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Nation-State Law Advances Redemption

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 06:59

Despite the fact that it created a swirl of political controversy, the recent passage of the nation-state law in the Israeli Knesset is seen by many Bible-based Jews and Christians as affirming the Biblical connection between the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. Additionally, it has messianic implications, according to at least one major redemption-oriented rabbi.

The current nation-state law, which passed on July 19, 2018, echoes multiple Biblical verses, such as Exodus 6:8 and Deuteronomy 30:5, when it says, “The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.”

And Hashem your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers. Deuteronomy 30:5

David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, referred to this Biblical history when, in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, delivered on May 14, 1948, he famously said, “The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.”

Thirty years earlier, in 1917, the exact same connection between Israel and the Jewish people was made in the Balfour Declaration. In it, the British government announced their support for the re-establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

Just before its passing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this about the current nation-state law: “This is a law of the highest importance, to ensure the core of Israel’s existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

These various statements, made by secular government officials, are merely reiterating the Jewish connection to Israel that Bible-based Jews and Christians accept as a given.

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Is there any significance to the fact that the nation-state law passed just months after the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

Prolific author and end times expert Rabbi Pinchas Winston thinks that both events are linked to the process of redemption. He told Breaking Israel News, “Redemption, explained the Vilna Gaon (major 18th century rabbinic figure), is kind of two-steps forward, one-step back process. But, even the step backwards, he added, is really a step forwards as well, when everything is taken into account. It just looks to us as if it is backwards.

“What this means is that history can be difficult to read, from a redemption point of view. It can be hard, even impossible to properly interpret everyday events, and what they ultimately mean to the redemption process.

“Therefore, it cannot be downplayed when, at such a late stage of history, and especially while liberalism is so strong around the world, that America acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or that a secular Israeli government is bold enough to declare Israel first and foremost a Jewish state.”

Rabbi Winston warned the redemption-oriented individual not to get caught up in the political debates, but rather to focus on the bigger picture. “It is easy to let them [the nation-state law and the recognition of Jerusalem by the American government] get buried among the many issues impacting world history today, but the person with an eye to redemption knows that they are the sign of the times,” he explained.

Be Fruitful and Multiply: Israeli Women Comply

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 05:48

The divine promise to increase the number of Jews is coming to fruition, as maternity departments in numerous medical centers are overflowing.

Three hospitals in particular – Emek Medical Center in Afula, Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv – have just reported a record number of births in the past few weeks.

The number of Israeli deliveries is typically higher during the summer months, maybe because of the colder months of winter during which the babies are conceived. But no one is sure what the real reason is. Some suggest that teachers plan pregnancies in late summer so they can get their three months of maternity leave during the beginning of the school year…

There were 1,518 deliveries at Soroka in July, breaking its all-time record. Since 2012, the average number of July births has been nearly 1,400, so this year, the figure is almost 10% higher. The Beersheba hospital has many Bedouin births in addition to those of Jewish mothers, bringing the annual total of about 17,000.

Soroka has more deliveries in Israel except for Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek, whose main campus and Bikur Cholim Hospital branch together deliver some 22,000 babies annually – reputedly more than any other hospital in the world.

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Sourasky’s Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital recorded 1,014 births in July – also a nearly 10% increase over last July; since then, the hospital opened a luxurious new maternity ward with private rooms and a new neonatal unit.

Emek Medical Center produced 392 infants last month, compared to 341 in July 2017. The Israeli fertility rate is 3.11 children per woman of childbearing age. This is significantly higher than that of other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that represents 34 developed countries, who have an average fertility rate of 1.7 children per mother.

In the past, Israeli women have given birth to more babies following wars, but there was no such major military clash in the past year.

Obstetrics departments around the country are very eager to attract women to give birth because the National Insurance Institute provides a generous allotment to hospitals for delivering babies; multiple births mean a much higher grant due to the extra costs of treating premature infants. As a result, the hospitals compete with each other by offering free birthing classes, comfortable delivery rooms, a free night in a “baby hotel” and even meals prepared by chefs.

Israeli Sandal Manufacturer Donates 2,000 Pairs to Syrian Refugees

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 04:55

Israeli shoe manufacturer Teva Naot, recently donated 2,000 pairs of its sandals to Syrian refugees. The donation, estimated at approximately 250,000 NIS ($67,000), came despite the recent need to scale back the size of Israel’s Operation Good Neighbor.

Teva Naot CEO, Michael Iluz said that the decision to make the donation was guided by humanitarian principles, “in the hope that this small step will lead to better neighborly relations in the future.”  

The donation was delivered with the help of Gal Lusky, founder of Israel Flying Aid, an Israeli NGO that “delivers lifesaving aid to communities affected by natural disaster and human conflict, transcending differences, prejudices, race, nationality, religion and creed.”

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The Syrian regime forces push into Southern Syria, backed by Russian air power has created yet more internal displacement in Syria’s seven-year civil war. As part of Operation Good Neighbor, Israel has treated approximately 4,500 wounded Syrian refugees and delivered more than 60 tons of humanitarian aid – food, blankets and medicine – to Syrians trapped in tented refugee camps.

This latest gesture, follows Israel’s help in guiding Syrian White Helmet civilian volunteer rescuers to relative safety in Jordan, having fled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Education Ministry to Launch High-School Hackers Cyber Defense Program

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 04:08

The Education Ministry is set to launch a training program for 12th-grade high school students with the aim of turning them into computer hackers.

Over the course of the program, scheduled to begin in the upcoming school year, students will be taught to hack into active computer systems in search of security breaches.

The innovative pilot program will include 100 students within the framework of the prestigious software engineering track, in conjunction with the Israel National Cyber Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The students will be trained by experts in the field and will ultimately be certified as “vulnerability analysts.” In other words, the students will learn to perform controlled cyberattacks on computer systems, including those that belong to schools, with the aim of detecting security weaknesses.

The program is a sensitive one because the students could exploit the knowledge they acquire to hack government sites in Israel and abroad. Israeli youngsters have gotten in trouble in the past for hacking into the Pentagon and the U.S. military systems. Therefore, the course will place considerable emphasis on the topic of ethics and the students will be warned about permissible and prohibited conduct in the field.

At the same time, 240 students in the teleprocessing track will be trained as “cyber protectors.” These students will be taught to detect cyberattacks and to inoculate computers systems accordingly (in contrast to the vulnerability analysts who will be taught to breach systems).

