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.


Putting up with Hamas – how long?

Shalom all,
No agreement is better than a bad agreement.
We have a long-standing policy of not-negotiating with terrorists. Yet, this policy has been broken time and time again. Every release of prisoners in exchange for live Israelis, or for their remains, was through negotiations with terrorists. The Oslo agreements were the result of negotiations with terrorists. The release of Gilad Shalit came about after we came to an agreement with terrorists. Operation Cast Lead came to a halt when we came to a cease-fire agreement with terrorists. It doesn’t matter whether the negotiations were “direct” or “indirect” through intermediaries. The point is that our “policy” is more a paper policy than a policy in practice. The latest evidence of this is the on-again, off-again negotiations in Cairo, which fell apart after Hamas launched 3 rockets into the area of Beer Sheva half a day before the end of the last cease-fire. The “Palestinian” delegation includes representatives from the “Palestinian” Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their affiliated terrorist cohorts.
On July 28th, P.M. Netanyahu made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv: “The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas; our enemy are the other terrorist organizations trying to kill our people…The tragedy of Gaza is that it is ruled by Hamas – a tyrannical and fanatical terror group that relishes civilian casualties.”
That being the reality of the situation, “a tyrannical and fanatical terror group”, we should have concentrated our efforts at eliminating this “terror group”, rather than try to negotiate with representatives of the “Palestinians” and try to reach an agreement that was acceptable to terrorists.
The immediate effect of agreeing to “negotiate” with the “Palestinians”, who needed to get approval from the representatives of the terrorist factions, is that we ended up giving Hamas a status promotion – as a blatant terrorist organization that can determine whether or not there will be war or peace with Israel. The “demands” of Hamas were published over and over again by the MSM, while what was critical for Israel was either downplayed or totally ignored. Even Israel’s demand that Gaza be demilitarized was going to fall by the wayside, as the U.S. pressured Israel to forego that demand.
In the end, after violating 11 cease-fire agreements, Hamas went back to showing the world exactly who and what Hamas really is: an evil, morally-deficient, power-hungry, local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose goal was and remains unchanged, the elimination of Israel. By putting on a suit, the leopard did not change its spots. By learning how to lie without hesitation and how to create fiction for the overly gullible MSM, the scorpion, nevertheless, retains its satanic DNA and is driven to attack and kill, because that is what it does. While we cease, they continue to prepare to fire
Hamas made its “demands” against Israel. The negotiations in Cairo were intended to address those “demands”, along with some of Israel’s. On paper, Hamas gave the impression that it was pursuing goals for the betterment of the people of Gaza: removal of the naval blockade, opening the border crossings, allowing shipments of goods and supplies to enter Gaza without restriction, receiving enough money to pay the salaries of its workers, an extension of the fishing zone, an international seaport and an international airport, as well as release of security prisoners in Israeli jails, some of whom have blood on their hands. All of this, and more, was included in the “demands” of Hamas, which, if granted, would result in Hamas agreeing to a long-term halt in hostilities against Israel. Somewhere along the line, Israel was willing to agree, in part, to some of those “demands”, which sounded like they were intended to help build an economic infrastructure for the people of Gaza. 
But, their arguments are nothing more than the immoral equivalent of the promises of a scorpion not to sting its victim.
Hamas doesn’t care about the people of Gaza. And, it can reasonably be said that it never cared about them. It is true that the people of the Gaza Strip elected Hamas to rule over them, but they did so with an expectation of economic and social improvement. In a sense, there was economic and social gain, but only for the leadership of Hamas, who lined their pockets from the billions of dollars that poured into the Gaza Strip from well-meaning contributors, who never bothered to follow-up where their money went or how their materials, which were intended for humanitarian purposes and economic development, were eventually used.
Israel has been on the receiving end of not only explosive rockets and missiles launched from Gaza, but verbal assaults and media-generated attacks for the actions which it took to defend the country and and its citizenry. The “West” is cowtowing to Islamist agitators, who demonstrate “en masse” and have no hesitation to become violent, if it will help to accomplish their goal of intimidation. The message that they generate is picked up by much of the media, namely, that Israel is to blame for every problem that has beset the people in Gaza.

There was, in fact, an agreement that came out of Cairo. The agreement was that the parties could not agree. It has been rumoured that Qatar threatened Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal with expulsion from Qatar if Hamas gave in to the Egyptian-brokered agreement. Maybe that was what resulted in the decision to resume rocket fire on Israel half a day before the end of the last cease-fire. Maybe not. But, when Hamas resumed firing, all the talking came to an abrupt halt and Israel recalled its negotiators.

The resumption of rocket fire from Gaza into populated civilian communities here drew an immediate, retaliatory response from Israel. Yet, when one major non-Israel news network reported on the event, the headline read: “Israel resumes bombing of Gaza”. No mention of the cease-fire violation by Hamas, no mention of missiles from Gaza targeting civilians. Only Israel was mentioned as being involved in military action.
Israel’s response to renewed rocket fire from Gaza received support from all areas of the political spectrum in Israel, except, of course, from the Arab members of Knesset. And, while even the political left was supportive of our military response to the unceasing terrorist activity, they continued their attack against Netanyahu, saying that he should combine military action with an attempt to reach a political solution with the “Palestinians”. Some people must have been sleeping through their high-school courses on Israeli history and fail to grasp the concept that if we fail to learn the lessons of history, we are bound to repeat them. Some people just never learn.
I recognize that some in the media, or who have access to the media, have opened their ears, their eyes and their mouths in support of Israel. Some were mentioned in the last post. Another one worth listening to, among many others, is Pat Condel.
We can only imagine what would have happened if Israel had agreed to ease both the naval blockade and open border crossings, as it was apparently willing to do by agreement with Washington. By God’s grace and mercy, the negotiations fell apart. Believe it or not, some here are again talking about the possibility of yet another cease fire and of renewed efforts to arrange for renewed negotiations in Cairo. Incredible! Yet, in response to this, khaled Mashaal says that Hamas will not return to negotiations until Israel surrenders to its demands, while accusing Israel of violating the last cease-fire agreement. Hamas lies with impunity, even in the face of facts captured on tape. Despite the lies, the constant accusations against Israel will again be believed by many. We need those who will stand up and speak truth, who will pass on information that the MSM in their areas are not reporting, who desire to be blessed because of their stand in support of Israel (Gen. 12:3). We’re not perfect, but we are trying to survive in an imperfect world and, particularly in an area where our neighbors, those who call themselves “Palestinians”, would be willing to sacrifice their children to achieve the goal of destroying Israel. Here’s 90 seconds that provide a perspective about Hamas that you would not want to miss.
The way to fight against terrorism is to go after it with the intention of defeating it. That is the lesson of history. We cannot allow Hamas to walk away from this war. Such a situation would portray Israel as having “lost” the war against a terrorist group. In this part of the world, such a scenario would encourage terrorist groups to work together towards their common goal of trying to defeat Israel and remove us from the map. We need to eliminate the terrorist leadership. Israel is slowly waking up to this reality and  it is beginning to act as it should. Even Tzippi Livni expressed her support for targeted killing of terrorist leaders. In the meantime, Israel called up another 10,000 reservists. If we go into Gaza again, we shouldn’t leave until Hamas no longer has fangs with which to strike and cause damage or harm.
Preparing to go back to school, children learn how to respond to sirens.
Children all over the world deserve to live in peace. This includes Israeli children. How would you respond if this took place in a kindergarten in your area? Please ignore the introductory segment, which I was unable to delete from the video.
Hamas admits that it kidnapped and murdered the three Israeli teens in June.
Despite repeated declarations of ignorance regarding the kidnapping of the three Israeli students in June, a brief statement of Hamas leader Salach Aruri, which was aired on the official youtube channel of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, admits that Hamas was behind their kidnapping. What he failed to state was that the kidnappers also killed the boys in cold blood, something which made Hamas proud. Indeed, there is no difference between Hamas and ISIS, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said in his press conference last night: “Hamas is like ISIS. ISIS is like Hamas. They’re branches of the same tree. And I can say that the entire world has been shocked by the atrocities of ISIS. You saw this, the beheading of an American journalist, Foley. It shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people. Well, we face the same savagery. The people who wantonly rocket our cities and want to conduct mass killings, and when they can they murder children, teenagers; they shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor – their own people; and use their people as human shields. Hamas is ISIS; ISIS is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace; they’re the enemies of Israel; they’re the enemies of all civilized countries.”
Welcome to my world.
“Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:14)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


What a way to fight a war!

Shalom all,
Enemies need to be defeated, not pampered.
That may sound harsh to many and leaves little room for peaceful resolution of armed conflict. But, it is a reality that in the long run may help to save thousands, if not tens of thousands, of lives on both sides of the border, as well as send a strong message to terrorists everywhere
The modern State of Israel was founded with the consent of the world community, notwithstanding the objections from Arab states. The historical and legal arguments justifying our existence here have been expressed in the posts of The Week That Was many times in different settings. Yet, throughout the almost seven decades since 1948, the attempts to deny our historical and Biblical connection to this tiny stretch of desert sand have continued in ever-increasing intensity from many fronts. Along with that, anti-Semitism is rapidly spreading throughout the so-called civilised world, much of it in the guise of anti-Israel rhetoric, as demonstrated by the present Gaza War.
A week ago, after the strong comments of the government here, it was believed by many within the political arena here, from both the left and right perspectives, that we were going to finish the job, destroy the tunnel network and the military infrastructure that allowed and still allows Hamas to launch rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip into residential communities in Israel. Then another cease-fire was agreed to, which was again violated by Hamas. Shooting continued again and yet another cease-fire was entered into and as soon as it was over, Hamas began launching missiles again. The present cease-fire brought Israel back to Cairo for more talks, indirectly of course, with representatives of terrorist organizations.
This on-again off-again war with Hamas and its affiliated terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip has wreaked havoc with the residential communities in the south. A good number of the residents left for points north or otherwise far away from the constant blare of sirens warning of incoming missiles. Then, during one of the latest cease-fire arrangements, residents were told that they could go back to their homes. Some returned, many did not, wanting to see what would happen. Within a short while, those who returned again experienced both the sirens and the incoming projectiles, causing some who had returned to leave again. All of this took its toll, as residents in the south expressed anger at the government and widespread frustration and a feeling of once again being abandoned. For them, after a month of fighting, the missile threats continued, property was damaged and young children learned, regrettably, how to tell the difference between an explosion from an in-coming missile and the explosion from an Iron Dome missile blowing a Hamas rocket out of the sky.
I’ve been here long enough to experience wars, intifadas, suicide bombers and falling missiles. Along with the entire country, I’ve seen the results of a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and a unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif. After we pulled out of Lebanon, the Hizb’allah became stronger and, during the Second Lebanon War, it launched some 4,000 missiles into Israel, paralyzing one-third of the nation, as the north of Israel lived in protected shelters and sealed rooms for 33 days. After we forcibly removed some 9,000 Israelis from their homes and abandoned the area of Gush Katif to the “Palestinians” in the Gaza Strip, the people of Gaza elected a government headed by Hamas, an out-and-out blatant, terrorist organization, whose avowed purposed is to destroy Israel. Over the years since 2007, when Hamas came to power, it has launched missiles and mortars into our communities in the south, threatening to destroy communities in the north as well. It has dug tunnels under some of those communities and planned a mega-terrorist attack on the Jewish New Year. Its efforts were and are primarily directed against civilians, which is a blatant war crime. Hamas’ actions were and are intended to draw Israel into a military confrontation with it and it ultimately succeeded in this regard. During the course of this latest confrontation, Hamas was able to prove that it can convince people that evil is good and that good is evil.
It’s the media, stupid!
During the last five weeks, Hamas waged a second war against Israel, a war of words and pictures. It learned from past military encounters that the world quickly responds to pictures of blood and guts, particularly when the victims are women and children. Although the lives of Israeli men, women and children were endangered every time that Hamas launched a rocket or a mortar and targeted civilians, in violation of international law, the world media slowly, but steadily, bought the lie and saw Israel’s defense of its citizens as being overly aggressive.  “Palestinians” have been working hard to perfect their propaganda war.
Demonstrations started to take place in different cities, accusing Israel of disproportionate response and of mounting civilian casualties, almost ignoring the behavior of Hamas, who continued to fire missiles and mortars into populated areas, while using civilians as human shields. What was right didn’t seem to matter any more. Protecting a democratic country from attacks against it by terrorists didn’t seem to matter any more. Truth didn’t seem to matter any more – only pictures and more pictures, showing alleged victims of Israel’s retaliatory measures.
The U.N. stepped in and expressed concern over the civilian casualties, overlooking the aspect of launching missiles from populated areas, from schools, from hospitals, from mosques. Then the U.S. expressed its concern over the rising number of alleged civilian casualties and pushed for a negotiated cease-fire that would be just for the people of Gaza and allow them to move about more freely. The argument in political circles became, “Israel has the right to protect her citizens, BUT …”.
It is the big “BUT” that the media is attracted to and latches onto. They bought into it with cameras rolling and with deadlines to meet. They reported on the devastation in the Gaza Strip and hung their hats on “disproportional responses” by Israel. When we are in a war, particularly against an enemy that is sworn to destroy us, an appropriate response, however disproportional it may seem to be, is one that puts an end to the threat, not one that is “tit for tat”.
One of the most absurd arguments of disproportionality came from the U.N., when it said that our use of the Iron Dome presented an unfair advantage over those who were attacking us and that we should provide them with similar protective measure.  So, I am in favor of providing a certain type of Gaza Dome for the Gaza Strip. I am also in agreement with those who would like to find a way to dump the problem with Gaza at the doorstep of some of those who really don’t understand what is happening here.
Realistically, however, if anyone is to blame for the mounting death toll in the Gaza Strip, it should be the mainstream media (“MSM”), whose “disproportional” coverage has encouraged Hamas to sacrifice its own people for the sake of gaining world sympathy. It is like someone being put on trial for killing his mother and father and then pleading for mercy as an orphan. World opinion is in large measure an outworking of the news that people receive. World outrage is the result of a totally one-sided, morally and ethically deficient MSM, which has sacrificed journalistic integrity for the sake of a headline.
There are some who are seeing the double-standard of the MSM and are speaking out and speaking the truth, namely, that those who were once looked upon to present the story correctly are now blatantly failing to report the truth about the ultimate goal of Hamas. “The demands of Hamas are … and … and …”. It is amazing to see how the media has shifted its attention to the “demands” a terrorist organization. Even some of the Israeli media has fallen prey to that subtle shift in expressions, giving a sense of legitimacy to an evil and immoral gang of murderous thugs, who are willing to sacrifice their own people and pay whatever price is necessary in terms of loss of human life and property, if it will help to achieve their purpose of doing away with Israel. It seems that the more absurd the claim, the more people are willing to listen, and believe, those claims. There are, however, voices of reason, showing “why” Hamas wants to wage war against Israel. Other voices are being heard about the clear sign of media bias in the present war that people need to listen to, take to heart and share with as many other people as possible. There are still some in the media who think, who are dedicated to getting to the truth of a story and of approaching it without bias or prior prejudice. The questions of the day are: (1) is anyone listening; (2) does anyone care whether a news story is true or accurate or biased and (3) if people are listening and people still do care, is it too late to change the opinions that have been formed because of deceptive media reporting?
Whether or not we can still change the opinions of people and nations, we need to refuse to apologize for living, for thriving as a nation and for seeking better lives for our children and for the children of our enemies. We need to refuse to become a victim of Hamas’ hatred of us and of the media’s obsession with accusing us of wrongdoing. In short, not to give up, not to give in and not to give away any part of this land or the principles upon which it was founded.
Negotiating with evil – compromising our principles
As I read the news this morning, I was, for want of a more accurate word, appalled that we would not only be willing to negotiate with representatives of terror and to “hear their demands”, that we were not only willing to give in to some of those demands, but that we haven’t learned a thing about negotiating with the enemy.
It was reported that there was a “cautious optimism” being expressed in various circles in Israel over the possibility that there would be a permanent cease-fire. That is wishful thinking that belongs to LaLa-Land, not to Israel. If we have learned anything over the years and through the many military encounters that we have had with our enemies, we should have learned this: those who are sworn to destroy us cannot be trusted not to continue to pursue their goal. We need to simply remember the short story of The Scorpion and The Frog, namely, that no change can be made in the behaviour of the fundamentally vicious.
Early reports indicated that Israel was willing to release all of the prisoners who were freed during the Gilad Shalit deal, which resulted in our swapping 1,027 prisoners for one live soldier. Among that number were close to 300 who were serving life sentences for involvements in various terror attacks against Israeli citizens. During the search for the 3 youths who were kidnapped by Hamas, many of those who were released as part of the above swap were re-arrested by Israel. Now, it is said that all of them are to be re-released as part of a deal for the return of the remains of two of our soldiers, who were killed during the present Gaza War and whose bodies, or portions of them, were taken by Hamas militants. It was further reported that Israel was also willing to free the last group of prisoners, who were to be released as part of the deal to have the “Palestinians” negotiate with us for 9 months, which negotiations fell apart during the Spring of this year.
Negotiations were also taking place about a number of other issues, mostly demands of Hamas, while Israel had a few of its own. Later reports indicated that the parties were at an impasse and that Hamas said it would not further extend the cease-fire. 
With all of these “non-war wars” going on, we can soon expect a repeat of the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The Turkish organization that organized the prior flotilla has officially announced that it is planning a repeat performance, with the intention of breaking the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. This time, there are expected to be pro-“Palestinian” activists from 12 countries who will join with them. They were in touch with the Turkish government and asked for “protection” for the flotilla and the activists, in light of the concern that Israel would again forcibly block the arrival of the ships to Gaza. 
And that is the status of the Gaza War to date, well, maybe. It may change by the time you see this.
“You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” (Psalm 5:6)
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” (Psalm 61:1-4)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Hamas again violates a cease-fire; Israel unilaterally withdraws ground forces

Shalom all,
Day 25 of Operation Protective Shield. 
63 Fatalities in the IDF and hundreds of wounded, with more than a dozen and a half of our soldiers in life-threatening situations. The cease-fire that went into effect at 08:00 yesterday morning (Friday) was breached by Hamas very shortly thereafter, resulting in the deaths of two soldiers and the possible kidnapping of another soldier. I attended the funeral of another soldier yesterday. And, breaking news: Israel to withdraw its ground troops from Gaza, unilaterally.
The U.S. and the U.N. condemn the cease-fire violation by Hamas
Within an hour after the agreed-upon, U.S. and U.N. brokered, 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire went into effect yesterday (Friday), it was breached by Hamas, resulting in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers, the wounding of many more and the kidnapping of 2nd Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who is believed to have been dragged into a tunnel. It is not known whether Goldin is alive or dead. Over 60 rockets were fired into Israel yesterday and over 3,000 have been launched by Hamas during the now 26th day of the Gaza War (Operation Protective Shield).
In the early hours of the afternoon yesterday, P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu talked tough to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that Israel would “take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens”. For his part, Kerry condemned the Hamas cease-fire violation, which he helped to broker, referring to it as “an outrageous violation of the cease-fire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations”.
During the day, Netanyahua spoke with the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and urged the U.S. Administration not to second-guess him again regarding matters relating to Hamas. But, it is doubtful that the U.S. would abide by such a request.
President Obama spoke at a news conference yesterday and also condemned the cease-fire violation by Hamas. While it was considerably less than a forceful and persuasive performance, Obama stated: “A cease-fire was one way in which we could stop the killing, to step back and try to resolve some of the underlying issues…Trying to put that back together is going to be challenging, but we will continue to make those efforts…I think it’s going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israel and the international community can’t feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment.” He continued and “unequivocally condemned Hamas and the ‘Palestinian’ factions responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third almost minutes after a cease-fire has been announced…No country can tolerate missiles raining down on its cities … no country can or would tolerate tunnels being dug under their land.” In short, it was necessary to read between the lines of Kerry and Obama to understand what they both needed to express clearly and without political doublespeak – that Hamas lied to everyone and that Israel was justified in pressing on with its military campaign against Hamas.
Realistically, however, the Obama administration, by its pressure of Israel time and again to exercise restraint and to agree to various cease-fires, has encouraged Hamas and its terrorist cohorts in the Muslim Brotherhood. The choices of the U.S. were clear – tacitly support a terrorist agenda in the Middle East, or support the only democracy and real friend of the U.S. in this region. As long as the U.S. and other countries and organizations think that Israel can do more than it has done to preserve the lives of civilians in Gaza, we will never receive their full support. Some journalists continue to condemn Israel because of the civilian casualties in Gaza, but they do not indicate what more Israel can do, because they don’t have an answer to that question. All they want is for Israel to give up and get out of Gaza and, as one excellent columnist points out, not to defend itself at all.
The U.N. continues to condemn Israel
It is not surprising that the U.N. chose to condemn Israel again. It seems that this organization exists almost for the primary purpose of finding some act or omission for which it can accuse Israel. Certainly, this is true of the “Inhuman Rights Council”, that goes out of its way to condemn us. But, this latest accusation has got to be the epitome of absurdity.
It condemned Israel for failing to stop our military action to put an end to the rocket attacks upon our civilians, saying that we were “deliberately defying International Law … in a way that may constitute war crimes.” And what was the justification for this accusation? That Israel “refused” to share our Iron Dome anti-missile defense system with the “governing authority” of Gaza! The “governing authority” is Hamas. Stated differently, the “Inhuman Rights Council” expected that we should supply our enemy with the means to protect them against our own retaliatory measures to their attacks upon us. Either there is a loose screw or two, or ten, somewhere in the machinery of that organisation, or it is simply not playing with a full-deck! The oft-repeated argument of disproportionality was inserted as addition support for the U.N.’s accusation.
Needless to say, our Iron Dome system was designed to protect our populated areas from rocket attacks emanating from Gaza and elsewhere. It was not designed for the benefit of those who attack us. In line with the U.N.’s constant accusations of Israeli wrongdoing, we were condemned for “targeting” U.N.-run schools and hospitals in the Gaza Strip. Somewhere along the line, the fact that rockets were stored and/or fired into Israel from those locations were ignored. So, what else is new?
Latest News: Israel unilaterally decides to withdraw from Gaza.
After all the tough talk by Netanyahu, the security cabinet of Israel decided this evening to unilaterally end our ground operation in Gaza.
It is difficult to accept the government’s decision, particularly at this point. It has withstood pressure from the political left in Israel, as well as from foreign countries and international organizations. The IDF has suffered over 63 fatalities, in addition to a multitude of wounded, as a result of the Gaza ground offensive.
With the discovery of the Hamas infiltrators, the original focus of the present military operation shifted from restoring quiet and security to the citizens of Israel, particularly in the south, to the discovery and destruction of the terror tunnels. While about 3 dozen tunnels have been destroyed, the greater likelihood is that there are a multitude of tunnels whose locations remain unknown to us. I would pray that I am wrong, but believe that it is only a matter of time before this conclusion is proven to be correct.
Another factor needs to be taken into account, namely, that a decision for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza imposes no commitments on Hamas – commitments which they would not keep anyway. The goal of Hamas and its affiliate terrorist organizations is the destruction of Israel. Nothing short of that will satisfy them. Accommodation by Hamas, and promises, if made, would be for the sole purpose of deceiving Israel and attempting to lull it into relaxing its guard to give Hamas an opportunity to carry out additional attacks.
During the course of writing this post, P.M. Netanyahu held a press conference announcing that the withdrawal from Gaza relates to the completion of the mission to find and destroy the terror tunnels. Netanyahu stated that Israel would continue pursuing its goals “for as much time as necessary and will exert as much force as needed”, until it returns quiet and security to Israel’s citizens. There is no doubt that Netanyahu’s statements will fall on deaf ears and that Hamas will turn the situation around and accuse Israel of trying to give the impression of victory.
From the perspective of Hamas, its leadership remains intact. Its headquarters have not been harmed. Its fighters have been weakened, but not eliminated. Leaving Hamas in a position of power only strengthens its resolve against us.

The problem is one of perspective: Hamas has invested time, energy and money in its terrorist activities. It is consistent in its resolve to fight against Israel, a fight which it designates as “resistence”. It is willing to absorb short-term losses in order to achieve long-term goals. Israel, on the other hand, which has one of the best-trained and highly motivated armies in the world, is willing to achieve short-term objectives, but is not willing to pursue the military action that is needed to achieve a long-term goal – quiet and security that will last for years, not just for a year or two. This was our failing in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and may be our failing in the present war. Our primary concern is the loss of life, particularly the lives of our soldiers. This attitude keeps us from pursuing the action necessary to accomplish political and military objectives that will ensure the quiet and security that our citizens need and, indeed, that they demand from our government. But, this attitude is wrong. War is a dangerous enterprise and our soldiers fight to protect the country from enemies who seek to kill us. In the process, some soldiers die. They willingly agree to put themselves in harm’s way, so that harm does not come to the rest of the country. 

Continuing our original objective of restoring quiet and security to the citizens of Israel will mean that we need to continue to destroy the ability of Hamas and other terror groups to launch rockets and mortars against us. If we continue to use the air force and artillery to pursue this goal, it will hamper all humanitarian efforts to rehabilitate Gaza and we will continue to come under international condemnation. 
However, those who condemn our efforts at self-defense fail to realize that they are all like Israel. If Islamist terror can succeed against us, it will succeed against them. It is only a matter of time.
Another Funeral – another loss 
Yesterday, I attended the funeral of Shay Kushnir, a 20-year-old soldier, who was killed the day before. He was a member of a Messianic Jewish community north of Haifa. The funeral was conducted in the middle of the day by the military at the military cemetery in that area. People came from near and far, civilians and military personnel alike. It seemed like a few thousand were present. Unlike the situation of a “lone soldier”, Shay has family and friends here and they all turned out. Members of Messianic congregations from north and south were present as well, to pay their last respects to this brother-in-the-Lord. Tears flowed freely by many. The pain of loss was felt by all. Bottles of mineral water were made available in abundance, so no one would suffer from dehydration due to the heat. One of those who presented eulogies concluded with the statement that Shay was a friend of many and a brother of all of us. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones.” (Psalm 116:15) In the midst of it all, there was a hope expressed by many in attendance that the grave can’t hold us and that this corruption will put on incorruption, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – and we shall be changed, never again to shed tears or to suffer the pain of loss or sorrow of separation. May Shay’s memory be blessed!
And THAT is what is happening in the wind-down of the Gaza War – 2014.
I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the LORD God; so turn and live (Ezekiel 18:32)
For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they shall inherit the land (Psalm 37:9)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


Friends Don’t Behave This Way!

Shalom all,
It is the end of the 23rd day of Operation Protective Shield. As of this writing, 56 Israeli soldiers have been killed and several times that number have been wounded. The government is being pressured from within and from without, by those who want an all-out victory and those who want an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal.
Friends Don’t Behave This Way!
Friends are supposed to encourage, to come alongside and help, to be there with an outstretched arm that intends to comfort, to share a wise word of counsel – not with a pointing finger and demands, subtle and not so subtle, that would only make the situation worse.
It seems that in addition to the Hamas War – 2014, another conflict is brewing, one that begins to reveal whether friendships will stand the test of disagreement and be able to weather the storm of growing distrust. There can be no doubt that Israel is the greatest ally of the United States in the Middle East. But, there is increasing doubt whether the United States really understands what is happening in this area of the world, a doubt which clouds over a long-standing friendship that has been beneficial to both countries since the modern State of Israel came into being.
Last weekend provided Israel with considerable cause to be concerned over the intervention of the U.S. in the present war. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed for a cease-fire last week that succeeded to unite most of the political factions in this country against it. Even the ultra-leftist Tzippi Livni came out against it. Kerry completely capitulated to Hamas. And, if that were not enough, the “Palestinian” Authority headed up by Mahmoud Abbas also rejected it.
In short, the proposal was so far out of line and slanted in favor of the Hamas terrorist organization as to cause reasonable people to wonder whether Kerry has a realistic handle on the situation here. Notwithstanding his “frequent flyer” status to this region, he either didn’t grasp what the problems are surrounding the conflict, or he understood them, but chose to ignore them, which would be far worse. 
If that wasn’t enough, President Barack Hussein Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu this past Sunday evening, to impress upon him “the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 cease-fire agreement.” If we stop and look at that statement for a moment, we see that this was a one-sided demand made upon Israel for an “immediate, unconditional … cease-fire”. Obama’s demand was for the benefit of Hamas. For that terrorist organization, “cease-fire” simply means that we “cease” while they “fire”. And so it has been with all of the cease-fire agreements that have been entered into to date, including the 4-hour cease-fire that Israel agreed to today, during which Hamas fired at least 25 rockets and mortars into Israel. Before reporters could print out a new story about any of the cease-fires that went into effect, Hamas violated them with renewed missile attacks against Israel. There may have been a “strategic imperative” for the U.S., but not for Israel.
Washington officials were upset, not only that reports of the proposed cease-fire were made public, but that Israel was criticizing Kerry over the one-sided, pro-terrorist proposal. Think of it: we are being pelted with missiles and with mortar attacks that took the lives of 10 soldiers in 24 hours and officials in the U.S. are upset that we saw through the blatant effort to tie our hands so that Hamas, an al-Qaeda wannabee, could take better aim at us to kill us.
The great concern expressed by both Obama and Kerry is the rising number of civilian casualties in Gaza. They join others around the world who condemn Israel in this regard, ignoring the fact that Israeli civilians have suffered and died for years because of constant attacks by Hamas and its terrorist affiliates. What Obama complains about today, he supported in 2008. While visiting the city of Sderot, which has now suffered from 13 years of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Obama was asked then how he would  respond if missiles were fired on Washington. His respond was very clear: “If someone would shoot at my home, where my two daughters are sleeping, I would do everything to stop him – and so I expect that Israel will do.” Now that Israel is doing it, not only to protect the citizens of Sderot, but all of Israel, Obama is doing an about-face and, in a practical way, is abandoning Israel. And now, the White House has condemned Israel’s shelling of a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip. If the U.S. condemns Israel, other countries will immediately follow suit, even those which had up until now, supported Israel’s actions. 
What seems to be a lack of understanding by individuals and nations alike is that if Israel had wanted to carry out some form of “collective punishment”, it could have flattened Gaza within the first day or two of Operation Protective Shield. Instead, it made and continues to make every effort to minimize civilian casualties, pursuing a policy of taking the moral high ground. But, this is war and in war there are civilian casualties. Unlike Hamas, that “targets civilians”, Israel targets the armed terrorists and means of carrying out terrorist attacks. Hamas is responsible for its people staying in harm’s way and Hamas is the one that benefits from showing the gruesome images of dead children, which evokes sympathy stirred on by the Western media. It doesn’t care about the lives of the people living in Gaza, or the lives of anyone else for that matter. It is not looking for either coexistence or compromise, but rather conquest. As stated by Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Hamas defector who worked for Israel’s security service for 10 years, and son of one of Hamas’s founders: “The destruction of the state of Israel is not the Hamas final destination.” The goal of Hamas is to establish an Islamic state “on the rubble of every other civilization.” 
It seems that some in Europe are more enlightened than the White House and its present administration, in that some Europeans are in favor of the demilitarization of Gaza, whereas Obama just wants to return to the conditions of a former truce that didn’t work and will not work in the future.
The Moral Failure of the Media
Sensationalism has always sold newspapers. But, technological advances have allowed satellites to broadcast images of death and destruction right into our living rooms. Transmissions through cyberspace allow even more gruesome images to be brought to wherever we have a computer or a cell phone. Following the lead of Hollywood, the mainstream media understands that its viewing audience reacts to blood and guts. But, unlike earlier times when the good guy always won and the bad guy was either killed or sent to jail, today’s full-color images result in turning people’s thoughts and moral perspectives upside down. A blatantly evil, publicly condemned, terrorist organization is receiving world sympathy, while its victim, Israel, is being accused when Hamas’ plans backfire and its own citizens are being killed instead of Israeli citizens. But, did its plans really backfire? Not if Hamas expected that the media would back it up as the underdog. And the MSM, knowingly or ignorantly, has played right into the hands of Hamas.
The media rarely points out that Israel has accepted cease-fires that have been rejected by Hamas. There is hardly any mention that notwithstanding the Gaza War, Israel has supported Gaza with humanitarian aid, water and electricity (until a wayward Hamas missile knocked out the electric power line to Gaza). Few media outlets made mention of the fact that Israel readily helps “Palestinian” children and performs life-saving surgery for them, a field hospital was set up by Israel for the sole purpose of providing immediate medical assistance to civilians from Gaza. There was hardly any mention of the fact that Israel even treats wounded terrorist in Israeli hospitals
If that was not enough, the MSM has worked to create a mindset that places blame on Israel for the civilian casualties in Gaza, rather than reporting the facts: that civilians are ordered by Hamas to ignore early warnings to evacuate from certain targeted areas; that civilians are often threatened with harm, or actually beaten, if they fail to listen to the directives of Hamas in this regard; that women and children are used as human shields, so that Israel would not retaliate at command posts and rocket-launching sites. But, Hamas doesn’t care about its civilians and executes them without trial, even if they are only suspected of being against them or suspected of collaborating with Israel.
There is so much to report about the evil of Hamas, but the MSM ignore it. Rather, it is easier to write about Israel and to condemn Israel, not for defending itself, but for defending itself too much! I wonder how these same reporters would react if some terrorists showed up in their own back yard. Hamas operatives give us an opportunity to see and hear what they have to say about the tunnels.
The hypocrisy of the media is appalling. To the northeast of Israel, some 180,000 civilians have become casualties of the war in Syria. ISIS massacred civilians in Iraq and in other parts of this region. Where is the international outcry and the U.N. investigations? The media proudly jumps on almost every word of Kerry when he says something against Israel, including remarks about Israel’s failure to avoid “Palestinian” casualties. It is easy to criticize and to condemn. But, the media has failed to indicate what more Israel could do to further minimize civilian casualties without endangering the lives of its own citizens. In reality, the MSM should take a good, hard look at its own immoral behavior. It may come to the realization that its encouragement of a terrorist organization like Hamas may actually have been a cause of the deaths of so many civilians in Gaza. Maybe the folks in Sweden will come up with a Nobel Prize for Israel bashing.
There are tunnels and … there are more tunnels.
P.M. Netanyahu has indicated that Operation Protective Shield will continue until the tunnel threat is stopped. If that is truly the case, then we are in for a long war. 
While I’m not a fan of CNN and would think ten times before I would consider watching it, still, its reporter, Wolf Blitzer, was able to get inside of a Hamas terrorist tunnel discovered by the IDF. It is worth the watch.

But, the former head of Israel Intelligence unit recently claimed that there are some 5,000 tunnels in Gaza, some of which are very short, while others extend for a kilometer or two. Some of them are interlinked. He said that hundreds are smuggling tunnels on the border with Egypt, while Israel knew of 31 tunnels that were intended for attacking Israel. Apparently, it did not know about the rest of them. Unless the IDF is able to get its hands on a master schematic, showing where all of the tunnels are, the not-so-pleasant conclusion is that while we may find many more than the present 32 that were already found, we will not be able to find them all. And, if we don’t bring about a decisive end to the tunnel-making ability of Hamas, it will begin to repair the tunnels and/or make new ones as soon as our troops leave from Gaza.
It seems almost incredible that there would be so many tunnels under Gaza. But, when we stop to think about it for a moment, it would make sense, even if there were only 1,000 tunnels, instead of 5,000. Much of the economy of Gaza was based on goods smuggled in from Egypt and the current leadership of Gaza would charge a surcharge on all goods that were smuggled in, which explains, in part, how Mashaal and Haniya were able to acquire so much wealth. The tunnels were also used for smuggling weapons and military equipment for ultimate use against Israel. If the number of tunnels is only 10% of what was reported by the former head of the intelligence unit, then we have our work cut out for us. 
Sadly, Israel has, in good faith, supplied Hamas with much of the materials needed to build those tunnels. According to the IDF, since the beginning of 2014, Israel has supplied construction materials to Gaza which were intended for the citizens there and for helping to build a civilian, economic infrastructure. However, Hamas has used 4,680 truckloads of building supplies, including 181,000 “tons of gravel, iron, cement wood and other supplies have passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
But, there is another factor that enters in which helps to somewhat explain the hesitancy of the present Israeli government to destroy the entire length of the tunnels that were discovered by the IDF. When we read about Israel destroying a Hamas terrorist tunnel, what it really means is that a portion of the tunnel from Israel to a certain area inside of Gaza is destroyed. Going through the entire length of the tunnel could put our troops in considerable danger, due to booby-traps closer to the tunnel opening inside of Gaza. Moreover, if we were to blow up several tunnels, it could weaken the foundations of the buildings that are over the tunnels, resulting in the collapse of those buildings, which would lead to considerably greater numbers of civilian casualties.
Inasmuch as the stated goal of the government is to remove the threat to Israel posed by those tunnels, the security cabinet needs to make a decision whether to move in further to Gaza, or to withdraw. If we move in, the fatalities, which now number 56, as well as the number of wounded, would considerably increase. There are tremendous pressures on Netanyahu from outside of Israel to declare a cease-fire and get out of Gaza. However, nationally, polls indicate that he is being encouraged to continue Operation Protective Shield until all of the tunnels are destroyed. Some want to continue until Hamas is eliminated or brought to its knees.
Moving forward has its problems, as indicated. But, not completing the job would be worse. The mentality of the Middle East is such that if we accomplish only 98% of our goals, our enemies would latch onto the other 2% and claim a victory. In other words, if we don’t fully accomplish our stated goals, Hamas and other terrorist groups will see it as though we lost, which would encourage them to fire more rockets and mortars against us. Netanyahu and his cabinet need much wisdom and courage in these days. A day is coming and is not too far off, when God 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.” (Isa. 2:4-5)
And THAT is part of what’s happening in the Gaza War – 2014.
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence [in Hebrew: violence is the word hamas, which is spelled differently from Hamas] (2 Samuel 22:3)
Thus says the LORD, “For three transgressions of Gaza and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they deported an entire population to deliver it up to Edom. So I will send fire upon the wall of Gaza and it will consume her citadels.” (Amos 1:6-7)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

Hamas planned mega-attack for the Jewish New Year – TWTW 26 July, 2014

Shalom all,

The Hamas “Underground”

According to one of Israel’s major Hebrew dailies, security sources indicate that the goal of Hamas in constructing the mass of tunnels was to carry out a coordinated mega-attack against Israeli civilians on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in September. The plan was to send 200 terrorists through each of the dozens of tunnels at once, to at least six settlements in the western Negev. Some of those tunnels were intended to exit in the middle of those settlements.  Indeed, while not containing railway cars, nevertheless, the system of tunnels could easily be said to be the “Hamas Underground”.

While not all of the tunnels have been disclosed, some had definite goals, while other targets remain undisclosed. Locating the entrance to the tunnels is a gargantuan task, as some are located within residential neighbourhoods inside of Gaza. This photo, declassified by the IDF, shows a tunnel entrance located between a school, a mosque and civilian houses.

As reported by the Maariv newspaper, the terrorists planned to kill and/or kidnap dozens of Israelis and take them to the Gaza Strip, according to the circumstances that will develop at the time of the attack. This plan was hinted at by P.M. Netanyahu at the beginning of today’s cabinet meeting, when he said “These tunnels were to allow the enemy to simultaneously attack and commit massive terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.”
During the course of Operation Protective Edge, Israel discovered that some of the tunnels don’t go in a straight line from one location to another, like the ones shown above. Rather, some tunnels lead to others, revealing an entire tunnel system, well planned and interlinking. Inside of the tunnels are rooms for storage of explosive and holes that would allow for prompt exit from the tunnels to the outside, as well as other features. Security sources indicated that in order to properly deal with the tunnel problem, the IDF needs more time, inasmuch as they are not even half the way there.
We should be thankful for the events that led up to this unplanned war with Hamas, which helped to prevent a tragedy that could have been as great, if not greater, than that which occurred during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. These tunnels were constructed over a period of many years, at a cost of millions of dollars, with funds that were given to the people in Gaza, intended for the building of a socio-economic infrastructure for the residents of the Gaza Strip, rather than tunnels for Hamas terrorists. When Hamas came to the realization that it cannot defeat Israeli militarily, it began to focus its attention on attacking Israel through the tunnels, with the purpose of attacking settlement and/or cities and killing as many civilians as possible, or of kidnapping soldiers and civilians and dispersing them throughout the Gaza Strip, where Israel would never be able to locate them all. 
It was discovered that three shifts of Hamas terrorists worked on the tunnels, progressing an average of about 15 meters (about 50 feet) per day. Some of them extended for 1.5 kilometers (just under a mile). Tens of tunnels have already been destroyed, as the IDF intelligence was able to discover their locations. The realization of the extent of the tunnel system became evident only after other locations were discovered after interrogating dozens of terrorists who were either taken captive or who surrendered to Israeli forces.
A week-long truce was suggested by U.S. Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister of Egypt. The lull in the fighting is intended to facilitate additional negotiations between the parties in Cairo. Hamas was demanding that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip be opened, that the “Palestinian” Authority (headed up by Mahmoud Abbas from Ramallah) transfer funds necessary to pay Hamas employees. After that, Hamas wants to be able to establish air and sea ports in Gaza. In short, Hamas is demanding that it be allowed to establish a “Palestinian” state in Gaza. That would grant it the right to bring in military equipment, create an air force and import fighters from neighboring countries. Israel, on the other hand, is demanding the full demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, along with guarantees that Hamas will cease its tunnel enterprise and will not resume efforts at rearmament. 
Both sides rejected the proposed week-long truce. It should be noted that every time Israel agreed to a temporary halt in the fighting, for humanitarian reasons, Hamas took advantage of it and immediately violated every truce by sending more missiles into Israeli communities. Notwithstanding that, both sides agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce, from 08:00 a.m. to 08:00 p.m. today (Saturday).  As of this writing, the truce was extended until midnight. Notwithstanding this temporary truce, efforts to locate the tunnels will continue.
Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, speaking this past Wednesday from the safety and security of Qatar, left little, if any, room for discussion. He wants what he wants and he wants it now – a “Palestinian” state, an end to the maritime blockade of Israel and Egypt and even the disarmament of Israel. He seems oblivious to the suffering of his own people and is obviously detached from the situation on the ground.
At this point, the fighting in Gaza is focused on trying to locate the tunnels and destroy them. The IDF encounters opposition from Hamas, which has resulted thus far in the deaths of 41 soldiers, with some 200+ injured. When I began this post, 35 soldiers had been killed. In the interim, another 6 were killed in the fighting. A full ground offensive is still possible and plans have already been prepared for this contingency.
With international pressure mounting against Israel, along with increased unrest in Judea and Samaria, the cabinet knows that it is rapidly approaching the time when a critical decision needs to be made regarding Operation Protective Edge – either to end it or expand it. If the decision is made to end the Operation, without accomplishing our goals of destroying the tunnels and elimination the military infrastructure of Hamas, the consequences for Israel would be disastrous and would endanger the entire southern section of Israel. Politically, it could cause the Netanyahu coalition to collapse. If the decision is made to expand the Operation, our goals would need to be redefined, particularly in light of the increasing opposition to it from abroad, as well as from the Israeli left.
The intention of Hamas is to kill as many civilians as possible. It is estimated that about half of Hamas’ missile capability has been destroyed. While that is, indeed, good news, the bad news is that it still has a few thousand more missiles at its disposal.
As long as there is ignorance of Israel’s right to exist here, wars like the present one will continue. When religious fanaticism, having no bearing upon historic reality, continues to exist among members of the Hamas upper echelon, the fighting will continue. When entire populations are taught, from childhood on, to believe the claims of Islamists, that world domination will come about by conquest and subjection to Islam, the bloodshed will continue. As long as the people in Gaza are encouraged to exalt death over life, many more will needlessly lose their lives. As long as Hamas is leading its people to death, whether forced or voluntary, the death count will inevitably increase.
Forty one soldiers have given their lives that the citizens of Israel would be freed from the missile onslaught emanating from Gaza. Terrorist infiltrators have been caught and eliminated. Despite thousands of missiles being launched against Israeli citizens, fewer than a handful have been killed. Each day, we witness a multitude of miracles. Each day, we hear more and more people expressing thanks to God for watching over Israel. Indeed, “the keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps”. (Psalm 121:4)
The city beneath the ground of Gaza City
Many here started to ask why we didn’t we deal with the tunnel threat before now. The existence of the tunnel network was known even by the children in Gaza. The intelligence branch of the IDF knew about the tunnels, that were being built, apparently, over the course of about a dozen years. The press reported on it and our leadership was aware of it, but chose to downplay the threat. Why only now, almost three weeks into Operation Protective Edge, is the strategic danger of these tunnels coming to light? We can ask many questions, but the answers are few. In some cases, there are no answers at all.
These are not the simple types of tunnels dug under the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. These are sophisticated, concrete-lined tunnels that are sizable enough to allow entire companies of terrorists to pass through to their goals not only inside Israel, but inside of communities within Israel. The construction and planning, as well as the navigation and logistics involved, required backing and guidance, both governmental and professional.
A tunnel system that would allow access to targets in Israel is not the only problem. They are designed in such a way as to allow Hamas operatives to move from one place to another without being detected. There is also a system of underground bunkers, which contain command and control centers, allowing for Hamas leadership, both political and military, to “sit out the war” without harm.
Despite knowing about the existence of the almost 10,000 missiles in the possession of Hamas, as well as the existence of the tunnels (although without knowing about their scope), and bunkers, Israel’s leadership chose to deal with political issues, rather than existential ones like the capacity to launch missiles against our civilian centers and the ability to infiltrate into Israeli territory via tunnels. We could have dealt with these issues while the numbers were still small, instead of allowing them to multiply. 
Now, the “Gaza Underground” has come to be understood as an existential threat to Israel. The problem has become acute and demands are heard from different government leaders that the IDF needs to remain in Gaza and “finish the job”, that is, to eliminate the tunnel threat.  On the other hand, others continue to argue that we should try to work out a political solution to the present war. Even though many of the tunnels have been discovered and eliminated, many more remain and it is difficult to conceive that they will be eliminated through any form of political agreement. 
Neither of these alternatives is good. But, we cannot avoid dealing with the problem. To do so only delays the inevitable – another war in a short period of time, more sophisticated weaponry and a more determined enemy. In order to deal with the problem, at least for the foreseeable future, all of the tunnels need to be destroyed. This would require an extensive ground offensive into the heart of the Gaza Strip. This is not a good scenario and would play into the hands of Hamas.
As it is, with each passing day, more gruesome pictures of non-combatants fill both the t.v. screens and the reports of the MSM. Each day produces more anti-Israel demonstrations. But, each day increases the risk for additional fatalities on the part of Israel and more war wounded. The funerals of our fallen soldiers have drawn huge attendance and demonstrated how we agonize over the loss of each one of them. A major ground offensive would require the call-up of thousands more of reservists.
Hamas wants to draw us in. Our government wants to deal with the problems of the missiles and the tunnels without being drawn in. Hamas thrives on the death of its citizens. Israel rejoices with each life saved. The leadership of Hamas encourages its people to die and uses its citizens as protection for its combatants. Israel sends its soldiers to protect its citizens. There is a major difference in thinking and in values, both of which shape the actions of the two sides. In the meantime, Israel is continuing with its present course of finding and dealing with one tunnel at a time. Many tunnels require physical entry by the IDF in order to destroy them. Hamas has clearly booby-trapped many of the tunnels and is anticipating the entry of Israeli soldiers, in order to blow up the tunnels and the soldiers along with them. Israel is aware of this, but is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It must eliminate the tunnels, but wants to minimise jeopardizing the lives of its soldiers.
The Parallel War
Israel is not only fighting a war on the ground, one which is taking time, but is producing positive results, notwithstanding the increasing number of deaths of our soldiers. There is another war that it is facing, a war of no less importance – that of world opinion.
The media has had a field day during the past week, with lots of issues to choose from to fill up their daily quota of words. Some of the ones that came to the forefront this week: internal riots of pro-“Palestinian” groups in Judea and Samaria, as well as in major cities in Israel. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations abroad are nothing new, but they have become considerably more violent, particularly in Europe, although the Americas are not exempted from such demonstrations. Protesters throughout the Muslim world continue to call for Israel’s destruction.

