A Palestinian Authority Arab was arrested outside a Samaria military court near Kfar Salem on Sunday morning, according to Border Police.
At the checkpoint outside the court, he was discovered to have been carrying a pipe bomb.The court was closed as security forces cleared the area and sappers neutralize the bomb.
Arab Youth Sets Self on Fire Outside Hebron
A young man set fire to himself east of Hebron on Sunday morning, after pouring a flammable liquid on his body, Ma’an reported. His burns were described as light.
Local and medical sources told Ma’an that the young man, from the town of Bani Na’im, five miles east of Hebron, set fire to himself on the roundabout of Beit ‘Einun, a village located three miles northeast of Hebron. A Red Crescent ambulance rushed to the scene, where the young man had been slightly burned in his lower body. He was evacuated to a hospital in Hebron.
The sources pointed out that the youth is suffering from family problems, and set fire to himself as a way to resolve these problems.
US to Spend $750,000 Conserving Ancient Jewish Site as ‘Palestinian Heritage’
Jerusalem-based US Consul General Donald Blome last Friday joined “Palestinian officials and dignitaries” in launching a major conservation project to protect and preserve Solomon’s Pools, an archaeological site in Bethlehem. The $750,000 project is funded by a $500,000 grant from the State Department’s Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and a complimentary $250,000 grant from the Consulate General in Jerusalem. The project will be run through a partnership with the Solomon’s Pools Preservation and Development Center (SPPD), and will help protect the historic site, which has been damaged in recent years by erosion. The US consulate is hoping the pools would encourage tourism and help the PA economy.
Now for the zinger: in his remarks, Consul General Donald Blome said, “This contribution from the US government not only underscores America’s respect and admiration for Palestinian heritage and its treasured antiquities, but also the imperative of supporting the Palestinian economy as an essential element for peace.”
Ever wondered what UNESCO stood for? Answer: United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
The United States is dropping out of the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization only months after the international organization went “delusional” by declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron a “Palestinian heritage site.”
“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” Nauert said.
In July, WND reported a prominent supporter of Israel said the United Nations has turned “delusional.”
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, was responding to UNESCO’s vote to declare the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron a “Palestinian heritage site.”
It was just the latest in a series of actions by the U.N. against Israel, including its move to call the Temple Mount “Islamic.”
“This recent UNESCO resolution is another delusional U.N. decision which disregards the historical truth and the Jewish people’s deep connection to Hebron,” said Staver.
Staver also is president of Christians in Defense of Israel and founder of Covenant Journey, all in support of Israel.
“To refer to Hebron as ‘Islamic’ denies thousands of years of Jewish history as well as Christian ties to the site. The biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, as well as the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are believed to be buried there, and to deny that is another move toward the Palestinian Authority and Hamas renaming the entire land to Palestine and denying Israel’s right to exist,” said Staver.
“Netanyahu pulled no punches in reminding the body of its anti-Israel and, more bluntly, anti-Semitic bias,” Farah wrote. “He condemned UNESCO’s July declaration of the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a ‘Palestinian World Heritage site,’ saying sarcastically, ‘That’s worse than fake news, that’s fake history.’”
Netanyahu continued: “It’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so too are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah is a Jewish name, by the way – and Leah, who just happen to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. You won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report. But if you want to, you can read about that in a somewhat weightier publication. It’s called the Bible. I highly recommend it. I hear it even got 4 ½ out of 5 stars on Amazon. And it’s a great read. I read it every week.”
When UNESCO made the announcement over the summer, Netanyahu cut an additional $1 million from Israel’s U.N. membership dues. Israel will give those funds to the Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron.
That resolution, brought by seven Muslim nations, emphasized Islam’s claims to the site but ignored the historical facts about Jewish presence there over 3,000 years.
UNESCO said at that time it “firmly deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif.”
East Jerusalem has been part of Israel since the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians want the city as part of a future state.
“Jews refer to the hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s Old City as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and it is home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia,” Fox News reported.
Netanyahu at that time issued a statement on Facebook he titled “The theatre of the absurd continues at the UN.” The statement reads:
Today UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for over three thousand years.
What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock and roll?
Is it any wonder the UN has become a moral farce when UNESCO, the UN body tasked with preserving history, denies and distorts history?
UNESCO’s drive to rewrite the history of the Temple Mount according to Islam began shortly after it accepted the Palestinians as a member state in 2011. There initially were attempts to have it declared a solely Muslim site, which failed. Since then, resolutions regarding Jerusalem repeatedly have used only the Muslim terms for the Temple Mount area and its adjacent wall.
