Irony? UN, Which Accuses Israel of Security Abuses, Hires Israelis to Protect Its Staff

According to the United Nations, it is Israel's aggressive approach to security that is one of the primary obstacles to peace in the Middle East.

So, it was with some surprise that Israelis learned last week that the United Nations had contracted out security for its personnel and assets in Africa to none other than Israeli security companies.

UN peacekeepers in Africa are regularly the targets of deadly violence. In fact, 61 UN peacekeepers were killed in Africa just last year, the highest annual death toll for the organization in 25 years. In light of this escalation, the UN put out a notice that it was looking to hire outside help. Of the five security firms that were eventually interviewed, three were Israeli, a clear indication of confidence in Israel's ability to effectively deal with such threats.

It was Israeli security firm MER that ultimately won the contract, worth $8 million, to protect UN peacekeepers in Africa for the next three years, with an option for a further five years.

The UN also signed a deal, worth $42 million, with the Israeli company Odis, which develops and operates water treatment systems.

Given the usual tension between Israel and the UN, most people are unaware that the world body nevertheless is a regular customer of the Jewish state and its innovative start-ups. Israeli companies sold $52 million worth of goods and services to the UN last year alone.

Clearly, the UN doesn't think so badly of Israel as the voting records of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and UNESCO might suggest.

 

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Stephen Hawking: There is no God. Albert Einstein: There is.

The incredible Stephen Hawking, who died last March, was outspoken about his own particular lack of faith in God, even as scientists around him began to reach the opposite conclusion, namely that the Big Bang Theory and others like it seemed to prove that someone or something greater must have lit the fuse. 

Hawking's fame, no matter how aggressively market, isn't going to advance atheism, just as Albert Einstein's fame didn't help advance faith in God. With all due respect to both men, their authority on spiritual matters, in the eyes of most people, is about as important as the opinion of an old-time preacher's on quantum physics.

Hawking's posthumous book, Brief Answers to Brief Questions, published this week, was enthusiastically reported on by Israel's Ynet news portal, which seized the opportunity to wave the "no God" flag with impressive vigor. From the headline, "Stephen Hawking in his lsat book: There is no God," Israeli leaders were left with the impression that the great astrophysicist's last act was to further encourage mankind to accept a scientific gospel that omits any divine participation in the history of our universe.

To his credit, Hawking didn't belong to the circle of professional atheists who make a living out of mocking creationists. "Everyone is free to believe as he wishes," Hawking wrote, "but in my opinion the simplest explanation [to the existence of the universe] is that there is no God." Such humility from a person of his magnitude is praiseworthy.

But, as the comment section on this particular Ynet article demonstrated, Israelis can be both dogmatic and humorous when discussing this topic, standing fuzzily between trolling and legitimately engaging with the news item. "God in his first book: There is no Stephen Hawking," read one of the first comments. Another wrote, "Scientists' opinion regarding God carries no special weight," to which someone else replied scornfully, "This is what you should do–buy a few books on astrophysics ... this will make you less dumb." One particularly angry commenter wrote that "Hawking suffered from ALS because he was a heretic." But that prompted the contemptuous response: "He lived much better than you, who slaves to earn minimum wage and live on white bread."

A more facetious reader supplied his own proof for the existence of God: "I grew one flowerpot close to a book of Psalms and another further away, and the one next to the book grew faster … and that's a fact!" In the same vein, another insisted that, apparently like Hawking, "the Orthodox [Jews] already know that God and aliens are one and the same." 

From witty to clever to plain dumb, the entire exchange shows once again that scientists' opinions regarding the existent of God matter little to those who need no proof of any kind.

 

Palestinian Authority Blames Israel for Entire Gaza Fiasco, Naturally

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas convened his cabinet yesterday to address the situation in the Gaza Strip. Israel hoped he would condemn the terrorist missile strike on the city of Beersheva. Israel was disappointed.

In fact, Mr. Abbas did not mentioned even once the direct hit on a family home in southern Israel city by a terrorist-fired GRAD missile. Instead, he slammed Israel for escalating the violence in and around Gaza, and for collectively punishing the residents of the coastal enclave for the actions of its Hamas overlords and their terrorist allies.

PA spokesman Yusuf al-Mahmoud essentially stated in his own remarks that Israel deserves any violence directed toward it, which Palestinian officials routinely define as a "natural response" to Israeli "crimes."

 

WATCH: IDF Soldiers Hunt for Barkan Terrorist

Israeli forces continue to hunt for Ashraf Na'alowa, the young Palestinian Arab man who two weeks ago brutally executed two Israeli Jews at an industrial park famed for its example of coexistence.

Soldiers have been going house-to-house in the Palestinian town of Tulkarm, where Na'alowa is believed to be hiding.

Local residents have been warned against providing the terrorist with shelter, lest they, too, face demolition of their homes as punishment.

 

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Why the Iranian Threat Goes Far Beyond Nuclear Weapons

Prior to the Islamic Revolution that swept Iran in 1979, the status of Shiite Muslims in the Arab world (about 20 percent of all Muslims) was that of inferiors. In many countries like Libya, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, they would be executed without trial. In other countries, Shiites were forbidden to build mosques because, in the eyes of Sunni Muslim majority, they were heretics.

The rise of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini was a watershed. He promised that the Shiites in the Arab world would no longer be oppressed. Indeed, since the revolution in Iran, the status of the Shiites in the Arab world has not only strengthened, in some places they have become the oppressors. Today, the Iranians and their proxies have full control over four Arab states: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. And they threaten to seize even more countries.

In fact, Iranian efforts and attempts to undermine the stability of the Arab states have not ceased in recent years. Iran sees itself as a regional power and has adopted a strategy aimed at extending that power across the entirety of the Middle East. And it is succeeding. Two benefits of this extended power is the ability by Iran to protect the Shiite minority in Arab countries and to strike Israel indirectly. The Iranian octopus today operates both openly and covertly in any number of Arab countries as it exports the Shiite revolution to the rest of the Islamic world.

Thanks to Russian and Iranian involvement, Bashar Assad remained in power in Damascus. Iran wants to benefit from its investment in Syria. Today, it is setting up religious centers in Syria to persuade the Syrians to accept the Shiite religion, thereby bringing tens of thousands of Syrians into the Shiite fold, while will later enable Iran to establish even more Shiite militias to do its bidding.

In Iraq, the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime and the withdrawal of American forces from the country gave Iran a rare opportunity to expand its influence there. Iranian involvement in this country is centered around financing, training, and arming the Shiite militias al-Hashad al-Shaabi (the Iraqi Hezbollah). This political, economic and religious involvement effectively makes Iraq an Iranian protectorate.

The Iranians support and assist the Houthis and through them control much of Yemen, from where they can bomb their arch-enemies, the Saudis. Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have a long-running rivalry centered on the age-old Muslim dispute regarding who was to succeed the Prophet Mohammed. It is from this dispute that the Shiite and Sunni streams of Islam evolved.

Iran established Hezbollah in Lebanon and equipped it through Syria with the most advanced weaponry. Some of the weapons were bombed by Israel in Syria even before their arrival in Lebanon. Iran has turned the Shiite community in Lebanon into a highly-organized fighting force that threatens the Lebanese army and the stability of Lebanon. Today, Iran is a major player in Lebanon.

Iranian is also very active in the Persian Gulf. The Islamic Republic has already occupied the islands of Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, as well as Abu Musa Island, all which the United Arab Emirates regarded as belonging to them. This takeover demonstrated to the Arab states and their leaders the danger posed by Iran. Despite the support of the Arab League, no solution to this ongoing Iranian occupation has yet been found.

Iran also operates in Bahrain and neighboring Oman, and is investing greatly in expanding its influence in both kingdoms. In fact, Iran often claims to "own" Bahrain, that it is a "province" of the Islamic Republic. The Shiite majority in the Kingdom of Bahrain gives Iran legitimacy to make such claims, while the government there accuses Iran of subversion.

Iran supports the establishment of a Palestinian state on the ruins of the State of Israel. The Iranians openly say that they want to destroy the State of Israel, and back up those words with material support for local terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. This also enables Iran to brainwash the local Sunni Palestinian Muslims with Shiite ideology, along with a healthy dose of hatred for Israel and the Jews.

Even without a nuclear bomb, Iran is busy destabilizing the rest of the Middle East, making itself no less an enemy of the Arabs than it is of Israel. For this reason it is incumbent upon the US and European Union to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Because if it is able to sow so much discord without the bomb, imagine what it can accomplish with nukes in hand?

Dr. Edy Cohen is an expert on Middle East affairs and a frequent guest on Arab media. Dr. Cohen uses his Arabic-language Twitter profile with over 70,000 followers to engage with people across this volatile region.

 

ANALYSIS: Hamas and Israel One Step Closer To All-Out War

Hamas and Israel came a step closer to all-out war on Tuesday night after two upgraded GRAD missiles were launched at major Israeli population centers from the Gaza Strip.

A house in the southern Israel city Beersheva was hit causing damages, while a mother and three children had to treated for shock.

A second missile fell in the sea opposite a beach of a major population center in central Israel, most likely Tel Aviv.

On Wednesday morning the Code Red alarm sounded again in the region close to the northern Gaza border.

The Israeli army pounded several Hamas targets in Gaza after the nighttime missile launches, killing at least seven Palestinian Arabs, according to Palestinian media.

The latest escalation came after Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman signaled he had had enough of the relentless violence along the border with Gaza, and the significant increase in infiltration attempts from the coastal enclave.

Liberman told reporters that the Israeli cabinet has to decide if it will embark on a large-scale military operation against the Palestinian terror movements in Gaza in light of the wave of attacks against IDF soldiers and civilians in southern Israel.

The security cabinet was scheduled to discuss the deteriorating  situation in southern Israel on Wednesday morning.

"My opinion is very clear," said Liberman. "We must land a strong blow against Hamas. That's the only way to lower the level of violence to zero, or close to zero."

The Israeli DM revealed that he had changed his mind about a large-scale military operation against Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza after violent riots that took place along the Gaza border last Friday night. Those riots came after Israel had allowed into Gaza a large amount of fuel that had been purchased from an Israeli company by Qatar, Hamas’ most important sponsor.

 “We have exhausted all other options in Gaza,” Liberman said during a visit to the headquarters of the IDF’s Gaza Division on Tuesday morning, just days after he had ordered a complete halt to the fuel supplies.

“I’ve held a series of meetings with the head of the Southern Command, the head of the [Gaza] Division, the brigade commanders, the battalion commanders, also with soldiers. My impression is that they all have reached the understanding that the situation as it is today cannot continue,” Liberman added.

Hamas has been ramping up the violent riots along the border fence in order to achieve the complete removal of what it calls the Israeli “blockade” or “siege.”

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, vowed last week to continue what the Sunni Islamist terror group calls “The Great March of Return” until “the siege on Gaza is cast off.”

Ever since Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority, Israel has, with a few short interruptions, allowed an average of 100 trucks with all sorts of essential goods and fuel into Gaza daily.

A week ago, Israel also announced it was willing to to issue entry permits for 5,000 merchants from Gaza for business purposes, while Qatar would be allowed to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza and to finance humanitarian projects in the poverty-stricken enclave.

Attempted Abduction

The situation in southern Israel further deteriorated last Friday when an estimated 15,000 Palestinian Arabs participated in an orgy of violence along the border with Israel, while Hamas used the chaos to launch another attempt to infiltrate the Jewish state and to kidnap IDF soldiers.

After a Hamas’ cell detonated a large explosive device that blew a hole in the security fence, some 20 terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel under cover of a dense black cloud created by burning tires. An IDF unit tried to push the Hamas squad back by using live fire, killing three terrorists and wounding several others.

The IDF later said the infiltration attempt was meant to kidnap a number of IDF soldiers after which Hamas would demand a complete removal of the embargo on goods it uses to produce weapons, missiles and terror tunnels.

Hamas clearly misinterpreted Israel’s willingness to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza and apparently thought it was the beginning of Israel’s capitulation.

Since the end of March, the Islamist terror organization has organized weekly violence along the border between Gaza and Israel and attacked the Israeli communities there with incendiary balloons and kites.

The ‘offensive’ caused an ecological disaster in southern Israel, but failed to bring the Jewish State to its knees.

For this reason Hamas recently decided to up the pressure on Israel by launching nightly attacks on IDF positions with grenades, improvised explosive devices and lasers to blind IDF soldiers.

At the same time, the terror group stepped up its efforts to infiltrate Israel and to abduct Israeli soldiers or citizens, while continuing the digging of terror tunnels under the border with Israel.

On Oct. 11 the IDF blew up one of these tunnels, which penetrated 200 meters into Israel and was equipped with electricity and communications devices.

It didn’t achieve Hamas’ goal of a complete removal of the Israeli ‘blockade’ either, and as things stand now the terror group could face another devastating defeat at the hands of the IDF.

Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu told his ministers on Sunday that if Hamas doesn’t come to its senses “they will be stopped in a different way.”

PHOTO: A house in the southern city of Beersheva that suffered a direct hit by a missile fired from Gaza. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

 

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Lucy Aharish-Halevi: An Oxymoron

The recent wedding of two Israeli celebrities, "Fauda" star Tzachi Halevi (Jewish) and TV news host Lucy Aharish (Muslim), rekindled the age-old debate over assimilation, and its relevancy in 21st century Israel. Though mixed marriages are a daily affair in Israel, like in most places it's not discussed with much vigor until celebrities are involved.

The sharp political senses of Oren Hazan, a young and colorful Likud MK, told him this is an opportunity he couldn't miss. "I do not blame Lucy Aharish, who seduced a Jewish soul to hurt our country by preventing more Jewish offspring from continuing the Jewish dynasty. On the contrary, I invite her to convert. I do accuse Tzachi 'theMuslimLevi' who took 'Fauda' too literally – get real bro … enough with this assimilation!" Hazan wrote on his Facebook page.

