Gwen Hamlin has been the editor of this news sheet for many years. Now that she has gone to her reward, we dedicate this issue to her memory. (See Bible Light on the News, Vol 13 No 1)
BRIDGES FOR PEACE – Editor: With the largest food bank in Israel, Bridges for Peace has the infrastructure in place to feed many families. Their home repair team assists with renovations to run-down properties. Their ministry in God’s love continues during the present time of trauma. You can contact their Tulsa Office (5103 S Sheridan Rd. 74145-7627. Tel 918-461-8800). The new CEO of Bridges for Peace, Rebecca Brimmer, writes:
I wish we could say that Israel’s troubles are over, but it is not true. Israel is still at war. Terror strikes in the streets of Israeli cities, as hostile Palestinians attempt to drive the Jewish people out of the Land and reclaim it for Islam.
The figures are staggering when viewed in relation to the total population of the Jewish community of Israel, which is right at 5 million. As we look around us, we see many casualties of this war. Since September of 2000, 1,063 Israelis have lost their lives, and 7,376 have been wounded.
Terror tactics are accompanied by duplicitous diplomatic maneuvering, causing the nations of the world to pressure Israel into making costly land concessions in order to meet their insatiable demands.
INSIDE ISRAEL NEWSLETTER – George Ekeroth, editor
Handled Tough Assignment – One of the first major assignments of Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, the 18th Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was to remove the Jewish residents in the contested area of the Gaza Strip. Contrary to what you saw portrayed on your TV screens, the highly charged event was carried out with such a low level of confrontation that even the military was surprised at how smoothly it went.
The question that has been asked of Halutz and other leaders of the country countless times is, “Do you think the withdrawal from Gaza will increase terrorism?” The Chief of General Staff’s answer is, “If they escalate terrorism we’ll escalate our actions to counter terrorism. And in the end we can reduce terrorism to almost zero. I’ll never say absolute zero, but close. And the fact is that in 2004, terrorism dropped to the lowest levels in four years. And the same in 2005.”
Asked what the people of Israel could expect in the next 12 months he replied, “In my analysis, first of all, we’re in the best geo-strategic position we’ve ever been in, and that is not going to change in 2006. We’re strong economically and militarily. . . . Should we be aspiring to be like those other nations, then, or to be a light unto the nations? To be the best of the best. But let’s be a light to ourselves first.”
Land Or Life – The majority of Israelis supported the withdrawal from Gaza. This included both the Orthodox community as well as the non-observant Jews. Why? Two reasons: One, the belief that life is more sacred than land. This is reinforced by the teaching that there are certain matters that can only be solved by the coming of the Messiah. Such matters as the rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of the Temple Mount fall into this category as well. Two, demographics: Both observant and non-observant are aware that their future lies in the maintenance of a Jewish State. They are a people who not only look back, but they look to the future as well. If today they would annex all of the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants, within a very short time the Arabs would be in the majority and it would no longer be a Jewish state. Right now one of the major political parties has more Arab members than Jews.
35-Year High for French Immigration – In a period of unrest in Israel over the disengagement it has been encouraging to see a major increase in the number of French Jews not just visiting, but also bringing their families to begin a new life in the Promised Land. There was a 30 percent increase in the first six months of this year alone.
Something to Think About – Was the close timing between the forced exit by Jewish settlers from Gaza and the forced evacuation from New Orleans and other areas of hundreds of thousands of people a coincidence? If this coincidence stood alone it could be written off as such, but that is not according to verified record. Between October 20, 1991 and January 20, 2001 ten of the most devastating disasters, both natural and man- made, in American history have occurred on the same day or within 24 hours of a statement by a U.S. president pressuring Israel to trade land for peace. Now we have Katrina.
