Subscribe to Breaking Israel News feed
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

IAF Appoints First Female Squadron Commander

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 04:00

Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin appointed the first female commander of an IAF squadron Tuesday, when he named Major G. to command Squadron 122.

The pilot, whose name cannot be published for security reasons, will command the Nachshon Squadron (named after a descendant of Judah and Aaron’s brother-in-law), which operates surveillance aircraft.

G. (34), who will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, enlisted in the IAF in 2003, and upon completion of her flight course, served in various squadrons as a transport pilot. She later served in several commander positions in the IAF Flight School and later in Squadron 135. Between 2015 and 2017, she served as Deputy Commander of the Nahshon Squadron, which she will now return to command.

“I am happy for the appointment. It is a great privilege along with great responsibility,” said G, adding “The real work is yet to come. I’m  proud to serve in the Air Force.”

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

Her appointment comes after the military named the first ever woman to head an IAF aviation squadron in January. Unlike flight squadrons, which operate aircraft, aviation squadrons are responsible for ground-based operations. Major G’s appointment also follows other promotions to command positions for women in the IDF, including the recent announcement that the IDF had appointed its first four female tank commanders.

While women flew fighter planes in the 1948 Independence War and 1956 Sinai War, they were eventually barred from the program (as well as from other combat positions in the Israel Defense Forces).

Major G. was just appointed by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) commander as the first female flight squadron commander in the IAF.
"It’s a great privilege that comes with immense responsibility. The real work is still ahead of me. I am proud to serve in the IAF." – Major G. pic.twitter.com/gJsszX7Dv5

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 7, 2018

Chinese Christians Awakening To Torah

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 02:22

It’s risky to be a Christian in China today. Despite this, the numbers of Chinese Christians interested in studying Torah, learning Hebrew and visiting Israel is skyrocketing.

According to San Diego, CA-based Pastor Grace Wang, underground churches are very active and growing rapidly in China. Wang told Breaking Israel News that her weekly Torah messages, which she records in Mandarin Chinese using her iPhone, are distributed through an underground network of churches and are heard by more than 10,000 people each week. “They are hungry for Torah,” she explained.

Wang shares a passion for the Temple Mount with Rabbi Yehuda Glick. She translated Glick’s book Arise and Ascend: A Guide To The Temple Mount into Chinese. The first 2,000 copies sold out quickly and she just got funding to reprint another 2,000 copies.

Asked how she understands the phenomenon of Chinese Christians being fascinated by Torah and Israel, she said, “We are almost in the End Times. This is the work of God, to open the heart of people to have a desire for Torah. It’s above nature. It’s so powerful. This is totally supernatural.”

Wang noted that, after studying with her for a time, many of her students begin to celebrate the Biblical festivals, although it’s not safe for them to observe Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) outside of their homes in China.

“They celebrate with the Jewish calendar. They fast and pray on Yom Kippur (Jewish day of Atonement) and Tisha B’Av (day of mourning for the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem).”

They do this, despite the fact that, according to Wang, “In Mainland China, there is no freedom. It’s really amazing! They love the God of the Jewish people. They don’t have money to come to Israel, except maybe once in their lives. They never see Jewish people. They study the Bible. Their only wish is to come to Israel.”

According to Wang, “There are at least a million Torah-loving Chinese Christians. It’s growing.” She guesses that more tourists come to Israel from China than from any other country.

Canada-based Dafei (Stillwater) Tang started a weekly Torah study in Shanghai in 2010, after he, “was expelled from an ‘underground’ church for teaching the Law (Torah) which is contrary to church doctrine. After being expelled from my church, I started my weekly Torah study at home with three other church members who decided to follow me. This was probably the first Mandarin Torah study group ever in China.

“Torah is a new concept in China, but the past eight years have certainly ushered in an awakening, primarily in the Christian communities, to acknowledge Torah as the foundation of our faith.” 

“We are almost in the End Times. This is the work of God, to open the heart of people to have a desire for Torah. It’s above nature. It’s so powerful. This is totally supernatural.”

His own interest in Torah began in 1998, “when I came across a teaching by a rabbi on a church channel in my Shanghai apartment, through an illegally installed satellite dish. I found his message intriguing at the time and started to pay attention to the ‘Jewish’ stuff.

“I came to realize that Torah is the ‘seed’ for all the subsequent revelations in the Bible and [that] the New Testament has been grossly misunderstood by church traditions.”

Tang’s students are all Chinese-speaking Christians. His weekly teachings, published in Chinese, reach 3,500 subscribers and he has 400 active students. “Since 2010, my routine has been to study all these materials in English and share them every week in Chinese for free, and whosoever is thirsty can come and learn with me.”

For He has satisfied the thirsty, filled the hungry with all good things. Psalms 107:9

Tang explained to Breaking Israel News how he understands the burgeoning interest in Hebrew, Torah and Israel among Chinese Christians. “I think the reason is that Torah is the foundation of the faith. One can easily misread the New Testament if there is no solid foundation in Torah basics.”

Asked why Chinese Christians would risk studying Torah, he said, “A man of faith by definition has no fear for potential religious persecution, which actually makes him stronger. Torah study, on the other hand, can make one wise, for Torah is wisdom, so I would say, if Christianity makes them stronger in the face of persecution, Torah comes to make them wiser.”

Tang does all of his Torah teaching without compensation, “My weekly study is arduous, and it is entirely done through my spare time as I do have a full time job and a family to support. What’s keeping me marching forward tirelessly is the conviction that Torah is a code book from heaven, and I have been called to dig for treasures, and to share them with others. Once in a while, the grace of God will help me with a find, which is simply beautiful, and my soul would rejoice with awe and praise.”

Like Wang, Tang believes that this interest in Torah emanating from Chinese Christians is related to geula (redemption). “I believe we’re at the end of days, in that the inner dimension of Torah is being studied in the least likely place, which is not by ‘chance’ but Divine providence, or hashgacha pratis. According to the Baal Shem Tov (18th century founder of Hasidic Judaism), when the inner dimension of Torah is taught throughout the world, it is the time of Mashiach (messiah), and we’re participating in this epochal moment in history right now.”

