All Hail King Shimon, the First – TWTW … ending 22 June, 2013

Shalom all,

The more things change, the more they remain the same. So it is with the recent elections in Iran. The President’s name is changed, but Iran remains the same, determined to pursue status as a nuclear entity. Moving from Iran’s President to our own, Shimon Peres celebrated his 90th birthday early with international party guests urging Israel to make a deal with our enemies. We can learn a lesson from the Norwegians about how to present Israel’s case in the on-going conflict to the world and we would do well to imitate Canada’s initiative along the same lines. Syria is getting more international involvement, while Netanyahu says we should not rely on international assistance. Another “Intifada” is threatened, as John Kerry is expected to present a multi-step program to revive the dead peace process. Poverty in Israel is creating health problems, while a 4-year old Israeli start-up company sells a navigation application for 10 figures – before the decimal point. The oldest Jewish person dies, while those of us living here may soon be able to use public transportation on Shabbat. A Syrian doctor sends a note to Israeli doctors asking to help treat one of their civil-war casualties. And, of course, politics does it again, this time keeping Biblical history under wraps.

Surprise, surprise – Iranian “moderate” is the new president.
The big surprise of the week came from the announcement that Hassan Rohani won the presidential election in Iran, capturing just over 50% of the more than 18 million votes that were cast. Rohani is said to be a “moderate”, who also served as Iran’s chief nuclear envoy between 2003 to 2005. He is in favor of greater interaction with the West and is looked upon by some as possibly being able to influence, even slightly, Iran’s religious powers to be more flexible. That perspective, however, is nothing more than wishful thinking.

The “West” was quick to express “cautious optimism” over Rohani’s election, but his replacement of Ahmedinejad is not expected to bring about any change in Iran’s nuclear program, which is controlled by Iran’s religious rulers, particularly the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But, a few comments should be made to set the picture straight:-

In the broad scheme of things, nothing has changed in Iran. Presidents come and go, but Khamenei remains. The nuclear program is more a point of national pride at this point, than of an existential need to provide energy for its citizens. As such, Iran will not do a turn-about because of international, economic pressure, which alone will not affect Iran’s pride and expansionist policy. Moreover, its long-arm influence is also at stake in the role it plays in the Syrian civil war, where it openly supports Assad, both with military materials as well as with combatants. The masses have little say in Iran. They tried in 2009 and lost. If they try again, it would require a willingness to enter into an Iranian Spring, with consequences far more serious than what is happening today in Syria.

In Iran, the president is a figure-head in the stage of the world, but the script writer is Khamenei and the powerful Revolutionary Guard. Following the last presidential debate a few days before the elections, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi noted that none of the candidates would “impact Iran’s foreign policy after the election”. In other words, the presidency allows fire a change in form, or style, over substance. Perhaps Ruhani can “package” Iran’s nuclear policy better than Ahmedinejad, but he won’t be able to change it.

Another point about Ruhani – when he handled Iran’s nuclear file back in 2003-2005, no sanctions were imposed on Iran. His “moderate” position is moderate only in terms of his desire to be more flexible when talking with the West. When it comes to the substance of actually changing Tehran’s position and goal, he remains powerless.

Negotiations with Western powers over Iran’s nuclear ambitions were put on hold until after the presidential elections. This move can and should realistically be seen as an effort by Tehran to buy time, particularly as none of the presidential candidates spoke out against its nuclear program. It would also appear to be clear at this point that if there is no real progress once negotiations are renewed, there will be renewed threats, particularly by Israel, to pursue the military option against Iran.

Time is running out. Iran has intensified its efforts to complete its enrichment program. I pray that we won’t be in a situation where “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”.

All Hail King Shimon, the First.
In his opening speech celebrating the 90th birthday of Israeli President Shimon Peres, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair set the tone and the stage for the multitude of accolades that were to be heaped upon Peres by many of the Who’s Who of international politics, which included its subsidiary, the entertainment industry: “We in Britain have our Queen and you [Israel] have your Shimon”. From the speeches and well wishes of notables, both those present and through the media, praise and admiration was forthcoming for Israel’s most-senior active politician. All that appeared to be missing was the official coronation.

