Category: Israel

Israel Is In Secret Talks with the Vatican Over Jerusalem: Prophetic?

A special meeting was held at the Pope’s palace in Rome on Tuesday, attended by delegations from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vatican. During the meeting, the sides discussed some of the unresolved issues between them.

At the conclusion of the meeting, which was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “The talks took place in an open, balanced and constructive environment, during which significant progress was made towards an agreement.”

There have been disagreements between the Vatican and Israel on several economic issues and on the status of the Church and priests in Israel. Among the economic issues for which a solution has yet to be found is the question of property tax of churches and land owned by the Church, especially around the Kinneret, the tax status of churches and more?

Another controversial issue between the two sides is the Vatican’s request that Israel give it sovereignty over King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem. The Catholic Church has claimed ownership of a room in the compound, in which it says the “Last Supper” occurred. Ayalon has promised in the past he would defend Israel’s sovereignty there.

Bahij Mansour, director of the department for religious affairs in the Foreign Ministry who has been responsible for the talks with the Vatican for the past two years, confirmed in a conversation with Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that the two sides are nearing an agreement. He added, however, that for the time being the parties have agreed not to make public any information regarding the understandings reached.

Asked by Arutz Sheva whether the issue of King David’s Tomb would be included in the agreement, the Foreign Ministry said that the issue will indeed be included but would not reveal exact details.

“The details do not matter at the moment, but the subject of the room of the Last Supper will be included in the agreements,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Mansour told Arutz Sheva that both sides made gestures and concessions in order to reach an agreement.

“At this time there are almost no differences. There was great openness between the parties and we are ahead of signing an agreement,” he said, adding that the sides will meet again in six months.

In a speech in the Knesset a few weeks ago, Ayalon said that Israel does not intend to give up its sovereignty over King David’s Tomb. His remarks came in response to a question by Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev, who said that the Foreign Ministry is holding talks over giving up its sovereignty. Ayalon, in turn, said this “never happened,” but agreed to a request by Ze’ev to bring the issue up for discussion in one of the Knesset’s committees.

Ze’ev told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday he knows for a fact that there are indeed negotiations over the Vatican’s demands for sovereignty of King David’s Tomb, despite the fact that historians and archaeologists have stated that without any doubt, there is no evidence to suggest that the compound was in place 2,000 years ago or even half that time, a fact that nullifies the Church’s claims.

Ze’ev said that he believes the Church would allow the State to nationalize some of the land it owns around the Kinneret in exchange for obtaining sovereignty of the compound in question. It is not known how accurate Ze’ev’s claims are since, for the time being, both parties are being careful not to disclose any information regarding the agreement being worked out.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3661

Israel gas finds launch navy into troubled waters

 They come to take a spoil! Ezekiel 38 & 39

When Israeli economists contemplate their country’s untapped natural gas finds far out in the Mediterranean, they dream of energy independence and lucrative export deals.

Those charged with Israel’s defense, however, worry that the navy – small and long a middling priority in budgets – may be hard put to protect the multinational drilling platforms and rigs out at sea.

“We will do our best, but without a major boost to our capabilities, our best will not be enough,” a senior military planner said in one of a series of Reuters interviews with Israeli decision-makers on the subject.

That all spoke on condition of anonymity indicates concern that such doubts over security might scare off investors and, perhaps, even encourage sea-borne attacks by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla movement hostile to Israel and to its exploration of gas fields also claimed by Beirut.

There are internal political considerations, too. With Middle East instability spiraling, Israel’s Finance Ministry is poring over an unwieldy plan for fiscal cuts combined with new spending on national security. The navy is lobbying for cash but is loath to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly.

Maps and other dry facts speak amply.

The huge gas fields centered 130 km (80 miles) from the port of Haifa in northern Israel, along with Yam Thetis, the existing gas-production rig just off Ashkelon in the south, make for a body of water covering 23,000 square km (9,000 square miles) – more than Israel’s territory on land.

Guerrilla raids from the north appear the main threat, with Palestinian Hamas militants penned in Gaza to the south and rumbling discontent from the Lebanese government over Israel’s drawing of a maritime border unlikely to take a military turn.

