The Peace Talks Dilemma | Kibbutz Centennial | Messianic Evangelism
The Jewish New Year 5771 October 2010 |
printed in Israel
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Aviel Schneider and the israel today editorial staff
‘Jewish’ Star in the NBA
P.A. TV: Israel Is Palestine
10 The Palestinian Double Standard Focus on Jerusalem
11 The bin Laden Villa in Jerusalem Perspective
The World’s Obsession with the Mideast Conflict
Word From Jerusalem
14 To Hear and to Obey BIBLE STUDY
15 What Are Proselytes?
16 The Kibbutz Celebrates 100 Years Debate
18 How Will We Know the Great Apostasy? Prophecy
19 The World’s 40 Most Influential Jews Messianic Jews
21 Virtual Evangelism Leads to Real Faith Christians
22 Bollywood Makes Jesus Flick in Israel Archaeology
23 3,000-Year-Old Beehives culture
COVER - SUNSET on the Mediterranean (Israel Images)
This summer was incredibly hot in Israel with temperatures in the desert soaring to 120°F (49°C). It was a fierce 108°F (42°C) here in Jerusalem, which is especially uncomfortable since most homes in the usuallytemperate capital do not have air conditioning. It was described as the hottest summer in 100 years and the country seemed ready to boil over. It could be global warming or it could be a reflection of the political situation, which is heating up with the launch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks for the first time in nearly two years. But as if Israel doesn’t have enough problems with its Arab and Islamist enemies, the Jews are divided among themselves. There is a growing Orthodox-secular divide, with the two camps squabbling over everything from Daylight Saving Time to the role of religion in government. The religious are divided too: one ultra-Orthodox sect considers itself more loyal to the Torah and Jewish Law than another; the national-religious camp sees the State of Israel as a tool of redemption and opposes the anti-Zionist doctrines of the ultra-Orthodox. Jewish settlers seek to live in all the biblical Land of Israel, while left-wing Israelis see them as an obstacle to peace. White Israelis often view their Ethiopian brothers with disdain, seeing them as primitive. Even among the Messianic Jews, there are differences with regard to theology, liturgy and law. The issues are so charged that certain believers cast doubt on whether or not some of their brethren are even saved. Believers sometimes forget Yeshua’s admonition: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Before the political, spiritual, and societal kettle boils over, we hope and pray that God will intervene. Though the situation appears confusing, we can have peace of mind because God is in control and has a good plan for Israel. In the wake of Rosh Hashanah, we wish all of our readers Shana Tova, a Happy New Year from Jerusalem!
The Escalating Danger of Peace Talks Why Was the Israeli Army Chief Forced Out? Settlements Grow Despite Opposition
24 Israeli Tenor Becomes Italian Knight Behind The Scenes
25 Summer Time Blues MILITARY
27 Camera Plugs Holes in Security Fence Nature
28 New Tangerine Is Big Success Economy
29 Positive Outlook for New Year In Brief
30 Nazi Hunter Worked with the Mossad 31 ‘Righteous Gentile’ Meets Woman She Saved
Publisher: nai – israel today | Founder of nai: Ludwig Schneider | Editor-in-Chief: Aviel Schneider | Co-Editor & Art Director: Michael Schneider | Senior Editor/Correspondent: Shlomo Mordechai | Editor: Barry Rosenfeld | Website/Staff Writer: Ryan Jones | Managing Editor/Director of Marketing: Lorraine Rubinow | Administrator: Daniel Goldstein Biblical Commentary, Word from Jerusalem, Debate, Prophecy: Ludwig Schneider | Politics, Focus on Jerusalem, Arab Press: Aviel Schneider, Ryan Jones | Messianic Jews, The Land, Profile, In Brief: Michael Schneider, Tzvi Sadan | Military, Tourism, Nature, Archeology, Jewish Affairs: Netanel Doron | Christians, Diaspora, Culture, Economy: Judith Jeries | Islam: Victor Mordechai | Text Advisor: Dov Chaikin | Financial Director: Anat Schneider | Translator: Judith Jeries, Beverly Bayliss | Graphic Designer: Pavel Permyakov, Larisa Kaplan Israel Today magazine – a monthly publication from Jerusalem | 1 Year Subscription: $43 US, IL / £30 UK / $49 US all other countries • 2 Years: $75 US / £53 UK / $86 US all other countries • 3 Years: $99 US / £70 UK / $115 US all other countries • IT Electronic Edition (1 Year): $25 US / £18 UK /$25 US all other countries | Contact information: Israel Today, 1 Shmuel HaNagid St. P.O. Box 7555 Jerusalem 91070, Israel | Tel: +972.2.622.6881 | Fax: +972.2.622.6882 | TOLL FREE ORDERING: 1.866.854.1684 (North America) | 00.800.60.70.70.60 (UK/Norway/) | www.israeltoday.co.il | www.jerusalemdepot.com (subscribe online)
Chabad and the Language of Jesus A tale of two messianic movements B y Av i e l S c h n e i d e r
n article in the weekly newspaper Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) revealed a strong similarity between the language of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement and that of Evangelical Christians and Messianic Jews. Indeed, Chabad is often compared to Messianic Jews because of its “missionary” activities. “We have to catch everyone we can,” Rabbi Arieh Levi told students at the new Chabad yeshiva (seminary), located above the trendy Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem. “This is a bar, a disco, a music club for young people. This is wonderful! The king and messiah has placed us here to fish for these kids. This is our task: to fish for and catch people and bring them closer to the Jewish faith.” Chabad’s “king and messiah” is Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, who died in 1994 at the age of 92. And they have been waiting for the rabbi’s resurrection ever since. In the eyes of many Israelis, they are simply missionaries—and pushy ones at that. Secular youth from the club complained that Chabad activists swarm downstairs during breaks from their studies, pat people on the back, and try to convince them to come upstairs to the yeshiva. “Even if we say no, they
persist and don’t leave us alone,” said a 16-year-old musician. The popular website Ynet also ran a story on the Chabad yeshiva, which prompted hundreds of talkbacks. Many people drew a comparison between Rebbe Schneerson and Jesus, and between Chabad and Messianic Jews. “It is terrible to read that rabbi Levi preaches about fishing for young people,” said the first comment. “This is typical missionary work, like from the New Testament.” Another person wrote that missionary work is supposed to be banned under Israeli law. Someone else said that “young people should be protected from messianic idolaters,” a reference to Chabad. One Israeli said Chabad’s activities were reminiscent of the famous words of Jesus to Peter (from Mark 1:17): “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” There were also some comments which praised Chabad for “saving souls.” With tongue in cheek, two secular Jews said they planned to start fishing for youth in religious schools and neighborhoods: “We have to fish for them and recruit them for the army!” The comment reflects the resentment of the secular majority toward the ultraOrthodox, who are exempt from military service. JEWISH MISSIONARIES: The Chabad movement seeks to bring secular Israelis back to the fold
'THE MISSIONARY ENEMY': A poster denounces the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration sponsored by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem
“What is the difference between Chabad and the Jews who believe in Jesus?” said another person who wrote in. “Chabad should also be excommunicated from Judaism!” Many Israelis compared the practices of Chabad to the evangelism of Messianic Jews. However, Chabad and other Orthodox groups see a major distinction: Chabad activities are seen as a family affair, in contrast to “the mission” for Jesus which is viewed as a change of religion. But others see little difference. “Chabad uses terminology from the New Testament,” said one talkbacker. “They speak about fishermen and disciples— and even that the Messiah is God.” For many Israelis, it is simply two messianic movements; both believe in a Messiah who has already appeared, namely Jesus 2,000 years ago and Rebbe Schneerson 50 years ago. Yet Chabad is considered a legitimate Jewish movement by the Orthodox establishment, while Messianic Jews are regarded as heretics who no longer belong to the people of Israel. At the same time, Chabad exposes an important change in traditional Jewish thinking: It shows that Jews can believe in a Messiah who dies and is resurrected and still be an integral part of the Jewish nation. Y
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 3
The Escalating Danger of Peace Talks
fter a nearly two-year hiatus, Israel and the Palestinians have resumed peace talks ostensibly aimed at ending the Mideast conflict through the creation of an independent Palestinian state. It’s déjà-vu all over again. Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, there has been a recurring cycle of violence followed by fruitless peace talks. In fact, the negotiations have often been accompanied by a surge in Palestinian terror. So it is not surprising that a New Wave poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 10 television found that 60 percent of Israelis don’t believe that the Palestinians really want peace. Many Israelis believe there are no better options, so they are resigned to giving the talks another try. The danger is that when the US raises expectations sky high, such as its current declared goal of an agreement in a year, the inevitable failure creates a vacuum that can erupt into a new wave of violence. And every time the cycle repeats itself, things tend to change for the worse, leaving Israel more isolated and facing growing existential threats.
Talks and Terror The first thing that happens with the launch of new peace talks is that Palestinian terrorists redouble their efforts to kill Israelis, and this time was no different. Two days before the resumption of direct negotiations in Washington, four Jewish settlers including a pregnant woman were brutally executed in a roadside ambush near the biblical town of Hebron. Six Israeli children were orphaned. Then, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted peace talks in Jerusalem, southern Israel was bombarded with the biggest barrage of rockets and 4 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE How far will Netanyahu go to appease the US and the Arabs?
mortars since the end of the Gaza War in January 2009. Hamas described the attacks as legitimate “self-defense” against the “Zionist occupation.” These incidents underscore a key problem that has been swept under the carpet by the sponsors of the process: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas only controls the so-called “West Bank”; he was expelled from Gaza during the Palestinian civil war in 2007 by Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group that seeks the destruction of Israel. So what is the value of a peace deal with Abbas, who, at best, speaks for only half of the Palestinian people? Everyone knows that there cannot be a Palestinian state that does not include the 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas and the Israeli ‘Peace Camp’ During the latter years of Yasser Arafat’s time at the helm of the Palestinian Authority, even the most leftwing Israeli politicians and activists realized that he was sponsoring terror
and was not a reliable “peace partner.” But Abbas cuts a far different image with his clean-cut appearance and more subdued public persona, making him the darling of the land-for-peace movement in Israel. And with Barack Obama occupying the Oval Office, the “peace camp” finally has the combination it believes will end the conflict by dividing the Holy Land. To that end, the Geneva Initiative has launched a public relations campaign to convince Israelis that the Palestinians really do want reconciliation, peace and coexistence. The Geneva Initiative is a group of far left-wing Israeli activists and their Palestinian backers who promote a two-state solution. THE GENEVA INITIATIVE seeks to ease Israeli fears
Politics The PR campaign features television commercials with Palestinian officials delivering conciliatory messages. But typically, the Palestinians speak in two languages: one to Israel and the West and the other to their own people in Arabic. “Unfortunately, my statements were altered and interpreted as if I were apologizing to the Israeli nation. This is the opposite of what I said,” Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Arab media. “I never intended to apologize to the Israeli nation; they are the ones who should apologize for what they have done to the Palestinians.”
as their capital. Abbas has also rejected Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This hard line reflects the popular view among Palestinians that the peace process will eventually lead to the destruction of Israel. A poll conducted by the Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD) revealed that an overwhelming 78 percent of Palestinians believe that establishing “Palestine” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is “essential.” Only 18 percent said a permanent two-state solution is “essential,” while 42 percent said Palestinians and Israelis will never coexist in peace.
