Life under fire in Sderot
Paul Calvert hears the stories of two residents, and visits an Israeli police station witnessing shelves of rockets that have been fired from Gaza.
Sderot is a very interesting city as it is on the border with Gaza. It has felt the full force of rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists inside the Gaza Strip. Recently in a 24 hour period, over 400 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
Imagine the fear you would feel when the siren goes off telling you that a rocket is heading your way. In Sderot the residents have 15 seconds to find a bomb shelter.
One thing that you notice when you travel around Sderot is that it is bomb shelter city. There are bomb shelters everywhere. We went to a children’s playground and in the playground was a bomb shelter. It was made to look like a giant caterpillar but it had a purpose and that was to protect children if a rocket was to come in.
When I visited Sderot, Noam Bedein from the Sderot Media Center was the tour guide. He explained the situation in the Gaza border area and we as journalists got to ask him questions.
Noam told us that every bus stop had a bomb shelter next to it.
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Netanyahu: Every individual is created in the image of God
A visibly moved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saluted the organization Shalva for caring for and treating many of Israel’s disabled.
Netanyahu was speaking at the annual New Year’s Toast for foreign journalists sponsored by the Government Press Office. This year’s theme was honoring persons with disabilities. The prime minister had just listened to a rendition of “Hallelujah” by Shalva’s band. Both lead singers are blind and are the other six members face other physical or mental challenges.
After their performance, Netanyahu delivered an unscripted and passionate defense for the disabled. “This goes to the fundamental concept developed in this land, which was a complete departure from anything that existed in the ancient world and that is that all human beings are created in the image of God. There was an innate equality. This is the basic Jewish idea that promoted the birth and the growth of our civilization.”
Netanyahu added the soul is the heart of the matter.
“I would say that living creatures with cognitive abilities, the ability also to feel pain, sensation, grief, happiness, sadness this transcends human beings but it’s most encapsulated in human beings. It’s their soul.”
Yet Netanyahu said other forces in the world challenge that sanctity.
“It’s still contested. There are many forces that contest this idea and we have to contend with them and I can say that it’s not always obvious to our critics the fundamental role that Israel plays in this region and in the world and that is to hold the forces of radicalism and intolerance and fanaticism and those that don’t recognize the universal rights of men and women and children and girls and people of different faiths that they have fundamental rights that have to be safeguarded and to guard those rights you have to do one thing: you have to be prepared to defend them.”
He lauded Shalva. “We recognize that and we salute what Shalva is doing in Israel, which I think is a beacon to the entire world. Congratulations and thank you.”
Shalva is the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. According to its website, it provides “transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion.”
During his remarks at the event, he discussed a host of issues affecting Israel and the Middle East including the threat of Iran, the growing relationship with Sunni Arab nations and the amazing technological achievements. But the most emotional part of the evening belonged to the least among us.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, December 12, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Chris is CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief based in Jerusalem.
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Drive-by shooting leaves mother, premie baby, in critical condition
JERUSALEM, Israel – Doctors at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center said Monday the premature infant delivered after a drive-by shooter critically injured his mother Sunday has been put on a ventilator.
The baby’s 21-year-old mother, who was in her seventh month of pregnancy, remains in critical but stable condition. The shooter also hit the baby’s father and four other passengers waiting at a bus stop near the Samarian town of Ofra.
Israeli security forces are still searching for the shooter who drove off after the attack.
Hamas, which praised last week’s UN vote in its favor, called the shooting “blessed.”
“We appreciate the blessed shooting that proves that the resistance is present in the occupied West Bank despite the ongoing attempts to destroy it,” the Times of Israel translated Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou Arabic-language post on Facebook. “It proves that any attempt to condemn the Palestinian resistance will fail in the face of the desire and valiance of our Palestinian people.”
According to the report, Hamas leaders later labeled the attack “heroic,” saying the victims were “Israeli occupation soldiers” rather than civilians.
“The West Bank is taking the initiative today to resist the occupation and to respond to its ongoing aggressions against our people, where the heroic shooting of a group of Israeli occupation soldiers near the settlement of ‘Ofra’ in Ramallah, is an affirmation of the legitimate right of our people to resist the occupation.”
In a tweet Monday morning, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reminded the United Nations of last week’s failure to pass a resolution condemning Hamas attacks against Israel.
“Another vile act of Palestinian terrorism last night included the shooting of a pregnant woman,” Friedman tweeted.
Another vile act of #Palestinian terrorism last night included the shooting of a pregnant woman. Hamas calls the shooters “heroic” — yes, the same #Hamas that the @UN could not resolve to condemn last week. The #US stands with #Israel against terrorists even if others won’t.
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) December 10, 2018
White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt also condemned the UN vote.
.@UN this is what you defended last week when you failed to condemn Hamas. Hamas praises yet another terror attack. You had the ability to help fight against terror. Is this what the UN wants its legacy to be? https://t.co/MPLWVYdQwY
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) December 10, 2018
“UN this is what you defended last week when you failed to condemn Hamas. Hamas praises yet another terror attack. You had the ability to help fight against terror. Is this what the UN wants its legacy to be?”
Hamas, the Palestinian faction that’s ruled the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, has recently talked about a long-term ceasefire with Israel, mediated by Egypt, while continuing its terrorist activities, which include weekly protests along the border with Israel and less-frequent attempts to infiltrate Israel.
Hamas, the Palestinian branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, is listed as a terror organization by the US and Israel.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, December 10, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.
