Iran still on the world stage, playing its part – TWTW … ending 15 March, 2014

Shalom all,

I wanted to start off by expressing thanks to the Islamic Republic of Iran, for supplying us with 40, Syrian-made M-302 long-range missiles, having a 90-160 km (60-100 mile) range, 181 120 mm. mortars and 400,000 7.62 mm bullets, all neatly wrapped and protected, which they sent on the Klos-C, the Panamanian vessel that was seized by Israel in the Red Sea last week. But, yesterday was the Feast of Purim, a time of rejoicing and celebrating for living through yet another attempt to eliminate the Jewish people, as revealed in the Scroll of Esther, while the Jews were living in ancient Persia, now known as Iran. It is also a time of wearing costumes and disguises, primarily by children, although adults often join in dressing up to look like someone else. To get you all into the spirit of things, see the attached caricature that appeared in Israel Hayom yesterday morning. The characters from top right to left and then bottom right to left, and their statements regarding their costumes, are as follows:

Catherine Ashton: I disguised myself an as Iranian and now they are my under my control and they will sign on any agreement that I want.
Vladimir Putin: I disguised myself as a Ukrainian, so it is only natural that the half island of Crimea will belong to me.
Bashir al-Assad: I disguised myself as a U.N. inspector and I am personally getting rid of my chemical weapons.
John Kerry: I disguised myself  this way to find favour in everyone’s eyes.
Hassan Ruhani: I disguised myself as a dove, because I am afraid of him (pointing to Obama).
Barach Husein Obama: I disguised myself as a president.

Despite my many efforts, I was not able to load the caricature into this post. So, I will refer you to the site itself: http://digital-edition.israelhayom.co.il/Olive/ODE/Israel/Default.aspx (click on the upper left hand corner of the newspaper and go to page 27.)

From time to time, I receive requests to share about one thing or another and I try, as time and space allow, to relate to specific matters. I do not always deal with a subject immediately after it is suggested, but I do try. A number of you have asked to get some more information about Purim. Rather than respond individually, For those of you who missed it, I am attaching my post of 23 February, 2013, which was relevant than and is even more applicable today. Iran (formerly known as Persia) was a threat to the existence of the Jewish people during the time of Queen Esther. Today, Iran has again emerged as a threat not only to Israel and the Jewish people, but to the nations of the world.

The Scroll of Esther – The Presence of Him Who is Invisible
Some stories, like true vintage wine, become better with age. One of them is the story of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. We are commanded to tell the story from generation to generation. It reveals the presence of God, His might, His power and His holiness and ability to save the people whom He has chosen (Deut. 7:7-8). These attributes of God are also present, and He remains mighty to save, even when He is not in the forefront of the action, but in the background and even when He is not referred to or mentioned by name. This is the situation in the Scroll of Esther (Megillat Esther).

We know the story and is a great one. It is a story of absence – absence from the country where the sons of Jacob were to shine, to prosper, to worship God in the majesty of His holiness, to be blessed and to be a blessing. It is a story of the absence of a national leadership amongst the captives from Judea and Samaria who were taken first to Babylon during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, some of whom were later brought to Persia (modern-day Iran) and who were living during the reign of King Ahashverush (Ahasuerus). It is a story where the absence of God in the lives of the captives stands out by the failure to refer to Him. It is a story that serves as the background for the complaint of the people, as revealed in the explanation of the vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel, namely, an absence of hope: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off”.'” (Ezekiel. 37:11)

This comment is being written on the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day “when the king’s command and edict were about to be executed, on the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, it was turned to the contrary so that the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them”. (Esther 9:1)

We look at the story with the benefit of hindsight. It is written for us and we can see how the pieces that seem disjointed all fit together and reveal the Hand of God and His unseen presence among His people, during one of the lowest times in the history of the nation of Israel. The major players are Mordechai, his niece Hadassah (whose name in exile was changed to Esther), King Ahashverush, who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia and Haman, to whom the king gave exceedingly great authority. The king commanded that all of his servants, who were at the king’s gate, were to bow down and pay homage to Haman. But, Mordechai did neither.

