“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17)
For the first time in decades, all of Israel’s cities can be attacked by enemy forces, warned Israel’s chief of military intelligence Major General Aviv Kochavi last week.
“About 170,000 rockets and missiles are pointed at Israel, and they are deadlier than ever,” the Intelligence Chief said. “Many of these weapons can be fired deep into Israel’s territory.”
Kochavi told a conference at The Institute for National Security Studies that Israel is facing rising security challenges that include regional instability, organized terrorism, and Global Jihad.
“Every day, the enemy continues to advance,” he said. “For the first time in many years, Israel is almost completely surrounded by threats. These are not potential threats, but threats posed by an active enemy.”
Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Chief Aviv Kochavi
One of those enemies is Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in Lebanon along Israel’s northern border.
He estimated Hezbollah now possesses 100,000 rockets and missiles, which places it in the category of a “semi-military” organization.
“Hezbollah is no longer a terrorist organization in the most basic sense of the term,” he stressed, pointing to their advanced weaponry that includes anti-tank missiles and mortars. “An organization that has more than 100,000 rockets resembles a military more than a terrorist organization.”
Kochavi said that the line between terrorist groups and military organizations is “becoming increasingly blurred.” That includes Hamas, the terror organization ruling the Gaza Strip. (Arutz 7)
The rockets of that Gaza-based terrorist group threaten millions of Israeli civilians.
Hezbollah members during a parade.
But the enemy does not necessarily maintain easily identifiable military bases. They operate in urban areas, placing women and children at risk.
“The enemy is hiding in cities and villages, wearing civilian clothing while equipped with advanced weaponry,” he said. In addition, “Tens of kilometers of underground tunnels exist in Gaza and Southern Lebanon.”
Turning to another type of battlefield, Kochavi said that Israel is facing the growing phenomenon of cyberwarfare.
“Last year, there were dozens of [cyber] attacks carried out on Israel’s security systems and hundreds of attacks on state institutions,” he said, adding, “The field of cyberwarfare has only just begun.” (Arutz 7)
Comparing cyberwarfare to the creation of gunpowder and the use of warplanes in the early years of the 20th century, Kochavi said this threat will continue to grow. For now, however, the present-day missile threat is a greater danger than even Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. (Times of Israel)
The IDF deflects threats to Israel’s security.
Because Israel is doing everything in her power to counteract every threat, including creating the Iron Dome air defense system, some in the West tend to minimize the threat to Israel.
For instance, during a live online discussion hosted by the Globe and Mail, Canadian reporter Patrick Martin, Mideast Bureau Chief of Canada’s Globe and Mail, recently downplayed “rockets fired from Gaza” by Palestinians.
Martin said that the Palestinians were simply “protesting Israeli policy or just causing a nuisance.”
Israeli Osher Twito, 9, copes with the loss of
his leg after a Palestinian Quassam rocket
exploded next to him in the city of Sderot.
imagine if jihadists were firing rockets into your community to protest your government’s policies. You would not think it was just a nuisance.
Israeli civilians are injured and die in these attacks. Their property is damaged or destroyed. Their children are scarred physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Terrorism is not just a nuisance in Israel, and it is on the rise again.
A report published last week by Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, revealed a significant increase in terrorist attacks on Jews in Judea and Samaria during 2013 over the prior year. Overall, 1,271 terrorist attacks were reported in 2013, up from just 578 in 2012.
“My God is My rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of My salvation. He is My stronghold, My refuge and My savior—from violent people You save me.” (2 Samuel 22:3)
The bloody shoe of an Israeli child after a Gaza rocket is fired into Israel.
Scarlett Johansson Supports SodaStream, Quits Oxfam
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34)
This past week, millions of viewers were glued to their televisions watching the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football in the United States.
Part of the Super Bowl’s entertainment is the commercials, for which companies pay top dollar—four million for 30 seconds of ad time.
One much anticipated ad was that of SodaStream, an Israeli company that has created a DIY home carbonation kit that saves the environment from virtually tons of plastic bottles annually while reducing the cost of fizzy drinks for the consumer.
Their brand ambassador is Hollywood starlet Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett Johansson as she appears in the Super Bowl ad. (YouTube capture)
The commercial was allowed to air only after replacing the final dig: “Sorry Coke and Pepsi” with “I just love to help people.”
Controversy surrounding the SodaStream commercial has brought both Scarlett Johansson and the company tons of unexpected exposure in the world media.
Pro-Palestinian activists have criticized SodaStream for maintaining a large factory in the disputed territories. Some claim the company is taking advantage of Palestinians who have few other employment options.
“While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air,” Johansson said, who has been criticized for her support of the product.
“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” she said. “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day.” (Israel Today)
While some deceptively portray the SodaStream plant as a kind of “slave labor” camp for Palestinians, nothing could be further from the truth.
The plant employs about 1,300 workers—500 Palestinian Arabs from the disputed territories, 450 Arab Israelis, and 350 Jewish Israelis. These are the people who are hurt most by those who condemn Israeli businesses because they operate in the disputed territories.
