The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for August, 2007


Thursday, August 30th, 2007

By Aaron Klein
© 2007

TEL AVIV – One-hundred-seventy-four people from a group of thousands in India that believes it is one of the 10 “lost tribes” of Israel landed here this week, fulfilling for many a life-long dream of returning to what they consider their homeland.

Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based organization led by American Michael Freund, hopes to bring to the Jewish State the remaining 7,000 Indian citizens who believe they are the Bnei Menashe, the descendants of Manasseh, one of biblical patriarch Joseph’s two sons and a grandson of Jacob. The tribe lives in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, to which they claim to have been exiled from Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire.

“I truly believe this is a miracle of immense historical and even biblical significance,” Freund told WND as the group of 174 arrived here earlier this week.

“Just as the prophets foretold so long ago, the lost tribes of Israel are being brought back from the exile,” said Freund, who previously served as deputy communications director under former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Another planeload of 57 Bnei Menashe is slated to touch down in Israel tomorrow. The group, which has preserved ancient Jewish customs and rituals, has been trying the past 50 years to return to Israel.

Over the last decade, Freund’s Shavei Israel, at times working with other organizations, brought about 1,200 Bnei Menashe members to the Jewish state. Many settled in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. About 80 lived in Gaza’s slate of Jewish communities, which were evacuated by the Israeli government in 2005.

The original batches of Bnei Menashe to arrive here were brought to Israel as tourists in an agreement with Israel’s Interior Ministry. Once here, the Bnei Menashe converted officially to Judaism and became citizens. But diplomatic wrangling halted the immigration process in 2003, with officials from some Israeli ministries refusing to grant the rest of the group still in India permission to travel here.

To smooth the process, Freund enlisted the help of Israel’s chief rabbinate, which flew to India in 2005 to meet with and consider converting members of the Bnei Menashe. Once legally Jewish, the tribe can apply for Israeli citizenship under the country’s “Law of Return,” which guarantees sanctuary to Jews from around the world.

Six rabbis were sent by Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, to begin converting the Bnei Menashe. The rabbis met with hundreds of tribal members, testing their knowledge of Judaism and assessing their conviction, converting 216 individuals – over 90 percent of the members interviewed.

“The rabbis were incredibly impressed with the Bnei Menashe,” said Freund. “They saw for themselves that the group is very serious and should be integrated into the Jewish nation. That they are a blessing to the State of Israel.”

Last year, 218 converted members arrived in Israel. Freund hoped to repeat the process for 231 more Bnei Menashe who had been approved for conversion, but the Indian government, which heavily restricts conversions, put a halt on the plan.

Instead, the batch of Bnei Menashe that arrived this week were brought to Israel as tourists in coordination with the Israeli government. Once here, the tribe will be officially converted by the country’s chief rabbinate and qualify for Israeli citizenship.

The new immigrants will spend the next few months studying Hebrew and Judaism at a Shavei Israel absorption center in northern Israel.

The Bnei Menashe that arrived here over the years have fully transited into Israeli society. Many attended college and rabbinic school, moved to major Israeli communities and even joined the Israel Defense Forces.

Twelve Bnei Menashe served in the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon in 2006. One of them, Avi Hanshing, a 22-year old paratrooper, was injured during a clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Hanshing’s father was among those who arrived here earlier this week in an emotional reunion at Israel’s international airport.

“As much as we might think that Israel is helping the Bnei Menashe, it is the reverse that is true. It is they who strengthen us – with their faith, with their commitment and with their undying love for Zion,” said Freund.

According to Bnei Menashe oral tradition, the tribe was exiled from Israel and pushed to the east, eventually settling in the border regions of China and India, where most remain today. Most kept customs similar to Jewish tradition, including observing Shabbat, keeping the laws of Kosher, practicing circumcision on the eighth day of a baby boy’s life and observing laws of family purity.

In the 1950s, several thousand Bnei Menashe say they set out on foot to Israel but were quickly halted by Indian authorities. Undeterred, many began practicing Orthodox Judaism and pledged to make it to Israel. They now attend community centers established by Shavei Israel to teach the Bnei Menashe Jewish tradition and modern Hebrew.

Freund said he hopes the arrival this week of more Bnei Menashe would “jump-start the process of bringing back the rest of the 7,000 Bnei Menashe who are in India yearning to return home.”


Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

It is encouraging to read this latest article from Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) – written by Hillel Fendel.

Amidst continuing diplomatic efforts to form a separate state for the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon weighs in with words of warning against the initiative. President Shimon Peres, as well, foresaw the dangers of such a state nearly 30 years ago.

Yaalon, writing in the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, notes “four main misconceptions that diplomats bring with them to Israel.” Primary among them is the prevalent theory that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a prerequisite for stability in the Mideast.

The truth is, Yaalon writes, that the region is “driven by clashes that have nothing to do with Israel. For instance, the Jewish state plays no role in the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, between Persians and Arabs or between Arab nationalists and Arab Islamists.”

Interestingly, Yoram Ettinger, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations, recently released a paper negating this theory as well. The former liaison for Congressional affairs in Israel’s Washington embassy brings proofs from recent history showing that general Arab antipathy to Israel predates, and is irrelevant to, issues relating to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria.

Yaalon lists three other mistakes spurring on the pro-Palestinian state diplomats:

Misconception 1: Israeli territorial concessions are felt to be the key to progress – when in fact such concessions simply fill the sails of ascendant jihadist Islam, which believes it is leading the battle against Israel and the rest of the West. The concessions, therefore, merely encourage their belief that Israel and the West can be defeated.

Yaalon lists the reults of Israel’s unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza in 2005: “Concerted terror wars, kidnapped Israeli soldiers, rockets fired at Israeli cities – which made clear that the Mideast’s central conflict is not territorial but ideological. And ideology cannot be defeated by concessions.”

Misconception 2: It is widely believed that Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria blocks agreement between Israelis and the Arabs of Judea and Samaria – when in fact, “the heart of the problem is that many Palestinians… and even some Israeli-Arabs use ‘Occupation’ to refer to all Israel. They do not recognize the Jewish people’s right to an independent state, a right affirmed again and again in the international arena.”

Misconception 3: Possibly most important, it is felt that the Arabs of Judea and Samaria want and can build a state that will live in peace alongside Israel. But in fact, the Palestinian Authority leaders – specifically, (the late) Yassir Arafat and his deputy Mahmoud Abbas – never used their powers to improve their subjects’ living conditions. “Indeed,” ex-Gen. Yaalon marvels, “Palestinian unemployment and poverty are worse today than they were before Arafat and his cronies assumed power in 1994.”

A corollary of this last misconception, Yaalon adds, “is the belief that economic development can neutralize extreme nationalism and religious fanaticism, thus clearing the way toward peace and security.” David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, had a term for such believers – including his protégé and current President of Israel, Shimon Peres: “naive Zionists.”

Yaalon notes that those who fit the above description must “demand that the Palestinians explain what they did with the $7 billion in international aid they received over the years… Why did Palestinian mobs destroy the Erez industrial zone, where Palestinians worked and ran businesses for decades, on the Gaza border? Why do they attack safe roads linking Gaza and the West Bank? Why is the Palestinian economy in shambles?”

In fact, Peres himself, in a book he wrote in 1978 (Tomorrow is Now, Keter Publishers, Jerusalem; page 232), accurately outlined the dangers of a Palestinian state:

“The establishment of such a Palestinian State means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,800 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other military equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens. In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli air-force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the population in areas adjacent to the frontier-line.”

Yaalon concludes his article with this advice for Western governments and their emissaries: Instead of pressuring Israel, they must “try to persuade the Palestinian leaders to commit to a long-term strategy premised on educational, political and economic reforms that would lead to the establishment of a civil society that cherishes life, not death; values human rights and freedom; and develops a middle class, not a corrupt, rich elite…”


Friday, August 24th, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007
(reported by CAMERA)

CNN’s “God’s Warriors,” hosted by Christiane Amanpour, is a three-part series intended to examine the growing role of religious fundamentalism in today’s world. Unfortunately, the first program in the series, “God’s Jewish Warriors,” is one of the most grossly distorted programs to appear on mainstream American television in many years. It is false in its basic premise, established in the opening scene in which Jewish (and Christian) religious fervency is equated with that of Muslims heard endorsing “martyrdom,” or suicide-killing. There is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns underway across the globe, either in numbers of perpetrators engaged or in the magnitude of death and destruction wrought.

