Category: Israel

Iran crisis: Would Israel launch an attack?

As US President Barack Obama arrives in Israel, he does so amid a growing sense of urgency among the Israeli leadership over Iran’s nuclear programme – and the possibility it will take military action to stop it.

The window in which to solve the crisis by peaceful means, estimated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN last September as this spring or summer, is closing, and the prospect of a military strike looms.

Then, the prime minister, in front of a global audience, famously produced a caricature of an Iranian “nuclear bomb” and, with a red marker pen, drew a line near the top – making crystal clear where along Iran’s path of uranium enrichment Israel would not allow it to reach.

Just days earlier, America had spurned Israeli attempts to set deadlines publicly, reiterating a preference for negotiations as “by far the best approach”.

In Mr Netanyahu’s view, discussions with Iran have served only to buy it time to finish its nuclear project, and are pointless unless coupled with a credible military threat.

The key question observers and analysts disagree over is whether this is merely a strategy by Mr Netanyahu to apply the greatest possible pressure on the US to take more robust action to get results, or whether he would actually order a strike.

“He’s not bluffing at all,” says Maj Gen (ret) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council. “He believes if, at the end of the day all other options are exhausted – and there are only two options: either get used to nuclear weapons in Iran or try to stop it by Israeli means – then he will prefer the second.”

Israeli intelligence

In fact, an Israeli investigative programme said in 2010 an order was issued by Mr Netanyahu to the Israeli military to prepare for a strike on Iran within hours if required, but that the order was cancelled due to strong opposition from Israel’s military and intelligence chiefs.

I think Israel will not attack Iran for many reasons, above all because the United States doesn’t want Israel to attack Iran – it’s as simple as that”

A flurry of reports in August 2012 also suggested Israel was preparing a strike before that November’s US presidential elections.

At that time though, previous heads of Israel’s intelligence establishment publicly declared their opposition, saying an attack on Iran would be unsuccessful and counter-productive.

Among them was former domestic intelligence agency director Yuval Diskin, who expressed the view that bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would only lead it to accelerate its programme.

However, counter-opinion is grounded in precedent, with Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

“When we were planning Osirak, we believed the operation would put back [Iraq’s nuclear programme] by three or four years,” says Dr Shmuel Bar, Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya.

“Actually it put it back by 10 years – so you never really know when you shuffle cards what the results are going to be. So from the point of view of criticism that Israel won’t do it because Israel can only do so much damage, I think that’s a misconception.”

Such a result might only be achieved, though, if Mr Netanyahu acts sooner rather than later. Former Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said Iran could reach a “zone of immunity” – the point at which fortification of its nuclear sites would render a military strike ineffective – as soon as spring.

The single most important factor though in influencing any decision to attack Iran will be Israeli intelligence reports. While the intelligence establishment has not yet countenanced an attack, its position could change at any time – if, for instance, it believes Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has decided to actually go for a nuclear bomb.

“The possibility of an Israeli strike is realistic and even probable under certain circumstances,” says Brig Gen (ret) Shlomo Brom, of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“For example, a situation in which Israel will have credible intelligence that Iran is on the verge of breaking out to military capability”, a process which could take as little as a few weeks. This is the “final stage” Mr Netanyahu said he would never let Iran begin.

Historical outlook

In judging whether Mr Netanyahu would order an attack or not, one has to take into account the forces which shape his character, particularly the importance with which he views history and the idea of destiny.

“History will not forgive those who do not stop Iran’s nuclear programme,” he said in January.

Iraq and Syria attacks: The precedents?

In June 1981 the Israeli air force bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, destroying it in the process. The operation followed years of public protest by Israel towards France and Italy, both involved in the reactor’s construction.

It was eventually carried out, after 18 months of heated secret debate within the political and security echelons, despite the opposition of the heads of military intelligence and Mossad, and without any of the same kind of current public debate about what to do over Iran.

The attack which destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor near Deir Ezzor in September 2007 has been widely attributed to Israel, though Israel has never confirmed or denied responsibility.

Like Osirak, the strike was not preceded by public debate in Israel, not least because no-one knew of the reactor’s existence.

The operation is still shrouded in secrecy, although reports afterwards said the then-Defence Minister Ehud Barak opposed the timing of the attack.

Israel did not inform the US in advance of its strike on Osirak, nor of its alleged bombing of the Syrian plant.

Time and again he has drawn parallels between the Iranian nuclear crisis and the world’s failure to prevent WWII and the Holocaust while it still had the chance.

“I don’t think Mr Netanyahu’s threats are rhetorical,” says Dr Bar. “You have to put it in an historic context of a leader of a certain age – [Netanyahu] has a tendency not only to look at politics but also at his role in history.

“There’s no doubt in his mind that Iran wants to acquire a nuclear weapon and will do so if allowed – if he’s PM and that happens, then he goes down in history as the person who allowed the existential threat to materialise, especially after having said he’s not going to allow it – so that’s tremendous pressure on any political leader to take action.”

However, Mr Netanyahu’s frequent warnings are taken by some as an indication he is not intending to act. Among the doubters is Yossi Melman, one of Israel’s leading security and intelligence journalists.

“Netanyahu’s threats are not realistic. He’s always talking about it – if you talk about it too much then I don’t believe you have intentions of doing it, because in the past when Israel and Israeli leaders wanted to do something they did it without talking,” says Mr Melman, author of Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars.

“That was the case when we destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, that was the case in 2007 with the Syrian nuclear reactor. Yes Netanyahu’s aware of history, but he is making this stupid, unnecessary comparison with the Holocaust – we are not facing a new Holocaust.

“I think Israel will not attack Iran for many reasons, above all because the United States doesn’t want Israel to attack Iran – it’s as simple as that.”

Public opinion

The position of the United States is critical to any Israeli decision to attack Iran, and is of prime importance in shaping Israeli public opinion on the issue.

Polls taken in the summer and autumn last year suggest a majority of Israelis are opposed to military action against Iran without US support.

We’ve had this war coming with Iran for more than 10 years now, but to me it’s a lot of bluff”

Dr Yehuda Ben Meir, of the Public Opinion and Security project at the National Institute for Security Studies, believes this is in large part to do with not wanting to jeopardise US support for Israel.

“It’s clear this is a very important factor in Israeli public opinion because of the tremendous importance that Israelis attach to the close relationship with United States,” he says.

“If the public does not see an attack as creating tension in Israeli-American relations, then support for it will be much higher.”

