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Shevach Family, Civil Administration Clash Over Burial Site for Terror Victim

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 00:30

A day after Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot and killed by Palestinian terrorists on Route 60, adjacent to Havat Gilad, residents of the community said Wednesday that they would bury the 35-year-old father of six  inside the community, despite the lack of a cemetery in the town.

Shevach’s widow, Yael, asked “all Jews” to attend the funeral, and said her husband had asked to be buried in Havat Gilad in the event that something should happen to him.

“We decided as a family to bury my beloved husband Raziel – may God avenge his blood! – in Havat Gilad, where he lived. This is what Raziel wanted if something happened to him… We will honour his request and bury him in the town he loved so much,” she said.

The Civil Administration, which maintains jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria, opposes the move, largely because Israeli authorities never granted approval for the construction of the town, which was established in 2002 in memory of Gilad Zar, a security coordinator of the Samaria Regional Council who had been murdered the previous year. The town has been a point of contention between residents and the Israeli government since its founding, and Israeli authorities have promised American officials in the past to demolish the town and to evict the residents.

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Nevertheless, local authorities said the murder of Shevach should present an opportunity for the government to grant authorisation to the community.

“I call on Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to accede to the family’s request and to allow the victim to be buried at Havat Gilad,” said Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan. “This is the time to register Havat Gilad as a legitimate community with the Israel Land Authority. That would be the real answer to terrorism.”

Dagan said that Shevach deserves to be buried in the town “that he loved so much and in which he was so active.

“On such a terrible day for the family, for the Samaria community and for the Jewish people, the correct answer to these base terrorists who tried to drive us out [of this land] by murdering a Jew – the correct response today would be to ratify plans and to grant full recognition to the town of Havat Gilad,” Dagan said.

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Herzog Offers Temple Mount to Saudis If Labor Wins Next Elections

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 00:00

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog promised the Saudi website Elaph that his Labor Party and its allies would topple the right-wing Netanyahu government and lead to a two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority. He appealed to the Arabs, led by Saudi Arabia, to work on breaking the impasse in the peace process, because—he intimated—the Israeli people are ready for peace.

And, pointing out that there are new and creative solutions and ideas on Jerusalem, the former Labor Party chairman invited Saudi Arabia to assume a special status in running the Holy Places in Jerusalem, and interpreted President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem to mean that “the limits of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are determined by negotiations.”

Herzog called on the international community to take an example from the Jordanian King which is hosting one million Syrian refugees, despite his country’s economic condition. He also praised the positions of the Saudi Crown Prince and the Emirati leaders and described them as impressive and emotional. He praised Prince Mohammed bin Salman as one of the revolutionaries of the Middle East, who are forging a new history in the region.

Herzog speaks Arabic fluently, cares about what is going on in the Arab world, and plans to seek the post of Foreign Minister, should Avi Gabai, his successor at the helm of the Labor Party, win the next elections – which today is not supported by a single public opinion poll. But, electoral realities aside, Herzog described his dream of forging a new reconciliation coalition with countries that have a common interest with Israel in confronting Iran: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

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He does not see Israel’s relations with the Palestinian Authority as necessarily preventing such a coalition, and restates his commitment to a two-state solution. He also insists that Jewish settlements don’t have to be evacuated to make peace possible, and instead he expects that a series of confidence-building steps with the PA would lead to cooperation with Ramallah (which, presumably, would later move its offices to eastern Jerusalem) as part of a major alliance in the region with Israel.

Herzog described how close he had been to joining the Netanyahu coalition government in 2016: “I admit that I was prepared to sacrifice my political future,” he says. “This is what happened. I faced my political camp (which I had been close to leading to winning against Netanyahu), because I do not want to shed more blood, because there was a golden opportunity and a hope for the two peoples, this is what I believe so far.”

“But after we reached a near-agreement with Netanyahu and had met day after day at his home in Jerusalem in May 2016, there was strong opposition from our camps. I do not want to mention the name of the minister close to Netanyahu who blocked the agreement. I know that the representatives of the settlers in the Likud party brought Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) into the government.

“At one meeting, Netanyahu brought that minister in, and after he was briefed on the terms of the agreement, the regional track and the solution with the Palestinians, which included a settlement freeze and other measures, the minister told [Netanyahu] that the settlers and their representatives in the ruling party in the government ‘will not let you do this, and they will drop out of your government.’ Then, Netanyahu began to backtrack on the points we agreed on. In practice, the coalition agreement was aborted and the regional track was killed.”

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Ancient Egyptian Monastery Closed and Christmas Canceled

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 00:00

Local authorities decided to close down the Saint Catherine Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on January 5 and January 6, when Christmas church services are held according to the Coptic Orthodox calendar.[i]   The general directorate of tourist police further ordered all tourist companies not to lead tours to the historic monastery.

Although the official reason for temporarily closing down the building and canceling Christmas is due to the establishment of a plan for the development of the surrounding area as befits a World Heritage Site, it is believed that the order came as a precautionary safeguard against Islamic terrorists targeting the site and any foreign tourists visiting it during the Christmas holiday.

Built in the mid-sixth century, the Saint Catherine Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the world; additionally, it has the oldest continuously operating library in existence, with many precious manuscripts.

Although surrounded by high, thick walls, the Christian site has increasingly come under terror threats, particularly as the Sinai Peninsula is a hotbed of jihadi activity, where Coptic Christians are openly persecuted and sometimes slaughtered.

The monastery was targeted last April, when unknown gunmen opened fire on an Egyptian police checkpoint guarding it, killing one policeman and wounding four.  The Islamic State later claimed the attack.

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Notes:

[i] Because of most Orthodox Churches, including the Coptic Church, observe Christmas on January 7, church services are held the night before, on January 6, into midnight January 7.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

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ISAIAH 58:10

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 08:06

The Prophet Isaiah speaks to the children of Israel and urges them to live a more moral life in which they take responsibility for the downtrodden and needy within their communities. Despite the bleak times during which Isaiah makes his prophecies, he always speaks of a brighter future in which the people merit to return to the Land of Israel and live peacefully. The images described in Isaiah remain a focus of Israel’s consciousness. Although the prophecy of the Jewish return to the Land of Israel is being fulfilled, many of God’s children living in the land are living in poverty. According to Israel’s Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 5 Israeli children is living in poverty and does not have enough food to eat. As the Prophet Isaiah reminds us in the above verse, it is our Biblical responsibility to feed the poor.

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Was 2017 Record Year of Disasters a Famed Mystic’s Final Pre-Messiah Warning?

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 07:28

The past year was declared by the US government to be the worst on record for natural disasters, an alarming fact in itself, but a closer look shows that the data conform to a prophecy made 12 years ago by Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, in which he predicted an age of natural disasters intended to drive American Jews back to Israel in time for the Messiah.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Monday that 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for natural disasters.  They recorded 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States, including 1 drought, 2 major floodings, 1 major freeze event, 8 severe storms, 3 tropical cyclones, and 1 major wildfire. Overall, these events resulted in 362 deaths. The average number of annual catastrophic events in the past five years was 11.6, double the annual average in the 35 preceding years. The cumulative damage of these events totaled $306.2 billion, shattering the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion.

The NOAA also identified 710 natural catastrophes around the globe, significantly higher than the annual average of 605. The organization found that the disasters those in the United States were by far the most costly, accounting for roughly half of all insurance payouts.

Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri (Photo by Flash90)

This report echoes a prophetic declaration made by a famed mystic 12 years ago. One month before Yom Kippur in 2005 and just a few months before his death, Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, the most famous Kabbalist (mystic) in Israel at the time, announced to his thousands of followers that the world was about to enter a period of increased natural disasters, explaining that these disasters would be directly related to the geula (redemption) process.

“This declaration I find fitting to issue for all of the Jews of the world to hear,” the rabbi said to the thousands gathered at his Jerusalem seminary. “It is incumbent upon them to return to the Land of Israel due to terrible natural disasters which threaten the world. In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will bring about great disasters in the countries of the world to sweeten the judgments of the Land of Israel.”