In addition, the media jumped all over the decision this week of the “Human Wrongs Council” of that great un-organization, the United Nations. As many already know, this world body has demonstrated once again its anti-Israel slant and is looking to conduct another investigation of Israel for alleged war crimes. I guess that inasmuch as a “Palestinian” spokesman has already admitted that Hamas is guilty of war crimes, the U.N. doesn’t need to conduct an investigation of Hamas! People in Gaza are given more time to vacate targeted premises than some of the civilians in Israel. If the citizens refuse to listen to the Hamas to remain and be killed, Hamas savagely beats them. Then, Hamas complains of our responses to their attacks upon us. The former Commander of all British forces in Afghanistan has testified before the U.N.  (regarding Operation Cast Lead in 2009) to the fact that the IDF is the most moral military in the world, and continues to say that today. In an interview with one of Israel’s major television stations in mid-week. No other army in the world has even done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone…[When a demand is made upon Israel by the world community to do more], perhaps Israel should ask what more it can do.” Despite testimonies in favour of Israel, the U.N. continues to show its prejudice against Israel by requesting yet another investigation. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

These issues and more need to be discussed, as they all are slanted by the main stream media against Israel. 
I will end at this point. My oldest son just received notice from one of his classmates in Ben Gurion University of the Negev that her brother was killed in Gaza during the night.
Please pray for wisdom for the leaders of Israel to make the right decisions for the nation.
Pray for wisdom for the leaders of the IDF to be able to plan and put into operation whatever is necessary to get the job done, while minimizing the risk to our soldiers.
Pray for our soldiers, that they would go out in peace and return in peace, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Some have seen and experienced events that will remain with them until the end of their days.
Pray for a national spirit of unity, where the people would trust and support the decisions of the government in pursuing what needs to be done in order to remove the tunnel and missile threats from our citizens.
And that brings us to the end of Shabbat.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Israel mourns for her sons – 22 July, 2014

Shalom all,

Israel mourns for her sons.
This past Saturday night, after the Shabbat was over and we began a new week (“there was evening and there was morning, one day), Israeli troops were battling in Shejaiya, one of the major Hamas, terrorist strongholds in Gaza. An armored personnel carrier (“APC”) was struck by an anti-tank missile, killing First Sergeant Nissim Sean Carmeli and others. They were among the 13 of the soldiers, all members of the elite Golani unit, who were killed that night.

Four Israeli soldiers had already been killed. But, the news that an additional 13 were killed throughout the night of fighting was a jolt to the nation. It was a major loss for a small country like Israel. Everyone felt the pain of loss. Slowly, the identities of the slain soldiers were released and they included two who also held American citizenship, Max Steinberg, 24, originally from Woodland Hills, California, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, 21, who had lived in South Padres Island, Texas, where his parents still reside. Both Steinberg and Carmeli were considered as “lone soldiers”, meaning, generally speaking, that they do not have parents to go home to when they are on a break from the army.

Efforts were made by some to portray Shejaiya as a peaceful “neighborhood” community until the present fighting erupted. In reality, however, Shejaiya is one of Hamas’ active locations, from which over 140 rockets were fired into Israel in 13 days. The openings to at least 10 terror tunnels are located there, tunnels that Hamas used for the purpose of smuggling weapons, for launching missiles at Israel civilians and for infiltrating into Israel to attempt to slaughter civilians communities and to kidnap Israelis. Rocket launchings against Israel took place from a mosque, a hospital and a children’s playground, while a rocket facility was also located in a cemetery – all within the confines of Shejaiya. Notwithstanding Israel’s attempts to reduce the number of civilian casualties, the residents of Shejaiya were ordered by Hamas not to leave and were used by Hamas as human shields.

The above is mentioned as background information. The fighting in Shejaiya continues, along with the missiles fired from Gaza.

The funeral of Max Steinberg is set for tomorrow, Wednesday, on Mt. Herzl, in Jerusalem. The funeral of Nissim Sean Carmeli took place Monday night, in Haifa.

“Lord, please stir the hearts of people to attend the funeral.”

When I heard that Carmeli’s funeral was going to take place in the Military Cemetery in Haifa, I knew I needed to go. I was not related to him and never heard of him until Monday. But, it was important for me to be there. This was reinforced when the evening news said that a message was sent out over the social media, saying that Sean (as he was referred to by his friends) was a fan of a certain Haifa soccer team. Inasmuch as he was a “long soldier”, those who published the notice said that there was a concern that there would be a light turnout for his funeral and urged fans of the same soccer team to attend. The funeral was originally scheduled for 9:00 p.m., but for various reasons was changed to 11:00 p.m. The evening news showed a photo and shared a little background information. My heart was broken and I didn’t even try to hold back the tears. He was just 21, older than my youngest son and younger than my oldest son. His parents were arriving from the U.S.

I left for the funeral at 10:00 p.m., a 10-12 minute drive. I prayed as I got into the car, “Lord, please stir the hearts of people to attend the funeral. Let them come and honor this son of Israel as he is laid into the ground. Let his family know that although he was considered a ‘lone soldier’, he was not alone.” When I arrived in the area, the police had already set up barricades and cars seemed to come from every direction. It took me half an hour to find a space at a distance of a 20-minute walk from the cemetery. A few people here and some there, we were all headed in the same direction. As we got closer to the cemetery, the crowds grew larger.

It was already packed when I arrived. I ended up close to the place where the service was being held, but I couldn’t see anything. I really didn’t need to see the event. I’ve seen too many of them. I’ve listened to too many eulogies, with the broken hearts of family and friends and the messages interrupted by crying. I’ve listened to too many fathers reciting “Kadish” (Aramaic for “holy”, a hymn of praises of God that is part of the Jewish prayer service, as well as at funerals). I’ve heard too many local officials and politicians praising a deceased person, whom they never met. I didn’t need to see the ceremony. There were loudspeakers that would broadcast the event. I looked around and saw that people were still coming, a seemingly never ending stream of people. Some tried to get closer to the platform and managed to slightly push (but, not offensively) others to get to a better vantage point. There were no arguments, no shoving and no yelling. Just a multitude of people, coming to pay their respects to Sean. There were men and women, soldiers from every type of military unit, those with rank and those without, police, teenagers and septuagenarians, religious and secular, Jew and non-Jew, all who came “from Dan to Beer Sheva” to respect and honor and pay their last respects to a “lone soldier”, who united a nation. He was everyone’s son, everyone’s brother. He gave his life so that we, as a nation, would live. A national hero, who was not known, except by a handful of those who came. When it seemed that there was no more room to move forward, people somehow still managed to work their way towards the front.

As the vehicle bringing the coffin arrived at the entrance to the cemetery around 11:30 p.m., the person in charge of the funeral service requested that the crowd “make a path” for the coffin and family. Within seconds, people moved to the sides, clearing a path for the pallbearers and honor guard. It was like watching the Red Sea being divided, only with walls of people, instead of water. We were about 8-10 rows deep and although I couldn’t get close to the platform where the service was to be held, I was in the front row of the wall of people. I saw the dignitaries pass by, followed by the pallbearers with the coffin, draped with the Israeli flag, followed by members of Sean’s family. The crowd, which had kept their conversations on a low volume, was visibly moved. Crying could be heard from many. The heat and the long wait began to take its toll on some and the paramedics were kept busy, taking care of some who became dehydrated or who passed out.

The ceremony continued. The coffin was lowered into the ground and covered over. Wreaths were placed on the fresh grave by representatives of two municipalities. Eulogies were given. The command “fire” was sounded three times, as the flash from the rifles punctuated the night. The ceremony was over and people began to make their way to the exit, slowly, with a sense of walking together as family. In the midst of the multitude, I met a brother-in-the-Lord, an Arab-Israeli, native of Haifa, who pastors a Messianic Jewish congregation here. We’ve known each other about 30 years and joked as we walked, saying that we tend to meet each other most of the time while attending a funeral. His children all served or serve in the IDF.

It was reported that over 30,000 people had attended the funeral of someone they didn’t know, someone that they wanted to honor, someone who enabled Israel to demonstrate how much it is a community that values life and mourns with those who mourn. We wept yesterday many times during the funerals held for our sons who were no more. We wept for a “lone son”, whose death while defending this country drew us together as his family. We will weep again tomorrow for our other sons. This we know, that weeping may last for the night, but there is a shout of joy that comes in the morning (Psalm 30.5).

As of this writing, 28 of our sons have given their lives during the 15 days of this latest war. All who serve give something, while some who serve give everything. May their memories be blessed.

God is watching over Israel
No matter how we look at it, the fact that almost 1,300 rockets and mortars have been fired at us from the Gaza Strip, with minimal loss of life, is nothing but a miracle. Property has been destroyed and today a community on the outskirts of Tel Aviv saw a missile land at a private home. Shock, but no loss of life. Direct hits occurred in recent days in different communities here, but people walked away from them.

When our enemies complain about us, we should take their words with a grain of salt, so to speak. We know that lying is a way of life for them and that the lies are intended to help them win the war of public opinion. But, when a newspaper headline quotes a terrorist as saying that our “God changes the path of [their] rockets in mid-air”  shouldn’t we pay attention? “Before they call, I will answer and while they are still speaking, I will hear [their prayers].” (Isaiah 65:24)

It has often been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that “a miss is as good as a mile”. When a bullet penetrates a body, the location of it will often determine whether the person will live or die. The attached photo is of a bullet that was taken from the leg of someone we know and who often attends our congregation. He was wounded while fighting in the Gaza Strip. If the rifle that fired that bullet had been aimed an inch or so higher, it would have landed in his chest, instead of his leg. We are thankful that God spared his life and that he is receiving excellent medical treatment.

Politicians still pressure us, but the media is beginning to understand, somewhat.
On the one hand, many “leaders” tell us that they support our right to self-defence. Before that message sinks in, they add a “but”, which undermines everything they said immediately preceding that. The “but”, usually has a message of “restraint” built into it. Others simply ignore our right to to defend ourselves and get right into the civilian deaths that are taking place in the Gaza Strip, while ignoring that this is not a war of our choosing, but of necessity. We aren’t fighting because we want to kill “Palestinians”, but because we want to survive. The IDF is the most moral military in the world. We give every opportunity for civilians to get out of harm’s way. If they ignore our early warnings, they do so at their own peril. The Secretary General of the U.N. can get upset about what is happening in the Gaza Strip, but he has no right to tell us how to resolve the war. He may want a two-state solution, but just because that’s what happened in Korea doesn’t mean that it will happen here. I would urge him to spend a week in Sderot, or Ashdod, or Ashkelon, or Beer Sheva, or … or… when the sirens go off, and give him 15 seconds to find shelter. Then, let him come and tell us about those innocent civilians who are dying in a place from which the missiles are being launched against us. Oh, but he might not be able to get a flight to Israel right now.

But, talk show hosts and media are beginning to understand a bit about what is really happening here. They argue the case for Israel, without the “but”.

And when it comes to restraint, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. says that the IDF deserves the Nobel Peace Price for “unimaginable restraint“.

Airlines Cease Flights to Israel
When a Hamas rocket landed not far from Israel’s major airport in Tel Aviv, it didn’t take long for the U.S. F.A.A. to say that flights to Tel Aviv of all U.S. airlines are to be suspended for 24 hours. Others countries began to follow suit. They’re afraid that one of their planes might be hit. It is a war crime to target an international civilian airport. Could it be that the nations are beginning to wake up to the reality that there is a war going on over here and that we, not Hamas or the citizens of the Gaza Strip, are the target?

“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation…How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God. (Psalm 146:3, 5).

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


Pulling the plug on terrorist infiltration – one tunnel at a time. – TWTW 18 July, 2014

Shalom all,
Self-Defense – An Appropriate Response 
In every society that refers to itself as “democratic”, there exists the right to defend oneself from an attack by another. This right of “self-defense” covers a wide range of situations and it extends not only to individuals, but to nation-states as well. Israel was attacked time after time, month after month, year after year for the past almost 14 years by rocket fire emanating from the “Palestinian”-controlled Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas. Over the years, the type of the projectiles fired into Israeli residential communities by militant Islamic groups, like Hamas and its affiliated terrorist organizations, has improved. The explosive nature of those rockets has increased and the range of the missiles has been enlarged from around 40 kilometers (approximately 25 miles) to 200 kilometers (approximately 125 miles). We have seen attempts by terrorists, even during these last few days, to infiltrate into Israel by sea, by land and from under the ground via tunnels. 
The rocket attacks are intended to cause as many Israeli civilian casualties as possible. Somehow, this simple fact is overlooked by those who condemn Israel because of the rising civilian deaths in Gaza. The attempts by terrorists to land on our shores, near established communities, was for the purpose of carrying out wide-scale slaughter of civilians. The recent attempts to infiltrate into areas of Israel from tunnels originating from Gaza was intended to wipe out an entire civilian population in locations not far from the tunnel exit, after which the terrorists would return to their tunnel hole and return to their den. Just like poisonous snakes, who crawl out, find and kill their targets and return to their holes in the ground.
The attempt of Hamas terrorist to infiltrate Israel was thwarted by the IDF yesterday. Even though Hamas did not succeed in its efforts, this was said to be “the straw the broke the camel’s back” and prompted Israel’s security cabinet to approve of the ground operation in Gaza. 
See the video at the following site (second photo down, with Hebrew words in it), as well as the English version.
For a look at what a Hamas-terrorist tunnel looks like, see here.
This video shows how Hamas terrorists, with full gear, are able to walk upright inside of the tunnels, some of which are known to extend for 2.5 (1.5 miles).
And where do those tunnels start from? Some are under a child’s bedroom, others begin under a kitchen sink. If we allow our imagine to become activated, we may find tunnels in places that we would never normally think they would be. Maybe if we find all of the tunnels, we’ll also find where the Hamas leadership are hiding themselves, while making demands for a cease-fire. We need to ignore their demands and stick to our own.

Just think of a terrorist “commando” force trying to infiltrate your community, with the intention of killing as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and then returning back to their point of entry without being detected. That will give you a good perspective of what is happening here. 
Disproportionate and Asymmetrical? Irrelevant!
The international community has officially, or unofficially by not saying or doing anything, taken a position with regard to the “Palestinian’s” rocket assaults upon Israel from Gaza and our response to their attacks upon us. Some countries have stood up and supported Israel’s right to defend itself, without qualification. We are thankful for countries like the U.S., Canada and even Germany for seeing things the way they are and for supporting our right to not only defend ourselves, but our efforts to try to put an end to the ability of terrorist groups like Hamas to continue such assaults upon us. Period! 
Other countries, however, seem to miss the point and start to condemn Israel’s response, referring to the fact that civilians are being killed in Gaza, including women and children. Another argument is that Israel’s response is disproportionate to the offense, as the number of Israeli casualties is minimal (thank God!) and that the present war with the forces of evil in Gaza lacks symmetry.
No one wants innocent victims to die – no one, that is, except Hamas and its cohorts. We need to remember who and what Hamas is: an extreme militant, Islamic fundamentalist, political movement, that is vehemently opposed to the existence of Israel. It rejects all agreements between Israel and the “Palestinians”. It is not interested in setting up a “Palestinian” state, but rather, in the elimination of the State of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic nation. Its roots are in the “Palestinian” branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its very name, Hamas, means “Islamic Resistance Movement”. It absolutely refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence against Israelis. If it does so, notwithstanding its perspective vis-a-vis Israel, it will be for the sole purpose of taking a break to regroup and re-arm, as its past military encounters with Israel have demonstrated.
Hamas embodies what can only be described as “evil”. It has no value for life, except for the life of its leaders. It has encouraged suicide terrorist bombings, while its leaders cower in underground bunkers and tunnels. Its “soldiers” openly and forcefully use civilians, particularly children, as human shields. It encourages its civilian population to ignore warnings of the IDF to vacate their premises, warnings which are intended to get out the civilians out of harm’s way in an effort to reduce the number of civilian casualties. It cares little or nothing for the people whom it governs and who are beginning, little by little, to wake up to the reality that their Hamas leadership threatens the life of the entire population. The same is true of other Arab leaders, many of whom would be only too happy if Israel were to remove Hamas from the stage of world history.
It is, indeed, sad that civilians are innocent victims of those who rule over them and who reign with a reign of terror. There are always innocent victims of war and, unfortunately, there will always be. Israel has done everything it can to reduce the number of civilian casualties and we should not have to apologize if civilians in Gaza are killed. We can easily compare the number of daily casualties in the civil war in Syria. But, few nations stand up and condemn one side or the other in that conflict for the civilian deaths, which are piling up.
The anti-Israel argument continues that Israel’s response is disproportionate to the offense and that the parties are asymmetrical. The claim of “disproportionate response” has been raised against Israel time and time again, invariably by those who are not in Israel’s shoes, or who have forgotten what is is like to be attacked from outside of its current borders and who buy into the “Palestinian” narrative. What civilized country in its right mind would allow rockets to be fired into its territory, which are aimed at its civilian population, and not respond? How long do you think it would take for the US. or England or Brazil or … or … or Russia to respond to a rocket threat against its citizens, without taking responding in an attempt to eliminate that threat? Do you think that any of these countries would wait for 14 years and allow the situation to be repeated over and over and over again and rely on a promise that it would end, when experience shows that it won’t? The U.S. went after Osama bin laden and al-Qaeda and bombed thousands of Afghanis, many of whom were not even able to read. If one or more of Hamas’ rockets were to hit a high-rise building in Tel Aviv, or in Beer Sheva, or in Jerusalem, causing it to collapse and killing dozens, if not hundreds, of civilians, would Israel’s response then be considered more “proportionate”? The fact that Israel has suffered minimal deaths as a result of all of the missile attacks from Gaza should not be a reason to condemn Israel. Rather, it should be to Israel’s credit, that it has learned from bitter experience how to respond to outside threats, including missile threats, by constructing protective locations and instructing its citizenry how to react upon hearing a siren go off, warning of a possible incoming missile. Israel should not have to apologize for the relatively small number of Israeli casualties. And, as already noted, the larger number of civilian casualties in Gaza is the fault of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups affiliated with them, by either using civilians for defensive purposes, or threatening them if they move out of harm’s way, having been given an opportunity to do so by early warnings from Israel.
As for the lack of symmetry – the one who benefits from this is Hamas, not Israel. Hamas has fewer combatants and does not have the weaponry and military capability that Israel has. But, it is, indeed, the mouse that roared. And, while being condemned by some arab countries and by a growing number within its own population, nevertheless, it has found sympathy from certain “western” countries who argue lack of symmetry. This is particularly true when Hamas displays bodies of innocent victims, including children, who could have lived were it not for the actions of Hamas. Israel, on the other hand, is treated as the bully of the Middle East, despite the fact that it has always extended its hand to its neighbors to live in peace, whose hand has been rejected and whose gesture has been rebuffed. Because it is strong and capable, it is accused of being the aggressor, when, in fact, it is the one who has been attacked time and time again, in an effort to eliminate it and remove its existence in the midst of a sea of Islamic states. Israel has been said to have a secret weapon – it has nowhere to go and has no option but to succeed. But, more than anything else, we have God, Who chose us, called us, removed the peoples of this land from before us, gave us this land as an inheritance and as a place where He placed His glory and will do so again. He watches over and protects Israel, despite all attempts of those who hate Him and hate His people, and who desire to wipe us out as a nation, that the name of Israel would be no more. In reality, they have conspired together with one mind; against [God] they make a covenant (Ps. 83:1-5).
The nations are upset that children die. We are upset and greatly saddened at that fact, as well. Those who sought to kill our children are having theirs killed instead. “I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you, I will curse.” (Gen. 12:3) 
What’s the bottom line? We didn’t want this war and were forced into it. We wanted and still want to live in peace, not in pieces. We will do what needs to be done to protect our citizens, whether the rest of the world likes it or not. Another meaningless cease-fire, without getting rid of the terrorist tunnels and without disarming Hamas and its fellow radical Islamists in Gaza, will only delay the inevitable: another fight with more sophisticated weaponry, more anger, more bitterness and hatred and more deaths. When will they ever learn? When? Will they ever learn?
Don’t Bring God into this War!
Believe it or not, there are those who get upset when we ask God’s help to defeat our enemies. Yes, it’s true. Take the case of Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the elite Givati Brigade, who included several references to God in an operational order that he issued. Among the things that he said were: “History has chosen us to be the spearhead of combat against the ‘Gazan’ terrorist foe, who curses, blasphemes and insults the God of Israel…I lift my eyes to heaven and call out, together with you: Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’…Lord God of Israel, grant success to the path on which we walk and stand to fight for Your nation Israel against the foe that blasphemes Your name.”
He was accused of talking about a “holy war”, rather than a war against “terrorist cells firing rockets.” Can you imagine it? This military Colonel was doing the same thing that young David did against Goliath – calling upon his troops to “remove the disgrace from Israel”, to show themselves strong by depending upon “the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies, whom [our enemies] have blasphemed.”
He continued in his operational order and wrote: “I rely on you, each and every one of you, to act in this spirit – the spirit of Israeli warriors marching in the vanguard of the camp” (like the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh – Numbers 32:31-34). He encouraged them to remain steadfast and resolute, by reminding them of their history as the people of The Book. He used other, well-known prayers, asking for God’s help in the mission that lies ahead of his troops. We do this all the time in Israel. It is part of our daily language, to say “With God’s help …”. May there be an abundance of military officers, like Colonel Winter. Our national leaders could learn a good lesson from his dependence, not on the arm of the flesh, but upon the One with “everlasting arms”, Who drove out our enemies from before us (Deut. 33:27). To those who say that they don’t believe in God, or who are practical atheists, a word of advice from my own time in the military: They are no atheists in foxholes.
First Israeli soldier dies from the present war
With sadness, I am mentioning that the first Israeli soldier died as a result of an exchange of gunfire, after Israel entered the Gaza Strip last night. He was a 20-year-old from Herzliya. We mourn his loss, along with his family. His funeral will be held on Sunday. May his memory be blessed.
Ending on a different note:-
A not-so-peaceful protest against the IDF’s ground operation in Gaza took place today in Haifa. During the course of that protest, Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi was said to be handcuffed and detained for about 5 minutes, before the local police commander ordered her released. She denied attacking the police and claimed just the opposite, namely, that the police attacked her and kicked her. Yeah, just like her claim that the three Jewish teens who were killed weren’t kidnapped.
A video of the protest can be seen by clicking on the following link.
The woman who is arguing with the police at the beginning of the video is Haneen Zoabi.
And that was what brought us to Erev Shabbat (the evening before the Sabbath). Shabbat Shalom (may you have a peaceful Sabbath).
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper. The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121) May it be!
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Hamas Terrorist Tunnel Infiltration Failed – IDF Sends Troops into Gaza – TWTW 17 July, 2014

Shalom all,

This will be short.

At 2 minutes before 3:00 p.m., Israel time, after 5 hours of a halt in the fighting at the request of the U.N. for “humanitarian reasons”, Hamas immediately thereafter sent a barrage of missiles into Israeli residential communities. The IDF responded and it’s been like that all day.

After 13 terrorists were spotted coming out of a tunnel and trying to infiltrate into a kibbutz to slaughter the residents and return to their hole like rats, the IDF blew up the tunnel with the terrorists in it. Their attempt to kill civilians failed. God did another miracle today!

But, that incident, being yet another in a series of attempts at infiltration into Israel to kill as many civilians as possible, caused the Security Cabinet to realise that ground action is necessary in order to find the tunnels and get rid of them. Tunnels were dug to smuggle weapons into Gaza. But, these particular tunnels were designed to provide access for terrorists from Gaza into areas close to residential communities in the south of Israel. Gaza is a maze of tunnels, some along the border with Egypt and some along Gaza’s eastern and northern borders near cities, towns, kibbutzim and settlements. In the present ground action, the IDF will attempt not only to remove destroy the tunnels, but in the process, to neutralise the military infrastructure and capability of Hamas. Israel had earlier demanded that a cease fire, if it would occur, would require “demilitarising” Gaza. That was not an option for Hamas and its affiliate terrorist organisations, who continued to send waves of missiles into the south of Israel and the wider Gush Dan region (Tel Aviv and locales surrounding it). 

Ground troops were just sent into Gaza. Many hoped that such action would not be required, but realistically knew that it was necessary to restore quiet to Israeli communities. Hamas was hoping that it would happen, so that the death toll would increase, resulting in world pressure being placed upon Israel. The call-up of another 18,000 reservists has been authorised.

As the IDF entered Gaza, sirens sounded in the northern Golan Heights. All three of our children are at a youth conference in the area of the Golan. Our two older children are counsellors at the conference, while the youngest is attending with dozens of friends.

Your prayers are solicited for wisdom, strength and protection for those who are putting heir lives in harm’s way to protect us. As of this writing, at least 15 of our soldiers have been wounded (the extent of their injuries have not yet been reported). Please also pray for all those attending the youth conference in the north.

A fuller report will follow tomorrow.

With thanks and blessings,


The cease-fire that ceased before it started – TWTW 15 July, 2014

Shalom all,
It takes two to cease-fire!
As a full week of attacks from Gaza and responses from Israel was coming to a close, efforts were under way yesterday to arrange a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. By day’s end, it was reported that a cease-fire would be declared at 09:00 a.m., on Tuesday morning, the 8th day of the war. 
According to the terms of the cease-fire proposal, both sides were to stop all land, air and sea operations against the other side. In addition, terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip were expected to cease all underground attacks against Israel. Israel was expected to allow people and goods to move freely in and out of Gaza at a re-opened border crossing, although exactly which border crossing was not specified.
With almost no public explanation being given beforehand, at 06:00 this morning (Tuesday), despite continuing rocket attacks from Gaza and heavy political opposition to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, Israel’s security cabinet decided to accept it – without accomplishing any of Israel’s initial, stated goals. 
Around noon today, P.M. Netanyahu made his first public announcement concerning the cease-fire, indicating that Israel was willing to pursue a peaceful end to the violence. But, he added that if Hamas continues its attacks upon Israel, we would expand our operations in Gaza accordingly: “Israel has accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, a goal that was and remains putting an end to rocket fire from Gaza on our cities, providing the citizens of Israel with the peace and quiet to which they are entitled. I know that you know that no country would sit idly by while its civilian population is subjected to terrorist rocket fire. Israel is no exception…If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal, and the rocket fire from Gaza does not cease, and that appears to be the case now, we are prepared to continue and intensify our operation to protect our people. For this we have kept full support from the responsible members of the international community.”
As already noted, the decision to accept the Egyptian-sponsored cease-fire proposal was not warmly welcomed by many Israeli ministers. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said: “We were willing to pay a heavy price to complete the most significant achievements yet against Hamas…There is no cosmetic facelift to a mistake like this…A cease-fire is a slap in the face for the Israeli people.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett expressed that the cease-fire would be “good for Hamas and bad for Israel…A cease-fire at the present time shows the government’s weakness…[It would] now create a bigger campaign against the south of the country and more rocket attacks in another year.”
Ayelet Shaked, of Naftali Bennett’s ultra-nationalist Habayit Hayehudi party, added that “[a] ceasefire without harming Hamas’s tunnels and rockets represents capitulation.” There are many others who expressed similar disagreement and disappointment.
Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, wants Israel to stop playing around and go in and retake Gaza. This is not a good idea at this time. It would be better if those who live in Gaza decided to take a stand against Hamas, Islami Jihad and other terrorist organisations in their midst. Their real enemy is their own leadership, not our leadership. 
Israel is willing to put an end to the belligerence. Hamas is not. 
Contrary to what has been contended by many who accuse Israel, who say that it is the aggressor and does not want a cease-fire, Israel demonstrated to everyone that once again, it was willing to make the extra effort and go along with the cease-fire proposal. Hamas, however, had a different perspective and a few minutes after 09:00 a.m., rocket fire from Gaza landed in the southern city of Ashdod, causing property damage, but no injuries. Nevertheless, a number of people were treated for shock. Less than an hour later, a rocket barrage was launched from Gaza towards northern Israel, with five of them being intercepted, including one in the Haifa/Mt. Carmel range. Then came the decision of Hamas –  it rejected the cease-fire proposal. Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told the Associated Press that “this proposal is not acceptable.”
Shortly after noon, in response to the continued rocket attacks, the Israeli air force renewed its bombings of Gaza.
Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, a seemingly unending stream of rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Israel has reportedly destroyed about 3,000 missiles in Gaza, said to be about one-third of Hamas’ missile supply. Over 100 terrorists operating in the region of the Gaza Strip have been killed through Israel responses and around 550 Israelis have been treated for shock. Over 1,500 terror targets have been struck. The terrorist groups have fired about 1,100 rockets and mortars into Israel, close to 200 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile Defense System.
The figures can be depressing. But, figures alone do not tell the entire story. It has to be remembered that Operation  Protective Edge began with the goal of restoring calm to the residents in the south of Israel, after Hamas and its terrorist affiliates engaged in a seemingly endless reign of terror in the south of Israel. The purpose was to remove the military capability of Hamas and Islamic Jihad from launching rockets of different kinds, sizes and ranges into Israel. Promises had been made to protect Israeli citizens and that Israel would do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. Only a few days ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained resolute in the face of increasing world opposition against the charge that Israel was killing civilians in Gaza. He explained that Hamas uses human shields to protect itself, resulting in civilian deaths, which Israel has tried to avoid. The use of civilians as shields, and the firing of weapons from civilian locations, are readily admitted by Hamas.
A crime against humanity – yes, but by whom?
Israel is repeatedly condemned for killing innocent women and children in the present war, yes war (not conflict and not operation) with the forces of evil, represented by Hamas and its terrorist associates. Self-defense is not a crime, that is, unless it is Israel who is defending itself. Unlike Hamas, Israel does not target civilians.
When it comes to a crime against humanity, Ibrahim Khraishi, the “Palestinian” representative to the UN Human Rights Council, put the finger of blame directly on Hamas, tacking on Israel at the end as behaving in a similar manner. In a rare moment of truth telling by a “Palestinian” official, he stated: The missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets. What Israel does against Palestinian civilians also constitutes crimes against humanity. OK? … Therefore, targeting civilians — be it one civilian or a thousand — is considered a crime against humanity...Please note that many of our people in Gaza appeared on TV and said that the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing because [the Israelis] followed the legal procedures. As for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out. Therefore, people should know more before they talk emotionally about appealing to the ICC [International Criminal Court].”
Arab-Israeli journalist blames Hamas for the present military situation.
Lucy Aharish, an Arab-Israeli and an anchorwoman for i24 News, challenged Alaa al-Mashehrwi (don’t even try to pronounce that name) a Gazan journalist, who appeared on her program last week, and accused Hamas of being responsible for the present situation. She challenged him to get together with other journalist, as well as civilians, and demonstrate against Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their use of civilian population as shields. She further urged him and other “Palestinian” journalists to affirmatively demand that Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel, a move which would be beneficial for both sides and would stop the suffering.
See the following site and then click on the video.
To the same effect, see the interview with Hebron journalist Al Kasmin.
We have to be thankful for journalists like Lucy Aharish, not because she is an Arab-Israeli, but because she dares to think and question and challenge and to see things the way they are and not try to sugar-coat them. Others may have heard her challenge and it would not be surprising if some in Gaza would openly challenge Hamas, risking their lives in the process.
Where do we go from here?
From the looks of things, Hamas will continue to fire rockets into civilian communities in Israel, hoping to draw a greater Israeli response. For Hamas, blood and death are good public relations. It cannot defeat Israel militarily, so it will try to achieve its political goals through international outrage at the deaths of civilians, their civilians, even though they, themselves, are primarily responsible for such civilian casualties. Israel is again considering a ground offensive, which possibility looms large on the horizon at this time. While a ground operation is absolutely necessary in order to make sure that the job is done, namely, destroying the military infrastructure, action on the ground will significantly increase the body count, that of Israel as well as of Hamas. This long-standing conflict between “them” and “us” can quickly end when they will love their children more than they hate us.
First Israeli death from the present war
The first Israeli death attributable directly to wounds suffered from mortar fire from Gaza occurred today. The man was critically wounded at the Erez border crossing and died in Barzili Hospital in Ashkelon.
Netanyahu fires Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.
As noted above, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon indicated his clear disagreement with the decision to accept the Egyptian-sponsored cease-fire. He added to that the following: “I won’t (accept) the weak, leftist spirit of the prime minister.” Netanyahu’s responded promptly and fired him this evening, saying, in part, that Danon acted irresponsibly in his position as Deputy Defense Minister by attacking the leadership of the State that is involved in the conflict with terrorist organizations. He added that Danon’s “statements are beneficial to the Hamas terrorist organization”. And, he added, in light of Danon’s lack of trust in the government, it was expected that he would take responsibility for his actions and resign. Inasmuch as he failed to do so, Netanyahu exercised his authority to remove him from his position.  Danon’s response: “Netanyahu failed and is conducting himself in weakness.”
It is understandable that P.M. Netanyahu would be greatly upset with Danon’s statements. But, removing him from his position as Deputy Defense Minister is a drastic measure. As a country, we pride ourselves on being democratic. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our society. Netanyahu made tough statements and promises over the past few days. The proposed cease-fire would have been dishonoured by Hamas, just as prior cease-fires have been ignored by it. Danon had a right to express his opinion, even though it may not have been the right way or in the right forum. Disagreement with government decisions is part of regular life here. A better way to have handled the situation would have been to have a face-to-face meeting between Netanyahu and Danon, in an effort to resolve their differences in a way that would be beneficial to the government and to them individually. Such a meeting could show other ministers that disagreements with a given decision or policy do not mean lack of support for the government, or for the State of Israel. Danon is an outspoken opponent of the “two-state solution” and in favor of working towards the goal of extending full Israeli sovereignty to the majority of Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu gave the impression a few days ago that this is more or less his own thinking. Division in leadership, while facing a common enemy, is not wise. Publicly displaying such division is not politically healthy and evidences a degree of weakness before our enemies, both near and far.
After eight days of Operation Protective Edge, emotions are bound to be exhibited, particularly when another meaningless cease-fire proposal is put on the table, without accomplishing the goals of the Operation. We need the government and all of its ministers to work together, with a common goal for the benefit of the citizens of Israel, particularly those in the south. It is difficult to reconcile firing Danny Danon because of what he said, while not doing anything to remove Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset because of her anti-Israeli words and actions. 
And that was the cease-fire that ceased, while the fire continues.
For the government of Israel, my prayer is: “Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” (2 Sam. 10:12)


Israel Under Fire – Talking cease fire, acting in escalation – TWTW 12 July, 2014

Good evening all,
It is almost the end of the 5th day of “Operation Protective Edge” and almost nothing has changed … nothing except the numbers. As of this writing, between 550-600 rockets and mortar shells have been fired from Gaza into Israeli populated communities. About 130 of them have been down by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Close to 1,100 locations for manufacturing, launching and storing missiles have been attacked by Israel. 
There was an attempt by Hamas and its affiliate terrorist organizations to infiltrate Israel by five fighters from the sea. They were observed by Israeli intelligence and were killed in a fire fight after they reached dry land.
Haifa was targeted, not hit, but one person died
Thursday night, alarms went off throughout Haifa. Being awaken in the middle of the night by a siren warning of an incoming missile is not a pleasant experience. Being jolted out of a sleep and having to become alert and functional within 1-2 seconds sends our systems into overdrive. Within seconds of hearing the siren go off, the whole family needed to gather in our “secured environment”, which is a specially reinforced room, that is able to be hermetically sealed off against biological and chemical agents. Within 15 seconds, we were all gathered together, waiting for news that the threat was over. That came about a minute or so later. The missile intended for Haifa fell about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) south of here, in another community.
But, the shock of having to wake up and get to a secure location took its toll on one elderly woman. She did not have a place to go and went downstairs to a neighbor’s apartment. A combination of factors came into play and while she was with the neighbor, she suffered a heart attack and died.
For all intents and purposes, the night was over. Sleep was something we would look forward to Friday night. We are not unfamiliar with the experience. Haifa has been attacked many times by missiles, from the first Gulf War in 1991, the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and now another attempt. It is unsettling, to say the least. We experienced one long night, which made the following day seem even longer. There are entire communities in the south that have been under actual missile attack for years. A point was reached when the government had to act and finally launched Operation Protective Edge.
Beer Sheva home destroyed; woman walks out of rubble.
Last night, a rocket made a direct hit on a private home in Beer Sheva. The place was leveled. Neighbors knew that an elderly woman was supposed to be at home and, together with rescue forces, they began to search the rubble and found the woman. She was shaken and minimally injured, but was able to walk away. This was nothing short of a miracle. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, when she will remain at least until Sunday.
Cease-Fire and Increased Hostilities
Hamas will not request a cease fire. It is a matter of losing face, which in the mentality of the Middle East means that they would lose status and influence. It would be the beginning of the end of the terrorist organization if they show weakness. It would also mean that they did not “win” in their attacks upon Israel. Again, here, if you do not “win”, you are considered to have “lost”. Impression plays a large part in the on-going conflicts in the Middle East, not only the Arab-Israeli conflict, but the intra-Arab conflicts going on in this region. In this regard, the willingness of the Netanyahu government to pursue a cease-fire gives the wrong impression – that of weakness – at a time when it needed to demonstrate a determination to end the threat of Hamas against the residents of southern Israel, as well as residents in the cities along the Mediterranean coast, including Tel Aviv, as far as Haifa. Jerusalem has been targeted several times. 
An interesting, almost humorous, note is that during a missile barrage this afternoon in the area around Hebron, one Hamas rocket fell in an area occupied primarily by those who are under the control of the “Palestinian” Authority. The residents didn’t hesitate to immediate complain that the Israeli government should provide them with sufficient warning of incoming missiles, so that they can find shelter. After the missile fell in their own neighborhood, none of them were seen dancing and rejoicing on their rooftops.
There is increasing talk of a cease fire. Various proposals have been put forth, allowing for a compromise. It is not worth speculating on the nature and potential consequences of any such compromise solution. But, one thing can be said: If a cease fire does go into effect, which leaves Hamas in power, even if weakened, and if Israel does not accomplish its goal of destroying Hamas’ military capability, it will be interpreted in the broader “Palestinian” and terror-based communities as a victory for Hamas, which is exactly what that organization is looking for. 
Hamas is in a difficult situation. Its popularity has waned. Popularity and prestige mean influence, power and money, all of which Hamas desperately needs. On the other hand, Israel will be seen as having been weakened and the ultimate loser in this latest conflict, which will encourage our enemies to continue their attempts to destroy us as a nation and to remove us from what they misguidedly refer to as “occupied territory”. The way to achieve their goals, which include weakening the Fatah faction of the “Palestinian” unity government, is to escalate its activities against Israel and to have “third parties” initiate a cease fire on terms acceptable to Hamas. We cannot and must not end the present operation without removing the military threat from Gaza. The consequences could be disastrous, not only militarily, but politically for the present government.
Threat against Tel Aviv
The most recent threat issued by Hamas is that it would attack Tel Aviv at 9:00 p.m. Israel time tonight. That is in another minute or two from now. It is clear that Hamas wants to do something on a grand scale before a possible cease fire is agreed to. One of the targets would clearly be the Israeli equivalent of the Twin Towers that were destroyed on September 11, 2001.
There were rockets launched against the greater Tel Aviv area shortly after the time threatened by Hamas. Iron Dome knocked out one and another fell on a highway, but most fell in open areas. By God’s grace. No one was injured.
Encouragement and Condemmation
Various countries stood and stand with Israel, proclaiming unashamedly Israel’s right to defend itself against the rocket attacks of Hamas and its affiliated terror gangs. After about a half dozen countries publicly supported Israel, the U.S. finally joined in, but wanted the parties to exercise restraint and offered to mediate a cease fire. 
Other countries were less tolerant, with anti-Israel sentiment being sounded both on the street, as well as from government circles. Condemnation of Israel was based on the number of casualties in Gaza, as opposed to the number of casualties in Israel. Israel was portrayed as the aggressor, while totally ignoring the fact that it came under increasing, massive missile attacks emanating from Gaza. Those that mentioned that rockets were launched against Israel ended up down-playing Hamas’ activities, by claiming that Israel was over-reacting. 
The problem with the condemnation against Israel from the international community is that they underestimate the power and ability of terrorist organizations and the ability of such organizations and groups to influence the masses. And then, one day, when they, themselves, become victims of terrorism, they begin to ask the questions “How could this happen? How could we have allowed it to happen?” But, by then, it’s too late.
Early Warnings – Ignored by Hamas
Those who accuse Israel of over-reacting tend to willingly ignore the fact that the IDF has a policy of notifying civilians to vacate their premises a short time before the air force blows up the factory or house, which is either occupied or used by terrorists to manufacture and/or store and/or launch rockets and mortars. The intention is to reduce the number of civilian casualties.
This worked well for a while, until Hamas began to order civilians to defy the early warnings of Israel and to sacrifice themselves and be willing to die. This, in effect, turns the citizens into human shields
This is the same policy that Hamas fighters employed in 2012, when they grabbed children and used them as protection against Israel’s soldiers. This is diametrically opposite from what Israeli soldiers do, who protect civilians rather than use civilians to protect them. 
Israel has notified a wide area in Gaza this evening that they should vacate their premises. If that is true, then it could be that a ground operation is about to take place, notwithstanding the possibility of continuing discussions for a cease fire. It looks as though Hamas is unwilling to stop its attacks on Israel and that our forces are being given the go ahead to take out targets that until now were not being considered.

The north came under rocket fire.
As this was being posted, it was reported that rockets were fired in the area of the western Galilee. At least 3 missiles were said to lad in open areas and no one was injured. The terrorist organisation, Hizb’allah, in Lebanon, has not claimed responsibility. Nor would it be wise for it to do so at this time. Israel would not want to have a “second front” opened at this time and so we would not hesitate to deal with it swiftly and with full force.
That’s it for now.
May our leaders pray as did King Solomon: “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?”(2 Chronicles 1:10)
May the LORD guard those who guard us, and may they go out and return in peace (Psalm 121:8). We have more than half a dozen in our own congregation, who are presently on active duty, or who are reservists that were called up this week.
May our people consider their ways and return to the LORD. They still “do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD” (Isa. 31:1). 

Thank you for your prayers.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing and have a great week.