The guests, who came for the birthday celebration numbered somewhere around 3,000, and included, among others: former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, actors Robert DeNiro and Sharon Stone, as well as singer Barbara Streisand. Many of the guests also came for the annual President’s Conference that extended from last Tuesday through Thursday, and hosted around 5,000 people. Both events essentially advocated the “two-state solution” at every opportunity. Recorded birthday greetings for Peres included those from U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s, Spanish King Juan Carlos, Prince Albert of Monaco and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Presidential Conference had representatives from 20 countries, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Rahm Emanuel, as well as Hollywood stars and Nobel Prize laureates. It was largely a politically-left affair, with only brief moments when comments were made regarding Israel’s need for security.

After the speeches and the praises, Peres addressed those who gathered for his birthday celebration and said, among other things, “I know you have come to Jerusalem from around the world to pay tribute to me, and with me, to do ‘tikkun olam’.” He added the “Peres Push” to the push of others, saying that Israel was geared toward peace and that he wished to see a “Palestinian” state. The Hebrew expression “tikkun olam” (tee-koon’ oh-lahm) literally means fixing or repairing the world, but is understood as “healing” or “transforming” the world. The use of that term in the context of Peres’s speech conveys the thought that the division of the land of Israel and the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in its midst is what will bring about world unity and peace. This “message” was expressed over and ever again indifferent forms, including by a rendition of the song, “Give Peace A Chance” that was sung by a few hundred young Israelis.

But, this very “schmaltzy” affair did not cause satisfaction is all sectors of Israeli society. It was said to be the wrong thing at the wrong time, because of the cost factor, some US $3 million, while the average Israeli is being asked to tighten his belt even more than before because of budget cuts and increases in taxes. It was also thought to be overly lavish and not fitting for a senior Israeli official. One columnist, Ariana Melamed, got to the heart of the matter when she wrote, in part:

“Rivers of true love and hero worship, kitsch and glitter were poured out at your feet, Mr. President. An awkward mix of oligarchs and models”, and asked, “what was it that the organizers of the event and those who appeared and starred in it wanted to prove to the citizens whose President you are?

“We know that you are very loved, that you are appreciated throughout the world as a wise, elder statesman during an era of many upheavals. This we also know. But, what we were able to see in your celebration, between segments that tried to be like a night of the Oscars and those that tried to copy from Eurovision, is primarily the embarrassing gap between words and reality, between the list of invitees to Israel who remained outside, between the honor of the State and the donation of the bank and the oligarch … [and] your party….

“This was a party of a full and proud consensus, Mr. President. You invited writers and philosophers, but none of them was heard in an interview. You invited starlets and stars from gossip columns, too many people from the image industry and too many government speeches that spoke to you and about you, all while you didn’t hear nor did you want to hear the official Israel. When did we become like them, Mr President? From Ben Gurion to Rabin and from Chaim Weitzman to Herzog, it is difficult to imagine heads of state and presidents who would be prepared to participate in such a spectacle. When did you give up the modesty that was so appropriate for Israeli leaders in favor of warm hugs from world leaders and more for all to see in order to understand your greatness?…

“Did you, for one moment during that night full of glamor, wealth and horrible public relations scripts, feel a little embarrassment? Or have we lost this feature altogether as a people and as a society….?”

Admittedly, throughout his long career, Peres had done much to benefit Israel. But, he also made lots of mistakes. Despite his “pluses and minuses” balance sheet, he accumulated enough political mileage over the years to be able to get away with almost anything that is publicly visible. He says what he wants, even when it goes contrary to official government policy and even when his position as President calls for him to remain silent. He has attained a degree of immunity from tabloid persecution when others are accused, tried and sentenced by the liberal, left-wing mass media for every word that flies in the face of compromise philosophy. And, as concerns this latest celebration, he was able to enjoy every moment of it, while other politicians would have been sacrificed at the stake of public opinion if they had tried to stage a Hollywood-style extravaganza like this birthday party.

