Category: Israel

Nov 13

Does New Evidence of Ancient Desert Structures Strengthen ‘Sinai in Saudi Arabia’ Theory of Exodus?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz November 8, 2017 , 12:30 pm

“For the Israelites had traveled in the wilderness forty years, until the entire nation—the men of military age who had left Egypt—had perished; because they had not obeyed Hashem.” Joshua 5:6 (The Israel Bible™)

The mysterious structures are visible from above in the Saudi Arabian desert. (Google Earth)

An archaeologist using Google Earth imagery to investigate areas of the Saudi Arabian desert revealed evidence of structures not visible from ground level that some believe are signs the Children of Israel strayed far from the Sinai after leaving Egypt.

Dr. David Kennedy, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, has been flying over the lava fields in the Jordan desert for the last 40 years, studying remains of structures visible only from the air. He long suspected many more of these existed in the Saudi Arabian desert but government restrictions prevented him from conducting aerial searches.

“We tend to think of Saudi Arabia as desert, but in practice there’s a huge archaeological treasure trove out there and it needs to be identified and mapped,” Dr. Kennedy said. “You can’t see them very well from the ground level, but once you get up a few hundred feet, or with a satellite even higher, they stand out beautifully.”

Dr. Kennedy believes these 400 or so structures he refers to as “gates” may have been built by nomadic tribes at least 2,000 years ago and maybe as far back as 9,000 years ago.

Patterns of Evidence, a website that investigates archaeology in a Biblical context, considered whether this new find could be brought as proof for the theory that the Children of Israel spent some time in the Saudi Arabian desert after leaving Egypt. This theory also maintains that Mount Sinai is located in located in northwest Saudi Arabia, which was the ancient land of Midian where Moses lived after fleeing Egypt.

Though neither Dr. Kennedy nor Dr. Al-Saeed suggested any possible connection between the discovery and the Biblical Exodus, Patterns of Evidence noted that there has been conjecture from other sources that these structures were made by the Children of Israel in their 40-year desert sojourn. In fact, the exact route of the Exodus and the location of Mount Sinai is the focus of an ongoing debate among scholars.

One theory is that the 40-year wandering did pass through Saudi Arabia and Mount Sinai is there, possibly a mountain called Jebel al-Lawz (mountain of almonds) or Jabal Maqla (burnt mountain), one of the tallest mountains in the Arabian peninsula and notable for its blackened peak, both located in northwestern Saudi Arabia on the border with Jordan. Access to these mountains is restricted by the government and it is forbidden to photograph them.

The theory is based on the premise that Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai are synonymous, and Moses’ first encounter with the God of Israel was at the same location where the Children of Israel later received the Torah.

Now Moshe, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of Hashem. Exodus 3:1

There is a dispute among Biblical scholars as to whether the two mountains are indeed one and the same. This would place Mount Sinai in Midian, i.e. the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, a premise which seems to be supported later in the Bible.

Hashem our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying: You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Deuteronomy 1:6

Flavius Josephus, a first-century Roman-Jewish scholar, wrote that Sinai “was the highest of mountains in the city of Midian”, which is just outside the town of Al Bad in northwestern Saudi Arabia, seeming to support the Saudi Arabian Sinai theory.

David Rohl, an Egyptologist who worked with Patterns of Evidence to prove an earlier timeline for the Exodus, discounted the possibility that the sites in Saudi Arabia were connected to the Israelites’ desert journey.

“The walls discovered by the archaeologist belong to the late Neolithic when the Arabian peninsula had a much wetter climate, the Neolithic Wet Phase,” Rohl told Breaking Israel News.”These are agricultural or cattle enclosures from much earlier than the time of Moses.”

As an Egyptologist, Rohl prefers a version of the Exodus that more closely resembles the Biblical narrative.

Simcha Jacobovici, an Emmy-winning investigative journalist who has made several documentaries on Biblical archaeology, also discounted any connection between the new find and the Exodus from Egypt.

“This is absolutely not connected to the Children of Israel in the Desert,” Jacobovici said unequivocally to Breaking Israel News. “I think the exit from Egypt happened precisely where the Bible says it happened, and the path did not lead to Saudi Arabia. It simply makes no sense.”

When confronted by the theory that the Exodus passed through Saudi Arabia, making the location of Mount Sinai in closer proximity to Mecca than Israel, Jacobovici responded simply, “By definition, Mount Sinai has to be in the Sinai, or it’s not Mount Sinai.”

