Archaeologists unearth 2000-year-old Hebrew Jerusalem inscription

Archaeologists unearth 2000-year-old Hebrew Jerusalem inscription

The earliest written inscription of the word Jerusalem written in Hebrew on a 2,000 year old column drum was unveiled on Tuesday at a press conference at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The limestone column drum that dates back to the Second Temple period, was discovered 10 months ago on an excavation site near the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

The words: “Hanania son of Dudolos from Jerusalem” was etched on the column which was part of a building that stood in a Jewish potters village near the entrance of the Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.

Prior to this discovery, the city’s name was written as Yerushalem or Shalem in Hebrew, this inscription was the first time the city was written as Yerushalayim in Hebrew characters.

The word Jerusalem was found on silver coins dating before the time of this column, but they were written in Aramaic.

Details of who Hanania was and why he etched his name and Jerusalem on the column are yet to be uncovered, however what can be confirmed is that he was Jewish and that he was connected to artisanship. Mevorach also noted that Dudolos was not his father and was more of an homage to the mythical Greek artist, Dudolos and shows how the Jews of that time were influenced by Greek culture under Alexander the Great.

It is also unclear whether this was a dedication for a public building or if Hanania was he showing his connection to his craft. These are questions that will help guide further excavations in this site.

Danit Levy, the head of this excavation explained the significance of this site: “This is the largest ancient pottery production site in the region of Jerusalem and in the latter part of the Second Temple period, particularly during Herod’s reign, the production was focused on manufacturing cooking vessels.”

The location was based on its proximity to the relatively heavily populated city of Jerusalem and to raw materials such as stone, water and wood, all used by artisans at that production site.

 

The Jerusalem Post News 09.10.2018

 

 

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End Time Headlines – The Russia-Israel crisis

Russia-Israel crisis

End Time Headlines – The Russia-Israel crisis

End Time Headlines – The Russia-Israel crisis The Israeli air attack was indeed a sensitive, if necessary, operation, near the Russian air base in the area and on the eve of the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

On the night of September 18, in an unfortunate incident in the fog of war, Syrian air defense mistakenly downed a Russian military IL-20 spy plane with 15 servicemen aboard. The Assad regime had launched a barrage of anti-aircraft missiles targeting planes flying over Latakia. Russian media said the plane lost contact with radar near the Khmeimim Air Base near Latakia, and disappeared during “an attack by Israeli F-16s.” Russian media claimed to have “registered the launch of missiles from a French frigate.”

The Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigo, slammed Israel on claiming that its “irresponsible actions” led to the downing of the Russian military aircraft as Israel only warned Russia one minute before launching the strikes. The Russian Defense Minister spoke on the phone with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and told him that Moscow holds Israel wholly to blame for the shooting down of the Russian plane in the waters off Syria.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to cool tensions between the two countries, declared after several hours that Israel was not responsible. “It looks like a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn’t shoot down our jet,” he said. At the same time, he said Russia will respond by “taking additional steps to protect our servicemen and assets in Syria.” “It will be the steps that everyone will notice,” he said without elaboration.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly called Putin to express sorrow over the death of the plane’s crew, blamed the plane’s loss squarely on Syria, and offered to send Israel’s air force chief to Moscow to share information about the incident.

However, as expected after the hints in President Putin’s declaration, Russia decided to close areas near Cyprus to air, land and sea movement from Thursday until next Wednesday “for the sake of military operations.”

The Israeli air attack was indeed a sensitive, if necessary, operation, near the Russian air base in the area and on the eve of the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

It will probably provoke more retaliation from the Russian side, most possibly the imposition of no-fly zones for Israeli aircraft in the Damascus and Latakia areas. In the short term, it will muddle the already sensitive practical understandings between the two states.
There is a low probability that Russia will use also economic retaliatory measures against Israel, like it did in the case of a Russian fighter jet downed by the Turkish air force in 2015. Then Russia stopped the flow of Russian tourists to Turkey and the imports of goods from Turkey.

It is of interest to cite a remarkable article in published on September 19 by Pavel Felgenhauer in the daily Novaya Gazeta, which directly puts the blame on the Russian side, under the title “The Jews are to blame for everything! The Ministry of Defense is trying to disguise the self-defense.”

Google Translate rendered the Russian-language article as follows:

“On the night of September 18, the F-16 bombers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bombed targets north of the coastal Syrian city of Latakia, where, according to Israeli intelligence, there were Iranian weapons warehouses with products allegedly destined for the radical Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah. The main Russian air base Khmeimim is also located on the Mediterranean coast near Latakia, but to the south of the city.

“The air defense forces of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) of the Assad regime fired back at Israeli raiders and shot down with a long-range missile 5В28 of the S-200V air defense missile system (S-200V) the Russian reconnaissance aircraft IL-20 which came in for landing in Khmeimim, after carrying out reconnaissance of positions of insurgents in the neighboring province of Idlib. Russia accused Israel.”

“After the start of the Russian operation in Syria in 2015, a purposeful program was launched for the revival of the SAA, including its air force and air defense. Russian specialists restored equipment, local teachers were taught and retrained, gratuitous deliveries of components, spare parts and equipment from the presence in domestic arsenals were flown from the Russian Federation via the so-called “Syrian Express”. The SAA’s air force and air defense were saturated with Russian experts and advisers. For the duration of the operation in Syria, the ground and air echelons of the VKS and CAA operated together. They are practically integrated under the supremacy of the Russian military. Therefore, in Moscow, they found out almost immediately that the IL-20 was shot down by Syrian “friendly fire” and not by the Americans, the French, the IDF, or somebody else.

“The situation was extremely unpleasant: the Russian military adviser at the Syrian command post for some reason approved the launch of a long-range missile S-200 missile near our base Khmeimim, which has an official range of 250 km. and a real range of over 300 km. The command post of the connection in Khmeimim was also obliged to control the surrounding airspace. The CP knew about the scheduled flight of IL-20 and had to prohibit the launch of the S-200. But it seems that the Russian military has completely lost control of airspace and control of the air defense system in the area of its main base of the UHF Khmeimim, and as a result, in fact, they shot down their own IL-20.

“It was necessary to somehow explain such a catastrophe to President Vladimir Putin, and because it was the raid of the IDF that launched the “chain of circumstances” that led to the tragedy of the IL-20, the military leadership decided to bring everything to the Jews. It’s better than being responsible for your own sloppiness.”

This reminds of me a déjà vu situation of Russian military intervention in Syria, in the 1970s, which I analyzed in my May 2018 article “How Serious the Russian Threat to Israel in Syria? A Historical Perspective.” I argued there that, in historic perspective, the Soviet Union, and later Russia, have not been successful in providing the necessary strategic umbrella to their allied radical Arab regimes during their wars against Israel and the Russian weapons systems have suffered disgraceful defeats at the hands of the Israeli military.

A few months before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Syrian teams were dispatched to the USSR to train in the use of surface-to-air SA-6 missiles to form the new air defense divisions. A CIA report on Syria stated that during the war in 1973, Soviet advisers supervised the operation of Syrian ground-to-air forces and were present at various headquarters. According to the testimony of an adviser to one of the bombardment squadrons (MiG MF 21) stationed at the Syrian air base in Damir, the consultants helped planning the first air strike.

However, it seems that the Syrian command did not like the Soviet intervention on the front and the advice given by the Russians.

According to Soviet sources, the Syrian command were not ready to listen to the advisers since they wanted to conduct the war according to their understanding and not from what they learned from them. The Soviet chief of staff, Gen. Victor Kulikov, was asked why the Soviet advisers do not correct the Syrians’ mistakes in the conduct of the war. “They do not listen to us… They pretend to be their own strategists,” he replied.

It is this author’s hope that the Israeli leaders will stand firm to the Russian challenge, as long as Russia does not act more firmly against the Iranian attempts to implant itself and its proxies on Syrian soil and build a platform for future, if not immediate, attacks against the Jewish State.

The author is a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) and senior research fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

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End Time Headlines – Egypt releases 1978 Camp David Accords calling for Palestinian autonomy JPOST

End Time Headlines - Egypt releases 1978 Camp David Accords calling for Palestinian autonomy

Some analysts believe that the document was published now, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Accords, as a poke in the eye of United States President Donald Trump.

Egypt on Thursday published previously classified documents from its 1978 peace negotiations with Israel that called for full Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within five years. The talks resulted in the Camp David Accords, comprising one deal pertaining to the Palestinian issue and a second that formed the foundation of the comprehensive Israel-Egypt treaty forged a year later. The Accords were signed by then-Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin as well as former Egyptian and American presidents Anwar Sadat and Jimmy Carter.

The document regarding the Palestinians, titled “A Framework for Peace in the Middle East,” envisioned a five-year transitional period beginning with the establishment of an elected Palestinian body to administer the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war. The Israeli military government would thereafter cease to operate in these self-ruled regions, although the terms of the pact provided for the Israel Defense Forces to remain in certain areas for an undefined period of time.

After the interim period, final-status negotiations were to be held to hash out the details of an end-of-claims agreement. Notably, the initial framework did not include mention of the status of Jerusalem or Palestinian refugees.

Some analysts believe that the document was published now, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Accords, as a poke in the eye of United States President Donald Trump, whose administration was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority following Washington’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. High-ranking Palestinian officials, including PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, repeatedly have leveled fierce criticism against the White House, which they accuse of being biased in favor of Israel and of attempting to “liquidate” the Palestinian cause through a yet-unveiled peace proposal.

In response, President Trump has cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the PA and to programs in the West Bank and Gaza, including funds earmarked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which tends to Palestinian refugees.

By contrast, others believe Cairo’s move was prompted by a desire to remind the Palestinians of what is at stake should Abbas continue to reject out-of-hand President Trump’s eighteen-months-in-the-making so-called “deal of the century.” In fact, one Palestinian official who spoke to The Media Line on condition of anonymity contended that Egyptian President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi was in the US’s corner, especially since Washington earlier this month released $1.2 billion in military aid to Egypt previously suspended over human rights concerns.

Abbas has in recent months clashed with Cairo, which is mediating a process aimed at ending the decade-long feud between the PA-governed West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza.

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Breaking News Israel – Jordan steps up support of east Jerusalem Palestinians

Breaking News Israel - Jordan steps up support of east Jerusalem Palestinians

Jordan steps up support of east Jerusalem Palestinians

The Cabinet has accepted recommendations to reduce passport fees and allow Jerusalem’s Palestinians to renew their passports without the burden of travel to Amman.

AMMAN (TNS) – The Jordanian government has taken steps to aid Arabs living in Jerusalem and to bolster the civil defense guards at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Wasfi Kilani, director of the Hashemite Fund for Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News that the actions come as part of a combined effort to support Palestinian Jerusalemites.

“With instructions from His Majesty, we have endeavored to provide administrative support to Jerusalemites by reducing passport fees by a third, and by increasing the number of guards and administrators of the Jordanian waqf in Al-Aqsa Mosque to 1,000,” Kilani said.

Fawaz Shahwan, head of Jordan’s Passport Department, told Arab News that the Cabinet has accepted recommendations to reduce passport fees and allow Jerusalem’s Palestinians, a majority of whom have Jordanian passports and documents, to renew their passports without the burden of travel to Amman.

“Now a Palestinian in Jerusalem can go the nearest Jordanian waqf office to apply and the approved passport will be delivered to his or her east Jerusalem home,” he said.

Shahwan confirmed that the passport fees have been reduced from 200 Jordanian dinars ($280) to JD50, the same fee paid by Jordanians.

In another step to bring Jordanians and Palestinians closer, the Jordanian army’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Freihat, launched a program funding and coordinating the travel of about 24 Jordanian military officers and their families to Christian holy places in Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem.

Gen. Emad Haddad, who led the delegation of Christian army officers, told Arab News that the three-day visit was made in parallel with the participation of Muslim officers in the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the Saudi holy places.

“Our visit was unique and emotional. People were moved by this positive initiative that showed equality in the Jordanian armed forces and contributed to Palestinian-Jordanian brotherly relations,” he said.

Haddad said that a welcome by the delegation’s counterparts in Bethlehem was especially moving. “We received an excellent welcome as we visited the Church of the Nativity and met with fellow Palestinians.”

Naser Tahboub, professor at Jordan University’s Prince Hussein School of International Studies, told Arab News that the Jordanian government’s efforts will help relieve the burden on Arabs in Jerusalem. “These actions follow earlier actions by the late King Hussein and the continuous efforts of King Abdullah to support Jerusalemites and boost their steadfastness.”

Jerusalemite Arabs interviewed by Arab News welcomed the moves, saying they would contribute to the steadfastness of their people in the holy city.

Khaleel Assali, editor of the Jerusalem-based website Akhbar El-Balad, told Arab News that the actions of the Jordanian government will strengthen the morale of Palestinians.

———

©2018 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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End Time News – Foreign report Israel armed Syrian rebels to fight Iran proxy and Isis

End Time News - Foreign report Israel armed Syrian rebels to fight Iran proxy and Isis

Foreign report: Israel armed Syrian rebels to fight Iran proxy and Isis

According to foreign reports, Israel’s aim in providing weapons and cash to rebel groups in Operation Good Neighbor was to keep troops belonging to Hezbollah and Iran away from Israel’s border.

Israel reportedly armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria to prevent Iranian-sponsored insurgents affiliated with Islamic State from becoming embedded near the Golan, according to a report in Foreign Policy magazine.

Testimonies from more than 20 commanders in Foreign Policy noted that Israel supplied the weapons and cash to rebel groups throughout “Operation Good Neighbor” – launched in 2016 and shut down in July once the Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights – to keep troops belonging to Hezbollah and Iran away from the border of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

On Monday, the IDF maintained its position that the IDF did not interfere in the Syrian Civil War.

In addition to allocating funds for Syrian insurgents to purchase arms on the Syrian black market, Israel reportedly paid $75 monthly per soldier, according to testimonies from journalists and rebel fighters in Syria.

Through Operation Good Neighbor, the Israeli military provided more than 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, 21 generators, 24,900 palettes of medical equipment and medicine.

Reports first surfaced of Israel providing arms and cash to rebel groups several years ago. The regime of Bashar Assad claimed Israel was providing arms to terrorist groups, and that its forces regularly seized arms and munitions stamped in Hebrew.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Israel had been arming at least seven different rebel groups in Syria’s Golan Heights, including the Fursan al-Joulan rebel group which had around 400 fighters and was given an estimated $5,000 per month by Israel. “Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” the group’s spokesperson, Moatasem al-Golani, told the The Wall Street Journal in a January 2017 report. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

Israel has repeatedly warned against Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, has stressed that the country cannot serve as an Iranian forward operating base, and warned against Damascus becoming a way station for arms smuggling to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

While Israel’s military had been carrying out operations against Iranian targets in Syria for several years, its extent only became public after an IAF F-16 was downed by Syrian air defenses in February.

On Monday, the military announced that in the past year and half alone, Israel has carried out 200 strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria.

Last year former Israel Air Force head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amir Eshel stated that the IAF carried out 100 airs trikes in Syria over the past five years.

The Syrian army, backed by Russian airpower and Iranian Shi’ite militia fighters, has recaptured large swathes of territory formerly held by rebels, and is now believed to have control over 70% of the war-torn country.

While Syrian troops have once again been deployed to the border with Israel, in order to prevent an escalation between the two enemy countries, Russian military police have been deployed along the Golan Heights border along with UN Peacekeepers.

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End Time News 2018 – U.S. Ambassador to Israel Its possible we will recognize Golan Heights

End Time News 2018 - U.S. Ambassador to Israel Its possible we will recogniEnd Time News 2018 - U.S. Ambassador to Israel Its possible we will recognize Golan Heightsze Golan Heights

U.S. Ambassador to Israel: It’s possible we will recognize Golan Heights

Friedman revealed in the interview that Israeli intelligence prevented terrorist attacks on US soil, Israel Hayom reported.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said “it’s possible”, that the US might recognize the Golan Heights in the future in an interview with Israeli daily Israel Hayom.

“I personally can not imagine a situation in which the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria,” Friedman said. “And giving up the territory of the Golan Heights may put Israel in a great security disadvantage.”

Friedman made it clear in the interview that the Trump administration might consider future American recognition of the Golan Heights as an Israeli territory, according to Israel Hayom.

The ambassador was asked to respond to US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s statements from three weeks ago concerning the Golan Heights where Bolton told Reuters that “there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the US government.”

Friedman clarified that Bolton was describing the current situation and not the US’s future position.

In addition, Friedman rejected the possibility that any American government would reverse President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “I do not see it happening, no matter which party is in power,” he said. “In order for any government to cancel the move, they will have to reach the conclusion that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, but Tel Aviv.”

Furthermore, the ambassador described talks between the administration and Israel concerning the West Bank and said that the Israelis have not yet approached the Americans about creating territorial contiguity between Jerusalem and the adjacent settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, which would likely remain part of Israel in the event of territorial swaps for a two-state solution.

Friedman also addressed the recent decision by the administration to cut UNWRA budgets, and said “UNRWA is a critically damaged organization. It does not promote regional peace and perpetuates the conditions that make peace more difficult. As such, the US does not see how another investment in it will restore its value properly for the US taxpayer. ”

Friedman revealed in the interview that Israeli intelligence prevented terrorist attacks on US soil, Israel Hayom reported.

The ambassador also spoke about Trump’s overall policy and the recent investigations surrounding Trump’s administration.

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Breaking News of Israel Politics – The probes of Netanyahu and Trump: Who might be first to go?

The probes of Netanyahu and Trump Who might be first to go

Neither US President Donald Trump nor Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be forced from office in the immediate future.
But as their legal troubles heat up, the question arises: Whose seat may be in jeopardy sooner?

There’s no question that Trump took a hit on Tuesday with the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and with his personal lawyer Michael Cohen implicating him as a co-conspirator to cover up alleged marital affairs – including by violating campaign financing laws.

These body blows fell into place as the US Office of Special Counsel investigation is at an advanced stage. All of this, plus the fact that several former Trump officials have already been convicted, could suggest that Trump is in more imminent danger of losing power.

But this would ignore the crucial legal differences between Israel and the US.

There is a minority group of legal scholars who contest this, but overall it likely means that to prosecute a sitting president, he must first be impeached.

Only a vote by both houses of Congress, including a two-thirds vote in the Senate, can lead to impeaching a president, and the grounds are “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Even if all political parties were totally objective – and no party is going to help impeach a president from its side unless it feels there is no choice – it is far from clear whether the Cohen campaign finance allegations against Trump would reach that high standard.
Being realistic, while some predict that the Democrats may retake the House of Representatives, the chances that the Democrats will take the Senate are much lower.

The chances that the Democrats could get enough Republican senators to vote to impeach Trump based on the Cohen charges are practically zero.

Probably the only issue in play that might move Republicans would be proof of crimes relating to Trump himself colluding with Russia.

While Manafort was convicted, and while there are increasing hints that the special counsel may yet have proof of Trump colluding with Russia – or of Trump obstructing the probe into possible collusion with Russia – at least for now, the special counsel has not made a case against Trump for collusion.

There may still be further revelations, and all of these criminal issues could be a problem for Trump’s reelection. But as things stand, he would not face prosecution before early 2021 – and that would only be if he loses the election.

In mid-June, The Jerusalem Post exclusively reported that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will announce an intention to indict Netanyahu for bribery in the Bezeq-Walla affair by the end of 2018 or early 2019. He may also indict Netanyahu in the illegal gifts affair, though the chances of an indictment in the Yediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom affair are lower.

There are questions about whether Netanyahu can be forced to resign under indictment like other ministers or whether he must be convicted, but there is no obstacle to indicting or convicting him, as there is with indicting Trump.

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Breaking News of Israel – A biblical story retold – Breaking Bible News – Genesis Apocryphon

Breaking News of Israel - A biblical story retold - Breaking Bible News - Genesis Apocryphon

A biblical story retold

The relic, which is currently on display, is part of the Genesis Apocryphon, which contains a description, in Aramaic, of the lives of Noah, Abraham, Enoch and Lamech.

In case you hadn’t noticed – perhaps you are a recent arrival to these shores, or are simply a little naive – whether you like it or not, everything, yes everything, in this country has a political tint to it.

That is definitely the case when it comes to anything of a religious nature. That counts doubly when the subject matter in question happens to be a 2,000-year-old piece of leather that forms part of the world-renowned Dead Sea Scrolls housed at the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book.

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The relic, which is currently on display, is part of the Genesis Apocryphon, which contains a description, in Aramaic, of the lives of Noah, Abraham, Enoch and Lamech. Intriguingly, the text is written in the first person, as though the aforementioned folk from Genesis had jotted down their own memoirs, which were left in a jar, in a cave near Qumran, to be eventually discovered by a couple of Beduin shepherds in 1947.

The worse-for-the-weather fragment in the current “Genesis Retold – An Exceptional Dead Sea Scroll” exhibition, which will be on display only until June 15, before returning to the museum vaults, relates some of the events that took place after Noah’s ark settled on a peak of Mount Ararat, in modern-day Turkey. It tells how Noah offered up sacrifices and, in so doing, “atoned for all the earth in its entirety.”

EXHIBITION CO-CURATOR Dr. Adolfo Roitman – he shares the role with Hagit Maoz – believes the diminutive exhibit’s importance far exceeds its size.

Roitman, who is an ordained Conservative rabbi and has authored several tomes about the Dead Sea Scrolls, feels we should take a more empathetic and inclusive line on Judaism and, as a consequence, on Israeli society in general.

“My contribution as a curator, either through research work, exhibitions or teaching, is to expose the material, and cultural and religious diversity, and the range of options that the Jewish people created through the generations,” he posits. “That can help us, today in contemporary Israel, to appreciate that our reality is just another glorious chapter of this variegated history.”

I suggest that there is nothing new in that multichannel ethos. After all, the Talmud itself is just one debate after another, with all manner of learned rabbis proffering different takes on the Torah.

“That’s true but, even if there are arguments between scholars, that’s still something that takes place within a certain [religious] paradigm,” Roitman observes.

“But I am saying that, beyond that, there are other debates which, in practice, contradict the rabbis but are still within the wider domain of the Jewish world. That’s why I say that this little exhibition offers a different approach to the story of Noah as we have seen it thus far.”

Then again, the curator says there is nothing new in taking a parallel view of biblical events. “This is a tradition with which we are familiar from the Sages [of the Mishna and Talmud].”

