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Iran’s IRGC Speedboat’s Close Encounter With USS Theodore Roosevelt

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 03:05

Newly released footage shows an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) speedboat in close proximity to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The incident, which purportedly took place in March, occurred in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in the Persian Gulf. It is the passageway for around a third of all oil traded by sea.

In NPR Interview, Netanyahu Calls for a Demilitarized Palestinian State

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 02:45

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he does not want Palestinians to become Israeli citizens or subjects of Israel. This development comes a few days after the leader’s speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly.

“I don’t want them either as citizens of Israel or subjects of Israel,” Netanyahu said in an interview with National Public Radio, which is scheduled to air on Monday.

“But I think there is not an either-or model. I think we have a third model at the very least, which is what I’m talking about: basically, all the powers of sovereignty, or nearly all the powers, but not the ones of security,” he continued. “Look, in the Middle East, which is littered with failed states, that’s often the best you can do.”

Netanyahu added that the Palestinians should look no further than the entity they are under. “They would have those rights in their own territory,” he said. “In other words, they have their own parliament, they have their own government, they have their own flag, they have their own anthem, they have their own tax system.”

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In his speech in New York, among the issues addressed, Netanyahu blasted the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

“President Abbas, you proudly pay Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews,” said Netanyahu. “In fact, the more they slay, the more you pay. That’s in their law, too. And you condemn Israel’s morality? You call Israel racist?”

“This is not the way to peace. This is not the way to achieve the peace we all want and need and to which Israel remain committed,” added the prime minister. “This body should not be applauding the head of a regime that pays terrorists. The U.N. should condemn such a despicable policy.”

For the Sake of Ari Fuld, Malki Roth and Countless Others

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 02:00

Yet another woman was made a widow on Sept. 16, and another four children were made orphans by the egregious act of a Palestinian terrorist, Khalil Jabarin. The victim, Ari Fuld, had simply been running an errand for his wife in a local shopping center in Efrat, just south of Jerusalem.

Ari was a true fighter for Israel. He was assistant director of “Standing Together,” an organization that supports Israeli soldiers. Ari served in the Israel Defense Forces, narrowly escaped death in Lebanon. He saved his shrapnel-ridden vest as a reminder of “who is really in charge.”

Ari also was an avid defender of Israel—not only on the physical battlefield, but also in the battlefield of ideas. He constantly ran towards danger to defend the Jewish people, going down to Sderot and the kibbutzim neighboring Gaza, exactly when the rockets were most steadily falling. He went into forums and talk shows dominated by left-wing thinkers who professed the idea that Israel was an “apartheid state founded on original sin” and disabused them of their many pernicious falsehoods.

Ari brought moral clarity and truth into arenas that had been imbued with the murkiness of moral ambiguity and self-doubt about our people’s rightful claim to the land.

After being stabbed by the terrorist, Ari summoned every last ounce of strength to fight off his attacker, subduing him before he could do any more harm. He was a true fighter for Israel until the very end.

He is also the 70th American to have been killed by Palestinian terrorists since the signing of the Oslo Accords (not including two unborn children). Nearly 3,000 Israeli citizens were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in that amount of time.

I have constantly marveled at the strength of the families that have somewhere summoned up the courage to go on.

How one might react when put in this horrific place is deeply individual and subjective. One must never place judgement on the individual response of these profoundly bereaved family members.

Having had said that, I have been uniquely privileged to have gotten to know some bereaved family members who have someone managed to summon up the strength to dedicate their lives to finding something constructive from their enormous pain. They are the true heroes in the fight against Palestinian terrorism and the radical Islamic assault on Western civilization.

Heroes such as Sherri and Seth Mandell, who took the horrendous murder of their 13-year-old son, Koby, and turned their grief into a place of healing and love by creating camps and retreats  for other family members who have lost loved ones to Palestinian terrorism.

Heroes such as Stuart and Robbi Force, who used the enormous pain of the murder of their 28-year-old son and former U.S. serviceman Taylor to pass a law in his name prohibiting American funding to go to the Palestinian “martyr’s fund” that rewards the families of terrorist with generous stipends, and thus incentivized terrorism.

Heroes such as Arnold and Frimet Roth, whose daughter Malki, 15, an American citizen, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist at the Sbarro pizzeria massacre in the summer of 2001. Malki was an aspiring special educator and helped take care of her severely handicapped sister, Chaya.

In all, 15 civilians had also been murdered, including one other American Judith Greenbaum, 31, who was five months pregnant at the time, and 130 people were wounded. One person, Chana Nachenberg, has remained in a permanent vegetative state, and five members of a single family—the Schijveschuurder family—were killed.

What makes this case particularly egregious is that the architect of this attack, Ahlam Tamimi, has made a career about this and has openly boasted about her act, multiple times. She had been sentenced in an Israeli court to 16 life sentences.

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While in prison, she was asked by an Israel journalist if she knew how many Israeli children she had killed. She flippantly responded, “I don’t know … 3?” When she was told that she had killed eight, her response was a gleeful “8! I killed 8 Jewish children!”

Unfortunately, in October of 2011, Tamimi was traded along with 1,026 other terrorists in exchange IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas.

When she was released from prison, she immediately traveled to Jordan, where she was greeted like a conquering hero. She then became the host of her own Jordanian talk show on the Hamas station, Al Quds TV.

According to American law (18 USC, Section 2332), anytime an American citizen is murdered by terrorists abroad, our government has jurisdiction and is directed to prosecute the perpetrator to the full extent of the law. There is no statute of limitations.

On July 15, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Tamimi in the District of Columbia for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals, outside the United States, resulting in death.

Tamimi is the first Palestinian terrorist to face criminal prosecution in the United States. A great deal of this is due to the Herculean efforts of Malki’s parents, who have been met with enormous obstacles of bureaucratic red tape, unfortunately, on both sides of the Atlantic.

On March 14, 2017, an American official from the FBI met with Arnold and Frimet Roth to let them know that the criminal complaint has been unsealed. I received a beautiful email that evening from Arnold Roth saying that “for the first time, I am proud that Malki was an American.”

Unfortunately, Jordan has refused U.S. extradition requests, claiming that they do not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

However, in 1995, the Jordanian authorities did honor an extradition treaty with the United States by extraditing Eyad Ismoil, who was guilty of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Ismoil has been sentenced to 240 years in prison, and is currently in a maximum security prison in Colorado.

I pray that a similar fate awaits Ahlam Tamimi.

This is a simple matter of American justice. Not to demand the extradition of Tamimi telegraphs a tepid, flaccid message to would-be terrorists around the globe regarding our national resolve, and smacks of a pernicious double standard when it comes to the blood of American Jews.

For the sake of Ari Fuld and Malki Roth and countless others, this must be done.

Reprinted with author’s permission from EMET Online

The Double Standard of the ICC

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 01:00

There is no war without war crimes. They happen and will continue to happen even in the militaries of the most democratic countries, including Britain, Canada, France and the United States.

In the wake of human rights activists’ claims against British soldiers, the British Defense Minister at the time, Michael Fallon, decided that he had enough. He threatened to suspend the Human Rights Act that enables the prosecution of war crimes committed by British soldiers.

“Instead of concentrating on the mission at hand,” Fallon argued. “The soldiers are distracted by potential future lawsuits.” In addition, according to Fallon, many complaints against soldiers turned out to be false, but still cost the treasury a fortune.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), which follows the Rome Statute, is now threatening to investigate US soldiers suspected of war crimes in Afghanistan.

The US, like Israel, is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. Precisely because of concerns regarding the restrictions it may impose on US forces operating in many countries. However, that does not absolve anyone from prosecution.

Shortly after the establishment of the ICC in 2002, the US Congress passed a special law — the Law for the Defense of Security Service Personnel. It can be assumed that there was a connection between the legislation and US War on Terror after 9/11, and its invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

At the time, it was clear that war crimes would be committed. They came to light once in a while, and soldiers were put on trial and sent to prison.

It should be made clear that this was not a one-party law. In the aftermath of 9/11, the law was supported by both parties.

Needless to say, since the law was passed, no investigation has been launched against US soldiers by the ICC.

When a state puts its own citizens on trial, they are no longer under the jurisdiction of the ICC. However, Hague prosecutor found various cases in which soldiers were not prosecuted, and so he decided to open an investigation.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton was furious. American law is on his side. He made it clear that the United States will not extradite Americans to The Hague, and any assistance to any branch of the ICC in the United States is prohibited.

In addition, the law allows the United States to “take all necessary measures” to extricate its citizens from the long hand of The Hague agents. The law was dubbed the “Hague Invasion Act,” which is its best explanation.

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Democratic states do not need to be exempt from war crimes prosecution. The point is, these countries have legal systems that deal with complaints dealing with irregularities. The fact that the punishments given are sometimes relatively lenient does not stem from disrespecting the law, but from a considering all circumstances.

