Israel’s Nation-State Law – A Continuing Controversy

Shalom all,

On 19 July, 2018, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed a quasi-constitutional law, which has come to be known as the “Nation-State Law”. This legislation has been cheered by many and objected to by many more. It has been the center of controversy at home and abroad since its enactment. It has generated public protests attended by tens of thousands. At least seven petitions have been filed with Israel’s Supreme Court in an attempt to have the law declared “unconstitutional”. And, as with most matters of controversy in Israel, it has taken on political overtones. Proponents hail the legislation as a breath of fresh air, claiming, among other things, that it puts Jewish values and democratic values on an equal footing. Opponents condemn it, asserting that law discriminates against Israel’s minority communities. Some of the comments will be mentioned below.

When dealing with legislation, two primary questions need to be asked, namely: (1) What does it say? and (2) What does it mean?

The law itself is relatively short, only 11 provisions. So in answer to the first question – What does it say? – I decided to include here a full translation of it, so that it can be seen as a whole:

Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

1 – Basic principles

A.  The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.

B.  The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.

C.  The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

2 – The symbols of the state

A.  The name of the state is “Israel.”

B.  The state flag is white with two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.

C.  The state emblem is a seven-branched menorah with olive leaves on both sides and the word “Israel” beneath it.

D.  The state anthem is “Hatikvah.”

E.  Details regarding state symbols will be determined by the law.

3 – The capital of the state

Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.

4 – Language

A.  The state’s language is Hebrew.

B.  The Arabic language has a special status in the state; Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law.

C.  This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.

5 – Ingathering of the exiles

The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles.

6 – Connection to the Jewish people

A.  The state will strive to ensure the safety of the members of the Jewish people in trouble or in captivity due to the fact of their Jewishness or their citizenship.

B.  The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people.

C.  The state shall act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people among Jews in the Diaspora.

7 – Jewish settlement

A.  The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.

8 – Official calendar

The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the Gregorian calendar will be used as an official calendar. Use of   the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will be determined by law.

9 – Independence Day and memorial days

A.  Independence Day is the official national holiday of the state.

B.  Memorial Day for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars and Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day are official memorial days of the State.

10 – Days of rest and sabbath

The Sabbath and the festivals of Israel are the established days of rest in the state; Non-Jews have a right to maintain days of rest on their Sabbaths and festivals; Details of this issue will be determined by law.

11 – Immutability

This Basic Law shall not be amended, unless by another Basic Law passed by a majority of Knesset members.

That’s it. Relatively short and to the point. After it had been debated and revised for over a year, it was passed by a vote of 62 in favor, 55 against, with two abstentions. Commenting upon the legislation immediately after its passage, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated this was “a pivotal moment in the annals of Zionism and the State of Israel…We enshrined in law the basic principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, that respects the individual rights of all its citizens. This is our state — the Jewish state. In recent years there have been some who have attempted to put this in doubt, to undercut the core of our being. Today we made it law: This is our nation, language and flag.”

As for the second question – What does it mean? – this is the part that has sparked such ongoing opposition and antagonism. The primary argument of critics of the law is that it is discriminates against minorities in Israel. This claim is expanded upon and embellished, and is filled with accusations of wrong-doing, including the enshrinement into law of racial superiority, relegation of minorities to being second-class citizens and insensitivity to their feelings.

In a nutshell, the language of the nation-state law is designed to make sure that Israel does not succumb to multi-culturalism that would destroy its national identity, its historical and Biblical right to the land and its unique culture, that was generated primarily by Jews who returned to their ancestral homeland, bringing with them both diversity with identity. What Israel wants to achieve with this law is exactly what its opponents want to prevent – an attempt to make the obvious explicit: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, with all that such a statement entails. That means it can have an official language, a flag,  national holidays and that it possesses the sole right to expand its tent pegs to settle the land, from “Dan to Beer Sheva”. It is this latter aspect which is the crux of the opposition to it. Just as a brief aside: The law refers to the “development of Jewish settlement”, not the setting up of “settlements”. There is a significant difference between the two.

If the “exercise [of] national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”, that precludes non-Jews from being able to claim the right to self-determination as a nation within the borders of Israel. The need for such a provision is abundantly evident in light of the unrelenting efforts of the so-called “Palestinians” to claim a non-existent right of return to the land to set up a “Palestinian” state. As has been mentioned time and time again, the Islamic perspective is that Judaism, along with Christianity, are false religions and that Islam has replaced Judaism. From that perspective, Islamists assert that there can no basis for the establishment of a Jewish state. But, Jews can continue to live, along with Christians, under Islamic law and rules. So, if there is no “right” to a Jewish state, the argument naturally follows that Jews also have no right to defend it, i.e., Israel should have no army or other defenders of the nation, but Jews and others should live at the mercy of Islam.

But, there is more. Israel’s Arab neighbors reject Israel’s very existence as the “nation-state” of the Jewish people. Their constant claim is that Judaism is a religion and not a nationality and that “Islamic history” negates any Jewish connection with “Palestine”. This denial of genuine historical fact regarding the ties between the Jews and the land known as Israel is an essential part of Islamic theology, which asserts that any land that was ever under the control of Islam remains holy to Islam, even if Islam’s rule is temporarily removed from the land. Viewed from this perspective, all of Israel is considered as “occupied territory”, as it was once controlled by the Ottoman Empire, which was Islamic.

Cartoon from Israel Hayom, August 19, 2018

Thus, the enshrining into this new law the factual existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people runs contrary to everything that is claimed by the “Palestinians” and Islam and is a difficult pill to swallow.

In this regard, the real underlying opposition to the law became abundantly clear during one of the rallies that took place a few weeks ago, during the course of which “Palestinian” nationalist symbols, like flags, were displayed. Stated differently, the outcry against the new law is that it fails to treat all Israeli citizens equally. And the intention behind the argument of inequality is that it denies “Palestinians” the right to “national self-determination”, i.e., to set up a state of their own “in the State of Israel”. And so it is as it should be! The calls for “Palestinian” national rights at the protest gathering were what the opposition is really all about. Those calls were interspersed with calls in support of a “Palestinian” state and against Israel, even including the oft-repeated cries of Hamas terrorists, “With blood and fire, we will redeem ‘Palestine'”, as well as “Millions of martyrs are marching to Jerusalem.”

The new law is not intended to be legislation in the normal course, designed to guide the daily affairs of the country’s populace. It is intended to be a formal “declaration” of what Israel is, historically, nationally and Biblically – the place where God has called the Jewish people, the place where He wants to bless them and, as a consequence, to bless the world through them.  The desired equality that opponents of this law desire could well eventually result in the same multi-culturalism that Islamists have successfully used to bring about the cultural suicide that Europe is experiencing in our day.

All the issues raised by the Nation-State law are not dealt with here. Some things in the law will still need to be ironed out. For the time being, the controversy will continue.

Then the LORD said to him [Moses], “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants’.” (Deut. 34:4)

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: Save [us], LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. (Psalm 120:2)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.




Gaza – Are We Being Manipulated into Another War?

Shalom all,

It seems like a long time since I last wrote. Well, maybe because it is a long time, some of which is attributable to my being abroad and some from severe jet lag. While in the U.S., I experienced what some would refer to as “culture shock”. It simply is not the same place that it was when I left there in the mid-80’s. My wife’s suitcase was “lost” on the way over and then “found, three and a half weeks later, the day before the return trip. On landing in Tel Aviv, my wife and I discovered that her suitcase did not make it on the plane together with us. But, the airline was prompt and diligent to deliver it to our home the very next day. The great part about the trip was catching up with dear friends and even having a mini-family reunion. There were times of sharing the Word of Truth in local congregations, as well as about our pro-life ministry in Israel. We were in four states and drove through two more. All in all, we had sweet fellowship with precious brethren and were able to catch up with family members. The time seemed to fly.

Upon returning to Israel, the big issue of the day was the backlash against the passage of what is known as the “Nation-State Law”. Its passage has resulted in renewed accusations of apartheid, caused at least one politician to submit his resignation as a Member of Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), generated mass protests and created a serious rift with the Druze community in Israel, which, up to the time of the Bill’s passage, had been strong supporters of Israel and, and, and….

What is it about this new law that has generated such antagonism and split even further the political divide? Is the criticism justified or is it merely the result of a lack of understanding regarding its content and consequences? This is what was on my mind, but it took second place to the recent events taking place in the south of Israel.

As a brief reminder, every Friday for the last several months, violent demonstrations have taken place along the Gaza fence, which separates Gaza from Israel communities in the south of Israel. As part of those weekly incidents, whose participants number in the thousands, terrorists use all kinds of weapons against the soldiers who are protecting our southern border. While various weapons have been used by terrorists from Gaza against the IDF, causing injuries and even one soldier’s death, the Hamas terrorist organization has also used incendiary kites that have destroyed wide areas of agricultural property and have caused damage to residences, businesses, and individuals here. 

However, beginning this past Wednesday night and continuing into Thursday, Hamas once again broke the cease-fire that it asked for and about 200 rockets were fired from Gaza into communities by Hamas terrorists. The Reuters News Agency captured one of the Hamas missiles exactly at the moment when it was intercepted and destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System. But, when Hamas tried to stretch its wings and fired a rocket toward

Reuters PHOTO-2018-08-10-13-38-34.jpg
Reuters PHOTO-2018-08-10-13-38-34

Beersheva, that was the trigger that resulted in the IDF retaliating and destroying a building in Gaza City that was used by the internal security forces of Hamas. Israel retaliated against approximately 140 Hamas military targets. People on both sides of the conflict have been injured or wounded, some seriously, some mortally.


The missile barrage on Israel of some 200 projectiles within the space of less than 24 hours was picked up by many media sites. But, not all of them bothered to deal with the essential facts, so that the matter could be put into proper perspective. This appears to be particularly true when the one on the receiving end is Israel. As is often the case when reporting about Israel, the realities of the situation are twisted to the point of casting blame on the victim, Israel, instead of Hamas.

Case in point, as reported in Hebrew by Ynet:  The British Broadcasting Company (the BBC) issued a Tweet, whose headline read: “Israeli airstrikes ‘kill woman and toddler'”, without any mention of the rocket barrage fired at Israel. A spokesperson from the Israeli Foreign Ministry responded: “This is a formal complaint by [the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]. This title is a deliberate misrepresentation of reality (that’s the polite equivalent of “this is a LIE”, if you don’t get it). Israelis were targeted by Hamas and IDF acts to protect them. Change it IMMEDIATELY!!!”

While the Twitter account did not change the headline right away, the news site changed the headline to read: “Gaza air strikes ‘kill woman and child’ after rockets hit Israel.” Later on, the original Tweet in Twitter was deleted and a new Tweet was written: “The Israeli army says it attacked Hamas targets in response to the firing of dozens of rockets at Israel.” What should be noted about the “P” report of the mother and child is that the “Ps” actually took the photo from somewhere else. It is a photo of an American baby that they downloaded from Instagram.

Most of the larger news networks were fairly balanced in their headlines, even those which chose to include in the bylines the death of the “Palestinian” mother and her daughter, following the Israeli response to the missile barrage. But, the popular Italian newspaper, “La Republica”, stood out in its blatant failure to every try to present the reality of the situation. It read: “Gaza: A pregnant Palestinian mother and her daughter, a year and a half old, were killed by bombings.” In the sub-headline, there appeared only: “Among the victims was also a 30-year old man. The present escalation in the Gaza Strip comes when Egypt and the U.N. are brokering an attempt to bring about a cease-fire.”

The Dry Bones Blog,>-9 August, 2018
The Dry Bones Blog,>-9 August, 2018

The firing of missiles from Gaza was not mentioned at all in the article that appeared on the front page and only those who bothered to read further were able to discover the information about the firings from Gaza. It seems that only when we do something, that it becomes newsworthy – distorted, but newsworthy.


I could easily relate to the multitude of different news sites that bothered to report on the matter, which didn’t even try to put first things first. But, this would only repeat what has already been written. Prejudice against Jews and Israel is expressed in many forms and, sometimes, it is expressed by its failure to present the entire picture, thus creating a misleading impression, which allows one’s innate attitudes to take over.

But, where do we go from here? There has been yet another “temporary” cease-fire. If things go as they have always gone, the present cease-fire will soon cease – Hamas will once again fire missiles into Israel and we will once again retaliate. And we will be blamed again for defending ourselves and for surviving and for the consequences of our retaliation to the instigation of Hamas.

The Dry Bones Blog,>-15 July, 2018
The Dry Bones Blog,>-15 July, 2018

Expressed somewhat differently, we are, and will continue to be, accused of a disproportionate response. And the cycle will begin again. Residents in the south of Israel are willing to risk war for the sake of gaining long-term peace and quiet. Mothers do not want to constantly be in a situation where they need to decide which child to save when the sirens sound, signaling incoming missiles.

As a result of the missile bombardment, Air Force personnel were called up and ground troops were being prepared for a move southward for another military engagement with Gaza. Israel is pragmatic and knows that at some point, it will have no choice, but to re-enter Gaza. Most of us will agree with the words of President Thomas Jefferson: “I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.” War is not our goal, nor is it our desire. It never has been. But, it is a reality that we have dealt with in the past and will, unfortunately, have to deal with again before too long. 

So, why haven’t we already put an end to this on-going cycle of “If you hit me, I’ll just hit you back, harder”?

Several possibilities exist: (1) Gaza is simply a time bomb with a fuse, that once it is ignited, it will cause the entire region to explode, something that Israel does not want – nor do most of Israel’s neighbors; (2) If a war breaks out with Hamas, which is an Iranian proxy, Iran could pull the strings with its other proxies in the region and bring about a multi-front war with Israel – Hezbollah in Lebanon (north), Assad in Syria (northeast) and Hamas from Gaza (southeast), as well as the possibility of direct confrontation with Iran (from the far northeast). While being far from an ideal situation, Israel is already planning for this eventuality; (3) Another war with Hamas is likely to generate a worldwide backlash, particularly from a media point of view. Regrettably, Israel has not done well in the war of public opinion. 

And so we wait. 

In the meantime, proposals are being considered in order to bring about another, admittedly, “temporary peace” with Gaza. But, none of the proposals are good for Israel. We cannot allow our enemies to dictate to us terms for peace. The consequences of “them” deciding, rather than Israel, will be disastrous. It’s been said that “War settles nothing.” 

“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 2:4)

Have a great week and remember: Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


A land flowing with milk and honey … and Molotov Kite Tails

No fewer than 18 times, the Bible refers to this land as “a land flowing with milk and honey”. We can argue about what “milk and honey” means, but it would be difficult to interpret the positive perspective of “flowing” in any way other than what the rational mind would understand it to be, namely, abundance and, when combined with “milk and honey”, abundantly fertile. Twice, within the context of describing the land that God gave to the Israelites, He refers to it as “flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.” (Ezekiel 20:6, 15).

There is a proper place for trying to understand what is meant by that phrase. We can take it apart, word by word, and attempt to explain what we think it means today, what we think it meant to those who were living in Bible times and were about to enter this land, as well as what we think was understood by those who actually did enter. There is a beauty that the Scriptures reveals and proper examination of it illumines the eyes of our understanding and quickens our heart to anticipate “the glory of all lands” that still awaits us.

When the Israelites entered the land after forty years of wandering in the desert, there was work to be done. It had to be “cleared” before it could be properly enjoyed. The Israelites faced constant opposition and attempts to steal and destroy what they sowed and wanted to reap. Their enemies encouraged one another, saying “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be no more.” (Psalm 83:4) The more things change, the more they remain the same. 

After two thousand years of diaspora “wandering”, the descendants of Abraham, Isaach and Jacob returned to the land. It needed to be “cleared” before it could be properly enjoyed. They met considerable opposition, yet they persevered. The “dry bones” (Ezekiel 37) were revived and once again, the land began to flow with milk and honey. Agricultural cooperatives were set up “from Dan to Beersheva” (i.e., from the north to the south of Israel). We taught a multitude of countries how to cultivate their lands, fatten their cows and irrigate their deserts. In the midst of opposition and despite and multitude of wars, this country grew, developed industry, cultural programs, technology and centers for higher education. The dry areas were fertilized and yielded produce, which was exported to nations all over the world. Israel was becoming a physical and material blessing to the nations. 

But, there is another consideration that cannot be overlooked, namely, that Israel is to be a spiritual blessing whereby all the families of the earth will be blessed by it. (Genesis 12:1-3). “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘” (Zechariah 8:23). This remains an event for a future day. Hopefully, it is not too far off.

Yet, today, efforts are being made to turn blessing into cursing. Movements abound that try to delegitimize Israel and to condemn the Jewish people. If some could have their way, we would be blamed for every evil under the sun. The “father of lies” is very good at what he does and is not without gullible adherents. Most people tend to condemn what they do not fully understand. Some are taught to hate from childhood on. Blame is always put on “the other guy”, who, more often than not, turns out to be a Jew or the nation of Israel. So it is today.

During the last two months, our neighbors to the southwest, in Gaza, have attempted to breech the security fence between Gaza and communities in Israel. They have been warned not to approach the security fence, but those warning went unheeded. Stirred on by the terror organization Hamas, civilians are used as human shields. Weapons are used against Israeli troops, who are doing their job to defend our population from terrorist infiltration. Some people are killed, many are wounded. Israeli is blamed by the community of nations, who condemn Israel for continuing to exist. The latest i

The Dry Bones Blog (
The Dry Bones Blog (    Blitzkite-10 June, 2018

n the arsenal of weapons used by “Palestinians” is the “terror kite”. It is a regular kite, usually with a swastika put on it, to which a Molotov cocktail is attached. It is sent over the fence, explodes and causes severe fire damage to agricultural and other lands and property in civilian areas, resulting in considerable economic loss and severe ecological pollution.

Look at the contrast: This is what some of Israel looks like, because of the desire to build a nation and an infrastructure that will benefit the population of Israel. This, on the other hand, is what Hamas desires to do to Israel.

Billions of dollars have been pumped into the “Palestinian” Authority, which has been used to fund three wars against Israel since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007. It has been used to develop a terrorist infrastructure, instead of one that will help to improve the life of the citizens of Gaza. They don’t have anything that they want to protect, so they try to take what we have and what we want to protect. And that totally useless organization, the U.N. (I won’t even credit it with its full name) once again is being asked to condemn Israel for its actions to protect what belongs to it. This is where I live and I will do what I can to protect my home and my family. If this were your home, wouldn’t you do the same?

Please keep my two sons in your prayers. One is on active duty and the other is on reserve duty. Thanks.

Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. (1 Sam. 25:6)

The LORD said to Abram … “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your deascendants forever.” (Genesis 13:14-15)

Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah* as far as the western sea, and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’;” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

* For those who may think that we are occupying “Palestinian” land, it should be noted that “the land of Judah” includes Gaza (Joshua 15:1, 47), which they are temporarily occupying.

Have a great week.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


“Their modus operandi is simple: Lie.”

In a scathing article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 20th, entitled: The Truth About Hamas and Israel, the IDF Spokesperson, Brig. General Ronen Manelis, summed up the method of Hamas’s “war” against Israel and reminded the vast readership of the paper of the goals of this terrorist group: “Their [i.e., Hamas officials’] modus operandi is simple: Lie. Their lies support the stated goal of Hamas: the delegitimization and destruction of Israel.” He accused the Hamas terror organization, which has been ruling Gaza since 2007, of orchestrating “theatrics” for an international audience – theatrics which resulted in the deaths of dozens of “Palestinians” during the violent weekly, Friday demonstrations along the Gaza border fence. And, the worst thing about it is that the leftist media bought the narrative, hook, line and sinker. There was international outrage, calls for probes by the U.N. Human Rights Council (there’s a misnomer if there ever was one) and calls for setting up an international force that would protect (can you believe it?) the population of Gaza.. There were gatherings and events all planned to voice complaint against Israel for the deaths of alleged “innocent” victims of the Gaza fence uprisings. Then, Hamas itself revealed that 50 of the some 60 “Palestinians” killed were Hamas members. Islamic Jihad added 3 of its members to those who were killed. One would think that the bottom fell out of the arguments of those who condemned Israel and that they realized that the vast majority of the “innocents” were, in fact, active members of terrorist organizations, armed with weapons, hunting slingshots, explosives and “kite bombs”, who mixed in with the crowd and stirred them on. But, that wasn’t the case. 

Michael Oren, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy, recently stated: “There’s a war being waged and we’re not even on the battlefield.” He added: “Hamas can’t cut through the fence, so it wants to get people killed in order to delegitimize Israel. And the press plays into that, the press enables Hamas to win.” And, much to our regret, in words of Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, the head of the IDF’s internationl media department, regarding the fight for international public opinion, Hamas won an “overwhelming victory, by [a] knockout”. Conricus continued: “Hamas wanted the casualties, Hamas wanted people to die. Hamas wanted the pictures of the wounded and the overflowing hospitals and everything else…It’s been very difficult to tell our story”, adding that some of it is his fault.

If that wasn’t bad enough, along comes the article by Thomas L. Friedman, in the New York Times of May 22, 2018, entitled, Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature. I could discuss the inconsistencies and errors, prejudices and presumptions contained in the article, which was simply another in a seemingly endless series of articles getting on Israel’s case. But, rather than do so here, I refer to you to a somewhat lengthy, but nevertheless informative, criticism of Friedman’s latest condemnation of our country and government, appearing in Israpundit. This will give you an idea:

But even compared to his past inanities, [Thomas Friedman’s] latest column, “Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature”, is a real doozy—a “masterful” blend of personal bile and bias, liberally laced with logical inconsistencies, factual inaccuracies and even blatant non-sequiturs.


Friedman has of course, been long been captive to the seductive deception of two-statism. At the base of this dogma is the belief that, among the Palestinian-Arabs, there is a leader sufficiently reasonable to cut a deal acceptable to Israel and sufficiently authoritative to ensure its implementation.

Accordingly, in order to sustain their political credo, (or rather, “cult”), two-state adherents have to conjure up imaginary Palestinian-Arabs and an imaginary Palestinian-Arab society, significantly different from those that actually exist on Planet Earth.

It is difficult to refrain from commenting myself on statements that are based on historical error and misinformation in Friedman’s article. But, since others have done so, I will forego it at this point. Many years ago, before immigrating to Israel, I enjoyed reading The New York Times, which tried to live up to its slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” But, news that is distorted is not “fit to print” and should not be treated as news at all. With ethical considerations no longer part and parcel of a reporter’s responsibility, allowing him/her to “make”, rather than “report”, news. So maybe the slogan should be changed to “All the News That Fits We Print”. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this is not my opinion only, but the opinion of all those who really want to know what is going on, factually, not fictionally. 

The “Palestinians” want Israel to answer for the Gaza incidents before the International Criminal Court, totally ignoring their own responsibility for the deaths of their own citizens. Israeli farmers are planning to retaliate and will seek to hold Hamas legally and criminally responsible for the destruction of Israeli fields, property and produce, resulting from the “kite fire bombs” that the “Palestinians” sent over the Gaza fence. The destruction of Israeli fields and vineyards from the “kite terror” is now a daily event and a genuine concern. Israel is totally justified in defending its borders against infiltration, whether against one or against a multitude. But, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated: “History has shown us time and again that what is right is not what is popular.” 

With the commencement of the month-long Moslem celebration of Ramadan, which began this year on May 16th, violence along the Gaza fence has not diminished. The focus of world attention has shifted from Iranian involvement in Syria to violent clashes along the Gaza border fence. The weekly, Friday confrontations continue. The leadership of Hamas continues to send Gazans to confront the Israel Defense Force, which is determined to prevent “Palestinian” infiltration into Israel communities. And, of course, the leftist media continues to miss the mark and fails to understand that these demonstrations are not for the benefit of the Gazan population. The people are being used as “walking bombs” by the Hamas leadership in its goal to win the war of public opinion. The price: 50 Shekels (about US $14 or £10.50 or CAD $18.20). 

In his excellent article entitled Hamas: Fight to the last Gazan, Dr. Mordechai Kedar brings us full circle to the need to recognize the role that the media plays in encouraging “Hamas’ satanic plans”. As Dr. Kedar states, in part, in his article, which I heartily recommend that you read: 

“Every person killed is a public relations accomplishment for Hamas, every person wounded is a propaganda gain to mislead viewers in Europe and America who have no understanding of Hamas’ satanic plans to use the people of Gaza as live ammunition against Israel, knowing that they will be killed as soon as they try to break through the fence….Everyone in Gaza…now knows exactly what happens to anyone who comes near the fence. That makes the rioters themselves and the Hamas organization which sends them fully responsible for the deaths of these live bullets.

However, the foreign press is another responsible party of which the public must be made aware. Anyone who understands Hamas’ plans knows full well that without media coverage all the riots near and at the fence would not have occurred. After all, why would Hamas waste human ammunition unless it could make an impression on world opinion?

This is where Israeli idiocy steps in, as Israel allows foreign media to reach the immediate surroundings of  Gaza…[The] media act as tools of the Hamas terrorists, useful idiots who spread Hamas propaganda without charge.”

Why doesn’t Israel shut down, at least temporarily, the internet access which it supplies to Gaza? We provide the internet that allows Hamas to spread its propaganda. We supply Gaza with electricity, that allows Hamas satellite television broadcasting. Maybe the world outcry against depriving the “Palestinians” of access to media outlets would be considered a fate worse than death. 

Dr. Kedar closes his article on an optimistic note: 

“There   is no question that Israel will defeat Hamas, because Israel is fighting a just war and Hamas is a terror organization whose reign of terror over Gaza turns its population into disposable ammunition with its own evil hands. The fate of Hamas is not in doubt: It will be dumped in the ash heap of history, along with the other Arab dictators who were overthrown in the “Arab Spring.”  Hamas, the despotic and tyrannical terror movement, is no different than they, because it, too, is prepared to sacrifice the Palestinian Arabs down to the last man on the altar of its own survival.” 

In the meantime, the violence continues, also in places other than along the Gaza border fence. Staff Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, a 20-year-old IDF soldier, who served in the elite Duvdevan unit, was critically injured a week ago Thursday, during an operation in a refugee camp near Ramallah. He was struck by a large marble slab thrown on his head from the third floor of a building. He died of his injuries two days later and was buried last Sunday morning. Despite the tragedy of his son’s death, Ronen’s father stated, in part: “Also in these difficult days I am content, because the nation of Israel has embraced my family with a strong embrace that I did not believe existed. Our great victory is that we will live full lives.” Ronen was a close friend of one of my youngest’s son’s friends. May the God of all comfort touch the hearts of his family and grant them all His abundant comfort.


Ronen’s death is a tough reminder of the fact that among the many tasks that the IDF has, one of them is to go into the refugee camps and other places in the administered territories to search for and arrest “Palestinians” wanted by Israeli authorities, some of them before they perform an act of terror. This is an ongoing activity for the unit, which operates on a moment’s notice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. 

Then there are the rockets that Hamas fires off in the direction of Israeli civilian communities. They shoot the rockets. We retaliate. Two days ago, Hamas asked for a cease fire. We agreed. They immediately violated the cease fire. We struck back. Have you ever had a rocket land close enough to you to shake the foundations of your residence and your entire neighborhood? That is our reality. What would YOU do? 

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

The LORD your God is in your midst. A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. (Zephaniah 3:17)

[The] Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


Moral Inversion – Blaming the “Other Guy” for Defending Himself

On January 18, 2018, an article appeared in American Thinker, entitled “The moral inversion of ‘humanitarian groups luring the poor into death traps”. It opens with the question: “How do you say ‘chutzpah’ in Spanish?” It focused on the accusation of two “purported ‘humanitarian’ groups” that blame the deaths of border violators on the U.S. Border Police, who destroy the food and water left by these two groups for the migrants who try to infiltrate the border. The writer continues: “Providing food and water to lure people into a potentially fatal journey is reprehensible….Anyone who encourages people to violate our laws and do so in a life-threatening manner is doubly culpable in my book….We are supposed to be outraged by the sight of Border Patrol agents executing their protective function.” No one would seriously deny that the United States has the right to defend its borders against those who would illegally seek to infiltrate its territory.

Let’s move some nine thousand miles east to the State of Israel and the wire fence separating Gaza from Israeli communities in the south of the country. Tens of thousands of Gaza residents attempt to storm the fence, tear it down and infiltrate into Israeli territory where they can destroy property, injure, kill and kidnap Israeli citizens. In the process, they use whatever weapons they have at their disposal, some resulting in personal injury and others causing considerable property damage. Standing between the infiltrators and their intended goals of “returning” to themselves what never belonged to them is the Israel Defense Forces (“the IDF”). The leaders of rioters make promises to them that they can never keep and urge civilians to put themselves at risk of injury or death in their attempts to get to the other side of the fence. The IDF holds its position and repels the attempts to infiltrate Israel’s borders. Gazans are shot, many are wounded, some are killed. 

Most of the reactions by the leftist media and by many so-called democratic governments around the world, with very few notable exceptions, are “outraged by the sight of [the IDF] executing their protective function”. Some foreign, cultural functions in Israel are cancelled, diplomatic representatives are called home and countries call for the investigation of Israel’s use of “disproportionate” force. We live in a world that does not wince at applying a “double standard” whenever Israel is involved. We usually find ourselves on the wrong side of the “moral inversion”, being blamed for surviving attempts to kill us and for defending against those who would steal the land that has been restored in accordance with God’s promise and possessed after the shedding of the blood of our relatives and friends. 

The Hamas terrorist organization instigates its people to go on suicide missions against the IDF. From the perspective of the depraved leadership of Hamas, the more dead Gazans, the better. The international media thrives on pictures of bleeding bodies, but ignores pointing a finger at the ones responsible for the deaths and injuries – the obsessed leadership of Hamas – and instead accuses Israel of acting improperly and even of committing war crimes. Writers need to fill their word quota. Newspapers need to increase their circulation. Media outlets are unrestrained in accusing the wrong person, because reporters are no longer bound by ethical standards. Truth and balanced reporting, if they truly ever existed, are now things of the past.

The reasons given for the violent uprisings – not peaceful protests, but terror attacks, are without foundation. In years past, there was the “intifida” that began following a “Palestinian” accusation that Israel had “invaded” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, or was trying to “destroy” the mosque, or that allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem would “defile” the holy sites of the “Palestinian” people. The most recent uprisings along the Gaza fence is allegedly in opposition to the announcement of U.S. President Trump which declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and because the U.S. moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is absolute nonsense. The recent uprisings are in connection with the “March of Return”, and have no connection with anything that the U.S. did or intended to do. The main events took place along the Gaza fence, not in Jerusalem or in the capitals of other Arab countries in the Middle East. 

Hamas leaders were so confident that the Gaza border clashes would result in victory, that they handed out detailed instructions via social media, informing the protesters which “Palestinian” leader would be giving a victory speech after the border was breached. But, the leadership of Hamas did not take part in the border clashes. They sent members of their terrorist organization, who were dispersed among the civilians. Hamas later admitted that 80% of the fatalities of the border incidents in April and 85% of those killed this past Tuesday (Nakba Day) were Hamas and Islamic Jihad military personnel. Yet, instead of reporting on these admissions, the western media continues to condemn Israel and call for the prosecution of Israel’s leaders. Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies rightly commented on this earlier last week: “They sit in air-conditioned offices in Europe and think that we’re facing demonstrations in Brussels against the central bank, and then preach to Israel about how to handle the riots.”

As David M. Weinberg, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, stated  on May 18th: 

“It is stomach-churning that people call the Gaza border death toll “disproportionate.” How many Israelis have to die for the sake of symmetry and ersatz Western scruples?

“It is also annoying that Western do-gooders seem to accept Palestinian “days of rage” as tolerable behavior. As if the Palestinians can’t help themselves from throwing a tantrum. As if responsible and reasonable behavior, such as negotiation, democratic discourse and normative state-building, can’t be expected of the Palestinians.

“This is the soft bigotry of low expectations and the counterpart hard bigotry of demands for impeccable/impossible conduct from Israel. This stems, I sense, from an inability to internalize the fact that despite Israel’s Oslo Accord concessions and multiple peace offers ever since, much of the Palestinian national movement has not changed its goal of annihilating Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian state. That is, of course, the meaning of Hamas’ so-called “Great March of Return.”

“It is incredibly hurtful when people who should know better focus only on Israel’s alleged shortcomings and not on the venality of those who instigate the violence so as to generate a maximum number of casualties. This only encourages the terrorists to keep at it, believing that useful idiots in the West will act to isolate the Jewish state until it collapses.” 

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British military forces in Afghanistan, told the UN Human Rights Council last week: 

 “If Israel had allowed these mobs to break through the fence, the IDF would then have been forced to defend their own civilians from slaughter and many more Palestinians would have been killed….Israel’s actions therefore saved lives of Gazans, and if this council really cared about human rights, it should commend the IDF for that, not condemn them on the basis of lies….I ask every country in this council: You have all been telling us that Israel should have reacted differently. But how would you respond if a jihadist terror group sent thousands to flood your borders, and gunmen to massacre your communities?”

And, if that isn’t enough, here is the report from someone who was there, in real time, serving as a reservist, on the front line along the Gaza fence. Before the liberal media condemn those who defend our country, let them put on a uniform, become targets, put their lives in danger, pretend that they are defending their families and their homes, and then report from the front lines. It just might reverse their moral inversion.

“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 62:6)

“I am zealous for Zion with great zeal.” (Zechariah 8:2)

“For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brighteness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.” (Isaiah 62:1)

Happy Shavuot / Feast of Weeks / Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-16; Acts 2:1)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Have a great week.


War … Almost!

On Tuesday, May 8th, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal – that was signed between Iran and six world powers, referred to as “the P5 +1” (it would have been easier if they just referred to the P6 to prevent everyone from having to do the math) and that it would be renewing economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. In his televised speech, Trump stated, among other things, that the deal “should have never been made. It didn’t bring peace and it never will.” The action by the U.S. was certainly in its best interests and boosted Trump’s image as a decisive leader in the international community. And, irrespective of what may think about him from a number of different perspectives, when it comes to Israel, he knows how to make the right decision. He and the U.S. will be blessed as a result (“I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse…” Gen. 12:3). He walks the walk.

