Light for the Last Days

Israel News 2016.

These items are taken from Tony Pearce’s regular column

in Prophetic Witness Magazine.

Contents with dates.

12/16 ‘Relations between Moscow and Jerusalem are at their highest point ever.’

So said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov at the 10th convention of RISA (Russian International Studies Association).  He said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu hold regular telephone conversations. ‘This year bilateral contacts have been unprecedentedly intense. Russia’s leadership places great importance on boosting trade, economic and investment cooperation with Israel  …  Israel remains of Russia’s biggest economic partners in the region,’ he added.

Russia has involved itself in the peace process, proposing a direct meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under its auspices. On November 11th Russia’s Prime Minister, Mr Medvedev paid a three day visit to Israel, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas.  Mr Medvedev said all the right things to Israel, visiting Yad va Shem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he expressed horror at the massacre of Jewish people by the Nazis.  He also said ‘Russia has never denied the rights of Israel or the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall.’

Despite all this Israel is concerned about Russia’s move into the Middle East.  Russia is selling advanced weapons and nuclear technology to Egypt, Jordan and above all Iran. Mr Netanyahu expressed concerns about Russian military involvement in Syria, particularly the deployment of advanced S-300 and S-400 air-defence batteries to Syria and Iran.  These have restricted Israel’s strongest deterrence against its enemies in the region, its Air Force. Former Israeli Air Force commander, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu warned, ‘we must keep in mind that conflict with Russia could happen,’ and if it does, Israel would have no other choice but to destroy the S-300s.  

On October 7th the Russian Duma (parliament) authorised a permanent Russian military base and troop presence on Syrian soil.  Russia and Iran now have several thousand troops in Syria.  We also see Turkey involved in the Syrian conflict, though not on the same side as Russia.  Sunni Turkey is against Assad, while Russia and Shiite Iran are on his side.  At one point Russia and Turkey nearly came to blows after Turkey shot down a Russian plane which strayed into their airspace.  However since the failed coup in Turkey, its leader Erdogan has begun to turn away from the west and look to ally itself with Russia.  

Russia is allied to Iran in Syria, which has made no secret of its intentions concerning Israel, announcing that it expects the Jewish state to be destroyed within 10 years. Turkey’s President Erdogan has said that Israel must set up a Palestinian state immediately with its capital in East Jerusalem and called for ‘all Muslims to embrace the Palestinian cause and protect Jerusalem.’  This sounds like a call to arms for Muslims to come against Israel over the status of Jerusalem.  The UN has called on Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria.  Russia has endorsed this claim especially since the discovery of a major oil field in the Golan Heights. Sputnik News, an international news agency owned and controlled by Russia, has already declared that the oil deposits belong to Syria.  ‘The oil deposit lies in the Golan Heights, which is internationally recognized as Syrian territory but has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war between Israel and Arab states.’

Israel has made it clear that it has no intention of handing over the Golan Heights to Syria.  Concerning the Russian presence in Syria, the Jerusalem Post commented,  ‘The Russian bear is already across the border in Syria. Is Israel next in line for Russian domination?’

Ask Ezekiel.  (38-9).

12/16 Israel drawn into Syrian conflict.

While Israel has expressed a determination not to get involved in the Syrian civil war, Mr Netanyahu spoke in April of two conditions which would provoke an Israeli response:  ‘We will not agree to the supply of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah from Syria. We will not agree to the creation of a second terror front on the Golan Heights. These are the red lines that we have set and they remain the red lines of the State of Israel.’

In late November Israel responded on both these issues.  On 28th November the Israeli Air Force struck a terrorist cell affiliated with Islamic State in Syrian territory after its members fired across the border at an IDF unit. Four terrorists were killed, while no IDF soldiers were hurt.  In the first clash between the IDF and the ISIS-linked group, an air force missile destroyed a vehicle carrying four operatives from the ISIS-linked Khaled Ibn al-Walid Brigade.

