Category: Israel

Israel is building a massive wall along its northern border

Israel is building a massive wall along its northern border,

saying the barrier is needed to protect civilians from Hezbollah attacks, but the project has raised tensions with Lebanon, which fears the fence will encroach on its territory.

The IDF insists the entire barrier is being constructed in Israeli territory, and the UN peacekeeping force in the area agrees. But Hezbollah has never fully accepted the border, and a senior Israeli military official stressed the need for the wall, saying that while Israeli intelligence closely monitors the terror group, “we are prepared for the possibility that they will surprise us.”

Wall construction along Israel’s northern border (Photo: AFP)

The official spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines during a military-led tour of the border region provided for reporters.

Israel’s military conducted a large-scale combined arms drill in northern Israel this week simulating a future conflict with Hezbollah, with which it fought a monthlong war in 2006. Israelis fear there could be a renewal of hostilities as the civil war winds down in neighboring Syria, where the Iran-backed terror organization has been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces for the last seven years.

Hezbollah is believed to have an even larger and more sophisticated arsenal of rockets than in 2006, when it fought Israel’s  military to a stalemate in southern Lebanon. That war began with a deadly cross-border raid in which Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers and abducted two others, whose remains were returned to Israel in a prisoner exchange two years later.

Brig. Gen. Eran Ofir, the commander in charge of Israel’s border wall projects, said around seven miles of the 80-mile (130-kilometer) barrier has been built. The $450 million project is slated for completion in two years. Most of the barrier is a concrete wall topped by steel mesh, sensors and surveillance cameras. Steel fencing replaces the concrete wall in especially rugged areas.

Earthmovers and other large machinery rumbled alongside a completed section of the 30-foot (9-meter) high concrete wall earlier this week near the Mediterranean coast. Lebanese soldiers looked over the barrier from a guard post on the opposite side of the Blue Line, which was demarcated by the UN after Israeli forces withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. The two countries technically remain at war.

Last month, the Lebanese army complained to UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force, saying Israeli bulldozers working on the barrier were encroaching on the Lebanese side. A Lebanese security official at the time said that following the Lebanese request, the Israeli bulldozers stopped their work and pulled back 50 meters (160 feet).

The UN Security Council warned last month that violations of the ceasefire agreement between Lebanon and Israel could lead to fresh conflict, and Lebanon’s top security body earlier this year described the planned border wall as an “aggression” against its sovereignty.

 

“This wall, if it is built, will be considered an aggression against Lebanon,” it said in a statement. “The Higher Defense Council has given instructions to confront this aggression to prevent Israel from building this so-called wall barrier on Lebanese territory,” it added.

Maj. Tomer Gilad, Israel’s liaison officer with UNIFIL, said there are monthly meetings with the Lebanese military and UN officials to coordinate the barrier’s construction.

“Even for the past year before we started this construction, we’ve coordinated this activity with UNIFIL, and through UNIFIL with the Lebanese Armed Forces. We’ve alerted them of our intention to do so, to construct this defensive mechanism,” Gilad told reporters.

Thus far, construction has proceeded “very calmly with the participation on all sides to maintain the stability,” Gilad said. “We expect UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Force to maintain stability over here throughout this construction, because this construction is a stabilizing measure.”

UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said that since construction began in February 2018, everything has been built south of the Blue Line and away from sensitive areas.

Israel says the barrier’s purpose is to defend Israeli communities from Hezbollah, pointing to sporadic cross-border attacks on Israeli troops and civilians in recent years. The volatile border between the two countries has been relatively quiet since the 2006 war, with few major cross-border attacks or incidents.

In 2010, an Israeli army officer was killed and another was seriously wounded when Israeli troops came under fire by Lebanese army forces while trimming trees on the Israeli side of the border. Three Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed in Israeli retaliatory shelling. In 2013, an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese army sniper while driving along the border, and in 2015 Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli military convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven.

The Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the army has noticed a troubling rise in “very close cooperation between Lebanese Army Forces and Hezbollah” near the Israeli frontier in the past year. He says the military expects even more Hezbollah fighters to arrive in the area after the Syrian war ends.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9373

Red Heifer Birth, Paves Way For Renewed Temple Service

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 5, 2018 , 12:17 pm

Daniel 12:10 (The Israel Bible™)

Red heifer candidate born in Israel. (Credit: The Temple Institute/YouTube screen capture)

Last Tuesday, the Temple Institute’s Red Heifer program was blessed with results; an entirely red female calf was born, paving the way for re-establishing the Temple service and marking the final stage of redemption.