While in reality Jewish “terrorism” is virtually non-existent, the program magnifies at length the few instances of violence or attempted violence by religiously-motivated Jewish individuals – including having to go all the way back to 1980, for example, to explore a bombing campaign by a small group of Israeli Jews on West Bank Arab mayors. By dredging up such an old incident Amanpour unintentionally undermines her own thesis.

Settlements are likewise a key focus of the program, their residents and adherents being deemed “God’s warriors” – along with those Americans, Jewish and Christian alike, who support them. American Presidents and Members of Congress are said to be held hostage to the so-called “Israel Lobby,” ostensibly dark forces consisting of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups who supposedly enable the nefarious expansion of West Bank communities.

Disproportionate reliance on partisan voices, some extreme figures, skews the message dramatically. Jimmy Carter and John Mearsheimer, chief proponents of the discredited canards about Jews subverting American national interests to those of Israel, are repeatedly and respectfully interviewed. Carter, for example, claims that no American politician could survive politically while calling for settlement-related aid cuts to Israel: “There’s no way that a member of Congress would ever vote for that and hope to be re-elected.”

That would be news to politicians like Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, who has long been a critic of aid to Israel and opposed loan guarantees to Israel in 1992. As well, contrary to Amanpour and Carter, Representatives James Trafficante, Dana Rohrabacher, Nick Smith, Fortney Pete Stark, Neil Abercrombie, David E. Bonior, John Conyers Jr, John D. Dingell, Earl F. Hilliard, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, George Miller, Jim Moran, David R. Obey, Ron Paul and Nick J. Rahall II, have voted against aid to Israel and/or opposed other resolutions favoring Israel.

Amanpour ignores all this, and turns instead to former Senator Charles Percy, who joins in denouncing Jewish political influence. Only Morris Amitay is presented as balance on this critical issue.

Whether wittingly or not, Amanpour’s program, with its reliance on pejorative labeling, generalities, testimonials, and a stacked lineup of guests, is a perfect illustration of classical propaganda techniques. Unfortunately propaganda is the opposite of journalism, the profession Amanpour is supposed to practice.

The program was misleading and inaccurate in many other ways as well: Amanpour says: “But it is also Palestinian land. The West Bank – it’s west of the Jordan River – was designated by the United Nations to be the largest part of an Arab state.”

This is highly deceptive. The United Nations 1947 Partition Plan proposed dividing all the land west of the Jordan into a Jewish and an Arab state; the Arabs rejected the plan, choosing instead to launch a war to eliminate Israel. The land did not become “Palestinian land” via this UN Plan. Likewise, UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the Six Day War, underscored that territorial adjustments related to the West Bank were to be expected.

Amanpour suggests settlements are the cause of Arab anger: “the Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Arab world,” yet the Arab world was just as anti-Israel (actually more so) before the settlements were built.

She presents at length the views of Theodor Meron asserting the illegality of settlements as the definitive word, but makes no mention of more senior Israeli experts such as former Supreme Court Chief Meir Shamgar, who disagreed with Meron. Nor does Amanpour mention such foreign experts such as Professors Julius Stone and Eugene Rostow who also argued for the legality of settlements. (See for example CAMERA BACKGROUNDER: The Debate About Settlements and From “Occupied Territories” to “Disputed Territories” by Dore Gold.)

She grossly misleads about America’s position on settlements in the following sequence:

WILLIAM SCRANTON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N. UNDER JIMMY CARTER: My government believes that international law sets the appropriate standards.

AMANPOUR: From the earliest days of the settler movement, even the United States, Israel’s closest ally, blasted Israel’s settlement policy.

SCRANTON: Substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal.

AMANPOUR: Ever since American presidents both Democrat and Republican have spoken from virtually the same script. They consistently oppose settlement growth.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements.

In fact, while the Carter administration did deem settlements illegal, President Reagan very much did not speak from the “same script.” He explained: “As to the West Bank, I believe the settlements there — I disagreed when the previous Administration referred to them as illegal, they’re not illegal” (NYTimes, Feb. 3, 1981). Other presidents, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, also did not term settlements “illegal.”

Amanpour does not discuss Jewish habitation in the West Bank and Gaza in post-Biblical times, before 1948—for example, in Hebron, Kfar Etzion, Kfar Darom (See: CAMERA BACKGROUNDER: The Debate About Settlements) but instead portrays Jewish settlement in the West Bank as an encroachment on “Arab” land—repeatedly referring to disputed territories as “Arab” or “occupied” land (22 times throughout the program).