The knee-jerk reaction of left-wingers quickly followed. "Congratulations and happiness to the awesome couple," tweeted Zionist Camp (Labor) party MK Sheli Yechimovich. "Nothing is new under the sun," she continued. "The deathmongers, we remember, thought that only pure-blooded have a right to exist, and whosoever marries a Moglegite is considered a blood traitor, and excuse me for using such a mild metaphor."

The daily Haaretz offered a more "balanced" reaction: "The decision whom to marry is no one's business but the couple. At the same time, it is the right of a Jew to adhere to his uniqueness without being charged with racism." Having said that, however, the same writer diagnosed psychopathic tendencies in Hazan's behavior.

Bringing the reader up to speed, Hazan's post refers to "Fauda," an Israeli TV series telling the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from both sides via a love story between an Israeli special forces operative, Doron, and a Palestinian doctor, Shirin. Yechimovich, it should be pointed out, compares Hazan to the Nazis with their notion of pure blood. Many similar attacks on Hazan only made him dig his heels in deeper. "Shame on you," he told them. "It is not me whom you attack, you attack and hurt the Jewish people. Assimilation is prohibited. We are small in size, and if we fail to protect our peoplehood, we will disappear!"

Whether or not Hazan's reaction could have been more sophisticated doesn't diminish his simple and straightforward conclusion regarding the end result of assimilation. And that's why Yechimovich's ugly response to him is not representative of what most Israelis think on the matter.

The decision by Yair Lapid, head of the centrist party Yesh Atid, to step into this fray demonstrates that, one way or another, politicians need to address this issue to remain attractive to their constituents. Speaking on the Friday evening TV show "Weekly Portion," Lapid addressed the importance of Jewish peoplehood from what one might call the more secular viewpoint.

Lapid brought up his father, a Holocaust survivor who went on to head the secular-liberal Shinui party from 1999-2006, noting that the "god" his father believed in was not Jewish. But atheist or not, Lapid continued, Jews should accept the notion of uniqueness, even if it is reduced to a calling to live as decent people. 

In an Army Radio interview, Lapid further broached the topic, stating bluntly, "The Jewish people are small in size … I prefer that the number of Jews grow rather than diminish." Concerning Hazan's contentious Facebook post, Lapid objected to attacking anyone over getting involved in a mixed marriage. It is Lapid's minimalist view of "election" that best represents that of most Israelis who live on the secular-atheist spectrum.

PHOTO: Muslim Arab news anchor Lucy Aharish is popular with many Israelis, but they still weren't thrilled about her marrying a Jewish husband. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

 

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Israel Supreme Court Justice Nearly Lynched Amid Increased 'West Bank' Tensions

Would-be Palestinian assailants on Monday morning nearly got their hands on an Israeli motorist who turned out to be Supreme Court Justice David Mintz.

Mintz was driving to work from his home in the Jewish settlement of Dolev, located about 15 miles north of Jerusalem, when a Palestinian vehicle suddenly stopped and blocked his way.

Three Palestinian Arab men emerged, all carrying hammers, and began to approach Mintz's car. Thankfully, the judge was able to maneuver around the stopped Palestinian vehicle and escape physical harm.

Mintz later gave a full report to police.

The incident comes amid rising tensions in the wake of two deadly attacks in the so-called "West Bank" (biblical Samaria).

Last week, a Palestinian Arab man entered the Barkan Industrial Park where thousands of Palestinians and Israelis work side-by-side and brutally murdered two Israelis. At least one of his victims, 29-year-old Kim Yehezkel, was tied up and then executed at close range.

Days later, a Palestinian mother was killed in the central West Bank when her husband lost control of their car under a hail of stones reportedly thrown by Jewish settlers.

Israeli security forces continue to hunt for the perpetrators of both attacks.

 

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Palestinian Police Hunt Down and Arrest Young Women for Dancing in Public

Kill enough Jews, and you just might get streets, schools and soccer teams named after you. But dare to dance in public in what is fairly typical evening attire in most Western countries, and you could end up the target of a police manhunt.

That's what happened to three young Palestinian Arab women after someone posted cellphone footage of them dancing one recent evening on a street in Bethlehem.

All three of the women are wearing short skirts, but nothing that would be out of the ordinary in the liberal democracies currently engaged in trying to turn the Palestinian Authority into a sovereign state.

But, unlike in those liberal democracies, such expressions are apparently illegal in Palestinian society. One of the women was quickly arrested in Bethlehem. The other two managed to flee, but were later hunted down in Jericho.

Iran, China and other such places are often criticized for imposing oppressive restrictions on their peoples. So, it is curious that the same people offering such criticism seem largely uninterested in the lack of basic freedoms endured by the Palestinians thanks to the policies of their own government.

H/T Elder of Ziyon

 

COMMENTARY: Lara Who?

When was the last time you heard of a person being denied entry to your country at the airport? The reality is that this happens, for various reasons, on a daily basis. It's simply not newsworthy.

Depending on the destination country, people can are denied entry for anything from telling "white lies" at passport control to smuggling minor goods to suspicion of subversive or criminal activity. The UK recently denied entry to a woman who didn't have enough money to stay in the country for two weeks. France denied entry to two Muslim women because they refused to remove their veils. Nineteen Georgians were refused entry to Germany, likely because officials suspected them to be potential illegal immigrants.

Countries also refuse entry to people suspected of stirring up political and social disturbances, and Israel is no exception.

Israel routinely bars its gates to BDS activists, just as it won't let neo-Nazi activists into the country. This policy has been effective in frustrating the BDS movement's subversive plans, and so they devised a new way to bypass this hurdle. Why not, they wondered, try to get our activists into the country as students, preferably to the Hebrew University. After all, they reasoned, Israeli universities are nothing like American campuses, were pro-Israel students are harassed and silenced in the name of "justice." Israeli universities, they know very well, are tolerant to a fault, allowing Palestinian students to freely shout their hate for Israel on campus. They also know that Israeli professors who support the BDS remain on the payroll.

It was a clever idea, because even if the activist disguised as a student was denied entry, they could simply refuse to leave the country and wait until Israeli sympathizers took their case to court. It was a win-win situation. If Israel permitted the BDSer to study at the Hebrew University, the movement would gain yet another meaningful foothold in the heart of Israeli academia. If they were denied entry, Israel would be further defamed as a despotic nation that restricts freedom of speech. 

That's pretty much what happened when Lara Alqasem arrived in Israel, only to be denied entry. Hers quickly became a household name both here and abroad. The first to embrace Lara was the extreme-left Meretz party. Then came those eager to challenge the governments refusal to let her leave Ben Gurion Airport. Following on their heels was the Hebrew University, which sent an urgent letter of protest to Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, whose office is tasked with countering the boycott efforts targeting Israel. The letter called Erdan's refusal to grant Alqasem entry "a threat to everything the university represents."

This is nothing but a sanctimonious plea masking a political agenda. This can be said with a great deal of certainty because no one in his right mind really believes the university would extend the same kind of sympathy and support if entry was denied to a neo-Nazi student.

So, who is this Lara Alqasem who has succeeded in creating so much commotion? 

A treasure trove of information can be found on the Canary Mission. This website, whose contributors are anonymous, and that monitors major anti-Israel activists, has a lot to say about Lara. As a Florida University student, she was the president of the militant Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Lara was also active in BDS activities, like calling to boycott Sabra Hummus, a local Israeli-owned restaurant. Under Lara's leadership, the venomous local chapter of the SJP did whatever it could to defame Israel and create an unsafe space for pro-Israel students and guest speakers. And yet, this is the student being embraced by the Hebrew University, the Meretz party, and now the American Reform Jewish community. Go figure.

PHOTO: Lara Alqasem appealing her denial of entry at the Tel Aviv district court prior to her deportation. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

 

Investing in Israel: A Christian Zionist Gives All to the Jewish People

When a young barrister came into a great fortune over 200 years ago, he did not spend it on himself but instead used it to turn the key that would eventually unlock the fulfilment of numerous biblical prophecies.

Lewis Way must have been dumbstruck when, for no obvious reason, he became the main beneficiary of a friend’s will, the only stipulation for which was that the money should be used “to the glory of God”.

The inheritance was worth £300,000 – a colossal amount at the time representing at least £12 million in today’s money.

An Eton-educated ‘mover and shaker’ in influential circles, Lewis sought the Lord in prayer and duly felt the call of God to devote his time, energy and recently acquired wealth towards helping Jewish people to a knowledge of their Messiah and restoring them to the land of Israel.

He was particularly stirred by what has been dubbed his ‘Exeter Road encounter’ when, in 1811, he passed the home of two sisters who had also inherited a fortune and was reminded of how one of them was said to have planted a row of oak trees over which she had prophesied that they would stand until the Jews were back in Palestine.

“The spirit of that story really inspired him,” Rev Alex Jacob told an audience this week. “He knew at that moment that the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral home would be his chief cause for the rest of his life.”

So he pursued this task with great zeal and became active with the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people (CMJ), co-founded in 1809 by his close friend William Wilberforce and dedicated to investing in Israel’s spiritual rebirth.

Unlike today, it was quite fashionable – even politically correct – to be linked with such an organisation, especially with the Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father) as patron…until he resigned because the mission was “too evangelical”.

There was an irony, too, in that the Way family had in earlier years acquired their wealth through slavery, yet now he was teaming up with an abolitionist – Rev Jacob, CMJ’s UK chief executive, explained that the Jewish emancipation and anti-slavery movements were two sides of the same coin.

And when, in 1815, CMJ hit a financial crisis, Way stepped in with a significant gift, without which CMJ would have been a footnote in church history.

A great networker, he then set up a successful work in Poland, where many Jews came to believe Jesus as their Messiah.

In 1817 he had an audience with Czar Alexander I of Russia, pleading with arguably the most powerful ruler of the time that the Jewish people should have their own homeland. And on October 13th the following year, with the Czar’s backing, he put the case for the issue – and for Jewish emancipationgenerally – to the European Congress.His meeting with the Czar is said to have significantly advanced the Jewish hope for returning to their ancient land and eventually led to the issuing by the British Government of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which paved the way for the modern state of Israel.

Way was accompanied on this trip by an ex-Muslim Arab (his translator) and a former Jewish rabbi who embraced each other as they worked together in the cause of Christ and of Israel.

The briefcase Way used for the occasion has survived to this day and was actually displayed alongside the podium at which Rev Jacob spoke at CMJ’s Nottinghamshire headquarters.

Way and the Czar developed a bond as brothers in Christ and, after addressing the Congress, the Englishman wrote to his wife Mary: “Certainly, such an appeal for the Jewish people has not been made since the days of Mordecai and Esther.”

There is no doubt that Way’s sacrificial exploits greatly contributed to the cause of Zionism and the return to the Holy Land of Jews dispersed to every corner of the globe by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago.

His ultimate purpose, however, was not just in helping them back to their land but, more importantly, to their Lord. And he will have been thrilled to see the proliferation throughout Israel today – and in other parts of the world including the UK – of Jewish congregations worshipping Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus).

The bi-centenary of Way’s presentation to the European Congress was marked at the weekend with a special event at Stansted Park in Hampshire, once Way’s family home. It was held in the historic St Paul’s Chapel, situated within the Park, and addressed by Dr Richard Harvey, Rodney Curtis and Rev Jacob giving talks titled From Russia with Love, The Forgotten Way and Money, Money, Money respectively.

The chapel happens also to contain a unique stained glass window designed by Way while carrying out renovation work in 1804. It is the only window in a Christian place of worship which is wholly Jewish in design and symbolism.

Recently restored with help from CMJ, this beautiful window is based on Genesis 9.13: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

Despite his immense earthly wealth, Way successfully stored up his treasure in heaven, as Jesus advises us to do (see Matthew 6.19-21).


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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'Like a Fox Loves Chickens' - Israelis Debate Sincerity of Christian Support

Many Israelis remain wary of Christian support, and that's understandable given the strained history between the Jewish people and the followers of Jesus.

Israeli rabbis, lawmakers and journalists recently debated the issue on an evening television news broadcast.

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

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UNESCO Says It Got Israelis and Palestinians to Work Together; Israeli Ambassador Says That's Bull

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was busy patting itself on the back on Wednesday for supposedly fostering genuine compromise between Israel and the Palestinians.

But Israel's top diplomat at the United Nations insisted their was no cause for celebration, and that the Jewish state still intended to quit UNESCO by the end of the year.

The new head of UNESCO, France's Audrey Azoulay, has made a determined effort to strike a less anti-Israel tone. UNESCO, like so many other UN bodies, has for decades been hijacked by Arab and other non-aligned nations and transformed into little more than a podium from which to bash the Jewish state. For this reason, both the United States under President Donald Trump and Israel declared earlier this year that they would be withdrawing from UNESCO.

Azoulay said she hoped this week's purported compromise would cause Israel to reconsider that decision.

However, the achievement she touted was less a compromise than it was an act of blackmail behind a facade of phony goodwill.

For years, UNESCO has routinely read and approved a resolution titled "Occupied Palestine" that redefines historical Jewish holy sites as "integral part(s) of the Occupied Palestinian Territory."

Included in the list of sites are Rachel's Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried in Hebron. It should also be remembered that Hebron was the first capital of David's kingdom.

The supposed compromise that Azoulay was hailing was that this reimagining of history in our region was moved from the main body of text in the UNESCO resolution to a non-binding annex.

In other words, the full document still denies Jewish history in the Holy Land, but does so in what they call a "non-binding" way, as if Israel viewed the "binding" form of such historical denials as obligatory.

Because Israeli diplomats reportedly signed off on this move (though they were not part of the actual vote on the resolutions), Azoulay and other UN officials are pretending its a major achievement. For many in Israel, it appeared more as an act of strong-arming. UNESCO was going to approve the resolutions one way or another, and essentially told Israel to accept the "lighter" version, or live with the heavier version.

As for the Palestinians, there was no real compromise. Their denial of Jewish history is still part of the full document.

In light of all this, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon (pictured), expressed little but derision for the UNESCO move.