From a political perspective, we see a “situation developing”. One man, who was at the king’s gate (i.e., was part of those who were close to the seat of power and who were able to come in and go out of the court without a special permit), defied the command of the king and would not bow down. It is recorded for us that Mordechai was living in the citadel of Susa. He was a descendant of Kish, who was a Benjamite and part of the upper class families who were taken captive and exiled along with King Jeconiah of Judah. (Esther 1:5-6) Another famous descendant of Kish was Saul, Israel’s first king, who disobeyed the Lord’s instructions given through Samuel the prophet, to strike and totally destroy Amalek. King Saul defeated the Amalekites, but allowed their king, Agag, to live – an act of disobedience that resulted in the Lord rejecting Saul from being king. Ultimately, the prophet Samuel killed Agag.

But, Haman is said to be “the son of Hammedatha the Agagite”. So, the consequences of Saul’s disobedience had future consequences for the nation of Israel. The descendants of Agag came to distant lands and some of them, like Haman, ended up in the service of the king of Persia. And so, once again, a descendant of Kish meets up with a powerful Amalekite.

However, not only is Mordechai a descendant of Kish, he is also a Benjamite. Benjamin was the last son of Jacob. He was born after Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, after Jacob crossed the Jabbok and after he and all of his household bowed down before Esau. (Gen. 32-33, 35:16-18) Therefore, Benjamin, who was the only son of Jacob who was born in the land of Israel, did not bow down before Esau. And, his descendant, Mordechai, stood his ground, as well, and did not bow down before Haman. When questioned by the king’s servants why he refused to bow, his answer was that “he was a Jew”. (Esther 3:5) The refusal of Mordechai to bow down before Haman “filled him with rage”. When he was told “who the people of Mordechai were … Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordechai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahashverush (Ahasuerus)”. (Esther 3:5-6) Lots (Purim) were cast to determine the day that this would take place.

Haman’s understanding went beyond the simple fact that there are a people under the king’s rule who have a different religion. The issue was not the existence of a different religious belief, which could be tolerated, but rather, the Jewish people, whose existence would not be tolerated by the descendant of Agag, the Amalekite. After all, only Mordechai refused to bow down, but the entire nation would suffer the consequences of his act of defiance.

The rest of the story continues, with Haman convincing the king to issue an edict that the Jewish people be destroyed. Haman was even willing to pay money into the king’s treasury if the king would agree to his request. Mordechai publicly demonstrated against the king’s edict and enlisted his niece, Hadassah (i.e., Esther, after whom the Scroll is named) to appeal to the king. Esther had been chosen to replace the deposed Queen Vashti, when the latter refused to appear before the king and his drunken friends, who had been partying for seven days. Esther explained to Mordechai that her life would be endangered if she came into the presence of the king without being summoned. Mordechai wisely explained the situation in a clear and unequivocal manner: “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14) Things don’t get much clearer than that. Esther understood the gravity of the situation and that it was not her life only that was at risk, but those of the Jewish people who were under the rule and reign and authority of the king – her husband.

She requested that all of the Jews in Susa fast (and impliedly, pray) for her and not eat or drink for three days. She and her maidens would do the same and afterwards, she would go to the king, contrary to law, and, as she said: “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16) And she and they did so and on the third day, the fate of Esther and the Jewish people was decided. The sentence of death had already been passed. Now, would the sentence of death be carried out, or will there be life? The golden scepter was extended to her and with it, life for her and eventually, life for the Jewish people. She chose the manner of presenting her petition to the king and the timing of it. In the meantime, the king had a bout with insomnia and had the chronicles of the kingdom read to him. It was then that he learned that Mordechai discovered and informed about a plot to kill the king, who now decided to publicly honor and reward him by dressing him in royal garments and having him paraded through the city square on a horse, on which the king had ridden. Haman was appointed to do this for Mordechai and to proclaim before all the people “Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desire to honor.” (Esther 6:10-11) This further enraged Haman.

