Category: Israel


For the past 2,000 years, there has been one famous name the top leaders of Judaism have been reluctant to talk about, let alone embrace or endorse.

That name, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth, the man who countless Christians believe is their Messiah and God of the Bible.

For most Jews, however, God’s “Anointed One,” which is what the word “Messiah” means, is still an unidentified figure.

But now, a man you might think would be perhaps the last person on Earth to champion the cause of Jesus as Messiah is doing just that, despite the fact he’s a famous Jewish rabbi and is now deceased.

A brand-new book and DVD movie officially debuting Tuesday titled “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah” tells the eye-opening story of Yitzhak Kaduri, a lifelong legend in the Jewish community who, a year after his death at age 108, had a cryptic and startling declaration issued: that the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews is a man named Yehoshua, which is another way of saying Jesus.

Not only that, Kaduri, the most venerated rabbi in Israel, claimed he had personally met the Messiah in vision, and was given instructions by Him.

As the worldwide buzz about Kaduri and his revelation begins, some might wonder if God would use an ostensible enemy of the risen Christ to proclaim His glory to all nations.

But Carl Gallups, author of “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah,” says there’s already strong Bible precedent for it.

Gallups says the best example is that of the New Testament apostle Paul, who was originally called Saul, and was a persecutor of Christians when he was a leader in the ancient Jewish community.

That was until the Messiah personally got a hold of this “enemy” to straighten him out.

“Along the road to Damascus, Rabbi Saul, the teacher of the Law, was suddenly struck down,” Gallups writes. “A light from heaven – like a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky – flashed, enveloping him in a shroud of brilliance. Its explosive sound was deafening; its radiance dazzling and blinding. Saul fell to the ground as though dead, his eyes clenched tightly, burning with pain.”

Jesus, the Messiah, revealed Himself in vision to this high-ranking Jew, a top adversary of Christians, but Gallups notes others who were traveling with Saul did not hear the message given to the rabbi.

“Saul’s companions did not hear those words; they heard only a rumbling. The message was meant for Saul’s ears only,” he writes.

The instructions given to Saul changed his entire outlook, prompting him to become a champion for Christ to the world.

Writes Gallups: “His new message was: I have had a revelation. I have spoken to the Messiah. I know who He is, and I know the signs that must accompany His return. He has given me a mission to fulfill, and I will embark upon this holy task even if it means the slandering of my name and my reputation among the Jews – even if it means my death.”

“I ask you again, could the Messiah of God reveal Himself to a Jewish rabbi? Would He reveal Himself to a mere Hebrew sage, even if that leader were engaged in wickedness, murder, and other outrages against humanity? Would He actually place His hand of revelation and anointing upon a man who spent his life attempting to destroy the work of those who first claimed the Messiah? Would the Lord then use that same man to strengthen, and even build up, the very ones he used to attack? Of course He would. And according to the Bible, He did.”

And the story of Paul is not the only example.

“Additionally, in Acts 18,” says Gallups, “we read of a ruler of the synagogue – another respected Jewish rabbi – named Crispus, who had a revelation of the true Messiah through the preaching of Paul. This leader then acknowledged Jesus Christ as Savior and the Messiah of God. Yes, God has spoken time and time again to unbelieving people – some of whom had done wicked things in their lives prior to encountering the living God.”

Another instance of a messianic revelation given to an elderly Jewish holy man is that of the experience of Simeon, recorded in chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke.

Joseph and Mary had arrived at the temple in Jerusalem to present the infant Jesus for His ritualistic dedication.

Gallups explains: “There, the man Simeon, described as one who had received a revelation from the Holy Spirit of God that he would literally lay his eyes upon the long-awaited Messiah before his own death, approaches the young parents. The account records that Simeon took Jesus in his arms and proclaimed, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel’ (Luke 2:29–32).”

“To many of Simeon’s day, it may have appeared improbable that the Lord of heaven would have made such a promise to an old man, much less fulfill the incredulous revelation. But the Lord always fulfills His word. He always keeps His promises. He never disappoints. Simeon had seen the Messiah.”

The book and DVD suggest God could be repeating this biblical pattern, with Rabbi Kaduri, a celebrated figure for decades in Judaism, as a person you’d least expect to carry the torch for Jesus, proclaiming His name not only to Jews, but to others across the globe.

“I have met the Messiah,” Kaduri told his followers on the Day of Atonement in 2005.

“He has appeared to me in a vision. He has attached his soul to a particular person in Israel. I will spend this day teaching you how to recognize the Messiah, for He shall appear soon. You must be ready for His coming. Many events of awe will take place before His coming … but they will happen quickly.’”


Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri claims to have met the Messiah in vision.

As the rabbi commanded everyone’s undivided attention and with all eyes in the congregation fixed on their beloved teacher, Kaduri somberly continued: “I must tell you something disturbing.

“I have no specific information to give you on the following matter other than what I am about to share with you now … The Messiah has revealed to me that He will not present Himself until after the death of our prime minister, Ariel Sharon.”

Just a little more than two months later, events took an eerie turn as Ariel Sharon, the 11th prime minister of Israel, suffered a massive stroke and lapsed into a coma, a state in which he remains to date.

Then 24 days after Sharon’s medical calamity, Rabbi Kaduri himself died after a brief bout with pneumonia.

