Category: Israel


Mar. 5, 2014 7:47am

“Iran attempted to smuggle tens of M302 surface to surface rockets to the terrorist organizations in Gaza,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the IDF who called the Israeli interception “a complex, covert operation.”

In the early morning raid, IDF naval commandos stopped the vessel the Klos C — an Iranian ship sailing under a Panama flag — in the Red Sea, boarded it and took over the controls.

The crew of 17 reportedly made no move to resist the boarding, and the incident ended peacefully.

The IDF posted this photo of one of the missiles, writing on Twitter, “Iran tried to send this missile & many others to Gaza terrorists. Israel stopped them.”

The Times of Israel reported that Israeli security officials had been monitoring the progress of the ship for several days and that the interception occurred about 1,000 miles off of Israel’s coast between the naval borders of Eritrea and Sudan.

It further reported that the ship was heading to Sudan and from there the weapons – including missiles with a range of up to 125 miles – would have been smuggled, via Egypt, to terrorists in Gaza. The IDF posted this map of the ship’s route:

“The M302 in its most advanced model can strike over 100 miles, and if they would have reached Gaza, ultimately that would have meant millions of Israelis under threat,” Lerner told Reuters.

According to Israel’s Ynet News, the ship left Iran 10 days ago and was scheduled to reach Sudan on Thursday.

It quoted IDF sources who said that the rockets originated in Syria where Iran is believed to store large arsenals of weaponry including those intended for the Shiite militant groups Hezbollah.

“The rockets were flown from Syria to Iran, where they were loaded on the ship that then departed for Iraq where the arms concealed in boxes of cement,” Ynet reported.

Lerner told Reuters that the ship’s crew came from different countries and that there was no indication that they knew what the ship was carrying

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Just remember this principal prior to reading the article below: Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed!


Speaking to Bloomberg View’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama suggested that time was running out for Israel to agree to a deal or else otherwise face international isolation and the prospect of losing its Jewish majority.

Goldberg wrote that he took Obama’s remarks “to be a veiled threat” that the administration might not be able to continue to defend Israel at the United Nations and other international forums where the Jewish state faces attacks on its policies.

Obama called the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security “rock solid” and “not subject to periodic policy differences.”

“But what I do believe is that if you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time — if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited,” Obama said.

Responding hours before the two leaders were set to meet in Washington on Monday, Netanyahu suggested the Palestinians are to blame.

“The tango in the Middle East needs at least three,” Netanyahu said. “For years there have been two — Israel and the U.S. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.”

He added, “In any case, in order for us to have an agreement, we must uphold our vital interests. I have proven that I do so, in the face of all pressures and all the turmoil, and I will continue to do so here as well.”

Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 2 News that he favored reaching a peace deal, “but it must be a good deal.”

Obama referred to the building of homes for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as “aggressive” and further warned that international isolation could make Israel less safe.

“[I]n today’s world, where power is much more diffuse, where the threats that any state or peoples face can come from non-state actors and asymmetrical threats, and where international cooperation is needed in order to deal with those threats, the absence of international goodwill makes you less safe,” Obama said. “The condemnation of the international community can translate into a lack of cooperation when it comes to key security interests. It means reduced influence for us, the United States, in issues that are of interest to Israel. It’s survivable, but it is not preferable.”

Though seemingly critical of Netanyahu not endorsing as of yet the proposal being brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry, the president expressed sympathy with Israeli concerns about strife in its immediate neighborhood.

“You have the chaos that’s been swirling around the Middle East. People look at what’s happening in Syria. They look at what’s happening in Lebanon. Obviously, they look at what’s happening in Gaza. And understandably a lot of people ask themselves, ‘Can we afford to have potential chaos at our borders, so close to our cities?’ So he [Netanyahu] is dealing with all of that, and I get that,” Obama said.

“[T]here comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” Obama said. “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?”