Shmuel Bar points out that Israel did not inform the US in advance of the attack on Osirak or its alleged attack on the Syrian reactor, and may take the same approach in attacking Iran, as a way of side-stepping a potential “red light” from the US altogether.

Even so, there are those who reject an attack on Iran under any circumstances.

Graphic designer Ronny Edry has harnessed some of that opposition through a movement spawned on Facebook called “Israel Loves Iran”.

It has just marked its first anniversary, notching up over 108,000 likes, a third of which come from Israelis.

“We’ve had this war coming with Iran for more than 10 years now, but to me it’s a lot of bluff,” he says, sitting in his third-floor apartment in Tel Aviv.

“I don’t think Israel will attack Iran and Iran won’t attack Israel because it would mean mutually assured destruction. But if you talk too much about war it’s really dangerous – at some point you’re going to have to prove yourself, you’re going to have to go there, so what we really need to do now is calm the situation down.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4874

Jewish Home, Yesh Atid ink coalition deal with Likud-Beytenu

The Jewish Home and Yesh Atid parties signed a coalition agreement with Likud-Beytenu Friday afternoon, paving the way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to swear-in his new government early next week.

“We promised during elections to take care of the cost of living, to increase competition in the marketplace and to restore to the state its Jewish soul, and now we’ve got the tools to do it,” Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett told reporters.

“With God’s help, we signed it. The 33rd government is ready to go!” he wrote on his Facebook account. “I encourage Prime Minister Netanyahu and all of us Cabinet ministers to remember that we are representatives of the entire Israeli public.”

The coalition agreement had seemed a done deal on Wednesday, but hit a snag Thursday after Jewish Home representatives skipped a final meeting with Likud-Beytenu negotiators, over the issue of whether Bennett would be afforded a deputy prime minister title.

According to the new deal, both Bennett and Lapid will forgo the mostly ceremonial title, Israel Radio reported.

In return, Bennett will head the Cabinet panel on concentration of wealth and market competition, and his party will head a joint Knesset committee tasked with drafting a new universal military conscription law, Ynet news reported.

On Thursday, representatives of Jewish Home failed to arrive for a scheduled noon meeting with Likud chief negotiator David Shimron, amid reports that the prime minister’s wife delayed the final completion of coalition talks by demanding that Bennett — with whom she reportedly fell out when he served as her husband’s chief of staff from 2006-2008 — not be given the title of deputy prime minister. The same title was also therefore to be denied to fellow putative coalition partner Lapid, who worked closely with Bennett during the negotiations.

Shimron said it was an “ugly spin” to claim that Sara Netanyahu was responsible for the “ridiculous” argument over the deputy prime minister designations, and was sure “Mrs. Netanyahu has nothing to do with this.”

Jewish Home sources told Israel Radio that “the decision was one-sided and endangered work relations in the emerging government.”

Likud sources said they had been in contact with Yesh Atid representatives, who also requested that Lapid maintain the title, but that it wasn’t an ultimatum.

The last-minute argument appeared particularly marginal, since the title of “deputy prime minister” does not signify that its holder fills in for the prime minister when he is abroad or incapacitated. In fact, Likud officials said Thursday, the government would have to choose a stand-in PM when necessary, and he or she would come from the main party of the government.

Netanyahu will now be free to formally notify President Shimon Peres on Saturday night — the final day of the six weeks allocated to him — that he has mustered a Knesset majority. The coalition will comprise four parties: Likud-Beytenu (31 seats), Yesh Atid (19), Jewish Home (12) and Hatnua (6), for a total of 68 members in the 120-seat Knesset.

The outgoing government is set to hold a final meeting on Sunday, and the new government is likely to be sworn in Monday — some 48 hours before the scheduled arrival of Barack Obama on his first presidential visit.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4858

On the Temple Mount, a battle brews over Jewish prayer

On Tuesday, the struggle of Jewish women fighting to worship with prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem received renewed attention when protesters at the holy site were joined by several new members of Knesset, spotlighting Israel’s ongoing policy of imposing Orthodox practice on all worshipers at the wall.

But in the coming years a different battle over Jewish prayer, one unfolding a few paces away, is likely to be of more significance — a growing debate over whether Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount itself.

The desire to pray on the Mount, also the site of Islam’s third-holiest shrine, has found more acceptance among mainstream rabbis in Israel over the past decade, spreading gradually from a tiny fringe to a broader religious public. The numbers of Jews actually visiting the Mount for religious reasons is still tiny — no more than several thousand a year, according to police estimates — but inching upward, and the sacred enclosure is slowly gaining in importance as an issue of religious and political meaning for religious Zionists, a group with outsize ideological and political clout in Israeli society.

That could make it a flashpoint inside Israel and an inflammatory issue for local Muslims and the entire Islamic world.

If the issue comes to the fore, it will be in part thanks to the activities of Moshe Feiglin, once a figure from the margins of the Israeli right and now a member of Knesset from the ruling party, Likud. On the way to his swearing-in ceremony at parliament last month, Feiglin went to the Temple Mount, where he had been detained by police in January for violating the prohibition on Jewish prayer. Early this month he was there again, freshly armed with parliamentary immunity, striding around the sacred enclosure with the purposeful air of a landlord and causing a stir when he tried to go into the Dome of the Rock, where entry is limited solely to Muslims. He has promised to be back.

Few places on earth are as potentially explosive as the Temple Mount. The shrine has been especially tense in recent weeks, with protests erupting twice after communal Friday prayers. Riots on the Mount have tended to involve protesters throwing rocks and chairs, but last week, for the first time in memory, a Palestinian threw a Molotov cocktail, pitching it from inside the al-Aqsa mosque and setting a policeman’s leg on fire. The officer was lightly wounded.

Muslims believe the Mount is where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in a mystical night journey recounted in the Koran, and call it the Noble Sanctuary. The day-to-day functioning of the site is in the hands of the Islamic Waqf, and Israeli governments have been stringent about maintaining the status quo. The enclosure, with its cypress trees and open stone esplanades, generally has the air of a peaceful urban park. But because of its importance to Muslims and the inherent tension of such a place being under the control of Israel, any violence there resonates across the Islamic world and has the potential for deadly results.

In an interview this week, Feiglin promised he would be visiting the Mount regularly as a lawmaker, and said he would bring others. The interview, part of a fundraising telecast for the Temple Institute, a group that says it is making practical preparations to rebuild the Temple, was broadcast Sunday, on what the institute dubbed its Fourth Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day. The webcast was aimed at the institute’s supporters among evangelical Christians in the United States, and a 1-800 number was given for donations. The webcast’s hosts addressed the camera in front of a painting showing modern construction cranes erecting the Third Temple.

