Subscribe to Breaking Israel News feed
Updated: 2 hours 55 min ago

Repairing America’s Broken Universities

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 01:00

When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.

He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.

Treadgold reports a deep rot: Faculty search committees routinely screen out the most capable candidates, fearing to be shown up by them; he even suggests that they would turn down Albert Einstein. Instead, they usually favor “only black, Hispanic, and female applicants who hold the sorts of views that the universities approve.” Not surprisingly, graduate students prepare obscure, jargon-laded theses, hoping to win the favor of lazy search committees with their “few fashionable publications.” Professors bribe students with high grades to win positive evaluations from them. Administrators (i.e., “professors uninterested in teaching and research”) have doubled in number over recent decades.

Worse yet is the ideological groupthink: “The dominant opinion considers fighting racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression to be so vital that it supersedes everything else” – including serious scholarship and proper teaching of the young (resulting in “mediocre courses on unrelated subjects”). Leftist dogma – an insistence on judging the past by today’s standards, celebrating allegedly oppressed groups, replacing facts with “narratives,” and prostrating before “social justice” – reigns at nearly all institutions of higher learning.

All this matters, Treadgold argues, because what begins at the university spreads to the country as a whole; just look at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit or the radical Democrats in the House of Representatives. Indeed, “We need good universities in the same way that we need reliable electricity and safe drinking water.”

But where to find them? Attempts to fix existing institutions, as John Silber of Boston University learned the hard way, fail; no matter how dedicated and capable, a president cannot lastingly turn a university around. Instead, Treadgold envisions building a major new university from scratch.

This new university will feature real debate, not safe zones; temporary, not permanent administrators; excellence, not conformity; diversity of ideas, not of skin color; general education, not idiosyncratic courses (“Mummies, Zombies, and Vampires” anyone?); study tours abroad, not foreign campuses; strong departments, not interdisciplinary studies; and true scholarship, not postmodern claptrap.

Treadgold’s vision even includes the smallest specifics: “Narrow beds” at his planned campus “should help discourage overnight stays.” He proposes a location 25 miles outside of Washington, D.C., accessible to the corridors of power without being overwhelmed by them.

Of particular interest, he calls for a focus on topics that other universities avoid as too controversial, such as “climate engineering, the consequences of family breakdown, and the philosophical inconsistencies of collective guilt.” He predicts this newcomer will challenge the staid world of elite universities, upset the status quo, and create a new standard of quality.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

In a separate analysis, Frederick M. Hess and Brendan Bell do the math and conclude that such a university would cost $3.4 billion to build and endow in perpetuity. That’s a tidy sum but donors in 2017 gave $43.6 billion to higher education. $3.4 billion is also but a fraction of some conservatives’ vast wealth (hello Charles and David, hello Sheldon, hello Rupert). Alone or in combination, they could, in the grand nineteenth-century style, fund the title’s “university we need.”

If this plan dramatically breaks with precedent – not a single major private research university has been founded in over a century – its potential impact might inspire an opening of wallets. “Nothing else any donor can do today,” Treadgold maintains, “could have nearly the long-term social, cultural, or political impact of helping to finance a new leading university.” But it must happen soon, for time is running out; the scholars who would staff this institution are retiring or dying off, and not being replaced.

The University We Need is a tour de force that seeks to continue the magnificent American tradition of higher education. But will it find an audience? More specifically, will conservative billionaires respond to Treadgold’s clarion call?

Reprinted with author’s permission from Daniel Pipes

End of Days Guide to Purim

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:18

On Wednesday evening, Jews around the world will begin celebrating Purim, one of the most joyous yet intentionally inexplicable holidays of the Hebrew calendar.

With its post-Temple-era origin story taking place outside of Israel, Jews commemorate their victory over the Persians by wearing costumes and partaking in a drunken feast. Jewish holidays are usually precise in their timing, however Purim is celebrated on different days within walled cities, most notably Jerusalem, observing the holiday one day later than the rest of the world. Despite its bizzarre qualities, or perhaps because of them, Purim is designated along with Hanukkah as one of the holidays that will remain in place after the arrival of the Messiah.

A topic as confusing as Purim certainly requires a guidebook. It is for this reason that Breaking Israel News compiled its top articles on Purim.


This year, Purim will coincide with a supermoon and the vernal equinox. Several rabbis weigh in on the significance contained in this confluence as it pertains to current events and the end-of-days.

Purim Supermoon: Ushering in Redemption


Messiah Now

Rabbi Mattityahu Glazerson, an acknowledged Torah codes expert, revealed amazing clues indicating that this Purim is especially auspicious for the arrival of the Messiah. His calculations show that even if the Messiah does not arrive on Purim, the end date is much closer than most people realize.

Can We Expect The Anointing Of The Messiah This Purim?
Christians Join In

In a modern-day phenomenon, many Christians are beginning to adopt the holiday of Purim and the Jewish custom has even appeared in the inner sanctum of the White House.

Megillah Reading at the Evangelical Christian NRB Proclaim 18 Conference?
Purim After the Messiah

The Jewish Sages teach that once Moshiach (Messiah) arrives, none of the Biblical festivals will be celebrated any longer except for Purim. Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author, explains that the distinctive light of Purim, which is embodied in the ability to recognize God even when He is hidden, will never be extinguished.

Purim: The Only Festival That Sticks Around After Messiah
Ask Rabbi Tuly: When is Purim?

Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem on Friday, March 22, 2019 and on Thursday, March 21 everywhere else. Rabbi Tuly Weisz explains the reason behind this confusing aspect of the holiday.

Ask Rabbi Tuly: When is Purim?
Purim: A Time When Enemies Become Friends in Redemption

Jews are commanded to drink on Purim until they can no longer tell the difference between Mordechai, the righteous hero, and Haman, the evil villian. The story took place in Persia, a region currently ruled by an evil Iranian regime that is Israel’s greatest enemy. But in the same way that the Book of Esther flips tragedy onto victory, the Sanhedrin sees Iran as a possible key-player in the construction of the Third Temple.

Sanhedrin Calls on Israel’s Greatest Enemy to Follow Tradition and Build Third Temple
The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai

Queen Esther is the iconic and legendary character of the Purim story. Her tomb, and that of the other hero of the story, Morchechai, lies in the Iranian city of Hamedan. Today, the Iranian Jews are known as the children of Esther.

The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai

City of David Excavations Reveal Jar Fragment from Period of Later Prophets

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:03

Archaeologists working at the City of David – Givati Parking Lot excavations have uncovered a fragment of a clay jar decorated with a human face. Only two wide open eyes, a nose, one ear and a small section of the corner of the mouth survived intact.

The shard is thought to date from the Persian rule of Jerusalem (fourth and fifth centuries BCE) and was found alongside other less impressive pieces from the same period.

“Pottery from this period was exposed in the past in the City of David, but this is the first time that such a vessel has been found in archaeological excavations in Jerusalem or anywhere in the Judean highlands,” said  Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority. 

Several other finds from the time of Persian rule have been found along Israel’s coast.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

What makes the find so tantalizing is that relatively little is known about Jerusalem from the Persian period. It is thought that there was a Persian headquarters to the south of the city in the time of the late prophets Ezra and Nehemiah. Jewish tradition maintains that both returned from Babylonian exile to rebuild the city anew – or at least its walls – when Artaxerxes, king of Persia, gave them permission to return to Zion. However, much of what has been found, was recovered in excavations carried out in the City of David.

The shard belongs to a type of object known as a Bes vessel, commonly used during the Persian period, although its origins are thought to be Egyptian. Bes is the protector deity of households, especially mothers, women in childbirth, and children.

Remnant of Egyptian goddess Bes. (Credit: Jerusalem Bible Lands Museum PR)

His figure adorned the walls of houses and various vessels (pottery and various everyday objects, such as mirrors), or worn as an amulet around the neck. Bes usually appears as a kind of bearded dwarf with a large face, protruding eyes and tongue sticking out when he is wearing a feather hat. This grotesque figure is apparently intended to evoke joy and laughter and drive away the evil spirits.

Excavation at Tel Beit Shemesh (Credit: YouTube screenshot)

The discovery of this Bes vessel follows on from a more complete one found at the ongoing rescue excavations taking place at Tel Beit Shemesh, approximately 30 kilometers west, south-west from Jerusalem. 

1 SAMUEL 16:11

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 08:24

Young David is not the only great leader of the Children of Israel who was a shepherd before Hashem called him to a leadership role. For example, Moshe was also a shepherd. Shepherds bear great responsibility for the flock as a whole, and also for each individual sheep. Each one must be cared for, and must be counted as part of the flock for tithing. This is perfect training for leaders, who must lead the nation as a whole, and also maintain concern and compassion for each individual. Serving from the young age of 18, IDF soldiers are like shepherds, bearing great responsibility for keeping each and every citizen safe as well as protecting Israel as a whole.

