Thursday, May 31, 2012

Israel Eyed as Iran Hit by Computer Virus

Israel Eyed as Iran Hit by Computer Virus

TEHRAN, Iran - A powerful computer virus known as "Flame" briefly affected Iran's key oil industry computers, a senior Iranian military official said Wednesday.

The malware virus has data-snatching capabilities and can even eavesdrop on computer users. News of last month's attack is just getting out. Iran has not disclosed the full extent of the disruptions on its computer system, although the government cut Internet links to the country's main oil export terminal -- a move that appeared to be an attempt to contain the virus.

Experts see similarities between Flame and the Stuxnet virus, which disrupted Iran's nuclear centrifuges in 2010. Stuxnet was widely believed to be the work of Israeli intelligence, leading to speculation that Israeli programmers may have struck again.

The Iranian government said the sophisticated Flame virus appeared to be espionage, but didn't blame a specific country or source for the attack.

Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied an Israeli role in the cyber attack. When asked about Flame, Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon said, "Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat is likely to take various steps, including these, to hobble it."

"Israel is blessed with high technology, and we boast tools that open all sorts of opportunities for us," he added.

Iranian leaders said experts have successfully produced an anti-virus program to combat Flame and remove the malware from its computers.

US Tax Dollars Funding Palestinian Corruption?

US Tax Dollars Funding Palestinian Corruption?

JERUSALEM, Israel -- You may have heard the phrase, "your tax dollars at work." For years, American tax dollars have been working to bring peace to the Middle East -- by going straight into the hands of the Palestinian Authority. But are American taxpayers getting what they paid for? That's the question being raised following the latest charges of Palestinian corruption.

Palestinian Feud

Yasser Arafat's former economic adviser, Mohammed Rashid, started a feud recently with P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas when he told Al Arabiya, Abbas is worth millions.

"Mohammed Rashid said in the interview 'if I gave him $20,000 to survive from where did he get now, $15 million in his bank account?'" said Bassem Eid, head of Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. Now, according to Eid, Rashid and Abbas are accusing each of other hoarding millions from the P.A. coffers. The feud puts a spotlight on a system in which foreign nations donate billions to the P.A. with little oversight.

"No one knows, for example, how much the security forces -- and presumably according to Palestinian sources -- 50 percent of the budget goes to them," Hillel Frisch, a professor at Bar Ilan University and an expert on Palestinian affairs, told CBN News.

"The problem with the Palestinian Authority is the tremendous subsidization at the expense of the American and European taxpayer," he explained.

"It's one of the few countries in the world that is subsidized to the tune of 40 percent of its budget," Frisch said. "That means that corruption is not only an in-house story, it's a story that affects the European and American taxpayer."

Despite the lack of accountability, the United States keeps sending money. In April, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defied Congress and released $147 million.

Lawmaker Demands Answers

Rep. Louie Gohmert wants answers from the State Department and the Palestinian Authority.
"In one of our meetings in the West Bank, I said, 'Look, do you understand that when you're not spending the billions of dollars that you've received from countries, particularly the United States, to provide homes for your own people, who are homeless -- how do you expect us to keep funding you?'" Gohmert said.

Gohmert says the money fuels the conflict. "You know, it really looks like when you squander money and don't help the homeless have homes, that you are trying to keep this hatred, keep this anger going so that the feud keeps going," Gohmert noted.

"Why should we fund that? Well the answer is, 'we shouldn't,' he concluded.

So far, the Obama administration seems silent on the issue.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jerusalem Villages Seek to Revive Aramaic

Jerusalem Villages Seek to Revive Aramaic

Two villages in the Holy Land's tiny Christian community are hoping to revive Aramaic, the language that some say Jesus spoke, by teaching it to the next generation.

The residents of Beit Jala near Bethlehem, and the Israeli Arab village of Jish in Galilee, are getting a little help from modern technology: an Aramaic-speaking TV channel from Sweden where a vibrant immigrant community has kept the ancient tongue alive.

In Jish, elementary school children are now being instructed in Aramaic. The children belong mostly to the Maronite Christian community. Maronites still chant their liturgy in Aramaic, but few understand the prayers.

"We want to speak the language that Jesus spoke," said Carla Hadad, a 10-year-old Jish girl who frequently waved her arms to answer questions in Aramaic from school teacher Mona Issa during a recent lesson.

"We used to speak it a long time ago," she added, referring to her ancestors.

Aramaic nearly disappeared from the Middle East centuries ago, but it was the region's dominant language at the time of Christ.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shamelessly Politically Incorrect - Jim Croft

Shamelessly Politically Incorrect

Jim Croft

You are alone at night walking down the sidewalk of a large American city.  At a distance you see a group of Hasidic Jews coming toward you.  Would your heart skip a beat as you scurry to the other side of the street?  How would you react if it was a group of Hispanic teens enjoying one another’s company with animated hand gestures signing gang-lingo?

Would you be more apt to hit your door locks in an inner city neighborhood than in Amish country?
Upon entry into a restaurant, you notice that a number of tables are occupied by unshaven characters sporting tattoos and worse for wear denim jackets with club insignia. Would you opt for another establishment?

