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EXODUS 5:2

6 hours 16 min ago

Moshe (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron) approached Pharaoh and requested that he allow the Children of Israel to leave Egypt to celebrate a festival for Hashem (God) in the wilderness. In the following verse (Exodus 5:2) Pharoah adamantly refuses their request. Only in complete recognition of Hashem and His way is one able to treat others the way Pharoah treated the Israelites. Had he acknowledged the Lord, Pharaoh would not have been able to mistreat the Israelites as he did. Therefore, God emphasizes (Exodus 7:5) that the purpose of the ten plagues is to prove to the Egyptians and the entire world that He is the one and only omnipotent God.

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Half of Syria’s Air Defenses Destroyed by Israel in Recent Months

6 hours 47 min ago

Some 50 percent of air-defense batteries belonging to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have been destroyed after they fired on Israel Air Force jets in recent months during multiple operations, a senior air-force source said on Wednesday.

The officer was speaking to reporters during an international air conference hosted in Israel, which brought together commanders from 20 foreign air-force establishments to discuss professional and operational matters with the IAF. Participants included the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Poland, Italy, Brazil, Greece and Romania.

“The risks are all around us—whether it is instability in Syria or in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a forward [Iranian] division, or Hamas, which gets its support from Iran. Iran is all over, offensively trying to operate against Israel, and we have to weigh and asses the risks constantly as we operate against this aggression,” the senior source stated.

He described Syria as having the most heavily guarded airspace in the world, with the highest number of surface-to-air missile batteries of all kinds scanning the skies.

“And we still have to operate in this strategic arena and still hit targets, and maintain the IAF’s air superiority, which is the biggest challenge of the air force,” added the officer.

In recent months, during a number of Israeli airstrikes against aggressive Iranian activity in Syria between February and May, Syrian air-defense systems fired on Israeli jets “hundreds of times,” the source revealed. “In a single mission, they fired over 100 SAMS [surface-to-air missiles],” he said, referring to the May 10 Israeli operation to strike 50 Iranian targets across Syria in retaliation to Iranian rocket fire on the Golan Heights.

“All of the batteries that fired on the IAF were destroyed. All of them. And this policy will continue. We do not destroy batteries that do not fire on us,” said the source.

During the conference on Wednesday, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin held a joint press appearance with counterparts from Italy and the United Kingdom at Tel Nof air base, south of Tel Aviv.

“This [conference] is a part of our cooperation,” said Norkin. “We share operational knowledge, training knowledge, and we talk about how get air superiority as a means to regional stability.”

Lt. Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, said holding a dialogue with the IAF was valuable for his personnel. “We appreciate flying together. We enjoy the beauty of your country and the quality of this training machine,” he added.

Air Marshal Stuart Atha, Deputy Commander of Britain’s Royal Air Force, said: “There is no air force with a prouder history than the IAF. This is also an opportunity to celebrate and recognize what we are doing, day to day, as air forces. And, more importantly, to look to the future—at how as air forces we can continue to work together.”

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); }); ‘Iran has its owns aspirations as a regional player’

According to the senior IAF source, “the fight to maintain air superiority is ongoing. We take risks to achieve our missions, and sometimes we pay the price. We understand the strategic context in which we live in, and we learn from our mistakes.”

He described the IAF’s missions of policing the region against the Iranian military buildup, and enforcing Israel’s red lines as requiring “complexity, sensitivity, professionalism and determination.”

“This active defense campaign … is something we are doing because we have to be actively defending the State of Israel. It requires us to continually monitor and assess the risks in one of the most dangerous and sensitive places in the world. Why is it so dangerous? Every time you operate, there are operational risks. You can hit stuff you did not want to hit or personnel you did not want to hit. We are only trying to prevent offensive measures that are conducted by Iran.”

The source said it was too soon to know how Iran would respond to recent dramatic events in the Middle East, including the mass Israeli strike on its targets in Syria, America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and other regional developments, such as election results in Iraq.

“Iran needs to work things out with the world, not just with Israel. We are high on the list, but we are not the only one. Iran has its own aspirations as a regional player. It is expanding its physical forces around the region when its economy is crumbling. Does it make sense? Not to me, but that is its long-range decision,” said the officer.

In confronting Israel directly in Syria, Iran did “not weigh the risks in the right way,” he continued. “I dare say, I think they will change their strategic decisions. It might take six months or a year … everything happening together is pushing Iran back. If I stand in Iran, that’s what I see. I have a feeling they are going to change. The question is: Which way? That, I do not know.”

When operating over Gaza, the IAF has developed singular “tunnel-busting” techniques, the source said, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, the F-35, which entered service in the IAF last year, is proving itself as a game-changing platform in Israel’s ongoing missions.

“The F-35 is really a remarkable platform. … It has many sensors on it which are very important to conducting missions,” said the source, especially in areas with dense air defenses. “The first thing it brings is situational awareness.”

“The challenges around us are keeping the small F-35 squadron on their toes. They have to move fast,” said the source.

Israel has received nine F-35s so far, and is due to receive a total of 50—two squadrons—in the coming years.

“Our operational temp is very high. It is very hard to explain how intense it is, and how unique our air personnel are when they conduct their operations. They need to understand exactly what is going on, and who is shooting at them,” he stated.

Throughout this complex era, Israel and Russia have succeeded in avoiding unintended clashes. “The Russians know very well that the IDF hasn’t come to attack Russia,” said the source.

At the same time, the arrival of advanced Russian radars in the region means that the IAF has to work harder to remain out of sight.

The IAF has learned to fly in “a way, that we won’t be noticed,” he said. These conditions have “actually made us better. … Things have developed much faster than we thought they would have.”