Purim Supermoon: Countdown to Messiah

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 07:29

After reading the Book of Esther for the holiday of Purim on Wednesday evening, Jews leaving the synagogue will be greeted by the sight of a supermoon overhead, a phenomenon to which some rabbinic experts ascribe great import.

A supermoon occurs when the full moon coincides with the perigee — the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit — resulting in a larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth. A full moon at perigee appears roughly 14% larger in diameter than at apogee and appears up to 30 percent brighter. Supermoons usually appear 3-4 times each year.

The Purim supermoon will be the final in a series of three consecutive full-moon/ supermoons. The next appearance of supermoons will also be a triad, culminating on the night before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

Purim also coincides with the vernal (spring) equinox when the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. On the equinox, the day and night are each about 12 hours in length everywhere on Earth.  

Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, a Bible codes expert, placed special significance on the appearance of the Purim Supermoon. In his video on the subject, Rabbi Glazerson used a Torah program to search for equidistant letter sequences in the Bible.

His revelations were focused on the 38th chapter of Genesis where he found interspersed in the text the term ירח ענקי (huge moon), פורים (Purim), תשובה (repentance), משיח (Messiah) and יד אדר (fourteenth of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day on which Purim is celebrated).

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

The name יוסף (Joseph) appears four times in the graph.

“This is not surprising,” Rabbi Glazerson said in the video. “There are a lot of similarities between the story of Esther and the story of Joseph. They are both stories of Jews outside of Israel beginning the redemption in hidden ways.”

The rabbi also found the word ישראל (Israel) near the word   התראה (warning).

“Israel is always compared to the moon,” Rabbi Glazerson explained. “Now the moon is shining, very large. This is an indication that Jews really should begin to shine now. Israel can complete redemption this Purim but this is a warning that it can only happen if they repent.”

The rabbi emphasized that one of the essential elements of the Purim story was the unity of the Jewish people in the face of adversity. This was a message he gave in a video last month, in which he stated that this upcoming holiday of Purim was auspicious and bore with it the possibility of bringing the Messiah. In the video, he stated that there is “a process of Messiah that started in 5776.” The appearance of Moshiach in the current year is “dependent on repentance. Only if Jews would keep the Torah, keep the Sabbath, keep everything which God wants them to keep.”

Rabbi Glazerson gave an end-date, a point at which even if the Jews do not repent the Messiah will appear.

“There is an end of days. This is the end of days – 5781.”

This means that according to Rabbi Glazerson’s Bible codes, the process of redemption began in 2016, continues this year and, even without full repentance, will end in 2021.

Lessons in Joy from the Month of Adar and the Holiday of Purim

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 07:14

Walk into Meir Panim’s After-School Youth Center in the Ofakei Or neighborhood of Sderot during the month of Adar, and you will be swept up by joyous singing and dancing.

On a recent visit, sixteen-year-old Rahel – who recently immigrated from Ethiopia – grabbed the microphone and sang out the ancient words coined by Jewish sages, “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simchah” – once Adar begins, we increase in happiness.

At Meir Panim, that slogan is taken very seriously. From the start of the month of Adar, all of us at Meir Panim are HAPPY!

What is the secret for so much happiness?


Bring joy to others, and you will feel more joyful.

A close analysis of the commandments, customs, and cultural traditions surrounding the month of Adar and the holiday of Purim; coupled with our experiences at Meir Panim confirm the fact (over and over) that true joy presents from the act of giving.

Celebrate Purim

The joyous festival of Purim (Feast of Lots) celebrates God’s miraculous deliverance of the People of Israel from our enemies.

Purim is traditionally observed by fulfilling four specific commandments (mitzvot). These actions serve as a reminder of the importance of people recognizing the presence of God, in their life even when He is unseen (as God’s name never appears in the Purim story) and that God wants us to love and provide for one another other.

Purim is celebrated with four specific commandments – mitzvoth – all of which demonstrate the value of giving. The first commandment involves reading or listening to the recitation of the Book of Esther, which traditionally is read publicly. A second commandment requires individuals to create festive food packages and deliver them to friends or the needy. A third commandment mandates that charity is given to the poor.

The Talmud, a Jewish text, even states that “all who extend a hand (on Purim), we are to give (charity).” Therefore, the destitute very much look forward to Purim as a time to be helped.

Finally, there is a commandment to have a lavish holiday meal composed of delicacies from the festive food packages that were received.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Purim at Meir Panim

Meir Panim has been busy preparing special programs bringing joy to young and old, who often don’t experience reasons to celebrate due to their daily struggle to get a hot, nutritious meal and make ends meet.

Children participating in our after-school enrichment programs will participate in a costume party where entertainment, games, and treats will be enjoyed by all.

Meir Panim regular soup kitchen patrons will receive two food packages, one to keep and one to give. Everyone needs to feel that they are givers as well as takers. Purim is the perfect time to encourage those from the periphery of society to think that their lives are part of the norm.

Benefits of Giving

Intuitively, we have all felt personal joy from giving joy.

Yes, it is fun to open a gift.  However, nothing compares to witnessing people unwrap a gift you selected, with such joy and amazement. You made them smile, that’s worth far more than a material item.

According to Mimi Rozmaryn, director of global development for Meir Panim,  “Meir Panim’s volunteers are often surprised by the amount of satisfaction derived from giving back to others. Innately most of us have a strong desire to help those less fortunate than us. After all, our community cannot grow, if others are left suffering.”

Scientific Research

Research collaborates the idea that we are happier giving gifts than receiving gifts.

Social psychologist Liz Dunn and her colleagues discovered that people’s sense of happiness is more significant when they spend relatively more on others than on themselves. The research established that even those with little money reported greater happiness when their proportion of spending on others, relative to the self, was higher.

Lending a hand on Purim (Meir Panim)

An additional study, conducted by Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, also proved that giving to others increases personal joy. Norton and his colleagues questioned over six hundred Americans about their income, personal spending habits and perceptions of personal happiness.

North and his colleagues concluded that regardless of income levels, those who spent money on others reported increased joy than those who spent money on themselves.

The Ancient Lesson of Purim

Although the Purim story happened more than two thousand years ago, we are commanded to remember the miracle that God did back then and continues to do for us every day.

At the start of the month of Adar, the preparations for the holiday begin, ushering in feelings of joy. Gift baskets for friends are purchased, Megillat Esther (Book of Esther) is rehearsed, and money is allotted for the poor.

“Purim is known as the holiday of ‘giving,’” explained Rozmaryn. “We give food and charity to those in need. Perhaps most importantly, Meir Panim strives to bring joy to those marginalized people who may not have many reasons to celebrate. When we do that, everyone benefits.”

This Purim, Be Happy!

Help Meir Panim bring new Purim spirit to children enrolled in our after-school enrichment programs, hungry families and impoverished Holocaust survivors relying on Purim meals from our soup kitchen.

Purim is an exceptionally opportune time to give to charity. Please donate to Meir Panim today and bring joy to those who need it most in Israel. Your support is appreciated by thousands of impoverished citizens throughout the country.

To donate to Meir Panim, please click here.

Written in cooperation with Meir Panim.

Rivlin Tours ‘Land of Monasteries’ with Heads of Israel’s Churches

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 06:18

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin took a tour with the heads of Israel’s churches on Tuesday as part of a project to develop abandoned churches and monasteries along the Jordan River.

The “Land of the Monasteries,” according to Christianity, is where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and his followers.

Over the last few years, Rivlin has promoted the initiative in order to attract more visitors to the area, which has been developed and preserved to welcome tourists. Mines that were set up in the 1970s to prevent access to the area have been removed.

“The ‘Land of the Monasteries’ is a place of prayer and holiness. A place of pilgrims from afar who come to be closer to God,” said Rivlin.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

“But it is also a place that has been injured and broken by war in the past. We are now investing large amounts to restore the site and to return the monasteries to their churches so that Christian pilgrims and other people of faith from around the world can come and visit once again.”

“This is part of Israel’s deep commitment to religious freedom. Unfortunately, for centuries those who ruled the Holy Land did not allow peoples of all faiths to access their holy places. Under Israeli sovereignty, people once again enjoy freedom of religion and worship,” he continued. “The fact that we are all investing in this project is not just an expression of our belief in God, but also an expression of our belief in humanity and in each other.”

“Developing this site will be an important step in building bridges between peoples and religions, and will allow the vision of co-existence to become a reality. Cooperation between Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians, and between Christians, Muslims and Jews,” he added.

South Korea Invests in Weizmann Institute of Science Biomed

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 06:02

Two South Korean firms have decided to invest $12 million in companies based on research carried out at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The spin-out companies were incorporated by Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute.

