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Latest Edition: May/June - Helping Israel Through Corona Crisis

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May/Jun 2020 - Helping Israel Through Corona Crisis

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God has moved in practical and powerful ways through the ICEJ to impact the nation of Israel by packing and delivering meals to Holocaust Survivors and others in quarantine, providing special holiday foods for families celebrating Passover in isolation, and bringing new immigrants to the land of Israel and helping them through the adjustment. We give glory to God as we have seen Him touch many segments of Israel's society with His encouragement and hope through your giving and our hands.

Both in Israel and in the nations, God continues to bless and impact the Jewish people in positive ways by letting them know they are not alone. Thank you for standing with Israel through this difficult season.

Mar/Apr 2020 - Israel: An Ongoing Miracle

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This issue focuses on the Holocaust because there were many events that occurred here in Jerusalem and around the world in honor of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As you flip through the pages of this Word From Jerusalem, you will hear about how God brought 50 Heads of State, Royals, and National dignitaries to Jerusalem to attend the World Holocaust Forum, several stories from Holocaust Survivors, and an update from the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors.

You will also discover an article by ICEJ VP & Senior Spokesman David R. Parsons addressing Trump's peace plan, testimonies from ICEJ's Envision Pastor's & Leader's Conference, news about aliyah from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and more!

   
Word From Jerusalem Nov/Dec 2019

Jan/Feb 2020 - Prepare the Way: New Year

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It's a new year, so it's time to check out our new magazine! As you flip through the beginning pages, you will find an intriguing teaching from ICEJ's President Dr Jürgen Bühler about the prophet Balaam and how God views Israel. As you continue through the magazine, you will discover an analysis written by ICEJ's VP & Senior Spokesman David Parsons with keen insights on the political efforts to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Also, inside this edition you will discover many exciting new beginnings that have happened within the ICEJ, Israel, and the nations! You do not want to miss reading about ICEJ's newest Vice President, the impact on Israeli communities through social businesses, trauma treatment for children in the south, ICEJ events in Germany, a regional conference in Europe, and so much more!

We pray that as you read this magazine, the Lord will speak to you in a very special way! Happy New year from the ICEJ! 

Christian Friends Of Yad Vashem

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Watch this broadcast of ICEJ's historic online event commemorating Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, in partnership with the Christian Desk at Yad Vashem.

Christian Friends of Yad Vashem (CFYV) was founded in October 2006 in partnership with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in order to educate Christians about the universal lessons of the Holocaust. We mobilize Christians from various countries to become active in promoting Holocaust awareness and in fighting modern-day antisemitism. Among our many activities, we organize an annual Christian Leadership Seminar at Yad Vashem for pastors and other Christian leaders to learn about the Holocaust, meet survivors of the Shoah, and become ambassadors of our mission.

The new Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem is Ms. Sari Granitza. She has been working in the International Relations Division at Yad Vashem since 2003 and took over the reins of the Christian Desk from Dr. Susanna Kokkonen in mid-2018. Having lost family members in the Holocaust, Ms. Granitza takes her job very seriously. As a representative for Yad Vashem to the Christian world, she will continue to promote Holocaust education as an important means for ensuring that the atrocities of the Shoah never happen again.

CFYV promotes the wide-ranging activities of Yad Vashem:

  • Brings the universal lessons of the Holocaust to churches and Christian communities;
  • Builds bridges between Christians and Jews;
  • Teaches the history of Christian Antisemitism;
  • Educates about the legacy of Righteous among the Nations.

Click here to read more about the new director of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, Sari Granitza.

Please support our vital work at Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.

Israel and Christians

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The following is taken from an interview of David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director, by Manfred Gerstenfeld for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs examing the complex cultural, theological and political relationship between the State of Israel and the worldwide Christian community. Scroll down to read more...

Islam Dominates the Middle East

Palestinian Christians

Under siege and without protection, the Christian population under Palestinian rule has dwindled with each passing year suffering from a consistent pattern of Islamic intimidation and aggression ...
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»

Sudanese father and child in Jerusalem's Old City (ICEJ)

Islamic Persecution of Christians

Islam dominates the Middle East, subjecting minorities, women and children to widespread oppression. Christians and Jews are especially targeted, reduced to a state of subservience or dhimmitude... Learn more »

 


Summary of the Interview

 

  • The Holocaust initiated a major change in thinking about the Jewish people in numerous Christian circles. To many it was clear that centuries of Christian anti-Semitic teachings had paved the way for the mass murders by the Nazis and their supporters. These crimes alone, however, could not have shifted the theological thinking of many Christians to such a large extent. Many would still have seen the Shoah as yet another example that Jews are forever cursed.

  • It was the theological shock of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 that challenged the fundamental church teachings and doctrine concerning the Jewish people. For centuries, the Christian mainstream thought that the Jews, who were blamed for killing Christ, were cursed to endless wanderings. This is the key distinguishing factor between Christian friends and foes of Israel: whether or not one believes the Jews still have an abiding covenantal relationship with God.

  • Within the pro-Israeli Protestant camp there are two major theological schools. The first is covenantal Christian theology, which is based on the belief that God eternally keeps his covenantal promises. The second is dispensationalism, which says that Israel was temporarily replaced by the church but-at the end of days-Israel will once again be God's main redemptive agent in the world.

  • Replacement theology, also called supersessionism, is the main theology of Israel's Christian foes. It is based on the idea that God's unique relationship with the church is the replacement or the completion of the promises made to the Jewish people, and thus Israel's "election" no longer stands. Palestinian liberation theology uses Jesus as a historic role model, identifying with him as the "first Palestinian revolutionary." Thus, it justifies Palestinian violence against Israelis as acceptable acts of the oppressed against the oppressor.


Full Transcript of the Interview

"The Holocaust brought about a major change in thinking about the Jewish people in many Christian circles. It was a major moral shock for them that, in the heart of Christian Europe, a genocide had taken place that aimed to annihilate the Jews. To many, it was clear that centuries of Christian anti-Semitic teachings had paved the way for the mass murders by the Nazis and their supporters.

"These crimes alone, however, could not have shifted the theological thinking of many Christians to such a large extent. Many would still have said: ‘The Shoah is yet one more example that the Jews are forever cursed.'"

David R. Parsons is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, senior producer of the weekly radio program Front Page Jerusalem, and contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition. From 1991 to 1995 he served as general counsel for CIPAC, a Christian pro-Israeli lobby registered with Congress to advocate for strong U.S.-Israel relations.

