Light for the Last Days

Israel Desk – July 2018

Fire kites from Gaza cause severe damage in Israel

Palestinians in Gaza have continued to throw incendiary kites at southern Israel launching fires in at least 15 locations – some close to peoples’ homes Temperatures were unusually high – 38 degrees Celsius – helping the fires to spread further. Hundreds of acres of farmland and nature reserves were destroyed.  No one was hurt, but crops were damaged. A private beekeeper lost 40 hives. Firefighters prevented a blaze from spreading towards seed storage depots in the Eshkol Regional Council.

Since the end of March, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, led by the Hamas terror organization, which rules the Strip, have been participating in the so-called March of Return in an attempt to infiltrate Israeli territory, kidnap Israelis and commit mass terror attacks.  Several thousands of acres of fields, forests and grasslands have been torched using incendiary kites, the Palestinian terrorists’ newest tactic.  Close to 100 Palestinians, most of them affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Islamic terror groups, have been killed in the violence.

“The problems in Gaza are rooted in the fundamental goal of Hamas to destroy Israel,” which it pursues by staging ostensibly “peaceful protests” that are staffed by people “paid for and pushed by Hamas to try to break into Israel’s defences, kill as many Israelis as they can, right next to our border, and kidnap our soldiers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained in a recent meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London.  “This is not a non-violent protest; quite the contrary,” said Netanyahu. “We are doing everything we can to both minimize casualties, and at the same time protect Israeli lives.”

Israeli children (and their parents) living in the region adjacent to the Gaza Strip did something extraordinary in response to ongoing Palestinian attacks on their communities.  On 16 June residents of Kibbutz Nir Am and their children came out en masse and released balloons of their own toward Gaza. But instead of fire, these balloons carried a message of peace in the form of candy.  An Israeli diplomat expressed in words what the balloons were meant to say: “The children in Gaza, who are innocent victims of the cruel Hamas regime, deserve to know that children in Israel don’t hate them.”

Taking a different line, Israel Air Force fighter jets struck nine military targets in two military compounds and in a munition manufacturing site belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip on 18th June.  “The strikes were conducted in response to arson and explosive kites and balloons that have been launched into Israel. These are terrorist acts that endanger Israeli residents living in southern Israel and damage extensive areas in Israeli territory,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement.  

On 20th June Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip came under a massive barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists, eliciting a prompt response by Israel’s Air Force (IAF,) which bombed Hamas targets in Gaza.  Gaza-based terrorists fired some 45 rockets at Israeli communities, setting off sirens throughout the night and sending thousands of civilians running for cover. The IDF’s Iron Dome aerial defence system intercepted seven rockets, and at least five landed inside the Gaza Strip. Three projectiles fell within Israeli communities, causing material damage to cars and buildings. No one was injured in the attacks.

There are fears that the current escalation could lead to another round of war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

UN votes to condemn Israel.

The United Nations’ bias and hypocrisy was on full display when the General Assembly voted on 13th June overwhelmingly in favour of condemning Israel for the violence on the Gaza border, but refused to do the same for Hamas.  The resolution slammed Israel for “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” use of force in dealing with the mass infiltration attempts along the Israel-Gaza border. The motion passed with 120 nations in favour, 8 opposed and 45 abstaining.  Just before the vote, US Ambassador Nikki Haley proposed an amendment that would have also held Hamas responsible for the volatile situation, which was rejected.

Following this the US announced that it was withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) while citing its virulent anti-Israel activism.  Nikki Haley called the UNHRC “an organization that is not worthy of its name.”   Haley noted that the US had given the UNHRC “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes, having warned repeatedly that it would leave the UN body if it did not make reforms and stop its attacks on Israel.  She lambasted the council for “its chronic bias against Israel,” calling it a “cesspool of political bias,” and lamented the fact that its membership includes accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The UNHRC is infamously biased against Israel, with nearly half of its resolutions focused solely on Israel, while it ignores war, strife and atrocities committed around the globe.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the Americans for “their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.”

Israel continues to oppose Iran’s presence in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a weekly government session on June 17th that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Israel would be taking action against the military presence of Iran on the whole territory of Syria.

“At the end of the week, I spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I reiterated our main principles towards Syria – first of all, Iran must leave the territory of Syria. Secondly, we will be taking measures and we are already taking action against efforts to establish the military presence of Iran and its satellites close to the border with Israel and deep in Syria.  We will act against these efforts in any part of Syria.”

On June 15th, the Kremlin press service said Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu discussed over the phone the situation in Syria and joint steps to ensure security on the Syrian-Israeli border.   “The sides discussed the situation in Syria in the context of joint efforts on ensuring security in the area of the Syrian-Israeli border,” the Kremlin press service said in a statement after the phone conversation. The two leaders “expressed readiness to bolster coordination on Syria, including the issues of countering international terrorism.”

At the same time Moscow has called for a refraining of military operations in Syria and President Putin has noted specific results of Russia-Iran cooperation in settling the Syrian conflict.  He told Iranian President Rouhani, “We are successfully cooperating in settling the Syrian crisis.” Syrian President Assad has also praised the Iranian contribution to his war with the rebels and strongly resisted Israeli calls for the Iranian forces to withdraw from Syria.  

It is hard to see how Russia can square the circle between its commitment to defend the Assad regime with help from Iran, and its attempts to keep friendly relations with Israel, especially as Israel has said it will continue to attack Iranian positions throughout Syria.  

Israel’s offer to Iran.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has released a video in which made an “unprecedented offer” to the Iranian people to help solve Iran’s water crisis by creating a Farsi website with detailed plans on Israeli water conservation technologies and strategies.  “The Iranian people are victims of a cruel and tyrannical regime that denies them vital water,” Netanyahu stated. “Israel stands with the people of Iran, and that is why I want to help save countless Iranian lives.”

He noted that “Iran’s meteorological organisation says that nearly 96% of Iran suffers from some level of drought.”  He said, “Millions of Iranian children are suffering due to mismanagement and incompetence, and the theft of vital resources by the Iranian regime.”

Uproar after Israeli teacher asks students to pray against gay parade.

Israel, or at least the Greater Tel Aviv area, has made a name for itself of late as a place of great tolerance for homosexuality, and even a top travel destination for the LGBT crowd.  So, when a high school teacher from the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan cited the Bible in requesting that his students pray against the upcoming “Gay Pride” parade, outrage ensued.

In reporting on the incident, Israel’s Ynet news portal (Hebrew) referred to the teacher’s remarks as a scandalous example of “homophobia” in the public education system.

The teacher sent a Whatsapp message to his students stating that “on Friday there will unfortunately be a great desecration of God’s name in the heart of Israel, in Tel Aviv. We are short on salvation, but the salvation of God can come in the blink of an eye. Read this chapter of Psalms that saves us from shame and disgrace.”

The teacher then cited Psalm 15:  O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?  Who shall dwell on your holy hill?  He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbour, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honours those who fear the Lord. …  He who does these things shall never be moved.

The local Ramat Gan municipality condemned the teacher’s remarks, inexplicably calling them “racist” in nature, while the Ministry of Education released a statement censuring the educator for intolerance.  “The teacher’s words…are not in keeping with the spirit of the Ministry of Education, which educates to increase tolerance and acceptance of the other,” read the statement.

The teacher is expected to face disciplinary action, and the students were all called in for a “sensitivity session” to undo any influence the teacher in question might have had on their views regarding homosexuality.

It appears Israel has the same problem as we do with liberal left moral values being imposed on the education system and no dissent allowed, especially from a Biblical position.

Tony Pearce

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