Facing a deepening quagmire over homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions. The latest proposal from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not taken a stand on the current request for a state of emergency declaration.
have a tacit public policy it’s OK to live outdoors,” Steinberg said. “I am
strongly pushing for a clear public policy that says as a matter of right
people should be living under a roof.”
What happens when you have a state that wants to live
without rules and laws, and declare everything to be a ‘right’? You have
lawlessness, chaos, and a broken system that creates of dependent entitlement
class of sick people instead of instead of a healthy working class of healthy
people. This is the real price to pay for having a ‘sanctuary city’ in
California, New York City and in other places around the country.
The 2020 Democrats say that health care is a ‘human right’,
and that all Americans are entitled to it. They also say that all illegal
immigrants are entitled to it as well. Democrats also say that college should
be free for anyone who want s to go. Who pays for all these things?
Taxpayers, that’s who. But when you are funding the ‘rights’ of people who are
not contributing to the funding, you very quickly run out of money and
solutions as more and more people stop working and opt for all the ‘free stuff’
you told them they are entitled to.
Take a long, hard look at California right now, look at the
teeming homeless camps that line block after block of Los Angeles, and then
watch as those camps spread all the way 7-hours up towards San Francisco. This
is what Democratic leadership is offering you in 2020, this is what you will
get on a national level if you elect them.
There are so many homeless camps, LA area leaders want Newsom to issue a
state of emergency
FROM HERALD MEDIA: Facing a deepening quagmire over
homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to
sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions. The latest proposal
from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe
Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness
Supporters view such a declaration as a novel strategy to free up state and
federal funding typically reserved for natural disasters, such as earthquakes
or wildfires, and to suspend or streamline the regulatory hurdles that often
slow down shelter and housing development.
It also could block NIMBY opponents from using environmental reviews to sue
and delay or block homeless facilities from opening. But some question whether
an emergency declaration would be merely symbolic, given President Donald
Trump’s rejections of more federal funding and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s commitment
of $1 billion for local homeless programs and support for more regulatory
Last week, Newsom signed a package of legislation that,
among other things, exempts from environmental review supportive housing and
shelter projects in the city of L.A. that receive funding from certain public
sources, including the $1.2 billion Proposition HHH housing bond that voters
approved in 2016.
Another new law allows cities in Alameda and Orange
counties, in addition to the city of San Jose, to declare a shelter crisis so
those local governments can eventually bypass some planning and zoning
regulations to expedite construction.
“The governor should not sign a declaration of emergency until the
proponents identify the specific laws and regulations they want to get around,
and the resources they believe the declaration would free up,” said Gary Blasi,
a retired law professor who specializes in homelessness issues. “The state
statutes regarding emergencies were not designed to respond to long-standing
political, leadership and moral disasters.”
Newsom has not taken a stand on the current request for a state of emergency
declaration. Alex Comisar, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said
it was “a choice for the governor to make.”
“There are more questions that need to be worked through before he could
support something like that,” Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said. In 2015, City
Council members and Garcetti announced that they would declare an emergency
locally, but then dropped the idea as the mayor sought a statewide declaration
from then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who turned him down.
Then in 2018, Los Angeles declared a shelter crisis, which,
along with a legislative change, triggered streamlining of red tape around
developing emergency beds on public land. Many in L.A. have been frustrated by
the sluggish pace of construction of new shelters and housing for the estimated
44,000 residents in the county, including 27,000 in the city, who live outdoors
in tents, cars or lean-tos, as opposed to shelters or other temporary housing.
Only 477 emergency shelter beds have been added in the last 2 1/2 years for
households without children, which form the bulk of the homeless population,
according to an inventory released in September. Buscaino said he has grown
particularly frustrated that even temporary tent shelters on public land have
become bogged down in approval processes.
“We’re stopping for every red light, instead of treating this like an
emergency,” Buscaino said. Before a meeting Friday of the governor’s task force
on homelessness, headed by Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell
Steinberg, Newsom, in a letter, asked members to prioritize getting people off
He underscored that local communities must “fully enforce”
public safety and health laws, touching on the controversial issue of
sanitation sweeps of encampments and other police enforcement. He also asked
the task force for proposals to break down barriers to building housing and to
get more homeless people into treatment.
Steinberg and Ridley-Thomas are championing a legal right to shelter for
California, which would require local governments to provide a bed to every
homeless person who wants to move indoors. Steinberg also wants to require
homeless people to accept shelter if offered, although how that would be
enforced is a question mark.
Separately, local governments — including the city and county of L.A. — and
business groups also are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge
to a federal appeals court ruling out of Boise, Idaho, that has stopped
authorities in Western states from arresting homeless people for sleeping in
public when shelter space is unavailable.
“We have a tacit public policy it’s OK to live outdoors,” Steinberg said. “I
am strongly pushing for a clear public policy that says as a matter of right
people should be living under a roof.” Newsom has said he is not ready to
endorse a legal right to shelter. “What the governor has said is it’s urgent,
let’s get started,” Ridley-Thomas said. “I don’t think anything is dead.”