To top off Peres’s birthday celebration, Barbara Streisand, now 71, was still able to belt out her signature song, “People Who Need People”, and then sang, in Hebrew, the Jewish, High-Holiday classic, “Avinu Malkeinu” (“Our Father, Our King”). Interesting …

How can we positively shape international opinion for Israel?
Pro-Israel activists in Norway have learned that education is the key to shaping international public opinion in favor of Israel. Instead of talking about so-called “legitimate rights of ‘Palestinians’ versus the need to insure Israel’s security”, they turn the discussion, or debate, as the case may be, to one of balancing rights, i.e., Israeli/Jewish rights and “Palestinian”/Arab rights. Once people begin to think about “justice for Israel”, it begins to even out the playing field. In a nutshell, they speak about Jewish refugees from Arab lands – an almost forgotten and almost never discussed issue.

A month ago, the Canadian government, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, began a series of hearings on the matter of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, highlighting their plight in the context of the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict and presenting it as a legitimate expression of an indigenous people from the Middle East. Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, urged that Canada should officially recognize the persecution and displacement of over 850,000 Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, stating, in part: “Much of the Arab-Israeli peace process is about validation, of the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state and the recognition of the Palestinians as a people…Redress for Jews displaced from Arab countries is another example of this, and needs to be included for true and lasting peace to be achieved…Achieving peace in the Middle East is not a zero-sum game. The rights and claims of one group need not come at the expense of or displace those of the other. And thus, the purpose of incorporating the historic claims of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is not to diminish or compete with the claims of “Palestinian” refugees. The inclusion of the issue of Jewish refugees is meant to complete, not revise, the historical record.”

While the issue has been around for as long as the State of Israel exists, it has been ignored. It was highlighted for the public as early as 1984 in Joan Peters’ national bestseller, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine. On page 25 of her book, Ms. Peters states:

“For every refugee – adult or child – in Syria, Lebanon, or elsewhere in the Arab world who compels our sympathy, there is a Jewish refugee who fled from the Arab country of his birth. For every Arab who moved to neighboring lands, a Jew was forced to flee from a community where he and his ancestors may have lived for two thousand years. The Jews escaped to their original homeland, where their roots are even older; the Arabs also arrived where they were in the majority, where they shared the same language and culture with fellow Arabs, and often only a few dozen miles from their places of origin.

“An exchange of populations has in actuality taken place and been consummated; by coincidence, even the total number of Arabs who reportedly left Israel is almost exactly equaled by the number of Jews exchanged. There has been a completed exchange of minorities between the Arabs and the Jews, and a more-than-even tradeoff of property for the Arabs. The Jews who fled Arab countries left assets behind in the Arab world greater than those the Arabs left in Israel. Jewish property that the Arabs confiscated in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Egypt apparently has more than offset Arab claims of compensation from Israel.

“In fact, the concept of an ‘exchange of Arab and Jewish populations’ was introduced by an Arab leader as a solution to the ‘disturbances’ in the Middle East long before Israel or the actual exchange came about….”

She continues on pages 27-28:

“Among the dozens of countries to which tens of millions of refugees have fled for asylum, the only instance in which the ‘host countries refused,’ as a bloc, to assist properly, or even to accept aid in the permanent rehabilitation of their refugees, occurred in the ‘Arab states’. In March 1976, the director of the United States Committee for Refugees said that while ‘everyone must accept their refugees – that’s the world situation’, still, the ‘Arab refugees are a special case.’…

“‘Permanent resettlement’ remains the general goal of the United States government…Yet the current dialogue omits any mention of the rehabilitation or resettlement of ‘Palestinian’ Arab refugees. It is the ‘right of the Palestinians to their homeland’ that is consistently reiterated.

“The abuse of the refugees, their deprivation of real ‘human rights’ from 1948 onward, and the true motive behind their rejection by the Arab world have all been buried by propaganda slogans and omissions. Humanitarian voices of concern for ‘human need’ and dignity are now muted by the louder and increasingly prevalent trumpeting of the ‘rights’ of the ‘Palestinians’ to ‘return’.