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Christian-Jewish coalition urging Australian PM to move Embassy to Jerusalem
As reported in The Australian late Tuesday (4/12), a broad coalition of Jewish, Christian and civic groups have joined together in a petition calling on Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the nation’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Morrison announced in October that Australia was considering to place its embassy in Jerusalem, and indicated a decision would be made by year’s end. Key coalition members have been meeting with senior government officials over the past year to urge the Embassy move and to offer their public backing for such a decision, and those efforts intensified after Morrison’s recent announcement.
In a joint statement released on Tuesday, just ahead of the last parliamentary session before the holidays, the coalition called upon the Australian government “to give formal recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to announce the Australian embassy located in Tel Aviv will be relocated to Israel’s government precinct in Jerusalem as soon as feasible”.
The Australian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem took a lead role in bringing together the broad alignment behind the petition, which also includes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Australian Jewish Association, Liberal Friends of Israel, Zionist Federation of Australia, Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand, Advance Australia and Christians for Israel Australia.
The coalition statement reads, in part:
“Jerusalem is Israel’s seat of government, and the location of the nation’s parliament, ministerial offices, supreme court, and the official residences of the president and prime minister.”
“When government officials visit Israel, they meet in Jerusalem, when foreign ambassadors present their credentials in Israel, they do so in Jerusalem. Israel’s sovereignty over the western parts of the city is self-evident.”
‘‘Recognition of Jerusalem is therefore a pragmatic acknowledgment of an existing reality that it is Israel’s functioning capital.”
“By acknowledging Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, the Australian government sends an important signal that it’s unacceptable to deny the Jewish people’s historical, religious and national ties to Jerusalem.”
When the last 13 national embassies left Jerusalem in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was founded that year as a permanent representation of Christian solidarity with Israel and particularly its capital of Jerusalem, in recognition of the ancient Jewish attachment to this city. Today, the ICEJ has branch offices in nearly 100 nations and supporters from more than 170 countries worldwide. The ICEJ has been instrumental so far in the moves of the United States and Guatemalan embassies to Jerusalem, as well as the Czech Republic’s decision to begin the process of moving its embassy to Jerusalem.
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The unexpected significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
It was November, 1947. The learned professor studied the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls to try and ascertain if they were as important as he dared to suspect. No one had yet identified whether or not they were genuine, or the huge significance held in those ancient and fragile fragments.
“My hands shook as I started to unwrap one of them”, Professor Eliezer Sukenik of Hebrew University wrote in his journal.1 “I read a few sentences. It was written in beautiful biblical Hebrew. The language was like that of the Psalms, but the text was unknown to me. I looked and looked, and I suddenly had the feeling that I was privileged by destiny to gaze upon a Hebrew Scroll which had not been read for more than 2,000 years.”
He took them back to his home in Jerusalem to examine them further. The timing of Professor Sukenik’s eureka moment was almost as significant as the discovery itself. The world was in the throes of deciding whether or not the people of Israel could have a home in the land of their fathers: the UN were voting on the Partition Plan that exact hour, on November 29th 1947.
“While I was examining these precious documents in my study, the late news on the radio announced that the United Nations would be voting on the resolution that night—whether or not Israel would be allowed to become a nation… It was past midnight when the voting was announced. And I was engrossed in a particularly absorbing passage in one of the scrolls when my son rushed in with the shout that the vote on the Jewish State had passed. This great event in Jewish history was thus combined in my home in Jerusalem with another event, no less historic, the one political, and the other cultural.”
God’s remarkable timing to reveal his secrets
Before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, suggestions had been arising that the Jewish people had fabricated the Bible, and that they had no real connection to the land. Just as the people of Israel faced great obstacles entering the Promised Land the first time round, so they faced great opposition in the twentieth century. But now a shepherd boy in the desert of Qumran blew those doubts about the Bible out of the water with his accidental discovery… just in time for the birth of Israel in 1948! God’s timing was perfect, as always.
“On the very day, the very day, that Israel’s rebirth was confirmed, a Jewish professor confirms the existence of ancient Israel. You really have to intellectually dishonest if you are going to claim that God was not behind Israel’s dramatic rebirth,” says Ron Cantor, a Messianic Jewish pastor in Israel.2
This amazing discovery shows us that the Biblical texts were passed down with extraordinary accuracy. The scrolls were 1000 years older than any text we had before the discovery, yet the book of Isaiah you have in your Bible is the same as the one found in that ancient jar in Qumran, with only a few letters changed.
What the Dead Sea Scrolls bring us today
As well as solid evidence that the Biblical text has not changed for two millennia, we now have invaluable insights into Jewish culture and lifestyle at the time of Yeshua and the birth of the church. We can also see how minor changes made to letters in the Biblical text by Medieval rabbis covered up some Messianic prophecy pointing to Yeshua! Today, Jewish people can examine the ancient texts and decide for themselves what – or who – the Biblical prophets were referring to. More than that, the scrolls show us that there was significant Messianic expectation among the Jewish community in the century right before Yeshua was born. They were expecting a Messiah whom heaven and earth would obey – one who would be the very Son of God!
(Above: Excerpts from a fascinating conversation with one of the leading New Testament scholars of our time, and an authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Dr. Craig Evans.)
And the findings continue: More recently, remains of an ancient Torah scroll were found in a burnt synagogue by the Dead Sea, and only this year, another cave in Qumran was found to contain evidence of more scrolls.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls made for a symbolic birthday gift for the state still struggling to survive out of utero. The texts are celebrated icons of Israel’s heritage”, writes Shelley Neese in her book, The Copper Scroll Project. “The Egyptians have their pyramids and the Chinese have their wall… but the Jews have their scrolls, monuments built from words rather than mortar”. These ancient scrolls symbolize the people of Israel and their great contribution to the world: the Oracles of God.
In short, the Dead Sea Scrolls were an absolutely extraordinary discovery, full of invaluable treasures for us today.
This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.
ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.