Almost three years ago the Temple Institute inaugurated its Raise a Red Heifer in Israel program. Due to laws restricting the importation of live cattle into Israel, the Temple Institute imported frozen embryos of red angus, implanting them in Israeli domestic cows. The pregnant cows were raised on cattle ranches in different locations throughout the country. The cows are giving birth this summer with several calves already having been born.

One week after it’s birth, the newborn red heifer was certified by a board of rabbis as fulfilling all the Biblical requirements. The rabbis emphasized that the heifer could, at any time, acquire a blemish rendering it unsuitable. They will be inspecting the calf periodically to verify its condition.

The red heifer was the main component in the Biblically mandated process of ritual purification for impurity that results from proximity or contact with a dead body.  Because the elements needed for this ceremony have been lacking since the destruction of the Second Temple, all Jews today are considered ritually impure, thereby preventing the return of the Temple service.

The red heifer is described in the Book of Numbers.

“This is the ritual law that Hashem has commanded: Instruct B’nei Yisrael to bring you a red cow without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which no yoke has been laid. Numbers 19:2

Several heifers have been found in recent years that seemed to qualify but ultimately were unsuited for the ritual. Earlier this month, two calves born in Israel to the Institute’s red heifer program were deemed to be unsuitable for the performance of the mitzvah. One calf was a bull while the second, a heifer, had a small patch of white hair which disqualified her.

The heifer, born from a natural birth, must be entirely red, with no more than two non-red hairs on its body. It must also never have been used for any labor or have been impregnated. The existence of such a heifer is considered a biological anomaly and very rare. Fortunately, the ritual requires an infinitesimally small quantity of ashes. From the time of Moses, who personally prepared the first heifer, until the destruction of the Temple, only nine red heifers were prepared. Nonetheless, this was sufficient to maintain the ritual purity of the entire nation for almost 2,000 years.

According to Jewish tradition, there will only be ten red heifers in human history with the tenth heifer ushering in the Messianic era. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), the most renowned medieval Jewish scholar known by the acronym Rambam, wrote in his explanation of the mitzvah that “the tenth red heifer will be accomplished by the king, the Messiah; may he be revealed speedily, Amen, May it be God’s will.”

Rabbi Chaim Richman, the International Director of the Temple Institute, commented on this on the institute’s website.

“If there has been no red heifer for the past 2,000 years, perhaps it is because the time was not right; Israel was far from being ready. But now… what could it mean for the times we live in, to have the means for purification so close at hand? With the words of Maimonides in mind, we cannot help but wonder and pray: If there are now red heifers… is ours the era that will need them?”

The laws pertaining to the mitzvah are myriad and considered by the sages to be the archetypal chok, an inexplicable Torah commandment accepted solely on faith. Before entering the land of Israel after the Exodus, the heifer was burned outside of the camp. In the days of the Temple, the heifer was taken to the Mount of Olives across a causeway built specifically for this purpose to ensure that there was no inadvertent contact with areas along the way that may have been contaminated by dead bodies.

Cedarwood, hyssop, and wool or yarn dyed scarlet are added to the fire, and the remaining ashes are placed in a vessel containing spring water to purify a person who has become ritually contaminated by contact with a corpse. Water from the vessel is sprinkled on the subject, using a bunch of hyssop, on the third and seventh day of the purification process. The priest who performs the ritual then becomes ritually unclean, and must then wash himself and his clothes in running waters. He is deemed impure until evening.

