EXCLUSIVE: Victims of Syrian Civil War Thank Israel

Israel Today speaks with Syrian patients being treated in northern Israel, and the local medical staff helping them.

The full article appears in the August 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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VIDEO: Israel is Full of Hidden Treasures


Israeli Army Computer Hackers are Helping Solve World Hunger

We know, the common perception is that Israeli soldiers think of nothing but oppressing and abusing poor Palestinian Arabs. The reality is that Israel's is one of the most humane armies on earth.

In fact, a great many Israeli soldiers take the skills they were taught in the IDF and use them to the benefit of all mankind.

Case in point is a local start-up called NRGene, founded by former members of the IDF's celebrated 8200 cyber-warfare unit.

For decades, geneticists the world over had toiled to map the genome of bread wheat. So tedious had the effort become (the wheat genome is five times the size of the human genetic code) that many scientists had written it off as an insurmountable task.

That's when NRGene stepped in. Already some of the best in the world at cracking complex computer codes, they decided to take a swing at the genetic code of wheat.

Within a matter of months, NRGene had succeeded in mapping the genome of a local variety of wheat known as wild Emmer.

That was in 2015, and it was hailed by researchers from the universities of Haifa and Tel Aviv, who are participants in the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, as a major breakthrough.

Just last week, the Consortium finally published the first-ever complete sequence of the bread wheat genome. NRGene's role in this accomplishment, which some are calling as equally important as the domestication of wheat thousands of years ago, cannot be overstated.

But, why is this so important?

The scientists involved, as well as researchers in many other fields, have been warning for years of a looming food shortage crisis. The world's population growth is fast outpacing the production of food.

Successfully mapping the wheat genome will now allow scientists and farmers to manipulate and develop varieties that are more resistant to hostile climates and adverse growing conditions, and produce greater yields.


Christians Bring Message of Hope From Hong Kong to Israel

With antisemitism on the rise worldwide, and anti-Israel bias in the media, it is always refreshing to see Believers from all around the world come to visit and minister in the Holy Land. Last week, a group of Believers from Hong Kong came to do just that.

In association with Chosen People Ministries and Alliance Global Serve, the congregants of Kowloon Tong Church of the C.C. & M.A. Sheung Shui Church flew to Israel to see, learn and give hope to the Jewish people. They participated in 10 packed days that involved tours of biblical sites, learning about modern Israeli culture, and ministering to Holocaust survivors and singles mothers.

I had the privilege of speaking with members of the group on one of those days, during their visit in the city of Nahariya, where they took part in an outreach program on the beach. I witnessed a devoted group of mission-minded people, who had a heart for the Jewish people.

Tell me a little bit about your group and why you came here?

S: This year is special for Israel, as it’s the 70th anniversary. We are a group of Believers from Hong Kong, and we love the people of Israel because we believe that the Jewish people are the chosen people of God, and we want to bring joy and blessing from Hong Kong. Because the Gospel started here, we would like to bring it back here, to the people of Israel.

M: I’m an intern with CPM; I’m with the group training. It is my 7th time here, and that’s because God gave me love for Israel and the people of Israel. I have a calling to come here and share the Gospel. God has opened this door for me.

Is it hard to share the Gospel with Israelis?

M: Yes, I think so. I’ve gone with my friends for outreach several times, and many people we met say that they don’t believe they have sin, they think they’re good people, and that they can be good on their own efforts. I receive Israeli backpackers in Hong Kong for free, because we want reciprocate this blessing to the Jewish people. Some of them don’t even read the scriptures, they don’t believe Abraham was a real person, and they would ask questions such as, “If there’s a God why did the Holocaust happen?”

Do you think Israelis would be more receptive to the Gospel if it was preached to them by their fellow Jews?

M: I think that we Gentiles can do very little, because of the language barrier, and sometimes because of the culture and history. We have to pray and provoke the Jews to jealousy, but for Jews, because you speak the same language, you understand the culture, you have the same history, same background; I think it’s more powerful if a Jew shares the Gospel with another Jew.

How is Israel viewed in Hong Kong?

M: Many in Hong Kong don’t know much about Israel. Most churches don’t talk about Israel, and if they do, they don’t have a very good perception, mainly because of the media. When I told my pastor that I had a calling for Israel, he stared at me in shock; so I feel like God gave me this burden to share the Gospel with the Jewish people, and also to share with my brothers and sisters the truth about Israel. Many believers don’t pray for the salvation of the Jews or the nation of Israel. Many don’t care, and treat Israel like any other state in the world.

S: We learn from the Bible that Israel is the Holy Land, and many Christians do like to visit Israel at least once in their lifetime. Of course, for Christians, this is a special place. This is the place where God performed miracles and especially Yeshua, who walked upon this land. We want to come here and experience the land that Yeshua walked on.

How is Israel viewed politically?

S: People learn from the news that this is a place of conflict, especially between Israelis and Palestinians, but upon arriving here we don’t feel that tension, as depicted by the media. Of course, all news you read is bad news, but we feel safe, the people are friendly, and we enjoy the environment.

Where do you think Israel is at spiritually?

S: We have mostly been in Jerusalem. We saw many Orthodox Jews who strongly object to Christianity. As we know, the majority doesn’t accept Yeshua as the Messiah, but we believe that the trend is changing. Even though it may not be dramatic right now, more and more people are coming to know Yeshua and accepting the faith.

You ministered as Christians to Israeli single mothers. How was that received?

S: The single moms were very impressed with us, because we traveled all the way from Hong Kong, and we came to serve them, get to know them, and express our love to them. They are the people most ignored by society, and when we extend our warmth and love to them, they were really touched.

Seeing the Believers from Hong Kong on the streets of Nahariya elicited a sense of awe at the power of the Gospel, which spread from Galilee to Jerusalem, and to the ends of the earth. It is a remarkable thing to know that, despite the bias in the media, Israel has friends; people who’re praying for us and expending time, money and effort into the hope of the Jewish people, which is in Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach.



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ANALYSIS: Long-term Truce Between Hamas and Israel Doomed to Fail

After several days of relative quiet in the Gaza belt Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas- via mediation by Egypt, the United Nations, and the United States- are again trying to negotiate a long-term truce which would restore the understandings reached after the 2014 summer-war.

The effort to reach an agreement is being led by the Egyptians who reportedly are trying to work out a new reconciliation deal between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) at the same time.

In October 2017, Hamas and the PA signed such an agreement in Cairo but the deal was never implemented because of ‘obstacles’.

Under the agreement, Hamas should have transferred control over the Gaza Strip to the PA on the first of December 2017 but after the terrorist organization refused to dissolve its military wing Izz-a-Din al-Qassam, named after a notorious anti-Semitic mass murderer, the deal was frozen.

According to Israel’s leading news show, Hadashot Kan PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly trying to disrupt the Egyptian efforts to reach a reconciliation agreement with Hamas because he views it as a reward to Israel.

The government of President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has invited Hamas and Fatah, the dominant faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, to Cairo for a new round of reconciliation talks but it remains unclear whether Abbas will accept the invitation.

The ailing PA-leader – he’s reportedly suffering from stomach cancer- will convene the Palestinian Central Council in Ramallah on Wednesday and he’s expected to deliver a speech on reconciliation with Hamas.

Au unnamed Hamas official told the Israeli paper Haaretz that “any agreement that excludes the Palestinian Authority from the decision-making mechanism will be very fragile because it won’t gain the PA’s cooperation, and that is liable to thwart any progress.”

It’s highly questionable the sides will reach an agreement, however.

First of all because Abbas’ position about an agreement with Israel and his demand that a future port in Gaza should be supervised by PA officials, not by Hamas.

Then there are the maximalist demands for a deal with Israel by Hamas.

The terrorist organization demands an end to what it calls “the Israeli blockade” of Gaza and won’t suffice with the re-opening of the Keren Shalom border crossing which was partly closed by Israel at the beginning of July.

Israel re-opened the crossing on Wednesday morning and again allowed commercial goods into the coastal enclave. The decision was taken by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Gaby Eisenkot the IDF’s Chief of Staff after consultation with Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet.

Liberman told Israel’s army radio on Wednesday that the reason relatively quiet in south Israel was restored was the fact that Hamas has taken “significant hits” since it escalated its attacks on Israel last week when it fired hundreds of mortar shells and rockets at towns and communities in southern Israel.

He added that Israel would never enter in direct negotiations with Hamas and claimed the Gaza population has "much to gain when the citizens of Israel enjoy peace and security, and much to lose when quiet is disturbed."

"So long as there is quiet, Gaza's residents will benefit. If the violence returns, they will be the first ones to lose; this equation works. The last four days have been the quietest in the Gaza border communities since March," according to the Israeli DM who had said earlier a new war with Hamas was a “matter of when, not if.”

Another obstacle to a long-term agreement that would restore calm to southern Israel is Iran, which once again has become one of Hamas’ most important sponsors after Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy head of the political bureau of the Islamist organization, reached a reconciliation deal with the Islamic Republic in October 2017.

Iran wants Hamas to keep-up the pressure on Israel and expect the terrorist group to engage the Jewish state in a war of attrition in exchange for military training and aid by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

In Israel, there’s furthermore resistance against the truce by the families of slain IDF soldiers whose bodies are being held by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and by the Jewish Home ministers in the cabinet.

Leah and Simcha Goldin, the parents of fallen IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, harshly criticized Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu for allegedly failing to include the return of Israeli captives in the proposed deal.

"730 trucks will cross Kerem Shalom today on their way to Hamas in Gaza. Please ask Netanyahu and the security cabinet what Israel is receiving in return. Did they even request anything? #Returnthesons_first," the Goldins wrote.

Jewish Home head Naftali Bennet who is a member of the Israeli security cabinet also criticized the government for entering into negotiations with Hamas and called it a grave mistake.

He announced the Jewish Home ministers would vote against any ceasefire agreement with Hamas and charged it would turn Hamas into Hezbollah 2.

“This 'quiet' will give Hamas total immunity so that it can rearm itself with tens of thousands of rockets that will threaten all parts of the country," the education minister said while adding that Israel’s deterrent power will be harmed by the deal.


Trump: Both Israelis and Palestinians Will Have to Give Something Up for Peace

The Trump Administration is still not revealing the details of its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, but did say on Wednesday that neither Israel nor the Palestinians would be "fully pleased" with the proposal.

"No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved," read a statement tweeted by Jason Greenblatt, who is Trump's special Middle East envoy.

"Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities," Greenblatt's tweet continued.

The statement was also endorsed by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and White House Adviser Jared Kushner.

All four senior US officials are noted for their pro-Israel positions, so many expect that the concessions required of Israel (which has already made numerous concessions over the past two decades) won't be too severe. Others fear that having already acquiesced to several major Israeli demands, such as reinstating sanctions against Iran and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump might now, indeed, insist on painful Israeli concessions in return.

What most do agree on is that whatever the particulars of the plan, it is unlikely to get off the ground considering that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has pre-rejected any proposal put forward by Trump. And if the PA does sign on, Trump won't tolerate violations of the agreement, in contrast to past presidents, who routinely overlooked Palestinian transgressions.

PHOTO: The Palestinians have already determined that the Trump Administration is not a viable peace broker. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)


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God Revealed Himself on Two Mountains

What do Mount Sinai and Mount Zion have in common? On the first, God spoke to the Children of Israel, and on the second, to the whole world. Why?

The full article appears in the August 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.

