Photo Credit: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Monday told reporters that the “de-escalation zones” his country set up in Syria with in collaboration with Iran and Turkey should not be turned into “zones of other countries’ influence,” TASS reported.
Back in September, Russia, Turkey and Iran convened in the Kazakh capital, Astana, and agreed to set up de-escalation zones in Syria for six months, where the rebel forces, in whose territory said zones are located, would rely on guarantees by the three invading countries that no harm would come to them. Israel, which, obviously, was not included in the agreement, warned against the creation of one of those “peaceful” zones at its door, in the Quneitra area, in southern Syria.
Naturally, the first thing the Iranians have done following the agreement, was to try to dominate the de-escalation zones, free from Russian interference, and last Feb. 10 used one of its military bases, acquired from the Syrian regime, to send a drone into Israeli airspace, starting a local war.
That day, the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying, “Our special concern is the threat of escalation of tension inside and around the zones of de-escalation in Syria, the creation of which became an important factor for reduction of violence on the Syrian soil.”
No such reduction of violence has been recorded, in fact, those de-escalation zones have become battlefields between rebel forces and the invaders, with high civilian casualties just a day ago in Eastern Ghouta.
Which is why Deputy FM Bogdanov said that “the zones are necessary from the point of view of ending warfare, but at the same time it is impermissible to see the de-escalation zones turning into zones of influence of foreign states.”
Seeing as only three foreign states are involved, and one of them Bogdanov probably wasn’t criticizing, it stands to reason his warning was directed at Iran, with whose support the Syrian regime just massacred 71, including civilians and children in Eastern Ghouta.
The de-escalation zones are obviously not working as intended, and their title should be replaced with the more apt “killing fields.”
At the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif poked fun in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation of a piece of the Iranian drone, with a threat to “act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us but also against Iran itself.” The Iranian FM told the conference, “You were the audience for a cartoonish circus just this morning, which does not even deserve the dignity of a response.”
Clearly, what gave the security conference a “cartoonish” flavor was the fact that a senior official of the world’s largest exporter of terrorism had been invited to speak there, as was articulated by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who told the conference that Iran is busy training a number of terrorist armies and conducts terrorist operations against the entire civilized world.
Iran’s Expediency Council head Mohsen Rezaie says Iran will “not give any opportunity for Netanyahu to flee” with his life if Israel strikes Islamic republic • Rezaie: U.S, Israel “don’t understand” Iran’s power and will “continuously face defeat.”
Iran issued a harsh warning to Israel on Monday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fiery speech at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference, in which he made it clear Israel will not tolerate Iranian aggression.
“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” Netanyahu said. “We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves, and we will act, if necessary, not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”
As part of the speech, the prime minister presented conference goers with a piece of an Iranian drone that breached Israeli airspace on Feb. 10.
“About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground,” said Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council and former chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, according to a CNN report.
Rezaie also said he will “not give any opportunity for Netanyahu to flee” with his life if Israel strikes Iran, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
Dismissing Netanyahu’s address as a “theatrical move and a childish game,” Rezaei said that “U.S. and Israeli leaders don’t know Iran and don’t understand the power of resistance, and therefore they continuously face defeat.
“Today, the situation of the U.S. and Israel indicates their fear of the Zionist regime’s collapse and of the U.S.’s decline,” he stated.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Netanyahu’s speech, saying that “you were the audience for a cartoonish circus just this morning, which does not even deserve a dignity of a response.”
Tensions between Iran and Israel have escalated in the past few months.
Last week’s Iranian drone incursion met a harsh Israeli response, which saw Israeli fighter jets attack 12 targets in Syria, including four Iranian assets, among them the drone’s command post near Palmyra. Massive Syrian anti-aircraft fire was, however, able to down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, which crashed on the Israeli side of the border.
“Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said Hashem: Surely, on that day, when My people Yisrael are living secure, you will take note, and you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty arm.” Ezekiel 38:14 (The Israel Bible™)
Israel and Iran made direct military contact on Saturday for the first time, signaling a significant escalation in the multinational entanglement in Syria. This development contains unique elements that several end-of-days experts say presages the Messianic war of Gog and Magog.