No less stringent than the laws pertaining to the heifer are the laws pertaining to the site where the heifer is burned. Almost 30 years ago, Rabbi Yonatan Adler, who is also an archaeologist, performed an in-depth study into the textual references to the site where the red heifer was burned, publishing his results in  in the Torah journal Techumin. His calculations, based on the Holy of Holies being located where the Dome of the Rock stands today, led him to a spot where Dominus Flevit, a Catholic Church built in 1955, now stands. Archaeological surveys discovered unique characteristics of the site that corresponded to descriptions in the Talmud.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9367

Iran launches anti-US-Israel front – from W. Iraq, with Tel Aviv in missile range, builds base facing Golan

Aug 31, 2018 @ 18:25 Iranian forces in W. Iraq, Russian armada, US-Russian-Israeli buildup

Russia, Iran, Syria and Hamas have launched six steps to counter the US-Israeli plan to hit Iranian military targets in Syria, which National Security Adviser John Bolton finalized in Jerusalem two weeks ago. That plan is to strike Iran’s Al Qods Brigades and allied Shiite militia forces in Syrian and western Iraq, as DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources were first to reveal. The US and Israel agreed to provide each other with reciprocal air and military cover for their operations in Syria. This accord was first implemented on Aug. 23, when unidentified warplanes bombed a pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite Khataib Hezballah convoy on the Syrian-Iraqi highway.

The Russian-backed Iranian-Syrian-Hamas alliance subsequently put together six counter-measures:

  1. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Damascus with a large military delegation to sign expanded military cooperation pacts with Syrian ruler Bashar Assad. Israeli and American officials who initially made light of this event were forced to take a second look.
  2. Iran was empowered by these accords to deepen its military grip on Syria, backed by the promise of Russian military and air cover modeled on the US-Israeli mutual commitment.
  3. Tehran and Damascus agreed to retaliate for every US or Israel attack on Iran’s Al-Qods or Shiite militia forces in Syria in the same coin, i.e. by targeting US military forces posted east of the Euphrates River along the Syrian-Iraqi border, or IDF forces inside the Golan enclave. Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani was put in charge of these operations.
  4. Our exclusive sources also reveal that the new military pacts signed by Iran and Syria provide explicitly for three large Iranian bases to go up in Syria as hubs for the various Iranian command posts dispersed across the country; one outside Aleppo; a second between Damascus and the Israeli Golan border and a third at a still undetermined location.
  5. In the wake of these pacts, the United States, Russia, Iran and Israel are all engaged in military buildups in the Middle East and around Syria of intervention forces for a potential escalation.
    The Americans have prepared major naval and air strength in the region capable of rapid responses, mainly with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
    The Russians are massing a sea armada opposite the Syrian coast. Fresh arrivals on Friday, Aug. 31, raised the number of warships to 24.
    Syrian air defense networks are on the highest war alert since early this week. The IDF’s presence in northern Israel has been beefed up and the troops placed on high alert.
  6. On Friday, Iran said it had supplied allied Iraqi Shiite militias with ground-to-ground missiles with ranges of between 200km and 700km. From Western Iraq, meaning Anbar, where Soleimani has concentrated a large force, these mssiles can reach Tel Aviv; and from southern Iraq, the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The senior US allies in the region are therefore under fresh Iranian missile threat from Iraq.
    DEBKAfile’s military sources note that these missiles have long been in the hands of the Iraqi Shiite militias under Tehran’s thumb, but Iran’s leaders decided it could do no harm to release the information to its enemies at this time.
    In former articles, our sources have pointed out that a US-Israeli showdown with Iran in Syria  would inevitably spill over into Iraq.
    Hamas joined the emerging fray on Thursday, when its leader noted that the Palestinian organization also had rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. He was pointing up the collaboration between Gaza’s Palestinian rulers and Tehran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9364

BIBLE BOMBSHELL: Archaeologists unearth site of Jesus’ ‘water into wine’ miracle

THE RIDDLE of the site of Jesus’ ‘first miracle’ has baffled religious scholars for centuries. By Tom Fish / Published 30th August 2018

But now academics claim to have solved the millennia-old mystery, bolstering the case for the New Testament’s historical accuracy.

The Gospel of John famously recounts the story of Jesus Christ turning water into wine during the Wedding at Cana.

In the account, Jesus, his mother Mary and his disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his glory by turning water into wine.

Pilgrims have for hundreds of years believed the miracle site to be Kafr Kanna, a town in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee.

“We have uncovered a large Christian veneration cave complex”

Archeologist Dr Tom McCollough

But in a bombshell development, archaeologists now believe the Cana of biblical times to actually be a dusty hillside five miles further north.

And our pictures show precisely the location of the incredible find.