Before his death, the rabbi had left a mysterious letter, which he instructed was to be unsealed a year after his own death.

When it was finally made public, the name of the Messiah whom Kaduri met after years of praying and fasting was Yehoshua – the formal name for Yeshua, or Jesus in the Greek

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Israel’s Final Warning on Iran – by Yaakov Lappin –


With no military threat, Iran has no incentive to stop its nuclear progress. Iran might well conclude that the sanctions could disappear in the course of endless rounds of diplomacy. No one in Israel seeks war, but a central tenet of its own defense doctrine is that Israel cannot depend on any external power to deal with existential security threats.

The coming weeks probably represent the last opportunity for Iran and the international community to reach an enforceable deal that will dismantle Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, before Israel concludes that time has run out, that Iran has gotten too close to creating its first atomic bombs, and that the time for a military strike has arrived.

Despite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s well-planned and deceptive charm offensive at the United Nations last week, so far not a single uranium-enriching centrifuge has stopped spinning in the underground nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom. The heavy water plutonium facility at Arak is moving forward, and Iran has already amassed enough low-enriched uranium for the production of seven to nine atomic bombs.

The speech given by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the United Nations last week, in which he warned that Israel would act alone against Iran if it needed to, is an authentic warning, and serves a dual purpose.

First, the speech reintroduces a credible military threat and aims it squarely at the Islamic Republic.

This notice is important as deterrence against Iran has waned significantly since August, when President Barack Obama hesitantly climbed down from his commitment to carry out a military strike on Iran’s ally, the Syrian regime, over its use of chemical weapons to massacre civilians.

A diminished threat of military force leaves diplomatic efforts with Iran almost no chance of success: it leaves Iran with virtually no incentive to stop its nuclear progress, despite the painful economic sanctions it faces.

With no military threat, Iran might well conclude that the sanctions could disappear in the course of endless rounds of diplomacy, in which skilled Iranian negotiators would succeed in getting some of the sanctions lifted while giving up very little in return.

Many of America’s allies in the Middle East are very concerned about the lack of deterrence; and Netanyahu, keen to ensure that he has given talks with Iran all possible opportunities before taking matters into his own hands, has placed the military threat firmly back on the table, lest Iran forget that even if the U.S. will not act militarily any time soon, Israel most certainly will if it must.

The second purpose of Netanyahu’s speech was to put the international community on notice regarding the urgency of the situation, and to send the message that even if many in the West have fallen for Iran’s “campaign of smiles,” Israel has not, and if Israeli concerns are neglected, action will be taken.

Should the international community continue to allow Iran to buy more time for its nuclear program, as it has done for more than a decade, after Netanyahu’s warning, it will not be able to respond with surprise when Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear sites.

Israel’s leadership has long since concluded that a nuclear-armed Iranian regime — a regime that is doctrinally and theologically committed to Israel’s destruction, and that controls a state-sponsored terrorist network, active worldwide — is an outcome many times more dangerous than any military attack.

Israel’s defense establishment recognizes that stringent U.S.-led economic sanctions have forced Iran to the negotiating table. But senior officials, such as Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, have warned that merely arriving for negotiations and offering “sweet talk” is no reason to reward Iran by easing sanctions. On the contrary, easing sanctions now would guarantee that talks will fail.

Similarly, any agreement that allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium under the guise of a civilian energy program will simply enshrine Iran’s position as a nuclear breakout state. Only tangible, verifiable steps that will ensure Iran is pushed back by years from its current progress could be considered an accomplishment.

Against the background of these developments, it is worth bearing in mind that the core of Jerusalem’s defense doctrine holds that Israel cannot depend on any foreign power — even its most trusted ally, the United States — to deal with an existential security threat.

Israel’s clock, which gauges Iranian nuclear progress, ticks faster than that of America’s, due to Israel’s lesser strike capabilities, its smaller size, its closer proximity to Iran, and ultimately, because Israel is the openly and repeatedly declared number one target of Iran’s ambition to destroy it.

If Israel misses its window of opportunity to act, such a lapse would violate a central tenet of its own defense doctrine — that Israel cannot depend on any external power to deal with existential security threats — thereby making that option unthinkable. Once Israeli intelligence agencies and senior military command levels conclude that the clock has struck one minute to midnight, no amount of pressure from allies will succeed in dissuading it from acting in self-preservation.

A military strike would not be a goal in itself, as Iran could go right back to reactivating its program, but it would be a last resort designed to accomplish what years of talks could not: to push Iran back from the nuclear brink.

Israel’s strike capabilities remain a closely guarded secret, but according to international media reports, the Israel Air Force has more than 100 F15i and F16i fighter jets that can fly to Iran and return without the need to refuel, as well as, for other jets, advanced midair refueling capabilities that would allow them to strike multiple Iranian targets. According to the reports, Israel also possesses long-range Jericho ground-to-ground missiles.

Any strike, moreover, would be unimaginable without the Israel Defense Force’s advanced electronic warfare units.

In the event that Iran orders its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah to retaliate with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles on the Israeli home front, Israel could respond with devastating air force strikes using new weapons systems, and a lightning ground invasion of southern Lebanon to extinguish quickly the rocket attacks and leave Hezbollah on the ropes.

No one in Israel seeks war, and few dispute that a diplomatic solution that can really freeze the threat from Tehran is the most desired outcome.