The story behind the discovery is as compelling as the discovery itself. In 2004, Dr. Abdullah Al-Saeed, a neurologist and amateur archaeologist in Saudi Arabia, explored a lava field known as Harrat Khaybar. He noted the loose stones stacked three feet high in long straight lines but without the essential aerial views, he couldn’t understand their significance and his investigation stalled.

In 2008, Dr. Al-Saeed was viewing the same sites on updated Google Earth Images and was shocked by what he saw: clearly defined rectangular enclosures. He launched an expedition and studied the site extensively, then sent his data to Dr. Kennedy for consideration.

“The question we always discuss while investigating them is, why here? Why in this stony, frightful, rugged land?” Dr. Al-Saeed wrote in his letter to Dr. Kennedy. While Dr. Kennedy was intrigued, he could not offer an answer to his colleague’s questions.

“We would have loved to fly across into Saudi Arabia to take images. But you never get the permission,” Dr. Kennedy said in an interview with the New York Times. “And then along comes Google Earth.”

Using this readily available technology, Dr. Kennedy was able to identify 400 previously undocumented stone structures in the Saudi Arabian desert. Though the investigation into the mystery of these structures is just beginning and is hampered by political realities, the existence and quantity of these structures paints a very different picture of the region in ancient times, indicating a substantial population in a region that is now uninhabitable desert.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8819

Nov 08

Major Rabbi: Texas Church Shooting Is Battle in “War on Prayer and God”

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz November 6, 2017 , 11:30 am

“The death of His faithful ones is grievous in Hashem’s sight.” Psalms 116:15 (The Israel Bible™)

The horrific mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people while they were praying in their church on Sunday, brought death directly into a house of worship, waging what one rabbi called an “attack on prayer and the Creator.”

At 11:30, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley approached the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and shot two people outside the church. He then entered the small building and, in the middle of their prayer service, opened fire with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle. At least 27 people were killed and 20 injured in the small church.

The victims ranged in age from five to 72 years old, with the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter and a pregnant woman reportedly among the dead. The shooting was the deadliest mass killing at a place of worship in modern American history, and the most fatal shooting in Texas.

Kelley was confronted by an armed civilian and fled the scene in a car. Two men drove in pursuit of Kelly until he veered off the road and stopped. When police arrived, they verified that Kelley was dead inside his car, though as of now it is unclear whether he committed suicide or was killed by those pursuing him.

Rabbi Yosef Berger noted that a mass murder in a church during prayer on this scale is unprecedented, indicating that the world is about to undergo a major transition.

“The world is entering a new period leading up to the Moshiach (Messiah) and the old rules no longer apply,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “The laws of nature have been cancelled out and we are seeing a time when natural disasters are commonplace. Rules of how people act, even in the worst of circumstances, have changed.”

The rabbi said that the norms pertaining to bloodshed in the End of Days will change drastically. He cited Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, a Spanish Torah authority from the twelfth century known by the acronym Rambam.

“Rambam hinted at this when he wrote that in the days of the Messiah, three more cities of refuge will be added to Israel,” Rabbi Berger said.

The Torah commands the Jews to establish cities of refuge for those who kill inadvertently to escape revenge from the relatives of their victims. In later days, which Rabbi Berger understands to be those of the Messiah, Israel is commanded to add three new refuge cities.

If you faithfully observe all this Instruction that I enjoin upon you this day, to love Hashem your God and to walk in His ways at all times—then you shall add three more towns to those three. Deuteronomy 19:9

Rabbi Berger believes that this teaching has a direct relevance for the Texas shooting because it indicates that “killing, intentional and unintentional, will become far more commonplace in the days before Messiah.”

“The message is clear,” Rabbi Berger concluded. “We can no longer rely on the rules of man or even the rules of nature. We need to rely only on heaven above.”

Rabbi Chaim Amsalem, a former Knesset member for Shas, decried the act, saying that it cut across all boundaries of religion and was an assault on a basic universal tenet of humanity.

“Any murder is vile,” Rabbi Amsalem told Breaking Israel News. “But to kill people while they are praying to heaven, and it doesn’t matter if it is a church, mosque or synagogue, is an attack on the Creator they are praying to.

“To kill people while they are praying, while they are directing their hearts to God, it is an intentional attack on prayer and can only be done by someone who has no fear of God.”

The rabbi drew a Biblical parallel. “If people like that exist, the world cannot exist,” he explained. “That is precisely why God destroyed the world in the flood. The world before the flood could not go on because it was entirely full of violence and totally empty of God-fearing people.”

The investigation in Sutherland Springs is ongoing and officials are hard-pressed to find a possible motive. Kelley was a former U.S. Air Force member who, according to Defense Department records, was sentenced to a “bad-conduct discharge, 12 months confinement, and two reductions in rank to basic airman” after he was court-martialed in 2012.