Amanpour continuously discounts the context of the Arab world. She says with regard to the post Six-Day War period: “But the Israeli government was divided – trade the captured land for peace or keep it and build Jewish settlements.” Unmentioned is the Arab refusal to “trade” anything for peace as embodied in the three “no’s” delivered delivered by Arab leaders at a summit in Khartoum shortly after the Six-Day War, declaring there would be no negotiation, no recognition and no peace with Israel.

Jerusalem/Temple Mount, and The Holy Places

Amanpour says: “It was from here, according to Muslim scripture, that the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven around the year 630. But Hebrew scripture puts the ancient Jewish Temple in the same location, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. For the next 1,900 years, even the last remnant of the temple known as the Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall, was lost to the Jews.”

a) Muslim scripture refers to Mohammed ascending to heaven from the “farthest mosque,” which could not have been on the Temple Mount, since the mosque there wasn’t built until well after the death of Mohammed.

b) The Western Wall is part of the Temple Mount complex—not the actual Temple. It is a remnant of the retaining wall built to extend and flatten the Temple Mount. There are indeed actual remains of the First and Second Temples on the Temple Mount.

c) Although Amanpour notes the holiness of the Temple Mount to Jews and Muslims, and some Jews in clips say that it is the holiest site for Jews, she never points this out herself, nor does she mention that Hebron is Judaism’s second holiest city with its second holiest shrine.

d) Amanpour interviews the Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to give a Muslim perspective on the Al Aqsa Mosque, but no Jewish Rabbinical figure is presented to discuss the paramount religious importance of the Temple Mount to Jews.

Amanpour ignores the devastation of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the expulsion of its residents by the Jordanians in 1948, as she does the Jordanian destruction and desecration of synagogues and cemeteries in eastern Jerusalem .Nor does she discuss the denial of Jewish access to holy sites and restriction of Christian religious freedom after Jordan’s illegal annexation of eastern Jerusalem in 1950. Instead she redefines the history of the conflict over Jerusalem with a new timeline, alleging, “the 40-year tug of war over Jerusalem began when Israel bulldozed the Arab neighborhood next to the Western Wall and built a plaza where Jews now pray.”

Amanpour states: ” Most recently, former President Carter was criticized for criticizing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. In his book, “Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid.”
Carter was, of course, “criticized” for purveying multiple false statements about Israel and the Palestinians.

Professor John Mearsheimer is also invited on to explain to viewers the allegedly pernicious effects of the “Jewish Lobby,” with no mention by Amanpour of the extremely serious flaws that critics have identified in Mearsheimer’s work.

Amanpour also grossly misleads the public about a dispute in the early 1990s between then president George Bush and Israel’s prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Shamir. President Bush decided to withhold American loan guarantees to Israel unless that country froze settlement activity. In CNN’s version of events, the Israel lobby kicked into gear, and “Congress got the message.” (For Amanpour, it seems, it is a given that members of Congress were responding to “the message” sent by the lobby as opposed to acting on their own convictions.) Then, “just a few months later, the very week of the Republican National Convention, the pro-Israel lobby had something to celebrate.” President Bush announced his support for the loan guarantees. Clearly, according to Amanpour, the lobby forced Bush’s hand.

What is absent from Amanpour’s version of events is the reason why the Bush administration eventually reversed its position. A new Israeli government, willing to compromise on the issue of settlements, had come to power. The new prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, backed down from previous Israeli Prime Minister Shamir’s positions by promising to curtail settlement growth. Israeli-American relations subsequently improved.

In addition, Amanpour uses inflammatory language unbecoming of a journalist to describe fundraising efforts by American Jews to help Israeli settlers. Not only does she take sides in the dispute over the legality of the settlements, she evokes negative stereotypes, stating: Six thousand miles from Israel’s settlements, in the heart of Manhattan, defiance of international law comes dressed in diamonds.

Interviewed by Amanpour, Gershom Gorenberg states: “You can’t understand the anger of radical Islam unless you understand the conflict between you know, the Jews and the Palestinians.” The false implication is that such “anger” is primarily rooted in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, disregarding the far greater forces driving radical Islam, including the titanic struggle between Shiites and Sunnis triggered in large measure by the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, the Khomenist revolution and the expansion of Saudi Wahabism, Saudi-sponsored mosques and schools built all over the globe inculcate vast numbers of Muslims with extreme, supremacist views.