Suppose you were waiting on a flight back to the USA.  You glance to see 4 Arabic speaking men quietly talking among themselves.  Afterward, you observe them kneeling in prayer just before boarding the flight. Would you be more apprehensive about that flight or one where you see 4 French speaking passengers in deep discussion who make the sign of the cross before boarding?

If your sensitivities would heighten or if you would take precautionary measures in any of the scenarios; you, my friend, are a politically incorrect profiler.  But, don’t worry about it.  The Bible contains more than a few incidents of profiler sentiments and practices.  By the ridiculous standard set by liberals as to what is politically correct, many of our biblical heroes were most definitely politically incorrect.

Biblical Profilers

Jephthah led his army in a victorious battle against Ephraim.  The Ephraimites who were caught trying to escape back across the river were given a profiler question.  They were asked to say a word that the Ephraimites could not pronounce right, Shibboleth.  Those who failed the test were executed on the spot. (Jdg 12:5-6)

 In biblical times, the Jewish slang terminology for Gentiles was dogs.  When Jesus encountered the Canaanite woman who begged the healing of her demonized daughter, he in effect called her a dog. (Matt 15:22-28)  She wisely overlooked the insult and her daughter was made whole.

The Risen Lord had to repeat a vision 3 times to convince his disciple Peter that Gentiles were not unclean.  After Peter had made sure that the Gentiles gathered at Cornelius’ home understood that God had assured him that he would not be contaminated by interaction with them, he preached the Gospel to them.  They received salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit before the musicians could make it to the platform to start playing tinkle-tinkle choruses for the altar call.  (Act 10:10-48)

The Apostle Paul attached a profiling label to the Cretan believers.  He admonished Titus to rebuke them harshly lest they persist in the Cretan inclination to be habitual liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons. (Tit 1:12-13)


Our Government’s PC anti-profiling position concerning Muslims is award winning in absurdity.  They depict those of us who voice concerns as unreasonable conservatives who see a demonic-terrorist behind every bush.  To the contrary, people who are informed about Islamic inclinations toward those of other faiths know that violence is perpetrated worldwide by Muslims who are not members of terrorist groups. 

Unlike the Liberal Media, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that Muslims persecute Christians because doing so is Shariah policy.  In the following nations, during April of 2012 ordinary Muslims either took to the streets in violent anti-Christian riots or imposed prison sentences on believers. – Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, Philippines, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

Christians fled their homelands by the thousands; their homes, businesses and churches were torched; and hundreds were injured, scores were butchered.  Believers who were former Muslims were tried, convicted and imprisoned for supposed blasphemous apostasy against Allah and Mohammed.  Christian cemeteries were desecrated in Australia and Iran.  It is PC foolishness to ignore the 5,000 annual honor killings committed by Muslims globally against their relatives who date unapproved people or who convert away from Islam.

The PC crowd would do well to ask themselves a question.  When was the last time they heard reports of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians or the members of any other major world religion persecuting those of other faiths?  At that point, we must recognize that Islam is distinctive.

In regard to profiling Muslims, it is wrong to suspect all of being potential terrorist.  At the same time, it would be wise to have a profile understanding about generic Muslims as they increase in number in our nation.  If the worldwide pattern remains the same, many seemingly harmless Muslims are a Mosque sermon or two away from justification for persecuting Christians.

Our government already denies Christians freedom of expression in historical forums where Islam is given free pass.  It is not a big jump to say that we need to wake-up to who needs to be profiled before our PC preferential treatment of Muslims backfires.


HHS has established $22,350 as the poverty threshold for a family of 4 with $3,380 added for each additional person.  Welfare payments, food stamps, housing subsidies, free health care and other entitlements are freely awarded.  Concentrations of entitlement recipients can be readily found in Appalachia, Indian reservations and our inner cities.  It is not uncommon for a household to have 2nd and 3rd generation recipients.

It is not unusual for there to be complaints that the same locales often have substandard schools and teachers.

On May 23, 2012 the Fox Business Network aired a John Stossel special report.  The current meaning of poverty in America today was the featured topic.  The program’s revelations were astonishing.  It seems that in our country rather than division by those that have and those that have not; it is the haves and the have a lot.

The stats quoted indicated that exceptionally high percentages of entitlement recipients have cars, air-conditioning, TVs with cable service, computer games and cell phones.  At one point, people in line at a free cooked meals kitchen were questioned.  Some insisted that welfare and food stamp allowances should be increased.  One guest interviewed assessed that the USA is fast becoming a nation of moochers.


With all that being said, let us now consider the reputation of Asian and Oriental immigrants to our nation.  Most of them arrive with an appreciation for the right to liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness without any assumption that happiness is guaranteed.  Multiple families frequently practice communal living to set aside funds to launch businesses.  A high premium is put on ambition to succeed, diligence and education.  The honor of parents and respect for teachers is culturally ingrained.

Let us envision what might happen in a 10 year experiment.  The $ value of entitlements; dispersion of rented housing and owned homes; and the quality of schools and teachers remain the same.  However, 5,000 fresh off the boat Asian or Oriental immigrants settle among the inhabitants of a given poverty stricken area.  It might be in Appalachia; on an Indian reservation; or in an inner city.   Do you imagine that any of the following might happen?