The first investment, of $2 million, is being invested by Yozma Group Asia in On-Sight Medical Inc., which is owned by Yeda, New York University (NYU) and related bodies. The Korean group BioLeaders Corporation, in which Yozma Group Asia is an investor, has committed to investing $10 million in a new spin-out that will develop an anti-cancer therapy developed by Institute scientists.

On-Sight Medical is developing a program to enable untrained users to operate ultrasound equipment and interpret the results. Today’s ultrasound machines are compact and economical, but still require highly trained and experienced technicians to operate them. The developers of the new program hope not only to make up for the lack of qualified ultrasound technicians and radiologists, but also to facilitate the use of ultrasound technology in ambulances, general practitioners’ offices and even in-home care.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

This initiative won first place award last year in the Echovation Challenge of the American Society of Echocardiography. The first venue for the application of On-Sight Medical’s technology is in emergency rooms, where waiting for the technician can waste crucial time.

BioLeaders signed a “Letter of Intent” with Yeda for the incorporation of a jointly owned company that will be established in the coming months to develop an anti-cancer drug that will be based on molecular cell biology department researchers of Weizmann Institute Profs. Varda Rotter and Moshe Oren.

The two senior researchers were among the very first to have discovered the function of the p53 protein – which is considered the “guardian of the genome.” This protein is mutated or dysfunctional in over two-thirds of all cancers; such malfunctions can cause the cancer to spread faster. The two researchers recently developed a peptide – a small piece of protein – that can restore proper p53 function and easily enters the cell and binds to the protein. In mice carrying human tumors that were treated with the peptide, the tumors shrank, and in some cases, they disappeared altogether, without causing significant side effects.

The investment is due to be completed in the coming months, and the company is expected to establish operations and recruit staff in its headquarters in the Kiryat Weizmann Science Park in Ness Ziona, near the Weizmann Institute.

2019 Israeli Elections Explained

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 05:39

For the first time since their union, the Blue and White alliance – headed by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and former finance minister Yair Lapid – has fallen below 30 seats, according to a poll published by Walla! News.

The poll shows Netanyahu’s Likud party outperforming the centrist Blue & White alliance, winning 32 seats to Gantz and Lapid’s 29.

Purim at the US Embassy in Jerusalem

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 05:26

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, leads the Purim celebrations at the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Most of Israel and the rest of the world will start celebrating tonight. Jerusalem will have to wait another 24 hours.

Britain’s War on Christianity: Part I

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 03:00

“Christian street preachers should be free to share the gospel, even where it means challenging the beliefs of others.” — Christian Concern, in a petition to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

In recent years, dozens of Christians — clergy and non-clergy — in Britain have been arrested or fired from their jobs due to their faith. Much of the harassment is based on three sections of two British laws that are vague and open to subjective interpretations.

At an appeal hearing at Bristol Crown Court, attorney Michael Phillips emphasized the importance of freedom of speech, even in cases where the speaker does not necessarily hold the views being expressed. Another attorney, Paul Diamond, argued that there is no right not to be exposed to contrary ideas. He added that should passers-by not wish to hear the preaching, they are able to walk away.

James McConnell, a 78-year-old Christian pastor in Northern Ireland, was charged in 2015 with making “grossly offensive remarks” about Islam during a sermon. Pictured: Pastor McConnell leaves Belfast Magistrates’ Court on December 16, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

The unlawful arrest of a Christian street preacher in London has drawn attention to the continuing use of hate speech laws to silence Christians in multicultural Britain — even as incendiary speech by Muslim extremists is routinely ignored.

On February 23, Oluwole Ilesanmi, a 64-year-old Nigerian evangelist known as Preacher Olu, was arrested at Southgate Station in North London after complaints that his message about Jesus was “Islamophobic.” A video of the arrest, viewed more than two million times, shows how two police officers ordered the man to stop preaching because “nobody wants to listen to that,” confiscated his Bible and then arrested him for “a breach of peace.”

The video was filmed by Ambrosine Shitrit, co-founder of Eye on Antisemitism, a London-based organization that tracks anti-Semitism on social media. Shortly before Ilesanmi’s arrest, Shitrit had seen him interacting with another man, who turned out to be a Muslim. She thought the Muslim was about to assault Ilesanmi when she went over and started filming with her phone. When the police arrived in response to an emergency call, the Muslim man left the scene.

The video shows Ilesanmi pleading with police, “Don’t take my Bible away. Don’t take my Bible away.” An officer responded: “You should have thought about that before being racist.” A popular blogger known as Archbishop Cranmer tweeted what many people doubtless felt: “Dear @metpoliceuk, Setting aside the appalling ignorance of these two officers, would you handle a copy of the Qur’an like that?”

Ilesanmi said that after he was searched, the police drove him to a remote area before “de-arresting him.” In Britain, “de-arrest” is a legal term which means that no crime has been committed. Since then, London police have changed their story about what transpired; some have accused the police of staging a cover-up.

When journalist Marcus Jones of Premier Christian Radio asked the Met Police whether they agreed that Ilesanmi had been driven away to a remote location, the Met Police expressly denied it. In an email exchange, they said that Ilesanmi was escorted “approximately 200 meters away, de-arrested and shown to a nearby bus stop.”

Upon further questioning by Jones, Met Police said that Ilesanmi “was driven approximately 3.5 miles to Hadley Wood in north London, where he was left at a bus stop.” The police also said that the man was arrested “in order to prevent[emphasis added] a breach of the peace.” The police also said, “Yes, officers checked that he had a bank card.”

Jones emailed a follow-up question:

“Mr. Ilesanmi says he was taken 5.2 miles away and dropped at the edge of Wrotham Park outside of the London transport zone. He also insists that he had no money on him when he was left by the police. I just want to be sure on the exact distance: is the 3.5-mile figure an exact distance or an estimate? Thanks.”

The Met Police responded:

“The man was driven approximately 3.5 miles to Hadley Wood in north London, where he was left at a bus stop. As stated below, the man was left at a bus stop with a bank card.”

The British watchdog group Christian Concern wrote:

“Oluwole was not taken to Hadley Wood. He was taken to Wrotham Park which is some distance away from Hadley Wood and is outside the London transport zone. He had an Oyster card [a rechargeable plastic card valid for all of London’s public transport] with him which was not accepted on the bus. He is clear that he did not have a bank card on him when the police searched him. Bank cards are in any case not accepted on the 84 Metro Line bus which he eventually caught. Furthermore, there are no ATMs anywhere near the place where the police left him.

“Oluwole had to work out where he was with his smart phone and then catch a bus back to High Barnet. When a bus came, he was told that his Oyster card was not accepted on this bus. He explained that he had been dropped there by the police and asked how he was going to get back. The driver asked him to leave the bus. He said that a passenger would help him, whereupon a passenger did volunteer to pay his £2 bus fare in cash. He still has the ticket which validates his account of what happened.”

Christian Concern launched a petition asking Home Secretary Sajid Javid to do more to ensure that the police are trained to act within the law:

“A video of street preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi being arrested outside Southgate Underground station has been seen by millions of people worldwide. It’s not the first time a Christian street preacher has been wrongly arrested in the UK.

“Christian street preachers should be free to share the gospel, even where it means challenging the beliefs of others.

“The law rightly protects freedom of speech, even if it offends, shocks or disturbs others. But too often, police officers have shown themselves either to be ignorant of this freedom or unwilling to uphold it. This leads to a chilling effect, where people are increasingly unwilling to say what they believe, for fear of arrest.”

Christian Concern CEO Andrea Williams added:

“Despite laws that theoretically support the freedom to preach in public, in practice, police officers are quick to silence preachers after any suggestion (often false) of Islamophobia or homophobia. This is not only unjust but kills free speech through self-censorship. We want to see police officers protect the freedom of street preachers by only using their powers when truly necessary.”

In recent years, dozens of Christians — clergy and non-clergy — in Britain have been arrested or fired from their jobs due to their faith. Much of the harassment is based on three sections of two British laws that are vague and open to subjective interpretations:

  • Section 4A (Intentional Harassment, Alarm or Distress) of the Public Order Act 1986: “A person is guilty of an offense if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he — (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior, or disorderly behavior, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.”
  • Section 5 (Harassment, Alarm or Distress) of the Public Order Act 1986: “A person is guilty of an offense if he — (a) uses threatening or abusive words or behavior, or disorderly behavior, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening or abusive, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”
  • Section 31 (Racially or Religiously Aggravated Public Order Offenses) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998: “A person is guilty of an offense under this section if he commits — (a) an offense under section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986 (fear or provocation of violence); (b) an offense under section 4A of that Act (intentional harassment, alarm or distress); or (c) an offense under section 5 of that Act (harassment, alarm or distress), which is racially or religiously aggravated for the purposes of this section.”

