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Khamenei Fires Air Force Chief over Israeli F-35 Deep Penetration of Iran’s Sky

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 03:24

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei fired Iranian air force commander Brigadier General Farzad Ismaili, who had been in office since 2010, because the latter had hid from him the fact that Israeli F-35 planes had penetrated Iran’s sky, the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida reported on Saturday.

The newspaper emphasized that it was the original media source that exposed the Israeli raids, which had taken place last March. Al Jarida cited senior Iranian military who said that only following its March report did the intelligence services of the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence ministry begin to investigate the case, under direct orders from Khamenei.

According to the newspaper’s investigation, the IAF F-35 “Adir” planes penetrated Iran’s airspace, circled high above Tehran, Karajrak, Isfahan, Shiraz and Bandar Abbas – and photographed Iran’s air defense system.

One of the sources reported that Iran’s air defense system, including its Russian radar, did not detect the entry and exit of the fighter planes, and that Ismaili hid this information from the supreme leader to cover his corps’ failure. However, three weeks ago, Iranian intelligence discovered that the Israeli fighter jets had carried out this sortie as a test of the possibility of an undetected military attack on Iranian outposts and bases, during which they photographed those sensitive bases, evading the Russian S-300 missile system’s radar.

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According to Al Jarida, Iranian intelligence received top secret information that the Israeli fighter planes even managed to photograph Iran’s underground bases. Khamenei, who received this information, now suspects a cooperation between Russia and Israel, and that the Russians gave Israel the secret code of the Russian radar in Iran – according to the Kuwaiti newspaper.

Khamenei fired the commander of Iran’s air defense system on May 29, replacing him with his deputy, General Alireza Sabahi-Fard.

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Cruz Calls for Investigation Into Obama’s “Devil’s Bargain” With Iran

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 03:00

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is calling for further investigation into the Obama administration’s relationship with Iran following a Senate report that purportedly revealed that the Obama administration secretly authorized Iranian access to the U.S. financial system.

A report published by Republican senators on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations claims that the Obama administration gave Iran brief access to the U.S. financial system as part of the Iranian nuclear deal, despite telling Congress that such access would be banned under the agreement.

“Officials repeatedly testified to Congress that Iranian access to the U.S. financial system was not on the table or part of any deal,” the report said.

However, despite the claims, the Treasury Department under the direction of the State Department “granted a specific license that authorized a conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of U.S. dollars using the U.S. financial system,” according to the report.

The report further noted that a “special license” was issued in February 2016 to allow Iran to briefly convert about $5.7 billion worth of Iranian assets frozen in an Omani bank from rials to dollars, which would then be converted into euros. However, U.S. banks balked at the transfer, despite encouragement from U.S. officials, and it never took place.

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“The Obama Iran nuclear deal was a devil’s bargain, but one exclusively designed to help the devil,” Cruz said in a statement. “The Obama administration covertly greased the nuclear deal with bribes and secret agreements that made it even worse for America.

“Now a Senate investigation has revealed the Obama administration was even working in secret to circumvent the weaker sanctions left over from the nuclear deal—and they were lying to Congress about it,” continued Cruz. “They subordinated American law and the U.S. financial system to the deal, hatching a scheme that would have put the U.S. dollar and U.S. banks to work moving money for the Iranians. We owe it to the American people to get to the bottom of whatever else the Obama administration sacrificed at the altar of the Iran deal.”

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The Iran Enrichment Syndrome

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 01:00

The next phase of the effort to stop the Trump administration from preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon has already begun.

As The New York Times reported today, the senior leaders of the European Union have formally asked the U.S. Treasury and State Departments to grant exemptions to European companies and allow key sectors of their economies, including energy and aviation, to maintain their financial connections to the United States while also doing business with Iran.

The letter confirms that the Europeans understand that U.S. President Donald Trump and his foreign-policy team mean what they say about re-imposing crippling sanctions on Iran in order to force it to renegotiate the nuclear deal the Obama administration concluded with it. What’s more, the plea is also a recognition that this time America means what it says about getting tough on Tehran.

That’s of particular interest today because of a report just published by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that the Obama administration evaded key sanctions it was claiming to enforce in order to allow Iran access to billions in hard currency.

As the Washington Free Beacon reported, this investigation showed that Obama administration officials went beyond the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to help the regime get billions in hard currency and access to the U.S. financial system to which it wasn’t entitled. The special licenses granted to two banks allowed Iran the cash it needed to fund its ballistic-missile program, terrorist groups like Hezbollah and its own forces operating in Syria.

The money has also apparently helped Iran afford major improvements in its nuclear program. On the same day that the Europeans were begging for sanctions relief and the Senate published its report, Iran announced it had completed a new centrifuge assembly center that would expand its capacity to enrich uranium above and beyond the amounts that it is already allowed to do under the terms of the nuclear deal.

But the icing on the cake is that the Obama administration specifically promised Congress that it would not do any of this.

The honesty of Trump and his administration is called into question on a daily basis—and sometimes for good reason. But while the efforts of the news media to hold Trump accountable for this are necessary, it’s obvious that they failed to do the same for U.S. President Barack Obama on Iran.

The answer to this from Obama’s defenders is to ask “so what?” As far as they are concerned, the details about the Iran deal are old news, and if Obama and his team fibbed about the way they went about securing his signature foreign-policy accomplishment, it was just a matter of breaking eggs to make an omelet.

But it matters for four reasons.

The first is that the more we learn about Obama and Iran, the more the self-righteous lectures about Trump from his media tormentors ring hollow. We are constantly told that the longer Trump is in office, the better Obama looks because of the latter’s willingness to abide by civilized norms and rules of honesty that Trump has no use for.

But the prominent journalists who were so easily manipulated that even Obama Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes called them his “media echo chamber” didn’t just faithfully transmit false information about the deal as their puppet masters desired. They also let Obama get away with the sorts of lies that they would be screaming bloody murder about if Trump were doing the same thing now.