As even the Ayatollah Khomeini put it, the United States was the “Great Satan,” while Israel was only the “Small Satan.”

And of course, the rise of the Internet and satellite TV has greatly amplified the false and misleading information put out by Muslim supremacist propagandists, inflaming the Muslim masses.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, CNN reveals its bias toward Israel! May God give us all wisdom as we “endure” the propaganda machine that is anti-Israel, anti-Christian, and pro-Muslim!)


Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Purported burial site for Nahum to be restored
© 2007

The national Antiquities Department in Iraq has announced plans for the renovation and restoration of an ancient synagogue in al-Qoush, a short drive north of Mosul and the location of the purported tomb of the biblical prophet Nahum.

“The Antiquities Department has added the tomb of the Prophet Nahum, peace be on him, to its 2008 preservation plan,” Abbas al-Hussaini, the department’s chief, told the Iraqi newspaper Azzaman.

Archaeologists have said the work on the synagogue and the tomb is urgent, with some scientists fearing the structure already may have been irreparably damaged.
However, the agency has delayed the work because it lacked the expertise and resources to refurbish and reconstruct the historic structures, officials said. Hussaini confirmed his administrative team is seeking foreign help for the work.

Nahum, one of the Bible’s minor prophets, is venerated by all faiths and sects in Iraq, including Muslim Shiites and Sunnis, according to the government agency.
“The tomb is not important to Iraqis only. It is of an international character and can turn into a tourist attraction,” Hussaini told the newspaper.

Azzaman speculated that the beginning of work “is bound to attract considerable media interest and perhaps reveal more information about the prophet of whom the Bible says very little beyond the fact that a reference to the town of al-Qoush from which he hailed.” Among the questions expected to be addressed is the age of the tomb, as well as the age of the synagogue itself, which is believed to be more than 400 years old.

Al-Qoush is a major Christian center in northern Iraq, but it held a large Jewish population before the Jewish return to the new nation of Israel in 1948.

According to the recommendations of an organization called Tomb of Nahum, “it is advisable that the repairs to the site be undertaken hand-in-hand with an archaeological team, which may also provide the opportunity to examine the interior of the tomb (presently sealed) itself.” The organization noted that a structural survey already completed by an American civil engineer suggested the renovation likely will cost around $400,000. “The cost … does include renovation of all the buildings and the perimeter wall,” the organization said.

Officials also said such work cannot be launched without permission of the Kurdish Regional Government’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, which also has authority to allow examination of the tomb’s interior.

“[Officials with] the Ministry of Religious Affairs have previously stated their position that they will not countenance restoration of the synagogue without the written permission of the Jewish Council. Whether by this statement they mean the Chief Rabbi in Iraq or a body in Israel is unclear. As Iraq does not recognize the State of Israel, the permission of the Baghdad rabbi or the national board of Jewish deputies of the UK or the U.S. will probably be sufficient,” the group said.

“The renovation of al-Qoush synagogue is a matter of great urgency if what is believed to be the tomb of a biblical prophet is not to be irreparably damaged or destroyed,” the group said.

Officials note al-Qoush is one of three places that claim to house the tomb of Nahum, who prophesied in 655 B.C. the downfall of Nineveh, which happened in 612 B.C.

His writings are the 27th book of the Old Testament and the Talmud.

Historically, it is believed the Assyrian king Shalmanessar II brought thousands of Hebrews to northern Iraq about 727 B.C., and some settled in al-Qoush, where a population of pagans already existed. Christianity arrived later.

In recent history, the Jews in al-Qoush, like the rest of Iraq, were subjected to increasingly oppressive laws starting about in 1930. In 1948, the last of the Jews left, with the rabbi handing the keys of the synagogue to a neighbor.

Some parts of the Jewish quarter are estimated at more than 2,000 years old, and in the center of the synagogue is a simple plaster tomb topped by a green silk coverlet, the purported tomb of Nahum himself.

Part of the roof of the synagogue has collapsed, and other portions are described as in a “sorry state of repair.”

The region also includes a monastery, Raban Hormus, which dates to the 3rd century. It sits on the slope of the mountain overlooking al-Qoush.

In a statement on the weblog Gateway Pundit, Haider Ajina, an Iraqi-American, noted the plan “shows us what a budding democracy and rule of law can do, even under tough conditions.”