A Theological Shock

Parsons observes: "It was the theological shock of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 that challenged fundamental church teachings and doctrine concerning the Jewish people. For centuries the Christian mainstream thought that the Jews, who were blamed for killing Christ, were cursed to endless wanderings. The concept was that they had been dispersed around the world, never to return to the Land of Israel or play an important role in God's redemptive plan for humanity. In short, with the birth of the church, the Jews had served their purpose once and for all.

"Then after World War II, rather suddenly Jewish sovereignty was restored in the Land of Israel. This development did not square with mainstream Christian doctrines. Thereupon several Christian churches, of which the large Catholic Church is a good example, gradually steered their institutions toward new attitudes concerning the Jewish people.

"However, there also remain Christians who have refused to change their doctrines to fit this new reality of a restored Israel. They would rather try to retool the facts to fit their classic theology of a rejected Israel. This is perhaps a little-known, but large motivating factor, for many pro-Palestinian Christians in the Western world. By attempting to reverse history they want to do away with Jewish sovereignty in the Land.

"In addition they would like to whittle Israel back to a bi-national state, Jews and Arabs, and three religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. This is an important source of the Christian involvement in the divestment campaigns, apartheid branding of Israel, and other anti-Israeli efforts. Although this activism has an underlying theological basis, it is also part of the wider ‘culture wars' between the Left and Right."

Christian Zionists

When asked to first analyze the various currents among Christian friends of Israel, Parsons replies that some of these supported the Zionist movement since its inception. "Theodore Herzl coined the term ‘Christian Zionists' at the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898, in reference to such Christian figures as the Rev. William Hechler, the chaplain at the British embassy in Vienna, and the Swiss Protestant Jean Henri Dunant, who shared the first Nobel Peace Prize.

"Christian Zionism even predates the advent of political Zionism by decades if not centuries, as leading Christian ministers and politicians advocated the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland from the time of the Protestant Reformation. Its triumph was the Balfour Declaration, as six of the nine members of the British cabinet of David Lloyd George were professing Christian Zionists. The theological basis was their belief that the time had come for the Jews to return to their homeland. They also believed that Great Britain, with its worldwide empire, was uniquely positioned to help with the worldwide ingathering of the Jewish Diaspora. It was not only a matter of belief; great-power calculations also played a part in their attitudes.

"The roots of Christian Zionism start, however, with the Reformation. The Bible was put in the vernacular so that people could read it for themselves. They saw that God still loved the Jews. What they were reading did not accord with the teachings of the established churches, particularly Catholic doctrines.

"Today there are more Christian Zionists than ever. Many millions, all over the world, have a compelling love for Israel and the Jewish people. Eight thousand Christians came from nearly a hundred countries to participate in the recent celebration of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Among them were 1,500 Brazilians, but also people from Papua New Guinea and Fiji. None canceled despite the economic crisis, even if they were not well to do. Several hotels in Jerusalem have told us that they regularly refuse requests from other people to take over room reservations made by our Feast pilgrims for the Sukkot holiday, saying that ‘whatever happens here, we know the Christians will come.'"

Misrepresentations

"It is sometimes difficult to be a Christian Zionist, as even some Jewish and Israeli leaders claim we are no different from Christians in the past. There are many misrepresentations about us. One is that the Christian Zionist movement is a recent outgrowth of the Christian Right and has a variety of sinister motives. We even have fellow evangelical Christians who call us idolaters for worshipping secular Israel instead of Christ."

Parsons prefers to use the term "biblical Zionism" rather than "Christian Zionism," since it allows more room for Jewish and Christian agreement. He explains: "I am a Christian adherent to biblical Zionism, which can also have Jewish adherents. As a believer in the Bible and the God of the Bible, I believe that the Jewish people and the Land of Israel were both chosen for the purpose of world redemption. The modern restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland is evidence of God being faithful to his covenantal promise to the patriarch Abraham to deliver the Land of Canaan as an everlasting possession to his descendants.

"All human beings are equal, but the Jews have a unique role in the world that we must respect. The worship of God, His word, His commandments, His covenants, and for us Christians, God's Messiah, were all delivered to us through the Jewish people. It is a biblical paradox that there is universality with God in that He loves all humanity, and at the same time also a particularity, or divine election. It is even the teaching of the New Testament that through the return of the Jewish exiles, God is still working out his plan of redemption for the whole world.

"As adherents of biblical Zionism, we support political Zionism, as the Jewish people need a homeland and safe haven, but we add the element of divine purpose. This sets us entirely apart from the anti-Israeli camp that believes the election of the Jewish people no longer stands. In their theology the Jews are now fair game for criticism and worse. This is the key distinguishing factor between Christian friends and foes of Israel-whether or not you believe the Jews still have an enduring covenantal relationship with God.

"Elements of covenantal theology can already be found in the writings of the early Church Fathers, including Irinaeus and Augustine. The reformer John Calvin was, however, the first to organize God's salvation concepts under this system of theology."

Perhaps 600 Million Protestant Evangelicals

Asked how many Christian Zionists there are, Parsons replies: "The Christian world comprises, to begin with, perhaps up to one billion Catholics. There are over 200 million Eastern Orthodox Christians and 200 million mainline Protestant parishioners.

"The Protestant evangelicals number perhaps as many as 600 million today-these are people who claim to have had a ‘born again' experience and who view the Bible as the inspired Word of God. The evangelical stream is the fastest-growing religious movement in the world. The Chinese government recently admitted that there as many as 120 million evangelical Christians in their country, more than the number of Communist Party members.

"These evangelicals generally tend to have a favorable view of Israel, and many are interested in exploring the Jewish roots of our faith. Time magazine recently called this effort to study our Hebraic roots one of the top ten trends in the world today. In a recent poll some 80 percent of U.S. Christians felt a moral obligation to stand with Israel. There are some anti-Israeli pockets among evangelicals but these remain small.

"Another great motivating factor is that we want to take responsibility for the bitter legacy of Christian anti-Semitism. Outside the United States much of our support base comes from Europe. We have strong branches in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries.

"These Christians are familiar with the history of the Crusades, the medieval expulsions of the Jews, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. In the history of the evangelical Christian movement there are no instances of ‘convert or die' scenarios. Among those who now support Israel are people who have come out of churches that played major roles in Christian anti-Semitism. For them, supporting Israel is not a matter of guilt, but rather of taking responsibility for a bitter legacy and trying to remove the stain from the church's name.

"Within the pro-Israeli Protestant camp there are two major theological schools. The first is covenantal Christian theology, which, as noted, is based on the belief that God eternally keeps his covenantal promises made through Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. We believe the Hebrew prophets were servants of the covenants and tell us something about how God will keep his covenantal promises. The foundation of our pro-Israeli stance, however, is the Abrahamic covenant. The people in the Christian Embassy belong to this theological school."

