

Christians to be First to Use New Jerusalem Arena

The following is a press release by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem regarding their upcoming Feast of Tabernacles celebration to be held at Jerusalem's new Pais Arena.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is pleased to announce that our annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration will have a new home this coming October 10-15, as we will be moving the week-long event to the brand new Jerusalem Pais Arena, near Malha mall.

For the past 33 years, the ICEJ has hosted its Feast gathering in the Jerusalem Convention Center, drawing thousands of Christians each year for a dynamic celebration of this biblical festival when the nations are welcomed in Jerusalem. This year, however, the ICEJ’s Feast will be held in the ultra-modern Pais Arena, which was inaugurated last week by Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat.

With 11,600 seats on eight levels, along with special seating galleries and executive boxes plus a massive center LED screen, Barkat described the Arena as “the most advanced, state-of-the-art venue of its kind in the Middle East.”

Mayor Barkat has been particularly encouraging about moving the Feast of Tabernacles to the new Arena, offering the Christian Embassy the privilege of hosting the first major international gathering in the new facility.

Coming on the heels of the recent Gaza conflict, the ICEJ’s Feast 2014 will also be a huge statement of solidarity with Israel by the thousands of Christians expected to show up for the festival.

“Our move to this new facility in Jerusalem is a very exciting development which will allow us to further grow the Feast of Tabernacles,” said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ Executive Director. “We believe that in the years to come, this new hall will be filled every Sukkot with even more pro-Israel Christians from around the globe. So this is a thrilling moment for the city of Jerusalem and for our ministry.”

This year’s Feast schedule includes the traditional Israeli Guest Night, when the event is opened up to thousands of Israelis to enjoy a musical program geared for a Jewish audience. On Tuesday evening, 14 October, Israelis can enjoy their first experience in the new Arena along with their Christian friends from around the world, featuring special performances by Israeli and foreign artists.


Israel Still 4th Most Educated Nation, But Losing Ranking

Israel Still 4th Most Educated Nation, But Losing Ranking

Data released by the Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD) last week revealed that following the recently concluded school year, Israel remains among the most educated nations on earth, though its ranking is dropping.

At present, Israel is the fourth most educated nation, coming in behind Russia, Canada and Japan, and just ahead of the United States.

The ranking is determined based on the percentage of the population engaged in tertiary education, either at universities, colleges, technical institutions or the like. Over 46 percent of Israelis possess or are in the process of obtaining post-secondary degrees.

Three years ago, Israel ranked number two in the OECD survey, and last year the Jewish state tied with Japan for second place.

There are several reasons for Israel’s minor decline.

  • The OECD study noted that Israel’s population is growing far faster than other nations toward the top of the rankings. From 2000 to 2009, for example, Israel’s population increased by a whopping 19 percent.

  • Teacher salaries in Israel are abysmally low compared to other top-ranked nations. The OECD average income for secondary teachers is USD $32,000, while in Israel teachers at the same level earn only USD $19,000.

  • Another reason that is closely related to the teacher salary issue is government spending on education. Israel currently invests only USD $11,553 per student on tertiary education, while the OECD average is USD $13,957 per student. The United States spends the most, at USD $26,021 per student.

Considering the above, Israel is something of an anomaly when it comes to education. It’s population, especially among the poorer demographics, is skyrocketing, and it spends very little on educating those people. And yet, Israelis are among the most schooled people in the world.

Citing the disproportionate number of Jewish Nobel prize winners, Professor Robert Aumann, himself a Nobel laureate in economics, attributed the high level of Jewish and Israeli education to a long history of studying the Bible.

“Torah study is an intellectual pursuit, and honoring this ultimate value transfers to other pursuits as well,” Aumann told Israel’s Army Radio late last year. “Throughout the generations we have given great honor to this intellectual pursuit…Torah study makes the nation and its people of the finest and highest quality.”


Low Turnout at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

Low Turnout at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

The annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem was a far more understated event this year following two postponements due to the Gaza war and related controversy surrounding the event’s organizers.

For more than a decade, the Jerusalem pride parade has been held in the middle of the day and has attracted many thousands of participants, much to the consternation of the city’s more religious population.

Originally scheduled for late June, the parade had to be put off as Hamas missiles rained down on Israel, including a number of volleys fired at Jerusalem.

When the parade was finally held at 5 PM last Thursday, only a few hundred members of the LGBT community bothered to show up.

The Jerusalem Open House, which organizes the parade, attributed the low turnout to the war and multiple postponements. But some said the reason was more likely an outburst on Facebook by Open House director Elinor Sidi during the course of the Gaza war.

On July 20, as Israeli soldiers were busy combatting Gaza’s Hamas terrorist infrastructure with the overwhelming backing of the Israeli public, Sidi called on dissenters to “burn down” the Knesset and the military headquarters in Tel Aviv. She further called on IDF soldiers to refuse their orders.

The post outraged many, including a many members of the homosexual community.

Whatever the reason, the more subdued nature of the gay pride parade this year was a welcome development for the majority of Jerusalem residents who see the event as a desecration of this holy city.


School Bus Attacked in Jerusalem

School Bus Attacked in Jerusalem

Arab stone throwers attacked a bus full of Jewish school children near Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning, causing damage but no physical injuries.

The attack occurred in the valley between the Old City and the Mount of Olives. The children were on a field trip at the time of the attack.

The assailants managed to shatter part of the bus’ windshield, and a number of terrified children were treated for shock.

The attack was the latest in what the Israeli media has dubbed “the silent intifada”.

In July and August, no fewer than 152 attacks on Jewish residents of Jerusalem were registered with police, and the violence appears to be escalating as September nears its end.

Police have arrested hundreds of local Arab residents believed involved in the attacks. Some of the suspected perpetrators are as young as nine-years-old.

Mayor Nir Barkat has vowed to continue the crackdown until peace is restored to all neighborhoods in the capital, but many fear the authorities will not truly do what is necessary until the rioters and terrorists manage to spill Jewish blood.

“Until there is blood, no one is going to take the hard measures needed to end this violence,” wrote Orly Goldklang, deputy editor of the Israeli daily newspaper Makor Rishon. “These relatively minor acts of terror (and Israel’s failure to react strongly) are setting the stage for much larger attacks.”

Indeed, this has been a common criticism of Israeli authorities for years. Typically, the police and army are not given a green light to respond in force until enough Israelis are killed or wounded.

“If we don’t come to our senses soon, a far greater outbreak of violence is only a matter of time,” warned columnist Nadav Shragai in the daily Israel Hayom.

PHOTO: Illustration.


Obama and the Rabbis

Obama and the Rabbis

Jews are naturally interested in Barack Obama's policy in the Middle East, and not a few rabbis are using telltale signs in American leader’s expressions of religion and moral values to draw somewhat far-fetched conclusions regarding the spiritual nature of his presidency. 

Since Obama's election, Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, the most popular Orthodox Jewish "evangelist" in Israel, has been among those teaching that he is the representation of "Tidal," the "king of nations" mentioned in Genesis 14:1. 

Being the forty-fourth president of the United States, Obama’s presidency will be characterized by bloodshed, because in gematria – where Hebrew letters can take numeric value and vice versa – 44 makes the word for blood. 

Rabbi Yitzhak also views Obama as a Christian Muslim, and as such a representation of both Edom (a euphemism for Christianity) and Ishmael (Islam), Israel's two arch enemies. Obama's presidency therefore will be characterized by dangerous anti-Israel policy that has the potential to bring about Israel's destruction. 

This danger, says Rabbi Yitzhak, can be averted by the repentance of individual Jews. In other words, Israel's wellbeing depends not on the IDF, but on proper Jewish response to God.

Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, another respected figure in certain religious circles, claims that the summer’s Gaza war has initiated the great war of Gog and Magog with nations gathering against Israel prior to the coming of Messiah. The reason for this war, he says, has everything to do with homosexuality, and particularly the annual gay and lesbian parade in Jerusalem, which was postponed this year because of the Gaza conflagration. 

President Obama enters this scheme by being the first American president to openly supported gay and lesbian marriage. 

According to Jewish understanding, incest was the cause of the Flood and incest will be the cause for the last apocalyptic war of Gog and Magog. 

Like Rabbi Yitzhak, Rabbi Schwartz uses esoteric interpretation methods to draw his conclusion that the world is coming to its end. An example is the appearance of the name "Obama" in Ezekiel 38:2, where, in Hebrew, counting seven letters from the last letter of the word "prince" makes the word "Obama." Be that as it may, Rabbi Schwartz still says that Israel bears heavy responsibility for the impending global doom, and therefore must undergo a deep and thorough searching of her soul.

There are other rabbis and small time "prophets" who likewise use a "biblical code" system to find names, places, events and even specific dates that supposedly reveal Obama's most secret intents. 

Intriguing and captivating as it may be, however, relying on such methods for the understanding of current affairs has proved erroneous too many times in the past. Having said that, however, this phenomenon demonstrates that many rabbis harbor a deep and unusual distrust of Obama.


Israeli Christians Officially Recognized as Arameans, Not Arabs

Israeli Christians Officially Recognized as Arameans, Not Arabs

Earlier this year, Israel took the first step in recognizing the nation’s Christians as an independent minority. Now, local Israeli Christians can register as a distinct ethnicity, as well.

Lumped together with the Arab population for centuries, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) has been instructed to now recognize the bulk of the country’s Christians as Aramaeans, the actual ethnicity of most of the region’s Christians prior to the Arab Muslim conquest.