“The Word of God has much to say about the abject hatred of the revenant nation of Israel in the last days. It also speaks of Jerusalem ultimately being surrounded by enemies and, at least, the temple area – being trampled upon by ‘Gentiles,’” he said.
“To Satan, it is not enough that an ultimate symbol of an ‘abomination that causes desolation’ (The Dome of the Rock) is sitting upon the Temple mount – but now, apparently he is indwelling an organization that fancies itself to be the head of a rising ‘one world order,’ and attempting to assassinate historical truth in the furthered cause of alienating Israel in the last days.”
The anti-Israel agenda at the United Nations even has moved into the farcical at times.
WND reported in June that Arabs at the U.N. were placing the blame for Palestinian men who beat their wives on Israel.
The outlandish claim came during a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council when a report on violence against women was submitted, reported Palestinian Media Watch.
According to PMW, the report claimed there was “a clear linkage between the prolonged occupation and violence against women.”
However, U.N. Watch Director Hillel Neuer responded immediately.
The report on “violence against women” was undermined, he explained, “by its subservience to the recurring and unproven assumption … that there is, quote, ‘clear linkage between the prolonged occupation and violence against women.’
“In other words, what you are saying is as follows: When Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault.”
He asked where was the evidence for a “clear linkage.”
“Where is the data. I don’t see it anywhere in the report,” he said.
And he questioned why those submitting the report had not done the basic comparisons, such as looking at similar statistics from Lebanon, Jordan, and other Arab nations.
“Why have you not done so?” he asked.
Besides, he said, Arab television routinely promotes messages to men about how to beat their wives, he said.
The U.N.’s actions caught the attention of the U.S. Senate, where all 100 senators signed a letter calling for a change in the international body’s behavior toward Israel.
“Too often, the U.N. is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders,” the letter states. “These actions have at times reinforced the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracted certain U.N. entities from their original missions.
“As both the U.N.’s principal founding member and its largest contributor, the United States should insist on reform. As duly elected representatives of the American people, we take seriously our responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of U.S. engagement at the United Nations. We are deeply committed to international leadership and to advancing respect for human rights.
“But the continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable. This situation must change. We urge you to engage member states in a comprehensive effort to directly confront and root out this bias.
27 lawmakers from around the world came to Israel on Sukkot on a faith-based diplomacy tour with the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF). Here, MPs stand outside Rachel’s Tomb with IAF President Josh Reinstein (center-left). (Maayan Hoffman/Breaking Israel News
Faith-based diplomacy is leading the efforts against delegitimization of Israel, said Josh Reinstein, president of the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) on Monday.
This week, IAF, together with the World Jewish Congress, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) and Bridges for Peace, brought 27 members of parliament (MPs) from 15 countries to Israel for the Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference to arm participants with the inspiration and clarity they need to defend the State of Israel in their home countries.
“We witness once again the rise of anti-Semitism around the world, which is often couched in political stances against Israel’s right to exist,” said Reinstein.
On Monday, the delegation signed a resolution forcefully rejecting all declarations seeking to deny Israel’s and Jerusalem’s Jewish origins, as well as any misrepresentation of the Jewish State of Israel as an occupier.
The resolution calls upon governments to adopt the US State Department’s and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, and thereby recognize that anti-Israel and anti-Zionist expression can be used to convey anti-Jewish bigotry. It likewise includes a statement of support for the Jewish people’s “God-given and legal rights to sovereignty and self-defense upon the entirety of its lands and territories, recognizing the need of people of all faiths for a strong and united Israel, with Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital.”
Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud) accepted the resolution on behalf of the Israeli government. She said the resolution comes at an especially important time, when so many organizations and people are trying to re-write history.
“I say enough of being politically correct; let’s be Biblically correct,” Gamliel told the MPs. “You are on the right side of history.”
The IAF, founded by the late Israeli Minister and Rabbi Binyamin Elon – the father of faith-based diplomacy, according to Reinstein – works with parliaments around the world to mobilize political support for Israel based on Judeo-Christian values. According to Reinstein, IAF has more than 1,000 parliamentarians from around the world in its network.
“Benny had a vision of the restoration of Israel and for the whole world to take part in that,” said IAF executive director Daniel Williams, who noted that many MPs put their political careers at risk to visit and outwardly support the State of Israel.
The MPs toured the country, including visits to the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem and several holy and strategic sites throughout Samaria. Events culminate Tuesday evening with Israeli Night at the ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles.