Land for Peace?
American and Mideast Politics The new talks have as much to do with American politics as they do with the Mideast conflict. With his foundering approval ratings and unpopular policies at home, and with the Republicans threatening to seize control of Congress, Obama needs to score some points heading into midterm elections in November. And filling the role of peacemaker in the intractable IsraeliPalestinian conflict fits the bill. Israel’s biggest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, reported that Obama is strongly pressing both sides to sign a peace deal, even if it cannot be fully implemented. According to the leaked transcript of a conference call between senior US officials and American Jewish leaders, Obama is pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas to sign a framework agreement within a year. However, implementation is expected to take at least 10 years. The signing of such an agreement would give Obama the diplomatic achievement he needs but would not change the situation on the ground in Israel. In fact, it is likely to exacerbate the conflict by further restraining Israel from combating terrorism, which in turn encourages more violence. In other words, Israelis could pay with their lives so that Obama and his party can remain in power.
SINISTER SMILES: The US promotes the Palestinian agenda, despite Arafat’s legacy of terror
Abbas Takes a Hard Line While Netanyahu has been transforming his international image from a “hardliner” to a peacemaker, Abbas has become further entrenched in traditional—and impossible—Palestinian demands. “If they demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit. I can’t allow myself to make even one concession,” Abbas told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam. He was referring to the so-called “right of return” of millions of Palestinian “refugees” and their descendants to their former homes in Israel. Even the most left-wing Israeli governments have rejected this pillar of Palestinian nationalism because it would mean the demographic destruction of the Jewish state. In speaking of the 1967 borders, Abbas made it clear that Israel cannot maintain control over a united Jerusalem as part of any peace deal. From 1948 to 1967 the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy places, was illegally occupied by Jordan. The Palestinians now claim it
Faced with international pressure and the demographic dilemma posed by an exploding Palestinian population, Netanyahu acknowledged that Israel cannot approach negotiations in the same way it has in the past and must “think outside the box.” Many fear that Netanyahu is going the way of his Likud party predecessors who were transformed from hawks to doves. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who once called on settlers to “seize the hilltops,” pulled Israel out of Gaza and destroyed 21 Jewish settlements. Ehud Olmert, who once supported Jewish sovereignty in all the biblical Land of Israel, offered Abbas 96 percent of Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem. As the Gaza pullout so painfully illustrates, trading land for peace only leads to more violence and terror. That is to be expected, considering that Palestinians are brought up to see the Jews as usurpers who ultimately will be driven out. The real way to break this cycle is to change the rules of the game, to demand reciprocity, and to insist on the guiding principle of John F. Kennedy’s famous admonition that peace starts “in the hearts and minds,” not on “parchment and on paper.” Most important is for Israel to stop putting its trust in foreign nations (Isaiah 30) and instead look to the true Source of this nation’s legitimacy and the Guarantor of its future. Y By Ryan Jones
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 5
Why Was the Israeli Army Chief Forced Out?
he decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to force the early departure of Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi remains a mystery. The Cabinet appointed Ashkenazi to a four-year term in 2007. But without explanation, he was forced to step down a year early. The popular Ashkenazi was widely regarded as an excellent army chief who had rehabilitated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) after the fiasco of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The war was characterized by bad decision making, a lack of coordination among the various armed corps and chains of command, poor training and execution on the battlefield and logistical problems such as faulty military equipment. By contrast, the three-week Gaza War from December 2008 to January 2009 was an outstanding military operation—under Ashkenazi’s command. The IDF inflicted a humiliating defeat on Hamas in the most difficult conditions of urban guerrilla warfare. So the military brass and political echelons were baffled. Why were Netanyahu and Barak so anxious to get rid of such an outstanding and dedicated general? There is no simple answer. Some observers believe that it was jealousy, that the prime minister and defense minister simply wanted to stem Ashkenazi’s growing popularity. But that doesn’t make sense because Ashkenazi poses no immediate political threat; he cannot enter politics until the next election, which is set for 2013. Another more plausible theory is what israel today has learned in the corridors of the Foreign Ministry and other government circles. Officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, are convinced that Ashkenazi’s 6 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
“restrained” position on Iran is what led to his demise. According to these sources, Ashkenazi told senior US officials behind closed doors in Washington that an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would plunge the entire region into the abyss.
a last resort. But an Israeli attack on Iran would be difficult to carry out if the army chief opposes it. Therefore, Ashkenazi is out and Major-General Yoav Galant is in as the new IDF chief of staff. The battle-tested Galant, who is considered a courageous and brilliant officer, takes a more hawkish approach than his predecessor. As the head of Southern Command during the Gaza War, he wanted to penetrate deeper into Gaza than Ashkenazi, who feared getting bogged down in a quagmire. Galant wanted to topple the Hamas regime so it would no longer pose a threat to Israel.
POWER STRUGGLE: Netanyahu and Barak (right) show Ashkenazi (left) the door
That could explain the close relationship between Ashkenazi and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The two men have met four times, twice in Israel and twice at the Pentagon in Washington. And Mullen has publicly urged Israel not to carry out its threat to launch a preemptive strike on Iran. An attack on Iran would be “a big, big, big problem for all of us, and I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences,” Mullen said. “For now, the diplomatic and the economic levers of international power are and ought to be the levers first pulled. Indeed, I would hope they are always and consistently pulled. No strike, however effective, will be, in and of itself, decisive.” On the other hand, Netanyahu and Barak want to keep all options on the table, including the military option as
Time will tell if the shakeup of the military command portends an Israeli strike on Iran. But with Iran getting closer to nuclear capability, it is clear that time is running out. With Iran threatening to wipe the Jewish state “off the map,” Israeli leaders have warned time and again that they cannot allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. Yet there is no such urgency in the West. The dovish President Barack Obama will not attack Iran because he does not want to mire the US in another war against Muslims, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan; and international sanctions on Teheran have been largely ineffective. This may leave Israel with no other choice than to take military action on its own. Y By Aviel S chneider
Settlements Grow Despite Opposition
gainst the backdrop of new peace talks, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a report on Jewish settlements. It charged that the Jewish communities control 42 percent of the land in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”). Though the aim of the far left-wing group was clearly to tarnish Israel’s image, a closer look reveals that allega-
tions of an Israeli land grab are exaggerated. The report noted that built-up areas constitute only 1 percent of the disputed territory. Despite international opposition, the biblical commandment to settle the Promised Land is being fulfilled. According to the report, 121 official settlements were founded from 1967 to 2010. In addition, there are 100 “out-
posts” and 12 East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods which are dubbed “illegal settlements.” In the first 10 years of the settlement movement, there were 3,200 settlers; today the figure stands at 310,000. Under the emerging peace deal, Israel would hold on to the big settlement blocs that constitute about 5 percent of Judea and Samaria and would hand an equivalent amount of territory over to the Palestinians in a “land swap.” Y
COMPETING CLAIMS: Palestinians protest against a Jewish settlement
‘Palestine’ by the Numbers
he Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports that there are 4,048,000 Arabs in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip—an increase of 45 percent since 1997. Population growth is among the highest in the world. There are 2,513,000 Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, including 237,000 who live under Israeli rule in East Jerusalem. There are 487,000 Palestinians in Gaza City, 177,000 in Hebron, 133,000 in Nablus and 30,000 in the PA capital of Ramallah. Population density in the Palestinian territories is about 1,120 per square mile (430 per square km.). However, there are 10,000 residents per square mile (4,000 per square km.) in Gaza, making it one of the most densely-populated places in the world.
Some 44 percent of residents in Gaza are under 15 years of age. The birthrate in Gaza is 37 per 1,000 people, ranking it 26th worldwide. The Palestinian birthrate in the so-called “West Bank” ranks 68th, while that of Israel ranks 102nd. The average number of children born to a Palestinian woman is five. The late PLO leader Yasser Arafat emphasized the importance of a high Palestinian birthrate to defeat Israel demographically. Some 72 percent of Palestinians in Gaza live in urban areas; 40 percent are unemployed and 70 percent live below the poverty line. There are 1.3 million cellular phones in the Palestinian areas with 100 million calls annually; 356,000 residents have an Internet connection; 97 percent of Palestinians in the “West Bank” and 93 percent in Gaza have a television set. Y C ompiled by Aviel S chneider
POPULATION EXPLOSION: The high Palestinian birthrate poses a demographic threat to Israel
‘Jewish’ Star in the NBA
mare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, one of the top stars in the NBA, came to Israel in search of his Jewish roots, which he says comes from his mother’s side. “I’m a history guy,” Stoudemire said in an Israeli TV interview. “I’m trying to find my original culture, and I’m very spiritual. This trip has helped me find my original culture.” The first stop was Jerusalem, from where he kept his fans up to date on Twitter. “Jerusalem is a beautiful city,” he wrote. “I’m learning Hebrew by the min. Keep up!! Shalom.” Other stops included the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee and Tel Aviv. Basketball is popular in Israel, and Stoudemire got a warm welcome. “Wow!! The fans here are amazing,” he tweeted. “Everyone cheers “NEW YORK KNICKS!!” “NEW YORK KNICKS!!” Add his claims to being Jewish and it was a perfect fit. “I see you wearing a yarmulke [skull cap],” the TV interviewer said. “Does that mean you’ll be celebrating Shabbat [the Sabbath] and other holidays from now on?” “Absolutely, absolutely,” Stoudemire replied. “It’s now a part of my culture, it’s going to be a part of my lifestyle, and now it’s going to be a part of my family’s lifestyle.” “Really?” said the amused interviewer. “You know on Passover we don’t eat bread?” “Absolutely, definitely no bread,” said the power forward. So “on Yom Kippur, you’re not going to eat?”