On Shabbat at around 4 AM, Iran sent a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) into Israeli airspace from a base in Syria. An Israeli Air Force (IAF) Apache helicopter shot down the UAV, and Israel subsequently launched multiple airstrikes inside Syria. Syria launched a barrage of surface-to-air-missiles (SAM) at the Israeli warplanes, damaging one F-16 and forcing the two-man crew to eject with one pilot suffering serious injuries. This was the first time since 2006 that an Israeli warplane had been shot down by an enemy and the first time that an Iranian drone entered Israel.
The confrontation on Saturday marks a serious escalation in an already volatile region that brings the armies of many nations in closer proximity with one another. This explosive mix is coming to a boil and last week, two other aircrafts were shot down. One of the aircrafts, a Turkish plane, was shot down on Saturday and a Russian close-support SU-25 one week earlier.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author and educator, believes that the confrontation on Saturday may very well have been a major step in the Geula (redemption) process.
“In many aspects, the situation in Syria conforms to the descriptions in the prophecies of the War of Gog and Magog,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “What happened on Shabbat could easily be the trigger to set off. Shooting down an airplane, especially inside Israeli airspace as was the case with the F-16, is an act of war.”
The rabbi noted that the War of Gog and Magog is supposed to begin in the North but that one essential factor mentioned in Ezekiel and hinting to Iran’s role had been missing up until now.
I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws, and lead you out with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all of them clothed in splendor, a vast assembly, all of them with bucklers and shields, wielding swords. Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet; Ezekiel 38:4-5
“Iran is the modern incarnation of Persia and though they have been openly antagonistic towards Israel,” Rabbi Winston noted. “Saturday marked the first time they have come into direct contact with Israel.”
Rabbi Winston emphasized that the escalation on Israel’s Syrian border over the weekend may have helped actualize a step in the process of Geula. He explained that the War of Gog and Magog is the second part of a two stage process for the Messiah’s arrival.
“There are two stages to redemption,” he elaborated. “P’keda (preparation) and zechira the (actualization).”
“P’keda clearly culminated in the formation of the State of Israel and included the building up of the land,” he continued. “The only thing missing right now is the stage of zechira which includes the War of Gog and Magog. This is a much more active process that culminates in the return of the shechina (divine presence) to Israel.”
“The Arabs will play a major role in zechira because they are from Ishmael, which means ‘hear God,’” Rabbi Winston added. “Their function is to make the Jews listen to God and to wake us up to action.”
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the Rabbi in charge of the site of King David’s Tomb, is also convinced that the events on Saturday helped hasten the Messianic process.
“I recently heard from several hidden tzaddikim (righteous individuals) that the war of Gog and Magog had finally begun,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News.
Rabbi Berger also noted that in many significant ways, the situation is different from confrontations that Israel has faced in the past.
“Since Israel became a state, we have faced coalitions of Arab states that joined together against us,” he said. “This is the first time that a coalition of foreign nations faces another coalition of foreign nations, precisely as the War of Gog and Magog is described.”
“Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said Hashem: Surely, on that day, when My people Yisrael are living secure, you will take note, and you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty arm. Ezekiel 38:14-15
Rabbi Berger cited an esoteric source for there being a coalition of foreign nations in the War of Gog and Magog. Rabbi Haim Shvili, a 20th-century Jewish mystic wrote a book of predictions concerning the Messiah in 1935. Remarkably, Rabbi Shvili understands the prophet Ezekiel to foresee the War of Gog and Magog as being launched by a Russian-led coalition.
O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him Ezekiel 38:2
Rabbi Shvili understood the Hebrew word in the verse, rosh (chief) as identifying Russia to be the leader of the Gog and Magog coalition. Rabbi Shvili predicted that the Russian-led coalition will be opposed by a coalition of comparable size, comprising soldiers from all 70 nations.
Rabbi Berger emphasized that the participation of foreign armies in the War of Gog and Magog is a necessary condition for revealing God’s greatness to all the nations involved in the war.
Thus will I manifest My greatness and My holiness, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations. And they shall know that I am Hashem. Ezekiel 38:23
Rabbi Berger noted, however, that the developing situation in Syria differs from the War of Gog and Magog as described by the prophets in at least one significant aspect.
“The prophets say that the war will be fought inside Israel and will reach Jerusalem,” Rabbi Berger said.
Citing his father, Rabbi Sholom Berger, a prominent Hasidic rabbi with thousands of followers in Israel, Rabbi Yosef Burger said that “as an act of mercy to the Jews, the war will not be fought in Israel.”