The purpose of these visits was two-fold. First, IAF wanted the visitors to walk through the streets of God’s Promised Land and witness verses from the Bible coming alive before their eyes, said Reinstein. And second, the organization sought to help them understand the strategic necessity of these areas, said Samaria leader Yossi Dagan.
In a briefing on Mount Gerizim in Samaria, Dagan explained that if Israel were to give up Samaria as part of a peace process, there would be only 15 kilometers between Israel’s major cities and the closest Arab neighborhoods. The Israeli border would be indefensible. Dagan said, however, that he does not believe these kinds of sacrifices will need to be made, because God promised this land to the Jewish people.
“After boycott, delegitimization and terror attacks, our population grows 10 percent a year,” said Dagan. “We are winning because we believe and because we build in our heartland.”
Both Dagan in Samaria and MK Yehudah Glick in Bethlehem called on MPs to help explain the truth about Israel to the world.
“We are all here trying to be tools in the hand of God,” said Glick. “I am appointing you as ambassadors of Israel and God. Don’t go home and think you are finished. Take on the obligation and do it and use it, and tell people…what you saw with your own eyes, how the words of the prophets are becoming reality.”
Glick said MPs have a Biblical choice to make.
“You can choose if you want to be Pharaoh or Cyprus or Nebuchadnezzar,” he said. “If you choose to be part of the miracles, you become connected to eternity.”
Ministers: Move the US Embassy
At the backdrop of the conference were several murmurings about the recent statement by President Donald Trump that he will likely wait to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem until Israel and the Palestinians are further along in the peace process.
Appearing over the weekend on a show hosted by former Arkansan Governor Mike Huckabee on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Trump said he wanted to wait for the results of a budding peace proposal being formulated by the US “before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) told MPs she disagrees with Trump, in some of the first public statements against the US president since he took office earlier this year. Hotovely said if Trump really wants to give peace a chance, he should immediately move the Embassy to Jerusalem. Doing so would “make sure Jerusalem will never be divided and to make sure Jews and Arabs can live peacefully together.”
“In the Middle East, where we live, the fact that terrorism is here is not because we gave up the idea of a peace process, but because they [the Arabs] would like to remove Israel from the map of the Middle East…We need to see all embassies in Jerusalem and make sure Jews can build their houses here,” Hotovely said.
Similarly, Glick said “real peace” will only be when the world recognizes Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
“Trump said he would recognize this and we expect him to do it,” Glick told Breaking Israel News. “I don’t think that transferring the embassy should happen after we achieve peace, but as part of achieving peace. Any delay will not get us closer.”
Visitors also focused on the impact of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Israel. There were nine Republican and Democratic representatives on the mission from South Carolina, the state that penned and passed the first anti-BDS legislation. That legislation has served as a model for more than 50 similar laws, which have been passed in the US and around the world.
MP Kenneth Meshoe from South Africa said the statement made by the success of the South Carolina BDS law is that “this battle we are busy with is winnable and because it is winnable none of us should lose courage. The day will come when many nations of the world will stand with Israel. Ultimately truth will prevail over lies and light will prevail over darkness.”
The Christian Connection
Christian love and hope for the State of Israel came out in many different forms throughout events. The MPs were not shy about their beliefs in Biblical prophecy as it pertains to Israel and the blessings they hope to receive for their own countries as a result.
“I recall once being asked why I, as a state representative of South Carolina, have such a passion for Israel,” said Republican Representative Alan Clemmons. “I responded that it is because I am a Christian and because I believe in doing what is right and pushing back on the lies being told about our great ally Israel.”
Meshoe said that he is a proud Evangelical Christian and he believes that people like him must be at the forefront of voices in defense of Israel “because those who hate Jews also hate Christians.”
He said, “The Bible we read comes from the Jews; everything about Christianity is from the Jewish people. Christians who are serious about their faith must support the Jews and the nation of Israel.”
MEP Bastiaan Belder from the EU – Netherlands said that truth is in Israel’s protector “with a capital P.” He said the Lord encourages him not to be silent or intimidated when it comes to standing up for the “rightful cause of the Jewish state of Israel.”
MP Reverend Malani Mtonga from Malawi stated that his country seeks God’s blessings and that by blessing the Nation of Israel, he believes Malawi will also be blessed.
“I feel revived coming here and every time I go back I feel even more energized to preach,” Malawi said.
Sukkot is a time in which nearly 50,000 Christians visit Israel to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. More than 6,000 visitors take part in ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles program and the rest are on other private or diplomatic tours.