This was the case with the British soldier Alex Blackman, who murdered a wounded terrorist after a battle in Afghanistan, as was the case with Elor Azaria, as is the case with many other Western soldiers who were tried.

Israel is also part of the picture. Bolton made it clear that not only would he not allow the ICC to prosecute American soldiers, but the United States would also protect Israel.

This is not an empty statement. In the wake of the dispute between The Hague court and the United States, the Palestinians have filed a complaint against Israel following the decision to evacuate the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar. It remains unclear whether the prosecution will agree to take the case since the decision was made by Israel’s High Court of Justice which enjoys international prestige.

The great tragedy is the politicization of international law. When an international arrest warrant was issued against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, he was received with royal honor at the Arab summit. Syria’s President Bashar Assad and other senior Syrian officials know that they have nothing to fear. But the Palestinians, who fund murderers and their families, turn to the ICC to file complaints against Israel.

Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News

Donald Trump, National Security and Nuclear War

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 00:00

“I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds.” (Bhagavad Gita, cited by American nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945)

Quite literally, and at virtually any moment, US President Donald Trump could be faced with unprecedented challenges to American national security. In this connection, the most plainly serious threats will concern some forms or other of nuclear strategy and nuclear war. “Will he be ready?” – we must immediately inquire – “for any such conspicuously daunting challenges?”

Significantly, there can be no more important inquiry, not only for Americans, but also for certain American allies in Israel and elsewhere.

More precisely, as the relevant interrogatory must proceed, can anyone reasonably expect that this president will be up to meeting such starkly complex challenges, both intellectually and emotionally?

In candor, which must always be expected on such critically existential questions, Mr. Trump’s analytic and state-of-mind debilities continue to be deeply concerning. This patently informed apprehension is all the more noteworthy whenever these debilities become: (1) intersecting and reinforcing; (2) are considered together with the president’s persistently willing subservience to the Russian president in the midst of “Cold War II”; and (3) assessed within the appropriate statutory and Constitutional parameters of formal US nuclear command authority.

In fairness, these prospective personal shortcomings are not necessarily unique or distinctive to President Donald Trump. Rather, at a more expressly generic level, they represent certain continuously complex qualities and issues, ones about which I have been lecturing and publishing for almost half a century. If I might now be permitted to share some closely related insights, this might help us to better understand just how perilous the Trump presidency could very rapidly become.

In essence, the cumulative national security risks the US faces as a nation are potentially immediate and conceivably existential. Most obvious, in this regard, is the stubbornly complex problem of North Korea. Here, inter alia, the US president’s routinely indiscriminate confusion of belligerent rhetoric with actual power could lead the United States further and further away from capably sustaining its required national security.

To be sure, incessant presidential bravado need not be very convincing. Even as quixotic an adversary as Kim Jung-un can normally tell the difference between his American adversary’s real military capacity, and narrowly shallow bombast.

Going forward, the principal risks to US security are distinctly tangible and multi-sided. These risks would become especially high during any foreseeable circumstances of competitive risk-taking with Kim Jung-un; that is, in those identifiably deliberative moments when each side is energetically (and perhaps desperately) seeking “escalation dominance.”

Already, back in the nineteenth century, Friedrich Nietzsche had it right. Warned the seminal philosopher in his magisterial Zarathustra: “One must never seek the Higher Man in the marketplace.” (Today, of course, we would want to make this into a more properly gender-neutral “Higher Person”).

More urgently than on any other specific security hazard, US President Trump must make himself much better informed about all potentially pertinent nuclear conflict scenarios in our anarchic or “Hobbesian” world system. Correspondingly, both the Congress and the citizenry must keep a much closer and more honest (non-partisan) watch on Mr. Trump’s problematic unwillingness to take nuclear war with sufficient seriousness. Among other things, he will need to be reminded that no scientifically accurate estimates of nuclear war likelihood are logically possible. This is because, in science, true probabilities must always be based upon a determinable frequency of pertinent past events, and because there has never been a nuclear war event.

Never.

The American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 “don’t count” as nuclear war examples. These events were singular episodes of nuclear attack upon enemy civilian populations in an otherwise purely conventional war. It follows that in any still-upcoming nuclear crisis situations, a casually dismissive presidential stance on expected outcomes could produce fully unexpected or even intolerable results.

Quickly.

I have been studying nuclear warfare issues for a long time. After four years at Princeton in the late 1960s, long an intellectual center of American nuclear history and thought, I first began to think about adding a modest personal contribution to the growing literatures of first-generation nuclear thinkers. Accordingly, by the mid-1970s, I was busily preparing an original manuscript on US nuclear strategy and on certain corollary risks of nuclear war.

At that time, moreover, I was interested in very specific questions of presidential authority to order the use of American nuclear weapons.

Among other things, I soon learned that reliable safeguards had been carefully built into all American nuclear command/control decisions, but also that these reassuring safeguards could never apply at the presidential level. To a young strategic scholar, this ironic disjunction didn’t make any obvious intellectual sense, especially in a world where national leadership irrationality was assuredly not without precedent. For needed clarifications, I reached out to retired General Maxwell D. Taylor, a distinguished former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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In rapid response to my query, Gen. Taylor sent me a detailed handwritten reply. Dated 14 March 1976, the General’s informed letter concluded presciently: “As to those dangers arising from an irrational American president, the only protection is not to elect one.”

Until now, I had never really given any extended thought to this truthful but distressing response. Instead, I had assumed that somehow “the system” would somehow always operate precisely according to plan. Today, as the discordant presidency of Donald Trump coincides with a North Korean nuclear standoff and continued Iranian nuclearization, General Taylor’s 1976 warning takes on even greater meaning. Now, however reluctantly, Americans must realistically assume that if President Trump were ever to exhibit profound emotional instability, irrationality, or delusionary behavior, he could nonetheless order the use of American nuclear weapons, and do so without any calculable expectations of any official “disobedience.”

At this point, a distressingly core question should come immediately to mind. What should be done by the National Command Authority (Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, and presumptively several others) if it should ever decide to oppose a determinably inappropriate presidential order to launch American nuclear weapons? Could the National Command Authority reliably “save the day” by acting in an impromptu or creatively ad hoc fashion? Or should there already be in place aptly credible and effective statutory measures to (1) meaningfully assess the ordering president’s reason and judgment; and (2) promptly countermand any wrongful order?

In law, Article 1 of the US Constitution, Congressional war-declaring expectations of the Constitution notwithstanding, any presidential order to use nuclear weapons, whether issued by an apparently irrational president, or by an otherwise incapacitated one, must be obeyed. To do otherwise, in such dire circumstances, would be prima facie illegal; that is, impermissible on its face. Additionally, President Trump could sometime order the first use of American nuclear weapons even if the US were not under specifically nuclear attack.

Here, too, a further strategic and legal distinction must be made between first use and first strike. There exists an elementary but vitally important difference, significantly one that candidate Donald Trump had failed to understand during his 2016 campaign debates. This core difference has to do with distinguishing essential self-defense from aggression. Aggression, of course, is a codified crime under international law. It is, therefore, reciprocally prohibited by pertinent US law.

Where should American nuclear policy go from here? To begin, a coherent and comprehensive answer will need to be prepared for the following very basic question: If faced with any presidential order to use nuclear weapons, and not offered sufficiently appropriate corroborative evidence of any actually impending existential threat, would the National Command Authority: (1) be willing to disobey? and (2) be capable of enforcing such seemingly well-founded expressions of authoritative disobedience?

In any such unprecedented nuclear crisis circumstances, all relevant decisions could have to be made in a compressively time-urgent matter of minutes. Needless to say, such tight chronological constraints could quickly become overriding.

The only time for Americans to prepare for such vital national security questions is now. This is the case whether or not President Donald Trump should incrementally prove himself to be a more-or-less stable and capable crisis decision-maker. Though we might all draw a huge sigh of relief if the ongoing North Korean nuclear crisis were to subside, there will inevitably arise other similar or even more portentous atomic emergencies. To respond purposefully, as needed, this country will then require more than a purely stream-of-consciousness or seat-of-the-pants prescription from the White House.

Much more.

There is one last but still important point. Whether it is in reference to a proposed military intervention or to another considered military action, the American president is bound not only by US law, but also by international law. The latter, which is discoverable, inter alia, in various customary norms as well as in bilateral and multilateral treaties, is always an integral part of American law. Such “incorporation” is most prominently expressed at Article 6 of the US Constitution (the “Supremacy Clause”), and also at various major US Supreme Court decisions.

Looking ahead, Donald Trump’s policies for dealing with adversarial nuclear threats must always remain consistent with American military requirements and with certain corollary jurisprudential obligations. Striking the necessary and optimal balance between both coinciding imperatives will inevitably confront this president with stark intellectual and ethical challenges of the very highest order. For now, at least, it does not appear likely that he will be able to satisfactorily meet such multi-sided and overlapping challenges.

So, what happens then?

