Syria Brutality Enabled by Anti-Israel Double Standards

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

Syria's civil war claimed 470,000 lives since it started in March 2011, the Syrian Centre for Policy Research announced in February. That's an average of about 262 deaths per day and 7,860 per month. The carnage has continued unabated, so, applying the same death rate nearly 200 days after the February estimate, the death toll is over 520,000. 

Such numbers are staggering, even by Middle East standards. However, the violence has become so routine that it only occasionally captures global attention, usually when a particularly poignant moment of human suffering is documented. The most recent example is Omran Daqneesh, a 5-year old Syrian boy who was filmed shell-shocked, bloody, and covered in dust after the airstrike bombing of his Aleppo apartment block. 

The tragic image of Omran caused outrage around the world, as did the image of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose body washed up last September on a beach in Turkey. Yet Omran's plight demonstrates that, nearly a year after the last child victim of Syrian horrors captured global sympathy, nothing has changed.

If anything, the violence in this multi-party proxy war seems to be getting worse. Since Aylan Kurdi's drowning, Russia began blitz-bombing Syria in support of the Assad regime. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimates that nine months of Russian airstrikes have killed 3,089 civilians – a toll that is greater, by some estimates, than the number of civilians killed by the Islamic State. By contrast, Syrian civilian deaths caused by U.S. airstrikes are probably in the hundreds (over roughly twice as much time, since U.S. airstrikes began in the summer of 2015). 

But Syrian airstrikes are responsible for the bulk of civilian deaths in Syria. The Assad regime killed 109,347 civilians between March 2011 and July 2014 (88 percent of the total casualties at the time), according to estimates by the Syrian Network for Human Rights. That works out to about 91 civilian deaths per day. More recently, the SOHR documented 9,307 civilian deaths from 35,775 regime airstrikes over a 20-month period running from November 2014 through June 2016. Thus, roughly one innocent Syrian was killed every hour, during the 20 months that the SOHR documented civilian casualties caused by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. 

Compare those figures to the number of innocent Palestinians killed by Israel from 2011 to 2014. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has been accused of anti-Israel bias37 Palestinians were killed in 2011, 103 in 2012, 15 in 2013 and1,500 in 2014 – the year when Hamas fired rockets at Israel from highly populated Gazan areas. That's a four-year total of 1,655. During roughly the same four-year period, the number of Syrian civilian deaths was about 76 times greater than the HRW total of Palestinian civilian casualties. 

Yet the European Union singles out Israel for conflict-related product labels without any similar attempt to warn European consumers about goods or services whose consumption in any way helps the economies of countries responsible for the Syrian bloodshed, including Syria, Russia, and Iran. Human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky has highlighted how none of these countries is targeted by those advocating a boycott of Israel out of a purported concern for human rights. In addition to supporting Assad’s brutality in Syria, Iran executes people for everything from drug offenses to being gay. But, absurdly enough, most of the results produced by a Google search for "academic boycott of Iran" or "academic boycott of Syria" concern academic boycotts of Israel. That asymmetry precisely captures the problem. 

Indeed, the global outcry over Syrian suffering is embarrassingly weak when compared to reactions to Israel's far less bloody conflict with the Palestinians. Imagine if Omran Daqneesh had been a Palestinian boy hurt by an Israeli airstrike on Gaza. College campus protests, the media, NGOs, and world bodies around the planet would be positively on fire. Israeli embassies would be attacked, French synagogues would be firebombed (eight were attacked in just one week during Israel's 2014 war with Gaza), Jews around the world would be attacked, and condemnations would pour in from the EU, the United Nations, and the Obama administration. UN resolutions and emergency sessions would condemn the incident. International investigations would be demanded. Global blame would deluge Israel, regardless of whether Hamas, a terrorist organization, actually started the fighting or used human shields to maximize civilian deaths. Israel would be obsessively demonized despite any risky and unprecedented measures the Israeli military might have taken to minimize civilian casualties. 

Moreover, when an occasional Syrian victim captures global attention, the protests are generally for some vague demand for "peace in Syria,” rather than blaming and demanding the punishment of Syria, Iran, and Russia, even though those regimes are clearly responsible for the slaughter. The starkly different reactions to Israel and Syria are even more shocking when it comes to the United Nations.

From its 2006 inception through August 2015, 62 United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions condemned Israel, compared to just 17 for Syria, five for Iran, and zero for Russia, according to the watchdog group UN Watch. The lopsided focus on Israel is equally appalling at the UN General Assembly, as UN Watch has highlighted. In each of the last four years, as the Syrian bloodbath claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, there were at least five times as many resolutions condemning Israel as those rebuking the rest of the world: 

2012: 22 against Israel, 4 for the rest of the world 

2013: 21 against Israel, 4 for the rest of the world 

2014 and 2015: 20 against Israel, 3 for the rest of the world

A corollary of the anti-Israel bias ensures that no Israeli victim will ever enjoy the kind of global sympathy expressed for Omran Daqneesh or Aylan Kurdi. When a Palestinian man enters the bedroom of a 13-year old girl and stabs her to death in her sleep, the world hardly notices and Obama says nothing even though she was a U.S. citizen. By contrast, imagine if the Israeli father of Hallel Yaffa Ariel had decided to take revenge by entering a nearby Palestinian home to stab a 13-year old Palestinian girl to death in her sleep. The global anger would be deafening. 

Why do Israeli lives matter so much less? And why do student activists, the UN, the EU, the media, and the rest of the world focus so much more on alleged Palestinian civilian deaths than on Syrian civilian deaths? Doing so is woefully unjust to Syrians. It is also deeply unfair to Israel, which has endured countless terrorist attacks on its people throughout its existence as a state. It is also the one country that, according to Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, has done more to protect civilians during war than any other in the history of war. 

The global obsession with condemning Israel not only defames a beleaguered democracy doing its best, but it also enables the truly evil actors like Syria, Iran, and Hamas, by giving them a pass on some of the world's worst crimes.

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

 

Golden Future for Jesus Followers

As the Olympic Games shows increasing signs of returning to its pagan[1] roots, the humility amid personal brilliance of a few outstanding Christian competitors shines out like stars in a darkened universe.

And its promotion as a showpiece for world peace and unity was tarnished by the hostility shown to the 47-member Israeli delegation[2] – 44 years after eleven Israeli athletes were massacred at the Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.

For Britain, bursting with pride after collecting a staggering 67 medals and finishing second in the table to the United States at Rio, it was an event to savour after some of our politicians had downplayed patriotism in favour of staying within the European Union.

It seems the British bulldog spirit has instead received a belated boost. But the prowess of our athletes isn’t enough; what the human body can achieve should not be an opportunity for self-congratulation, but for giving honour where it is really due as in the case of South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk, who gave glory to God just moments after his spectacular win in the 400 metres – echoing the gold medal won in the same event at the 1924 Paris Olympics by legendary Scottish athlete Eric Liddell, who went on to be a missionary in China.[3]

Holding up his running spikes, imprinted with the words ‘_Jesus I am all yours, use me_’ after breaking Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old record with a time of 43.03 seconds, Wayde told the BBC: “The only thing I can do now is to give God praise. I went on my knees each and every day and I told the Lord to take care of me every step of the way.”

His achievement is all the more amazing as he had to fight for his life when entering the world as a 2lb premature baby in Cape Town 24 years ago.

He was congratulated by Usain Bolt, another vocal Jesus-follower, who was on his way to completing an unprecedented triple hat-trick of titles with golds for 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m in three consecutive Olympics. The two might have competed together had the South African 200m champion elected not to enter that race in his first Olympics.

Also giving praise to Jesus was American pastor’s daughter Allyson Felix after winning two golds (4 x 100 & 4 x 400m) and a silver medal in the 400m individual.

Describing her ability as a gift from God, she said: “For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it’s all about using it to the best of my ability.”

But she has suffered pain and disappointment over the years, explaining: “It is with injuries my faith really plays a part because I know I’m able to look at the bigger picture and see that God has a plan for my life and that this is also part of it. I can’t imagine my life without Jesus. I can’t imagine just waking up and going through life without Him. He is my life and that’s what I live for. I have learned that track doesn’t define me. My faith defines me. I’m running because I have been blessed with a gift.”

And what about the Fijian rugby sevens team who, after winning gold by beating Team GB in the final for their country’s first ever Olympic medal, got down on their knees to praise and thank the Lord who is clearly first in their hearts!

As London vicar Andy Palmer[4] put it, they were reflecting the attitude shown by Israel’s King David in penning Psalm 104 that, whatever we achieve as humans, we are merely God’s creation and he is far greater than us – He is the one to be praised!

So let’s take inspiration from these Olympic heroes who understood that there is a bigger picture to our lives; that Jesus wants to win our hearts and a life lived without him is ultimately empty and meaningless.

The Apostle Paul was clearly familiar with the ancient Olympics, making several references to athletics in his letters to the early Christians. In a rebuke to the Galatians who had been deceived by false teaching, he scolds: “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5.7)

To the Philippians, he encourages them to join him as he presses on “towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3.14)

To Timothy his protégé, he urges: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4.7f)

And again to Timothy he declares: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim 4.7f)

Yes, there is a prize for which we can all strive, as St Paul reminds the Corinthians: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor 9.24–27)

And in the letter to the Hebrews, we are urged to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” (Heb 12.2)

So we can learn from athletes of the necessity for strict training in our spiritual lives because we are not running aimlessly, but for a crown that will last forever.

Having competed in many marathons, I have been hugely inspired by these scriptures over the years, encouraging me to keep going, and not give up, even though it hurts and the road ahead seems so long and arduous.

The only occasion I didn’t finish a race – ‘hitting a wall’[5] after 22 miles in the 1972 Scottish Marathon – made me realise there was more to life than running, that God had a purpose and plan for my life. And within a week I had asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour.

I have never looked back. I see this as a picture of Britain, a nation that has been running away from God in a fruitless race to nowhere. But now, perhaps shaken up by the Brexit vote, we have finally run out of steam, leaving us in a position to once more consider the claims of the Jewish Messiah who has helped to make our country great.

‘Britain’s golden age’ was how one tabloid described our success at Rio. Perhaps that is stretching it too far, but if we shift our emphasis to a pursuit of discovering our true purpose instead of a relentless striving after earthly comfort and material benefits, there is a ‘pot of gold’[6] at the end of the rainbow, and it’s found in the person of Jesus Christ, who said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6) Or as a Jewish friend told me, he (Jesus) is the only one who can take us to the finish line and award us the greatest medal of all – forgiveness of sin and eternal life!


  1. We have been reminded, in a Christianity Today article by Steven Gertz, that the Olympics was lost to the world for 1,500 years after being outlawed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in 393AD for being too pagan. Not only did it involve gory violence and naked competitors, but pigs and bulls were sacrificed to pagan gods, to whom athletes swore allegiance. (Apparently Theodosius was strongly influenced by Bishop Ambrose of Milan.) Alarmingly, the current Olympian anthem calls on an “ancient eternal spirit” – clearly with no connection to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – to bless its endeavours.  ↩

  2. An Egyptian judo competitor was sent home after refusing to shake the hand of his Israeli rival Or Sasson, who went on to win a bronze medal – somewhat ironic as the two countries have been at peace for 37 years – and the Lebanese Olympic delegation was reprimanded after blocking Israeli athletes from entering a bus they were supposed to share.  ↩

  3. The subject of the film Chariots of Fire, Liddell elected not to run his favoured race, the 100m, because the heats were held on a Sunday – the Lord’s Day – and surprised everyone with his brilliant run in the longer event. He went on to preach the gospel in China and died prematurely in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. But his legacy lives on – ultimately his whole life was run as a race to complete the work to which Jesus had called him.  ↩

  4. Rev Andy Palmer is vicar of St John’s, Downshire Hill, in Hampstead.  ↩

  5. An expression used by marathon runners to indicate complete inability to go any further  ↩

  6. According to the Bible, all believers can look forward to living in a city of pure gold (Rev 21.18)  ↩


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

 

Anti-Semitism in the Media

Most mainstream media are markedly anti-Israel. Their oft repeated excuse, "being anti-Israel is not the same as being anti-Semitic", is a transparent politically correct attempt to cover up their anti-Semitism and hatred of the existence of the Jewish people.

We repeatedly come across, and hear of, anti-Semitic articles, television programs or talkshow participants that regularly exhibit this phenomenon.

Recently a TV documentary aired concerning the bloody West Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue terrorist attack in which praying Jews were mercilessly murdered with knives, axes and a pistol. Five lost their lives in this attack including 3 rabbis and a policeman. The documentary described the deceased as radical, racist settlers in an attempt to shift the blame of the incident attempting to whitewash the guilt of the hateful murderers.

In another documentary aired on a German TV channel, Arab children were shown undergoing military style training with the purpose of being trained to kill Israelis. The presenter immediately claimed that, "both Israeli and Arab children are 'trained to hate' and are taught to mutually despise one another!" Again this was an attempt to place the blame for the hate of Jews equally on both Arabs AND Jews!

Therefore WE NEED YOU!

Israel Today, in collaboration with you, will compile and publish a media blacklist of entities that indulge in overt anti-Semitism. If you observe and witness these activities, we invite you to send us a report of specific incidents (no more than 300 words) to info@israeltoday.co.il, and we will publish selected reports to our site.



 

Israelis Praise Strong Response to Gaza Rocket

Israeli officials insisted they were not seeking an escalation after Gaza-based terrorists fired a rocket into southern Israel on Sunday, but also unequivocally signaled that such attacks would not be tolerated.

Just hours after the terrorist rocket landed in the backyard of a home in the southern town of Sderot, Israel launched a massive wave of aerial strikes on dozens of Hamas installations throughout Gaza.

While Israel was careful to avoid casualties (Hamas reported just 1–2 people physically injured in the strikes), it was an unprecedented response to a single rocket attack.

And that sat well with the battered residents of southern Israel.