JEWISH ROOTS Amare Stoudemire joins the Tribe
“Absolutely. There may be times that I have to eat, because of a basketball game, but other than that, I’m totally into it, and I feel that my spirituality is connected to it.” It was reminiscent of Sandy Koufax, the legendary Jewish pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers who refused to play in the World Series on Yom Kippur. Stoudemire would be the third Jewish player in the NBA, following Jordan Farmar of the New Jersey Nets and Israeli Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings. Y
NBA Players in Israel
GOOD LINEUP: (from left to right) Jerome Williams, David Wood, Shimon Peres, Omri Casspi and Allan Houston
Ten past and present NBA players visited Israel in a trip sponsored by AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. The group toured the biblical sites but also got a closer look at another side of Israel, visiting the Israel Air Force base at Hatzerim in the Negev desert near Beersheba and an absorption center for new immigrants in Mevasseret Zion near Jerusalem. The delegation included Allan Houston, Anthony Bonner and Jerome Williams of the New York Knicks; Paul Grant of the Utah Jazz; David Wood of the Chicago Bulls; Dwight Howard Sr., the father of Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard; and Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace. “We're here to stand in support of Israel,” said Houston. “We’re going to pray for Israel.”Y
New British Ambassador Is Jewish
atthew Gould, 39, is the first Jewish ambassador to Israel from the UK. “My wife and I are hugely excited to be going to live in Israel,” he said upon arriving here. “I’m going to be living in one of the world’s most extraordinary places—a country with an amazing culture, an extraordinary history and one of the world’s most high-tech economies.” Gould set out three main goals: Explaining Israel to Britain, explaining Britain to Israel and forging a strong partnership between the two countries. “I need to try and understand Israel, talk to as many people as I can, understand what Israel is thinking and how Britain can best play a role,” he said. “I need to give a strong message from Britain that as Israel goes down the difficult path to peace, Israel isn’t alone.” Y
‘FORGING a partnership’
C ompiled by Shl omo Mordechai
8 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
P.A. TV: Israel is Palestine
show for children on official Palestinian Authority TV cast further doubt over the US-sponsored peace process. The message kids received three times a week from the popular program The Best Home was never to accept Israel because all of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is “occupied Palestine.” In nearly every episode, Israeli cities that are not part of the official dispute—including Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle and Acre—were referred to as the “1948 occupied cities.” The show’s host often asked young guests and callers if they had ever visited these cities and if they were beautiful. The goal was obvious: to turn these cities into some mythical prize that the Israelis have stolen, and to persevere until they are “back” in Palestinian hands.
Munich Mastermind Is ‘Sparkling Star’
l-Hayat al-Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, eulogized former Palestinian intelligence chief Amin al-Hindi as a “sparkling star” following his death in Amman, Jordan at the age of 70. The paper’s editorial defined alHindi’s most “sparkling” achievement as masterminding the abduction and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972: “Everyone knows that Amin al-Hindi was one of the stars who sparkled during one of the stormiest periods on the international scene— the operation that was carried out at the sports stadium in Munich, Germany in 1972. That was just one of many shining accomplishments.” Al-Hayat al-Jadida also covered the red carpet funeral for al-Hindi at PA headquarters in Ramallah, where the deceased terrorist received a 21gun salute.
he Palestinian Journalists Syndicate has asked the Palestinian Authority for funding to set up teams to edit and re-edit entries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that appear on the popular Wikipedia website. The aim is to promote the Palestinian narrative at the expense of Israel. The initiative came after the My Israel movement and the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements hosted a Jerusalem seminar on how to more effectively counter the anti-Israel bias that so often characterizes Wikipedia’s pages on the Middle East. The groups said they wanted to create a small army of “Zionist editors.” The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has increasingly moved to the Internet over the past decade, with a sometimes vicious battle being waged for the hearts and minds of the international public. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone, has become one the primary battlegrounds. Wikipedia gets about 7 billion visits a month and is a top research source, so it is no wonder that both Israelis and Palestinians are so keen on making their cases there.
THE HEAD OR THE TAIL? Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al-Ahram doctored this White House photo, putting Mubarak at the head of the delegation instead of Obama. Original (left to right): Mubarak, Netanyahu, Obama, Abbas, Abdullah
arab Political cartoons
THE GAZA BOXING RING is an unfair fight
ISRAELI FASCISTS kill Palestinian children
Koran Burning Is ‘Satanic’
he threat by Florida pastor Terry Jones to commemorate the 9/11 attacks by burning copies of the Koran sparked outrage in the Arab press. “This is an attack on Islam, an attack against Muslims,” said an editorial in the English-language Saudi newspaper Arab News. “It is an attack against Allah—because the holy Koran is the Word of Allah…It is a satanic sin of the worst kind because it is a deliberate one.” In the United Arab Emirates, the daily Gulf News said: “The world needs tolerance and spirituality, not an ignorant bigot being allowed to indulge his hatred.” C ompiled by Ryan Jones
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 9
P A L E STI N I A N S
The Palestinian Double Standard R
abbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, set off a storm when he called down a curse on the Palestinians. “May Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] and all those evil people be utterly destroyed,” he said in a sermon. “May God strike them, and the evil Palestinians, with a plague.” The rabbi was elaborating on a traditional prayer that includes the line, “May those who hate us perish.” The Palestinians, whose incitement against Israel knows no bounds, were suddenly advocates of moderation. Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Rabbi Yosef of supporting the “genocide of the Palestinian people” and described his remarks as “an absolute insult to our efforts to advance the peace process.” He demanded that the Knesset (Israeli parliament) officially denounce the rabbi. Hilmi al-Ghoul, a top advisor to Abbas, said the sermon “shows us the dangerous nature of the Israeli language of incitement and racism, which has spread not only to political circles but also in religious ones.” The US, which rarely comments on Palestinian incitement, quickly chimed in. “We regret and condemn the inflammatory statements by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef...[They are] not only deeply offensive, but incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace,” said State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley. “As we move forward to relaunch peace negotiations, it is important that actions UNBRIDLED INCITEMENT Palestinian girls at a summer camp named after archterrorist Dalal Mughrabi
by people on all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it.” The Palestinian reaction was twofaced, considering the calls to murder Israelis and Jews that are made in their mosques every Friday. These fiery sermons are often broadcast on official Palestinian Authority radio and TV. In addition, the Palestinian education system continues to demonize Israel and the Jews, and PA-sponsored summer camps, public squares and soccer teams are named after terrorists and suicide bombers responsible for the bloodiest attacks. This year, for instance, two Palestinian summer camps and a Ramallah street were named after Dalal Mughrabi, the woman who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre in which 37 Israelis were killed, the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history. The difference between Rabbi Yosef 's remarks and the incitement of the Palestinian Authority is that Yosef was asking God to deal with Israel’s enemies, while the Palestinians are encouraged to take up arms to murder and maim. Furthermore, the rabbi heads an ultra-Orthodox sect that hardly represents the worldview of a majority of Israelis, while Palestinian incitement reflects the public at large. One would never know that from the Palestinian and American response. As long as double standards and hypocrisy are mainstays of the so-called peace process, the conflict will no doubt persist, regardless of the signing of a new piece of paper. Y By Ryan Jones
New Mall in Gaza
s Israel’s opponents plan more flotillas to “blockaded” and “impoverished” Gaza, a glitzy new mall has opened to tens of thousands of customers. Stores are packed with toys, computers, TVs, appliances and racks of clothing. Luxury items include $80 bottles of French perfume, while the supermarket features many products made in Israel. And if that isn’t western enough, a restaurant features American-style fried chicken. The mall opened after Israel eased its blockade on Gaza in July to appease international outrage over the flotilla affair. But the mall was under construction for more than a year, meaning that there was plenty of cement in Gaza despite claims that an Israeli embargo was preventing Palestinian reconstruction after the Gaza War. The opening of the mall was widely reported in the Israeli media and sparked debate over how bad the situation in Gaza really is. “This clearly belies all the moaning about the human catastrophe in Gaza,” said Israeli spokesman Yigal Palmor. The International Monetary Fund reported that Gaza’s gross domestic product (GDP) leaped 16 percent in the first half of 2010, even before Israel lifted the blockade. Y By Shl omo Morde chai
10 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
Focus on Jerusalem
The bin Laden Villa in Jerusalem
he Israeli daily newspaper Ma’ariv reported that Mueen Khoury, a Palestinian in East Jerusalem, has offered to sell his house to the world’s top terrorist Osama bin Laden. Khoury, who lives in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, claims that prior to the Six Day War in 1967, the house was the property of Bin Laden’s father. In those days, Shuafat was under Jordanian rule and the young Osama, Khoury says, would visit the villa. After Israel captured East Jerusalem in the war, the Bin Laden family left the residence. Asked whether he was bothered by Bin Laden’s reputation, Khoury responded in the negative, saying that he believed the al-Qaeda leader has been misunderstood and unjustly judged. Y
HOUSE WITH A HISTORY: This villa is said to have a connection to the world’s top terrorist
Peace Talks Could Divide Capital
f anyone thinks that the Palestinians are prepared to compromise on Jerusalem, they should think again. “As long as Jerusalem is not yet the Palestinian capital there will be no lasting peace in the region,” said Palestinian Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud Al Habash in a Friday sermon. “Jerusalem is a city that can spark a thousand and one wars!” With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in attendance, Habash added: “As long as Israel continues to rape and defile Jerusalem, all the doors to conflict and war are wide open.” At the same time, the US has back-