“I am ordering the publication of this declaration as a warning so that Jews in the countries of the world will be aware of the impending danger and will come to the Land of Israel for the building of the Temple and revelation of our righteous Mashiach (Messiah),” Rabbi Kaduri concluded.

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A few weeks later, he reiterated this statement. During the meal after the Yom Kippur fast, Rabbi Kaduri was asked by a reporter from Israel National News why Jews who live outside Israel should make aliyah (immigrate to the Holy land, literally ‘to go up’). The rabbi replied, “Because of the imminent danger”.

Rabbi Kaduri then quoted a verse in Deuteronomy.

For your own sake, therefore, be most careful since you saw no shape when Hashem your God spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Deuteronomy 4:15

According to his son, Rabbi Yosef Kaduri, his father was referring to a known esoteric concept of a “struggle between the oceans,” and said that the large ocean [Ha’okeanus ha’gadol] would strike the world. These disasters, the rabbi explained, were focused on the Jews of America.

It was also at that time, during the afternoon prayers of Yom Kippur, that the rabbi, who was 104 years old at the time, went into a deep meditative state, causing great concern among his students. After 45 minutes, the rabbi lifted his head and smiled, announcing, “The soul of the moshiach (Messiah) has attached himself to a person in Israel.”

If the natural disasters of the past year were a pre-Messianic message then the extreme weather pounding the globe right now must be an emphatic postscript intended to drive the message home. Winter weather has struck hard in many European countries, causing major flooding in France and Germany while many usually-balmy areas in Spain were iced in. The southern hemisphere was equally extreme with Australia recording one of the hottest Decembers in history.

But, like the disasters of 2017, the focus of this month’s extreme weather was on the US. Hit by what has been dubbed an Arctic blast bomb cyclone, parts of the central and eastern US experienced one of their coldest months on record.On Monday, weather advisories were in place for more than a dozen states, affecting 70 million people.

In December, Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a noted Kabbalist, addressed the growing global phenomenon of natural disasters, echoing the words of Rabbi Kaduri.

“All the disasters of nature are done by the Messiah,” Rabbi Ben Artzi said in his weekly sermon. “Messiah came to purify the world of impurity. Messiah hates lewdness; Messiah will not descend from heaven and will not come from abroad. Messiah is an ordinary man, born of a woman, who has a wife and children. Messiah is a man of God, a man of peace, love and mercy and purifies the world. This generation has won!”

Rabbi Ben Artzi emphasized that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem was one of the final steps in preparing Israel for the Third Temple and a message to the Jews still in Exile.

“The Creator says to the Jews abroad, ‘Please, leave the  galut (exile) a4nd come to settle the Holy Land. Stop playing with me’”, Rabbi Ben Artzi said. “One day I will be serious with you and nothing will help you. Like every child born – brings the blessing to home and family, so every new immigrant who comes to Israel – brings the blessing to the Holy Land.”

Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, who teaches about Geula on the Land of Israel radio network, notes that nature is God’s way of speaking to mankind and these extreme disasters bear a timely message.

“Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) is one with the Universe itself and access to the divine can be found in nature and can be sensed in the awe and wonder of creation,” Rabbi Gimpel said to Breaking Israel News, citing Psalms to emphasize his point.

In his hand are the depths of the earth and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” Psalm 95:4

“The Torah teaches us that Hashem communicates to us through nature, through rain or drought in The Land of Israel,” Rabbi Gimpel said.  “The unprecedented natural disasters and unparalleled phenomena we are seeing around the globe now must inspire us to ask, what is going on, why now, and what does this mean for the world?”

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Morning “Thanksgiving” Prayer Proven to be Healthful

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 03:38

When “The West Wing” and “Scandal” Jewish actor Joshua Malina recently posted on his Twitter account that every morning he wakes up saying the Hebrew prayer for Thanksgiving, Modeh Ani, he was doing more than sharing his personal life. He was sharing valuable life advice for health and productivity. Malina wrote, “I say the Modeh Ani first thing every morning; that way every day is Thanksgiving.”

The Modeh Ani prayer should be the first thing a person says upon waking up in the morning. “Saying Modeh Ani to start one’s day sets the tone for the rest of the day,” explained Roni Segal, academic adviser for The Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, a company which teaches Hebrew language and Biblical studies online, told Breaking Israel News. “It’s a special, yet unique prayer in that God’s name is not mentioned as the prayer is said when one is still in bed and just waking up. A person is not yet in a presentable state to say God’s holy name.”

The morning prayer is:

מוֹדָה|מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ

רוּחַ חַי וְקַיָּם

שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה

רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ

Modeh Ani Lefanecha

Melech Chai Vekayam

Shehechezarta Be Nishmati Bechemla;

Rabba Emunatecha.

I offer thanks to You,

living and eternal King,

for You have mercifully restored my soul within me;

Your faithfulness is great.

Saying this prayer as soon as one opens his eyes in the morning sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. This “prayer of gratitude” is recognition that God chose to restore one’s soul back into his body for a higher purpose.

“Traditionally, sleep is considered 1/60 of death where one’s soul leaves their body,” continued Segal. “This prayer builds an appreciation in us that God felt we were worthy of another day of life in order to do tikun olum-fixing the world and making it a better place.”  

Donna Gates, Advanced Fellow with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, writes on her webpage, “Our thoughts create our experiences… just the act of focusing with gratitude on the fact that you are alive and then using those positive thoughts to create a happy, productive day could calm your mind and create energy for your day ahead.”

Neuroscience concurs. Research shows that your mood in the morning affects your productivity all day. “That is one of the great benefits of starting one’s day with the gratitude prayer,” notes Segal. “One recognizes that they are alive for a greater purpose. They fill themselves with the hope that God returned them to this day because He has faith in them.”

Bestselling author Dan Pink writes, “Purpose is, ‘Am I doing something in service of a cause larger than myself, or, at the very least, am I making a contribution in my own world?’”

Purpose actually can increase one’s lifespan. Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan did a 7-year study of over 43,000 adults age 40 to 79. They asking participants if they had meaning in their life. 95 percent of those who responded “yes” were alive 7 years later, as opposed to 83 percent of participants who reported no sense of meaning in their lives.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb notes in his book, “The Upward Spiral”, that gratitude affects the brain in the same way as the antidepressant Wellbutrin, which increases dopamine in the brain and Prozac, which increases serotonin in the brain.

He writes, “Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.”

“Saying Modeh Ani brings our first conscious moment of the day into perspective, that life is a God-given gift with a purpose,” said Segal. “What we did yesterday doesn’t matter as much as today. God has shown that we are worthy of His trust to use today in the best way possible.”

To learn more about Biblical Hebrew, please visit here.

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US State Department Pushes Israel to Ban Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 03:30

The US State Department’s annual report on religious freedoms, released on Thursday, focused much attention on Jerusalem, calling for the Israeli government to strengthen the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.

“The U.S. Ambassador and embassy officers spoke with government officials and Knesset leaders about the importance of maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and not escalating tensions through provocative actions or statements,” the report read, referring to the Temple Mount by its Arabic name.

The “status quo” is an understanding among religious communities with respect to religious sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and was first established by the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. Under the Muslim Ottomans, Jerusalem was divided into four quarters and the Temple Mount became a Muslim holy place, ignoring the Jewish connection to the site. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as other various Christian sites were recognized as belonging to the Christian world.

“Despite the Israeli government’s policy prohibiting non-Muslim worship at the site, some Jewish groups escorted by Israeli police at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount performed religious acts such as prayers and prostration,” the report stated.

Though Israeli law mandates religious equality, the Israeli police cite security concerns and the possibility of a violent Muslim reaction to justify preventing non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount.