“I am satisfied that we are not allowing this trickle of terror to continue and are responding harshly,” one Sderot resident, a mother of two, told the NRG news portal. “The other side has to learn that such random attacks threaten our children.”

Another local mother, Liat Peretz, added:

“It’s about time that every single attack will be met with a response. Our children are supposed to be on vacation, and every terrorist rocket sets them back (psychologically). My son suffers from anxiety, and I managed to get him out of the house only after I promised him that the IDF fought all night.”

 

Is Sharing the Gospel Different in Israel?

This has become a very contentious issue in Christianity today. It has split the followers of Yeshua into two groups with polar-opposite views on the subject. 

The first group, the traditional majority, are quite adamant that Jewish Israel should be treated no different than any other nation. They believe that Christians who say they love Israel and don’t boldly proclaim the Gospel to them are being two-faced. For them proclaiming the Gospel is understood as a face-to-face with someone to “make a decision for Christ.” 

The second group is comprised mostly of those known as “Christian Zionists.” Their view, which I subscribe to wholeheartedly, believes that in Israel love in action will speak louder than words. “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).

The reason this group believes sharing the Gospel must be different in Israel is because Jews are not like any other people on earth. Nor is their situation. “From the standpoint of the Gospel they are enemies for your sake. But from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:28,29).

After centuries of hateful persecution by the church, most Jews don’t want to hear another word from a Christian concerning “That Man.” They have heard it all, often at the point of a sword.  And since we are now in their land they don’t have to.

The only ones I feel who have any right to talk boldly about Yeshua in Israel are Jewish believers. They have a common heritage with Israelis, and have no doubt suffered similar discrimination in their lives. They at least can share how God showed them Yeshua really is the Messiah. 

Of course, Jewish believers have their own difficulties because though physically Jewish they are now viewed by their brethren as “Christians.” Sometimes even called “traitors.” Still, I believe they have more right to initiate sharing the Gospel message one-on-one than the rest of us. But any evangelism, even if done by Jews, will be ineffective if not done respectfully, in love and in God’s anointing.

At the root of this whole controversy in Christendom, I believe, is how one views “chosenness” under the New Covenant.  This Biblical doctrine, taught most notably by John Calvin, has long been a cause of division in the church. But as we know, division is not always a bad thing. Not when it is based on truth and a separation from error. Yeshua himself said, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division” (Luke 12:51).  The Reformation was certainly a good thing. And one day the wheat must be separated from the tares.

Christians who believe God is no longer choosing one person or group over another reject the idea of Jewish Israel today still being a chosen people.  A view no doubt reinforced by an unhealthy dose of Replacement Theology.  For them, all that matters is if one is saved or not. Since most Israelis still reject Yeshua as the Messiah they are viewed as being in the enemy’s camp and are deemed legitimate targets for a missionary project. Ignoring the painful historical background between Christians and Jews they get off the plane in Tel Aviv with Gospel tracts, ready to launch their Gospel crusade. 

Although these folks no doubt sincerely believe they are doing the will of God and fulfilling the commandment “to go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” in reality they are not. Many are probably just fulfilling their pastor’s outreach program. And because of their lack of discernment, they are actually interfering with the true work God is doing in the land. Which is to lovingly restore Israel after 2000 years of exile so she is ready to enter the coming Kingdom of God.

That’s where I believe God is using Christian Zionism. We just want to show them the love of God in Yeshua. If they ask why we care,*we wouldn’t be shy about telling them. But by then some kind of relationship has been established. They are asking because they see something in us they’ve not seen in many Christians before.

But just because we see sharing the Gospel to be different in Israel, and to Jews everywhere, doesn’t mean we believe the Gospel itself is different for them. Which some accuse us of teaching. No, Yeshua was quite clear that unless one is spiritually reborn “he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). And the only way for that to happen is through faith in Yeshua.

As we know, the word “Gospel” means “good news.” When it’s seen as “bad news” it’s time to stop talking. I can appreciate what Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said in a previous Israel Today article: “If God wants Jews to believe in Jesus, He will take care of it.” 

Since we know He does, we know He will. But it will be in His timing and in His way.

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

It Is Time For a New Beginning!

Soon the month of Elul is starting, the month of mercy and forgiveness. Elul is traditionally a month of introspection which culminates in the high holidays of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

During Elul Jews concentrate on the upcoming period of judgment and reconciliation.

Each morning the shofar is blown and penitential prayers are said. Jews the world over see this period as a time of new beginning.



 

Palestinian Mufti: All of Jerusalem is Islamic!

The Palestinian Authority-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein (pictured), declared on Sunday that the entire city belongs to Islam and the Arabs, and must be defended against the Jews.

Speaking on the 47th anniversary of an arson attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque by an Australian man, Hussein urged all Arabs living in the area to surround Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to prevent further visits to the holy site by Jews and other non-Muslims.

That despite the fact that the Temple Mount, as clearly documented by the Bible and numerous historical resources, has been Judaism’s holiest site since long before the advent of Islam.

But the Muslims have so thoroughly rewritten history to fit their agenda that even a top religious leader like Hussein can assert that “each floor of the holy city, every remnant of the city, and every centimeter attest to the fact that it is an Arab and Islamic city, whose roots lie deep in history and culture.”

Two days earlier, Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque were led by Sheikh Ismail Nawahada, who likewise rejected any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and insisted that it was forbidden for Muslims to cooperate with the Jews in their “conquest” of the city.

 

Arab Athlete Proud to Represent Israel at Paralympics

A 26-year-old legally-blind Arab woman says she is proud to be representing Israel at the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Olympic Games have come to an end, which means it’s just about time for the Paralympics. And this year Israel is looking for gold from its women’s goalball team.

Goalball was devised in the 1970s specifically as a sport for blind athletes, and was added to the Paralympics program in 1980.

Elham Mhamid of the Galilee town of Umm el-Fahm was the first Israeli woman to take up the sport.

Today, Mhamid is caption of the Israeli women’s goalball team, and she told The Jerusalem Post that she takes “a lot of pride” in representing Israel.

“I will do everything to make my country, my relatives and the Arab sector proud, showing that there is no difference between all of us and that we can live together,” she said.

Umm el-Fahm is regarded as a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment, and Mhamid noted that she only started learning Hebrew when she was 18. But despite initial tension with some of her Jewish teammates, she soon came to the realization that, contrary to what she was raised to believe, the Jews are not her enemies.

“We slowly began to get to know each other and everything worked out. Now I feel that I really belong. I love everyone and they love me,” Mhamid said. “We sleep together, we go out together, we train together, we cry together and we do everything together.”

As an Arab, Mhamid told the Post that while she can’t personally relate to Israel’s national anthem, “I still get emotional hearing it when I’m on the top of the podium and I see the flag.”

 

NEW! Iced Coffee & Iced Tea a la Israel

The Israeli food manufacturer Elite, has made their popular ice coffee powder available once again. Just add ice cold milk and you have a refreshing summer drink.

On warm summer days there are very few things more refreshing to drink than cold water. One of the things that is more refreshing is a drink of cold water infused with a fruit tea!

B'Teavon!!

p.s. Do you know what matkot is?



 

Hezbollah Threatens to Invade Israel, Destroy Jewish State

A top Hezbollah leader this month said that the Lebanese terrorist militia is now capable of not only firing missiles at Israel, but can also launch a ground invasion of the Jewish state.

“Israel is closer than ever before to its demise,” Lebanese cleric Hashem Safieddine, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, said in an interview with Mayadeen TV.

Asked by the host if Hezbollah had the capability of waging a ground war on Israeli soil, Safieddine insisted that it did.

“Even more than that. We have that capability,” stated Safieddine, prompting the host to wonder, “Even further than the Galilee?”

“We have that capability. Of course,” replied Safieddine, suggesting that Hezbollah believes itself capable of penetrating deep into the heart of Israel.

 

VIDEO: What Tel Aviv Looks Like in 60 Seconds

Stunning aerial footage of Tel Aviv filmed by our favorite Messianic YouTuber, Hananya Naftali, using his new Phantom 3 Advanced drone.

 

Rabbi: Jews Will Come to Jesus - When God Decides

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who solicits Christian support for Israel, makes some shocking statements in a new Israeli-authored biography.

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

 

Palestinians Fume as Europe Fails to Back BDS

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief “peace” negotiator and current secretary-general of the PLO terrorist organization, lashed out this week over Europe’s failure to more substantially support efforts to boycott Israel.

Erekat penned an op-ed for Newsweek in which he asserted that the Palestinians were “astonished” by recent statements by European officials opposing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian official was shocked that European leaders had recently praised Israel’s human rights record, tacitly approved the import of Jewish “settler” products, and, at least in the UK, taken steps to criminalize boycotts against Israel.

Erekat demanded that the EU issue fresh statements reversing these positions, and insisted that the Palestinians would no longer accept what he called empty expressions of support for the Palestinian cause.

But do the Palestinians, as Erekat claims, really support BDS? There’s plenty of evidence to suggest most of them don’t.

Last year, Israel Today interviewed for our print magazine a leading Palestinian human rights activist who told us that he is “opposed to the boycott because it only ends up harming the Palestinians themselves.”

A year earlier, a survey conducted by the Palestinian Authority’s own Consumer Protection Authority revealed that 70 percent of imports to the Palestinian Authority were Israeli products. So much for that boycott.

As reported by the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, most Palestinian consumers prefer Israeli products because they are cheaper than European imports, but of much higher quality than cheaper Arab imports.

In 2013, during a visit to South Africa, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas directly contradicted what Erekat is now saying by stating that the Palestinians “do not support the boycott of Israel.”

Abbas urged supporters of the Palestinians cause to boycott anything produced in the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), but was adamant that his regime was “not asking anyone to boycott Israel itself.”

 

Rain in August?

Summer weather is consistently hot and dry in Israel. But on Thursday the day started with gray skies and pleasant temperatures throughout most of the country.

While meteorologists had already on Wednesday spoken of the possibility of light rain in the north and the coastal region, residents of the Sharon area (Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan region) were surprised by the heavy rainfall in August.

Rain in Netanya

A meteorologist explained that light rain in August can happen, and has done so every few years. “In recent years, however, we had relatively warm summers, so there were no rains,” he said.

On Friday, things will go back to normal as the hot and dry weather returns.

 

Netanyahu: I Care More For Palestinians Than Their Own Leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week posted another social media video in which he asserted that Israel cares more about the Palestinians than do their own leaders.

Netanyahu asked watchers to imagine how the situation in the region would look if the ruling Palestinian factions used their huge influxes of foreign financing to better lives, rather than bankroll war.

 

Israeli Jets Fly With, Face Off Against Muslim Air Forces

For the second year in a row, the Israel Air Force is taking part in Red Flag, the world’s largest air force training exercise, hosted annually at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada.

Besides Israel and the American hosts, the current maneuvers also include the air forces of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

During Red Flag, the participating nations are split into two teams before engaging in mock aerial combat, search and rescue, ground attacks and various other missions.

Last year, Israel was joined by the air forces of Singapore and Jordan. Reportedly, the Israeli delegation refueled a number of the Jordanian fighters midair during the long flight to the United States.

In addition to the unique and high-quality training opportunities afforded by Red Flag, the Israelis see it as a sort of diplomatic mission that allows them to forge connections with the armed forces of nations with which Israel has no formal diplomatic relations.

 

"Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." Luke 18:17

Remembering back to June 2014, Israel was under rocket fire. The tolerance and morale of Israel was being worn down slowly. The attitudes towards our Arab citizens were changing for the worse despite many trying their best to avoid the feelings. Driving with my 8 year-old son one day I was cut-off by an Arab driver forcing me to take avoiding action or we would have been involved in a nasty accident.

I instinctively made a reference to the other driver as an Arab and my son immediately retorted, "Mom! Don't talk like that. Not all Arabs are like that! There are also Arabs that love us." I looked over at him saw the disbelief on his face at my actions. He told about a visit by school psychologists that very day who explained the difference between Hamas, the IDF and Israeli Arabs.

He finished his story with the phrase, "Not all of them hate us and want us dead!" I was taken aback and accepted the lesson he recounted without a word. Later as I reflected on what he had said, the words of Yeshua in Luke 18:17 became clear to me.

"Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." Luke 18:17



 

Trump Campaign Launches in Israel

Israel continues to be such a pivotal issue in the run-up to the US presidential election that Republican candidate Donald Trump now has an official campaign in the Jewish state.

The Trump campaign in Israel launched officially on Monday at a shopping mall in the central city of Modi’in.

Speaking under large banners reading “Trump - The Israeli Interest” in Hebrew, Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Abroad – Israel, urged the handful of shoppers and journalists who showed up to get out and vote, if they are American citizens.

Zell noted that there are hundreds of thousands of potential American voters in Israel, enough to have a significant impact on a presidential election.

But it’s not just American immigrants that the Republicans are targeting. It’s their children, hence the Hebrew-language campaign material.

“The second and third generation here have American passports but they don’t see the importance of voting in the United States,” Zell explained to reporters.

PHOTO: Marc Zell, chairman of the Israel branch of Republicans Abroad, at the launch of the official Trump campaign in Israel. (Flash90)

 

Netanyahu Celebrates Egyptian Revolution Day

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, last month took part in the celebration of Egypt’s Revolution Day (July 23) at the residence of Egyptian ambassador Hazem Khairat.

It was the first time since 2009 that Netanyahu has participated in the event.

Relations between Israel and Egypt were increasingly strained in recent years, and hit a low point during the short tenure of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

But despite an overall chilly atmosphere, the official working relationship between Netanyahu’s government and new Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is considered good. Netanyahu has even endorsed an initiative by el-Sisi to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was also in attendance, and told his Egyptian hosts, in Arabic, that “Israel stands by Egypt in its fight against terrorism. Our struggle will help the entire region and all of mankind. …Thirty-seven years of peace [between Israel and Egypt] is a testimony and we must learn from this for future generations.”