A number of compelling clues suggest the site is actually Khirbet Qana, a Jewish village which existed between the years of 323 BC and AD 324.

Excavations have revealed a network of tunnels used for Christian worship, marked with crosses and references to Kyrie Iesou, a Greek phrase meaning Lord Jesus.

There was also an altar and a shelf with the remains of a stone vessel, plus room for five more.

Pen News

MYSTERY: An altar marked with a cross in a tunnels has been unearthed

Pen News/Alfred Muller

NEW TESTAMENT: The site where Jesus changed water into wine has been found

Six stone jars like this held the wine in the biblical account of the miracle.

Dr Tom McCollough, who is directing excavations at the site, said there were three other sites with a credible claim to being the Cana of scripture.

“But none has the ensemble of evidence that makes such a persuasive case for Khirbet Qana,” he said.

“We have uncovered a large Christian veneration cave complex that was used by Christian pilgrims who came to venerate the water-to-wine miracle.

“This complex was used at the beginning of the late fifth or early 6th Century and continued to be used by pilgrims into the 12th Century Crusader period.

“The pilgrim texts we have from this period that describe what pilgrims did and saw when they came to Cana of Galilee match very closely what we have exposed as the veneration complex.”

As part of his evidence, Dr McCollough points to the work of first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

He said: “His references to Cana align geographically with the location of Khirbet Qana and align logically with his movements.

“The reference to Cana in Josephus, the New Testament and in the rabbinic texts would argue the village was a Jewish village, near the Sea of Galilee and in the region of lower Galilee.

“Khirbet Qana fulfills all of these criteria.”

As for the better-known site at Kafr Kanna, Dr McCollough is sceptical.

“When tourists visiting Israel today are taken to Cana, they are taken to Kafr Kanna,” he said.

“However, this site was not recognized as a pilgrimage site for those seeking Cana until the 1700s.

“At this point the Franciscans were managing Christian pilgrimage and facilitating easy passage rather than historical accuracy.”

Dr McCollough believes the discoveries at Khirbet Qana could even bolster the case for the historicity of the Gospel of John.

He said: “Our excavations have shown that this was in fact a thriving Jewish village located in the heart of much of Jesus’ life and ministry.

“For the Gospel of John, Cana is in some ways, Jesus’ safe place or operational centre. It is a place he and his disciples return to when they encounter resistance in Judea.

“I would argue our excavations warrant at least a reconsideration of the historical value of John’s references to Cana and Jesus.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9359

IDF’s New Missile Corps: “Revolutionizing Modern Warfare”

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 29, 2018 , 4:25 pm

Of David. Blessed is Hashem, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for warfare. Psalms 144:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Israel has announced that within a few years it will have a remote firing missile system that could precisely hit targets anywhere in the entire region. Intended to counter Hezbollah’s vast arsenal of mid to long range rockets, at least one military analyst thinks Israel’s new missiles are a significant game-changer.

The Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it signed a deal with Israel Military Industries (IMI) for surface-to-surface missiles that could hit targets from a distance of 18-93 miles. The exact cost of the new system was not disclosed but the ministry said it was “hundreds of millions of shekels” and would be delivered “in a few years.”

“This precision firepower significantly improves the IDF’s capabilities and enables precise impact on remote launch, immediate availability and low mission cost compared to other combat systems,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“We are acquiring and developing precision fire systems that will enable the IDF… within a few years to cover any point in the region,” added Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Hadashot news reported that among the missiles purchased were multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) with a range of 25 miles. Able to fire 18 rockets per minute with a 44-lb warhead, the rockets are precision-guided by GPS.

It was also reported that the Defense Ministry is interested in acquiring Extended Range Artillery (EXTRA) missiles that have a maximum range of 93 miles and can carry a 265-lb warhead. The EXTRA missiles will cost an estimated $300,000 per rocket.

Another missile system being considered is the Predator Hawk, a tactical ballistic missile with a range of 186 miles.

A long-range missile system has long been considered by the IDF. More accurate than artillery and without the risk of sending a human pilot into harm’s way, remotely fired missiles are intended to counter Hezbollah’s reported arsenal of hundreds of thousands of low-tech rockets.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has been proposing a “missile corp” since he first entered the Knesset as a member 15 years ago. Yediot, a Hebrew language news service, reported in January that Liberman approved a half billion shekel budget to jumpstart the missile program.