“The existence of the Aramean nationality is clear and obvious,” wrote Interior Minister Gideon Saar in his official directive to the PIBA.

Saar noted that local Aramean Christians have a distinct “historical heritage, religion, culture, descent and language” - all the conditions necessary to be recognized as a national or ethnic group.

The change in the national registry will be by request for those Christians born into Christian families or clans and who can speak Aramaic. A large group of Christians had already applied for such recognition four years ago, and will now be granted the desired ethnic status.

This decision “corrects a historic injustice that wrongly defined Israel’s citizens of eastern-Christian descent as ‘Christian Arabs,’ although other than their spoken language, they have absolutely no connection to the Arab nationality,” wrote Father Gabriel Naddaf on his Facebook page.

Naddaf is the spiritual leader of the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, which encourages local Christians to volunteer for Israeli army service and fully integrate with Israeli Jewish society.

Naddaf and like-minded Christian leaders have been arguing for years that in modern Israel, Middle East Christians are finally free to once again express themselves and their faith independent of the Muslim Arab majority.

“This is a historic moment,” forum spokesman Shadi Khalloul told Israel’s Ynet news portal. “The Aramean people are finally seeing justice after being persecuted across the region.”

Asked why the Israeli government’s decision means so much, Khalloul provided a short history lesson: “We have existed in this region for thousands of years. We accepted Christianity, but then had Arabic forced upon us during the Arab conquest, just as local Jews did. But we preserved our language in churches and other cultural settings.”

Khalloul further explained that the lack of proper ethnic recognition was a gaping hole in the lives of many local Christians. “I refused to officially register my two-year-old son after his birth because the Interior Ministry wanted to register him as an Arab,” he said. “Now I can happily register him as an Aramean.”

Khalloul and his Jewish interviewer went on to speak of the shared history between Jews and Arameans, and even the deep connections between Hebrew and the Aramaic language. In fact, many Jewish prayers, most notably several Passover blessings, are in Aramaic, and common modern Hebrew words like “aba” and “ima” - father and mother - come from Aramaic.

“Yesterday in Israel we saw the correction of an historical injustice,” wrote columnist Dror Idar in the daily newspaper Israel Hayom. “Congratulations to the Aramean nation, and here’s to a life of fruitful coexistence in the Holy Land.”

PHOTO: Aramean Christians, including Father Gabriel Naddaf (center) demonstrate in Tel Aviv.


Dramatic Rise in Ultra-Orthodox Joining IDF

Dramatic Rise in Ultra-Orthodox Joining IDF

Despite ultra-Orthodox protests, there has been a dramatic increase of 39 percent in the number of new Israeli army recruits coming from the Haredi sector this year.

That impressive figure was presented by the Israeli army at a meeting of the ministerial committee established to monitor implementation of the new “equal burden” law passed amid growing frustration among secular Israelis that the Orthodox community was not pulling its weight.

The law initially set the ambitious goal of 2,000 ultra-Orthodox recruits in its first year. That goal was very nearly reached with 1,972 from the Haredi community joining the army over the past 12 months.

Of the 1,972 young Orthodox men who showed up for military recruitment, 863 chose to serve in combat units. Various infantry brigades, such as the Nahal and Givati brigades, have established special battalions for Orthodox recruits to help those soldiers maintain their religious lifestyle while serving their nation.

“This data represents the start of a social revolution in Israel,” declared Science Minister Yaakov Peri, who heads the equal burden committee. “We pushed through the legislative process despite dire predictions and repeated warnings about how the Haredi community would react in an extreme and negative way.”

The committee’s other members praised the work that went into further integrating the Orthodox community in a professional and sensitive manner.

According to the equal burden legislation, Orthodox recruitment is expected to increase each year, and by 2017 the government expects 5,200 annual recruits from the Haredi community. By that time, the government intends to issue only 1,800 full exemptions per year to Orthodox Jews who will study Torah in lieu of national service.

The increased military recruitment is also have another hoped-for positive effect in that a lot more Orthodox Jews are entering the work force.

Figures released by the Ministry of Economy showed that while only 734 ultra-Orthodox men had approached the ministry’s job placement services in the first half of 2013, that number had nearly tripled to 2,135 during the first half of 2014.

About half of the job applicants are young people aged 18–27, who the ministry will assist with counseling, workshops and other efforts to enable them to fully integrate into the mainstream economy.

“This is a dramatic change not only for the ultra-Orthodox sector, but for the State of Israel,” said Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. “It proves that dialogue can achieve great results, and that unity with the ultra-Orthodox, who are our brothers, is best for everyone.”

Bennett concluded by stating that “both Torah and the state [of Israel] are important to me. There is no contradiction” in serving both.


The Islamic State Thinks 'Big': Next Target - Jordan and Israel?

The Islamic State Thinks 'Big': Next Target - Jordan and Israel?

The Middle East has a serious problem, and it isn’t the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Though one wouldn’t know it by the skewed focus of international media and diplomatic attention, the crisis of the Islamic State dwarfs even the most serious bouts of Israeli-Arab violence.

Over the past several months, the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS), a Sunni Muslim group rejected by Al Qaeda as being too extreme, has not only managed to gain control over much of Iraq and Syria, but has fulfilled the long-held dream of many Sunnis by establishing a "caliphate" that demands the allegiance of all faithful Muslims.

But the Islamic State’s notorious leader, Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi, is not content with the territory he already rules. Al-Baghdadi is thinking big, and has vowed to forcibly spread Islam to the four corners of the world. Iraq was only the first target among many, and the swift defeat of the US-trained and equipped Iraqi military provided the Islamists a major morale boost.

Abdul Alhasan (name changed for security reasons), a member of the Iraqi parliament, explained the easy conquest of key Iraqi cities by pointing a blaming finger at his nation’s unpopular government. 

“We poured billions of dollars into military equipment and training, but these fanatics managed to deal us a severe blow. This would not have been possible if the government listened to the will of its people,” said the politician, insisting that Iraq needs to grant greater autonomy to its diverse group of minorities and abandon the American idea of an overbearing central government.

Instead, Baghdad has strongly suppressed calls for greater regional autonomy, sparking violent clashes and dangerous shifts in allegiances. This has only made the Islamic State’s job easier, with some factions preferring the caliphate to their own government. It would appear that a unified Iraq’s days are numbered.

And while Alhassan and others remain optimistic that Iraq still has a fighting chance, the Islamic State is already moving on to new targets in its assaults on Jordanian border towns. The goal is clear: topple Jordan’s monarch and annex the territory of the Hashemite Kingdom in a march that inevitably leads to Israel.

In a face-to-face showdown, Jordan’s well-trained military and substantial regional and international backing should be too much for the Islamic State to overcome. The real threat is the Islamic State gaining supporters within Jordan. “Mass demonstrations in support of the Islamic State have already taken place in the Jordanian city of Maan,” notes Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert on Islam at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.

Kedar stresses that many Palestinian and Syrian refugees residing in the Kingdom are angry over the way Jordanian authorities handle their miserable living conditions, "forcing thousands to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, which they view as a solution to their problems."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been monitoring the developments closely, vowed to help Jordan in curbing the rising threat. "Israel realizes that one day we may all wake up to find the Islamic State on our borders," says Kedar. "The real danger is that Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and even inside Israel proper may support the Islamic State, shattering Israel's security."

According to the pundit, it might be in Israel’s interests to tackle this threat militarily before it has a chance to gain a foothold West of the Jordan River. While such a decision hasn’t been taken yet, rumors are that Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the US have established an operations center in Amman with the aim of developing plans to defeat the Islamic State.

The Islamic State has asserted that its present focus is dealing with apostate Muslim countries, but there is no doubt the jihadist horde is inching ever closer to the Jewish state.

UPDATE: In fact, the Islamic State has already reached Gaza, the West Bank and Israel proper. In the upcoming issue of Israel Today Magazine, we interview an Islamic State member active in the Gaza Strip.

The October 2014 issue of Israel Today will be provided free of charge to all our daily newsletter subscribers. If you haven’t already, click here to sign up today.


'Silent Intifada' Rages in Jerusalem

'Silent Intifada' Rages in Jerusalem

By outside appearances it would seem life in Israel has returned to normal following the conclusion of the summer’s Gaza war. However, in Jerusalem, what the Israeli press has dubbed the “silent intifada” is raging, and growing more dangerous by the day.

On Tuesday night, a 44-year-old religious Jewish man was badly injured when a gang of Palestinian Arabs attacked his vehicle with stones in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

It was far from an isolated incident.

Over the past several weeks, stabbings, rock-throwing and firebomb attacks have become a daily occurrence for Jews that dare stray into Arab-dominated neighborhoods. And when no Jews can be found on their own streets, Arab gangs have been moving into Jewish neighborhoods like French Hill to cause havoc there.

In all, 152 such attacks were registered in July and August.

Police this week arrested 22 suspects, some as young as nine-years-old, who were involved in some of the latest attacks. But local residents say the authorities are doing far too little.

“Until there is blood, no one is going to take the hard measures needed to end this violence,” wrote Orly Goldklang, deputy editor of the Israeli daily newspaper Makor Rishon. “These relatively minor acts of terror (and Israel’s failure to react strongly) are setting the stage for much larger attacks.”

Indeed, this has been a common criticism of Israeli authorities for years. Typically, the police and army are not given a green light to respond in force until Palestinian terrorists actually manage to kill or wound enough Israelis.