“Jewish people believe in the Bible and have a relationship with God. That is new information for so many Chinese Christians. I am trying to crack that understanding and show them the evidence.”

While Tang frames the reason for the strong interest in Torah, Israel and Hebrew among Chinese Christians in a positive light, Shirley Burdick reveals a darker agenda. A US citizen who was born and raised in China until the age of 17, Burdick has spent years in Israel.

Shirley Burdick in Israel. (Credit: Shirley Burdick/Facebook)

Four years ago, she returned to China for a visit and noticed the extensive selection of Jewish books that have been translated into Chinese. Burdick described one of the motivations of Chinese people for learning more is respect for how the Jewish people have survived, despite centuries of persecution. “They [the Jews] are amazing people. How do we learn from them? That’s their approach. We must learn from them and learn to collaborate with them,” she explained.

There is a second motivation for Chinese Christian interest in Israel and Torah that is a good deal less endearing. Burdick told Breaking Israel News that the Chinese interest in Israel may also be tied to the Back to Jerusalem movement. According to their website, “Back to Jerusalem is the goal of the Chinese church to evangelize the unreached peoples from eastern provinces of China, westwards toward Jerusalem.” But will they stop evangelizing when they reach Israel?

Tang suspects not. Asked what percentage of Chinese Christians are motivated by a desire to convert Jewish people to Christianity, he replied, “The answer is 100% and the reason is that preaching the Gospel is the Great Commission.” Tang says about himself, “I’m not personally involved in missionizing to Jews.”

Burdick, granddaughter of a Christian pastor and fifth generation Christian, has lived and volunteered in Israel for the past seven years. She is on a mission to help Chinese Christians appreciate Jewish people and what Jewish people believe.

Toward that end, she has begun a modest project whose goal is “to get Chinese Christians to see Jewish people first. They have no idea who Jews are.” Burdick says that they know almost nothing about Jewish history. They are unaware that, “Jewish people have tremendous faith in Hashem (God) and in Hashem’s Word.

“Chinese Christians are practical people. They have to be shown concrete evidence.” So she starts building her case by illustrating the ingathering of the exiles because, she says, “The most concrete evidence is the return from exile. I show them pictures. I explain how Jewish people built the country. I connect it to the Bible. They are making the desert bloom.

The arid desert shall be glad, The wilderness shall rejoice And shall blossom like a rose. Isaiah 35:1

“Jewish people believe in the Bible and have a relationship with God. That is new information for so many Chinese Christians. I am trying to crack that understanding and show them the evidence.”

Once she has convinced them that there is more to the Jewish people than they previously understood, she likes to take them to Friday night prayer services at a local synagogue. “They come out crying,” she explained. I have to show them Jewish faith, that it’s not just Christians who have belief in God.”

Burdick also points out the need, “to fix Christian doctrine in order to have a meaningful relationship with the Jewish people. Christian doctrine eliminated the Jewish people from God’s plan for salvation. It doesn’t mention the Jewish people, which is just wrong,” she explained.

Her central message is nothing less than a paradigm shift. “When we first came to Israel, we were shocked that Jews understand the Bible,” she said about herself and her husband.

“This is deeper than replacement theology. The covenant is established with the Jewish people. Without the covenant, there is no salvation and that is with the Jews. Jews have to be part of the picture of salvation. Without Jews, that picture is not complete.”

Eventually, Burdick wants more Chinese Christians to come to Israel to see for themselves what she now understands. She knows hers is not a popular message. “It took me 10 years to be able to articulate these things. In the beginning, I had no idea who Jewish people are and what they believe in. We discovered that reality is different from our doctrine. Obviously Hashem is doing something that doesn’t agree with our doctrine. How do you talk about it?”

“Hashem wants the nations to know the word of the Lord. We’re hoping that our lessons will free Christians from their ulterior motive and be able to rejoice with the Jewish people in Israel,” she concluded.

Tunisia Relents; Allows Israeli Chess Prodigy to Compete

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 08:04

The Tunisian Chess Federation has finally agreed to let 7-year-old Israeli girl Liel Levitan, the European school champion in her age group, compete in the international chess tournament in Sousse, Tunisia next year.

“Players from all countries are welcome, without exception,” the Tunisian Chess Federation said in a statement.

The initial decision of the Tunisian Government, which cut limited diplomatic ties with Israel in October 2000, to deny visas to the Israeli team, was reversed after the World Chess Federation (FIDE) threatened to change the location of the tournament.

FIDE was pressured by the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs that launched a campaign last month to fight for Liel’s right to participate in the chess tournament.

“We asked people to send emails to FIDE’S offices asking to demand from Tunisia chess federation to host Israeli players,“ StandWithUs Public Affairs Director Gilad Kabilo told TPS.  “Within a few days FIDE received almost a thousand emails. This was the first time that a civil action caused an overturn of state policy.”

The international chess tournament in Tunisia is open to all chess  player aged between 6 and 17 . Shoham Cohen Revivo, 14 years old, ranked number 73 in the world in the under 14 class also decided to enter.

“I don’t mix politics with chess,” Alon Revivo Cohen, Shoham’s father and director of the Chess Club of Jerusalem told TPS.  “I went with Shoham to the World Youth Chess Championship held in Al Ain in the United Emirates in 2013, and they treated us like kings,”  he said.

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

This is not the first time Israeli athletes have faced obstruction when tournaments are hosted in Arab countries.

A few months ago, Saudi Arabia denied Israeli chess players the chance to participate in an international competition in the country. Earlier in 2018, the Israeli Taekwondo team was not allowed to fly to the world junior championship held in Tunisia. In October 2017, at an international judo competition in the United Arab Emirates, Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” and Israel’s flag were banned for Israeli Tal Flicker who took the gold medal in the under-66 kilogram category.

However, Israel has seen some success in blocking Arab countries from preventing its athletes from participating in international tournaments.

Last month, the International Judo Federation suspended the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix from its competition calendar, after they refuses to display the Israeli flag or to play Israeli national anthem.

Israel Develop’s First-Ever Parkinson’s Test

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 07:44

Israeli scientists in Jerusalem developed a new test that may help in the early detection of Parkinson’s Disease, which could help save countless lives.