Dispensationalism

"The other pro-Israeli Christian theology is dispensationalism. It is of more recent origin and focuses on prophetic passages in which Israel plays an important ‘end-time' role. Its origins can be traced to John Nelson Darby who was a preacher in the Plymouth Brethren Movement, which dates from the early 1800s. His ideas were later adopted by Cyrus Scofield in the United States, who published a popular reference Bible around 1900.

"Dispensationalism says that Israel was temporarily replaced by the church but-at the end of days-Israel will once again be the main redemptive agent for God in the world for a short season. This happens when the true church is ‘raptured' or caught up into heaven at the start of the seven-year Tribulation. Then, during this time of great turmoil on earth, two-thirds of the Jews in the Land of Israel will die and the other one-third, through their conversion, will bring back Christ.

"I believe this is based on erroneous interpretations of prophetic portions of the Bible, which contain passages that can be privately interpreted in many different ways. Still, it is a harmless belief system that Jews should not be too worried about. Even with these interpretations, most adherents of dispensationalism have a deep, abiding love for Israel. And it is not they who would be forcing Israel into some last, grand, convert-or-die scenario, since they would already be in heaven."

Israel's Foes

Replacement theology, also called supersessionism, is the main theology of Israel's Christian foes. The terminology dates back to the seventeenth century but reflects an older view that was already espoused by some early church followers. It is based on the idea that God's unique relationship with the church is the replacement or the completion of the promises made to the Jewish people.

"Some of those who believe in replacement theology are uncomfortable with the terminology and instead speak of ‘fulfillment theology.' It means that God has fulfilled everything He had promised to the Jews, and the new covenant substitutes the Mosaic one. Under this covenant the church replaces Israel as God's main redemptive agent in the world.

"Various strands have been identified within replacement theology. One is ‘punitive supersessionism,' which simply says the Jews are cursed to endure endless wanderings because they killed Christ. Another variant is ‘economic supersessionism,' which has nothing to do with money but means that in God's economy the church has essentially replaced Israel in His plan on a practical level.

"Yet another trend is ‘structural supersessionism.' This marginalizes the Old Testament as no longer being normative for Christian thought. It can be considered a modern-day revival of Marcionism. Marcion was a second- century heretic who maintained that Christians should not care about the Hebrew Bible, but focus only on the New Testament.

"Marcion thought that if one accepted both testaments, one was serving a schizophrenic God. He saw the God of the Old Testament as one of vengeance and war, while the God of the New Testament revealed himself through Jesus as one of mercy and love."

Parsons adds that many in the Christian world fail to understand the biblical paradoxes concerning, on the one hand, God's universal love for all mankind and, on the other, His sovereign election, both of Jews and Christians. Many Christians have had difficulty with the similar biblical paradox of "free will" versus "predestination." But he notes that in Romans 11, the Apostle Paul says, "Behold the goodness and severity of God." Parsons observes that this passage embodies these two paradoxical traits within God's character and that the "trick" for those of faith is learning to live between them, even if many Christians do not succeed at this.

"The basic problem with replacement theology is that it denies God's immutable nature. Replacement theology charges that God is untrustworthy and can change His mind. If God indeed had changed His mind, the Jewish people would have been wiped out long ago, according to Malachi, Chapter 3. If the covenant with the Jewish people has been nullified, Christians must ask themselves what value the new covenant has for us. Our view is that one can add a covenant, but that does not necessarily nullify an existing one.

"Christian Zionists get demonized together with the Jews by some of the mainstream churches, which believe in replacement theology. We consider it an honor to stand with the Jews."

Liberation Theology

Parsons remarks: "Liberation theology is one more Christian theology that is hostile to Israel. It overstresses and overidentifies with the historic figure of Jesus-as opposed to the glorified Jesus post-resurrection-in order to address modern social grievances. It sees the historic Jesus as the earliest role model of a revolutionary fighting against oppression. In his case it was Roman oppression; now it is used to justify struggles against today's purported oppressors-the Israelis, for example.

"Liberation theology started in Latin America where certain Catholic priests were trying to address legitimate local social problems. Its discourse has Marxist overtones. This caused the Vatican to come out against certain aspects of liberation theology.

"This theology also has several prominent versions. ‘Black liberation theology' got much public attention during Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of his church-Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago-is an adherent of it. The father of black liberation theology is the Rev. James Hal Cone, whom Wright considers his spiritual leader. Wright also hosted at his church a key proponent of Palestinian liberation theology, Rev. Naim Ateek of the Sabeel Center in Jerusalem.

"Liberation theology will use the teachings of Jesus to justify violence whenever someone undertakes it against a real or purported oppressor. In the case of blacks, that means the fight against slavery and segregation. When a liberation theologian speaks of ‘justice,' it is a very loaded term. It basically means ‘I want all my grievances resolved, and even then I am not satisfied because I am always the oppressed while the other is always the oppressor.' Ironically, this is much in line with what many Muslims think."

Palestinian Liberation Theology

"‘Palestinian liberation theology' bases itself on the suffering of the Palestinians under Israel. Adherents use Jesus as a historic role model, considering him the ‘first Palestinian revolutionary.' Thus they try to justify Palestinians blowing themselves up to kill the ‘oppressors.'

"No Christian theology can, however, preach violence, because Jesus in essence taught pacifism. He maintained that if one lives by the sword, one should be prepared to die by it. Jesus basically said ‘I didn't come to overthrow the Romans; my kingdom is not of this world.' Liberation theology sees a black-and-white world where the oppressed can get away with anything."

Parsons remarks, "I have seen so-called study missions from the World Council of Churches coming to Israel and using liberation-theology arguments to support the Palestinians. The international headquarters of the YMCA in Geneva sent a study mission at the height of the Second Intifada, which did the same. When reporters objected that they were somewhat biased, their spokeswoman's answer was: ‘Jesus taught us to root for the underdog.' This is a huge distortion of the message of the New Testament.

"Palestinian Christians are a small and dwindling, but highly symbolic community in the Palestinian territories. Some Christian clerics exploit that symbolic value to support Palestinian nationalism by distorting and denying the Jewishness of Jesus. By creating a Palestinian Jesus, they undermine the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith in order to serve the Palestinian narrative."

Edward Said and the Palestinian Jesus

"Prof. Edward Said, who taught Middle Eastern studies at Columbia University, often described Palestinian suffering under the Jews as ‘this endless Calvary, this constant crucifixion.' He thus deliberately drew upon classic Christian anti-Semitic motifs. Said's analogy was that Jesus suffered under the Romans and now the Palestinians were suffering under the Jews.