Besides a theoretical discussion of border adjustments that could place a limited number of Arab citizens of Israel under Palestinian Authority control, peace talks have not focused on Israeli-Arabs. Israel’s Arab citizens are represented in the nation’s parliament, as diplomats and as high-ranking military commanders.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz also responded to Obama’s warning, saying: “We want to promote a political settlement; however, are justifiably concerned about our national security. There is no reason to pressure Israel. We are only caring for Israel’s most fundamental needs.”

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Rouhani: Jerusalem Should be Liberated from Israel

Jerusalem should “be liberated from the yoke of Israel,” says Rouhani at meeting with the speaker of the PA parliament.

Elad Benari

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, on Wednesday said that Jerusalem should “be liberated from the yoke of Israel.”

The comments were made during a meeting in Tehran between Rouhani and the Speaker or the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliament, Salim Zanoun, and were reported by the semi-official Fars news agency.

During the meeting, according to Fars, Rouhani expressed the support of the Iranian government and nation “for the oppressed people of Palestine”, and called for the “liberation of the Holy Quds (Jerusalem) from the yoke of Israel.”

“One of the wishes of the Iranian nation is liberation of the Holy Quds,” the Iranian President was quoted as having said, adding that he hoped “the Palestinian nation and the entire Muslim world will find a serious solution to this occupation through unity and integrity”.

Zanoun, for his part, praised the Iranian nation as a great nation, and said, according to Fars, “I hope that during your presidency you will see a great development in the Muslim world, especially with regard to Palestine.”

Wednesday’s meeting marks the second time in recent weeks that Iranian officials have met PA officials. In January, Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of the Fatah movement, visited Tehran.

Rajoub vowed during the visit that Fatah “will not stop the resistance until the establishment of an independent Palestinian government” in eastern Jerusalem.

Rouhani, who has tried to woo the world with “an attack of smiles” and by claiming he is moderate, has made anti-Israel statements just like his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Last week, Rouhani warned that Iran would issue a harsh response against any attackers, including Israel.

The Iranian government also released a statement in which it called “to remove the cancerous tumor – Israel.”

Shortly after being elected last summer, Rouhani called Israel an “old wound” that “should be removed.”

Iranian media later claimed that Rouhani’s remarks were distorted.

Jordanian Sheikh: “Israel Belongs to the Jews”

Yossi Aloni : Feb 20, 2014 : Israel Today

Sheikh Ahmed Aladoan of Amman has caused a “storm in the Arab media” after slamming the use of the name “Palestine” and Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda.

(Jordan)—Sheikh Ahmed Aladoan of Amman, a member of Jordan’s well-known Adwan tribe, posted to Facebook this week that there is no such place as “Palestine,” and provided references from the Koran to back up his assertion. (Photo via Israel Today)

One of the Koranic verses provided states that Allah gave the Holy Land to the sons of Israel until the Day of Judgment (Surah Al-Ma’ida, verse 21), and the other (Surah Al-Shara’a, verse 59) says that the land was bequeathed to the Jews.

The sheikh turned to those who “distort the words of the Koran,” whom he labeled as liars, and questioned where they had even come up with the name “Palestine.” He insisted their claims to the Land of Israel were forfeit because “Allah is the protector of the Children of Israel.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the sheikh went on to turn the tables on the anti-Israel propaganda machine by accusing the Palestinians of killing children, the elderly and women, of using human shields, and of having not an ounce of mercy for even their own children.

The sheikh’s words caused a storm in the Arab media, and were picked up by the Israeli Embassy in Amman.

The Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi further explained the sheikh’s position, noting that he supports the notion that Jordan is Palestine, and insists that Arabs living both in Jordan and the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories would almost all love to be Israeli citizens.

The Adwan tribe issued a statement distancing itself from Sheikh Aladoan’s remarks. But the sheikh was not intimidated, and insisted he would continue to make his voice heard on these matters.