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Gideon's Shield: This is How Israel Will Defeat Hezbollah

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah boasted on Tuesday that his organization's military is now stronger even than the vaunted Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The Shiite militia was established in Lebanon by Iran's Revolutionary Guards to push the IDF out of the country and pose a long-term threat to the northern regions of the Jewish state.

In 2006, Israel fought a full-scale war against Hezbollah, and many, including reservists who were called upon to take the field, complained that the IDF was not allowed to make full use of its capabilities and defeat the enemy.

Next time around (and experts believe that will be soon), things will be different, vowed IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

"If you look 150 km. around us, you will not find a brigade or corps as strong as these in their capabilities," Eizenkot told IDF soldiers this week as they completed a massive training exercise simulating a coming war with Hezbollah.

Having analyzed the tactics of Hezbollah and other Islamist militias engaged in Syria's civil war, the IDF knows that it must become more nimble to counter hit-and-run attacks and the use of offensive drones.

One of the ways it intends to enable ground forces to react more effectively to Hezbollah is by shielding them from terrorist cover fire.

Gideon's Shield is a new technology developed by the IDF and its partners that will protect infantry, tanks and armored vehicles from incoming heavy mortar fire, which Hezbollah used to great effect in 2006.

The system has been called a "mini Iron Dome," after Israel's enormously successful anti-missile shield that protects the southern Negev region from incoming Hamas projectiles.

The following video includes animations of Gideon's Shield in a battlefield scenario. All audio is in Hebrew.


VIDEO: This is Why Israel Has the Best Tank in the World


Palestinians (Again) Try to Get Israel Kicked Out of the UN

The Gaza border region is finally quiet, but the diplomatic war between Israel and the Palestinians is still raging.

Israel Foreign Ministry sources told the Ynet news portal this week that they had thwarted yet another attempt by the Palestinians to get Israel kicked out of the United Nations, at least temporarily.

The move, according to the Israeli diplomats, was similar to the successful effort to have South Africa suspended from the UN during Apartheid. The Palestinians argued that Israel's new Nation-State Law, which enshrines its identity as the "Jewish state," had made it no better than the former South African regime.

In fact, the scheme was doomed to failure. In addition to needing a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly (which they could possibly achieve), the Palestinians also needed the backing of all five permanent members of the Security Council, including the United States.

For most, it goes without saying that such a proposal would be vetoed by US President Donald Trump before the Palestinian representative delivering it could even get half-way across the room.

Even so, for the motion to achieve a successful two-thirds majority in the General Assembly would still be a major diplomatic victory for all of Israel's antagonists. As such, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is working closely with his American counterpart, Nikki Haley, to ensure this and any similar motion are thoroughly defeated in every venue.

PHOTO: UN General Assembly (Amir Levy / Flash90)


Israel Rewards Gaza for 2 Days of Calm

Relative calm has prevailed in and around the Gaza Strip for the past 48 hours. No fire kites, no riots and no attempts to breach the security fence. So, Israel's taking the opportunity to clarify what the residents of Gaza have to gain from maintaining the calm, and what they'll again lose should more violence erupt.

Israel's government on Tuesday discussed reopening the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, as well as expanding the coastal enclaves fishing zone.

Egypt was reportedly involved in hashing out the terms of a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas. Leaders from the terror group headed to Cairo at the beginning of the week to negotiate the details, under which Hamas must not only cease all violence again Israel, but must also resume reconciliation talks aimed at bringing the Palestinian Authority back to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli media, including the Ynet news portal and Channel 10, reported today that back in May, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to set the groundwork for such an agreement.

PHOTO: Fishing boats in the port of Gaza (Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90)


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Oddly Enough, Israel Has Reportedly Asked Trump to Keep UNRWA Alive

As recently as January of this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was blasting the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees, as one of the primary obstacles to peace.

"UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees. It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called ‘right of return’ with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore UNRWA must disappear," Netanyahu told his Cabinet at the time.

For the first time ever, Netanyahu has found the American government a firm ally in facing down UNRWA and the Palestinian culture of hate that it helps foster.

White House Advisor and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has recently been working to ascertain how many genuine Palestinian refugees there really are in the world today.

The United Nations typically defines a refugee as a person displaced from his or her homeland. But, in the case of the Palestinians, an exception has been made to allow this status to become hereditary, meaning that the original 650,000 or so Palestinian refugees have today become millions.

According to Foreign Policy magazine, Kushner recently told White House officials that the game UNRWA is playing with Palestinian refugees is making a viable peace agreement difficult, if not impossible.

Back in June, Kushner visited Jordan and was said to have asked the Hashemite Kingdom to strip local Palestinians of their refugee status. It was seen as a first step toward eliminating the need for UNRWA altogether.

With the Trump Administration taking such concrete steps against UNRWA, an odd thing has happened–the Netanyahu government has reportedly back-tracked from the prime minister's earlier remarks and is now urging the US to not bring about the agency's collapse.

Officials who spoke to the daily newspaper Israel Hayom said that the Netanyahu government has quietly requested that Trump not cut funding to UNRWA at this time over fears that such a move could spark fresh violence in the Gaza Strip.


Documenting the Six Day War for Future Generations

Israel's Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, in cooperation with the World Zionist Organization, has embarked on a mission to thoroughly document every possible angle of the 1967 Six Day War.

The goal is to help current and future generations better understand what earlier generations did and endured in order to settle, work and defend the State of Israel.

The project involved professional production teams visiting the homes of soldiers and others caught up in the fighting of the Six Day War to record their fascinating and moving stories. All of the audio and video files produced will later be uploaded to a special website for use by all Israelis.

Officials involved with the project emphasized that all stories, touching on every angle of the conflict, will be told.

A year ago, a similar project was carried out to document the War of Independence. Over 1,000 of those involved in the events of 1948 provided testimony.

Reuven Pinsky from the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage said: "The Six Day War took place on all fronts and forced the Jewish people to cope with a difficult reality. There were many stories of heroism, sacrifice and humanity - we want to document these stories for future generations. Documentation of the personal stories of this generation is the documentation of the history of the State of Israel, and will help shape the consciousness of Israeli society and educate the younger generation. As [famed Israeli general and politician] Yigal Allon once said, 'A nation that doesn't respect its past will have a dull present and an uncertain future.'"


The Irony of Using the Palestinian Flag to Protest Israel's Nation-State Law

Those opposed to Israel's new Nation-State Law were at it again on Saturday, gathering in Tel Aviv to protest what they insist is a "racist" piece of legislation.

Many of those in Israel's minority communities are troubled by the wording of the law, which in enshrining this as the "Jewish state" fails to mention at all the nation's minorities or equality between all citizens, regardless of race or religion.

When the Druze community demonstrated against the law last week, they waved both Druze and Israeli flags, and profusely confessed their undying love for and loyalty to the state.

Saturday's demonstration was different. Led by a large Arab contingent, the event was marked by a large number of Palestinian flags, and very few Israeli ones.

This aspect of the rally was rather ironic.

What those waving the Palestinian flags seem to forget is that the Palestinian Authority already long ago passed its version of the Nation-State Law, and that piece of legislation is about as racist and religiously discriminatory as they come.

The Palestinian Authority law in question defines a future Palestinian state as wholly Arab in identity, with no other official language than Arabic and no official religion beside Islam.

What of the Jews, Samaritans or any other ethnic minority that might continue to live in that Palestinian state? What of the dwindling Christian community? And why did the world not rise up in protest on their behalf when the PA passed this law?

Perhaps Israel's new Nation-State Law is ill-conceived. Perhaps it could have been presented in way more inclusive of Israel's minorities. What's certain is that Israel is, once again, being subjected to a gross double standard when it comes to protecting its national identity.

PHOTO: Israeli leftists and Arabs protest a law enshrining Israel as the "Jewish state" by waving Palestinian flags. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)


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ANALYSIS: What's Behind the Latest Escalation in Israel's South?

The situation in southern Israel deteriorated significantly Wednesday night after Hamas started to pound the Israeli towns and communities in the Gaza belt with 180 rockets and mortar shells. Tens of thousands of Israelis spent several nights in bomb shelters, the IDF retaliated against over 150 terrorist targets, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his generals contemplated full-scale war.

According to Hamas, this brush with another destructive conflagration began as retaliation for an IDF attack on two of its snipers last Tuesday. 

The two were taking part in an exercise that was attended by Hamas leaders and aimed their rifles at an IDF position opposite the border after which they were taken out by a Merkava tank.

However, the lead-up to this fresh outbreak of violence really started on July 20th, when Hamas killed an IDF soldier close to the border fence in Gaza using a sniper.

Since then Hamas had been talking about a long-term truce with Israel which would include the full opening of the Keren Shalom border crossing which is used for the import of Israeli goods.

The demand Israel fully opens the Keren Shalom border crossing has nothing to do with Hamas’ desire to improve the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip but everything with rampant corruption within the top of the terror organization.

The Gatestone Insitute just published an investigative article detailing this corruption which has filled the coffers of the Hamas top since it violently took over control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Corruption is one way for Hamas to stay in power maintaining a low-intensity conflict with Israel is another. 

For this reason Hamas started the so-called ‘Great March of Return’ at the end of March the two-month-long violent confrontations along the border with Israel in Gaza which turned into the so-called ‘Kite Jihad’ the daily attacks with incendiary balloons and kites which have caused a ecological disaster in southern Israel.

Hamas started these violent confrontations to remain relevant and to curry favor with Iran that is using the terror group as another proxy army against Israel.

It is no coincidence Hamas leader al-Arouri, who is living in Lebanon and never visited Gaza, arrived in the coastal enclave last week officially to hold consultations with other Hamas leaders about the ‘imminent’ long-term ceasefire with Israel.

Al-Arouri, an arch terrorist who has spent years in Israeli prisons for organizing terror attacks, was responsible for the reconciliation between Hamas and the Islamist regime in Tehran in October 2017 and the resuming of Iranian aid to the Sunni Islamist terror organization.

Shortly after this reconciliation Hamas started to prepare for another round of violence with Israel but was careful not to enter into all-out war with the Jewish state.

Israeli politicians like Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have repeatedly accused Iran of being behind the current round of violence in Israel’s south.

Al-Arouri’s presence in Gaza could be the reason Hamas suddenly escalated the hostilities against Israel.

After all, Iran is working to create three fronts against Israel via its proxies as a preparation for a major war against the Jewish State: Lebanon, Syria -where Iran has taken-over the military as reported by the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday- and Gaza.

PHOTO: An Iron Dome battery in southern Israel intercepts an incoming rocket from Hamas-controlled Gaza. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)


COMMENTARY: The Welsh Revival and Love for Israel, Part I

Amid great expectancy of a renewed outpouring of the Spirit in the land of revivals, my wife and I were profoundly blessed and stirred by a recent visit to Wales.

We sat in the Moriah Chapel at Loughor, near Swansea, where the famous Welsh Revival broke out on October 31

st 1904, and had a real taste of those momentous times as we were guided around the premises by a man whose uncle was a close friend of Evan Roberts, the human instrument used by God as the spark of that great movement affecting much of the world including Africa.

I also noted the significance of the chapel’s name as it was Mt Moriah where Abraham was prepared to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice and where, close by, Jesus died for the sins of the world at Calvary.

And this was not the only connection with Israel – more of which later.

In recalling the total surrender of those young men (the initial outpouring effectively started with a youth meeting), one of our group prayed “Bend us, Lord!” as she echoed the heartfelt cry of the revival’s 25-year-old leader for God to break their resistance to the Holy Spirit’s power.

