News Update December 24th 2012
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isa 9:6
WORLD’S SECOND-OLDEST BIBLE FRAGMENT POSTED ONLINE: The University of Cambridge posted online thousands of pages from fragile religious manuscripts. One of the documents scanned and uploaded to the Cambridge Digital Library is the Nash Papyrus, a 2,000-year-old fragment containing the Ten Commandments and part of the Shema prayer discovered in Egypt in the late 19th century. It is the world’s second oldest known manuscript containing a text from the Hebrew Bible. The oldest are the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also digitized and uploaded last week was the Cairo Geniza Collection, an assortment of manuscript fragments that were found in a storeroom in Egypt in the late 1890s and that detail life in a Cairo area Jewish community from the Dark Ages through the 19th century. Geniza’s house documents are forbidden from destruction because Jewish law deems them holy. Other texts posted include the “Codex Bezae,” a 5th century New Testament; and the “Book of Deer,” a 10th century pocket gospel book 6.2 inches tall and 4.3 inches wide. (JTA)
SEA OF GALILEE RISES BY 7 INCHES: The Sea of Galilee, rose by a whopping 7 inches in the course of Saturday, and is now only 3.21 meters short of the maximum level, at which authorities allow its water to flow southward, into the Jordan River and Dead Sea. Since Thursday, the Kinneret’s level has risen by 9.5 inches, and it is expected to rise further through the beginning of the week. The Water Authority said the rise sets a 10-year record for the month of December in the last ten years. (Arutz-7) “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. Ps 65: 9
DOZENS OF HOTELS PLANNED IN HAIFA: Haifa is restoring past glory: The northern Israeli city, which had 55 hotels in the time of the British mandate, is facing a construction boom with as many as 40 hotel projects in the planning, approval or building stages. Most projects are for boutique hotels. National Council for Planning and Construction has approved a waterfront plan that will develop the city’s neglected beach, transforming it into a center for tourism, leisure, trade, and nightlife. An average 85% occupancy rate is prompting the entrepreneurs and authorities to develop the hotel industry at a record pace. After a 7% increase in tourism over the past year, the municipality seeks to turn Haifa into northern Israel’s tourist center, from which travelers will embark on day trips to Akko, Nazareth, Tiberias and the Galilee. About a year ago, the Tourism Ministry extended the city’s status as Development Area A, promising investors a 24% grant for the establishment of hotels and tourist attractions. (Ynet)
TURKEY TO RESUME NATO COOPERATION WITH ISRAEL: Turkey has agreed to drop its ban on cooperating with Israel as a third-country NATO partner, a diplomat said Sunday. Ankara cut off such cooperation after the Israeli army raided a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2010, leaving nine Turks dead. The decision to renew NATO links occurred at a December 4 meeting in Brussels of the 28-member alliance on a proposal by its Secretary General. The ban had “created a lack of confidence among the partners,” a diplomat said. The agreement comes after NATO agreed early this month to deploy Patriot anti-aircraft missiles along the Turkish border with Syria. Turkey’s relations with its former ally deteriorated sharply after the raid on the Turkish ship in international waters in the Mediterranean. (Ynet) Pray for renewed co-operation and favorable diplomatic relations between Israel and its former ally Turkey.
NETANYAHU: ISRAEL IS PREPARING FOR DRAMATIC CHANGES IN SYRIA: PM Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel is getting ready for the downfall of President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, and the implications this will have for the regime’s chemical weapons cache. Speaking at cabinet meeting, the prime minister said Israel “is following dramatic developments in Syria, cooperating with the US and the international community, and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the possibility of radical changes to the regime with all the consequences these may hold for networks of sensitive weapons.” The most reliable evidence of Assad’s deteriorating position has been the firing of Scud missiles at rebel strongholds in Syria’s north. NATO’s Secretary-General Rasmusen said Friday the Syrian military has continued to fire Scud-type missiles against anti-government forces, describing the move as an act of desperation of a regime nearing its end. The Scud is the regime’s second to the last resource, superseded only by the use of chemical and biological weapons against the opposition forces - which have not been tried because of the stern warnings issued by the international community. US intelligence says the regime may be readying chemical weapons and could be desperate enough to use them. Both Israel and the US have also expressed concerns they could fall into terrorist hands if the regime crumbles. (Reuters)
AT LEAST 90 KILLED OUTSIDE SYRIA BAKERY: Dozens of people were reported to have been killed or wounded in an air strike Sunday by the Syrian government in the central Syrian province of Hama. The incident took place in the town of Halfaya, opposition activists said. Activists on Sunday reported there were “at least 90” people killed and the death toll was likely to rise. Most of the victims were people who had been standing in line for bread, in a crowd that was estimated at about 1,000. Some observers say the death toll could reach 200. (INN) Pray G-d will mercifully bring to an end this bitter uprising in Syria. May there be miracles of comfort and healing for this war-torn people and an emerging of responsible leaders.