Entitlement dispersions and unemployment per capita would shrink.  Much dilapidated housing would be refurbished.  Schools and teachers once regarded substandard would suddenly have an increase of honor students and those graduated who go on to get higher educations.  Significant numbers of the immigrants would break into income brackets that would empower them to move their families elsewhere.

If you imagine that much of the aforementioned would evolve; you, my friend, are politically incorrect.

Memorial Day

This is a time for us to reflect about the reasons for which our armed service personnel gave their lives.  For many, it was for our right to express mindsets that are now considered politically incorrect.  We should remember the fallen and give thanks for them.

To keep that which they died for, it is not sufficient for us to restrict activities for the welfare of our nation to intercessions to Almighty God.  There is a need to bombard our state and federal legislators with our concerns.  We should insist that the shamelessly politically incorrect positions expressed in this article are again deemed politically correct.

Only 50% of American Christians are registered to vote.  Honor our fallen by registering to vote and by getting others to do the same.  And, enjoy a great Memorial Day.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Jim Croft

 To get on his e-mail list:

Jim Croft Ministries/Gold Coast Christian Church8942 Sonoma Lake Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33434

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shavuot (Pentecost)

Painting by Baruch Nachshon,
Hebron, Israel



The Historical Understanding of Pentecost (Shavuot) - from THE SEVEN FESTIVALS OF THE MESSIAH By Eddie Chumney

In the third month after the Jews left Egypt (Mitzrayim), they arrived in the Sinai desert and camped opposite Mount Sinai. Moses (Moshe) was then told by G-d to gather the Israelites together to receive the Torah (Exodus [Shemot] 19:1-8 NAS). The Israelites answered, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do!" In Hebrew, it is Na'aseh V'Nishmah, which means, "We agree to do even before we have listened."

Moses (Moshe) then gave the Jews two days to cleanse themselves, wash their clothes, and prepare to receive the Torah on the third day. At the same time, Moses (Moshe) told them not to come too near Mount Sinai. From early morning, dense clouds covered the peak of the mountain. Thunder and lightning were frequently seen and heard. The sound of the shofar (ram's horn) came very strong, and the top of the mountain was enveloped in fire and smoke. The Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai stood in great awe (Exodus [Shemot] 19:9-19). Moses (Moshe) then went up alone on the mountain, and as he neared the top, a mighty voice announced the Ten Commandments (Exodus [Shemot] 19:20-25; 20:1-21).

Later Development of the Holiday

Pentecost (Shavuot) traditionally has been seen in different ways. One is to see it as the concluding piece of the Passover (Pesach) season. The other is to see it as an independent festival. Because Pentecost (Shavuot) celebrates the revelation of G-d at Mount Sinai, Pentecost (Shavout) would seem to be of a clearly independent nature. It is, after all, counted as one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Deuteronomy [Devarim] 16:16). Yet, beginning with the Targum (the Aramaic translation of the Scriptures from the second century of the Christian Era or Common Era (C.E.), known more commonly as A.D.), Pentecost (Shavuot) is referred to in the rabbinic tradition as Atzeret. The word atzeret in Hebrew means "conclusion." The word atzeret is used in the Bible with the festival Shemini Atzeret (Numbers [Bamidbar] 29:35) and seems to mean "remain with Me [G-d] another day." There is a sense, therefore, that atzeret is the final part or completion of a festival. Therefore, Shavuot (Pentecost) is seen as the conclusion to the Passover (Pesach) season. One strong connection between Passover (Pesach) and Shavuot (Pentecost) is the counting of the omer serving as a chain that links the two festivals.

Spiritual Application (Halacha). Because Shavuot (Pentecost) culminates with the counting of the omer for 50 days, Shavuot (Pentecost) is called the Atzeret or conclusion to Passover (Pesach). Spiritually speaking (halacha), the believers in the Messiah Yeshua are on a journey out of Egypt (a type of the world's system and its evil ways) in the wilderness (of life), awaiting our time to meet G-d face to face on Mount Sinai (Exodus [Shemot] 3:12). There at Mount Sinai (spiritually), G-d will forever reveal Himself to us in a new and greater way. For all believers in the Messiah Yeshua, the Torah that was given at Mount Sinai represents the Word of G-d, the entire Bible. The believer in Yeshua spiritually experiences Shavuot (Pentecost) when the Holy Spirit of G-d (Ruach HaKodesh) reveals the Word of G-d to him in a deeper and more powerful way, and his understanding and desire for the Bible increases accordingly.

All the above, and more, is contained at this website page:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Former Iranian soldier proudly flies Israeli flag

Former Iranian soldier proudly flies Israeli flag
Former Iranian soldier proudly flies Israeli flag
The Jewish Chronicle last week carried the story of Ali Ramezan, a former Iranian soldier who today proudly supports both Israel and America from his home in Manchester, England.
Ramezan was a member of Iran's revolutionary forces, and fought in the Iran-Iraq War. But some years later he was caught observing an anti-government rally, and was tortured by his own government for his "crime."

After that incident, Ramezan apparently began to wonder whether or not he was fighting for the right side. Forced to leave his wife and child behind, Ramezan fled Iran in 1999 and took up residence in the UK as an asylum-seeker.