"This is further evidence, for anyone who did not understand why the United States and Israel withdrew from UNESCO, that again proves that UNESCO is a body based on lies and biases, and is deliberately acting against us," read a statement released by Danon. "The State of Israel will not be a member of an organization that is trying to rewrite history and willing to be manipulated by our enemies."

UNESCO officials reacted with feigned shock that Israel would be anything but grateful over their grand benevolence.

"It’s really strange," one UNESCO official told The Times of Israel. "It’s also very problematic, because if he’s representing Israel, he should know what’s going on," he continued, again suggesting Israel has willingly gone along with the "compromise," and that all its representatives should therefore give voice only to gratitude.

 

VIDEO: Take a Look at the New Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Train Line

 

Help Give Israel's "Lone Soldiers" A Home In Israel!

About 6500 "Lone Soldiers" serve in the IDF. "Lone Soldiers" refers to young men and women serving in the IDF separated from their families.

Almost half of these "Lone Soldiers" are foreign Jews whose families live outside of Israel. The other half are Israeli citizens from single parent families. Soldiers from abroad voluntarily leave a pleasant and mostly secure life to commit to dangerous military service in the Holy Land. The vast majority of Israel's lonely soldiers serve in combat units.

The young soldiers are not only lacking in family support but they are almost completely financially on their own.

Together with you we want to help them! With every donation you help these Lonely Soldiers settle down in Israel!

 

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Almost 20 years ago, I wrote a "letter to the editor" (never published) to the daily Ha'aretz, in which I compared this newspaper's tactic for political change to a Bushido wrestling match I once saw. The wrestlers delivered what looked like insignificant blows to one another, until finally one of them collapsed without warning. In and of itself, each blow was insignificant. What made the difference was the cumulative damage. 

Several years later, in 2005, Jered Diamond, in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, used the example of Lingchi to explain the concept of "creeping normality." Lingchi was a Chinese form of torture during which the torturer inflicted upon the victim a thousand cuts, each seemingly insignificant. The pain of every new cut rendered the previous one painless. But slowly the victim would be conditioned to accept his death as a welcome change. Political changes, argued Diamond, don't happen with a bang. They occur slowly, through many incidences, each in itself relatively insignificant.

Death by a thousand cuts, or creeping normality, takes place before our very eyes through "insignificant" incidences where Israelis begin to explain the conflict in radical new terms. The recent terror attack at the Barkan industrial park, in which two Israelis were shot dead, was quickly followed by fake news that the 23-year-old shooter had murdered those Jews as a result of recently being fired. The terrorist's father explained to Israeli media that his son was simply "weary of life." This new "mental problem" as an explanation for Palestinian terror, this new "cut" if you will, is supported by recent scientific research conducted by respected Israeli scholars who claim that from 2015 onward, almost 70% of the terrorists attacking Israelis have suffered from "psychopathological characteristics that included suicidal tendencies … severe mental disorders … and psychotic background." In other words, if you thought Palestinians were motivated to kill Jews by religious ideology or nationalistic aspirations, think again.

Likewise, the terror kites and balloons, the infiltrations and the violent riots along the Gaza border are now being labeled as "economic terror." Again, this new "cut" oozes out a fresh explanation for terror. The new Palestinian casus belli is no longer Israel's existence. It is economic stress. Other new cuts, each making the previous acceptable, can be seen and heard on a daily basis. To give one recent example, poet and songwriter Yehonatan Gefen posted on his Instagram page a photo of himself wearing a shirt reading, "All a suicide bomber needs is a hug" (pictured).

These cuts–some more painful than others, but each contributing to the cumulative damage–fuel a creeping normality in which yesterday's unthinkable becomes tomorrow's norm. If this continues unabated, it will result in Israel's downfall. For now, at least, most Israelis are resisting the new norm. They can sense something inherently wrong in explaining away terrorism as a byproduct of mental instability, just as they know Hamas isn't setting southern Israel ablaze because of a local cucumber shortage.

Even so, past experience shows that Israelis are susceptible to radical new ideas, like transforming the PLO from foe to friend with the stroke of a pen. As such, it's important to remain vigilant against death by a thousand cuts.

 

Terror Balloons Start Landing In and Around Jerusalem

Israel Police bomb squads were urgently called to the upscale German Colony neighborhood in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning after local residents spotted a "terror balloon" descending on the main thoroughfare, Emek Rafaim St.

The balloon was attached to an incendiary device. It landed in a construction site and did not cause any damage.

It did, however, ratchet up concerns, given that this was the third such incident in and around the capital this month.

On Monday of this week, a balloon carrying a similar incendiary device landed on a private home in the northern Jerusalem suburb of Givat Ze'ev. At the start of the month, another terror balloon landed on the highway running adjacent to the nearby town of Modi'in.

Palestinian activists in Gaza have been flying burning kites and bomb-rigged balloons into southern Israel for months, with devastating effect.

The recent incidents in Jerusalem would suggest that the capital's residents should get used to facing the same terror tactic.

PHOTO: A terrorist in the Gaza Strip launches a balloon attached to an incendiary device toward vulnerable farms in southern Israel. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

 

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ANALYSIS: A New Palestinian-Israeli War on the Horizon

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were preparing for war against Hamas and other Iranian-backed terror organisations in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Israeli news show Hadeshot  Netanyahu told his ministers that in light of the attempt by the Palestinian Authority to "choke"  Hamas in Gaza it was far from certain civil distress in the coastal enclave would diminish.

 “We are preparing militarily — that is not an empty statement,” Netanyahu warned.

Last week, the IDF already sent reinforcements to the border with Gaza and started to use drones to shoot down incendiary balloons and kites which have already caused an ecological disaster in southern Israel and killed livestock.

Israel, furthermore, curtailed the fishing zone off-coast in Gaza from 9 to 6 nautical miles and at the same time allowed Qatar to step in to alleviate the ever worsening humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave. 

On Saturday, the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar reported Qatar had begun funneling funds to Gaza via Israel with tacit approval of the United States and the UN.

Qatar was willing to pay for fuel which would allow Gaza’s only power plant to resume operations while the UN with funds donated by Qatar would pay the salaries of civil servants for three months.

In addition, Israel offered to issue entry permits for 5,000 merchants from Gaza for business purposes.

The new aid package didn’t materialize, however, because Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas blocked the measures.

Last week, Abbas reportedly issued an ultimatum to Hamas in Gaza after renewed Egyptian efforts to reach a reconciliation agreement between the PA and Hamas failed miserably.

The Hamas government in Gaza was given one month to hand over power to the PA or face a total freeze of funding by the central Palestinian government in  Ramallah.

The PA is still sending $96 million monthly to Hamas in Gaza but Abbas has indicated the PA should not be hold responsible for the financial situation in Gaza as long as Hamas refuses to hand over power and dismantles its military arm the Izz-a-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Abbas policies towards the Gaza Strip have drew the ire of Egyptian President Abdel Fateh el-Sisi who at the end of last week held a tensed telephone conversation with the ailing PA leader.

El-Sisi warned Abbas against additional measures against Hamas in Gaza because he thinks it would further destabilize the Sinai Peninsula where the Egyptian army is struggling to contain Wilayat Sinai one of the many ISIS branches in the world.

Abbas reportedly told the Egyptian President that it’s not his policies which are endangering Egypt’s security but “the establishment of a Muslim Brotherhood state in Gaza.”

Hamas, meanwhile, has stepped up its violent campaign against Israel and on Friday last week organized one of the largest violent demonstrations along the border with Israel since the beginning of the ‘Great March of Return’ at the end of March.

During this orgy of violence Palestinian Arabs threw grenades, Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices at IDF positions along the border while Hamas also started to attack IDF soldiers at night.

In addition, the Sunni terrorist organization also tried to infiltrate Israel via breaches in the security fence along the Gaza border.

On Monday night roughly 7,000 Palestinian Arabs provoked Israeli troops by attacking them with burning tires, rocks and firebombs while dozens of boats tried to break through Israel’s naval blockade, Arutz 7 reported.

Israeli security services are now very concerned the violence will spread to the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

After the murder of Israeli activist Ari Fuld who was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian terrorist two weeks ago there has been a significant uptick in terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian terrorists attacked Jewish villages and towns in the area with incendiary balloons, increased stabbing attacks on IDF soldiers and also resumed shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers and citizens.

The gruesome murder on two Israeli Jews at the Barkan Industrial Park near the town of Ariel in Samaria on Sunday was apparently planned.

Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the attack hadn’t shown up for work at the recycling factory at Barkan for weeks and left a suicide note with a friend three days before the double homicide.

His weapon, a locally manufactured Carlo Gustav submachine gun was most likely provided by Hamas which is operating an illegal weapon industry in Judea and Samaria.

 

Netanyahu Says Israel Preparing for War With Gaza

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stark warning to the Palestinian Authority and to the international community during Sunday's cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

The gist of his remarks was that Israel will not hesitate to launch a full-scale military operation against the Gaza Strip if the situation along the coastal enclave's border continues to deteriorate.

Over the past couple weeks, Gaza's Hamas rulers have encouraged an intensification of violent disturbances along the Strip's security fence.

Unlike similar demonstrations earlier in the year, those taking part are now hurling grenades and firebombs at Israeli soldiers and openly trying to breach the border.

Netanyahu expects that the violence will only increase with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas threatening to cut all funding to the terrorist-ruled territory.

Hamas and other Palestinian groups typically deflect criticism of their own shortcomings by instigating violence against Israel.

Said Netanyahu:

"If the reality of civil distress in Gaza is diminished, that is desirable, but that is not certain to happen, and so we are preparing militarily — that is not an empty statement."

 

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Palestinian Terrorist Kills 2 Israelis at Business Park Hailed as Beacon of Coexistence

The Barkan Industrial Park in the so-called "West Bank" is a reminder of the coexistence that existed between Israelis and Palestinians prior to the current peace process, and continues to exist in isolated areas in spite of that same peace process.

For that reason, the Palestinian terrorist groups that would rather see Israel eliminated than peacefully coexist with it are vehemently opposed to the success of places like this.

The businesses operated at the Barkan Industrial Park employ a total of around 7,000 workers, half of them Israeli Jews and the other half Palestinian Arabs.

And all these workers get along just fine, because they know that their economic well-being relies on doing so.

But the peace was shattered on Sunday morning when a 23-year-old Palestinian Arab man entered one of the local factories and opened fire on the workers there.

Two people were killed and another wounded. The terrorist managed to flee the scene, but was recorded by security cameras. Israeli security forces immediately launched a massive manhunt throughout the region of Samaria.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two of the aforementioned groups opposed to peace with Israel, celebrated the deadly shooting.

"The Hamas movement and the Palestinian people everywhere praise the heroic operation near the Ariel settlement," read a statement released by the group. "We applaud this heroic operation and affirm that it comes as a natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes at the expense of the Palestinian people."

The Islamic Jihad added:

"We praise this martyrdom operation and affirm that settlements are a legitimate target for resistance fighters and revolutionaries. We call on our proud people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and elsewhere to rise up in the face of settlement terrorism until the West Bank is liberated from settlements and settlers."

Neither group bothered to acknowledge that the targeted "settlement" employs thousands of Palestinian Arabs who would otherwise likely be victims of the rampant unemployment that characterizes life under the Palestinian Authority.

PHOTO: Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack at the Barkan industrial zone on October 7, 2018. (Flash90)

 

ANALYSIS: Trump Helps Israel to Overcome New Russian Hostility in Syria

Russia this week completed delivery of its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield to Syria following promises to do so two weeks ago when the Syrian army mistakenly downed an Ilyushin IL-20 reconnaissance airplane and falsely put the blame for the disaster on the Israeli Air Force (IAF).

On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video showing the night-time delivery of the S-300 system which was flown to the Hmeimim airbase in the Latakia province in northwest Syria.

"We have finished personnel recruitment and have begun to train them," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said after the delivery of the S-300, referring to the fact that the Syrian army isn’t yet capable of operating the system.

 "In conformity with the presidential decision, we have begun to carry out a number of measures to reinforce Syria’s air defense systems in order to ensure better protection for our servicemen,” Shoigu said according to the state-controlled Tass news agency. 

“We have completed the delivery of S-300 systems. It included 49 pieces of equipment, including radars, control vehicles and four launchers," the Russian DM added.

The Russians estimate it will take another three months before the Syrian army, which is today an Iranian proxy force, will be able to use the sophisticated missile shield.

Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu earlier warned that giving the S-300 to Syria was “irresponsible,” and vowed to continue airstrikes against Iran-related targets in Syria.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later called the move “a serious escalation” and said the deployment of the shield “presents greater risk to all of those in the affected areas and to stability in the Middle East.”

General Joseph Votel, the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, also reacted to the delivery of the S-300 batteries to the Syrian military, calling it a “needless escalation”. 

He added that the deployment “appears to be an effort to cover for Iranian and Syrian regimes' nefarious activities in Syria.“

The delivery of the S-300 anti-aircraft batteries certainly constitutes a game-changer in the now seven-year-old Syrian civil war, but Israel and the United States are already adjusting their strategy to counter the new threat.

Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s minister for regional cooperation and a member of the country’s security cabinet, said on Thursday that the IAF will be able to beat the S-300.

“You know that we have stealth fighters, the best planes in the world. These batteries (S-300) are not even able to detect them,” Hanegbi told the Israeli paper Haaretz.

He was referring to the eight US-manufactured F-35I stealth warplanes currently in the possession of the IAF, and which are considered the best fighter jets in the world today.

The F-35I stealth warplanes are equipped with the AESA radar system, which suppresses signals from advanced missile shields such as the S-300.

Israel has purchased 50 of the F-35I Joint Strike Fighters (which operate under the name "Adir" in Israel) at a cost of $125 million each. The Jewish state was scheduled to receive the last of those planes no later than 2021.

That has changed now, according to Israeli media.

US President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the immediate supply of additional F-35I jets after his meeting with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly gathering last week.

These F-35I planes will be drawn from active US Air Force squadrons and will arrive in Israel soon.

At the same time, the US Air Force will deploy an additional squadron of its own F-35 stealth jets in the Middle East.