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel Defense

Israel’s Frontier Communities Receiving Christian Aid

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:51

For several months now – since at least March – Israel’s southern frontier communities abutting the Gaza Strip have been living under almost constant Hamas-inspired Palestinian terrorism.

Arson terrorism as it was known – the releasing of incendiary kites and balloons, seemingly harmless children’s toys, but with a very real sting in their tails – were sent toward Israel’s arable fields. Carried by the helpful West-East breeze blowing off the Mediterranean Sea, these incendiary devices have scorched around 9,000 acres of agricultural land.

Now the harvest is in and plans for winter planting move on apace. But the terrorists in Gaza are not standing idly by. There is currently less vegetation to burn, so instead of sending kites or balloons with flaming tails, they now send them with hand grenades and crude homemade ordinances attached. That may give it the impression of being harmless, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are intended to wound, to maim and even to kill.

To counter the debilitating effects of the arson terrorism, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) began a campaign to help communities in Israel’s south. The response was magnificent and prayers for Israel’s safety have been matched by tangible, practical help.

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At Kibbutz Magen, a mere four-and-a-half kilometers away from the Gaza border, Christian donations have resulted in the purchasing of bomb shelters. Six of the seven new steel bomb shelters – which are much lighter than the concrete ones, but equally as tough – were donated from ICEJ Switzerland, made possible through the generosity of the Rudolf and Helga Frei family. They were present to dedicate the shelter on Kibbutz Magen, also made possible because of the ICEJ’s strategic partnership with local Israeli non-profit Operation Lifeshield. As Shmuel Bowman, Operation Lifeshield’s Executive Director said, “In partnership with the ICEJ we work to save and protect lives in Israel. Every life is sacred and there are people here who need protection from terrorism.”

ICEJ’s President, Dr. Jurgen Buhler, was also present at the dedication and explained about an amazing coincidence. “The ICEJ wants to always be with the people of Israel. And in its [Israel’s] 70th year, this is the 70th bomb shelter that we have dedicated.”

Both Shoshi Oroni and Gilad Yarkoni, director of the kibbutz and the mayor of the Eshkol region, respectively, welcomed the ICEJ visitors and expressed their gratitude for helping people to feel a little safer.

Yarkoni expressed his personal thanks for the love and understanding that emanated from the ICEJ to the citizens of the Eshkol region. He used the example of the kibbutz children, who had minutes earlier provided a karate demonstration at Magen’s dojo. “It’s a simple thing,” he said. “It’s good for those children to know they have a place to run. Think of all those people connected with these children. We have a greater sense of security now.

Traveling approximately 15 kilometers northwest to Kibbutz Kisufim (literally Yearning), one is struck by how burnt the ground looks and how much damage has been done. Elan Isaacson, Head of Security in the Eshkol Region explained that between 500-600 of the 1,900 fires that have broken out in the region since March have occurred in either Kisufim or Be’eri. He and his team now have 34 fire trailers – each capable of holding 750 liters of water. They are 4×4 vehicles allowing them to traverse terrain that regular fire trucks cannot and despite the invaluable help that fire crews from as far away as the Golan and Haifa provided, they were not familiar with the lay of the land.

Eleven of the 17 fire trailers donated this summer, as the arson terrorism was at its height, were provided by Eagle Mountain International Church from Ft. Worth, Texas. It is clearly a community and a church that practices what it preaches. Part of the Word of Faith evangelical stream and heavily influenced by Pastor Kenneth Copeland, Eagle Mountain is a firm believer in its support of the people of God in the land of God.

There was a mixture of resignation and resolution at the unveiling of the bomb shelter and the fire truck. Resignation that the frontier communities inhabit a world – which is actually difficult to imagine – where implacable foes seem to assess that they can dislodge Jewish communities through terrorism. The resolution part was equally obvious; the people in Israel’s southern communities are there to stay. They haven’t anywhere else to go.

Sanhedrin Responds to Messianic Accusations

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:40

In an op-ed published on Charisma News, Ron Cantor, a Messianic Jewish spokesman actively involved in attempts to convert Jews in Israel, accused the nascent Sanhedrin of preparing the way for the Third Jewish Temple. According to Cantor’s assessment it will be a temple to the Antichrist.

“If this group one day becomes recognized as the Sanhedrin, it seems they will make a deal with the Antichrist for the rebuilding of the temple,” Cantor wrote. “So, I guess in that sense, they could have an end-time role.”

“There is no such thing as a modern Sanhedrin. They are just a group of men claiming, without any biblical authority, to be the Sanhedrin. They have no power or authority — governmental or religious. God has not re-established the Sanhedrin. And teaching that they are end-time agents is simply deception.”

Rabbi Dov Stein, secretary of the Sanhedrin, refuted Cantor’s questioning of the religious body’s authority.

“The original Sanhedrin established by Moses was not established by God, nor was any Sanhedrin that came after,” Rabbi Stein explained to Breaking Israel News. “This is not the Biblical method for creating a Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was appointed. When we re-established the Sanhedrin, we did so precisely according to the laws set out by Maimonides for this.”

It is Cantor’s belief that the only basis for Jewish-Christian relations can be one based on Jews accepting Jesus.

“As a Jewish believer, I am deeply conflicted: On the one hand, I love that Christians are seeking friendship with Jews,” Cantor wrote. “On the other, I am deeply concerned that it is in an effort to affirm a Yeshua-less Judaism.”

“While I love the fact that evangelicals are establishing relationships with Orthodox Jews, it seems that some of it is coming at the cost of compromising our most holy commission — to spread the message of Yeshua to all nations. And, of course, that includes Israel. Christians, while absolutely having a calling to reach out with love to the Jewish people, should never assume that Judaism without Yeshua is acceptable.”

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Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, was critical of Cantor.

“Despite his Jewish origins, he is reenacting every anti-Semitic act ever perpetrated throughout history,” Rabbi Weiss told Breaking Israel News. “This is no different than Torquemada demanding that Jews convert or die during the Spanish Inquisition. It is the classic Jew hatred expressed in the Protocol’s of the Elders of Zion, a vile fiction that claimed the Jews seek global dominance. This is a perversion of the Bible which gives us a leadership role in the world, but the Torah states that it is a role of service and sanctity.”

You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:6

“This is the role of Israel that Cantor rejects. Though Cantor claims he is showing love, it is not. It is hatred and an act of evil,” Weiss exclaimed. “It is to be despised and rejected.”

Rabbi Weiss noted that Cantor’s criticism comes in the wake of the World Creation Concert in which the Sanhedrin reached out to the 70 nations, inviting them to join in prayer praising the Creator in Jerusalem.

“It is more the pity that he has chosen this time to reject the Sanhedrin and the Third Temple,” Weiss said. “The Sanhedrin decided to act now to unify the world to counter global threats. Each nation needs to bring its unique and specific point of holiness to Jerusalem, as was done in the times of the Temple when all the nations came to praise God.”

The Sanhedrin stated concern for universal issues such as the proliferation of atomic weapons in the hands of despotic regimes, ecologic dangers, pollution, and terrorism. Their call for the nations to join around Jerusalem as part of a solution to these issues clearly resonated with others. At the concert, representatives from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico signed a proclamation declaring their intention to join the Sanhedrin in building the Third Temple. After the concert, several other nations expressed a desire to join in the pact and the Sanhedrin is planning on sending emissaries to South and Central America in the near future.

“His vision of what this must be, with one person forcing his belief on others, is the opposite of what the Temple in Jerusalem once was and what it must be again,” Rabbi Weiss said.

6,000 Christian Pilgrims Celebrate Sukkot with Israel

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:32

A whopping 7,000 faces and hundreds of flags of every color painted Israel’s capital on Thursday, parading through the streets in the 2018 Jerusalem March.

The diverse participants, decked out on Sept. 27 in costumes representing their respective nations, had one thing in common: a love of Israel and the Jewish people.

“I am proud of Israel, and I love Israel,” Brazilian Liliais Alves told JNS. “I came to bless my family, bless me, bless my home and my life.”

Many of the 7,000 Christians who walk in the Jerusalem March dress in costumes representative of their countries. Shown here, Koreans wear authentic garb. (Credit: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman)

The Jerusalem March is organized each year by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem as part of its five-day Feast of Tabernacles celebration, which ran this year from Sept. 23 to 28. The feast is the largest Christian gathering in Israel this year and the largest solidarity mission to Israel in 2018.

According to David Parsons, vice president and senior international spokesman for ICEJ, around 60 percent of this feast’s 6,000-person delegation (an additional 1,000 Christian Zionists take part in the march that are not part of the feast) came from Latin America, Africa and Asia. The largest delegation of 900 people came from Brazil.

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Parsons said all major sessions are translated into 12 languages simultaneously.

Participants enjoy dynamic music and dance performances, and hear messages from well-known evangelical pastors, Israeli officials and other experts. They also march to express their solidarity with Israel. The economic impact on Israel of the event is around $18 million to $20 million, according to Parsons.