The exhibit provides corporeal evidence of the time-honored custom. “If you take column 10 of the scroll and compare it with the corresponding text [in the Bible], which is Chapter 8 of Genesis, you see that not only are there details which have changed, he [the author of the scroll] adds details which don’t feature in the original.”

Roitman cites a poignant example. “According to the order of events in the Torah, after the ark landed on one of the hills of Ararat, God commanded Noah to leave the ark. He goes out, builds an altar and offers up sacrifices from the clean animals and fowl.

But according to the order of events in the extract I am showing at the museum, Noah offers up the sacrifices before he leaves the ark. In the scroll, he makes the sacrifices in column 10, but he only leaves the ark in column 11.”

There’s more to the alternative take. “The significance of the sacrifices [Noah makes] is that they are sacrifices of thanks, to God, that Noah and his family have been saved,” Roitman continues. “In the scroll – it is written in the first person, not in the third person like in the Torah – Noah says, in fact, that the sacrifice is an atonement. He says to himself, I’ve atoned for the whole world. That is completely different from a sacrifice of gratitude.”

The scroll plot thickens. Roitman also notes the added information about the sacrificial process, in the Dead Sea parchment, which does not appear in the Genesis storyline.

“There is a long list [in the scroll], around four or five lines, with details about the sacrifices, which are not at all connected with what we see in Genesis, but they are connected to the tradition of sacrifices with which we are familiar from the Book of Leviticus. For example, he [Noah] adds salt to the sacrifices. We know that happens. That is an instruction in the Torah. But there is no mention of that in Genesis.”

SO, IS the scroll writer leaning heavily on the fanciful side? Is this more a work of fiction? As jazz musicians, for instance, are wont to do, did the author just use the better-known biblical passage as a base on which to extemporize? Roitman likens the scroll rendition to something along the lines of the work of a playwright rendering historical events in an entertaining and theatrical format. “He takes a particular view of the character of Noah. He sees him as a kohen [priest]. And, as a kohen, he can offer up an atonement sacrifice, he can make blessings and can make sacrifices in the manner in which they are portrayed in Leviticus.”

That still sounds an awful lot like a playwright’s creative line of storytelling, I reiterate. Roitman comes back at me with a surprising observation.

“The whole of the story of Noah is imaginary,” he states.

“I am not setting the historical figure opposite the fictional one.” The biblical account of the Flood, which is said to have encompassed the whole of terra firma, is not necessarily meant to be taken literally, Roitman says.

“The flood is connected to various traditions which date back to ancient times. Noah is basically just an Israelite version of a traditional story which we know about from Mesopotamian cultures.”

Roitman cites, for example, the tale of Ziusudra, the last king of Sumer from the 17th century BCE, who, like Noah, was forewarned by a deity to construct a large boat as a deluge is on its way.

“Our Noah is just a later version of characters we know about from earlier times,” the curator continues. “So we should really be asking whether all the stories about a flood have their roots in a real catastrophic event. That almost definitely didn’t happen in Israel, because we hardly have any water here, but in Mesopotamia. The answer is that there probably was a flood, although not a deluge which destroyed the whole world. But, in the collective memory of those days, that was portrayed as something close to a cosmic event.”

At the end of the day, myth or actual history, Roitman feels we have much to learn from the scrap of leather from the desert cave. “You can extract from it very important information for the study of literature and Jewish society of 2,000 years ago.”

By the way, if you are planning to get yourself over to the Shrine of the Book to get an eyeful of the tattered scroll, you should be ready to grab the chance while it lasts, and not just because the exhibit will vanish from the public eye two months from now, with no date set for a possible reappearance.

In the interest of protecting the delicate scroll fragment from the elements, it is preserved in the tailor-made “smart glass” show cabinet. When you press a button, the opaque white glass becomes transparent for 30 seconds, offering a brief view of the treasure, before the glass clouds over again.

Naturally, Roitman believes the museum patrons will be suitably impressed with the exhibition, as long as they relate more to the content of the scroll rather than to its basic aesthetics.

“It is not exactly a painting by Caravaggio,” he chuckles, referencing the feted Italian Baroque artist. “The parameters are different here.”

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End Time Prophecy News – Trump increases staff for Israeli-Palestinian peace team

Jerusalem Palestina Conflict Trump Resolves

The White House policy team is recruiting staffers from other government agencies to help them message the plan to the public.

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump is adding staff to his Middle East peace team ahead of its rollout of a plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The White House policy team, currently centered on three of the president’s closest advisers, is recruiting staffers from other government agencies to help them message the plan to the public. They also seek expert units on the plan’s political elements as well as its economic components, according to reporting by the Associated Press.Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser leading the peace effort; and Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, “are expanding their team and the resources available as they finalize the details and rollout strategy of the peace initiative,” a National Security Council spokesman confirmed. “They continue to work very closely with the National Security Council staff and State Department.”

David Friedman, the president’s ambassador to Israel, is also deeply involved in the planning.

The administration has been working on the plan for more than a year but few details are known of its contents. The team has yet to decide when it will begin the rollout, or how, including whether they will preview it with the parties before releasing it publicly.

Trump threatens to pull aid to Palestinians if they don’t pursue peace at Davos, January 25, 2018 (REUTERS)

That will prove difficult with the Palestinian Authority, which cut off contact with the White House after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6 last year.

Members of the team broadly describe the plan as a detailed, pragmatic outline for a resolution to the conflict, focused heavily on economic revitalization of the Palestinian territories and on Israeli security guarantees. Up until now, they have avoided using the term “two-state solution,” which has led Palestinians to believe the plan will not explicitly endorse their sovereignty claims.

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End Time News – End of Days Expert on Iran: ‘Things Are About to Get Biblical!’

End Time News - End of Days Expert on Iran Things Are About to Get Biblical

“Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said Hashem: Surely, on that day, when My people Yisrael are living secure, you will take note.” Ezekiel 38:14 (The Israel Bible™)

As Iran and Israel come into direct conflict in Syria and world leaders wonder what to do about Iran’s nuclear program, Rabbinic authorities look to prophecy to find clear answers for a developing situation that one end-of-days expert says is “about to get Biblical.”

The gravity of the rising tensions between Israel and Iran was described by an unnamed senior US official in an interview with NBC News.

“On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now,” the official said.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author on end-of-days subjects, agreed with that assessment though he expressed it in Rabbinic terms.

“Things are about to get Biblical,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “Some people thought the Bible was dead. They thought they could sit back and relax.That is clearly not the case in Syria and soon, that will be clear to everyone.”

The concern that Israel and Iran may become enmeshed in a war in the near future is due to recent escalation of Israel’s conflict with Iran from indirect aggression to direct confrontation. Previously, Iran’s aggression against Israel was expressed as one of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism with Israel, the primary target of Islamic terrorism. Iran supports Hamas in Gaza and provides missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This proxy aggression was suddenly transformed into direct confrontation in February when an Iranian drone armed with missiles sent out from a Syrian military base was shot down by the IAF over Israel. Israel retaliated with an airstrike against the T4 base from where the drone originated, killing seven Iranian military personnel.

The confrontation between Israel and Iran is heating up even more. On Sunday, an airstrike allegedly carried out by the Israeli Air Force against a military base near Hama in Western Syria killed over 20 military personnel and destroyed a shipment of arms recently delivered from Iran to forces of President Bashar al-Assad. The Iranian ISNA news agency reported that 18 Iranians including a commander, were killed in the airstrike. This is the second time in one month that Israel has reportedly struck a Syrian base manned by Iranian personnel.

 

Iran is establishing military bases in war-torn Syria in an apparent attempt to create a land bridge to the Mediterranean that will allow them to dominate the region. According to the US officials cited by NBC News, Russia is now running the air war for Assad while Iran is running the land war.

Iran now has a substantial military presence in Iran to support its leadership role in the Syrian civil war. On Friday, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, told the UN Security Council that Iran has gathered more than 80,000 Shiite jihadists in Syria. In the past two weeks, military flights from Iran to Syria have increased drastically, supplying the Assad regime with weapons and materiel.

In what seems to be political preparation for a war with Iran, the Knesset passed a law on Monday giving the prime minister authority to declare war or to order a major military operation after consulting with the minister of defense. Before this law was passed, a vote by the full cabinet was required to initiate such military actions.

According to Rabbi Winston, Iran’s military presence in Syria is the match that will set off an even greater explosion in Syria.

“It is important to remember that Syria was once part of Israel,” Rabbi Winston said. “King David instilled a level of kedusha (holiness) into the land when he conquered it. Iran is attacking specifically any holiness in the world and they are beginning in Syria, which was the fringe of Israel’s sanctity. Of course, their ultimate goal is to wipe out all of God’s holiness in the world.”

Rabbi Winston cited a prophecy in the Yalkut Shimoni, a compilation of rabbinic commentary on the Bible believed to have been composed in the 13th century, that mentioned Persia (known today as Iran) as the catalyst that will set off an apocalyptic multinational war.

“Rabbi Yitzchok said: The year in which Melech Hamashiach (Messiah king) will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other…The king of Persia  will provoke the King of Arabia. The King of Arabia, will go to Edom to take counsel and the King of Persia will threaten to destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panic. They will fall on their faces and will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too, will be outraged and in a state of panic ask, “Where do we go?” (Yalkut Shimoni, Isaiah, 60:499)

Persia is also explicitly identified by the Prophet Ezekiel as an end-of-days foe of Israel.

I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws, and lead you out with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all of them clothed in splendor, a vast assembly, all of them with bucklers and shields, wielding swords. Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet; Ezekiel 38:4-5

“The conflict with Iran isn’t like a normal political crisis such as the Cuban missile Crisis or even North Korea,” Rabbi Winston explained. “Kim Jong Un was afraid and in his political maneuvering, he was just looking for a good way to back down. This isn’t the case with Iran. This is a Biblically based, prophetic crisis.”

“It is important to remember that Iran is actually the modern-day incarnation of Biblical Persia and Israel is the result of God’s covenant with the Jews,” the rabbi said. “You have one country whose existential drive is to stay alive in order to bring God’s word to the world. And set against us you have another country whose existential drive is to watch the world burn so they can move on to the next stage of their destiny.”

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin (an initiative to reinstate the Biblically mandated court of 71 elders), insists that due to the Biblical nature of the conflict, there are alternative outcomes.

“Iran is a thin veneer covering Persia, a nation with an ancient heritage that appears in the Bible,” Rabbi Weiss said. “In the story of Purim, we see that Persia set out to destroy the Jews. In the end, Persia initiated the building of the Second Temple. In the same manner, the current situation can turn around. If Iran returns to its Persian roots, they can play a major role in bringing the geula (redemption).”

Towards this end, the Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center are minting a special edition coin specifically aimed at reawakening this Temple mandate among the Persians.

As Iran and Israel come into direct conflict in Syria and world leaders wonder what to do about Iran’s nuclear program, Rabbinic authorities look to prophecy to find clear answers for a developing situation that one end-of-days expert says is “about to get Biblical.”

The gravity of the rising tensions between Israel and Iran was described by an unnamed senior US official in an interview with NBC News.

“On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now,” the official said.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author on end-of-days subjects, agreed with that assessment though he expressed it in Rabbinic terms.

“Things are about to get Biblical,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “Some people thought the Bible was dead. They thought they could sit back and relax.That is clearly not the case in Syria and soon, that will be clear to everyone.”

The concern that Israel and Iran may become enmeshed in a war in the near future is due to recent escalation of Israel’s conflict with Iran from indirect aggression to direct confrontation. Previously, Iran’s aggression against Israel was expressed as one of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism with Israel, the primary target of Islamic terrorism. Iran supports Hamas in Gaza and provides missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This proxy aggression was suddenly transformed into direct confrontation in February when an Iranian drone armed with missiles sent out from a Syrian military base was shot down by the IAF over Israel. Israel retaliated with an airstrike against the T4 base from where the drone originated, killing seven Iranian military personnel.

The confrontation between Israel and Iran is heating up even more. On Sunday, an airstrike allegedly carried out by the Israeli Air Force against a military base near Hama in Western Syria killed over 20 military personnel and destroyed a shipment of arms recently delivered from Iran to forces of President Bashar al-Assad. The Iranian ISNA news agency reported that 18 Iranians including a commander, were killed in the airstrike. This is the second time in one month that Israel has reportedly struck a Syrian base manned by Iranian personnel.

 

Iran is establishing military bases in war-torn Syria in an apparent attempt to create a land bridge to the Mediterranean that will allow them to dominate the region. According to the US officials cited by NBC News, Russia is now running the air war for Assad while Iran is running the land war.

Iran now has a substantial military presence in Iran to support its leadership role in the Syrian civil war. On Friday, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, told the UN Security Council that Iran has gathered more than 80,000 Shiite jihadists in Syria. In the past two weeks, military flights from Iran to Syria have increased drastically, supplying the Assad regime with weapons and materiel.

In what seems to be political preparation for a war with Iran, the Knesset passed a law on Monday giving the prime minister authority to declare war or to order a major military operation after consulting with the minister of defense. Before this law was passed, a vote by the full cabinet was required to initiate such military actions.

According to Rabbi Winston, Iran’s military presence in Syria is the match that will set off an even greater explosion in Syria.

“It is important to remember that Syria was once part of Israel,” Rabbi Winston said. “King David instilled a level of kedusha (holiness) into the land when he conquered it. Iran is attacking specifically any holiness in the world and they are beginning in Syria, which was the fringe of Israel’s sanctity. Of course, their ultimate goal is to wipe out all of God’s holiness in the world.”

Rabbi Winston cited a prophecy in the Yalkut Shimoni, a compilation of rabbinic commentary on the Bible believed to have been composed in the 13th century, that mentioned Persia (known today as Iran) as the catalyst that will set off an apocalyptic multinational war.

“Rabbi Yitzchok said: The year in which Melech Hamashiach (Messiah king) will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other…The king of Persia  will provoke the King of Arabia. The King of Arabia, will go to Edom to take counsel and the King of Persia will threaten to destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panic. They will fall on their faces and will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too, will be outraged and in a state of panic ask, “Where do we go?” (Yalkut Shimoni, Isaiah, 60:499)

Persia is also explicitly identified by the Prophet Ezekiel as an end-of-days foe of Israel.

I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws, and lead you out with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all of them clothed in splendor, a vast assembly, all of them with bucklers and shields, wielding swords. Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet; Ezekiel 38:4-5

“The conflict with Iran isn’t like a normal political crisis such as the Cuban missile Crisis or even North Korea,” Rabbi Winston explained. “Kim Jong Un was afraid and in his political maneuvering, he was just looking for a good way to back down. This isn’t the case with Iran. This is a Biblically based, prophetic crisis.”

“It is important to remember that Iran is actually the modern-day incarnation of Biblical Persia and Israel is the result of God’s covenant with the Jews,” the rabbi said. “You have one country whose existential drive is to stay alive in order to bring God’s word to the world. And set against us you have another country whose existential drive is to watch the world burn so they can move on to the next stage of their destiny.”

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin (an initiative to reinstate the Biblically mandated court of 71 elders), insists that due to the Biblical nature of the conflict, there are alternative outcomes.

“Iran is a thin veneer covering Persia, a nation with an ancient heritage that appears in the Bible,” Rabbi Weiss said. “In the story of Purim, we see that Persia set out to destroy the Jews. In the end, Persia initiated the building of the Second Temple. In the same manner, the current situation can turn around. If Iran returns to its Persian roots, they can play a major role in bringing the geula (redemption).”

Towards this end, the Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center are minting a special edition coin specifically aimed at reawakening this Temple mandate among the Persians.

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 2, 2018 , 11:30 am

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End Time Ministries. Prophecy NEWS JERUSALEM ISRAEL – Discovery of Biblical ‘Nephilim’ Remains Opens Questions Over Giants’ Roles in End of Days

'Nephilim' Remains Opens Questions Over Giants'

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.” Genesis 6:1-4 (The Israel Bible™)

Archaeologists have discovered a collection of 5,000-year old graves in China that contain remarkably tall skeletons, a description strongly reminiscent of the Biblical Nephilim who are believed to also play a significant role in the Final Battle on Mount Zion at the End of Days.

Throughout Eastern China in the Jiaojia village, archaeologists have been excavating the ruins of houses, graves, and sacrificial pits, unearthing more than 200 graves. The evidence of their discovery leads the experts to believe that the males in the village averaged a height of six feet, three inches.

Skeleton remains discovered in China point to resemblances with the Biblical Nephilim. (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

That would be considered tall even by today’s standards when the average Chinese male stands at five feet, six inches. But considering the rapid growth of human height since this period, the inhabitants of Jiaojia 5,000 years ago would have been absolutely colossal by comparison

The skeletons found in China are consistent with the giants found in the Biblical narrative who were remarkably tall but still able to breed with human women. This is precisely the role Nephilim played in the beginning of the Bible preceding the story of the flood in the time of Noah. The text implies an unnatural sexual relationship between the Nephilim and human women.

The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. Genesis 6:4

According to the text, Nephilim survived the flood and later reappeared in the Land of Israel. When the spies were sent to scout out the land, they were met by Nephilim who were so large that they deeply intimidated the Children of Israel.

And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.’ Numbers 13:33

In addition to the Biblical references to this giant race of men, they figure prominently in later Jewish traditions. Rabbi Yosef Berger, rabbi of the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion, explained that the Nephilim are not human though their history and their fate are intertwined with those of men.

Rabbi Yosef Berger (Courtesy David’s Tomb)

“The Nephilim were angels that God was forced to send to Earth as a punishment, “Rabbi Berger explained. “Some of them mixed with men, and those are the ones we read about in the Bible.”

Rabbi Berger related a teaching from Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the preeminent Lithuanian Torah scholar from the 18th century known as the Vilna Gaon. The Vilna Gaon connected Nephilim with the final days of the Messiah.

“The Gaon of Vilna wrote about another group of Nephilim who didn’t mingle with man. They settled beyond the Sambatyon River and are hidden from us,” Rabbi Berger said. According to rabbinic literature, the Sambation is the mythical river beyond which the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were exiled by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser.

“They observe the commandments and are very holy, but it is written that they are eight feet tall, Rabbi Berger said. “They are truly formidable to behold. They will remain hidden until the final battle for Mount Zion, at which time they will come to help Israel in the battle.”

Skeleton remains discovered in China point to resemblances with the Biblical Nephilim. (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

For those searching for archaeological proof that the Biblical Nephilim could have existed, the findings in China may serve as a starting point. The findings are truly ancient, dating from the late neolithic area, which ended between 3000-2000 BCE. If the skeletons were from an particularly tall race of people, it is reasonable to believe that similar breeds existed in other parts of the world.

Archaeologists in China also found that the taller skeletons were contained in larger tombs, indicating a correlation between height and social status. Scientists conjectured that wealthier people had access to better food, which would account for their greater height.

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Jerusalem Bible Prophecy – Will Shabbat Massacre Usher in Final War for Third Temple?

Will Shabbat Massacre Usher in Final War for Third Temple

“And say to him, “Thus said God of Hosts: Behold, a man called the Branch shall branch out from the place where he is, and he shall build the Temple of Hashem.” Zechariah 6:12 (The Israel Bible™)

The horrific murder of three family members on Friday night signaled a painful upsurge in the battle for the Temple Mount indicated that the recent struggle is part of the archetypal end-of-days battle between good and evil that could bring the Third Temple.

In a bloody and brutal attack, a Palestinian terrorist entered the house of a family as they sat down to their Sabbath meal on Friday and murdered a grandfather and two of his children. The motive the terrorist cited on the Facebook post announcing his intentions was to avenge the placing of metal detectors on the Temple Mount.

The attack was, indeed, connected to the Temple Mount, said Rabbi Shlomo Katz, a Torah educator and musician, but not the way the Muslims think. Rather, he believes that Jewish teachings show the attack was integrally connected to the coming of the Third Temple.

“With the murder this Shabbat, we see that everything is coming down to the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Katz told Breaking Israel News. “In these final days before Moshiach (Messiah), we need to have clarity about this.”

Rabbi Katz sees this tumultuous time as an opportunity for Israel to move forward towards the Third Temple.

“The Temple Mount was in our hands and we gave it away. We have another chance now to say to the world that this is God’s house,” the rabbi said. “That is what the struggle is about, and has always been about.”

The rabbi stated that the real struggle for the Third Temple “begins in our hearts.”

“The Temple service can only be done in joy, and there is no joy like dispelling doubt,” he said. “We are arguing about things, like the murder of a family, like the Temple Mount, things that there really should be no doubt at all in anyone’s minds, especially ours. Only when we have no doubt will we be ready for the Temple.”

This heinous act comes at the end of the three-week period of austerity leading up to the fast day on the Ninth day of Av, a holiday commemorating the destruction of the two Temples. In two days, all of Israel will be mourning the Temple as the memory of the Salomon family rests heavily on the hearts of the Jewish people.

But there is a powerfully Phoenix-like aspect to the holiday. Though the sad day is a reminder of great loss, the Talmud (Brachot 2:4) teaches that the Messiah will be born on the Ninth day of Av. This renewal of the Temple coming from its own destruction is referred to explicitly by the Prophet Zechariah.

Thus said God of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month (Av), the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month shall become occasions for joy and gladness, happy festivals for the House of Yehuda; but you must love honesty and integrity. Zechariah 8:19

According to Jewish tradition, the arrival of the Messiah will be necessarily be preceded by pains, similar to the pangs of a woman giving birth, as referred to by the prophet Isaiah.

Like a woman with child Approaching childbirth, Writhing and screaming in her pangs, So are we become because of You, Hashem. Isaiah 27:16

The Yalkut Shimoni, a compilation of rabbinic commentary on the Bible believed to have been composed in the 13th century, said these pains would be caused by conflict between nations.

The year in which Melech Hamashiach will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other…The king of Persia (Iran) will provoke the King of Arabia. The King of Arabia, will go to Edom (the leader of the Christian nations) to take counsel and the King of Persia (Ahmadinejad) will threaten to destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panic. They will fall on their faces and will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too, will be outraged and in a state of panic ask, “Where do we go?” Yalkut Shimoni

Moshe Feiglin, a right-wing political figure and former member of Knesset, warned that this current conflict could evolve into a final battle for Israel’s very existence.

“They killed two policemen and then they killed a family,” Moshe Feiglin said. “This is all because for fifty years we have said the Temple Mount is theirs and not ours. If the beating heart of the Holy Land belongs to them, then it all belongs to them.