Until now, the American air force only had a squadron of F-35B warplanes aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex, which is stationed in the Western Pacific and carries out combat missions in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

The Trump Administration this week decided to deploy an additional squadron of F-35 fighter jets at the Al Dhafra air base south of Abu Dhabi.

Together, the Israeli and American F-35 stealth warplanes will be able to neutralize the threat posed by the S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield, and, as General Votel put it, continue their mission “in this environment.”

 

The Last 2000 Olive Trees Planted in the Negev

Our office staff joined with some Dutch and German visitors and even an "Israeli Lone Soldier" to plant the last batch of Olive trees at our Negev site.

It was a festive occasion seeing the young olive trees swaying in the Negev breeze and for all involved knowing that they all participated in achieving the Zionist goal of helping to green the desert. Our olive grove is located near Be'er Milka, Nitzana and Kadesh Barnea in the Negev, near the Egypt border.

The oil that will be produced from these olive trees will be available to be acquired by everyone that donated to this project, starting in about 3 years, according to the biblical law for harvesting newly planted trees.

Below are a few pictures that show our endeavours planting the trees.

Your Israel Today Team

 

Angela Merkel's Problematic Policy Toward Israel

There are two disturbing aspects of Germany's policy vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One is Germany's decision to fill the financial gap left by America's decision to stop supporting UNRWA, the UN's Palestinian refugee relief fund. The second is Germany's financial support for the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Akmar, located just east of Jerusalem, which Israel's Supreme Court ruled must be evacuated. 

Both these things stem from a German moral position, which makes them all the more irritating.

Back in 1981, then-Prime Minister Menahem Begin rebuked German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt for giving moral support to the Palestinian cause. "From a moral point of view," said Begin, "Schmidt's statements certainly rank as the most callous ever heard … it seems that the Holocaust had conveniently slipped his memory. The German debt to the Jewish people," continued Begin, "can never end, not in this generation and not in any other." Schmidt's sympathy for Israel's enemies was all the more troubling in light of what Begin called Germany's "lucrative business deals with Saudi Arabia.''

One could easily find the similarities between the positions taken by Schmidt and Merkel, who now challenges Israel's sense of morality, while at the same time seeking lucrative business deals with Iran. To fully appreciate how problematic Merkel's sense of morality is, one needs to understand UNRWA and Khan al-Ahmar.

UNRWA is the only UN refugee relief organization devoted to a single group of people, the Palestinians. Furthermore, under the auspices of this organization, the number of Palestinian refugees has grown from less than half-a-million in 1948 to more than five million today (so much for Palestinian "genocide"). 

UNRWA is the institution that invented the notion of hereditary refugee status. No other group of refugees (and there were more than 100 million refugees in the 20th century) was ever granted this counterproductive benefit, which we must conclude has but one goal: to destroy Israel. Likewise, no other group of refugees has benefited from UN aid for such a long period of time. All other refugee crises were solved within a decade or two. But UNRWA continues to nourishing the Palestinian refugee problem for more than 70 years, without showing any signs of fatigue. In this light, Merkel's support of UNRWA is anything but moral.

And if invigorating UNRWA wasn't enough, Germany is actively intervening in Israel's internal affairs by speaking out on behalf of the illegal settlement of Khan al-Ahmar. Since the early 1990s, the Israel Supreme Court has three times ruled against the Bedouin settlement, which was represented by radical left-wing Israeli NGOs bankrolled by European nations, Germany included.

As someone who once lived in the town of Ma'aleh Adumim, I followed closely how the few tents of the Jahalin tribe situated just half a mile from my house slowly became a village of shacks that now nearly surrounds Ma'aleh Adumim. The Jahalin faction now living in the West Bank broke away the part of their tribe that resides in "Israel proper" over some sort of internal feud shortly after the 1948 War of Independence. It wasn't until the 1990s that the Jahalin in the West Bank began to identify themselves as Palestinians, and they did so only because it was economically expedient to do so.

The repeated appeals to the Supreme Court, and Israel's sluggish implementation of the court's rulings, has turned Europe's attention to this shabby village. It was quickly became a case study for Israel's alleged immorality and Europe's commitment to the supposedly moral causes of all peoples who hate Israel with a passion. This, according to Merkel, is a sound moral position.

It would have been one thing to criticize Israel if it was truly an incarnation of apartheid South Africa. It is an entirely different thing when, Germany of all countries, accuses Israel of lacking morality, while at the same time supporting the immoral agendas of both the Palestinians and Iran. 

This is what's so irritating about what amounts to condescending preaching coming from a country that lost any right to chastise Israel. As Israeli journalist Shimon Riklin rightly said, when it comes to criticizing Israel, Germany should keep its mouth shut for the next 2,000 years.

 

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Agricultural Aid "Darom Adom"

Take a stand against the “fire-kite terrorism!

Each spring countless red anemones turn the landscape of southern Israel into a beautiful sea of red-waving flowers. The phenomenon is called "Darom Adom - Red South”. Far too many of the nature reserves in southern Israel have fallen victim to the fire-kite terrorism that has originated from Gaza this year. Not to mention the numerous late spring harvests that have been destroyed affecting the livelihood of many of the kibbutz members in the Western Negev.

More than 1000 fires have destroyed more than 3000 hectares of agricultural fields, pastures, trees and at least 200 beehives. To transform the Israeli landscape adjacent to the Gaza Strip back into a “Darom Adom", the local residents need your help right now! Help the anemone fields bloom again and bees find food!

The ecosystem urgently needs to be renewed especially sources of nectar and beehives!

You can help!

 

When the Desert Calls: Going Back to Where It All Began

Israel Today Editor-in-Chief Aviel Schneider and his family offer a fascinating look at the Sinai Peninsula, where Israel's story as a nation began.

The full feature appears in the October 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine.


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Covenant vs. the New Progressive Reality

Those who watch Hebrew news and television series can't escape noticing the dramatic increase in programming dealing with women and LGBT empowerment. 

Last Saturday night's news featured two examples that were, pure and simple, re-education workshops designed to make us "better human beings." Microsoft-Israel CEO Asaf Rapoport was the instructor of one of those workshops dealing with the advantages and benefits of the LGTB lifestyle. Rapoport promised a grant for local homosexual couples searching for foreign surrogate mothers. This grant, offered only to Microsoft employees, came in response to the new surrogate law, which denies state funding to same-sex couples who wish to have children in this way.

IDF Maj. Dana Ben Ezra, the first female deputy battalion commander whose entire appearance serves to promote feminine masculinity, instructed the workshop dealing with the benefits of women serving in combat units. Ben Ezra, needless to say, couldn't appear on TV without the IDF's approval and full cooperation. Her appearance, therefore, can be seen as part of a full-scale army indoctrination program that also includes television series like "Mixed Unite" and "The Air Force Pilotesses."

The intensive re-education effort, one should note, runs across partisan lines. Both left and right, albeit to lesser degree, encourage the army, government, courts of law and hosts of NGOs to participate in this grand scheme to turn the passage "male and female He created them" into a primitive and oppressive notion. 

Society's new standard, they teach us, calls for alignment with a radical project that strives to transform us all into a genderless non-violent mass that loathes nationality, religion and heritage. Rapoport's grant, given only to homosexual couples, and the state's special benefits for single mothers, for example, demonstrate full support for the "alternative family" trend that now sweeps the Western world. Anyone who would dare to change the channel during such a demonstration is now viewed as society's new abnormal, homophobes and misogynists. And, for the benefit of us all, they must submit to the terms of the "enlightened" new norms.

All of this would have gone unchallenged if it weren't for this defiant thing called "covenant." The effort to irrevocably set society on this new path could have been a complete success if Jews weren't stuck up on their connection up to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and if their ancestors hadn't agreed to receive two particular stone tablets given atop Mount Sinai. 

Today, this covenant frustrates the re-education plans because, despite everything, it is continually renewed with every circumcision and every wedding ceremony. A covenant sealed with an unremovable mark upon every Israelite male serves as an unavoidable reminder of the commitment made millennia ago: "All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient." Likewise the oath "if I forget you, O Jerusalem" taken by every Jewish groom, even if often uttered in a indifferent manner.

Whether or not one is religious, circumcision and wedding vows do print a stop sign on the Jewish soul, which is why so many are suspicious of anything that threatens to disconnect them from the covenant in which they sometimes don't even believe. As surveys repeatedly demonstrate, most Israelis would not mix milk with meat, while most do fast on Yom Kippur and read the Haggadah on Passover Eve. This means that imperfect as their adherence may be, most Jews remain committed to the covenant to one degree or another. 

The rejection of post-modern agendas here in Israel, therefore, has nothing to do with homophobia or misogyny, and everything to do with some form of fidelity to a covenant, even if most can't fully comprehend it.  

Nevertheless, carefully-chosen news items, agenda-driven interviews and TV series, celebrity sub-culture–it all shows that the effort to impose a new politics of identity is gaining ground, which in turn puts traditional and semi-traditional Israelis constantly on the defensive. What seems like an orchestrated assault on faith and religious practices does take a toll, and makes one wonder whether or not the Jewish state will remain Jewish. 

Though some might find comfort in the fact that Israel today is much better off than at the time of Ahab and Jezebel, whose campaign to transform Israel to a "normal" country left a mere 7,000 who refused the societal norms of their day, the outcome of the present battle is anything but decided.

 

Report: UN Staff Flee Gaza After Being Threatened by Palestinian Coworkers

They say don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Palestinian groups like Hamas have failed to internalize that lesson, or actively defy it in service to greater chaos and suffering, which in turn serves something far darker.

Those learning the real lesson today are the international officials who naively believed that humanitarian, financial and academic assistance would moderate the Palestinians and help foster peace. They are learning quite pointedly why Israel has had such difficulty concluding any kind of meaningful agreement with those calling the shots in Palestinian society.

Palestinian refugees have it better than any other refugees on earth, in more than one way. Most notably, they have their own dedicated UN agency, UNRWA.

But on Monday, the foreign staff manning UNRWA's offices in Gaza were reportedly fleeing across the border to Israel following threats of violence by their own Palestinian coworkers.

After US President Donald Trump decided Palestinian refugees should no longer be handled differently than any other refugees and halted American funding of UNRWA, the agency had to slim down its operations, including laying off a great many local staff members. Despite being the recipients of more foreign financial aid per capita than Europe received under the Marshall Plan following World War II, the Palestinians have failed to create a viable economy, and so rely heavily on jobs provided by their own government or foreign NGOs.

And so, according to a report by AFP, the Palestinian staff at UNRWA started threatening the foreign staff, despite the fact that the situation was not of their making.

UNRWA itself was careful not to blame the local Palestinians (lest it jeopardize its ability to operate in Hamas-controlled Gaza), and instead released a statement vaguely revealing that "a number of staff were harassed and prevented from carrying out their duties. Some of these actions have specifically targeted the UNRWA management in Gaza."

The Israel Defense Ministry confirmed that it had opened Gaza's sealed border crossings to "evacuate" the UNRWA staff to the Jewish state.

 

The October Issue Has Been Published!

A sample of articles of the current issue:
- 25 years Oslo Accords
- Israel’s Nation-State Law
- Jewish and Arab Women Join Hands to Promote Israel
- Firearms for All
- Virgin, or Harlot: Who was Ruth?
- Lions of the Jordan Valley

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COMMENTARY: Jews Everywhere Reminded From Where Their Help Comes

Against the shameful background of blatant anti-Semitism at Britain’s annual Labour Party Conference, Jews everywhere are being reminded of where their help comes from.

As tens of thousands descend on Jerusalem’s Western Wall complex to receive the priestly Aaronic blessing during the Feast of Tabernacles, they hear afresh those solemn, soothing words of comfort: “The Lord bless you and keep you…” (Numbers 6.24)

But at Liverpool, home of The Beatles, some Labour delegates were not singing All you need is love, but joining in a chorus of hate-filled messages directed at the state of Israel, calling for an arms embargo and provocatively waving Palestinian flags.

One prominent Member of Parliament stayed away altogether, and said she was glad she had done so when it emerged that Jewish MP Luciana Berger had to be accompanied to a conference rally by two police officers. And a colleague even warned that the anti-Semitism crisis could fuel the rise of Nazism in Britain.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy told the rally: “Nazism doesn’t turn up fully formed, wearing shiny black boots and black shirts and goose-stepping. It builds bit by bit, it gains little by little, it paints itself as the victim – it paints its victims as the enemies, as traitors, the ‘other’, with dual loyalty.”

But the seven-day Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (also known as Sukkot) reminds us that God, not politicians, will have the final say on Israel’s future. It recalls how he miraculously provided for them and protected them in the desert over 40 years when they lived in temporary shelters, ate manna from heaven and water from the rock.

He still promises to provide all their needs, especially in the face of fiery opposition. Psalm 27, traditionally recited during the feast and written by King David, notes: _“When the wicked advance against me to devour (or slander) me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall…for in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock…Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.” _(Psalm 27.2,5,12)

The feast celebrates the time God came down to ‘tabernacle’, or live, amongst his people. And this is also what Jesus did some 1,500 years later when, as the Apostle John put it, “the word became flesh and dwelt (literally tabernacled) with us” (John 1.14). Jesus was also described as ‘Emmanuel’, meaning ‘God with us’ (Isaiah 7.14, Matthew 1.23).

Jewish people believe that when Messiah comes, it will be during this feast. And there is good reason to believe that Jesus was actually born at this time of year, not at Christmas as is generally supposed. For one thing, the shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks by night – the lambs were still kept outdoors during the feast, but would have been kept indoors in winter. For another, Sukkot is a festival of joy – rabbis apparently teach that it is a sin to be miserable this week – and the angel announcing Messiah’s birth said: _“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…” _(Luke 2.10)

The feast also played a crucial role in Jesus’ ministry, for it was on the last day of Tabernacles that he stood up to declare: “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his inmost being shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7.37f)

The background to this is that, traditionally, on each day of the feast, the High Priest took a golden pitcher and filled it with water drawn from the Pool of Siloam, and it was poured out on the altar as a thank-offering for rain.