Providing rapid response in an emergency would strain the Israeli fleet of three corvettes – which have a crew of about 70 and can carry helicopters – 10 other missile boats and fast patrol vessels, and three diesel submarines, not least given their existing roles of enforcing the Gaza Strip blockade and the occasional foray through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea.

“You would need to have at least two missile boats in the vicinity of the rigs at all time,” said a senior officer.

Another declined to give a specific number, saying only the navy required “several” new vessels to meet future missions.

TALL ORDER

That would mean major expansion of the fleet – a tall order, not least as Israel bought another submarine for $335 million in March.

Visiting Israeli joint defense headquarters in Tel Aviv reveals the navy’s junior status, its cramped command centre overshadowed by the marbled tower of the well-funded air force.

The navy also faces skepticism from an Israeli cabinet stiff with former army generals and a finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, who is a civilian expert on maritime security.

In the spirit of what Israelis mordantly call their “ad-hocracy”, an unwillingness to spend on things that seem less pressing, the government may not agree with naval commanders about the urgency of protecting gas fields which are years away from being fully exploited and operational.

One of the handful of gas development projects under way, Tamar, has finished a well 70 km (45 miles) from Haifa. An underwater pipeline will run from there to a production rig that will be erected next to Yam Thetis, 25 km (15 miles) from Israel’s southern coast, by July 2013.

Another project, Leviathan, is 130 km (80 miles) off Haifa – a remoteness from shore that would itself appear to provide protection from guerrilla raids – and is not expected to produce gas before 2017. A number of firms hope to find undersea oil reserves, as well as the gas.

Robin Mills, head of consulting at Manaar Energy in Dubai, predicted an eventual increase in such activity off Israel and Cyprus, with several new exploration wells supported by supply ships and pipe-laying vessels.

“It won’t be like the North Sea, but not a negligible presence either,” Mills said. “I wouldn’t say the security discussion is premature.”

Asked about prospects for protecting the gas fields, a senior Finance Ministry official said only: “This is one among the Israel Defence Forces’ various missions. We are confident that the IDF will successfully rise to it.”

MISSILES, DIVERS, DRONES

Like its foreign counterparts, Israel’s navy prides itself on a spit-and-polish proficiency, especially in carrying out missions of strategic importance. The officers who spoke to Reuters chafed at the idea that, in a fix, they might be forced to call on NATO powers which sail the Mediterranean, such as the United States.

The Israeli navy has fended off a variety of threats over the decades, including at long range. Last year it captured anti-ship missiles which Israel said were destined for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. From there, the weapons could potentially have been used to blow up Yam Thetis.

Citing intelligence assessments, the navy fears Hezbollah guerrillas in boats could fire similar missiles against Israeli targets in the northern gas fields. Other scenarios include remote-controlled flying bombs crashing into rigs, or miniature submarines striking from below. A separate possibility is of gunmen approaching the platforms in civilian vessels or with divers’ gear, then storming aboard to kill or capture the crews.

“We designated these kinds of attack as having a ‘reasonable likelihood’ of occurring,” one Israeli officer said.

Anthony Skinner, Middle East analyst at London political risk consultancy Maplecroft, voiced doubt about the imminence of any such incident. He argued Hezbollah has a role as a reserve reprisal arm of its patron Iran, should the latter’s controversial nuclear facilities be bombed by the Israelis.

“Were Hezbollah to target gas platform and production rigs, such an attack would likely provoke a robust response from Israeli forces, which may in turn precipitate a broader conflict. One of Iran’s key cards against Israel would be removed from the table,” Skinner said.

But merely menacing the energy assets could have value in the eyes of Hezbollah and its allies: “It is altogether conceivable that Hezbollah will seek to deter or frustrate Israeli extraction. Iran too does not want Israel to be able to exploit massive oil and gas wealth in the Mediterranean,” Skinner said.

MUTUAL DETERRENCE?

Though outgunned by Israel, Hezbollah guerrillas fought its army to a standstill in a border war in 2006 and have since maintained a tense standoff while making clear they are honing their military capabilities for any new conflict.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, indicated in a speech last July that any attack on Israeli offshore gas facilities would be in retaliation for an attack on Lebanon.