“My heart wants to be here more than one week as a tourist,” said Cornelius Mgeller, a student visiting Israel from Stuttgart, Germany, who spoke to JNS outside the Pais Arena, where most Feast of Tabernacles events take place. “I want to go deeper … I am an ambassador who wants to bless Israel.”

Mgeller described the feast as an opportunity to “make friendships and worship the Lord.”

Each year, ICEJ centers the feast around a biblical theme. The 2018 event was based on a verse in Psalm 126:1, “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.”

Representatives from New Caledonia share their love of Israel at the Jerusalem March. (Credit: Maayan Jaffe Hoffman)

“What generations of Jews dreamed about when they prayed at every year’s Passover, ‘Next year in Jerusalem,’ has now become a reality,” said ICEJ president Jurgen Buhler. “Today’s reality represents ancient and eternal promises seeing fulfillment.”

The theme was integrated into the program in part through a new focus on Israel’s high-tech and business sectors. ICEJ engaged OurCrowd equity crowdfunding platform to present about Israel as the “Start-up Nation,” including both a speech by OurCrowd founder Jon Medved, a one-hour breakout session on the subject, and recruiting artificial intelligence and virtual-reality companies to display their work in the Pais Arena atrium.

Parsons said that ICEJ wants to be honest with its Christian volunteers, who often become donors, that while Israel is a success story in many ways, at the same time, the country still has its share of challenges. ICEJ raises money to support Holocaust survivors, single-parent and large families, and other charities.

A group from Togo performs at Jerusalem’s Pais Arena. (Credit: Maayan Jaffe Hoffman)

For “Israeli Guest Night” on Thursday evening, a bus load of Holocaust survivors was brought to the Pais Arena, where they took the stage alongside their Christian supporters and danced together to traditional Jewish songs.

Another roughly 1,000 local Israelis joined the feast pilgrims for the night’s cultural and musical program, featuring recording artists, choirs, and other performers from Israel and around the world. The program also celebrated the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Throughout the feast, government leaders made their voices heard, including Knesset Member Yehudah Glick (Likud), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) and new Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog. Video messages were shared from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

“I think they consider us a strategic asset for the State of Israel,” Parsons said, noting that ICEJ was established during the first Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 1980, at a time when the last 13 national embassies left Jerusalem for Tel Aviv. In response, 1,000 Christians from some 40 nations attended a first feast gathering and decided to open ICEJ as an act of solidarity with the 3,000-year-old Jewish claim and connection to the city. ICEJ has since grown into the world’s largest Christian Zionist ministry with branch offices in more than 90 nations and a reach to more than 170 nations worldwide.

Still, the Feast of Tabernacles is not without controversy.

Several of the event’s top speakers were Messianic Christians (Jews who believe that Jesus is the messiah). Messianism is rejected by the mainstream Jewish world. Parsons defended the organization’s decision, saying ICEJ is “not going to boycott anyone.”

“This is a Christian gathering to celebrate the biblical feast of Sukkot,” said Parsons. “We see hosting Messianics as an opportunity to engage with local believers in Jesus—this is who they are—and we feel they are part of the global body of Christ. But they are also Israelis, and they serve in the army and pay taxes here and are Israeli citizens.

A Christian performer holds the flag of Jerusalem. (Credit: International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.)

“We have had certain pressures to separate or distance from them, but we tell those people that we don’t tell the Jews who they should consider Jewish, and we will continue engaging with these Messianics.”

Parsons added that in his view Messianics can serve a vital role in helping “build support from the Christian world for the nation of Israel.”

This support, said Parsons, comes in many ways—political, diplomatic and financial.

For example, the government recently approved bringing another 1,000 Ethiopian Jews on aliyah. ICEJ committed to sponsor the flights. Most of the money is already raised, according to Parsons, and “the rest should come in quickly.”

At the feast, ICEJ premiered a new, 35-minute documentary its video team produced to tell the story of the last Jews of Ethiopia who have been searching for a way back to Israel—some for as long as three decades.

“Journey of Dreams” describes the plight of Ethiopia’s last 8,000 Jews, who pray to move to Israel while living in poverty and hardship in Ethiopia, through the story of one family. ICEJ’s team visited Gondar and interviewed the family, who had been stuck in a holding camp for 19 years, and then in Israel as the family was reunited with its relatives in the Holy Land.

“When we were in Ethiopia, we learned the community is referred to as ‘the people going home to Israel,’ ” said Barry Denison, ICEJ vice president of operations. “This is still what they are called, despite that it has been generations.”

Denison said ICEJ plans to “encourage the government to bring another 1,000 next year.”

Additionally, some 100 feast participants visited Jewish communities near the Gaza border, where violent Palestinian mass gatherings and arson attacks have plagued them all summer. ICEJ raised $438,500 to provide the Eshkol region with seven new mobile bomb shelters and 17 all-terrain fire-fighting trailers that can be hauled way out into the fields to put out fires from Gaza arsonists.

Parsons said ICEJ also has donors ready to give funds for three newly designed ATV security vehicles specially made to respond to border infiltrations, though those are still being designed and manufactured.

Parsons said Christians are “not afraid to go down near Gaza. They have this unwavering love for Israel. They do not want to be just fair-weather friends. When Israel is in danger, then this is when they want their support to count the most.”

Buhler said the Feast of Tabernacles is a dress rehearsal for the fulfillment of Zechariah 14:16, which describes how the nations will gather in Jerusalem to worship God and keep Sukkot.

“It is nice to see these people coming here and caring for us,” said Sara Dayan, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem who brought her children to watch the march. “Israel tries to be so loving to the rest of the world. This loving us back is just amazing to see.”

Did Archaeologists Find First Ever Evidence of Biblical Exodus?

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 06:33

Archaeologists have long disputed whether the Exodus described in the Bible was a factual, historical account of the Jews’ arrival from Egypt or whether the evidence points toward a non-Biblical version – an internal social development in the region. A recent discovery that may prove Iron Age nomads dwelt in the Jordan Valley may bring researchers one step closer to determining the truth.

In an article published in the Biblical Archaeology Review, David Ben-Shlomo, an archaeologist with Ariel University and his American dig partner, Ralph Hawkins of Averett University, described their findings at Khirbet el Mastarah, five miles north of Jericho.

“By the end of our 2017 season, we were struck by the fascinating picture that had begun to emerge in the Jordan Valley, a region that up until recently had been virtually unknown archaeologically,” they wrote. “Within a range of just a couple of miles, we may be able to see the evolution of early Israel from a domestic-scale culture to a political-scale culture.”

The site contains ruins of low walls that researchers believe were used to fence in grazing animals. Pottery shards found at the site have been dated to the early Iron Age, around the time traditionally associated with the Israelite arrival in the Promised Land. No shards were found inside the stone fencing, leading researchers to believe that the people lived in tents.

“The floors of the structures were virtually empty of finds, and thus, we could not date them by conventional archaeological methods,”  Ben-Shlomo wrote. “In Bedouin settlements, people live in tents made of perishables which are relocated every season, thus artifacts would not be associated with stone architecture. So the structures might have housed animals, rather than people, who lived in tents around them.”

The theory that the many low stone enclosures discovered in the region were the campsites of the Israelites when they first entered the land was first put forth by Professor Adam Zertal of Haifa University, who surveyed the area for 38 seasons until his death in 2015. This theory has been contested by archaeologists who claim the rise of the early Israelites was an internal development and not a foreign invasion.

Ben Shlomo and Hawkins believe the people who built the fences were nomadic, just passing through the area due to the harsh climate. Temperatures frequently exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit and the area receives an average of less than half of an inch of rain annually. The site is enigmatic. Semi-concealed by the topography, it is located one mile from the nearest spring.

“The landscape is arid most of the time and even in modern times, most of the population here are Bedouins,” said Dr. Ben-Shlomo. “Sites like Khirbet el Mastarah and other similar ones in the Jordan Valley seem – at least from survey material – to appear suddenly during the Iron Age. Since this area is not densely populated in many periods, this might indicate a new phenomenon like nomads suddenly creating settlements, or a new population.”

Soil from the site is currently undergoing analysis in a laboratory. Samples from underneath the walls are being tested for a build-up of electrons, which become trapped over the years and are only released by light radiation. Samples from the walls are being tested for elevated levels of phosphorus, which would be consistent with animal dung accumulation.

“It is difficult since many aspects of the material culture of different groups (say those from east or west of the Jordan River) may be too similar or not indicative enough,” said Dr. Ben-Shlomo.

“The story of Exodus is a matter of religious belief, yet, some parts of it may be, in principal, inspired from historical events,” Dr. Ben-Shlomo told Breaking Israel News. “The appearance of new sites in the Jordan Valley that may be dated to the early Iron Age (1200-1000 BCE), as suggested by Adam Zertal according to his survey, may fit a situation where there is a movement of some population from east of the Jordan River to west of it. This is possibly a part of the Exodus story.”

