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Chad’s President Arrives in Israel, Asks for Help Fighting Al-Qaeda, ISIS

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 06:24

In further evidence that Israel’s charm offensive with Gulf States and majority-Muslim African states may be bearing fruit, Chad’s President Idriss Deby is currently visiting the country – the first such visit since the establishment of the state. It comes against the backdrop of intense Israeli efforts led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent years. (Relations between the two countries were severed in 1972).

Netanyahu said that Chad was an important country, both within an African context and as a partner for Israel. He added that he was delighted there was a resumption of friendly ties between the two countries and that although diplomatic relations were cut, contact between the states never fully ceased.

The prime minister quickly turned his attention to the scourge of the Middle East and Africa; terrorism. “Give our peoples what they deserve: security, food, water, clean water, health, medicine, all the things that our cooperation can produce for the benefit of both our countries,” urged Netanyahu. “Israel, in fact, was cooperating in this fashion with the countries of Africa in the 1960s and early 70s, especially in agriculture and water. This was discontinued and now it’s flourishing back again,” he added.

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Deby responded dialogue and communication were the basis for everything.

“We need to put the differences and disagreements aside in order to talk for the good of the peoples,” he said, adding that Israel and Chad “have a common struggle in this century that is marred with terrorism.

“Humanity must get rid of this thing, cooperation in this sense is a cure for this,” he said. “I am happy to be in your beautiful country on an official visit,” he maintained.

Chad and its 250,000-strong army are at the forefront of the war against al-Qaeda and ISIS, battling Islamists on three fronts:

  • Southern Libya, mainly in the oil-rich Fasen region from which a network of pipelines carries Libyan oil to its Mediterranean export ports.
  • As the backbone of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), through which Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic and others are fighting Boko Haram. On this front, Chad troops have US military backing.
  • The Chad army is also part of another organization dedicated to combating Islamist incursions: The Joint Force of the G5 Sahel (Force Conjointe du G5 Sahel) J5S, which is battling Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) in the Sahel desert.

Netanyahu also remarked that he has been on several visits to Africa in the recent past, in addition to his overtures to Oman and a strong hint that he will also shortly attempt to establish closer ties with Bahrain.

Tel Aviv University Scientists Point a New Way to Fight Breast Cancer

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 05:43

Despite extensive research, breast cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in women in the Western world. One case of such a malignancy can be very different from another. Some patients undergo surgery and recover, while other women (and, in one in 100 cases, men) struggle with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy but still have difficulty fighting it because the tumors are resistant to treatment and spread to other organs.

Basic scientists are eagerly trying to find out what causes the differences and how to help patients who have more complicated cases.

Researchers in Israel have now discovered that breast tumors can boost their growth by recruiting “mesenchymal stromal cells” (MSCs) originally formed in the bone marrow. The study, just published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, reveals that the recruitment of biological cells of connective tissue called fibroblasts that develop in the bone marrow lowers the odds of surviving breast cancer. Fibroblasts play a critical role in wound healing. Knowing all this, the researchers suggest that targeting these cells could be an effective way of treating the disease.

Within solid tumors, cancer cells are surrounded by other cell types that, though not cancerous themselves, boost tumor growth and their spread to other organs in the body (metastasis). Breast tumors, for example, contain large numbers of fibroblast cells that promote the spread of cancer cells, inflammation and the formation of new blood vessels to supply the growing tumor with nutrients and oxygen. Many of these cancer-associated fibroblasts are derived from the neighboring breast tissue, but others seem to come from elsewhere in the body.

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Dr. Neta Erez and her colleagues at the Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine performed their experiments using six- to eight-week old female mice with breast cancer. They discovered that a significant number of cancer-associated fibroblasts are derived from bone marrow cells called MSCs. The researchers found that breast tumors can recruit MSCs from the bone marrow and cause them to develop into fibroblasts.

These bone marrow-derived fibroblasts are different from other cancer-associated fibroblasts. They lack, for example, a key cell signaling protein called PDGFRα. But bone marrow-derived fibroblasts are particularly effective at stimulating the formation of new blood vessels because they produce large amounts of a protein called “clusterin.” Tumors containing bone marrow-derived fibroblasts therefore had more blood vessels that provide oxygen to the cells. The tumors thus grew faster than tumors that only contained fibroblasts that originated in the breast.

Erez and colleagues found that human breast cancers also contain fibroblasts lacking PDGFRα, suggesting that human tumors may also recruit bone marrow-derived cells. Moreover, tumors containing lower levels of PDGFRα tended to be deadlier, suggesting that the recruitment of bone marrow-derived fibroblasts is a crucial step in breast cancer progression.

“Our study shows that the recruitment of bone marrow-derived fibroblasts is important for promoting tumor growth, likely by enhancing blood vessel formation,” Erez explained. “Understanding the function of these cancer-associated fibroblasts could form the basis of developing novel therapeutic manipulations that co-target bone marrow-derived fibroblasts as well as the cancer cells themselves.”

Holocaust Survivor Receives Knighthood

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 04:35

Ben – now Sir Ben – Helfgott, is synonymous with Holocaust education in the United Kingdom. An inmate of Buchenwald, Schlieben and Theresienstadt concentration camps, Helfgott survived the horrors of the Holocaust, eventually arriving in Britain at the age of 15. Having taken British citizenship, he represented the country in weightlifting in two Olympic Games; Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960. Helfgott received his knighthood for services to Holocaust Remembrance and Education.

Find Out The Truth About Sodom and Gomorrah

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 04:22

The account in Genesis of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most compelling in the Bible. The Lord revealed to Abraham that due to the inhabitants’ wickedness and refusal to mend their ways, He would destroy them. New scientific evidence suggests the truth about how the cities met their fate.

Economic Data Reveals BDS Also Harms Palestinians, Detrimental to PA Economy

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 03:52

Recently released economic data has shown that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement not only harms sectors of the Israeli economy and its workers, but is also detrimental to Palestinian employment too.

At the Deutscher Israelkongress – the largest European pro-Israel conference with more than 3,000 people in attendance – Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan and the Mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani presented data revealing that coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is the best and most economically beneficial solution for all sides, particularly in joint industrial zones in Judea and Samaria.

According to data from Israel’s Civil Administration approximately 25,000 workers, 18,000 of whom are Palestinians, are employed in the joint economic zones located within Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics also cites that Palestinians working in Israeli jobs account for 11.7% of the Arab workforce in Judea and Samaria in 2014, and their total salaries in the West Bank in 2013 made up 12.3% of the GDP of the entire PA.

A stark comparison can be drawn with Palestinians who work in the Gaza Strip; there the average daily wage is approximately 70 shekels (NIS), three times less than their compatriots who work in settlements, the Jordan Valley and joint industrial zones.

Elhayani was present to highlight how BDS activity in Europe has severely affected both Israeli and Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley.

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Israel exports approximately 90% of its produce, and the crop that has been affected in the Jordan Valley in particular is peppers. Farmers in the Jordan Valley have been forced to divert pepper exports from Western Europe to Russia and Eastern Europe, where prices are 50 to 30-percent lower. This drastic drop meant that farmers of the Jordan Valley, both Jewish and Palestinian alike, saw a significant reduction in their income, with an estimated total loss of 100 million shekels.