The Day That Was … ending 10 July, 2014

Shalom all,
In order to restore quiet to the region and stop Hamas terrorism, the IDF has commenced Operation Solid Rock (in Hebrew: “Tzuk Aytan”, officially designated in English as “Operation Protective Edge”, which is a real misnomer). The presently-stated goal of this operation is to stop the incessant rocket attacks against Israel’s civilians by Hamas and restore quiet and calm to the south. The big question is “how will this goal be achieved”?
10 July, 2014
The IDF estimates that there are some 10,000 rockets and mortars in the hands of Hamas and other terrorists in and around Gaza. In round figures, since the start of the operation on Monday night, close to 400 rockets landed in Israel. The Iron Dome missile defense system downed about 100 missiles and the IDF attacked some 780 targets from the air and sea. 
Escalating Hostilities
During the last two days, rocket against Israel have substantially increased, along with the number of locations here that have been targeted by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. Yesterday, missiles reached as far north as Zicharon Yaacov, along the Mediterranean coastline, a drive of about 25 minutes from Haifa. Hamas wants desperately to reach as far north as possible and Haifa is its goal. In the meantime, it is firing in the direction of greater Tel-Aviv area to the north, Dimona (where Israel’s alleged nuclear facility is supposed to be located) to the east, along with Beer Sheva and other locations throughout the southwest and as far as Jerusalem (4 rockets today) to the northeast of Gaza. I tried to attach a map that shows, from a broad perspective, some of the locations in Israel that were and are affected by the rocket attacks. Even though I copied the map and inserted it into this post, when I updated it, the map was blank. I’ll try to figure out how to do this for next time.
The map would have shown that Sderot residents have only 15 seconds and residents of Ashkelon have 30 seconds in order to reach a secure location once the sirens go off. Time passes very quickly when we are pressed to grab something and/or someone and run to a shelter. A woman with two very young children will have a difficult time picking them both up and making it to an protective enclosure on time.
By now, most of the television media have shown at least one barrage of missiles coming out of Gaza. The missiles are intended to wreak as much damage and harm as possible. One of the tactics of Hamas, which was used effectively by Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War in 1991, was to send missiles against Israel during the hours of darkness, including in the middle of the night. An attempt was made to cause us to lose sleep, so that we would be less functional during the day. Indeed, our enemies love the darkness because their deeds are evil (see John 3:19).
Rockets, missiles and mortar fire are things that are finite, even if the number of available projectiles run into the thousands. Many are launched by Hamas, many are destroyed by Israel. But, a satanic ideology and intentional perversion of history are things that are more difficult to deal with militarily. There is a great deception taking place within Islam. Lies about superiority, land and destiny are spewed forth to a population that is all too willing to accept the lies as their hope for a future. Death and martyrdom are exalted by their leaders and a no-compromise position is drummed into the hearts and minds of their followers, who are indoctrinated from childhood on. To get an idea of their poisonous, hate speech, listen to Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister, as he reaffirms Hamas’ commitment to military action until the “Palestinians” conquer all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, namely all of Israel, not just Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”).
The same is true of Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal.
A propaganda commercial that was broadcast yesterday (9th July) on Al-Aqsa TV, threatens “suicide attacks on every bus, café and street Wait for the rage and for revenge for Gaza, wait for the flames of the West Bank, inside you.” (translated by Palestinian Media Watch)
But, it is not only Hamas that wants to destroy us. We have Arab members of Knesset, who want Israel to cease to exist as well. Ahmad Tibi, an outspoken Knesset Member from the Arab Ta’al Party (Arab Movement for Change – you can imagine what that “change” is), while attending an official ceremony of the “Palestinian” Authority, stated: “In the history of nations and their struggles, the Shahid (Martyr) holds the height of glory. There is no higher value than Shahada (Death for Allah). It is the Shahid (Martyr) who opens the path, and with his blood draws the path to liberty and freedom. The Shahid is the symbol of the homeland… Blessings to the thousands of Shahids in the homeland and in exile. Blessings to our and to your Shahids inside the Green-Line (Israel), those who the occupier wanted to be called terrorists, and we say that there is nothing loftier than those who died for the homeland.”
And then, there is Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi. But, that is another story for another time.
Why is Hamas provoking Israel to respond?
As we come to the end of the third day of “Operation Protective Edge”, we have to stop and reflect for a moment why Hamas did and is doing everything it can to escalate hostilities between it and Israel. We’ve touched on this before. Aside from the obvious blind, religiously-motivated hatred that it has for Israel and the Jewish people, Hamas is facing major economic, social and political difficulties and needs to regain the confidence of the “Palestinian” people. Politically, it may be at an all-time low. Egypt, who was once its friend under prior leadership, wants nothing to do with Hamas and treats it as an enemy. Even within the broader Arab world, other issues have taken a front-row seat, such as the terrorist organization IS (formerly ISIS) and the rise of an Islamic caliphate in places like Iraq and Syria. 
The way that Hamas rose to popularity was to show that it can fight and is willing to fight against Israel, or so it was generally believed. Having done so once and survived (Operation Cast Lead – December, 2008 t0 January, 2009), it believes that it can do so again and achieve widespread popular support by striking against Israel and causing it as much damage as possible. It is trying to accomplish this by its seemingly unceasing rocket and mortar fire into populated Israeli territory. There are other goals, as well, which Hamas hopes that it would be able to achieve by a war of attrition against Israel, which it obviously believes it could survive. This would serve to revive Hamas in the eyes of the public, and in the broader, Arab-speaking community, in the same way that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Hizb’allah in Lebanon, was able to do after he survived the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Hamas knows how much Israelis value life and that we would go to great lengths to avoid another military involvement, particularly an extended military operation. So, it is hoping that public pressure will mount against the government of Israel to force Israel to reach a compromise solution that would include both an Israeli-initiated request for a cease-fire as well as demands to restrict Israel’s involvement in the area of Gaza and the Gaza Strip. Not the least of its “demands” would be the release of “Palestinian” prisoners in Israeli prisons. In their warped mind and perverted understanding of political leverage, they believe that they will be able to accomplish this by a prolonged and bloody battle on the ground, where their soldiers are willing to martyr themselves, as long as they can take as many Israel soldiers with them. But, we need to remember the major difference between our Israeli soldiers and Hamas – we stand in front of our women and children to protect them, while they use their women and children as shields to protect their fighters.
The present, massive rocket attack upon Israel and the expanding areas that are being affected by it, are not working to the advantage of Hamas. It may gain some political clout for a short period, but it will end up losing whatever it might hope to accomplish if the rockets keep coming and Israel keeps destroying terrorist targets inside of Gaza. A prolonged military encounter with Israel will not pay the wages of the thousands of Hamas employees, the bill for which Hamas was hoping would be picked up by the Fatah branch of the “Palestinian” Authority. Nor will a prolonged conflict help to re-establish parts of Gaza’s infrastructure that are slowly be demolished by Israel’s retaliation.
Israel also knows that a prolonged war, yes, war, with Hamas and its terrorist allies would not be good for Israel. The Israeli army is trained to get in, get the job done and then get out and try to get back to normal life. When it entered Lebanon and was told to “wait” until a cease-fire would go into effect, it suffered more casualties in the last 3 days than it did in the 30 days that preceded them. Also, rising casualty figures in Gaza could easily turn world sympathy away from Israel and back to the “Palestinians” in Gaza, placing tremendous pressure on Israel to reach yet another compromise with terrorists, that would not be in Israel’s best interests.
Israel’s goals in this present military operation need to be very clear and those goals need to be vigorously pursued. The military capability of Hamas and its ilk needs to be eliminated. If we stop short of this goal, we are only delaying the inevitable renewal of hostilities as soon as Hamas can regroup and re-arm. And, if its present leadership remains in authority when the hostilities end, then Hamas will have accomplished its goal of surviving to fight against Israel another day.
Reservists are called up
Israel has called up some 40,000 reservists. It has moved tanks and equipment along the border with Gaza and we are poised and ready to enter. The present goals of Israel to end the rocket attacks and to restore calm to our citizenry will only be able to be accomplished by military action on the ground. Interestingly enough, Mahmoud Abbas, who is proclaiming to everyone who will listen that Israel is perpetrating genocide against the “Palestinian” people and has compared “what is happening in Gaza” with Auschwitz, has already prepped his populace and told them that Israel will send ground troops into Gaza. Hamas wants Israel to come in and fight it “on its own territory”. It is not interested in any cease fire and doesn’t see that it has done anything, or is doing anything, wrong. Israel needs to be doubly careful about where the feet of her soldiers tread when entering enemy territory and a totally-hostile environment.
It may be another long night for many here. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who were injured since the missiles landed, whose property has been destroyed and whose lives have been disrupted. We pray for our leadership for wisdom, for our military that their arms would be upheld and strengthened and for our population that our eyes and hearts would turn to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, Who holds out His arms towards us, for He longs to be gracious unto us. If only we would take His hand and allow Him to lead us.
“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. (Psalm 34:7).
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

The Day That Was … ending 8 July, 2014

“Operation Solid Rock” gets under way; Netanyahu tells the IDF to “take off the gloves”; the Israeli Air Force strikes at military targets in Gaza; rockets continue to be launched into populated areas throughout the south; classes, examinations, summer camps and various activities within a 40-kilometer range from Gaza were cancelled; a rocket explodes in Jerusalem; sirens sounded in locations in and around and north of Tel-Aviv; two kibbutzim are behind closed doors because of possible terrorist infiltration; attempts at further kidnapping of teens did not succeed.
It would be good if the matters summarized in bold print were all that was happening here in the last 24 hours. But, that is not the case.
Tuesday, 8 July, 2014:
After more than a 130 rockets in 24 hours were launched into populated communities in Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization located in Gaza, the Israeli government took action to put an end to the missile threat – at least for the time being. Israel launched “Operation Solid Rock” and the air force bombed some 50 targets in the Gaza Strip throughout the night and into the morning hours. 
As is widely known, as the negotiations between Israel and the “Palestinian” Authority were about to be buried, the “Palestinian” factions of Fatah and Hamas entered into a new agreement and formed a unity government. But, their reunification was doomed to failure before it ever got started. Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the P.A., immediately proclaimed that Hamas would be willing to go along with Fatah’s decision to recognize Israel (although not as a Jewish state). Hamas immediately denied such claims, saying that it would never recognize Israel and that it would continue to fight against it. Hamas was hoping that the reunification with Fatah would cause the P.A., located in Ramallah, to take over Hamas’ burden of paying the salaries of tens of thousands of Hamas employees, most of whom are out of work at this point due to lack of funds. But, Ramallah was unwilling. The rift began between the two  factions before the ink was dried on the paper reuniting them.
Hamas needed to regain its popularity with the local population in Gaza and its position elsewhere in the Arab world, as being in the forefront of the opposition against “the Zionist entity”. The best way to do that would be to send waves of rockets into Israel, in an attempt to draw Israel into a full military engagement with Hamas in Gaza. The goal was to have Israel “over-react”, creating world sympathy for the poor Hamasnikim on the one hand, and condemnation of Israel on the other hand – similar to what happened in “Operation Cast Lead” in December, 2008, which was Israel’s response to the rocket and mortar fire by Hamas into the Western Negev and Israeli communities in the Gaza vicinity that was on-going for over 8 years. Now, 5 and a half years later, the rockets and mortar shells continue to be fired by Hamas into the same populated communities. The main differences between then and now are that the weapons in the possession of Hamas are considerably improved, have a longer range and more communities are affected. But, the Hamas terrorist organization remains a terrorist organization. Only now, it is somewhat more desperate.
As it is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so I tried to post a picture here that shows the proximity of the communities under attack in the last two days and their distances from Gaza. But, I didn’t succeed in attaching it. So, I’m referring you to one of the sites that shows it.  All of the locations presented in the map shown in the above site were targeted by Hamas. But, many other locations, not shown there, were also the recipients of deadly projectiles. Jerusalem, once considered “off limits” for missile attacks, is no longer exempt. It’s residents heard the sirens and some experienced the boom and shock wave from a rocket exploding in the Pisgat Zeev community of the city. Some 6,000 people needed to be evacuated from a concert that took place at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. Sirens sounded in locations north of Tel Aviv, and only a half an hour from Haifa, where I live. 
All in all, when the first day of “Operation Solid Rock” was over, 117 rockets landed in various places in Israel, including Jerusalem and even north of Tel Aviv, while the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system downed another 29.
No normal democratic society would tolerate what Israel has tolerated over the past 13 years of missiles into populated centers. That is 13 long years! There are children who live in the communities affected, who have never known what it means not to hear a siren going off, that warns of an incoming missile. Children, who know where the closest “shelter” is located and who know that they need to reach that shelter within a few seconds of the sirens going off. Children, whose education and vacation have been interrupted because of constant missile threats. What about the concerns of their parents, the effects of such missile threats on the community as a whole, on business and on the quality of life? Some things speak for themselves.
The communities, cities, kibbutzim, moshavim and settlements are our buffers and first lines of defense against terrorist infiltration and attacks upon other, major population centers, like Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa, as well as smaller cities and communities. By failing to deal with the threats to their existence, they have been relegated to second-class citizen status – the few who suffer instead of the many. If rockets and mortar shells fell on Tel-Aviv, we wouldn’t wait for 13 years to deal with it. The time has come to put an end to the threats, to eliminate the terrorist, military infrastructure, so that our citizens can live without the constant concern of missiles striking the side of their residence. Maybe this time, “Operation Solid Rock” will succeed, not to restore calm for a season, but to remove the threat that disrupts that calm and restores quality of life to communities in the south of Israel.
Hamas, for its part, continues to use the media to spread its propaganda and say that Israel’s threats do not scare them. Hamas spokesman, Mushir al-Masri, said that at this time, there is no room for discussing de-escalation of hostilities. Quite the contrary. The focus of the Hamas is on drawing Israel into Gaza, to fight us on local territory.  A senior Hamas official said that said that it would not agree to a ceasefire until “aggressions against Gaza” are ended. Hamas is demanding an end to Israeli air strikes and an end to the Israeli-Egyptian naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.At the same time, it is hoping that P.A. President, Mahmoud Abbas, would act to bring about an end to Israel’s military response. It also was looking to Egypt to intervene to stop Israel’s military response to the rocket barrage. But, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is opposed to the “Palestinian” branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has ignored them and has kept the Rafah border crossing (between Egypt and Gaza) closed.
Abbas, for his part, demanded that Israel “immediately stop its escalation and the raids on Gaza” and asked the international community “to immediately intervene to halt this dangerous escalation which would lead the region to more destruction and instability.”
While Abbas was making his demands, Hamas was trying to manipulate the international community into believing that Israel was already committing atrocities in Gaza and posted videos and photos on social media websites, that are intended to support them. But, BBC Trending, the broadcasting service of the social media department, reported on Monday that some of the images are not only unrelated to the present conflict, but are 5 years old and are from conflicts from two other countries in this region: “Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects the airstrikes. Some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza, but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.” 
Various Western media have reported on the massive rocket attack from Gaza against Israel. Some even appeared to justify Israel’s retaliation as being an effort to put an end to the terrorist threat against its citizens in the south once and for all. But, if “Operation Solid Rock” goes ahead with a ground offensive, which could very well happen in the next day or two, and that offensive continues beyond a few days, it is reasonable to expect that even though Israel is entitled to defend itself, world opinion will once again turn against Israel. 
In the meantime, our leadership is not completely unified regarding the goals of the present military response. Some want to eliminate the terrorist military infrastructure, others want to eliminate Hamas’s ability to function and still others want Israel to take over control of Gaza. On the other side of the political scene are those who want us not to pursue a ground offensive and not to do anything which would jeopardize a future deal with the “Palestinians”. The U.S. added its two cents, as President Obama called on Israelis and “Palestinians” to “act with reasonableness and restraint”. One rocket fell on Jerusalem this evening. By God’s grace, no one was injured. I wonder how much restraint the U.S. would exhibit if a terrorist rocket would explode in Washington.
Tuesday is now over, but as this is being written, rockets and mortars from Gaza continue to be launched into residential communities here. The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system is working overtime at seeking and exploding incoming missiles. But, as noted from the statistics mentioned above, it cannot knock out all of the projectiles, particularly in a massive attack like that which took place yesterday and again today. 
Hamas has thousands of missiles, some of which are long-range. It also has anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, which it is waiting to use against Israel when it considers the time to be right.
And THAT was the day that was.
God is reaching out to Israel, His beloved. We have again strayed from the Holy One of Israel. Hamas and the rest of the “Palestinians” are being used to draw the nation back to One who drew them with an everlasting love and with lovingkindness. Our leaders need to call upon Him and to rely upon His wisdom. Our military needs prayer to rely upon His strength. Our nation needs prayer to rely upon His guidance. May it not be that we would  fail to “ask for the counsel of the LORD.” (Josh. 9:15)
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper … and their vindication is from Me” declares the LORD. (Isa. 54:17).
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,

The bodies of the kidnapped boys were found. – TWTW 6 July, 2014

Shalom all,
This has been a tough week. First the news that the bodies of the 3 kidnapped, Jewish teens were found. After the funeral the following day, the body of an Arab teen was found in  a Jerusalem forest, burned. It was believed that his death was the result of revenge for the deaths of the three Jewish youths. The death of the Arab teen sparked widespread riots in Arab-controlled communities throughout Israel, which continue as of this writing. Arrests were made in connection with the latter killing. There were many other events, but life and death seemed to be the major issues during the last week.
Bodies of kidnapped boys found; the nation mourns with the families.
What started out as a report of events of last week came to an abrupt halt on Monday, as the bodies were found of the three teenagers, who were kidnapped on June 12th. In a moment, anticipation and heartache turned into heartbreak and anger over their murders. The parents of the three boys were informed. All government meetings were cancelled and the security cabinet met in emergency session to decide what measures were to be taken. Since then, the security cabinet met at least four times.
It was only the week before when the mothers of the three Jewish youths went to Switzerland to speak to the Human Rights Council. Mis-information can create a tremendous impact and has lots of power. When combined with outright lies and deception, even those who are astute can be taken in.
I am attaching a link for you and Phyllis of Rachel Fraenkel’s speech and the UN “discussion” on the missing teens. Note how many times the youths are referred to as “settlers” and by whom.
The mother of Gil-ad, 16, one of the 3 boys said that her experience in Switzerland was “a nightmare within a nightmare…Under any other circumstances, I could have enjoyed the trip to Switzerland. But this was a nightmare. It was a nightmare within a nightmare. What we sometimes read in the papers about anti-Israel sentiments, this time it was directed at us. I needed more mental preparation to face the kind of indifference I encountered there. It was frustrating. You meed another senior official and another senior official, the president of the Red Cross and members of the Human Rights Council, and no one bats an eye.”
The nightmare only got worse, as the parents heard the news that the bodies of their missing sons were found. In accordance with Jewish custom, arrangements were made for speedy burial of the youths. Preliminary gatherings were held in the respective communities of the three families, with representatives of the government being present at each location. “A voice is [again] heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children…because they are no more.” (Jer. 31:15)
That was followed by a funeral service for all three, attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, out-going President Shimon Peres and a number of other government ministers. They were joined by a vast multitude of citizens, who came from all parts of the country. Dozens of buses were not able to enter the cemetery area because of the number of vehicles that already came, so they allowed their passengers to go off the buses and walk to the area where the funerals were being held.
It was a time of deep sorrow, tears and national mourning. The boys captured the heart of the nation, as we referred to them by their first names. As it turned out, they were shot almost immediately following their kidnapping and a two-minute voice tape of Gil-ad’s phone call to the police recording their abductors telling them to lower their heads, followed by sounds of shots, which was followed by laughter. Apparently, they were in touch with someone else by phone and indicated that they had killed the three.
Sorrow and sympathy quickly turned to anger and outrage, as calls for revenge sprang up from a number of different places within Israeli society. The government did its best to discourage people from taking the law into their own hands and urged them to allow the military and security forces to exact the price for the deaths of the boys. As P.M. Netanyahu said: “Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay.”
An Arab teenager was kidnapped and killed.
While Israel garnered some sympathy and encouragement from various places around the world for about a day, immediately after the discovery of the bodies of the kidnapped teens. Nevertheless, that sympathy and understanding quickly faded and condemnation of Israel resumed the day after the funeral, when the body of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Arab youth was found in a Jerusalem forest. While sitting about a block away from his home at 4:00 a.m., he was kidnapped and then killed, apparently burned to death. And, following an autopsy, it appears that he was still alive (but not known to what extent) when he was burned. It became an immediate condemnation by the Arab community, who began to riot in various places throughout Israel. In one place, Kalanswa, Israeli drivers were being stopped by masked Arabs and were asked where they were from. If they answered in Hebrew, they were dragged from their vehicles and beaten. One Israeli managed to get back into his car and escape. Another Israeli ran away, leaving his car, which was then set ablaze and totally destroyed. Violent demonstrations continued in many Arab-controlled areas, resulting in lots of arrests and injuries. “Palestinian” leaders are letting the violent riots run their course, being very careful not to upset their own constituency. Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the “Palestinian” Authority, blamed Israeli “settlers” for the kidnapping and murder and hasn’t intervened to stop the riots.
If that were not enough, apparently one of the victim’s cousins, who is a U.S. citizen and was visiting here, took part in the riots against the police where masked rioters threw stones at Israel’s security forces, causing injury to a police officer. The police said that the cousin was resisting arrest, but was caught, was resisting arrest and detained by the police. “Palestinians” claim of the police used excessive force against the cousin and this, too, could become an international incident due to the fact that he is an American citizen. In a statement issued by the U.S. Statement Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, she said that the U.S. was “profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn[ed] any excessive use of force.” She added that the U.S. was “calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.” How quickly the issues get confused when it comes to accusing Israel of wrongdoing. I guess it is OK to throw stones and injure the police here, as long as the police don’t use “excessive force” to defend themselves and subdue the stone thrower. Where was the pressure placed on the newly re-married P.A. (Fatah and Hamas) to investigate and bring to justice the kidnappers and killers of the three Jewish teens, one of whom was a U.S. citizen? Only a handful of officials in the U.S. mentioned that Naftali was one of their native sons as well. Even today, representatives of the “Palestinians” say that they are not helping the government of Israel to Governments and individuals are quick to criticize Israel about almost anything we do. They remain silent when we are attacked, kidnapped and killed, as well as when rockets are fired into our populated cities by a terrorist organization that is sworn to the destruction of Israel. But, if we should defend ourselves and strike back, then we are “urged” to exercise restraint. I’d like to see what kind of restraint the G-8 and the European Union would exercise when their cities are attacked with missiles by a terrorist organization that is capable of being eliminated or rendered inoperable. Until they live a month on our soil and in our shoes, they who live in glass houses should be careful about the verbal stones that they throw.
In the latest development, Israel has arrested several people, who are members of a Jewish extremist cell and who are suspected of carrying out the killing of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in revenge for the killing of the three Israeli teens on June 12th. The boy’s mother is calling upon Israel to demolish the suspects’ homes, like Israel did with the homes of the two suspected Hamas operatives who are sought in connection with the deaths of the Jewish youths.
Prime Minister Netanyahu extended his condolences to the family of the “Palestinian” teen, saying: “I wish to send my condolences to the family of the teen and promise them that we will find those behind this horrific crime and bring them to justice. There is no place for such murders in our society.” While visiting the families of the three, murdered Israeli teens, Netanyahu said he did not “differentiate between terror and terror” and promised to act firmly in the face incitement, adding: “I condemn calls of ‘death to Arabs’ just like I condemn calls of ‘death to Jews… This is a sensitive time and I urge everyone to act responsibly.”
Israel’s Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, added “[We] must all feel shame at the new recent events … We cannot differentiate between blood and blood. Radicals’ attempts to take the law into their own hands harms the social fabric of Israeli society, our international interests and our attempts to fight terror.”
Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett, called the murder “heinous … anti-moral and anti-Jewish.” The above were joined by widespread condemnation of the killing from other segments of the Israeli political arena.
Israel – A Society That Honors Life
It would seem that a caption like this would be out of place, in light of the recent events surrounding the killing of the Arab youth. But, it doesn’t. It should be clear that the murder of youths is not acceptable. A revenge murder will not lessen the grief of the families, or of the nation, over the loss of the three Jewish teens who were kidnapped and killed at the hands of terrorists. Strong action needs to be taken against terrorists, whoever and wherever they are.  It is a national embarrassment that we would behave like our enemies, which is totally contrary to our national being. 
Our soldiers are the most moral in the world. Our attitude towards life is embodied in our greetings and blessings of one another for long and healthy life. We lift a glass and toast “L’Chaim” – to life. It is part and parcel of our identity as a people, who have been persecuted and marked for murder ever since we became a nation, who were brought out from Egypt by God’s mighty hand. 
Yes, Israel is a society that honors life, contrary to Hamas and much of the “Palestinian” society that exalts death. The loss of our children touches the heartstrings of our nation. That is why three years ago, Israel was willing to exchange 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, a soldier held by Hamas for 5 years. That is why Israel remains in a trauma over the disappearance 28 years ago of airforce navigator Ron Arad. We don’t want to experience any more situations like that. 
Israel’s attitude towards her children is well expressed in the article “We Pray for the Children”, by Rabbi Ed Feinstein, on July 1st, just after the funeral of the 3 boys:
I visited Israel for the first time when I was 16 years old. I came with my family and we stayed inJerusalem with friends who had immigrated years before. Each night, the neighborhood kids took me out on the town. When my parents expressed their reservations about this, they were told not to worry. Israel was safe for kids. In Israel, everyone looked after kids. In Israel, everyone was family, there were no strangers. As a protest against the fear that haunted the generations of Jewish exile, Israel had constructed a child-safe society, a child-nurturing society. Embracing children was the way Israel affirmed life after a generation of Jewish death. 
Only if you understand how Israel looks upon children will you grasp why the tragedy of this week hurts so much. After so many wars, so much terror, after Intifada, suicide bombers and random rocket attacks, why are we so affected by the death of three young teens? Because Israel’s greatest achievement was to return the promise of childhood to the Jewish people. Childhood is the most powerful human symbol of renewal — of new life and new possibility, of an open future. The promise of childhood was taken from us in the Holocaust, in the pogroms and in the brutality of exile. Israel gave us back childhood in all its sweetness. And that’s what was murdered on a highway near Hebron. 
“We will learn to sing without you,” affirmed the mother of Naftali Frankel. And at that, the entire Jewish people wept.    This is more than politics, more than nations struggling for power and territory.
This week, Israel struggles for life against death, for hope against despair. This week, Israel struggles for childhood and its dreams. There will be military operations and diplomatic negotiation. Those will not heal the wounds nor will bring closure. What was taken cannot be won back by bullets, but only by a renewal of hope, a rekindling of faith in tomorrow. 
So this week, we will hold our children tighter, and we will pray. This week, the entire Jewish people join together in prayer for the children we have lost. We will ask God for the strength to reassure our children that tomorrow is coming….soon.
In similar fashion and on the same day, Emily Amrousi, an Israeli reporter who lives in the same community with two of the families, wrote a moving article, which describes the attitude of the families, the community and the nation during the 18-day ordeal. A portion of the article is printed here.
“And you, Eyal, Naftali, and Gil-ad — what you’ve done to our people. How you taught us to pray. Religious prayer and secular prayer, that came together to heal a wounded nation. How you reminded us that we are one. After who knows how long a separation, moments of unity are a precious light. Apart from a few cynics, the hearts of the entire people beat together with worry for you, and the entire people are weeping for your short time. How you caused flowers to bloom out of rock. In your deaths — pure and beautiful, young and smiling — you secured what many don’t manage to achieve in their lifetimes.
For two and a half weeks, we waited for you. And in the meantime, without knowing, you saved lives: huge stocks of weapons were found in Judea and Samaria, ammunition caches inside private homes. Who knows what slaughter they might have wreaked? The arrests of terrorists who were on the brink of the next attack, the intelligence gained, and waves of love for the soldiers. A smart, humane army that took on a huge operation in the name of the Jewish value of life. Everyone for the sake of three, and not a hair on a soldier’s head was harmed.
Rockets slam into the south of Israel.
Hamas is willing to reach a cease-fire with Israel, but only when it feels that it would be advantageous for it to do so and allow it time to re-organize, re-arm and return to its never-ending belligerence against Israel. Literally dozens of missiles rained down upon areas in the south of Israel this past week. Notwithstanding ultimatums from Israel, Hamas continue to send rockets into populated areas, causing property damage, but, by God’s grace, no loss of life. This Saturday alone, over 20 rockets and mortars were fired into southern communities from Gaza, as residents were once again forced into bomb shelters. Some fell in Beer Sheva, where our oldest son lives. He reported how he heard one of the rockets being shot down by the Iron Dome Anti-Missile Defense System and how he heard the “pop” of the missile being destroyed. A second rocket landed in an open area. This is not a way to live.
Israel responded with a series of airstrikes against terror targets in the Gaza Strip, taking out 10 terror sites, including concealed rocket launchers and a weapons manufacturing facility. In a statement issued by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), it said: “The IDF is prepared to defend the citizens of Israel from any threat and will continue to act decisively and as long as necessary until calm is restored”.
P.M. Netanyahu said this morning, at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting: “We are working on several fronts simultaneously. Overnight we were active against many Hamas targets in Gaza and the goal of all of our operations is to restore quiet and security to all of Israel’s citizens, especially the residents of the south…Experience proves that at such times we must act responsibly and with equanimity, not hastily. We will do whatever is necessary to restore quiet and security to the south.”
At the request of one of the readers of this blog, I am passing on to Mr. Netanyahu his suggestion how to “restore quiet and security to the south” – turn Gaza into a parking lot!
IS – Islamic State: The new Terrorist organization to watch and to watch out for.
We know that there is no making peace with Hamas. It is a blatant terrorist organization, whose primary political goal is to eradicate Israel. It has many friends in the Middle East, but most would prefer to remain “silent partners”. Not so, however, Iran. Not so the Hizb’allah. Not so al-Qaeda. And not so the Islamic State “(IS), formerly known as “ISIS” (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which is rapidly replacing al-Qaeda as the most dangerous and influential jihadist group in the world, being backed by thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria. The group is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a self-proclaimed “caliph” and leader of Muslims everywhere, who this past Saturday ordered Muslims to obey him. His desire is to return Islam to its early years of extremism. Baghdadi is a shrewd battlefield commander, admired by his troops. Europe and the rest of the West need to get their heads out of the sand and not underestimate Baghdadi and IS as just another terrorist organization. 
Enough for now. More encouraging news later.
And THAT was the week that was.
He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. The LORD alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him.” (Deut. 32:10-12) – emphasis mine.
We are in the desert. No signposts. No directional arrows. When we don’t know which way to turn, we should hold onto the Hand of the One Who guides us. May our leaders have to wisdom to do so.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,
Have a great week.


Two Weeks That Were … without our kidnapped sons – TWTW 26 June, 2014

Shalom all,
Week 2 of the Kidnapping – no news is not good news!
Israel is intensifying its efforts to locate the 3 boys who were kidnapped by Hamas on June 12th. About 400 “Palestinians”, most of whom are Hamas, or affiliated with Hamas, or who released as part of the Schalit deal in 2011, have been taken into custody. The nation waits with expectation for some good news regarding the kidnapped youths, but the only thing that makes it into the media is that there is proof that Hamas is behind this latest kidnapping incident and that believes that the boys are still alive.
As part of the effort to locate Naftali Fraenkel (16), Eyal Yifrach (19) and Gil-ad Shaar (16), and bring them home, alive and well, Naftali’s mother, Rachel Sprecher Fraenkel, travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, on June 24th to address the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of “UN Watch”. This follows the condemnation of the abduction by the U.N. immediately after the event became known. Fraenkel, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, has been interviewed by major international news media outlets, and pleaded for worldwide support in helping to bring about the release of the boys. While addressing the Human Rights Council, she  sought international condemnation of the kidnapping and call for pressure to be placed upon the kidnappers to  immediately release the three Israeli boys. She was accompanied by Iris Yifrach and Bat-Galim Shaar, parents of Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar, but the two were not slated to speak at the summit. In a press statement following a lengthy meeting of the families of the abducted youths, Fraenkel said “We are determined to see the children return home as quickly as possible, and we will test our actions by the outcome — seeing our children again.” Her short, two-minute speech can be seen and heard here.
On that same day, former Arkansas governor and former U.S. presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, accused the Obama administration and the U.N. of their failure to denounce calls by the international community urging Israel to exercise restraint in its efforts to locate the teens, adding that he, himself, would not show restraint towards a kidnapper. He slammed the U.N. as being “utterly worthless” and (referring to the U.N. headquarters) urged the U.S. to “jackhammer that thing right off the edge of Manhattan”. A Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee noted that the world has it backwards. Instead of showing restraint towards a kidnapper, “every compassion, every ounce of energy [should be shown] toward the kidnapped child.” Referring to the fact that Naftali Fraenkel is a dual Israeli-American citizen, Huckabee stated: “And because he’s an American citizen we have not just an emotional response, we would have [a] constitutional duty that the whole world would understand that this takes it to a new level for the United States…You kidnap an American citizen – now all bets are off…We find you, we come get you. [If] you hurt that kid [you] don’t want to know what the results will be.” Then, in a clear reference to Jen Psaki’s statement of June 17th, namely: “We encourage all sides to operate with restraint”, Huckabee said that he didn’t understand what Psaki (the spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State) was thinking when she made that comment. Responding to a question what steps he would take if he were president, he said: “I wouldn’t send some third-tier, lower-level State Department spokesman out with an absolutely embarrassing quote, saying we hope that both sides show restraint…I think there are only two sides here, and the sides are evil and good. Evil commits kidnappings against innocent children. Good does whatever it can to get those children back and to punish to the full extent of the law anyone who would be a part of that.” 
But, not everyone sees things as clearly as Mike Huckabee. As expected, Hamas continues to deny any involvement in the kidnapping and, after first condemning the kidnapping, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon voiced his “concern” to P.M. Netanyahu last Saturday about the nature of Israel’s operation to locate the boys and deal with the kidnappers, which has resulted in the deaths of four “Palestinians”. 
In typical fashion, the “Palestinians” and international human rights organizations are slowly, but surely, accusing Israel of wrongdoing, specifically of exacting “collective punishment” against the “Palestinians” in Hevron and elsewhere. The argument of these civil rights groups is to the effect that Israel can continue to search for the missing teenagers, as long as the search does not inconvenience anyone – and, of course, by “anyone” they mean the “Palestinians”. Regrettably, they find support in the leftist camp in Israel and elsewhere.
Yet, these organizations ignore both the realities on the ground, as well as international law that allows Israel to continue tits pursuit to locate the kidnapped teens, as well as to apprehend the kidnappers. On the one hand, these groups claim to rely on international law to base their arguments of civil rights violations. On the other hand, they ignore mentioning the laws that allow for the active pursuit of those who violated the civil rights of the three boys. The claim of “collective punishment” is inapplicable in a situation where the objective is not to punish the “Palestinian” civilian population, but, rather, to locate the kidnapped teens. If the boys would be found quickly and the military operation would end, it would buttress Israel’s position that its purpose was to pressure those who could help facilitate the return of the boys, rather than to punish the “Palestinians”. Moreover, just about every law-enforcement authority will confirm that investigating a crime and rounding up suspects and potential witnesses is part and parcel of the procedure. This applies several times over when the criminals are part of an extensive terrorist organization and network.
How many missiles sent from Gaza into populated civilian areas in the south of Israel are enough for Israel to be able to defend herself? How many “Palestinian” suicide bombers, who desire to expedite their exit from this earth, taking as many Israeli civilians with them, are enough for Israel to be able to defend herself? How many heavy-duty weapons should be smuggled into Israel through underground tunnels before Israel should be able to take action to defend herself? How many Israeli civilian vehicles need to be fired upon by “Palestinians” before Israel can retaliate? How many of our soldiers and civilians need to be abducted before we say “enough”? The world expects Israel to be nice and kind to those who are making every effort to kill us. I wonder how the so-called “civilized countries” of the world would respond, if these events were part of their own, daily existence. 
The main-stream media continue to refer to the unending “cycle of violence”. The MSM try to give the impression that both Israel and the “Palestinians” are equally responsible for the on-going hostilities, the increase of which would be evident to any casual observe here. Those who improperly label Israel’s response as “collective punishment”, “vengeance”, or “over-reaction”, or terms of similar import, fail to see that there is no reasoning with those who would kidnap children for political gain. Islamist power-politics historically have increased in the face of weak opposition and have decreased when opposition was strong.
It is now two full weeks since the boys were abducted. No news is definitely not good news. With each passing day, there is a growing concern whether they are still alive. At the same time that Rachel Fraenkle was pleading with the U.N. to take action to locate the youths, Khaled Mashaal, the head of the Hamas terror organization based in Gaza praised their kidnapping as a “heroic act, but went on to deny having any information about the abduction: “No one clalimed reponsibility so far. I can neither confirm [the responsibility of Hamas] not deny it…Blessed be the hands that captured them. This is a ‘Palestinian’ duty, the responsibility of the ‘Palestinian’ people Our prisoners must be freed; not Hamas’s prisoners – the prisoners of the ‘Palestinian’ people.” Mashaal would not refer to the event as a “kidnapping”, but rather as a “disappearance’, saying that the three young men were not “youths, as Israel calls them, but first and foremost settlers … and not even regular settlers, but armed ones…They are combatants. Settlers in the West Bank are a disaster.” Then, he added the “Palestinian” narrative, with a bit of a twist: “The one who lost these three [youths] is Netanyahu by ignoring the ‘Palestinian’ suffering and provoking our people.” Notwithstanding the carefully-worded statement about having no knowledge, he went on to say: “I, Khaled Mashaal, and my brothers in the political bureau (referring to the Fatah branch of the “Palestinians” under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas), claim full responsibility for any action carried out by any member of the movement. But Hamas is not a small shop; it’s a large movement, and every person knows his role in it.” (my emphasis)
Having said that, it would seem that the responsibility for the kidnapping does, indeed, lie at the feet of Hamas. Even as this is being written, the news here broadcasted that two Hamas members from Hebron, who having been missing since the kidnapping, are the prime suspects in the abduction. Both of them have spent time in Israeli jails more than once. They are being sought by Israeli authorities for the last 12 days. 
Lest we forget, All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. This statement, which is attributable to the Irish political philosopher and statesman, Edmund Burke, is over 200 years old. Yet, its relevance remains with us today. Even more relevant is the wisdom expressed by King Solomon 3,000 years ago: Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11) Releasing terrorists with blood on their hands did not endear endear our enemies to us. Our willingness to turn over to the “Palestinians” 98% of Israeli territory taken in 1967 was not sufficient for them to commit to ending their hostilities against Israel. Enough! 
With all that said, the anguish over the kidnapping continues. It is doubtful whether the 3 Jewish boys are aware that they have captured the heart of the nation, or that the military operation to bring them home has begun to capture international attention. However, as I mentioned, the attention and concern of much of the world community is not so much over the fate of Naftali, Eyal and Gil-ad, but over Israel’s military operation and efforts to find them and bring them home. For the umpteenth time, the criminal cries to the international community, points an accusing finger and puts the blame on his victim and the international community is willing to join in the condemnation, not of the criminals – the kidnappers, but of the victim – Israel, whose sons were abducted.
The world needs to wake up and recognize that life in the Middle East is not elementary school!
Rockets from Gaza, again; Israel responds quickly.
Earlier this week, several rockets were fired from Gaza into southern part of Israel. One of the rockets apparently misfired and landed in the northern Gaza Strip, killing a 3-year-old girl in the process and woulding three others, two of whom were children. Israel’s Iron-Dome defense system was able to down two of the missiles, while the other projectiles landed without damage in most of the locations. One rocket landed inside of a residential community in the Negev region and caused damage to a home. Israeli planes pounded Gaza in a retaliatory strike, striking “5 concealed rocket launchers in northern Gaza, one terror activity site in central Gaza, and a weapon manufacturing facility in southern Gaza.”  According to the Israeli military, over 200 rockets have been fired on Israel since the beginning of the year. This is not normal and it is only a matter of time before war once again will break out.
Border area with Syria is heating up.
With summer having official started only 5 days ago, the weather is already hot and in many places it is stifling. But, weather is not the only thing that is hot here these days. The situation with Syria is not looking at all good. Earlier in the week, a Syrian soldier fired an anti-tank missile across the border with Israel, killing an Israeli teen in the Golan Heights and wounding three others, including the father of the teenager. Israel waited for a response from Syria that would explain the attack, but none was forthcoming. Israel then responded with air strikes against nine Syrian military targets, which were the most extensive air strikes against its northeastern neighbor since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war over three years ago. One “human rights” group said that the Israeli strikes resulted in killing at least 10 Syrian soldiers, destroyed two tanks, two artillery batteries and the headquarters of Syria’s 90th brigade. Referring to the air strike, P.M. Netanyahu stated clearly: “During the night, we operated with great force against Syrian military positions that acted against us, and, if needed, we will use additional force. We will continue to strike with force anybody who attacks us or tries to attack us.” Again, the aggressor played the victim, as the Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement to that great “un-organization”, the U.N.: “The Israeli attack was a flagrant violation of our sovereignty and rules of international law.” I suppose that the Syrian perspective is that firing an anti-tank missile across our border does not violate our sovereignty or international law.
Peres honored in the U.S., calls for renewal of talks between Israel and “Palestine”.
In what was his last official visit to the U.S. as President of Israel, Shimon Peres was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts in strengthening relations between Israel and the U.S., as well as for his efforts to make peace with our neighbors.
The medal was presented to him by House Majority leader, Eric Cantor, who said to Peres: “You have been an inspiration for all of us, young and old.” U.S. Vice-President, Joe Biden added: “You are truly a force of nature, Mr. President…You are a national treasure to Israel, but also, I would suggest, you are a national treasure to the United States as well.”
In his speech to the Congress, Peres urged members of Congress to help raise awareness of the plight of the three kidnapped teenagers, as well as encouraged the U.S. to stand alongside Israel in its fight against terror, adding: “Israel has shown it can defend itself against those who sought our destruction. Israel did and will do, everything in our power to bring home our three kidnapped boys – Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal. I met with their parents, their mothers. They asked me to speak here on their behalf. To make your voices heard all over the world to help bring our boys home. To sound a call across the world against terror. Let’s raise our voices together against terrorism.”
He said: “Many people call me a dreamer” and stressed that the peace process could be renewed. In this regard, he referred to Hamas as a terror organization, but praised “Palestinian” Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a “real partner” for peace. Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home Party, would disagree. He accused Abbas of being a “mega-terrorist”, who used money from the “Palestinian” Authority to encourage the murder of Jews and claimed that some prisoners in Israeli jails earn as must as 12,000 Shekels (about US $3,500) a month from the PA.
Back to Peres – He said “Peace between Israel and ‘Palestine can forge a broader regional peace. A bridge should be built to enable an Israeli peace initative to meet the Arab peace initiative. I have lived long enough to see the impossible become possible. To skeptics, I can say: Believe me. Peace is the most possible impossibility.” I join with those who say that he is a dreamer. He views a “Palestinian” state as already existing. He is totally secularist and thinks that Israel can do everything in its own strength, with no need to call upon the God of Israel, whom Peres referred to as “a distant diety”. He joins those who would argue “peace in our time”. All that Israel needs to do is give in, give up and give away. Dream on, Shimon, dream on. And in your dreaming, remember the words of Golda Meir: “We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs; we have no place to go.” One day, there will, indeed, be peace. But that won’t be until the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, comes and reigns. Until then, people will continue to say, “peace, peace, but there is no peace.”
I intentionally did not deal with the explosive situation developing in Iraq and in other neighboring countries (except Syria), or about the Islamic celebration of Ramadan, which begins this weekend. The killers of the off-duty police officer, who was murdered on his way to a Passover dinner with family, were apprehended. One of them had been released in the deal to free Gilad Schalit. There are follow-ups to Hanin Zoabi’s claim that the kidnappers are not terrorists, which is supported by other Arab members of the Knesset, some of whom consider Hamas to be “liberators”. Education of children in Hamas summer camps brainwashes them to hate and kill Jews and Israelis. Unlike Shimon the Dreamer, as long as Hamas and Islamist terror groups cultivate hate and a culture of violence, peace in this area of the world will remain impossible. Then there is the decision of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. to divest from three companies, which were deemed to profit from “Israeli occupation”, thus joining those who attack the one country in the Middle East that actually protects Christians. And a potential red heifer may be on its way to Israel. Each thing will be discussed in its turn and at the appropriate time. 
And that is the way it is, two weeks into the kidnapping, with two suspects being sought. Maybe by the weekend, we would have some good news. We could use it.

“But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.” (Gal. 4:29)

“Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Prov. 25:26)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


A new President was elected. – TWTW 18 June, 2014

Shalom all,

Day 6 of the Kidnapping – the boys are still missing.
With each passing day, indeed, with each passing hour, the concern grows over the fate of the three kidnapped teens. The search for them has been designated as “Operation Shuvu Achim” (Come Back [or Return], Brothers) and is said to be the biggest campaign in Judea and Samaria since Operation Defensive Shield, in 2002. Israeli security forces are combing the area in and around Hevron and Shechem, house by house and made about 200 arrests, including dozens of Hamas terrorist suspects, some of whom are senior members of Hamas, in an effort to obtain information regarding the whereabouts of the boys. During the search, tunnels were discovered under residences, leading to bunkers that are equipped with facilities that, according to the IDF, could house individuals “for years”. One such bunker was shown the other day on the news. It was equipped with bathroom facilities, electricity, refrigerators and places to sleep. Other searches by the IDF have uncovered knives of all sizes, machetes, handguns and automatic weapons, even a laboratory for the production of armaments. Although information from obtained from some of the persons arrested revealed a clear link to Hamas, the location of the youths remains an open question.

Minister Naftali Bennett, the Chairman of the Jewish Home Party, said that Hamas is going to feel the wrath of the IDF: “The game vis-a-vis Hamas in Judea and Samaria has completely changed following the abduction of the boys…We have the information that Hamas is behind it and we are operating against Hamas with full force…We are creating a situation in which Hamas’s men become a nuisance for the “Palestinian” population; that their presence in Judea and Samaria will mean automatic damage, everywhere…In other words – we are turning membership in Hamas into an entry pass to hell.”

The families of the three teens met today for the first time since the kidnapping. The mother of Naftali Frenkel, who also holds American citizenship, met with reporters, while the parents of the other two boys were on either side of her. She said that the meeting of the families was “very significant” and added: “We want … to strengthen security forces, who are working day and night, the decision makers, and the prime minister, who is in contact with us. We pray that all the soldiers, and our children, will come home without injury. We send out thanks to all, every participating in this extraordinary effort. During these days, we feel deeply embraced by the entire Jewish nation, which accompanies us throughout the day, which gives us so much support. We ask that the prayers continue … That’s it, all we want is to hug our children. Eyal, Gil-ad, Naftali, we love you, we miss you, be strong, be strong.”

When I first came to Israel about 30 years ago, I wept with the loss of each soldier and with the loss of every civilian because of an act of terror. I joined with the nation as it wept over its sons and daughters, who were killed in a bus bombing, or a suicide bombing in a mall, or in a crowded restaurant, or at a discoteque or as a result of other terrorist incidents. One cannot remain unmoved watching and listening to bereaved families at fresh grave sites, or to stories told of children who were blinded, or whose limbs were shot off while on their way home from school. I wept with those who wept and mourned with those who mourned. I thought I had seen and heard just about everything. I thought I could control my emotions. But, I quickly discovered today that I can’t. My mind raced as I thought of the kidnapped boys. I asked the same questions that we are all asking: Are they still alive? How are they holding up? Are they eating? Are they able to sleep? Why haven’t we heard from the kidnappers about their ‘demands’ for the release of these youths? I thought of the pain and anguish of the families and close friends, who lives have been turned upside down since last Thursday night. And I listened to the mother of Naftali Frenkel, who bravely faced the television cameras and spoke on behalf of all three families, thanking people for their encouragement and encouraging them in return to continue to pray for the safe return of their sons. These three sets of parents are like other parents, who want the best for their children, who invest time and energy to provide for their children’s needs in all areas, whether physical or spiritual, to the best of their ability.

One of the members of the same community expressed what many believed: “We are all really in the same boat. There is a need for unity because this is not just something private that happened to one family; this is something that affects everyone and the whole nation.” Indeed, it really does.

But, not everyone is affected in the same way. Some say “this one” is to blame, others say “that one”. And there are those who will forever maintain their leftist agenda and try to make excuses for terrorists and murderers and to shift the blame to the victim.

In his article that appeared in Israel Hayom on the 15th of June, Dror Eydar cogently wrote: “As far as the Israeli Left is concerned, the Palestinians, with their terror organizations and murderous intentions, are like mindless children. They have been killing us for the last century because for them, we all [are] the settlers. Even in Tel Aviv…But they [the “Palestinians”] don’t need excuses to kill or kidnap. Look around and you’ll see how they do the exact same thing to thousands of their own people every day. It is their culture. It is not about territory, nor is it about a sovereign state, and certainly not about peace. Now there is talk against the release of prisoners as a matter of principle. I am all in favor. We have been releasing prisoners for decades. I was opposed to the Schalit deal, and to all the prisoner swaps that preceded it. But for heaven’s sake, can’t we wait a minute? In any case, linking prisoner releases to settlement anywhere in the land of Israel is fundamentally wrong. What difference does it make whether they kill or kidnap? Did anyone ask why those children who were killed at the Dolphinarium nightclub in 2001 were in Tel Aviv? “Yeshiva students” and “settlers” are the type of descriptions that prevent the pro-[Palestinians] among us from feeling empathy toward the abducted teenagers. But they do not dictate how we live — this is the truth for us: Over the weekend, the latest batch of terrorists kidnapped three Jewish boys.”

This excuse mentality took on exaggerated proportions when Hanin Zoabi, a Member of Knesset with the Arab party Balad continued what many consider as her anti-Israeli activities. Until yesterday, she was mostly remembered for her participation in the Mavi Marmara, Gaza flotilla incident in 2010, which led to an investigation regarding possible abuse of her immunity as a Knesset Member. At that time, she accused Israel of slaughter with regard to the Mavi Marmara. Two months later, she accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and some of her Knesset privileges were revoked. In 2011, she tried to justify the firing of a missile against an Israeli bus, where a youth was killed. In 2012, following the Burges bus bombing, where Israelis were killed, she said “When civilians are killed – the occupation is to blame.”

Yesterday, she added insult to injury when, during an interview with Tel Aviv Radio, she said that those who were behind the kidnapping of the three teens “are not terrorists…they are people who see no other way to change their reality, so they are forced to use these means … at least until Israel wises up, and until Israeli society opens up and feels the pain of the other.” The kidnapping did not surprise her. She excused it by saying: “People living under occupation live abnormal lives”.

Not surprisingly, her comments generated immediate response by various members of the Knesset. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman did not hold back his anger, noting that she should be dealt with in the same manner as the terrorists, stating, “[Not] only are the kidnappers terrorists, but Hanin Zoabi is also a terrorist. The fate of kidnappers should be the same as that of the one inciting to kidnap.”

Likud MK Miri Regev, who has had run-ins with Zoabi in the past, and as recently as Monday over the kidnapping, urged that Zoabi should “be expelled to Gaza and her immunity stripped from her. She is a traitor.” If that could be accomplished, it would seem to be the right thing at the right time. Whether or not she would be accepted in Gaza is another story. The Jewish Home party issued a statement saying that “Zoabi is the terrorists’ representative in the Knesset [and that] in her provocation she harms the public she is supposed to represent…Zoabi’s presence in the Knesset proves the State of Israel is the most tolerant to minorities and supporters of terror, maybe too much so. Like it is unfathomable to imagine an al-Qaeda representative in Congress calling for the murder of Americans, the time has come for Israel to take action regarding Zoabi.”