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To graduate from the course, the students will be required to analyze their sschools’ cybersecurity systems, which contain sensitive information such as grades and personal files, identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions to prevent information leaks.

The purpose of the program is to develop reserves of trained manpower in the field of cyber and information security. The expectation is that these students will put the skills they learn in this course to use in the workforce after they graduate.

“For the first time, students in the education system will receive the tools to defend the State of Israel online,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett remarked.

“One of the greatest threats today isn’t necessarily military in nature, but rather digital. All the systems we use are controlled by computers; therefore hacking them for classified information means real harm to Israel’s ability to function,” he said.

Israel’s cyber warriors will stand in the same line alongside Sayeret Matkal [the IDF’s elite special forces unit], Golani [infantry brigade] fighters and Artillery Corps gunners. They are the tip of the spear on the modern battlefield, and I trust them to courageously defend those assets that belong to all of us,” Bennett added.

Rafi Franco, deputy head of the INCD, said: “Israel is the first in the world to establish a human capital plan for defense as part of its comprehensive national security array.”

Fake Hamas App Targets Israeli Cell Phones

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 03:48

It is as if storming the border fence and sending hundreds of missiles to Israel was not enough. Now, Hamas – the terrorist organization that runs the Gaza Strip – is targeting Israeli cell phone users. They have created a fake Red Alert app – much like the ones that warn Israelis of incoming rocket fire. People who download it may unwittingly place malware on their cell phones, giving access to contacts, images and more.

Heal O’Israel

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 02:56

Our six-year-old son – our first child – is starting first grade in September. He enjoyed his preschool kindergarten, but we worry if he will fit in easily at school, where everything is more regimented. How can we help him prepare for this big change? B.N., Trenton, New Jersey, US

Nurit Helinger, an occupational therapist at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel who is responsible for guidance at its child development institute and the facilitator of the Shalom First Grade workshops, replies:

First grade symbolizes the transition from a world of free play and imagination to a world of formal studies, duties and responsibilities. This change is exciting and meaningful, both for the child and for his family. The guiding principle for moving from preschool to first grade is self-organization.

Independent organization is the ability to plan in advance a task of several stages and after its implementation to monitor the quality of performance. This is especially evident in the morning, when the child is required to dress, brush his teeth, put on his shoes, comb, eat and leave the house with all the necessary equipment for the school. Another example is homework, which also requires quality planning and execution.

Therefore, it is important to help your child achieve independent functioning as much as possible before entering the first grade. He should be allowed to perform complex and varied tasks on his own, even if they are not related to his studies. In this way, he will learn how to organize himself and transfer the strategies he used to other tasks that will be required upon entering first grade.

Of course, the intention is not to “throw the child into the deep water” but to accompany him, mediate for him and help in various ways such as building a table of tasks that will remind the child what is the right sequence for doing things. Anh activity that is especially recommended for practice in the home to improve the skill of organizing is cooking and baking. This activity involves several skills: It improves the child’s manual skills through mixing, cutting, kneading, opening and closing boxes and thus helps prepare the child for the holding of various writing tools and their use over time.

Working in the kitchen exposes children to numbers and letters on the packaging of food products and in the cookbook. It also requires the children to interact interpersonally, to hand out roles, to allocate attention and to withstand frustrations.

Working in the kitchen triggers all the senses. The contact with food – sometimes wet, messy, cold, hot and with varied textures such as rough or smooth, the exposure to smells and tastes and even sounds and noise from mixers, blenders and food processors – are all significant for sensory regulation, which essential for child development.

Working in the kitchen is a task that requires planning, control and organization, but this activity must be supervised by an adult.

Other ways of preparing for first grade are games and leisure activities that improve the cognitive skills required in school: card games, dominoes, memory games and the like. There are also games that improve the function of the hands and their orderly and precise function when writing such as pick-up-sticks and mazes.

“As if” games that mediate the interaction between teacher and pupils by using free play help cope with the child’s fears, excitement, sadness, confusion and joy.

There are also activities to avoid or to do in small amounts, such as filling in workbooks in preparation for writing and copying. It is not recommended to require the child to do monotonous writing, such as printing letters between dotted lines. He will get sick and tired of it.

Young children should also not be allowed to play a lot of games on iPads and smartphones. While they do improve the speed of response and eye-hand coordination, screen-based games do not encourage interpersonal interaction and are sometimes constructed in a way that is not sensually adapted to the child’s developing brain. In addition, they often do not contribute to improving children’s attention level.

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I went to the supermarket and saw prickly pears (I believe they are called sabras in Israel) for sale. I was wondering whether this fruit is good for health or has a lot of fruit sugar. B.T., Denver, Colorado, USA

Dr. Olga Raz, a senior nutritionist at Ariel University in Samaria, ISRAEL, answers:

The nutritional value of 100 grams of sabra fruit (prickly pear cactus) is about 40 calories and thus is not full of sugar. It can’t be called a superfood, but it can be part of a healthful diet. Indeed, prickly pear cactus is popular in many areas of the world, particularly Latin America and the Middle East, because it’s rich in fiber, antioxidants and carotenoids. It doesn’t have many vitamins or minerals, but it does have vitamin C and magnesium and different phytochemicals such as polyphenols and betalains in variable quantities. But don’t exaggerate. Some people react to eating a lot of sabras by suffering side effects such as abdominal fullness, mild diarrhea, nausea, and increased stool volume and stool frequency.

I am a 58-year-old man. I have had type-2 diabetes for five years and am taking medications (Glucophage, Januvia, Januet) and a bit of insulin that have stabilized my blood sugar. I have suffered for years from toenail fungus (onychomychosis) and have not found anything effective to get rid of it. I heard that oregano oil, taking orally as capsules or rubbed into the nails, is very effective. I was wondering whether oregano oil, especially if ingested, would interfere with what I am taking for my diabetes condition. Thanks. P.T., Rehovot, ISRAEL

Howard Rice, a veteran Israeli consultant pharmacist and pharmaceutical expert, says:

Oregano oil and leaves are used extensively for many medical problems, and they are generally useful when applied locally. There is really insufficient evidence to show that they have therapeutic effects if taken orally. The oil contains carvacrol, thymol and cymene – all well-known antifungals. The phenols in the oil affect the fungus cell membranes –We know that the oil or leaves can lower blood sugar levels, so I would advise against taking it orally since you could become “hypo” (have a too-low glucose level).