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The second point is that these revelations about previous president’s deceptions are exactly why the Europeans are so put out by the Trump team’s determination to roll back the nuclear deal. The Senate report reveals that Obama administration officials encouraged Europeans to join the post-nuclear deal Iran gold rush and assured them they would face no penalties, despite the fact that U.S. sanctions were still in place. Obama’s lies make the re-imposition of sanctions now seem particularly harsh to those who were promised that they would never pay a price for their actions.

The third reason is that Obama’s lies had real-world consequences. His weakness and desire to appease Tehran led directly to Iranian troops being currently stationed in Syria and in a position to wage war on Israel. Without the financial bonus Obama delivered to the ayatollahs, Iran’s expanded illegal missile program and improvements in its nuclear infrastructure would not have been possible.

Trump’s determination to roll back Iran’s gains is not merely a matter of trashing Obama’s legacy, but necessary to defend the security of the West that is threatened by a deal that allowed Iran to grow rich and more powerful while making its ultimate acquisition of a bomb inevitable. Despite being labeled as an isolationist administration, the United States is seeking to defend the same Europeans, who are apparently more interested in profiting from business with the world’s leading state sponsor of terror than in restraining it. The Senate report underscores the need for America to start saying “no” to the Europeans and stick to it.

Lastly, the more we know about the lies Obama told about the nuclear deal, the more it sets a standard for how we should judge Trump’s actions with respect both to Iran and his upcoming negotiations with North Korea.

While dismay at Trump’s shortcomings is understandable, what we have learned should teach us above all that what Americans need from their government is transparency and honesty about security threats. The Iran enrichment syndrome that Obama created must be reversed. His presidential temperament and popularity notwithstanding, the lies he told when it came to Iran not only betrayed the trust the American people placed in him, but also left the world more dangerous than he found it. Trump should be judged not only by his honesty (or lack thereof), but also on whether he can, as he hopes to do, undo the damage his predecessor created.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jewish News Syndicate

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If Not Now, Then When?

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 00:00

In the past month, the leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in America have taken steps that change the basic contours of their movements.

These steps portend disaster for them and for their members.

Over the past two decades, the major disputes among and within American Jewish groups have revolved around two main issues. First, they faced the challenge of skyrocketing intermarriage and assimilation rates among non-Orthodox Jews and the concomitant dwindling of membership rates in non-Orthodox religious institutions.

Second, major American Jewish groups have had to deal with the challenge of Jewish anti-Israel groups. Some of them, like Jewish Voice for Peace, exist to serve as fig leaves for antisemites. Some, like J Street, were formed to legitimize anti-Zionism among American Jews and push mainstream Jewish groups away from their traditional support for Israel.

Over the past few weeks, the leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements have chosen to deal with these challenges by delivering their flagship institutions – and through them, their movements – into the hands of Jewish antisemites. That is, they have placed their movements on the fast track to self-destruction.

On May 14, Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles held its annual graduation ceremony. HUC, with its campuses throughout the US and Jerusalem, is the flagship institution of the Reform movement. HUC ordains Reform rabbis, cantors and professionals. Its curriculum and priorities determine the direction of the entire movement.

This year, HUC’s leadership conferred an honorary degree on novelist Michael Chabon and asked him to deliver the annual commencement address.

HUC’s decision to honor Chabon was shocking in and of itself. Chabon is an outspoken hater of Israel and Israeli Jews. His books Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation, and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union are, each in their way, major assaults on Israel’s very right to exist, not to mention on the inherent morality of its existence.

So by inviting Chabon to speak, HUC wasn’t merely inviting a “controversial” speaker – it was inviting a speaker who openly hates Israel.

At the commencement, while he laced his address with Israel hatred – and a particularly vicious abhorrence for Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines – Chabon did not focus his remarks on the Jewish state.

Most of his speech was a diatribe against Judaism. Chabon began his speech with an assault on endogamous marriages. When a Jew marries a Jew, he explained, they create “a ghetto of two.”

The Jewish marriage ceremony is hateful because “it draws a circle around the married couple, inscribes them – and any eventual children who come along – within a figurative wall of tradition, custom, shared history, and a common inheritance of chromosomes and culture.”

In contrast, intermarriage “is the source of all human greatness.”

Judaism is hateful in Chabon’s views because it is all about drawing lines, distinctions and boundaries. And he thinks boundaries and lines – up to and including the separation of the heavens from the earth – are evil.

Chabon took his audience on his journey from Jew to anti-Jew and explained that it would be no tragedy at all if Judaism would disappear altogether.

In his words, “On the day that the last Jewish couple dies, after watching their children marry Hindus, Lutherans, atheists, Sunnis, Buddhists, the fault for that extinction will lie squarely with Judaism itself – and not because Judaism failed to enforce its teachings against intermarriage but because it was necessary… to have such teachings in the first place. Any religion that relies on compulsory endogamy to survive has, in my view, ceased to make the case for its continued validity in the everyday lives of human beings.”

The pinnacle of Chabon’s anti-Jewish screed to newly ordained Reform rabbis revolved around his revulsion at the Passover Seder. Insisting that the whole story of the Children of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt and subsequent liberation was a lie (“It seems pretty clear that we just made the whole damn thing up”), he explains that God is immoral because he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, “ensuring the slaughter of thousands of innocent Egyptian boys.”

And of course, Israel is the evil, modern equivalent of Pharaoh’s Egypt.

Chabon then exhorted the new Reform religious leaders that their job is to transform Judaism into Chabon’s image. They must essentially completely reject its teachings. They must reject Israel. They must transform Judaism into something indistinguishable from the radical leftist mélange that inhabits Chabon’s hometown of Berkeley, California.