Ramezan sees those of his family and friends who regularly join in chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" as having been "brainwashed." He is not the first Iranian or Arab to have come to a realization in recent years that Israel is not the evil entity that people across this region are taught.

In our previous magazine issue, Israel Today wrote about Pakistani, Arab and even liberal European Israel-haters who were brave enough to actually investigate what the Jewish state is all about, and as a result became Israel-supporters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ahava Love Letter - "Chain Link Made Strong"

"Chain Link Made Strong" 

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Eph. 6:10 NKJV)

Dear family of friends,

Recently I received a prophetic word of encouragement. During these past two years of awaiting a transition into a new season, I was growing weary of the journey. I needed to hear from the Lord.

Here is a response from Him, through a prophetically gifted man,

“Son, I am making things strong again. I really saw this chain link and it was weak. When it was pulled it was almost to the point of ripping and breaking, like a chain link. You could tell it was very weak in nature. God began to show me that it was about to be strengthened, it was about to be hardened, to be fortified to the place where it can’t be broken.

And I asked the Lord concerning you, what is this I am seeing? And God began to show me that the chain link represents your life. It represents things in your life, overwhelming stress, of the decision making you had to go through recently, and all the different things you having to face, and God says, “Son I am making you strong. I’m giving you the strength and the momentum of the power and the presence of My Holy Spirit to begin to go forward and make this thing happen.”

“Son you are strong in the Lord, in the power of My might. You are at the head and not the tail. You are above and not beneath. You are a man of virtue, a man of strength, a man of power. The Lord began to show me that you are going to begin to experience in this next season even the strength to be creative enough to start a new move, to start a new thing, if you will.”

“Son, you are alive in Me. You are strong in Me. Don’t look at yourself and say, “Lord, but I don’t have the capabilities, the means, the funds, to do a journey, to do a destiny, to make something happen, to even invest money, to even do any of this stuff.”

“Yes you can. You are strong in the Lord and the power of My might. You can do exceedingly abundantly above all that your old nature, your old man couldn’t do. That’s what I do in you. I do the exceedingly, abundantly above all that you are able to ask or think. Therefore if I am in you that means you can do exceedingly abundantly above all the old nature, the person you once was did, because now you are a different person, you are a changed person.”

Receiving encouragement along the way can certainly help us keep going along the way. I pray your journey is one marked with signs of His blessing, as your road continues forward.

Ahava to my family of friends,

Steve Martin


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Ahava Love Letter #44   Date: May 22 in the year of our Lord 2012    

Food & wine in Israel


Like the United States, Israel is an ethnic melting pot of cultures, religions and immigrants. As a result, the food scene in Israel is extraordinarily diverse and also of a very high standard. 80% of Israelis are Jews of whom more than half were born in Israel. But most of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents came to Israel from more than 120 countries, bringing with them foods, recipes and food traditions from six continents. And the 20% of non-Jewish Israelis have their own food traditions too. Israel is also a part of the Western world, and very little happens in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and Paris that doesn’t find its way to Israel within a few weeks. Put all this together and you have the ingredients for one of the most dynamic, fascinating – and delicious – food scenes in the world.

If you’d ask an Israeli 25 or 30 years ago what is the country’s typical fare, chances are the answer would be felafel, humus, tehina, with a side order of couscous or gefilte fish. A lot has happened in 25 or 30 years. All these dishes still exist, of course, indeed the first four are ubiquitous. But Israel has it all now, from hamburgers (Israel’s first McDonald’s opened in the 90’s) to pizza to sushi (more sushi restaurants per capita in Tel Aviv than in any city on earth, including Tokyo), to the cuisines of India and China, to some of the finest influences of Paris, Brussels, Lyon, Barcelona and New York – the Israel food scene is utterly sophisticated and in step with the latest trends. Many of Israel’s leading chefs have studied, prepped, apprenticed at some of the finest restaurants in the world.

But there’s more. There are restaurants in Israel that serve cuisines that exist nowhere else on earth: particularly the cuisines from areas now devoid of Jews, where large Jewish populations created their own eclectic cuisines, such as in Salonika, Dubrovnik, Tripolitania, Mesopotamia, Persia, Yemen and Bukhara.

There are two elements that make food in Israel so unique. One is our location on the shores of the Mediterranean. Like Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain, our cuisine reflects the warm sun, the olives that grow on our trees, the olive-oil we press, and the breads, fish and meats that have made the Mediterranean the source of what is considered by many as the world’s healthiest diet and, quite simply, the source of the best things to eat. Secondly, Israel produces the most splendid quality of fruits, vegetables and dairy products. From the legendary Jaffa oranges first exported to Europe in the 1930’s, to the kiwis, star fruit, citrus, tomatoes, peppers, flowers, yoghurts and cheeses we export today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Israelis Mark 45 Years of a Reunited Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israelis marked Jerusalem Day on Sunday, the day the city was reunited under its control.

"Israel without Jerusalem is like a body with a weak heart," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "Sustainable peace is made with strong nations, and an Israel without a unified Jerusalem will be like a body with a weak heart," he said.