Written by Yaakov Lappin

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Newsweek Downplays Israel’s Success

7 hours 17 min ago

In the May 10, 2018 issue of Newsweek, this article by Yardena Schwartz appeared: MORE ISRAELIS ARE MOVING TO THE U.S.—AND STAYING FOR GOOD. Ms Schwartz is a well known, respected journalist, but this article seems to have a chip on its shoulder. It reminds me of the brouhaha here in Israel about the price of cottage cheese in Israel.

When it became known several years ago that a top selling brand of Israeli cottage cheese sold for less in Berlin (and other places) than in Tel Aviv, Israelis were outraged. The media was full of stories about how many Israelis had moved to the “good life” in Berlin (for cheaper cottage cheese?). So, how many Israelis actually live in Berlin? Estimates range from 11,000-15,000. That’s a rather small percentage of the 6.6 million Israeli Jews, about 1/4 of 1%.

The above mentioned overblown story is similar to Schwartz’s article, which makes it seem  that, in her words, young Israelis “are leaving the country in droves.” Not surprisingly, Schwartz has found several people who have emigrated from Israel and are happy with their choice. But that’s hardly the complete story.

The UN World Happiness report gets quite a bit of coverage for its annual reports. Israel ranked near the top of the report for the last several years. In 2018, Israel was ranked as the 11th happiest country. (USA ranks #18.) That, despite Israel’s location among Arab countries, several of whom border it and are dire enemies of Israel.

Schwartz says that, “at least 1 million Israelis” live in America. I can’t find substantiation for such a high figure. Estimates are that 600,000 Israelis live outside of Israel, out of about 900,000 who left throughout the years since independence in 1948. It’s interesting that the majority who leave Israel were not born in Israel. (That fact strikes close to home in my own family.)

In the last decade, about 16,000 new immigrants made aliyah annually to Israel. That’s similar to the number who leave the country, but half of those later return home to Israel. Since 1948, Israel has absorbed millions of immigrants, including about 1 million from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. In fact, Israel is the world’s largest immigrant absorbing nation. It has absorbed more than 350% of its population over 70 years.

At the end of 2017, 8.9 million people lived in Israel, about 75% Jewish. Israel’s population is projected to grow to 10 million by the end of 2024, to 15 million by the end of 2048, and to 20 million by the end of 2065. It is already one of the most densely populated among the world’s largest economies.

Schwartz cites worries about the growing proportion of ultra-Orthodox in Israel’s population as a reason to emigrate, considering that the religious mens’ participation in army service and the work force is low and that the coalition government structure gives the ultra-Orthodox much political power. Schwartz reports that this sector will be nearly 50% of the population by 2065. Actually, most predictions show an increase from 11% in 2015 to 20% by 2040 and 32% by 2065. Admittedly, even the lower figures are a lot.

As with all predictions, there is no certainty that they will be accurate. However, one can say with certainty the Arab Israeli fertility rate has fallen rapidly (as has the Palestinian Arab rate) while the Jewish rate has risen dramatically. Yes, the ultra-Orthodox families and the Beduins have many children, but the “secular” Jewish families in Israel typically have three children, far above any other Western country. At this time, with the Arab downtrend and the Jewish upward trend, the percentage of the Jewish population is increasing, with slightly more Jewish births per mother than Muslim Arab births.

It is often mentioned that it’s easier to get ahead in the US than in any other country, including Israel. That’s probably true. But the difference is not as great as one imagines. The cost of living in Israel is higher than in America, but that’s not the whole story. These statistics show an interesting comparison:

median annual family income USA: $59,000; new car cost: $33,500
median annual family income Israel: $58,250; new car cost : $36,500

annual medical costs per person USA: $10,345
annual medical costs per person Israel: $2,425

(Israel has the 8th longest life expectancy in the world: 82.0 years, more than the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.)

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average cost of college tuition in USA: $21,000 (@5 years for most to attain degree)
average cost of university tuition in Israel: $2,900 (@3 years for most to attain degree)

housing: much higher cost to buy a home – usually an apartment – in Israel, but less to rent one.

Schwartz writes about the brain drain of Israelis, but this subject is so simple. Israel has amongst the very highest ratio of university degrees to population in the world. The number of Israelis who attain PhD degrees is far larger than a small country such as Israel can employ. Therefore, many leave for post-graduate training or jobs in other countries. Nevertheless, Israel has won more Nobel Prizes per capita than the United States, France and Germany.

The alternative to stop the brain drain would be for fewer Israelis to attain higher degrees, thereby lessening the need to search for work outside of Israel. That would probably not be a good alternative for many reasons.

Schwartz talks about the high percentage of poverty and income inequality in Israel. True. Israel has a relatively high poverty level, including much income inequality (about the same or better than USA). However, the two largest contingents of those in “poverty” choose that status by not choosing to join the work force. Those contingents are ultra-Orthodox men and Muslim women, both of whom are conforming to societal norms in their peer groups. At any rate, the percentage choosing not to work is declining yearly in both groups. Interestingly, the labor participation rate overall is slightly higher in Israel than in the US!

Israel is known, for good reason, as the Start Up Nation (Check out the book of that name.) Schwartz says that the impact of hi tech on the majority of Israelis is not great. This is nonsense. Hi tech jobs are the backbone of the middle class, with many young people aspiring to work in start up companies. The Russian aliyah of the 1990s was instrumental in building up Israel’s high tech sector. Without this backbone of the Israeli economy, Israel’s economy and “happiness” would not be as great.

According to Schwartz, “many” of the average young people say, “There’s simply no future in Israel.” That is rubbish, as “many” Brits like to say. As far as the ECONOMY is concerned, Israel has one of the world’s strongest, with a growth rate far in excess of Europe’s or America’s. Israel’s fertility rate is the highest among the OECD and its average age is the lowest, reducing the impending major shortfall of funding for pensioners which hangs over all other developed countries.