When Esther revealed to the king what Haman had done, the king issued another edict that allowed the Jews to defend themselves, inasmuch as by law, he could not cancel his own decree. Haman was the recipient of the king’s wrath, as he and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows and what had been meant for evil was turned around for good. (Esther chpt. 9) Mordechai recorded the events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces under the authority and rule of King Ahasverush (Ahasuerus), obliging them to annually celebrate the 14th and 15th days of the Hebrew month of Adar, “because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday … for Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to disturb them and destroy them…Therefore they called these days Purim after the name Pur…So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants…The command of Esther established these customs for Purim and it was written in the book.” (Esther 9:20-32)

At the end of the story, Mordehai was exalted to a position of power and authority, second only to the king himself. He was “great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.” (Esther 10:3)

There is much that this story reveals and many aspects of it have significant, and indeed, eternal ramifications and applications for those within the Messianic community, as well as for the whole world. We see how the Hand of God was moving behind the scene, using the drunken feast of the king to embarrass the then queen, who was removed because of her disobedience to the command of the king (by the way, there was significant reason for that refusal); the choosing of Esther to replace her; the positioning of Mordechai as one who was at the king’s gate and his overhearing the plot to kill the king; his being of the descendants of the tribe of Benjamin; his refusal to bow before Haman the Agagite; the unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Jewish people and Mordechai’s being exalted with power and authority, second only to the king himself.

Our God reigns! “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Prov. 16:33) What the enemy of our souls meant for bad, God used for good.

Israel sorely needs men like Mordechai today. He was the godly remnant amongst a people who believed that God had forsaken them. He represented the hope of a national restoration, when there had not yet been any experience with exile. Living outside the land, away from the Temple service, away from the place where God commanded the blessing, was all that the people knew. Yet, one man stood in the gap. He said “no”. He would not bow down to man and certainly not to a descent of those who sought to destroy the Jewish people. Today, we see and experience that once again, the nations conspire together against God and against His people, saying, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Psalm 83:4). Who knows whether we are alive for just such a time as this! We need to pray that God would raise up His Mordechais, those who are not willing to bow before the Obamas, the Kerrys, the Rouhanis and the Abbases of this world, as well as the leaders of the United Nations and European Union. We need people to proclaim who they are and, by extension, who we are as we face the plans and pursuits of nations to divide this land and scatter God’s people. God doesn’t change. He remains the same yesterday, today and forever! A little faith can move mountains. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)

With the thoughts of God’s sovereignty in mind, let’s take a look at what else happened this past week.

Iran still on the world stage, playing its part
Iran wanted to bless Gaza terrorist groups with its shipment of arms on the Klos C. If those weapons had reached their ultimate destination, they would have given Hamas and Islamic Jihad strategic capability. The operation which resulted in the seizure of the ship had two basic goals: the first, to prevent the weapons reaching terrorist organizations, which could have seriously endangered the citizens of Israel and the second, to show the true face of Iran, which was responsible for the shipment.

European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, accepted the invitation of Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and made her first visit to Iran, which is also the first visit there by an EU foreign policy chief since 2008. She met with President Hassan Rouhani and, in an effort to calm tension that had developed since the beginning of the year between the Islamic Republic and the EU since the beginning of the year, she stated (according to the Iranian Fars News Agency): “I have come to Iran with the message of goodwill of 28 European countries, and this is my first opportunity to talk with the Iranian officials over a different issue. And this is a start for the development of cooperation between Iran and the EU…The EU fully acknowledges the Islamic Republic of Iran’s importance and role in the region; accordingly, talks have taken place during this trip for cooperation between the two sides on different issues.”

F.M. Zarif added his two cents, saying: “Iran will only accept a solution that is respectful, that respects the rights of the Iranian people.” One can only wonder whether Ashton and Zarif are talking about the same subjects. Rouhani and his cohorts play their roles exceedingly well and their smiling faces before the mass media have charmed the EU and lulled it to sleep. Unfortunately, the foreign policy of the U.S. vis-a-vis Iran is not any better than that of the EU. And all the while, Iran thumbs its nose at the West and laughs all the way to Uranium enrichment and nuclear capability. What would it take for the West to awaken from its reverie?