It was an awesome moment as we became aware of the great need of our nation (in the UK as a whole) for restoration and reformation. Then we sang Here is love, vast as the ocean, one of the revival’s key hymns – first in Welsh, then in English.

Our visit there was part of a weekend conference of the UK Fellowship of Full Gospel Churches, an international network of ministers dedicated to proclaiming Christ in all his fullness.

The event was hosted at the Bible College of Wales, which has itself been mightily used in world mission and was a product of the 1904/5 revival. We enjoyed glorious worship in the same room where legendary intercessor Rees Howells and his students prayed through to victory for Britain and the allies during World War II and later for Israel’s recognition at the United Nations.

Participants had flown in from throughout the United States as well as from Holland, while others came from across the south of England and Wales – we were the lone visitors from the north.

Although a relatively small gathering with no more than 50 taking part, most of them were men and women of great spiritual stature and faith – at least one had met with U.S. Presidents while others had walked with the likes of Billy Graham and had witnessed God’s miraculous guidance over many years.

Dick Funnell, from New Orleans, shared his extraordinary journey of how God had led him to come and live on the west coast of Wales where he and his Guatemalan wife Gladys now have keys to a small chapel where they have been praying daily for the past 13 years, convinced that revival is on its way.

As we prayed and lifted our hands in worship, we were aware of the crucial part played by Howells and his students who interceded day and night for a nation facing disaster at the time of Dunkirk. Their God-ordained prayers brought us back from the brink of destruction. They also prayed through to victory at the UN for Israel’s recognition in November 1947, having also made provision for Jewish children escaping the Nazi net.

Jewish Connection

A love for Israel was due not only to a proper understanding of the Bible, but also to the part they had played in the founder’s conversion. Howells actually committed his life to Christ in America, where he had gone to seek his fortune, and it had come about through a Jewish evangelist, Maurice Reuben, who had paid a huge price for following Jesus, being disowned by his wealthy family and denied his part-ownership of a Pittsburgh store.

Maurice himself had found the Lord through the witness of a man he had asked – because he always seemed cheerful – if he had been ‘born happy’, to which the man had replied that his happiness only dated from his ‘second birth’.

Rees, who was the same age as Evan Roberts, returned to Wales to help with the revival.

Following a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit, he lived a radical life of faith as he reached out to drunkards and tramps – cutting down his meals in order to identify with them. And he took on formidable challenges such as praying for – and witnessing to – a village untouched by the revival and healing for sick people doctors had written off.

Evan, meanwhile, was unschooled as, when his father was injured down the mine, he took his place, aged 11, in order to provide an income for his family.

Later, feeling called to pastoral ministry, he left home to acquire the necessary academic qualifications but before long had a deep experience of the Holy Spirit after hearing a speaker from the Welsh equivalent of the Keswick Convention.

He returned to his home village and asked if he could hold a youth meeting to which 16 youngsters turned up. Revival broke out, and services lasted virtually through the night. Miners coming off their shift would join the queues for the chapels; as soon as one was filled they’d tramp off to find the next. Lights would be burning through the night as tens of thousands throughout the principality were convicted of sin by the presence of God and the preaching of the gospel. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 were swept into the kingdom over a four-month period as people couldn’t get enough of being in God’s presence.

It wasn’t the first time Wales had seen revival – Howell Harris and others had led a similar movement in the late 18

th century, and even John Wesley had preached at Loughor in those days. Another revival broke out in 1859 – also touching many other parts of the world.

In fact, it was in the midst of the earlier movement that a hugely significant event took place that was to lead to the foundation of the Bible Society through which the Word of God was translated into hundreds of languages and distributed throughout the world.

The event in question was a 26-mile walk over the mountains of North Wales by 15-year-old Mary Jones in order to purchase a copy of the Welsh Bible for which she had saved up for six years. Her extraordinary feat awakened the need for God’s Word to become available to everyone in their mother tongue.

One of the effects of the 1904 awakening of dynamic Christianity was that the police and magistrates had nothing to do except help control the crowds queuing up for the gospel meetings.

The revival spread across the globe, even touching Asia, Africa and St Petersburg in Russia, and it inspired others praying for a similar move in their own localities. This was particularly the case in California, where news of what was happening in Wales galvanised the prayers of American saints and led directly to the Azusa Street, Los Angeles, revival of 1906, the beginnings of the modern-day Pentecostal movement, with a similar outpouring taking place in Sunderland, England, in 1907 led by Church of England vicar Alexander Boddy, who had earlier come to witness the work of Evan Roberts in Wales.

The revival produced outstanding leaders including George and Stephen Jeffries and, of course, Rees Howells who helped spread the blessing to South Africa when he and his wife Elizabeth went out as missionaries under the auspices of the South African General Mission founded by Rev Andrew Murray.

He later founded his world-changing Bible College in 1928. One student, a young German called Reinhard Bonnke, graduated in 1960 and subsequently won millions of people to the Lord through his huge missions across Africa and other parts of the world.

A young Billy Graham also visited the Loughor chapel back in 1946 when he is understood to have had a profound experience of the Holy Spirit. Millions the world over benefited from that!

Part II next week.

Additional material sourced from Rees Howells, Intercessor by Norman Grubb published by Lutterworth Press

PHOTO: Evan Roberts. Picture by Linda Gardner

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International


Iced Pomegranate Tea From Israel

Prepare the Valdena rooibos / pomegranate tea with boiling water, season with sugar or honey and refrigerate for an hour in the fridge. Add ice cubes as desired and serve cold. Be TeAvon - Bon Appetit!

In South Africa Rooibos Tea is administered as a home remedy for stomach and intestinal cramps or externally for various skin problems. In fact, this healthy tea contains anti-spasmodic and soothing substances. The most interesting group of active ingredients in Rooibos are probably the anti-oxidative flavonoids that can delay ageing effects and degenerative diseases. Japanese scientists have found that Rooibos has been found to combat atherosclerosis, skin diseases, allergies, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Pomegranate relieves excessive bleeding, sweating and hot flashes. Regular consumption increases its anti-inflammatory properties. It also accelerates healing and regeneration of tissue and mucous membranes.

Contains rooibos, hibiscus, orange peel, rosehip, raspberry, pomegranate plus pomegranate and raspberry flavor.


ANALYSIS: Israel and Trump's New Iran Sanctions

While the Trump Administrations re-imposed sanctions on Iran, Israeli pundits and politicians expressed hope that the new measures would ultimately lead to the downfall of the Islamic Republic. 

At the same time, they blasted the European Union for its continuing support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Israel Radio, for example, quoted an anonymous high-ranking official who claimed that the entire Israeli intelligence community was optimistic that Trump's new sanctions would bring Iran to its knees and would force it to renegotiate the nuclear agreement.

“We would like to see a change in policy, but there is no way of knowing how long that will take,” the official said, adding that “the only hammer available right now is economic, and using that, there is a good chance Iran will fall to its knees.”

In his estimation, Iran is “weak and hysterical.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu also commented on the American move against Iran, stating that the re-imposed sanctions were “an important moment for Israel.”

“I congratulate President Trump and the US administration for making the important decision to impose sanctions on Iran. This is an important moment for Israel, the US, the region, and the entire world,”  Netanyahu wrote.

The Israeli leader added that Trump’s decision represented “the determination to curb Iran’s aggression in the region and its ongoing intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu also expressed hope that the European Union would follow the American example and would join Trump’s efforts to reverse the Obama Administration's premature lifting of sanctions in 2016.

The EU, however, stubbornly sticks to its support for the JCPOA, and on Monday formally issued a ‘blocking statute’ that prohibits European companies from complying with the renewed US sanctions. Instead, the EU has declared ruling by foreign (read: American) courts on the matter null and void, and has offered compensation to any European companies damaged by Trump's sanctions.

The endorsement of the blocking statute was announced by Frederica Mogherini, the EU’s Foreign Policy chief.

“Today, the (European) Council has endorsed the update of the blocking statute annex on the nuclear deal with Iran,” Mogherini said after a meeting of European Foreign Ministers in Brussels.

Mogherini added that the EU’s member states were doing all they could to save the nuclear deal with Iran, but admitted Trump’s new Iran policy could still wreck the JCPOA.

The European decision was met with outrage in Israel, where Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan harshly criticized the EU, calling the bloc “morally bankrupt.”

“The EU is morally bankrupt, and we need to remember that next time they try to lecture us,” Erdan stated during an interview with Israel Radio.

Yossi Kuperwasser, the former director of the IDF’s intelligence division and the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, concurred.

Kuperwasser wrote in a  blog post for The Times of Israel that the EU was once again exposed  as “an appeaser of Iran and as a very weak force that can be totally ignored by the United States.”

The Israeli intelligence and security expert made mincemeat of Mogherini’s claim that the Iranian nuclear project was entirely “peaceful,” and said the International Atomic Energy Agency had been able only to identify that Iran didn’t transfer “uranium to a parallel nuclear project in addition to the one it already monitors.”

The EU also ignores documents that the Mossad stole in Tehran last January, which proved Iran’s nuclear program is a military one aimed at developing atomic bombs, according to Kuperwasser.

The impact of the new sanctions on the Iranian economy will be harsh, and the Iranian and European efforts to mitigate it “are doomed to fail,” the Israeli expert concluded.

In Iran, meanwhile, thousands of protesters again took the streets this week. They did so not to protest the renewed American sanctions, but to demand regime change.

The Iranians are furious over their regime’s mishandling of the economy and the diversion of funds to Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The London-based Arabic paper Asharq al-Awsat published new videos showing demonstrators shouting “Death to Hezbollah” and “Death to the Dictator,” as well as death to inflation and unemployment.

“The nation is begging while the master lives like God,” a crowd in Iran chanted, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported that the current unrest is the most severe it had seen since January, when mass demonstrations against the rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were held.

Experts expect Iran’s economy will contract by 4.3 percent next year as the country’s currency, the Rial, continues to lose its value against the dollar, causing a sharp increase in the cost of imports. 

Iran furthermore suffers from electricity black-outs and a severe water crisis that impacts the lives of more than half of the population.

Prime Minister Netanyahu last month offered to help the Iranian people solve the water crisis by using Israel’s cutting-edge water technology, but his offer was ridiculed by the regime.

PHOTO: Iranian journalist Nada Amin, who received asylum in Israel, organized a demonstration in support of the Iranian people and their protests against the regime in Iran. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)


IDF Officer: War With Gaza is Close

A senior IDF officer told Army Radio on Thursday morning that he saw a new full-scale war with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as inevitable.

Overnight and during the early morning hours, Gaza-based terrorists fired at least 200 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel. Some reached as far as the coastal city of Ashkelon, and authorities prepared the surrounding population for even deeper terrorist missile strikes.

A number of Israeli homes, factories, schools and playgrounds were hit during the barrage. More than a dozen people were treated for shock, a handful suffered light injuries, and at least one person–a 30-year-old foreign worker from Thailand–was seriously wounded.

Israel responded with harsh aerial bombardments of Hamas installations, most of which are situated entirely too close to, or directly amongst, the civilian population. The Gaza Health Ministry claimed that a pregnant 23-year-old Palestinian woman and her young daughter were killed in the Israeli reprisals.

Israeli forces also began massing on the Gaza periphery, and the officer who spoke to Army Radio said a ground operation was very likely if the situation continued to deteriorate.

In preparation for that eventuality, and to minimize possible casualties from continued Hamas attacks, summer camps in the southwestern Negev region were cancelled, and local residents were warned to remain within running distance of a bomb shelter at all times.