Israeli soldiers stationed on the Golan Heights at the time of the ISIS attack, reported that a literal pillar of cloud descended on the border.  The bizarre storm completely engulfed the Syrian side of the border, but stopped just at the boundary and did not enter Israel.  A number of soldiers are seen in a video on Israel Today capturing the phenomenon on their cellphones. (http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/30652/Default.aspx). The video went viral on Facebook, where not a few Israelis labeled the storm as ‘divine intervention.’  ‘Huge miracle! Notice how God stopped this enormous storm exactly on the border,’ wrote Yifat Romano. ‘Thank you, Father!’  Netanel Tanaami wondered, ‘What more do you need to believe?’  ‘The Creator of the world is protecting us,’ proclaimed Nissim Nahoum.

On the other front which Mr Netanyahu addressed, Israel has made attacks inside Syria on convoys on their way to Lebanon with arms imported from Iran to be used by Hezbollah.  In early December Israel also carried out two targeted attacks causing big explosions at the Mezzeh military facility near Damascus.  Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel is seeking to ‘prevent the smuggling of advanced weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hezbollah.’  Hezbollah is part of the alliance fighting with Russia on the side of the Assad regime in Syria. Given the reference to ‘weapons of mass destruction’ involved in this attack, Amir Tsafarti, an Israeli Messianic Jew who gives regular prophecy updates from Israel, believes this kind of attack could lead to the destruction of Damascus, as in Isaiah 17.1: ‘Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.’  In which case it could trigger the War of Gog and Magog as described in Ezekiel 38-39

11/16 Knesset Bill sparks controversy over status of West Bank / Judea – Samaria.

On 13th November the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation unanimously approved the Regulation Bill, a draft legislation that legalises communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) which were established with state involvement and possibly built on private land or land not owned by the state.  The law stipulates that communities which were built on private land or non-state-owned land will not be demolished. Rather, the land will be expropriated and the owner of the land will be compensated.  This law addresses hundreds of instances in which Israelis built homes with government consent or encouragement, later to discover that the land may be privately owned or otherwise in dispute.

Thousands of Israelis live in the unauthorised enclaves. Although they were built without following formal procedures, government officials knew they were being erected and linked them up to state infrastructure and gave them military protection. In addition, Israel has built more than 120 authorised West Bank settlements, housing about 400,000 people, that it considers legal and most countries and the UN do not.

This legislation provoked Palestinian outrage and was condemned as a land grab by the United Nations.  The Obama administration is ‘very concerned about the advancement of this legislation that would allow for the legalisation of Israeli outposts located in private Palestinian land,’ State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.  ‘Enacting this law would be profoundly damaging to the prospects for a two-state solution,’ he asserted, adding that Washington is ‘troubled’ by comments made by political figures in Israel that the law ‘would be the first step in annexing parts of the West Bank.’

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a prominent supporter of the legislation and chief of the Jewish Home party, hailed it for demonstrating that a ‘nation can’t be an occupier of its own land.’  He said the billed paved the way for Israel’s eventual annexation of Judea and Samaria:  ‘Today, the Israeli Knesset moved from heading toward establishing a Palestinian state to heading toward sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and to remove any doubt about it—the outpost regulation bill is the tip of the iceberg in applying sovereignty.’

11/16 Wild fires in Israel.  

In 22 November a wave of fires (both wildfires and urban fires) began in Israel from the Dead Sea area to Nahariya.  Some of the fires occurred naturally; others were arson attacks.   On 28 November, after 8 days, the fire fighting services announced that the emergency condition was over, after fire fighters fought 1,773, of them at least 39 were major fires that required at least ten crews or more.  The largest fire occurred in Haifa, where 527 apartments were destroyed completely, leaving 1,600 people homeless.  75,000 residents, about a quarter of the city’s population, were evacuated from 11 neighbourhoods.  Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority reported that more than 20,000 dunams (4,900 acres) of forests, brush land and open space were burnt, the largest amount since the Mount Carmel forest fire (2010).

Some of the fires were caused by arsonists encouraged by anti-Israel activists on social media. At least 35 people were arrested on suspicion of setting fires or inciting to do so. More than 15 were citizens of the Palestinian Authority and at least 10 were Arab citizens of Israel. Officials in Israel has stated that the deliberate setting of fires is a form of terrorism.