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs is responsible for attempting to combat the threat of BDS, and brought the farmers to Germany to highlight the benefits of coexistence and a shared economy.

“In this region both Jews and Palestinians live and work together in harmony. It’s important for our friends in Europe to realize that the key to peace, stability and good neighborly relations between nations begins with economic development, especially in the joint industrial zones,” said Erdan. “Furthermore, the European continent has already suffered the effects of the ill-fated boycotts against Jewish products, and therefore should be wary and resist anti-Semitic actions of the BDS movement.”

Elhayani explained: “Boycotts against our products means boycotts against Palestinians and Israelis families alike. The economic warfare waged against our farming communities only increases suffering for all parties involved and does nothing toward creating dialog.”

ISIS Seizes Iranian Weapons Intended for Hamas

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 03:05

This is not a spoof! Islamist terrorist group ISIS has seized a shipment of Iranian weapons in the Sinai peninsula. The weapons were intended for another Islamist terrorist group – Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Ingenuity Changing the World

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 02:00

Israeli innovation was on the front burner during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit. That visit highlighted joint initiatives in water, green energy and agritech. Israel and Germany also agreed to collaborate in artificial intelligence, cyberdefense, water, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, and oceanographic and cancer research. Merkel’s visit is just one example of how Israel reaches out to help and heal the world.

Israeli innovation touches nearly every sector of life: science, business, food, defense, health – even navigating traffic (WAZE is an Israeli-developed app). In medicine, there’s help for mustard gas victims, cartilage replacement, desert plants that combat lymphoma, even a pill-size camera patients can swallow for non-invasive colonoscopies.

It’s been 70 years since Israel started transforming the Middle East’s technology desert, making it bloom and boom with more than 5,000 start-ups and myriad multinational corporations. But what’s most remarkable about this relatively tiny nation is the darkness of the region around her. Yet, despite this darkness, Israel shines bright.

Notwithstanding the challenges of draining the swamp, providing for refugees, forging a common language, and facing wars and hostility from day one, Israel’s defense forces, democracy and educational values have driven what some call its “miraculous” economic and social growth.

Israel’s military trains young adults “to lead and manage people, improvise, become mission-oriented and work in teams,” said Start-up Nation authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer. Plus, being a democracy protects and encourages individual freedom and initiative, unlike authoritarian regimes, which quench knowledge that might upset the equilibrium.

But one of innovation’s greatest drivers is Israeli education, with its seven research universities, 66 institutions of higher learning, and equal educational opportunities for all races and faiths within its borders. As a result, Israel is a global leader in patents, and has the fifth highest number of scientific articles per capita, the highest research and development) output, and an extraordinarily impressive percentage of Nobel laureates.

Yet when Israel reached out to Jerusalem’s Arab citizens to offer its curriculum in their schools – opening a door for their children to study at its highly ranked universities – Palestinian educators slammed the offer as “racist.”

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Higher Education Minister Sabri Saidam called Israel’s offer a “declaration of war against Arab and Palestinian existence in east Jerusalem.” Educator Ziyad Al-Shamali threatened legal action against any schools allowing the “Judaization of education.” The official PA daily accused Israel of “imposing” its elective offer to “control the minds of Palestinian students and falsify Palestinian history.”

Palestinian leaders fear that Israel will teach history like they do – as propaganda and brainwashing. They distrust the West’s educational approach of free thought and inquiry, which could expose students to the truth about Israel’s democracy and history – including Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Thus the Palestinians’ hatred of Israel has barred their children from a potentially brighter future.

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This mentality illustrates why Arabs, who once led the world in science, are dropping behind. Some Arab scholars attribute this to Islam. Pakistani Prof. Pervez Hoodbhoy told The New York Times that he attributes the dearth to “an increasing emphasis over the last millennium on rote learning based on the Koran. The notion that all knowledge is in the ‘Great Text’ is a great disincentive to learning. It’s destructive if we want to create a thinking person, someone who can analyze, question and create.’’

The rejection of critical thought and innovation is producing “a great army of young Arabs, jobless, unskilled and embittered, cut off from changing their own societies by democratic means,” according to The Economist.

Israel discreetly uses its expertise to help its Arab neighbors. But so long as the Palestinians are blinded by hatred and hemmed in by authoritarianism, they may remain a people of missed opportunities.

The Hebrew Scriptures say, “Choose life.” The first two commandments, cornerstones of Jewish law and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) code of ethics, say to love G-d and your neighbor. But Islam is a religion of war and conquest. This perspective helps explain why Palestinians can’t fathom when Israel extends a helping hand.

Some educational and democratic fresh air could help un-trap and train talent and creativity among today’s Arab youth, releasing them into a better future. Spurning Israel, which desires to share its blessings with the world, leads nowhere.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

Germany: Turkish-Muslim Appointed Second-In-Command of Domestic Intelligence

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 01:00

Sinan Selen, a 46-year-old Istanbul-born counter-terrorism expert, will be the first Muslim to fill a top leadership position within Germany’s intelligence community.

Throughout his government career, Selen has been resolute in confronting Islamic fundamentalists in Germany. He also led efforts at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) to monitor the Turkish nationalist Milli Görüs, an influential Islamist movement strongly opposed to Muslim integration into European society.

The leadership changes at the BfV were spurred by a cellphone video that purportedly showed right-wing mobs attacking migrants over the murder of a German citizen in Chemnitz by two failed asylum seekers. According to the respected blog Tichys Einblick, the video actually documented migrants attacking Germans, not Germans “hunting” migrants.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has appointed a Turkish immigrant to fill the second-highest position in Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). Pictured: The building of the BfV in Berlin. (Image source: Wo st 01/Wikimedia Commons)

Chancellor Angela Merkel has appointed a Turkish immigrant to fill the second-highest position in Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV).

As the BfV’s new vice president, Sinan Selen, a 46-year-old Istanbul-born counter-terrorism expert, will be the first Muslim to fill a top leadership position within Germany’s intelligence community.

The appointment comes just weeks after Merkel fired BfV President Hans-Georg Maaßen for publicly defending the anti-mass-migration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) against attacks from Merkel and her junior coalition partner, the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

By choosing Selen, Merkel appears to be trying to achieve several objectives. First, she seems to be attempting to save her floundering government by placating the SPD, which has demanded that the domestic intelligence agency begin monitoring the AfD party, and which has called for more people with a “migration background” in leadership positions at federal agencies.

Selen’s appointment also seems to be a symbolic move aimed at reaching out to Germany’s Turkish community, which has long complained of “institutionalized racism” within the German security apparatus. Finally, by appointing an ethnic Turk, Merkel appears to be trying to mollify Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly pressed for her to crack down on anti-Turkish Kurdish elements in Germany.

Selen studied law at the University of Cologne and in 2000 began his career at Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA), where he was promoted to head of the counterterrorism investigation unit. In 2006, he became deputy head of the cross-border crime unit at the Federal Police (Bundespolizei). In 2011, he was named head of the counter-terrorism unit at the Interior Ministry.