TOUGHER EU SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN COME INTO FORCE: New sanctions against Iran’s banking, shipping and industrial sectors took effect on Saturday, as part of the European Union’s effort to force Tehran to scale back its nuclear program. The toughest EU measures yet, includes bans on financial transactions, sales to Iran of shipping equipment and steel, and imports of Iranian natural gas, adding to earlier bans, including on the OPEC producer’s oil. They reflect heightened concern over Iran’s nuclear goals and Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if diplomacy and other measures fail to deliver a solution. (J.Post)
AHMADINEJAD: IRAN IN A SMART WAR WITH THE WEST: Iran is engaged in a “smart economic war” with Western powers whose sanctions against its nuclear program are hurting some Iranians, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday. “Targeted sanctions, which the enemies say are supposed to be crippling, have led to a drop in our oil sales,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to an oil embargo imposed by the EU. “They do not even let us transfer the oil money,” he said. “They thought Iran’s economy would break down, but it did not. Iran is engaged in a smart economic war with the enemy,” he said. According to the International Energy Agency, Iranian exports in November were estimated at 1.3 million barrels per day, down from nearly 2.3 million last year. Ahmadinejad said his government had “so far managed to control” the effects of sanctions on the economy but admitted “heavy pressure had been exerted on some Iranians because of sanctions.” He did not elaborate on how Iran was fighting off sanctions for fear the methods would be found by Western powers trying to pressure Iran back to the negotiating table over its nuclear ambitions. (Arutz-7)
EGYPT: VOTERS APPROVE CONSTITUTION: Egypt’s new constitution, which was drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly, was approved by 64% of voters in a two-round referendum, an official in the Muslim Brotherhood said on Sunday citing the group’s unofficial tally. An official from Egypt’s main opposition group, which campaigned against the constitution saying it would deepen divisions in Egypt, also said its unofficial count indicated the document was approved. The first round of voting was held on held on Dec.15 and a second round was staged on Saturday, with roughly half Egypt’s 51 million eligible voters covered in each round. “According to our calculations, the final result of the second round is 71% voting ‘yes’ and the overall result (of the two rounds) is 63.8%,” the Brotherhood official monitoring the vote was quoted as saying. (J.Post)
HAMAS PREPARING FOR WAR AGAINST ABBAS: Hamas is preparing to duplicate its 2007 civil war in Gaza and has instructed terror cells in Judea and Samaria to get ready for a military coup to oust Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, according to Israeli intelligence sources. The orders reportedly came from Hamas’ supreme leader Khaled Mashaal, who recently visited Gaza to celebrate what the terrorist organization claimed was a victory over Israel in last month’s missile war. Citing unnamed officials in the Israel Security Agency, a London newspaper reported Iran wants to have an allied militia in Judea and Samaria, parallel to Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon. Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of Abbas’ Fatah party, disclosed, “Hamas wants intifada and will take over the West Bank. We’re on the verge of catastrophe,” he said. “Netanyahu understands the geopolitical changes in the Middle East. No way would he give up an inch of the West Bank - he is convinced the intelligence assessment about a Muslim Brotherhood [Hamas] takeover is solid.” (Sunday Times) "He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers." Gen 16:12
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.