Israel’s navy says that in addition to enhancing its own fleet it expects stepped-up air force patrols of the gas fields and espionage further abroad.

“If there is a Hezbollah guy training in South America to attack a gas platform, we want to know about it,” an Israeli officer said, speaking hypothetically.

There is hope for stop-gap measures such as unmanned, machinegun-equipped naval patrol boats that can travel long distances and remotely challenge suspect vessels. Navy officers also hint at the development of electronic counter-measures that would allow gas rigs to block incoming guided missiles.

“The IDF knows how to provide a response for all of Israel’s military needs,” said Ohad Marani, a former Finance Ministry director-general and now CEO of ILD Energy, which plans to begin drilling the first of two new offshore wells in June.

Texas-based Noble Energy, the main foreign company developing the gas fields with Israel and its maritime neighbor Cyprus, declined to discuss security measures for the platforms.

One of the Israeli officers said the rigs had private guards who coordinate closely with the navy. But they have not yet held sufficient joint emergency drills, the officer said, citing reluctance to disrupt work that costs around $1 million a day.

“Noble was the only company crazy enough to work with us,” the officer said. “We don’t want to be inconsiderate.”

That leaves the hope that Hezbollah will shrink from the geographical, and geopolitical, hurdles of strikes at sea.

“The targets are so distant, and if they miss, then they hit the water and get no effect whatsoever,” an Israeli officer said, channeling Hezbollah thinking. “And if they do get the target, then they hurt Americans and Filipino crewmen rather than just Jews. So maybe they’ll think it’s not worth it.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3603

Netanyahu: ‘Fatal mistake’ to concede sacred sites

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday it would be a “fatal mistake” ever to give up control over Jerusalem’s holy sites.

His remarks, in a parliamentary speech, went a little further than Israel’s longtime policy of viewing Jerusalem, a city at the heart of Middle East conflict, as its “indivisible capital”.

Addressing a debate marking 45 years since Israel captured and annexed the city’s eastern sector, in a move never recognized internationally, Netanyahu said:

“Whoever proposes we take the heart of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and take it out of our hands, and that this would bring about peace, I say not only is this a mistake but a fatal mistake.”

Netanyahu said that sites holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity enjoyed a “wonder of inter-religious peace that is maintained thanks to Jerusalem’s unity under Israeli sovereignty.”

“The Temple Mount is in our hands and … it shall remain in our hands,” Netanyahu added.

The Temple Mount, a site in Jerusalem’s old walled city, is revered by Jews as the place where two biblical temples once stood. The area also houses two of Islam’s holiest shrines, the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Palestinians want east Jerusalem as capital of a future state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, territory Israel also captured in a 1967 war.

Western-sponsored negotiations hit deadlock months ago in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

In a related development, Israel’s parliament passed a law on Monday granting tax incentives to organizations seen as encouraging settlement in Israel and occupied territory, in addition to tax breaks already offered to settlers in the past.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3581

Israel is a Miracle

Great article from Bill Salus on why Israel is the super sign for our generation to know we are THE GENERATION  when Christ would return,

 

The super-sign of the end times is the existence of the nation of Israel, and this was pointed out by Christ in Matthew 24:32-34 in the parable of the fig tree. Through the parable He taught that some future generation would be able to claim that the long list of prophecies predicted in Matthew 24 had found fulfillment. By instructing His disciples to “learn” the parable, which identified the reestablished nation of Israel through a familiar Old Testament typology of the fig tree, Christ elevated this prophecy to the forefront of all the last day’s prophecies He discussed.

Israel, that tiny Jewish state that is surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors, and that is about to go toe-to-toe with Iran to prevent the rogue state from developing nuclear weapons, is the super-sign of the end time’s, and yet many within the Christian Church today believe the existence of Israel is nothing more than the moral obligation of the United Nations in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust.

When it comes to the question of the significance of Israel in these last days who should we believe, Jesus Christ, or the super-sessionist theologian that believes the Christian Church has replaced Israel as the apple of God’s eye? (Zechariah 2:8).