As expected, Iran was not a happy camper. It had continually threatened that there would be “consequences” if the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal.

The following night, May 9th, Iranian military forces stationed in Syria fired 20 rockets towards the Israeli portion of the Golan Heights. Some of them were shot down by Israeli’s Iron Dome defense system, while the others fell on Syrian soil. Windows in Haifa and in various places in the north of Israel were rattled when the Israeli Air Force responded by sending 28 jets into Syrian airspace, which fired some 60 missiles at Iranian targets, severely damaging its infrastructure on Syrian soil. In the process, Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli jets, which all returned unharmed and safely home to Israel. Israel also destroyed the anti-aircraft batteries. The number of Iranians who were killed in the Israeli retaliatory strike varies, depending upon the source of the reports, but in all, 23 troops were killed, 18 of them being non-Syrians.

Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman, warned Tehran: “If you give us rain, you will get a flood.” The U.S. and other countries joined in condemning Iran and in supporting Israel’s right to defense herself. In a rare announcement, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister said that all countries in this region have the right to defend against Iranian agression. Others, like Russia of all places, called upon the parties to act with restraint.

Iran was clearly embarrassed by Israel’s successful retaliatory strike against its various installations in Syria. While Iran says that it is not interested in escalating the tensions between the two countries or in the region, it is clear that none of Iran’s media pronouncements can be trusted. The missile barrage could be an opening shot, to test Israel’s response (which was undoubtedly more than what Iran had expected). At the same time, it announced that as a result of the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, Iran would push ahead with uranium enrichment on an industrial scale. In line with this, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami warned yesterday (Friday): “We will expand our missile program and our capabilities despite pressure from Western countries … to let Israel know that if it acts foolishly, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be totally wiped out.”

Notwithstanding statements like those from Ahmad Khatami, Iran continues to blame others for the escalating tensions in the Middle East, while portraying itself as one who is acting to diminish those tensions. In an almost ludicrous statement, Syria joined Iran’s narrative and accused Israel as the one that is destabilizing the region: “…Syria has expressed dismay over the overnight airstrikes and blamed Israel for disrupting the peace and stability in the region. Iran has not yet made a statement about the attack.” Apparently, some of the chemical agents used by Syria have fallen on its media personnel.

There is, however, an over-emphasis by the media as to whether Tehran will respond to these latest developements and to its being embarrassed by Israel’s retaliation and destruction of much of its military infrastructure in Syria. The more formidable enemy is Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, the Hezbollah, which is not getting the media attention that it should. If Israel had acted in Lebanon the way that it did in Syria, it could have prevented the massive buildup of rockets and missiles now possessed by the Hezbollah, which are said to number over 100,000, all pointed in Israel’s direction. This terrorist organization has turned into a sizeable military force since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and many in their organization have gained combat experience by being active participants in the 7-year civil war in Syria. In all likelihood, if a serious military confrontation takes place with Syria, or with Iran, directly or indirectly, the Hezbollah will be active participants in that,as well. As I mentioned in previous posts, Israel is preparing for a multi-front war, the opening shots of which may have been the Iranian missile barrage from Syria last week. For now, as we begin a new week, there is an uneasy quiet on the northern front.

Increasing Tensions in the South

If the northern arena is taking a breather, the southern arena is picking up steam. The weekly, Friday confrontations along the Gaza fence are growing in intensity and in the damage that is being done to the fields on the Israeli side of the fence by “Kite Bombs” prepared by the “Palestinians”. Acres of land here have been destroyed by this unconventional, new weapon, that as of now, Israel is struggling to cope with.  The facade of these weekly confrontations being “non-violent” has long been negated. During yesterday’s demonstration, “Palestinians” set fire to gas pipelines that carry gas from Israel to the Gaza Strip. As the expression goes, they are “shooting themselves in the foot”.

It is expected that the violence will reach its peak on Tuesday of this coming week, as we begin the week with Jerusalem Day (commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967) on Sunday, the dedication of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday (coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment according to the Gregorian calendar) and Nakba Day (what the “Palestinians” refer to as the day of catastrophe) on Tuesday.  One leader of the terrorist organization, Hamas, hinted that it is possible that hundreds of thousands of “purely peaceful” protestors would storm the fence. Israel’s forces will continue to defend against any terrorist attack and “Palestinian” attempts to breach the border, instigated by Hamas. A massive protest and confrontation will undoubtedly result in a multitude of casualties, which would be in keeping with Hamas’s goals of gaining as much media coverage as possible, in the hope that the international community will  not only condemn, but take action against, Israel. This coming week’s Gaza fence confrontations will provide the headline coverage that Hamas has been waiting for. It should be clear that one of the easiest ways to negate so-called “Palestinian” claims to the land of Israel is by noting their readiness to destroy it.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)

“Blessed be the LORD from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 135:21)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


“Fix It Or Nix It.”

“Fix It Or Nix It.”

Iran put on a good show. It is a good actor on the international stage of the ship of fools. It bamboozled its negotiation partners into believing that it was sincere in its proclamations and its alleged willingness to put its nuclear ambitions on hold. It got what it wanted – a deal signed in July, 2015, that totally serves Iran’s purposes. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the formal name for the nuclear agreement – “the agreement”) that was signed does not prevent Iran from upgrading its centrifuges and, among other things, it allows Iran to assert that any site within its borders is a military site and, therefore, is exempt from inspection. The agreement fails to restrict Iran from developing its missile program, which would be the “means” by which it would deliver any nuclear payload and it totally ignores – and therefore, allows – Iran to continue with its plans for Middle East hegemony. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been an ardent opponent of the agreement with Iran and has, on more than one occasion, said “Fix It or Nix It”. As slogans go, this is a nice one. But, neither fixing, nor nixing, the agreement, by itself, will stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. As for “fixing” the agreement, that is not a practical solution for Iran, which made a “good deal” for itself. Therefore, it has no reason to agree to amend it. Serious, crippling economic sanctions were imposed on Iran and it only agreed to come to the nogotiating table because of the economic pressures that it was facing. Once the agreement was signed and the sanctions were removed, it immediately entered into various business deals with different countries and private companies. And while it smiled all the way to the bank – and friendlier relations with the European Union – it continued its pursuits to attain a nuclear weapon, which would enable it to join an exclusive club of nuclear-capable nations and, give it the freedom to say and do as it pleases. Lest we forget, when the agreement was signed, it was touted as a great success that was brought about by the joint efforts of many of America’s allies. Now, with the discovery that Iran lied from day one and that it negotiated the JCPOA in bad faith, the nations that praised it as the deal of the century now have a difficult time to admit that they were wrong. The ugly pride of politics This is where skill in diplomacy enters the picture. 

If “fixing” the deal were to be a realistic option, it would serve Iran’s interests even further. Iran could agree to re-negotiate and drag out those negotiations for an extended period of time, possibly even years, that would bring it close to the 10-year breakout period, that would free it of all obligations. And, with Russia and China involved in the renewed negotiations, the matter can be delayed time and time again, even as it was during the original negotiations and make a farce of any attempt at agreeing to any revisions.

So, then, if “fixing” the deal is not really practical or reasonably workable, that leaves us with the second part of the “either/or” situation, namely: “nixing” the deal, accompanied by strong, economic sanctions imposed by the international community … and enforced!. Enter President Trump, who tonight (9 p.m., Israel time – 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.) withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear agreement and said that it would reimpose “powerful”, economic sanctions. If other countries will continue to deal with Iran, they, too, might be subject to sanctions. 

Clearly, “nixing” the JCPOA is an encouragement to its critics, not the least of which is Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose status has increased before the international community, as the leader of the opposition to this disastrous agreement, and as the one who, in a very real sense, was the prime mover behind the U.S. deciding to withdraw from the agreement. It also served to present President Trump as someone who does what he says he will do, a fact that he clearly emphasized.

How does this decision impact Iran? Despite Trump’s announcement, Iran will not kowtow and easily abandon its nuclear ambitions, nor its nuclear program. In order for it to pursue its desire to gain hegemony over the Middle East, it must reject outright the action of the U.S. It must act in defiance of Trump’s announcement and accuse the U.S. of acting illegally, among other things that it will come up with. It must make every effort not to “lose face”, particularly in the eyes of the countries of the Middle East. The imposition of economic sanctions, even severe economic sanctions by the U.S. alone, will not immediately bring Iran to its knees. This will take time, which works in favor of Iran. The U.S. will need the support of other nations to make the sanctions effective. This, too, will take time. The only way for Iran to be stopped in its tracks is for it to realize that it is in a genuine and serious danger of a coordinated military strike against it. Only then will it sit up and think through the consequences of being on the wrong side of military attacks.

Iran has threatened that there will be consequences if the U.S. pulls out of the agreement. In this regard, it must be remembered that Israel and the U.S. are strong allies and have a common position with regard to the nuclear deal. Also to be remembered in this entire scenario is Iran’s threats to retaliate against Israel for the attacks on its bases in Syria during the last few months and, particularly, the one on April 9th, which killed Iranian advisers and members of the Revolutionary Guards. The Israeli military is on “high alert” and is prepared for an Iranian missile attack from Syria and Lebanon. It also has a dozen warships in the Mediterranean, along the northern coast of Israel, as well as tanks in some northern cities. In addition to a potential rocket and missile threat, there is concern about the possibility of attempted physical infiltration. While writing this post, I received an alert that the IDF instructed communities in the area of the Golan Heights to open up public bomb shelters, even as F-16s are flying overhead and are circling in the skies over the Syrian portion of the Golan. The IDF also called up some members of the reserves.

The big questions now are: Where do we go from here? What is Plan B, or Plan C, who will participate in it and how long will it take to put it into place? And now, the political pundits are preparing to prophesy.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22) 

Keep looking up!

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


The Price for Fulfilling a Vision

The Price for Fulfilling a Vision

It’s the little things that catch our attention, things like:-

May 1, 2018: the statement by Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and now serving as a deputy minister for diplomacy in the prime minister’s office, that the expected peace plan of U.S. President Trump will undoubtedly require Israeli concessions, but that Israel would be foolish to reject it. In his opinion, no U.S. President has been a more favorable ally to Israel than Trump. Therefore, we should welcome the peace plan, irrespective of its content. In his words: “My own feeling is to strongly recommend that the Israeli government accept this plan with an open mind, if not open arms, that we engage with it energetically and that we certainly don’t reject it out of hand.”

May 4, 2018: a report that President Trump revealed his proposed peace plan to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during the latter’s visit to Washington last week. This plan, long-awaited by many, will require Israel to give up four areas of East Jerusalem that would serve as the capital of a “Palestinian” state. One Hebrew language, daily newspaper here reported that Trump’s plan does not include the Old City of Jerusalem, which would be recognized as “international territory”. But, the proposed peace plan is also reported to contain total U.S. support of Israel in any matter concerning Iran. This is a broad provision and is expected to include support of Israel before the international community, as well as provide military aid and weaponry, in the event that Israel would decide to take action against Iran, even if initiated by Israel. The office of the Israeli Defense Minister refused to comment. Trump’s peace plan is expected to be made public after the U.S. Embassy is re-dedicated, this time in Jerusalem, on May 14.

May 5, 2018: In an interview given by Defense Minister Liberman, he commented on the upcoming move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, saying: “There are no free meals. National ambition and fulfilling a vision has a price. Opening the US embassy in Jerusalem will have a price too and it is one worth paying. I hope there won’t be, but I think that this decision is historic, important and dramatic. We have to welcome – and be prepared to pay prices. No one gave us our country on a silver tray.”

So, the summary of the above statements is: take it, whatever it is; we’ll probably have to make concessions (it seems that we are always the ones having to do that); favors come with a price and big favors come with a big price. 

On December 7, 2017, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital, I asked: “The only question I have at the moment is ‘What price is Israel going to have to pay for this announcement?'” Now, we get a glimpse of what it will cost, though foggy. Soon, we’ll see it clearly! Woe to those who try to divide up God’s land (Joel 3:2), whoever it is.

Iran, again. Things are definitely heating up.

A month ago, a Syrian base was bombed and 7 Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed. Iran said that it would retaliate for the strike. Israeli defense officials are preparing for a possible revenge attack by Iran, from Syria, with rocket and missile launches directed at northern Israel. While Tehran is not looking for an all-out war with Israel, it is anticipated that Iran’s retaliation will be directed against military, as opposed to civilian, targets. According to a report on one of Israel’s major TV stations: “Israel has recently identified with certainty Iranian preparations to fire at the north…We are not on the eve of war with Iran… but Iran is very determined to carry out an attack to avenge the T-4 strike and the deaths of its military personnel”. According to the TV report, the Israel Defense Forces reportedly claimed that they would hit all Iranian targets in Syria, if an attack was launched against Israeli territory. And, of course, Defense Minister Liberman said only a week ago that “If Iran attacks Tel Aviv, Israel will strike Tehran.” But, there is the Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, which has over 100,000 missiles aimed in our direction. If Iran launches a missile attack from Syria, even if against military targets only, there is a great likelihood that the Hezbollah will join the fray and be less discriminating in its choice of targets. Not to be forgotten is Hamas, Iran’s other proxy in Gaza, who is still trying to make its mark on the world with its “kite bombs”, among other violent means. We have various anti-missile systems, but if we blow all of their projectiles out of the air, what will follow after that?

Earlier today, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We are determined to block the Iranian entrenchment, even at the cost of confrontation…We don’t want an escalation, but we are prepared for every scenario. We don’t want confrontation, but if there needs to be one, it is better now than later. (my emphasis) 

Yes, it is the little statements that grab our attention. 

This is not exactly what I wanted to share this evening, but it’s definitely on the front burner.

“Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” (Joshua 10:8)

‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you’, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 1:19) 

“The Lord bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.” (Psalm 128:5)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


The “Nuked” Truth

The “Nuked” Truth

As expected, the media was all over the presentation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The left pooh-poohed it, while the right applauded it. The charts and physical files and computer discs certainly aided him in his presentation. And, the fact that Israel’s Mossad was able to get into the heart of Iran and get all of the documentation is an accomplishment of major proportions that will certainly have Iran thinking twice before acting. The biggest argument against Netanuyahu’s “revelations” is that when all was said and done, there was no clear showing that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons agenda now. Iran responded to Netanyahu’s presentation, claiming it was merely another raving from “the boy who cries wolf”. What effect did it have on other countries and governments, as well as upon individuals? Undoubtedly, in the final analysis, much will depend on what their respective perspectives were regarding both the nuclear deal and Netanyahu prior to the broadcast.

Granted, his presentation did not reveal a smoking gun. But, it did focus world attention on Iran’s false and misleading conduct, which lead to the signing of the nuclear agreement in the first place. Are we missing something here? Are we failing to see the forest through the trees? From the outset, P.M. Netanyahu has been arguing against the deal that was made with Iran and six world powers (the P5 +1, it sounds more like a rock band than international leadership) that was intended to delay Iran’s entry into the realm of nuclear capability. He said that the agreement would, in effect, grant to Iran an open road to developing a nuclear weapon. Last night (Monday), he offered proof of his claims. If what he claimed is true – that Iran never stopped pursuing its nuclear ambitions – then the world needs to sit up and not only take notice, but to respond accordingly. And, if his claims are true, then the intelligence communities of the world have been duped into believing an outrageous lie, that the leopard has, indeed, changed his spots. Even John Kerry, who was then serving as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, said that the U.S. had “absolute knowledge” about Iran’s pursuits of developing nuclear weapons capability. The Israeli Mossad succeeded in obtaining a vast multitude of documentation that, if valid, would put to shame the faulty intelligence information that the six world powers possessed when they signed the agreement with Iran. Potential test sites and designs for nuclear warheads are enough to create serious concerns about Iran’s believability. Again, this information was only now disclosed, again pointing to faulty intelligence gathering by the “world powers”.

But, the consequences of the disclosures made by Netanyahu yesterday are far-reaching. If Israel’s claims are shown to be correct regarding Iran’s systematic lying to weapons inspectors and the International Atomic Energy Agency, then it could also impact the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that was signed by Iran. If it lied the “big lie” once, the likelihood is that it continued to lie all along. Will the international community seek to penalize Iran for its deception? It’s difficult to say at this juncture. Much will depend on how President Trump will deal with the situation by May 12th. Netanyahu believes that Trump “will do the right thing”. Undoubtedly, he will do what he believes to be right. People usually do what they want to do, even if others close to them are against it. The bottom line that we always ask here is “whether it will be good for Israel”? If the U.S. cancels the deal, Iran will, indeed, have an open road to do what it wants. Sanctions against Iran have been removed and the nations of the world are only too happy to continue in business ventures with Iran. So, if the deal is nixed, why would Iran want to sit down and re-negotiate it? It could be affected and encouraged to renew the talks if new, strong and paralyzing sanctions are put into place. Is no deal better than a bad deal? It really depends on who the players are. If the nuclear deal with Iran comes to an end, the big question will be: Is there a “Plan B” for what will happen afterwards? 

Moving Towards War?

If the war planes that have been flying overhead all day are any indication, the natural perception is that Israel is preparing for war with Iran … and with some of its proxies in the region.

Responding today to Irans threats to, among other things, “annihilate” the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated: “Israel can not afford to ignore Iran’s threats that its leaders promise to destroy Israel…The threats from Tehran come week after week. They do not need excuses for that.” He did not expand on that and there is increased speculation that Israel might make a pre-emptive strike on strategic Iranian targets. One can beat the war drums for only so long before the drums stop and the tribes go after each other.

“I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalm 120:7)

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 2:4) May this speedily come to pass.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Iran Lied, Big Time!

Iran Lied, Big Time!

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave an historic speech this evening dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In a nutshell, he showed from documents and electronic media that the Nuclear Agreement that was signed in 2015 was based on Iran’s lies and deception. Israel obtained 55,000 pages of information and 55,000 files on 183 CD’s relating to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Don’t ask how Israel obtained the information. At this point, the “how” is not the key factor. Rather, the content of the files is the heart of the issue.

The detailed statement followed a Sunday evening missile attack in northern Syria, which, according to reports, killed a few dozen members of the military, most of whom were said to be Iranian. It is believed that the missiles struck an arms storage facility and also targeted Iranian surface-to-surface missiles that were to be deployed by Iran in Syria. Although Israel was accused of being behind the attack, Israel remained silent regarding the latest missile strike, which was of such a magnitude that at first it was thought to be an earthquake. A senior official in Israel warned Iran and Syria against trying to attack Israel, which is on high alert against a possible Iranian response. The big question is where will the response come from and who will be involved in it.

Netanyahu briefed U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the intelligence information. As an outspoken critic of the Nuclear Agreement reached with Iran, Netanyahu said that rather than minizing Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons: “The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to producing an atomic arsenal.” Indeed, this is in line with the “warning” issued today by Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, stated on Iranian TV that “Iran is not bluffing … Technically, we are fully prepared to enrich uranium higher than we used to produce before the deal was reached… I hope Trump comes to his senses and stays in the deal.”

President Trump is due to decide by May 12th about whether or not the U.S. will continue with the Nuclear Agreement as it presently exists. Trump is on record for referring to the 2015 agreement as “the worst deal” that the U.S. ever made. Other countries, Germany and France in particular, are not presently in favor of killing or modifying the nuclear deal. Whether they are now willing to change their minds remains to be seen. Netanyahu’s statements give support to Trump’s inclination to negate the deal or demand its modification. This, too, awaits a response.

For now, what has been hidden has been revealed and made abundantly clear. Iran is not to be believed in its protestations that it did not plan, and is not furthering, a nuclear program. “The [nation] doth protest too much, methinks.”  (Hamlet, Act III, Scene II, by William Shakespeare)

In the meantime, the Israeli Knesset just authorized the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defense to go to war “under extreme circumstances”. Push is becoming shove as the situation with Iran, particularly in Syria, is gradually becoming worse. Prayer for wisdom is definitely welcome. 

Shifting Winds Regarding Arab Support for the “Palestinians”?

In a meeting held last month in New York between Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the heads of various Jewish organizations, Salman is reported to have said: “In the last 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed again and again the opportunities and rebuffed all the offers it was given…It is time for the Palestinians to accept the offers and agree to sit at the negotiation table – or they should shut up and stop complaining.” Is the broad Arab support for the “Palestinians” beginning to change? 

“May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 134:3)

“Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


The Violent “Non-Violent” Protest “March of Return” Campaign in Gaza

There is a desparate attempt on the part of the leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization to convince the world that the last five weeks of Friday protests are non-violent. The leftist media, who cover their ears, eyes and mouths when it comes to facing pure evil, are an encouragement to Hamas, whose immediate war with Israel is a war for world opinion. Hamas places civilians in the line of fire, in order to protect the terrorists who are hiding in their midst. The resultant injuries and deaths are then paraded before the cameras for the world to see. Sympathy naturally leans in favor of the civilians victims. But, their deaths and injuries need to be placed at the feet of Hamas, not at Israel. The best defense in this type of war is truth, but only if people are willing to accept it.

What the liberal, media moguls tend to gloss over is that the purpose of the so-called protest “march” is to “return”. From the “Palestinian” perspective, “return” means to cause all of the land of Israel to “return” to them. Stated differently, their goal is to eliminate the State of Israel. With that understanding, the protest marches can be seen for what they really are – violent and becoming more violent with each passing week. Interspersed with the civilian protesters are Hamas militants, who use guns, bombs, rocks, sling shots, burning tires, molotov cocktails and, most recently, they added kite bombs, which were sent over the Israel-Gaza fence in an effort to set fire to fields and local communities on the Israeli side of the fence. So much for peaceful demonstrations. Israel has no choice but to keep the border intact and prevent infiltration by Hamas terrorists. 

Of course, the big complaint is that Israel is over-reacting and that its response is disproportionate to the actions of Hamas and those pressing closer to the fence. If the threat of breaching the border increases, the response to it will increase as well. And it must be so. But, maybe it is much ado about nothing. After all, the March of Return is supposed to be peaceful, according to those who want to take over all of Israeli territory and force the Jewish people into the sea. The weapons used by Hamas are not really guns with bullets that kill, but plastic. The rocks are only paper mache. The fire bombs are only flashing electric lights. The kites do not carry real explosives, but only confetti. And the moon really is made of swiss cheese.

We will be condemned by the international community, not because we act to protect our country and our citizens, but because we continue to exist. Siding with Israel means to incur the anger of the Muslim world. So, however we respond, it will be considered to be too much, inappropriate and disproportionate. The U.N. will also condemn us. Oh, my goodness, the U.N. Of all the organizations of the world. Yes, the united nincompoops of the world will sit in judgment of Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East, while democratic regimes all over Europe are endangered by the increasing influence of Islam. There are none so blind as those who will not see. 

Perhaps a succinct analysis of the situation was best expressed by Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, who made the following remark to an Israeli-born Hollywood personality who has recently generated much controversy in the media: “If 30,000 rioters were at your borders; approaching your family in Los Feliz, and they were orchestrated by a terror group that advocates the murder of all Jews, I believe you would ‘in good conscience’ support officers doing their best to protect you.” 

Along these lines, brief mention should be made of the 29th Arab Summit that took place in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, two weeks ago on April 15th. This year’s gathering was labeled named “Al-Quds Summit” (i.e., “the Holy”, the nickname for Jerusalem in Arabic). Among the many decisions that were made intended to affirm “the importance of promoting Arab joint action to address challenges facing the nation” was the following: “We reaffirm that the Palestine Cause is the entire Arab nation’s main priority, stressing the Arab identity of occupied East Al-Quds as the capital of the State of Palestine.” Note that the use of “the ‘Palestine’ Cause”, as opposed to the “Palestinian” cause is a subtle shift in terminology. At first blush, it would appear to reflect an intention to focus on territorial “return”, as opposed to the establishment of another Arab state. But, other decisions of the Arab Summit continue the “Palestinian” narrative and the demand for a separate “Palestinian” state, while condemning the decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It would seem wise to see whether the use of the expression “the ‘Palestine’ Cause” will continue to be used, together with the call for a “Palestinian” state. What is interesting to note is that the Arab Summit ignored the weekly so-called “protests” along the Gaza fence, leaving Hamas and its actions outside the consideration of most of the Arab states.

Hamas, in turn, realizes that its actions must remain in the headlines. It also recognizes that the only way for that goal to be achieved is through violence. As such, the March of Return cannot be non-violent. It would go contrary to the grain of the “Palestinian” charter and Hamas’s glorification of martyrdom. Even if the Gazan citizens wanted to demonstrate peacefully, the likelihood that Hamas would allow them to do so would be a non-starter. They can never take over the land of Israel by peaceful protests. Their strategy includes, among other things, that Israel must be provoked into action and that there must be innocent victims. Otherwise, Hamas’s efforts would be of no avail. The leaders of the organization would “lose face”. In this part of the world, losing face would be the beginning of the end of their influence in Gaza – a situation that they would make every effort to prevent, short of putting themselves on the front lines where they, themselves, could be injured or killed. If we think about it for a moment, we would naturally ask: Why should they be worried about potential harm to themselves, if their March of Return is really peaceful? Maybe it’s because their leaders think that martyrdom is for “the other guy”, not for those who direct them to become martyrs.

And so, Israel prepares for another round of “peaceful violence”, which will increase in intensity each week, as we draw closer to Nakba Day, which some Arabs refer to as the Day of Catastrophe, the day when Israel declared its independence, usually remembered on the 15th of May. The confrontations will only get worse.

National Celebration One Week – National Tragedy the Next

The joys of Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebration turned to mourning and shock, as only one week later, 10 teenagers met their deaths in a flash flood during a hike in the Judean Desert, near the Dead Sea. Tears of joy from the week before turned into tears of sorrow. The teens were all high-school seniors, who were on a trip to the Arava Desert, as part of a pre-military preparatory program. While hiking in what is usually a dry river bed, they were caught up in a flash flood, which resulted from the heavy rains that have fallen on Israel late in the season. There was considerable concern over the cold and wet weather conditions, as both meterologists and the police cautioned against going on the trip. One of the nine girls who was killed texted some of her friends a few hours earlier, saying: “This is tempting fate. We will die. I’m serious. I can’t believe that I’m actually going on a trip in this weather. It makes no sense for us to go to a place where everything is flooded.” Words fail in the face of such a tragedy and only memories remain, until they begin to fade. The pain of sudden, unexpected loss, leaves one almost numb. But, the tears will continue. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, then 10 pictures should tell the story.  

Victims of the Flash Flood.png

                     Photo appearing in Jerusalem Online, 27 April 2018.

“There’ll be a time I hear tell

When all will be well

When God and man will be reconciled

But until men lose their chains

And righteousness reigns

Lord, protect my child.”

From “Lord Protect My Child” (Words by Bob Dylan [1963])

“‘Comfort, O comfort My people’, says your God.” (Isaiah 40).

“[God] comforts us in all our affliction, so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor. 1:4)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Happy 70th Birthday, Israel!

Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

(Psalm 30:5)

Sunset to Sunset – Turning National Sorrow to National Joy

How can a person go from shedding tears of sorrow one moment to tears of joy the next? By being present in Israel as the sun sets on the day when we remember those who gave their lives in the defense of this country, so that we, who are alive, could celebrate the remembrance of the day that we became a nation. At sundown on April 17 (which is the beginning of the next day, April 18th), we remembered those who fell in our wars and those who were killed by terrorist acts. It is always a difficult time, as Israeli media tells and re-tells the stories of our sons and daughters, who fell victim to a bullet, a bomb or a missile, a stabbing or a car-ramming. A day or two later, many would share how they were glued to the television, with an never-ending stream of tears, riveted to the stories that were told and pictures that were shown throughout the day and night of those who hugged and kissed, who sang and laughed, who played and who fought, but who now are gone, most of whom were cut off at an age at which they were supposed to begin to enjoy life. 

But, in addition to the multitude of Hebrew-language stories, the mothers of two American-born IDF soldiers participated in an English-language Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem. One of the “lone soldiers” who was killed in the battle of Shejaiya, during the 2014 Gaza War and whose funeral I attended was Nissim Sean Carmeli. His funeral was one of the most moving events of my life and demonstrated the attitude and respect that Israelis have for those who leave family and friends to live and fight, side by side, with those who are willing to defend Israel and to pay the highest price in doing so.

Now, almost four years later, as the sun began to set on the Day of Remembrance, the national mood underwent a subtle change. There was a growing expectation of celebration, of joy that is just around the corner, waiting only for the sun to settle just below the horizon. The country prepared well in advance for the events marking the 70th anniversary of its independence. Switching gears as a nation when evening descended on our national day of mourning to fireworks and celebrations all over the country is no small feat. Those who lost father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife, or a friend in one of our many wars, or as a result of one or more of the multitude of terrorist acts perpetrated upon us during our short period of existence, do not put aside their remembrance of their loved ones just because the clock says it is time to celebrate. For some, the tragedy continues year to year, month to month, day to day and almost every waking hour. Eli Ben Shem, the Chairman of the Yad Labanim (Memorial to the Sons) organization, who lost his son 21 years ago in what has come to be known as “the helicopter disaster”, expressed it this way during the 66th Independence Day celebrations: “Like many other bereaved parents, I live under two clocks that measure time differently. One tracks the time of the living; the hands of the other one stand still at the point our son was killed…Bereaved parents, the ones who carry two clocks, fight constantly not to forget. The fear of, God forbid, waking up one morning and forgetting our child makes us alert and precise…Today, we give up the memorial clock we carry every day for a short while. We don’t need memorial days. As the cliché says – for us, every day is a memorial day. Today, the State of Israel takes the mourning upon itself. Everyone comforts. Everyone seeks comfort. Without a drop of cynicism. The show of solidarity comes from an honest place, not moralizing or self-righteous. The acknowledgment that we paid the price of living in an independent country with our children’s blood does not leave a single heart indifferent or eye dry.”

Hollywood can’t compare to real life. Every year, we see, hear or read stories about those who were killed and who were added to the growing list of those who have left this world before their time. This year, the number of fallen soldiers grew to 23,645, while the number of terror victims grew to 3,134. These figures may not seem to be large to those who live in countries with tens of millions of people. But, in Israel, every loss is like losing a member of the family and every effort is made to go behind the numbers and show the victims as individuals. The tears that flow from these stories can fill the Sea of Galilee! They touch the lives of families in every strata of society. These are the true “reality” shows that make an impact on our hearts, our minds and our memories. We don’t need a history class to remind us of national tragedies, or of attempts to destroy us as a people throughout our Biblical, and more modern, history. We need a release from the tears of the past. So, it is no major surprise that Memorial Day is followed immediately by Independence Day, a time to celebrate new life – as a people, as a nation, as families and as individuals.

Celebrating life is part of our national DNA. We lift a glass and toast “L’chaim” – “to life”. It is part and parcel of our national resiliency. It causes us to try to turn sorrow into joy and crying into laughter. It enables us to look with anticipation to the future and not to dwell on the problems of the past. It is engrained in the attitude that allows us to keep going forward and to see the good even in a bad situation. It appropriates the understanding that a cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and we try to cultivate a sense of humor even in the worst of circumstances. So, when we have an opportunity to celebrate, we take it seriously.

The official ceremony that was held last week on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem was a technological extravaganza, interspersed with a few speeches, songs and dances, among other things. The mood was one of true celebration, of thanksgiving, praise and appreciation of all those who labored to turn the desert of this ancient land green, to drain swamps and turn them into agricultural cooperatives, to build cities, to create a strong, economic infrastructure and to develop dynamic and innovative technology that benefits the world – even our enemies use devices developed by Israel. Celebrations continued throughout the night and the following day, with spectacular events, including some that were put on by the Israeli Air Force.

As was expected, there were some who tried to steal the joys of the day and who intended to carry out terrorist attacks. Israeli Police prevented a knife attack and just before the beginning of the Independence Day celebrations, security forces arrested a “Palestinian” at a checkpoint, after finding what was described as a “powerful explosive device” in his vehicle, which took a long time to defuse. The explosions that we experienced were those of controlled fireworks that lit up the night sky. The explosions that our enemies planned for us were defused. 

Many try to “mystify” the fact that this year was Israel’s 70th year of existence. Much can be said about 70 years from a Biblical perspective. Maybe that should be discussed. But for now, I just want to be thankful that God has brought me home to Israel. There really is no place in the world like it and there aren’t enough words that can adequately describe it.

And then there is Iran.

Nothing new about the Iranian threats against Israel. We’ve adjusted to them, even to those that overshadowed our Independence Day celebrations. But, they turned out to be clouds without water. There is no doubt that the constant rhetoric and increasing severity of the threats will, of necessity, generate genuine conflict with the descendants of our Persian enemies. But, that was not to be during the time of Israel’s joyful celebrations accompanying last week’s events.

We’ve been through a lot over the past 70 years. Wars and threats of more wars have filled the pages of our tabloids and airwaves. It is an annoying reality, one that accompanies our daily existence. Much as we try not to talk about it, Israel lives and amazingly functions to rise above the ongoing threats to our existence. We are all aware of the realities. We don’t ignore them, but face them head on. Against the backdrop of Iran’s threats against us, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his Memorial Day speech, one day before Independence Day, “Anyone who raises a hand against us won’t be spared.”  Maybe Iran was listening and taking note. But, if it didn’t, God stepped in and gave Iran a direct reminder that Israel has a Friend in the highest of places. In the midst of Iran’s increased threats against Israel, Iran experienced a major sandstorm that blanketed an entire province in the heart of Iran last week. It was also hit with a severe earthquake that registered 5.9 on the Richter Scale a few miles from its only operating nuclear power plant, at a time when Israelis were celebrating the 70th anniversary of our independence as a nation. May Israel remember always, that He Who shakes the mountains and the earth has also inscribed us on the palms of His hands.

“[He] who touches you touches the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8).”

“Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish…Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.” (Isaiah 41:11-12)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.