“If we don’t come to our senses soon, a far greater outbreak of violence is only a matter of time,” warned columnist Nadav Shragai in the daily Israel Hayom.


Study: America No Longer 'Needs' Israel

Study: America No Longer 'Needs' Israel

A new Israeli study into the historical role of the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has concluded that America no longer has “need” of the Jewish state, and that the ongoing “special relationship” between the two allies is a relic of the past maintained today by political dynamics in Congress.

Conducted by Dan Rotem of the Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, the study was presented on Tuesday at Netanya Academic College. In it, Rotem suggested that American involvement in the Middle East in the 20th century was driven by energy-related interests and regional rivalries resulting from the global confrontation of the Cold War.

The study then examined the complex subject of American mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as well as the internal dynamics of the “special relationship” between Israel and the US.

Rotem concluded that over time, as America became increasingly liberal and ethnically diverse, even as Israel grew more conservative and ethnocentric, Washington came to the determination that it no longer had need of Israel as a kind of military or political “forward position” in the Middle East.

In light of that, it was further concluded that America had not exhausted its ability to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Rotem suggested that Washington do some genuine soul searching regarding its goals in the Israeli-Arab conflict and what it wants to achieve in the region.

Subsequently, the US should examine whether or not it is truly prepared to take the steps necessary to achieve those goals. For instance, the two parties to the conflict have taken on certain obligations in existing agreements, and non-compliance should result in real consequences.

America’s credibility in the Middle East is very much tied to the perception of whether or not it has mediated fairly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At the end of the day, if there is a disconnect between what America wants to accomplish and what it is willing to do, then it would be better to return to the drawing table and find an alternative way forward.


New US-Israel Visa Option Opens Fresh Opportunities

New US-Israel Visa Option Opens Fresh Opportunities

There are many Jews and non-Jews around the world with a special interest in Israel, and particularly in the Israeli economy.

For non-Jewish Americans, a very special and unique opportunity is in the offing that would provide a way to financially bless the Israeli economy, be blessed in return by the Israeli economy, and be able to stay in Israel for an extended period of time on a special investment visa.

In 2012, the United States enacted an official arrangement allowing Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated American nationals were in turn made eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel. 

The Israeli arrangement that is being formulated should be almost identical to the American arrangement, at least as it relates to the investment visa itself, and expert worker's visas for specialists who would work within the company that will be established by the investor, or within an existing Israeli company wherein the investor has invested.

A team comprised of representatives from various Israeli governmental ministries was formed in order to formulate such an arrangement. The team determined that in order to establish a similar arrangement, a visa will be given to an investor and employee/family members on its behalf which regulates their residence and work in Israel, subject to meeting certain conditions.

Eligibility for the visa will be determined in two stages.

In the first stage, the investment will be judged on its merits specifically, the investor him/herself, the financial and legal aspects of the investment, as well as the nature of the venture.

In the second stage, the people seeking the investment visas and the expert worker's visas will be examined as individuals, as well as in their role in the project and their essentialness to the venture. 

The investor may be an individual or a company. If the applicant is an individual, he/she must be a citizen of the United States with a valid passport. If the applicant is a company, more than 50% of the corporation must be held, controlled and actually operated by an American individual or entity.

Additionally, the investor must show that it has control over the capital that is to be invested in the venture and that it was received through legal means. The investor and others acting on its behalf must prove that they have not previously resided in Israel illegally. The applicants must also submit a federal certificate of good conduct (FBI background check).

The investment itself must be invested in a new commercial Israeli company or in a commercial company that is already in existence that provides services or products for profit and that has been incorporated in Israel and is operated and controlled in Israel.

The most important criteria of the investment is that it constitutes a substantial amount of capital - this will be measured in proportion to the total value of the business venture, and the applicant must show that the capital it intends to bring is expected to be sufficient to successfully operate the business venture.

The accompanying investment visa will be granted for a period of two years, with the possibility of extension.

The visa will be obtained by submitting a specific application form that has yet to be finalized, and that we suggest will be filled out with the assistance of an Israeli attorney. Subsequently, an interview with an Israeli consul will be arranged, and if the consul decides that the request is relevant, it will be forwarded to Israel’s Ministry of Economy.

It should be noted that although this arrangement was approved at a government meeting on March 30th, 2014, the above process has not yet been officially established in Israel. In order to legalize the above decision, the Israeli government may need to legislate specific relevant regulations, and amendments to existing laws.

Notwithstanding, US citizens who wish to come and work in Israel by virtue of a foreign investment may in some cases still be able to do so with an expert worker's visa. However, this type of visa is for a shorter period of time, and does not provide the same benefits as the investment visa, such as an exemption from tax that is imposed on foreign workers. Let's therefore hope that the framework for the investment visa will be officially established in Israel in the near future.

Click here to learn more about the process of acquiring an expert worker’s visa in Israel.

We are happy to share this information, and we hope that this unique and special opportunity will be seized by those who are able, who truly support Israel, and who truly would like to join in on the blessing promised to those who bless the seed of Abraham.

Michael Decker has a B.A. in law and is a licensed attorney in Israel, and a partner in the law offices of Yehuda Raveh & Co., which handles hundreds of immigration cases into Israel each year. Michael also serves as Senior Legal Advisor to the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.

For further inquiries regarding the issues mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Michael at:


Study: Rocket Stress Results in More Baby Girls

Study: Rocket Stress Results in More Baby Girls

In the rocket-battered southern Israel town of Sderot, an abnormally large percentage of all births are girls. That according to a new study aimed at measuring the effect of stress on pregnancies.

The study compared statistics from both Sderot and the southern town of Kiryat Gat between 2001 and 2008. During this period, only Sderot was subjected to nearly daily rocket attacks from Gaza, while both towns are an equal distance from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

Under the title “Prenatal Stress and Risk of Spontaneous Abortion,” the study found the boy-girl birth ration in Sderot between 2001–2008 to be 49.5 percent to 50.5 percent. Everywhere else in Israel, the numbers are opposite: 51 percent of all births are boys, while 49 percent are girls.

“Since 2001, Sderot has been constantly targeted by rockets from the Gaza Strip,” the researchers wrote, determining that the accompanying stress of these attacks resulted in increased miscarriages.

“Female fetuses are less susceptible to stress in general,” said Eyal Anteby, head of obstetrics and gynecology at Barzilai, suggesting that this could be the reason more natural births in Sderot are girls during such times.

But that doesn’t mean even the girls born in Sderot don’t enter the world under greater trauma.

The study found that 44 percent of the girls born in Sderot had a lower birth weight than those from Kiryat Gat. Additionally, the probability of premature birth in Sderot was twice as high as elsewhere in the country.


Rabbinic Court Detains Messianic Minor

Rabbinic Court Detains Messianic Minor

A Messianic Israeli mother is calling for help to rescue her 13-year-old daughter who is being held against her will in Israel by the religious Rabbinic Court. 

When young Amber Layman arrived from the USA at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel with her mother, Danielle Layman, and three younger siblings, her delighted grandfather innocently snapped some quick pictures and uploaded them on Facebook. 

Little did anyone know that among those following the family’s Facebook posts was Amber’s estranged biological father, Shahar Abecassis.

When Abecassis, who had been convicted of domestic violence by a civil Israeli court and divorced from Amber’s mother, saw the picture of his biological child in Israel, he filed a complaint with the Rabbinic Court in Ashdod, claiming that his daughter had been “kidnapped and taken to America.” 

Legally, however, Abecassis is no longer the Amber’s father. According to adoption papers issued by a US court and obtained by Israel Today, Jeremy Layman, who married Amber’s mother, is now her legal father and guardian.  

At least that’s what an American District Court determined, and it is a view shared by the Ministry of Interior in Israel, which removed Abecassis’ name from Amber’s Israeli ID and listed Jeremy Layman as her father. Even Amber’s American and Israeli passports register Jeremy as her father. 

In his complaint to the Rabbinic Court, Abecassis noted that the “Layman family are Christians,” and expressed “fears they will raise his daughter as a gentile.” The Rabbinic Court, which has jurisdiction over marital matters, responded by issuing a warrant restricting Amber from departing Israel with her family and returning to the USA. 

Amber’s mother Danielle Layman recalled some of this ongoing saga’s backstory:

"I became a believer in Jesus while living in Beersheva. We started a small home group for new believers with some of my friends. Amber’s biological father was abusive from the very beginning of our marriage. The court ordered a restraining order to keep him away. I eventually had no choice, so I divorced him."

Layman eventually moved to the USA, where she met and married Jeremy Layman, a National Guard Platoon Sergeant currently serving in Afghanistan. The family attends a local Baptist church in Kansas. 

In Israel, once a complaint is filed in a Rabbinical court regarding domestic matters such as visitation rights or child custody, the family could find itself facing rulings rooted in Halakha (Jewish religious law) rather than secular civil law. In such cases, it is highly possible that they may lose some of the protections provided by Israeli civil law.

The case of 13-year-old Amber presents yet another challenge amidst mounting tensions between Israel’s religious and secular societies. Will the Rabbinic Court recognize Amber’s legal American adoption?  Or will it determine that, according to Halakha, the biological father still has rights? 

Amber’s mother is writing to US senators and congressmen asking them to put pressure on the Israeli government to intervene on behalf of her daughter. But do the rabbis in Israel pay any heed to American political pressure? Will the secular Israeli government and courts get involved?