Wikipedia defines Super-sessionism as follows: “Super-sessionism (also called fulfillment theology or replacement theology) is a Christian interpretation of New Testament claims, viewing God’s relationship with Christians as being either the “replacement” or “fulfillment” or “completion” of the promise made to the Jews (or Israelites) and Jewish proselytes.” (i)

Set aside the fact that the regathering of the Jews into the land of Israel today fulfills Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 36:22-24, Isaiah 11:11, Ezekiel 37:12-13, Ezekiel 38:8, and a plethora of additional ones elsewhere in the scriptures, what about the fact that at least eight modern-day miracles occurred to ensure that Israel not only became a nation, but will become an even greater one soon.

Israel’s existence today is a greater miracle than the parting of the Red Sea during the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, for the eight reasons listed below. Remember in the Exodus story Pharaoh of Egypt had Moses and every last Hebrew backed up against the Red Sea. The Hebrews were sitting ducks for Pharaohs soldiers. All the Lord had to do was four rather than eight things. The Lord had to;

1) Upset the Egyptians (harden their hearts) so that their deeply-rooted hatred of the Hebrews would get the best of them (Exodus 14:17),

2) Provide an escape route through which Moses and the Hebrews could flee (Exodus 14:21-22),

3) Create some distance between the advancing armies and the Hebrew refugees (Exodus 14:24),

4) And lastly, hobble the Egyptians chariots so they would be unable to escape the collapsing waters of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:25).

And, of course the Lord had to collapse the waters upon the Egyptian army in Exodus 14:26-28, to protect the Jews from future Egyptian attacks, and to demonstrate that the Gentile foreign policy of Genesis 12:3 was still effectually intact. But in reality, how difficult for the Lord could collapsing the waters be, considering the harder miracle was separating them in the first place? Genesis 12:3 promised cursings of a like-kind to them that cursed Israel. The Egyptians wanted to kill the Hebrews at the Red Sea, so in retaliation, they wound up dead under the waters of the Red Sea.

Evidence Israel today is an even greater miracle. In order for the nation of Israel to exist today, the Lord had to;

1) Conquer the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over the Mideast from 1517 to 1917. This occurred during World War I, when the Entente Powers of Russia, France, and the UK defeated the Central Powers consisting of the Ottoman, German, and Hungarian empires,

2) Create a Zionistic inclination in Jews scattered worldwide. This began in the late nineteenth century, around the time Theodor Herzl published his book Der Judenstaat, the Jewish State in German in 1896,

3) Defeat the Nazi regime which attempted Jewish genocide in order to prevent the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland of Israel,

4) Unite and empower the Allied Forces of the British Empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and the United States of America to stop Hitler’s holocaust attempt,

5) Reestablish the Arab and Persian States in order for many Arabs and Persians to vacate out of Israel: Afghanistan (1919), Egypt (1922), Saudi Arabia and Iraq (1932), Iran (1935), Lebanon (1943), and Syrian and Jordan (1946),

6) Move the United Nations to legislate and approve the “Partition Plan of 1947,” which called for the reestablishment of the Jewish State, so Jews could have their homeland restored,

7) Create and empower the Israel Defense Forces so that the Jews could survive Arab attempts in 1948, 1967, and 1973 to destroy the reestablished Jewish State,

8) Preserve and prosper Israel, since the future Israel described in Ezekiel 38:8 – 13 turns out to be a very secure and prosperous Israel.

None of these above eight feats could have been accomplished singlehandedly by the United Nations. They all required the Lord’s divine providence in order for the Jewish State to exist and survive today.

So in short, it appears that God meant what He said in Jeremiah 31, and the existence of Israel today against all odds, is proof in the prophetic pudding that the Lord says what He means.

“Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): “If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36, NKJV).

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3574

Israel’s deep-sea dominance

Quietly, underwater, Israel is turning into a maritime power like the United States and Russia, with an armada of advanced submarines. Germany recently agreed to provide Israel with a sixth Dolphin submarine; the Jewish state already has three. Two more will be arriving this and next year, and then the sixth one will come.

Germany also agreed to subsidize the sixth submarine, as it did with the previous ones. The first two were given to Israel for free; the Germans paid for half of the third one, and will pay for one third of the next three. In an era where the Germans are cutting back their own military because of economic hardship, this is not a trivial matter.