In an article published on Wednesday titled “Analysis: IDF’s New Missile Corps Will Revolutionize How Israel Wages War,”  Yaakov Katz, defense analyst and editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, praised the new IDF initiative.

“Years from now, it will also likely be looked at as one of the most significant decisions Avigdor Liberman will have made as Israel’s defense minister,” Katz wrote .

Katz explained that use of the missiles will free up the Air Force for more strategic missions. The missiles will fall under the purview of the IDF ground forces allowing for more effective coordination with the missile corp.

“Considering how Hezbollah and Hamas operate, this is a huge advantage,” Katz wrote. “It will take some time before we see these rockets in action, but one thing can be said about Liberman’s decision: Israel is once again revolutionizing modern warfare.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9353

Russian Warships Heading for Syria

 

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 26, 2018 , 3:44 pm

“You are My war club, [My] weapons of battle; With you I clubbed nations, With you I destroyed kingdoms.” Jeremiah 51:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Russian warship preparing to sail (Photo by Shutterstock)

It was reported Turkey sighted three Russian warships passing through the Bosporus last Thursday en route to Syria.

Debka File, an Israeli military intelligence website, reported on Saturday that the armada, composed of the Krivak Class Pytlivy missile frigate, the Tapir class LST (tank landing ship) Orsk, and a landing craft, the Nikolai FilchenkoThe Filchenko is the largest landing craft in the Russian fleet capable of transporting 300 soldiers and either 20 tanks and trucks or 40 armored personnel carriers.

“Debka File’s military sources conclude that the two large Russian landing craft consigned from the Black Sea to Syria are almost certainly carrying Russian marines or special forces for attacking rebel groups in Idlib from the sea or the coast,” the site reported.

Idlib is one of the final holdouts for rebel troops fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Russia already has a significant military presence in Syria to support Assad. Debka reported that approximately 60-70,000 Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels with heavy weaponry and armored vehicles have reportedly answered a call by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization to begin an offensive to conquer Aleppo and Hama. The rebels are supported militarily and financially by Turkey. The conflict in Syria has set Russia and Turkey increasingly at odds.

The US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago and a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9347

Israel’s Natural Water Reserves Lowest in 100 Years

By Tazpit Press Service August 27, 2018 , 10:55 am

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3 (The Israel Bible™)

Israel’s natural water reserves are at a deficit of 2.5 billion cubic meters – the largest in 100 years, Israel’s Water Authority said Sunday.

The extreme deficit is down to the drought which has been plaguing Israel for the past five years, with some of the country’s streams and rivers on the brink of reaching historically low levels of waterflow.

While the forecasts for precipitation may predict a slight amelioration in the drought, the Water Authority said that even a year of average rainfall will leave the Sea of Galilee’s water level beneath the “lower red line” – the absolute lowest water level which allows for pumping water from the lake. According to the Water Authority, the 160 square kilometer lake’s level is dropping by as much as a centimeter a day.

The Water Authority said that while in neighboring countries, water supplies had also been disrupted, Israel is successfully dealing with the challenges posed by the drought, as 70% of the water consumed by Israelis originates in one of five major desalination plants constructed in Israel over the past year.

A plan to deal with the crisis was approved by the government in June, in which the department of energy will construct two additional desalination plants that will pump some 100 million cubic meters of desalinated sea water into the lake’s tributaries.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9344

Naval experts concerned over China’s increasing presence in Mediterranean

The workshop held at the University of Haifa studied and assessed the issues concerning the future and character of maritime warfare in the region as well as various strategic developments.

By Anna Ahronheim

August 23, 2018 15:28

Israeli navy patrol vessels take part in a drill simulating the targeting of an infiltrated enemy vessel and the evacuation of a patrol boat, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Ashdod, southern Israel November 8, 2016.. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

The increasing presence of China in the Mediterranean region as part of the Asian giant’s Belt and Road Initiative should be a cause of concern, experts told The Jerusalem Post this week.

“What concerns us is China’s Belt and Road Initiative and its growing role in Israel’s maritime domain, especially the operating of Haifa port,” Rear Admiral (Ret.) Prof. Shaul Chorev told the Post during a two-day workshop held by the University of Haifa-Hudson Institute Consortium on the Eastern Mediterranean (Hudson Institute and the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy).