tracked on Jerusalem. When Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2007, she said Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel. But now, as Secretary of State, she believes the eastern half of the city should be the capital of a Palestinian state. “I think both parties know that they’re going to have to engage on this issue and come to an understanding and a resolution so that Jerusalem becomes not the flashpoint, but the symbol of peace and cooperation,” Clinton said in a joint interview with Palestinian Television and Israel’s Channel 2. “And
so I am fully supportive of what can be negotiated between the parties.” According to Defense Minister Ehud Barak of the dovish Labor Party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could make concessions on Jerusalem. “What is needed is the courage to make historic, painful decisions,” Barak told the Hebrew daily Ha’aretz, adding that the framework of an agreement is clear: “West Jerusalem and 12 Jewish neighborhoods that are home to 200,000 residents will be ours. The Arab neighborhoods, in which close to a quarter of a million Palestinians live, will be theirs. There will be special arrangements for the Old City, the Mount of Olives and the City of David.” Y
Skateboarders to Get Dream Park
SIDEWALK SURFIN’ An Israeli youth ‘shoots the curve’
hile Jerusalem may be the Holy City, there are plenty of secular activities too, and physical fitness is a priority. So thanks to a group of teens, the city is getting a state-of-the-art skateboarding park. It will be built on .7 acres at Liberty Bell Park downtown at a cost of 5 million shekels ($1.3 million). The facility will serve up to 70 skateboarders at a time and will be available for national and international competitions. “We have been negotiating with the Jerusalem Municipality for eight months,” said 16-year-old Noam Rifkin-Panton, one of the youths who pushed for the park’s approval. “It’s great the city has come to understand the park’s importance and has decided to build it.” The park is slated to open at the end of next year. Y www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 11
P e r s pe c t i v e
The World’s Obsession with the Mideast Conflict Israel—20 million search results
f one were to rate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the attention given to it by the media, it would appear to be the bloodiest dispute on earth. Though dozens of other armed conflicts are taking place around the world, they are largely ignored and coverage pales in comparison to the situation in the Middle East. Of course so-called human rights activists, who are obsessed with Israel, deny that. “We criticize other national conflicts just as much,” said Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, who participated in the ill-fated Gaza flotilla last May. To test this statement, israel today decided to check which global conflicts are receiving the most attention on the Internet. An estimated 1.8 billion people use the Internet, or about 26 percent of the world’s population. A Google search revealed that of the 25 conflicts most widely reported, the “conflict in Israel” led the way with more than 20 million search results; the only phrase with higher results was 25 million for “conflict in the Middle East,” which, of course, also focuses on Israel. In comparison, “conflict in Tibet,” where the people are struggling against Chinese rule, showed only 11.5 million results; for “conflict in Sudan,” where Muslims are ethnically cleansing Christians and other opponents with 300,000 dead and 2.7 million driven from their homes, the results were 11.2 million. What is it about Israel that creates twice the results of searches for Tibet or Sudan? The little Jewish state with its 7.5 million inhabitants (1.5 million of whom are Arabs), in a world of 7 billion, is creating more headlines than any other nation. Google provides a political and social barometer for the world at large. Far more is written, published, talked and prayed about, cursed, lied and preached about Israel’s conflict than any other. Israel is both hated and loved. Yet, the conflict here has inflicted far fewer casualties than the bloodbaths, genocide and massacres happening elsewhere. According to the Israeli human rights group B´Tselem, nearly 8,900 people were killed in the Mideast conflict from 1988 to 2009. Of those, 7,400 were Palestinians and 1,483 were Israelis, mostly victims of terror attacks. This period includes the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising) from 1987 to 1993, the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005, and the Gaza War against Hamas in 2009. The bloodiest year for the Palestinians was in 2009 with 1,387 dead; the worst year for Israel was 2002 with 420 killed. 12 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
Muslims Killing Muslims In 1970, during the period referred to as “Black September,” as many as 10,000 Palestinians are said to have been killed when King Hussein of Jordan put down a Palestinian revolt. During the Iran-Iraq war from 1980- 1988, an estimated 100,000 to 380,000 Iraqis lost their lives. The death toll of Muslims in Iran was between 270,000 and 500,000. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, more than 11 million Muslims worldwide have lost their lives in wars and conflicts. Of these, .6 percent or 70,000 were killed in the conflict with Israel. This means that 99.4 percent of the victims were killed by fellow Muslims and not by Jews. Numbers of those killed in Israeli-Arab wars: War 1948 War of Independence 1956 Sinai Campaign 1967 Six Day War 1968-70 War of Attrition 1973 Yom Kippur War 1982 First Lebanon War 2006 Second Lebanon War 2009 Gaza War Total:
Arabs 15,000 1,650 21,000 5,000 15,000 9,800 1,550 1,400 70,400
Jews 6,000 186 700 1,550 2,650 675 160 13 11,934
High Death Toll, Low Interest World concern for the sufferings of ethnic groups other than the Palestinians seems to be quite limited. Our Google search revealed far less interest in the following bloody conflagrations than in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. From 1949 to 1979 some 350,000 Tibetans are said to have died of starvation and an additional 400,000 executed. During the Turkish war against the Kurds from 1984 to 1999, an estimated 25,000-35,000 people were killed. The 14-year conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, that ended in 2003, left 40,000 people dead. The two-year Eritrean-Ethiopian war that ended in 2000 resulted in 100,000 people dead and 1.3 million refugees. In 2002, the UN reported a death toll of 10,000 Albanians during the Kosovo conflict, with 1 million people displaced. More than 500,000 people were killed and over 2 million expelled during the Angolan Civil War from 1975 to 2002.
P e r s pe c t i v e The civil war between the Algerian government and Islamic militants has killed 150,000 since the early 1990s. The Liberian conflict from 1989 to 2003 left some 250,000 people dead. “These numbers demonstrate that without reason, Israel generates more anger in the world than all other countries,” Messianic Jewish scholar Zvi Sadan told israel today. “A lot of people justify their hatred of Israel by referring to its alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians.” Yet these same people remain silent when Hamas bombards Israel with rockets from Gaza. “Since no sensible reason exists, there has to be an explanation for this irrationality,” says Sadan, “and it is based on anti-Semitism.”
Religious Conflict Another reason is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves the Holy Land which is sacred to three of the world’s great religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The world’s one billion Muslims oppose Israeli control of the Temple Mount, which is home to the Mosque of Al Aksa, the third holiest place in Islam. The Vatican and many other major Christian denominations also oppose Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and believe the Old City should be internationalized. Therefore the Muslims, the churches, and the so-called Christian nations use political excuses such as the “settlements,” the “occupation” and “war crimes” to undermine Israeli sovereignty in the Promised Land. The focus of human rights groups, governments and religious institutions on Israel exposes their hypocrisy because far bloodier conflicts and far greater abuses are occurring elsewhere. But unlike Kosovo and Eritrea, God Himself spoke about Israel in the Bible. And if God is shining His spotlight on Israel to draw attention to his Word, then it all makes sense.
FLASHPOINTS: The world’s other conflicts are largely ignored
By Av i e l S c h n e i der
August 2010 | 13
w o r d f r o m je r u s a l e m
To Hear and to Obey By Ludwig Schneider
ot everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven… Many will say to Me on that day [of judgment], ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23). “For the gate [to the Kingdom of God] is small, and the way is narrow that leads to [eternal] life” (Matthew 7:14). We all know that the judgment will fall on sinners. But what is frightening about this obscure passage of Scripture is that it pertains to believers and to those who are ostensibly walking in faith in the Messiah. Yet is it not true that with our theological sophistry we are making the narrow gate wider and wider and the narrow way into a broad boulevard, with plenty of room for worldly influences? The larger a church or Christian organization becomes the more it tends to develop its own momentum, and the less it depends on God’s propelling power. The would-be disciples say to Yeshua (Jesus), “Lord, Lord, did we not…?” So how can it be that He says to them, “I never knew you, depart from Me!” 14 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
This is what God says to those who believe they are the elite of the faith. Was everything they did in vain? Yes, because they were pursuing their own interests and seeking their own glory. What God caused to be narrow and small they made wide and broad in order to be successful. In the end, however, God will judge in accordance with His law, and not our manmade theology. This is why He says, “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” The phrase “practice lawlessness” indicates that they deliberately rejected God’s law. While this sounds harsh, it is ultimately a warning from a God of forgiveness. In Psalm 99:8 we read, “You were a forgiving God to them, and yet an avenger of their evil deeds.” It is better that God corrects us during our lives on earth so that we may be with Him for eternity in heaven. So we should repent and bring our lives into alignment with His will, and His law. We are not here to build bigger and bigger edifices to God, but to walk in humility and to bring the Gospel to the unsaved. We are here to intercede, to walk in faith, and to bring people to the knowledge of the Lord. That narrow path, which some have attempted to widen with lawless whims, should be brought back into line with the Scriptures, God’s measuring rod. Other-
wise we will find that our churches and religious institutions stand on the broad boulevard of vanity, and we will not pass through the narrow gate on the Day of Judgment. All of the miracles that we have performed will count for nothing. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18). The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, allowing us to discern how genuine, or otherwise, our faith and walk with God really is. Y
Torah Portions October 2010
(from 23rd Tishri to 23rd of Cheshvan 5771)
The Sabbath (Shabbat) Readings October 1st Simchat Torah – Joy of the Torah (abroad) Last Reading of Torah Cycle: Deut. 33:1-34:12 First Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3; Joshua 1:1-18 October 2nd Shabbat Beresheit – In the Beginning Genesis 1:1-6:8; Isaiah 42:5-43:10 October 9th Shabbat Noah Genesis 6:9-11:32; Isaiah 66:1-24 October 16th Shabbat Lech Lecha – Go Out Genesis 12:1-17:27; Isaiah 40:27-41:16 October 23rd Shabbat Vayera – And He Appeared Genesis 18:1-22:24; 2 Kings 4:1-37 October 30th Shabbat Chayei Sarah – The Life of Sarah Genesis 23:1-25:18; 1 Kings 1:1-31
BIBL E STUD Y
What Are Proselytes?