But so far, beyond empty gestures, Iran has given no indication that it is prepared to give up its program, and time is running out.

israel plane

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Netanyahu declares to world leaders: “In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized.”

(Washington, D.C.) — “In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized,” Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu declared before world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

“As the prophet Amos said, they shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them,” Netanyahu said. “They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. They shall till gardens and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their soil never to be uprooted again. Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.”

I don’t personally recall a single other Israeli leader in the modern era who has spoken so clearly of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Perhaps David Ben Gurion did, for the first Israeli premier had a great interest in the Scriptures. But Netanyahu’s own interest in the Scriptures has been growing significantly in recent years, as I have noted on the blog, and increasingly pronounced in his public statements. At a speech at the Auschwitz death camp in 2009, for example, Netanyahu declaredthat the prophecies of Ezekiel 37 — the dry bones of the Jewish people coming back together miraculously to form the State of Israel — had come to pass in his lifetime.

Netanyahu also alluded in the speech to the Biblical prophecies of a Persian king named “Cyrus” would rise up one day and set the Jewish people free from captivity.

“The Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it,” Netanyahu said. “Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know, that wasn’t always the case. Some 2,500 years ago the great Persian king Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree. And thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.”

Isaiah was a Hebrew prophet who prophesied that a great Persian king named “Cyrus” would emerge one day to bless the Jewish people, release them from captivity, send them back to the land of Israel, and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 44:28 through 45:13.)

A Persian king named “Cyrus” did, in fact, emerge to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecies.

  •  See 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 – “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia – in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah – the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the Lord His God be with him, and let him go up!”’”
  • See the Book of Ezra – “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia – in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah – the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may His God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem. Every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-4)

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Israel and Saudi Arabia are coordinating policies to counter US détente with Iran

Associates of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday, Oct. 2, leaked word to the media that high-ranking Gulf emirate officials had recently visited Israel, signaling a further widening in the rift between Israel and President Barack Obama over his outreach to Tehran. These visits were in line with the ongoing exchanges Israel was holding with Saudi and Gulf representatives to align their actions for offsetting any potential American easing-up on Iran’s nuclear program.

debkafile reports that this is the first time Israel official sources have publicly aired diplomatic contacts of this kind in the region. They also reveal that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates have agreed to synchronize their lobbying efforts in the US Congress to vote down the Obama administration’s moves on Iran.

debkafile reported earlier Wednesday:

After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama at the White House Monday, Sept. 30, Secretary of State John Kerry carried a message requesting moderation in the speech he was to deliver next day to the United Nations.

On the other hand, at least two European diplomats, German and French, made the opposite request: they asked for a hard-hitting Israeli peroration for setting boundaries – not so much for Iran’s nuclear program as for attempt to slow down President Obama’s dash for détente with Tehran.
It is feared in European capitals that the US is running too fast and too far in his bid for reconciliation with the Islamic Republic, to the detriment by association of their own standing I the Persian Gulf.

They are moreover miffed by the way Washington used Europe as a tool in the long nuclear negotiations between the Six World Powers with Iran and is now dumping them in favor of direct dealings with Iranian leaders.
Netanyahu decided not to accede to either request. Instead he laid out his credo: Iran must discontinue nuclear development and dismantle its program or face up to the risk of a lone Israeli military attack.

The look on the face of US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, sitting at the US delegation’s table in the UN hall, showed he had realized that the prime minister’s words were not just addressed to Tehran; they were an unforeseen broadside against the Obama administration’s Iranian strategy.
The dissonance between Jerusalem and Washington on Iran and its nuclear aspirations, played down after the Obama-Netanyahu meeting at the White House, emerged at full blast in the UN speech. The consequences are likely to be reflected in American media, as they were at the low point in relations in 2010, when administration officials day by day planted negative assessments of Israel’s military inadequacies for damaging Iran’s nuclear facilities.

After the UN speech, the Israeli Home Defense Minister Gilead Erdan tried to pour oil on troubled waters by commenting that the prime minister’s speech had strengthened Obama’s hand against Tehran. However, Netanyahu had a different object. It was to paint Washington’s new partner in détente in the blackest colors, even though he knows there is no chance of swaying the US President from his pursuit of Tehran and the sanctions, which he believes to be the only effective deterrent for giving the Iranians pause, will soon start unraveling.

Binyamin Netanyahu now faces the uphill job of repairing his own credibility. For five years has had declared again and again that Israel’s military option is on track in certain circumstances, but has never lived up to the threat. He has followed a path of almost total military passivity.

President Obama knows that Israel’s military capacity is up to a solo operation against Iran. Tehran, however, though conscious of the IDF’s high military, technological and cyber warfare capabilities, is convinced that Israel like the United States has lost the appetite for a military initiative.

Netanyahu must now revive Israel’s deterrence and convince Iran that his challenge at the UN had ended an era of military passivity and should be taken seriously.

In the coming weeks, therefore, the Iranians will react with steps to upset US-Israeli relations, possibly by raising military tensions in the region directly or through their proxies. Until now Tehran operated from outside Washington and its inner councils. Now, smart Iranian diplomats will be sitting down with the US president close to his ear for friendly discussions on ways to further their rapprochement.