If you use it directly on your nails, you must still check your blood Hba1C level at your doctor’s clinic and daily glucose level at home to ensure that you do not become “hypo”. I think there are sufficient preparations on the market to use instead. I would recommend rubbing under the nails a 20% urea cream along with an anti-fungal cream such as terbinafine, using a short-headed old toothbrush (you can cut off the tip). This softens the hard nail and allows the cream to be better absorbed. Do this morning and night for at least a month (nails grown slowly!). For more information, see


To ask a medical question for an expert to answer, email Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at, giving your initials, gender, age and place of residence.

Migration to Europe Becomes a Crisis

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 02:00

The mass Muslim migration to Europe has galvanized civilizationist forces of populism and nationalism across the continent. This happens in three different ways, as shown by recent elections:

* In Hungary, the civilizationist part on its own forms the government.

* In Austria, the conservative party joined in a coalition with the civilizationist party.

* In Italy the anarchist-left Five Star Movement formed a coalition with the civilizationist party.


Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Norway have likewise shifted towards a civilizationist stance. Even Germany, which opened the migratory floodgate in 2015, is in the throes of a backlash as Islamism is turning a substantial number of its five million Muslim Turks against their host society and culture. A recent study has found that 60% of German Turks align themselves with Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has funded and built hundreds of mosques throughout Germany led by imams who receive their instructions from Ankara.

In Holland and Bulgaria, the creation of Turkish-Islamic political parties has created tensions between the two governments and Ankara, while slovaDenmark is experimenting with the assimilation of migrants through imposed regulations aimed at countering feelings of alienation and marginalization. In Eastern Europe, by contrast, the conversation is mainly about the incompatibility of Christian and Muslim cultures.

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Spain, Italy, and Greece have been the entry points for illegal immigration into the continent, which can be stopped should Europe display the necessary resolve. Expelling criminal migrants is possible, though it is difficult to find countries that will accept them. A far greater challenge is expelling non-criminal illegals, which Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Salvini has pledged to do at the rate of 100,000 migrants per year over the next five years.

For now, proposed solutions to relieve the migration crisis plaguing Europe are at an embryonic phase. The extent of their success, however, is not only important for the vast and prosperous continent but will likely influence future developments in the United States.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Middle East Forum

Lessons from Hiroshima: From Weapons of Mass Destruction to a Weapon of Mass Connection

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 01:00

The 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where two nuclear weapons killed at least 129,000 people—most of them civilians, with thousands more dying years later due to indirect injuries and radioactive exposure—is a worthy time for introspection, where we should ask ourselves, “What have we learned from such a tragic event?”

Simply put, very little.

We still live in an extremely volatile world. Decades of nuclear standoff may end in a blink of an eye with nuclear powers ready to push the red button at any given provocation, regardless of the global devastation it would inflict. The US is making efforts to limit Iran’s nuclear program, but it’s an uncertain road to peace. According to White House national security adviser, John Bolton, another global threat, North Korea, has not taken the necessary steps to de-nuclearize despite an agreement signed in June.

Back in the 1950s, the great Kabbalist of the twentieth century, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) wrote about the consequences of nuclear proliferation in his essay The Writings of the Last Generation: “If the total ruin that they are destined to bring upon the world is still not evident to the world, they can wait for a third world war, or a fourth one. The bombs will do their thing and the relics that remain after the ruin will have no other choice but to take upon themselves this work, where both individuals and nations will not work for themselves more than is necessary for their sustenance, while everything else they do will be for the good of others.”

The teachings of Baal HaSulam are more relevant now than ever. Mutual hatred overflows within societies, between people and countries, at all levels. Humanity is acting in the opposite direction of nature, which is balanced and harmonious. Instead, we are moving away from each other, immersed in global confrontation and frictions, developing sophisticated weaponry to destroy each other.

The human being is the most harmful force in nature, even more so than a nuclear bomb. The path to destruction is paved by incitement and separation among people. The ever-increasing human ego, the evil inclination that resides in people, manifests itself in self-centered actions at the expense of others. The exponential effect of this division within humanity is what causes wars and global crises. If we fail to implement a change in our self-centered focus, then we will continue heading down a path of prolonged suffering.

There is, however, another path. It is one where we realize the corrupt way we relate to each other, and construct new, positive relations among society—a path of unity.

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The more we tread the path of suffering, the more unbearable pressure would eventually make it evident that there must be another way to lessen the pain. Human society would then seek advice on how to survive and escape war and crisis. It will then be up to the generation’s leaders to do whatever possible to guide human society toward peaceful coexistence in an interconnected world.

The current global scenario is urging us to conduct this introspection, and choose a more civilized, enjoyable and wise path: the path of unity. Such a path is derived from nature’s key element—connection—where nature as a whole operates in total balance. We can replicate this harmonious system by replacing our egoistic relations with altruistic ones.

The transition between the two paths—from torturous torment to a fast path of human connection—is what the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches. As threats increase and crises continuously emerge, the wisdom of Kabbalah becomes revealed and accessible to all. It is the strongest weapon against any threat in the world, a powerful, positive, spiritual force that unites people by balancing good and evil. It is the “weapon of mass connection,” the only one we need for a peaceful existence.

Corbyn’s Portents for Israel

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:00

If the current violence between Israel and the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza escalates into a full-scale war, one thing is certain. The main thoroughfares of the West’s great cities will be filled with thousands of protesters marching in support for Hamas and its strategic goal of annihilating Israel.

The anti-Israel demonstrations this time around will dwarf all those that preceded them.

We also know with mathematical certainty that Jewish institutions and Jews will be violently assaulted from London to Melbourne, Paris to San Francisco.

Every public demonstration in support of Israel, indeed, every public demonstration of Judaism, including Jewish people walking to synagogue on Shabbat – will become a focal point for attacks.

We also know with absolute certainly that just as the violent assaults against Jews in the West during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 dwarfed the attacks from earlier wars, so the violence directed against Jews and Jewish institutions in Europe and the US in the next war will dwarf all that preceded it.

We know that the anti-Israel demonstrations will be bigger and violence against Jews more widespread now than in the past because over the past four years, leftist antisemitism has grown in scope and extremism throughout the Western world.