WATCH: Israeli Scientist Develops First-Ever #Parkinson’s Disease Test.

By @israelproject pic.twitter.com/BmOj1TZzwQ

— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) August 7, 2018

Uncovering Vilna Gaon’s Ancient Lithuanian Synagogue

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 06:34

An international team of archaeologists has uncovered the bima (pulpit platform) of the Great Synagogue of Vilnius in Lithuania. The synagogue dates back to the 1630’s and it is possible that Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, the leading Torah scholar of the 18th century known as the Vilna Gaon, prayed at the bima.

The site was first used as a Jewish house of prayer in 1440 and a synagogue was first built in 1572. The structure being studied by archaeologists was damaged by the Nazis in World War II and demolished by the Soviets in 1955–1957 to be replaced by a kindergarten and a primary school.

“We’ve found the bimah, the central prayer platform, which was in Tuscan Baroque style. It was one of the central features of the synagogue,” Israeli archaeologist Jon Seligman, who led the team, told AFP.

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

The pulpit was described by the archaeologists as “a two-tier Baroque structure built of four Corinthian and eight Tuscan columns, decorated with lions facing the Aron Kodesh (ark containing the Torah scrolls)”. A fire damaged the structure in the 18th century and Yehuda ben Eliezer, a writer and judge in the community, donated the ornate bima.

In 2011, the Lithuanian government announced plans to demolish the Soviet era structures and replace them with a memorial after an archaeological study was done of the site. Excavations began in 2016 and researchers discovered what they believe to be a mikveh (ritual bath).

“The school will be demolished within two years and we’ll create a respectful site, displaying rich Jewish heritage by 2023, when Vilnius celebrates its 700th birthday,” the city’s mayor Remigijus Simasius said.

“It is really a very exciting development,” Seligman said about the discovery of the bima. When we talk about the presentation of the site to the public in the future, this will be one of the central features of the display.”

In his lifetime, the Vilna Gaon was a strong proponent of Jews making Aliyah and developing the community in Israel. His disciples, known as Perushim (because they isolated themselves from worldly concerns to study Torah), originally settled in the Galilean town of Safed.

IDF Responds to Hamas Sniper Attack

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 06:01

Rare footage showing Hamas terrorist snipers taking aim and firing at IDF soldiers. When the retaliation came, it was swift and accurate.

Breaking: IDF released a video of the shooting attack against it's forces and the retaliation.
This seems to be an attempt to highlight #Hamas' responsibility for the death of its gunmen. pic.twitter.com/uXou6c3F40

— LTC (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) August 7, 2018

Arson Kite Sets Fire to Samaria Winery

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 04:53

An incendiary kite landed in an Israeli vineyard in Samaria on Monday, starting an arson fire.

The kite landed in the Tura Winery near Mount Gerizim in Samaria, close to the Tomb of Joseph, the biblical son of Jacob whose bones were buried in Israel following the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

Though a fire was started, it was quickly extinguished and harm to the vineyard was prevented.

According to Hadashot news, Palestinians in Judea and Samaria have begun copying the terrorist ploy invented by those in the Gaza Strip.

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

In the last four months, hundreds of terrorist arson fires have been started by Gazans inside Israel through the use of flaming kites and balloons. More than 7,400 acres of agricultural and nature preserve lands have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damage.

Just this week, 200 bee hives belonging to Israeli farmers were destroyed and the bees killed, causing the loss of all their honey just weeks before the Rosh Hashanah holiday, in which honey is featured prominently.

Last month, a fire balloon was found in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, next to the Palestinian Authority-controlled Beit Jala and Bethlehem.

US Reimposes Economic Sanctions on Iran

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 04:14

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday restoring key sanctions on Iran with the hope of levying “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran over its nuclear program and other destabilizing activity in the Middle East.

“As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime,” said Trump, “I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorism.”

The new sanctions on Iran prevent any transactions with the Islamic Republic involving dollar bank notes, gold, precious metals, alumni, steel, commercial passenger aircraft and coal, as well as ending imports into the United States of Iranian carpets and food. On Nov. 5, a second round of sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry are also set to go back into effect.

“We’re very hopeful that we can find a way to move forward, but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump on his decision to reimpose sanctions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a press conference at the Kirya government headquarters in Tel Aviv,. (Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“This is an important moment for Israel, the U.S., the region and the entire world. It represents the determination to curb Iran’s aggression in the region and its ongoing intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons. I call upon the countries of Europe, which talk about stopping Iran, to join this measure. The time has come to stop talking and to take action, and that is exactly what the U.S. has done and what Europe should do.”

The renewed sanctions come as a result of Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal last May. Trump, who called the deal “horrible” and “one-sided,” is seeking to ratchet up pressure on the Iranian regime, which the president accuses of destabilizing the Middle East.

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

“Reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions through today’s actions further intensifies pressure on Tehran to change its conduct,” said the president.

At the same time, the renewed sanctions come amid growing protests in Iran over the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Protesters could be seen on the streets in the last few days in several major cities, including Tehran, Isfahan and Karaj.

In addition to the newly imposed sanctions, Iranians are concerned about the rapid drop in the country’s currency, the rial, which has lost nearly 80 percent of its value from a year ago.

Unique Initiatives in Israeli Wine Industry

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 03:55

With the rise to prominence of Israeli wine in the last few decades, Israeli wineries have branded themselves through unique initiatives created at the nexus of the Start Up Nation and the ancient Jewish tradition of winemaking.  

Each presented their wine to the public at the Jerusalem Wine Festival July 30-August 2, Golan Heights Winery, Galil Mountain Winery, Jerusalem Vineyards and Tulip Winery stand out as exceptional examples of Israeli wineries pioneering unique initiatives and branding.

Golan Heights and Galil Mountain Winery

Founded in 1983, Golan Heights Winery and its subsidiary Galil Mountain Winery began pioneering the environmentalist movement within the Israeli wine industry over the past year, with the first and only wineries with the ‘Lodi Rules’ for sustainable winegrowing, California’s original sustainable viticulture program. The rigorous certification is third party accredited and audited and peer-reviewed by world renowned scientists, academics and environmental organizations, ensuring the implementation of viticulture practices that “balance environmental, social and economic goals.” Standards include rules for sustainable practices in business management, human resources management, ecosystem management, soil management, water management and pest management.