With a dishonorable discharge and court martial in his record, it would be illegal for Devin Patrick Kelley to purchase or possess a firearm like an AR-15 in the United States, according to the Gun Trust Lawyer.

An outpouring of support came from Israel for those affected by the shooting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a condemnation of the “savagery” and pledged Israel’s spiritual support.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted condolences from Spain.

Interfaith leader Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, condemned the killing and called for a response of religious unity.

“Terror that penetrates into a house of prayer is a cruel and terrible terror, a terror that seeks to cut down the faithful lives of innocent people,” said Rabbi Eckstein in a statement.

He emphasized the need for interfaith support at this time. “In such difficult moments, all members of the Jewish and Muslim faith must transcend the gaps and condemn any attack, in order to ensure that such shocking events will not recur again,” the rabbi added.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8806

Nov 01

Astronomy Study Confirms Biblical Account of Joshua’s Sun-Stopping Miracle

By Abra Forman October 31, 2017 , 12:30 pm

“Yehoshua addressed Hashem; he said in the presence of the Israelites: ‘Stand still, O sun, at Givon, O moon, in the Valley of Aijalon!’” Joshua 10:12 (The Israel Bible™)

The Biblical patriarch Joshua ‘stopped the sun’ on October 30, 1207 BCE by way of a solar eclipse that may have been the first recorded in history, Cambridge researchers announced Monday.

In a paper published in the scientific journal Astronomy and Geophysics earlier this month, researchers from England’s Cambridge University confirmed a theory first suggested by Ben Gurion University researchers last January: that Joshua’s miraculous ‘stopping of the sun’ during battle to allow the Israelites more time to defeat their enemies was actually an annular solar eclipse.

They even pinpointed the exact date – the afternoon of October 30, precisely 3,224 years ago.

In the Biblical account, Joshua led the Israelites into battle with the armies of five kings in order to help the besieged Gibeonites, with whom they had signed a pact. As the Israelites began to gain the upper hand, Joshua prayed for the sun and the moon to stand still in order to complete the defeat. His prayers were answered.

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. Joshua 10:13

The Cambridge researchers understood this passage as an important historical account.

“If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was being reported,” said paper co-author Professor Sir Colin Humphreys from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy. “The question for us to figure out is what the text actually means.”

The British researchers used the original Hebrew Bible to better understand the exact connotations of the verse.

“Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving,” explained Humphreys. “But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining.

“In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining.”

He added that the interpretation was supported by the fact that the Hebrew word meaning ‘stand still’ shares a root with a Babylonian word describing eclipses found in ancient astronomical texts.

While historians have long suspected that Joshua’s feat was an astronomical phenomenon, none were able to date the possible eclipse because they were only looking for total eclipses. However, Joshua’s eclipse was annular, meaning that rather than obscure the sun entirely, the moon’s passage in front of the sun was too far away to cover it completely and left a characteristic ‘ring of fire.’

With the help of the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian artifact which independently confirms the Israelites’ presence in Canaan, historians have dated Joshua’s entry into the land to between 1500 and 1050 BCE. Using complex calculations, the researchers determined that the only annular eclipse visible from the Canaan during that period took place in October of 1207 BCE. The path of this eclipse passed directly over Canaan.

The researchers were thus able to date the exact hour of Joshua’s miraculous feat: between 3:27 PM and 4:53 PM in local time (determined by sundial).

Though there may be a scientific explanation for the Biblical miracle, this in no way refutes its divinity, Rabbi Arieh Trugman told Breaking Israel News when the Israeli research was announced early in the year.

“Despite the fact that in many different areas people want to pit science against Torah, what is much closer to the truth is that in most cases there is no conflict between science and Torah,” said Rabbi Trugman. “It is very common to find many areas in which there exists an amazing confluence of  secular knowledge and Torah wisdom.”

The Cambridge researchers also noted that should the date be accepted by general historians, it could help clarify the dates of pharaonic reigns, including that of Ramses the Great.

According to the calculations and verified with Egyptian records, the reign of the pharaoh Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC, dating the reign of his father, the famous Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses the Great, to 1276–1210 BC, plus or minus one year, the researchers determined.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8796

Oct 30

Bridge Tying Saudi Arabia to Africa May Need Israeli Signoff

By Jonathan Ferziger

October 25, 2017, 4:18 AM EDT October 25, 2017, 1:25 PM EDT

  • Massive project would span waterway that sparked 1967 war
  • Israel sees Gulf of Aqaba as arena for regional cooperation

Connecting Egypt to a new $500 billion Saudi city via a bridge across the Red Sea will require cooperation from Israel, analysts say. Could it one day help integrate the Jewish state with its Arab neighbors?