Something Every Christian Should Understand – (Excerpt from the Jerusalem Post written by Max Singer) – The Palestinians’ assertion that Gush Katif is legally their land is simply untrue. Gaza has never been “Palestinian land”. From 1948 to 1967 it was Egyptian-occupied territory. Before that, from 1922 to 1948, it was part of the League of Nations mandate to create a Jewish national home under the trusteeship of Great Britain. For four centuries before the Mandate it was part of the Ottoman Empire. There was no sovereign entity called Palestine, and therefore no legally “Palestinian land,” during this or previous history.
Christians in Taiba, a small village east of Ramallah, fled for their lives after Moslem mobs torched their homes and vehicles. According to the Palestinian Authority the Moslem rage was set off by the murder of a 30-year-old Moslem woman, apparently killed by her own family. The reason? She had a romance with a Christian man. “When her family discovered that she had been involved in a forbidden relationship with a Christian, they apparently forced her to drink poison,” said one source. “Then they buried her without reporting her death to the relevant authorities.” When the rioting began, the Christians were defenseless and 16 houses were burned and others were ransacked and valuables were stolen. The only place where the PA security resisted the mob was when they tried to attack the beer factory in the village. The village was originally named Ephraim and is believed to be the city into which Jesus came with his disciples before his crucifixion and is mentioned in the Gospel of John 11:54. There is a tradition that Salah a-Din, the Moslem who led the fight against the Crusaders, changed the name. He was impressed with the kindness of the inhabitants and thus named them Taybeen which in Arabic means “nice and kind.”
BRITAM – Yair Davidiy – A replica of Solomon’s Temple is to be built in Northern Israel. A 25-meter-tall (82 ft) replica of Solomon’s temple in ancient Jerusalem is to be built in northern city of Kiryat Shemoneh. Project will cost 8 million dollars and will become the main feature of the city’s Bible World amusement park.
NEAR EAST REPORT – Congress Slams Iran for Threatening Israel – The Senate and the House of Representatives have approved resolutions condemning Iran’s president for his recent call for Israel’s destruction.
A Week To Remember – in early November saw an outpouring of congressional support for Israel judged extraordinary even by the closest watchers of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Full funding for Israel’s foreign aid request passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin. Much work is left to be done, what with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, the absence of Palestinian action against terrorist organizations and pressure on Israel to excuse attacks on its citizens by those groups. As Congress has shown, though, Israel has good friends in high places.
Generous Support – Israel is taking significant action to ease everyday life for Palestinians and shore up the leadership of new Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The Jewish state has reduced its security presence in the West Bank and Gaza, released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and tried to boost the PA economy by facilitating commerce between Palestinian areas and Israel. This opened a window of opportunity for the Palestinians to prove their commitment to peace. Israel is also directly supporting the PA’s economy with aid money.
Rhetoric Versus Reality – Thanks to rapidly rising oil prices, Saudi Arabia last year took in $20 billion more than in 2003. Yet all it gave the PA was $92 million, less than one-half of one percent of its windfall. Incredibly, this meager contribution was far larger than those of all other Arab states combined, which amounted to a mere $15 million. The total of $107 million fell far short of the Arab states’ $999 million in pledges for 2004. This year the Arab contributions are still extremely low, particularly when compared with the oil countries’ surging revenues, which are expected to be nearly $300 billion this year. The United States, which is constantly vilified by the Palestinians and their Arab brethren, has provided the Palestinians with more funding than all of the Arab states combined.
New Ambassador – The United States’ new ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, is a seasoned Middle East hand who’s not reticent about expressing American support for Israel or standing up to the terrorist groups targeting its citizens.
Faithful Friend – An Israeli cargo plane delivered 80 tons of emergency supplies that were put to use at once in the areas hardest hit by Katrina. Israel was one of the earliest countries to offer aid to the hurricane victims.
Historic Opportunity – By withdrawing from Gaza and parts of the West Bank Israel has created an historic opportunity for the PA to prove its legitimacy as a government and as a partner for peace. To take advantage of this moment, the PA must now fulfill its obligations to fight terrorism and rid itself of corruption. Also many American students who saw their schools shut down by the Katrina disaster are being welcomed for the fall semester by universities in Israel.