Last year, Sheikh Aladoan visited Israel and spent time with the chief rabbi of Tsfat (Safed), Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu. The sheikh informed Rabbi Eliyahu and his students that in the Koran, “there is no name ‘Palestine’ for this land, and therefore, the Arabs should not be fighting the Jews over control of this land.”

Click Here and scroll down to watch a video of their encounter. Most of the video is in Hebrew, but around the 2:00 mark, Sheikh Aladoan’s assistant translates his words in English.

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Tamar partners sign 15-year deal with Jordanian companies; under agreement, Tamar to supply 66 billion cubic feet of natural gas.


Published: 02.19.14, 17:23 / Israel Business

The partners in the Tamar natural gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast have signed a deal to sell at least $500 million of gas over 15 years to two Jordanian companies in the first deal outside of Israel.

Under the agreement, Tamar will supply 66 billion cubic feet to Arab Potash and its unit, Jordan Bromine – a joint venture with US Albemarle – at their facilities near the Dead Sea, Noble Energy said on Wednesday.

Texas-based Noble owns 36 percent of the field. Israel’s Delek Group, through its units Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling, holds a 31.25 percent share. Isramco Negev has a 28.75 percent stake, and Dor Gas Exploration holds 4 percent.

Jordan is hungry for gas amid numerous attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai peninsula that has halted supplies from Egypt.

Tamar, discovered in 2009, is estimated to hold more than 280 billion cubic metres of gas. It began production last March and has already signed a number of lucrative deals in Israel.

The field came on line months after Egypt halted gas supplies to Israel.

After a lengthy and heated debate, the government last year decided to allow 40 percent of its natural gas reserves for export. It is using gas as an opportunity to improve relations with its neighbours including Jordan. It is also thought Israel could ultimately sell gas to Turkey, although ties between the two countries have been frosty over the last few years.

The nearby and much larger Leviathan field last month signed a 20-year, $1.2 billion deal to supply gas to planned a Palestinian power plant once Leviathan starts production in 2016 or 2017. Leviathan is estimated to hold some 540 billion cubic metres of gas, enough to supply Europe for a year.

Tamar and Leviathan were the two of the largest gas finds in the past decade and overnight turned Israel into a gas exporter.

Tamar’s sales to Jordan are expected to start in 2016 once minimal required infrastructure has been completed.

The selling price will be based on a floor of at least $6.50 per one thousand cubic feet of gas with upside linked to the price of Brent crude oil. Noble said it would also charge a fee for marketing and sales services and for the transfer of gas to Jordan. Gross revenue is expected at $500 million with actual sales dependent on final purchased quantities and oil prices at the time of sale, Noble said.

“This deal will pave the way for additional export projects which could enhance regional cooperation as well as provide additional supply to the domestic market and enhanced security of supply through development of additional reservoirs and infrastructure,” said Lawson Freeman, Noble’s Eastern Mediterranean vice president.

Completion of the deal is subject to various closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Noble said it was in a “number of additional negotiations to sell significant quantities of natural gas from both fields to multiple customers.”

Earlier this month, Australia’s Woodside Petroleum signed a deal to take a 25 percent in Leviathan for up to $2.55 billion.

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America’s go-to source mysteriously gets eclipsed

Published: 19 hours ago

Joe Kovacs

The same day WND published a major report about a rare phenomenon known as “blood moons” and its possible connection to an imminent return of Jesus to Earth, NASA hid its official Eclipse Website from public view without explanation.

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, WND published a story titled “Rare phenomenon to shake Planet Earth.”

The story focused on a cycle of four upcoming lunar eclipses, also called blood moons because of the color the moon often appears when it becomes darkened.

Mark Biltz, an American pastor with El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., used NASA’s Eclipse Website to correlate the celestial events with God’s holy days mentioned in the Bible, discovering the four blood-moon eclipses in 2014 and 2015 actually coincide with the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.

On the same day as WND’s report, Feb. 12, NASA took down its site which for years provided detailed information and schedules about upcoming eclipses.