The Blame Game

The Blame Game

A coalition of armed forces from the U.S., England and France, launched precision, military strikes in Syria, after they alleged that the regime of Syria dictator, Bashar al-Assad, used chemical weapons containing chlorine gas against citizens and insurgents during an attack in the country a week ago. The chemical attack, which killed 40 and injured some 500 people, mostly women and children, occurred in Douma, located about 10 miles east of Damascus. According to U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, no follow-up attacks are presently planned, as long as Assad doesn’t repeat his use of chemical weapons.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Marine General Joseph Dunford said  that the coordinated strike targeted three main chemical weapons facilities, which were hit by missiles from both the sea and aircraft. Syrian officials claim that Syrian air defenses downed one-third of the missiles, later changing it to about two-thirds. Russia said that all of the missiles aimed at four key Syrian air bases were shot down. The Syrian government said that they had a heads-up from Russia and the targeted sites were evacuated days before the strike.

According to French President, Emmanuel Macron, the goal of the military operation was to target Syria’s “clandestine chemical arsenal”. British Prime Minister, Theresa May, said that she “authorized British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.” In his statement to the nation, President Trump said: “The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons…. The evil and the despicable [chemical] attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.” While condemning Russia and Iran for their continued support of the Assad regime, Trump added, “The nations of the world can be judged by the friends that they keep [and that] Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or continue with civilized nations.” 

Russia, who was not notified about the coordinated, planned strike, said that such action was an insult against Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and that there would be consequences. Putin denounced the strike as an “act of aggression” that will make the humanitarian crisis in Syria much worse. But, he added that “Russia in the most serious way condemns the attack on Syria where Russian military servicemen help the legitimate government to fight terrorism”. What an incredible statement of support of a government that uses chemical weapons to control any opposition to its oppressive rule. Adding to the fake news that has permeated the media of late, Putin stated that the alleged chemical attack in Douma, which prompted the coordinated strike on Syria, was false and that the Russian military experts found no trace of chemical residue in Douma.

Russia called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, while at the same time saying that it would consider supplying Syria and “other countries” with S-300 surface-to-air defense missile systems.

And where are the Syrians in all of this? After the attack on the chemical weapons factories and airfields, the Syrians who support Assad took to the streets of Damascus and protested against the military strike, waving flags of Syria, Iran and Russia, calling out: “Oh Trump you are a monkey. Oh Trump you are an animal”. Assad contacted his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and told him that the strikes only increased Syria’s resolve to “fight and crush terrorism in every inch” of the country. Rouhani, for his part, told Assad that Iran would continue to stand by Syria.

As for Israel, it believes that the US-led strikes against Syrian targets were justified, because of the “murderous actions” of Assad’s government. Yoav Galant, a member of the Security Cabinet and a former IDF General, tweeted: “The use of chemical weapons crosses a red line that humanity can no longer tolerate.” Israel has been accused of being responsible for an attack upon an Iranian drone base in Syria, which killed 14 military personnel, half of them Iranians.

Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of the Hezbollah in Lebanon, stated in a televised speech (he doesn’t show himself in public for fear of being assassinated) following the attack upon the Iranian base in Syria, that they (Israel) “have committed a great folly and have put themselves into a direct fight with Iran.” Tehran blames Israel for the attack on the Iranian base. Deputy Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Naim Qassem, said the air strike against the Iranian drone base constituted an assault “on both Syria and Iran that has consequences which I do not know the limit of now.”

What’s the result of the US-led strikes against Syrian targets? Each side claims what it wants to believe is the correct result. Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Russia all believe that the consolidated attack failed to accomplish its purpose. The countries that were part of the military coalition and Israel all claim that the attack was a warning against further use of chemical weapons and that it severely weakened Assad’s ability to access those weapons.

In reality, however, almost nothing has changed. There has been some damage to facilities in Syria, but Assad remains in power. True, the military strike was not intended to interfere with the 7-year civil war, which continues. But, Assad has scientists and chemists at his disposal who are experts at making chemical weapons. If one chemical factory was destroyed, another can easily be built to replace it and Assad can quickly replenish its stocks. It is doubtful that Assad will be deterred from using chemical weapons again in the near future. Despite a September 2013 agreement between Russia and the Obama administration for Moscow to remove chemical weapons stockpiles out of the Assad regime’s control, over 50 reportrs of deadly attacks using chemical weapons were reported in Syria during 2016 and the first 3 months of this year. As long as the continuation of Assad’s regime is not seriously threatened, he will continue to do what he wants, particularly as long as he has the backing of Shiite Iran and, more particularly, the backing of Russia. If the coalition forces limited their attack to very specific chemical weapons plants, it could well be because they did not want to act in such a way that would necessitate Russia’s active military involvement against the allied forces. The major players in the Syrian theatre today are the two superpowers, the U.S. and Russia. All the rest are pawns!

A note about absurdity: Despite its use of chemical weapons, Syria has been appointed to preside of the U.N.’s annual Conference on Disarmament to take place in Geneva. Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the NGO UN Watch, said this past Monday: “Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear weapons disarmament will be like putting a serial rapist in charge of a women’s shelter.” He urged the U.S. and the E.U., along with other democracies, to walk out of Conference during the four weeks that the Syrian representative serves as the Conference president.

The March of Return Campaign in Gaza

With the war in Syria now in its 7th year, and despite the regular use of chemical weapons against the insurgents and the civilian population in Syria, the focus of world attention remains on the events between the so-called “Palestinians” in Gaza and the Hamas-organized “March of Return” and Israel’s response to it.

We should not be deceived by the claim of the Hamas terror organization that the March of Return is just a series of peaceful demonstrations. Yesterday (Friday) marked the third week of demonstrations at the fence separating Gaza from Israeli settlements in the south. As with the first two weeks, violence was part and parcel of these alleged “peaceful protests”, the goal of which was clearly expressed by Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, prior to the demonstrations of last week, who said that the “struggle [will continue] until they [the “Palestinians”] achieve their freedom and restore all their lands”, adding that their “right to all of the soil of ‘Palestine’ was absolute and clear” – a statement without historical or legal foundation. These protests are disguised violent, terrorist demonstrations, during the course of which some terrorists tried to breach the fence and were shot and killed or wounded by the Israel Defense Forces.

Realistically, the leadership of Hamas does not expect that it will be able successfully breach the fence and march towards Jerusalem. But, each week that its actions continue brings with it a degree of psychological success from an international media point of view. Hamas uses civilians in its protests, with armed terrorists in its midst. The terrorists stir up the crowd and urge them on towards the fence. They burn tires to provide cover for Hamas terrorists to cross over the fence and try to kill Israelis. The demonstrators hurl stones, or fire bombs, or shoot at the Israeli soldiers, who defend the border area, with resultant deaths or injuries on the “Palestinian” side. The international, leftist media eats this up, resulting in widescale condemnation of Israel for acting militarily against what the media hypes as “peaceful demonstrations”. Hamas, who had been sidelined in the media for an extended period, is now flexing its muscles and trying to take advantage of the renewed media interest in Gaza and the “Palestinians”. By re-focusing attention on the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict, the leadership of Hamas is making every effort to divert attention from the multitude of internal problems that it is now facing (massive unemployment by its population, energy crisis, decreasing finances and split with the “Palestinian” Authority based in Samaria, among others). The easiest way to avoid being the focus of these problems is to draw Israel into another media fiasco.

However, what the media fails to understand is that the Gaza Strip is a powder keg with a short fuse attached to it, which could blow up with the smallest spark. But, if the situation in Gaza erupts into another war, the participants will include our neighbors in Syria and Lebanon, along with other players in the region. All of the sides recognize that the next Middle East War will be a mess and include many players and no one is looking to cause it to explode at this time – no one, that is, except Iran, whose war rhetoric is reaching the point of no return. All the while, Hamas is building up its militia and preparing for another military conflict with Israel. And the border protests are just what the “Palestinian” doctor has ordered.

The success in garnering international media attention once again is the shot in the arm that the Hamas leadership was looking for. It was more psychologial than military. It brought about the need for widepsread deployment of Israeli troops along the Gaza border, forcing it to confront a multitude of civilians, some of which were casualties in the anything-other-than-peaceful-demonstrations by the “Palestinians” along the border fence for the past three Fridays, including today. And, public opinion, particularly those abroad, who are influenced by the media, naturally leans in favor of civilians, as opposed to a strong military force.

While the protests usually are set to take place on Fridays, there will be additional protests on Tuesday, April 17th, to mark Prisoners’ Day, and again on May 15th, which coincides with Israel’s 70th anniversary of its Day of Independence, referred to by “Palestinians” as “Nakba” or day of catastrophe. It will also coincide with the planned move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will be followed by the Moslem month of Ramadan and is expected to be accompanied by violent protests during this entire period.

During Hamas’s recent campaign during the past three Fridays, Israeli Arab members of Knesset, most notably Ahmad Tibi and Hanan Zouabi, have been urging Arabs in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah and elsewhere, to participate in mass violent protests in those areas, in acts of solidarity with the Gaza demonstrators. If Hamas does not succeed in mobilizing support in the above cities, as well as in other, Arab-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, it will not be able to achieve its goals and will suffer yet another, humiliating defeat at the hands of Israel. Hamas has its work cut out for it. Ever since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, residents in those areas have taken on the posture of being bystanders, rather than active participants in acts against Israel. The previous “successes” that had been achieved during and following the intifada of 1987 and the ongoing terrorism since then that continued into the early years of 2000, was due, in large measure, to the fact that both areas, Gaza on the one hand and Judea and Samaria on the other, rose up in terrorism and violence at the same time. That “cooperation” ceased when Hamas took over the rule in Gaza in 2007. The same is true in recent years with “lone intifada” actions, which were committed primarily by residents of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, while Hamas and Gaza remained out of the picture. Much of this is due to the political divisions that have prevented the “Palestinians” from acting in unity. May it be that their divisions will remain and not be resolved and that the Gazan demonstrations will fail for lack of participants.

The “Palestinians” want for all of the refugees who voluntarily left Israel prior to the beginning of the War of Independence, and all of their descendants, who today number in the millions, to be able to return to Israel. This would be accompanied by their demand for soveriegnty over East Jerusalem, the “Old City’, Judea and Samaria, and Gaza. No Israeli government in its right mind would allow such demands to be met, as it would result in Jews in Israel becoming a minority and Israel and Israel then being democratically voted out of existence by its Arab population. Whatever “successes” Hamas may ultimately achieve with its March of Return, they will not include the ultimate goal of returning over 5 million descendants of Arabs who left Israel prior to the War of Independence. God promises to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a people and a land. The enemy of our souls says he will kill our people and take our land. Who do you think has the final word here?

An interesting side-note on the burning of tires by the “Palestinians”, which created a health and ecological hazard. Muhammad Hamdan, a spokesman for the “Palestinian” Authority Transportation Ministry, stated that “We have been informed by the Israeli side that imports of tires have been halted until further notice, [adding] There is no doubt stopping tire imports will have a negative effect on “Palestinians” in Gaza especially considering there is shortage of them there.” Hamdan said:“We are going to exert all efforts so that Israel reverses its decision.” Some things are so outrageously ridiculous that to comment on them will only detract from the laughter.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

I usually have comments about this particular day of the year, which is always a difficult time for me. This year, my daughter, Hannah (Hanni), wrote a brief blog about it and I respectfully refer you to it.


“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Have a simply great week. Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


It’s Been 100 Days

It’s Been 100 Days

It is hard to believe that only 100 days ago, Jerusalem was recognized as the capital of Israel by American President, Donald Trump. It was an historic declaration that that gave recognition to reality and shook up the international political arena. The announcement rattled the foundations of anti-Israel countries and organizations and created a rift in the long-standing agenda of the “united” nations, whose reactions to Trump’s announcement reflected their collective disappointment that their plan to dissect Israel would be further delayed. Yet, a few rays of light shone through the darkness, as a handful of countries praised the recognition of Israel’s eternal capital and even decided to do likewise.

The “Palestinian” Authority, an organization that came into being in the 1960s, with whom we are supposed to make peace, considered President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as sounding the death-knell of what was already the dead “peace process”. Trump, in essence, replied to the “Palestinian’s” intransigence to peace as “their loss”.

Let’s think about this for a moment. For dozens of years, Israel is being asked to make peace with a terrorist “organization”, which seeks its destruction, so that this “organization” can set up an independent, enemy country in the midst of Israel. What normal country in the world would do that? This question presumes that countries act normally. But, in asking the question, I momentariy forgot that when it comes to Israel, the vast majority of the countries of the world act irrationally. Returning to reality – this terrorist organization has been recognized by a multitude of countries around the world, many of whom have already set up embassies in East Jerusalem and are chomping at the bit in anticipation of adding yet another entity to the list of nations that seek to undo the recognition of Israel as the only democratic country in the Middle East. Israel, on the other hand, has learned the lesson that most countries still refuse to learn: When our enemy says that it plans to kill us and remove us from the map (which removal has already taken place in the education system in the “Palestinian” Authority), we take its words seriously. The world forgets the basic lessons that our school children learn each day: first taught, then tested. We have constant reminders that our enemies are intent on carrying out what they say they will do.

Only yesterday, before the entry of the Sabbath, in a vehicle-ramming incident, killed an IDF Officer and another soldier, and wounded two other people, one of whom seriously. Hamas, the terrorist faction of the PLO, openly welcomed the attack, stating, “The attack in Jenin comes 100 days after Trump’s decision and makes it clear that our people’s intifada for Jerusalem is continuing.” In an attempt to clarify its position, Hamas added, “The protest against the decision and against the occupation is not a wave of anger, but an ongoing matter until full freedom is achieved for our people.”

Commenting on the attack, Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said following the attack. “We will act to sentence the terrorist to death, to demolish his house and to punish anyone who was involved. There’s no ‘lone terrorism.’ It’s terrorism that is supported by Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority, which pays money to the families of the terrorists.”

In recent days, we’ve seen a number of incidents that reveal the serious rift existing between the political parties that vie for the leadership of the “Palestinian” Authority. It seems that the only thing they can agree upon is that they both hate Israel and seek to abide by the original charter of the PLO that calls for the destruction of Israel.

The Disaster of the Oslo Accords – Israel’s Biggest Political Blunder

It is almost a quarter of a century since Israel signed onto what has been referred to as the “Oslo Accords”. From day one, I had referred to that agreement as the “Oslo Disaster”, but hardened peaceniks kept saying “we need to give it time”. Time is an illusion that is believed to make everything work out well. But, for Israel, the past twenty-five year has been a nightmare, internally and internationally.

The constant yearning of Israel to live in peace with its neighbors gave rise to one of the biggest political blunders in its short history, resulting in serious ideological divisions and a de-stabilized political system – not to mention the number the number of resolutions passed against Israel by the united nincompoops of the world, which, hopefully, is now coming to an end with Nikki Haley’s presence in the UN.

It is not my intention to review the multitude of problems generated by the Oslo agreement, but an enumeration of some of them would seem to be in order.

The Oslo Disaster gave overnight recognition to a terrorist organization that had launched two major intifadas against Israel (one in 1987 and the other, after the signing of the accords, in 200) and to a multitude of “lone-wolf” incidents, particularly in very recent times (car rammings, stabbings, shootings and explosions). This organization exists in the heartland of Israel (Samaria) and along its southern coastline in Gaza (which, by the way, was apportioned to the Tribe of Judah – Joshua 15:21, 47). Terrorists put on a suit and we began to call them diplomats. But, the classic photo of Rabin, Peres and Arafat puts an abrupt end to wishful thinking. The photo shows Arafat in his military uniform, wearing his kfiyah that was usually covering his shoulder in the shape of Israel. For the “Palestinians”, it was pretending for peace with a pen, while continuing to seek soverignty and submission by the sword. Time and time again, the PLO was asked to renounce its chartered commitment to destroy Israel, which it blanketly refused to do and/or ignored. And the world community remained silent and if it spoke, it only did so if it condemned Israel for the failure of the Oslo Accords.

Then there was Israel’s failure to point out that it ended its “occupation” of population of the “Palestinian” territories within three and a half years after signing the Accords – a political blunder that has given rise to over two decades of condemnation over an issue that doesn’t exist in fact.

The Oslo Disaster polarized our political discussions and, as a consequence, the views of the country, focusing on our willingness or flexibility to “make painful concessions” for peace, which nothing was demanded of the PLO, other than to be willing to make a genuine peace with Israel, which its leaders would not, and could not, do. This is aptly demonstrated by the fact that on two occasions, the PLO was offered approximately 98% of all of the territory taken as a result of the 6-Day War, it turned down the offer. The pursued goal for the “Palestinians” was not peace, but prestige, power and prominence throughout the Arab world through total victory over Israel. Its attitude is what is referred to as “zero-sum” game – a sought-for, entire victory for one side, balanced out by an all-defeat for the other side. Enemies give all they have to achieve their desired victory over the other and when the balanced gains and losses are added up, they result in zero. But, here, it is all a “Palestinian” ploy. Pursue peace? The “Palestinian” attitude is “let’s not and say we did”. And the world remains silent and does not call the “Palestinian” leadership to account.

What the Oslo Disaster did achieve was to allow for the emergence of repressive “Palestinian” regimes, both in Samaria and in Gaza. Their leaders play on the misery of their own people, a misery that in large measure they, themselves, have brought about. They obtain billions from foreign governments and international organizations, which are intended to create a socio-economic infrastructure for the betterment of their population, only to have most of it funneled off into private pockets bulging from the misery of the people. The media focused and continues to focus on poverty-stricken areas, while ignoring that in places like Gaza City, the population flourishes with five-star hotels and restaurants that would rival those of any major city in the world. And the world remains silent in the face of media manipulation.

Almost twenty-five years have elapsed since the signing of the Oslo document and peace is ever more elusive now than it was before. Five successive Israel governments have extended their hands in peace, only to have them slapped away by “Palestinian” leaders, who are willing for peace to exist, if, and only if, the existence of Israel would disppear. Peace’s illusion. They really don’t understand peace, at all. The Oslo Disaster worsened already existing troubled waters, that only God’s direct involvement will be able to bridge. When that happens, the world will not be able to say anything.

Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people.” (Deut. 32:43)

The LORD bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. (Psalm 128:5)

Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:2)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a great week.



Crossing the Line – TWTW – 25 February 2018

Shalom all,

Multi-Front Planning for War

The infiltration of an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace two weeks ago, along with its consequent events, is a definitive event marking a shift in Iranian policy from “covert” intervention against Israel by its proxies to “direct” intervention by itself. Iran crossed the line, prompting an immediate and severe Israeli response.

On the strategic level, Iran’s enemyship toward Israel is part and parcel of its desire to achieve regional hegemony and reestablish the Islamic caliphate. Iran has been at the forefront of leading the “anti-Israel resistance axis”, which includes the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and military proxies all over the Middle East, including a substantial military presence in war-torn Syria. Together with Russia’s intervention, the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad was strengthened. The substantial presence of Iranian forces in Syria enabled Iran to achieve its goal of establishing a “Shiite Crescent”, comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. In addition to personnel, Iran set up military bases and airports in Syria.

It would appear that Iran’s presence in Syria has two basic objects: the stabilization of Assad’s regime and the furtherance of the anti-Israel resistance axis, uniting the various military forces in the different Middle East countries which serve as Iranian proxies into a single military force, under Iranian leadership.

The situation is being carefully watched by Israel, which acts when necessary to protect our country and our citizenry, while making plans for a multi-front war. No matter how we look at it, the next war with Lebanon, Syria and Gaza will be ugly.

Still Talking About a Middle-East Peace Plan

The Security Council of that infamous UN-organization once again devoted its time to discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to no avail. The United States is still waving the potential peace plan that is supposedly being formulated by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump. One would have to ask “Why?”

Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the “Palestinian” Authority is pushing for multilateral negotiations headed up by Russia, instead of the U.S. But, he has made it as clear as can be that the “PA” does not recognize Israel’s legitimacy – in any borders. So, why should anyone give any credence to his feigned claimed of wanting to establish any kind of peace with Israel? Those who follow what is happening on the “Palestinian” streets recognize that Abbas is in a constant  struggle with the Hamas terrorist organization for control of the PA. His rhetoric is intended to win the public opinion of his people by demonstrating that his hatred of Israel is greater than the hatred of Hamas. But, he is careful not to force a confrontation between himself and Hamas, which could result in his losing his position, power and privileges. Playing the game and making the effort, although it is doomed to failure, can work to Iran’s further encouragement of its Hamas proxy and trigger another Gaza War. It could also trigger a war with the Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy, only this time across the borders of both Lebanon and Syria.

As also noted above, with the Netanyahu government facing the possibility of collapse because of the investigations instituted against him, this is not a good time for the U.S. to try to push for renewed peace talks – particularly since Abbas declared that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel marked the death knell of the peace process. So, once again, we need to ask the question why would anyone seriously consider a new peace plan, which would undoubtedly require making more concessions to the “Palestinians”? At this point in history, with enemies facing us from the north, the northeast, the further east and the south, making any concessions to the PA would not endear Netanyahu to either his colleagues or his constituents.

So, that leaves the peace-plan push in the hands of Mr. Kushner and his father-in-law, President Trump. The latter, being a business man, is still bent on dreaming the impossible dream to make the deal of the century, or the millenium. He wants to succeed where others have failed, even though the likelihood of success is dim to non-existent. But, it has become “tradition” – to do what his predecessors have done and to make the effort, because that’s what he is expected to do. For the time being, the wisest thing would be for Mr. Trump to put his proposed peace plan on hold, indefinitely.

When will foreign politicians stop playing politics with Israel’s future? Maybe when they come to know that “There is none like the God of Jeshurun” (another name for Israel), in Whom Israel takes refuge and Who will drive out her enemies (Deuteronomy 33:26-27).

“Cigar Gate” – Is the Netanyahu Era over?

The major focus of events this past week was the two new criminal investigations that were opened against Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. These follow the first investigation where he was believed to have improperly received gifts of expensive cigars from a billionaire. One of those cases is looking into the ties between government officials and the Bezeq tele-com giant and the granting of “governmental favors” in exchange for getting more favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on a news website owned by the controlling shareholder of Bezeq.

The other case involved a suspected offer, made by another confidant of Netanyahu, to a former judge in exchange for her favorably closing out a pending criminal case (not against him).

This latest bombshell comes only a week after the police recommended that the Prime Minister be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two corruption cases. When that recommendation was released, Netanyahu was defiant and determined to continue to lead the country until those legal matters were resolved in his favor. He received support from his own party (Likud) and from various coalition partners, who were willing to stand by him, while adopting a wait-and-see approach whether the Attorney General would make a decision whether or not to indict the Prime Minister.

The latest investigations against Netanyahu caused political pundits to question whether his coalition government is now facing the beginning of the end of its rule. Still, he has the continuing support of the Likud party and from other, leading members of his coalition, who remain faithful and are not willing to abandon ship, trusting that their captain will be able to repair the damage and see it safely into port. At this point, there are four potential criminal matters against the Prime Minister that the police are investigating – Files 1000 to 4000. Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, made a statement in defense of the Prime Minister. She began her statement by mocking the four pending investigations: “I have to update you, just now Case 7000 has been published with serious allegations against teacher Shoshana, a kindergarten teacher who apparently gave Netanyahu an extra cookie at the end of the kindergarten. At this moment, researchers are investigating if that is the reason that she is still a kindergarten teacher to this day. Tomorrow, a photograph of Netanyahu with the cookie will be published in all the newspapers.” Some things simply need to be put into perspective.

In light of the present situation, where Netanyahu’s political enemies are chomping at the bit, looking for the collapse of the government, what are the most realistic possibilities?

First, the government could fall if one or more coalition partners quits, leaving the coalition without a majority. In that instance, new elections would be called and would most likely be held as quickly as the system will allow. Avi Gabbay, the head of the Zionist Union, the second largest political party in the Knesset, in a letter sent to party members, said that “the Netanyahu era is over. We must prepare for an election soon.”

A second possibility is that the Likud led coalition remains in power, but without Netanyahu, who would be replaced. Yair Lapid, the head of the Opposition, has suggested that the Prime Minister “step aside” or take a “leave of absence” until the air is cleared regarding the criminal investigations against him, even if new elections are not held.

The third possibility is also very realistic, namely, that the great expectations of the opposition parties and the efforts of the media to discredit Netanyahu and his wife, fail, and he remains in office. This is a viable option, given the present security situation that is fragile enough to explode, whether intentionally or unintentionally. An eye-opening and thought-provoking article by Rabbi Prof. Dov. Fischer is worth a few minutes read.

If, or stated more pragmatically, when, the next military conflict erupts, natural efforts towards self-preservation kick in, causing political enemies to join forces until the crisis is over.

It should be noted, there is no one within the Likud who is willing to step up and challenge Netanyahu’s leadership, a move which could split the party faithful, jeopardizing their own political future. The legal system here will make the final determination regarding the matters that the Prime Minister needs to deal with, matters that undoubtedly weigh heavy on his mind, in addition to his running the country.

“And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel” (2 Chronicles 20:29)

“Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.” (1 Samuel 25:6)

And so, we begin a new week.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Creating "Fake" History – TWTW 18 February, 2018

Creating “Fake” History – Poland’s Holocaust Bill – A National Shame and An Historical Disgrace
The so-called “Holocaust Bill” (originally titled the “Amendment to the Act of the Institute of National Remembrance”) criminalizes any public speech that suggests that Poland or the Polish people were complicit in Nazi crimes. As mentioned in my last blog, the bill criminalizes any reference to Polish death camps, making such references punishable by fine and/or imprisonment of up to three years. The bill was signed into law earlier this month by Poland’s President and only Poland’s Constitutional Court can give it real life or bury it. It is difficult to put into a few, simple words the storm of protest and controvery that this bill has generated in Israel, particularly among Holocaust survivors and their families. It doesn’t matter how much Poland tries to protest its active and aggressive involvement in the Holocaust, it will not, and must not, succeed. Libraries are filled with historical documents, photographs and sworn declarations that are a condemnation of the country and its cooperation with the Nazis that will forever remain a wart on the hide of Poland and the Polish people. Add to that book by Polish-born historian, Jan Grabowski, entitled Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland, discussed at length in an Israeli newspaper article only one year ago. The efforts by Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice Party to revise history are doomed to fail, as the evidence against the Polish people, as a whole, is too great.
The bill is nothing more than a gag law, designed to white-wash Poland’s participation in the murder of Polish Jews during World War II and to produce a single, historical narrative which denies – perhaps “avoids” is the better term – Poland’s complicity and historical responsibility for its actions against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. In order to do that, it must, of necessity, shift the blame and its shame from itself to someone else. In this instance, the blame is shifted to the Jewish people, the victims of rampant Polish anti-semitism. Three and a half million Polish Jews made up about one-tenth of the country’s population during WWII. About 90 percent of them were systematically murdered during the Holoaust.
Interestingly, the Holocaust Bill was introduced when Poland was still considering another bill, introduced in October, 2017, that would allow Polish Holocaust survivors or their children or grandchildren to file a claim for restitution of Jewish property seized by the Nazis or the post-WWII Polish regime. Adding to its national shame, Poland is the only major, European country that has not yet enacted a law for the restitution of Jewish property. Much of the proposed restitution law contains provisions that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to file a claim. If made by a Holocaust survivor, he would have to be a current citizen of Poland, as well as having lived there when his property was seized. But, there is another provision in the proposed law that precludes survivors from filing a claim, if they could have made a claim for compensation under various restitution treaties to which Poland was a party after the war. The bill also limits the type of claims that surivors could make, as well as imposing a statute of limitations on such filing of only one year from the date that the proposed bill would be passed. After that, the property would revert to the Finance Ministry of Poland. 
Now, after the introduction of the Holocaust Bill, the Polish government decided, for some unknown reason, to “reexamine” the restitution bill, which will be inspected by its Justice Ministry. This could well result in killing the bill, or it being put on hold indefinitely, or for a significant period that would, for all intents and purposes, preclude any claim being made, because there is no one around who could prove it.
Is there a connection between the Holocaust Bill and the restitution bill? We cannot rule out the possibility that the latter was introduced as an excuse to withdraw the former. Why was it necessary for Poland to introduce the Holocaust Bill at this time? Follow the money and follow the property. A financial loss to the Jewish people means a financial gain for Poland.
It seems that Poland is going from bad to worse. While attending the Munich Security Conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attempted to defend that Holocaust Bill. He responded to a question by an Israeli reporter, who asked him what Poland stood to gain from the bill. While the answer was anything but a response to the question, Morawiecki said: “The Nazis had Polish perpetrators” and added “[as] there were also Jewish perpetrators” – a term that he used three times, so there can be no doubt that this statement was intentional. Once again, Poland is attempting blame the victims for not only being victims, but also for perpetrating the atrocities of the Holocaust against themselves. The controversy surrounded this bill is certain to increase the present anti-semitism in Poland. 
Israeli Knesset Member, Avi Gabby, who heads up the Zionist Camp, said, in response to Morawiecki’s statedment: “Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks like the last Holocaust denier. The blood of millions of Jews cries out from Polish soil about the distortion of history and the escape from guilt. Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder. The government of Israel must be here for the millions of those murdered and condemn the words of the Polish prime minister harshly.”
And that’s exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did today, who said that the Polish Premier’s claim of Jewish Perpetrators is the Holocaust is “outrageous”.
Yair Lapid, the Chairman of the Yesh Atid centrist party, added, in part: “The Polish Prime Minister’s statement is antisemitism of the oldest kind. The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder.”
If this wasn’t enough, a member of Poland’s government sent a letter last week to Polish organizations around the world, asking them to “document and react” to indications of anti-Polish sentiment and to report to Polish diplomatic missions “statements and opinions” that are injurious to “Poland’s good name”. Really? Report “opinions” that disagree with Poland’s attempt to rewrite history? Has someone spiked Poland’s kielbasa!
Prime Minister Netanyahu Under Investigation
On Tuesday of this past week, the Israel Police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust, stemming from gifts that he received and for making a deal with a certain newspaper for favorable coverage.
One case involved the receipt of gifts of cigars and jewelry that the Prime Minister and his wife, Sara, are suspected of having received from billionaire benefactors. At some point last year, he was questioned by the police for over four hours over having received expensive cigars. The second case relates to deals supposedly made with the publisher of a popular Israeli daily newspaper to receive more favorable coverage, if he would weaken the status of a rival newspaper that is supportive of the Prime Minister. 
In response to these police recommendations, Netanyahu addressed the nation in a live speech on television. He denied any wrongdoing, saying that he would “continue to lead Israel with responsibility and dedication and loyalty“, adding “I’m sure that the truth will come to light, and I’m sure that also in the next elections I will once again win your loyalty, with the grace of God.”  
Israel is a democratic country and one is still presumed innocent until proven guilty. Netanyahu repeatedly said in his speech: “there will be nothing because there is nothing” – an expression that he has used many times in the past. So far, nothing. As of this writing, the worst thing about the “cigar caper” is that he might be allowed to smoke them in his home. Unless there is some hard evidence of wrongdoing, the case may just go up in smoke.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)
And so, we begin a new week.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


When Push Comes to Shove – TWTW – 10 February, 2018

When Push Comes to Shove
We don’t have weekends in Israel like in most other places around the world. Our weekend is Friday afternoon through Saturday, as Sunday is the first day of the week and a work day. On Fridays, we usually wish each other a peaceful Sabbath (Shabbat Shalom). But, this day was anything except peaceful. In the darkness preceding the dawn, we were awakened by the sound of F-16s flying overhead, on their way to the north and, eventually, to Syria. By sunrise, alarms went off in communities along the Golan Heights and to places even further south. Some residents were told to go to protected shelters and had to wait until they were given an “all clear”, so that they can come out.
It all started when an Iranian drone infiltrated Israeli airspace, was immediately detected and was shot down by an Apache helicopter. As a result of this blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty, Israel launched several sorties (to at least a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets) into the heart of Syria. The IDF encountered extremely heavy anti-aircraft missiles and one of our F-16s was damaged, necessitating that both pilots bail out, which they did over Israeli territory. The plane crashed here as well. The navigator was slightly wounded, but the pilot suffered serious injury. Bailing out probably saved their lives. Both were air-lifted to Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Following this morning’s events, Israel said that both Iran and Syria were “playing with fire”, indicating that it was the most serious clash that Israel has had with Iran since 2011, when the civil war in Syria began. Syria, for its part, jumped on the fact that an Israeli F-16 was downed and saw that as a victory over Israel. It was the first time that an Israeli fighter jet had been shot down by Syrian forces since 1982. Iran was also not slow in responding to the downed F-16, with its Supreme National Security Council saying that this was a “clear warning to Israel [that the] era of Israeli strikes on Syria is over”. The Deputy Chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards also warned that Iran could “bring hell upon the Zionist regime”.
The situation in the north is escalating. No one is looking for all-out war, but push invariably leads to shove and in matters of defense, Israel cannot back down when dealing with blatant violations of our sovereign air-space and perceived threats against our citizens and infrastructure. One thing is certain: war is a definite possibility in the foreseeable future. If that were to happen, considering the vast amount of weaponry that would be involved, the situation would be a mess.
In the meanwhile, Russia called for “restraint” on the part of the different players, but is concerned first and foremost with the interests of Russia and its soldiers, who are presently in Syria. The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying, among other things: “It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian soldiers that are in the Syrian Arab Republic on the invitation of the legal government to assist in the fight against terrorism.” (my emphasis) In the midst of such a serious situation, Russia saw fit to express a bit of humor. 
A brief note about Russian presence in this area: For a long time, Russia had kept its nose out of Middle East affairs, at least officially. But, since it made an alliance with Iran for equipment in exchange for oil, Russia needs to protect its “ally”. But, in so doing, it is protecting its own interests in Syria, Lebanon and the Middle East, where only a few short years ago, a large deposit of natural gas was found off the northern coast of Israel. When this discovery was made, lo and behold, Russia began to send its warships into the Mediterranean, where they continue to be. Clearly, Russia has its eyes on the natural gas deposits, which it greatly desires to control. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that Russia will do whatever it considers necessary in order to further its own interests and to protect those interests when threatened.
On the home front, leftists in the government and elsewhere were quick to shift the “blame” for today’s events to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming that he was behind today’s activites which were intended to redirect media attention away from the investigations of claims of bribery and breach of public trust that have been leveled against him. If the leftist camp can blame anything on Netanyahu, true or not true, justified or not justified, it will do so.
In the meantime, “war talk” is once again in the forefront of the minds of many. Military units were called up, soldiers on leave for the weekend were recalled. Eventualities are being considered and plans are being formulated. 
But, even more of a concern than a war with Syria and Iran is the reality that in the next war, the Hezbollah in Lebanon would enter the fray. It has an estimated 130,000 missiles that can be launched into Israel and could cause serious damage to our population centers and to our infrastructure. If that were to happen, Israel would be left with little choice but to remove Lebanon as a player in the Middle East. This, in turn, would create widespread condemnation of Israel and could easily draw other nations into a confrontation with Israel. Not a pleasant thought and definitely something to pray about.
Today’s events are continuing and we will need to see where they lead.
White-washing History
Poland has signed into law legislation that makes criminal accusations against Poland for crimes of the Holocaust. It calls for fines and prison terms of up to three years for referring to Nazi German death camps as Polish, or for attributing Nazi crimes to Poland. This, obviously, did not sit well with Jerusalem, that claims that such legislation will restrict the right of free speech about the Holocaust. The U.S. supports Israel in this regard. The law, which still needs to be approved by Poland’s constitutional court, has created a serious diplomatic rift between that country and Israel. From Israel’s perspective, it is an attempt to re-write history.
Matters became even worse when one of the advisors to the President of Poland said that Israel’s opposition to the new law is the result of “guilt feelings over the passivity of Jews during the Holocaust”. Statements like this ignore the reality of Jewish resistance during World War Two. The most forceful form of opposition to Nazi policies in German-occupied Europe was organised, armed resistance, which took place in over 100 ghettos in Poland, the most famous of which was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising during April-May, 1943. Young Jews who were able to escape from the ghettos fled into the forests and joined partisan groups, where they were killed by Poles instead of Nazis. Jewish prisoners resisted their guards at three death camps – Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as in other places and in many ways. Despite the murder of six million Jews, the history, culture, holidays and education of the Jewish people survived the ashes of the Holocaust, and a multitude of documentation was hidden, but preserved. All these stand as a testimony to different forms of resistance made by the Jewish people.