Lone Soldier Receives Award of Excellence

M., a Lone Soldier serving in a special unit on the Gaza perimeter, was nominated for and awarded an IDF award of excellence for the execution of her duties.

M. was born in Israel but after her parents divorced, when she was six years old, her mother left Israel and M. grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. She completely identified with her Israeli roots and maintained contact with her Israeli peers, visited Israel occasionally and associated with the Jewish community in England.

A few years ago, M.'s father tragically passed away and she visited Israel with her mother to attend her father's funeral. While visiting Israel M. rekindled childhood friendships and discovered that her Israeli peers were all going through the IDF selection process in preparation for their national service.

Upon her return to England, M. pondered the fact that her friends were all getting ready for their IDF service. This awakened the Zionist spirit within her and that she, being Israel born, felt a call to volunteer for IDF service as well. As she expressed it, "I felt like I had this really strong connection to this place that I didn’t live in but got to visit every so often, like it was a part of me. I knew from a young age that everybody in Israel does the army and I couldn’t see why I wouldn’t."

M. joined the Garin Tzabar Program for "Lone Soldiers" and was allocated to a Moshav in Israel while she participated in a pre-military academy course. Once she had finished her boot camp she was assigned to the special unit on the Gaza perimeter where she has served the rest of her time in the IDF. She is scheduled to finish her military service towards the end of this year.

M. describes her IDF service as follows: "When I take a moment to think about it, I sometimes can’t believe I did it! It was a big leap of faith coming out here and serving in the IDF but I couldn’t be happier knowing that I’ve done it. It was unquestionably the right decision."

She really hopes to stay on in Israel after her IDF service and would love to pursue a career in political / international law in Israel. "It certainly won’t be the easy option but those are usually the opportunities which are worth while," M. said.

The next workshop for Israel's Lone Soldiers will take place in October / November and you can support the program!


Local Christians Spar Over Israel Declaring Itself the 'Jewish State'

Israel's new Nation-State Law has been the source of both local and global condemnation. What's new, right?

It doesn't matter that the UN Partition Plan (Resolution 181) contains maps that clearly identified the then-future State of Israel as a "Jewish state" already back in 1947, or that that the Palestinian Authority passed its own parallel law over a decade ago.

For Israel to now enshrine in pseudo-constitutional law its identity as the Jewish state is clearly an act of discrimination against the nation's minority communities. At least, that's the way it's being seen by most in these communities, including the leadership of the traditional churches in the Holy Land.

A statement released by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem read:

"It is beyond conception that a Law with constitutional effect ignores an entire segment of the population, as if its members never existed. The law might not have practical effects, yet it sends an unequivocal signal to the Palestinian citizens of Israel, to the effect that in this country they are not at home."

The Latin Patriarch was not impressed by the fact that the full body of Israel's Basic Law (which fills the role of a constitution) still very much guarantees the equal rights of all Israeli citizens, regardless of race, sex or creed.

He continued:

"The Christian citizens of Israel have the same concerns as any other non-Jewish communities. They call upon all citizens of the State of Israel who still believe in the basic concept of equality among citizens of the same nation, to voice their objection to this law and the dangers emanating thereof for the future of this country."

But other Arabic-speaking Christians, even those affiliated with the Catholic Church, insisted that the Patriarch did not speak on their behalf, and that Israel's Nation-State Law is a necessary move given the current instability in the Middle East.

When asked by Israel Today to comment on this topic, IDF Capt. (res.) Shadi Khalloul, head of the Aramean-Christian Movement in Israel and founder of the Christian-Jewish Pre-Army Preparatory Program, pointed to the example of neighboring Lebanon.

"The modern State of Lebanon was established by Maronite Christians as a shelter for them and other persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East," he recalled. "But the Muslim population of Lebanon was not a partner to this national vision, and due to differences of opinion, the Maronites were compelled to abandon their national ambitions. With no other choice, they agreed to the establishment of a state of all its citizens that, to their chagrin, joined the Arab League."

Khalloul noted that this compromise, this effort to be a state of all its citizens, ultimately resulted Lebanon's failure as a viable and unified nation.

"The Muslims did not at all see themselves as part of an independent Lebanese country, and instead nurtured their dream of uniting with their brothers in the surrounding region," he explained. "This brought about increased extremism in the Muslim Arab population in Lebanon, weakening state institutions and causing the Christians to emigrate from the land of their forefathers in which they had thrived for generations."

Khalloul believes Israel faces a similar threat.

"My support of the Nation-State Law is informed by the bitter Lebanese experience," he told us. "I believe that Jewish nationalism enshrined in Israeli law guarantees her continuing to be a democracy, and it also guarantees my existence and security as a member of a religious minority."

Khalloul, who encourages young local Christians to join the IDF and integrate with Israeli Jewish society, expounded: "A state of all its citizens (meaning: a state of all its national groups) is liable to duplicate the Lebanese tragedy here in Israel. Recent history suggests that there is reason to suspect that without the fortification in law of Jewish nationality, national and religious tensions would grow and intensify. Supported by elements outside the country, the Arab Muslims of Israel would seek to join with their Palestinian brothers, and after that to unite with the larger Arab world around."

Unlike most of Israel's detractors who refuse to see the situation in context, Khalloul pointed to the fact that "experience teaches us that the Jewish majority in Israel appreciates democracy and is faithful to its principles. This Basic Law, together with earlier Basic Laws, promises to maintain the democratic nature of Israel."

In conclusion, Khalloul stated that he and many Israeli Christians remain "hopeful that in the state of the Jewish People, which our forefathers supported, loyal minorities like ours will be able to maintain our own identity, culture and language." He said local Christians look forward to accomplishing this "peacefully and in brotherhood alongside the Jewish majority."


Join Us On This Experience Of A Lifetime Desert Challenge!

We will be hiking the southern part of the famous Israel National Trail. An expedition in Israel's biblical desert, which very few know. It will be an extreme desert hike, definitely not for everyone but a unique opportunity to get to know your own limits. We will be spending the days on narrow and lonely pathways and rest at night under the stars and open sky.

The desert is a unique place to hear God's voice anew. The desert speaks, and this secret is hidden in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew words "speaking - מדבר" and "desert - מדבר" have the same roots. Abraham traversed the Negev Desert during his travels to and from Egypt, and the children of Israel spent 40 years during their exodus from Egypt in the same terrain. God chose the desert, the silence, to address people directly.

Come and experience this for yourself in the footsteps of the children of Israel in the midst of the desert. You will experience the desert exodus described in the Bible. A unique safari bringing the desert to life more than you expect because the desert lives more than you think.

This hike is definitely not for everyone!

A desert trip limited to only 30 participants!


VIDEO: Israeli Tank Spots Hamas Snipers and Takes Them Out

The above video clip released by the Israeli army shows two Hamas snipers in a raised position opening fire on IDF troops operating along the Gaza security fence.

After being spotted, the terrorists are quickly taken out by tank fire.


Christian Millennials Visit Israel, Realize Media's Been Lying to Them

An international group of millennials have seen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a new light after engaging with both sides – and being shocked by what they discovered.

A party of eleven young people from seven nations were brought together for the chance to understand issues from the point of view of those living there. They were deliberately not primed to view things from any particular perspective in order to allow them to form their own conclusions through interviews and talks with representatives of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Their three-week trip was recorded on film for a feature-length documentary called Quest for Truth, now available on YouTube (see below).

It was produced by Generation 2 Generation, a UK-based organisation founded by Andrew, Daniella and Daphne Kirk committed to inspiring the next generation with an uncompromising passion for Jesus and the gospel.

The group – from Germany, the USA, the UK, Norway, Japan, Brazil and South Africa – were introduced to community leaders in the Palestinian territories as well as in Israel itself.

Not surprisingly, most of them are strongly influenced by social media which generally portrays a narrative of Israel as big bullies of an oppressed people. Media bias had shaped their perception of the conflict, and they were profoundly shocked to discover that the truth was very different.

“I’ve been lied to,” said one. “You realise how false these stories are,” said another.

The Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem, Essam Juha, was forced to explain why a swastika was inscribed into the fabric of the hotel where they met him. He said it was because Israel had humiliated nations in the same way they had been treated.

“It was so hard for me to keep a straight face,” said Marlea, from New Orleans. “How dare they make that comparison (with the Holocaust).”

After hearing how Palestinians see the Israelis as occupiers of their land, they were taken aback by the response of an Arab pastor, Naim Khoury, who asked: “What occupation?” And as he turned towards the windows, he added: “Where is the occupation? We are completely under the Palestinian Authority.”

The point was further brought home by a member of the group, who observed: “I have not seen one IDF (Israeli Defence Force) soldier, or Israeli flag.”

They also learnt that the throwing of rocks – and even Molotov cocktails – at Israeli soldiers is seen by Fatah, the PA’s ruling party, as non-violent activity.

A further learning curve involved meeting Col. Danny Tirza, architect of the notorious security wall built to keep out terrorists, who said he wanted to be the first to begin taking it down when peace finally came. But in the meantime the murder rate from terrorism had been cut by 90 percent.

He said that those whose land had been split by the wall – only five per cent of which is concrete; the rest being a much more discreet wire fence – are offered compensation, but refuse to accept it for fear of being labelled collaborators.

Graffiti on the wall betrays the true ambition of Palestinian agitators, with a map showing all of geographical Israel as theirs. They have no wish to share the land, or establish a state beside Israel. They want all of it.

As historian Dr. Michael Brown put it: “If the Palestinians put down their weapons there’d be no more war; if Israel put down their weapons, there’d be no more Israel.”

An ex-IDF soldier said: “They use our moral standards against us.” As an example, he explained how a terrorist suspect fled to a crowded residential area, knowing they wouldn’t open fire if civilians were at risk. And when the military had the place surrounded, the fugitive duly appeared on the roof in a bid to escape, at which point they shot him in the leg. But while supporting medics were bandaging him up, the soldiers were pelted with huge rocks. Israelis risk death because of the great value they place on life.

Further observations on the Palestinians included – “They are victims of their own hatred” and “They are suffering a lot because of radical people in their community.”

In the southern city of Sderot, meanwhile, a rocket-proof playground has had to be built for children so that, when sirens warn of regular incoming missiles from Hamas in nearby Gaza, the kids have an immediate bolt-hole.

The group also visited Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum where a tearful young British woman, Megan, was visibly shocked by the way her country – in charge of the region then known as Palestine – closed the doors to Jews trying to escape Nazi-occupied Europe. And on the question of Israel practicing apartheid – a charge widely disseminated by the liberal left – she added: “I haven’t seen any evidence of it.”

Dr. Brown emphasised the need for Israel’s self-defence by saying that anti-Semitic levels are as high now as they were immediately before the Holocaust.  A Brazilian member added: “I believe the biggest reason for anti-Semitism is lack of knowledge.” And a German youth added: “The greatest enemy of anti-Semitism is the truth.”

A Palestinian representative addresses the group beside Israel's much-maligned security wall. (Charles Gardner)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International


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Jesus in Modern Israeli Art - an Interview With Gideon Ofrat

Israel Today speaks to one of the nation's leading art authorities regarding the regular appearance of Jesus and Christian motifs in modern Israeli art.

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Palestinian Man Fears Being Killed for Rescuing Jewish Kids

A Palestinian man said he and his wife face almost certain death at the hands of fellow Palestinian Arabs for daring to save the lives of two Israeli Jewish children wounded in a 2016 terrorist attack.