"Justus Weiner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has exposed Said's biographical fallacy.[1] The Arab scholar falsely claimed that he had to leave Jerusalem because his family was expelled by Israel. In reality, he grew up in Cairo and was only an occasional visitor in Jerusalem.

"The Christian Embassy was located for some time in the house on Chile Square from which Said also falsely claimed to have been expelled. Once he hosted a BBC documentary and declared, ‘This is my beautiful old house from which I was kicked out. Now there is a rabid Christian Zionist organization there, headed by a South African.'

"Many enemies of Israel equate it with the Nazis. Said added that Israelis also are the successors of the Romans by oppressing Palestinians. The body of the Palestinians is now portrayed as the body of Christ, which is again being crucified in the same land. Thus traditional Christian anti-Semitic themes are used in the service of Palestinian nationalism. In this way Jesus has retroactively been made a Palestinian. Some scholars have noted that this cutting off of Christianity from its Jewish roots creates dangerous possibilities for infiltration by Islam, which has a tendency to backfill history.

"The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, based in Jerusalem and run by Palestinian Christians, held a conference in April 2005 specifically to attack Christian Zionism. After Said had passed away, their new main patron was South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu. He could not make the conference and so they approached the new Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, but he declined. One of his spokesmen said he did not want to be identified with the ‘wrong voices.' Instead he sent them a pastoral letter setting forth his view of Israel still having some sort of enduring covenantal relationship with God as a ‘light to the nations'; a paradigm nation for knowing the blessing and the correction of God. It was an interesting attempt at defining Israel's enduring election by a liberal Protestant theologian, who has been critical of Israel as well."

The Catholic Church

"The Catholic Church at Vatican II repudiated replacement theology, which had been its official teaching for many centuries. Later, Pope John Paul II tried to further reconcile the breach between Jews and Catholics, visiting synagogues and making a pilgrimage to Israel, including a visit to the Western Wall and Yad VaShem.

"Under Pope John Paul II, Catholicism also defined anti-Semitism as a sin. He even went one step further and equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, thereby also rendering the former a sin by extension. If a Catholic says ‘I'm not an anti-Semite, just an anti-Zionist,' one can reply to him that ‘You are a sinner according to the definitions of your own church.'

"Pope John Paul II also called the Jews ‘our elder brothers.' However, I haven't seen the Catholic Church clearly spell out their view on the nature of the enduring covenantal relationship between God and Israel. Although the church, to some extent, now recognizes some sort of covenantal relationship, its theology on this point remains vague. I think this reticence has to do with the church's ‘high view' of itself as the sole agent for salvation in the world."

Parsons cautions that the theological battles over Israel among the churches will have to be fought out within the Christian world. When the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently rescinded its divestment resolution, it was former CIA director James Woolsey, a practicing Presbyterian himself, who was brought in by Jewish groups and effectively opposed it. "Jews can challenge Christian adversaries on the facts, on history, and so on. But Israel and world Jewry would be well advised to stay out of the theological debates among Christians, since some will not take Jews seriously because they do not accept the New Testament as scripture."

Notes

[1] Justus Reid Weiner, "‘My Beautiful Old House' and Other Fabrications by Edward Said," Commentary, September 1999.

David R. Parsons currently serves as media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, senior producer of the weekly radio program Front Page Jerusalem, and contributing editor to the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition. In these roles he writes and speaks on an array of historical, strategic, political, and biblical subjects relating to Israel and the Middle East. Parsons holds BA (history, 1981) and JD (1986) degrees from Wake Forest University. From 1991 to 1995 he served as general counsel for CIPAC, a Christian pro-Israeli lobby registered with Congress to advocate on behalf of strong U.S.-Israeli relations.

 

©2010 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Word from Jerusalem 2010

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WFJ April 2009

April 2009 - The God Who Speaks (USA Edition)

"We serve the living God, Who has manifested Himself to us in three persons and Who constantly engages His world and speaks to it..."
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WFJ May 2009

May 2009 - Days of Infamy (USA Edition)

"Few would consider Hitler’s birthday an appropriate date for a high-profile global conference against racism. But to hand over the platform to a Holocaust denier is simply unconscionable..."
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WFJ June 2009

June 2009 - The Battle for Israel (USA Edition)

"There is no doubt that the Church needs to rediscover the role and power of prayer. Jesus said that His house should be “a house of prayer for all nations..."
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WFJ - July 2009

July 2009 - Shoulder to Shoulder (USA Edition)

"As their dream of life in Israel began to crumble, the Kaplan family, like so many other new Jewish immigrants, were ready to give up and return home to Peru... "
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WFJ Aug09

August 2009 - The End of Defeatism (USA Edition)

"Even by Palestinian standards, the swift and complete rejection of an Israeli peace overture following Netanyahu's June 14 policy speach was baffling..."
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WFJ Sept 09

September 2009 - Turning Point (USA Edition)

"Four years after the Gaza  pullout, the pioneers of Gush Katif are building again. This time they are transforming other lives in the process..."
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WFJ Oct 2009

October 2009 - Jerusalem United (USA Edition)

"The Jews have more claim to Jerusalem that the French to Paris, the Germans to Berlin or the British to London... "
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WFJ Nov 09

November 2009 - 30 Years of the Feast (USA Edition)

"They travelled long distances in spite of the economic downturn, overcame difficult trials in their home nations. All were united by their determination to worship God in Jerusalem... "
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WFJ Dec 2009

December 2009 - Saved by Christmas (USA Edition)

"He was stripped naked pushed up against a wall and facing a machine gun. It was Christmas Eve in Budapest in the year 1944..."
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WFJ Jan 2008 Lost in Transit

January 2008 - Lost in Transit (USA Edition)

"Of nearly 3 million Soviet Jews only a third have made it to Israel. Some stayed behind, but the rest were lost in transit on the way, wandering in the wilderness outside the Promised Land"  Read more (pdf) »

 WFJ Feb 2008 

Feburary 2008 - In the Spirit of Elijah (USA Edition)

"Many Christians have now refuted the erroneous teachings of deicide and Replacement Theology. Whole denominations are praying for and supporting Israel..."
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WFJ March 2008

March 2008 - Jail Break (USA Edition)

"After watching his village burned to the ground in South Sudan, 'Emmanuel' saw his younger sister raped by an Arab Muslim militia then killed alongside his mother. He was only 13..." Read more (pdf) »

WFJ April 2008

April 2008 - Something to Celebrate (USA Edition)

"The unlikely 'feel-good' story of Israel's 60th anniversary year is found in the millions of Christians standing in solidarity with the Jewish people worldwide..."
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May 2008 - Struggle & the Dream (USA Edition)