When a few Jewish writers condemned the HUC for inviting Chabon, the college’s interim president Rabbi David Ellenson and the dean of its Los Angeles campus Joshua Holo published an article where they did more than just defend having provided an antisemite with their most prestigious platform in the name of open discourse and diversity – they defended Chabon’s positions.

In their words, “Chabon… articulated deeply Jewish and Zionist commitments (not merely abstract or literary in nature, but specifically religious, communal and even tribal).”

If there was ever a better articulation of “white is black and black is white,” it’s hard to think of one.

Chabon articulated a deep desire to destroy Judaism and Zionism and replace them both with anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism, in the name of destroying the tribe, community and religion through intermarriage.

By defending Chabon’s message, and pretending it was the opposite of what it was, Ellenson and Holo adopted it as HUC’s message.

Chabon’s message is now the position of the Reform Movement.

This brings us to the Conservative movement.

Last week, the radical group IfNotNow held a workshop in Boston for young activists who will work this summer as counselors at Jewish summer camps affiliated with Reform and Conservative Judaism. Several of the participants will work as counselors at the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah.

Camp Ramah, whose eight-week session costs nearly $10,000 per camper, is one of the most important institutions in the Conservative movement. With nine camps throughout the United States, 9,000 campers a year and some 200,000 alumni, Camp Ramah has played an outsized role in engendering and maintaining Jewish identity, Zionism and communal attachment and commitment among young American Jews.

Aside from sports, drama and other standard summer- camp fare, campers at Ramah have daily Hebrew classes and Torah classes. The camps are kosher and keep Shabbat. Israel and Zionism have always played central roles as well in Ramah’s daily routine.

According to the JTA write-up, IfNotNow’s workshop was the brainchild of a Camp Ramah alumna. Its goal is to bring the group’s ideology into Camp Ramah.

IfNotNow met with Ramah Director Rabbi Mitch Cohen in March. Several workshop participants have been hired by Ramah.

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The very fact that IfNotNow members have been hired by Ramah means that the camp – and through it, the Conservative movement – has embraced Israel hatred, and indeed, hatred of Judaism, as a legitimate position.

IfNotNow is a spin-off of J Street. It was formed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Its members organized violent protests outside the offices of major Jewish groups in New York and Boston demanding that they end their support for Israel and support Hamas terrorists.

IfNotNow members said kaddish for Hamas terrorists.

The group has placed the cessation of US support for Israel among its top goals.

After Protective Edge, the group expanded its writ from disseminating hatred for the world’s biggest Jewish community to more generic hatred of all things Jewish.

In 2016, for instance, IfNotNow began presiding over Passover “Seders.”

In an extraordinary expression of contempt for the Jewish religion, the group’s “Seders” are a reification of Chabon’s antisemitic aspirations. Israelites are replaced with the Palestinians. Pharaoh is Israel.

In 2016, the group stepped into the national spotlight when one of its founders, Simone Zimmerman, was appointed to serve as Democratic primary candidate Senator Bernie Sanders’ coordinator for Jewish outreach.

Zimmerman’s appointment was short-lived. Within two days, senior Jewish officials decried her appointment, once her Facebook posts filled with vitriol and hatred for Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (and Hillary Clinton) were exposed in the press.

Over the past few months, stories have trickled out about IfNotNow’s plan to bring its hatred for Israel and Judaism into the mainstream. And now, the Conservative movement has opened its front door to IfNotNow’s anti-Jewish Jewish professionals.

It is hard to overstate how disastrous are HUC’s adoption of Chabon’s antisemitism, and the Conservative movement’s welcome mat for IfNotNow. Once you allow antisemites to take root in your movement, you lose the ability to exist.

You cannot justify your right to exist because the antisemites to whom you just opened your doors are proof that you don’t mean it; they exist to destroy you, and you just accepted them as legitimate, even desired members.

When the leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements embraced Chabon’s anti-Judaism and IfNotNow’s anti-Judaism, they announced that they have not merely chosen – in the face of their existential crisis of assimilation and attrition – to self-destruct.

They have chosen to do as much damage as possible to the rest of the Jewish world as they walk themselves into extinction, secure in the warm embrace of their antisemitic ideologues.

There is one silver lining to this terrible development.

Whereas the leadership of these massive movements of non-Orthodox American Jews may have decided to embrace antisemitism and antisemites, a significant portion of their membership have no interest in joining them. Now that the Reform and Conservative movements have embraced antisemitic voices and ideals, these committed Jews are increasingly recognizing that they have no place in the movements they have belonged to all of their lives.

They are and will, in ever increasing numbers, continue to look for a new way to express and live Jewish lives.

In an interview with Makor Rishon last week, Deputy Minister Michael Oren presented a proposal to bring ten thousand non-Orthodox American Jews to Israel on aliya every year. Oren recommends that Israel provide financial and other incentives to young non-Orthodox Jews to come to Israel. Aliya, he explains, is the surest way to prevent intermarriage and assimilation. “Someone who makes aliya settles here, marries and starts a family, [and] will most likely have Jewish kids.”

Oren noted that the Reform and Conservative movements “set a goal to preserve the Jewish people, number- wise and value-wise, in light of the challenge of the modern world,” a goal they are failing to meet.

Now that these movements have abandoned this goal in favor of the morass of “miscegenation” and a reinvention of Judaism as the anti-Judaism Chabon upholds and IfNotNow embraces, it is Israel’s duty to take it on.

There are a number of explanations for the Reform and Conservative movements’ decision to destroy themselves by embracing antisemitic Jews and their messages of hatred. But understanding their decision is not the most pressing challenge that Israel and the non-Orthodox Jews of America, who do not accept this decision, face. The most urgent order of business is to minimize the damage they can cause Israel and maximize the number of American Jews who will not go down with them.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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Arab States Call For UN General Assembly Resolution to Condemn Israel’s “Excessive Force” in Gaza

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 22:21

The Palestinian Authority announced on Friday that Kuwait will call for an emergency session in the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to vote on a resolution that would condemn Israel for using excessive force in protecting its southern border from Hamas-led riots.