Israel’s 1979 peace treaty with Egypt guarantees it access to the Red Sea’s Straits of Tiran, which the planned bridge and causeway would cross. That makes Israel’s involvement in the project crucial, says Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies & Diplomacy at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Egypt’s closing of the straits to Israeli shipping in 1967 was one of the central actions that led to that year’s Mideast War.

“There couldn’t be anything close to this unless Israel and the Saudis had the opportunity to discuss in detail their relations and this bridge,” Meital said. “There have to have been back channels.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the project, whose plans were announced Tuesday by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at an international business conference in Riyadh.

Economic Benefits

U.S. President Donald Trump appears to believe Arab nations hold the key to securing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and has touted economic ties with Saudi Arabia as one of the benefits Israel could see from a peace deal. Israeli leaders have identified the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba region as an ideal place to cement business ties with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — which, like Israel, all border the waterway.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin addressed the Riyadh conference on Wednesday, and flies to Israel for meetings on Thursday with Netanyahu and other officials. Mnuchin said he is talking to all U.S. allies in the region to work together against “threatening activities” by Iran.

Planning for the 10-kilometer (six-mile) bridge, which would carry road and rail traffic, was made possible by Egypt’s acceptance of Saudi sovereignty last year over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir that sit in the straits between the two countries, in exchange for billions of dollars in aid. Egypt’s four-decade old guarantee of unfettered passage for Israeli ships could create complications for Saudi Arabia under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea if Israel isn’t consulted on the bridge construction, says Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“I have no doubt that there have been consultations, either directly or indirectly, perhaps through the United States,” Henderson said. “As long there is no change in the status quo, Israel is presumably happy.”

Hush-Hush

Netanyahu has repeatedly said that relations with moderate Sunni Arab nations are better than ever — though most of the cooperation can’t be discussed because the countries have no formal ties with Israel.

Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief and ambassador to the U.S., Prince Turki al-Faisal, said this week that Netanyahu is exaggerating the extent of Saudi cooperation with Israel and that there are no “under-the-table” talks with the Jewish state. He spoke during an Oct. 22 conference sponsored by the Israel Policy Forum, a liberal advocacy group that distributed a video recording of his remarks.

Israeli business executives say ties with Saudi Arabia are flourishing, particularly in the fields of cybersecurity, infrastructure equipment and water conservation. Many, including Elbit Systems Ltd., Israel’s biggest non-state-owned defense contractor, deal with Saudi Arabia through U.S. subsidiaries and foreign front companies, according to employees, lawyers and Israeli government officials.

“Everybody recognizes the opportunities here, but in order not to ruin them, it’s best not to talk about them at this point,” Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, a close Netanyahu lieutenant and the only Arab member of his cabinet, said in a phone interview. “We want to find a formula to get above the radar.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8792

Oct 23

Fabled ‘Sea People’ May Be Israel’s Biblical Arch-Nemesis the Philistines

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz October 17, 2017 , 12:30 pm

“No smith was to be found in all the land of Yisrael, for the Philistines were afraid that the Hebrews would make swords or spears.” I Samuel 13:19 (The Israel Bible™)

A 3,200-year-old text that lay undeciphered for 140 years has finally been translated, revealing details of the military campaign of the fabled Sea People and the downfall of the Hittites. Most importantly, it gives definitive clues about the true identity of Israel’s archnemesis, the Philistines.

The remarkable story behind the story began in 1978 when villagers in the village of Beyköy discovered scattered pieces of a hieroglyphic inscription that, when assembled, was over 95 feet long. At the time, the inscriptions, Luwian hieroglyphics, were indecipherable, but French archaeologist Georges Perrot made detailed copies. But after local residents used the stones to build a mosque and Perrot’s copies disappeared, it seemed that the fabled inscription was gone forever.

Then in 2012, a six-inch-thick manuscript of Perrot’s work was discovered. Dr. Eberhard Zangger, the president of the Luwian Studies Foundation, teamed with Dr. Fred Woudhuizen, a scholar near Amsterdam, who is one of only two dozen people in the world able to decipher Luwian script.

“We believe the frieze to be the only contemporary account describing the fall of the Hittite Empire,” Dr. Zangger told Breaking Israel News. In the Bible, the Hittites are descended from Het, Noah’s grandson, who settled in the land of Canaan, named for Het’s father.

