The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF NETANYAHU AT THE UNITED NATIONS

September 30th, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF NETANYAHU AT THE UNITED NATIONS
by Jack Engelhard (Arutz Sheva News)

Netanyahu showed outstanding courage, saying things that even pro-Israel activists reserve for their Facebook Friends so as not to be attacked.

We are all in the same boat. So let’s act together. This was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s central message in his speech today before the United Nations.

Emphatically and without slicing words, Netanyahu urged the rest of the world to join Israel in the fight against Militant Islam, which has begun to cross all borders to satisfy its appetite for world domination: “They all have the same ideology. They all seek to establish a global Militant Islam – where there is no freedom.”

The Prime Minister let fly with comments pro-Israel activists usually reserve for their dinner companions and their Facebook Friends – otherwise fearful of being too forthright, or of being tagged Islamophobic.

But Netanyahu was fearless, telling the few who would listen, “The Nazis believed in a master race; Islamists believe in a master faith.”

Saying that took courage before a crowd that is largely Muslim. Tough room. Except that most of them were in hiding.

Half the seats were empty. Applause came sparingly. However, the message could not be denied even among the Arab nations that surround Israel, as they too suffer from the plague of ISIS and other Islamic extremists. Upon this Islamic leadership Netanyahu focused his message and his appeal, an appeal to join hands against a common enemy.

Which brought the Prime Minister closer to home, averring that “ISIS is Hamas; Hamas is ISIS.”

In words and pictures he proved his case that Hamas is a cowardly, terrorist foe that hides its missiles among women and children.

Paraphrasing, “You could be next,” Netanyahu warned the delegates. Indeed, ISIS has already encroached the nations Netanyahu was addressing.

About half his speech was devoted to Iran, which, he said, posed the greatest Militant Islamist threat of all.

The casual observer could only wonder why this special emphasis on Iran from the Israeli Prime Minister. Truly, he must know something the rest of us do not know.

Nor did he mention Israel’s readiness to endorse a “two-state-solution.” This qualifies as a first.

Some of us expected stronger words against the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, who last week slandered Israel in his own address to the UN. Supposedly, Netanyahu is still “keeping the door open.” Thus Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s ever willingness for peace – though thankfully he said nothing about a (non-existent) “peace process.”

Some of us shudder at the sound of those words and we were grateful not to hear them, for just as Hamas is ISIS, so too Hamas is a two-state “solution.”

Netanyahu, indeed, pointed out that for every territorial compromise, in return Israel gets thousands of enemy rockets.

After declaring that the IDF is the most moral military in the world, he summed up by saying: “Israel will defend itself against all enemies. Israel will stand proud and unbowed.”

Next he has to persuade President Barack Obama that Israel will never compromise its safety.

Obama will be a tougher sell – tougher than the rest of the world combined. We shall see if Netanyahu prevails “proud and unbowed.”

NETANYAHU’S SPEECH – WAS ANYONE LISTENING?

September 30th, 2014

NETANYAHU’S SPEECH AT THE UN – WAS ANYONE LISTENING?
by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Netanyahu: We aren’t finished with Hamas!

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the UN General Assembly on Monday was at the forefront of the news cycle in Israel on Tuesday. From the left to the right of the political spectrum, everyone agreed Israel’s leader is a gifted orator. But the question is, was anyone else listening?

During his 34 minutes at the podium, Netanyahu waxed eloquent regarding Israel’s desire for peace, battle for security and concerns over mounting regional threats.

Addressing the recent Gaza war, Netanyahu made a strong case, supported by an incriminating photograph, that it was Hamas, and not Israel, that had spent the summer committing war crimes.

The Israeli premier stressed that, contrary to the claims spewed last week by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he is prepared to make peace with the Jewish state’s Arab neighbors, but that it must be done on equitable terms.

Netanyahu went on to suggest what is becoming increasingly clear to most Israelis – that in today’s Middle East, it would be easier to first forge genuine peace with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab states, and then leverage those new alliances to conclude an agreement with the Palestinians.

The reason for that is linked to Netanyahu’s next point – that the sweeping scourge of radical Islam in the form of the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) is a threat to everyone who truly seeks to live in peace.

To illustrate that Israel knows all too well what moderate Arab states are now facing, Netanyahu drew a direct comparison between ISIS and Hamas. Both, he insisted, “are of the same poisonous tree.”

Sadly, it was Israel’s American allies that failed to accept that last, crucial point.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that while Washington had designated both ISIS and Hamas as terrorist organizations, it does not view them equally since Hamas poses no direct threat to American interests.