Hatred of Jews, based in a rejection of Israel’s right to exist and expressed first and foremost through the demonization of Israel’s supporters as racists, has become more widespread. Its expressions have become more extreme and more violent.

Consider the situation in Britain. Last month, US President Donald Trump paid a visit to the US’s closest ally. The Red-Green alliance of the Left and the Muslims was beside itself. Its queer, feminist, jihadist and animal rights members banded together to organize a major demonstration against Trump in London.

As British Jewish writer and activist David Collier documented on his website, two aspects of the demonstrations stood out. First the marchers weren’t against Trump. They were anti-American.

As far as they were concerned, Trump is just a manifestation of America’s inherent evilness. His predecessor Barack Obama was also terrible.

The second notable aspect of the supposedly anti-Trump, Red-Green rally in London was the prevalence of anti-Israel messages. Collier posted videos of crowds at every corner happily shouting out chants calling for Israel to be destroyed, (“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,”) and supporting Hamas, (“From Palestine to Mexico, racist walls have got to go!”).

It’s worth asking how the protesters at an antiTrump rally naturally gravitated towards anti-American and antisemitic messages.

Why did the people who supposedly hate Trump snap up “Free Gaza” stickers like hotcakes? What possesses British feminists to support a jihadist regime that routinely attacks Israel for no reason and treats women like property? The answer is simple enough. They aren’t thinking. They are following.

And over the past 15 to 20 years, hatred of Israel and support for its enemies, including Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, has moved from the margins of the Left to become its signature foreign policy. What was once the cause célèbre of the Left’s radical fringes has now become the default position of politicians and activists associated with the Left throughout the Western world.

Take for example Sen. Cory Booker’s recent participation at the annual Netroots Nation conference, which took place last weekend in New Orleans. The conference, first convened during Barack Obama’s presidency, bills itself as “a political convention for American progressive political activists.” It has become a key tool for fundraising and political organizing for Democratic politicians. Would-be presidential candidates cannot afford to miss it.

Given its “progressive” pedigree, the only foreign policy position the participating groups advocated on behalf of was abandoning US support for Israel and replacing that support with support for the Palestinians. To this end, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, (USCPR) was a major participant in the conference.

Booker’s political roots are in the pro-Israel community.

And until Obama concluded the nuclear deal with Iran three years ago, Booker was one of the most outspoken supporters of Israel in the Democratic party.

Booker smiled broadly in the picture he took with the USCPR members. In the photo, Booker happily clutches a sign which reads, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”

When asked about the photo by reporters, Booker’s spokesman insisted that Booker hadn’t read the sign.

But USCPR activists dispute his position. They told The Intercept that they spoke to him before snapping the photo. One of the members in the photo is wearing a t-shirt that says, “Palestine is a queer, feminist, refugee, racial justice issue.”

If he didn’t read the sign, he should have been able to guess it wasn’t an ad for a kosher deli.

THIS BRINGS us back to Britain.

Two weeks ago, in an unprecedented move, Britain’s three national Jewish newspapers closed ranks and jointly published the same front-page editorial.

The editorial dealt with the growing prospect of a Labour government under the leadership of Labour Party chairman Jeremy Corbyn. The papers referred to that possibility as “an existential threat to Jewish life in this country.”

According to the joint editorial, “With the government in Brexit disarray, there is a clear and present danger that a man with a default blindness to the Jewish community’s fears, a man who has a problem seeing that hateful rhetoric aimed at Israel can easily step into antisemitism, could be our next prime minister.”

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The Jewish newspapers were driven to publish the joint warning by the Labour Party’s refusal to adopt the same definition of antisemitism as the British government, 130 local governments and dozens of other countries have adopted. The definition, which was drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, (IHRA) enumerates eleven examples of antisemitism to enable authorities to properly identify anti-Jewish discrimination.

Included in the examples is the allegation that Israel is inherently racist and comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany. Labour based its rejection of the IHRA definition on the presence of those examples.

As far as Corbyn’s Labour party is concerned, it is not necessarily antisemitic to argue that Israel is inherently racist and therefore has no right to exist or to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

Labour’s refusal to accept IHRA’s definition on these grounds is not merely a testament to the fact that the view that Israel the illegitimate, modern incarnation of Nazi Germany is commonplace in the party today. Indeed, Corbyn and his close advisors have been repeatedly documented voicing such views.

It is also a declaration of intent for the future.

By refusing to say that it is antisemitic to claim that Israel is inherently racist, Labour is justifying, and to a degree, inviting open discrimination and persecution of Jews.

If Corbyn becomes Britain’s prime minister, Labour’s position will open the door to institutional discrimination against Jews. Due to their Zionism – that is, their “racism” – British Jews are liable to find themselves boycotted, fired, socially, academically and professionally shunned and sued. After all, if they are Zionists, they are evil.

British Jews aren’t the only ones who need to be alarmed by Corbyn’s rise, and the Left’s ever-growing embrace of antisemitism. Israel also needs to be deeply concerned.

Not long ago, Corbyn referred to terrorists from Hamas and Hezbollah as “my friends.” If he becomes British prime minister, not only can Israel expect his government to suspend all security cooperation. Israel can reasonably expect Britain to start funding – and transferring strategically significant information – to Corbyn’s “friends.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The main threat Corbyn poses to Israel stems from Britain’s alliance with the US.

In the century that preceded Trump’s presidency, the British used their close relationship with Washington to diminish US support for Israel. In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks for instance, then British prime minister Tony Blair convinced then-president George W. Bush to limit the scope of his anti-terror campaign to terror groups that didn’t primarily attack Israeli Jews. Due directly to Blair’s intervention, in his September 20, 2001 speech before the joint houses of Congress, Bush declared war on terror organizations “with global reach.”

Thanks to Blair, given the “local” nature of their terror war against Israel, Palestinian terrorists received ever expanding political, military and financial support from the Bush administration.

Indeed, two months after Sept. 11, then secretary of state Colin Powell became the first senior US official to officially express support for Palestinian statehood.

IF CORBYN rises to power while Trump is still in the White House, he will speed up the ongoing radicalization and legitimize the antisemitic trajectory of the Democratic Party. But his immediate effect on US policy towards Israel will be limited.

If, on the other hand, Corbyn serves in parallel to a Democratic president, given the radicalization of the Democratic Party, a Corbyn government will have a poisonous effect on US-Israel relations.