Yes, there are problems ahead for Israel, but probably fewer than for most other members of the prestigious OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). I say, “things will change because they must change.” Israel’s forte is not in long range planning, but in solving problems in real time. Israel will not bankrupt itself to support non-productive sectors, because the taxpayers won’t allow it. There is a great future for Israel because Israelis will make it happen.

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Palestinians Chop Down Over 1,000 Vines In Shiloh Valley

7 hours 47 min ago

More than 1,100 vines were vandalized overnight between Friday and Saturday in two vineyards in Shiloh Valley in  the Binyamin Regional Council, Israel Police reported on Sunday morning.

Traces of five  suspects were found in the direction of Qusra,  a Palestinian village near Nablus.

Israeli security forces and the IDF are investigating the case.

This is not the first time massive damage was caused to the vineyards of the region.  In July, ten dunams of vines were vandalized in one of the vineyards targeted over the weekend.

After the incident in July, a caravan for security personnel was posted in the area to prevent vandalism but was later destroyed by the Israeli Civil Administration.

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Zviki Struck, the owner of one of the vineyards vandalized over the weekend, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that he had suffered hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of damage.

“ I arrived at my vineyard as usual at six in the morning to work, and I saw a huge quantity of  vines that had been cut down,” Struck said,

“It takes three years for each grapevine to grow and produce its fruit,” he said.

Aaron Zof, who grows vines in the region  said that for years the entire Shiloh Valley region has suffered from agricultural terrorism.

“The media has only recently began to talk about the plague of agricultural terrorism,  after it hit the south and north of the country,” Zof told TPS.

Last week hundreds of grapevines were vandalized in a Palestinian vineyard north of  Hebron, and a similar incident occurred the week before in Hebron. Both attacks were believed to have been hate crimes carried out by Jewish settlers from the region.

The post Palestinians Chop Down Over 1,000 Vines In Shiloh Valley appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Jews, the Indigenous People of Israel

8 hours 17 min ago

After a recent U.N. debate that included Palestinian issues, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told reporters: “We challenge the liars who advocated lies in the Security Council yesterday.” Asked if he was calling U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley a liar, Mansour backtracked saying Haley’s speech was “not credible.”

With similar diplomatic finesse, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat snapped at Haley to “shut up” when she criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Haley declined Erekat’s “advice” at the Security Council, with Abbas listening: “I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”

Palestinians’ jarring style aside—lies versus “hard truths” are at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And a major falsehood is the politically infused myth of Israeli “occupation.”

Truth prevailed when the U.S. State Department recently struck “occupied” from its description of the Palestinian Territories in a 2017 report, for the first time in almost 40 years. As Trump house cleans the Department of State and sweeps out the Deep State cobwebs, Israel’s 3,000+ years of Jewish history, genealogy and archeology, and international law supporting Israel’s sovereignty become admissible evidence.

Proof of Palestinian leaders’ habitual lying also is accumulating. It’s getting harder to be a good liar in today’s digitized communications sphere, with its speed-driven, global access to truth for those who care enough to search it out.

If anyone wonders why Palestinian leaders preach peace and claim the victimization of their people in English (to woo international support)—but spew hatred and terror in Arabic (to incite their people), it’s because the Koran condones lying as a way of jihad to deceive Islam’s enemies until they’re slain or subdued. Yes, according to Koranic teachings, lying and deception are perfectly acceptable in order to achieve the end goal.

Problem is, it’s harder to cover up blatant lies today than it was when Roman Emperor Hadrian named the land “Palestina” to erase “Judea” from the map. Palestinian leaders tap into this august Roman tradition by claiming descent from the “original Canaanites”–a clumsy political effort to pretend that Israel is “occupying” their ancestral land.

But there’s no trace of Palestinian genealogy in Canaan. “Palestinians descend primarily from … Muslim invaders, Arab immigrants, and local [forced] converts to Islam,” said historian Alex Joffe. No Arab or Palestinian entity ever formed a national state in Israel, Judea or Samaria; therefore, the Palestinian Territories have no legal or political basis, said Ambassador Alan Baker; no international agreement, contract, treaty or binding international resolution exists that defines these territories as Palestinian. Conversely, all evidence clearly supports the Jews as the indigenous heirs to the land of Israel.

But Palestinian leaders won’t drop the hype. Erekat proclaimed at an international conference in Europe: “I am a son of Jericho. My age—10,000 years. I am a proud son of the Canaanites, and I was [here] 5,000 years ago, and 500 years before the coming of Joshua bin Nun, who burned my city, Jericho, and I will not trade in my history [because of a demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state].” In other words, as correspondent Pinhas Inbari points out, Erekat won’t recognize Israel’s history because he was there first, and besides, that makes Joshua bin Nun a war criminal.

But the Erekat family’s genealogy—including entries on his own Facebook page—tell a different story, Baker said. “Erekat’s family is Bedouin, part of the Huweitat clan that originated in the Hejaz area of Saudi Arabia, arrived in Palestine from the south of Jordan, and settled in … Abu Dis.”

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Because the Palestinians know that historical, archeological, religious and genetic records indisputably prove Jews as the indigenous population and with a continuous presence in the land, they deny Jewish history and destroy or usurp archeological evidence and ancient Jewish religious sites.

Genealogical and historical records actually identify the Palestinians as the true occupiers, Joffe said. “The Muslim conquest of Palestine in the 7th century CE, and Muslim immigration … under the Ottoman and British Empires is a textbook example of settler-colonialism.”