“Every Jew that goes to the Temple Mount puts another stone in the building of the Temple, and is making another step to fulfill Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount,” Feiglin told viewers. That is precisely what makes Muslims nervous.

Feiglin and other committed Temple activists have replaced the idea of Jewish renewal as represented by a powerful symbol — the Temple in Jerusalem — with the idea that if an actual building, a temple, is built on an actual site, the Temple Mount, Jews will somehow plug into a spiritual power source they have lost and restore themselves to greatness. The opposition of Muslims and other nations to Jewish practice at the site fits into their narrative: The nations know this, and don’t want it to happen.

Jewish religious interest in the Mount is not monolithic, and includes those who merely want to visit a site of great Jewish importance, those who believe Jews should be allowed to pray there, those who believe Temple rituals, like sacrifice, should be renewed immediately, and those who support the construction of a Third Temple in place of the Islamic shrines of the Noble Sanctuary.

At the moment, Israeli police and Waqf guards keep close tabs on visitors identifiable as religious Jews. If someone is seen moving lips in prayer, or prostrates themselves on the smooth stones of the shrine, they are expelled and detained.

‘We took the Israeli flag off the Temple Mount two hours after we got this present from the King of the Earth, and we gave it to the children of a slave’

If some thought that Feiglin would moderate his tone to match his new position as a Knesset member, that has not happened. Israel was to blame for ceding sovereignty on the Mount after the Six Day War, he told this week’s Temple Institute webcast, noting that an Israeli flag initially hung by paratroops after they captured the site in 1967 was quickly removed to avoid harming Muslim sensibilities.

“We took the Israeli flag off the Temple Mount two hours after we got this present from the King of the Earth, and we gave it to the children of a slave, to the sons of Ishmael. So there’s a lot of work to do here, with ourselves,” the Likud MK said in the interview broadcast Sunday. Feiglin declined to comment for this article.

The activities of the new member of Knesset come against the backdrop of changing attitudes toward the Mount. Since 1967, religious sentiment has been focused on the Western Wall, a section of a 2,000-year-old retaining wall built around the platform on which the Temple sat. The number of Jews who visited the Temple Mount last year was estimated by police at under 8,000, a tiny fraction of the many hundreds of thousands who visit the Wall. The number was similar the year before, and significantly lower the year before that.

The status quo on the Mount is the result of a convergence of religious and political interests after 1967. Rabbis decided early on that religious law forbade visiting the site because of fears one might tread on the location of the Holy of Holies, the focus of ancient ritual, where people were forbidden to enter. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the most important Zionist rabbi of the latter half of the 20th century, ruled that it was prohibited to visit the Mount, a position still endorsed by  Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. With the threat of Muslim violence should their sovereignty at the site be harmed, Israeli authorities were eager to keep the peace and happy to channel Jewish worshipers to the Western Wall.

The desire for a Jewish Temple Mount was kept alive largely by a tiny group, the Temple Mount Faithful, headed by a secular nationalist named Gershom Salomon, with support from evangelical Christians, and by some in the religious settlement movement. When the Shin Bet internal security agency broke up a Jewish terror underground in the 1984, agents uncovered a detailed plot to blow up the Islamic buildings at the site to pave the way for the building of the Temple.

There were other enthusiasts, like the founders of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem’s Old City, which works to recreate the implements used by Temple priests. The institute is open to visitors, and Temple merchandise is for sale in the gift shop, including puzzles and balsa-wood models. Someone pondering the institute’s stab at a recreation of a model of the Ark of the Covenant, for example, might be struck by how this great object of the imagination, when made real, looks like something one might find in a store selling rococo antiques, all winged creatures and gilt.

As years have passed, the authority of Kook, who died in 1982, has waned. Important rabbis from the religious Zionist mainstream, like Yaakov Meidan of the influential Har Etzion yeshiva, now permit visiting the Mount. Pilgrims are supposed to undergo preparations beforehand, including purification in a ritual bath.

With the growing acceptance of visits to the Mount has come a growing impatience with the fact that Jews are not allowed to pray there. Before visitors are allowed into the site, Israeli security personnel search them for religious paraphernalia or books, and religious Jews are typically accompanied by special police escorts.

Activists have been unable to overturn the strictures, though there have been signs of support inside the legal system. Last year, a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge, Malka Aviv, expressed displeasure with the security measures, saying at a hearing for an activist arrested for praying there that the police position “that Muslims don’t approve of Jews praying on the Temple Mount cannot, in and of itself, prevent Jews from fulfilling their religious obligations and praying on the Temple Mount.”

The judge suggested prayer should be permitted “in a structured fashion, in a place designated for it.”

The Temple Mount, said Jerusalem tour guide Eli Duker, is “the only place in the country where you feel you’re discriminated against because you’re Jewish.”

Last month, while leading a synagogue group up to the Mount, Israeli guards seized pictures of the Temple and a book that Duker had in his bag for instructional purposes. Duker protested, he said, but had to yield, and later wrote a letter asking for guidelines on what constituted material too inflammatory to be taken into the enclosure. He has yet to get a response.

Duker dated the new increase in interest in the Mount among religious Jews to the reopening of the site to non-Muslims in 2003, three years after it was closed because of the violence of the Palestinian intifada. The closure marked a break with the past, and its reopening led some Jews to re-evaluate their relationship with the place, he said.

‘We were not trying to demonstrate that it’s exclusively ours, or that we want the Muslims off, only that it’s a significant, if not the most significant Jewish site, archaeologically, historically, and religiously. This is the heart of it all’

At the same time, the Western Wall had begun to lose its luster for some in the religious Zionist world, because it is dominated by the ultra-Orthodox and because of its various annoyances, like the presence of beggars. In addition, Duker said, religious Zionists pride themselves on their knowledge of the country’s geography and history, and understand the difference between a wall that was an external feature of the Herodian compound and the site of the Temple itself.

For some Jewish visitors, visiting the Mount has nothing to do with a desire to harm the Islamic structures there or any plans to begin work on the Third Temple. Some are simply connecting with a place at the center of Jewish history and religion.

One recent visitor, Elli Fischer, from the city of Modi’in, said he came because of the “very strong Jewish connection to this place.”

“We were not trying to demonstrate that it’s exclusively ours, or that we want the Muslims off, only that it’s a significant, if not the most significant Jewish site, archaeologically, historically, and religiously. This is the heart of it all,” Fischer said.