Canaan begot Tzidon, his first-born, and Heth. Genesis 10:15

More important to Bible scholars is what the new findings reveal about Israel’s Biblical arch-nemesis: the Philistines. Throughout the Bible, the Philistines controlled the coastal region down to Gaza. This is confirmed by Dr. Zangger’s finding, but with significant additional details.

Some historians theorized that the Philistines were not a specific nation but a conglomeration of marauding states, but the frieze’s description contradicts this theory. The inscription describes in detail the rise of a powerful kingdom called Mira, which launched a military campaign led by Prince Muksus from Troy, now in modern Turkey.

Mira was part of a confederation that comprised ‘the Sea People’, who led a naval expedition into Syria. The Sea People worked their way down the Mediterranean coast, eventually establishing a stronghold in Ashkelon.

In the Bible, the Philistines are described as conquering the coastal region. Some historians conjecture that the term Philistine refers to a confederation of nations. Dr. Zangger admits that his knowledge of the Bible is too limited to draw conclusions, but according to his findings, the Philistines, described in the frieze as Philistia, were clearly an entity unto themselves.

“The Luwian hieroglyphics state that Mira is part of the confederation, which make up the Sea People, and also describes Philistia as being part of the Sea People, all of whom came from Western Asia Minor,” Dr. Zangger explained. “They were not a unit unto themselves but they could form a unit if needed. There were 150 separate place names, and one of them was clearly Philistia.”

Dr. Zangger noted that like the other nations in the confederation, the Philistines came from Western Asia Minor.

Much of the manuscript has yet to be translated, so there may be more remarkable revelations in the future.

“This is one of the more special works of its kind in archaeology today,” Dr. Zangger said, noting that the original inscriptions, stone and bronze, may still come to light.

The team will publish their findings in Talanta archaeological journal in December, but the discoveries are in danger of being discounted due to the source material. Dr. Zangger and Dr. Woudhuizen were, after all, working from a copy of an original that no longer exists. The manuscript’s provenance has been questioned, and it has been suggested that Mellaart used ‘imagined evidence’.

In his rebuttal to skeptics of the text’s authenticity, Dr. Woudhuizen pointed out that it would have been impossible for Mellaart to fake what is by far the longest Luwian inscription discovered to date.

“Luwian hieroglyphic was only deciphered around 1950,” he stated. “I doubt whether anybody had the expertise to produce such an inscription between 1950 and 1989. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone could do it even today.”

Dr. Zangger made a final observation that is a poignant lesson for students of ancient history as well as students of the Bible.

“From the text, it is evident that the political and cultural reality was much more complicated than previously thought. Of course we need simplifications to understand and talk about what happened, but we need to remember that these simplifications are not the truth. The truth is much, much larger.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8779

Oct 18

Biblical Seal of Solomon ‘found’ in Turkey after being lost for HUNDREDS of years … and according to legend it allows its owner speak with animals

The legendary seal, which belonged to the ancient King of Israel, is believed to give its holder the power to ‘control demons and speak with animals’

By Mark Hodge

4th October 2017, 12:24 pm

THE biblical Seal of Solomon which is said to hold supernatural powers has been found after cops swooped on a suspected tomb raider, it has been reported.

The bronze seal – which belonged to the ancient King of Israel – is said to give its wearer the power to command demons and speak to animals.

Central European News

The seal, pictured, which is believed to hold supernatural powers, has reportedly been found on a smuggler in Turkey

Getty – Contributor

The Seal of Solomon, illustrated in The Book of Ceremonial Magic published 1911, is said to hold supernatural powers

Police in Turkey’s central Amasya Province say the legendary seal ring could have been recovered after authorities detained a real-life Indiana Jones.

The priceless seal was reportedly discovered along with a collection of other ancient artefacts which were in the possession of the morally-ambiguous smuggler.

Police say 10 other antiquities were recovered including five golden tablets which had up to five pages each.

Officers also seized a golden bull figurine and a bronze charm, both with ancient Hebrew inscriptions.

Solomon’s Seal, pictured on a cigarette card in 1923, is detailed in the Bible and Arabic legend

A six-page metal tablet – thought to be a Jewish sacred text known as a “Torah” – and two metal tablets believed to be amulet holders.

Local Governor Osman Varol said the artefacts are being examined by the Amasya Museum Directorate for authentication and dating.

Authorities said one suspect is being quizzed about how he came into possession of the ancient artefacts.

Solomon was revered as a prophet in Biblical times who succeeded his father David as King of Israel.

What is the Seal of Solomon?

In the Bible, the name of God was engraved on King Solomon’s ring which enabled him to control demons.

In Arabic legend the ring was given to Solomon from heaven and was made of brass and iron.