In May 2016, Die Welt reported that Merkel had appointed Selen to lead — apparently at Erdogan’s behest — a special counter-terrorism task force at the German Interior Ministry. The concession was part of the March 2016 EU-Turkey migrant deal, which was designed to halt the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece. In a lengthy article that examined Erdogan’s growing leverage over Merkel, Die Welt wrote:

“The Federal Government is going so far as to reorganize its internal organizational structure in order to adapt it to Turkish wishes. The Turks have agreed to a ‘new common mechanism’ in the fight against terrorism, with Sinan Selen, of Turkish origin, appointed as the responsible authority at the Federal Interior Ministry….

“Selen is an experienced civil servant who has worked mainly in the field of organized crime; but the fact that such a high-profile position is being created for him has only one explanation: the Turks are to believe that when discussing counter-terrorism with Berlin, they will be speaking with one of their own.”

As leader of the task force, Selen was a key interlocutor with senior Turkish security officials and hashed out a bilateral agreement aimed at improving intelligence cooperation and information sharing. Turkish commentators have posited that Merkel’s appointment of Selen is aimed at sending a message that she wants to continue working with Erdogan’s government in security matters.

Some in the German blogosphere have speculated about Selen’s ideological background. What is known is that throughout his government career, Selen has been resolute in confronting Islamic fundamentalists in Germany. He also led BfV efforts to monitor the Turkish nationalist Milli Görüs (Turkish for “National Vision”), an influential Islamist movement strongly opposed to Muslim integration into European society.

The leadership changes at the BfV were spurred by a cellphone video that purportedly showed right-wing mobs attacking migrants over the murder of a German citizen in Chemnitz by two failed asylum seekers.

The protests erupted after a 35-year-old German-Cuban man, Daniel Hillig, was stabbed to death by two migrants during the annual festival in Chemnitz on August 26.

Police initially refused to reveal the identities of the perpetrators, but on August 27 a police report — since scrubbed from German websites but still remaining on a Russian site — was leaked on social media. The police report showed that the murderers were illegal migrants from Iraq and Syria. Both had extensive criminal histories but were allowed by German authorities to roam free on German streets. Police later confirmed that the leaked document was authentic and said they had opened an investigation into a suspected “violation of official secrets.”

Thousands of people took to the streets for several days to protest both the murder and the government’s inaction on spiraling migrant crime. The protests brought together a broad spectrum of German society, including members of the so-called “far-right scene” as well as counter-protesters.

Near the end of one of the marches, some of the protesters became violent and began insulting migrant passersby. This incident then transformed the narrative in the media from one of the Germans protesting migrant crime to one of far-right attacks on innocent migrants.

Few if any of Germany’s mainstream politicians condemned Hillig’s murder. They were, however, quick to denounce attacks on migrants.

On August 27, Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, in a national press conference, condemned the “hunting of humans of a different appearance, of different origins” on the streets of Chemnitz. Chancellor Merkel echoed him:

“We have video footage about the fact that there were hunts, that there were riots, that there was hatred on the street, and that is unacceptable in our constitutional state.”

It later emerged that all of the government’s allegations had been based on a single 19-second video — entitled “Hunting for Humans in Chemnitz” — that had been posted on Facebook by an “anti-fascism” group called Antifa Zeckenbiss and later broadcast by the public television channel ARD.

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The video simply shows one individual chasing another in what appears to be an isolated incident. The narrative, however, had already been set in motion.

The chairman of the German Parliament’s Internal Affairs Committee, Burkhard Lischka (SPD), warned of the danger of a civil war:

“There is a small right-wing mob in our country that will take its violent fantasies of civil war to our streets. That in the Bundestag [German parliament] a party applauds these excesses against foreign fellow citizens as legitimate self-justice, shows that the majority of our country must become even louder when it comes to rule of law, democracy and cohesion in our society.”

Bundestag Vice President Thomas Oppermann (SPD) demanded that the BfV domestic intelligence service begin monitoring the anti-mass-migration AfD: “The refugee question divides society and the AfD rides ever more radically on this wave.”

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) countered that he saw no basis for monitoring the AfD. On the sidelines of a closed-door meeting of his political party in Brandenburg, Seehofer defended the Chemnitz protesters: “Just because someone protests, that does not make him a Nazi.” Seehofer added: “Migration is the mother of all problems.”

Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) later contradicted the government’s claims: “There was no mob, there was no hunting down of people, there was no pogrom in this city.”

Saxon Attorney General Spokesman Wolfgang Klein added: “After examining all of the material available to us, there was no hunt in Chemnitz.”

When asked to rectify his claims, Seibert doubled down:

“I will not have a semantic debate here over a word. Of course, if the Attorney General’s office says so, I will take note. However, it remains that a video shows how people of foreign origin were chased and how they were threatened. It remains true that there were statements that were threatening, close to the call for vigilante justice. So, in my opinion, there is nothing to talk about.”

Like Seibert, Merkel refused to back down:

“We saw pictures that very clearly revealed hate and the persecution of innocent people. One must distance oneself from that. That is all there is to say.”

On September 7, Maaßen cast doubt on the authenticity of the video:

“There is no evidence that the video circulating on the internet for this alleged incident is authentic. According to my cautious assessment, there are good reasons to believe that the video is targeted misinformation, possibly in order to distract the public from the murder in Chemnitz.”

Maaßen’s refusal to support the government’s false narrative unleashed a fury of condemnation from Merkel and her coalition partners in the SPD.

On September 18, Maaßen was fired from the BfV intelligence agency, but the conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stood behind Maaßen and promoted him to a better-paid position in the Interior Ministry.

On November 5, however, Maaßen was fired from government service altogether, after delivering a closed-door speech to other European intelligence chiefs. In it, he condemned the “naive and leftist” policies of Merkel’s government and that added that “radical-left forces” in the SPD were determined to get him fired:

“I’m seen in Germany as a critic of idealistic, naive and leftist foreign and security policy. I can imagine a life outside public service, for example in politics or business.”

The Social Democrats welcomed Maaßen’s dismissal. “It was long overdue,” said SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil. “He has just given yet another indication of his penchant for rightist conspiracy theories.”

Meanwhile, on November 16, a leading German blog, Tichys Einblickreportedthat it had located and questioned the creators of the video:

“There was no hunt on August 26, 2018 in Chemnitz…. The research confirms the testimony of Hans-Georg Maaßen, who has since been dismissed as president of the BfV because he denied the authenticity of the video and thus got in Merkel’s way: This alleged piece of evidence is targeted misinformation. Maaßen dared to contradict the Chancellor. The result: a government crisis.”

According to Tichys Einblick, the video provided an incomplete picture of what actually occurred. It was filmed by a German couple who were participating in Hillig’s funeral procession when the march was attacked by migrants. The video shows someone in the procession fending off the migrants. In other words, the video documented migrants attacking Germans, not Germans “hunting” migrants.