Though also relevant to Christians, the ban on prayer focuses on Jews. Hours for Jewish visitation to the site are limited and Jews may only enter the site in small groups. Visitors undergo rigorous security checks and religious items are prohibited. Jewish groups are accompanied by both Israeli police and Waqf (Muslim authority) guards who ensure that visitors do not pray or show any signs of devotion.

Muslims normally have unrestricted access to the site, though during outbreaks of violence, the Israeli police will restrict entry to women and older men. Muslims do not undergo any security checks at the site.

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“Incidents of attempted Jewish prayer at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount increased from previous years, according to local NGOs, media, and Jewish Temple Mount movement groups, and occurred on a near-weekly basis. During Jewish holidays, such as Passover, Tisha B’Av, and Sukkot, tens of Jewish Temple Mount activists engaged in prayer on the site. In most cases, Israeli police acted to prevent them from praying and removed them, but in other cases, some of which were documented on social media in photos and videos, the police appeared not to notice the acts of prayer.”

The report referred to Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem as “occupied territories”. These areas are part of Biblical Israel but are considered disputed territories under some interpretations of international law.

The report described Palestinian terrorist attacks as possible violations of religious freedoms.

“Because religion and ethnicity were often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize much of this violence as being solely based on religious identity,” the report explained.

While calling for a total Muslim monopoly on the Temple Mount, the report reproached Israel for not allowing non-Orthodox prayer in the Orthodox prayer section of the Western Wall.

“In meetings with government officials, embassy officers stressed the importance of religious pluralism and respect for non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. The Israeli government did not implement a cabinet agreement reached in January to establish a Reform, Conservative, and mixed gender prayer platform along a separate portion of the Western Wall,” the report said. “Reform, Conservative, and women’s Jewish groups including some Orthodox Jewish women’s groups lobbied for the proposal, whereas ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious leaders and political figures continued to oppose the plan.”

The report also praised the efforts of US Ambassador David Friedman to promote interfaith understanding.

“Embassy-hosted events, including an interfaith Ramadan iftar and an interfaith Thanksgiving dinner, promoted the reduction of tensions between religious communities and an increase in interreligious communication and partnership within society by bringing together representatives of many faith communities to advance shared goals and exchange knowledge and experience,” the report said.

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The Ugly Truth Behind Destroying Jewish Houses In Judea

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 03:04

This short video shows the real story of the ongoing destruction of Jewish homes in Judea, just ten minutes from Jerusalem in Nativ HaAvot. In another six weeks, 15 families will be left without a roof over their heads. One of these families currently has three sons serving in combat positions in the IDF and very soon, they won’t have a home. All because of less than three feet of land which is legally considered ownerless. The very same Israeli judge who ordered this destruction also prevented the IDF from destroying the house of a Palestinian murderer, ordering them instead to seal off one room, because “a house is a precious thing to a family”.

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What We Get For the Hundreds of Millions We Give To Terrorists

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 02:00

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” President Trump tweeted. “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

The President of the United States has a very good point. But it’s not as if the Islamic terrorists in the West Bank and Gazan territories of Israel have ever been willing to do more than occasionally talk peace before getting bored and stomping away from the table. And then stabbing a few children to death.

The United States has paid the PLO’s Palestinian Authority billions to occasionally pretend to talk about peace. There isn’t a dollar amount high enough to get the terrorists to actually agree to peace.

We know two things about the terrorist leader who will succeed Arafat and Abbas. His name will start with an ‘A’ and like Arafat and Abbas, he’ll wait around for the perfect moment in a peace negotiation with a lefty president before, as Arafat did to Clinton and Abbas did to Obama, breaking it all up.

And that’s one of the priceless things that the fake terror statelet of the Palestinian Authority gives us for our hundreds of millions of dollars. Every decade its leader will lead on a lefty and then leave him at the altar. It may cost us another few billion, but somewhere around 2026, President Cory Booker will be certain that he’s finally solved the Palestinian problem only to sit there confused with egg on his face.

Is that worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year? Maybe not. But it’s also a good lesson to lefties that they don’t understand the Muslim world and that no matter how hard they try, they never will.

But that’s not all that we get for our money.

The peace process with the PLO was the original test case for the Arab Spring and the Iran Deal. All three were founded on the same stupid belief that if you give the terrorists almost everything they want, they won’t kill you. Every year that passes shows that no matter what you give them, the terrorists will kill you. Bribing killers don’t work. Meeting their demands is impossible because there are always more.

If we had paid more attention to Arafat’s lying smirk, maybe we wouldn’t have fallen for the Arab Spring or the Iran Deal. And that’s another thing that the terrorists give us in exchange for all our hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The Palestinian Authority is a living museum of terrorist treachery. Its peace negotiations are an ongoing demonstration of the folly of appeasing terrorists.

Most small children learn not to put their hands on a hot stove at a very young age. Unfortunately, none of them become politicians. And so every time a new president starts thinking about appeasing Islamic terrorists by letting them take over Egypt or develop nuclear weapons, he can test his terrorist appeasement theories in the confines of the smaller sandbox of the West Bank and Gaza.

Decades of testing have thus far produced no peace and no smarter politicians. After a few hundred years of peace negotiations, there still won’t be any peace. But maybe there will be smarter politicians.

Of the two impossible things in this scenario, smarter politicians are more plausible than nicer terrorists.

If we can just keep the peace process going for another few centuries, maybe our distant descendants will finally figure out that appeasing terrorists really don’t work. Not even if you offer them parts of Jerusalem, freeze settlements and agree to build a giant statue of Mohammed’s flying demon horse.

But that’s not all that we get from the hundreds of millions of dollars that we lavish on terrorist welfare.

Consider the arts.

The PLO’s takeover of the territories in ’67 Israel unleashed an unprecedented burst of artistic creativity. There’s hardly a gray concrete wall anywhere in Ramallah that isn’t decorated with murals of a smiling Arafat beaming down on the wretched suckers he spent his life ripping off. And then there are the posters of the suicide bombers, the ritual burnings of American flags and the Jihadist poetry readings.

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“Our blood is food for the revolution/Yasser Arafat, for you, we shall die” and “Sons of Zion, most evils among creation/barbaric apes and wretched ‎pigs” are examples of the arts that we subsidize. And while those poems may sound pretty horrible, they’re still better than what we get for our money at the NEA.

And then there’s the pioneering technological research being carried out by top PLO scientists.

Before the Car Jihad could be efficiently deployed on the streets of New York, Nice, Barcelona, and London, it was field tested by expert Palestinian researchers in Jerusalem. Suicide bombings, airline hijackings and many of the other tools of the modern Islamic terrorist were refined in the PLO lab.

The hundreds of millions of dollars we spend each year funding the PLO is an investment in new terror tools and techniques. The terrorists of tomorrow are counting on us to fund their research. And every dollar we give the Palestinian Authority is an investment in helping the terrorists kill us in new and interesting ways. The possibilities are as horrifying as they are endless.

Back in ’04, a member of the PLO’s Fatah faction tried to build an AIDS bomb.

Rami Abdullah, an engineering student, wanted to blow himself up while carrying blood from a donor infected with AIDS. “After a period, it will kill a lot of people,” he explained.

Abdullah has already promised that if he gets out, he’ll try to live the dream of building an AIDS bomb.

An AIDS bomb plot by Tanzim, the most violent terror arm of the Palestinian Authority, was planned over Passover back then. But the lab Jihadis never figured out how to make it work. One day though, if we keep funding them, they might figure it out. And then we too can enjoy AIDS bombs in our cities.

And isn’t that worth a mere few hundred million dollars a year?

We could stop funding terrorists. Also, we could stop smoking, running full tilt through glass doors and finally pull off that New Year’s resolution to stop drinking antifreeze. Those would all be good ideas. And they would make us safer and happier. So you can expect Washington D.C. to reject them out of hand.

The experts are convinced that if we don’t fund the terrorists, they’ll behave even worse. So far we haven’t actually tested this theory. No one wants to find out what they can come up with that’s worse than an AIDS bomb.

