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

Browsing ‘Articles’


Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

(Israel Today Staff)

The meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ended in fresh strain on US-Israel ties over construction in Jerusalem.

The Obama Administration unleashed harsh criticism of the Jewish state after learning that approval had been granted for the construction of 2,610 apartments in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos, which lies adjacent to the neighborhoods of Talpiot, Gilo and Beit Safafa.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was threatening in her tone when addressing reporters on the matter: “This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from even its closest allies; poison the atmosphere not only with the Palestinians, but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations; and call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said these new Jewish homes atop a currently barren hilltop would “call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

Earnest also described as “provocative” the purchase of homes in a predominantly Arab neighborhood by Jewish families. The neighborhood in question is today known as Silwan, but in ancient times was known as the City of David.

Netanyahu responded by noting that Obama and his staff could do themselves a favor by learning the facts before commenting.

“I think they (the Obama administration) should be acquainted with the facts first. You know? First of all, these are not settlements. These are neighborhoods of Jerusalem. We have Arab neighborhoods and we have Jewish neighborhoods,” the Israeli leader told NBC News.

Netanyahu later suggested to reporters accompanying him that the Obama Administration’s position was discriminatory against Jews, and that he could not adopt such policies.

“Arabs in Jerusalem freely buy apartments, and nobody says that is forbidden. I will also not say that Jews cannot buy property in Jerusalem. There cannot be discrimination between Jews and Arabs,” insisted the Prime Minister.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat voiced similar sentiments. In a statement released by his office, Barkat said adamantly: “Discrimination based on religion, race or gender is illegal in the United States and in any other civilized country. The 2,600 apartments in Givat Hamatos, which we [first] approved two years ago, will enable more young people from all communities and religions to live in Jerusalem and build their future here, thereby strengthening the capital of Israel. We will not apologize for that.”

Housing Minister Uri Ariel followed up by noting that Arabs, too, will be free to purchase homes in Givat Hamatos. Given its proximity to the neighborhood of Beit Safafa, it is estimated that at least one-third of the new apartments will be purchased by Arab families.

Netanyahu and his ministers were also highly critical of the left-wing Israeli movement Peace Now, which purposely made a story out of the Givat Hamatos construction plans on the same day the Prime Minister was meeting with Obama.

Netanyahu said it was “no coincidence” that Peace Now’s statement regarding Givat Hamatos had coincided with his White House visit, and slammed the group for demonstrating a “lack of national responsibility” by pulling such a stunt.


Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Justus Reid Weiner, international human rights lawyer: “…In Gaza, five Christians were kidnapped in July 2012 and forced to convert to Islam.”

“Persecution of Christians by Muslims throughout the Middle East is severe and has been progressively increasing in intensity. In the early twentieth century, Christians accounted for about twenty percent of the Middle East population. At present, this figure is estimated at around four percent.

“The persecution of Christians in the Palestinian territories is less severe than in a number of other Muslim countries. Yet, it is still discriminatory and sometimes fatal. However, this is hidden from the international community, partly by false statements from several Palestinian Christian leaders who are in alliance with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas.”

Justus Reid Weiner is an international human rights lawyer and a member of the Israel and New York Bar Associations. He would like to express his appreciation to intern Nataniel Lelental for his contributions to this project.

“A few among many more examples of persecution and discrimination of Christians in the Palestinian territories illustrate their varied nature: In April 2013, the Christian Holy Family School in Gaza was set on fire.

“Several months later, in June, five Christian schools in Gaza were closed after a Hamas government order that prohibited mixed-gender schooling. Nominally, the regulation concerned all schools in Gaza, yet the five Christian schools were the only such co-ed schools there.

“The Christian minority in Gaza is tiny and consists of between one and two thousand individuals. According to the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza, five Christians were kidnapped in July 2012 and forced to convert to Islam. In a press release, the Church stated that the police refused to intervene as Salam Salameh, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Parliament, headed the organization that was responsible for the conversion.

In Bethlehem…many of them refrain from bearing crosses in public and carrying Bibles.

“In July 2012, a court in Jericho sentenced a Christian to a month of imprisonment for eating in public during Ramadan. Five other people were also arrested for the same conduct. The chairman of the PA Supreme Court for Sharia Law stated: ‘We have to monitor the streets, and severely punish anyone who eats in public during Ramadan. This is the responsibility of the security forces…I call upon other non-Muslims to be considerate of Muslims’ feelings.’ This is in sharp contrast to Western societies, where the majority is usually called upon to be considerate of the minority.