“Sustainability is the belief in the importance of leaving for the next generation our resources – including land and wine – in as good or better condition than they are at the moment,” Victor Shoenfeld, winemaker for Golan Heights Winery, told Breaking Israel News.

“I hope the vineyards we are planting will outlive me – and sustainability is a natural outgrowth of thinking long term about the quality of wine.”

He explained, “When you damage the environment, it damages the authenticity of the wine. Israel, like many places in the world, has a problem with a vineyard virus called ‘leaf roll.’ Controlling that disease in the Israeli wine industry is the number one sustainability issue and up until a few years ago, there was no organic treatment for the bug.”

According to Eyal Franco, the Sales and Marketing Manager at Galil Mountain Winery, Galil now uses chemical-damage-free cleaning materials to clean the equipment and property. They changed their air conditioner system to save electricity, built solar panels on the roof to save 50 percent more electricity, engineered natural corks that are better for the environment, as well as bottle protection devices that use less waste. They now provide wine on tap to restaurants to minimize waste, house sustainable art and music projects at their visitor’s center – “something that talks to the people,” Franco told Breaking Israel News. “Because not everyone can understand compost.”

Aerial view of the Galil Winery. (Credit: Courtesy of Galil Winery)

But for those who do, Franco tells them about their partnership with coffee company Nespresso, which sends its coffee as compost for the vineyards, which according to Franco, “makes the vineyards more healthy.”

With environmental choices, “sometimes you save money, and sometimes you don’t,” maintained Franco, pointing out that environmentally friendly practices like installing LED lighting can be pricey. “But these efforts create a better economic and social environment for future generations, and for the wine.”

Golan Heights and Galil Mountain Winery worked with Californian expert in vineyard sustainability, Clifford Ohmart, toward their certification in vineyard sustainability. Together, they developed a sustainable business plan, along with training and safety programs for employees, a water and soil management plan, viticulture management plan and documenting each for accountability.

“Now, as a part of our long-term sustainability philosophy, we are the only place to buy high quality disease free vines in Israel.”

But according to Shoenfeld, they do not want to stop there. “Ninety-five percent of New Zealand wineries are certified sustainable. As a part of building the brand of Israeli wines, we see spreading sustainability and this certification program to the whole industry as an important step for the industry.”

Shoenfeld is proud to be a winemaker in Israel. Winemaking is largely about research and development, which he says is part of Israel’s DNA.

He continued, “Israel is a fascinating place to make wine – we are a tiny country but have the diversity of weather, geography, soils and topography like a huge country. We are getting more and more recognition in the world, and there is no reason not to cooperate with each other to continue this.”

“The industry has been changing so much over the years – there has never been a more exciting time than now.”

Franco agreed, saying, “We are just beginning in our sustainability efforts and we are not experts yet – we need more Israeli wineries to join us on this mission.”

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

Jerusalem Vineyard Winery

Jerusalem Vineyard Winery is the only winery in Jerusalem, which according to CEO Erez Winner “is more than just a place, it’s also a statement.”

“When young Jewish families walk the land to grow grapes like our forefathers, that’s something you can smell and taste in the final product,” Winner told Breaking Israel News.

The winery’s uniqueness lies in its goal of Jerusalem diplomacy – representing the city like ambassadors, said Winner. Part of this ambassadorship is to “make high quality products that show a good and positive face of Israel and Jerusalem.”

A selection of Jerusalem Winery wines. (Credit: Jerusalem Wineries)

The Jerusalem Vineyard Winery has a large variety of vineyards and grapes from all around the city, from the mountains of Har bracha, Elon Morei and Shilo, to Nevo Beitar and Beit Zait. “Like Jerusalem, a city of many faces that is old and new, our wine has many faces and also represents an industry that is both old and new,” said Winner.

Indeed, archaeology has proven that Israeli wine varietals existed thousands of years ago, only to be reborn in modern times as prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.

“Jerusalem is the Kotel (Western Wall), it is the David Citadel, it is Mahane Yehuda, and it is the string bridge. It is old and it is new. It is religion and tradition, but also modern and Biblical,” added Winner.  “That’s how we try to build and describe our wines, making traditional wines and grape juice with unique new blends like our Merlot-Carignan-Shiraz.”

Jerusalem Vineyard Winery’s unique marketing includes wine labels according to the history and story of Jerusalem, with a series named after the streets of Jerusalem, neighborhoods and gates of the Old City – there is also a special label in honor of the reunification of Jerusalem. Recently, they opened a tasting room and visitor’s center inside the Yemin Moshe windmill, built in 1857 by British Jewish banker and philanthropist Moses Montefiore, who devoted his life to promoting industry and health in the land of Israel.

Tulip Winery

Tulip Winery was one of the first social businesses in Israel and the first social winery in the world, combining a profitable, successful and high-end business with the value of social responsibility of contributing to a larger community.

Based in Israel’s ‘Village of Hope’ in northern Israel, Tulip employs 40 members of the community – a kibbutz-style village for adults with special needs – integrating them into the winery and visitor’s center.

According to Lital Roth, the Director of Customer Relations at Tulip Winery, “Tulip also helps fundraise for the village, spreading the message of equal opportunity and raising awareness of the importance of integration into the labor market for people with disabilities.”

“Social contribution to the community, is a way of living and part of the organization’s DNA,” she told Breaking Israel News. “We show that you can create a high quality product with this contribution without lowering the quality of the product, a conscious capitalism.”

Indeed, wine critics and consumers have chosen Tulip to be one of the best wineries in Israel.

According to Tulip Founder and CEO Roy Itzhaki, “The Quality helps the contribution to the community and likewise, the contribution to the community helps the community.”

One could say the same thing about Israel’s wineries that bring forth unique initiatives in the fields of environmentalism and diplomacy – at the same time that they have been facilitated by the burgeoning Israeli wine industry, so to do they act to the country’s industry as a whole – one glass at a time.