“My heart tells me that God has mercy on Israel. Despite what the prophets prophesized that the War of Gog and Magog needs to be inside Jerusalem, God is sweetening the judgment and is making this war happen in Syria,” he stated.
“In the future, the gates of Jerusalem will reach Damascus,’” he continued, quoting Sifre, a medieval collection of homiletic Biblical stories. “In that case, instead of the war being inside Jerusalem, and the people of Israel suffering as a result, God has extended Jerusalem to include Damascus in order that the enormous war will be there like we are seeing now,” he explained.
Rabbi Winston said that events on Saturday should be clear even to those who do not accept Biblical and mystic sources.
“The main thing is what is happening over here. Iran is moving in and Russia is not reliable,’ Rabbi Winston said. “It is not a matter of whether or not the War of Gog and Magog is coming. It is a matter of time and at this point, we are counting the days.”
‘Largest military base in world’ building up across Israel’s border
( Editor George Duke- Over the past many years the world has been in a coma beleiving every lie that has been spoken by politicians that have cheated, lied, stole, and made deals for monetary gain instead of standing for what was right or for what they had promised their constituents. Politicians enter into the political arena poor and leave wealthy and the ignorant continue to put them back into office. Also many Christian people continue to sleep as the world marches onward toward the brink of the war of Armageddon. Forces from around the world are building around Isreal to destroy her very existance. But Christians still continue to sleep beleiving that lie that was perpetrated that it is not yet time. Muslims are slowly capturing our Christian nations and we continue to allow it to occur. WAKE UP CHRISTIANS AND SMELL THE (roses) TIME THAT YOU ARE SLEEPING IN. IT STINKS )
The fuse to light the powder keg that is the Middle East continues its slow burn, as Israel’s enemies mass huge stockpiles of weapons in Syria and Lebanon pointed alarmingly at the Jewish people.
“The combined territories that Iran and Hezbollah controls in Lebanon and parts of Syria is the largest military base in the world right now,” U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher told radio host Hugh Hewitt on February 14th.
Rep. Gallagher serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He also spent seven years as a Marine on active duty as a counterintelligence/human intelligence officer in the Middle East and North Africa and aided General Petraeus’s Central Command Assessment Team.
He believes the biggest story in the Middle East in the last six years has been the rise of the Iranian-Russia axis.
“The Iranian threat network has advanced across the Middle East,” he observes. “Certainly in places like Lebanon, Hezbollah has transformed hundreds of villages into military strongholds, effectively conscripting human shields who will become human casualties blamed on Israel.”
It is difficult to believe the weapons being amassed are purely for defensive purposes. “They have stockpiled 180,000 rockets and missiles across Lebanon and 70,000 rockets in Syria, that have transformed key parts of Syria into effectively a military base.
“That’s 250,000 rockets – many hidden under human shields that they can use to impose an enormous cost on Israel.”
Ironically, Americans may have inadvertently bankrolled some of the weaponry. “By the way, a lot of this was financed by money we gave them for the nuclear deal,” Rep. Gallagher asserted. “Think about how this threatens Israel!”
“I don’t think we fully grasp what the cost of this conflict could be. I don’t think the Israelis have faced a threat like this since 1973, maybe ever. I don’t think we’ve grasped the cost caused by Hezbollah’s use of human shields. More than 80 % of their assets are in civilian areas.”
Rep. Gallagher believes it is an urgent priority for the U.S. to develop a clear end-game in Syria. “We need to aggressively back Israel’s moves in Syria,” he told Hewitt. “I think we should explicitly recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights considering Hezbollah is trying to claim that territory and use that territory as a staging ground for a future attack against Israel.
“They have boasted about their ability to launch an effective ground campaign against Israel, using in part, very sophisticated tunnel networks they have built in those areas.”
Hezbollah stated that the recent downing of the F-16 marks the beginning of a “new strategic phase” that will end Israeli violations of Syrian airspace. “I think we should take them at their word and start gearing up for how serious this situation is,” Rep. Gallagher warned.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt noted the complexity of Syria. “It is an archipelago of gangs and warlords. Assad has his rule over Damascus and he’s a brutal dictator and they are executing people in his prisons. But we have a slice of Syria, the Russians have a slice of Syria, Iran has a slice of Syria…there are gangs everywhere, there is the Free Syrian Army, a centrist Kurdish group, a left wing Kurdish group…and Turkey has invaded and is marching toward us!”