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Dr. Ben Shlomo added a disclaimer to his statement.

“So far the finds themselves from Khirbet Mastarah do not support this since we have not yet dated the construction of the structures there; finds from other excavations in the Jordan valley are slightly more informative, but we still need more data.”

The role of the Bible in Israeli archaeology is a source of fierce debate among researchers. As head of the Sifting Project, Dr. Gabriel Barkay is elbow-deep in Second Temple artifacts. When asked how he approaches the Bible in the context of archaeology, Dr. Barkay answered simply, “Very carefully.”

“The Bible is not, nor was it intended to be, an auxiliary reference book for archaeologists and historians,” Dr. Barkay told Breaking Israel News. “The Bible is a religious work that has within it historical data, some of it reliable, some of it mythical, some of it legendary. People, especially researchers, have to be very careful when referencing the Bible. Each verse needs to be weighed for its own relevance.”

Dr. Barkay noted that this ‘careful’ approach to the Bible is especially true when dealing with the significantly more ancient period of early Israel.

“There are some archaeologists who claim that the Exodus from Egypt never took place while other archaeologist believe that it did. Those who do, generally place the date around the 13th century BCE, which, in the ancient Near East, corresponds to the Iron Age,” Dr. Barkay said.

“There is some circumstantial evidence that the Exodus did take place but there has yet to be any direct evidence,” Dr. Barkay said. “This find is circumstantial.”

“Some researchers claim the cause of the regional upheaval in the Iron Age was an internal development; that some Canaanites passed out of the stage of nomadization. Other researchers claim these were people from the outside,” Dr. Barkay continued.

“So even if the researchers at Khirbet el Mastarah prove that the remains were from the 13th century BCE, it would not be proof of a Biblical Exodus. Proof would be in the form of an Egyptian inscription describing a slave revolt or if we found the remains of an Egyptian army in the sea,” he said.

Dr. Ben Shlomo and Hawkins are determined to continue their search for definitive proof to settle this archaeological debate. Towards this end, they will be continuing their research next season Auja el-Foqa, located south of Khirbet Mastarah. The project is currently organizing volunteers for the dig.

Indonesia Tsunami: 34 Bible Camp Students Found Dead Inside Church

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 05:30

After a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday morning, the bodies of 34 young Bible students participating in a Christian bible camp were found in the Jonooge Church Training Center on Tuesday.

According to Indonesian Red Cross spokesperson Aulia Arriani, more bodies are likely to be recovered as the remote region awaits machinery to lift the concrete wreckage caused by 20-feet waves. 86 students had initially been reported missing from the Church.

The students were likely killed in a mudslide that engulfed the church, caused by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and 170 aftershocks.

The bodies of some of the victims are being buried in a mass grave near Palu, Sulawesi, the most affected city.

The current death toll, measured by a disaster agency, estimates that 1,234 people have been killed and 50,000 displaced.

As fuel, food and water run out, roads are blocked by rubble and the search continues for thousands trapped under debris, the toll is likely to increase.

The coastal scenes have been described as widespread disaster with “bodies everywhere.”

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Islam is the majority religion in Indonesia and its islands, with Christianity as its second-largest religion. Its 24 million Christians represent 10% of the country’s population. 19% of Sulawesi island residents are Christians, mostly concentrated on the northern peninsula in Central Sulawesi.

The ethnic Tana Toraja population began converting from their indigenous religion to Christianity through a Netherlands colonial mission since Indonesia’s independence in 1945.

Sulawesi Muslim-Christian violence has become prevalent in recent years, with the most serious violence between 1999 and 2001.

‘The Work of Our Ancestors:’ Shomron Olive Farm Plants on Holy Ground

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 03:14

The olive oil runs from the presses at Meshek Achiya like a stream of liquid gold.

Every olive in the press, each with a fruity aroma tinged by sweet hay or grass, was planted and harvested in Israel’s Biblical heartland, right outside of ancient Shiloh, Israel’s first capital and the location where the holy Ark of the Covenant stood for nearly 400 years. Today, a small team of farmers are re-planting the land, fulfilling the Biblical prophecy described in Ezekiel:

“But ye O mountains of Yisrael ye shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Yisrael; for they are at hand to come” (Ezekiel 36:8).

Shomron landscape of Meshek Achiya

“We are doing the work that our ancestors did in the time of the Temple, of course with the expectation that the day will come when we will take our olive oil to Jerusalem for use in the Third Temple,” said Farm Manager Itamar Weis. “This is holy work that we are doing.”

 

In ancient Temple days, there were both animal and grain offerings. The grain offering (often translated as “meal offering”) is referred to in the Bible as minhah (מִנְחָה), which means “gift” and is an offering of thanks. This meal offering may only consist of fine flour, olive oil, salt and incense, usually frankincense. Sacrifices were suspended with the destruction of the Second Holy Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E. The expectation is that they will return when the Temple is rebuilt.

The abundant olive tree groves at Meshek Achiya

Meshek Achiya (Achiya Farm) is preparing for such a time.

Located in Israel’s Biblical heartland, a team of all-Jewish workers plant and farm nearly 200 acres of olive trees and wine vineyards, all of which are “cultivated with love,” according to Meshek Achiya CEO David Zitzer. The farm uses ancient Hebrew agriculture practices with the aim and ideal of building up the Jewish homeland and bringing about the redemption.

Meshek Achiya has one of the largest olive presses in the country. The farm’s olive oil is of the highest quality and is closely monitored at all stages of the olive-oil making process.

Beautiful groves of Meshek Achiya

“The fruit extract that originates from the ‘tree of life’ –  Proverbs 3:18 – has for thousands of years illuminated holy spaces, and has been used in ceremonies as well as for beauty and culinary purposes,” Zitzer said, noting that the farm’s oil will be suitable for bringing a personal meal-offering when the Third Holy Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt.

These olives could be used as olive oil in a future Third Temple

Weis said his staff, all Jewish residents of the area, understand the role they play. They get up early and work in inclement weather, including strong rain, to plant and harvest the olives. Often, the workers accompany the tractors of fruit to the presses and watch as the olives are turned into oil.

“It is so meaningful,” Weis said.

This time of year, the month immediately following Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), is the ideal time to harvest the olives. They are picked from the trees and brought to the presses within an hour to ensure the finest oil. Within the next two months, new olive oil from this season will hit the shelves.

Each year, the farm presses some 3,000 tons of olives and sells around 500,000 bottles of olive oil. But Meshek Achiya has not been without challenges.

Meshek Achiya was founded 20 years ago by Yossi Shooker, a visionary and idealist who wanted to replant the Biblical heartland as described in the Bible. He purchased a small plot of land and with his own hands he tilled and planted it, said Zitzer.

The abundant olive tree groves at Meshek Achiya

As the time to harvest and press the fruit came closer, Shooker ordered a special olive press from Italy and hired some Italian workers to deliver it and train him in its use.

“But at the time the workers came to deliver it, the first Intifada broke out,” Zitzer said. “So they dropped off the machine and ran.”

Shooker was undettered. He harvested the olives and put them in the press. But when he turned it on and started to run it, one of his limbs got stuck in the machine and he was pulled down inside. His wife, who was with him, ran to cut the electricity and stop the machine. Shooker was badly injured. After a few years fighting for his life in the hospital, he died.

“The people of the Shomron knew it was their duty to carry on,” said Zitzer. So, they kept planting, harvesting and making oil.

Olive tree groves at Meshek Achiya

Over the decades, Arab agricultural terrorists have likewise attacked the farm at least half-a-dozen times, destroying the trees.

Last May, Arab vandals demolished two-and-a-half acres of vineyards, costing Meshek Achiya hundreds of thousands of shekels. Zitzer said it takes four years to replant these vines and recoup the loss. But he said his team will keep going.

“Every time they tear us down, we replant until our olives and grapes grow, just like in ancient times,” Zitzer said.

Today, Meshek Achiya has won multiple international competitions and considered among the best and largest olive oil manufacturers in the State of Israel.

Said Weis, “The quality is extraordinary… Getting Meshek Achiya olive oil is a real way to demonstrate your love of Israel and the Bible.”

Meshek Achiya olive oil is now available to Breaking Israel News readers at 10% off with FREE shipping. Click on one of the banners above. Coupon code should be entered at checkout.

 

This article was written in cooperation with Meshek Achiya.

Muslim Refugees Perpetrate a New Kristallnacht

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 02:00

In the winter of last year, a dozen Muslims tried firebombing the 163-year-old Gothenburg Synagogue.

The attackers threw firebombs at the house of worship forcing dozens of Jewish teens to take refuge in the cellar while waiting for the police.

The synagogue was already protected by heavy concrete barricades and bulletproof doors. A frail Star of David hangs over the formidable stone building made more so by added barriers and defenses against terrorist attacks. A quarter of the membership fees for the congregants go to cover security costs.