Since these truths are evident and well-documented, why are they so often met with doubt and silence? What explains it?

Why does the EU attack Israeli sovereignty while ignoring NATO ally Turkey’s illegal occupation of Cyprus? “Where,” asks Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, “are [their] demonstrations on behalf of the oppressed Tibetans, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians, Kurds … Ukrainians? … Only the Palestinians, only Israel? Why? Not because the Palestinians are more oppressed … but because their alleged oppressors are Jews and the nation-state of the Jews.”

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, combined with Islamism’s hatred of Israel, threaten to dangerously blur the line between truth and lies. The United States, and every nation that upholds, defends and declares the truth is to be applauded.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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IDF Fires Back at Hamas After Explosive Device Placed Near Border Fence

8 hours 47 min ago

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) fired on a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip early Sunday morning after Palestinians had placed an explosive device near the Israel-Gaza border fence.

Hamas’ health ministry said that two Palestinians were killed and one was injured in the IDF operation.

“Its goal was to injure the soldiers operating in the area,” the IDF said of planting the device. “It was neutralized this morning by the IDF.”

Previous attempts to place IEDs (improvised explosive devices) on the Israel-Gaza border fence had been made in the weeks leading up to and during the recent round of riots led and instigated by the Hamas terrorist organization. Four soldiers were seriously wounded in one such incident.

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Late Saturday night, the IDF struck Hamas targets in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a successful infiltration by several Palestinians who hurled a firebomb that burst into flames and burned a tire.

“A short while ago, Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck military targets in a Hamas compound in the southern Gaza Strip,” and IDF spokesperson stated. “The strike was conducted in response to the incident that took place earlier today, in which suspects infiltrated Israel and attempted to damage security infrastructure.”

“Additionally, the strike was carried out in response to the continued attempts to sabotage security infrastructure during Hamas-led riots,” the spokesperson added.

“The IDF views these ongoing attempts with great severity, specifically Hamas’ daily attempts to damage security infrastructure and threats to the safety of Israelis.”

 

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Layla and Ammar: A Gaza Story

9 hours 17 min ago

A child who has suffered death is always to be mourned; the ruin of another is to be mourned, as well. The stories of Layla and Ammar Ghandour cannot be separated. And neither story can be separated from the vicious way Hamas uses children as both fodder and propaganda. Layla is already both. Ammar is likely to disappear, so it is important to understand his story.

Six-month-old Layla died last week after being at the scene of violent protests at the Gaza-Israel fence. Hamas called for civilians to come as if to a festival and then interspersed its terrorists among the families. Of the 60 or so people who have been killed in the protests, Hamas claims 50 as its operatives and Palestinian Islamic Jihad claims three. But this is about Layla and Ammar. Let’s read what the “New York Times” has to say about the events:

Layla was dozing at their home in Gaza City when a call went up: A bus was waiting, outside a nearby mosque, to take residents to the border fence, where the protest was raging. Her 12-year-old uncle, Ammar, bundled her up in his arms and carried her out the door.

The boy assumed that Layla’s mother was already on the bus. In fact, she was in another part of the house, suffering from a toothache. Still, Layla was hardly the only infant at the protest. Entire families had come along, some snacking on ice cream or sandwiches, as the protests raged hundreds of yards away.

In the late afternoon, Layla, in a tent with her aunts, started to wail. Ammar grabbed his niece for a second time and, he said, pushed forward into the protest in search of her grandmother, Heyam Omar, who was standing in a crowd under a pall of black smoke, shouting at Israeli soldiers across the fence.

Soon after Ms. Omar took the child, she said, a tear-gas canister fell nearby. She frantically wiped the child’s face with water and gave her juice to drink. But an hour later, after they reached the family home, Layla appeared to have stopped breathing.

When they arrived at a hospital at 6:34, doctors pronounced the child dead.

So, what we learned:

  • A 12-year-old boy named Ammar took a six-month-old baby named Layla from her bed and onto a Hamas bus.
  • Unable to find his mother on the bus, Ammar took Layla to the protests by himself.
  • Layla was in a tent with her aunts when she started to cry.
  • Ammar took Layla out of the tent, away from the adults, and ran closer to the fence — and the “raging protests” — with her.
  • There was tear gas.
  • No one took Layla to the ambulances that were stationed near the riots. (You can see the ambulances here and here.) They took her on an hour-long bus ride home.
  • Layla was taken to the hospital near her home and pronounced dead.

There are those who say she died of tear gas inhalation and those who say she died of a congenital heart defect. In fact, she died of the combination of Hamas propaganda and a 12-year-old’s enthusiasm, stoked and twisted by terrorists.

Ammar is not old enough to be responsible for the moral implications of his actions. But he is old enough to have attended Hamas schools and summer camps and learned that Israel is illegitimate and will be destroyed by valiant Palestinian children.

Watch Palestinian television, courtesy of the invaluable MEMRI. You can see here — a beautiful child of about seven said he wants to be “an engineer, so that [he] can blow up the Jews.”

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Another recited a poem: “I shall liberate [Jerusalem] from the Jews.” Or here, where a preteen host in a kaffiyeh said, fervently, “Glory and eternity to our pure martyrs. We salute their families, and we revere the young heroes who have sacrificed their lives for Jerusalem, and who carried out all those great heroic acts. We love them and kiss their hands because they are true heroes. We say to all the Palestinian mujahideen: Oh mujahideen, keep your shoes because the day will come when all the museums of the world will want to exhibit them.”

A boy responds, “The Israelis fight with missile and tanks, but we fight with stones. We are not afraid. They are more afraid than us. They love life.” As if it is a bad thing.

By the time he reached the tender age of 12, Ammar thought he knew that, for Palestinians, life is something to throw at the Jews. He probably didn’t mean to throw Layla’s life.