P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu said at last Sunday’s cabinet meeting: “I would like to ask [Ashton] if she asked her Iranian hosts about this shipment of weapons for terrorist organizations, and if not, why not. Nobody has the right to ignore the true and murderous actions of the regime in Tehran. I think that it would be proper for the international community to refer to Iran’s true policy, not its propaganda.” But, as usual, the questions that should have been asked, but weren’t, are: “Is anyone paying attention to what it happening on the ground? If so, does anyone care?” I think that they are afraid to find out the answer.

And what about the so-called “peace negotiations”?
At a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, last week, its Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby soundly rejected Israel’s demand that the”Palestinians” recognize Israel as the Jewish state, saying: “The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the “Palestinian” leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over “Palestinian” lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’.” In an expected twist, where blame for the stalled “peace talks” would fall on Israel, Elaraby indicated that such a demand for recognition of the Jewish state was attempt by Israel to derail the peace talks, arguing that this demand was not made of other Arab countries that signed peace agreements with Israel. “Palestinian” President Mahmoud Abbas jumped on that argument, saying that the “Palestinians” were being asked for something that had not been demanded of Arab countries that have previously signed peace treaties with Israel. He asked “We recognized Israel in mutual recognition in the (1993) Oslo agreement — why do they now ask us to recognize the Jewishness of the state?”

Let’s keep the record straight. The “Palestinian” Authority is not a nation state, so it cannot compare itself to “other Arab countries” who signed peace agreements with Israel (namely: Jordan and Egypt). Moreover, by asking the above question , neither the Arab League, nor Abbas, is really interested in anyone’s answer, because it would show up the truth of the situation on the ground. Why should they recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Simply, because such recognition by them does not exist. Time after time, the “Palestinian” Authority and its various leaders have opposed recognizing Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. This is the crux of the matter, not the nonsense about territorial dispute or even the rights of so-called refugees. The issue is obscured by talk, similar to that of Abbas, that there was “recognition of Israel”. There is not a single Arab country in the region that is willing to recognize our right, as Jews, to live in any part of this region, which they all consider to be Islamic land. It is fundamental to Islamic theology and thinking, that once land belong to Islam, it always will belong to Islam, even if Islam loses temporary control over it. Inasmuch as this entire area was once part of the Ottoman Empire, which was Islamic, the presence of a Jewish Israel flies in the face of Islamic theology. Therefore, from the “Palestinian” perspective, in line with the “Palestinian” narrative, there can be no peace until the Jewish presence here is removed.

The failure to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people would perpetuate the present conflict long after another piece of paper is signed. Claims of “occupation” and “apartheid”, as well as wide-scale Arab suffering as minorities in a Jewish land (more nonsense) will continue, even if a separate, “Palestinian” state is established.

It is time that someone handed to Barack Hussein Obama and to John Kerry a copy of the “Palestinian” National Charter, which was ratified by the Fatah Movement (the allegedly moderate faction of the “Palestinians”) at its Sixth General Assembly held in 2009. At that time, a principle was approved of “absolute, irrevocable opposition to recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ to protect the rights of refugees and the rights of our people [Israeli Arabs] beyond the green line.”

Thus, the real reason for refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is that such refusal is based on Islamic theology, ideology and principle, having to do with who we are and where we are located. It has nothing to do with establishing or not establishing a “Palestinian” state, or about the return of refugees. It has nothing to do with Israeli settlement, or housing construction in any area on either side of the “green line’. It has to do with who we are, where we are and our right, from any perspective, Biblical, historical and acquisitional (by purchase and/or military conquest”) to exist. “Palestinian” and general Arab opposition will continue, a demand for the return of refugees will continue, attempts of delegitimization of Israel will continue, until Israel’s Jewish identity is slowly withered away, until Israel becomes a country for all people of all backgrounds and of all nationalities.

We don’t need recognition from anyone for who we are. Nevertheless, our insistence upon our being recognized as a Jewish state has as its goal to put an end to the whittling away of the country, the giving away of more and more territory, until eventually, Israel reverts to a totally indefensible strip, from a human point of view, as was the situation prior to the War of Independence.