One can only wonder where thoughts like the above “guilt feelings” are generated, that allows making a statement that the victims are to blame for allowing themselves to become victims. Has the Polish government gone completely nuts, or is this simply another attempt to eventually deny that the Holocaust occurred at all? It starts with “guilt feelings” on the part of the Polish people and the Polish government, it adds criminal penalties to even suggesting that Poland had any responsibility in the Holocaust and then blames the victim, instead of the perpetrator. In the same manner, can it not be said that Polish passivity allowed Nazi Germany to defeat it within five weeks, because it waited for relief from France and the United Kingdom that never arrived? Or maybe Poland is too embarrassed by its military and moral failure to express feelings of guilt and needs to shift its shame from itself and blame the Jews. History will not be erased, even if a thousand laws are passed that criminalize talking about undeniable facts.

And then there is the Jedwabne massacre of all the Jews in the town – by Poles. Jedwabne was a small town captured from the Russians by the Germans in June, 1941. Among the first questions that the Poles asked the Nazis was whether they would be permitted to kill Jews. Receiving an affirmative answer, the torture and killing of the Jews of Jedwabne began. It ended when the town’s 1,600 Jews were crowded into a barn, which was then set on fire with all of the Jews in it. For more information on the Jedwabne massacre by their non-Jewish Polish neighbours, see The Massacre in Jedwabne and Anna Bikont – Jedwabne.

Statements like the one made above about Jewish “guilt feelings of passivity” is the Polish peoples’ attempt to pass off their own “guilt feelings of their anti-semitic activity” in the way that they  “mistreated” the Jewish people. What is next? Polish propaganda about how they were simply victims of the Nazis? Or will the camps that still exist be demolished to remove any physical traces of their existence to justify the claims of Holocaust deniers. There is fake news and now it looks like we will have fake history.

Shame on Poland for enacting such legislation, shame on Poland for signing it and shame on Poland for trying to cover up its own hatred and crimes against the Jews and its active participation in the Holocaust.

“For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye’.” (Zechariah 2:8)

And so, we begin a new week.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

The Theatre of the Absurd – TWTW – 23 December, 2017

Shalom all,

As always in Israel, this has been an interesting week. Like a roller-coaster ride, we have ups and downs and it is anything but boring. So it has been this past week.

On December 6th, in an historic declaration, U.S. President, Donald Trump, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As stated, it was a recognition of reality. Also as expected, Israelis were delighted and “Palestinians” were infuriated. But, the declaration and recognition did not change anything on the ground, as far as the protection of holy sights and demographics in Jerusalem are concerned. Nor did they dictate, from a political point of view, the final status of Jerusalem, which was left open for resolution between the parties involved.

In Israel itself, Trump’s declaration was heartily received by most of the country’s leadership, while those with whom Israel is supposed to make peace immediately reacted with violent protests. A “Palestinian” with a suicide bomb belt stabbed a border guard during one of the protests. In Sweden, a synagogue was firebombed. And, along with the days of rage that were called for and carried out in various areas of the Green Line, there was also a marked increase in the number of rockets fired from Gaza into residential areas in Israel. Within a week following President Trump’s announcement, between a dozen and a half to two dozen rockets were fired into southern Israel. Half of the rockets were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense, but the other half landed and caused damage, particularly in the Town of Sderot. 

During this time, the head of the “Palestinian” Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of falsifying matters of faith and history. He also said that he would boycott Vice President Pence during the latter’s visit to Israel and said that the U.S. lost its role as an honest broker. Turkish President, Erdogan (pronounced “ardwan”), threatened to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel (over what was an American decision only). There were protests eastward across the Atlantic and westward across the Pacific.

It is clear that such reactions are not based on what President Trump said, because his statement clearly indicated “[we] are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved…We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the “Palestinians”. With such a clear statement, which should have been an encouragement to the “Palestinians” that they have a say regarding their future, why would they, and the countries and organizations that support them, be upset and cause them to respond with rage and violence?

As noted in my last post, it is the existence of Israel in this region, surrounded by a sea of Arab nations, that is the real issue and not Jerusalem itself. For some, removing Israel from the Middle East would allow the anticipated Islamic messiah to establish his caliphate, imposing Shariya law on the entire region and, eventually, the entire world. For others, removing Israel, not just from the Middle East, but entirely, would be a more desired solution. Those who hate Israel and the Jewish people have existed from time immemorial and they continue today, cloaking themselves with the aura of humanitarian aid and social justice. 

However one might look upon Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the statement does not make peace more difficult to attain. It could well be just the opposite. It frightens those who make every attempt to deny the historical connection that the Jewish people have with Jerusalem. It is a reality that they can’t accept, because it doesn’t fit in with their hatred of the Jewish people, couched in terms of anti-Israel and anti-Zionism. But, for anyone who has ever claimed to believe in the existence of God, who alone created the heavens and the earth, if they are totally honest with themselves, they will acknowledge that God is a Zionist! And, His promise to the Jewish people is this: “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24) Indeed, He has promised to Israel: “‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your [b]fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'” (Jeremiah 29:14-15) Acknowledging the connection between the Jewish people and Israel poses as threat to the enemies of Israel as that it destroys their fundamental premise – in other words, one cannot be wrongful occupiers of what belongs to him. As the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, said in 1947: No city in the world, not even Athens or Rome, ever played as great a role in the life of a nation for so long a time, as Jerusalem has done in the life of the Jewish people.” 

This past week, in anticipation of a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice-President, Mike Pence, a White House official said “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel”, also noting that the U.S. could not “imagine Israel [signing] a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.” Apparently, the United States has finally gotten around to admitting what everyone else already knows, but which many deny. Sir Winston Churchill, who was never without an appropriate word, stated to diplomat Evelyn Shuckburgh, in 1955, “You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it was they who made it famous.” (Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-1956) True history is known by all who choose to accept it as fact. This, however, is not the case with most of the nation states of the world today. The denial of truth and reality is the true impediment to peace, not the proclamation of them. 

The leadership of the “Palestinian” Authority said earlier this week that the “P”s won’t meet with any U.S. representatives to discuss peace. The bottom line of such refusal is that the leadership really doesn’t want to end the hostilities. It is good for them. Continued hostilities opens doors in many countries to continue the “P” rhetoric that they are victims of wrongful occupiers, who are in violation of international law (which has never been proven) and are acting contrary to resolutions of the United Nations (which should never have been passed).

While the Arab world as a whole is still somewhat sympathetic to the cause of the “P”s, they have been relatively moderate in their responses, mostly due to the fact that they have their own, domestic issues to deal with and the “Palestinian” conflict with Israel is not high on their list of priorities.

The expression of outrage in the Administered Territories was less than what many had anticipated. So, in an effort to gain international condemnation of President’s Trump’s declaration, Turkey President Erdogan announced that Muslim nations would ask the United Nations Security Council to annul Trump’s decision. If that initiative is not successful there, those nations would work within the UN General Assembly for the annulment of this unjust and lawless decision”, knowing all the while that resolutions of the General Assembly are not binding. And that’s what happened. First, the request of the Muslim nations was brought before the Security Council, where it was defeated when the U.S. envoy to the U.N., Nikki Haley, exercised a veto on behalf of the U.S., which is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Then, on Thursday of this past week, the matter was brought before the U.N. General Assembly and it appeared at the outset that the U.S. and Israel were standing alone before the rest of the world community. Mrs. Haley had earlier made it clear to the world body that there would be “repercussions” for those who vote in favor of the proposed resolution, which is against the United States. This was followed by President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would cut foreign aid to countries backing the General Assembly vote denouncing the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This totally useless organization met and, after all the speeches were finished, it voted and affirmed, among other things, that “any decisions which purport to have altered the status of the Holy City are null and void and must be rescinded”. Again, it must be remembered that resolutions of the General Assembly are not binding. The full text of its decision can be seen here.

The importance of the vote is not that it passed, but by the number of votes cast “for” and “against”. The decision was 138 votes in favor of the resolution against 9 who opposed it. An additional 35 countries abstained from the vote and an additional 21 chose not to take part in it at all. All told, there were a total of 65 countries that refused to go along with the resolution – a clear sign that some things may be changing for the better, even if they change slowly. There have been worse decisions against Israel, so this can only be seen as an improvement. After the General Assembly concluded its session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital — always was, always will be.” However, he added, “I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theater of the absurd.” Indeed, that is what the U.N. has become. Its decisions will not change reality. President Trump made his declaration and all the opposition to if from nations of the world will not change that decision, nor the importance of it.

But, there is a different reality that emerges from the vote – a spiritual one. They think that in their rejection of President Trump’s declaration they are opposing him, as well as the leadership of Israel. In reality, however, they are rejecting the One who has proclaimed Jerusalem to be the place of His dwelling on earth and the One who will protect His people from the ways and wiles of their enemies. “Blessed be the LORD from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 135:21); As the mountains surround  Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” (Psalm 125:2) “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7)

The nations of the world considered the resolution that was presented to the General Assembly and they made a decision. What they fail to understand is that choices have consequences, some immediate and some that remain to be played out. Indeed, some of those consequences may be eternal. Ten spies chose not to enter Canaan, because they were afraid of what they considered to be “giants” in the land. Two spies believed God when He said to go in and take the land, which He gave to the children of Israel. The majority won out and the nation was the big loser. They wandered for 40 years in the desert, one year for every year that they spied out and the land and failed to take God at His Word. In that case, the majority was not only wrong, they were dead wrong, as an entire generation over the age of 20 died in the wilderness. We are responsible for the choices that we make.

The decision of the General Assembly in condemning Trump’s recognition of Israel as the capital of Israel was a bad choice. Unless these nations come to understand the error of their ways, their decision will have consequences for them, not only in time, but in eternity as well.

The handwriting is already on the wall. It says to the nations: “Here is what was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin. And here is what these words mean. The word Mene means that God has limited the time of your rule. He has brought it to an end. The word Tekel means that you have been weighed on scales. And you haven’t measured up to God’s standard. The word Peres [parsin] means that your authority over your kingdom will be taken away from you.” (Daniel 5:25-28, New International Version)

The place of Jerusalem in God’s program is so significant that it is part and parcel of every Jewish marriage ceremony. As the bridegroom is about to break the glass in remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem, he recites the following oath: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137:5-6)

May we say with Him, Who is the reason for this season: “Father, forgive them [the nations]; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

One more news item worthy of note that happened yesterday. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu finally ordered Israel’s envoy to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to submit an official withdrawal notice. Although the notice will be submitted immediately, in accordance with that un-organization, the actual withdrawal will go into effect only at the end of next year. The U.S, who announced withdrawal from UNESCO in October, is now to be joined by Israel.

According to Carmel Shama, Israel’s representative to that biased, anti-Israel organization, “UNESCO broke all records of hypocrisy, incitement and lies against Israel and the Jewish people…Israel and the Jewish nation…should be the first to donate to this organization and the last to leave. However, in the ‘Theater of the Absurd’ that is UNESCO, sane countries have nothing to find.” Expressing gratitude to the United States for its standing by Israel in the face of much international opposition, Shama added: “For many years, the US made sure that Israel doesn’t walk alone, despite facing an overwhelming majority and paying a price…The bottom line is that the US left UNESCO for Israel and it is our moral duty that it doesn’t do it alone.”

The withdrawal from UNESCO will have consequences for Israel, but the world will be the greater loser. It will not benefit from Israel’s academia, nor from scientific discoveries made here. It has, essentially, denied our cultural heritage, so the world may not think it is such a big deal … until they come to realize the extent of Israel’s contribution for the benefit of mankind in every sphere of our existence – not because of Israel’s wisdom, but because of God’s abundant grace.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing. May the Holy One of Israel grant you good health, strength, wisdom, joy from deep down within you, and open doors for you for effective service as we look forward to the new year.


Making the Obvious Explicit – TWTW – 7 December, 2017

Making the Obvious Explicit

Shalom all,

For some folks, it doesn’t matter what a particular person says or does. For them, it is always wrong, simply because of who is saying it or doing it. Rightness or wrongness is irrelevant. There will be the giving of a modicum of praise and a multitude of condemnation. Fault-finding and finger pointing will once again rule the day. 

So it is with the latest action of U.S. President, Donald Trump. Some will vehemently argue that he should not have made the announcement. Others will say that it was not the right time to do so, but will hesitate to add that for them there would never be a right time, as long as such an announcement is made by Trump. Still others will say that it was insensitive and did not take into consideration the “feelings” of the Arabs and the possible fall-out to the United States. Those voices who laud the President for what he did are shouted down by those who assert that Trump can do no right, irrespective of how good it is or how well it may turn out. But, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that no matter how we look at it, the man did what needed to be done and should have been done a long time ago, and he said what needed to be said. He cut through the lies and went against the strong current of anti-Israel prejudice when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. In short, he made the obvious explicit

The anticipated reactions were not slow in coming. That has-been, “un” organization, the United Nations, as well as a multitude of its member states, were quick to condemn his pronouncement without equivocation. They think that they have the answer to the millenia-old conflict involving Israel and her neighbors. They think that they can force an agreement that will make both sides to the conflict happy. Those who have pushed forward resolution after resolution accusing Israel of just about every evil under the sun that they can think of, are once again plotting to produce yet another security council resolution that will not be favorable to Israel. 

Just the mention of “Jerusalem” evokes strong emotions and expectations among Jews, Moslems and Christians. Opposition to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was swift. From the so-called “Palestinian” side came a multitude of condemnations of America and Israel, while ignoring the reality on the ground among its own people. Politics gets mixed with religion and one “Palestinian” spokesperson repeated the false narrative that the “Palestinians” were the original Christians and owners of the land. That statement came after sentence upon sentence of accusations, with hardly a word mentioned about “Palestinian” incitement to violence and encouragement of terrorism. The immediate reponse to the President’s statement was a call for three days of outrage amongst the “Palestinians”. This went into immediate effect as was and is evident to anyone who has unbiased news about events in the Middle East and, particularly, Gaza and the Administered Territories. I hesitate to give a site reference to such comments, so that no one else would become disgusted with the unending rhetoric of the “Palestinian” narrative. 

Among the many so-called “leaders” who are not happy with the declaration of the U.S. President is Ismail Haniya, one of the senior leaders of Hamas, in Gaza. In his statement against the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he laid out the following:

The “P”s are calling for a “P” intifada to fight against the occupation;
There are no half solutions. We (the “P” leadership) are calling upon the “P” people to prove and emphasize their right over all of “Palestine”;
All of the sanctions imposed on the [Gaza] Strip should be cancelled and [we should] stop the cooperation with the occupation in the West Bank;
He errs who thinks that the “P” people will submit to the American decision;
“I call upon the Arab and Islamic countries to put all of their disputes aside and to become unified for the sake of Jerusalem, to stop the cooperation with the American government and to stop everything for the sake of Jerusalem”;
The internal struggles and pressures of the American government and the occupation are what caused the government to make that decision;
We gave instructions to give notice of a general, internal call-up [i.e., recruitment] in order to deal with the demands of the coming period;
This is the time for the people in the Strip and the West Bank to gain control of the situation;
Hamas is directing all of the power which it built for itself against the Jewish Zionists;
We are calling for uprisings and national intifada in Palestine under the title “Intifada for freedom of Jerusalem and the West Bank”;
The uprising must continue until the Trump administration regrets its decision.

So, the immediate reaction to President Trump’s pronouncement, by those with whom Israel is supposed to make peace, is a call to rage, a call to express violence and a call to carry out a third intifada. This was already followed by two missiles being sent into southern Israel from Gaza. 

The United States was quick to realize that our Arab neighbors will not quietly accept the President’s announcement about Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy, presently in Tel Aviv, issued two security messages for U.S. citizens, as it does whenever it believes that there will be Arab violence resulting from a particular event in this region.

Somewhere along the line, the opposition to his statement of recognition overlook the fact that Trump, and Netanyahu, continue to speak about pursuing peace. But, as the Arab nations around us, as well as leaders around the world, continue to echo, they don’t see peace happening if East Jerusalem is not the capital of the desired “Palestinian” state. 

However, the issue of Jerusalem is a misleading one. Whether or not there will be an independent “Palestinian” state somewhere is not the focal point of the conflict. The bottom line is the unwillingness of the Arab states to recognize and allow a Jewish state to exist in their midst. Iran desires to re-establish the Persian caliphate. Turkey wants to re-establish the Ottoman Empire. ISIS wants to establish an Islamic caliphate and usher in the Third Imam. None of these things are possible as long as Israel is in the land of its forefathers that was promised to it by the God of all the earth. To the Islamic mind, the Jew is an infidel, whose presence in the midst of the Arab nations prevents the coming of the Islamic messiah. Therefore, the struggle to remove Israel will continue, whether or not Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, or East Jerusalem will be the capital of a future “Palestinian” state. Real peace will not be based on possession of any particular stretch of desert sand, but upon a recognition and personal acceptance of the Prince of Peace, Messiah Yeshua. 

But, in a real sense, Trump’s pronouncement hasn’t changed anything on the ground. The demographics in Jerusalem remain unchanged. The holy sites of all of the religions will continue to be protected. Any talk of an immediate move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not realistic. The logistics of moving the embassy and its personnel are staggering – not insurmountable, but not immediately doable. Still, it provides another opportunity for “Palestinians” to express their frustrations. They cannot do so freely against their own leadership, for fear of their lives. So, they readily vent their anger by expressing it towards Israel.

Still, not all countries are opposed to President Trump’s courageous step in going against the grain and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Czech Republic and the Phillipines came alongside and followed suit. May they both be blessed in accordance with Genesis 12:3. Now, if people would only stop talking about a two-state solution, which requires the dividing of the land and the displacement of a multitude of Israelis, maybe, just maybe, there would be an opportunity for discussing peace. On second thought, that is not Biblically realistic.

The only question I have at the moment is “What price is Israel going to have to pay for this announcement?”

“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” (Joel 3:1-2)

Thank you for your prayers.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


Jerusalem, Recognized As Israel’s Capital – At Last! -TWTW – 5 December, 2017

Jerusalem, Recognized As Israel’s Capital – At Last!
Shalom all.

The anticipated announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is a bold move for the U.S., but fraught with concerns over the fallout that will have ripple effects throughout the Middle East and the world. Israel has long claimed that Jerusalem is its ancient, undivided capital, but as of this date, that position has not been agreed to by any other country.

The threats of violence by Arab factions, as well as severance of diplomatic ties with Israel and, possibly, with the U.S., are realistic and to be anticipated. Some have already hailed such a move as the death-knell of the so-called “peace process” that has long been dead. It just hadn’t been buried yet. This announcement may well bury it and finally put an official end to what has unofficially taken place years ago.
The “Palestinians” have called for “A day of rage” and other Arab factions have called for demonstrations in anticipation of President Trump’s announcement. Clearly, it would be a wise move for the U.S. to beef up its security in U.S. embassies around the world, particularly in Arab countries. In a similar manner, Israel should do likewise. 
The announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel cuts across the decision of the United Nations denying that Jerusalem had any historical connection with the Jewish people. Such a decision was absurd when it was made and revealed the bias against the Jewish state by what was supposed to be an impartial, international body. That decision effectively denied Biblical history, which is not surprising, given the number of Arab countries that supported the resolution.
But, without the actual text to comment upon, one can only speculate on the content and the consequences. We should be careful not to impose our own desires on political pronouncements, not to become prophets to support our own pronouncements. The President’s statement could refer to a future, as opposed to an immediate, date when that recognition will take effect. It could also refer to the removal/transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which could take place by a specific date, not necessarily immediately. Or, Trump could announce that West Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, leaving East Jerusalem for future negotiations with the “Palestinians” as their potential capital, as well as once again defer moving the embassy. This latter alternative could take into account the need for the Arab world to adjust to the decision and, therefore, contain terms that are geared to soften the impact of the decision on the Arab countries that are “friends of the U.S.” 
Whatever might be said tomorrow, it is clear that there will be immediate consequences for Israel. Saudi Arabia is a major player in the Middle East right now and the U.S. needs its cooperation and support. It is hard to believe that the decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be taken without consultation with the Saudis. Similarly, King Abdullah of Jordan cannot remain silent in the face of such a declaration. Notwithstanding that Israel is “at peace” with Jordan, the latter can take immediate action to recall its Ambassador from Israel, effectively cutting off relations for a season, as it has done in the past. It would be dangerous and foolish for Jordan to try to take military action against Israel. Nevertheless, it could finance action by other Arab groups. Egypt has also denounced such a declaration, indicating that it would have major consequences, but obviously without specifying what those consequences would be. It, too, has withdrawn its Ambassador to Israel on occasions far less serious than this one.
However, the main concern is not the action of the so-called “Palestinians”, but the potential action by Lebanon’s head of the Hezb’allah and Turkey. The Hezb’allah have threatened to send thousands of missiles in Israel’s direction, while Turkey has already threatened to cut off ties with Israel and would do its utmost to foment action against Israel, together with many of those in the region who would love to see the elimination of Israel. Israel’s military has conducted extensive drills in recent weeks, some with other countries, in anticipation of the need to respond quickly to a military offensive by Hezb’allah and some of our other neighbors.
From a practical point of view, there could be a “third intifada” that has been waiting for just the right opportunity to take place. Security all over Israel will have to be tightened, additional check-posts may need to be set up, caution will need to be the word of the day when assembling in crowded areas, like shopping centers, bus and train stations. In any event, the decision is not going to be accepted easily by Israel’s neighbors. We will have more wisdom regarding this in another day.
“I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you, I will curse”. (Gen. 12:3)
To say that you are urged to pray would be an understatement.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


The Feast of Tabernacles – TWTW – 5 October, 2017

15 Tishrei 5778 – 5 October, 2017

Well, the fast is over and Israel has returned to her daily affairs. During the course of the first few days of this week, it was obvious that the heaviness from the prior week was definitely lifted. 

Last night at sundown began the Biblical, prophetic Feast of Tabernacles, known in Hebrew as “Chag Ha-Succot” (pronounced “hahg soo-koht”). It is the last of the Fall Feasts of Leviticus 23 and of the seven prophetic feasts mentioned in that chapter. Verses 33-44 set forth the command, the day, the manner and the reason for celebrating this particular, joyful holiday:
“33 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. 35 On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 36 For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. 37 These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD-burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day’s matter on its own day – 38 besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. 39 On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gather in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. 40 Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brooks, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God”.’ So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.”

Other references to this special Feast appear in the Book of Numbers  (29:12-34, which mentions the special sacrifices to be made on this day); in Deuteronomy (16:13-15, which refer to this holiday [in translation into English] as the Feast of Booths [i.e., tabernacles], to be celebrated after the gathering in of the Fall harvest and which point out that this is a joyful Feast – hence, it is also referred to in Hebrew as “Chag Ha’Asif” – “The Festival of the Harvest”. In the Book of Nehemiah (8:13-18, we learn that it was celebrated for the first time since the days of Joshua [v. 17]) and the Gospel according to John (7:1-39) relates the observance of this Feast by the Lord Yeshua).
During the Temple period, this Feast was observed, among other things, by the ceremony of pouring out water on the Altar in Jerusalem, which water was gathered in pitchers from the pool of Siloam, while singing Psalms 120 through 134, symbolizing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days. It was also celebrated by the kindling of lights, symbolizing the anticipated return of the Shekinah Glory to the Temple in Jerusalem.
In brief, the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles today is a time of rejoicing. We wish each other “Chag Sameach” – have a joyful holiday. One would also greet another by saying “Moadim LeSimcha” (Times of Joy), which would be responded to by “Haggim U’zmanim L’Sasson” (Feasts and Times for Joy). The Book of Ecclesiastes is read, which concludes an encouragement to remember God in the days of our youth (12:1-8) and to fear (i.e., to reverence) Him (12:11-14): “11 The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

It is also a time of rejoicing over the giving of the Torah (technically, the Pentateuch, the first five books of Moses; but in practice, it relates to God’s giving His laws to Israel).
Of considerable significance is the Messianic perspective associated with the Feast of Tabernacles. First, it is to be noted that there was considerable misunderstanding about the Feast during the time of the LORD Yeshua. This is made evident by Peter’s comments at the time of the transfiguration, as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 17, verse 4: “Peter said to [the Lord] Yeshua, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah’.” What Peter failed to understand, as so often people today, that “The LORD’s appointed times which [are to be] proclaimed as holy convocations” (Lev. 23:2) are “fixed festivals in the number set by the ordinance concerning them” (1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 31:3; Ezra 3:5 and Nehemiah 10:33). In other words, there is an order to them and they must occur in their order. Peter wanted to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles before the celebration of the Passover. His intention was right, but his timing was definitely off. The same misunderstanding occurred at the time of the Lord Yeshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:8-9; John 12:12-13; Mark 11:8-10).
The Feast, as indicated above, was also observed by the Lord Yeshua, Who, on the last (eighth) day of the Feast, which is also referred to as the “Great Day of the Feast” (John 7:37) declared: “37 If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’. 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because [the Lord] Yeshua was not yet glorified.”

The fulfillment of this prophetic Feast will be found during the Millenial period, when the LORD of hosts will rule and reign from Jerusalem, as noted by the prophet Zechariah (14:16-21):
“16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths [i.e., Succot]. 17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths [i.e., Succot]. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths [i.e., Succot]. 20 In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, ‘HOLY TO THE LORD.’ And the cooking pots in the LORD’S house will be like the bowls before the altar. Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.”

The reason for the fulfillment: The LORD, the Holy One of Israel, the King of Glory (Psalm 24:7-10), the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16; see Psalm 17:11) will once again dwell (i.e., tabernacle) amongst us. He alone is worthy to be worshipped. The land will be free from the enemies of God (the “Canaanite”) and in the presence of THIS King, there is “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
But, to enter into all of the blessings of the prophetic Feasts of the Lord, it is first necessary to enter into His Sabbath rest (Lev. 23:3). This can only be accomplished by faith in the Promised One of Israel (Hebrews 4:1-13). Encourage others not to harden their hearts, but to respond to Him in faith if, indeed, they hear His voice today (Psalm 95:71), so that they will not be precluded from entering into His rest (Psalm 95:11).

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.



The Day of Atonements – TWTW – 29 September, 2017

10 Tishrei 5778 – 29 September, 2017

In less than three hours, most of Israel will come to a standstill. From sundown tonight to sundown on Saturday, businesses will be closed (except for emergency services), cars will not be on the roads (except in non-Jewish population areas) and the Israeli media will not broadcast. Not only is it the beginning of Shabbat, it is also the beginning of Yom Hakippurim – the Day of Atonements, considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. 
This special day is part of the Fall feasts of Leviticus 23, verses 26-32:
“26 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 ‘On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonements; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. 28 You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonements, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. 29 If there is any person [literally: soul] who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”‘

In addition, the Book of Numbers relates the different sacrifices and offerings that are to be made on this day:
“7 ‘Then on the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall humble yourselves; you shall not do any work. 8 You shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a soothing aroma: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old, having them without defect; 9 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah [i.e., about a bushel] for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 10 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 11 one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonements and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.'”

Jewish people worldwide celebrate the Day of Atonement in the traditional manner, according to “halacha” – the way things should be done according to rabbinical dictates: attending the synagogue; fasting; praying; doing good deeds towards others and repenting of sins. 
Part of the synagogue service on both Rosh Hashanah (the Day of Remembrance of Trumpets) and Yom HaKippurim refers to the judgment of God on this day. The period between those two holidays is referred to as the ten terrible days, during which God determines who will live for another year and who will die. Three books are opened in heaven: one for those who are to die, one for those who are to live and one for those whose fate is not yet sealed. For those in the last group, they have an opportunity to be remembered in the Book of Life for another year by prayer, good deeds and repentance from their sins that were committed during the past year.
Leviticus Chapter 16, verses 1-34 details the rites for Yom HaKippurim:
vv. 1-2: restrictions concerning the Holy of Holies
vv. 3-5 preparations that need to be made
vv. 6-10: presentation of sacrifice
vv. 11-14: atonement for the priests
vv. 15-22: atonement to be made for the people
vv. 23-28: cleansing of the participants
vv. 29-34: additional restrictions
From the foregoing, the first thing that needs to be noted is that the Biblical Feast relates to a Day of Atonements, not a single atonement, but multiple atonements. This is clear from the Hebrew, but mistranslated in English. 
The second thing that arises from the Biblical text is that atonement needs to be made for the priests and the people. The people cannot atone for themselves. The traditional perspective relating to this prophetic holiday is that “we” are responsible to atone for our sins by afflicting our body (by fasting), rather than afflicting our soul (agonizing over the sin that has separated us from God and requires the death of a substitute in our place, as indicated in Lev. 16). But, it is a day that atonement shall be made for us (not by us) to cleanse us (Lev. 16:30).
Halacha permits replacing the sacrifice of goats by killing a rooster or a hen and swinging it over our heads. This is known as the “kapparote ceremony” (the “covering”). But, this is not Biblically authorized.
Of the three basic substitutions which our tradition requires, prayer and good deeds towards others are clear. Repentance, the third substitution for the substitutionary death includes remorse for past sins, confession of them and a commitment for the future to change our ways. This includes various aspects, which from a traditional point of view are all dependent upon us, namely: (1) a denial of eating or drinking (i.e., fasting); (2) a denial of washing or bathing; (3) a denial of anointing (with creams and perfumes); (4) a denial of cohabitation between spouses and (5) a denial of wearing leather shoes or sandals (a reminder that the Temple was destroyed and that sacrifices can no longer be made there).
The Day of Atonements begins with the chanting of the Kol Nidre prayers (which means “all vows”). It is a repudiation of all personal religious vows made to God during the year, including those that are forced confessions. The prayer is chanted three times. It is followed after the normal service by the Musaf (” additional”) prayer, which is based on Isaiah Chapter 53. During the Day of Atonements itself, the Book of Jonah is to be read, emphasizing that man cannot run away from God and demonstrating the effectiveness of repentance.
The Messianic Perspective focuses on Isaiah 52-13 through 53-12, emphasizing the sacrifice itself and revealing both the concepts of substitution and atonement.
As stated in Isaiah 53, verses 1-9, there is a national confession by Israel (of the Jewish people) of rejecting the Messiah – the “He” of Isaiah 53. The people’s confession comes about as a result of affliction, as indicated both by the prophets, as well as in the New Covenant: Hosea speaks of the fulfillment of the Day of Atonements by the affliction of the body (Hosea 5:15-6:3). Zechariah speaks of the fulfillment of the day by the affliction of the soul (Zechariah 12:10-13:1). Isaiah points out that following the fulfillment of the Day of Atonements (affliction, i.e., judgment), Israel will be born in a day (Isaiah 66:8). Finally, the Book of Romans reveals the hope and the promise that all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).
From a Biblical perspective, atonement has to do with reconciling a sinful humankind with a holy God. From the foregoing, this requires a sacrifice for sins. But, the life of the flesh is in the blood without the shedding of blood, and God has given it to us upon the altar to make atonement for our sins. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). “He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

This is a prophetic day of judgment. As it is prophesied, so it will be. Then, a new day will dawn.
For those who choose to fast, to identify with the nation of Israel on this day, may your fast be a useful one.
As the prophets have frequently asked: “How long, Oh Lord? How long?”