In light of the stakes, Israel needs to work on three levels simultaneously.

First, Israel needs to fight for British Jewry. The Foreign Ministry, and national institutions like the United Israel Appeal, and even regular Israelis on vacation in Britain – need to be as outspoken in criticism of Corbyn as the Jews of Britain are.

There is no point in being diplomatic. If Corbyn forms a government, diplomatic niceties will get us nowhere.

British Jews now courageously fighting Corbyn with everything they have are not being alarmist.

As the three papers noted, until recently, the Labour Party “was the natural home for our community,” but “Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel,” has eroded “its values and integrity.”

Second, Israel needs to prepare for the day after Corbyn wins the next general election. Any longterm strategic projects Israel may have with Britain should be wound down now. New projects should not be initiated.

Israel-based anti-Israel NGOs with ties to the Labour party should be followed very, very closely.

As far as the US is concerned, given the ongoing radicalization of the Democratic party and its ties with Britain’s Labour Party, Israel’s continued strategic dependence on US military aid is looking less and less responsible.

Israel should use Trump’s tenure in office as an opportunity to transform our military dependence into a military partnership. We should exchange aid for US investments in joint weapons research and development projects. By transforming our relationship into a partnership, Israel will minimize the chance that the next Democratic president will feel comfortable walking away from Jerusalem in lockstep the party’s radical grassroots and his or her British counterpart Corbyn.

The growth and escalation of antisemitism in the Western Left is a strategic threat to both Israel and the Jewish communities in Western nations. For the future of Western Jewry and of Israel, we need to recognize the threat and take action to limit its consequences.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Caroline Glick

17 Years Later: Sbarro Bombers Receive $300 K to Kill 15 Jews

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 10:26

Aftermath of the Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada.

Seventeen years after the suicide bombing in Sbarro’s restaurant in Jerusalem left 15 people dead and over 130 injured,  the terrorists who took part in the attack and their families have received a total of $294,332 from the Palestinian Authority. One of the terrorists, sentenced to 16 life sentences, was set free seven years ago.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a watchdog NGO that reports on incitement in the Arab media, reported on the subject on Thursday, precisely 17 years since the attack. On August 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi entered the Sbarro restaurant on the corner of King George and Jaffa Road, one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Jerusalem. Tamimi was scouting for the location that would have the most casualties. She directed Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri into the restaurant where al-Masri detonated an explosive belt weighing 15-20 pounds, containing explosives, nails, nuts, and bolts.  13 Israelis, one pregnant American, and one Brazilian, were killed and 130 were injured. One victim remains hospitalized, in a permanent vegetative state. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Ahlam Tamimi, a 20-year-old female university student and part-time journalist at the time, is a relative of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old girl who was recently released from an Israeli jail after serving eight months for slapping an IDF soldier. Ahlam was sentenced to 16 life sentences for her role in the bombing but was released in October 2011 in exchange for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

PMW reported that al-Masri’s family has received $50,124 from the Palestinian Authority as a reward for his suicide bombing.

Tamimi was paid at least $52,681 during her ten years in jail.

Abdallah Barghouti, who built the explosive belt, was arrested in May 2003, and received 67 life sentences. He has received salary payments from the PA of at least $191,526.

By September 2018, the PA will have cumulatively rewarded Barghouti, Tamimi, and the family of Al-Masri with at least $294,332.

“PA law mandates that every terrorist imprisoned by Israel receive a monthly salary for the full duration of his/her time in prison and often even after his/her release,” PMW wrote. “The PA also pays monthly allowances to the families of terrorist so-called ‘Martyrs.’ By declaring a murderer as a ‘Martyr’, the PA is saying that he did an exemplary act according to Islam, for which he will be rewarded in the afterlife by Allah.”

“PA law conditions any peace agreement with Israel on the release of all the terrorist prisoners, among them the bomb-maker of the Sbarro bombing, Abdallah Barghouti, who in total murdered 67 people.”

Iran Responds to Trump Sanctions by Importing Uranium

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 08:33

Just a few days after President Trump signed an executive order reinstating economic sanctions, Iran announced they will bring back the second batch of uranium that was transferred to Russia as part of the nuclear deal.

Under the nuclear deal signed in 2015, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to export its medium-enriched uranium and all but 660 pounds of its almost nine-ton stockpile of low-enriched uranium. In addition to being used to generate electricity, low-enriched uranium can be further enriched for use in nuclear weapons.

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“When we were inking the nuclear deal, we stopped production of 20% fuel and deposited the excessive fuel in Russia in nearly 10 batches. We received the first batch nearly seven months ago and the second batch is about to be transferred back to Iran. Any of these batches can be used for nearly one year and therefore, we have 20% fuel for Tehran Reactor for at least 7 to 8 years,” a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi said in the semi-official Fars news agency on Saturday.

President Trump pulled out of the JCPOA in May and reinstated some sanctions last Tuesday. More sanctions will be reinstated in November.

Last month, Britain, France, and Germany presented a series of economic guarantees to Iran in an effort to save the JCPOA but it was rejected.

In response to the U.S. reinstating sanctions, Iran has threatened to restart its centrifuges for enriching uranium for a weapons program and last month, they reopened a nuclear power plant that had been idle for nine years.

It was announced last Friday that Iran test-fired a ballistic missile last week. At the same time, Iran ran a large-scale naval exercise in the Gulf of Hormuz. It is believed these two moves were intended as a message to the U.S.

Amazon Pulls ‘Make Israel Palestine Again’ After Outrage

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 07:29

Amazon is no longer selling a T-shirt that reads “Make Israel Palestine Again” amid outrage from consumers and followers of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), a nonprofit that tracks radical Islam.

A screenshot of the “Make Israel Palestine Again” T-shirt that was being sold on Amazon.

Promoted by activists from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the shirts were listed as “In Stock. Ships from and sold by,” as opposed to some merchandise Amazon sells that comes from third parties.

The product, modeled after U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, outraged many IPT readers. “One complained directly to Amazon and said she was assured the T-shirt in question would be removed,” said IPT senior analyst John Rossomando. “The one IPT exposed Tuesday was taken down by late Wednesday evening.”

T-shirts with the same motto were sold on the site until Thursday at noon through a third-party seller using Amazon’s “Merch program,” which allows merchants to create accounts to sell customized T-shirts, an Amazon spokesperson told the IPT. There were no indications that the shirts were from third-party vendors on Tuesday when the IPT selected the “Add to Cart” button.