A Rabbinic Court hearing regarding Amber’s case is scheduled for October 2. Ignoring completely Amber’s legal adoption, the rabbinical authorities are forbidding Jeremy Layman from attending the proceedings.

Israel Today will continue covering the case and report on any further developments, especially after the October 2 hearing. Stay informed and pray informed with Israel Today.


'Israel Might Have to Strike Iran at Any Moment'

'Israel Might Have to Strike Iran at Any Moment'

In battling the political echelon for defense budget increases on Sunday, the commander of the Israel Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, reminded everyone that the same planes used to attack Gaza over the summer could be called upon at any moment to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“There’s no one in this room who’d be prepared to ride in a car as old as our planes,” Eshel said in remarks carried by Israel’s Channel 2 News. “Yesterday these planes were in Gaza, and tomorrow we may send them to Tehran.”

Israel’s national budget has been a source of great tension in the wake of the summer’s Gaza war.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid has vowed not to raise taxes to cover the expense of the offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu insists that in addition to covering the Gaza war, Israel needs to pour billions of additional shekels into the defense budget in order to effectively tackle a wide range of pressing security threats.

Netanyahu remains committed to preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons at any cost, and maintaining Israel’s air superiority is key to following through on that promise.

With Iran remaining defiant in its quest for an atomic bomb, Eshel’s comment was seen in local media as a hint that Israel could be preparing to strike the Islamic Republic in the very near future.


Egyptian Academic Demands Jews Return Exodus Gold

Egyptian Academic Demands Jews Return Exodus Gold

“The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold… The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.” Exodus 12:35–36

There are some in Egypt who still aren’t happy about the above, and are demanding, some 3,500 years later, that the Jews return their nation’s plundered treasure.

“We know for a fact that Moses was in this land,” stated prominent Egyptian academic Amar Ali Hassan in a July interview with Egypt’s Channel 1.

“When they (the Jews) left they stole Egypt’s gold and treasures,” he continued. “We demand that they return the treasures they stole from us.”

Of greater note than Hassan’s absurd demand is the fact that a leading Arab intellectual is acknowledging Jewish history in the region. Most of Israel’s antagonists typically try to do the opposite.

Dr. Amar Ali Hassan is a PHD in political science. He has worked for years at top research centers across the Middle East, and is the author of numerous books. His interview was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).


Can Qatar-Funded American Mediators be Trusted?

Can Qatar-Funded American Mediators be Trusted?

German Development Aid Minister Gerd Mueller earlier this month singled out Qatar as one of the Middle East’s leading financial sponsors of recognized terrorist organizations.

If Mueller’s assessment, which is shared by many, is accurate, then surely Qatar is an untrustworthy regime that certainly should not be relied upon by those purporting to seek peace in the region.

Yet, that’s precisely what some of America’s leading politicians and diplomats are doing.

It was already noted how at the outbreak of the summer’s Gaza war, senior US Representative Nancy Pelosi saw fit to seek Qatar’s counsel regarding whether or not Hamas could be trusted.

US Secretary of State John Kerry then enraged Israel when he sought the sheikdom’s counsel in formulating the Obama Administration’s first, failed ceasefire proposal at the height of that same Gaza war.

Israeli officials are now calling into question the credibility of America’s chief Middle East negotiator, Martin Indyk (pictured), after The New York Times revealed that his employer, the Brookings Institution, receives a sizable portion of its funding from Qatar.

“The fact that the same Qatari government [that bankrolls Hamas and other terror groups] is also a major provider of funds for a respectable Washington think tank raises a whole series of questions,” one government official told The Jerusalem Post.

The White House last week rejected the notion of including Iran in its growing coalition against the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) because, among other reasons, it deems Tehran to be a leading sponsor of terrorism.

Why then would the same American government not only cozy up to, but actively seek the assistance, both financially and in terms of information, of a nation that is openly aiding and abetting some of the region’s most vicious and uncompromising jihadists?


The Myth of Israel's Apartheid Wall

The Myth of Israel's Apartheid Wall

The concrete wall around certain parts of the West Bank was built to prevent terrorists and suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities and villages, but has long been misrepresented to accuse Israel of implementing an apartheid policy.

One can argue over the need for such a barrier, but the suggestion that it was constructed to segregate Jews from Palestinians is sheer nonsense that is nevertheless eagerly embraced by myriads who find Israel's existence extremely irritating.

A more sober look at the "apartheid wall" shows that it has been a means to protect Jewish towns from the waves of Arab violence that have been coming ever since Jews started returning to their land.

Some 57 kibbutzim (communal farms) were established during the Arab revolt of 1936-9 under the project known as "Tower and Stockade." These tiny settlements protected themselves with wooden walls and watch towers. After Israel's independence in 1948, its borders and the villages lying along the frontier were protected by barbed-wire fences. With the advance of technology, barbed-wire was eventually replaced by "smart fences" able to detect the slightest touch and alert nearby security forces of possible hostile penetration.

In 2000, Israel erected concrete walls along the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo as protection against constant gun fire from the Palestinian town of Beit Jalah across the valley. Concrete walls were similarly erected along parts of the Gaza border after Hamas seized power in the coastal enclave.

As the violence continued, smart fences, electric gates and even bunkers were installed to provide protection for more and more citizens.

In this way, far from trying to keep the Palestinians out, Israelis have been closing themselves in. Israelis have chosen to live behind bars, not because they are racists, but out of fear of Palestinian terror.

These protective walls have reached their ultimate absurdity in the wake of the last military operation against Gaza. Now they are erected around kindergartens located in the vicinity of Gaza. Private homes, schools and bus stops in the area are likewise fortified. Furthermore, Israel has created a virtual protective dome over its skies (the Iron Dome) and now is attempting to invent an anti-tunnel warning system.

These massive measures of fortifications stand in sharp contrast to the Arab villages that have never felt the need for such protections.

Far from being part of a nefarious apartheid policy, the fences and walls one sees throughout the Holy Land are an irritation for Israelis who feel they are once again being confined to ghettos. Nevertheless, nearly everyone agrees these are essential measures in Israel’s constant struggle for survival.

The vicious campaigns against the "apartheid wall" that was only built after hundreds of Israelis were killed in Palestinian suicide bombings are in actuality part of a larger campaign to deny the Jews the very right to defend themselves. Concealing such campaigns behind the thin veneer of protesting the alleged immorality of an allegedly racist state is, therefore, an attempt to make anti-Semitisim appear decent and acceptable.


ISIS Popularity Growing in Israel

ISIS Popularity Growing in Israel

As the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) inches closer to Israel in its sweeping conquest of Iraq and Syria, the real threat is that the extremist movement will gain a large number of followers in the Holy Land long before its current warriors reach the borders of the Jewish state.

A recent government report suggested that dozens of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have already traveled abroad to join the Islamic State. And now, there are signs that local Muslims are taking up the cause.

“ISIS is on the right path,” an imam at a mosque in northern Israel preached last week.

At another mosque in the area, a congregant publicly declared, “The Islamic State is the only one that can establish an Islamic state, and it is good they are punishing people. I hope they make it to Israel.”

Israel’s Ynet news portal reported that in both those cases, and many others like them, the statements of support for ISIS were quickly followed by verbal and even physical confrontations between local Muslims both for and against the Islamic State.

Many Israeli Muslims view ISIS as a threat, but the concern is that they will quickly and quietly fade to the background as the clamor from the terrorist movement’s backers grows ever louder.

“When the picture becomes clear, everyone will understand that the Islamic State is the only solution for everyone. Jews should also support the state and convert to Islam,” another imam told Ynet.

In Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, a large sign featuring the ISIS symbol and a threat against “infidels that do not accept Islam” was taken down by police, only to be put back up with little or no public outcry.

Atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, worshippers have been photographed freely strolling about the sacred compound while carrying ISIS flags.

“When a backdrop of sympathy exists, there are usually some who cross over to wider action,” warned former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy in an interview with Army Radio this week.

Halevy noted that a similar thing had “occurred in western Europe and could already be happening here.”

It would appear Halevy’s assessment was accurate. Just days after his interview, a Jerusalem-based jihadist movement that previously pledged allegiance to ISIS threatened to carry out attacks against Twitter if the social media network continued to close the account of Islamic State supporters and officials.

Al Musra Al Maqdisia (The Supporters Of Jerusalem) posted a message reading:

“The time has arrived to respond to Twitter’s management by directly attacking their employees and physically assassinating them!! Those who will carry this out are the sleeper cells of death.”

Ignoring the mounting evidence to the contrary, the Palestinian Authority this week insisted that local Arabs are “moderate” and do not support the Islamic State.

A report in Palestinian Authority-controlled newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi cited officials as saying the Islamic State had tried to make inroads into Palestinian society, but had failed.

In addition to the aforementioned signs that the PA assertions are untrue, many Israelis would argue that Hamas (which shares many views and goals with ISIS) is far from “moderate,” yet enjoys widespread support on the Palestinian street.


Palestinians Compare Gaza War to 9/11

Palestinians Compare Gaza War to 9/11

State-run Palestinian Authority TV last week ran a report that visually compared the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York City’s World Trade Center to Israel’s bombing of Gaza’s terrorist infrastructure over the summer.

The report featured footage of the hijacked airliners slamming into the Twin Towers side-by-side with footage of the Israeli Air Force’s bombing of an apartment tower in Gaza City last month.

The implication was clear: the destruction wrought on Gaza by Israeli forces was no different than the largest attacks ever on US soil.