Happy Birthday, Israel! – TWTW May 2, 2017

People are more flexible than iron. We go through times of bending, but can stand up straight again. Maybe that is what King David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, had in mind when he wrote: 
“I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried to You for help and You healed me. O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones. And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy [comes] in the morning…You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with with gladness” (Psalm 30:1-5, 11).
It was an emotion-filled week. On April 24, Israel officially commemorated the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day (the “Shoah”), perhaps the darkness period in the recent history of mankind, when an official, organized attempt was made to end Jewish existence. When the numbers were in, six million Jews were killed – secular and religious, young and old, men, women and children. Sirens sounded through the land and a minute of silence was observed in the evening of the 23rd, marking the beginning of the day of remembrance and another two-minute siren was sounded the following morning. The media was filled with stories of heroism in the midst of murder, demonstrations of love in the midst of blind hatred, unselfish-sacrifice to save the lives of others, separation and reunion, slave labor, medical experimentation without consent or pain killers, mass shootings, mass extermination, bravery, escape and building a country out of the ashes of the Holocaust. The numbers that were tattooed on the arms of children and youth are still visible and clear. Families were established and some of the survivors have been blessed to see their great-grandchildren being born in Israel. With all of the stories came the seemingly never-ending flow of tears, along with the thoughts of aunts, uncles and cousins, who perished in concentration camps, who died on forced death marches, who were gassed to death or burned in ovens, of some whose ashes are mixed with countless others and still visible in the Maidanek death camp. Coming to terms with the past is always traumatic and, sometimes, the events leave us with more questions than answers. For some, the trauma of the Holocaust has accompanied them until today. For most of them, their experiences and remembrances of times, events and people remain vivid. We cannot enter into them, we cannot say “we understand”, because we don’t and we can’t. Those memories of the nightmare of the Holocaust will remain etched in their memories as much as the numbers which remain on their forearms. Yet, the survivors pressed on, they re-built their lives, they contributed to their communities and to the country and they watch, with ever-increasing concern, the rise of anti-semitism once again. 
The day ended and a week went by. But, with the setting sun on April 30th, Israel once again commemorated a national day of remembrance, this time for the 23,544 members of the military and security forces who had fallen, as well as for the 3,117 victims of terror throughout our relatively short history. A million and a half Israelis, approximately one-fifth of the country, paid their respects at military cemeteries around the country. At 11:00 a.m., the country came to a stand-still, as a siren wailed for 2 minutes. Once again, traffic stopped along the highways and in the middle of local streets, as their occupants stood outside until the sirens ended. Special ceremonies were held in schools and public places around the country in honor of those who had fallen. The price for our freedom has been high and painful and every year the numbers increase. Again, throughout the night and the following day, the fallen entered our homes through the media, through stories, photos, family and friends who remained behind. Everyone in the country seemed to know someone who had died in one of our wars, or who had been killed as a result of a terrorist incident. These were not numbers, but people whom we knew, with whom we grew up, with whom our children went to school, with whom we worked, neighbors or the relative of a friend. Much of the country was riveted to the television, as the lives of the young, the very young and the not so young, were made personal to us. Each story was accompanied by pain, sorrow, heartache and empathy until our wells of tears had gone dry, only to be amazingly renewed with the next story. The tragedies of war, mixed with heroism, bravery and sacrifice, filled our minds and thoughts, as they were accompanied by stories of victims of terror. For some, the pain of loss is constant, for others it is unbearable. How could we go through this year after year? More to the point, how can we not go through it? Choosing not to remember is another way of saying that we choose to forget. This we cannot and should not. It is part and parcel of our existence in the land promised by God to our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But, like Joshua of old, we needed to fight to take hold of it … and to keep it.
As always, the day was accompanied by official ceremonies and lots of speeches. Every speech I heard contained a longing for peace. Some had references to the prophecies in the Tenach  and statements from the Psalms. One of them referred to Psalm 84:5 – “They [the surrounding nations] have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
I cringed when the speakers boasted of our military prowess and of how we can depend on the Israel Defence Forces for our safety and protection. It is true that our military forces are strong and capable. But, we should never forget that Israel’s greatest victories in battle took place when God fought for Israel. We need to keep focused on the One Who called us, gave us purpose and continues to watch over us, even though sometimes it appears that He does so from afar. King Solomon expressed it well: The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31). Our enemies fail to understand God has stated: “[Whoever] touches you touches the apple of His eye.” (Zechariah 2:8) God will surely raise His hand against them” (v. 2:9)
Once is a while, a world leader grabs hold of an understanding of God’s Word, as it relates to Israel. President John F. Kennedy, addressing the Zionists of America Conference on August 26, 1960, while he was still a Senator, stated, in part: 
        “I returned in 1951 to see the grandeur of Israel. In 3 years this new state had opened its doors to 600,000 immigrants and refugees. Even while fighting for its own survival, Israel had given new hope to the persecuted and new dignity to the pattern of Jewish life. I left with the conviction that the United Nations may have conferred on Israel the credentials of nationhood; but its own idealism and courage, its own sacrifice and generosity, had earned the credentials of immortality.
       “Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.
         “It is worth remembering, too, that Israel is a cause that stands beyond the ordinary changes and chances of American public life. In our pluralistic society, it has not been a Jewish cause – any more than Irish independence was solely the concern of Americans of Irish descent. The ideals of Zionism have, in the last half century, been repeatedly endorsed by Presidents and Members of Congress from both parties. Friendship for Israel is not a partisan matter. It is a national commitment. (my emphasis)
The day of mourning ended and, almost inconceivably, the national attitude became one of rejoicing. The reason for such rejoicing – Israel’s 69th year of independence. The official, opening ceremony in Jerusalem included the lighting of memorial flames by twelve individuals, who were chosen for special recognition and honor by the State of Israel. There were the usual speeches, all uplifting, all encouraging, all filled with a spirit of hope and peace. But, there was something uniquely special about the speeches at this year’s independence day celebration – a focus on 50 years of the unification of Jerusalem, Israel’s holy and eternal city, following the Six-Day War in June, 1967. 
We should keep a careful eye on events here, as the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War draws nearer. And, we should start with the warped decision of UNESCO, rendered today, May 2, 2017, Israel’s 69th Year of Independence. By a 22-10 vote today, of all days, that UN-organization demonstrated once again that it continues to function without both oars in the water, this time disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.
The Draft Decision of the Executive Board of UNESCO, titled “Item 30: OCCUPIED PALESTINE”, at paragraph 3, noted that its decision today did not affect in any way prior decisions of the Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem, including United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).”
It went on to state, under Article 30.1, Jerusalem, paragraph 5: “Reminding that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.
In essence, this pathetic organization, which seems to attempt to justify its continued existence in order to dump on Israel, concluded that Israel has no authority or sovereignty over Jerusalem. 
But, Israel has learned to take decisions of the UN-organization with a grain of salt, particularly the those that are made by UNESCO. Carmel Shama, Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO even viewed this latest statement as a “significant victory”, given the number of countries who either supported Israel or abstained. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was of a similar mindset and referred to today’s vote as “absurd” and that “the number of countries who support this absurd UNESCO resolution is getting smaller”, noting that the number of nations that supported the anti-Israel resolution dropped from 32 states last year to 22 states now. Our numbers are improving. Before the proposal was voted upon, the Prime Minister referred to it at the annual International Bible Quiz, saying: I know that today there is a vote in UESCO that will try to deny that simple truth, we reject UNESCO”, adding that throughout the course of Jewish history, Jerusalem was “the heart of the people, the place to which everyone turned to, went to, and prayed toward.
As expected, the United States voted against the measure, as did six European Union countries. A total of twenty-three countries abstained, while three did not even show up for the vote. Ambassador Shama sees the increased support for Israel as a “significant victory”. 
As noted by former President Kennedy, Israel is here to stay. The best evidence of this is the Israeli flag flying on the Temple Mount and on the streets of Jerusalem. The “majority” is not always right!

With Israel now entering her 70th year, it would be foolish to ignore the significance of 70 years of existence. What applies to individuals can also apply to the nation. For example, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Prov. 16:7) This is true on an individual level. How much more would it apply to a nation? In the same manner, Moses indicated: “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years” (Psalm 90:10). With eyes open to what is happening around us and throughout the world, it would not be unreasonable to believe that God is preparing the stage to complete His program. To do that, a 7-year agreement needs to be signed, the Third Temple needs to be built and an unprecedented time of time of trial and tribulation needs to occur. We live in an age of immediacy, when events take place before we realize what is happening. May we behave like the sons of Issachar men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:22). These will be interesting days indeed, particularly as we celebrate the Jubilee Year of the unification of Jerusalem.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6). 
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137:5-6)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing. Have a great week.


A New Vision or A Last Chance? – TWTW – 20 January, 2017

A New Vision or A Last Chance?
Today, Donald John Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. In his speech at the swearing-in ceremony, he didn’t read from notes and he didn’t use a teleprompter. Like most people, I was anticipating that he would again shoot from the hip and come out with off-the-track statements that punctuated his campaign. But, he didn’t. He talked about America, the people of America, the needs of America and the dreams to once again become the America that stood out in the world and had the respect of the world community. 
President Trump spoke at length about the problems of the American industry and economy, of the shrinking middle class, of border problems and military problems, of racial problems and lack of unity. He said that America would “reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilised world against radical, Islamic terrorism (two words together that never found expression during the eight years of the Obama administration)”, which he vowed to “eradicate completely from the face of the earth”.
No doubt, when his inauguration speech is analyzed by the political pundits, they will accuse him of using political cliches, catch phrases and of making promises that he will not be able to keep. Others will find his speech encouraging, a breath of fresh air and a ray of new hope for a great country whose fabric had been slowly, but surely, unraveled during the past eight years of the Obama administration. 

He has been accused of being politically inexperienced and unprepared for the job; of being offensive, a braggart, disrespectful of women, a demagogue, unwilling to listen to critics and on a giant ego trip, among other things
. Although he made his fortune in real estate, still, his climb to success in business, despite economic difficulties, was said to be less than complimentary, coming at the expense of others. When he first announced his candidacy, nobody really took him seriously. His slogan, “make America great again”, didn’t seem to really stir the heartstrings of mainstream America. He crossed “red lines” that most politicians would shy away from. But, in doing so, he did not shy away from referring to things the way they are. Little by little, he gained in popularity, as one by one the rivals from his own political party dropped out of the presidential race. Then it was just him against Hillary Clinton. America was faced with deciding between those two candidates for the highest office in the land. If that was the best that America had to offer, then its condition was far worse than what we could have ever expected.
But, the people chose and they elected Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States. According to one news report, when Clinton discovered that she lost the election, she started to scream obscenities and throw objects. Is that the kind of person half of America really wanted to be president? If she had won the election, in all likelihood, her presidency would have been a continuation of the Obama agenda, only worse. Be that as it may, the people chose and Trump is now the President. This is a fact and a new day is dawning. It is time to move on, to try to repair, renew and improve domestic and foreign policies. 

His inauguration speech was not brash, as so many of his campaign speeches had been. It contained numerous
references to “the people” – to them not being ignored and to Washington being the place where the citizens will rule. But, in reality, they don’t and they won’t.   On the one hand, they are the ultimate decision makers, in that they determine who will rule, similar to shareholders of a company who choose the directors who will lead them to accomplish their stated goals. But, having voted and made that decision, the people transfer their decision-making authority and give it to the politicians they choose to put in power. From that point on, the office holders make the decisions, without permission from the people … and, without asking their advice. Nevertheless, the people in a true democracy retain the right to criticize and take action when those in power abuse their authority. 
America is split over the Trump presidency, half approving and half disapproving and some even demonstrating against it. To the extent that those demonstrations are peaceful and do not infringe upon the rights of others, they reveal the freedoms and privileges that really made America great, the freedom to gather together and the freedom to speak. The citizens of many countries don’t allow for such open expressions of dissent. 
Much can be said by way of speculation about the future. Only God knows what tomorrow will bring. Yet, we do know that He brings tomorrow. Much damage had been done to America over the past eight years, both internally and internationally. The next four years can be a time of healing and restoration, or a continued deterioration of a country that once had truly achieved worldly greatness in many respects. God still rules the nations, including kings (Proverbs 21:1) and can make even secular rules fulfill His purposes (Isaiah 44:28)
He mis-quoted from Psalm 133:1 (“How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”), adding that under his administration, “There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we will be protected by God.” This is a bold presumption on Trump’s part. God’s protection is a blessing for a nation, as well as for individuals. America could once sing a prayer, “God Bless America”. But, why would He want to do so? Slowly, but surely, America removed God from its Pledge of Allegiance, from its school rooms, from its public life and even from its court rooms. God had been relegated to the position of not even a second-class citizen. Why should He want to bless America? He cannot be ordered to do so and to presume that he will is to start off on the wrong foot. Yet, God has always preserved a faithful remnant for Himself and they continue to exist in America today, faithfully praying for the country and its leadership, that they would humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, that He would hear from heaven, would forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
God is giving America one more chance to get its act together. I believe that the success or failure of America, and the Trump presidency, will depend upon how it ultimately deals with and blesses Israel. (Gen. 12:3) Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, as promised, would be a step in the right direction. But, the head of the “Palestinian” Authority said if the U.S. moved the embassy, it would be a declaration of war on the “Palestinians”. The King of Jordan, our peaceful neighbour to the East, said that this would be crossing “a red line … and inflame the Islamic and Arab streets”. There were other comments by known public figures along the same lines. Donald Trump is no stranger to crossing “red lines” and, if we are honest with ourselves, we recognise that at some point, another war will soon take place. The only questions are when and what will trigger it? Having a pro-Israel position in the U.N. would be another positive step. In line with this, America needs to take another step and remove the pressure off of Israel and allow the long-dead “two state solution” to finally be buried. Maybe if the U.S. stops talking about a dead process, our government will stop as well. But, this doesn’t look as though it is part of the Trump agenda for the Middle East.
In her confirmation hearing this past Wednesday, South Carolina Governon Nikki Haley, Trump’s pick for U.N. Ambassador, had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that she would make clear to the international community that the United States firmly stands by Israel as an ally – a message that was a slap in the face to the back-stabbing of Israel when the U.S. chose to abstain from vetoing U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334. That Resolution gave backing and support to the “Palestinian” and Islamic, anti-Israel narrative that effectively undid both Biblical and modern history, by declaring that all of the territory captured by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967 is “Occupied ‘Palestinian’ Territory”. But, it added insult to injury by including the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall of the Second Temple, as well, saying that the presence of the Jewish people in all of those areas was a “flagrant violation of international law.” Yet, while saying that she would “not go to New York and abstain when the UN seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel”, nevertheless, she added that she would continue to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict. Enter Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is slated to be his special envoy to the Middle East. 
On the eve of his inauguration, Trump spoke to his supporters and made reference to the role that Kushner would have in his administration, saying [to Kushner]: “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can.” Then he added: “All my life I’ve been hearing that’s the toughest deal to make, but I have a feeling Jared is going to do a great job.” This is serious business, as Trump apparently plans to approach the Middle East conflict as a business deal. It is time for all of us to get our houses in order. If a 7-year deal is signed during his administration, the world will be facing an unprecedented time of judgment. More about this in a future blog.
In short, Trump made a lot of promises that are tall orders for one man to fill, even if he has a good team working with him. Time will tell and we should keep him and his administration in our prayers that they would repent (Acts 11:18). God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and nothing, not even politicians, can prevent Him from doing what will give Him the greatest honor and glory. 
Causing our enemies to be at peace with us
The “Golden Rule”, or the “Rule of Reciprocity” contains the principle that we should treat others as we would want to be treated. It is based on a number of passages from the Tenach, particularly Leviticus 19:34: “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.” The Lord Yeshua referred to this principle in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). Israel goes one step further and treats the stranger, who stands on the other side of our border – the side of an enemy country. This is a minute part of the Israel that doesn’t make it into the MSM, nor onto the desks of the members of the United Nations.
The war in Syria continues unabated for more than five years, with hardly a word of condemnation from the world community. Instead, the United Nations focuses its attention and condemnation on the building of residential units in different parts of Israel and finally passes a resolution against Israel that flies in the face of Biblical history and world history regarding Jerusalem and parts of Israel and denies Jewish connections to this land.
In the midst of the obsession to condemn Israel, which the “Palestinians” and Islamic countries celebrate as a victory, a 29-year-old pregnant Syrian woman courageously made her way to the Israeli border, because all of the hospitals and clinics surrounding her village had been destroyed. Once at the border, the Israel Defense Forces brought her to Ziv Medical Center, in Safed, where she gave birth, by Caesarian Section to a healthy baby girl. The woman said, “When my husband heard I insisted on going to the border to give birth in a hospital, he asked that if she was born healthy, to give her a Jewish name in gratitude to Israel”, so she named her daughter Sarah, saying “I’ll never forget what you did here for my daughter Sarah and for me…When Sarah grows up enough to understand, I’ll tell her where she was born and why, out of all the names in the world, we chose to call her Sarah.”
If more countries acted like Israel in dealing with its neighbors, we wouldn’t have need for any of the perverted and prejudicial humanitarian institutions in the United Nations.
And that ends the week that was.

“Those who honor Me, I will honor, but those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam. 2:30) 
“‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar And your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease, And no one will make him afraid”. (Jer. 30:10)
Shabbat Shalom,
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Send in the Clowns – TWTW – 17 October, 2016

Send in the clowns!
“…where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don’t bother, they’re here.” 
(written by Stephen Sondheim, for the 1973 musical, A Little Night Music [Act II])

As the Biblical Prophetic feast day of Yom Kippur was about to begin last week, Israel went into a shut-down mode. Government offices and private businesses, stores and restaurants closed. Traffic was all but non-existent. And while Israel and most of the Jewish communities and friends of Israel fasted and prayed, a branch of the United Nations went into overdrive and demonstrated once and for all time that it is anything but impartial in its decisions, most specifically when it comes to Israel. 

In what is probably its most outrageous decision to date, the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) showed the world that the words “united nations“, “educational” and “cultural” need to be removed from its title, leaving it only with the letters “S” and “O”, which would stand for “sick and obsolete”. If we combine the letters, all we would need to do is add a question mark, resulting in “SO?” And by asking “SO?”, we would be challenging the need for the continuing existence of a representative organization of a “world body” that has lost all semblance of having any redeeming social value.

On Thursday, 13th October, 2016, this organization, which would be hard-pressed to justify its relevance in today’s world, in a vote of 24 to 6 preliminarily approved a draft resolution entitled “Occupied Palestine”, which blatantly ignores historical fact and outrageously denies Jewish ties to Jerusalem and some other Biblical sites that are holy to the Jewish people, specifically and particularly including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall of the Second Temple.

In Favor
Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam.
Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States
Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and Nevis, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Ukraine.
Serbia and Turkmenistan

Almost half of the countries that were called upon to make a decision showed that they were neither hot nor cold on the issue and abstained. 

Should we rejoice over the fact that the U.S. was joined by five other countries in opposing the resolution against Israel? Or should we be saddened by the fact that 24 countries decided that they didn’t want to be involved in expressing their opinion regarding a matter that affects the three major religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam? Several possibilities exist for their failure to vote. (1) they were oblivious to the ramifications of such a vote, that it not only affects Jews and Judaism, but Christians and Christianity; (2) they didn’t care that historical facts were about to be wiped out and with them, the religious and cultural heritage of most of the nations that abstained and the very roots of our Judeo-Christian beliefs; (3) they were tired of having to deal with the unceasing condemnation of Israel by the Arab bloc; (4) they chose not to vote against the Arab bloc, because they were afraid that their vote could be interpreted as being in favor of Israel, which could have economic repercussions, as well as expose their countries to a reality that was once thought to be far removed from most of them, a reality of terrorism. When representatives of a country fail to vote in an international forum, they do so because their superiors instructed them not to do so. With such an important issue on the table, the failure to express an opinion and to take a stand for their own historical, cultural and religious foundations constitute further support for the conclusion that this organization is sick and obsolete. 

Israel was quick to respond and the UN-organization’s resolution was condemned from almost all sides of the political spectrum here. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to this latest round of anti-Israel bias, stated that “The UNESCO theater of the absurd continues. Today that organization adopted another delusional decision that states that the Jewish People have no connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. With this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost the modicum of legitimacy it had left.” On Twitter, Netanyahu asked: “What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock ‘n’ roll?”

His condemnation of the draft resolution was echoed by a multitude of politicians from different countries and from all sides of the political spectrum. Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, did not leave room for misunderstanding, when she stated: “[The] UN is breaking its own record of ignorance and anti-Semitism. An organization that purports to represent science and education, instead presents the rotten politics of dictatorial Islamic countries. Instead of enlightened Western countries leading the organization, some are blindly following the shameful decision.”

Earlier that day, prior to the passing of the resolution, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stated, almost prophetically: “There is no festival more connected to Jerusalem than Sukkot. The festivals of Israel all highlight the inextricable bond between our people and our land, and no forum or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem—and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself… We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history.”

Following P.M. Netanyahu’s statement, a friend sent me a statement of what might  soon appear in media as a follow-up resolution: 

“Today UNESCO moved forward a resolution denying the connection between Peanut butter and Jelly, Batman and Robin as well as Rock and Roll.   The resolution was submitted by seven Muslim nations and simply ignores the western cultural significance of Peanut butter and Jelly, Batman and Robin and Rock and Roll.   The petitioners emphasize that all three items are “Haram” and offensive to Islam.   Peanut Butter and Jelly will never be Halal, Batman and Robin practice gayness and Rock and Roll also known as music are all forbidden.   Therefore, none of the above can be recognized under the strict interpretation of Sharia law and, therefore, none have any cultural significance in the world of Islam which means the same as the world of the UN as seen by Muslim dominated UNESCO.”

If, then, UNESCO has become “S.O.”, if it “lost the modicum of legitimacy it had left”, why should we have anything to do with it? That was probably the reasoning behind the decision of Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Education Minister, who announced: “Following the shameful decision by UNESCO members to deny history and ignore thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, I have notified the Israel National Commission for UNESCO to suspend all professional activities with the international organization”, adding that its decision also “gives impetus to terror”

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also quick to respond to the “shameful” decision and gave a cogent example of one of the multi-faceted changes that will have to be implemented as a result of that resolution. Think of the number of websites and Biblical commentaries that will need to be revised and updated. The cost would run into the billions. I would suggest that all of the bills for the revisions and updates be submitted to whatever remains of “SO”, which needs to make a public declaration acknowledging that it is morally bankrupt, intellectually stupid and incredibly lacking in Biblical knowledge and the history of this region. 

The Dry Bones Blog-16/10/2016-Replacement Theology

Of course, it was also a shot in the arm for those who advocate replacement theology, as they had their work done for them by this organization. 

The resolution denying proven Biblical history was, as expected, celebrated by the so-called “Palestinians”, who see themselves as protectors of the Temple Mount. A press release issued by Fatah, the ruling party in the area of Judea and Samaria, said that such a resolution would not have been passed if it weren’t for the diplomatic skills of the “Palestinian” President, Mahmoud Abbas and the assistance of Arab nations and other countries. Fatah expressed its thanks to those who “supported the ‘Palestinians'”, while at the same time calling on the half dozen countries who opposed the resolution to “reconsider their positions”. Representatives of the “Palestinians” applauded the resolution as a sign that the international community does not consent to what they refer to as “the occupation of ‘Palestinian’ lands”. It is the same narrative that they push forward at every opportunity. This narrative has been shown to be nothing more than a “political myth” generated by leaders of the Arab community following the Israeli War of Independence. Yet, this “myth” has grown and become like the Emperor’s New Clothes, a claim to existence and history that is not supported by historical fact, but believed on because of political “incorrectness” and expediency, as well fear of reprisal at the gas tanks.

The silence of the countries that abstained is not golden. It was a blatant encouragement to the so-called, self-proclaimed “Palestinians” to continue lying their way into justifying further warfare against Israel and the Jewish people. The longer the lie is set forth and the more individuals and countries are willing to give a listening ear to their made-up narrative, rather than to look at an examine that narrative from an historical and factual background, the more the world will be duped into calling “evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20)
Not everyone, however, buys the lie. Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, did not agree with the resolution drafted by that organization. She responded to the resolution saying, in part: “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list…When these divisions carry over into UNESCO, an organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, they prevent us from carrying out our mission.” 

The U.S. State Department condemned it. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (“AIPAC”) issued a statement calling the resolution “malignant” and saying, in part, that it “undermines efforts to seek a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-‘Palestinian’ conflict by giving support to forces in the ‘Palestinian’ community that reject reconciliation.” As for the UN organization, it not only condemns what it doesn’t understand, but it stands by and misses opportunity after opportunity to promote peace.

Maybe we should be thankful that some nations effectively abandoned their support of the “Palestinians”, by switching their vote in favor to an abstention. From that perspective, it is clear that a non-vote is a “no” vote. Some might even argue that although the “Palestinians” claim that the resolution was a victory, in reality, they lost ground because of the unwillingness of almost half of the nations in UNESCO to side with them. Whatever the win-loss reality may be in today’s world of cowardice in the face of political incorrectness, the reality is that the last chapter of The Book needs to be played out and it will be, in due course.

There is much more that can be said about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, but the final word belongs to God:

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 raise 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)

Last night began the holiday of Succot, the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:33 to end). It is a time of rejoicing. May your remembrance of the reason for it and your anticipation of its prophetic fulfillment encourage you and fill you with joy from the depths of your hearts.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing. Have a great week.


Explosive Acquiescence – TWTW – 25 March, 2016

Shalom all,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. A few thoughts.
Brussels – March 22; Paris – November 13; New York – September 11; Israel – Every Day
Evil reared its ugly head again on March 22nd in Brussels, causing a nation to mourn and the world to reel from shock. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing dozens and for injuring dozens more in the airport and in an underground train. Two of the terrorists blew themselves up, while a massive manhunt continues for the third person believed to have been involved. World leaders were quick to respond and to offer assistance to the authorities in Belgium.
The Dry Bones Blog-29/02/2016-
Europe and the Islamist Threat

Europe is a mess. Massive immigration from war-torn countries in the Middle East has caused a disruption of what was once referred to as the normal, “European way of life”. It has impacted cultural behavior, affected government thinking and brought about new “norms” in dealing with the problems generated by the almost uncontrolled immigration into Europe, as well as some areas of the Balkans. It is permissible for devout Islamists to insult and threaten other religions, but it is considered “Islamophobia” and “hate speech” when words are directed against those who want to establish an Islamic caliphate throughout Europe and the Middle East and then spread it to the rest of the world. 
What happened in New York on September 11th changed the world, but not for the better. Supporters of the terrorists danced on the roof-tops and celebrated in the streets, while efforts were made to persuade non-Islamic populations that this was the act of extremists and that Islam is a religion of peace. The incredible thing is that people are still willing to buy the lie. A true follower of Islam is a true follower of the teachings of the Koran, which calls for a jihad, or a holy war, against the non-believers (infidels). These are not extremists. That is a term used by those who want to compromise with reality. They look upon those who are referred to as, or consider themselves to be, “moderate Moslems” as traitors. There is a bond of brotherhood that unites jihadis wherever they might be, whether it is in the U.S., France, Turkey, Bulgaria, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, or Belgium. They are living according to the rules of their book and their ideology today is the same as it was back in the time of Mohammed. The only difference, and it is a critical difference, is the role that the media plays today, allowing for world-wide viewing of acts of terror. An insult to their beliefs in one place will result in a terrorist act in another place. 
The acts of terrorism that rocked the complacency of Paris only a few months ago were new for Paris, but not for the terrorists. What happened in Brussels is new for Brussels, but not new for terrorists. The same could be said for California, Istanbul, Ankara and a host of other places around the world. The West continues to fail to understand the mentality of groups like ISIS, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaida and the like. For them, might makes right, violent struggle is the means to achieve their end, ultimate victory and the establishment of their desired caliphate is the only way for them to bring in the 12th Imam, the Islamic messiah. They are dedicated to their cause and are encouraged to press on to establish Shariah law in every place where there is an Islamic community. An assault or attack on one member of the family in one place is avenged by another member of the family in another place. They see compromise from the West as weakness, Western decadence, culture and institutions, as well as its way of life, as all being antithetical to the teachings of the Koran. Therefore, they must be done away with. “Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?” (Where Have All The Flowers Gone, by the late Pete Seeger, 1955)
Photo posted on Facebook by Ariel Iluz,
who was in Belgium at the time in 2014
In August, 2014, while Hamas was firing rockets into the south of Israel, at a time when Israeli civilians were living in air-raid shelters and our soldiers were fighting against Hamas in Operation Protective Edge, Brussels Airport allowed a group of “Palestinians”  and pro-BDSers to stage a fake blood pool in the middle of the terminal. Two days ago, at the same airport, the pool of blood became real and it had nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict. I’ll leave everyone to draw their own conclusions regarding the two events, two years apart in the same airport terminal.

The Dry Bones Blog-25/03/2016-
The Blindness of EU Leaders
One would think that the world would begin to open its eyes, as well as its collective mind, to realize that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not the cause of all of the world’s ills. In fact, to those who bother to think, the problems here are deemed to be minuscule to the multitude of problems that exist elsewhere around the world. But, the media continues to ignore the reality that Israel has had more terrorist incidents directed against it and its citizens than any other country. In this month alone, we suffered 13 separate terrorist attacks. Many more attempted attacks were prevented by Israeli security forces. The media makes the message and that message is that terrorism exists only outside of Israel. When the media moguls are unable to reconcile their anti-Israel prejudice with the terrorism that Israel deals with 24/7, they leave Israel out of their reporting entirely. Sometimes, silence speaks louder than words, but it falls on deaf ears. The West is blind to what is obvious to all to live here. 
What just happened in Brussels is only the latest demonstration of evil that so-called civilized societies have allowed to fester and don’t know how to contain. It is an attempt to express religious superiority and control over a world that has different values and belief systems than the Islamists and, therefore, those different values and belief systems must be eliminated. The Islamists follow in the way of Cain, “who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother” (1 John 3:12). Lest we forget, Cain committed murder following his unacceptable form of worship. God told him that sin is waiting to pounce on him and he if doesn’t master it, sin will destroy him. “Woe to them, for they have gone the way of Cain” (Jude 11).  
Then again, the attitude of some is that what happened in Brussels doesn’t affect what they do in Argentina. Just ask the Obamas. 
Obama (left) and Michelle Obama (right) tango in Argentina-
36 hours after the terrorist incident in Brussels
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) 
On the day of Purim, 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) The plan was not to kill a few dozen people, but to destroy an entire nation, all of the Jews in the kingdom of Persia.
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. He was from the “old school” that believed and still believes that God and God alone is to be worshipped. Before Him, every knee will bow and every tongue shall swear allegiance (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11). Indeed, one day, at the very “name of Yeshua, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will acknowledge that Messiah Yeshua is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11) 
The Dry Bones Blog-10/03/2016-Iranian Missiles

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). The Mullahs of Iran (the princes of Persia) again threaten to destroy the nation and the people which God has raised up to be a blessing throughout this earth (Gen. 12:1-3). 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) 

Who knows whether we are alive for just such a time as this! The Hamans are many, but the Mordechais are few. © Marvin S. Kramer

And THAT was The Week That Was.
For I have heard the whispering of many, “Terror is on every side!” While they took counsel together against me, they schemed to take away my life … O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:13, 23-24)
Bless, Be Blessed and Be a Blessing.