n the Bible, the term for the people of Israel is Am Yisrael. A non-Jew or Gentile is called a goy (literally “nation” or “one from the nations”). Proselyte is the Greek word for “one who joins” or “is added”—in other words, a convert. The word used in Hebrew is ger or ger-zedek (A “dweller” or “righteous proselyte”). In Acts 2:10, converts, as opposed to those born Jewish, are called proselytes, i.e., Gentile converts to Judaism. The Moabitess Ruth is regarded as the first proselyte because she adopted Naomi’s Hebrew faith: “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16). In biblical times, the Jews actively sought converts, seeing it as a divine mission to bring the knowledge of the one God to the Gentiles. This is evident in Matthew 23:15, where Yeshua (Jesus) noted that the Pharisees (the religious authorities of the time) “travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte.” Today, Israel’s Rabbinate is not in favor of making proselytes and is turning away candidates who want to convert to Judaism. In 2009 there were 313,000 applications to the Rabbinate from people wishing to join the Jewish faith. Of those, only 5,507 succeeded in converting to Judaism. Sixty percent of the applicants were Ethiopian, 29 percent Russian, and 11 percent or 34,430 were non-Jews from the US and Europe. By contrast, every year there are less than 100 Jews in Israel who convert to Christianity by undergoing baptism. In ancient times there was another group which fell in-between those born Jewish and the proselytes who had converted to Judaism. Called “God-fearers,” they were non-Jews who believed in the one God and obeyed Jewish Law, including the keeping of the Sabbath. However, they refrained from formally converting to Judaism through circumcision and immersion in the mikvah or ritual bath. This group, in particular, was open to the early Christian mis-
‘YOUR PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE, and your God, my God’ (Ruth 1:16)
sionaries as they prepared the ground for the new church. Proselytes posed a problem as early as the time of Ezra and Nehemiah and their reforms concerning non-Jewish wives (456 BC), who as “foreign women” threatened the future of the Jewish nation-state. This shows that Israel is first and foremost a nation, and only then a religious community. One can change one’s religious affiliation but not one’s lineage.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls, a proselyte is called a ger toshav (“resident alien”), one who is only required to keep the Seven Noahide Laws (Genesis 9:1-7). The State of Israel holds to the following convention regarding one’s status as a Jew: A Jew is one who was born Jewish or who has converted to Judaism. Non-Jews in Israel are divided into two groups: Toshav Ara’i: Temporary Resident Toshav Keva: Permanent Resident (who has chosen not to convert) Converts to Judaism must meet certain minimum requirements, including the total renunciation of any other religion and the completion of classes in the biblical commandments and rabbinical laws. In addition, men must be circumcised and both men and women have to undergo complete immersion in a mikvah or ritual bath. This represents a consecration to the service of God, and is similar to the Christian ritual of baptism. A convert to Judaism is compared to the “gleanings in the vineyard of the Lord.” Today, there are many more nonJews who want to convert to Judaism then there are Jews wanting to convert to Christianity. Is this because it is relatively easy to become a Christian? Often all you need to do is raise your hand and you’re in. On the other hand, Judaism demands a great deal of discipline from its proselytes. Their path is characterized by a clear set of rules, and in this chaotic world, it seems that many people are looking for order. It could also be the first fruits of the fulfillment of Zechariah 8:23: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Y By Ludwig S chneider
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 15
WORKING THE LAND: Kibbutz Degania 100 years ago
The Kibbutz Celebrates
PIONEERING SPIRIT sia The founders came from Rus
THE PLOW AND THE SWORD The agricultural communities played a key role in the nation’s defense
he kibbutzim, or collective farms, symbolize the pioneering Zionist spirit that made the desert bloom and played a decisive role in the building and defense of the State of Israel. So the Kibbutz Movement’s centennial anniversary was a time for celebration, and reflection. Degania, which is located on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, was established as Israel’s first kibbutz 100 years ago. President Shimon Peres, Israel’s elder statesman and one of the founders of nearby Kibbutz Alumot, was the guest of honor at Degania’s centennial celebration. Israel “wouldn’t be what it is today without all of the security and social achievements of the Kibbutz Movement,” he said. Ze’ev Shor, who heads the Kibbutz Movement, called on kibbutzniks to hold their “heads up high.” “We must remind ourselves and others that building the land and defining and defending its borders are not empty words or clichés,” he said. Degania was founded by 12 men and women who emigrated from Russia with a vision of community and working the land. Today, many young people have left the kibbutzim for the sake of capitalism, but a sense of idealism remains among those who stayed. Gal Sarai, 49, a third-generation resident whose grandparents were among the founders of Degania, said the role of the kibbutzim is “to be the light, the torch leading the camp.” She said the contributions of the Kibbutz Movement to Israeli society include: a readiness to develop the soil through hard work; the fixing of borders with the neighboring states of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon; and the provision of a lifestyle that is not solely based on money, where “social and human values count more.” Y
FROM GENERATION to generation ‘AND THE WILDERNESS becomes a fertile field’ (Isaiah 32:15)
How Will We Know the Great Apostasy?
he Jews see the coming of the Messiah as imminent, as do the Christians with regard to the Second Coming of Jesus. As the Jewish Messiah and Jesus Christ are one and the same person, the signs preceding His arrival are also the same. The small nation of Israel, chosen by God (Deuteronomy 7:6-7), will be “saved” (Romans 11:25-29) when the Messiah comes, and the “little flock” (Luke 12:32) of chosen ones (John 15:16), the Church of those “purchased for God” (Revelation 5:9), will then experience redemption. Therefore, it is no surprise that Satan has set out to exterminate the Jewish people using earthly weapons, one example being the Islamic Holy War against Israel. The Body of the Messiah, on the other hand, is seeking to destroy Satan with spiritual weapons, and as a result we see the wheat being separated more and more from the chaff. Just as God stands by His people Israel, in spite of all the things they have done (Jeremiah 31:37), so too those Christians born of God will overcome the world (1 John 5:5). Despite God’s promises many believers will fall away from the faith, so that we are ultimately saved like a brand out of the fire. For on the Day of Judgment it will be clear whether we were building on God’s foundation: gold, silver and precious stones; or wood, straw and hay which do not withstand the fire (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Satan is afraid of the return of Christ, for that means that his hour has also come (Revelation 20:1-10). That is why he is creating confusion not only in the world, but also among the believers. He is sending many false prophets who are deceiving the nominal Christians and trying to deceive the chosen ones. As Paul warned: “Savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to 18 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). Under the guise of the Gospel, idolatry is being reintroduced. From many pulpits the basic truths of the faith are being denied. Sins are being liberalized away. If there is no more sin then there is also no longer a need for forgiveness of sins, yet without atonement no one will be able to stand before God in the Last Day.
Despite God’s promises, many believers will fall away from the faith
In Jerusalem, false prophets and messiahs often appear on the scene, but they are generally suffering from selfdelusion and have no connection to the truly dangerous false messiahs. The real danger lies in the current secularization of the Church and in the glitzy character of many of the megachurches, which are especially prevalent in the US. People get carried away by the crowd atmosphere like fans at a football game. They are passive onlookers, fans of this church or that. But to receive the crown of life, they must take an active role in living out their faith—in their daily lives and outside of showy services. Many people are fascinated by the subject of faith but are distracted from following Jesus as true disciples. The Church is not only threatened by external enemies, such as Islam and materialism, but also from within, from a watering down of the faith, an issue which is scarcely mentioned these days. Thus “lawlessness is increased, [and] most people’s [first] love will grow cold” as Jesus says in Matthew 24:12. Yet “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth” (Luke18:8), or will He only find a “little flock” (Luke 12:32) with whom the Father is pleased? On account of religious anarchy, war, natural disasters and economic distress, despair has increased in the world. Therefore, God has shortened the time (Matthew 24:21-22) so that we may overcome through His strength. This is not a time for despair but for hope: “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). God puts in us the desire and provides the path to reach the goal of our journey of faith. Y By Ludwig S chneider BEWARE OF WOLVES in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15)
Prophecy 26. Larry Ellison—Founder of the second One People World’s 40 largest software company, Oracle. He is
The Most Influential Jews The number of Jews today is 13.5 million, which is only .2 percent of the world’s population. Some 5.7 million Jews live in Israel, 5.6 million in the US and 500,000 each can be found in Russia and France; another 280,000 are residents of Britain and 250,000 live in Germany. A Jerusalem Post survey listed the following 40 as being the most influential Jews in the world this year: 1. Benjamin Netanyahu—Israel’s Prime Minister, once considered a hardliner, is showing flexibility on the creation of a Palestinian state. 2. Ben Bernanke—Chairman of the US Federal Reserve whose fiscal decisions helped avert economic collapse. 3. Rahm Emanuel—White House Chief of Staff, who is accused of encouraging President Obama’s tough approach toward Israel. 4. Sergey Brin—Together with partner Larry Page, who is also Jewish, he created the Internet search engine Google. 5. Shai Agassi—Founder of Better Place, the Israeli startup that is creating a global infrastructure for electric cars. 6. Dominique Strauss-Kahn—Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who is trying to end the global financial crisis. 7. Shimon Peres—President of Israel, who was a top architect of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. 8. David Axelrod—Advisor to President Obama, who has served as mediator amid tensions between the US and Israel. 9. Alan Dershowitz—World-renowned lawyer and strong advocate for Israel. 10. Elena Kagan—Became an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court this year. 11. Alan Solow—Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations 12. Ehud Barak—Israel’s Defense Minister; the nation’s most decorated soldier who has also served as prime minister. 13. Irwin Cotler—Canadian parliament member and human rights activist 14. Michael Bloomberg—Mayor of New York, with an annual salary of $1; the 8th richest person in the US.
15. Bernard Kouchner—French Foreign Minister and co-founder of the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders. 16. Gabi Ashkenazi—Israeli Army Chief of Staff, who received the highest decoration of the US military, the Legion of Merit. 17. Stanley Fischer—As Governor of the Bank of Israel, he has steered Israel to prosperity following the financial meltdown. 18. Avigdor Lieberman—Russian immigrant who, as Israel’s Foreign Minister, opposes a Palestinian state. 19. Dorit Beinish—First woman to serve as Chief Justice of Israel’s Supreme Court. 20. Natan Sharansky—Chairman of the Jewish Agency and former Russian Prisoner of Zion. 21. Ruth Bader Ginsburg—The first Jewish woman to serve as a justice of the US Supreme Court. 22. Mark Zuckerberg—The 26-year-old who founded the popular social networking site Facebook in 2005. 23. Moshe Kantor—Chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation which works with the EU. 24. Michael Steinhardt—Philanthropist who finances Taglit-Birthright Israel, a program which brings American-Jewish youth to Israel to promote aliyah (immigration). 25. Ronald Lauder— President of the World Jewish Congress and son of cosmetics queen Estee Lauder.
the richest Jew in the world. 27. Ruth Arnon—Israeli professor of biochemistry, who developed a medication for treating multiple sclerosis. 28. Elie Wiesel— Nobel Prize-winning author and Holocaust survivor, who has written 57 books. 29. Steven Spielberg—Top producer and director whose films include the Indiana Jones series and Schindler’s List. 30. Jeff Zucker—President of NBC Universal who is also on the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers. 31. Lee Rosenberg—President of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. 32. Richard Goldstone—Former South African jurist who led a UN commission which accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza. 33. Haim Saban—Israeli-American media mogul who uses his influence and money to support the State of Israel. 34. Jeremy Ben-Ami—Executive Director of J-Street, a left-wing American lobby that opposes the settlements and supports a Palestinian state. 35. Shari Arison—Owner of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim, said to be the richest woman in the Middle East and known for generous donations to charity. 36. Simone Veil—Holocaust survivor who became a prominent lawyer and politician in France. 37. Irving Moskowitz—US billionaire who finances Jewish construction in East Jerusalem and the settlements. 38. Bob Dylan—60s troubadour whose ballads influenced an entire generation. 39. Roman Abramovich—Russian oligarch who owns the London football club Chelsea but shows little concern for Israel. 40. Sacha Baron Cohen—Controversial comedian who has aroused animosity for his portrayals of Borat, Ali G, and Bruno. Y By Ludwig S chneider
One person sees the Jews as an inferior race while another sees them as controlling the world. From a biblical perspective, the influence of the Jews today is a partial fulfillment of the prophecy that Israel is called to be “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6); but their spiritual influence is yet to come. One day, when the Jews again bring the word of the Lord to the nations, they will completely fulfill their role as the Chosen People. www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 19
J e s u s i n M o d e r n He b r e w C u l t u r e
Stand in the Gap
Jesus, the Key to Our Subconscious
They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.