The King was also believed to be given four jewels from angels which he set in the seal enabling him to control the four elements.

In one legend, mythical beast Asmodeus, known as the King of Demons, steals the ring and throws it into the sea.

But the seal is eventually found by a fisherman and it is then served to Solomon in a fish.

The hexagon ‘Star of David’ on the flag of Israel has its origins in 14 century depictions of the Seal of Solomon

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8773

Oct 11

Analysis: What does historic Saudi-Russia meeting mean for Israel?

Analysis: What does historic Saudi-Russia meeting mean for Israel?
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
10/09/2017
Will Moscow heed Israel and Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iran in the region?

 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday wrapped up a four-day visit to Moscow where he met President Vladimir Putin.

It was the first visit by a ruling Saudi king to the Russian capital, a symbolically historic meeting that has wide-ranging implications for the Middle East.

With Iran influence at an all-time high in the region, the visit especially has major implications for Israel as Jerusalem tries to navigate the threats posed by Iran’s involvement in Syria and Lebanon.

Will Moscow heed Israel and Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iran in the region? Saudi Arabia’s opening to Russia comes in the context of the decade-long decline of US influence in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has been a pillar of US policy and alliances in the region for more than half a century, but under president Barack Obama, the Kingdom began to sense that US policy was drifting from its familiar tether.

At the G20 in January 2016, Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir said he wanted to “improve our relationship with Russia,” and called Russia a “great power.” Obama was snubbed by the Kingdom when he arrived on a visit in April 2016, met on the tarmac by the governor of Riyadh and not the king. According to various reports, Saudi Arabia and Russia have been discussing a major arms deal since 2015.

The visit by the Saudi king comes at a unique time in the Middle East. The post-Arab spring revolutions were meant to bring democracy but instead brought conflict to Libya and Syria. From Saudi Arabia’s point of view, they engendered chaos and extremism that threaten the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia intervened to stop the monarchy in Bahrain from being overthrown in 2011 and backed General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in Egypt in 2013. Initially, it supported the rebellion against Bashar Assad, endorsing the Geneva 1 communique and UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that envisioned elections and a transition from Assad’s rule.

Saudi Arabia welcomed Donald Trump’s election and hosted him in May for the Arab Islamic American Summit, attended by 50 Muslim countries; Trump criticized Iran at the summit.

Israel and Saudi Arabia share common interests in concerns about the Iranian threat to the region; Iranian involvement in Syria; and support for Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia, since the 1989 Taif Accords, has been a keen broker in Lebanese affairs only to watch Hezbollah slowly digest Lebanese politics.

Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has cemented close ties with Moscow through repeated personal meetings and phone calls.

Israel has stressed the importance of denying Iran permanent bases in Syria and its concerns about an Iranian presence near the Golan, particularly after a July cease-fire brokered by Russia, Jordan and the US.

It is “much more than just a symbolic visit,” says former Israel ambassador to Russia Zvi Magen, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.

“It’s not just a visit of the Saudi King, it’s a change of Russia’s image in the area,” he says, arguing that the Syrian context is important because Russia is the main backer of the Assad regime alongside Iran and Iran is an enemy of Saudi Arabia.

With Saudi Arabia the leader of the Sunni camp in the region, he says there is a “bitter competition” and Israel is involved on the side of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Russia has become stuck working alongside Iran in Syria, “but Russia is not interested only in Syria or only to be a friend of the Iranian player on this table. They want to be an important player in the region, together with the US.”

In this sense, he says Russia has “crossed a river” in welcoming the Saudi King and his massive 1,500 person entourage.

In the complex chessboard of Russia, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Magen says “Israel is not the main factor in this game, but is one of them.”

“We don’t know what will be the result of this visit, but generally speaking Israel is in a good position,” he says.

During the visit, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia had agreed to a memorandum of understanding on arms purchases. According to Al-Arabiya, this could include the S-400 air defense missile system.

Dr. Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, cautions that it could be a long time before this deal happens.

“It was an important visit symbolically and symbolism means a lot [in the Arab world] and to the Saudis,” he says, agreeing that in Syria both Israel and the Saudis want to reduce Iranian involvement.

To get the Russians to try and limit the Iranian footprint in Syria, he says Saudis “are willing to offer investments to Russia, such as an investment fund, and this is payment for what they are asking Russia to do in Syria.”

“Another thing that interests the Saudis in Syria is Saudi investment in rebuilding Syria and the Saudis could do that in the Sunni areas and strengthen the Sunni population,” says Guzansky.

This might be in exchange for Saudi Arabia ending backing for certain extremist rebel groups.