To further complicate matters, U.S. backing of 60,000 Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes a mix of Kurdish forces and non-Kurdish forces, has caused a rift between the U.S. and Turkey.
“We have to find a way – as difficult as it will be — to get on the same page with Turkey,” Rep. Gallagher said. “I think we can do that without surrendering our support of the Kurds as long as we signal that our support for the Kurds doesn’t mean support for the PKK. I don’t how to make a strategy work in Syria unless Turkey secures their own border.”
“We can’t allow the Iranian-Russia axis to turn into an Iranian-Russian-Turkish axis. That would be an absolute disaster for us.”
Rep. Gallagher says one intermediate goal for U.S. policy should be to deny Iran a land bridge that links their efforts from Tehran through Baghdad to Damascus and Lebanon. “Right now they effectively have that land bridge. I think we should push back aggressively against all advances by Iran and their proxies in the region.”
In 2017, Rep. Gallagher worked to get a bill passed sanctioning Hezbollah for their use of human shields. He would like to see the Senate take up the matter as well.
Mainline media outlets have been conspicuously silent about overt threats to the State of Israel. Together, let’s understand why these recent threats are relevant and should be troubling for Americans and especially those who follow Christ.As you may know, when Israel became a nation again in 1948, a land dispute erupted. To this day, Israelis and Palestinians claim a right to the same land.
For years, conflict resolution strategies have boiled down to how or whether to divide the land between these two peoples. The last peace talks broke down in 2014.
Now, the conflict is heating up again.
The key points of the current situation are as follows:
This past fall Hamas told President Trump it would “wipe out Israel.”
Also several months ago, leaders of Hamas met in Iran prompting concern from U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Even more recently, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, threated to bomb Tel Aviv.
November 2 marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a letter which helped Israel become a nation. Hamas and Palestinian Arabs are called on Great Britain to apologize for the “crime of the Balfour Declaration.”
There is talk that President Trump is close to unveiling an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. While some dismiss the notion, a senior U.S. official told the Times of Israel the U.S. is engaged in “productive dialogue with all relevant parties about an enduring peace deal.”
So why should you pay attention to these threats against Israel? Here are five reasons:
1. HAMAS (AND OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS) DON’T WANT PEACE WITH ISRAEL; THEY WANT GENOCIDE.
While versions of the “two-state solution” proposed by various world leaders throughout the years would allow Palestine and Israel to live side-by-side as independent nations, Hamas isn’t interested. According to its 1988 charter, Hamas plans to “obliterate” Israel and raise the “banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” In truth, Hamas wants Jewish genocide.
2. CHRISTIANS ARE INDEBTED TO JEWS FOR THEIR SPIRITUAL HERITAGE.
The apostle Paul taught that, since Gentile Christians share in the Jewish spiritual blessings, they should also be of service to the Jews (Romans 15:27). The Jews laid the foundation of our faith, giving us the Old Testament, our Messiah, the prophets, and apostles. Without a doubt, Christians should demonstrate concern for the Jewish people as well as the land where Jesus lived and will return (Zechariah 14:4).
3. ANTI-SEMITISM IS RISING, AND CHRISTIANS NEED TO THINK COUNTER-CULTURALLY.
Charlottesville was proof that anti-Semitism is rising in the United States. As Jonathan Miller warned back in 2012, Hamas would like nothing more than to win the hearts and minds of Americans: “If they can provoke Israel to unintentionally kill enough innocent Palestinian civilians — and effectively use the media to paint themselves as the heroic blood-stained victim — then perhaps enough liberals will join in their efforts to wipe the Jewish State off the map.”
4. HAMAS IS NURTURING AN ALLIANCE WITH IRAN.
Collaboration between Hamas and Iran is concerning because, just last June, Iranian protesters took to the streets chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” Furthermore, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once warned the United Nations, a nuclear-armed Iran would pose the “gravest threat to us all.”
5. IT WILL HELP YOU KNOW HOW TO PRAY.
First, the Bible commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Since both Palestinian Arabs and Jews claim Jerusalem as their capital, now is the time to take that verse seriously. (God loves both peoples. The Palestinians and Israelis each deserve a homeland of their own that is secure.)
Second, record-numbers of Muslims are reportedly seeing visions of Jesus and following Him. (Read about it here, here, and here.) Therefore, join me in praying that leaders of Hamas and Iran will see visions of Jesus and follow the Messiah and Prince of Peace.