But the Obama Administration’s response to Netanyahu’s remarks was not the most disappointment aspect of the story. Rather, it was the half-empty hall that the Prime Minister wasted his measured words upon.

The fact is that the hall of the UN General Assembly was more than half empty when Netanyahu took the podium, and a great many of those nations represented already largely side with the Jewish state on critical issues.

In other words, Netanyahu was left singing to the choir.

“Netanyahu knows how to speak, and I agreed with more than a little of what he said, but the problem is that the world is no longer listening,” said Opposition and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog.

Unfortunately, Herzog’s critique rang true, as Netanyahu’s speech garnered frighteningly little attention from an international media and community predisposed to accepting the Palestinian narrative.

NETANYUHU INTERVIEW

September 24th, 2014

NETANYAHU INTERVIEW
By Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

Surprisingly buoyant, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sits down with ‘the Post’ and extols policy-making based on looking at the region as it truly is, without wishful thinking.

That must be the reason Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared extremely chipper Sunday afternoon, during a 30-minute pre-Rosh Hashana interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Just a month after Operation Protective Edge, in the midst of a percolating political crisis both within his party and in his coalition, as Iran, Islamic State and Hezbollah are either near or at the gates, one would think there would be signs of strain and fatigue on the Prime Minister’s face, extreme agitation in his demeanor.

But when Netanyahu met with the Post in his Jerusalem office just an hour or so after a budgetary meeting with Finance Minister Yair Lapid that did not produce an agreement, he looked – counter-intuitively – as fresh and relaxed as if he had just left the gym and was ready to start a promising new day.

“How are you doing?” I asked innocuously on entering.

“Good,” he replied. “Really, very good.” His jaunty manner, surprisingly, did not belie his words, leaving this guest wondering how – with everything going on in the region and in his coalition, and with the fate of the Jewish people resting on his shoulders – he could claim to be doing “good.”

But then you hear him talk, and it starts to make sense.

Having now spent nearly nine years as Prime Minister, without a serious political challenger anywhere on the horizon, Netanyahu is a man who feels not only confident, but vindicated. He is looking out at the world with a barely suppressible I-told-you-so attitude.

Netanyahu is a leader who feels he has correctly predicted the future, often going very much against the grain to do so.

He accurately foresaw the disastrous consequences that would follow the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip; he predicted the Arab Spring would not – as the Thomas Friedmans of the world gushed – give birth to “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” in the Arab world; and he pushed hard, and successfully, for tough economic sanctions against Iran, saying this would have a significant impact on the country.

He also feels vindicated by the recent Gaza operation – that it proves to all the absolute necessity of the security requirements he has so long demanded from the Palestinian Authority, before signaling a willingness to withdraw from any additional territory .

“I call it like I see it,” he said, clearly relishing that role, even if it means needing to “punch through the rising tide of political correctness.”

Political correctness, and – he could have added – “conventional wisdom.”

Conventional wisdom holds that coming out of Operation Protective Edge, now is the time for Israel – with its image tarnished in much of the world – to put forward a daring new diplomatic initiative, if not necessarily to pave the path to an elusive peace agreement, then at least to “change the atmosphere.”

Netanyahu isn’t buying.

Those hoping to see a bold new Israeli diplomatic push will be disappointed.

What is needed now instead, he said, is to “create the equation between our battle against Hamas, and the West’s battle against ISIS [Islamic State].” And as the West continues to battle Islamic State, more and more people will come to understand the true nature of the Islamic threat on Israel’s porch, something that “will help alleviate some of the criticism that is leveled against Israel.”

Maybe yes, maybe no. But Netanyahu harbors no doubts. Ticking off some of his previous forecasts that turned out to be correct, Netanyahu asked, “Who turned out to be right?” Power invigorates. So too, it seems, does a sense of vindication.

In the Rosh Hashana message you taped, you spelled out five challenges facing Israel in this order: Islamic State, Hamas, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Iran. Which of those, in your mind, is the biggest immediate danger to Israel?

The biggest threat without question is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons, which means Iran.

That is the biggest immediate threat?

It is the biggest immediate, medium and long-term threat to Israel, and to the world. Militant Islamists… have global ambitions. Not only ambitions to dominate the Middle East, but also warped ambitions to impose their horrible creed on the entire world.

There is no room for the infidels. No room for Jews, Christians, or secularists.

There is no liberty for women, who are treated as chattel, or for gays, or for minorities who are persecuted or annihilated altogether.

That is a terrible danger as it is, but it would become intolerable if these movements – or the regimes on which they are based, or the terrorists they field – have weapons of mass destruction.