The unseasonably dry and windy conditions were also responsible for the emergency.   Israel has again turned its attention to the stark fact that it is the middle of another drought.  This summer has been ranked as the longest in Israel’s history. Prior to heavy rains that swept across Israel in the last week of November, no rain had fallen in the north since April, causing streams and waterfalls to dry up.

Israel was heartened by the help it received from abroad.  Fire fighting crews came from Russia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Croatia and Turkey with planes capable of dropping huge quantities of water on the flames. Fire crews also came from the USA and the Palestinian Authority to help in the effort.

11/16 Donald Trump victory and Israel.

From the Israeli perspective, many believe the 70-year-old Trump is better for their nation’s interests than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: ‘I congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the 45th President of the United States of America.  President-elect Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel, and I look forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in our region.  I am confident that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights.’

In the final days before election, Donald Trump signed a letter presented by pro Israel American Christians calling for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.  It also called for the US to strengthen the fund for Israel’s growing security needs, to combat anti-Israel efforts to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel and to oppose any imposed solutions to the Palestinian conflict on Israel by outside parties, including the United Nations Security Council.

Some in Israel claimed the Trump victory was ‘divinely sent to begin Messianic process.’ Rabbi Yosef Berger said ‘When he promised to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, he attached himself to the power of Moshiach (Messiah), which gave him the boost he needed. If you separate from Jerusalem, disaster will follow.’ http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/78288

The Israeli right wing saw Trump’s victory as meaning that the ‘era of a Palestinian state is over.’  Naftali Bennett, chairman of the ultra nationalist party, Bayit Yehudi, (The Jewish Home) and Education Minister wrote,  ‘Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause. This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple.’

10/16 Israel condemns UNESCO decision on Temple Mount.

Israeli PM Netanyahu responded sharply to the scandalous UNESCO decision denying any Jewish connection to Temple Mount by inviting UNESCO members to visit the Arch of Titus in Rome and see for themselves which treasures were plundered 2000 years ago from the Temple.  Netanyahu was speaking at a Bible forum which took place at his house. He said that ‘The UNESCO theatre show goes on. Today it took a ridiculous decision denying the connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall.  ‘It’s like saying that the Chinese have no connection to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids,’ added Netanyahu.  

The UNESCO resolution was approved by 24 countries, among them Russia and China with whom Israel had recently prided itself on strengthening its ties. 6 countries opposed the resolution – the US as well as Germany, Holland, Britain, Estonia and Lithuania.  

In the conference convened by the governing body of UNESCO, the Palestinians with the support of many Arab countries promoted a decision claiming that Temple Mount, mentioned only in Arabic as ‘Haram a-Sharif’ and not by its Jewish name, is a site holy to Muslims alone.  The Western Wall was also referred to by its Arab name with the Hebrew name only appearing in quotes in the decision.  

10/16 Temple Mount Faithful appoint High Priest.

A significant step was recently taken towards reinstating the Temple service when the nascent Sanhedrin selected Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the next Kohen Gadol (high priest). The selection was made as a precaution for Yom Kippur. If the political conditions should change, allowing the Jews access to the Temple Mount, they will be required by Torah law to bring the sacrifices. Rabbi Kahane is confident that if that should happen, Temple service could begin in less than one week.

Rabbi Kahane is a prominent scholar, knowledgeable in the complicated laws pertaining to the subject of the Temple Service. He has played a prominent role in all the re-enactments of the Temple services performed to date.  This year has already seen much Temple-oriented activity: the Temple Institute has created a registry of kohanim (priests); established a school for educating men of the priestly class in the details of the Temple service; and performed re-enactments on all the holidays, including the especially significant Passover sacrifice.

A demonstration of the Yom Kippur Temple Service was held in Hebron on October 5th adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs.  The re-enactment was initiated by the Midrasha L’Ad Hamikdash, headed by Mordechai Persoff, and the nascent Sanhedrin.  Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, explained to Breaking Israel News that the re-enactment was not just for benefit of the spectators.  ‘In the days of the Temple, for one week before Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol (high priest) practiced the service in order to prepare,’ said Rabbi Weiss. ‘One opinion stated that this was a commandment from the Torah, as part of the holy day itself.’

Breaking Israel News.

10/16 Israel sells its natural gas.