Users trying to find the site are now presented with a message stating, “NASA’s Eclipse Website is currently unavailable. Eclipse information is available from the U.S. Naval Observatory,” providing a link for readers to get to the USNO website.

WND contacted NASA to ask why the official eclipse site was removed, and if it had anything to do with the report about upcoming blood moons.

“The site was taken offline because it was not up to date and was therefore confusing to those planning for future solar eclipses,” said Karen Smale, the Web editor-in-chief for NASA’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

“If the site is updated again, it will be brought back online,” she added.

WND took screenshots of the site before it was yanked, to show how detailed the information was.

Pastor Biltz, author of the brand-new book and DVD, “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” says the confluence of astronomical and biblical events is extremely noteworthy.

“All these signs, coming together at one time, are potentially the culminating signals that God is closing this chapter of human history,” he said. “This could be the final curtain call before the Great Tribulation mentioned in the Bible. God has always wanted to warn His people, and the rest of the world, before He intervenes. What better way to communicate to us than through the universal language of heavenly signs that speak to every tribe, tongue, and nation?”

One morning, as I was praying, a thought popped into my head: Why don’t I compare the dates of the eclipses on the NASA website to the dates on the biblical calendar? When I did, I was shocked to find that all four eclipses – over both years – fell on the biblical holidays of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. I just about jumped out of my skin.

Immediately I ran to my computer and pulled up NASA’s website to look up other times when there have been four consecutive blood moons, which are total lunar eclipses, where the moon appears blood red. NASA calls four total blood moons in a row a tetrad, and they list their occurrences. I noticed there weren’t any in the 1600s, 1700s, or even the 1800s. The last time there was a tetrad was back in the 1900s, and to my amazement, they also fell on the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.

When I noticed the years these phenomena occurred, my mind began reeling. The last two times there were four blood moons in a row, they happened, first, right after Israel became a nation in 1948, and then again when Israel retook Jerusalem in 1967. I started doing a hallelujah dance. It was as if I had just found treasure buried in the sand. My heart was racing a hundred miles an hour as all those key Scriptures about the signs in the heavens, God’s feast days, and the timing on the biblical calendar flooded my mind.

The find led Biltz on an incredible journey of discovery as he began linking the feast days in the Bible with the signs in the heavens.

“God said in Genesis 1:14 that He created the sun and moon and stars for signals on His feast days,” said Biltz. “Now I had a key to unlocking the code.”

The pastor is now sounding the alarm about what the celestial events could mean for our immediate future here on Earth.

“Four total lunar eclipses happening the next two years herald possible war in the Middle East as well as global economic collapse,” he told WND.

He says historically, these types of solar eclipses have been signs, foretelling important events such as the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

“Two happened right in a row at the time of destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. and on feast days,” he said.

“Around eight months before the Temple was destroyed we find on 10/18/69 there was a partial lunar eclipse on the Feast of Sukkot. A total solar eclipse followed this on Nisan 1-3/30/70, the beginning of the religious year. Two weeks later there was a penumbral lunar eclipse on Passover on 4/14/70. An annular solar eclipse followed this on Rosh Hashanah on 9/23/70. Then another penumbral lunar eclipse on Sukkot on 10/8/70,” he explained.

Biltz stresses what makes the coming events so startling is the fact they’ll take place during the Feast of Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in consecutive years.

 “This has happened only eight times over the last 2,000 years!” Biltz said. “And the last two times these occurred on the Jewish holidays there was a war in the Middle East regarding the nation of Israel. These are patterns and historical facts that cannot be disregarded. The Jewish Talmud records that total lunar eclipses are indicators or omens for the nation of Israel.”

Among those championing the need to pay attention to Biltz’s message in “Blood Moons” is Joseph Farah, the founder and CEO of WND.

“It’s not a question of if these signs will occur. It’s not even a question of when they will occur. About that there is no doubt,” said Farah. “The only questions that remain to be answered are: what they mean – and whether they are biblical harbingers of things to come for the world and for God’s people. No one has perspective on these questions like Mark Biltz.”