Many of those accused of breaking the law had challenged the doctrinal claims of Islam or had made public proclamations of Christian sexual ethics. A free speech clause, tabled by Lord Waddington as section 29JA in the Public Order Act 1986, assures that public criticism of homosexuality or same-sex marriage is lawful. The amendment to section 29J (Protection of Freedom of Expression (Sexual Orientation)) states:

“(1) In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

“(2) In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, any discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

Nevertheless, police often use heavy-handed tactics to remove lawful Christian preachers off the streets. Muslim street preachers, by contrast, often are treated more leniently. A video illustrates the double standards being applied by British police with regards to street preaching by Christians and Muslims.

In one instance, a Muslim judge convicted a Christian preacher of a public order offense due to his choice of Bible verses. District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi, who also serves with the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, the overseer of Britain’s Shariah courts, ruled that Michael Overd, a former British paratrooper who is now a Christian street preacher, should not have quoted a passage from Leviticus Chapter 20, which calls for the death penalty for Israelites who engage in sodomy. Qureshi said that Overd should instead have used Leviticus 18:22, which merely describes homosexual practice as an “abomination.” Overd later noted: “I am amazed that the judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can’t be preached.”

Conservative Party MP Sir John Hayes recently warned that “the ‘golden era’ of religious liberty may be coming to an end.” He explained:

“Religious believers are, once again, facing increased pressure to restrict their faith to the ‘private sphere.’ We now see regular, and increasingly unapologetic, persecution of Christians who remain committed to biblical teaching, refusing to bow to liberal, secular orthodoxies.”

Following is the first of a three-part series which examines the persecution of Christians in Britain. Part 1 documents efforts to remove street preachers from the public square. Part 2 examines the persecution in Britain of ordinary Christians in the workplace. Part 3 documents hostility to Christianity in the British culture.

Gatestone Institute has documented more than two dozen cases in which street preachers have been unlawfully arrested, jailed and or harassed by British police, prosecutors and the judiciary:

July 2018. London. Alan Coote, a 55-year-old Christian street preacher, was arrested outside St. Paul’s Cathedral for “breaching the peace” after reading aloud from the Bible. Coote had been arguing for what he said is his legal right to preach outside the cathedral.

Martin Parsons of the Barnabas Fund, a Christian charity, said:

“This illustrates the slippery slope down which the UK is losing its heritage of religious freedom. One of the first aspects of freedom of religion to be established in England was the freedom to read the Bible in public. St Paul’s is trying to stop someone reading the Sermon on the Mount in public.”

St Paul’s Cathedral staff eventually relented, but only to the extent that they offered to allow Coote to preach on the site for half an hour each week.

The Telegraph noted that the cathedral staff’s treatment of Coote is very different to when, in 2011, St Paul’s Cathedral hosted anti-capitalism protesters as they set up camp outside the church for over three months. At the time, the cathedral’s Canon Chancellor, Giles Fraser, gave the demonstrators a warm welcome and affirmed their right to protest. He asked police to move off the steps of the cathedral.

March 2018. Barking, London. David Lynn, a Christian pastor from Canada, was arrested outside Barking underground station after a female passer-by told officers that he made homophobic comments. He was later released without charge after police admitted they were wrong to detain him.

December 2017. Camberley, Surrey. David Barker and Stephen Wan, two Christian street preachers from Reading, were charged with hate speech after hecklers told police that they had made homophobic comments. On January 15, 2018, the two men were cleared of all charges after police determined that they had not said the things they were accused of saying.

July 2017. Nottingham. Andrew Frost, a Christian street preacher, was arrested in the city center after allegedly entering into a discussion with two passers-by about homosexuality. The two men claimed that Frost had verbally abused them and directed several lewd comments at them, all of which he denied. Frost was charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Nottingham Magistrates’ Court proclaimed Frost not guilty and ordered the repayment of his legal fees.

June 2017. Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Daniel Courney, an American missionary, was arrested in the High Street quarter after a Muslim passer-by told police that he had made Islamophobic comments. He was charged under Section 5 Public Order Act 1986. On September 14, 2017, the Lincoln Magistrates’ Court convicted Courney of using “threatening and discriminatory language.”

During Courney’s appeal at Lincoln Crown Court, his attorneys argued that the law provides the freedom for him to preach the Christian message, a freedom which has been upheld in the courts for many years. Courney also denied making the Islamophobic comments attributed to him. On December 8, 2017, the Crown Court overturned the Magistrates’ Court’s sentence.

June 2017. Southwark, London. Ian Sleeper, a Christian street preacher, was arrested outside Southwark Cathedral, after displaying a placard which read, “Love Muslims Hate Islam Time For The Truth.” He was subsequently released on bail after the Crown Prosecution Service could not decide whether to charge him. After having been on bail for six weeks, the police decided to take no further action against him. Sleeper, who owns a restaurant in Ashford and employs Muslims, said:

“Society needs to kick political correctness into the long grass and be unafraid to criticize Islam. It was political correctness and an abuse of my rights under the law that got me detained in a police cell for 13 hours.

“I differentiate between Muslims the people and Islam the ideology. I love my Muslim neighbor as the Bible commands, and I am friends with all my Muslim staff. But I hate the religion’s ideology. It is not Muslims we should be attacking, it’s Islam. Islam makes Muslims victims with a tight grip that holds them captive to an evil ideology.

“The majority of people we engage with on the street agree with us. This includes ex-Muslims as well as Muslims. Many Muslims fear that they are unable to speak up against and leave Islam, but I have had the privilege of meeting ex-Muslims on the street and am often joined by them in my protest.”

March 2017. Bristol. Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell, two Christian street preachers, were convicted at Bristol Magistrates’ Court of disorderly conduct and using “threatening and abusive words…likely to cause alarm.” In July 2016, Overd and Stockwell were arrested for preaching at Bristol’s Broadmead Shopping Center. Several hecklers who appeared to be supportive of Islam became loud and aggressive, with some swearing and hurling abuse. There was debate on several points, especially over the differences between Islam and Christianity. At the time Overd and Stockwell were arrested, a police officer chided one of the men, saying, “People were getting angry. You were challenging homophobia [sic]. You were challenging Muslims.” The officer accused them of “anti-social behavior.” Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Center filed an appeal:

“The Bible and its teachings are the foundation of our society and provided many of the freedoms and protections that we still enjoy today. So it is extraordinary that the prosecution, speaking on behalf of the state, could say that the Bible contains abusive words which, when spoken in public, constitute a criminal offense.”

During the trial, Crown Prosecutor Ian Jackson argued that biblical claims about the unique, salvific role and divine nature of Jesus Christ were offensive. As a result, Jackson argued, quoting parts of the Bible in public should be considered criminal offenses under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

At an appeal hearing at Bristol Crown Court in June 2017, Michael Phillips, an attorney for Overd and Stockwell, emphasized the importance of freedom of speech, even in cases where the speaker does not necessarily hold the views being expressed. Another attorney, Paul Diamond, argued that there is no right not to be exposed to contrary ideas, adding that should passers-by not wish to hear the preaching, they are able to walk away. Bristol Crown Court agreed and acquitted Overd and Stockwell of all charges.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

July 2016. Irvine, Scotland. Gordon Larmour, a Scottish evangelist, was arrested after he answered questions from a gay teenager about the Christian view on homosexual practice. Larmour, who often visits Irvine to offer Christian leaflets to passers-by, referred to the Book of Genesis and stated that God created Adam and Eve to produce children. Larmour’s answers angered the young man, who called police and told them that Larmour had made “homophobic” remarks. Larmour was arrested and charged with behaving in a “threatening and abusive manner aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation” and “assault.” In January 2017, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court found Larmour “not guilty” after Sheriff Alistair Watson established that the evidence against him was unconvincing. Larmour told the Scottish Mail on Sunday:

“The police didn’t listen to me. They took the young homosexual guy’s side straight away and read me my rights.

“I feel they try so hard to appear like they are protecting minorities, they go too far the other way. I want to be able to tell people the good word of the gospel and think I should be free to do so. I wasn’t speaking my opinions — I was quoting from the Bible.

“I think the police should have handled it differently and listened to what I had to say. They should have calmed the boy down and left it at that.

“In court the boy’s friend told the truth — that I hadn’t assaulted him or called him homophobic names. I had simply answered his question and told him about Adam and Eve and Heaven and Hell. Preaching from the Bible is not a crime.”

December 2015. Beverley, Yorkshire. Michael Jones, a 66-year-old Christian street preacher, was arrested for Islamophobia. He was accused of shouting “Muslims are terrorists, they should not be allowed in this country,” “Islam is not a religion, Islam is terrorism” and “Islam does not preach the Bible, it’s not religion, it’s terrorism.” A recording of his sermon revealed that he had not said the words he was accused of saying. In February 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges against Jones.