Before the meeting in Los Angeles County’s Willowbrook section on Friday,
Ridley-Thomas and Steinberg insisted they were not backing off. But Steinberg
repeatedly emphasized that he preferred that people be placed in permanent
housing, not a vast shelter system, which critics say could blow the state’s
budget without ending homelessness.
“The hard reality is that the governor has already done most of what would
be done if a state of emergency was to be called,” said Philip Mangano, the
former federal homelessness czar in the George W. Bush and Obama
administrations and a member of the governor’s task force. “The governor is the
homelessness czar in California, and the task force’s job is to give him big
ideas to make a difference.”
ROME — Pope Francis has publicly endorsed an essay that appeared in 2017 criticizing relations between Evangelicals and Catholics in the United States as an “ecumenism of hate.”
On Thursday, La Civiltà Cattolica journal released the transcript of a meeting between Pope Francis and a
group of 24 Jesuits on September 5, 2019, during his recent trip to Mozambique
in which the pope suggested that certain Evangelical Protestants in the United
States “cannot really be defined as Christian.”
“Two important articles in Civiltà Cattolica have been published in
this regard. I recommend them to you. They were written by Father Spadaro and
the Argentinean Presbyterian pastor, Marcelo Figueroa. The first article spoke
of the ‘ecumenism of hatred.’ The second was on the ‘theology of prosperity,’”
the pontiff said.
“Reading them you will see that there are sects that cannot really be
defined as Christian. They preach Christ, yes, but their message is not
Christian,” the pope said. “It has nothing to do with the preaching of a
Lutheran or any other serious evangelical Christianity.”
In the first essay recommended by the pope, the authors, who are both
friends of Francis, slammed conservative Christians in the U.S. as ignorant,
theocratic, Manichean, war-mongering fanatics.
For the “Evangelical right,” the authors proposed, the panorama of threats
to the American way of life “have included modernist spirits, the black civil
rights movement, the hippy movement, communism, feminist movements and so on.
And now in our day there are the migrants and the Muslims.”
The authors did not hesitate to suggest that many Evangelicals are southern
racists who reject climate change.
“Another interesting aspect is the relationship with creation of these
religious groups that are composed mainly of whites from the deep American
South,” the article stated. “There is a sort of ‘anesthetic’ with regard to
ecological disasters and problems generated by climate change. They profess
‘dominionism’ and consider ecologists as people who are against the Christian
Throughout the essay, the authors criticize a string of exclusively
Republican presidents as being tainted by the teachings of Evangelical
Protestantism. The list of those mentioned includes Richard Nixon, Ronald
Reagan, George W. Bush, and, of course, Donald Trump.
One of the most serious evils of American Evangelical Christians, the
article stated, is “the defense of religious liberty,’” which takes the form of
“a direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state.”
The authors went on to denounce the ecumenical alliance between conservative
Catholics and Evangelical Christians who align behind certain moral issues in
the public square.
“Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that
until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to
Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting
electoral mass support is concerned,” the article asserted.
This poisonous alliance over shared objectives “happens around such themes
as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other
matters generally considered moral or tied to values,” the essay claimed, which
unite Catholics and Evangelicals in “the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type
At the time of its publication, the article triggered an avalanche of critical
responses denouncing the ignorance and political ill-will underlying the essay.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, for instance, wrote a sharp criticism of the essay, saying that the authors were
guilty of “dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of
Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.”
“Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a ‘narrative of fear,’”
as the La Civiltà Cattolica article does, Chaput said,
“sounds willfully ignorant.”
In his critique of the article, Dr. Samuel Gregg called the
article “disturbing,” while lamenting the tacit anti-Americanism and
“distinctly amateur grasp of American religious history.”
As Dr. Gregg noted, to describe “Marxism-Leninism, Islamist jihadism, or
National Socialism” as evil is not evidence of a Manichaean worldview.
“It is simply recognition that some ideas are indeed wicked and lead to many
people, even nations, engaging in gravely evil acts.”
Moreover, Gregg wrote, if one looks at statements put together by various
scholars and intellectuals involved in movements such as Evangelicals and
Catholics Together, “they contain not a shred of theocratic aspiration.”
“The ecumenical discussion between those involved in these endeavors have
led over time to genuine fruit in terms of clarification of points in common,
removing misconceptions, identifying real doctrinal road-blocks, and
identifying areas where practical work to promote the common good can be
pursued together,” Gregg observed.
It is not a theocratic nostalgia that leads Evangelical and Catholic
Christians in America to make the argument that “unborn human beings are
entitled to the same protections from the unjust use of lethal force as any other
human being, or that religious liberty is more than just freedom of worship, or
that parents are entitled to insist that their children not be subjected to the
nonsense of ‘gender theory’ at school,” Gregg added.