Germany may later sell Israel more advanced submarines of this type, and Israel is indeed interested in building a fleet of 10 submarines, which will secure its power for dozens of years to come.

The cost of every submarine is some $500M dollars, but the price may rise to $850M. Israel presented special demands for its subs and installed advanced, secret systems in them. The sixth submarine will be the most advanced and capable of staying underwater the longest.
IDF submarine in Haifa (Photo: IDF Spokesman’s Office)

The IDF’s Navy is undergoing a significant conceptual change: From serving as a border guard (which is also an important duty,) it’s shifting into Israel’s and the IDF’s strategic arm, no less so than the Air Force. Our submarines can reach any area of the world, and most certainly in this region, and our enemies do not have a reasonable response for the time being.

Best investment in peace

No regional state can afford to purchase such weapons. A few years ago it was reported that the Egyptians were also interested in acquiring Dolphin submarines from Germany. Egypt’s subs are outdated, and Cairo became anxious because of Israel’s dominance in deep water, which the Egyptians have no response for. However, negotiations did not advance, and today Cairo’s military regime has no money for such subs.

Meanwhile, the Iranians are monitoring with concern the German reports about the provision of three more subs to Israel, knowing Tehran has no response for this either. In order to show they possess an alternative, Iran’s outdated subs have been recently traveling to the Red Sea as provocation vis-à-vis the long-range Israeli presence. This is also the reason why an Iranian vessel recently crossed through the Suez Cannel en route to the Mediterranean: In order to show that Iran is a superpower after all.

Sun Tzu, who wrote The Art of War, already taught us how to produce deterrence: If the enemy estimates that it will suffer grave damage should it attack you, it will curb itself. And this is the significance of the submarines: Iran could theoretically strike Israel with missiles, yet it knows, according to foreign reports, that Tehran may pay an existential price. Even if Israel’s offensive and defensive capabilities are destroyed, the blow against Iran shall arrive from the sea – and it will most certainly arrive.

If Iran realizes that it will have to pay a terrible price, it won’t attack. And indeed, global media outlets are reporting that an Israeli submarine constantly sails near Iran’s shores. This is deterrence. Once Israel will possess six submarines, and possible more, it will signify Israeli control over a huge area.

While submarines are a powerful weapon of war, Israel’s subs are in fact the surest guarantee for maintaining Mideastern stability and order. The subs guarantee that the risk of war will decline, rather than grow. With such power, Israel is the guardian of the sea and of stability in our region, and this is the best investment in regional peace.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3493

Almost half of the population of Israel wants to see the holy temple rebuilt in Jerusalem

In a recent nationwide poll taken by the Knesset Israel’s legislative body, 49% of the body politic of Israel said they want to see the holy temple rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where there once stood two previous Jewish temples. The last one, Herod’s temple, was destroyed in 70AD by the Roman soldiers led by General Titus.

The Israeli public is about evenly split on whether they believe the temple will be rebuilt with a slight edge 42% – 39% to those who believe that the third temple will be rebuilt. Given the current political climate, the onset of construction of the temple is not likely to go over quietly in the Islamic world which currently has day to day control of the Temple Mount.

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

The almost 50% of Israelis who want to see the holy Jewish temple rebuilt in Jerusalem are in perfect harmony with what the Bible reveals will happen in the last days.

In a recent national poll carried out in Israel, 49% of the Israelis said that they want to see the rebuilding of the third temple in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount has been the location of two previous temples, the one built by King Solomon some 3000 years ago and the one built by Zerubbabel 2500 years ago. The second temple, known as Herod’s Temple, because it took Herod 46 years to refurbish Zerubbabel’s temple, was referred to by the rabbis as the temple that if you had never seen it, you had never seen a beautiful building.

Since 70AD, when Herod’s Temple was destroyed, there have been countless efforts to rebuild it on the Temple Mount. The ancient Jewish prophet Daniel said that there will be a third temple in Jerusalem during the seven year Tribulation period (Daniel 9:27). Jesus confirmed Daniel’s prophecy in his Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:15) when He said, when you see the abomination of desolation in the temple, flee Jerusalem. That abomination will be the Antichrist entering the temple and claiming to be God (II Thessalonians 2:4). Revelation 11:1 guarantees that there will be a temple in Jerusalem. John the Revelator was told to measure the location for the next Jewish temple.