The Big Lie – The "execution" that never happened – TWTW – 18 October, 2015

Shalom all,
Abbas caught in a lie – an “execution” that never happened.
What the media sees – media distortion
The leftist media tries to explain the latest terrorist attacks as an unexpected wave of terror, as if these incidents suddenly popped out of nowhere. Then they try to justify the attacks, claiming they are the result of frustrated “Palestinians”. Most of the time, they try to put the blame on Israel, distorting facts and photos to make it appear that we are the ones who killed so-called “Palestinians” for no reason. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ignored what is obvious to most Israelis, namely: the attackers are primed and encouraged to go and do whatever they believe to be necessary, including being willing to die, to defend what is not in danger. And so, the false claim continues, and grows, that the Temple Mount – which includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, is in danger of being “desecrated” and taken over by Jews.  This is nothing new. There have been unfounded accusations along these lines for a long time. 
The stirring motivation for this latest string of terrorist attacks is the speech from the head of the “Palestinian” Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (also known here as “Abu Mazen”), who continued his verbal incitement to violent action. Only a month earlier, the Israeli security services conducted on operation on the Temple Mount, resulting in finding a cache of pipe bombs. The raid prompted violence by the Islamists who were there and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas wasted no time in accusing Israel of attacking the mosque. He added that such an attack crossed a “red line” and that the “Palestinians” would not allow attacks to be made against their holy places. 
The Prime Minister’s Office responded with the statement that: Israel will use any means to maintain the status quo and the rule of law on the Temple Mount. It is the country’s duty and right to act against rioters in order to enable freedom of religious practice in this holy place. We shall therefore act determinedly against those who throw rocks, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs or those who use any other means.
Facebook page showing how to kill with a knife
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and third most holy place in Islam. But, the leader of the P.A., speaking to a group of “Palestinian” activists, expressed a mixed bag of well-rehearsed narrative, asserting authority not only over the mosque, but over Christian sites as well: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours as well. They have no right to desecrate the mosque with their filthy feet, we won’t allow them to do so and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.”  (my emphasis) While saying that “Palestinians” were determined to prevent Israel from dividing the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, he threw in for good measure: “There will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem…We are in Jerusalem and we will stay in it to defend our Islamic and Christian holy sites. We’re not going to leave our country…Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid (martyr) will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.(emphasis in italics mine)
Early yesterday morning (Shabbat), a female “Palestinian” stabbed a female soldier near the Tomb of the Patriarchs (the cave of Machpelah) in Hebron. She defended herself and killed her attacker. Then, a short while later, while a civilian was returning from his prayers at the same place, he shot and killed a knife-wielding attacker, who tried to stab him. Another attacker, this one from East Jerusalem, was shot and killed yesterday morning by Israeli security forces, when he tried to stab one of the officers. That was how the day started.
Lies that touch emotional issues are expected to produce results. Do words like the ones mentioned above incite? Obviously they do. Since then, there has been a substantial increase in terrorist attacks here, most of which were perpetrated by teens. This is how it shaped up here this month alone and up to the time of posting this:
Type of Incident
Israelis killed 
[ ] = terrorists killed
Israelis Injured
[ ] = terrorists injured
Judea and Samaria
2 [1]
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
Kiryat Gat
Petah Tikvah
East Jerusalem
Tel Aviv
Kiryat Arba (J&S)
Kiryat Arba (J&S)
East Jerusalem
Attempted Stabbing
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
1 [1]
2 [1]
16 [1]
East Jerusalem
Car ramming
and Stabbing
1 [1]
4 [1]
Kiryat Ata
East Jerusalem
Kiryat Arba (J&S)
Stabbing and Attempted Stabbing
Kiryat Arba – 2 (J&S); Jerusalem; Kalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem;
Shooting and Stabbing
A soldier [1]
10 as of this writing. [1]
Central Train Station in Beer Sheva
The “executed” is alive and well.
Last week, Abbas publicly claimed that Israel was “executing … our sons in cold blood, as they did with the kid Ahmed Manasrah and other kids in Jerusalem and other places in Palestine.” That was on October 14th. On October 15th, Ahmed Manasrah was photographed in Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem, receiving the best treatment that we can offer. He was actually hit by a car, whilee trying to flee from the scene where another 13-year old Israeli was attacked and critically wounded. Manasra reportedly admitted to the police that he carried out the attack, telling investigators: “I went there to stab Jews”, adding that he was motivated to do so because Israel was trying to change the status quo of the Temple Mount. Caught in an outrageous lie, which only further inflamed an already incited public, Abbas’ office said this past Friday that the head of the P.A. “was given incorrect information right before the speech as a last-minute addition”. From the point of view of effective communication, a press release from Abbas’ office is not the same as an apology from Abbas for lying to the public.
On October 15th, P.M. Netanyahu held a press conference and did not mince his words. At 11:45 minutes into the press conference, he said: “There is an a-symmetry here. Israel will not tolerate terrorism, from anyone. Jews or arabs. It doesn’t make any difference for us. But, in point of fact there is a difference, because we take an active policy. If we find the murderers and we have the proof, you will hear about it immediately. Believe me. You don’t have to press me, because I’m doing everything within my power to press our security forces…I think this idea that this is justification for murder … Nothing justifies the systematic and deliberate slaughter of the innocents. The attempt to menace, maim and murder innocent people. Nothing justifies it. I don’t justify it. It’s time that President Abbas stops, not only justifying it, but also calling for it. He says he wants to see more blood spilled in Jerusalem. And it’s time for the international community and fair-minded people to make that distinction. Stop justifying murder and stop calling for it.”
Starting at 22:29 of the press conference until the end, he added, in part: “The first order of the day in fighting terrorism is moral clarity. Nothing justifies terrorism. Nothing exonerates it. And stop trying to explain it away. This is terrorism murder, pure and simple. Abu Mazen is inciting murder. Make him accountable. And stop trying to justify it in any way, not with settlements, not with peace process, not with anything. It is unjustifiable and unacceptable and the mere fact that this is brought up as a possible explanation of course gives…the terrorists a justification that they don’t even use. They might now, but they haven’t up to now. And that tells you a lot.”
Is it possible that the U.S. was paying attention to what Netanyahu said? While at first trying to justify the “Lone Wolf” terrorist attacks as being the product of “Palestinian” frustration, Secretary of State John Kerry is now back-tracking, saying: “There’s no excuse for violence…No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the “Palestinians” need to understand…President Abbas has been committed to non-violence. He needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly…And he needs to not engage in some of the incitement that his voice has sometimes been heart to encourage. So that has to stop.” 
“Abbas has been committed to non-violence”? Maybe for himself, but not for those who hear his voice. And what does the world have to say? We’re still waiting for an answer.

While most of the media tends to condemn Israel at every opportunity, there are occasional voices of reason expressed by the media personalities. One such voice is that of an Israeli TV anchorwoman, Lucy Aharish. It’s worth the 2-1/2 minute watch. Another one is that of Chloe Valdary.

After a quiet day, terrorism returned in a big way.
Most of the readers of this blog do not get the news that we get here. At around 7:20 p.m., Israel time, a terrorist incident took place this evening in Beer Sheva. A terrorist armed with a gun and a knife managed to get into the Central Train station in Beer Sheva. He shot and killed a soldier, grabbed his M-16 and shot and wounded ten other people, five of whom are in serious condition as of this writing. Others were admitted to the hospital for shock. These folks need your fervent prayers. The terrorist fled and was killed outside of the station. I wonder how many will hear about it on their local news or read it in their local papers. 
Catering to our enemies and trying to placate them with nice sounding words, or placing foreign troops on the Temple Mount, or promising them that we will not do what we already are not doing, only encourages them to continue pursuing terrorism. For it to stop, we have to fight it with every means possible. The world already holds us to a double standard that no one else is held to and which they, themselves, cannot adhere to. They don’t like that we defend ourselves and pursue terrorists and terrorism with all the means at our disposal. And it is right that we do so. But, if this happens on “their soil”, watch how the media will pick it up and soak it all in. When will they ever learn? Maybe when it is too late.
And that is The Week That Was … and the week that is now beginning.
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning.” (Isaiah 62:1)
Have a great week.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


"Have gun, will use. Do likewise." – TWTW – 11 October, 2015

Shalom all,

It’s been a while since I’ve penned some words on this blog. There was a period of time when it seemed that our most repeated involvement outside of our home was attending the funerals of people we knew. Some had the hope of the resurrection, while others did not. The pain of loss was evident on the faces and behavior of those who remained, but the way that they related to death was very different. For those who placed their trust in the completed work of Messiah Yeshua, there was the understanding that the grave is not the end, as being absent from the body meant to be present with the Lord, where there are no tears, no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain. But, more than that, in His presence there is joy forever. That is a hope that will not disappoint. For others, the pain of loss and separation was accompanied by despair and a sense of hopelessness and finality. Indeed, we all grieve in our own ways.

Israel went through a few things during this time – a government was formed and began to function; seven prophetic holidays came and went; we wept during Holocaust Remembrance Day on Memorial Day for our fallen soldiers and rejoiced when the country celebrated its 67th Independence Day; we experienced a Biblical “shmitah” year (when every seventh year, the land is to lie fallow); we saw a “blood moon” come and go; our concerns over the agreement with Iran and its nuclear program were, essentially, ignored and relationships between Israel and the United States have considerably deteriorated; Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an impassioned and brilliant speech to the U.N. General Assembly about, among other things, the dire consequences of enabling Iran to increase its nuclear capability, which fell on deaf ears – he paused for 44 seconds to allow consideration of his words, but more so, it would seem that his silence mimicked the world body’s silence in the face of the threat of a nuclear Iran; Russia made its military entrance into the free-for-all in Syria and Israel discovered a significant amount of oil on the Golan Heights. These things and more captured most people’s attention here. 

Nevertheless, with the multitude of things that have happened in and around and affecting Israel since the election here in March, probably the most significant is the significant increase in terrorist incidents, which has primarily targeted civilians. The U.S. Consulate General has issued security messages for U.S. citizens, with travel warnings in and around Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (referred to in the messages as “the West Bank”), northern Israel, upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Despite the growing security challenges that Israel is facing and the increasing terrorist-related deaths suffered by ordinary citizens, the world, as a whole, remains silent. It seems that the nations of the world have gotten used to terrorism and they only complain when it occurs in their own back yard.

“Have gun, will use. Do likewise.” 
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with carbine rifle/gun
Following a spate of fatal shootings and rock-throwing incidents, as well as car-rammings, Molotov cocktails and stabbing attacks in the capital city and elsewhere, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is certain that we will overcome this latest wave of terror and came up with a two-fold plan to encourage the citizens of Jerusalem: “Fight the bad guys. And be very, very good — as much as you can — to the majority of the population that is seeking peace and quiet.” Barkat, who has a license to carry a gun, told Army Radio: “Every time there is tension, I instruct people who are allowed to carry weapons and are experienced in using them to carry their guns with them. If you check, you’ll see that in many cases, those who neutralized terrorists were citizens who aren’t necessarily police officers, like former soldiers.” He was not just making nice-sounding statements. He encouraged residents of the city, who have legal gun permits, to follow his example and carry their weapon with them at all times. The purpose is to be able to stop a terror attack, if the situation should occur, as well as to give generate a feeling of safety for the residents, noting: “In Israel, if you see someone carrying a gun you get a sense of security, not a sense of insecurity as you do in America.”

Barkat’s comments drew expected criticism of concern over arming a fearful population, which could result in accidental shootings. But, the Jerusalem Mayor defended his position, saying: “Here we have trained combat soldiers, who, when they finish their army service, are still reservists…They are well trained, and some of them have civilian licenses to carry weapons.” Noting that those licensed to carry weapons are not novices to warfare, but were ‘professionals’, he said that was “calling those professionals to carry their guns, because you don’t know where a terrorist attack can happen…In the past few years, many terror attacks were neutralized by ex-soldiers who carried their guns legally.”

In an uncharacteristic stress move by Israelis, following the recent wave of violence, many rushed to buy pepper spray, electronic shockers and other protective devices, as well as signed up for various self-defense courses. One expert on self-defense, after giving some very practical advice on how to react in an emergency situation, added: “The important thing is not to stop living because then they’re [the terrorists}  winning…But be careful and take your security seriously.” 

The Jerusalem Police installed metal detectors in the Old City’s gates, as part of its on-going efforts to make the area more secure and prevent people from entering the Old City with guns or knives. These are similar to the detectors used at mall entrances and central bus stations in Israel, and their use is intended to have a deterrent effect on potential assailants.

These things are an Israeli reality, part of daily life. Even as these words were being penned, additional terrorist attacks were taking place in Jerusalem. Terrorism and terrorist activity has affected our society as a whole, as well as individuals, who are real people, people who have names and families. But, in a world that is easily swayed by media lies and propaganda, Israel is portrayed not as a victim of terror, but of terrorism against so-called “Palestinians”. A classic example of this is an article that appeared earlier this week in the NY Times. I would encourage you to take 3 minutes and read the article in Frontpage Mag (New York Times: No Israeli Victims of Palestinian Terrorism). To the same effect, see: Blatant Israel Bias at the New York Times.

“Third Intifada”?
It’s raining – rocks and knives
Everyone is talking about it. Television and radio reports and, of course, newspaper articles. Labelling situations helps make it easy for people to relate to them in short, convenient phrases. The so-called “Palestinians” have already referred to this latest wave of terrorism and violence as the start of the “third intifada”. For most of the past year, Israeli commentators and analysts have referred to these incidents as “teen intifada”, “auto intifada”, “stabbing intifada”, “rioting intifada” and everything else that is related to “intifada”. The latest of these is “lone-wolf intifada”, manned and manipulated in the media of cyberspace and carried out by individuals, whose names are published in anti-Israel media and treated as victims, while the names of the real victims, and the harm done to them, are not. Social media unites people of a similar mindset and enables them to encourage each other to keep pursuing a common goal, even if it results in martyrdom. This latter status was published in the social media as something that some of these terrorists, mostly in their teens, want to achieve. Earlier today (Sunday), on the road between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, Israeli police stopped a female suicide terrorist from carrying out a car bomb in Jerusalem. The police officer who stopped her was wounded and the woman herself was seriously injured when the car bomb exploded. 
9 October, 2015

So, does it really matter what we call these events? Terrorism, whether called “Lone Wolf”, or by any other name, remains terrorism. For us, it is nothing new. It has been part and parcel of life in Israel for the past 67 years, sometimes organized and sometimes isolated. It remains as part of the on-going conflict here and will not disappear if an Islamic state were to be established in our midst. 

Those who push for the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in our heartland, thinking that the Arab-Israeli conflict would then come to an end, are putting their heads in the sand. The so-called “Palestinians” have had endless opportunities to move in the direction of preparing for statehood, but chose not to do so. The “Palestinian” Authority received billions of dollars in foreign aid over the years, but most of it was never used to develop infrastructure that would serve a future state. Instead, the money went to the leadership of the P.A. and their families, who became rich at the expense of the population, the vast majority of which continue to live in squalid conditions and who are being used as ploys to continue to blame Israel for the failure of the P.A.’s leadership. And the world community continues to buy the “Palestinian” narrative, while failing to listen to anything Israel has to say that is condemnatory of those whose ultimate goal is not the establishment of a “Palestinian” state, but the destruction of the existing State of Israel.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is being kept alive by Islamists and by the United Nations. It could have ended decades ago, if those who voluntarily left Israel prior to the War of Independence would have been absorbed in the various Middle East countries. But, then, the myth of stealing land that never belonged to a non-existent group that calls itself “Palestinian” would have to end. It seems that Never-Never Land continues to exist in the minds of history-ignorant politicians. We can brainwash people into believing a lie, but most people save us the trouble. They believe a lie because they want to.

And that’s what’s been happening. 

“Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, … he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number. He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 32:2-8)

“Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, “The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? … He [Sennacherib] also wrote letters to insult the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, ‘As the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand’.” (2 Chronicles 32:10-17)

“Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.” This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: … “And against whom have you raised your voice, and haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! Through your messengers you have reproached the Lord … Because of your raging against Me, and because your arrogance has come up to My ears … I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake”.’ Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and … as he was worshiping … his god, [his sons] killed him with the sword” (2 Kings 19:20-37; 2 Chronicles 32:21)

Have a great week.

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


The Israeli Election – Part 2 (the aftermath) – TWTW ending 28 March, 2015

Shalom all,
The term “democracy” has its original from the French word “démocratie“, which was derived from the Greek term “dēmokratia“, that is made up of two concepts joined together, namely: “dēmos” (meaning, “the people”) and “kratia” (meaning “power” or “rule”). The idea is that the people have the power to determine who will rule. The understanding of Israelis of a democratic Israel is that the people freely exercise their vote to choose who will be their Prime Minister or other government officials. The apparent understanding, actually mis-understanding, of President Barack Hussein Obama of democracy in Israel is that he has a better perspective than the Israeli people of who should and shouldn’t be their Prime Minister.  The Israeli people have spoken, but Obama closed his ears to their voice. The Israeli people have revealed their clear grasp of the situation in the Middle East, particularly as it affects Israel, but Obama has closed his eyes to this reality. Unfortunately, he has not closed his mouth to the decision of the Israeli people. The United States, which is supposed to be the leader of the free world, supporting democratic concepts and principles upon which the U.S. was established, has a leader who continues to pout like a little child, because the recent Israeli election did not turn out the way that he wanted. 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was elected for a third consecutive term as the Prime Minister of Israel, defying the pollsters, defying the organized opposition, who campaigned on a platform of “anyone except Netanyahu”, defying the mainstream media, and defying Obama.
Lots of things were said, and not said, by the various politicians during the last campaign. In the normal course of events, they would have been seen as campaign rhetoric and soon forgotten. But, two 11th-hour statements from Netanyahu caused no small degree of upset. One of those statements affected a portion of the Israeli public, while the other had considerable impact on the planned legacy of Obama. The first was Netanyahu’s urging of the Israeli right-wing voters to get out and vote, because “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves. Left-wing NGOs are bringing them in buses”. The second was Netanyahu’s statement that a “Palestinian” state would not be established on his watch (during his tenure as Prime Minister).

As to the first comment, opponents of Netanyahu wasted no time to cause him of speaking as a racist, vis-a-vis the Arab population in Israel. A White House spokesman expressed that the U.S. was “deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens”. Obama himself got into the blame game of condemnation of Netanyahu’s words when he told The Huffington Post on March 21st: “We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel’s traditions. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly,” said Obama. “And I think that that is what’s best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don’t believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.” However, it needs to be remembered that this statement was made during an election day, when Israeli Arabs were encouraged to vote for the newly-formed Joint Arab List (J.A.L.), which unified the various Arab political parties under one umbrella. And, indeed, it was anticipated that the J.A.L. could garner as many as 15 out of the 120 Knesset seats. As it turned out, the J.A.L. received 13 seats in the new Knesset, making it the third largest political party after the Likud  (Netanyahu) and the Zionist Union (Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni). Netanyahu had every reason to be concerned and his statement was a factual and political reality, rather than a racist comment. 

A few days following the election, Netanyahu met with leaders of various minority communities in Israel, at which time he apologized for the offense caused by his statement concerning the Arab voter turnout: “I know that what I said a few days ago offended some of Israel’s citizens, offended Israeli Arabs. I had no intention of doing so. I am sorry for this. My actions as prime minister, including major investments in the minorities sector, prove the complete opposite. I also think that no element outside the State of Israel should interfere in our democratic process. (emphasis mine) I view myself as prime minister of each and every one of you, of all Israeli citizens, regardless of religion, race and gender. I view all Israeli citizens as partners in the building of a prosperous and safe State of Israel, for all Israelis.”
Even though the Prime Minister expressed that those “outside the State of Israel should [not] interfere in our democratic process”, Marie Harf, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, when asked about Netanyahu’s apology: “[Netanyahu] said diametrically opposing things in the matter of a week, so which is his actual policy? That’s why what we said is, words aren’t enough at this point. What we need to see are actions … and policies that demonstrate a genuine commitment to the peace process. (emphasis mine) … I think we just don’t know what to believe at this point. … Words matter. And if you say something different two days later, which do we believe and which, it’s hard to know. It honestly is. And why was one said at one time and why was something different said after the election? Who knows? We can’t read his mind.” The exact same comments can be said of the President of the United States. Note the comment about a commitment to the peace process that was sandwiched in between comments concerning the Arab voter turnout.
The State Department reflects the position of the present U.S administration. As Obama thinks, so the State Department speaks. It is nothing short of political chutzpah for the U.S. administration to stick its nose into Israeli politics and to say, of all things, that words matter and if something is said today and changed tomorrow, people won’t know which to believe. But, they speak from their own experience. Political rhetoric is nothing new to Obama. He used it with great skill during his first campaign for office, as well as during his second one. He continues to do so today. His understanding of “change we can live with” became a nightmare from which the world still needs to wake up. Obama’s statements changed with the wind. “Red lines” concerning Syria and Iran became blurred and were eventually totally abandoned. His yo-yo policies concerning the Middle East makes reliance upon his statements a near impossibility. Friends become enemies and enemies become sought-after friends. So, Obama’s condemnation of Netanyahu’s statements are par for the course and are to be expected, in light of the friction that has been built up between the leaders of the two countries. In reality, however, Obama’s comments are an attack not only upon Netanyahu, but upon the Israeli populace, who freely and democratically re-elected the Prime Minister, despite existing and growing antagonism from the American administration. We voted for Netanyahu, but at the same time, Israelis made it clear that they were voting against Obama.
As for the second issue, namely, that a “Palestinian” state would not be established during Netanyahu’s prime ministership, that comment needs to be viewed in the light of the entire statement that he made just prior to the election. In an interview that he gave to Arutz Sheva, in English, in which the Prime Minister basically repeated his statements given in Hebrew on the NRG Israeli news website: “I think that anyone who moves to establish a “Palestinian” state today, and evacuate areas, is giving radical Islam an area from which to attack the State of Israel. …This is the true reality that has been created in past years. Those that ignore it are burying their heads in the sand. The left does this, buries its head in the sand, time and again.” In this regard, Netanyahu also indicated that he was not repudiating the comments that he made in Bar Ilan University in 2009, in which he indicated his willingness to negotiate toward the creation of a “Palestinian” state. His statements then included “[If] we receive a guarantee for security arrangements needed for Israel and if the “Palestinians” recognize Israel as the home of the Jewish people, we will be willing in a future peace deal to reach a solution of a demilitarized “Palestinian” state side by side with the Jewish state.” Those statements were considered to be a major departure from Israeli policy at the time, and were pursued without any reciprocity on the part of the “Palestinians”. 
In various interviews, the Prime Minister noted that his responsibility was to protect Israel. Such protection must include an understanding of our not-too-distant history and, in this regard, Netanyahu is on solid ground. In the early 1980’s, we withdrew from Sinai and that area is now being used by the pro-ISIS jihadis, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. In 2000, we withdrew from southern Lebanon, which allowed the area to become controlled by the Hizballah. In 2005, we withdrew from Gush Katif, which resulted in Hamas establishing its jihadist rule that is fixated on Israel’s destruction. Is it any wonder that Netanyahu’s remarks focused on what the situation is today, in connection with his comments about a “Palestinian” state not being established on his watch? 

Netanyahu’s statements were clear to anyone who bothered to listen to them in their entirety. Nevertheless, two days after the election results were in and following an international backlash and gross exaggeration and distortion of those comments by the mainstream media and by those who like to refer to themselves as journalists, Netanyahu clarified his comments regarding the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “I haven’t changed my policy. I never retracted my speech at Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state. What has changed is the reality. … [“Palestinian” Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] the “Palestinian” leader refuses to recognize the Jewish state and has made a pact with Hamas that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, and every territory that is vacated today in the Middle East is taken up by Islamist forces. We want that to change so that we can realize a vision of real, sustained peace. I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that, circumstances have to change.” Many Israelis do not agree with the Prime Minister’s willingness to allow for the establishment of a “Palestinian” state anywhere within the present state of Israel. But, whether it is agreed to or not is not the essence of the conflict over the statement. The heart of the matter has to do with credibility, particularly among those who are the heads of two countries that only two years ago were said to have an “unbreakable bond” between them.

Nevertheless, this explanation by Netanyahu was also rejected by Washington, which preferred to hang its hat on the Prime Minister’s pre-election comment, rather than on his post-election statements. Again, totally ignoring the context in which his remarks about no “Palestinian” state on his watch, State Department Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said: “We believe he changed his position three days ago” (meaning one day before the election), adding, “[Our] preference is for a two-state solution negotiated between the parties. His comments three days ago brought into question his commitment to that.” So, there we have it. Netanyahu stated that the reality on the ground has changed, but he never retracted his support for a two-state solution to the establishment of a “Palestinian” state. Washington ignored his explanation – indeed, it also ignored the context in which his original comments were made, even though both the White House and the State Department purportedly reviewed the transcript of his interview. Obama himself said: “We take him at his word when he said that it [a two-state solution] wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.” And that’s when Washington’s threats against Jerusalem began in earnest. More on that in a later post.
Obama’s antagonism against Netanyahu has caused the President to be myopic with regard to his perspective of what is happening in the Middle East. This region is already chaotic and potentially explosive. In case Obama hasn’t paid attention to the news lately, the last four years has seen destabilization in Bahrain, Egypt (somewhat more stabilized under its present leadership), Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Syria and, in the last few days, Yemen. ISIS has established a significant foothold in the region, and military action is being taken against it by outside forces. Jordan and Saudi Arabia, both of whom are more in line with Netanyahu’s concerns over Iran than with Obama’s attempts to placate Iran, have intervened militarily to thwart the far-reaching tentacles of Iran’s expansionist policies in the Middle East. Yet, in the midst of it all, the only thing that Obama can see as of primary importance to resolve the problems in the Middle East is the need to establish a “Palestinian” state … and that, on his watch.
Obama’s desire to implement the “two-state solution” and to establish a “Palestinian” state has become all the more acute, since his visit to Israel in March of 2013. Although he objected to the Prime Minister addressing both houses of Congress and seeing it as an interference in American policies, vis-a-vis Iran, he had no problem interfering in Israeli politics and policies when he was here just two years ago (see President Obama’s visit to Israel –  TWTW, 23 March, 2013). One of the most out-of-place facts concerning the “two-state solution” is that it is being promoted primarily by those who don’t live in this neighborhood and who have little understanding concerning what it entails.
Two scathing articles against Obama’s behavior towards Israel and Netanyahu appeared in the Wall Street Journal this week, both having to do with the aftermath of the Israeli election. The first article by columnist Bret Stephens challenges Obama’s Orwellian world view and his belligerency against Netanyahu. With clear discernment, Mr. Stephens writes:
“There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. … His administration is now on better terms with Iran – whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan ‘God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,’ just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria. … “The current victim of Mr. Obama’s moral inversions is the recently re-elected Israeli prime minister. Normally a sweeping democratic mandate reflects legitimacy, but not for Mr. Obama. Now we are treated to the astonishing spectacle in which Benjamin Netanyahu has become persona non grata for his comments doubting the current feasibility of a two-state solution. This, while his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas is in the 11th year of his four-year term, without a murmur of protest from the White House. … For continuously rejecting good-faith Israeli offers, Mr. Abbas may be about to get his wish: a U.S. vote for “Palestinian” statehood at the United Nations. For tiring of constant “Palestinian” bad faith—and noting the fact—Israel will now be treated to pariah-nation status by Mr. Obama.”

He not only understood, but boldly expressed the fact that Israel is “being treated disdainfully by this crass administration”, which is led by an “abusive and surly” leader. He concluded with a word of encouragement and of veiled concern: Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”
The second article was an editorial that appeared on Tuesday, March 24th, which accused Obama of being out for revenge against Netanyahu. It referred to the speech given at the J Street annual conference by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, in which he stated that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end”. Such a comment could only be made if it received prior approval by Obama. That leaves us with the chilling thought that after finally taking off his mask and revealing his true intentions, Obama genuinely believes that Israel is unjustly occupying “Palestinian” land and he now intends to act to bring it to a forced conclusion.
As I considered the U.S. responses to the election results and the two specific comments of Prime Minister Netanyahu that were jumped upon by the mainstream media and the current American administration, I couldn’t help thinking that Obama’s strenuous opposition to Netanyahu is one of jealousy. After 6 years plus in office, the U.S. President is still trying to carve out a positive legacy for himself. In the process, he has turned against Israel, America’s only true friend in the Middle East, in favor an enemy who unabashedly gives support to the statement ‘God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam’. He has approximately 22 months before he is rolled away like an outgoing tide and is replaced by the incoming wave. And, when he vacates the residence which he presently occupies, a new leader will step in who will, hopefully, undo and correct the damage that has been done to America’s relationship with Israel and with other nations of the world. It will, indeed, be a long 22 months and the future of America is being weighed in the balance. 
When the White House is no longer occupied by Mr. Obama, the Prime Minister’s residence in Israel will still host Mr. Netanyahu, whose own legacy will depend in large measure upon whether a “Palestinian” state will or will not be set up on his watch. Whatever the circumstances will be, we have no right to give away what has been given to us in trust by The Owner.
The Israeli election resulted in an overwhelming victory for Netanyahu, a victory which greatly disappointed Obama, who is now taking his diplomatic bat and swinging it in the direction of Netanyahu. He is ignoring any consideration and concern that Israel might have over the anticipated very bad deal with Iran that America is pushing for and which is expected to be signed by the end of the month. If such a deal is signed, and it leaves thousands of centrifuges in Iran still spinning, Israel may find itself making deals with neighboring countries to thwart the Iranian, nuclear threat. Woe to America! It is going the way of Cain, falling headlong into the error of Balaam and may perish in its rebellion like Korah.
The real story is just beginning.

“The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done [to Israel], it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

The Israeli Election – Part 1 (the results) – TWTW – 22 March, 2015

Shalom all,
And the winners are … [Israel Hayom, 18 March, 2015]

Israel held its national elections on March 17th. The pollsters predicted that Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu’s right-leaning Likud Party would be replaced by the center-left Zionist Union, which is a partnership made up of the Labor Party, chaired by Isaac (“Boji”) Herzog, and the Hatnua Party, which is considerably smaller and headed up by Tzipi Livni. As is often the case, the pollsters were wrong. When the votes were all in and counted, the Likud and Bibi were the walk-away winners, with the Prime Minister capturing his third, consecutive term and fourth term in office. 

How the voting went for the 10 most-successful parties:
No. of Seats
Likely to Join Coalition
Total Coalition Seats
Zionist Union
Joint Arab List
Yesh Atid
Jewish Home
Orthodox (R or L)
Yisrael Beyteinu
United Torah Judaism
Orthodox (R or L)
Very Left
67 out of 120
The Israeli system takes a bit getting used to. Unlike elections in most places, in Israel, the one with the most votes does not necessarily end up becoming the Prime Minister. The President of Israel, who is currently Reuven Rivlin, makes the decision whom he will ask to form the new government. Rivlin has also indicated that Israel needs to form a government as quickly as possible, and invited representatives of the parties to meet with him yesterday (Sunday) to move this matter along. In all likelihood, the call will go to Netanyahu and he will have a month and a half to make the deals that will allow the new government to come into existence. If he fails to accomplish this task, the President can ask someone else to give it a try.
Everyone is aware of the two major issues that were the focus of most of the parties during the campaign, namely: security, with special emphasis on the threat from Iran, and economic-related matters, such as the cost-of-living and, particularly, the high cost of housing. The “right” focused more on security, while the “left” directed its attention more on the economy. Each had its advantages and, of course, its disadvantages. The outcome of the elections have far-reaching implications for Israel from the point of view of the Iranian, nuclear threat, the relationship with the present U.S. administration, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the relationship with Egypt, just to name a few.
There was a major push by the leftist parties and most of the mainstream media to remove Netanyahu. The slogan of the left was “anyone-but-Netanyahu”, as it tried to blame the Prime Minister for all of the economic woes facing Israel at this time. It was reminiscent of the accusations of those who oppose Israel and blame it for all of the problems existing in not only the Middle East, but in the world as well. In this regard, an intense effort was also made by the left to draw attention away from the public persona of its leading candidates, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. 
Both Netanyahu and the dynamic duo of Herzog and Livni made last-ditch efforts to appeal to their respective constituents and, possibly even draw voters from the other’s camp. Livni said that she would even be willing to forego the agreed-upon rotation with Herzog, which would have enabled her to serve as Prime Minister, if the Zionist Union would succeed in the election and would be given first option to form a coalition government. For his part, the Prime Minister said that a “Palestinian” state would not be established on his watch, pointing out, in part, that areas under “Palestinian” rule would eventually become a stronghold for Hamas, as happened after the 2005 withdrawal from Gush Katif, north of Gaza. Needless to say, Netanyahu’s comments drew harsh criticism from P.A. chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and P.A. “Foreign Minister”, Riad al-Maliki, as well as others, not the least of which was President Barack Hussein Obama.
Israelis heard the pollsters, who gave the Zionist Union either a 3 or 4-seat lead over the Likud. This seeming advantage balanced out the night before the election and it was, essentially, a two-party race to the finish line. Early voting results continued to favor Herzog over Netanyahu, but as the polling places closed and the votes were counted, the advantage shifted to the Prime Minister, who pulled away with a 6-seat lead over Herzog. It was a last-minute sprint to the finish line and Netanyahu seemed to pull the rabbit out of the hat to the joy of many and to the dismay of many others.
This election saw a tremendous voter turnout, the likes of which Israel hasn’t experienced since the late 1990’s. This was not simply an election where the Israeli public was being asked to choose between Bibi and Boji. There were some two dozen political parties, all vying for representation in the next Knesset. And there were lots of small issues. But the big issues were clear: security versus economics. Whatever may be said of the average Israeli (if such a person exists), one thing cannot be said of him, namely: that he is gullible. The public, in no small measure thought through the issues, went to the polling stations and cast their votes. They chose security over economics. And the reason is simple and should be understandable, even by those who can’t find anything good to say about the Likud or about Netanyahu (of whom there are many): Life takes precedence over quality of life (a perspective that has consequences in many areas). It will not benefit someone to have a nice residence, a good job and creature comforts, if his life is in constant danger from enemies near and far, who are determined to kill him, or drive him out of the neighborhood and take over his home and possessions. Even certain individuals who will continue to be members of the next Knesset are determined to join ranks with our enemies, knowingly or unwittingly, and to do all that they can to weaken our country and cause it to yield and succumb to international pressure. At this point, Netanyahu is the figurehead who will bear the brunt of the attacks from homegrown, as well as from foreign, politicians and nations. The verbal goal is to bring down Netanyahu, but the ultimate goal is to destroy Israel.
And so, with the votes tallied and the results in, coalition talks began yesterday, as President Rivlin met with representatives from six parties today and is expected to meet with four others today (Monday). He denounced what he referred to as “hateful” remarks that were made during the electioneering and called for a “healing” of Israeli society: “The government which will be formed may have been chosen by a majority of the public, but it needs to accommodate all of the Israeli public; Jews, Arabs, left and right, north and south, center and periphery … [and] now is the time to begin the process of mending and healing Israeli society”, which underwent, in his words, a “tempestuous and passion-filled” election campaign. He urged “everyone, Jews and Arabs alike, to refrain from mutual incitement and provocation”, referring to the “harsh and hurtful” words expressed by both Jewish and Arab candidates during the campaign.
Moshe Kahlon, head of the newly-formed Kulanu (“All of Us”) Party, garnered 10 seats for the new Knesset. He is a former member of the Likud and is considered the swing-man, who can make or break the anticipated rightist coalition government. He served as a former communication’s minister, who succeeded to make Israel’s cellular phone market much more competitive, which was no small accomplishment in this start-up nation, which can re-invent the wheel. At this point, it is widely presumed that Kahlon wants to be appointed as the Minister of Finance. But, more importantly, he wants his party to have control of the Knesset Finance Committee, a move which would enable him to bring about much-needed economic reforms to lower the cost of living, reforms that would affect not only the housing and construction industry, but also the banking industry. He does not intend to make life easy for Netanyahu and has threatened not to join the coalition, unless his various demands are met. In this regard, Kahlon posted a note on his Facebook page just before the weekend, stating: “Kulanu is a party that has a clear path…The election results are clear, but our path was and remains the essence. Our intention is to extract from these coalition talks exactly what we promised the public. We didn’t come here just to talk and to occupy a post…We came to foment change, we came to solve problems, we came to remedy Israeli society…Nobody has a birthright to be in the government. None of us have to be there.”
Interestingly, (the English-language newspaper that belongs to Yediot Aharonot, which made every effort to topple Benjamin Netanyahu and to prevent him from beging re-elected) published an “open letter to Moshe Kahlon” today (22 March), acknowledging that he can determine what type of coalition government will be formed. As the writer states, at the outset: “The keys are in your hands, Kahlon, and a huge responsibility rests on your shoulders. Opportunities like this don’t come around every day. And one such opportunity has fallen into your lap. A historic one perhaps. In politics, anything can happen. A unity government too. But the chances of that are slim. Very slim. The two sides will court you. And the decision will be yours to make. You are the crowner of kings. And thus, it’s time for some soul searching.” 
Clearly, Kahlon’s political re-entry at this time will affect not only what type of government will be formed, but how that government is expected to function. He is a man to keep an eye on, as well as to pray for. If Kahlon joins with Netanyahu, the coalition government that will be formed will be “rightist” in its make-up. If he chooses to join forces with the Zionist Union (Herzog and Livni), then Netanyahu will have a difficult time forming a coalition government without including smaller parties, each of which will have its own political agenda and who will push for compromises to bring that agenda to fruition.
While it is expected that Netanyahu will be given the “go ahead” to form a new government, it is clear that whoever will head up the government will have to deal with a multitude of issues, some of which include the following: high cost of living; housing prices; social-justice issues and the widening socio-economic gap between the wealthy and the economically disadvantaged; health care and welfare reform; education reform; job creation and, of course, the defense budget, as well as the still unapproved state budget for the next year. This is in addition to the threat of annihilation from Iran, the threat of another war with Hamas, the threat of another war with Hizb’allah and the ongoing war with terrorism. Not to be forgotten (how could we?) is the seemingly never-ending conflict with the “Palestinians”, which, oddly enough, did not play a major role in the recent election. But, they continue to threaten to pursue statehood independently of any negotiations with Israel, through the U.N. and the court of world opinion. If this wasn’t enough, there is the “Palestinian” threat to bring about prosecution of Israelis in the International Criminal Court. Saving the best of the worst for last, the next government will have to work overtime to mend the fences between Israel and the U.S. and restore relationships. More on this in the next post.
I watched as the outcome of this election brought cheers from a few and condemnations from many. With what I see of the way things are going here and what I see of the way things are going across the Big Muddy, I, personally, would much prefer to live with a Netanyahu nation than with an Obama nation.
“***I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and appointed them heads over you, leaders of thousands and of hundreds, of fifties and of tens, and officers for your tribes.” (Deuteronomy 1:15)
[The] Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes.” (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32)
Have a great week. 
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Netanyahu’s speech to Congress – Time will tell – 3 March, 2015