Netanyahu also spoke, congratulating the Egyptians on their Revolution Day, and noting that they and the Israelis are “two ancient peoples with a glorious history. Our two peoples laid the foundation for a human culture that has endured thousands of years, and today we must join hands and fight against those who would destroy our civilization. We must join hands in peace.”

 

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Coin vs Narrative

The peace activist archeologists of Emek Shaveh want us to move away from treating archeological findings as evidence of one's faith and nationality, which basically means that they want Jews to forget about their particular past. 

Instead of focusing on Jewish history, Emek Shaveh wants to "reinstate the archaeological past as a universal human narrative." The goal of all of this is to counter the claim of Israel's historical right to this land.

Ancient artifacts, however, resist the idea of one universal narrative simply because they tell a particular story of a particular people. Though archeological sites and the findings therein need to be interpreted, the reconstruction of the past is still a science governed by evidences. In other words, archeological sites resist turning myths into narratives (the first is fact-based and the second is not). 

Some evidences, like coins, yield precise historical information. Others, like a wall, contain far less information. Evidences of varied qualities therefore enable a reasonable reconstruction of the past. 

Universal narrative, on the other hand, would have you believe that though Americans built the Hoover Dam on American soil, it should be regarded as a human narrative rather than American history. Sure, Americans are humans, but it is undeniably true that those humans who built the dam were Americans.

The sixteen silver and bronze coins found near the city of Modi'in last May represent one of countless evidences that refuse to yield to the universal narrative idea. These rare coins bear names like Yehohanan, Judah, Jonathan and Mattathias, all Hasmonean kings who ruled over Israel from 140-37 BCE. Other coins from the same cache are imprinted with the image of the Seleucid Greek king Antiochus IV, known also from the Book of Maccabees, and from the feast of Hanukkah. 

The Israel Antiquities Authority has determined that the coins were minted in Tyre between 135-126 BCE, so precise is the information that can be extracted from them.

Abraham Tendler, the head of the excavation, has said the dig site itself is most likely a Jewish estate and "the cache may have belonged to a Jew who hid his money in the hope of coming back to collect it, but he was unlucky and never did return." 

Tendler, true to the demands of his discipline, leaves the reconstructed story undetermined. The coins' imprints however confirm the known, that there were Hasmonean kings and a king named Antiochus. These coins testify once again to the bond which exists between the Land of Israel and the Jewish people which can't be dissolved by some magic formula, be it a narrative or forgetfulness by design.

 

Is 'Religious Extremism' Always a Bad Thing?

Trying to understand radical Islam has become a popular topic on talk-shows these days. It seems the general consensus is divided between those who believe that Islam is a peaceful religion that’s been hijacked by a bunch of zealous fanatics. And those who see the problem for what it is – something endemic to the religion of Islam. 

But there’s one thing they all agree on: religious extremism of any sort is never a good thing. For the secular world, radical Islam is no different than a rabid Christianity that once tortured “heretics” in the Inquisition and burned “witches” in Salem. Or a Judaism that once stoned people for committing adultery or defiling the Sabbath. (The fact that atheistic humanism was responsible for more deaths in the last century is never mentioned.) 

But is this notion about over-zealous devotion to one’s religious beliefs correct? Or is there a factor not being considered?  Such as what are the religious beliefs someone is so fervent about?  For the Muslim, the foundational source of his beliefs is the Koran. For the Christian and Jew it’s the Bible. And between the covers of these two books lies a world of difference. (I’ll limit it to those three religions to make my point.)

Inside the Koran are found many verses that advocate extreme violence, or jihad, against the ‘infidel' - who is anyone not a committed Muslim. For example, verse 8:12: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” That means, if a Muslim is truly serious about practicing his religion as Mohammed intended, he must become a mass murderer. And believe in Sharia and their genocidal End Time theology.

So how do we explain the so-called moderate Muslim who is not interested in taking up the sword to bring the world into submission to Allah? His religion is more of a cultural thing.  Such a follower could be likened to a lukewarm Christian, or a Jew who only observes the High Holy Days. However, the more serious a moderate Muslim gets about practicing his religion, the more “radicalized” he will become.

With those who look to the Bible, just the opposite happens. The core message of the Bible urges believers to love your neighbors as yourself, not cut their heads off. So the more a Christian or Jew gets serious about his Biblical beliefs, and practices them, the more loving and godly they become. It’s only when we depart from the Bible’s teachings that bad things happen. That’s when Christianity ended up in intolerance, followed by Inquisitions, Crusades and people tied to the stake.  

Of course, it is a bit different with Judaism. In the beginning, Israel was under the Mosaic Law, which could be defined as “Biblical Judaism.” They had been commanded by God to adhere to all His commandments (Deut. 28:15). Some dealt with sin. Some with worship. And still others with behavior within the community. The punishments for disobedience were often severe and swift. And when it came to surrounding nations, God didn’t want Israel having anything to do with them.  They were to be shunned – even eliminated – in order to protect His nation from being corrupted by their sinful influences.

But the Mosaic Law was a religion of types and shadows that pointed to, and would one day be fulfilled by, Messiah. And, as we know, Messiah finally came. Since then the Law has been officially retired. Those Jews who did not move forward into Israel’s New Covenant had to settle for various rabbinical interpretations on how to serve God. With their temple destroyed, and they themselves cast into exile, they had no choice but to live peacefully among the nations in hopes they’d be treated the same. Which, sad to say, rarely happened. But in the process, the Jews adopted a new “live and let live” attitude that seems to have applied to spiritual matters also, living lives of personal obedience to God without imposing the Law’s penalties for failure.

Which brings us back to the world’s view of Radical Islam. For those who clearly see it as a growing threat, there are only two possible solutions if civilization is to survive. Either Islam must experience a Reformation as happened in Christianity to calm it down. Or there must be all-out war to defeat it. 

But consider this: Did the Protestant Reformation really make Christians less fervent? Did Luther and Calvin give the faithful a religious sedative? Or did their fiery preaching turn the established order of Europe on its head and awaken a moribund Christianity to its true faith? Did it not inspire thousands to take a courageous stand, many choosing martyrdom rather than submit again to a false religion? (The same is actually happening now to thousands of Muslims through dreams and visions.) 

And what of Christians today who pray in tongues, believe in healing and support the restoration of Israel? And Jewish ‘settlers’ who have the audacity to believe their land was given them by God, and are willing to die in defense of it? Wouldn’t they all be considered religious extremists by many? For sure!

Therefore, in spite of what the world thinks, not all “religious extremism” is a bad thing. When it’s based on the truth of God’s Word and done in love, it’s a return to sanity.

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

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A Growing Trend: Brave Muslim Zionists

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

Muslims and Arabs who openly identify as Zionists are growing in number – powered by the freer flow of information and ideas made possible by social media and the search for answers in the wake of the Arab Spring and Islamist terror.

A new Facebook page for Arab supporters of Israel has attracted about 20,000 followers. The page, which shares content in English, Arabic, and Hebrew, was founded by a religious Jewish woman and an Arab man. It posts examples of Israel treating Arabs and Muslims with kindness and shares surprising Arab support for Israel from across the Middle East, including Tunisians who created an Israeli flag after being unable to buy one, and who have faced threats for their views.

Muhammad Zoabi entered the spotlight as a proud Arab, Muslim Zionist in the summer of 2014. Just 17 at the time, Zoabi began to advocate for Israel in English, Arabic, and Hebrew. He posted a video demanding that Hamas release three Israeli teens who had been kidnapped a few weeks before Operation Protective Edge. Death threats soon forced Zoabi into hiding, and he found shelter with Kay Wilson, who had survived a brutal 2010 terrorist stabbing attack.

Zoabi became so popular that he reached his maximum friend limit (5,000) on Facebook, where there is even a page calling for him to be prime minister of Israel. Zoabi’s Zionism is hardly surprising, given his upbringing. His mother, Sarah Zoabi, revealed her Israeli patriotism on national television. She introduced herself on the popular Israeli show “Master Chef” as an “Arab, Muslim, Israeli, proud Zionist” from the northern city of Nazareth. “I believe in the right of the Jewish people to have their own country, which is the state of Israel, the Holy Land.... I want to say to all the Arabs of Israel to wake up,” she continued. “We live in paradise. Compared to other countries, to Arab countries – we live in paradise.”

Zoabi also has some fierce Israel haters in his family, like his cousin Haneen Zoabi, who is a member of Israel’s parliament but regularly uses her position to defame Israel and side with its enemies.

Another young Muslim Zionist is Mahdi Satri, a 17-year old, Israeli Arab, whose Gazan father helped the Shin Bet (Israel’s domestic security services) and received political asylum to live in an Arab village near Acre. When neighbors learned that his father had helped Israel’s security services, his family became a target. “After 3 years of violence against me after coming out publicly with my Zionism and I’m still the last man standing, standing against my village,” he wrote last month.

“I regularly get threats. I get threats from people in my village and they say they will put two bullets in my head If I’m not gonna stop. I also get threats from Gaza, and from Ramallah, and from my mother’s family.”

A day earlier, Satri published critiques of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, blaming each for Israel’s 2014 war with Gaza and defending Israel’s use of force to protect “all the Israeli citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, atheist, Gays, Lesbians.” He proudly notes that “Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East.”

He also attracted international attention last month with a social experiment in which he blindfolded himself and held a sign identifying himself as an Arab and inviting Tel-Avivians to embrace him. His heartwarming video (with nearly half a million views) reveals Israeli tolerance and was shared by the pro-Israel group StandWithUs.

Satri even paid his respects to the parents of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was stabbed to death in her bedroom by a Palestinian terrorist (Israeli TV news covered Satri’s remarkable visit). “When they murdered her, they also took a piece of my heart, of me.” He brought a yarmulke and an Israeli flag to his condolence visit.

Ahmed Meligy, who identifies himself as a proud Egyptian and Muslim, is another passionate advocate for Israel. Meligy has endured death threats and police arrest for his activism, which includes blogging for the Jerusalem Post, and supporting democracy in Egypt and warmer ties with Israel.

Another Egyptian-born, pro-Israel activist is Nonie Darwish, the founder of Arabs for Israel. In an interview, Darwish told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that her Zionist convictions were most strengthened by “the decency, humanity and integrity of the Jewish people in the face of adversity.” She is friends with about a dozen Muslim Zionists and “will not have Muslim friends who do not support Israel.”

Darwish left Islam for Christianity, as recounted in her book, Now They Call Me Infidel. Speaking to IPT, she said that “at the core of Islam is a deep envy of Jewish culture...Islam has violated all 10 commandments for the sake of jihad and to repel and destroy whom they envy. Islam...wants to destroy the competition.”

Qanta Ahmed, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants to the UK, is a devout Muslim who has also warned about the risk of allowing Islamists to use Islamic blasphemy laws in order to monopolize the marketplace of ideas: “Americans and anti-Islamist Muslims everywhere must ensure that...freedom of...speech prevails, if religious freedoms and liberal democracies are to be preserved.” An accomplished physician who practiced medicine in one of Islam’s most conservative societies, she published “In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom.” Ahmed, who is now based in the U.S., has also eloquently supported Israel in her writing and decried the double standards applied to Israeli victims of terror.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is a Palestinian Arab Zionist who worked undercover for the Shin Bet, from 1997 to 2007, but that was not his original plan.

“I wanted to infiltrate the Israeli Shin Bet in order to play a double agent and it ended up absolutely the opposite” after seeing Israel’s values and humanity, he said in a 2013 Fox News interview. “So I worked for them against Hamas movement ... against evil ... I did what was right to save a human life – Palestinians and Israelis.”

Yousef’s information is credited with preventing dozens of suicide attacks and assassinations of Israelis, and with exposing numerous Hamas cells. It also helped Israel to hunt down many terrorists, including Yousef’s own father, Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef.

Yousef’s story eventually became the subject of a best-selling book, The Son of Hamas, and a documentary film, “The Green Prince.” Yousef, who discovered Christianity in 1999 and converted (from Islam) by 2005, has said that groups like Hamas, Hizballah, Boko Haram, ISIS are “all killing in the name of Allah.”

“Israel is light, Israel is philosophy, Israel is values and ethics,” he said during a 2015 speech before AIPAC. “And I cannot imagine the world without Israel.”

The failure of the “Arab Spring” may help to explain the growing trend of Muslims and Arabs supporting Israel. As the hope of democratic reform faded and states crumbled into violent chaos and/or merciless crackdowns on protests, some willing to look past anti-Israel propaganda might admire the only example of a Middle East democracy that tolerates dissent, has a burgeoning economy, upholds the rule of law and human rights, and protects minorities.

For example, after Mohammad Hosseini escaped the horrors of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, he began to question many of the anti-Israel beliefs on which he was raised.

“I wanted to check the essence of the conspiracy theories, which are common in the Muslim and Arab world against Israel and the Jews,” he wrote. “People told me that America and the Jews are responsible for all the problems but on the contrary I saw imams and many religious people joining ISIS willingly and out of admiration.”

His research changed his mind about Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians.

“As long as people are committed to the destruction of Israel the Israelies (sic) have an obligation to defend themselves first,” Hosseini added. “I want the Israelies (sic) to know that Israel has supporters amongst us. I hope that the Palestinian party would realize that it is unreasonable to kill and then come with demands against Israel, negotiations should be commenced with pure intentions.”

Moreover, the singularly brutal approach of ISIS towards religious minorities, or even Sunni Muslims who dare to disagree with ISIS, does much – by way of extreme contrast – to highlight Israeli society’s tolerance. Religious minorities in Israel like the Druze, have clearly taken notice, and prefer life under Israeli rule.

Gabriel Nadaf is a leader of the Aramaean Christian minority in Israel and a Greek Orthodox priest who encourages Israeli Christians to enlist in the IDF. In September 2014, he told the United Nations Human Rights Council that “Israel is the only place where Christians in the Middle East are safe.” In February 2014, Monaliza Abdo, a young Arab Christian woman who voluntarily enlisted in the Israeli army, spoke publicly about her patriotism and determination to protect all Israelis.