B y Ts v i S a d a n
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim –
Reveal Yeshua (Jesus) as the true Messiah of Israel and remove the false messiahs. Use the messianic fervor of Chabad for Your purposes. Help Messianic Jews reach the people of Israel with the message of the Gospel. (Pages 3, 20, 21)
sraeli author Gavriel Raam notes that for more than 2,000 years, the Jesus story has refused to be removed from the bestseller list. The title of his latest book, Rebels and Outsiders, gives some hints about his fascination with figures such as Jesus, who were marginalized in their lifetimes precisely because they carried the torch of truth. In 2004 Raam’s article, The Story of the Life and Death of Jesus as Metaphor, appeared in the e-journal e-mago. This rela- INTRIGUED BY JESUS: Gavriel Raam tively new form of publication allows “marginal” writers to reach the public with unique perspectives on otherwise conventional worldviews. What intrigues Raam is the enormous, unparalleled, and continuous influence of the story of Jesus: “There is hardly any person in human history whose story of tribulation and suffering has left such a deep mark for so many years on the personal lives of so many people...And there isn’t a rational and plausible way to understand the connection between this terrible story and humanity’s devotion to him.” Raam rejects the explanation that Jesus died so that his followers could live. This “missionary doctrine,” he says, is a late addition by Christian clergy that has nothing to do with Jesus’ real biography. So what is the attraction, if Jesus does not offer the way to redemption? For Raam, the explanation lies within our subconscious––the “place” where the truth about human existence lies. To take the life of Jesus literally is to drop the key to the lock of our subconscious. To truly understand the Jesus story, one has to look at it as a metaphor—the device that moves people from a state of slumber to a state of awareness. Hence, “the story of Jesus is a harsh and violent metaphor that touches upon the state of the truth in our world, and the awful fate of the one who carries it.” Jesus’ tragedy is a warning symbol for all truth-bearers. The truth, says Raam, is best served if it is covered in a shroud of myth, religion or philosophy. “If, instead of telling the truth to every prostitute, tax collector and passerby...Jesus had delivered an esoteric teaching to a handful of chosen,” his fate would have been different. Although Raam dismisses the plain truth of the Gospel, he nonetheless acknowledges that the most important of all truth-bearers was probably Jesus. Y 20 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
Intercession for Israel Jeremiah 6:14
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Prevent Israel from falling into a trap in the new peace talks. Save Israel from a false peace that will only result in violence, terror and war. Give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government wisdom and help them to stand firm against international pressure. (Pages 4-5, 10, 11)
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Protect Israel from terrorism and may all planned attacks be thwarted. Expose all the evil designs of terrorists and enable the security forces to find them wherever they are. (Pages 4-5)
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Show Israel what to do about Iran. Give Israeli political and military leaders wise counsel to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Show them if and when Israel should launch a preemptive strike. (Page 6)
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Build up Jewish settlement in all the biblical Land of Israel. Fulfill Your promises to give the Land to the Jewish people and humble the false claims of the Palestinians. Enable Israel to overcome the demographic threat posed by a Palestinian population explosion. (Pages 7, 28)
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Expose the incitement and true intentions of the Palestinian Authority. (Page 10)
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Cement Israel control over Jerusalem and may it never become the capital of a Muslim-Palestinian state. (Page 11)
*אבינו שבשמייםAvinu She’BaShamayim – Use the world’s obsession with the Mideast conflict to reveal Your biblical Word about Israel to the nations. (Pages 12-13) Bless Israel this New Year with security, prosperity, hope, strength and faith. (Cover; Pages 2, 29) * Our Father in Heaven
m e s s i an i c je w s israel today. That’s when they came
Virtual Evangelism Leads to Real Faith
group of young, Internet-savvy Israelis is taking a fresh and innovative approach to reaching their countrymen with the message of Yeshua (Jesus). Sharing the Gospel with non-believing Israelis can be difficult. The Orthodox establishment has attached such a stigma to “Christian missionary activity” that many Israelis will simply shut off and have nothing to do with you the moment the name Yeshua is mentioned. So the Messianic Jews behind One For Israel (www.oneforisrael.org) sought a different avenue to share the Good News. Like most Israelis under the age of 50, Eitan, Benni, Avner and Yair (fearing a backlash from anti-missionary groups,
they asked us not to reveal their last names) are constantly online. Since Israelis on average spend about 60 hours a month online, double the time spent by Americans, the group realized that outreach websites could be an effective tool for evangelism in the Jewish state. But despite building an impressive portfolio of Messianic websites such as iGod.co.il, xRabbi.co.il and newlife.org. il, the group was having a difficult time getting a response. “We had all these wonderful, different websites that target various audiences in Israeli society, but it was difficult to get Israelis to visit them. So we realized the need for advertisements,” Eitan told
up with the idea of One For Israel, a “one dollar fundraiser” in which supporters are asked to give one dollar a month to fund advertising. “I know everyone can afford to give [at least] one dollar every month towards this cause,” said Eitan. “So I figured, why not try to find as many people as possible to donate one dollar a month towards advertising these websites on Google and Facebook.” That effort has paid off. In the first half of 2010, the group’s websites received 50,000 visits, its YouTube clips were viewed more than 40,000 times and some 300 people ordered copies of the New Testament. “We see people coming to know the Lord through the websites and then joining Messianic congregations!” Eitan said. “I really believe that God is using the Internet to bring people to Him. No matter who you are or where you are in Israel, you can find the truth on these websites.” Y By Ryan Jones
Yeshua in the Media srael’s biggest newspaper Yediot Ahronot ran a positive feature story on Messianic Jews in Israel in its weekly magazine. The headline used the correct name “Yeshua” (Jesus) instead of the usual acronym “Yeshu”—a derogatory term that means, “May his name and memory be blotted out.” The article strongly suggests that Messianic Jews are, in fact, Jewish. It noted that they are indistinguishable from other Israeli Jews, except that they believe Yeshua is the Messiah. This marks a major shift in thinking because for decades, Israeli society has been influenced by Orthodox claims that Messianic Jews can no longer be considered Jewish because they converted to another faith. The article even reached back into history to explain that Jesus was a Jew, and that his earliest followers were not seen as part of a religion separate from the rest of Judaism or from Israel. . Y
Publisher Spreads the Word
he Messianic publishing company HaChotam (The Seal) invited fellow believers in Yeshua (Jesus) to a family-oriented gathering of fun, fellowship and food to mark its 10th anniversary. About 1,000 people came from around the country to participate in the event at the Messianic moshav (rural community) of Yad HaShmona in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem. Children’s activities included “Slip N’Slides” which offered relief from the heat, and musicians played Hebrew Messianic worship songs against a biblical landscape of pine forests and a distant view of the Mediterranean Sea. HaChotam publishes three quarterly Messianic magazines in Hebrew: Yaldei Yah (Children of the Lord) for kids; Mashehu Acher (Something Else) for teenagers, and MeEt leEt (From Time to Time) for adults. Other items include music CDs and about 20 children’s books. “It’s a milestone,” HaChotam founder Eitan Kashtan told israel today. “Our goal is to equip the believers in the Land with good study material and to spread the Gospel of the Lord in Israel.” Y By Michael S chneider For more information: www.hachotam.org www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 21
Photo: Cleta Garcia
C h r i s t i an s
Peres Meets the Pope
resident Shimon Peres visited Pope Benedict XVI at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy to discuss new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and bilateral relations between Jerusalem and the Vatican. The Pope said he hopes an agreement can be reached “that is respectful of the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples and capable of bringing lasting peace to the Holy Land and to the entire region.” Peres gave the Pope a seven-branched menorah, one of the official symbols of the State of Israel, which is based on the candelabra that stood in the biblical Temples. The menorah has an inscription which describes Benedict as “the shepherd who seeks to lead us to the fields of blessings and the fields of peace.”Y
‘LEGITIMATE ASPIRATIONS’ The pope supports a Palestinian state
Bollywood Makes Jesus Flick in Israel
SHOULDER TO SHOULDER Indian actor Pawan Kalyan (left) with israel today co-editor Michael Schneider
Bollywood movie about the childhood of Jesus has begun production in Israel, under the skillful hand of Indian director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao. Featuring an all-Indian cast of child actors under the age of 14, the film will be released next year in English and three Indian languages—Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam. Producer Konda Krishnam Raju says the film is unique because other movies about Jesus have focused on His ministry as an adult. This is the first
film of its kind in Bollywood history, he said, and is being directed toward a broad international audience. Indian films traditionally use child actors to highlight the innocence, sanctity and divinity of religious figures, and Rao’s film will follow that tradition, using the children to depict adult characters as well. That requires some special effects, so the producers drew on the experience of Mel Gibson’s The