A Universal Holiday
According to the Torah, Sukkot is a universal and not just Jewish holiday. For example, offerings were made in the Temple on Sukkot on behalf of the 70 nations of the world. The prophet Zechariah describes how non-Jews will flock to Jerusalem on Sukkot in the messianic age.
All who survive of all those nations that came up against Yerushalayim shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts and to observe the festival of Sukkot. Zechariah 14:16
Hotovely said Sukkot celebrates the connection between the people here in Israel and the people all around the world.
“We are celebrating together our ability to bring prosperity to the world that is starting from here, from the holy land, from Israel,” she said.
Glick took this a step forward. He said not only is Sukkot universal, but so is the entire redemption.
“The redemption will not just be for the people of Israel, but the entire world – the entire world will be brought back to recognize God,” said Glick.
Uri Bank, who today serves as an adviser to Glick and worked alongside the late Elon, said that Elon used to believe Jerusalem and all of Israel’s holy sites belong to all people who believe in the Bible. However, he said that Elon taught that faith is not enough.
“We cannot just sit and pray,” said Bank. “We must use the tools we have to work. Whether you are a member of parliament, a pastor, a rabbi – we all have a job to do, to ensure the vision of seeing the people of Israel come home and the land of Israel be rebuilt.”
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem 2017 Feast of Tabernacles,
JERUSALEM, Israel – At a time of rising anti-Semitism, thousands of Christians are in Jerusalem to celebrate the biblical Feast of Tabernacles and stand with Israel.
They came from the ends of the earth for the six-day celebration, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), answering an ancient invitation.
“It’s the invitation of Zechariah the prophet, in chapter 14, verse 16 of the Book of Zechariah, he envisions a time when all the nations will come up, celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, worship the Lord here and we’re like forerunners.
More than 5,000 Christians from nearly 100 nations came for the opening night to proudly stand with Israel and celebrate the biblical feast.
“In the end of the day it’s God’s faithfulness that has established for almost 40 years now this international gathering of the body of Christ in a unique way that you can’t find anywhere else,” Parsons said.
The organization started in 1980 after 13 countries moved their embassies from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv protesting Israel’s declaration of the united city as its eternal capital.
Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War made that possible by uniting Jerusalem so this is a special year for the feast.
“What’s really exciting, it’s the jubilee year for Jerusalem. We’re marking 50 years since the city of Jerusalem was reunited back under Jewish sovereignty,” Parsons said.
More than half of those celebrating are first-timers.
“We’re part of a 26-strong Cook Island delegation and we’re here to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and we’re about to be registered as a nation with ICEJ for the first time ever, so it’s wonderful to be here just with the nations in the presence of God and worshipping together,” Paul Lynch said.
“It’s in the Bible, it’s quite clear. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. They’re God’s chosen country and our government is making a pledge to support Israel,” he said.
“Early on this year God asked me to come to represent the nation of Samoa,” said Cruise Westerland. “So I brought a team of 20 people. So we’re here happily from the ends of the earth, just two hours flight from Fiji.”
We asked some pilgrims why they stand so strong with Israel.
“Because the Bible says so,” said Westerland.
“It’s the biggest proof that God is alive,” a young man named Bjorgfinnur from the Faroe Islands said. “You have the Jews coming back. You have the land flourishing.”
“I think Israel is such an important country in the view of the Bible. So I think every single Christian on the planet should support Israel,” said Veronica, a young woman from Finland said.
“Israel has given to many nations. It’s been a blessing to a lot of nations all over the world and it’s time to pay back,” Dr. Rotimi Olokodana from Nigeria said.
Alina from Washington State said, “Jews are the God’s chosen nation, and, I mean, you don’t want to go against God. That’s all I can say.”
“Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Tzion; Raise your voice with power, O herald of joy to Yerushalayim— Raise it, have no fear; Announce to the cities of Yehuda: Behold your God!” Isaiah 40:9 (The Israel Bible™)
Echoing responses made by her fellow Likudniks to President Donald Trump’s recent comments on moving the US embassy in Israel, MK Gila Gamliel, Minister for Social Equality in the Knesset, said on Monday that the embassy – and, indeed, all embassies – should be moved to Jerusalem immediately.
“What better time than now for all countries of the world to move their embassies to Jerusalem?” asked Gamliel, speaking at an Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) tour with other lawmakers and officials after the group moved for a resolution stating Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.
The resolution was also against anti-Semitism and anti-Israel discrimination.
On Saturday, President Trump said that he would not move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until his administration made an effort at creating peace in the region. The decision was instantly criticized by Israeli leadership.