News Update September 16th 2012
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
"How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God." Ps 146:5
A SWEET AND A GOOD YEAR TO FRIENDS NEAR AND FAR: Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year also known as the Feast of Trumpets - begins at sunset Sunday, September 16, 2012, and ends Tuesday evening, September 18, 2012. The first of the Biblical autumn festivals, Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birth of the world and humanity. Symbolic foods such as apples and honey are central to the holiday, symbolizing the sweetness, health, success and good deeds which we hope the coming year will bring. In the midst of the troubled Middle East, marked with the riots and violence of this past week, we will pause in Israel to thank G-d for His sovereign goodness to us and to others throughout the exiting year. May His blessing be showered upon all of you who love Israel with such faithfulness and prayer. A sweet and a good year from your friends at Vision for Israel.
US EMBASSIES TARGETED IN PROTESTS SPANNING 20 COUNTRIES: Angry protests over an anti-Islam film spread across the Muslim world Friday, with demonstrators scaling the walls of US embassies in Tunisia and Sudan and torching part of a German embassy. Amid the turmoil, Islamsts waving black banners and shouting “God is great” stormed an international peacekeepers base in Egypt’s Sinai and battled troops, wounding four. Egypt’s new Islamist president went on national TV and appealed to Muslims to not attack embassies, denouncing the violence earlier this week in Libya that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador. Mohammed Morsi’s first public move to restrain protesters after days of near silence appeared aimed at repairing strains with the US over this week’s bloodshed. Throughout the region, security forces struggled to rein in protesters. The US ordered a Marine unit to Yemen in hopes of restoring order there. Police in Cairo prevented stone-throwing demonstrators from nearing the US Embassy, firing tear gas and deploying armored vehicles in a fourth day of clashes in the Egyptian capital. At least three protesters were killed around the region. The demonstrators came out after weekly Friday Muslim prayers, where many clerics in their mosque sermons urged congregations to defend their faith, denouncing the obscure movie produced in the US that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad. It was a dramatic expansion of protests that began earlier this week and saw assaults on the US embassies in Egypt and Yemen and the storming of the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The heaviest violence came in Sudan, where a prominent sheik on state radio urged protesters to march on the German Embassy to protest alleged anti-Muslim graffiti on mosques in Berlin and then to the US Embassy to protest the film. “America has long been an enemy to Islam and to Sudan,” Sheik Mohammed Jizouly said. Soon after, several hundred Sudanese stormed into the German Embassy, setting part of an embassy building aflame along with trash bins and a parked car. Protesters danced and celebrated around the burning barrels as palls of black smoke billowed into the sky until police firing tear gas drove them out of the compound. Some then began to demonstrate outside the British Embassy, shouting slogans. (NewsMax)
SUDAN REFUSES TO ALLOW US MARINES TO PROTECT EMBASSY: Sudan won’t allow the US to send a platoon of Marines to protect its embassy from rioting Muslims. According to a report released the country’s government formally rejected the request Saturday. Sudan’s Foreign Minister was quoted as saying, “Sudan is able to protect the diplomatic missions in Khartoum and the state is committed to protecting its guests in the diplomatic corps.” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed Saturday in a terse statement that the Sudanese government had “recommitted itself both publicly and privately to continue to protect our Mission. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely to ensure we have what we need to protect our people and facility.” A Washington official said the Marines were already on their way to Khartoum when word was received the request was rejected. They were called back, pending further discussions. A mob of some 5,000 “protesters” swarmed towards the American compound – having first stormed the German embassy and attacked the British embassy – to express their rage over an obscure amateur video that mocked the life of the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam. (Arutz-7)
GUNMEN ATTACK PEACEKEEPERS BASE IN SINAI PENINSULA: An assault on the peacekeepers base in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula raised the dangerous prospect of armed Islamic terrorists exploiting the turmoil to carry out attacks on Western targets. The base near the border with Gaza and Israel houses some 1,500 members of the multinational force, including American troops. Gunmen waving the black Islamist banner and shouting “God is great” stormed into the base, firing automatic weapons. They set fire to vehicles and battled with peacekeepers inside, said a senior official with the force. Four Colombian peacekeepers were wounded and were evacuated to Israel. The official said the attack was connected to the wider protests in the region. Ahead of the expected wave of protests on Friday - a traditional day for rallies in the Islamic world - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explicitly denounced the movie denigrating the Prophet Muhammad aiming to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates. “The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” she said. “The video was “disgusting and reprehensible.” (Newsmax)