The video, falsely interpreted by the guardians of German multiculturalism, set into motion a wave of politically correct hysteria, which plunged the government into “permanent crisis mode” and led to the firing of intelligence chief Maaßen for refusing to toe the line.

Maaßen’s successor, Thomas Haldenwang, has already announced that under his leadership, the BfV will focus on “right-wing extremism.” Speaking to the Parliamentary Control Board (Parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium, PKGr) of the German Bundestag on November 16, Haldenwang — who previously was the BfV’s second-in-command, and whose position will now be filled by Selen — said that although Islamist terrorism poses the greatest threat to German security, the BfV will keep “the possible development of right-wing terrorist structures firmly on the radar.” He also promised to make a “professional assessment of how to deal with the AfD party.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

Palestinians: We Cannot Accept Anything from Trump

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00

According to the reports, the White House “peace team,” led by senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, has been working on the plan for two years — and President Trump wants it published between December 2018 and February 2019.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his representatives in Ramallah have radicalized their people against the Israeli government to a point where meeting or doing business with any Israeli official is tantamount to treason. This is why Abbas does not and cannot return to the negotiating table with Israel and also why Abbas cannot change his position toward the Trump administration.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official, said this week that the Palestinians were moving on three levels to thwart Trump’s upcoming plan: rallying worldwide support for the Palestinian position against the plan, uniting all Palestinians, and opposing attempts to normalize relations between the Arab countries and Israel.

In a recent speech demonstrating the degree of anti-US sentiments, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the Trump administration “liars” and boasted that the Palestinians were the first to stand against and combat President Trump’s “deal of the century.” Pictured: Abbas delivers a speech at the United Nations on September 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Hardly a day passes without the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) affirming its strong opposition to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced Middle East peace plan, also referred to as the “deal of the century.” Palestinian leaders have convinced their people that Trump is the worst person on the face of the earth and that no one should be doing business with him.

The Palestinian Authority is not the only Palestinian party that continues to voice its opposition to the upcoming peace plan. No Palestinian group or individual has come out in favor the plan, although no one in the Middle East seems to have seen it or knows anything about its details. Trump has united the Palestinians in a way that no Palestinian or Arab has been able to do since the beginning of the Hamas-Fatah war 11 years ago.

The Palestinians are united in their opposition to the Trump administration and its policies, especially in the aftermath of the US president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as well as its decision to cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority for paying terrorists and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The Palestinians have already determined that the US peace plan is “biased” in favor of Israel, and that is why, they say, they cannot accept it.

The Palestinian Authority and its rivals in Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions appear to disagree on everything except their hostility to Trump and his administration. They all refer to the “deal of the century” as a “conspiracy aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and rights.”

The anti-Trump rhetoric that the various Palestinian parties employ is identical: Trump is not someone the Palestinians or any Arab or Muslim can trust. Trump, they argue, has surrounded himself with a team of “Zionists” who have allegedly endorsed the policies of the Israeli government.

This week, after reports surfaced that Trump was scheduled to meet with his top national security and foreign policy advisors to discuss the details and release of the US peace plan, the Palestinians stepped up their verbal attacks on the US administration. This time, the Palestinians accused the Trump administration of endorsing a “Zionist policy” in the Middle East. According to the reports, the White House “peace team,” led by senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, has been working on the plan for two years — and Trump wants it published between December 2018 and February 2019.

These reports have made the Palestinians rather anxious. They say that do not want to deal with the Trump administration in any way. They say that they consider the Trump administration one of the most anti-Palestinian administrations in modern history.

Palestinian leaders have also radicalized their people against the Trump administration to a point where no Palestinian would ever dare to even be seen meeting in public with a representative of the Trump administration.

The situation is so bad that Palestinians who recently met with Greenblatt in Jerusalem asked that their names not be published. Here is all that Greenblatt was able to say on Twitter: “I appreciated a candid discussion yesterday on the path to peace with Palestinian friends. We’re committed to hearing from all partners who share this goal.”

In case anyone was wondering why the “Palestinian friends” were afraid to have their names published, it is worth noting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have been officially boycotting the Trump administration. In recent months, Palestinian activists belonging to Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction have been waging a campaign against Palestinians invited to meet with US officials in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Last September, for instance, the activists staged a protest outside a hotel in east Jerusalem where Palestinian businessmen were scheduled to meet with a US delegation. Some of the Palestinian businessmen turned back and left the hotel out of fear of being shamed and physically attacked by the activists.

Last July, Palestinians thwarted a planned visit to the city of Nablus in the West Bank by a US consular delegation. The planned engagement was part of an ongoing US commitment to improve cooperation and expand economic opportunities for Palestinians. The visit was cancelled out of concern for the safety of the US delegates, after Palestinian protesters threatened to foil the meeting and called for boycotting the visiting delegation.

Earlier this year, Palestinian protesters chased US diplomats out of Bethlehem.

These incidents are the direct result of the Palestinian Authority leadership’s recurring attacks on the Trump administration. Abbas and his senior officials and spokesmen in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, have turned the Trump administration into the number-one enemy of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian media is full of examples of how the PA leadership has delegitimized and demonized the US administration in the eyes of Palestinians.

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This week, for example, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs again accused the Trump administration and its officials of being “blindly biased” in favor of Israel and its policies. The Palestinians also “never miss an opportunity” to point out that Trump’s “peace team” consists of Jews like Greenblatt, Kushner and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. In its statement, the ministry referred to Friedman as “the settler,” denounced the “peace team” as an “American Zionist team” and accused them of “misleading international public opinion and world leaders.”

In recent months, Abbas himself has vowed at least 15 times to thwart Trump’s upcoming plan. At one point, Abbas went as far as comparing the unseen plan to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which saw the British government commit to the creation of a state for Jews in historic Palestine. “If the Balfour Declaration passed, this deal will not pass,” Abbas said in reference to the prospective Trump plan.

In another speech demonstrating the degree of anti-US sentiments, Abbas called the Trump administration “liars” and boasted that the Palestinians were the first to stand against and combat the “deal of the century.” The Palestinians, he pledged, will “continue to fight against this plan until they foil it.”

Given that strong incitement against the Trump administration and its policies, as well as the continued boycott of White House officials, it is hard to see how Abbas or any other Palestinian would be able to accept anything that comes from the Americans.

This move is precisely parallel to the one they have taken with Israel. Abbas and his representatives in Ramallah have radicalized their people against the Israeli government to a point where meeting or doing business with any Israeli official is tantamount to treason. That is why Abbas does not and cannot return to the negotiating table with Israel and also why Abbas cannot change his position toward the Trump administration.

Rather than building state institutions and imposing reforms, democracy and accountability, the Palestinian Authority leadership is now focusing its energies on foiling the US peace plan. Apparently, this effort is more pressing than improving the living conditions of the Palestinians.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official, summed up the current Palestinian strategy when he said this week that the Palestinians were moving on three levels to thwart Trump’s upcoming plan: rallying worldwide support for the Palestinian position against the plan, uniting all Palestinians, and opposing attempts to normalize relations between the Arab countries and Israel.