But if anyone in Washington D.C. can stop doing that stupid thing all the experts insist we need to do, it’s President Trump. And so just maybe this can be the year we stop running into glass doors, drinking antifreeze and funding terrorists. We may lose out on some Arafat murals and AIDS bombs, but the Americans who are regularly killed every year by Palestinian Islamic terrorists will thank him for it.

And if not, we can always look forward to President Elizabeth Warren being humiliated by President Ahmed of the PLO as he walks away from the table despite being offered 99% of Israel and Netanyahu’s first-born son. And then unleashes toddler stone throwers and AIDS suicide bombers across Jerusalem.

Because that’s what we get for our hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s all we’ll ever get from the PLO.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

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Israeli Diamond-Backed Digital Currency Coming This Year

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 01:30

Israel’s Diamond Exchange is to issue a digital token backed by diamond reserves for trading the precious gems, Eli Avidar, the Managing Director of the Israel Diamond Institute said Monday during a debate on regulation of cryptocurrencies at the Knesset Finance Committee.

“There is massive potential in Israel in everything that has to do with the field of cryptocurrencies, but we’re losing that potential,” Avidar told the committee. The Israel Diamond Exchange will issue a digital currency for the diamond sector that will render the need for cash obsolete. It will be a digital currency in which every transaction will be recognized and backed by diamond purchases.”

MK Yitzhak Herzog, who initiated the debate said “Israel must address cryptographic, virtual and digital coins.”

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“The Bank of Israel appointed a committee to address the issue in 2014, but it hasn’t amounted to anything,” Herzog added.

The current state of Bitcoin and other crypto-related assets in the eyes of Israeli regulators is that they are not considered currency, but rather as assets, and are taxed as such. A major portion of the discussion was dedicated to whether or not they should be considered currency as opposed to taxable securities.

Let it be clear, the Financial Committee began dealing with this issue and we’re demanding that the regulators speed up their efforts to formulate a position on the matter,’ said chairman of the committee MK Moshe Gafni, ‘There may be large scale economic potential here. In any case, the train already left the station and a fast position formulation process is needed.’

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Trump Kicks America’s Palestinian Habit

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 01:00

It was probably a coincidence that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hailed the Iranian anti-regime protesters and threatened to end US financial support for UNRWA – the UN Palestinian refugee agency – and the Palestinian Authority more generally in the same briefing. But they are integrally linked.

It is no coincidence that Hamas is escalating its rocket attacks on Israel as the Iranian regime confronts the most significant domestic challenge it has ever faced.

As IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said this week, Iranian assistance to Hamas is steadily rising. Last August, Hamas acknowledged that Iran is its greatest military and financial backer. In 2017, Iran transferred $70 million to the terrorist group.

Eisenkot said that in 2018, Iran intends to transfer $100m. to Hamas.

If Iran is Hamas’s greatest state sponsor, UNRWA is its partner. UNRWA is headquartered in Gaza. It is the UN’s single largest agency. It has more than 11,500 employees in Gaza alone. UNRWA’s annual budget is in excess of $1.2 billion. Several hundred million each year is spent in Gaza.

The US is UNRWA’s largest funder. In 2016, it transferred more than $368m. to UNRWA.

For the past decade, the Center for Near East Policy Research has copiously documented how UNRWA in Gaza is not an independent actor. Rather it is an integral part of Hamas’s regime in Gaza.

UNRWA underwrites the jihadist regime by paying for its school system and its healthcare system, among other things. Since 1999, UNRWA employees have repeatedly and overwhelmingly elected Hamas members to lead their unions.

In every major missile campaign Hamas has carried out against Israel since the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, UNRWA facilities have played key roles in its terrorist offensives. Missiles, rockets, and mortars have been stored in and fired from UNRWA schools and clinics.

UNRWA teachers and students have served as human shields for Hamas missile launches against Israel.

UNRWA ambulances have been used to ferry weapons, including mortars, and terrorists.

UNRWA officials have served as Hamas mouthpieces in their propaganda war against Israel.

In the UNRWA school curriculum, the overwhelming message in nearly every class, and nearly every textbook is that students should seek martyrdom in jihad against Israel. They should strive to destroy the Jewish state.

Hamas’s youth group, which provides children’s military training and jihadist indoctrination, gathers at UNRWA schools.

Despite repeated demands by the US Congress and the passage of US laws requiring UNRWA to bar Hamas members from working for the agency, UNRWA administrators have insisted for more than a decade that they have no way to conduct such screening. Yet rather than cut off US funding for the agency, successive US administrations have increased funding for UNRWA every year.

Given all of this, Hamas is comfortable using Iran’s $100m. to build attack tunnels and missile launchers, because it trusts that the US and other UNRWA donor countries will continue to underwrite its regime through UNRWA.

If the US cuts off its assistance, then at least some of Iran’s money will have to be diverted to teachers’ salaries.

Hamas’s recently escalating rocket attacks on Israel may be happening because Iran wishes to deflect international attention away from its plan to brutally suppress the anti-regime protesters at home.

So the more Hamas is financially squeezed by the US and other UNRWA funders, the more likely any Hamas-Iran war plans being advanced now will be placed on the back burner.

So whether or not Haley realized it, her statement on cutting off US funding to Hamas strengthened the anti-regime protesters against the regime.

Those protesters, of course, are demanding that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his henchmen stop raiding Iran’s treasury to finance Hezbollah, Hamas and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.

Haley’s comments, as well as President Donald Trump’s follow-on threat to end US funding of the PA, were more than a blow to Hamas. They marked the end of the past 25 years of US-Palestinian relations.

For the past generation, the bipartisan position of all US administrations has been that the US must support the Palestinians unconditionally. The Obama administration did not differ from George W. Bush’s administration on that score. The main difference between the Obama and Bush administrations was Obama’s hostility toward Israel, not his knee-jerk support for the Palestinians.

The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations provided the Palestinians unstinting and unconditional support, despite the fact that the Palestinians never abided by any of their expectations. They never embraced the cause of peace. Indeed, the supposedly moderate ruling Fatah faction that controls the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, and has accepted billions of dollars in US aid since 1994, doesn’t even recognize Israel’s right to exist. Fatah remains deeply involved in committing terrorism.

And the Fatah-controlled PA has sponsored, incited, financed and rewarded terrorists and terrorism since it was established under US sponsorship in 1994.

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When the Palestinians last voted for their governmental representatives in 2006, they flummoxed Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice by electing Hamas to run their affairs. Rather than accept that the Palestinians were uninterested in peace and cut them off, Rice and Bush chose to pretend their vote just meant they didn’t like Fatah corruption.

A year later, after US-trained and -armed Fatah security forces cut and ran when Hamas gunmen opened fire on them in Gaza, the US didn’t cut off its support for Fatah’s security forces. The US massively expanded that support.

As for Hamas-controlled Gaza, Rice responded to Gaza’s transformation into the Palestinian equivalent of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan by immediately raising US financial support for UNRWA by $40m. and pretending that the money would not benefit Hamas.

After that, both the Bush and Obama administrations touted UNRWA as an independent counterforce to Hamas, despite the fact that their protestations were demonstrably false and indeed, entirely absurd.

In this context, Abbas and his deputies had every reason to believe they could initiate anti-American resolutions at the UN in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and face no consequences. It made sense as well for them to boycott administration officials in retaliation for Trump’s Jerusalem policy and assume that the US would continue to finance them.

The Trump administration’s threat to cut off funding to UNRWA and the PA does not point to a new US policy toward the Palestinians. It simply makes clear that unlike all of its predecessors, Trump’s support for the Palestinians is not unconditional.

As Trump, Haley and other senior officials have made clear, they are still trying to put together their policy for the Palestinians. And this is where Israel needs to come into the picture.