Jesus now promised a spiritual ‘rain’ that would never stop flowing for those who trusted him. And in the light of dark threats here in Britain, and elsewhere, consolation can surely be taken from the feast’s association with the “last days” when Jesus returns, once again to tabernacle with his people, after which all nations will be required to make an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to celebrate Tabernacles – and those who refuse to do so will be denied rain! (Zech 14.16-19)

One school of thought teaches that when Jesus returns as King of Kings, he will be hailed by the blast of the shofar (ram’s horn) on the Feast of Trumpets (marked earlier this month at the start of the autumn feasts) when all Israel would recognise him as Messiah and enter into national mourning over the One they have pierced (Zech 12.10 – see also 1 Corinthians 15.52, 1 Thessalonians 4.16)

What a glorious prospect!

PHOTO: The site of the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem’s Old City, where water was drawn for the Feast of Tabernacles. (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

 

ANALYSIS: New Revelations Prove Netanyahu Right on Iran's Nuclear Program

On Friday, Iran responded to the speech Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu gave during the annual General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City in which he revealed Iran has another never disclosed nuclear site in its capital Tehran.

Netanyahu said a secret nuclear warehouse inside Tehran contained 300 tons of nuclear-related material and demanded the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) immediately examined the evidence Israel has in its possession.

The Israeli PM also said Iran had recently spread 15 kilograms of radioactive material around Tehran last month to in an effort to hide its activities in the facility.

When Israel shared this information with the IAEA recently the nuclear watchdog did nothing according to an unnamed Israel official who spoke with TV Channel 10 in the country.

The Mossad, Israel’s Spy Agency, knows exactly what is stored in the facility the official said just like it knew what was in the secret nuclear archive in Tehran where Israel stole Iran’s nuclear secrets on January 31 this year.

Iran now says Netanyahu’s claims were “baseless and ridiculous” according to Bahran Qassemi, the spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Javad Zariff, Iran’s Foreign Minister called Netanyahu’s presentation at the UNGA “an arts and craft show” meant to obfuscate Israel has his own secret nuclear secret and undeclared actual atomic arsenal a reference to what Israel calls its life insurance.

Israel’s estimated sixty-five to eighty-five warheads, according to a Rand Corporation study are meant as the ultimate defensive weapon in case the country is threatened with annihilation, however.

Israel has, furthermore, repeatedly promised it would never be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Iran, on the other hand, is aggressively exporting the Islamic Revolution to other parts of the Middle East and is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.

The Islamic Republic is not only using words to threaten Israel with destruction but is actively working on the annihilation of the Jewish state which it calls a cancer tumor which must be removed.

In addition, Iran is causing mayhem in several Arab countries such as Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon which was the first Arab country to become an Iranian satellite state.

Netanyahu’s revelations at the UNGA followed recent information about how Iran continues to deceive the world about its nuclear weapons program which is still in place until this very day despite the 2015 landmark-nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and six world powers.

This was revealed by Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, the writer of the 2009 book “The Secret War with Iran”, in a Hebrew language article which was published on September 7.

In the article, which was based on original Iranian documents, Bergman revealed that the material the Mossad seized during the daring raid in Tehran earlier this year clearly showed that Iran has never stopped working on the development of a nuclear weapon.

Officially the Islamic Republic stopped its nuclear weapons program dubbed ‘AMAD’ in 2003 when the US army invaded Iraq in March 2003 and the regime in Tehran thought it would be next in line.

Bergman wrote that the Mossad had observed the warehouse in Tehran for more than one year and knew exactly what was stored there.

When a team of dozens of Mossad agents broke into the facility they knew which of the 32 giants safes contained the most relevant information about the AMAD project and its secret successor ‘project Sfand’.

The Sfand project, which was headed by nuclear scientist Fakhri Zada, was started in the fall of 2003.

Zada received a letter from Abassi-Duwani, another Iranian nuclear expert, who advised Zada to publish the parts of the atomic project that were peaceful in character in order to deceive the international community.

Abassi-Dawani wrote that neutron research should be kept secret because it would reveal that Iran continued research for the development of a nuclear weapon.

The Mossad also seized a letter written by then-Iranian Defense Minister Simhani which stated that Sfand would include: project Serab 1, a facility for an underground test with an atomic bomb and Serab 2 and 3, facilities for the production and integration of a nuclear warhead for the Shihab 3 ballistic missile.

The leaders of the Sfand project, which was a direct result of a decision by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al Khamenei, also decided to deny the IAEA access to military facilities where Iran was conducting work on its nuclear weapons program.

For this reason, Iran initially denied IAEA inspectors access to the military base near Parchin where the Islamic Republic was suspected of having conducted tests with detonators for nuclear warheads in special tubes.

When the IAEA was finally granted access to Parchin the Iranians had removed virtually all evidence their nuclear activities there.

Bergman now published so-called selfies of Iranian nuclear scientists standing next to two different kinds of test chambers for the detonators at Parchin.

“Presumably none of the photographers imagined that his pictures would ever reach Israel," Bergman wrote, adding that the photos he had seen proved beyond doubt that Iran had lied about the military dimensions of its nuclear program.

The Mossad material also proved Iran had lied about equipment for neutron research which it said was not in its possession and about its possession of a sophisticated camera that could capture the moment of the chain reaction that leads to the detonation of an atomic bomb.

The 55,000 pages and 182 disks stolen by the Mossad contained further evidence that Iran was actually developing a nuclear weapon in underground bunkers and with equipment that the Islamic Republic had always claimed was not in its possession.

“The bottom line of the material is clear and sharp and indisputable: it is a mega-scam in which senior Iranian officials and hundreds of people participated for years," Bergman wrote.

"For two decades Iran denied that it had a military nuclear project. But the contents of the safes brought to Israel tell a different, completely opposite, and undeniable story: For years, Iran has been conducting a covert nuclear project aimed at producing five nuclear bombs," he asserted.

Both Bergman, who has contacts within the Mossad and other Israeli intelligence services, and the Israeli government are convinced the Sfand project continued after the implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, in 2016.

Iran’s mega-scam started in 1987 when Khamenei, during a secret meeting of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran ordered the development of a nuclear weapon because of “external threats.”

“The little we can do to stand up to this danger is to make our enemies aware that we can defend ourselves. Accordingly, any step we take here will serve the defense of our nation and your revolution. With this aim in mind, you must work hard and fast,” Khamenei said at the time.

 

Israel Celebrates And Rejoices Over The Giving Of The Torah

Jews all over the world will sit in their sukkot (booths) for the last time. The week-long Feast of Tabernacles is over. This last day is an extremely joyous occasion enjoyed by many Jews the world over. On this day we celebrate the giving of the Torah. This holiday is called "Simchat Torah", translated as "Rejoicing in the Torah".

In synagogues, the Torah scrolls are taken out of the cabinets and led through the hall, dancing. Some celebrations even spill out into the streets leading many passersby to join in the festivities.

Celebrate together with us and take advantage of many discounted prices in Israel Today Shop!

 

Abbas Tells UN That Palestinians Have Been Angels, It's All Israel's Fault

You could hear the desperation in his voice.

Like a child caught red-handed in a mischievous act, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was eager to blame someone else, anyone else.

Naturally, he started by blaming Israel, which he notably called a "colonial" enterprise, thereby reaffirming that he still does not recognize the inalienable right of the Jewish people to exercise sovereignty in their ancient homeland.

For many Israelis, there was no point listening any further. The right of the State of Israel to exist as the national home of the Jewish people per UN Resolution 181 (the accompanying map even labels the territory as "Jewish State") is a cornerstone for genuine peace in the region. If the Palestinian leadership can't even get that part right, then how can Israel trust them on other issues?

But, whether or not Israelis were paying attention, Abbas continued, confident that the Israel-loathing General Assembly would eat up his words.

He then turned on US President Donald Trump, whom Abbas accused of launching an unprovoked "assault" on the Palestinian Arabs by actually holding them accountable for their actions. Twenty-five years into the "Oslo" peace process, the Palestinians aren't unaccustomed to being taken to task for their numerous violations of signed agreements.

Speaking of those violations, Abbas saved his most vitriolic remarks for Hamas. Of course, he left out the part about how Hamas would never have been able to militarily seize control of the Gaza Strip had Abbas' Palestinian Authority honored its commitment to disarm the various terror groups operating under its auspices. "One authority, one gun" was the promise they made, and then proceeded to systematically violate.

Unable to now handle a problem of his own making, Abbas is set to cut all funding to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip (and he criticizes Trump for doing the same to him?), knowing full well the outburst of violence it will prompt, probably toward Israel.

But the most ludicrous moment came when Abbas challenged his audience to tell him if the Palestinians had ever "committed a single mistake in our long journey."

Seriously.

Never mind the decades of terrorist activity prior to 1993 (such as the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes or the 1976 Entebbe hijacking, not to mention numerous bloody attacks inside Israel) or the two enormously destructive "intifadas" that were at least tacitly approved by the Palestinian leadership.

What made Abbas' assertion most silly was that it came in the very same speech in which he so harshly lambasted Hamas, a Palestinian organization voted to lead the Palestinian parliament by a firm majority of Palestinian voters.

For a people who have somehow never made any mistakes, Abbas sure had a lot of criticism for the Palestinians' elected representatives.

It's precisely these types of nonsensical diatribes based on anything but reality and truth that make it so difficult for Israelis, and a growing number of world leaders, to take Abbas seriously as a negotiating partner.

 

Israel Lays Bare Iran's Secrets, Dares the World to Actually Do Something About It

The international community has not been forthcoming about the true extent of Iran's nuclear program.

That was the message forcefully delivered to the UN General Assembly on Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who added that no effort to conceal the truth of the matter would escape Israel's watchful eye.

Repeating his new favorite tactic of presenting the world body with visual aids as though they were uneducated school children, Netanyahu held up a picture clearly labeled "Iran's Secret Atomic Warehouse."

"Iran has not abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons," said Netanyahu, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to "do the right thing. Go and inspect this atomic warehouse immediately, before the Iranians finish cleaning it out."

He warned that "what Iran hides, Israel will find."

And, more than that, Israel will hold the international community accountable for failing to take those findings seriously.

 

Hoshen Earrings Now 25% Off

"You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it. It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width. You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald; and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes." (Exodus 28:15-21)

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A Declaration of War: Zulu King Comes to Israel's Defence

As Jews everywhere mark their holiest time of the year seeking forgiveness of one another and of God, they are experiencing unprecedented hatred around the world.

But a Zulu king has come to their defence, challenging the status quo of a South African government apparently steeped in anti-Semitism.

At the same time millions of South African Christians – many of whom are strong supporters of Israel – are expected soon to descend on Pretoria, the country’s administrative capital, to continue praying against corruption and immorality in the nation.

As it happens, a call for Christians to prepare and pray for revival is increasingly being heard even in the UK, regarded now by some as practically virgin territory for the good news of Jesus – capable not only of transforming individuals and communities, but whole nations too.

All of this is very encouraging, but the South African situation in particular reflects the indelible link I believe exists between Jewish aspirations and revival.

The reason we are experiencing such a vicious attack on our Judeo-Christian foundations in the West is because…well, our foundations are Judeo-Christian. The Christian faith is firmly built upon its Judaic roots, without which it would never have blossomed nor continue to bear fruit. In fact, a church cut off from the nourishing sap of the ‘olive tree’ that is Israel will surely wither and die (see Romans 11.17).

So when the church begins once more to defend the Jewish people, as they should have been doing all along, blessing will start flowing again and revival could well ensue as we re-dig the wells of our faithful forefathers like Wesley, Whitfield and Wilberforce.

There’s clearly still all too little evidence of this in Britain, but in South Africa, the Zulu king of the Mthethwa tribe, a Christian, has come out in strong support of Israel following a visit to the Jewish state, adding: “The Jews are not going to suffer under our watch…We need to begin to vote according to our heritage as Christians.”(The Zulus are the country’s largest tribe, thus having great potential for positively influencing the make-up of the South African Parliament, currently led by the anti-Israel African National Congress).

Expressing gratitude for being able to visit Israel on the bi-centenary of a royal ancestor’s death, the King said: “I understand there are people who have an interest in saying that there is apartheid, but without coming here, they simply feed on the media…I came to lend my voice of support that as a believer myself, I can’t keep quiet. I will mobilise Christians all over the world to support, because this place (Israel) is our tangible and intangible heritage site.”

But South Africa’s Christian leaders are realists; they know their country is in trouble. Farmer-evangelist Angus Buchan (pictured addressing a mass Christian gathering), who has called for a third It’s Time prayer gathering on October 27 following previous meetings in Bloemfontein and Cape Town attended by a total of nearly two million people, says: “If God doesn’t intervene in South Africa, we could be on the brink of a civil war.”

Yet prayers answered since the earlier two gatherings include the downfall of an allegedly corrupt President, the strengthening of the currency, the best maize yield in years and one of the wettest winters in many years following a three-year drought in the Western Cape.

But are British Christians serious enough about the need for change here; do we realise how close we are to the abyss? Or are we going to stand by and do nothing while the Jewish people in our midst suffer gross indignities and disgraceful treatment at the hands of our main Opposition party which, in general over the past century, has had a creditable record of governance?

The news media has given huge coverage to the ongoing scandal of anti-Semitic tendencies among our leading politicians and many of our Jewish friends are now seriously planning to leave the country – people who, for generations, have contributed enormously to our national pride and productivity, and without whom we would be sorely bereft.

But our pulpits remain largely silent. Does this not ring alarm bells? Have we still not learnt from history? Will we walk by on the other side of the road, ignoring the wounded victim of robbers, and do nothing? Will we ape the church in Germany which, for the most part, made no protest against Hitler?

Why is it that so many of us close our eyes and ears pretending the Jewish cause has nothing to do with us? And yet we owe them everything – our Bible, our civilization, and Jesus himself, the Jewish Messiah who, in his great mercy, also reached out to us Gentiles as he died to set us free from sin and condemnation (see Romans 15.27).