August 2015. Belfast. James McConnell, a 78-year-old Christian pastor in Northern Ireland, appeared at Laganside Magistrates’ Court in Belfast, after local Muslims complained that he delivered a sermon in which he described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic.” According to Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS), McConnell — whose sermon was streamed live on the internet — violated the 2003 Communications Act by “sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive.” In January 2016, McConnell was acquitted after Belfast Magistrates’ Court Judge Liam McNally ruled that his comments did not reach the “high threshold” of being “grossly offensive.” McConnell summed it up this way:

“Islam is allowed to come to this country, Islam is allowed to worship in this country, Islam is allowed to preach in this country and they preach hate. And for years we are not allowed to give a tract out, we are not allowed in Islam, we are not allowed to preach the gospel. We are persecuted in Islam if we stand for Jesus Christ.”

April 2015. Hereford. Andrew Geuter, a Christian street preacher, was arrested after he was wrongly accused of making homophobic comments by a member of the public. He was held for five hours, during which time he was interviewed before being released on conditional bail. The police later determined to take no action due to insufficient evidence.

March 2015. Taunton, Somerset. Michael Overd, a Christian street preacher, was convicted of a public order offense for quoting a Bible passage condemning homosexuality. He was fined £200. District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi, a Muslim, told Overd he could instead have chosen another Bible passage deemed by the judge to be less offensive. After the trial, Overd said:

“I am amazed that the judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can’t be preached. I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty, but the judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible. This is not free speech but censorship. The judge is redacting the Bible.

“I have been ordered to pay compensation for causing ’emotional pain’ to someone who approached me aggressively demanding to debate the issue. There was no harm, injury or theft, just a simple disagreement over theology which I have now been fined for.”

The President of the National Secular Society, Terry Sanderson, said that the ruling appeared to make the quoting of certain passages of the Bible illegal. “Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake,” he said. “As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.”

On December 11, 2015, Overd won an appeal against his public order conviction for using the “wrong” Bible verse in public. Circuit Judge David Ticehurst, sitting at Taunton Crown Court, ruled that the Crown Prosecution Service failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify the conviction. Overd said:

“Today the Court was faced with the farcical situation of a witness telling the judge that he couldn’t even remember what I had said, but simply asserting that it was ‘homophobic’ — as though the mere assertion that something is ‘homophobic’ is enough to curtail free speech.

“In this country, we are now in the ludicrous situation where the slightest accusation of a ‘phobia,’ be it ‘homophobia’ or ‘Islamophobia,’ is enough to paralyze rational action by the police and authorities. The highly politicized dogma of ‘phobias’ now too often results in trumped up charges and legal action. There is a chilling effect.

“Reasonable, law-abiding people now feel that they can’t say certain things and that is dangerous. Totalitarian regimes develop when ordinary people feel that there are certain things that can’t be said.

“Rather than prizing freedom of expression and protecting it, the police and the prosecutors risk undermining it, because they’ve become paranoid about anyone who might possibly feel offended.”

February 2014. Banbury. Bill Edwards, a 73-year-old street preacher, was arrested outside Banbury Magistrates’ Court after some people inside the building found his preaching “offensive.” He was taken to a nearby police station, where he was grabbed by six officers and pinned to the floor. In February 2014, Oxford Magistrates’ Court cleared Edwards, a former teacher, of all charges. An application for a restraining order to prevent Edwards from preaching outside Banbury Court House was refused; he was reimbursed for his travel expenses.

September 2013. Perth, Scotland. Josh Williamson, a Christian street preacher, was arrested twice in one week for breaching the peace. In an interview with The Scotsman, Williamson explained:

“The officer told me to stop as I was breaking the law. I asked him what law I was breaking and he replied that I was in breach of the peace. When I asked him to explain, he pointed to my mp3 recorder and said I was too loud. I pointed out to the officer that I wasn’t using amplification, but just my natural voice. I then asked him what a reasonable sound level would be. The police officer replied that the noise level isn’t the issue, but rather that a complaint had been made. I tried to reason with the officer, explaining that such argumentation is subjective as anyone can claim anything is too loud. After a few more minutes I was placed in the back of a police van.”

September 2013. Basildon, Essex. Rob Hughes, a 38-year-old street preacher, was arrested and jailed after he was accused by a lesbian bystander of engaging in hate speech against homosexuals. The woman in question had earlier confronted Hughes shouting that she was “gay and proud” then proceeding to tell him to “get down off your pedestal, you judgmental ****. Homophobia is not in this town.” Hughes, who had recorded everything he said while preaching, explained that he had said nothing about the issue of homosexuality and asked that her request not to be judged be extended also to him. He was later released and informed that no further action would be taken due to insufficient evidence. In May 2015, as part of an out-of-court settlement, Hughes received £2,500 and a contribution towards his legal fees for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of his human rights.

August 2013. London. Dominic Muir, a Christian street preacher, was arrested for preaching in the Battersea Park area. A police officer asked Muir if he had obtained permission to preach in the area. When he responded that he did not, he was told that he would be prosecuted. The council alleged that Muir had breached little-used by-laws which ban street preaching in certain parts of the borough. In September 2013, during the first hearing at Richmond upon Thames Magistrates’ Court, Muir entered a not guilty plea. The council subsequently dropped the case against Muir.

July 2013. London. Tony Miano, an American evangelist, was arrested and jailed during the Wimbledon Championships while preaching on the street about sexual immorality. He was part of Sports Fan Outreach International, an evangelistic effort in England to share the Gospel with attendees of the annual Wimbledon tennis tournament. Approximately a dozen or more men and women were on the streets preaching, distributing tracts and engaging in one-on-one conversation with spectators. Miano, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff, was preaching about sexual immorality from the book of First Thessalonians when a female passer-by became agitated by his message and began to curse. She then called the police to complain. Moments later, officers arrived and notified Miano that he had allegedly violated Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which prohibits public language that is threatening or insulting. After being booked, photographed and fingerprinted, he was released without charge.

February 2012. Inverness, Scotland. Kenneth Macdonald, a well-known evangelist, was cleared of behaving in an abusive manner while preaching the gospel in Inverness city center. In January 2011, a shopkeeper had falsely accused Macdonald of harassing passers-by. After more than a year of legal proceedings, Macdonald was acquitted.

September 2011. Manchester. John Craven, a Christian street preacher, was arrested and jailed for reading from the Bible after two gay teenagers asked him about his views on homosexuality. He added that “whilst God hates sin, He loves the sinner.” The teens then began to kiss in front of him and perform sexual acts. They then reported Craven to a nearby mounted police constable, who placed him under arrest for “public order offenses.” After spending 19 hours in jail, police told him there would be no charges and no further action. In March 2014, Craven was awarded £13,000 in compensation after a three-year legal battle against Greater Manchester Police estimated to have cost taxpayers £50,000.

December 2010. Birmingham. Anthony Rollins, an autistic Christian street preacher who was arrested for speaking out against homosexuality, was awarded £4,250 in damages following a court case against West Midlands Police. Birmingham County Court ruled that Police Constable Adrian Bill committed assault and battery against Rollins when he handcuffed him unnecessarily. The court also ruled that Rollins was wrongfully arrested, unlawfully detained and his human rights to free speech and religious liberty were infringed. The court ordered the police to pay Rollins’ legal costs.

April 2010. Workington, Cumbria. Dale McAlpine, a 42-year-old Christian street preacher, was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” after a homosexual police officer overheard him reciting a number of “sins” referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same-sex relationships. McAlpine said that he did not mention homosexuality while delivering his sermon but admitted telling a passer-by that he believed it was against the word of God. Police officers alleged that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act. McAlpine was taken to the police station and locked in a cell for seven hours. Prosecutors later dropped the case due to a lack of evidence.

March 2010. Glasgow. Shawn Holes, a 47-year-old American street preacher, was fined £1,000 for “uttering homophobic remarks” that were “aggravated by religious prejudice.” Holes, a New Yorker who was touring Britain with colleagues, was arrested by police while responding to questions from people in Glasgow City Center. He said later:

“There were homosexuals listening – around six or eight of them – who were kissing each other and cuddling, and asking ‘What do you think of this?’ It felt like a set-up by gay campaigners. When asked directly about homosexuality, I told them homosexuals risked the wrath of God unless they accepted Christ.”

Holes said that he had no choice but to admit the charge at Glasgow Sheriff Court because he wanted to fly home to see his wife, and his father, who is in a hospice. However, he said he had expected to be fined only about £100.

August 2009. Manchester. Miguel Hayworth and his father, John Hayworth, two street preachers, were accused by police of inciting religious and racial hatred for reading from the Bible and handing out tracts at St. Ann’s Square. Miguel Hayworth said:

“At 2 pm, I was approached on more than one occasion by several police officers who falsely accused me, stating that I was inciting hatred with homophobic and racial comments. One plain-clothed officer, who was with the other two uniformed officers, said: ‘It is against the law to preach and hand out tracts: preaching causes offense and handing out tracts is harassment and could result in an arrest.'”