IT IS important to recall that the US’s unconditional support for the Palestinians across three administrations was the result not of a US decision, but an Israeli one. It was Israel under the Rabin-Peres government, not the US under then-president Bill Clinton, that decided to recognize the PA in 1993 and give Yasser Arafat and his deputies control of Gaza and the Palestinian towns and cities in Judea and Samaria. If Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres hadn’t decided to abandon the then-ongoing US peace talks that excluded the PLO in favor of Norwegian talks with the PLO, the US would probably not have embraced the PLO.

Now that the Trump administration is abandoning its predecessors’ policy, the time has come for Israel to offer it an alternative. This week, the government and the governing Likud party took two steps toward doing just that.

On Sunday, the Likud central committee passed a resolution unanimously that called for Israel to apply its law to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Although the resolution was declarative and does not obligate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it points toward the policy that either this government or its successor will likely adopt.

In both the 2013 and 2015 elections, facing the hostile Obama administration, Netanyahu refused to run on any platform other than his personal credibility. With the Likud resolution, and with a Trump administration interested in considering alternatives to the failed policies of its predecessors, Netanyahu can be expected (and should be urged) to pledge to implement his party’s policy if re-elected.

On Monday, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Basic Law: Jerusalem. The amended law protects Israel’s sovereignty over the territory now within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries while permitting the government to take some of that territory out of the municipal boundaries. The idea is that some Arab villages now within the city limits will be given their own local councils.

Today, for political reasons, Arab residents of Jerusalem refuse to vote in municipal elections. Consequently, they have effectively disenfranchised themselves. By providing them with separate local councils while ensuring that they will remain governed by Israel’s liberal legal code, the Knesset provided a model for future governance of the Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria.

In response to Haley’s and Trump’s threats to cut off funding to the PA and UNRWA, Rice’s Israeli counterpart, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, wrote on Twitter that the government should lobby Trump to maintain funding. In her words, “A responsible and serious government would sit quietly and discretely with the US president and explain the Israeli interest.”

Livni maintained that interest remains what it was when she backed Rice’s decision to expand US funding to Hamas-controlled UNRWA and the feckless US-trained Fatah security forces.

Luckily, like the Trump administration, Israel’s government today recognizes that repeating the failures of its predecessors makes no sense.

The Likud’s resolution on Judea and Samaria and the Knesset’s amendment to the Basic Law: Jerusalem represent the beginning of a new Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

If the Trump administration follows Israel’s lead, as the Clinton administration followed its lead in 1993, then the new era in US policy toward the Palestinians won’t be limited to ending US unconditional support for the PLO and through UNRWA, Hamas.

A new US policy will involve providing the Palestinians the means to govern themselves while enjoying the protection of Israeli law. It will involve ending US support for Palestinian sponsorship and finance of terrorism. It will involve securing Israel’s borders, security and national rights. And of course, it will involve kicking Iran out of Gaza and out of the Levant more generally.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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UNICEF Acting to Add Israeli Military to List of ‘Grave Violators of Children’s Rights’

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 01:00

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is spearheading a campaign to include the Israeli military on a U.N. blacklist of “grave violators of children’s rights” that includes terrorist groups like Islamic State and Boko Haram, according to a new report by the NGO Monitor watchdog group.

The report, which according to Fox News was presented to senior U.N. officials in recent weeks, illustrates how a UNICEF working group—composed mainly of radical organizations involved in the campaign to delegitimize Israel—plays a central role in anti-Israel blacklist efforts.

The NGO Monitor report shows how UNICEF opted to ignore violations of children’s rights by Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip, when it admitted “the working group was not in a position to document cases of child recruitment and use of children in armed conflict owing to a number of factors, including security and protection risks related to collecting comprehensive and detailed information.”

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The anti-Israel organizations behind the UNICEF working group have in recent years published false and misleading reports on the IDF’s arrest and purported abuse of Palestinian minors involved in attacks that were later entered into a UNICEF database, lending them legitimacy.

A number of these organizations, including Defense for Children International – Palestine, have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.

In response to a query from NGO Monitor, UNICEF’s Palestinian territories branch did not deny that the organization has ties to terrorist groups, saying, “UNICEF has a clear policy that it does not fund…organizations which are listed as terrorist organizations by the United Nations.” Among thee organizations excluded from the world body’s terrorist list are Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP.

NGO Monitor stated that UNICEF’S reporting on Israel is “qualitatively different and more extreme than its reporting on other Middle East countries.” A UNICEF spokesperson told Fox News, “The monitoring and reporting process is led by a working group, which brings together U.N. agencies and international, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. These organizations are selected based on their ability to regularly provide accurate, reliable, impartial and objective data on children affected by armed conflict.”

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PA Arrests Brokers Who Sold Land to Jews

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 00:30

Palestinian Authority media this week are celebrating the successful application of the most racist laws on the books anywhere on the planet, prohibiting the sale of land to Jews – under penalty of death.

According to the news agency Ma’an, following a lengthy investigation, the PA General Intelligence Service (GIS) in Qalqilya on Sunday arrested four Arab real estate brokers suspected of attempting to “divert land to the occupation,” or, more simply, sell land to Israeli customers.

“Palestinian land laws” cover the ownership of land under the Palestinian Authority. These laws prohibit PA Arabs from selling Arab-owned lands to “any man or judicial body corporation of Israeli citizenship, living in Israel or acting on its behalf.”

Land sales to Jews are considered treason by the PA, because they encourage “the spread of moral, political and security corruption.” Arabs who sell land to Israelis may be sentenced to death, although death sentences have only rarely been carried out. Instead, suspects of selling land to Jews are tortured in prison by PA security forces. In 1998, Amnesty International reported that torture of Arabs accused of selling land to Israelis appeared to be systematic, and unlawful killings were also reported against those accused.

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In 2012, Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former PA intelligence officer, was sentenced to death for selling land to Jews. The Jewish community of Hebron petitioned the UN, the US, and the Israeli government to step in on his behalf.

The four Qalqilya detainees this past weekend, including a lawyer, are suspected of planning to sell land to Israelis in and around Jerusalem, Qalqilya, Shechem, Tulkarm and inside the Green Line.

The GIS announced that the group worked in cooperation with land brokers inside the Green Line on a deal worth about 8 million Jordanian dinars ($11.27 million).

The suspects were arrested and referred to the Public Prosecution, and all the transactions related to the deal have been stopped, according to the report, which stated: “This was a failed a plan to transfer thousands of acres to the occupation.”

The General Intelligence Service urged the Palestinian Authority citizens to exercise caution when selling land, and to ensure that all procedures are in accordance with the law, especially in “occupied Jerusalem, the border areas and the areas adjacent to the settlements,” and to inform the authorities of any suspected cases of “diversion of land in favor of the occupation,” as this poses a serious threat to national security.

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The Obama Riots

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 00:00

There is no lack of poverty-stricken countries in this world – India, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Nigeria, for example, come to mind – but despite the fact that millions of destitute people live in dire poverty in so many parts of the earth, there are no street riots like the ones flooding Iranian cities this past week.

What, then, brought the Iranian people out to the streets, setting police stations ablaze and shouting “Death to the dictator,” while in other just as impoverished countries, tranquility reigns?

The difference lies in the real factor bringing the people out to the streets. It is not poverty, but keen disappointment at the gulf between the level of their expectations and the reality of their lives. A poor society that has no hope of improving its economic situation puts its energies into trying to survive and its members’ time is taken up with work that allows for that bare subsistence. It Iran, expectations of improvement mushroomed after the nuclear deal signed two years ago. There were declarations to the effect that economic sanctions would be lifted and that 150 billion dollars in cash were to be handed over to the Ayatollahs by the Obama administration.

Two years have passed since that signing, years of unrealistic fantasies about an economic change for the better that Iranians still hope to see. Meanwhile, however, the economic reality is surprisingly similar to the one that existed before the agreement. Contracts signed with European countries were featured prominently in the newspapers, but are being carried out, if at all, extremely slowly. European companies are afraid to do business with Iran as long as America has not removed its sanctions against the Ayatollahs.