What will Ammar be when he reaches an age when he might have a more mature understanding of the abuse that was perpetrated on him by Hamas and how Layla paid for that? Will he feel guilty about Layla? What will he do about it? Will he try to atone by dying in jihad or — one can hope — by renouncing the violence and hatred that marked his childhood?

We are unlikely to know, because while Hamas is happy to praise dead people and broadcast their pictures, it is unlikely to make a hero of a child who took a baby from her home to a violent rampage from which she returned dead and he alive.

In a very real way, two children lost their lives that day and both should be mourned. The horror the world feels should be laid directly at the feel of their killer, Hamas.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jewish Policy Center

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Prince William to Visit Israel June 25

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 20:25

Kensington Palace Britain’s Prince William, the second in line to the throne, will come on an official visit to Israel on June 25 marking the first ever official visit by a member of the British royal family to the Holy Land. He will visit Jerusalem on June 26 before going on to Ramallah on June 27.

His imminent visit was first announced in March but it did not include specific dates or the places he intends to visit. On Thursday, it was announced that William, whose official title is the Duke of Cambridge, will spend a total of three days in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Ramallah. No further details were given about who he will meet or his agenda while in Israel.

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His trips to Israel will come one day after a visit to Jordan.

William is the eldest son of Prince Charles and Diana, now deceased. He is the second-in-line to the throne after his father. He is married to Kate Middleton who gave birth to their third child, Prince Louis, on April 23. She is not scheduled to accompany William on his visit to Israel.

British royals have been to Israel in the past for unofficial visits. Prince Charles attended the funeral of former president Shimon Peres in 2016 and the funeral of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 but these were not considered official royal visits and did not include diplomatic meetings. In 1994, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles’ father, came to Israel briefly for a ceremony commemorating his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who is buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Prince Charle visited the gravesite after attending Peres’ funeral.

During World War II, Princess Alice sheltered Jews in Nazi-occupied Greece,  for which she was recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.  She died in 1969 and her remains first lay in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Her final wish was to be buried on the Mount of Olives, near her aunt Elizabeth, Grand Duchess of Russia, who was murdered by the Bolsheviks. Philip was advised not to go after his mother was reinterred in 1988 but visited six years later, although at the time, Buckingham Palace emphasized it was in a private capacity.

Both the Duke of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have made official visits to Israel while the Earl of Wessex visited in 2007 on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. During his trip in 2007 the Duke of Gloucester visited the St John eye clinic in the Occupied Territories, but this was regarded as a charitable visit.

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IDF Strikes Hamas Targets After 4 Terrorists Infiltrate From Gaza

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 19:13

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) hit military targets in a Hamas compound in Southern Gaza on Saturday night after four terrorists infiltrated into Israel.

The airstrike was in response to an infiltration by four terrorists on Saturday morning.  The terrorists were spotted by IDF troops after they crossed the border into Israel.

The IDF released a statement saying the terrorists threw a firebomb and pitched a tent inside Israel with the message: “March of Return: Returning to the lands of Palestine.”

The suspects stayed in Israeli territory for about a minute. During the infiltration, the suspects hurled a firebomb that burst into flames & placed a tent with the caption- “The March of the return. Returning to the lands of Palestine.” pic.twitter.com/gUsylt72ZZ

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 26, 2018

The March of Return is the ongoing violent Hamas-led riots being held along the security fence separating Israel from Gaza that has been going on since March 30. The riots were slated to end on May 15, Nakba Day, the day after the Gregorian calendar date for Israeli Independence Day, but Hamas has called for the riots to continue. Over 100 Palestinians have been killed in the riots.

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IDF troops arrived at the scene just a few moments later and shot at the terrorists who returned to the Palestinian side of the fence. No injuries were reported in the incident.

In addition to the infiltration, the riots continued with an estimated 10,000 Palestinians challenging the border fence on Friday and Saturday. Dozens of kites loaded with incendiary bombs were sent across the border igniting brush fires at three separate points in Israel.

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EXODUS 4:22

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 08:11

Hashem (God) refers to the Children of Israel as His first-born son. A firstborn is not the only child, but yet his status is unique and therefore carries extra responsibility. Similarly, all nations of the world are Hashem’s children; anyone can form a meaningful relationship with Him. However, He chose the Jewish people as a “firstborn” to fulfill a unique role; to be His representatives to bring Godliness into this world. Similarly, He also chose the Land of Israel as the place where they are to fulfill that responsibility.

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European Foreign Minister Says Hamas Solely Responsible for Gaza Deaths

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 07:12

Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky (Official DoD photo by Sgt. Aaron Hostutler USMC via Wikimedia Commons)

The Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický issued a statement on his ministry’s website on Thursday saying that Hamas was solely responsible for the deaths of the Palestinians killed in riots that threatened Israel’s southern border. He also stated that the riots were not instigated by the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

The statement, titled “Gaza – Telling things As They Really Are” was a powerful defense of Israel.

“We have unequivocally expressed our concern and regret over the loss of human lives. In this context, however, it must be stressed that this concern is not only about the victims of the ongoing violence, but also about its causes, including who initiated it,” Stropnický said.

“No country would reconcile itself to such provocations,” he wrote. “The fact is that Hamas, which is also recognized by the European Union as a terrorist organization…is the only true ruler of the Gaza Strip, and as such is fully responsible for the form and objectives of the violent actions that have occurred on the border between Israel and Gaza in recent weeks.”

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The statement was addressing eight weeks of Hamas-led protests in Gaza dubbed “The Great March of Return” that resulted in which more than one hundred Palestinians were killed by IDF troops.