Netanyahu was speaking at a ceremony at Ammunition Hill on Sunday -- where one of the major battles of the Six Day War took place -- marking the reunification of the nation's capital. He also said if Israel gave up sovereignty over the Temple Mount, it would lead to a religious war. "There are those who believe that if we only divide Jerusalem, and that means giving up the Temple Mount, they believe we will have peace," he said.

"I am doubtful, to say the least, that if we deposit that square of the Temple Mount with other forces, that we won't quickly deteriorate to a religious, sectarian war," he said.

Elsewhere, some 50,000 Israeli youth took to the streets of Jerusalem, waving the nation's flag as they marched through the city. The annual Dance of the Flags commemorates the reuniting of the city under Israeli sovereignty.

Forty-five years ago, Israel recaptured the Old City, its Temple Mount, and east Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

Palestinians want the eastern part of the city for the capital of a future state. But Netanyahu said Israel would continue to develop its capital.

"For 45 years we have developed and built Jerusalem and will continue to build it," he said.

Police had to separate Palestinian Arab protesters from Israelis as the parade reached the Damascus Gate, a reminder that the battle for the city isn't over yet.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Khoury: Church Evicted after '700 Club' Appearance

Khoury: Church Evicted after '700 Club' Appearance

Pastor Steve Khoury

JERUSALEM, Israel -- A Jerusalem pastor believes his appearance on "The 700 Club" could have contributed to his church being forced out of its building in an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
Calvary Baptist Church sits in an east Jerusalem neighborhood less than half a mile from the Old City walls. It is surrounded by Muslim neighbors.

"Whenever we started a church in east Jerusalem, we weren't too welcome -- obviously because of who we are -- we're evangelicals," Pastor Steve Khoury told CBN News. Khoury says things had calmed down until recently, when he toured the United States talking about the struggles facing Arab Christians in the Holy Land.

"I was on CBN and of course I talked about what was going on in the Holy Land, and I talked about needing to grow in east Jerusalem," Khoury said.

In an interview on "The 700 Club" on May 8, Khoury told Pat Robertson, "Christians are leaving because they are seeing nobody's standing with them. They're seeing extremism is growing, anti-Christian agendas growing and that's the truth."

In a later exchange, he said, "Unfortunately a lot of people's mindsets -- who are considered to be jihadists -- that is the ultimate goal [is] to put fear and submission into the heart of every single Christian in the Middle East."

"And they're pretty effective at doing that," Robertson commented.

"Yes, unfortunately they are," Khoury replied.

Within 24 hours of the interview, Khoury received dozens of ugly emails and blog posts. Then came an eviction notice giving his church 30 days to vacate even though the rent is paid for a full year.

"In the past years that we have been here in east Jerusalem, the family that we are renting from has been pressured by extremists in the community. Why would you rent out to a church? Why would you invite the infidel into our community?" Khoury said.

It's not the first time Khoury's congregation has had to move. Extremist pressure on their Muslim landlords forced them to move twice before.

"The extremist mindset within the whole region -- Middle East as a whole and within Israel -- is not to see Christian agenda grow, [the] Christian evangelical agenda to grow," he said.

Khoury sees the way around that agenda is to put down roots. "My heart's desire is when the 30 days [are up] -- is for the Lord to make a miracle that we can have our own place. We've found our own place, yes, we have. We found a place that's a Muslim who willing to sell us a building -- five-story building, which meets the needs of the church," he said.

Khoury wants Christians to stand with him in prayer and practically for their own building. He believes the only way to reach the community for Jesus is to be there.

Kotel (Western Wall) Live Cam Shot - Jerusalem

I love looking at the live shot of the Kotel (Western Wall) in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. Great memories, and hoping to get back there soon!

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Celebrating Jerusalem and its 'Watchmen on the Walls'

Celebrating Jerusalem and its 'Watchmen on the Walls'

Celebrating Jerusalem and its 'Watchmen on the Walls'

Forty-five years ago next Sunday, Israel, in a war of defense against neighboring Jordan and other Arab states, reunified the city of Jerusalem under Jewish rule for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.

Even though Israel had been reborn as a nation-state some 19 years earlier, Jordan continued to illegally occupy the city's eastern half, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, making the Jews' millennia-long dream of returning to their ancient capital incomplete.

The 1967 Six Day War changed all that, and audio recordings of Israeli soldiers taking control of the Old City and Temple Mount remain one of the nation's most stirring and treasured archives.

In commemoration of that miraculous victory, that fulfillment of both prophecy and ancient hopes, Israelis annually mark Jerusalem Day on the date that the IDF declared "the Temple Mount is in our hands."
Jerusalem Day often brings to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah: "I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call upon the Lord give yourself no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her a praise in the earth." (Isaiah 62:6-7)

Today, God has set many watchmen, both physical and spiritual, on Jerusalem's walls.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oldest Synagogue in English-Speaking World Celebrates 250 Years

Oldest Synagogue in English-Speaking World Celebrates 250 Years - Israel National News

Plymouth Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the English-speaking world celebrated its 250th anniversary this week.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/16/2012

Jew prays in synagogue
Jew prays in synagogue
The Plymouth Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the English-speaking world celebrated its 250th anniversary this week, a local newspaper reported. The synagogue, which opened in 1762 and hold the European record of nearly 250 uninterrupted years of use, escaped unscathed during the Second World War Blitz even as most of the city was left in ruins.