“This also shows that Muslims who no longer fear their militant leaders and are free of their leader’s venomous rhetoric can and will do. This sparks tremendous hope,” he said.


Friday, August 17th, 2007

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, and the founder of Fatah, the terrorist organization established in 1974 with the help of the late Yassir Arafat, has often been regarded by the US Administration as a “partner for peace” and a “man of peace” and a “moderate” among Israel’s hostile enemies. Here is an example of how his words cannot be trusted!


Just days after promising US lawmakers that his Fatah movement would not reconcile with Hamas, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is inviting the Islamist movement to kiss and make up.

Abbas called on Hamas to “return to national unity” following his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso Wednesday. “The split that happened as a result of Hamas’s coup is temporary and will be removed,” Abbas said. Hamas welcomed Abbas’s statements and invited him to negotiations in Gaza.

Hamas and Fatah briefly formed a unity government after hammering out a power-sharing deal in Mecca that they hoped would renew international aid to the Palestinian Authority. Western aid had been cut off since Hamas won PA elections in a landslide, though the PA has received more money than ever before with the help of Muslim donor countries.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office issued a warning Wednesday night that a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation would result in the breakdown of the nascent “diplomatic process” that is being hastily constructed by Abbas and Olmert.

Arabic-language papers repeatedly report that secret talks between Hamas and Fatah are ongoing. As a “good-will” gesture to Hamas Fatah released nine Hamas terrorists in Bethlehem. The men had been arrested last months for organizing terror cells in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas hailed the move as another in a series of goodwill gestures, most notably the payment of a year’s salary to thousands of Hamas men in Gaza by Fatah using money transferred by Israel. The transfer took place just a day after Fatah Prime Minister Salam Fayyad promised Republican Congressmen that there would be no reconciliation with Hamas. Democratic Congressmen visiting Israel this week say they believe Fayyad’s claim that the transfer happened by accident, due to a “clerical error.”

Senior Palestinian Authority official Youssef Al-Zumour was arrested last week, however for allowing PA finances to be used in paying the salaries of 3,500 Hamas terrorists. Yediot Acharonot quoted PA sources admitting that Al-Zumour paid the salaries on purpose.

(Editor’s NOTE: Is there anyone in the US Administration who tells the truth about Islamic terrorism? Are we going to continue believing what they say when in their theology it is moral to lie to the infidel (non-Muslim)? May God move upon all genuine believers to pray for the US Administration and Congress that they will fall on their knees before the only God there is – THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL – and repent of their sinful ways and ungodly wisdom and rather seek the wisdom of God Himself in these difficult times!)


Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning – for the first time -that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress. Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China’s “nuclear option” in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels. It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.

Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank), kicked off what now appears to be government policy with a comment last week that Beijing’s foreign reserves should be used as a “bargaining chip” in talks with the US. “Of course, China doesn’t want any undesirable phenomenon in the global financial order,” he added. He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, went even further today, letting it be known that Beijing had the power to set off a dollar collapse if it chooses to do so.
“China has accumulated a large sum of US dollars. Such a big sum, of which a considerable portion is in US treasury bonds, contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency. Russia, Switzerland, and several other countries have reduced the their dollar holdings.

“China is unlikely to follow suit as long as the yuan’s exchange rate is stable against the dollar. The Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars once the yuan appreciated dramatically, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar,” he told China Daily.

The threats play into the presidential electoral campaign of Hillary Clinton, who has called for restrictive legislation to prevent America being “held hostage to economic decicions being made in Beijing, Shanghai, or Tokyo”. She said foreign control over 44 per cent of the US national debt had left America acutely vulnerable.

Simon Derrick, a currency strategist at the Bank of New York Mellon, said the comments were a message to the US Senate as Capitol Hill prepares legislation for the Autumn session.”The words are alarming and unambiguous. This carries a clear political threat and could have very serious consequences at a time when the credit markets are already afraid of contagion from the subprime troubles,” he said.

A bill drafted by a group of US senators, and backed by the Senate Finance Committee, calls for trade tariffs against Chinese goods as retaliation for alleged currency manipulation. The yuan has appreciated 9 per cent against the dollar over the last two years under a crawling peg but it has failed to halt the rise of China’s trade surplus, which reached $26.9 billion in June.