Were Palestinian leaders to impose a small portion of these efforts to bringing democracy, freedom and accountability to their people, the Palestinians would be further from the brink of disaster. But the two Palestinian governments — in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — are far from interested in doing something so positive for their own people. On the one hand, these regimes are still engaged in a struggle to the death over money and power; on the other, they agree on sabotaging a peace plan they know nothing about. A peace plan just might include something positive for the Palestinians — something else the Palestinian leaders know precious little about.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

Shin Bet: Hamas Exploits Israel’s Humanitarian Aid to Sick Palestinians for Terrorism

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 09:16

Hamas’s military wing has grown more sophisticated in recruiting personnel for its terrorist networks in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency revealed.

In an unusually detailed statement, the agency said on Thursday that Hamas has increasingly taken advantage of Israel’s humanitarian gestures to facilitate attacks.

“Activists from Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip have been recruiting in Judea and Samaria, training recruits with explosives and instructing them to find targets inside Israel,” said the agency. “This is a departure from the activities undertaken by Hamas in recent years, both in scope and in potential threat.”

The agency said this activity is “designed to create a new reality [in Judea and Samaria] in light of the ongoing events in the Gaza Strip.”

According to the Shin Bet, the effort is being overseen by the senior Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip. A substantial part of the mechanism includes exploiting the special permits Israel grants Gazans for emergency medical care in Israel.

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“To establish contact with operatives in Judea and Samaria, Hamas exploits residents of Gaza who have permits to receive life-saving care in Israeli hospitals,” the Shin Bet said.

One example was of Nueima Mukdad, a 53-year-old Palestinian mother of nine who accompanied her 47-year-old sister to Israel in August when the latter was undergoing cancer treatment. After entering Israel, the two sisters met in Ramallah with Hamas activist Fouad Dar Halil from Sinjil, a small village nearby, who had served 14 years in an Israeli prison for his role in major terrorist attacks.

They handed him a suitcase with a secret letter, in which the Hamas military wing in Gaza asked him to carry out Hamas attacks in Israel and recruit others to join him.

In the letter, the military wing promised that it would help Halil obtain weapons and funding for carrying out the attacks, as well as provide him with instructional videos on how to make bombs using new techniques that have never been used before in Judea and Samaria. Halil complied with their request.

According to Israeli officials, the terrorist networks that Hamas established in Judea and Samaria in this manner were directed to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets as quickly as possible, to force Israel to confront escalation on two fronts rather than just in Gaza.

Hamas’s efforts in Judea and Samaria were discovered after the arrest of Ayus Rajoub, a 25-year-old Hamas operative who lives near Hebron.

Rajoub was arrested on Sept. 23, and in an unusual step, the Shin Bet released a tape of his interrogation. In it, Rajoub reveals that he was promised financial help by Hamas’s military wing because it wanted Judea and Samaria residents to stage major attacks inside Israel, in shopping malls, hotels, buses and trains.

Rajoub was hoping to carry out the attacks in early October. He had recruited operatives from a nearby village and told them to find targets for attacks inside Israel, as well as prepare explosives for a bomb while he was building the detonator, as per instructions from the Gaza Strip.

“This adds to a long list of attempts by Hamas’s military wing to stage attacks by means of recruiting activists in Judea and Samaria,” said a senior Shin Bet official. “This has led to the arrest of hundreds of young activists in Judea and Samaria, including female students and young women. This is how Hamas’s military wing sabotages the lives of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, taking them down the dark path of terrorism.”

Judea and Samaria Rental Owners File Class Action Suit Against Airbnb

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 09:05

A group of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria filed a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb in Jerusalem District Court on Thursday, after the travel home-rental company erased 200 listings that they said would no longer be available due to their location in “occupied territories.”

The petitioners argued that removing or restricting the listings exclusively in their area constitutes offensive and blatant discrimination, and asked the court to forbid Airbnb from banning listings based on a property owner’s country of origin.

According to main petitioner, Maanit Rabinovitz of Kida in Samaria, Airbnb never contacted her about the company’s policy change, and that she only found out she had been erased from the system when she heard about it in the news.

She said Airbnb offers rental properties in dozens of conflict regions across the world which are not subjected to any restrictions, such as Tibet.

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“As far as Airbnb is concerned, their clients can deny women or minorities to rent apartments from them, offer listings in war zones or in regions where tens of thousands of people have been expelled from their homes. The only thing that is prohibited is to be a settler in the State of Israel,” the petition said.

It further argues that the new policy flies in the face of its zero-tolerance policy regarding racism and discrimination.

“Israeli settlers, it turns out, do not belong to the utopian community that Airbnb is trying to create,” the petition concluded, “and are not entitled to the same level of respect.”

Airbnb removed Judea and Samaria listings belonging to Jewish property-owners on Nov. 19.

“There are conflicting views regarding whether companies should be doing business in the occupied territories, which are the subject of historical disputes between Israelis and Palestinians,” the company said in a statement.

“Many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced. Others believe that companies should not withdraw business operations from these areas,” said Airbnb.

“We spent considerable time speaking to various experts, including those who have criticized our previous approach, about this matter. As a global platform operating in 191 countries and regions and more than 81,000 cities, we must consider the impact we have and act responsibly.”

Mosaics of Bible Scenes Released for First Time

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 08:55

Researchers have been working for six years on the archaeological dig at Huqoq north of Tiberias, focusing on a late-Roman era synagogue, but now, for the first time, they have released images of the mosaics from the site depicting unique Biblical (and non-Biblical) scenes.

Lead archaeologist Dr. Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the images in The Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR).

“There’s this idea that Jewish art never depicted figures,” Magness said in National Geographic. “But we have plenty of synagogues from this period with figural images such as animals and people.”

The 1,600-year-old mosaics on the Synagogue floor depicted familiar religious motifs like Jonah and the Whale, Noah’s Ark, and Pharaoh’s soldiers being swept away by the Red Sea and swallowed up by dozens of fish. Another panel shows the construction of the Tower of Babel complete with pulleys and cables. Some of the workers are depicted in the midst of fighting, beating each other with hammers intended for construction purposes.

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“The synagogue just keeps producing mosaics that there’s just nothing like and is enriching our understanding of the Judaism of the period,” Magness told The Times of Israel last summer.

But there were also some surprisingly secular scenes like pagan zodiac at the floor’s center and a battle that included armored elephants. Two groups, one robed and one armored, surrounded the battle-ready pachyderms.

The mosaics depicted other animals as well including horses, donkeys, bears, camels, leopards, lions, snakes, sheep, foxes, and ostriches, as well as dozens of fish and other sea creatures including a dolphin and an octopus. Surprisingly,  mythological creatures such as cupids were also depicted. In the panel showing Jonah being swallowed by a series of three fish, one after the other, the wind was represented by a harpy.

The site was a relatively modest town but with all of the mosaics, it seems the synagogue was richly decorated.

“I have no explanation,” Magness said. “It definitely wasn’t on anyone’s radar before we started excavating there.”