Hayworth said that at about 2.30 pm another officer warned him that he could be arrested and that his actions were being filmed and recorded. He stopped preaching. Critics claimed that a Muslim preaching Islam in the street would not have been treated in such a way by police.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

Washington Post Admits Obama Failed to Declare Public Health Emergency

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 02:00

Even as the mainstream media has been relentlessly attacking President Trump for invoking a national emergency to secure the southern border — in part to address an influx of illegal drugs — the Washington Post admitted that the Obama administration failed to declare a public health emergency, against the pleas of national health experts.

“In May 2016, a group of national health experts issued an urgent plea in a private letter to high-level officials in the Obama administration,” wrote reporters Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz and Katie Zezima. “Thousands of people were dying from overdoses of fentanyl — the deadliest drug to ever hit U.S. streets — and the administration needed to take immediate action. The epidemic had been escalating for three years. The 11 experts pressed the officials to declare fentanyl a national ‘public health emergency’ that would put a laser-like focus on combating the emerging epidemic and warn the country about the threat, according to a copy of the letter.”

Trump has repeatedly urged lawmakers to comprehend the urgency of the drug crisis, which is resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans each year.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

“‘The fentanyl crisis represents an extraordinary public health challenge — and requires an extraordinary public health response,’ the experts wrote to six administration officials, including the nation’s ‘drug czar’ and the chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the Post reported. “The administration considered the request but did not act on it … The experts asked the administration to take several steps to immediately address the crisis.

To start, they requested an emergency public health declaration from the Department of Health and Human Services that would sound the alarm. “An emergency declaration would clarify the public health nature of the crisis and bring needed focus to a new threat that is claiming thousands of lives,” the experts wrote.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Accuracy in Media

Are the Temple Vessels Ready for Purim?

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 01:37

As Jews celebrate Purim on Wednesday evening (Thursday, in Jerusalem) it may be significant to consider the recent reappearance of many, if not all, of the Temple vessels that played a subtle yet significant role in the Purim story.

Although the story of Purim takes place entirely in Persia and was not connected to any Temple rituals, the holiday is connected to the Temple and geulah (redemption) in several less obvious points. According to Jewish tradition, Persian King Ahasuerus served the feast described in the beginning of the Book of Esther on the sacred vessels of the Jewish Temple.

Gold Vessel for Libation

When King Ahasuerus considered the Temple vessels for use at his drunken feast, first on the list would have been the gold and silver decanters used for libations on the altar. Last Sukkoth, a new gold vessel was used for the first time in a reenactment of the water libation ceremony. In a full-dress ceremony, Kohanim (Jewish men descended from Aaron the Priest) led the procession from the Temple Mount to the Shiloah spring. Amidst celebrations, they brought the container of water to a replica altar where the ceremony was carried out.

Silver Trumpets and Ram Horns Blasts on silver trumpets end the service (Photo Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/Breaking Israel News)

Though not mentioned explicitly, it is conceivable, perhaps even probable, that the drunken king would call for the musical instruments seized from the Jewish Temple.

Music was a central feature of the Temple service. As such, the Temple Institute prepared several types of silver horns for use in the Third Temple. In addition to the silver horns, rams’ horns, known as shofarot, were also used.

Harps Micah (left) and Shoshanna Harrari with two of their creations. (Credit:

Perhaps viewed as the ancient version of the electric guitar, the harp was a staple of Temple music. Jewish tradition states that the Temple had an astounding 4,000 harps. The Harraris, American hippies transplanted in the Holy Land, were tasked by the Temple Institute over 30 years ago with recreating the Temple harp.

Ketoret A tin filled with ketoret (incense). (Courtesy)

Of course, a drunken Persian feast would call for sweet smells and the plunder from the Temple most certainly included a substantial quantity of the very special incense that was an essential element in the Temple service. In an astounding tale, a group of Noahides discovered an ancient cache of 600 kilograms of original Temple incense more than 25 years ago. Perhaps even more astonishing is that this Temple treasure has gone unnoticed by mainstream media and archaeologists, stored away at an undisclosed location waiting until it is needed.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Menorah and oil Shadow of the menorah at the Western Wall. (Credit: Shlomi Boaron/via Facebook)

The true fate of the golden menorah from the Second Temple is unknown; a relief on the Arch of Titus in Rome depicts it being carried away after the Temple’s destruction. The Temple Institute prepared a full-sized replica that is currently on display near the Cardo in Jerusalem’s Old City. Covered in gold, the menorah is acceptable for use in the Temple and is intended to stand in the Third-Temple.

Copper Scroll Part of the mysterious Copper Scroll found at the Qumran caves (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Whenever the Temple vessels are mentioned, the Copper Scroll necessarily comes to the forefront. Discovered in 1952, the Copper Scroll is simply a list of gold and silver items from the Temple and the 64 locations where they can be found. Jim Barfield, a retired arson investigator and Noahide from Oklahoma, argues that he has the key to finding the precise locations of the Temple treasure. The only thing preventing him from retrieving the Temple trove is lack of permission from the Israeli Antiquities Authority. But as soon as he does, Israel will have a collection of Temple vessels that would put King Ahasuerus to shame.

With so many of the Temple vessels either recreated or rediscovered, it is clear that the actual reinstatement of the Temple service is at hand. It is interesting to note that the creation of the vessels before the construction of the structure is precisely the opposite of the process of building the Tabernacle.

Rabbinic tradition tells of a dispute between Betsalel, the artisan who built the Tabernacle, and Moses. The Israelite leader and prophet commanded Betsalel to fashion the utensils first and then to construct the Tabernacle. Betsalel demurred, suggesting that the house is built first and then filled with furnishings. Ultimately, Betsalel’s concept was the guiding principle that led to the construction of the Tabernacle.

A red heifer candidate grazes in a field. (Copyright: Temple Institute)

Indeed, the plans to create the Third Temple in Jerusalem are well-advanced. In addition to the vessels listed above, calves are being raised in order to reinstate the ritual of the Red Heifer necessary for purifying the Jews.

An altar is prepared that can be lifted onto a flatbed truck and delivered to the Temple Mount at a moment’s notice. A registry of Kohanim lists candidates to lead the service in the Temple and bakers unraveled the mystery of the showbread, the unique bread with an enigmatic shape that stood inside the Temple. Oil for the menorah and for the grain sacrifices is prepared every year in the painstaking manner mandated by Jewish law to ensure purity.  

In fact, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute told Breaking Israel News that if the Jews today were given the opportunity to jumpstart the Temple service, it would require a mere four hours to do so.

Israeli Security Forces Locate, Eliminate Murderer of IDF Soldier, Rabbi at Ariel

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 01:19

Israeli special units on Tuesday eliminated a Palestinian suspected of stabbing and killing 19-year-old Sgt. Gal Keidan, stealing his gun, and using it to fire at Israeli soldier Alexander Dvorsky and Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger outside the city of Ariel on Sunday.

The Shin Bet announced the development.

Omar Amin Abu Lila, 19, was killed during a shootout with Israeli forces in Abwein, a village just outside Ramallah, after the special units surrounded the house where he was hiding.

No Israelis were hurt in the mission.

As of Tuesday morning, Dvorsky, who is being treated at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah, showed significant improvement and is considered to be out of immediate danger.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Despite being shot in the neck and head, Ettinger, a 47-year-old yeshivah dean and father of 12 from Eli, turned his car around and begin firing at Abu Laila with his personal sidearm in the hopes of neutralizing the ongoing threat to passersby.

Ettinger was also evacuated to Beilinson, but succumbed to his wounds on Monday morning. He was buried in Petach Tikvah in a funeral attended by more than 1,000 people, including students from his yeshivah, Oz V’Emunah in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood of South Tel Aviv.

Abu Laila’s father and brother were arrested in connection with the attack.

Kaidan was buried in the military cemetery of Beersheva on Monday by his parents, who are immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union, and his two older brothers.

Iran’s ‘Road to the Sea’ Exposed on Golan

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 01:00

The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.

Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.

According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.

“He then came back to Lebanon and to Syria, this time with a new mission. Now what we have today is an infrastructure masterminded by Hezbollah on Syrian soil using the local civilian infrastructure,” said Jonathan Conricus of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Israel says it won’t allow Hezbollah to establish a terror infrastructure on the border and that it holds the Syrian regime responsible. This is related to regional stability, the IDF says.

The larger strategic threat is Iran’s corridor to the sea, which has been exposed by writers like Martin Chulov of The Guardian since 2016. The concept is that Iran wants to use its influence over Shi’ite militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and paramilitaries in Syria to create a seamless network of allies based along a corridor of power that will stretch very close to Israel.