Running Like The Benjamin Man: Bible Run is Prophecy Fulfilled

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 02:52

Men dressed in white and wearing ancient tarbooka drums around their necks stand on the edges of the ancient hills of the Shomron. Then, the sound of the shofar breaks the silence and with its blast a pack of runners begin their journey through the lavish orchards, aromatic vineyards and layers of voluptuous greenery that was once – and is still today – the heart of Israel.

The event is the Bible Marathon. This year, it will take place on Friday, September 28 with the same Israeli flags, balloons and loads of energy that has marked the modern version of this ancient running challenge for the past four years.

The full marathon route runs from Rosh Ha’ayin (Eben Ezra in the Bible) to Shiloh, as described in the Book of Samuel.

Shortly after the Jews entered the Land of Israel, they fought a battle against the Philistines.

“Every man fled his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers,” it says in 1 Samuel in the Bible. The Ark of the Covenant was taken and the two sons of the High Priest were killed. “Now, a man of [the tribe] Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and dust on his head.”

This man, from the tribe of Benjamin, ran 42 km. which is also the official length of the Olympic marathon decided upon in 1908 at the London Olympic Games. According to tradition, the Benjamin man was a young King Saul (‎c. 1050 – 1012 B.C.E.).

“Everyone thinks the first marathon was when Pheidippides ran to Athens with the news of the great victory his people had over the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C.E.,” said runner Avraham Hermon, who lives in Har Bracha in Samaria. “But, in reality, it was many years earlier, in the Bible, in the Land of Israel.”


Shiloh was the religious capital of Israel for 369 years, beginning after the conquest of Canaan until King David established Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish nation. Shiloh, mentioned 34 times in the Tanach, was the longest-standing Jewish capital of any city other than Jerusalem, said David Rubin, a former mayor of Shiloh.

In his book, “God, Israel, and Shiloh: Returning to the Land,” Rubin tells the story of the struggles and triumphs of Israel’s complex history, dating back to slavery in Egypt and continuing up to the present, including the period in which the Israelites occupied Shiloh as its capital. Rubin said that Shiloh was a fitting capital for the Israelites when it was established approximately 3,500 years ago by Joshua, son of Nun, for many reasons, including that Joshua was a member of the tribe of Ephraim and Shiloh is in the heart of the Biblical portion of the land allotted to this tribe. Additionally, Shiloh is at the geographic center of the country (approximately 44 kilometers north of Jerusalem), is strategically located in the mountains and, at the time, had a strong and flowing river.

At some point during those 369 years, a permanent structure was built for the Ark of the Covenant. Rubin said it is believed that the stone foundation for the Ark can be seen still today at Tel Shiloh, an archaeological dig near the city. Visitors can stand on the spot where it is believed the Ark once stood. The Ark itself was taken into the battle described in the Book of Samuel and captured by the Philistines.

The Biblical story of Hannah, who pours her heart out in prayer for a child, takes place in Shiloh. Also, according to Judges 21, Shiloh is where the maidens would dance in the vineyards each year on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av, when unmarried men would go there in search of a bride.

“Shiloh, along with most of the land of Israel, lay barren for 2,000 years, until the Jewish people started coming back,” Rubin said. “Today, Shiloh is full of vineyards and olive groves.”

In the early 1900s, a sportsman by the name of Yosef Yekutieli moved to Israel, then British Mandate Palestine. Yekutieli started the first organized sports competitions in Israel, including the Maccabiah Games.

Yekutieli had read the story in the Bible about the Benjamin man and his run from Eben Ezra to Shiloh and he wondered what was the distance, explained Moshe Ronsky, tourism director for the Binyamin Regional Council.

Yekutieli for years was left to wonder because the area was under Jordanian control. But, Ronsky said, as soon as Israel won the 1967 Six-day War, Yekutieli hopped into his jeep and drove the ancient and ultimately 42-kilometer Biblical path. Yekutieli re-established the Bible Marathon two years later. However, with the political turmoil and security concerns at the time, “Israel was not equipped to keep the race going.” As such, the Bible Marathon died only a few years later.

“We have brought this race back to life,” Ronsky said of the Bible Marathon, which relaunched in its present form in 2015.

Last year, more than 2,000 runners from over 10 countries took part in event, which included a half-marathon, 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer races, too.

Hermon of Har Bracha wrapped himself in a linen toga for the race.

“Wearing the historic garb and thinking about where I am running makes me feel a connection to the land,” Hermon said.

Lukasz Wilk, a Christian Zionist who was in Israel with a tour of 100 other like-minded travelers to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot, in Hebrew), ran the marathon and won.

“I love the people of Israel,” said Wilk just moments after crossing the finish line of the 2017 Bible Marathon. “Some of my friends in Poland said Israel is not a safe country and that I should not come here. I knew it was a lie. Israel is beautiful and safe.”

Wilk said he is returning to Israel this year for the Feast of Tabernacles, but he will not be running the race due to injury. Nonetheless, he encouraged others to take part in the Bible Marathon.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Wilk said. “Everything was perfectly prepared from the start zone to finish zone.”

He said it is especially important for Christians to come to Israel and show their support of the Holy Land, even by walking the 5K.

“In the Second World War, Poland destroyed many Jews – many people and their things,” he said. “But I believe that now we are restoring that past and on a better path…I am very in love with Israel and the Jewish people.”

Li Weiyi from China walked the 5K with a group of around a dozen other Chinese Christian Zionists in 2017. She said they were in town for the Feast of Tabernacles and to “pray for and bless the Land of Israel.”

“We are believers in the Bible,” Weiyi said. “We came to the race because we wanted to walk in the path of the Bible. It was amazing and spiritual and like nothing I have ever experienced before. This land is amazing. This is the Holy Land.”

Hermon said that whenever he brings people to Samaria to show them where he lives, he brings along his Bible, “This is our tour book,” Hermon said.

The Bible Marathon is the next chapter in the Jewish people’s thousands of years of history, and “the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy,” Rubin said. “The prophecies promised that the children of Israel would return to these mountains and rebuild these Jewish cities and towns – that the children will once again be running through the streets of their Biblical homeland. That is literally what is happening today.”