Under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Action Plan released in 2015, China’s “new Silk Road” will connect Beijing with 68 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe via land routes (the “Belt”) and maritime routes (the “Road”) with the goal of improving trade relationships primarily through infrastructure investments.

According to a report by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), a leading German think tank, the Chinese workers building the network of infrastructure developments as part of the multi-billion dollar initiative are secured by 3,200 Chinese – many of them veterans of China’s People’s Liberation Army – employed by 20 registered private security companies.

These security companies operate in places like Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq, where the risk of kidnapping or attacks against Chinese workers is high due to political unrest.

In Israel, China has invested in major infrastructure projects including the expansion of Haifa and Ashdod ports, the construction of the Mount Carmel tunnels in Haifa, and the building of the Tel Aviv light rail. Elsewhere in the Middle East, including Turkey, various Gulf emirates and Iran – which is China’s top trading partner – Beijing has similarly been active in building infrastructure projects.

According to Admiral (res.) Gary Roughead, who served as the 29th Chief of Naval Operations and Commander of the United States Fleet Forces Command, the ability to collect information by civilian systems from military systems should be of concern to both Israel and the United States.

“In a world in which so much depends on how information moves, the types of systems we are using and the ability to collect information and intelligence from those systems is of significant concern,” warned Roughhead, who today teaches at the University of Haifa-Hudson Institute Consortium on the Eastern Mediterranean, and is the Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow at the Hoover Institute, an American public policy think tank and research institution located at Stanford University in California.

“It’s not just someone listening in, but what is the technology being used in commercial systems which can bleed into military systems. How vulnerable are they to interference? It’s not something that just Israel and the Port of Haifa should be concerned about. What is being tested on an Israeli warship and how easily can those signals be picked up? What are the mechanisms in place to prevent that?”

The workshop, held at the University of Haifa, assessed the future of maritime warfare in the region as well as various strategic developments. The workshop also examined ways in which Israel and the United States can cooperate in the maritime domain.
According to Douglas Feith, director at the Center for National Security Strategies at the Hudson Institute, some civilian cyber-defense technology used for commercial purposes “are the top of the line that militaries should adapt and use for their own purposes.”

Ties and trade between Israel and China have increased dramatically in the past few years. According to data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, exports to China reached $2.8 billion in the first half of 2018, a 73% increase compared to the previous year.

While visiting Beijing in 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said China accounts for one-third of the investment in Israel’s high-tech sector.

The Belt and Road initiative, Feith added, must be looked at from various perspectives.

“If you are going to look at phenomena like this initiative, you should look at it from all points of view,” he said. “Most militaries use civilian technology, and that’s one reason why the Chinese favor economic activities like expanding ports. These are not only commercial, but commercial with military implications.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9342

Have The Temple Vessels Been Located?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 13, 2018 , 2:28 pm

Within two full years will I bring back into this place all the vessels of Hashem‘S house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Bavel took away from this place, and carried them to Bavel. Jeremiah 28:3 (The Israel Bible™)

After nearly a decade of writing, the remarkable story of one man’s quest to decipher the ancient map leading to the gold and silver Temple vessels is being published.

Shelley Neese, vice president of the Jerusalem Connection, became involved in the story over a decade ago and has spent nearly eight years writing the The Copper Scroll Project, the story of an unlikely hero who may have unraveled one of history’s most enduring mysteries.

In 2007, Neese was the editor for Jerusalem Connection Magazine and she met Barfield at a Christian conference in Texas.

“I was unfamiliar with the Copper Scrolls, and at first I didn’t believe his story about treasure maps, gold, and the Jewish Temple,” Neese, told Breaking Israel News. “All the alarm bells in my head went off. But after I looked it up, I realized that he hadn’t embellished it at all.”

Discovered in 1952 near Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea, the Copper Scroll is unlike the other Dead Sea Scrolls which are mostly religious manuscripts written on parchment. The Copper Scroll, as its name suggests, is engraved on a thin sheet of copper. And, in contrast to the others, the Copper Scroll is a list of gold and silver items and the 64 locations where they can be found.

Many archaeologists believe the Copper Scroll is an inventory from the Second Temple.In addition to gold and silver, Temple vessels and priestly vestments are listed. No archaeologist has ever succeeded in deciphering the directions contained in the Copper Scroll and finding the treasure.