Government corruption, a well-established fact of Iranian life, has taken part of the money received from the nuclear deal, but most of the cash Obama sent to the country was wasted on the wars Iran is waging in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Consequently, the inflated promises made by the government have not been realized and the public’s disappointment burst out into the streets in the form of cries for “Death to the dictator” – that is, Khamenei.

How ironic that Barack Obama, who tried with all his might to promote the nuclear deal and support the Ayatollahs’ regime in every way possible, is the reason for the inflated expectations of the Iranian public. Those expectations are so high that the only possible outcome is their shattering on the rocks of the dire economic reality. That is why the riots flooding Iran’s cities should be named for him, as this article has taken the initiative in doing.

The important questions

People all over the world watching what is happening in Iran are asking themselves where the situation is heading. Are the riots going to grow to the point where they topple the government?  The answer to that question is straightforward – only a certified prophet can tell the future, while commentators can only point out the factors that have a part in creating that future. Not being a prophet, I cannot predict the outcome of the current riots, but – in my humble opinion – the factors that will be of significance in deciding Iran’s future can be spelled out in the following questions;

a. Internal factors

1. How much brutality is the regime willing to engage in on the streets so as to end the riots?

2. Are the protestors willing to sacrifice lives,   be injured and arrested in order to achieve their goals?

3. What is the extent of the rioters’ ability to bring other sectors out to demonstrate – students, professionals, merchants?

4. How loyal are the security forces to the current regime – police, Basij, Army, Revolutionary Guards and  Intelligence Services – those who are expected to quell the riots? This is an especially crucial question in light of reports about policemen who  ‘crossed the line’ and expressed support for the rioters.

5. What is the level of unity and ideological cohesion among those running the country? There are reports of a strong difference of opinion between Khamenei, who wants to deal with the rioters with a heavy hand and President Rouhani, who wants to do the opposite.

6. What has to happen in the streets for the first Ayatollahs to board the first flight out of the country in order to escape the wrath of the masses?

bThe International arena

7. What is going to be the international response to what is happening in Iran?

8. Will President Trump settle for verbal support and tweets or is he, at some point, going to threaten the rulers of Iran with economic measures and military actions?

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9. What has to happen in Iran for Trump to weigh using US armed forces against the Iranian regime and its defense forces?

10. When and under what conditions will Europe’s  leaders begin threatening the Iranian regime?

11. Will the Security Council deal with the Iran issue? If so, using which paragraph in the UN Charter – paragraph 6, which is relatively mild or paragraph 7 which allows activating an international force?

12. What will Russia and China’s positions be at the UN Security Council debates?  Will they veto any decisions against the Iranian regime or will they vote for decisions against the Iranian rulers?

These questions are tied up with one another and each answer influences the rest, but since the answers to each question are as yet unclear, it is difficult to anticipate developments in Iran. The uncertainty about what really is going on in that vast land enables the rampant dissemination of “fake news” and there is no way of knowing what really is happening, in the streets of Iran as well as in international corridors. Social networks are full of information, but some of it is psychological warfare planted by one side against the other.

Possible scenarios

The future can have any of the following in store

1. Things can go back to the way they were: The regime survives because it uses its superior strength against the masses on the streets, the demonstrators tire of the struggle and go back to their unhappy lives. Khamenei, Rouhani and their cohorts launch balloons of empty promises into the air, the depressed and exhausted public continues its miserable life and waits for the next opportunity.

2. The regime collapses and a group of exiled anti-Islamist politicians returns to Iran and assumes responsibility for the country: Iran stays united, but the Arabs in Achwaz, the Baouch and the Kurds, each in their own region, demand independence. The new regime agrees to wide-ranging autonomy for these groups and puts an end to their ongoing struggles against the central government.  The new leaders work to have Iran rejoin the family of nations, Iran renews diplomatic relations with Israel, the US, and  Europe.

3. The regime collapses, the current leader flees in order to keep their heads on their shoulders:  Iran breaks up into smaller states that reflect its ethnic makeup. Persians, Azers, Arabs, Kurds, Baluch, Lur, Qashkai and others, achieve statehood on the lines of what has happened to Iran’s northern neighbor. The USSR was divided into individual states along ethnic lines and in each new state, the local elite rose to run each country in a fairly organized fashion.

4. The regime declares war against the Saudis and other outsiders:  The last few days have had the Iranian leaders blaming “outside interests,” a thinly veiled accusation aimed at the Saudis, the US, and Israel, for heating up the area. The Iranian masses are not buying this excuse and realize quite well that the regime is attempting to draw a  picture of external plots against the country in order to convince the public to cease protesting and unite to protect their country from outside threats. If the Iranian regime ever realizes that its way of running the country is going to have to end, it may drag all those who rejoice in its downfall into an inferno.  The regime might strike the oil fields of  Saudi Arabia, it might tell the Hezbollah to launch a rocket attack against Israel as Saddam Hussein did in 2003. The last vestiges of the regime might even damage Iran’s oil fields to keep them out the hands of the opposition.

The world must be prepared for the fourth scenario, although the probability of its occurrence is low because it is a very dangerous possibility which can plunge the entire world into a severe energy crisis. Iran could decide to exact revenge for Saudi involvement in the Yemeni, Syrian and Iraqi wars and the “Iranian Spring” (according to the Ayatollahs’ version of events) by bombing the Saudi oil fields. If the Saudis are attacked, Mahmoud ben  Salman will want to do the same to the Iranian gas and oil fields. If this scenario comes to pass, the price of gas and oil will go off the charts for a while.

The situation in Iran is unclear and extremely volatile. Even if the regime survives the riots, the next round of street violence is only a matter of time. There will be an outburst every few years until the Ayatollah’s regime collapses entirely. This is a lot of every dictatorial regime – history is replete with examples such as Nazi Germany and the USSR. Sooner or later, a regime lacking legitimacy from its citizens and whose existence is based on the employment of power against its own countrymen, is destined to fall.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News

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Pence Slated to Visit Israel, Egypt and Jordan in Late January

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 00:00

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Israel, Egypt and Jordan from Jan. 19-23, the White House announced on Monday.

On the upcoming visit, Pence will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The vice president, who has historically been a strong supporter of the Jewish state, will visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall and give a speech to the Knesset.

“At President Trump’s direction, the vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the U.S.’s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” said Alyssa Farah, a spokesperson for Pence.

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Farah added that Pence plans to discuss “the ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security.”

Pence’s long-awaited trip to Israel will come after multiple delays. The vice president was originally slated to visit in mid-December during Hanukkah, but that was pushed back several days due to the pending U.S. tax reform legislation. Ultimately, Pence canceled his December visit.

Pence is not expected to visit with Palestinian leaders, who announced in December that they would not meet with him due to President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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A Tour of Hebron That Clears Up All the Anti-Israel Lies

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:16

A video tour of Hebron, one of the holiest cities in the world, with an explanation that dispels any of the lies anti-Israel propaganda tries to spread.

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51st Anniversary of First Scientific Attempt at Resurrecting the Dead

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:03

On Friday, Dr. James Bedford will be celebrating an anniversary no other person has ever achieved in all of human history: the 51st anniversary of being frozen in what amounts to a scientific attempt at resurrecting the dead. While Dr. Bedford waits patiently on ice, scientists search for a method of reviving him and theologians discuss where his soul is.

Dr. Bedford was cryopreserved on January 12, 1967, after being declared legally dead. His remains are being preserved at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Dr. Bedford was science’s first attempt at cryonics, the low-temperature preservation of people who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine. To date, Alcor has more than 1,618 members, including 354 associate members, with 149 in cryopreservation as whole bodies or brains.

Since the process of thawing the body has yet to be developed and the cure for clinical death does not currently exist, cryonics is performed with the hope that resuscitation and restoration to full health may be possible sometime in the future. Implicit in this process is the belief that will only consider a person properly preserved if they can be revived with all of their memories intact with the understanding that long-term memory is stored in cell structures and molecules within the brain.