Another revelation was the wealth of the Jewish community under Byzantine rule. It was theorized that Jewish communities in Israel declined in that era under Christian rule.

Magness told Science News that the “high artistic quality and the tiny size of the mosaic cubes,… together with the monumental size of the stones used to construct the synagogue’s walls, suggest a high level of prosperity in this village, as the building clearly was very costly.”

“Many scholars think the Jews suffered under oppression [during the Byzantine era], but if they are building these huge synagogues, that is clearly not the case,” she said in National Geographic.

The dig also discovered two mikvaot (ritual baths), indicating the inhabitants of the city observed Jewish law. Huqoq is mentioned in the Book of Joshua.

The boundary then turned westward to Aznoth-tabor and ran from there to Hukok. Joshua 19:34

A Comical Look At the Israeli Hannukah Phenomenon: Donuts!

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 07:45

They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat. Comedian Yuval Haklai takes an alternative look at the yearly appearance of the JD: the Jewish Donut, a necessary part of the holiday in Israel.

Is There Really Such a Divide Between US Jews and Israel?

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 05:43

Shouting “All Jews must die,” a refrain not heard much on American soil, Robert Bowers stormed into the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Oct. 27 and began shooting Jewish worshippers. By the time he was immobilized by arriving police forces, he had killed 11 people and injured six. The attack highlighted not only the rise of anti-Semitism, but also what appears to be strong political and theological disagreements between Israeli and American Jews.

On Nov. 12, former Israeli consul general in New York Ido Aharoni hosted a conversation titled, “A House Divided: Israel and Progressive American Jews,” in which he touched upon this topic. Aharoni, a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Foreign Service, a public-diplomacy specialist and founder for the Brand Israel program, currently serves as professor of international relations in the New York University Facility of Arts and Science. The event was held in New York in partnership with American Friends of Tel Aviv University and also featured David Margolick, a longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair.

Many American Jews have blamed U.S. President Donald Trump for the growth of anti-Semitism in America. While there may be other reasons, Aharoni told JNS he believes that it is because of Trump’s immigration policy. Jews see themselves as part of the minority group and for this reason feel it is their duty to side with the immigrants.

But, as scholar Robert Wistrich noted, anti-Semitism is the world’s longest hatred. Thus, it’s highly unlikely that it is Trump’s fault for the rise of anti-Semitism in America.

According to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, “Anti-Semitism is a complex, protean phenomenon because anti-Semites must be able to hold together two beliefs that seem to contradict one another: Jews are so powerful that they should be feared, and at the same time, so powerless that they can be attacked without fear. It would seem that no one could be so irrational as to believe both of these things simultaneously. But emotions are not rational, despite the fact that they are often rationalized, for there is a world of difference between rationality and rationalization [the attempt to give rational justification for irrational beliefs].”

Aside from the issue of who is responsible for the rise of anti-Semitism—a subject that Israeli and American Jews appear to disagree on—a number of other issues seem to demonstrate the divide between the two groups.

Americans concerned about egalitarian prayer

When it comes to U.S.-Israel relations, according to a poll by the American Jewish Committee, 77 percent of Israelis approve of how Trump is handling them, but only 34 percent of American Jews feel the same way. A whopping 85 percent of Israelis supported the embassy move, while a far lower 46 percent of American Jews did.

According to the same poll, 73 percent of American Jews support egalitarian prayer area at Western Wall, while 42 percent of Israelis agree.

Clearly, differences exist between what American and Israeli Jews find important.

Aharoni, however, noted that this is simply a perfect example of the lack of understanding on the part of American Jews of how the political system in Israel operates.

“To have your share of the political pie,” he said, “organizations must be supported by communities and infrastructure on the ground. Unfortunately, the Conservative and Reform Jewish communities did not invest on the ground. They avoided the political game. Their demands to share the political pie are facing incredible difficulties—insurmountable I believe.”

“Another problem, as most Israelis will tell you,” Aharoni continued, “is that the people who turned the Western Wall plaza into the amazing place it is today were the ultra-Orthodox groups. Now, other groups are coming in and saying, ‘We want our share.’ You can argue that the ultra-Orthodox groups have a historical point here. The Conservative and Reform communities were not there when the state was building its institutions.”

To remedy their absence from the Israeli political system, “they need to invest heavily in the Israeli system, such as in synagogues and schools.”

Aharoni believes this could work because “Israelis are more open to embracing new forms of Judaism today more than ever before.”

He said the biggest issues between American and Israeli Jews depend on how you define the division. “I don’t believe it is between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. Thanks to mobility, globalization and technology, there is less of a divide. Most of those barriers are removed now. When people talk about the divide, they talk about what is happening within the political system. The political system does not necessarily reflect the will of the people. For instance, today, half the country is open on the Sabbath, but that position does not reflect that of the government. The Israeli political system is one thing; the Israeli economy and culture is another thing.

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War and terror continued sources of anxiety

Asked why he believes that Israel is a pressure cooker of anxiety, Aharoni told JNS that he has written all about the enigma, asking: “How could a country that is so powerful be plagued and stricken by anxiety all the time?”

Answering his own question, he said “it has to do with the story of Israel. Since its birth, it has been in a legal state of war. That’s one source of anxiety.”

After all, “not a lot is being said about the war of independence [any more]. That generation went through a major trauma. In 1948, Israel lost 10 percent of its military. That’s 1 percent of the entire Israeli population!” (It’s equivalent to the United States losing more than 3.5 million soldiers in a single year.)

The other source of anxiety: terrorism.

Aharoni pointed out that “terrorism may not destroy a nation, but it could traumatize an entire society.”

All is not lost however. Aharoni takes a positive and optimistic approach to the future, saying that even though “Israelis believe their nation is completely isolated, that’s not true. We’ve never had it better—economically, militarily and geo-politically.”

He highlighted a number of regional advances that should boost the Israeli mentality. “Our main enemy, the Palestinians, have been marginalized,” he said. “The intimacy between Egypt and Saudi Arabia is unprecedented. And that’s not to mention tourism, where we are breaking the record five years in a row. This year will be the best ever. With all this, Israelis still have anxiety and fear. Israel should celebrate its achievements in its 71st year!”

Aharoni spoke about the U.S.-Israel relationship and said that “diplomacy is important, but at the end of the day, what really matters is a country’s self-interest. When the self-interest of two countries is compatible, then it is great. And that’s what we are seeing today between Israel and the U.S.”

What Does It Mean For A Christian To Bless Israel?

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 05:30

When Israel-loving Christians meet with Jews, Genesis 12:3 is frequently mentioned. To gain a deeper understanding of that verse, and of the necessity for Christians to bless Israel, Breaking Israel News interviewed four prominent Christian leaders whose ministries focus on Israel.

In their own way, each of the four leaders we spoke with connected Christian responsibility to bless Israel with the redemptive process at the End of Days.

For more than 25 years, Dean Bye of Return Ministries has been involved in “education and facilitating projects related to the ‘return and restoration of Israel’ for the international Church community.”