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Russia moves to push forward conference to eliminate WMDs in Mideast. Is this a Kremlin ploy to shift focus from Iranian nuclear program to Israel?


(Washington, D.C.) — Even as Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with President Obama in Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin is suddenly signaling a major new international move that could shift the focus off of Iran’s nuclear threat and place enormous international focus and pressure on the State of Israel to disclose and dismantle its own strategic weapons.

“Russia wants to revive plans for a conference on ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction now that Syria has pledged to abandon its chemical arms, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments published on Monday,” Reuters reported on Monday.

“Such a move could put Moscow at odds with Washington which announced the conference would be delayed last year,” notes Reusters. “Analysts said it feared the event would be used to criticize its ally Israel, believed to be the region’s only nuclear-armed state.”

“Russia has been pushing to extend its influence in the Middle East. It initiated a UN deal to get Syria to abandon its chemical arms after Washington threatened military strikes to punish Damascus for a sarin gas attack on rebel areas,” notes Reuters.

“We will seek to have this conference take place,” Lavrov said.

This is a striking development, coming as it does on the heels of the Russian gambit that prevented a U.S. military intervention in Syria and ostensibly a deal with Bashar al-Assad to disclose and destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

It’s also a scenario ripped from the pages of The Ezekiel Option.In the novel, the Russian President calls for an international coalition to force Israel to disclose and dismantle her WMDs, or face an invasion not unlike the invasion of Iraq in 2003. [See excerpts from the novel below.] 

Is this what we are about to see play out in real life? A similar international effort was set into motion in May 2010, but then ran aground. At the time, however, Russia was not in the lead. Other countries were. Now, the Kremlin seems to be ready to lead the initiative.

Israel is already increasingly isolated from the international community. The “charm offensive” by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been dazzlingly successful in shifting the debate and putting Israel on the defensive. The likelihood of an Israeli first strike on Iran appears to have receded significantly if President Obama is eager to engage in diplomacy with Tehran and pressures Israel to hold off on an attack.

And as amazing as it is to say it, the events of this week could theoretically set into motion the fulfillment of the End Times Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39 — i.e, the “War of Gog and Magog” — if the leader of Russia begins to emerge as the leader of the anti-Israel coalition and requires Israel to comply with the treaty or face an international military coalition prepared to force her to comply.

Meanwhile, “Vladimir Putin has accepted an Iranian invitation to visit the country and meet with newly elected President Hasan Rouhani, a spokesman for the Russian president confirmed,” reports the Times of Israel. “Putin has been invited to Iran, and he will certainly take advantage of this kind invitation,” the Interfax news agency quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. “The dates of the visit will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.”

This will be the second time Putin has traveled to Iran. The first was a two day trip on October 16-17, 2007



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Regev calls for separate prayer days for Jews, Muslims on Temple Mount


There should be separate days for Jewish and Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount, Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) said Monday.

Speaking at a raucous meeting on the police’s treatment of Jewish visitors to the holy site ahead of Succot, she said, “We will allow Jews to visit the Mount, and we don’t want to disturb Muslims who are praying.

Why don’t the police decide that if Muslims don’t allow Jews to visit without disturbances, we’ll have days for Jews to access the Mount and days for Muslims?” MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) said Jewish visitors disturbed Muslim worshipers, but that the “occupation is temporary and the government in east Jerusalem is temporary. The crusaders passed, the British passed and so will the Israelis.”

Tibi warned that any change in the current situation on the Temple Mount would be seen as “a declaration of war” and set off violence.

“You need to use your judgment and think about whether you want to spark a fire in the most sensitive place in the region. [Former prime minister] Ariel Sharon’s stupid surprise visit [in 2000] was enough to set off an intifada,” Tibi claimed.

In 2001, Palestinian Authority communications minister Imad al-Faluji told the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir that “whoever thinks the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to al-Aksa Mosque is wrong…. This intifada was planned in advance.”

Monday’s meeting quickly deteriorated into a shouting match between the two Arab MKs present – Tibi and Taleb Abu Arar (UAL-Ta’al) – and everyone else.

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu), who rebelled against the coalition because he had been banned from the Mount, decided to “review some history for MK Abu Arar: The First and Second Temples were on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for many years, when your ancestors were worshiping idols and the sun and the moon in Saudi Arabia or wherever.”

“You think you were [in Israel] before us?” Abu Arar asked incredulously.

“Yes, long before you,” Feiglin retorted.

Temple Mount Heritage Foundation founder Yehuda Glick described limitations police had set for him and other Jewish visitors to the site and the barrage of rocks thrown at them on Rosh Hashana.

“Why would Jews want to go to the Temple Mount anyway?” Abu Arar interrupted.

“Same thing as you, to pray,” Regev retorted.

“I don’t tell you that Mecca isn’t holy. I don’t tell you what’s holy or not for your religion,” Glick said. “The Temple Mount is the heart of the Jewish people.”

Jerusalem District Police chief Yossi Pariente described efforts to protect Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, such as forbidding Muslims who were planning to disturb Jewish prayer from entering the site, as well as arresting Islamic Movement northern branch leader Sheikh Raed Salah for incitement and banning him from entering Jerusalem for 180 days.

On Rosh Hashana, police arrested five Muslim men for throwing rocks at Jews on the Temple Mount, he added.