“Amid that campaign, the belated recognition of the ‘other‘ Middle east refugees, the Jews, was termed an ill-timed ‘complication’ by United States officials during the Ford administration. To the benefit of the Arab propaganda mechanism, and perhaps to the ill fortune of many perpetual Arab refugees, Israel has not made an effective case for its own Jewish refugee claim; Israelis say that they have reserved the matter of the population exchange for overall peace negotiations, although they have referred to the exchange during discussions of refugee compensation, and in forums such as the United Nations.”
(Underlined words are emphasized in the original text by italics; footnotes from the original text were omitted by me.)

There is much more to this public relations argument, which Israel has failed to exploit over the years, much to its considerable detriment and to the advantage of the “Palestinian” propaganda machine. The effort by the Norwegians is admirable and we should pray that it is not too late. Similarly, the Canadian initiative should be repeated in every nation that calls itself “democratic” and which lauds the praises of “what is fair to one should be fair to all”. The bottom line of such an initiative is that it shows that Israel and the Jewish people are not “Johnnies come lately” in the Middle East, nor simply a once tolerated, but now an unwanted, by-product of European war guilt after the Holocaust, but indigenous Jews who lived in this region for upwards of 3,000 years.

It has been said before, but is worth repeating again and again: We accepted our brethren who were forced out of their homes from different Arab countries. Often the dialects and the languages themselves made for difficult communication. But, they all worked side by side, shoulder to shoulder, to build the land that received them as sons returning to their borders. The Arab refugees, on the other hand, who left at the behest of their own leadership prior to the outbreak of the War of Independence, have been used a tools by their own brethren for upwards of 65 years, kept in isolation and in squalid conditions for the world to see, rather than being absorbed by their relatives. If they had been absorbed, the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict could have been avoided, although in all likelihood, the Arab-Israeli conflict would have continued on a wider, more religiously oriented scale.

U.S. and others to supply arms to Syrian rebels.
Apparently, the White House is finally convinced that the government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against those trying to remove him, thus crossing America’s “red line” and allowing for U.S. involvement in the civil war that has thus far claimed the lives of over 93,000 people.

The U.S. has decided to provide arms to the rebel forces, although the nature and extent of those arms has yet to be disclosed. The hesitation of President Obama to get involved in the Syrian upheaval was criticized by former President Bill Clinton, who said that such inaction could end up making Obama look life a “total fool”. The U.S. has its own struggles, trying to balance those who propose more aggressive action in Syria’s civil war, with those who are concerned about sending military materials into a war zone, where the Hizb’allah and Iranian militia are fighting alongside Assad’s troops and where al-Qaida extremists are fighting on the side of the rebels.

In the meantime, Ministers from the 11 countries, which make up the Friends of Syria group, were in agreement that there was an urgent need to “provide all the necessary material and equipment to the [Syrian] opposition on the ground”, while Russia repeated its commitment to complete a contractual deal with Syria and provide it with the advanced S-300 air defense missile system. The countries that make up the Friends of Syria group are: the Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States. The weapons to be supplied by each country are to be transferred only to the Free Syrian Army, in an effort to prevent them from reaching Sunni jihadists. The once defunct “Cold War” between the U.S. and the West, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other hand, is beginning to thaw out and signs of life are able to be discerned.

Israel can only rely on itself to prevent another Holocaust.
That was the essence of what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said when he visited the infamous Auschwitz death camp in Poland a week ago. He intimated that the dangers facing Israel at this time are those emanating from Iran: “The leaders of the Allies knew about the Holocaust in real time…They understood exactly what was happening in the death camps. They were asked to act, they could have acted and they did not…For us Jews, the lesson is clear. We must not be complacent in the face of threats of annihilation. We must not bury our heads in the sand or allow others to do the work for us. From here, the place that attests to the desire to destroy our people, I, as Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, tell the nations of the world: The state of Israel will do whatever is necessary to prevent another Holocaust. Because also today there are those who express their intention to destroy millions of Jews and to wipe their state off the face of the earth…This is a regime that is building nuclear weapons with the expressed purpose to annihilate Israel’s 6 million Jews…We will not allow this to happen. We will never allow another Holocaust.”

May it be that the leadership of our country will come to a clear realization that threats to our existence are directed towards us not only from outside of our borders, but inside them, as well. A little Bible reading, instead of holding a Bible meeting, wouldn’t hurt, as it would enable our politicians to begin to understand who they Re and what they Re called to be and to do.