“If we give in now, we will bring down the final, most destructive war.”

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For First Time in Millennia, Jewish Priests Will Undergo Training to Enter Temple’s Holy of Holies

For First Time in Millennia, Jewish Priests Will Undergo Training to Enter Temple's Holy of Holies

“Moshe called Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aharon, and said to them, “Come forward and carry your kinsmen away from the front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” Leviticus 10:4 (The Israel Bible™)

For the first time in 2,000 years, a group of Kohanim (men of the Jewish priestly caste) living close to Jerusalem’s Old City are studying the relevant Jewish laws to be able to ascend the Temple Mount and enter the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence is said to dwell.

This incredible development was initiated by Israel’s first responder organization ZAKA, based on a decision by the ZAKA Rabbinical Council following an an unprecedented event occurring during the three weeks of austerity leading up to the Ninth Day of Av: the July 14 Palestinian terror attack against Israeli police officers that left three dead corpses, the most powerful source of ritual impurity, on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Horrific as the attack was, it served a divine purpose. “When the Jewish people are not moving ahead quickly enough, God does something to force it upon us,” Yaakov Hayman, a prominent Temple Mount activist and expert, told Breaking Israel News. “When those Arabs did what they did, they created a new situation on the ground. We weren’t preparing for it, so something happened that forced us to deal with it.”

The “new situation on the ground” is that Kohanim, men descended patrilineally from Aaron the Priest, will now be trained, for the first time in millennia, to enter the area where the Holy of Holies once stood. Their purpose will not be to offer sacrifices or pray for the Jewish people, but to retrieve bodies should the need for this awe-filled Biblically mandated task arise.

The ZAKA council, headed by Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, ruled that there is a religious obligation to remove every dead body from the Temple Mount – Jewish, non-Jewish and even terrorist – but that in certain situations, only Kohanim can do the job.

Kohanim are forbidden from becoming ritually impure and have stringencies place upon them that other Jews do not. Kohanim are forbidden from entering cemeteries or coming into proximity with dead bodies. Normally, contact with a dead body would be forbidden to a Kohen, but this ruling overrules that condition.

The training will require the revival of Torah laws “our people have [not] used for thousands of years, let alone on a yearly, monthly or daily basis, like most other laws,” explained ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav to Breaking Israel News.

ZAKA Rabbinic Council (Courtesy)

“Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) is the holiest place and there is a requirement that all ritually impure objects be removed as quickly as possible,” he continued. “So, in this case, the rabbis ruled that it is acceptable for a Kohen to become impure himself to remove something from the Temple Mount.”

Meshi-Zahav added that the ruling brought hopes of redemption. “Of course, we hope that by giving the Temple Mount the proper respect it deserves, we will bring about the Messiah. We want the redemption to come as quickly as possible.”

“There is certainly something interesting happening here,” Rabbi Ari Kahn, a member of the ZAKA Rabbinical Council and the head rabbi of the West Bank settlement Giv’at Ze’ev, said to Breaking Israel News.

Rabbi Kahn said there was “something natural” about watching rabbis rule on decisions they have not faced for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Due to the stringencies placed upon them, until now, Kohanim were not allowed to volunteer with ZAKA. Meshi-Zahav said the group is already in the process of hand-selecting these new first responders specifically tasked with Temple Mount duties. The members of the team of Kohanim will be “religious, God-fearing people, knowledgeable about Jewish law,” He noted that learning the laws pertaining to ascending the Temple Mount is not simple.

As one of the few ZAKA volunteers sufficiently familiar with Temple Mount laws, Joshua Wander was the first to go up after the June 14 attack. He pointed out the need to ZAKA for a Temple Mount team of volunteers able to cope with the halachot (Jewish laws) on the Temple Mount.

“The positive side of this whole thing that’s gone on in the past two weeks is that it’s really created an interest globally to relearn these laws which have been almost lost, and thank God we are bringing back these laws,” he told Breaking Israel News.

Before ascending, ZAKA volunteers will be required to carry immerse in a ritual bat and ascend wearing a minimum number of clothes, not wearing shoes, bringing in the smallest possible amount of equipment, and entering and leaving by the shortest possible route.

The guidelines Rabbi Nebenzahl used for his ruling were based on the writings of Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, a medieval Spanish Torah authority known by the acronym Ramban. The Ramban discussed the deaths of Aaron the Cohen’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, inside the Tabernacle.

Now Aharon’s sons Nadav and Avihu each took his fire pan, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered before Hashem alien fire, which He had not enjoined upon them. And fire came forth from Hashem and consumed them; thus they died at the instance of Hashem. Leviticus 10:1-2

The Ramban explains that these bodies needed to be removed speedily by a priest, as described in a following verse of the Bible.

Moshe called Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aharon, and said to them, “Come forward and carry your kinsmen away from the front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” Leviticus 10:4

This is not the first time an organization has acted to prepare Cohanim for the Messianic era. The Temple Institute, a non-profit government and privately funded center of “research and preparation for the Holy Temple” – located in Jerusalem’s Old City – established a “Cohanim Training Academy” last spring, in which Kohanic students are taught and practically prepared to serve in the Temple.

Kohanim practice performing Temple rituals (The Temple Institute)

Reflecting on how a tragedy led to a miraculous renewal of Torah laws pertaining to the Temple, Hayman compared it to a parable in the Talmud which illustrated that the greatest light of redemption comes from the deepest darkness. The Talmudic story tells of a group of revered rabbis, including Rabbi Akiva, a first-century rabbi and a major contributor to the oral tradition, who visited the site of the Temple, then a pile of rubble. A fox ran out of the ruins, and one rabbi began to cry, but Rabbi Akiva laughed. Rabbi Akiva asked him why he cried and the rabbi cited the Biblical verse describing the holiness of the site.

“…any outsider who encroaches shall be put to death.” Numbers 1:51

The rabbi lamented that now, even wild animals could roam through the site. Rabbi Akiva explained that the Prophet Micah described the tragic scene they were seeing in front of their eyes.

Assuredly, because of you Tzion shall be plowed as a field, And Yerushalayim shall become heaps of ruins, And the Har Habayit A shrine in the woods. Micah 3:12

Rabbi Akiva explained that just as this prophecy of destruction had already come to pass, it was inevitable that the prophecy of Zechariah on the same subject would also come to pass.

Thus said God of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Yerushalayim, each with staff in hand because of their great age. Zechariah 8:4

According to Hayman, the prophecy can be interpreted to mean that if the Jewish people do not take control of the Temple for holy purposes, another nation will take the opportunity to profane it.

“It is a like a lion being pestered by flies. Every now and again he wags his tail, but it doesn’t do much. Then he roars and that changes the whole picture,” said Hayman. “We are just waiting for the Lion of Judah to roar, to give the blast that will turn everything on its heels and indicate redemption is here.”

The timing of the shift is significant. The ZAKA ruling reviving Temple laws came just days before the Jewish people will fast and mourn the destruction of the first two Temples: Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of the month of Av.

Maayan Hoffman and Abra Forman contributed to this article.

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Breaking Israel NEWS – PARASHAT DVARIM: Compromise and justice

Jerusalem View of the Old City Jerusalem Breaking News IPRAYPRAYER.COM2
Justice and compromise are the ways a person makes room for others in his heart. Insisting on the letter of the law, even if it is just, can be a sign of egoism. Jerusalem . (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) 

This week we begin reading the last of the five books of the Torah – Deuteronomy.

This book is mostly composed of speeches Moses gave to the nation during the days before his death on the border of the Land of Israel. These speeches summarize the nation’s history during its 40 years in the desert on the way from Egypt to the Land of Israel. Likewise, Moses presented them with guidance and instructions on how to preserve the Jewish nation’s uniqueness after settling the Land of Israel – with a view toward the spiritual and cultural challenges they would be facing from the adjacent nations.

One of the events Moses reviewed in his first speech was the appointment of judges. After explaining the need to create a widespread legal system, he described the instructions he gave the judges prior to their appointment: “And I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear [disputes] between your brothers and judge justly between a man and his brother, and between his litigant’” (Deuteronomy 1:16).

The words “judge justly” are ambiguous.

 
 
The simple meaning is to make sure the judgment is just, fair and honest.

But the world “justly” was interpreted by one of our medieval sages, Rabeinu Behayei ben Asher (Spain, 1255-1340), to mean “by compromise.”

This means the judge is not meant to strive to reach a decision based on absolute justice, but should soften the argument and instruct both sides to give in a little, to compromise.

This ambition to reach a compromise is not coincidental. In the prophecy read as the Haftara this week after the Torah portion, Isaiah prophecies about the good future in store for Jerusalem: “Zion shall be redeemed through justice and her penitent through righteousness” (Isaiah 1:27).

Justice and compromise are the ways a person makes room for others in his heart. Insisting on the letter of the law, even if it is just, can be a sign of egoism.

Even if a person harmed you, even if he owes you something, you should not live in the emotional state of the plaintiff. On the contrary, the understanding that others have faults, just as we have faults, is a basic concept that changes a person’s position when facing society.

Indeed, in the Talmud’s description of the factors leading to Jerusalem’s destruction, we find the following: “Jerusalem was destroyed because people there insisted on their rights based on the full letter of the law, and were not willing to be lenient” (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Baba Metzia, daf 30).

At first glance, this seems paradoxical.

The term “lenient” seems to insinuate that this is something that cannot be demanded of someone, so how could this be punishable? There is an important message concealed here: A person should rise above the basic position demanding what he thinks he deserves. Our position should be softer, more inclusive, less demanding.

This is not a recommendation, but rather an obligation. This is the correct way to live. 

 
The writer is the rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites. www.jpost.com
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Catholic Churches Using Replacement Theology to Deny Divinity of Temple Mount: Christian Leader

Catholic Churches Using Replacement Theology

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, Defiance, like the iniquity of teraphim. Because you rejected Hashem’s command, He has rejected you as king.” I Samuel 15:23 (The Israel Bible™)

The Catholic Church’s response to recent turmoil over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem confirms that the Church is using Islamic replacement theology, in “direct violation of the Torah”, to “promote heresy” and deny the Jewish and Biblical connection to the Mount, said prominent Christian and Jewish voices in a harsh takedown of anti-Israel Christian vitriol.

“These so-called ‘Heads of Churches in Jerusalem’ are false prophets,” Laurie Cardoza-Moore, an influential Evangelical figure in the global pro-Israel Christian movement, told Breaking Israel News in an exclusive interview. “Their words are in direct violation of the Torah, the prophets, the writings and the New Testament.”

Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations and special envoy to the United Nations, referred to a declaration made last Wednesday by a group of churches under the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem which placed blame for flaring tensions on the Temple Mount solely on Israel.

The statement transparently sought to placate and pander to Muslim interests by referring to the Temple Mount as “Haram Ash Sharif” and “Al Aqsa” without any reference to the Biblical connection to the site – seemingly rejecting the religious leaders’ own Christian beliefs.

“This [statement] should serve as a warning to anyone – flee from these false prophets and their churches,” Cardoza-Moore declared.

“Had they read their Bibles instead of promoting heresy, they would have discovered that the Temple Mount (not Al Aqsa) is the holiest place on earth according to God, Judaism and Christianity.”

In the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Vatican has consistently expressed a pro-Palestinian bias overlooking the violence and terror perpetrated on Israel. Pope Francis referred to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, a major inciter of violence, as an “angel of peace”, and has insisted that Islam is not associated with violence. The Vatican has also recognized the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem by placing its embassy to the PA in East Jerusalem and its embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv.

Cardoza-Moore accused the Catholic Churches of transgressing the law from Deuteronomy.

Accursed is the one who moves the boundary of his fellow.  Deuteronomy 27:17

“These church leaders are promoting heresy in direct violation of God’s commandments and the most vile form of anti-Semitic revisionist history and replacement theology,” she asserted.

Replacement theology is a Christian doctrine which holds that the Church “replaced” Israel in God’s plan and in the covenant with the Biblical patriarchs. Replacement theology has been a core tenet of the Catholic Church for the majority of its existence. Some mainstream Christian theologians and denominations have rejected this belief, perceiving the modern State of Israel as the physical manifestation of God’s everlasting covenant with the Jewish People.

Officially, the Vatican no longer adheres to strict Replacement theology. In 1965, under Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council released the monumental Nostra Aetate document signaling a shift away from replacement thinking. However, the belief remains a core aspect of Catholicism for many.

Indeed, charged Cardoza-Moore, the Catholic Church has actually taken a radical step beyond traditional replacement theology beliefs. By rejecting the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, she believes the Church has actually embraced Islamic theology.

“Not only have they rejected God’s eternal covenant with our Jewish brethren, but they have replaced Christianity entirely with a radical Islamic ideology,” Cardoza-Moore told Breaking Israel News. “These leaders were either forced at gunpoint to make this heretical claim, or they have replaced their brand of Christianity with Islam.”

Islam espouses an even broader and more extreme version of replacement theology than Catholicism, establishing Islam as the one true religion usurping both Judaism and Christianity. The Islamic doctrine of tahrif teaches that earlier monotheistic have been corrupted, while the Koran presents a pure version of the divine message that they originally contained.

Rabbi Tovia Singer, founder and director of Outreach Judaism and an expert educator on all three Abrahamic religions, told Breaking Israel News that the Catholic Church’s attitude in this crisis essentially “nullifies God’s Covenantal promise of land to the Jewish people.”

“People are understandably perplexed when spiritual leaders of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Armenian Church refer to the Temple Mount with the Muslim name ‘Haram al-Sharif’,” Rabbi Singer said, noting that the Temple and Judea are holy places in the Christian Gospels as well as in Jewish writings.

“An ascription like ‘Haram al-Sharif’ and the West Bank were unknown to the writers of the New Testament.”

Rabbi Singer explained that the present conflict has placed the Catholic Church in an untenable situation in which espousing Islamic replacement theology is actually preferable to acknowledging modern Israel’s claim to its holiest site.

“If the bishops of Christendom’s most esteemed churches acknowledged that the Children of Israel returned to their homeland and were given sovereignty over Jerusalem, then all the Church fathers were wrong about their core belief on the fate of the Jews,” he said.

“Although the Church battled Islam for more than seven centuries, it cannot concede this victory to the Jews. For Rome, better ‘Haram al-Sharif’ than the Jewish Temple Mount.”

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Breaking NEWS ISRAEL – Israel’s first mobility tech fund raises more than $40m

Mchael Granoff photo credit Courtesy

“The move in locomotion from gasoline to electric, while being a crucial step, I now realize will also someday be seen as an historical footnote,” said Maniv founder Michael Granoff. Mchael Granoff photo credit (Courtesy)

Maniv Mobility LP, the first Israel-based venture fund dedicated exclusively to mobility technologies, announced on Wednesday that it has raised its first fund – in excess of $40 million.

An affiliated of Maniv Investments, the Tel Aviv-based Maniv Mobility invests primarily at companies’ seed and Series A stages and already boasts a portfolio of 15 start-ups, predominantly in Israel, with some in the US. Among Maniv’s limited partners are Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, Jaguar Land Rover subsidiary InMotion Ventures and the $14 billion French Tier One supplier, Valeo, as well as hedge funds and family offices.

“The move in locomotion from gasoline to electric, while being a crucial step, I now realize will also someday be seen as an historical footnote,” said Maniv founder Michael Granoff. “The true headline of the coming era in transportation is the switch from manual vehicles to automated ones. Automated vehicles will be electric – breaking oil’s stranglehold and giving us cleaner air. But these vehicles will do so much more: save lives and time through accident avoidance; expand mobility to the young, the old, the infirm; allow us to reclaim precious real estate from idle vehicles; and more.”

Granoff has been involved in the transportation-technology sector for nearly 15 years, beginning with a role in the establishment of Securing America’s Energy Future, an energy security policy group based in Washington.

He was also a participant in the Israeli electric-vehicle and infrastructure start-up Better Place, which raised nearly a billion dollars before closing its doors in 2013.

In harnessing $40m., Maniv has achieved double its target, during an era in which the global automotive industry is increasingly looking to Israel for technological building blocks.

“Some hugely promising businesses are being built in Israel, so expanding our reach here has been an important objective,” InMotion Ventures managing director Sebastian Peck said. “InMotion’s mission is to support the best mobility start-ups all over the world, and this partnership with Maniv will form an integral part of that.”

OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved likewise stressed the crowdfunding platform’s enthusiasm to become a major investor in Maniv.

“Now that Israel is recognized as a world leader in this sector, there will increased global attention to Maniv’s portfolio companies, many of whom are already pioneers in emerging new technologies, ranging from automotive data to advanced sensors, simulation to robotics, and automotive security to inter-vehicle communication,” he said.

The companies already in the Maniv portfolio are Autotalks, Cognata, Drive.ai, Guardian Optical Technologies, Intuition Robotics, Nauto, Nexar, Oryx Vision, Otonomo, Ridecell, Righthand Robotics, Turo, Upstream Security and two other firms.

Three founders or CEOs of portfolio companies have requested to become limited partners in the new fund, a statement from Maniv said.

“In this sector, we see both a tremendous opportunity to deliver outsized returns to our investors, and a unique chance to help companies make transportation safer, cleaner, more efficient, less expensive and much more versatile,” Granoff said.

Describing internationally known Israeli mobility giants Waze and Mobileye as just “the tip of the iceberg,” Granoff expressed confidence that several Maniv portfolio companies – like Cognata, Upstream Security and Oryx Vision – would soon be “on their heels.” Respectively, these three start-ups focus on 3D-simulation engines to validate autonomous systems, cloud-based cybersecurity for vehicle fleets and lower cost, superior range vision sensors.

“All three are in Israel and all three are in our portfolio,” Granoff said. “We’re seeking out the companies that are creating technologies that will accelerate the arrival of our autonomous future but that have sustainable businesses, even if that future takes several years to materialize.”

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Breaking Israel NEWS . Gong.io aims to transform sales; Israel’s Mellanox partners with PA

We need more of this. The logo of Mellanox Technologies is seen at the company’s headquarters in Yokne’am. photo creditREUTERS

PHOTO CREDIT REUTERS

Gong.io, the leading SaaS company in the fast-growing category of Conversation Intelligence for sales teams, announced on Sunday a $20 million Series A1 round.

The investment round was led by existing investors: Norwest Venture Partners and CheckPoint cofounder Shlomo Kramer. They were joined by new investors: Wing Venture Capital and NextWorld Capital, Peter Wagner, founding partner at Wing Venture Capital, and Ben Fu, general partner at NextWorld Capital, will join as board observers.

Serial entrepreneurs Amit Bendov and Eilon Reshef cofounded Gong.io in 2015. While managing some of the most successful hyper-growth start-ups, they realized that most companies don’t understand why their sales teams aren’t meeting their targets.

Gong.io leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to dramatically change the way salespeople conduct calls. The company’s patented technology automatically records sales calls and video conferences, transcribes them, and then uses AI and machine learning to analyze hundreds of data parameters within each call. By analyzing sales call patterns and matching them to business outcomes, Gong.io provides actionable insights to salespeople and sales leaders so that they can improve their performance and win many more deals.

The new funding will further support Gong.io’s impressive growth. It has been more than doubling its revenue for four consecutive quarters and is already helping thousands of salespeople optimize more than $1 billion of revenue at companies like Act-On, SalesLoft, Sisense, Greenhouse and Zywave. The technological innovation and impact of its product were recently recognized by Gartner, which named Gong.io a 2017 Cool Vendor in CRM Sales.

“Hardly a year since our first sales and it clearly feels like we’re on a rocket ship. Conversation Intelligence is the biggest shift in sales since CRM was introduced,” said Amit Bendov, Gong.io CEO and cofounder. “We are humbled by the overwhelmingly positive customer feedback we’re receiving and are already working on a very ambitious product road map to continue the innovation. We will use the latest round of funding to hire dozens of developers and researchers to expand our product and to step up our sales, marketing and support activities.”

Several investors commented about their decision to back Gong.io and its Conversation Intelligence platform: “We have been very impressed with Gong.io’s rapid growth and stellar execution of their original vision and we are thrilled to increase our investment,” said Dror Nahumi, general partner at Norwest Venture Partners.

“Gong.io is taking a strong lead in a whitespace category that will grow.”

“The conversations a company has with its customers are strategic data assets that have been untapped for far too long,” said Peter Wagner, founding partner of Wing Venture Capital. “For the first time, Gong.io turns these customer conversations into productive intelligence resources with profound implications across the enterprise.”

“Gong.io is the perfect convergence of next generation SaaS, Big Data, AI and Machine Learning – applied to conversations that directly impact sales, the lifeblood of any company,” said Ben Fu, general partner at NextWorld Capital.

“We see Conversation Intelligence as the future of AI-powered sales and we’re excited to help Gong.io dominate this new enterprise category around the globe.”

Building business bridges with the PA

Palestinian hi-tech professionals from ASAL Technologies in the Palestinian Authority, working in partnership with Israeli Mellanox Technologies, will arrive in Israel for a unique event that will present Rawabi’s hi-tech industry and opportunities at hand to leading Israeli companies.

For the first time ever, as part of a unique collaboration between ASAL Technologies, Mellanox Technologies and Israel Start-Up Network, Palestinian hi-tech professionals will arrive at Mellanox offices for a unique event presenting possibilities for software development in the PA to representatives of leading companies in Israel.

This event will be another step forward in the four-year long partnership between ASAL Technologies, that provides software development, professional services, and business process outsourcing services, and Mellanox Technologies, a supplier of end-to-end interconnect solutions for data center servers and storage systems. As part of this joint venture, more than 100 ASAL Technologies employees, working from Rawabi, handle design, development, verification and quality assurance.

The event will include a panel of experts from the Israeli and Palestinian hi-tech industries, discussing the Palestinian hi-tech sector, achievements, challenges and future potential, as well as their experience working with ASAL Technologies. They will also discuss Rawabi’s status as the first Palestinian planned city and a new tech hub in the region, enabling expanded collaboration opportunities.

It will be moderated by Jennifer Atala, CEO at Atala Consulting. The panelists will include: Amit Krig, VP of Software at Mellanox Technologies, Sari Taha, Tech Hub program manager at Rawabi City, Ibrahim Tannira, Sales and Marketing manager at ASAL Technologies, Yaron Sheffer, director of Security Technologies Product Development at Intuit and Dude Slama, senior director for Cloud and Networking Solutions at Mellanox Technologies.