Shalom all,
It’s been a while since the last time I posted. A lot has happened during that time, both nationally and personally. With Netanyahu’s speech to Congress today and national elections about to take place in Israel, I felt I should get back to sharing my thoughts about different matters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his much-anticipated speech to Congress earlier today. His invitation to address a joint session of Congress had been a major source of discontent with many in Washington, as allegedly being a breach of proper protocol. It was not attended by many Democratic congressmen, including the Vice-President, Joe Biden.
But, Netanyahu’s invitation to come to the U.S. and address the Congress is not and never was about protocol. Nor was it even about the considerable personality differences between Netanyahu and Obama. Nor is it about trying to gain points with the Israeli public two short weeks before national elections here. These so-called “issues”, as well as others, are all relatively minor in light of the real issue, namely, the Iranian threat and how this threat is perceived by the Obama administration on the one hand and by Israel on other hand. The artificial fallout that followed the invitation to Netanyahu by a Republican- dominated Congress resulted from the way that the White House reacted to the invitation and the intended speech. President Obama wants to leave a legacy of having accomplished something positive and lasting during his tenure in office. He is pushing to make a deal with Iran and has ignored every red line that was set by the U.S. and then violated by Iran. He did not want Netanyahu to make a speech that would undermine the present negotiations with Iran, which are close to being finalized. His out-and-out opposition to Netanyahu’s invitation and speech was not fitting for the leader of the free world and insulting to America’s best friend and strongest ally in the Middle East.
The invitation to Netanyahu and his acceptance of it had its supporters and opponents. It was challenged from a multitude of perspectives and defended from other perspectives. Many accused him of using this speech for political gain, but ignored the fact that he was risking his political future by what might result from his speech. He was accused of destroying the good relationship that Israel has with the United States. Yet, it is that very relationship which allowed him the opportunity to try to warn Israel’s best friend about a potential disaster that could be avoided. The U.S. prides itself on its First Amendment freedoms, which include the right to express oneself, even if others disagree with it. This freedom was put to the test in the case of Netanyahu’s being invited to speak to the joint session of Congress.
In a certain sense, Netanyahu felt compelled to accept the invitation, which was known to the White House, but which chose not to respond until after the invitation was accepted. The Prime Minister was not out to convince Congressmen and Senators. They are already behind Israel. The speech was intended to inform and affect the American public, who needed to be apprised of the existential threat to Israel that is posed by a nuclear Iran. I know God’s promises to Israel, to keep her and protect her and to insure her existence, as long as the stars remain in the sky. I fully believe them and have referred to passages of Scripture in this regard many times. Yet, viewed from a non-Biblical perspective, a non-Biblical person would understand that Iran’s repeated threats to annihilate Israel is not mere rhetoric, but an existential threat, one which could easily play out in a short period of time, if Iran were allowed to become nuclear.
The Prime Minister was well received by the members of Congress. They applauded him often and gave him standing ovations and, at a certain point, it seemed that they were doing more standing than sitting. And his reception was well-deserved. Netanyahu’s speech was a masterpiece in many ways. He began by trying to “put out the fires” that flared up over his being invited to address the Congress. He extolled the contributions of the Obama administration towards Israel and reversed Mark Antony’s famous statement, by saying, in essence, that he had come to praise Caesar, not to bury him.
Contrary to the rumours that were flying around in the Obama administration, Netanyahu did not reveal classified information, but used his own understanding of information that was already revealed. He even indicated that the information that he was sharing about the negotiations was nothing special and could all be “Googled”. Yet, comments from the State Department used derogatory terms, one of which was that if Netanyahu revealed “confidential information”, it would be a “betrayal” of trust. Honestly, is there anything about the potential content of an agreement with Iran that should remain “confidential”? Doesn’t the public, the American public and the rest of the world, have a right to know what is being put on the table for discussion and agreement?
The Prime Minister noted the comparison between Haman’s attempt to eliminate the Jewish people in the time of Queen Esther and Iran’s present regime, that seeks to eliminate the Jewish state. The first did not succeed and the second will not happen. I will not dwell on his mistakenly referring to Haman as a Persian (he was an Agagite) or on his comment that Israel can defend herself. I still cringe when our leaders leave the Keeper of Israel out of the picture.
He then moved on to point out a reality – the proposed deal with Iran is a bad deal, certainly from Israel’s point of view. But, it was important to mention that it would also be a bad deal for the U.S. and for the rest of the world. If Netanyahu had indicated that the failure to cut a deal with Iran would most likely result in war, such an outcome would not be very palatable to the American public, which is tired of being embroiled in fighting in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and certainly would not want to send additional troops to the hotbed of the Middle East. They would probably be willing to go along with the idea of accepting a bad deal instead of no deal. But, the Prime Minister gave them another option, a positive one, pointing out that the alternative to a bad deal is not necessarily war, but a better deal.
This better deal has various aspects to it: Iran needs to stop its aggression against its neighbors in the M.E. It needs to stop supporting terrorism around the world and it needs to stop threatening to annihilate Israel as a state. None of these issues were being dealt with by the P5+1 representatives in their negotiations with Iran. He encouraged his listeners not to be intimidated by Iran’s threat to walk away from the negotiating table. He said to call its bluff. It will later come back and talk again. Iran needs the deal more than the U.S.
He noted that with the changes taking place in the Middle East, there was a vacuum that was being created and that ISIS is stepping in to fill that vacuum. He again stated that to defeat ISIS and let Iran have nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. He referred to both ISIS and Iran as competing for the crown of ruling over militant Islam, both seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate, first in the Middle East and then over the rest of the world. He showed how while the U.S. and Iran were talking with each other, Iran was killing Americans in different countries, including its Marines, who fight for the U.S. “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”. To drive the point home, he added: “So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy … is your enemy.” Everyone listening to the speech needed to understand that Iran does not behave as a “normal” country and, therefore, the normal rules of negotiation should not apply to it until it does act like a normal country and shows that it is serious about becoming part of the community of nations, rather than being their leader. That is the reality in the Middle East. Israel recognizes it and our neighbors understand it as well. The “West”, on the other hand, does not. So, the approach of the “West” is in line with their misunderstanding of the mentality of this region and, particularly, of the regional goals of Iran to establish its hegemony.
These differences in understanding result in fundamental differences in approach about how to negotiate with Iran and what goals should be achieved. The way the present deal is structured, not a single nuclear facility in Iran would be demolished.  Moreover, Iran plays “hide and cheat” with international nuclear inspectors. If it has nothing to hide, then it should be totally transparent regarding its nuclear facilities, which it is not. Still, America wants to prevent Iran from having a bomb, by getting Iran to promise that it won’t become nuclear for a season. Israel wants to prevent Iran from having the capability to produce a nuclear bomb. This is an essential difference of perspective.
Some will undoubtedly say that Netanyahu’s acceptance of the invitation and his addressing the joint session of Congress damaged the relations between the U.S. and Israel. Certainly, those who are challenging him in the upcoming elections this month are making that claim. There are others who will surely say that his speech was hard towards the Obama administration, presenting it as naive. Well, if the shoe fits….!
Will the speech change the way negotiations with Iran are conducted? Will any of the Democratic Senators change his/her opinion regarding how to deal with Iran? Time will tell. But, time is the one thing that is not on our side.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Surviving the collapse of the coalition government – TWTW … ending 6 December, 2014

Shalom all,
Where should we begin with the events of the past few weeks? Maybe with the murders of the people who were intentionally run over by “Palestinian” terrorists. Maybe it should be with the murders of those who were stabbed to death by other “Palestinian” terrorists. Maybe we should start with the murders of those who were killed while praying in a synagogue in Jerusalem and of the Israeli Druze police officer who was shot and killed while protecting the Jewish worshippers. Maybe we should start with the very vocal attempts by “Palestinian” politicians and clerics alike to incite their people to rise up and kill Israelis. Maybe we should focus on the “monkey see – monkey do” behavior of European countries, who want to join the bandwagon to proclaim, officially or unofficially, that they recognize the existence of “Palestine” as a state. Maybe we should start with the question “What lies ahead for the State of Israel now that the Knesset is set to vote for the final vote to dissolve that is scheduled for the beginning of this coming week”? 
Surviving the collapse of the coalition government
All of the above are stories that have occupied the media here for the past couple-three weeks. But, what is uppermost on the discussions of the politicos and would-be politicos this week is the real possibility that the motion to dissolve the present Knesset – which passed its preliminary and first readings this past Wednesday – will, in fact, pass its second and then third readings at the beginning of this coming week. But, politics being what politics are, no one can say that this will definitely happen. A political rabbit could still be pulled out of the hat at the last minute, if contacts with the ultra-Orthodox parties progress to the point that they could join the still existing, coalition government and prevent another general election only two years after the last election took place.
The “name him (or her) and blame him (or her)” game has once again reared its disgusting, political head. The left blames the right and the right blames the left for the failure of the present coalition. The target of the left is, and has always been, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its goal is, and has always been, his removal as Prime Minister. 
Being let go from the coalition they are trying to stop; Israel Hayom-3 December, 2014

It started earlier this week, when Netanyahu fired Yair Lapid (head of the Yesh Atid [There is a future] party and the now former Treasury Minister) and Tzippi Livni (head of the Tnuah [Movement] party and the now former Minister of Justice), stating, in part, as follows: “In recent weeks, ministers Lapid and Livni attacked harshly the government I head … I will no longer tolerate an opposition within the government. I will not tolerate ministers who, from within the government, attack government policies and the person who leads the government.” Following the elections at the beginning of 2013, Netanyahu said that the then coalition was broad and “one of the best and most stable” in Israel’s history. But, because his cabinet was “adversarial”, it was unworkable from the outset. 

As expected, there were harsh words coming from the persons and camps of those who were fired and rebuttals from the Likud party and Netanyahu. No beneficial purpose would be served by repeating the accusations of any of the parties involved, so I won’t refer to them here. Feelings were hurt, egos were wounded and pride was brought low. Yet, before the ink was dried on the preliminary motion to dissolve the present Knesset, plans were already being made for the campaign for the next elections.
The center-left and left parties will undoubtedly make every effort to join forces against the Likud and Netanyahu, as well as Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu, both rightist parties. Indeed, Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On is urging every party leader not to join a Netanyahu-led government and to unite against him under the message “Anyone except Netanyahu”. Both the political right and the political left are upset with Netanyahu for different reasons. More on this in future posts. As of now, Lapid has already stated that he is “competing to be the prime minister .. [and that] Yesh Atid will win these [upcoming] elections”.  He certainly has his work cut out for him, as preliminary polls indicate that both Lapid and Livni would lose Knesset seats in favor of the Likud, if the election were to be held today, with Lapid losing almost half of the present seats. So he has a long way to go to realize his goal of being the political head of Israel. But, joining the boasting is Labor Party leader, Isaac Herzog, who has also declared that he would be the next prime minister. There will be more additions to the “I will be Israel’s next prime minister” competition, before the race narrows down to 2 or 3 front runners. 
In the meantime, if the Knesset does dissolve, as it is expected to do, all pending legislation will come to a halt and will have to be reintroduced after the new Knesset is sworn in. Of course, at that time, many of the Knesset Members will have changed, with some faces going out and others coming in.
On March 16, 2013, this blog posted the following statement: “P.M. Netanyahu demonstrated his ability to retain control of the cabinet, despite tremendous pressures from the emerging parties of Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) and Habayit Hayehudi (Naftali Bennett). But, the makeup of the coalition is a recipe for disaster. The combination of those two parties (whose leadership worked hand-in-hand through almost the entire period of coalition negotiations), coupled with Hatnuah (Tzippi Livni), is enough to stymie any decision that Netanyahu may choose to make. He may have control of the cabinet, but he clearly does not have voting control of the coalition members. It is a disaster waiting to happen and it will be a miracle if the coalition survives for Netanyahu’s entire term, even for half a term.” Here we are, less than halfway into the present four-year term, and the present Knesset is about to become part of the history books.
The Members of Knesset are supposed to act for the benefit of the State of Israel and the people of Israel. They have allowed personal peeves to get in the way of taking care of the affairs of the nation. The coalition was formed with different personalities having different perspectives. Nevertheless, they agreed to become members of a coalition headed up by Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party. All knew that they needed to compromise somewhat for the sake of the general good. And so, while the politicos play they games for position, power and prestige, the people are left with a government that will not be able to make needed decisions regarding economy, health, construction and housing and defense, as well as just to name a few, for the next 3 months until elections and then, perhaps, another month and a half to form another coalition government. The nation continues to be divided. Does it really matter who points an accusing finger at whom? Unless there is a real change in perspectives, the next government will continue to suffer from the same problems of governance as the present government that is about to become part of history. “Our leaders remain blinded by their own ambitions. There are threats from within and threats from without. Political positions change along with the way that the wind is blowing. There is only One authority for what should take place in Israel, but He is being ignored. He is the Lord God of all creation, the Holy One of Israel, Who does not change. He has chosen Israel and kept her and promises blessing for her and through her. Yet, the type of ruler whom the Lord seeks for Israel is “a man after His own heart” (1 Sam 13:14; 16:7). None of the present  “players” seems to fit the bill and we are left to reap the consequences of the games played by power-hungry politicians, who sacrifice the good of the people for the sake of their own ambitions
Joining the bandwagon of “Palestinian” recognition
Earlier this week, the French National Assembly, the lower-parliamentary house of the country, passed a non-binding vote in favor of recognizing a “Palestinian” state. In doing so, it joined Britain, Spain and Ireland in approving non-binding motion favoring recognition. On October 30th, Sweden became the first Western European country to actually recognize “Palestinian” statehood. 
Recognition of “Palestine” is becoming a growing trend, much like the countries which are trying to pressure Israel to giving up historic territory. Israel is becoming more and more isolated in the international community and many target Netanyahu and his policies as the basis for their opposition towards Israel. But, even if the focus wouldn’t be Netanyahu, it would be someone else for some other reason. Western countries want to help “Westernize” the Middle East, but are willing to sacrifice the only existing democracy in the Middle East in the process. There is a intentional blindness that grows out of ancient anti-Semitism that pervades the thinking and politicizing of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The argument is simple, yet flawed: If Israel allows the establishment of a “Palestinian” state, the primary problem of the Middle East would disappear. However, it fails to take into account the growing movement among Islamists to subject the entire world to Islam and to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate. None of the terrorist organizations has subscribed to the scenario that they will given up their religious struggle if the state of “Palestine” is established. The reason is that most of them really couldn’t care less. They have their own agenda and the establishment of a “Palestinian” state will only help in one small measure, namely their push to remove the Jewish people from this tiny stretch of desert sand, which is considered to be “holy unto Islam”.
Reason to despair? Only if we lose hope.
A review of the headlines and stories that occupy the focus of the main stream media are enough to cause many to feel frustration and despair. Those are natural responses, given the dire circumstances existing in the Middle East and the world itself. But, we need to recognize that Israel is in the center of God’s plan for the world. Whatever happens here affects everyone else everywhere in the world, directly or indirectly. We need to consider the eternal words of encouragement, not allowing the affairs and concerns of this world to dampen our faith or extinguish our hope. 
It is often said that everything in and concerning Israel is difficult. But, like most things, the difficulty usually stems from how we relate to the situation and not necessarily from the situation itself. The one who doubts sees the obstacle, but the one who hopes sees the way to overcome it. Our hope and our faith are constantly being tested, as we face the challenges relating to our existence. 
During one of the most difficult times in the history of the people of Israel, the prophet Jeremiah sent a notice to the Jewish people who were in the diaspora and encouraged them, among other things, with these words: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope’.”  (Jer. 29:11). If we take these words to heart, we will never allow the difficulty of the situation to deter us from pressing on. The Psalmist gives us the same message, time and time again: “O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.” (Psalm 131:3) and “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.” (Psalm 146:5)
For a small country, Israel is facing lots of problems. Security issues loom large, as Iran continues to press on toward its goal of becoming nuclear. The “Palestinians” are gaining friends internationally, while Israel is becoming more and more ostracized. Our economy could use major revitalization, as the Shekel is losing value against other currencies. We are surrounded by hostile forces, who want to destroy us as a nation, so that the name of Israel would be no more. Our political establishment could use a major overhaul, not just in structure, but in thinking. Our concerns are for our children and grandchildren, whose futures we cannot guarantee. If all we do is look at the world and lament over our situation, we will despair, and our attitude of despair will inevitably be passed on to the generations who follow us. 
Our values and attitudes should be in keeping with our beliefs. If we truly believe that God has chosen Israel for His eternal honor and glory (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), if we believe that He has chosen Israel to be a blessing for the world, then our hope should rest in Him, that He will accomplish His purposes, irrespective of how the situation may look from a worldly point of view. Even Jeremiah, who suffered so much during his ministry of half a century, said “‘The LORD is my portion’, says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him’.” (Lamentations 3:24) If our hope is truly in the Lord God of Israel, Whose Word is true and Whose promises do not fail, then we ought to show it, speak of it and proclaim it. “Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; the LORD of hosts is His name: ‘If this fixed order departs from before Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever .’ Thus says the LORD, ‘If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:35-37) Let the world do what it will, Israel will remain, will be blessed and God will use her as a blessing for the world. His faithfulness to His promise should give us hope for the future. And that hope does not disappoint. There is a Blessed Hope and we would do well to look forward to His appearing.
And THAT was The Week That Was.
Have a great week. Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


The Third Intifada – Is it here or not? – TWTW … 11 November, 2014

Why the silence?
Some have asked why I haven’t written for a while. The reason is that I had a long-standing bout with a lingering, hacking and wheezing cough that made life very uncomfortable. It effectively prevented me from working, carrying on a normal conversation, sitting, sleeping and other normal activities, including sitting and writing. While the situation is better, the coughing is not yet completely gone. I would truly appreciate your prayers for full healing and restoration. Thanks.
The Third Intifada – Is it here or not?
Anyone who is trying to keep abreast of events happening in and around Israel is, or at least should be, keenly aware of the constantly increasing violence that has characterized Jerusalem in recent weeks, and is now spreading to other parts of the country, both north and south. There are those who contend that this is simply a pro-“Palestinian” uprising that will fade with proper action, while others assert that the third “intifada” has already begun.
Realistically, the media here is constantly talking about the “wave of violence” that is affecting our society. Rock throwing incidents by so-called “Palestinians” against police and security forces has become the almost daily norm. Attention has been directed to the fact that most of the stone throwers, even though “masked”, are easily understood to be teens and youths. Every effort is made not to fire on the demonstrators and rock throwers, primarily to prevent the “Palestinian” Authority and Hamas trying to take advantage of the situation and gain media coverage in their favor, as they did during the summer’s Gaza War. Sometimes though, the circumstances justify firing upon those who threaten the lives of our forces or civilian population. The attackers were pursued and most were killed by our forces, but not before some Israelis lost their lives or were seriously, or critically, wounded.
For those who are receiving only a portion of the news, which is usually biased against Israel, the reality is that “teen intifada”, “auto intifada”, “stabbing intifada”, “rioting intifada” and everything else that is related to “intifada” is definitely upon us. There have also been a number of incidents, which appear to be increasing, where “Palestinians” drive their cars into light-rail stations, bus stops and “trampiadot” (specific places where people try to hitch hike), in an effort to run over soldiers and pedestrians and to kill and maim as many as possible. In some of the light-rail areas of Jerusalem, where a few such incidents have already occurred, concrete barriers have been installed, to prevent vehicles from getting into the area where the passengers are waiting. Fatal knifing incidents are on the rise and the attackers go after soldiers and civilians alike. Some have even thrown pipe bombs at security forces near the town of Zichron Ya’akov (north of Netanya and south of Haifa) and police are also investing reports that a gasoline bomb was hurled over the fence of a religious school in Haifa. 
In addition, there have been demonstrations against Israel from “Palestinians” and certain Israeli Arabs, which disrupt traffic and end up having to be dispersed by the police and other security forces. Often, such demonstrations are called by those who live outside the areas of the demonstrations, who incite others to join them in their verbal and violent protests. Arab Members of Knesset are among those who try to incite the crowds and who tend to be extremely vocal, spewing forth a tirade of misinformation and lies, knowing full well that they have immunity from prosecution because of their status in the government. Those who incite the crowds are joined by leftist MKs and mainstream media in blaming Israel for every evil that exists in the Arab-Israeli conflict. These, in turn, are joined by politicians from “the West”, both European and American, in calling for a speedy return to negotiations between Israel and the “Palestinians” in order to implement the “two-state solution”. Such is the situation with the new foreign policy chief of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, who called for the establishment of a “Palestinian” state, commenting, in part: “It is not only the people of Gaza that can’t afford having a fourth war all the world cannot afford this”. What is missing from her statement is Israel and what was mysteriously added, by implication, was that the world was involved in the first three wars. I guess I missed that part. Whatever one may choose to call it, the situation needs to be handled quickly, effectively and with wisdom. Like a bad disease, it needs to be dealt with before its spreads and infects the entire body.

Jewish-Arab coexistence about to explode.
Israel Hayom – 9 November, 2014
There may be a change in leadership in different places, but until there is a change in thinking, efforts will continue to be made to put pressure on Israel to give up, give away and eventually go away. These folks have their heads in lala-land and their political perspectives in never-never-land. They fail to understand the most fundamental of facts: the “Palestinians” are not intested in negotiation with Israel, but in the elimination of Israel. They are not interested in a “two-state for two-peoples solution”, but in a “one-state-for-the-‘Palestinians’-only-solution”. They don’t want co-existence with Israel, but no existence for Israel. The vehemently anti-Israel, Arab Members of Knesset condemn Israel at every opportunity and bite the hand that feeds them. They get paid well, are given vehicles at government expense, have their travel paid for and have immunity from prosecution. The head of the “Palestinian” Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, loses no opportunity to incite the Arab throngs, pushing his agenda to remove Israel from all of the territory that we captured in 1967 and encouraging the rioters and stone-throwers to defend the Temple Mount, when it is not under attack. Abbas is joined by the Imams in the mosques, who stir up their congregants to pursue a “holy war” to defeat Israel, as they contend that Hamas has done in the recent Gaza War, and urge them to fight to protect the al-Aqsa mosque, which doesn’t need protection. It would not be surprising if Hamas would seek to take advantage of, and identify with, the “wave of violence” and launch sympathetic attacks upon Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, points north and south, as well as locales in Judea and Samaria. 
Responding to the recent spate of demonstrations that followed the police shooting of a man who made attempts to stab police through the window of their police car, as well as to the voices of the demonstrators urging the establishment of a “Palestinian” state, P.M. Netanyahu invited them to move there, stating: “To all those who are shouting against Israel and demonstrating against it – you are welcome to move to the “Palestinian” Authority or to Gaza, Israel won’t stand in the way…But, whoever stays here must know – we will stand in the way of terrorists and attackers. I have given instructions to use all of the means at our disposal, including passing new laws, including destroying terrorists’ homes, and other measures.” If he would only put action to his words.
Ayatollah Khamenei calls for the destruction of Israel.
If our home-grown events are not enough, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “tweeted” his nine-point plan for Israel’s destruction this past Saturday night and called for the arming of the “Palestinians” in Judea and Samaria (referred to as “the West Bank”), saying, among other things: “Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region.” The U.S. State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said that the United States “strongly condemned” the Ayatollah’s statements, adding: “The remarks are offensive and reprehensible and the entire international community should condemn such rhetoric. This rhetoric is, unfortunately, not new, but it’s not conducive to regional security either.” How many of us have heard the “entire international community”, or even a significant part of that “community”, condemn the Iranian leader’s remarks? The European Union had an excellent opportunity to respond to his statements, as did the totally useless United Nations. But, it seems that as long as a potential threat is against Israel, and not by it, the nations would prefer to keep silent. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that Khamenei’s call for Israel’s destruction was “unacceptable and shocking”But, apparently, not so “unacceptable and shocking” as to dissuade the U.S. from continuing its negotiations with Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. What really is “shocking” is that the U.S. considered the Ayatollah’s remarks as “shocking”. Where has it been for the last dozen years of so? The question that naturally follows is: What does a nation do when it views something emanating from another nation as “unacceptable”? Apparently, the answer is: Just create the impression of concern, make the statement and get on with business as usual.
“Disgraceful, unacceptable and damaging”
Those words were stated by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who attempted to distance himself and President Barack Obama from the comments attributed to an anonymous US official, who called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chickenshit”. These words appeared in an October 28th article in The Atlantic,. The writer pointed out that the level of U.S.-Israel relations is at an all-time low and are moving “toward a full-blown crisis”, adding that “Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to [the writer] as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery’.” The last term describes a form of autism disorder. 
When I was a child, I behaved like a child, thought like a child, spoke like a child. But, when I grew up, I put away childish things (well, at least for the most part). One childish trait was to try to insult others by calling them names. In that regard, we used to respond by saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.” Well, some continue to play childish games and are still involved in name-calling. This latest string of insulting epithets about Netanyahu is reflective of a greater problem – politics – which I cannot stand, whether it is governmental. organisational or private. When it seems that an impasse is reached in relationships, politicians, along with many others, revert to name calling. I’m surprised that they don’t stick their tongues out and say “nanananana”. For his part, Netanyahu did not get into the game, but affirmed that he would not be swayed from doing what he needs to do to protect the population of Israel.
The recent mid-term elections in the U.S. removed the President Obama’s congressional backing and transferred decision-making control of the legislative branch of the government to the Republicans. Although his presidency has now entered its “lame-duck” phase, Obama is, nevertheless, determined to have some kind of positive lasting legacy and will do everything in his power to exert his considerable presidential authority to accomplish his goal. How this will impact Israel, only time will tell and we’ll know soon enough.
With the failure of Obama’s domestic policies, it is natural and anticipated that he will turn his attention more to foreign policy and will try to avoid congressional approval wherever possible. The most obvious example of this is the upcoming deadline in the talks with Iran, which are present scheduled to conclude by November 24th. As noted by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes at the end of October, “Bottom line, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically, certainly since President Obama came to office and probably since the beginning of the Iraq war…So no small opportunity. It’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.” Given the widespread dissatisfaction with “Obamacare”, such a comparison, as it relates to a “deal” with Iran, is frightening. Unlike Israel, who wisely concluded that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, it would appear that Obama’s perspective is that “even a bad deal is better than no deal”. And, the more Obama’s domestic actions and policies deteriorate, the more we can expect that his foreign policy efforts and compromises towards Iran will result in abandoning the fate of the Middle East to Iran. It would seem that this is the eventual goal, which is not necessarily in the best interests of the United States and is definitely not in the best interests of Israel. But, the reasonable understanding of Obama’s foreign policy over the last few years, and the willingness to forego making demands that Iran cannot accept, has been to get himself into the pages of history as the president who succeeded in restoring relations between the two countries. If he is unable to get Iran to see things from the point of view of the U.S., he will try to make the U.S. see things from the point of view of Iran. We’ll know by November 24th, which is the present deadline to reach an agreement with Iran. A “lame duck” who is powerful can be a very dangerous quack that could lead his country into turning its back on Israel. That is the wrong path to follow. U.S. Presidents will come and go. They may change their policies and could leave a positive or a negative legacy for the nation. But, God never changes. The gifts that He bestows and His calling of Israel remain the same, as does His statement: “I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you [literally: esteems you lightly or treats you as insignificant”] I will curse” (Genesis 12:3) The U.S. and most of the rest of the world is ignoring God’s Word and His dealings with the nations throughout history. If they continue to condemn Israel and act wrongfully towards her, they do so to their own peril. “Woe to them! For they [are going] the way of Cain, and for [personal gain] they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam and [will perish] in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 11).
Somewhere along the line, the Obama administration managed to deceive P.M. Netanyahu into holding off on the military option against Iran. Now, some believe that Israel lost its opportunity to take decisive military action to stop Iran from going nuclear. The Ayatollah and his minions fooled Obama and Obama and his minions fooled Netanyahu. Delaying an attack upon Iran’s nuclear facilities was not and is not in Israel’s best interest, but it could well be in the expected interest of the U.S., who would want to capitalise on Iranian oil and opportunities for investment in a “new Iran”. Is it too late for Israel to do anything except complain? Not really. It only requires clarity of thought, discernment and understanding of the times and a determination to protect Israel, even at great cost. The world won’t endear itself to us if we refrain from acting and it will condemn us if we do. So, if nothing will change, why should we act to endear ourselves to the nations at the expense and risk to our own population? 
Red Village – the largest, all-Jewish community outside of Israel 
We should not dismay. Once in a while, there are some articles that restore a touch of hope in a fallen world. Believe it or not, the largest, all-Jewish community outside of Israel, a community that comprises some 4,000 people, is in Red Village, which is located in … Azerbaijan. Where in the world is Azerbaijan? It was part of the former Soviet Union and is a Shiite nation that embraces its Jews. The Azeri society is multinational and anti-Semitism is not found there, at least not openly. The attitude of the country is expressed by the statement: “Why fight when you can trade?” The country itself has some 9 million people, of which about 15,000 are Jewish, and of those, about 10,000 of them live in the capital city, Baku. Jewish business thrives in Azerbaijan, which also has a Jewish parliamentarian. The country has strategic defense partnerships with Israel and is Israel’s largest supplier of oil. Just across the southern border of Azerbaijan is Iran. As Israel helps Azerbijian, so Azerbijian helps Israel, which has drones and could, possibly, launch operations just across the border from Iran. Now, there’s a thought.
And THAT is the way it was and the way it is, but not the way that it should be.
“The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)
With all that is facing Israel these days, let us pray “that the LORD [our] God may tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do”. (Jeremiah 42.3)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Share the truth, even if no one listens. – TWTW … 16 October, 2014

Shalom all,

Share the truth, even if no one listens.
During the last 3 weeks, three important prophetic, Biblical holidays have taken place, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. The first two began as solemn events and culminated in the last holiday, which is a truly joyful celebration that lasts for eight days! All government offices and governmental organisations were closed, as were some big businesses. During this time, however, it became more and more obvious that world leaders and governments are losing their moral compass and are drifting far from reason and from principles underlying their own existence.

On 29 September, 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the U.N. General Assembly. He addressed representatives of a world that seems to have lost its bearings, its perspectives and its understanding of what is right and wrong, or real and imagined, as well as who is a friend and a foe. The speech contained a number of truths, which capsulised major issues confronting Israel and our neighborhood, problems that are touching and affecting a multitude of nations around the globe. The beginning of his speech related to what he (and most of the world) referred to as “militant Islam” and “militant Islamists”, as well as to ISIS and Hamas as both being “branches of the same poisonous tree”. He shifted from ISIS to Iran, stating: “Make no mistake – ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war”, adding: “The fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it’s set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight. It’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.” 

Netanyahu moved on to deal with the Gaza war this past summer, referring to the thousand of rockets fired by Hamas at Israeli cities, the terror tunnels and the propaganda war that was being fought the same time, the use of civilian shields by Hamas, the execution of Gazan civilians who protested or voiced disagreement of Hamas, the placing of rockets in the midst of Gaza neighborhoods, where children live and play. He capsulized Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties: “Israel was doing everything to minimize ‘Palestinian’ civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and ‘Palestinian’ civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on ‘Palestinian’ television, always to enable ‘Palestinian’ civilians to evacuate targeted areas.” He contrasted the difference between Israel and Hamas during the war in these simple terms: “As Israeli children huddled in bomb shelters and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system knocked Hamas rockets out of the sky, the profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer: ‘Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles’.” 