After signing a massive gas deal with Jordan, Israel is now looking to lay a pipeline to Cyprus and Greece, so Israeli gas can be exported there and to other European countries. National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz announced this massive gas deal with Jordan, saying it was a ‘historic’ day for the country, because for the first time in its history it became an energy exporter. Israel has begun laying a pipeline, which will bring gas to Jordan within 3 years.

Steinitz said that he was going to Athens to meet with his counterparts in Greece and Cyprus to discuss the laying of a ‘long’ pipeline to Cyprus and then to Greece, and from there further inland to other parts of Europe.  ‘We will export gas to other countries in the region, and also to Europe,’ Steinitz said. ‘That will turn us into a world energy player and enable us to discover and develop additional large gas fields.’  In January, the leaders of Israel, Greece and Cyprus gathered in Nicosia to adopt a joint cooperation declaration, which diplomatic officials in Jerusalem hailed as nothing less than a ‘strategic alliance’ in the eastern Mediterranean.

Israel is also close to making a multibillion-dollar natural gas deal with Egypt.  Israel has painted gas exports to Egypt and other nations in the region as a strategic imperative in an area rocked by strife, and removing this obstacle would be crucial to the export deals it seeks to clinch and to cement ties with its closest ally in the Muslim world. Energy-strapped Egypt needs fuel until it develops its own newly discovered fields, and it can use an idle gas pipeline there to transfer Israeli fuel for export to third countries.

Hundreds of Jordanians took part in a demonstration in the centre of Amman in protest against the deal to import natural gas from Israel.  Demonstrators carried banners, reading: ‘No to financing the Zionist entity from the pockets of Jordanian citizens’ and ‘No to gas imports from the Zionist enemy’.  ‘Gas from the Zionists is a disgrace,’ the demonstrators chanted.  

The Jordanian government defended its deal to buy Israeli natural gas that has stirred public opposition, insisting the accord would not leave the Arab country reliant on the Jewish state.  It would cut $600 million a year from the state’s energy bill. ‘We will not be dependent on Israel,’ Jordanian Information Minister Momani said.  He said the government was seeking to diversify its sources of gas supplies.  The opposition Islamic Action Front, political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, kept up its condemnation of the deal, charging the gas was ‘stolen from Palestinian waters.’

9/16 UN calls for resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Obama, addressing the UN on 20th September, said the Palestinians must end incitement and recognise Israel, but that Israel has to end the “occupation.”  This is a call for Israel to hand over the Old City of Jerusalem and its environment as well as Judea and Samaria, the biblical Jewish homeland, referred to as the West Bank, to an independent state of Palestine.  

This follows the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon harshly criticising Israeli settlements in the West Bank and calling for urgent action to save ‘the two state solution’. He insists that Israeli settlements in the West Bank ‘are illegal under international law’ and he told reporters that the ‘occupation’ of Palestinian-controlled territories ‘must end’. 

These comments represent perhaps the strongest statements that any UN Secretary-General has ever made against Israel, and they come at a very ominous time.   There is a major push to try to get some sort of UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before Barack Obama leaves office.   Those that are hoping for a ‘two state solution’ know that fresh negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians are not likely to happen any time in the near future. So if the ‘peace process’ is going to move forward, it is going to have to happen at the United Nations.

Ban Ki-moon is desperate to try to save the ‘two state solution’, and as the UN begins a new annual session this week he is urging imminent action. The following comes from the official UN website:  

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for intensified efforts to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to take the difficult steps required to change the current destructive trajectory of the conflict, which is heading towards a ‘one-state reality’ rather than a peaceful resolution.

‘Twenty-three years ago, almost to the day, the first Oslo Accord was signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation,’ the Secretary-General told the Security Council in a briefing on the situation in the Middle East.

‘Unfortunately, we are further than ever from its goals. The two-state solution is at risk of being replaced by a one-state reality of perpetual violence and occupation,’ he warned.  He went on to declare that the ‘occupation’ of the West Bank by Israel ‘must end’.