ECCLESIASTES 3:5

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 23:24

According to Jewish tradition, the phrase “a time for throwing stones” is a reference to the destruction of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) when the holy city’s grand walls were reduced to a heap of rocks. The phrase, “and a time to gather stones” refers to the second stage of exile, when King Yechonya, and those exiled with him carried the stones and the earth of Yerushalayim to Babylonia, in order to build synagogues and study halls from the precious earth and stones of the Holy Land. Just as Hashem (God) allowed Yerushalayim to be ravaged and reduced to stones, He also allows for the stones to be gathered and for Yerushalayim to be build and restored once again.

A Match Made in Heaven? Bin Laden Jr. Weds 9-11 Hijacker’s Daughter

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 09:39

It was reported that Hamza Bin Laden, the son of notorious al-Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden, married the daughter of Mohamed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the 9-11 attacks. It is unclear whether this marriage is intended more as an expression of Hamza’s terrorist aspirations or a genuine move toward domestic bliss.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ahmad al-Attas, Hamza’s half-brother, let slip a tiny bit of information about her grandson.

“We have heard he has married the daughter of Mohammed Atta,” he said. “We’re not sure where he is, but it could be Afghanistan.”

Mohamed Atta piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre on  September 11, 2001. Atta was not known to have had any children and his will, written five years before the attack, made no mention of any offspring.

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

The Bin Laden family is enormously wealthy and intimately connected with the innermost circles of the Saudi royal family. They rarely speak to the media about Osama, who was killed along with his son, Khalid, in a 2011 Navy SEALS raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Another of his son’s, Saad, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan in 2009.

Hamza, born in 1989 to one of Osama’s three wives, has been the focus of a global search by U.S. intelligence due to his personal connection with al Qaeda. The U.S. government labelled him a specially designated global terrorist in January 2017. Documents seized in the raid that killed Osama indicated that he was grooming Hamza to replace him.Hamza threatened revenge against the U.S. and its allies in a 21-minute audio recording posted online in 2016.

In The Guardian interview, Hamza’s uncle expressed regret that his nephew was continuing in Osama’s terrorist footsteps.

“We thought everyone was over this,” Hassan said. “Then the next thing I knew, Hamza was saying, ‘I am going to avenge my father.’ I don’t want to go through that again. If Hamza was in front of me now, I would tell him, ‘God guide you. Think twice about what you are doing. Don’t retake the steps of your father. You are entering horrible parts of your soul.’”

Israeli Men’s Gymnastics Team Wins Gold!

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 09:30

Mazel Tov! For the first time ever, Israel’s men’s gymnastics team won a gold medal at the recent World Championships. They defeated gymnastic powerhouses such as China and Russia.

#Israeli men's gymnastics team wins their first ever World Championship gold medal! pic.twitter.com/NwhqabWuXp

— StandWithUs (@StandWithUs) August 5, 2018

Heal O’ Israel

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 09:08

In the first of our Medical Miracles Questions and Answers, Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, our new Medical Miracles Reporter responds to medical queries.

I am a 23-year-old woman. When I was 10 years old, I fell from my bicycle onto rough pavement and suffered a large cut on my cheek and chin. It left me with a scar that even today is disfiguring and causes me much embarrassment. Are they any treatments for scars – years after they appear – that can cause then to fade or disappear? M.A., Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Dr. Yoav Gronovich, director of the plastic surgery department at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, replies:

Facial scars are a significant aesthetic problem that affects many people’s self-image and daily functioning. Acne, incisions and burns cause inflammation and a high bacterial load that damages the arrangement of collagen fibers in a crisscross form, thus damaging the skin’s appearance.

There are two types of scars: those that are fresh, up to a year or two, and old scars. As a rule, the scar passes several stages until it stabilizes over the course of a year or two; during this period, there are significant things that can be done. Therefore, when someone’s skin is hurt, it should be treated as immediately as possible.

Old scars are more difficult to correct, but there are things that can be done to influence the quality of the final scar and make them look much better.

Proper closure of the incision or wound by a surgeon will allow good initial conditions for the formation of a “good” scar. Other factors include genetics, exposure to the sun, location of the scar relative to the facial muscles and their movement. Exposure to the sun is one of the most important factors for worsening pigmentation and hardening of the tissue. Avoiding sun exposure as much as possible can maintain the level of collagen fibers in the scar; as a result, the scar will be more elastic and flexible.

Unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate a scar completely. But with existing technologies, the condition of the scar can be significantly improved and blurred until it is almost indistinguishable. Silicon gel has been shown to be an effective method for smoothing and healing the scar. Transparent and easy to apply, it is, however, expensive, especially when one has a large scar on the skin. A silicone sticker achieves a similar and even more efficient effect (thanks to the mechanical pressure it provides) and is significantly cheaper. Its major drawback is the discomfort and the embarrassment that the stickers can temporarily cause, especially if they are used on the face.
Laser devices are suitable for treating scars without exfoliating or damaging the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, and improves the appearance of the scar. In this method, the laser beam penetrates the dermis (the skin layer in which the collagen fibers are found.

Laser treatments are performed over a period of several months and have a gradual effect. While these treatments do not involve side effects, they are very expensive. Lasers are also used to remove tattoos.

Another advanced treatment is the injection of hyaluronic acid into the scar to improve it. Hyaluronic acid promotes the formation of collagen and elastin, which contribute to the formation of volume in the area where it is lacking and the elasticity of the skin. This method is suitable for the treatment of sunken scars.

We have also found that using laser therapy and injecting fat from other parts of the person’s body, such as the abdomen, is very effective in treating scars. This method is based on fat grafting and stem cells from a source of fat.The plastic surgeon separates the scar tissue fibers that form the scar’s characteristic depression, thus creating a space into which the fat and stem cells are injected. The fat creates instant filling; the stem cells differentiate later into skin cells and improve the way the skin looks.

In the second stage, five laser treatments are performed at a wavelength that penetrates into the dermis layer and causes heating and release of collagen fibers. Facial scars, including those from acne as well as cuts, can improve significantly from such a procedure and make patients very satisfied. The result in cases treated so far due to facial scars, some as a result of acne injuries, has been high satisfaction in patients.