"Just like the Patriarch Jacob, Israel today has had to endure the struggle" of intense conflict and terror within the dream of returning and rebuilding the promised land..." 
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WFJ June 08

June 2008: Discerning the Times (USA Edition)

"There is an ominous shift happening in the world today. Not only is Israel on the front lines of this battle, but so are Christians throughout the Muslim world..."  
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WFJ July 08

July 2008 - Elections in the Air (USA Edition)

"Israel is facing a crisis of leadership, faltering peace talks, a looming Iranian nuclear threat and daily rocket barrages from Gaza..."   Read more (pdf) »

WFJ Aug 08 small

August 2008 - The Pattern of Return (USA Edition)

"One aspect of the biblical "pattern of return" in Nehemiah is often overlooked: The nation's collective repentance for the sins that led to exile..."
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WFJ Sept 2008 90x100

September 2008 - If My People... (USA Edition)

"Gripped by economic uncertainty at home and war abroad, the US is at a crossroads as it heads toward the presidential election this fall. Israel too finds itself facing a crisis of leadership even as Iran edges closer to the nuclear brink."
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WFJ Oct 2008

October 2008 - What Would Jesus Say...? (USA Edition)

"God has not lost control of His world. No, He is firmly in control and what appears chaotic and even dangerous to us is not to Him...."  
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WFJ Nov 2008

November 2008 - Feast Draws Record Crowd (USA Edition)

"The presence of almost 8000 pilgrims here from 100 nations sends a strong statement of solidarity with Israel, despite the recent economic turmoil..."
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WFJ December 2008

December 2008 - 'O Jerusalem...' (USA Edition)

"While teaching in the Temple courts in the days leading up to His death and resurrection, Jesus prophesied the destruction of the city he loved at the hands of Romans. 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem …' He cried..."  
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Биньямин Нетаньяху: Путь к миру с ПА – в израильско-арабских связях

Биньямин Нетаньяху: Путь к миру с ПА – в израильско-арабских связях

По мысли премьер-министра, мир с палестинцами может прийти через нормализацию отношений Израиля с арабскими государствами

Вчера вечером, 27 августа, премьер-министр Биньямин Нетаньяху заявил, что видит путь к миру с палестинскими арабами, проходящим через «нормализацию» отношений с арабскими государствами, которые, как и наша страна, сталкиваются с иранской экспансией в ближневосточный регион.

«Сейчас многие арабские страны рассматривают Израиль не как своего врага, а как непременного союзника в отражении иранской агрессии», - сказал он в интервью литовской телекомпании LRT, цитируемой агентством France-Presse.

«Это создало почву для нормализации, которая может привести к миру. Я считаю, что если у нас будет мир с широким арабским миром, это поможет достичь мира с палестинцами», - добавил он.

Как известно, Израиль имеет мирные договоры и, как следствие, дипломатические отношения, только с двумя арабскими странами – Египтом и Иорданией, в то время как другие настаивают на соглашении с ПА в качестве предварительного условия, способного проложить путь к установлению формальных отношений.

Однако в последние годы в отчетах указывалось на более чем явное сближение Израиля и Саудовской Аравии. Так, утверждается, что королевское правительство серьезно взвешивает возможную нормализацию отношений с Израилем в преддверии запланированной мирной программы на Ближнем Востоке, предлагаемой президентом США Дональдом Трампом, которая направлена ​​не только на достижение окончательного соглашения между Израилем и ПА, но и на признание еврейскогогосударство умеренными, пользующимися влиянием арабскими странами.

Саудовские официальные лица неоднократно отрицали какие-либо связи с Израилем, настаивая на том, что наша страна должна принять так называемую «саудовскую мирную инициативу». Король Салман недавно подтвердил «твердую поддержку палестинского дела», хотя наследный принц Мохаммед бин Салман дал ясный сигнал о смене подхода его страны к еврейскому государству.

 

Начальник штаба ЦАХАЛ потребовал от сил ООН сдерживать Хизбаллу на юге Ливана

Начальник генштаба Гади Айзенкот встретился с новым командующим международным контингентом в Ливане Стефаном Дель Кола и потребовал выполнять резолюцию ООН.

Стефан Дель Кола сменил на посту командующего силами ООН ирландца Майкла Бэри, который, практически никак не контролировал деятельность Хизбаллы, что должен был делать согласно должности. После Второй Ливанской войны, войска ООН были введены в Ливан дабы способствовать миру на южной границе.

Израиль обеспокоен тем, что за последние годы 200 шиитских деревень в Ливане превратились в боевые соединения. Это нарушает резолюцию ООН 1701, согласно которой юг Ливана должен быть демилитаризован. Кроме того, в резолюции содержится эмбарго на поставки оружия Хизбалле.

Надо понимать ситуацию — силы ООН в Ливане, как ранее в приграничных с Израилем районах Сирии, хорошо осознают опасность вмешательства в дела исламских группировок, поэтому стараются держаться от них подальше и поближе к регулярной армии. В Сирии они просто переходили на израильскую территорию в случае обострения ситуации и ждали там, пока бои не утихнут.

Как пишет «Исраэль Хайом», для Стефана Дель Кола тестом на лояльность к израильским требованиям будут будущие работы по строительству стены безопасности на израильско-ливанской границе, к строительству которой вскоре должен приступить ЦАХАЛ.

 

Беби-бум контрабандистов спермы: "рекорд" палестинских заключенных

Палестинский исследовательский центр по делам заключенных сообщил, что с начала 2018 года у палестинцев, отбывающих наказание в израильских тюрьмах, родился 61 ребенок, зачатый с помощью искусственного оплодотворения.

Израиль прилагает значительные усилия, чтобы помешать палестинским заключенным передавать на волю сперму. Однако, свидетельствует отчет, наблюдается стабильный рост подобных беременностей.

В 2015 году в результате искусственного оплодотворения у заключенных родилось 23 ребенка, в 2016 в результате 28 беременностей появились на свет 38 детей, в 2017 в результате 44 беременностей – 56 детей.

В феврале 2018 года в больнице "Эль-Кудс" в Газе появился на свет мальчик, которому мать дала имя Муджахид. Отец ребенка, зачатого искусственно, отбывает срок в израильской тюрьме за террористическую деятельность.

Мать новорожденного получила венок от руководства ХАМАСа в Газе. Ей был посвящен фотосюжет на сайте "Палестинского информационного центра".

Известно, что отец ребенка осужден в Израиле на семь лет лишения свободы.

В 2014-2018 годах на свет появились на менее десяти детей, рожденных в результате оплодотворения контрабандной спермой заключенных, находящихся в израильских тюрьмах.