Imagine ISIS [Islamic State] with chemical weapons, or with nuclear weapons. This is effectively what you would have with Iran, which is governed by an Islamic militancy that knows no bounds.

This is a great threat for the world, but first of all a great threat to us. Because we are the outpost of the civilization they abhor so much and wish to wipe off the face of the earth. They say as much. They mean it, and I take them at their word.

Iran said it is willing to join the fight against ISIS if the West shows more flexibility in the nuclear negotiations, specifically on the number of centrifuges they can retain.

How big of a concern is that for you?

That in itself is an absurd claim. Iran fights ISIS because of its own internal dispute over who will rule the Islamic world they want to impose.

For them, the battle against ISIS is derived from that.

It is the same thing with [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and Hezbollah. They fight ISIS for the same reason – because it is in their own interest. Suppose Assad would say, “I’ll fight ISIS if you give me chemical weapons back.” What would you say to that? It’s about as logical as the absurd claim that is now being made by Iran.

They fight ISIS anyway, and should not be rewarded with weapons of mass destruction.

To arm a militant regime like Iran with nuclear weapons is folly in itself, but to do so in order for them to fight what they are going to fight anyway is a double folly.

Does the West understand that?

I hope so. I do.

You’ve said over and over that ISIS is Hamas, and Hamas is ISIS, that they are both different branches of the same poisonous tree. This has not been accepted in the world. For instance, the US State Department spokeswoman said recently there is no comparison.

There are minor differences, to be sure. One wants to impose an Islamic caliphate, the other wants to impose the Mahdi [prophesied redeemer of Islam]’s return. One wants to return to the 11th century, the other to a 9th-century regime. There are other differences, but they are tactical.

The larger shared ambition is regional and ultimately global domination with no observance of human rights, pluralism or democracy, but rather the espousal of violence against their own people and everyone else.

As far as getting the message across about the similarity of the shared nature of the militant Islamists and what they represent, I think that message is getting through.

I have had long experience putting forward certain conceptions about fighting terrorism or airline hijackings, or putting sanctions on Iran or opening up our economy for competition, and many other causes and concepts that I’ve espoused that initially received the cold shoulder, but which over time more and more people accepted as self-evident truths.

They are not self-evident, but have to be punched through the rising tide of political correctness. That has never daunted me; I call it like I see it.

If you don’t identity a threat correctly, If you don’t diagnose the disease correctly, you are unlikely to treat it correctly.

And this is the first step in addressing this threat now endangering the entire world.

Is the world correctly diagnosing this threat?

It is beginning to. I’m not sure it is quite there yet, but it is moving in that direction – and that is something that we should help advance. The ones who see it best are actually many of our Arab neighbors.

They see it best; they see it clearly.

Indirect talks with Hamas are due to start tomorrow in Cairo. The presumption is that we are going to ask to keep Hamas from rearming, and prevent the demilitarization of Gaza. They are going to ask for things in return as well. What are you willing to give them?

If they don’t rearm and there is a mechanism for demilitarization, would you be willing to give them a seaport?

I’ve said more than once, that when Gaza is demilitarized and abandons the goal of destroying Israel, we are open to considering anything.

But that presumes the pacification of Gaza and the espousal of peace. That has always been our position. We don’t oppose a seaport in any Arab country.

I say that as an understatement; that is not an issue.

The real issue is whether we can ensure Israel’s vital security interests, and enable the reconstruction of Gaza and humanitarian assistance under our security requirements.

That, I think, will be the focus of what will be discussed, and certainly the focus of our current policies.

Why continue to do it indirectly? If everyone knows we are talking to Hamas, only doing it through the Egyptians, why not just cut out the middle man?

I think there is a big difference between these talks and political negotiations. That’s why I made sure the delegation is composed of security people.

It wasn’t happenstance, it was by deliberate design.

Often in situations of war, and even in the war against terrorism, you deal with sworn enemies through intermediates on certain matters of security, cease-fires or other matters.

Otherwise, there would never be a cease-fire. You always have to deal with someone, but you want to make sure that you don’t accord people who are committed to the war of terror against us any kind of political recognition.

This is the right policy.

What we want to make sure is that we go through the Egyptian channel, in order to secure Israel’s vital security interests. We are not going beyond that point into any kind of political negotiations with Hamas.

In your press conference on the day after the Gaza operation, you said there is presently a “reorganization” of forces in the Middle East creating a “possible diplomatic horizon for Israel that holds within it new possibilities for our state.” That’s a great statement, but amorphous.

Can you put any meat on that? What does that mean?

If you want to put any meat on that, don’t go beyond that publicly. If you want to do something that is not for the next headline, but to go somewhere, you want to explore whether the growing recognition of common challenges in the region can also translate itself into sharing the burden for peace among regional partners.