Fischer wondered why those who supported the right of women to worship in prayer shawls and phylacteries at the Western Wall would not support the right of Jews to pray at Judaism’s holiest site. The theoretical question in both cases is the same: Can religious freedom be limited to avoid harming the religious sensibilities of others and to keep the peace?

“Israel’s current policy of granting control of these holy sites to intolerant religious bodies is, at the very least, consistent,” Fischer wrote in a blog post for The Times of Israel last year. “The government does not want to risk major disturbances by tampering with the status quo. The only way that the government will ever budge from its comfort zone, the only way that the patronage of religious bodies will yield to greater application of liberal democratic principles, is if these different groups, which are often at odds, form a coalition, transcend their special interests and truly advocate for these freedoms to be applied universally.”

Feiglin, for his part, told Army Radio on Tuesday that he supports the Women of the Wall’s fight to pray as they wish at the Western Wall.

Among what might be termed hard-core Temple activists, rather than more casual visitors, the most prominent of the young generation is Arnon Segal, who writes a weekly column on the Temple for the right-leaning weekly Makor Rishon. Segal’s column tracks police restrictions and Waqf actions, and has brought attention to polls like one showing 52 percent of Israelis supporting the right to pray on the Mount. He has also included interviews with secular figures like the writer A.B. Yehoshua, who shared a proposal for turning the Old City into a Vatican-like religious zone run by representatives of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and suggested building a new Jewish temple near — but not on — the Temple Mount. (Yehoshua explained that his temple would be a cultural center with a library and museum dedicated to monotheism.)

Segal, who is 32 and was born in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, is the son of Haggai Segal, a journalist best known for his arrest as a young man as part of the Jewish underground of the 1980s. He first visited the Mount at age 19.

“I felt a cognitive dissonance,” he said. “I’m a Jew, I pray three times for the return to Zion, to the Temple. But in practice, we can do these things, but we choose not to. We choose not to relate to that part of our Judaism. We’ve erased that part of our religion.”

‘The first thing that we need to clarify is that this is a mosque’

Segal was putting his finger on an apparent inconsistency in religious Zionism, which has always believed that Jews should bring their own redemption by coming to Israel — but stopped short of believing they should take active steps toward building a temple in Jerusalem.

Religious Zionism, he believes, must take the next step and abandon the idea that Jews must wait for God to rebuild the Temple. “There were rabbis in Europe who said the same about returning to the Land of Israel,” he said.

Segal believes there should be a place in the enclosure not only for Jewish prayer, but also for sacrifice, and said this could be done immediately, without harming any of the existing buildings. “I want equal rights for Jews on the Temple Mount. What Muslims do, I want to do too,” he said.

Any move to change the status quo at the site would almost certainly result in bloodshed. Already sensitive to perceived threats to the Noble Sanctuary, Muslims reject any allowance for Jewish ritual within the confines of the shrine.

“The first thing that we need to clarify is that this is a mosque,” said Prof. Mustafa Abu Sway, an Islamic scholar and member of the Waqf’s governing council. “As other places are churches and synagogues, this is a private place that belongs to Muslims.” Islam sees the entire enclosure, and not just the buildings, as one house of prayer, he said.

The recent violence, he said, was the result of general tensions among Palestinians, exacerbated by what they see as threats to the integrity of the shrine.

“The general atmosphere is not at ease: the prisoners’ hunger strikes, the lack of progress on the political level, the expansion of the settlements, financial hardship, lack of freedom of movement. So in general, people are frustrated,” he said.

“Added to this are these almost daily visits, which are done in a way that antagonizes Muslims and invades the privacy of the mosque,” Abu Sway said.

Feiglin, for his part, seems to see himself as the representative of the Temple activists in Israel’s halls of power, and to relish the prospect of a religious clash.

“Everyone’s afraid,” Feiglin told the interviewer for the Temple Institute’s webcast, grinning from his new Knesset office. “Everyone’s afraid of the Temple Mount.”

temple mount

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4845

Second Vatican state to be established in Jerusalem

“The Old City of Jerusalem will become a “special regime”. It will be an autonomous, self-governing entity. The Chief Administrator will have minimum reliance on the existing regimes and structures”.

This is a policy proposal from “Jerusalem Old City Initiative”. The proposal is a fruit of the “peace process”, and inter faith dialogues between Jews, Muslims, Catholics and claimed to be “Christians”.

People are not aware that the planning of a the seat of the last antichrist has reached its final stages. This work got a booster after the implementation of the Oslo “peace accord”.

The final push for the end game, started with the formation of The Council of the Religious Institutions of the Holy Land in 2005. This council has Muslims, Jews, Catholics and claimed to be “Christians” in its governing body.

When you read their statement of faith, you are introduced to the final One World Religion. They try to tell us that all faiths leads to the same god. Now they plan the arrival of their leader.

Statement of faith:

“As religious leaders of different faiths, who share the conviction in the one Creator, Lord of the Universe; we believe that the essence of religion is to worship G-d and respect the life and dignity of all human beings, regardless of religion, nationality and gender”.

This is the councils website:

Did you know that both The Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the The Islamic Sharia Courts of the PA is supporting this Norwegian proposed “inter faith initiative” in Jerusalem?

And the head of this council is a Norwegian Lutheran priest, Mr. Trond Bakkevig. He is supported by the Church of Norway, and the World Council of Churches.

And when the final “peace deal” almost went through in Annapolis in November 2007, The Religious interfaith Council was getting ready to party in the Norwegian Embassy in Washington.

To get the Old City of Jerusalem ready for a “special regime” to come, The “peace makers” have formed an International work shop called “Jerusalem Old City Initiative”. This initiative is sponsored by the mainly protestant Christian republic of Canada. Their head office is at The University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

The website of “Jerusalem Old City Initiative”.

When you go through this web-site, reading strategic documents, reports and plans, you will be stunned by what they have suggested.

It is a copy-cat plan of the foundation of the Vatican statehood in 1929.

And the ideas of how to rule this Old City statehood in Jerusalem, seems to be collected from the governance of the present Papal system.

The final plan will be presented to the government of Israel as an offer, they simply “have to” accept.

The new statehood in Eastern Jerusalem will have a “Chief administrator” who govern a “special regime”. His powers will be  similar to the Pope of Rome.

Please take a closer look at their web-sites.

Below are some of the suggestions from Jerusalem Old City initiative.

The Chief Administrator will be lifted above the laws. He will have his own statehood, and his inhabitants will be a closed circle of faithful servants. From this seat, He can practice his lawlessness.