As King Mthethwa said: “It is clear that we need God… and it’s the God of Israel. That is the heritage we have been left with.”

Here in Britain we have plunged to such depths of insanity that a senior policeman has become the subject of an internal investigation for encouraging his colleagues to be above reproach – or “whiter than white” as he unfortunately put it – in carrying out their inquiries. He now faces the sack for alleged racist language and the inquiry is expected to take up to a year.

Ironically, the officer is attached to the Metropolitan (London) force’s anti-corruption squad. But what could be more corrupt than embarking on such a waste of police time and resources as we face the constant threat of terror attacks?

It’s about as farcical as the conclusion to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, when Alice is called to give evidence at the trial of the Knave of Hearts, accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts. Her Majesty announces: “Sentence first – verdict afterwards.” And when Alice objects in the strongest terms, the Queen orders: “Off with her head!”

By which time, fortunately, Alice realises they are nothing but a pack of cards and wakes up from her strange dream.

Lewis Carroll would not have had to be nearly so imaginative if he were writing for children today (the book was published in 1876). As fellow journalist Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail often puts it, you couldn’t make it up.

Borrowing Angus Buchan’s call-to-prayer catchphrase, It’s Time to wake up from our dream and pronounce a sentence of death on the odious politically-correct world of secular-humanism. Yes, let’s take a leaf from the farmer-evangelist’s harvest manual and say, It’s Time to take back territory from the God-haters and restore Christ, upon the foundations of which our great country was built, to his rightful place among us.

As the old hymn says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”


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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Israel, and Trump's Vision for a Better World

"I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship."

Trump is not my president. This is an important observation considering the gazillion non-Americans who think they have an obligation to hate him. That Trump is not my president frees me from feelings that do nothing but distort things. From the narrow Israeli viewpoint, we should be thankful for Trump's pro-Israel policy, and many indeed are thankful. More encouraging, Trump's UN speech last night shows that his pro-Israel policy isn't the result of early morning convulsions. His vision for a better world is the vision of his administration, the vision of those who voted him in, and it is this vision, not Trump's personality, that so angers his political rivals.

To Israeli ears, The New Yorker's scornful reporting of "the audible ripple of gasps and giggles" supposedly heard in the UN General Assembly during Trump's speech sounds too vindictive and harsh. The terms "patriotism," "homeland," "people," "sovereign and independent nations" guided by "ancient wisdom" do not sound at all offensive to most Israelis who, I suppose, would not mind seeing Israel restored to the kind of Liberal Conservatism that Trump is talking about. 

America under Trump wants to restore the sovereignty of nations and pride in national culture and heritage. Instead of the uni-cultural world coerced upon us in the name of multiculturalism, America now encourages countries like Israel to freely pursue our own destiny. "The whole world is richer, humanity is better," said Trump, "because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, and each shining brightly in its part of the world." 

Israel–harshly and unfairly criticized by the UN, EU and their innumerable NGO cohorts–should follow's Trump's lead, for it, too, must not surrender its "sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy." Freedom and democracy, the American leader correctly observes, should be allowed to be defended "against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination," which means, coercion of the masses into accepting ideologies that scorn and loath anything other than a multiculturalism run amok.

This vision, it is almost needless to say, suits Israel like a glove because, by definition, Israel must attribute its very existence to its uniqueness. It's no surprise, therefore, that of all nations, Israel is singled out as most problematic, which is why its very existence is continuously challenged, mostly by the same unelected powers exposed so effectively by President Trump.

Those who follow Israel closely know that its Jewish character and its sovereignty are being challenged on a daily basis. Internal and external forces do their utmost to frustrate the majority's desire to guard Israel's uniqueness. At times it seems as if our governments capitulate to these unelected, undemocratic forces seeking to turn Israel into just another "normal" country. Now, with America's backing, one could only hope that our leaders will know to seize the historical moment and further entrench both Israel's uniqueness and its sovereignty.

 

ANALYSIS: Why Russia is Lying About Israel's Role in Downing of its Spy Plane

On Tuesday, a cartoon in Israel’s leading newspaper Yediot Acharonot showed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad standing next to a Russian officer as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin drives a giant truck with the S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield towards the ruthless Syrian dictator.

“I can’t wait to see what I will receive after we will down another (Russian) airplane,” Assad tells the Russian officer.

The cartoon illustrates the atmosphere in Israel where virtual everybody condemns Putin for betraying the Jewish State after the downing of an Ilyushin IL-20 reconnaissance airplane with a Russian-made S-200 surface to air missile by Assad’s army.

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry published a what it claimed was a factual reconstruction of the events on September 17th which led to the downing of the IL-20 aircraft and the death of 15 Russian servicemen.

The Russian Defense Ministry rejected the findings of the Israeli military relating to the incident and insisted that one of the four IAF F-16I warplanes which attacked an Iranian missile facility in the northwestern province Latakia in Syria minutes before the Russian plane disappeared from radar had used the IL-20 as a shield against the incoming S-200 rocket.

The Russians also insisted that an Israeli air force commander had informed the Russian military just one minute before the imminent strike on the Iranian facility in Latakia.

Putin’s Defense Ministry said the IAF’ actions on Sept. 17th constituted a clear breach of existing agreements between Israel and Russia which were meant to prevent clashes between the two countries in Syria.

The Russians furthermore claimed the IAF commander had lied about the location of the Israeli airstrike when he announced the assault would take place in northern Syria.

The pilot of the IL-20 subsequently received an order to leave his mission area and to return to the Russian operated Khmeimim base in northwest Syria after which the plane suddenly disappeared from the radar.

The Russians also claimed the IAF warplanes stayed for another fifty minutes in the airspace off-coast in Syria where they were patrolling the skies while one of the F-16’s suddenly approached the IL-20, which was preparing to land at Khmeimim, and by doing so ducked an incoming S-200 missile.

As has happened before the Russians are lying through their teeth.

First of all, a plane cannot ‘hide’ behind another aircraft as was pointed out by former IAF pilot and Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin who last week called the Russian claims “unprofessional” and meant to “clear the Syrians of guilt.”

Yadlin also revealed that the four IAF F-16’s were already back in Israeli airspace when the Syrian army began to launch S-200 missiles “randomly” as the IDF called it.

On Sunday, Israeli journalist Avi Sharf published a timetable of the incident which led to the downing of the Russian aircraft and fired off a tweet which said the Syrians started to launch some twenty missiles ten minutes after the IAF jets struck their target in Latakia which is in northwest Syria.

"Instead of moving to safety and prohibiting the launch of the S-200 missiles, the Russian plane flew into the danger zone where it was downed at 22.03 P.M.," Sharf tweeted.

Further proof of Russian lies about the IAF actions and the loss of their IL-20 aircraft came from the Russian Defense Ministry itself.

On Sunday, the ministry claimed the plane was conducting a special survey mission in the Idlib de-escalation zone which is in northern Syria close to the Turkish border.

However, on September 17th the same Russian ministry said “connection with the IL-20 has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast.

The Russian plane was furthermore flying at a much higher altitude than the Israeli F-16’s which were flying at very low altitude to avoid being hit by the S-200 missiles which are known to be ineffective against low flying aircraft.

Then there's the Russian claim the Israelis gave an advance warning only one minute before the actual strike.

The IAF denies that this is what happens and says that the advance warning was delivered much earlier and according to the disengagement agreement with Russia.

There’s more.

The Russians are now quiet about the fact that their military in Syria misread the unfolding battle and initially reported that a French frigate was involved in the attack against the Iranian missile facility in Latakia.

They also are silent about the fact that they apparently forgot to provide the Syrians with electronic signals which are able to identify any plane as Russian.

The Russian military is furthermore trying to hide the fact that Russian officers supervise the use of Russian-made anti-aircraft batteries in Syria and had the ability to identify their own IL-20 plane before it was shot down.

This all begs the question of why the Russian government initiated this crisis and is constantly lying about what happened on September 17, 2018.

As was reported by Israel Today the behavior of the Kremlin suggests the Russians were just waiting for an excuse to arm Syria with the S-300 state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missile shield.

The Russian government tried to deliver the same system to Assad in April but backtracked after an outcry by Israel and other countries involved in the Syrian war.

Delivery of the S-300 would change the overall situation on the battlefield in Syria although the IDF reportedly has the ability to destroy the system and has already announced it will continue its strikes against Iran in Syria.

Another reason for putting the blame on Israel for the downing of the IL-20 is Putin’s prestige in the domestic arena and abroad.

Commentators in Russia have pointed out that the regime of the Russian strongman has a habit of blaming others for things that went awfully wrong and never admits the failures of his own military.

The third reason for Russia's behavior is the situation in Syria and the Middle East in general.

Putin wants to keep his strategic foothold in the region and also wants to ensure that the U.S. and Israel won't frustrate his achievements in Syria by weakening Hezbollah and other Iranian clients in the war-torn country.

 

Was Russia Just Waiting for an Excuse to Arm Syria?

Russia and Israel have been getting along surprisingly well considering that they are on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war.

Russia remains a staunch ally of the Syrian regime, and by extension its allies in Iran and Hezbollah. Israel, meanwhile, has been busily bombing Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, with Moscow's tacit approval.

But Russia's final response to last week's accidental downing of a Russian spy plane during the course of an Israeli air raid on Syria suggests that the Kremlin hasn't been too happy about the Jewish state interfering in its war zone.

Contrary to claims by Israeli officials, Moscow did blame Israel for Syrian anti-aircraft batteries inadvertently shooting down a Russian spy plane that was flying near to where the Israeli aircraft had launched their missiles.

Ostensibly to prevent such a mishap from reoccurring, Russia has agreed to sell it's most advanced anti-aircraft system, the S-300, to the Syrian regime.

Russia tried to sell the S-300 to Syria years ago, but backed down following a fierce outcry from Israel and other Western powers. The loss of 15 Russian servicemen has finally given Moscow the excuse it needs to conclude the deal.

And that's bad news for Israel.

The Israel Air Force is innovative, and will likely find ways to continue striking Iranian targets in Syria despite the presence of the S-300, which Syria is expected to take possession of in the coming months.

More worrying is that Russia will have incentive to help the Syrians use the S-300 to its fullest potential in targeting and bringing down Israeli aircraft. After all, Moscow wouldn't want the world to think that it's most advanced anti-aircraft system is incapable of stopping Israel's American-made planes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed on Tuesday for New York City, where he will address the United Nations General Assembly and hold an urgent one-on-one meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Without question, the rising tension with Russia, as well as the unacceptable threat of Iranian forces in Syria, will be a major focus of those talks.

How Trump will respond is anyone's guess, but US National Security Adviser John Bolton has already called Russia's promise to give Syria the S-300 a "major mistake."

PHOTO: Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have typically gotten along very well. But the current crisis threatens to derail Israeli-Russian cooperation in Syria. (Israeli Embassy in Russia)

 

Gaza Violence Intensifies, as Southern Israel Burns

The beginning of the Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) biblical holiday was sadly marred by numerous fires across southern Israel.

The blazes, which destroyed agricultural land and nature reserves, were caused by flaming kites and balloons carrying incendiary devices launched by Palestinian Arabs in the adjacent Gaza Strip.

Firefighters were battling at least nine serious fires in southern Israel at the start of this week.

Over the holiday, Gaza's Hamas rulers declared that indirect ceasefire talks with Israel had stalled, and that the terror group would in response escalate the unrest along the Gaza security fence.

Palestinian rioters gathered at the fence on Monday and hurled stones, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices at the Israeli soldiers stationed there. A number of attempts were made to breach the barrier and enter southern Israel.

Israeli forces responded with both live fire and crowd dispersal techniques. Hamas sources claimed that at least one Palestinian rioter had been killed, and dozens more wounded.

 

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Messianic Responses to Israel's Nation-State Law

Israel's new Nation-State Law continues to make waves, both at home and abroad.

The motion, passed as one of Israel's constitutional Basic Laws, enshrines the Jewish character of the state.

However, in so doing, the Nation-State Law elicited accusations of racism, with opponents insisting that it would lead to preferential treatment for Israel's Jewish majority.

Two local Messianic leaders responded to the law, one in support of it, and one opposed.

Pastor Israel Harel

Already in the Balfour Declaration, the nation of Israel was established as a “Homeland for the Jewish People.” However, because of a flood of ongoing cases being brought to Israel's Supreme Court trying to change and squash this understanding of Israel as a homeland of the Jewish people, it was necessary to make a law in order to protect, in law, the Jewish character of Israel.

Victor Gregorian

As a Jew myself, Israel is my country, as it is for the members of my household who may not be Jewish. The new Nation-State Law weakens and even undermines these foundations, and raises a serious dilemma for me and many others in this land. If, as the new law states, this is a homeland only for the Jewish people, and not for my wife and our non-Jewish children, then what are we doing here?

In the upcoming October 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine, we explore this issue in more depth, including additional reactions from local Arabic-speaking Christians and leading Israeli analysts.

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COMMENTARY: Reclaiming the Honour of Zion

As Jews across Europe come under increasing fire, and the scandal of anti-Semitism continues to wreak havoc in Britain’s Labour Party, there is an ever-present danger of misunderstanding as to what it’s all about.

Why have Jews, and Israel in particular, become the focus of so much vilification? And what on earth is Zionism, a catch-all word generally being used in a disparaging way by opponents of the Jewish state?

Among the many unsavoury allegations of anti-Jewish sentiment surrounding Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn, he was recently cited as having said in a 2013 speech that Zionists in the UK had “no sense of English irony”, which critics said implied they weren’t fully British.

Quite apart from this being a nasty slur that is patently untrue – for British Jews have surely been the most loyal of minorities, contributing hugely to our success in so many fields, not least the economy – let’s put that aside for a moment in a bid to unpack what is meant by Zionism.

So it’s a form of insult for some – we get that – meant as a kind of synonym to describe a ‘racist’ people accused of stealing Palestinian land. But the reality is very different, and we need to rescue this skewed meaning from common use.