That is a delicate process.

Certainly a discrete process, and it remains to be seen whether we have such partners.

It is too early to say.

Would you be willing to accept the Saudi peace initiative now?

The question is not the Saudi peace initiative. If you read it carefully, you’ll see it was set up in another period: before the rise of Hamas; before Hamas took over Gaza; before ISIS took over chunks of Syria and Iraq, effectively dismantling those countries; before Iran’s accelerated nuclear program; before the takeover of Syria by al-Qaida on the Golan Heights.

Is it now irrelevant?

What is relevant, I think, is the fact that there is a new recognition among major countries in the Middle East that Israel is not their mortal enemy, to say the least, but a potential ally in addressing the common challenges. And whether we can translate that recognition of a political horizon into a peace proposal – a realistic peace proposal – is something worth exploring.

But I don’t think more can be said at this point.

But I will say that it has to be realistic. We pursue peace without ever disconnecting our wishes from our senses, from what we see around us.

You cannot pursue peace with a complete detachment to the reality around us. I never do.

I think the sober, responsible and careful approach has proven the correct one.

People say all the time, “Why don’t you take the plunge?” I think people are very lucky I didn’t take the plunge. The plunge we took in Gaza produced an Iranian proxy state in which thousands of rockets have been fired on Israeli cities, which has become a terrorist bastion that is poised like a dagger against the heart of Israel.

Some people celebrated.

I didn’t. I resigned from the government when that decision was finally made. And I warned about many of the things that came to pass.

At the time I was accused of being unimaginative, of being a doomsayer. I was completely realistic. In fact, the people who irresponsibly charged ahead proved to be wrong, we turned out to be right.

The same is true of the so-called Arab Spring. Everyone had the Pollyannaish view that the forces of liberal democracy would take over the entire Arab world. I cautioned them it was at least as equally possible – I said this as an understatement – that the forces that would come to the fore would be Islamists. Who turned out to be right? In this environment, you have to be sober and open to changes. The change that is evident is the realignment against the three sources of Islamic terrorism that threaten the Middle East: one led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; the second by the various branches of al-Qaida and its offshoots, including Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS; and the third by the Shit’tes, the radical Shi’ites led by Iran with its Hezbollah proxies.

We can explore the possibilities for cooperation, not only to resist those forces but to establish a peace we can defend. But, as I say, we should do that carefully and responsibly.

Is that exploration happening now?

I think it is worth exploring, but I cannot tell you we have crossed the divide. Everything that I’ve been speaking about [in the past] in terms of Israel’s security needs in a potential peace agreement with the Palestinians has become sharply more evident after our experience in Gaza.

We walked out of Gaza and were promised this would open the way for a broader peace, and instead it was the very opposite: rockets, terror tunnels, unmanned aerial vehicles; ground, naval and air assaults on Israel. We don’t want that to happen again. Therefore, our security requirements, as well as the idea that on the opposite side of any potential border you have an entity that wants to live with you and not destroy you, these are basic needs that have been more than borne out by our experience in Gaza.

You mentioned not wanting to take the plunge. But Israel took a hit during the Gaza operation in public opinion in the West, and it seems that to restore Israel’s standing, there will be a need to initiate something diplomatic.

I think there is a need, on the contrary, to create the equation between our battle against Hamas, and the West’s battle against ISIS.

There is a situation now where the US and many other countries are – for good reason – going to take action against ISIS. Israel took such action against an organization – Hamas – that when we started the campaign was twice the size of ISIS.

This can give people an appreciation about how determined we were to strike at them, what force we used. But even then, we used force with judiciousness. It is tough to imagine what would have happened had the situation been reversed, if they had the power we had. What would they have done? Of course we don’t use – as democracies seldom, if ever, have done since 1945 – all the power we have, because we are constrained by considerations that guide democracies. We don’t target civilians. We don’t indiscriminately flatten cities.

We don’t do that, nor – as a rule – do democracies.

Yet I think Western democracies are going to find as they fight ISIS that it will challenge them more and more, because they [ISIS] use the same tactic.

They target civilians, they hide behind civilians, and they also kill their own civilians. This is exactly analogous to what Hamas is doing.

The reason Israel was criticized in the West, besides the influence of Islamic minorities in the West and the far Left, is that some people did not understand the common nature of the battle, of the danger, that threatens all of us.

I think that as time goes by more and more will understand, and it is our task to make that even more comprehensible.

That will help alleviate some of the criticism that is leveled against Israel.

In any case, we are open to a resumption of political negotiations, but to achieve a durable and responsible peace.