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour and representatives of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation met with General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak Friday afternoon to officially request a meeting to vote on a resolution. On the same day, Lajcak sent a letter to the 193 member states announcing that the General Assembly meeting on the resolution will be held on Wednesday at 3:00 PM.

“We are mobilizing all of our efforts with as many as we can reach from groups and member states to receive the largest number of votes possible to support us,” Mansour said. He said the resolution will ask UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.”

Contrary to Mansour’s claim of Israeli occupation, Israel does not, in fact, have any presence, military or civilian, in Gaza since the 2005 dismantling and expulsion of over 10,000 Jews.

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Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon made a statement to the press condemning the resolution.

“It is unfortunate that instead of condemning the terrorists of Hamas, some countries are looking to satisfy their domestic political needs by bashing Israel at the United Nations,” Danon said. “We will proudly defend our right to defend our citizens time and again, and in every forum where our adversaries seek to falsely malign us.”

The resolution comes after ten weeks of violent Hamas-led riots dubbed ‘the March of Return’. Tens of thousands of Gazans have attacked the security fence separating Israel from Gaza. Hundreds of incendiary kites have been sent into Israel damaging hundreds of acres of farmland and nature preserves. Attempts to infiltrate into Israel have resulted in over 120 Palestinian deaths.

The resolution will be similar to one that was brought by Kuwait before the UN Security Council on June 1. That resolution was vetoed by the US with US Ambassador Nikki Haley calling it “grossly one-sided” for condemning Israel while ignoring Hamas incitement.

“When the United Nations sides with terrorists over Israel, as the Kuwait resolution does, it only makes a peaceful resolution to this conflict harder to reach,” Haley said at the time. “It is resolutions like this one that undermine the UN’s credibility in dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“A necessary precondition for peace is recognition of reality,” she said to the press. “and one of those realities is that Hamas is a major impediment to peace. They are in charge of Gaza, and they use their resources not to help the people of Gaza but to wage war against Israel.“

The US does not have the ability to veto resolutions in the General Assembly but unlike resolutions that pass the UN Security Council, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.

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IAF Fires warning Shot at Gazans Launching Terror Kite, Over 60 Fires Set in Israel

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 19:33

In a first, an Israeli Air Force plane fired a warning shot on Saturday at a group of three Gazans launching an incendiary kite into Israel. No injuries were reported.

Incendiary kites ignited 45 fires on Friday and 17 fires on Saturday. Firefighters were able to contain all the fires. No injuries were reported but agricultural crops were destroyed. The kites are large and homemade, with long tails that have firebombs or Molotov cocktails attached. Recently, terrorists have taken to attaching helium balloons to the kites in order to keep them aloft longer, allowing them to set fires deep inside Israel.

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The incident was part of the ongoing Hamas-led March of Return riots along the security fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Four Gazans were killed in clashes at the border Friday. Over 120 Gazans, many of them members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad military wings, have been killed in clashes with IDF since the March of Return, touted as a peaceful protest, began on March 30.

In addition, a number of explosive devices and a grenade have been hurled and tires have been set on fire at the riot locations next to the security fence pic.twitter.com/0Lqc7oJB8y

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) June 8, 2018

On Friday, the Gazan rioters used helium balloons to carry remote-controlled explosive devices into Israel. In addition, shots targeted an IDF post on the border. Hits were made on the IDF post but no injuries were reported.

On Saturday, a Gazan was intercepted after crossing the security fence into Israel. He was arrested.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said to the media on Monday that an estimated 600 balloons and kites have been sent over the border with some 400 of them intercepted by IDF. 200 landed inside Israel, igniting 198 fires. Approximately 4,300 acres, or nearly seven square miles, of land bordering Gaza have been burned in the past two months, more than half of them in nature reserves. The damage has been estimated at approximately $1.4 million.

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New York Senatorial Candidate:” Israel is a huge ally of the United States”

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 07:57

New York Senatorial candidate Chele Farley recently visited Israel, personally witnessed the horror Hamas attacking Israel’s southern border, and spoke about the US-Israel relationship, saying, “We need to do everything we can to protect Israel”.

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ISAIAH 28:25

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 07:28

Wheat, the first of the seven agricultural species of the Land of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:8), has been one of the world’s most important crops since Biblical times. The first mention of wheat in the Bible is Genesis 30:14: “Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuven came upon some mandrakes in the field.” When Hashem (God) is pleased with the behaviors and society of the Children of Israel in the land, His favor is reflected in the crops which the land yields. Since the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel and the establishment of the modern State of Israel, the land has continued to flourish and yield an abundance of crops. Today, the Land of Israel is teeming with wheat fields (pictured above), just as in the days of old, confirming Hashem’s pleasure of His children having returned to His land.

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Ten Torah Books for Non-Jews

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 07:26

As Torah literature written for non-Jewish readers becomes more commonly available, here are ten recommended books with which to begin building your personal Torah library. Each book was selected for its unique sensitivity to presenting Torah concepts in a universal context,

The Israel Bible edited by Rabbi Tuly Weisz. The Israel Bible is the world’s first Bible centered around the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the dynamic relationship between them. Designed for Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike, The Israel Bible offers a unique commentary that seeks to explain God’s focus on the Land of Israel

 

 

Shabbat Shalom: Insights on the Weekly Torah Portion from the Heartland of Israel by Sondra Oster Baras. For over a decade, Sondra Oster Baras has inspired Christians, by sharing her knowledge of Scripture from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. Baras is the Director of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities and Shabbat Shalom is a compendium of her teaching on the weekly Torah portion.

 

The Light from Zion edited by Britt Lode. Norwegian resident Lode is the editor of The Light From Zion, a book about the weekly Torah portion, written by 12 Orthodox rabbis, especially for pro-Israel Christians. Recently, The Light From Zion had a powerful impact on Christian Zionists in Nigeria.