Indeed, Yariv Levin (Likud), who is the Coalition Chairman, requested Israel’s Attorney General to investigate Zoabi because of her comments, saying that her statements were like an “incitement to terror”. Levin added that “steps must be taken immediately to stop Zoabi’s hateful incitement campaign … and the support for terror she leads.”

Zoabi’s comments were said to have been prompted by a pro-Israel video posted on the Facebook page of one of Zoabi’s relatives, a 17-year old from Nazareth, where he strongly condemned the kidnapping: “To the terrorists who kidnapped our children: return them and you had better return them now…To Bibi, our Prime Minister, and to everyone in his government I say: “Wake up and stop cooperating with saboteurs and terrorists. The “Palestinian” Authority is of the greatest of terrorists. Two days ago [before publishing his comments on Facebook] these youths were kidnapped, and tomorrow it could be me, you or any other Israeli, Arab or Jew…Our enemies do not differentiate between Arabs and Jews. For them we are all Israelis. And you know what? I am proud of that. Israel will remain here as a Jewish and democratic state. The people of Israel live [Am Yisrael Chai]”. Zoabi denied that he was related to her and did not know his family. Replying to his video, she said that “we are talking about a youth who is delusional, detached from reality, who does not know the history of his people.” (my translation) Following his video, the youth received many threats through his Facebook page, as well as by other means, resulting in the arrests of several relatives. The posted video shows the youth speaking in Hebrew, Arabic and English and can be seen in Hebrew as well as in English.

And, while our military and security forces are making every effort to locate the boys, “Palestinian” children were celebrating the abduction of our young men, showing once again the effect of brainwashing another generation into hatred of Jews and Israel. Although the Prime Minister told the President of the “Palestinian” Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, that we expected his help to locate and rescue the kidnapped boys, Abbas was too busy visiting his wife, following her knee surgery that took place on the “hush hush” in an Israeli hospital in Tel-Aviv. It is amazing that Zoabi did not condemn Abbas for allowing his wife to be operated on within the confines of the “occupation”, which, by the way, also pays Zoabi’s salary. Maybe she should refuse to accept payment from Israel and ask the “Palestinians”, or more specifically, Hamas, to pay her wages instead, or maybe she should simply transfer her entire salary to them. I wonder what excuses she would come up with if confronted with that option.

What remains puzzling to me is why the Knesset does not require all of its Members to swear allegiance to the State of Israel upon being sworn in. That would make it easier to revoke such membership when governmental privileges and immunities are violated, like in the present instance.

Before signing off for today, it should be noted that local and regional Arabs are following the kidnapping with interest (as it affects how they will deal with, or come against, Israel in the future).  In Gaza, the stronghold of Hamas, residents are already preparing for war. The 3-finger victory salute, approving of the kidnapping of the three boys, is spreading throughout “Palestinian” and Arab social media. In the U.S., internal politics and the fighting in Iraq capture most of the attention. In Europe, the kidnapping is of considerably less interest. During the first 48 hours following the kidnapping, which could result in prolonged and violent regional confrontation, there was hardly a trace of comment in the European media. Since then, media coverage increased, due to the arrests of senior members of Hamas in Judea and Samaria. But, the crisis over the kidnapping still has not captured front-page news and European coverage of the incident is scant, while coverage in the Arab and U.S. media is focused more on the crisis in Iraq. The world media have by and large been apathetic to what is happening here, even to the extent of failing to provide live coverage of the military sweep in Hevron, the statements of senior members of the government and the arrest of senior members of Hamas. This is in contrast to coverage that has taken place during large and complicated military campaigns here. One of the European television producers admitted that the kidnapping just does not interest foreign press, adding that it is considered a small matter from the world’s perspective. If, God forbid, the situation should explode into large-scale military action, where dead and wounded will be displayed in living color in living rooms around the world, will people ask “how did it get to this point?”

The story is not over and there is much that still needs to be said. Clearly, this is not the only news in Israel of late, but it is on the front page of every newspaper and continues page after page almost to the sports section. As I mentioned in TWTW … ending 14 September, 2013: Earl Warren, the Former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was quoted, in 1968, as saying that when he reads a newspaper: “I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people’s accomplishments; the front page nothing but man’s failures.”

Reuven Rivlin will be Israel’s new President.
The Knesset vote is in, and Likud MK Reuven Rivlin has been elected Israel’s tenth president. A fairly beloved figure in Israel and affectionately known to many as “Rubi” (and “Ruby” and “Ruvi”), he is a relative unknown abroad.

Rubi is a staunch hawk and does not believe in a “two-state solution”, which he has expressed on many occasions. But, he recently indicated that he would not interfere in government decisions in this regard. He would prefer a “binational state”, where “Palestinians” would be granted full citizenship, rather than so-called solutions that would result in dividing the country. He refers to himself as “utopian”, with a “vision that suddenly all the Jewish people [from around the world] will come to live here… And if there were 10 million Jews here, we wouldn’t have to give up on anything.” Despite his clear, right-wing stance and reputation, he was backed by those from the right-wing and left-wing camps alike when elected as Israel’s president.

Rivlin has had his run-ins with P.M. Netanyahu, who would have preferred Nobel-Laureate Elie Wiesel to be the president. But, the nomination of Wiesel would have been submitted late and there would not be any opportunity to extend the deadline for nominations. The alleged “bad blood” reportedly stems from friction between the two men resulting from a comment made by Rivlin referring to the involved in political affairs of wife of the Prime Minister, Sara Netanyahu. However, others assert that the rift was over Rivlin’s criticism of some of Netanyahu’s policies, while the former served as Speaker of the Knesset.

His family has been in Israel since 1809, when his ancestor, Rabbi Hillel Rivlin, was sent here, along with other students of the rabbinic scholar, the Vilna Gaon, to establish a Jewish community. He and his son purchased land in Jerusalem for a Jewish settlement and some other family members were among the first settlers of the cities of Rosh Pina, Petah Tikva and Kiryat Shmuel.

Back in 2001, a young, female activist threw a cream pie at his face. Rivlin, who is known to have a good sense of humor, responded: “I have insurance for many things, but not for whipped cream.”

Nine years later, in June, 2010, he presided over one of the most heated debates in Knesset history, involving none other than MK Hanin Zoabi, as she was about to return to the Knesset for the first time, after her participation in the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident. As will be recalled, that ship tried to breach the naval blockade of Gaza, which resulted in attacks upon Israeli commandos and the subsequent deaths of nine activists and a tenth one, who recently died. As expected, the Knesset debate on “Israeli reaction to the Gaza flotilla” was not the most friendly of sessions. It quickly turned ugly, with several MKs almost physically fighting each other and, finally, the expulsion of 14 MKs from the session. Rivlin expressed that the session was the most tense Knesset debate since the debate over the Holocaust reparation agreement with Germany in 1952.

He understands that the presidency is, essentially, a ceremonial position and said that he would not intervene in Knesset decisions, as it is the MKs who “will decide Israel’s borders and its [policies on] peace. The president is a bridge to enable debate, to reduce tensions, to alleviate frictions.” Someone really should have explained that years ago to outgoing president, Shimon Peres.

And THAT is the follow-up for now. Your continued prayers for the well-being and safe return of the kidnapped boys would be much appreciated. Indeed, the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? “Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.'” When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the LORD. (Judges 2:1-5; emphasis mine)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.


Three Israeli youths kidnapped on their way home from yeshiva studies – TWTW 15 June, 2014

Shalom all,
The last post was about the balance of the Pope’s trip here, more or less, as well as what was billed as the “prayer summit”, which was the ecumenical gathering, purportedly for prayer, at the Vatican, where the Pope hosted outgoing Israeli President, Shimon Peres, and the President of the “Palestinian Authority”, Mahmoud Abbas. That gathering has already been discussed in the last blog, so I won’t go into it again here.
My intention was to get back to the regular updates of The Week That Was …  It’s been a tough couple of weeks, with lots of “situations” here. While some events were encouraging, such as the election of Reuven (Rubi, or Ruby or Ruvi) Rivlin, as the President of Israel, who will very shortly replace outgoing President Shimon Peres, there were other events that were problematic and tragic. I began to discuss some of them, but stopped.
But, the focus of the nation, as we closed out this week, was on the fate of three young yeshiva students, 2 of whom are 16 years old and the third is 19. They were kidnapped on their way home from their studies at the yeshiva. 
3 Israeli youth were kidnapped on their way home from yeshiva studies.
It is every parent’s feared nightmare – the child who was supposed to come home by a certain time, didn’t. No word from him, no communication, no knowledge of his whereabouts. All they know is that after he left the place where he was in order to go home, he never made it. The three yeshiva students, Gil-ad Shaar (16) from the settlement of Talmon, Naftali Frenkel (16) from Nof Ayalon and holder of dual citizenship (Israeli and U.S.), near Modi’in and Elad Yifrach (19) from Elad, near Petah Tikva, were returning late from their studies from the yeshiva high school in Gush Etzion (near Hevron) Thursday night when they were kidnapped, apparently, while trying to hitch a ride home. An offshoot of the terrorist organization al-Qaida, an extremist Salafist group known as Dawlat al-Islam, has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, allegedly in retaliation for the killing of three Sunni militants by Israeli forces in November of last year. As of this writing, the whereabouts of the three young men is not known. That claim did not rise to the level of firm belief by Israeli security forces and members of the Cabinet.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Saturday afternoon that we are working on the assumption that the boys are still alive. He admitted that this event had taken place “under the radar” of intelligence gatherers who therefore failed to thwart the attack. As he stated: “We are in the midst of an intelligence (gathering) and operational effort…I hope this effort leads us as soon as possible to the missing (teens) and to rescuing them alive…As long as we don’t know differently, our working assumption is that they are still alive..This phenomenon of abductions, of abduction attempts is nothing new. In 2013 we managed to prevent over 30 such abduction attempts; this year, in 2014, around 14 such kidnapping attempts. Apparently this incident went under the radar. But we will not rest until we release the missing (boys) and until we lay our hands on the terrorists who are responsible for this action.” As it turned out, there was a long interval between the time when the police were first alerted to the possibility of a kidnapping to the time that they passed that information on to military and security personnel. That time interval was critical and allowed for a successful kidnapping to take place.
Earlier in the day, a senior military official reportedly told one of the main t.v. news channels that “There are a number of lines of inquiry…This is not an incident of several hours, we are preparing for days. This isn’t going to be short.”
The IDF spokesman said  that elite Paratroopers Brigade and other special units went sent to the Hebron region to help in finding clues that would lead to the location of the boys, adding that it would be difficult for a terror group to hide live hostages in the “West Bank” for an extended period of time because of the IDF’s heavy presence there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of being responsible for the kidnappings. The “Palestinian” Authority recently under Mahmoud Abbas recently made amends with the terrorist Hamas organization located in Gaza and the two formed a “Palestinian” unity government after the U.S.-brokered peace talks failed. The P.A. denied any involvement in the kidnappings. Apparently, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, spoke with Abbas and urged him to make every effort to help find the boys and was assured that he was already doing so. Just to be on the safe side, the U.S. State Department issued another “travel warning” for Israel, the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip. By this morning, the P.M. put the blame squarely at the foot of Hamas.
Meanwhile, when the news of the kidnappings was made known in the areas under the control of the “Palestinians”, particularly in Gaza, they held celebrations and handed out sweets in public areas – a typical way of celebrating in their culture. The pictures brought back visions of “Palestinians” dancing on the roof-tops after the Twin Towers were attacked and fell on September 11, 2001. The population was “encouraged” not to participate with Israeli forces, who combed the area house by house, and even to “resist” our forces in their efforts to locate the kidnapped boys. 
Prior kidnappings of Israelis have not all turned out well. While some were released in exchange for prisoners being held in Israel, others were returned to us in caskets. The nation waits for good news, but the concern is that it may take time and the longer it takes, the worse the situation will be.
The news of the kidnappings immediately brought back memories of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, who was held as a prisoner of Hamas for 5 years. As difficult as that was, still, Shalit was a soldier, in uniform, performing his assigned tasks when he was abducted. This latest event has to do with teenagers, yeshiva students, not soldiers. 
At first, it was a simply “local” matter, touching the heartstrings of Israelis. Very few news media outside the country could be bothered to report about the kidnapping of three Jewish boys in Israel. It was either ignored, or given scant press. But, there was a national outpouring of sympathy for the boys and their families. Prayer gatherings were instituted “from Dan to Beersheva”, including participation by thousands who showed up at the Western Wall (of the Second Temple), the social media networks were activated and information was spread across the world. “Bring Back Our Boys” is the slogan that is being sent out across cyberspace, showing photos of the three young men.
If these three young men are not returned soon, and healthy, the situation could easily deteriorate with retaliatory measures being taken against Hamas. Israel is simply fed up with the constant missile attacks from Gaza and with Hamas trying to see how far it can go before Israel responds. We’ve already taken one senior Hamas leader into custody as a result of the kidnapping. There could be more Hamas leaders taken into custody and military action could be pursued that will obliterate the Hamas infrastructure. Enough is enough. It’s easy to point a finger at Israel and blame us for going after military targets in Gaza. How long would it take for the U.S. to take action if some of its sons were kidnapped by terrorists on U.S. soil? Have Americans forgotten what happened at Oklahoma City, or the World Trade Center? What about Europe? What will it take for them to open their eyes to the reality of terrorism and takes steps to deal with it? Some say that Europe is already lost and America is almost sunk. Is it still the “home of the free and the land of the brave”? 
A bill is pending in the Knesset that would prevent Israeli leaders from being able to offer prisoner releases in exchange for political concessions in any future discussions or “negotiations” with “Palestinians”. The coalition government of P.M. Netanyahu came under intense pressure last year when he agreed to the release of over 100 terrorists in Israeli jails, just to get the “Palestinians” to sit down and talk with us. Some 80 prisoners were released during the nine months of talks that led nowhere, but there was a hold put on the last prisoner release, because it included Israeli Arabs, who were responsible for the deaths of Israelis. The cabinet approved the bill, which now needs to brought for a vote before the Knesset plenum. Naftali Bennett wholeheartedly praised the approval of the Bill, commenting: “If the State of Israel doesn’t back the simple morality that murderers need to die in jail, from this moment there won’t be any choice”, adding that cabinet approval of the Bill was a “Zionist response” to the recently announced “Palestinian unity government of terror.” He concluded that passage of the Bill would make this government “the government of the war on terror.”
The decision not to negotiate the release of prisoners “with blood on their hands” may be tested before it even becomes law. If the kidnapped youths are still alive, and they are not returned quickly, we may find ourselves facing another round of negotiations to release them. The prospect is not a pleasant one. May we all pray that it will not be necessary and, indeed, that our boys will be brought back home, alive and healthy. Our nation needs wisdom and Divine intervention. But, our leaders continue to think that we can do it on our own. 
Updates on the situation will follow, as will the continuation of TWTW.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Blessings to all,

The political, "non-political" trip of the Pope – TWTW 12 June, 2014

Shalom all,
The last post dealt with the first day of the Pope’s visit to Israel. This post will continue a bit with that discussion, as well as relate to his second day here, as well as with what has been billed by some as the “Prayer Summit” for peace in the Middle East, that took place at the Vatican earlier this week.
Clearly, the Papal visit was not the only event that occupied the tabloids and self-proclaimed pundits of the media. While the Pope was here to talk about peace and love, his visit was trumped by European anti-Semitism, as Jews were killed in Brussels and brutally attacked outside of a Paris synagogue; media sources indicate that synagogues are being target by vandals all over the world; the IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, had some sobering words for Israel and the world – the Hizb’allah, the terrorist organization in Lebanon, has more fire power than most of the countries in this region and enough to cover all of Israel; there is a push by some Members of Knesset to annex settlements – this caused the Treasury Minister to threaten to topple the government if that happens; a Bill that would allow judges to prevent convicted terrorists from being released in future prisoner exchanges, or peace deals, passed another stage on its way to becoming law – some see this as the end of the “murder deal”, opening the way for convicted terrorists to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. But, all is not bad, Australia decided not to refer to East Jerusalem as “occupied territory”, thus incurring the anger of “Palestinians”, who threaten to urge Muslim states to reconsider their ties Canberra. The race for the presidency in Israel intensified and narrowed and some, who would have been perfect for that position, were either not interested, or were not able to be timely entered as candidates; Yesterday, the Knesset voted for Ruby Rivlin, as the new President of Israel. 
The Pope’s politicizing of his proclaimed “non-political” visit here – Recap
As indicated in the last post, Pope Francis had indicated that his visit to Jordan, the “Palestinian” Authority and Jerusalem would be “strictly religious”. His primary intention was to “pray for peace in this land that has suffered greatly”. But, as already pointed out, what most of the world understands as “strictly religious” and what the Pope understands by that term, are far apart from one another. This is the 21st century, where politicians make policy, good or bad. It is not the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages, where the Pope was the senior political figure, whose word was the equivalent of law and whose desires were to be immediately carried into effect. 
I’ve already made reference to the Pope’s political interference in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as it specifically focused on issues concerning the much touted, two-state, alleged solution that would lead to the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in the heart of Israel. Political symbolism, outright proclamations and reference to the ties between the Vatican and the “State of Palestine” and urgings to “end the conflict” formed the basis of the Pope’s first day in Israel, which was spent in the autonomous area of the “Palestinian” Authority. Between his words and his actions, the damage was done. The mainstream media filled their quota of newsprint, reporting on every statement and gesture made by the pontiff, while the “Palestinians” voiced immediate satisfaction with his visit to Bethlehem and gave broad pro-“Palestinian” interpretation to his express and implied recognition of “Palestine”. Indeed, rare were the media moguls who stopped for a brief moment to recognize that Francis spent more time in public politics than he did in public prayer.
The Pope’s unscheduled stop at the security barrier while in Bethlehem took Israeli officials by surprise and they needed to quickly come up with a counter-balancing, non-scheduled “visit”, in an attempt to even out the playing field.
What was reasonably expected from his visit did not come to pass. Perhaps a columnar list of expectations and actions, or lack of the latter, would paint a clearer picture:
Expectation – that he would:
1.  Address Islamic Holy War being waged against Christians and Jews
1.  Not addressed during his trip here, but mentioned in prior messages in other places
2.  Address the flight of Christians from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Messiah Yeshua, due to Muslim attacks against them individually and their property
2.  Not addressed
3.  Address the reduction in the number of people killed by suicide bombers in recent years, due in large measure to the security barrier
3.  Not addressed by him, but by P.M. Netanyahu and other Israelis
4.  Acknowledge simply that Yeshua was a Jew, thus simply putting an end to the endless and baseless claims of the “Palestinians” that He was a “Palestinian”
4.  Not mentioned, but when said that Yeshua spoke Hebrew, Francis replied “He was speaking Aramaic”. Netanyahu chose not to argue, but added: “He spoke Aramaic, and he also knew Hebrew.” 
5. Refer to the Jews, their return to their ancient homeland and the establishment of the State of Israel, during his speech at Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem), 
5. Not mentioned there
6. Apologize on behalf of “the Church” for “Christian” persecution of the Jewish people spearheaded by the Catholic Church, which was largely responsible for the growth of anti-Semitism, accusations of deicide, with forced conversions and martydoms
6.  Not mentioned, although upon his arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport, he said, in part: “Let us promote an education … where there will be no place for anti-Semitism in any of its forms or for expressions of hostility, discrimination or intolgerance towards any individual or people.” He also condemned the slaughter of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust and prayed “Never again, Lord, never again.”
Despite these clear failures to meet the expectations of many, including my own, it would be wrong, in my opinion, to say that his visit here was totally one-sided. It is true that he provided a political “shot in the arm” for Abbas and the “Palestinians”, but it is not certain that he acted with wrong motives towards Israel. In all likelihood, his stopping at the security barrier and his behavior and words there were the result of his being improperly or inadequately informed by his own aides and advisors about the security barrier. Had he been properly informed about the security barrier, it might have resulted in a word of encouragement and even thanksgiving for the lives that were saved as a result of keeping deluded “Palestinian” suicide bombers at a distance.
The pontiff made numerous references to the Arab-Israeli conflict and of his desire to see it come to a peaceful end. But, he also referred to Abbas as a “man of peace”, presumably unaware that Abbas, along with his faithful cadre of deceivers and exaggeraters, would always put his best lies forward. His stop at the security barrier was an attempt by the “Palestinians” to have the Pope’s visit enshrined in one photo that would be representative of his visit to this area. It was a blatant attempt to minimize his subsequent visit to the Western Wall, where Jews continue to weep following millennia of persecution after the destruction of the Second Temple. The “Palestinians” turned the stop at the security barrier into a photo-op, placing him in the forefront of the barrier, which is considered  as a symbol of stealing “their land” and restricting freedom of movement for the “Palestinians”. In this regard, the lie concerning the security barrier has been repeated over and over again throughout the approximate 10 years of its existence. They have expressed the lie in the U.N., with officials visiting from foreign countries and with tourists, who are fed the “Palestinian” narrative at every opportunity.
Although the itinerary of Pope Francis was planned well in advance, his being led to the security barrier by the “Palestinians” and his stopping there created no small public relations problem for Israel. It became necessary to do a bit of itinerary alteration by Israel, in order to attempt to counter the “Palestinian” propaganda that overflowed from the Pope’s visit to the barrier. He had agreed, in advance, to visit the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, and to lay a wreath on his tomb on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. This, in itself, was a powerful message that was not lost on the “Palestinians”. After 110-plus years, when Herzl’s appeal to the then Pope, Pius X, to help in the creation of the a Jewish state, was rejected, and when two previous papal visits to Jerusalem did not include a visit to Herzl’s grace, the placing of a wreath at his grave by this Pope signaled a different attitude towards Israel by the papacy, perhaps as an attempt to right an historical wrong. The first Pope to visit Israel, Paul VI, in 1964, refused to even acknowledge that he was in Israel! Still, it must be understood that at a time when many in the world community of nations verbally attack Israel and attempt to equate Zionism with racism and, more recently, with apartheid, honoring the founder of the modern Zionist movement could cause many to rethink their positions and even change them. Of course, this presumes that this portion of the Pope’s visit was broadcast by the mainstream media in those countries, which is doubtful.
At this point, the Israeli departure from the planned itinerary was given opportunity. After leaving Mount Herzl and on his way to Yad Vashem, the pontiff agreed to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request to stand alongside the memorial erected to honor Israelis who were killed in terrorist incidents. As he did when at the security barrier, so he did at this memorial – he bowed his head and uttered an unrecorded prayer. One of the diplomatic officials, who helped to organize the Pope’s visit, said that Francis strongly condemned terror while at this memorial site, saying: “Terror is absolute evil. It comes from evil and causes evil.” He then reportedly said, “Never again. Never again.”
Did the Pope’s stop to the terror-victims’ memorial balance out his actions and words at the security barrier? That depends on how much media press this event generated. From my understanding, the MSM either downplayed it, or bypassed it completely.
Perhaps the most memorable part of Francis’ visit was his brief time at Yad Vashem. Anyone who has been there has undoubtedly asked the question, “Where was God during the Holocaust?” The photos and artifacts that are displayed there boggle the mind and leave lasting images in our memory banks of man’s inhumanity to man. They are a frightful glimpse of the depths of depravity to which man is capable of descending and a reminder to us that if we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it. I have often wondered whether some of my own aunts, uncles and cousins, and extended family, are among those photos that I saw there.
Before ascending to the podium, Francis kissed the hands of several Holocaust survivors who were present. During his remarks at Yad Vashem, the pontiff used the Hebrew word for the Holocaust, “Shoah”, setting it apart from other historical tragedies of human failure. It also was an affirmation of the existence of the Holocaust, which was a subject that many Israel bashers and anti-semites would have preferred that he would not address. He stated, in part: “Adam, where are you, where are you, old man? In this memorial of the Shoah, we hear this question once again … Who corrupted you, who disfigured  you, who led you to believe you are the master of good and evil? Not only did you torture your brothers and sisters, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a God…Once again in this place we hear this voice of God: ‘Adam, where are you?’… A great evil has befallen us, as such as that has never occurred…Grant us the grace to be ashamed of what men have done, to be ashamed of this massive idolatry…Never again, Lord, never again.”
Nevertheless, there was an expectation and even an anticipation that the leader of some 1.25 billion Catholics would apologize for the role of the Catholic church during the Holocaust. And in this regard, there was much disappointment. There are archives in the Vatican that pertain to the era of the Holocaust during which Pius XII was the Pope, which remain unavailable to Israel, indeed, to all “outsiders”. This, too, was and continues to remain a painful memory in the history of Jewish persecution, from Titus, to Constantine, to the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the pogroms of Europe, to the Holocaust and to the new Christian anti-Semitism that is making its mark on the pages of modern-day history. (See Melanie Phillips’ excellent commentary ‘Jesus Was a Palestinian’: The Return of Christian Anti-Semitism)  Exactly how much of an impact his visit there, his actions and his comments would impact people again depends on how well the MSM reported on his time there. The great tendency of the media is to challenge the truth and be quick to attach itself to the lie. 
Although there were positive aspects to the Pope’s visit in and around Jerusalem, still, Israel’s concerns were not over. As they approached the Temple Mount early on the second day of his visit, he embraced the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, who is an out-and-out anti-Semite, who was appointed to his position by none other than Mahmoud Abbas. Hussein has been quoted as justifying suicide bombings, considers Jews to be enemies of Allah and has repeatedly accused Israel of plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. The Mufti didn’t miss his opportunity to tell Francis that Israel was creating hardships for “Palestinians” at that site. Needless to say, officialdom in Israel, including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry, which organized the Pope’s visit, were not thrilled with his visit to the Temple Mount together with Hussein. But, officialdom here wisely decided not to make an issue of this, so as not to put a damper on the remainder of Francis’ visit. The Temple Mount is Islam’s third holiest site and the holiest site in Judaism, as the location of the first and second Temples, as well as the Foundation Stone of the earth.
The Pope, in his speech there, said “May no one abuse the name of God through violence, may we work together for justice and peace”, concluding his remarks with “Salaam”.
From the Temple Mount, Francis then moved on to the Western Wall, where he was greeted by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, and was given a brief history of the site, beginning from Solomon’s temple to the renovation of the Second Temple by Herod. In speaking with the Pope, the Rabbi made mention of the Temple’s “menorah” (7-branched candelabra), which was looted by the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and believed to have been to Rome. Emphasis was placed on the Jewish people’s return to Jerusalem after the Holocaust and encouraged all “believers” to abandon hate and anti-Semitism. 
Francis then prayed for peace and, as is customary, he wrote a note and placed it in a crack in the Wall. These notes are intended to be personal prayer requests from the individual to God and are not intended for publication. Nevertheless, his note was removed and its contents were revealed – it was the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish: “Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I’m not sure which version this quote comes from. The rest of the prayer, as it appears in the last verse of Matthew 6:9-13, was not in his note.
There is a bit of irony in placing that particular prayer in the Wall. The irony has to do with the invitation extended by the pontiff to Shimon Peres, the outgoing President of Israel, and to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the “Palestinian” Authority, to join him at the Vatican for an interdenominational “prayer for peace”. The absurdity of this event cannot be lost on anyone who understands who these men are and their perspectives concerning peace. Shimon Peres is a secularist, who does not even enter the synagogue annex next to the President’s Residence. According to Michael Bar-Zohar’s biography of him, Peres was quoted as saying that after he came to Israel, the synagogue was “no longer part of my Saturday morning schedule and the dialogue with a distant deity gave way to the close touch of the sea and the sand”. For him to represent Israel at a joint prayer meeting is nothing less than an insult and an affront to the One Whom he refers to as a “distant deity”. It is one of his last “hurrahs” before leaving office next month. [It should be noted that in the Pope’s meeting with President Shimon Peres later that day, Peres added fuel to the fire of politicizing Francis’ visit, by saying, among other things: “I believe that your visit and call for peace will echo through the region and contribute to revitalizing the efforts to complete the peace process between us and the “Palestinians, based on two states living in peace. A Jewish state – Israel, and an Arab state – Palestine…Your visit to the Holy Land is an important opportunity for a joint prayer to God in Heaven for peace. We would be honored to offer such a prayer either in our home or yours…A prayer that children will grow without danger to their lives. That a mother will bear her child without hearing a siren. That every man will sit under his vine or his fig tree untroubled. We will work together, Jews, Christians and Muslims to bring an end to the conflicts.”] The legacy of Shimon Peres will be dealt with at a later juncture.
The third member of this ecumenical prayer meeting was Mahmoud Abbas, who very recently established a unity government with the vehemently anti-Israel, genocidal-terrorist organization, Hamas. His presence at this meeting is just another media opportunity to present him, in the words of Francis, as a “man of peace”. The only one missing from that event would be Yasser Arafat, Peres’ friend and Abbas’ predecessor. Indeed, LORD, “deliver us from evil”.
And so, the “Prayer Summit” took place on June 8th at the Vatican. Each read selected religious texts calling for peace. It was in a great setting, a sunset meeting with Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers in the shadow of Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican gardens, which was chosen as a religiously neutral place for the meeting. Ideal for maximum media coverage.
The order of the service was chronological, according to the oldest religion, Judaism, then Christianity, followed by Islam. Each was to speak of praise to God for creation, pardon from God for our failures and a request “of peace to the Holy Land and to enable us to be peacemakers” – with musical interludes between each section. One would almost expect a three-part harmony refrain of “Kumbaya” to be sung at this convocation.
Peres said: “I was young. Now I am old. I experienced war. I tasted peace. Never will I forget the bereaved families, parents and children, who paid the cost of war. And all my life I shall never stop to act for peace, for generations to come. Let’s all of join hands and make it happen.” Yet, one would be hard pressed to find any reference to God in his speech, other than the one time that God was mentioned in the Psalm that was quoted by Peres. The Pope referred to God 9 times and even Abbas referred to God 5 times in his “political prayer”.
In a nutshell, the Pope urged Israel and the “Palestinians” to get back to negotiating and to usher in a new era of coexistence, saying, in part: “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare…It calls for the courage to say “yes” to encounter and “no” to conflict.” 
Finally, Abbas prayed: “O Lord, bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability and coexistence.” According to one media source, Abbas wanted to make a “combative speech”, but toned it down at the end, speaking not only of peace, but “a just peace, dignified living, and liberty … in our sovereign and independent state.” Yada, yada, yada…
A person close to the Pope was asked before the ceremony in the Vatican gardens whether Francis believed he could succeed where U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, failed. The response was: “This Pope knows he probably won’t be able to make peace. But preventing war – that he can do.” I wonder what this acquaintance of Francis knows that we don’t.
So, what are we to conclude about the Pope’s visit? I think the question needs to be rephrased as we always do here and ask: Was his visit good for the Jews? Much as I would want the answer to be in the affirmative, my gut response is that Francis’ visit to the security barrier will be remembered by the world – thanks to the media – more than any other part of his visit. 
Jack Khoury, writing for the leftist newspaper, Haaretz, posted an op-ed entitled “A Palestinian Victory”, and pointed out, among other things, that the Pope’s decision to stop at the security barrier in Bethlehem and pray was a testament to his recognition of the “Palestinian” cause and his support of it: “The wide-ranging international coverage that accompanied the visit offered a great opportunity for PA spokesmen to get their message across precisely now, at the moment of crisis in the diplomatic process. But more than that, there is no doubt that the pope offered a tailwind to the “Palestinians” to their public relations campaign they’ve been advancing in past months.”

Before concluding this missive, it would be beneficial to focus a few words about the originally unscheduled stop at the terror memorial. As mentioned above, Francis’s departure from his itinerary and stop at the security barrier in Bethlehem was a carefully planned, public relations event by the “Palestinians”, to which Israel had no choice but to respond. It appears that the head of the Foreign Ministry’s World Religions department came up with the idea to ask the Pope to visit the memorial set up for victims of terrorism and to use that opportunity to show him and the rest of the world why the security barrier in Bethlehem, and elsewhere, was set up. As one diplomat put it: “The Vatican officials explained to us that the pope didn’t pray against the separation barrier, but he prayed against the situation that forces such a wall to be built…Therefore, we though we need to show him why we built the wall. It’s obvious that the barrier is a result of something, it is not the reason.” The Prime Minister then gave his approval to the plan, which was presented by the Foreign Ministry to the Vatican official in charge of protocol, who immediately agreed to it. That set the stage for the meeting between the Pope and Netanyahu and the P.M.’s opportunity to defend the existence of the security barrier.
The Prime Minister’s office released a video of the Pope’s visit to the terror victim’s memorial, showing the P.M. telling him a story of a classmate of one of his sons, a girl who was blown up “because there was no fence, no wall“. The Pope then spoke out against terrorism, saying: “The path of terrorism is fundamentally criminal”, adding that he prays for all terror victims. But, Netanyahu drove the nail home when he said, “We have to build a wall against those who teach [violence]”, adding that “when incitement and terror against Israel stops, there won’t be the need for the security fence, which has saved thousands of lives” and that “there would be peace”
It seems that lots of folks want the wall to come down, but for different reasons. Even Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home party, could agree to it being removed. In an op-ed that appeared in The Wall Street Journal following the Pope’s visit, Bennett referred to his “Stability Plan,” a diplomatic initiative that, in essence, would grant to the “Palestinians” autonomous rule in the various towns and villages already under their control, by reason of their being in areas designated as A and B. Along with this, Israel would remove checkpoints and roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, dismantle the security barrier and annex Area C. As further support of the Prime Minister’s explanation to the Pope about the security barrier, Bennett wrote: Many Israelis credit the barrier with the dramatic increase in security over the past decade. Not a single Israeli was killed by terror in the West Bank in 2012, making it the first year without bloodshed since 1973. Yet this was not solely due to the barrier. The remarkable drop in terror happened thanks to high-quality intelligence coupled with Israel’s ability to conduct targeted military operations in the West Bank. The number of Israeli operations in the West Bank has dropped significantly because the military now only carries out pinpointed operations based on reliable intelligence. … Israel can now stay reasonably secure without the barrier.(my emphasis) If this is the perspective of the former head of Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council, what are we to think? We should think Biblically. Bennett’s statement sure sounds like a passage from Ezekiel 38:10-12, which states: ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan, and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’  (my emphasis)
So, was the Pope’s visit good for us? Time will tell.
The Knesset voted two days ago to make Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin our new President. 
Yeah! More on this to follow.
And THAT was the visit that was here … and the visit that was there. May we be spared such visits in the future.
The regular TWTW will be resumed, hopefully, this coming weekend.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing,


Pope Francis politicises his non-political visit to Israel – TWTW … ending 24 May, 2014 (and a little more)

Shalom all,

Lots of events happened during the past week. Israel celebrated “Lag B’Omer (the 33rd day after the Passover, which marks the death of the second-century Kabbalist,  Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai); Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team won the Euroleague championship, beating Spain’s Real Madrid in overtime; a Bill was introduced in the Knesset that would allow Jews to pray at the Temple Mount; controversy raged over a video purporting to show two “Palestinian” youths killed by the IDF, as the latter says that the video was edited to distort the events – this, of course, prompted the U.S. to urge a “probe” into the shootings; former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced to three years in jail for embezzlement; radical Islamists (I.S.I. – Islamic State of Iraq) in Syria destroyed a 3,000 year-old Assyrian statue as part of their efforts of cultural genocide; Netanyahu was prepared to fire Tzippi Livni for meeting with Mahmoud Abbas behind his back and against his wishes, but backed down when he realised that such a move could endanger his fragile coalition government; Israel came up with a discovery that could potentially reverse damage to brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s Disease. Anti-semitism continued to rear its ugly head, this time in a deadly shooting incident in Brussels. But, the focus of attention of most of the media was on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, first to Jordan and then to Israel. The first part of his visit to Israel will be the focus of this post.
Pope Francis politicises his non-political visit to Israel
It was only last Wednesday when Pope Francis addressed about 50,000 pilgrims at a general audience in St. Peter’s Square, that his trip to the region would be “will be a purely religious trip”. There is no escaping the conclusion that in light of the Pope’s statements during his first day in Israel, that is, in ALL of Israel, somewhere during the last four days, “purely religious” ended up becoming “primarily political”. 
It may not be “politically correct” to say something that is not praiseworthy about the Pope. Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean that what may not be praiseworthy is not true. Pope Francis is not the first Pope to visit Israel. But, he is the first Pope to visit “Palestinian”-ruled territory, without first entering Israeli, non-“Palestinian” territory. After his initial stop in Jordan, he flew from there to Bethlehem, where he was greeted by “Palestinian” Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, and joined him for an official ceremony. While on his way to Manger Square, which is believed to be the site where the Lord Yeshua was born, his popemobile made an “unscheduled” stop at the security barrier that was constructed by Israel in an effort to stop the spate of suicide bombers, who expedited their journeys to what they believed would be Paradise. While most of the barrier is fence, in this particular area it is a wall and while Francis was there, he bowed his head in prayer. Shortly thereafter, while standing next to Abbas, the Pope stated: “I wish to state my heartfelt conviction that the time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable”, adding: “The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in the service of the common good, the courage to forge a peace which rests on the acknowledgement by all of the right of two states to exist and to live in peace and security within international recognise borders.”  One could easily dismiss this pontification as simply a repetition of the view long held by the Vatican that the conflict can only be resolved by implementing the “two states for two peoples” platform. However, it is an un-Biblical intrusion into the realm of international politics over which he is not the appointed vicar. His comment about finding the “courage to be generous and creative in the service of the common good” could hardly refer to the “Palestinians”, whose leaders are generous only to themselves and who try to be creative in the ways in which they accuse, undermine, belittle and attack Israel, while keeping the “refugee” issue alive and well, even within the confines of their own autonomous territory.
No doubt that some experienced “papaltations” upon seeing and hearing the Pope. Officials of the “Palestinian” Authority and at least one official of the “Palestine” Liberation Organization (“PLO”) were quick to express their “understanding” that Pope Francis’ visit directly to Bethlehem, without first landing at Tel-Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, as well as his going to Jerusalem after his visit to Bethlehem, was a tacit recognition by him of the existence of a “Palestinian” state. They understood what many in the Israeli left and MSM also fail to understand, namely: that politics rules decisions, including decisions in and from the Vatican. The broader the sphere of influence, the greater the pressure that can be exerted.
Indeed, if words have any meaning at all, then it would be difficult to avoid the clear intention of the Pope, as he referred to Abbas as “a man of peace and a peacemaker”, as well as “Palestine” and the “state of Palestine” with these words: “Mr President, you are known as a man of peace and a peacemaker. Our recent meeting in the Vatican and my presence today in Palestine attest to the good relations existing between the Holy See and the State of Palestine. I trust that these relations can further develop for the good of all. In this regard, I express my appreciation for the efforts being made to draft an agreement between the parties regarding various aspects of the life of the Catholic community in this country, with particular attention to religious freedom. Respect for this fundamental human right is, in fact, one of the essential conditions for peace, fraternity and harmony. It tells the world that it is possible and necessary to build harmony and understanding between different cultures and religions. It also testifies to the fact that, since the important things we share are so many, it is possible to find a means of serene, ordered and peaceful coexistence, accepting our differences and rejoicing that, as children of the one God, we are all brothers and sisters.”
One can only wonder whether, when he made his speech, the Pope was in touch with the realities on the ground, which include, among other things, the steady exodus of the Christian community from Bethlehem and the territory under the control of the “Palestinian” Authority, the persecution of the Christian community there and the blatant denial of religious freedom in the region where Abbas serves as President.
And then, in a blatant spirit of ecumenism, the Pope invited the Presidents of the “Palestinian” Authority and of Israel to the Vatican for a prayer summit: “In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.” Of course, both men readily accepted the invitation. Refusal of such an invitation would have constituted a public insult to the Pope. It would be interesting to know how such “togetherness in prayer” will be accomplished. Who will they be praying to? Will the prayer(s) be in Latin, Arabic and Hebrew, or maybe English? Will they understand each other well enough to be able to say “Amen”? Or maybe it will be just another get together to push the same political agenda shared by all three of them regarding the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in the heart of the land that God has entrusted to Israel. The views of Shimon Peres and his encouragement of Papal intervention in the Middle East has been mentioned before (President Shimon Peres urges the new Pope to come to Israel – TWTW, 18 May, 2013) and will most certainly be discussed again here.
Well, day one of the Pope’s visit to Israel, in Bethlehem, came to an end and he continued on his journey and finally arrived in Tel Aviv late Sunday afternoon. There, he again urged Israeli leaders to adopt the “two-state solution’ to the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict. He repeated the call of Pope Benedict XVI, which called for the “universal recognition [of] the right of the State of Israel to exist and flourish in peace and security within internationally recognised borders”, but added: “At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the “Palestinian” people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement. The ‘Two State Solution’ must become reality and not remain merely a dream.” Well, so much for a “purely religious trip”.
But, his statement really needs a little closer scrutiny. Israel already has “internationally recognised borders”. What the “Palestinians” and those who align themselves with them are trying to do is to cut away pieces of the land and change the borders, in order to create a state for a previously non-existent people group. Ignoring the facts of history allows for the distortion of them and when such distortions are repeated year after year, decade after decade, the truth becomes questionable whereas the lie becomes acceptable. 
Some may think these words harsh or unfair, particularly since it was only the first day of the Pope’s two-day visit to Israel and that his first day needed to be balanced with what he did on the second day. Well, the second day will be reported on in the next post. 
As I close this post, I refer you to the Op-Ed: For Shame, Pope Francis, written by Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, which can be viewed here.
There are many more articles along the same line, but those will be for another time.
And THAT was the week that was and a couple of extra days to finish the Pope’s visit.
“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)
“Arise, shine ; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”
May the rest of your week be joyful, with good health.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.
Have a simply great week.

National sorrow to national joy – an absolute necessity – TWTW 18 May, 2014

Shalom all,

“The compass and map that help us navigate our way in a changing and unchanging reality is the Book of Books, the foundation of our existence, the Bible…Foresight and being prepared for the future are the most important things. Without them, we are like leaves blowing in the wind, unable to influence our national existence.” Stated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after awarding the prizes to at this year’s international teenage Bible Quiz on Israel’s 66th Independence Day. The winner was a young Canadian, who said he was planning to make Aliyah (i.e., immigrate to Israel).

National sorrow to national joy – an absolutely necessity.
On May 5th, we remembered those who fell in our wars and who were killed by terrorist acts. At sundown on that day (which is the beginning of the next day, May 6th – “and there was evening and there was morning, one day” – Genesis 1:5), we began to celebrate our 66th Year of 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 17 years ago in what has come to be known as “the helicopter disaster”, expressed it this way: “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. This year, the number has grown to 25,664. Maybe that doesn’t seem a lot 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 so 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 and have even been able to joke about the definition of a Jewish holiday: “They tried to kill us; they didn’t succeed and we’re still here; let’s eat!”

One of the highlights of the Independence Day official ceremony that was held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem was a song by Ester Rada, written by Norit Hirsch, called “Shirat Dvorah” (Deborah’s Song) taken from Judges 5:3-5. Truly, she sang “praise to the LORD God of Israel” (v. 3). Enjoy!

“Hatikva” – Israel’s National Anthem
The terrorist organization Hamas (that controls Gaza), which recently entered into a reunification agreement with the Fatah branch of the “Palestinian” Authority (which rules from Ramallah, with Mahmoud Abbas as its President), published its own version of Israel’s National Anthem, “Hatikva” (“The Hope”). The release, called “Sof Hatikva” (“The End of Hope”) was Hamas’ attempt at Hebrew, with a very heavy Arabic accent, and clearly was genocidal in nature, saying that either the Jews will be sent back to where they came from, or they will be buried. The video can be seen here.   English sub-titles were added, thanks to Artuz Sheva (Channel Seven) Israel National News.

Is Jerusalem really holy to Muslims?
There is no doubt that Jerusalem is probably the most controversial place on planet earth at this time. Most Muslims will tell you that Jerusalem was never a Jewish city and that it was always an Islamic holy site. But, it is really true? A number of considerations would indicate that such is not the case and the Muslim claim to Jerusalem is nothing more than another lie in the “Palestinian” arsenal of lies, as part of its attempt to politicize the City of Jerusalem and to remove the Jewish presence from the Middle East entirely. A video was produced about 3 years ago that caused considerable outrage among Arabs, both in Israel and elsewhere and, according to what appears on “youtube”, it has had almost 7.5 million views. Take a look for yourself and form your own opinion.

The Middle East Conflict – A Basic Primer
Lots of people have tried to analyze the Middle East conflict. Some go far afield, others miss the point entirely. One video portrays a simple, easy to understand, basic, ground-level explanation, from a totally human point of view. While that video does not deal with the spiritual aspect of the Middle East conflict and, without it, the conflict may, indeed, be the hardest to solve. Nevertheless, it does contain a few facts worth considering. It has been labeled as “the most important video about Israel ever made”. I would not come anywhere close to describing it that way, but it is worth a look.

The One-State Solution – A Humorous Jewish Perspective
There are solutions and then again, there are solutions to create solutions. There are those who want a 2-state solution. Others even proposed a 3-state solution. A humorous 1-state solution video made it into cyberspace and suggested that the entire Middle East should become Jewish, thus making life better for everyone. But, if that were to happen, we would need to form a new, far and wide coalition government. In this part of the world, even a committee of three would end up with ten opinions. Then, there would be the question: what would we do with the opposition parties who now make up the political left here and want us to give up a slice of what little we have now? Also, we would need to train a multitude of multi-lingual teachers capable of teaching Hebrew in all the countries of the region. Maybe by then, the U.S. would agree to move its embassy to Jerusalem, instead of leaving it in Tel Aviv. But, we might end up having a problem determining which time zone to use to determine when sundown occurs, so that we would know when to celebrate the holidays. Oy, such problems. Maybe we should just let God work it out for us.

Negotiations and “peace talks” are meaningless, if the “Palestinians” continue to teach their children to hate Jews.
“The Pioneers of Tomorrow” is a children’s TV program, that is shown on Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run channel that broadcasts from Gaza.. It has somewhat of a “Sesame Street”-like format where live actors interact with puppets and humans in animal costumes. The show has come under fire many times for its attempts to brainwash young children to be both anti-West and anti-Semitic, even children as young as 3 or 4. One particular segment that was reported on extensively in Western and Hebrew media showed a militant, radical Islamic Mickey Mouse-like character, who was beaten to death by Israeli soldiers after he attempts to liberate Tel Aviv. Another program clip, which was broadcast earlier this month and uploaded by the Middle East Media Research Institute (“MEMRI”), shows the program host, a young girl dressed in a hijab (a veil that covers the head and chest, worn mostly by a Muslim female after the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family), as she interviewed two very young children. One of the children expressed the hope to become a police officer, like her uncle.

After it was established by a man, who spoke off camera, that policemen catch criminals, the interview continued like this:
Interviewer: “And they shoot Jews, right?”
Child guest: “Right”.
Interviewer: “And you want to be like him, Allah willing, when you grow up?”
Child guest: “I will shoot the Jews.”
Interviewer: “All of them?”
Child guest: “Yes.”
Interviewer: “Good.”

Some things just speak for themselves.