Dignitaries from around the world came to join Plymouth's Jewish community in celebrating the anniversary of the ancient synagogue. The Lord Lieutenant of Devon and the Devon High Sheriff, representing the Queen, joined the Chief Rabbi and the president of United Synagogues and the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The synagogue's honorary secretary, Anna Kelly, said that at its peak Plymouth's Jewish community had hundreds of members, but has since dwindled to approximately 50 families.
The Jewish community settled in Plymouth in the mid-18th Century. Its members came from Central Europe, mainly Holland and Germany.

By 1745 they were holding regular prayer services in their homes and then in rented rooms. In 1762, the Jews of Plymouth rejoiced at being granted a lease on the land where the synagogue now stands, making it the oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue still in use in the English-speaking world.

Jewish Plymothians served in the Volunteer Companies recruited in 1798 to ward off a Napoleonic invasion and also served with distinction in the two World Wars. They have served in local government and supplied Mayors of Devonport, Torquay and a Lord Mayor of Plymouth.

The synagogue no longer has its own rabbi and the regular services are conducted by visiting clergy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Archeologist says new finds support Bible's accuracy

Archeologist says new finds support Bible's accuracy - Israel Today

Archeologist says new finds support Bible's accuracy
A Hebrew University archeologist says finds at a new dig site near Jerusalem are backing up the biblical narrative of an Israelite kingdom centered on Jerusalem in 1000 BC, around the time of King David and his son, King Solomon.

Professor Yosef Garfinkel has been digging at Khirbet Qeiyafa near the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh since 2007. Carbon dating of unearthed olive pits has put the period of activity at Khirbet Qeiyafa at 1020 BC - 980 BC, almost exactly the period of time the Bible says David and Solomon were active in the region. The dating, together with the uniqueness of the finds, has made Khirbet Qeiyafa one of the most important biblical archeological digs.

Less than a year after working Khirbet Qeiyafa, Garfinkel unveiled what is believed to be the oldest Hebrew inscription found to date. At the time, Garfinkel said the inscription proved that vibrant, centralized and literate Hebrew kingdom existed in the area 3,000 years ago, just as the Bible says it did.

Last week, Garfinkel shared his latest find - two ancient models of shrines that very closely resemble the biblical description of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. The models would have presumably been used in religious rites. Garfinkel also says it is now clear that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a walled town, which means it must have been part of a centralized larger kingdom.

Perhaps most importantly, Garfinkel says the site is completely devoid of pagan idols and imagery, and contains no pig bones, despite being well endowed with the bones of sheep, goats and cattle. Together this means the site must be Israelite remains, as the Israelites were the only local people forbidden from eating swine or engaging in pagan rituals.

All of this evidence combined is important because it counters the claims of some archeologists that the Bible is full of myths, which until now the have based on the lack of evidence for a large and centralized Israelite kingdom around 1000 BC.

"For the first time in history we have actual objects from the time of David, which can be related to monuments described in the Bible," Garfinkel said in a press release. "Various suggestions that completely deny the biblical tradition regarding King David and argue that he was a mythological figure, or just a leader of a small tribe, are now shown to be wrong."

Still, not everyone is convinced, and many Israeli archeologist and professors continue to label the Bible as national folklore. Garfinkel hopes that continued work at Khirbet Qeiyafa and other sites will eventually lay bare the truth.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"The Room Reborn"

Northeast corner

Northwest corner

West wall

"The Room Reborn"

After "flood waters" from the upstairs washer fell freely down the wall,
And the popcorn ceiling turned gray, with spots resulting from the fall;
Well, the blue flowered wallpaper would finally have to come down,
Plus the 25 year old carpet followed soon after, with no more frowns.

What seemed like disaster at first, and lots of work to do ahead,
Now that it is all done - we sleep soundly in our bed.
We do thank the Lord ,Who causes all things to be for good,
For those who love Him, and learn His purposes, now understood.

Steve Martin
May 13, 2012

After the "flood"...Before the rebirth...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Israel - Inside Israel - News - Israel National News

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Israel

5.3 earthquake felt in areas from northern Israel to central Israel. No injuries. Epicenter believed to be in Cyprus.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 5/11/2012, 10:37 PM

Earthquake preparedness drill
Earthquake preparedness drill
An earthquake rocked Israel on Friday evening, shortly before 10:00 p.m. local time, and was felt in areas from northern Israel to central Israel.

According to a Channel 10 News report, the police in the Northern, Central and Tel Aviv Districts said they received hundreds of phone calls from citizens who felt the earthquake. Local residents reported feeling objects and buildings move for about 15 to 20 seconds. There were no reports of injuries or damages.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake measured 5.3 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was in Cyprus.

More than a 100 calls by concerned citizens were received in the northern city of Tzfat alone, the report said. The quake was felt even in Bat Yam, Kfar Saba, Ramat Hasharon, Ra'anana and other areas in central Israel.