 

 

The Universal Garden of Emuna by Rabbi Shalom Arush. Rabbi Arush has written many books for Jewish people, to help them enhance their connection with God through Torah principles. The Universal Garden of Emuna is the first time he has adapted his teachings specifically for a non-Jewish audience. Emuna is the Hebrew word for faith, and in this book, Rabbi Arush teaches how deepening one’s faith in God is the key to Redemption.

 

Universal Torah: Lessons For Humanity From The Weekly Torah Readings by Avraham Greenbaum. Universal Torah is an in-depth commentary on the Five Books of Moses, showing its contemporary relevance for all people. Rabbi Greenbaum is the author of The House On The Mountain and Know Your Bible which were also written to share Torah wisdom with a general, non-Jewish audience.

 

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Cup of Salvation: A Powerful Journey Through King David’s Psalms of Praise by Rabbi Pesach Wolicki. Cup of Salvation is a study of Hallel (Psalms 113-118) that is a part of Jewish liturgy used to praise God, written with a particular sensitivity to Christian readers. Rabbi Wolicki is Associate Director of the Center for Jewish – Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Jerusalem.

 

Hands Off! This May Be Love: God’s Gift for Establishing Enduring Relationships by Gila Manolson. Jerusalem-based Manolson has written a number of popular books about Jewish wisdom and human relationships. Hands Off! This May Be Love is her first book written explicitly for a faith-based, non-Jewish audience. In this book, Manolson shares ancient Jewish wisdom in crafting her argument for refraining from becoming intimate during the dating phase of a relationship. Read more about this book here.

 

Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh. This book explores the covenant that God made with Noah which inaugurated a universal religion for all of humanity. Rabbi Ginsburgh provides a look at the mystical power and meaning of the covenant that preceded the one He made with the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai. Read more about Rabbi Ginsburgh’s position on Torah study for non-Jews here.

 

Buried Treasure: Secrets for Living From the Lord’s Language by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Buried Treasure is a practical, easy-to-read book that reveals some of the wisdom that God encoded in the Hebrew language. Rabbi Lapin is the head of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC). He has published numerous books designed to help non-Jews learn from the wisdom of the Torah.

 

 

FORTHCOMING! ISAIAH: End Times and Messiah in Judaism by Yisrael Rosenberg. Rosenberg works at the Western Wall Tunnels in the Old City of Jerusalem where he meets hundreds of Christian Zionists every week. He wrote this commentary on the Book of Isaiah in response to the interest that many Christians, both clergy and laypeople, have shown for these issues. ISAIAH: End Times and Messiah in Judaism is expected to be published later in 2018.

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Signs of Judaism Erased From Cave of Patriarchs for Ramadan

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 06:29

On Thursday night, Joshua Wander, a resident of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem went to the Cave of the Patriarchs, Judaism’s second holiest site, and was shocked to see that all vestiges of Judaism or Hebrew were removed, leaving him to pray in what he described as “essentially and ostensibly a Mosque.”

Wander was in Kiryat Arba, the modern Jewish city adjacent to the ancient currently mostly-Arab ancient city of Hebron. He was participating in the memorial ceremony for Hallel Ariel who was murdered by a Palestinian in her parents’ home two years ago when she was twelve years old. Wander was accompanied by a friend from overseas who had never visited the Cave of the Patriarchs so, on a whim, they decided to pay a late-night visit to the holy site in order to pray Maariv (the nighttime prayer service). To their horror, there were no vestiges of Judaism at the site. The large arks containing the Torah scrolls were being moved outside and the thousands of Jewish holy books were nowhere in sight. Everything Jewish, anything with Hebrew, had been locked away in preparation for the following day, the last Friday of Ramadan.

“I didn’t only feel like I was in a mosque,” Wander told Breaking Israel News. “I was in a mosque where anything Jewish would be violently destroyed. I didn’t even feel like I was in Israel.”

Noam Arnon, the spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, told Breaking Israel News that the removal of Jews and Judaism from the site is prearranged, taking place at set points throughout the year.

“Ten days are solely Jewish and ten days are solely Muslim,” Arnon said. Arnon explained that each religion is given time alone for specific holidays.”But the situation is far from equitable.”

He explained that the compound is religiously segregated for security reasons.

“Three-quarters of the area is strictly Muslim and one-quarter is for Jewish use,” Arnon said.”Christians are permitted access to both areas.”

The structure was built by King Herod in the first century BCE and is the oldest prayer structure that has been in continuous use. It stands on the piece of land purchased by Biblical Abraham as a burial site for his wife, Sarah.

 Avraham accepted Ephron’s terms. Avraham paid out to Ephron the money that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites—four hundred shekalim of silver at the going merchants’ rate. Genesis 23:16

The Jewish patriarchs  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried there, as are the matriarchs Sarah, Rivkah, and Lea. The shrine marking Rachel’s burial site is in Bethlehem. Under the Byzantines, the shrine was shared by Christians and Jews. In 614, the Persians destroyed the Christian structures and the Herodian Jewish structure became a mosque. In 1100 CE under the Crusaders, the structure again became a church and Muslims were not permitted to enter. In 1188, Saldin reconquered Hebron and in 1300, Jews and Christians were forbidden from entering. This ban continued until 1967 when Israel conquered Hebron in the Six Day War and the site became accessible to all religions.

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Just like the Temple Mount, the holiest site to Judaism, the Waqf (Muslim religious authority) is the custodian of the site but unlike the Temple Mount, Jewish and Christian prayer is permitted. One year ago, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared it a heritage site, exclusively Muslim, endangered by the “Israeli occupation.”