Palestinian Media Watch, which provided translation of portions of the PA TV report, responded by pointing out a few missing facts:

  1. “The Gaza building held a large Hamas command center, from which terrorists were dispatched. There were no terrorists at the World Trade Center, that attack was aimed at civilians”;
  2. “Israel warned those in the Gaza building that an attack was coming. Those in the WTC received no warning”; and
  3. “No one was killed in the Gaza attack, unlike in the World Trade Center, where nearly 3,000 innocent civilians were killed.”

It should also be pointed out that the Palestinian street erupted in celebration as Osama bin Laden’s “holy warriors” massacred thousands of Americans 13 years ago today.


Palestinian Authority Angered by Jewish, Arab Children Playing Together

Palestinian Authority Angered by Jewish, Arab Children Playing Together

Only former Israeli President Shimon Peres could pull off something like organizing a friendly football (soccer) match between Israeli and Palestinian children just a week after the latest Gaza war.

And only the Palestinian Authority could be so callous as to condemn such a demonstration of peaceful coexistence.

The game organized by Peres wasn’t between just any groups of Israeli and Palestinian kids. The Israelis came from the rocket-battered town of Sderot, and the Palestinians from Hebron, near to where earlier this summer Hamas terrorists abducted and executed three Jewish teens.

The game marked the start of the current year of the “School of Football and Peace,” a campaign by the Peres Center for Peace that brings together dozens of Israeli and Palestinian children for sports and other extracurricular learning activities.

Before blowing the opening whistle, Peres told the children that “football games are not played against one another, but with one another. You Israeli children from the Gaza periphery who have come to play with Palestinian children symbolize the hope for peace. You endured a difficult summer, and today you open a new year that I hope will instead be filled with sport and dialogue.”

Issa Abu Hamid, the coach of the Palestinian children, added, “I’m excited to see you all here after we were prevented from meeting over the previous months. I hope that on this field we can start something new and return to enjoying football together in an atmosphere of friendship.”

Some of the children from Sderot embraced their Palestinian counterparts and were quoted as saying, “We can make peace with the Palestinians.”

Israel’s “peace partners” in the Palestinian Authority, however, didn’t seem to feel the same.

“Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity,” insisted Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of the ruling Fatah faction and head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sports and Youth Affairs.

In a post to his Facebook page (which was translated by Palestinian Media Watch), Rajoub said it was official policy to oppose and prevent joint sporting events between Israeli and Palestinian children.

Abd Al-Salam, a member of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, took his criticism to another level, demanding that the government in Ramallah prosecute the coach of the Palestinian children’s team as a “traitor.”

The local Fatah branch in the town from which the Palestinian children came also issued a statement denouncing the friendly game. Read the following while keeping in mind that Fatah is the party of “moderate” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, a man whom the world insists is a genuine peace partner for Israel:

“[This game] was an individual act, conceived by sick souls that agreed to be humiliated for a handful of money. We urge the residents to supervise their children and distance them from these kinds of activities, which damage our cause.”

A local Fatah spokesman vowed that the party would “settle the account with these reckless people,” meaning the coach and other organizers who had dared to let Palestinian children commit the heinous crime of playing soccer with Israeli Jews.


Justice Minister Livni Attacks anti-Israel Sign

Justice Minister Livni Attacks anti-Israel Sign

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni spent her summer vacation with her husband, Naftali Spitzer, on the Greek island of Crete. Livni certainly didn’t expect during her time away to find herself tearing down an anti-Israel propaganda sign.

During one of the couple’s outings on the island, Livni happened upon a large sign hung at a local marina reading “Free Palestine” and featuring the names of Palestinian cities imprisoned within a Star of David. In the center was the image of a young Palestinian girl weeping over the injustices of the “Israeli occupation.”

Livni, who is typically overtly politically-correct, was infuriated and attacked the sign, which was quite large and firmly attached to a tree. As such, she did not succeed in pulling it down, but did damage to the sign.

Livni was undeterred as passersby stopped to see what she was doing and photograph her damaging the large sign. One picture, Livni even uploaded to her Facebook page with the following message:

“The battle that remains ahead of us is the battle for world public opinion. I went for a short vacation and was confronted with this threat… The use of the Star of David is an attempt to connect our most cherished symbols to hatred and anti-Israel sentiment. …We must work everywhere in the world to make clear who are the terrorists and which nation is trying to protect its people from terror.”

Livni represents the leftist side Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, and is in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians. But even she has had to admit in recent weeks that currently negotiations make little sense, so long as the dispute between Hamas and Fatah remains unsolved in the Gaza Strip.


Israeli Hotel Sued for Canceling 'Anti-Missionary' Conference

Israeli Hotel Sued for Canceling 'Anti-Missionary' Conference

The Eshel Hashomron Hotel (pictured) in the Jewish town of Ariel in Samaria recently cancelled an “anti-missionary” conference scheduled for this week, and was sued for doing so.

The conference was organized by leading rabbis in Samaria who have expressed concern over growing Christian and Messianic Jewish activity in the area. The rabbis characterize all such activity as “missionary” in nature.

The conference was to be held under the banner “Jews for Sale? Are Jewish Souls Being Eliminated?”

Last week, the hotel informed the conference organizers that due to “reasons beyond our control” the event could not be held at Eshel Hashomron.

The rabbis were quick to accuse the hotel of caving to pressure from Christian ministries and groups that frequent Eshel Hashomron and provide it with much of its annual business.

The organizers sued Eshel Hashomron for NIS 200,000 (USD $55,000) for failing to honor their contract, but the case was dismissed on Tuesday by Judge Shalhevet Kamir-Weiss of the Petah Tikvah district court.

The conference’s chief organizer, Yekutiel Ben Yaakov, told Israel National News that the entire episode was “evidence of how dangerous is the [Christian] mission and how much power the missionaries wield in Samaria.”

In promoting the conference, which has been moved to an alternative venue, the rabbis asserted that “the missionaries have found a way to circumvent Israeli law and to advance ‘the mission’ in Judea and Samaria.”

In fact, what they label as “missionary activity” is not illegal in Israel. What is illegal is offering monetary reward as an incentive for conversion and attempting to convert minors. All other forms of sharing one’s faith are protected under Israel’s laws regarding freedom of religion.


'Gay Parade in Jerusalem Brings Disaster on Israel'

'Gay Parade in Jerusalem Brings Disaster on Israel'

For the past decade, the gay pride community has been holding an annual parade through the streets of Jerusalem, much to the vexation of most of the city’s Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents.

Postponed by the summer’s Gaza war, this year’s “pride parade” will be held next Thursday.

In more recent years public outcry against the parade has died down somewhat as most Israelis are focused on other threats, like the Hamas military buildup in Gaza.

But at least one activist is raising an alarm, warning that such a public embrace of homosexuality is no less dangerous than any other threat to national security.

“[Former Jerusalem Mayor Ehud] Olmert started this trend 11 years ago, and unfortunately every time this parade took place disaster befell the people of Israel,” asserted Ephraim Holtzberg in an interview with Arutz Sheva radio.

Holtzberg has helped organize a large rally in Jerusalem’s Shabbat Square for next week to protest the gay pride event, noting that “more than 90 percent of residents oppose this parade. This is the holy city, and this kind of parade has no place here.”

He further insisted that the public’s more recent acceptance of the pride parade as inevitable is “being exploited by [the homosexual community] to defy God. …They are playing with fire.”


Wounded Syrian Boy Rides Donkey to Israel

Wounded Syrian Boy Rides Donkey to Israel

A badly wounded 12-year-old Syrian boy recently rode a donkey to the safety of neighboring Israel, one of hundreds of his embattled countrymen to make the desperate journey, only to find themselves lovingly embraced by the same Jews they were taught to hate.

The boy and his family suffered serious injuries during bombing of their neighborhood near Damascus as part of Syria’s ongoing civil war.

He was blinded and his arms were badly wounded in the shelling. Doctors at Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel told Israel Today the boy’s harrowing tale.

First, the family made their way from Damascus to Lebanon, where doctors amputated one of his arms, but were able to do little more. The boy was released from the local hospital, but the family was unable to return to Damascus with escalating fighting blocking the roads.

The boy’s brother, desperate and determined, decided to take his sibling to Israel.

As they reached the Syrian side of Mt. Hermon, the older boy loaded his little brother on a donkey and they started the difficult climb to the border, where, to their surprise, they were warmly greeted by Israeli soldiers who immediately transferred them to Ziv Hospital.

Doctors at the hospital told us that their newest Syrian patient has been overwhelmed by the treatment he receives in Israel. While the boy and his brother worry for their family, they constantly express thanks for the Israeli doctors and nurses who have selflessly provided love and care. Given what they were raised to believe about Israel, neither boy could have dreamed of such an outcome to their arduous journey.


Washington Post: There is No 'Occupied Palestine'

Washington Post: There is No 'Occupied Palestine'

One of the key tenets of the Palestinian narrative that underlies the land-for-peace process is that Israel currently occupies a country known as “Palestine” in the same way Germany once occupied Poland, or China still occupies Tibet.

Those trying to correct this fallacy in service to establishing a more genuine base upon which to build peace scored a major victory this week when The Washington Post acknowledged there is no “occupied Palestine.”

A Post news article from last Friday toed the typical party line by referencing “Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank.”

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) filed an objection with The Post, noting that officially the areas known as the “West Bank” are not occupied sovereign lands, but rather disputed territories whose status needs to be resolved in negotiations.