Saudi Arabia understands that the regime backed by Russia and Iran now have the upper hand.

“Assad will remain president for time being so [Saudi Arabia] tries to mitigate risk and lower the losses,” he says.

Another player in all this is the US. Trump is considering a new Iran policy, possibly abandoning the Iran deal or declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization. The US is trying to shore up Saudi Arabia as an ally, announcing that the kingdom was spending $15 billion on a THAAD missile defense system while the king was in Moscow.

“One needs to remember that the US and Saudis have strong relations and with Russia not replacing US instability in the Gulf, they [Saudi Arabia] are hedging their bets and have some accomplishments in Syria,” says Guzansky.

For Russia, the meeting illustrated the increased role Moscow plays in the Middle East as a power broker.

Saudi Arabia wants stability in the region after six years of chaos in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. To that end, it recognizes the dangers of extremist groups that feed off civil wars. This could lead to trade-offs in Syria as Assad remains in power and Saudi Arabia offers to accept Assad back into the Arab fold in exchange for Iranian influence being rolled back.

That would fit the Saudi goal of reducing Iranian influence in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.

Russia benefits by being seen as a wise backer of stability in the region. For Israel, this would be a welcome development as long as Jerusalem can be assured Moscow continues to weigh Israel’s concerns and Jerusalem is not left behind by Saudi overtures to Moscow.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8763

Oct 11

Ottoman Land Ownership Documents to Set Record Straight on Judea, Samaria

By JNI Media October 8, 2017 , 8:30 am

” I assign the land you sojourn in to you and your offspring to come, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting holding. I will be their God.” Genesis 17:8 (The Israel Bible™)

The IDF Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria is examining a project of translating from Turkish registration books and documents that are being kept in its possession, and documenting land ownership in the area under military rule, NRG reported Saturday. It will be part of an effort to streamline contemporary land registration procedures, which are naturally based on past documents.

The administration has in its possession handwritten land registration books from the Ottoman, British, Jordanian and Israeli periods. Some of the books are in Ottoman, an old Turkish dialect used by the imperial bureaucracy.

It is estimated that the volume of material that requires translation from official Turkish is about 100,000 pages. Some of the registration books include the names and addresses of the landowners, alongside sale or leasing transactions. Others describe plots of land and the amounts of money paid in each transactions. Some documents are accompanied by maps of the plots.

In some cases, lands were owned by the sovereign that ruled Palestine at the time. In particular in Judea and Samaria, other land was privately owned.

The Civil Administration is currently looking for a company that would carry out the translation and typing, and compile the translated material into the information systems database. The goal of the project is to make the information available to the public and civil administration employees, in order to streamline internal processes within the organization.

Meir Deutsch, Director of Policy at the Regavim movement is critical of the Civil Administration’s slow pace when it comes to setting the record straight on who owns what in Judea and Samaria, which often results in nuisance lawsuit against Jewish land buyers.

“The fact that the Judea and Samaria land registry is still written in the original Turkish illustrates more than anything else that the area of real estate [in the Civil Administration] is lagging a generation behind what is accepted in the State of Israel and in other modern countries,” he said.

According to Deutsch, “within the State of Israel, every citizen can go online and easily locate the details of the owners of each plot of land, whereas in Judea and Samaria a Jew who wants to buy land encounters an almost impassable bureaucratic wall. The Land Registry is blocked from public scrutiny – an anachronistic remnant of the anti-Semitic policy of the Kingdom of Jordan, which forbade the sale of land to Jews.”

“Only a few days ago, the Israeli government marked the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Judea and Samaria,” Deutch noted, adding, “It is high time not only to translate the land registry books, but to allow the basic right of conducting land transactions in the conventional manner.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8759

Oct 02

Extremely Rare Pillar ‘From Temple Mount Itself’ Discovered Under Kotel

By Abra Forman September 28, 2017 , 10:30 am

“He then led me into the great hall. He measured the jambs, 6 amot on either side; such was the depth of each jamb.” Ezekiel 41:1 (The Israel Bible™)

In the course of excavations underneath the Western Wall plaza, a rare Second Temple-era pillar was found which researchers believe was originally part of the Temple Mount itself.

During a decade-long project to expand public facilities at the Western Wall, or Kotel, one of Jerusalem’s largest tourist attractions, workers drilled from the floor of the plaza, at ground level, down through 33 feet of Jerusalem history to the bedrock below.

The unique project enabled workers to stabilize and construct a building over an active archaeological site. Over the course of the work, several valuable ancient artifacts were uncovered, the most exciting of which may have come from the Temple Mount when the Temple was still standing.