“I don’t think that transferring the embassy to Jerusalem should happen after we achieve peace but as part of achieving peace. Any delay will not get us closer,” Likud MK Yehudah Glick said on Sunday.
“If you really would like to give peace a chance, move the embassy to Jerusalem in order to make sure Jerusalem will never be divided and to make sure Jews and Arabs can live peacefully together,” said Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely.
Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/96034/israeli-minister-now-time-countries-move-embassies-jerusalem/#Wlci4WcVC3vWKJgz.99
This year as the leaves fall, so do our spirits. After all the hurricanes and floods, after the mass murder in Vegas earlier this week, and with national division still raging on the stage of the NFL, how could they not?
It is timely then, to take a moment to learn about the last of the Jewish high holidays, called the “Season of Our Joy,” which begins at sundown, October 4th this year.
The Feast of Tabernacles, called Sukkot for “tabernacles” or “booths” in Hebrew, is the most joyful Jewish holiday, and it begins five days after the Day of Atonement.
During the week-long festival, Jews around the world build and dwell in frail huts to commemorate Israel’s years wandering in the wilderness and God’s abundant provision for His people.
2. What are the biblical origins?
In Leviticus 23:34-43, God ordained a feast at the end of harvest. The Israelites were to abstain from regular work on the first and final days, live in booths for the week, and bring daily food offerings.
God’s purpose for the feast was “that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 23:43).
3. How is it celebrated?
According to Jews for Jesus, an organization devoted to Jewish evangelization, the three main rituals practiced in ancient times were “the water-drawing and libation ceremony, the illumination of the Temple, and the building of booths.”
The first two occurred at the Temple, and once the Temple was destroyed, those traditions could not be observed. Since then, greater emphasis has been placed on the booths.
Entire volumes of the Talmud have been devoted to specifications on building the temporary shelters.
Jews for Jesus quotes David Brickner, author of Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles, who notes that “these specifications [relating to the sukkah] were to illustrate both the transient natures of the shelter and of our earthly homes.”
Many Jews still celebrate Sukkot by building huts and taking at least some of their meals in them. Decorating the booths with leafy branches, fruits, and artwork is one of the most beloved of Jewish traditions.
Pious Jews also attend synagogue during Sukkot, particularly on the final day, to read Scriptures, pray special prayers, and to make procession around the temple with branches and palm fronds.
4. What does it mean?
Perhaps the most important aspect of the feast for Christians to understand is the meaning behind it.
Sukkot is a season of joy because it reminds the Jewish people of God’s provision for them as they wandered in the desert.
“Sukkot should remind us always of our own frail frames and our utter dependency upon the Lord,” says Jews for Jesus. “The Israelites made booths when they were wandering in the wilderness and by God’s grace survived. Thus, on Sukkot we put ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors…so that we remember anew God’s gracious provision to His people.”
Christians can participate in the spirit of Sukkot by remembering the same truths of their dependence on God and His faithfulness to them.
In fact, Christians should have greater joy than the Jews, because they have accepted God’s ultimate provision in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. According to CharismaNews.com, over 6,000 Christians are planning on celebrating Sukkot in Jerusalem, beginning on Friday evening, Oct. 6.
As Brickner writes, “In Yeshua (Jesus), God tabernacled among us. He chose to be born into a less-than-glorious space, where certainly the stars might have peeked through cracks in the roof, the elements might well have invaded. Nevertheless, in that lowly place dwelt the glorious presence of God, the transient and the eternal beautifully coming together in God’s provision and God’s presence.”
Last year, I expressed optimism for Israel in 5777. I suggested that Israel would continue to suppress the terrorism from within the Palestinian Authority, and at the same time learn to deal with a rise in terror coming from radicalized Israeli and Jerusalem Arabs.
Indeed, in 5777 the IDF and Israeli security forces prevented PA Arab terrorists from committing as many deadly or serious attacks as they had the year before — unfortunately, the ones that succeeded were still horrific. And the radicalized Israeli-Arab terror, while still limited, became far more extreme, setting the country on fire, in some cases quite literally.
Just so no-one misunderstands the statement above, the majority of Israeli-Arabs are law-abiding and appreciate living in Israel as opposed to living in any Arab or Islamic country. A survey by IDI in May of this year found that 51.1% of Israeli-Arabs felt proud to be Israeli (compared to 86.1% of Jews).
Former US President Obama’s anti-Israel November Surprise at the UN wasn’t much of a surprise, but, in the end, his words had no effect in the real world.