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Christian – Messianic Jewelry/’Grafted In’ Messianic Pendants Grafted In Messianic Pendants from the Holy Land

'GRAFTED IN' MESSIANIC PENDANTS These beautifully hand-crafted pendants, some of which are straight from the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

Christian – Messianic Jewelry/’Grafted In’ Messianic Pendants

‘Grafted In’ Messianic Pendants
Grafted In Messianic Pendants from the Holy Land
Christian and Messianic Gifts from the Centre of Jerusalem

Thank you for visiting us here at the Jerusalem Gift Shop!

Our shop, located in Jerusalem, the heart of the Holy Land, has a huge inventory of unique gifts that we have provided for you, our valued customers. We’re happy to be your connection to Israel!
We were established in 2004 with a desire to build a bridge between the nations and Israel through our gift shop and News from Jerusalem service. We have expanded greatly since then, both in terms of the range of gifts that we provide as well in the huge number of customers that comprise our loyal support base. We appreciate you so much and are constantly on the lookout for new items to add to our inventory for you. To our new customers, we look forward to extending the same heartfelt service and appreciation to you as well! We hope that you will be as blessed to receive our carefully selected products as we are blessed to be able to serve you. We’ve recently added blogs about life in Israel to our website to make your connection to this land even closer. Shalom, shalom!

“I will bless those who bless you…”
Genesis 12:3

 
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Shop in Jerusalem for anointing oil made in the Galilee and Jerusalem from Frankincense, Lily of the Valley, Rose of Sharon, Myrrh and Spikenard and other biblical scents mixed with oils from the Galilee region where Jesus walked

Anointing Oil – Anointing oil from Jerusalem

Shop in Jerusalem for anointing oil made in the Galilee and Jerusalem from Frankincense, Lily of the Valley, Rose of Sharon, Myrrh and Spikenard and other biblical scents mixed with oils from the Galilee region where Jesus walked

Christian and Messianic Gifts from the Centre of Jerusalem

Thank you for visiting us here at the Jerusalem Gift Shop!

Our shop, located in Jerusalem, the heart of the Holy Land, has a huge inventory of unique gifts that we have provided for you, our valued customers. We’re happy to be your connection to Israel!
We were established in 2004 with a desire to build a bridge between the nations and Israel through our gift shop and News from Jerusalem service. We have expanded greatly since then, both in terms of the range of gifts that we provide as well in the huge number of customers that comprise our loyal support base. We appreciate you so much and are constantly on the lookout for new items to add to our inventory for you. To our new customers, we look forward to extending the same heartfelt service and appreciation to you as well! We hope that you will be as blessed to receive our carefully selected products as we are blessed to be able to serve you. We’ve recently added blogs about life in Israel to our website to make your connection to this land even closer. Shalom, shalom!

“I will bless those who bless you…”
Genesis 12:3

 
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Holy Land Olive Wood – Hand made by Christians we stock an enormous range of Olive Wood products from Bethlehem

Hand made by Christians we stock an enormous range of Olive Wood products from Bethlehem

Holy Land Olive Wood

Hand made by Christians we stock an enormous range of Olive Wood products from Bethlehem – the place where Jesus was born make the perfect Christian gift from the Holy Land – Something for everyone and shipped to you direct from Jerusalem

Christian and Messianic Gifts from the Centre of Jerusalem

Thank you for visiting us here at the Jerusalem Gift Shop!

Our shop, located in Jerusalem, the heart of the Holy Land, has a huge inventory of unique gifts that we have provided for you, our valued customers. We’re happy to be your connection to Israel!
We were established in 2004 with a desire to build a bridge between the nations and Israel through our gift shop and News from Jerusalem service.  We have expanded greatly since then, both in terms of the range of gifts that we provide as well in the huge number of customers that comprise our loyal support base.  We appreciate you so much and are constantly on the lookout for new items to add to our inventory for you. To our new customers, we look forward to extending the same heartfelt service and appreciation to you as well! We hope that you will be as blessed to receive our carefully selected products as we are blessed to be able to serve you. We’ve recently added blogs about life in Israel to our website to make your connection to this land even closer. Shalom, shalom!

“I will bless those who bless you…”
Genesis 12:3

 
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Jerusalem Bible News – ‘Immense’ 2,700-Year-Old Water System Discovered in Rosh HaAyin

Jerusalem Bible News - ‘Immense’ 2,700-Year-Old Water System Discovered in Rosh HaAyin

“I constructed pools of water, enough to irrigate a forest shooting up with trees.” Ecclesiastes 2:6 (The Israel Bible™)

A 2,700-year-old water system has been unearthed during works for a new residential neighborhood in Rosh Ha’ayin, about 30 kilometers east of Tel Aviv, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Thursday. Officials said the underground storage facility features wall engravings including human figures, crossesand a vegetal motif that were likely carved by passersby in a later period.

“It is difficult not to be impressed by the sight of the immense underground reservoir quarried out so many years ago,” said Gilad Itach, director of excavations for the IAA. “In antiquity, rainwater collection and storage was a fundamental necessity. With an annual rainfall of 500 millimeters, the region’s winter rains would easily have filled the huge reservoir.”

In a release, Itach said the water system exposed is nearly 20 meters long and reaches a depth of over four meters. The excavations show a reservoir built beneath a large structure with walls that are all nearly 50 meters long. Some of the shards found on the floors of the rooms probably belonged to vessels used to draw water from the reservoir.

The IAA said the structure was likely built at the end of the Iron Age (late eighth or early seventh century BCE), but probably abandoned during the Persian period, and that the reservoir was still in use until modern times.

The find joins a list of discoveries in the Rosh Ha’ayin area in recent years dating to the First Temple period, particularly farmhouses that were built in the area, possibly at the time of the Assyrian Empire, by people looking to settle near the western border of the Empire.

“The structure exposed in this excavation is different from most of the previously discovered farmsteads. Its orderly plan, vast area, strong walls, and the impressive water reservoir hewn beneath it suggest that the site was administrative in nature and it may well have controlled the surrounding farmsteads.”

High-school students majoring in the Education Ministry’s Land of Israel and Archaeology track also contributed to the discovery.

Ministry of Construction and Housing, Rosh Ha’ayin Municipality officials and the Israel Antiquities Authority all said the site will remain an open area accessible to the public, adjacent to the new residential neighborhood.

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Temple Mount sifting project at a crossroads Jerusalem News – Breaking News All Over the World

Temple Mount sifting project at a crossroads Jerusalem News - Breaking News All Over the World

Archeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay (center) inspects Second Temple-era ‘opus sectile’ floor tiles from the Temple Mount, in the presence of Moshe Ya’alon (right). (photo credit:FACEBOOK)

As the film begins, a woodcutter and a Shinto priest find themselves thrown together one dark day, huddling by the gates of a city, trying to stay dry during a heavy afternoon rainstorm. They are soon joined by a common wayfarer, to whom each man describes a lurid event they both saw earlier.The woodcutter says he found the body of a murdered samurai while he was out in a forest cutting wood. The priest says he remembers seeing the samurai journeying with his wife through the forest on the day he was later murdered.

 

Both of these men are then summoned by the authorities to testify in court as witnesses. There they are joined by a third man, a notorious bandit, who has been captured and accused of the murder.

The audience then watches as several versions of the murder are recounted in court. We hear the stories related by the bandit, the woodcutter, the samurai’s widow, and even the ghostly testimony of the murdered samurai himself, chillingly told through a medium.

The result of this fascinating screenplay, superb acting and masterful direction was twofold. It first of all brought Japanese filmmaking to the world’s attention, and established in both artistic and psychological parlance the concept of “the Rashomon effect.”

This is the idea that there is no objective reality, no single “truth,” and that there are often several alternative, subjective, sometimes self-serving, and often totally contradictory ways of seeing the same situation or event.

Why talk about Rashomon in an article about Jerusalem archeology? Because the proverbial Rashomon effect is unfolding before our eyes in a dispute between the world-renowned Temple Mount Sifting Project and the City of David, the important foundation that has been funding it.

After supporting the operation of the Sifting Project for the past 12 years,the City of David announced last March that it was withdrawing all of its funding. Why is the City of David pulling its financial support from a project that has involved more than 200,000 volunteer workers from all over the world and discovered almost 500,000 archeological finds? Well, as in Rashomon, the answer depends on whom you ask.

The roots of the project track back to 2009, when the Wakf – the Islamic religious authority that controls the Temple Mount – began unlawfully excavating the Solomon’s Stables area to construct the underground Marwani Mosque. Some 400 truckloads of excavated Temple Mount earth were taken from the site and unceremoniously dumped in the Kidron Valley.

Those convinced that the Wakf was trying to remove and discard traces of the Temple Mount’s Jewish past, along with archeologists and historians fearful of the destruction of significant Second Temple artifacts, raged at the wholesale destruction, but could do nothing.

Enter Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira, two Israeli archeologists who in 2004 began to sift the dumped soil in an effort to recover ancient remains and artifacts.

Frankie Snyder, a member of the Sifting Project (introduced to In Jerusalem readers last September as “The lady who looks for tiles”), recalls how it began.

“When they started in 2004, Gaby and Zachi were raising the money to have people help them sift material, and then they would do the analysis of what they got really fast. The problem was they couldn’t raise very much money at a time. So they would raise some money and work, stop working because they’d run out of money, start working when they got money, and stop working. The City of David Foundation saw the project and thought, ‘This is an amazing project. This needs backing, this needs funding.’” The City of David Foundation was established in 1986 by David Be’eri, a former deputy commander of the IDF’s Duvdevan commando unit and oft-described right-wing activist. The foundation has worked to promote Jerusalem as Israel’s united, eternal capital by sponsoring excavations that reaffirm Jerusalem’s ancient Jewish past.

It has also aroused controversy by supporting efforts by Jewish families to move back into the City of David, whose original Jewish population was displaced by Arab rioting during the British Mandate. For an organization devoted to what Palestinians call efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem, and two earnest archeologists eager to rescue Jewish artifacts from the Wakf’s dumping ground, the piles of soil discarded at the Kidron Valley were a perfect reason to cooperate.

Thus, the Temple Mount Sifting Project was born, operating since 2005. According to the project’s website, the soil has yielded finds beyond the two archeologists’ initial expectations. “Every bucket of earth that is sifted contains fragments of pottery, glass vessels, metal objects, bones, worked stones and mosaic tesserae stones.

“These are the most frequent finds from the Temple Mount. The finds are dated mainly from the First Temple period and onward (10th century BCE to today). There are some finds from earlier periods, but they are scarce.

“In addition to these general categories, there are numerous finds of many kinds: fragments of stone vessels, approximately 5,000 ancient coins, various pieces of jewelry, a rich assortment of beads, terracotta figurines, arrowheads and other weaponry, weights, items of clothing, game pieces and dice, bone and shell inlays, furniture decorations, ornaments, bone tools, etc.

“These also include fragments of elaborate architectural items from buildings, among them pillars, architraves, mosaic floors, opus sectile tiles, colored wall frescoes and glazed wall tiles.”

The Sifting Project was fully funded by the City of David until just a few months ago. Says Snyder, “There was some kind of disagreement between the City of David and Gaby and Zachi near the beginning of the year. I knew things were going on, that things were kind of strange, but I had no idea what happened. And then in the middle of March the City of David said, ‘We will no longer fund the sifting of the material.’” Who does know? Says City of David Foundation director for international affairs Zeev Orenstein, “It wasn’t waking up one morning and saying, ‘We’re not funding anymore.’ The people who are running the project made the decision that they wanted to take the project in another direction.

“My understanding is that, from their perspective, we’ve already done a lot of sifting and now we have to shift away from that in order to properly analyze andreport on what’s been found up until now. That’s okay, but before we start pumping more and more money into this, we need to all be on the same page.

“We funded this project for around 12 years. We hope to continue funding, and have hundreds and hundreds of people come and connect with the history of the Temple Mount and ancient Jerusa – lem – and that’s still very much at the heart of what we believe in and want to support…

“So now the issue is how to work out the desire to keep going through the earth and the desire to have the research component.

That’s now what’s trying to be worked out with the Antiquities Authority and the people involved with the Sifting Project.”

The authority is now involved with the issue as a result of an attempt at intervention by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the beginning of April. He pledged that the City of David Founda – tion would resume its funding, after proposed meetings among the representatives of the Antiquities Authority, the City of David Foun – dation and the Sifting Project.

Says the City of David’s Orenstein, “Again, It’s not like all of a sudden the City of David woke up and said, ‘Hey, you know what? We don’t like this project anymore.’ On the contrary, we love this project and we hope it continues. And we want to be involved in it continuing. There are a lot of different players. The Prime Minister’s Office has been involved somewhat. Everyone sees the value of the project. It’s at this point just trying to have the right balance of things.”

So what do the Sifting Project archeologists want to do that the City of David is refusing to fund? Says Barkay, “We are concentrating on research now. We’re processing the material. We have around half a million finds. And that needs a very thorough study in order to have a scientific publication of the material. In the lab there are about 20 people working, processing the material.”

A bit more expansively, Dvira explains, “We cannot continue the sifting of the Temple Mount material without publishing the finds we have got so far. At the very least we need a stable track for research and publication. It’s not right to retrieve more finds when we don’t have the funding to publish them. We don’t want them to be neglected in some storage house and forgotten. As it is, the rate of discovery of finds that we have in the lab is higher than that in the field.”

As for publication, the project team is hoping to report its findings in an eight-volume compendium of artifacts and analysis. “It will be a very big publication,” Dvira declares. “Its uniqueness will be the richness and variety of finds from all periods. It is research in depth, useful for other scholars in many fields, and it will be in English.”

A recent project crowdfunding appeal on its website raised NIS 300,782 from 1,117 backers – with more money expected from additional pledges – enough to keep the research lab going at a minimal level for perhaps another year. Says Dvira, “The crowdfunding was really to help us hold on until we receive government funding.

“This is the main focus now – to receive government funding for the whole project. The Antiquities Authority is now doing an assessment of what exactly we need. They will then give their recommendation to the prime minister about how to fund this project. We assume that everything will cost about NIS 6 million. This is for the work for the next four years. A million and a half per year, and that includes the sifting and the research.”

The next few months will hopefully see a solution in which every – one gets, if not what they want, then at least what they need.

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Bible Prophecy – NASA’s Attempt to Redirect Mammoth Asteroid Headed for Earth Has End-of-Days Implications

NASA's Attempt to Redirect Mammoth Asteroid Headed for Earth Has End-of-Days Implications

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall step forth a star out of Yakov, and a scepter shall rise out of Yisrael, and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Seth.” Numbers 24:17 (The Israel Bible™)

A colossal asteroid named Apophis is predicted to pass disturbingly close to Earth before 2030, an ominous astral event which Jewish mystical sources describe as having grave implications for the End of Days.

Rabbi Yosef Berger (Courtesy David’s Tomb)

On April 13, 2029, the Apophis asteroid, portentously named for the ancient Egyptian god of darkness and destruction, will pass within 18,600 miles of Earth, uncomfortably close by space distance standards. At 350 meters across, a mass of 20 million metric tons, and travelling 28,000 miles per hour, Apophis poses a formidable risk to the planet.

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, notes that all this concern about celestial activity is described in Jewish sources as accompanying the Messiah.

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall step forth a star out of Yakov, and a scepter shall rise out of Yisrael, and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Seth. Numbers 24:17

“This Biblical reference to a star that will accompany the Messiah was expanded in Maimonides and the Zohar to include many other astrological phenomenon described in great detail,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News.

Rabbi Berger explained that astrological events pose a specific End-of-Days challenge for all of mankind.

“The Tower of Babel was built as a challenge to God when the flood of Noah’s generation was still fresh in the people’s minds,” the rabbi said. “It was an attempt to prove that God, via nature, did not rule over man. These events also will lead men to try to prove that they are above nature and God, and that they rule themselves.”

If Apophis hits Earth, it could create an explosion equal to 880 million tons of TNT, creating a crater about 1.25 miles across and almost 1,700 feet deep. Such an impact would be devastating. Though scientists believe there is little chance Apophis will hit earth on this pass, they expect the near-miss to disrupt the asteroid’s orbit, making its next pass in 2036 unpredictable.

In response to the growing threat of the pending asteroid hit, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced last Friday that they will launch a probe to alter the trajectory of a small asteroid as it approaches Earth as a first attempt at planetary defense. The project is named the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), scheduled to take place in October, 2022 coinciding with two smaller asteroids that are predicted to make a close pass to Earth.

“DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique — striking the asteroid to shift its orbit — to defend against a potential future asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer in Washington, in the press release announcing the project.

The hope is that with the amount of time between the DART test and the looming danger of Apophis, NASA will find a way to circumvent the asteroid to protect Earth from tremendous carnage.

Despite NASA’s determination to thwart the pending threat, Rabbi Berger noted the role scientific uncertainty will play in the End of Days.

“In the days after Messiah, it will become undeniably clear to all that God is in total control of everything,” Rabbi Berger said. “Science is a necessary tool, but any attempt to deny the ultimate authority that stands behind nature is not only a denial of God, but it is mistaken and destined to fail.”

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Jerusalem News – Stunning Research Reveals Incredible Alignment of Holy Tabernacle and Celestial Movements

Incredible Alignment of Holy Tabernacle and Celestial Movements

“According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:9 (The Israel Bible™)

After a detailed analysis of the description of the Biblical Tabernacle, an engineer has found startling correlations between the earthly structure and the orbits of the planets in the solar system. The remarkable similarities reflect an ancient belief that the tent in the desert was the pivotal point connecting heaven and earth, built using the power of creation itself.

Michael from Ireland (who prefers his surname not be known), retired from a career in telecommunications, has written several books on his studies of the Bible using his unique perspective. His background in engineering means that Michael speaks the language of numbers, and the sections of the Bible describing the construction of the Tabernacle are, for Michael, an open book. His unique approach allowed Michael to see the Tabernacle not only as a standing structure but also in terms of surface area.

“It’s like a manual from IKEA,” Michael told Breaking Israel News. “Most people try to envision the Tabernacle as a standing structure. It’s meant to be put together so you can also see it laid out flat.”

When viewed in this manner, Michael began to see remarkable correlations, dimensions of the Tabernacle that equalled astronomical phenomena that would have been visible to the Hebrews in the desert. In this mathematical revelation, Michael was confronted with a mystery: why were the sun, moon and stars factored into the dimensions of the tabernacle?How the Tabernacle would have looked in use. (Wikimedia Commons)

One answer to this question was given in Bamidbar Rabbah (12:12),  a collection of ancient rabbinical homiletic interpretations of the book of Numbers, in which it is written that when Israel erected the tabernacle, God told the angels to erect a corresponding version in the heavens.

The first glimmers came to Michael when he read in the Bible that the Hebrews donated 29 talents and 730 shekels of gold.

“I immediately noticed that the talents corresponded to one lunar month of 29 days. 730 corresponds to two solar years, or 730 days,” Michael said. At that point, he began to notice a pattern but was unsure of its significance. He then noted that the silver collected for constructing the Tabernacle was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels. He recognized that 1,775 was the equivalent of five lunar years to within three days.

“I would not have recognized the five lunar years except that I had seen it previously in the biblical Book of Enoch in a description of astronomical events,” Michael said.

The apocryphal Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, although modern scholars believe the older sections to date from about 300 BCE. It is not part of the Biblical canon.

Before presenting his next findings, Michael noted that there are, in fact, two opinions as to the dimensions of the Tabernacle. The majority of scholars adhere to dimensions based on a description by Josephus, a first-century Jewish scholar and historian. Michael’s study is based on the smaller dimensions described by Richard Elliot Friedman, Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia.

Michael then did some calculations of the surface areas of the complete tabernacle structure and discovered that it equaled precisely 2,300 cubits. This brought to mind the enigmatic prophecy in the Book of Daniel.

And he said unto me: ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be victorious.’ Daniel 8:13

Michael then calculated the surface area only of the section of the Tabernacle containing the Holy of Holies. He added the surface area of the vessels contained within it and came to a total of 364 cubits. The Book of Enoch also describes a 364-day calendar.

Michael calculated the surface area of the fifteen roof bars of the Tabernacle, arriving at the figure of 225 square cubits, the numerical equivalent of the orbit of Venus around the sun.

He then calculated the internal surface area of the Tabernacle tent minus the entrance curtain and the dividing veil, since they were drawn back when Aaron the High Priest entered every morning. The remaining surface areas in the tabernacle tent and its furnishings was 686.5 square cubits, equal to the orbit of Mars.The garments of the High Priest, with breastplate. (Library of Congress)

When the veil of the tabernacle tent was removed, the remaining surface areas of the tabernacle building fabrics added up to 4340, seven days longer than the orbit of Jupiter.

Using this method, Michael also figured the surface areas of both sides of the tabernacle materials when it was deconstructed for travel, plus the surface area of the utensils, arriving at a total of 10,761.5 square cubits, equal to one orbit of Saturn with just two days of an overlap.

He also noted that the total surface area of the utensils inside the Holy of Holies plus the breastplate worn by the High Priest was 87.75 square cubit, compared to the orbit of the planet Mercury at 87.97 days.

Rabbi Yosef Berger, rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, responded to Michael’s findings by noting that Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the preeminent 11th century French Torah scholar known by the acronym Rashi, taught that God gave the ten utterances used to create the world to Betsalel so that he could build the Tabernacle.

“All of creation is implicit within the structure itself,” Rabbi Berger said. “The structure and its utensils were not built like any other structure. It was made in a process similar to the creation of the world. Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) teaches us that God created the world in speech and all of reality is essentially combinations of words, letters, and numbers, and this is especially true of the Tabernacle.

“As the connecting point between the upper world and the lower world, this would surely be a part of the Tabernacle and the Temple,” Rabbi Berger concluded. “This connection, connecting the speech of creation that makes up the material of the world, is what will give the Messiah the ability to raise up this world to a higher level.”