“If the police put in all this effort and Glick is still pelted with rocks when he visits the Temple Mount on a holy day and can only access a limited area of the site, isn’t that a failure on the police’s part?” Feiglin asked.

Feiglin accused police of “not knowing the facts” about government policy on the Temple Mount because police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino had written, in response to a letter from the MK, that the Wakf Muslim Religious Trust controls the site as a result of a 1968 government decision.

“Can the police show me the government decision? No.

There never was one,” Feiglin stated. “The police is granting sovereignty over the Temple Mount to a body under Jordanian control without any [Israeli] government decision.”

He suggested that police close the site to Muslims during Succot so Jews could pray safely.

“The police are enacting a government policy,” MK David Tsur (Hatnua) pointed out. “We need to have this discussion with Religious Affairs Minister [Naftali Bennett] and the Prime Minister’s Office, not the police.”

MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) suggested that police “make the minimum operative decision” to only allow Arab men over 45 to access the Temple Mount on Jewish holidays and to behave less roughly toward Jewish families with children approaching the site.

Abu Arar insisted that “Jews have no reason to be on al- Aksa Mount” and claimed that there were rabbis who said the Temple was not in Jerusalem.

“It doesn’t help you to shout, ‘It’s mine, it’s mine.’ I can do the same thing. Let’s look at the history books,” said MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi). “Jews have the right to go to the Temple Mount. It’s my right as much as it’s Tibi’s right, because we’re people whose faiths say the Temple Mount is holy.”

Regev closed the meeting by saying that “nothing bad will happen if Jews, Muslims and Christians are all allowed to pray at a site that’s holy to them.”

“This is incitement,” Tibi protested.

However, Regev stated that “we don’t want to close the mosque or even pray there. We just want Jews to be able to go up to the Temple Mount and pray without rocks being thrown at them. In a civilized country, everyone should be able to pray where they want. The status quo needs to change through dialogue.”


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UN shoots down Arab push to condemn Israeli nuclear policy

The United Nations nuclear watchdog on Friday narrowly voted down an Arab League resolution to single out Israel for criticism over its alleged nuclear arsenal.

The bid, against which the US spoke out this week, reflects mounting frustration in the Arab world over the deferment of an international conference on the banning of atomic arms in the region, Reuters reported Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency rejected the initiative by a vote of 51 to 43 at its annual meeting in Vienna. 32 nations abstained.

Had the resolution been passed by the IAEA, Israel would have been called upon to sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and submit to agency scrutiny of its nuclear facilities.

After the vote, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin congratulated ministry employees and the Prime Minister’s Office, who worked incessantly in recent days to make sure the resolution would fail.

“I am glad that common sense prevailed and that the nations of the world rejected the proposal, which was designed to attack Israel, ” he said, adding, “The whole world must understand that the main task before the IAEA and the international community is to stop the Iranian nuclear program.”

Ambassador Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, who heads the Arab League group at the IAEA, was quoted as saying Friday that the vote would show the world that “Israel is not playing a constructive role.”

The Arab initiative was part of mounting international pressure on Israel to relinquish — or at least admit to possessing — weapons of mass destruction. The heightened interest in the Jewish state’s alleged nuclear, chemical and biological weapons comes amid indications from Iran that it’s ready to show flexibility in nuclear talks, and in the wake of a Russian-brokered deal that would see Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons shipped off and eventually destroyed.

A similar version of the resolution was narrowly passed four years ago at the IAEA, but its implementation was postponed due to pressure from Western governments. In 2011 and 2012, Arab member states refrained from pushing the initiative fearing it would harm attempts to convene an international conference to rid the Middle East of WMDs.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Assad’s decision to amass chemical weapons was “in response to Israel’s nuclear capabilities” and that “Israel has technological superiority and doesn’t need nuclear weapons.”

According to a report in the September/October issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Israel possesses a stockpile of 80 nuclear warheads, all of which were produced by 2004, when Israel froze all production.

Israel’s nuclear program has long been shrouded in secrecy, with the country maintaining a policy of ambiguity while refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Previous estimates have put the number of warheads in Israel’s possession at up to 400. According to foreign reports, Israel’s military has the capacity to deliver a nuclear payload via a variety of methods, including ballistic missiles, aircraft, and submarine-launched cruise missiles.


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Amidst Iran & Syria crises, Netanyahu holds 4th Bible study session with Jewish scholars in Jerusalem.

One of the most interesting but least known aspects in the life of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that he has developed quite an interest in studying the Bible in recent years. The premier was not raised in a religious home growing up. But as he has gotten older, he has developed a noticeable curiosity in the ancient Scriptures.

These are excellent steps by the Prime Minister, and he should be commended for them. Indeed, let us pray that the study of the Word of God has a powerful, personal impact on the Prime Minister and his family and each of his colleagues and guests. Let’s pray that many Israelis would follow the Prime Minister’s lead and begin reading the Holy Scriptures again, and that Bible studies in people’s homes would spring up all over the Land of Israel. Let’s pray that pray that more and more Israelis — Jews and Arabs — would develop a new and deeper curiosity about Bible prophecy, both the dramatic prophecies in the Scriptures that have already been fulfilled, and those that will come to pass soon. We explored such themes during the 2013 Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem this summer, which focused on “The Power of the Word to Change A Leader,” “The Power of the Word to Change A Nation,” and “The Power of the Word to Change the World.” I commend these messages to your attention.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister carved out two hours from a very busy schedule to convene his Bible study group again the fourth such meeting. They studied why the Lord punished Moses by not allowing him to enter the Promised Land.