Three years earlier, the Rabbi had received a threat in broken Swedish warning, “Soon will come the time when the Gothenburg synagogue will be destroyed to the ground with you inside, and then you too, you pig, will be killed in the eternal fire.”

The police only caught three of the attackers. All three were refugees, one from Syria and two others claimed to be, “Palestinians”. Instead of being sent to prison for arson, they were only convicted of vandalism. Two had residence permits while the third, a Gazan, had his asylum application denied.

The Muslim racist was supposed to have been deported and banned from returning until 2028. But a Swedish appeals court overturned his deportation because his “basic humanitarian rights” might be threatened by Israel since firebombing a synagogue “could be perceived as a threat to other Jews.”

Unlike Sweden.

“We have freedom of religion here in the country. This may not apply to the right of the Jews to practice their religion in their synagogue,” a 2004 article observed. A member of the congregation described reporting an attack to the police only to have them drop it due to “the absence of evidence”.

“There are no signs of increasing antisemitism in Sweden, say the police. Was this not how it started in the 1930s. In another country. In another Europe. Do we want to see it again?” the article asked.

Fourteen years later, it’s a fact of life.

Sweden is not the only European country to legalize Muslim synagogue burnings.

Earlier that same year, a German high court ruled that the attempted firebombing of the Bergisch Synagogue in Wuppertal was not anti-Semitic, but a protest against Israel. The three Muslim “Palestinian” attackers had been let off with a slap on the wrist and suspended sentences.

A lower court had ruled that “no anti-Semitic motivation could be identified in the arson committed by the defendants”, instead the Muslim terrorists were trying to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict”.

(And the Nazis were trying to “draw attention” to the death of a Nazi diplomat with Kristallnacht.)

Such decisions finding that hatred of Israel justifies violent attacks are not unusual in European courts.

In 2010, a British judge all but cheered on leftists who had smashed up a factory exporting components to Israel.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and suggested that the leader of the vandals deserved a medal. “You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time,” he had told the jury.

Last year, Saleh Ali, a Syrian Jihadist refugee, made headlines when he was caught on video smashing the windows of a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam. The police were also caught on video allowing him to smash HaCarmel’s windows without interfering.

He was back on the street in two days.

The court convicted him of vandalism and gave him a suspended sentence even though Ali had refused to answer the judge’s questions, and gave an interview in which he had declared that he did not regret his actions. He had also told officers that the attack on the Jewish restaurant was “only the first step”.

The court did not convict Ali of a hate crime. Nor did the authorities charge him with anything more than vandalism. The same vandalism that the police had done nothing to stop while it was happening.

The judge, like a number of lefty politicos in the Netherlands, instead blamed President Trump, but generously suggested that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem was not the fault of the restaurant.

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The HaCarmel restaurant was reportedly on the verge of shutting down after a series of attacks and threats including phone calls shouting, “Allahu Akbar”.

HaCarmel wasn’t located in a Muslim no-go zone. The Heineken Experience and the Van Gogh Museum are less than two miles away. If this is what it’s like in “the new place to be in Amsterdam Old South”, imagine what it’s like in less touristy areas where the police don’t show up at all when you call for help.

In November, it will be the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. In those dark days, Nazis smashed up Jewish synagogues and businesses. Like the attempted firebombing of the Bergisch Synagogue (also targeted by the Nazis) and the assault on the HaCarmel restaurant, the Nazi thugs claimed that they were acting in retaliation for Jewish atrocities: the assassination of a gay Nazi diplomat in Paris.

And, like the Nazi thugs, the Muslim thugs throwing firebombs at synagogues and smashing Jewish store windows, are acting with the covert sanction of the authorities, which offer them a slap on the wrist.

Instead of the explosive violence of a single Kristallnacht, a slow-motion Kristallnacht is taking place.

For the 75th anniversary, Berlin stores put plastic stickers on their windows to make them appear cracked. But who needs the illusion of smashed windows when for the 80th you can get the real thing?

A firebomb here and there. An assault or two a week. A store shuts down. And then another. There’s nothing as startling as the original Kristallnacht. No single day of massive violence to shock the conscience of the world. Instead an accumulation of incidents is shuttering Jewish businesses, turning synagogues into medieval fortresses and emptying European cities of their Jewish populations.

Without a single conglomeration of atrocities, there are only statistics, incidents and anecdotes.

You read one and then you move on.

The slow-motion Kristallnacht lacks the obvious endorsement of the authorities enjoyed by the Nazis. But the covert endorsements can be spotted in the actions of the police, prosecutors and judges who ignore crimes, fail to act, and even when acting, do as little as possible, in the rhetoric of judges who find every possible loophole and excuse for the Islamic thugs staging their very own Kristallnacht.

Call it collaboration.

In November, the eightieth anniversary of Kristallnacht will dawn on a Europe where Jews are once targeted and on the run. This time there will be no populist leader to blame and no easy scapegoat. Instead the villains are who they were all along, not the scowling mustachioed men on the posters, but the officials and the bureaucrats who pretend to only be following orders, when they’re really the ones giving them. And the Islamic Kristallnacht doesn’t even require them to do either one. They just have to step aside, keep the borders open and then offer Muhammed an understanding wink in the dock.

Then they will nod and agree that anti-Semitism is a serious problem, but they have it under control. There will be photo ops at a march, an appearance at a synagogue, a condemnation and then more firebombings, murders and smashed windows as the slow-motion Kristallnacht continues.

“Death to the Jews” has a new slogan: “Refugees Welcome.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

How Israel Defeated the PLO

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 01:00

The so-called “Oslo process,” is really two processes. The first was the Oslo peace process. It began with secret negotiations between Israeli leftists with ties to then-foreign minister Shimon Peres in Oslo, Norway, in 1993. It led to Israel’s recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the establishment of the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority to run the Palestinian autonomy in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It also led to a seven-year attempt by Israel to make peace with the PLO.

The peace process, was the brainchild of the Israeli Left. It was predicated on the notion that without the PLO there can be no peace. And without peace, based on territorial concessions, Israel has no hope of surviving, let alone prospering.

The Oslo peace process failed in July 2000 when the PLO rejected peace and statehood.

The failure of the Oslo peace process was followed quickly with the initiation of the Oslo terror war by the PLO-PA and its partners in Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Its goal was to demoralize Israeli society and foment a collapse of Israel’s national will to reject the PLO’s maximalist demands, which in turn would lead to the eventual destruction of Israel.

To a large degree, the Oslo war ended in 2004 when Israel secured its control over the Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria and killed Hamas’s senior leadership in Gaza.

The Israeli Left never accepted the failure of the Oslo peace process. And the PLO-PA never abandoned its efforts to destroy Israel – in the name of peace and justice.

The refusal of both the Israeli Left and the PLO-PA to own up to the failure of both Oslo processes, has engendered a strange symbiotic relationship between the two sides. No, of course the Left hasn’t joined or supported the PLO-PA’s terror war. To the contrary. There is little if any distinction in the positions of the Israeli Left and Right on the need to defeat Palestinian terrorism.

What the Left and the PLO-PA do share is an assessment of who is to blame for the absence of peace. Never accepting that the PLO-PA was disingenuous in its expressions of peaceful intentions, the Israeli Left has looked elsewhere for culprits to blame the Oslo peace process’s failure. Its chosen culprits have always been the Israeli Right and their American supporters. The PLO-PA for its part, has always happily agreed with the Israeli Left’s indictments.

The symbiosis between the two parties was very much in evidence in an interview Maariv’s Ben Caspit published last Friday with Saeb Erekat, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s right-hand man and the chief Palestinian negotiator for peace talks with Israel.

The interview was both noteworthy and unoriginal. It was noteworthy because both men knew precisely whom to blame for the absence of peace – US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Erekat went straight for the kill and accused Trump of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians. How is Trump committing mass murder?

By ending US funding of two Palestinian hospitals in east Jerusalem.

As for Netanyahu, according to Erekat, Netanyahu “killed Rabin.” Once Netanyahu was done murdering his predecessor Yitzhak Rabin, according to Erekat, he proceeded to “kill the idea of peace. [He killed] the attempt to create a culture of peace.”

Caspit for his part, was far less extreme. But he shared Erekat’s basic conceits. In an attempt to convince his readers that we need to take heed of Erekat’s words, Caspit expressed scorn for Trump.

“Even after Trump is consigned to history and leaves behind his presidential library of pornography, they [the Palestinians] and us, we remain here together,” he wrote.

Caspit then attacked the normal Israeli suspects. He accused “the Israelis, particularly the Israeli Right of preparing themselves for the coming of the messiah,” in the face of Trump’s friendship.

While Erekat didn’t attack the Israeli public specifically, his demonization of Netanyahu was instrumental. Netanyahu after all did not seize power by force. He was elected prime minister four times. And in the next elections, he is expected to win a fifth term.

Erekat claimed that Netanyahu killed peace by rejecting the PLO’s demand to base all negotiations on the 1949 armistice lines. But Netanyahu isn’t a free agent when he rejects this demand. He is the loyal representative of the Israeli people, which keeps electing him.