The book follows the efforts of Jim Barfield, a man who, at first glance, seems entirely unsuited to search for the Temple artifacts, but whose unique skills may have solved one of history’s most enduring mysteries. Barfield, a Noahide who speaks no Hebrew, also has no background in archaeology. A retired criminal investigator for the Oklahoma Fire Department, Barfield was used to patiently sifting through the ashes to find the truth.

In 2006, Barfield was interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relevance to Bible study. At first, he was uninterested in the Copper Scroll which had no theological significance. Barfield’s fascination turned into a burning desire after he met Vendyl Jones. Jones, a Texas preacher turned Biblical archaeologist, believed Qumran to be the hiding place for the Temple vessels and spent 30 years searching for them using the Copper Scroll as a guide. Jones discovered a small vial of persimmon oil used to anoint kings and high priests, and a large quantity of what he believed was Temple incense. Barfield met with Jones, now deceased, and Jones suggested he revisit the Copper Scroll.

“Vendyl told Jim the Copper Scroll had more prophecy in it than any of the other Dead Sea Scrolls,” Neese said.

Barfield’s curiosity turned into passion and he returned to deciphering the Copper Scroll. He searched maps for the “ruins of the Valley of Achor” mentioned in the scroll. The valley is believed to be near Jericho but the precise location is unknown. As a young man, he had piloted helicopters for the U.S. Army. Using his map-reading skills to triangulate, he was able to pinpoint locations on an aerial map of Qumran. Very quickly, pieces of the puzzle began falling into place.

Part of the mysterious Copper Scroll found at the Qumran caves (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“It’s really not revolutionary what he did,” Neese said. “He figured it out using available sources in his office in Oklahoma, relying on his skills as an arson investigator.”

In one case, the scroll described steps, 40 cubits long, heading east. Barfield did indeed find stairs. The archaeologist reported the stairs to be 60 feet, or precisely 40 cubits. He also discovered the remains of a pool, precisely 40 cubits long, exactly where the scroll said it would  be. He believed he had found many of the locations listed on the scroll but to verify his theories, he needed to visit the site.

In 2007, Barfield travelled to Israel to do exactly that, but to pursue his investigation, he needed the approval of the Israel Antiquities Authority to search Qumran. Barfield met with Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) director Shuka Dorfman. Dorfman was unreceptive at first, but as Barfield laid out his proofs, explaining the signposts described in the Copper Scroll, Dorfman became enthusiastic and arranged a meeting with veteran archaeologist and Qumran expert, Yuval Peleg.

Peleg agreed to dig some exploratory holes at the site with Barfield. Less than an hour after beginning shallow test pits, Peleg received a phone call and without any explanation, Peleg shut down the dig.

This was the beginning of many bureaucratic stone walls preventing Barfield from verifying his theory. He purchased a sophisticated metal detector that could penetrate 50 feet while differentiating between ferrous and non-ferrous metal, i.e. gold and silver. Barfield applied to the IAA, asking to run a non-intrusive scan of a few spots in Qumran. His request was denied.

In 2013, Barfield was in New York where he was introduced to Moshe Feiglin who, at the time, was a Likud Member of Knesset. Feiglin was a strong advocate for the Temple and became enthused when he heard Barfield’s story, even offering to accompany him on a tour of the site. A few weeks later, the two were wandering around the tourist site, a large duffel bag in tow. They visited five spots that Barfield felt were most likely repositories for Temple treasure.

One hour later, Barfield ran the data from the metal detector through his computer. Every spot was a hit and one locus especially so.

“It showed up on the metal detector like Fort Knox,” Neese said.

The Israeli government is still not permitting Barfield to investigate and there has been a moratorium on archaeological digging at Qumran.

“It is in area C and different laws apply to the archaeology than in other parts of Israel,” Neese said. “It is disputed territory and anything that comes out of the ground can be disputed. It is possible that the Israeli government is concerned that if they dig up this massive treasure, Jordan or the Palestinian Authority will sue for it. Even if it comes from the Jewish Temple.”

In fact, the Copper Scroll, an ancient artifact inscribed in Hebrew, is currently in a museum in Amman, Jordan.