Passion of the Christ by hiring that film’s award-winning makeup artist Christien Tinsley. Production cost for the still untitled movie is $30 million, compared to the average budget of $500,000 for most Indian films. The investment is financial, but the return could be spiritual. Rao told a news conference in Jerusalem that he hoped the film would spread “the message of love and peace.” Y By Michael S chneider
MEET THE PRESS: News conference at the legendary King David Hotel in in Jerusalem
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22 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
Let us go to the house of the Lord. Our feet are standing in the gates, O Jerusalem (Psalm 122:1, 2)
A RCHa E OLO G Y
‘DRIPPINGS of the honeycomb’ (Psalm 19:10)
ncient beehives have been uncovered in the Beit She’an Valley in the Galilee. The remains of honeybees were discovered by archaeologist Amihai Mazar of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The 3,000-year-old apiary is giving archaeologists a one-of-a-kind window into the beekeeping practices of the ancient world. “Beekeeping is known only from a few Egyptian sources, from a few tombs and paintings,” said Mazar. “No actual hives have been found.” Mazar began his study of the hives in 2007 when they were uncovered during the excavation of Tel Rehov, the site of the flourishing Bronze and Iron Age city of Rehov. Since then Mazar and his team have found more than 100 hives, capable of housing 1.5 million bees and producing half a ton of honey. It is one of the largest ancient Canaanite and Israelite sites in the Holy Land. The excavation is located 3 miles (5 km.) south of the town of Beit She’an and 2 miles (3 km.) west of the Jordan River. Altogether, 30 intact beehives and the remains of 100-200 more, dating to the
mid-10th century BC, were found in the ruins of Rehov. They are evidence of an advanced honey-producing industry three millennia ago in the city, which had a population of about 2,000 residents, both Israelite and Canaanite. The beehives, made of straw and unbaked clay, were found in orderly rows. Testing of the remains of bees and larva showed that they were not native to the region, and were similar to the Antalyan bee of central Turkey. Although the range of the Turkish species of the time may have reached as far south as Rehov, it is more likely that Rehov’s beekeepers traded for them since local bees are notoriously difficult to handle. During the 20th century, when beekeepers tried to establish a modern industry in Tel Rehov, they ended up importing the same species from Turkey, a sweet story of history repeating itself. Previously, references to honey in ancient texts of the region (such as in the Hebrew Bible) were thought to refer to honey derived from dates and figs; but this discovery shows that these texts can be taken at face value. “The biblical saying about ‘the land of milk and honey’ probably has to be understood very literally,” Mazar says. “The view was often held that biblical honey is only a matter of fruit nectars or chance finds of wild honey. We know now that there was [a] flourishing bee keeping [industry] in Tel Rehov. Y
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE The beehives open a window to biblical times
Ancient Pagan Cult Objects Uncovered
massive haul of ancient cultic vessels dating back over 3,500 years has been discovered in Israel. The find is at the base of Tel Qashish, about 12 miles (20 km.) south of the northern port city of Haifa. It is the result of excavations prior to the laying of gas pipes in the area and has been described as a “bottomless pit” of artifacts, containing well over 100 intact objects. Each time archeologists thought they had reached the bottom of the rock hollow, they found additional objects. Such a find is extremely rare. The artifacts include small ritual stands pierced with mysterious holes probably used for burning incense; a sculpted woman’s face; and various items of Greek Mycenaean tableware, indicating a bustling trade with Greece. “The objects were used by an ancient pagan cult which was wiped out during the Late Bronze Age [1550-1200 BC],” said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Uzi Ad. “During this period, before the Bible, the children of Israel were still in Egypt or the desert.” Y C ompiled by Netanel D oron
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 23
Living Statues in Rehovot
‘I DUB THEE knight’
Israeli Tenor Becomes Italian Knight
orld-renowned Israeli tenor David D’Or has been dubbed a knight by the Italian government in honor of his achievements. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano praised him for his “contribution to Italian culture both at home and abroad.” D’Or is a countertenor with a vocal range of more than four octaves. He is a three-time winner of the Israeli Singer of the Year and Best Vocal Performer awards. With a voice described as “angelic,” he has performed before many world leaders, including Napolitano, former US President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former South African President Nelson Mandela, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, and the king and queen of Sweden, He also performed at the Vatican by personal invitation from Pope John Paul II in 2005, and at a special concert for Pope Benedict XVI in Jerusalem in 2009. The award of Italian knighthood was bestowed at a performance with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the Caesarea Amphitheater on the Mediterranean coast. The singer’s repertoire ranges from Italian arias to Hebrew melodies, and sometimes a mixture of both. “I believe music is a bridge and a language between diverse cultures and people,” D’Or said. “As an Israeli I have sung Italian arias my way. And, it seems, Italian audiences must have loved it!” Over 20 years ago, israel today Editor-in-Chief Aviel Schneider sang together with D’Or in the student choir at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.Y For more information:www.daviddor.com By Av i e l S c h n e i der
24 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
he first annual International Living Statues Festival took place in Rehovot to mark the city’s 120th anniversary. Some 40 artists, mostly from Israel, the US and Spain, performed as living statues over a three-day period before thousands of spectators. The event is rooted in the famous “human statues” of La Rambla Street in Barcelona, Spain, where such street performances can be seen throughout the year. It was appropriate for Rehovot, located 12 miles (20 km.) south of Tel Aviv, because the name of the city means “Streets.” Standouts among the Israeli artists included the “frozen” band that only played when directed by onlookers. Acrobats dangled in the air while others performed on stilts. There was a movie set where members of the audience could participate, acting as statues under the instructions of a film director. Mayor Rachamim Malul opened the event, stressing the importance of Rehovot as a place for artists and creative people. Y
Be h i n d t h e S c ene s
Summer Time Blues
mixture of synagogue and state, Israel goes off Summer Time ahead of Yom Kippur. Despite a cost of tens of millions of dollars in electricity, a loss of business and more rom a biblical point of view it is certainly a blessing car accidents, Israel’s rabbinical authorities bring darkness to live in the Land of Israel. My forefathers prayed for upon us at 6 p.m. in the heat of the summer, so that people two millennia to be bestowed with the same gift. But that can fast one less hour on the Day of Atonement! doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges living in the Jewish state, I’m not alone in my outrage. Most Israelis would gladly especially for someone who comes from the not-so-painful fast an extra hour on Yom Kippur in exchange for a month “Exile” in mid-America. and a half of precious sunlight. More than 230,000 people I’ve gone through culture shock and become signed an Internet petition demanding an end to this used to many of the idiosyncrasies of a Middle nonsense. Ironically, it’s the religious Jews who Eastern melting pot. I now accept certain are copping out. truisms with a grain of salt: The customer “The rest of the world doesn’t have is always wrong; you never get a refund; a Yom Kippur,” said Interior Minister Eli car, TV set or gallon of gas costs double Yishai, leader of the powerful ultrawhat it does in the Diaspora; wages are Orthodox Shas party. “What’s wrong with us doing something that will help low and taxes are high; and things ofall of the people of Israel on Yom Kipten break down on or just before Shabpur?” bat (the Sabbath) when you can’t get Well, Shas could go a long way tothem fixed. ward atoning for its sins by giving us our But one thing I can’t get used to, that clocks back. Columnist Uri Misgav may I rant and rave about every year, is the have said it best in Israel’s biggest newspaearly end of Daylight Saving Time which per Yediot Ahronot: “We went to bed in plunges Israel into darkness a month an enlightened Western country and and a half before the rest of civilized woke up in a dark theocracy.”Y world. Under an archaic law that deTIME SPAT: An archaic religious law By Shl omo Mordechai fies logic and points to a dangerous clashes with a modern Jewish state
Let’s go friends! The US has announced direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The US says the only way to end the conflict and make peace is by talking face to face!
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MILIT A R Y
Party for IDF Recruits
he Israeli Consulate in Miami held a party for the children of local Israelis who plan to return to Israel to serve in the army. Although most of these young people are not required to serve, being the offspring of Israeli emigrants to the US, they are eager to anyway. In fact, all of the 16 who attended the party want to serve in combat or intelligence units. Held in a Miami Beach hotel, the event was sponsored by two organizations—Israel House and the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Surrounding the swimming pool where the dinner was held were the emblems of top IDF units, including the Golani and Givati Brigades, the Paratroopers, Military Intelligence, and the Armored and Artillery Corps. Among the notable participants was Eviatar Benno, the son of Miami radio host Yossi Sayass. He and the others were presented with several gifts including a backpack and a specially-designed shirt and cap.