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“All Merch by Amazon content creators must follow our content policy and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson told the IPT. “The product in question is no longer available.”

Those policies prohibit material that promotes intolerance, hate or violence.

NY Times Pits Crazy Trump Against Level-Headed Advisers

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 02:00

President Trump was not just working against the E.U. in his efforts to reform NATO — he had staff working to finish a key policy agreement out of fear he would blow up the summit and refuse to sign on, according to a story in Friday’s New York Times.

The story is part of a media narrative that Trump’s advisers are quietly smoothing over his crazier instincts – and supposes the president is signing agreements whose content he hasn’t read.

“Senior American national security officials, seeking to prevent President Trump from upending a formal policy agreement at last month’s NATO meeting, pushed the military alliance’s ambassadors to complete it before the forum even began,” wrote Helene Cooper and Julian Barnes.

“The rushed machinations to get the policy done, as demanded by John R. Bolton, the national security adviser … “are a sign of the lengths to which the president’s top advisers will go to protect a key and longstanding international alliance from Mr. Trump’s unpredictable antipathy.”

Usually, this agreement is “subject to intense 11th-hour negotiations,” the Times reported. But because it “came just weeks after Mr. Trump refused to sign off on a communique from the June meeting of the Group of 7 in Canada,” advisers could not take the chance he would do the same in Brussels.

Approval of the communique – “renamed for the meeting as a declaration – was critical for the alliance,” The Times wrote. “It ensured that, despite Mr. Trump’s rhetorical fireworks, NATO diplomats could push through initiatives, including critical Pentagon priorities to improve allied defenses against Russia.”

James Stavridis, a retired four-star general who served as supreme allied commander for Europe, told the Times that the president’s national security team had done “a good job of salvaging a minimally successful outcome to the NATO summit,” but said it is “unfortunate that the president’s apparent personal animus continues to create friction in an alliance that has stood the test of time.”

Bolton sent a message through Kay Bailey-Hutchison, the American ambassador to NATO, saying he wanted to finish the agreement before the president left for Europe. The article cited “five senior American and European officials familiar with the discussions who described them on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the White House.”

The sources said Bolton’s directive pushed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to tell ambassadors “the usual infighting over the summit agreement … had to be dropped.”

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The ministers complied. “Fearful of a repeat of the G-7 disaster – in which Mr. Trump refused to sign off on the joint communique, escalated a trade war and publicly derided Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada – the emissaries from the NATO countries all agreed,” The Times reported.
The Times blames Trump’s bullying for the pace with which the communique took shape, but did not report that his strategy appears to have worked.

Not only did the European states make unprecedented commitments to increasing defense spending, they put together “’the most substantive,”’ according to Jamie Shea, NATO deputy assistant secretary general, and “meatiest,” according to Deborah Lee James, former secretary of the Air Force in the Obama administration, summit in recent memory.

It credited the rush job with winning approval of Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ ‘Four 30s’ initiative – the plan for 30 battalions, air squadrons and combat warships ready to respond within 30 days.

“Many European members of NATO thought Mr. Mattis was being too ambitious in pushing it,” The Times wrote. “But in the rush to get the agreement done before the meeting, the Four 30s initiative was approved.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Accuracy in Media

Despite Ceasefire Southern Border Far From Quiet

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 20:23

Despite Hamas declaring an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Israel’s southern border remained violent over the weekend.

Hamas announced the ceasefire took effect on Thursday at midnight. Less than 12 hours later approximately 9,000 rioters gathered along the security fence between Gaza and Israel on Friday.  The March of Return riots began 20 weeks ago on March 30. The Gazans burned tires, hurled rocks, explosive devices, and firebombs at IDF troops and the security fence. The IDF responded with riot dispersal means.

IDF troops also identified an infiltration attempt into Israel. Suspects infiltrated Israel before returning to the Gaza Strip.

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A number of terrorists hurled a grenade at IDF troops in the northern Gaza Strip. No IDF troops were injured. In response to the violent riots, IDF tanks struck two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip.

Rioters continued sending aerial incendiary devices into Israel, burning more than 7,000 acres to date. A 13-foot kite landed on power lines, causing a power outage in Kibbutz Sufa and surrounding region on Friday. Earlier in the day, an incendiary device ignited a fire in the Nir Am nature reserve. In response, the IDF targeted a cell responsible for launching incendiary balloons in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The Gaza health ministry reported that a Palestinian Arab medic was killed by Israeli fire during the protests.

On Saturday, a flotilla of approximately 40 boats set out from Gaza to challenge the border with Israel. The Israeli navy intercepted the flotilla and fired warning shots. The flotilla turned back.

On Wednesday night, Hamas fired almost 200 projectiles at Israel. The IDF responded by hitting approximately 140 Hamas military targets.

Report: Jeremy Corbyn Honored Munich Terrorists

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 19:21

On Saturday, photos of Jeremy Corbyn, head of Britain’s Labour Party, were published depicting him in 2014 laying a wreath in a Tunisian cemetery on the graves of the Palestinian terrorists who massacred eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

The Daily Mail published the photos, taken during a ceremony honoring the members of Black September.  The Daily Mail claims the photos depict Corbyn in front of a plaque honoring Black September founder Salah Khalaf, his key aide Fakhri al-Omari and Hayel Abdel-Hamid, PLO chief of security. Their graves are adjacent to that of Atef Bseiso. The four are believed to have been assassinated by the Mossad for their involvement in the Munich massacre.

Here’s Jeremy Corbyn, laying a wreath at an event honouring members of Black September, a terrorist group that murdered 11 Israeli athletes in Munich.

— Jimmy Rushmore (@JimmySecUK) August 10, 2018

Sources close to Corbyn insisted he was at the service to commemorate 47 Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike on a Tunisian PLO base in 1985.

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His participation in the ceremony in the Tunisian cemetery is public knowledge and during last year’s general elections, Corbyn was confronted about it.

“I was in Tunisia at a Palestinian conference and I spoke at that Palestinian conference and I laid a wreath to all those that had died in the air attack that took place on Tunis, on the headquarters of the Palestinian organisations there,” Corbyn told the media. “And I was accompanied by very many other people who were at a conference searching for peace. The only way we achieve peace is by bringing people together and talking to them.”