Iran is not shy about boasting of its victory in recent years in the region. It openly talks about the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who recently won a new award from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Iraq, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani on Wednesday, cementing the close relations the two countries have. These relations now knit together the Iranian and Iraqi economies, as well as fraternal religious relations. On flags of various Shi’ite paramilitary groups the images of Iranian and Iraqi clerics can be seen alongside images of what they call “martyrs” from the war on ISIS.

The symbolism is clear. It’s not like there are other Iraqi paramilitary groups putting up posts with images of US President Donald Trump or Russian President Vladimir Putin. There is one political force whose images appear most frequently in Iraq, and that is the one from Iran.

The same is true of Iran’s influence now in Syria and Lebanon. Some of this could be discounted as merely a natural alliance of like-minded groups. But the threat to Israel and to other countries in the region is that Iran sees itself as leading the “resistance” against Israel. This is used as an excuse to extend bases and infrastructure in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

The role of Iran in supporting groups like Hezbollah is not new. In fact it goes back to the 1980s after the Islamic Revolution in Tehran. It was then that some Iraqi Shi’ites also came to Iran and joined groups associated with the IRGC. Those men, like Hadi al-Amiri, went on to form the Badr Organization, which includes a paramilitary group and a political section by the same name. It is a key part of the Fatah Alliance, which came in second in the Iraqi elections in 2018.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Similarly, in Lebanon, Hezbollah has a model of maintaining an armed force while also being in politics. It recently appointed Lebanon’s new health minister under a deal in January.

For Syria this presents challenges. Syria is recovering from years of civil war. To fight the war it was assisted by Iran and Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias from Iraq. This helped blend the network of Iraqi fighters with Hezbollah. These Iraqi militia leaders have become more outspoken now about fighting Israel, claiming that in any upcoming conflict with Israel they will aid Hezbollah. Qais Khazali, a member of the Iraqi Shi’a paramilitary group Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, even came to Lebanon to view into Israel – at an area near Metulla – in December 2017.

The Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitary group Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, which was recently sanctioned by the US, also has expressed support for conflict with Israel.

Regional Arab media has also accused Israel of striking the Iraqi militia Kata’ib Hezbollah in June 2018.

Today the situation is rapidly changing as the war on ISIS ends and Iran can begin to concentrate its efforts against Israel. Iran is hailing a “turning point” in ties with Iraq but Syria may not want to be fully used as part of Iran’s plans as it tries to reconstruct parts of the country after the war.

Syria also has tensions in Idlib, where Turkish-backed Syrian rebels still operate. Syria is trying to cement its sovereignty in the south of the country, near the Golan, and it must balance complex relations with its Russian ally and Hezbollah.

Syrian media was mum on Wednesday regarding Israel’s accusations. Iranian media sought to critique the visit by US Senator Lindsey Graham to the Golan this week in which the senator intimated the US may seek to recognize the area as part of Israel.

If Iran thinks that its road to the sea will not face some obstacles, the message by the IDF is that those like Daqduq are being watched.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Middle East Forum

Run for Zion Christian Team Runs in Jerusalem Marathon

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 05:37

At the recent Jerusalem Marathon in which more than 35,000 people took part, there was a special team from Run for Zion, a non-profit working for the benefit of Israel’s poor, made up entirely of Christian runners.

“When I sat with Mayor Nir Barkat early last year, he was impressed by the vision and entrepreneurial model of Run for Zion, and surprised that nobody had ever thought of the idea to promote the Jerusalem marathon uniquely to Christians before,” noted Jonathan Feldstein, Run for Zion’s president.

Pastor Ray Hardee is an avid runner, ardent supporter of Israel, and made up one of the Run for Zion team’s participants. Hardee is Senior Pastor of The Point Church in Belmont, NC, and was delighted to be able to take part in the marathon for numerous reasons, not least that support and blessings for Israel run deeply in his family.

Other members of the team included, Dr. Pat Castle, president & founder of the largest Pro-Life running group in the world with over 10,300 members in 36 nations. Castle graduated from the Air Force Academy, earning a PhD in nano-analytical chemistry. He is also a veteran of 21 marathons.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Rev. Linda V. Chandler is the ordained pastor at Austin Brethren Church in Austin, Texas. Today, she pastors her local congregation as a “House of Prayer” with an emphasis on healing love and deep biblical discipleship. She has visited Israel many times, including studying at Yad Vashem, completing 50 hours in Holocaust Studies for Christian Leaders at The International School for Holocaust Studies. She now teaches an 8-week course for other Christians to combat antisemitism and Replacement Theology.

Elizabeth Wong from Phoenix, Arizona studied in Israel in the mid-2000’s and has been to the country many times. Run For Zion captures both Elizabeth’s passion for Israel, running, and integrity, and she is excited to share about Israel in a new way to Christians through the universal language of sports.

Run for Zion team members meet with MK Yehudah Glick (center). (Courtesy Run for Zion)

“If you’re a Christian and a runner, Run for Zion provides the most profound and spiritual experience combined with a tangible opportunity to bless Israel. Every participant gets the opportunity to set up a crowdfunding page with donations going to support an array of charities in Israel that care for millions.” Feldstein added.

“We are excited that because God promises to bless those who bless Israel, Run for Zion is offering major subsidies based on how much money people raise, possibly making the trip free. There’s literally no more vivid way to be blessed than a free trip to experience Israel yourself.”

The 2019 Jerusalem Marathon was the city’s ninth annual race. The route took runners through many of the city’s neighborhoods and included a lengthy stretch in and around the Old City walls.

For Israeli Security Forces, the Ongoing Battle Against Two Types of Terror

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 04:25

Israel’s security forces are in the middle of an intensive manhunt for the Palestinian terrorist who killed an Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) soldier and an Israeli civilian in the West Bank outside of Ariel on Sunday, and wounded another soldier before fleeing into a Palestinian village, ditching a stolen vehicle and disappearing.

As time goes by, intelligence will be playing an increasingly crucial role in hunting down the attacker, is from the village of Zawiya, which is near Ariel.

According to defense sources, there is no indication so far that murderer acted as part of a terrorist organization; all signs at this stage suggest at this point that he is a lone attacker.

“We will not leave a stone unturned,” a senior security said on Sunday, hours into the search. Judging by the past record of Israel’s security forces, it’s only a matter of time until they catch up with him.

The attack is a reminder of the constant threat of unorganized terrorism—a threat that has not at all vanished, despite a major drop in such attacks since 2015.

In 2018 alone, Israel’s defense establishment prevented around 400 suspected lone-wolf attacks, due in part to breakthrough technology involving the collection and analysis of big data. Many suspects were arrested, while others received warnings to let them know they are being monitored.

What was once a form of terrorism thought to be almost impossible to prevent became a phenomenon that dropped significantly with time, and Israel has become a world leader in dealing with unorganized terror, which, unlike its organized variant, leaves far fewer clues behind for intelligence agencies to pick up on.

Still, as Sundays attack shows, the calm was always deceptive, and no security net can stop every attack.

Additional catalysts for violence, like the heightened religious tensions around the Temple Mount in recent days, and demonstrations in Gaza, can also serve as triggers for West Bank violence, “activating’ lone-wolf terrorists.

In addition, the Israel Defense Forces must be on high alert to the threat of “copy-cat” terrorism, in which lone attackers receive “inspiration” from previous incidents and try to imitate them.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

The second type of terrorism—the organized form, which is tool of choice for Hamas and other armed factions—remains a constant threat, despite the fact that the Shin Bet has become extraordinarily effective in preventing it.

Last year, security forces prevented 480 organized plots, including hundreds of shootings and bombings, some planned for Israeli cities. The IDF and Shin Bet broke up some 220 Hamas cells, according to official Israeli figures, avoiding large-scale death and destruction on Israel’s streets and in the West Bank.

A glance at February’s terrorism figures for the area is also a reminder of the constant level of violence in the West Bank. According to the Shin Bet, last month saw 89 Palestinian attacks in the area, including dozens of fire-bombings and pipe bombs, although this number is down compared to January’s figure of 116 attacks.

For Hamas, the timing of the Ariel terror attack could not be better, and its propaganda branches were quick to seize on the incident.

Hamas is desperate to divert attention to the economic protests that have rocked Gaza in recent days, which have seen Palestinians direct their growing frustration against their own Islamist regime.

Demonstrators protested Gaza’s sky-high unemployment rate, Hamas taxes, the increased cost of living and the more prosperous conditions of Hamas’s senior members in contrast to the dire conditions of many Gazans. Held under the “We want to live” slogan, the demonstrations have quickly spread quickly, to Gaza City, with Hamas police units responding to them brutally, trying to repress them using extreme violence.

Many protesters have been detained, and Hamas accused its arch internal rival, the Palestinian Authority, of being behind the rallies and Gaza’s economic woes due to P.A. sanctions.