“Hamas does not care about its own people or to improve living conditions in the territory it controlled,” but seeks to draw attention from the world, according to Stropnický.  “Things should be said as they really are,” he added.

“Attempts to break through the fence and infiltrate Israel could thus be construed as terrorism,” he stated. “Hamas even admitted that most of those killed were members [of their military group].”

“[It is] plain to see how Hamas was treating Gaza’s populace. Hamas operatives burned the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which humanitarian assistance is sent to Gaza.”

“It’s also important to note the minute detail that Hamas habitually sends children to the riots’ focal points, so it could blame Israel for their deaths,” he said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Daniel Meron praised the Foreign Minister’s statement “for uncovering the truth regarding the sources of violence in our region.”

Ambassador Meron said the statement indicated the “special relationship between the two countries and the fact that Israel and the Czech Republic shared values and a common past. Exactly 70 years ago, the Czech Republic assisted Israel in its War of Independence, and is now continuing to assist us in the war on propaganda.”

The conclusions made by Stropnický reflected those made by the US. At a press conference last week, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert refuted claims that the embassy move incited Hamas to violence.

“If Hamas wants to use that as an excuse to rile people up and to encourage violence, that is their choice. It’s an irresponsible choice,” she said.  “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley placed the blame for the violence on Israel’s southern border firmly on Hamas.

“In recent days, Hamas terrorists, backed by Iran, have incited attacks against Israeli security forces and infrastructure. That is violence that should occupy our attention too,” Haley said during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained.”

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Prayers Needed For IDF Soldier Critically Injured by Stone Block Thrown by Arab

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 05:38

An IDF soldier was critically injured in al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah in the early morning on Thursday when an Arab threw a stone block from three stories up, hitting the soldier in the head and crushing his kevlar helmet.

“The helmet was shattered, he fell on his back, and was hit a second time. This appears to be the blow that caused the serious injuries”, IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis told the press.

The terrorist responsible for the attack escaped.

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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said in a statement to the media, “Our hearts are with the Duvdevan fighter and his family. During these difficult hours, all of Israel is praying together for the soldier’s recovery.”

“We take this incident very seriously. The evil terrorist who injured him does not know day from night. Soon we will have our hands on him – whether he is alive or dead.”

The soldier was part of the Duvdevan (cherry) unit, an elite special operations force that operates in high-risk urban environments, sometimes undercover disguised as Arabs. The operation in which the soldier was involved was aimed at a terror cell that was involved in a recent wave of attacks.

The soldier was taken to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem Jerusalem.

The soldier remains in critical condition and is on respiration. Prayers are requested for his recovery. In Jewish tradition, prayers are made with the Hebrew name and the Hebrew name of the mother. In this case, prayers are requested for Ronen ben (the son of) Lana.

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Linda Sarsour’s Gaza Lies Exposed in New Video

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 05:00

A new video produced by Boomerang, a pro-Israel advocacy media group, illustrates how Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American advocate of Sharia law in the US, lied about the recent Hamas-led riots on Israel’s border with Gaza.

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Congress Applauded for Bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 02:30

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) on Thursday applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation to help tackle the rising anti-Semitism plaguing US schools.

“The spike in anti-Semitic incidents in schools has forced Jewish students to face prejudice on their campuses, swastikas in their dorms and danger on their school grounds,” Alyza Lewin, LDB’s chief operating officer and director of policy said in a statement.

“No student should ever be singled-out or harassed due to their religious beliefs,” she continued. “However, while educators, legislators, and civil rights advocates all recognize the problem and are deeply alarmed, those tasked with investigating incidents have been left without the tools to properly address it. This bill provides the Department of Education with the guidance it needs to properly identify today’s manifestations of anti-Semitism, particularly those incidents that cross the line from protected anti-Israel expression to blatant anti-Semitic acts.”

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA) in the US House of Representatives, and Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) in the US Senate. A similar bill was unanimously approved by the US Senate in 2016.

According to the FBI’s Hate Crime Report, Jewish hate crime victims outnumber victims of all other religious groups combined. And the problem is most serious in US schools. A Brandeis Center/Trinity College study found that 54% of Jewish college students reported experiencing or witnessing anti-Semitism in 2014. And a February ADL report found that anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools and on college campuses nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017.

In addition, a US Department of Education report, released just last month, which at the urging of the Brandeis Center, for the first time, included statistics on religiously-motivated bullying and harassment in K-12 schools, found an alarming 10,848 incidents based on religion in 2015-2016. Recent incidents motivated by anti-Semitism include: a Jewish boy in Florida who was pinned down while a swastika and a fake concentration camp number were drawn on his arm; in New York, a Jewish boy who was verbally harassed and had hot wax poured on his skin; and in Florida, two Jewish students who were followed by two suspects shouting, “[Expletive] the Jews” and then punched in the face.

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Until a dozen years ago, the Department of Education declined jurisdiction in cases involving claims of anti-Semitism since statues only covered such traits as race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability. In 2004, then head of the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and now president of LDB, Kenneth L. Marcus, drafted a policy ensuring that Jewish, Sikh and Muslim students were protected from ethnic and ancestral discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, unlike in policies under which federal authorities investigate civil rights claims such as sexual harassment, this policy did not include a definition of anti-Semitism, leaving authorities ill-equipped to properly recognize anti-Semitism.

The Brandeis Center has been advocating for many years to have Congress address this obstacle, and the legislation, introduced late yesterday, aims to do just that. It provides federal authorizes with a clear and uniform definition to recognize anti-Jewish bigotry. The definition included in the bill is the global “gold standard” used to define anti-Semitism, and is used by the US federal government to assess incidents that occur abroad. It is substantially similar to the definition that has been supported by the 31 governments that are members of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; all 50 countries, except for Russia, that make up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; and the governments of the United Kingdom, Romania, Austria, Germany and Bulgaria. It has also been adopted by the United Kingdom to use in colleges and universities.