The Washington Post agreed, and the very next day ran a correction reading:

“A Sept. 5 A-section article about Jordan agreeing to buy natural gas from Israel incorrectly referred to Israel’s occupation of ‘Palestinian lands’ in the West Bank. The Israeli-occupied territories are disputed lands that Palestinians want for a future Palestinian state.”

The same correction was featured prominently on the newspaper's website.

The reality is that a majority of Israeli are prepared to negotiate away the bulk of their biblical heartland for the sake of regional peace, but insist that such negotiations be grounded in historical accuracy, rather than based on a fantasy contrived to paint the Jews as foreign invaders.


Israelis Speak Out on Jesus

Israelis Speak Out on Jesus

Canadian-Israeli journalist Corey Gil-Shuster has for the past couple years been conducting a very interesting campaign titled “Ask an Israeli / Ask a Palestinian” that recently focused on local Jewish views on Jesus.

As part of the effort, Gil-Shuster accepts questions from abroad regarding some of the more burning issues in the region, from the peace process to Islamic extremism to faith in Jesus.

Earlier this summer, Gil-Shuster took to the streets and pointedly asked a random sampling of average Israelis (both religious and secular) who Jesus is to them, and why Jews typically don’t accept him as their messiah.

A common theme appeared throughout many of the responses in that most Israelis acknowledge Jesus’ Jewish heritage, but believe (as a result of Christian history) that he broke away from Judaism to start a new religion.

A number of respondents expounded on this theme, noting that because, in their view, the religion of Jesus (Christianity) teaches that the Torah commandments are no longer valid, it is not an acceptable faith for Jews.

Watch the video (hat tip: Rosh Pina Project):

This wasn’t the first time Gil-Shuster took these questions to the Israeli street. Last year, he more broadly asked Israelis what they thought of Jesus, Mary and Christianity:


Hamas Already Digging New Terror Tunnels

Hamas Already Digging New Terror Tunnels

A senior government official in Jerusalem on Sunday told the Israeli press that Hamas is already digging new terror tunnels and smuggling a new stockpile of missiles into the Gaza Strip in preparation for its next war against the Jewish state.

“Hamas did not wait a single moment after the last round of fighting, and began its rearmament in anticipation of another round,” the official said.

Indeed, Gaza-based Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar vowed over the weekend that the ceasefire reached just two weeks ago would soon be violated in the most blatant way as the terror groups “built new tunnels” with which to threaten Israelis.

The discovery of dozens of terror tunnels running from Gaza into southern Israel shocked most Israelis, particularly those living within “tunnel distance” from the volatile coastal enclave.

Many Israeli residents of what is known as the “Gaza envelope” still have not returned home, and many who have say they no longer feel safe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken harsh criticism for agreeing to end the war before Hamas was fully defeated. Most Israelis do not believe that expected guarantees by America, Europe or Egypt can be relied upon to prevent future Hamas attacks.


Rioters Try to Blow Up Jerusalem Gas Station

Rioters Try to Blow Up Jerusalem Gas Station

Arab rioting in Jerusalem escalated on Sunday as mobs attacked cars, light rail trains and tried to set fire to a gas station in the French Hill neighborhood.

The increased violence was sparked by reports that an Arab teen wounded a week earlier by Israeli forces had died earlier in the day.

The teen was reportedly hit by a sponge bullet used by Israeli police on riot control duty. Israeli officials said the teen, like all other targeted rioters, was hit in the leg by the sponge bullet, and sustained his ultimately fatal injury after falling on his head while fleeing the scene. The boy’s father insisted that the sponge bullet had hit his son in the head, and was therefore the cause of his death.

Sunday’s explosion of violence caused even greater damage to Jerusalem’s light rail, and the aforementioned gas station was badly burned. Employees reported having to escape the premises under a hail of stones and firebombs.

At least two Israeli motorists were wounded when their vehicles were attacked on the eastern side of Jerusalem.


A Palestinian State in Egypt's Sinai?

A Palestinian State in Egypt's Sinai?

Israeli officials on Monday enthusiastically embraced reports that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi recently offered the Palestinians an independent state in the Sinai Peninsula in return for dropping claims to the pre–1967 borders.

According to the offer, which was reported by the Arab media and by Israel’s Army Radio, Egypt would give the Palestinians land in the Sinai that would effectively expand the territory of the Gaza Strip fivefold.

This “Greater Gaza” would be a fully independent state under the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority, and would serve as a homeland for all Palestinians “refugees.”

Major Palestinian Arab cities in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) would remain autonomous under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, but claims to the rest of the area would be dropped.

Certain details of the plan remained vague - such as what Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank would entail - but it represented the first time an Arab leader had been willing to “think outside the box” in bringing a proposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Predictably, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas outright rejected the proposal, preferring to stick to the same old land-for-peace formula that for over 20 years has succeeded in bringing nothing but increased conflict.

Israeli officials said that, Abbas’ rejection notwithstanding, the Egyptian proposal had to be taken seriously and explored in future peace negotiations.

“This could solve problems that weren’t given a response in talks between Israel and the Palestinians so far,” Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri told Army Radio.

Peri pointed out that the plan would also presumably help Egypt suppress the growing Islamization of the Sinai.

Right-wing lawmaker Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) said that even if the Egyptian proposal is never implemented, it highlights the fact that the “solution to the Palestinian problem must be regional and cannot fall on Israel’s shoulders alone.”

Like most Israelis, Shaked is quick to point out that the West Bank and Gaza only fell into Israel’s hands as as result of military aggression by her Arab neighbors.

Army Radio reported that el-Sisi continues to press Abbas regarding the plan, which has already won the support of the Obama Administration.


The Gospel According to Shlomo Kalo

The Gospel According to Shlomo Kalo

Shlomo Kalo’s book Behold, He is Coming (1996) concludes with the words: “‘My God, my God why have you forsaken me?’—until the day our sons shall return to their own borders, until the day when those who banished God will return to him joyfully and with loving heart. Behold, he is coming.”

A spiritual teacher who influenced many Israelis, Kalo passed away last Saturday. Born in 1928 in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kalo survived the Nazi forced labor camp of Somovit and came to Israel in 1949. His staunch refusal to appear in the public arena made him an enigmatic figure who is still misunderstood even by those who follow him.

Jew though he was, Kalo’s unique spiritual path was influenced by Buddhism and a touch of Sufism. The New Testament also appears to have strongly underlined his entire worldview, however. His teaching of self-denial—almost to the point of asceticism—was based first and foremost on the New Testament.

Thus, for example, he understood Jesus’ call “to give up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name” (Mt. 19:29) a demand that his followers break free from the chains attaching them to this world. Those unwilling to do so are not worthy of freedom, love, or everlasting life.

Time and again, Kalo refers to Jesus as the incarnation of God who is love. He was also not afraid of saying that the Jewish people have been left without a shepherd to protect them because they rejected Jesus—this act exposing them to persecution, suffering, and exile amongst the nations.

Asaf Inbari, author of New Age: The Fall of the Secular State (1999), counted Kalo amongst those responsible for transforming the spiritual face of Israel. In 1979, Kalo formed a group of followers named Daat (Hebrew acronym for “know yourself always”). The group’s symbol—“Y” (composed of “V” and “I”)—signified their motto of “Victory over the ego.” To liberate themselves from bondage to the ego and selfish desires, writes Inbari, they practiced sitting in silence, abstained from sex, and constantly intoned: “Absolute purity.”

Although not religious, Kalo sought to live in accordance with Jesus’ teaching as the way to achieve salvation. From Jesus’ short prayer at Gethsemane (Mt. 26:39), for example, he learnt that entry into the kingdom of God demands submitting oneself to God and abandoning all arrogance and pride. Only acceptance of these conditions grants one the privilege of being chosen.

While writing some 80 books and personifying his teaching in his life, Kalo’s explicit call for the Jewish people to embrace the divine Jesus failed to create a meaningful movement.


Jerusalem's Light Rail Hit Hard by Rock Terror

Jerusalem's Light Rail Hit Hard by Rock Terror

Jerusalem’s new light rail system established to ease traffic through the center of the capital has taken a serious hit as a result of ongoing Arab stone throwing attacks in the city’s eastern neighborhoods.

Arab rioting has been plaguing Jerusalem since June, when Jewish vigilantes murdered a young boy from the eastern suburb of Shuafat in retaliation for the earlier execution of three Israeli youths by Hamas terrorists.

A number of times in recent months Arab rioters have destroyed light rail stations in the city’s eastern neighborhoods, and at present a full one-third of the fleet of 23 trains is out of service due to stoning attacks.

A spokesman for CityPass, the company that operates Jerusalem’s light rail, had this to say on Sunday:

“Due to continued and repeated rock throwing that inflicts damage to the trains, this morning we only have 16 operable trains out of a total of 23. What that means is that fewer than needed trains are active on the line, and the frequency (of trains) throughout the line will be harmed.”


All the Fuss Over Israel's 'Land Expropriation'

All the Fuss Over Israel's 'Land Expropriation'

The world has found something else to scream about in what it calls Israel’s “confiscation” of about 400 acres of land in Judea. In Washington, the move was called “unhelpful” to the two-state solution, and heavy criticism was also leveled by Europe.

Left-leaning elements in the Israeli government, such as Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, also opposed the rezoning of these areas between Bethlehem and Hebron as state-owned land.