But even members of the majority religion in the Middle East, Sunni Islam, serve in the IDF. There about 1,700 Bedouin Arabs who serve in the Israeli army.

And, perhaps as part of the broader trend of Arabs embracing their Israeli identity, Lucy Aharish, the first Muslim Arab presenter for one of Israel’s top TV news channels, proudly defines herself as an Israeli: “Today, when people ask me ‘What are you?’ I say that I’m an Israeli. I’m not ashamed of my Israeliness. Then I’m a woman, and then I’m an Arab Muslim. That’s the order: Israeli, woman, Arab Muslim.”

A growing demographic of Zionist Muslims may eventually serve as the bridge to peace between Israel and the wider Islamic world. But as long as Islamist movements persist, such courageous individuals will likely face serious threats.

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

 

What You DON'T Know About The Rio Olympics

Unsportsmanlike conduct toward Israel has reared its ugly head several times at the Rio games.

But those treating their Israeli counterparts with such hostility probably don't realize Israel's role in keeping them safe.

 

An Enemy Even More Dangerous Than ISIS

To all my dear friends feeling the need to blame President Obama for the Mideast violence, the rise of ISIS and the spread of Islamic terror around the world. Beware. This is an illegitimate tactic that is undermining your own nation, and does nothing to prevent further violence. 

Have we not had every possible kind of government and prime minister here in Israel over the past sixty years, and no one has been able to completely stop terror? This may be difficult for you to hear, but Islamic violence is not going away any time soon. This is not a Democratic, Republican or even American problem, it is a war of civilizations and a religious battle.

Have you ever considered that blaming your own nation’s leaders unintentionally justifies the terrorists by putting the blame for these insane, bloodthirsty murderers on someone else?

Why is it that no one wanted to accuse President Bush’s policies for what happened on 9/11?  It is because the culprit is not a president or a policy. It is because when your nation is attacked you unite against the enemy, you don’t blame each other.

It is because neither Republicans nor Democrats can prevent Islamic violence. Blaming your own government only divides you, and weakens your ability to deal with the enemy. Using the beheadings and mass murders of women and children by radical, hate filled Muslims to get your candidate elected, harms your own cause.

As an Israeli who has lived through more war and terror than I care to recall, I plead with you, stop blaming your own people and stand united against the real enemy. 

Do not fret. Evil will not succeed in the end of the day. Radical Muslims are only digging a deeper grave for themselves. People or nations committed to hatred, destruction, violence and lies do not have a future. They build nothing, they only tear down. You need to be strong and confident in faith in what is good. You need courage to fight your enemies, not your own people.

I remember hearing similar criticism of my own government just before Rabin was assassinated. I understand your frustrations with Obama and Clinton, and your passion about the need for good government. God willing, someday we may get some reprieve from this modern day global Islamic  pestilence. What we cannot  get away from is learning to live with one another. 

Beware of the enemy within that can divide, and conquer you, before it’s too late. For in the long run, it is a far more lethal danger.

 

Palestinian Arab Stabs Jewish Teen in Jerusalem

A Palestinian Arab terrorist stabbed and moderately wounded a Jewish teenager on the eastern side of Jerusalem on Thursday.

The victim is an 18-year-old Jewish seminary student, and is said to be in stable condition after being stabbed multiple times in the upper body with a screwdriver.

The terrorist reportedly fled on foot into nearby Arab neighborhoods.

The attack is the latest in a string of terrorist stabbings that have claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since last October.

 

School for Temple Priests Opens in Jerusalem

The Temple Institute has announced the opening of a school to train descendants of the Tribe of Levi for their eventual return to service in the Third Temple.

“We are extremely excited to announce this new step towards the restoration of the Holy Temple service. We call first and foremost upon Kohanim [Levitical priests] worldwide to support this special project, which signifies a return to their birth right,” read a statement from Temple Institute director Rabbi Chaim Richman.

In a separate comment, Rabbi Richman noted that “preparation for the Temple is no longer a dream, it’s a reality, in which everyone can play a part.”

The Temple Institute has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the priestly training, which will include courses on how to apply modern technology to Temple service.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, which Muslims now claim as their third holiest site.

Many Jews and Christians believe a Third Temple will one day take the place of the Muslim holy sites in accordance with several biblical prophecies.

 

Israel: Don't Play Pokemon Go, the CIA Could be Watching

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently discussed with his security officials the discovery of a Pokemon at the President’s Residence, prompting a directive banning all staff from playing the viral mobile hit Pokemon Go at the compound.

The new guidelines read:

“A new game titled ‘Pokemon Go’ was recently released. For those unfamiliar, it is a mobile app the primary goal of which is to catch Pokemon. The game is played using the phone’s GPS, exposing the exact location of the player, and by default publishing a picture of the entire area where the player catches a Pokemon. As an interesting aside, there are conspiracy theories that link Niantic Labs, the maker of Pokemon Go, with the CIA, meaning the app’s true aim could be gathering information for American intelligence. You never know. The game has already been banned on IDF bases for fear of exposing sensitive locations.”

On July 13, Rivlin humorously posted to Twitter and Facebook after supposedly finding a Pokemon in the lounge of the President’s Residence. “Someone call security,” the president joked.

It was Rivlin’s grandchildren who introduced him to Pokemon Go and taught him how to play. He is said to have asked them if the game would get them off the couch more often. One of the children said yes, and noted some walk for hours hunting Pokemon. The president nodded his approval, but said he had not personally tried the game.

Incidentally, the image of a Pokemon at the President’s Residence that was posted by Rivlin is a fake. It was not actually taken in the lounge of his official compound, which is shielded, meaning Pokemon should not show up there.

Still, the president’s security officials feared the silly social media post would be taken by staff as permission to play Pokemon Go at the compound, and so issued the aforementioned directive.

 

Israel Celebrates First Olympic Medal Since 2008

Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi on Tuesday became the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal since the 2008 games in Beijing.

Gerbi claimed the bronze medal for her weight class, becoming the fourth Israeli ever to win an Olympic medal in judo.

She spoke to Army Radio on Wednesday about what it’s like to represent a small and passionate nation like Israel.

“Ever since I won the [judo] world championship [3 years ago] people have come over to talk to me on the street,” said Gerbi. “But take the French, for example. They have someone who just won the silver medal here, but they don’t know her at all, they don’t appreciate it. We are a special people, one that supports and appreciates, because that’s just the way we are. When I win it’s like everybody won. I really am proud to represent Israel.”

Israel has a handful of other medal hopefuls still competing in the Rio games.

 

New Israel Fund's Campaign of Subversion

In one of my recent columns I wrote that the New Israel Fund (NIF) is a subversive organ, seeking to radically transform old Jewish Israel into a new progressive, secular, non-Jewish Israel. The NIF and its elaborate psychological warfare against Israelis employs methods developed by communists back in the day of the Comintern (Communist International), an organization created by Lenin to export the communist revolution to other countries.

A favorite method of subversion was using the Comintern's members to channel money, plant agents and establish NGOs, student fraternities and workers' clubs. The creative mind behind this scheme was Willi Munzenberg, murdered in 1940, who among other things founded the Spartacus Union and the German Communist party.

The NIF is involved in the same practice to radically change Israel. 

Comparing between the Hebrew and English NIF mission statements provides a glimpse into its modus operandi. Under "values" the Hebrew text ensures Israelis that the NIF is committed to Israel as defined by its Declaration of Independence, which opens with the clause "The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people." This Zionist commitment to Israel does not appear in the English version. Instead, the NIF informs English-language readers that "Israel - where the Jewish people achieve self-determination in their homeland" is predicated upon "progressive values." The very name New Israel Fund is registered in Israel under The New Fund for Israel.

For decades the NIF was creating and financing radical organizations such as Adalah and Shatil. The problem with such NGOs was that they were too obviously agents of change, and their radicalism repelled most Israelis. 

To deal with this problem the NIF is now adopting a new strategy. Along with supporting radicals like Adalah, the NIF has started to fund organizations well within the consensus. The popular project 929 that is attempting to endear the Bible to Israelis is partially funded by the NIF. The link provided shows that this project is interested in more than just Bible endearment. Shalom Hartman Institute is another organ now partially funded by the NIF, and there are many others.

This strategic adoption of "if you can't beat them join them" was stated in a remarkably candid interview made with Rachel Liel, NIF Executive Director in Israel. 

"In the past we have supported many campaigns, many struggles in which it was the secular against the religious," which according to Liel were only partially successful. This is why "we felt in NIF that we strategically need to add another vehicle to do this, and this is voices coming from within the communities themselves. Organization who come from the national religious public in Israel, who know the people, who understand the culture, who understand the language, and they can come with their ideas and people will listen to them."

Ignore the lame Israeli English. Liel is actually admitting that the NIF is now planting agents and giving money to religious organizations perceived as good by the general public. The old Comintern ploy is fully exposed here by an overly confident NIF official who assumes Israelis are too dumb to notice.

 

Bring Oron Shaul back home!

On the first day of Operation Tzuk Eitan in the Gaza Strip in 2014, Israeli soldier Oron Shaul was kidnapped by Hamas.

The company entered Gaza in an armored personnel carrier (APC) when the vehicle became incapacitated. Oron exited the APC to help fix the problem, along with his company commander and the company radioman.

The APC suffered a direct strike with an anti-tank rocket and all the soldiers were killed. Oron was abducted into a tunnel which the terrorists had used to execute their ambush. The company commander and radioman hid themselves during the skirmish and survived.



 

Palestinian Group: Vote For Us, We Killed More Israelis!

Ahead of a critical municipal election, the political party of “moderate” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is soliciting support based on its prolific violence against Israelis.

A post appearing on the official Facebook page of Abbas’ Fatah faction listed its most cherished achievements, chief among them its claim to have killed 11,000 Israelis.

The list, which was translated by Palestinian Media Watch, went on to note that Fatah instigated both of the Palestinian terrorist uprisings against Israel (the First and Second intifadas).

It is widely reported that Fatah is concerned about losing to Hamas in several key “West Bank” municipalities in the October 8 election. The public boasting about killing Israelis is seen as an effort to mobilize votes for the group.

In other words, it would appear that the number of Israelis a group has killed is directly tied to its ability to win Palestinian elections.

And Israel is supposed to make peace with these people.

 

Israeli Company Wants to Build Trump's Mexico Border Wall

The Israeli company that constructed the security barrier surrounding the Gaza Strip says it is eager to make Donald Trump’s proposed Mexico border wall a reality, should the Republican candidate win the White House in November.

“We’ve done it in the past, and we would definitely want to do it,” Saar Koursh, owner of Magal Security Systems Ltd., told Bloomberg last month. “The border business was down, but then came ISIS and the Syrian conflict. The world is changing, and borders are coming back big time.”

Koursh noted that in addition to the Gaza barrier, his company has built “smart fences” along Israel’s borders with Egypt and Jordan, and has been contracted to help protect the borders of Kenya, Somalia and other African nations.

Magal specializes in sophisticated border systems that include visual monitoring, as well as ground sensors and motion detection.

 

Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for a time as this?

The Book of Esther is an inspired book of a little woman who, at the moment of truth, made a life changing decision which changed the history of the Jewish people.

In the book of Esther there was a man who saw the future and took calculated steps towards it, Mordechai the Jew,
Esther's cousin who understood that his people needed somebody close to the king. He realized that the Jewish people were in danger.
And at the decisive moment he knew what advice to give Esther.
Advice that propelled her to a higher spiritual plane
Which helped her to act and save her people.

And what were those things
Which worked like a charm
Which raised her spiritual feeling
A few notches,
The sense of a mission,
And elation,
And satisfaction?

Mordecai had the same message for Esther that I have for you today. "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place!"

"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for a time as this?" Esther 4:14



 

Israel, Archeology and Post-Modern Gobbledygook

Archeology and Palestine is a mismatch simply because there are no archeological Palestinian sites. At best archeology can inform us about Muslim life and culture since the 7th century AD. This is of little use to archeologists who are willing to compromise their discipline in the name of political agenda. 

If one would ask about Zionists harnessing archeology for their political ends, they have done that, but they at least didn't have to fabricate Jewish archeology. Archibald Sayce didn't fabricate the Siloam Inscription and Yigael Yadin didn't forge the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

Further still, no Jewish archeologist was ever involved in institutionalized destruction of Muslim artifacts and systematic elimination of evidences of Muslim presence in the Land of Israel.

Palestinian archeologists and their sympathetic comrades are doing whatever they can to subvert archeology in such a way as to erase any Jewish link to "the Land of Palestine." Jordanian official Raef Yusuf Najm is representative of this official Palestinian policy, claiming that "throughout history, Muslims and Christians have lived in Al Quds (Jerusalem) as one Palestinian people. Their coexistence was marred only by the Crusade invasions, then the Zionist and colonialist Israeli invasion which is trying to judaize the land and the people through all forms of crime and tyranny."

This effort to erase Jewish archeology as a way of weakening Israel is supported by the New Israel Fund (NIF), a subversive organization whose real aim is to turn Israel into a democratic, rather than a Jewish-democratic state. 

In one of its latest Facebook posts, NIF proudly announced its support of Emek Shaveh, an organization of Israeli archeologists that has teamed up with their Palestinian counterparts. So unaware of their betrayal of their academic discipline, Emek Shaveh proclaims on its website that the group is made up of "archaeologists and community activists focusing on the role of archaeology in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

One of archeology's roles is to dispel the notion that it can support the Jewish claim to the land. The founder of Emek Shaveh, archeologist Gideon Sulimani, exited NIF when he said that "a nation or religion should not use archeological artifacts as a proof of land ownership." This, however, is a strange accusation considering that Jews have prayed to return to Jerusalem long before the idea of archeology was ever conceived. At worst, Israeli archeologists were trying too hard to produce scientific evidences for the traditional Jewish claim of Israel being the land of their fathers.