Contrary to misunderstandings about the bill, the legislation does nothing to infringe on First Amendment rights. The bill will not regulate or restrict free speech or academic freedom by any means. It simply provides federal authorities with a definition of anti-Semitism to be used to investigate behaviors that are not protected by the First Amendment, including assault, battery and vandalism.

The Brandeis Center helped pass a similar law recently in South Carolina, and is working with other states to pass legislation to combat rising anti-Semitism in US schools.

The bill is also supported by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee (AJC.)

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Israeli Couple Rescued After Building ‘SOS’ Out of Rocks

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 01:30

Israeli Police rescue volunteers were able to locate a missing Tel Aviv couple lost in the Negev Desert on Tuesday thanks to an “SOS” sign they fashioned out of stones.

The couple was reported missing on Monday by their family after failing to be in contact on Sunday. The pair had not arrived at the room they booked at the Beresheet Hotel by the Ramon Crater, opting first to take a stroll.

After walking approximately 15 kilometers, they realized they were lost and created a shelter near Nahal Nekarot. The couple’s abandoned vehicle was found in the Ramon Crater.

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The Negev Search and Rescue unit began hunting for the couple at 2 a.m. on Monday. A large-scale search with the use of a police helicopter, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, located the couple at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, when it flew over a man waving next to a large “SOS” sign made of stones.

The two were airlifted to a hospital, where they were treated for dehydration.

The hotel’s CEO, David Amor, presented the relieved couple with a free vacation courtesy of the hotel’s parent chain, Isrotel.

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Arab League Severs Ties With Guatemala Over Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 00:30

The Arab League lashed out at Guatemala on Wednesday, saying it will no longer engage in relations with the country because of the decision to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“In accordance with the guidelines of Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the organization’s Secretariat revoked the Memorandum of Understanding with the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, signed in 2013, and informed the Guatemalan side that cooperation in all fields would be suspended due to the country’s stance on the Jerusalem issue,” a statement issued by the organization stated.

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In a document issue by the body on May 18, the body said it would place new emphasis on “developing a comprehensive action plan that includes measures that can be used to counter the decision of the United States or any other state to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or to move the embassy to this city.”

In 1956, Guatemala became the first country to house its embassy in Jerusalem. It moved the facility to Tel Aviv 24 years later, when the Israeli parliament declared Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital.

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EXODUS 2:10

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 07:47

One of the central characters of the Passover store is Moshe (Moses). Moshe was the greatest of all of Israel’s leaders. Although Moshe had an intimate relationship with Hashem (God), he is identified as the most humble person to ever live (Numbers 12:3). The name Moshe is a constant reminder of his modest origins. According to the Jewish Sages, Moshe actually had ten names, but out of appreciation to Pharaoh’s daughter who saved him from the Nile River, he is referred to by the name she have him; Moshe which means ‘I have drawn him from the water’. Tonight, Jews around the world will begin celebrating Passover with a celebratory meal known as a seder. At the seder, the exodus story will be re-told in remembrance of the miracles and wonders that Hashem performed for the Children of Israel as He redeemed them from slavery and delivered them into freedom.

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Louisiana Becomes 25th US State to Prohibit Business Ties With Anti-Israel BDS Groups

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 05:30

Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order on Tuesday prohibiting his state government from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

“The United States, and by affiliation Louisiana, have benefited in innumerable ways from our deep friendship with Israel. Any effort to boycott Israel is an affront to this longstanding relationship. I am pleased that Louisiana will join what is now a critical mass of states in supporting our closest ally,” Edwards said in a statement.

The order directs the state commissioner of administration to terminate existing state contracts with companies if they are currently boycotting Israel or supporting those who do. In the future, companies will be required to certify that they are not boycotting Israel before being awarded a state contract.

The prohibition does not impact speech or consumer conduct. It is limited solely to commercial conduct only and will not be applied to companies that have contracts with the state that total less than $100,000 or that have fewer than five employees, according to the executive order.

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Pro-Israel groups quickly congratulated Edwards, whose state became the 25th to prohibit business with BDS groups.

“The Israel Project is grateful to the governor for his leadership in fighting back against BDS discrimination,” CEO and president Josh Block said in a statement. “Advocates of BDS discrimination remain committed to their anti-Semitic agenda of isolating and demonizing the world’s only Jewish state. Its founders have openly called for Israel’s destruction and made it clear that they target Israel’s very existence, not its policies.”

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, expressed her optimism about the turn of events. “We are heartened that Louisiana has taken a strong stand opposing discrimination against Israel. Earlier this year, the city of New Orleans rejected an anti-Semitic resolution, and now the state has made clear that tax-payer funds should not support businesses which discriminate.”

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Shalva Tea and the Renaissance of Biblical Herbs in the Holy Land

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 04:30

Although tea is only recently becoming more familiar to the modern Israeli palate, the tasty herbs used in some of the best local blends date back to the times of the Bible.

Inspired by the flora of the Land of Israel, Shalva Tea’s six premium blends feature herbs inspired by each region of Israel. Shalva itself is a Biblical Hebrew word, mentioned just once in a psalm attributed to King David, meaning peace, calmness and tranquility:

Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim; “May those who love you be at peace. May there be well-being within your ramparts, peace in your citadels.” (Psalms 122:6-7)

Shalva Tea began was founded by David Ross. While he was earning his Master’s Degree in Forestry from Yale University, he traveled to Israel do conduct field work in Mount Carmel, which had been struck by devastating wildfires in 2010. He spent the summer researching the causes and solutions to wildfires, including letting the land naturally regenerate for more healthy plant diversity and safer forests.