Hamas would like nothing more than to set the West Bank on fire, and to burn both the P.A. and Israel with the flames, while dousing the smoking ashes of internal Gazan dissatisfaction, which could yet threaten the regime in the future.

What they don’t want is a repeat of a wave of rallies akin to the “Arab Spring” in 2011, a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East, causing turmoil in country after Arab country.

If Hamas becomes convinced that the protests will escalate into a rebellion, it will not hesitate to use its armed wing to spark an armed conflict with Israel from Gaza, preferring to take the risk of facing Israel’s firepower instead of the wrath of its own people.

Palestinians Protest Unlivable Conditions in Gaza

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 03:56

Anti-Hamas protests continue to stir in Gaza as conditions worsen for the Palestinians. Now, Hamas is using their own force to violently take control over these protests.

Heal O’ Israel, Children Who Dance in School Benefit Physically and Psychologically

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 03:36

I am a dance teacher in an arts school. I have always wondered why pupils in elementary and even high schools are not taught dance so they can move their bodies and learn to appreciate them. I see so many kids spending most of their time on their smartphones and in front of TV and computer screens instead of exercising outdoors. What do you think? P.D., San Francisco, California, US

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich comments:

You are absolutely right and speak perfect sense. Researchers in Finland have looked into this matter and report their findings. That country’s core curriculum encourages children to leave their desks and learn through physical activity and movement, but the process of adopting the new methods in practice is still in the early stages at schools.

It has become a global problem that not just adults, but children, too, are less and less physically active, according to experts at the the University of the Arts Helsinki. “Many children all over the world do not follow the national recommendations when it comes to physical activity. Negative perception of one’s physical competence reduces motivation for movement and exercise. Evaluation, comparisons and competitiveness connected to physical education may lead to negative experiences.”

According to the report called Tanssi Iikuttaa that was released by the ArtsEqual research initiative, many children and teenagers who dislike result-oriented physical activities enjoy forms of moving that allow more freedom, such as dance. “In bodily expression and dance, physical activity is combined with expressing feelings, social interaction and cultural participation, which creates a multidimensional link to one’s holistic development, learning and wellbeing in the school context. That is why dance can play a useful role even in preventing mental problems and social exclusion among children and teenagers,” the researchers wrote.

“Studies show that physical movement has positive effects on learning. It seems that the best way to boost cognitive performance is to engage in motorically challenging and versatile forms of physical activity, such as dance. Dancing together with peers also helps build children’s confidence. Dancing reduces prejudices towards bodily expressivity as well as the fear of performing. All in all, high-quality dance pedagogy has great potential in supporting children’s well-being at school.”

Observations organized by the ArtsEqual initiative in schools suggest that dance has a positive effect on social interaction, group spirit and sense of empowerment in groups where pupils do not have a common spoken language. Dance has also significantly improved group cohesion in grades one and two and in special education. Possibilities for participation and experiences of success promote pupils’ well-being and motivation to learn at school. This, in turn, prevents them from developing cynicism towards school and decreases their likelihood of becoming socially excluded later on as a teenager.

Dance is also connected to the development of social cognition and sense of empathy. These capabilities are valuable especially in terms of school atmosphere, tolerance of diversity, and prevention of bullying.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

I am a 78-year-old woman living in the US. My husband, who is 80, has just been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. He suffers from coughing attacks and other symptoms and is on oxygen therapy and uses an inhaler. Can you suggest what is the most effective treatment for this? Thank you for your insight and advice. K.F.W., Omaha, Nebraska, US

Prof. Gabriel Izbicki, head of the lung institute at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, answers:

They are many different kinds of pulmonary fibrosis. For each of them, the treatment is different. It might be smoking cessation for respiratory bronchiolitis-interstitial lung disease (RB-ILD); steroids for nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP); and anti-fibrotic therapy for usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP),  a form of lung disease characterized by progressive scarring of both lungs.

My first question is: How the diagnosis was made? Did he undergo a pulmonary biopsy? Was the diagnosis based on a high-resolution CT of the chest presented at a multi-disciplinary meeting?

Oxygen is indicated if the saturation is below 88%. Inhalers should be used only if there is an obstructive ventilation defect on the pulmonary lung function.

I am 70 years old, and my cartilage has been completely eaten up by arthritis in my right shoulder. I literally have bone on bone. Nevertheless, believe it or not, I am still playing tennis on a daily basis. Doctors are only recommending cortisone or platelet-rich plasma (PRP), but I haven’t gone for either of these. There has been some success with the Cartiva, an implant composed of a biocompatible, durable, slippery organic polymer that functions like natural cartilage, but my orthopedist told me it has been used until now only for the foot. Is there anything else I can do? I.W., the US

Dr. Steve Velkes, head of the orthopedic surgery and traumatology department at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, Israel, replies:

Unfortunately, there is no biological solution for cartilage loss due to arthritis of the shoulder. Steroid injections are only for pain and is temporary in effect. As for PRP and other so called biological regenerative treatments, there is no evidence to support their use.

The only reliable treatment would be shoulder replacement but if I.W. is still playing tennis with the shoulder, I do not believe he is a candidate at this stage for replacement, because he doesn’t suffer from enough pain to undergo this operation.

If you want an Israeli expert to answer your medical questions, write to Breaking Israel News health and science senior reporter Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at with your initials, age, gender and place of residence and details of the medical condition, if any.

Experts Reveal Fallacies in UN Inquiry on Gaza Report

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 03:19

In a testimony delivered on Monday morning at the United Nations, top American general Lt. Col. Geoffrey S. Corn (ret.) and renowned British commander Col. Richard Kemp refuted a U.N. Human Rights Council report released that accuses Israeli soldiers of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” on the Gaza border.

Joining a panel of four experts hosted by independent human-rights group U.N. Watch, Corn and Kemp accused the Commission of Inquiry (COI) of promoting false claims in its report, and warned diplomats and member states that the biased report will only further incentivize Hamas’s exploitation of Gazans and increase the chance that other illicit armed groups may be used against Israel, the United States and its allies in the future.

Simultaneously in the morning plenary session, the UNHRC called on the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights “to manage the dossiers on alleged perpetrators [IDF soldiers], to be provided to … the International Criminal Court.”

Several member states welcomed the UNHRC report, including some of the most serious human-rights abusers—Saudi Arabia, Syria, Venezuela, Iraq, Russia and Pakistan.

Providing testimony on the report, Corn—a U.S. Army senior law of war-expert adviser, author and Research Professor—presented findings from a Jewish Institute for National Security of America report, written by top former commanders of the U.S. Army, and responded to structural, legal and operational fallacies in the UNHRC hearing.

“By omitting from the UNHRC inquiry reports of the use of human shields by Hamas, the report incentivizes these terror tactics in the future, and the risk posed to the civilian population of Gaza is exacerbated. If we are really concerned about mitigating harm done to civilians, we should be condemning Hamas’s actions and this report,” he said.

Kemp, a national security expert, author and former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan who testified before the UNHRC investigation in December and was present at the Gaza border himself, agreed.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

“The United Nations has played directly into Hamas’s hand and the UNHRC is but an instrument of Hamas terrorism. This report, as well as countries that vote for it, encourage Hamas towards further terrorism in the future,” he said, adding that his personal testimony to the COI was completely ignored in the production of the report.

Also providing testimony were Einat Wilf, former member of Knesset, co-author of The War of Return and expert on the Palestinian “right of return” narrative, and Joe Truzman, researcher, investigative journalist and editor of the “GroundBrief” Middle East newsletter.

Wilf explained that understanding the Palestinian marchers’ motivations towards aggression on the Gaza border is crucial in order to properly understand the Israeli response.

“Those who come to the border marching in the name of the so-called ‘right of return’ are not rioting against Israel’s blockade, but rather, are coming to destroy Israel. This needs to be understood clearly as a declaration of war and nothing less than that,” she explained. “The Israeli response cannot be understood if this is not understood.”

Truzman presented evidence exposing a number of false accusations and omissions of key facts in the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry, including evidence that five of the “victims of IDF gunfire” named by the inquiry were actually members of militant groups, including Hamas in Gaza.

“At least five militants killed at the ‘March of Return’ are mentioned in the COI report, without reference to their militant background. Some children in COI report were members of militant groups. Contrary to COI report, Palestinians present during ‘March of Return’ demonstrations and riots were armed. Such militant activity is still present within Palestinian border units,” said Truzman.

Following the testimony, hundreds gathered for the historic “Rally for Equal Rights” to protest UNHRC’s unprecedented assault on Israel, in which the council targeted the Jewish state in seven biased reports. The rally, broadcasted live, was hosted by a coalition of 24 organizations that oppose anti-Semitism and anti-Israel prejudice.