Just over two years ago, on July 1, 2016, Rabbi Miki Mark was driving with his family near the Judean town of Hebron when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on their vehicle.

Rabbi Mark was killed. His wife, Chava, suffered serious injuries, and their two teenage children, Tehila and Pedaya, were lightly-to-moderately wounded.

The Palestinian man in question, whose name has not been published to protect him from further threats, witnessed the attack. He and his wife, who is a medical doctor, immediately called an ambulance and rushed over to the Mark family's overturned vehicle to begin helping the survivors.

The man's wife worked to stop the bleeding from 14-year-old Tehila's open stomach wound, while he hugged and tended to the lighter injuries of a terrified 15-year-old Pedaya.

"It doesn’t matter to me if it was an accident or a terror attack, it’s irrelevant. These are people, children, who need help, and if I can help, I will help them," he told Israel's Hadashot news. "I’m not sorry that I helped Jewish people. I did it because of my heart. And I know that in the end, God will bless me."

But his unabashed willingness to aid wounded Jewish children put this man's life in mortal danger. He recalled that soon after the attack, his neighbors "started calling me a traitor. They started to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at my car. I was worried that when I left the house I would be burned alive."

Israeli military officials granted the man and his wife a temporary permit to live in Israel proper for their own safety. However, that permit has now expired and Israel has declined to renew it, insisting that the Palestinian man no longer faces such threats and noting that over the past two years he has visited the Palestinian Authority several times without incident.

He disagrees.

"If I go [back to the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories], it is as if I’m going to my death," he told Israeli television.

There is still some hope that the public exposure will compel the government to extend the permit for this brave couple.

In the meantime, the affair provides a pointed reminder as to why a genuine peace remains so elusive.

Two of the primary stipulations of the so-called "Oslo" peace process were that the Palestinians recognize and accept the right of the Jewish people to live in this land, and that the Palestinian Authority educate its population for peaceful coexistence.

As evidenced by the fact that this man's neighbors want to murder him and his wife for having the audacity to help wounded Jewish children, these obligations have still not been fulfilled nearly 25 years after the accords were first signed.

PHOTO: Rabbi Mark's children, Tehila and Pedaya, are consoled by family and friends during their father's funeral in 2016. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)


Trump Reportedly Trying to Close UN Agency Dedicated to Palestinian Refugees

The Palestinian refugees are so unique in the world's eyes that they have their very own United Nations aid agency. This isn't because they're the most numerous refugee population (they aren't, even with inflated numbers) or because they're the most destitute (again, they aren't). It's because on the other side of the equation stands Israel, the nation that the international community most loves to hate.

Once again, US President Donald Trump appears determined to change the rules of the game by shuttering the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization he holds largely responsible for preventing a genuine peace in the Middle East, which is an opinion shared by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

To that end, White House Advisor and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has recently been working to ascertain how many genuine Palestinian refugees there really are in the world today.

You see, the United Nations typically defines a refugee as a person displaced from his or her homeland. But, in the case of the Palestinians, an exception has been made to allow this status to become hereditary, meaning that the original 650,000 or so Palestinian refugees have today become millions. There is also argument over whether many of these should be classified as true refugees, or merely "displaced persons," given that they today live only a few miles from their original family homes and still reside among their own people in the same geographical area.

According to Foreign Policy magazine, Kushner recently told White House officials that the game UNRWA is playing with Palestinian refugees is making a viable peace agreement difficult, if not impossible.

Back in June, Kushner visited Jordan and was said to have asked the Hashemite Kingdom to strip local Palestinians of their refugee status. It was seen as a first step toward eliminating the need for UNRWA altogether.

For years, the Palestinian leadership has maintained as one of its "red line" demands the right of each and every Palestinian refugee in the world to return to old family homes in Israel proper. Given the aforementioned exemption that has turned the children and grandchildren of those original refugees into refugees themselves, this would mean potentially flooding the Jewish state with as many as 7 million Palestinians, thus irreversibly shifting the demographic balance (outside of a mass migration of America's Jewish population).

It's a condition no Israeli government from either side of the political spectrum can ever accept.

UNRWA feeds this impossible situation by perpetually increasing the number of Palestinian refugees, and even educating them (via UNRWA schools) to forever see themselves as nothing more.

Unlike the power-brokers before him, Trump seems to understand that without removing this roadblock, the peace process isn't going anywhere.


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The Good Devil's Sense of Justice

The ancient trick of bad people making themselves appear as pious has always worked like a charm. In Israel, when criminals appear before a judge, many wear a white and shiny kippa, because they know that in some mysterious way it makes them look like decent people, even when everybody knows they are ruthless.

This tactic is equally effective in the political arena. Joshua Yevin, founder of the first Jewish right-wing underground, showed an uncanny insight into the future when he wrote in 1933 about what he called "the good devil."  "The good devil [is] the devil who is wholly committed to good and mercy." This devil, wrote Yevin, "is equipped with the most advanced techniques for 'universal justice' [he] carries the 'loftiest human ideal' on his lips – he is the one whom you can't fight, defeat or destroy … for who would dare raise his hand against the good devil protected from head to toe with an armor of mercy."

The recent excitement over the new Palestinian heroine Ahed Tamimi (pictured) demonstrates the good devil at work. Tamimi, jailed for eight months for slapping the face of an IDF officer, has never hidden her desire for Israel to one day cease to exist. But Tamimi, like those criminals, is cleverly presented as a saint who captures the hearts of the far-left and those Israeli Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians. This bizarre alliance between these two opposite extremes negates any pretense of righteousness from the get-go. And yet, to the amazement, or amusement, of many Israelis, liberal Jews and Muslim militants are becoming ever bolder, and are now using every available platform to shout their righteous indignation over what they see as raw and inexcusable Israeli injustice.

Speaking about justice instead of land, which happens now more frequently than ever before, is proving to be an irresistible lure for many people who are fed up with the ever-present nuisance of a thing called the "Jewish state." Speaking only about land, Palestinians know better than anyone else, has a fatal flaw in it. It limits a future Palestinian state to the West Bank, something that cuts right through the non-negotiable refugee "right of return" to their pre-1948 homes.

Shifting the emphasis from land to justice allows the killing of two birds with one stone. As the argument goes, if the "occupation" is unjust, then itself Israel is unjust; and if Israel is unjust, then it has no right to exist. Speaking about Israeli Jews as unrighteous people and Palestinians as righteous people justifies the ongoing fight for the realization of the two primary Palestinian objectives – establishing a Palestinian state in Israel's place, and resettling those perpetual refugees in their old homes in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashkelon. This twisted concept of Palestinians justice can only ever come at the expense of Israel, which is why the Jewish state has to go.

This tactic known as the "politics of righteousness" was embraced enthusiastically by all those who can't stand the sight of a Jewish state, and the presence of "Saint Tamimi" gives them the confidence they need to justify the peculiar brand of Palestinian justice. Upon the release of Tamimi, Member of Knesset Aymen Odeh, head of the United Arab List party, said he supports "Tamimi and her fight against the occupation … I hope she will continue in her fight and I hope that all the Palestinian people will resist this damn occupation. We want to live in a place of justice and peace." Odeh, who speaks in the name of justice, hopes for the day when Israel will no longer be the Jewish home. Odeh, one should not fail to mention, belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim faction, which is considered heretical by mainstream Sunnis, and we all know the fate that awaits Muslim heretics.

From the other side, Guri Mintzer, the Israeli millionaire who covered Tamimi's legal expenses, was as jubilant as Odeh, if not more so. "I had the honor and privilege to participate in the release party of Ahed, the Palestinian Jeanne d'Arc … come what may, we will stand beside you. Justice always wins," Mintzer wrote on his Facebook page. And none other than Dana Olmert, daughter of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, wrote that "the occupation will end, and it will be because of these Tamimi women and because of Gabi Laski, who represented Tamimi before the abominable occupation authorities. All the power to Tamimi. A young woman who didn't break down despite the horror and the violence and the injustice" [Tamimi, by the way, gained considerable weight during her "horrific" ordeal in Israeli prison]. Both Mintzer and Laski are members of the post-Zionist Meretz party, which, like Odeh's party, hopes to facilitate a future in which a Palestinian Arab state is living in peace side-by-side with a decidedly non-Jewish democratic State of Israel. This is the good devil's sense of justice.


Israel Launches Strike on ISIS Forces in Syria

Seven members of the ISIS-affiliated jihadist group that remains active in southern Syria were reportedly killed late Wednesday night in an Israeli air strike.

Israel's military spokesperson said that the terrorists were en route to carry out a cross-border attack on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. Assault rifles and explosive belts were retrieved from the scene by Israeli forces.

The Russian forces operating in Syria have warned that ISIS is trying to draw Israel into the country's long and bloody civil war.

Russian media said that Russia would soon deploy forces along the border to keep the warring factions from provoking Israel.


ANALYSIS: Have Iranian forces withdrawn from the Israeli border in Syria?

On Monday, the pro-Assad coalition in Syria finally finished off the last pockets of Islamist resistance along the Israeli border on the Golan Heights after a six-week-long campaign which included the ‘liberation’ of the Daraa and Kuneitra provinces in southwest Syria.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces, which today include Hezbollah and other Shiite militias,  regained full control over the Syrian Golan Heights after closing a surrender deal with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known by the name Jabhat al-Nusra) and after a bloody fight with ISIS branch Jaish Khalid Bin Walid.

Assad’s mouthpiece SANA claimed on Monday the Russian-Iranian-backed pro-Assad coalition drove the last ISIS terrorists out of the town of Shajarah in the Yarmouk basin on the southern Golan Heights.

From Shajarah the forces of the Syrian dictator proceeded in the direction of the villages Abidin and Maariyah and finally recaptured the region along the border with Israel on the Golan Heights.

The remaining members of Jaish Khalid Bin Walid were driven into the bush and the valleys of the Yarmuk basin as they tried to stage suicide attacks against soldiers of the pro-Assad coalition.

The operation was carried out with combat units and special tactics (so) that the terrorist organization lost the ability to maneuver,” according to a statement released by the Assad government.

The offensive was supported by the Russian air force which heavily pounded Jaish Khalid Bin Walid positions on the southern Golan Heights.

Those aerial bombardments were even audible in the area of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel on Saturday and Sunday.

The ISIS affiliate has now retorted to suicide bombings against Syrian army positions and against Druze and other Syrian civilians in Daraa, Quneitra and the Sweida province which is home to a large Druze minority in Syria.

Last week ISIS suicide bombers killed more than 215 Druze civilians in the city of Sweida and nearby villages while kidnapping dozens of others.

Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias reportedly played a key role in re-capturing the region along the border despite Russian assurances they would be kept away from the Israeli border and denials by the Assad regime the Iranian trained and funded forces were taking part in the battle.

Israel has now closed its border with Syria and will no longer provide medical help and others forms of humanitarian aid to people who are trying to cross into the Jewish state.

Since Israel started its operation "Good Neighbor” in 2013 the IDF delivered tons of food, medicines and other humanitarian aid goods in Syria and has provided medical treatment to thousands of Syrians including 600 children who came to Israeli hospital accompanied by their mothers.

Israel has now asked Russia to ensure Assad’s forces will not carry out a massacre of the thousands of Syrian civilians who fled their homes during the offensive and are camping out along the Israeli border.

The Israeli broadcaster Hadeshot reported Monday night the Israeli government passed on the message to Putin via diplomatic channels but it remains to be seen if the Russians are willing to intervene when Assad cracks down on the refugees who are in majority opponents of the ruthless regime.