As the United Nations began its annual session, Israel will be prominent on the agenda. Many fear the Security Council may consider a resolution setting definite territorial parameters, and a deadline, for the creation of a Palestinian state. President Obama has hinted that in the final months of his term, he may reverse the traditional U.S. policy of vetoing such resolutions.  Israel is strongly opposed to any UN mandated resolution, which would place it in a very dangerous situation regarding the Palestinian Authority, who would see it as a green light to insist on all their demands being met without recognising Israel.s right to exist as a Jewish State.  Israel says that the only solution can come through face to face negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  

9/16 Israel, the Bible and Yeshua / Jesus.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett stressed that the Bible and Jewish faith are the most important topics children learn in school.  He said ‘Learning about Judaism and excellence in the subject is more important in my eyes than mathematics and the sciences.  Even though Israel is a high-tech superpower, an exporter of knowledge and innovation to the world, we must also be a spiritual superpower and export spiritual knowledge to the world.  It is not enough to be solely the nation of the startup. We must also be the people of the Bible.  Israel’s primary mandate was to be a light to the nations. ‘For out of Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem.’  He echoed the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu who also called on young students across Israel to study the Bible, saying: ‘Study of the Bible is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.’

The question is ‘How much of the Bible should Israelis study?’  The ‘London Jewish News’ carried a story taken from ‘The Times of Israel’ about Israel’s Messianic Jews who also read the part forbidden by the rabbis, the B’rith Hadasha or New Testament.  The article was not exactly sympathetic. Entitled ‘Inside Israel’s cults: messiah complex’, it accused Messianic Jews of wanting to take the ‘Jewish’ out of the Jewish state (actually they are wanting to put the ‘Jewish’ back into Jesus). However in the process the writer (Lisa Sanders) gave her readers quite a lot of information about how to find Jesus:

Yeshua, we praise your name! Yeshua, we love you!’ I’m listening to Moti Vaknin, a balding, Israeli guy in his mid-thirties, and he’s describing, in Hebrew, his own conversion to a brand of Christianity known as Messianic Judaism.  Vaknin grew up in Haifa in an Orthodox Jewish family. Today he’s at the forefront of a movement that seeks to convert Jews, in Israel and abroad, to accept Jesus alongside their Judaism.

Vaknin is earnest: he talks candidly about his teenage years; his rebellion against his religious upbringing, his service in the IDF then his trip to New York where he took drugs and struggled to make it as a photographer.  As he hit rock bottom in New York – out of money and feeling hopeless – some American friends took him to what he thought was a synagogue for the Shabbat service.  He says he was puzzled when everyone started singing about ‘Yeshua’.  He recalls: ‘I asked my friend, ‘Psst – who is this Yeshua?’ She looked at me, astonished, and said, ‘It’s Jesus.’..I told her straight, I didn’t want anything to do with these missionaries.’

But then, as Vaknin tells it, once he’d studied the New Testament ‘I felt as if someone is hugging me.’ He emphasises that he’s still ‘one hundred percent Jewish’, but these days he’s a leader in Israel’s 20,000-strong community of Messianic Jews.  Ironically, both proponents and critics insist Messianic Jewry in Israel is booming. Messianic Jews believe that Jesus is the Jewish messiah, and that the Bible prophesies an End of Days apocalypse that brings about the Second Coming. In this theology, all the ingathered Jews are doomed to perish unless they have converted to Christianity.  I was admittedly sceptical about the idea that Christianity is growing in popularity among Israeli Jews. Then I discovered a network of active churches that cater to Israelis from every background, offering services in Russian and Amharit as well as Hebrew and English.’  

She then tells her readers how to find out more by visiting websites like ‘him.co.il, iGod, IMetMessiah.com, Messiah.co.il, WeLoveIsrael, TheOne, i53 and, wait for it, XRabbi.co.il.’

Web-surfers can click to hear individual testimonies of Messianic Jews; they can ask questions about theology, prophecy and the almighty and get an instant response from Bar or Vaknin or one of their trained ministers.’

Although the tone of this article was hostile, it gave anyone curious about finding Yeshua plenty of information about how to go about this, and no doubt increased the number of people logging on to OneForIsrael and other websites!

The Israeli Messianic community website and news portal Kehila News Israel (KNI) has published a survey showing that not only do young Messianic Jews serving in the Israeli army boldly share their faith, but they generally receive positive reactions when doing so.  KNI conducted the survey in cooperation with the various local ministries that host events for young soldiers.