He touched briefly on the decision of the U.N. to investigate Israel, rather than Hamas, for war crimes, courageously stating yet another, blatant truth: 

“[The] UN Human Rights Council has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. In fact, what it’s doing is to turn the laws of war upside-down. Israel, which took unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties, Israel is condemned. Hamas, which both targeted and hid behind civilians – that a double war crime – Hamas is given a pass. The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as human shields. Use them again and again and again. You know why? Because sadly, it works. By granting international legitimacy to the use of human shields, the UN’s Human Rights Council has thus become a Terrorist Rights Council, and it will have repercussions….The Human Rights … (that’s an oxymoron, the UN Human Rights Council, but I’ll use it just the same), the Council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of the world’s oldest prejudices” – anti-Semitism.

Netanyahu then addressed an accusation made only a few days earlier by Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the “Palestinian” Authority, who stood at the same U.N. podium and condemned Israel with his opening lie – that “in this year, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Solidarity with the ‘Palestinian’ People, Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the ‘Palestinian’ people.” Responding to this accusation, Netanyahu stated, in part: “For centuries the Jewish people have been demonized with blood libels and charges of deicide. Today, the Jewish state is demonized with the apartheid libel and charges of genocide. Genocide? In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy’s civilian population to get out of harm’s way? Or ensuring that they receive tons, tons of humanitarian aid each day, even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us? Or setting up a field hospital to aid for their wounded? Well, I suppose it’s the same moral universe where a man [referring to Abbas, but without naming him] who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust, and who insists on a ‘Palestine’ free of Jews, Judenrein, can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

Just before concluding his speech, Netanyahu related to the overall Arab-Israeli conflict and to the situation in the Middle East, adding: “I’m ready to make [an] historic compromise, not because Israel is occupying a foreign land. The people of Israel are not occupiers in the Land of Israel. History, archeology and common sense all make clear that we have had a singular attachment to this land for over 3,000 years. I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people. But it must be a genuine peace, one that is anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements, rock solid security arrangements on the ground. Because you see, Israel’s withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza created two militant Islamic enclaves on our borders from which tens of thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel…Israel cannot have territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again, as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. That would place the likes of ISIS within mortar range – a few miles – of 80% of our population. Think about that. The distance between the 1967 lines and the suburbs of Tel Aviv is like the distance between the UN building here and Times Square. Israel’s a tiny country. That’s why in any peace agreement, which will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise, I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself against any threat.”

He concluded his speech, pointing out that a new reality is necessary in the Middle East in order to resolve the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict, one which would be beneficial to all parties in the region. This new reality involves working with new partners from among the Arab nations, implying that working with the “Palestinian” Authority is not envisioned, inasmuch as it is made up of a partnership between Fatah (led by Abbas) and Hamas (a terrorist organisation).

While this may have been one of the most important speeches presented this year at the U.N., apparently, much of the mainstream media failed to give it recognition, either relegating it to a column or in the inner pages of a newspaper, or by giving it short shrift by taking a sentence here or there from his speech, or by ignoring it altogether. Some international media, on the other hand, recognized the importance and seriousness of the speech and gave it prime-time coverage, broadcasting it in full. The responses to Netanyahu’s speech were expected and not surprising – Israeli right-wing and left-wing factions took their respective stands, the “Palestinians” condemned the speech, even the U.S. voiced a degree of disagreement with regard to Netanyahu’s equating of Hamas and ISIS. In the community of nations, the representatives of the world continued to go about their business, relating to Netanyahu’s comments as just one more speech amongst a host of speeches that were presented at the U.N., with no immediately discernible changes in attitude or policy towards Israel.

The speech was, on the whole, a good one. Did it contain truths about what is happening in and around this little stretch of desert sand? Definitely. Personally, I would have like for him to leave out statements like his preparedness to make “an historic compromise” and that “any peace agreement…will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise”. Such a statement begs the questions: “To whom would we compromise on territory”, “Which territory would be relinquished” and “What will Israel get in return?” It is clear that the “Palestinian” Authority has little, if any authority, in Gaza. Even in Judea and Samaria (the region of the so-called “West Bank”), his influence, to whatever extent it existed before the Gaza War, was diminished in favour of Hamas. Netanyahu has not yet declared Abbas to be a “non-partner”, but the tenor of Netanyahu’s comments made clear that Abbas is not the person whose words we can trust or with whom we would want to sit at any future negotiating table. The failure to refer to Abbas by name in Netanyahu’s speech did not detract from the clear reference to him and to Abbas’s earlier speech vilifying Israel, which revealed the true color and character of the man and the attitude of those whom he purportedly represents.

Did Netanyahu’s speech contain all of the truths that needed to be said? No. Although much more could have been said, he hit upon the burning issues facing Israel, the Middle East and the world. The following day, Netanyahu spoke to the Jewish Federations of North America in New York and held up a picture of an impending execution in Gaza by Hamas. He explained what was happening this way: “Every time I come to the UN I try to tell the truth as it is. But here’s a picture I didn’t show in the UN yesterday. This is an impending execution. But this isn’t ISIS, this is Hamas…During the recent fighting in Gaza, right around the time that ISIS was doing its grisly deeds, Hamas executed dozens of Palestinians, just to impose fear and to force the population of Gaza into submission. it’s true there are some differences between Hamas and ISIS – for example ISIS beheads people and Hamas puts a bullet in the back of their heads. But to the victims, and the victims’ families, the horror is the same.” Did people understand what he was saying? It would seem that the answer depends on whether or not they were listening and whether or not they are interested in knowing the truth. Regrettably, people love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil and so they substitute a lie for the truth. Continually turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to truth allows for evil to prosper. Never is this more evident than when confronted with the eternal Word of Truth and when relating to the Jewish people, individually or as a nation. Isaiah’s words ring loud and are as clear to us today as when he stated them some 2,700 years ago: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) 
Within days after Netanyahu finished his time in the U.S., where he not only spoke to the U.N. and to the Jewish Federation in New York, but met with President Barack Hussein Obama, the new Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, announced: “A two-state solution requires the mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognise the state of ‘Palestine’.” One would think that this statement would be preceded or followed by another one, where the leadership of the “Palestinians” – whoever that might be – expressed wholehearted recognition, or at the very least, a clear, unambiguous willingness to recognise Israel. That, however, was totally lacking. Giving Swedish politicians the benefit of the doubt, it would seem that they are unfamiliar with the oft-repeated “Three No’s” of the third paragraph of the Kartoum Resolution, namely: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” Or, maybe we should remind them that no “Palestinian” state presently exists that can be recognised. On the other hand, maybe we should send letters from people all around the world, who have understood the statements of “Palestinian” leaders, as well as those of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS, al-Qaeda and, of course, Iran, who have expressed exactly the opposite of what Sweden’s leadership apparently believes already exists.

Israel Hayom Newspaper – 7 October, 2014

There has been no change in the famous “three No’s”, which were repeated by Mahmoud Abbas during the fading stages of the 9-month negotiations. Adding insult to injury, Sweden’s acceptance of a non-existent “Palestinian” state ignores the type of state that it would be – an arab-apartheid state, devoid of any Israeli, as stated by none other than Abbas himself in July of last year, just as the negotiations were about to begin: “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands.” Much more could be said about a lack of historical understanding on the part of Swedish leaders and their willingness to ignore present political realities, and, particularly, the fact that it is the failure to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist that has caused and prolonged the conflict since 1947. But, the above should be more than enough to put the situation in perspective. Following Israel’s criticism of Löfven’s statement. the Swedish Ambassador to Israel issued a statement, explaining that there was a misunderstanding and that what was meant was that Swedish recognition would only come about after negotiations and not as a result of a unilateral declaration of statehood.

Two days after Netanyahu made his speech at the UN, British Home Secretary Theresa May said that if ISIS succeeds in becoming a terrorist state, it could acquire chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to attack England. She added that “History tells us that when our enemies say they want to attack us, they mean it.” Why is it that such a statement is valid for England, but not for Israel? Our enemies are dedicated to our destruction. They said it, they continue to repeat it and they definitely mean it. Such statements appear almost daily, not only in Israel and the surrounding countries, but in the “West”, as well.

Despite the reality of the situation facing Israel, the British House of Commons overwhelmingly supported a motion on Monday, 14 October, urging “the government [of Great Britain] to recognise the State of Palestine”. The motion that was actually voted upon declared “This House urges the government to recognise the State of Palestine alongside Israel, as part of negotiated 2 state solution.” The vote itself is non-binding on the government, but its significance looms large as it appears that the “Palestinian” narrative of “occupied territory” has been accepted by those who voted in favour of the motion. Prime Minister David Cameron abstained, along with other high-ranking government officials, and more than half of the members of the House of Commons did not participate in the vote. Nevertheless, there is concern that England’s preparedness to accept a “Palestinian” state will spark other countries to follow suit. Malcolm Rifkind, the Conservative Intelligence Committee chairman, who also served as the Conservative foreign secretary during the years 1995-1997, warned against approving the motion: “We are told that 135 members of the United Nations – many of which have relatively little connection with the Middle East, although some have a great connection – have recognised “Palestine” as a state…That has had no effect. It has received 24 hours of publicity but has had no marginal, massive or significant impact on the course of history. There is a great risk that today we will make ourselves feel important and that our own frustration will lead us to vote for a motion that will not have the desired effect and will perhaps make the problems that need to be addressed in reaching a two-state solution more difficult to deal with.” (my emphasis) He added a note of reality into the discussion, by arguing that the “Palestinians” lacked the essential infrastructures that are necessary for a state, which lack is due, in part, to the political divisions existing between Fatah (Abbas) and Hamas.

Another sobering truth was added by Labour-Cooperative Member of Parliament, Louise Ellman, who defended Israel against those who accused us of not being interested in peace. In her words: “It should be remembered that while peace negotiations were under way following the Oslo negotiations, in one month alone – March 2002 – 80 Israeli civilians were killed and 600 injured in targeted suicide bombings on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ashkelon, in a concerted attempt to undermine and destroy that peace process. No wonder there is concern among the people of Israel; they know that during those peace negotiations … terror groups sent by, among others, Yasser Arafat, were targeting, killing and maiming Israeli civilians. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza – a correct, unilateral withdrawal – was followed by rockets, the terror tunnels, and more and more death. (my emphasis)

As I read through the various speeches in support of the motion, what became increasingly clear was the verbal attacks and condemnations against Israel, most of which ignored history, as well as realities on the ground. All of the arguments against Israel that were made since the collapse of the failed negotiations, as well as during the Gaza War, were repeated. The myth of the “Palestinian” people is being believed by an increasing audience and is now clothed with the aura of reality. Those who should know the truth have opted for a lie and those who choose to ignore historical, well-documented facts, have knowingly or unwittingly agreed to deny them. I grieve for countries like England and Sweden and for those who may follow in the wake of the far-reaching puddles that they have created. There cannot be ambivalence over Israel and the Jewish people. Words and actions of individuals, as well as nations, will be judged and met by either blessing or cursing, whether stated politely and eloquently or crudely and with arrogance. Monday’s vote signalled another wrong turn for England and what remains of the British Empire, on which the sun has begun to set.

How should we respond to actions and statements like those of Sweden and England? We need to continue to speak the truth. Even if no one listens today, there may be one more that listens tomorrow and maybe one more after that, and so on. One man waged an ultimately successful, 26-year fight to abolish the slave trade in England and 20 years later, his efforts led to the abolition of slavery in most of the then British Empire. He succeeded by speaking truth. When truth is revealed, the lie tends to lose its force and validity, until it is seen and understood for what it is and is no longer accepted, but rejected. Light dissipates the darkness and can change not only attitudes, but lives, including lives of those who formerly sought to destroy Israel.

My son’s friend was attacked in Jerusalem.

A very close friend of my oldest son was attacked by a group of arabs while in his car in East Jerusalem. Attached is a link to the story, in English, but the translation could use some improvement. His friend’s name is Uriah (pronounced “Oori-yah”) Stavi (stav, in Hebrew, means fall/autumn). The English translation mentions “in the fall” or refers to his last name as “Autumn”, both of which are absolutely wrong for purposes of translation. They should mention him by his last name in Hebrew, Stavi. As you can see, he made it out (thank you, Lord, for this little miracle), but his car was severely damaged. That’s the reality of life here, particularly in neighbourhoods that are anti-Israel whose residents want anything but “mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence”. Maybe I could have the article translated into Swedish.

End of the holiday season … until Hanukkah
Today ends the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot). It is a special day, when those who are spiritually thirsty are given an opportunity to drink. A little faith will be much rewarded. It is, indeed, the “great day of the feast” (John 7:37-39).

“These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another” (Zechariah 8:16) 
“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25) 
“Do not let kindness and truth leave you” (Proverbs 3:3)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom,


It’s been three and a half months…

Shalom all,
We got ’em!
It’s been three and a half months since the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Jewish teens, who were returning home from their yeshiva studies. An extensive search was undertaken for their killers, which ended in their deaths following a fire fight with Israeli troops during the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning. When the bodies of the students were found at the beginning of July, P.M. Netanyahu said that their blood would be on the heads of whoever carried out the kidnapping and murder and that “we wouldn’t rest until we brought these killers to justice”. As mentioned, two days ago, this mission was completed and justice came to pass, with the killing of the two Hamas operatives responsible for committing those acts. Indeed, it is a just end to Operation “Brother’s Keeper”.
Among the many Members of Knesset who spoke about the elimination of the Hamas murderers was Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home party), who said: “The success of the security forces is the success of the entire nation in removing this curse for the [Jewish] new year [which began at sundown Wednesday night].”
Similarly, Danny Danon (Likud party) said “This is a clear message to all of our enemies that we will settle the score with any terrorist, no matter where they are hiding”. In offering his condolences to the bereaved families of the yeshiva students, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated: “There is no relief for the loss experienced by the [three] families during this difficult time, but I do hope that knowing that their sons’ killers have been punished and will not threaten the lives of other Israelis will offer them the slightest comfort.”
In a statement issued by the three families, they said, among other things: “The world now knows that Jewish blood is not worthless…An evil circle has been closed today and with the start of a new year…” One of the mothers, Rachelle Fraenkel, who was interviewed by a major news station here, added that the families were glad that the murderers were killed and not captured, so that they would “not have to see their laughing faces in court, or see their names in prisoner exchange negotiations”. This is a healthy perspective of how “the system” sometimes misses the point of its existence.
It will be recalled that following the abduction of the boys, a massive search was undertaken, which included a crackdown on the Hamas in the areas of Judea and Samaria. This, in turn, increased long-standing tensions and accelerated into the 50-day Gaza War this summer.
Lest we be misled into thinking that the two Hamas operatives acted alone, a total of eight operatives and accomplices were arrested, who were reported to be directly related to the kidnapping and murder.
Hussam Kawasme, the brother of one of the kidnappers, was arrested early in July for masterminding the operation, including its planning and the purchase of the plot of land where the three boys were buried. He admitted receiving money for the attack from senior members of Hamas’s military wing.
With the two Hamas murderers out of the way, that leaves only Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the 25,000 more Hamas operatives in the region of Hebron, about 9,000 of whom spent time in Israeli jails. Hamas confirmed that the two were killed with the following statement: “Two members of the Izz-A-Din al-Qasam brigades, Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, were killed after a journey of sacrifice and giving…This is the path of resistance and we walk it side by side.”
As long as the ideology exists of pursuing armed struggle to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate, ruled by Sharia law, there will be more attempts at kidnapping and murder. As long as terrorists are eulogized with words of praise and with a religious, belief system that glorifies death as a martyr, no country is immune from attack.
ISIS SHMYSIS – they’re helping us to wake up about terrorism and the goal of Islamists.
We’ve been fed a bunch of double-talk regarding the Islamic State, more commonly referred to as ISIS. We are being led to believe that it is an extreme, radical, irrational organization. In reality, however, they are not extremists, but are living out what they understand to be the mandates of “their book”, as envisioned by Mohammed. On the whole, the goal of practicing Islamists is to set up a worldwide caliphate governed by Sharia law, however that law may be interpreted to the extreme.
The actions of ISIS are intended to grab and maintain their hold on more and more territory. In order to accomplish this, they seek to weaken their opposition, by terrorizing the very people that it seeks to rule over. Their actions are anything but irrational. Violent and merciless, yes. Irrational, no. It includes both male and female brigades, even though the men use rape as a weapon to terrorize and terrify populations, who are predominantly Sunni moslems, like ISIS itself.
ISIS is smart and learns from the mistakes of its predecessors, such as al-Qaeda. It is also politically astute and has set up various social institutions (in Syria) that are intended to gradually lay a groundwork for the establishment of a future Islamic state. Politics and the desire for power go hand in hand. The political branch plans the approach, while the military branch seeks to forcefully implement the goal. It is the same as Hamas, which has both its political, as well as military, branches – each one pursuing the common goal of setting up an Islamic state.
Like any military organization, ISIS can be defeated on the ground. But, it would immediately be replaced by another terrorist entity, with the same ideology and the same goals. In order to defeat Islamic terrorism, we need to eliminate the ideology that spawned it. As stated recently by one writer: “We can kill every Islamic terrorist and almost immediately millions more will fill their places. There must come a time when innocent people around the world will cringe when anything Islamic is mentioned. The Islamic ideology must be considered no better than Hitler’s ideology.”
That may not be politically correct, but then, truth usually isn’t! 
It is primarily the “Western” mindset that is repulsed by Hitler’s ideology. The Middle-East mindset, which is the one that governs the thinking of our neighbors in the region, is different. What do the “Palestinians” think about the Holocaust? A few minutes of viewing will help to give an idea of the horrendous lack of historical knowledge, of the willingness to disbelieve documented facts and of the ideology that permeates this region. Regrettably, even the “Western” mindset is slowly being un-repulsed by Hitler’s ideology.
We are being systematically duped by the media, by politicians of all persuasions and in all levels, as well as by others, into believing that Islamist ideology advocates the pursuit of peace. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are over 160 passages in the Quran that advocate jihad, which include chopping off heads and fingers, as well as killing “infidels” wherever they may be found. Some of the clearer, representative examples can be seen from the following passages of the Quran (see translations taken from and
Quran (2:216) – “Warfare has been prescribed for you, though it is repulsive to you. Yet it may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you love something while it is bad for you, and Allah knows and you do not know.” (describes the “virtue” of fighting offensively)
Quran (4:74, 76) – “Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward…Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the Satan. Fight therefore against the friends of the Satan…” (Note: these are Muslims who die in battle, while seeking to kill and destroy in the cause of Allah – a theological basis for suicide bombers).
Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those of the faithful who sit back — excepting those who suffer from some disability — and those who wage jihād in the way of Allah with their possession and their persons. Allah has graced those who wage jihād with their possessions and their persons by a degree over those who sit back; yet to each Allah has promised the best reward, and Allah has graced those who wage jihād over those who sit back with a great reward.” (Note: those who do not join in the violence are criticized and are considered less worthy by Allah.)
Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned.”
Quran (8:12) – “…[Make] firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who do not believe in Allah…nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.”
Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush…”
Quran (9:111) – “Indeed Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs: they fight in the way of Allah, kill, and are killed…” (contains the definition of a true believer in Islam – fight, kill and are killed)
Quran (9:123) – “O you who have faith! Fight the faithless who are in your vicinity, and let them find severity in you, and know that Allah is with the Godwary.”
Quran (18:65-81) – These verses set forth a parable, which creates the basis for honor killings (murdering a member of the family who brings shame on the family in various ways, usually perceived immorality or religious apostasy).
Quran (33:60-61) – “If the hypocrites [i.e., Muslims who won’t “fight in the way of Allah”, see Quran 3:167, and thus are not behaving as true Muslims] do not relinquish and [also] those in whose hearts is a sickness [Jews and Christians, among others, see Quran 5:51-52], and the rumourmongers [those who speak out against Islam] in the city [do not give up], We will surely urge you [to take action] against them, then they will not be your neighbours in it except for a little [while]. Accursed, they will be seized wherever they are confronted and slain violently.”
Quran (47:4) – “So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.”
Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way.”
Quran (61:9-12) – “It is He who has sent His Apostle with the guidance and the religion of truth [i.e., Islam] that He may make it prevail over all religions though the polytheists should be averse…Have faith in Allah and His Apostle, and wage jihād in the way of Allah with your possessions and your persons. That is better for you, should you know. He shall forgive you your sins and admit you into gardens with streams running in them, and into good dwellings in the Gardens of Eden [i.e., Paradise]. That is the great success.”
Some of the practices of organisations like ISIS may differ from what “mainstream” Islamists want to believe to be proper. But, those who call themselves “moderate Moslems” are deemed to be hypocrites by those who openly practice what the Quran teaches. Jihad is a way of life and children are being trained for it by ISIS. We need to change our terminology and stop referring to those Islamists who live according to the instructions in their book as “extremists”. If we continue to do so and fail to change our perspective and realise that theirs is the normal and expected behaviour for practicing Islamists, we will end up ignoring the ideology that spawned groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, with the natural consequences that flow from it.
The Feast of Trumpets – a holy convocation.
Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year (in Hebrew: “Zicharon Truah”, Leviticus 23:23-25), just finished … and we are still here, oof!, but we’re looking forward to being lifted up (1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Cor. 15:52-58; see Isaiah 27:13).
May you all be blessed with a healthy, joy-filled and God-honoring year. May it be a year of peace and contentment, of accomplishment and satisfaction, of prosperity and enjoyment of the Lord God of Israel and of one another. 
“Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 12:10)

“Praise Him with the shofar…Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:3, 6)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.
Shabbat Shalom,

The fighting has stopped, but the war is not over.

Shalom all,
By now, everyone knows, or should know, that another cease-fire agreement has been reached. This time, however, it is intended to be long-term with the goal of ending the hostilities. This latest round of political maneuvering has generated a multitude of problems in Israel, not the least of which is the problem of credibility, but not the credibility of Hamas, because it has none.
Hamas executes “collaborators” with Israel
While some in the media continued to play up the difficulties that faced the residents of the Gaza Strip, others began to open their eyes to the true nature of Hamas and started to report the news as it is, without trying to put a “spin” on it that would end up with another accusation against Israel.
Hamas publicly executed around two dozen residents of Gaza, some of whom were women, who were accused by the terrorist organization of being “collaborators” with Israel and who supplied information that allowed Israel to eliminate three senior members of Hamas last week. Most of them were publicly shot to death in front of a police station in Gaza. Also, as hundreds of people were leaving the largest mosque in the city, six of them were grabbed by members of Hamas’s military wing and pushed to the ground. One of Hamas militants shouted out “This is the final moment of the Zionist enemy collaborators” and then the six were sprayed with bullets by the gunmen in front of the mosque.
The caption in the above photo reads (Hamas to ISIS):
“You’re barbaric! Be ashamed! You’re giving us a bad name!
Amnesty International spoke out against the actions of Hamas and condemned the summary execution of the alleged “collaborators”: “This flurry of executions by Hamas is made even more shocking by the fact that the victims were sentenced to death after trials which, if they happened at all, were summary and grossly unfair…Hamas must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty.” However, international “rights” organizations tend to fail to grasp the reality that these summary executions are intended to strike fear in the hearts of the people. By blaming residents of Gaza for Israel’s successes in the war, Hamas also sought to shift the focus of the people’s attention from the failures of the Hamas leadership during the past almost two months. The West continues in its failure to understand the mentality of Hamas and other terrorist groups, like ISIS, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, which allows them to continue their paths of terror, intimidation and murder. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Maybe because the threat is so far away. But, there is a growing reality that ISIS needs to be dealt with while on “foreign soil”, to prevent it and its influence from being felt “at home”. 
Demilitarization of the Gaza Strip? Not according to Hamas.
Hamas representative Mahmoud Al-Zahar said that his organization will not “agree to international resolutions that will only harm the weapons of the resistance and won’t assist in completely removing the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.” By “international resolutions”, Al-Zahar was referring to U.N. Security Council resolutions that might be approved, which would call for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
At the same time, “Palestinian” Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s exiled leader who was living it up in Doha, Qatar, throughout the course of the Gaza War, were urging the U.N. to prepare a “timetable” to end the claimed “Israeli occupation of ‘Palestinian’ territories.” At a meeting that took place in Doha between the two “Palestinian” leaders last week, they stressed that the unity government “represents all the ‘Palestinian’ people and looks after their interests.”
In an interview with Yahoo News this month in Doha, Mashaal stated, among other things, that Hamas was against the killing of any civilians – a blatant lie, while admitting that the organization has a “problem” directing its projectiles at military targets only. Then he added: “We do not have sophisticated weapons. We do not have the weapons available to our enemy … so aiming is difficult … We promise that if we get more precise weapons, we will only target military targets.” Are we supposed to be happy that Hamas is looking forward to being able to “upgrade” its terrorist capability to make its missiles more accurate? Mashaal’s statement makes it clear that as long as Hamas continues to exist, the missiles will continue to be launched from the Gaza Strip against targets in Israel, irrespective of how many cease-fire agreements are entered into. Until it gets more sophisticated weaponry, it will continue to target civilians, because that it its best method of operation. If civilians are targeted, Hamas knows that Israel will respond with force and Hamas can, once again, portray itself as victim, despite its being the aggressor.
Secret meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas?
In a speech last week, P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was pursuing a new diplomatic “horizon”, but he did not elaborate on this. Must speculation focused on the possibility of developing relationships with certain neighboring countries and strengthening ties with Egypt and Jordan, with whom Israel already has peace treaties.
Probably the last thing that would have entered the minds of the Middle-East pundits was that Netanyahu would meet secretly with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the “Palestinian” Authority. Yet, according to a report yesterday (Thursday) appearing in the Jordanian newspaper, Al-Ghad, the two men met secretly in Amman several days before the latest cease-fire agreement was reached bring an end to the 50-day Gaza War. No additional details were mentioned in the article and the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the report. Nevertheless, Israel’s Army Radio said that such a meeting did take place last Sunday, two days before Abbas announced the cease-fire on Tuesday evening.
Still another facet of the “cease-fire agreement” was revealed by Senior “Palestinian” official Nabil Shaath, who told the Ma’an news agency that Israel was pressured by the United States into agreeing to the truce, even though it was not made conditional on disarming Hamas. Shaath also stated that the agreed-upon cease-fire would result in the opening of Gaza border crossings, not only for humanitarian aid, but also for travel. The immediate affect of the removal of restrictions in the border crossings would be to effectively end the naval blockade of Gaza.
Hamas had originally declared that the ending of the naval blockade was its prime objective, although its spokesman declared towards the very end of the Gaza War that the goal was to liberate Jerusalem from Israel’s control. Notwithstanding the statements of Shaath and other “Palestinians”, Netanyahu remained firm in his position that Hamas did not gain anything from either this conflict or from the cease-fire agreement, adding that Hamas has been hit harder than at any time in its existence. Responding to critics from all corners of Israel, Netanyahu stated that the present cease-fire is “a major military achievement, as well as a major diplomatic achievement for the State of Israel. Hamas was hit hard and it did not receive even a single one of the conditions that it set for a cease-fire, not even one.” It should be pointed out that Hamas had a long list of demands, which included establishment of an international seaport and international airport; release of those terrorists who were freed as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, who were re-arrested by Israel during Operation “Brothers Keeper” during the search for the 3 Jewish students, who were murdered by Hamas; release of terrorists, who were supposed to be freed in the fourth stage of prisoner release that was part of the 9-month, “peace negotiations” that ended in failure in April; mediation of the conflict by Qatar and Turkey, both of whom are openly and fully supportive of Hamas, among other “demands”.
In early May, officials of the U.S. warned that “Palestinians” will get a state, even if Israel doesn’t like it. Abbas and the “Palestinian” Authority entered into agreements with different U.N. organizations to advance its pursuit for nation-state status. About 3 weeks after the negotiations collapsed between Israel and the “Palestinian” Authority, Israeli Minister of Justice and senior Israeli negotiator in those talks, Tzippi Livni, met with Abbas against the wishes of P.M. Netanyahu. According to media reports at the time, Netanyahu was furious with Livni and even considered firing her, but chose not to do so for fear that it would endanger his coalition. Now, the same accusation of a secret meeting with Abbas is being made about Netanyahu.
The failure of the Prime Minister’s Office to comment on the alleged, secret meeting is problematic. The simplest thing would have been for it to deny that such a meeting occurred. Not having done so creates the gnawing feeling that he did, in fact, meet secretly with Abbas only two days before the announcement of the cease-fire – and with that feeling, the open question of what this latest cease-fire will cost Israel.
Now, even though the fight against Hamas cannot be said to be over, another war is shaping up diplomatically, namely, the intention of the “Palestinian” Authority to force Israel, through the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly, to provide “a clear and defined timetable for withdrawing from the ‘Palestinian’ territories”. Did Netanyahu agree to the establishment of a “Palestinian” state according to 1967 guidelines? According to Abbas, the U.S. told him that the answer is “yes”. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu “never expressed to him [Abbas] a willingness to accept the 1967 borders.” 
So, who won the war? That is, if the war is over …
The answer, of course, depends on what considerations are of interest when asking the question. A number of observations come into play.
In this part of the world, the attitude is that if you don’t win, then you are considered to have lost. Although Israel eliminated some senior officials of Hamas, the leadership remained intact. True, some were in deep hiding in bunkers under a hospital and another one was living like royalty while staying out the war in Qatar. And the question remains whether Muhammad Deif, the military chief of Hamas, was eliminated a week and a half ago. In addition, for its belligerency against Israel, including the killing of three Jewish students in mid-June, the European Union is willing to provide Gaza with a sea port, as well as to pass a U.N. Security Council resolution that “directs” Israel and the “Palestinians” to resume the dead peace negotiations based on the pre-1967 Green Line, said to be guaranteed by President Obama, or worse, based on the 1949 Armistice lines. Add to this the willingness of Israel to negotiate with a known and declared terrorist organisation has opened the door for the U.S. and the E.U. to do the same. As a result, Hamas has claimed victory over Israel and has been given the incentive to fight to the last man against Israel and with the last drop of the blood of their children.                                                         
                                                  The surgery was successful, but the patient isn’t dead.
What is also clear is that military superiority does not necessarily determine the outcome. Israel’s capability far exceeded that of Hamas, but it was more cautious than Hamas in selecting its targets and in its surgical strikes, in an effort to minimise civilian casualties. And, when it was all over – if it can be said to be over (which is highly doubtful), Hamas still had the capability to fire rockets into populated areas in Israel. In addition, the goals of the parties were different. Israel was dragged into a war that it didn’t want. Its primary goal was to restore quiet to the residents in the south of Israel. It was also aware of the tunnels that Hamas had constructed and was in the process of coming up with a plan against such tunnels. But, the timetable was moved up when we discovered that Hamas was planning a major attack on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. And what was intended to be  an air and sea assault upon Hamas and its rocket-launching facilities expanded to a ground assault. Once we entered Gaza physically, there were political voices calling for seizing control of the Gaza Strip. The government resisted that call and withdrew our ground troops shortly thereafter. Time will be the judge of the many things that Israel could have, or should have, done in this latest war with Hamas. But, the major failing that came at the end of the military operation, that could have wide-range political consequences, is that Netanyahu did not allow the security cabinet to vote on the cease-fire proposal, a failure which opens the door to considerable criticism, even from within the ranks of the coalition.
On the other hand, Hamas never expected to win a military war against Israel. Such thoughts would be ludicrous. Its primary goal was to show that it could disrupt the daily life and routine of Israeli society, targeting residential communities as far north as Haifa. It demonstrated that no place that was reachable by its rockets was beyond its consideration for attack. But, despite its expressed goals of opening the border crossings and lifting the naval blockade, along with “liberating” Jerusalem, it fought a parallel war for media attention. And, in this regard, it succeeded. The media was tripping all over itself to show pictures of death and destruction, particularly deaths of children. The intention was to gain worldwide sympathy for the “Palestinian” cause and, to a large extent, it succeeded. Admittedly, its public relations surpassed that of Israel’s. Blood and guts won out over self-defense and what was right. Terrorism took a back seat to photographs of civilian casualties of the war. Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment poured out onto the streets of major cities of the Western world.
Although Israel says that Hamas did not succeed with any of its demands, and although Hamas was forced to agree to a cease-fire under conditions that it had refused to accept previously, still, the bottom line is that Gaza will not be demilitarized, at least not at this point. Border crossing will be eased and the area of fishing zones will be enlarged. AND, discussions will take place in another month about key issues of establishing a seaport and an airport, two things will will effectively convert the Gaza Strip into a small state.
However, the decision about who won the war needs to be held in abeyance. It can only be determined when we know whether Hamas has been beaten to the point where it will think twice before picking another fight with Israel and whether quiet will return to the residents in the south. When this becomes clear, the outcome of the war can be determined.
For now, Israel needs to take the initiative and set the rules of engagement. During the course of the Gaza War, Hamas called the shots – when to fight, when to stop, when to agree to a cease-fire and the “demands” for ending the fight. Israel has to change that and make the decisions about how, when and where we go from here. In my opinion, we need to start with encouraging the communities in the south, particularly in the area of the cities and settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip. We need to invest time, energy and resources, to develop the area and to cause the desert to bloom. If we do, we will have won the war. If we don’t, we will have lost.
However we look at it, we need to call Hamas by its name – “Evil”.
Many of those who read this may have never experienced a missile or mortar falling so close as to cause injury, death and destruction. Many have never had to be concerned about someone blowing himself up in a mall, a restaurant or a bus. Many have never had a neighbor who thinks so little about the lives of other within his own community that he is willing to have them all die, while he expresses his hatred towards you. For that, we give thanks to God. But, that is not the case in this part of the world and particularly in Israel. While some want to continue to bury their heads in the sand, others see things for the way they are. Others of us have lost family because of hatred of us simply because we are Jews. I would encourage you to take 14.5 minutes of your time and listen to Treasury Minister Yair Lapid, as he spoke at Platform 17, in Germany, about the totality of EVIL.  
With the temporary halt in hostilities with Hamas, Israel is now looking to its northern border, where al-Qaeda-linked rebels claim to have taken control of the Quneitra border crossing. With ISIS having slaughtered its way across south-western Iraq and portions of Syria, the IDF is getting ready for a possible resumption of hostilities on its northern borders.
“He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted . Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.'” (Deuteronomy 20:2-4)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.