That is based on two principles: recognition and security.

Recognition because you make peace only with those who are willing to make peace with you, and security because that willingness may unravel over time.

So you need very strong security arrangements on the ground, as has been clearly demonstrated in Gaza, in order to avoid the repetition of Gaza – something that I am absolutely determined to achieve.

They are signaling me our time is up, so let me ask one political question.

How do you feel now [after Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s surprise resignation last week] when you read critics saying that you are chasing away all the up-and-coming stars in the Likud Party, and you are not allowing anyone to grow in your shadow?

You know, I have had the opportunity to be in several places around the country. To go to the beach, a number of times, to meet citizens. And I actually see the exact opposite approach.

People come up to me, and I don’t mean only Likud members – that is obvious, there is enthusiastic support there – I mean people from many other parts of the Israeli political spectrum. And they come to me and say, ‘Prime Minister, we want to tell you how much we appreciate the way you led the country during the [Gaza] operation.’ I have not seen any diminution in the support for me as compared to what it was before the operation, or during the years that I have led the country, and I have not seen diminution in support for the Likud.

But won’t it hurt the Likud when Gideon Sa’ar leaves?

Quite the contrary, I’ve seen a strong increase. That’s all I would say.

THE FALL FESTIVALS

September 23rd, 2014

THE FALL FESTIVALS
by David Hocking

Rosh Hashanah is also known as the “Feast of Trumpets” and begins the Jewish New Year. On the Jewish calendar it comes on the first day of the month Tishri (Biblical information in Leviticus 23:23-25). Immediately following this day Jews honor ten days that emphasize repentance – often calling them “the days of awe.” These “High Holy Days” are ended with Yom Kippur, known as the Day of Atonement, which falls on Tishri 10. On Tishri 15 begins the joyful celebration of Succoth or the Feast of Tabernacles (continues for eight days – the first and eighth days treated as “Shabat” (Sabbath Days – “holy convocations”) – no manual labor is to be done.

Jewish tradition believes that God writes every person’s words, deeds, and thoughts in the Book of Life which He opens and examines on the Day of Atonement. If your good deeds outnumber your bad deeds for the past year, that person’s name will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year. So, during Rosh Hashanah and the ten days that follow, people can not only repent of their sins, but they can increase their good deeds and their chances of being inscribed in the Book of Life (supposedly). Of course, there is no security in such a practice, nor does the Bible teach it. During Rosh Hashanah services in a Jewish synagogue, the Shofar is blown 100 times.

ROSH HASHANAH = REPENTANCE
YOM KIPPUR = REDEMPTION
SUCCOTH = RESTORATION

Isaiah 64:6 says “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 59:1-2 states clearly: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”

King David wrote in his psalm of repentance that what we need is the “mercy of God” – Psalm 51:1-10 emphasizes that God must cleanse us from our sins and only He can make us “whiter than snow.”

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness:
According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my
transgressions. Wash ma throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse
me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin
is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done
this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightiest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide my face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Isaiah 43:25 quotes the LORD saying: “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Isaiah 44:21-22 says: “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.”

US BEGINS AIRSTRIKES AGAINST (IS) IN SYRIA

September 23rd, 2014

US BEGINS AIRSTRIKES AGAINST IS IN SYRIA
by Arutz Sheva Staff

Pentagon spokesman says American airstrikes against IS targets are under way in Syria, provides no further details.

American airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) targets are under way in Syria, according to a Pentagon official quoted by ABC News late Monday.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against [IS] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby was quoted as having said.

“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time. The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief,” he added.

Several Arab nations are involved in the ongoing U.S.-led operation, a defense official said. A diplomatic source identified the nations as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Another U.S. official said the Arab nations will be dropping bombs, not just providing support. Up to 20 locations have been targeted in the operation, many of the sites in Raqqa, the official said, according to ABC News.

In a national address on September 10, President Barack Obama said the first part of his strategy to counter IS was to “conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists.”

The Middle East has been galvanized since June when Islamic State fighters, already in control of much of Syria, swept through northern Iraq, seizing cities, slaughtering prisoners, and proclaiming a “caliphate” that would rule over all Muslims.

The White House says the group is a threat to the West as well, attracting fighters from around the world who could return to carry out attacks at home.

Secretary of State John Kerry has already received the backing of 10 Arab countries for what was described as a “coordinated military campaign” against IS and, on Sunday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for more Arab help in the campaign.

“We want them to wake up every day realizing that they are being squeezed from multiple directions,” Dempsey told reporters.

“If we can get [IS] looking in about five different directions, that’s the desired end state,” he added.