Magen David Adom has sent reinforcements to its stations in northern Israel and is preparing for the possibility of secondary tremors, Channel 10 reported.

In February, a 3.1 magnitude tremor shook Israel's north. There were no injuries or damage following the earthquake. The epicenter of that earthquake was east of Lake Kinneret, and a number of communities in the area reported having felt the quake.

Experts have warned that Israel is expected to be hit by a major earthquake. Dr. Ephraim Laor, who headed the National Steering Committee for Earthquake Preparedness, told Arutz Sheva recently that each Israeli must prepare himself for a major earthquake that could hit Israel.

In February, school children around the country, from kindergarten age and up, participated in earthquake drills in their schools, practicing safe steps to take when the ground starts shaking.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Israel - Inside Israel - News - Israel National News

Charles Krauthammer: Echoes of ‘67: Israel unites

Opinion Writer

Echoes of ‘67:

Israel unites

Published: May 10
In May 1967, in brazen violation of previous truce agreements, Egypt ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai, marched 120,000 troops to the Israeli border, blockaded the Straits of Tiran (Israel’s southern outlet to the world’s oceans), abruptly signed a military pact with Jordan and, together with Syria, pledged war for the final destruction of Israel.

May ’67 was Israel’s most fearful, desperate month. The country was surrounded and alone. Previous great-power guarantees proved worthless. A plan to test the blockade with a Western flotilla failed for lack of participants. Time was running out. Forced into mass mobilization in order to protect against invasion — and with a military consisting overwhelmingly of civilian reservists — life ground to a halt. The country was dying.

On June 5, Israel launched a preemptive strike on the Egyptian air force, then proceeded to lightning victories on three fronts. The Six-Day War is legend, but less remembered is that, four days earlier, the nationalist opposition (Mena­chem Begin’s Likud precursor) was for the first time ever brought into the government, creating an emergency national-unity coalition.
Everyone understood why. You do not undertake a supremely risky preemptive war without the full participation of a broad coalition representing a national consensus.

Forty-five years later, in the middle of the night of May 7-8, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shocked his country by bringing the main opposition party, Kadima, into a national unity government. Shocking because just hours earlier, the Knesset was expediting a bill to call early elections in September.
Why did the high-flying Netanyahu call off elections he was sure to win?

Because for Israelis today, it is May ’67. The dread is not quite as acute: The mood is not despair, just foreboding. Time is running out, but not quite as fast. War is not four days away, but it looms. Israelis today face the greatest threat to their existence — nuclear weapons in the hands of apocalyptic mullahs publicly pledged to Israel’s annihilation — since May ’67. The world is again telling Israelis to do nothing as it looks for a way out. But if such a way is not found — as in ’67 — Israelis know that they will once again have to defend themselves, by themselves.

Such a fateful decision demands a national consensus. By creating the largest coalition in nearly three decades, Netanyahu is establishing the political premise for a preemptive strike, should it come to that. The new government commands an astonishing 94 Knesset seats out of 120, described by one Israeli columnist as a “hundred tons of solid concrete.”

So much for the recent media hype about some great domestic resistance to Netanyahu’s hard line on Iran. Two notable retired intelligence figures were widely covered here for coming out against him. Little noted was that one had been passed over by Netanyahu to be the head of Mossad, while the other had been fired by Netanyahu as Mossad chief (hence the job opening). For centrist Kadima (it pulled Israel out of Gaza) to join a Likud-led coalition whose defense minister is a former Labor prime minister (who once offered half of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat) is the very definition of national unity — and refutes the popular “Israel is divided” meme. “Everyone is saying the same thing,” explained one Knesset member, “though there may be a difference of tone.”

To be sure, Netanyahu and Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz offered more prosaic reasons for their merger: to mandate national service for now exempt ultra- Orthodox youth, to change the election law to reduce the disproportionate influence of minor parties and to seek negotiations with the Palestinians. But Netanyahu, the first Likud prime minister to recognize Palestinian statehood, did not need Kadima for him to enter peace talks. For two years he’s been waiting for Mahmoud Abbas to show up at the table. Abbas hasn’t. And won’t. Nothing will change on that front.

What does change is Israel’s position vis-a-vis Iran. The wall-to-wall coalition demonstrates Israel’s political readiness to attack, if necessary. (Its military readiness is not in doubt.)

Those counseling Israeli submission, resignation or just endless patience can no longer dismiss Israel’s tough stance as the work of irredeemable right-wingers. Not with a government now representing 78 percent of the country.

Netanyahu forfeited September elections that would have given him four more years in power. He chose instead to form a national coalition that guarantees 18 months of stability — 18 months during which, if the world does not act (whether by diplomacy or otherwise) to stop Iran, Israel will.

And it will not be the work of one man, one party or one ideological faction. As in 1967, it will be the work of a nation.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Franklin Graham: Obama 'Shaking His Fist' at God

Franklin Graham: Obama 'Shaking His Fist' at God

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, believes President Barack Obama defied God by changing his stance on gay marriage.

"President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage," Franklin Graham said in a statement on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

The president has proclaimed his Christian faith several times, and before taking office said he thought marriage should only be between one man and one woman. Over the years, Obama gradually changed his tone on the issue, finally stating in an interview with ABC News Wednesday that his stance had fully "evolved" to support same-sex marriage.