SWIMMING AGAINST THE CURRENT: From the comforts of home to the grit of the Israeli army
The young people responded to questions from the local media, such as how they might respond if required to participate in an operation similar to the Gaza flotilla incident. Asked if this might dissuade them from serving in the army, they responded that they had planned their military service a long time before and that such incidents have no effect on their decision. They all emphasized their strong ties to Israel
and their desire to serve even though it is not mandatory. “The party was a complete success,” said Consul-General Ofer Bavli. “We will continue to hold such events for young people who want to serve in the Israeli army.” Israel’s Foreign Ministry is planning similar gatherings in other American cities with large Israeli populations, including Los Angeles and New York. Y
Camera Plugs Holes in Security Fence KEEPING WATCH on the border
he IDF has introduced a new thermal surveillance camera along the security fence in Judea and Samaria. The camera, which uses infrared rather than natural light, was developed by Magna, a company in the Negev Desert town of Dimona in southern Israel. It is part of a system that combines thermal and regular cameras to effectively scan an area ranging up to several miles. Once the system responds to suspicious movement, data is transferred to a control center in the area and troops can be dispatched to the scene. “It is a warning system that provides intelligence coverage over a specific area and provides an alert to an intrusion,” says Major Oshri Itach, the head of electronic systems in the ground forces. The system has been deployed by the Yehuda (Judea) Brigade in the Hebron area south of Jerusalem, and plans are underway for expansion throughout Central Command. Y C ompiled by Netanel D oron
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 27
N A TURe
PLANTING ROOTS in the Land of Israel
Settlement Dedicates New Park T he Jewish settlement of Peduel (“ransomed by God”), located in the hills of Samaria 10 miles east of Tel Aviv, has opened a lush public park. It includes playgrounds, expansive grassy areas and wooded walking trails. A top attraction is a panoramic view of the Mediterranean coastline, Ben-Gurion Airport and the
surrounding coastal plain—highlighting the vulnerability of these areas if the settlement is evacuated under a “peace” deal with the Palestinians. Hundreds of Israelis attended the dedication ceremony for the seven-dunam (1.75 acre) park, along with some supporters from the US. Participants
included leaders of the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements, representatives of the Jewish National Fund, and the family of the late Chaya Evelyn Gross, who bequeathed the money for the park in memory of her parents. The event came against the background of the government’s freeze on construction in the settlements, which was imposed under US pressure. Since building public facilities such as classrooms and playgrounds was frozen, Peduel leaders dug up an old plan for the park. It took five months to complete the project. “We thank the Gross family for its decision to strengthen us in these challenging times, by planting roots in the place where the nation of Israel’s roots were planted long ago,” said Gershon Mesika, the head of the Samaria Regional Council. He said that he hoped the park would represent “another step of taking root in the Land, leading toward the renewal of …construction… in Judea and Samaria.” Founded in 1984, Peduel has a population of nearly 1,500 people. Its educational institutions include an elementary school and two yeshivas (seminaries), one of which prepares young men for army service. A nature reserve and archeological site with remnants of an olive press that provided oil for the First Temple (960-586 BC) are situated nearby. Y
New Tangerine Is Big Success
srael is fulfilling its biblical mandate to “be a light to the acres) of citrus fruit, with 3,000 additional acres to be nations” in yet another way, as it exports a new variety planted this year. of Clementine citrus fruit called “light.” The fruit, which is But Israeli citrus farmers are facing stiff competition from easy to peel and seedless, was developed in Israel and holds Turkey and Egypt, where water is cheaper and more abuna patent. Bearing the famous “Jaffa” brand label, 30,000 tons dant and wages for fruit pickers are 20 percent lower will be exported this season and another than in Israel. Each of these countries exports ap40,000 tons consumed locally. proximately one million tons of citrus fruit During this year’s fall-winter annually. season, Israel will export an “We need high quality fruits in orestimated 200,000 tons of citder to survive in the competitive export rus fruit from an estimated market,” said the chairman of the CounOH MY DARLING, total yield of 600,000 tons, cil of Fruit Growers, Chai Binyamini. Clementine worth approximately 1 bil“It takes several years to develop new lion shekels ($270 million). varieties, and we have to continuIsrael currently maintains ally find new ones to maintain our 180,000 dunams (45,000 competitive edge.” Y 28 | October 2010
Positive Outlook for New Year
n contrast to the stagnation in the world’s powerhouse economies led by the US and Europe, Israel’s economy is flourishing as it enters the Jewish New Year 5771. The economy is expected to expand by 4 percent in 2010, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The biggest turnaround is in exports, which account for about half of the gross domestic product (GDP). CBS says exports will climb 13 percent this year, after falling 12 percent in 2009. Israel’s recovery from the global financial crisis is the result of several key factors, including strong domestic spending and a booming hi-tech sector. Diamond exports are expected to increase 39 percent this year, while tourism could rise by 23 percent. The discovery of a large natural gas field off the coast of Haifa has boosted the Israeli stock market. The field could supply all of Israel’s natural gas needs “for the next 50 to 70 years,” says Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau. Underscoring Israeli’s growing economic power, the nation was admitted in May to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes the world’s top economies. “The past year has seen a resurgence of the Israeli economy,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Rosh Hashanah message. “Israel has weathered the financial crisis better than nearly any other industrialized country.” Y
Supermarkets Boycott Turkish Products
ECONOMIC RECOVERY: The economy is expected to grow by 4 percent this year, thanks in part to a booming hi-tech industry
GROCERY GURU Rami Levy
n the wake of the extreme antiIsrael stance taken by Turkey following the deadly flotilla incident at the end of May, Israeli supermarkets are boycotting Turkish products. The “Mega” supermarket chain says it will no longer import pasta and flour from Turkey. Rami Levy, who owns a popular chain of discount stores, decided to import pasta from Italy even though it is more expensive, saying he believes that he has the full support of his customers.
Government Delays Tax Reduction
Turkey used to be the most popular destination for Israeli tourists, but tour companies have removed the country from their packages because Israelis angry over Turkish policies refuse to go there. For its part, Turkey canceled plans to sell 50 million cubic meters (1.75 billion cubic feet) of water per year to parched Israel over a 20-year period. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said there would be no more sales to Israel unless it “apologizes and repents” for the flotilla raid, which left nine Turkish militants dead. Y
sraelis are among the most heavilytaxed people in the world, primarily because of the country’s enormous defense burden. And plans to ease the burden have been postponed, ostensibly because the global economic crisis has cut revenues to the state. The Finance Ministry announced that it will not carry out the planned reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) intended to take place at the end of the year. At the beginning of 2010, VAT was reduced from 16.5 percent to 16 percent, still a very high price imposed on nearly every business transaction in the country. The government says that it is continuing plans for tax reform including the projected reduction in the top income tax bracket from 45 to 44 percent, and the reduction of corporate taxes from 25 to 24 percent. Y
www.israeltoday.co.il | October 2010 | 29
In B r i ef
Nazi Hunter Worked with the Mossad
‘THE THEOCRAT’ provided information
egendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had ties with Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad. In a new book, Wiesenthal—The Life and Legends, author Tom Segev writes that Wiesenthal worked with Israeli agents in a failed attempt to capture Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann, who is known as “the architect of the Holocaust.” Wiesenthal worked with the Mossad until 1970 under the code name “Theocrat,” providing information on suspected war criminals, neo-Nazi groups, and German scientists working for Egypt’s rocket program. Wiesenthal survived the death camps and spent the rest of his life pursuing Nazi war criminals, documenting the Holocaust and helping Jewish refugees. He died in 2005 at the age of 97. Y
Israelis Invented Instant Messenger
eople of all ages are now able to chat and text online in real time, everywhere in the world. But before there was Skype, MSN Messenger and AIM, there was ICQ. ICQ (which stands for “I seek you”) is the invention of the Israeli company Mirabilis and its founders Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi , Sefi Vigiser and Amnon Amir. The program was developed in 1996 as a means for friends to communicate with one another over the Internet. It soon became quite popular and could be downloaded for free. Despite having no revenue, Mirabilis struck it rich when AOL purchased the company for $400 million in 1998. At the time, that was the highest price ever paid for an Israeli technology company. The firm has since been acquired by the Russian company Digital Sky Technologies and is said to have 100 million registered accounts. Y
Bibi Poses a Riddle
rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves to solve brain teasers. He has even used them to sharpen his ministers’ wits before important sessions of the Knesset (parliament). In this way, he is similar to the biblical hero Samson who posed a riddle that his Philistine party guests could not solve (Judges 14). For example, Netanyahu submitted a matchstick riddle to members of his Likud party (see illustration). By moving only one matchstick it is possible to form a valid mathematical equation. He sketched the riddle on a piece of paper and passed it around. Taking the challenge seriously, the Knesset members began to feverishly attempt a solution. An onlooker might have thought that they were working on some extremely urgent affair of state. The first attempt was made by Michael Eitan who received the response, “Wrong answer.” Then came Silvan Shalom and Stas Misezhnikov, who both failed to come up with the right solution. At last, Eitan managed to solve the riddle, prompting Netanyahu to say appreciatively, “This is the right answer. Kol HaKavod [well done]!” (The answer to the riddle will appear in the November issue. Figure it out!) Y
30 | October 2010 | www.israeltoday.co.il
Child Chess Master
onit Levitan of Haifa has high hopes after winning the European Chess Championship for young children in Greece at the tender age of 6. As the match began, her cute, smiling face turned serious. “She concentrates in the same way as adults,” said children’s chess team trainer Naftali Ben-Pinhas. Ronit’s parents introduced her to chess when she was little more than a toddler, and her interest and love for the game grew through competing with her older brother. “She has been playing chess since she was four years old,” said her mother Yulia. “She loves this game so much and already dreams of one day becoming the champion of the world.” CHECKMATE champ
In B r i ef
n Israeli is the winner of the coveted Fields Medal for 2010, considered the Nobel Prize of mathematics. Professor Elon Lindenstrauss of Hebrew University in Jerusalem received the medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Hyderabad, India, along with a prize of $15,000. The medal has been awarded every four years since 1936.
ENAMORED with numbers
Lindenstrauss, 40, was born in Jerusalem and specializes in number theory, the branch of pure mathematics concerned with the properties of numbers. At the age of 18, he represented Israel at the World Championship Mathematics Competition for
High School students, where he was awarded a bronze medal. Then he participated in Talpiot, a military training program for young people who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability in the sciences, physics and mathematics. The program is sponsored by the Israeli Air Force. At a special ceremony in his honor, Lindenstrauss assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would stay at Hebrew University and would not be swayed by the many offers he is receiving from foreign universities. Y
Hero of Hijacked Airliner Dies Reginald Levy, the heroic pilot of hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in 1972, has died at the age of 88. The plane, which was flying from Brussels to Tel Aviv, was 20 minutes out when four Arabs waving pistols rushed the cockpit. “As you can see,” Captain Levy calmly told the 90 passengers, “we have friends on board.” The hijackers, who were members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, held the plane on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport and demanded the release of 317 Palestinian prisoners. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan took personal control of the situation at the airport. At one point, Levy was sent to the terminal with a sample of the explosives the hijackers were carrying in order to prove their intentions. He told the Israelis much more, describing the hijackers, their positions and the black bags in which they were carrying explosives. He also told them, significantly, that there were no seats blocking the emergency doors. With this information, Israeli commandos stormed the plane, killed the terrorists and released the captives. The commander of the raid was Ehud Barak, Israel’s current defense minister, and the troops included none other than Benjamin Netanyahu. Y
FEARLESS FLYER Levy was cool under pressure
‘Righteous Gentile’ Meets Woman She Saved In a stirring moment, Rachel (Davidson) Shmilovitch, 77, met Aisha Trofimova, 84, for the first time in 60 years. Aisha and her mother Fatima Kanapatskaiya were Muslims who hid the Shmilovitch family during the Nazi occupation of Minsk, in what is now Belarus, during World War II. “The Jewish people are grateful to the Righteous among the Nations, who dared to risk their lives in order to save Jews,” said President Shimon Peres at a ceremony
60 YEARS on
honoring Aisha and her mother at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. “These noble people have not done this in order to receive any reward but solely as an act of humanity.” “Fatima and Aisha did not hesitate to help us for one second,” said Rachel, adding that she will be grateful to them for the rest of her life. Y C ompiled by Michael S chneider
October 2010 | 31
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