After all, no person is beyond God’s love and reach. As former enemies of God, followers of Christ are living proof of this truth (Colossians 1:21-22).
“Moshe and Aharon did just as Hashem commanded: he lifted up the rod and struck the water in the Nile in the sight of Pharaoh and his courtiers, and all the water in the Nile was turned into blood.” Exodus 7:20 (The Israel Bible™)
The Molchanka river in Siberia turned into a blood-red estuary on Tuesday. The Russian news agency TASS described the sudden transformation as a “Biblical Bombshell,” comparing what happened the Molchanka river to the first plague of Egypt in the Biblical story of Passover.
Moshe and Aharon did just as Hashem commanded: he lifted up the rod and struck the water in the Nile in the sight of Pharaoh and his courtiers, and all the water in the Nile was turned into blood Exodus 7:20
Notwithstanding the comparison made by TASS, local officials are still searching for a more natural explanation. Galina Yevseeva, the spokesperson for the Tyumen region, told TASS that experts in the regional department of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), the Russian agency responsible for environmental concerns, were investigating the cause of the shocking crimson color. Water samples were sent to the Center for Epidemiology in charge of public health where they are still conducting tests to check for toxic pollution.
“So far we have no assumptions what it could be,” Yevseeva said to TASS. “We have never dealt with this before so we are waiting for the results of the test.”
Last week, Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority officials at the Kerem Shalom crossing thwarted an attempt to smuggle crates containing dual use substances used in the manufacturing of explosive devices. The materials were discovered within a shipment of medical equipment en route to the Gaza Strip.
The materials seized by the examiners were taken to a laboratory for testing. The lab identified the substances as a central component used in the preparation of explosive charges and in the high-trajectory industry within the Gaza Strip. An investigation is currently being carried out by the Israeli Police and other security forces.
The laboratory for substance identification was set up several months ago at the Kerem Shalom crossing in order to locate problematic materials whose entry into the Gaza Strip is forbidden for fear of reaching terrorist forces. Using advanced equipment, the lab tests a wide range of materials, from gases, liquids, powders, solids, metals and others before they enter the Gaza Strip.
The laboratory is a joint project of the MOD Crossing Authority, the Israel Security Agency, and Israel Police Crossing Department of the Israel Police- whose operational purpose is to identify the type of material within as short a time frame as possible from the point of sampling. This is in order to minimize the danger to crossing officials and in order to improve the quality of service and to minimize as much as possible any delays in the entry of goods into Gaza.
This discovery joins the dozens of smuggling attempts foiled by Kerem Shalom Crossing Authority employees during 2017.
An ancient pool unearthed by archaeologists near Jerusalem is being linked to where St Philip may have baptised the Ethiopian eunuch.
The large pool is part of a system of a network built during the Byzantine era and discovered at Ein Hanniya Park between 2012 and 2016, officials said on Wednesday according to the New York Post. They date back to between the 4th and 6th centuries AD, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority, and are typical of royal structures during the First Temple period 960 BC and 586 BC.
It is unclear what the pool would have been used for, experts said.
‘It’s difficult to know what the pool was used for — whether for irrigation, washing, landscaping or perhaps as part of baptismal ceremonies at the site,’ said Irina Zilberbod, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Ancient coins, pottery and glass also found at Ein Hanniya site suggest it was also a hive of activity between the 4th and 6th centuries BC.
‘We believe that some early Christian commentators identified Ein Hanniya as the site where the Ethiopian eunuch was baptised, as described in Acts 8:26–40,’ Jerusalem district archaeologist Dr Yuval Baruch said in a statement.
‘The baptism of the eunuch by St Philip was one of the key events in the spread of Christianity. Therefore, identifying the place where it occurred occupied scholars for many generations and became a common motif in Christian art.’
Listening to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset last week was a euphoric experience. Pence is a devout evangelical Christian who regards America’s religious commitment as a crucial component of the administration’s policy. He genuinely believes that God will bless those who bless Israel.
President Donald Trump’s deputy affirmed the United States’ love of Israel, based on our biblical and historical vision and the spiritual bonds we share.
He stressed that the administration still sought a peace settlement but asserted that ultimately, the parties must negotiate directly with each other. As Trump pointed out, the days of free lunches are over and the Palestinians will no longer be able to take for granted that the billions of dollars of U.S. aid would continue pouring in to support them. More importantly, the entire U.N. Relief and Works Agency operation was being reviewed on the suspicion that vast funds were being spent on incitement and that no effort had been made to integrate the refugees and their descendants – but instead, they had been exploited in the fight against Israel.