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

My husband, who is now 58 years old, recently started to hiccup. From my experience, this phenomenon stops after a few minutes of its own accord. But in his case, it went on for over a week and was very annoying, worrisome and embarrassing. What causes a person to hiccup for so long, as is there anything that can be done? E.F., Haifa, ISRAEL

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich answers:

Indeed, everyone get hiccups, but a small number of people suffer from “persistent hiccups” that can go on for a few days and “intractable hiccups” that can persist for much longer. Two neurologists – Dr. Stasia Rouse and Dr. Matthew Wodziak of Loyola University School of Medicine in Chicago – recently wrote in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Report about this condition. “Intractable hiccups can occur more often than we realize. Hiccups typically occur between four and 60 times a minute. Acute hiccups are common. They start without any specific reason and go away in a few minutes. They often can be stopped by holding the breath or breathing into a paper bag.

Persistent hiccups (lasting longer than two days) and intractable hiccups (lasting longer than a month) generally are associated with underlying medical conditions. They interfere with eating, socializing and sleeping and can significantly impair a patient’s quality of life. The longest recorded case was an Iowa farmer who hiccupped continually for 69 years and nine months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

About 4,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year for hiccups. Ninety-one percent of people who suffer intractable hiccups are men, most of whom are over age 50.

Drs. Rouse and Wodziak describe a hiccup as an involuntary, spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm and sometimes the intercostal muscles (tiny muscles between the ribs). This causes inhalation to be cut short by closure of the glottis (the opening between the vocal chords).

Hiccups are usually triggered by drinking carbonated drinks or eating a large meal. Anxiety or stress also can trigger hiccups, along with alcohol, spices, smoking or other irritants to the gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts.

Intractable hiccups usually have underlying causes. In one patient, for example, hiccups were traced to arthritis in the sternoclavicular joint (the joint connecting the collar bone to the breast bone). In another patient, hiccups were linked to pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs). Certain drugs also can trigger hiccups.

In addition to treating the underlying cause, if known, physicians can treat hiccups with various medications, including baclofen, gabapentin, metoclopramide, chlorpromazine and haloperidol, Drs. Rouse and Wodziak wrote.

Nerve blocks within or near the phrenic nerve (involved in breathing) also are being studied. Other reported remedies include swallowing granulated sugar, hypnosis and acupuncture.

Treatments for hiccups cross multiple disciplines, including neurology, gastroenterology, pulmonology and primary care, the Chicago doctors wrote. As there are no formal guidelines for treating intractable hiccups, many treatments are based merely on a physician’s own experience or anecdotal evidence. “here is a lack of good quality evidence to recommend specific treatment for hiccups,” they concluded.

IDF Nears Completion of ‘Impenetrable’ Sea Barrier Against Hamas

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 07:14

The IDF released photos of a nearly completed sea barrier at Zikim Beach north of Gaza. The stone barrier extends more than 650 feet out from the beach and is 50 feet wide.

Border Administration head Brig. Gen. Eran Ophir said, “The barrier is a kind of impenetrable breakwater composed of three layers: an underwater layer, a layer composed of reinforced stone, and a third layer of barbed wire fence. In addition to these layers, another fence will be built surrounding the area that will provide a response to the security threat.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “Work on building the land and sea barrier around the Gaza Strip is progressing rapidly and impressively. Everyday that passes, our preventative capabilities around the Gaza Strip are growing stronger.”

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

At a cost of $6.7 million, the sea barrier and its accompanying sensors are intended to prevent infiltration by Hamas naval commandos. In one such incident at the beginning of the 2014 war (Operation Protective Edge) with Hamas, five terrorists using scuba gear and armed with automatic weapons, fragmentation grenades and several types of explosive devices infiltrated Israel, arriving on the beach at Zikim. All the terrorists were eliminated by IDF troops. The IDF has reported dozens of such attempts since that initial foray.

In June, Israel launched an airstrike that destroyed a Hamas tunnel that extended into the Mediterranean. The tunnel was intended as a platform from which Hamas’ elite naval commandos could penetrate into Israel without being seen from the air.

Construction began two months ago and additional security measures are planned.

In addition to the breakwater, approximately 12 miles of an underground barrier have been completed in an effort to prevent Hamas tunnels from penetrating into Israel.

Eilat Coral Reefs Show Signs of Recovery

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 06:58

At a time when the battle to save the world’s coral reefs is at “make or break point,” as the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Erik Solheim said in January, good news emerged this week from the Gulf of Eilat.

According to the 2017 report by the Israel National Monitoring Program published on Israel’s the Environmental Protection Ministry’s site, corals in the Gulf of Eilat, the world’s most northern reef, are growing, contrary to most reefs around the world.

Between 2004, when monitoring began, and  2017, the INMP revealed a significant rise in coral coverage, averaging 0.5% per year.  At the beginning of the measurement, the average coral coverage in Eilat was 19-20%. Between 2007 to 2012, it increased to 21.5-23.9% and in 2013,  the highest average coverage was reported at 26.4%. Since then the average coral coverage has ranged between 24.1 and 25.3%.

The aim of the program, funded by Israel’s Environmental  Protection Ministry and coordinated by the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Science in Eilat, is to create a long-term database on the state of the marine ecosystem in the Gulf of Eilat as a scientific basis to solve environmental problems, and develop the Israeli coastal and areas.

According to Dr. Jonathan Shaked, the program manager of the scientific report, efforts to inform the public about the importance of the coral reef and better enforcement of the law by the Environmental Protection Ministry are the reasons for the reef’s recent growth.

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

“The reef today is much stronger than in the past” Shaked told TPS.  “It is difficult to predict what will happen in the future but if there will be no changes in the state of the sea, the reef will continue to grow. The efforts of the authorities certainly helped the rehabilitation of the coral reef.”

Besides providing habitats and shelter for many marine organisms, coral reefs are also important because they are the source of essential nutrients for marine food chains. An estimated one billion people have some dependence on coral reefs for food and income from fishing. Moreover, coral reefs also break the power of the waves helping to prevent coastal erosion.