The pillar believed to come from the Second Temple. (Abra Forman/Breaking Israel News)

Dov Rabinowitz, Director of Education at the Western Wall, said the rare pillar had been discovered as part of an 1,800-year-old Roman wall.

“We found a stone that was more ancient than the wall. They reused it for the wall,” he explained. “It’s the first pillar, the top, the head of the pillar, from the time of the Second Temple.” He noted the intricate carving and design on the stone.

“These are pillars from the Temple Mount itself, that were reused over here.”

The pillar was reused as part of an ancient Roman wall. (Abra Forman/Breaking Israel News)

Rabinowitz said the drilling process required for the construction necessarily endangered “for sure 2 percent” of any archaeological finding, but it was the price paid to uncover centuries’ worth of artifacts.

“It could be we drilled directly through a coin with the high priest’s name on it, we’ll never know about it,” he said. He compared the dig to going through a birthday cake layer by layer.

It is very rare to find artifacts from the Temple Mount, which was destroyed for the last time 2,000 years ago. The first-ever physical evidence of the site was found by the Temple Mount Sifting Project in 2016, when over 600 colored stone tile floor fragments from the courtyard of the Second Temple were reconstructed by archaeologists.

While still under construction, the Kotel excavation site was opened to journalists during the week of Slichot, special prayers for repentance that Jews recite on the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Tens of thousands of Jews gather at the Kotel each night for the service.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8739

Sep 25

Netanyahu Lauds Israel’s Prophetic Contributions to World at UN:

By Eliana Rudee September 20, 2017 , 12:30 pm

“It is too little that you should be My servant In that I raise up the tribes of Yaakov And restore the survivors of Yisrael: I will also make you a light of nations, That My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 (The Israel Bible™)

At Tuesday’s address to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the Bible various times as a source against “fake history” and the true reason behind Israel’s flourishing in the face of its enemies.

During his speech, Netanyahu had harsh words for the United Nations, known for its anti-Israel bias. Condemning the UNESCO’s July declaration of the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian World Heritage site, he said, “That’s worse than fake news, that’s fake history.” Citing the Bible as evidence to history, Netanyahu added, “It’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so too are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah is a Jewish name, by the way – and Leah, who just happen to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. You won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report.

“But if you want to, you can read about that in a somewhat weightier publication,” he continued. “It’s called the Bible. I highly recommend it. I hear it even got 4 ½ out of 5 stars on Amazon. And it’s a great read. I read it every week.”

Netanyahu called upon the UN, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, to reflect on the “miraculous rebirth of our nation” and the “remarkable contributions Israel will continue to make to all nations.” Such contributions are prophesied in Isaiah, where it is told that Israel will become a light unto the nations that brings salvation to the world. Netanyahu acknowledged the fulfillment of that prophecy, highlighting Israel’s positive influence in “the food you eat, the water you drink, the medicines you take, the cars you drive, the cell phones you use, and in so many other ways that are transforming our world.”

“As the prophet Isaiah said, ‘I have made you a light unto the nations, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth,’” Netanyahu quoted. He concluded that Israel is amidst a “great revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations.”

Over and over, the Israeli premiere emphasized the divine origin of Israel’s great contributions to the world. “Today, 2,700 years after Isaiah spoke those prophetic words, Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations,” he said. “And at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Netanyahu also thanked United States President Donald Trump for his unequivocal support for Israel at the UN, and the Trump administration, the American Congress and the American people for strengthening “the remarkable alliance between the United States and Israel,” which he said “has never been stronger, never been deeper.” Netanyahu also thanked President Trump for rightly calling the deal with Iran “an embarrassment.”

Focusing on Iran’s ballistic missile campaign, Netanyahu called it a “campaign of conquest across the Middle East” that “vows to destroy my country every day, including by its chief of staff the other day.” He urged breaking the deal with Iran: “Change it, cancel it, fix it, or nix it,” he said.

He assured the people of Iran that they are not the enemy and instead sent a simple Biblical warning to Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran, quoting Samuel 15:29: “The light of Israel will never be extinguished.”

In his own address, his first speech before the United Nations, President Trump sent a similar message to Iran on Tuesday, targeting “rogue regimes” including North Korea, Iran, and Syria, and calling Iran “another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”

Breaking with the more mild approach American leadership has taken towards radical Islam in the past decade, Trump called out Hezbollah and other terror regimes by name, making clear he intends to take a hard line on terror in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Israeli commentator and political figure David Rubin, former mayor of Shiloh, praised Trump’s speech in an interview on Fox, stating, “I think that we can clearly say after hearing that speech that the age of American naivete is over.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8725