96 percent of respondents said their fellow soldiers know they are followers of Yeshua. Perhaps even more encouraging is that 65 percent said reactions to their faith have been positive, even inquisitive.  Israeli Messianic Jews proudly serve in the IDF just like everyone else, and the growing number of believers in the military was demonstrated by the fact that 30 percent of survey respondents said there is at least one more fellow believer in their unit.

7/16 Iran again threatens Israel.

Iran reiterated that it is putting the pieces in place for its own version of the ‘final solution’ to the problem of Israel and Jewish sovereignty.  ‘If the Zionists make a wrong move, all the occupied territories will come under attack from dedicated fighters and, Allah willing, the territories will be liberated,’ declared Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

To achieve this grisly goal, Salami noted that Iran and its ally, Hezbollah, have deployed ‘100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel.’ Those missiles are in southern Lebanon, where the UN promised to prevent another buildup to conflict following the last Lebanon war in 2006.  Salami made his remarks during anti-Israel rallies that featured the familiar chants of ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America.’  Back in May, Ahmad Karimpour, an advisor to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, told reporters that the Islamic Republic and its allies were ready to ‘raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes’ should the order be given.

7/16 Netanyahu tells Palestinians to stop inciting terror.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: ’President Abbas, since over the past several years, you refused to meet me and sit down and negotiate peace, I hope you’ll hear this message.’

First, your advisor, Sultan Abu al Einein recently called to slit the throat of every Israeli.   Three days later, a Palestinian terrorist turned these words into action when he slit the throat of a 13-year-old beautiful girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, as she slept.  She was a little, innocent girl. She didn’t deserve this.  I ask that you fire this advisor because advocating genocide is not consistent with peace.

Second, your party recently praised a terrorist on Facebook who murdered 24 civilians, innocent Israelis in cold blood.  ‘I ask that you pick up the phone and instruct your party’s social media manager to stop praising mass murderers .  Impressionable children read these posts. They should be taught harmony, not hate.  Such words seriously harm the chances of peace.

Third, next week the Palestinian Authority will dedicate a monument to Abu Sukkar. Abu Sukkar murdered 15 people by detonating a refrigerator filled with explosives on a busy Jerusalem street.  Rather than dedicate a statue to a mass-murderer, I ask that you consider honoring a champion of co-existence.  This will help educate future generations to love peace over war, compassion over violence.  It will also help convince Israelis that they have a true partner for peace.

Fourth, the PLO currently pays a monthly salary to anyone who murders Jews.  This money provides direct incentive to commit terror.  I ask that you stop paying murderers and instead use this money to fund co-existence education, teach tolerance not terror.  Every Israeli and Palestinian child deserves a life of hope, of tranquility and opportunity.  I will continue to work tirelessly for peace. It’s time that you join this effort.’

6/16 Critical Report of Palestinian Authority.

A report by the Institute of National Security Studies, says that despite 20 years of generous support for the Palestinian Authority (the highest per capita funding ever given to a state or a population), it has failed to construct the infrastructures required to establish a functional, sustainable state.  One of the most blatant weaknesses of the PA is its inability to impose its monopoly on the use of force.  Without a monopoly on the use of force and without an ability to realise its sovereignty over all of state territories, there is no functional state. Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian leadership by his side are weak and lack the legitimacy, determination, and capacity to undertake political reforms and disarm the militias, and they will find it difficult to defeat the extremists at the polls.

In the absence of these factors, “the rest of the world can do little to spare the Palestinians from a future that looks much like their recent past and that is characterised by more chaos, strife and lawlessness, economic hardship, and conflict with Israel.”  In essence, the Palestinian Authority is like other “failing states” in the region, where Islamist terrorists seize land (Gaza, in this case) and thereby inhibit normal civic and economic life. The authors posit that waiting for a state before conducting needed reforms is backward.