In truth, Zionism is among the most noble, holy concepts found in the English language (or any language) and those who take up its cause should be justly proud of doing so. For it is essentially a biblical concept of the place where we go up to meet with God to worship him.

Specifically, it refers to Jerusalem, God’s dwelling place on earth also known as the “city of the Great King” (Psalm 48.1f). It is a very special domain which God himself has chosen as a “resting place” (Psalm 132.13f). So to use it as a form of insult virtually amounts to blasphemy because it involves denigration of something sacred to the Creator.

In the time of Jesus, Jews were expected to make a special pilgrimage to attend three major feasts a year – all in Jerusalem – when they would sing about going “up to Zion”. The Book of Psalms is liberally strewn with joyful expressions of the holy wonder of these regular journeys. The city is built on mountains, including Mt Zion, at an elevation of nearly 3,000ft, which thus requires a stiff climb of some 4,000ft within the space of just 30 miles from the Dead Sea – which, at 1,200ft below (normal) sea level, is the lowest point on earth.

Zion describes the city of Jerusalem (Isaiah 40.9) and the nation of Israel as a whole (Zechariah 9.13, Isaiah 60.14). And it is a place God loves (Psalm 87.2f), having first assumed significance when King David brought the Ark of the Covenant into the stronghold of ‘Zion’, also named the ‘City of David’.

Similarly, Zionism is a longing expressed by Jews dispersed around the world for a return to their ancient land, encapsulated in the late 19

th century by Theodor Herzl and his Zionist movement that propelled the initial waves of Jewish immigration to the Holy Land. For Jews everywhere, it is like returning ‘home’, even if (as in most cases) their ancestors have been exiled for 2,000 years. It is a divinely appointed location, and Jews have a divine right to live there.

And so Zion, as a homeland for the Jewish people, has also come to describe their right to self-determination in the re-established state of Israel. After all, Jews have prayed towards Jerusalem for thousands of years. Even the Western church, which has somewhat lost sight of its Hebraic roots, has traditionally built its altars facing east – towards Jerusalem!

But there are also Christian Zionists, who support Israel’s right to exist and make every effort to help them in any way they can, including sourcing the documents and finance to enable persecuted Jews to make ‘aliyah’ by becoming Israeli citizens.

So, more broadly speaking, Zionism is also an expression of longing by Gentiles who yearn for Emmanuel (God with us) to live among us, bringing love, joy and peace into our lives. This was clearly the sentiment behind William Blake’s patriotic British anthem Jerusalem, expressing the desire to bring heaven on earth to “England’s green and pleasant land” and sung with such gusto by thousands at the Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall recently. Though the words are a little strange, seemingly wrapped up in a belief that the British are among the lost tribes of Israel and that Jesus actually visited these hallowed shores for which there is little evidence, it does surely echo something of a general longing for Christ to be among us.

Christians United for Israel, noting the church’s “deafening” silence on the anti-Semitism scandal, points out that an attack on Zionism is also an attack on Christians.

Remaining silent because of fears of engaging in what is deemed a ‘political’ controversy “could be one of the biggest mistakes by the church so far this century” because it is central to Christian faith and theology and “has consequences that may only be realised when the church becomes the next target of the same ‘flames of hatred’ that have reappeared throughout Europe”.

In answer to the first question posed at the beginning of this article, well that’s a big subject that would best be tackled another day. But, in short, it is just because Jews are God’s chosen people that they are so reviled. It is a fit of jealousy on the part of all who rebel against God’s choice. But those who love God will love whoever he loves, especially Israel, “the apple of his eye” (see Zechariah 2.8).


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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ANALYSIS: Crisis With Russia Will Affect Israel's Operational Capabilities in Syria

A political crisis erupted between Israel and Russia on the eve of Yom Kippur after a Russian Ilyushin IL-20 aircraft was downed by a Syrian S-200 missile which was supposed to hit an Israeli F-16 fighter jet flying close to the Russian plane.

Russia reported that the 15-men strong crew of the IL-20 reconnaissance plane died in the incident and immediately condemned Israel for using the Russian aircraft as a cover for the attack.

At approximately 10 P.M. Monday night four Israeli F-16 warplanes approached a Syria or Iranian military facility close to Latakia in northwestern Syria while firing missiles at the target.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) started the missile attack when the F-16 jets were flying over a French frigate causing the Russians to think the French navy vessel was involved in the assault.

"Israeli aircraft deliberately created a dangerous situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area," a statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense read.

“As a result, the IL-20, whose effective reflective surface is an order of magnitude larger than that of the F-16, was shot down by a C-200 missile," the statement furthermore said indicating the IAF planes had used the larger Russian plane as a shield against incoming Syrian anti-aircraft missiles.

The Russians also reported Israel had given an advance warning via a special hotline only one minute before the F-16’s began their action and claimed: “they (the Israelis) deliberately went through with this provocation.”

“This is absolutely not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right to adequate response," the Russian Defense Ministry warned.

The incident illustrated the very complex situation in Syria where warplanes from the US-led coalition against ISIS, Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Israel are carrying out sorties and attacks in Syrian airspace while a myriad of militias and other forces are fighting each other.

Iran is, furthermore, continuing to build up its forces and also continues to deploy advanced weapons in western Syria while the U.S. and Turkey are trying to expand their military presence in the country currently.

The Russians have an air force base and a naval port in northwestern Syria and have deployed their state-of-the-art S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense shield in the country which they didn’t use on Monday evening.

This could be an indication the Russian military wanted to de-escalate the situation.

Instead, the Russians choose to instigate a political crisis with Israel. 

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman and told him Israel was wholly to blame for the downing of the IL-20 plane and the death of 15 Russian servicemen.

A few hours later Gary Koren, the Israeli ambassador in Russia, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow for a talk.

The crisis is expected to have repercussions for Israel’s ability to carry out airstrikes against Iran-related targets in Syria.

Until now the Russians have turned a blind eye on IAF strikes against these targets and have only condemned them.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has invested a lot in the relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to maintain freedom of operation against Iran in Syria.

That could change now.

The Russian reaction shows Putin will not ignore the death of 15 of his servicemen and now apparently regards the Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria as a threat to the Russian military.

 

Israel Threatens to Bomb Assad's Palace; Syria Accidentally Downs Russian Plane

Israel on Monday appeared to threaten to bomb the presidential palace of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad when it published clear satellite imagery of the sprawling facility.

Israel has admitted to carrying out no fewer than 200 air strikes against military targets in Syria over the past 18 months. So, publishing spy satellite imagery of Assad's home was a not-too-subtle warning to the Syrian leader to stop working with forces dedicated to Israel's demise.

The photo of Assad's palace was published by the Defense Ministry to mark the 30th anniversary of Israel's first orbital launch. It was taken by the Ofek 11 spy satellite.

At around the same time, a senior US official told CNN that Syrian air defenses had accidentally downed a Russian military plane.

The Syrians were trying to repel what they believed to be another Israeli air strike on their soil.

The irony is that the Russians were hit by air defense missiles that they had sold to the Syrians for the purpose of deterring Israeli strikes.

 

Despite Video Evidence, Palestinians Spin Sunday's Deadly Terror Stabbing

Talk about fake news.

No one does it better than the Palestinian Authority-controlled media, which many have taken to calling "Pallywood."

Take for example Sunday's deadly terrorist stabbing in the Etzion Bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem.

A 17-year-old Palestinian Arab boy, Khalil Jabarin, stabbed 45-year-old Ari Fuld, an American-Israel resident of the area, in the back at the entrance of a local shopping mall. Fuld managed to chase down and neutralize Jabarin before he could stab anyone else.

The entire incident was recorded by security cameras and posted online by multiple sources.

The overwhelming evidence notwithstanding, the official Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that Israeli "soldiers" had shot and arrested a "child" over "the claim he killed a settler."

Of course, as the video clearly shows, Jabarin was not shot by soldiers, but by Fuld and a second armed civilian. Furthermore, it is no "claim" that he stabbed and ultimately killed Fuld. It is an established fact. And, while Jabarin might technically be a "child," in this instance it would be more accurate to describe him as a "terrorist."

PHOTO: Israelis set up a makeshift memorial for Ari Fuld, murdered in Sunday's terror stabbing south of Jeruslem. (Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)

 

ANALYSIS: Israel Hits Syria, Why Doesn't Syria Hit Back?

Syrian media reported on Saturday night that Israel had attacked targets near the airport in Damascus. Those following the wide Arab media have noticed that Israel is averaging a strike against Syria about every two weeks.

The Israeli army itself recently backed up this conclusion by revealing that it had carried out over 200 attacks against targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

The Israeli strikes rarely target the Syrian regime or its forces (the exception being Syrian air defenses), and are instead focused primarily on Iranian and Hezbollah deployments and weapons stores.

Israel's red lines are clear. It will not allow Hezbollah to take possession of weapons that alter the strategic balance of power. Israel has vowed publicly to thwart any shipment of such weapons that might reach Hezbollah via Syria.

Images of the past weekend's strike sent to Dr. Cohen via Twitter:

So, how has Israel managed to carry out so many strikes with relative impunity?

The attacks are usually launched at night so that the damage can only be fully assessed the following day. And Israel almost never claims direct responsibility for the strikes, instead citing Arab media regarding the outcome.

The regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, too, is in no hurry to directly blame Israel. For instance, Syrian television reported two weeks ago that an electrical short-circuit had resulted in a fire that destroyed a military airport in the Almaza region. However, leaked videos from the scene suggested the facility had been bombed. The regime quickly altered the official version of events, insisting that an accidental explosion at an arms depot had been the cause.

One reason that the Assad government might be reluctant to call out Israel is a presumed tacit agreement between Jerusalem and Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be fed up with Iranian involvement in Syria and the resulting proliferation of Shi'ite militias and ideology.

Israel, in turn, maintains ambiguity so as to not embarrass Assad and force his hand.

In addition to the aforementioned frustration with the targeted Iranian forces, Russia remains mum to avoid admitting they know about the Israeli incursions and yet do nothing to defend the territorial sovereignty of their Syrian allies.

All of this has combined to put Assad between a rock and a hard place.

The Syrian leader must dismiss the reports of Israelis strikes, or claim he repulsed them, so as not to appear weak. And he can't respond militarily knowing that Israel would only hit back even harder, possibly threatening his very rule.

The Iranians, too, don't say much regarding their loses in Syria at the hands of Israel. Officially, Tehran only admits to having a "handful" of military advisers in Syria, and so can't make too big a show of its fallen "martyrs."

The goal now is keeping Assad in power.

With the war in Syria wrapping up in the form of a victory for Assad (thanks to the assistance of his Russian and Iranian allies), both Israel and the Western world have realized there will be no regime change.

Just a few years ago, everyone was insisting the Syrian civil war could only conclude with Assad's ouster. Israel has the ability to cause the Syrian regime's collapse, but it is now clear that doing so would lead to total chaos as dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of factions vied for power, sending millions more refugees to Europe.

Dr. Edy Cohen is an expert on Middle East affairs and a frequent guest on Arab media. Dr. Cohen uses his Arabic-language Twitter profile with over 70,000 followers to engage with people across this volatile region.

 

Israel's Next Election is in One Year, and Netanyahu is Trying to Ensure He Wins

Israel's next general election will be held in 2019, assuming the current government serves its full term–a rarity in these parts, but a very real possibility with just over a year to go.

Ahead of that, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be maneuvering to ensure he continues to add to his record as Israel's longest-serving leader.

A proposal put forward by Netanyahu this week would lower the electoral threshold for parties seeking a seat in the Knesset to 2.75 percent.

It was just ahead of the last election in 2014 that Netanyahu and his Likud Party pushed to raise said threshold to its current 3.25 percent.

At the time, Netanyahu was accused of trying to prevent the rival Kadima Party, created by the late-Ariel Sharon when he broke with Likud in 2005, and the three Arab factions from getting into the Knesset. All four parties had struggled to pass the threshold in the previous election, and bumping it up to 3.25 percent could easily have been their political death-knell.

But Kadima and the Arabs overcame the challenge by (in the case of the former) joining with larger factions or (as the latter did) uniting as a single list.

What's since become apparent is that Netanyahu and Likud were motivated at least as much by weakening and eliminating smaller right-wing and religious parties. These factions often cause Netanyahu far more headaches than those on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

If that was the goal, it worked, sort of.

A number of smaller right-wing and/or religious parties failed to pass the threshold and found themselves with nowhere to sit in the 20th Knesset.

But that also had an unintended negative consequence.

The raising of the electoral threshold didn't stop the smaller parties from running, and from garnering votes. And while the Arab and left-wing factions were willing to unite to avoid defeat, such a proposition is a much harder sell on the right, especially among the various Orthodox Jewish parties.

The Yachad party is a prime example of why this poses a problem for Netanyahu. Yachad received 124,984 votes in 2014, putting it just shy of the threshold. Having those votes removed from the final tally of valid votes for Knesset ended up shifting the proportional weight in such a way that the extreme-left Meretz party was awarded a fifth mandate.

This time around, it seems Netanyahu would prefer to keep the balance tilted toward the right, even if that means having to contend with the demands of additional smaller coalition partners.

 

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Palestinian Terrorist Murders Israeli Man at a Shopping Mall

As happens all too often, a Palestinian Arab extremist on Sunday exploited the fact that Israel, in fact, does not practice apartheid and lets Jews and Arabs shop at the same malls to carry out a heinous act of violence.

The attack occurred at the entrance to a shopping mall in the Eztion Bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem. The mall is frequented by both the Jewish residents of the area, and the Arabs who live in neighboring Bethlehem and other Palestinian Authority-controlled towns.

A 17-year-old Palestinian drew a knife and repeatedly stabbed a Jewish shopper. Another Jewish man who was armed quickly fired at and subdued the terrorist.

The Israeli victim died a short time later, while Israeli medics were able to successfully treat and stabilize the wounded Palestinian attacker.

Israel is often accused of being a racist, apartheid state. But, one must wonder, what part of today's events can one describe as Israeli racism?