Rabbi Doniel Katz, a Torah educator who lectures on consciousness, is skeptical of the attempts at cryonics and the reasoning behind it.

“So far, science has succeeded in freezing a person but has not succeeded in reviving a person,” Rabbi Katz told Breaking Israel News. “ Maybe the body could be revived, but to be tchiyat hametim (resurrection of the dead), their consciousness would need to be fully restored.”

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Rabbi Katz emphasized that even though materialist philosophy dictates that consciousness and the ‘self’ are contained solely in the brain, there is no scientific proof of this theory.

“Science is still debating about the nature of consciousness,” Rabbi Katz said. “They believe that consciousness is in the brain, the information and data floating around inside your skull. That is not consciousness, and even scientists have not been able to pinpoint where this elusive concept of self actually exists, or even how it relates to the brain.”

The question of the nature of consciousness and how it relates to what happens after death is at the very core of religion, so the rabbi has a ready answer.

“In Kabbalah, your brain is the interface between the soul and the body,” Rabbi Katz explained. “Self and awareness are outside of the body and the brain brings awareness into the body. It may one day be possible to transfer your memory, all the data from your brain, into a computer, but this is not possible for the neshama (soul). The neshama is what guides the brain.”

“From a Torah perspective, it will never be possible to transfer the ‘self’, the free will, into a computer,” Rabbi Katz said. “The only way that will ever happen is through a true resurrection of the dead.”

Rabbi Moshe Avraham Halperin of the Machon Mada’i Technology Al Pi Halacha (the Institute for Science and Technology According to Jewish Law) sees cryogenics as a misguided attempt to preempt the resurrection of the dead and, as such, it is problematic spiritually and ethically.

“Even if they overcome the technical difficulties, it will in no way be similar to the resurrection of the dead,” Rabbi Halperin told Breaking Israel News. “Man is defined by his purpose in the world, by his reason to exist, which is to do mitzvot (Torah commandments) and to serve God. The resurrection of the dead is an extension of this aspect of life, allowing people to continue to serve God for yet another period. The goal of simply restarting the thought process ignores the basis of what man is.”

In addition to the theological shortcomings, the process goes against moral codes established in Jewish law.

“Jewish law is extremely careful in how we treat the body after death, Rabbi Halperin said, citing sources in the Bible.

By the sweat of your brow Shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground— For from it you were taken. For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19

You must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must bury him the same day. Deuteronomy 21:23

There are stringent laws pertaining to the handling of dead bodies in Judaism. One reason is that a dead body is the most powerful source of ritual impurity. Even though the soul is no longer connected to the body, the body is still an important aspect of the person.

“A man is composed not just of his thoughts,” Rabbi Halperin said. “What we call a soul is contained within the entirety of the mind and the body, the thoughts and the emotions. It is for this reason that the resurrection of the dead includes the body and is not just a mental or spiritual process.”

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Nikki Haley Hosts Reception for “Friends of the US” in the UN

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 07:30

On January 3rd at the US mission to the UN in New York, Nikki Haley hosted a “Friends of the US” reception for the 64 countries that did not support the United Nations Jerusalem resolution.

The non-legally binding UN resolution, passed 128-9 on December 21st in an emergency General Assembly session, condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and beginning the process of moving its embassy there two weeks earlier.

Instead, a majority of the UN members said that the move would hinder peace negotiations in the Middle East and condemned Israel’s illegal “actions in Occupied East Jerusalem.”

Following the condemnation, Haley extended the invitations to the eight other countries that voted against the resolution, the 35 abstaining countries, and 21 absent countries, thanking them for their “friendship to the United States” and for allowing its right to exercise its own sovereign policy.

She said, “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution.”

The reception marked the beginning of the US “taking names” of its supporters and non-supporters, as Haley previously informed it would do in a letter to most of the 193 UN member states ahead of the vote, warning of possible budgetary retaliation.

Likewise, Former US envoy to the UN John Bolton said in an interview with Fox News, “the Trump administration needs to use this as a fulcrum to look at funding of the UN system more broadly.”

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The day before the reception, Haley announced, “As I said in December, we won’t forget the Jerusalem vote.”

On his way to the reception, Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon praised Haley and the US’s support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying to CNN, “It was a courageous decision by President Trump and Ambassador Haley, and we thank the United States for this courageous decision, and tonight the US is continuing to show leadership in the Middle East, real leadership in the UN.”

He continued, “There’s a lot of hypocrisy in the UN. I think tonight the countries who stood with the US will come and hear that the US is thanking them for standing for the truth and not joining the show of the Palestinians inside the UN.”

Following the reception, the U.S. Mission to the UN tweeted, “It’s easy for friends to be with you in the good times, but it’s the friends who are with you during the challenging times that will never be forgotten. Thank you to the 64.”

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Jesus: A Warning to Our Rabbis

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 05:00

Last week, our gentile brothers and sisters celebrated the birth of one little Jewish child who turned the world on its head as no child has ever done before, or since. Millions went to church and thanked the good Lord for his birth. If that wasn’t enough, last Sunday, the first of January, the world continued to celebrate him — this time, on the day commemorating his circumcision, which according to Jewish law must take place eight days after the birth. This, too, will generate major festivities around the world. It seems that his circumcision is so important to the gentiles that they decided long ago to change their calendar and begin their new year on that very day (1). What is most remarkable is that all the countries, as well as some misguided Jews in Israel, who are now busy promoting the banning of circumcision, have joined these worldwide celebrations and will continue to do so, instead of demonstrating against the “barbaric act” of the most famous circumcision in all of history. It could not be more ironic!

No child has ever been given so much attention and inspired so many people. Yet, what nobody seems to realize is that this was a child who went to synagogue daily, ate kosher, went to cheider, spoke Hebrew, shook the lulav on Sukkot, and probably had payot (sidelocks) behind his ears.

The astonishing fact that one Jewish child is at the center of a universally celebrated holiday, in which billions of human beings participate, should make us wonder what this is all about. That he is considered the Messiah in the eyes of millions but utterly rejected as an apostate by his own people makes us wonder even more. What went wrong?

Maimonides informs us that there must be more than a little religious meaning in all this. In his Mishneh Torah (2), he states that God caused Jesus to have such a great influence on the world so that all of mankind would become accustomed to the concept of the real mashiach’s impending arrival. The great Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook (1865-1935), Chief Rabbi of Palestine before the State of Israel was established, even went so far as to call Jesus a man of “awesome personal power and spiritual flow” that was misdirected and led to his confusion and apostasy (3).

The Talmud’s account of how Jesus became an apostate is most revealing. The passage was once censored by the Church but is now printed in nearly all the new editions (4).

Our rabbis teach us: One should always push away with his left hand while drawing close with his right hand…unlike Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachiah who pushed Jesus away with both hands…When King Yannai killed our Sages, Rabbi Yeshoshua ben Perachiah and his students [including Jesus] fled to Alexandria, Egypt. When peace returned, Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach sent a message to him: “From me in [Yerushalayim] the city of holiness to you, Alexandria, my sister: My husband stays in your midst, and I sit forsaken.” He [Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachiah] arose [to return to Yerushalayim] and went, and found himself in a certain inn, where great honor was given to him. He said: “How beautiful is this achsania [inn].” Thereupon Jesus said to him, “Rabbi, her eyes are narrow.” [The word “achsania” can mean inn or innkeeper; Jesus seems to have thought that Rabbi Yehoshua was speaking about the female innkeeper.] So, Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: “Villain, do you behave yourself like that [looking at women]?” He sent out four hundred trumpets and excommunicated him. He [Jesus] came before him and said to him: “Receive me [let me repent and accept me].” But he would not acknowledge him.

One day when he [Rabbi Yehoshua] was reciting the Shema [Hear, O Israel], he [Jesus] came before him. He, Rabbi Yehoshua, intended to receive him [and forgive him], and he gestured to him. He [Jesus] thought that he rejected him again [thinking that the gesture was dismissive]. He went and hung up a tile and worshipped it. He [Rabbi Yehoshua] said to him: “Return,” but he replied: “So I have understood from you that everyone who sins and causes the multitude to sin has no chance to repent” (5).