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The rabbi, the lost ark and the future of Temple Mount

By Jake Wallis Simons

7:00AM BST 12 Sep 2013

Rabbi Chaim Richman shows me into a darkened room, strokes his beard and pulls out his smartphone. He has a specially designed app that works the lights. The room illuminates. He taps the screen again, and a heavy curtain slides open. There, resplendent in brilliant gold – and rather smaller than I expected – lies the Ark of the Covenant.

“This isn’t the real lost ark,” he says. “The real one is hidden about a kilometre from here, in underground chambers created during the time of Solomon.” I look at him askance. “It’s true,” he says. “Jews have an unbroken chain of recorded information, passed down from generation to generation, which indicates its exact location. There is a big fascination with finding the lost ark, but nobody asked a Jew. We have known where it is for thousands of years. It could be reached if we excavated Temple Mount, but that area is controlled by Muslims.”

Welcome to the Temple Institute exhibition, in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. A plush, hi-tech gallery, spanning 600 sq ft, it hosts a collection of vestments and sacred vessels to be used by the Jewish high priest. This is not a museum, insists Rabbi Richman, 54, the international director of the organisation. Apart from the Ark of the Covenant, every artefact on display has been painstakingly created in accordance with Biblical instructions and is intended for actual service in a “third Jewish temple”, which will be built as soon as possible.

Central to the collection is a high priest’s costume made out of azure and gold thread with a breastplate featuring 12 large gems. Cost: £160,000. There are also intricate silver trumpets and wooden lyres, pans to collect the blood of the sacrificial lamb and a large stand for the ritual bread. Outside, on a platform overlooking the Western Wall, stands an ornate 1.5-ton candelabra covered in 90kg of gold worth £1.3 million.

All have been designed in consultation with 20 full-time Talmudic scholars, who the institute pays to study the elaborate, 2,000-year-old laws governing the construction of temple artefacts. But, before you accuse Richman and his colleagues of being old-fashioned, the Temple Institute has drawn up plans for the new temple that include two very contemporary features: a monorail, to transport visitors right to the door, and a 6ft-high computerised water dispenser with 12 taps so that an entire shift of priests can wash their hands at once. This, Richman tells me, has been designed so that a twist of the tap will release the precise amount of water stipulated in Jewish law.

 “There is no reason why we shouldn’t use technology, which is the modern miracle, alongside the heavenly miracles,” the rabbi tells me. “It’s part of our vision of [the temple] as a realistic potential in our times. I’m sure it will have elevators, underfloor heating and a car park.”

This may sound fanciful, but in the febrile atmosphere of Jerusalem – a holy city for three world religions – Richman’s ideas are highly inflammatory. The proposed location of the new temple is the Temple Mount (or Haram al-Sharif in Arabic), one of the most disputed places on the planet. The First Temple, built by King Solomon 3,000 years ago, stood on this site, says Richman, and the Third Temple must be erected in the same place. Unfortunately, the area is already occupied – by an Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock, the shimmering gold roof that dominates the Jerusalem skyline, and the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest place in the world for Muslims.

Many Palestinians fear that Israeli extremists are plotting to destroy both and with a certain amount of justification; in 1984, a plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock by a group called the Jewish Underground was uncovered by police. Other Palestinians believe the threat comes from the Israeli government itself. In 2000, the then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, visited the site to underline Israel’s control over the area, a move that sparked the second intifada, during which 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians died. And recently, a string of religious and political figures, including Richman, have asserted the right of Jews to pray on Temple Mount, a request that – if granted – would lead to violent clashes, say Palestinian leaders, and provide Israel with an excuse to place the area under military control.

 “The Israeli strategy is to take it over,” says Mahdi Abdul Hadi, chairman of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs. “We don’t want to share, not because we don’t accept them, but because we don’t trust them.” The Palestinian Authority has been even more forthright. “[The Jewish desire for the area is] totally unacceptable, and could transform the region into a powder keg,” said president Mahmoud Abbas in May. Sheikh Mohamad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, agreed. “Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere will never accept this provocation and will try to thwart it by all means necessary,” he said. “This is the ultimate red line for us. The Israelis and the world should listen carefully to what I am saying.”

Overall, Richman’s institute has spent more than $30 million – thanks mostly to donations from private Jewish philanthropists – and upgraded to its new hi-tech gallery in May after 22 years in a smaller premises down the road. And, although its exhibits are only open to the public by appointment, it is by no means short of punters: a million people have visited over the past 12 years.

Nevertheless, even among the religious Jewish community there are those who view Richman and the Temple Institute with suspicion. Michael Melchior, an Orthodox rabbi and former member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, refers to the organisation as “irresponsible”.

“We pray for holiness, but we also need to be careful of others’ desire for holiness,” he told the Jewish Post newspaper. “The moment you want to translate that into building a temple, you upset the sensitive balance we’ve created here, by which we exist.” Richman refutes such claims, pointing out that he isn’t calling for the destruction of either the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa mosque; he is simply asserting that it is a central Jewish obligation to prepare for the rebuilding of the temple. Nevertheless, his continual trips to the disputed area, along with other Jewish activists, have generated huge resentment and the rabbi has been arrested by Israeli police many times – sometimes for “weeks on end”.