"It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more," Graham added.

The well-known evangelist and leader of Samaritan's Purse lives in North Carolina, where voters approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only the union between one man and one woman.
"While the move to pass amendments defining marriage is relatively new, the definition of marriage is 8,000 years old and was defined not by man, but by God Himself," Graham said.

He added that there's no need for marriage to be defined by by presidents or polls, governors or the media
"This is a sad day for America. May God help us," Graham concluded.

Franklin Graham has criticized President Obama's policies in the past.  Earlier this year, he said Obama "seemed to be more concerned about Muslims than Christians"

The president said he changed his mind on gay marriage after talking with friends and family -- even his two daughters.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pastor Youcef - Letter From Iran

Letter From Iranian Pastor Youcef

Gary Lane, CBN News Senior International Reporter

I just received this email from Present Truth Ministries. It's a letter they received from imprisoned Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He's the Christian house church pastor facing execution in Iran for leaving Isalm. Pastor Youcef maintains he was never a Muslim and therefore could not be guilty of apostasy.

In the letter, the Iranian pastor says his trial has been so long that he wishes "these days to end."
He praises the support he has received from churches and politicians and says he believes the international human rights campaign to free him "can bring positive results."

However, he suggests Koran burnings like those led by a Florida pastor "cause stress and trouble."
Pastor Youcef asks for our continued prayers and support.

Here's the text of the full letter translated by Present Truth Ministries. A big thanks to Jason DeMars for passing it along:

07 May 2012

Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani.

To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.

First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And during these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments.

I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial due has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will.

I am neither a political person nor do I know about political complicity, but I know that while there are many things in common between different cultures, there are also differences between these cultures around the world which can result in criticism, which most of the times response to this criticisms will be harsh and as a result will lengthen our problems.

From time to time I am informed about the news which is spreading in the media about my current situation, for instance being supported by various churches and famous politicians who have asked for my release, or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me. I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting human rights in a right way can bring forth positive results.
I want to appreciate all those are trying to reach this goal. But at the other hand, I’d like to announce my disagreement with the insulting activities which cause stress and trouble, which unfortunately are done with the justification (excuse) of defending human rights and freedom, for the results are so clear and obvious for me.

I try to be humble and obedient to those who are in power, obedience to those in authority which God has granted to the officials of my country, and pray for them to rule the country according to the will of God and be successful in doing this. For I know in this way I have obeyed God’s word. I try to obey along with those whom I see in a common situation with me. They never had any complaint, but just let the power of God be manifested in their lives, and though sometimes we read that they have used this right to defend themselves, for they had this right, I am not an exception as well and have used all possibilities and so forth and am waiting for the final result.

So I ask all the beloved ones to pray for me as the holy word has said. At the end I hope my freedom will be prepared as soon as possible, as the authorities of my country will do with free will according to their law and commandments which are answerable to.

May God’s Grace and Mercy be upon you now and forever. Amen.

Youcef Nadarkhani

Why Are Christians Really Leaving Bethlehem?

Why Are Christians Really Leaving Bethlehem?

It could be described as a modern day exodus: Christians are leaving Palestinian Arab-controlled areas like Bethlehem in great numbers.

"It's my prediction that if the remaining Christians in the West Bank and Gaza -- Gaza only has maybe a thousand, two thousand Christians," human rights lawyer Justus Weiner told CBN News. "If their needs are not addressed in 10 or 15 or at most 20 years, there won't be any Christians in the cradle of Christianity. This will be a kind of memorial, a museum."

Weiner said the threat of persecution, including beatings and forced marriages between Christian women and Muslim men, are some of the reasons Christians have left.

Although tourism and the economy picked up last year, uncertainty still prevails.

"I know if you just look deep within their hearts, I know many people have fear and doubt in the unknown and unseen," Pastor Steve Khoury told CBN News. Pastor Khoury leads churches in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem. Part of the congregations' outreach includes Christmas banquets each year, sponsored in part by CBN. Khoury said they do many unorthodox things to bring the message that hope is only built on the solid rock of Jesus. Khoury grew up on the mission field. His father, Dr. Naim Khoury, started Holy Land Missions 30 years ago. He said his experiences growing up as the son of a missionary taught him not only the life of a missionary, but also the struggles and battles of every believer.

"God has burdened my heart in a great way," Khoury wrote on his web site. "He has shown me that Arabs can come to salvation; He has shown me that Jews can come to the Messiah, and that the people in Israel are losing hope in life." "Seeing people bleed every day, and seeing a person one day and gone the next because of violence has made me appreciate life," he said.

There are only about 15,000 born-again Christians in Israel. They face daily persecution by the other two dominating religions.

Pastor Khoury has seen church members attacked and discriminated against because of their faith. Several believers under his ministry have been martyred, including his own uncle. The church in Bethlehem has been firebombed 14 times, and Dr. Naim Khoury has been shot at several times in the last 10 years.

Nevertheless, Holy Land Missions has reached out to thousands over the years through their many outreach programs, including Calvary Church in Jerusalem and First Baptist in Bethlehem.