In an interview with Breaking Israel News last year, Barfield stated his motives.

“I am a Noahide,” he explained to Breaking Israel News. “I want to return the Temple artifacts to the Jewish People. It’s time.”

If Barfield is successful, it will bring the Third Temple much closer.

Not only does Neese chronicle this amazing story but she was an integral player in much of it. A native of Louisiana, she first came to Israel in 2000 with her husband, a U.S. Air Force physician. With no knowledge of Israel, she became intensely curious  about the country and received her M.A in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben Gurion University. She spent the months leading up to the Gaza disengagement in 2005 in Israel, working with a team of negotiators. When she went back to the U.S., she became the assistant to the Consul General at the Consulate of Israel to New England.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9328

Trump Approves Largest-Ever Aid Package to Israel

 

By JNS August 14, 2018 , 1:59 pm

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi 3:10 (The Israel Bible™)

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Monday, which includes a $550 million assistance package to Israel and temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. This comes amid tensions between the United States and Ankara, which is currently holding an American pastor hostage, among other political moves.

The $717 billion measure includes a bipartisan measure honoring a decade-long memorandum of understanding between America and Israel, with the United States giving $3.8 billion annually to the Jewish state.

The NDAA, titled the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019,” authorizes funds for research and development pertaining to weapon-defense systems, including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems told help Israel defend against missile and rocket threats. Additionally, the law provides $50 million for joint U.S.-Israeli work on counter-tunnel technology, which has emerged as a major security threat to Israel in recent years from the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

The annual military blueprint also temporarily blocks the U.S. delivery of the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, whom the country accuses of participating in the failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Earlier this month, the United States slapped sanctions on two top Turkish government officials involved in Brunson’s detention. The White House also placed aluminum and steel tariffs on Turkey, and Trump said last Friday that he approved a doubling of those tariffs. The tariffs and sanctions have caused Turkey’s currency, the lira, to crash.

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdish Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, helped advise lawmakers regarding the Turkey provision in the NDAA and supports the current U.S. measures against Turkey.

“The F-35 is a big step in basically telling Turkey you’re not too big to fail,” Abdulkader told JNS. “Yes, they are a NATO ally, but the United States is also concerned for its own national security interests, and based on the rhetoric coming from Erdoğan, he seems to be threatening not only NATO interests but the United States as well.”

“[The] United States must adapt to the reality that we are not dealing with the same Turkey as in the past. Turkey under Erdogan is aggressive and contradicts American interests both in Europe and in the Middle East,” said Abdulkader. “Therefore, we have to change our foreign policy accordingly that will further isolate and pressure Turkey. We have to keep in mind all of Turkey’s internal and external problems are the doing of the Turkish government themselves not the United States.”

Regarding U.S. sanctions and tariffs against Turkey, Abdulkader said that this pressure campaign cannot be limited to the country’s custody of Brunson.

Erdoğan’s hostage-taking of Americans to gain diplomatic leverage is one of many violations he has committed,” he said. “There are countless of human-rights violations by Turkey that must be considered part of the equation, including Turkish threats against Americans in Syria, the Kurds and, most recently, an attempt to raid and arrest American officials in Incirlik Air Base” in the city of Adana, Turkey.

Bill to block access to international financial markets

Aykan Erdemir, who served in the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015 and serves as a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS that the relationship between America and Turkey goes beyond the F-35 jets.

The first issue on the U.S.-Turkish relationship is that as the bilateral crisis between the U.S. and Turkey deepens, the economic crisis gets worse,” he said.

“In the next few months to come, the more important question is Turkey’s bailout.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill last month that would block Turkish access to international financial resources, such as the International Monetary Fund.

Transferring the F-35s to Turkey would be “a concern,” Erdemir said, but it would be “a security matter, and the implications would not be immediate, whereas with the economic crisis and with access to international financial institutions, the consequences would be immediate because we’re talking week, if not, months.”

The NDAA will need an appropriations bill to fund it.

Such a measure already passed the Senate Appropriations Committee; its chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), has been trying to get it on the chamber floor for a full vote in order to get it to the president before the fiscal year deadline at the end of September.

The House of Representatives passed its appropriations bill last month. Any bill from the upper chamber would need to be reconciled with the House in conference committee negotiations

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9321