The Daily Mail reported that the monument to the air strike victims is 15 yards from where Corbyn is pictured. The area in which he is seen in the photo is front of a plaque that lies beside the graves of Black September members. Another photo allegedly shows Corbyn joining in Islamic prayers at the graveside. A source close to Corbyn told  The Daily Mail  he was “copying the others out of respect.

“Corbyn and the Labour party have been plagued by accusations of anti-Semitism. Recently, a video surfaced showing Corbyn apparently making a direct comparison between the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe.

EXCLUSIVE – In 2013 @JeremyCorbyn spoke at an event hosted by the Palestinian Return Centre in which he made a direct comparison between Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe during WW2. Watch until the end…

— The Golem (@TheGolem_) August 10, 2018

In the interview with Iranian PressTV, filmed in 2011, Corbyn accused British media of being biased in favor of Israel.

“There’s pressure on the BBC from, probably, [then-BBC director general] Mark Thompson, who seems to me to have an agenda in this respect,” Corbyn said. “There seems to be a great deal of pressure on the BBC from the Israeli government, from the Israeli embassy, and they are very assertive towards all journalists and toward the BBC itself. They challenge every single thing on reporting the whole time.”


Fri, 08/10/2018 - 07:24

To explain the unfolding tragedy of destruction and exile, Yechezkel (Ezekiel) employs a metaphor, portraying Israel as a baby abandoned in the wilderness. Ignored by most, a kind passerby picks her up, protects her and cares for her. Upon her reaching the age of maturity, he marries her. Nevertheless, despite his dedication and affection, the young woman becomes unfaithful. Such has been the relationship between the people of Israel and Hashem (God). He saved them from slavery, cared for them and protected them in the desert, entered into a covenant with them at Mount Sinai and brought them to their own land. In return, though, they betrayed Him and abandoned Him, favoring other gods over their own. Unlike mortal man, however, God does not change His mind. He promises that He will renew His relationship with them in an “everlasting covenant” and return them to their land.

Israel’s Southern Mayors Decry Hamas Ceasefire

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 07:03

Hamas sources claimed an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect at 10:45 p.m. Thursday, but Israeli sources have yet to confirm this.

If it is indeed in place, the ceasefire would end two days of hostilities which saw almost 200 projectiles fired at Israel by Hamas and IDF retaliations which hit more than 140 Hamas military targets. The ceasefire was widely reported in the Arab media but Israeli officials denied that an agreement had been reached. A senior Israeli official told Israel Radio that quiet would be met with quiet.

A ceasefire had been announced earlier on Thursday afternoon but was broken when projectiles were fired into Israel two hours later, hitting Beersheba, 25 miles from the border with Gaza.

Leaders of Israel’s hard-hit southern cities universally rejected a cease-fire agreement with Hamas. Alon Davidi, the mayor of Sderot, called it a “mistake.”

“I understand the desire to enter negotiations, but in my opinion the ceasefire is a mistake,” Davidi said. “We need to a military operation to eradicate this terror. The intermittent war is unhealthy for us and unhealthy for the State of Israel.”

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Gadi Yarkoni, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, was also skeptical of a ceasefire.

“This drawn-out reality of four months of security tension reached its climax yesterday,” he said. “We went through a day of heavy firing on our towns, we had to stop our educational activities as well as cultural and communal events. In the past few hours there is quiet and we hope that the recent tension was ‘going up for the sake of coming down,’ and afterwards we will have an agreement which will guarantee quiet for the long term.”

Tamir Idan, head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council in southern Israel, also rejected a cease-fire agreement with Hamas.

“If we are really talking about a cease-fire, which has not yet been officially confirmed, it is in my opinion a serious mistake, creating a framework in which we have a new normality whereby Hamas controls the fire and decides when to end it,” he said, according to a Walla news report. “We expect sharp, harsh and unequivocal action against Hamas which will end the terrorism in all its forms immediately, and which will allow the residents of the Gaza periphery to return to normal like all other citizens.”

The leaders of Moshav Netiv Ha’asara said the ceasefire was “simply an embarrassment.”

“The place looks like a ghost town this morning,” the council head said. “Because of irresponsible announcements like these most of the families have fled. Only the farmers remain, who cannot leave, and they’ve been told that if they work it will be their responsibility — as if they have any choice — because from their perspective it is do or die.”

Great Israeli Crocodile Crisis?

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 06:32

Is a potential crocodile crisis looming on the horizon? An Israeli man in the West Bank, took possession of several crocodiles in the mid-1990’s to establish a small farm. Due to their rapid breeding there are now hundreds of them. They are a protected species, so can neither be killed for their meat nor their skin. Now there is a question about what he can do with them.

Battle Against Christians On Temple Mount

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 05:57

It is well-known that Jews are restricted from praying on the Temple Mount but a recent encounter illustrated how Christians who revere the site are treated in the same roughshod manner by the Waqf (Islamic Religious Authority). This battle for religious equality will determine whether the Temple Mount will take to its Biblical and prophesied role as a “House of Prayer for all Nations.”

Hayovel, an organization that brings Christian volunteers to work in the vineyards of Samaria, took a group of its volunteers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ben Hilton, the media director for Hayovel, was leading a group of volunteers when he was confronted by a Waqf guard.

“There was one particular Waqf guard who didn’t take kindly to us talking about the Beit Hamikdash (Jewish Temple) on the Temple Mount,” Hilton told Breaking Israel News. “We were talking about the sanctuary and what the experience was like.”

The guard approached Hilton and told him, “You have to respect the place.”

He then insisted they leave but Hilton calmly refused.

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Posted by Caleb Waller on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

“We have quite a bit of experience and we know that the Waqf gives us a hard time but the police have the real authority,” Hilton said. “We got them involved and they were amazing in handling the situation. The Waqf wanted to kick us off but the police let us stay up for a good long time after the confrontation.”

Caleb Waller, director of public relations for Hayovel, was with the group on the Temple Mount.

“It was really amazing to witness,” Caleb told Breaking Israel News. “The Waqf guard slapped a cell phone out of the hand of one of the volunteers because he was recording the encounter. Ben told me that he was full of love for the Waqf guard throughout the encounter, that he understood the guard was a victim of circumstances. That’s really the kind of energy that should be brought to such a holy place, not hatred or anger. And you could see that it is precisely the energy that is needed to be on the Temple Mount because the Waqf guard was really scared of Ben.”