“For 700 years, the holy site was under Muslim rule Jews and Christians were forbidden from entering the site,” Arnon said. “In 1967, people from every religion were able to pray in the site. But there still is a prejudice against Jews and Jewish worship. Anytime the Muslims have the site to themselves, they cause damage that needs to be fixed. Of course, we have to remove anything Jewish or any reminder that Hebron is part of Israel. Otherwise, it would surely be destroyed or lead to violence. Two years ago, the mezuzot were stolen and presumably destroyed. They were replaced with mezuzot that are nearly impossible to remove.”

“I firmly support the rights of every man to worship as he sees fit but not at the expense of another person’s rights,” Arnon said. “And certainly not if it is used as an excuse to incite terror.”

“The building was built by a Jewish king at the time the Jewish Temple stood but it has been covered with Arabic and Muslims symbols,” Wander said. “It is horrifying that any Jewish presence we have there, at a site that Abraham bought, has to be temporary, easily removed.”

“It is absurd that at our holy sites in Israel we have to hide any signs of Judaism,” Wander said. “If Muslims want us to open the site to them, it shouldn’t be opened to the Muslims who are full of hatred for Jews.”

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Hamas Leader Threatens To ‘Bring Down Walls Of Gaza’ In Mass Friday Protest

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 04:50

Haniyeh says terrorist group has right “to resist occupation through all possible means, including armed resistance.”

Ismail Haniyeh, the Gaza leader of the Hamas terror group’s political bureau, said Thursday that Palestinian protesters will “bring down the walls” surrounding the Strip during mass demonstrations expected on the border Friday.

“We shall continue to knock on the doors of this huge prison, and we shall eventually bring down its walls,” Haniyeh said in an English-language column for the Middle East Eye, a Britain-based website whose coverage on Israel is overwhelmingly critical.

Haniyeh added that if Palestinians can’t gain their “right to freedom, independence and honorable living” by peaceful means, “it is our right to resist occupation through all possible means, including armed resistance.”

In the op-ed, Haniyeh claimed that the mere fact that no Israelis have been hurt in the demonstrations was “proof” that they were nonviolent, despite vast recorded evidence to the contrary.

The weekly massive protests have been held on the border since March 30, and have included violent riots, attempts to breach the security fence and the sending of hundreds of flaming kites and balloons over the border, starting countless fires that have destroyed large swaths of land.

Israel says the mass demonstrations are being orchestrated by Hamas as cover for the attempted attacks and breaches of the border fence.Under the banner of “March of Return,” more than 110 Palestinians have been killed in mass violent clashes with Israeli security forces — most of them members of terrorist organizations, according to the Palestinian groups themselves.

This week, the march also commemorates Nakba Day and the anniversary of Israel’s victory against the Arab armies in the 1967 Six Day War, which was officially marked on Tuesday. Mass protests were originally expected on that day, but the organizers delayed them until Friday.

Israel, which has fought three wars against Hamas (the most recent of which was in the summer of 2014) has imposed a blockade on Gaza since the terrorist group seized the territory from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2007. It says the blockade is in place to prevent weapons and other military equipment from entering the Strip.

In 2005, Israel evacuated all of its settlements in Gaza and pulled out all of its civilian and military presence there.

Critics point to worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza and say the blockade amounts to collective punishment of the 2 million Palestinians living there. There have been many reports that Gaza is “on the verge of collapsing,” and that it could plunge into a new round of fighting with Israel if conditions do not improve.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel was “examining various possibilities to prevent a humanitarian collapse in Gaza.”

As reported by The Times of Israel

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Terror Kites Now Being Launched From Inside Israel

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 04:17

The tactic used by Hamas-led rioters in Gaza of using incendiary kites to cause damage and havoc in Israel is now being used by Palestinians from inside Israel. At least three incendiary terror kites were launched on Thursday in attacks against the cities of Matan, Yarhiv, and Nirit, three Jewish communities in central Israel. The area targeted by the incendiary kites is over 60 miles from Gaza so the attacks most certainly were launched by Israeli Arabs from inside Israel.

One of the kites ignited a fire in a field which was extinguished. Another kite hit power lines, causing a power outage for several hours.

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As part of the Hamas-led March of return that has been threatening Israel’s southern border since it began March 30. The kites, rigged with firebombs, are being sent over the border by rioting Gazans.  Recently, the terrorists began rigging the kites with helium balloons in an attempt to set fires deeper inside Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said to media on Monday that an estimated 600 balloons and kites have been sent over the border with some 400 of them intercepted by IDF. 200 landed inside Israel, igniting 198 fires. Approximately 4,300 acres, or nearly seven square miles, of land bordering Gaza have been burned in the past two months, more than half of them in nature reserves.

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IAF Conducts Extensive Drill Simulating War On Multiple Fronts

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 03:41

Hundreds of IAF planes and helicopters take part in intensive training exercise across the country

Amid ongoing tensions on Israel’s southern and northern fronts, the Israel Air Force concluded a large scale training exercise simulating a scenario in which Israel finds itself engaging adversaries on multiple fronts.

Hundreds of IAF planes and helicopters took part in the exercise, simulating the bombing of hundreds of targets across the Gaza Strip in short periods of time, both during the day and at night, while also drilling assistance to ground forces.

“Over the past 24 hours, our squadron exercised an attack on targets in the Gaza Strip, as part of an Air Force drill simulating the break out of widespread fighting,” said IAF Squadron 69 Commander Maj. G. “We assisted ground forces as they maneuvered in combat. The planes are carrying precision bombs, so that it is possible to attack a large number of targets in a short amount of time,” he added.

IAF Squadron 105 Commander, Lt. Col. R. said: “Our squadron came back from a run over Gaza today. We met all the objectives set, in full coordination with the Southern Command and with the IAF’s coordination and command bodies. We successfully met all these challenges and we are ready for any operation we may be required to carry out.”

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Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 02:54

Slain teenager Hallel Yaffa Ariel’s mother, Rina, makes a plea to the Israeli Nation.

A message written by Rina Ariel, the mother of murdered Israeli teenager Hallel Yaffa Ariel, went viral on social media in Israel on Thursday, the two-year anniversary of Hallel’s death at the hands of an Arab terrorist.