Как правило, образцы спермы вывозились в глазных пипетках, которые заключенные воровали во время процедур в тюремной больнице. Первое время родственники заключенных отказывались давать какие-либо комментарии по этому поводу. Но в 2014 году несколько таких историй стали достоянием гласности. И, хотя заключенных, передавших свою сперму на волю, ждут административные наказания, семьи в Газе перестали скрывать факт рождения "контрабандных" детей, так как в подобных ситуациях они получают поддержку ХАМАСа.

 

Депутат Форер потребовал начать расследование против членов Объединенного арабского списка

Депутат Кнессета от партии "Наш дом Израиль" Одед Форер направил юридическому советнику правительства Авихаю Мандельблиту требование незамедлительно начать уголовное расследование по поводу антигосударственной деятельности на международной арене арабских депутатов.

Он также потребовал созвать экстренное заседание парламентской комиссии по этике с тем, чтобы наложить санкции на депутатов, занимающихся антиизраильским подстрекательством в мире.

Обращение Форера последовало на фоне публикаций, согласно которым, депутаты от Объединенного арабского списка намерены обратиться в ООН с просьбой принять резолюцию, осуждающую Израиль за принятие закона о национальном характере государства.

Форер подчеркнул, что факты указывают на наличие обоснованных подозрений в нарушении депутатами Объединенного арабского списка статьи 121 Уложения о наказаниях. Эта статья предусматривает до 10 лет лишения свободы лицам, предпринявшим действия с целью нанести вред или воспрепятствовать международным отношениям Израиля с другим государством, международной организацией или учреждением.

"Депутаты от Объединенного арабского списка открыто действуют на международной арене как представители палестинской администрации, используя свой статус и неприкосновенность для нанесения вреда Израилю на международной арене. Они не только не пытаются скрыть эту свою незаконную деятельность, а публично кичатся ею. Подобное поведение является также грубым нарушением Устава Кнессета, влекущим за собой отстранение от парламентской деятельности и лишение зарплаты. Правоохранительные органы обязаны расследовать подобные действия, как того требует уголовное законодательство. Я призываю юридического советника правительства положить конец этому позору", - заявил Одед Форер.

 

Аббас о перемирии Израиля и ХАМАСа: "Через мой труп"

Председатель Палестинской национальной администрации Махмуд Аббас возмущен действиями Египта в качестве посредника. Об этом сообщил новостям Десятого канала источник в руководстве движения ФАТХ.

Согласно этому источнику, в беседах со своими приближенными Аббас заявил: "Перемирие Израиля и ХАМАСа – через мой труп". Он убежден, что заключение соглашения в обход законной власти ПНА является изменой. Аббас также заявил, что шансы на урегулирование между ФАТХом и ХАМАСом крайне невелики.

По мнению «раиса», египетские власти не отдают себе отчета в том, что происходит на палестинской улице, и наносят ущерб национальным интересам палестинцев.

Отметим, что, согласно публикации газеты "Аль-Кудс аль-Араби", Египет приостановил на несколько дней переговоры о долгосрочном прекращении огня между Израилем и сектором Газы, чтобы сосредоточиться на палестинском национальном примирении.

Источники в руководстве Палестинской национальной администрации сообщили газете, что причина этого – желание подключить ФАТХ к управлению сектором до заключения соглашение. Это сделает ПНА стороной в договоренностях между Израилем и ХАМАСом.

 

Из щелей в камнях Западной Стены удалены тысячи записок

Записки, вложенные верующими в Западную Стену, удалены в преддверии наступления месяца Тишрей, а с ним – трех Великих праздников

Десятки, если не сотни тысяч записок с молитвами, обращенными в небеса, и вложенные верующими людьми (не только евреями) в Западную Стену, сегодня, 28 августа, были удалены в преддверии наступления еврейского месяца Тишрей, а с ним – трех Великих праздников, первым из которых является Рош ха-Шана (еврейский новый год).

Удаляли записки сотрудники Фонда Западной стены и наследия, проведя тщательную процедуру установленного религиозным законом поиска, после чего передали их своим коллегам , находящимся на Хар ха-Зеитим, где записки будут похоронены также по всей религиозной форме.

Но вложенные в Западную Стену – только часть миллионов записок, ежегодно отправляемых верующими евреями и не-евреями из Израиля и со всего мира через интернет (в этом случае – на веб-сайт Западной Стены), по факс и почтой.

Работа по изыманию записок находится под тщательным наблюдением раввина Шмуэля Рабиновича, использующего специальное оборудование.

Чтобы сохранить конфиденциальность, в час изымания записок площадь перед Западной Стеной закрывается, и оттуда просят уйти всех людей, незанятых на предстоящих работах. Площадь будет закрыта до тез пор, пока сбор не был завершен, и все записки не будут захоронены в запечатанных мешках. При этом идет внимательное наблюдение за сотрудниками, чтобы обеспечить их «отсутствие любопытства».

По завершении работы раввин Западной Стены произнес особую молитву, прося Всевышнего выполнить все просьбы, какие были изложены в записках.

 

Йоав Галант:«Поселенцы Иудеи и Самарии – символ успеха сионизма»

В ходе паломничества к гробнице Йосефа, министр сказал, что реализация сионистского видения основана на силе и справедливости

Более 3000 верующих евреев прибыли минувшей ночью, с 27 на 28 августа, к гробнице Йосефа-праведника, расположенной в Шхеме (Самария). Как и в предыдущие разы, паломничество было организовано активистами регионального Совета Шомрон при содействии администрации Управления святых мест в Ие“Ша и сил ЦАХАЛ.

Среди тех, кто пришел поклониться еврейской национальной святыне были министр жилищного строительства Йоав Галант, глава регионального Совета Самарии, Йоси Даган, вице-мэр Самарии Давида Бен-Цион, главный сефардский раввин Австрии, рабби Ниазов, представитель российских еврейских общин Барух Гуревич и др.

По словам Галанта, обращенным к присутствующим, «нет ничего более символичного, чем человек на Земле Израиля, который может коснуться ладонями гробницы Йосефа и гробницы [праматери] Рахиль, и я рад, что имею эту возможность».

«Есть в этом глубокий смысл, тот самый, который связывает нынешние дни и опыт, сформированный народом Израиля в прошлом – тысячелетия назад до наших дней. Феномен [нашего] государства состоит в том, чтобы воскреснуть из мертвых, после изгнания, вернуться и вновь обрести землю своих предков. Это – беспрецедентное явление, а реализации сионистской идеи базируется на двух вещах: на силе и на справедливости».