Emek Shaveh has radically departed from "Zionist archeology." If fact, this organ is not interested in proving anything, least of all proving Jewish presence in this land.

Truth is not what they are after. These "scientists" are in the business of peace, and for the sake of that goal truth can be manipulated, denied and locked in post-modern gobbledygook. 

A masterpiece of truth-evasion is found in their brochure entitled "Frequent Questions about Jerusalem's Old City." Consider this sentence alone: "Archaeology can support different historical scenarios, but it neither conclusively proves nor absolutely disproves them." In other words, if one so wishes, archeology can support the Palestinian narrative. All that needs to be done is to say that David is not conclusively Jewish. Likewise, since no blood stains or pieces of priestly garments can be found on the Temple Mount, evidences of ancient Jewish religious warship there can't be regarded as conclusive. 

Though seeking peace is admirable, one has to wonder how such damaging dishonesty can advance it.

 

Are 'Gentile Believers' Still Gentiles?

It was Yeshua’s greatest desire that all his followers, from both Jews and Gentiles, become one people. His impassioned plea to the Father before going to the cross was “that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know You sent me, and loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:23).

Well, it’s no surprise that the world still remains unconvinced of his Messiahship.  How could it be otherwise when his followers have separated into over 40,000 denominations and other unaffiliated groups.

 But even before our divisions metastasized there existed an issue of unity between the Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua.  It began on the day the Lord told Peter to witness to the family of Cornelius. Before then the Jewish nation was under the impression this salvation belonged exclusively to them. Now, suddenly, it was being offered to others.  Worse, these “others” were the former bane of their existence – the Gentiles. The very ones they’d been shunning for the past 1400 years, according to Moses' instructions.

But hadn’t Yeshua prepared his Jewish followers for this when he was with them in the flesh? Hadn’t he told them, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:16)? Nevertheless, it was still a tough pill for Jewish Israel to swallow. And it was made harder, because along with this influx of unsavory outsiders, Israel was being asked to transition from their God-given covenant of Law to a new covenant of grace.  

The transition was so formidable, that to make it happen, God had to raise up a uniquely qualified man – Saul (later Paul) of Tarsus. To this former Pharisee was given the anointing to bring us all together under “the law of liberty” (James 1:25).  And even though the Roman Empire cut short his work, along with Jewish life in Jerusalem, God made sure Paul’s teachings were preserved as Scripture in the New Testament.  

Now for 2000 years, unity of Jewish and “Gentile” believers in Messiah has not been an issue. Mainly because after the first century there were almost no Jewish believers! And the non-Jewish believers had taken on another identity, calling themselves “Christians.” But after the physical rebirth of Israel, many Jews began experiencing a spiritual rebirth. And all of sudden the term “Gentile believer” was back. Along with the issue of us all becoming one again.

As I see it, the term “Gentile believer” is inherently discriminatory and creates an unhealthy division in the body of Messiah. If one is a “Gentile” it implies you are an unbeliever, outside the camp of God’s people. Although the word translated as “Gentile” just means “nations” in both the Hebrew (goyim) and Greek(ethnos), it carries centuries of baggage. Over half its usages in the Old Testament are negative. And so is a quarter of its usage in the New Testament, where it is occasionally translated as “heathen” or “pagan.”  It may not equate non-Jewish believers with being “uncircumcised Philistines,” but it doesn’t define them as “Snow White,” either.

But weren’t we all made “white as snow” in Yeshua? Weren’t we all circumcised with the circumcision made without hands?  Why then should we who are not Jewish be saddled with terminology that immediately creates a division in the body of Messiah? From God’s perspective we are no longer goyim. We are no longer Gentiles. We have come out of the nations and are now included with God’s people. We have been counted as part of the nation of Israel, co-inheritors with all Jewish believers in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “For if you belong to Messiah, you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29). 

Paul had explained, just prior to that verse, that now “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua” (Gal.3:28). Did he mean Jews are no longer Jews, Greeks no longer Greeks, females no longer females? Of course not! Until the Lord returns and we are transfigured into our new bodies we remain who we are in this world. But in Messiah, all racial, national, economic, gender – and other fleshly differences – disappear. In him we become one people!

It was Peter, the first Jew to witness to non-Jews, who later said to the entire body of Messiah, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” ( 1 Pet. 2:9). He had taken the very words Moses had spoken to all Israel and applied them to the New Covenant ecclesia without distinction. He was not saying the “church”had replaced the physical descendants of Abraham as God’s people, but that all who are in Messiah, both Jew and non-Jew, are the chosen remnant of Israel.

As God is restoring the nation to the land today, I believe it’s also time to strive for greater unity among Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua. So that, as he prayed to the Father, “the world may know You sent me.” 

A good place to begin is by retiring the unbiblical term “Gentile believer” once and for all.

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

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Obama Slammed by Israel for Defending Iran Deal

US President Barack Obama on Friday was once again insisting that his Iran nuclear deal is succeeding, and even claimed that Israel had acknowledged as much.

Israel’s Defense Ministry was quick to call out Obama’s false assertion, and to suggest the American was a fool if he still believed Iran to be a genuine partner.

“The Israeli defense establishment believes that agreements have value only if they are based on an existing reality, and that they have no value if the facts on the ground are completely the opposite of [the concepts] on which an agreement is based on,” read the Israeli Defense Ministry statement.

The Israelis went on to liken Obama’s Iran deal to the utterly nonsensical Munich agreement that failed to prevent World War II and permitted the Nazis to launch their initial assaults unimpeded.

“The Munich agreement did not prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust, precisely because their basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong, and because the leaders of the world at that time ignored the explicit statements by Hitler and the rest of the leaders of Nazi Germany.”

The Defense Ministry noted that Iran’s leaders continue to threaten Israel and other nations in the region, and Tehran continues to be the world’s leading state sponsor of Islamic terror, as reported by the US State Department.

As such, Obama’s coddling of the ayatollahs is doing more harm than good, just as the kid-glove handling of Hitler ultimately led to the destruction of a continent and the deaths of millions.

The response caused some panic for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not made aware of the Defense Ministry statement before it was published.

According to government officials, Netanyahu quickly phoned US Ambassador Dan Shapiro to downplay the harsh rhetoric, and to reassert that despite disagreement over the Iran deal, Israel still sees America as its greatest ally.

 

Reign of Terror – Who's on the Lord’s Side?

The fatal knife attack in London’s Russell Square was, for me, not only a reminder of what Israel has been facing on an almost daily basis  over much of the past year, but also a flashback to the 7/7 bombings that struck the city’s transport system.

On that July day in 2005 Islamic fanatics murdered over fifty commuters and injured hundreds more, including my younger brother David. The first I knew of this latest attack was the all-too-familiar image on my internet news feeder of Russell Square where, eleven years ago, a blown-up double-decker bus came to represent the awful carnage of London’s nightmare.

Despite sitting only three feet from the man behind the plot as the Edgware Road tube blast was detonated, David miraculously survived (minus a leg) thanks to prayers, paramedics and doctors.

But I am still left wondering what it will take for people in general to wake up and realise that all hell is being let loose, and that they need to do something about it, or they will become part of the problem.

The disturbing result of a new survey only confirmed my fears – that 50% of our teens admit to being addicted to their smartphone. They are almost constantly attached to their device; one adult explained that, for him, it amounted to a fear of ‘missing out’. The good news is that, as a result of the survey, many are now committing to ‘digital detoxing’.

But most continue to live in such an unreal world that it seems even terror is not enough to rouse them from their soulless slumber. This unreality has even infiltrated the world’s apparent powerbase – Washington’s White House – where President Obama told a summit on global development that “we are living in the most peaceful” era in human history and that “the world has never been less violent” – rhetoric no doubt designed to contrast with that of the Republican Presidential nominee’s camp.

His Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, has said that air conditioners and refrigerators are as much of a threat to life as terror groups like ISIS.

But in radical Islam we are facing the most serious threat to civilization since the murky shadow of Nazism lengthened over Europe. As I write, Israel is preparing for a worst-case scenario as a peace deal looks possible in the Syrian civil war along its northern border. It’s a widely understood reality in the region that, when the jihadists have ironed out their differences and stop fighting each other, they will turn their fire on their common enemy – Israel.

And Christians must continue to pray for Israel’s protection. Not only are they in dire need of divine covering, but it’s a biblical command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122.6). It’s also in our interests to do so because, as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar points out, “if it [Israel] goes down, we all go down.”

He argues that the Jewish state is at the cutting edge in the battle between militant Islam and the West and, in a Times article, concludes, “Israel is a fundamental part of the West which is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not our fate is inextricably intertwined.”

We can no longer ignore Middle Eastern terrorism because we are now forced to contend with it on our own doorstep. And for UK residents there’s another reason: Palestinians are threatening to take Britain to court for helping the Jews to re-settle their ancient land! Yes, a lawsuit is being prepared against the British Government for issuing the so-called Balfour Declaration of 1917 through which it committed itself to this goal.

And though Britain subsequently reneged on some of its promises, there is no doubt that she played a major role in Jewish restoration. This is something for which we should all be proud, of course, but our brave new politically-correct world is more likely to see it as shameful colonial practice.

It’s worth noting, however, that those committing jihad against Israel are not holding back on bringing the same terror to our streets too. And if Palestinian Authority terror is politically correct, what’s so different about the terror we have witnessed in London, New York, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Munich and Nice? Jihadists everywhere are using the same tactics, and the same excuses (the god of Islam).

It’s time to come off the fence and take sides – and all the more so in light of the shock news of a leading Christian charity being accused of siphoning off millions of dollars in support of terror group Hamas. The big question is: Are you on the Lord’s side?


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

 

On Open Letter to Evangelicals Regarding Trump

When I heard that major evangelical leaders claim that Donald Trump has accepted the Lord, I had to write. [Evangelicals Claim Trump Conversion] Please, stop trying to convince us that Donald Trump is a real, born again, Christian.

Vote for Trump, if you must, but why do you need to insist that Trump has given his life to Jesus, has had a conversion experience and is now an evangelical Christian? When you claim that Trump is a committed Christian, you undermine the very gospel we are trying to share with the Jewish people. Your gospel news, that Donald Trump is now a real Christian, is not the gospel we want for Israel, it is not any gospel at all.

Have we not together, Jew and Gentile, all these years been trying to show our people the true face of Jesus? That Jesus calls us out to be loving, compassionate people? Does not Jesus teach us to love others more than ourselves, and show us how to live a self-sacrificing, honest life, with humility? (Trump continues to boast about, and display, his opulent life-style) Is it not our Jesus that teaches humility, and the need to forgive and be forgiven? (Trump?) Do we not need to display, for Christ’s sake, a moral and modest lifestyle, rejecting sexual promiscuity and the exploitation of feminine beauty? (The other elephant in the Republican nominee’s life) Or that born-again followers of Israel’s Messiah are willing to do everything to live out strong, marital commitments, no matter how difficult? (Trump X3)

Go ahead and tell us that you think Trump understands what’s going on in the Middle East, and will be a faithful, consistent supporter of the Jewish people, supporting our right to live in our God promised land. Show us how he will continue the long, historical and unshakeable commitment of the USA to stand with Israel. 

Remind us, if you must, that Trump won the evangelical vote in the primaries, or that a recent Pew Research poll shows that 78% of white evangelical voters nationwide support Trump, and that, before he chose the born-again Pence as his vice president. Explain how Trump will fight for religious freedoms and the right to preach the gospel in Israel, in the US, and around the world. Support him if you believe he is right for the US, for Israel, whatever.

But please, stop selling the holiness and purity of our Lord Jesus for cheap religious politics by telling us that Trump is now a follower of our Messiah, because he let you pray for him. You undermine the meaning of the word Christian, and put yet another stumbling block in the path of our people coming to know their Messiah, Yeshua, son of the living God.

For many years you have been showing strong support to Israel, and I hear from many of my Jewish friends, and government leaders in Israel, that they appreciate evangelicals, and embrace you as true friends of Israel. Be a real friend, show them the real Jesus.

In the last days, people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.  2 Tim. 3:2-5

 

World Vision's Christian Donations Funded Hamas

World Vision International is perhaps the world’s largest Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization. It can now add direct, if inadvertent, funding of terrorism to its resume.

World Vision has been operating in Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip since 1975.

It has now been revealed that 60 percent of World Vision’s annual budget for the Gaza Strip was diverted by Hamas to the tune of $7.2 million per year.

Much of that money was given in cash to Hamas militants, while even more was used to finance the construction of terror tunnels and to purchase weapons.

All of this was discovered during a lengthy investigation beginning in mid-June, when Israel arrested Mohammed El-Halabi, World Vision’s Gaza branch director, on suspicion of terrorist activity.

During the investigation, El-Halabi revealed that he has been a Hamas member since his youth and had undergone organizational and military training in the early 2000s.

In 2005, Hamas dispatched El-Halabi to infiltrate World Vision. El-Halabi related that Hamas believed that he had a good chance of infiltrating the humanitarian aid organization because his father works for the UN.

He added that his father, Halil El-Halabi, who has served as head of UNWRA’s educational institutions in the Gaza Strip for years, is a member of Hamas and uses his position as a UN employee to help the terrorist organization.

Shortly after being employed by World Vision, El-Halabi began to use his position to benefit the Islamist terrorist organization, primarily by diverting funds meant as aid to strengthen Hamas’ terrorist arm.

Over the years, El-Halabi advanced in the charity’s hierarchy until he was appointed director of the Gaza branch. In this capacity, he controlled the budget, equipment and aid packages which amounted to tens of millions of dollars.

El-Halabi employed a sophisticated and systematic apparatus for transferring World Vision funds to Hamas.

He established and promoted humanitarian projects and fictitious agricultural associations that acted as cover for the transfer of monies to Hamas. Examples of these projects and associations include: greenhouse construction; restoration of agricultural lands; mental health and public health projects for Gaza residents; aid to fishermen; a treatment center for the physically and mentally disabled; and farmers’ associations. All of these projects and associations were used to transfer funds to Hamas.