The Trump administration’s policy is a stark contrast to that of the Barack Obama era when at best Israel and the Palestinians were portrayed as morally equivalent, even as Abbas praised and rewarded killers and their families.
Pence declared that “we stand with Israel because we believe your cause is our cause, your values are our values and your fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”
This was accompanied by pledges of support and renewed commitments to open a Jerusalem embassy next year.
He also guaranteed that the U.S. would never acquiesce to a nuclear-armed Iran.
No American leader has ever spoken to or about Israel this way. It signaled the end of the daylight Obama created between the U.S. and Israel. It was thus apt of Pence to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing, thanking God for granting us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this occasion.
Setting aside the Joint Arab List MKs who were ejected from the Knesset for creating a disturbance and the Meretz representatives who remained seated, almost the entire Knesset gave him repeated standing ovations. Aside from the visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi, it was the first display of near-total unity in the Knesset toward a foreign statesman since the nation’s division over the Oslo Accords.
The overwhelming majority of Israelis feel cautiously optimistic about the new administration’s policy toward Israel and especially the visit of Pence.
Not so among American Jewry, where polls suggest that 42% (initially including Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs) opposed Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, considering it harmful to the peace process. That 70% voted against Trump is no excuse for such behavior, which amounts to contempt for Israel’s interests.
Their attitude remained unchanged even after Abbas refused to meet Pence and made it clear that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. In a series of anti-Semitic speeches, Abbas cursed the Balfour Declaration, warned of massive terror attacks and lashed out against Trump, insisting that he would not have any future dealings with the administration or Israel until the recognition of Israel’s capital was reversed. Trump responded that Jerusalem was off the table. Needless to say, to the outrage of the delusional Left, Pence also failed to describe the duplicitous Abbas as a “peace partner.”
The Israel media’s reaction was astonishing. With the exception of Israel Hayom, it abounded with columns minimizing and mocking Pence’s address.
Haaretz, which despises the Trump administration, described Pence’s speech as “bombast” and accused him of promoting messianic evangelical Zionism and being more Zionist than Israelis.
The Jerusalem Post’s political correspondent (in contrast to Herb Keinan’s excellent analysis) dismissed the importance of the Pence visit, comparing it to a recent trip by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Another Jerusalem Post columnist claimed that Trump, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and now Pence had given Israel a “get out of jail free” card that would encourage intransigence and not make it “search for ways to move forward.”
One might ask those calling on Israel to “move forward” to elaborate. The implication is that the worse Abbas becomes, the more concessions we should provide, thereby appeasing those seeking our destruction.
Instead of commending Pence for distinguishing between good and evil, the Israeli media condemned him for casting blame on the Palestinians and not on Israel. While Israel has made mistakes, to suggest that both parties are equally at fault and morally equivalent is utter distortion.
For the first time since our independence, the American leadership is willing to tell the truth and expose the evil emanating from the Palestinians and their allies.
They have ceased repeating the mantra of equivalence between those striving for peace and those inciting to bloodshed.
This is truly a sea change; we should unite to take advantage of this situation which, given the turbulence of American politics, cannot be guaranteed to last forever.
Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Morning Star News) – After opposition shut down a meeting center for Messianic Jews in southern Israel last May, ultra-Orthodox Jews are harassing it again since it re-opened this month, sources said.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews protested the presence of the center in Dimona, Israel on Tuesday (Jan. 23) and threatened some of the Messianic Jews, followers of Jesus, according to advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC).
“Protests have taken place the last two weeks after the reopening of the center at the beginning of January,” according to a MEC press statement.
The center, where Messianic Jews meet for conversation, coffee and tea, had been temporarily closed last year due to protests by ultra-Orthodox Jews on May 4, 2017, after which they damaged Messianic Jewish leaders’ homes, breaking windows and traumatizing two children inside one home, one of the leaders told Messianic news outlet Kehila News Israel.
“Because we bent down at the right moment, we were not hit by stones thrown at us,” Albert Knoester, elder at a Messianic congregation in Beersheba, said of last year’s attacks in an interview published by Kehila News Israel. “Apart from this damage, there was also psychological trauma to one of the families in Dimona, due to the demonstrations and also because their house was damaged by stones. But also through bullying, etc., their two young daughters were traumatized by what had happened, and they needed psychological help.”