“On this morning exactly 2 years ago, our Hallel was murdered. Murdered at the hands of an evil one,” the post began.

“Just 13-and-a-half years old. An innocent girl who wanted to live, to dance and to dream,” said Ariel.

Hallel was stabbed to death in her home in Kiryat Arba in 2016 by a terrorist who infiltrated her home on the edge of town. Having performed in a dance recital the night before, Hallel was sleeping late when Mohammad Nasser Tra’ayra, a 17-year-old Palestinian high school dropout, snuck into her room and stabbed her multiple times in the chest and abdomen. No one else was at home.

“Since then, the pain has gotten deeper and the loss even more unbearable,” continued Ariel. “And from this depth, I call on each and every individual. Look at your children. At your families. Hug them close. Love and be thankful for what you have. Even when it isn’t perfect. Even when it’s complicated.”

She also called on supporters to do something to support Israel in the wake of the tragic anniversary. “Give yourselves a moment to think today. To ask what can be done for our incredible nation and our wonderful land in order to enhance life here. We will build up national strength, social strength and spiritual strength,” she wrote.

“Let us try to end today with the feeling that we have made progress and advanced even one small thing in this matter. And it will be in memory of Hallel Yaffa.”

Following the attack, during which security personnel killed her son,  Tra’ayra’s mother praised him as a martyr for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and encouraged others to follow in his footsteps. Her family receives a stipend of $350 a month from the Palestinian Authority in reward for her son’s actions.

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IDF Video Shows Female Gazan Medic Killed in Border Clashes Was No “Angel of Mercy”

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 10:27

An IDF spokesperson presented a video on Thursday showing evidence that a female Gazan medic shot and killed by the IDF last week was “no angel of mercy.” IDF Arabic spokesman Maj. Avichay Adraee tweeted “Razan al-Najjar is not the angel of mercy Hamas propaganda is making her out to be.”

Najjar was killed last Friday evening in clashes on the security fence that separates Gaza from Israel when thousands of Gazans rioted as part of the ongoing March of Return. Gazan health officials claimed that Najjar was one of several medics dressed in clearly identifiable medical uniforms who approached the fence with hands raised in order to evacuate wounded rioters.

In the video presented by Adraee, Najjar is interviewed in Arabic and is shown throwing a smoke grenade.

“I’m here on the line being a protective human shield,” Najjar, said in the interview.

Adraee wrote in Arabic, “Razan Najjar is not the queen of mercy, as Hamas is trying to present her. By her own admission, she served as a human shield for rioters, and this proves how Hamas exploits all members of Gaza society for its goals and those of Iran.”

#رزان_النجار لم تكن #ملاك_الرحمة كما تحاول دعاية #حماس تسويقها فاعترافها بأنها شكلت درعًا بشريًا للمشاغبين المحرضين يثبت كيف تستسغل حماس جميع فئات المجتمع الغزاوي لصالح أهدافها وأهداف #إيران. فهل المسعفون في العالم يلقون قنابل ويشاركون في أعمال شغب ويسمون أنفسهم دروعًا بشرية؟ pic.twitter.com/kJ89kf9PN2

— افيخاي ادرعي (@AvichayAdraee) June 7, 2018

“Do other paramedics around the world throw grenades and participate in riots, and call themselves human shields?” he asked.

After an investigation of the incident, the IDF released a statement on Tuesday saying that Najjar had not been deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers.

“During an initial examination regarding the incident that took place on June 1st, 2018, in which a 22-year-old Palestinian woman was killed, it was found that a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed towards her,” the IDF said.

In addition to the riots which pit IDF troops against thousands of rioters, over one hundred rockets and mortars were fired into Israel last week targeting civilians.

Approximately 118 Gazans have been killed in clashes with the IDF since the Hamas-led March of Return began on March 30. Hundreds of incendiary kites have led to massive arson damage in the agricultural region of Israel on the border with Gaza.

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Australian Sky News Sings Israel’s Praises

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 09:41

Australian Sky News presenter sings Israel’s praises as he suggests that widespread Arab opposition to the Jewish state is not only misplaced, but also futile.

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Rabbi Ariel Gives First-Hand Account Of 1967 Temple Mount Battle

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 08:22

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel ascended the Temple Mount on Wednesday to commemorate 51 years since he had stood there as a young man, guarding the site after he and his comrades-in-arms had conquered the holiest site in Judaism.

In 1967, Rabbi Ariel was a 28 year-old yeshiva (religious seminary) student in Jerusalem, married and with two small children. In the tense buildup to the Six Day War, Ariel was called up as a reservist in a paratroopers unit and began training for a parachute insertion into the Sinai Desert. When the war broke out, his unit was loaded onto buses that took them not to the airfields but to Jerusalem itself. They fought their way to the Rockefeller Junction next to the Rockefeller Museum, where they camped overnight. The next morning, a mistaken IDF artillery barrage killed 13 Israeli soldiers. Later that day, his unit fought their way into the Old City and, after a firefight on the Temple Mount, succeeded in conquering the site. Ariel was stationed on the Temple Mount as the rest of his unit continued down to the Western Wall.

On Wednesday, Rabbi Ariel ascended the Temple Mount and recounted his experiences from June 7, 1967.

“I’m not going to describe what others did but there is a big difference between a few people sneaking into the Temple Mount and conquering it,” Rabbi Ariel told a group of Jews who ascended to the site to commemorate the occasion.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, addresses a crowd under the watchful eye of the police. (Adam Propp)

“[The government and army] will tell you they searched here and that they only found one rifle in one of the attics. I know what I saw here with my own eyes: cannons, mortars, piles of shells, jeeps, a whole army camp with tents. This was an army base for the Jordanian army. This was their camp.