These suggestions are found in the summaries of the executive reports:

1. An autonomous bureaucracy

2. To have its own inhabitants.

3. A robust security force.

4. A Council, a partly democratically elected body with power of veto over actions of the Administrator.

5. Old City as a single unit under a single administrator, having executive authority.

6. Agreement between the parties, with two national capitals, Al Quds and Yerushalayim.

7. A single Old City Police service to be established.

This is the text found in one of the strategic document on this web site.

Key Characteristics and Functions of the Special Regime

The proposed special regime, headed by a Chief Administrator, would be responsible for the efficient and equitable management and governance of the Old City, including ensuring the sanctity of and access to the Old City’s Holy Sites.

To meet these responsibilities, the special regime would require an empowered autonomous bureaucracy — one whose leadership has the confidence of both Israel and Palestine and one that is vested with both the authority and the capacity to administer, manage, and police specific aspects of the Old City and its inhabitants.

A key function of the Special Regime this regime would be to ensure equity, law, and order. Security will be the test of any peace agreement: if order in the Old City breaks down, any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement itself will be at risk.

Thus, the Old City Special Regime would require a robust security force, with the capacity both to deliver even-handed law enforcement and justice and to confront successfully large-scale security threats, including potential efforts by extremists from the various camps seeking to undermine an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

First the Old City security force, as a model from the Vatican City.

Catechism (doctrines) of the Catholic Church

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims.

The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4838

With Passover Approaching, a Plague of Locusts Descends Upon Egypt

As if we hadn’t already seen enough Biblical events this year, a plague of over 30 million locusts swarmed over Egypt’s cities and farms just three weeks before Passover begins. But put your apocalyptic fears to rest. This happens every year as part of the locusts’ natural migration pattern, though this year’s swarm is especially large. That doesn’t mean Egyptians aren’t freaked the heck out by millions of nasty bugs buzzing through the air at all hours of day and night, possibly descending upon the agriculture fields where they’re known to destroy entire crops, just like in the actual Passover story.

The crops are so far safe, Egyptian officials assured the public. As the plague made its way from the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia at the end of last week and this weekend, though, Egyptian Agricultural Minister Salah Abdel Moamen explained the situation to the country in a calmly worded statement. “The current inspection teams at areas targeted by locusts did not witness swarms damaging a single inch of crop,” said Moamen. He added that the locusts are “sexually immature and do not depend on plants for energy since they mainly rely on fat stores.”

 

That said, these plagues can be unpredictable. Egyptian officials didn’t expect the plague to pass by the country’s capital, until Sunday when the locusts unexpectedly arrived in Cairo. The government denied reports that the locusts had started devastating crops as well as a report from United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that the Ministry of Agriculture cleared 11,000 hectares of land in an attempt to save the harvest. When they get hungry, a one-ton hoard of locusts can eat the same amount of food in one day as 2,500 humans, according to the UN. Egypt knows this too. Less than a decade ago, a plague of locusts nearly 40 miles wide swept over Egypt damaging crops at the majority of the country’s farms. That’s a picture of it, to the right.

Conflicting reports aside, Moamen insists that the government has everything under control. “Egyptian armed forces and the border guards are attempting to fight the swarm with the means at their disposal,” the agriculture minister said. “I ask the families living in the locust-plagued areas not to burn tires. This does not chase away the locusts, but only causes damage and could ignite large scale fires that would cost in lives.” Also, that smoke isn’t doing Egypt’s grandchildren any favors. Scientists anticipate that, as global warming worsens, plagues like this will also get worse.

 4 horsemen

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4822

Israel on Verge of Revealing New Government

 

President Obama is supposed to be in Israel in about two weeks. Israel doesn’t have a government.

The Israeli elections were on January 22. Contrary to widespread expectations, the right didn’t score a big win; instead the electorate returned complex, angular results. The religious right gained, the secular right lost a lot, and a brand-new party that could be loosely described as secular-centrist, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, made a big splash by coming in second with 19 seats (out of a total of 120 in the Knesset).

 

Binyamin Netanyahu, for whom the election results were sufficient for a third tenure as prime minister, has been trying ever since to negotiate his way to a coalition. It’s been brutal.

The basic struggle pits, on the one side, Netanyahu, striving for as broad a coalition as possible including the two haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) parties. And on the other, an alliance that has formed between secular-centrist Lapid and Naftali Bennett, head of the nationalist-religious Habayit Hayehudi party that also did well in the elections. Bennett wants to weaken the haredi camp; Lapid insists on excluding it from the coalition entirely.

Just now, the Israeli media is reporting that the very tight (at present) Lapid-Bennett alliance has prevailed, with Netanyahu agreeing to their terms—meaning that a coalition without the haredim is on the way, possibly by the end of this week.

What’s at stake here? Netanyahu’s preference for a wide coalition is easily understandable. Wide coalitions are more stable, with no one party wielding extortionate power (by threatening to bolt the coalition and thereby dissolve it). Netanyahu also sees Israel facing critical security (particularly Iran), diplomatic (particularly getting along with Obama), and economic (particularly budget-cutting) challenges for which a wide coalition can give him the most ballast.

Netanyahu also wants to preserve his secular-right Likud Party’s alliance with the haredi parties, which goes back four decades; excluding these parties could lead them to punish Likud in the next elections.

Lapid and Bennett, however—particularly the former—insist that Israel cannot keep allowing most haredi men to refuse army service, and to live cloistered lives as yeshiva students on the public dole. They say having the haredi parties in the coalition will inevitably lead to compromises on these issues that will ensure the situation stays the same.

A large majority of Israelis, right, left, and center, agree that the present situation with the haredim is untenable. The Lapid-Bennett alliance, however, has been criticized as cynical and opportunistic; some say these two novice politicians, intoxicated with their electoral success, are essentially confronting Netanyahu with a power play and securing plum ministerial positions for themselves.

In particular, whereas Bennett—whom foreign media have portrayed as a “hip settler”—is, while not actually a settler, supposed to be sympathetic to their outlook, Lapid—while projecting himself as a centrist during the election campaign—actually has a backlog of viciously anti-settler statements (usefully collated here by Israeli commentator Martin Sherman) typical of the far left.

 

They do indeed, then, form an odd couple; and there is ample reason to fear that a coalition of Netanyahu’s, Lapid’s, Bennett’s, and a couple of smaller parties would be creaky and possibly cacophonous.

On the economic front, with Netanyahu, Lapid, and Bennett all sharing a free-market philosophy, the prospects of such a coalition tackling Israel’s economic challenges effectively are bright. The diplomatic front is a good deal more complicated.