PRESIDENT OBAMA, STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM FOR MIDEAST VIOLENCE: “Disgusting and reprehensible.” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Truly abhorrent,” an outraged White House official told an international conference. Were they talking about the murder of four Americans in Libya - or perhaps the hoisting of an Islamist flag over the US Embassy in Cairo? No. Issuing from the president, the harshest language was: “I strongly condemn the outrageous attack.” For Clinton it was that the US is heartbroken and she condemned “this senseless act of violence.” But “disgusting and reprehensible” and “truly abhorrent,” were reserved for an amateurish film by someone nobody has ever heard of. In fact, what is “disgusting and reprehensible” is that there are people in the world who think they are justified in attacking and killing people because someone offended their sensibilities. The US government should not be an enabler of this upside down worldview, which is exactly what the Obama administration has done repeatedly as they have responded to these abhorrent attacks against the United States. US leaders shouldn’t let our enemies know that when they kill our people and attack our embassies the US Government will act like a battered wife making excuses for her psychotic husband. Wake up: we weren’t attacked because of a movie made by an American. We were attacked because there are crazy religious fanatics who hate the United States. It’s time for the Obama administration to stop blaming the victim. (Fox News/Kirsten Powers) Someone needs to explain to President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of his team in the White House that our Constitution protects freedom of religion from government interference. It doesn’t protect us from people who say critical or offensive things about one’s religion.
ISRAELI ARABS PROTEST ANTI-MUSLIM VIDEO: Hundreds of Arabs protested Saturday in Israel in solidarity with Muslims around the world against an amateur video produced in the US that satirized the life of the Prophet Mohammed. The rash of demonstrations was initiated by a call-out to the Israeli Arab public by the Islamic Movement. On Friday, hundreds of Arabs protested in eastern Jerusalem, where there were clashes with Israel Police. Israeli Arabs protested outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday as well. (Arutz-7) Intercede for the safety of all Israelis and visitors from abroad during the Jewish High Holidays starting Sunday night. This is a time of heightened security due to terrorist hits during times of celebration in the past. The recent string of riots and violence across the region arising from the controversial anti-Islam video increases the danger of murderous terrorist attacks during festivals occurring in September and October.
POLICE SEAL AREA NEAR US EMBASSY IN CAIRO AMID RIOTS: Over 250 people have been hurt since protests erupted in Cairo Tuesday. Hundreds of riot police sealed off the area near the US Embassy in Cairo on Saturday after four days of clashes between police and Egyptians incensed by a film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad. A 35-year-old protester was killed and dozens of people were injured in clashes overnight. The protesters said they wanted to expel the US ambassador to punish Washington over the film. (J.Post)
STOP SENDING TAXPAYERS DOLLARS TO EGYPT, LYBIA: The Obama administration should stop sending US taxpayer dollars to Middle Eastern countries that permit and support terrorism by Islamists bent on destroying America. That’s the sentiment from more than 5,500 Americans who contacted the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) in less than 24 hours. Recent bombings in Libya and Egypt have killed four American workers, including US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. In an effort to protect US taxpayer dollars, the ACLJ is calling on the Obama Administration to ends it foreign policy of appeasement and apologies. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ said “At a time when President Obama refuses to meet face-to-face with the prime minister of Israel, our most important ally in the region, the Obama administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to countries that support the terrorism of radical Islamists bent on destroying America. It’s time to bring an end to a foreign policy of appeasement and apologies. We’re calling on the Obama administration to cut off funding to Libya and Egypt until stable governments are put in place.” (Charisma)
CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST LIKELY TO INTENSIFY: Christian organizations whose humanitarian presence extends into Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, are warning the persecution already experienced by thousands of Middle Eastern Christians as a result of the Arab Spring revolution will continue to intensify in the wake of the US embassy attacks in Libya and Egypt. Such groups are voicing concern for the safety of Christians in the region and the potential for more violent conflict due to the tendency by Muslim fundamentalists to link the United States with Christianity. (Charisma)
Russian Chess in the Middle East - Part III
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Elizabeth Blade
This is part two of a four-part series on Russian maneuvering in the Middle East, and how it affects Israel. If you have not done so already, we recommend first reading Russian Chess in the Middle East - Part I and Russian Chess in the Middle East - Part II
Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a think tank focused on Russian domestic political affairs and foreign policy voiced a more “mainstream” opinion concerning recent Middle East developments.