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Jerusalem Breaking News – Propecy News – World Looks Breathlessly to Temple Mount as Portal for Messianic Change Swings Open

This week, for the first time since the Second Temple stood in all its glory, Jews were able to walk the Temple Mount freely as Muslim authority fell away from the site, allowing both Jews and Christians to heed the call to prayer on the Mountain of God and opening up the gates of redemption. Jews inadvertently became the main presence on the Mount, something that has not happened since the destruction of the Second Temple 2,000 years ago, as a result of the misguided actions of Arab leadership following a horrifying terror attack at the Temple Mount last Friday. The global prophetic implications of the major shift on this holiest of sites, emphasized MK Yehudah Glick, an advocate of universal prayer on the Temple Mount, cannot be denied. “This was an enormous gamechanger,” he told Breaking Israel News. “Everything is part of the geula (redemption) process, but the things that happen on the Temple Mount are especially so. “If we want to bring world peace, we have to start there.” The unprecedented situation on the Temple Mount came about in the wake of an attack that bloodied the holy stones of the Mount. Three Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli Druze policemen near the Temple Mount before being chased into the compound itself and neutralized. Muslim men praying near the metal detectors that were placed outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of its reopening on Sunday, July 16. 2017.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) The Israeli government responded to the attack by closing the Temple Mount to Muslims for the first time in decades. (The Temple Mount was also closed to Jewish visitors, which is standard operating procedure after Arab violence.) Two days later, the Temple Mount reopened with increased security measures in place for Muslims, including metal detectors of the type that have always been used to check Jewish visitors to the site. Until this recent attack, Muslims accessed the Temple Mount without undergoing any security checks. The Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian trust which controls the Temple Mount, immediately and furiously rejected the use of the detectors, calling the security measure “Israeli aggression”. Jerusalem Mufti Amin al-Husseini called for a Muslim boycott of the site and inter-Arab scuffles broke out as Waqf strongmen prevented Muslims from ascending. The sudden lack of Waqf guards and large crowds of Muslim visitors on the Temple Mount led to an unusual situation. For the first time in decades, Jews were unencumbered by Waqf guards preventing them from praying. Though the Israeli police were still ordered to stop non-Muslim prayer, many Jews were inspired to seize the rare opportunity to speak a holy word on the holy mountain. The experiences, they shared, were breathtaking. Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, co-founder of the Land of Israel Network, was driven by the call to prayer. Early Wednesday morning, he began his preparations by bathing in a mikveh (ritual bath), noting that the day was especially significant because Jews are now in the three weeks of austerity leading up to Tisha B’Av (the Ninth of Av), a fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temples. When he arrived at the Temple Mount, he saw the site was teeming with Israeli police ready to cope with the threat of the hostile Muslim crowds surrounding it. Despite the tense situation, Rabbi Gimpel was moved by the clear atmosphere of holiness and felt compelled to prostrate himself on the stones as was required in the days of the Temple. The Israeli police followed orders and carried Rabbi Gimpel from the site. Nevertheless, Rabbi Gimpel was inspired. “Something monumental is happening there right now,” Rabbi Gimpel told Breaking Israel News. “The Palestinians changed the status quo by killing Israeli policemen, but now, it is the time for us to do our part. Every Israeli is looking towards the Temple, waiting to see what happens.” He described the awe he felt at being able to fulfill the ancient commandment of prostrating oneself before the presence of God. “Bowing down on the stones is a Torah commandment, precisely like in Temple times, and in a way we aren’t able to do when the Waqf guards are here,” Rabbi Gimpel said. “I couldn’t resist. I felt like every prayer, every mitzvah (Torah commandment) done at the Temple Mount opened the door to geula just a little more.” As Rabbi Gimpel pointed out, the potential of the situation to open up the Temple Mount to the Jews is enormous. This became clear when Knesset Member Avi Dichter (Likud) on Tuesday declared Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount. “Israel is the sovereign on the Temple Mount, period. The fact that the Waqf became a sovereign on the Temple Mount ended last Friday,” announced Dichter, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and former head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), on Israeli public radio. But it is not only Jews who have a stake in how this situation is resolved. Jane Kiel, originally from Denmark but now known as the blogger Jerusalem Jane, is a Christian advocate for the Holy City and a frequent visitor to the Temple Mount. Her videos document the disrespect shown by Muslims visitors, who have barbecues, play soccer, pile garbage, and even urinate openly at the site. Jane was anticipating the opportunity to ascend the Temple Mount on Monday without these disturbing elements. “It was a total experience of awe,” she told Breaking Israel News. “This is way this holy place is supposed to be. I didn’t feel any fear or hatred or anger. For the first time, I felt what a House of Prayer was really like.” She managed to recite the Shema (Jewish prayer accepting the yoke of heaven) despite the Israeli police monitoring the site. Jane was so moved by the experience she returned on Tuesday. But this time as she arrived at the security gates, a Waqf guard who had been monitoring the entrance approached her and told her she was not permitted to enter. This is the fourth time she has been removed from the Temple Mount as a result of her role as a Christian advocate for Jewish prayer. “This is not just a Jewish battle,” Jane said. “I am a Christian trying to wake up Christians to act. They should be outraged. They should make the Temple Mount their first stop when they come to Israel. This is really a battle over whether or not the Bible is true.” Perhaps the most touching testimony to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount was the video of Aedan Sarah O’Connor, a Jewish Canadian student studying in Israel. O’Connor ascended on Monday and posted a video of herself reciting the Shema at the site to Facebook. Her video has already garnered over 27,000 views, attesting to the fact that Jews praying on the Temple Mount is of vital interest to so many. “This is my homeland, and no one can stop me from praying at my holiest site,” she proclaimed. “I want everyone to be able to be able to pray here peacefully,” O’Connor told Breaking Israel News. “The only way to ensure that all holy sites, Jewish Christian and Muslim, remain open to all people is to have them under Israeli sovereignty. The Waqf objects to metal detectors. It can’t be any clearer that they want the Temple Mount to be a battlefield and not a place of prayer.” As a result of the Jewish prayers, Jerusalem police closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims on Wednesday, though it was reopened later in the day. Police chief Yoram Halevi said in a statement, “The Israeli Police operates within a series of balances to uphold the law and the rules of the site and won’t allow anyone to violate the law in any way.” Politically, the current situation is tenuous. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that while he does not intend to change the status quo, which forbids non-Muslims from praying, neither will he remove the metal detectors, creating an uncertain reality on the ground. Many worldwide are praying hard that as a result of this monumental shift, Jewish sovereignty will be established on the Mount once and for all. It is certain that if Israel retains control over the holy site, an indescribably enormous step will have been taken towards the fulfillment of the Temple’s prophesied role as a place a peace, which is unlikely to happen under Muslim rule. “Without any compromise, the Temple Mount has to be a universal House of Prayer,” said Rabbi Yehudah Glick, “and cannot be a place of violence.”

“Thus said Hashem: I have returned to Tzion, and I will dwell in Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim will be called the City of Faithfulness, and the mount of God of Hosts the Holy Mount.” Zechariah 8:3 (The Israel Bible™)

This week, for the first time since the Second Temple stood in all its glory, Jews were able to walk the Temple Mount freely as Muslim authority fell away from the site, allowing both Jews and Christians to heed the call to prayer on the Mountain of God and opening up the gates of redemption.

Jews inadvertently became the main presence on the Mount, something that has not happened since the destruction of the Second Temple 2,000 years ago, as a result of the misguided actions of Arab leadership following a horrifying terror attack at the Temple Mount last Friday.

The global prophetic implications of the major shift on this holiest of sites, emphasized MK Yehudah Glick, an advocate of universal prayer on the Temple Mount, cannot be denied.

“This was an enormous gamechanger,” he told Breaking Israel News. “Everything is part of the geula (redemption) process, but the things that happen on the Temple Mount are especially so.

“If we want to bring world peace, we have to start there.”

The unprecedented situation on the Temple Mount came about in the wake of an attack that bloodied the holy stones of the Mount. Three Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli Druze policemen near the Temple Mount before being chased into the compound itself and neutralized.Muslim men praying near the metal detectors that were placed outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of its reopening on Sunday, July 16. 2017.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israeli government responded to the attack by closing the Temple Mount to Muslims for the first time in decades. (The Temple Mount was also closed to Jewish visitors, which is standard operating procedure after Arab violence.) Two days later, the Temple Mount reopened with increased security measures in place for Muslims, including metal detectors of the type that have always been used to check Jewish visitors to the site. Until this recent attack, Muslims accessed the Temple Mount without undergoing any security checks.

The Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian trust which controls the Temple Mount, immediately and furiously rejected the use of the detectors, calling the security measure “Israeli aggression”. Jerusalem Mufti Amin al-Husseini called for a Muslim boycott of the site and inter-Arab scuffles broke out as Waqf strongmen prevented Muslims from ascending.

The sudden lack of Waqf guards and large crowds of Muslim visitors on the Temple Mount led to an unusual situation. For the first time in decades, Jews were unencumbered by Waqf guards preventing them from praying. Though the Israeli police were still ordered to stop non-Muslim prayer, many Jews were inspired to seize the rare opportunity to speak a holy word on the holy mountain. The experiences, they shared, were breathtaking.

Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, co-founder of the Land of Israel Network, was driven by the call to prayer. Early Wednesday morning, he began his preparations by bathing in a mikveh (ritual bath), noting that the day was especially significant because Jews are now in the three weeks of austerity leading up to Tisha B’Av (the Ninth of Av), a fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temples.

When he arrived at the Temple Mount, he saw the site was teeming with Israeli police ready to cope with the threat of the hostile Muslim crowds surrounding it. Despite the tense situation, Rabbi Gimpel was moved by the clear atmosphere of holiness and felt compelled to prostrate himself on the stones as was required in the days of the Temple. The Israeli police followed orders and carried Rabbi Gimpel from the site.

Nevertheless, Rabbi Gimpel was inspired. “Something monumental is happening there right now,” Rabbi Gimpel told Breaking Israel News. “The Palestinians changed the status quo by killing Israeli policemen, but now, it is the time for us to do our part. Every Israeli is looking towards the Temple, waiting to see what happens.”

He described the awe he felt at being able to fulfill the ancient commandment of prostrating oneself before the presence of God.

“Bowing down on the stones is a Torah commandment, precisely like in Temple times, and in a way we aren’t able to do when the Waqf guards are here,” Rabbi Gimpel said. “I couldn’t resist. I felt like every prayer, every mitzvah (Torah commandment) done at the Temple Mount opened the door to geula just a little more.”

 

As Rabbi Gimpel pointed out, the potential of the situation to open up the Temple Mount to the Jews is enormous. This  became clear when Knesset Member Avi Dichter (Likud) on Tuesday declared Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.

“Israel is the sovereign on the Temple Mount, period. The fact that the Waqf became a sovereign on the Temple Mount ended last Friday,” announced Dichter, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and former head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), on Israeli public radio.

But it is not only Jews who have a stake in how this situation is resolved. Jane Kiel, originally from Denmark but now known as the blogger Jerusalem Jane, is a Christian advocate for the Holy City and a frequent visitor to the Temple Mount. Her videos document the disrespect shown by Muslims visitors, who have barbecues, play soccer, pile garbage, and even urinate openly at the site.

Jane was anticipating the opportunity to ascend the Temple Mount on Monday without these disturbing elements.

“It was a total experience of awe,” she told Breaking Israel News. “This is way this holy place is supposed to be. I didn’t feel any fear or hatred or anger. For the first time, I felt what a House of Prayer was really like.”

She managed to recite the Shema (Jewish prayer accepting the yoke of heaven) despite the Israeli police monitoring the site.

Jane was so moved by the experience she returned on Tuesday. But this time as she arrived at the security gates, a Waqf guard who had been monitoring the entrance approached her and told her she was not permitted to enter. This is the fourth time she has been removed from the Temple Mount as a result of her role as a Christian advocate for Jewish prayer.

“This is not just a Jewish battle,” Jane said. “I am a Christian trying to wake up Christians to act. They should be outraged. They should make the Temple Mount their first stop when they come to Israel. This is really a battle over whether or not the Bible is true.”

Perhaps the most touching testimony to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount was the video of Aedan Sarah O’Connor, a Jewish Canadian student studying in Israel. O’Connor ascended on Monday and posted a video of herself reciting the Shema at the site to Facebook. Her video has already garnered over 27,000 views, attesting to the fact that Jews praying on the Temple Mount is of vital interest to so many.

“This is my homeland, and no one can stop me from praying at my holiest site,” she proclaimed.  

 

“I want everyone to be able to be able to pray here peacefully,” O’Connor told Breaking Israel News. “The only way to ensure that all holy sites, Jewish Christian and Muslim, remain open to all people is to have them under Israeli sovereignty. The Waqf objects to metal detectors. It can’t be any clearer that they want the Temple Mount to be a battlefield and not a place of prayer.”

As a result of the Jewish prayers, Jerusalem police closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims on Wednesday, though it was reopened later in the day. Police chief Yoram Halevi said in a statement, “The Israeli Police operates within a series of balances to uphold the law and the rules of the site and won’t allow anyone to violate the law in any way.”

Politically, the current situation is tenuous. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that while he does not intend to change the status quo, which forbids non-Muslims from praying, neither will he remove the metal detectors, creating an uncertain reality on the ground.

Many worldwide are praying hard that as a result of this monumental shift, Jewish sovereignty will be established on the Mount once and for all. It is certain that if Israel retains control over the holy site, an indescribably enormous step will have been taken towards the fulfillment of the Temple’s prophesied role as a place a peace, which is unlikely to happen under Muslim rule.

“Without any compromise, the Temple Mount has to be a universal House of Prayer,” said Rabbi Yehudah Glick, “and cannot be a place of violence.”

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Catholic Churches in Jerusalem Blame Israel for Muslim Violence, Deny Biblical Roots of Temple Mount

pope-francis Pope Francis Photo Raffaele Esposito Wiki Commons

Photo: Raffaele Esposito/ Wiki Commons

“Ah, Those who call evil good And good evil; Who present darkness as light And light as darkness; Who present bitter as sweet And sweet as bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Amid the intensifying battles surrounding the Temple Mount, the Catholic Church expressed its concerns in terms that placed the blame entirely on Israel while referring to the site exclusively by its Muslim name. One bishop stated in an interview on Vatican Radio that there has, in fact, been no Palestinian violence.

On Sunday, Pope Francis addressed the crowd gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, telling them that he viewed “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence” surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue,” the Pope said, calling on the people to pray for the sake of Jerusalem.

The violence the Pope is referring to began ten days ago when three Palestinian terrorists murdered two Druze Israeli policemen while they guarded the entrance to the Temple Mount. The Israeli police entered the site and, after a gunbattle, killed the three terrorists.

The Israeli government closed the site to all visitors until Sunday, when it reopened to Muslims with increased security measures that included walk-through metal detectors. The Islamic Waqf, the Muslim trust which controls the Temple Mount, called for a boycott of the site. Muslim crowds rioted last week and three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli police.

On Friday night, a Palestinian, citing the situation at the Temple Mount as his motivation, entered the town of Halamish. There, he murdered a 70-year-old grandfather and his middle-aged son and daughter while they sat at their Sabbath table. He also seriously wounded the 68-year-old grandmother.

In the wake of the growing violence, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement. Signed by the heads of all 13 Christian communities in Jerusalem, it condemned the recent escalation of violence at the Temple Mount, but did so in language that clearly favored the Palestinians and condemned Israel. The statement referred to the site by its Arabic names, disregarding any Jewish or Christian connection to the site.

“We, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, express our serious concern regarding recent escalation in violent developments around Haram ash-Sharif and our grief for the loss of human life and strongly condemn any act of violence,” the statement read.

The statement said that the violence was due solely to a change in the status quo, i.e. placing metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount.

“We are worried about any change to historical (Status Quo) situation in al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram ash-Sharif) and its courtyard, and in the holy city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which would be most unwelcome in the present tense religious climate.

“We value the continued custody of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places in Jerusalem and the Holy Land which guarantees the right for all Muslims to free access and worship to al Aqsa Mosque according to the prevailing Status Quo.

“We renew our call that the historical Status Quo governing these sites be fully respected, for the sake of peace and reconciliation to the whole community, and we pray for a just and lasting peace in the whole region and all its peoples.”

The statement made no mention of the Muslim terror attack that led to Israel placing the metal detectors at the entrances to the site. Nor did it refer to the horrific Palestinian terror attack on Friday.

Bishop Munib Younan, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, said on Vatican radio that the metal detectors are a form of “collective punishment” which should not be permitted “because of an attack by two persons.”

The bishop claimed that thousands of Muslims pray at the site during Ramadan and “everything goes smoothly”. He did not mention the murder of IDF Border Policewoman Hadas Malkah, which took place during Ramadan.

“It’s essential to find a political solution to end the Israeli occupation, which is considered illegal,” the bishop concluded.

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All Eyes on Jerusalem as Muslim “Day of Rage” Engulfs City

Jerusalem Dome Photo All Eyes on Jerusalem as Muslim - Day of Rage Engulfs City

Imans in east Jerusalem neighborhoods and in Judea, Samaria, and Hebron closed mosques to encourage tens of thousands to come storm the Temple Mount.

In response, Prime Minister Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet Thursday evening to prepare for the situation.

 (Israel) Israel Police deployed some 3,000 officers in and around Jerusalem Friday morning and announced that the Temple Mount would be open for traditional Muslim prayers. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“Heightened security will take place in and around the Old City. Police and border police units [have been] mobilized in all areas and neighborhoods and will respond to any incidents or disturbances throughout the day,” Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.

“The Temple Mount is open for women of all ages and men over the age of 50,” he continued. “Police are coordinating to enable Friday prayers to take place and at the same time secure measures taking place.”

Meanwhile Palestinian factions in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza Strip called Thursday for Muslims to storm the site to protect the al-Aksa Mosque.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh used social media to get the message out, YNet reported.

“Tomorrow is an important turning point in the defense of the al-Aqsa Mosque and we will leave the victors,” Haniyeh said. “The Israeli plans for al-Aqsa will not be carried out. This is a red line. You are stoking the fire. We are calling for a day of rage and general mobilization of the Palestinian society and the entire Arab nation in the framework of the campaign to defend Jerusalem and al-Aqsa.”

The call didn’t stop with Haniyeh. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum announced that Israelis were attacking the al-Aksa and preventing Muslims from praying there.

At the same time, imans (clerics) in east Jerusalem neighborhoods and in Judea, Samaria, and Hebron closed mosques to encourage tens of thousands to come storm the Temple Mount.

Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet Thursday evening to prepare for the situation.

Metal Detectors Won’t Be Removed

Following the lengthy meeting, the cabinet decided to buck international pressure and not to remove the metal detectors installed outside the Lion’s Gate entrance to the Temple Mount. Ministers also affirmed their confidence in the police, authorizing them to take whatever steps necessary to maintain public order and security both on city streets and at the site. (Screengrab via CBN News)

Just like visitors to the Western Wall – and the Vatican for that matter – anyone wishing to enter the Temple Mount will be required to pass through the scanners. (Non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount, who must enter through a separate gate, have been subjected to rigorous security checks and metal detectors for years.)

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat weighed in on the decision, calling it “courageous.”

“The decision of Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount is a courageous decision because at this time last week two policemen were murdered at the site. This decision is a responsible one that will help to ensure that such incidents do not repeat themselves,” the mayor said. “This is not a political matter; it is a professional security issue. No one is challenging the status quo on the Temple Mount.”

While police dealt with sporadic rioting during the week – as well as attempted terror attacks in several locations, hundreds of Muslims entered the site to pray, passing uneventfully through the newly installed metal detectors.  

The terror attack, which took place exactly one week ago at 7:00 a.m. Friday, prompted the upgraded security measures. Two Israeli officers were shot dead in that attack and a third injured.

Netanyahu closed the site temporarily for purposes of investigation, reopening it Sunday morning. The weapons used in the attack had been brought into the mosque the night before, reportedly aided by officials with the Wakf, the Islamic Trust responsible for the day-to-day administration of the site.

Following the closure, the Wakf cried foul, claiming Israel was endangering the al-Aksa mosque, a ploy that’s been used repeatedly to incite violence.

In response to a White House press release posted midweek, Netanyahu issued a statement he’s repeated many times over the years.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy sites. Israel is committed to protecting the safety of all worshipers and visitors to the Temple Mount,” the statement read.

The midweek White House press release referred to the site by its Jewish and Muslim names.

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Christian Breakin News Jerusalem Leader: “Why Jews Everywhere Should be Helping Egypt’s Christians”

Leader: "Why Jews Everywhere Should be Helping Egypt's Christians"

“I implore you to join us in this effort. Do something—anything—to raise awareness about and to alleviate the suffering of Coptic Christians, and Christians across the Middle East. As Jews, it is our sacred duty. As human beings, it is our natural obligation. As past victims of such hatred, it is our people’s commitment. As current beneficiaries of Christian support, it is an act of humble gratitude. It is time for Jewish communities around the world to give back to the Christian community, which has given us so much.” – Yael Eckstein

 During Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, I had dinner with a Christian pastor and his family in North Carolina. I was stunned and impressed that each time a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel, the family’s “Code Red” app blared on their cellphones and they stopped whatever they were doing to pray for Israelis in danger. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

And they didn’t just pray. Their sincere concern for the wellbeing of Israel manifested itself in action. They donated tens of thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters all across Israel to help protect us. “It is our honor to use our money to provide protection to Israelis from terrorist rocket fire. Buying a new car, renovating my kitchen or doing anything else for myself wouldn’t give me nearly as much joy and fulfillment,” the pastor told me. 

I left his house feeling awed and inspired. “I hope that my people would help Christians in their time of need, as they have done for us,” I thought.

Truth be told, on the whole, we as a people have done an excellent job in raising awareness among our children and our communities about the importance of tikkun olam (repairing the world), of reaching out and supporting worthy causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. At almost every rally and peaceful protest, you can see an Israeli flag, the Star of David or another identifier of Jewish presence. We are helping Syrian refugees, standing up for women’s rights and volunteering in the world’s poorest countries, just to name a few causes we champion. Helping others who suffer from persecution, injustice or discrimination is a hallmark of the Jewish community, and I am proud of that.

But at the same time, there are cries that have gone unheard, such as those of the Christians being systematically persecuted—and slaughtered—across the Middle East. Coptic Christians, an indigenous population of Egypt dating back to the 1st century A.D., hundreds of years before Muslims even came on the scene, have been especially targeted. They represent almost 10 percent of Egypt’s population and are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists. 

At least 28 Coptic Christians, including many children, were ambushed and murdered May 26 as they traveled by bus to a monastery. Two terror attacks hit crowded Coptic churches April 10, killing at least 44 people. Since January 2017, more than 100 Copts have been targeted, murdered and systematically threatened.