Both Lapid and Livni are of the opinion that such moves make little sense in the wake of the summer’s Gaza war. The ministers have joined a liberal chorus in calling for renewed peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

But Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says the “land seizure” endangers the two-state solution, and is looking to garner international pressure to reverse the Israeli move. This is the same Abbas regime that just weeks ago was saved by Israeli intelligence from a Hamas coup. Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction knows well that without Israel’s assistance, the so-called “West Bank” would be quickly conquered, just as Gaza was.

In light of recent developments, one must wonder if the two-state solution is still sensible at all. “The Middle East is being swept up by radical Islam. A two-state solution is no longer reasonable,” said Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who argued that the jihadist tsunami in the region, of which Hamas is a part, is far more dangerous than the failure of the two-state solution.

But Palestinian claims to this land are part and parcel of the overall Islamist movement. Ultimately, they base their calls for sovereignty in the Holy Land on the Koran, just as Israel bases its claims on the Bible.

So long as there is no real political progress, Israel sees little problem in re-appropriating a few barren hills. And the fact is that no private Palestinian owners lost their land. Israel cannot be reasonably expected to sit around treating the land as through a two-state solution resulting in genuine peace will materialize, when all evidence at present suggests the contrary.

The Middle East and the Western world are today facing a much larger threat than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Radical Islam and its jihadists are inching ever closer to the West, and Israel today is the last line of defense against this tide of violent extremism.

And yet, everyone is focused on a mere 400 acres of barren land as though easily reversible (if a genuine peace is reached) Israeli use of it is the primary destabilizing factor in the region.


Israel Focuses on ISIS, US Vows to Destroy Jihadist Horde

Israel Focuses on ISIS, US Vows to Destroy Jihadist Horde

Israel’s focus on the threat of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) has increased significantly in recent days in the wake of the revelation that the latest American journalist beheaded by the jihadists was Jewish and an Israeli citizen.

“ISIS’ growing power and its proximity to Israel could pose a strategic threat to Israel,” opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) told reporters a day after the Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff.

Herzog and many other Israeli officials are concerned not only by the fact that the Islamic State is inching closer to its borders both in Syria and by threatening Jordan, but also by burgeoning homegrown support for the Islamists in neighboring states and among the Palestinians.

Islamic State flags have been spotted in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and even Jerusalem. On Wednesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed an order officially outlawing the Islamic State, a move that would make it a crime to raise money or otherwise express support for the jihadist movement.

The grizzly murder of Sotloff just weeks after the Islamic State beheaded captured American reporter James Foley also finally spurred the Obama Administration to action.

“We will not be intimidated,” US President Barack Obama stated after experts confirmed the Sotloff beheading video as authentic. “Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.”

Obama was reportedly working with British Prime Minister David Cameron to establish an international coalition with the intent to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State.

US Vice President Joe Biden warned the hordes of Islamic State fighters that “the American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand. We don’t forget. …They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside.”

While Israelis are happy to see Western powers finally taking the threat of the Islamic State seriously, there is frustration that Palestinian groups like Hamas receive alternative treatment.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to drive home the point that Hamas and the Islamic State are kindred movements. In fact, Hamas has also been behind the recent executions of American-Israeli citizens, like 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel.

But, because Hamas is tolerated by the US-backed Palestinian Authority, and because the Palestinian public voted the terror group into power, Washington has seen fit to place it on somewhat different footing than fellow jihadists in Iraq and Syria.


French Lawmaker: Israel's On the Front Line!

French Lawmaker: Israel's On the Front Line!

In a sharply-worded letter sent late last month, French parliamentarian Meyer Habib (pictured) slammed French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza, even as his boss, President Francois Hollande, struck a far different tone.

Habib noted in his letter that early in the Gaza war the French government “fully identified with Israel and its right to defend its citizens. …We prevented a number of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations…in order to change France’s position in regards to Israel.”

But, it seemed Fabius was not happy with this new direction. “You speak of a massacre in Gaza. You speak of a lack of vision,” Habib accused the foreign minister. “Instead of helping to calm the situation, you pour oil on the fire.”

Habib noted that such anti-Israel incitement lead to the March 2012 shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France by a Muslim gunman, Mohammed Merah, who later acknowledged that his motivation was revenge for “the Jews killing our brothers and sisters in Palestine [sic].”

Habib also took issue with Western criticism of Israel’s “lack of proportionality,” which Fabius happily parroted.

“You forget that without the Iron Dome, the thousands of rockets fired at Israel would have resulted in hundreds of deaths. Would that have made Israel’s response more balanced?” Habib wondered.

“Who is truly responsible for this tragedy [in Gaza]?” Habib asked his foreign minister. “Is it the one who attacks civilians while hiding in schools, or is it the one that does everything possible to avoid civilian casualties?”

Habib stressed that the threat Israelis face in the form of Hamas is also bearing down on France and the West.

“The jihadists that attack Israel today are the same as those that abducted Christian girls in Nigeria, slaughtered Alawites in Syria and executed homosexuals in Somalia,” wrote Habib. “They are the same extremists that oppress women in Iraq, behead Western journalist and threaten Christians and Yazidis.”

Habib concluded by calling on Fabius and the West to “open your eyes! This wave [of terror] will reach the heart of Europe… In the battle against these forces of evil, Israel is on the front line.”


ISIS, Hamas, Iran and the West

ISIS, Hamas, Iran and the West

The beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Satloff has raised concerns in the West about Islamist threats. But Israel has been facing this specter for decades and – given Israel’s proximity to the Islamist threat – the Jewish state is the canary in the coal mine for the West. But Gaza seems to be the Western blind spot, even though the Hamas-ISIS parallels are glaringly obvious. 

Since beheadings are the current media focus, and ISIS has beheaded infants, it’s worth noting that Hamas praised the 2011 Itamar murders, which involved the decapitation of a baby. Islamist beheadings should surprise no one, given that they’ve been happening for much of (and despite) modernity – perhaps because “Islam is the only major world religion today that is cited…to legitimize beheadings,” according to this study.

While there have been no reported Hamas beheadings of journalists, the similarities between Hamas and ISIS are more important than their differences.

Both would like to establish a Caliphate. Hamas Interior Minister declared as much in this 2013 speech.

Both gain and keep power through savagery and fear. Hamas rose to power in Gaza thanks to its violent, 2007 coup, and recently planned a second putsch (in the West Bank). Hamas famously threw its political opponents off rooftops.

Like ISIS, Hamas uses clinics, schools, mosques, and charities to gain legitimacy, and inculcates children with the values of jihadi terror. A Vice documentary exposed how ISIS indoctrinates and uses children for war, but Hamas has been doing so for years, educating children to worship death and using child soldiers.

Hamas’ use of human shields has been widely documented (and proven very effective in turning public opinion against Israel by exponentially increasing Gazan civilian casualties). ISIS used 500 Yazidi captives and 39 abducted Indians as human shields.

ISIS is known for its expulsion of Christians from Mosul and its genocidal murder of Yazidis and Christians who refuse to convert to Islam or pay the jizyah. Hamas would undoubtedly behave the same way towards the religious minorities within its reach, if Israeli Jews didn’t have the protection of a superior military, and if Hamas didn’t depend on international donations to Gaza that might dry up after a wholesale slaughter of the tiny Christian community there. But even with these checks on Hamas’ brutality, Hamas regularly practices and preaches religious hatred. For years, Hamas has attacked Christians, including defiling Christian graves, abducting and murdering Christians, and more recently using a Gazan church to launch rockets at Israel. Hamas preaches hateful incitement against Jews, has desecrated Jewish holy sites, and has murdered hundreds of Jews in terrorist attacks.

ISIS uses Sharia to justify its barbaric treatment of women. Also enamored with Sharia, Hamas treats women as second-class citizens and endorses honor killings.

Like ISIS, Hamas advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, lets Islamic morality police govern economic activity, and punishes crime with lashings, amputations, and executions. There have been no broadcast beheadings of homosexuals by ISIS yet, but such horrors can’t be far off, given that ISIS fighters include gay-hating Westerners.

Hamas condemned the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and ISIS aspires to surpass him.

Yet, astonishingly, President Obama and liberals have continually called for restraint when Israel’s military has confronted Hamas (after Hamas’ countless attacks against Israeli civilians) and Obama has pressed Israel to negotiate with Hamas (as if the U.S. would ever negotiate with ISIS). Worse still, the Obama administration tried to advance Hamas’ negotiating position and recently pressured Israel into letting Hamas keep its military capabilities. Given the opportunity to obliterate ISIS’ terrorist infrastructure, would the U.S. ever spare any part of it?

Even more troubling – in terms of the perils involved – is Obama’s feckless strategy towards the Iranian regime, which is the world’s chief sponsor of Islamist terrorist groups (including Hamas and Hezbollah). Like so many Islamist terrorist organizations, Iran executes homosexuals; mistreats women; persecutes religious minorities; employs barbaric, Sharia-law punishments (like amputation and stoning); and brutalizes political dissenters (among myriad other human rights violations). But unlike the terrorist organizations, Iran could theoretically acquire a nuclear weapons capability in under two months. Imagine an Islamist state, which openly supports Islamist terrorists, possessing nukes. Alarmingly, Obama’s overall approach and eagerness to negotiate any deal he can get with Iran have signaled weakness in a region that respects only strength. As if to laugh at Obama’s naiveté, the Iranian regime has continued supporting Hamas despite the sanctions relief that Obama delivered to the Islamic Republic. Obama’s meek and misguided policy has only emboldened the Iranian regime, improved its economic condition, and given diplomatic cover to Iran’s nuclear program.