The published criticisms of the original article by serious scholars, both
Christian and secular, ended up being so numerous they could fill a book. The
article was eventually dismissed as simply an embarrassing attempt at political
propaganda by overly zealous Italian and Argentinian clerics who were
completely out of their depth.
Which could lead one to wonder what Pope Francis could possibly be thinking
when he dredges up this ill-begotten essay out of the swamp of oblivion to
recommend it as a useful aid for understanding America’s complex religious
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,300, September 26, 2019
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: At testing times, Turkey’s Islamist strongman,
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has always sought refuge at home, taking
pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power,
having won every election in which he ran, Turkey’s self-declared Sultan is
showing signs of fatigue – and his popularity may be wearing thin.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan behaves like a cornered cat when it
comes to regional politics: he acts savagely and erratically, lashing out at both
real and imagined enemies. His adversaries are the EU (Italy, France, Cyprus,
and Greece in particular, due to a row over hydrocarbons in the Eastern
Mediterranean), the US, and Israel. In neighboring Syria he is threatening a
bloody military assault on the Kurds. He is explicitly unwanted in fellow
Muslim countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE due to his rigid support for
Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Libya he is waging a proxy war against
secular Muslims who want to oust an Islamist government in Tripoli.
At times like these, Erdoğan has always sought refuge at home, taking
pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power,
having won every election, Turkey’s Islamist strongman is showing signs of
fatigue. And as the country continues to fail both economically and
politically, Erdoğan may no longer be invincible.
“He who wins Istanbul wins Turkey” is Erdoğan’s own dictum. He may be right:
Istanbul is home to nearly 15% of Turkey’s 57 million voters and accounts for 31%
of its GDP. Erdoğan launched his political journey by being elected mayor of
Istanbul in 1994.
On March 31, a little-known opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoğlu, won
Istanbul (where more than 11 million voters are registered) by a margin of
13,000 votes. Erdoğan challenged the result and demanded a new vote – only to
lose, the second time, by a margin of 800,000. He lost both Istanbul and Ankara
after 25 years of Islamist rule.
Erdoğan’s bitter defeat came at a time of a rise in anti-government
protests, mostly focused on environmental issues. “The wave of peaceful
demonstrations – the country’s largest since the 2013 Gezi Park rallies –
suggests a newfound vitality among the opposition, with potentially deep
implications for Turkey’s democracy,” wrote Soner Cağaptay and Deniz Yüksel for
the Washington Institute. “This consolidation of power, coupled with frequent
crackdowns on protestors, left many in the opposition disheartened.”
With 4.7 million jobless and unemployment continuing to soar, 15% inflation,
and high borrowing rates, Turkey’s economy is not functioning well. The
national currency, the lira, has been volatile ever since a serious crisis last
Erdoğan is at war with Turkey’s 15 million or so Kurds. He recently
appointed government trustees to three overwhelmingly Kurdish provinces in
southern Turkey, escalating tensions between Ankara and the Kurdish southeast
and further undermining Turkey’s already problematic democratic outlook.
It would be ironic if Erdoğan were to lose power after his long stretch of
Islamist rule. Necmettin Erbakan, whom Erdoğan often referred to as “master,”
became Turkey’s first Islamist PM in 1995 when he won 21% of the national vote
and signed a coalition agreement with a center-right party. Erbakan’s political
vision featured a rigid Islamism based on an anti-Western, anti-EU isolationist
rhetoric known as “the National View” – a bizarre policy blend deeply hated by
the (then) strong military top brass. Wisely, Erdoğan parted ways with his
“master” and burst onto the political stage with a less rigid Islamist policy
calculus. His Islamism was to be compatible with Western democratic culture and
capitalism, or so he claimed. In a 2000 interview he said “he had thrown away
the shirt called “National View.”
Erdoğan and his top brass – whom Erbakan called “our naughty boys” for their
departure from the straight and narrow – held that a more pro-Western rhetoric
had to be showcased if Islamists wanted to come to power. This was a political
struggle between the Islamist conservative and reformist wings.
Erdoğan’s second-in-command was his long-time comrade Abdullah Gül. Through
a controversial parliamentary vote in 2007, Gül became president with Erdoğan,
who was PM at the time. Erdoğan and Gül thus ran the show together, à la Putin
and Medvedev. In 2009, Erdoğan appointed Ahmet Davutoğlu, a Gül confidante, as
FM, and, in 2014, as PM. The third man in Erdoğan’s hall of fame was brilliant
economist Ali Babacan, who became finance minister.
All three men grew disillusioned with Erdoğan’s increasingly despotic
one-man approach to governance. Now in political exile, they are showing signs
of making a comeback. Last year, this prospect was just another tidbit on the
Ankara political grapevine, but it has gone beyond mere speculation. Gül,
Davutoğlu, and Babacan are working day and night to formally launch their
version of a market-friendly, pro-Western, pro-democracy political party (or
Erdoğan has threatened that they will pay a high price for their “treason”
and claimed that a new party (or parties) would mean “dividing the umma.”