Claims and speculations about Obama’s upcoming visit vary widely—from a report Monday on World Tribune that he intends to demand a West Bank withdrawal to Secretary of State John Kerry’s assurances that he only seeks to “listen.” Potentially, Lapid’s more dovish party could provide an ideal pressure point for a U.S. administration seeking to harry and ultimately undo Netanyahu.

One hopes, then, that the key figures of whatever coalition finally forms will put politics aside and face Israel’s challenges responsibly. Foremost among those challenges is Iran; as Netanyahu put it in a speech two weeks ago:

Iran’s development of nuclear weapons will make the Middle East a nuclear tinderbox. It will change the world…. Sanctions alone will not stop the nuclear program of Iran….

Although Obama, too, claims he’s determined to stop Iranian nukes, his choice of defense secretary casts a thick shadow over his credibility. The situation calls for maximal Israeli unity and seriousness.

080423_US_and_Israel_flags

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4819

More info on the Israeli strike on Syrian Chemical Weapons

Israel’s Air Strike in Syria

Obama Gave the Nod for Israel’s Military Strike against Syria
 

Tuesday, January 22, two top Israeli officials arrived in Washington and Moscow to deliver prior notice of the Netanyahu government’s resolve to strike out against the military links binding Syria and Hizballah because they had grown into a major threat to its national security and an impediment to regional stability.
In Moscow, National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror met President Vladimir Putin’s aides and was warned off this venture, whereas in Washington, Military Intelligence director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi fared much better.
According to its public statements, the Israeli government is obliged to take action if President Bashar Assad releases sophisticated arms including chemical weapons to Hizballah or any other terrorists.
But that is just a façade. Striking an arms convoy moving across the border from Syria to the Lebanese Hizballah would amount to no more than a sortie, whereas continuous, repeated pounding of the shared military frameworks or structures serving Syrian-Hizballah cooperation could stretch out for months and bring Iran into the fray.
Maj. Gen. Kochavi was questioned closely by US military and intelligence experts, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources report, on IDF plans for achieving its objective and what precisely Israeli war planners mean by the destruction of the military interconnections between the Assad regime and Iran’s proxy, Hizballah.
The Israeli intelligence officer listed the prospective targets of attack, how they would be hit and the operation’s estimated timeframe.

Assad gains strategic hinterland in Lebanon – thanks to Hizballah

The plan was put before President Barack Obama for his approval together with five propositions:
1. As long as Iran, Syria and Hizballah are bound by a strong military alliance, the United States has little chance of achieving a breakthrough in diplomatic negotiations with Tehran or curbing its race for a nuclear weapon.
2. A successful Israel operation for severing the Syria-Hizballah military partnership would isolate Iran militarily and so reset the balance of military strength in the Middle East. In those circumstances, the US and Israel would find it easier to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear program if necessary.
3. The tight Hizballah-Syrian interdependence keeps Assad safe from attempts to unseat him. It has deepened to the point that his Shiite ally is abetting the Syrian ruler in his grab for parts of Lebanon as his strategic hinterland, focusing on the Hizballah strongholds in the Beqaa Valley. Already, Syrian command posts, intelligence centers and sophisticated weapons are being installed there and camps for loyal military units. So even if his regime is overthrown in Damascus, Assad will have a fallback headquarters in Lebanon from which to continue fighting.
4. The transfer of Syrian chemical weapons to Hizballah is no longer an issue; Israeli military intelligence has determined that some of those poison substances are already in Hizballah’s possession, and DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources recently reported that they had passed into Hizballah’s hands back in January 2012.
Thursday, Jan. 31, Saudi intelligence sources leaked a report that “in early 2012, Assad approved the transfer to Hizballah of mustard gas and missiles able to travel 300 kilometers and carry chemical warheads.”
Saudi sources say the transfer took place over 40 days, from Feb. 17 to the end of March, 2012.

Obama weighs the knock-on effect for Iran and Russia

Therefore, it was decided in Jerusalem that the time had come to cut to the chase and avoid getting sucked into another endless debate on whether or not Hizballah has acquired chemical weapons, like the argument circling interminably around the exact point reached by Iran in its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
According to the plan put before Washington, Israel proposed launching an air strike against the Jamraya “research institution” near Damascus, where Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah officers work together on developing the chemical weapons systems supplied to both the Syrian army and Hizballah.
5. For the sake of avoiding all-out war with Syria and Hizballah, Israel’s strategic planners proposed launching a series of controlled strikes, each one pinpointing a specific target common to all three in Syria and Lebanon.
The IDF can carry out this mission on its own with no need for direct US military assistance.
After studying the Israeli plan presented by the Israeli intelligence officer, Obama weighed two more considerations before reaching a decision:
a) US support of the Israeli plan presupposes the revival of the American-Russian Cold War in the Middle East. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Number One strategic commitment is the preservation of the Assad regime, an Israeli offensive with Washington’s blessing would have the weight of an ultimatum to Putin to ditch Assad, a step with knock-on impact on his credibility with Tehran. Obama does not imagine Putin caving in to this extent.
b) Israeli military action on the scale of offensives against Syria and Lebanon would almost inevitably set off hostilities with Iran and the onset of a major Iranian-Israeli war.
Irrespective of these considerations, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Washington report that Tuesday, Jan. 29, a week after military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi departed Washington, the US President’s approval of the Israeli plan was on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s desk in Jerusalem. The next day it was up and running with the Israeli air strike at Jamraya.
Back to Top

 

Israel’s Rolling War Alert

The Israeli War Alert Peaked in Time with Twin Chemical Threats
Binyamin Netanyahu

The average Israeli hardly noticed the war alert the IDF declared Friday, Jan. 25, because for the first time ever, security issues were pushed to the back of most of their consciousnesses by the fascinating political revolution quietly unfolding in their sight since the general election of Jan. 22.
An opinion poll conducted this week showed that had the vote had taken place today, Binyamin Netanyahu and his ruling Likud-Israel Beitenu would have shed more mandates than their 35 to 31 plunge and may even have been overtaken by Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid (Future) which netted 19 seats at its first try.
The war alert was ramped up to its peak level Tuesday, Jan 29, the day before the Israeli air strike in Syria.
During those five days, Israeli Air Force jets stood on the runways, their pilots in sitting in cockpits ready to take off within minutes of an order, and large armored and infantry forces massed along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Patriot and Iron Dome missile interceptors mushroomed around Israel’s northern towns and Israeli hospitals were told to stand by for a war emergency and a sudden surge of casualties from the war front, missile attacks or chemical warfare. Television and radio newsrooms kept staff overnight in case of a sudden eruption of hostilities.