At SodaStream, the workers earn a decent wage (much more than they could earn in the Palestinian Authority) and have benefits and breaks. They can even pray in the small onsite mosque that the company has provided for them without being docked time from their break allowances. (Haaretz)
“I’m happy. We’re like family. We have fun,” said Mohammed Yousef, a 22-year-old from the Palestinian village of Jaba. “We are Jews and Muslims here. We are here peacefully. We have no problems. Everyone is complaining about settlements here and everywhere, but SodaStream is different.” (Gawker)
Arab employees of SodaStream work on the assembly line. (YouTube capture)
Another Arab employee said, “The salary I earn here enabled me to complete my studies. Not many would do this for the Arab people. It is only a problem for other people [who call this place a settlement]. I need this work, and I am very happy here.” (Israel Today)
Another worker, Rani Abed Rabbo, who was offered a management position by SodaStream after losing his job in the hi-tech sector, said, “Everyone is treated the same here. The privilege that the Israeli worker gets, the Palestinian also gets. There is no discrimination here. We eat together, we laugh together. We feel welcome here.”
“I want everybody here—Jew, Israeli Arab, Palestinian Arab, Russian, Ethiopian—to feel equal, with the same pay, the same benefits, the same opportunity to advance and become managers,” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said. (Haaretz)
Although it would be easier to close the plant due to the negative attention and rely on plants elsewhere in Israel to produce the product, Birnbaum said he is committed to the Arab employees who earn a living there.
“We will not throw our employees under the bus to promote anyone’s political agenda,” he said, adding that he “just can’t see how it would help the cause of the Palestinians if we fired them.”
Criticism of Scarlett Johansson’s position as SodaStream brand ambassador also touched her role as global ambassador at the international charity Oxfam, causing Johansson to cut her ties with them.
Groups such as Oxfam, which focuses on relieving global poverty, have denounced SodaStream for producing its products in an Israeli factory in the Judean and Samarian Jerusalem suburb of Ma’ale Adumim, even though Ma’ale Adumim is a consensus settlement that likely would be retained by Israel through land swaps under any peace deal.
Canada’s Minister of Employment, Jason Kenney, said he would also drop Oxfam and become a “customer of SodaStream, thanks to all the nutters at Oxfam who are marginalizing Palestinians.”
“I’ve given money to Oxfam in the past because I thought they were there to help poor people, not to marginalize Israelis and make Palestinians unemployed,” he said. (Sun News)
Canadian Minister of Employment Jason Kenney (YouTube capture
Israeli Advancements in Medicine—3D Holographic Imaging
“I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
Israel’s advancements continue to lead the way in medicine.
RealView Imaging Ltd. has devised a way to create real-time holographic images of a patient’s organs, including the heart, to aid surgeons during surgical procedures. (CBS)
The imaging, which employs X-ray, MRI and / or ultrasound to construct a smooth floating image in free air, can also be used to view a fetus during pregnancy.
Surgeons can interact with the holograms, which provide highly detailed images of organs, and they do not require special eyewear.
Elchanan Bruckheimer, RealView’s medical director said 3D imaging makes it possible to see what is going on inside the patient’s anatomy while the actual procedure is taking place.
“What that does is that gives you the patient’s anatomy, the real patient’s anatomy in a position where it’s hyper realistic,” he said. “You can see all of it. You can intuitively know where you are or what’s going on inside that anatomy in real time.”
The device will be launched in 2015.
A doctor manipulates a 3D real-time image of a patient’s heart.
Hearing Restored in Complex Medical Procedure
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Messiah Yeshua to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
A 58-year-old resident of Lod, Avishai Alshvili, had his hearing restored after being deaf for 10 years.
In a complex surgical procedure performed at Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center, he received a cochlear implant.
The implant electronically stimulates the hearing portion of the brain, restoring the hearing he had completely lost.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Udi Katznel of the hospital’s ear, nose, and throat department.
Alshvili, who owns a Mifal HaPayis (national lottery) kiosk, said he is happy that he can now hear when his customers win and can directly congratulate them. (JPost)
Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Israel
PA Incitement Remains Obstacle to Peace
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” (Psalm 83:4)
Palestinians are actively sabotaging the “peace process” through incitement even while in the midst of negotiations, according to a statement released by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) last week.
The incitement, which fosters a culture of hatred, is present in the Palestinian media and statements being made by PA officials.
“This culture of hatred is a decisive factor in increasing both the number of terrorist attacks and their severity. Children are educated to hate Jews and Israelis from an early age, and adults are encouraged to carry out terrorist attacks,” the MFA said on its website. (MFA)
Following a concerted effort by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, direct negotiations began on July 29, 2013. In the above photo, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (left) and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (right) stand beside Kerry.