Referring to the battle between Russia and the US over the title of superpower, Trenin said “Moscow withdrew from geopolitical competition in the Middle East against the United States in 1990, at the time of the first Gulf War, and has not re-entered the race since then…”
Addressing the fears that the turmoil in the Arab world might grip Russia and China, the expert argued that the developments were not connected but conceded that the revolts might grip other countries in the region. “It is not so much a rehearsal as setting the stage for a wider regional confrontation. This stage is widening to include Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq and even Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province,” he stressed.
According to the expert, the collapse of the current Syrian regime won’t mean the end of Russia’s influence in the country. “Russian interests in Syria are important, but far less than vital. If Syria indeed slides into chaos, it will cease to be a commercial partner for Russia… The civil war has already taken on a sectarian dimension. The Alawites will fight on, with Assad or without him,” he explained.
The expert argued that Russia won’t support a US strike on Iran but conceded that Moscow might be willing to “cooperate on the diplomatic track, which might include pressure. For now, however, Moscow thinks new sanctions will only empower the wrong people in Iran, and disempower the more sensible groups,” Trenin told Israel Today.
Unlike Safarov, who speaks out against working with the Jewish state, Trenin voiced a more mainstream view, suggesting that the two countries might actually see eye-to-eye on some acute issues. “Most Russians feel a genuine affinity towards Israel,” argued the pundit, who points out that — apart from personal, cultural and economic ties — many Russians sympathize with Israelis, who are subject to the constant threat of terrorism.
“As for President Putin, he may be Russia’s most pro-Jewish leader,” explained the expert, referring to the appointment of Mikhail Fradkov – whose father is Jewish – as the head of Russia’s foreign security service and, years earlier, the first Jew to serve as prime minister.
Check back tomorrow for the continuation of this important story.
Celebrating Israel’s ‘Spicy’ History
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Israel Today Staff
The Middle East has been recognized as a source of exotic spices for millennia. But what many don’t know is that the Land of Israel was an integral part of the booming spice trade.
During Solomon’s reign, Israel was a crossroads for trade throughout the then-civilized world. It remained so during the following centuries, though with lessened importance, until the people known as the Nabateans established an important trade route bringing spices from the Arabian Peninsula to the peoples of the Roman Empire.
The Nabateans built a long series of way-stops and impressive fortified cities along the Spice Route, the remains of which can still be visited in southern Israel. The Nabateans transformed the Land of Israel into a gateway to what was (until the discovery of oil) the Middle East’s most valued commodity.
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In 2005, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Israel’s Spice Route to its World Heritage List.
While the old Spice Route is no longer in use, having been replaced by modern transportation methods, Israel remains an ideal place to sample the various spices for which our region is so famous.
In shuks (open air markets) throughout Israel, one can find exotic spices from places as far flung as southern Arabia to Iran (Persia) to distant India. Only in Israel can one truly “taste” the entire Middle East!
Axe-wielding Palestinian attacks Jewish protester
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Ryan Jones
An axe-wielding Palestinian on Tuesday attacked and lightly injured an Israeli man who was part of a group protesting and documenting illegal Palestinian construction in Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).
The incident occurred after a group of Israeli settlers showed up and began taking video footage of Palestinian construction on land near the Jewish village of Maaleh Levona. The protesters noted the construction is being carried out without permits on land not owned by the Palestinians in question.
A verbal confrontation between the two sides soon erupted at the conclusion of which a Palestinian man picked up an axe and struck a young Jewish protester. The attack was caught on film, and shown on Israeli television.
The victim was evacuated to a hospital in Jerusalem with light injuries.
While Israeli courts and the international community regularly crack down on Jewish construction in the West Bank, unauthorized Palestinian construction in the disputed region rarely if ever elicits a response.
In other violence, Palestinian assailants hurled a firebomb at an Israeli bus traveling between Jerusalem and Hebron on Tuesday. The firebomb failed to ignite the bus, and resulted in no injuries or serious damage.