Chemical threat triggered unfolding Israeli war alert

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources report that the alert was triggered Friday afternoon, Jan. 25 by an order picked up from Hizballah headquarters to the brigades standing ready in the Beqaa Valley of East Lebanon. They were told to advance across the border and deploy outside Syrian chemical weapons stores and facilities.
Embedded in the order was a one-word code telling the Hizballah units to stand by to enter the stores and remove the poison substances to an unspecified destination. The Shiite terrorist group had come close enough to commandeering the weapons for Israeli forces to go on peak alert for moving in.
Early Saturday morning, Jan. 26, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recalled Defense Minister Ehud Barak from a family trip overseas and told him a special Israeli Air Force flight was on its way to bring him home without delay, because hostilities with Syria and Hizballah could erupt at any moment with Iran’s possible involvement.
Barak, who is about to retire, was at his Defense Ministry office in Tel Aviv later that morning. With IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, and his deputy, Maj Gen. Gadi Eizenkott, until recently OC Northern Command and therefore conversant with the Syrian and Lebanese fronts, preparations for a war contingency were put in place.

Attack on Syria tantamount to attack on Iran

Tehran is kept fully abreast of events in Syria by its early warning station on the Syrian peak of the Hermon ridge opposite the Golan and northern Israel. This electronic facility constantly sweeps Israel for every military movement on land, sea and air. In the light of its input that Saturday, Ali Akbar Velayati, one of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest aides, went on record with a warning that Iran would deem any attack on Syria an attack on itself:
“Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance [against Israel]… For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.”
This was the first time an Iranian official had explicitly committed Tehran to war action over Syria.
The next day, Sunday, January 27, a second chemical war threat raised its head in Syria.
It centered on the Menagh Air Base (or Minnigh airport, Minakh Air Base), a Syrian Air Force installation six kilometers south of Aleppo – originally home to the Syrian 4th Flying Training Squadron, MBB 223 Flamingo trainer aircraft and Mi-8 helicopters.
But last December, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources report, President Bashar Assad ordered the base’s conversion to a chemical warfare site, housing missiles and rockets fitted with chemical warheads and bombs filled with sarin nerve gas.
This arsenal was located ready for use as needed against the Syrian rebel concentration in Aleppo and the northern region of Idlib.
Also moved into the Menagh Air Base were Iranian- and Syrian-made short- and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, many of them adapted to chemical warheads.

Islamist terrorists race for chemical attack on Israel

Syrian rebels have fought repeatedly to seize the strategic Menagh Air Base, but Sunday saw them massing in large numbers around the base and, as the week wore on, coming close to seizing this chemical arsenal.
The rebel force closing in on the base is reported by our military experts as consisting of three groups: The Al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusrah; the al-Tawhid (Unity) Brigade – the Free Syrian Army’s Aleppo unit, which has three subsections, the Fursan al-Jabal Brigade, the Daret Izza Brigade and the Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade; and the Suqour al-Sham Brigade – the Falcons of the Levant Brigade, another FSA unit, which is assigned to the Idlib front.
The ideology these FSA groups share has been described as Islamist but not jihadist, although some of their officers and fighters are close to Jabhat al-Nusrah.
Israeli and American military and intelligence analysts agree that if the Menagh Air Base falls into the hands of any or all these three rebel forces, they won’t hesitate to conduct mass executions of the Syrian troops and officers defending the base, or fire chemical missiles at regime targets inside Syria or at Israel and Jordan.
Israel was further troubled by a video posted on the Internet depicting gunmen holding up cans containing chemicals and threatening to hurl them at Syrian troops – evidence that Islamist terrorists in rebel ranks and backed by foreign powers, have acquired chemical weapons.
A second video showed the bodies of rabbits dead from inhaling poison gases.

Is Qatar ready to fund chemical arms for Syrian rebels?

British newspapers of Jan. 21 carried an email exchange between two senior officials of the British-based contractor Britam Defence outlining a scheme “approved by Washington” explaining that Qatar was ready to fund rebel use of chemical weapons in Syria.
In Israel, this rush of infromation confirmed their fears that the three rebel forces closing in on the Syrian air base are racing each other in a contest for the first to shoot a chemical missile at an Israeli civilian or military target.
The apprehension decided Israel’s armed forces to elevate its war level alert on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 29.
One plan drawn up for averting the threat is to drop large special force units on the Menagh Air Base to take charge of the base and its chemical and missile arsenals, followed by large cargo transports and helicopters that would lift the arsenal out to Israel.
This was only one of the contingency plans drafted in Israel for surgical strikes on the dangerous facilities dotted around Syria.
Israel and American military and intelligence experts are of the opinion that neither Bashar Assad nor Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah will take Israel military action in Syria for long and will eventually send their troops on the offensive for retaliation.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4743

Russia slams Israeli attack on Syria. US forces in Jordan on alert

The Syrian announcement of an Israeli air strike on a military site near Damascus Wednesday, Jan. 30, drew strong condemnation from Moscow the next day: “Such action if confirmed would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country,” said the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry Thursday. “If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violate the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.”
Israel has made no comment on the Damascus statement which described in detail an Israeli air strike against a “military research institute” near the capital. Witnesses say it was a plant for manufacturing “unconventional weapons.” The facility was destroyed and two staff members killed.

Lebanese sources later reported a Russian Mig-31 fighter had crossed over Sinai Wednesday in the direction of Israel. It veered west over the Mediterranean after encountering an Israeli warning not to intrude into its air space and continued flying over Lebanon.

debkafile’s military sources say that the only external military force in the eastern Mediterranean region is a fleet of 18 Russian warships, which includes landing-craft – among the largest in the Russian Navy – with 2,000 marines aboard.
According to various Middle East sources, the Syrian report of an Israeli air strike has touched off high military alerts across the region. Syria has put its Golan forces on the Israel border on combat readiness and the Lebanese and Jordanian armies are on alert. So too are the Russian fleet opposite Syria and the Lebanese army.

Our military sources report that Turkish units on the Syrian border are on high preparedness although Ankara played down the reports of the Israeli air strike in Syria, uncomfortable over the fact that the Israeli Air Force was the first external power to intervene directly in the Syrian conflict.