Knoester, of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance) congregation, said that not long after protestors secretly filmed the Messianic Jews at a Town Hall meeting last year, demonstrators including members of the ultra-Orthodox Yad L’Achim showed up at his and house and did more damage, including smashing windows.
Those incidents, however, led to townsfolk on the street inviting them for drinks to talk, he told Kehila News.
“Quite a number of ‘ordinary people’ are feeling ashamed of what is being done to us,” he told Kehila News. “We receive invitations from people to come over and have a coffee with them. We had at least six times an opportunity to explain to a rabbi why we believe that Jesus is the Messiah – as a result of the question to us, ‘Why do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah?’”
Local media have misrepresented the center as a “mission post,” and false reports including accusations of bribery for conversion to Christianity have also led Jews to talk with them, he told the news outlet. A group of rabbis showed up to interrogate them, he said, and when his wife Esther responded with verses from Psalm 23, they agreed to temporarily close the center while continuing to discuss what place the “Open House” should have in the community.
“One day later,” he told Kehila News, “one of the rabbis wrote in a local newspaper: ‘We went to that house in order to silence them by force, but that woman would not stop talking! She should know about that other verse of Psalm 23: about the valley of the shadow of death. Let her go through it, together with her husband.’”
In the following days local media began a slander campaign, he said. Besides the bribery accusation – that they would offer a car in exchange for converting to Christianity – they were accused of putting a powder in people’s coffee “to change Jews into Christians,” and of coercing Jews to convert by force, he told the news outlet.
“Because they are unable to charge us, and unable to find anything against us, another weapon is used instead: lies, gossip, changing facts and blackmail,” he told Kehila News. “There are pictures of us in the city center with severe warnings. Also, big posters on billboards with nasty texts have been put up. The people are warned to watch out and protect their children against us.”
Bible Society Threatened In Tel Aviv, a Bible Society bookshop is under threat of being shut down.
The owner of the bookshop’s building alleges that the Bible Society is violating its commercial license by changing the purpose under the rental agreement from selling books to managing or advancing missionary activity and therefore should not have protected tenant status, according to MEC. The owner also accuses the Bible Society of violating the agreement by adding another partner. The Bible Society denies both accusations. Its shop has been in the same location for 55 years.
On Wednesday (Jan. 24) two representatives of the Bible Society in Israel went to court to give testimony, but the judge did not appear due to illness, and the case has been postponed to an as yet unknown date, MEC said in a statement.
“The delay is frustrating for those concerned, but the director of the Bible Society in Israel affirms that God is in control and thanks everyone for their prayers and encouragement,” the MEC statement reads. “It is believed that the owner of the premises is being influenced by others who are opposed to the presence of the Bible Society in Tel Aviv and the sale of Christian books.”
In Bethlehem, where two nuns and their convent in the Palestinian Territories were attacked last year, a policeman appeared to be altering the facts in his testimony at a hearing on the case on Monday (Jan. 22), according to MEC.
On April 30, 2017, a woman identified as a member of the Mahatna family, which has taken over part of St. Mary’s Coptic Convent, broke into its storeroom and physically assaulted a nun identified only as Sister Maria, besides damaging the property. While the nuns were on the way to a police station to file a complaint, the alleged assailant’s brother, Rami, and a friend stopped their car and struck it with an iron bar, unaware that a police officer was inside the car, MEC reported.
“According to Sister Maria, the police officer who had been in the car failed to give a true account of what happened” in testimony this week, MEC reported. “It is believed that the Mahatna family have close links to influential members of the Palestinian Authority and that, as a result, the course of justice is being obstructed.”
A lawyer representing the nuns has asked for damages to the car to be examined by an expert and presented as evidence. The next hearing is scheduled for April 9.
The Mahatna family has illegally taken up residence in part of the convent building, according to MEC.
At a prior hearing on Monday (Jan. 22) regarding the alleged assault on Sister Maria by the Mahatna family member, identified only as Rania, a judge appeared sympathetic to medical reports on the nun’s injuries, according to MEC. A final hearing is scheduled for March 23.
“Prayer is requested that the judges will examine the cases fairly, and that justice will be seen to be promptly done; and that the Mahatna family members will stop harassing the nuns and move out of the convent premises,” MEC said in a statement.