The return of Assad’s army to the Israeli border on the Golan Heights means that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s diplomatic offensive to keep the Iranian-backed militias at least 40 kilometer from the Israeli border has failed.

Netanyahu repeatedly traveled to Moscow and often called President Vladimir Putin to discuss the creation of a buffer zone free of Iranian forces along the border with Syria on the Golan Heights and later demanded Russia would ensure Iran would withdraw from Syria completely.

The situation on the ground and an interview with the Russian ambassador in Israel made it clear Russia has no intention to assist Israel in its war against the Iranian military build-up in Syria despite promises Russian military police would prevent Iran from approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov told Channel 10 in Israel Russia cannot compel Iranian forces to leave Syria because they are playing a crucial role in defeating "terrorists".

Two days later another Russian diplomat contradicted Viktorov and claimed Iranian forces had pulled out to 85 kilometer from the Israeli border.

Alexander Lavrentyev, Putin’s envoy in Syria told state-controlled Sputnik news in Russia the Russian government was taking Israel’s security needs in account and claimed the Russians had “managed to attain the pullout of Iranian units 85km from the Israeli border.”

Levrentyev  wasn’t speaking the truth.

On July 22 Hashem Safi al-Din, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, said during a commemorative ceremony in Nabatieh, Lebanon to mark the anniversary of the Second Lebanon War that Hezbollah, which is an Iranian proxy army, had not left southern Syria and had participated in the battle against rebels in Daraa and Kuneitra which borders Israel.

The Assad regime, furthermore, said Syria’s Special Forces had ‘liberated’ the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Those Special Forces are made up of Shiite fighters who were recruited by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and receive their orders from Qassem Soleimani the shrewd commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC.

It is therefore no exaggeration to say that Israel is now facing Iranian-trained and financed forces along two fronts in the north of the country: Lebanon and Syria.

PHOTO: Iranian-linked forces continue to take part in battles just on the other side of the Israel-Syria border. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)


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The Forgotten (or Ignored) Aspect of Israel's 'Racist' Nation-State Law

Israel has come under a lot of flak for recently passing a new Basic Law (the local equivalent of a constitutional law in the absence of a true constitution) that enshrines "Israel as the historic home of the Jewish people," officially labels an undivided Jerusalem as its capital and declares Hebrew to be its only official language.

Many among the 20 percent of Israel's population who are not Jews and whose mother tongue is not Hebrew have derided the Nation-State Law as a racist piece of legislation. They have been joined by most Jewish Israeli liberals, who say the new law is a power-play by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The outcry from abroad has been even greater.

But whether the Nation-State Law is justified or foolhardy (or both), those engaged in the argument are glossing over a very important aspect of why it was passed, and why so many Israeli Jews support it.

When the United Nations voted for the partition of this land in 1947, it envisioned separate states for Jews and Arabs. The official map accompanying the motion even called the green portion of the land the "Jewish state."

Israel accepted the proposal, the Arabs didn't.

Years later, after repeated military efforts to annihilate the Jewish state had failed, the Arabs finally agreed to the partition plan as the basis of a new peace process. Only, the leadership of the Palestinian Arabs has refused to accept the foundational condition of the partition plan–that the state neighboring theirs be recognized as a "Jewish state."

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has passed its own Basic Law (already back in 2003) that clearly defines a future Palestinian state as an ethnic Arab state in which Islam is the dominant religion (meaning Sharia Law holds sway) and Arabic is the only official language. (H/T to Robert Nicholson of The Philos Project for pointing this out.)

In this light, the motivation behind Israel's Nation-State Law, which had been hotly debated for seven years before finally being passed, can be seen as reactionary as much as anything else.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process stipulates the formation of separate Arab and Jewish states. The Palestinian leadership has unilaterally declared the former, while rejecting the latter. Israel, or elements therein, felt compelled to make a similar unilateral move to plant a flag in the chief concession already granted it by the United Nations back in 1947.


Russia Convinces Iran to Back Away From Israel Border, But is It Enough?

Russian officials on Wednesday announced that they had reached an agreement with both Israel and Iran regarding the deployment of military forces near the Israel-Syria border.

Israel has deemed the presence of Iranian forces in Syria an existential threat to the Jewish state, and demanded they be removed completely from the war-torn country.

Russia, the leading military power in Syria at this time and an ally of both the Syrian regime and Iran, responded recently that it can't force the Islamic Republic to withdraw its forces, and that their presence is crucial to defeating the remaining jihadists.

According to Russian Presidential Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, the matter is now resolved.

Speaking to the Sputnik news agency, Lavrentyev said that Iranian forces would withdraw to a distance of 85 kilometers (nearly 53 miles) from the Israeli border on the Golan Heights, and that Jerusalem has accepted this compromise.

If true, this would mark a serious reversal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who just last month rejected a Russian offer to push Iranian forces back at least 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border. When he met with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Netanyahu pointed out that Iran and its allied forces in Syria possess missiles with a range much greater than 100 kilometers.

Netanyahu also insisted that under any agreement regarding the deployment of Iranian forces, Israel must retain the right to act militarily against any perceived Iranian threats. It was unclear if this stipulation remains part of the new reported agreement.

PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Jerusalem. (Haim Zach/GPO)


Are You Up For An Unique Personal Challenge?

We will be hiking the southern part of the famous Israel National Trail. An expedition in Israel's biblical desert, which very few know. It will be an extreme desert hike, definitely not for everyone but a unique opportunity to get to know your own limits. We will be spending the days on narrow and lonely pathways and rest at night under the stars and open sky.

The desert is a unique place to hear God's voice anew. The desert speaks, and this secret is hidden in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew words "speaking - מדבר" and "desert - מדבר" have the same roots. Abraham traversed the Negev Desert during his travels to and from Egypt, and the children of Israel spent 40 years during their exodus from Egypt in the same terrain. God chose the desert, the silence, to address people directly.

Come and experience this for yourself in the footsteps of the children of Israel in the midst of the desert. You will experience the desert exodus described in the Bible. A unique safari bringing the desert to life more than you expect because the desert lives more than you think.

This hike is definitely not for everyone!

A desert trip limited to only 30 participants!


Israel Pleads for the Lives of Endangered Syrian Civilians

Israel is a racist country that hates and wishes nothing but ill-will upon all Arabs. At least, that's what the Jewish state's antagonists will tell you.

To maintain this lie in their own heads, such people must ignore entirely one of the most important and touching stories in the Middle East today - Israel's multi-faceted campaign (dubbed "Operation Good Neighbor") to aid Syrian civilians and keep them from being slaughtered by warring factions in their own country.

In the latest issue of Israel Today Magazine (read it here), we spoke with two badly-wounded Syrians being treated at a hospital in northern Israel. And there are thousands more like them.

But with the forces of the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies inching closer to regaining control of the entirety of southern Syria, and even greater humanitarian crisis looms.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled their homes and set up camp in the narrow strip of land adjacent to the border with Israel. It is one of the last areas not yet under direct control of dictator Bashar Assad, and, some hope, it's close enough to the Jewish state that the IDF will intervene to thwart any attempted massacre.

Israel isn't waiting till it comes to that, and this week sent urgent diplomatic communiques to Moscow urging the Russian leadership to rein in Syrian forces and prevent them from harming this mass of civilians.

Now, one has to wonder, if Israel is so hostile toward Arabs, if racism is truly the overriding trait of the Jewish people, then why go to such lengths and expend so much resources (both financial and political) to save the lives of a few thousand Arabs in a country where hundreds of thousands have already been killed and which is anyway officially at war with the loathsome "Zionist entity"?

Could it be that as a whole Israel doesn't truly harbor animosity toward the Arabs? Nah, couldn't be. That would ruin the whole narrative! Better to just ignore what's happening on the Israel-Syria border.

PHOTO: Displaced Syrians are setting up camp as close to the border as possible, within full view of Israel, and the Israeli army. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)


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Outrage in Israel After Rabbis Call LGBT Community 'Perverts'

The more liberal and progressive elements in Israeli society are fuming after a group of 200 leading rabbis published a letter labeling homosexuals as "perverts."

As a nation, Israel prides itself on tolerance toward and acceptance of homosexuals. There are openly-gay members of Knesset; the IDF touts its integration of the LGBT community; Tel Aviv is advertised by the Israel Ministry of Tourism as a top gay travel destination; and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently highlighted Israel's homosexual credentials at the American Jewish Committee conference.

But Netanyahu and his Likud Party also helped defeat a motion to include homosexuals in a new amendment to Israel's surrogacy laws. The amendment enables single would-be mothers to now make use of surrogacy on the state's dime. Homosexuals hoped to be included in the new regulations, and took to the streets of Tel Aviv in mass protest when the Knesset rejected their appeals.

In response to the liberal outcry, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern insisted that children born to gay couples would "enter a very strange and unnatural life," and that the government of Israel shouldn't be party to such a "wretched" state of affairs.

Rabbi Stern faced a severe backlash, which prompted the 200 prominent fellow rabbis to come to his defense in a letter reading:

"[Rabbi Stern] spoke simply about the eternal truth of our holy Torah and human normalcy, which the healthy majority of the State of Israel identifies with, and which is outraged by the provocations of the organizations of abomination, who carry out impudent marches in the cities of Israel and even arrange marches of abomination on the Fast of Av, a day of national mourning for the Temple which was destroyed in part due to illicit sexual relations and baseless hatred.

"The media's brainwashing that seeks to destroy the concept of family and turn perverts into heroes will not succeed, and nor will the attempt to silence rabbis and sane people and turn them into delusional extremists."

The letter was swiftly condemned by left-wing and centrist lawmakers in the Knesset, and a petition was started demanding that any of the 200 rabbis who draw a government salary should be fired immediately.


Blood Moons and Earthquakes - What Does It All Mean?


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Hamas Claims Gaza Protests are 'Peaceful,' Then Calls for Killing Every Jew

One of the top Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip last week again claimed that ongoing demonstrations along the coastal enclave's border with Israel are "peaceful" in nature. With his very next breath, he encouraged local Muslims to slaughter every Jew they can get their hands on.

Speaking a funeral at the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City, Fathi Hamad hailed the "success" of what he called "peaceful" protests at the Gaza security fence that have been going on since the end of March.

"We are making history with our peacefulness and our peaceful movement," Hamas insisted.

Contrary to Hamad's remarks, those protests have been marked by routine violence, including the flying of thousands of "fire kites" into southern Israel, resulting in the destruction of vast swaths of agricultural fields and nature reserves.

Unable to any longer resist the urge to incite at least a little violence, and exposing the true nature of the Gaza riots, Hamad blurted out:

"O Muslims, wherever you find a Zionist Jew, you must kill him because that is an expression of your solidarity with the al-Aqsa Mosque and an expression of your solidarity with… your Jerusalem, your Palestine and… your people."


Welsh Run for Israel

Welsh Christians are taking to the mountains for which their country is famous to declare their support for embattled Israel and British-based Jews.

Led by former Israeli Defence Force commander Matan Dansker, members and supporters of the Fathers House Sabbath Congregation in Shotton, Deeside, will participate in an 8km run along the beautiful Clwydian Range in North Wales with persecuted Christians also in mind.

Fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news” (Isa 52.7), it follows a similar event last year and will be part of a weekend of activities from August 3-5 at which Mr Dansker, who fought in Gaza, will speak about what is happening in the Jewish state.

Congregational leader Michael Fryer is determined to respond to the rising hatred of Jews in the UK, where the official opposition Labour Party has adopted a watered-down definition of anti-Semitism.