Today, he is making yet another visit. As the heat of the day approaches, Richman takes me up a rickety wooden ramp and onto Temple Mount, protected by an armed police escort. The atmosphere is tranquil, even ethereal. Palestinians are strolling across the forecourt, milling around the entrance to the Muslim shrine, and relaxing in the shade. Yet as soon as the rabbi is spotted cries of “Allahu akbar” ring out. Our policeman adjusts his weapon and directs us into a less conspicuous corner. Shadowing our small party is a representative of the Waqf, the Islamic trust that administers the Temple Mount. His job is to make sure that the rabbi does not attempt to pray.

From Richman’s point of view, this is a complete infringement of his constitutional rights. The Temple Mount is believed to be the site of the Foundation Stone, the Holy of Holies, from where God gathered the dust to create Adam. But ever since the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in AD70, Jewish entry has either been banned or severely restricted by Christian and Islamic rulers. Even after Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967, the area was considered so sensitive that Palestinians were allowed to retain day-to-day control.

 “Jews believe that even mentioning a sick person’s name in this place is an amazing thing for healing,” says Richman. “Yet I am not allowed to pray, in the holiest place of my own homeland. So I have to do things like this.” He breaks abruptly into mumbled Hebrew liturgy, gesticulating with his arms as if continuing the conversation. The Waqf man eyes him suspiciously, and the Israeli policeman eyes him in turn. (Other visitors have been even more overt – singing and lying on the ground to pray.)

For these reasons, the rabbi refers to himself as a “displaced person”. Contrasted with the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and the continued Israeli presence on the West Bank, this could be perceived as, well, a bit rich.

“That’s just a distraction,” he says. “This is about God’s territory. Islam took advantage of our exile and began to squat on Temple Mount and deny that Jews were ever here. We have a birthright to this place, and I don’t see why we should be embarrassed about it.” Although the rabbi expresses his views with certainty, many of his facts are disputed. There is no agreement, for example, about the location of the Ark of the Covenant. Shimon Gibson, a biblical archaeologist at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem, believes that when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 587 BC, they removed the gold from the ark and burned the wooden frame along with the rest of the wood from the temple. Other scholars believe it was taken to Africa.

There is also precious little archaeological evidence for the location of the First Temple, although the location of the Second Temple, built in 516 BC, is more certain. Razed by the Romans, one wall of the courtyard that surrounded the temple – the Western Wall – remains and has become a focus of Jewish prayer.

I ask Richman whether his plans involve the demolition of the Dome of the Rock. He pauses. “I don’t like to speculate about highly sensitive matters,” he says. “But there is only one place where the temple will be built, and it is where the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque are currently standing.” This sounds like a veiled ambition for war, especially against the backdrop of new peace negotiations when extremists on both sides feel threatened and are in volatile mood. “That’s not what I meant,” says Richman. “A prophecy indicates that one day, the Islamic world will accept the idea of a Jewish temple here, become harmonious and usher us in.” Another miracle, I ask? “Right.”

This may seem like the words of a zealot. But although much mainstream public opinion believes Richman and his associates to be troublemakers, such is the potent mixture of religion, culture and politics in the Holy Land that a sizeable portion of Israeli right-wing opinion is sympathetic to his position.

Jewish visits to the Temple Mount plaza rose 30 per cent in 2012, according to estimates by Jewish worshipper groups, due, partly, to the fact that several scholars have identified specific areas of holiness on the plaza. (According to tradition, it is sacrilege for a Jew to set foot on the spot where the Holy of Holies stood, but some areas of the Temple Mount have now been deemed “safe” to walk on.)

The issue began to be framed as a campaign for religious equality and a time-sharing scheme was proposed, allocating certain hours for Jewish worship, in a similar way to a scheme already in existence at Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs, also a holy site for both Muslims and Jews. Arieh Eldad, a right-wing politician who proposed this plan, accused Palestinians of using the threat of violence to keep the plaza to themselves. The Israeli Supreme Court then upheld the right of Jews to pray on the plaza, but only if such action did not incite “a disturbance to public order” (which the Waqf says is what Rabbi Richman’s praying does). Following this logic, the Mount was closed to non-Muslim visitors during Ramadan in July and August.

Moshe Feiglin, a member of parliament for the ruling Likud party, registered his anger by staging a protest visit. “I call for everyone who hears us to come here, to understand that they are giving the very heart of Jerusalem to foreigners, to Islam,” he told Israeli media. “We need to understand that there needs to be sacrifice here, that 1,000 people show up ready to make sacrifices, ready to be arrested”. His clarion call was not answered in quite these numbers, but scores did come and protested in silent prayer outside the locked Temple Mount gate before dispersing.

Richman, for his part, says he is no longer looking to get arrested. “It’s not that I’ve lost my fire,” he says. “It’s just that at the age of 54, I want to see my children at night.”

The rest of our tour of Temple Mount is conducted in a stop-start rhythm, dictated by the nervy policeman. The rabbi is mainly concerned with showing me how in his view, Palestinian “temple deniers” have attempted to destroy all evidence of the Israelite temple, in an effort to undermine the Jewish claim to this place. There, he says: a broken marble pillar. There, a collection of discarded cedar beams. There, the remains of a staircase.