“Palestinian” threats of another “Intifada”.
Nabil Shaath, the Senior Palestinian negotiator vis-a-vis Israel, warned that “if the status quo remains, we will not be able to prevent another intifada”, adding that Speaking to Israeli media outlets at his office in Ramallah, Shaath told reporters that a “quiet freeze [of settlement construction]” would open the door to getting the peace process back under way.

He immediately followed this with a statement that the “Palestinians” are actually spending some 60 percent of their expenses to protect Israel from counter-terrorism: “I have never seen a convict spend the penny they earn to protect their jailers … But we are doing it, because of us not because of you. Ideologically we committed ourselves to a nonviolent path and we are keeping our promise, and not to obey his highness Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, if I were in [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s place I would fire him”.

His comments regarding Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon followed Danon’s statement that the government does not support the two-state solution and will not allow a Palestinian state to be established inside the pre-1967 borders. Many within the left-wing faction of the government immediately condemned Danon’s statement. The “Palestinian” Authority was quick to denounce it, while pointing out that this, in fact, represents the true face of Israel. Within a few days, Danon’s statement began to gain support from other areas of the government, including from Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi party), who made it clear during coalition negotiations that he would not support the existence of a “Palestinian” state in the area of Judea and Samaria (referred to as “the West Bank”).

Netanyahu continues to express the need to seek, together with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “to find an opening to negotiations in which a demilitarized “Palestinian” state emerges which recognizes the Jewish state. And for this to occur, the government needs to act as one.” Again, there seems to be a failure of senior politicians to remember that the only time the government tends to “act as one” is during a time of war. It is time to stop encouraging our enemy to take pieces out of this little slice of desert sand, but to come up with alternatives that will provide for an internally secure Israel, who can focus its energies against enemies from without, without the need to redirect those energies to deal with enemies from within.

Kerry is expected to present a multi-step peace plan.
During his next visit to our neighborhood, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to unveil a multi-step proposal for peace between Israel and the “Palestinian” Authority. i think the term “unveil” is appropriate, as an “unveiling” is what is done to reveal a grave stone in the Jewish community. In this situation, the grave stone lies on the dead peace process, which Kerry and the U.S. administration, along with most of Europe and other countries, seek to revive.

According to this proposed plan, both sides would enter into immediate negotiations, with no pre-conditions, but based on the two-state solution, “Palestinian” independence and Israeli security. Following the phased negotiation process, after there is agreement on certain core issues (presently undefined), Israel would be expected to make more “gestures” towards the “Palestinians”, by freezing construction and releasing terrorists (referred to simply as “prisoners” in order to be politically correct). The issue of the status of Jerusalem would be held for the end of the negotiations.

There is something inherently wrong with the thinking of, or lack of thinking by, politicians who refuse to accept reality and who continue to live on “fantasy island”. As long as they keep seeing the central issue as one of “land”, they will continue to avoid dealing with the real issue, the existence of Israel. This, in turn, which will serve to prolong the present struggle and make it much worse.

Lapid says he will press to have public transportation on Shabbat.
If the debates over budget cuts and increased taxes, as well as over “sharing the burden” in the military or national service, were not enough, Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid party) said he would support a plan that would allow for public transportation on Shabbat, “not in religious areas, but in secular neighborhoods and towns, because this is not an issue of religion and state — it is a simple social issue”. There seems to be a lack of understanding by many who are elected officials to recognize that there is a reason why one of Israel’s Basic Laws refers to Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state. There is no national, social issue that does not touch, in one way or another, matters of both religion and state. Just because the orthodox have been kept out of the coalition government does not mean that there will not be repercussions for upsetting the status quo regarding the government’s attempts to authorize public transportation on Israel’s day of rest. It is throwing down the gauntlet in front of the religious sector and it is uncertain by whom and how it will be picked up.