If launched, this would be the sixth Islamist party in Turkey’s political
history, with Erdoğan’s emerging as the only successful experiment.
How popular the “new party” will be (to use the phrase of Turkish observers)
is anyone guess. Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, supported by the
ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party, appears to be able to give him
the 50% plus one vote he needs to be reelected in the presidential elections of
2023. The “new party” will try to challenge him directly, with the aim of
winning a share of his conservative voter base. Observers rightly think the
“new party” will appeal more to “intellectual conservatives” whereas Erdoğan’s
party will continue to target less educated Islamists.
“Even if the ‘new party’ won [only] a couple of percentage points from
Erdoğan, it may be the beginning of the end for him,” an Erdoğan confidante
Iran’s Press TV tweeted in English on Wednesday with a quote from Turkey’s
leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Nuclear power should be forbidden for all or
permissible for all.” Press TV included an image of Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu appearing to be sweating.
Iran’s message wasn’t a secret: the account tagged Erdogan and included the
hashtag “#IsraelisExempt”. What is more secretive is the Iran-Turkey-Russia
alliance that is emerging and illustrated via state-controlled media.
Russian television network, similarly highlights the greatness of Turkey and
Iran as part of a campaign that clearly indicates Moscow’s support for the two.
On Wednesday, it tweeted about Iran showcasing its drone expertise amid
tensions in the Gulf. It also shared images from Erdogan’s speech in which he
slammed Israel. Russian news agency Sputnik similarly highlighted comments by
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday morning. “Turkey will probably
never buy American aircraft again,” Sputnik noted as well.
A quick look at TRT and Al Jazeera, which reflect the views of governments in
Ankara and Doha, did not reveal such strong praise for Russia and Iran. This
means that in general, Tehran and Moscow appear to be using their media arms to
curry favor with Turkey as part of a regional strategy aimed at a
Turkey-Russia-Iran triumvirate or alliance. This alliance is positioned to
upset the regional balance of power and has already been cemented through the
Astana process to discuss Syria and the post-Syrian civil war era.
Initially, Russia and Iran were on one side of the Syrian
civil war and Turkey on the other side, to the extent that in 2015,
there were theories that they might come into conflict over Syria. But over
time, things changed.
Turkey became closer to Russia – seeing a potential dealmaker that could be
trusted, and finding a warm ear in Moscow when Turkey broached the subject of
taking over parts of northern Syria, including Afrin. Moscow gave the green
light over time, allowing Turkey to use Syria’s airspace and making sure the
Syrian regime – a key ally of Russia – did not intervene. Turkey is now poised
to seek to control a swath of Syria that could result in Turkish control of
more than 30% of the country if Ankara gets everything it wants in eastern and
Meanwhile, Turkey and Iran grew closer economically, with Turkey seeking ways
around US sanctions and seeking to boost trade to $30 billion from $10 billion
in 2017. Turkey, Russia and Iran bond over Syria because they all oppose the
US’s role. Turkey accuses the US of training terrorists in eastern Syria.
Turkey, once opposed to Iran’s growing role in Iraq, has found accommodations
with Tehran after an Iranian-backed Iraqi offensive into Kirkuk in the wake of
the Kurdistan Regional Government referendum. Most importantly, Turkey is
getting Russia’s S-400 – a deal that originated in 2017 and resulted in
delivery of the system in the summer of 2019. It may go online in April 2020.
Turkey and Russia also work closely on TurkStream, the
pipeline under the Black Sea that is linked to more muscular Turkish policies
in the Mediterranean.
It’s in the media coverage by agencies and stations in these countries –
particularly the narratives of Press TV, RT and Sputnik – that we can see the
alliance emerge. These media share some basic features: criticism of the US and
Israel, a clear editorial line towards praising Turkey and highlighting, with
some glee, the growing divergence between Washington and Ankara.
Of course, Moscow and Tehran have different motives. Tehran wants Turkey as a
market amid sanctions. It wants to use southern Syria as part of its land-bridge
strategy to threaten Israel, necessitating some abeyance from Turkey. Russia
wants Turkey to also smooth the way for things in northern Syria. That means
that it doesn’t mind if Turkey re-settles refugees in eastern Syria, where the
US and mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces are present.
This will kill two birds with one stone: it will weaken the SDF-US partnership
while also moving the refugees away from Idlib. Russia’s goal is to break down
the last extremist groups in Idlib. Turkey will be glad to see them go, because
both Russia and Turkey want the last independent Syrian factions to evaporate,
and that means defeating the SDF in the East and HTS in Idlib. It means
neutralizing the last Syrian rebels by getting them to fight the SDF. Everyone
gets something in this equation, except those Syrians who dared to join
From the Syrian regime’s perspective, this may be all a bit too much – watching
its country partitioned and Moscow, Tehran and Ankara decide what is best for it.
However, Syria doesn’t have much of a choice. For its part, the Syrian regime
has been talking tough on the SDF more than in the past. But it must wonder if
a growing Turkey-Russia-Iran alliance means permanent division of Syria into
situation mirroring northern Cyprus while southern Syria is used by Iran to
fight a clandestine war against Israel.
Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, says there won’t be foreign
interference in Syria’s constitutional committee. Bashar al Assad met with
Iran’s Ali Asghar Khaji, senior aid to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif,
and told him that the US was losing in Syria. Assad asked for some details
about the recent tripartite meeting of Iran, Turkey and Russia regarding Syria.
He wondered what they had decided about the country he claims to be president
He stressed the importance of Syrian-Iranian-Russian cooperation, according to
Syrian state media SANA. Khaji smiled in return.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan holds up a map as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations
General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.,
September 24, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI)
“Israel, which was almost
non-existent in 1947, has continued until this day to seize Palestinian land
with the aim of eliminating the state and the Deal of the Century will support
those territorial ambitions,” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the United
Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
“Where are the borders of the State of Israel? Is it the 1947 borders, the 1967
borders or is there another border that we need to know of?” Erdogan asked,
alluding to Netanyahu’s plan to expand Israeli sovereignty to West Bank
Erdogan held up four maps to
illustrate his point, with the Palestinians in green and Israel in white, to
demonstrate Israel’s changing border from 1947 to today.
Erdogan also spoke against the US recognition of Israel’s 1981 annexation of
the Golan Heights.
“How can the Golan Heights and the West Bank settlements be seized just like
other occupied Palestinian territories before the eyes of the world?” Erdogan
He accused the Trump administration of wanting to destroy Palestinian statehood
with its unpublished plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Is the aim of the initiative to promote, as the ‘Deal of the Century,’ to
entirely eliminate the presence of the state and the people of Palestine? Do
you want another bloodshed?” Erdogan asked. “All actors of the international
community, and in particular, the UN, should provide complete support to the
Palestinian people beyond more promises.”
Erdogan did not speak of the refusal of the Arab countries to accept UN General
Assembly Resolution 181, the 1947 partition plan that would have created both
Jewish and Palestinian states. Nor did he speak of Jordan’s attack against
Israel during the Six Day War – despite Israeli pleas to King Hussein to stay
out of the fighting – in response to which Israel wrestled control of the West
“I am quite curious, what about this map of Israel? Where is Israel? Where does
the land of Israel begin and end? Look at this map, where was Israel in 1947
and where is Israel now, especially between the years between 1949 and 1967?”
The Turkish President then pointed to the map and said, “Look, this is 1947.
The land of Palestine. There is seemingly almost no Israeli presence on this
lands, the entire territory belongs to the Palestinians.”
He said that 1947 was the year that the “Palestinian land starts shrinking and
Israel starts expanding” and added that “Israel is still expanding and
Palestine is still shrinking.”
He called on the UN to take action and enforce its many resolutions against
Israel, as “Israel is still willing to take over the remainder of the land,”
according to Erdogan.
“Under this roof, we are producing resolutions without any effect, so when do
you think – or where do you think – justice can prevail?” he asked.
Israel and the US, he said, were busy “intervening and attacking the historical
and legal status of Jerusalem, and holy sacred lands and artifacts,” Erdogan
The Turkish President said he supported a two-state solution on the pre-1967
line and warned the US that any other resolution would not work.
“Any other peace plan other than this will never have a chance of being fair
just, and it will never be implemented,” Erdogan said. “Today, the
Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation has become one of the most
striking places of injustice.”
Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaim. His bedstead, an
iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the Ammonites; it is nine amot long and four
amot wide, by the standard amah! Deuteronomy
3:11 (The Israel Bible™)
On Sunday morning, a biannual astronomical event was marked on an ancient
structure in a remote section of northern Israel. The structure remains an
enigma to archaeologists but some link it to Biblical giants.
Stonehenge in the Golan
After the Six-Day War in 1967, archaeologists
studying an aerial map of Israel discovered a strange formation of five
concentric rings of loose rock located some ten miles east of the coast of the
Sea of Galilee, in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of
single-chamber megalithic tombs called dolmens. The formation is not
recognizable from the ground, appearing as random piles of rocks, but from
above it is quite impressive, with an outer ring more than nearly 520 feet wide
and eight feet high. It is called Rujm
el-Hiri in Arabic, meaning the “stone heap of the wild cat”, and in
Hebrew as Gilgal Refaim,
or Wheel of the Giants.
At its center is a mound of loose stones over 65 feet in diameter and over
16 feet tall, covering a burial chamber almost 20 feet long. The entire
formation is composed of over 40,000 tons of loose basalt rocks. It was
estimated that the transportation and building of the massive monument would
have required more than 25,000 working days
Estimates as to when it was built vary widely but the site is believed to be
between 5,000-6,000 years old. In comparison, the Egyptian Pyramids were built
some 4,500 years ago and Stonehenge in England was built some 3,500 years
Og: the Giant King of the Bashan
It is interesting to note that the region is known as the Bashan, where Og
the king of came out against the Israelites at the time of their entrance into
the Promised Land but was vanquished in battle. Og was an Amorite king,
the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled
towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth. Biblical scholars believe that the
Prophet Amos was referring to Og when he referred to a giant Amorite.
Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose stature was like the cedar’s
And who was stout as the oak, Destroying his boughs above And his trunk below! Amos 2:9
In Deuteronomy and later in the book of Numbers and Joshua, Og is called the
last of the Rephaim,
a Hebrew word that is sometimes interpreted as meaning ‘giants.’ The Hebrew
name of the site, Gilgal Rephaim, hints at an ancient link to these
Only King Og of Bashan
was left of the remaining Rephaim. His
bedstead, an iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the
Ammonites; it is nine amot long and four amot wide, by the
standard amah! Deuteronomy
The Biblical measurement of an amah, literally the length of a forearm, is
generally considered to be 19.2 inches, which would mean that Og’s bed was over
fourteen feet long and over six feet wide.
Midrash explains that the “fugitive” who warned Abraham that Lot had been
captured was Og. Og had escaped the flood in the generation of Noah by clinging
to the side of the Ark.
If Og had been the leader of a nation of pre-Abrahamic giants in the region
of the Golan it would certainly explain the existence of the mammoth stone
An Archaeological Enigma
There is no consensus regarding its function. Since excavations have yielded
very few material remains, archaeologists theorize that the site was not a
defensive position or a residential quarter but most likely a ritual center.
In 2007, the site was excavated by Yosef Garfinkel and Michael Freikman of
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Freikman returned in the summer of 2010 for
further investigation of the site’s date and function. Freikman believes that
the center area was built at the same time as the rings.
“I wouldn’t call it a religious center,” Dr. Freikman told Breaking Israel
News. “It was more of a gathering place for rituals, though not for burials.”
Dr. Freikman noted that by the time of the Bible and the Patriarchs, the
site was already abandoned for several hundred years.
“They probably would have known of it as a prominent geographic feature but
they would not have known what it was used for,” he said. “There are at least
five other similar sites, albeit smaller, with outer circles about 60 meters in
diameter and also surrounded dolmans.”
Circles in the Ground Measuring the Sun and Stars
Dr. Freikman wrote about Gilgal Refaim in the Journal of the Institute of
Archaeology of Tel Aviv University in 2017, noting the astronomical aspects of
“Certain architectural elements of Rujm el-Hiri are aligned with celestial
phenomena, namely with the azimuth of sunrise on specific days of the year. For
instance, it was claimed that at both equinoxes a spectator standing in the
geometrical centre of the complex would see the sun rising exactly in the east
through the ‘gunsight’ created by two exceptionally large boulders installed in
the outermost wall. Due to the precession of the earth, which gradually changes
the azimuth of the sunrise, this phenomenon cannot be observed from the same
spot today. However, as this is a very slow process, the spectator must move
aside only slightly to witness the sunrise as the architect of Rujm el-Hiri
Archaeologists Yonathan Mizrachi and Anthony Aveni, studying the structure
since the late 1980s, believe the site was used as a celestial
observatory. The entrance way to the center opens on the sunrise of the
The equinox, the instant of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes
through the center of the Sun, will be taking place on Monday morning. Notches
in the walls indicate the precise locations of the sunrise for both the spring
and fall equinoxes.
The walls at Rujm el-Hiri seem to have pointed to star-risings for the
period, and may have been predictors of the rainy season, a crucial bit of
information for the sheepherders of the Bashan plain.
Remote and Neglected
The rings of Gilgal Refaim contain more questions than answers. The site is
difficult to get to and neglected by the antiquities authorities but Dr.
Freikman prefers it that way.
“If it became part of pop culture and easily accessible to the general
public, it would become like Stonehenge or the Pyramids,” Dr. Freikman said.
“Fast food restaurants and souvenir shops would be built around it and the
crowds would destroy or steal anything worth studying. For the time being, it
is good that the general public doesn’t come in droves.”
But in addition to being a science, archaelogy in Israel has political and
“I would like to return and study the site,” Dr. Freikman said. “There is so
much to learn. But it is difficult to raise funds for sites in the Golan. Even
after President Trump recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, many people
are still reluctant to archaeological research in the area.”
and Hashem your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom
them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter. Deuteronomy
7:2 (The Israel Bible™)
Iran is no longer limited by its geographic borders, and has the ability to
destroy Israel in “half a day,” said Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda on
Alamolhoda, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
in Khorasan Razavi province, said during a televised sermon on Friday that the
Islamic Republic was no longer defined by its borders, as the Popular
Mobilization Units in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the
national front in Syria and Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza “are Iran.”