In response to this horrific campaign of terror, I am astounded that the Jewish community has remained virtually silent.  

The Jewish community and Israel currently enjoy unprecedented, historic support from the Christian community. Christians are our loudest defenders in the political arena, our most vocal supporters on social media and our greatest contributors when it comes to charitable causes. The annual budget of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is $150 million, which is distributed to 1.4 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world. These funds are sacrificially donated by hundreds of thousands of Christian donors in the U.S. and worldwide. Moreover, Christians make up more than half of the tourists who come to Israel annually, significantly bolstering the Jewish state’s economy and morale.

If we can stand up for the sake of other peoples who suffer and for different just causes, how can we not act on behalf of our greatest allies? With all of the issues we are taking on, how is this not at the forefront of our agenda?

For the last few years, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been the target of a calculated, cruel terror campaign. Men, women and children (and sometimes intentionally women and children) have been murdered in cold blood. Their places of worship and holy books have been blown up and burned. Their homes and shops have been attacked and looted. Sound familiar? We know all too well this pattern in history and we have vowed never to let it happen again. (Photo Credit: Yael Eckstein)

The Fellowship has not stood silent in the face of such horror. We have heard the cries of the Christians in Egypt and we are helping them. The Fellowship is providing assistance such as summer camps for children and financial aid to families who are victims of terror; aid for basic needs, including food as well as medical and psychological care; and security support. (We cannot publicize additional details for security reasons.)

In a time when the Christian community has been Israel’s staunchest supporter for the past half century, it is shocking that we are the only Jewish organization taking tangible steps to give them aid, support and protection.

I implore you to join us in this effort. Do something—anything—to raise awareness about and to alleviate the suffering of Coptic Christians, and Christians across the Middle East. As Jews, it is our sacred duty. As human beings, it is our natural obligation. As past victims of such hatred, it is our people’s commitment. As current beneficiaries of Christian support, it is an act of humble gratitude. It is time for Jewish communities around the world to give back to the Christian community, which has given us so much.  

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The next set of Four Questions

Congratulations! We almost made it to the end of Passover. What do we do now?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at a Mimouna celebration in Or Akiva.

If that were all of Passover, then dayenu – it would be enough. The holiday, however, is more than a single-day flash of glory; it goes on for a full week. It is abundantly clear what we are supposed to do when Passover kicks off, but now that we have reached the final day many of us are left wondering, “What now?” Passover is not the only holiday in the Jewish calendar that stretches out over an entire week.
Hanukka, too, is a card-carrying member of the weeklong-holiday club. Every day the candle count increases, building up to a crescendo, climaxing on the final day. We look forward to seeing our hanukkiot reach their maximum capacity, bursting with light.Excitement also builds day by day throughout Succot, culminating at the raucous conclusion of the holiday week when we pull out all the stops, dancing joyously and energetically with the Torah scrolls on Simhat Torah.

Passover, in contrast, offers no spectacular conclusion. It starts with a bang, kicking off with the compelling Seder night, but it ends a week later with a whimper. The dominant emotion we feel on this last day of the holiday might actually be relief. We can finally put away all of the Passover dishes for another year, abandon the opprobrious dietary restrictions and go back to the routine life and the normal eating habits we prefer. Like the spring month of March, Passover comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

What are we supposed to do on the last day of Passover? We are left relatively rudderless.

When we eat a meal, we are not instructed to dip, recline, drink four glasses of wine, encourage children to ask questions, or relate the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Nothing.

Perhaps it is this sudden lack of direction – this absence of something special to do or to look forward to at the end of the holiday – that has made us so eager to embrace the Mimouna concept from our North African brethren. Let’s replace matza with moufleta.

BACK AT the onset of the holiday, our children asked four questions, but many questions still remain. Now as the holiday draws to its end, there is a final ritual we can fulfill – the traditional four questions that adults ask themselves in an attempt to learn from our experience and not make the same mistakes next year.

Question 1: Did we really have to invite so many people to Seder?
Yes, it is the quintessential family holiday and we want our huge extended family to celebrate with us. Yes, we invite strangers and those less fortunate (“Let those who are hungry [or lonely] come in and partake”). Yes, it is an opportunity to reach out to the curious and alienated and draw them closer to God. But still, is it really smart or effective to end up with a mob of more than 30 people (at some point we lost count) shoehorned into a wholly inadequate space? What were we thinking?

Question 2: Did I really need to eat so much? Otherwise rational people seem to think that removing leaven from our diet for a week raises the dire specter of starvation.

How else can I explain the fact that I ate so much during the holiday that I often felt uncomfortably overstuffed? Yes, Passover is a celebration of freedom, but does that mean we should feel free to binge on all of the chocolates, cookies, etc, that we set our eyes on? Now I have been reduced to skulking past the bathroom scale in fear of discovering that I have entered a new weight area code.

Question 3: Do I really have to pay for all those charges on my credit card? Although we are usually careful with expenditures and try to live within our means, at a certain point during the preparations for the holiday, things seem to careen out of control and our credit cards seem to be smoking from heavy use. Shortly after Passover, Moses was able to get water out of the rock and manna fell from the sky. So is it too much for me to hope for some small miracle and have money magically appear in my bank account to cover the inevitable overdraft resulting from the massive consumer spending spree we engaged in?

Question 4: Logistically, the holiday was a success, but did I accomplish the things that are really important to me? We cleaned the house thoroughly for Passover.

We fed a small army of people, many of whom slept over. We read the Haggada thoroughly from front to back (and yes, we even shared insights from the new Hogwarts Haggada on hand. Spoiler: Moses was a Muggle). But in a way, that is the easy part of the holiday.

The harder part of the holiday, addressed by this fourth question, is really comprised of several subquestions, which in truth are relevant every day of the year.

• I spent a lot of money, but did I also give enough money – or even thought – to people in need? Did I recall loved ones who are ill or no longer with us and innocent people whose lives were cut short by hate-filled murderers?

• I had a lot of people in my house, but did I do my best to connect well with everyone? Did I appreciate, listen, share, and create indelible memories as much as possible with each individual?

• Did I successfully transmit to my children the awe and wonder of the miracles of the Exodus and the chain of miracles that led to our ability to celebrate and thank the Creator millennia later here in our Promised Land?

• Did I pray with heartfelt intent and concentration? The high-pressure onset of Passover is mitzvaladen and ritual-heavy; the holiday concludes on quite a different note. Perhaps this is an opportunity to reflect on and be grateful for what went well and to make a mental note of lessons learned and resolve to do better in the coming year.

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HISTORY OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL With Allegorical References

Forward:

The absolute facts of ancient history, perhaps even modern history to some degree, are an interaction of legend and fact. Most of the stories regarding the lives of the people below come to us in writing only from the accounts documented in the Bible. Some of the earliest stories were recounted by word of mouth for scores of centuries before they were ever written down. What we present here is the Bible’s account, and the interraction of these stories, as allegories architected by God, with their intended purpose — a divine explanation of the reconciliation of mankind with God through through the unprecedented appearance of Jesus Christ.

Abraham

Almost 4000 years ago, a man named Abraham was born in Ur, a town in the southern part of Mesopotamia. The place corresponds today to the southern part of what is now the country of Iraq — somewhere just above the present country of Kuwait, near where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet. When he was a very young man, his father moved the family several hundred miles northwest to a place called Haran in what is now southern Turkey (a few hundred miles south of the Black Sea). When his father died, God called Abraham to leave Haran and make a journey to the southwest, down to a land called Canaan (now Israel and Palestine), a lnad whose natives (the Canaanites) bore striking similarites to the indians of North America. .Abraham got his family together: his wife and some slaves, including his mistress, and his nephew Lot, and together they joined Abraham who obeyed God’s command. When they got to Canaan, God instructed Abraham to settle there.

Since his wife was barren, Abraham had a son (Ishmael) with his wife’s slave-girl, Hagar. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, quickly became jealous of Ishmael and Hagar and ordered him to dismiss the girl and her child from their camp. Abraham did as she requested and so Hagar, the mistress, and her child Ishmael returned to the land of the Euphrates, where their descendants grew into a great nation. Both the Arabs and the Persians claim to be Ishmael’s descendants, as do all Muslims. A very important allegory in scripture grew out of this circumstance. Sarah became known in legend as the wedded wife, the lawful bride of Abraham and her children therefore, the his ligitimate heirs. The allegorical implication revolves around the spiritual children of God and the physical children of the flesh. Hagar portrays ‘this world’ and her children all who are born into the flesh under the stain of Satan. Sarah, as the wedded wife, is seen (according to Paul) as the new Jerusalem, the spiritual mother who gives life in the eternal kingdom of God. The theme is repeated again in the story of Esther and Vashti. In this theme also revolves the important prophetic allegory concerning the future pre-eminence of the second-born son (i.e., the ‘born-again’ son).

For years Sarah and Abraham were childless, but in her very old age, she bore him one son — Issac. While Issac was still quite young, God asked Abraham to take the child into the wilderness and make a sacrifice. At first Abraham thought that God wanted him to sacrifice Issac to Him, but God showed him that this was not the case. God gave Abraham an animal to sacrifice in Issac’s place.

Although some of the stories of scripture seem very strange to us, we need to realize that Hebrew history is a series of allegories structured by God for the development of our understanding of His purpose. The story of Issac is very important in this regard.

In this allegory Abraham represents God. The near sacrifice of Issac represents God’s near sacrifice of His son Jesus on the cross. Just as Issac was spared, so was Jesus. God allowed the body of Jesus to be crucified — but then raised His body out of the dead and brought it back to life so that we would understand the power Christ had given us. God transcends the clothing of the flesh.

Issac did not die — God saved him by providing a substitute in his place. This mortal tent is only a substitute for an invisible heavenly body that lies invisibly surrounding our soul will be wrapped in later, if we follow Christ.

It is invisible now, because of the exile. We can see nothing of God or of His world, except the glimmer of it revealed by Jesus and the prophets. Abraham’s two women, are a part of this revelation. The descendants of the children they bore represent the two covenants and the people who were born into them. Hagar stands for the old covenant and her child Ishmael for the offspring of Abraham who reject Jesus. Sarah portrays the new covenant, and her child, Isaac, Christianity. All of scripture can be seen in a dual relationship that combines both metaphore and history. Abraham’s sacrifice of the substitute began a long history of sacrifice in the Hebrew religion. But all of it pointed ultimately to Jesus on the cross — the sacrifice God had in mind to rescue us from sin.

Isaac

Isaac had two sons, but the first (the oldest) sold his birthright to the youngest for a bowl of lentils. Again, this is metaphore. It foretells how the people of the first covenant would sell their birthright to those of the new covenant for a paltry sum. Because Issac’s first son Esau bartered away his birthright, he lost his claim to it, and it passed to the younger son, Jacob. We can see this duplicated when Jewish authority over the covenant was passed to Christianity. This occured when Jesus (God) was sold by the apostle of the Jews for 30 pieces of silver, and handed over to the Romans who took him off to Babylon. These examples show how each story and each event have spiritual counterparts which fulfill a meaning written in the books of heaven. Just these few examples are enough to see how all the rest of Hebrew history duplicates this allegorical pattern.

Jacob (Israel)

When he was a young man, Jacob fought against an angel of God and because of this rebellion against heavenly authority he was renamed Israel by God. The name has to do with this rebellion against heaven, but has the special meaning of one who rebels against divinity and still lives. It relates to all mankind, born as participants in the active rebellion of Satan, but being allowed by God the grace of reconciliation. Throughout the rest of scripture, the two names Jacob and Israel are used interchangeably. This leads to much confusion. Israel had 11 sons. Ten of them took the youngest, Joseph, and sold him into slavery, He was promptly carried away to Egypt. There, Joseph secured Pharaohs favor and became one of the highest officials in his royal court. He was put in charge of Pharaoh’s graineries — the food supply of all Egypt — and when a famine arose, his skill in managing this supply found Egypt safely stocked with a huge supply of grain. The famine stretched throughout the Middle East.

Starving, Israel (Jacob) and his ten sons heard that there were vast food supplies in Egypt and promptly set off for the land of the Nile. They did not recognize Joseph when they first asked him for food, but he recognized them. Forgiving them for the evil they did to him, he rescued them from the famine. In gratitude, Israel (Jacob) granted Joseph’s two sons status with his other ten, and raised Joseph onto a plateau with himself — i.e., a patriarch of all twelve tribes.

When Israel (Jacob) was bestowing his patiarchal blessing on Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh, the oldest should have received the first (right-hand) blessing, and therefore been accorded the higher honor, but Israel crossed his hands, placing his right on the head of Ephraim, the youngest, instead.

“Joseph protested to his father, ‘Not like that, father! This one is the elder; put our right hand on his head. But his father refused. ‘I know, my son, I know’ he said. ‘Manasseh, too shall become a people; he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” (Gn. 48:18-19).

This, of course, is a repetition of earlier metaphore, but it amplifies on the allegory to give us a better view of it. Again, the older brother was the Judean nation, a mighty people still. But the younger brother, Christianity, it is shown, will become a vast multitude of nations.

Moses

The family of Israel (Jacob) remained in Egypt basking in Joseph’s glory and partaking of Pharaoah’s favors. Four hundred years passed. The sons of Israel (Jacob) begat generation after generation of children. What had begun as 12 sons now sprouted into 12 tribes of people. A succession of Pharaoh’s mounted the Egyptian throne. Slowly Joseph had been forgotten and the Egyptian benevolence instead turned to bitter racial hatred. The children of Israel were taken captive and held as a workforce in terrible slavery and bondage.

At this point, God raised up a man from among them called Moses whom he directed to bring the Hebrew tribes out of Egypt and lead them back to the land they had previously occupied. Pharaoh would not let them go, so God visited on Egypt a great series of plagues, each one worse than the other until finally Pharaoh relented and allowed them to depart. It was the last plague, the death of the first-born that succeeded in changing Pharaoh’s mind, because it killed Pharaoh’s own son.

Set free, the Hebrews left their Egyptian houses and followed Moses who led them through the parted waters of the Red Sea into the Sinai desert. At the last minute, as the final departures were in progress, Pharaoh changed his mind and led his soldiers off to pursue them. When they reached the banks of the Red Sea, they could see that God had parted the waters and made the seabed a road for His children to cross. Hoping to attack them on the opposite bank, Pharaoh led his soldiers, in full gallop across the same seabed. But God allowed the waters to collapse on the army, killing them all, but leaving the Israelites safe from harm.

The exodus from Egypt is an allegory for our escape from Babylon. The waters that God parted in the Red Sea stand for the waters of creation that God separated so that He could lead us from this ruined part that Satan contaminated , to an upper waters that still lie in pristine perfection and in which the Promised Land truly exists. The seabed is like a planet in space. The attack of Pharaoh will be repeated at the end and will culminate in a fearful catastrophe that is shown to be as much celestial as earthbound.

The Intermediary and the Ten Commandments

Moses led the twelve tribes to a place in the desert where they could meet God and receive His commandments face to face. They all assembled below the mountain, ready for this meeting, but as God approached, the earth began to quake and the skies clouded up and lightning began to flash. Thunder sounded everywhere and the moutain erupted in fire. The Israelites were terrified and begged Moses to ask God not to come to them in person lest many of them die.

They asked Moses to have God send an intermediary to them in God’s place. God agreed with this request, and in the interim gave Moses Ten Commandments around which Moses was instructed to create a temporary law to keep the people safe until the day came when the intermediary would arrive to finish the commandments and complete the Testimony. When the people asked him if he was to be the intermediary, Moses replied that it was not him, but someone else whom God would raise up for them out of their own people. Thereafter, the twelve tribes of Israel began searching the horizons for the coming of the Messiah.

God also directed Moses to build an ‘Ark of the Covenant’ to house the two stone tablets. The Law he drafted was to act as a guardian for the people until the coming of the ‘Messiah’ that this compromise had now structured. Called the ‘Torah’, the ‘Law of Moses’ comprised the first five books of what we now call the Bible. To show the difference between this Law and the Ten Commandments, God instructed Moses that the Bible be placed outside the Ark. Only the Ten Commandments (called the Testimony) were to be held inside of it.

40 Years in the Desert

On their journey, because it was so hard, many of the Israelites rebelled and tried to return to Egypt. All of those who tried to return died. As a consequence of these rebellions, the journey lasted forty years. During that time they wandered to and fro across the burning sands. They had no animals and they had to depend on sustenance from God who sent them a food from heaven to eat — called mannah, a white snow that seemed to fall out of the sky. Throughout this journey across arid and parched sands, they had to live in tents and had no permanent homes or land. Even their place of worship (the Tent of the Testimony) was mobile. They had no temple. Because they had no animals to sacrifice, the Israelites offered no animal sacrifices to God for the entire term of their journey. The prophets talk about this as a part of their denouncement of the bloody animal sacrifices that later came to characterize the religion.

Shiloh

After they reached the Promised Land, Moses cast lots to divide the countryside up among the various tribes, apportioning parts to each (see map). The Ark of the Covenant, the central object of Hebrew worship because it contained the Ten Commandments was set up in Shiloh, a town belonging to the tribe of Ephraim. At this point, the Jews, who occupied the land containing the town of Jerusalem held no special place among the other tribes. Ephraim, because its founder had received the special blessing of Jacob (Israel) was the center of worship. This did not last long. Because of the evil behavior of Eli the priest and his two sons who ran the structure, God allowed the temple at Shiloh to be destroyed and the Ark was finally brought to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem

When the temple was removed from Shiloh to Jerusalem, the tribe of Judah (the Jews) became the center of worship for the twelve tribes. It was during this time that God raised up a shepherd boy named David. The twelve tribes of Israel had appointed a king to rule over them, a man named Saul. But God found this king to be evil and instructed the people through the prophets that He was going to turn that king out and raise up another in his place. In the events that followed, Saul was killed and David became king over the twelve tribes of Israel.

David was a Jew, so from this point on, the Jews held a special place among the other tribes. The prophets bore witness to this special place, tying the Jews and the promises of God together. They predicted that the Messiah would be a son of David, and would rule in his lineage. When David tried to build a temple for God in Jerusalem to house the Ark of the Covenant, God told him no. It was not David, but David’s son that would build God’s temple.

Solomon

After David died, Solomon, his son, built the temple that God wanted, just as scripture had forseen. The temple of Solomon was a beautiful edifice, showcased in Solomon’s taste for luxurious trappings. Even so, it was not the kind of temple any of these prophecies were actually pointing to. The son of David as far as the allegories were concerned was the royal heir defined in the prophecies — Jesus. It was Jesus who was to be the architect of God’s true temple. Solomon erected his temple in the city of Jerusalem, on a mountain prominence called Moriah. He built it on top of a special rock that was reputed to be the place where Abraham had almost sacrificed Isaac many centuries earlier. Great holiness was immediately attached to all of these things.

The House of Israel Divided

When Solomon died, a civil war broke out among the tribes of Israel. It was, for the most part bloodless, but it divided the land of Israel into what we now call two houses. The ten tribes to the north of Jerusalem broke away from this city and formed a new government and a new religion. To define their own religious worship in opposition to the Jews, the ten tribes of Israel set up renegade temples in Bethel and Dan.

The Jews and the tribe of Benjamine in the south remained loyal to Solomon’s son — loyal to the House of David. The metaphore, of course, points again to Jesus who is foreseen in scripture as royalty and heir to the throne of David. (See Is.9:6-7). The division between the two houses of Israel, then, foreshadowed the immense spiritual schism that was created when the Jews and the newly formed Christians divided the House of Israel in Christ. Here were two houses, both of Israel, and both thoroughly divided with respect to loyalty to the Davidic God of Israel. The roles, however are juxtaposed.

Capped by the rebellion, the sins of the Israelites brought them to the brink of the exile that Moses had foreseen. At that point, God sent His prophets to plead with them to change their ways. Some, like Isaiah and Micah were Jews, but others, such as Elijah, Elisha, Amos, and Hosea came from the tribes of the north.

The Ten Lost Tribes

The people did not listen to any of these voices that warned them from heaven and so the exile began. The first to go into slavery were the ten northern tribes. Assyrian invaders stormed their country and took them all off into what looked like apparent oblivion, because they were never seen again. Where Samaria had been, the Assyrians brought in foreigners and allowed them to occupy the country. Similarly, all the rest of the north was reoccupied by Phillistines and by foreign settlers. The name Phillistine is where our modern word Palestinian comes from.

The Jewish Exile to Babylon

After the ten tribes of the north had been exiled, foreign troops came against Judea and the Jews. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appeared and carried the two remaining tribes (Benjamine and Judah) off to the the banks of the Euphrates. At the same time, the army of Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and burned down the temple of Solomon. Just before the temple went up in flames, Jeremiah the prophet spirited away the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments still inside of it, and, according to one tradition, hid them in a cave on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. They have never been seen since.

At this point the exile seemed complete. But it was only the allegory which had been completed. Additional dispersions remained. Had the idea of Babylon been restricted to the Euphrates valley, the Jews could see themselves as the ultimate meaning of the prophecies, but a far worse captivity still lay in the future. At the time of Jesus, the Jews saw Babylon as symbolic and applied the title to Rome. It was a prophetic transposition of national identities. And it stemmed from the fact that Babylon was shown in the prophecies to be more than a single nation in the Middle East. It encompassed the sum total of world tyranny against the House of Israel — the whole pagan world. That meant that the Assyrians were every bit as much a part of this prophecy as Nebuchadnezzar or the Roman Empire to come. Therefore, all of the House of Israel — all twelve tribes — went into the dispersion of a type of Babylon.

Rebuilding Jerusalem

Seventy years later, when the Persian ruler Cyrus destroyed Babylon, the Jews who wished to return to Jerusalem were allowed to leave their captivity. Cyrus made a decree to this effect. Some of the Jews in Babylon accepted Cyrus’ offer and went back to Jerusalem and began to rebuild its ruins. Many others, however, stayed behind, having attained security and comfort where they were.

While it seemed in this return of a remnant of the Jews, that the prophecies were having their fulfillment, most of the House of Israel still remained in exile. Ten tribes had disappeared completely — not even a remnant remained of their presence, so there was no possibility of their return, it was thought. The Jews who returned to Jerusalem immediately began to rebuild the wall and then the temple. This temple would be the House of Israel’s third. The first was at Shiloh, the second, the temple of Solomon, and then this modest construction at the time of the return.