50% of Israelis are right – there will be a temple in Jerusalem and maybe very soon now. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3453

Israel, Cyprus gas finds spur Mediterranean race

Israel’s biggest gas discovery, potentially turning the fuel importer into an exporter, is prompting a race by nations from Lebanon to Turkey to tap similar deposits in disputed waters of the East Mediterranean.

Noble Energy is developing the Leviathan and Tamar fields off Israel that hold about 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, more than triple the UK’s remaining reserves and worth about $670 billion at today’s prices. The Houston-based company also is behind the Aphrodite discovery off Cyprus.

With the US estimating the region holds about 122 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough to supply the world for one year, Lebanon and Turkey stepped up prospecting. Territorial disputes will have to be resolved first or the potential will remain untapped.

“All sides are looking at the eastern Mediterranean in a new light, but at the same time border disputes remain very important,” said Charles Gurdon, managing director of London- based risk assessor Menas Associates. “In the end, most of these cases will have to go to international arbitration.”

Countries in the region will have to temper disputes over maritime borders and sovereignty before companies such as BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell can realize its potential as an export hub, according to the Observatoire Mediterraneen de l’Energie, an industry group.

“Joint exploitation of resources may change the whole political situation for the benefit of the region,” said Sohbet Karbuz, an oil and gas director at OME. “Energy can also become an extension of politics by other means.”

The Lebanese-Israeli maritime border remains undefined

Lebanon and Israel have no defined maritime border, while Turkey doesn’t recognize the Greek Cypriot-led government of the Republic of Cyprus and relations with Israel have soured since Turkish activists died on a Gaza-bound flotilla two years ago. Tensions boiled over when Turkey sent an exploration vessel accompanied by warships and jets to stop Cyprus drilling for oil and gas last year.

“The sides are implacably opposed, whether it’s northern and southern Cyprus, whether it’s Turkey and Cyprus, whether it’s Israel and Lebanon,” said Gurdon at Menas, which advises Exxon Mobil Corp., BP and Chevron Corp. among others. “In the end, people want to determine where the territory starts and stops.”

Cyprus will award permits covering 12 offshore blocks south of the island in its second licensing round, open for bids until May, according to Solon Kassinis, director of the energy service at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. Turkey also plans to start drilling for oil off northern Cyprus later this month, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said in Istanbul today.

Egypt is planning to hold a licensing round in the Mediterranean after the Leviathan and Aphrodite discoveries, Gurdon said in a presentation in London today.

Gas discoveries in the Mediterranean abundant

The East Mediterranean could become the “second North Sea” following Cyprus’s first offshore gas discovery last year, Kassinis said.

“The Lebanese have systematically refused to talk to us about border issues, whether territorial or maritime, and have unilaterally submitted their claims to the UN,” said Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. “We therefore have no choice but to submit our own claims to the UN as well, but the preferred solution is obviously direct negotiations.”

The North Sea, where Britain and Norway pump most of the oil and gas, is the world’s sixth-largest supplier of crude. While it still holds more than 26 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources, extraction peaked at the beginning of the last decade, UK government data show.

Israel, Cyprus considering pipeline

As North Sea production declines, energy producers are looking to other regions, including the Mediterranean, to meet rising gas demand as countries seek alternatives to Russian supplies.

Cyprus is working with Israel, 480 kilometers south across the Mediterranean Sea, on the potential construction of a pipeline to connect their gas fields. The link would allow the countries to meet domestic demand before liquefying the fuel for export, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on February 16.

Israel is examining plans to ship liquefied natural gas, or LNG, as far as Asia after 2018, said Gerry Peereboom, a director at Noble Energy. Israel may also pump gas to Egyptian LNG plants, said Raafat El-Beltagy, deputy chairman of Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. LNG Exports

“Israel is now in the position to decide whether they’ll allow the companies that hold these gas resources for export to the international market,” said Richard Quin, an analyst on the Middle East and North Africa at Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd. “The challenges of exporting LNG from Israel are quite substantial. It could easily be a decade for exports actually to happen.”