He went on to state that if Iran’s borders were trespassed, Israel would be
“turned to dust in half a day,” and confirmed that Iran played a role in the
Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields in Saudi
Alamolhoda: Today’s Iran is not just Iran. It is not limited by geographical
borders. Today, the PMU in Iraq is Iran. Hezbollah in Lebanon is Iran. Ansar
Allah [the Houthis] in Yemen is Iran. The national front in Syria is Iran. The
Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Palestine are Iran. They have all become Iran. Iran
is no longer just us. The sayyed of the Resistance [Hezbollah leader Hassan
Nasrallah] has announced that the resistance in the region has one imam and
that this imam is the honorable leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
Today, Iran is the resistance in the region. This means that if you trespass
our border, Israel will turn into dust in half a day.
Audience: Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Khamenei is the leader!
Death to those who oppose the rule of the jurisprudent! Salutations upon the
warriors of Islam! Peace be upon the martyrs! Death to America! Death to
England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels! Death to Israel!
Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda: Do you even understand where Iran is? Do you
look to see where it is? Isn’t south Lebanon Iran? Isn’t Hezbollah Iran? The
Yemeni-sent drones that caused such damage to Saudi Arabia—wasn’t Iran there?
You say that [the drones] came from the north and not from the south. South or
north—what difference does it make? Iran is both to your south and to your
“The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government they come from God,” President Donald Trump said. “This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the first amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.” Trump noted that 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is in danger or outright banned, and called for the world to end religious persecution and release prisoners held for professing their belief.
Donald Trump led a United Nations event promoting religious freedom on Monday,
reminding world leaders that all rights came from God.
President Trump today had the attention of nearly all the leaders of the free
world, and he had a message for each and every one of them. In a stunning
rebuke, President Trump reminded his listeners, many of them leaders on nations
that persecute Christians, that human rights ‘come from God’ and as such cannot
be taken away. Trump went on to say protecting religious freedom was one of his
highest priorities. What an incredible polar opposite from the previous
president’s constant promotion of Islam and Sharia Law.
“Therefore wait ye upon
me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my
determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the
kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for
all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” Zephaniah 3:8
The fact that the United Nations exists,
as the end times gathering of all the nations of the world, leaps off the pages
of Bible prophecy where God say that His desire is to ‘gather the nations’ and
to ‘assemble the kingdoms’, so that He may judge them for their rejection of
Him. Think about that the next time you read any story about the UN. They exist
as a unified body because God says in the last days all the nations of the
world will be ‘gathered together’. Yet another end times prophecy in the
Trump at the United Nations: Human Rights Come from God, Not Government
FROM BREITBART NEWS: “The United States is founded on the principle that our
rights do not come from government they come from God,” he said. “This immortal
truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the
first amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.”
Trump noted that 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries
where religious freedom is in danger or outright banned, and called for the
world to end religious persecution and release prisoners held for professing
“As president, protecting religious
freedom is one of my highest priorities and always has been,” Trump said.
president noted sadly that an estimated 11 Christians are killed every day
around the world for following their faith.
“Our Founders understood that no
right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than
the right to follow one’s religious convictions,” he said.
Trump vowed that the United States would always stand for religious
freedom, and urged all governments to do the same.
“We ask the governments of the world
to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by
their faith, and give glory to God,” he said.
Trump was introduced at the event by Vice President Mike Pence, who thanked the
president for being the first United States president to lead an event on the
United Nations on religious freedom.
Pence specifically called out ISIS
terrorists, and countries such as Iran, China, Nicaragua, and Venezuela for
their abuses against people of different faiths.
At the parade, the Islamic republic displayed the Khordad-3 air defence system that shot down a US drone in June. It also showcased the long-range, surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile that can travel more than 1,250 miles, bringing it in range of US bases in the region and arch-foe Israel. Saudi Arabia and the US accuse Iran of attacking Saudi oil facilities on September 14, the biggest such assault on the world’s top oil exporter.
Iran’s president has warned American and other foreign forces to “stay
away” from the region, as Tehran paraded their Khordad-3 air defense long-range
missile system capable of reaching American bases.
On one hand, the global community is long-used to hearing
empty threats of war from Iran that almost never actually materialize, I get
that. But to dismiss them as a ‘ mickey mouse’ country that we should just
laugh off is foolish. No one was laughing back in June when Iran was able to successfully
shoot from the sky a US
RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone that cost $125 million
dollars. President Trump threatened Iran with ‘very
severe consequences‘ but called
off the attack at the last minute. And despite those very harsh
sanctions, Iran has only grown bolder as evidenced in the recent proxy attack
on the Saudi
Aramco oil refinery.
“…and shalt call his name Ishmael;
because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man;
his hand will beagainst every man, and every
man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his
brethren.” Genesis 16:11,12
Obviously, Iran is no match for the might of the United
States military in head-on conflict, but look at Afghanistan. We have been fighting
them for 20 years without victory, Iran looks at that and figures
they’ll continue to run their mouth and roll the dice. So far it’s been a
pretty good strategy for them. Iran has been quietly building their Khordad-3
air defense missile system, and to be quite honest, that’s no joke, either. The
United States needs to take all threats from Tehran seriously. Because if we
don’t, we’re going to get clipped.