“So when [IDF General] Mordechai (‘Mota’) Gur’s forces came here, we had to fight. To my sorrow, many [Jordanian soldiers] were also killed. They were killed right here. Jews were not killed here, but there were battles on the Temple Mount against the Jordanians who were here.”

“So there were battles on the Temple Mount. There was a lot of shooting. Jordanians were killed here, and after the battle, they were left here.”

“Not only that but I saw with my own eyes how 2,000 soldiers of the Jordanian Legion surrendered. Who did that ? Our group went from house to house gathering them, and brought them to the Temple Mount; 2,000 Legion men.”

“When Jerusalem surrendered, Ruhi al-Khatib, the Jordanian governor of Jerusalem, came to submit a surrender letter to the Jerusalem Brigade. He snuck in and snuck right back out. He came to our division commander, ‘Mota’ Gur. He said to him, ‘Here is our letter of surrender’. He came along with all Jordanian dignitaries. [ Gur] said to him, ‘You are free’, and sent them away.”

Exactly 20 years after the war, Rabbi Ariel founded the Temple Institute, an organization focused  on establishing the Third Temple (in Jerusalem). In an interview with Israel National News in 2015, Rabbi Ariel explained how his experience in the war motivated him to found the Temple Institute.

“I thought that a real military rabbinate should have in its storehouse what we have in the institute today: the Menorah, vessels for the Temple, clothes for the Kohanim and the altar, all ready in crates in the basement, so that when we reach Jerusalem there will be trucks that unload everything, and we can get to work. So it’s true that we usually improvise after something has happened, but in this case we did not even have the beginning of what was needed. I asked myself why that was, and that is how the first ideas were born.”

Rabbi Ariel is a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, an attempt to re-establish the Biblically mandated court of 71 elders.

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ISAIAH 28:2

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 07:01

Wheat, the first of the seven agricultural species of the Land of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:8), has been one of the world’s most important crops since Biblical times. The first mention of wheat in the Bible is Genesis 30:14: “Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuven came upon some mandrakes in the field.” When Hashem (God) is pleased with the behaviors and society of the Children of Israel in the land, His favor is reflected in the crops which the land yields. Since the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel and the establishment of the modern State of Israel, the land has continued to flourish and yield an abundance of crops. Today, the Land of Israel is teeming with wheat fields (pictured above), just as in the days of old, confirming Hashem’s pleasure of His children having returned to His land.

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Watch Sderot Kindergarten Gets Hit by Hamas Rocket

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 06:16

Israel’s northern city of Sderot is under attack. Meir Panim is doing what it can to help the children.

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Israeli Children Hope to Play with Kites, Not Fear Them

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 05:15

This week, dozens of rockets from Gaza descended on the city of Sderot. In addition, over the past few weeks houses have been hit with gunfire and burning kites have been flown over the security fence, destroying agriculture and threatening homes. Sderot is again finding itself in the cross-hairs of its enemies.

“Forty percent of Sderot residents suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” explained Danielle Rubin, Project Director for American Friends of Meir Panim, to Breaking Israel News. “We are doing what we can to assist families, and especially the area’s youth, to withstand the latest wave of terror.”

Following over a decade of daily rocket fire, which started in 2001 and sent over 20,000 rockets toward Sderot, the city acquired the nickname “Bomb Shelter Capital of the World.” However, the past few years have been relatively quiet.

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, along with city officials and local organizations, have worked tirelessly to strengthen residents’ feelings of pride in their city and resilience under challenging circumstances. At Mayor Davidi’s request, Meir Panim has stepped in to provide critical support to the struggling city.

Meir Panim maintains two youth clubs in Sderot. These are located underground in renovated bomb shelters. “Our top priority is both physical and emotional safety,” stated Rubin. “The kids know they can count on us to have fun in a safe environment.”

Due to its location, much of Sderot’s population is made up of struggling immigrants who work long hours in factories. Meir Panim youth clubs offer a home away from home to young people who would otherwise sit in empty apartments without healthy social outlets or security.

“The Mayor of Sderot has attended Meir Panim activities,” noted Rubin to Breaking Israel News. “The city is grateful for the positive influence we provide to the community.’

As Israel’s iron dome shoots down rockets, Sderot’s fields burn from flaming kites, and rocket fragments are cleared from a school yard, Meir Panim youth clubs continue their schedule of meals, tutoring, and games. “We have returned to our bomb shelters,” said Uri, a local Sderot resident. “We are tired from having our sleep constantly interrupted by red alert sirens and tired of fighting for our existence.”


Through the frustration, fear, and exhaustion, there is a ray of hope. Israel’s army is determined to stop the riots that began March 30, when tens of thousands of Palestinians began violent terror on Israel’s southern border. Terrorists been shooting arms at troops, planting bombs along security fences, flying incendiary kites, and breaking through the border carrying bolt cutters, knives, and flammable liquid.

“Israel views the attacks on it and on its communities by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip with great severity,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. “The IDF will retaliate with great force to these attacks.”

When the red alert siren sounds, Sderot residents have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter, making them a requirement for any location – even bus stops double as bomb shelters. Once entered, people must wait 10 minutes before exiting. Therefore, organizing activities inside a bomb shelter, as Meir Panim has, brings some sense of normalcy to an otherwise traumatizing situation.

“Under such unusual circumstances, Meir Panim not only eases the worries of terror attacks, but also offers at-risk youth hope for the future by providing them with quality educational and recreational programming,” noted Rubin.

As summer approaches, youth clubs become even more crucial to Sderot teens. Scheduling includes both day and evening activities throughout the summer. Quality leadership provides positive role models, hope for a better future, and companionship under these trying circumstances.

“While Palestinian youth are often taught to hate and destroy, Israel’s youth are taught to build and serve their community,” explained Rubin. “Part of our youth club’s programing includes learning respect for the environment and planting gardens. Our kids just want to be safe.”

To donate to Meir Panim youth programs, please visit here.

 

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