This begins to bring us to the reason that the Oslo peace process was rejected and the reason the Oslo war also failed.

Both of these initiatives were launched first and foremost against the Israeli people.

From the time the Rabin-Peres government unveiled the Oslo peace process in late August 1993, until today, at its heart is an assumption that rejects the foundations of Zionism and Jewish identity more generally.

The Oslo peace process assumed that Israel’s prosperity, its survival and its morality were functions of its willingness and its success in making peace with the PLO by appeasing it. That assumption gave Yasser Arafat, Abbas and their comrades veto power over Israel’s success and survival. After all, it was up to them to decide if Israel gave enough.

Zionism and Jewish national identity have always placed the power to determine the fate of the Jewish people, its survival and its success on the Jews themselves. Jewish national identity has never been defined by other nations. It has always been defined by the Jews themselves.

Over the years, since the peace process failed, one of the things that the Israeli Left has been hard pressed to comprehend has been Israel’s high rankings on happiness indexes. Most recently, ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that 89% of Israelis say they are happy and satisfied with their lives.

This report, like all of its many predecessors, plunged the Israeli Left into a fit of despair. How can Israelis be happy when there’s no peace, nor even a peace process? How can Israelis be happy when the Palestinians in Gaza and Judea and Samaria reject them?

The explanations are always forthcoming. Then-secretary of state John Kerry said in 2014 that Israel’s economic prosperity – which was supposed to only come after peace was achieved – has made Israelis too rich to care about the Palestinians.

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The problem with that view is that in the CBS’s 2002 survey – taken at the height of Israel’s economic recession and the darkest moments of the Oslo war – 83% of Israelis said they were happy and satisfied with their lives in Israel.

Israeli commentators like Ron Ben-Yishai have argued that the constant wars and security threats have strengthened social cohesiveness and unity, which serve ironically as the foundations for happiness.
The problem with this view is that happiness levels rise both when Israel is at war and when the security situation is stable.

The reason Israelis are so happy – despite Oslo’s failure – is unquestionably tied to the basic reason that the Oslo peace paradigm never won the sustained support of a majority of Israelis.

Israelis are a dynamic people. In the quarter-century since the handshake on the White House lawn, Israeli society has been transformed in every sphere. The percentage of Israelis with an academic degree rose to 47% from 20% between 1990 and 2012.

In the past 25 years, Israel’s economy has changed from a socialist command economy to a free-market economy and today Israel’s GDP per capita is higher than Japan’s. Israel’s annual GDP overall will likely reach a half trillion dollars within a decade.

Israel’s fertility rates dwarf those of every Western country.

Unemployment is at record lows.

All of this occurred as the Palestinians under the PLO have been robbed of their wealth by kleptocratic terrorists who run their autonomous governments like mafia bosses. To excuse their failures and mask their crimes, the PLO tells the Palestinians to blame their misfortune on the Jews and exhorts them to murder Jews at every opportunity.

One of the central narratives repeated ad nauseam over the past 25 years by the PLO and Israeli leftists alike is that the PLO is the only moderate and secular group in Palestinian society. If Israel fails to support it, then Israel will be forced to fight a war with Islam. In his interview with Erekat, Caspit gave prominent voice to this contention.

This would be an important insight, if were true.

But there isn’t.

Sunday morning, Khalil Jabareen, a 16-year-old from south of Hebron plunged a knife into 45-year-old Ari Fuld’s back outside a supermarket at Gush Etzion junction. Why did he do it? Secular, moderate Abbas.

Monday, Bassem Tawil reported at the Gatestone Institute’s website that, last Saturday – the day after Caspit’s interview with Erekat was published, Abbas gave a speech to the PLO’s Executive Committee in Ramallah. There the “secular, moderate” leader accused Israel of plotting to permit Jews to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Abbas provided no proof for his utterly false allegation. He did say that he is working with the Jordanian government to submit a complaint against Israel for its evil plot before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

According to Tawil, the pan-Arab and Palestinian media picked up Abbas’s remarks immediately. They were the top story on the Hamas and Islamic Jihad websites.

After Jabareen murdered Fuld, the Palestinian media claimed that he killed him to defend al-Aqsa.

In other words, Abbas got Jabareen to go hunting for Jew to kill.

Abbas killed Fuld.

Erekat warned Caspit that at his speech before the UN General Assembly next Thursday, Abbas is planning to make a dramatic statement that will effectively burn down what’s left of the peace process. Caspit, for his part, warned his readers that we need to be very concerned that Abbas will follow through with his threat to dismantle the PA.

His warnings failed to alarm the public. And rightly so.

Fuld’s grotesque murder was just one more reminder that Oslo was wrong on all counts. The PLO was never interested in peace. And Israel’s right to exist, like its success, its security and its prosperity were never in the hands of anyone but the people of Israel.

The people of Israel’s rejection of Oslo’s central premise – that our happiness and success are in the PLO’s hands – and our insistence on carrying on and building their lives and country even in the face of massive suffering and persecution is a testament to two things: the absurdity of Oslo’s central assumption, and the resilience and strength of the Jewish people and Israeli society.

Israel defeated Oslo not by going to war against it, per se. Israel survived the Oslo peace process and defeated the Oslo war by remaining true to itself.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

“Poor” Syria!

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 00:00

For three years, Israel has done a tremendous job of denying two things to the Iranians: further military buildup in Syria, and the delivery of weapons to Hezbollah.

In short: don’t mess with Israel.

This week, Russia ratcheted-up the tensions by announcing the delivery to the Syrians of an anti-missile system known as S-300. This comes on the heels of the shooting down of a Russian plane on September 17, in which 15 Russians were killed. They blame Israel, while Israel blames Syria and Iran.

This is Russia’s war-by-proxy with Israel. Very ominous, since the two sides haven’t engaged in the region since the Yom Kippur War. Then, as in the Six Day War, it is an open secret that Israeli pilots engaged Russian MiG fighters. The latter lost.

Soon, Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Donald Trump for the fifth time. He has also been in contact with Russian strongman Putin. It is heartening that Israel has a leader who will not place others above his no. 1 priority of protecting the citizenry of his own country.

“We will continue to act to prevent the Iranian military build up in Syria and to continue with the security coordination between the IDF and the Russian army,” he said.

It must be kept in mind that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is truly under threat by neighbors. It is true that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf States are worried about Iran. But Israel is the only one that is confined to narrow and small borders, while facing a potentially lethal threat. This time from the north.

Yet, let us consider how amazing the geopolitical situation is now in Israel. They have a solid working relationship with Egypt, whose military leader el-Sisi seems not to be a Jew-hating warlord along the lines of Nasser.

Also, though I take a more negative view of Jordan’s King Abdullah than some, Jordan is no threat to Israel. Iraq is also, for the time being, no longer a real military threat to Israel.

That leaves the north. And all the good news doesn’t negate the fact that two of the worst regimes on the planet are cooperating in Syria. That is indeed problematic for Israel.

The most important factor though is that the Israelis have not and will not back down. They will not allow Iran any real foothold.

It is very problematic that where the “militant” controlled town of Idlib is concerned, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are negotiating the status of that place. Isn’t that amazing? Syria’s Bashar Assad has no real authority or control in his own country, so three menacing powers are doing it for him. Can’t bode well for Syrian independence going forward.

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American forces are operating east of the Euphrates, and of course the Iranians are demanding their removal. The forces are a serious deterrent and President Trump and his team are to be commended for committing troops for stability. Trump is working closely with the Israelis to limit the damage that can be done by Iran and others.

I believe the Big Three of Russia, Turkey, and Iran would love to carve-up Syria. Russia of course has long coveted a warm-weather seaport, so a presence along the Mediterranean coast would fit the bill. Iran would love a chunk of territory in the east. For these reasons and many others, it’s vital to the security of the region that they remain opposed by Israel and America.

It remains a lesson for all of us not to project too far ahead. It is fascinating to think that, for example, Iran’s regime could be overthrown by the people. At the same time, that might give Iraq an opening to reassert itself in the region.

God knows what will happen. In the meantime, we have a front-row seat to all the great end-times prophecies.

We are blessed.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Rapture Ready

Fight Over Iraqi Jewish Archive

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 17:28

The outbreak of the second Iraq War in 2003, produced at least one surprising result. In the flooded basement of the bombed-out Iraqi Secret Service building in Baghdad – there was treasure. An archive of documents relating to the ancient Iraqi Jewish community was discovered. Now there is a dispute between the United States, who took the documents to the USA for painstaking restoration work and the current Iraqi government.

Christians Parade Through Jerusalem in Support of Israel

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 17:08

On one of the intermediate days of Sukkot – The Feast of Tabernacles – thousands of Christians took to the streets of Jerusalem in support of Israel. Now in its 39th year – the ICEJ March is a highlight of Sukkot in Jerusalem.