Farah added: “The wisdom of decoding these heavenly messages from our Creator in ‘Blood Moons’ is overwhelmingly persuasive, and I believe this book will, for the first time, answer all the questions curious people of all walks of life will have about the imminent signs in the heavens. God is trying to get our attention. And I am convinced He has anointed Mark Biltz to help us understand the times in which we live and the urgent warnings God is trying to deliver to us all.”

He calls it a powerful spiritual teaching “so detailed, so improbable, so mysterious it could only be the result of divine handiwork.”



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Four Blood Moons from 2014 through 2015—a Sign for Israel and All of Us, says Pastor John Hagee

“If there was ever a time for the Christians of America to stiffen their spine and stand up and speak up, it’s now. To see evil and not call it evil is evil. Not to speak is to speak. We cannot be silent and receive God’s approval at a time like this.” –Pastor John Hagee

It’s not that unusual to see an occasional “blood” or seemingly red looking moon over the years. However, in 2014 there will be 2 blood moons—in April and September—and again in 2015, another two during the same months. (Photo via CBN News)

This, according to Pastor John Hagee, is likely an important, sign from the Lord, concerning Israel.

“I believe that in these next two years, we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world,” Hagee told CBN News.

Hagee has written about this prophetic sign in his new book, “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change.”

The senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, and founder and National Chairman of Christians United for Israel, explained exactly what a “blood moon” is.

“A blood moon is when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon,” said Hagee. “The sun is shining through the atmosphere of the Earth and casts up on the moon a red shadow. And so the moon appears to be red.”

He noted that of the four blood moons in 2014 and 2015, all of them are set to appear on Jewish feast days—on Passover and again during the Feast of Tabernacles, in both years. (Photo via

Hagee pointed out in the CBN News report that when blood moons have occurred on Jewish feast days in the past, they have “coincided with major events for Israel and the Jewish people.”

Hagee believes this time, the events will likely involve Iran and its dealings with Israel.

He was adamant about the importance of Christians standing with Israel in light of the signs.

“If there was ever a time for the Christians of America to stiffen their spine and stand up and speak up, it’s now. To see evil and not call it evil is evil. Not to speak is to speak. We cannot be silent and receive God’s approval at a time like this,” Hagee said.


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The Shocking Simulation Involving a U.S. Aircraft Carrier and Israeli Cities that Iranian State TV Aired

Just one day after the commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet announced that Iranian warships would for the first time travel close to U.S. maritime borders, the Islamic Republic’s state television broadcasted a documentary simulating attacks on an American aircraft carrier and Israeli cities.

First reported on by the Times of Israel, the documentary titled “The Nightmare of Vultures” was presented as demonstrating Iran’s potential retaliation to an American or Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Set to the backdrop of a dramatic Hollywood-like symphonic soundtrack, the simulation involved Iranian drones launching missiles at and destroying the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf as well as American military jets and helicopters taking off from the vessel.

The Times of Israel reported that the video “opens with Supreme Leader [Ali] Khamenei addressing military academy graduates in 2011, warning: ‘Anybody who thinks of attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran should be prepared to receive strong slaps and iron fists from the Armed Forces.’”

“And America, its regional puppets and its guard dog – the Zionist regime – should know that the response of the Iranian nation to any kind of aggression, attacks or even threats will be a response that will make them collapse from within,” Khamenei said in the clip.

The video then goes on to show military air strikes and multiple ballistic missile firings at Tel Aviv.


Iran warned of an airstrike on Tel Aviv and showed graphically how that would appear (Screenshot: “The Nightmare of Vultures” via YouTube)

In a somewhat unrealistic scenario that dismissed any Israeli air defenses, the video demonstrated an Iranian aircraft flying unperturbed throughout Israeli airspace, dropping its powerful munitions one after another, wreaking destruction of Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, what appears to be an apartment building, Israeli Air Force bases, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) command center in Tel Aviv.