Former Prime Minister Convicted of Corruption – Fined 1M Shekels and Sentenced to Jail
The caption says it all. Ehud Olmert, who served as the Prime Minister of Israel after Ariel Sharon and before Benjamin Netanyahu, was convicted two months ago of receiving bribes to facilitate the construction of the Holyland housing project in Jerusalem. This past Tuesday, he was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a 1 million shekel ($290,000) fine.

The court’s judgment evoked comments from both sides of the political isle. Most agreed that it was a sad day for the State of Israel, when such a sentence was imposed upon a former prime minister. Nevertheless, there was widespread agreement of the need to take stern measures to remove corruption from our midst, irrespective of where it may be found.

Six other defendants in the case, who were businessmen, developers and municipal officials of Jerusalem, also received jail sentences and fines, some more severe than Olmert, some less. Three other defendants, including a former Jerusalem mayor, as well as Olmert’s former top aide, will face sentencing next month.

Judge David Rozen, of the Tel Aviv District Court, in imposing the sentence, said: “Ehud Olmert has gone from holding the highest and most respected position in Israel to that of a felon, one who has been convicted of severe and contemptible offences. . . . bribery and corruption offenses disgrace public service and undermine the framework of governance. He who offers a bribe is corrupt and he who accepts a bribe is no better than a traitor.” In the words of King Solomon: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous, but terror to evildoers.” (Proverbs 21:15)

Israeli law prohibits any public official, who is convicted of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude (as in this case), from civil service for seven years, irrespective of the length of his sentence. Well, I suppose that this puts him out of the running to return to be Prime Minister.

Olmert has a “media adviser”, who informed reporters after the sentencing that “unfortunately, but as expected, the court chose to impose an unfair sentence, which is radically more severe than any other [sentence] ever imposed for similar offences under similar circumstances”, adding that the court “has committed a grave error by convicting a man who never received any bribes and who has done nothing but contribute to the State of Israel.”  It is difficult to agree with this last statement. Mr. Olmert, while serving as Prime Minister, was willing to give the “Palestinians” a state, with sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem, divide Jerusalem and give the “Palestinians” 100% of Judea and Samaria (referred to by the media as “the West Bank” [of the Jordan River]). He would have also been willing to absorb between 10,000-15,000 “Palestinian” refugees (more correctly, descendants of those who voluntarily left Israel prior to the outbreak of the War of Independence) and leave no Jewish presence in the Jordan Valley. Three months ago, Olmert said that if his proposed deal to Mahmoud Abbas had been accepted, he had no doubt that Israel would be able to evacuate 80,000 settlers from their homes. Reason fails to reveal how such a move would “contribute to the State of Israel”. If anything, it would assist the “Palestinians” in their goal of dismantling Israel piece by piece, without peace.

Regarding the sentence imposed on Olmert, his lawyers say they intend to appeal. Was there ever any doubt about that?

The Dead “Peace Talks” – Attempts at Resuscitation?
U.S. envoy, Martin Indyk, insists that the so-called “peace process” is not dead, while criticising both sides for the failed talks. Israel’s Minister of Justice and chief negotiator in the talks, Tzipi Livni, agreed with Indyk’s accusation of Israeli intransigence regarding settlement construction, saying that the settlement activity hurt the negotiations. It was reported that a senior Israeli official got on Indyk’s case, accused him of hypocrisy and claimed that Indyk knew of all of the plans for settlement construction, even the number of homes that were to be built. The same official reportedly added that Indyk’s presence at some of the meetings between the parties was counterproductive.

And, as we close out the week, it was disclosed that this past Thursday evening, Tzipi Livni met with “Palestinian” Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in London. This was the first meeting between Abbas and a senior Israeli official since the collapse of the talks and followed separate meetings by each of the parties with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry.  It is interesting how they all managed to be in London at the same time. Livni’s office claims that P.M. Netanyahu’s office knew about the meeting in advance. But, according to a news commentator on one of Israel’s major TV channels, some unidentified sources in Jerusalem reported that Netanyahu was “furious” with Livni’s initiative to meet with Abbas. This meeting took place after Israel’s security cabinet voted unanimously to suspend negotiations with the “Palestinian” Authority, after the “P.A.” established a unity government with Hamas, the terrorist organization that is sworn to the destruction of Israel. Livni is a member of the security cabinet and was part of the unanimous cabinet vote, which she then chose to ignore. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? And so, “the thick plottens”. We’ll need to keep an eye on what will follow from this meeting.

And That was The Week That Was.

“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)

“And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. 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. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then 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 train for war. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the Name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” (Micah 4:1-5)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.


Breaking Up is Hard to do. – TWTW 4 May, 2014

Shalom all,
While not many politicians have limits, some do. The limits of Israeli officialdom was reached last week, as the so-called “peace negotiations” were finally suspended. The expected by-product of the nine months of negotiation did not come forth. Instead, the blame game has started in earnest, with both sides accusing the other of being responsible for the breakdown of the talks. Each side has demands, which, at this juncture, the other side is not prepared to meet. While the politicians did what politicians do, at the beginning of last week, we paused as a nation to remember those who were slaughtered in the Holocaust, simply because they were Jews. Yet, despite tragedies from one generation to the next, we are a nation that chooses life and does what it can to improve, encourage and extend it. So, to the many developments and discoveries that Israel has achieved, it added yet another, by developing a blood test to detect breast cancer. 
And, as promised, this post includes a discussion about “blood moons”, a series of total lunar eclipses, the first of which took place on the evening of Passover. As this is being written, Israel remembers the 23,169 of her sons and daughters, fathers and mother, brothers and sisters, who have fallen in all of her wars, or who were victims of terror, the latest of which was a 19-year old, who was stabbed to death only days ago. When this day of remembrance is over, it will be immediately followed Monday evening with the the celebration of Israel’s 66th anniversary of independence.
A lot occurred here in recent days. Some things will have to wait a little while to see what direction they will take.
Breaking Up is Hard to do.
Mahmoud Abbas, acting as a rejected suitor, threatened to collapse the P.A. if the “peace negotiations” would fail. This did not win him browny points with the West and, particularly, not with the U.S., who indicated that it was considering withholding funds from the P.A. Abbas then tried to strengthen the position of the “Palestinians” by affiliating with certain U.N. organizations, which brought about strong condemnation from Israel. Abbas needed to present himself as someone who did not fail to bring about an agreement, he acted “on the rebound” and sought to “patch up” the P.A.’s relations with the terrorist organization, Hamas. When the Fatah faction of the “Palestinians” (represented by Abbas in Ramallah) and the Hamas faction of the “Palestinians” (represented by Ismail Haniya in Gaza) came to an agreement to establish a unity government, that move sounded the death knell to the negotiations with Israel.
Abbas tried his hand at the tactics of dilly, dally, delay and stall. But, when these tactics failed, he needed to “save face”. So, refusing to commit to extending the talks, he did an about face and said that he was willing to extend the negotiations – on certain conditions, which he knew would be unacceptable to Israel. Then, only a few hours before the commencement of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel this past Monday, he tried to ingratiate himself to Israel, by saying: “What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust is the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era”. This statement appears to fly in the face of his 1982 doctoral dissertation, in which he reportedly claimed that the accepted figure of six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust was exaggerated, “that the interest of the Zionist movement … is to inflate this figure so that their gains will be greater” and that the number could have been only a few hundred thousand. Only! Then, after making the above “heinous crime” statement, he added: “On the incredibly sad commemoration of Holocaust Day, we call on the Israeli government to seize the current opportunity to conclude a just and comprehensive peace in the region, based on the two-states vision, Israel and ‘Palestine’ living side by side in peace and security”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not moved by Abbas’s conciliatory statement and accused him of dishonesty in his dealing with both the Holocaust and his present threats against Israel. Then, referring to the reconciliation agreement entered into between the Fatah and Hamas factions of the “Palestinians” only a few days earlier, he said that Abbas “last week chose to forge a pact with Hamas… a terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and denies the Holocaust…[and which] attempts to achieve another Holocaust through the destruction of the State of Israel.”
Abbas later said that the unity government that would be led by him would recognise Israel (not as the State of the Jewish people), adding statements of similar import regarding Hamas. But, Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Hamas movement, clarified the matter, while belittling Abbas in the process: “We acknowledge that Abbas’s recognition of the occupation is his traditional position, nothing new. The [Hamas] movement position is unwavering in not recognizing the occupation in any form. In any event, negotiations are the task of the PLO [i.e., the Fatah faction headed up by Abbas]; the government  [i.e., of Hamas] has no part in them…The question of recognition is non-debatable as long as [Israel] occupies our land.”
The intention of Hamas in making official statements like the one in the last sentence quoted above is that “our land”, according to the “Palestinians”, includes ALL of Israel, as being land sacred to Islam. That is why Israeli does not appear on the map in “Palestinian” schools, but the whole country is referred to as “Palestine”. So, in reality, their statement regarding non-recognition of Israel “as long as [Israel] occupies our land” is equivalent to an absolute statement of non-recognition at any time. If, in the warped, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel mindset of Hamas and the “Palestinians”, Israel ceases to “occupy [their] land”, then, in their perverted understanding, Israel would cease to exist and, therefore, there would be nothing to recognize. Fortunately, our existence here is a matter that was settled long before there was ever a PLO or a Hamas (Jeremiah 31:35-37).
One final note: The idea of “occupying” Arab land is a modern adaptation of the argument made during the time of the Judges of Israel. The king of the sons of Ammon made the argument against Jephthah. Note Jephthah’s response and the consequences of failing to listen to him (Judges 11:11-33):
“Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah. Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, ‘What is between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?’ The king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah, ‘Because Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan; therefore, return them peaceably now.’ But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the sons of Ammon, 15 and they said to him, ‘Thus says Jephthah, “Israel did not take away the land of Moab nor the land of the sons of Ammon. For when they came up from Egypt, …and Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our place.’ But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people and camped in Jahaz and fought with Israel. The LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. So they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan. Since now the LORD, the God of Israel, drove out the Amorites from before His people Israel, are you then to possess it?So whatever the LORD our God has driven out before us, we will possess it…I therefore have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; may the LORD, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon”.’ But the king of the sons of Ammon disregarded the message which Jephthah sent him…So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. 33 He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.(italics mine)

Does John Kerry really understand “apartheid”?
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned last week that “a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.” That comment was so outrageous, the denial of it should have been obvious by anyone with half a brain. So, who tried to hitch a ride on that statement? Mahmoud Abbas and those who support the “Palestinian” narrative. Ask anyone who came from South Africa and lived under an apartheid regime, who also spent any time living in Israel whether there is any comparison between the two countries in this regard. Even though Kerry subsequently apologized, but the statement was already made spread around the world like wild fire. For some, the apology was seen only as a move for political expediency.
Israel Remembers the Holocaust – How Can We Ever Forget?
Most of Israel came to a standstill at 10:00 a.m. this past Monday, as sirens sounded throughout the country and we observed two minutes of silence in memory and respect for six million Jews, who were killed during the Holocaust. The number boggles the mind, which still tries to fathom the depth of evil that pursued the “final solution” plan to rid the world of the Jewish people. 
Holocaust Remembrance Day is not only a national tragedy. It is a personal one, as well, as I considered my aunts, uncles and cousins, along with other members of our extended family, who fell victim to the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jewry.
At the opening ceremony, which took place at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on Sunday evening, President Shimon Peres focused attention on the growing anti-Semitism, stating: “We must not ignore any occurrence of anti-Semitism, any desecration of a synagogue, any tombstone smashed in a cemetery in which our families are buried. We must not ignore the rise of extreme right-wing parties with neo-Nazi tendencies who are a danger to each of us and a threat to every nation.”
At the same ceremony, P.M. Netanyahu again warned that the world was ignoring the lessons of the Shoah (the Holocaust) by turning its back on the continued development of nuclear capability by Iran: “I hope that the lessons of the past will be learned and that the desire to avoid confrontation at any cost will not lead to a deal that will exact a much heavier price in the future”, which was a clear reference to the on-going negotiations between Tehran and P5+1 world powers over uranium enrichment levels. He added: “I call on the leaders of the world powers to insist on a full dismantling of Iran’s capability to manufacture nuclear weapons, and to persist until this goal is achieved.” The world learns slowly, if at all. Usually, it learns after the fact and then wonders “how could this have happened”?
As in the past, the speeches emphasised Israel’s ability to deal with threats against it. God was left out of the picture. Only one of the Holocaust survivors who lit memorial candles during the ceremony expressed his thanks to God, for allowing him not only to survive, but to marry, have children, grandchildren and to see his great-grandchildren. 
It is difficult in a column like this to relate the stories of those who survived the Holocaust and are still alive to tell the world what happened. The number of survivors dwindles significantly each year and efforts are being made to keep their stories alive. Some of those who suffered through the nightmare have dedicated their lives to instructing the generations who came after them of the realities of anti-Semitism and the horrors of life in a Nazi death camp or ghetto. The numbers tattooed on their arms attest to their personal experiences with the Nazi death machine and their audiences tend to give full attention to what is being shared with them.
But, the death camps were not the only places during World War II where Jews were killed just because they were Jews. The Nazis had plenty of help from willing anti-Semites in different countries. Among the multitude of incidents that I read or heard about, I never heard the story of the Jedwabne (Poland) massacre. A documentary was shown on prime-time TV here about that event and non-Jewish octogenarians related how the local council gave the go-ahead for the townspeople to do to the Jews whatever they wanted. I won’t describe some of the events here, as it may cause sleepless nights for some, even as it did for me. Just when I thought that my tears were finished, another well of tears swelled up and overflowed. To the extent that it will depend upon the arm of the flesh, our national prayer will be that which was leading headline of one of the major dailies here: “Never Again!”
With all of the difficult stories about the Holocaust that are related each year, there is another story, which did not receive much press. It is a story about the saving of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews, who would have been among the victims of the gas chambers, or death marches, or shooting squads, were it not for the concerted efforts of an unsung hero. The story can be viewed here.
Blood Test for Breast Cancer Developed by Israeli Lab
Among the many medical and technological breakthroughs that have been made in Israel among scientists and medical researchers, a new technology was developed that allows for non-invasive, non-radiological detection of breast cancer early on. The means? A blood test. 
The test was developed by the Israeli R & D subsidiary of Eventus Diagnostics, whose website states that the “technology has the unique ability to accurately determine whether cancer is present” and the findings of the scientists enable them to “accurately identify … breast cancer-specific autoantibodies that could be used for early detection of the disease”. The company reported that it was seeking to develop similar, diagnostic methods for other forms of cancer.
“Blood Moons” – Natural Lunar Line-Up or Supernatural Celestial Signs?
For the past year or so, I’ve been asked time and time again what I think about the 4 so-called “blood moon”, total eclipses that were to take place on the Jewish Festivals of Pesach (Passover – 15 April, 2014), on Succot (Tabernacles – 8 October, 2014), Pesach (Passover – 4 April, 2015) and Succot (Tabernacles – 28 September, 2015). Some see these eclipses as a sign and warning from God, while others see the repeat of an astronomical event that has occurred at various times in recorded history. 
Those who contend that such “blood moons” are intended as signs by God, signalling the coming of significant events that will affect Israel and have worldwide consequences, usually refer to the passages in both the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 1:14, Joel 2:30-31, Acts 2:19-20, Matthew 24:14 and Luke 21:25 – see the whole passage in verses 25-28) to justify their conclusions. 
On April 15, 2014, on Pesach (Passover), there was a total lunar eclipse. This was the first of four scheduled total lunar eclipses that are to occur in a series, that is called a “tetrad”. According to Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd of EarthSky, a tetrad is “four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons)”.
The expression “blood moon tetrad” is of recent vintage and was made popular by Christian Pastors Mark Biltz and John Hagee. Biltz believed that the final lunar eclipse of this tetrad will usher in the Second Coming of Yeshua. Hagee, on the other hand, was of the opinion that the “rarity” of the tetrad, combined with its occurrence on the above-mentioned prophetic Feasts of Israel (see Leviticus 23), constitute a “sign” of significant changes that will occur regarding Israel and affecting the future of the world. His published his ideas in a book, Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change, which became  a best seller. Biltz published his own book, Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs. A third book on the subject was published by Pastor Mark Hitchcock, Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons.
It didn’t take too long before the idea was picked up by religious, as well as secular, media and the line began to be drawn between those who saw the coming “blood moons” as a sign in the heavens and those who ridiculed and even joked about the astronomical event.
Both Hagee and Biltz linked the occurrence of such Passover/Tabernacles tetrads in history to major events affecting Jewish people and the State of Israel. For example: 
1493-1494 A.D. – expulsion of Jews from Spain
1949-1950 A.D. – establishment of the State of Israel
1967-1968 A.D. – Six-Day War
2014-2015 A.D. – ?
In order to get a proper perspective on what is referred to as a “blood moon”, we need to understand what happens during a lunar eclipse. Dr. Danny R. Faulkner, writing for the apologetic website Answers in Genesis, responding to Biltz’s ideas, stated, in part:
“Because total lunar eclipses often appear red, people sometimes call a totally eclipsed moon a ‘blood moon.’…A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth’s shadow (the umbra) falls on the moon. If the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon, it is a total eclipse. But a partial lunar eclipse happens if the earth’s umbra only partially covers the moon. Because the earth has an atmosphere that bends light around its edge, the earth’s umbra is not completely dark. So, the totally eclipsed moon will reflect the color of the light contained in the earth’s shadow. The earth’s atmosphere scatters out shorter-wavelength light (green through violet) leaving mostly longer-wavelength light (red, orange, and yellow) in the earth’s umbra. This is why sunsets and sunrises generally are red, and why most lunar eclipses are red.
“However, a wide range of color and brightness can be found in lunar eclipses. This is based on atmospheric conditions at the time including dust and humidity levels. While the color of some total lunar eclipses could be compared to blood, others are more orange, similar to a pumpkin. Still other eclipses look yellow, and some are very dark—virtually black…In short, most lunar eclipses don’t appear blood-like, so it is a bit presumptuous to assume that any particular future eclipse—or, in this case, four eclipses—must of necessity be ‘blood moons’.”
It should also be pointed out that there have been 62 tetrads since the first century A.D., of which 8 tetrads coincided with both Jewish Feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. In addition, the 2014-2015 tetrad is one of 8 tetrads that will occur during the 21st century, if the world continues to exist to the year 2100. Moreover, inasmuch as the Jewish calendar is based on a lunar cycle and the two feasts mentioned always fall on the 15th day of the lunar month, namely, always when there is a full moon. A lunar eclipse must fall on or within a day of the 15th of the lunar month. As noted in Lev. 23, God commanded that these two festivals would occur six months apart from one another. Faulkner, as well as McClure and Byrd (Earth & Sky, above), notes that one sixth (1/6) of all lunar eclipses occur on Passover or Sukkot.
But, the spiritual argument, relying on the same verses, continues that the sun will be darkened, which is claimed to be a reference to a solar eclipse that is scheduled to take place in 2015. Nevertheless, here too, Faulkner (Answers in Genesis) points out that one twelfth (1/12) of all solar eclipses coincide with the first day of Nisan, the beginning of the Jewish civil year. Moreover, the path of that eclipse (in 2015) is such that it will be seen by almost no one.
So, how are we supposed to relate to these phenomena? We should begin by measuring our response according to what appears in Scripture. The apocalyptic events are supposed to occur “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31); “before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20). When will the sun be turned to darkness and the moon to blood? According to Matthew 24:29, it will be “immediately after the distress of those days”, which refers to the 7-year period of travail known as the Great Tribulation. Moreover, according to Luke 21:25-28, there will not only be “signs” relating to the sun and the moon, but also to the stars. It will be a time when “nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea [and men] will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken”. It will be a time that “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”.
The lunar eclipses, even if they appear red in colour, and the partial solar eclipse, taken together, still fall short of the type of apocalyptic events that will cause the heavens to shake and cause men to faint from fear, which will precede the Second Coming of Yeshua.
But, the argument continues, what about those events in Jewish and Israeli history, which have corresponded with the lunar tetrads? A careful analysis of those events that were referred to reveal that the tetrads occurred after the historical events cited and, therefore, they cannot validate the conclusions reached. As such they could not be used as “signs” of coming events, but rather attempts to relate later celestial happenings to those prior events and attach spiritual importance to them.
Moreover, a “sign”, in order to have validity as a warning or a wake-up call, needs to be seen. Inasmuch as the anticipated “blood moon” total eclipses are to relate to and concerning Israel, it would stand to reason that such “signs” would be seen by Israel. However, three of the four eclipses in the tetrad will not even be visible here. 
A further argument is advanced, referring to what is stated in the Jewish Talmud (the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law containing Rabbinical commentaries and arguments, which is a central text for Rabbinic Judaism), Tractate Sukkah 29a, which indicates that if the moon is in an eclipse, it is a bad sign for the Jewish people and Israel. If the sun is in an eclipse, it is a bad omen for the world. If the face of the moon “is as red as blood”, it is a sign that “the sword is coming to the world”. These are not statements from either the Old or the New Testaments and, as such, should not be relied upon as indicators of God’s intentions towards His creation. Moreover, Jewish tradition makes clear that astronomical “signs” do not affect the Jewish people, because of their relationship with God. It is not my intention here to argue the right or wrong of Talmud pronouncements, but to set forth what appears in both Testaments and apply them to the claims regarding “blood moons”. 
While I do not see the coming total lunar eclipses as a fulfilment of Biblical prophecy, there are those who do and who will continue to interpret them as such. To them, the questions must be asked: “What will you do with such knowledge?” and “How and concerning what will Israel and the rest of the world be warned?” What can Israel, or the world, do in the light of such celestial warnings?
For those wanting to pursue this matter further, I am listing a few sites for your consideration. The inclusion of the sites below is not intended as an endorsement of any of the materials contained in those sites:
The Washington Post carried an article on April 15th entitled “Blood moon” sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians.
Favoring an interpretation that something major (but not specified) will occur regarding Israel in 2014-2015 and having worldwide consequences: (analysis, with dates of events affecting Jews and Israel) (detailed, with maps and interviews) (shows where the eclipse would be seen) (World Net Daily, with a list of related stories)
Over 8 million people now live in Israel.
As we are about to celebrate our 66th Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports that 8.18 million people now live in this tiny stretch of desert sand. The breakdown is as follows:
75.0% of the population is Jewish, about 6,135,000 people
20.7% of the population is Arab, about 1,694,000 people
4.3% of the population, about 351,000 people, is made up of non-Arab Christians and other religions or with no religious affiliation.
The percentage of the Jewish population actually dropped about 0.3% from last year.
In the 66 years of our existence, the population has grown to 10 times of its original size of 806,000. But, more than that, swamps were drained, the desert has been turned green, cities were built, industry was encouraged and thrived and our currency is getting stronger (well, at least against the weakening U.S. Dollar). That all happened while we are still officially in a “state of war”. Imagine what life would be like here, as well as for our neighbors, as well as for the world as a whole, if we were living in peace.
Israel Remembers Her Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror.
Tonight, almost an hour and a half ago, another siren sounded throughout the land, as we began the Day of Remembrance for our fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Speeches were made in Jerusalem, as bereaved relatives gathered for the annual ceremony marking this day when the nation remembers and honours those who gave their lives that we might live in freedom. The last speaker was a rabbi, who quoted Psalm 83 in its entirety, part of which is as follows:

“O God, do not remain quiet; do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. For behold, Your enemies make an uproar and those who hate you have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ For they have conspired together with one mind; against You they make a covenant…So pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm. Fill their faces with dishonour, that they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever and let them be humiliated and perish, that they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps. 83:1-5, 15-18 – underscoring mine)
When this day of national remembrance and mourning is over, it will be immediately followed with celebrations of our independence. “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
And That was the week that was.
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” (Golda Meir)
Be blessed and be a blessing. And don’t forget to have a Great week.


For Abbas, peace with Israel would be committing treason. – TWTW 21 April, 2014

Shalom all,
In the last few days, the “Palestinian” Authority is gasping for breath and is considering committing political suicide. It may bring a bit more pressure on Israel, but, as we say, “We survived Pharaoh, we’ll survive the “Palestinian” Authority. In reality, the handwriting was on the wall. Every time the parties came close to concluding a deal, the “Palestinians” bowed out, as their leaders chose not to deemed traitors to the “Palestinian” cause. Nevertheless, a much greater evil than the “Palestinians” lurks behind the well-pressed suits and ties of politicians, who create the impression that former terrorists are now responsible political partners to bring about an end of the Middle East conflict – a “new” anti-Semitism. But, what is said to be “new” really isn’t “new” at all, but rather the “old” anti-Semitism, expressed now as “anti-Zionism”. But, nothing has really changed, except the dress and language of anti-Semitism. We also just finished eight days of the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread. And, next week is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We DO remember. We don’t have the luxury not to remember.
“Palestinian” Authority leadership considering drastic measures if the “peace negotiations” fail.
According to one of Israel’s major daily newspapers, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the “Palestinian” Authority, along with senior P.A. officials are threatening to dissolve the P.A. if the so-called “peace negotiations” with Israel fail. Such a move would include disbanding “Palestinian” security forces operating in Judea and Samaria (referred to by the main stream media as “the West Bank”]). Such a move would also involve the P.A.’s cancellation of the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, following which they would announce that the “Palestinian” Authority is a “government under occupation” without full sovereignty. The immediate, technical result of such a move would shift responsibility for the “Palestinians” in Judea and Samaria to Israel. According to the reports appearing today (Sunday), the threat was passed on to Israel. 
If the P.A. were to carry out such a threat, it would undoubtedly result in various immediate international international responses against Israel. There would also likely be a marked increase in “ Palestinian” unrest against Israeli locations, both military as well as civilian.
Naftali Bennett, the head of the Bayit Hayehudi (“Jewish Home”) party and Economics Minister, who has not refrained from expressing his opposition to the negotiations, responded to the report of the threat and said that Abbas was “encouraging terrorism against Israel” adding, “If he wants to go, we won’t stop him. Israel won’t conduct negotiations with a gun to our head.”
Contrary to the expressed optimism of the U.S., officials in Jerusalem said that there has been no progress in the emergency talks between the parties to extend the negotiations that were conducted over a period of nine months and are scheduled to end on April 29th. As reported in the last post, the negotiations stalled about 3 weeks ago over a major disagreement concerning the last phase of prisoner releases, which includes 14 Israeli Arabs, who will either not be freed or, if freed, would be deported either to Gaza or abroad. Abbas is opposed to any deportation, insists on their release and is unwilling to commit to extend the peace negotiations, which Israel has demanded of the “Palestinians”.
Dissolution rather than dishonor; for Abbas, peace with Israel would be committing treason.
Abbas has basked in his international image as a moderate, an image that was allowed to be created due to considerable lack of understanding or wilful ignorance on the part of many world leaders. This image stands in contrast to the violent character of the society and people group which he purportedly represents. Following his meeting last month with Barack Hussein Obama, the latter referred to Abbas as having “consistently renounced violence, [that] has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side in peace and security — a state that allows for the dignity and sovereignty of the Palestinian people and a state that allows for Israelis to feel secure and at peace with their neighbours.” It doesn’t matter that the statement is not true. The MSM doesn’t really care if it is true or not. In similar fashion, much of Israel’s left and senior officials allow him to get away with playing the game for the western media, while presenting a totally different message in Arabic to an audience that is totally antagonistic to resolving anything with Israel.
When Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon suggested in a very recent TV interview that Abbas “is a partner who takes but doesn’t give”, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief peace negotiator, Livni attacked his comments. We can forgive her for wanting to cover up her go-nowhere efforts at the negotiating table. She has her job to protect. Yet, it is difficult to reconcile all of the adulation heaped on Abbas by Israeli politicians with the reality that exists in the “Palestinian” Authority, who are at the forefront of efforts to delegitimize and remove Israel as a player on the world scene. Abbas Zaki — a senior official close to Abbas — in an interview given on March 12, 2014 [provided and translated by Palestinian Media Watch], said: “These Israelis have no belief, no principles. They are an advanced instrument of evil. They say, the Holocaust, and so on — fine, why are they doing this to us? Therefore, I believe that Allah will gather them so we can kill them. I am informing the murderer of his death”.
Abbas has received an outpouring of popular support throughout the P.A. in his intransigence against what is perceived as American pressure to agree to a U.S. framework for extending the deadline for the about-to-expire negotiations. He assured them that he would not sell out either to the U.S. or to Israel, saying: “I am 79 years old…[and] not ready to end my life [committing] treason.” It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that according to his mindset, concluding a peace deal with Israel is equivalent to committing treason. In light of such a statement, is there anything left for us to say?
The “New” Anti-semtism is just the old anti-Semitism in a new dress.
Even a cursory reading of various news media would reveal that attacks upon Jews, Jewish institutions and businesses, Jewish academicians, are on the increase world-wide. Physical attacks are easy to identify as being anti-Semitic. But, in recent years, a “new” form of anti-Semitism has arisen, which seeks to disguise itself by not attacking Jews directly and individually, but rather, indirectly and collectively, by attacking and condemning the Jewish people and, particularly, the nation of Israel. Anti-Zionism is the term usually employed, with insignificant variations, to try to justify anti-Semitism. The focus is slightly different, but the goal is the same: to generate widespread condemnation of the Jewish people with the ultimate goal of causing them to be removed from the world’s scene.
Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, in the beginning of his written statement presented at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, and published in its official record on 10 February, 2004, stated:
Anti-Zionism has become the most dangerous and effective form of anti-Semitism in our time, through its systematic delegitimisation, defamation, and demonisation of Israel. Although not a priori anti-Semitic, the calls to dismantle the Jewish state, whether they come from Muslims, the Left, or the radical Right, increasingly rely on an anti-Semitic stereotypization of classic themes, such as the manipulative “Jewish lobby,” the Jewish/Zionist “world conspiracy,” and Jewish/Israeli “warmongers.” One major driving force of this anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism is the transformation of the Palestinian cause into a “holy war”; another source is the anti=-Americanism liked with fundamentalist Islamism. In the current context, classic conspiracy theories, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, are enjoying a spectacular revival. The common denominator of the new anti-Zionism has been the systematic effort to criminalise Israeli and Jewish behaviour, so as to place it beyond the pale of civilised and acceptable conduct.” (emphasis mine)
He goes on to say, in part: “The question of whether anti-Zionism can or should be equated with anti-Semitism is one of those pivotal issues that refuse to go away. it is of considerable importance in any effort to define the nature of the ‘new Judeophobia’ and the strategies to deal with it….[A]nti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two distinct ideologies that over time (especially since 1948) have tended to converge, generally without undergoing a full merger….I believe that the more radical forms of anti-Zionism that have emerged with renewed force in recent years do display unmistakable analogies to European anti-Semitism immediately preceding the Holocaust. One of the more striking symptoms has been the call for a scientific, cultural, and economic boycott of Israel that arouses some grim associations and memories among Jews of the Nazi boycott that began in 1933.”
Professor Wistrich’s complete article can be viewed here.
In an article entitled The New Anti-Semitism – What it is and how to do deal with it, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks states, among other things, the following:
“Today’s anti-Semitism is a new phenomenon, continuous with, yet significantly different from the past. To fathom the transformation, we must first define what anti-Semitism is. In the past Jews were hated because they were rich and because they were poor; because they were capitalists (Marx) and because they were communists (Hitler); because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they held tenaciously to a superstitious faith (Voltaire) and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing (Stalin).
“Anti-Semitism is not an ideology, a coherent set of beliefs. It is, in fact, an endless stream of contradictions. The best way of understanding it is to see it as a virus. Viruses attack the human body, but the body itself has an immensely sophisticated defense, the human immune system. How then do viruses survive and flourish? By mutating. Anti-Semitism mutates, and in so doing, defeats the immune systems set up by cultures to protect themselves against hatred. There have been three such mutations in the past two thousand years, and we are living through the fourth….
“We can date the third mutation to 1879 when the German journalist Wilhelm Marr coined a new word: anti-Semitism. The fact that he needed to do so tells us that this was a new phenomenon. It emerged in an age of Enlightenment, the secular nation state, liberalism and emancipation. Religious prejudice was deemed to be a thing of the past. The new hatred had therefore to justify itself on quite different grounds, namely race.
“This was a fateful development, because you can change your religion. You cannot change your race. Christians could work for the conversion of the Jews. Racists could only work for the extermination of the Jews. So the Holocaust was born. Sixty years after the word came the deed. 
“Today we are living through the fourth mutation. Unlike its predecessors, the new anti-Semitism focuses not on Judaism as a religion, nor on Jews as a race, but on Jews as a nation. It consists of three propositions. First, alone of the 192 nations making up the United Nations, Jews are not entitled to a state of their own. As Amos Oz noted: in the 1930s, anti-Semites declared, ‘Jews to Palestine’. Today they shout, ‘Jews out of Palestine’. He said: they don’t want us to be there; they don’t want us to be here; they don’t want us to be. 
“The second is that Jews or the State of Israel (the terms are often used interchangeably) are responsible for the evils of the world, from AIDS to global warming. All the old anti-Semitic myths have been recycled, from the Blood Libel to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, still a best-seller in many parts of the world. The third is that all Jews are Zionists and therefore legitimate objects of attack….The new anti-Semitism is an attack on Jews as a nation seeking to exist as a nation like every other on the face of the earth, with rights of self-governance and self-defence. 
״How did it penetrate the most sophisticated immune system ever constructed – the entire panoply of international measures designed to ensure that nothing like the Holocaust would ever happen again…? The answer lies in the mode of self-justification. Most people at most times feel a residual guilt at hating the innocent. Therefore anti-Semitism has always had to find legitimation in the most prestigious source of authority at any given time. In the first centuries of the Common Era, and again in the Middle Ages, this was religion. That is why Judeophobia took the form of religious doctrine. In the nineteenth century, religion had lost prestige, and the supreme authority was now science. Racial anti-Semitism was duly based on two pseudo-sciences, social Darwinism (the idea that in society, as in nature, the strong survive by eliminating the weak) and the so-called scientific study of race. By the late twentieth century, science had lost its prestige, having given us the power to destroy life on earth. Today the supreme source of legitimacy is human rights. That is why Jews (or the Jewish state) are accused of the five primal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, attempted genocide and crimes against humanity.
“That is where we are. How then shall we respond?…As Jews we must understand that we cannot fight anti-Semitism alone. The victim cannot cure the crime. The hated cannot cure the hate. Jews cannot defeat anti-Semitism. Only the cultures that give rise to it can do so. We need allies. Jews have enemies but we also have friends and we must cultivate more…The most important thing Jews can do to fight anti-Semitism is never, ever to internalise it. That is what is wrong in making the history of persecution the basis of Jewish identity. For three thousand years Jews defined themselves as a people loved by God. Only in the nineteenth century did they begin to define themselves as the people hated by gentiles. There is no sane future along that road….To anti-Semites and their fellow travellers we must be candid. Hate destroys the hated, but it also destroys the hater. It is no accident that anti-Semitism is the weapon of choice of tyrants and totalitarian regimes. It deflects internal criticism away by projecting it onto an external scapegoat. It is deployed in country after country to direct attention away from real internal problems of poverty, unemployment and underachievement. Anti-Semitism is used to sustain regimes without human rights, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a free press, liberty of association or accountable government. One truth resounds through the pages of history: To be free you have to let go of hate. Those driven by hate are enemies of freedom. There is no exception…We must find allies in the fight against hate. For though it begins with Jews, ultimately it threatens us all.” (emphasis mine)
Similar arguments are set forth in an article published by FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East):
“The new anti-Semites do not publicly proclaim their desire to bring about a second Holocaust or to subject the Jews to mass murder or annihilation. The hatred is aimed against the state of Israel, which, according to the new anti-Semites, represents all that is evil in the world and which is the main violator of human rights and guilty of virtually every other abuse that can be conceived. This poison is now so widespread that a poll taken in Europe not too long ago found Israel to be the greatest menace to the peace of the world — far ahead of such murderous regimes as those of Iran or of North Korea….Those on the extreme left call for the abolition of the State of Israel outright, although they do not tell us what they propose to do with the five million Israeli Jews. They would presumably be left to the tender mercies of the Arabs, who would, of course, have no greater joy than to emulate or perhaps even to “improve” on the Nazi model and to give “final solution(!) to the Jewish problem” once and for all. That isn’t going to happen, of course, not because anybody in the world would lift a finger to prevent it, but because, fortunately, Israel is a very strong and most capable nation…. 
“In deference to “world opinion” and also to the wishes of the United States, Israel has allowed itself to be pressured into innumerable concessions to those who are sworn to destroy it. But it seems clear that, when the chips are really down, a most decisive response on the part of Israel can be expected. With the possible exception of Carthage during the Punic Wars, almost 2500 years ago, no country in the world, no country in recorded history, has ever been threatened with extinction. Israel is the one exception. Fueled by the extreme left, the “legitimacy” of Israel is a constant topic of discussion. The abolition of the “Zionist entity” gets serious attention, even in the hallowed halls of the United Nations. Iran feverishly pursues the Holy Grail of atomic weapons. Its president has publicly declared — not once, but repeatedly — that Israel is a “tumor” that must be excised and that it must be wiped off the map of the world. Medium-range missiles (so far, fortunately without atomic warheads) are being paraded through the streets of Teheran, with signs attached to them, shamelessly giving their destination as Jerusalem. A few eyebrows are being raised around the world, but otherwise nothing is being done about it. Because the memory of the Nazi Holocaust still lingers after all these years, the new anti-Semitism is disguised as the socially more acceptable “anti-Zionism.” It is pursued and propagated by the radical left. Every leftist demonstration — be it about the war in Iraq, against globalization, for or against whatever else — does inevitably include appeals against “Israeli subjugation of the Palestinians,” the “occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel,” or simply asks for the elimination of Israel. Sadly, quite a few Jews, having been saturated with leftism from their early years, participate in such demonstrations…..
“Surely, not everybody who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite. The actions of Israel, just as the actions of any other countries, are subject to examination and criticism. But the viciousness, volume and consistency of this criticism against Israel is such that it cannot be considered as anything but anti-Semitism — the new anti-Semitism, disguised as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism. The foolish professors and the hypocritical preachers are besotted by their leftism and by their hatred against Israel and America. Overt vilification of America has to remain muted — it’s somewhat dangerous to be too outspoken about it — but Israel, perceived as the satrap and the handmaiden of the United States in the Middle East, is an easy target. Nobody should be fooled. Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism in whichever way it may be disguised.” (emphasis mine)
More recently, on 30 January, 2014, NewStatesman published an article, with the title, The radicalism of fools: the rise of the new anti-Semitism, followed immediately by the statement, “No self-respecting person on the left should endorse anti-establishment positions that are in reality just cloaked anti-Semitism.”  [The article dealt with the use of a reverse Nazi salute by a French soccer player, which was referred to as an anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic gesture – “quenelle”. The full article can be viewed here.
The new/old anti-Semitism, in the form of anti-Zionism, has infiltrated into the ranks of even those who were once considered to be the staunchest supporters of Israel – Christian Evangelicals. Luke Moon, who serves as the Business Manager for the Institute on Religion & Democracy, in his excellent articleIn Bethlehem, the Wrong Kind of Christian Festival, wrote: “Evangelicals need to be taught to be anti-Zionist”. Apparently, many are being taught well. The article appeared in the April, 2014, edition of The Tower Magazine and noted the irony that was apparently lost on the organisers of the recent “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference, in that it was held in the city where the Messiah was born, yet “whose Christian population has been eviscerated by the Palestinian Authority”. In his first two paragraphs, Mr. Moon gives us the essence of the conference:
“Over the past several decades, some of the most steadfast backers of Israel have been Christians, particularly in the United States. But opponents of Israel are well aware of this and, not content with working against the Jewish state in other institutions, they have changed their tactics accordingly, working overtime to poison the wellspring of belief. Evangelical support for Israel is under attack.
“The biannual Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CATC) in Bethlehem has been a rallying point for this campaign. When I attended the 2014 conference, I discovered that things have only gotten worse. In fact, the even demonstrated just how savvy and successful Palestinian anti-Israel Christian activist have become. Over the last four years, the leaders and participants of Christ at the Checkpoint have grown to be increasingly astute regarding American Evangelicals and how to persuade them of their anti-Israel narrative.”
He goes on to state:
“Unfortunately, it was clear from the Christ at the Checkpoint conference that pro-Palestinian Christians have serious political and institutional momentum. Indeed, several activist commented privately that they are concerned Evangelicals will become not just pro-Palestinian, but actively anti-Semitic. 
“This cannot be rejected out of hand. At less than a few hundred years old, Christian Zionism is a fairly recent phenomenon. What really makes the new anti-Israel activism so dangerous, however, is how quickly support for Israel can be eroded and how fast the poison of anti-Semitism can spread. 
“Arresting this threat will be a challenge. It is simply not enough to warn Evangelical churches of the danger. They need to be equipped with the knowledge necessary to combat the lies with facts and understand the modern state of Israel; and why its existence is evidence of God’s faithfulness and mercy not only toward the Jews, but toward us Evangelicals as well.”
In similar fashion, the in-depth article by Christine Williams, New Anti-Semitism Tailored for Evangelicals (Gatestone Institute International Policy Council), examines the agenda of the CATC conference, noting the “unprecedented advisory” that was issued by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warning Christians not to be involved with the conference that was held last month, which coincided with Israel Apartheid week in Bethlehem. The official statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed the government’s concern about the insidious anti-Israel propaganda emanating from the conference:
“The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilise political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.”
Ms. Williams further gave an eye-opening reminder of the Charter of the terror organisation, Hamas, which controls Gaza and the Gaza Strip:
“For those who need a reminder about the contents of the Charter of Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and has a joint agreement with Abbas and Fatah, it states that Israel ‘will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.’ It also echoes the motto of its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope’.”
She also noted that the conference refused to allow Kay Wilson to speak there. She and her friend, Kristine Luken, who was visiting from England, were attacked by “Palestinian” terrorists outside of Jerusalem. Kay was severely injured, while Kristine was killed: “Wilson approached one of the CATC speakers about speaking at the 2012 convocation, but was told that her story was ‘not what the Lord wants’, a phrase that is sadly abused by some Christian leaders to exercise control — akin to a kind of spiritual or psychological extortion — over the follower. Wilson then expressed dismay about ‘how any Israeli…. Messianic believer, could justify participating in a conference that has chosen to associate itself with theologians advocating Replacement Theology and Palestinian officials with clear ties to recognized terrorist organisations.’ She further stated, ‘For any self-respecting person, and especially for Israelis such as myself, the endorsement of terror by association, at a Christian conference, is obscene’.”
The readers of this blog are encouraged to read this article in its entirety, as well the others cited that deal with the “new” anti-Semitism, a subject which is pervasive in its scope and deals not only with direct attacks upon Israel itself, but encourages indirect attacks, such as through the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, as well as through the internet. Keep in mind that while the “old”, classic anti-Semitism sought and seeks to cleanse the world from Jews, the “new” version of the “old” anti-Semitism sought and seeks to cleanse the world from the Jewish State vis anti-Zionism. It’s the same lady, but she’s wearing a different dress.
As mentioned in the closing quote from FLAME above: “Nobody should be fooled. Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism in whichever way it may be disguised.”  We need to pray and act so as not to be deceived and to tacitly agree to the wiles of those who would seek to destroy Israel in any way they can.
This subject is particularly relevant inasmuch as beginning this coming Sunday evening, Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) will begin here. There will be sirens sounded throughout the country as we stand in silent remembrance of the six million Jews, including more than 1.2 million children, who were slain during the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis.
Passover is over, or is it? One more day!
This evening we complete the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:4-8). Over the years, the two religious feasts have been celebrated together, as an 8-day celebration. In Israel, most schools are closed, along with all government offices. Banks are off the first and last days. Most large companies give their employees a week off also. And, we ate Matzo (unleavened bread) for 8 days. Oh, to bite into a real sandwich ago!
Tomorrow, the day following the end of Passover, is another day of celebration, called “Isro Chag”. It is celebrated the day following each of the 3 religious festivals, when going up to Jerusalem was commanded (Passover, Feast of Weeks or Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles). Its custom came about as a result of some people remaining in Jerusalem following each of those feast days. The name originated from Psalm 118:27 – “The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.”
And THAT was the Week that was.
“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)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you….” (Zechariah 9:9)
Be blessed and be a blessing,


Terror Attack on the Eve of Passover leaves one dead and two injured. – TWTW … ending 12 April, 2014 (Part 2)

Shalom all,
For those of you who celebrated the Passover last night, my prayer is that you read well, reflected well, ate well and were blessed by your time with family and friends. May God provide us opportunity to celebrate together our freedom from slavery, physical and spiritual, as well as from the power behind the world system that enslaved us, physically and spiritually.
A bit of further reflection on the crisis in the so-called “peace negotiations” brings us back to Netanyahu’s famous Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, which he made during his second term in office. During the speech, he made certain “concessions” and expressed a willingness: (1) to implement a two-state solution; (2) to approve a construction freeze in the settlements; (3) to agree, in principle, to land swaps and (4) to release terrorists. The implications of that speech were broad and politicos argued over the possible ramifications of conceding one point or another.