His work inspires him to challenge other Christians to follow in his footsteps. As he explained to Breaking Israel News, “It is vital that a Christian understand and cooperate with the covenants made with Israel, which are foundational to the redemptive plans of God for the whole earth.”

Bye wants Christians to know that they stand to benefit personally from blessing Israel. He elaborated. “When a Christian, motivated from a love of God, incorporates a lifestyle that blesses Israel, as instructed in Genesis 12:3, they can believe [in] the greater blessings of God in their own life, family, church and nation.

“As I trust and believe in the power of the law of gravity, so do I trust and believe in God’s covenant made with Abraham that determines blessing or curses for family, church and even a nation.”

Beyond the benefits to an individual Christian, Bye asserted that “Historically, it has been seen ever so clearly. So goes the way of a nation determined by how that nation has dealt with God’s people and land.”

Christine Darg, co-founder of www.JerusalemChannel.tv traces her lifelong commitment to blessing Israel to her childhood.

“All my life, I have loved the Jewish people and felt an affinity with them. My wonderful parents taught me the Bible and to revere the Jewish people. Later, when God called me to the television ministry, I had an unforgettable epic dream in which I saw the United Nations angry at Israel, but also I saw the Shechinah glory of God on Mt. Zion, and I heard a voice say to me that I must stand with Israel when all the nations of the world turn against Israel.

“I have always had a great desire to support Israel because I know that the Bible teaches that eventually, Israel will become the head and not the tail. Meanwhile, we’re in a spiritual battle. One of my favorite prayers to God is from Psalms.

Be mindful of me, Hashem, when You favor Your people; take note of me when You deliver them, Psalms 106:4

Darg pointed out to Breaking Israel News that she has already been blessed by her personal love for Israel. “God has given me a supernatural love for the land and all its peoples.

I bless Israel not only because it is the right thing to do, but simply because Israel and the Jewish people are a top priority in my life. We all know that Genesis 12:3 promises that we will be blessed for blessing Israel, and my continually blessed life is a testimony to the validity of that Bible promise. My children have also been singularly blessed.

“Christianity would have no genesis without the Jewish people and the Bible. I owe Israel gratitude and service. I’m always watching on the walls of Jerusalem and guarding God’s holy purposes in prayer!

“Increasingly atheists, anarchists and the media rebel against a holy God; they accuse the God of the Bible and the Jewish people of being cruel and unfair. As Bible believers and ambassadors of truth, evangelical Christians must continually correct slanders against God and the Jewish people.”

Ah, Those who call evil good And good evil; Who present darkness as light And light as darkness; Who present bitter as sweet And sweet as bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Darg concluded her comments by connecting Christian support for Israel with the End of Days. “It is incumbent upon all believers to stand with God’s people. It always shocks me to hear a so-called Christian minister preaching Replacement Theology and speaking anti-Zionist sentiments. Such misguided souls are really missing out big time on the euphoria of End Time prophetic events.”

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Merla Watson, along with her husband Merv, co-founded the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, as well as the Feast of Tabernacles celebration for thousands of Christians who come to Israel for Sukkot. The Watsons have been living in Israel for 40 years.

She implores Christians to take the obligation to bless Israel seriously, in part to make up for millennia of Christian antisemitism. “First of all, you need to know that if you are not serious in your support of Israel, if it’s just sentimental, don’t waste your time! It requires your utmost perseverance and love at all times! How are we to reach out to this precious suffering people when we represent Christians over the centuries who caused such needless bloodshed of the Jewish people?”

Watson traces her love for the Jewish people to a childhood memory of witnessing the Holocaust from a photo in her father’s newspaper. Her father responded to her curiosity by saying, “This is what the world is doing to God’s chosen people, and the world will pay for it!”  

Watson said, “At that precise moment, a seed was planted in my heart.”

In 1970, Watson visited Israel for the first time. As the plane touched down, her life was changed. “I was not prepared for my reaction. I am definitely not a crier, but when that plane landed at the Tel Aviv airport, I was sobbing uncontrollably. My husband asked, “What’s the matter with you?’ I blurted out, ‘I only know I’m coming home!’ And from that day to this, my top concern in life has been to bless and encourage this extremely gifted people.”

The Watsons live just outside of Jerusalem and they raised their children here. She believes that their presence in the Land, with all of its challenges, is her family’s unique way of blessing Israel.

“Although it’s been tough economically to live here and to be allowed to do so, not being Jewish ourselves, we would not want to live anywhere else! We have had many personal trials and challenges in the 40 years we have been here, but we recognize the fact that if we are to have anything whatsoever to offer these dear people, we ourselves must also experience tragedy and sorrow.”

Watson concluded by summarizing the reward of her family’s life in Israel, and the price she is willing to pay for the blessing. “It is entirely possible that one day we may even have to offer our very life’s blood for the existence of the Jewish people! We are here now on the front lines of prophetic fulfillment. What could be more exciting than that?”

Tommy Waller, President and Founder of HaYovel, an organization that brings Christians to Israel to support Jewish farmers, takes a wide angle view of the verse from Genesis. “it’s the first verse that really brings the idea that this is not just about Israel, it’s not just about the Jewish people. It’s about the whole world.

“The key for me in understanding the blessing is looking on to the curse. it seems to me that when we’re looking at Israel and wanting to bless Israel, first of all we can’t take what God has given and established lightly. This promise is not something that the world can take lightly. It’s going to have ramifications. There is going to be serious consequence for not blessing, not standing [with Israel].

“Not to care about Israel is to curse it,” Waller asserted.

“As I think about that verse, I think about our responsibility. What is it?

How welcome on the mountain Are the footsteps of the herald Announcing happiness, Heralding good fortune, Announcing victory, Telling Tzion, “Your God is King!” Isaiah 52:7

“Isaiah 52 says how beautiful are the feet of the nations who come and speak this good news. What is this good news? Christians would think good news is something else. But the good news according to this definition here is to say to Zion that your God reigns – to recognize the God of Israel, the God of Zion.

Waller focused his comments on the End of Days, when God will reward those from the nations who stood with Israel and blessed her.

“The prophet continues and says something very beautiful that, as a result of this agreement with Israel, we’re all going to start singing together.”

Hark! Your watchmen raise their voices, As one they shout for joy; For every eye shall behold Hashem‘s return to Tzion. Isaiah 52:8

“It seems to me it’s all going to culminate, as in Isaiah 56, when it talks about the nations coming together.”

Happy is the man who does this, The man who holds fast to it: Who keeps the Shabbat and does not profane it, And stays his hand from doing any evil. Isaiah 56:2

“Keeping Shabbat even together, all the nations. Isaiah 56 says it’s going to happen. We’re going to keep Shabbat with the Nation of Israel. We’re actually going to worship in the Holy Temple together. Isaiah emphatically says [so].”

I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My mizbayach; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7

“I’m excited about that. And there are a lot of Christians waking up to that reality of joining the Jewish people. Thank God, the Jewish people held on to the promise so that all the families of the earth could be blessed and so all of us can worship together and sing together, amazingly.”