The money allocated by World Vision for projects and farmers’ associations reached Hamas in various ways, such as the false registration of Hamas terrorists as employees in charity-sponsored projects; issuing fictitious receipts and inflated invoices in which the difference paid by the charity was transferred in cash to Hamas; transfer of the charity’s checks to Hamas terrorists, etc.

The investigation revealed that the main method used to divert money to Hamas was to put out fictitious tenders for World Vision-sponsored projects in the Gaza Strip. The “winning” company was made aware that 60 percent of the project’s monies were to be designated for Hamas. In this way, El-Halabi ensured a steady flow of cash into Hamas coffers.

According to El-Halabi, the funds he diverted to Hamas were intended mainly to strengthen the terrorist arm. As such, they were utilized to finance the digging of terror tunnels, the building of military bases and the purchase of weapons.

Some of the money went to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists and, in some cases, senior Hamas terrorists took large sums of money for their own personal use.

El-Halabi regularly transferred to Hamas equipment that he had ordered on behalf of World Vision, supposedly for agricultural aid. The equipment included, inter alia, iron rods, digging equipment, pipes and building materials, and was used in fact to construct Hamas military outposts and to dig terror tunnels.

Just as El-Halabi exploited the humanitarian projects that he initiated in order to divert funds to Hamas, he also arranged for the provision of logistical support to Hamas. For instance, he initiated a greenhouse project in order to use the greenhouses to hide the sites where terror tunnels were being dug. In addition, a project for the rehabilitation of [fictitious] fishermen was actually used to provide motor boats and diving suits for Hamas’ military marine unit.

Another regular method of acquiring equipment for Hamas was to disguise Hamas warehouses as World Vision warehouses. Trucks bringing supplies to the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Gaza would unload their goods at Hamas warehouses instead of legitimate World Vision warehouses. Hamas operatives would pick up the supplies in the dead of night.

According to El-Halabi, the humanitarian aid donated for the residents of the Gaza Strip was in actual fact given almost exclusively to Hamas terrorists and their families. Non-Hamas members almost never received any benefit from the aid, despite their relative level of need. Needless to say, this is in contradiction to the accepted practice of the humanitarian aid organizations. Every month, El-Halabi distributed thousands of packages of food, basic commodities and medical supplies to Hamas terrorists and their families, commodities that World Vision had intended to go to the needy.

This humanitarian aid was diverted by El-Halabi to Hamas terrorists also during the conflict of summer 2014 [Operation Protective Edge]. During the fighting, the terrorists received food packages to sustain them above and below ground, including in terror tunnels.

In addition to the financial and logistical aid that El-Halabi provided Hamas, he also exploited his visits to Israel, which were permitted due to his legitimate work for World Vision, to engage in serious terrorist activity – locating and marking [via GPS] sites near the Erez Crossing that potentially could be used as egress points for Hamas attack tunnels.

The investigation revealed much information concerning additional figures in the Gaza Strip who exploited their work in organizations, including humanitarian aid organizations and UN institutions, on behalf of Hamas. El-Halabi’s statements portray a troubling picture in which UN and other aid organizations in Gaza are in fact controlled by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas.

In summary, the facts uncovered during this important investigation illustrate, above all else, Hamas’ cynical exploitation of international humanitarian aid and resources donated by Western nations that are intended to aid needy residents of the Gaza Strip but which, in fact, are being diverted to Hamas for use in strengthening its terrorist and military capabilities. By its own actions, Hamas is harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, displaying its destructive priorities concerning Gaza.

 

This Video Epitomizes the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israelis, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (see below), were horrified by a video clip posted to the Internet showing a Palestinian father trying to get his 4-year-old son to attack an Israeli soldier in hopes that the soldier would respond with violence and thereby bolster claims that Israelis are violent racists.

Instead, the soldier responded with kindness, and the oblivious toddler instead threw stones into the nearby field.

The exchange epitomized perfectly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most Israelis just want peace, while far too many Palestinians have been brainwashed into believing the Jews are enemies that must be violently confronted.

The words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir have never rung so true:

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

 

Why Palestinians Prefer Working for Israelis

If Israeli Jews are such blood-thirsty haters of all things Arab, then why do Palestinian Arabs prefer working for them?

Palestinian Authority TV acknowledged as much in recent broadcasts of the program Workers’ Affairs, which were translated by Palestinian Media Watch.

A number of Palestinian laborers were interviewed, and openly stated that both pay and work conditions for Arabs are far better with Israeli employers than with fellow Palestinians.

“The lack of monitoring of [Palestinian] owners of companies and factories and their exploitation of workers is what has forced people to Israel, to work and build in Israel,” said Qassem Abu Hadwan, a laborer from Hebron. “Workers have to go to Israel, because no one [in the PA] gives them what they deserve for their work.”

Indeed, figures released by the Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that “the average [daily] wage for employees in the West Bank was 94.1 shekels, and 61.9 shekels in the Gaza Strip, while the average for employees in Israel and the settlements was 198.9 shekels.”

Israeli-Arab Attorney Khaled Dukhi of Worker’s Hotline explained that the situation is even worse for female Palestinian workers, who have to pay exorbitant fees to “middlemen.”

“In practice, he [the Palestinian employer] takes 50%, 60%, and even 70% of her salary. The middleman steals two thirds of her salary,” noted Dukhi.

There are currently some 120,000 Palestinian Arabs working legally in Israel and the Jewish settlements, with thousands more seeking work permits or making their way across the Green Line illegally.

It is difficult to imagine how an independent Palestinian state would survive economically when so little of its labor force wants to work there.

 

Pro-Israel Palestinian Youth Undeterred by Threats

Proponents of the “Palestinian cause” claim Israel cruelly discriminates against and silences them. But the truth is it is they who are without tolerance for opposing views, especially from one of “their own.”

Such is the case of Mahdi Satri, the son of Palestinian Arabs from Gaza who now live in northern Israel.

Satri has become something of an Internet sensation of late after voicing strong pro-Israel positions.

But that has also led to constant threats on his life, prompting Satri to pen a message under the headline “Know That I Died a Dreamer” that has been shared widely on social media.

In the message, Satri vows to continue taking this principled stand “until the last drop of blood in my body.” But the situation has taken a immense toll on the 17-year-old, who said the threats even from his own neighbors had caused him both great fear and tremendous sadness.

“If they succeeded to kill me, know that I died a Zionist defending my country… Know that I died a dreamer. A dreamer looking for a new future empty of hatred and full of love,” he bravely concluded the letter."

In a previous demonstration that, contrary to many of his fellow Arab Muslims, Israeli Jews harbor no inherent hatred for his people, Satri posted the following video of him standing in Tel Aviv with a sign letting Jewish passersby know that he loves them.

The reactions of those Jewish passersby speak for themselves.

 

Netanyahu: Happy to Work With Either Trump or Clinton

Amid conflicting that he prefers either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to win the upcoming US presidential election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week stated he’ll be happy to work with whomever takes the White House in November.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Netanyahu stressed that his government would remain neutral regarding the American presidential campaign.

“We are presenting both candidates with our positions but are not interfering,” said the Israeli leader. “There is no point in interfering and it’s not smart to interfere.”

Netanyahu was harshly criticized for blatantly preferring Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 US presidential election.

While Jerusalem might avoid wading into this particular American election, it is taking advantage of the contest to push forward building projects in disputed portions of the Israeli capital.

For instance, a plan to construct 57 new housing units in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot was approved well over a year ago. But construction never began due to pressure from the international community, which sees Ramot and several other neighborhoods as “Jewish settlements.”

Now that the Americans are distracted by Trump vs. Clinton, the Jerusalem municipality is moving forward with the project.

“We’re taking advantage of the upcoming government change in the US to push projects forward that had been stalled,” Vice-Mayor Meir Turgeman told Channel 2 News, adding that Netanyahu’s “silence on this matter is a green light as far as we’re concerned.”

 

"Mommy, do you remember when the rockets came and I cried?"

Each summer our family vacationed in the coastal town of Eilat. We spent almost each evening strolling along the promenade, eating ice-cream and enjoying the views of the Red Sea.

In the summer of 2014 my youngest (then 3 years-old) and I were together at the beach star-gazing when he excitedly called and pointed towards the sky with his little hand, "Mommy, look!" - there were two large, glowing orbs flying over our heads towards the sea.

A young mother sitting next to me commented that the flares reminded her of our Iron Dome missiles. We observed the flaming orbs for a few seconds when suddenly the shrill air-raid sirens pierced the serenity of the hot summer evening! Panic broke out, children crying, mothers crying and there was no bomb-shelter in sight...

Last week, as we have done each summer, we were on our annual family vacation in Eilat. During a walk we strolled past the place where we were surprised by the missiles two years ago.My son, now 5 years-old, stops and looks at me with big eyes and said, "Mommy, do you remember when the rockets came and I cried?"

Two years have passed since Operation Tzuk Eitan in Gaza, but the memories are deeply ingrained in our memories, even in the minds of our children.



 

Arabs Uneasy Over Israel's New Hardline Defense Minister

Israel Today speaks with uneasy political figures in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority about Israel's new defense minister.

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

 

The Israeli Army's Moral Dilemma

The case of Elor Azaria (pictured), who shot dead a wounded terrorist in Hebron, has received its own Wikipedia entry, appearing under "Hebron shooting incident." The trial of Sgt. Azaria is ongoing, and the Israeli public is in turmoil over it. Looking beyond the inflammatory rhetoric of irresponsible politicians and the emotional discourse on social media, it is increasingly clear that Azaria's trial is becoming a watershed event marking the battle over conflicting norms of ethics. 

As could be expected, the divide runs across political affiliations and ideological convictions. Generally speaking, the Left is presenting Azaria as no less than a murderer. Not a few on the Right sees Azaria as a hero for being the only one on the scene alert enough to kill the wounded terrorist that, at least according to Azaria and his peers, was suspected of having a suicide bomb around his waist.

It is in light of this public turmoil that Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said last week that "the greatest threat to the IDF is … public distrust [in the army]." Standing firmly behind the army's determination to condemn Azaria, Eizenkot went on to state that "we want the IDF to operate according to orders, open fire procedures, the spirit of the IDF and the values of the IDF. If anyone wants an ethos of a mob, let him say so." 

Did Eizenkot suggest that those opposing the army's position are a proto-fascist mob? Probably not.

The impression, however, is that Eizenkot's choice of words exposed an inner discourse within the General Staff indicating a schism between the army's changing perception of morality and that of the general public. 

According to a survey conducted by Israel's Ynet news portal, nearly 80 percent of Israelis believe that the army is hounding Azaria. Could this mean that the army views most Israelis as people severely lacking in sound morality? 

Even if done unintentionally, this false and unfortunate perception plays right into the hands of organs like the daily Haaretz that promotes people such as Gidon Levi who wrote this week that "Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil."

The portrayal of Israel as evil is not factual, but rather ideological in service to the goal of forcing Israel out of the West Bank and turning it into a non-Jewish state. In this war between the "progressives" and the "fascists," Sgt. Azaria has become a symbol of what Israel is, which is why this particular case is so important.

The army's take on morality is reflective of the moral high-horse upon which Israel has climbed, best expressed in the repeated epithet "the IDF is the most moral army in the world," which problematically obligates the army to prefer the safety of enemy civilians over the lives of Israeli soldiers. 

Former Chief of Staff Beni Gantz openly admitted as much back in May 2015. Commenting on a particularly bloody battle that took place during the 2014 Gaza war, a battle in which six soldiers were killed and a seventh was taken hostage, Gantz said: "We took a risk in Sajaya at the expense of Golani soldiers."

Among the many who challenge this new morality is Aaron Shahar who wrote on the News1 portal: "We have embraced the idea of becoming the most moral army in the world, great. But what price do we pay for this heap of dung? Sacrificing our children in order to protect the enemy's civilians." 

Is Shahar part of the mob? Most Israelis think he expresses simple common sense that for one reason or another is slipping away from those who are in charge of Israel's security.

 

Israeli Woman Golfer Makes History

The 2016 Olympic Games open this Shabbat, and Israel Today had an opportunity to catch up with Laetitia Beck, the young Israeli woman who will proudly represent the Jewish state in the first Olympic golf competition since the 1904 summer games.

Quite an accomplishment for a young girl from a country where there is just one golf course!

It was just one year ago that Beck became the first and only Israeli golfer to play on the PGA tour. “Now that I can play golf for Israel at the Olympics, I am very happy. It gives me an even higher purpose," she said.

Beck says that her family have always been Zionists and she displays the flag of Israel on her golf shoes and sometimes on her hat or clubs. "When I play golf I'm very proud to represent Israel. My goal is to represent Israel and the Jewish people," she noted.

Beck, who started playing golf when she was nine, became the Caesarea Club Champion at age 12.

In Israel, all eyes will be watching their only player at the Olympics. Beck cannot avoid the stress that comes to anyone competing under the Israeli flag on the world’s biggest stage. “As the time draws nearer, I think about it more and more. I know I will be nervous,” said the youngster about the challenge she soon faces.

The women’s Olympic 52-hole competition will be played August 17-20.

 

Druze Leader Slams UN Over False Anti-Israel Charges

The mayor of the largest Druze town on the Golan Heights at the weekend offered scathing criticism of a recent UN Economic and Social Council statement that accused Israel of negatively impacting the living conditions of “occupied” populations.

In typical fashion, the UN last month decried what it called the “economic and social repercussions of the [Israeli] occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Dulan Abu-Saleh, the mayor of Majdal Shams, the largest Druze town in the Golan, called the charge “laughable.”

“I don’t understand what they’re talking about,” Abu-Saleh told the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon. “Although we weren’t included in some major cabinet decisions on budgets, when we build and make up plans we never felt discrimination. On the contrary, we always found an attentive ear.”