Given the fact that the chances of arriving at such an agreement under existing conditions are very low, choosing not to fix the failures and improve the Palestinians’ state and institutional infrastructure is liable to be a grievous error that will only lead to further deterioration in the areas under PA control. Such deterioration could be manifested in further worsening of the living conditions and welfare of the local population, an increase in frustration and despair, and a loss of hope and violence, all of which might be translated into escalation and further erosion of the public’s faith in its leadership and its legitimacy.

Rather than endless, futile conferences to reach a peace agreement before the PA is willing or able to give up its dream of perpetual resistance to the Jewish state, it would be far more productive to rethink the entire system of international aid and work toward enhancing the PA’s ability to function.

5/16  National ‘aliyah’ day proposed.

The Netanyahu government is receiving broad political support for a proposed new national holiday celebrating ‘aliyah’ or Jewish immigration to the land of Israel. The motion is expected to be passed into law in coming months, and would set aside the 10th of Nissan to honour the crucial role of aliyah both in the re-birth and in the ongoing strengthening of the nation of Israel.   The 10th of Nissan was chosen, as many Rabbis believe it marks the date the ancient Israelites first entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.  According to Exodus 12.3 the 10th Nissan is also the day when the Passover Lamb was to be set aside, tested to see if it is without blemish and sacrificed on 14th Nissan.  The 10th Nissan is the most likely date of the Lord Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem leading to His being tested, tried and offered as the sacrifice for sin on 14th Nissan, the day of the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb.

National Aliyah day will be a time for the nation of Israel to retell the many miraculous and touching stories of their modern day ingathering. Their modern day Exodus includes the desperate stories of Jews returning en-masse out of the ashes of the holocaust, only to find themselves in the midst of another war of survival upon arrival in Israel.   The story of aliyah continues with the dramatic return of over 600,000 Jews from Arab lands to the struggling and virtually bankrupt nation of Israel in the late 1940’s. While being advised to slow down the flood of Jews arriving in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion doggedly refused to turn back any Jew that wished to return despite the growing financial burden on the young nation.

The modern Exodus goes on to the story of the dramatic return of the long lost Jews of Ethiopia, with 14,000 being whisked home in hurried secrecy during one weekend in 1991. In addition, one could not fail to mention the story of the Soviet Jews being refused permission to leave for decades. The dramatic crumbling of the Soviet bloc in 1989 was seen as a direct answer to the persistent prayers of many Jews and Christians that this modern day Pharaoh would ‘let my people go’. 

Today there are over one million Jews from Russia living in Israel.  Many Christians were assisting the return from Russia, and in so doing found themselves literally fulfilling the words of Isaiah by carrying the Jews on their shoulders on the way back to Israel (Isaiah 49:22). 

2600 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah predicted that a day would come when the original Exodus from Egypt would be overshadowed by a far greater Exodus ‘from the land of the north and from all the lands’ (Jeremiah 16:14-16). It is therefore very interesting to note that this new annual celebration of the modern day return of the Jewish people falls four days prior to Passover on the Jewish calendar.  Is the stage being set for a celebration of a greater Exodus that will surpass the Passover celebrations?

While Russia certainly is located due north of Israel, the prophecy of Jeremiah also talks about the worldwide regathering of the Jewish community. What about the return of the world’s largest Diaspora Jewish community in the US?

Today there are around 6 million Jews living in the US. In 2014, only 0.06% of them made aliyah to Israel, and the prosperous and stable lifestyle in America means that very few would consider making the change. But is there a change in the air? 

In early 2016 Rabbi Abramowitz released a widely watched video warning of coming dangers to American and European Jews and begging the Jews of America to see the writing on the wall and return to Israel.  (A Warning to American Jews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btXPvV-FaWM&feature=youtube)

The Riminov Rebbe, a Hassidic rabbi living in New York, visited his followers in Florida, urging them to leave the United States as soon as possible, warning of coming danger and civil war. He said, ‘Listen to me carefully dear Jews, whoever has in his hand to get up and go and go to the Holy Land Israel as soon as possible while it is still is possible, this includes leaving large parts of South America and most of Europe … also the United States will be a place of danger.’

This message has had a lukewarm reception among American Jews, but Rabbi Abramowitz reports that his message has resonated with many American Christians who see the potential dangers facing the Jewish community in their midst.  