The Aphrodite field spans waters between Cyprus and Israel. Noble and other international oil companies have stayed away from northern Cypriot waters as tensions with Turkey persist, maintaining divisions that have split the island since Turkey invaded the north in 1974. Turkey has said development projects should await resolution of Cyprus’s political status.

“The issue of Turkey remains absolutely critical, because Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus’s rights” to award licenses, Menas’s Gurdon said. “Turkey may adopt gunboat diplomacy and it may be difficult for Cyprus to search for and develop fields which are close to northern Cyprus.”

The European Union, which only recognizes the Republic of Cyprus, has withheld elements of Turkey’s EU membership talks as it calls on the country to acknowledge the island nation and help resolve its ethnic divisions. Turkey has said it’s open to collaboration to exploit the region’s resources and market the fuel abroad.

Turkey seeks to maintain status as energy gateway

“Potential cooperation may at last bring peace and stability to the region,” said Ayse Berris Ekinci, acting deputy director for energy at Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Turkey represents the safest, most feasible and affordable gateway for the eastern Mediterranean natural gas resources to the European markets.”

Turkey’s state oil producer Turkiye Petrolleri AO struck an agreement with Shell in November to explore off the city of Antalya, away from Cypriot waters. Turkey has also received interest from companies including Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, Total and ConocoPhillips to explore in its east Mediterranean waters, according to the Energy Ministry.

Cyprus is due to take over the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1, potentially boosting its clout in negotiations. The island’s Aphrodite discovery is only 65 kilometers from Israel’s Leviathan field, the world’s biggest offshore gas find of 2010. The Tamar field off Israel, discovered a year earlier, is due to start output next year.

“The latest discoveries will certainly be a source of dialogue between the countries,” said Rob West, a London-based oil analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “It’s just not clear whether the dialogue will involve disputes over resource entitlement or rather cooperation.”

Claims over gas fields in the region’s Levant Basin extend to Lebanon, Israel’s northern neighbor and 100 miles across the sea from Cyprus.

Lebanon has said some Israeli fields may stretch into its waters and has asked the United Nations to intervene to prevent a conflict over exploration areas as the country gears up for its first offshore oil and gas bidding round this year. Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, has repeatedly pledged to protect the nation’s offshore resources.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3435

Isaac Newton, Daniel’s 70 Weeks & the Six Day War

 If you have ever spent any time studying Daniel’s seventy-weeks prophecy you might have been somewhat annoyed by the first seven weeks.

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”(Da 9:25)

Frankly, it seems to just be dangling there without a purpose.  Most prophecy teachers simply add the two together to make sixty-nine weeks without saying much about why it is “seven and threescore and two (62).” Well, this bothered Newton too. He explained the odd seven weeks as referring to the second coming, after a future restoration of Israel which had not yet occurred! He explained the verse in this way:

Know also and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to cause to return and to build Jerusalem, unto the Anointed the Prince, shall be seven weeks.

The former part of the Prophecy related to the first coming of Christ, being dated to his coming as a Prophet; this being dated to his coming to be Prince or King, seems to relate to his second coming. There, the Prophet was consummate, and the most holy anointed: here, he that was anointed comes to be Prince and to reign. For Daniel’s Prophecies reach to the end of the world; and there is scarce a Prophecy in the Old Testament concerning Christ, which doth not in something or other relate to his second coming. If divers of the antients, as Irenæus, Julius Africanus, Hippolytus the martyr, and Apollinaris Bishop of Laodicea, applied the half week to the times of Antichrist; why may not we, by the same liberty of interpretation, apply the seven weeks to the time when Antichrist shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming?[i]

He puts the first seven in the future after the second rebuilding of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was reclaimed by Israel during the Six Days War in June of 1967. Recall that in the seventy-weeks paradigm, the “seven” is seven weeks of years which is (7 x 7) forty-nine years. T. W. Tramm explains a remarkable concurrence:

June 7, 1967 falls in the Hebrew year 5727, adding forty-nine prophetic years to this date we arrive in the Hebrew year 5776, which is 2015 on the Gregorian calendar. Interestingly, if one counts exactly forty-nine (360 day) prophetic years (17,640 days) from the June 7, 1967 date of Jerusalem’s recapture, we arrive at September 23, 2015—the Day of Atonement! Coincidence?[ii]

We verified this remarkable match but we also noted that if one counts 49 x 365 days for solar years, one lands in 2016 which corresponds nicely with historical approach of AD 756 the acceding of temporal power to the pope plus 1260 derived from Revelation 11:3. Although no man knows the day or hour, it is hard to ignore the remarkable preponderance of prophecy pointing to the period we have entered.