His actions, on the other hand, Obama’s massive financial contribution to the radical Islamic Iranian regime, which then used that fortune to consolidate their terror network forged a tectonic shift across the Middle East.
I don’t know if we’ll be facing off in a full-scale war this year with Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies (or even Iran itself), but it appears we are headed in that direction. It will be a serious conflict on multiple fronts when it finally breaks out, this coming year or next.
I hope that the newly emerging reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas will go the way of all their previous reconciliations — I would be surprised and worried if it survives the inherently tribal nature of the Arabs of the Land of Israel. There is reason to suspect that Hamas is trying to adopt the Hezbollah model of government.
As predicted, BDS and other anti-Zionist NGOs spewed their venomous propaganda against Israel’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation, and as predicted, no one paid attention.
Unexpectedly, MK Betzalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi/Ichud Leumi) introduced a real chance for progress towards resolving the Middle East conflict with his “One Hope” peace plan. If nothing else, it has opened up the tired, 50-year-old conversation to new ideas other than the “two-state solution.” The radical left was duly shocked and outraged.
Economically, Israel had some spectacular successes, and the country’s economy is doing well, despite Finance Minister Kachlon’s failed social engineering experiments in the real estate market.
My urgent concerns in 5778 are not for Israel, but for American Jewry.
Open anti-Semitism from the Left and the Right (talk about intersectionality) is on the rise in the US, and as the Lubavitcher Rebbe once said regarding a new Holocaust, “It can happen again overnight.”
Trump’s election (and equally, Hillary’s loss) has made the progressive/”liberal”/Reform Jewish community a little crazy, while the 2013 Pew study has forced them to face their denominational mortality.
With few exceptions, the Reform movement has avoided any real introspection as to why their ideas are failing — while their membership become less and less Jewish. Indeed, they no longer believe having a fast growing non-Jewish membership is a bad thing.
Instead, the Reform leadership has chosen to unite their dwindling community in a religious war against Israel and traditional Judaism, using Israel’s High Court as the battlefield where they attempt to force their failed and divisive ideologies and practices onto the Jewish State.
Israel has always struggled over issues of religion and the state, but the Reform and anti-Zionist NGO insurgency is helping to radicalize what most Israelis have been adept at working out — because we live here together and have no choice but to get along.
I am also concerned with the permanent damage Reform clergy are causing the traditional ties of their congregations with Israel, with their campaigns to grab more real estate at the Western Wall. Their decision to snub a sitting US President on the eve of Rosh Hashanah may also harm those same congregations. Their arrogance cannot but yield disaster and I can only hope they realize this and step back from the brink.
Here’s an uplifting note: more Jews have visited the Temple Mount in 5777 than in past years going back to 70 CE, and those numbers continue to grow. Israeli police have become more sensitive to the Jewish visitor than in the past (though far from perfect), and for one week this year we tasted how peaceful the Temple Mount could be without Muslim agitators on our holiest site.
As I write these words I’m thinking of the Israeli volunteers who recently flew to Houston to help after the hurricane, and the search and rescue team Prime Minister Netanyahu is sending right now to Mexico to assist after the earthquake. Our hearts are with the victims. It makes me proud to live in Israel, in a country that is able and willing to provide aid and assistance to those in need around the world.
King David rejoices as the Ark is returned to the Temple. David was among the 53 Biblical figures proven to have existed in the new study. (Wikimedia Commons)
A recently published academic study which proves the historical existence of at least 53 Biblical figures may represent a recent trend in the academic and archaeological world giving unprecedented credibility to the truth of the Bible.
Lawrence Mykytiuk, a Purdue University Libraries professor, recently confirmed in a study that 53 figures “mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record”. Using archaeological sources and references from outside of the Bible, Mykytiuk established that the existence of at least 53 people described in the Bible is confirmed by the historical record (see below for the full list).
Mykytiuk’s study is a watershed moment in the debate surrounding whether or not the Bible is historically accurate and therefore relevant to academia and historic studies outside the realm of religion and theology.
“While some would put their hand on the Bible and really mean it when they take an oath, a few revisionist academics would throw it out and say, ‘That’s creative writing.’ I was looking for concrete, objective evidence outside of the Bible that would help build the case,” Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science, explained in a press release.
Mykytiuk’s work confirms that the Bible is indeed supported by concrete proof.
“This evidence shows that it is not essential to have religious faith in order to understand and accept much of what the Bible presents,” he said. “It demonstrates that even on the basis of writings outside of the Bible alone, Scripture does have a considerable degree of historical credibility.”