Increases in poverty affect ability to obtain medicines.
Speaking of the matters of finance, without doubt, one of Israel’s most difficult challenges is the increasing number of people who are falling below the poverty line. According to a recent report, last year some 12% of the population was forced to forego medical treatment or purchasing of medicines because of the cost, even the medicines are included in the “Medicine Package” that allows for a substantial discount for the patient in purchasing the same. The survey also revealed that an alarming number of participants felt confident that they would actually receive treatment for a serious ailment, if it became necessary.

Oldest Jewish person dies at age 113.
Evelyn Kozak was what Gerontologists refer to as a “super-centenarian”, those who are 110 or older. She was the seventh oldest person in the world, the oldest of whom is Misao Okawa, 115, of Japan.

Kozak’s family moved from Russian in the late 1800’s in order to escape anti-Semitic attacks. She ran a boarding house in Miami, Florida, and started to cover her hair in the manner of many traditionally orthodox Jewish women do. She had 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandson. According to her granddaughter: “She always said a good conscience was the secret to a long life.” Now that’s a thought worth pursuing (1 John 3:21).

From an Arab doctor to Jewish one: please help this man!
War has a way of making people friends, who would forever be enemies. There is a brotherhood among physicians, who understand that they have a calling to render assistance to those who are in need of their special training and skills. In this modern age of cyberspace communication, one doctor is able to send an x-ray or the results of a CT or MRI scan to another and get a second opinion, or even help the receiving physician in ministering to his patient. But, what happens when an enemy asks for your help?

This was the question that faced Israeli doctors, who received a Syrian rebel, who was wounded in the fighting in Syria and found brought to Israel by U.N. forces which were near the border. The patient was transferred to Ziv Hospital in Safed for treatment. The unique thing about this patient is that he came with a note from the Syrian doctor who treated him before he arrived at the Israeli border. The Syrian physician wrote:

“To the honorable surgeon hello, the patient is 28 years old, was wounded by a bullet that struck him the chest, causing broken ribs, and fragments have damaged the liver and diaphragm. A thoracotomy [incision into the chest] was performed to stop the bleeding and abdominal surgery was performed to stop the hemorrhaging in the liver. The liver could not be stitched up and a pressure bandage was applied to the abdomen. The wounded patient was left under observation. Since 11 a.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013, his vital signs and hemoglobin levels were monitored. The doctors believe the abdominal surgery is required to analyze the state of the liver and to remove the pressure bandage. Please do what is required and thank you in advance.”

The Syrian doctor listed the medications used on the patient and signed his name at the end of the note.

Ziv Hospital has treated 20 Syrians since the outbreak of the civil war. Following the receipt of this patient, Ziv Hospital Director Dr. Oscar Ambon said: “A civil war is a complicated thing, and it should be noted that despite being portrayed as their enemy, the rumors that one can get good medical treatment in Israel are spreading by word of mouth”.

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. For you will heap burning coals on his head and the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22; Rom. 12:20). To this we might now include that if our enemy is injured, provide whatever treatment you can. There is no telling how saving a life can end up changing a life.

Israeli firm sets record-breaking deal for navigation application.
An Israeli company sold its navigation app “Waze” to Google for more than US $1 billion, plus an extra US $100 million for company managers and to pay out options. Waze has over 47 million users and raised over US $67 million in funding to date.

Many commercial reasons have been given for Google’s willingness to lay out this kind of money for a widely-used application.  But, with everybody trying to eavesdrop on everyone else, what better way to know where you are or where you’re heading than to plug your information into a system that could one day end up tracking your every move. Is Big brother really starting to watch us or are we just waking up to that reality?

Israel’s Biblical history and the politics of peace – how much denial can we take?
A 5-ton, carved pillar dating back to the time of King David was recently discovered at a location near Bethlehem, only for the discoverer to find out that he “re-discovered” what Israel has known about for years, but chose not to make it public, because of the “complexities of Arab-Israeli relations”. What is worse, an article that reported about it referred to its location as being “in the West Bank, not within the official borders of Israel” (my emphasis), making it all the more problematic to excavate there. This is simply outrageous!

Here’s the site:

And THAT was The Week That Was.

O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth…When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet…O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1, 3-6, 9)

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

p.s.: In case anyone missed prior updates of The Week That Was, copies of updates that were sent out from the end of January, 2013, until now, can be viewed at:

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