«Справедливость – это то, что мы делаем сегодня, посещая гробницу одного из отцов нации, самого любимого и уважаемого сына [патриарха] Иакова», - продолжает он. «С другой стороны, реализация наших прав может произойти не только из-за справедливости, но и в силу прочности нашей власти, потому что это разница между тем, что у нас было 2000 лет и тем, что у нас есть сегодня […]. Я благодарю главу Совета Шомрона, который инициировал это паломничество, и сохраняет это пламя связи между еврейской общественностью в мире в целом и в Эрец Исраэль в частности, и это место, которое сейчас находится в изоляции, но это – другое видение будущего».

«Поселенцы в Иудее и Самарии являются выражением и символом успеха сионизма», - торжественно провозгласил Галант. «Об этом нужно говорить громко и ясно:.Реализация сионизма в Израиле – это поселения в Иудее, Самарии, Иорданской долины, Араве, Негеве и Галилее, везде, где есть поселения и сельское хозяйство будет безопасность».

Со своей стороны, Даган сказал: «Вход в гробницу Йосефа всегда сопровождался у меня смешанными чувствами: радость от того, что я нахожусь на святом месте – и горечь от того, что мы должны приходить сюда по ночам, в темноте, как воры. Но это время, когда Израиль вернется к могиле Йосефа открыто и при свете дня. Правительство Израиля приняло смелое решение, касающееся права на землю, и его нужно осуществлять».


Полицейский погнался за парамедиком, спешившим спасти отца копа

Удивительный случай произошел неподалеку от Бней-Брака. Полицейский попытался остановить машину, проехавшую на красный свет спасать его отца

«Кикар Шаббат» сообщил о детективной «киношной» истории, произошедшей в реальной жизни.

Неподалеку от Бней-Брака парамедик, получивший сообщение, что человеку плохо, отправился на вызов и решил сократить время, проехав на красный свет.

Полицейский, зафиксировав нарушение правил, потребовал от парамедика остановиться. Однако тот проигнорировал требование и продолжил мчать по вызову.

По прибытии по указанному адресу был обнаружен 64-летний мужчина, потерявший сознания в результате сердечного приступа.

Полицейский, преследовавший нарушителя правил дорожного движения, был ошарашен, увидев, что человек, потерявший сознание – это его отец, которому необходима была экстренная медицинская помощь и немедленная доставка в больницу.

 

БПЛА и часы: медицинская революция в ЦАХАЛ

Армия будет использовать дроны для доставки медоборудования: закуплено 94 "амбуланоса", бойцы проходят специальную подготовку

Как стало известно, командование ЦАХАЛ вносит серьезные изменения в программу медицинской и оперативной логистики после уроков, извлеченных из недавних военных антитеррористических операций.

В частности, в рамках новой программы, армия будет оперативно использовать новейшее медицинское оборудование для оценки и наблюдения за ранеными солдатами. Каждый боец ​​получит особого рода прибор, с помощью которого сможет провести артериотерапию с использованием инновационных приспособлений, призванного помочь остановить кровотечение и установить «блокаторы» на порванные кровеносные сосуды.

Кроме того, каждый солдат ЦАХАЛ будет снабжен «смарт-часами», с загруженными данными, призванными помочь спасти жизнь раненного практически в любой реальной ситуации. Действуя автономно, «часы» собирают и передают в Центр полную картину состояния солдата с самого момента получения травмы до прибытия в больницу, при этом оптимизируя процесс скрининга и лечения пострадавшего уже в больнице.

Кроме того, ЦАХАЛ будет использовать новейшие БПЛА для доставки медицинского оборудования на место происшествия, если это необходимо, – равно, как и для разведки с воздуха (для нужд логистики) и вспомогательных миссий. Используемые дороны способны перевозить около 30 килограммов, а к концу 2019 года в медицинской системе ЦАХАЛ будет насчитываться 94 новых машины «скорой помощи» («амбуланс»).

Одновременно с этим, в армии улучшится компетенция солдат в плане оказания себе самим и своим товарищам первой медицинской помощи. Бойцы пройдут специальный, профессиональный курс, в ходе которого научатся, как оказывать первую помощь с пониманием того, что в конечном итоге они станут первыми людьми, которые будут лечить раненых на поле боя.

В то же время будет проведена комплексная подготовка бригадных медицинских бригад, подкрепленных профессиональными хирургическими бригадами.

Не отстают и другие военные сферы: так, в настоящее время армия переживает настоящую революцию в концепции логистики с пониманием того, что административная помощь имеет решающее значение для оперативного потенциала. Фактически, армия движется от «далекой» логистики к логистике «маневрирования».

Среди прочего, было решено создать особый логистический центр – подразделение Генерального штаба ЦАХАЛ, который обеспечивает полное и независимое логистическое решение любой мыслимой сложности и в любой ситуации.

Более того, ЦАХАЛ представляет «автономный конвой», управляемый… чуть ли не игровым джойстиком! Конвой перемещается только с помощью дистанционного управления на любое расстояние, привозя солдатам всё необходимое в соответствии с заранее введенным маршрутом движения.

С видеосъемкой, иллюстрирующей содержание статьи, можно ознакомиться, перейдя по этой ссылке.

 

«У жертв террористических атак есть место в наших сердцах»

Впервые в Организации Объединенных Наций состоится выставка, посвященная жертвам арабского террора в Израиле

В соответствии с резолюцией, принятой Генеральной Ассамблеей Организации Объединенных Наций в 2017 году, в стенах этого международного представительского форума впервые будет отмечен Международный день памяти и признания жертв террористических атак.

Празднование включит в себя выступления, выставки и особого рода церемонии в здании штаб-квартиры ООН в Нью-Йорке.

В прямой связи с предстоящим мемориальным днем, миссия Израиля в ООН, возглавляемая послом Дани Даноном, уже на этой неделе представит выставку памяти жертв террористических актов в Израиле. Экспозиция представит фотографии погибших евреев и не-еврейских граждан нашей страны, с кратким описанием того, что с каждым из них произошло.

«У жертв террористических атак, которые, вместе с солдатами, павшими во имя защиты страны, есть место в наших сердцах. Они никогда не исчезнут из нашей памяти», - сказал Данон. «Враждебные нам террористические акты – трусливые действа, а террористы, которые их совершают, разжигают насилие над нашим народом, и за это считаются героями в своем сообществе».

«Международное же сообщество должно потребовать от председателя ПА прекратить выплату зарплат убийцам и их семьям, которые проливают кровь невинных израильтян», - настойчиво потребовал Данон

 

 

A war made in Iran

Most people wake up to coffee or their favorite morning news show. But four times in the last eight years now, Israelis have woken up to rocket wars.