Verifying Biblical characters is a passion for Mykytiuk, who began investigating the subject in 1992 as a graduate student in Hebrew and Semitic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the course of his studies, he saw an image of a clay impression from a signet ring belonging to a servant of King Hezekiah, mentioned in the Book of Kings and one of the first figures on Mykytiuk’s list. The professor was disturbed at scholars who questioned the veracity of the Bible.
“[They] were saying the Hebrew Bible was a work of fiction with a few historical references thrown in,” he said in a Times of Israel interview. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. I just saw a seal impression of a servant of Hezekiah.’”
Incontrovertible proof of Hezekiah’s reign in the 8th century BCE was provided when a seal bearing his name was discovered in Jerusalem in December 2015. Dr. Eilat Mazar, the Israeli archaeologist who discovered the seal of Hezekiah in the Ophel excavations and held it in her hands, supported Mykytiuk’s conclusions.
“It is clear that there are many artifacts that prove beyond any doubt that so many aspects of the Bible are historically accurate. There shouldn’t even be a discussion about what we have already found,” Dr. Mazar told Breaking Israel News. “Anyone who dismisses the entire Bible, or its veracity as a source, is ignoring concrete proof that already exists.”
Dr. Mazar is not a religious Jew, but her work as an archaeologist has led her to conclude that the Bible is far more than a collection of fanciful parables. Her oft-quoted motto is, “I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other, and I try to consider everything.”
“There is a significant amount of archaeological proof that corroborates the Biblical narrative. From a statistical perspective, it gives a high level of credibility to the Bible,” Dr. Mazar said. “This is undeniable. In archaeology, you have to first bring the proof, the facts. If the facts are sufficient, you can come to a conclusion.”
The first challenge for Mykytiuk was of utmost importance: King David. Mykytiuk cross-referenced the Biblical references with a wall inscription found at the Tel Dan excavations in northern Israel.
“‘King of Israel’ was in one line,” Mykytiuk told Times of Israel. “The next line read ‘Melech Beit David.’ It was in Aramaic, by the enemies, the Arameans, who conquered Tel Dan and indicated a victory monument, a stele, a big sign in stone. The Israelites reconquered it, and smashed [the stele] to pieces that they used to make a wall.”
Mykytiuk limits his conclusions to what is verifiable. Even when a character is proven to exist historically, it is not a blanket seal of approval for all that is written about that character in the Bible.
“When you verify that a person existed, you’re not usually verifying that they did what the Bible says they did, because you don’t usually get that much information in the inscription or in the Bible,” Mykytiuk said. “If you get the person’s name, his or her father’s name, and the person’s office or title, that doesn’t verify that they did certain things. But it can sometimes show they were in a position to do the things Scripture says they did. That’s often as far as you can go.”
One such case was a new addition to the list: Tattenai, a Persian administrator under Darius the Great, mentioned in the Book of Ezra.
At once Tattenai, governor of the province of Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues descended upon them and said this to them, “Who issued orders to you to rebuild this house and complete its furnishing?” Ezra 5:3
Tattenai is also mentioned in a tablet attributed to Darius from 502 BCE.
Mykytiuk uses a three-step process to verify the Biblical characters. He requires that there be at least three different references identifying the individual in the Bible, such as the person’s name, the father’s name, and the person’s title. These Biblical identifiers must must match the same three identifying marks of the individual in inscriptions discovered by archaeologists.
Three identifying matches are considered a lock, two are considered a reasonable hypothesis, or even a likely hypothesis for a match, but one match is not enough for a character to make it onto Mykytiuk’s list. He is careful to refer to artifacts with a clear provenance. Artifacts acquired through the antiquities black market are not referenced.
His previous study, published in 2014, established 50 characters, beginning with King David, all of whom he says he has verified through this method. The Bible names almost 3,000 people, but the majority of these people are described only by name and little additional information is given about them, making historical verification impossible. In his study, Mykytiuk estimated that the number of individuals for whom the Bible gives enough information to identify them specifically is no more than a few hundred.