Islamist groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, all seek the destruction of Western values and civilization. The pursuit of nukes by the Islamist state of Iran – which could eventually enable nuclear terrorism by Iran’s jihadi proxies – poses the greatest threat of all. The West ignores these facts at its peril, and should therefore support Israel’s war against Hamas, and its efforts against Iranian nukes, just as the U.S. has rightly (albeit tardily and minimally) supported the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.

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


Israel Pans Dangerous Palestinian Ultimatum

Israel Pans Dangerous Palestinian Ultimatum

The Palestinian Authority has essentially issued an ultimatum for Israel’s withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) precisely at a time when Israel is more convinced than ever of the danger of such a move.

Late last month, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian television that he had a “surprise” peace initiative that neither Israel nor America were going to like.

Details of that plan leaked to the press revealed that Abbas will agree to enter a fresh nine-month round of negotiations with Israel, but only on condition that the primary outcome of the talks be pre-determined.

The pre-determined outcome Abbas is looking for? An independent Palestinian state on the pre–1967 borders and a full Israeli withdrawal facilitating that new state’s establishment within three years.

Should Israel refuse, Abbas would turn to unilateral moves like seeking UN Security Council recognition for “Palestine,” filing charges against Israel at the International Court of Justice and applying to additional international institutions.

Abbas will present his plan to the Arab League next week. At the same time, top Palestinian officials will meet with the Obama Administration, which they hope will aid the scheme by applying increased diplomatic pressure on Israel.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials citing the new dangers exposed by the summer’s Gaza war are saying the Abbas plan is too dangerous to even consider.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told a conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that a full West Bank withdrawal would only bring to central Israel the same kind of terror tunnels and incessant rocket fire plaguing the residents of the southern Negev region.

Were that threat to materialize, it could severely cripple Israel economically by shutting down Ben Gurion International Airport, situated just miles from the territory over which Abbas demands sovereignty.

While many in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet are calling for a renewal of the peace process, Abbas’ ultimatum was summarily dismissed.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is officially in charge negotiations with the Palestinians, suggested that Abbas was merely playing to his audience, and wouldn’t really go through with his unacceptable threats.

“The Palestinian public loves ‘resistance’ very much, so Abbas is there too, but I assume he’ll try to take diplomatic steps,” Livni told Walla News, adding that the Palestinian leader “will have to understand a Palestinian state will not be established in UN institutions.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid voiced similar sentiments. “Recent weeks reminded us why we should separate from the Palestinians - we don’t want to live with them – and why it’s better to have an agreement, not unilateral steps,” he told Army Radio.

In what many Israelis see as wishful thinking, Lapid is calling for a regional peace summit including negotiations on the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, an “Oslo Accord” obligation that the Palestinians have already flagrantly violated.

Meanwhile, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said the entire episode was further evidence that the Palestinian leadership couldn’t be trusted. Abbas is playing a “double game,” Steinitz told Israel Radio, accusing the Palestinian leader of firing “diplomatic rockets” at Israel, not unlike the physical rockets employed by Hamas.


Poll: Hamas Stock Soars, Palestinians Eager for More War

Poll: Hamas Stock Soars, Palestinians Eager for More War

A Palestinian public opinion survey carried out at the end of the summer’s Gaza war showed that Hamas is more popular than ever, and that most local Arabs are eager to continue the campaign of violence against Israel.

Conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, the poll began by asking respondents who won the latest Gaza flare-up.

An overwhelming 79 percent majority of Palestinians from both Gaza and the so-called “West Bank” said Hamas had clearly won the war, while just 3 percent said Israel had walked away victorious.

Despite the vast destruction visited upon Gaza, 94 percent of respondents said they were pleased with Hamas’ performance, and 86 percent would like rocket fire against Israel to continue.

Over 70 percent said they supported rocket fire from the West Bank, too, until Israel complies with Palestinian demands.

The poll revealed that if elections were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would easily defeat Mahmoud Abbas for the Palestinian Authority presidency.


Sara Netanyahu: Gaza Pullout Brought Only Trouble

Sara Netanyahu: Gaza Pullout Brought Only Trouble

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, paid a condolence visit this week to the family of Daniel Tragerman, the four-year-old Israeli boy tragically killed by a mortar shell from Gaza in the final days of this summer’s war.

Doron Tragerman told Netanyahu that little Daniel was fatally wounded while playing with his three-year-old sister Yuval and one-year-old brother Uri. The Tragerman’s were preparing to leave the southern region to stay with family in the safer central part of the country until the end of the war.

Sara Netanyahu told the family: Daniel, the youngest casualty of the campaign, was a beautiful, smart and charming child. You paid the heaviest price. All the children in this area are true heroes, having lived for years already under the constant threat of rocket fire. What sets Daniel apart is that he also always worried first about the safety of his sister and brother."

Netanyahu said that the “evil” that took little Daniel was the result of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. She gave the couple a letter of condolence from the prime minister, who wrote that he recalled a picture Daniel had drawn for a soldier on the front lines thanking him for protecting the children of Israel against “monsters.”

The Tragerman couple gave Sara Netanyahu a remembrance book for Daniel and asked that it be passed on to the prime minister.

This summer the citizens of Israel’s south have been especially affected and are struggling, not only from the emotional and psychological impact of rockets from Gaza, but also from dire economic hardships resulting from the war.

We at Israel Today would also like to contribute to the recovery and rebuilding of the lives of more than one million residents of Israel’s south.

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Rabbis Consider Official Prayers for Palestinian Collaborators

Rabbis Consider Official Prayers for Palestinian Collaborators

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is considering a request to add mention of Palestinian “collaborators” to weekly synagogue prayers asking God’s blessing and protection over IDF soldiers.

The request was made by the Lobby for Jewish Values, which argued that ever since Israel’s modern rebirth, righteous Arabs have put their lives on the line to provide vital information in service to the defense of the Jewish state.

During the summer’s Gaza war, Hamas publicly and brutally executed an estimated 20 alleged collaborators.

These collaborators “deserve to be blessed,” wrote the group’s chairman, Ofer Cohen, who added that the Palestinians who risk their lives in this way “have the gratitude of the Jewish people.”

In remarks to Israeli news agency NRG, Cohen explained that “despite that fact we are talking about assistance from Gentiles who might not appreciate the significance of these prayers,” it is important that Israel seriously consider this matter.

Cohen went on to note that the last Gaza war, and the one before that, demonstrated the importance of the assistance provided by these collaborators, who in their own way have forged a “blood bond” with Israel. “They deserve to be recognized for this,” he stated.

At a time when groups like the Islamic State and Hamas are slaughtering even their own people, Cohen said it would send a powerful message for Israel to publicly recognize and bless Palestinian collaborators in the very same prayer said for Israeli soldiers.


Palestinians Angered by Recognition of Jewish History

Palestinians Angered by Recognition of Jewish History

One of Israel’s chief conditions for a genuine peace deal is that the Arabs acknowledge the Jewish people’s historical connection to this land.

Arguments can be made regarding who rightly controls which areas today, but these disputes can only be resolved peacefully if the Arabs accept that the Jews are not a foreign invader. At least, that’s how Israeli officials view the situation.

Last week, Israel’s “partners” in the Palestinian Authority again signaled they are not prepared to move beyond this obstacle to peace.

PLO (Palestinian Authority) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi (pictured) issued a statement harshly decrying an interview US President Barack Obama gave to The New York Times a couple weeks earlier as the Gaza war was winding down.

Obama was asked if, given the increased instability in the Middle East, he was concerned for Israel’s future.

The president replied:

“It is amazing to see what Israel has become over the last several decades. You think about the dream of the early Zionists, to have scratched out of rock this incredibly vibrant, incredibly successful, wealthy and powerful country is a testament to the ingenuity, energy and vision of the Jewish people. And because Israel is so capable militarily, I don’t worry about Israel’s survival.”

For Ashrawi, a Palestinian “moderate,” Obama’s implicit recognition of the Jews’ right to return to this land and rebuild their ancient nation crossed a red line.

“Obama’s adoption of the discourse of extremist Zionist ideology and his turning it into a basis for political decision-making is dangerous,” she said on Palestinian Authority TV.

Translation of Ashrawi’s remarks was provided by Palestinian Media Watch, which has long documented the Palestinian Authority’s denial of Jewish history in this region as a basis for its position that Israel has no inherent right to exist.


Jewish Girl Injured as Jerusalem Violence Continues

Jewish Girl Injured as Jerusalem Violence Continues

The Gaza war might be over, but violence continues to plague the Israeli capital of Jerusalem. The city’s Jewish residents are subjected to almost daily, largely unreported attacks.

On Monday, a three-year-old Jewish girl was lightly wounded when Palestinian Arab assailants attacked a public bus with stones. Flying glass from a broken window resulted in lacerations on the young girl’s face.

A short time later, Palestinians hurled a firebomb at a public bus traveling north of Jerusalem, wounding another man.

Police presence in the eastern half of Jerusalem has been significantly increased due to the increased frequency of violent rioting. The capital’s new light rail train cars have been a favorite target, and numerous passengers have reported harrowing attacks as they approach the more troublesome neighborhoods.

Similar violence prevented the opening of several schools in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber on Monday.

Local residents angered by what they claim is a lack of services at the schools tried to prevent a new headmistress from entering one of the facilities. Police officers called to the scene to protect and escort the school official were violently attacked by the mob.


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