And that despite the fact that the vast majority of the Golan’s 20,000 Druze are not Israeli citizens, though they have all had the option of becoming citizens ever since Jerusalem annexed the Golan in 1981.

For decades, the Golan Druze, while enjoying a good life within the borders of Israel, put on a facade of wanting to return to Syria, constantly fearful that a future peace agreement could put them back under the thumb of Damascus.

With the eruption of the Syrian civil war in 2011, attitudes began to change, and hundreds of additional Golan Druze have applied for citizenship, while a growing number now openly acknowledge that they prefer to remain part of Israel.

“No one wants to see Syria here,” Karim Batkhish, a resident of the Druze town of Masa’ada, told the newspaper.

 

What Do Trump, Brexit and Christian Zionism Have in Common?

Throughout history we have seen how a nation oppressed by an autocratic government, whether foreign or its own, must eventually revolt or submit to humiliating slavery. We saw it in the American Revolution in 1776, and certainly in Israel’s Exodus from Egypt under Moses.It is in this context I believe we should view today’s Trump / Brexit / Christian Zionism (CZ) movements.  

As I see it, all three are powerful reactions to the same left-wing elitist bureaucracy that’s been  trying to impose its multi-cultural, no-borders, one-world vision on the nations.  This utopian vision is essentially the one immortalized by John Lennon in his iconic song, “Imagine.” So intoxicating was the vision that the elite imagined it could accommodate the ruthless reality of fundamentalist Islam, expecting it to quietly take its seat at the table. When Jihadists began murdering and raping everyone in sight they tried to ignore it, telling everyone, including themselves, that Islam was a religion of peace.  

They got away with it for awhile, especially in Israel where they were able to justify the Muslim Palestinian mayhem as a legitimate grievance against Jewish colonialism. Only those Evangelicals who knew the truth rose up to stand with Israel and denounced the world’s hypocrisy, giving birth to today’s Christian Zionist movement. Yet in spite of their outcry, world leaders continued to ignore Israel’s plight. Even 9/11 failed to throw enough cold water on them.

It wasn’t until it began happening in the cities of Europe, and again in America, that the West started to wake up and realize Islam would never willing submit to anyone else’s vision. It had its own vision of bringing the world into submission to Allah under Sharia Law! The elitist dream had become a nightmare. The result was a right-wing blowback in the form of Donald Trump, and the Brexit vote in England. 

Yet, there’s a fundamental difference between Trump/Brexit and CZ, God’s counter movement to what He is doing among the nations. (Yes, Virginia, nothing happens in this world apart from God’s will.) While Trump/Brexit is clear evidence the people no longer subscribe to John Lennon’s utopia and want out, CZ is not a political movement. But simply support for Israel against the nightmare.

Historically, CZ had its beginnings in groups like the French Huguenots and Puritans who saw the Biblical prophecies of a restored Jewish homeland when there was no natural hope it could happen. And they loudly proclaimed it in spite of strong opposition from the established church, which still embraced Replacement Theology. When God was true to His word and brought Israel into being in 1948, CZ then became a stalwart ally of the Jewish nation.

But I believe the role of CZ is changing once again. In the process of standing with Israel, many awakened to the Hebraic roots of our faith and we saw that we too were included in the promises to Israel through Messiah Yeshua. “For as many as are the promises of God, in Messiah they are yes” (2 Cor. 1:20).

What’s more, this awakening brought with it another eye-opening realization - that for centuries we Christians also have been dominated by an oppressive elitist autocracy that we need to be free of. Namely, the Hellenized institutional religious system that imprisoned us when the Church merged with pagan Rome under Constantine. We learned that’s when our Hebraic roots were stripped from us.  Not only did we lose the biblical context of Yeshua’s Jewish identity, but also all understanding that we could share in the kingdom promises to Israel. In their place we were presented with a Christian Christ, fed religious placebos and led away captive into centuries of ecclesiastical tyranny.

We soon lost all sense of our true identity. We are not, and never were, “Christians.” A religion is not a peoplehood. We have always been the grafted-in seed of Abraham. “For if you belong to Messiah, you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).

So where are all these movements headed? Who knows where Trump will take America if he wins, which I expect. Or if the rest of Europe will follow Britain and exit the EU in time to roll back the Muslim invasion. Also a possibility.

But there are two things we can be certain of. First, only the Zionist movement will result in the people coming into true freedom. Not only Jews and Israel, but all the followers of Yeshua who see and understand they are included in God’s restoration of Israel and get on board in time. 

And two, no matter how the Western nations reconfigure themselves to restore law and order, perhaps in a new Pax Romana, they will eventually coalesce around one world leader who will try and destroy Israel and the knowledge of Yahweh, who alone is God. 

The earth is now being shaken. Can the heavens be far behind?

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

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Islam, Sexual Violence and the West

Originally written for the Investigative Project on Terrorism

The mass rape of hundreds of German women mostly by Muslim migrants last New Year's was recently revealed to be far worse than originally acknowledged. Authorities now believe that more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted – over twice the original estimate of 500. While more than 2,000 men were allegedly involved, only 120 suspects — about half of them recently arrived migrants — have been identified.

One explanation for why it took half a year for the full extent of the crime to be revealed is the German police's effort to avoid a public backlash against refugees. But ultimately, Holger Munch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, acknowledged to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that there is "a connection between the [sexual assaults] and the rapid migration in 2015."

Denial is not a strategy. Western countries that cherish women's rights must wake up to the fact that many migrants could challenge those values. Most of the mass migration comes from violence-plagued, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where women are second-class citizens subject to honor killings and various legal restrictions, and where the local culture often condones rape, encourages wife-beating, and treats women as sexual objects (with 72 virgins promised to Muslim men who reach heaven).

Thus, just as the mass migration from the Middle East and North Africa raises the specter of regular Islamist terror on European soil, it also augurs the kind of sexual abuse that those regions have traditionally tolerated. German officials implicitly seemed to acknowledge as much with their laughably impotent campaign to re-educate migrants using signs that explain acceptable behavior towards women.

Non-Muslim ("infidel") women are especially vulnerable to sexual assault: Christian women are often abused and denigrated in Islamic societies, as extensively exposed by Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again. The Islamic State (ISIS) regards the Yazidi, another religious minority, as devil worshippers and reportedly enslaved up to 5,000 Yazidi women, subjecting them to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and other acts of extreme brutality, like burning alive a 20-year-old girl "because she refused to perform an extreme sex act."

Saudi Arabia, arguably the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, has a legal system based on strict sharia law, which prohibits women from dressing as they wish or even driving a car. Saudi rulings are notoriously abysmal when it comes to rape. Last year, a Saudi woman was sentenced to 200 lashes after being gang raped by seven men. In 2013, a Saudi preacher who raped, tortured, and murdered his 5-year old daughter was punished with just eight years of prison, 800 lashes, and a $270,000 fine. With such legal norms, it's not surprising that when members of the country's ruling elite travel to the West, their behavior may not change accordingly (last October three women accused a Saudi prince of sexual assault in Beverly Hills). By ironic and tragic contrast, U.S. soldiers stationed in Muslim majority countries are trained to respect local norms to the point that marines stationed in Afghanistan were actually taught to look away if they find Afghanis raping children, a common local practice.

While sharia advocates often claim that the Islamic dress code protects women, the brutally unfair treatment of women by Islamists seems driven more by power-hungry male chauvinism and/or sexual insecurity than by any genuine concern for women's welfare, judging from the staggering hypocrisy of its proudest proponents. The 9/11 jihadists visited strip clubs, and paid for prostitutes in their motel rooms. Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born imam whose sermons continue to attract recruits to jihad, frequented prostitutes. Osama bin Laden had an extensive pornography collection, and is among the many examples of jihadis obsessed with porn and prostitution collected by Phyllis Chesler, a CUNY emerita professor of psychology and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Between 1997 and 2013, well before the recent mass migration to Europe began, an estimated 1,400 children had been sexually abused in Rotherham, England, predominantly by gangs of British-Pakistani men.

While that scandal involved mostly "white" victims, an Oxford-educated Pakistani-British woman revealed her own exploitation, noting that "sexual abuse has been systemically under-reported among Asian girls due to deeply entrenched cultural taboos – obscuring the reality that there is a similarly rampant problem of minority girls being abused by members of their own community."

A few weeks ago, Swedish police received 35 complaints from girls aged 12 to 17 who claimed that "foreign young men" sexually assaulted them at a popular music festival.

Soeren Kern, a distinguished senior fellow of the Gatestone Institute, compiled details of dozens of sexual assaults by migrants in Germany during the first two months of 2016, and noted the enabling reaction from "the upside-down worldview of German multiculturalism: Migrants who assault German women and children are simply rebelling against German power structures. Germans who dare to criticize such assaults are racists."

In contrast to the initial cover-up by German police of the mass rape by mostly Muslim migrants, France's top security official recently spoke with candid alarm about the threat that his country faces. Just two days before the truck-ramming, ISIS-inspired massacre in Nice, Patrick Calvar, chief of the Directorate General of Internal Security, warned members of the French parliamentary commission that France is on the verge of a "civil war" that could be sparked by the mass sexual assault of women by migrants.

There are remarkable exceptions within Islam itself, such as the Tuareg, an Islamic tribe in Africa, where women embrace sexual freedoms, dictate who gets what in divorce, and don't wear the veil because men "want to see their beautiful faces." But how long can the Tuareg's enlightened version of Islam survive in southwest Libya when ISIS is expanding there, or in Mali, Niger and northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is on the march?

There are also brave Muslim reformers trying to improve the way Islam treats women. However, they mostly operate in the West, where they still face death threats; one example is Irshad Manji. Another, Fadela Amara, founded Ni Putes Ni Soumises, a group that defends Muslim French girls against the pressures they face to wear the hijab, drop out of school, and marry early without the right to choose their husband. Amara went on to serve in the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, but she, too, received death threats for her efforts to liberate Muslim women.

Muslim feminists outside of the West assume far greater risks. Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel ‎Baloch, who openly expressed her feminist views online, was recently strangled to death by her brother in their family's home, in an "honor killing." Her "intolerable behavior" is what drove him to murder her, he said, because her risqué persona was bringing "dishonor" to the family. There are an estimated 1,000 honor killings per year in Pakistan.

Even in the West, few feminists dare to criticize Islam because doing so can invite threats and violence. Absurdly, those brave enough to do so also risk being prosecuted for "hate speech."

Western countries must support courageous Muslim reformers while protecting all women living in their territories from the sexual abuse often encouraged by Islamist culture – whether that abuse is perpetrated by recent immigrants or long-time residents. The survival of the West depends on it.

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

 

Want to Boycott Israel? This Might Change Your Mind

It is a sad reality that not only do so many Christians fail to recognize the prophetic nature of Israel's modern rebirth, many of them are actually leading the charge to boycott the Jewish state.

Check out this video by two Israeli believers who explain why that is a very problematic position for Bible-believers to support.

 

Indians are 'Red' and Settlers are 'Dangerous'

Israel Today speaks to a "radical" Jewish settler spokesman to see if they are really as bad as the media says they are.

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

 

US Democrats Reassert Pro-Israel Standing

After Democratic Party activists filmed themselves burning an Israeli flag outside the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, party officials were quick to reassert their pro-Israel standing.

Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “strongly condemns this kind of hatred,” Clinton’s Jewish outreach director, Sarah Bard, told The Jerusalem Post. “Burning the Israeli flag is a reckless act that undermines peace and our values.”

Speaking to members of the American Jewish Committee at the convention, Clinton adviser Wendy Sherman said the candidate had issued “very direct instructions” that the official Democratic Party platform remain pro-Israel.

Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, was spotted at the convention on Wednesday wearing a lapel pin with Hillary’s name in Hebrew.

At the same time a small group of Democrat activists were burning an Israeli flag, Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, was adding his name to a request to appropriate $320 million for Israeli missile defense.

Not to be outdone, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told reporters at a campaign stop in Florida on Wednesday, “I back Israel 100 percent.”

Trump suggested that he could take a pre-election campaign trip to Israel in the coming months, and further lambasted the Obama Administration, of which Clinton was a part, as “the single worst thing politically that could happen to Israel.”

In remarks reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday, former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani claimed that Israeli leaders had told him they prefer Trump over Clinton as the next US president.

 

Does Jewish History and 'Chosenness' Matter?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has made Yuval Noah Harari a household name in Israel. The book purports to record some 70,000 years of the human history, raising the question of whether it is a historical study or a narrative. 

The difference between historical study and narrative is as deep as the ocean. Historical study produces a story about what actually happened. Narrative is a story designed to convince the reader of what should happen. 

Narrative should be regarded as a novel, where the author can play with facts as he or she wishes. More pointedly, narrative is history in the service of ideology. 

The confusion between history and narrative is best demonstrated by Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Though this is a novel, the author's creative use of historical facts has duped millions into believing the book is factual.

Harari was criticized for essentially omitting Jewish history from his "historical" survey, and later explained in an article for the daily Haaretz why he regards Jewish history as marginal at best. His explanation substantiates the notion that A Brief History of Humankind is an ideology-driven narrative seeking to dethrone Israel from its imagined grandiose position as a chosen people.

"Judaism," Harari writes, "was and still is a tribal, self-absorbed religion that cares much about the fate of a very small people and the history of a very tiny country, and little about the wellbeing of humanity." The author then laments the fact that students in Israeli public schools are being taught that "Israel is the central axis of human history." 

Even the loftiest expression of Jewish morality as contained in the Ten Commandments is anything but original. "We know today," asserts Harari, that "moral rules are not specifically unique to homo sapiens, they are operative also among other social animals such as wolves, dolphins and monkeys."

Furthermore, according to Harari, "many of the biblical rules are nothing more than a copy of accepted norms in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Canaan that have existed hundreds and thousands of years before the kingdoms of Israel and Judea." Important as it may be, "initially Jewish morality was developed as a narrow-minded, tribal kind of morality, and to a large extent remains so until today."