Throughout this fieldwork, Ross would stumble upon an abundance of native aromatic herbs, bringing them home to drink as relaxing teas after hard days of work in the field. As an avid forager and herbal enthusiast, Ross did not find any locally made herbal teas in the supermarkets and decided to brew his own.

And as a committed environmentalist, David’s company reflects his values, focusing on native herbs, locally manufactured packaging, and natural ingredients. Helping to package his teas are young adults with disabilities, employed by the Shalva Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (Shalva) that happens to share the same name as Shalva Tea. Shalva employees package half of Ross’s herbal blends, providing the young adults with vocational training and the job skills necessary to effectively join the mainstream job force.

Kalman Samuels, the non profit’s founder and president told Breaking Israel News, “It’s a nice concept to play with a few friends, but when you can have a child become a young person working in the community and getting involved, that’s the ultimate inclusion, and that’s what is happening here between Shalva and Shalva Tea.”

Shalva’s blends, inspired by Biblical herbs from each region include: Arava Calm (with chamomile, lemongrass, spearmint, licorice, and lavender); Carmel ForesTea (with rosemary, sumac, za’atar, zuta, elderberry, raspberry leaf, and calendula); Ein Gedi Digestif (fennel seed, sage, dandelion, zuta, cactus flower, and carob); Soothing Elah Valley (with peppermint, rose petal, licorice, sumac, zuta, and rose hip); Refreshing Galil (with lemongrass, olive leaf, lemon balm, dandelion, and sage); and Jerusalem Harmony (with lemongrass, hibiscus, spearmint, rose petal, olive leaf, sage, cardamom, and calendula).

According to Ross, relating to the Carmel ForesTea blend, “hyssop (also known as za’atar) branches were used to paint blood on the Israelite doorposts before leaving Egypt.”

“Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and to the two doorposts. None of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.” (Exodus 12:22)

“It was also used as part of a potion for skin diseases, and also as a general cleansing herb. Today, hyssop is widely used in teas for anyone who is about to come down with a cold. The whole Carmel ForesTea blend (formerly Carmel ImmuniTea) is made to be an immune-booster,” said Ross.

“Purge me with hyssop till I am pure; wash me till I am whiter than snow.(Psalms 51:9)

Relating to the olive leaf in the Refreshing Galil blend, said Ross: “Olives and olive trees are the first plant species to be mentioned in the bible, and probably the most often mentioned.”

The dove came back to him toward evening, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! Then Noach knew that the waters had decreased on the earth.”(Genesis 8:11)

From a reference widely thought to be about olives, Ross cited Ezekiel 47:12:

“All kinds of trees for food will grow up on both banks of the stream. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail; they will yield new fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the Temple. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

“Olive leaves have a powerful history of being used for medicine, including for antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Also used in helping to lower blood pressure and in liver cleanses,” said Ross.

Ross’s connection to the land goes even further than his teas and Biblical references. He started the business in 2014, shortly after he made aliyah to Israel, fulfilling the prophetic return to the land.

“The outdoor world is for me, a way to connect to the land of Israel through the plants growing on the ground,” Ross told Breaking Israel News. “To get to know the local ecology is to feel more comfortable in that surrounding. And to know where they are in the Torah, it brings it full circle for me.”

“I made aliyah because I support the land of Israel,” Ross said. “The land has always been a powerful component in my life.” He said he doesn’t shy away from using the land of Israel as a part of his marketing strategy.

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“The branding of the project is herbal teas from the land of Israel. Other tea companies are not necessarily advertising because of BDS,” he maintained. “I have talked to distributors who say that while they aren’t against buying Israeli products, Israel is such a political entity that they don’t want to touch it, as it could potentially could ruffle feathers.”

But Ross expressed his pride that herbs from the land resonate with people who support Israel.

“Judaism is all about the land in Israel, and Christians who support that vision and see the prophecies of Jews coming back to the land are that message abroad,” he said.

With US online orders shipped from New York, Ross said tea drinkers now have an opportunity to smell and taste the land, and bring herbal infusions from the land into their home as a daily item.

“To have Shalva in your kitchen cabinet is to have Israel in your home,” Ross said.

 

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Israel to Advance Construction of 3,900 New Homes Throughout Biblical Heartland

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 03:30

Israel is set to authorize the construction of an additional 3,900 Jewish homes in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Thursday.

“We promised to advance building in Judea and Samaria and we kept our word,” Liberman said.

The projects must first receive official authorization before moving forward. The expectation is that the High Planning Subcommittee of Israel’s Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria will give its approval next week.

Of the 3,900 homes, 2,500 will be ready to be built right away, having gone through all the necessary steps for construction planning. The other 1,400 homes will simply advance through the regular stages of the approval process.

The number of housing units that were listed in particular towns throughout Judea and Samaria include:

400 for Ariel; 460 for Ma’ale Adumim; 180 for Talmon; 170 for Neve Daniel; 160 for Kfar Etzion; 130 for Tene Omarim; 130 for Avnei Hefetz; 150 for Kiryat Arba;  80 for Hinanit; 60 for Neve Tzof; 45 for Ma’ale Efraim; and 40 for Alfei Menashe.

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Apparently, the new housing units will not be the last to receive authorization this year.

“In the coming months, we will continue to settle and develop Judea and Samaria in practice,” Liberman added.

Earlier this year, Israel has followed through on authorizing several outposts in the Biblical heartland including Havat Gilad in Samaria, which was approved to sanctify the life of a terror victim.

Construction has also started in the new community of Amichai, located right near the ancient city of Shiloh.

 

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