Could it be that the time is coming when God will call His people home from America – and that this return combined with the already large-scale ingathering that has taken place – will tip the scales marking it as the greater exodus that Jeremiah foretold?

Jeremiah’s prophecy is also looking forward to a greater event than the exodus from Egypt, the return of the Messiah Yeshua who will save His people and restore Israel to its place at the centre of the worldwide kingdom of our Messiah in the day when ‘the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ / Messiah’ (Revelation 11.15).

4/16 UN names Israel ‘top violator’ on women’s rights.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded its 60th annual session in New York by condemning only Israel – and no other nation in the world – as an abuser of women’s rights.

The UN Human Rights Council (CSW) concluded its month-long session in Geneva last week by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states.  ‘At New York’s UN headquarters, 8,100 NGO representatives gathered from all corners of the globe, in addition to government delegates, and watched the weight of the entire world of women’s rights descend on only one country, Israel,’ Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, wrote in a recent Fox News column.

‘On the ground, Palestinian women are murdered and subjugated for the sake of male honour, Saudi women can’t drive, Iranian women are stoned to death for so-called ‘adultery,’ Egyptian women have their genitals mutilated and Sudanese women give birth in prison with their legs shackled for being Christian,’ Bayefsky noted. 

Israeli MK Yair Lapid, Chairman of the Yesh Atid party, responded to this decision:  ‘The treatment of Israel by the UN Council is far beyond bias. It’s obsessive. It’s insanity.’  He described the UN’s treatment of Israel as ‘pure, old fashioned, anti-Semitism.  There is only one democratic country in the Middle East.  There is only one country in the Middle East in which the rights of minorities are protected, in which women’s rights are protected, the right of every person to free speech, freedom of religion and free movement.  There is only one country in the Middle East whose military insists on international law, on human rights and on moral standards which no army in the world comes close to.  And that’s the country the UN Human Rights Council constantly attacks.’

He went on to call on UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon to renounce the constant attack on ‘Jews for being Jews’ in the UN and for US Congress and the EU to stop funding UN agencies that discriminate against Israel and encourage terror against Israel.

3/16 Are the Jews of today really descendants of Abraham?

‘Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’  And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.  Then He said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.’  Genesis 15.5-7.

There are those who claim that present day Jews are not the descendants of the original Hebrews and therefore have no claim to the land. This claim also discredits the idea that the modern State of Israel could be part of the Messianic return, the ingathering of the exiles predicted by the prophets. For those willing to listen to scientific proof, this claim has been discredited by recent studies in genetics.

Perhaps the strongest voice claiming the present day Jews settling in Israel are not descended from the original Hebrews is Tel Aviv University historian Shlomo Sand. In his international best-seller, ’The Invention of the Jewish People’ (2008), he asserts that the Jews of today did not originate in the Mediterranean and that a ‘nation-race’ of Jews never existed.  Jews today, he claims, share a common religion but not a common ethnic background.  He claims that Judaism was a religion which arose outside of Israel based on massive conversions that continued until the rise of Christianity in the fourth century and that most Jews today are the descendants of people who lived elsewhere in the world, the products of conversion.

This idea conflicts with Zionist claims and is being used by enemies of Israel to deny Israel’s right to exist and the right of the Jewish people to return to the land of Israel.   Opposition to the idea has come from recent developments in the area of practical genetics.   In 2010, Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, published a study concluding that many ‘geographically and culturally distant Jews still have more genes in common than they do with non-Jews around them’ and that such genes originate in the Middle East.

Breaking Israel News spoke to Bennett Greenspan about the genetic aspect of Judaism and how it relates to the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel. Greenspan founded Family Tree DNA, the first American company to offer genealogical DNA testing directly to the general public, and his conclusions are based on a database of hundreds of thousands of genetic samples.  ‘On the Y-DNA test that tracks the paternal line, 75-85% of Jews have a Semitic ancestry, that is to say they are from the Middle East. .. The genetic facts do not at all support that theory, and do support the opposite.’

The genetic evidence backs up the argument that the Jews are a people with an identity going back to the scattered children of Israel and that they are now being gathered together as an unmistakeable result of God’s covenant.

Breaking Israel News.

Tony Pearce

Tony Pearce

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