There has been a clear increase in terrorist attacks since the opening of the peace negotiations (76 attacks in July, 93 in August, 129 in September, 131 in October and 160 in November), with a “constant stream of incitement to violence and hatred against Israel, emanating from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], primarily through channels related to the Palestinian Authority,” the MFA added.
While Israel is exercising good faith in keeping the negotiations on track by releasing terrorists with blood on their hands, these same former prisoners, such as Hamas leader Hassan Yousef not only disregard any prospects of progress, they oppose negotiations and support a third Intifada (civil disturbance).
“All the organizations of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, are opposed to negotiations with Israel,” Yousef said, while emphasizing that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas does not represent anyone other than himself. (Channel 2)
Hassan Yousef is the father of Mosab Yousef, who spied for Israel and, after moving to the States and becoming a believer in Yeshua (Jesus), wrote of his experiences in the book Son of Hamas. Mosab was later disowned by his father. (Arutz 7)
This IDF graph shows a clear increase in the number of rockets launched toward Israel since the peace negotiations started last July.
Another PA official who tells Palestinians that the talks are doomed to fail is Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Central Committee of the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party Fatah.
“It is not possible under any circumstances that a Palestinian state will be established in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip 20 years from now,” Tawfiq Tirawi told Lebanese TV news channel al-Mayadeen.
Tirawi was tried and found guilty by Israel for his involvement in recruiting a suicide bomber in the 2002 Tel Aviv terrorist attack at Bialik Cafe that killed 1 and left 29 others injured.
He still urges continued resistance [terrorism], saying negotiations will result in nothing.
“We have to resume action,” he said, “as action can change many things. I mean resistance in all its aspects.” (Jewish Press)
Oren Almog, survivor of the Maxim restaurant suicide bombing in 2003. He was blinded by the blast and lost two of his grandparents, his father, his brother and his cousin.
Anti-Semitism Grows in Europe
“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse.” (Genesis 12:3)
According to recently released studies, Europeans Jews no longer feel safe and are increasingly pessimistic of their future.
A study of anti-Semitism in Europe has revealed a rapid move toward assimilation among Jews wishing to hide their Jewish identity because of rising anti-Semitism.
The poll, which was conducted in nine European countries by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, reports the following:
- 23 percent of respondents avoid attending Jewish events or institutions for fear of being attacked while on the way;
- 38 percent will not appear in public wearing a kippah (religious head covering) or other jewelry or apparel that might identify them as being Jewish;
- 66 percent see anti-Semitism as a constant issue affecting their lives; and
- 77 percent say that they have no faith in local authorities to protect them and fail to report any incidents that they may have experienced. (Algemeiner)
Orthodox Jewish men walk through the Piazza del Colosseo in front of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Yet another survey recently conducted in Poland revealed that 63 percent of respondents believe there is a Jewish conspiracy to control the international banking system and the world media.
That survey was conducted by the Center for Prejudice Research in Warsaw using a sample of Polish citizens.
It also revealed the following appalling statistics:
- 18 percent believed that the Jews were responsible for the death of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah);
- 13 percent still believe that Jews use the blood of Christian children for the Passover matzoth (unleavened bread).
But, of course, Poland is not the only country where anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head.
Synagogue in Chania, Crete, Greece
In Greece, prominent leaders are denying the Holocaust, Jewish headstones are being desecrated, and the Greek Orthodox Church is using anti-Semitic rhetoric and arguments. (Israel Today)
Anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary have doubled since 2012, “with violent assaults on local Jews, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, public anti-Semitic chants and the burning of the Israeli flag.”
Recently, in Rome, boxes containing the head of a pig were sent to the Israeli embassy, the Rome synagogue, and the Jewish Museum of Rome where an exhibit on the Holocaust is currently on display.
One city official responded, “This is a vile and cowardly act which offends the Jewish community and all Romans.” (JPost)
The rue des Rosiers is a major center of the Paris Jewish community in Paris, France.
Meanwhile, in Paris, an anti-government march turned anti-Semitic as protesters chanted “Jews go home” and “Jews, France is not your country.”
While the Jews of France are just as French as any other French citizen, many French Jews are leaving the country as it becomes increasingly unsafe for them.
In fulfillment of Bible prophecy, God is gathering many European Jews back to the ancient homeland of the Jewish People—Israel:
“I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.” (Ezekiel 34:13)
Still, as the number of Jews leaving Europe increases because of anti-Semitism, the daunting prospect of uprooting oneself and moving to another country causes some to simply hide their Jewish identities.
“For every Jew who comes to Israel because of the anti-Semitic environment [in his or her country of origin], there are many who make another decision, which is to stay behind and sever all connections to Jewish life—the quiet consequences of anti-Semitism,” said Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett. (Algemeiner)
You can be part of God’s end-time plan for the Jewish People.
We Need Your Help, so please stand with Bibles For Israel as we spread the Good News of Yeshua’s love
“For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now! I am ready to save Jerusalem and show My glory to Israel.” (Isaiah 46:13)
“I will bless those who bless Israel.” (Genesis 12:3)