Are we to rejoice that back in 1993, with the signing of the Oslo disastrous accords, there was some form of “recognition” granted to Israel as an existing state? Recognition is a nice term, but by itself, it is meaningless, as realities prove otherwise. Political leaders “recognized” Israel, but that “recognition” was not translated into practical relationships. The Islamic “main stream media” still refer to Israel as the “Zionist entity”. The maps of the Middle East in “Palestinian” schools fail to show the existence of Israel and the entire area that is now the State of Israel is referred to as “Palestine”. Children are being taught that Israel is an occupier of the lands of their forefathers. They are taught to hate Israel, the Jewish people and everything and everyone associated with us. So, the willingness of Abbas and his cronies “recognize” Israel, but not as a “Jewish state”, is devoid of meaning. Our insistence on this full recognition is, and should remain, a non-negotiable matter. Otherwise, we are simply spinning our wheels, in a deluded expectation that the hatred of our “cousins”, our neighbors, will somehow abate, “if only” we sign another piece of paper, giving away what our sons and daughters fought for, and many of whom died to obtain.

Interim Agreement, Shminterim Agreement – No matter what we call it, it still stinks.
When the Minister of Defense comes out with a public statement that the President Abbas is not a partner for a peace deal and adds “Unfortunately, an agreement will not happen in my generation”, we should all sit up and take notice.

Abbas continues to refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Instead, he said: “I recognize Israel just as they recognized the “Palestine” Liberation Organization”, adding “Israeli pressure does not concern me. Let them continue to say that there will be no peace without recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.” Abbas, who is in the U.S. at the time of this writing and is meeting with Obama,  also indicated that he would not give up the “Palestinian’s” non-existent “right of return” to the place that they voluntarily abandoned before the War of Independence. Yet, with all of the pressing and pushing from the U.S., Mr. Obama never talks about the obstacles to peace that are provided by the one who is supposed to be Israel’s peace partner.

In response to Abbas’ statement, P.M. Netanyahu stated: “I want to make clear that I won’t bring forth a deal that does not negate the right of return and does not require Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state. For the State of Israel, these are fundamental conditions that are legitimate and essential.”

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, is not overly trusted by a large majority of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. According to the latest monthly “Peace Index” poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, some 74% of Israeli Jews are of the opinion that the U.S. is putting more pressure on Israel and on the “Palestinians” to accept Kerry’s framework proposal. Kerry didn’t pick up the signals and added insult to injury by saying that the Israeli demand for “Palestinian” recognition of a Jewish state as a condition in the negotiations was a mistake. Amazing! This statement comes only 9 days after his statement that “Any peace agreement must also guarantee Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland”. Is it any wonder that such zig-zagging causes us to cast a “no-confidence” vote in Kerry’s statements or in any “interim agreement” that he would propose?

Needless to say, Kerry’s comment irked more than a few politicos here, including an official from the Habayit Hayehudi (“The Jewish Home”) party, who said: “In Washington, they do not hear the sirens going off in Ashkelon, and that is sad.” Those comments referred to the massage rocket barrage that was fired into the southern part of Israel last week from the Gaza Strip. Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) added: “At a time when citizens of the State of Israel are being attacked by rockets, I would expect Kerry to be making clear statements against terror organizations instead of disputing the basic rights of the Jewish nation to its land.” Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) also related to Kerry’s remarks, stating: “The secretary of state expects that we will completely dismantle both our strategic properties and our moral conviction. I am sure that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu will clarify to our friends in the American government that we are connected to reality and not to illusions.” Putting a cap on this matter, Homefront Defense Minister, Gilad Erdan (Likud), also lashed out at Kerry, after Kerry called Israel’s demand for “Palestinian” recognition of a Jewish state “a mistake”: “It is unfortunate that just ahead of Abbas’ meeting with Obama, Kerry has erred again,…The Secretary of State needs to be asking Abbas why he refuses to recognize a Jewish state. Clearly the reason is that the “Palestinians” want to make further demands in the future, even if an agreement is signed, and they are not interested in ending the conflict.”

All of the above coalesced into the statement of the Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, quoted at the outset of this discussion. He added: “I am not sure Kerry is a fair mediator (adding a bit more fuel to the fire of a similar statement that he made earlier in the year)…We’ll see at the end of the process.” Then, returning to his comments concerning Abbas, Ya’alon stated: “Abbas has resorted to the Oslo trick, no recognition and no promises…Abbas is a partner who takes, not a partner who gives. He is not a partner for a permanent peace agreement that includes recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. He just takes back prisoners. A country isn’t founded by U.N. declaration, but on the ground. Judea and Samaria and Gaza are dependent on us. If we aren’t in Judea and Samaria, Hamas will take over instead of Abbas.”