6. Mesha: king early to mid-ninth century BCE, 2 Kings 3:4–27
7. Hadadezer: king early ninth century BCE to 844/842, 1 Kings 11:23, etc.
8. Benhadad: son of Hadadezer king 844/842 BCE, 2 Kings 6:24, etc.
9. Hazael: king 844/842–c. 800 BCE, 1 Kings 19:15, etc.
10. Benhadad: son of Hazael king early eighth century BCE, 2 Kings 13:3, etc.
11. Rezin: king mid-eighth century to 732 BCE, 2 Kings 15:37, etc.
Northern Kingdom of Israel
12. Omri: king 884–873 BCE, 1 Kings 16:16, etc.
13. Ahab: king 873–852 BCE, 1 Kings 16:28, etc.
14. Jehu: king 842/841–815/814 BCE, 1 Kings 19:16, etc.
15. Joash: (= Jehoash) king 805–790 BCE, 2 Kings 13:9, etc.
16. Jeroboam II: king 790–750/749 BCE, 2 Kings 13:13, etc.
17. Menahem: king 749–738 BCE, 2 Kings 15:14, etc.
18. Pekah: king 750(?)–732/731 BCE, 2 Kings 15:25, etc.
19. Hoshea: king 732/731–722 BCE, 2 Kings 15:30, etc.
20. Sanballat “I”: governor of Samaria under Persian rule c. mid-fifth century BCE, Nehemiah 2:10, etc.
Southern Kingdom of Judah
21. David: king c. 1010–970 BCE, 1 Samuel 16:13, etc.
22. Uzziah: (= Azariah) king 788/787–736/735 BCE, 2 Kings 14:21, etc.
23. Ahaz: (= Jehoahaz) king 742/741–726 BCE, 2 Kings 15:38, etc.
24. Hezekiah: king 726–697/696 BCE, 2 Kings 16:20, etc.
25. Manasseh: king 697/696–642/641 BCE, 2 Kings 20:21, etc.
26. Hilkiah: high priest during Josiah’s reign within 640/639–609 BCE, 2 Kings 22:4, etc.
27. Shaphan: scribe during Josiah’s reign within 640/639–609 BCE, 2 Kings 22:3, etc.
28. Azariah: high priest during Josiah’s reign within 640/639–609 BCE, 1 Chronicles 5:39, etc.
29. Gemariah: official during Jehoiakim’s reign within 609–598 BCE, Jeremiah 36:10, etc.
30. Jehoiachin: (= Jeconiah = Coniah) king 598–597 BCE, 2 Kings 24:6, etc.
31. Shelemiah: father of Jehucal the royal official late seventh century BCE, Jeremiah 37:3, etc.
32. Jehucal: (= Jucal) official during Zedekiah’s reign within 597–586 BCE, Jeremiah 37:3, etc.
33. Pashhur: father of Gedaliah the royal official late seventh century BCE, Jeremiah 38:1
34. Gedaliah: official during Zedekiah’s reign within 597–586 BCE, Jeremiah 38:1
35. Tiglathpileser III: (= Pul) king 744–727 BCE,2 Kings 15:19, etc.
36. Shalmaneser V: king 726–722 BCE, 2 Kings 17:3, etc.
37. Sargon II: king 721–705 BCE, Isaiah 20:1
38. Sennacherib: king 704–681 BCE, 2 Kings 18:13, etc.
39. Adrammelech: (= Ardamullissu = Aradmullissu) son and assassin of Sennacherib early seventh century BCE, 2 Kings 19:37, etc.
40. Esarhaddon: king 680–669 BCE, 2 Kings 19:37, etc.
41. Merodachbaladan II: king 721–710 BCE and 703 BCE, 2 Kings 20:12, etc.
42. Nebuchadnezzar II: king 604–562 BCE, 2 Kings 24:1, etc.
43. Nebosarsekim: official of Nebuchadnezzar II early sixth century BCE, Jeremiah 39:3
44. Nergalsharezer: officer of Nebuchadnezzar II early sixth century BCE, Jeremiah 39:3
45. Nebuzaradan: a chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar II early sixth century BCE, 2 Kings 25:8, etc. & Jeremiah 39:9, etc.
46. Evilmerodach: (= Awel Marduk = Amel Marduk) king 561–560 BCE, 2 Kings 25:27, etc.
47. Belshazzar: son and coregent of Nabonidus c. 543?–540BCE, Daniel 5:1, etc.
48. Cyrus II: (= Cyrus the Great) king 559–530 BCE, 2 Chronicles 36:22, etc.
49. Darius I: (= Darius the Great) king 520–486 BCE, Ezra 4:5, etc.
50. Tattenai: provincial governor of TransEuphrates late sixth to early fifth century BCE, Ezra 5:3, etc.
51. Xerxes I: (= Ahasuerus) king 486–465BCE, Esther 1:1, etc.
52. Artaxerxes I: Longimanus king 465425/424 BCE, Ezra 4:7, etc
53. Darius II: Nothus king 425/424405/404 BCE, Nehemiah 12:22