As the Iranian warplane was bombing the IDF headquarters, the video showed file footage of a meeting with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert which presumably meant to demonstration that Iran could strike the Israeli leadership.

Lest the target of the message be misunderstood, the locations of the strikes were conveniently subtitled in Hebrew.

To drill home the human toll of such a scenario, the Iranian film also included footage of Israelis being evacuated on stretchers by emergency responders.

The simulation emphasized the aspiration to strike strategic targets, including the refineries in the heavily populated coastal city of Haifa.

The film also showed the simulated attack of twin high-rises and Tel Aviv’s iconic Azrieli skyscraper complex, images chillingly reminiscent of September 11 attacks.

The Jerusalem Post wrote, “The film is yet another propaganda salvo unleashed by the Iranian regime, which has escalated its rhetoric in the past few days.” Besides the announcement of Iranian war vessels nearing the American coast, Khamenei said on Saturday that the U.S. government, with its “controlling and meddlesome” approach to Iran, would overthrow the Iranian regime if it could.

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Kerry has declared a war on God,’ write hard-line rabbis in letter

Rabbis warn Kerry to stop negotiations “in order to avoid severe Heavenly punishment for everyone involved.”

A group of hard-line nationalist rabbis wrote in an open to letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry that through his current mediation efforts between Israel and Palestinian negotiators he had declared war against God.

The rabbis warned that the secretary must cease such activities, to avoid divine punishment.

The letter was sent by the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel – an activist group opposed to any political accords with the Palestinians involving territorial concessions – founded by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo, who also founded the far-right Our Land of Israel party.

“Your incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to Abbas’s terrorist gang, amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe! For G-d awarded the entire Land of Israel to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in order that they bequeath it, as an everlasting inheritance, to their descendants, the Jewish people, until the end of all time,” the letter reads.

The rabbis argue that Kerry’s plan endangers Israeli Jews by bringing them within close range of potential rocket and missile fire from the West Bank should it be ceded by Israel to the Palestinians.

“If you continue on this destructive path, you will ensure your everlasting disgrace in Jewish history for bringing calamity upon the Jewish people,” continued the rabbis, comparing Kerry to Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar II and Roman commander and future emperor Titus, the two enemies of the ancient Jewish kingdoms who destroyed the temples in Jerusalem and Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel along with them.

“By the power of our Holy Torah, we admonish you to cease immediately all efforts to achieve these disastrous agreements – in order to avoid severe heavenly punishment for everyone involved,” they threatened.

The letter was signed by Rabbi Wolpo, along with four other rabbis including Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the founder and chairman of the Temple Institute; Rabbi Yigal Pizam, the dean of a yeshiva and a leader of the Chabad community in the Haifa neighborhood of Kiryat Shmuel; Rabbi Gedalya Axelrod, the emeritus head of the Haifa Rabbinic Court; and Rabbi Ben Tziyon Grossman from the town of Migdal Ha’emek.


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Decoded: 3,000-Year-Old Inscriptions May Prove Biblical Account of Powerful Reign of King Solomon and Jerusalem

By Dawn Cherie Araujo ( Jan 31, 2014 07:48 PM EST

A Jewish history scholar believes he has decoded the eight letters thought to be the most ancient Hebrew inscription to come out of Jerusalem.

Gershon Galil, a Jewish history professor at the University of Haifa, says the letters appear on a wine jug and the inscription tells what type of wine it contained: cheap wine for slaves.

“This wine was not served on the table of King Solomon nor in the Temple,” Galil wrote in the journal New Studies on Jerusalem. “Rather it was probably used by the many forced laborers in the building projects and the soldiers that guarded them.”

He notes this proves the biblical account of Jerusalem as a sophisticated and powerful city, which some scholars have denied.