Another interesting finding of the report relates to water temperature: Sea surface temperature was close to the multi-annual average throughout most of the year, but July saw a sharp increase, followed by a mass mortality of reef fishes, (427 cases). “The mortality may have originated in a sharp increase in water temperature that perhaps caused an outbreak of a deadly pathogen,” the researchers said.

Sea surface temperatures in Eilat have risen at an average rate of 0.037 degrees per year since 1988 when measurements began.

220-lb Stone Removed from Western Wall Platform

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 06:12

A 220-lb stone that fell from the Western Wall on the day after the Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av was finally removed from its resting place. There has been speculation about what caused the stone to fall, but whatever the actual reason, concerns have been raised among worshipers as well as officials.

 

 

 

US Senate Approves $38 Billion Israel Security Assistance Package

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 05:34

The U.S. Senate has passed the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, a bipartisan piece of legislation that authorizes U.S. security assistance to Israel for 10 years, regardless of which administration happens to be in power.

The Senate voted in favor of the $38 billion aid package last week, which was negotiated in 2016. It allows the United States to increase its assistance to Israel, and encourages increased weapons stockpiles and U.S.-Israeli cooperative ventures on anti-drone technologies, cybersecurity and space.

According to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the act authorizes a joint assessment of the kinds of precision-guided weaponry Israel needs to defend itself, allowing the acquisition of such munitions to be fast-tracked.

The act also authorizes the U.S. War Reserve Stockpile in Israel for an additional five years and allows the president to add precision-guided weapons to that stockpile for Israel to use in an armed conflict with Hezbollah.

“The act seeks to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, by itself, against growing and emerging threats, including Iran’s presence close to Israel’s northern border,” AIPAC said in a statement.

In related news, AIPAC commended the U.S. Congress for approving the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of security provisions for Israel.

The NDAA authorizes funds for research and development on the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems, and $50 million for joint U.S.-Israeli work on counter-tunnel technology.

JEREMIAH 3:19

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 05:14

Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) describes the Land of Israel as a ‘desirable land’. The Land of Israel is desired by all nations since Hashem’s (God’s) holy presence is so palpable there. Everyone who senses the holiness of the Land of Israel is drawn towards it. One needs to look no further than the modern media outlets to appreciate the ongoing conflicts and debates over the ownership of the Land of Israel. Despite its small size, Israel is indeed the most desired land and is sought after by the nations of the world.

Chomsky Calls Russian Interference a Joke – Blames Guess Who?

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 02:00

Transparency and public accountability are the cornerstones of democracy. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s very public opposition to Obama’s Iran Deal — a deal opposed by most members of Congress and most Americans — was just as consistent with democracy as Winston Churchill’s public demands for the United States to help Great Britain fight the Nazis.

Holocaust denial is quintessentially anti-Semitic, because it falsely accuses the Jews of fabricating stories of the murder of six million Jews.

Noam Chomsky may be intelligent when it comes to linguistics, but his statements regarding Israel, Russia, and the Holocaust are simply counter-factual. There is no other word for his bizarre views, if he actually believes them. If he does not, then there is another word that aptly describes his statements: bigotry.

Noam Chomsky has gone off the deep end once again. This time he claims that in “most of the world” the issue of Russian interference in U.S. elections is “almost a joke.” The real villain, according to him, is, of course, Israel — as it almost always is with Chomsky. According to the world’s “top public intellectual,” Israeli intervention in U.S. elections, “vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done.” His proof of this absurd and false charge is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech in front of Congress “with overwhelming applause.” Only on Planet Chomsky would it be worse for the Prime Minister of an American ally openly to accept an invitation from the Speaker of the House to address Congress about an issue of mutual concern, than for Russian agents surreptitiously to try to manipulate voters by false social media campaigns, hacking emails, and other illegal actions.

Chomsky simply fails to understand how democracy is supposed to work. Transparency and public accountability are the cornerstones of democracy. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s very public opposition to Obama’s Iran Deal — a deal opposed by most members of Congress and most Americans — was just as consistent with democracy as Winston Churchill’s public demands for the United States to help Great Britain fight the Nazis.

Pictured at left: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addresses a joint session of the US Congress on December 27, 1941 (Image source: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Pictured at right: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015 (Image source: US House of Representatives/Wikimedia Commons).

American presidents, as well as Israeli prime ministers, seek to influence the policies and electoral choices made by their allies. That, too, is part of democracy. The United States has pressured Israel to stop building settlements, Israel has pressured the United States to be more aggressive in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal. This, too, is part of democracy.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is an American organization that lobbies on behalf of American support for Israel. Lobbying is as American as apple pie.

What is un-American, and what is undemocratic, is for secret agents working surreptitiously on behalf of Vladimir Putin’s Russia to commit numerous crimes, for which several of its agents have been indicted, in an effort to influence American elections without transparency or public accountability.

Chomsky is smart enough to understand this, but his willful blindness toward anything involving Israel leads him to make the kind of false comparative statement that no intellectual should ever make. Again, only on Planet Chomsky would Russia’s continuous efforts improperly to intervene in American elections would be characterized as “almost a joke.” Only on Planet Chomsky would Israel’s open, transparent and democratic efforts to have America support its security be deemed worse than Russia’s crimes. But such blindness is to be expected from Chomsky when it comes to anything regarding Israel, Jews, or anti-Semitism.

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

Remember this is the same man who defended the so-called “research” of the notorious Holocaust-denier, Robert Faurisson. Not only did Chomsky defend Faurisson’s phony research, but he denied that Faurisson — who is a notorious Jew-hater — had said anything that qualifies as anti-Semitic. Here is what Chomsky wrote:

“I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the Holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the Holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson’s work…”

Chomsky, who is a prominent linguist, knows nothing of the meaning of language in context. Holocaust denial is quintessentially anti-Semitic, because it falsely accuses the Jews of fabricating stories of the murder of six million Jews.

Experts understand that there are different kinds of intelligence. Chomsky may be intelligent when it comes to linguistics, but his statements regarding Israel, Russia, and the Holocaust are simply counter-factual. There is no other word for his bizarre views, if he actually believes them. If he does not, then there is another word that aptly describes his statements: bigotry.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute