Archive | May 2016

Israel Supporters See Successes And Challenges With Protestant Churches On BDS

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BY SEAN SAVAGE/JNS.ORG

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As support for Israel erodes in many Western countries, especially among liberals and the millennial generation, American-Christian backing for the Jewish state is considered one of the bulwarks against such trends. But not all Christians feel warmly about Israel.
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During the past several years, a number of leading mainline Protestant churches–including the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, and most recently the United Methodist Church (UMC)–have considered or voted on resolutions supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
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In May, at the Church’s quadrennial general conference in Portland, Ore., UMC committees rejected four resolutions that called for divestment from companies doing business in Israel, such as Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard.
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“What happened at the UMC’s general conference is a miracle,” Dexter Van Zile, a Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), told JNS.org.
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Van Zile praised the Methodist delegates for going a step further in their decision by voting to encourage UMC institutions “to disaffiliate with the U.S. Committee to End the Occupation, a far-left anti-Israel agitprop organization that includes ISM (International Solidarity Movement) groups that condone violence against Israel and others that agitate for Israel’s destruction.”
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“These decisions place the UMC on a separate planet when it comes to dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Van Zile said. “On this planet, the adults are firmly in charge. These days, that’s pretty rare.”
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Ethan Felson–executive director of the Israel Action Network (IAN), a strategic initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs–said the UMC’s vote highlights the benefits of liberals and conservatives working together.
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“IAN applauds the strong stance of the United Methodist Church general convention in rejecting divestment by a sweeping margin both at the committee and plenary level. Liberals and conservatives came together to reject divestment and investment screens at the general convention,” Felson told JNS.org.
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While the Methodist Church’s rejection of BDS–and a similar rejection by the Episcopal Church at its general convention in 2015–mark positive developments for pro-Israel advocates, there remains a broader challenge to win over more support from other mainline Protestant churches. Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC) voted to divest from companies doing business in Israel in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
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Michael Gizzi, a professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University who serves as a ruling elder in PCUSA, told JNS.org that most Presbyterians were not well-informed about the Church’s 2014 divestment vote.
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“I think the average Presbyterian in the pews has little understanding of the vote to divest from Caterpillar, HP, or Motorola. In general, Presbyterians are driven by concern for social justice, and the plight of Palestinians certainly appeals to them,” Gizzi said.
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“Yet I’d argue that the majority of Presbyterians are really uncertain as to what the Church has done,” he said. The Church’s actions haven’t had any impact, which is for sure, except to shut it out of the ability to influence.”
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In June, PCUSA is holding another national gathering in Portland, Ore., where the Church will again vote on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among the resolutions the Church is considering is a report on the viability of the two-state solution that was prepared by a group called the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP).
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“This report suggests that the two-state solution may no longer be a viable way to bring an end to Israel-Palestinian conflict, and that this reality is mostly Israel’s fault. The text, which is 56 pages in length, goes into great detail as to what Israel has allegedly done wrong without assessing in detail the misdeeds of Palestinian leaders,” CAMERA’s Van Zile said.
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Gizzi believes the Presbyterian Church’s moves largely stem from its adherents’ lack of understanding about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rather than from anti-Semitic views.
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“I firmly believe that there are a core group of supporters for BDS who have ideological blinders on. They see one issue, and one issue only–justice for Palestinians. Some of those folks are very much anti-Zionists, and some of them have said and done things which are anti-Semitic,” Gizzi said.
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“But the vast majority of people who follow them really do so for less nefarious reasons,” he said. “I truly believe many of the people who say, ‘Yes, let’s take a stance, and do something to try to help Palestinians,’ are genuine, yet have very little understanding of the real underlying motivations of BDS.”
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Gizzi is a member of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP), a group that tries to provide an alternative to ACSWP and has argued that the best strategy on the Israeli-Palestinian track is to promote a two-state solution. PFMEP has offered its own report that calls for encouraging Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, investing in the Palestinian economy and a framework for a free market in the West Bank, and promoting Palestinian political leadership that is committed to change.
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“In many ways, the resolution the Methodists passed [in May] followed the same model. While they called for a two-state solution in two years–which I found a bit overly hopeful–they called for meaningful investment in Palestine, and for coexistence efforts,” Gizzi said.
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In August, the Lutheran Church is also scheduled to hold a national conference in Portland, but Van Zile does not expect there to be an Israel divestment vote at that gathering.
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“I don’t expect that divestment will be a force at the denomination’s general synod in Portland, in part because the denomination’s bishops don’t have the appetite for anti-Zionism that the folks in the UCC and the PCUSA do,” Van Zile said.
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Throughout most of American history, mainline Protestant churches played a significant role in the foundation and direction of the country. Most of the Founding Fathers were members of the mainline tradition, as were most U.S. presidents and other leaders. Additionally, Christian Zionism and Judeo-Christian heritage were a common theme throughout the early Protestant tradition.
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But the ongoing debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within mainline Protestant churches comes amid upheaval within these churches, who are grappling with rapidly declining membership as Americans become more secular.
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According to the Pew Research Center, only 14.7 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 36 million people, were affiliated with the mainline Protestant tradition in 2014. This was down from 18.1 percent of U.S. adults in 2007. Most troubling for the movement is that only 11 percent of millennial adults (those born after 1981) identify as mainline Protestants.
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Sixty-percent of white mainline Protestants say they sympathize with Israel, while only 14 percent sympathize with the Palestinians, the Pew recently found. But Protestants’ Israel support is not as strong as that of white Evangelical Christians–79 percent sympathize with Israel versus just 5 percent for the Palestinians, according to Pew.
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Given these factors, mainline Protestant churches have become a prominent target for pro-BDS groups.
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“There is plenty of evidence that the BDS movement itself is targeting mainline protestant churches,” Gizzi said. “These are democratic churches, with bottom-up leadership structures, and a strong sense of social justice. They aren’t the Evangelical churches filled with Christian Zionists, for the most part. They become a natural target for BDS and the movement has had some success.”
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BDS has also gained traction by making church activists and leaders–particularly within the UCC and PCUSA–to feel influential and important, Van Zile argued.
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“These two churches in particular are dying, just dying. Losing members and churches, every year. Wading into the BDS movement guarantees they will get at least some–even negative–coverage in the media,” he said.
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IAN’s Felson said his group is tracking the potential divestment votes at every mainline Protestant church, but that there are limits to how much IAN can influence the churches’ actual decisions.
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“There are multiple factors guiding our analysis and actions,” said Felson. “Each [church] has a unique polity and personality. Each has a diverse complement of members and leaders. BDS groups have different levels of influence. The Jewish community at the grassroots level has close relationships with members of some denominations and scarce ties with others.”
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With mainline Protestant churches’ declining numbers and intensified focus on social justice, those churches promise to remain a target for pro-BDS groups, said Van Zile.
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“The Jewish state,” he said, “has become the scapegoat for all of the ills in the Middle East in the minds of the people who call the shots in these churches.”

The Saudi Solution

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BY DANIEL PIPES/MIDDLE EAST FORUM

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As European governments slam the gates shut on illegal Middle Eastern immigrants, where can Syrians and others go to, not far from their homelands, for safety and employment? The answer is obvious but surprisingly neglected: to Saudi Arabia and the other rich Arab sheikhdoms.

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The more than one million migrants who boated, trained, bussed, and walked to northern Europe in the past year overwhelmed the continent’s capabilities and good will. Those large numbers were then exacerbated by crime and disease, an unwillingness to assimilate, a drive to impose Islamic laws, and such outrages as the Cologne taharrush (mass sexual assault) and the attacks in Paris and Brussels.
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In reaction, populist and fascist parties (such as, respectively, the National Front in France and Jobbik in Hungary) gained strength. The European mood has so deeply shifted as shown by the March elections in Germany that much reduced numbers of illegals are likely to get in, no matter what new routes they try, such as via Italy.
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This leaves huge numbers of would-be migrants wanting to enter Europe. A European Union (EU) commissioner, Johannes Hahn, counts “20 million refugees waiting at the doorstep of Europe. … Ten to 12 million in Syria, 5 million Palestinians, 2 million Ukrainians and about 1 million in the southern Caucasus.” Yes, but that’s just a start; I also add vast numbers of Libyans, Egyptians, Yemenis, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, and Pakistanis and not just political refugees but also economic migrants. In all, the numbers of Muslim peoples ready to emigrate could potentially match the 510 million EU residents.
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To where, then, are they to go? One nearby, desirable alternative to Europe exists; indeed, it’s a destination so attractive that foreigners already constitute half the population: that would be the six Gulf Cooperation Council states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Let’s focus on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the largest of them in land size, population, and economy.
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The KSA has many unique attractions for Sunni Muslims. To begin with, it has 100,000 high-quality, empty fiberglass tents that can house about 3 million people in Mina, just east of Mecca. Fireproof and air-conditioned, complete with toilets and kitchens, this unique resource is occupied a mere five days a year by pilgrims on the hajj.
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Comparing the KSA to the states of northern Europe, shows its many other advantages:
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Geography: Much closer.
Climate: Hot.
Language: Arabic.
Economics: An insatiable need for labor.
Legal system: Reassuringly familiar.
Religion: Islam, Islam, Islam.
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Culturally, many Sunnis find Saudi’s severe strictures more congenial than the West’s secular environment. In the KSA, Muslims can exult in a society that permits polygamy, child marriages, wife-beating, female genital mutilation, and beheadings, while only lightly punishing slaveholding and honor killings.
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Saudi also permits Muslims effortlessly to avoid such haram (forbidden) features as pet dogs; pork and alcohol; interest payments on loans; lotteries and casinos; Valentine’s Day, women in revealing clothes, dating, and gentlemen’s clubs; gay bars and gay marriage; the drug subculture; and the public expression of anti-Islamic views.
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The Persian Gulf countries have been berated for not taking in “a single” Syrian refugee. Yet the Saudi authorities claim to have taken in 2½ million Syrians. How to explain this discrepancy?
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In part, the Saudis are lying. But also, in part, the GCC and other Arabic-speaking states such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria never signed the 1951 Refugee Convention (because they reject the convention’s goal of resettlement as applied to Palestinians). Accordingly, they avoid using the term refugee, with its implication of permanence, and refer instead to guests, who stay only temporarily until they return home.
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How many Syrians have been allowed into Saudi? One study, by Lori Plotkin Boghardt of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, estimates they number in the “low hundreds of thousands,” say 150,000. That’s a small fraction of the over four million in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan and just 5 percent of the migrants who could be housed just in Mina’s splendid tents.
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That wealthy Arab states are so miserly in opening their arms to Sunni Muslims in stress reveals currents of selfishness and hypocrisy. Their unhelpfulness should not be rewarded; it’s high time that governments and refugee organizations stop focusing on Europe and instead turn to those Arab countries capable, with relative ease, to take in, house, and employ their desperate brethren.

 

The Cemetery Of The Giants

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“There were giants in the earth in those days…” Gen 6:4
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It seems that mankind has questioned the reality of the existence of giants at least since giants were mentioned in Genesis.
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Nearly every place around the world has legends of giants dwelling in the land. Greek and Roman mythology mentions the Titans and Norse mythology contains stories of the Frost giants of Jötunheim.
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Well known first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote about the history of the Jewish War in 79 AD and spoke of giants:
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“There were giants. Much larger and shaped differently than normal people. Terrible to behold!”
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Many of these stories are not limited to the ancient past but are also part of our more recent history.
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When Abraham Lincoln made his first visit to Niagara Falls in 1848, he wrote of giants in his notes:
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When Columbus first sought this continent – when Christ suffered on the cross – when Moses led Israel through the Red Sea – nay, even when Adam first came from the land of his Maker – then as now, Niagara was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara…”
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In his autobiography, “Buffalo” Bill Cody wrote the following words about a legend recounted to him by members of the Sioux tribe.
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It was taught by the wise men of this tribe that the earth was originally peopled by giants, who were fully three times the size of modern men. They were so swift and powerful that they could run alongside a buffalo, take the animal under one arm, and tear off a leg, and eat it as they ran. So vainglorious were they because of their own size and strength that they denied the existence of a Creator. When it lighted, they proclaimed their superiority to the lightning; when it thundered, they laughed.
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This displeased the Great Spirit, and to rebuke their arrogance he sent a great rain upon the earth. The valleys filled with water, and the giants retreated to the hills. The water crept up the hills, and the giants sought safety on the highest mountains. Still the rain continued, the waters rose, and the giants, having no other refuge, were drowned.
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It is interesting that much of giant lore includes descriptions of a flood sent by God (or the gods) to destroy these wicked people. Could it be that while the Bible contains the true history of our past, these groups are simply repeating their own distorted versions of world history prior to and perhaps after the dispersion at Babel?
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Many such stories contain exaggerations but is it reasonable to automatically reject every one of these traditions, or, like most legends, is there possibly some truth behind the them, as is often the case?
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The Biblical support for the existence of giants is overwhelming although many details as to their nature and number are still debated.  What is perhaps more controversial today is the quest to find giants remains.
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Many claims of giant skeletons have been made over the past few centuries, especially in the nineteenth century.
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One such place can be found in Ecuador known as the “The Cemetery of the Giants”.
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Father Carlos Vaca was a priest in Ecuador in 1964 when villagers contacted him to examine some strange bones that had been found. The bones were eventually taken to Austria for further analysis and would be featured in an exhibit, Unsolved Mysteries.
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The bones were deemed to be human and samples contained a complete shinbone. Whoever belonged to the skeleton stood at a whopping 7.6 meters tall (25 feet). The site of the skeletal discoveries was named Cemetery of the Giants by the locals.
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Almost fifty years later, a 2012 exploration team discovered an ancient pyramid network in the Ecuadorian-Amazon jungle, a site unknown to anyone, including the locals. Author Bruce Fenton, also a researcher, believes the site is the Lost City of the Giants because of local legends of giants who once lived in the region and the giant tools found in the area.
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An internet search of giant skeletons will prove futile because of the photo shopping over the years. Apparently some jokesters are determined to mock the many Biblical references to giants, because they deem the stories as mythology. However, discoveries continue.
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Below the surface of Death Valley, a 1931 discovery unearthed human skeletons approximately nine feet tall.
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A January 2015 discovery in Bulgaria at the site of the ancient Greek city Odessos came as no surprise to some of the locals. There was a 6,000-year history full of stories about giants. The accidental discovery of a skeleton described as “very tall” and “impressive” offered validity to the legends.
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Giant footprints have been discovered all over the world. “Goliath’s Footprint” in South Africa measures 4-feet. A 1926 edition of The Oakland Tribune reported 5-foot long footprints on a cliff in San Jose, California.
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Christian researcher L.A. Marzulli has been at the forefront of leading the charge to explore such claims around the world and believes there is startling evidence to suggest that there has been a massive cover up of what he believes are the remains of giants.
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Marzulli has teamed up with film producer Richard Shaw to create The Watchers series, a set of DVD documentaries examining many issues of the supernatural from a Christian worldview.  His latest film, Watchers 10 is coming soon and explores the subject of giant remains more in-depth.  You can learn more about it by viewing the trailer below.
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German-Funded School in Gaza Teaches Military Training

A school built in Gaza using German funds is educating their students on hatred and violence for Israel and providing children with military training.

 

A school built in Gaza using German funds is educating their students on hatred and violence for Israel and providing children with military training.

At the end of March, a Hamas-affiliated news agency distributed a video showing a Palestinian teacher indoctrinating school children with hatred for Israel and support for an armed struggle against it.

The teacher used the letters of the Arabic alphabet as a didactic tool to teach them “the fundamental Palestinian national principles” even before they learn to read.

The video did not specify the name of the school; however, data collected by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center indicated that the video was taken from inside the Rudolf Walther School in Deir al-Balah, which was constructed with money from a German donor.

The school complex is made up of an elementary school for boys, an elementary school for girls, and a high school for boys. All fall under the jurisdiction of the ministry of education in Gaza, which is a branch of the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of education.

According to reports, the boys’ elementary school promotes its objectives to educate “correct values and to inculcate the awareness and concept of a flourishing Islamic homeland” on its Facebook page.

Additionally, the school produced a video in 2013 showing students training for fitness, drilling, shooting, and dismantling and assembling weapons.

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There is nothing new about this, nor is it only a German thing. The UK government has been funding Jew hating indoctrination in Palestinian schools for years. A great deal of the money donated by Western governments to the PA is spent on terrorist armaments and activities.

Liberman’s First Challenge

By Caroline Glick

Last week, a mob of 300 Muslim men in southern Egypt stripped a 70-year-old Christian woman naked and paraded her through the streets.

This Islamist atrocity came a few days before an EgyptAir flight from Paris exploded in the skies near Alexandria. It was the second passenger jet bombed by jihadists in Egypt in recent months.

Egypt is hanging on by a thread. Like the attack that downed a Russian passenger jet over Sinai last October, this week’s attack is likely the work of an Egyptian airport employee. It is yet more proof that nearly three years after the military deposed the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadist government, the Brotherhood’s supporters remain seeded throughout the country and are capable of threatening the regime and the very survival of the Egyptian state.

It isn’t in the least surprising that Islamists have this power. Most Egyptians support them.

In the parliamentary elections four-and-a-half years ago, Islamists won more than 65 percent of the vote. Those were the most open elections in Egyptian history.

Given their strength, it is far from certain that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will long succeed in preventing the most powerful and populous country in the Arab world from becoming another branch of Islamic State.

From Israel’s perspective, how this battle pans out is of pivotal importance. But you wouldn’t know it from the media – or from our national security leaders.

As far as they are concerned, the gravest threat facing Israel is the Israeli Right. From their perspective, the most significant development of the year was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Avigdor Liberman to replace Moshe Ya’alon as defense minister.

Consider for example a recent national security program on Army Radio.

On Tuesday veteran Arab affairs correspondent Avi Issacharof hosted Egyptian journalist Munib Muhamed on his radio show. Since the show was broadcast two days after the EgyptAir attack, Issacharof might have been expected to ask Muhamed about the bombing.

But then Israel wouldn’t have been the story. Instead, Issacharof asked Muhamed what Egyptians think of Liberman. And again, there was nothing out of the ordinary in his discussion topic.

As the states around us collapse or struggle to survive, our media and our security brass spend the better part of their time telling us that Israeli society is dangerous. Our democracy is in danger. We are dangerous people. And we are making our neighbors angry.

As our elites obsess over Netanyahu’s coalition building and demand that the rest of the world obsess with them, we spend precious little time thinking about the long-term strategic implications of the revolutionary changes happening all around us.

Next week will mark the 16th anniversary of the IDF’s pullout from the security zone in south Lebanon. It will also mark the 16th anniversary of Hezbollah’s takeover of southern Lebanon.

Nine years ago, Hezbollah took control of the Lebanese government. Today the Iranian foreign legion is reputedly also in control of the Lebanese military.

In the 10 years that have passed since the end of the Second Lebanon War, former prime minister Ehud Olmert and his allies in and out of the military repeatedly argued that the quiet that has largely endured along the northern border proves that Israel won the war. Israel, they claimed, restored its deterrence. Hezbollah won’t dare to attack us again.

But it is far from clear that Israel is deterring Hezbollah. Since the war, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of 150,000 missiles that it points at Israel. These include precision-guided missiles with a range long enough to destroy targets in southern Israel. Hezbollah has installed a “missile room,” in every house and apartment in southern Lebanon.

Its offensive strategy is predicated on holding Lebanese civilians hostage.

Hezbollah acts this way because it knows that it can depend on the West. If Israel strikes its missiles, and so harms the civilians who defend its war machine, then Europe will condemn Israel and the US will sue for a cease-fire.

In other words, with its Western enablers, it is Hezbollah that is deterring Israel while it builds a capacity to paralyze the country.

And that isn’t even taking into account its plans for a ground offensive in northern Israel To mark the 16th anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal, Hezbollah’s media mouthpiece As-Safir bragged this week about Hezbollah’s subterranean tunnels traversing the border. According to the paper, Hezbollah forces along the border with Israel “work day and night…conducting observations, preparing, and digging tunnels that cause the settlers and enemy soldiers to lose sleep.”

And again, if Israel strikes Hezbollah’s positions along the borders, the West will condemn us.

This then brings us to Hezbollah’s Palestinian twin, Hamas, which runs its own terrorist tyranny in Gaza.

On Tuesday Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold told the UN Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul that Hamas diverts 95 percent of the cement imported into Gaza to build offensive tunnels. Israel permits cement imports to facilitate the reconstruction of Gaza in the aftermath of the 2014 war.

Gold’s revelation naturally raises the question, why is Israel allowing Hamas to import cement? The answer is equally clear.

Israel continues to provide Hamas with the means to attack our citizens because we are afraid of international condemnation.

Like Hezbollah, under the protection of Western powers, Hamas has developed the means to deter Israel and force us to stand by or even assist as it reconstructs the war machine with which it will attack us.

This Western alliance with jihadist armies is not likely to be broken in the foreseeable future.

Given the demographic, political and social dynamics of the Western world, it is fairly clear that Western animosity is not a function of Israeli behavior.

As these dynamics become stronger, Western hostility is likely to grow. Even today, the West’s mistreatment of Israel reaches new heights seemingly on a daily basis.

This week, for instance, Israel was condemned by the UN’s World Health Organization. With the support of Germany, France, Britain and other EU member states, the WHO condemned Israel for carrying out fictional crimes against the health of the Palestinians and the Syrians.

It goes without saying that the WHO had nothing to say about Hamas’s use of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as its forward command post or the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons.

The time has come for Israel to reconsider its strategic position and options.

Ever since the since the PLO set up its statewithin- a-state in Lebanon in the 1970s, Israel’s policy for fighting sub-state actors has been to hold the state they operate within responsible for their aggression. So it was that when the PLO, or Hezbollah, attacked us, Israel retaliated against Lebanese targets. In so doing, Israel was able to avoid hitting the civilian targets the terrorists used as human shields for their aggression.

The idea was that by attacking the regime, Israel would be able to coerce it into curbing the terrorist armies itself.

Today, Hezbollah dominates the Lebanese government.

To the extent it operates at all, the Lebanese government serves as Hezbollah’s errand boy. The Lebanese government won’t rein in Hezbollah. If it tries to, its leaders will meet the same end as Rafik Hariri, and they know it. And the West will respond with the same paralysis as it did to Hariri’s assassination.

Just as Hezbollah dominates the Lebanese government, so Hamas dominates Fatah. And just as the Lebanese government serves as Hezbollah’s surrogate for attacking Israel in the diplomatic sphere, so the PLO uses international diplomacy to criminalize the Jewish state.

Under these circumstances, the first step Israel needs to take to develop a constructive strategy for defending itself is to recognize the nature of the threat and the hostile system operating against us. To do so, the first thing we need to do is cease our self-obsession. We are not the story.

We are not the engine of regional events.

For incoming defense minister Liberman this means that his primary task isn’t to convince Western powers that he wants peace. His primary task is to develop a strategy for restoring deterrence.

At this point, deterrence cannot be restored through threats. Empty promises to raze Lebanon if Hezbollah again attacks us are no longer taken seriously. The only way to restore our deterrence is to weaken Hezbollah on the ground. And we cannot wait until Hezbollah starts the next war to do so.

Indeed, given the offensive capabilities Hezbollah has developed, we cannot afford to allow it to initiate the next war. We need to be the side that initiates the next round, on a battlefield that exploits our relative advantages.

How we strike and the means we choose to strike is for Liberman and the government to decide. Perhaps we can use stealth. Perhaps we can use surrogates. Perhaps we will need to invade southern Lebanon. But time is of the essence. With Western support, Iran will continue to expand its power throughout the region.

As for Hamas, in formulating a strategy for cutting the terrorist regime down to size, Israel should take a lesson from Syria. There are a half dozen Islamic State-like militias operating along the border on the Golan Heights. But they are too busy fighting one another to attack Israel.

Such militias operate in Gaza as well and are already engaged in an internecine battle with Hamas.

Israel should constantly check and diminish Hamas’s military capabilities to prevent it from rebuilding its arsenals and offensive capabilities.

It should also help to destabilize it as a coherent fighting group. The presence of other jihadist militia in Gaza facilitates the accomplishment of this goal.

Finally, Israel needs to realize that there is unlikely to be a clear-cut resolution of this struggle, at least in the next generation.

With the traditional Arab regimes still in place fighting for their survival, and Iran ascendant, Israel needs to assume that more terrorist regimes like Hezbollah, ISIS and Hamas will be formed from the wreckage of the Arab state system in the future. Instability, then, can be expected to remain a chronic condition of the Arab world.

The good news is that Israel has the capacity to adapt and forge constructive strategies for weakening and dividing our enemies. The bad news is that so long as we insist on obsessing over ourselves, we are unlikely to do so.

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It sounds like Caroline has been reading Psalm 83.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: YES, WE LIED TO ISRAEL ABOUT IRAN!

(Israel Today Staff)
Ben Rhodes, a deputy National Security Adviser to US President Barack Obama, revealed in a New York Times interview published last week what pretty much everyone already knew – the Obama White House lied to win approval for its Iran nuclear deal.
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Getting a deal on the books was more important than the consequences of doing so, it was more important than the reality of an aggressive and nuclear-armed Iran.
That’s the gist of what Rhodes told the Times.   “We can do things that challenge the conventional thinking that, you know, ‘AIPAC doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the Israeli government doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the gulf countries don’t like it,'” Rhodes said. “It’s the possibility of improved relations with adversaries. It’s nonproliferation.”
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Where Obama explicitly lied to allies and Americans was in describing the nuclear deal as having been struck with a “moderate” Iranian regime that had finally displaced a far more hard-line government in Tehran.
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“The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration,” read the Times article.
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Had Obama been honest about the fact that the foundation for his deal had already been laid with the former hard-line Iranian government, and that the new “moderate” regime wasn’t really all that moderate, a lot more people would have taken the Israeli view of the nuclear agreement.
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Former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was also interviewed, noting that another lie was the notion that America under Obama would ever resort to military force should Iran violate the agreement and field a nuclear weapon.
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Just days after these revelations, the Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that Iran recently tested a new medium-range ballistic missile capable of accurately Israel’s population.
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ISRAEL’S POPULATION NOW STANDS AT 8.5 MILLION
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Israeli population grows by 2.2% since last year’s Independence Day, approximately 195,000 babies were born; 36,000 made Aliyah.
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With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the population stood at about 806,000. 68 years later on Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) 2016, Israel’s population stands at approximately 8.522 million, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
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The Jewish population is approximately 6.377 million (74.8% of the population), the Arab population is approximately 1.771 million (20.8%) and the rest of the population (non-Arab Christians, other faiths and no religious affiliation by registering in the Population Registry) is approximated at 374,000 (4.4%).
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Since last Independence Day, Israel’s population grew by approximately 182,000, an increase of 2.2%.
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During this period, Israel welcomed approximately 195,000 babies, and about 47,000 people died during that same period. The number of Olim (new immigrants) coming to Israel was 36,000 people.
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About 75% of the Jewish population are “Sabras” (born in Israel) and more than half are second generation in the country, compared to only 35% in 1948.
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In 1948 there was only one city in Israel with more than 100,000 residents – Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Today, there are 14 cities with more than 100,000 residents. Of those, 8 cities have more than 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva, Ashdod, Netanya and Beersheba.
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According to population projections, the State of Israel’s population is expected to reach 11.3 million by 2035 striking any point in Israel.

Did France Get The Memo?

BY JUDITH BERGMAN/JNS.ORG

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“Last week, Israel convened representatives of 20 countries from across the world for an international conference to discuss what to do about the escalating security situation in France.
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“‘Israel has no vested interest but is deeply convinced that if we don’t want to let the ideas of the Islamic State group prosper in this region, we must do something,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said when asked why he was pushing for the conference despite France’s vehement protests.
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Netanyahu put special emphasis on the fact that ‘the international community feels there is an urgent need to find a solution to the spread of Islamic State in Europe, especially in France, which has the largest Jewish population on the continent.’
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“‘We are not giving up, and neither are our partners,’ said the Israeli prime minister.
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“Discussions at the meeting will be based on a new ground-breaking peace proposal under which France will give up large swathes of the south of France as well as the entire Ile-de-France in return for a permanent peace agreement with Islamic State in order to create ‘a just solution’ to the conflict. An Islamic State spokesman told reporters that unlike the French, they welcome the Israeli initiative.
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“‘We wish Israel and its efforts success because the Israeli efforts are the only ones on the ground now, and could eventually result in giving the political process a good push forward at this stage,’ the Islamic State spokesman said.
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“‘The aim of the conference is to prepare an international summit in the second half of 2016, which would include French leaders and leaders of Islamic State. The second conference would take place ‘sometime in the fall,’ said a spokesman for Netanyahu.”
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Of course, the above scenario is fake. I have produced it here merely to make a point. Israel is not convening any conferences on the future of France, nor is it meddling in its affairs.
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There is a principle of international law called sovereignty, but in France and the rest of the European Union, that principle has been gradually usurped by a new principle, that of supra-nationalism.
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Unfortunately, and despite the fact that Israel is not a member of the European Union, France and company appear to be unrelenting believers in the extension of this principle all the way across the Mediterranean to the Middle East.
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What is not fake, however, is that this exact scenario is indeed taking place, but instead of Israel hosting a conference about France’s out-of-control problems with Islamist terrorism, which are indeed affecting French Jews in the most appalling ways, France is hosting a conference about the future of Israel’s territorial borders.
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Thus, despite Israel’s protests, France has convened an international conference for May 30, consisting of ministers from 20 different countries who will presume to lord it over Israel’s future.
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Clearly, France and company did not get the memo about decolonization, or rather France and company seem just fine with exhibiting colonial behaviour toward only one nation in the entire world, namely obstinate Israel, which still refuses to dance to the tune of the Europeans.
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While the aim of the French initiative is to “encourage” bilateral negotiations, let no one be fooled: This is really about pushing an agenda down Israel’s throat, namely that of the 2002 Saudi peace initiative, which asks nothing less than Israel’s withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines and a “just” solution to the refugee issue without specifying what that means.
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In other words, the initiative makes very serious demands on Israel concerning its existential issues, while being extremely shady on what Israel is supposed to receive in return.
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Also why drag this long-dead rabbit out of the old hat now, when the Palestinians have shown no sign whatsoever of letting up in the terror war against Israeli civilians and soldiers through ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks? All this conference does is reward terrorism.
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What is, of course, conspicuous, is the timing. It is scheduled at a time when Europe is coming apart at the seams with the terror threat from Islamic State and the infighting in the European Union between the European Commission and the central and Eastern European members of the EU, whom the EU’s executive branch is threatening with huge fines for each migrant that these countries refuse to receive.
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One cannot help but think that Israel, once more, is proving to be a very useful diversion (and scapegoat) for all the unrelated problems of the Western world.

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Genesis 12:3. “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse”

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Britain has an opportunity in June to extricate itself from the European Union. Let’s pray the British people vote to come out from under the curse of this evil empire.