So too are the US air force units stationed at the Turkish Incerlik air base, the US special forces deployed at the Jordanian Mafraq air facility and the American, German and Dutch Patriot missile interceptors deployed in Turkey opposite Syria. Israel has been on high alert since last week.
The prevailing estimate in military and intelligence circles in Washington and NATO capitals is that the Israeli air attack on the Syrian military site near Damascus was but the opening shot for the coming round of military blows they expect to be exchanged in the near future between Israel, Syria and Hizballah, with Iran possibly waiting in the wings for a chance to pitch in.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4737

Apostasy: Israel has No Future (What do you do with Romans chapters 9-11)

Propaganda Wins – Jim Fletcher

At the Catalyst East conference in Atlanta, I listened to Lynne Hybels give a talk about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. One of her concluding slides was an image of the security fence Israel erected to keep out terrorists. It’s worked quite well, and that seems to bother critics of the Jewish state, who can’t bring themselves to simply say that it’s good Jews are not being murdered anymore.

Instead, the critics refer to the fence as a “wall,” or, more provocatively, an “apartheid wall.” This is a complete inversion of the truth, since Israel is the most open society in the Middle East, and grants far-reaching rights to Arabs.

An interesting lie being peddled is that the fence completely surrounds Bethlehem. It does not.

Yet, by alleging that the fence encircles the town—this even by members of the Religious Left who have been there and know better—they succeed in portraying Israel as the “warden” of the “prison” the Palestinians are kept in.

Hybels chose to include an image in her presentation that showed a simple message written on the fence:

“Love Wins.”

This is significant, because it signals yet another evidence that leftists are tightening their grip on Evangelicalism. After all, Rob Bell’s 2011 book, Love Wins, in which he comes out as a universalist while simultaneously denying that he did so—this a hallmark tactic of leftists posing as “evangelicals”—is admired by those change-agents within the church who are attempting to transform it into an altogether different entity.

By approvingly displaying this image, Hybels shows clearly that she embraces the same type of theology/ideology that Bell does. They are all in the same camp, and specific examples could be cited all the day long:

•Donald Miller’s hit piece on Israel, from his November 19 blog post.

•Andy Braner’s recent blog post bemoaning the tough conditions of those that live in Bethlehem.

•Gabe Lyon’s recent “Q” discussion/interview with Sami Awad, a leading change agent and Bethlehem resident who is friends with Lynne Hybels.

•Relevant magazine’s continued flirtation with anyone who either mocks Bible prophecy or sides with Israel.

By the way, I’ve just been informed that Relevant’s issue dealing with the Israel/”Palestine” conflict—set for January—has been moved to July. Be watching for it.

A further interesting development is that when I attempted, several times, to get an interview with Catalyst director Brad Lomenick, and ask him why anti-Israel and self-described “non-Marxist socialist” Cornel West spoke at Catalyst East in 2011, I was told Mr. Lomenick doesn’t have time.

(There is plenty of other data that shows the Catalyst team is committed to spreading the Palestinian narrative throughout the American church.)

Personally, if I were responsible for filling young evangelicals’ heads with leftist ideology espoused by Liberation Theologian West…I’d find the time to tell constituents why. But you must know, dear reader, that a hallmark of the New Evangelical leadership is to stonewall when someone questions their methods.

Silence.

This type of ideology is flooding the evangelical world, as we speak.

It doesn’t matter to these people that Israel’s security fence borders Bethlehem on only two sides. The story must be advanced that it completely encloses the tragic town.

You get it, don’t you? Let me be indelicate:

The left lies.

They lie in order to advance their ideology, which is an acidic stew of Marxism, New Age, and outright apostasy.

One of the outposts their Panzer divisions are smashing currently is pro Israel support in the American church.

Notice too that you hear only silence from America’s leading Christian…leaders. Who is holding Donald Miller accountable for writing the same kind of stuff about Israel that Hamas does? He actually alleges that Israel controls the caloric intake of Gazans…and nobody says a word!

When I attempted to ask Miller’s rep how he knows this, and whether he will come forth with documentation, I was stonewalled.

And, through networking and the internet, this anti-Israel agenda is truly a global enterprise. This week, English vicar Stephen Sizer is in east Asia, filling heads there with anti-Christian Zionist and anti-Israel invective. All the while smiling.

Last year, self-described Pentecostal (!) writer Paul Alexander referred to Jesus as a Palestinian. It is lost on these people that this is classic, Soviet-style propaganda, first unleashed on the world by leading theologian Yasser Arafat.

Where is the discernment today?

Love wins? Yes, it will, but the very definition of love has been distorted in our world today. Love will win, because love is truth, and truth will be triumphant.

At this moment and beyond, a sweet truth exists: Israel is alive and her haters hate.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4622

On the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple

There is an interesting dynamic that takes place when you listen to many of the comments made by Christians who identify themselves as Zionists, or supporters of Israel and the Jewish people, when signs of a rebuilt Jewish Temple are discussed. Quite frequently, their comments are overly negative. Because there is the Scripturally-based expectation that sometime after the Temple is rebuilt, the Antichrist will desecrate it, the Temple itself, or any plans to built it, are often thus treated as evil. But think about the logic here. The Antichrist will invade the land of Israel, but this doesn’t mean that we treat the State of Israel as evil. If the State of Israel didn’t exist, the Antichrist wouldn’t be able to invade it. Yet we support Israel. As we should. Yet many of these Christians who support the Jewish State will actually condemn the notion of a rebuilt Temple. Why a distinction between the resettling of the land and any effort to rebuild a Temple? Biblically, the Jewish people are commanded to faithfully steward the land until Messiah comes. Christians who understand the Scriptures support them in their efforts to do such. Likewise, the Jewish people are also commanded to offer sacrifices on the Temple Mount, so do I believe that we should support their efforts to do so. Simply because the Antichrist will in the future, for a brief time enter, violate and “trample” the Temple, this does not thus make the Temple, or the idea of a Temple, evil. Others will argue that any sacrifice at all is an abomination in light of the once-and-for-all sacrifice made by Jesus. While I would agree that it is only the blood of the Messiah shed on the cross that can truly atone for sins, this does not mean that any sacrifice made is thus an abomination. Far from it. After the cross, Paul and the early believers continued to participate in the various Temple rituals (Acts 21:24-26). And during the millennium, it is clear that some sacrifices will take place (Ezekiel 40-47). I’m quite sure these very brief comments will stir up a bit of controversy and will likely be misread by some, but essentially, my point is simply that so long as Christians continue to make clear the Cross of Jesus the Messiah as the only source of atonement and salvation, simple support for efforts to rebuild a Temple are far preferable to the finger pointing often cast toward the Jews as soon as the issue of a future Temple is discussed

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4605