“The ability to write and store the wine in a large vessel designated for this purpose, while noting the type of wine, the date it was received, and the place it was sent from, attests to the existence of an organized administration that collected taxes, recruited laborers, brought them to Jerusalem, and took care to give them food and water,” he wrote.

Scholars believe the jug dates back to the reign of King Solomon more than 3,000 years ago, but the engraving’s meaning has eluded archaeologists since its discovery last summer. At the time, the lead archaeologist on the dig that found the engraving, Eliat Mazar, said the combination of letters did not match any known west-Semitic language.

Initially, Mazar and others believed the inscription was made a non-Israeli, likely a Jebusite – a group of non-Jews who also lived in Jerusalem.

Galil, however, believes the inscription is in an early form of Hebrew – and one written right to left rather than left to right as Hebrew has traditionally been written. Attempts to read it left to right have not yielded any results.

The jug was found in the Ophel area of Jerusalem, south of the Temple Mount. Galil believes the inscription was made in the years after Solomon had built the temple and his palaces as described in 1 Kings 6-8 and again in 2 Chronicles 3-5. Incidentally, he says it was these very building projects that produced such a high demand for cheap wine and its storage.

Eliat Mazat, a third-generation archaeologist, has been excavating King Solomon’s complex off and on since 2009. The wine jug was found in a dig that began in 2012. Other notable discoveries from the dig include artifacts described by the prophet Jeremiah. 

Mazat is no stranger to biblical discoveries. In the 1990s, she used clues from the Bible in an attempt to find the ruins of King David’s palace. In 2005 she announced she had, though not all scholars agree. Yet, in a 2008 interview, she said she remains committed to her biblically based work.

“[The Bible] is the historical source, so important, so fantastically written,” she said. “The question is, how much of the reality that the Bible describes can we archeologists reveal?”

eastern gate

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Ariel Sharon, the 11th prime minister of Israel who served in that capacity from 2001 to 2006, suffered a serious stroke on Jan. 4, 2006, and had been incapacitated since.

But Sharon, whose name, Ariel, means “Lion of God” and was sometimes called “The King of Israel” – or “The Butcher of Beirut,” depending on who was doing the nicknaming – still had loomed large over the nation he was so instrumental in establishing.

Sharon will go down in history as one of Israel’s fiercest military warriors and a longtime hawk on security matters, but he will also be remembered for his controversial evacuation of Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip. To this day Israel continues to feel the devastating security consequences of the Gaza disengagement, which left the Islamist terror group Hamas in control of the border territory.

Aside from the Gaza withdrawal, Sharon was widely considered one of the greatest field commanders and military strategists in Israel’s history – and reviled as one of the worst of villains by Israel’s enemies. Sharon fought in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Suez War, the Six-Day War of 1967, the 1969 War of Attrition, the Yom-Kippur War of 1973, and served as Israel’s minister of defense during the 1982 Lebanon War.

Sharon’s policies both on and off the field of battle lent muscle to the fledgling Israeli state, which was surrounded by enemies on every side, yet survived its formative years no doubt in part because of Sharon.

For example, after Yasser Arafat rejected an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state at U.S.-brokered talks at Camp David in 2000, the PLO leader returned to the West Bank to launch his intifada targeting Jews.

Sharon, working with George Bush, reversed decades of Israeli and U.S. policy that treated Arafat as a moderate. Sharon used the Israel Defense Forces to isolate Arafat to a small wing of his compound in Ramallah, where the Palestinian leader lived under de facto house arrest until his death in 2004.

The Jewish Virtual Library says Sharon joined Haganah at age 14 in 1942 and during the 1948 war commanded an infantry company. He was named commander of a Paratroop Corps in 1956. He commanded an armored division in the 1967 conflict and again during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Even his opponents hailed him as “Ariel son of Shmuel … a biblical military hero no less than Jeroboam son of Yehoash or Joshua son of Nun.”