It is important to note that during his Bar-Ilan speech, Netanyahu emphasized “recognition” as being a key element of his willingness to make “concessions”: If the ‘Palestinians’ recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized ‘Palestinian’ state exists alongside the Jewish state.” (emphasis mine) While it may be difficult for some in the leftist camp and the main stream media to accept, the issue of recognition was actually raised by the Israeli leftists and was raised by none other than the champion of the left, Tzippi Livni herself, back in November, 2007 (when she was serving as Foreign Minister under Netanyahu’s predcessor, Ehud Olmert, at a meeting with senior “Palestinian” Authority officials: “Israel the state of the Jewish people – and I would like to emphasize the meaning of ‘its people’ is the Jewish people…I didn’t ask for recognizing something that is the internal decision of Israel. Israel can do so, it is a sovereign state. [We want you to recognize it.] The whole idea of the conflict is … the entire point is the establishment of the Jewish state.”  As Netanyahu stated in a few months back: “Recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people means completely abandoning the ‘right of return’ and ending any other national demands over the land and sovereign of the State of Israel…This is a crucial component for a genuine reconciliation and stable and durable peace.”
But, following Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech, the “Palestinians” didn’t waver in their positions. They affirmed their goal of establishing a “Palestinian” state (which would include land swaps), the dividing of Jerusalem so that it would be the capital of the state to be formed. But, more importantly, they maintained that they would not recognise Israel as the Jewish state and would not yield on their demand to allow the return of the “refugees” (actually, the descendants of those who voluntarily left Israel prior to the War of Independence, in order to allow Arab armies to come against Israel and push the Jews into the sea). These descendants today number in the millions.
Many in the mainstream media had prepared their editorials in advance, trying to blame Israel for the failure of the so-called “peace negotiations”. But, in reality, it is the “Palestinians” who did everything possible to distance themselves from signing an agreement that would end the conflict. This was pointed out by Israel Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who stated that we need to abandon the concept that we need to continue to negotiate with the “Palestinians”: “I am not a prophet of doom. I am a realist…Unfortunately, I find myself saying ‘I told you so’ again and again. For eight months, Abu Mazen [Abbas] has been saying that he has no intention of recognizing Israel as the Jewish people’s national home, giving up the right of return or holding talks about the end of the conflict and the end of the demands…That is why I have been shouting for 20 years that every time the “Palestinians” need to make decisions, they run away and try to blame us. On the festival of liberation, we need to liberate ourselves from the intellectual slavery of irrelevant concepts about the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict and understand the essence of the conflict, and deal with it accordingly.” 
Ya’alon’s perspective was repeated by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who met with Kerry this past week: “We need to tell the truth: the “Palestinians” in general and Abu Mazen in particular are not interested in reaching an agreement with us.”
The paramount issue for Netanyahu is the “Palestinian” recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. In a nutshell, the reason for this is that once there is such recognition, it permeates other areas of the “Palestinian” narrative and affects the claim for the return of the refugees, as well as invites closure to the endless demands of the “Palestinians”, not the least of which is the claim that all of Israel is “occupied territory”. What most of the head honchos in the U.S. and the E.U. fail to understand is the underlying cause of the conflict. It is not the bogus claim of “occupation” of areas in Judea and Samaria, nor is it the rhetoric relating to the return of Arab “refugees”, the vast majority of whom are dead (in this regard, note the comments in my post of TWTW ending 22 June, 2013, regarding the expulsion of Jews from Arab-speaking lands, which took place at the same time, resulting in a population shift in this region). Rather, it has to do with Jewish presence in what is considered to be Islamic land – not in submission to Islam, but independent of it, and having ownership authority over that land. This is rooted in Islamic thought and instruction, namely: once Islam has conquered any land, that land becomes sacred to Islam, even if Islam is temporarily removed from it. So, if we understand the concept, then we must come to the conclusion that it is the ruling Jewish presence in this area that is problematic. This Jewish presence flies in the face of the Islamic concept of religious superiority over every other religion. As long as our presence here continues, the conflict will continue. Therefore, neither Abbas, nor any other “Palestinian” leader, would be able to yield on the question of recognising Israel as a Jewish state, without risking his life. In a similar fashion, when Abbas met with Barack Hussein Obama a short while back, he could not commit to ending the conflict. 
Attention needs to be focused on what the “Palestinians” are saying, how they say it and, particularly, when and why they say it. As noted last week by Muhammad Al-Daya, the former bodyguard of Yasser Arafat (the Chairman of the PLO from 1969-2004 and the President of the “Palestinian” Authority from 1994 until his death in 2004), Islam allows for lying in politics. He added that when Arafat said he was against the killing of civilians, those denouncements were not true, but came about as a a result of badgering by Hosni Mubarak, the then Egyptian president. Mubarak would tell Arafat, “Denounce it, or they will screw you”. So with the situation today, talk is cheap and could be politically motivated, but a written commitment to end the conflict would be binding.
I’d like to close this part of the post with a quote from Dr. Rueven Berko, who stated on April 3rd: “There is nothing quite like the Palestinians when it comes to negotiating: First they threaten us that if we don’t grab President Mahmoud Abbas by the coattails, we are destined to have a binational state on our hands that will gradually become Palestinian. Then they wave the possibility of another armed uprising. Lately they have begun materializing their threat by taking unilateral action to win recognition of a Palestinian state, to take us to court for war crimes at The Hague, and to boycott us as economic and academic outcasts.
In actuality, the Palestinians are not magicians and they don’t have a rabbit in their hat. They are draped in an Islamic suit of insanity cut from an inter-Arab (Hamas, Arab League) and in-house cloth (pressure from home to ensure the right of return for refugees to Israel), and they are unable to reach any sort of arrangement with us. Therefore, they are more interested in destroying and hurting Israel than they are, or are capable of, in coming to an agreement with us.”
From a strictly human point of view, the only way that the “Palestinian” conflict will end will be when the “Palestinians” desire peace and work towards it. That means that they need to re-educate their people. A recent survey of 150 new Palestinian Authority textbooks revealed widespread delegitimisation and demonisation of Israel and continued to call for violent struggle instead of peace. The books claim that the Jews have no rights to Israel, including to Jewish holy sites. The survey, which was conducted by the Near East Policy Research Center and led by Dr. Arnon Gross, a professor in Islamic Study and veteran Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio, also showed that the name “Israel” appeared less than a handful of times on the maps of the schools in the “Palestinian” Authority and is usually replaced with “Palestine”. Areas inside the pre-1967 ceasefire lines are described exclusively as “Palestinian”. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which operates 250 schools in the Gaza Strip and 100 in Judea and Samaria, says there is no incitement in the “Palestinian” Authority textbooks studied in its schools.
As long as “Palestinian” children are being taught to believe a lie, as their parents and grandparents were taught before them, “peace” will be a word that is defined only in an dictionary prepared from an Islamic mentality.
Paying for the Plagues of Passover? Egyptian columnist says “Sue the State of Israel”.
Ahmad al-Gamal, writing for the Egyptian daily Al-Yawm Al-Sabi, urged Egypt to the State of Israel for damages caused by the 10 Biblical plagues: “We want compensation for the plagues that were inflicted upon [us] as a result of the curses that the Jews’ ancient forefathers [cast] upon our ancient forefathers, who did not deserve to pay for the mistake that Egypt’s ruler at the time, Pharaoh, committed.”  

The plagues that summarily struck Egypt in consequence included the Nile turning into blood, an outbreak of lice, diseased livestock, boils, and so on, culminating in a darkness that can be felt and the deaths of all the firstborn in Egypt, unless they were under the protection of the blood of the Passover Lamb. The plagues had a prominent role in the story of the Passover and the children of Israel being freed from the power of Egypt and from slavery in Egypt.

Gamal continued: “For what is written in the Torah proves that it was Pharaoh who oppressed the children of Israel, rather than the Egyptian people…“[But] they inflicted upon us the plague of locusts that didn’t leave anything behind them; the plague that transformed the Nile’s waters into blood, so nobody could drink of them for a long time; the plague of darkness that kept the world dark day and night; the plague of frogs; and the plague of the killing of the firstborn, namely every first offspring born to woman or beast, and so on.” 

Gamal also urged that Israel should be sued for the “precious materials” used by the ancient Israelites in order to construct their desert tabernacle: “We want compensation for the gold, silver, copper, precious stones, fabrics, hides and lumber, and for [all] animal meat, hair, hides and wool, and for other materials that I will mention [below], when quoting the language of the Torah. All these are materials that the Jews used in their rituals. These are resources that cannot be found among desert wanderers unless they took them before their departure.”   

It would not appear that Gamal’s desires are going to brought to fruition. But, if he does convince someone in the Egyptian establishment to pursue Israel for the claims mentioned, the likelihood is that such claims would be instantly dismissed as being barred by the Statute of Limitations. Really, waiting some 3,500 years to pursue a legal claim is a bit much. Nevertheless, if such a claim were to be filed, I would encourage Israel to file a counterclaim for damages incurred by the children of Israel resulting from 430 years of forced labor!  Just to put this matter in perspective, Gamal also wants Turkey to pay reparations to Egypt for the damage caused by the Ottoman Empire following from its invasion of Egypt in the 16th century, as well as from France for Napoleon’s invasion in 1798. Not to be left is is a claim against the United Kingdom resulting from its 72-year occupation of Egypt.

Terror Attack on the Eve of Passover leaves one dead and two injured. 

On the eve of the Passover holiday, a deadly terrorist attack took place near the “West Bank” Tarqumiyah crossing, which resulted in the killing of a 40-year-old Israeli father of four and the wounding of his pregnant wife and a son, aged 9. They were traveling from their home in Modi’in to participate in the Passover seder meal with the mother’s family, who live in Hebron. The attack was praised by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, although both refrained from taking credit for it.

So, with whom does the U.S. and the E.U. want us to negotiate? Terrorists shooting guns or terrorists shooting their mouths off?

Other matters, such as the “new” anti-semitism, blood moons and former P.M. Olmert’s conviction for bribery, will hold for later. On second thought, I’ll leave out Olmert.

And THAT was the week that was.

“You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt’.” (Exo. 13:8)
“[Y]ou shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers’.” (Deut. 6:22-23)

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Pieces of the "peace puzzle" are pulling away. – TWTW … ending 12 April, 2014 (Part 1)

Shalom all,
Lots of false starts with this one. A paragraph or two, then a stop for a day or two. Another two or three paragraphs and a stop for two or three days. And so it went. These things happen. A pressure here, a situation there and everything tends to be put “on hold”. Then, a window of opportunity is opened and we need to seize the moment. So, what’s been happening? Too much and not enough. Sounds a bit contradictory, but that is the nature of the Middle-East morass. And, to top it all off, we are about to celebrate another Passover. The ways things have been going, I sometimes wonder whether our leadership realises that we have been freed from slavery in Egypt. An Egyptian journalist wants to sue Israel for the damages caused to Egyptians as a result of the 10 Biblical plagues. Not to be forgotten is the “new antisemitism”, which is really the “old” antisemitism that hasn’t gone away, but only changed its appearance. Then, there’s talk about “blood moons”. Oy! Oh, yeah. After years of legal manoeuvring, Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was finally found guilty of bribery.
Pieces of the “peace puzzle” are pulling away. 
The so-called “peace process” is taking on zombie-like features: dead, but still moving and threatening. Mahmoud Abbas met with U.S. President Obama and said “no, no, no”: He would not recognise Israel as a Jewish state; he would not abandon the “Palestinian” claim for a “right of return” and would not commit to ending the conflict if a “Palestinian” state is establish. gets backing from the Arab League, which has officially endorsed “Palestinian” refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. 
Abbas received backing from the Arab League, which officially endorsed “Palestinian” refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. Of course, along with that refusal, Abbas again threatened to take the case for a “Palestinian” state to that “un-organization”, the U.N., as the Arab League also blamed Israel for all the evils of the Arab-Israeli conflict. “We hold Israel entirely responsible for the lack of progress in the peace process and continuing tension in the Middle East…We express our absolute and decisive rejection to recognising Israel as a Jewish state.” Arab League see – Arab League do. I’m surprised that the Arab League hasn’t blamed Israel for the problem with bad breath in the world. 
The planned, but delayed, and now very questionable, last prisoner release again poured salt on open wounds, caused division in the highest levels of our government and further aggravated the already aggravating “peace process”, which came to an abrupt half and even appeared to start to go backwards. The United States was becoming desperate in its efforts to salvage the peace negotiations and was rumoured to be willing to release Jonathan Pollard for prisoners held by Israel. On our end, we were willing to release 400 prisoners if Abbas would agree to extend the talks for another year. Abbas then raised the ante and demanded the release of Marwan Barghouti, a terrorist serving five life sentences in Israel for his role in the second intifada. U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, made more trips to our neck of the woods, trying to salvage the wreck of the “peace process”. While in our neck of the woods, he also met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who had just returned from the Arab League summit in Kuwait. Abdullah added a little fuel to the fire, calling on the international community to put pressure on Israel to “desist from the steps it’s been taking”, adding “The path to a just peace goes through the establishment of the State of Palestine.”
It didn’t take long for the situation to deteriorate even further. Jibril Rajoub, senior advisor to Abbas, said, “We have not abandoned the negotiating table… We are committed to nine months of talks… until the end of April.” Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf added that “if our heroes are freed” in the prisoner release that was supposed to have gone ahead last week, then previous Israeli-Palestinian understandings would be “intact.”
But, Abbas snubbed his nose at everyone and signed applications to adhere to 15 international treaties, rejecting Israeli demands that he withdraw those applications. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored appeals to refrain from “unhelpful” tit-for-tat moves and came up with a list of tough reprisals against the renewed move of the “Palestinians” to gain international backing for the establishment of a separate state. He said that the “Palestinians” have only one way to achieve statehood and that is through negotiations, not through “empty declarations or one-sided actions that only push a peace agreement further away”. He added: “Unilateral actions from the ‘Palestinians’ will be answered with unilateral actions from our side.” 
In what may have been in the planning stages for a long time, P.M. Netanyahu put action behind his words. In response to Abbas’s applications to international bodies, Netanyahu ordered Israeli government officials not to meet with their “Palestinian” counterparts. This would apply to all official contacts, except for those between the Defense Ministry and the “P.A.”, which would have affected security cooperation in Judea and Samaria. Cooperation “in the field” among low-level officials would also continue. But, there was clear understanding by “Palestinian” officials what would happen if Israel imposed punitive measures on the “P.A.”, as one senior “P.A.” official said that if such punitive measures were implemented, it would result in the collapse of the “Palestinian” Authority. One of those measures is to cease to transfer Israeli tax money to the “P.A.”. According to the “P.A.” Ministry of Prisoner Affairs, in 2012, some $75.5 million was paid to terrorists imprisoned by Israel and their families, a move which Israel sees as “funding terrorism”. (Good morning, folks!) Israel has indicated that at least this amount would be withheld. Believe it or not, at present, about $100 million (yes, U.S. Dollars!!!) a month is transferred by Israel to the “Palestinians”. And people accuse us of being economically smart. I think I’m missing something here.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel for the breakdown in the talks, saying that the negotiations began to crumble only after Israel refused to release the fourth round of prisoners: “The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 [new housing] units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof – that was sort of the moment.” While addressing a Senate hearing, Kerry added a few words regarding the “Palestinians”: “The treaties [with the international organisations] were unhelpful, and we made that crystal clear to the ‘Palestinians’.” He also said that “Palestinian” recognition of Israel as a Jewish state should be part of a final peace agreement, but indicated that this would be achieved at the end of the peace process and not at the beginning. He remained optimistic.
But, U.S. Senator John McCain was more of a realist and told Kerry that the “talks, even though you might drag them out for a bit, are finished.” Kerry responded that the talks could still be salvaged, but noted that “there are limits to the amount of time the president and myself [did he mean “I”?] can put into this, considering the other challenges around the world, especially if the parties can’t commit to being there in a serious way.”
Israel did not allow Kerry’s accusation to go unchallenged. So on Friday, April 11th, one of Israel’s leading TV stations quoted an unnamed senior Israeli official, who claimed that Kerry was responsible for the crisis, because he improperly told “Palestinian” Authority that Israel would be willing to release Israeli Arabs in the last round of prisoner releases, when Israel never agreed to do so. The official added that Kerry had months to try to resolve this particular issue, as well as the issue over how many prisoners would actually go free, but he failed to accomplish it. The TV report continued, saying that Kerry eventually acknowledged that he “made a mistake here” – regarding the release of Israeli-Arab terror convicts. This, in turn, led to the beginning of a complex deal under which the U.S. would free Jonathan Pollard, in exchange for the release of the Israeli-Arab prisoners and hundreds of others, among other things, if the “Palestinians” would stop all unilateral moves towards statehood and agree to resume the negotiations. But, that deal was nixed when Abbas took unilateral steps to affiliate with various international organizations. In a sense, this move of Abbas prevented the collapse of the present Israeli government, as one of the major coalition partners, HaBayit Hayehudi, led by Naftali Bennett, was set to leave the government, if it was agreed that Israeli-Arab terror prisoners would be released.
Nevetheless, on Thursday, April 10th, in an interview with A-Sharq al-Awsat (which means “The Middle East”  – it is a London-based daily), Abbas said that he was willing to extend the peace talks beyond the present deadline of April 29th, but added that such extension must be aimed at the establishment of a “Palestinian” state, with its capital in East Jerusalem. What became finally clear to the high-ranking politicos here is that Abbas is not interested in resolving the “Palestinian” issue. (no kidding, Sherlock) One news report indicated that this conclusion began to be formulated about five years ago, when Netanyahu seriously offered Abbas the option of face-to-face negotiations, “until we reach an agreement”. Abbas’s response was that he was prepared to begin such a process, but not to achieve either an end of the conflict or an end of “Palestinian” demands. That conclusion finally came home to roost.
Chief “Palestinian” negotiator Saeb Erekat (remember him? – he’s the one who likes to change history and claimed that his Canaanite family lived in Jericho 3,000 years before Joshua Bin Nun burned it down) said that the gaps between the parties remain “very wide” and that reports of progress in renewing the talks were false. In any event, U.S. Mediator, Martin Indyk, returned to the U.S. for the Passover break, as there was no visible light at the end of the tunnel that would indicate that there was almost no possibility of reaching a breakthrough in the present impasse or for talks to be extended beyond the present deadline of April 29th.
I’ll follow the lead of Martin Indyk and take a break here.
Part 2 to follow.

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

Shalom all,

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

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

Despite my many efforts, I was not able to load the caricature into this post. So, I will refer you to the site itself: (click on the upper left hand corner of the newspaper and go to page 27.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.


The "Peace Talks" are not peaceful. – TWTW … ending 8 March, 2014

Shalom all,
“[The] best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” (from the English interpretation of Robert Burns’ 1785 poem “To a Mouse, on turning her up in her nest with the plough”).
And so, despite the best of intentions, for personal reasons and necessary involvements in other matters of concern here, and despite several false starts, I was unable to send out TWTW, which had to be put on hold for a short bit. During that time, events in and around Israel continued and, at times, even seemed to accelerate. In many instances, the media seemed to be tripping over itself, to see who could copy what and from whom. Others, as usual, just filled up space to meet a word quota, jumping from one point to another, unrelated point and never quite completing the circle. Most of the articles followed lines of political affiliation, leftist or rightist, depending upon which tabloid they appeared in.
The “Peace Talks” are not peaceful.
The most consistent news event since the last posting was the so-called “peace talks”, the politics of it and the pressures flowing from it. The following are some of the events (summarized), in sequential order and appeared either as headlines or 2-page spreads immediately following the cover page:
Netanyahu said he would not dismantle the settlements, but would allow all settlers to remain in areas of Judea and Samaria that would become part of “Palestine”;
Naftali Bennett (the head of “Habayit Hayehudi” [The Jewish Home]) party said he would never agree to Netanyahu’s plan for the settlers and warned against “giving up our country”;
Representatives of the “Palestinians” said that they were willing to allow Jews to be in their state, but not settlers (having read that, I confess that my first thought was to encourage all of the leftist parties and their media compatriots to sell their residences in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva and, of course, Nazareth, and to move to Judea and Samaria. They would all then have to see each other and deal with each other on a daily basis, which will quickly show them the error of their ways. But, I was asked by persons close to me not to do that, but to have mercy on “the poor “‘Palestinians'”, for whom it would be too much to have to relate to the Israeli left as part of their daily life.);
Tzippi Livni, head of the leftist “HaTnuah” party, who is also the Minister of Justice and Israel’s chief negotiator with the “Palestinians”, accused Mahmoud Abbas (President of the “Palestinian” Authority) of having “unacceptable positions” (they must have been really outrageous if she found them to be “unacceptable”);
P.M. Netanyahu’s “settler plan” backfired, as right-wing anger preempted “Palestinian” insistence on “Judenrein” (a state free of Jews); 
Naftali Bennett of said Jews in “Palestine” would be killed;
The Minister of Defense called the peace process a “fairy tale” (at last, a breath of reality and a ray of light in the midst of gross deception and the fog of illusion);
Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz accused Abbas of being the world’s No. 1 purveyor of anti-Semitism;
Israel was said to be ready to accept ‘s framework proposals, but “P.A.” negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Israel as a Jewish state and claimed that his ancestors were living in Jericho 10,000 years ago, before Joshua “occupied” it (amazing – an “occupation” that was claimed to exist 3,500 years before Israel was even a State and almost 4,000 years before the world was created [according to the Hebrew calendar!] – just as an aside, Jericho was never “occupied”, it was destroyed and burned to the ground, and was rebuilt much later at the cost of fulfilling a curse to the sons of the builder [Joshua 6:21, 24, 26; 1 Kings 16:34] – maybe more on this in the next post);
Israelis accused U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of being an “unfair” mediator, placing pressure only on Israel and not on the “Palestinians” and indicating that if the talks fail, Israel would suffer economically – the impression being given that the stage is already being set to blame Israel for the failure of the talks (an impression also given by President Obama in his discussions this past week with P.M. Netanyahu;
P.M. Netanyahu said that expecting Israel to recognize a nation state for the “Palestinian” people, without reciprocal recognition of Israel as the nation state for the Jewish people, would be “absurd”;
The U.S. condemned new, east Jerusalem construction plans and called on both Israel and the “Palestinians” to refrain from unilateral steps that could harm the ongoing “peace talks” (it is difficult to understand why the U.S. didn’t also condemn the rocket fire upon Israeli cities from the region of Gaza);
At the same time, John Kerry responded to his Israeli critics that he would not be intimidated by opponents of the “peace process” (this is not a “peace” process, but a “piece” process, with the goal of giving away one piece of the land of Israel after another, as has been done in the past;
According to an opinion poll, 61 percent of Jewish Israelis believed that Kerry threatened Israel when he said that Israel could face boycotts and further delegitimization, if the “peace talks” failed;
And then, in an unexpected twist, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for a cooling off of criticism against Kerry, referring to him as “a true friend of Israel” and was praised for it by the U.S.;
This was followed by a source from Habayit Hayehudi party, who was quoted as saying that Lieberman was “zigzagging himself to death [and] veering to the left of Tzipi Livni” (wow, that is really far left!);
Kerry defended himself and said that his comments about boycotts were “taken out of context” (a usual comment by politicians when there is nothing else to fall back on);
European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, addressed the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) and among other things, called Israeli settlement policy an “obstacle” to a peace deal and said that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip “may in fact undermine, rather than strengthen, Israel’s security” (I wonder whether he would make the same comment of the blockade today, in light of Israel’s capture this past Wednesday morning of Iranian missiles, intended for Gaza, that can travel up to 200 kilometers [125 miles] and can carry a payload of up to 170 kilograms [375 pounds]); Schulz’s speech was interrupted by Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev, who stood up and said: “How can a son of the German nation not be ashamed to quote lies he heard in Ramallah?…Israel has been out of Gaza for a long time now, and your support of the ‘Palestinians’, who are inciting for the destruction of Israel, on the Knesset podium 70 years after the Holocaust, is chutzpah.”;
There is a widespread consensus here that if Abbas wasn’t willing to sign an agreement with former P.M. Ehud Olmert (presently facing criminal charges related to a major construction project approved under his administration), who was willing to concede to almost everything that the “Palestinians” wanted, then he’ll never sign an agreement with Netanyahu, who is offering much less than Olmert;
The terrorist organization, Hamas, said that Abbas was “not authorized” to negotiate with Israel and the U.S. and that if foreign troops were to be stationed in either the Gaza Strip or the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria), they would be be fair game;
P.M. Netanyahu responded to E.U. calls for boycott, saying: “I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing, is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews … I think that is an outrage. That is something we are re-encountering. In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today, they call for the boycott of the Jewish state…I think it’s important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are — they’re classical anti-Semites in modern garb. And I think we have to fight them”;
Kerry met with Abbas in Paris and according to the U.S. State Department, the parties were narrowing the gaps. But, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO (the “Palestinian” Liberation Organization) said that the “Palestinians” oppose the idea of a framework proposal that allows both sides to express their reservations, adding“if the document is so far as we have seen … then it is not even a starting point”;
Government ministers and Members of Knesset proclaimed that “the Jordan Valley is Israeli … It is impossible to think that the border will not be in the valley. The alternative, that the border will be next to Kfar Saba and Netanya, is completely inconceivable” and Israel has the “inalienable right” to build in the Jordan Valley and “The Jordan Valley will remain a part of Israel forever”;
U.S. Congressman, Doug Lamborn chimed in: “With the region aflame and so many crises demanding attention, the U.S. has made a baffling decision to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and make it the crux of its Middle East policy … We should be putting pressure where it belongs — on our enemies, not on our friends” (true words from one who has an understanding of the times);
German Chancellor Andrea Merkel visited Israel and said that Germany sees eye-to-eye with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on two key issues: the Israeli demand that the “Palestinians” recognize Israel as a Jewish State and opposition to an economic boycott of Israel, adding “We do not support the demands for a boycott … This is not an option for Germany” (it would have been great if she stopped there, or alternatively, if she had continued and had made positive contributions to Israel’s right exist “from Dan to Beer Sheva”, i.e., all of Israel, from north to south and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, without an enemy state in our midst); Merkel was awarded the Israeli Presidential Medal for supporting Israel and for her tough stance against racism and anti-Semitism. She expressed strong support for Israel’s security, and expressed her thankfulness for the award, saying “Receiving the highest award bestowed by another country is a great honor for the recipient, but in light of Germany’s responsibility for the tremendous suffering of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, receiving this award today is something of a miracle”;
Just before Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S., Deputy Defense Minister, Danny Danon, sent him as letter, in which he stated, among other things: “I have no doubt that you will properly represent the values of the Likud, mainly the need to maintain Israel’s security, and that you will not buckler under the pressure of those who demand we divide Jerusalem and return to the 1967 lines.”
P.M. Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S. this past week produced predictable results: President Obama tried to put him down, while AIPAC applauded him; Obama tried to pressure Israel to move the dead “peace process” along and finish the matter, while alluding to international sanctions that could come against Israel if the talks fail; Netanyahu’s response, in short: “In the Middle East, the most turbulent and violent part of the Earth, the only peace that will endure is a peace we can defend” (Kol HaKavod [“Way to go”], Bibi), adding that the Israeli people expected him “to stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state”. But he continued: “I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s the truth. What we all want fervently is peace. Not a piece [of] paper … but a real peace; a peace that is anchored in mutual recognition of two nation states that recognise and respect one another, and solid security arrangements on the ground.” (Oy, Bibi, if you had only stopped with the last three words “a real peace”);
Netanyahu also stated: “Mr. President, you rightly said that Israel, the Jewish state, is the realization of the Jewish people’s self-determination in our ancestral homeland. So the “Palestinians” expect us to recognize a “Palestinian” state for the “Palestinian” people, a nation state for the “Palestinian” people. I think it’s about time they recognize a nation state for the Jewish people. We’ve only been there for 4,000 years…The 20 years that have passed since Israel entered the peace process have been marked by unprecedented steps that Israel has taken to advance peace. I mean, we vacated cities in Judea and Samaria. We left entirely Gaza. We’ve not only frozen settlements, we’ve uprooted entire settlements. We’ve released hundreds of terrorist prisoners, including dozens in recent months. And when you look at what we got in return, it’s been scores of suicide bombings, thousands of rockets on our cities fired from the areas we vacated, and just incessant “Palestinian” incitement against Israel. So Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say that the “Palestinians” haven’t.”
In an interview with Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg, which took place a little before the meeting of the two international leaders, Obama exploded a political bomb, threatening that if Israel were to become internationally isolated, he would not stand up for Israel. It was with the knowledge of this statement that Netanyahu met with Obama and stood his ground against the pressure to be more yielding regarding the dead, but not yet buried, peace negotiations.
The day after his meeting with Obama, P.M. Netanyahu addressed a more receptive audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference, where he stated that the ball of the peace deal is in the court of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas. He opened his speech to a standing ovation, following his statement: “Greetings from Jerusalem – the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel”.
In his speech before AIPAC, Netanyahu called on “P.A.” President, Mahmoud Abbas, to “recognize the Jewish state. No excuses, no delays, it’s time. … Telling your people, the Palestinians, that while we might have a territorial dispute, the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own is beyond dispute.”
The rest of his speech was broken down into three topics: the “Palestinians”, the anti-Israel boycott threat and, of course, Iran. Regarding Iran, Netanyahu warned that if not stopped, Iran’s long-range missiles would ultimately reach as far as California.
Regarding the “Palestinians” and the potential positive consequences of entering into a real peace with them, he stated:
“I’m prepared to make a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors — a peace that would end a century of conflict and bloodshed … peace [that] would also open up the possibility of establishing formal ties between Israel and leading countries in the Arab world,” Netanyahu said. “Many Arab leaders today already realize that Israel is not their enemy, that peace with the Palestinians would turn our relations with them and with many Arab countries into open and thriving relationships. The combination of Israeli innovation and Gulf entrepreneurship, to take one example — I think this combination could catapult the entire region forward … but it’s time the Palestinians stopped denying history. Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state.”
Regarding the matter of the anti-Israel boycotts, Netanyahu accused the proponents of such boycotts of being anti-Semitic, saying: “Those who wear — those who wear the [boycott, divestment and sanctions] label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot…They should be exposed and condemned. The boycotters should be boycotted” and added that the BDS movement would eventually fail. He gave a different label to the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), calling them “Bigotry, Dishonesty and Shame”, adding “those ‘gullible fellow travellers’ who believe BDS helps the cause of peace were actually pushing peace further away by helping to harden ‘Palestinian’ positions.”
He expressed gratitude to actress Scarlett Johansson, who became a brand ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli drink manufacturing company that operates in Judea and Samaria. She refused to yield to pressure from anti-Israel activists and Netanyahu said she and others like her, who refused to give into BDS efforts “should be applauded.” He ended his comment about her with a modification of Clark Gable’s closing line in the Hollywood movie classic, “Gone with the Wind” and said: “Scarlett, I have one thing to say to you: Frankly, my dear I do give a damn.”
As expected, the “Palestinians” were not enthusiastic about Netanyahu’s speech before AIPAC. Some officials close to Abbas indicated that the “P.A.” is not planning to extend the present “peace talks” beyond the deadline set to end in April, unless (now get this!) Israel would agree to release more prisoners and freeze settlement construction.
Nabil Shaath, a senior official in the “Palestinian” political picture, accused Netanyahu of making a “de facto official declaration terminating the negotiations between us and Israel. Netanyahu is not interested in solving the refugees problem, and he is demanding our recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. We find this unacceptable”. Then, this past Thursday, Mohammed Ishtayeh, an aide to Abbas, was clearly pessimistic about the continuation of the “peace talks”, saying: “What we have seen in the talks is that the gap is growing, rather than narrowing”, adding that Abbas cannot “under any circumstances” recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
In the meantime, both sides received a copy of Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework proposal and most of the Israeli politicos are of the opinion that it will be rejected by the “Palestinians”.
And, finally, to bring us up to date on this issue, P.M. Netanyahu, in his first television interview here in over a year, said this past Friday that not all of the settlements would remain under Israeli sovereignty, once “the deal” is made with the “Palestinians”. Nevertheless, he said that he would “make sure that [number] is as limited as possible, if we get there”. He pledged that no Israeli would be “abandoned” and was firm in his statement that “there will be no act of evacuation”. This comment brought a momentary sigh of relief to those who envisioned a repetition of the forced evacuation of Gaza’s settlements, which took place in 2005 under the late prime minister Ariel Sharon. He repeated his position that the “Palestinians” needed to (1) recognize Israel as a Jewish state, (2) give up their claim to a “right of return” for the millions of descendants of the refugees who left Israel immediately prior to the War of Independence and, of similar, critical importance, (3) agree to an “end of the conflict”. Regarding the “framework agreement” drafter by Secretary of State John Kerry, he made it clear that the content of that agreement stated the position of the U.S. and that both sides could object to its terms: “We don’t have to agree to everything they write.”
Unfortunately, we continue to talk in terms of reaching an agreement with the “Palestinians”, despite the fact that to most of the players and participants, the “handwriting on the wall” is becoming clearer by the day – this round of negotiations is not going to lead to an agreement to “end the conflict”. Nor can it. The world focuses attention on one faction of the “Palestinian” entity, that faction headed up by Mahmoud Abbas. But, he does not speak for that branch of the “Palestinian” entity that has taken up residence in Gaza and is ruled by the terrorist organization “Hamas”. There will be no peace with Hamas until that organization ceases to exist.
The discussions with the so-called “Palestinians” have become an international spectacle that has taken on the uncertainties of the former T.V. program “Let’s make a deal”. No ones knows what lies behind this closed door or that one, but whatever is behind any of those doors, Israel will not end up winning the prize. Former government leaders and many left-wing politicians and media were and still are willing to “give it all away”, so that another meaningless piece of paper can possibly be signed, another document that will have zero significance and which, in any event, will not be honored by the so-called “Palestinians” and will only delay the inevitable bursting of the bubble. We’ve been through this scenario before, more than once. Yet, in our constant desire to end a conflict with our “cousins” that has lasted since the time that Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, we were willing to accept it. Fool us once, fool us twice, fool us even three times – shame on you. Fool us a fourth time, shame on us! Enough is enough.
Abbas has given us his “never, never” list, over and over again, as he persists in seeking his goal in dreams of “fantasy island”. According to him and/or his spokespeople: (1) He will NEVER recognize Israel as a Jewish state; (2) He will NEVER give up the claimed right of return (an expression taken from Israel’s Law of Return for Jewish people) for purported “Palestinian” refugees; (3) He will NEVER accept Israeli sovereignty in any part of East Jerusalem; (4) He will NEVER allow Jews to live in Judea or Samaria (referred to as “the West Bank”); (5) He will NEVER agree to Israeli security control over various ground and air locations, including the Jordan Valley. So, since he is not willing to negotiate on these matters, and since negotiation is supposed to be a two-way give and take, we are left wondering what it is that he is willing to give. We certainly know what he wants to take. Maybe the answer is behind Door Number 3?
Notwithstanding his list, the negotiators still meet, additional terrorists are slated to be released very soon and the gap between the parties is becoming a wedge that divides them further and further. Everyone will go through the motions, because that is what everyone else expects them to do. The “Palestinians” don’t want to end the conflict. They want to put an end to Israel, if not by war then by international de-legitimization. The threat to take the “Palestinian” case back to the great un-organization, the U.N., has been in the thoughts of the PLO long before “peace talks” were resumed. The threat of international isolation should also not sway Israel to yield to Washington’s demand and to commit national suicide in the process.
As for the possibility of causing these threats against Israel to become a reality if the talks fail, we’ll make it through. We survived Haman and Pharaoh, we’ll survive Obama, Abbas, the European Union and Iran (modern-day Persia). If only they knew how much they would be blessed if they would bless Israel and the consequences of aligning themselves against us (Gen. 12:3).
Well, enough for the moment about the negotiations. All of us need a break from it, but none of us should be broken by it.
Iran’s arms shipment to Gaza was intercepted by Israeli commandos.
The politicians did their thing, while Iran continued to do its thing. Iranian weapons intended for Gaza were captured by Israeli commandos this past Wednesday morning about a mile off of the coastline of the Red Sea. The ship was towed to Eilat, where it will undergo a thorough examination.
The arms shipment was originally flown from Syria to Iran, where they were then shipped by boat to Iraq and was on its way to Gaza when it was intercepted by Israel. The vessel, “Klos-C”, a Panamanian ship, was carrying dozens of M-302 missiles, which have a range of 100-200 kilometers (60-125 miles) and could have been “game changers” in the region. The ship was boarded by Israeli naval commandos around off the coast of Eritrea and Sudan, around 1,500 kilometers (930) miles south of Israel. P.M. Netanyahu referred to the capture of the lethal weapon systems, while speaking with Israeli reporters in Los Angeles, saying that the “over-arching objective of this mission was to thwart the delivery of lethal weapon systems to the Gaza Strip via Iran; the second objective was to expose Iran’s true face. Even as it holds talks with the world’s powers, it brazenly flouts international law and arms the Palestinian terrorists with game-changing weapons. We have been outing this activity on the world stage in a systematic way and without much fanfare. Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself, against any threat, and let me add this — anywhere in the world.” It should be noted that the M-302 missiles have a far greater range than any of the weaponry presently in use by the terrorist groups in Gaza.
Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon placed the blame squarely on Iran, saying: “It has once again become clear that Iran continues to be the greatest exporter of terror in the world, with the express purpose of destabilizing the Middle East. This, while in complete violation of international law and abuse of open maritime trading routes…Iran supplies financial support, arms and training to terror organizations in the region and around the world, and its failed effort to transfer the weapons discovered this morning, is additional evidence. The Iranian regime continues to deceive the world; while it shows its smiling face it continues to be the biggest threat to world peace. This Iranian attempt to transfer weapons to the Gaza Strip is additional evidence that Gaza is a terrorist entity under Iranian auspices preparing to strike deep inside Israel.” Ya’alon couldn’t avoid making a jabbing comment towards those who are willing to trust Iran on the nuclear front, saying that this same regime, which is responsible for this arms shipment is “ostensibly smiling Iran that has tried to reach agreements with the West”, adding that he hoped “the world learns its lesson.” I have my doubts that it did.
In line with Ya’alon’s comments, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “Iran is still a terrorist state, all of it. Of course one can hold talks with the Iranians but any diplomatic engagement Iran partakes in is designed to obscure its affiliation with terrorism, because Iran has not changed — it is, at it core, a terrorist state whose goal is to boost terrorism all over the world.”
This is the fourth time that Israel has intercepted weapons on the high seas bound for Gaza. The first time was in May, 2001, when it captured the vessel Santorini off the Israeli coastline, loaded with explosives from the Hizb’allah and intended for “Palestinian” groups in the Gaza Strip. In January, 2002, Israeli forces boarded the Karine A freighter and confiscated 50 tons of missiles, mortars, rifles and ammunition intended for militants in Gaza. The same took place in November, 2009, when Israel commandeered the Iranian vessel MV Francop off the coast of Cyprus, capturing hundreds of tons of weaponry headed for the Hizb’allah in Lebanon.
What else made the news – besides the “peace talks”?
An estimated 170,000 rockets are presently aimed at Israel (a thought that’s enough to make one paranoid. Duh!);
Syria stepped up missile production, with a little help from its friend, Iran;
Israel is re-evaluating its official, neutral stance regarding the civil war in Syria, due to al-Qaeda-linked jihadis there;
Another missile site in Syria was bombed and Israel is accused of it;
Iran moves closer to becoming a nuclear country and is visited by an official of the P.A., as well as the Turkish P.M. (remember him?);
The U.S. says that Iran already has the capacity to build and deliver nuclear weapons (that’s not a thought that warms the cockles of my heart); Obama said he would veto new Iran sanctions bill, even while a recent poll indicates that most Americans would prefer a military strike to a nuclear Iran (I guess he’s too busy trying to come up with another go-no-where, threatening speech, while Russia blatantly annexed the Crimea);
The IDF established a field hospital in the Golan heights and treated over 700 Syrians, young and old, as the death toll in Syria passes 136,000 (one of the best ways to make friends from enemies is to medically treat them like friends – the same is true for Iraqi refugees);
Netanyahu’s son was reported to have a Norwegian girlfriend, from an evangelical background no less. This created a stir on a national level and prompted a denial from the Prime Minister, saying that they were not dating, but the two were only studying together in Tel Aviv – but photos taken in Norway would lead one to conclude that they are more than just study buddies;
Scarlett Johansson defended her involvement with SodaStream, saying that this Israeli, settlement-based company is actually a “bridge to peace”, but her Super Bowl commercial was nixed and she later stepped down as the global “ambassador” of Oxfam, after serving in such capacity for eight years, due to the disagreement with Oxfam over her endorsement of SodaStream (In an photo of the SodaStream Factory, in Mishor Adumim, the caption reads “If a European company would build a factory in the West Bank that employed a thousand Palestinian workers, paid them double the average wage and even built a mosque on-site, it would win worldwide praise and awards for humanitarianism. When a Jewish-owned Israeli company does it, it is called a ‘war crime’.” [see site of] – tried to attach the photo, but after several unsuccessful tries, decided to let you check it at the above site);
Israeli same-sex couples are allowed to bring Thai surrogate babies into Israel;
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told attendees at the Davos economic conference that a complete IDF pullout from all “Palestinian areas” is necessary for peace, adding his comments of the benefits of successful peace talks and the dangers of their failure;
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel would face an economic crisis if the peace talks fail;
Rival groups in Gaza defy Hamas’ efforts to maintain calm;
Egypt marked the third anniversary of the Arab Spring turned Winter Frost, while El-Sissi acts to solidly his position;
NY Times columnist says peace proposal will be “the last train to a negotiated two-state solution” (I wanted to devote a full comment to this, but decided to hold off – if this columnist writes another anti-Israel article, I will reconsider and post it);
The Curator of the British Museum claimed that Noah’s Ark was round;
International Holocaust Remembrance Day reminded us, once again, of the depths of depravity to which evil can reach, while there is an increase in anti-Semitic acts in Europe, particularly in France and Italy;
Medical groups in Sweden and Denmark oppose ritual circumcision, but are willing to allow consensual circumcision at age 12; Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Minister signed a regulation effectively banning religious slaughter of animals, saying that “Animal rights come before religion”;
An attempt to impose a ban on “shechita” (Jewish ritual slaughter) and Islamic “halal” slaughter in England was opposed by Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who said that preventing this type of religious slaughter of animals would “remove the right of Jewish communities in this country, Muslim communities in this country, to stick to their religious beliefs about how they prepared food and how animals are slaughtered” adding, in a Jewish tabloid: “no government of which I’m part” would ban “shechita;
German President apologized for the Nazi massacre of dozens of villagers in Greece;
Maximillian Schell, who won an Oscar for “Judgment at Nuremberg”, died at age 83;
We’ll close with this:
Israeli President Shimon Peres had an on-line Facebook session this past week and answered questions from people from around the world. It was a challenging task. Probably the most interesting question was posed by an Israeli, who asked: “For once and for all, which came first – the chicken or the egg?” Peres promptly responded: “the egg, without a doubt.” The President did not give an explanation for his definitive response, but one of those who gave feedback on the ensuing thread of comments about the chicken and the egg stated: “He’s old enough that he was probably there when they were created.” We’ll end with that.
Tried to catch up. There really was much more than just the dilly, dally, delay and stall tactics (hey, that could be a good name for a law firm!).
And THOSE were the weeks that were.

“‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:11)
 “‘I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land’.” (Leviticus 26:6)
“In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.” (Isaiah 27:6)

<a href="data:

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. ‘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.’ “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.  “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. “For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’.” (Isaiah 41:8-13)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.
Have a simply great week.

Israel Defends the Jewishness of Jesus – TWTW … ending 25 January, 2014

Shalom all and a blessed 2014.

This week’s TWTW is more like the month that was due to health issues in the family, including a brief hospitalization for me. Still have a few more tests to do but, hopefully, everything will turn out well.

The passage of time does not diminish the number of events that took place in and around here, but reviewing them all would be a gargantuan task that could fill up a small book. So, I’ll just touch on a few of them to bring everyone up to date, while some of them will be dealt with more at length below.

Attempts by the President of the “Palestine” Authority to once again “Palestinianize” (how’s that for a term?) Yeshua (Jesus) were rebuffed by the official spokesman for the Israel Foreign Ministry. More terrorists with blood on their hands were released as part of Israel’s commitment to the on-going negotiations. One Member of Knesset introduced legislation trying to restrict the government from giving away territory. Secretary of State John Kerry has completed close to a dozen trips to the region to push the American agenda regarding the negotiations with the “Palestinians”, which, according to recent reports is doomed to failure. Mahmoud Abbas threatens to take the cause of the “Palestinians” to the court of world opinion. Land and population swaps were proposed and are being considered by Israel. Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, visited Israel and gave a powerful, pro-Israel address at the Knesset, much of which is quoted verbatim below. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died and was laid to rest. Israel to provide free abortions for women between 20-33. Underage marriage is punishable by imprisonment.

Israel Defends the Jewishness of Jesus.
At a time when political lies and deception are capturing the attention and beliefs of nations around the world, one more fabrication was made by Mahmoud Abbas, President of the “Palestinian” Authority. A few days before Christmas, Abbas published a lengthy Christmas Greeting in which he referred to The Lord Yeshua (Jesus) as “a ‘Palestinian’ messenger who would become a guiding light for millions around the world”.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Yigal Palmor, responded to this oft-repeated “Palestinian” distortion of history by stating: “He should have read the Gospel[s] before uttering such offensive nonsense, but we will forgive him because he doesn’t know what he’s doing” and added that Abbas’ statement is an “outrageous rewriting of Christian history”.
However, it would seem that Abbas not only knew what he is doing, but that he tried to milk it to the end. Every effort is being made by “Palestinian” representatives to deny the historic Jewish presence  in Jerusalem and the rest of the land of Israel. Abbas, being their senior representative, has consistently denied the Holocaust. His willingness to claim national affinity with The Lord Yeshua (Jesus), while denying the Biblical descriptions of His identity, Person and work is nothing short of hypocrisy for the purpose of political gain.

David M. Weinberg, in his article entitled, Palestinian Christ persecuted by Israel?, which appeared in Israel Hayom (Israel Today) newspaper on December 27th, stated:

“On the most important week of the year for Christian faith, you would think that churches around the world and the Western media would bear witness to the accelerated persecution of Christians in Arab lands by the forces of Islam. You would think that the de rigueur bashing of Israel might be put aside for a moment of Christian self-defense and solidarity.

“Think again.

“Much of Western media devoted its Christmas ink, and many Christian nongovernmental organizations dedicated their Christmas appeals, to purveying the false impression that Christians are under assault by Israelis; and worse still, that Jews are crucifying Christians smack in the heart of Bethlehem.

“The singular, outstanding exception to this was Christa Case Bryant of the Christian Science Monitor, who published a finely researched, 3,700-word article detailing the Muslim assault on Christians across the Middle East, often with government encouragement and support.”

Then, after showing the real reason why Christians are suffering in Bethlehem, namely, oppression from the “Palestinian” Authority and radical Islam, Mr. Weinberg went on to say:

“The result has been an inexorable and ongoing Christian exodus from Bethlehem; a city captured by the PA and taken over by a very intolerant strain of Islam.

“None of this stopped the current PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, from this week releasing a malevolent Christmas message in which he cynically called Jesus Christ a ‘Palestinian messenger,’ and went on to blast Israel for denying “millions” of Christians their ‘right to worship in their homeland.’

“This is an ugly attempt to apply replacement theology (in which Christians are said to have superseded the Jews in a covenant with G-d) to the Palestinian assault on Israel. In Abbas’ reversed and warped world, the Jewish and Christian Jesus has been replaced by a Palestinian Christ, and Christianity is under attack by the Jews, not the Arabs and Muslims.
(underline = my emphasis)

“Few Christian leaders, and no prominent Western journalists, publicly took Abbas to task for arrogating Jesus to Palestinian propaganda. Turning the other cheek, they apparently thought, alas, that challenging Abbas just wouldn’t be in the Christmas spirit of justice, peace, charity, and love. (underline = my emphasis)

“Unfortunately, Abbas’ perverse and perfidious statement is in keeping with the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing denial of Jewish history and rights in the historic Land of Israel. It doesn’t augur well for the peace process.”

Palmor, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, commented that Abbas’ unfriendly statements were “not exactly in the spirit of Christmas” and cynically added: “Maybe he needs a hug from Santa?” Actually, I think that he needs to sit down and read the Bible. Nothing like a dose of truth to dispel a lie, an infusion of wisdom to cure a wrong perspective and light to bring one out of darkness.

“Palestinians” are not happy – threaten to take their case to the court of world opinion.
Both sides are looking for progress in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But, none of the players in this end-time scenario wants it more than John Kerry, who is coming close to making a dozen trips to Israel for this purpose. Actually, considering how often he has been coming here, with no entry-visa problems, maybe it would be a good idea to make him a temporary citizen and allow him to live here for about six months or so, so that he can experience first hand what it means to live under the constant threat of annihilation by our neighbors, both near and far. And Israel, realizing that a deal might not be consummated within the nine months originally contemplated and agreed upon to birth a “peace agreement”, was willing to sign a document that states that the two sides are willing to extend the negotiations for another year in an effort to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But, not all is well in lala-land. There is tremendous hesitancy on the part of the “Palestinians” to sign a framework agreement, which would require them to recognize Israel as the Jewish state and which, among other things, would require Israel to recognize the need of the “Palestinians” to form a nation. As long as the “Palestinians” refuse to do so, Prime Minister Netanyahu will also refuse to draw out a future “Palestinian” state on a map. At least, so it appears from the various media outlets.