Henry Paulson, the US Tresury Secretary, said any such sanctions would undermine American authority and “could trigger a global cycle of protectionist legislation”. Mr Paulson is a China expert from his days as head of Goldman Sachs. He has opted for a softer form of diplomacy, but appeared to win few concession from Beijing on a unscheduled trip to China last week aimed at calming the waters.


Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

The Mideast Peace Summit in the United States is scheduled for this fall. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel says: “Our aim is to achieve Bush’s vision of two states for two peoples, based on the roadmap, living in security and peace side by side.” The Israeli and Palestinian leadership will meet regularly to prepare for this Middle East Peace Summit in the United States scheduled for this fall, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud agreed during a meeting Monday.

The two leaders met in the West Bank city of Jericho, marking the first time an Israeli prime minister visited the Palestinian Authority since the outbreak of the intifada seven years ago. After a private one-and-a-half hour meeting between the two men, Olmert and Abbas convened with their Israeli and Palestinian delegations for a wider scale conference. No “goodwill gestures” were planned but Israeli officials say they are pleased with Abbas’ resolve against Hamas, which slammed Jericho meeting as “public relations gimic.”

“We don’t want conferences for the sake of photo-ops, but to reach a comprehensive peace agreement,” chief Palestinian negotiator Dr Saeb Erekat told a press conference after the meeting.

Former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas), however, was not thrilled by the meeting, and called it “a gimmick that will lead to nothing.”

At the end of the private meeting, Olmert said he and Abbas discussed establishing strong foundations for a Palestinian state. “We decided to increase contacts to advance understandings and reach a working model that will allow progress towards establishing a Palestinian state,” Olmert said. “The aim is to achieve US President George Bush’s vision of two countries for two peoples, living in security and peace side by side,” Olmert said. This process, based on the mutually agreed-upon Roadmap, must occur as soon as possible, he noted.

A few hours later, officials in Jerusalem confirmed that the intent was in fact to aim for an agreement as soon as possible, but that depended on whether stability could be maintained in the Palestinian Authority.

“Right now, neither side is ready for a land transfer,” Israeli officials said. “The more we advance (towards an agreement), we will be able to transfer land to Palestinian control. But that depends on the Palestinians’ ability to stand on two feet. Olmert has no intention of cheating or dragging time. He certainly wants to progress.”

Meanwhile, efforts will be immediately boosted towards rebuilding the Palestinian security forces, with the aid of the United States. Israel will also renew security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. According to Erekat, Abbas stressed the Palestinian aim to start discussions on the major issues. “Abbas demanded Israel stop settlement activity and activate joint Israeli-Palestinian staffs on all the issues at hand.” He also noted that the Palestinians demanded a timetable be set regarding the steps to be taken. Erekat called the meeting “intensive, positive and serious.” “We made clear that we want a permanent solution based on the international decisions. We focused on the issues that will bring about the establishment of a Palestinian state, and we don’t need (US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice’s interference but rather decisions by the leadership of both sides, to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state.”

The leaders examined current security cooperation, and the Palestinians reported seizing dozens of pounds of explosives transferred to Israel and arresting hundreds of terror suspects. Abbas said during the meeting that Israel’s release of Palestinian security prisoners in July had great influence on Palestinian public opinion.
He asked the prime minister to consider releasing additional prisoners, and Olmert promised to weigh the issue. The Palestinians also requested the removal of roadblocks in the Palestinian territories, and Olmert said the defense establishment would examine the matter.

The two leaders agreed to encourage cooperation between ministers of both governments.

According to Ereket, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also settled with the Israelis how Palestinian tax money collected in Israel should be transferred to the PA.


Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

This article appeared this week in ISRAEL TODAY, a Messianic believers magazine produced in Israel. We understand the reluctance of Israeli citizens to allow various organizations freely to distribute their literature about Yeshua and to resist any efforts to allow them to speak openly about Yeshua in public places. Under the banner of Christianity the Jewish people have suffered greatly in the past, and they don’t want to get close to that problem ever again. Here is the article – you be the judge!

Israel views the freedom of religion as an important value and has signed international treaties safeguarding the right to share one’s faith openly. But are those rights being violated?

Beginning from the year 2002 and until today, there have been in Israel 11 private draft laws submitted, amending two sections of the criminal law. These draft laws decree that any persuasion made to change a person’s religion would be considered a criminal offence. Furthermore, advertisements of any sort that have persuasive motives to change people’s religion – from a leaflet up to a website – would be considered as a criminal offence. These draft laws also expand the sanctions which already exist in the criminal law.