Ezra and Modern Judaism

With the ten northern tribes gone and the tribe of Benjamine absorbed into Judah, the Jews took on a new identity. All the promises to the twelve tribes of Israel seemed to have come to a focus in one tribe alone. This fact completely changed the religion. Under the guidance of Ezra, the new venue for worship became the three fundamental principals of Law, Temple and the Chosen Race. These three principals continue to be the dominant themes of Judaism to this day. The Jews saw themselves as the Chosen Race — the undisputed heirs of the covenant — because the other tribes had disappeared.

The Temple was the mechanism for the animal sacrifices which permeated the pages of the Law. And the Law took on the central authority of the religion in the absence of the Ten Commandments. Because the Ark and the stone tablets were gone, the Temple which had been built to house the Testimony, was, from this point on, empty at its core. For this reason, God’s word was no longer the central object of worship in the Holy of Holies. In its absence, the ‘Law’ took on pre-eminant authority. Instead of the ‘Testimony’, the religion revolved around the Torah and all the legal traditions exploding from the pens of the scribes.

Alexander the Great

About two hundred years after the Jews returned from Babylon, Alexander the Great came and took possession of Judea as a part of his conquest of the world. When Alexander’s empire broke apart, control of the world was handed over to his four top generals. Control of Judea passed to Ptolemy, whose headquarters was in Egypt. Wars broke out between Alexander’s generals, especially between those who controlled Syria and Egypt. These two, the king of the north and the king of the south, are the models around which the Book of Daniel has been constructed. They and their descendants fought all the time and the country that separated their forces was Judea, so the Jews became an integral part of the battles. As a consequence, Jerusalem was occupied by invading armies on numerous occasions.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

This see-sawing between the north and south went on for about one hundred years or so. At the end of that time a particularly evil monarch from Syria — the ultimate king of the north — a man named Antiochus IV Epiphanies — came down and defeated the king of the south and took possession of Judea. Antiochus personified the Rebel of the last days in the prophecies of Daniel — prophecies which took on immense significance when Jesus directed His followers to watch for the events he had predicted, and to run for the hills when they saw these events begin to unfold.

Antiochus had the Jewish High Priest assassinated, and installed a man of his own inclination in his place. He instituted Greek customs throughout the Jewish population and finally ordered the Jewish religion abolished completely and replaced with his own pagan gods. Anyone who failed to abide by his decrees he killed. His forces desecrated the temple and its altar of worship in Jerusalem and left a group of soldiers in the citadel located just adjacent to the temple to guard it, to make sure the Jews did not worship there any longer.

The Maccabees

Led by a man named Judas Maccabees, the Jews rebelled. Under his leadership, they formed an army of Hassidean warriors and were able to get back control of their temple and cleanse it and reinstitute their sacrifices. The Jewish feast of Hannukah (the feast of lights as it is called) celebrates this cleansing of the temple which took place on a day that corresponds to the 25th day of our month of December, a day that would later be known as Christmas day. Antiochus died (in a catastrophe that foreshadows the death of the Beast to come) and his empire began to disintegrate.

What followed was a long series of battles between various Jewish contenders for control of Jerusalem. The whole era surrounding that bloody period was marked by intrigue and infighting. Because the times were so chaotic, and the need for a defining national leader so great, a charged atmosphere of expectation began to sweep through the people regarding the Mosaic Messiah, who many were convinced was about to appear. It was during this time that the Essenes formed in Qumran and began to proliferate throughout Judea. Their expectation of the Messiah was typical of the time — a military leader who would vanquish the foreign armies and raise Judea to a pre-emminent world power, greater than Rome.

Judea Falls to Rome

Rome became the ultimate victor in 63 B.C. when Pompey captured Jerusalem. Thereafter, Judea became a province of the Roman empire. This foreign occupation of their country by a pagan military giant vastly intensified the Jewish search for a Messiah who would lead the Jewish nation in a military conqest over Rome by the power of God.

The Temple of Herod

About forty years after Pompey’s conquest of Jerusalem, an Idumean Arab named Herod married into the Jewish royal family. He was declared king of Judea by the Roman senate and was able to wrest control of Jerualem away from those who opposed him. He was a wicked man who loved monuments. He built the Antonia Fortress and the fourth Jewish temple — a magnificent edifice that took over forty years to complete. This was the temple Jesus came to. The empty temple that had no word in it — no Ark and no Ten Commandments. Herod was still in power when Jesus was born, and when word reached him that a king had been born to the Jews in Bethlehem, he ordered the killing of all the first born sons in that city a few weeks after Jesus came into the world. This is the reason why Joseph and Mary had to take Jesus to Egypt soon after he was born. Herod died in 4 B.C., and Jesus and his family returned to Judea and settled in the northern provinces — in the city of Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.

Jesus of Nazareth
The Word of God Returns to the Empty Temple

When he went to Jerusalem, Jesus was the Testimony of God returning to the empty Temple. But the caretakers of that building refused to allow him in. They would not relinquish their custody of the Holy of Holies to God and, instead, cast him out and in the end sold him to the Romans for 30 pieces of silver. That sale sent the Testimony to Babylon where it quickly grew to dominate the Roman grainery. Thereafter, anyone who wanted to eat the food of God had to go to Babylon to get it.

“To Babylon you must go and there you will be rescued; there God will ransom you out of the power of your enemies.” (Micah 4:10).

This brought the allegory of Joseph who was sold into the captivity of Egypt, full circle. Joseph was sold by his brothers and became the head of the Egyptian food supply, and in the same way, Jesus was sold by his brothers and did the same in Babylon. A spiritual famine encompassed the rest of the world, but in Babylon the bread of life was stocked in overflowing graineries. By the power of God all of Jesus’ brothers were brought to Babylon, just as famine earlier had brought all of Joseph’s brothers to Egypt.

A People in Revolt

The Jews hated the fact that their country was occupied by the Romans, and continually plotted how to overthrow this occupation. Jesus was born and lived at a time when this hatred was just beginning to seeth to the surface. For this reason, scripture was quite correct when it prophesied that Jesus would be born into a people in revolt. When he was crucified in either 30 A.D. or 33 A.D., the Jewish leadership was bitterly dividing itself into rival groups. At the same time, outsiders as well were involved in plots to gain political control over the country. Consequently there was deep and intense intrigue throughout Judea, with many rival groups embarking on separate programs of assassination and rebellion, making the country a very dangerous place. This strife grew worse until finally the rebels grew so bold that they defied the Roman empire openly and defeated a Roman battalion that had come to quell the uprising.

The Jewish War

At this point, Rome decided to end the mutiny once and for all with a full-scale invasion. War was declared and Nero ordered the 60,000 man Roman tenth legion to Palestine. This battle-skilled army invaded Judea starting in the most northern provinces and then swept south. First under the direction of the Roman general Vespasian, and finally under the direction of his son Titus, this professional legion easily conquered the Jewish armies that confronted it and ultimately secured complete control of Palestine. The Roman generals ordered a great many of the leading Jewish citizens and combatants taken away in the chains of slavery.

The depth of the Jewish rebellion can be seen in the closing days of Jerusalem’s war with the Roman empire. While they were tryng to fend off the Romans on one side, three rival Jewish gangs, each claiming control of Jerusalem, were holed up in different cloistures of the Temple, engaged in full-scale combat against each other. At the very moment they were being surrounded and destroyed by Titus and the Roman army they were battling one another with even greater fervor.

The Roman purge of Judea — called the Jewish war — lasted seven years. It began in 66 A.D., breaking out a little more than 30 years after Jesus died, and it ended in 73 A.D. with the famous battle of Masada at the southern tip of the nation. Before it occured, virtually all of the Christians and their leaders in Jerusalem had left for Rome and safer areas of the Roman empire.

As a consequence of this war, a second major change occurred in the Jewish religion. The Jewish culture of Jesus’ time — all the things we read about in the Gospels — disappeared. This included the Pharisees, the Sadducees and even the Essenes. Temple worship was at an end, too, and along with it, the two priesthoods. The Jews attempted to reconstruct their Temple by building another modest building on the ruins where Herod’s Temple previously stood, but this structure lasted only a few years.

The Diaspora

Another rebellion by the Jews in 135 A.D. ended the Jewish state completely. The leader of that revolt, the false Jewish messiah, Bar Kocheba was killed. The Romans decimated what was left of the Jewish leadership, marching most of them into slavery, and forbid all Jews entrance to the city of Jerusalem forever. On the holy places (which included the rock of Abraham on the temple mount) they erected temples for the worship of Roman emperors and Greek mythological gods. The exile that followed lasted almost 2000 years. The Jews were not permitted to return to Palestine until this century after a United Nations treaty allowed them to set up a small nation there beginning in 1948.

Israel and Prophecy

There can be little doubt that the allegorical exile to Babylon described by scripture applied to the Roman conquest and destruction of Judea. Nothing in the history of the House of Israel even comes close to comparing with it in terms of intensity, adversity and length of servitude. Two thousand years is a long, long exile.

Like their ancestors who were freed by Cyrus twenty-five hundred years ago, the Jewish pioneers that are returning to that nation in this century now see themselves as the fulfillment of all the prophecies regarding the ingathering from Babylon. But there are several problems with this vision.

Scripture teaches that the ingathering from exile will be led by a messiah in the image of David. No such figure exists for these returning refugees.

“The Lord himself, therefore, will give you a sign. It is this: the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.” (Is.7:14-15). “For there is a child born for us, a son given us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Almighty-God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity. From this time onwards and forever…” (Is.9:5-7).

Scripture also teaches that this ‘son of David’ will be so powerful (and of such august stature in God) that he will be able to institute a new covenant, one that will replace Moses. (Jer.31:31-34). This exchange of covenants is to be so incompassing, says Jeremiah, that the ingathering will replace the celebration of Passover. We saw just such an exchange of covenants in Jesus, of course, but precisely the opposite is happening now in Palestine. The Jews are resurrecting the Mosaic covenant there instead.

Third, the prophecies strongly call for the lost ten tribes to return to Israel in advance of the Jews. Jewish leaders still hold to the thought that they are the chosen race of God and that the other tribes of Israel have been unconditionally foresaken by Him.

Fourth, all of the House of Isreal, including the Jews were exiled for their sinfulness. That behavior has not changed. Who can tell the difference between Israel and the rest of the world today? The militarism is the same, the violence is the same, the behavior is the same.

Militarism is, in fact, a key issue in today’s return. Jeremiah foresaw that a group of military people would go to Babylon and get permission to rebuild Jerusalem in advance of the official end of the diaspora. That permission was granted by God who influenced the leaders of Babylon to allow the undertaking on the condition that the remnant returning remain peaceful and seek God’s righteousness. Further, they were cautioned to stay within their boundaries and ‘not to go down to Egypt’. At the conclusion of the prophecy, the military remnant broke all three conditions. They turned out not to be peaceful, not to be righteous and they made straight for Egypt. They were summarily destroyed. For the purposes of prophecy it should be noted that a military coalition under very similar circumstances was deeply involved in the construction of modern Israel set up in 1948.

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Israel in the End Times

Tower OF David

One of the great deceptions that the enemy has brought about concerning Bible prophecy is the teaching that we need to look to the nation of Israel for the fulfillment of Bible end times prophecy. And if you search for end times in the search engines, you will find that the majority of websites you click on will be focused on Israel. But on this page you will find the truth about Israel in the end times, and you will see that these people have their eyes fixed in the wrong direction.

Please remember as you study this subject of Israel in the end times, that God’s promises to Israel were conditional upon them following and keeping His commandments and accepting Christ Jesus as their Saviour. Take a look at the following Bible verses:

Exodus 19:5-6 …’Now therefore, IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, THEN ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.’

1 Kings 6:12-13 …’Concerning this house which thou art in building, IF thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them, THEN I will perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father.’

1 Kings 9:6-7 …’BUT IF ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: THEN will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people.’

Jeremiah 18:7-10 …’ At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.’

Do you see? IF you obey me, THEN I will keep my covenant with you. But if you do not obey Me, then I will REPENT of the good I promised. Conditional!

And we all know that the Jewish nation continued to sin against God and rejected Christ Jesus as their saviour! Therefore BREAKING the “everlasting covenant” which would only remain as an everlasting covenant through obedience.

Now there is something that Jesus told the Jews through one of His parables which also helps us to understand what would happen to the Jewish nation. Have a good read of the parable of the vineyard in Luke 20:9-16. Here you will see Jesus giving a story about a vineyard owner (God) going away and leaving his vineyard (God’s kingdom on earth) to ‘husbandmen’ (the Jews) to take care of it and ‘bare fruit’ (expand God’s kingdom). And while the owner was away, he sends ‘servants’ (prophets) to see how things are and collect the ‘fruit’. But the husbandmen beat the servants and sent them away empty handed (The Jews by and large rejected the prophets). The the owner (God) sends his son (Jesus Christ). And the husbandmen KILL the son (Jews have Jesus killed). And what did Jesus say would happen to the husbandmen (the Jews) after doing all these things? They would be destroyed (destruction of Jerusalem in AD70) and the vineyard (kingdom of God) would be GIVEN TO OTHERS (the Gentiles, or anyone who accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour).

Now look at how the Jews reacted to this parable: Acts 20:16 …’And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.’ … Meaning they KNEW that Jesus was saying THEY would be destroyed and the kingdom would be TAKEN OFF THEM AND GIVEN TO ANOTHER PEOPLE. And this is EXACTLY what happened!

This is so important, because you will not reach the truth about the end times until you understand the role of “Israel” in endtime Bible prophecy.

It’s interesting to find out where this focus on the nation of Israel came from. All this hype about Israel in the end times came from a man called Hal Lindsey, who wrote books in the 1980’s proclaiming that the focus of the end times would be in Israel, including a literal battle of armageddon in Israel. In these books he proclaimed a “rapture of the church”, a literal temple being rebuilt where the antichrist would be revealed, a literal armageddon and a thousand year millennium on earth for the church. The amazing thing is, he proclaimed that all this was to happen by the year 1988!! Now even though these events didn’t take place as Hal predicted and his belief’s have been shown to be error, the majority of Christians around the world who study end times prophecy still hold on to these teachings. But what we will show you here is that Israel in the Bible end times has a spiritual application, not a literal one.

To accompany this study, please see 70 weeks of Daniel for a fuller understanding of Israel in the end times.

Remember how the Jews misenterpreted Bible prophecy and thought that Jesus was going to come the first time as this mighty warrior who would setup a “physical” kingdom on earth and rule over the nations? Well, we have it all over again with end time prophecy students and teachers today believing the exact same thing! But this time with the second coming of Christ. They believe that Jesus is going to return, after a secret rapture of the church and setup His kingdom in Israel and rule there for the thousand year millennium. The Bible prophecy teachers today are so focused on war and destruction in Israel, that they are missing the great spiritual application of God’s kingdom, just as the disciples did during Jesus’ first coming.

Luke 17:20-21 …..’And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh NOT with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’

Do you see what Jesus is saying in the above Bible verse? He’s explaining in clear words that the kingdom is a “SPIRITUAL” one. And yet the disciples were still clinging to the belief that Christ would setup a physical kingdom to rule from on earth, just like the prophecy teachers of today … Luke 24:21 …..’But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.’ … They were still holding on to that notion, and when Jesus died on the cross, their hopes were crushed! They just didn’t understand the spiritual application of Israel and the kingdom of God, until the day of Pentecost.

Now there’s a Bible verse that many Christians love to quote when defending their belief in the literal nation of Israel being the endtime kingdom … Matthew 10:34 …..’Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.’ … It’s a good verse that is completely misunderstood. Christians love to apply this to war and destruction, but the “sword” that Jesus was talking about was His WORD, His TEACHINGS. … Ephesians 6:17 …..’And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ … His Word was the “double edged sword” that would bring division throughout the world

Many sincere Christians have been deceived by the Roman Catholic Jesuits. How? Because after the Protestant reformers revealed the Roman Catholic Church as the antichrist church, the Jesuits were commissioned in a “counter-reformation” to invent new interpretations of end time Bible prophecy, in a bid to take people’s eyes off the Papal Church as antichrist. This they greatly succeeded as many Christians now adopt the false Jesuit interpretations of Bible prophecy. And not only that, many of the Protestant churches are now UNITING again with the Papal Church!

Spiritual Israel

This starts to become more clear when you study how the name “Israel” came about and what it signifies. As you know, Israel was the name given to Jacob … Genesis 32:28 …..’And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’ … Just before this, Jacob was greatly distressed because of his sin (deception) towards his brother Esau, and was greatly afraid that Esau, who was on his way to meet Jacob with 400 men, was going to kill him. So Jacob prayed to God for help and protection, and an angel came to him and a great struggle began between Jacob and the angel. The reason for the struggle is that Jacob would not let the angel go until he received a blessing from God. The angel proclaimed that Jacob had prevailed and gave him the name Israel. This represented Jacob’s struggle and victory over sin through God’s grace, and therefore God applied the SPIRITUAL name of Israel to Jacob.

God also applied the SPIRITUAL name of Israel to Jacob’s descendents … Exodus 4:22-23 …..’And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.’ … Now who is God asking Pharaoh to let go? Not Jacob himself, but all His people. So God is applying the name “Israel” to ALL HIS PEOPLE.

Now take a look at the following interesting application of the name Israel … Hosea 11:1 …..’When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.’ … Who was God talking about here? Was it the literal nation of Israel? Well, Israel had by now fallen in and out of apostasy many times, so was God talking about someone else? … Matthew 2:13-14 …..’And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.’ … King Herod wanted Jesus killed and so God gave word to Joseph to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt. So was God talking about Jesus (as Israel) in Hosea? Well, look at this next verse … Matthew 2:15 …..’And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called my son.’ … Do you see this amazing truth? Matthew is quoting directly from Hosea, saying that the “Israel” spoken of in Hosea was Christ Jesus! So do you see the SPIRITUAL application of the name Israel?

Bible verses that once applied to literal Israel in the Old Testament, are now applied in a spiritual symbolic way to Christ Jesus, as Israel are no longer the “seed” because Christ is … Galatians 3:16 …..’Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.’ … Christ is now the seed, and anyone who believes in Him and follows Him are his CHOSEN PEOPLE.

Remember in the Old Testament that the Israelites were called God’s “chosen people”, “a kingdom of priests, a holy nation”? … Exodus 19:6 …..’And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.’ … But this statement is now applied to Christians … 1 Peter 2:9 …..’But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.’ … If you like many others think that Peter is talking to the Jews, then take another look. Peter says these people were “called out of darkness and into His marvellous light“. There is only one group of people this could be … THE GENTILE CONVERTS who are now Christians!

Galatians 3:29 …..’And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’

Romans 2:29 …..’But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.’

Friend, this is the amazing Bible truth about Israel. If you remember in Galatians 3:16, Paul stated that Christ was now the seed of Abraham, and above he says that ANYONE who is in Christ is also Abraham’s seed. In other words, ANYONE, whether Jew or Gentile will be called Israel! And as Paul confirms in Romans above, ANYONE can be a Jew (called Israel) if they are circumcised in the heart and are in Christ Jesus.

What does this mean? It means that literal Jews (Israel) are no longer God’s special chosen people. Instead, ANYONE who comes to Christ Jesus now has that special position.

Romans 9:6-8 …..’Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.’ … In other words, we who are “children of Christ” are counted for the promise and become the special chosen people. Being a Jew of the flesh counts for nothing now. Anyone who worships God in spirit and truth now is TRUE Israel … Philippians 3:3 …..’For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have NO confidence in the flesh.’

Now from what we have learned above, let’s apply it to the following verse … Romans 11:26 …..’And so all Israel shall be saved.’ … Many people apply this to literal Israel of the flesh, saying that all literal Jews will turn to Christ Jesus in the last days and be saved. But in light of what we have learned above, there is only ONE conclusion that we can come to, which is, ALL WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS will be saved … SPIRITUAL ISRAEL! And if you read Romans 11 in context, then you will see that Paul says in verse 14 that he wants to provoke the people of his own flesh (literal jews) to jealousy, so that some of them MIGHT be saved.

So you can see from the language Paul is using that SOME of the literal Jews MIGHT be saved IF they turn from their sins and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. And in light of the rest of the clear evidence shown, the Israel he speaks of in Romans 11:26 must be the true Christian Church.

Galatians 3:28 …..’There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for YE ARE ALL ONE in Christ Jesus.’

Colossians 3:10-11 …’And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.’

I hope you see this truth, because you will not get to the truth about end times Bible prophecy unless you see the truth that the name of Israel is now applied to the Christian Church. Words like Israel, temple, mount Zion, Babylon, all have a symbolic spiritual meaning in end time prophecy, not a literal one. Once you understand this, you can move forward in your study of Bible prophecy and your eyes will be opened WIDE!

Jesus said to the Jews … “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:38)

Jesus also said … “Therefore I say unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:43)

The Jews had Jesus crucified and even said themselves … “His blood be on us and on our children.” (Matthew 27:25) … And not only did they reject Christ and crucify Him, they also rejected God’s extended mercy to them when they rejected the gospel message given through the apostles. Then Paul says to them … “It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing as ye put it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the gentiles.” (Acts 13:46)

After Jesus was crucified, the gospel message had to go to the Jews first to fulfill the 70 weeks of Daniel. In His mercy, God gave the Jews a last chance to turn to Him and accept the gospel message, but they rejected it, and therefore the “kingdom was taken from them” and the apostles turned their attention from the Jews to the Gentiles. This is the truth about Israel in the end times. They are no longer the chosen of God and therefore we need not look to them for fulfillment of end times Bible prophecy.

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Did a Tsunami Hit Ancient Israel 2,800 Years Ago and Nobody Noticed?

A tsunami slammed into the coast of northern Israel around 2,800 years ago, yet despite the violence of the event, no record of it is known, says an Israeli archaeologist. The evidence is physical: an anomalous 80-centimeter thick layer of sand with pottery fragments and stones where it doesn’t belong – on top of a Phoenician cemetery which is meters above sea level at the site called Tel Achziv.

Written records of past tsunami events only exist where there was a population to witness the event that survived, the means to record it, and the resulting documentation was not destroyed, lost, or forgotten over time. Physical evidence is another matter.

“We can see signs of the wave from Achziv to Rosh Hanikra – sediment from the tsunami with bits of broken pottery,” Avraham Ronen, professor emeritus of Haifa University, tells Haaretz.