So, why all the pressure on Israel? Because, rightly or wrongly, Israel has expressed a willingness to “make a deal” and is willing to put action behind it. Our security is a major factor in any negotiation and, regrettably, there were former leaders of this country who were willing to sacrifice that security for “pie-in-the-sky” promises. But, the “Palestinians” want what they want and the way that they want. For them, negotiation is a one-way street: we give and they take.

The U.S. does not help in this regard. They are pushing for an “interim agreement”, containing items for resolution that will allow the parties to continue talking for another year. Abbas has already indicated that he thinks the “interim agreement” idea is pro-Israel, but was willing to possibly considr it, if Israel was willing to release more prisoners. Israel, for its part, said that if there is no “interim agreement”, it may not release the remaining prisoners who were part of the deal to get the “Palestinians” talking to us.

The U.S., as well as the European Union, may both be dull of hearing, poor in eye-sight and slow in thinking. But, if they pay even minimal attention to what is being said by the parties, they will come to the realization that if a deal is going to happen, it will not happen because the “Palestinians” are suddenly willing to to stop us fighting us to the death. The only thing that the “Palestinians” can realistically put on the table is a commitment to stop the fighting, which will necessitate their recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and that, on land that they consider to belong to Islam. Not much chance of that happening. Stated differently, if it a deal is going to happen, then it will have to be by Israel giving in and almost everyone recognizes that. So, the pressure mounts on Israel, with threats of international sanctions, economic loss and political delegitimization. “Sign here”, said the man, and all your troubles will be a thing of the past. Well, such an idea is not healthy and we need to keep

Well, like I said at the outset: It’s Purim – a time to celebrate God’s intervention in the life of His people, even if He is not called out by Name and even if He remains in the background. He is still in charge. And remember, Passover is not too far away. At this increasingly difficult time in our brief existence, we need all the Mordechais to make their presence known, and say “no” to those destructive voices that would have us commit national suicide by giving up our ideals and fundamental principles for our existence. For 2,000 years we have yearned for a return to this land and, despite two millenia of persecution for who we are, our hope was realized and embodied in our national anthem “HaTikvah” (the Hope), “to be a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem”.

More points: Massage missile attack from Gaza last week to points in the south of Israel. Israel retaliated and Hamas called for a cease-fire, as usual.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and addressed the Knesset. His reception was met with some resistance, but he seemed to take it in stride, saying: “Well, if I was thinking of missing the prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons and finding somewhere to spend a quiet Wednesday afternoon, clearly I’ve come to the wrong place…My ambassador did warn me about what may happen here today. He said people may shout, some people might leave, fights may break out. He said you may learn the meaning of a new word, ‘balagan’ [‘mess’].”

Cameron praised Israel, calling it “a country pledged to be fair and equal to all its citizens whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian Arab or Druze.‬”

Then, he got to the heart of the matter: “Looking right to the Jordan River and left to the Mediterranean Sea, I really appreciated for the first time just how narrow and vulnerable this land is. A vulnerability that has already seen 38 missiles from Gaza this year alone. … It gave me a renewed understanding of what it must be like to be afraid in your own home.” Not long after his speech, dozens of rockets were fired into southern Israel by terrorists from Gaza.

He concluded with: “Let me say to you very clearly: With me, you have a British prime minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock solid…We will be with you every step of the way.” I truly hope so, Mr. Cameron. For the sake of Great Britain, whose greatness was lost when she acted against the Jewish people, rather than fulfill England’s promises to them. Talk is cheap. Ask Mr. Obama.

And THAT was the week that was. Actually, there was more. But, we’ll stop here. Some friends and even family asked me how I was able to write so much. I apologized to them, saying that I didn’t have time to make it shorter.

“Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.” (Isaiah 2:2-4 [my emphasis]; Micah 4:1-3)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

Marvin

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