Vital Partnership – Israel is a source of cutting-edge products used by Americans. An ingestible camera-in-a-capsule developed in Israel is used to diagnose intestinal diseases. The capsule is emblematic of the innovative Israeli technologies used in the United States.
Israel, about the size of New Jersey, now ranks 20th in exports to the United States. Israel has become the source of such cutting-edge products as Intel’s Centrino computer chip and Teva’s drug for multiple sclerosis treatment. Both the United States and Israel have benefitted from their trade partnership.
Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced legislation to fund joint energy research-and-development projects between the United States and Israel.
A Bad Idea – The PA has said it will incorporate Fatah’s terrorist arm, al Aqsa Matryrs Brigades, into its security forces and has hinted it may do the same with Hamas.
[Ed.: The very name Hamas means “terrorism”.] It has proudly taken “credit” for terrorist attacks that have killed more than half the 1,070 Israeli fatalities since 2000. Hamas is widely recognized as the largest and most organized terrorist group in the West Bank and Gaza, and it has also killed a number of Americans since 2000. Under the internationally backed Roadmap the PA is supposed to dismantle groups such as Hamas.
Hamas is particularly strong in Gaza because the PA has allowed it to build weapons factories, develop Qassam rockets, manufacture mortar shells and bombs and smuggle weapons from Egypt. Furthermore, Hamas has built a “popular army” of 5,000 terrorists in Gaza. Several Gaza neighborhoods are totally controlled and monitored by Hamas, to the extent that even PA security personnel can enter only with Hamas permission. Hamas and the other terrorist groups have most of their weapons, people, leadership and infrastructure in Gaza, but the disengagement has sharply reduced their terrorist options there. The land of options is the West Bank, which is close to Israel’s main population centers and where 250,000 Jewish settlers reside. But Israel greatly reduced the terrorist capabilities in the West Bank with its security fence. Israel’s mission is to keep the terrorists from bringing their capabilities from Gaza to the West Bank.
Hamas/Iran Connection – Iran is probably the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Hamas has become more dependent on the Iranian security apparatus. Its strategic decisions – when to fight, when to call a ceasefire – are being coordinated with Iran.
Illicit Assistance – American officials are concerned that Russia is helping Iran’s nuclear program and hampering international efforts to convince Tehran to end its quest for atomic weapons. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov maintained that the Iranians “have this right” to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), even though Tehran violated the NPT for nearly two decades by hiding its atomic work from the international community. The centerpiece of Russian-Iranian nuclear cooperation is located at Bushehr, an atomic plant in southern Iran scheduled to be operational in 2006. American officials have consistently raised objections to the project. American officials are also concerned that the training given Iran by the Russian scientists at Bushehr could be used to develop other parts of Iran’s nuclear program.
ARUTZ SHEVA – New Technology From Israel – Charge2Go – This award-winning, innovative product takes “on the go” cell phone charging and makes it simple and sustainable. Just pop in one AA battery, hook the cable to your cell phone, and Charge2Go will convert the energy in the battery into power for your cell phone with no electrical outlet needed.
ABC NEWS – Dead Sea is Dying – Israel’s Dead Sea is, ironically, as old as life itself. Hidden in the world’s deepest valley and protected by majestic desert mountains, the Dead Sea is one important feature in a land of mysteries, miracles and Biblical legends that we must see before it’s too late. In another three decades, the evaporating Dead Sea could possibly become the dry sea.
Today the Dead Sea still mystifies us. Because it is so low – 1,300 feet below sea level – it’s closest to all the deep earth’s minerals and, most visibly, the earth’s salt, which cakes at its shore like snowdrifts. “It’s 10 times more salty than the Mediterranean and three times more salty than the Great Salt Lake in Utah,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director for Friends of the Earth Middle East, an organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists to protect their shared environmental heritage.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:6