“The Palestinian Land Law prescribes the death penalty for selling land to Jews. Various Christians have testified that it is also enforced if land is sold to Christians. Several Christian owners have been extorted to give up their land to Muslims. In practice, the legal system in the Palestinian territories provides them no recourse.

“Vera Baboun, the Christian Mayor of Bethlehem, wrote about the 2012 Christmas holiday season: ‘This is the Bethlehem we also share with the world. A Bethlehem that is the natural coexistence between Christians and Muslims, an example for the rest of the region.’

“Yet, Baboun has been subject to a smear campaign in which she allegedly discriminates against Muslims. As a result, she and her family have been repeatedly threatened. She filed a complaint with the Palestinian Authority, which she withdrew after intimidation by Fatah’s armed wing.

“Steve Khoury, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, said in May 2013, that Christians are facing continuous harassment. Due to this, many of them refrain from bearing crosses in public and carrying Bibles. He added that they are often told by Muslims to ‘Convert to Islam. It’s the true and right religion.’ Khoury’s church has been fire-bombed fourteen times.

“In December 2013, Samir Qumsieh, a Christian community leader from Beit Sahour near Bethlehem provided several examples of the intimidation the Christian community faces. He showed some examples of souvenirs sold by Christians around Bethlehem’s Manger Square, including t-shirts of the Church of Nativity which do not bear crosses as would be customary. On another occasion Qumsieh stated: ‘We are harassed but you would not know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims. This is why Christians are running away.’

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has stated: ‘Christians are not a minority here. They are an integral part of the Palestinian people. Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians, Assyrians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Copts, Melkites, Protestants and others, are all part of the rich mosaic of this free, sovereign, democratic, and pluralistic Palestine we aspire to have, and as established in our Declaration of Independence and draft Constitution.’

“This was one of Abbas’ many false statements, as Article 7 of that Constitution says: ‘The principles of the Islamic Shari’a are a main source for legislation.’”

Weiner concludes: “Unless action is taken however, Palestinian statehood may well lead to the creation of another Muslim state where minorities are brutally persecuted until additional major segments of them emigrate. The treatment and fate of the Palestinian Christians is a litmus test of the true nature of Palestinian rule.”


Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

by Benny Toker (Arutz Sheva News)

Deputy Transportation Minister welcomes PM’s speech, says it is time to talk about new solutions in the region.

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said on Tuesday that she welcomed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Hotovely said Netanyahu’s speech sent a loud and clear message that the so-called “two-state solution” is dead.

“The speech yesterday was the way to tell the world that the two-state solution had died. Netanyahu told the world that Abbas and Hamas are the same, they want to destroy Israel,” she said.

In the speech, explained Hotovely, the Prime Minister suggested that the world start thinking outside the box.

“He spoke about the Middle East, about Cairo and Saudi Arabia and in essence hinted at other solutions rather than dividing the country. He alluded to the concepts of confederation. It was an important speech,” she said.

“In principle, there was an official announcement [in the speech] that the two-state solution is impossible and that a Palestinian state will not be established. What solutions will come later requires serious discussions,” added Hotovely.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Jewish people are the exclusive sovereign, including in Shechem and Hebron. We know that in Ramallah and Shechem we have lost our effectiveness since the Oslo Accords. It is clear they will not become our supporters and therefore we need to think what to do with the population, how to let them become part of us without it affecting the demography and the Jewish majority,” said Hotovely, adding, “The new solutions require serious discussions. For starters, Israel must annex Judea and Samaria, as this sends a message to the world and to the Palestinians that we are here to stay.”

Nationalist MKs welcomed Netanyahu’s speech on Monday, saying among other things that it was a fitting response to “the lies and slanders of [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas,” and that Netanyahu had “held up a mirror in front of the western world and emphasized the immediate dangers that Iran, Hamas and ISIS place before it.”

Leftist MKs, however, were not on board with the speech, saying Netanyahu “missed the mark”.


Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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.”


Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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.


Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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.


Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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.


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.”


Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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.


Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


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.


Monday, September 22nd, 2014

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.”

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