He ended his comments to Breaking Israel News with a prayerful vision, “I look forward to that day when we’re all singing together and worshiping God in Jerusalem. I know that gives me great hope and great excitement. I’m so looking forward to the families of the earth who have been so destroyed by the onslaught of this anti-Israel rhetoric and all the things that God wants to establish on the earth, may it be established in our day.”

Iranian Missiles Intended for Hamas Discovered in ISIS Warehouse in Sinai

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 05:10

It was reported that Egyptian security forces discovered a warehouse in the Sinai belonging to Islamic State (ISIS) full advanced missiles that originated in Iran and were intended for Hamas to use against Israel.

An Egyptian security source told Al-Jareeda news that the shipment of arms was prevented from being delivered after ISIS forces in the Sinai recently cut off ties with Hamas in Gaza. The arsenal included 9M133 Kornets, modern Russian man-portable anti-tank laser-guided missiles, and other GPS-guided missiles.

“Such missiles can be used to kill our soldiers,” the Egyptian official said to Al-Jareeda. “Kornet missiles are supposed to remain at the warehouses of their home countries and not in the hands of terrorist organizations that are fighting against us in Sinai.”

A Kornet missile fired at a bus on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza two weeks ago severely injuring one IDF soldier. Dozens of soldiers had debarked from the bus just moments before it was struck. The attack on the bus was the opening shot on a two-day barrage of almost 500 missiles fired from Gaza at Israel. Hamas fired a Kornet missile at a school bus near Sderot in 2011, killing a student and injuring the driver.

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Iran has also provided Kornet missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon which were used to devastating effect against the IDF in 2006.

The missiles also pose a threat to Egypt which is currently waging a war in the Sinai Peninsula against ISIS-affiliated Islamists. The Egyptian military announced in October that it had killed more than 450 jihadists since the start of the Sinai operation, with approximately 30 soldiers being killed by the terrorists.

Egypt confiscated the equipment.

US Controlling the Skies Over Syria Despite Russia’s S-300 System

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 04:33

It has been reported that the U.S. has been operating in the skies over Syria unimpeded by Russia’s advanced S-300 anti-aircraft system deployed there.

Debka, an English language Israeli military intelligence website, reported on Thursday that for at least one week, US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth planes and F/A 18F Super Hornet fighters have been flying night and day over Syria.  The planes are stationed in the US Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and the US Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It is also believed that some of the U.S. warplanes flying over Syria came off the Deck of the USS Harry Truman which arrived in the Mediterranean ten days ago. Aboard the Truman are nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing fighter-bombers. Its strike force consists of the USS Normandy guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers.

The U.S. air activity over Syria led to Iran making explicit threats targeting the U.S. fleet and bases in the region.

“US bases in Afghanistan, the UAE and Qatar, and US aircraft carriers in the Gulf are within range of our missiles,” said Brig. Gen. Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ airspace division, last Wednesday. “We can hit them if they (Americans) make a move. Our land-to-sea missiles have a range of 700 km (450 miles) … and the US aircraft carriers are our targets.”

Also sailing the Mediterranean is the Russian Middle East fleet composed of eight vessels.

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The S-300 anti-aircraft weapons system deployed by Russia in Syria does not seem to be a deterrence to the U.S. warplanes.

“Russia’s S-300 air defense systems in Syria have no impact on United States’ operations in the country.” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Any additional arms sent into Syria only serves to escalate the situation at this point.”

This report of U.S. flights over Syria corresponds to reports of two minor airstrikes that have taken place since Israel stopped all operations in September after inadvertently shooting down a Russian plane.

Airbnb Boycotts “Occupied” Town With Jewish Roots Dating Thousands of Years

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 03:50

Miri Levi left Tel-Aviv 30 years ago with her husband and little boy and founded the town of Nofim in Samaria. Today she has a holiday getaway which has been boycotted by Airbnb, even though her house is adjacent to the historical remains of an ancient Jewish village dating back to thousands of years ago.

Noah’s Ark Plans to Sail to Israel

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 03:34

A reproduction of Noah’s Ark built to Biblical proportions may come to Israel but it may take more than 40 days and 40 nights.

When he was 33 years old in 1971, Johan Huibers, a devout Christian Dutch businessman and carpenter who made a fortune building storage spaces, had a dream that a fierce storm-tide flooded the entire province of Nood-Holland in the Netherlands where he lived. This motivated him to build an ark. His first attempt was a half-size version he built with his own hands, taking one-and-a-half years to complete at a cost of over one million dollars. 230 feet long, 31 feet wide, and 43 ft high, it was constructed of wood mounted on a metal barge and designed to be towed through the country’s canals. A few years later, Huibers and eight helpers built a full-size version measuring 230 feet long, 31 feet wide, and 43 feet high at a cost of $4.5 million.

Through an enormous effort and sheer willpower, Huibers had created the only full-size floating replica of Noah’s Ark.

In 2012, the ark opened to the public, touring Germany, Denmark, and Norway. For the last two years has been cruising the Maas River in Holland as an interactive Bible museum but Huibers has plans to take the ark on a cruise.

“My preferred destination for the ark is Israel,” Huibers, 60, told JTA in an interview.

“It may sound scary, but I believe everything written in this book, cover to cover,” he said about the Bible. “This is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.”

His voyage my require a bit of Divine help. The ark is not seaworthy and like the original, has neither motor or sails. Unlike the original, Huibers’ creation is incapable of handling waves more than five feet tall. It is moved around by being towed by tugboats over the rivers, but even this is not without risks. In June 2016, Huibers’ ark struck a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel while being towed in Oslo Harbor. Later that year, the smaller version now owned by Aad Peters, a Dutch TV and theater producer who lives aboard the ark, struck another vessel and was seriously damaged while being towed.

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The collision at sea disrupted Huibers’ plans to tow the ark across the Atlantic to South America in time for the  Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil that year.

The ark could still make a voyage to Israel, travelling on top of a pontoon or transport ship. It is estimated that the trip will cost $1.3 million but Huibers’ is an enthusiastic Lover of Zion.

“I love the land, I love the country, I love the people,” he said of Israel. “They don’t obey, they do what they want, they drive like mad, shove while waiting in line and don’t listen to anyone. Just like me.”

Huibers remains convinced that his original vision of a flood will come to pass.

“I believe we are living in the end of times,” he told JTA. “We’re not conscious of it. People never are.”

“The water is going to come. From the mountains, from the sea, through Germany. Just like in 1959,” he said. “It sound’s like doom and gloom. But I’m not afraid of it. Maybe it will, who knows, but my survival is not [the ark’s] purpose. It’s meant to educate, a reminder that our world is changing, will continue to change, as we see now because of global warming, rising sea levels, fires.”

ISAIAH 53:12

Sun, 11/25/2018 - 02:20

Chapter 53 begins with a description of the suffering that Israel experiences. In this verse, however, Yeshayahu (Isaiah) articulates the reward that awaits the nation. Because Israel, despite its suffering, placed the welfare of others above its own, it is promised that one day it too will be counted among the mighty, and that its portion, Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), will be considered great. Today, the State of Israel is among the world’s leaders in science, technology and medicine, and stands out in the region.