Iran’s president warns America to ‘stay away’ as it unveils long range
missiles that could strike US bases
FROM YAHOO NEWS: Hassan Rouhani said the presence of such
troops in the Gulf has always brought “pain and misery”, in a speech made at an
annual military parade to commemorate the war with Iraq. Mr. Rouhani spoke in
response to an announcement made by the US on Friday that it was sending more
troops to Saudi Arabia after an attack on Saudi
oil facilities both nations blame on Iran.
“Wherever the Americans or our enemies have gone, there has been insecurity
afterward,” the Iranian president said. “The farther you keep yourselves from
our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”
At the parade, the Islamic republic displayed the Khordad-3
air defence system that shot down a US drone in June. It also showcased the
long-range, surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile that can travel more than 1,250
miles, bringing it in range of US bases in the region and arch-foe Israel.
Iran denies involvement in the attack, which was claimed by
Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a
Saudi-led alliance in the civil war. US President Donald Trump had said it
would step up to protect Saudi but would take its cue from Saudi. Riyadh has
said it has evidence Iranian missiles were used in last weekend’s attack and
that they were launched from the north, but did not go so far as to say they
came from Iranian territory.
Should the accusation be proven, it would mark such a serious escalation in
the long-running conflict between Saudi and Iran that the former could be
forced to retaliate.
“We hold Iran responsible because the missiles and the drones that were
fired at Saudi Arabia were Iranian-built and Iranian-delivered,” Adel
al-Jubeir, Saudi’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday. “But
to launch an attack from your territory, if that is the case, puts us in a
different category… this would be considered an act of war,” he told CNN.
Both sides are holding their nerve, hoping to make their
case to the United Nations General Assembly later this week. Mr Rouhani, along
with US sanctioned Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, will travel to New
York on Monday, to present what he called a security plan for the Gulf.
“In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our
neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them,” he
said. It is unclear what this would look like, with the president saying only
that peace in the Strait of Hormuz could be achieved “in co-operation with
The US has already formed its own maritime coalition in the
Gulf to secure one of the world’s most vital oil trade routes with the UK,
Saudi, Bahrain and even the UAE, which has tried to keep good relations with
Tehran since the most recent tensions began
The announcement of the Abrahamic Family House, on the
Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, follows a visit by Pope Francis to the UAE in
February, the first by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula. During the trip, the
pope signed a joint declaration with the grand imam of al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed
el-Tayeb, that called for religious tolerance and dialogue. An interfaith
council to oversee projects advancing tolerance was formed as a result of the
declaration, and named the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. The Abrahamic
Family House is its first initiative.
The United Arab Emirates will build a new synagogue as part of an Chrislam
interfaith compound that will also house a mosque and church and is reportedly
set to open in 2022.
As far as advancing the end times timeline goes, 2019 has
been a banner year for Pope Francis and the coming One World Religion. We told
you back in February that the pope has travelled to Abu Dhabi where he met with
Sunni Muslim leader Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb. There the two
men signed a global peace covenant called the Document
On Human Fraternity For World Peace. From that covenant, the
Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was created to implement this end times
religious peace treaty. Now that committee has announced that there will be a
fancy new headquarters for this endeavor. The shiny, new center of global
Chrislam opening in 2022.
“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with
death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall
pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and
under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD,
Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious
corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make
haste.” Isaiah 28:15,16 (KJV)
The end times are unfolding before our very eyes, people,
things are speeding up very quickly, if you blink you’ll miss it. This is
Chrislam, it will be the foundation of the coming One World Religion the Bible
says will assemble in the last days. The Catholic Church will call the shots,
and Islam will provide the muscle with their tens of millions of jihad
warriors, now they will be martyrs for Chrislam under the command of a Roman
king. Don’t believe it? You’re watching it.
UAE To Open Chrislam Interfaith Headquarters In 2022
FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: The announcement of the Abrahamic
Family House, on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, follows a visit by Pope
Francis to the UAE in February, the first by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula.
During the trip, the pope signed a joint declaration with the grand imam of
al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, that called for religious tolerance and dialogue.
An interfaith council to oversee projects advancing
tolerance was formed as a result of the declaration, and named the Higher
Committee of Human Fraternity. The Abrahamic Family House is its first
“This is an important opportunity for
all who believe in the power of faith and humanity. It will help build bridges
between religious leaders and communities as well as foster peace and harmony
in an era that is too often defined by difference,” said Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig,
senior rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation, and a Jewish representative of
The design for the Abrahamic
Family House, by the renowned architect David Adjaye, was
unveiled during a meeting in New York this week, the second for the committee.
According to Gulf News, it will take three years to complete.
The UAE is already home to a synagogue, in Dubai, formed in 2008. Though it
receives quiet support from the Emirati authorities, its members have
largely kept a low profile. The new state-sanctioned synagogue
would mark a significant step forward for public worship of Judaism in the Gulf
In May, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the chaplain at New York University, became the
first chief rabbi of the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates.
Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near".
Watchman for Christ