According to certain sources, the “Palestinians” believe that Kerry’s plan is an “over-arching draft for all the core issues leading to a permanent accord … Abbas has stressed that he will refuse any temporary solution regarding core national issues, such as the status of east Jerusalem and recognizing Israel as the nation of the Jewish people.” In a similar vein, the same source indicated that Kerry’s proposal includes Israeli demands for security arrangements on the border of a prospective, future “Palestinian” state, that requires, among other things, Jordanian-Israeli-“Palestinian” security cooperation and added: “Abbas told Kerry that the Palestinians will not tolerate an Israeli presence [in the Jordan Valley], but have not ruled out an international force.” How’s that for a statement from someone who is supposed to be a partner in a dead “peace process”?

Still, in yielding to what is obviously political arm bending by the U.S., Netanyahu decided to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, in an apparent effort to further this possibility of strategic cooperation, as it would be an absolute necessity with regard to Israel’s willingness to concede territory in the Jordan Valley.

But, very recent developments indicate that the negotiations are not producing fruit, either the way that, or as rapidly as, the “Palestinians” want and they are threatening to go to the court of world opinion to push things along in their favor, by launching an all-out diplomatic war against Israel. According to a major news report that was aired on Israel’s Channel 2 last Friday night, such efforts on the part of the “Palestinians” would include, among other things: pushing for boycotts of Israel and seeking legal rulings against Israel in international legal tribunals. This threatened initiative to renew its diplomatic war against Israel is based on the belief by the “Palestinians” that it would receive backing from the international community that would see them as the injured party and blame Israel for the failure of the negotiations.

According to the TV report, which quoted “Palestinian” sources, the “Palestinians” were outraged that Kerry’s latest plan was offering them a state “with no borders, no capital, no [control over] border crossings…and without Jerusalem.” I personally don’t see a problem here. In my opinion, it sounds like a decent plan. They wanted to create something out of nothing and this is their chance to do so.

Regarding the issue of Jerusalem: P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is demanding total control over all areas of the city, including the Old City, that were captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Kerry’s plan, however, proposes the establishment of a capital in one of the city’s outlying neighborhoods such as Isawiya, Beit Hanina, Shuafat or Abu Dis (where construction of a “Palestinian” parliamentary building was actually begun in 2000).

One day before the airing of the above TV report, “Palestinian” negotiator Nabil Shaath accused Kerry of endorsing Israel’s position on two central issues in the negotiations, namely: recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a continued Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley. Both of these issues have been repeatedly rejected by the “Palestinian” Authority. Other issues, such as “Palestinian” refugee demands, borders, land-swaps and security proposals are also said to be included in Kerry’s latest, soon-to-be-released proposal. Abbas took a further step away from reaching an agreement when he hardened his position on the return of “Palestinian” refugees.

On the same day that Nabil Shaath was making accusations against Kerry, P.M. Netanyahu accused the international community of hypocrisy in its opposition to the proposed expansion of existing settlements, which have no bearing on the on-going negotiations.

“Palestinian” news agency lists Abbas’ positions.
Lest we forget, Mahmoud Abbas is a politician and one that presented a paper denying the Holocaust as his doctoral thesis. Over the years, he has learned how to “play the game”, bemoaning the state of affairs of his fellow “Palestinians”, while being afraid to make a genuine commitment that might lead to a temporary stop of hostilities. Not necessarily peace, but a temporary cessation of violence. One of these commitments has to do with temporary Israeli military presence in a “Palestinian” state. This will not be rejected outright by Abbas. instead, he will present it to the Arab League, which will reject it, thus keeping him “clean”.

But, more than this, the views and positions of Abbas were listed by Ma’an, the “Palestinian” news agency and include, in part, as follows: (1) He will refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; (2) He will reject any interim agreement proposed by Kerry, but will call, instead, for a “final solution”; (3) He will reject any proposal that would require the new state of “Palestine” to be unarmed. There are more, having to do with Jerusalem and return of refugees, among others, but these are critical. Abbas knows that words carry a lot of weight and are intended to have the the natural meanings attached to them. So, use of the words “final solution” would obviously strike a chord in the collective memory of the Jewish people, as the expression given by Adolf Hitler and his ilk to his genocidal plan to eliminate all of the Jewish people. I really have a difficult time trying to understand why Netanyahu kept pleading with him to sit down and negotiate with us.

The failure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state will ultimately prolong the conflict, by the “Palestinians” making more demands after an agreement is signed and, therefore, it is an essential part of Israel’s demands in the negotiations. Nevertheless, Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, who is scheduled to retire in a few months, commented in closed session that such recognition is not necessary, thereby once again, sticking his nose into policy matters, concerning which he should remain silent. By expressing his opinion in this matter, he gives a wrong message and a wrong impression to the “Palestinians”, making these ill-fated negotiations even more difficult.

M.K. Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who serves as the Minister of Strategic Affairs, Intelligence and International Relations, said, “Every negotiation for peace starts with mutual recognition. [The “Palestinians”] still haven’t recognized the existence of the Jewish people and its right to a state of its own. That’s the heart of the conflict. As long as the Palestinians do not recognize us as a Jewish state, there will not be peace, it will be a joke.”

Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) added that “Dividing Israel is more important to Peres than peace…His disregard for the consistent refusal of the “Palestinians” to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is sticking his head in the sand, ignoring the true face of the enemy.״

Theoretically, the “Palestinians” say they are willing to accept the right of the “Israeli nation” to live next to them in peace and security, that is, as long as it is not a Jewish state. And so, in essence, they are willing to recognize an “Israeli nation” as a state for all its citizens, where the national identity of the State and its Jewish identity are separate and distinctive. This, in turn, would give further opportunity to the “Palestinians” to claim that multitudes of their refugees should be able to enter Israel, with the obvious goal of demanding more and more territory until all of Jewish Israel no longer exists.

Nevertheless, we stand at the threshold of another U.S. proposal being offered, a modified interim agreement, where it is expected that the “Palestinians” will be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as well as give up their claim to the return of the so-called refugees, who are, essentially, second and third generation descendants of those who left here before the outbreak of the War of Independence. If Abbas agrees to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, which he already has repeatedly said that he will not do, then, according to one source, P.M. Netanyahu would be willing to say within the framework agreement that the negotiations will continue on the basis of the pre-1967 cease-fire lines, with territorial exchange that will include certain settlement areas. Even with such a willingness to compromise, it would be difficult to believe that Netanyahu would be willing to give up areas of historic importance to Israel, such as Beit El (Bethel),  Shiloh and Hevron, among others.

One final note regarding territorial waiver and compromise: One media source indicated that Netanyah has succeeded in convincing Yair Lapid (“Yesh Atid” party), Tzippi Livni (“HaTnuah” party) and Naftali Bennett (“HaBayit HaYehudi” party) of the fact that Jerusalem is the symbol, the history, the cultural foundation, the past and present capital of the Jewish people and, therefore, it should remain undivided. If this is, indeed, the case, then Netanyahu has succeeded in bringing about a political coalition of left and right, who are of one mind regarding the future of Jerusalem, after two prior Prime Ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, were willing to carve her up. And, if there is agreement not to divide Jerusalem, then Abbas will have to settle for another location for the capital of a “Palestinian” state, which will mean a tremendous “loss of face” for him and could bury the already dead “peace process” along with him.

Kerry was not gaining points and was not influencing the people.
Last week wasn’t a great week for Kerry. Not only did the “Palestinians” get on his case, but Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, did as well. Ya’alon was apparently getting fed up with all of the demands to concede this point or that point that were being made upon Israel by Kerry and his boss, who sits some 6,000 miles away from here. According to media reports, he accused Kerry of pushing his agenda with an “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic” zeal, while describing Kerry’s security proposal as “not being worth the paper it is printed on”. (Are we listening?) The press of politics caused Ya’alon to issue an apology for those comments, but at least he stood his ground and didn’t deny them. Kerry, for his part, said that he would not allow “one set of comments” to sidetrack him from his efforts.

Israel frees more terrorists and murderers.
Just before the new year, Israel kept her promise to the “Palestinians” and released another 26 terrorists and murderers. This was the third of four such releases that were planned to release a total of 104 people, who were lawfully convicted of causing or being involved in the murder of Israelis. This release, like the two previous ones, poured salt on open wounds that will not heal. The only positive aspect of such a release is that Israel no longer needs to provide, at public expense, those who actually killed or tried to kill us.

It should be noted that such releases were urged by the U.S., as a good-will gesture to the “Palestinians”. Yet, at the same time, the U.S. is telling Israel that it should have no interest or concern over the release of Jonathan Pollard. From the Israeli perspective, Pollard’s release is a matter of principle. He is paying the price for an error which Israel has confessed to. Yet, he continues to be punished, not so much for endangering the security of the U.S., but for helping Israel, an ally and trusted partner in the war against terror, a war in which both countries are now willing to compromise. We are willing to release 104 terrorists with blood on their hands. The U.S. is not willing to release one prisoner, who didn’t kill anyone.

Among those in the third prisoner release were five murderers from East Jerusalem and an unsuccessful petition was filed with the Israel Supreme Court to prevent their release. Relatives of the victims were outraged and expressed grief, dismay and disappointment: “We feel that releasing terrorists, especially those from east Jerusalem, is a slap in the face.” Another remarked: “This is a dark day for the State of Israel. I’m ashamed of my country today, for abandoning the bereaved families and the public’s security.” And yet another stated: “This is a national disgrace…These terrorists are killing Jews. Putting them in jail means nothing if all we do is release them.”

But, not everyone was disappointed with the release, as the “Palestinian” Authority gave the released prisoners a national hero’s welcome. P.A. President Abbas said: “This day is a happy day for all of us, for our people, for our families, and for our hero prisoners who were freed today to live free. They were also free in the prisons.” He added: “We will not sign a final peace deal with Israel before all the prisoners are released.” O.K., enough said. We can form our own opinions about the release of terrorists.

Land Swaps and People Exchanges
Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, reintroduced an old proposal that appears to be gaining momentum and wider acceptance in Israeli political circles, at least as the same relates to the on-going negotiations. The plan involves a land swap that carries with it a people exchange. As Lieberman states: “It’s appropriate to talk about an issue that is not exactly politically correct…I’m talking of course of the exchange of territory and populations. And if someone thinks that I’m talking about an exchange of territory and ‘the triangle’ and Wadi Ara [both areas mostly populated by Israeli Arabs] – indeed, that’s what I am referring to.”

After stating that Kerry’s proposal is probably the best offer to expect from the international community, taking into account Israel’s security needs, Lieberman then explained that his proposal would mean a “Palestinian” state along the 1967 cease-fire lines, with land swaps, that would include the transfer of large Arab-Israeli population centers to the “Palestinian” state. Without both aspects included, he would not support the deal. It needs to be understood that notwithstanding Lieberman’s proposal, any agreement would include the removal of isolated settlements and the eviction of about 100,000 settlers. Although Netanyahu is ready to “deal” now, he is not ready to remove settlements now, but maybe in a few years.

There is a simplicity and a politically-strategic brilliance about Lieberman’s proposal. It does not entail the removal of Arab populations, just a redrawing of border lines that would include large populations of Arabs in the “Palestinian” state, without requiring them to physically be uprooted and physically transferred. This would be in exchange for transferring settlement areas, presently claimed by the P.A. and large segments of the international community to be in “occupied territory” and include them within territorial Israel. The outcry of many Arabs in the areas that would be affected was immediate and very vocal. All of a sudden, those who supported the establishment of a “Palestinian” state did not want to be included in that state. Lieberman’s proposal was not rejected outright by the U.S., nor was it rejected by P.M. Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzippi Livni (which, by itself, means that consideration is being given to it by our government), but it will undoubtedly be rejected by Abbas. However, his proposal fails to take into account a sizable portion of the Arab Israeli population, who are happy and even proud to be Israelis, who would be affected by this plan. It is still too early to know whether his proposal will become a realistic part of the negotiations. We will keep an eye on it.

Canada’s Prime Minister speaks to the Knesset.
Stephen Harper’s message to the Knesset was one of unequivocal support for Israel. It was heckled by Arab Members of the Knesset, who eventually walked out in the middle of his speech. Important excerpts of his comments are repeated below.

“Shalom. And thank you for inviting me to visit this remarkable country, and especially for this opportunity to address the Knesset. It is truly a great honour…The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions…As well, our military establishments share information and technology. This has also been to our mutual benefit. For example, during Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, our use of Israeli-built reconnaissance equipment saved the lives of Canadian soldiers. All such connections are important, and build strong bridges between us.

“However, to truly understand the special relationship between Israel and Canada, one must look beyond trade and institutions to the personal ties of friendship and kinship. Jews have been present in Canada for more than 250 years…[H]aving met literally thousands of members of this community, I can tell you this: They are also immensely proud of what the people of Israel have accomplished here, of your courage in war, of your generosity in peace, and of the bloom that the desert has yielded, under your stewardship.

“Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so. The understanding that it is right to support Israel because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland. Now let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so…It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.

“Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law…These are not mere notions. They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity, may flourish. These values are not proprietary; they do not belong to one nation or one people. Nor are they a finite resource; on the contrary, the wider they are spread, the stronger they grow.

“Likewise, when they are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere. And what threatens them, or more precisely, what today threatens the societies that embrace such values and the progress they nurture? Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces which have threatened the State of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9-11 graphically showed us, threaten us all. And so, either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel, stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state, or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin…

“Ladies and Gentlemen, support – even firm support – doesn’t mean that allies and friends will agree on all issues all of the time. No state is beyond legitimate questioning or criticism. But our support does mean at least three things.

“First, Canada finds it deplorable that some in the international community still question the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel. Our view on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and non-negotiable.

“Second, Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a UN member-state, and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty. For this reason, Canada has spoken on numerous occasions in support of Israel’s engagement and equal treatment in multilateral fora. And, in this regard, I should mention that we welcome Israel’s induction this month into the western, democratic group of states at the United Nations.

“Third, we refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage. Now I understand, in the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy “to go along to get along” and single out Israel. But such “going along to get along” is not a “balanced” approach, nor a “sophisticated” one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong. Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant. And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.

“Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that. And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain. We all know about the old anti-Semitism. It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps. Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us. But, in much of the western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.

“As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel. On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.

“But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation. Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-Semitic. But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it? What else can we call it when Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its Human Rights Council?

“Ladies and gentlemen, any assessment – any judgment – of Israel’s actions must start with this understanding: In the sixty-five years that modern Israel has been a nation, Israelis have endured attacks and slanders beyond counting and have never known a day of true peace. And we understand that Israelis live with this impossible calculus: If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation, over and over again. But should you fail to act you alone will suffer the consequence of your inaction, and that consequence will be final, your destruction. For too many nations, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel than to emulate your success.

“The truth, that Canada understands, is that many of the hostile forces Israel faces are faced by all western nations. And Israel faces them for many of the same reasons we face them. You just happen to be a lot closer to them. Of course, no nation is perfect. But neither Israel’s existence nor its policies are responsible for the instability in the Middle East today. One must look beyond Israel’s borders to find the causes of the relentless oppression, poverty and violence in much of the region, of the heartbreaking suffering of Syrian refugees, of sectarian violence and the fears of religious minorities, especially Christians, and of the current domestic turmoil in so many states.

“So what are we to do? Most importantly, we must deal with the world as we find it. The threats in this region are real, deeply rooted, and deadly and the forces of progress, often anaemically weak. For too many nations, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel than to emulate your success. It is easier to foster resentment and hatred of Israel’s democracy than it is to provide the same rights and freedoms to their own people.

“I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realise that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence…

“Ladies and gentlemen, Let me conclude with this thought. I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society, a vibrant democracy, a freedom-loving country with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary. An innovative, world-leading “start-up” nation. You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land, one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own. In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our Government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life.

“And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.

“Merci beaucoup. Thank you for having us, and may peace be upon Israel.”

Felonious Marriage – protect the minor and send him to jail!
The Ministry of Justice issued a brief bill! pursuant to which marriages between couples who are younger than the recently adjusted minimum age of 18 will constitute a felony. The updated Marriage Law raises the minimum marriage age from 17 to 18, but does not address couples who had already set their marriage dates before the law had passed, which would make them criminals upon marrying. The law will not be enforced until March of this year, allowing 17 year olds to marry until then. Interestingly,the purpose for the revised law was to bring Israel’s marriage law in line with international norms regarding minors. So, in an effort to protect the minor, the law makes them felons for getting married, with parental permission, at the age of 17. Go figure.

And THOSE were the weeks that were.

“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 4:2-3)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

p.s.: The next time you read about boycotting Israel, flotillas and embargoes, take a look at this:

The nation shivers, school children rejoice, traffic snarls and electric bill increase – TWTW … ending 21 December, 2013

Shalom all,

This is actually a two-week report. It covers a major storm, which brought snow to Israel and lots of it, as well as a few comments about the on-going, but somewhat stalled negotiations between Israel and the “Palestinians”. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came for another visit and the chief Roman Catholic cleric in Israel blames Israeli construction for the lack of progress in the talks. I have a few things to say about negotiating over Jerusalem and the possibility of giving up sovereignty, but not military presence, in the Jordan Valley. Two Israeli chemists are Nobel Prize Laureates, Iran doesn’t seem to be slowing down its nuclear ambitions and Hizb’allah leader Nasrallah again threatens Israel. Finally, a note about Israel’s interest and activities to become a “cashless society”.

The nation shivers, school children rejoice, traffic snarls and electric bills increase.
Such is the way that Israel responded to the cold wave this past week, which brought freezing rain, hail and yes, even large quantities of snow, to some parts of the country. Many major traffic arteries were closed, along with schools, as we succumbed to the elements which accompany a true winter in Israel, the likes of which we haven’t seen for more than 50 years. Clearly, the biggest news of the week here was the storm and snow.

Jerusalem was snowed under. Government offices were closed and over 25,000 households lost electricity, mostly in the nation’s capitol. Other places that were hard hit were locations in the north. Temperatures dropped to 0 degrees C (32 degrees F) in a number of locations and there was considerable property damage. By the end of last week, after Shabbat was over, there were still about 15,000 households and businesses that were without electricity. Cars were stuck on the highways and some drivers were unable to get assistance and needed to remain in their vehicles overnight, as winds reached 100 km/hr (62+/mph).

One driver was caught up in a flash flood in the Negev Desert and was swept away some 300 meters before he was rescued by soldiers. A number of private houses were flooded by the downpour of rain and some streams overflowed their banks.

Mount Hermon, in the northeast of Israel, had almost 2 feet of snow after the first day of the storm. Once there was enough snow, which only took an extra day to accumulate, the ski season in Israel was officially launched.

Interestingly enough, in Haifa where we live, we didn’t have any snow. The last time we had snow in Haifa was in 1992. Our two oldest children were still very young at that time and by the time we got them dressed to go outside, the snow not only stopped, but whatever had fallen already melted! Still, we did have freezing rain last week, pounding hail and sleet, as temperatures dipped down to right around 0 C here, too. Most of Israel put on extra layers of clothing in an effort to keep warm. For those who live in climates where sub-freezing temperature is a norm for this time of year, you would probably laugh at 0 C and say that it was warm, compared to the -20, -30 or more that you regularly experience. But, for Israel, it was a major event.  The storm has ceased and most of the electricity has been turned back on, but there are still several thousands of residences that are without, even as this is being written.

Snow also fell in Egypt, as well as in Syria and Lebanon, where it is reported that hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled from the the civil war that continues to rage in Syria. The severe weather has affected all who live in the region, particularly those who are living in tents and temporary shelters.

The snow didn’t seem to phase U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who chalked up more frequent flyer miles with his 9th visit this year to our fair neck of the woods. He joked and expressed gratitude for making him feel at home with the abundance of snow. “I have heard of making guests welcome and feeling at home. This is about as far as I’ve ever seen anything go … giving me a New England snowstorm.” For those who may have forgotten, Kerry is a former Senator from Massachusetts.

Fire and hail, snow, and clouds, stormy wind, fulfilling His word (Psalm 148:8).
In the midst of the storm and the extraordinarily cold weather that this region has been experiencing since last week, something was overlooked. The weather forecasters totally failed to take into account that God has a genuine interest in His creation, particularly in this part of the world. He brought this first-world country, located in a third-world region, to a standstill. He brought government offices to a close. He moved the winds and stirred up the waters. He turned the rain to hail and blanketed the region with a carpet of snow. He gave our leaders time to pause and to think about their actions, particularly regarding the “negotiations” that continue to take place. It doesn’t seem as though they paid any attention.

Speaking of Kerry’s visit…
Apparently, the Secretary of State was somewhat concerned that the parties might not reach a “final status agreement” by May, 2014, as originally planned back in August. So, he hoped to push a “framework accord”, which would outline the specific principles of a “final status agreement”, without setting forth the specific details. It this could be done, then the negotiations would continue beyond the nine-month original time frame that Kerry set up.

But, at the beginning of this week, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top aide to “Palestinian” Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, expressed that Kerry would be breaking a promise to try to negotiate a final agreement in the current round of talks, if he succeeds in bringing about a “framework accord”. Their primary concern was that such a “framework” would be more accommodating to Israel, because of security concerns, than to the “Palestinians”. This followed Kerry’s statement that Israeli security concerns must be addressed first, if the negotiations are to progress. However, the interim “framework” proposal seems to have been buried by Kerry himself when, in response to a reporter’s question, he said that the goal of the negotiations remains a permanent settlement of the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict, rather than an interim solution.

Jerusalem: An inseparable part of the history, religion and soul of the Jewish people
Among the various issues that are still up for grabs, such as security, borders of a future “Palestinian” state and “Palestinian” refugees, the one that stands out as a symbol of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the status of Jerusalem. This city, of all places in Israel, should never be the subject of negotiation with anyone for any reason. David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Mnister of Israel, said in his address to the Knesset (Israel’s legislative body) on December 5, 1949: “Jewish Jerusalem is an organic and inseparable part of the history and religion of Israel and the soul of our people”. He was referring, of course, not to a divided Jerusalem, but to the historic, undivided Jerusalem, which has been and remains our Capitol. The Psalmist referred to it as the place “to which the tribes go up … to give thanks to the name of the LORD”. (Psalm 122:4) The millennia-old prayer and encouragement are associated with that city: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you…May peace be within your walls and prosperity within your palaces…May peace be within you…I will seek your good’.” (Psalm 122:6-9) How can that which is such an inseparable part of our history, religion and the soul of our people be the subject of negotiation? Jerusalem is being placed on the altar of compromise. We are forgetting that all that the hopes, longings and aspirations of our people over the almost 2,000 years of being in the Diaspora were focused on our return to Zion, to Jerusalem, the city of the Great King (Psalm 48:2). We break a glass in our wedding celebrations in remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem, as the bridegroom recites Psalm 137:5-6: “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.” Every Jewish head of household pronounces a curse upon himself – that he would suffer a stroke, if he “forgets” Jerusalem, what it is, what it represents and Who gave it to us. If our leaders act in this manner, should we not wonder whether we will suffer a national punishment as a result? There are 500 references to Jerusalem in the Scriptures. Not a single mention is made of Washington, D.C. or the United States. Maybe the Obama administration should consider giving up its Capitol city, instead of ours, to the “Palestinians”.

Roman Catholic cleric: “Don’t touch East Jerusalem – It is still on the negotiating table.”
The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fuad Twai, during his traditional, Christmas message this week, sounded more like a spokesman for the “Palestinian” Authority than the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, saying that Israeli settlement construction was hampering peace efforts. Twai, the top Roman Catholic cleric in Israel, also blamed Israel for the difficulties being experienced by Christians living in the Middle East and added that: “As long as this problem is not resolved, the people of our region will suffer”… [The] Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains crucial to the region and is a major obstacle in the development of our society and stability in the Middle East.”

The chief Roman Catholic cleric in Israel was born in Jordan. He has religious oversight for the tens of thousands of those of his denomination who live in Israel, Jordan and Cyprus, including those in the “Palestinian” Authority and Gaza. It would have more appropriate for him to direct his comments to the real issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East, namely, attacks against them by radical Islam. Such attacks take the form, among other things, of rape (including of nuns) and beheadings (including of priests), along with confiscation of private property. There is a religious war taking place in Islam-dominated countries and the safest place for Christians in the Middle East is in Israel, where the population is actually increasing. Persecution of Christians in the Middle East is totally unrelated to the ongoing conflict with the “Palestinians”.
Then, sounding more like a “Palestinian” politician, he stated: “What is the important thing is not to ‘touch’ east Jerusalem, as it is still on the negotiating table. We do not want these agreements to have a political implication that changes the status of east Jerusalem, which was occupied in 1967.”

His comments speak for themselves and it would have been better if he had kept his comments to himself.

Israel may give up the Jordan Valley, but keep a military presence there.
Much political talk over the last two weeks has focused on the negotiations, with particular emphasis on the possibility of Israel yielding its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

Shlomo Brom, a former head of strategic planning in the IDF and Fellow at the Institute for National Security in Tel Aviv, stated that changes in the region “make a difference” how negotiations will deal with the security issue. He added: “What is left is the issue of border control…The problem is that Israel doesn’t trust the Palestinians.” Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recognizes that the issue of Israel’s security is an essential element that needs to be resolved first, in order for the talks to proceed.

In this regard, Israel may not insist on continued sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, but it should, hopefully insist that it maintain a military presence there, with or without the presence of international forces on the ground. Certain reports indicate that Netanyahu wants a military presence there for several more decades, while others believe that a ten-year military presence would suffice. Maybe they will end up with a 7-year agreement, which will have prophetic significance for this country and the rest of the world.

The “conventional” threat to Israel from the east has considerably decreased since the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq. But, along with that, the Arab Spring, turned Winter, turned frost, poses a concern over the continuing stability of the monarchy in Jordan and, consequently, the border region along the Jordan River. The various Arab uprisings in the region have also brought with them an increased strategic threat from the rockets and missiles that have been fired from and stockpiled in places like Lebanon, Gaza and Syria.
Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., stated: “Were we to leave the border unguarded, there’s a possibility the West Bank would fill up with hundreds of thousands of rockets…This is not a tactical threat; it’s a strategic threat.”
Oren also addressed the possibility that U.S. Secretary of State Kerry might try to revert to the parameters set out by former President Bill Clinton back in 2001, but stated his belief that such a position would be counterproductive for Israel, in that it would help the “Palestinians” to improve their negotiating position at the next round of talks. He added that if the negotiations fail, Israel might end up unilaterally drawing its own borders, which would include annexing various settlement blocs. Such a move might be swallowed up as a good political move here. But, it will definitely create international indigestion.
Israelis Receive Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Two Israeli scientists and their Jewish American colleague were named as winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, joining 10 other Israeli Nobel Prize winners.

The work of Professors Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt, who worked together at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and that of their U.S. colleague, Professor Martin Karplus, allowed computer scientists to uncover various chemical processes, such as the activity of catalytic converters and photosynthesis. Their work enabled classical physics to work alongside the completely different quantum physics.

Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, who was in Stockholm on another matter, joined the three Nobel Prize winners at a reception held in their honor, stated: “I am excited and proud to stand here as an Israeli citizen and as a minister of the Israeli government and to once again see Israeli researchers winning the most prestigious prize for their accomplishments and discoveries for the human race…Your accomplishment brings to light the power, ability and excellence that lie in the world of Israeli scientists and Israeli research institutions, and in the Weizmann Institute, which was a significant place for you in your research endeavors.”

Statement to remember:
During his meeting with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, Netanyahu linked the present negotiations with the “Palestinians”. With the Iranian nuclear threat, saying: “We share a desire to see a peaceful and stable Middle East, and the greatest threat to that and to the peace of the world is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. It’s therefore critical that the final deal with Iran prevent that from happening”. This was just before Kerry left the U.S. for his ninth trip to this developed stretch of desert sand.

Before he left to come here, Kerry delivered a speech to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an international humanitarian organization with out reaches in over 70 countries. In it, he tried to diminish concerns that the recent agreement reached by six world powers with Iran allows Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and, therefore, the agreement did nothing to remove the threat against Israel. In reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Israel, Kerry said: ”We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Not now. Not ever.”

I wonder who the “we” was that Kerry was talking about. Despite strong opposition from the White House, a bill was just introduced into the U.S. Senate, which calls for a global boycott of Iran’s oil exports, among other economic sanctions. it was an act of defiance, agreed to be 26 Senators, half of them Twenty-six senators, Democrats. The purpose of the bill was stated by one of its proposers as representing “an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception”, if Iran fails to agree to a final deal within the six-month period allotted in the “interim agreement”.

But, according to White House spokesman, Jay Carney, “If [the bill] were to pass, the president would veto it.”

Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “The structure of our nuclear program has been maintained and the 20 percent enrichment can be resumed in less than 24 hours…The statement that ‘all options are on the table’ is an outdated statement because all options are not on the table, at least for the countries that claim to be law-abiding.”

So, where does that leave us? Remember, we still have the above statement of Kerry.

I guess that leaves it up to us.

Nasrallah: Israel will be ‘punished’ for al-Laqqis’ death
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the terrorist organization, Hizb’allah, held Israel responsible for the assassination of Hassan al-Laqqis, a Hizb’allah operative and leader of the Shiite party, who was killed earlier this month. Nasrallah referred to al-Laqqis as a “friend and brother” to him.

“The killing of Hassan al-Laqqis is not a simple matter between us and the Israelis…There are scores to settle between us and the Israelis; there are old accounts and new ones…The murderers will be punished sooner or later. His blood was not shed in vain. The punishment will take part when we decide. Those who killed will not be safe anywhere in the world. Vengeance is coming…If the Israelis think…that Hezbollah is busy and that Israel will not pay the price, I say to them today, ‘You are wrong’.”

Nasrallah and the Shiite faction in Lebanon are under severe condemnation from the Sunni Moslem population, for their assistance to Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.

Israel has denied any involvement in the killing of al-Laqqis.

Israel to become a “cashless society”?
The Israeli government is seeking to restrict the use of cash, so that the authorities could have greater control over the economy and prevent tax evasion.

How would that work? Cellphones would be programmed with the latest technology, which will allow purchases by passing the cellphone over the reader, similar to a check-out counter at a supermarket. The proposal is not without its problems and critics. A special committee was set up to look into the matter and its findings are to be presented to the Prime Minister by the end of the year.

Electronic purchases for everything and a provable record of ALL transactions? Careful. Big Brother will be watching! Yes, “the times, they are a changin'”.

And THOSE Were The Weeks That Were.

“My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness, I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me.” (Psalm 89:34-36)

“‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when they will no longer say, “As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “As the LORD-lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them”. ‘Then they will live on their own soil’.” (Jer. 23:7-8)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.


Still negotiating, but for what? – TWTW … ending 7 December, 2013

Shalom all,

It has been a while since I last wrote in this column. The reason is that I was out of the country for a period of time speaking and teaching in different places. Orit was able to join me and she had opportunities to share about the work of A Future and A Hope. While the trip enabled us a sweet time of fellowship with many, we continue to suffer somewhat from jet lag, even as we try to get back into the swing of things on this end.

On the Friday before our return, all three of our children were involved in an automobile accident, while on the expressway going to a conference. They all walked away from it, but our daughter, Hannah (Hanni) suffered a fractured sternum and one of our sons had abrasions all along his arm. The car was totaled. We are truly thankful that our children are alive and that Hanni is on the mend. Still, we would appreciate your prayers for her full and complete healing.

During our absence, events continued in Israel, as we seem to race towards the end of the year, with many prophesying disaster for 2014. In the meantime, we’ll consider briefly the events of the past week.

The candles were lit for Hanukkah, but …
We finished celebrating the Festival of Hanukkah, which began the week before. It is an 8-day event, commemorating the Hasmonean (Maccabean) victory over the Greeks under Antiochus IV, whose forces were occupying Israel and who had defiled the Temple in Jerusalem. Like most people, I love a good story, particularly a Biblical one, where God intervenes to save Israel. According to the story that I grew up with, after the victory, while cleansing the Temple from its defilement by the Greeks, a cruze of oil was found that was expected to last for one day, but instead it lasted for eight days, as the Temple was rededicated to God. It’s a great story about a great miracle. The only problem is that we celebrate Hanukkah for the wrong reasons.

The victory over the Greeks and the liberation of the Temple did, in fact, take place. It was hoped that the battle to liberate the Temple would be over by the time of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Hag HaSuccot). But, the battle continued for several years before victory was finally achieved and during that time, the Feast of Tabernacles had to be celebrated in caves in the mountains. Thus, after the victory and the rededication of the Temple on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar, another celebration took place – like that of the Feast of Tabernacles, which also lasted for 8 days. The remembrance of that victory with a similar celebration was decreed to take place each year at the same time. However, with the passage of time, as embellishments were added to the actual events, the story took on a character that was more in keeping with the present tradition than with the facts. We need to celebrate God’s victory over those who invaded the land, who defiled the holy sanctuary and tried to force Jews to violate the Mosaic Law, as well as to celebrate the rededication of the Temple, in cleanliness and purity for God’s service (see 2 Macabbees 10:1-9), as we look forward to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

This should bring us to ask whether our own “temples” reflect God’s presence and holiness. Maybe we need to clean out that which defeats and defiles us and rededicate ourselves for God’s service.

Still negotiating, but for what?
With the 9-month negotiation process slightly more than half way through, and despite the desire to keep the contents of the discussions “secret”, some information was forthcoming this week, as once again, Secretary of State John Kerry came for a visit. As usual with visits from U.S. Secretaries of State, this one is accompanied by more pressure and threats, not only implied, but actual, if the present “negotiations” fail to produce an agreement. According to a recent poll conducted here, the vast majority of Israelis do not believe that the present negotiations will lead to a peace agreement.

It appears that both sides are failing to budge on some of the core issues of the negotiations, among them security arrangements and the status of Jerusalem. This impasse has led Kerry to present a “bridging proposal” intended to help both sides to get over the difficulties in these areas and to move on.

Regarding the issue of Jerusalem, Israel’s position is that the city remain undivided, while the “Palestinians” want to establish their capitol there. The bridging proposal essentially favors the “Palestinian” position, in that it would refer to Israel’s ancient Capitol as “Greater Jerusalem” and would allow a “Palestinian” capitol to be set up in the eastern part of the city, where the neighborhoods are primarily Arab.

Security arrangements, according to the bridging proposal, would “define” continued the Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley as “temporary”, as opposed to Israel’s insistence of maintaining a permanent force there. The “Palestinian” position is that there be no Israeli military presence in their future state.

Progress, or lack of progress, on other issues, such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and the return of Arab refugees – whose descendants now number in the millions – borders of a “Palestinian” state and infrastructure, among others, are still kept from public knowledge. Apparently, the issue of the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in Israel’s heartland is not a matter of negotiation, but is now the ultimate goal. The negotiations are focusing on “how” and “where” such a state will be able to conduct its affairs.

Kerry’s public comments include the following: “We have always known that this is a difficult, complicated road, and we understand that… I believe we are making some progress, and the parties remain committed to this task…I join with President [Barack] Obama in expressing to the people of Israel our deep, deep commitment to the security of Israel and to the need to find a peace that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state [and] recognizes Israel as a country that can defend itself by itself.”

Those comments are really political double-speak, which relates to two core issues that will be extremely difficult to bridge: the first is the absolute security of Israel and its need to be able to defend itself, i.e., without dependence on the U.S. or other Western powers; the second, a recognition by the “Palestinians” of Israel as a Jewish state. These are fundamental issues necessary for Israel, which its “negotiating partner” will have a very tough time agreeing to.

Regrettably, most of the comments from Kerry are general, for example “I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve and yearn for.” (emphasis mine) This is meant for a much wider audience – “all of the people of this region” – the vast majority of whom are not involved in the negotiations. What the other peoples of this region “yearn for” is the removal of Israel from here, so that an Islamic caliphate can be established to bring in an Islamic messiah.

Another such comment of Kerry’s focuses on the willingness of the U.S. to “support a final status agreement that makes both Israel and the Palestinians safer than they are today.” Again, the comments are generalized to include both sides, when the reality is that the safety is what Israel needs. The “Palestinians” are the ones that blow themselves up in Israeli malls, throw rocks at passing cars and continue to fire missiles into the south of Israel, among other things.

Speaking at the Saban Forum on Saturday, Kerry added: “On this visit, I spent most of the time focused on Israel’s security concerns because for years and years and years, it has been clear to me from every prime minister that unless a prime minister can look the people of Israel in the eye and make it clear to them that he has spoken for Israel’s security to a certainty, you cannot make peace. It is a prerequisite…Every time I visit, I can feel in my gut, and I see it as well as hear it firsthand, just how vulnerable Israel can be and just how important it is for the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security to remain ironclad,…’President Obama and I … remain deeply committed – indeed, determined – to ensuring Israel has the ability to defend itself, by itself’.”  (emphasis mine)

It is difficult to reconcile Kerry’s last statement with President Obama’s appointment of retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen (who comes along with a team of some 160 “analysts”, as well as defense and intelligence experts), to help deal with security challenges that Israel would face after the establishment of a “Palestinian” state. On the one hand, the U.S. wants Israel to be secure and to be able to defend itself. On the other hand, the U.S. sends us “analysts and experts” to help us deal with security problems after the creation of a “Palestinian” state, which the U.S. is pushing us to help get established. Could it be that U.S. politicians speak with a “forked tongue”?

Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon put a damper of Kerry’s optimism on Saturday, December 7th, saying that we did not have a “Palestinian” partner for peace, adding that Israel is “in a world surrounded by a raging storm; the Middle East is boiling…The West’s mistake is democracy by election. Whoever thinks that that’s the method is simply mistaken. If one doesn’t value life — and the societies around us sanctify death – how could we possibly talk with that person about human rights? Women’s rights? This is a long process. It starts with education, not elections…The other side doesn’t have, there’s never been since the dawn of Zionism, a leadership willing to recognize us as the state for the Jewish people. We don’t want to rule over the Palestinians. We won’t talk about a millimeter if we don’t see a partner who recognizes us as the Jewish state, who relinquishes the right of return and ends such demands. When will we be convinced that we have someone to speak with? I’ll have to look at their textbooks. When they stop educating [their children] to strap on explosive belts, when Tel Aviv appears on the map, then we’ll have something to talk about. Security starts with education”.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is back in politics after being acquitted of corruption charges by a 3-judge panel, added pepper to Ya’alon’s statement: “There’s zero trust between Israel and the Palestinians”, adding that negotiations with the “Palestinians” must begin “from some simple thing I call trust, confidence, credibility.” Speaking at the Saban Forum this past Friday, Lieberman stated: “I don’t believe that it’s possible in the next year, this year, to achieve comprehensive solution, to achieve some breakthrough…Trust between the two sides is about zero…Without trust and credibility [a deal is] mission impossible.”

Then he tried to set the historical record straight: “Our direction on the “Palestinians” is wrong; we need to take some time out for a policy review. My feeling is that there is a lot of desire [to make peace] but I’m not sure that it is possible. I don’t see any occupation. And to speak about occupation is not to understand the history of this region, and the facts. “Palestinian” Authority and “Palestinian” state didn’t exist before 1967. From 1948 to 1967 what we call today the “Palestinian” Authority was divided between two countries, it was under full Arab control. Judea and Samaria was part of Jordan and Sinai Peninsula was part of Egypt. And I don’t remember that from 1948 to 1967 they established any “Palestinian” state. Today to speak about occupation is a misunderstanding of the history of this region. I don’t recall a “Palestinian” state existing anytime in history. We are really ready to share this small land, and all of Israel today is 21,000 square kilometers, and we are ready to share with our neighbors and to sacrifice. I think only Israel has made real steps to establish peace in this region. We gave up Sinai, we gave up Gaza Strip, we gave up half of Judea and Samaria, and I think that we’ve proved our real desire to achieve peace. To speak about occupation is really a prejudiced, biased approach to this problem. It’s not a problem of territory. I will never accept the argument that this is the obstacle to peace…[I don’t]see a chance to achieve a comprehensive agreement. … We are at a dead end…We had Ehud Olmert in Annapolis, Ehud Barak in Camp David, and even Benjamin Netanyahu at Wye Plantation take great risks [for peace with the “Palestinians”]. But despite all these efforts, and of course all the efforts of the American side, we are still in deadlock…The other mistake is that up until today we signed agreements only with the rulers and not with the peoples. I think that we must achieve real, comprehensive solution with the “Palestinians”, not with their rulers…To say that settlements are an obstacle to peace is a real misunderstanding, a misrepresentation.”

Netanyahu’s comments on the peace talks included: “Israel is ready for a historic peace, and it’s a peace based on two states for two peoples. It’s a peace that Israel can and must be able to defend by itself with our own forces against any foreseeable threat…If this process is going to continue, we’re going to have to have a continuous negotiation…We don’t need artificial crises. I think we don’t need finger pointing either. What we need is not grandstanding, but understanding and agreements, and that requires hard and serious work.” (emphasis mine)

The pressure on Netanyahu is enormous. Yet, he is a seasoned politician and should know better than to continue to make public statements that encourage the “Palestinians” in a “two states for two peoples” scenario. Such a pronouncement gives tacit recognition to the “Palestinians”, who were never a people, without ever getting more than a statement from the so-called “Palestinians” of their willingness to accept a “two-state” solution (without “for two peoples”i.e., recognition of Israel as a Jewish state). The consequences of completing a peace deal with the “Palestinians” on that basis can only spell disaster for Israel. On the other hand, the consequences of not completing a peace deal could lead to a third intifada and another, serious war with our neighbors. Of course, the Europeans follow the line of Obama of appeasing our enemies, while getting nothing in return. They, too, threaten to impose sanctions upon both sides if an agreement is not reached.

Notwithstanding the considerable pressure on our leaders, particularly P.M. Netanyahu, at some point we need to stop and ask whether the leaders of our government really understand how it was that Israel became a nation after 2,000 years in exile. Do they understand how we have been able to continue to exist, despite repeated efforts to destroy us as a people, “that the name of Israel be no more” (Ps. 83:4)? If they do understand that the God of Israel “lives”, it would appear that they don’t believe His Word, nor trust in His strength and they are not willing to serve Him. If they did, then the present negotiations to divide His land and scatter His people would not be taking place. I would not want to be in their shoes when they stand in judgment before God and have to explain why they failed to act responsibly regarding what has been entrusted to their care. Agreeing to the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in our midst will divide the land and place Israel “in the territories” to the north and south of an enemy state in Judea and Samaria. If doesn’t take much to realize how precarious our situation would then become from a defense point of view. Our leaders need our prayers for wisdom and courage, now more than ever.

From the “Palestinian” side, according to a major news station here, officials of the “Palestinian” Authority said that significant progress has been made in the negotiations and that parallel talks were also held in other places.  But, P.A. President, Mahmoud Abbas, did not join in the notifications to the western media. It would seem that despite all of the rhetoric, he is not willing to concede on any of his demands and he, Kerry, Obama and most of the rest of the world are pointing the accusing finger at Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu for the lack of progress in the talks. And, it would also seem that this present pressure, which includes active intervention in the negotiations by Kerry and other representatives of the U.S. government, is another effort by Mr. Obama to try to put Netanyahu in his place.

Indeed, more to the heart of the matter, an official from the office of Mahmoud Abbas reported that “President Abbas rejected the majority of clauses in the peace plan regarding security on the borders of a Palestinian state that Secretary Kerry presented.” The Arab media chimed in that officials close to Abbas believe until policy issues are resolved, the “Palestinians” will not be willing to deal with security arrangements. Nothing like putting the cart before the horse. I can’t help but think of all of the “frequent flyer miles” that Kerry must be getting, all while the U.S. is making greater efforts to once again become isolationist in its policies, except, of course, where Israel is concerned.

Iran given a green light to become nuclear – thanks to the West
It is impossible to ignore the recent interim deal concluded between Iran and representatives of the U.S. and the West. It gives Iran a free hand to enrich uranium and develop nuclear capability, including nuclear weaponization. A strategic goal of the Obama administration has been not to prevent a nuclear Iran, but rather to end Iran’s international isolation and create, in a realistic sense, a new American-Iranian rapprochement. Lee Smith, senior editor at the Weekly Standard, summarizes what happened this way:

“The interim deal makes official what Obama has long been pursuing — a strategic realignment integrating Iran into a multipolar Middle East, where once-traditional American allies will no longer enjoy a privileged relationship with Washington. The signs pointing to Obama’s new configuration, downgrading Saudi Arabia and Israel and upgrading Iran, have long been apparent, if incredible.”

If, indeed, that is the case, then Washington has been saying one thing to Israel and the world, while doing something else to favor the U.S. vis-a-vis Iran. In this age of government lying, deception and spying on civilians, can anything good for Israel come out of Washington?

When asked about the Iranian nuclear threat, Kerry maintained the official American stance, saying that the interim deal signed in Geneva is good for Israel and will provide security until a final agreement is reached. “Israel and the United States are absolutely in sync, not an ounce of daylight between us, with respect to the need to make sure that Iran cannot achieve a nuclear weapon, will not in the future be able to achieve it and certainly cannot move towards it without the United States of America and Israel knowing that, and therefore being able to take steps to deal with that.” Maybe after this, they’ll ask us to believe in the tooth fairy.

Well, that pretty much sums up the arguments that are able to be expressed at this time. But, politicians being what they are, they will probably come up with some new arguments this coming week. We need to stayed tuned.

And THAT Was The Week That Was.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1)

Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

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

The War that was put on hold as not being "Time Sensitive" – TWTW … ending 14 September, 2013

Shalom all,

Earl Warren, the Former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was quoted, in 1968, as saying that when he reads a newspaper: “I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people’s accomplishments; the front page nothing but man’s failures.” And so it continues. During the last two weeks, the headlines sounded the war drums; U.S. President Barack Obama wanted to throw a “war party”, but the guests who were invited to join the “war party” were backing out and the “party boy”, himself, was getting ready to object to the appearance of any unwanted visitor; Israel was getting ready for the fall-out from the “party boy” and his friends and the war of nerves between the so-called superpowers was reaching the straining point. Then the hesitancy began: the decision to move forward against Syria, in response to the claim of the government’s use of chemical weapons against its citizenry, was considered not to be “time sensitive”; the President, although believing that he had the power to decide and to move forward, chose to wait for the Congress to return from its summer break and put the ball in its court. The timing began to take shape: Congress would return on September 9th, the President would address the nation on September 10th, Congress would decide, probably to go ahead, on September 11th, and the 12th anniversary of the Muslim extremist attack upon the United States would, in some small way, be avenged against extremists far from American soil. But, it didn’t work out that way.

The War That Was Put On Hold As Not Being “Time-Sensitive”
America was almost alone among the democratic nations of the world. It was convinced that Assad’s regime needed to punished, but was facing opposition, not only from abroad, but from home as well. So the President stated in his nationally, televised address that Syria “would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan…Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope – designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so … I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. That’s why we’re not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else’s war…We are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria.” Despite statements from the White House and from Secretary of State John Kerry that a U.S.-led strike would be a “limited and tailored” military attack, various news media indicated that the contemplated strike would be “significantly larger” than what most were anticipating. One U.S. national security official told a certain media outlet that in addition to a barrage of some 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. destroyers stationed in the Mediterranean, an aerial attack was to take place that was expected to extend over two days. “This military strike will do more damage to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s forces in 48 hours than the Syrian rebels have done in two years”. Approximately 50 or more major sites were supposedly targeted, to diminish Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons, including chemical weapons locations, air defenses, long-range missiles and rockets. The problem is that the chemical weapons themselves cannot be destroyed by an air assault, but only by ground forces, which Obama said would not happen, as there would not be any American “boots on the ground”.