Was it the fact that Palestinian Arabs are welcome to shop at a Jewish "settler" mall? Or that Israeli Jewish medics did not hesitate to treat a brutal Arab terrorist who had just taken the life of an innocent fellow Jew? Perhaps it's that the armed Jewish man who responded to the attack did not kill the Palestinian boy, but was careful only to wound him?

Hopefully the sarcasm is obvious.

PHOTO: Israeli soldiers and medics at the scene of a terrorist attack where a Palestinian teenager stabbed and killed an Israeli man at the Gush Etzion Junction, September 16, 2018. (Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)

 

Israeli, Egyptian Ambassadors Bond Over Love for Israeli Singer

A very special guest was spotted in the audience when the Israel Embassy to Argentina, the Jewish National Fund and the Buenos Aires Municipality organized a local tour for popular Israeli singer Idan Raichel.

Raichel's visit was about more than just entertaining local fans, however. He spent a good deal of time visiting some of the more impoverished neighborhoods in the Argentinian capital, and joined local music groups in special jam sessions.

But what really caught the media's attention occurred at Raichel's main performance in Buenos Aires with the appearance of his "#1 fan," none other than Egyptian Ambassador Amin Malika.

Malika and Raichel actually met years earlier, when the former was serving as Egypt's ambassador to Canada. Malika fell in love with Raichel's music the first time he heard it, and has been a fan every since, despite chilly relations between Israel and Egypt.

Malika accompanied Israel Ambassador to Argentina Ilan Stolman to the Raichel concert. Stolman said of the outing, "This is proof of the extent to which music unites us."

Stolman added that he and Malika would continue to strengthen their friendship and work to create cultural bridges between Israel and Egypt, even as they are posted half a world away from the conflicts of the Middle East.

PHOTO: Egyptian Ambassador Amin Malika (right) joins his Israeli counterpart at a concert in Buenos Aires commemorating the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of the Jewish state.

 

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Trump to Palestinians: Don't Bite the Hands That Feed You

Despite being wholly dependent upon the goodwill of Israel, the Arab states and Western power-brokers, the Palestinian Authority has seemingly done its best to alienate each and every one.

It's ironic, considering that much of the Palestinian leadership's diplomatic efforts are focused on isolating Israel.

Israel's reasons for distrusting the Palestinian Authority are clear. And numerous statements by Arab leaders across the Middle East in recent years reveal that they don't think very highly of Mahmoud Abbas and his regime, even if they remain committed to the "Palestinian cause."

But the bulk of the PA's annual income comes from the West, and a large chunk of that used to be provided by the United States. But no more.

Over the past several weeks, US President Donald Trump has significantly slashed American financial aid to the Palestinians. In an interview with the New York Times published on Friday, Trump's son-in-law and foreign policy adviser Jared Kushner effectively warned the Palestinians to stop biting the hands that feed them.

"Nobody is entitled to America’s foreign aid," Kushner said as he addressed the Palestinian leadership's hostility toward the Trump Administration.

Kushner also explained this White House's unprecedented steps vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as recognizing Israel's claim to Jerusalem and demanding that the Palestinian refugees be subject to the same set of rules as every other refugee population on earth.

"There were too many false realities that were created — that people worship — that I think needed to be changed," said Kushner. "All we’re doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace."

The remarks echoed what Israeli leaders have been saying for years–that the Palestinians' hard-line positions and the international community's tacit acceptance of them had created an impassible roadblock to peace.

PHOTO: Palestinian protestors burn a photo of US President Donald Trump. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

 

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But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. (Psalms 52:8)

 

ANALYSIS: What's Behind the New US Policy Toward the Palestinians?

Twenty-five years ago today the first "Oslo Accord" was signed on the lawn of the White House in Washington, DC by then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

The agreement aimed to create a timetable for achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs but was sabotaged by Arafat, who immediately after setting up office in Ramallah started to prepare for what later became known as the Second Intifada, and by Hamas which waged a relentless suicide bombing campaign in Israel.

The Second Intifada or the Oslo War, as it was dubbed by rightwing politicians and commentators, killed not only roughly 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinian Arabs but also the dream that peace could be achieved in the now 100-year-old conflict.

Though the United States continued to launch new peace processes it became increasingly clear that the Palestinian leadership was unwilling to make what was called ‘painful concessions’. 

After Arafat died his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas stubbornly refused to drop the maximalist demands such as the non-existing ‘right of return’ and the renewed division of Jerusalem.

The international community, however, ignored Palestinian intransigence and instead blamed the growing Israeli ‘settlement’ enterprise in Judea and Samaria for the failure of each effort to solve the conflict while pressuring Israel into making irresponsible steps that could have created a ‘Trojan Horse’ in Israel’s biblical heartland.

Critic’s of Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria claimed that the growth of Israeli communities and towns, in what was called Area C under the Oslo  Accords, prevented the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state. 

A simple look at the map, however, would have learned them that these so-called ‘settlements’ make up only two percent of the landmass in the ‘West-Bank’ and in no way prevent the creation of such a state.

The attitudes of the international community effectively caused the prolongation of the conflict and gave the Palestinian leadership a free pass to violate its obligations under the Oslo accords.

One of these obligations was that the Palestinian leadership would not unilaterally seek international recognition for a Palestinian state but instead would have to negotiate with Israel about the so-called two-state solution.

A policy change in 2009 by the Palestinian Authority (PA), however, effectively ended the negotiation track with Israel and caused the termination of the Oslo peace process. 

The revised policy was based on a report by the Palestinian Strategy Group which called for the introduction of “intelligent resistance”- meaning law fare, boycott campaigns and propaganda – as a means of continuing the struggle against Israel.

The PA succeeded to obtain membership of important international organizations such as UNESCO despite not being a state and used these memberships to promote the Palestinian narrative of victimhood which is based on countless lies.

The strategy worked until the Trump Administration came into office.

The US government started to peel off these lies “like an onion” as Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Intelligence Minister, put it on Wednesday.

Katz reacted to Trump’s decision to close the offices of the PLO in the United States.

"This decision joins the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to stop funding UNRWA, which is an organization that perpetuates the refugees' pretend right of return," Katz stated.

"All these steps reach the roots of the conflict and tell Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that he cannot continue his double-talk," the veteran Israeli politician added.

“Trump is peeling the Palestinian lie like an onion - layer by layer. Their educational system as well teaches their children that 'big Palestine' is from the Jordan River to the sea. Trump comes and says: 'If you want to sit and negotiate, do it from a realistic place - Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and there is no right of return,’” Katz said.

He added that Mahmoud Abbas’ response to this and other measures by the Trump Administration shows exactly what the Palestinian leader thinks of these issues.

Israel’s Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s office Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, concurred and said that Trump simply restored the rules of the game and forced the Palestinian leadership to pay a price for its policy change vis a vis Israel.

“With the closing of the PLO office in Washington, the American administration is not changing the rules of the game, but simply restoring them after years of neglect,” according to Oren. 

“It should be noted that in contrast to previous administrations that would reward the Palestinians for abandoning the negotiations with Israel, President Trump is forcing the Palestinians to pay a price,” the deputy PM argued.

The PLO offices in the U.S. were mainly used to spread Palestinian propaganda and by closing them Trump took another step to strip the Palestinian Arabs of their deceptive narrative.

The Palestinian Arabs realize this and even openly admit that this is making them angry and not the funding cuts which the Trump Administration recently announced.

The halt of US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the reduction of direct US financial aid to the PA are also meant to force the Palestinian leadership into a more realistic approach towards peace negotiations with Israel but the PA indicates it will not give in to the pressure.

The PA has now embarked on a political and diplomatic campaign to enlist support from European and Arab states against the US government but at the same time indicates it has not the tools to cause the United States to reverse its new policy.

“Our toolbox is empty, we have to keep our heads down and wait (until a new US administration comes into office),” sources in the Palestinian Authority told the Algemeiner.

 

Palestinians Declare Trump Their Enemy, Threaten Explosion of Violence

Palestinian Authority officials have warned that their people will respond to US President Donald Trump's latest foreign policy moves in, apparently, the only way they know how–with an explosion of violence.

Earlier this month, Trump made good on his promise to cut all American funding to UNRWA, the United Nations body set up to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee issue, one of the major roadblocks to peace. He then slashed aid to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, purportedly over the Palestinian Authority's refusal to conduct peace talks with Israel. This week, Trump put the icing on this particular cake by ordering the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in Washington, DC. The mission served as the de facto Palestinian "embassy" to the US.

In remarks to Israel's Channel 10 News, Palestinian officials lashed out at Trump, and threatened that his policies would mean more bloodshed for Israel.

"Trump has become an enemy of the Palestinian people and an enemy of peace," said the Palestinians. "The American president is encouraging terror and extremism with his policies that could lead to violence in the region, which will explode in the faces of Israel and the US."

 

COMMENTARY: The Dreadful Consequences of Touching the Apple of God’s Eye

As we once again recall with horror the terrorist atrocity witnessed by the whole world when New York’s Twin Towers were reduced to rubble in 2001, few will be aware of an earlier 9/11 that destroyed an entire city.

It happened on the night of September 11, 1944, when the German city of Darmstadt suffered a devastating air raid by RAF pilots sent out from my home town of Doncaster, headquarters of Bomber Command.

Twelve thousand residents were killed and many more made homeless amid ongoing controversy even in Britain as to whether it was really necessary as the war was almost won by then.

But as fire swept through the smouldering ruins, a devoted young German Christian wept bitterly over her nation’s terrible sin against the Jewish people – she clearly saw the bombing as the judgment of God.

Basilea Schlink determined to do something about it and subsequently founded the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, dedicated to confessing the sin of her nation and making restitution with God’s chosen people, chiefly by loving and serving them in whatever way they could.

More than 70 years later, the order is represented in nations across the globe, including Australia and the United States, and I have just spent a weekend at their UK base near London where a coffee table book on their history recalls that fateful night in Darmstadt:

“For years our mothers had prayed for revival in the girls’ Bible study groups they led; now their prayers were answered – far differently than they had ever expected. That night the girls encountered God in his holiness as Judge and Lord over life and death… Following that night of terror, there was a move among those young girls to bring sin into the light and receive forgiveness… God’s moment had come. Out of the ashes emerged new life.”

Not surprisingly, the British-based sisters are deeply grieved at the rise of anti-Semitism all over Europe so soon after this terrible disaster caused by the Nazis’ sickening murder of six million Jews in the death camps of Poland and Germany.

Have we still not learned that there are shocking consequences for those who touch the apple of God’s eye, which is how the Bible refers to Israel (see Zechariah 2.8)?

According to Alex Brummer in a Daily Mail article, all the talk among British Jews is now focused on which country to flee to if Jeremy Corbyn gets into No 10 as he has failed miserably to deal with the rise of anti-Semitism in his party, which has traditionally had the support of the Jewish community. (And it now appears there has been a cover-up over party members allegedly involved in anti-Semitic hate crimes.)

According to my sources, many have already fled traditionally Jewish suburbs like Golders Green in north London in order to set up home in safer areas following a series of anti-Semitic incidents.

And although British Jews have become accustomed to bias against Israel in recent decades, “never before has a major political party in Britain regarded the creation by the post-war so-called Great Powers (including Russia) of the state of Israel in 1948…as an act of colonialist occupation”, Brummer writes, referring to Mr Corbyn’s stated beliefs.

“But that this (fleeing the country) is even being discussed, just 70 years on from the horrors of Auschwitz; that British Jews should be feeling so insecure in the country they love, is deeply disturbing,” Brummer adds.

And he pointed out that Israel wasn’t necessarily their first choice of destination, because some see it as a move from the frying pan into the fire. But I disagree with that. I go along with a participant on BBC 2’s We Are British Jews programme who said that “It’s the safest place in the world to be”.

Yes, the Jewish state is surrounded by implacable enemies with an insatiable desire to wipe them off the map and, yes, they are threatened once more with annihilation. But Israel’s security is very tight – and effective.

In any case, should physical safety be their only consideration? Isn’t the safest place of all in the loving arms of God – the God of Israel? And his purpose is that they should return to the land of their forefathers, the land promised to Abraham as a permanent possession (Gen 17.8). After all, the Tenach (Old Testament) prophets foretold of a great ingathering of Jews from every corner of the globe.

Almost half of world Jewry are now living in Israel and, according to the Bible, it would appear to be God’s will that they should all return (Ezekiel 39.28). But don’t misunderstand me. I do not wish to encourage persecution so that they feel forced to flee. Jewish contribution to European societies has been priceless – without the ongoing input of their high achievers we would all suffer. But woe to those whose intimidation does cause them to leave; for they will come under a curse (Genesis 12.3).

Nevertheless, it is God’s purpose that his chosen people should be back in the land before Messiah returns. Yes, there will be a battle over Jerusalem, and the nations will come against it, but the Lord will intervene and defeat the enemies of Israel, once and for all. (See Zechariah 12-14)

When Jesus ascended to heaven as his perplexed disciples watched in wonder, angels explained to them that he would one day return in the same way he had left – and this took place on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. (Acts 1.11)

The prophet Zechariah confirms this – that Christ would indeed place his feet on the Mt of Olives and that the Jewish nation would have their eyes opened as they recognise Jesus as the One they had pierced. (Zech 12.10)

The Messiah for whom Jews have longed will appear on earth, and they will acknowledge that he has been here before – as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53). Although they will mourn over what they did to him (we all need to confess our sin in order to be cleansed), their hearts will be sprinkled clean – and “all Israel will be saved” (Ezekiel 36.25, Zech 13.1, Romans 11.26).

Jesus is coming again – and the establishing of the people of Israel in their land is a major sign.

PHOTO: Sister Thekla (sitting) and Sister Glory pictured at Jesus’ Return, their home near London. (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

 

Silver Pomegranate Earrings Now 25% off

Pomegranates are traditionally eaten during the Rosh HaShanah meal. These earrings would make a great gift for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year!

The pomegranate is one of the seven species of Israel and, apart from being called "the fruit of love", symbolize fruitfulness, knowledge, learning, and wisdom. These earrings match any outfit!

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