Dempsey stressed the importance of gaining more Arab participation in the U.S.-led effort, suggesting that without it the military campaign might not move to its next phase.

ISRAEL DOWNS SYRIAN WARPLANE AS GOLAN SPILLOVER INTENSIFIES

September 23rd, 2014

ISRAEL DOWNS SYRIAN WARPLANE AS GOLAN SPILLOVER INTENSIFIES Israel Today Staff

Israel on Tuesday shot down a Syrian fighter jet that crossed into the Jewish state’s airspace in the Golan Heights. The incident marked one of the more severe cases of Syria’s ongoing civil war spilling across the border into Israel.

Israeli and Syrian military officials confirmed the downing of what conflicting reports identified as either a MiG–21 or a “Sukhoi,” both Russian-made aircraft.

The Israeli army added that the fighter jet was almost certainly operating against Syrian rebels in the area, and was not on a mission to attack Israeli targets. Nevertheless, Israel has been firm in its position that any breach of Israel’s sovereignty will be dealt with swiftly and severely so as to keep Syria’s civil war from crossing the border.

But keeping the war on the Syrian side of the border has become increasingly difficult after Al Qaeda-linked rebel group Al-Nusra Front seized control of the border region earlier this month.

Syrian government forces have been frantically fighting to regain the town of Quneitra and the rest of the border region, but, despite superior firepower, have failed to achieve that goal.

While both the Syrian government and the Islamists have no love for the Jewish state, the latter has far less to lose in provoking Israel militarily.

“It’s not our war, but we are preparing ourselves for the day the situation will change,” a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post, adding that Israel could respond in great force “within minutes” should any of the forces active in Syria deliberately attack the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) that has acted as a peacekeeper along the Syria-Israel border for the past 40 years has abandoned its post.

When Al-Nusra conquered the border region earlier this month, it took captive dozens of UNDOF peacekeepers. They were later released, but the incident and the new presence of radical jihadists compelled UNDOF to withdraw to the safety of neighboring Israel.

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES DEMANDS ISRAEL RELEASE TERRORISTS

September 22nd, 2014

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES DEMANDS ISRAEL RELEASE TERRORISTS
By Ari Yashar (Arutz Sheva News)

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is holding its annual “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel” (WWPPI) this week, calling on Israel to release jailed terrorists – despite the severity of their crimes and the abundance of terrorists immediately returning to terror.

NGO Monitor notes that WCC is a collective of “347 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories,” and in this year’s week-long event it will focus on ending the “illegal occupation.”

This year’s WWPPI, which is organized by the WCC’s Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF), is being held under the title “Let My People Go,” in an offensive appropriation likening “Palestinian political prisoners” – including jailed terrorists – with the Jewish people leaving Egyptian oppression in Biblical times.

According to the materials for WWPPI, all “political prisoners” should be freed. The ambiguous term is defined as referring to “any Palestinian – resident of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, or Israel – arrested in relation to the occupation.”

In short WCC calls for the release of all jailed terrorists, white-washing their crimes. One such terrorist is listed by name in the PIEF dossier: Ayman Sharawna.

As a “political prisoner” being jailed by “the occupation,” Sharawna was arrested in 2002 for his role in multiple terrorist attacks, including a bombing in Be’er Sheva that wounded 18 people. He was released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal.

Sharawna was rearrested in 2012 after returning to active terrorism with Hamas in Gaza, but was ultimately released again in 2013 after an eight-month hunger strike. After his second release, he publicly announced his return to terror.

And yet WCC lists Sharawna by name as the type of “political prisoner” whose release was an “achievement.”

The PIEF materials also falsely claim that Israel’s administrative detention of terror suspects “violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also constitutes a form of torture within a systematic policy which is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to a war crime and crime against humanity.”

NGO Monitor points out that the International Committee of the Red Cross has debunked this interpretation, writing “Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions…contains no provisions regulating internment, i.e. administrative detention for security reasons, apart from the requirement of humane treatment.”

Another claim raising eyebrows in PIEF’s program booklet, which lacks any citation or reference, is that “since 1967 about 750,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces.”

Such a figure would amount to roughly 16,000 new prisoners each year, a claim PIEF’s own booklet disproves by asserting around 3,500 Palestinian Arabs have been arrested each year since 2000.

PIEF, the organizer of WWPPI, writes it was founded “to catalyze and coordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions.”

OBAMA’S UNCERTAIN TRUMPET – AGAIN!

September 20th, 2014

OBAMA’S UNCERTAIN TRUMPET – AGAIN!
by Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)

In his Islamic State speech, President Obama said many of the right things. Most importantly, he finally got the mission right: degrade and destroy the enemy.

This alone will probably get him a bump in the polls, which have dropped to historic lows. But his strategic problem remains: the disconnect between (proclaimed) ends and means.

He’s sending an additional 475 American advisers to Iraq. He says he’s broadening the air campaign, but that is merely an admission that the current campaign was always about more than just protecting U.S. personnel in Irbil and saving Yazidis on mountaintops. It was crucially about providing air support for the local infantry, Kurdish and Iraqi.

The speech’s only news was the promise to expand the air campaign into Syria and (finally) seriously arm the secular opposition. But this creates a major problem for Obama. Just a month ago, he ridiculed the non-jihadist rebels as nothing but a bunch of?“doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.” Now he deputizes them as our Syrian shock troops. So he seems finally to have found his Syria strategy: F-16s flying air support for pharmacists in tanks.

Not to worry, says the President. We’ll have lots of other help — “a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.” He then proceeded to name not a single member of this stout assembly or offer even an approximate number.

Democrats have a habit of accusing George W. Bush of going it alone in Iraq. According to the Center of Military History of the U.S. Army, Bush had 37 nations with us. They sent more than 25,000 troops. So far, Obama has a coalition of nine: eight NATO members plus Australia. How many of those — or of the much touted Arab coalition behind us — do you think will contribute any troops at all?

Why, this grand coalition does not even include many congressional Democrats. That’s why Obama hasn’t asked for Congress’s authorization. Democrats are ambivalent about this endeavor. With an election coming up, they are terrified of casting a vote supporting it.

And what will this campaign look like? Not Iraq or Afghanistan, the President reassured the nation. The model will be Somalia and Yemen.

Is he serious? First, there’s no comparing the scale. This year has seen 16 airstrikes in Yemen, two in Somalia. Two! That doesn’t even count as a pinprick.

Second, there is no comparing the stakes. Yemen and Somalia are strategically marginal. The Islamic State controls a vast territory in the heart of oil-rich Mesopotamia, threatening everything of importance in the Middle East.

Third, are these results we want to emulate? Yemen and Somalia are failed states — unsafe, unstable, bristling with active untamed insurgencies. We occasionally pick off a leader by drone — an absurdly inadequate strategy if the goal is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, which the administration itself calls a terror threat unlike any we’ve ever seen.

And beyond the strategy’s halfhearted substance is its author’s halfhearted tone. Obama’s reluctance and ambivalence are obvious. This is a man driven to give this speech by public opinion. It shifted radically with the televised beheading of two Americans. Every poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly want something to be done — and someone to lead the doing.

Hence Wednesday’s speech. Its origins were more political than strategic. Its purpose was to save the wreckage of a presidency at its lowest ebb. (If this were a parliamentary democracy, Obama would lose a vote of nonconfidence and be out of office.) Its point was to give the appearance of firmness and purpose, i.e., leadership.

You could sense that Obama had been dragged unwillingly into this new unproclaimed war. Which was reminiscent of Obama’s speech five years ago announcing the surge in Afghanistan. In the very next sentence, he announced a fixed date of withdrawal. Then added, lest anyone miss his lack of enthusiasm, “the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own..

At the time, I called it the most uncertain trumpet ever sounded by a President summoning the country to war. I fear the campaign against the Islamic State will be a reprise.

Even the best war plans run into trouble. This one already suffers from a glaring mismatch of ends and means — and a grand coalition that is largely fictional. Difficulties are sure to come. How will the commander in chief, already reluctant and ambivalent, react to setbacks — the downing of the first American pilot or perhaps a mini-Tet Offensive in Baghdad’s Green Zone engulfing the U.S. Embassy?

On that day, we will need a steady, determined President committed to the mission. Do we have one even now?

FORGIVENESS IS A TOUGH SELL!

September 19th, 2014

FORGIVENESS IS A TOUGH SELL
by Jack Engelhard (IsraelNationalNews)

Back when I was around 15 years old I was offered a summertime job. This was in Montreal. I would have to present myself for a brief interview, but since a high authority in town had recommended me, the fix was in, it was in the bag. The interview was a formality.

The man behind the big desk began asking questions…strange questions.

“Your father is Polish. Yes?”

“No, my father is Jewish.”

“I understand,” said the man. “But he is a Polish Jew.”

I did not know what that was, and I said so. Polish? Spanish? What’s the difference?

“Polish Jews,” the man persisted, “are known to be Talmudic, no? Bookish, studious.”

True, my father knew the depths of Torah and Talmud – but bookish? He worked 14 hours a day in the leather trade.

“I am sorry,” I said. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“I mean they tend to be lazy.”

“You are very wrong, Mister…”

“Nevertheless, we cannot hire lazy people,” said the man.

That was my first brush with in-your-face anti-Semitism.

After all these years, have I ever forgiven this fellow Jew? Obviously not. Some insults and indignations stick.

Forgiveness is a tough job and a tough sell.

The Chofetz Chaim… refused to forgive a gang of louts after they tormented him, mistaking him for a tramp as he travelled incognito. But we’re approaching the High Holy Days. This is when we are commanded to clean up our act and learn to forgive. As for me, I try, and often I succeed. But just as often I can’t get with the program. I will leave it to our rabbis to define the boundaries of forgiveness. Surely I exceed the limits and am far from being righteous.

The Chofetz Chaim, however, was impeccably righteous, and he refused to forgive a gang of louts after they tormented him, mistaking him for a tramp as he travelled incognito. Later, when they found out who he really was, they begged for forgiveness, but by then it was too late. They would have to find the “tramp” again and he was forever gone.

On average, I’d say we all endure five insults a day, from a wedding invitation that excludes us to a snub at the office. Why coffee for everyone except you? How about that driver who cut you off or that lady who sneaked ahead of you in line or the co-worker who gave you a bad performance review…may he win a million dollars and spend it all on doctors?

We suffer all these snubs and indecencies and even put them out of our minds, but do we forgive?

We give it our best shot, but it doesn’t always work. There’s hurt all around and we “forgive” only to move on with our lives.

It would be impossible to survive as individuals, as a species, if we remembered every slight. But we are not angels. We are not saints. We are human.

The same two men who shake forgiving hands in synagogue – once they get on the road all bets are off.

The manager that ran the radio station where I worked as an editor – I still call him Hitler. The director who stole my idea, I call him no friend, no pal.

A movie producer friend can’t forget (or forgive) the studio boss who invited him to lunch and then stood him up at the elevator when someone “more important” came along. That happened 20 years ago. Is this an exception or a rule? I’m saying it’s a rule and that it all begins at home. Most families are dysfunctional.

Forgiveness is desirable, of course, but does not appear to be a natural human inclination…judging from my own instincts and from observing others.

How about you?

Do you forgive Ariel Sharon for Gush Katif?

We’re taught that our Torah never demands anything beyond our reach. But forgiveness – that is a tough one. That is a stretch.

(EDITOR’s NOTE: The above article is interesting and insightful – However, most of us who have become Messianic believers in Yeshua, have found that only His grace and example helps! Forgiveness is critical for all of us, no matter what the reason. It is because of our Lord’s forgiveness that we can apply that we ever find
peace and relief for what has happened to us in our lives. The Bible reminds us to forgive as He forgave us – to Him be all the glory and praise!

HAMAS ACCUSES FATAH OF SPLITTING UNITY GOVERNMENT

September 19th, 2014

HAMAS ACCUES FATAH OF SPLITTING UNITY GOVERNMENT
by Ari Yasher (Arutz Sheva News)

Hamas spokesperson charges unity PM of obeying Fatah, ‘reinforcing the rift,’ after Hamdallah admits no plans to implement deal.

The war of words between Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction continued to heat up on Friday, after Hamas lashed out at unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri gave Hamdallah a tongue lashing on his official Facebook page Friday, accusing the prime minister of “still being loyal to the orders of the Fatah movement and conducting its decisions.”

Hamdallah “isn’t behaving according to the rules of the unity government, and ignores the rights of Gaza residents and their suffering,” charged Abu Zuhri. “He is reinforcing the rift and adding to the failure of the (unity) government.”

Abu Zuhri’s verbal barrage comes after Hamdallah earlier on Friday revealed no plans have been instituted to ensure the implementation of the reconciliation agreement signed by Hamas and Fatah in April.

The prime minister instead said that all factions who signed the agreement are “fully responsible” for finding solutions to internal conflict – pushing the responsibility off of the unity government.

Just hours before Hamdallah’s comments, Hamas political official Mahmoud Zahran claimed late Thursday night that the unity pact was merely a “temporary measure,” and that Hamas was looking for “alternative solutions.”

“There is no doubt (the unity government) is a failure,” Zahran added.

Tensions between Hamas and Fatah have been at the boiling point lately, with Abbas last week threatening to end the unity deal over a range of issues, primarily among them Hamas’s foiled coup attempt against Abbas in Judea and Samaria.

In that case too Abu Zuhri struck back, saying “Abbas’s remarks against Hamas and the resistance are unjustified, and the sources of information and figures he relied on were incorrect and have nothing to do with the truth.”


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