According to Debka File, the U.S. was also planning to target the Syrian army’s 4th and Republican Guard divisions, who protect Assad’s person and regime. A media blitz went into effect, trying to convince the American public that going forward against Syria’s use of chemical weapons was “the right thing to do”, even if Congress would not agree.

Then, the backlash started and there was more and more opposition expressed to Obama’s desire to initiate military action against the Syrian dictator and his regime. With each passing day of hesitancy, President Obama was “losing face” and dragging American prestige in this region, and in various parts of the world, along with him. He was finding himself out on a limb that was beginning to break, and he was, basically, without a way to get down from it.

Politics has a way of introducing surprises from unlikely sources. Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested a way of helping Obama get off of the limb, but proposed that Assad agree to turn his chemical weapons cache over to international control. This allowed for a “time out” from beating the war drums and gave Obama a ladder from which to step down off of the tree limb – at least for the time being. So, while Assad is presumably in favor of this action, even though he had consistently denied even having chemical weapons, the war has been temporarily “put on hold”, subject to almost immediate reinstatement, based on changing circumstances. 

Should the Russian proposal be seriously considered? Can Assad’s word be trusted? Would we consider buying a used car from either of them? I strongly doubt it. Can Israel trust any outside power? Definitely not! Israel’s trust needs to be in her God and not in the arms of the flesh: O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield” (Ps. 115:9); “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” (Jer. 31:10)

I would be extremely wary of any suggestion that comes out of Moscow. It appears that Mr. Putin has decided to help Iran along with its nuclear program and build a new nuclear reactor for the extremist ayatollahs. If that wasn’t enough, Russia will also supply Iran with 5 battalions of S-300VM Antey-2500 system, which is a modified version of the S-300V anti-aircraft system, that it agreed to supply to Syria. Iran was suing Russia for $4 billion for the failure to deliver those systems pursuant to a previous contract. The newer systems will be supplied to Iran in consideration for withdrawing the lawsuit. They have a mutual, tactical interest in keeping the U.S. out of Syria, although they have different strategic agenda for that country. They have common views on a number of matters – Iran has the money, Russia has the technology and equipment. It was a match made in hell. Russia’s strategic interests are not the same as those of the United States and certainly not the same as those of Israel. So, the war in Syria continues, while politicians continue to play out their games for power and influence. We reach a point where we want to yell, “Enough”. Time to leave the headlines.

I did not deal with the threats of the Hizb’allah, nor with the happenings and power-plays in the so-called “Palestinian” community, nor with the chameleon called the “peace process”. Those who continue to pursue it do so with blinders on, ignoring the realities and consequences of trying to stitch up a deep cut, while leaving the developed bacteria and pus under the surface of the skin, only to create another, more serious, disaster afterwards.

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Hakippurim
Last week we celebrated Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish “New Year”. I was hoping to hear the sound of the Heavenly Trumpet, but that didn’t happen. It revealed once again that God’s timing is not ours. As mentioned above, surprises often come from the most unlikely source. Javad Zarif, Iran’s new foreign minister, said last week that Iran does not deny the Holocaust, hinting to the fact that previous denials that emanated from former Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were expressions of his own, personal opinion. He wished the Jewish people a “Happy Rosh Hahshanah”. His comments came about in an exchange through Twitter with Christine Pelosi, the daughter of U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, who said that his new year’s greeting “would be even sweeter if you would end Iran’s Holocaust denial, sir”, to which Zaris replied: “Iran never denied it. The man who did is now gone. happy new year.” A similar “tweet” came from Iran’s new President, Hassan Rouhani: “As the sun is about to set here in Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.” Apparently, this quote is said to be only “semi-official”, as the members of Rouhani’s staff run his Twitter account and that he, himself, did not send out the “tweet’. It sounded too good to be true.

Tonight at sundown is the beginning of Yom HaKippurim, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The nation is to “afflict its soul” as it considers its sins against an all Holy God and repent of its ways. Tradition has called for fasting on this day, which is one way that we come to terms with our own sinfulness and attempts to be cleansed, although that is not the Biblical pronouncement. Nevertheless, if we fast, we should, in any event, pray, as we need the assistance that only God Himself can supply. A good way to pray would be to follow the example of Daniel:

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans – in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day -to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day -we have sinned, we have been wicked. O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”(Daniel 9:1-19)

Lest we forget, 40 years ago on this date, the Yom Kippur War began, when Israel was attacked by, among others, Syria. A lot has changed since then, in terms of how warfare is done. But, hatred and evil remain what they were. And the pain of loss remains. Most of Israel will be officially “closed” from sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow night. The vast majority of Israelis will not drive (except some in Arab areas), electricity will not be turned on until after sundown on Saturday night; many will be in the synagogues; many will fast and pray until the long blast of the Shofar is sounded, bringing the Day of Atonement to an end. In Israel, it is a day unlike any other throughout the year. 

The Myth of the Moderate Syrian Rebels
Before closing, I am attaching below two articles, the first of which is by Daniel Greenfield, which was just published in (see below). It is well-worth the read.

The moderate Syrian rebels, like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, are a myth; an imaginary character used to tell soothing stories to children. Unfortunately the storytellers think that we’re the children.

The Syrian Civil War is a religious war. It’s not a war over democracy or freedom. It’s a conflict between two totalitarian systems, one loosely based on a mixture of Islam and Socialism, and the other more rigidly based on Islam. Both are brutal and merciless to anyone who doesn’t belong. Both have their death squads and extensive corruption on the inside. Both are evil. 

It’s also an ethnic conflict being played out between Iran and the Arab world. And it even has elements of Ottoman revivalism on the Turkish side of the border where its Islamist rulers dream of reclaiming an empire.

None of that is a recipe for moderation. There are no moderates in a religious war. There are no moderates in an ethnic conflict. There are no moderates among those who would start such a war or those who intend to finish it.

Neither side is seeking freedom. Both are seeking absolute supremacy.

The Syrian opposition that we hear about on the evening news and in the columns of newspapers is an elaborate Potemkin village masterminded by the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey and Qatar to convince Americans and Europeans that the rebels have a governmental structure and are ready to take power.

The Syrian National Council (full abbreviation SNCORF) is a bunch of names and letters peopled by ambitious men. It commands less of Syria than it does of Washington and Brussels. If it tried to give anyone an order in Aleppo, there would be laughter. But it keeps getting away with giving orders in D.C.

The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire and the Free Syrian Army is neither free, nor Syrian, nor an army. It’s a grab bag of guerrilla fighters, many of them foreign Islamists, who expect to receive American weapons and money and are occasionally willing to play along with the pretense that there is some kind of united army of national liberation for America to aid.

The political structures built up in Turkey and Qatar are fictional. The official leaders lead nothing. General Salim Idris commands nothing. All the organizations with Syria in their name are good for little except fooling Westerners into giving them weapons to funnel to the various rebel brigades, in exchange for promises of future influence and business deals, and plotting to take over the country afterward.

The only commanders who matter are the ones on the ground. And not only are they Islamists, but they are also far less housebroken than Idris. They’re the sort that casually kill prisoners and eat their lungs. They wouldn’t make a very convincing case for democracy and freedom in Washington, D.C.

The actual fighters have few allegiances except to wealth and religion. Some fight for pay, others fight for Jihad. Many for both. None resemble the mythical brigades of free officers fighting for a secular Syria that some senators still believe in.

Even the brigades and their names are smoke on a battlefield. Fighters move from one brigade to another. Brigades move from one association and alliance to another.

The boundaries between the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front are not hard and fast. Some Islamist brigades play on both teams. Identifications are a matter of convenience. The vast majority of fighters, whatever associations they may have, are fighting to impose a Sunni Islamist system on Syria.

General Idris originally refused to cut ties with the Al-Nusra Front. After enough pressure and promises from Washington, he went along with the charade, but the actual commanders on the ground didn’t. FSA forces continued conducting joint operations with the Al-Nusra Front and recently four out of five front commanders signed a letter demanding to work with the Al-Qaeda group.

The letter is another attempt to pressure Washington D.C. into providing weapons and air support. The Syrian opposition leaders have insisted that the only possible way that we would be able to “moderate” the rebels and marginalize Al Qaeda was by backing them to the hilt. In reality, the various brigades that are compatible will go on working together regardless of what D.C. does.

And none of them are our friends.

The “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,” an FSA-allied group, was caught sticking a photoshopped image of Washington, D.C. burning at the hands of Syrian rebel fighters on its Facebook page. An analyst was quoted as wondering why a group affiliated with “the generally pro-Western Free Syrian Army” would do such a thing.

“It raises the unfortunate but inescapable fact that not every group within the Free Syrian Army is closely aligned with U.S. interests in the region,” he said.

More accurately, not a single group within the FSA is either pro-American or aligned with US interests.

Why would they be? An Islamic brigade has as its goal the replacement of Western political and judicial systems with Islamic ones through armed force. And the majority of the FSA consists of Islamic brigades. Islamists with that goal tend to think of Western political and judicial systems as idolatry and heresy. To the Salafi, idolaters and heretics have less right to live than sheep in a butcher shop.

As reporters tried to learn more about the “Al-Aqsa Islamic Brigades,” they found a maze of splinter groups and alliances with the Al-Nusra Front that revealed that all the artificial structural overlays imposed by Western experts on bands of Eastern fighters don’t actually matter in the real world.

There is no Free Syrian Army. There is no Syrian opposition. There are just groups of fighters carving out territory, seizing homes, oil depots and bakeries, raping women, killing Christians, and behaving exactly the way that armed gangs with heavy firepower and no law to restrain them do.

There are no moderate Syrian rebels. There isn’t even a Syrian rebellion; only Muslim Brotherhood men in Turkey who act as gatekeepers for Qatari and Turkish weapons flowing to thousands and thousands of fighters, drifting in and out of gangs, killing their way across Syria the way that their distant ancestors might have during the original conquests of Islam.

Islam is their identity. It is a far more significant identity than the names of the brigades and alliances that they occasionally align with. It is their law, in the same way that the Pirate Code was the law of the buccaneers and the Thieves Law was the code of the Russian criminal. It dispenses rough justice and enables them to split the loot while remaining devout men who after every rape bow to Mecca.

What is happening in Syria is not a war between two sides. It’s Afghanistan. It’s Libya. It’s the collapse of a country into warring bands. The only difference is that this collapse has been carefully orchestrated. (my emphasis – Marvin)

Slaughter in Syria will go on with the unrestrained savagery that can only be carried out by men who believe that other men are subhuman. It will go on with knives, with machine guns and with nerve gas. It will go on whether we bomb Assad or write him a sternly worded letter.

It will go on because there are no moderates in a religious war. Only the killers and the killed.
This article can be seen here

Israel’s Secret Doctors – 
“Nobody asks permission to kill. We do not ask permission to save lives.”
I have often said that sometimes, we need to make the obvious explicit. This is one of those times. Israel is often condemned for her efforts to resist attempts to destroy us. We have been accused of almost everything under the sun and blamed for every evil that exists in today’s world. But, when placed side-by-side with our neighbors and with the behavior of the world as a whole, one thing stands out: Israel does what it can and where it can, to help. We lift the glass and toast “L’chaim” – “to life”. While not intending to cover every aspect of what that means, nevertheless, the following article shows a stark contrast between who “we are” and who the “others are” that were mentioned in Daniel Greenfield’s article. The work referred to in this article was shown on an Israeli news program last week.

To help refugees from the Syrian war, Israeli doctors and aid workers must do their work furtively. When they go into refugee camps in Jordan, they change clothes so that they can fade into the background. They must be smuggled in and out. They don’t tell others where they’re going and when they go home they usually don’t say where they have been. Above all, they don’t want anyone to know the names of their patients.

They move “under the radar,” in the words of a clandestine organization in this field. When they treat Syrians in Israeli hospitals, they make sure no visiting journalist learns details that will identify the patients to authorities back in Syria.

Usually, Israel is glad to announce when it contributes to emergency relief. The case of Syrian aid is different.

Syria does not recognize Israel and forbids its citizens to go there. Israeli doctors are not welcome in Jordan, where their work has been denounced as a violation of Jordanian sovereignty. And Israel is anxious not to be involved in the Syrian civil war. It does nothing, officially, that could make it look like the medical corps of the rebellion.

For Syrians the possibility that their own government will punish them adds to the horror of their situation. This summer, in Nahariya, Israel, near the Golan Heights, scores of patients have been covertly brought across the border from Syria to be treated by Israeli doctors.

For patients’ friends or relatives, Israel becomes a last hope when no Syrian medical help is available. Masad Barhoum, clinical director at Western Galilee Medical Center, recently told an NBC reporter that many patients arrive unconscious. “When they wake up and find that they are in Israel they are anxious and afraid.”

A Syrian woman in the hospital said that she came to Israel because her daughter was hit by a sniper’s bullet. “The hospital in my town was destroyed. They saved her here, but now I am afraid to go back. We will be marked.”

An Israeli organization, iL4Syrians, operates anonymously in Syria and other desperate countries. Providing food and medical supplies for those who need them, it relies on secrecy to protect both its local contacts and its own practitioners. Its web site identifies no directors or staff but carries a defiant slogan: “Nobody asks permission to kill. We do not ask permission to save lives.” (emphasis mine: msk)

They explain that “We focus on countries that lack diplomatic relations with Israel, transcending differences.” They argue that a respect for the sanctity of human life expresses Jewish tradition and culture. As they see it, this applies to Israel’s toughest and cruelest enemies as well as anyone else.

Since all of these efforts are unofficial and unrecorded, no one can say how many Israelis are involved. I was alerted to this phenomenon by one of the regular letters of Tom Gross, an astute British-born commentator on the Middle East.

Gross has a 15-minute film showing a couple of days spent by an aid group visiting refugees. The refugees don’t expect them to arrive and are surprised when they learn that their benefactors are Israelis. That makes some of them nervous but in the film others say in Arabic “May God bless Israel.”

The team takes along a professional clown to perform for the children while food is being handed out; in one camp, however, the adults briefly riot over limited supplies. A journalist asks one of the aid workers, “Do people call you crazy?” She answers: “Not many people know.”

Information about this work has to be pieced together from fragments of journalism, like a paragraph in an Israeli/Arabic paper: “The Arab countries offer condolences but the best role is provided by the Israelis because they are crossing the border to provide assistance to the refugees, risking their lives without a word of thank you.”

These are dark days for much of the world, dreadfully dark for Syrians. Few can even imagine a solution that does not involve even more tragedy for them. W.H. Auden, in his poem “September 1, 1939” described an even darker time and offered the only advice that made sense to him: “Show an affirming flame.”

As Jews celebrate the start of the new year, it’s worth noting that these Israeli humanitarians have found a way to make their flame burn with a brave affirmation.

This article originally appeared in the National Post.
This can be seen here

And THAT Was The Week That Was…, which will end tomorrow night at sundown. Hopefully, there will not be any major events that will once again shake the silence and the uniqueness of Yom HaKippurim.

“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 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’.”(Leviticus 23:26-32)

Rest, bless, be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

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

The West’s war against Syria – to be or not to be? That is the question. – TWTW … ending 31 August, 2013

Shalom all,

This week was all about the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians and the response of the international community, both verbal and military. This is not a case of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, saying “speak softly and carry a big stick”. This week’s comments were all tough talk, intended to send a message that the use of chemical weapons against civilians will not be tolerated. And the Middle East region continued to move in the direction of war, again!

If that wasn’t enough, Russia threatened to further inflame the Middle East by attacking Saudi Arabia, if Syria is attacked by the West.

U.S. President Obama gave a speech today saying that he believes that he has the authority to take military action against Syria to protect America’s national interest, but decided to let the decision be made by the U.S. Congress, which has the authority it declare war (Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution).

The West’s war against Syria – to be or not to be? That is the question.
The U.S. and some of its allies are ready to go. England was in and then was out, after the British parliament voted against military intervention, leaving an open question what role, if any, the United Kingdom would play in a military offensive from the West. French President Francois Hollande said that France is still willing to be involved to punish Assad’s government for its apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians.

The New York Times reported this past Thursday that government officials said there was no “smoking gun” directly linking Assad to the chemical weapons attack in the outskirts of Damascus. As a result, the intelligence report that will be released to the American public, to justify the attack on Syria, would not include specific, evidentiary information.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, inspite of this I shall be confident.” (Psalm 27:3)

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

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

נשלח מה-iPad שלי

Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria – did Assad kill his own people? – TWTW … ending 24 August, 2013

Shalom all,

With the civil war in Syria, civil strife in Egypt and Sunni Moslems opposing Shiite Moslems in Lebanon, the Middle East is looking like a disaster area. The so-called “peace process” was almost out of the headlines, as most of last week’s events were overshadowed and by the use of non-conventional means of warfare in Syria. Pictures of the victims of the chemical weapons filled internet sites around the world and the media replayed the photos several times with each news report. There was almost world-wide outrage over the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians and as of this writing, the talk of international military involvement in Syria, and related maneuvers, is creating a war of nerves between the superpowers. With everyone focused on Syria, the turmoil in Egypt was almost overlooked, with little attention having been given to release from prison of Hosni Mubarak, the deposed President of Egypt, who remains under house arrest pending his retrial on various charges.

Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria – did Assad kill his own people?
The media continue to jump all over the story of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, where Assad is accused of using the same and killing over a thousand civilians. Assad, for his part, has repeatedly said that he would not use such weapons against his own people. As noted in TWTW of last week:

“As expected, Syrian state television denied the reports and officials of Assad’s government said that if they had such chemical weapons, they would never use them against Syrians. This, of course, leads to the question: Against whom would Syria be willing to use deadly nerve gas? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Israel is within the target range. Syria is not a signatory to the international treaty that bans chemical weapons, and it is widely believed that it has caches of undeclared mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agents.”

Some question the logic of such use, particularly so close to Damascus, where there is also a heavy concentration of government forces. If Assad did order the use of chemical agents against his own population, he could always blame the rebels, who want to overthrow his regime. On the other hand, if the insurgents managed to get their hands on the gas and used it to blame Assad’s government, the likelihood is that it would be with the goal of getting the international community sufficiently aroused and angered that it would intervene militarily and help the anti-government forces to topple Assad’s regime. Still others claim that the entire “use of chemical weapons” argument is a sham, as the victims, particularly the children, did not display the normal “evidence” of vomit, urine, feces, convulsions and facial contortions, or bloodshot and terrified eyes, all of which would be consistent with exposure to a lethal nerve gas. Indeed, the media’s depiction of mothers placing their children into clean, white sheets, showed them doing so without emotion, no tears and no wailing, which is usually what we see on television screens following the sudden death of family members as a result of armed conflict. Add to this the fact that some of the photos were supposed to have been posted on YouTube on August 20th, when the alleged chemical attack was said to have occurred the following day, and we have a major question mark whether such weapons were used and, if so, by whom?

It appears, however, that chemical agents were, in fact, used. Despite what appear to be staged clips from one of the body-collection areas, other videos from the street indicate that at least the victims depicted there, whose bodies were being carried by others, were suffering from a chemical attack. Whether the use of the gas was authorized by Assad, or a senior member of his regime, or whether it was used by those seeking to overthrow him, the fact is that only a madman with no conscience, and therefore no scruples, was behind its use.

Apparently, the widespread use of the chemical agent was enough for the U.S. to get its engine in gear and start to move. After allowing his “red lines” to be blatantly crossed, President Obama has finally given instructions to four warships stationed in the Mediterranean, as part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, to be prepared for battle, while a fifth battleship is also being sent to this region.

While the U.S. is trying to coordinate with various allies for a potential, joint military endeavor, Syrian President Assad remains confident, particularly with the backing from Russia, who opposes a military strike against Syria and urges the U.S. and its allies to exercise restraint. It is to be remembered that Russia, along with China, has repeatedly prevented the U.N. Security Council from acting against Assad, asserting that the West should not interfere in Syria’s civil war.

Assad and members of his regime, for their part, continue to increase their threats of immediate retaliation against Israel, in the event that Syria is attacked by the U.S. and other countries. As stated by Kahalf al-Muftah, a senior member of Syria’s Ba’ath party, who until recently served as the country’s deputy information minister: “***[If] the U.S. or any West national launches a military campaign against Syria, then Israel will find itself under an extensive Syrian attack”. He added that Syria has “advanced weapons aimed  at several strategic Israeli targets. Israel is standing behind the belligerence against Syria and whoever encourages belligerence should not be surprised when he comes under fire…The Middle East will become engulfed in never-ending flames if Israel and the United States use chemical weapons as a pretext for their aggressions. We won’t sit with our arms crossed while aggression against Syria becomes dangerous, affecting the security of the whole world, not just the Middle East. It’s possible to say unambiguously that a process of war against Syria could lead to an all-out world war. The responsibility for that will rest on the U.S. and the Zionist entity’s shoulders.  (emphasis, my emphasis)

Although Israel has made every effort to remain out of the fighting in Syria, nevertheless, it is clearly to our advantage if Assad falls, so that the center piece of the unholy triumvirate of Tehran, Damascus and Beirut (Hizb’allah) is removed. Still, as noted, whether we are in or whether we stay out of any military involvement, Assad will seek to hold us accountable and, if he believes that he is going down, he will have nothing to lose by unleashing Syria’s vast missile supply in our direction. The expressed concern is over Syria’s possible missile launch against Israel.  But, no one is expressing, at least not openly, the possibility that Syria’s allies, like the Hizb’allah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the mullahs in Tehran, will join Damascus in a missile bombardment against us. Also, we should not rule out the potential involvement of Russia and China in a face-off against the U.S. and its allies, who will cooperate in a joint attack against Syria. Then, of course, the question would be whether a joint military effort against Syria would be with the intention to remove Assad from power, or to strike various locations where the cache of weapons are located. Would it be an air assault only, or would allied forces be foolish enough to send in ground troops, in the middle of a religiously-motivated, civil war? But, the threshold question is whether there is concrete evidence that Assad was the one who is responsible for the use of chemical agents against his own people. Without an affirmative answer, any attack upon Syria, however well-intentioned, could generate more problems than it would solve.

Israel began a pre-arranged, two-day military exercise in the Golan Heights today, Tuesday, and has placed Patriot anti-missile batteries in Haifa on alert. With the threat of military involvement against Syria looming larger each day, there has been a significant increase in the number of Israeli requests for gas masks. It is reported that to date, over 5 millions gas masks have been distributed to Israelis.

Peace negotiations – continuing despite violence by “Palestinians”
This past Monday, elite, undercover Border Police units went into Qalandiya, which is near Jerusalem, to arrest a “Palestinian” terror suspect, who was freed as part of the deal to release Gilad Shalit. When the Israeli armored jeeps entered the camp, they were attacked by rocks and firebombs by more than 1,500 “Palestinians”. The undercover unit called for back-up cover and evacuation. At first, the Border Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the mob, but when the situation seriously deteriorated and their lives were endangered, they fired live rounds, resulting in the deaths of 3 rioters and some 15 others who were injured.

As a result of this incident, it was first reported that the “Palestinian” delegation hinted that “peace negotiations” would be suspended, but no official announcement to that effect was made. On the same day that the above incident took place, the 4th round of negotiations took place. No details were released and the veil of secrecy continues over the meetings. I have this gnawing feeling that we are going to wake up one morning to a not-surprising “surprise” announcement that an agreement has been reached to give away the heartland of Israel and that we need to uproot and relocate hundreds of thousands of Israelis. The liberal, mainstream media is the first to jump on a story where the government withholds information which the leftist media thinks the public should have. But, when it comes to dividing the State of Israel and giving Judea and Samaria to our enemies to set up an enemy state in our midst, the media has little or nothing to say about negotiations that are kept secret from the public.

Then, there is the turmoil in Egypt, the threat of Iran becoming nuclear, the struggles of the Hizb’allah in Lebanon and Nasrallah’s continued threats to blanket Israel with missiles “from Dan to Beersheva”. We’ll leave these for next time.

Bomb-proof backpack for children?

The new Israeli school year started today, Tuesday. Tens of thousands of new backpacks were purchased. But, with the various tensions in the region, an Israeli designer has created a “bomb-proof” backpack, which is intended to act as a personal shelter in the event of a terror strike or other emergency. that can also function as a protective vest against explosions.

The backpack costs around US$500 or £300 (1,683 shekels), has a 19-layer Kevlar fabric at its core and is designed to protect the brain, heart, liver and kidneys from the impact and fallout of an explosion.

And THAT Was The Week That Was.

“Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You…” (2 Chronicles 14:11)

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. ‘May they prosper who love you’.” (Psalm 122:6)
Be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

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

נשלח מה-iPad שלי

The pain and sense of loss that do not go away – TWTW … ending 17 August, 2013

Shalom all,

Last week was a bit of a difficult week. The Prime Minister underwent surgery to repair a hernia and while he was recuperating, a special ministerial team decided on the release of 26 terrorists, all with blood on their hands, who either killed or assisted in the killing of 35 Israelis. “Under Cover of Darkness” was the front-page caption of Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel’s major Hebrew dailies, on Tuesday morning. It referred to the release of those terrorists, at night and in sealed vehicles so as to prevent photos of victory by the “Palestinian” Authority. The same front page showed pictures of some of the victims, while their families claimed that freeing the terrorists was a betrayal of those who were murdered. Of those who were released, 14 were sent to the Gaza Strip and 12 to the “West Bank” (i.e., that part of Judea and Samaria that is under the control of the “Palestinian” Authority). In the shadow of the raging controversy, negotiations were set to be resumed Tuesday morning.

The pain and sense of loss that do not go away.
Our nation has been attacked. Families have been torn apart by the sudden and violent taking of the lives of our loved ones by terrorists, cold-blooded killers, whose ideology compels them to repeat their crimes. And the perpetrators are being released to return to their families and continue their lives, which were interrupted for a season, while they were accommodated by Israel’s prison system. Israel’s Security Service revealed that more than 60% of them will continue to pursue terrorist activities against Israel.

Although it is said that “time heals all wounds”, many, like Rose Kennedy, disagree: “The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. but it is never gone.” Indeed, the scars that remain are a constant reminder of the damage that took place. Some of the scars are visible, while some remain seared on the hearts and in the minds of the families whose lives were forever disrupted by the untimely deaths of their loved ones, brought about by the hatred of those with whom we are now trying to reach a another peace agreement. A desperate, spur-of-the-moment, last-minute protest took place on Monday in Tel-Aviv, opposite the Ministry of Defense, to prevent the release of the terrorists. One of the protesters expressed the anguish of the families, stating: “These are people who murdered a Holocaust survivor with an axe, who stabbed soldiers to death with pitchforks like stacks of wheat. Their release is a yielding to terror.”

Proponents of the release of the terrorists claim that although the terrorists were sentenced to life imprisonment, they are what is referred to as lower-echelon terrorists, who are not the leaders or masterminds behind the incidents that resulted in the deaths of the victims. They added that most of them are now senior citizens and they are just a light shadow and that their release is in keeping with the government’s good-will gesture towards the “Palestinians”, as promised. Is this supposed to comfort the families of the victims? A slightly closer examination may reveal just how truly empty this so-called “gesture” really is, causing the pain to be even greater for the bereaved families. With the prisoners being released under cover of night was obviously intended to minimize celebrating a “Palestinian” victory in “Israeli territory”. This would not warm the cockles of the heart of “Palestinian” Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. But, with more than half of them being transferred to the Gaza Strip, any celebration in Gaza over the release of those who were there would be to the benefit of Mahmoud Abbas, at the expense of Hamas. So, on the one hand, Israel still tries to bolster Abbas, while on the other hand, it tries its best to put a damper on his “victory” of getting these terrorists released. In order words, he’ll have to work a bit to celebrate this “victory”. This move, at this time, does nothing to draw the two sides closer, nor does it serve to encourage the population of Israel to stand behind the present peace initiative.

A more realistic appraisal of the release is that it is a political ploy to gain time for the “peace talks” to fail honorably, rather than to bring about a situation where the diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry would fail immediately. This scenario would boost Israel’s position vis-a-vis the U.S. and the Quartet, as not being the one who blocked the peace efforts from getting off the ground. It saves face for Kerry and, of course, for U.S. President Obama, as well as P.M. Netanyahu. If, in fact, that is the case, then the choice of these particular terrorists does not serve to demonstrate either support for Abbas or optimism regarding the outcome of the talks. Instead, it constitutes nothing more than a crude political game, where the immediate losers are, again, the bereaved families of the victims. Yes, the scars remain, but they are also a reminder that we continue to survive.

Of the many stories of the victims and their families, I chose to briefly share the following:
1.  Mofir Canaan was 49 years old, married and the father of six children, five of whom are sons. He was also a Druze from the Village of Archah. He served in the I.D.F. as a Border Policeman and after being discharged, worked for the Prison Service. After he retired, he was stabbed to death in a nearby village. His murderer was apprehended, tried and convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The then Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, wrote a letter of condolence to the family, in which he praised Mofir and said that “there is no forgiveness and no pardon”. When they grew up, Mofir’s sons followed in their father’s footsteps and served in various special units in the I.D.F. One of his sons, Fahad, said that Netanyahu, who at the time of his father’s death was serving as Deputy Foreign Minister, promised the family that his father’s killer would be caught and would remain In jail for the rest of his days. Fahad added: “We all love the country and are proud of it. But why are killers being released? They should rot in jail. Is this the compensation for a mother who raised us by her own strength? To release dad’s killer?” Another son, Keinan, wrote a letter to Netanyahu requesting that he keep his promise and not release his father’s killer. Another son, Forsan, was only 4 when his father was murdered. He said: “The murderer will be able to walk free in the street. I served 5 years in the I.D.F., this is the reward for my contribution to the State?”

To close out this story, last Monday, Yair Shamir, the Minister of Agriculture and the son of the late P.M. Yitzhak Shamir, said: “The moving letter of my father only strengthens what was and remains my position in principle that the negotiations with the “Palestinians” must be without preconditions and there was no basis for freeing the terrorists.  The decision that was reached obligates me along with the other members of the government.”
Actually, the issue is of such importance that power politics should not come into play and each Member of the Knesset should have been given a green light to vote his conscience. To force an MK to vote against his conscience is unconscionable.

2.  When Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for a thousand-plus terrorists, the nation took a hard swallow. Among those who were released were three terrorists, who were responsible for the planning, preparation and carrying out of bus bombing in Haifa in 2004, which took the lives of 17 people, many of them students on their way home from school. The fourth terrorist blew himself up along with the bus and the victims. One of those students who was killed was only 14 and a friend of our two oldest children, who were then 15 and 13. They were all in the same school and the night before the bombing, they were all together, with others, in a special group activity. Her parents are friends of ours and we mourned with them as they mourned. The government granted the family permanent residence status (which up to that point they did not have), as a result of being victims of terror. But, that could never compensate them, as they daughter would not return to their home. The wound was re-opened when their daughter’s murderers were set free. It is difficult to put into words the renewed pain and anguish that they suffered and continue to suffer.

Another victim of that terrorist incident was Smadar, a 17-year-old student. Her mother stated the situation this way:

“All of Israel rejoiced together with the Shalit family [when Gilad was released], but for us it was a jolt…We had lost everything, and there was a small comfort in the knowledge that at least the perpetrators would never see the light of day. Their release went against any possible perception of justice. When your child dies it sentences you to life without any possibility of parole. You remain a grieving parent for the rest of your life, without any possibility of relief. A more accurate statement than ‘would I had died for thee’ (2 Samuel 19:1) has not yet been written. For nine years [following the bus bombing], [my husband] was dying. He didn’t want to go to the ninth anniversary of Smadar’s death while the terrorists were free and she was not.” She added that during his last nine years of life, “He was in deep mourning. When people asked him, ‘How’s life?’ he would say, ‘We’re just breathing, not living’.” When his daughter’s murderers were released, “It finished him. He took it very hard… He wasn’t angry at Shalit, but at the government and the state for releasing murderers.” After he visited his daughter’s grave, the next night he suffered a heart attack and passed away.

At least Shalit was returned home as part if the prisoner release. This time, we received nothing, except a willingness to sit down and talk. The blood of the victims of these terrorists cries out from the ground. Even as the polls here show that close to 80% of the people are opposed to the release of the terrorists, the will of the people is ignored and the cries of the victims and the pleadings of their families go unheeded. “Now the LORD saw and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.” (Isaiah 59:15)

Can we imagine the United States releasing terrorists as a “good will gesture” to make peace with its enemies? Or Norway releasing mass murderer, Anders Breivik, who took the lives of 77 Norwegians and injured 242 others, many of whom were teenagers? Or any other so-called civilized country voluntarily releasing its enemies, who killed and butchered men, women and children in cold blood? Of course not! While no civilized country in the world would consider releasing terrorists and murderers as a “good will gesture”, we are expected to do so. And we are also expected to uproot our own citizenry and give away our territory to our enemies to live in our midst. Apparently, when it comes to Israel, the double standard is the only standard.

Bloodbath in Egypt
It appears that the news regarding what is happening in Egypt is being covered fairly well my the main-stream media. People are not only being killed, they are being slaughtered by extremists, who want to restore Mohammed Morsi to power and, along with him, the Muslim Brotherhood. While most of the media emphasis is on the mayhem and murder taking place, little attention is being given to the fact that the millions who took to the streets did so to protest the take-over and attempt to create a state ruled by Islamist extremism.

At least 900 people, including 100 soldiers and police, have been killed in a crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood during the past week alone, making it Egypt’s bloodiest civil episode in decades.

Israel has been carefully monitoring the situation in Egypt and, after the military take-over at the beginning of July, Israeli officials indicated that the military government was better than the one under Morsi. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (pronounced “Erdwan”) then said he had “evidence” that Israel was involved in the Egyptian military coup last month. However, his statement was rejected by Egypt’s cabinet as not only baseless, but “bewildering,” adding it was running out of patience with Turkey, who is one of the biggest critics of the military coup. The White House condemned Erdoğan’s remarks, referring to them as “offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong.” Israel said that his comments were not worth commenting upon.
The day after Erdoğan made his accusations against Israel, Member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman said that The Turkish leader was following in the path of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels: “He [Erdogan] has continued Goebbels’ ways…Those who apologized before Turkey [over the deadly Turkish-led Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010] should do some soul-searching; so should those who attacked me and Yisrael Beytenu for our criticism over Israel’s apology.”

Erdogan is a strong backer of Morsi as an example of a democratically elected Islamic leader. But, he either fails to understand, or chooses to ignore, the fact that democracy means more than having an election. It means that after the election is over, there is a responsibility to behave in a democratic fashion and not to immediately turn into a dictator, as happened with Morsi. What is Erdoğan’s real concern? If the people in Egypt could remove their leader and take him directly “from the palace to prison”, it could happen in Turkey as well. He probably doesn’t sleep as well these days as he did before the military coup in Egypt.

Before we leave the subject of Egypt, a brief word about former President Hosni Mubarak. It is to be recalled that Mubarak, 85, was sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to prevent the killing of demonstrators. An appeal’s court overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial. News reports today indicated that an Egyptian court released him from custody and he could be released as early as tomorrow, Thursday. There are concerns, however, that Mubarak’s release could spark a new wave of protests that would cause millions to take to the streets again and once again, a move that could cause Egypt to plummet into chaos and instability.

Syria continues to suffer
The forces of President Bashar Assad’s were accused by opposition activists of launching a nerve gas attack that killed at least 650 people, a situation, if confirmed, would be the worst use of poison gas in the Syrian civil war, that is now two and a half years running. According to the opposition activists,

Activists said rockets with chemical agents were fired into the suburbs of Damascus just before dawn. According to a report from one emergency medical facility: “Many of the casualties are women and children. They arrived with their pupils dilated, cold limbs and foam in their mouths. The doctors say these are typical symptoms of nerve gas victims.” Photos of victims were widely disseminated on the Internet, with many of them being children.

As expected, Syrian state television denied the reports and officials of Assad’s government said that if they had such chemical weapons, they would never use them against Syrians. This, of course, leads to the question: Against whom would Syria be willing to use deadly nerve gas? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Israel is within the target range. Syria is not a signatory to the international treaty that bans chemical weapons, and it is widely believed that it has caches of undeclared mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agents.

There are conflicting opinions regarding the logic of using such chemical weapons at this time, namely, only three days after U.N. chemical experts arrived in Damascus. But, given the heavy concentration of Sunni Islamist rebels in the area that was attacked, who are allied to al-Qaida, the use of such weapons should not be dismissed for reasons of “logic”. Fanatics do not operate on the basis of logic. That is one of great failings of the West, which likes to think that terrorists operate out of reason.

Peace Talks “Under the Radar”?
The French news agency AFP reported that according to “Palestinian” sources, negotiators were meeting “secretly” for additional talks. After meeting twice in Jerusalem, another meeting is scheduled to take place in a few days in Jericho.

The official position of Yair Lapid, the Treasury Secretary and head of the Yesh Atid Party, is that Jerusalem should not be divided. But, not everyone in his party agrees with him. MK Ofer Shelah expressed his opposition this way: “I don’t see an agreement in which the Arabs of Judea and Samaria won’t be able to call east Jerusalem their capital…There won’t be an agreement — and every intelligent person knows this — that isn’t based on the 1967 borders.” The fall-out from that statement has yet to be seen, although with the attitude of our chief negotiator, it might be the handwriting on the wall.

Israeli Minister of Justice, Tzipi Livni, who is also the chief negotiator for Israel, expressed that she would prefer that the Labor Party replace Habayit HaYehudi, which is headed up by Naftali Bennett. In her opinion, “If Labor replaced Habayit Hayehudi, there would be broader support for the negotiations within the government.” Bennett responded to her comments on his Facebook page saying, “Get over it.” Short, simple and to the point.

And, surprisingly, Dalia Rabin, the daughter of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, said she would “not rule out the possibility” that in retrospect, her father might have viewed the Oslo Accords as a mistake. Now, that is a statement worth mulling over.

Turkey and Latkes – Giving thanks on the Festival of Lights
The prophet Micah stated: “Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.” (Micah 7:8)

Despite his circumstances, Micah focused his thoughts on the light that only God can provide. Clearly, he was thankful in the midst of a difficult situation, surrounded by spiritual darkness. Can we find something for which to be thankful? Certainly!

There is the yearly, worldly Festival of Thanksgiving and a yearly, more spiritual Festival of Lights. On both occasions, we take time to reflect and to be thankful. On rare occasions, the solar cycle and the lunar cycle allow for celebrations to take place in proper sequence (such as Passover preceding Easter, rather than the other way around). Then, there are the exceptional moments, that happen once and, in all probability, will not happen again. Such is the situation with the following, which was received from a long-time friend, who lives in the U.S.:

Hanukkah and Thanksgiving… Turkey and Latkes…

What a great combination!

Hanukkah will be on Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever, and never again!

We will be celebrating the first night of Chanukah on Thanksgiving, so expect turkey and latkes on the table.

This is the only time it will ever happen, read below to see the explanation!!!

Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28.

11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah can be.

The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years.

Looking back, this is approximately correct the last time it would have happened is 1861.

However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863.

So, it has never happened before. Why won’t it ever happen again?

The reason is because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years! This means that while presently Hanukkah can be as early as 11/28, over the years the calendar will drift forward, such that the earliest Hanukkah can be is 11/29. The next time Hanukkah falls on 11/28 is 2146, which is a Monday. Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will ever overlap with Thanksgiving!!!

Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, then it will slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar, until it loops all the way back to where it is now.

So, Chanukah would again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79,811.

Given our trajectory with global warming, it is fair to say humans wont be here then. And if there are no humans, the holidays will be cancelled.

So on November 28th 2013, enjoy your turkey and your latkes. It has never happened before, and it will never happen again.

And That Was The Week that Was.

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:2)

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:105, 130)

“It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light to the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Have a simply great week.

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

נשלח מה-iPad שלי

Pressure Politics, the "Peace Process" and Israel, blind and deaf – TWTW … ending 10 August, 2013

Shalom all,

Every now and then, we need to step back and take a break from the daily grind. It helps us to gain a fresh perspective regarding the things that are going on around us and often enables us to get a handle on how those things impact our lives. So it was for me these last few weeks. So much was happening in and around the Middle East, I decided to watch things unfold and observe how so many news columnists wanted to express their opinions about almost everything that related to the renewed “peace talks”. In their frenzy to fill their word quota, many were verbally tripping over one another, but most of them, in my opinion, missed the big picture concerning the so-called “peace talks”, Israel and the Jewish people.

Pressure Politics, the “Peace Process” and Israel, blind and deaf
Over the last three weeks, I watched the news, read the newspapers and saw a strong, independent nation, established in line with Biblical prophecy, once again yield to outside pressure. I watched as our nation’s leadership caved in to the pleadings and threatenings of the international  community, particularly the United States, and almost beg those who hate us to talk with us, so that we could give them a huge chunk of our land. We were the ones with the “upper hand”, yet we pleaded to be allowed to cut ourselves open and give away our heart, thinking that the rest of our body will be able to function properly and effectively without it. And, if that were not enough, we were willing to release many terrorists, whom we captured, convicted and sentenced to lengthy jail terms for their willful murder of our people and attempts to destroy us as a nation, all as part of still another “goodwill gesture”. The major difference from similar “gestures” in the past is that this time, we did it for the singular purpose of getting our enemies to agree to sit down and talk with us, so that we could do even more to create national, self-inflicted wounds. A form of blindness, deafness and madness has taken hold of the upper echelons of our national leadership.

“You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; Your ears are open, but none hears.”  (Isa. 42:20) These words of the prophet Isaiah are as valid for us today, as the day that they were written. We could ask the simple question: “Is anyone here paying attention?”

Before the first round of talks, which took place in Washington two weeks ago, and even before the cabinet vote concerning the resumption of the so-called peace talks with the “Palestinians”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an open letter to the citizens of Israel, with these words:

“From time to time, prime ministers are called on to make decisions that go against public opinion — when the matter is important for the country’s well-being.

Prime ministers are not needed to make the decisions that the public already supports.

At the present time, I believe it is of the utmost importance for the State of Israel to enter a diplomatic process. This is important both to exhaust the possibilities of ending the conflict with the Palestinians and to establish Israel’s position in the complex international reality around us. 

The major changes in our region — in Egypt, Syria and in Iran — not only pose challenges for the State of Israel but they also present significant opportunities for us.  (bold underlines, my emphasis)

For these reasons, I believe that it is important for the State of Israel to enter a diplomatic process for at least nine months — to see if it is possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians during this time.

But despite placing a great deal of importance on the diplomatic process, I was not prepared to accept the Palestinians’ demands for withdrawals and [settlement building] freezes as preconditions for entering negotiations.

Neither was I prepared to accept their demand to release Palestinian prisoners before the start of negotiations. I did agree to release 104 Palestinians in stages after the start of the negotiations and in accordance with the circumstances of their progress.

This is an indescribably difficult decision to make, it is painful for the bereaved families, it is painful for the entire nation and it is also very painful for me.

It conflicts with a value of incomparable importance, the value of justice.

It is a clear injustice when depraved people, even if most of them have sat in prison for over 20 years as in this case, are released before they have finished serving their sentences.

The decision is difficult for me seven-fold because my family and I personally know the price of bereavement from terrorism. I know the pain very well. I have lived with it every day for the past 37 years.

The fact that previous Israeli governments have released over 10,000 terrorists does not make it easier for me today, and did not make it easier when I decided to bring back Gilad Schalit.

Gilad Schalit’s return home required me to make an incredibly difficult decision — to release terrorists. But I believed that the value of bringing children back home required me to overcome this difficulty.

People in positions of leadership are forced to make complex choices and sometimes the necessary decision is the most difficult one when the majority of the public opposes it.

Thus I decided to end Operation Pillar of Defense after the elimination of archterrorist Ahmed Jabari and after the severe blows the Israel Defense Forces dealt to Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.

I made the decision to end the operation even though most of the public supported continued action, which would have required entering the Gaza Strip on the ground. As prime minister, I thought that the goal of deterrence had been mostly achieved by the determined actions that we carried out.

Today, almost one year after the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, we are witness to the quietest situation in the south in over a decade. Of course, this quiet can fall apart at any minute but my policy remains clear on all fronts: We will, to the best of our ability, thwart the threats against us in a timely manner. We will react strongly to any attempt to harm our people.

In the next nine months, we will consider whether there is a Palestinian element on other side that, like us, truly wants to end the conflict between us.

Such a conclusion will be possible only under conditions that will ensure the security of Israel’s citizens and our vital national interests.

If we succeed in achieving such a peace agreement, I will submit it to a referendum.

Such a fateful decision cannot be made by a close vote in the Knesset.

Every citizen must be allowed to directly influence our future and our fate on such a crucial issue.

The best answer we can give to those murderers that sought to defeat us through terrorism is during the decades that they sat in prison, we built a glorious country and turned it into one of the most prosperous, advanced and strongest countries in the world.

I promise that we will continue as such.


Benjamin Netanyahu”

In all fairness, let me give credit where credit is due. Netanyahu (for whom I voted more than once) has been responsible for a number of diplomatic achievements, as he indicated. However, like the true politician that he is, the above “open letter” leaves open many questions. For example, in the language emphasized above, we are left to wonder what the possibilities would be after the nine months are up and there is still no agreement. Will we be expected, or will it be demanded of us, that we extend the time to give birth to an agreement for peace that will cut pieces from the State of Israel, because by then “we will be so close”? That question was answered on August 1st by Tzipi Livni (chairperson of the HaTnuah Party), Israel’s left-wing Minister of Justice and chief negotiator with the “Palestinians”: “All the parties involved have an interest in reaching a settlement”, adding: “Time is less important. If we require more than nine months, of course we’ll continue, and if the negotiations will not be serious – then even nine months will not necessary. My impression is that the ‘Palestinians’ are serious, this is a test for them. Anyone who enters the negotiating room knows more or less how it should end.”

And, how will our entering into negotiations “establish Israel’s position in the complex international reality around us”?  Could it be that Israel is trying to buy time to finalize taking military action against Iran, with or without assistance, which cannot be counted upon, of the U.S.? If so, we need to remember that with all of the worry and concern about the possibilities of a nuclear Iran, with the uprisings in Syria and in Egypt and the turmoil and oppressive regimes in other places around the world, most countries, particularly those in the European Union, are fixated over the resolution of the Arab and “Palestinian” – Israeli conflict. They are operating under the delusion that bringing this issue to an end, one way or another, would also bring an end to the multitude of other problems now facing the world. Blowing Israel off the face of the map is only one of the desires of Tehran. Another is its expansionist vision to reclaim the territory and the glory of the former Persian Empire. Resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict will not end the fighting between Shiite and Sunni Moslems. Nor will it end the public revolt in Egypt, or remove the threat of a nuclear North Korea, or provides jobs or economic security or wipe out diseases, or end the desire of Islamists for Islamic supremacy over the rest of the world, and so on.

The release of prisoners with “blood on their hands”, just to get the “Palestinians” to sit down with us in the same room and talk, is not only immoral, it is also setting an extremely dangerous precedent. Let’s think for a moment how assured this really is. In order for the “Palestinians” to be willing to talk peace, they want us to release murderers, whom they were