He said: “This is of great concern to us all, so we are highlighting the issues faced by the Jewish community here along with the anti-Israel rhetoric – and an Israeli flag will again be flown at the highest point on the mountain.”

He adds: “Christians are also facing unprecedented persecution in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries with mass slaughter and rape being reported in Nigeria. At the same time, the basic tenets of our Judeo-Christian faith are being eroded even here in the UK where Christians are being prosecuted for refusing to comply with immoral practices.

“Fathers House stands shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community in the UK and we support a number of charitable programmes in Israel. We also support pastors and orphanages in India and Myanmar (Burma) and will hear from those directly involved with these initiatives during this gathering. We will also have a video link with an orphanage in Myanmar during which our children will share with their counterparts in song and drama.”

For more information, see www.fathershouse.wales – details of the run’s location will be given out on request to those wishing to take part, whether running or walking.

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International


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Heartbreak, Outrage as Hundreds Bury Victim of Palestinian Terror Stabbing

Hundreds of Israelis wailed in agony and anger on Friday while laying to rest an Jewish man stabbed to death by a teenage Palestinian terrorist a day earlier.

Yotam Ovadia, 31, was reportedly out buying ingredients to make his wife a romantic dinner to mark Tu B'Av, the Jewish Valentine's Day, when the attack occurred in the settlement of Adam, just north of Jerusalem. Ovadia also leaves behind two young children.

"The heart breaks at the sound of your little son calling ‘Daddy, Daddy,’" cried Ovadia's father-in-law. "The little boy cannot go on without you."

The attacker was identified as 17-year-old Mohammed Tareq Yousef. He also managed to stab and seriously wound another Israeli man, aged 58, before finally being shot dead by his third intended victim.

At the funeral, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan laid the blame squarely on a Palestinian Authority that continues to encourage the murder of Jews by praising such actions as "heroic" and elevating killers like Yousef to "martyr" status.

"To those who think that the Palestinian Authority is part of the solution, it is not! It is the problem!" said Ben Dahan.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin concurred, insisted that "responsibility lies with the Palestinian Authority. Those who teach hatred will pay a price."

Other Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, threatened to respond by expanding Adam and additional Jewish settlements in the area.

PHOTO: Friends and family mourn at the funeral of 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem on July 27, 2018. Ovadia was murdered last night in the Jewish settlement of Adam when a young Palestinian stabbed him and wounded two other Jews in a terror attack. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90


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Israel's New Nation-State Law, and Why It Has Nothing To Do With Racism

July 18, 2018. Mark the date, because on this day Israel legislated the new Nation-State Law. 

According to Prime Minister Netanyahu, this was "a ‎defining moment in the annals of Zionism ‎and the ‎history of the State of Israel."‎ Explaining the need for this "basic law" that carries constitutional powers, Likud MK Avi Dichter, the man behind the bill, wrote that it reinforces "Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people … particularly in times when there are those who seek to annul the right of the Jewish people to a national home in their land, and the recognition of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people."

Dichter didn't really need to name those challenging the status of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people since most Israelis don't have to guess. Dichter was alluding to radical Israeli leftist NGOs like the New Israel Fund, Breaking of the Silence and B'Tselem, all of which are financially supported by European countries and the UN. These NGOs are doing their utmost to turn Israel from a Jewish democracy to just a democracy. What that means is that if they are successful in their efforts, Israel will no longer be recognized as a home and shelter for Jews. If it comes to that, give the region's demography, Israel could eventually become yet another Muslim Arab country with a persecuted Jewish minority.

Some critics, like Yossi Dahan, head of the Human Rights Division at the College of Law and Business, went so far as to say that this nation-state law is a shrewd right-wing move to enforce "mechanisms of discrimination and racism." It should be noted that such things are being said despite the fact that an Arab judge sits on the Supreme Court and young Israeli Arabs are receiving free rides at Israeli universities in an effort to boost higher education in the Arab sector.

And if Dahan can accuse Israel of racism, why not the smarmy Independent, which reports without any reservation about Turkish President Erdogan's vile comparison between Israel under this nation-state law and Nazi Germany. "There’s no difference between Hitler’s obsession with a pure race and the understanding that these ancient lands are just for the Jews,” said the one who butchers Kurds without mercy.

For those who can't tell the difference between racism and ethnicity, a racist state is one in which a pure blood race sees itself as superior to the minorities living among it. Genuine examples are Nazi Germany and, to an extent, the former government in South Africa. An ethnic state is one in which the majority of the population share a common ancestry, history, religion, tradition, language and culture. Israel is a prime example here. But there is another aspect to Jewish ethnicity that further sets it apart from the racist examples above - the Jewish people claim a divine choseness the primary objective of which is to improve the wellbeing of all humanity.

Jews, as anyone with half a brain knows, have nothing to do with pure blood. If anything, their long history of persecution, including an untold number of rape cases, should have been enough to dispel any notion of race. Furthermore, from the dawn of their history, Jews never really minded marrying non-Jews or receiving converts. King David's ancestry is enough to make this argument.

It is in light of this difference that the Balfour Declaration could come into being, and it is this declaration, later ratified by the UN, that justifies recognizing Israel as a Jewish home. It is entirely in place, therefore, that following the approval of the nation-state law, Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote the following on his Facebook page: 

"Ninety-six years ago today, on July 24, 1922, the British Mandate was confirmed by the League of Nations. The British Mandate incorporated the Balfour Declaration as a binding legal document, one which awarded national rights to the Jewish people – and only the Jewish people – in the Land of Israel. The British Mandate, which expanded upon the Biblical and historical connection of the Jewish people to its land, was later adopted by the United Nations, and until today is a binding document under international law that defines the international legal status of the Land of Israel. In light of this, we enacted the Nation-State Law, which for the first time enshrines, as a Basic Law, the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. These are clear historical facts regarding our rights in the Land of Israel. Share this."

The following are the key components of the Nation-State Law. One has to keep in mind though that basic laws securing the human rights of the individual were legislated back in 1992. In fact, it was the law of "human dignity and freedom" that tipped the balance in favor of those opposing Israel as a Jewish home. The present law seeks to restore balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community.

  • The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established;
  • The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people;
  • The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people;
  • The state will strive to ensure the safety of the members of the Jewish people in trouble or in captivity due to the fact of their Jewishness or their citizenship;
  • The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people;
  • The state shall act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people among Jews in the Diaspora.


An Exodus Experience Not For Everyone!

We will be hiking the southern part of the famous Israel National Trail. An expedition in Israel's biblical desert, which very few know. It will be an extreme desert hike, definitely not for everyone but a unique opportunity to get to know your own limits. We will be spending the days on narrow and lonely pathways and rest at night under the stars and open sky.

The desert is a unique place to hear God's voice anew. The desert speaks, and this secret is hidden in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew words "speaking - מדבר" and "desert - מדבר" have the same roots. Abraham traversed the Negev Desert during his travels to and from Egypt, and the children of Israel spent 40 years during their exodus from Egypt in the same terrain. God chose the desert, the silence, to address people directly.

Come and experience this for yourself in the footsteps of the children of Israel in the midst of the desert. You will experience the desert exodus described in the Bible. A unique safari bringing the desert to life more than you expect because the desert lives more than you think.

A desert trip limited to only 30 participants!


Arab Media Claims Israel Wielding the Forces of Nature in War Against Islam

In addition to its military prowess, some Arab journalists are now telling their readers that Israel is wielding the very forces of nature in its supposed war against the Muslim world.

Such outlandish charges are nothing new in the Arab media's efforts to defame and incite hatred (and even fear) of Israel.

While these allegations sadly put genuine peace even further out of reach by turning Israeli Jews into a kind of bogeyman in the eyes of average Arabs, they are also a source of amusement here in the Jewish state.

There wasn't much to do but chuckle at the conclusions reached by Maal Zakarna, a columnist for Jordan's Ad-Dustour daily newspaper, when considering the recent string of earthquakes that struck northern Israel.

According to Zakarna, the location and frequency of the tremors raised serious questions. "It could be that they were caused by experimental explosions carried out by the Israeli occupation's army at a certain depth under the Kinneret," he wrote.

One of the goals of these explosions, Zakarna continued, could be preparing for "a major criminal action against sites in occupied Jerusalem which are holy to Islam and Christianity, and especially against the Al-Aqsa mosque, Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre...[to] create a pre-planned earthquake to destroy them in preparation for creating a Holy Temple in the attempt to Judaize Jerusalem."

Never mind that Israel sits on the Syrian-African rift, one of the world's most active fault lines. If there's potential calamity in the Middle East, then the Jews must be guilty.

PHOTO: The Dome of the Rock atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Apparently, Israel's trying to bring it down with an earthquake. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)


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Israel Shoots Down Syrian Fighter Jet

For the second day in a row, air raid sirens were heard over northern Israel and a pair of Patriot interceptor missiles were fired. Only, this time it wasn't a false alarm.

Monday's incident was triggered by fighting inside Syria that somehow triggered Israel's air defense systems. There was no direct threat to Israel.

But on Tuesday, Israeli military officials say a Syrian fighter jet penetrated two kilometers into Israeli airspace before being downed by Patriot missiles.

"Two Patriot missiles were fired at a Syrian Sukhoi-model fighter jet," read an IDF statement. The plane crashed inside Syria.

It was later speculated that the IDF allowed the Syrian jet to penetrate so deeply due to initial concern that it was a Russian Air Force jet.

Syrian media claimed that the jet never entered Israeli airspace, and that it's being shot down was a criminal act on Israel's part.

The regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has long accused Israel of aiding "terrorist" elements inside the country. Which is ironic, given that the Syrian government has for decades provided shelter and logistical support to Palestinian terror groups that regular carry out attacks inside Israel.


Rabbis Worried After Stone Falls Out of Jerusalem's Western Wall

One of the large ancient cut stones making up what's now known as the "Western Wall" of Jerusalem's Temple Mount fell from its place and crashed to the platform below early Monday morning. A woman who was praying there at the time was nearly hit by the massive block.

This happened just hours after the conclusion of the Tisha B'Av fast, during which religious Jews lament the losses of the first and second temples.

The timing and the severity of the event prompted top rabbis to find spiritual significance in the falling of the stone, seen in the video below.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who is the head rabbi at the Western Wall, told Israel's Ynet news portal that "this is an exceptional and rare event that has not happened in decades ... The fact that such a powerful event took place after the fast on the 9th of Av, in which we mourned the destruction of the our temples, raises questions and demands soul-searching."

Rabbi Rabinowitz also noted the danger of such collapses, which next time could occur when even more people are praying at the Wall, resulting in a great tragedy.

The section of the Western Wall where the stone fell has been closed for the time being to allow archaeologists and engineers to examine the damage and the potential for future collapses.

Israeli experts have been warning for years that the entire Temple Mount is at risk of collapse, and in need of urgent attention by structural engineers.

But, the Muslim religious authorities who control the sacred plateau, as well as much of the Muslim world, view any Israeli activity on or around the Temple Mount as an attempt to "Judaize" the site, which they claim is Islam's third holiest shrine.

PHOTO: Rabbis examine the stone that fell out of Jerusalem's Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)


Netanyahu: Israeli Kids Nearly Burned Alive by Hamas Terror Balloon


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ANALYSIS: Israel in Crisis Mode as Assad Regime Forces Reach Golan Border

While the Israeli army was busy saving the lives of 800 members of the Syrian rescue organization "White Helmets" this weekend, the Russian-Iranian-backed Assad regime forces mercilessly pounded the last pockets of resistance in the Yarmouk Basin.