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Israel Strikes Oil Off Tel Aviv Coast

Israel has struck oil again, this time off the Tel Aviv coast. Developers maintain the find includes 100 million barrels of oil, worth $10 billion.

Modiin Energy and Adira Energy discovered an estimated 128 million barrels of oil and 1.8 trillion cubic feet of gas in their Gabriella and Yitzhak licenses, in shallow water less than 15 miles northwest of Tel Aviv.

Officials called the find “significant” and added, “Surveys conducted in recent months found oil in the target strata. The potential oil reservoir is 128 million barrels of oil, and the contingent reserves are an additional 120 million barrels.”

“Bottom line, there is oil. It’s 100 percent. Secondly, the quantities are commercial,” said Tzachi Sultan, controlling shareholder of Modiin.

The Gabriella license is near shore in shallow water. “At a time of soaring oil prices, this is good news for IDB, Modiin, Adira, said Chaim Gavriella, CEO of the IDB  holding company that owns most of Gabriella’s shares.

The oil was defined as “ high quality” and reportedly can be extracted even easier than the gas.

The amount of oil is estimated to meet Israel’s needs for 18 months, in addition to other energy finds in the Tamar and Leviathan fields off the Haifa coast. Companies developing those fields say there is enough gas and perhaps oil to turn Israel into an exporter.

Sultan said drilling will begin by the end of the year and that it will take approximately five years for the first well to start producing oil.

Adira CEO Jeffrey Walter was ecstatic. “I said that I came to find oil and gas and was laughed at. I was told that there is no oil here. They were wrong,” he told Globes.

The discoveries of oil and gas are expected to provide thousands of new jobs for engineers and others needed to work on infrastucture, and the forecast ability of Israel to be self-sufficient could eventually lead to a large decline in domestic fuel prices and a stronger shekel.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3252

“Pure for God” Seal Found in Temple Mount Excavation

A rare seal certifying the ritual purity of an item to be used in the Second Temple in Jerusalem was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority as part of excavations under the Robinson’s Arch right next to the Temple Mount.

A rare seal certifying the ritual purity of an item to be used in the Second Temple in Jerusalem was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority as part of excavations under the Robinson’s Arch right next to the Temple Mount.

The find of the Aramaic inscription, “Pure for G-d”, occurred during an extensive sifting of soil removed from layers which were once part of a paved Herodian street serving as a main Jerusalem thoroughfare. The soil dates to the first century CE (late Second Temple period), just prior to – or maybe even during – the Maccabean rebellion celebrated during the holiday of Hanukkah.

The item is stamped with an Aramaic inscription consisting of two lines – in the upper line “דכא” (pure) and below it “ליה” (to G-d) – and is probably the kind of seal referred to in the Mishnah as a “seal (Tractate Shekalim 5:1-5), according to excavation directors and archaeologists Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an object or anything similar to it was discovered in an archaeological excavation and it constitutes direct archaeological evidence of the activity on the Temple Mount and the workings of the Temple during the Second Temple period”, Shukron and Reich said.

Jerusalem District Archaeologist Dr. Yuval Baruch drew a connection between the find and Hanukkah. “It is written in the Gemara (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Shabbat 2:21) that the only cruse of oil that was discovered in the Temple after the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks, “lay with the seal of the High Priest” – that is, the seal indicated that the oil is pure and can be used in the Temple. Remember, this cruse of oil was the basis for the miracle of Hanukkah that managed to keep the menorah lit for eight days”, Baruch noted.

Other items discovered in the excavation included oil lamps, ceramic cooking pots and Hasmonean coins dating to kings Alexander Jannaeus and John Hyrcanus.

The findings were presented Sunday at a press conference attended by Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar at Ir David (the City of David).

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