WATCH: Christians parade through #Jerusalem in support of Israel. This is amazing!

Decision to Only Allow 1,000 Falash Mura to Make Aliyah Disappoints

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 16:57

After 80,000 members of the remnant Falash Mura community in Ethiopia have settled in Israel, the Netanyahu government has approved the aliyah of only 1,000 of the remaining 8,200 – who remain under very difficult conditions.

The decision has caused bitter disappointment among the community in Addis Ababa and Gondar and their supporters in Israel, as they have been yearning to come for two decades and most of them have close relatives living there. The announcement contradicted the government’s commitment in 2015 to bring all of the remaining members of the community to Israel.

But despite this unanimous decision three years ago, the Prime Minister’s Office then refused to implement the program because the NIS 1 billion ($284 million) it said was needed to fund the absorption process was not in the state budget.

As a result of a famine caused by a civil war, some 8,000 Ethiopian Jews were rescued from Sudan via Brussels in a secret Israeli mission called Operation Moses between November 21, 1984 to January 5, 1985. Over those seven weeks, more than 30 flights brought some 200 Ethiopian Jews at a time to Ben-Gurion Airport.

This emergency exodus was followed in May 1991 by Operation Solomon, in which 14,325 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in only 36 hours. It was then thought that all of Beta Israel had come home. But it turned out that thousands of Falash Mura had been left behind. The remnants of the descendants of the Jewish Beta Israel community, who were forcibly converted by Christian missionaries and others in years of famine, upheaval and ethnic strife in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – they were not eligible for inclusion under Israel’s Law of Return.

A veteran pediatrician who visited the Falash Mura earlier this year has warned that many of the babies and toddlers suffer from malnutrition, stunted growth and irreversible brain damage. At the request of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, Prof. Arthur Eidelman – the retired head of pediatrics at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center – spent two weeks in Gondar province to examine the young children of the Falash Mura, who live in cities and thus cannot grow their own food. Eidelman’s aim was to update and assess the nutritional status of youngsters from birth to age and compare it those from his previous visits. “It is urgent to bring to Israel families with children under the age of five who are suffering from undernutrition and subsequent brain damage. Children, in this case, should get higher priority than the elderly,” he said.

About 75% of the would-be immigrants have parents, children, brothers or sisters who are Israeli citizens, many of whom serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Those left behind are eager to convert officially to Judaism when they come to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced recently that another 1,000 members of the Falash Mura community still living in Ethiopia will be brought to the Jewish homeland, instructing Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to draft a government resolution to carry out the decision.

“I am happy to announce to you that I have decided that we should bring approximately 1,000 members of the [Falash Mura] community whose children are already here,” Netanyahu said, referring to them as “a beloved community which is part of our people and part of our state.”

“This is not a simple decision due to other consequences we have of the community from Ethiopia, but I am determined to do this,” the prime minister declared, adding that his government brought 1,300 Falash Mura to Israel in 2015.

The Israeli cabinet discussed the matter three times earlier in 2018, but no decision had been taken. The Committee for the Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews rapped the prime minister’s decision to leave behind most of the community, saying that many had close relatives who would be refused despite the government’s promises and would remain separated from them.

Because the Interior Ministry does not regard the Falash Mura to be Jewish, they can’t make aliyah under the Law of Return and must therefore get special government approval to be allowed in. Some opponents of their aliyah claim that tens of thousands of Ethiopians with no Jewish heritage might claim eligibility under this process.

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A.Y. Katsof, an activist in the Heart of Israel organization that promotes settlement in Judea and Samaria, visited the Falash Mura communities in April, July and plans to go again this month. “I don’t recall that the Israeli government set a quota on the number on Jews from Russia or America or France who could come on aliyah. Why is it doing so from those in Ethiopia? These people, yearning to come to Israel, don’t have enough water or basic food and medicine. I saw it with my own eyes,” added Katsof.

“It is the prime minister who decides on this. Almost all Knesset members signed a petition to bring the Falash Mura. But he has a lot of pressure on him from the ultra-Orthodox [haredi] parties. The late former chief rabbi of Israel who was the spiritual leader of the Shas Party – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – declared decades ago after intensively studying the issue that the Beta Israel and Falash Mura communities are Jewish, but Rabbi Yosef died five years ago. Today, the haredi rabbis have questioned their Judaism and oppose their coming,” Katsof charged.

Today, Rabbi Yosef’s son Yitzhak Yosef is Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi, but he does not have enough power to change the government’s decision. “Ovadia Yosef did everything he could for the Jews in Ethiopia. But now Deri is the interior minister and under the power of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis.” Advocates for the cause have periodically been demonstrating outside Deri’s Jerusalem home, but to no avail.

The prime minister can “tell the ultra-Orthodox rabbis now that he is allowing in only 1,000. And at the same time, he can tell the activists on behalf of the Falash Mura that he had an ‘achievement’ – that he is bringing 1,000 home.”

He added that the Falash Mura “are wonderful people – so gentle – and many have been waiting for two decades in mud huts in Addis and Gondar compounds after selling their homes. From nails on the walls hang pictures of their loved ones living in Israel. When I was there and saw their deeply felt Jewish observance, I felt less Jewish than they are,” Katsof noted.  Most of the young people already speak Hebrew; most of the 80,000 who previously were permitted to make aliyah didn’t speak a word of the language.”

Katsof says that the lobby on behalf of the Falash Mura is not strong enough and that the Israeli public don’t know enough about them. “Public opinion can help. In the past, the Beta Israel and Falash Mura were met at Ben-Gurion Airport by dignitaries and regarded as heroes. Knesset members would fight over who could speak to them at the airport. Today, the politicians don’t care anymore,” he said.

“The problem is not financial – it’s political. If some organization offered money to help absorb them, it could help – as absorbing 7,000 more people over three years could cost about $10,000 per person. But money is not what is keeping the government from deciding to bring all of them. When they all are finally brought home, long-term medical treatment for the children who suffer brain damage due to malnutrition would cost much more than if they were brought now.”

He added that some Beta Israel Ethiopian Jews in Israel who remember the Falash Mura in the 1980s got the impression that they were living as Christians. But their opposition is based on misinformation. They lived as Jews. The Kessim [Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders] who met them changed their minds.”

To influence Israeli public opinion, he wants to bring a famous Israeli singer to Ethiopia to visit the Falash Mura community. We will put a film clip on the Internet, and there will be four or five million ‘hits.’ It could change minds,” said the Heart of Israel activist.

“During my visit in April, I found a Jewish community like the one I had always imagined of the Jewish people 2,500 years ago – individuals following the pure Jewish faith straight out of the Bible, completely disconnected from technology and the world. Families live in one-room mud huts, which serve as bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens for the whole family. There is no running water and there are no toilets. But in almost every house, there is a corner set up separately with Shabbat candles.

In every house, one nail per family member is tapped into the wall. And on those nails hang one garment for every person. Next to those hooks, hang picture frames, and inside them are photographs of their loved ones who have already immigrated to Israel. ‘This is my daughter, this is my father, these are my grandchildren who serve as fighters in the Israel Defense Forces, but I was told I could not go with them. ‘Why?’ one older woman said to me.”

Katsof continued that “the community is deeply committed to Judaism. I heard the children sing Hatikvah and Next Year in Jerusalem. On Shabbat, they danced the traditional Ethiopian shoulder dance to the melody of Lecha Dodi. Throughout the week, there were Torah classes and minyanim three times a day with Amharic translation.”

NUMBERS 33:53

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 05:36

This verse is the source for the biblical command to settle and inhabit the Land of Israel. It emphasizes the importance of living in the land. As Deuteronomy draws to a close, the Children of Israel are on the verge of entering the Promised Land and fulfilling these words. They would remain in the land for hundreds of years, but sin and transgression eventually led to their exile. For centuries, the Jewish people yearned to return and resettle their land. While over the centuries, some individuals were able to fulfill these dreams, the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 made it possible for any Jew who wishes to return to come and settle in their homeland. Today, there are approximately six million Jews and eight million total residents in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). How fortunate we are to live in a time when the Land of Israel is so accessible to all.

Ari Fuld’s Call for Jews to Unite for Moshiach!

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 07:58

Ari Fuld stands at the Western Wall, calling on the Jewish People to unite in order to bring Moshiach (Messiah).

Strange Mist Covers Temple Mount [WATCH]

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 07:38

On the sixth day of Sukkot, a group of Jews praying on the Mount of Olives witnessed a strange mist rising up out of the ground on the Temple Mount, enshrouding the holy site and obscuring the base of the Dome of the Rock.

The service on the last day of Sukkot is called Hoshanna Rabbah and marks the end of the week-long festival. The prayer service includes a special service in which seven circuits are made by the worshippers with their lulav and etrog while singing praises of God.

The mist remained for approximately half an hour, remaining close to the ground and confined to the Temple Mount Compound.

Joshua Wander, who filmed the strange mist, lives on the Mount of Olives.