Some border incident happens around daybreak and by noon there are hundreds of rockets flying in all directions. It can be quite dizzying!

But you do not just wake up to a rocket war. It takes a lot of time and money and manpower and material and expertise to build up such a large rocket arsenal as that now possessed by Hamas. This did not happen overnight! It had to be planned and implemented over a long period of time.

So there is an extensive background behind this latest rocket war between Hamas and Israel. And the explanation for the current hostilities does not begin with the three Jewish yeshiva students kidnapped and killed by a Hebron terror cell in June. That was certainly a spark, but the real cause can be traced all the way back to the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

The bloody conflict between Saddam's battalions and Khomeini's columns lasted eight long years and basically ended in a stalemate. But as with most wars, new tactics and weaponry were introduced and hard lessons were learned, to be studied and applied in the next war.

Two new wrinkles came out of that Iran-Iraq stand-off which are fueling today's hostilities in and around Gaza.

The March of Martyrs

First, Iran started sending indoctrinated soldiers on suicide missions for the sake of Allah. The 'soldiers' in this case were waves of young boys promised a harem of virgins in paradise for sweeping through Iraqi mine fields with their bare feet.

Iran swiftly exported this new/old tactic of martyrdom operations to Lebanon, as demonstrated by the driver who plowed his explosives-laden truck into the US Marine barracks in October 1983, killing 241 American servicemen. In doing so, Tehran passed the practice on to its Shi'ite proxy militia in Lebanon, Hizbullah, who would later school Hamas on its virtues when some 400 operatives of the Palestinian terror faction were temporarily deported to south Lebanon in December 1992.

The day the Oslo Accords were signed the following September, the deal required Israel - at the PLO's insistence - to take back in the Hamas deportees. Within a few short years, Oslo would begin collapsing under the carnage wrought by the march of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Israel finally found ways to confront this threat, but Hamas still employs the tactic in other ways. The population of Gaza today is either brainwashed into viewing death for an Islamic Palestine as life's highest aspiration, or they are held hostage by those who want to force such martyrdom upon them.

Truth be told, most Gazans do not want to serve as human shields to protect Hamas cadres and their military assets. But these poor folks are powerless to prevent it. And how, pray tell, is Israel supposed to distinguish between the willing and the coerced human shields from 5000 feet overhead?

Terror from the Sky

The second innovation of the Iran-Iraq war involved a new/old weapon of mass terror - the ballistic missile. This 'discovery' was not made in the Revolutionary Guards' R&D labs. Instead, it was learned the hard way when Saddam Hussein decided one day to start randomly lobbing his quiver of Russian-made Scud missiles at Iran's major cities.

Some initially scoffed at the idea of using a weapon designed to target an enemy's military bases on non-threatening civilians hundreds of miles from the battlefront. But the impact on the Iranian people was devastating, as the Scuds sowed panic and fear in Tehran and other population centers. The national morale sank and Iran was soon seeking a way out of the conflict.

After the war, the Ayatollahs decided they needed this terror weapon in their own arsenal - and in particular to deploy it in their religiously-driven campaign to eliminate Israel. So they started developing their Shihab series of medium-range ballistic missiles to threaten Israel from afar, plus an array of shorter-range rockets that were then delivered to Hizbullah in Lebanon to deploy along Israel’s northern front.

Iran’s thinking involved a move away from confronting Israel with conventional armed forces, since Israel had defeated all such Arab foes over its first three decades by always taking the fight to the enemy’s territory. Rather, Tehran sought to bypass the traditional order of battle against IDF forces and hit straight at Israel’s civilian heartland.

In this strategy’s first real test, Hizbullah used its lethal rocket armory with devastating effect in the Second Lebanon War of summer 2006. In that 34-day conflict, more than 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel, keeping over one million civilians huddled in bomb shelters for more than a month during the heat of summer.

Many of the rockets were Syrian-made Grads with extra-lethal fragmentation warheads – a poor man’s cluster bomb meant to rip through human flesh. The casualty count mounted to 165 Israelis dead, including over 40 civilians. The confrontation ended in a draw, but Hizbullah’s popularity soared in the Arab world for striking terror in Israel’s suddenly vulnerable homeland.

With its rocket caches somewhat depleted, Hizbullah has used effective weapons smuggling operations ever since to rebuild its arsenal now to over 150,000 rockets and missiles of various ranges – despite UN Security Council ban on this very activity. This represents a larger weapons stockpile than is possessed by most nations in the world.

Meantime, Hamas also became a major client of Iran in the late 1990s after its political bureau was evicted from Amman and found a new home in Damascus, another ally of Tehran. The Revolutionary Guards began funneling missiles and launchers into Gaza, and helped Hamas develop its own rocket manufacturing capabilities. In pursuing this partnership, Iran’s goal was to eventually threaten Israel’s entire civilian population with overlapping firepower from both the north and south using proxy militias entrenched among civilians living close to its borders.

Thus the home-made Kassams began flying across the Gaza border early in the second Palestinian intifada, and their rate increased four-fold following Israel’s Disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

Eager to increase its rocket range, Hamas has made or smuggled in longer-range munitions, such as the J80 and M305 missile series introduced in the recent fighting. The rocket barrages fired by Hamas into central Israel over recent days mark only the third time ever that greater Tel Aviv has come under serious military attack – the others being the 1991 Gulf War and a couple rudimentary Egyptian air sorties in 1948.

Fortunately, Israel was on to the Iranian plans long ago and began developing with American assistance a multi-layered anti-missile defense system which includes the Iron Dome, David’s Sling (nearing deployment), Arrow II and III, Patriot III, advanced radars and other components. For both sides it has been a race – of Iran’s blunt offensive punch against Israel’s defensive genius. And Israel is coming out just ahead of the game.

After stopping the march of suicide bombers in the West Bank, Israel is now hoping to defang the Hamas rocket threat in Gaza. But to effectively deal with this danger may require a risky and prolonged IDF ground incursion into Gaza to root out the rocket factories, and their storage and launch sites – all hidden in tunnels and bunkers, and under homes, mosques, schools and hospitals.

It used to take a lot of time and effort for Hamas to recruit a single suicide bomber, indoctrinate and train them, and then dispatch him (or her) on an unsavory mission. Families had to be paid, minds warped, cowards culled out.

Today, every rocket fired by Hamas is a cheap version of yesterday’s suicide bomber and it bears the indelible stamp ‘Made in Iran.’ And these missiles are launched from among Gazans who are being involuntarily recruited for martyrdom missions as human shields.

Let’s hope the whole world wakes up to this cruel reality.

The writer is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org

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