Having deprived Judaism of any intrinsic value, Harari is careful to clarify that he is no anti-Semite. Quite the contrary, in his estimation. Delivering a final blow in his atheistic diatribe, Harari declares that the true "anti-Semites [are those] who attribute to Judaism a unique importance." 

In this magnificent curveball, Harari is hoping to turn the tables in such a way as to make faithful Jews and Christians into the real anti-Semites.

Though Harari himself is anything but unique in manipulating history to demolish faith, his popularity makes him a powerful agent of change that if not challenged properly could bring an end to the Jewish people and the Jewish state. 

Needless to say, from the faithful's point of view, Harari's dream of putting an end to the notion of a "chosen people" will cause nothing but global calamity. Those who believe that for there to be a creation there must be a creator, are also inclined to believe that the creator's promise to bless all the people of the earth through the seed of Abraham is far more realistic than Harari's fantastic novel.

 

Religious War or National Conflict?

Israel Today surveyed average Israelis and spoke to respected academic authorities regarding the true nature of the Middle East conflict.

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

 

Americans Burning Israeli Flags

Folks over here are used to seeing Palestinians and Iranians burning the Israeli flag. But it was a bit of a shocker to see Americans doing the same on Tuesday.

Especially at the national convention of the Democratic Party, which so often and so adamantly asserts that it is a true friend of the Jewish state.

Both inside and outside the convention center, disunity in the Democratic Party was apparent as supporters of candidate Bernie Sanders caused a ruckus over the nomination of Hillary Clinton.

Elements within the Democratic Party that are hostile toward Israel took advantage of the situation.

In a video posted online, one protestor is seen setting an Israeli flag alight, while another waves a Palestinian flag nearby. Others chant “Long Live the Intifada” - a call of support for the Palestinian terrorist campaign plaguing Israel.

A day earlier, members of the same “progressive” movement held aloft a Palestinian flag inside the convention center.

During his campaign, Sanders, despite being Jewish, broke sharply with traditional bi-partisan support for Israel, and on occasion struck a decidedly anti-Israel tone.

 

Israel Demands Abbas Stop Honoring Terrorists

Israel’s Foreign Ministry launched a social media campaign this month to convince the Palestinian leadership to stop honoring deceased terrorists, a practice that makes genuine peace nearly impossible to achieve.

The focal point of the campaign was the Palestinian Authority’s decision to erect a monument to Abu Sukar (Ahmed Jabara) who in 1975 detonated a refrigerator bomb in Jerusalem’s Zion Square killing 15 Israelis and wounding another 77.

American-born Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold actually witnessed that attack as a young student in Jerusalem.

“Suddenly I heard a huge explosion. I turned around and saw bodies everywhere,” Gold recalls in a video clip accompanying the social media posts.

Gold goes on to note that for a viable peace agreement to be reached, the Palestinians must start honoring their decades-old obligation to educate their population for coexistence, and stop glorifying those who only sought destruction.

“We’re not going to be able to get very far in negotiations, because negotiation requires a culture of peace, not a culture of death,” he tells the Palestinians, and all those involved in the Middle East peace process.

But most believe it is wishful thinking to even entertain the notion that the Palestinian leadership will end its incitement against Israel.

After all, it was the PLO, which is today headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, that claimed credit for the Zion Square bombing.

Abu Sukar was captured following the attack and sentenced to life in prison, but was released in 2003 as part of a goodwill gesture toward Abbas’ predecessor and mentor, Yasser Arafat.

After his release, Abu Sukar wasted no time encouraging Palestinians to kidnap Israelis. But that didn’t stop him from being appointed to a government position in the Palestinian Authority.

 

Will Yet Another Israelite Save Egypt From Famine?

Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent historic visit to Africa didn't receive proper coverage in the media. Behind the ceremonies and mutual compliments lies a fundamental recognition that Israel is a power to be reckoned with, and not just in terms of raw military strength. 

African nations are fascinated with Israeli ingenuity. Being less influenced by the African-Arab countries, Kenya and Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania are now looking forward to African-Israeli cooperation. According to Netanyahu, the African leaders spoke with him about the need for "regional and international cooperation in all areas, including cyber-defense, data-gathering, promotion of new technologies and development."

Following Netanyahu's foray, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Israel. Those familiar with Israeli-Egyptian diplomatic relationships know how exceptionally rare this visit was. The arrival of such a high-ranking Egyptian official right after Netanyahu's successful visit to Africa could be seen as acknowledgement that Egypt needs Israel as a trusted arbiter in Egypt-Ethiopia negotiations regarding the allocation of Nile waters. And, indeed, that would be a most interesting reversal of roles.

Zvi Bar'el (Haaretz) and Evgeni Klauber (Mida) have both proposed that Shoukry's visit has to do with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that is supposed to be finished next year. This dam will dramatically affect the flow of the Nile upon which Egypt's entire livelihood depends. 

Since 2011, Ethiopia has to date spent $4.8 billion on the project, which aims to dam the Blue Nile near the Sudanese border. Ethiopians take great pride in the project and believe that "the Blue Nile river - in the Bible it is called Gyion [Gihon], being one of the three rivers that water the Garden of Eden." 

But the dam will impact nearly all of the Nile waters, making it a direct challenge to the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between Sudan and Egypt, which The Ethiopian Herald has termed "the Faustian agreement by Egypt and Sudan under the British colonizers."

In 1970, then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said that it was better for Egyptian soldiers to die on the battlefields of Ethiopia than to die of thirst in their own country. Three years ago, former-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi made it clear that "Egypt’s water security cannot be violated at all" and that "as president of the state, I confirm to you that all options are open."

Amidst such high tension these two countries need a third party that both can trust. Last year it was Palestinian official Mohammed Dahlan who mediated the dam agreement. The drastic pushing aside of the Palestinians in favor of Netanyahu is a clear indication of the deep, often unseen, African change of attitude toward Israel.

PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Jerusalem, on July 10, 2016 (Flash90)

 

Do We Have the Faith of Our Fathers?

Or do we just have a religion?

For most people, the word “faith” is but a synonym for “religion.” People ask, “What faith are you?” Meaning, are you Christian? Jewish? Hindu?

But in the Bible, “faith” is not presented as a religion in the traditional sense. Rather it is revealed as the unshakeable conviction that the words we heard God speak to our heart are absolutely true. “Faith comes from hearing” (Rom. 10:17). And our faith is revealed when we act upon those words as father Abraham did. 

That means, no religion should be termed a “faith,” because no faith is needed to practice a religion. “Religion,” from the Latin word religari, means “to bind.” It simply binds its adherents to a written set of doctrines and practices that only require intellectual assent and will power. It is something any devout follower can subscribe to without exercising a shred of faith.

In short, religion is law. And law and faith, like oil and water, don’t mix. It matters not if it is the very Law of God handed to Moses on Mount Sinai (Gal. 3:12). Or the man-made rules imposed on Christians from church councils. Or Sharia as quoted from the Koran to Moslem. It’s all an attempt to gain the approval of Deity by obedient performance – not by faith. 

The truth is God could care less about all our religious attempts to gain favor with Him, “For without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). 

Now I raise this issue because I see how a fundamental misunderstanding about “faith” could become a hindrance to building a deeper relationship between Christians and Jews who love Israel. For it is written, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) And how can we “be agreed” if our core beliefs are tied to incompatible, and at times hostile, religious systems? 

Worse, the two religions of Christianity and Judaism today have so many variations it’s hard to say which one truly represents our respective beliefs. For a Roman Catholic is as different from a Quaker in his theology and practices, as a Lubavitcher from a Reconstructionist.

Yet, in spite of all the obstacles, a new warmth has blossomed between us, knitting the faith-filled members of our two communities together in a way not seen since the first century. It‘s a warmth that can only be understood as divine intervention. The question is, how do we keep our religious differences from smothering what God has started?  For there are certainly many on each side who would see us retreat again behind doctrinal walls.  It is a pressure we must resist at all costs! 

I believe the way forward is to realize that we who love Israel represent the only two communities on earth actually founded on faith. And we each need to grab hold of that understanding with both hands. Because even though no religion can be considered true faith, faith could be described as God’s one true “religion.” As both God’s prophet and apostle have declared, “The righteous man will live by faith” (Hab. 3:4; Gal. 3:11).

It was this foundational principle that gained Abraham the most ringing endorsement found anywhere in Scripture: “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6). That’s why Isaiah points to him as our model: “Listen to me you who pursue righteousness, who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father…when he was but one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him” (Isaiah 51: 1,2).

The first thing we should learn from Abraham is that righteousness is a reward for faith, not for obedience. Otherwise it would have been written, “Abraham _obeyed _God, and it was reckoned to him as righteous.” Obedience must follow belief, but it is no substitute. 

Unfortunately, both Christians and Jews have historically put obedience to religious precepts first. It certainly tripped up many Jews when Messiah came in the first century. “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own [through obedience to the Law] they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). And it will also trip up many Christians who are not walking in faith at his second coming. 

Obviously, Christians and Jews are not on the same page yet about Yeshua being the means to obtaining God’s righteousness. Nevertheless, many in both camps do believe God is restoring Israel today.

 We just need to nourish that faith and let the love of God heal the wounds we‘ve inflicted upon each other over the centuries. 

Brian Hennessy is author of Valley of the Steeples

 

Pokemon Go Banned On IDF Bases

Nintendo’s viral mobile hit game Pokemon Go has been deemed a security risk by the IDF and banned on all Israeli military bases.

The IDF’s Security Division this week determined that because Pokemon Go activates a mobile phone’s camera and location sensors (GPS) it could be exploited by hostile elements to locate Israeli military installations.

A further concern is that a number of look-alike apps have made their way into mobile app stores, and are being downloaded by millions who believe they are downloading Pokemon Go.

As a result, IDF officers and enlisted soldiers have been ordered not to play Pokemon Go while on base.

 

Whoever is on Yehovah's side - come to me! Exodus 32:26

Do you remember the moment that Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the Tablets?
Do you remember what he saw when he came down from the mountain?
And what he did when he saw what he saw?

Do you remember the moment before Moses came down from the mountain?
The moment that Moses was full of modesty and humility,
As he resisted the great temptation when God tried to seduce him
Which would have turned him into a great gentile.
Then he came down, saw the calf, broke the tablets and let out a great cry

Moses wanted to restore the nation and needed help. He wasn’t up to the task alone. And shouted...

And the Levites joined him. They were used as a bridge between the people and God.
What a desirable role they received.

And likewise we at Israel Today know that alone we are not up to the task
We need you in order to be a bridge between the nations and the people of Israel
And we offer the same call.

Exodus 32:26



 

Arab Man Attacked Over Pro-Israel Stance

Khaled Abu Mokh is an Israeli Arab Muslim who loves the Jewish state. He works at a hotel in Jerusalem, together with a number of other Israeli Arabs. Last week, one of those Arab co-workers violently attacked Abu Mokh over his pro-Israel stance.

The confrontation began when a fellow Arab co-worker used his coffee break to surf Facebook, where he saw that Khaled’s profile picture included an Israeli flag. The co-worker began to verbally abuse and threaten Khaled.

After work, Khaled headed home, but was chased down by the co-worker, who hurled a stone at his head. Khaled was taken to a local hospital with mild trauma and requiring several stitches.

Following his ordeal, Khaled told Israel’s Channel 20 News that he is used to such responses from “extremist” elements in the Arab community, but insisted that he will not be broken by them.

“We must not be afraid of them,” said the brave young Arab man. “I was raised [in Israel]. I open my eyes and see the flag of the nation where I was born. It is not the flag of Palestine. It is the Star of David. That is how my mother raised me.”

Khaled concluded by stating adamantly that the attack against him will only “strengthen my love for this amazing nation, and I am not alone. There are many Israeli Arabs who are no longer prepared to live in fear.”

 

Interview With Tel Aviv Terror Shooting Victim

Our favorite Israeli Messianic IDF soldier, Hananya Naftali, has posted a new YouTube in his ongoing series to better explain what is happening in the Holy Land to those watching from abroad.

In his latest installment, Hananya interviews Asaf Bar, one of 16 people wounded when Palestinian Arab terrorists opened fire in a popular Tel Aviv restaurant last month.

Four people were killed in that attack, and Asaf’s own survival was deemed “miraculous” after he suffered two gunshot wounds to the head.

 

"Je Suis Israel?"

Blue-white-red striped faces expressing solidarity with the victims of the attacks in France. Black-yellow-red flags draped across profile pictures. Recently the hashtag #PrayForGermay was used to express solidarity, compassion and the outpouring of grief after attacks in Germany.

Did anyone see "Je Suis Israel" on social network profiles? Anyone drape their facebook profile picture in blue and white? After all Israel suffers, and has been suffering, from terror attacks on an ongoing basis.

Show YOUR colors now and express your solidarity with Israel!

* Offer only valid until July 31, 2016!


 

Poll: Israelis Want 'Pride' Parades Out of City Centers

An estimated 20,000 people packed downtown Jerusalem during last week’s “Gay Pride” parade, while some 2,000 police ensured their safety.

A survey conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University on behalf of Walla! News found that most Israelis want “pride” parades to be banned in city centers.

A 50 percent majority of respondents opposed allowing these parades on main thoroughfares, while 44 percent supported it. A similar position was taken by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who decided against participating in the parade since it is deemed so offensive by a majority of his city’s residents.

However, only 27 percent of poll respondents called to ban “Gay Pride” parades altogether, and a firm 71 percent majority rejected recent anti-homosexual remarks by prominent rabbis.

 

Europe: Israel is Fighting YOUR War

In the wake of the Munich shooting and other recent terror attacks on European soil, this message is more relevant than ever.

The Islamist pro-Palestinian movements that liberal Europeans so love to support are cut from the same cloth as the organizations currently slaughtering innocent people in France, Germany and elsewhere on the continent.

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