Assuming it happened, the tsunami presumably hit the Israeli coast along a wider range, but the evidence has disappeared or not been noticed, though Ronen qualifies that tsunamis can be narrowly focused.

The uppermost part of the anomalous sandy layer at Achziv, over the Phoenician graves, is very hard, more so than could have been achieved by Man’s hand alone.
The uppermost part of the anomalous sandy layer at Achziv, over the Phoenician graves, is very hard, more so than could have been achieved by Man’s hand alone. Avraham Ronen

Tsunamis travel with the water column, not on top of it like regular waves. Unlike smaller waves, they churn up and scar the sea bottom. Telltale signs on the seabed are, for instance, one way a massive tsunami in the Mediterranean around 8,000 years ago was detected, an event some think was precipitated by a slope of Mt. Etna collapsing into the sea, creating a massive landslide. Italian archaeologists claim to have found evidence in the form of an abandoned village found under water at Israel’s Atlit-Yam, just south of Achziv, from the same time. Israeli archaeologists suspect the timeline doesn’t quite work.

In the case of Ronen’s postulated wave thousands of years later, any scarring left on the sea-floor would have been difficult to date and associate with this tsunami, as opposed to some other traumatic event, he says.

Nor is the cause of the Achziv tsunami known or even theorized at this point. But the layer of litter-strewn sand over the graves is difficult to explain otherwise.

Support for his theory is the fact that we haven’t experienced one in living memory, but tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea are not rare, based on core samples taken from the sea floor.

“According to the historical database alone, written records going back about 2,500 years on Israel coastline, there were at least 12 to 13 tsunami events,” Beverly Goodman, an expert on tsunamis in  archaeology, tells Haaretz. “Of these 12 to 13 tsunamis, we have actually found physical evidence for about seven.”

Further south, in Ashkelon, the evidence indicates two more tsunami events independent of the ones in Caesarea, she adds. She and her people have collected cores from the northern part of the Israeli seabed too: when they analyze them, they might add to the body of evidence supporting Ronen’s theory.

How big were these tsunamis that keep washing through the Mediterranean Sea, which is essentially a closed system, almost like a large bathtub?

“We have evidence of some up to nine meters high, and that’s the deposits on land, not the water height,” says Goodman. “That’s from archaeological excavations. We are now taking data on preserved layers offshore and working with modelers to figure out how fast the water flowed, and how far inland the waves traveled.”

Ronen believes the tsunami that may have hit Achziv was probably also about eight to nine meters in height. That’s as much as a two- to three-story building.

Anomalous layer of sand

Tel Achziv is a Phoenician site in northern Israel, near Israel’s border with Lebanon, as well as a favorite beach site for the contemporary hipster crowd. Achziv’s south contains a cemetery with graves carved into the kurkar sandstone between the 10th century B.C.E. and the 7th century B.C.E., according to analysis of the ceramic assembly carbon-14 dating of remains.

On top of these Phoenician graves lies the strange loose aggregate of sand about 80 centimeters thick. That layer is about 3.5 to 4 meters above the present sea level in the Mediterranean, which has not changed much over the last 3,000 years.

Generally, the sandstone along the coast was created by wind-blown sand gradually hardening into stone over millennia. By the nature of things, wind does not carry heavy items like stones and ceramic fragments.

The anomalous layer contains something not found in any other layer of sandstone or kurkar along the Israeli coast – bits of stone and pottery fragments. The fragments are of the same type as the pottery in the underlying Phoenician graves. Their edges are not rounded and smoothed by water, meaning they had not been lying in the sea before being mixed with sand and deposited on land, explains Ronen.

While it cannot be categorically stated that the pottery fragments found in the anomalous sandstone layer came from the graves beneath, that is a likely hypothesis, says Ronen.

By its location, the aggregate kurkar layer seems to be younger than the layer of graves below it. Indeed, carbon-14 analysis of remains found in it dates the layer to around the 8th century B.C.E., says Ronen.

At first the archaeologists considered that the layer might be a human artifact, Ronen explains: an attempt perhaps to imitate the surrounding kurkar in order to frustrate grave robbers, for instance. (They abounded in antiquity too.) But nothing like this layer has been found anywhere else in Israel, for one thing.

Also, the upper bit of the sandy layer is more consolidated, and harder, than the lower part, an effect humans couldn’t achieve. Nature takes thousands upon thousands of years to damp down sand to the point where it becomes rocklike, he points out.

Geologists were equally foxed to explain the mystery layer, Ronen says. The only thing that answers the riddle is a tsunami, which mixes up heavy things like the stones and pottery fragments with sand.

And why didn’t the ancients write down the story? For one, anybody living there on the coast would have likely drowned. For another, maybe they did, but we haven’t found the record yet.

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Israel Slams ‘Absurd’ UNESCO Decision on Jerusalem, West Bank Holy Sites

Israel Slams ‘Absurd’ UNESCO Decision on Jerusalem, West Bank Holy Sites

UNESCO board adopted last week five proposals initiated by Arab member states regarding sites which are considered holy to both Jews and Muslims.

A decision by the United Nations body in charge of preserving historical sites to define West Bank shrines sacred to both Jews and Muslims as Palestinian is “absurd,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday.

One of the sites, in the city of Hebron, has been a flashpoint for decades. Jews call it the Cave of the Patriarchs, where the Bible says the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried along with three of their wives.

Muslims call it the al-Ibrahimi mosque, reflecting the fact that Abraham is considered the father of both Judaism and Islam.

Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the UNESCO decision which was made last week. “The attempt to detach the people of Israel from its heritage is absurd,” the statement said. “If the places where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish nation are buried, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah and Rachel some 4,000 years ago are not part of the Jewish heritage then what is?”

Hebron is a West Bank flashpoint because it is the only place where Jews live among Palestinians. About 500 settlers live in enclaves near the disputed holy site, guarded by Israeli soldiers who control part of the city of about 170,000 Palestinians.

Earlier this year Israel registered the Hebron shrine as well as a tomb near Jerusalem, believed to be the burial site of the Matriarch Rachel, as national heritage sites.

Both shrines are located in the West Bank, territory the Palestinians want as part of their future state. Palestinians view the additions of the shrines to Israel’s heritage list as a land grab.

“It is regrettable that the organization established to promote historical heritage sites worldwide is trying for political reasons to detach the ties between the Jewish people and their heritage,” Netanyahu’s statement said.

“The state of Israel in contrast to its neighbors will continue to preserve freedom of religion at these sites and preserve them for future generations,” he said.

UNESCO, in its biannual session which ended last week, adopted five proposals initiated by Arab member states regarding Jewish and Muslim holy sites.

One of them, in what Israelis charged was a first, used an allegedly politically motivated title to describe Rachel’s burial site in Bethlehem.

Referring to the structure as the “Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb” in its statement, the UNESCO board voted 44 to one, with 12 abstentions, to reaffirm the site was “an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories and that any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law.”

Israelis charged that Rachel’s Tomb was traditionally referred to also by Muslims as such in Arabic, as “Qubat Rachel,” although the structure also traditionally included a Muslim prayer house adjacent to a Muslim cemetery.

They charge that the name “Bilal bin Rabah Mosque” only came into use following Arab-Israeli riots in 1996 and was coined by Palestinians for political reasons.

Army Radio on Friday quoted a Foreign Ministry statement as charging the UNESCO decision used “crudely politically deceptive” language and that this distorted and sidestepped the body’s cultural mission.

A spokesman also called the UNESCO decision “shameful” and charged it “reeked of political bias.”

The UNESCO executive board also expressed “deep concern” over “ongoing Israeli excavations and archaeological works” at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s walled, historic Old City.

Israeli media quoted Western Wall and Holy Sites Rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitz, as charging that the international body “responsible for heritage has turned heritage into politics” and was “distorting history.”

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East Jerusalem Attractions

You can probably cover the major sights of East Jerusalem in a half-day. Saladin Street leading northward from the Old City walls is a modern thoroughfare of clothing shops, appliance stores, and restaurants.

Mount Scopus, Mount of Olives & Valley of Kidron

The northern half of the long, high Mount of Olives ridge just east of the Old City is called Mount Scopus—Har Hatsofim, which means “Mount of Observation.” It was here that the Roman armies of Titus and Vespasian camped in a.d. 70 and observed the city under siege as they planned their final attack. The southern part of the ridge is the Mount of Olives. The deep Valley of Kidron/Valley of Jehoshaphat separates the ridge from the Old City. Traditionally, many believe this will be the site of the Last Judgment.

For Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus, take bus no. 4A, 9, or 28 from downtown West Jerusalem. Other parts of the Mount of Olives best reached by foot from the Old City’s Lion’s Gate, or by taxi.

The Commonwealth War Cemetery CEMETERY-At the northern end of Mount Scopus is the final resting place for 2,472 Christian and Jewish soldiers who died fighting in the British Army during World War I. A memorial also honors 1,000 Muslim and Hindu soldiers, buried in separate graveyards in South Jerusalem. Open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

About 90m (295 ft.) from the crest of the ridge is Mount Scopus Hadassah Hospital; at the crest is Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, which opened in 1925, and is now one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the Middle East. The university is mostly housed in a modern, fortresslike megacomplex designed by David Reznik. The design reflects the university’s past experience, when from 1948 to 1967 it was a besieged Israeli enclave surrounded by then-Jordanian-controlled territory. From the Harry S. Truman Institute (a pink stone building), there’s a sweeping view of both the New and Old cities. Tours are conducted Sunday to Friday at 11am from the Sherman Building.

Visfas: The road skirting the ridge of the Mount of Olives proceeds past the high-towered Augusta Victoria Hospital, the Arab village of Et-Tur, the Mount of Olives, the Jewish Cemetery, and the Seven Arches Hotel. The best views of Jerusalem are from Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, or from the Jewish graveyard on the Mount of Olives, and the Seven Arches Hotel. For optimum viewing and photographing, come in the morning, when the sun is behind you.

Central Part of the Mount of Olives-Here you’ll find six churches and one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world. It was this cemetery that religious Jews had in mind when they came to die in the Holy Land through the start of the 20th century. Start down the path on the right, and you’ll come to the Tombs of the Prophets, believed to be the burial place of Haggai, Malachi, and Zechariah, but identified by archaeologists as tombs of prominent and noble families from the time of the Hasmoneans (Maccabees) in the 1st century b.c.

The People’s Princess

Among the thousands of people who have found their final resting place on the Mount of Olives, one of the most recent and unusual is Princess Alice of Greece, mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. Born in Windsor Castle in 1885, the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Alice at an early age was diagnosed as being almost totally deaf. Carefully trained in lip reading, she was fluent in both English and French; later in life she also mastered Greek.

In 1903, Princess Alice married Prince Andrew, son of King George of Greece, and devoted her life to helping others. During the 1912 Balkan War, she worked as a nurse close to the battlefront, caring for sick and wounded Greek soldiers. During this time, both the princess and King George stayed in the home of the family of Haim Cohen, in the northern Greek city of Trikkala, near the war zone. Alice was fascinated by the family’s warmth and traditions. The princess’s friendship continued when Cohen later became a member of the Greek Parliament. By the late 1930s, the Greek royal family was no longer in power, but Princess Alice remained in Athens, wearing the habit of a nun as she became increasingly committed to a life of religion and charitable work.

In 1943, during the Nazi occupation of Greece, Princess Alice learned that the widow and children of Haim Cohen were desperately trying to escape deportation to the death camps in Poland. At the risk of her life, and with the help of two servants, Princess Alice hid her Jewish friends on the grounds of the royal palace in Athens for 13 months until Greece was liberated. Princess Alice died at Buckingham Palace in 1969, and in 1988, in accordance with her dying wish, was reinterred at the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives. In 1994, Prince Philip and his sister, Princess Sophie, traveled to Jerusalem to receive Yad VaShem’s Medal of Honor of Righteous Among the Nations, awarded to their late mother. A tree in memory of Princess Alice has been planted at Yad VaShem.

Farther up the road, on the southern fringe of Et-Tur, stands the Mosque (and Chapel) of the Ascension (ring the doorbell for admission), marking the spot where Jesus ascended to heaven. Interestingly, this Christian shrine is under Muslim control. Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet. However, they do not believe Jesus to be the son of God, nor do they believe that Jesus died on the cross.

Just a few steps away is the Church of the Pater Noster that was built on the traditional spot where Jesus instructed his disciples in the Lord’s Prayer. Tiles along the walls of the church are inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer in 44 languages. The Carmelite Convent and Basilica of the Sacred Heart are on the adjoining hill.

From up here you can see a cluster of churches on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. All can be reached either from here or from the road paralleling the fortress wall, diagonally opposite Saint Stephen’s Gate (Lion’s Gate).

If you head down the path to the right of the Tomb of the Prophets, you’ll come to Dominus Flevit (daily 8am–noon and 2:30–5pm), which is a relatively contemporary Franciscan church that marks the spot where Jesus wept over his vision of the future destruction of Jerusalem. Next, the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, with its Muscovite-style onion-shaped domes of gold, was built in 1888 by Czar Alexander III (Tues and Thurs 10–11:30am). Call tel. 02/628-4371 or surf to www.jerusalem-mission.org/convent_magdalene.html for more information.

The Roman Catholic Garden of Gethsemane (Apr–Oct daily 8:30am–noon and 3pm–sunset; in winter daily 8:30am–noon and 2pm–sunset) adjoins the Basilica of the Agony (Church of All Nations); it’s in the courtyard where Jesus is believed to have prayed before his arrest. The church’s gold mosaic facade (which shines gloriously in late-afternoon sun) shows God looking down from heaven over Jesus and the peoples of the world. The church was built by people from 16 different nations in 1924. Next door, past beautifully tended gardens of ancient olive trees and bougainvillea, is the Tomb of the Virgin, which is a deep underground chamber housing the tombs of Mary and Joseph. The tomb is open daily 8am to noon and 2:30 to 5:30pm.

Kidron Valley-The Valley of Kidron is between the Mount of Olives and the Old City walls. It runs south, between Mount Ophel (where David built his city) and the Mount of Contempt. Just under the wall here, roughly in front of Al Aqsa Mosque, are two tombs: Absalom’s Tomb and the Tomb of Zechariah. At one time, religious Jews would throw stones at Absalom’s tomb (Kever Avshalom) in condemnation of Absalom, who rebelled against his father, King David. Modern scholars attribute Absalom’s Tomb and its neighboring structures to Herodian times—they’re Jerusalem’s only relatively intact structures from before the Roman destruction in a.d. 70.

The Valley of Kidron is also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The Book of Joel records that the last judgments will be rendered here.

About 180m (591 ft.) down the valley is the Fountain of the Virgin, in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. Water from the spring (the Gihon) anointed Solomon king and served as the only water source for ancient Jerusalem. During the Assyrian invasion that wiped out the northern Kingdom of Israel (8th c. b.c.), Jerusalem’s King Hezekiah constructed an aqueduct through which the waters of the Gihon could be diverted and hidden inside the city, an extraordinary engineering feat at the time. Today, no one knows exactly how the tunnel diggers, working from each end of the project, were able to link up deep inside the city’s bedrock This tunnel saved ancient Jerusalem and the surrounding Kingdom of Judah from oblivion and changed the course of world history, Hezekiah’s Aqueduct is still there (underneath the ruins of a church commemorating the spot where Mary once drew water to wash the clothes of Jesus). It’s about 480m (1,575 ft.) long, and the depth of the water is from .5 to 1m (1 2/3 ft.–3 1/3 ft.). The walk (currently in escorted tour groups only) takes about 40 minutes; take a flashlight or a candle and a bag to keep valuables dry with you. You can walk through from Sunday to Thursday between 8:30am and 3pm, on Friday and holiday eves until 1pm. Entrance is free, but give the caretaker a tip. It is best to visit Silwan and Hezekiah’s tunnel with a tour group. Beside the Gihon Spring lie the ruins of the oldest part of Jerusalem: The City of David.

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What Are The Most Important Religious Sites In Jerusalem?

Visiting Religious Sites in Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem is one of the oldest & holiest cities in the world, home to important religious sites for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. These are some of the most sacred sites.

All three of the world’s major monotheistic faiths consider Jerusalem sacred, and the city is full of fascinating holy sites to visit. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the city’s tumultuous past & cultural significance either.

I spent a few days exploring the Old City, which has been fought over for centuries — you can still see bullet holes scaring the city’s stone gates.

Jerusalem is a magnet for both conflict & spiritual inspiration.

In no particular order, here are the 3 most important religious sites in Jerusalem, including tips for visiting and intriguing history about them.

Top Religious Sites In Jerusalem

Jerusalem Religious Sites

Dome of the Rock

Al-Aqsa Mosque Jerusalem

Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif)

The Temple Mount is a massive plaza of stone in the South East corner of Jerusalem’s Old City surrounded by date palms and cypress trees. Arguably the most holy place in the city, it has major significance to all 3 religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity).

It’s thought to be Mount Moriah, where Abraham offered to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. Today on the Temple Mount complex you’ll find 2 important Islamic structures, the Dome of The Rock & the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

For Jews, the Temple Mount was the location of the First Temple, built by King Solomon in 957 BC to house the Ark of the Covenant (which held the Ten Commandments) in a special room called “The Holy of Holies”.

It’s the most sacred site in Judaism, and the Foundation Stone under the dome is where Earth was first created.

For Muslims, Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) is the 3rd holiest site in Islam after Mecca & Medina in Saudi Arabia. The rock under the dome is where the Prophet Muhammad left Earth to visit heaven on a winged horse during his Night Journey in the 7th Century. It was also the direction of Islamic prayer before God allowed Muhammad to pray towards Mecca instead.

For Christians, the Temple Mount is significant because the Jewish temple located here was where Jesus prayed daily & later preached with his disciples.

Temple Mount Jerusalem

Temple Mount Complex

Al-Aqsa Mosque Jerusalem

A Peek Inside Al-Aqsa

Tips For Visiting

The Temple Mount is a controversial & culturally significant place. Israel took control of the Old City in 1967, but Muslims continue to manage the site. However armed Israeli soldiers patrol inside. It’s a regular flashpoint for protests & violence between Jews & Arabs.

Tourists can usually visit the Temple Mount, but there are restrictions. The entrance for non-Muslims is at Mughrabi Bridge (an enclosed wooden ramp) near the Western Wall. It’s a religious site, so modest dress is required.

You must pass a security checkpoint with metal detectors, and certain religious artifacts are not allowed in (Bibles, crosses, Star of David, etc.)

Tourists can walk around the plaza taking photos, but are currently not allowed inside the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa Mosque after a fire was set inside the mosque by a Christian extremist many years ago.

However you can peek inside Al-Aqsa from a window on the side of the building. Jews can visit the Temple Mount, but they can’t pray openly. When I was there, Jews were guarded by armed Israeli soldiers and greeted with chants of Allahu Akbar (God is Great) from groups of praying Muslims nearby.

There is definitely tension in the air, but it didn’t feel overly dangerous.

Temple Mount Hours

  • Closed to non-Muslims on Fridays & Saturdays
  • Open 7:30am – 11am and 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • Sometimes closed due to tensions between Jews & Arabs
The Western Wall Jerusalem

The Western (Wailing) Wall

Men Praying Jerusalem

Jewish Men Praying at the Wall

The Western (Wailing) Wall

The Western Wall is an ancient stone retaining wall built for the 2nd Temple that surrounds the whole Temple Mount plaza. Also called the Wailing Wall, it’s believed to be the closest spot to Solomon’s original temple and the Holy of Holies (or Gate of Heaven), the place where Jewish prayer is directed.

For Muslims, the Western Wall is known as the Buraq Wall, where the Prophet Muhammed tied his winged horse Buraq.

Prayer notes are frequently left between crevices of the huge 2 – 8 ton stones, Bar Mitzvahs are held here, and you’ll find people praying 24 hours a day. There’s a separate women’s prayer area off to the right side. Only a small section of the Western Wall is visible, the rest extends underground.

The Western Wall was captured by Jordan during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and Jews were restricted from visiting for 19 years. However it was recaptured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, with the Israeli military bulldozing all the Arab homes in front of it.

Prayer Notes Jerusalem

Prayer Notes Stuck in Cracks

Orthodox Jews Jerusalem

Orthodox Prayer Group

Tips For Visiting

Visitors to the Western Wall are expected to wear a kippa (skull cap) freely provided at the entrance, and dress modestly as if they were visiting a synagog. As with the Temple Mount, there is a security checkpoint with metal detectors. Cameras & electronic devices are not allowed on Saturdays, the Jewish sabbath.

Jewish custom is to backup as you leave the wall, but this isn’t mandatory. There are cool underground tunnels which allow you to see much more of the structure, the entrance is at the left corner of the visible wall.

Western Wall Hours

  • Open 24 hours a day, every day
  • Tunnels are open Sunday – Thursday, 7am – Afternoon
Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem

The Aedicule (Tomb of Jesus)

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church Of The Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre marks the spot where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. It’s one of Christianity’s most important religious sites. There are a few significant things to see in the church.

The Stone of Anointing is found at the entrance, where Jesus was anointed before burial. Up the stairs to the right is Calvary, the hill where Jesus was crucified. Beneath the crucifixion altar is a hole said to be where his cross was raised.

Under the main rotunda you’ll find the Aedicule, an enclosed chapel built over the tomb of Jesus. It also holds the Angel Stone, a fragment of the round stone door used to close the tomb.

Armed crusaders visited the church as pilgrims during the First Crusades, leaving behind graffiti carved into the walls that still remains.

Today the church is shared & maintained by different denominations of Christian monks — occasionally physical fights & arguments break out between them.

The key to the church is actually looked after by a Muslim family as it has been tradition for centuries.

Crucifixion Altar Jerusalem

Calvary & the Crucifixion Altar

Jewish Tomb Jerusalem

Possible Rock Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea

Tips For Visiting

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a very busy place. It’s the end point of the Via Dolorosa with 4 stations of the cross located here. Much smaller than the other important religious sites in Jerusalem, it can be completely packed with tourists.

Unlike the others though, there are no checkpoints or metal detectors.

If you want to get the best photos, arrive early when they open at 5am. Yeah, I know it’s early, but you’ll have the church pretty much to yourself. Later in the day there will be a huge line of people waiting to visit the Aedicule. As with other holy sites on the list, dress modestly.

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