The Yarmouk Basin straddles the border with Israel and Jordan on the southern Golan Heights.

The heavy Russian bombardments on the local ISIS branch Jaish Khalid Ibn al-Walid were audible throughout north-eastern Israel and started on Saturday evening.

The London-based Syrian watchdog organization Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the Russian air force carried out between 120 and130 airstrikes against the Islamic State affiliate which refused to be part of a new surrender agreement between the Assad regime and other Islamist rebel groups on the Golan Heights.

On Thursday, those rebels, members of the former Al-Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra (today named Jabhat Fatah al-Sham), agreed to surrender terms dictated by the regime in Damascus and received a safe passage to the predominantly Sunni Arab province Idlib in northern Syria in return.

Others who wanted to stay in Kuneitra could do so by “settling their legal status” and by accepting terms dictated by Assad regime but almost all Jabhat Fatah al-Sham fighters preferred to leave.

Fifty five buses reportedly transported the roughly 4,000 rebels to Idlib, according to Assad’s mouthpiece SANA.

The surrender deal was brokered by the Russian military in Syria and preceded another agreement between Israel and Russia about a return to the situation which existed before the uprising against Assad started in 2011.

That deal was reportedly based on the Separation of Forces Agreement from May 1974 and includes a return of the 90th and the 61st brigade of the Syrian army  to positions they held prior to 2011.

The governments of Israel and Russia formed working groups which studied issues like the deployment of Syrian and Israeli forces along the border on the Golan Heights and the re-instalment of demilitarized zones and no-man’s land.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu initially pushed for a 40 kilometer-wide no-go zone for Iranian militias and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights but failed to enlist Russian president Vladimir Putin for his political offensive against the Iranian presence in Syria.

Russia has its own agenda in Syria and Putin doesn’t see Iran as an adversary or a danger to other Middle Eastern countries if we are to believe Levan Dzhagaryan his ambassador to Iran.

Dzhagaryan, last week told the Russian paper Kommersant  Iran’s presence in Syria is “legitimate” since it is there at Assad’s request.

“Iran is not a (small) country you can force it out. Iran is a big country that pursues an independent foreign policy. Working with Iranians can only be done through convincing. Pressuring Iran will have adverse effect,” Russia’s top diplomat in Iran said.

He added that Russia will do its best to avoid a war between Israel and Iran over the Iranian military build-up in Syria.

Netanyahu is apparently not convinced Russia will do enough to stop the Iranian encroachment  on the Israeli Syrian border and again called Putin last Friday.

“Israel will continue to act against Iran's military entrenchment in Syria," Netanyahu reportedly told Putin but a commander of Assad’s army  claimed  “the Israelis had been forced into submission.”

The pro-Assad coalition, which includes the Lebanese Shiite terror organization Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias, is now pushing nearer to the Israeli border on the Golan Heights a move which endangers the lives of thousands of displaced Syrian citizens.

Those civilians, most of them opponents of the Assad regime, remain trapped in the area adjacent to the Israeli border in the assumption Israel will evacuate them as well.

“Refugees have set up tents just metres away from the Israeli-controlled Golan frontier, and early last week dozens risked walking over minefields to approach the border fence, some carrying white flags in an apparent attempt to cross to safety,” the Guardian in England reported Saturday.

Many of these displaced persons are opponents of the Assad-regime and they are “extremely nervous” according to a Syrian humanitarian aid worker in Quneitra.

“The numbers in Quneitra were very large, and the humanitarian situation was very difficult. There are no homes, people were staying in tents, and they were lucky if they found tents,” another Humanitarian aid worker interviewed by the Guardian said.

The English paper omitted that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have delivered large amounts of humanitarian aid to the refugees and are transferring wounded Syrians to Israeli hospitals.

Last week alone the IDF carried out six special operations to provide the trapped Syrian civilians approx 72 tons of food, 70 tents, 2,378 gallons of fuel, medicine & medical equipment, clothing & toys, according to the IDF’s spokesmen office.

The reality on the Golan Heights is “extremely complex” according to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman who also spoke on the telephone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

The two ministers agreed that there’s a crucial need to continue the “military operation” and to be in contact on a senior level in the days ahead.

The latest news is that PM Netanyahu will unexpectedly meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov in Jerusalem to discuss the situation on the Golan Heights where on Monday the IDF used its David Sling anti-rocket shield against two incoming rockets.


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Israel Helps Rescue Humanitarian Workers From Syria

Israel at the weekend played a critical role in rescuing hundreds of humanitarian workers and their families trapped in southern Syria.

Eight hundred so-called "White Helmets" and their family members had taken refuge in Quneitra, the one small part of southern Syria not already under the control of Russian-backed regime forces.

The White Helmets are mostly Syrian nationals who over the past several years have taken it upon themselves to conduct rescue operations following major military confrontations in the war-torn country. They operate mostly in rebel-held territory where nearly all civil services have collapsed. But, that's resulted in them being identified with opposition forces, and therefore a target for the Syrian army.

The US, UK, Germany and Canada had all been aiding the White Helmets logistically in recent months. As it became clear that the forces of dictator Bashar Assad would reconquer the south of Syria, those same nations lobbied Israel and Jordan to help get them out, with the promise that the White Helmets and their families could then take up residence in the West.

Over the weekend, a convoy of buses carrying the White Helmets streamed into northern Israel under cover of darkness. They were then escorted by Israeli and UN forces to a border crossing into Jordan.

Israelis involved in the rescue operation told Hadashot news that it was one of the most emotional efforts to help Syria to date. "There were lots of children," said one Israeli.

German media covered the evacuation more closely, with one reporter posting a short video clip of the Syrian buses being met and escorted by Israeli forces:

PHOTO: Volunteers with the humanitarian group "White Helmets" search for survivors following a bombing in Idlib, Syria. (EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA)


COMMENTARY: Do Galilee Earthquakes Portend Second Coming?

As the Western world wobbles, rumblings of earthquakes are sending out worrying signals in Israel. The two are connected, I believe.

A quick succession of ’quakes have rocked parts of Galilee, significantly the region where Jesus lived and conducted much of his earth-shaking ministry which changed the world forever.

He warned that his coming again would be preceded by a number of signs including strange weather patterns – in particular an increase in earthquakes comparable to the onset of birth pains on a pregnant woman (Matthew 24.7f). As they become more frequent and severe, we will know his coming is near.

It so happens that a very big one is due in Israel, according to geologists. When a 6.5 magnitude ’quake struck Galilee in 1837, it killed up to 7,000 people.

The prophet Zechariah actually predicts that a devastating ’quake would accompany the return of the Messiah to Jerusalem. So we could be witnessing the closing stages of the present age. Are we ready to face the Judge of all mankind? Are we presiding over righteous laws?

Here in Britain, freedoms won at great cost are being jettisoned in favour of a new intolerance of those who hold the biblical views on which the country’s great institutions were founded.

You couldn’t make it up, but a man was arrested for reading the Bible outside St Paul’s Cathedral (apparently at the instigation of staff there) where, nearly 500 years ago, the Bishop of London burnt copies of the Bible in protest at the effrontery of William Tyndale in daring to translate God’s Word into a language we could all understand (i.e. not Latin). Tyndale was later burnt at the stake, with St Paul’s staff again implicated in this travesty of justice.

The man recently arrested was simply reading aloud the King James Bible, virtually the same as the one for which Tyndale was martyred – 80% of the King James New Testament is Tyndale’s work.

It would seem that this incident is related to a case in Bristol early last year concerning the arrest of a street preacher when a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer told magistrates that publicly quoting from the King James Bible “in the context of modern British society must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter”.

It is against this background that Christian charity Barnabas Fund is campaigning to ‘Turn the Tide’ against the erosion of religious freedom and calling for a new law to protect it.

Before returning from a visit to the capital earlier this week, I picked up a copy of the London Evening Standard and was greeted with the front page headline ‘How do we turn the tide?’ – referring to the latest teenage victim of the violence which has swept the city in recent months.

This is another sign of the end-times. For Jesus also said: “Just as it was in the days of Noah (which were marked by violence), so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17.26)

As the paper launched a special investigation into its causes, they are discovering – surprise, surprise – that its roots lie in what police call adverse child experiences (ACEs). In other words, in the home, which is what many of us have been saying for decades.

The home is the breeding ground either for good or evil, which is why it is so important for legislators to place the welfare of the family above all else. But instead the family is under severe attack from all sides.

But there is hope, according to a recent surveywhich found, among other things, that teenagers now enjoy spending more time with family. It certainly seems that they are crying out for meaning and purpose; for something bigger than themselves.

Suicide is another big killer among the young, fuelled in part by the superficial hedonism encouraged by the media which soon enough leaves its victims feeling empty and worthless. Violence is even perpetrated on a massive scale in the so-called interests of ‘health’ – nine million babies have been butchered before birth since the Abortion Act was passed more than 50 years ago. And we call ourselves civilized.

In addressing the protest against President Trump’s visit to Britain, Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I wish to live in a world of peace, not of war.” Quite apart from the hypocrisy of such a statement from someone who has referred to terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’ and has failed to effectively deal with anti-Semitism in his party, it betrays extreme naivety. After all, Mr Trump managed to get the world’s most feared dictator to the negotiating table. Was that not a gesture of peace?

Yes, we all want peace, and it is possible, but only through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Yet there is a paradox here which needs to be understood. Jesus came as the long prophesied Prince of Peace (see Isaiah 9.6) who would ultimately bring war to an end at his second appearance when people “will beat their swords into ploughshares”. (Isaiah 2.4)

But he also came as one who divides. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10.34) This was a warning that choosing him would cause division even among families because he stands as the ultimate test of whether you are for or against God. He is God come in the flesh (Colossians 2.9). Those who are for God choose him; those who are against God reject him, leaving them as enemies of both God and his disciples.

And yet he has bridged the gap between sinful man and a holy God by taking the punishment for sin we all deserve. God the Father has heaped all our sins on him so that we can enter his presence free of sin, and at peace with both God and man.

In addition, the barrier of hostility between Jew and Gentile has been broken at the cross where Jesus died; that is where you will find true peace among men. It is no fairy tale; I have seen both Jew and Arab embracing one another in reconciliation through their common love for Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, after discovering what he has done for them at the cross. (See Ephesians 2.14-18)

Meanwhile, as Israeli residents – especially in Galilee – watch out for further ground movements with a degree of trepidation, we are reminded of what the prophet Haggai reports the Lord Almighty as saying: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations _(the Messiah) will come, and I will fill this house with glory.”_ (Haggai 2.6f)

The New Testament Letter to the Hebrews reminds its hearers of this word, adding: “The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” (Heb 12.26f)

The world around us is tottering. But are we secure? Are we living in a world which cannot be shaken because of our absolute trust in the Lord?

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International


Prayer Set Including A Gift

On this day - Tisha b'Av - the Jews commemorate the destruction of both the first and second temples. At the Western Wall, thousands of Jews are gathering to pray.

  • Messianic Seal Tallit (prayer shawl) 55 x 180 cm, including bag with Messianic Seal imprint;
  • White Polysilk Kippa (skull cap) 17 x 8 cm;
  • Shofar (ram’s horn) 30-35 cm (colors vary from light to dark brown);
  • Siddur (prayer book) 365pages, 12.5 x 9 cm
  • And… as a gift from us:
    Book of Psalms (English/Hebrew) 288 pages, 8 x 6 cm


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