An online biography notes Sharon was nominated by Knesset Member Yoel Hasson for the Israel Prize in 2006. Hasson called Sharon “an outstanding soldier throughout the chain of command, the hero of the Yom Kippur War, an admired general, a Knesset member and minister for many years and one of the most popular prime ministers in the history of the State of Israel.”

Sharon was elected to the Knesset in 1973 but left shortly later to advise Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on security. He was elected to the legislative body again in 1977 and then was appointed minister of agriculture, followed by his move to the office of defense minister.

But in 1982, after a slaughter of hundreds or even thousands of mostly Palestinian refugees by Lebanese militia in Israeli-controlled Beirut, an Israeli commission found Sharon responsible for ignoring the threat of revenge killings, which indeed led to the massacre. Sharon was pressured into resigning as Israel’s minister of defense.

Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early ’90s, Sharon carried out a program to build 144,000 apartments to absorb the flood of immigrants arriving from Russia.

While holding the office of foreign minister in the late ’90s, he met with U.S., European, Palestinian and Arab leaders to advance peace, including major work on a solution to the region’s need for water.

Following his visit to the Temple Mount in 2000, Palestinians led by Arafat released a wave of terrorism against Israelis even though a committee led by Sen. George Mitchell determined Sharon was not the cause of the violence.

He was installed as prime minister in 2001.

In that office, Sharon initiated a disengagement plan, during which thousands of Jews were deported from Gaza and northern Samaria – turning the once-fertile region over to Hamas-control.

He also played a key role when, in 1981, Israel sent fighter jets to destroy a nuclear plant in Iraq.

Sharon later wrote about the events, his concerns for a nuclear Arab state and ultimately, his thoughts on the success of the mission: “As a member of the Security Affairs Ministers Committee, now known as the Small Cabinet, I was of the opinion that we face a grave danger, and therefore was among those who pushed to strike the nuclear plant in Iraq. … From time to time I used to remind Menachem Begin of this issue, stressing how severe it was that an Arab state had a nuclear weapon. I did not concur with the opinion, which was expressed then by Shimon Peres, I think, that if both parties would have nuclear weapon, there would be a reciprocal deterrence. I said that I couldn’t rely on the discretion of Arab states if they had nuclear weapons. Soviet Union or the Unites States have a different set of considerations, and they are more responsible, even though the balance of terror always seemed dangerous to me. But I don’t trust Arab states, I have no idea how they would assess a given situation or what would bring them to use these weapons. I also explained that there was a danger that an Arab nuclear ‘umbrella’ would lead to an escalation of smaller scale actions against Israel, because Israel would refrain from responding to such actions in fear of the nuclear threat.”

He recalled the success of the mission: “We were in Prime Minister Begin’s house in Jerusalem when we received the news that the fighters returned safely and that they have bombed and destroyed the nuclear reactor. It was in Shavuot eve, June 1981. Joy and elation overwhelmed the ministers who were there with the prime minister. We left; Begin approached me, embraced me and said something in the lines of, ‘I want to thank you. The position you took had a great influence on my decision.’ In my opinion this is one of the most daring decisions any government ever took. It is something in the scale of the decisions Ben Gurion used to take.”

Those who follow the prophecies of Israel noted that Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, a much-venerated spiritual leader, had said the long-awaited Messiah would not come until after the death of Sharon. He made the prediction two months before Sharon, still acting as prime minister, had a major stroke in 2006 that left him in a coma.

Sharon’s collapse six weeks before his 78th birthday was so sudden and complete that doctors at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem advised his family that he should be allowed to die. Yet advanced medical care allowed him to live another eight years and receive daily visits from his two sons, Gilad and Omri.

While his injury was considered permanent, Gilad, wrote that, “He lies in bed, looking like the lord of the manor, sleeping tranquilly. Large, strong, self assured. His cheeks are a healthy shade of red. When he’s awake, he looks out with a penetrating stare.”

The two brothers were steadfast in their insistence their father must be kept alive, saying, “I would never be able to forgive myself if we did not fight to the end.”



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