As a response to the encounter, the volunteers joined together for a selfie video in which they declared “Har Habayit B’Yadenu” (The Temple Mount is in our hands). This was the declaration made by the IDF troops after conquering the site in the 1967 Six-Day War. The phrase, famous in Israel as a stirring declaration that the Jews’ 2,000 year dream had been fulfilled, took on a different meaning when shouted by the Christian volunteers.

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Posted by Caleb Waller on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

“We for sure recognize the Temple Mount as the location of the Temple,” Hilton said. “For God’s presence to be there, the Jewish people need sovereignty. This would benefit all faiths and all people. When we go up, we not only experience the beginnings of God’s presence and imagine what could be there but we also go to represent that we recognize that Jewish sovereignty.”

It is interesting to note that their enthusiasm for the Temple Mount has led the Muslim and Israeli authorities to place the same restrictions on them as they do on Jewish visitors to the site.

“When we go up, we are treated as a Jewish group by the police and the Waqf,” Hilton said. “It may be because we dress modestly, like the Jews who visit the site, and we talk about the Temple while we are up there. So now we get a police escort and the Waqf watches us to make sure we don’t pray. To the Waqf, it is the same thing. They don’t care if we are Christian or Jewish. Anyone who honors the site as the Temple Mount is a threat to what they are trying to do up there.”

“Many people don’t realize that the ban is not just on Jewish prayer but on any non-Muslim prayer,” Hilton explained. “They tell us that when we go up. It isn’t just a Muslim conflict with Israel. The ban is specifically against the place becoming a House of Prayer for All Nations.”

Despite the conflict brewing on Israel’s southern border and the threats in the north, Waller feels the real conflict is for the Temple Mount, the heart of Israel.

“We aren’t fighting against flesh and blood,” Walller explained. “There is a spiritual battle for the Temple Mount but not against Muslims,” Waller said. “We had a little bit of a rough experience with the Waqf but we also feel very blessed that we are living in a time when there is actually Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount. It is clear that God’s plan centers on that place and it is going to happen soon.”

Elul: ‘A Month of Reflection and Prayer’

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 02:33

During Elul, the 12th month of the Jewish calendar that leads to the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, prayer becomes evermore important to the Jewish people. During this time, Jewish academics and Rabbis say that prayer has a special ability to effect change in one’s life – especially in the land of Israel.

“Elul is a month of reflection and prayer specifically geared toward repentance and heading toward Yom Kippur,” said Rabbi Dov Lipman, former Knesset member and Judaic studies teacher.

The traditions of Elul date back to Moses’ time. After destroying the first set of tablets that contained the 10 Commandments, when Moses saw the scene of the golden calf, he went back onto Mount Sinai. This was on the first day of Elul when he pleaded to God for forgiveness for himself and his people.

“He was there for 40 days begging for forgiveness and those 40 days lead us to Yom Kippur, on which forgiveness was granted,” Lipman told Breaking Israel News. “These 40 days from that moment are entrenched and cemented as days of prayer but specifically prayer for forgiveness, because that’s what Moses was doing.”

As such, there are numerous customs and ritual laws that have developed over time, including waking up early in Sephardi (Jews of both Spanish and Eastern origin) communities in Israel and chanting selichot, special prayers asking for forgiveness. In all synagogues, there are extra prayers during this time. Also, Jews blow the shoar during the month of Elul, a visceral call to repentance.

According to Rabbi Daniel Sperber, spiritual leader and teacher of Talmud and Jewish custom, blowing the shofar acts as a non verbal prayer, expressing the innermost the needs of one’s soul.

“Sometimes, we don’t really know what we want and it is difficult to verbalize requests,”  

Sperber told Breaking Israel News. The Rambam (Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon/Maimonides), he said, interprets the blowing of the shofar differently, as a call-to-action for each person to “wake up” and examine his or her own behaviors, through introspection of one’s actions and thoughts and “leaving your evil ways and inclinations so as to come closer to the Creator.”

During the month of Elul, one can walk the streets of Israel and hear Sephardic Jews chanting out loud the prayers for forgiveness and blowing the shofar.  

Lipman said that the High Holidays in Israel are especially holy because the entire nation – no matter their level of faith and observance – seems to repent and come closer to God, elevating the entire society during the months of Elul and Tishrei, the first month of the Jewish year.

“It envelops me and enhances my high holiday experience,” he said.

Similarly, Sperber referred to the Jewish concept of kedushat hamakom (sanctity of space) and kedushat hazman (sanctity of time) to explain the importance of prayer during this time in Israel.

“There is in Jewish thought a hierarchy, a spectrum of sanctity, based in the Mishnah (oral Torah) that says there are 10 degrees of sanctity, beginning with the land of Israel,” he said. “It says there is a greater closeness between man and his Creator in the land of Israel, and even more so in Jerusalem.”

Prayer, said Sperber, is one of the means by which people attempt to connect with the Creator and that connection is made easier to facilitate in a more sanctified places.

Likewise, Judaism has notions that different times have different statuses, such as Yom Kippur – the most sanctified time – in addition to Shabbat and then festivals. “We have special prayers that express that degree of sanctity and different sacrifices for different days that expressed in sacrificial terms the special status of the days.”

While this month and the following holidays take on a special significance in the land of Israel, prayer is also highly personal and can affect change in one’s life.

“Prayer enables a person not to feel alone,” explained Lipman. Rather, there is a force one can turn to even if they do not understand that force. “It’s a feeling of knowing there is a higher being that cares and has an interest and ability to intervene and help. And that gives a person an ability to live with hope, never to reach a point of despondency and helplessness, and also a feeling of happiness.”

The message of Elul is perfectly characterized by an acronym from Song of Songs ‘Ani L’dodi v’dodi li,’ (I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me). “We use this verse for couples and love, referring to a feeling of happiness and joy that there’s a being that I can turn to and can be of help in my repentance process,” said Lipman.

Similarly, Sperber maintained that the acronym is trying to explain that in this particular period of time, one should be an attempt at a closer relationship between oneself and God.

“I am striving to create some relationship or connection with my creator and we are assured that if we do so, there will be a reciprocal relationship,” he said. “So if we pray to God, praise Him, thank Him and also make requests, we assume we will be answered.”