There is much in this passage that is unclear. (Probably parts of the original text are missing.) Is it suggesting that had Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachiah shown more tolerance toward Jesus, the latter may not have become an apostate and false mashiach, and that Christianity, as we know it today, would not have developed (6)?

Whatever the Sages may have had in mind, one cannot ignore the fact that they seem to be sending a strong warning to future generations. The tragedy of Jesus was not just his own fault, due to his stubbornness, but was also the result of mistakes made by great rabbis who were his teachers.

Unprecedentedly, the Talmud seems to suggest that one careless wave of the hand is enough to spark an outburst of animosity that may result in a new religion or movement. Had Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachiah not rejected him, Jesus may have remained in the fold and even become a major spiritual force within Judaism, carrying it to higher spiritual levels, as Rabbi Kook seems to imply.

Ramban suggests something similar in his commentary on the incident where Sarah (then called Sarai) oppressed Hagar, which resulted in an ongoing Arab hatred of Jews (7). The Talmud (8) agrees and mentions the cause of Amalek’s hatred of Jews as being an unnecessary rejection of his mother by the avot (the patriarchs).

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In each of these cases, a minor mistake contributed to a major anti-Semitic ideology. Surely, many other issues are at work. Anti-Semitism is complex and may even be rooted in the fact that the Jews gave Jesus to the world, and not, as is claimed, that they killed him (9).

The Talmud (10) relates the story of the Sage Elisha ben Avuyah, a most unusual and powerful figure who, after a certain incident, questioned Jewish tradition and stopped being religious. When Acher (“the other,” a name given by the Sages to Elisha ben Avuyah after he became a heretic) “heard a heavenly voice say, ‘Return, O wayward children’ (11), except for Acher,” implying that he could not repent, he completely renounced Judaism.

In his celebrated work Mekor Baruch, Rabbi Baruch HaLevi Epstein (1860-1941), best known for his Torah Temima commentary on the Torah, notes that a harsh approach to those who are on the verge of leaving the fold has caused much damage:

This phenomenon, to our sadness, seems to repeat itself in every generation. Whenever people quarrel over matters related to ideology and faith, and a person discovers that his more lenient opinion is in the minority, all too often—although his original view differed only slightly from the majority—the total rejection he experiences pushes him over the brink. Gradually, his views become more and more irrational and he becomes disgusted with his opponents, their Torah, and their practices, forsaking them completely (12).

Rabbi Epstein goes on to discuss the case of Uriel da Costa (1585-1640), a Dutch Sephardic Jew who denied the authenticity of Oral Law. The rabbi criticizes the Jewish religious leaders of Amsterdam who excommunicated Uriel da Costa:

Instead of instructing him with love and patience and extricating him from his maze of doubts by showing him his mistake, they disparaged him. They pursued him with sanctions and excommunication, cursing him until he was eventually driven away completely from his people and his faith and committed suicide, ending his life in a most degrading way.

Rabbi Epstein does not mention the ban put on the well-known Jewish Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, who became the fiercest critic of Judaism (13), but he surely had him in mind. While Uriel da Costa did no real harm to Judaism, Spinoza became the father of a major philosophical school of thought that greatly damaged the image of Judaism and later encouraged anti-Jewish outbursts, similar to the case of Jesus and his follower’s thousands of years earlier (14). It is clear that some of Spinoza’s critique was totally unfounded and showed great ignorance of Judaism, and that it was caused by his animosity toward his former community and teachers after they imposed the ban on him.

We wonder what would have happened if religious leaders such as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachiah and the leaders of the Amsterdam Portuguese-Spanish Community had shown more patience and tolerance. Perhaps Spinoza would not have created so much animosity toward Judaism. Perhaps he would have initiated a spiritual foundation to Judaism without a personal God but with respect for the Jewish tradition, as did Mordechai Kaplan (1881-1983), founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. Similarly, Jesus might have remained in the fold and not become the cause of so much Christian anti-Semitism in later days. Who would have imagined that one wave of the hand, almost 2,000 years ago, could cause such upheaval to this day?

Rabbis and other religious leaders of today may have to give much more attention to this candid Talmudic story and to Rabbi Epstein’s warning. How much might Judaism have benefited from people like Jesus, Elisha Ben Avuyah, and Spinoza, had they not been rejected and had they contributed to the tradition in which they were raised?

As I argued at the Amsterdam symposium on Spinoza’s ban, in 2015, it would be better for the Rabbinate of the Portuguese-Spanish Synagogue in Amsterdam to revoke the ban on Spinoza. Few things have done as much damage to the image of Judaism as this unfortunate ban, which placed it in the same category as other conformist and constrained religions while, in truth, authentic Judaism is an entirely different story (15).

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Times of Israel

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Trump Jerusalem Declaration Came at “Absolutely Precise Biblical Time”: CUFI’s Hagee [WATCH]

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 04:30

President Donald Trump’s declaration of US support for Jerusalem last month as the eternal capital of Israel had “Biblical timing of absolute precision”, coming at the end of the 2017 Jubilee year, Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United For Israel (CUFI), recently told the president in a meeting.

Pastor Hagee is a long-time supporter of Israel and believes the Bible commands Christians to support the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Speaking to Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Faith Nation hosts from his home in Texas, Pastor Hagee discussed his recent meeting with the president, full of praise for President Trump’s recent declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing a move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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“What President Trump is doing is one of the most courageous political things that’s been done in Washington in a long time,” Pastor Hagee told CBN. He described his meeting with President Trump at the White House several weeks ago, in which the president assured him the he would absolutely move the embassy to Jerusalem “at some point in time”.

The pastor related the discussion in which he emphasized to the president the necessity of moving the embassy now, in the Jubilee year.

“God measures everything in modules of fifty years,” Pastor Hagee explained, citing Leviticus.

And you shall hallow the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim release throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: each of you shall return to his holding and each of you shall return to his family. Leviticus 25:10

The pastor explained that the Balfour declaration, a crucial development that allowed Jews to establish the modern State of Israel, was made in 1917. Exactly fifty years later, Israel unified Jerusalem in the Six Day War. In his discussion with the president, Pastor Hagee emphasized that 2017, fifty years after that momentous development, was an auspicious time to move forward in establishing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“It is a Biblical timing of absolute precision,” Pastor Hagee insisted. “Thank God, [Trump] is going to do exactly that.”

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Pastor Hagee believes that Christians around the world have a religious imperative to help Israel.

“The entirety of the Bible…is God’s position paper on the Jewish people,” the pastor declared. “Israel is the gateway to God’s blessing. World history can be summed up in one sentence: the nations that blessed Israel were blessed of God, and the nations that cursed Israel were cursed of God.”

The pastor cited Genesis to support this belief.

I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you. Genesis 12:3

“There is a Biblical significance to everything that happens to Israel,” the pastor said. “God’s prophetic clock isn’t ticking until the Jews are in the land of Israel. That clock started ticking again when the Balfour [Declaration] became a reality and the Jewish People came back to the state. I believe that at this point in time, Israel is God’s stopwatch for everything that happens to every nation, including America, from now until the Rapture of the Church and beyond.”

Pastor Hagee has put this belief into action. Through his ministries, he has given several million dollars to bring Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel, as well as millions to support Jewish orphanages and other worthy causes for the Jewish people in Israel and around the globe.

Pastor Hagee is highly regarded by the Jewish organizations with which he is associated. In 2016, Pastor Hagee was the first non-Jew to be awarded the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the San Antonio B’nai B’rith Council. Pastor Hagee was also presented with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Israel Award by the Jewish Community of Dallas, Texas, as well as the ZOA Service Award. He has been to Israel more than two dozen times and met with every prime minister of Israel since Menachem Begin.

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