“We are ready to restore this place to its former glory,” says Richman. “And we have priests who are ready to serve in the Third Temple. That would be a much smaller miracle than the establishment of the state of Israel. Here we are, in our homeland, and we have the power to build the temple whenever we want! God must be wondering what we are waiting for.


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Holy work or troublemaking? Laying the groundwork for a Third Temple in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (JTA) – No praying. No kneeling. No bowing. No prostrating. No dancing. No singing. No ripping clothes.

These are the rules that Jews must abide by when visiting the Temple Mount, the site where the First and Second Holy Temples once stood, located above and behind the Western Wall in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Although the area is under Israeli sovereignty, the mount — known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif — is controlled by the Islamic Wakf, a joint Palestinian-Jordanian religious body. As the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, whose golden dome overlooks the city, the Temple Mount attracts daily crowds of Muslim worshipers.

Under Wakf regulations, Jews may only access the mount for 4 1/2 hours per day and are forbidden from praying there.

But when Rabbi Chaim Richman stands only feet from the Dome of the Rock, surrounded by Muslim visitors, he whispers a chapter of Psalms.

“God will answer you on your day of trouble,” he mutters on a recent visit. “The name of the God of Jacob will protect you.”

On previous visits to the mount, Richman says he’s sung the entire Hallel prayer under his breath.

A frequent presence on the mount who knows the guards by name, Richman is the international director of the Temple Institute, an organization based in the Old City with a singular goal: to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Ahead of Tisha b’Av, the fast day next week that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the institute released a video showing Jewish children donning tool belts and leading their fathers out of synagogue to begin construction of the Holy Temple.

“Our goal is to fulfill the commandment of ‘They shall make a Temple for me and I will dwell among them,’ ” Richman says, quoting Exodus. “The basis of a Torah life is action.”

Following the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 C.E., most rabbis adopted the position that Jewish law prohibits reconstructing the Holy Temple prior to the age of messianic redemption, or that the law is too ambiguous and that the messiah must come first.

The Temple Institute takes a different position.

“There are no Jewish legal barriers” to rebuilding the temple, Richman says, only political ones.

The institute isn’t shy about advocating what many see as a radical goal: replacing the mosque at the Dome of the Rock with a new Jewish Holy Temple. A painting in the institute’s exhibition depicts this scenario, with the city’s light rail line taking residents to the Temple Mount. The Temple Institute is dedicated to laying the groundwork for this vision.

The organization has formulated a program for where the temple will stand and what its vessels will look like, aided by 20 men who study Temple law full-time. The products of this research — 40 ritual objects — are on display in Plexiglas cases at the institute’s headquarters in the Old City.

Silver trumpets to be blown by priests and a wooden lyre are perched next to two deep pans with long handles — one for collecting blood from small sacrificial offerings and another for large sacrifices like the Passover lamb.

In another room, mannequins with beards wear the respective vestments for deputy priests and the high priest. The high priest’s outfit, with azure weaves, gold thread and a breastplate with 12 precious stones, took 11 years of research and $150,000 to complete. Next to it stands a massive 12-spigot sink with electric faucets — technology that Richman says will be permitted in the Third Temple.

The institute’s crowning achievement — the Temple’s golden, 200-pound, seven-branch menorah — stands outside in a case overlooking the Western Wall. Unlike art or history museums, the institute’s goal is to remove the objects from their cases and bring them to the mount for use as soon as possible.

Many Israelis view the goal as a danger to the status quo that has kept this site holy to Muslims and Jews from turning into a tinderbox.

In 1984, Israel’s security services stopped a group of Jewish terrorists conspiring to blow up the mosque at the mount who reportedly got very close to achieving their goal. Ever since, authorities say they have kept a close watch on any attempts to disturb the peace on the mount.

Though observant Jews pray thrice daily in the Amidah prayer for the Temple to be rebuilt, few do anything about it. That’s as it should be, says Michael Melchior, an Orthodox rabbi and former Knesset member who is considered a religious moderate.

“We pray for holiness, but we also need to be careful of others’ desire for holiness,” Melchior said. “The moment you want to translate that into building a Temple, you upset the sensitive balance we’ve created here, by which we exist here.” He called Temple construction advocates “irresponsible.”

Given the obstacles to breaking ground on a Holy Temple, the institute also has taken up a more modest cause: expanding Jewish rights on the Temple Mount to allow unrestricted access and prayer. In that endeavor, Richman is joined by several right-wing Knesset members and a group of archaeologists who say the Wakf is reckless with archaeological remains at the site.

“It has exceptional historical importance,” Eilat Mazar, a Hebrew University archaeologist, said of the site.  “There needs to be access for everyone. Authorities don’t take care of it.”

Moshe Feiglin, a nationalist Likud Knesset member, made a practice of visiting the Temple Mount monthly until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned him from the site in order to prevent provocations there. Last month, Feiglin wrote on Facebook, “Whoever turns his back on the Temple Mount is also giving up on construction in the city.”

Richman says support for the institute’s goals is growing. For him, the issue involves far more than politics, archaeology or even Jewish legal research. The Temple Institute, he says, is doing God’s work.

“The point is that we can’t live without the Temple,” Richman says. “It’s not about building, it’s about a concept: the idea that all of human experience can be elevated to a sense of divine purpose.”


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