They may seem unreasonable in a democratic nation that believes in freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In the United States, for example, religious persuasion is a right protected by the first amendment of the constitution which promises that Congress shall not prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble. Therefore, in the event wherein two rights interconnect, the freedom of speech and religion will almost always overrule. For example, in the famous court ruling wherein it was forbidden for the Jews for Jesus organization to distribute religious leaflets in the airport, Board of Airport commissioners of the City of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus (1993), the American Supreme Court viewed the airport’s management decision as an unconstitutional decision and therefore void.

The nation of Israel views the freedom of religion as an important value which has already been determined in the Israeli Declaration of Independence wherein it is indicated that the Israeli nation will grant equal civil rights to all its citizens without indifference of religion, gender and sex. The nation of Israel has also signed and ratified international treaties which declare that ‘Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching’. These treaties determine, however, that the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

In light of the above, I will endeavour to examine whether or not the two existing sections in the Israeli criminal law, which limit the freedom of religion, corresponds with the democratic nature of the Israeli nation. As indicated hereinabove, there are two existing sections in the criminal law that deal with religious persuasion and that limit the freedom of religion: sections 174 and 368. Even though, no one was ever convicted of these crimes, the first section determines different criminal sanctions for anyone who conducts a religious ceremony of conversion to a minor which stands in opposition to the law, and to anyone who directly persuades a minor to change his religion. The second section determines that anyone who grants or receives a benefit in courtesy of or as a reward for a religious conversion is considered criminally offensive.

An incident occurred in the Beit El Mission v. the Minister of Welfare in the year 1967 regarding the first section of the criminal law that prohibits religious persuasion to minors. This decision dealt with an Evangelical Christian organization that requested to establish an orphanage for children of all religions and then train them according to the Christian faith. The minister of welfare prohibited to licence such an orphanage even if both parents of such a child that are not Christian gave their approval. In his court decision Justice Cohen emphasized that freedom of religious expression exists in Israel, however, this right is limited as it relates to minors. In his words- ‘There is no doubt that just as any person in Israel, regardless of his religion, has the right to change his religion, so does every person have the right to distribute and preach his religion in public in any legal way that he desires – including by way of teaching. However, this is only relevant as it relates to a qualified adult that has the ability to consider the different religious beliefs. On the other hand, a person who is not able to weigh the different religions one against the other because he is a minor or because of some defect, is not able and therefore is not entitled to convert from one religion to another.’ Furthermore, Justice Cohen indicates that the Israeli legislator is secular and therefore the concern for the child has to be viewed by secular motives only, and that the issues which pertain to the afterlife are not legitimate claims in the Israeli courts. Such a ruling is obviously difficult for those who believe in the afterlife and obviously for such a believer, the consideration of the afterlife will always overrule the secular considerations of the legislator.

No issue has ever been brought before the Israeli courts regarding the second section of the criminal law dealing with different benefits granted in exchange for religious conversion, and therefore it is very difficult to determine which of the values is being protected that necessitates limiting the freedom of religion.

In any case, I will point out that this section appears unbalanced and problematic when the democratic and Jewish State promises and grants many benefits, such as aliya rights, tax benefits, benefits regarding ownership of property, etc., to anyone wishing to join the Jewish religion.

Regarding the abovementioned 11 draft laws which were submitted before the Knesset, it is obvious they stand in opposition to the international treaties ratified by the State of Israel and are in opposition to Justice Cohen’s decision which determined that any qualified adult has the right and the freedom to change his religion in any legal way. It is not surprising that all these draft laws were initiated by Knesset members from the religious sector, except for one that was submitted by an orthodox Knesset member and a secular Knesset member (Tomi Lapid).

In order to totally extinguish any chance for such draft laws to ever be accepted by the Israeli Knesset, the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion must be anchored as a basic law.

Therefore, just as many draft laws infringing freedom of religion and freedom of speech are being submitted by those who are short-sighted and don’t seem to care about these important democratic values, many draft laws which anchor freedom of religion and freedom of speech as basic laws must also be submitted by those who respect and cherish these values as important and necessary in a democratic Jewish State.

Web Site Designed and Hosted by Ceronex